The programmers at the NSA knew kids could see things in a video game that adults couldn’t, and they needed kids who really knew their stuff to test them out. Rocky was a boy-genius programmer, and Dylan was the kind of kid who made everything look easy. Challenger was the government’s official term for the project. The object was to test virtual gaming systems that would challenge and train agents and prepare them for real-life scenarios. They discovered Rocky in the park playing chess, beating all the old guys who normally couldn’t be beat. Dylan was there too, waiting for Rocky. They witnessed him chase down a purse-snatcher. Dylan tied the guy to a street pole with his own belt and returned the purse to its owner as he waited for help to arrive. When she offered him a reward he politely said getting the guy off the streets was reward enough for him.
They both had special skills, for 10-year-olds, and now they got to put them to good use under Dr. Longley’s supervision. Their teachers enjoyed hearing the reports from the NSA, and even gave the boys extra credit. Sometimes they got to replace projects with their NSA activities. Dylan was hoping to earn some field trip time to NSA during the upcoming poetry week at school.