Bright and early the next day, the Jr. Planeteers’ wristwatches woke them to the sound of reveille. The Bear pack wiped the sleep from their eyes, washed up, put on their Mars-and-Saturn themed garnet-and-gold uniforms, and then tumbled out of their tents more or less at the same time, to their campsite. Pack Master Dimbleby was already up and pulling a steaming hot breakfast packet from their camp oven. “Rise and shine, everybody. The robots delivered food supplies overnight. Do your calisthenics, heat up a meal, police the campsite, maybe go find your friends at the other campsites, and then—I don’t know—maybe go down to the playa in time to see—What would be worth your time and trouble?—The official announcement of everyone’s standing in the merit badge competition!

The Bear pack let out whoops and hollers of excitement. The merit badge awards at the end of the Jamboree would be the highlight of the event, and the source of bragging rights for all next year. Dimbleby calmed down his kids and put them through their paces, but as soon as the campsite was cleaned up, they were raring to leave. However, Milo frowned at his friends and said, “Wait, I want to go too. But what about our, you know, ‘secret project’, in the work shed? Somebody’s got to stay and guard it.”

“Calm down, Milo. Not to worry,” Mr. Dimbleby said. “Planeteers are a pretty trustworthy bunch of folks, you know. And the tents come equipped with locks and burglar alarms, right?” 

Milo didn’t look assured. 

“But if you’re still concerned, I’ll be in camp working most of the morning. The pack masters have a meeting before lunch, but I can look after things—or ‘guard them’, if you prefer—until then. Now get on down to the playa and I’ll call you on your wristwatch before I have to go to my meeting.”

“Mr. Dimbleby, you’d do that?” Milo asked appreciatively. 

“Thank you, sir,” Tommy said quickly, hoping to seal the deal before the Pack Master changed his mind.

“Sure thing, you kids,” said George with a smile. He remembered when he was a kid himself attending his first jamboree, and how important and exciting was the first day of merit badge competitions. “Now, skedaddle!” he said with a gently dismissive wave of his hand. Then like a rocket, Bear pack shot off toward the playa

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