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|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||(ca. 2980; see text)|
No date is provided, but Duke Anton Marik, the younger brother of Captain-General Janos Marik, is shown here as a junior academy cadet, suggesting the story to take place around 2980. (Anton Marik was born in 2960.)
At the Free Worlds League's renowned Princefield Military Academy in the Duchy of Oriente, Cadet Willis Crawford beats the computer at the tactical plot simulator with a bold and innovative maneuver under the watchful eyes of retired General and Professor of 'Mech Deployment and Assault Strategy Sizigmund MaqAloo.
The professor acknowledges Crawford's success, but points out that he took advantage of the computer's predictability and conservative strategy; against a human opponent the simulated operation would have cost him his DropShip.
Crawford remains convinced of his skills, however, and his younger friend and classmate Anton Marik reassures him that between them, they can "lick anything"...
- This story lampshades General Willis Crawford's botched attack on Solaris VII in 3002, where he refused to admit defeat until a significant share of his forces had been destroyed; a less overconfident commander would have lost much fewer troops. Despite Anton Marik's pleas on behalf of his friend Crawford, Captain-General Janos Marik subsequently felt compelled to have Crawford executed for his failure. This significantly deepened the rift between the Marik brothers and was a cause for the Marik Civil War that began in 3014.
Author Bear Peters penned one other BattleTech story, The Race Is Not To The Swift. Although undated, it was clearly meant to depict the doomed attack on Solaris VII in the fashion of a companion story to Final Exam, and it was published in the same anthology. However, continuity issues (namely the prominent appearance of Hansen's Roughriders) rules out the possibility that the events described in that story could have taken place prior to 3017 despite the author's obvious intention. (A later source establishes this as a minor raid carried out sometimes between 3020 and 3027.)