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Those are pennies he's throwing in the beginning. Kobayashi Maru is the name of a spaceship in a training exercise in the Star Trek fictional universe. In the exercise, the "Kobayashi Maru" is the precipitating element in a simulated no-win scenario. The ship's name is occasionally used among Star Trek fans or those familiar with the series to describe such situations. James T. Kirk takes the test three times while at Starfleet Academy. Prior to his third attempt, Kirk surreptitiously reprograms the simulator so that it is possible to rescue the freighter. This fact finally comes out, later in the movie, as Kirk, Saavik and others appear marooned, near death. Saavik's response is, "Then you never faced that situation. Faced death." Kirk replies, "I don't believe in the no-win scenario." Despite his having cheated, Kirk was awarded a commendation for "original thinking."