Keeping this cargo meant death--to jettison it meant to make flotsam and jetsam of a world!
ee. He had not vocalized since fledgling days and his voice had a jarring croak of disuse. "Our Zid escaped its cage and destroyed two of us, forcing us to maroon it here for our own safety. Unfortunately, we trusted our star manual's statement that the planet is unpopulated."
The Terrans drew together again.
"Zid?" Jeff echoed.
Chafi Four relieved his fellow of the strain by trying his own rusty croak. "A vicious Canthorian predator, combing the island at this moment for prey. You must help us to recapture it."
"So that you may identify it," Chafi Three finished helpfully, "the Zid has this appearance."
His psi projection of the Zid appeared on the dock before them with demoniac abruptness--crouched to leap, twin tails lashing and its ten-foot length bristling with glassy magenta bristles. It had a lethal pair of extra limbs that sprang from the shoulders to end in taloned seizing-hands, and its slanted red eyes burned malevolently from a snouted, razor-fanged face.
More of a comic book story than a serious short story. There are two aliens, who evidently look like owls (the descriptions are not very good), transporting a ravening beast (who never gets described) to a zoo, when it escapes into their space ship. They land on a supposedly uninhabited planet to dump the animal, and find humans have colonized the planet. There is a spy among the colonists trying to discover the secret of the calming crystals. And so on.
I don't believe I was actually harmed by reading the story.
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