The punishment had to fit more than just the crime—it had to suit every world in the Galaxy!
ho had been finding it difficult of late to get anything to report, rushed to their instruments.
"Remove the defendant's chains and set him free," the priestess-judge ordered in ringing tones. "The Great God of the Unspeakable Name has revealed to me whom the defendant most loves. As soon as he is freed, seize him and slay him. For the only being he loves is--himself."
There was an instant's silence, and then a roar. The Medorans howled in frustration.
But The Eel, still guarded but unchained, stood up and laughed aloud.
"Your Great God is a fool!" he said blasphemously. "I deny that I love myself. I care nothing for myself at all."
The priestess-judge sighed. "Since this is your sworn denial, it must be true," she said. "So then we cannot kill you. Instead, we grant that you do indeed love no one. Therefore you are a creature so far outside our comprehension that you cannot come under our laws, no matter how you have broken them. We shall notify the Federation that we aband
A master thief is finally caught, and when the bickering worlds he ripped off decide which is to try him, it looks as though he might escape once again.
The author kind of stacked the deck in her story to come up with the ending--the details of the planet's culture, their inability to lie, etc.--but the story isn\'t bad.
The criminal personified the term "slippery as an eel" as he’s evaded capture for decades. When finally caught he is handed over to a planet with unique ideas of justice – do not imprison the criminal, kill criminal’s loved one instead.