The most dangerous of animals is not the biggest and fiercest—but the one that's hardest to stop. Add intelligence to that ... and you may come to a wrong conclusion as to what the worst menace is....
on board and was neglecting her. She's an appealing little thing, and she seemed so forlorn and upset that I adopted her for the rest of the run. After we arrived, of course, I pretty well forgot about the Kinmartens and their troubles.
"A few hours ago, Solvey suddenly came bursting into the suite where I'm registered. She was shaking all over. After I calmed her down a bit, she spilled out her story. She and her husband, Brock Kinmarten, are rest wardens. With another man named Eltak, whom Solvey describes as 'some sort of crazy old coot,' they're assigned to escort two deluxe private rest cubicles to a very exclusive sanatorium on Mezmiali. But Brock told Solvey at the beginning of the trip that this was a very unusual assignment, that he didn't want her even to come near the cubicles. That wouldn't have bothered her so much, she says, but on the way here Brock became increasingly irritable and absent-minded. She knew he was worrying about the cubicles, and she began to wonder whether they weren't
A shipment of Hlats, fierce and intelligent animals with the ability to pass through solid matter and of great potential commercial value, attracts criminals to the luxury space resort known as The Star. Tough criminal of repute, "Bad News" Quillan, has his own agenda as mayhem erupts. A good space / pulp short novella.
A somewhat complicated adventure story about a plot by thugs to steal a Hlat (a carnivorous alien beast able to pass itself and its prey through solid walls) and destroy a hotel in interstellar space, killing everyone aboard. The hero, Bad News Quillan, tries to play one gang off against the other while dodging the escaped Hlat.
There are a dozen or so characters to keep straight, a few have distinct enough characters that I was sad when they were killed. The plot is very busy and the good guys change every few pages; this is probably not a story to read when your attention is distracted.