Being trapped in the steaming hól of Venus is no excuse for forgetting one's mannersóbut anyone abducted, marooned, tricked, kept from tea might well crack under the strain!
erglyt-Ruuu ... passed on.
Jrann-Pttt sat down on a fallen log and, tucking up his graceful tail, signaled his junior to join him. In the event that we do decide to return to base, some handsome specimens might serve to offset the lieutenant's demise.
Return to base? But I thought we were....
We haven't found swamp life pleasant, have we? After all, there's no real reason why we shouldn't go back. Is it our fault that Merglyt-Ruuu happened to meet with a fatal accident?
We-ell ... but will the commandant see it that way?
On the other hand, if we don't go back, wouldn't it be a good idea to attach ourselves to an expedition that, no matter how alien, is better equipped for survival than we? And carrying out our original purpose seemed the best way of getting to meet these strangers informally, as it were.
They are unquestionably intelligent life-forms then?
After a fashion. Jrann-Pttt yawned and
I have to view this as a satire, rather than a story meant to be profound. It's fairly wry, but stretches credulity a bit; there are more sentient aliens bumping into each other than a Star Trek episode. The cat was believable.
The plotting was fine and the characters could all be told apart. The author did a pretty good job.