The weird, invisible insect depopulated an entire planet. Now it was felling Thompson's crew as his ship hurtled toward the sun ... certain death for all, including the disease carrier. Forgotten in the panic was Buster, Thompson's wise cat.
"Yes," Fortune spoke. "And it tells you exactly how to treat every conceivable form of accident but it doesn't say a single damned word about infections, and if it did we don't have any medicine to treat them.
Again silence fell. In Thompson's lap, Buster squirmed, dropped to the floor. Tail extended, body low, he moved across the plastic floor as if he were stalking something that lay beyond the open door. "We'll fumigate anyhow," Thompson said. "We'll scour the ship."
There was some relief in action. The clothing that had been worn by the landing party went out through the ejection lock. Inside the ship, the floors, walls, and ceilings were scoured by sweating men who worked feverishly. Fumigants were spread in every room.
With the spreading of the fumigants, spirits began to rise, but even then the signs of stress were still all too obvious. No one knew the incubation period of the virus. Hours only had been needed to bring Kurkil to his death. But days might pass before the vir
The final planetary stop before the exploratory ship heads home turns out to be a dead world of empty cities. On the way back to Earth, the crew starts dying of a mysterious ailment.
When everyone in the story has a square jaw and steely eyes, it's nice to have a cat for variety. It's not hard to figure out who saves the day.