Phssthpok the Pak had been traveling for most of his 32,000 years - his mission, to save, develop, and protect the group of Pak breeders sent out into space some 2 1/2 million years before... Brennan was a Belter, the product of a fiercely independent, somewhat anarchic society living in, on, and around an outer asteroid belt. The Belters were rebels, one and all, and Brennan was a smuggler. The Belt worlds had been tracking the Pak ship for days - Brennan figured to meet that ship first... He was never seen again - at least not in the form of Homo sapiens. Larry Niven is the co-author of The Mote in God's Eye and author of Ringworld, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Cover illustration by Peter A. Jones.