The humans are coming.
The humans are coming.
United StatesPlanet ruled by a rural living cat race.
Aliens struggle to learn to live with humans.
When returning home to Pantheran space, Captain Sun’s battleship investigates enemy activity in the dead sector. Her ship is attacked by an unarmed Aquilan ship that somehow defeated their robot drones. Because of the ship’s unusual behavior, she boards the ship and finds the bird race following the orders of two hairless creatures.
Seeing these creatures on an enemy vessel is proof of her theories that peace is possible. She takes one of them into her pride to ridicule her commander’s traditional ideas that prolong the costly war.
David is fearful of the big cats, but discovers they are not the killing machines the Aquilans described. He finds much of their culture so beautiful, that he longs to become one of them and plunges himself into their society.
Pantherans are enamored with the human and are in awe of his intelligence, making him a point of jealousy between prides. David relishes the attention, but finds that his body is not the only thing that separates him. Pantheran society has flaws he feels he must correct.
Captain Sun’s actions cause immediate retaliation against her career, but she plans to retaliate using David’s popularity among the prides. To do that, she must hold on to David. As his popularity grows, Sun’s commander hatches a plot to eliminate both Sun and David.
David rescues himself and Captain Sun by breaking the Pantheran’s most sacred rules and is put on trial for his life. To vindicate his actions, David chips away at their societies foundations. Unable to reach a verdict, David’s pride is torn apart by internal conflict. To his horror, David realizes that what defines good, right and just for a human will not work for Pantherans. He regrets his actions and realizes that he is no longer fully human and can never quite become Pantheran.
Sun sees her theories of interspecies understanding to be naive. Understanding comes at a price, and once paid, can never be refunded. She sees herself as somewhat human and not quite Pantheran.
While they worry about what will happen when humans and Pantherans meet on a large scale, Mike, has launched a machine into Pantheran space to help bring him home. Fearful that the Koinobi, who rule the Pantheran worlds, will use the technology to attack Earth, Mike puts a lock on the machine that only David can open.
Suspicious of their own kind and fearful of this machine, some of the Koinobi try to capture David. After escaping one Koinobi, Sun and David win the help of another who allows David to use the machine to go home.
As David says his final goodbyes and prepares to leave, another Koinobi attempts to destroy Sun, David, and the machine while assassinating their Koinobi ally. David and Sun save the ship but the machine is destroyed, their Koinobi’s host is killed, and David is mortally wounded. David saves his own life by becoming a host and taking the position left vacant by the assassination.
Now, the Koinobi learn just how nasty humans can be as a not-quite-human, not-quite Koinobi David toys with their ancient society.
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