The tramp-freighter spaceship Solar Queen had exclusive trading rights to Sargol and its fabulous gems. But the crew's bravery and resourcefulness strained to the breaking point as they met Sargol's three challenges: the enigmatic obstinancy of the planet's catlike natives, ruthless incursions of an illegal competitor, and worst of all -- an invisible, undetectable stowaway whose presence branded the Solar Queen a plague ship...off limits to the rest of the galaxy!
Dane Thorson, Cargo–master–apprentice of the Solar Queen, Galactic Free Trader spacer, Terra registry, stood in the middle of the ship's cramped bather while Rip Shannon, assistant Astrogator and his senior in the Service of Trade by some four years, applied gobs of highly scented paste to the skin between Dane's rather prominent shoulder blades. The small cabin was thickly redolent with spicy odors and Rip sniffed appreciatively. "You're sure going to be about the best smelling Terran who ever set boot on Sargol's soil," his soft slur of speech ended in a rich chuckle. Dane snorted and tried to estimate progress over one shoulder.