A MIND FOR TRADE
A new adventure for the Trader ship Solar Queen (Derelict for Trade, 1997, etc.), continuing the update of a series begun long ago by Norton. This time, the Solar Queen's Captain Jellico controls two vessels--the North Star having been liberated from pirates in the previous adventure--and has a contract to mine a rare mineral (it has the property of augmenting electromagnetic storms, and may also be used illegally to make deadly space blasters) on the storm-racked planet Hesprid IV. Also, thanks to a previous incident, four crew members are developing psi powers among themselves. Solar Queen lands on the planet, only to find a crew of alien Tathians who are already engaged in mining but who agree to hand over their claim. Then three pirate ships show up. Unarmed and unable to tackle the pirates, North Star calls the cops before hiding in space. Other problems are caused by the planet's weird native Floaters, who've already zapped several of the Tathians, while the stormy weather approaches a destructive climax. With their newfound psi powers, Solar Queen's crew discover that the Floaters are sentient. So, in exchange for the ore, they arrange to protect the Floaters from the storms, leaving the cops to deal with the pirates. Another solid and agreeable adventure in an unpretentiously serviceable series.