Third of a trilogy (Power Lines, 1994; Powers That Be, 1993) about the sentient planet Petaybee, its rugged but tuned-in, sharing-caring inhabitants, and the disbelieving or indifferent outsiders who wish to grab the planet's mineral wealth, hunt its abundant wildlife, or exploit its plants for new drugs and medicines. This time, Colonel Yana Maddock, administrator Marmion Algemeine, and the youngsters Bunny and Diego are summoned off-planet for a conference with Petaybee's old enemy, Matthew Luzon, only to be kidnapped by the dreaded pirate Onidi Louchard and his henchperson, Diana O'Neill (although, as it emerges, O'Neill is Louchard!). Unfortunately for the pirates, Petaybee and its administrator, Sean Shongili, prove very resistant to extortion, even though Yana is carrying Sean's child. Meanwhile, Petaybee itself -- a young planet that, with polar continents where the temperature drops to 200 below zero, hasn't yet had time to fabricate any equatorial land masses yet -- is growing up, learning how to communicate directly with its human partners, and dreaming up inventive and often amusing ways of dealing with the voracious hunters, miners, and gatherers now arriving by the shipload. A more playful entry than hitherto, but just as gratifying and engaging.