Standard E. T.-type alien-contact saga--it does, however, avoid sinking into terminal cuteness--from the editor of Analog magazine. Researcher Bill Nordstrom, feeling guilty over the deaths by fire of his wife and son, which he did nothing to prevent, takes an Alaska vacation--and comes across an apparently intelligent squirrel-like creature, the only survivor of a suitcase-sized spaceship crash. Convinced that ""Tweedlioop"" is a genuine extraterrestrial, Bill contrives to smuggle him back to Florida; he's helped by attractive lawyer Danni O'Millian and her daughter Laurie. But Tweedlioop, injured in the crash, is still ailing; so, back in Florida, Bill brings in a friendly doctor--who promptly spills the beans to the powers-that-be. Bill, boosted by Danni's legal skills, tries to hang on to Tweedlioop; then the President summons them all to a fortress some. where in Virginia. Bill suggests trying to contact Tweedlioop's people, in orbit somewhere in space; Laurie announces that she can communicate with the furry alien, so the President goes for the idea. The aliens arrive with startling speed; the President tries to bargain with them. It emerges that Tweedlioop is an alien leader-in-training; but, rather than yield the secrets of their advanced technology, as the President demands in exchange for Tweedlioop's release, the aliens will abandon Tweedlioop. So Bill, Danni and Laurie sit down to think of a way to help poor Tweedlioop escape. Unexceptional, unexceptionable.