A Better Mousetrap [Shipscat Series #4]
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by Mercedes Lackey
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: Bringing cats to the planet to kill the local vermin seemed like a great idea, until they discovered the existence of a sect that revered the vermin as children of their god.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1999 Werehunter
eBookwise Release Date: January 2008
177 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [31 KB]
Reading time: 16-22 min.
If there was one thing that Dick White had learned in all his time as SuperCargo of the CatsEye Company Free Trader Brightwing, it was that having a cat purring in your ear practically forced you to relax. The extremely comfortable form-molding chair he sat in made it impossible to feel anything but comfortable, and warm black fur muffled both of Dick White's ears, a steady vibration massaging his neck. "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door," Dick said idly, as SCat poured himself like a second fluid, black rug over the blue-grey of his lap. It was SKitty who was curled up around his shoulders, vibrating contentedly in what Dick called her "subsonic purr-mode," while her mate took it as his responsibility to make sure there was plenty of shed hair on the legs of his grey shipsuit uniform.
"What?" asked Terran Ambassador Vena Ferducci, looking up from the list of Lacu'un nobles petitioning for one of SKitty's latest litter. The petite, dark-haired woman sat in a less comfortable, metal chair behind a stone desk, which stood next to a metal rack stuffed with archaic rolled paper documents. The Lacu'un had not yet devised the science of filing paperwork in multiples yet, which made them ultra-civilised in Vena's opinion. This, her office in the Palace of the Lacu'ara and Lacu'teveras, was not often used for that very reason. When she dealt with Terran bureaucracy, she needed every electronic helper she could get.
The list she perused was very long, and made rather cumbersome due to the Lacu'un custom of presenting all official court-documents in the form of a massively ornamented yellow-parchment scroll, with case and end caps of engraved bronze and illuminated capital-initials. Dick had a notion that somewhere in the universe there probably was a collector of handwritten documents who would pay a small fortune for it, but when every petitioner on the list had been satisfied, it would probably be sent to the under-clerks, scraped clean, and reused.
"It's an old Terran folk-saying," Dick elaborated, and gestured to the list by way of explanation. "One which certainly seems to be borne out by our present situation."