Soft Weapon, The (#16)

1967-02Known Space [all] Short StoryWorlds of If, February 1967
K.S. 31 (2658)

as "L'Arme Molle," in Galaxie, Septembre 1971;
Neutron Star
Playgrounds of the Mind
World of Ptavvs/A Gift from Earth/Neutron Star
Best of Larry Niven, The
Jason Papandreou;
Anne-Marie Papandreou;
Introduction of Nessus
later made into "The Slaver Weapon," an animated Star Trek script, with Spock in Nessus' role.
See: Slaver Weapon, The

On an unassuming little ice-ball of a world, orbiting Beta Lyrae, a Kzin ship lurks, hoping to capture explorers who may have come across Slaver Stasis Boxes in their travels. The Court Jester, owned by Jason and Anne-Marie Papandreou, is just such a ship—its sole passenger, the puppeteer Nessus, has just purchased a Box from the Outsiders. When the box is opened it reveals a mysterious weapon of unspeakable power, and the race is on to decipher the ancient weapon's true nature. As a point of interest, this episode was also turned into an animated Star Trek episode in the 1970s, with Spock as Nessus!