In 2830 Louis Wu had tired of Human company, and was on a long "sabbatical" in his starship exploring beyond the edge of Known Space. Cruising through an uncharted star system, his deep-radar showed a signal characteristic of a Slaver stasis box. Orbiting an Earth-like, unnamed planet, he saw a 10-foot silvery sphere, larger than any known stasis box.
Just then, an alien spaceship (see Trinoc starship) appeared; this was the first Human encounter with Trinocs. Louis' autopilot computer translated a signal from the alien. The Trinoc laid claim to the artifact and warned Louis off, but Louis persuaded it to gamble for possession.
Both ships landed at the ocean shore on the planet. Louis warned that if he was killed, his ship would explode and take the other with it. The Trinoc replied that their species thought alike. Louis and the alien emerged and met to toss a Trinoc "coin" for possession. Then Louis noticed the alien ship was gone; the game had been just a distraction. The Trinoc threatened Louis with a Trinoc pistol and explained its ship-mates would take the artifact, even if it was killed.
Then Louis noticed the tide receding with strange rapidity, despite the lack of any sizable moon. He realized the danger and convinced the alien to let him send a signal to the Trinoc ship. The supposed "stasis box" was in reality a sphere of neutronium, shiny as a stasis field; its inconceivable density was enough to reflect deep-radar. The neutronium sphere had enough mass to give extreme tides to the world below.
But the warning came too late; the Trinoc ship had come too close to the neutronium sphere and was pulled in, becoming just another shiny layer on the sphere. Louis offered to take the stranded Trinoc to the nearest Human colony, Margrave. The alien accepted.