In 1955, Norton introduced Dane Thorson, an apprentice cargo-master who signed on with the independent cargo ship Solar Queen looking for a career in off-world trade. Here are the first two star-spanning tales of Dane Thorson and the Solar Queen. |
In Sargasso of Space, the free-traders of the Solar Queen win exclusive rights to all tradable goods discovered on the planet Limbo. The crew arrives to find the planet's surface charred, signs of life sparse. Worse yet, a strange pulse emanating from the planet itself may keep the Queen from lifting off. The traders find a secret valley with life, but others may still lurk in rocky caves below. The traders must solve the mysteries of Limbo if they hope to escape the planet, let alone come away with some saleable goods.
In Plague Ship, the Queen travels to Sargol, homeworld to a race of sentient felines, the Salariki. Sargol promises a wealth of exquisite gems to trade-if the crew can overcome the natives' mistrust. But their troubles have only just begun. When a mysterious soon overtakes all the crew except the four youngest, the Galactic Patrol labels the Queen plagued and orders it to be destroyed on sight. The apprentices discover alien beings aboard the Queen, and realize the illness may be connected to the aliens. With every ship in the galaxy searching for them, the crew has one chance to save the Solar Queen: broadcast their plight throughout the galaxy. But the one station able to do this is on Earth, at Patrol headquarters, which ordered the Solar Queen's destruction!