By F. Paul Wilson
Steve Dalt was trying to locate a lost spacecraft when he encountered some hostile natives and took shelter in a nearby cave. He was briefly puzzled that they didn't come after him:
But his five pursuers were doing nothing. They sat astride their mounts and stared dumbly at the cave mouth. One of the party unstrung his crossbow and began to strap it to his back. Dalt had no time to wonder at their behavior, for in that instant he realized he had made a fatal error. He was in a cave on Kwashi, and there was hardly a cave on Kwashi that didn't house a colony of alarets.
He jumped into a crouch and sprinted for the outside. He'd gladly take his chances against the crossbows rather than alarets any day. But a warm furry oval fell from the cave ceiling and landed on his head as he began to move. As his ears roared and his vision turned orange and green and yellow, Steven Dalt screamed in agony and fell to the cave floor.
Hearing that scream, the five Tependian scouts shook their heads and turned and rode away.
Only one in a thousand can survive an alaret attack and it turned out that Steve Dalt was that one. When he regained consciousness, he discovered he was no longer alone in his own head. He was now sharing his body with a powerful new presence and he would be forever changed. And this amazing change will enable Steve Dalt to save humanity from an implacable, unseen new enemy.
This is a good story. Steve's adventures in his partnership with the alaret who invaded his body make for quite a good read. For it turns out that the alaret has given Dalt the gift of virtual immortality, an immortality that, as the years flow by, seems more of a burden than a gift. A burden that Steve learns to bear as it becomes apparent that his unique gifts make him a kind of savior to humankind, always ready to step up when needed. I enjoyed reading this book again, having read it in the past more than once.