Cat and Mouse by Ralph Williams (Length: 59 minutes 39 seconds)
The Harn first came to the Warden’s attention through its effect on the game population of an area in World 7 of the Warden’s sector. A natural ecology was being maintained on World 7 as a control for experimental seedings of intelligent life-forms in other similar worlds. How the Harn got there, the Warden never knew. In its free-moving larval state, the Harn was a ticklike creature which might have sifted through a natural inter-dimensional rift; or it might have come through as a hitchhiker on some legitimate traveler, possibly even the Warden himself.
In any event, it was there now. Free of natural enemies and competition, it had expanded enormously. So far, the effect in the control world was localized, but this would not be the case when the Harn seeded. Prompt action was indicated.
The Warden’s inclination and training was in the direction of avoiding direct intervention in the ecology of the worlds under his jurisdiction, even in the field of predator control. He considered introduction of natural enemies of the Harn from its own world, and decided against it. That cure was as bad, if not worse, than the disease itself.
There was, however, in one adjacent world, a life-form not normally associated with the Harn; but which analysis indicated would be inimical to it, and reasonably amenable to control.
It was worth trying, anyway.
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