Alien Blood Author:Joan D. Vinge PSION and CATSPAW: Two fast-paced novels about a half-human telepath called Cat. — In the 23rd century the interplanetary Human Federation is controlled by such giant hereditary Combines as Centsuri Transport to whom the poor of any world are little more than slave labor. Psions--men and women who possess any sort of psychic abilities--are hate... more »d and feared . . . particulrly if they can learn Combine secrets. But a teenage pickpocket living on the periphery of society can get by. Even if--like Cat, whose green feline eyes mark him as the half-breed child of a human and a telepathic alien--he's an outcast among outcasts. Yet, survival is never certain, no matter how street-wise one may be.
In PSION, Cat is picked up for stealing and sentenced to hard labor in a mining camp. He knows it means almost certain death, so he's more than willing to cooperate when he's drafted into an experimental group researching how psions' powers work . . . and how they can be controlled.
The truth is, Cat's own considerable talents are locked away behind an almost impenetrable mental barrier. But before he can really awaken his telephathy, he is betrayed . . .
The shock of a fellow psion's violent death has left Cat in a bad way as CATSPAW begins, bereft of his psi powers and traveling the starways in search of a new life. He finds it when he's kidnapped and offered a job by Braedee, the head of Centauri Transport's Corporate Security. Braedee says he needs Cat's unique talents to protect the Lady Elnear, a crucial pawn in a Centauri Transport power struggle. He's willing to go along. He needs the money and something else: the drugs Braedee gives him to amplify his telepathy. Drugs that a psion deprived of his powers finds impossible to resist, despite the fact that their use may destroy his talent forever.
Yet the drugs are far from the only risk, as Cat quickly discovers, because Braedee hasn't exactly told him the truth. And ultimately he's forced to take matters into his own hands, facing the deadly perils of Old Earth's underground as he embarks on a desperate search to regain control of his only real weapon--his mind.« less