Of the three outsiders allowed residence on End of Nothing, one was tolerated at a distance by Vatican-17, one was welcome - and one was a threat to be countered.
Decker hardly mattered. His lifeboat had landed him on the remote planet, and he kept to himself in the wilderness. Neither the human nor robot authorities knew of the unseen companion who whispered constantly in Decker's mind.
Dr Jason Tennyson had fled the political furies of his homeworld. Here, Vatican-17's physician had died, and Tennyson's skills were desperately needed and well rewarded.
Jill Roberts was a journalist in quest of a sensational story she had scented. Vatican-17 knew she could not be allowed to break the news of Project Pope before it was completed - and debated two possible ways of stopping her.
The one of the Searcher sensitives threw Vatican-17 into turmoil, threatening its very existence and involving the three outsiders in a sudden power struggle between human and robot.
Drifting in unsuspecting dimensions, the woman had encountered Heaven!