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Lhar, by Lee Willard

Different

Volume 2 of the The Second Expedition trilogy.
The River Lhar is supposed to be a long, lazy boring ride from Wescarp to Zhlindu, a river where sailors relieve the boredom with tall tales of yesteryear. A river where the only excitement is what’s found in the nests.
When the main expedition goes on the 61 Cygni B, the Biology department hopes to stay behind and study the planet below. Their Systems Administrator hopes to stay behind and study the planet’s data system, but she cannot be in two places at once, legally.
Then they find the natives can read memories and Alan’s defection takes on a whole new urgency. Biology must do something about it to save their mission and suddenly the Lhar is neither lazy nor boring.