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  • Nessus is a fictional character in Larry Niven's Known Space universe, a member of the technologically advanced alien race known to Humans as Pierson's Puppeteer, and amongst themselves as Citizens. Nessus, like almost all Puppeteers ever met by humans, is insane by Puppeteer standards. Sane Puppeteers are far too cautious to go off-world or interact with non-Puppeteers, thus only insane individuals like Nessus can manage to act as business liaisons or ambassadors to other species, as he does with humans and others. Nessus demonstrates traits that in humans would be diagnosed as manic-depressive disorder, displacement, and at times, extreme suggestibility. His interactions with humans cause him to be one of the few Puppeteers to ever show any support for Human interests as coequal to Puppeteer interests. Nessus is featured in the short story "The Soft Weapon" and is one of the expeditionaries to the Ringworld in the 1970 book of the same name. Nessus is also a central character of the Fleet of Worlds series of Ringworld companion novels, which opens about 200 years before Ringworld and ends following Ringworld's Children.

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