"...The Hindmost danced. They were dancing as far as the eye could see, beneath a ceiling that was a flat mirror. Tens of thousands of his kind moved in tight patterns that were great mutating curves, heads cocked high and low to keep their orientation. The clicking of their hooves was a part of the music, like a hundred thousand castanets.
Kick short, kick past, veer. One eye for your counterpartner. In this movement and the next, never glance toward the wall that hides the Brides. Never touch. For millions of years the competition dance, and a wide spectrum of other social vectors, had determined who would mate and who would not."
The Ringworld Engineers
After the Puppeteer Migration, the Hindmost's Experimentalist government is thrown from power by the Conservative faction. Not to be outdone, a renegade Hindmost kidnaps Chmeee and Louis Wu, then returns to the Ringworld in search of alien technology which will win glory for the Experimentalists and return him to power. But he finds no miraculous technology. Instead, Hindmost and his unwilling followers discover the Ringworld is drifting off-center and will soon slide into its sun! Tosave the Ringworld, they must find its control center and defeat its guardian protector, one with very personal ties to Louis. The Hindmost's ship, the Hot Needle of Inquiry, ends up buried under many tons of lava in the Repair Center.
Twenty years after correcting the Ringworld's spin, the Hindmost is still in his ship in the Repair Center. He occupies his time by using his sophisticated electronic gadgets, to create a virtual world filled with Puppeteers, and to spy on various parts of the Ringworld. Louis has gone native, as has Chmee. Meanwhile, a Vampire protector plots to enslave the Hindmost and take control of the Repair Center.
Hindmost has been tutoring Tunesmith, the protector who Louis Wu chose to rule the Repair Center. But as Tunesmith gains knowledge and confidence, his protector need to control asserts itself; the student is swiftly becoming a dominating master. Meanwhile, a "fringe war" begins as hundreds of warships from Known Space vie for control of the space around the Ringworld, and an ancient Pak protector makes a bid for power. Will Hindmost and Louis be reduced to mere pawns in protector power plays, or can they manage to find a way to finally escape the Ringworld and return to Known Space?