Gray is waiting for Snuff when he emerges through his doggy door. (And it occurs to me that this must be one big door, because Snuff is not a small dog). She tells him that the Good Doctor got burned out last night, and the pair head on over to investigate.
Snuff sniffs out Bubo, who flees into a crate.
"Remember what they say about cornered rats," he said. "We can be nasty."
"I'm sure," I replied. "But what'd be the point? No one wants to hurt you."
"You were chasing me."
"I wanted to talk to you."
"So you brought along a cat."
"I can let you talk to her if you don't want to talk to me."
I started to withdraw.
Bubo tells Snuff that the Good Doctor and the experiment man got in a fight. The experiment man smashed some equipment and sparks from this set the whole place on fire.
"Please," he said, "let me be. I'm just a simple pack rat. Snuff! Don't let her have me!"
"I've already eaten," she said. "Besides, I owe you courtesy as a fellow player."
"No you don't," he said. "It's over. Over."
"Just because your master is dead doesn't mean I should treat you as anything other than a player."
"But you know. You must know. You're toying with me. Cats are that way. I'm not a player. I never was. Have you really eaten recently?"
"That's worse then. You'll toy more."
"Shut up a minute!" she said.
"See? There goes the courtesy."
Heh. Bubo is fun. I don't like the speculate about what a writer might have been feeling, but I always imagined that the Roger Zelazny had enjoyed writing this book in general and dialogue like this in particular. His son Trent has an account of how the writing process went in his introduction to the Lovecraft Zine's second Lonesome October issue, and it turns out that he really did enjoy the process.
That really makes me happy, that something that's given me so much pleasure over the years was just as much fun for the author.
Bubo goes on to explain that he noticed the other companions all treated each other pretty well, so he decided to pretend to be in on the Game too. But the Good Doctor was never a player. It was entirely by coincidence that he was here. Now that Snuff and the other calculators know this, they can build their pattern without him and finally determine the center of the pattern.
Snuff is so pleased with this development, and moved by Bubo's plight that he offers the rat a place to stay.