[Update: I just noticed that the artist faithfully reproduced some details described in the book. For instance, take a good look at the ship identified in the picture as #3. It’s a faithful replica of a well-known US aircraft carrier, scaled down for assistoroids.]
In the contest to win over humanity, the cheerful, good-hearted, gorgeous alien catgirls have a significant advantage over the secretive, militaristic, manipulative Dogs, whose presence on Earth is still known only to a few well-placed military organizations and government agents.
I’m referring, of course, to assistoroids. Before I started reading the books, I found a picture of the Space Elevator Escort Squadron, but at a casual glance, it didn’t seem to be a real part of the books. No, it’s real.
Book seven opens with the aftermath of the arrival of the Christmas Tree, with every available navy streaming to its location with the goal of controlling access to Earth’s newest and most valuable resource. The Catians had originally planned to station a squadron of their own crew at the bottom to protect its neutrality, but Kio persuaded them to let the assistoroids handle the job in their own unique way. They were dubious at first, but after a month of watching the sailors of half a dozen countries melt under the sheer cuteness of the tiny cat-robot navy patrolling the sea in its whimsical vessels, they were glad that they listened. The initial tension of the multi-nation standoff is rapidly changing into a tourist attraction, and nobody wants to be the first one to open fire on an assistoroid.
Also, Manami is almost ready to throw her hat into the ring.
And it turns out that First Officer Melwin is as young as she appears. She’s just that good.