The Protector Protector is a 1973 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe. It was nominated for the Hugo in 1974, and placed fourth in the annual Locus poll for that year.

The work describes the Pak, originally introduced in a 1967 story called "The Adults", which forms the first half of the novel (there titled "Phssthpok"); the second half is titled "Vandervecken." The novel Destroyer of Worlds serves as a semi-sequel to Protector.

Phssthpok the Pak had been traveling for most of his thirty-two thousand years. His mission: save, develop, and protect the group of Pak breeders sent out into space some two and a half million years before...

Brennan was a Belter, the product of a fiercely independent, somewhat anarchic society living in, on, and around an outer asteroid belt. The Belters were rebels, one and all, and Brennan was a smuggler. The Belt worlds had been tracking the Pak ship for days — Brennan figured to meet that ship first...

He was never seen again — at least not by those alive at the time