A Foundation agent is captured by some petty kingdom and a trader is sent to rescue him.
The trader succeeds by carefully manipulating the greed of the locals to the point where he can control and blackmail them.
There are a number of problems here. The agent who has to bring a new planet under the Foundation’s sway is a little over-the-top, and his slang is a little too arch, too anxious to sound futuristic. The real problem, however, is that the climax of the story takes place off-stage—we don’t get to see his plan succeed; we’re simply told about it.
The story isn’t a total loss, and were it in less dignified surroundings it would fare better—but as it stands, it leaves something of a sour taste behind.