By Hal Clement
A Nomadic kin sooner or later is allied with an octopus-like alien who can live to tell the tale in earth's new surroundings, which has mixed with nitrogen. people needs to stay in shelters with oxygen-generating vegetation, or use appropriate respiring gear. a few of earth's unique existence kinds have mutated to outlive within the replaced surroundings. considering virtually no metals can exist within the corrosive surroundings, any expertise is predicated on ceramics or glass.
Some people are suspicious of the extraterrestrial beings, blaming them for the switch within the surroundings for the reason that they're tailored to it. The family members has a virtually deadly come across with a bunch of such humans, who're preserving one other alien hostage. but the extraterrestrial beings may be able to pool stories biochemically in order that they develop into an identical character in our bodies. Their mixed wisdom and talents aid the kin to flee. the adventure finds simply who the extraterrestrial beings are, the place they got here from, and why the earth's surroundings changed.
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Extra resources for Nitrogen Fix
You can help me apply them, and you’ll be outside again in a few minutes. ” “Indoors? But that’s not — I mean — ” “I know. It’s not right to use an air cartridge when you can breathe without it. Well, if you’re stuck with your own habits, you’re stuck with ‘em. ” Earrin answered almost without thought, then flushed. The other began donning his mask without comment, though his face was expressive until the breathing gear hid it, and Fyn waited silently until he had finished. Then the Hiller started down the steps into the air lock.
Simultaneously her husband’s voice sounded from above. “Kahv! More fire! ” Kahvi tore off her mask to permit freer speech and shouted her agreement. For the next few seconds she paid no attention to the jailbird, but he also seized a rod with commendable speed, and a moment later they were far too busy to exchange anything but brief gestures as a dozen sputtering coals landed on the roof. None of the resulting holes burned wider than sponge size before being chilled into quiescence, but patches were still being applied when the next explosion sounded.
His sponge was already wet. There were three widening holes in the roof, smoking briskly around their edges. Earrin got as close as he could to the nearest, reached out with his pole, and began sponging its rim. It was tempting to move the pole too fast, but nitrate-fed fires were not smothered; they had to be cooled. Earrin had had far too much experience to let himself be rushed on this job. This did not seen to be true of the person inside. There had been no more screams, which was encouraging — perhaps the first had been mere surprise, not panic.