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   Chapter 11 No.11

The Raid on the Termites By Paul Ernst Characters: 2549

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


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"I think," said Jim, loading his pipe, "that now I really will settle down. No other adventures could seem like much after the one"-he repressed a shiver-"we've just passed through."

"And I think," said Dennis, following his own line of thought, "that as far the world of science goes, my exploring has been for nothing. Try to tell sober scientists of the specially evolved, huge-brained thing that rules the termite tribe and forms and holds the marvelous organization it has? Try to tell them-now that Matt has to stubbornly decided to keep secret his work with element eighty-five-that we were reduced to a quarter of an inch in height, and that we went through a mound and saw at first hand the things we describe? They'd shut me in an asylum!"

The two were sitting in Denny's apartment, once more conventionally clothed, and again their normal five feet eleven, and six feet two.

The reassembling of Denny's body had done odd things. Jim had set the broken bone with rough skill before stepping under the glass bell; and the fracture had been healed automatically by the growing deposit of protoplasmic substance resulting when Matt threw his switch.

But Denny's missing finger had baffled the reversing process. With no tiny pattern to f

orm around, the former substance of his finger had simply gathered in a shapeless knob of flesh and bone like a tumorous growth sprouting from his hand. It would have to be amputated.

But the marvels performed under Matthew Breen's glass bell were far secondary to the two men. The things they had recently seen and undergone, and the possibility of telling folks about them, occupied their attention exclusively.

"Then you're not going to write a monograph on the real nature of termites, as you'd planned?" Jim asked Denny.

Denny shrugged dispiritedly. "People would take it for a joke instead of a scientific treatise if I did," he said.

Jim puffed reflectively at his pipe. A thought had come, to him that seemed to hold certain elements of possibility.

"Why not do this," he suggested: "Write it up first as a straight story, and see if people will believe it. Then, if they do, you can rewrite it as scientific fact."

And eventually they decided to do just that. And-here is their story.

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Astounding Stories June 1932. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without note.

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