Noise by Hal Clement

By Hal Clement

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The miners might not know, and might dislike showing ignorance as much as Mike himself did. He had no wish to make himself unwelcome, at least until his own project was done. Tact, he often pointed out when the subject arose, would have been his middle name if he had had one, and to him tact meant talking as little as possible when he wasn’t sure what to say. They climbed aboard and doffed helmets. II Discords Keo redonned his again almost instantly, joined promptly by the captain and a little less so by Mike.

Even then he could make out no real details, except that the weed seemed to be growing on something clear suspended a meter or so under the surface. At that point both adult crew members expressed approval of ’Ao’s judgment. She had descended from the mast without orders and was waiting with just a faint expression of anxiety visible around her mask. The passenger, who had a youngster of his own on Earth, could interpret this; the child had been afraid of being wrong. She relaxed visibly at the captain’s words.

It was Wanaka who spoke first. ” The child’s expression brightened, but her words were less happy than they might have been. ” Both the listeners caught the verbal trap, and ’Ao avoided it neatly. “I was pretty sure, but there might have been something no one ever told me about that I missed. ” ’Ao’s face fell. “He didn’t tell me anything bad, though. ” The girl still seemed uneasy. “Then—will you—can you—” “Sure. Let’s have it. Permission to doff armor. ” The upper half of the suit of noise protection, complete with helmet, was peeled off and handed to the captain at once.

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