The Nitrogen Fix by Hal Clement

By Hal Clement

A Nomadic relations 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 crops, or use compatible respiring apparatus. a few of earth's unique lifestyles kinds have mutated to outlive within the replaced surroundings. on account that 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 due to the fact that they're tailored to it. The kin has a nearly deadly come across with a gaggle of such humans, who're preserving one other alien hostage. but the extraterrestrial beings may be able to pool thoughts biochemically in order that they develop into a similar character in our bodies. Their mixed wisdom and talents aid the relatives 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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Naturally, they separated; there was nothing to be gained by both seeing the same things. The smaller unit headed to the right, the direction which led back to the air lock. There were people in the tunnel that Bones followed, but not very many. Most of them went to some pains to avoid contact with the Observer. Presumably there would sooner or later be some organized effort to recapture the escaping pair, but there was no way of guessing how long this might take. For one thing, it would have to depend on communication, and this would have to be a slow process with the sound code—though the Observer still had doubts that this was really the only method available to the human species.

The units could not get enough of the words to make connected sense of them. " was the cry that caused the other people to turn their attention back to the room. " another voice called emphatically. "Three of you keep the door blocked. Get anyone outside to help. The rest, inside. " One of the human figures slipped past Bones. Three more—the group had increased in numbers—spread out to each side of the now blocked doorway and then converged toward the nearer captive. Bones could understand well enough that the idea was to get the second unit into the cage, and that this would require the opening of the door.

However, the vegetation was thicker here, and she dropped back to the ground and crawled quickly straight up the slope. Once over the ridge and a short distance down the other side she felt safe in standing up, and after pausing a moment to get her breath she turned northward again. Her path brought her fairly close to the fire site where Bones had been captured a few hours before, but very fortunately—her feet were unprotected—not near enough to feel its heat and be tempted into a real investigation.

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