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From: The Raid On The Termites

"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 form 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.





Next: The Circuit Riders

Previous: The Termite Queen



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