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Another Look at My Past


Chapter 25
Frank Mills was not happy. Not that he had ever been happy since entering the past, but now he was really
not happy. His every breath was hampered by the breathing filter he was wearing. He was wearing the
breathing filter because they were in the Dead Zone and if you breathed the air directly you would get a
lungful of hssswwx microbes and eventually die. The native microfauna were at odds with terrestrial life, the
same way that terrestrial microbes were deadly for the native lifeforms. But knowing all that did not make
you like the breathing filter any better.
So Frank was wearing a breathing filter like all the other soldiers. As were all the horses and the drove rs that
were driving four large draft horses that pulled a cumbersome water wagon. In the Dead Zone you had to
bring everything you needed. There was a complicated way to eat and drink wearing the breathing filters, but
it wasn't any fun.
Frank checked the breathing filter on his horse. He - the horse - seemed to be tolerating it well. Frank
thought his horse was a he, but he had never actually checked.
Bob rode beside Frank. It had to be Bob because Bob always rode beside Frank. It was impossible to
recognize someone wearing a breathing filter. The thing covered your entire face and you peered out at the
world through these scratched, blurry pieces of glass. It resembled a gas mask that was used in the times
before spaceflight.
“Hey Mills.” It had to be Bob because nobody else talked to him.
“What?”
“How do you like the Dead Zone?”
“It's dead.”
“O h? You don't like it?”
Frank pointed to his breathing filter. “This thing is horrible.”
“You'd better not take it off or you'll be dead, just like the Dead Zone. Ha Ha!!”
Bob chuckled to himself over his joke for the next five or ten miles. The human delegation continued its
journey.
A fe w miles away.
“O ne Who Speaks When Others Must Be Silent, we will soon be at the place where ten stones are together.
The ten flat stones are scattered on the ground in a circle, just as you have told us.” O ne Who Tells O f
Things Past was stating what they all knew.
“O ne Who Tells O f Things Past, you have diligently told us of what has happened before. Now if we
accomplish that purpose which is our goal, there will be new things to tell. Indeed, since you will be one of
those whose feet were there in the place where these things were done, you will be First To Tell of these
events.
“Now we are at the place where ten flat stones are together. We will wait for the humans. Truly, the twin
moons do not yet both shine in the sky, so it is not yet time for us to meet. We will wait a short distance
away. When the humans are near, we will enter among the circle of ten stones at the same time they do.
Thus we shall communicate directly.”
With the human delegation
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