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By Stanley Schmidt: Editor

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We walked in through a crack in the shell to where we'd been meeting and donning our antarctic survival gear just a couple of hours ago. The equipment was gone to cinders and there were just longerons covered with white titanium oxide ash to show where our stations had been. The least damaged area was at the bottom near the door. Near that were three blackened human skeletons, any of which might have been Zander. The wind whistling through the wreckage seemed to call my name with his voice. ” I shivered.

Everybody, put your gear in your tents as soon as they're up. You'll want the weight to hold them down. Wish this weren't solid rock,” he muttered to himself. ” Rey asked. “Wind's coming,” Stevenson-Chung said. ” As far as Park was concerned, the wind was already here, driving the rain into his face. He stowed the rest of his pack in the tent, shuffled around Rey who was doing the same, and stuck his head out the tent flap. He could see the other tents quivering under the twin assaults of wind and rain.

Can you walk? ” Zander was quiet for a while, then held out his arms. ” We took turns helping him up the incline at the end of the trench and, through the dark and the blowing snow, struggled toward camp, trusting the captain's inertial compass for the direction; our eyes were useless. Despite our gear an unceasing headwind began to rob us of body heat. 162 Kelvins outside—I thought of Zander's feet in ordinary space boots self-insulated by a layer of aerogel. My feet moved freely in warm air, thanks to his knowledge of arctic survival.

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Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July August 2003 (Volume CXXIII, No. 7 & 8) by Stanley Schmidt: Editor


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