Noise by Hal Clement

By Hal Clement

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Even in the low gravity the Earth native was usually quite unconscious of such small changes. It was when the deck really tilted that his troubles came. When the kumu’rau was deployed he had had to develop a separate set of reflexes, since the scaly-looking strip of tissue, ten meters wide and two hundred long, trailing from Malolo’s stern greatly modified the catamaran’s response to waves in general; that was today’s problem. The “tree-leaf” was deployed when they were not under way by daylight.

Mike Hoani made no effort to hide his skepticism. “Right. There’s no native life that anyone had found the last I knew, but they’ve plenty of experience with pseudolife design; cities, ships, life-support equipment, are all grown just as they are at home. Their offworld trade is mostly specialized seeds, which don’t fill freighter holds very well. They haven’t much to offer to tourists; when you’ve seen one mist-shrouded floating city and a few square kilos of misty ocean with no city, you’ve pretty well covered the scenery.

Now we let straight down, but try to see the city before we land on it,” was the remark. ” Mike asked naturally. “Ocean. ” “We don’t. ” “They’ll probably tell you, but you may not believe it. I’m a ship-driver, not a historian, but I’ll bet you’ll get a different reason for colonizing the place in every city you visit, if you take in any others, ranging from the moral imperative not to displace alien life, through the right to practice human sacrifice freely, to the simple urge to get away from Earth’s legal systems.

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