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The Test Colony
written by "Freas, Kelly, 1922-2005"
...oes don't even bite." "They will," I said, "as soon as they get a good taste of human blood. And baby, you're sure making it easy for them." Benson was distracted from the conversation by the converging male colonists, who were whooping and yelling like a horde of school boys. He backed up the ramp and ordered, "Let's get on with the work. You've seen your wives in the altogether before." The men quieted a little, but one yelled, "Yeah, but not lately!" Another added, "And not all together." In spite of the fact that nude sun-bathing was a commonplace, twenty-second-century custom on Earth, by tacit consent clothes had been worn at all times aboard ship. The women had gone along with Benson for two years on such matters, so this was clearly a feminine protest against the spirit of the yellow alert. Young doctors Sorenson and Bailey came trotting up, grinning appreciatively but wagging their fingers. Without consulting Benson, Bailey mounted the ramp and shouted, "Blondes and redheads, ten minutes exposure. Brunettes, fifteen." A great booing issued from the men, but Bailey held up his hand for silence. "The medical staff will make no effort to enforce these exposure maximums, but be advised that the radiation here is about the same as Miami Beach in June, so don't let the air-conditioning fool you." Benson was spared further decisions on the issue, because at that moment one of the sentries remembered to take a quick look at the vector of forest he was supposed to be guarding. Unable to make his voice heard over the hub-hub, the guard fired his pistol in the air. We all jumped up and stared, and Benson muttered, "Dear God!" Our people were scattered over an acre around the ramp, and encompassing them was a semi-circle of at least a hundred "savages", frozen like bronze statues at the sound of the gun-shot. They curved in an arc less than a hundred yards from the ship. Their hands were empty of weapons, and th...

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