I NEVER FORGET A FACE . . . "Looks like somebody's coming to meet us," Nathan Brazil said jokingly, a tone that didn't match his inner feelings at all. He pulled and checked his pistol. They could see a giant figure coming toward them, and all stepped back to the rear edge of the platform. As the figure came closer, they could see that it was like nothing in the known universe: a human torso, incredibly broad, an oval-shaped head with a huge white walrus mustache, six arms spaced in rows down the torso, and the torso melding into a huge serpentine lower half five or more meters in length. For what seemed forever, they just stared at each other—these four humans in ghostly white pressure suits and this creature of some incredibly alien spawning. The alien pointed to them, then made a motion to remove their helmets. "I think it's trying to tell us we can breathe in here," Brazil said cautiously, removing his helmet. The air seemed a bit humid and perhaps a little rich in oxygen—they experienced a slight light-headedness that soon passed—but otherwise fine. "Now what " Hain asked. "Damned if I know," Brazil replied honestly. "How do you say hello to a giant walrus-snake " "Well I'll be goddamned!" exclaimed the walrus-snake in perfect Confederation plain talk, "if it ain't Nathan Brazil!"
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