The Colors of Space (Chapter 3, page 2 of 12)


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Chapter 3

But the Mentorian merely dumped all his pocket paraphernalia, without
looking at it, into a sack. "Just step through here."

Holding up his trousers with both hands, Bart stepped inside the
indicated cubicle. It was filled with faint bluish light. Bart felt a
strong tingling and a faint electrical smell, and along his forearms
there was a slight prickling where the small hairs were all standing on
end. He knew that the invisible R-rays were killing all the
microorganisms in his body, so that no disease germ or stray fungus
would be carried from planet to planet.

The bluish light died. Outside, the Mentorian gave him back his shoes
and belt, handed him the paper sack of his belongings, and a paper cup
full of greenish fluid.

"Drink this."

"What is it?"

The medic said patiently, "Remember, the R-rays killed all the
microorganisms in your body, including the good ones--the antibodies
that protect you against disease, and the small yeasts and bacteria that
live in your intestines and help in the digestion of your food. So we
have to replace those you need to stay healthy. See?"

The green stuff tasted a little brackish, but Bart got it down all
right. He didn't much like the idea of drinking a solution of "germs,"
but he knew that was silly. There was a big difference between disease
germs and helpful bacteria.

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