Backward world -- or secret outpost of another galaxy? ...Now they would attempt further to discover the forbidden directives of Kor. Horng remembered, somewhere far back in the fossil layers of his thoughts, a warning. They must be stopped! If he had to, he would stamp out these creatures who were called 'humans.'
But he was not crazy, of course; his mind simply ran in a way that was alien to the Earthmen. Rynason was beginning to learn to respect that alien way, if not to understand it.
"Are there memories of Tebron's conversation with Kor?" Rynason asked again.
TEBRON COMMUNICATED WITH KOR IMMEDIATELY AFTER OUSTING THE PRIESTS. IT OCCURRED IN THE TEMPLE.
"Are there memories of what was said?"
Horng sat silently, perhaps in thought. His reply didn't come for several minutes.
THE MEMORIES ARE BURIED DEEPLY.
"Can you remember the actual communication?"
Horng's head tilted to one side in a peculiarly strained fashion; Rynason could see a muscle jumping where the alien's neck blended with his torso. THE MEMORIES ARE BURIED SO DEEPLY. I CANNOT REACH THEM.
Rynason gazed pensively at the interpreter as these words were recorded. What could have happened during that conversation that would have caused its memory to be so deeply buried?
There are some interesting ideas in this novella of first contact - probably worth a full length book had they been more fully developed. Still a good read, however.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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