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Reading skills - THEIR BRIGHTSIGHT CROSSING


Klausimas #1


 THEIR BRIGHTSIGHT CROSSING

     I began to learn something about Mercury during those first few driving periods. We were moving among the peaks of craters that ran south and east. This range had shown no activity since the first landing of people on Mercury forty years before, but the yellow smoke was rising from the craters all the time, and their sides were covered with heavy ash. The plain was smoking from the gases from underground and from the boiling pools of lead and zinc.
      I began to learn how to find a passage among the pools covered with ash, and how to tell whether the ground would hold the Bug or not.
Very often we had to come out of our Bugs and explore a passage on foot, tied together with a cable, digging, going forward, digging again and again and then slowly going forward again. It was slow and difficult work but still we were moving forward.
     But it was not the work that was getting on our nerves, it was Mclvers. He talked too much; he talked and joked while we were driving or resting. And what was even more unpleasant, from time to time he began to leave our column in his Bug. He did not go very far, bat a little further each time.
     Jack Stone behaved in quite the opposite way; he became more and more silent with each stop. I didn't like it.
     And every mile the Sun became bigger and whiter. We could hardly see, and the skin on our faces began to break.
     On the fourth driving period Mclvers again went away from our route. He went to the west and was almost out of sight in a cloud of ash when we heard a sharp cry through our ear-phones. The Major and I turned our Bugs and went to him as far as the Bugs could go.
     We found him standing on a rock, pointing down the gorge, and this time he was silent. It was a broken Bug down below, an old model that had been in use many years ago. It was half covered with ash, and a few metres away were two insulated suits with white bones seen through the helmets.
     This was as far as Wyatt and Carpenter had come on THEIR Brightside Crossing.
     On the sixth driving period the ground began to change. It looked the same, but it felt different; it felt as though the ground were moving. I was going forward in my Bug, when, quite suddenly, the Bug stopped I looked out and saw that it was slowly sinking into thick, grey mud. It looked like mud but it was a lake of molten lead, covered with ash.

(After Alan E.Nourse)

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