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By Phillip Wylie

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The acrid haze noted in the area for the past days has completed its lethal work although traced to its source, distant industrial disposal wells. The famed Genesee River Valley annually produced a multimilliondollar harvest of potatoes especially bred for size: texture and flavor to suit the requirements of the potato chip factories located, nearby. But there will be no chips from this main source in the coming year. “It’s a total loss for everybody,” declared Theodore Jedlovski, one of the leading growers, “and the fault isn’t ours or nature’s but Buffalo’s and Lackawanna’s.

It is said that several hundred panicky citizens have fled this busy border city of seventy-seven thousand. The invader, Apis mellifera (Gurgesson), is a mutant form of the “African” honeybee introduced in Brazil about midcentury. It soon escaped into the wilds and began moving northward, causing much pain and occasional deaths with a single sting, while multiple stings were often fatal. Thrusting into Mexico in 1974, its first mutant (Willard-Peccan) form became a hazard to man, greater than all other stinging and biting creatures including spiders, scorpions and poisonous snakes.

The commander at first was incredulous. He turned the controls over to his second, Ames, and checked. When he took over again his face was ashen. Jim turned keys, entered. “Lea’s dead. I brought the body in. ” That was as far as he got. Buckley explained their fix. Jim took the seat beside his commander then without comment and waited, watching the square, steady face as it looked at the deck below, solid like the sea at thirty thousand. Twice Buckley’s eyes ranged over the panels in a sweep that took in every one of the hundred-odd instrument dials and recorders.

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