Pace took a quick glance at the boy and could tell he was as traumatized as the others Trent had rescued.
"I guess they intended to use him as a diversion. Take him to station two with injured," Pace ordered.
As they turned to walk away Pace noticed a blood soaking through the child's coat.
" Put him down! He's wired to explode!" Pace shouted as she dove to the ground.
The Hoyla sat the boy down and stepped backward.
"Look at his coat. I'll bet when you open it detonates an explosive," Pace said.
"Why do you think that?" a Hoyla asked.
"The Celder are not likely to through away a meal without good cause," Pace replied.
"Where would they get explosives?" asked the Hoyla.
"Made it, found it, who knows. Handy, would you please scan the boy," requested Pace.
"There is a simple thermal compound configured to ignite when the coat is opened. The device will not work as intended however. The boy's blood has saturated the explosive material," Handy answered.
"Start scanning for the source of the materials they used to make it. Well, we may have a whole new game," Pace said to the Hoyla standing next to her.
Right then the boy slumped over and they knew he was deceased.
"Not so long ago this would have devastated me," Pace stated.
"I as well. I'm not even angry. I do not feel anything," said Lom.
They looked around for emotion, but there were only blank expressions.
"It's safe to assume they will be waiting for us at the nest site, so were going to set up camp between the next two. We will attack the weakest one," stated Pace.
"I am not sure our forces are strong enough to attack two sites," said Lom.
"Won't need the strongest force. The map shows high ground close to the middle," Pace replied.
Three weeks later Pace and the Hoyla had the camp ready for the inevitable attack.
"Trent, we have arrived at a planet called Nollous," OM announced.
"What are they like?" Trent asked.
"They have the capabilities we require. They are peaceful, speak a language similar to universal, and have never met a being from another system. They have been receiving transmissions from other civilizations, but they are too far away for interaction. They have gone through the war fazes of development, and there are no active supernatural belief systems. There are at leased seven companies capable of producing the items we require. The governments are stable and democracies," reported OM.
"So do we contact the head of a company, or a government. Let's try contacting the smallest country's government. That should show impartiality," thought Trent.
"That would be Bodon. The President is Yash Lokk," OM thought back.
"Let's familiarize ourselves with his itinerary, and plan an entrance. How about a visual," thought Trent.
"Okay, I will not be blending in. Are all the beings on Nollous that tall and skinny?" asked Trent.
"Yes. There are the usual color variations, but generally speaking, yes," OM replied.
"I will not have difficulty convincing him I am an alien," Trent thought.
"Her," thought OM.
"Transmit my picture with this message to her link when only she will see it - ( Hello! My name is Trent, and I am from another solar system. Would you like to meet me? If you would, simply type my name on this device. If you look in the sky directly over your present location, I will flash a bright blue light to verify my presents. If you have conditions as to how and where we meet simply type your instructions on this device, or use any voice communication device by dialing 000.)," Trent thought.
"She read the transmission and walking through a door leading to a flower garden," OM reported.
"Blue light if you would please. And the process begins again," thought Trent.
After a day of answering question to the general assembly Trent and representatives from the security councils of the various nations began working on a strategy for dealing with the Celder and developing sensors to detect them. It was decided a company called Nessbotics and Chemical would produce the scanners. Trent supplied them with a large quantity of rare earths to cover the cost. Trent also bought a large number of transmitters, receivers, nuclear power supplies, and a variety of weapons. He than left for Hoyla to fight the Celder while the scanners were being produced.
"I wish to join you in your fight on Hoyla," stated one of the Security Chiefs from the Council.
Trent explained the difficulties, thanked her and was on his way.
Pace and the Hoyla were in the second day of fighting and had taken one Celder nest and was gradually moving on the next.
"We can't make it more than a few hours at best. Everyone is existed," one of the Hoyla stated.
"I know. Have everyone work their way back to the high point. We'll rest in shifts," Pace ordered.
"The Celder have a high present there. We can't take it back. How about that ridge, don't see any sign of Celder there," suggested the Hoyla.
Pace looked around and could see no better options.
"Let's get to it. Pass the word. I'll head there now and hold it tile you can get there," said Pace.
Pace reached the ridge. She looked down at the carnage and for the first time had sick feeling about the outcome. The Celder were defiantly winning. The Hoyla fighters were down to one fourth of their original numbers and were finished physically from two straight days of fighting. She could see the Celder had superior numbers and showed no signs of weakening. By nightfall only fifty-three Hoyla had reach the ridge.
"Were finished," cried one of the Hoyla as he dropped face down into a solid sleep.
Within a few minutes the remaining Hoyla were unconscious from exhaustion. Pace sat in the dark listening to the Celder hissing over their victory.