MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 54
Pace and Hulmara waved and made the way to the kitchen.

" The communication relays are in place. "  Aukous anounced.

" Trent! "  Orin said in an elevated voice.

" He's been at Dr. Mollatys.  What ever they are working on must be interesting. "  Orin suggested.

" See if he has time to check the relays when he returns.  Maybe he can connect with himself near the Coridor.  Why do I find that statement so unsetaling. "  Aukous said.

" It is one handy attribute thought.  I wish I could be in more than one place at a time. "  Aukous said with notes of envey.

" We could be on our way tommaro. "  Orin noted.

" This morning the council delivered most of the privisions and monatary requirments. "  Aukous replied.

" Most? "  Asked Orin.

" It's up to us to provide a list of our personal requirments. "  Aukous said.

" I require a diet slightly differant then yours.  I require more copper.  Is that going to cause a problem? "  Ask Orin.

" Nope.  I need a sulfur suplement. "  Said Arkous.

" There must be 10,000 cruise ships heading for the dino planet. "  Said Pace holding her clenched hands to her chest as she immerged from the kitchen.

" We'll make it there.  Don't worry. "  Aukous stated in a jesting effort to sooth her theatrical angst.

" We could leave tomorrow. "  Said Orin.

" I think we should just leave.  Announcing our departure would be less then wise.  Just in case Ventan has a friend spying on us. "  Aukous suggested.

" Agreed. "  Hulmara said leaning on the wall with a glass of yuppa pressed to her forehead.

Later that night Trent returned from Dr. Mollatys lab, and the crew agreed that leaving that night was the best way to go.

There were last minute instructions, and a good luck speech from the Chancellor.

" I got it, lets go. "  Pace announced dragging her suitcase up the loading ramp.

" You missed a nice speech form Chancellor Botter. "  Said Orin.

" Oh well.  Did you record it for me? "  Pace asked

" Nope.  You're just going to have to use your imagination. "  Orin replied.

With that, the crew departed, wide-eyed and silent.  The actuality of heading into danger set in.  Talking was one thing, and being there was another.

" I'm setting a course in the opposite direction, then taking the long way around.  The fewer who see us heading out the better. "  Orin stated.

There was an odd silence.

" So, who wants a cup? "  Asked Pace after a few minutes into the flight.

No one answered.  They all just stared out the portals at what ever they could see.

" Well let's have that cup. "  Said Hulmara.

" Lot's of traffic heading to the Corridor. "  Said Orin.

" Any coming this way? "  Asked Pace.

" Not much. "  Orin replied.

"  With few exceptions their technology is less then adequate for interstellar travel. "  Trent said.

" I hadn't thought of this before, but is there a chance Ventan came here? "  Asked Hulmara.

" Not likely, he has to keep an eye on his businesses, and he is familiar with the Corridor. "  Trent answered.

" Time to let you know where we are heading before we make the Corridor. "  Announced Aukous.

" What? "  Said Pace.

" I had to keep this absolutely secret.  We're going to switch ships, and change our looks at the same time. "  Aukous added.

" Looks.  What do you mean change our looks? "  Pace asked.

" Absolutely painless.  You won't feel a thing.  Besides, having an extra arm might be just the thing. "  Orin laughed.

" Funny guy. "  Hulmara said.

" Not kidding.  The military in the Corridor told our military that our plans to capture Ventan are well known.  So we are switching ships, and changing our looks.  The ship we are going to use is a commercial liner with hidden armor and weaponry.  The surgeons on Uldra will give us new noses, and black hair.  Doubtful anyone will notice us. "  Said Aukous.

" So the military in the Corridor knows we are going to be looking for Ventan.  So why don't they find him? "  Asked Pace.

" They're looking.  They know he's changed his looks twice.  They'll give us up dates, and all the support they can, but they really didn't want to get too involved so as not to show partiality.  Politics.  There have been a few horrific wars in recent times over territorial sovereignty and individual rights.  The military is paid for by the more developed worlds, and expected to honor the laws adopted by those worlds, and apply those laws equally and impartially all the worlds in the Corridor whether they can afford to contribute or not.  That's why they haven't taken Ventan before now.  Even he will be awarded due process. "  Said Aukous.

" You couldn't have mentioned any of this before? "  Asked Orin.

" I was order not to. "  Aukous replied.

" So, how long will it take before we actually leave? "  Asked Hulmara.

" About an hour to transfer our stuff to the other ship, and two hours for the surgery.  The hair is dune with an injection, and is reversible the same way. "  Said Aukous.

" I would prefer to be blond. "  Pace said.

" What if the doctor blabs? "  Asked Orin.

" She will be going with us.  We might need a tune up.  Plus the Chancellor Botter made the presence of a doctor one of the requirements. "  Said Aukous.

" Could be a good thing.  You never know something bad might happen. "  Said Pace.

" Did the military in the Corridor ask why civilians were going after Ventan and not the authorities? "  Asked Hulmara.