"Well, it's like suddenly remembering something you had not thought of for a long time. Plus, you really must keep in mind that I cannot retrieve material stored in a computer a light year away any faster than the speed of light. Unless there is an acceleration unit employed. Has anyone thought about what to do next?" Trent asked.
"The military is organizing civilian governments which will have the ability to deal with Ventan. We were more of a hassle then a benefit. Perhaps we should just check in now and again," Aukous suggested.
"The part of me I left behind will continue searching. Perhaps I can find out who tipped Ventan we were coming," Trant said.
"Yeah, that's going to keep us occupied for a while," Aukous stated, throwing his head back and staring at the ceiling.
"I would like to see if I can work on your new body. The chance to work with Ree technology is dream come true," Doc said.
"I am sure there is a lot someone with your expertise could contribute, and your participation would be welcome," Trent replied.
"Do you have a star in mind for Hulmara?" Doc asked Aukous.
"She commented on a big-blue when we were going into stasis," Aukous said with a note of sadness. "We'll be there tomorrow."
When they approached the big-blue star, no one said a word. Aukous sent her body though their lock.
"I think I would like to go this way. Seems peaceful," Pace announced.
"Very peaceful," Doc added.
They watched until Hulmara was out of sight.
"I'll prepare Orin for transfer," Doc said turning away from the port window.
"I'll help," Pace announced.
"The hospital ship is taking on survivors of an asteroid hit. We'll meet up in less than an hour. How ya doing?" Aukous asked Orin as the Doc and Pace were preparing him for the transfer.
"I'll make it," Orin said in a very faint whisper.
"Trent, who do you feel about Hulmara, Cree and the others dying?" Doc asked.
"I have no feelings. I thought you understood," Trent answered.
"No, I mean other types of feeling. Perhaps a sense of right and wrong, or avoiding bad places in order to avoid someone," Doc said.
"Hot, cold, right, and wrong are interpretations of data and experience. I can interpret and quantify. Still, there is no feeling. You interpret feelings with physical sensations as well as quantifying data," Trent answered.
"I can't quite grasp that for some reason," Doc said.
There was a military ship assisting the hospital ship.
"Are you ready transfer?" a voice asked.
"Opening the lock now," Aukous said.
The hatch opened and several military personnel deployed around the room.
"Is this Orin?" one officer asked.
"Yes. We need to hurry," the Doc replied.
"Are you the medical officer?" another military officer asked.
"Yes. I am Dr. Nelel," the Doc said while pushing Orins gurney toward the hatch opening.
In a flash the military personal had Doc on the ground, cuffed, and unconscious.
"What are you doing? Are you crazy?" Aukous asked while jumping back looking for a weapon.
"She is a spy. She is the one who relayed your activities to Ventans associates," the officer said.
"What? What are you talking about?" asked Aukous.
"The goal was to get Ree technology. Ventan and his associates seem to be obsessed with obtaining it. The Doc here was paid a thousand times what she could expect to earn as a doctor in a lifetime. We will take good care of Orin. Don't worry," the officers said as they departed for Loma Dena.
Aukous and Pace stood stunned.
"I need to sit down," Pace said.
"I need to a gallon on Pochna," Aukous said.
They sat at the table in the central room without saying a word for several minutes.
"Hulmara died for nothing. We were manipulated from the start," said Pace.
"Would seem so. Trent, are you monitoring all this?" Aukous asked.
"Yes. Everything that has happened is my fault," Trent said.
"Not hardly," Pace stated in an elevated voice.
"If I had not passed by, Cree, the others, and Hulmara would be alive," Trent said.
"Ventan and beings like him have been trying to gain Ree technology for the last two billion years. Beings are by their very nature anxious, greedy, and desperate. Your presents did not change anything. In fact, this is probably the most important part of your knowledge base. Beings are just as you have experienced them. There are the good ones, those who are indifferent, and the bad ones," Pace said.
"Still, none of this would have happened had I not existed," Trent added.
"You should not look at things that way. There is no way to know what the future will be. Who knows how you will influence it, or it will influence you. Hulmara knew the risks involved with tracking down a being like Ventan. Cree and the others had no idea what would happen, and neither did you," said Pace.
"Emphases on neither did you. Everything that has happened is part of life. Beings live a life, then we die. Each life is different, and no one knows for sure what will happen next. No one could have predicted any part of what has happened sense your arrival. And if you had not come along, no one knows what would have happed during the same time period. Existence is a moment-to-moment experience," said Aukous.
"Existence is a moment-to-moment experience. That's good. That's really good. Can I use it?" asked Pace.
"Feel free," Aukous replied.
"I understand," Trent stated.
"We will be back a Loma Dena in about thirty hours," Aukous said.
"Would you mind if we stopped at Minn Beach for an hour or two?" Trent asked.
Pace and Aukous looked at each other, then said simultaneously said, "You got it."