"Is there a main port?" asked Trent.
"Not that I can detect. There are two heading this way from the planet on the right, two from a large freighter like transport straight ahead, thirty-four that were apparently trolling in no discernable transit routes. One more just left the freighter in front of us. None seem to have much in the way of weaponry," OM stated.
"Plot a course that will put us in the center of our new friends." Trent ordered OM.
"Roughly ten minutes at present velocity. They should surround us in thirty or so minutes," OM replied.
A few minutes later the pirates began firing on the cargo ship.
"Fire back with weak laser weapon force. We will keep it up until the whole gang is reasonably close," Trent said.
"Then what?" OM asked.
"Then we leave them in a pain that will make an impression on others who might think of taking their place," Trent replied.
"If we turn a little to the left we can transit to Flonn, Casslot and Nan while dealing with the pirates as we go," OM stated.
"That works," Trent replied.
An hour later they were just outside the detectable limits of the Flonn and Casslot on the opposite side from Nan.
"What we got out there?" Trent asked OM.
"The Casslot are most like you physically. The Flonn are similar, but hairy and slightly lower intellect. The Non are similar to the Casslot except they reproduce at twice the rate as most mammals of similar characteristics. The Casslot and Flonn are democratic and the Non are a typical authoritarian regime. The Non want Casslot and Flonn as new territory to expand their species. hey have a blockade stop anyone from leaving or arriving," OM stated.
"Would it be possible to alter their genetics to reduce their reproductive potential?" Trent asked.
"Not on a practical scale. Each Non would need to be dealt with individually. That would require tens of thousands of years," OM replied.
"Let's remove the currant obstacles, and introduce ourselves to Flonnians and Casslotians," Trent suggested
"Ship, would you please see to it that the transports creating the blockade experience enough technical problems that they have to return to their home planet," Trent asked Ship.
"While Ship is doing that let's see what the Flonnians and Casslotians are saying on their news programs," Trent said.
On Casslot he found only two channels. One was the usual comedy, action and drama stories. The other was in-depth coverage of fighting with the Non.
"Today the fighting was sparse from Lapitak to Nelton. The press was kept out of Quin due to a reported gas attack. Food shortages are causing some to leave for sites with better protection from the Non scavengers," said the commentator.
"Scavenging. Try Flonn," Trent said.
On Flonn there were several channels. Most were news, some were specialized in sports, some were educational and entertainment.
"Try the newspapers. I think talking to a reporter familiar with current events will provide a good prospective," Trent ordered.
"This is a list of reporters with press credentials," OM answered.
"Are there designations as to what they cover?" asked Trent.
"Only twelve state war correspondents," OM replied.
"Personal info?" Trent asked.
"Only which company they work for," OM stated.
"Pictures?" asked Trent.
"Yes," OM replied.
"Show those who look middle age," Trent requested.
"That one. How do we contact that one?" Trent asked.
"This is his communications numbers. Should I connect to it?" OM asked.
"Yes, please. If he is not there, track him down. He looks like someone who has seen war up close," Trent said.
"He is in a wooded area with Flonn solders. They are exchanging fire with Non troops. Looks to be evenly matched," OM stated.
"When Ship returns, I will pay him a visit. In the meantime, let's take a look at Non transmissions," Trent suggested.
"They have six hundred and fifty-three viewing transmissions. Most are similar to the Flonn. One is exclusively military," OM said.
"Ok, let's have look at that one," Trent replied.
The visuals where mostly of triumphant engagements over the Flonnians and Casslotians. There was one of dead Non sitting at what appeared to be a negotiations table.
Looks like propaganda to me. I see no wounds on those bodies, just dark spots on uniforms. Not one discernable hole or head wound," stated Trent.
"Do not all factions in any conflict provide such theatrics?" asked OM.
"Sure. They all do that. And here is Ship," Trent announced.
"Ship. How did it go?" Trent asked.
"Fine once I figured out how their wiring worked. They now have oxygen circulatory problems," Ship stated.
"Great. Set me down right about here. There is someone I should talk to," Trent ordered.
"There are beings all around. Some of them will see us," Ship said.
"That's alright," Trent answered.
Trent stepped out of Ship and was immediately surrounded.
"Hands on your head," shouted a solder pointing a weapon at Trent.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" another solder asked in a demanding tone.
"My name is Trent. I am here to end this conflict," Trent said.
Several solders that had gather around Trent broke into hearty laughter.
"You? All by yourself? Nice looking ship, but the Nonuse real weapons. What are you thinking of doing, talking them into surrendering?" the solder asked in a very sarcastic voice.
"I thought I would start by destroying their weapons," Trent said as the sounds of weapons fire stopped on the Non side of the engagement.
The solders looked behind them.
"Deektic! Hold him here," another solder shouted.
The solders rushed toward the point of engagement.
"How did you do that?" the remaining solder asked.
"It's a long story. Could you tell me where to find a correspondent named Carlton? Tomma Carlton," Trent asked.
"That's him," the solder said glancing at a being heading toward them. Then the solder added, "Say, where you from? I've never seen your kind before."