PAGE 106
     As they drew closer, greater numbers of galactic and solar system formations came into view.            
     "Every being should experience this," Trent thought.
    "Os far there are the usual numbers of transmissions emanating from the galaxies, and only one from one of the lone solar systems," announced OM.
    "Let's try that solar system.  Are there similar languages to the ones we know?" Trent asked.
    "We will need to get closer.  This far out the signals are to intermixed and weak," said OM.
    "The transmissions from the solar system are similar to Frentenies.  Seems to be automated though.  And there is very little atmosphere.  Only microbial life forms are registering." OM said.
    "Perhaps an off-world mining operation," Trent said.
    "Scanning several cities and no evidence of war or contamination," OM thought.
    "Ship, transfer guidance to my mind.  I want to navigate," Trent thought.
    "Guidance is transferred," Ship replied.
    "Looks as though this place was evacuated a long time ago, and in a hurrym," Trent thought looking at abandoned vehicle park haphazardly in the streets.
    "Dating suggests no activity for twelve thousand years or more.  The transmission is coming from a military base a hundred miles to the left," OM said.
    In seconds Trent was there.  Like the city the military base was covered in dust and looked as though the being there just left everything all at once right.  There were fighter planes, propelled by jet engines, with open hatches and fueling apparatuses still attached.  Trent parked near the open door to what appeared to be a command center. 
    "This is a puzzle.  Why would they all leave?  No war, no apparent contamination.  Are there secure bunkers on this base?" Trent asked.
    "At the end of the hall turn right.  There are four elevator shafts, the one at the end leads to a series of fortified rooms five hundred fifty feet down," OM stated.
    Trent pulled the elevator doors open and jumped down the shaft extending his shielding as he drew near to the bottom.  When he reached the elevator, he pushed through its ceiling and then the doors leading to a room which, was unexpectedly clean.
    "There are fourteen desiccated bodies in the first room.  The doors are a type of tungsten steel and a foot thick," OM stated.
    Trent pulled the doors apart and entered the room.  Three of the bodies were sitting in chairs at control panels, the others were on the floor.  Non seemed to have been in pain.
    "Can these circuits be activated?" Trent asked.
    "No.  Most of their components have degraded beyond usage.  The transmission source is comprised of more resilient parts.  Therefore it may continue for another thousand years," OM said.
    Trent made is way back to Ship and returned to the city.
    "Have you completed a scan for more bodies?" Trent asked.
    "Yes, there are two billion three hundred fifteen thousand and seven.  Most are in underground sanctuaries.  There is a news distribution company straight ahead on the right," said OM.
    "This print is too faded to read.  Can you scan it?" Trent asked as he brushed away the dust from a dispenser on the sidewalk.
    "Translation is not good, but I believe it says Unto is here tomorrow.  Seek shelter as you have been directed." OM translated.
    "Unto.  What is Unto.  Check other printed material.  Oh, and would this atmosphere support the type of aircraft at the military base?" asked Trent.
    "The atmosphere is insufficient.  In one of the shelters there is a printing that refers to a rogue planet as Unto.  I believe it came close enough to capture most of this planet's atmosphere," OM thought.
    "That would account for these conditions.  Let's make a photographic record," Trent said.
    As Trent moved over the surface, he found areas where there were apparently no shelters.  At one location several hundred thousand beings were crowded into a valley with some type of religious structure at the center.
    "I wonder what they were thinking.  It must have been terrifying.  Let's see what is in that galaxy with the blueish tint.  Ship, set the course and I am handing control back to you," Trent thought.
    "Underway," Ship answered.
    "Are there signs of intelligence?" Trent asked.
    "None that are discernable," OM replied.
    "Deploy a prob, I am sure it will be needed in the not-so-distant future," Trent stated.
    "Completed.  The debris density prohibits extreme velocities so this transit will take a dozen years or more," OM suggested.
    "I will be in stasis," Trent said.
    Ship weaved its way through a gauntlet of hazards for three weeks before OM awoke Trent.
Trent looked at the forward monitor, "Are there life signs? "
    "There are fifteen thousand plus distinct signals, and an undeterminable number of jumbled signals," OM stated.
    "Ship, take us to the source of the closest signal," Trent ordered.
    "Underway," Ship replied.
    As they drew closer to the source, it became clear the planet had not yet developed space travel.
    "OM, can we land without being noticed?" Trent asked.
    "These beings have a slightly different chemistry then a being of your appearance.  Selecting a video transmission," said OM.
    "These beings are quite slim.  Is the color correct?" Trent asked.
    "Based on the transmission, yes," OM answered.
    "Why orange?" Trent asked.
    "It is the organic chemistry of the planet," replied OM.
    "Yes, of course.  But why?  Is there something about their star?" asked Trent.
    "There star is average based on our formations star chemistry," OM said.
    "Are they aware of other inhabited planets?" Trent asked.
    "I find no record of that, but they do have the usual interest in fiction derived speculation," OM replied.
    "I would like to make contact, but I do not want to change myself just for that.  Make radio contact with a member of a university faculty in astrophysics," said Trent.
    "One of the languages is somewhat similar to universal.  A university called University of Amtera.  There is an astrophysics department.  The person heading that department is Soll Komuat.  Connecting to his communications device," said OM.