MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 31
  "An hour or so ago we were on Minn." said Emarr.
    Slowly those who could stood up, although shakily, and began asking if any needed assistance.
    "Where's Trent?" Cree.
    Cree began making her way back to the loading dock area, helping those she could as she went.  The odor of burnt flesh was almost as strong as that of fuel.  The smoke and remaining fuel vapors made her cough, her eyes water, and skin itch.
    Laying on its side and open directly in front of a pile of bodies, was Trents link.
    "Trent! Are you receiving?" Cree asked.
    "Yes.  I believe these beings are deceased.  I have not noticed movement for a while now." said Trent.
    Cree looked at the bodies and became sick to her stomach.  Not because of the condition of the bodies, but because Trent could only see directly in front of him.  Some how Cree took it personally.
    "I'm sorry I dropped you.  I really am." Cree said trying to be apologetic.
"I assume you are feeling badly about dropping me in front of those bodies.  Please do not be concerned.  Remember, I have no emotions, or feelings, or stomach for that matter." Trent said.
    "Can you locate the Barkazians, or monitor their transmissions?" asked Cree.
    "No.  I understand that it would be useful, but you know I am incapable of self-movement." Trent replied.
    Several military personal ran by and boarded their transport.  A moment or two later they were off.
    "Something must be up.  They're in a hurry to get somewhere.  Maybe they found and Barkazians." said Cree.
    By then there were many transports zipping through the sky. 
    "Why are they not landing?" asked Trent.
    "Fear perhaps.  Maybe there is so much devastation they are having trouble ascertaining the best action to take." said Cree.
    Beings in ones and twos began filtering through the carnage checking for signs of life and extinguishing fires.
    Cree looked up and seen Hiret and MB walking toward her.  They had the same stunned look about them, as did the others.
    Although the fires were out, smoke still emanated from dozens of sources making the scene even more surreal. 
    "A lot of these beings are robbing the dead and stealing what ever they can.  Unbelievable." said Semma.
    "Where's Emerr?" asked Cree.
    "At the top.  He's not feeling well." said Semma looking toward the top of the hill.
    "Aren't these beings doing exactly what those Barkazians, or a whatever their called, did." MB exclaimed.
    "They are acting in self-interest." Trent said.
    "Not surprising.  After all, it is survival that drives those actions." said Semma.
    The next two days were spent helping to secure the dead, and restore the basic life support systems.
    MB was the last to enter the transport.  Looking back she said, "Why do we do what we do?"
    "Can someone tell us where the Barkazians are, or if there are others like them out there?" asked Hiret over the comm.
    "Oh yes, there are much worse the Barkazians." declared a voice identifying himself as Rus Aul.
    "Worse?" Hiret asked.
    "Oh my yes.  Much, much worse.  Am I interfering?" asked Aul.
    "No.  Although we would like to avoid the Barkazian." said Hiret.
    "This is communications officer Gloth aboard the cruiser Liberty.  In answer to your question, the Barkazians have not been found.  To all that here this transmission, please contact the military on frequency 10.1, or any law enforcement agency if you should sight them.  They were last seen in a D class transport in need of a paint job.  Over." ended Gloth.
    "This is Rus Aul again.  I thought you should be aware of some of the dangers out here."
    "We are unfamiliar with this region.  Any help would be appreciated." said Hiret.
    "The first you'll need to look out for are the Lupa.  They are best known for their night attacks.  Part of their ascension to acceptance as adults is taking the head of an enemy, and anyone who is not an immediate family member is considered to be an enemy." said Aul.
    "I have herd of that sort of thing, but not in civilizations capable of building as little as a small permanent village let alone space travel." said Hiret.
    "Oh, their nothing.  Worse are the Bolts.  If you make it past the Lupa, the waist land of the Bolts will prove to be challenging for sure.  Even though I have never personally witnessed them raiding a city, I've seen the videos.  I will tell you one thing; I would rather shoot myself then be eaten alive.  They attack in swarms.  Kind of overrun a city killing and eating their way as they go.  The one's they don't eat right then, they carry off and herd like livestock.  Some say the Bolts were driven to catabolism because the Lupa destroyed so much of their agricultural territory during their thousand-year war.  Then again who knows." said Aul.
    "How many Bolt ships are out here?" asked Cree.
    "I have no idea.  Not many.  You hardly ever hear of their attacks.  The Keepers on the other hand are all over the place.  The upside to them is they travel in small ships with crews of only four or so." Aul replied.
    "Keepers?  What to the Keepers do?" asked MB.
    "Oh, they kidnap and hold for ransom, or sell their victims to the
Woons.  Whichever brings the greatest financial benefits." Aul said.
    "Woons?" asked Hiret.
"Woons have a transmission that they charge for.  They torture and do
stuff to other beings, and charge for viewing the transmissions." said Aul.
    "Rus Aul!  Are you telling stories again?" no Ma.
    That was the end of Rus Auls transmissions.