MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 61
     "Well, just sitting here might draw attention.  Let's walk around and take in the sights." suggested Pace.
    "This planet is not a tourist hot spot.  We need to have a reason for being here." Orin said.
    "There is nothing in the news that would merit interplanetary travel, no significant geologic formations, no agricultural imperatives." Trent said.
    "Repairs.  We need repairs." stated Pace.
    "Good idea.  Why didn't I think of that?" Aukous asked while jokingly slapping himself.
    "Let's go." Doc said heading for the door.
    A few minutes later the crew was making their way down a sidewalk in the middle of the city.
    "I smell something good.  Like a pastry of some kind." Hulmara said.
    "No currency.  Besides, we need to stick to the repair story." said Aukous.
    "Those beings we just passed were not speaking universal.  In fact, they were not speaking anything close to universal." stated Doc.
     "You think that is unusual?" asked Pace.
    "Only when they are speaking Lucatharian." said Doc.
    "So." said Hulmara.
    "We look like Lucatharians.  But, I'll bet not one of us speak it.  I only know what it sounds like." Doc replied.
    "Why don't they look like us.  And, who chose us to look like Lucatharians without thinking of the language problem?" asked Pace.
    "Lucatarians usually speak universal.  Native Lucatharian is a very difficult language, and only a few Lucatarians can speak it." the Doc said.
"Stay cognizant of anyone who moves close to you, or asks you a question." said Aukous.
    "No one could have beat us here.  We didn't even know we were going in the direction.  Besides, if anyone is going to be a spy, it's them.  Why would anybody speak that language and not even remotely look Lucatharian?" asked Hulmara.
    "There is a newly installed Ell Phara communication accelerator in orbit." Trent said.
    "What is so strange about that?" asked Hulmara.
    "Ell Phara is a brand name from a company on planet only two light years from Loma Dena." explained Pace.
    "Trent, are you picking up anything that might relate us?" asked Aukous.
    "No.  There are far too many coded transmissions to even begin to try and decode." Trent replied.
    "OK, everybody back to the ship.  Were out of here." Aukous announced with a heightened voice.
    A block away from the shop, they noticed three beings standing on the corner by the landing zone close to the ship.  When the three seen the crew coming down the walk, they moved around the corner.
    "In here!" Aukous spouted.
    The crew entered a musical instrument business.
    "Hello there.  Do you have a back door?" asked Hulmara as they headed toward the back of the store.
    The clerk looked up, but said nothing as the crew vanished through a freight door.
    "Wait here.  I'll try and clear a path to the ship.  If I don't make it back, fire up the beacon.  The military will find you." Aukous ordered.
    "Are you sure they're bad guys?" asked Hulmara.
    "Pretty sure." Aukous said as he head toward the ships landing space.
    "Crap.  If they are connected to Ventan, then he knew we were coming." said Doc.
    "Maybe you have a time to shine there Doc." Orin said with a grin.
    The crew was standing behind a pile of crates when two beings holding weapons burst through the same freight door they had used, looked around, then headed in the same direction Aukous had taken.
    "That settles that.  Aukous!  Two-armed enemy behind you." said Orin using the personal com.
    A short time after that transmission, the crew heard dozens of laser zaps, and could see smoke rising at the end of the block.
    "I knew we'd need weapons." said Pace.
    Aukous walked into the street and waved for the crew to advance.
    "Your hurt!" exclaimed Doc.
    "Have to deal with it later.  Right now, there's more pressing issues.  Like who's guys." said Aukous pointing to a small transport moving slowly up the street.
    "How many guys were there?" asked Pace.
    "Five, but one got away.  Here, just point a press the big red button." Aukous said handing the crew the weapons he had captured.
    "How long till the military can get here?" Hulmara asked.
    "A few hours.  They have a small scout transport fairly close.  We'll have to make a stand around here." Aukous said looking around nearby buildings.
    "Our ship is out of the question?" asked Doc.
    "You can bet it's well covered.  Get ready!" Aukous said looking at the two beings getting out of the transport, and looking in their direction.
    The two beings stopped and shielded themselves behind a trash container.
    "Their waiting for a few friends.  Stay down.  When I begin firing, chose your targets and fire.  Then we'll take that red door to the next building." commanded Aukous.
    "Where are the authorities?" asked Hulmara.
    "They are the authorities.  Remember, this is one of the crime planets." said Orin.
    At that moment, several more beings came running up the street from the other direction carrying larger weapons.
    "Change of plan, let's find better cover." Aukous said as he headed for the red door.
    As the crew made their way through the door, several of their pursuers opened fire blowing large holes in the wall the red door into splinters.
    "You're bleeding." said Doc looking at Aukous as they made their way through the hall to the nest building.
    "I've had worse.  Hold this." Aukous asked of Doc handing her his weapon.
    The others were firing down the hallway in an exchange of laser beams.
    "Smokes getting rather thick." said Hulmara.
    "So is the fire." Pace proclaimed twirling away from the hall.
    "Everyone fire right there." Aukous ordered as he began firing at the wall.
    They blew out a hole large enough to make it into the alley in the back of the building.  Aukous kicked in a door of the building on the other side of the alley, and they made their way in, taking fire as they went.
   Doc crawled to her, placed her hand on her face, and closed her eyes.
    " She's dead. " The Doc said crawling behind a counter for cover.