MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 83
     "Some things require more time to change than others.  War seems to keep leaps foreword form happening.  Now then General Hemm, where are you?" Trent said while gazing at a monitor.
     "Where does he get his through away soldiers?" asked OM.
     "There are mercenaries on every corner, and pirates.  We should have a talk with the next pack of pirates we run across.  Now, where can we find some pirates?" Trent thought to himself.
     "They will find us.  The charts show mining concerns on a planet called Omtolia.  That seems a likely place to start." OM replied.
    "Ship, please take us to Omtolia." Trent requested.
    "We will not be able to achieve more than two times light speed once we get within one tenth light year due to the loss of sensor B3-KK15." said Ship.
     "Speaking of sensor replacement, I will require more tungsten, titanium, nickel, and at least one quarter ounce of flawless diamond." stated OM.
     "Scan as we go.  Are you also scanning for Ventan as we go?" asked Trent.
     "Of course." OM replied.
     Two weeks later they were approaching Omtolia.
    "We are being scanned by a satellite located in an orbit around the largest            orbiting Omtolia.  It is quite low tech as satellites go." OM said.
    "Let's take a path between Omtolia and the next system.  If there are pirates aware of our presents, they might thing we already have cargo." Trent suggested.
     "No activity related to us." said OM.
     "We will continue on to Lattoia.  Seems like our next best bet." Trent replied.
    "There is a freighter adrift to our right.  We will be at its location in twenty-one minutes." OM said.
    "Life signs?" asked Trent.
    "None.  No appreciable cargo.  No apparent weapons damage." OM stated.
     "Life support and engines?" Trent asked.
     "Functional.  The electronics are rather old.  Perhaps the pirates just took the cargo and occupants.  Providing there were occupants.  This ship may have been automated, and it has probably been adrift for five or so years." said OM.
    "Years.  That's not encouraging." Trent replied.
    "Two hours from here there may be some slightly better news.  Another freighter.  It looks to a fresh attack.  There is a distress call." OM stated.
     "Ship let us drift, and check it out." Trent commanded.
     A few minutes later Ship reported back.  "I have scanned for survivors, and there seems to one.  The distress call is automated.  There are no signs of life forms that stand out as pirates with in my scanning range.  However, at one third light speed there is a system with a large number of life forms."
     "Can you do anything for the survivor?" asked Trent.
     "No.  It is deep within the vessel.  I would cause the loss of whatever environmental integrity there might be." Ship explained.
     "Come and get us.  We ought to a try and save the unfortunate being.  May it's a pirate." Trent queried.
     Forty minutes later they were in position to try and effect a rescue.
     "Best extraction procedure OM?" asked Trent.
     "You will have to remove the door, extent your shielding around it and make your egress back here." OM explained.
     Trent pushed and pulled material out of his way until he reached the survivors enclosure.
     "Here goes." Trent said as he tore the door from the chamber and the atmosphere rushed out.
    The wounded being passed out from the sudden loss of presser.
     "Coming back.  This guy needs real medical help right now." Trent said.
     "Is he a pirate?" asked OM.
     "He looks more like a manager of an office or some such.  He is wearing a suit." Trent said.
    Trent entered the cargo bay, and laid the man on the floor.
     "Did he see you use your shielding?" asked OM.
     "No.  Find the nearest hospital." Ordered Trent."
    "On to Lattoia is our best bet.  Does he look like he can make it two hours?" asked OM.
    "Maybe.  We can't use Ship to deliver him.  Keep it at the maximum this thing could do." Trent said.
     Not long after that they were approached by a transport requesting assistance.
     "You can help?" said a raspy voice.
     "Depends on what you need." Trent replied.  Trent then thought to OM. "Looks like we have ourselves a pirate."
     "Yes, it does." said OM.
     "Enter docking bay 2.  It's surrounded with blinking yellow lights." said Trent.
     "Hi there.  I be C. G. Lock.  Who might ye own self be?" said the man from an open hatch. 
     "I am Trent.  Welcome to my ship.  What is the nature of your distress C. G. Lock?" asked Trent.
    "I be lacken fuel.  I be shy enough to reach Lattoia.  I be much appreciating enough to be on my way.  I be having new gildons, more than enough for fair payment." C. G. Lock answered.
    "We give you enough fuel to give you enough to reach Lattoia.  You may keep your gildons." Trent said.
     "Your kindness will not be forgotten.  How do I fuel up? " C. G. Lock asked.
     While C. G. Lock was fueling, Trent said, "I hear there are pirates and mercenaries in this part of space."
     "There be.  You have been lucky.  Although I see no cargo.  Perhaps they wait for you to load." said C. G. Lock.
     "Perhaps.  They do not know we transport gold and a few rare elements.  If they did, they would be on us like black tilter beetles on baked goulder." said Trent.
     "I be on my way now." said C. G. Lock.  Then he left.
     "I am willing to bet he and his fellow pirates will be back momentarily.  Anything in our vicinity?" asked Trent.
      "Two transports have left the common transit route, and are headed our way.  I did not pick up a signal from the illustrious C. G. Lock." said OM.
      "Silence may have been the signal." Trent said.
     "I believe you are right.  C. G. Lock turned around, and is on his way back." said OM.
     "This should be interesting.  As soon as we have some of them inside, slice and dice their transports.  Then render them unconscious." Trent ordered.