MENTAL ESSENCE
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" One quarter light year at best. Probe 88n3 has limited diagnostic capability in that direction and distance.  Mostly because it is over two hundred thousand years old.  When it was build the technology was not available for precision sensors that would  work at more than five thousand light years. "  Stated OM.

" Speaking of sensors, why haven't we picked up some sort of transmissions? "  Asked Pace.

" At varying distances there are dense radiation belts flanking this planet.  Which now that you mention it, could be a good case for the warship to be pre-programed. "  Said OM.

" Stay parked in the cargo ship, we will take it with us. "  Trent said.

" Okay, let's go. "  Said Pace.

A few minutes later Pace was gelled, and they were on their way.

" How long until we preach the radiation belts? "  Asked Trent.

" Two hours fifteen minutes to the radiation, then however how ever long it will take to pass through if we maintain a high cruising velocity. "  OM replied.

" I will be in suspension. "  Trent said leaning back.

Three hours later OM awoke Trent.

" There are transmissions from many directions.  Several are approaching hyper transmissions and could be from civilizations capable of producing gravitirium.  However, that technology is not necessarily related to gravitirium capable civilizations. "  Stated OM.

" Straight ahead.  Somewhere out there might be a trail from our warship buddy. "  Trent ordered.

" The reference of buddy seems contradictory. "  OM replied.

" A meant it to be humourous.  It is not really our buddy. "  Answered Trent.

" I will log it for future reference. "  OM replied.

" How is Pace doing. "  Trent thought.

" She if in good condition. "  OM replied.

" Are there transmissions in universal? "  Trent asked.

" Most of them are in universal, or similar language. "  OM answered.

" Provide me with chanal selection on my console. "  Trent requested.

Trent began chanal surfing for news chanal's.

" The metro area will experience warmer than usual temps today. " - " Police caught three escapees an hour ago. " - " The governor addressed the graduating. " - " Onn Foolter played his best game. " - " Fighting in the Leffo's sent twenty Morns to the hospital. "

After an hour Trent fond a chanal with what he was looking for.

" There it is.  Have listen. "  Trent thought to OM.

" A coded transmission? "  OM thought back.

" Not a code.  Just straight communications between machines.  It is binary.  The warship was constructed by robots.  Robots making robots.  That is why the construction was sloppy, and why the propulsion system was a poorly designed nuclear drive. "  Trent answered.

" I do not understand. "  Thought OM.

" The construction is not esthetical pleasing or practical.  A being would have cared about the warships appearance and usability. I also doubt a being capable of making these materials would chose this design, it is childish.  Plus, the radiation leaking from the propulsion system would have been lethal to an organic. "  Explained Trent.

" Shall we proceed to the source of the transmission? "  Asked OM.

" Yes, but with caution.  There is no reason to provoke anyone.  I just realized what has been bothering me.  If there is so much interest in the warship, and there is this gel process, why is Pace the only one who came for a first hand look. "  Trent thought.

" There is a lingering doubt as to the safety of the process? "  Asked OM.

" How is she doing? "  Trent asked.

" She is stable.  There are no discernable changes. "  Replied OM.

" Mmmmm.  Makes me crazy.  Okay, look for sensory fields and beam sweeps. "  Ordered Trent.

" There is an asteroid to the left we could use as camouflage. "  OM announced.

" Let us do just that.  How much of it's tregectory do we need to change? "  Asked Trent.

" Fifteen degrees to the right and four degrees upward. "  OM stated.

" What is it's currant velocity? "  Trent thought.

" Seventy two thousand miles per hour. "  Answered OM.

" Once we capture it, increase velocity to two hundred and thirty thousand miles per hour. "  Thought Trent.

They captured that asteroid used it as planed for three months without incidence.

" Directly in front of us is an animated weapons device. "  Stated OM.

" Good.  Ship, prepare to fire if we are detected.  Do not wait for it to signal our presents. "  Ordered Trent.

" Understood. "  Answered Ship.

" This device was powered with the same technology as the warship.  The radiation leaks rendered it inoperable thousands of years ago. "  OM stated.

" Encouraging.  I wonder why it was not replaced. "  Thought Trent.

" There are a great many radiation trails ahead.  They seem to become more abundant in the targeted direction.  They also seem to be well thinned, indicating they have been there a long time. "  Stated OM.

" More encouraging.  Wake me when encounter something interesting or if there is a change in Pace. "  Trent thought.

Seven months later OM detected the remnants of a transport.

" Trent, there is a damaged transport just ahead. "  OM thought waking Trent.

" Technical summery please. "  Said Trent.

" This damage was caused ten or so years ago by a singnal laser pulse.  The engines are nuclear in design.  The occupants spoke something other than universal.  They where quite thin in frame based body remnants and the seating design.  It will take a while to decipher their logs, and an analysis of their remains suggests they had typical DNA structures and chemical composition. "  OM stated.

" Is the flight trail the same as the warships? "  Asked Trent.

" No.  However, there is a brown dwarf solar system about one tenth light year straight ahead.  The transit trails intensify in that direction"  Replied OM.

" We will continue as we have.  Can Ship mimic the signals emanating from the warships friends when we encounter them? "  Asked Trent.

" Probably, and we will know for sure in about one hour and forty three minutes.  There is a craft heading directly for us. "  OM thought.

" Maybe they are coming to inspect the asteroid. "  Said Trent.

" Possible. "  Answered OM.

" Ship, be ready take out the ship approaching us.  OM, time to awaken Pace. "  Commanded Trent.

Thirty minutes later Pace was rummaging through the pantry.

" Food.  I want food.  This is not food. "  Pace said holding box of some kind of cereal.