MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 125
" They seem not to notice us.  No life signs.  The probe has not detected life signs as of yet.  There is a lot of activity around the redish planet.  There is also an electronic screen around it that is preventing usable scans.  I am certain that is where their main

" Wow.  Look at that. "  Pace exclaimed.

As they exited the cloud layer, they were presented with a planet who's entire surface looked as though it was alive with millions of machines moving in all directions.  Periodic bolts of lightning jumping from towers that stood above the restless devices.  Large smoke stacks emitted the red shroud that concealed the planets surface.

" I am detecting life forms. "  OM thought.

" Ship, keep our height, and slowly move to a position directly over the life forms. "  Trent ordered.

" They look like us, and it seems as though it's a penal colony.  There are robots with weapons apparently forcing them to work. "  Pace thought.

" The radiation levels are lethal to such life forms.  I do not know why they are alive. "  OM stated.

" There are many such facilities scattered around.  Few of them have high radiation levels, but they do have the same type of guards or overseers, what ever their function. "  Stated Pace.

" There is no gravitirium production capability on this planet.  I am however detecting gravitirium at most of the afore stated facilities. "  OM thought.

" They must buy it from some place.  Have you deciphered their language? "  Trent asked.

" No.  I am guessing many fragments of their transmission represent abbreviations, beings, places, things or entire phases that have not meaning to me.  If you capture one of them, we might be able to extract a coding dictionary. "  Stated OM.

" Locate one I can acquire without notice. "  Thought Trent.

" There is one in a Transport repair building five miles to the left. "  OM thought.

" Ship, take a position directly over our target. "  Ordered Ship.

" Got a plan? "  Thought Pace.

" I extend my shielding to the surface, then lower myself down.  Once contact is made with the target I drain his energy.  Then I rase myself back up to here.  OM, do you know if Ships shielding can defend against their weapons? "  Asked Trent.

" Despite working with gravitirium, they are only function at the nuclear fission level of technology.  Ships shielding is more than adequate, even with the weapon they used on  Heptom.  Speaking of which, it's design is beyond the capabilities of this civilization.  In fact, there are a lot of devices here which came from far more advanced civilizations. "  OM stated.

" After you acquire the robot, save one of the beings. "  Thought Pace.

" Okay.  OM, select a being. "  Trent replied.

Trent entered the repair building and obtained possession of the robot.  On the way out two beings approached the door.  Trent encased them in his shielding and took them with him.  They screamed the all the way to the cargo ship.

" Will these do? "  Trent thought to Pace.

Pace looked at the two emaciated beings.

" What did you say to them? "  Pace asked Trent.

" There was not time to explain. "  Trent answered.

" Hi.  My name is Pace.  He's Trent.  Your safe.  They look hungrier than I am. "  Thought Pace.

They huddled on the floor glancing from Pace to Handy who was dismantling the robot.

" Do you understand my language? "  Pace asked them.

They said nothing, and where clearly afraid.

" If you do understand what I am saying, be assured we are not going to dismantle you.  We only want to help you.  First you really need a shower.  Really. "  Pace said as she made follow me motions with her hand.

They followed Trent to the restroom where he showed them how to work the showers, use soap and pointed out the jumpsuit's they could change into.  They still said nothing.

" Perhaps they are unable to speak.  I am not picking up conversations form those in the work details. "  OM stated.

" What kind of shape are they in? "  Thought Pace to OM.

" Other than nearly dead from starvation they are fine.  They do not have chronic disease, but they do have precursors.  Their vocal cords are intact.  Maybe they have not been allowed to speak for so long they have developed a psychological block preventing them from doing so. "  OM thought.

An hour later they emerged from their shower wearing the jumpsuit's, and acting very timidly.

" This isn't much but it's all we have at the moment. "  Pace said handing them the box of cereale she had found earlier.

They ripped the box open stuffed the contents into their mouths.

" I though I was hungry.  OM, locate a food source.

" There is what appears to be a food storage facility a mile from the repair building.  It is also heavily guarded.  There is a food dispercil vehicle two miles from the same point, but there many being around it. "  Said OM.

The two beings stood close together, and held out the box apparently asking for more.

" Display a picture of the storage facility... When it gets a little darker I will descend to the roof to make an entry. "  Trent declared.

" If you make noise you get hurt. "  Said one of the two beings.

" Ah.  That's much better.  My name is Pace, what is yours? "  Asked Pace

The being ran into the restroom and came back with his old ragged shirt with a the number 616-d-6 on it.

" We only get this.  Why we here? "  Asked 616-d-6.

" We're trying to find out more about these robots.  Like why they attacked a planet called Heptom, and how they obtain gravitirium, and we thought you might be able to help us. " Pace stated, then realized they had no idea about what she was taking about.

" We do part two.  You have part two for us? "  The other being said.

" No, we don't have any work.  You don't have to do any part two anymore.  Is your race forced to work down there? "  Asked Pace.

616-d-6 and his friend sat with blank looks on their face.