MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 151
" Research it.  Something like that might come in handy. "  Trent thought.

" Probe 87-14c has recovered good data on required identification.  There are only two different types of shoes, and fourteen different clothing styles which are based on social and military ranking. "  Stated OM.

" Something in the middle will be sufficient. "  Trent replied.

" I have completed a list of the life forms that are identifiable from this distance.  I believe there are too many scanners and optical devices on Aous to send in a probe. "  Said OM.

" And. "  Thought Pace.

" The life forms that I can draw parallels with are witches, gods, trolls, fairies, leprechauns, werewolves, unicorns, ghouls, elves, vampires, nynes, ghosts, goblins, hoots, waggers, clayses, woowers, loamians, bidums, banchies, umblers, icks, and a few dozen others. "  Thought OM.

" Those witch's look exactly like those portrayed on almost every planet that made it past the medieval  stage.  The rest are just as familiar in form or another. "  Stated Pace

" The Annum could not be responsible.  This system formed around five billion years ago, and they can not have had space flight for more than ten thousand years.  Speaking along those lines, it is highly unlikely they could have developed gravitirium technology on their own. "  OM stated.

" I knew you were going to say that. "  Pace said with shrug.

" Is there an asteroid near by? "  Trent asked.

" No. "  Replied OM.

" Let us now embark on an asteroid seek and capture mission. "  Trent said with smile.

Six hours later Trent was on asteroid ride to Annum.

" That should be on one of those ultimate thrill programs. "  Pace said with a note envy.

" So far so good.  No alerts over the asteroid with eight minutes to Annum.  We should now move far from this location. "  OM thought.

" Why? "  Asked Pace.

" The Annum may wonder why their outer grid did not detect the asteroid, and might come to make repairs. "  OM thought.

" Four of those intergalactic ships are taking off. "  Announced Pace.

" They are on a trajectory to the planet called Yanon. "  OM thought.

" Lets have a look. "  Pace thought.

Pace and OM monitored the ships taking on a cargo of produce, then return to Annum.

" Perhaps they are that size for hauling food and not intergalactic flights. "  Thought Pace.

" OM, I am approaching a building with a security post.  They are challenging everyone who enters.  Put a probe as close to it as possible.   I see a restaurant down the street, think I will have look. "  Trent reported.

" We're watching. "  Said Pace.

" The servers look like us.  They are defiantly subservient.  The food looks and smells like what you would find most anywhere.  I am going to find a library.  How about this one.  There are a species that look similar to us only a bit smaller sitting behind desks and standing behind counters.  There is a sign that means registration, or something close to it.  There is one with a logo depicting an open book.  Perhaps it is a library.  It is indeed a library.  The only beings I see are Annum.   Log in so that you can see through my eyes. "  Trent thought.

" Logged in. "  Thought OM.

Trent spent five hours scanning a variety of social and technical material.

" So the Annum where given their basic gravitirium technology from the Ulavet in exchange for food and morphing technology.  The Ulavet are two hundred and eight light years from here.  Did the Ulavet introduce them to the witches. "  Pace said turning a glance to her ship.

" Apparently in the beginning of their relationship they did supply templets for the specimens they wanted the Annun to bioengineer. "  Trent stated.

" How do we acquire you from Annum. "  Asked OM.

" There is a desert four thousand mile to the east.  Cloak yourself as best you can.  And leave the probe on the building with the security, we might need it later. "  Trent thought.

An hour later they were on their way to Ulavet.

" Take the long way so we do not run into the Ulavet.  Wake me. "  Trent thought.

Six months later they were behind an asteroid five light years from Ulavet.

" Trent we are at Ulavet. "  OM thought.

" How is Pace, and what do we know about the Ulavets? "  Asked Trent.

" Pace is fine.  The Ulavets gravitirium technology is primitive compared to the Ree, but they are making impressive progress.  They have had a spoken language for around seven hundred million years.  They have hyper communications capabilities, can achieve transport velocities at least one hundred times light speed, they have basic shielding, they have particle beam weapons, they speak universal almost exactly as we do, they look like you, their government is arthurian, they have the same bioegineered entertainment as do the Annuns, and I get the impression they are not a particularly nice race, and there are definite Celder markers.  There are lite concentrations of monitors out to two light years, they have a basic grid at four light years, and the closest habitable planet is Annun. "  Stated OM.

" Wake Pace. "  Ordered Trent in a determined voice.

" If they are so much like us infiltration should be a snap. "  Pace said after OM gave her an update while she attacked the pantry.

" We need a good scan, lest we get over confident through assumptions. "  Thought Trent.

" OM, we need a plan for the afore mentioned infiltration. "  Pace thought. 

" Momentarily.  In the meantime, without knowing more about their scanning capabilities , we should attach ourselves to an asteroid in order to reduce the possibility of detection. "  OM replied. 

They found a suitable asteroid and spent a month collecting intelligence on the Ulavet capabilities.

" This might be something of interest.  There is a debris field on a small asteroid fifty thousand miles behind us.  There is a radiation signature which could be from an engin.  It could be a crashed transport. "  Pace announced.

" I will have a look. "  Trent said as he climbed into Ship.

" It was a transport.  Looks as though it has been here a while, and it has been picked over.  The console seems to be in tacked.  There must be some information in there someplace.  I am bringing it back. "  Thought Trent as he tore it apart.