MENTAL ESSENCE
PAGE 33
" What's the best way to get there? "   Asked MB.

" Do not know.  Let's ask. "  Said Hiret, adding, " Is there a military or law enforcement transport out there? "

" This is Lt. Ol Umomm.  Are you in need of assistance? "

" Well, we would like to find a planet at the dinosaur stage of development.  The were a bouts of the Barkazians is also of concern. "  Hirest said.

" I do not have the location of the Barkazians, but if you stop at any planet along the Corridor, you can get a map showing thousands of interesting planets. "  Said the Lt.

" Thank you. "  Replied Hiret.

" So were is this Corridor? "  Asked Cree.

" According to the charts, it is that a way. "  Hiret pointed to his right and up.  " It's right a the edge of the charts.  We will have to get the charts updated when we get there I guess. "  Hiret said.

Looking out the window, Emmer noticed a ship heading the same direction.

" Hiret.  Try hailing the transport on our port side.  They probably know something about the Corridor. "  Said Emmer.

" Hailing the transport TT-131.  We are right next to you.  Do you know if we are heading toward a region called the Corridor. "  Hiret said.

" This is Capt. Isano.  If you follow us, we will be there in about three hours at present velocity. "

" Is there someone on your transport who can tell us about that region? "  Asked Hiret.

" I'm alone, but I will transmit a copy of my star chart to you. "  Said Capt. Isano.

Capt. Isano, Hiret, Cree, and MB spent most of the transport time discussing various attributes of systems with in the Corridor.  Some sounded like you have not lived until you have seen them.  Some were planets in various states of evolution, some multi star solar systems, odd shaped nebula of various colors, and unique civilizations.

" Here's  where I must leave you.  I hope we meet again. "  Said Capt. Isano as he made a tern to the left.

" How many beings out this way are going to be as friendly as him? "  Asked Emerr.

" Probably no different here then anywhere else. "  Semma replied.

" This is Outpost 93.  I am officer Nollus.  Your transport shows no recognized marking.  Please identify yourself. "

" This is a Ree transport.  I am Hiret Tee, and I am transmitting registration information now. "

" More tourists.  You will need gold or some other precious metals to pass beyond this station.  Too many beings come here and cause a lot of problems do to the lack of compensation for goods and services.  Can you show ten pounds of such metals per person aboard your transport? "  Said officer Nollus.

" We were not aware of such a requirement. "  Said Hiret.

" Please return when can meet this requirement. "  Officer Nollus said.

" There's the answer to your question Emmer. "  Said Cree.

" At least he wasn't nasty about it, and he was some what polite. "  Emmer replied.

" This shouldn't take to long. "  Hiret said.

" Are you kidding?  That's a lot of gold. "  Said Emmer.

" All Ree transports are equipped for such situations.  We have specialized scanners and purification systems.  With all the explorations we undertake, it is a necessity to have locally acceptable currency.  Any way, that debris field we went through probably has more than enough of what we will need.

" We need to talk. "  Emmer said to Hiret as he patted him on the back.

" Ethics won't allow us to make a personal gain from our technology. "  Hiret said with a smile.

" It wasn't your personal gain I was thinking of. "  Emmer said with a grin.

A day later, the crew was back at Outpost 93.  A brief inspection of the gold, and they were on their way.

" Not too many tourists out this way. "  MB said as she peered at screen.

" Funny, I've been thinking out that ever sense Capt. Isano went his separate way."  Said Hiret.

" There's one transport on an intercept course. "  Said MB.

" Aw crap. "  Cree said.

" Gets worse.  Now there's another one. "  Said MB.

" Aw crap. "  Cree said again, with raised voice.

" Not to fear.  We can easily out run anything around here. "  Hiret said.

" Lets find another military transport.  Let them deal with these guys. "  Said Cree.

" Wow.  Those guys a chasing those other guys.  Their shooting at them.  Which are the bad guys? "  Hiret stated with much surprise.

For a moment no one moved, or said a thing.

" Maybe they are all bad guys.  Do you think one of them might be the Barkazians? "  Asked Semma.

" Could be. Could be. "  Replied Hiret.

" This is Lt. DeLono.  I am trying to reach the transport from Loma Dena.  Is there a Hiret Tee aboard? "

Hiret thought for a moment before he answered.

" This is Hiret Tee.  How do we know you are not another criminal? "

" Well, lets see.  Take a heading of 143 aa / 91 aa.  We will drop back until you reach the task force.  I understand your reluctance. "  Said Lt. DeLono.

" Was that other ship the Barkazians.? "  Asked Hirest.

" It was one of them.  Another was the one who called itself Outpost 93, and the one who escorted you to the one who called itself Outpost 93. "  Said Lt. DeLono.

This statement brought another round of silence from the crew.  The silence was followed by sounds indicating anguish, surprise, not surprised, and it figures types of emotions.

" So, we were set up from the start, and you followed us the whole time waiting for the Barkazians to attack. "  Stated Hirest.