I stood their for a few seconds in disbelief at the report that colony had been hit by an invasion but I quickly shook it off and began tapping keys to find out when. When I found out, a chill went through my soul almost as bad as the chill I had woke up with. It had happened exactly three days after I had been put in cold sleep. I check the current date and finally had confirmation that I had only been in cold sleep for exactly a year. The automatic systems had kicked in and had awakened me right when they were programmed to wake me.
The solution to the problem was not as simple as firing the explosive bolts to open the door and walking out and finding out what happened. I would eventually fire the explosive bolts to be sure but I wanted to reason out what I might find on the other side. It does no good unless you at least figure out what you might face. If the planet had been invaded and occupied I pretty much figured that I would be discovered and the bad guys would have open my steel pod and taken me captive. If they invaded, they were no longer here and they didn’t stay long enough to pillage everything.
Pirates possibly, as we are pretty far out on the rim of the Dontar Republic’s influence range but with the planetary defenses it would have to take quite a few pirate ships and most pirates work alone. That said we also were having problems with the Holton Empire. We were right next to them. If they came they might destroy us and then move on because there was very little of value here on Regulus III as we were set up as a research and agricultural world. Destroy us as a message? Maybe.
The one thing that I could not shake was the idea that whoever have invaded they were no longer here and no one had returned since from the Dontar Republic. Either war had broke out and our colony was no longer important or even the Republic had not bothered to return because we were no longer worth the investment. Interstellar governments in general have long learned that the best way to function is to govern the space between stars and let the local systems run themselves. The more you try to control everything the more difficult it is to hold on to systems. This, of course, is caused by the problem of communication between stars.
Insystem communications, thanks to advances in understandings of the universe, is near instantaneous but trying to send a subspace message from one star to another can take years spanning the distance. The only truly ‘fast’ communication is by starship. Most interstellar governments have scout/courier organizations to handle that part. Starship design is pretty much standardized across known space since it is basically three megacorporations that build starships. For scout and courier service almost all governments use two standard ship designs – the scout class wedge and the cylindrical x-boat class hull. Scout class ships do the near communication between local worlds being only able to jump two parsecs, so they often run from central communication hub worlds which are connected by the x-boats.
X-boats are capable of jumping a distance of six parsecs. Interstellar governments use them to send messages quickly but the jump six drives are a little unstable and there is a small risk to the pilots. x-boats travel between hub worlds that are six parsecs apart although the star systems do not always cooperate with that distance so sometimes they are only five or four parsecs apart. The real issue is once the messages from the government’s core get to these hub worlds they travel out ward at two parsec jumps via the scout class ships. The point I am trying to make is each jump, regardless of distance, takes a standard week of seven days. Doesn’t matter how far, this is how hyperspace works. So far humanity has only been able to get to jump six. Jump seven has been under research for years but the drives become so unstable that they have a fifty percent chance of exploding before even jumping. Until a breakthrough, this is the interstellar speed limit.
Because of this Regulus III (which is not a communication hub for the x-boats) could be bombed from orbit out of existence and it might take weeks to be noticed by the standard scout/courier runs and then it might take months for a response. But a year had passed so the fact the colony had been invaded was probably known or assumed. This meant what I probably would find on the other side of that door was a bombed out ruin of a colony long abandoned for some reason and I might be its only survivor. I might be thinking negative but that was my thoughts as I pulled the lever for the explosive bolts.
The door slammed open from the controlled charges as I pulled the lever and my suspicions were almost immediately confirmed. The hallway from the chamber covered in dust with cracked ceiling and walls and a few spots of rubble were strewn here and there. My bare feet padded forward through the layer of dust that and after twenty meters the hallway turned right and I came face to face with an obstacle. The door that lead out was not a heavy-duty security door but it was jammed and I could tell that it opened outward but there was something on the other side of it. Gentle presses didn’t seem to do much so I opened it and pushed with everything I had and it reluctantly moved open enough for me to wiggle my naked body through.
When I got to the other side I was amazed as there were several large chunks of concrete that had fallen down from the ceiling in front of the door. Probably weighed a several hundred pounds and I had managed to move them if only a little. Around me was the prep room where I had been striped down and prepared for my cold sleep journey into the future. I began to realize that my clothes might still be somewhere around here so I began to search through the room. I didn’t find my clothes but I did find a mirror and I was startled to find what I actually looked like.
I was much heavier looking not overly so like some women who get so much muscle they cease to look like women but lightly muscled. My skin was pasty white and it looked as if my shapely breasts were actually more perky. The big thing was my hair. I didn’t have a single hair over my entire body. Not even the best sonic shavers could get my legs and other parts as smooth as they were. The hair on top of my head was butch short but it provided that silver halo effect. I looked good other than I missed my long hair.
A further search of the room I did not net me any clothes. Most of it was medical supplies and there was nothing to serve as clothes, so I pressed on and after a few hallways and testing each door as I went only to find them locked, I found the main entryway. The front door was blown inward and there was evidence of a firefight. There was even blood splattered in a couple of places but there were no bodies of any sort indicating there had been some cleanup after the exchange. I also found a computer terminal at the main desk were a year ago I had been greeted by lovely secretary who had shown me to processing. The problem was it had a hole through it from a weapon. This was not going to be as easy as I thought.
I didn’t find anything else of note at the desk. Every drawer had been emptied and every terminal destroyed. In fact, that is how the rest of my search went as I combed the offices of The Anagathics Research Project for the remainder of the day. Empty rooms and destroyed terminals. I found little of interest until I hit a maintenance closet and found a crowbar. That allowed me to go back to the locked doors I had passed and pry them open. Not that it did me any good. Most of these were administrative offices and they had been cleaned out as well. The locks must have automatically clicked after the invaders had left. There was only one good sign really and that was there was evidence of power at certain points. Lights came on as it got dark, so the main fusion reactor for the colony was still working and that also meant the mainframe was still working at least to do general functions.
The last thing I found was a locker room and thankfully it was the locker room for the nurses. Not that I was interested in their uniforms but I used the crowbar again to pry open a few lockers and found some of their civilian clothes. In short order I had a new a skirt, some boots and a shirt that was a little to tight and left my midriff bare. No underwear so I would just have to go commando, no big deal. But the alternatives in the other lockers were much the same so I stuck with what I had. At least now I could avoid hurting my feet with the boots. I kept the crowbar and decided to head home.