The next week was fairly uneventful. I no sooner shot into hyperspace that I found myself dealing with the tedium of hyperspace ship life. There were of course the routine checks each day, making meals and sleeping. That was fine for about 12 hours of the day the rest was far more tedious.
I took a shower and after drying off, I basically did no get dressed again for the rest of the week. I must admit nudity is my solace in a weary universe. That and I am not a big fan of doing the laundry. I imagine that a halo-vid producer would have loved to have cameras rolling but no one was there and the computers are programed very specifically as to what to record and it usually involves things more important than my naked body.
Computers pretty much run most things on a ship. They are are also one of the most redundant things on a ship. I mean the main computer has three copies of itself but it really does not do much work other than monitoring the other computers and data storage. Each system has its own computer to control it and it also has triple redundancy. Basically the main computer takes over only if a particular system has triple failure. It can pretty much run the whole ship but the idea of redundancy and backups is inherent to ship design. You can’t exactly just stop anywhere for maintenance and repairs.
My visits each morning to the bridge basically involved checking anything needed to be serviced, check the chronometer to note how long I would still be in hyperspace and then I would go service what needed to be done. After that it was pretty much lounging around the crew lounge and kitchen area. I would make meals when they would come up and basically watch halo-vid shows. The scout had been taken offline and begun its maintenance schedule the same day I had gone into cryogenic sleep, so all the shows were up to date from that day. I watched them sometimes, and other times I would read. I busied myself with cleaning tasks and exercise. If I felt myself getting horny, well a girl can take care of herself.
It was lonely, in a sense it is always lonely out in space, but that is the life you choose to be in space. I did however make a decision that when I would join the scout service I was not going to volunteer for basic courier work. I would rather either be exploring or surveying, but it was during this first week in hyperspace, I also realized my dad was right. If you want choices you have to improve yourself as much as possible and not be afraid of responsibility. In the scouts there is the Field Office which is enlisted personnel that work in Survey, Communications or Exploration work.
There is however another branch called the Bureaucracy. They are a little more exciting in some ways and less exciting in others. In the bureaucracy, I might find myself doing base duty and other stuff like administration, but I also had a higher chance of getting missions or special missions that were a little more clandestine and that is what I wanted. I made the decision to follow what my dad said I should do, and go to college and hopefully be assigned to the bureaucracy because of it.
The time came and I dressed in my jumpsuit and took my place at the pilot’s chair. The last minutes clocked off and then hyperspace disappeared for normal space once again. I check the sensors. There were several things being picked up by the passive sensors. One was on the other side of the system. It was a fellow scout ship but almost as soon as I detected it, it jumped and disappeared. I checked to make sure it wasn’t an echo but the fact was I had just missed a contact with another Republic scout. The other thing the sensors picked up were the navigation beacons and the warning beacon. I turned on the warning to listen to it.
“This is the Pugar system. It is classified as an Amber class system. Refueling at the gas giants is the only activity permitted for Dontar Republic ships. Pugar VI is inhabited but is classified as a red zone under the protection of the Dontar Republic. No contact is permitted with Pugar VI. Penalties for violation of these directives are severe.”
The message then repeated itself. I turned it off. Pugar VI was inhabited by tens of millions of human inhabitants but they are technologically somewhere between humping in the woods and banging rocks together and learning basic pre-industrial science and basic romance novels depending on the country involved and there are many countries on Pugar VI. The Republic basically protects such worlds and monitors them until they are ready to be contacted and that is usually when they create jump drive themselves. I for one wasn’t about to land there. I just wanted to refuel and get on my way to Aurora.
The next two days I pretty much did just that. I refueled at the nearest gas giant, maneuvered my way to the next safe place to engage the jump drive and then after many pre-jump checks, loaded the jump program that was already loaded for Pugar to Aurora and hit the button and jumped. Normal space disappeared once again for hyperspace and then I set about keeping myself busy for another week. The fact that I just missed a scout ship a couple day before bothered me but I wasn’t sure where they were headed, there are after all three other planets in reach of a basic scout vessel from Pugar.
The next week was the same as the first week after leaving Regulus. I entertained myself and kept myself as busy as I could. As the days counted down to arriving at Aurora, I began out get a little more anxious as I had not really seen a fellow human being for well over a month and a half. I was in a borrowed ship and one that most certainly had been detected by a Republic Scout. the transponder on my ship would have identified me as a republic scout vessel but a automatic check of the archives would have also show that it had been out of service for more than a year and presumed lost. It’s last location Regulus III. If that scout was heading for Aurora when it jumped I could probably expect a welcoming committee and they might not be friendly. If not, I was still going to have a lot of explaining to do to the surprised system defense force of Aurora.
I prepared by the taking a long shower, had the sonic shavers in the shower remove all my surface hair from my body from the neck down. I dressed myself in the best outfit I had managed to salvage. I had a circlet of silver in my hair holding it back as it was now truly shoulder length and quite wavy. I wore a nice pair of skin tight pants that were black, I pulled on my long boots that went to my knees, also black. I reluctantly put on bra and then covered it with a short sleeved collared shirt that was blue with front fasteners which I made sure the top three or so were undone. If there is one thing I have learned about being a girl, it is to take advantage of it when you can. I put my belt around my waist and slid my handgun into the holster and slipped the ID cards and money I had into a front pocket.
I sat down in the pilot’s seat and began to watch the last minutes tick off for reentry into normal space. The blue of hyperspace gave way to normal space. The ship passive sensors immediately began to tell me that there was a ship only a few thousand kilometers off to my port side. The transponder registered it as a Republic Patrol Cruiser and before I could do much of anything a message came over my speakers.
“Republic Scout 321, you are ordered immediately to power down your weapons and maneuver drives and surrender your vessel to the Republic Cruiser Valiant. This is Captain Bren Summers, repeat surrender your vessel.”
I responded the only way I could,” This is Ayn Jones, captain of Scout Vessel 321 and survivor of Regulus III. I will comply with your orders and surrender. Repeat, I surrender.”