Just five more minutes, five more minutes.
Holdoth nursed his hot drink, just hot and disgusting enough to keep him awake. He took another sip and felt the acidic sting hit the back of this throat.
Just five more minutes.
He began slowly packing up his few pieces of equipment, hoping to be able to leave the facility the exact moment his shift was over.
Why do they even need a void scan overseer at this time of night? No one would come to this nowhere colony, much less at this time of night. If they do, it’s probably above my paygrade anyway.
He checked the clock one more time, and decided that if he walked slowly enough, he could start leaving. As he stood up from his chair and turned to leave, a bleem sounded behind him. Holdoth stopped, pausing to listen.
Please not another bleem.
A second bleem. And then a third. And then several bleems. Holdoth span around to look at the monitors, hoping there was a mechanical error. The scans were detecting a huge fleet approaching, too large to be civilian vessels.
Holdoth turned to the servitor in the room. “Hail the fleet and establish their intentions.” Holdoth bit his nails as the Servitor and the scanners rattled with the effort of transmitting. He kept his gaze upon the scanner, seeing what looked like nearly a hundred vessels approaching the planet. Finally, the Servitor responded.
“Fleet. Identified. As. Imperial. Expeditionary. Fleet. 421. Admiral. Skataslan. Morvonus. Requesting. Refuelling. Permission.”
Holdoth exhaled, steadying himself on the console and then taking a deep breath. He straightened up, smoothed his hair and left the room. He pressed a button on the console and static came over the vox-caster.
“Coordinator Fatanus, the scanners detect that Expeditionary Fleet 421 is approaching Ophidia. They wish to refuel.”
There was no response for a few seconds.
“Expeditionary Fleet 421? We do not have refuelling facilities to service an expeditionary fleet. I am on my way to check these scans.”
The remains of the world of Ophilia were rediscovered five years later, the human population having completely disappeared. Not a single corpse was found, not even skeletons. The weapons batteries showed signs of a limited struggle, ammunition still found in storage. The machines of the planetary government were systematically excavated, the last message still remaining unfinished on the governor’s communication device.