The Missing Princess Part 12: Mastermind of the Star Zombies

In the last chapter Imperial Princess Taegan, Galacteer Commander Lightyear and Space Pirate Captain Woz managed at last to reach the Imperial Watch-station in the Draco system to try and warn the great powers of the galaxy that prominent commanders were being replaced by pod-people clones as part of a sinister Zenithian plot, while strange devices on the planet Dormientes Draco were causing the star Draco to turn into a black hole threatening the whole galaxy. They arrive to find the crew of the station all dead and then Captain Woz abandons them marooning them on the station and intending to send Pirates to pick them up to ransom back to their own people! But while they try to repair the stations communication systems to call for rescue strange eyes are watching them from hiding…

Princess Taegan and Commander Lightyear, both now armed with ray pistols after Lightyear recovered one from the holster of a deceased imperial crewman and wearing Imperial space-suits they took as soon as they found them, made their way through the cramped and small stations claustrophobic pie-slice shaped rooms, short corridors and ladders to reach the point the analog systems determined the communication systems circuit fault was. Just a short distance from the reactor rooms output junction. Their passage was tense, making as much haste as they could but wary of any sign of the threat that had killed so many so very recently, moving as quietly as possible in the nearly-total silence of the empty station over metal grill walkways and floors, their breathing and footfalls seeming deafeningly loud above the faint thrum of the stations reactor. Having abandoned the weak illuminators of the Zenithians for sturdy Imperial ones still it seemed almost like the darkness was hungry, absorbing, draining, devouring the light so that it seemed to fade where it should have shown crisp sharp shadows. Despite the sealed suits the mind quickly filled in the smell of oil and fear as their lights swooped and slid over metal grills and rails and riveted panels glinting moistly in the humid darkness.

At last they turned the corner to the junction box, pistols drawn and at the ready, to find another tale of woe. A crewman’s body still standing, still clutching the metal axe with which he had cut the circuit, an Imperial knife still buried in his shoulder and at his feet the body of another Imperial soldier who had died from an axe blow apparently in the act of trying to stop them from cutting the circuit.

“What could possibly have happened here?” murmured the bewildered Princess.
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