"The Best Surprises Come in Small Packages"
(Previous Post: "What Lurks in the Shadows")

Setting: VALLA ROYAL, H-0101
Stardate: 63077.0335

The door to the cargo hold had been left open long enough for the small Shillian primate to easily make its way inside without having been noticed.  The small size and swiftness of the Trusa had always been attributes hat allowed it to move about without being detected, but the chaos that had reigned within the room had even further facilitated matters.  Once inside the shape-shifted Chief Science Officer settled down and watched as Captain Rikar was rescued and the team responsible for this daring act fell victim to whatever hidden menace had been in the room with them.

A small ball of fur, unseen by others, cowered against the wall next to the door that had closed making any rapid escape impossible.  The scent of blood in the air had been impossible to miss, especially to a creature that in the wild relied on its sense of smell to detect possible predators.  Unfortunately for the shape-shifted Shillian, that had not been the only smell that hung in the air; death had been another distinct odor that had been impossible to ignore.

The Shillian watched with increased anxiety as the shadows themselves swallowed the weapons that had been in the hands of the rescue team.  From there, the miniature eyes of the primate moved from one scene to the next, glancing over the broken body of the Ambassador, the bloodied face of the Pythron youth, the badly mistreated form of their Commanding Officer and frightened trio that had come to the rescue.  Beyond this had been nothing but darkness, a void that gave the illusion of being made of living shadows and unseen evil that belonged in the nightmares of the most deranged individuals.

"No weapons left to take care of," a sickly arrogant voice came from beyond the darkness, passing through it with the cutting edge that only great evil could create.  "What is your relationship with Starfleet?"

The question had been simple, but any answer given would most likely trigger a reaction that had the potential of making their year in another dimension and time appear as if it had been a visit to RISA.  Admitting that they were indeed a covert team sent by a branch of Starfleet officially did not exists had not been a valid option.  Likewise, claiming ignorance would only enlist the anger of the inquisitor and of the unseen forces at his command.

The Shillian began to think back to a time that seemed to have taken place several lifetimes ago, an era when things were simpler and life consisted of nothing more than personal discoveries while attending classes at Starfleet Academy.  A specific examination during the last year specifically came to mind, a test not of knowledge but of character, a trial that many referred to as a lose-lose scenario meant to see how one would react to a situation where the only possible outcome had been death.  The Kobayashi Maru had become legendary in both its intended meaning and in that those who had managed to beat it had done so my bending or even breaking the rules, adding elements that had not been part of the test to provide a new solution.

Eve, Aki and Elliot seemed to move in slow motion as they prepared to face what would come net leaving the miniature Shillian primate to question why she had not decided to join them and face their fate as the fellow crew member that she had been?  The eyes of the shape-shifted Chief Science Officer feel onto the tortured face of their Commanding Officer who even in her current state gave the distinct impression of being there for those who had come to her rescue.

Captain Sabrina Rikar had escaped her world to seek meaning in an alternate identity, a situation that all too closely mirrored that of the Shillian Scientist who had hid not in another location but rather in another form.  The question now remained; had the Captain found what she had been looking for, what she had so desperately needed to find?  Had the Shillian found what *she* had been looking for?  Unless something came to change the current situation the answers to these questions would vanish in the shadows that walked this room and that Maya could not permit to happen.

With a single jump, the small Shillian Trusa reached the shoulder of the undercover Assistant Chief Science Officer and remained there only long enough for the Ensign to recognize the small creature for what it truly was.  By the time Akira had mentioned the name of the transformed woman she had already jumped off into the shadows, her small primate form having begun to change into something else.

Four paws landed onto the smooth floor of the cargo hold with a heaviness that had been meant to surprise and force anyone planning to attack to re-evaluate their decision.  The roar that followed insured that the message had been perfectly understood by anyone and anything lurking in the surrounding darkness, and if any doubts had remained the form of the towering Grizzly as it stood on its hind legs drove home the point even more.

Surprise swept through the entire cargo hold as this very impressive and equally angered bear seemed to appear out of nowhere, even Captain Morningstar, Lieutenant Fairborn and Ensign Fanggot could not hide their shock at the sight as the door opened.

Lieutenant Commander Maya
Chief Science Officer