"Perceptions of Innocence or Insights of Madness"
(Previous Post: "From Bad to Worse")         

Setting: USS HATHOR, Mess Hall
Stardate: 63077.0845

The Shillian had no other choice but to admit it, even if only to herself; she missed the ANUBIS.  Right now the Chief Science Officer would have been locked away inside the Stellar Cartography Lab busy with an in-depth research of RAADEJ III, its climate, its geology, as well as anything else that might have yielded an edge that the crew could have used in the mission they were heading into.

Instead of the three-deck high curved holographic display system of the Stellar Cartography Lab onboard the ANUBIS, the Shillian Scientist had been obliged to work off a handful of PADDs.  Instead of the comfortable chair upon which the Chief Science Officer had spent countless hours on doing various planetary researches, the Shillian had been sitting on a rigid chair in the far corner of the Mess Hall onboard the HATHOR.

The Chief Science Officer glanced at the PADDs scattered on the table before her and closed her eyes for a moment in an attempt to ward of the mounting frustration that the inability to perform the research in the way she had wanted had created.  Visions of tall tress and freedom filled the mind of the Shillian which quickly returned the Scientist to a peaceful state of mind.

The first thing the Shillian noted when she reopened her eyes was the underside of the table where she had been sitting, a Starfleet uniform crumpled all around the chair upon which the small primate had come to replace the frustrated Scientist.  There had been something truly liberating in taking on another form, something that the Shillian had only very recently discovered and mastered.  A year ago Maya would have never been able to maintain any such form for more than a few minutes and suffer great exhaustion afterwards, but now the Chief Science Officer of the USS ANUBIS had been able to maintain her shape-shifting for several hours at a time and only feel some minor fatigue when she returned to her original humanoid form.

With the transformation completed, the Shillian figured that she would make the best of the moment and use this time to stretch out her miniature primate legs.  Without any efforts, the Trusa jumped onto the table the Shillian had been working on previously and began to bounce from one table to the next, sometimes using the nearby walls to achieve a better angle in order to reach the next intended target.

The Scientist quickly returned to her chair and uniform when the doors to the Mess Hall opened to allow the Chief Engineering Officer to enter.  The Shillian waited for the back of the Oltharian to be turned to her before she shape-shifted back into her humanoid form, thus granting the Chief Science Officer some time to fix her uniform before being seen.

"Commander Maya?" Elan said in surprise as he saw the Shillian woman sitting where he had been sure no one had been only a few seconds ago.

"Lieutenant Fairborn," the Shillian nodded.  "Apple juice?" The Shillian asked, already knowing that the drink in the hands of the Oltharian had been just that, the Chief Engineer not having been known for enjoying any other beverage.

"Yes," the tender colossus replied with a smile.  "Found anything of interest on RAADEJ III?" The Oltharian questioned back, his knowledge of the Shillian matching that of the Science Officer in regards to the prominent habits each had.

"I will be able to give the Senior Staff a complete report once we are back on the ANUBIS and I have had some time to do a thorough analysis of the available information," the Shillian replied as she came to realize that the prospect of doing such a detailed research had not appealed as much to her as it would have a year or so ago.

"It will be nice to be back on the ANUBIS," the Oltharian said in an agreeing tone.  "As nice as the HATHOR may be, the ANUBIS is *our* ship, our *home*."

As the Oltharian enjoyed the drink that he had replicated, the Chief Science Officer carefully considered the last words spoken by the Engineer, words that somehow failed to have the impact that the Shillian would have expected them to have.  The ANUBIS was beyond any doubts her home, the place in the universe where she felt the most at ease, so why had the Scientist felt as if there had been something wrong with the idea of her returning to the ship as head of the Science Department?
Jessica Solarik (maya_992003@yahoo.com)
Lieutenant Commander Maya
Chief Science Officer