Ariana Simmons touched up her hair and took a final look at the comfortable cabin that had made her travel to the water covered world of Aht-Lantys bearable. Her gear would be taken to the shuttle while she was at her final examination in medical.
She took a deep breath, then another, as the strange tightness in her chest didn’t ease. Since her transformation had begun, she had eased into the gills that were now sprouting on her back and neckline. In a few days they would be fully functioning and she would be able to live and mate under the water.
Her hands shook as she palmed the door open and headed to the medical bay under guard. Today a Tival crewman was escorting her, carefully keeping a respectful distance from her and watching to make sure that the other crew personnel kept that same distance.
Her body was screaming with the touch of air on her skin. It wanted nothing more than the soothing embrace of water. The pheromones that she had begun to produce were the reasoning behind her escort. The last thing that she needed was an uncontrolled mating when she was so close to her final destination.
The door to medical hissed open and she nodded politely to her escort as she left him to enter the sterile and bland medical bay. Without a comment she hopped up on an exam table and waited.
“How are you doing today, Ariana? Any discomfort?” His burnished silver skin was stretched across his frame, making the top of his head gleam in the artificial light as she looked down at him.
“I am fine, Doc. A little problem with the lack of pressure in my quarters, but nothing that a few hours in a tank won’t cure.” Her hand came to her chest and she tried to take a deep breath as he ran the scanners over her body.
“There won’t be any tank today. We are in orbit over Aht-Lantys, and this is just a final check to make sure that your transformation is continuing apace.” The readouts were scrolling by and whatever he saw seemed to satisfy him as the lights and numbers flashed.
“I assumed as much.” She reached out with a sigh of relief to the hand that proffered a glass of water. Without looking at it she slammed it back and smiled as her body grabbed hold of it. It was only as she licked her lips that she tasted the salt on her lips. “A saline ocean?”
“Yes, it covers over seventy-five percent of the surface. We will land your shuttle on one of the small land masses that dot the western hemisphere.”
“Fantastic. Am I good to go?” She hopped off the table and stood, shifting from foot to foot.
“Yes, your escort will take you to the shuttle bay.”
“Thanks, Doctor. You have been most helpful.” She gave him a quick kiss on the top of his shiny head and moved to the door. It hissed open and she nodded again to her escort, not looking at him and simply following him to the shuttle bay. No other members of the crew were there to see them off when they stopped before the shuttle that would take them to the surface. Her escort took her hand in his gloved one and helped her in.
The configuration was foreign to her. Even after her years in space, she had never seen anything like this before. It was an organic ship. With hands shaking in anticipation she took the co-pilots seat and strapped herself in. Well, the ship itself wrapped around her in a gentle grip, the upper reaches of the seat creeping down over her shoulders and the sides of the seat wrapping around her thighs. She wasn’t going anywhere.