Location: SS Astraios, Astraios Colony
The trip back from Pinastri was relatively uneventful. I stayed in my quarters for most of the trip, glad to have the time to study some reports and work on some projects of my own. Captain Foulsbane was willing to defer to my rank and have me command the vessel during the trip, but I demurred. He knows his ship much better than I.
The visit at Pinastri went quickly by, but I did have enough time to myself to be able to transport to one of the gardens I used to go to when I was a cadet. It was very quiet and it seemed no one was there, so I allowed myself to... ummm, well... take some rest and relaxation.
Toocool wandered the garden, listening to the birds and hearing the slow swish of the waves on the shore of the silky white sand. The air was warm as it always was there. Deep in the forest, in a small meadow, she shed her uniform and shoes, toes sinking into the warm earth. Stretching her hands towards the sky, her small body was as slim as the spruce trees around her. She closed her eyes, allowing the vision, so long held at bay, to come to her mind. Oh the pain, the delicious and almost unbearable pain that signalled freedom. It began within, her organs shifting, then her extremities, she moaned slightly, dropping down to the ground, writhing. Finally her face changed, growing hair and whiskers. But her eyes were the same.
The she-wolf shook its body, and yawned. Sniffing the air, it moved away.
After a good long... walk in the gardens I felt better than I had in a long time. I sat on the beach in the sun and let myself dream as I bathed in the Terran rays. Memories came to me, of the old time, the time when I gave my heart only to lose it, and with it, the my only youngling. Sadness overwhelmed me for a time, but not badly. My life took a different direction because of that loss, and in so many ways I am glad of it. I have a family, all the officers and crew who look to me to lead and supply the answers. I have my work of exploration and discovery, discipline and duty. I teach those who come after me on the path. They are, in a way, my younglings. I watch over them, care for them, correct them when they go astray, and their welfare is chief in my thoughts every day.
After a snack of fruit and a long drink of water, I dressed in my uniform, returning to my guest quarters to shower and prepare for transport to the USS Prophetic, and the voyage home.