The Captain stepped towards the sickbay doors with anticipation in his step. Moden was currently working on a way to fight back against the Yrch. He felt fairly certain the Yrch and Xaen weren’t working together. And now, Dr. Teffri might have figured out how the Yrch was changing them.
Teffri. The Captain reminded himself that his trusted doctor had been hit by the Yrch. He wondered what she would look like. Dr. Teffri had been in his late 50’s with a thick grey beard. No doubt the changes to the Doctor would the most drastic.
The doors open. Fawx couldn’t have guessed what he saw.
Her uniform was different from the rest of the crew’s altered uniforms. Instead of bare shoulders, her white top crawled up her neck; whereas the rest had long sleeves, she had none. Her skirt was longer than the others’ but seeing as she was considerably taller than most of the other girls it still displayed her shapely legs nicely.
But no amount of forethought could have prepared him for her hair. Bright, vibrant, curly locks of chartreuse bounced around her face like springs. A white nurse’s cap with a red cross on it was perched on top of her mane. “T-Teffri?”
Her maroon eyes glanced up from the screen she was reading. “Oh, Captain. You’re here.” She noticed the captain staring at her hair. “You know, I didn’t always have grey hairs.
Fawx shook his head. “Well yeah, but- never mind. Guess I just didn’t expect bright green hair.”
She shrugged. “Yeah, it’s been about 25 years since I saw this color in my hair. It’s pretty surreal for me as well.”
“So you said you had a theory as to how the Yrch is changing us?”
Teffri nodded, her tresses bouncing as she did. She sat down on one of the sick beds. “Captain, how many transformations have you personally seen so far?”
Fawx shrugged. “Just Lt. Petton’s and the tail end of Commander Novak’s.”
“I hadn’t seen any until he got me. Let me tell you Captain, it was very strange. I was going over some scans I had done on our new girls’ feet. Then-“
The Captain raised an eyebrow. “Why the feet?”
Teffri looked down at her own feet. “Oh, several of the women had tried walking around without the heeled shoes and aside from complaining about how cold their feet got, they also complained about it also hurting.”
The Captain nodded, remembering that Lt. Petton had said the same thing. The Doctor continued. “It would seem that during the transformation process, a slight distending of the new female’s calcaneal tendon, more commonly known as the Achilles’ tendon, occurs. It is a condition that happens a lot in females who wear high-heels too often. They find that when they switch to flatter soled shoes, they are caused pain because they’ve essentially conditioned their feet to only wear heels.”
“So basically the Yrch is forcing our girls to wear the shoes he gave them to be comfortable?”
“Yes sir. I assume it plays right into the psychological effects of the transformation. Removes yet another aspect of control, promotes feelings of hopelessness, etc. Luckily, once we get examined at a medical facility, we can have the conditioned fixed by a relatively simple surgery. Takes less than a week to recover.”
The Captain sighed. “Yet one more handicap. I’m sorry; you were explaining something before I interrupted you.”
Teffri nodded. “No worries, sir. Anyways, so I was examining my research on the feet when the Yrch appeared to my right. Before I could react his hand stretched towards me and I felt, not so much saw but FELT, a light envelope me. What then transpired is very hard to describe. All at once I felt woozy, yet very aware of every cell in my body. My insides twisted and bent and folded like I was a piece of laundry being folded. Some foreign power rushed through my veins like water through a pipe-“
“Teffri, where is this going?”
It was Teffri’s turn to sigh. “Sorry sir. It was just so strange.”
“What does this have to do with your theory?”
“Right, my theory. Well, Captain-” She bit her bottom lip. “Sir- did you see him use any technology?”
Fawx squinted. “What?”
“Technology? Did you see any- a light came out at me Captain. Did a light come out at Lt. Petton and Com. Novak?”
Fawx nodded his head. “Yeeeees.” Where was Teffri headed with this?
“Sir- we’ve been through this and after seeing the process myself I think we may have to accept something. All known cloaking technology is behind what this guy has pulled off. He walks invisible through our own ship, seemingly teleporting at times. Within seconds, without even TOUCHING someone, without sticking a syringe or introducing any chemicals into the body, he reverses the clock of time and their gender!”
“Yeah, we talked about this earlier. Whatever technology he’s using, it’s light years ahead of whatever we’ve got.”
“Captain! That’s just it! We haven’t seen any evidence of technology! EVERY culture we’ve encountered in the universe has legends of the occult. Every civilization has rumors of the impossible being done by mystics of some kind.”
Fawx stood more rigid. “Doctor- are you trying to suggest to me that this alien is using MAGIC? Am I hearing you right?”
Teffri folded her arms and shrugged. “You got a better explanation? Because right now, magic sounds more likely to me than mystery technologies that no one has ever theorized before.”
They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment. The Captain processed the new theory. Were they dealing with a being who wielded the arcane? At first he rejected it. Magic wasn’t real. And yet-
“Captain Fawx! This is Com. Novak! Are you there?” Her panicked voice echoed out his communicator.
Fawx’s mind raced further. It took a lot to work Novak up. “I’m here Novak. What is it? What’s wrong? Did the Yrch attack the bridge again?”
“No sir, it’s potentially much worse.”
Sgt. Garrick’s voice popped up in the background. “Oh hell yeah is it potentially much worse!”
“Sir, remember how Moden told it would appear we had two ships pursuing us? One of them found and got in front of us- and they are hailing us.”
“What!?” Fawx sprinted out of the sick bay and towards the bridge. “How did this happen!?”
“I don’t know sir but they are hailing us just the same. They say they are giving us five minutes to respond before they open fire and if we even twitch they’ll open fire. Appears to be a Minalonian ship by our short-range scanners and I think they have the fire-power to back up their threat.”
“Minalonians? Oh just perfect! With our luck we’ll have met the Captain at the Battle of Tishba III”
“What do you want me to say Captain?”
“Give them a message, audio only, saying I’ll be on the bridge to greet them personally in approximately three minutes. Then get you and any females on the bridge out of the view of the visual screen. I don’t want them seeing females on our ship dressed scantly. They may or may not know what’s going on here.”
“Aye aye sir. Hurry please.”
Fawx bounded into the elevator doors. “I need to retire.”
I had originally planned to make this chapter longer but RL constraints forced it shorter than I originally planned it. Once again, I’m sorry for the lateness. I am going to try and limit that as much as possible.
I decided the Achilles tendon would be a nice touch for the Yrch to put into his design of the girls. Just as Dr. Teffri said, it’s yet another way to psychologically battle the crew- and not to mention inconfenience them to no end!
Things seemed to have been going well but we know that can’t last for too long for the crew of the Sabine! Who are these Minalonians? Do they have a connection with the Yrch? Why are they chasing the Sabine? Tune in next to find out the answer to these questions and more in the next chapter of Creeeeeeeeew Shiiiiiiiiift!