The Snow Leopard Under My Desk
Sodalite gave a soft yawn as he looked at himself in the mirror. Despite getting a full night’s sleep it felt as if he hadn’t slept at all. Sleeping during hyper jumps always seemed to do that to Sodalite. Having just showered Sodalite stood before a full length mirror inspecting himself, mostly to make sure nothing strange happened while they were in the space between space. There had been scattered reports of strange mutations caused by radiation shielding failures and other such issues. Sodalite never put much stock in them, but it never hurt to look anyway. The green eyed reflection that stared back at him was that of a six foot tall red panda. However, unlike most red pandas Sodalite was actually quite blue. From shoulder to finger tips the fur of his arms was a coal black. The fur that ranged from his groin all the way up to his throat was similarly colored.
Gently Sodalite ran his finger tips over his abdominal muscles, smiling softly to himself as he felt the muscles under his fur. As Sodalite’s eyes followed his paw down, he inspected his legs. Much like the fur of his arms and stomach, Sodalite’s legs were covered in black fur. The black fur ran up to just above his knees and tapered inwardly to his inner thighs where it connected to the back fur of his sheath and stomach. Scattered all throughout Sodalite’s fur were splotches of black the same color as his rest of the fur on his body. While looking at his lower body, Sodalite decided to inspect his tail. He ran his paw down the soft fur, smiling as he passed the light blue rings that circled the blue tail until he reached the black furred end of his tail. Satisfied that nothing had gone amiss with his tail, Sodalite finally began to inspect his face. Lightly taking hold of his left, then right ear, Sodalite folded them down a little inspecting the backs of his black ears before letting go of them and watching the white portions around and inside his ears become visible once more. Next he traced his paw down his to his cheek bones, running the claw tips through the white tufts of fur that rested there. The feeling of his claws running through the fur on his cheeks caused Sodalite to smile to himself, causing his white muzzle tip to move and twitch lightly, his black nose following suit. Finally, Sodalite moved his finger tips to the white rings around his eyes. Gently, he checked to make sure nothing untoward had happened to his eye sockets.
After a solid fifteen minutes of inspecting his body, Sodalite was satisfied that nothing was out of place. That being done, he turned from the bathroom and left. Behind him the door swished shut and, sensing that there was no longer anyone in the room, the lights turned themselves off. Stepping into his cabin proper, Sodalite gave another yawn and walked to the small compartment in the wall that housed his clothing. Considering the fact that they would be landing on a commerce planet sometime during the day, Sodalite decided he would opt for something comfortable yet functional today. From the closet he retrieved a pair tan rope sandals he had made himself, a pair of khaki colored cargo shorts, a loose fitting button down Hawaiian style shirt that contained various shades of blue and tan spread across flowers and archaic designs.
As he was drawing the rope strapping around his lower leg, the small translucent band wrapped around Sodalite’s wrist flaired to life. Colors danced slowly before a simple display was projected a few inches from the band. Seconds after the display had sparkled into existence, a small portrait of the captain was displayed indicating that this was a ship wide communication. If it had been a personal call there would have been video rather than a picture.
“Attention, we have just entered the local space of Del Ne ‘el. It should not take any longer than an hour to secure landing permission and to land. Once we touch down all passengers and workers will have six hours of shore leave. We will be dusting off seven hours after touchdown. Anyone not onboard by this time will be left and their positions within the Counsel of Science suspended until they are able to report back to Galen Prime. That is all.”
Just like that the display faded into nothingness and the band returned to being indistinguishable from Sodalite’s fur. Having little else to do until it was time to land, Sodalite ventured from his cabin and headed towards the small research lab he shared with a few other furs. Upon entering he overheard a few of the undergraduate students bickering about some quark of the local customs. However, their argument soon dissolved into nothingness