Mairi sat in her quarters staring at her shell collection. Outside of Von, she was the least known crew member. Not so much because she stayed to herself like Von, but more so because she seemed reluctant to reveal very much about herself. One always had the feeling there was more to Mairi than she was ever willing or perhaps able to admit.

Older than Emy but younger than Kyra and Yul, Mairi had striking red hair, cropped short, and deep blue eyes. She spoke in soft and inviting tones with perfectly nuanced articulation. Her bearing bespoke an upper class background and one assumed a private education. There was just something about her eyes; no one could quite say what, but something about her look that communicated a deeper intelligence than she appeared willing to reveal. Whether she was seen as humble or aloof depended on who you asked. Everyone, however, agreed she was likeable, a certain subtle edge notwithstanding.

She had been told she was a child of the shells, but not even the best doctors could deduce her unique defect or ability. Not knowing tormented her. She never felt completely at home with the “normal” kids nor did the other children of the shells completely welcome her since no one knew exactly what made her different. She lived in no-man’s land. Was she or wasn’t she? The question alone never strayed far from her mind. As she grew older, she avoided the subject and few knew why she seemed melancholy more times than not.

When the crew learned that Kieran was a child of the shells, that he had two hearts, Mairi had to conceal her excitement. Perhaps there was someone else on board she could confide in, could share with, someone who might understand with eye, ear and heart. Kieran, like her, came from an upper class background and private education. She felt a certain comfort, a kinship in his presence. Perhaps, she thought, he could be the missing piece, the piece that could end her doubt. Perhaps he could be the harbor she sought, the place where she felt safe and at home.

In a way, she shared Kyra’s sense of regret. Shy by nature, she had wanted to visit Kieran in the iso ward, but had been unable to summon the strength to approach Trev. She struggled to forgive herself after he died and the opportunity had forever slipped away.

Her melancholy had grown with the passing of Kieran but no one on board noticed. Between Kyra’s coma and the vortex taking them into uncharted territory, Mairi had simply faded into the background. The chapel had become a second home for her. If her red hair and blue eyes were not so striking, she could have easily been totally forgotten. All that was about to change.

“Mairi, your presence is requested in the Grand Conference room,” intoned the onboard computer.

“On my way.”

Categories: Story, Mairi, Shells