Log Entry 130629.68

Since I have confessed to the Captain about my apparitions and learned of my connections to the Bermuda Zone, reports of a similar nature have been coming in from all over the ship, along with accounts of things being moved. How accurate they are, I question. If this shadow is responsible for the disappearance of entire ships and crew, I doubt that it would settle for moving a few knickknacks about. In light of that, I am doubting that anybody else has actually witnessed anything at all. Even Karl hasn't seen anything, only felt it.
Anyway, on a more social note, I've just realised that I haven't mentioned Luke or Al, or even Rutter for that matter, and I should because to be honest, as Jarrod so quaintly put it when she didn't know I was within earshot, we've become as thick as thieves.
Aboard the Drakonia, Rutter used to be one of the 'in-crowd' only ever mixing with the 'pretty' people and usually sporting a doting crewman or ensign hanging off one arm or the other ... or both.
On the Earhart, it's very different. For a start, not only did Al and I decimate his reputation for being a cool dude but there is no 'in-crowd' on the Earhart. He is no longer the happy-go-lucky ensign, all beaming smiles and booming voice. He's much more melancholy and pensive now, but strangely, he seems more relaxed too. I think his former self may have all just been a front.
As it is, many find him sombre and grumpy, but it's a loveable sort of grumpy if you get my drift. He has a very dry, sarcastic sense of humour. Take this morning.
Rutter was taking Al and I through a simulated shuttle landing in the holographic suite. With a constant barrage of system failures and things to go wrong, it was a simulation created to test the most experienced of pilots.
I am not an experienced pilot, but had handled most of the test pretty well, but suddenly, the minor system failures escalated and things started to go horribly wrong on a big scale. As more and more things went awry, I began to panic. Frantically, I stabbed at controls, not sure which ones to activate first. In other words, I was making a right pig's ear of it.
I lurched frenziedly from one panel to another pushing every button that came to hand, getting absolutely nowhere. In the midst of that chaos, Rutter leaned casually back into his chair, crossed his legs and declared, "They say that if you have enough monkeys sat at enough data consoles for enough time, they'll reproduce the entire works of William Shakespeare. I take it you're using the same theory here?"
Al began to giggle.
"If so," he continued, "could I ask that you change your tactics. I have a birthday in nine months and I'd rather like to celebrate it somewhere else other than here."
That was when I lost control completely and crashed the shuttle into the USS Enterprise taking out one of its nacelles. Rutter merely rolled his eyes and shook his head pityingly before he patiently rebooted the simulation and took us through it again. He really is a very good mentor.
He's also entered into the spirit of Games Club and taught us how to play Tugullian Poker.
Similar to Terran Poker, it is played with a deck of sixty-three cards in three suits: ruby, emerald and sapphire. Each suit has twenty-one cards: uno (being the equivalent of the ace) to ten, doubles and dancers. Doubles are basically the same as uno to twenty but with a second icon shadowed behind the first, so the ruby uno has a single ruby on it, double-uno has two rubies on it with one behind the other, but ruby two has two separate rubies on it. It sounds complicated but it's actually very easy to recognise each card that way.
Finally, there is the picture card: the dancer. Each suit has one dancer card which features three dancers in elaborate dress. It is the highest value card in the pack and when played with the other two dancers, is an unbeatable hand. Anyway, somehow we seem to have got into the habit of playing in my quarters once or twice a week. Beastie loves it because she gets to sit on the table, usually beside Luke, pirruping for tickles.
We were playing last night too and chatting away about the shadow and drawing our own conclusions. I was just asking the others if we were anything other than bait as with no way of detecting the anomaly, aren't we just sitting around waiting to be snatched? And if we are taken, then what? But then Rutter laid down a winning hand, pairing up his two dancer cards with one Al had already laid down.
As I stared at the three dancer cards laid on the green baize, something tickled at the edges of my mind. There's something about them that I should know—that I do know, but I just can't quite grasp it!

Log Entry 130622.67

I have never bothered to investigate my beginnings before. It has never been of interest to me. Some say that I should have been interested, but why? It wouldn't change anything; it certainly won't change who I am, so what would be the point?
But now it is different, so I have finally undertaken the task of piecing together all the information I can find from the various log reports and suchlike as well as interviewing Commander Katherine Jarrod, née Jenny, and it goes something like this.
* * * * *
The USS Heracles was on a routine mission passing through a relatively uncharted region of space using newly acquired star charts from the latest addition to the United Federation of Planets. Known locally to be a bit of a Bermuda Triangle, the USS Heracles was proceeding with interest and caution. Can you imagine their excitement at the discovery of a vessel adrift in space?
Initial scans showed it to be of a completely unknown design, so foreign it must have originated from very far away, and abandoned. An oxygen-based atmosphere was detected and thus an Away Team was assembled and sent over to investigate. Consisting of six team members, upon landing they found the air to be breathable if not entirely pleasant. Without circulation and purification, it had become stagnant and stale. Dead perfume also hung in the air.
It was dark and cramped too. Only dim emergency lighting illuminated the way, and the corridors were small and narrow with low ceilings, which indicated that the original crew must have been of a much smaller stature than most humanoids. Even the shortest member of the team, Ensign Kate Jenny, had to duck at every doorway.
The team soon split up, two of them making their way up to the bridge, two more down to the computer core and the last two—Ensign Jenny and Lt Peter Fairfax—towards Engineering at the rear of the craft.
Jenny and Fairfax continually swept their tricorders from side to side taking readings and using them to guide the way towards their quarry and soon found it. It wasn't a large ship by any means and quite simplistic in design.
The doors to Engineering opened grudgingly at their bidding and Fairfax, a tall, rugged-looking man with straw yellow hair gasped in disgust.
"Jeeze! It stinks in here," he complained, raising the back of his hand to his mouth to mask it. The effort was wasted of course.
"It is pretty dire," agreed Kate, but as an engineer, she was more interested in seeing what sort of engines and propulsion systems this alien vessel featured. They stepped through the door and began their investigations wandering off in different directions, their tricorders buzzing and beeping away as they registered the surroundings.
Both officers stopped at various stations to study the controls and readings, but the markings were indecipherable and the systems unlike anything they had ever seen before. Both decided to leave well alone until they had sorted out where the main reactors were and which station was likely to do what.
"Hang on a minute!" exclaimed Jenny suddenly, and she scowled at her tricorder.
"What is it?" prompted Fairfax from the far side of the room.
"I have a life sign!"
"A life sign? But initial scans didn't pick anything up? Are you sure?"
Kate checked her equipment and fiddled with the calibration settings to maximise them.
"Yes," she scowled. "This is definitely a life sign."
Fairfax approached, unconvinced by her interpretation of the readings, but as he looked over her shoulder, he had to agree. Reactivating his own tricorder, he took his own readings, which only served to verify Kate's.
Cautiously, the two made their way towards the signal wafting their instruments from side to side as they went. They followed it through a low, wide arch and found in the darkness, a row of four missile cases laid out before them.
"What the heck are they doing with missiles in engineering?" Kate wondered aloud. It made no sense. She scrutinised them further.
Three of the missiles were apparently live but the last one—the fourth one, wasn't. It was, however, the source of the life sign.
Confused and wary, the two glanced at each other and then Kate stepped forward.
"Careful Katy!" shouted Fairfax. "It could be a booby-trap!"
"It could, but I'm not detecting any explosives or mechanisms. From my readings, I'd say it was an empty shell casing—well, almost empty."
Kate closed her tricorder and passed it to Fairfax before stepping up to the missile.
About five feet in length and a foot in diameter, it was dirty white in colour and covered in a layer of fine dust. With the delicate touch that one would expect of an engineer, Kaye gently began to loosen the cover. A quiet gasp of air escaped from it that caused both officers to freeze for a moment. The freshness of the air surprised both officers, but not as much as the gurgle that also escaped.
With eyes agog, Kate looked to her friend and superior. He stepped forward with his tricorder and pointed it at the container. If it was a booby-trap, he wanted to gather as much information as possible about it before it went off if, for no other reason, than to help those that came after them.
Cautiously, Kate proceeded to lift the cover off, but neither of them expected to find what they did.
Inside, cradled in the missile's interior, lay a small infant loosely wrapped in a blanket.
"What the heck!" exclaimed Fairfax.
"It's a baby!" exclaimed Kate.
"I can see that! But what's it doing there?"
"Don't asked me!" she exclaimed, snatching her tricorder back and opening it to scan the child.
"It's Human," she declared.
"It can't be!"
Katherine glanced around the ship again with its low ceilings and cramped spaces. It was unlikely that Humans had occupied this vessel. It simply wasn't built for a species as tall as a Human, but her tricorder insisted the baby was of that species.
"Without a shadow of a doubt, it's Human," she confirmed.
The two stood staring at the child that lay, gurgling and blowing bubbles before them. It seemed quite a happy baby despite its ordeal. It couldn't have been there long though. The oxygen in the missile case simply wouldn't have been enough and the gasp of air as they opened it revealed that it must have been airtight, but the layer of dust suggested otherwise.
A deafening wail suddenly ripped through the silence, the baby burst into a bawl and the lights dropped into a deep crimson hue. Red alert had been activated.
"Fairfax! Jenny! Get the hell outta there! We've set off the damned self-destruct. We have about ten seconds!" someone screamed over the comms channel.
"Acknowledged!" shouted Fairfax into his badge, but both officers knew the problem they had. They needed to put distance between themselves and engineering where the main reactor was housed and would interfere with the transporter beam.
"Grab the baby!" shouted Fairfax.
"Me! Why me?"
Jenny had always openly admitted that she had no maternal instincts whatsoever.
"You're a woman aren't you?" he screamed over the siren.
"So!" she retorted, but there was no time to argue. Screwing up her nose in disgust, Kate roughly picked up the bawling child and held it at arm's length, eager not to come into contact with it. Then, holding the child out before her, Katherine ran following Fairfax into the corridor until his tricorder flashed a green safe light. Fairfax tapped his communications badge.
"Three to transport!" and they faded from view as the transporter beam whisked them away.
* * * * *
Back on board the Heracles, on the bridge, the captain watched on the viewscreen with a heavy heart as the vessel exploded silently in the vacuum of space. As the sparkler of yellow lights faded and died and the debris began its eternal flight through space, he sighed. It was always sad to witness the death of a ship. It was especially so in this case as this one took so many secrets with it.
"Transporter Room," he asked. "Do we have the Away Team?"
"Confirmed, sir."
Thank goodness for that, he thought.
"Plus one," added the voice over the intercom.
The Chief of Security didn't need to be told. In an instant, a security team had been despatched and the XO was on his way down, curious to see who this extra person was.
As he burst in through the transporter room doors, he pulled up to an abrupt halt and his jaw dropped. The team of six were still assembled there and Ensign Katherine Jenny was standing in the middle of them, holding the child out, wishing, for the love of all that is holy, that someone would take the damned thing off her.
"Good grief, Ensign! What have you got there?"
"It's a baby, sir," she scowled angrily, still cross that she should have been left holding the baby. She didn't like babies. They were soggy, sticky things that leaked from every orifice.
"I can see that!" he shouted, but then his mood softened as the child giggled and kicked out, stretching its arms out to him.
"Why in god's name are you holding it like that, ensign! It's not an unexploded bomb you know."
"On the contrary, sir. All babies are unexploded bombs and I'm not sure if this one's about to go off, sir. What do you want me to do with it?"
The XO could not help but smile at Ensign Jenny's obvious discomfort.
"I'd take it to sick bay if I were you," and nearly laughed himself silly as the ensign disappeared through the doors, veritably running with the child still held out at arm's length before her.

Log Entry 130615.66

Grrrr! And now I can't sleep! My conscience keeps pricking me. What if something is going on? What if there is some hidden danger in the shadow? What if people start to go missing or die because of my silence?
After a dreadful night constantly tossing and turning, I headed to Starboard-7 in search of Karl. I found him too and he looked as bad as I did. Bleary-eyed, pale and drawn, he brought me a mug of builder's tea and sat down opposite, nursing an equally large mug of coffee.
"There's a senior staff meeting in thirty minutes," he murmured. "I think we should go."
I nodded.
"Has anything happened your end?" I asked, wondering if he had picked up on anything new but he shook his head.
"Not really. I've just got a bad feeling about this."
We sat in silence and drank our breakfast before making our way up to the conference room on the bridge deck. The door pirruped at our command and we were bid to enter.
Inside, Captain T'Roc, Jarrod, Lt Cmdr Jayson, Lt Brock and the doctor were seated.
"Good morning," said the captain somewhat amused by our arrival. "And to what do we owe this pleasure?" but our obvious discomfort soon shadowed her happy face.
"You had better sit down," she said, so we did and proceeded to tell her about our vague and insubstantial concerns, feeling more and more stupid as we progressed. The five of them sat in silence as we explained it, and I couldn't help but notice peculiar glances being cast between the Captain and XO. Whether it was ridicule or concern, I couldn't tell.
It was Lt Cmdr Jayson that spoke first.
"Sensors have detected nothing," he confirmed, shaking his head. "We're constantly monitoring everything in every way we can and have, literally, nothing."
A thoughtful silence fell. Jarrod began drumming her fingers on the table and the glances continued.
"Do you not find it odd that it is only you that can see this shadow?" asked the doctor.
I sighed heavily.
"I know it could just be me losing my marbles, but what if it's not?"
"That's not what Rosie is saying," assured the Captain. I smiled, amused that Rosie's old name seemed to have caught on, but the Captain mistook it for relief.
"Rosie is suggesting that perhaps ... there is a connection between you and the shadow—you and this phenomenon."
"Connection? What sort of connection?"
My voice trembled as fear rose in me. Eager to quell it, Rosie stepped in.
"Your DNA," he explained, "is off. Not wrong, not impossible, just odd and I think your ability to block Karl from reading you is down to that DNA. Like a Ferengi, he is oblivious to your emotions and that is because of their genetic makeup."
"What are you saying? That I'm not Human?"
I could feel my world being turned on its head.
"No, just that you've been ... tweaked."
"Genetically engineered?"
"No, not exactly. There are no discernable markers to indicate genetic engineering, but something does appear to have been tinkered with."
"But why? What for?"
It was the commander that responded.
"Cadet, I've read your report—your investigation into the numerous disappearances in the Bermuda Zone. In it, you mention just three ships that have rematerialised ..."
I was annoyed that she was changing the subject and suspect my scowl told her so.
"Yes, the Earhart, the Chinkower and L'de Jagh."
"And those ships mean nothing to you?"
I shrugged.
"Only the Earhart. Why? Should they?"
Jarrod shook her head slowly.
"Possibly not, but did you not investigate the Chinkower and L'de Jagh further?"
My mouth shrugged.
"There wasn't much to find. Both ships were found in a similar state to the Earhart: abandoned and with their databanks wiped clean."
"Hmm, but that's not entirely true. Not in the case of the Chinkower anyway. That particular ship was of an unknown origin and her name also unknown. She was christened Chinkower after the legendary maritime ship from Trados III that was found abandoned in the middle of the sea many eons ago, rather like Earth's Marie Celeste," and she scratched the bridge of her nose nervously.
"She was found over twenty years ago by a Starfleet vessel but not entirely abandoned. A young ensign found a single survivor ..." Jarrod paused to ensure I was following her. " ... a child—a baby."
She paused again waiting for my brain to make the connection, but it was paralysed, loath to make any connections.
"Jenny ... you were that child."

Log Entry 130608.65

Games Night is fun. It's great to have so many friends aboard the Earhart, both old and new, to relax with, and so many new crewmembers are eager to join us and learn these old games.
Karl loves it too. It brings a lot of people into Starboard-7 that might not otherwise have come, making it the centre of the Earhart's social scene. We've also become friends. Karl finds it refreshing that he can't read me. It reminds him of what most others have to endure: the uncertainty of another's true feelings. He has to rely upon my body language, voice tones and micro expressions to gauge my emotional state.
I, too, have been learning about Karl. I had assumed that he was a civilian, but he's not. No one on board the Earhart is a civilian. Karl is a Lieutenant and holds the position affectionately referred to as the TensO. Responsible for morale and crew entertainment, the Tensions Officer can often be found in casual clothing aboard a Starfleet ship, creating a relaxed atmosphere and ensuring that downtime is quality time for the crew. So, despite his attire, his position is just as important as any other officer on board the ship. It's just that his office is a little different to most. I have a desk. He has a bar!
Anyway, I'd just made him leap out of his skin for the forty-billionth time and was in the process of apologising yet again.
"It's not your fault," he insisted. "I'm just not used to people sneaking up on me, without me sensing them first."
We both laughed at that, but then he read my face. It had fallen very serious.
"What?" he asked.
"Karl, can I ask you something?"
"Of course."
I scowled as I formulated the question in my mind.
"Do you ever ... sense anything ... strange?" I asked tentatively.
To my surprise, he took my arm and led me off to one side.
"Define strange," he instructed.
I gave him one of my killer derisive looks.
Strange, weird, unusual, hinky, call it what you will. You don't need to define strange. Strange is strange! Again, he read my expression well.
"Well, now that you mention it, I do keep getting this odd feeling that there is someone there when there isn't. But ... I don't think it's an entity. I can't feel any emotion, just a ... presence. Like a ghost maybe. Why? What do you sense?"
Eek! Should I tell him the truth?
"Something similar, but like you, it's not tangible enough to report."
"No. I know what you mean."
"Has anybody else mentioned anything—I mean, as the barman, people tell you stuff. Anybody mention anything else?"
"No, but I'll keep my ears open seeing as you've mentioned it too. In the meantime ... how are you bearing up?"
"Ship's shrink now?" I asked, a little spitefully if I'm honest.
"Now now. Play nicely. I'm asking out of concern. Remember, I too am a bit out of my comfort zone these days."
"Sorry," I apologised. "I have been a little edgy of late and I've already spooked Rosie—"
I tutted at myself for that clanger again.
"I mean Dr Roosevelt."
"And you call him Rosie?" he scowled.
"Yes. Apparently, it was a nickname he had at the Academy. Don't ask me where I heard it. Anyway, as I was saying, I've already spooked the doctor with my telepathic cloaking device and my weird DNA, so I'm just keeping my head down at the moment."
"Ah! And that's why you wanted to know if I had felt anything. Seeking a comrade?"
I grinned. He was right. I didn't want to feel alone in this. Safety in numbers and all that.

Log Entry 130601.64

As the days pass, the crews' tensions are beginning to settle; they are not as nervy as they were. An air of normality has returned.
Even I have become accustomed the shadows or should I say shadow. When I see it now, although I still can't look at it head on, I can determine that it's not the shadow of an object. It's a single, mathematically straight column of darkness that usually saunters around the periphery of a room. I say usually, because today it was different.
I was heading towards the turbolift on my way to meet the guys in Starboard-7. We had resurrected Games Night and Starboard-7 was the logical venue. Karl loved it too as it brought more people in. Anyway, as I walked, I suddenly became aware of its presence behind me. Turning my head, just enough for it to register on the periphery of my vision, there it was. A long, tall column of shadow drifting down the centre of the corridor, fix to the floor and ceiling like a tram. It looked stronger, thicker, blacker than it had done before, and that it was in the middle and not clinging to the edges of the corridor, the way it usually did, struck me. As it approached, I stepped off to one side eager not to be touched by it. I don't care if it's not really there; it still freaks me out. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and I don't want to make contact with it.
In the odd way that I have developed, I looked down at my feet but kept the shadow in sight via the corner of my eye. The shadow passed me by and continued on its way, equidistant between the walls. I began to follow it when an ensign emerged from the turbolift at the end of the corridor. He was engrossed in a datapad and my heart missed a beat as I realised that he was going to walk straight into the shadow.
Turmoil filled me. Should I shout a warning? If so, a warning of what? And was there any danger if he did walk through the shadow? It was just a shadow after all.
I stood in my quandary and my mouth opened in preparation to speak although no words formed in my mouth.
The ensign, meanwhile, oblivious to the danger, suddenly deviated from his path, as though allowing someone to pass by, and then returned to his original route. Momentarily, he looked up, saw me and smiled. Then he looked behind him as though to see who else was in the corridor, who he had stepped aside for, but he saw nothing. He scratched his head in confusion, convinced that someone had been there, shrugged and then continued on his way.
So some part of him had registered the shadow, but not enough to spook him?
What is that shadow?

Log Entry 130525.63

As we approach the borders of the Bermuda Zone (yes, it's even earned itself a nickname), tensions among the crew are running high. You don't need to be a Betazoid to feel it. It moves among us like the black shadows that continue to haunt me. You can't actually see them, but you know they are there.
In the meantime, Captain T'Roc has tasked me with researching the area in detail. I am collating data on all the vessels that have disappeared in the area. It's no surprise that this has not been done before. While the Earhart's disappearance was well documented and thoroughly investigated, most other incidents were not so notable. Small civilian ships are missed by only a few family members and friends.
With this in mind, I have been trawling through the records of all the worlds in the area and surrounding vicinity searching for mentions of missing vessels, curious rematerialisations and any other strange events. Unlike the zone's namesake, (the Bermuda Triangle, which had an average number of disappearances for the amount of traffic and whose reputation was built solely upon gossip and tales), the Bermuda Zone is definitely a problem area.
While officially, the numbers are small, once you start to include all the 'insignificant' vessels, they soon grow. At present, I have found one hundred and twenty-one such ships that have disappeared over the last twenty-two years. Of these, only three have been found—not just the Earhart as we first thought, but the Chinkower and the L'de Jagh as well. More disturbing though, is another fact that I have unearthed.
Those ships all had crew and passengers. Ignoring the Earhart, the missing total 1,041 and while there are no official numbers available, there are many reports (granted, some unconfirmed) of corpses found floating in space. Without any official records to confirm or repute, these could well be unconnected, but I doubt it because they all have one thing in common. The bodies were emaciated and dehydrated.
And so it is that with this news, the crew is anxious. Nerves are frayed and mine too. I've not pursued the matter of my curious ability to block telepaths and mask my brainwaves, or my curious DNA. To be honest, other things prey on my mind: namely, the shadows.
As I sit here now, I can see one out of the corner of my eye, lurking where no shadow can possibly be. If I shift my gaze towards it, it melts away leaving no trace. But as I return to my work, it reappears until it is ready to go. Like phantoms, these tall columns of darkness float around the edge of the room and then pass through the walls and are gone.
I wonder if anybody else is experiencing this, or is it just me. Am I going slightly mad? Normally, it is an incident I would report, but I think I've stuck my head above the parapet once too often already. With one hundred and forty crew on board, surely someone else will complain about it and then I'll see it on the reports. If not, well then, it is just me and the only question that remains is whether it is my vivid imagination playing tricks on me ... or something else.