Log Entry 130824.76

"Where's Luke? Where did they take him?"
"Because he's my friend!" I exclaimed at the stupid question. "I can't let them hurt him."
"He's special to you then."
"All my friends are special to me. Now, do you know where they took him or not?"
"Of course."
"Then tell me?"
"And what about the rest of your friends—your crew?"
"I ... er ... well I have to find them too, but Luke is in imminent danger."
"That's a lot of people to liberate."
"Yes. So?"
"And the plan is ...?"
"I told you—to find Luke first. He's the one in the greatest danger."
Troy then turned, ambled nonchalantly back to his bunk and perched on its edge. He leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees and tented his fingers in front of his mouth.
"You haven't thought this through, have you?"
I hadn't, but he was implying there was something else I hadn't considered, something bigger.
"If you do find and release him, who will the Dancers think was responsible for that?"
"The Dancers are looking for you. They have been for years. They know what you can do. They think that you hold the key to our stealth technology ... but they don't know that you are here. If you rescue your friend, they will know that someone with stealth technology was responsible. Because I'm imprisoned in here, there is only one alternative. They will know you are here and then you will have lost your advantage."
"They might think it's another Helvetian."
He laughed.
"No. Only I have been able to infiltrate the Dancers' HQ. They will know it was you ... unless ..."
His words trailed off. I wasn't sure if I believed him or not; and I knew he was baiting me. He was angling at something.
"Unless?" I prompted.
"Well," he stood up and approached the bars of his jail. "If you release me ..."
Now that did get me thinking.
"But how would you have escaped?"
"I've managed it before."
"But how?"
"It really doesn't matter. The important thing is that I did it once so it is possible that I could do it again."
"And what will you do if I release you?"
He said nothing.
"I mean, if I am such a threat to you, it would be in your interests to destroy me, wouldn't it?"
Troy smiled, his mouth stretching to reveal a row of perfectly formed, shiny black teeth that shone like obsidian.
"Now you're thinking," he smirked.
"But I have a point, don't I?"
He pondered.
"Yes, but perhaps there is a greater prize to be won here."
"And what would that be?"
"My mission. It is of mutual benefit to us both. If I can complete my mission, it means that the Dancers won't be able to connect to your realm anymore, and my people will be rid of them too."
"So while I save Luke, you're going to ... what? Destroy the Dancers?"
"Actually, no. Destroying something as resilient as the Dancers would be nigh on impossible. No. The fact is that as we became aware of your ... what did you call it? Realm. Yes, we began to ask why these two universes can exist alongside each other and yet remain oblivious to each other."
"Hang on a minute! Earlier, you implied you didn't know of my realm."
"That's true, but it doesn't pay to reveal all you know to a stranger."
"So why tell me now?"
"Because you are the only hope I have for completing my mission."
"Okay," I said suspiciously. "Go on then. How does this asynchronous temporal plane thing fit in?" I said, quoting Luke word for word.
"We call it a temporal drift. Our two universes exist in different moments in time, but the temporal difference is not a constant. It drifts."
"Is that even possible?" My understanding of the subject was limited, but I had paid attention to my temporal science lessons at the Academy.
"Yes, it cycles, and those cycles are driven by astral events."
"But that would suggest a gravitational pull, surely?"
"But there are no planets in this region of space?"
"Not in your realm, no, but in ours, yes. You're on it now. We have a sun and a small solar system, but it doesn't extend very far. As you move away from our sun, our realm ... fades."
"Fades? How can space fade?"
"Because of the black hole."
"Now you've lost me."
"On the rim of our solar system is a microscopic black hole that consumes matter. We cannot move beyond the perimeter of our universe because of it. Anything that ventures that far is consumed, but the black hole is also the cause of the temporal drift, pulling and stretching at time as well as matter. The gravitational forces created by the black hole are responsible for the variable temporal drift. By manipulating the black hole, we can influence that drift."
My brow furrowed as I puzzled it over.
"You mean you're going to create another drift—split your world into two temporal regions? So then there'll be three temporal planes?"
"Not exactly. No, my mission is to take advantage of the temporal divide and manipulate it to place the Dancers on one side of it and us on the other. We want to move the Helvetian world into your realm and leave the Dancers behind."
"But that's impossible."
"I wouldn't be here if that were so."
"But how?"
"With the kaleg."
"The kaleg?"
"Yes, the kaleg is designed to breach the gravitational drift—that's how it enters your realm and is able to bring your kind back here. My aim is to use that force to influence the black hole."
"You can do that?"
"Of course!"
I fell silent trying to put the pieces into some sort of order in my head.
"I still don't see why you need me in all of this. I mean besides me freeing you."
"Because while I'm distracting them from you," and he smiled. "You will also be distracting them from me."
I could see how that would work, but remained doubtful.
"But how do you know that this plan will leave the Dancers behind? Surely they will be transported along with you."
"No. They can only exist in this temporal plane. Their being is dependant upon that temporal shift. Their colour and format physically changes as the cycle moves. They cannot exist in your realm. By shifting our world into your temporal plane, it will simply leave them behind."
"But if you take your planet into our temporal plane, where will they live? How will they exist?"
Troy shrugged.
"It doesn't matter. They don't need a planet to exist. The forms they have taken may mimic us but their natural form could survive just as well in open space."
It was a difficult choice. Was he telling the truth, or would I be helping him commit genocide? How did I know he wouldn't kill me anyway? I really didn't know if I could trust Troy or not, but without him, one thing was certain. My chances of success were limited. Even if I freed Luke and my entire crew, how would we all get back to the Earhart? I considered hard and wondered ... is the enemy of my enemy, my friend?
Finally, I decided.
"Okay, but we stick together. Deal?"
"Deal," he grinned.

Log Entry 130817.75

"The Helvetians were the first race to walk this realm, and we walked it alone for millennia. We were a peaceful people and, without enemies, our race flourished and grew. We became technologically advanced, developing new machines that made our life easier, and new power sources to drive them.
"Soon came the computer age of artificial intelligence, and as our technology grew so did our demands until, one day, our only limitation was the energy we used to drive our inventions. We needed a new, more sophisticated power source; and in time that came too.
"We developed an intelligent energy that was as self contained and mobile as a mortal. Although usually spherical, it could take any form, accept verbal instruction and adapt itself to energise any piece of equipment. When you needed power, you simply selected a new cell and activated it. With the point of a finger and a verbal instruction, it would obey, connect itself to the required piece of apparatus and energise it until, like an old battery, it became exhausted and died. It was perfect in every way ... but one. It was intelligent.
"Over time, the cells began to mimic our shape as they moved among us. It amused us and we called them Dancers because of the way they flitted through the air: a dancing figure of energy, but their beauty hid a darkness.
"Unbeknownst to us, the Dancers were learning from us: learning and evolving. They were becoming more than just intelligent; they were becoming sentient. We didn't know it but every time we took one and used its energy, we were effectively murdering it and yet, they said nothing. We did not know. We did not appreciate what the Dancers had become ... until it was too late, until the war began.
"The first battle did not last long. When you have never had any enemies and thus have no weapons, and when your enemy already surrounds you in your very homes as well as your workplaces, it was easy for them to kill us. In the space of a few hours, all the Helvetians in the cities were annihilated, and then those in the towns. Soon, all that was left were those in the small villages where new technology did not prevail, but the Dancers were not going to let them survive either.
"The Dancers were mobile and mimicked us in so many ways. They took on individuality. Now they were politicians, scientists, leaders and soldiers. They took the technology we had left in our cities and redeveloped it to use the old energy sources. Now they drove vehicles and carried weapons to engage us in hand-to-hand combat, but we had never fought anyone before. We had always been the masters in our universe so we had to learn new ways. We had to develop weapons to fight the Dancers. We too had to redevelop machines and resurrect old energy sources in order to survive, and that is the way it has been for eons now. The Helvetians and the Dancers fighting an endless war.
"Now, I have kept my side of the bargain, Creature. What about you? Tell me what you truly are."
I debated how much I should tell him, but soon realised I knew very little that would compromise either me or my crewmates.
"My name is Jenny Terran and I am Human. I have been snatched from my universe along with my shipmates. I don't know why but I intend to find out."
There wasn't much more I could say so I stopped talking, but Warrior Troy was waiting for more. His head was thrust forward and he scowled, waiting for my words.
"Is that it?" he finally asked with contained surprise.
"Yes. I'm sorry."
"But what of you? Tell me of your beginnings!" he demanded, so I did. I told him how I was found as a baby on board an abandoned alien vessel, and he listened in silence. He sat pensively as he mulled over my words.
"So it seems that the Dancers lost you."
"Lost me?"
"Yes. You are the Creature. You must be the Creature."
"Why must I be?"
"Because of your ability to cloak."
"What ability? I don't have an ability!"
"Then why can't I see you?"
I couldn't answer that.
"Tell me about the Creature," I asked.
"Ah! Now there's the thing. Was the Creature fact or fiction? Until this day, no one really knew."
"But now you do?"
"Yes, Creature, you were born here and then it seems that within days of your creation, you were lost."
"My name is Jenny or Jen, not Creature, but if I am this ... thing, how was I lost? I was just a baby."
The Helvetian shrugged.
"I do not know," he sighed. "I am just the enemy ... and you may call me Troy."
Well, at least we were on first name terms; that was something, but still my questions remained unanswered.
"But what was the Creature supposed to be?"
"I can only speculate."
"Then speculate!"
"Throughout the war, we have been hunted by the Dancers and have found it almost impossible to find a place where they cannot find us. In general, we live in the deep wildernesses of our world with little technology so as to remain hidden, but still the Dancers would pursue us and slay us. In the end, we sought to hide ourselves in a more permanent way. We began to study stealth technology and after some time discovered that it was quite easy for us to mask ourselves from the Dancers."
"The same way you do."
"I don't know how I do it."
"No. I suspected not."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because I can see you now ... and now I can't. I suggest you try to master your technique."
"Wait a minute. Are you saying that the Dancers can't see you either?"
"That is correct."
"Then how come you are in here?"
He tutted.
"Because I got caught. Ah! And I can see you again! And now I can't." His tones rose and fell as he spoke. "I really would work on that if I were you."
"But I can see you all the time."
"Yes, apparently so," and he laughed heartily, throwing his head back. "Excuse the pun."
The cogs were turning frantically in my mind.
"If you think I mask myself from the Dancers the same way that you do, does that mean that you think I am more like a Helvetian than a Dancer?"
"I know that the Dancers are researching how we evade their detection. It is why I will die soon. They will take me, run their experiments and, ultimately, dissect me."
"That's horrible!"
"That's war."
I pondered for another moment.
"But, if I'm Human, how can I have mastered this stealth thing?"
"I don't know but what if, somehow, you were created as a result of their research, either by design or by accident."
"Well, if that's true and they did lose me ..." My words trailed off as I realised an awful thought.
They had been looking for me. All those times that ships and crews had been disappearing had only been in the years since my discovery by Starfleet. Was that the reason why so many people had been snatched? More disturbing though: had all those people died because of me? But if that was so, how had my parents been in this realm to start with?
So many questions swimming around inside my head.
"How did they know where I had gone?"
"I don't know. I am just a simple warrior."
I sighed heavily. This was just too much to take in.
"And when they take people from my realm, what happens to them?"
"They are interrogated and then they die."
"Yes, we've had one or two bodies come back, and one or two live people too, but they don't survive long. Their minds ..."
"That will be the bleaching."
"Yes, the interrogation bleaches their minds. In order to find the information they require, they bleach out the unnecessary thoughts and memories until the only thing that is left is what they are looking for."
"In other words, they wipe their minds; and if they can't find what they are looking for?" but I knew the answer to that. Suddenly I realised the urgency in finding my crew.
"Have you seen any others like me—well, not like me, but in a uniform like this?"
"When? Where?"
"Today. It was a child. They were taking him for bleaching."
"Child? There are no children in our crew; no children on the Earhart at all in fact."
Troy shrugged.
"I assumed it was a child. He was smaller than you," and he indicated with his hand how tall the person was. My mind toyed with the puzzle, turning it over and, suddenly, I realised! Both horror and fear filled me.
Luke! It could only be Luke! Oh god, no! They were going to destroy Luke!

Log Entry 130810.74

That moment, standing in front of the Helvetian, stretched out endlessly. I was filled with indecision. Should I say something thereby admitting my presence, or keep my mouth shut?
I also couldn't ascertain whether he was looking at me or just looking at where he thought I was. I decided to step to one side to test him and somehow—don't ask me how, I managed to get my feet tangled up in themselves. I fell over landing awkwardly on my buttocks and let out an undignified squeal.
The Helvetian laughed heartily.
"But you are not as stealthy as you are rumoured to be," he hissed. "Do not let your masters discover that!"
I sat perfectly still, not daring to move.
"What? You still deny me an audience? I am soon to die. Would you not grant me an audience as my last wish?"
What did he mean by that—soon to die? And why was he imprisoned? Was he an enemy of the Dancers?
I realised that although I knew of the Helvetians, I knew nothing about them. The evidence of my eyes suggested that they were not on the best of terms with the Dancers. This one certainly wasn't; he was imprisoned, but why? Was it just this Helvetian or were all Helvetians at odds with the Dancers? There was only one way to find out.
"Tell me about the Helvetians?" I demanded.
"Aaah! So you acknowledge me. At least now I will die happy, die knowing that it was not for a myth."
Myth? What myth?
"You're talking in riddles. Tell me who you are."
"I am Warrior Troy."
"No! Not your name! Tell me who you are! Who are the Helvetians? Who are the Dancers? Why are we here?"
Warrior Troy tipped his head to one side.
"You do not know?"
"I'd hardly be asking if I knew now, would I?"
"But you are the Creature. This is your war!"
"War? What war?"
"The war your race began."
"My race isn't at war with you. Your race, or at least the Dancers, are snatching people from our realm, bringing them back here and murdering them."
The Helvetian fell silent and thoughtful.
"But you are a Dancer."
"No, I'm not."
"The Dancers are your masters—"
"No, they're not!"
Warrior Troy stepped back, looking somewhat startled.
"Then with whom do your loyalties lie?"
"Starfleet? Who is Starfleet?"
"It's an exploratory and defence service maintained by the United Federation of Planets."
"The United Federation of Planets."
"I've never heard of them." He looked puzzled.
"Probably not. We're from another realm."
"Another realm? Now who is talking in riddles?"
He was right. Just as I had little conception about this place, he had even less about mine. I stood up and walked nearer to the front of his enclosure, straightening my back and standing proud.
"I will tell you of my realm, if you tell me of this one."
Warrior Troy stepped as far forward as he dared and stared hard at me. I wondered ... could he see me now? His tongue flicked across his lips as he thought hard.
"You say you are not a Dancer, yes?"
"That's right."
"Then what race are you?"
"I am Human."
"That cannot be. I have seen Humans and I cannot see you at all."
My heart leapt.
"You've seen Humans?"
"Of course, I have. I have studied this place for years before my final capture. I have seen many Humans and their sub-species."
My heart sank again. He was not talking about my crew. He was talking in general terms.
"I don't understand!" I cried. "Who are you?"
"I am Troy—"
"NO! Not your name, you stupid beast!" I screamed. It wasn't the Starfleet way and I could feel T'Roc's disapproval even though she wasn't there.
"Oh!" he exclaimed softly, feigning innocence. "You mean my history."
"Yes! Your history."
"And in return? What will you give me in return?"
I didn't answer. Of course, he would want something.
"I suppose you want your freedom."
"Of course, but you won't give me that. I am your enemy, so I'll settle for knowing what you are, Creature. If you are not a Dancer, what are you?"
"Tell me what I want to know first, and I will tell you my history."
The Helvetian laughed evilly.
"Where would you like me to start?"
"At the beginning."

Log Entry 130803.73

It really doesn't matter how invisible you seem to be, it's distinctly unnerving walking among an alien race that you know is incredibly dangerous, trying to avoid all physical contact in case it should break the spell and make you visible again.
It doesn't help that I'm finding this all strangely fascinating in a Bairn kind of way—the kind that usually got us into trouble! I just can't help running little experiments. I keep finding myself standing in front of them, peering into their eyes and suchlike. Interestingly, their reactions vary.
Some are completely oblivious to me, but others show discomfort. They keep looking over their shoulder but reassuringly, not at me; just at where I was at the time.
I'm not sure then, if I am actually invisible or just beyond their perception, so to speak. In the same way that the kaleg was invisible to us, am I out of sync with them? Maybe I am and that my ability to see them, but not the other way around, is because their sensitivity to it is more finely tuned than mine. They perceive things within a smaller bandwidth. I don't know if I'm right, but it's a plausible explanation.
They are odd creatures too. I had thought they must be energy-based judging by their appearance, but no. They are distinctly corporeal although the glow that they have is more than luminescence. They are physically blurred around the edges—I can't quite explain it. I'd love to touch one or take a look at a skin sample under a microscope. Tempting though that is, I have resisted. I know touching them would be a mistake and give the game away completely.
So, resisting the urge to carry out more tests, I continued on my way, creeping around the place like a naughty little girl getting out of bed in the middle of the night. I had no idea where I was going, but continued on deeper and deeper into the vessel. The Dancers became more abundant and dodging them in the corridors was becoming harder and harder. In the end, I had to duck into a room to avoid being walked into. The fact that the door opened at my approach was disturbing. The ship's sensors obviously knew I was there, which meant that the Dancers could detect me if they used the ship's systems. It would be prudent not to give them any hints as to my presence.
Once through the doors, I found I was in another, short corridor. I proceeded to the end where a second door opened at my bidding and I stepped through into a large, round room. Around the periphery were six more rooms. They reminded me of the brig with open fronts and a bed inside. One of them had a forcefield of blue bars in place. It was indeed a brig.
Inside was an occupant laying on a bench that served as a bed. He was black as night, but his skin glistened as though speckled with glitter. He was reptilian in form with a face that reminded me of an iguana. He even had a large round scale on each cheek like an iguana, but he also had a crest of four horns adorning the back of his head. His mouth was wide and stretched from ear to ear, and his flesh was scaled and jagged like a lizard's. It looked tough and reminded me of the black body armour the Marines use. His eyes looked to be small like a Human's, but they were closed so I couldn't tell. I moved closer.
He awoke and his eyes flicked open. They were black and shone like obsidian with a pinprick of a white pupil. He lay there for a moment, his eyes staring at the ceiling and then he swung his legs over the side of his cot and stood up. He rose tall—he was easily seven foot high and looked like evil personified, more intimidating than even a Gem H'Dar. This was a Helvetian warrior!
"Creature," he suddenly said. His eyes, like cold balls of polished stone, flashed in my direction. He looked blindly at me, and my feet froze to the spot.
"I had begun to believe that you were a myth, a lie, but now I know that I was wrong. You are real."
I could not speak—I dared not speak.
"Creature. I cannot see you, but I know you are there," and then his eyes seemed to focus on me, and I felt a long, cold shiver run down my spine.