Log Entry 130929.80

From behind Troy, I saw it rise, taking on humanoid shape again. It glowed brightly, its head lowered and glaring menacingly at me—at me! It knew I was there! It could see me!
Its glow darkened as anger consumed it, and it began to approach, hesitating only briefly to pick up the stinger I had dropped earlier. I glanced at the one still in my hand, but it was warped, blackened and broken. It was useless so I let it slip from my hand.
What could I do now? My eyes began to search the walls and conduits thinking about a power source. Could I find a way to overload it from another energy source?
It drew level with Al and suddenly she sprang into life. She leapt upwards and grabbed it around the waist to bring it down. Mercilessly, it thrust the stinger in between her shoulder blades and discharged another shock. Her back arched as energy shot through her and she howled like a true Klingon, more in anger than pain, but with her arms around the Dancer, some of the energy discharged into it too. It shook and quivered as the energy surged through it but other than that, was little affected by the blast. Al dropped to the floor twitching, and then the Dancer turned its attention to me.
I wondered why I couldn't be invisible again as I backed away from it, my eyes still searching for a weapon but coming up with nothing and then I realised I had a new problem. I was at the end of the corridor and there was nowhere to go.
Closer and closer it came until it stood before me. It thrust its face forward to study me more intently, and I looked deep into its cold, featureless face. I thought it was going to jab me with the stinger. That would have been the easiest thing for it to do, but it didn't. Instead it raised the rod and swung it at me. It caught me on the temple and sent me reeling. The next thing I knew, I was on my back, the Dancer standing over me and the stinger at my throat with the Dancer pressing down on it. It was throttling me.
I coughed and spluttered and clawed at its hands. They were cold and strangely tangible. They felt like flesh, but cold like a dead body. Somehow, I had expected something warm and less touchable, like a warm breeze perhaps, and as consciousness began to fade, I remember thinking how odd it was that I should be thinking about the physical nature of Dancers when I was about to die. And then I mused over a faint shadow that fell across the wall behind the creature. I watched as it rose over the Dancer's head. I was feeling very distant and remote to the events that were happening and very curious too.
It was a hand—the shadow—it was a hand and there was something in it: the broken stinger!
The stinger came crashing down on the Dancer's head and to my surprise, the creature buckled under the impact. It faltered and its grip slackened. Fresh, revitalising, cool air rushed into my lungs. Instinctively, I ripped the stinger from its hands and smashed it into the side of the Dancer's face. I know it fell off me but crazily, I still found myself under bodies.
Dazed, I crawled out from beneath them. My head was wet and I saw blood, my blood, dripping onto the floor. I clambered to the wall and turned around. It was like a rugby scrum of bodies piling in on top of the Dancer, and then there was Troy.
He walked past me, ripping the stinger from my hand as he did so, and stepped into the scrum. He thrust the weapon downwards into the chaos. I heard the stinger scream and closed my eyes. Somehow, I knew I was safe now. Relief flooded through me. The world began to darken and this time, I didn't fight it.

Log Entry 130922.79

Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men can often go awry—and they did.
As we neared the end of the corridor, a door suddenly swished open and two Dancers appeared with three prisoners. One was Al. She was in a bad way, only half conscious and being helped along by Rutter on one side and Midas on the other. The Dancers had sticks in their hands. About two feet long, they were made of metal but the ends flickered and glowed with purple energy. They reminded me of Klingon pain sticks.
No sooner did they appear, than they saw us. At least, they saw Troy and Luke. With Luke in his arms, they would have discerned Troy's presence and once focused in on him, he couldn't dodge their gaze.
The Dancers immediately turned on their prisoners and jabbed both Rutter and Midas with the sticks. Bolts of purple energy buzzed and fizzled through them like lightning and they squealed as they fell to the ground in jittering, helpless heaps. Al, although untouched by the burst of energy, also fell to the ground.
"Mind the stingers," I heard Troy say discretely, and my eyes fell to the sticks.
But Troy was telling me more than just to avoid the weapons. Oh crikey! He was telling me that only I could tackle the Dancers because, even if Troy put Luke down, he wouldn't suddenly become imperceivable to them. I was the only one they were unaware of. Only I could launch any sort of assault on them, but I was unarmed and there were two of them. What could I do?
My eyes swept the corridor looking for something.
"Jen?" I heard a voice murmur.
I turned to see Al. She had managed to raise her head off the floor, but little else. She looked at me, her eyes wide in disbelief, but she mustn't give me away!
I shushed her, urgently placing my finger on my lips. Her brow furrowed in puzzlement and she glanced at the Dancers whose eyes were fixed upon Troy, not me. She didn't understand and then, too tired to pursue the matter, she slumped to the ground.
The Dancers, meanwhile, having disabled their prisoners, dropped the stingers and began to glow ever more brightly. They lost their form and melted into balls of light—their real form, and began rolling towards Troy and Luke.
Troy eyed the spheres of light, gently laid Luke down and stepped back from him. The Dancers picked up speed and rolled towards him like billowing clouds of light. Faster and faster they rolled but Troy held his ground. I think he was waiting for me to do something, but what! What could I use against the Dancers? How do you disable a being made of energy?
As the Dancers passed me by, the lights overhead flickered and flashed. The Dancers' energy was affecting them. One moment draining them and making them dim, and the next, forcing them to burn more brightly.
The first Dancer reached Troy. A tentacle of white energy unravelled from it, whipped through the air and struck Troy with a snap. Troy went rigid as flashes of purple electricity licked at his flesh, and he dropped to the floor, quivering under the shock.
A bang behind me made me jump. I turned. One of the bulbs in the corridor had blown. I stared at it for a moment and then realised.
I ran forward, grabbing both stingers on the way and rammed them, as hard as I could, into the nearest Dancer. The first stinger bounced off its surface as though it were made of glass, but the second seemed to find a dip in its surface. I could feel the energy building. The hairs on my arms rose with the static and a high pitched squeal pierced the air. I dropped one of the singers, but pushed the other, harder and harder, into the Dancer.
Purple energy crackled over the ball's surface while inside, it began to fill with an amethyst mist. It glowed brighter and brighter and screamed louder and louder, and then it exploded into a thousand pieces that flew through the air, slashing and cutting like broken glass.
The force of the blast was so great, I flew over Al landing ten feet or so beyond her. I felt my skin burn as the hot shards of Dancer tore at my flesh. Dazed, I looked up to witness the aftermath of my work.
Little splinters of light lay over the corridor's floor like glitter, flickering and dying like the sparks of a firework.
Shock filled me. I had killed it! I had never killed anything before, but now ... I had killed. I hadn't meant to. I had only wanted to stun it.
A little alarm bell began to ring at the back of my mind. Where was the second Dancer?

Log Entry 130908.78

Of course, I had no idea where we were heading and I didn't think the Helvetian did either. He cautiously picked his route, making sure that the corridors were clear before we entered, but I wasn't sure he knew our destination.
"Don't they have any type of surveillance?" I asked.
Troy laughed a hard, forced laugh.
"No. These were our facilities. We had no enemies. We had no need for surveillance."
Facilities? What sort of facility was it? Where was it? I had assumed it was a spacestation of some kind, with the Earhart docked within its walls, but it could just as easily have been a hanger on a planet.
"Is this place on your home world?" I asked.
"No. This is ... was ... a research station that orbited our world. When the Dancers seized it, they modified it to become a military installation and science laboratory. They created the kaleg here."
"And your home world, the world below us, what do you call it?"
Troy turned, looked at me and gave a crocodile grin.
"Before the Dancers, we called it ours."
"You know what I mean," I scolded. "Does your planet have a name?"
He smiled, a much warmer expression.
Had I heard him correctly?
"I beg your pardon?"
"Our planet ... It is called Hell."
"Oh," I said softly, "and you are the Helvetians."
The thought amused me. The beautiful Dancers that glowed and moved with the grace of angels were quite evil. They killed without care or mercy while the Helvetians, who looked so dark and sinister, and lived in a place called Hell, they were the peaceful, kindly, benevolent race. It just goes to show how deceptive appearances can be.
"And where are we going?" I asked, anxious about Luke.
"You tell me. I'm only doing what you asked."
"But you must have some idea!"
"No. This wasn't my plan. Remember? You were the one that said save Luke, save Luke, " and he mimicked my voice derisively.
"What about your mission? I don't believe you're risking your entire mission to save Luke just because I said so!"
"No. I'm risking my entire mission in the hope that you'll wake up and start using your brain instead of acting purely on impulse!" he retorted sharply.
Oh great, I thought. Make the whole problem my fault, and then I realised, he had been right all along. I hadn't thought about any of this. I had been following my heart. Rescuing Luke had been an act of compassion not of logic, and I remembered those immortal Vulcan words. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I had only thought of Luke. I hadn't considered the bigger picture, my crew or my mission.
"Wait." I shouted.
Troy stopped, turned and looked at me expectantly.
"Okay. You're right, I admit it, but this isn't my area of expertise—"
"I can tell."
"Okay, so what are you suggesting we do?"
He shrugged and looked at Luke.
"You tell me. You created this dilemma", and he made it quite clear that he expected me to make a suggestion. The minutes ticked by.
"Okay," I finally said. "How soon will they miss Luke?"
"Hard to say, but the bleaching is a long process. Once started they may not check on him for twelve hours or more."
"So they probably won't miss him. Is there anywhere we can hide him in the meantime?" I knew it was a stupid question and the look on Troy's face confirmed that he thought likewise.
"Hmm. Okay and what do you need to do to complete your mission?"
"I have to take control of the kaleg."
"And how do you do that?"
His ebony brow furrowed.
"You don't know, do you," I exclaimed.
"Well, not exactly—"
"What does not exactly mean?"
"We were a two-man team. I am a warrior. My partner was the specialist. All I had to do was protect him and ensure he got to the right laboratory."
"So where is he?"
Troy sighed.
"I failed. He's dead."
"Oh." My lips puckered as I considered. "So do you know where to go and what needs to be done?"
Troy looked uncomfortable.
"More or less."
"Which is it? More ... or less?"
He shook his head.
"Well, ain't we the pair!"
We glared at each other, neither of us quite knowing the answer, and then an idea struck me.
"What do you need to complete your mission then?"
"Someone who understands temporal mechanics and space anomalies."
"A scientist."
"Is this your area of expertise?" Hope rose in his voice.
"No, but I know where to find one!" and I grinned, pushing my shoulders back triumphantly. "My crew!"
"Who are captives."
"Then we break them out—everybody! Hey! If we break everybody out, we can launch an attack!"
"No, we can't. You're not thinking again. This is a spacestation and the Dancers don't need air to breathe. We, on the other hand, do."
I thought again.
"But what if we broke out just one person? Someone who can help us?"
Troy grinned broadly.
"Now you're thinking."

Log Entry 130831.77

Outside of his jail, the Helvetian was even more intimidating to look at. The low growl emanating from deep within him didn't help much either. "Sorry," he mumbled.
I frowned, wondering what he was apologising for.
" I don't suppose you have anything to eat, do you?"
I scowled disapprovingly.
"No, and I didn't realise you were after a picnic."
He laughed, not altogether pleasantly.
"Of course, you've just arrived. You won't know the hunger."
"Yes. The Dancers are an energy based life form. They don't eat so there is no food here."
My mind wandered back to that first day in the cargo bay when T'Roc had told us of our mission. "Five life forms had materialised—three of them inside walls and bulkheads. The remaining two were alive, but not well. Emaciated and dehydrated, their minds were blank. They died within hours."
"So not only are their minds wiped, they starve too?"
"But you've been here a while. What have you been eating?"
"I came with rations, but they were taken from me. I've not eaten in five days."
I looked at those long, sharp, black teeth that seemed even longer and sharper now. He laughed again.
"I'm hungry ... but not that hungry. Now, let's find your friend," and he ambled over to a door on the far side.
"I assume you know you must be silent?"
"Well, I had more or less worked that out, but if we are temporally out of sync with them—"
"We're not."
"Oh! I thought we were. I thought that was why they couldn't see us?"
"Good grief, no! Our invisibility is because they don't see things the way we do. Animals have an entirely different method of visual perception to Dancers. We have taken advantage of that difference to elude them by manipulating their perceptions. They detect us through a combination of things including noise and the electrical impulses our bodies emit."
"Ah!" I exclaimed. Suddenly the penny had dropped. "Neural blocking! My telepathic cloaking device!"
"Ah, so you do know how you do it."
"Well, I do now ... sort of ... but that doesn't explain why you can see me and then you can't."
"You're a very complicated animal, Jenny. Your defences go up and down and with it your ability to block."
"So ... it could be that the Dancers can see me now, just as you do?"
I was alarmed at the thought.
"It could be. We'll find out soon enough," and with that, he opened the door and stepped through it. I followed, opening my mouth to say more, but he shushed me. Angry, but understanding the need for silence, I snapped my mouth shut but threw him an evil look that was wasted.
The room we entered was large and dimly lit by a single light that shone down on a bio-bed in the centre of it. It was very dramatic, the walls being quite featureless in the darkness; it drew all attention to the bed. I could see a figure silhouetted on it. My heart leapt into my mouth and nausea filled me. It was Luke. I knew it was Luke even though I couldn't see his face. His stature was unique.
I approached the bed and my fear peaked. It was, indeed, Luke. He lay perfectly still. Over him, an overly large piece of apparatus towered. From it, two bright white beams of light shone out. They pierced through the air like laser beams and struck his eyes. His face was ashen and his eyes red as though he had been crying, with tears encrusted around them. I couldn't see his pupils. The lights that shone into them were too bright. I wanted to retch and the back of my throat stung with acid. I swallowed it down hard. Hot tears began to burn in my eyes, the compulsion to cry almost overwhelming me. My bottom lip began to quiver. All I wanted to do was sweep Luke up into my arms and hold him, tell him everything would be okay.
"Turn it off," I said coldly.
"It wouldn't be—"
"TURN IT OFF!" I screamed no longer caring who heard me.
Troy sighed deeply and then silently walked around the bio-bed, reached up and tapped some instructions into the panel there. The beams were cut leaving just the dull glow from the illumination overhead to light the room.
Luke's pupils were dilated so wide, I could barely make out the iris at all. He just stared blankly up into space.
"Will ... will he be alright?" I finally managed to ask.
"It depends how far the process has gone."
"Help me get him off here," I commanded and took hold of Luke's arm. Troy's hand fell on top of mine. He looked at me coldly.
"And then what?"
Still fighting back tears, I answered.
"I don't know, but I have to get him off here."
"And take him where? He's catatonic. He can't walk. Where can he hide?"
"I don't know and I don't care!" I spat at Troy. "Now help me with him!"
Troy shook his head and stepped back.
"No. This isn't my mission and doing this will jeopardise it."
"Then GO!" I screamed at him angrily.
Troy studied me for a moment, and then turned and walked away.
My tears finally came. I didn't want them, but they ran down my cheeks unchecked as I pulled at Luke's arms and heaved him into a sitting position. His head flopped forward in his stupor, and I had to lunge forward to stop him from falling. Awkwardly, I manoeuvred myself under his body, preparing to heave him onto my shoulder. I began to lift but I hadn't realised how heavy deadweight could be. My knees buckled and I faltered under the strain, but I was determined. A few more awkward shuffles and I had Luke's body organised so that his centre of gravity wouldn't overbalance me and took a couple of steps forward. How could such a little guy be so heavy, I wondered and then I slipped.
I tumbled to the ground and Luke fell on top of me, pinning me there and now I did the one thing a Starfleet officer shouldn't do. I burst into hysterical tears. All the emotions I had been bottling up erupted: frustration, heartbreak, despondency and hopelessness—I just lay there and sobbed with Luke sprawled across my chest like an overweight rag doll.
And then the weight lifted.
Snivelling like a child, I wiped my eyes on the sleeve of my uniform and looked up to see Troy standing over me, Luke cradled in his arms like a child.
"When Helvetians cry, we cry blood."
I had no idea what relevance that had.
"Come on," he said, and turned and walked away.