Log Entry 131020.83

The smell of stale, mouldy air hit us as soon as we broke through the service panel into the old kitchens. It was not disagreeable though. It was musky and quite pleasant, like the scent of compost, but the air was not the only thing that gave away how long it was since the kitchens were last used. A thick layer of dust lay over every surface and our footsteps left prints in its grey sheet over the floor.
It was not unlike a kitchen you'd find on Earth with brushed steel cabinets and equipment. Al immediately started opening cupboards and looking inside them.
"You'll not find any food in here," assured Troy.
"What's this then?" asked Al, holding up a silver vacuum-sealed packet.
"Food!" exclaimed the Helvetian. He leapt forward, snatched it from Al and ripped it open with his teeth before stuffing the contents into his mouth. Al's eyes boggled in alarm as he gobbled down the green brick of nutrition with all the speed and decorum of a combine harvester.
"For goodness sake, Troy!" I exclaimed. "No one's going to take it off you!"
Troy responded with something unintelligible due to the amount of food in his mouth.
"Hungry, are we?" Al added.
"I've not eaten in five days," spluttered Troy, bits of food spraying from his mouth.
"And don't talk with your mouth full!" I chastised. "If I want to see the contents of your stomach, I'll cut your belly open!" and I wagged my finger at him.
Troy stopped eating to stare at me, trying to figure out how serious I was.
"She's joking," said Al, "but it's her pet hate ... and it is revolting."
"And you'll get indigestion," added Midas picking up one of the packs and studying it. "How long have these things been here anyway?" he added.
Troy shrugged. "Why?"
"I'm just wondering if they're still edible," he said, turning the pack looking for a 'best before' date.
"Well Troy seems to think it is. Come on, let's grab some."
"Oo! Look! I've got ... pink stuff," said Al wrinkling her nose up at a bottle of pink tinged liquid she had found.
"We call that water," said Troy.
"It's pink."
"Water's pink."
"Not in our dimension," I laughed.
"What colour is it there then?"
"It's not. It's clear."
"This is clear," he said holding up a bottle.
"No, that's pinkish clear. Ours is colourless clear ... like glass."
"Oh! How curious," he said breaking the top open and guzzling it down.
We spent much of the next fifteen minutes or so eating and drinking as we didn't know when we'd next be able to find food again. The water turned out to be quite palatable with a slight strawberry flavour to it. The bars, on the other hand, tasted like compost.
"So where do we go from here?" Al finally asked.
"We need a scientist—" I began. Midas gave a little cough. "—to help Troy defeat the Dancers," and I explained the nature of the Dancers and the history of his people.
"You see, our two universes exist in different moments in time, but the distance between those universes is not a constant. The temporal difference drifts due to the pull of a microscopic black hole on the edge of their solar system, rather like the moon does the tides on Earth.
"The mission was to use the kaleg, which is the only thing that can cross the rift between the two universes, to manipulate the black hole and bring his planet and solar system into our realm but leave the Dancers behind."
"So why doesn't he?" asked Al.
"Because that wasn't Troy's mission. Troy's job was to see that the Helvetian specialist, whose job it was, got to the right place."
"So where's his specialist?"
"Dead," interjected Troy still munching on the food bars, although much more slowly.
Al opened her mouth to say something.
"Yes, he already knows that he failed and that's why we need a scientist—" Midas coughed again. "—to help Troy complete the mission."
"Okay, so now what?"
"Like I say, we need a scientist."
Midas coughed again, but it still didn't register with me. Al's sarcastic expression told me I was missing something.
"Don't worry, Midas. She'll get it in a minute," sighed Al.
I turned to Midas and stared at him for a moment, and then the penny dropped.
"Midas!" I shouted. I turned to Troy pointing at Midas. "Scientist!" I beamed triumphantly.
Troy swallowed down the last of his food bar and licked his fingers, apparently unimpressed by the revelation.
"Does he know what he's doing?" he asked coolly.
"Probably more so than you," interjected Midas in a typical cool Vulcan manner.
"Possibly, but you don't look very ... you don't seem old enough to have the experience."
"Hey!" I shouted indignantly. "Brilliance isn't age dependant. It was Luke who figured out the asynchronous temporal plane and it was Midas that figured out how to track the kaleg. Trust me, where I come from, that makes him an expert on kalegs."
Troy smiled.
"Then I stand corrected. Midas, will you help me?"
"If you can get me to an astrometrics laboratory. Somewhere where I can control the kaleg and monitor the black hole et cetera," Midas asked.
"That I can do. That was my mission and I would be delighted to fulfil it."
Hastily, we grabbed the supplies together and reassembled ready to continue on our way. I found a holdall to stash some of the food supplies in and threw it over my shoulder.
"What about him?" asked Troy, indicating Luke. I knew Troy considered Luke to be a liability, but I wasn't leaving him behind. I took the bag off my shoulder and held it out to Luke. He looked at it and his face screwed in thought. I smiled. It was the first time I'd seen anything other than a vacant expression on his face since we had found him. I knew it was a good sign. His mind was working things through and sure enough, he took the bag from me. Shortly after that, we left the kitchens.

Log Entry 131013.82

I wasn't paying too much attention to where we were going; there were too many questions whirling around inside my head. I wasn't the only one.
"So, who is Troy again? And other than the old enemy of my enemy thing, how do you know he's your ally or that you can trust him?" asked Rutter.
"Good questions, but he is here to stop the Dancers. I don't know if I can trust him, but he knows this place very well and we have worked together so far." I relayed both his mission and his people's history.
"Here," I finally said, handing Luke's hand to Al. "I need to ask Troy some questions of my own," and ran to catch up with the Helvetian.
He glanced at me as I drew alongside and could see the scepticism on my face.
"Well?" he asked.
"I don't understand."
"Don't understand what?"
"Why do the Dancers carry weapons that are so destructive to them?"
"Why do you carry weapons that are so destructive to you?"
"Yeah, but we don't put them down making them available to our captors to use against us."
"No, but in their humanoid form, while they are vulnerable to the same blows as you and I, the stingers have no effect on them. When your friend beat it with the dead stinger, it reeled from those strikes. Its only way to deflect those blows was to melt back into a ball of energy and as soon as it was fluid, I killed it, but I must be honest. I had no idea that a stinger could be used so effectively against them until I saw you do it."
He heard the disbelief in my voice.
"I told you. We had no enemies. We had no need for weapons before the war. I didn't know that the stingers could be used against them. I may be a warrior—"
"Yeah, thanks for that. You are the warrior and yet you left me to tackle them!" I snapped angrily.
"Actually, I thought you would distract them long enough for me to put Luke down and become elusive to them again. Then I could have tackled the Dancers. You really aren't very good at tactics."
"Neither are you. Didn't know the stinger could be used against them," I scoffed.
He scowled at me, the side of his mouth lifting on one side.
"So where are we going?" I pressed.
Troy stopped abruptly, turned and bent down to a panel neatly tucked into the wall. He pressed the opposite corners of it and the panel popped off.
"We're taking a short cut to somewhere the Dancers never use."
"Where's that then?"
"The old kitchens."

Log Entry 131006.81

"She's coming round."
Who? I wondered and then realised it was Rutter talking about me. I groaned and immediately chastised myself for sounding so pathetic.
I opened my eyes and found I was lying on the floor, my head in Rutter's lap, him dabbing at a gash on my head. He didn't look too clever either. He was covered in dozens of small cuts.
I struggled off his lap and sat up blinking blearily. Around me, I was delighted to find everyone was on their feet, even Luke, but they all looked dishevelled and beaten. They were all covered in cuts, like Rutter, from when the Dancer had exploded shattering into a thousand glassy shards, but there was no other evidence of the Dancers. Once destroyed, their energy had dispersed without trace.
Al was on her feet and looking a great deal better than when I had last seen her, but why had she been in such a bad way before? Midas soon explained that her Klingon fury had resulted in her being savagely blasted repeatedly by the Dancers with their stingers. She screwed her face up in irritation; she was annoyed with herself that she had been unable to defeat her captors.
More importantly, Luke was standing above me. He had an odd, vacant look on his face, but he was conscious and standing—a huge improvement on his previous status.
"And who's this?" asked Rutter, interrupting my thoughts.
"This is Warrior Troy. He's a Helvetian Warrior and my ally—"
"We have to go," interrupted Troy.
"Where?" I asked.
"Anywhere, but we have to leave this area if we do not wish to be discovered."
I picked myself up off the floor and reached out my hand to Luke.
"Luke!" I said firmly. "Come on! Take my hand."
"What's up with him?" asked Al.
"They began a process of interrogation that erases the mind."
"What! How far did they get? Is it permanent? Will he get better?"
"I don't know, but he's better than he was." I turned to Troy for an answer. He shrugged.
"I'm a warrior, not a medic. I've never seen the process interrupted. I don't know what the outcome will be but that he is walking and responding on the level that he is, that's a good sign. His mind was coherent enough to spur him into action when the Dancer attacked you. It was he that struck the first blow on the Dancer."
I turned back to Luke still staring out blankly in a semi-catatonic state.
"Luke!" I said more firmly. "Come on!" and I wiggled my fingers. A surge of hope and joy rushed through me as his eyes turned slowly to stare dumbly at my hand, and then he raised his arm and wrapped his fingers around mine. With a small encouraging tug, he stepped forward and followed my lead. Troy led the way.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"I think I know somewhere that we can go that will be safe ... for now at least."