"They're gone. These," he indicated the devices we were holding, "drained the energy from them."
"You mean ... we killed them?"
"Yes." Troy seemed confused. He couldn't see a problem with that.
"How could you do that to me?" I screamed.
"Make me kill it!"
"What did you think we were going to do?"
"I don't know! Stun it! Render it unconscious!"
"Jenny, energy doesn't do conscious and unconscious. It's either there or it's not. It's like a light bulb. It's either on or it's off."
"But you can turn a light bulb back on again!"
"But it won't be the same stream of energy. Once it's gone, it's gone."
"This is war, Jenny!" he boomed angrily, and his flesh flushed deep purple with rage. "The Helvetians have died in their billions and the Dancers would kill you and your kind with the same ease with which they have killed my people! It was us or them! Now pull yourself together and get your friends in here! We have work to do!"
I wanted to argue. I wanted to tell him he was wrong ... but he wasn't. Everything he said was true. With my anger still bubbling quietly inside me, tempered by that truth, I went and fetched Luke and Midas. They could both tell something was wrong, but I told them it was nothing. They had more important things to worry about than me.
Once inside the room, Midas with cool Vulcan discipline did a tour of the room to take it all in. Luke, meanwhile, began to study the computer systems and interrogate them.
"What are these?" asked Midas, stopping at the balls of light.
"Mimics," replied Troy. "Non-sentient energy cells."
"No. They'd be useless as batteries. They don't hold enough power."
"Then what are they for?"
"Experimentation—they mimic the life signs of Dancers."
"Like test dummies? You mean they use them in experiments to find out what effects given events will have on a Dancer?"
"Yes," Troy confirmed, and then returned to his preoccupation of looking for the kaleg controls. He didn't seem to think anymore of it, but we did. What experiments were the Dancers conducting?
Luke suddenly snatched at Midas's arm and dragged him over to one of the consoles. The two examined it closely, scowling hard.
"Do you know what effects they were testing?" Midas asked.
He sounded annoyed and impatient. He was eager to get this done, but Midas ignored him.
"Something's not right here," he declared. "None of this makes sense."
We were all intrigued. Midas explained.
"Jenny, you told me earlier that you were born in this realm and that the Dancers have been looking for you because, somehow, the Helvetian's stealth ability has mutated over to you, and that they think you may hold the answer to porting that ability over to themselves."
"That's what I think, yes."
"But why then were they pulling people in from our realm in the first place? They might be looking for you now but why create the kaleg in the first place? What did they originally want from our realm?"
It was a good question that no one could answer.
Midas and Luke soon returned to the computers and I joined them too. It wasn't that long ago that it would all have been complete gobbledegook to me, but my lessons at the Academy were paying off and I began to make my own enquiries.
"Hang on a minute," I suddenly said. "I think I've found something relevant."
Midas and Luke were over in a trice and soon became absorbed in what I had found. I wasn't really sure what the information I had discovered meant, but it related to our realm.
"What is it?" I finally asked, impatient to know.
Midas took a deep preparatory breath and walked over to the view screen.
"Look," he said. "This is the extent of this realm," and the plan quite clearly identified the region's boundaries as they faded out into nothingness. "And over there is the microscopic black hole which contorts time and space."
He then called up another shot and then another.
I squinted at it and then my eyes widened in horror.
"It's getting smaller!" I exclaimed.
"Yes. This entire realm is slowly but surely being sucked into the black hole. At some point or another, this realm will cease to exist. What you've found, Jenny, tells me that the Dancers have realised this, but they've also found an escape route ... into our realm."
"But they can't exist there."
"No, not in their current form, but what if they could inhabit a life form that can?"
"One from that realm?"
"But is that possible?"
"Not yet, but that's what the orbs are for. They mimic the Dancers' physical being. By embedding it into a host body and sending it back through the kaleg, they are learning what they need to do to make the process work, so that they can exist in our world."
It took me a few moments to absorb that.
"You mean ... they are going to take over humanoids and then ..."
"Invade your realm," finished Troy.
"That's why they send the bodies back!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," confirmed Midas.
"So they weren't looking for me at all?" I asked hopefully.
"Not solely, no. If they found you, you would certainly have been of interest to them, but they have a bigger plan. They aim to invade our realm by invading our bodies first."
Suddenly, all my doubts were gone. We had to stop them! No matter what!