I tried to stand but found that my left leg wouldn't co-operate. It too was numb having been twisted off to one side. I rubbed it to try to get the blood flowing again and was rewarded with an excruciating case of pins and needles. With pains throughout my body and a muggy head, I settled for exercising my joints and taking deep breaths until my head cleared. I needed to think straight and for my limbs to function properly.
The main viewer was blank so I limped over to the operations station to get some data. It was blank too, as was the helm. Power had been cut to the bridge. Nothing worked, but the air was fresh which indicated that some systems were still operational. I decided to head towards engineering.
As I wandered through the corridors, there was no sign of anyone. Where had they all gone? Why had I been left behind? How long had I been out cold?
For some strange reason, I detoured to the shuttle bay. Maybe I was thinking that it might hold some clues as to everybody's whereabouts: missing shuttles, that sort of thing. It did hold answers for me, but not the kind I was expecting.
As the door shushed open, I could see that the main shuttle bay doors stood agape, but instead of the expanse of black space that I was expecting beyond them, I saw the wall of a huge, silvery blue building chequered with windows.
Dumbfounded, I stepped closer to see and discovered that it wasn't a building at all. I was inside, what must be, a huge space dock that was big enough to accommodate fifty Earharts.
The structure was built of icy pale blue metal-like material with ducting and pipe work picked out in tones of black and white. Its walls curved gently around into a huge circle. It had a sterile air and through the windows, I could see beings moving about: the Dancers!
Although humanoid in shape, they gleamed and glistened like dark grey, silvery light, not translucent but quite solid. They were unlike anything I had ever seen before, but my amazement didn't stop there.
The Earhart was suspended in the middle of the enclosure like a Christmas bauble hanging on an invisible thread. It's only physical connection to the space dock that I could discern was a long, white path. It ran from the lip of the shuttle bay to the far wall, twisting and turning for no apparent reason until it disappeared into the mouth of a tunnel some five hundred meters away. Instantly, I knew that I would have to walk it in order to find out where my crew had gone, but how would I do that without being seen?
I stepped up to the edge of the path and stood on the shuttle bay's threshold. The path was eerily translucent and I could see through it to the ground below. It was a very, very long way down and it made me feel sick to look at it. It was flat. I looked up and noted that the ceiling was flat too. The docking station was cylindrical in shape with no apparent way in, but then if the kaleg transported matter, rather like our transporters did, it wouldn't need doors big enough for a ship to pass through. My mind though, was soon drawn back to the matter of the path. It was made of pure energy like a forcefield, but would it take my weight?
Gingerly, I stepped forward to press one foot onto the path to test its rigidity, but no sooner did my foot touch it than I was snatched from the shuttle bay and pulled along the path at breakneck speed.
It was like a ride on a rollercoaster! I hurtled along, lurching wildly from one side to the other as the path twisted and turned. With only one foot secured to it, I span around like a ratchet rattle, spinning first one way, then the other and then back again. I was confused and travel sick all at the same time—and then I felt my foot leave the path!
My stomach lurched into my mouth as I flew through the air not knowing where I was going to land. My surroundings whizzed past me and I was expecting to see the bottom of the dock hurtling up towards me, but I didn't. Instead, I felt the cold, hard smack of the tunnel as I was catapulted through its opening and hit the ground. I rolled along it a good way before I came to rest and lay dazed for a moment, gathering my senses. Then, slowly, I clambered to my feet, turned and looked back along the path I had just travelled. That was one heck of a way to travel and I appear to have come up through the floor! The deck ran away from me and dipped down into the chasm where the Earhart was docked. It reminded me of the tunnel in a sports stadium from where the team emerges from their underground locker rooms prior to the game. I felt queasy and was sure there must be a knack to travelling it. Shame I didn't know what it was, but at least I was where I wanted to be. The problem was, had anybody seen me?
The sound of voices came to my ears. Dancers! Damn! And they were coming down the tunnel towards me! I must have been spotted!
My heart leapt, and frantically, my eyes searched for somewhere to go, somewhere to hide, but there was nowhere. All I could do was step up against the wall and hope I'd blend in, which was really stupid. The wall was made of the brushed, pale blue metal and I was in Starfleet uniform. I couldn't have stood out more if I'd painted myself fluorescent pink and put a flashing light on my head! So, pressing myself up against the wall, I waited for the inevitable.
Two Dancers appeared at the end of the corridor. They were talking and comparing notes on datapads. They weren't looking for anything ... and then one of them looked up, directly at me!
... And then it looked back at its datapad!
I couldn't believe that it hadn't seen me! It was impossible for it not to have seen me!
The two continued on their way, undisturbed by my presence. They passed me by without a qualm. I dropped in behind them, filled with curiosity, but still there was no reaction from them, so—and please don't ask me why because it was a really stupid thing to do, but I intentionally coughed. Just a little one, but a cough nonetheless.
One of the Dancers stopped, turned and looked directly at me. We were standing less than five feet apart looking directly at each other. IT HAD TO HAVE SEEN ME! But no! It turned back to its colleague, mumbled something about how it found these aliens unnerving, and then they carried on their way.
I followed along behind them, dumbfounded, until they stepped onto the path and were snatched from me. I watched in awe as they travelled the path with far more decorum than I had, gently shifting their weight at each turn until they reached the other side and sedately stepped off the path into the Earhart.
More importantly though, it appears that I am invisible to them, but why? How? They can see everybody else, surely? Otherwise, how would they have taken them all? And where had they been taken?
I had to continue into the ship.