The silver tentacles of the manipulators danced across the keyboard for a moment, then the display shifted to show something that might have been a very tangled knot or braid.
“This is a very crude representation of the major hyperstring structures in the space where we were about two hours ago,” Hwiii said, “before I took my last set of readings for the day and turned in. Now this”—he worked for a moment again—“is the same space—I’m scanning the same cubic now—but look.”
The second display fitted itself down over the first one. The curves and twists of the bright lines were a close match, very close indeed, but not quite. Here and there some loop or curve stuck out farther than the original, curved differently, crossed another’s path sooner, or later, than its partner in the original scan. “A very close congruence, I would say,” Hwiii said, his voice a blend of triumph and alarm. “Not quite exact—out by about three percent, I’d say off the fin. This isn’t something you have senses for,” he said to Picard, “but I felt it as soon as I woke up—and felt it all over me, a derangement of my people’s most basic sense.” He sounded ashamed again.
“Commander,” Picard said gently, “I think you had reason to be upset. Let it pass; if I woke up suddenly and found myself seeing the world so out of joint as you seem to have, I daresay I might have made some noise myself.” He shook his head. “Yet at the same time, this universe seems overtly physically the same as our own.”
Hwiii swung his head from side to side, the one gesture humans shared with dolphins. “How far the congruences will stretch, Captain, I wouldn’t pretend to know.”
Picard sighed and said, “Well. Now that it’s established that we’re here… how do we get back?”
Hwiii looked over at Geordi, who had joined them. “Until we know how we got here,” Geordi said, “that’s hardly a question we can answer.”
“Well, get to work on it,” Picard said. “This is beginning to make me twitch.”
And then they all jumped as the
whoop! whoop! whoop!
of the intruder alarm shattered the quiet of the bridge. Worf hurried to his station, brought up a display, examined it: “There is a security breach in the computer core! At access station two.”
“Get a team down there on the double,” Riker said, “and join them.”
“Aye, sir.” Worf touched his console, spoke a few words, and went out of the bridge at a run.
Give me a shot of access station two,” Riker said to the lieutenant who moved up to take Worf’s console.
“I’m going down there,” Picard said, and headed for the ’lift. Riker opened his mouth and then shut it again, for the security team would beat the captain there by long enough to get their job done. Still, his mouth quirked in a slight smile at the sight of the man leaving the bridge, a man very much in search of answers and unwilling to take “no” for one.
Worf met his team coming out of the ’lift on deck ten, the best of the shift—little slim Ryder, dark Mirish, and tall blue Detaith—his pick for a situation in which there might be physical trouble, for all of them looked unlikely to be able to stop it, and all of them most spectacularly were. “
“Ready, Commander.” They were standing outside the door to the access station, a little room off the main corridor leading to the cores proper.
The captain is on his way.”
Intruder’s three meters in on the right as you go in,”
said Lieutenant Mann from the bridge security console. “
He’s using one of the stand-up access padds.”
“Good,” Worf said. “Ryder, you and I at point. Mirish, behind, in brace. Detaith, hold the door. Now.”
Worf touched the door, and he and Ryder went in fast, with weapons ready. They saw a slightly hunched figure in a lieutenant’s uniform, human, dark-haired, tapping at the padd console. He looked up, reacted in angry
The Friday Night Knitting Club - [The Friday Night Knitting Club 01]