((Cone Structure Interior, Darime IV))
The walls had gone opaque, plunging them all into darkness.
Serren had done his usual bit, trying to diffuse the tension with humour, but it looked like this time Mallora was not buying it.
ch'Ranni: ::whispering:: Here, take a look. ::to Tan:: Get eyes on the stairs.
Tan nodded in the dark, reaching out and giving Jona an affirmative pat on the shoulder, then moved down to the top of the winding staircase.
He swore there was a weird light down at the bottom of the stairs, but the overall light level was too dark for him to properly see. He focused, letting his eyes adjust to the gloom.
Voice: Kadmat ela'a mustawa madinat mazuhratun access denied.
The walls chirped insistently again.
ch'Ranni: Alarm system?
Tan: ::Whispering over his shoulder,:: Maybe.
Vossti: Should I try the other one, sir? ::her finger hovered over a second option::
ch'Ranni: ::a quick nod and then raising his weapon and tricorder:: Do it. Stay here, doctor.
Relieved that Jona was coming with him, but a little cautious of leaving their inexperienced doctor alone, the two crept down the stairs to look at the lower level.
Tan: ::Whispering,:: I think I can hear something.
Jona paused on the stairs as Serren crept ahead. For a moment he didn't understand, then it hit him; of course. Jona was keeping an eye on Mallora. He hadn't forgotten.
ch'Ranni: What do you see?
Serren craned his head, looking around the area they'd just left.
A figure, a living shadow really, floated in the middle of the hallway; its form was indistinct, ethereal, and ghostly. It sent shivers up and down his spine just looking at it; but fortunately, the creature didn't seem to be looking at him. Instead, it stared at one of the walls mindlessly.
It had a "head" but no eyes, arms but no legs, seeming to hover in the air about where a person's limbs would hold them. Its form was vague and artificial, without clear joints or digits, its 'arms' ending in a pair of mean-looking pincers.
Although it was difficult to make out in the gloom, the creature was translucent; Serren could faintly see the floor texture through its ghostly, billowing... stuff.
Tan: ::Whispering over his shoulder,:: Someone's—some thing's—here. ::Louder, to the figure below,:: Greetings, my name is Lieutenant Serren Tan, I am with the Federation Starship Gorkon. We come in peace.
Pretty mouthy for someone who was picking locks and sneaking around someone's home in the dark, but it was standard protocol.
The creature did not react.
Cautiously, Serren crept down the stairs, eyes fixed on the thing. It didn't move or speak.
Tan: Lieutenant Serren Tan. USS Gorkon. Hello?
He was close enough to touch it, but his team motto drifted through his head, and he reconsidered.
Tan: I think it's a holoprojection of some kind, and I think it's waiting for something. Maybe it's only programmed to react to people coming into the house, or maybe it's on a timer. Either way, it doesn't seem to notice me, or be doing anything at all.
Suddenly, with a soft chirp, it began to move.