Chapter 11 Summary

Jan visits his brother-in-law Rupert to see the stuffed animals that the Overlords will be taking on their ships back to their home planet as examples of life on Earth. He leans against a giant stuffed elephant and asks how many animals Rupert has sent up so far. Rupert replies that he has sent at least fifty, but the elephant is the biggest one yet. Most have been small, such as butterflies, snakes, and monkeys. Jan wonders if they have a stuffed human being among their collection. Rupert indifferently says that this would be easy to arrange through hospitals. Still thinking, Jan wonders what would happen if a live specimen of mankind went up to the Overlord ship. Rupert laughs and asks if this is an offer he should put to Rashaverak. Jan says no, that he was just thinking out loud.

Jan wonders how an Overlord reconciles his science with his interest in the occult. Rupert suspects that his brother-in-law is poking fun of his own fascination with the paranormal. He tells Rupert that Rashaverak is interested in all areas of human psychology. Changing the subject, Rupert tells Jan that an ichthyologist friend of his by the name of Sullivan is procuring a sperm whale and a giant squid for the Overlords’ collection. Jan wonders how the aliens get the large specimens up to their ship. Rupert says that one of their cargo ships will pick them up.

Jan accepts Rupert’s invitation to go down to Sullivan’s lab at the bottom of the southern Pacific Ocean. He is amazed at the variety of wildlife below the ocean surface. He sees the floor is not flat but littered with as many hills and mountains as the dry land is up above. Rather than silence, the sea is filled with the cries of the whales calling out to each other. He is taken to the laboratory, dodging a pet giant squid on the way. Sullivan welcomes him, curious as to why a confessed space fanatic has come the opposite direction to the ocean floor. Jan can see that Sullivan is as obsessed with his environment as Jan is with space. He asks the ichthyologist what he would do if the Overlords were to forbid him from coming to the ocean. Sullivan states that he would find a way. Jan sees that Sullivan would understand his request. He tells him his request and Sullivan smiles. He does not commit himself but asks Jan why he should help him carry out his plan.