Chapter 3 Summary
Stormgren has trouble sleeping. He has become obsessed with discovering what the Overlords look like. He is retiring from his position as Secretary-General in four months and someone else will be the means of communicating between humans and aliens.
The next morning, Assistant Secretary-General Pieter Van Ryberg is surprised when Stormgren does not show up at the usual hour. By noon, he becomes alarmed and tries to contact Stormgren’s home. Soon the news agencies tell the world that the Secretary-General of the United Nations has disappeared.
Stormgren awakens in complete dark. He realizes that he is not at home but in some underground room, perhaps a mine. A man enters and introduces himself as Joe. He is not an agent for Wainwright, but Stormgren suspects that Joe is part of a militant wing of the Freedom League. Joe takes Stormgren to another room where more men are sitting. Joe explains that they knocked Stormgren out by filtering noxious gas through his air conditioner. The Secretary-General was then carried out to a car, which drove him out through an underground tunnel to be met by large trucks. The car that had carried Stormgren went on to Canada as a way to sidetrack Karellen.
Stormgren asks if he is a hostage. Joe tells him that they will look after him, but they are expecting some visitors in a few days. Until then, they will entertain him with poker, since Stormgren is known to be an avid player.
Ryberg hesitates to contact Karellen, in awe of the alien Overlord. He sends him a fax, but Karellen sends him a reply that the matter is left completely in Ryberg’s hands.
After a few days, Stormgren is taken to another room where the visitors have gathered. The leader, who has blank grey eyes, tells him that they want information about Karellen and the Overlords. Stormgren tells them what he knows, though there is little to tell about what the aliens look like. He draws a picture of the setting of the room in which he talks with the hidden Karellen, including the one-way screen behind which sits Karellen. When he passes the picture over to the grey-eyed man, he realizes that the man is blind.
Stormgren tries to reassure his captors that the Overlords are harmless, despite their benevolent dictatorship of the planet. He points out the measures taken to prevent cruelty to animals, which was demonstrated on a crowd at a bull fight in Madrid. The captors try to convince Stormgren to acquire a tool that will allow him to see through the one-way screen in the Overlords’ spaceship. Suddenly, all the men freeze and a metal sphere appears. Karellen’s voice tells Stormgren to follow his directions out of the mine. Karellen explains that Stormgren served as a “tracer,” allowing the Overlords to find the militant group. Stormgren decides he may try his captors’ suggestion of finding some way to discover what the aliens look like.