Chapter 8 Summary
On the rooftop, Jan Rodricks looks up at space, hoping to see one of the Overlords’ ships leaving for their distant home. Jan has long has a love for space exploration, but this field has disappeared with the arrival of the alien ships. Hundreds of people have been to the moon to build a space observatory, but the ship in which they travel is beyond investigation or replication. No one has any interest in developing rockets that are inadequate to those of the Overlords’ technology. Jan is finally rewarded as he sees a streak of light, signifying the departure of one of the ships beyond the Moon to the home planet. It is assumed that this streak is caused by the distortion of light by the strong gravity of the ships’ acceleration.
Descending to the house below, Jan discovers that the party is over. Most of the guests have left, with the exception of Norman Dodsworth, a poet who is too drunk to move and now laid out on the lawn. George and Jean are still present, though George does not know why. He resents Jean’s friendship with Rupert, especially their shared interest in psychic phenomena, which George thinks is silly. Rupert proposes and activity and invites everyone to participate, including Rashaverak. The Overlord refuses, sitting down to observe. The others gather around a table, from which Rupert removes the top to show ball bearings, contained inside the table by a raised rim containing letters, numbers, and the words “Yes” and “No.” It is a giant Ouija board. Rupert asks, “Who are you?” The table replies, “IAMALL,” or “I am all,” according to Rupert’s interpretation. The guests begin by asking silly questions, such as “What is my favorite color?” George is sure that there is no paranormal explanation; it is simply a response to their unconscious muscular movements. He asks the board its name, but all he gets is the letter “G” with a bunch of “nonsense,” as he sees it. Some other messages are “Believe in man; nature is with you,” and “Remember, man is not alone, near man is country of others.” This is obvious to everyone, so no one is impressed. Jan asks, “Which star is the Overlord’s sun?” The reply is “NGS 549672,” which is an astrological coordinate for a specific star. Ruth Shoenberger, another guest, asks what it means, but George asks for help, for his wife Jean has fainted.