Chapters 12-13 Summary
Ben intends to test out Jill’s report of Smith’s ability to make people, and perhaps things, disappear. He resents her attempts to force Smith into Earth customs, such as getting dressed, but he realizes that it is necessary in order for Smith to function on this planet.
Anne, one of Jubal’s secretaries, functions as a Fair Witness to the test. Jubal asks Smith to make a box disappear, but Smith says that he cannot, since it is not a “wrong thing.” Jubal then throws the box at Jill, and the box disappears. Anne reports that it did not simply disappear but shrank as if it were going a great distance somewhere. Jubal asks Smith to try it again with an ashtray, but Jill sees that Smith is upset at two of his water brothers in such a situation. Jubal then throws the ashtray over his head and tells Smith to stop it. Smith does, but it does not disappear, since Jubal did not tell him to make it go away. Jill asks about the two men who disappeared, assuring Smith that she is not angry with him. When Smith faces intense emotions, such as anger, he goes into his withdrawal, so Jill tells him not to. Smith can levitate objects, like the ash tray, but he is limited to how many he can hold up at one time. Distance is no handicap, nor is not being able to see what he is stopping. Jubal asks Smith if he can make a gun disappear without making the person holding it “discorporate.” Smith says he can, so Jubal tells him that he is always to protect Jill. Smith readily agrees.
Duke, one of Jubal’s flunkies, refuses to eat with Smith because of his Martian practice of eating the corpses of those who have died. Jubal explains that this is their highest form of honor, but he tells Duke to leave. Duke says that he wants to stay, but Jubal insists he has resigned. He will not allow anyone to stay who refuses to eat with one of his guests. Duke relents, reluctantly. Jubal explains that it is the Martians, rather than humans, who are the most civilized. He points out that most people-groups on Earth have practiced cannibalism at some time in their history. He references the Christian practice of Holy Communion as a symbolic cannibalism, just as the Martians practice it to commune with the ghosts of the dead, the Old Ones.