I did not understand what was happening after I stopped two men from escaping from the police station’s cells. Everyone was afraid of me, and the policemen asked a lot of unhappy sounding questions. They moved me in to a different cell, one with all concrete walls and only the one door. It didn’t even have a window. I sat on the bunk there and waited. They did have a doctor come in and look at my shoulder where I was shot. I couldn’t tell if he was more afraid of me or interested in what happened. He left as soon as he was done, leaving me in a bandage, my arm in a sling, and under some pain killers, which made me groggy. I didn’t like that at all.
I slept a lot. It must have been a while, because they fed me a couple of times. It was better than the lab had been, but I was confused, and discovering I didn’t like being alone. I’d never been alone so much, and never when I didn’t know I would be returned to cages and the other experiments. It did let my shoulder get better.
After some time… hard to say exactly how much, two men came in to the cell I was in, and looked around. They were escorted by several policemen, all of whom were armed and had their guns out, and aimed at me. I frowned, and sat still. One of the two new men said to the police, “Put the guns away. Give us a few minutes to talk to him.” One of the policemen said, “You sure you want to be in here alone with him? He’s dangerous.” He – all of the police, really – were obviously afraid of me. It made me feel bad, because I didn’t want to hurt them.
The unknown man turned to me, and said, “Hello there, fellow.”
I looked at him, and said, “Um. Are you talking to me?”
He nodded, and smiled, saying, “Would you mind if my friend and I stayed here and talked to you for a little while?”
“No, I don’t mind,” I replied.
“Good,” he said. He turned to the others, and said, “See? Nothing to worry about. This is a person, not an animal. We’ll be fine. Go, and let us talk.” The policemen did, but were uncomfortable with it. I was left alone with the two men.
The one who had been talking to the police was a tall, dark-haired but balding man, slightly overweight. He was wearing a dark blue suit, and looked very comfortable in it, as if wearing a suit every day were normal to him. Both he and his partner seemed very sure of themselves. His partner was wearing grey slacks, a white shirt, and a dark brown sweater with a lighter brown corduroy jacket with dark brown patches at the elbows over it. His hair was salt-and-peppery, a fairly even mixture of dark brown and white.
The man in the suit asked me, “May we sit?” and I nodded. He and his companion sat on the floor, across from me. Once they’d settled down, he said, “My name is David Marcus, and I work for the State Department. That is part of the United States government. Have you heard of the United States?” He did not sound condescending or rude, but was simply asking, I nodded, but said nothing. He said, “Good. I am here to help you.” He gestured towards the man in the grey and brown, and said, “This is Dr. Mortimer French, who is here to help me. He is very excited to meed you.”
Dr. French said, in a quiet but clear and slightly high pitched voice for a man, “Yes, I am very pleased to have a chance to meet you. I hope you won’t mind us asking you some questions.”
I shook my head and said, “No, sir, that would be fine.” Both men smiled, and I saw that Dr. French was watching how I moved, and how I talked.
Mr. Marcus said, “My job is to place people like you, who have been created by others, in an appropriate place for your skills and temperament.” He smiled, and added, “So far, you have impressed us a great deal, and it will be a pleasure to help you. Not all of the created entities we discover are verbal or so well-mannered.”
Later, I found out that the government considers me a “created person”. It is apparently illegal to create new intelligent life, and the people at the lab were breaking the law when they did so. The government recognizes that this is not the fault of those created, however, and grants them a form of limited citizenship when it can. I passed the simple tests they had easily. Many of the created persons they find are not able to speak – much less read – or are violent and dangerous to themselves and others. I did ask what happened to them, and no one wanted to discuss it. Eventually I found out that some are put to sleep as dangers to themselves and others, while others are turned over to research laboratories or zoos to live out their lives as best they can. It seemed that the endless lectures on morality, manners and how to deal with people in society that I was put through in the lab were a very good thing after all.
Mr. Marcus, Dr. French and I had a long conversation.
It started out with them asking for my name. I told them the same thing I had told Bill,, and they agreed that they couldn’t call me “thirty-seven” either. I saw Mr. Marcus fill out, “John Doe” on a form, and he seemed startled, and pleased, when I said, “I am not a doe, sir.” His reply was, “You can read!” I nodded, and he said, “That’s very good. As to the name, you’re not a doe, but that’s the name we use for people who haven’t got one of their own. All it means is that we haven’t got a better one for you yet.”
It turns out that both Mr. Marcus and Dr. French were quite concerned that I was not upset about how I had been treated. They told me that I was not being charged with any crime at this time, and that I was free to go if I so desired. I looked blankly at them at this, and Mr. Marcus asked, “Do you have any place to go?” I did not. He also asked if I wanted to be returned to my creators. I emphatically did not, and both men assured me that I did not have to worry about going back someplace I did not want to go.
They asked where I came from, and if there were any more like me – I did not have good answers for them, but they were very understanding – and they asked what I wanted to do. They asked why I had stopped the men who were escaping. I tried to explain that it would be wrong for them to leave like that. I asked if I were in trouble, and they assured me I was not. When I asked why the policemen were afraid of me, David Marcus said, “They’re afraid because they don’t know why you did what you did, and they aren’t sure what else you can do.”
Dr. French also spent a lot of time asking me what I could do. I offered to show them, and did so. They were very impressed with my electric bolts, and with my ability to hide. They also liked the force fields. Dr. French asked if he could examine me, and I said yes. He could tell I was worried, and did his best to reassure me that he wouldn’t do anything I didn’t want him to do, or anything painful. I agreed, and he gave me a brief physical there. He asked me to remove my gloves, and was quite surprised to learn I couldn’t. The transmission antenna for the field generator was the same way. He asked if I knew how the systems worked, and I did not. He reassured me that was fine with him.
I remember Dr. French’s surprise at my knowledge of some things, but not of others. He expected me to have a place to go in mind, and seemed to find it odd that I didn’t mind the jail so much. I told him, “I’m warm and dry and have enough to eat. This is a fine place, although I miss other people.” He also asked why I had challenged the man with the gun. He seemed startled by my matter-of-fact reply, “He only had a .38. From that distance, he was unlikely to hurt me much. I presented a profile, so that even if he did, I wouldn’t likely be seriously hurt, and then tried to knock him out before it was an issue.” The doctor was stunned by this, but Mr. Marcus smiled and said, “Very good analysis of the situation.”
Mr. Marcus and Dr. French asked if I minded staying in police custody another day. Mr. Marcus told me, “I have an idea of a place you can go, and do good things for people, where you’ll be wanted and respected. Does that sound all right?” It did, and I told him so. I agreed to wait with the police. Dr. French asked me if I would let him take a few pictures and x-rays and such, at a local hospital. I was not as happy with this idea, and he seemed to be able to tell this, and dropped the subject.
The two men left me alone again, which made me sad. The police did bring dinner, and seemed less wary of me. The man who came to collect the dishes stopped outside the door, and talked to me for a few minutes. He told me that the officer who had been attacked the night before was going to be all right, and that he’d just been unconscious. He told me he was sorry that I’d been shot, and asked if I was all right. I reassured him that I was, and that I was glad the officer who they had ambushed would be okay.
Tomorrow would tell.