A silence hung between us, and I narrowed my eyes. "What kind of game do you think you are playing here?" I asked.
"No games, Dr. Montgomery," he replied.
"Stop calling me Dr. Montgomery," I said; "that's not my name."
"As you wish," he said. "But it is important that you take all three pills -- not just the white, but also the red and yellow. Can we do that?" His arid face seemed sinister in the light from the window behind his desk, and I wondered what they would do to me if I refused.
"Yes," I said finally and cautiously.
"Good," he said with a brisk smile. He gestured at the professor of mathematics and the professor of biology. "Please take Dr. Montgomery back to his room."
They practically dragged me out of the chair and down the hell. At the door to my office there was some fumbling as the professor of mathematics had to try more than one key to open it. They pushed me inside and locked the door behind me, leaving me, no doubt, to think myself a patient in a madhouse.
But they made a mistake. As they dragged me from the chair in the Dean's office, I caught a good, clear glimpse of the quad outside the Dean's window, and the black helicopter in it. Clearly whoever it was that had stolen the copy of Vision of Two Souls by Catharine of Hanique had also suborned the Dean. The Dean, in turn, being a man of absolutely no imagination, had invented this nonsensical story of the pills.
Also, I had palmed the professor of biology's keys while the professor of mathematics was fumbling around with the door.
I sat down a moment, wondering how best to proceed. My head was aching a bit and I looked for an aspirin, but I could find none in the room and my pocket turned up nothing but some red and yellow buttons that had fallen off my shirt a few days before, which I had forgotten to sew back on. I just threw them in the trash; no time for them now.
Clearly the thing to do is to set out and find this mysterious Hanique and discover what happened to the missing book. It will be dangerous, no doubt; one can hardly expect people who fly around in black helicopters stealing books and bribing Deans to be safe. But that is a true academic life, to purse truth at all costs and regardless of the obstacles. And when I actually retrieve the book and lay bare the mystery! It will vindicate my life's research.
But it is, again, dangerous, so I realized that I needed to leave some record, so that the Dean and his goons in the biology and mathematics departments cannot have the last word. This, my dear reader, is the manuscript you have in hand; I had already started writing it, so it was suitable for leaving an exact and objective record of events as they have happened to me. I will hide it, I think, by the statue of St. Catharine of Bologna. If you read this, I hope that I will have already returned from Hanique with the fruits of my research! But if not, at least someone else knows of the adventure I have had, and perhaps can carry on the pursuit, so that one day the human race may know the mystery of St. Catherine of Boulagnon, which has come to be tied so strangely to the mystery of Hanique.