That man wasn't the last we pulled out of the Arctic, close to death and starving, with no clothes but what they were standing up in. But he was the first, and so we had no idea what to do about it.
"I still say we should tell the police," muttered Ed, looking at Shane who was fast asleep on the couch. "It's not natural. He's got to have escape from somehwere -- a secure facility or something?"
"In the Arctic?" I replied. "Nah, it's more complicated than that. Have you seen those scars on his back? They weren't caused in any prison that I know of. It would be illegal." Ed hadn't, so we lifted up the sleeping man's shirt extremely carefully. "I don't want him to wake up," I said awkwardly as we performed the tricky task. "He needs the sleep."
When they were visible, Ed swore under his breath and stepped back. "That is not normal!" he exclaimed. And looking at the raw whip marks which ran from shoulders to hips and the crusted over scabs that hinted of earlier scars, I had to agree. That was if you didn't count the two missing teeth, the black eye and the gash across his head.
"I'm telling you, there's something going on here." At that moment, Shane stirred and rolled over. I wondered if he was about to wake, but instead he just murmured a name and continued to snooze. Shelley. So there was a girl involved. His girlfriend? Something inside me told me that this, too, was more complicated.
"We should get him out of here. Maybe the FBI. They'd know what to do, right?" There was Ed, overreacting again. "Perhaps he was abducted by aliens or something." His soft American accent seemed slightly stronger then, although it may have been my imagination.
"Should we tell the others?" We shared the centre with the other students and scientists, but we had a floor between two, and this one belong to Ed and me. That was another question to think about. "It'll be hard to keep it a secret."
"Wait till he's strong enought to tell his story," Ed advised. "Then we won't have to answer any of the difficult questions for ourselves. Heck, Kurt, what have we got ourselves into?"
I looked back down at the rescued man, and his horrific injuries. It had to be torture. It was a miracle he wasn't dead already. Then I thought of my family back home in England and what they would want me to do. That settled my decision. "We've got to look after him. I don't know who he is and I don't know what his crime was to merit such treatment, but we're going to look after him. Help him through this."
Ed clapped me on the back. "Well said. All right. So where do we start?"