Seven days after he stumbled into the research centre, Shane told his story, with the students gathered around him clutching mugs of steaming hot chocolate. We had told them of his appearance just three days after he arrived -- they congratulated us on our actions and on how we had kept it a secret. Now he was ready to tell his tale. And we listened.
"I was a doctor," he began. "I worked at the Apollo Mental Hospital in England. One of my special patients was a young girl called Michelle, a strange child, and I was sure that despite all the evidence, she was not mad. But I could not discharge her without proof that she was cured, and she still heard voices. How was she not mad, if she could hear voices in her head? Simple. There really were voices in her head.
"But Michelle and I became friends over the six years she spent in the hospital. More than friends -- I was like a father to her, and she was like my daughter. We looked after each other. There was one thing I could never tell her, so I didn't. But it was my downfall.
"One day she found out about the Management. They were strange creatures. Aliens, in fact."
Here he paused and looked directly at Ed, who blushed. With a faint knowing smile, he went on to describe these creatures, and how they had instructed some other aliens (again, Ed found himself scarlet in the face) to abduct her. There they had stayed for over a year.
"Many things happened to me over that time. When the time came to escape I wasn't sure I could make it, especially as I had no supplies. I was lucky, I guess, to stumble across this research centre. Without it I would have been dead within the hour. I should have been dead already, but somehow I wasn't.
"Ed and Kurt took me in and looked after me. Now I need to leave. I have to find Michelle and help her get out, because she is in danger. Grave danger. Now that I'm not there, who's she got? No one." He paused and looked at the floor.
"Shane," I said, as quietly as I could. "I don't think that's going to be necessary." Instead of explaining I turned on the little television set and switched to a news channel. We all crowded round, trying to see through the fuzz of 'static rain' that was inevitable in such a remote location. The image, however, was clear enough.
"FBI are covering up reports that an alien spaceship has been found and raided in the Arctic, but rumours are escaping nonetheless. A young girl was admitted to a London hospital under armed guard having been flown over in a helicopter. The guards refused to speak but one nurse managed to get a picture..." I heard Shane gasp and knew that the girl on the screen was Michelle.
"So you see, she's safe. You don't need to worry any more. They will look after her, I'm sure." I was reassuring, as best I could be. I'd often had to practice on my younger brothers and sisters.
"But Kurt, what if they come back for her?"