The argument continued through the night. It was intense. Angry voices, screams, and even blows could be heard echoing in the dark chamber at the top of the infernal tower. Oliver tried to calm the participants to no avail. He was a tiny man with a high pitched voice and his flagging attempts at reconciliation only made things worse. Leonora and sister Bett’ were at odds with one another, cat fighting about some entirely irrelevant topic. Umphagohra was the only cool head in the gathering. Of course Umphagohra (it) was merely a head without a body, being a creature of some unknown and peculiarly alien origin. It spelled out the terms of the debate and illuminated the topic: whether or not to destroy every human on the face of planet Earth. A clean sweep would protect the planet from further damage and impairment. Releasing a toxin to target the human population would not be too difficult. The group had the skills and scientific background. “For the sake of the planet,” Umphagohra stated emphatically and Oliver agreed. Leonora and Bett’ refocused their attention on the debate and stated, “But won’t we all die as well?” They spoke in unison. “Of course,” Oliver peeped, “but why would you want to live in a corrupt and dangerous world.” Oliver always sided with the big headed alien. A fight ensued, the ladies against Oliver. Umphagohra smiled, but refused to join the battle. It often had a difficult time when it came to physical confrontation. The alien rolled away and contemplated further contentious remarks to heat things up. The mellay went from bad to worse. Objects were thrown around the room, some even aimed at Umphagohra who got smacked in the eye. Finally, the Old Man was forced to intervene. He was ancient, crumbling with the accumulation of years. He hobbled up the precarious, stone steps to the room at the top. He was angry and wanted to evict the group from his tower. When he entered the room, the fighting subsided. A frigid quiet descended. Everyone stared at the Old Man. They realized their debate was merely a distraction. Even the alien was not really serious about releasing a deadly toxin. The Earth would survive no matter what the piddling human race did to foul the planet. The real battle was with the Old Man. He was the group’s lord and master, enslaving each and every one of them. A knowing glance united the motley crew. En mass they attacked the Old Man. Even Umphagohra joined the onslaught using teeth as the only weapon it possessed. The Old Man was torn asunder. He lay helpless, tears streaming from his eyes, but the pain only lasted a few moments. When it was over he regained his senses and banished the group of infidels from the tower. He smiled knowing they would return to continue the foray. The Old Man realized the battle was keeping him alive — it was the only challenge he had left. Without the strange group and their disruptions he would be dead.