So Dowe responded, "Alright then, I guess we'll just have to tell our story anyway then."
John took over the conversation again, "We got in trouble with the United first when way back when we were actually young. The United was young then, too, and very immature about things. After the honeymoon with the public was over and people began to question what the government did, they went utterly ballistical. People got locked up and disappeared faster than lightning escapes the earth. Some of them ended up here. We spoke out."
Dowe revised the story, "We're Christians, you see. And when they started taking the most radical Christians and putting them away, we went more ballistcal than they ever did. We led an international campaign against the injustice. They tracked us for a long time, and when they finally got us they put us in separate prisons. We both escaped and started over again. They nabbed us and we escaped again. By then they had every charge on the planet against us, transmitting, disturbing the peace, slander, libel, but it was one other one that landed us here."
John took the punchline, "Being generally annoying."
Dowe continued, "Any how about it, they finally realized they'd never get us locked down separately, so they took us away from our transmission station at Street 17 Containment Camp and stuck us both in here. At our age, there isn't much of a chance of escaping, especially with the icy waters."
Then with a wink and a nudge John added, "So now we set up a transmission station here."
Dowe laughed. Q couldn't get if they were joking or not, but now he suspected them of being clinically insane. This story seemed almost as unlikely as the one about having super-powers. Both religion and super-powers were equally revolting to Q's mind. Still, if their story was true, the two crazed old men were more persistent than any other prisoners.
Q asked of them, "How deep in the prisons are you?"
John answered, "Well, if you tell us how deep you are, we could tell you how much deeper or higher we are."
Q lowered his brows and squinted his eyes slightly for emphasis, "No. No one here gets to know anything about me."
Dowe replied, "We are about twelve floors down, in cells opposite each other, that is, whenever we actually are in our cells."
John elaborated, "We practically live out here. We can't stand the underground."
Q answered, "I have no great love of it either."
Dowe asked, "So what is it you're hiding from that drives you to our company, and to your little cell?"
Q was tired of questions that he could not be expected to answer, so he stood up and walked away with out saying anything. He approached the tower where the guard of the same name was stationed.
"You up there, Tower?"
"Yup, it's me. What can I do for you 0074B... or do you prefer Q, or the full-blown unpronounceable name?"
"Q will do for me," Q answered, "Can you tell me anything about John and Dowe." Just as he said them together, he finally recognized the joke in their two prisoner-names. They obviously were a pair.
"Sure. They're Christians, pretty hardcore about it, too. That's what landed them in here. They were too activist for the United's mind, and so they are here, and just as activist now."
"Where'd you get that story?"
Tower answered, "The files, their mouths, and other reliable sources."
Just then Q saw caught a glimpse of another guard staring in their direction with binoculars, through a window. Q snapped, "Quick, Tower. Check who that is staring down on us. Top of the building, far left window."
Tower switched began panning the whole fort with his binoculars, starting and finishing at the building. "It's the commander you knew. But he left now. He was smiling as he walked away, if that means much to you."
When Tower looked down, he only caught the tail of Q's jumpsuit disappearing into the shaft down to the corridors. And he smiled knowingly. He held his binoculars over the railing of the tower, and shook them, reflecting light off the lenses toward John and Dowe.
Those two shuffled over as quickly as they could without attracting attention, very deliberately looking at the guard in the tower. A little piece of paper fluttered down from Tower, which John and Dowe read together. "He's the one. And they want him, too."