Felix has to keep watching it. Were he ever to take his eyes off it for a moment, we'd be doomed. All of us. The whole city.
It's the last of its kind. Or maybe it's the only one of its kind. We don't know because we don't really understand how the blasted thing works. All we know is that for the time being, it's a hat. It's a hat and that way it can't harm anyone. Were it ever to stop being a hat...
You think I'm joking? You think my calling it a hat is a clever metaphor or something? No! A Tyrolean hat. Tan, with a grey band and a bright red feather. This is a hat the ancient Germans would put on their head and go out with.
I can show you if you like. The more eyes, the more certain it will stay a hat. When Felix first saw it, he caught a glimpse of it changing into the hat, and knew what it was. He called his team over, told them to keep staring at it while he cut his eyelids open and peeled them off. He had one bring a chair, which he demanded they chain him to. He had them bring a lubrication device to keep his eyes wet. He took it upon himself to stare at it for the rest of his life and keep the city safe as long as he lived.
When he dreams--he falls asleep for about an hour each night--he dreams about it. The REM doesn't take it out of his field of vision, so he can watch it even in his sleep. How's that for dedication?
If he died? If he died we'd be in trouble. See, it sustains whatever form it had when one looks at it. As soon as you take your eyes off of it, it can move and change at will. Walls don't stop it. Weapons don't hurt it. As long as it's a hat, we're fine.
When Felix starts showing signs that he might die, we'll cut off another man's eyelids and sit him in the chair. A young man. We need all the time we can get. See, it can't be killed or even moved by any of the resources we have. So he just sits there in the tunnel, three torches his only light, as he stares at the hat. People come and feed him, read him the news, and stories. He likes historical fiction, particularly stories about Ancient Rome. They take his mind off what he's staring at.
As long as it's a hat, we're safe.
As soon as it stops being a hat, we're all dead.
We're all dead.