The driver had the boat going full out as he headed in a beeline straight for the station. Macgregor was on the deck of the boat, looking back through the light drizzle. He suddenly yelled, “Turn th’ boat round!”
The driver paid him no heed. Tandekar dashed to the marine’s side to see what had happened. MacGregor cried, “I left poor Robin back on th’ island! We must gæ back and git him! Now!!!”
Tandekar asked, “Robin?”
“Private Robin Hood, me wee beastie. We cannæ leave ‘em back there! Turn this damned bloody boat roond n’ gæ tæ th’ island, ye fool!”
Dennis kept to his controls and kept the boat on a direct course back to the station without saying a word.
“Ye festerin’ sac o’ pus! I gotta rescue wee Robbing Hood! We need tæ gæ back and find him! Move it, ye Campbell!” MacGregor drew his weapon and aimed it at the driver and said, “NOW!”
At the sight of the weapon, Dennis started a slow turn to starboard. While turning, Tandekar spied the native flotilla which seemed to be exiting the cloud surrounding the island. The leader seemed to be dancing in the middle of the largest canoe.
In seconds, the airboat reentered the cloud. The same temperature reduction made itself evident. Finally the coastline came into view. MacGregor was the first off the boat scrambling up the shore and calling out for his pet. “Hoodie! Come tæ Papa!”
Private Hood was nowhere to be found. “Hoodie! Ye wee moron! Ge’ yerself back.”
Tandekar and Lyshol followed hoping to find the ferret and to quickly depart. As the party made its way deeper into the forest, there seemed to be a spot of sunlight. Lyshol commented, “I’ve never seen rays of sunlight like that on Venus.”
The corporal at the forefront of the group called, “Hoodie! Ye damned little bastard. Ge’ yerself tæ me sæ we gæ haim!”
The doctor suggested to Lyshol, “Let’s check out the center of the island. Perhaps we can explain to Sophiel that we are missing our mascot.”
The professor was puzzled. “The natives seemed friendly enough. I wonder what the danger that Sophiel mentioned is?”
MacGregor followed the two scientists toward the light. “Head’n over tæ this light, mebbe he wanted a wee bit o’ warmth. Hoodie! Hoodie! This in’t gonna tæ look guid on yer file, boyo.”
As the group drew near the light, they saw the light was being emitted from a brilliant white tree. The bark was a luminous golden color and the leaves were a scintillating white. The tree itself was growing out of what looked to be a large pond constructed of marble. The basin was full of water that trickled down the fountain in a series of steps. Crouching behind a bush, the marine detected reptilliad tracks in the soft dirt. The tracks led up next to the fountain from which the shining tree sprang. The tracks looked no more than minutes old. They may have been indicated the party had encountered Sophiel. MacGregor whispered, “This place has had visitors.”
Lyshol spotted the ferret near the opposite side of the fountain and signaled to the corporal. Private Hood seemed to be peacefully gnawing at a large walnut. “There ye err, Private Hood.”
Tandekar whispered, “Don’t get mad. Your pet knows no better.”
“Doc, d’ya think the reptil blokes got their magic p’scripton filled here?”
The physician shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe?”
MacGregor commented, “It’s like a church here.”
“Very much so.”
MacGregor came upon the feasting ferret, snatched him up and deposited him in his pocket. “Ye great huge sassanach! Ye worried Papa unmerciful’. Gæ ye in me pocket.”
Lyshol suggested leaving immediately, but Tandekar opened a bottle from his kit and emptied the contents. The doctor stepped near the fountain and took a sample of the water. MacGregor warned, “Aye. Most people dinnæ take too kindly tæ such a place bein’ visited by Visigoths.”
Tandekar smiled and retorted, “Then perhaps you should leave, MacGregor.”
“I am a Pict, næ a Visigoth. We ha’e culture.”
As Tandekar turned to leave, he looked up and secured a leaf from the tree as well. Lyshol barked in a hushed tone, “We should be leaving post haste!”
Just as the doctor placed the leaf in a bag, he spotted a large blue fruit, reached for it but found he was not tall enough. He gestured the marine to come closer and assist him in getting the fruit.
As the corporal started to give the doctor a hand, Lyshol heard a rustling in the forest. The rustling sounded dangerously like the approach of the mud-covered creature. MacGregor froze when he heard the commotion. The rumbling of heavy footsteps was evident. “C’mon, Doctor! Time tæ gæ!”
As the doctor’s footstool broke for the trees with his weapon ready, Tandekar abandoned the fruit and sprinted in the direction of the boat. MacGregor saw the brown giant approaching as the party careened through the forest toward the boat. Dennis had turned the boat around and was ready to leave, anticipating the eventuality of a hasty retreat. MacGregor and Lyshol leaped from the shore to its deck. Tandekar, the slowest of the group, jumped for the boat when he felt a cold muddy sensation on the back of his neck. The boat took off as the doctor’s body bounced onto the deck.
The giant stood on the bank glaring at the men as the driver gunned the engine and shot into the fog. Tandekar reached to the back of his neck to wipe off some of the muddy clay on the back of his neck. The creature had just missed grabbing the doctor out of mid-air or was it he that propelled him onto the boat. “Oy, tha’ was close!”
Lyshol asked, “MacGregor, is your beast secured this time?”
“Aye, he is.”
As the boat headed for home, the adventuresome crew looked back at the location of the island. An eruption of light suddenly burst out and leapt into the misty sky. The light raced skyward and left a trail like a comet or shooting star.
“I dinnæ like that. Næ atall.”
The heat of the phenomena burnt off much of the fog and mist in the air. The island was plainly visible. At one end of the island, another smaller island seemed to rise from the surface of the water. A sound reminiscent of the breeching and blowing of a Whale was heard echoing across the waters. Dr. Tandekar was taken aback as the emerging island looked to him to be in the shape of the head of a gigantic turtle. Lyshol croaked in a broken voice, “How fast can this boat go, Dennis?!”
The small island then sank slowly back into the water and was followed by the entirety of the island on which they had just been.
Ed called the others to his scope when his sensors picked up the outline of a gigantic turtle descending in the water. The object floated down to the bottom of the seabed and seemed to burrow in.