As the airboat streaked into the mist and fog, the area where the island had been disappeared in the Venusian weather. After an hour or so that was not so much as punctuated by a single word from anyone, the research station came into view. The other boat was already back, and their sensors were working perfectly. Dr. Greenborough and the other station members welcomed their party back. They hoped they could stay long enough to share one more meal with them. Macgregor took the time to apologize to the driver who just shook his head in disbelief and said, “I will work at forgetting everything I saw today.”
The dinner invitation was accepted for no other reason than to tell the tale of the day’s adventures. The Marines packed the Matilda Briggs for lift-off as the rest dined. As the meal was served, Lyshol recounted the extraordinary story to the rest of the station.
Lyshol took the time to review the sensor logs from the boat, but just like the previous recording the system seemed to malfunction just at the critical time. Much speculation circulated regarding what these observations could really be. Greenborough thought the account might have been the effects of certain organic gases which frequently bubble to the ocean surface and had been known to cause hallucinations. He wondered if there was any proof to verify any bit of the fanciful tale. Lyshol looked to Tandekar who seemed to be intently reading something on his Terpiscompendium.
Lyshol interjected, “Your samples, man!”
As Tandekar became aware of the conversation, he looked around timidly. “I don’t have any of those things any more.”
The professor looked at Tandekar dumbfounded. Dr. Tandekar in his shame assumed a lowly posture, staring at his boots when he spotted something on his boot. Bending over, he peeled off a large maple leaf that had been plastered to it. The doctor said with confidence, “Here is some proof.”
The botanists gathered around Tandekar and were amazed at the find. Lyshol quickly unlaced his boots and to his delight discovered several willow leaves, a piece of a wintergreen leaf and a couple of ash seeds. As the scientists were busy in rapid discussion, Tandekar’s eyes met with Lyshol’s. A look of misunderstanding was exchanged. Lyshol got the impression that Tandekar wanted him to drop the subject.
The meal was better enjoyed in comparison to the first. The visitors now knew what foods to avoid. Tandekar left the meal early and waited on the Matilda Briggs. Lyshol noticed that the doctor left his terpiscompedium at his seat. Casually walking past the doctor’s seat, he checked to see what the doctor was so intent upon reading. The last files referenced were encyclopedic texts from ancient Rabbinic writings from Genesis. The searched terms were: Golem, Leviathan, Garden… Being vaguely familiar with Genesis as a human religious myth, the first two entries did not mean anything to Lyshol.
The researchers bid the Dauntless party all a fond farewell as the Matilda Briggs rose to the sky, their ship and home. The doctor spent the trip back to the Dauntless in deep thought, staring into space and clutching his bag.