Chapter 31: Puppetmaster

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"We aren't quite sure how your minds are going to process what you're about to see, but I promise you all:  you are in no danger."  Avis looked up into the sky, briefly.  "Not long, now." Terris used the moment to check on the rest of their group.  Silas, John and Captain Valeri were all making their way to shore with a quickness to their movements.  Marcus cradled Ghost in his arms as if she were a child and slogged quickly out of the shallows towards their spent clothing by the vehicles.

Terris turned around again, his eyes searching for Avis' transport.  There was none.  A mile of swaying grasses extended beyond the sandy beach head before the sparse treeline of the forest began.  More than twice that distance led to the curved river that had funneled them to the ocean.

"How did you get here?"  the young pilot asked, his brows knit in suspicion.

"I walked."  When she turned to him, he noticed a faraway look in her eyes.  Her eyes moved quickly about the landscape, never stopping on any one thing.  She seemed wistful.

"From where?"  Given the rise and fall of the small hills, it was possible that none of their group could have seen her approach from the depression of the sandy shore.  It irritated him that his guard had been down and she'd stepped right through it.  He didn't like to think that he had left Dawn unprotected.  She stood next to him, her posture erect, biting down on whatever it was she wanted to say.  Her green eyes flitted between Terris and Avis, her head unmoving and lowered slightly.  She was letting him have control of the conversation.

She jerked her head back toward the forest.  "In there, somewhere."  Her eyes locked onto Terris'.  "Castors do not come to the construction planets.  If it's absolutely necessary, we will, but we have to keep our time brief, as you will understand in a few moments."

Terris immediately registered several words.  The first was Castors.  Castor and Pollux.  The names were triggering a sense of familiarity, but he couldn't place them.  The second was her plural use of the word 'planet'.   Then his mind backtracked and it caught on her vague 'somewhere' reference to the forest.  The woman didn't know where she was nor where she had come from.

He was about to begin a barrage of questioning when something soft brushed his arm, and he turned to see Silas, dripping seawater, offering him his uniform.  Terris thanked him with a nod and immediately began climbing into it.  The pirate held out Dawn's uniform, as well.

"Castor and Pollux."  Terris shook his head trying to place the names.

Silas, clad only in his rainbow-colored environmental lowers, looked up.  "The twins of the Gemini."  He explained offhandedly as he struggled to don the rest of his gear.  "Pollux was the offspring of a Greek god and thus, immortal.  His mother gave birth to a second son, Castor, who was human.  When Castor died, Pollux appealed to Zeus that he might share his immortality with his brother.  Zeus agreed and the two gods became the Gemini.  Castor and Pollux were among the select few gods worshiped by both the Greeks and the Romans."  His arms shook from the fatigue of swimming as he pulled his shirt into place, but his expression was serene.  "And man, could they party."  He finished his wardrobe battle and looked around to see Dawn, Terris and Avis staring at him.

"What?" Silas demanded.  "I named all of my ships after the Gods."  He paused in silent respect for the lost Aries and Athena and all of the coffee they would never brew.

Avis was first to speak.  "And your brief description has opened the door for a rather complicated subject."  She stated.  John and Valeri joined the group, hastily pulling on their own clothing as they approached.  Marcus kept a sharp ear toward the conversation and spoke to Ghost after each exchange, keeping her updated as the two also dressed.

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