The next morning after breakfast, Eleanor and Penelope left for Tahiti in the speedboat, leaving Astrid, Océane, and Adeline on Dolphin Island. After helping clean up the kitchen, the girl inventor turned on her computer system and checked everything over.
“Adeline,” she called into the other room. “I don’t suppose you have a connection to the Internet, do you?”
“As a matter of fact we do,” the young woman replied, stepping past Astrid to point to a spot on the wall. “They laid an underwater cable from Papeete a long time ago. I think back in the eighties. I hope it still works.”
“More like the nineties,” said Astrid, sitting down in front of the outlet, and pulling out her pocket toolkit. “This is a CAT-3 connection. I’m going to need to convert it. I’ll just strip an end off one of these cables I brought and we can see if the connection still works.”
A few minutes later, Astrid had a wire running from the wall to the back of the Ion desktop computer. After she ran the setup routine, the Maxxim Industries web page appeared on the screen.
“This will work. We’re limited to 100 megabits, but that’s not too bad really. When you said it was made in the eighties, I thought it might have been a 1200 baud connection.”
“I know most of those English words,” said Adeline, “but I still have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“That’s okay. Why don’t you show me your data?”
Adeline had recorded 2,164 sounds on a digital recorder. Each recording corresponded to an entry in a notebook that described the likely meaning. The job would require that all the sounds be copied to the computer and then to the data from the notebook would be typed in. Afterwards, a database would have to be written that included both.
“Well, I’d better get started.”
“I can help,” said Océane. “I am a very good typist. I can input everything from the notebook, while you create the program.”
“Great,” said Astrid. “Why don’t we take two of the portable computers and do it while we sit on the beach? I hope you have sunscreen.”
Océane did have sunscreen and they helped each other cover all their exposed skin. Océane had a black one-piece swimsuit, but Astrid wore shorts and a yellow top, not having thought to pack a suit. Adeline followed them down and set up a large beach umbrella, under which the two teen girls sat with their computers.
It was a lovely day and the only sounds were of the surf crashing onto the sand, and an occasional squawk of a seabird. It seemed like very little time had passed, when Adeline arrived back on the beach with a wicker picnic basket.
“Eleanor and Penelope should be back soon,” she said, as she passed out plates and then scooped potato salad onto them.
“Good,” said Astrid. “I really want to meet your dolphins.”
“Well, we really don’t need the boat for that. Most afternoons, they swim right around the island. I flatter myself that they come to visit me, but in reality they hunt over the reef and sun themselves in the lagoon. Have some cheese.”
“How come all the French people I know are thin,” said Astrid, taking a slice of Camembert, “and you all eat so much cheese and bread.”
“Obviously it isn’t bread or cheese that makes a person fat,” said Océane.
“You Americans don’t take time for your food,” said Adeline. “You are in too much of a hurry. It’s not healthy.”
“I agree with you there,” replied Astrid. “My mother is a perfect example. She’s busy all the time. Although, now that I think about it, both times I’ve talked to her recently, she’s been relaxed and at home.”
“Maybe she’s decided to start taking it easy.”
“Maybe, but that somehow doesn’t sound likely.”
“Have some dried fruits,” said Adeline, passing out an assortment of dates, apricots and roasted nuts. “Would you like some wine?”
She handed glasses out and then pulled out a bottle.
“Um, I’m too young to drink.”
“I only drink wine,” said Océane. “My father didn’t let me even drink it until I was twelve.”
“In France, everyone drinks wine. It is good for you.”
“This is that peer pressure everyone keeps telling me about,” said Astrid.
“I don’t want to pressure you, Astrid,” said Océane. “You can drink water.”
“Thank you. I’ll go and get it myself.”
The girl inventor got up and walked up to the house. As soon as she stepped inside, the phone ringer on her Carpé watch began to sound.
“Hi, Toby,” said Astrid, a grin breaking out on her face. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing’s going on with me,” he said. “What’s this I hear about you being in Tahiti?”
“Um, well, I flew down to help a friend of Océane’s with some research.”