“Welcome to Hawaii.”
“Thank you, Astrid. It is absolutely lovely here. May I introduce you to my daughter Océane?”
A girl about Astrid’s age stepped out behind him. She was about an inch taller than Astrid and almost as thin as Denise. Her pleasant face was framed in short black hair, cut in a cute little wedge. She stuck her hand toward Astrid, who shook it.
“Oh-say-AHN.” Astrid rolled the unfamiliar name on her tongue. “I’m very glad to meet you. I didn’t know you had a daughter, Dr. Feuillée, but I’m not surprised you named her after the ocean.”
“It is a fairly common name in France,” he replied.
“J’aimerais prendre si un hoverbike,” said Océane.
“L’anglais, s’il vous plait,” Dr. Feuillée told his daughter. “She so wants to ride a hoverbike,” he said.
“I wish I had brought mine,” said Astrid. “Maybe you could swing by Maxxim City on the way home and try one out.”
“This is wonderful idea,” said Océane.
“Let me help you with your bags,” said the girl inventor. “You’re staying in Gardenia House with us.”
Astrid took one bag and Denise took the other, leading the way to the house where Mrs. Maxxim met them. After helping to get the Feuillées settled in their rooms, Astrid was able to spend an hour getting to know the daughter of the famous oceanographer. She found Océane to be a sweet and very smart girl, who enjoyed listening to popular music and playing soccer, or as she called it, football. She was also fascinated by hoverbikes, and asked Astrid and Denise dozens of questions about them. She was in fact, still asking questions when a familiar person stepped into the room.
“I’m home,” called Toby from the doorway.
Astrid was so excited that she was across the room and wrapping Toby in a fierce embrace before anyone could blink.
“Hey, I’ve only been gone since yesterday.” He laughed, but his face flushed with embarrassment.
“We were just worried about you,” said Denise, hugging him from the other side. Astrid was grateful for her friend’s words, because at that moment she didn’t think that she could speak.
Astrid’s mother served lunch to everyone, including Toby’s father who had arrived almost unnoticed with him. Then they all piled into one of the vans and were driven over the hill and across the bridge to dock, where they climbed into a large motorboat and headed out into Kaneohe Bay.
It wasn’t long before they could see the Toronto, and standing high up on its deck, Austin and Christopher. Next to the ship was a large floating platform with a square building right in the center of it.
“That’s the elevator down to the undersea dome,” explained Astrid.
“How do you account for high and low tide?” asked Dr. Feuillée.
“The elevator is in a single fixed position, but the platform floats. The two are connected by a set of constantly adjusting steps. At any time, you may have to go up or down the stairs to get into the elevator, depending upon whether it is high or low tide.”
“Very ingenious,” said Feuillée.
“That’s our Astrid,” said Toby.