I stepped aboard the expedition ship, leaving the city well behind me and wondering whether I had made a wise decision in taking this assignment. I looked back at the town once, not in any kind of wistful way, as the place (for all its Alice in Wonderland charm), was really just another broken down fishing village set along a hardscrabble shore and filled with some tough human beings.

A beautiful young woman, wearing a distinctive necklace, encountered me at the top of the gangplank. Her necklace immediately caught my attention. I counted seven blue, and seven white marble-like stones, set in a long single strand hanging just below her throat. My eyes caught a small reflection from near the deck. I glanced down to her ankle. A silver string of dolphins, set nose on nose, was encircled there. The hair on the back of my neck went up as I stopped in front of her, like I’d been ordered to by some unseen and unheard drill instructor.