Things are slowing down a bit here, as we get into some more of what I call “make-work”.

Frank did manage to get hold – at least by phone – of the person who bopped Joe. He learned a little, though not much. Then I worked on getting some information out of Pua, Big Mike’s daughter.

This led to making a shaved ice (or sno-cone) for Mike. All I had to do was pick the right three flavors from among nine. With no clue at all for guidance.

I know what you’re thinking. But sometimes, the Game Gods smile, and here they grinned for me briefly. I tried two, and they were the right two, first shot. What are the odds? After that, it took a couple more tries to get the third flavor, but that was fast.

However, that wasn’t going to get Nancy the plant info she needed, so I backtracked slightly, and went over to one of Big Mike’s machines where, for a Big Island Buck, Frank read up on plant info.

Naturally, I’m writing all this down. Of course, when he calls Nancy, he repeats all the vital info, and it goes in her journal. So now I’m back with her, and we go over all the traps and I note down which trap is by which plant. Oi.

Then it’s over to the base camp to do the analysis. Only the microscope is busted. Where to get a new lens? Where else but Hilihili? So I ride over there and Craven will give me one if I fertilize his plants.

This was strictly a trial-and-error business, where you release fertilizers from different tanks and watch the results on the five plants. Not one of my more fun moments here. But I do get the lens.

Now the tedious stuff really begins. Each bag’s contents are examined under the microscope. There are insect parts, seeds, and frass. I have to count the number of seeds, the number of parts, the number of farss, and get the weight of the frass.

All of this gets filled in on the clipboard chart, which then goes into a machine that performs an analysis and comes up with a number. Huzzah, I think.

I shoot off to Dr. Kim, who wants me to do some tests with some other frass back at the base. I wonder why some of this just couldn’t be done by radio; it’s a long walk from the parked car to Dr. Kim’s location.

But she wants me to snitch a leaf from one of Craven’s plants for testing, too. Nancy Drew, Plant Pickpocket.

This business was tricky. Not so much getting into the greenhouse and finding the right plant; getting out with the leaf was the hard part. No sooner do I have the info out of a computer than alarms go off, and I had to play hide-and-seek with a guard.

This took several tries before I made it out. Unfortunately, the leaf had nothing to do with what Kim is working on. Of course I have to tell her this in person. Then I get some more specimens from her bag, go back to the base camp, and try them until I get a hit.

By now, I’m thinking it would be a vacation to switch back to Frank. So after visiting Kim once more with the results, and having her tell me about a cave I found earlier anyway, I give Frank a call.

As Frank, I open a locked chest and take out a drawing. It looks a lot like something Nancy saw in the cave. Very much like it. So of course Frank, on his own, calls Nancy with the information. Man, that was a fast vacation!

So now Nancy is in this creepy cave, about to work on another puzzle. Will it lead her to Kane Okala, the rough-skinned man? Will Frank ever get to go snorkeling? (Something he needs to do one of these years) Will Joe ever get out of the hospital? Hang in there mystery fans!