As in many books, a secondary character is an important one. So is Captain Curtis and his six other ‘Marines’. Here’s a short glimpse into Captain Curtis’ character not to mention that of General Grill.
“Allow me to introduce Captain Pericles Curtis. You’ll be dealing with him on a daily basis.” Captain Curtis stood well over six-feet tall, heavily muscled, and fit. He didn’t smile. The Captain, a handsome young man with large brown eyes, sandy brown hair, and a deep tan from hours of training out-of-doors; from what she knew of Marine training was the harshest of conditions. When the General introduced him, he shook her hand and received her firm handshake in return.
“Ms. Carter, ma’am.” Captain Curtis addressed her in the most respectful manner she remembered anyone ever speaking to her, meeting her gaze without unflinching.
“Nice to meet you, Captain.” Jessica saw something in his eyes that spoke of more than regular Marine.
“Thank you, Captain,” Grill dismissed him. Captain Curtis left to attend his duties.
“I see your people are very efficient, General, I would not have expected it otherwise.” Though a Naval Reservist, she held considerable respect for Marines.
Grill smiled. “They are, and Captain Curtis has some knowledge of archaeology. One reason his team was selected.”
“That will be helpful.” Jessica’s curiosity was peeked once more at the speed the Marines were dispatched.
“Ms. Carter, we are here to be helpful. In no way do we want to run your operation. However, where security is concerned, you must understand I will have the final say. One item, ma’am, I will require you to dismiss your workers. If you need manual labor, we’ll employ some people, but they will have to pass a security clearance.”
“General, I am sure you have a full file on me. Therefore, you know my background. I will cooperate with you, of course. As far as the workers, we can manage without the few we’ve retained. Most of the physical labor is completed. Now what can I tell you or show you that you already do not know?”
Jessica gave him a brief tour, and he found the mural room the most interesting, as did Captain Curtis, who returned to accompany them. Afterward, the workers were paid their salaries and dismissed.
Jessica watched the Captain. He seemed at home within the structure, as if he belonged there. His eyes took in everything in the room without appearing to gaze around. She concluded Captain Curtis was an uncommonly observant man.
“Thank you, Ms. Carter, for the tour. I’ll keep in close touch. Should you need me otherwise, Captain Curtis has my number.” He nodded to Captain Curtis. One of his men ferried him back across the short distance, and he departed the same way he arrived.
Captain Curtis and his men stood guard while the other Marines completed setting up a small, but efficient, base camp. Jessica was sympathetic they had to sleep in the Okeechobee heat and humidity. Marines, known for their toughness and discipline, didn’t seem fazed by the conditions.