The Cancun airport was busy even this late at night. Or early in the morning, depending on how long you‘d been up. Kathy Bennett searched the crowed for the face in the photo John had showed her. Possible disasters popped up in her head.
What if this a setup? In her line of work you could never tell? Could they trust Professor Braun? Sure, John did, but he hadn’t really been around the guy for fifteen years. She remembered a rendezvous in Tblisi where her contact had actually been working for black market smugglers. She wished she could have brought a gun. After fifteen minutes of looking John finally nodded toward the main exit.
“Let’s head this way.”
Carefully the two made their way through the mix of Americans, Mexicans and other nationalities swarming through the terminal. Both kept a tight grip on their bags. They’d been traveling long enough to know how to stay safe.
A tall figure emerged from the crowd and they recognized Dr. Heinrich Cruz from the snapshot. He wore the battered fedora hat but had swapped the tweedy suit in the picture for a brown jacket and loose khakis.
“Mr. Parker?”
John regarded the man suspiciously. “Yes?”
The man pulled out a wallet and displayed a Mexican driver‘s license. “I’m Dr. Cruz. Perhaps Dr. Braun mentioned me?”
Five minutes later they were driving along a tree lined highway back to Cancun. John sat in the front of the little Volkswagen while Kathy sat in the back seat. On the road with only a few semis and the ever present green and white taxis for company the archaeologist turned his attention to them.
“Professor Braun said you were interested in the Maya. How can I help?”
John thought for a moment. “I’m looking for
things that are out of place. What I’d like to find are thousand year old stockpiles of, well, tools, building materials. Even libraries of codices would be great.” He paused. “Ummm, were there libraries of codices?”
The man behind the steering wheel grinned and stroked the stubble on his chin. “I see. So you’re looking for evidence the Maya were preparing to survive whatever happened in 2012.”
Both the passengers were canny enough not to show their surprise. John hesitated, wondering how much to trust this man. Dr. Cruz went on. “Dr. Braun called me after you left his office and described what you were looking for. We discussed the sites that fit your investigation and schedule. I’ve got one you’ll find very interesting.”
Kathy leaned forward. “One?”
He met her eyes in the rear view mirror. “One, Miss…Litz.”
Ten minutes later they were west of Cancun on Mexican Federal Highway 180. Industrial buildings and warehouses had replaced hotels and restuarants. Dr. Cruz slowed the car and turned left between an adobe warehouse and what looked like a Mexican mini-mart, without the gas pumps. A second warehouse, about two stories high, was behind the first. Dr. Cruz parked next to a small door and switched off the car.
They waited as he unlocked the door, then followed him into the darkness. After locking the door he pulled a switch beside the door. Lights began coming on across the warehouse. It took a minute or two but Kathy and John could soon see clearly.
The fifty by twenty warehouse was mostly empty. In the center was a tarpaulin covered pile. Dr. Cruz led them to the edge of the tarps and threw one back. Medium sized crates were stacked two deep, coming up to Kathy’s waist.
“Twenty years ago a rancher was drilling a well in Piste. The workers hit a open space. They moved over twenty feet and drilled again. Same thing. When they hit it a third time he called the University, hoping to have a cave he could sell tickets to. What they found was this.” He waved his hand over the room.
Kathy shook her head. “In a cave?”
“Not exactly When the geologists got into the spot they discovered someone had bored into solid rock and stashed all this there.”
John asked. “How long ago?”
“About eleven hundred years ago.”
John lifted the lid on a crate. They were all unfastened. Inside straw protected wood handled stone axes. The next crate held spears. A third held hand tools also carved from stone. He looked at the others, then back at Doctor Cruz who nodded.
“To answer your first question, yes they are Mayan. Second, it does have all the hallmarks of a warehouse. And third, no one wants to talk about it.”
Kathy and John glanced at each other then she asked. “Why not?”
“Because this doesn’t fit with what we know.” The archaeologist began walking around the stack, glancing under the tarp. “Why would the Mayans bury hand made tools in a hand hewn cave so far down?” He found what he was looking for and began setting crates to the side. “It’s too strange for present day archaeology so they tucked it away until later. They hope to find another dig or come up with an explanation.”
John nodded. “If this area‘s anything like Western North Carolina there’s artifacts everywhere.”
“That’s true. But then there’s these.”
The crate he had opened was filled with straw covering several smaller items. He lifted examples one at a time letting the two examine them as he talked. “These are the real anomalies. Some of them seem to come from around the globe.”
Now Kathy nodded. “So you think the site is a fake?”
He shrugged. “Its been suggested. Still, the finds are valuable enough to hang onto.” Suddenly his eyes lit up. “This is the one I brought you out here to see.”
From the crate came a wooden box two feet by two feet. Carefully he opened it revealing an ornate object. It had been crafted from green stone.
“What is it?” Kathy asked
“We really don’t know. I think it’s a scientific instrument, maybe a caliper. Its hard to date it– or any of this–since they’re in perfect shape. But I do recognize the handiwork.” he closed the lid. “There are identical examples from a Chinese monastery fifteen hundred years ago.”