Dawn found Kathy and John sitting in an office to the side of the hangar. One SEAL sat next to them, while the other sat outside of the hangar watching the road. Both wore body armor and carried live automatic weapons. Someone was taking this seriously.
The artifacts they had photographed were all iron tools that display advanced craftsmanship and design. They were rust-free and very sturdy. Kathy wasn’t an archaeologist but knew these shouldn’t be in a pre-Columbian site.
Of course it was just as important to know where they had been found and why they were separated from everything else. It hadn’t taken long for The Company to rustle someone up at Ole Miss. Kathy was refilling her coffee cup when the phone rang. Chuck was on the line.
“Kate, are you there?”
“Yeah, what’d you find out?”
The pause on the other end of the secure line reminded her Chuck was the only other person who knew what she was going through. “The report’s on its way to you but I can sum it up. ”
“Let me have it.”
“Our man on the inside said this cache of tools was found six hundred feet below the mound.”
“What?! How did they even find it?”
“Ground penetrating radar. They dug the stuff up and analyzed them.”
“And they promptly locked them up as far back as they could.”
“Let me guess, some uncomfortable questions were raised.”
“Yeah, these iron tools are not only out of place but out of time.“
“Evidently they come from West Africa, a civilization in Mali.”
“Yeah, that would raise a few questions.”
“It gets better. The alloy wasn’t developed —anywhere— for at least another thousand years.” That surprised even Kathy. After a moment of silence Chuck went on. “Kate, the metal in these tools approaches a tensile strength not seen until the Renaissance. We’re talking a step or two above Damascus steel here.”
Kathy paused as Chuck’s e-mail was cleared by her laptop’s virus scanner. “Is our guy sure?”
“Absolutely. These tools were crafted from alloys that wouldn’t exist for a thousand years using techniques that wouldn’t be around for two thousand. Somehow they arrived from West Africa fourteen hundred years ahead of Columbus. And they know that because of the soil above it.”
Kathy smiled. “Thanks, Chuck. I got it.”
After Kathy hung up she stared at her laptop. It was late—or early— and she was looking forward to a nap on the way across the Atlantic. As she stood and stretched John looked up from his laptop.
“Whatcha got?”
“Everything we need. Let’s roll.”