Once the SUVs passed through the gates of the university both John and Kathy began scribbling notes as fast as they could. As she jotted her reflections of the visit Kathy reflected on the similarities of their professions. Both of them had to be keen observers. Both interpreted what they saw, weighing its meaning and value. Both reported to demanding superiors and ultimately to the public.
Of course she was often called on to act on her information. But her position had allowed her a glimpse behind the news desk. She knew that many— if not most–chose their field because they thought they could make a difference. Although most of them reported the truth they dreamed of influencing public opinion, shaping world events and changing history.
And there were a few who didn’t wait for public opinion. The public would be surprised how many journalists were in the service of intelligence services. Some did it for the money, but most for ideological reasons.
The convoy of black SUVs was winding though the middle of Timbuktu when John and Kathy finally finished their scribbling. They looked at each other and both grinned. Kathy spoke first.
“This is going to be great for your story.”
He nodded.
“This is another solid connection  to Central America. With the iron tools its nearly bulletproof.”
“Even if the University won’t give you access to them you can cite an ‘anonymous source.’ ”
“Would the Agency allow that?”
“Probably. It would be a pretty vague assertion and most digs have lots of grad students on them.” She furrowed her brow. “Do you think the Maya really had contact with West Africa?”
“I don’t know. Last week I thought flying saucers were just top secret test planes.”
Flying saucers made brought something else to her mind.
“Did I tell you about the Dogon?”
“No, I’m afraid not.”
“The Dogon live southwest of here in cliffs along the Niger River. Their mythology speaks of ancient visitations from the stars.”
Now he frowned. “I hate to be the spoil sport but so do many other cultures.”
“What makes the Dogon an exception is their advanced knowledge of astronomy. They knew the star Sirius was a double star. The second star is invisible to the naked eye and was only discovered recently.”
“Hmmm. Well, that does put things in a different light.”
“Of  course some in the anthropological community believe the knowledge either came from the Egyptians or Europeans. Still, it does make you think.”
Both grew silent as the SUVs cleared town and headed for the airport. This did put their investigation in a whole different light. However, the greatest piece of evidence wasn’t the connection to the Nazca plateau or the ties to Tunguska or even the Dogon’s astronomical knowledge. The most unique link to the extraterrestrial was actually the black helicopters, cars, jets and suits that had accompanied them around the globe. These enigmatic secret agents were intractably intertwined  with UFOs. It definitely made the two of them stop and think.
But John was convinced that his story— and his hope for the Columbia  job— wouldn’t exist without for the woman beside him. Ever since they met his life and career had started looking up. Over the past week she’d become part of his life and he liked it.  This story was their child—well, figuratively anyway.
He lingered on that line of thinking for a second longer. In the past there had been several relationships John Parker had missed out on. This couldn’t be another one.
He waited another minute then asked, “So, does my security clearance let me know about your family?”
Kathy grinned. “At your level, yes.” She thought for a moment. “Well,  my Father was in the Navy on a submarine. I was the second of five kids and we moved a lot.”
He nodded. That hadn’t been nearly as awkward as he’d expected. “So what does the second child of a Navy submariner do for fun?”
Kathy smiled. “Wow. The last time I had time for fun was… several years ago. These days if I get any free time I usually take in a movie, read a book or maybe check out a concert. Or just sleep. The normal stuff, I guess.”
He nodded. “Back in college I figured that once I graduated and had a job there’d be money and time to have loads of fun.” He shook his head. “There just isn’t that kind of time. By the time work is over you’re too tired to do anything but sleep. I can barely squeeze in a DVD and my to do list is longer now than ever.” She nodded as he went on. “Look, when this is all over we should catch a cup of coffee together. If this article pans out I can make my own schedule and if it doesn’t, well, I should have plenty of free time.”
By now the road to the airport was coming up and both grinned as they tucked their notes in their bags. Kathy felt part of her heart begin to feel warm for the first time since Charlotte. John was feeling her out about moving their relationship to its next step. He liked her, that much she’d figured out before. Greg would’ve been hitting on her as soon as they met.
But John wanted to make sure she was okay with it first. Kathy Bennett felt the warm glow inside of her spread and wondered if she was blushing. Wait till she told her mother and sisters about him. He was a great guy and a great journalist. Most importantly he listened to her and enjoyed having her as a partner.
But even if this didn’t work out it was still a salve for the wounds still raw from where Greg had hurt her. It was reaffirming for another man to tell her he thought she was valuable and desirable. Plus, she thought with a grin, John was way too busy to have an affair.