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CHAPTER 4


YOU’RE ONE OF US

The next day Robert waited until dusk then drove to the site. When he arrived he drove around until he found a spot where he could access the field from the road. As he pulled into the field, a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder stepped in front of his vehicle and signaled for him to stop.

The man walked up to Robert’s window. “This is private property,” he said.

“Professor Orten invited me. My name is Dr. Robert Bennett.”

“OK. Hold on.” The man walked a short distance away from the 4Runner, spoke into a two-way radio for a few seconds, then waved Robert in.

As Robert drove up to the koppie, he found a temporary chain link fence had been put up around it. Noticing that the rock area of the hill was lit up, he parked near the koppie alongside some other vehicles. Orten’s crew had dug a trench below the two-ring symbol and had broken through the doorway, the entrance to the hill’s interior. Two portable generators were running, their cables stretching into the hill. A man carrying a sidearm in a holster stood beside the entrance, talking on his radio and watching Robert.

Orten came out of the hill and stood by the doorway. “Hi, Dr. Bennett,” he called out, smiling. He gestured toward the opening. “Come on in and take a look.”

Robert was excited to see what was inside the hill but didn’t feel safe. He got out of the 4Runner and walked through the open gate and up to Orten. They shook hands then walked together into Nell’s Koppie.

A picture of the House of Kholoruuf as it was found

The House of Kholoruuf inside the underground shell after Orten had set up lighting

And there it was. The house of the man who had written the note Robert had found in the Room of Shields, the note that had spurred his trip to South Africa, the house of the man who had signed his name as “Kholoruuf, chief logician of our beloved Truth Engine.” Unlike the building in the Catskills, which had been solidly embedded, like a fossil, within its plastic matrix, Kholoruuf’s house was situated inside a hollow plastic shell. The doorway in the side of Nell’s Koppie led directly into the expansive interior of the shell. Robert could make out the imposing facade of the house about forty-five feet away.

As Robert walked toward the house with Orten, he wondered how much Orten and his group knew. Did they know Kholoruuf’s name? Had they come across the term Robert had translated as “Truth Engine,” and if they had, were they as much in the dark about what the term referred to as Robert was?

Orten’s crew had set up lighting between the hill’s entrance and the house. The house was larger than Robert had expected it to be. Its exterior walls were made of gray wooden boards attached vertically to the house’s frame. A porch with a railing ran across the entire front, and there was a closed front door that appeared to be made of metal. Two rows of windows were situated below a large windowless expanse. At the peak of the roof, barely visible in the dim light, about a foot below the plastic shell’s ceiling, was the sculpture of a bird sitting on a sphere. Supporting structures connected the roof to the plastic enclosure, and metal rods supported the corners of the house.

About ten people were on the porch by the door. The inside of the house, or at least what Robert could see through the windows, appeared dark. He guessed the crew hadn’t yet been able to open the house’s door.

To the left and right of the building, near the enclosure walls, he saw the straight trunks of several ancient palm trees. “There’s a sign of transatlantic commerce,” Robert said to Orten as they approached the stairs that led up to the porch.

“What’s that?” asked Orten.

“Royal palms. A Caribbean species.”

“Interesting. I hadn’t noticed that.”

Robert had commented on the palms in order to set a friendly tone with Orten, but now he wished he’d said nothing. He wanted to be welcomed into this group, but he already may have made its leader feel foolish.

As they reached the porch stairs, Robert looked up at the people near the house’s door. They were all looking at him as well. The men in the group were mostly in their twenties, though two seemed older. They were dressed in slacks and button-down shirts and polo shirts. Two women were with them. Robert recognized one of them as the receptionist at the archaeology reading room. The other was a raven-haired, blue-eyed woman in her early thirties whom Robert instantly thought might be the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. One of the men carried a gun on his belt, but all the others, except Orten, carried only a flashlight in a holster.

“Robert, I’d like to introduce you to our team,” Orton said. “Dr. Robert Bennett, this is Scott, John, Eddy, Will…ah, Jimmy, Harry, Jonathan, and Ben.” He looked at the reading-room receptionist. “You’ve met Karen.”

Robert nodded to each member of the crew as they were introduced. He tried remembering the names—using a mnemonic technique he’d learned—and thought he’d succeeded.

“And this is Jennifer, my right-hand gal,” Orten said, gesturing toward the stunning blue-eyed woman.

Robert nodded and said, “Hi.”

Jennifer gave him a rather icy stare and nodded slowly.

A picture of the House of Kholoruuf as it was

Reconstruction: The House of the Chief Logician of the Truth Engine, as it would have appeared when Kholoruuf lived there fourteen thousand years ago

“We’re trying to figure out the best way to get into this place,” Orten said, as he and Robert climbed the porch stairs. He noticed Robert looking down at the steps. “The wood’s been treated somehow to prevent degradation. Believe me, it’s stronger than it was when the building was occupied.”

Orten and Robert joined the group on the porch.

“Let me try it,” Robert said, walking up to the door. He saw that the latch was a near duplicate of the one on the ebony door he’d entered from the cave in New York. He remembered the words of the mysterious note—“Tell them some of what you know”—and took from his pocket the key from the box under the shield at the Catskills site. This probably won’t work, he thought, but if it does, I’ll wow this bunch. He inserted the key in the lock and turned it. He felt it engage and heard a click. Then he pulled the latch, and the door opened easily.

He looked at the group and saw astonishment on the faces of the team members.

Orten laughed. “This man has secrets!” he said. “How much do you know, Dr. Bennett?”

“A few things,” said Robert.

Orten smiled and looked at Robert as if sizing him up anew. “Will you tell us where you got that key, Dr. Bennett?”

“Not quite yet, Professor.”

Orten turned to his crew. “Let’s go in,” he said. “Bring one of those lamps up here.”

One of the men handed Orten a flashlight while another went down the steps to retrieve one of the spotlights. Orten looked at Robert, then to the man he’d introduced as Jimmy. “Give Dr. Bennett a flashlight,” he said.

As Orten entered the house, Jimmy handed Robert the flashlight.

Because he was nearest the door, Robert stepped into the house behind Orten. The others filed in behind him. Robert stopped and shined his light around. He and Orten were in a short hallway with a railing at the end and a space beyond. To the right he saw a shallow alcove that contained a dusty but clearly polychromed life-size statue of a man sitting straight-backed on a decorated cushion, his legs folded beneath him. The man had long, straight, yellow hair and a ruddy face. His patterned robes were of an overall greenish hue. Could this be a statue of Kholoruuf himself? Robert wondered.

In front of the seated man, reminding Robert of the tableau in the room at the Catskills site that he had entered from the cave, were two small tables. On one was a game set, and on the other was a thick square tablet inscribed with a circle divided into twelve sections. Robert took it to be an astrological chart, like the one in the New York site.

To Robert’s left was another alcove. This one contained an exact duplicate of the statue in the alcove opposite to it—that is, of the polychrome Kholoruuf—except that it was colored a uniform gray.

He walked a little way down the hallway and saw a second pair of alcoves. The one on the right contained a group of colorful flags. In the other alcove, he saw a round jar on top of a tripod, behind which were six gray statues of robed men and women seated behind a large curved desk.

Walking to the end of this short hallway, he saw that Orten had stepped out onto a balcony-like landing. Robert stepped onto it beside him.

“Hold up.” Orten told his crew.

Robert looked around and saw that Jennifer was just behind him. He directed his flashlight to his right and saw a closed gate, behind which was a staircase that led to a lower floor. In front of him, his flashlight dimly illuminated a large room below the balcony.

A picture of the stairs to the second floor

Reconstruction. The stairs that led to the second floor

A picture of the stairs from the landing

Reconstruction. The view of the stairs leading to the second-floor hallway, from the entrance landing

Prominently, in the center of this lower space, was a room-size wooden structure in the form of a vertical cylinder.

A picture of the Core Room

Reconstruction: the Core Room, as it looked in the distant past

To Robert’s left, as he stood on the balcony, he noticed a stairway that led to a higher floor. He took two steps up and shined his light up the stairs, illuminating a pair of strange-looking, nearly identical animal figures on wooden platforms on either side at the top of the stairs. The sheep-size creatures’ bodies and oddly splayed front legs were covered with brown hair. Each animal had a thick neck and a gray, pear-shaped head topped by a crown of fluffy yellow hair. The beasts looked nothing like any species with which Robert was familiar.

Orten was quietly surveying the scene. “A historical moment,” he said to Robert.

“Yes, it is,” Robert answered. But, he thought, will it only be recorded in a hidden history?

“Let’s get some lighting in here,” Orten said to his crew as he inspected the wood of the ascending stairs.

The crew brought lamps into the house and placed one in the hallway and another on the balcony. Almost the entire lower floor below the balcony could now be seen clearly. The members of the group who weren’t setting up the lighting were strolling from one part of the hallway to the other, looking into the alcoves and taking photos with their cell phones. Robert remained on the balcony. As he peered down at the lower floor, he now saw a big, empty bookshelf to the left. The fact that it was empty disappointed him greatly. To the right of the bookshelf stood a large, round table. To the far right, at the back of the building, he saw what looked like a kitchen area. Spherical pots hung on a rack above what appeared to be a stove with a number of burners on top. To the right of the stove was a long sink.

Two men hauled another lamp and cables up the stairs to the upper story. Robert followed Orten, Jennifer, and a couple of the others up the staircase. At the top of the stairs, he found himself looking down a hallway. Then he looked closely at one of the two otherworldly animal models that stood to left and right at the top of the stairs. The direction of the animal’s hairs, the variation in the hairs’ length and color, and the wrinkles on the areas of bare skin all looked incredibly realistic.

Partway down the hall on the right was a door with an odd little cluster of three sculpted shapes above it; each shape consisted of an organic-looking cone topped by a small sphere. Beyond this door was a gated opening. At the end of the hall, on the left, was an open door.

A picture of the upstairs hallway

Reconstruction. The upstairs hallway

One of the men tried to open the first door on the right but was unsuccessful. Robert followed some of the others through the open door at the end of the hallway into a room that he immediately felt must have been Kholoruuf’s study. Shining his flashlight around, he saw a desk, two wooden chairs, a piano-like instrument, and cabinets. The room was in some disarray, as were the other parts of the house. Robert knew this part of the world wasn’t seismically active, but he had to assume the house had suffered some earthquake damage over the many millennia.

A picture of the glass doors

Reconstruction. The glass doors in Kholoruuf’s study

A picture of the logician's desk

Reconstruction. The logician’s desk

A picture of the archaeopteryx display and atlas

Reconstruction. The archaeopteryx display and atlas in the study

A picture of the piano-like instrument

Reconstruction. The piano-like instrument and the door to the bedroom

A picture of the bookcase, color generator, and game set

Reconstruction. The bookcase, color generator, and game set

A picture of the elaphrosaurus painting and the sculpture

Reconstruction. The elaphrosaurus painting and the sculpture

Books and paintings filled the room. Robert was excited to see two bookcases that, unlike the empty ones on the lower floor, contained scores of books. There was a cabinet surmounted by a dusty display featuring a life-size model archaeopteryx surrounded by ginkgo leaves. The wings of the prehistoric bird were spread, like the one in the Room of the Truth Examiner in the Catskills. Beside this display was an open book on a cabinet. Robert gently brushed the dust off the book and saw it was an atlas, but at first glance he couldn’t identify what area the map on the open page depicted. On the wall, above the atlas, was a framed map showing what he thought might be the same area.

Then he noticed a dusty painting on the wall to his right. He looked more closely and was able to discern the painting’s subject matter. Robert was startled. It was nothing he could have expected: the painting showed a very birdlike, feathered dinosaur walking past two small beings huddled behind a tree.

A picture of the elaphrosaurus painting

Elaphrosaurus

A picture of the allosaurus painting

Allosaurus

A picture of the stegosaurus painting

Stegosaurus

What he found most strange was that the two beings looked like aliens from space as they had been pictured in modern representations. As he walked around the room, he found hanging to either side of a closed door two more paintings picturing other dinosaurs with these alien-like beings.

In the middle of the back wall, on a half-round table, sat a game set very similar to the one he’d found in the Catskills.

A crew member brought in a lamp and set it on a stand in the middle of the room. The light revealed an incredible array of archaeological treasures.

Orten walked over to Robert. “You’re like me, aren’t you, Doctor? You can’t wait to explore this house, can you? To discover the utterly amazing things it most certainly contains? If you join us, I’ll let you investigate what you want to investigate, and when you want to investigate it. What do you say?”

Robert didn’t have to think about it. “I accept your invitation, Professor Orten. Absolutely.”

This place definitely had captured Robert’s sense of wonder, and he wanted to see more. But more important, he recalled the words from the note: “You can influence what happens only if you work with them.”

“Good. Good.” Orten said. “But you know, we might be dealing with technologies here that in some ways surpass our own. You must appreciate these are delicate matters that may require us to keep this under wraps for a while. Do you agree to that?”

“Yes, I agree,” Robert said. He was perfectly fine with participating in the cover-up—for a while.

“And do you agree to report to us at our meetings any discoveries you might make while you’re a member of the team?”

Robert nodded.

“Welcome to our group then,” Orten said, patting Robert on the shoulder. “I’ll get you a key to the gate. Now, as far as compensation goes, shall we say you’re a volunteer?”

“Of course.”

Orten shifted his gaze and looked past Robert. Robert looked over his own left shoulder and saw Jennifer, who clearly had been listening in on the conversation. She looked at Robert then turned and walked away. Her cold stare, and the abrupt manner in which she turned away, gave him the impression that she wasn’t happy about his joining the group.

One of the men was examining the spine of a book in a large bookcase. “It’s the same writing,” he told Orten.

“With all those books,” Orten said, “maybe we can begin to translate it.” He turned and said to the group, “Let’s stick together as we look around.”

Robert walked over and looked at the same book. The Atlanian characters on the spine read, Keesat Merat Atlanosh. “Keesat Merat Atlanosh,” he said under his breath. History of Atlantean Kings, he thought.

For the rest of the day, the team explored the remaining parts of the house as a group. Robert was eager to get a sense of the place, so he stayed with the others—though he was looking forward to taking a closer look at the books in Kholoruuf’s study.

A couple of the doors were found to be unlocked and easy to open. The team, with flashlights lit, went through the door that was flanked by the dinosaur/alien paintings and discovered a bedroom. Next to the bed, on a desk, was a machine with a flat screen and an odd-looking keyboard. “That’s got to be a computer,” Orten said to no one in particular.

Beyond the bedroom was a room filled with astrological wheels and what seemed to be other astrological implements made of wood, metal, and ceramics. So Kholoruuf was a collector of astrology equipment, Robert thought.

In the next room was a discovery that amazed everyone. At the far end of this high-ceilinged space sat a large vehicle. Its shape reminded Robert of an old-style bathtub, not streamlined. It was supported underneath by wheelless appendages—similar to the landing gear of an airship—that seemed to have been designed for vertical takeoffs and landings, although the craft had neither wings nor rotor blades.

“Let’s make this a priority,” Orten told the crew. “I want to know all about its engine.”

The flight mechanism seemed to be in a boxy structure mounted above the front part of the machine. Behind this structure was a kind of fin or rudder that looked as if it could be swiveled for control purposes. The entrance portal, on the side of the vehicle toward the back, was open, and the team members took turns exploring the interior. An empty compartment in the rear seemed to be a cargo hold. In the front, at a higher level, were seats and a control panel.

A picture of the House of Kholoruuf as it was found

Reconstruction. The airship

On his way out of this room, Robert shined his flashlight around. He noticed a narrow ascending staircase tucked into a space that was the back part of the gated opening in the entrance hallway.

Robert pointed to the staircase. “I wonder what’s up there?” he asked the crew.

They went up the stairs in small groups. Robert went up with Orten and Karen. At the top of the staircase, they came to a round opening in the roof. Above the opening was a gazebo-like structure with cushions on a curved bench that encircled the opening.

After descending the stairs, everyone returned to the study. Orten tried to open the east door but couldn’t. He turned to Robert. “Do you think your key might work on this door?” he asked.

Robert looked closely at the door’s keyhole and saw it was simply a round hole. There was no way that the key’s three-part shank and teeth would fit into it. “No,” he said. “I’m sure it wouldn’t.”

In the hallway, Orten tried but failed to open the door with the odd sculpture above it.

At the landing downstairs, the crew stopped to look at the open lock on the gate at the top of the descending stairway. It was an odd sort of combination lock with a number of adjustable wire pins. Orten swung the gate open, and the group went down to the lower floor.

A picture of the CEANA Gate

Reconstruction: the CEANA Gate, as it once looked

At the foot of the stairs stood a large rectangular table. The main room consisted primarily of open space and took up the entire eastern half of the floor. Near the southeast corner of the room was a mountain gorilla, apparently the product of a taxidermist’s art, sitting on a thick, gnarled, moss-draped branch. Just east of this mounted animal, against the wall, was a many-legged table. On the table was a glass case filled with small metal objects that perhaps had served as coins in the distant past.

Toward the back, occupying the northwest part of this floor, was the kitchen, with its ceramic and metal cooking utensils along with a stove and refrigerator. To the south of the kitchen the crew saw a room containing a large circular table with a complex sculptural centerpiece. Behind the table, a painting on the wall depicted a group of people in a room, all apparently participating in some sort of event. And here, against the south wall, were the empty bookshelves Robert had seen from the balcony.

The room-size vertical wooden cylinder, another structure that Robert had seen from the balcony, dominated the space. This floor-to-ceiling cylinder apparently constituted the curved external wall of a central room. A door led into this cylinder, but it was locked.

Next to the north side of this central room was a three-foot-wide circular opening in the floor with stairs that led to a lower level. At the bottom of the stairs was another door that could not be opened.

Robert wanted to explore all of this on his own, but he was most eager to translate some of the texts in the study.

As the group emerged into the night air, Robert decided this was as good a time as any to try to get more information from Orten. “Can you tell me how it is that you were so curious—or knowledgeable—about Nell’s Koppie? Or is that one of your secrets?”

Orten raised his eyebrows. “About five years ago, some surveyors, on a hillside in Finland, discovered a tiny house that had been encased like this one. In the house were ancient versions of modern appliances—there were electric lamps, a stove, a refrigerator, and a furnace. The house apparently got its power from an external electrical source, long since gone. The site was dated to an astounding fourteen thousand years BP. In a garage attached to the house, they found an automobile with an incredibly simple-looking engine. It was clear that this car had been powered by a tiny but extremely powerful battery—or some kind of tiny source of electrical power, maybe even something nuclear—but only the socket for this power source was intact; the source itself was missing. Imagine. A little round thing, the size of a walnut could power a car. This power source, if it can be found and reverse engineered, could revolutionize our world’s power-source technology.”

So Orten is focused on the technology, Robert thought. He remembered how the note on his door had warned that the group planned to cover everything up because “that is how zealously they will guard any technology they find.” Robert was as resolved as ever to find a way to prevent such a cover-up. He reflected on Orten’s words—A little round thing the size of a walnut. That was exactly how he himself might have described the little Saturn-shaped object he’d found in the car in the Catskills. He’d suspected it was a power source, and what Orten said seemed to confirm that suspicion. Now Robert was fairly sure that he had knowledge of something these people desperately wanted. He was a little surprised that Orten was so forthcoming about the battery but figured Orten wanted him to know why there was such a need for secrecy. And after all, Orten may have entertained the thought that Robert might be corruptible.

“Whoever buried this house here,” Orten continued, “must have done the planning for it in Finland. We found diagrams there showing this house as being encased and subsequently buried in a mound, along with a lot of apparently descriptive text we still can’t read. There was also a map of the southwest coast of Africa, showing lines that we supposed represented paths along which equipment and materials were to be brought for the construction of this mound. These lines converged, but not in any precise way, on the southwest coast of South Africa. On the map at that point was a symbol consisting of two rings with a circle above and a diamond below.”

“And then,” Orten continued, “the Grayling Project, now the Grayling Conservancy, was born. This group, our group, in league with the US government—and the South African government of course—has been looking for this site for the past five years. Now we’ve found it…thanks to you. And I mean that. I consider you to have discovered this site.”

Robert sensed that Orten would eradicate any record of his role in this discovery if it suited his purpose. But for now he would play along.

Robert nodded. “You certainly moved in quickly. How did you get permission from Heritage Western Cape so fast?”

“Well,” Orten said, “going to HWC isn’t the only way to get permission. By the way, now that I’ve told you some of what we know, how about telling us more about what you know, Doctor? You seem to know a great deal.”

“As it turns out,” Robert said, “I may have a lot to add to your work here. You said you can’t read the writing these people used. Well, I can.” Robert knew Orten and his people eventually would be able to translate the writing on their own, so he figured they might as well view him as being helpful. As a major concession, he would give them his Atl-English dictionary.

“Really!” Orton said.

“Do you believe in Atlantis?” Robert asked.

“No, I never have, Doctor.”

“Well, these people called their land ‘Atlan,’ and the language is called ‘Atl.’ This is the house of a man named Kholoruuf, who was the director of a culturally important institution called the Truth Engine.”

“Amazing,” Orten said. “Anything else?”

“Not for now.”

“Look,” said Orten, “I’ve scheduled a meeting at my office for nine tomorrow morning. Will you come and fill us in…you know, about the language and the Atlantis connection, et cetera? Could you bring us your lexicon?”

“Sure. I’ll be there.”

“So, obviously, you’ve discovered a cache of artifacts somewhere. New Mexico? I know you’ve done work there. Turkey?”

“I can’t give you that information yet,” said Robert.

“But why would you not be more forthcoming on this, Robert?” It was the first time Orten had used his first name.

“I just feel it’s necessary to keep things under wraps for a while, Professor.”

Orten smiled. “For the same reasons we want to keep things under wraps perhaps?”

Robert shrugged. He wasn’t at all comfortable talking with Orten or being in this place with Orten’s crew, and even sensed some danger. But he knew it was important that he take part in all this, and Orten couldn’t know for sure that Robert wouldn’t go along with a permanent cover-up. And Robert knew he himself had a mysterious friend somewhere nearby who was knowledgeable about Orten’s operation.

The next morning Robert showed up at Orten’s office at the Grayling Conservancy at nine o’clock, carrying a folder that contained three hard copies, as well as a flash drive, of the Atl-English lexicon he had compiled before he had come to South Africa.

Most of the people who had been at the site the night before were there, and Robert was directed to the single empty chair. He sat down, placing the folder on his lap. Orten was seated behind the desk. Jennifer, dressed in a black T-shirt and blue jeans, sat in a corner where she could face the group.

Orten spoke. “It seems Dr. Bennett—he’s joined our team now—has considerable knowledge about the civilization we’re dealing with at the site.” He smiled. “He won’t tell us how he knows any of this. But he doesn’t have to, does he?” Orten turned to Robert. “But anyway, what can you tell us, Doctor?”

Robert recognized that Orten’s introduction reinforced his identity as an outsider. “The house buried inside Nell’s Koppie,” he began, speaking to the group, “was the home of a venerated man from the land of Atlan whose name was Kholoruuf. When he realized his civilization was doomed, he had his house enclosed in a casing, and then had an earthen mound built up around it to resemble a natural hill. This all happened approximately fourteen thousand years ago. Burying buildings in this way—a variation of mound building—probably wasn’t something that originated with Kholoruuf; the procedure was called ‘perochakh,’ which means ‘hilling.’ Kholoruuf, it seems, was the director of a very important cultural institution called the Truth Engine. It’s not clear to me yet exactly how this institution functioned, but I hope our site here will contain the answer to this important question. In addition I can supply a lexicon for the language of Atlan—the language was called ‘Atl.’”

As Robert had expected, no one seemed surprised by what he’d said. Orten must have filled everyone in before he got there. He took two large manuscripts out of his folder—the two copies of the lexicon and gave them to Orten. Then he handed him the flash drive.

“Thanks,” Orten said, thumbing through one of the manuscripts. “Very interesting. We’ll make copies of these.”

The man Orten had introduced the night before as Eddy said, “So you’re saying these discoveries belong to the Atlantean culture? You’re saying Plato’s story was true?”

“It looks that way,” Robert told him.

“Anything else you want to tell us?” Orten asked.

“No. I’ll stop there for now.”

Jennifer glared at Robert. “So, Robert, we’re supposed to sit here while you parcel out what you know bit by bit? We don’t even know how you know these things.”

Robert had expected not to be liked but nevertheless was taken aback by Jennifer’s brusque tone.

Before he could respond, Orten stepped in. “Frankly I understand Jennifer’s impatience, but I wouldn’t express it the way she has. You’re a volunteer here, Dr. Bennett. You don’t have to tell us anything you don’t want to. We want to know, but we’re not going to waterboard anyone here. I thank you for what you are deigning to tell us.”

One of the men laughed. Robert sensed Jennifer’s comment mirrored the sentiments of many of the others in the group. As he looked around the room, he sensed hostility. These are dangerous people, he thought. But they’re just archaeologists, right?

The rest of the meeting consisted of a brainstorming session regarding how to proceed at the site.

After the meeting the group, now in possession of the Atl dictionaries, decided to meet at the site. “Bring a lunch,” Orten told the team.

As Robert left the building, he found himself walking next to Eddy.

“A beautiful witch, isn’t she?” Eddy said. “She’s like that to everyone. We call her the ‘dragon lady.’ Beguiling but as cold as ice. You’ll find out. Just try to stay out of her way.” He held out his hand, “Dr. Ed Peltier—Eddy to everyone here.”

Robert shook his hand. “Thanks for the warning.” Although he thought Eddy seemed nice enough, he still didn’t trust him. At least he felt he knew where he stood with Jennifer.

To next chapter (Chapter 5)