"Brennan" she said.
"Dr. Brennan, this is Doctor Julian Hanson. I don't know if you know me, but I'm.."
"Proffessor and head of paleontology, NY University. The last I heard you were on a dig somewhere in the Northeast of the US?
"Yes, that's correct, corrently I'm involved in a situation in Western New jersey. .an unknown cave whose entrance was previously concealed, until a road building crew doing some blasting opened it up. Since some pre colombian artifacts were uncovered, work was halted and we were offered the chance to investigate. Uh...Dr. Brennan...I've come across something that I may need your help with."
"My help? What is it I can do for you Dr. Hanson." Brennan noted as she talked to him that he sounded nervous.
"I...its...well you see...ummm...during the dig we found a number of typical artifacts one normally finds in this area from native North Americans when they habitate such a cave. The artifacts date from approxamately 1300 A.D. all the way back to beyond the last Ice Age. In the process of excavations, we..uh...well...we came across some human remains. Bones...skeletons in fact..."
"That must have been exciting!" Brennan said. "Was it a burial site? The objects found in such a site often reflect the superstitions and quasi religious beliefs of.."
"It wasn't a burial site, Dr. Brennan."
"Oh" said temperance. "Accidental death then? Animal attack? Natural causes?"The latter may be more difficult to spot than the former two, but.."
"No Dr. Brennan..I don't know, I can't..its...confusing...but I think they must have been murdered. I can't see how else they got here, but...dammit...I need you to come here with your team and take a look" Hanson whispered urgently into the phone.
Brennan could tell he was even more nervous now. "What's the problem Dr. Hanson? Have you contacted the police or FBI? I can understand your fears if you uncovered a murder scene, but I'm sure the purpetratore is long gone. Usually the cases we handle go through the proper channels so as to establish jurisdiction."
"NO! Its...I didn't, I can't! Dr. Brennan...there's something so strange about this...I didn't want clumsy local police polluting the site...its YOU that has to see this...you're the best...you and your team...you have to see this, because quite frankly...I just can't see how...I mean...I don't know how it can be...but...I mean...HOW can it be? I just don't understand HOW it can be!"
Hanson's fear and confusion radiated through the phone, and the hairs on her neck stirred as Brennan listened to his last few sentences.
"Dr. Hanson...what is this all about?"
"I can't!...I can't say over the phone. This is beyond me Dr. Brennan...I'll be honest when i say this confuses and yes, even frightens me. You have to come, Dr. Brennan... You HAVE to come! Please Dr. brennan, you're the best...maybe you can make sense of this, because quite frankly, I'm at a loss. It makes no sense to me at all, but maybe your team can find clues that I'm missing. Please Dr. brennan, I need your help. Can you please come? As soon as you can? Please?"
Brennan was silent a moment, then nodded and said, "Yes, Dr. Hanson, we'll be there tomorrow."
"You promise?" Hanson asked.
"Yes, Dr. Hanson, email me directions to the site and I promise, we'll be there."
"Ok..ok then...I'll do that. I'll send those now, and thank you Dr. Brennan, thank you. I'll talk to you tomorrow." Hanson sent the directions, then broke the connection.
Brennan held her phone, lost in thought, then dialed Booth's number.
"Booth? Brennan here. We're going to Western New Jersey tomorrow. Yes, a case. Pick me up at the jeffersonian at 6am."
Booth yawned hugely as he drove along what was obviously newly constructed and as yet unpaved road. He sipped on an even huger cup of takeout coffee as they drove. "Why so damn early Bones? If what you tell me is right, those skeletons have probably been there a long time. Did I really have to wake up at 5 in the morning to see something that's been laying there for God knows how long?"
"It not that Booth. Maybe they have been and maybe they haven't. But I'm anxious to take a look at whatever Dr. Hanson has discovered. He was quite shaken by whatever it was. There must be something very unusual about the skeletons or the site itself that made him so nervous and cautious."
"Maybe he doesn't have enough experience. I mean, just working with you I've seen some pretty bizarre things."
"He's very experienced, Booth. I know if his reputation and work. He's not brilliant, certainly not as brilliant as I am, but he's meticulous, thorough, and very knowlegable about his field of study. No, something's very wrong. What it is, mystifies me. He'd know if those bodies were buried there recently. I just can't fathom why he's so agitated."
"I guess we'll find out soon , Bones, we're here." Booth said, coming to the end of the road and parking the SUV and then getting out, stretching and yawning hugely again.
The road was being blasted through a low rise sandwiched between high hills on either side. It ended abruptly, in mounds of rubble, hapahazardly parked construction vehicles, and the low, dark entrance to the cave in question.
A tall, gangly man about 45 ran up, and as Brennan exited the vehicle, he grabbed her hand and shook it furiously in welcome. "Dr Brennan! Julian Hanson! I'm so glad you came!"
"Yes, WE'RE here..I'm Special agent Booth. " Booth said grumpily, flashing his ID. "Now, can we get the intros over with and get on to whatever is so important?"
"Yes, YES! Of course, follow me. Put these on, safety first", Hanson said, as he handed hard hats to both of them. he spoke as they walked toward the cave.
"When the site was discovered, we were called in and started to excavate. It was an interesting though unremarkable find. We were very thorough and careful in any case, and as is usual, carefully cataloged and dated everything we found as we went along."
"If its so unremarkable, why are we here?" Booth said, still a tad grumpy.
"You'll see. You'll see.." Hanson said, nervously chewing on his lower lip. "There they are, Dr. Brennan. Can you take a look, at everything...and tell me what YOU think?"
Two partially uncovered skeletons lay side by side at the bottom of the dig, well inside the cave.
Brennan slipped into her usual routine, scanning the skeletons with her eyes and a flashlight without touching them and reciting her findings as she did. "Two sets of remains. One larger than the other. From the delicacy of the smaller skull's features, first impressions would lend it to be female. The male looks to be in his late 60's at the time of death. No visible signs of trauma or violence that I can see at the moment. Although there are a few signs of healed wounds, and one finger on the right hand seems to have been dislocated and improperly set, though it did heal, so happened well before time of death.
The female appears to be in her mid to late 20's. No fractures or wounds that I can see. Dr. Hanson, a trowel and brush please?"
Hanson quicklt produced both for Brennan, and she very carefully scrapped and brushed dirt away from the midsection area of the smaller skeleton. Brennan was silent for a moment, then said, "She died in childbirth. There's an undelivered fetus low in her abdomanal area.."
"Poor thing,"Booth said, and shook his head sadly. " What a horrible way to go. But that's the way it was back then."
Hanson just looked at Booth with a very strange expression.
Brennan turned to Hanson and said, "Is this why you brought me here? You could have ascertained all of this yourself without my help. I fail to understand..."
"No, you DON'T understand yet Dr. Brennan!" Hanson said in a kind of dispair. "This cave was sealed by natural forces no later than the 1300 AD! Its been sealed up ever since, the achealogical record proves it!
"The level these skeletons are at in the strata of this cave puts them here no earlier than the the middle of the last Ice Age! We dated and checked, and even carbon dated everything as we went along. Dr. Brennan, they were found here like they belong here...but they can't be here, because they DON'T belong here. And yet they WERE here, 15,000 years ago! Nothing was disturbed, or buried, or dug up, until WE came along!"
Brennan looked at Hanson quizzically. "Dr. Hanson, you're talking jibberish."
Hanson answered earnestly, "When we first got here, we were careful to note the conditions in and around the cave. It was undisturbed. The floor of the cave was pristine and untouched for a very long time. Nothing...no human or animal, has been in this cave for over 800 years, maybe longer.! Look at them Dr. Brennan. Look at them closely! Look at his other hand, his left hand. Look at HER hand! And take a closer look at their mouths. Dr. Brennan!"
Brennan frowned, then turned to take a closer look, and saying a little testilly, "Fine, but are you sure they've been here this long?
Booth said to the figiting man beside him, "Y'know, Hanson, she is the best in the world at this, I don't think you should try to order her to..."
Booth stopped, the words frozen in his throat, as he heard Brennan say, "Jesus...how can this be?"
Booth got gooseflesh, never having heard such words or the tone of confusion from Brennan before. "What is it Bones?"
"The soil around them...I'd have to confer with Hodgins, but I've seen enough archeological sites to know its been undisturbed for centuries, maybe millenia...the condition of the bones...the color, the mineral stains from the ground around them...consistant with burial in these conditions for the length of time Dr. Hanson discribes...but they can't be here..."
Brennan played her flashlight around the area, and then back on the remains."And yet thay are!"
"So?" Booth asked. "So what? So you found a couple of cave people that died in a cave...so what?"
"Booth, they're wearing rings..."
"So? Can't cavemen wear rings? They probably made them from shells or bones, so what?"
"They're not made of bone Booth... But that's not all." Brennan said, as she gently pried open a jaw and looked closely.
"Not all? What not all?" Booth asked.
"Its their teeth, Booth. Jesus, their teeth..." She turned to Booth, her eyes large. Both's goosflesh increased...a chill stole through him. What the hell was going on?
"Explain this to me, Booth. How can obviously ancient, SCIENTIFICALLY proven ancient skeletons, PROVEN to have lain here from the time of the last ice age, be wearing GOLD rings, and..." Brennan shook her head like she was trying to clear it.
"And what?" Booth asked quietly.
"And have FILLINGS in their teeth Booth! These are accurately dated, 15,000 year old skeletons, that have MODERN dental work in their mouths!