It was mid afternoon when Professor Hill's notepad beeped to remind her of her appointment in New Flagstaff.
She had to hurriedly assure the conservators, whose tent she was in, that her sudden expletive was not aimed at them.
She took out and waived the notepad at them as confirmation and then turned the noise off and left the tent. She had an hour to get ready and get to New Flagstaff in time for the unveiling.
Although why they were plonking a damned great statue down in the carefully reconstructed 'Pond Square' was beyond her.
Stupid idea and, besides herself, the only other person who might even care who the statue was depicting, had been dead for three hundred years.
Oh well, get the thing over with and then she could get back to work. In a week or two, she might have something that would really blow their socks off.
In a bad mood now, Bodil threw back the flap of her own tent and started getting changed.
A couple of hours later, professor Ramsbottom-Hill meandered, glass in hand, through the gathered guests, feeling very under dressed.
She took a long draught of the rather nice wine, swilled it around her teeth for a moment and then swallowed. Well, she thought, what did they expect? Nobody takes evening dress on a dig.
She ignored the occasional glance her way from some expensively coutured madam or stuffed-shirt tuxedo. They'll just have to like it or jolly-well lump it.
A lot had changed since New Flagstaff had been just another a dig site. Gone were the roped-and-flagged trenches. Gone were the tents, the generators, the tools, and the wooden walkways.
Gone too was the endless mud and the noisy pumps used to try and stop the holes they were digging from flooding every time it even looked like it was going to rain... which was often.
The professor smiled to herself. Happy days.
Now, New Flagstaff was as much a tourist destination as it was an archaeological site.
Granted, most of what remained was little more than low stubs of walls with little plaques telling you what once stood there (or at least the archaeologists' best guess).
But places like here, where the vaults and the pond had once been; where Beau's Bar,
Bonito Street and the Police Station all now had more interesting exhibits with holographic projections of what these buildings most likely looked like.
The piece de resistance though was where they now stood and the backdrop for this little soiree this evening.
Where they had discovered the pond once lay, was now covered over in expensive blue flagstones carved with small flat waves and was now serving as the dance floor for the evening.
In the middle of this was a twenty metre high tower with state of the art holo-projectors at the top.
These beamed out invisible laser light which was caught by huge black 'mirrors' atop equally high masts around the square.
The reflected lasers, now made visible by some technological wizardry, projected down a scene of what was reckoned to be the surrounding buildings that had encased the square itself.
Even Bodil had to admit that it was quite breath-taking. Inside this magically created square were the highlights of the dig.
The LifeNet bunker, long since robbed out of any cloning technology, housed their prized exhibit - one of the original vault interfaces.
Less glamorously, the bunker also now served as the visitor centre and shop.
The ancient path around the pond had been carefully recreated and so had the seats that seemed to have lined it, each faithfully rebuilt using the fragments they had found as a pattern.
Around the outside of this circular path, it had been reckoned there had been dozens of vendors with ramshackle shacks and tents.
These, off course, had not survived the seven hundred years since, but their existence was based on reasonable assumption.
Joe Spivey's packing crate office had long since rotted away but long study of the few remaining records had concluded that it had been a kind of shop-come-storehouse and had been
much bigger than the other vendors' premises... possibly two storey, no doubt well-guarded and likely connected to some steel shipping containers (fragments of which had also found at the site).
The underground Bunker Bar was also in-situ and had been lovingly restored and visitors could now make their way down the precarious ladder for a refreshing drink if they wanted to,
and for a fee of course.
Professor Ramsbottom-Hill looked up when the lights surrounding the still covered statue came on.
Almost immediately guests started to gather around the velvet ropes that separated the important people from the mere spectators.
Bodil took her place among the common throng and, like those around her,
watched as the VIPs gathered on the glitzy looking raised podium to one side of the statue that was about to be revealed to the world.
On the other side was the media with their cloud of flying cameras, aggresively jostling for position.
The soft electronic buzzing of the miniature cameras seeming to sometimes take on an indignant note as they fought their little aerial duels.
Some of the dazzlingly dressed individuals Bodil recognised. The Dean of the university was there, of course as the host of the event. But rather fewer academics than Bodil would have reckoned.
In fact, she thought, scrutinising faces, there were way more politicians than was strictly needed. Then her eyebrows raised and there was a small murmur from the crowd.
Dressed in a stunning silver and white kimono, former president Alicia Troy O'Rourke-Lie, seventeenth child of the Grand Mother stepped elegantly up onto the podium.
She bowed first to the Dean and then to the audience, which raised a ripple of applause, before taking her seat.
The ex-president was followed by an unfortunate blond woman who almost fell over her own feet stepping up onto the squat stage.
There was a low gasp, immediately followed by hushed sniggers as maybe fifty women in the audience thanked their lucky stars it hadn't been them.
Behind her, Bodil heard one whispered voice ask "Who is she?" Another, equally soft voice replied. "'Was she', you mean. The press will crucify her for making a gaff like that.
" The man next to Bodil turned his head "She's nobody, I think it's just Mz Troy's 'plus-one'".
There was a collective "Ohhhhh!" No doubt followed by many knowing winks and nods and more than several cruel smirks.
Soon, the podium was full.
Bodil's earlier thoughts seemed to have caught on and there was a general whispered discussion going on about the large number of politicians present for what was really a
rather mundane unveiling ceremony.
Although Joe Spivey was known about in The History there was still a lot of argument about his exact role and some of the things he seems to have been involved in...
well, if only half of them had even a grain of truth then making a statue to him, never mind one surrounded by as much pomp and ceremony as this one, would seem to some as, well,
strange to say the least. Maybe that was the reason there were so few academics here. Then the speeches began. Bodil wasn't listening, she never did.
Speeches were always boring, she knew, she'd made enough of them. Politician's speeches were the worst of the lot.
Wishing she had a drink in each hand, the historian in Professor Ramsbottom-Hill started to have professional sounding thoughts. Something was odd here.
The Troys, the few remaining directly descended Troys, had never expressed any interest at all in any history or archaeology concerning their own family.
When New Flagstaff had been found there had been nothing from them. Even the recently discovery of Hope Springs hadn't elicited the barest nod from their estate.
Some of them had even denied any connection to Joe Spivey at all. And yet now, here was not just any Troy, but Alicia Troy the ex-president of the world and current chief of the Troy dynasty.
Bodil was pulled from her thoughts by the last and definitely the loudest round of applause.
She looked up in time to see the Dean reaching up to a golden cord that seemed to disappear up into the darkening evening sky. "And now, without any further ado what-so-ever. I give you...
Spivey's Independent Traders' very own... Joe Spivey!" The cord was tugged and the huge glittering red sheet shot up into the sky.
Thunderous applause burst on cue from the crowd and the whole area was lit in a firework display of flashes from the gathered media.
Bodil stared. The statue was huge.
Unlike the corroded and mud-encrusted thing they had just released from the soil, this was a beautifully expensive gilded bronze figure set splendidly on a white marble plinth.
A great, barrel-chested giant of a man portrayed heroically defending half a dozen cowering orphans from an obvious attack by six savage looking thugs.
Each thug a stereotypical, almost cartoon, of one of the six factions that had once fought for dominance in the time before the Grand Mother. Bodil was transfixed. No. No no NO, she thought.
This is so not right. This is... wrong! Her attention to this effrontery to history was reluctantly dragged away by the sound of laughter. On the podium, amidst all the applause.
Alicia Troy O'Rourke-Lie's 'friend' was pointing at the statue and laughing fit to burst.
Bodil looked at the statue, then at the laughing woman, then at Alicia Troy who was going through the motions of applauding with the rest of them but whose face, even from this distance,
was set and unsmiling. Bodil looked back at the statue. Something was going on here. Bodil's eyes narrowed.