They had dinner relatively early last night and sat around talking for awhile until those who had signed up for night shift showers drifted off to their rooms and everyone else decided to turn in as well.
After breakfast, right at nine, they were sent outside not too far from the cabin. Each team had a designated area that Rodney and Sylvia had planted coins. They were to find five each before they come back for lunch.
“Ever do this before?” Nikki asked Ian as she waved her detector back and forth.
“Nope.” He stopped his detector as it beeped and sat it down. He kneeled on the floor and pulled out a little wand that Sylvia called a pinpointer and waved it until it beeped then gave a louder longer beep when he kept it there. “Heard about it before and it seemed cool though. You?”
“Not really. Most of what I do is like backwards metal detecting. We already know generally where something is we just have to dig it up and find out what it is.” She looked up at him and he looked awfully confused. “I’m an archaeologist.”
“Ah.” He nodded and went back to digging. “So this is kind of up your alley then. Out in nature and digging holes.”
“Yeah, I used to blame the holes in the yard on the family pet.”
“I somehow wouldn’t put that past you.” He snorted.
“We haven’t known each other for a whole 24 hours yet and you already have me pegged.” Nikki sat her detector down when it beeped a few yards away from Ian. “You must really know how to read people. What do you do?”
“I have my ways. And I do many things, not exactly just one…” She waited for him to elaborate but when he didn’t she didn’t press him. “Aha.” He stood up and brushed something off in his hands. “Found coin number one.”
Nikki went to look closer and saw the coin he was holding. It looked like some old token, the kind that you would use at an arcade. As he turned it over they saw one side was marked with an R and an S on the other. Rodney and Sylvia.
“First find. Congrats.” Nikki went back to the hole she was digging.
“First one to find five serves the other one lunch?”
“Ian, this is hardly a competition…” She looked up and saw him shrug and kick dirt into the hole he made. “But if it were, I’d win. You’d better hurry up because as soon as I dig up this one were back on even ground.”
He said nothing but kicked in a few more piles of dirt and tapped it down with his foot. Then rushed to pick up detector and he was off again. Nikki started digging a little faster.
“Ian? Would you be a dear and refill my cup? I would also like more chips to finish off my sandwich and cookies for dessert.”
Ian got up from the opposite side of the table, retrieved her plate, and piled chips and a few cookies on. Then with a bow, he placed it back in front of her.
“My lady.” He curtsied with his shirt.
“Such the gentleman.” Nikki laughed and several of the others joined her.
“You know that I let you win, right?”
“Well, if you did then this will teach you not to anymore, now won’t it.” She rattled the ice cubes in her empty cup at him. “My drink, please?”
He took the cup and sauntered off while Nikki tried not to laugh more. At least he was a good sport for the most part. But she pushed the fun aside and decided to get down to some business. Sylvia was seated conveniently to her left and she had some questions for her if Nikki wanted this to be a good survey.
“So Sylvia, is this you and Rodney’s own cabin?”
“Here we go…” Nikki could hear Jenna sigh next to her.
“Yes, it is. Why do you ask?” Sylvia said.
“Well, because I’m an archaeologist and-“
“And she’s about to ask you a long series of boring questions.” Nikki swatted at Jenna and she stuck her tongue out. Ian laughed as he sat Nikki’s drink down in front of her.
“Oh, Rodney did you hear that.” He nodded, not looking up from his plate. Sylvia continued. “I’m always glad to help a fellow hunter. We may be looking for different things but we share the same work place. Go on.”
So Nikki did. She asked several questions about how long they had been there, who they bought it from, if they said anything specific about the land, or have ever found something here that looked interesting. Nikki was about to thank her and excuse herself to call the lab and give them the information when another question came up as an afterthought.
“What are you guys looking for up here anyways?”
Sylvia stopped her drink only halfway to her mouth and Rodney finally looked up. “What makes you ask that?” She sat her cup down and busied herself by eating a cookie.
“I guess that I had just assumed…” Nikki felt uncomfortable as if she had said something wrong but wasn’t sure what. “I mean, you brought a group full of people to a specific location to help you metal detect it.” She also remembered how they were sure to be clear that they wanted to see all of their finds, even the trash, before they determined what they could keep. They did say that if they found something that was worth money, other than coins, that they would split the earnings with the finder.
“Blackbeard’s buried treasure.” It was Rodney who spoke. There was a moment of silence that spread across the table and Nikki realized that everyone had been listening. Rodney got up and headed toward the kitchen counter, shaking his head. “That was a joke.”
More silence. Then Sylvia stifled a laugh into her hands and soon the whole table was laughing if only at the surprise that the stern, no-nonsense man that they had gotten to know for a day had just told a joke.