Categories > Cartoons > Daria > 15 Years On


by DrT 1 review

The end of the story.

Category: Daria - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Characters: Daria,Jane - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2017-08-31 - 2211 words - Complete

15 Years On – Chapter VIII
By Dr. T

Daria and the other associated characters are owned by its creators, MTV, et al. I am just playing.



11 Years Later – a Field in the Cotswolds, England

Helen walked over to Matt and Naomi, who had been supervising a group of eleven would-be volunteer archeologists – eight undergraduates and three ‘pay-to-play’. Helen was the site director of this dig of a previously unknown small Roman town, Matt and Naomi would be heading the two sets of digging crews. Helen had come for one of the diggers a bit earlier, and the other ten had just been sent off for their ‘elevenses’. It was the first morning of the two month dig, a chilly morning in late June.

“So, how do the eleven volunteers look?” Helen asked in a somewhat posh accent. There were two full crews of archeological diggers, a horde of ‘pot washers,’ a couple of specialists on Roman finds, and a few others on this dig in addition to these eleven. “Any one we need to worry about?”

Matt and Naomi exchanged a look.

“Oh, dear,” Helen muttered. “Who’s the problem? Hopefully not more than one!”

“Who palmed Frank off on us?” Matt asked bluntly.

“He’s one of George’s students. Why?”

“If he’s one of George’s, he likely knows his theory,” Naomi said in a high pitched, soft, and conciliatory voice, “but his digging. . . .” she shook her head.

“He digs likes he’s a navvy who’s behind schedule,” Matt stated. “He’s upset we weren’t happy that he was clearing the most dirt, but he broke at least three sherds, missed a coin, hacked into the areas of his neighbors I don’t know how many times, and flung almost as much spoil over a wide area as he was able to put it in a pile to be sieved.” Matt sniffed. “Even by his own standard of fast digging, the only reason he cleared the most is because he dug into the natural by about five inches without realizing it.”

“He did identify the sherds,” Naomi put in. “Maybe we should put him in charge of shifting and sieving the spoil for a few days?”

Matt shrugged. “That could work. That or confining him to the finds’ tent.”

Helen merely nodded. “Anyone else?”

“Dora is sort of the opposite of Frank,” Matt replied. “She’s too tentative.”

“Fortunately, I think she’s more interested in conserving than field work,” Naomi told the pair. “Once we get going, I think we can afford to send her to the finds’ tent to help process once we starting recovering objects, unless we fall behind on the digging.”

“That sounds reasonable,” Helen agreed. “And the other students?”

Matt and Naomi exchanged looks. “No one stands out; they should be fine under supervision,” Naomi answered for the pair of them.”

“How about our pay-for-play couple?”

“Sheila trowels more like she’s playing in her garden, but she’s learning,” Matt told her. “She’ll likely get better. She is interested. Her husband is actually pretty good – meticulous and handles the trowel well. . . .”

“He’s a retired builder who started off as a mason,” Helen informed them.

“That could be useful,” Matt mused. “Still, he’s here mostly to please his wife. He’s not all that interested, at least not yet.” All knew disinterested spectators or diggers who had been on a dig to please a spouse who became enthusiastic and useful as time went on.

“Enough about them,” Naomi burst out. “Tell us about the ringer.”

“Ringer?” Helen asked, trying to act nonchalant.

Matt and Naomi rolled their eyes at their friend and leader. “Come on,” Matt teased, “we are not unobservant. Why did you get another professional without telling us?”

“Daria is not an archeologist,” Helen smirked.

“No one gets that good and that fast with that good of an eye without years of practice,” Naomi stated.

“Maybe, but she’s still not an archeologist.”

“If Daria’s not an archeologist. . . .” Matt started.

“Wait a minute,” Naomi broke in as she made a connection. “Daria. Is her last name Reese?”

Helen grinned and nodded.

“Okay, who’s Daria Reese?” Matt asked.

“She’s a very well-regarded forensic physical anthropologist,” Naomi told him. “She was out in the field for some US government agency for years, and she also was the consultant for that mini-series, ‘Bone Yards’, a few years ago. You know, the adaptation of the Marie Morgan novel.”

“I only saw the first episode – the forensic part of the story was good, but I’m not one for Marie Morgan novels,” Matt snarked, “even one as much a thriller as it was a romance.”

“She worked for both the FBI and their Department of Homeland Security,” Helen told them. “She’s also a physician, and apparently there’s some sort of agreement between our governments so that she’s licensed here for emergency care.”

“Great, I wanted at least one more bone specialist,” Naomi enthused. “If we do have an inhumation cemetery over in that field, we’ll need all the help we can get!”

“And see that woman sketching over there?” Helen pointed out.

“Yeah, I was meaning to ask about her,” Matt put in.

“That’s Daria’s partner, Jane Lane. She’s a professional artist, but she’s going to draw some of our record sketches.”

“So, do we get to learn where you dragged Daria off to almost an hour ago?” Matt asked.

“You had Ian and his part of the crew stripping off the turf and starting a trench over where we almost certainly have an old cross-roads. . . .”

Matt nodded his agreement.

“Well, it looks more medieval than Roman, but they did find the top of a skull a few feet from the ditch. I thought she was of more use there than digging that wall trench.”

“She was already done with her section of the trench,” Matt pointed out. “she was helping out the others.”

“Good job, I take it?”

“As good as any I’ve seen,” Matt told his boss.

“Shall we go see what she has?” Naomi suggested.

“Let’s grab Jane, so we can see if Daria would prefer tea or coffee.”


“Hey, Amiga!” Jane called out as the group approached the area Daria was working. “Tea?”

Daria straightened her back and moved to sit on the grass, her feet still in the trench. She noticed that she was alone in the area, and then remembered the others had gone on a short tea break. “Thanks, Jane!” She took a thirsty sip and then nodded to the others. “Helen, Naomi, Matt.”

“How’s it going?” Helen asked.

“Ian said you thought that dirt lane and that slight hollow way might both have been Roman?”

“That was the thought, anyway. But it doesn’t appear to ever have been paved. We’ll be able to tell in a day or to if it’s that old, or either or both are medieval, or even Iron Age.”

“Could they still have been in use until the last hundred or two hundred years?”

“One hundred? No, this area was cut off from the local road system by the railroad about a hundred and sixty years ago. Even these fields were abandoned then. Two hundred, very possibly, why?”

“Ian agrees that circular feature you can just make out over there is a modern or maybe nearly modern tree fell.”

“Tree fell?” Jane asked.

“A nearly circular mark made when a large tree falls over, usually because it’s past its prime and there’s a big wind,” Daria told her.

The other three had glanced at the area Daria indicated.

“Well, it could be an Iron Age or Romano-British hut circle, but that’s a lot less likely,” Helen agreed. “Of course, Ian should have seen the geo-phys by now, so he would know.”

“Anyway, as you can see, we have a fairly complete skeleton.” A sweep of Daria’s hand took in the skeleton from the top of the skull to its feet, although many of the feet’s phalanges were in a finds tray. The skull was mostly exposed, and the rest was mostly at least half exposed as well. “I sent of some of the soil to be analyzed, but at this depth and if the soil is what I think it is, this can’t be much more than four hundred years old, and more likely two hundred fifty to three hundred. It is almost certainly more than a hundred, but of course I’ll mostly just expose it until I’m sure.” Any much fresher burial, and they would have to call the Coroner before anything was really moved.

“Where’s its arms?” Matt asked.

“Oh!” Naomi exclaimed as she looked a bit more closely. “That’s why you asked about the roads!”

Daria nodded. “His arms are behind his back, most likely tied together, and while there’s not much left of the hyoid, it was broken in two places. He was strangled or hanged, and if the second, the old-fashioned way.” Seeing the questioning looks, she added, “You were hoisted off the ground and slowly strangled, instead of being dropped and the drop rendering you either unconscious or at least semi-conscious while you strangled if the broken neck didn’t kill you out-right. This was a male, probably late thirties, who was strangled, possibly by hanging, with his arms tied behind his back, buried at a cross-roads across the road from what was likely a large tree at the time. If he wasn’t an executed criminal, buried where he was executed, it will do as a theory until we can do more analysis.”

“If I remember, that was still at least occasionally done at these types of locations well into the late 1790s,” Matt mused.

“Right now, I haven’t found anything with him, but who knows, there might be something datable in the grave cut. I was just starting to lightly brush some of the loose off when you came over.”

“When can you move him?” Matt asked.

“If we can get verification of the soil type and there are no complications, I’ll have him out by the end of the day. If it’s modern. . . .” Daria shrugged.

“Fair enough,” Matt answered. They all hoped it was too old to need to have the police called in.

“Good job,” Helen said. “Ian will keep us posted. I’ll check on the soil samples and try to get the results to you as soon as I can.”

“I hope we can talk down at the pub tonight!” Naomi said as the trio left.

“Nice bunch,” Jane said as Daria waved goodbye to her colleagues while sipping her tea.

“They are,” Daria agreed after she swallowed. “I’m glad you talked me into doing things like this.”

“You love writing, but you also love this kind of field work. The kids are at their sports camps, and you’re officially retired. It wasn’t rocket science.”

“Are you have anywhere as much fun?”

“So-so right now, but I do look forward to sketching some of the buildings in the village.” Jane raised her coffee cup towards her spouse, and Daria returned the salute with her tea. Jane sat down on the edge of the trench, and the two leaned against each other.

Jane saw Daria glance upwards for a moment and tense up. “They aren’t coming,” Jane said.

Daria sighed. “I know. I’m getting better, though.”

“You are. For a few months, you couldn’t even look up at the sky.” There had been no sign of any alien craft in the solar system since the incident. The fight between the aliens and the Air Force had been interrupted by a second group of aliens. When Daria and the others had woken up, they had found over an hour had passed, the cabins the aliens and any human allies had occupied had been gutted by fire, and an annoying note left: “Sorry for these visitors. This entire system is now off-limits until you are ready.” Who the aggressive aliens were, who their human allies (if any) might be, who those who left the note were, what might constitute ‘ready’ – all were open questions, which those who knew about that morning wondered if they would ever have the answers to. The same had happened at the other locations which had been raided that morning. The government groups still met, and would continue to meet however.

“I love you.”

Jane smiled. “And I love you, but you still aren’t relaxing now. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I just spotted a little piece that should be the rim of a clay pipe by the pelvis, and that looks like the edge of a button or a coin.”

Jane smiled and kissed Daria’s cheek. “Get digging.”

Daria turned and smiled. “Yes, dear.” She pecked Jane on the lips and went back to digging.

The End.

Note: While Helen, Naomi, Matt, & Ian are not supposed to be any particular individual, they are named for some prominent members of the British archeological TV series ‘Time Team’ (1994-2014).
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