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Tudor Spies and Perfidy

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Jo started it. She was on the internet, looking up press coverage of the excavation, reading the comments. That was, as always, a huge mistake. Also, she was really supposed to be paying attention to the team meeting.

"The next press conference is on Wednesday." Kevin, the genealogy expert, shuffled papers. "I'd like everyone to prepare a-"

Jo started giggling. Everyone turned to look at her.

"Something to share with the class?" asked Kevin.

"Sorry." Jo shrugged. "Just- Oh, some of the theories about us are absurd."

"I liked the one where we were supposed to tell the Royal Shakespeare Company how to stage Richard III," said Lin, the history expert. "You know, how big the hump should be."

"Apparently we're going to clone Richard," said Turi, the geneticist. "I'm sure the royal family will appreciate that. We could make the line of succession run backwards as well as forwards."

"This one is even better than those," said Jo. "This person thinks I'm a Tudor spy."

Everyone laughed.

"Ridiculous," said Mathew, the archaeologist.

"What will they think of next?" said Lin.

"How humorous," said Kevin. "I suppose they think that Sir John Cheyne, my lord Henry Tudor's most trusted servant, commissioned a time machine right before the battle of Bosworth Field? And I suppose you were sent through time, on a mission to desecrate the final resting place of Richard. When you arrived in the bizarre future year 1983, you found that Richard's burial place was lost, and that you must become an expert in the academic arts of genealogy and history in order to find and destroy his tomb. Ha ha. Very droll."

Jo stared at Kevin. "It wasn't quite that detailed," she said. "And I'm an osteology expert, you're the genealogist- oh."

"Blast." Kevin looked shifty. "Got carried away."

"Hold on," said Lin. "You're an actual Tudor spy, Kevin? From the past?"

"I deny everything," said Kevin.

"I'm only asking," said Lin, "because my family has a sacred mission, passed down since the summer of 1485. My ancestors were servants of King Richard III, and we have sought his bones since his death. We must reunite them with his cloak and crown. When King Richard is clothed in his raiment once more, he will rise and walk the Earth. So said Cecily Foxhall, my ancestress and seer-prophet to the Kings of England."

"Wow," said Jo. "That sounds very dramatic."

"My parents are dentists." Lin shrugged. "But they do take shovels along for impromptu grave-digging when they go on holiday. Have to keep old traditions alive."

"So we're both Tudor era spies, in a manner of speaking," said Kevin. "I mean, you're a Tudor spy. I, ah, I'm not admitting to anything."

"You are a Tudor spy," said Mathew. "I recognize you. Kevin Schüler, the German mercenary who was always hanging around Sir John. Right? Should've caught on earlier, you've hardly changed your name."

"And who are you?" asked Kevin, stiffly. "How could you know me?"

"I am- I was John Mathew, an undersheriff of London." Mathew straightened up in his chair, looking into Kevin's eyes. "I fought on both sides of Bosworth Field, and for my treachery I was cursed with life everlasting. Until I can find Richard III and set him to his rest, I will never die."

"Gosh," said Jo. "I suppose you're happy that we found him."

"I was actually planning to sabotage the excavation," admitted Mathew. "You know, steal Richard's feet, start a squabble about where the bones should be buried, etcetera. Immortality's quite nice."

"Traitor!" shouted Turi. "How could you? Stealing my feet."

"Sorry?" Mathew raised an eyebrow. "Your feet?"

"Ah." Turi fidgeted. "You've found me out. Yes, it is I, Richard Plantagenet, reborn in this female form. I had only one thought when I found myself returned to God's green earth - ensuring a proper burial of my former mortal vessel. I was so close to success, but I find myself now surrounded by Tudor spies and perfidy!"

"My king!" Lin fell to her knees.

"My enemy!" Kevin pulled a dagger from his belt.

"Just a moment," said Jo. "Am I the only person here without ulterior motives? The only actual academic who wants to find Richard's body for the sake of history and greater knowledge?"

Everyone looked at each other. They shrugged, nodded, or gestured with a dagger, depending on their inclination. Jo sighed.

"This," she said, "is going to make the press conference incredibly awkward."