The alley was dark, the fog that had come in from the sea settled close to the buildings.
Running footsteps could be heard coming out of the darkness.
They stopped suddenly at the dead end, there was no where left to run.
More steps were heard, slower this time, more deliberate, moving towards the end.
"Please," A voice was heard begging. "Please, I'll do whatever you want."
"You must pay for your betrayal." Said the voice of the Other. The tone was deep and otherworldly.
"Please," pleaded the first voice. "I'm begging you, don't hurt me. I'll come back, I'll serve you, just ple.."
The Other's eyes glowed and the man never got to finish his sentence. The hand raised and a bolt of lightening sent the man flying through the air , only to come crashing down again.
The Other walked over to the body.
"You have paid." It said simply and walked away into the darkness, a pair of eyes following him, staring in the expression of the dead.
The San Francisco house was quite when Nick Boyle came in from his early morning run. It wasn't surprising really that there was no activity yet, it was still only 6:30 am and his colleagues usually spent a couple more hours in bed.
It had been a good run that morning. His usual fifteen miles went quickly, the sea air wonderfully crisp, clearing out any cobwebs.
He made his way to the kitchen and made himself coffee, then went up to the control room to check out the morning's reports. The only unusual thing that was there was the report of a bank worker found dead in a downtown ally with no apparent injuries and no obvious cause of death.
Nick made a note of it and then went upstairs to shower and dress for the day.
When he came back down some of the other residents of the Legacy house were stirring. He made his way back to the control room and found his precept already there.
"Good morning, Derek." He said cheerily, "You're up early."
"I didn't sleep very well last night." The Dutch man said abruptly and went back to surveying the night's reports.
"Did you see this death here?" Rayne asked his security chief.
"Yeah, it is a bit weird, I didn't think it would be anything for us though. I call my friend at the Coroner's office if you like."
"I think that may be a good idea." Derek answered, obviously preoccupied.
"Why, do you think there is something there for us?"
"I would guarantee it." The Precept said, "This man is the reason I didn't sleep very well last night. I saw his death in my dreams and believe me, what I saw would certainly make it a case for us."
Nick knew when his boss meant business, and he meant it now.
"I'll get right on it, see what I can find out about it."
With that they both set to work.
As luck had it there was no need for the Legacy members to make up an excuse to view the dead man's house. The police found a number of what was deemed "strange" items. They had no idea what they were and so called in the experts from the Luna Foundation, the front used by the Legacy to hide within society.
Nick pulled his Mustang in next to the house, with Derek behind him in the Range Rover. It was a nice property, situated just outside the city on a hillside, overlooking the bay. The neighborhood was quiet and well off, houses mainly belonging to executives that were old enough not to want the hassle of living in the city center anymore.
Derek and Nick got out of the car and walked up to the front porch. There was still a police car parked in the driveway and a uniformed officer lounging against the rail. He stood bolt upright when he heard the visitors approaching.
"Hello, I'm Derek Rayne, from the Luna Foundation. We're here to see Detective Jenkins." Derek announced to the young officer. The young man looked slightly confused and called inside the house. A few moments later a small, graying woman in her forties walked out onto the porch. She walked confidently down the steps and thrust out her hand to the two Legacy members.
"I'm Detective Loretta Jenkins, in charge of the murder investigation. You must be the gentlemen from the Luna Foundation."
"Yes," Derek said taking her hand," I'm Dr. Derek Rayne and this is my associate, Nick Boyle." After they had all introduced themselves, she lead the way up the porch steps and into the house. On the way past she said to the young officer,
"You can go now, Saunders, tell the Sergeant that I shouldn't be much longer." He nodded and went off to his car.
"we saw the report on the news this morning, it certainly is a strange case." Derek said as they entered the house. He always knew the exact thing to say to get the most information from people. It worked just as well this time too.
"I know, respected banker turns up dead in an alley on the bad side of town, no obvious injuries, no reason to be there, nothing stolen, nothing to say that he was involved in anything illegal. This is going to be a tough one."
They entered the living room which was filled with all sorts of books and artifacts. To Nick they all looked as if they had come straight out of ancient Egypt. There were scrolls and statuettes of Jackals, parchments with hieroglyphs adorned the walls.
"Well," Jenkins said, "This is why we called you in. We have no idea what most of this stuff is, we have to be sure that there is nothing here that could be connected with his death. Feel free to look around, just don't handle things too much, it could all end up as evidence. If you need me I'll be in the kitchen, I have this whole house to go over." She left them to their investigations.
Derek and Nick spread out around the room looking over everything they could see. On the coffee table was a stack of notebooks, ones that looked like journals. Nick picked one up and flipped through it.
"Hey, Derek, I think you should have a look at this."
"Well, it looks like his diary, but it is all in hieroglyphics. I mean these are all modern books, why would they contain ancient writings?"
"I don't know." Derek replied "This seems to be more than just a passing fad, he seemed to be obsessed with ancient Egypt. Listen, I want you to go back to the island, look into this man's financial records and anything else you think might be useful, I'm going to go over to the University and see if I can get these translated."
"You got it." Nick said on his way out the door.
"Get Alex and Rachel to help you." Derek shouted after him. Nick just waved and was gone.
Derek walked into the kitchen and found Detective Jenkins looking in one of the cupboards.
"Detective, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to take these note books to a friend of mine. She might be able to translate them and give us an idea of why this man was writing in Egyptian hieroglyphs."
"Oh, yeah, sure. I was going to ask if you knew anyone who could take a look at those."
"I think this is the only thing of any use to us. The rest is just artifacts, nothing useful."
"I didn't think that there would be much of use in there, but you have to cover all angles, you know?" She said chirpily. "Let me know what you find out."
Derek made his way over to the university to see if any light could be shed on this mystery.
It was still quite early and the university was quiet when Derek got there. He made his way to the history block, hoping that the person that he was looking for would be in.
The halls were empty as he made his way to the office he wanted. The nameplate on the door of the office said Dr. Julianne Wallis and there was music coming from inside. He knocked on the door and heard the music switch off abruptly.
"Come in!" Came the call from inside the office and Derek entered.
"Derek! What are you doing here?" The young woman jumped up and made her way from behind the desk to greet him. She was slim and lithe with dark blonde hair and sea blue eyes. Her rosy cheeks glowed as she smiled. She made her way quickly to Derek and hugged him.
"It is really great to see you. Come in and sit down. Tell me how I can help."
Derek was so bowled over by her enthusiasm he couldn't get a word in edgeways. He sat down and waited for her to calm herself.
"It's nice to see you too Julianne. I was wondering if you could possibly do me a favor."
"Of course Derek, anything for you. How is everyone by the way, Alex, Rachel Nick?" She said the last name rather tentatively. It was well know within the older members of the San Francisco house that the young Egyptologist had a crush on the ex-SEAL.
"They're fine. I was wondering if you could possibly help me translating these?"
He passed her the notebooks from the dead man's house. She flicked through them looking at the writing intensely. She muttered a few things under her breath and finally looked up after a few minutes.
"I'm sorry Derek, this doesn't make any sense. The words are all jumbled, I can't make head nor tale of them."
"Is there nothing that you can make from it?"
"I don't think so, it's all gibberish." She paused and looked thoughtful for a moment.
"I suppose it could be a strange dialect. It's not one that I know though."
"Is there any way you could find out?" Derek asked. "It is quite important that I get it translated."
"Well there is someone I could try. An old college friend. He always had a knack for translating strange stuff. I could give him a ring right now if you'd like?"
"It would be a great help."
She set about looking a large address book, searching for the right number.
"Last I heard from him he was working for the Air Force, something with linguistics I think. He really did have a talent for languages, spoke 18 different ones last I heard. Ah here it is." She grabbed the phone from the hook on the corner of the desk and began dialing the number she had found.
"Can I take these and send them to him or will he have to come up here? I don't know if he will be able to get away from the military."
"Well I really don't think that they can be sent away, they are part of a police investigation. I was lucky that they let me have them." Derek answered. "It would be better if he could come to San Francisco, he could stay at the Island."
Just as she was about to answer someone picked up the phone on the other end.
"Hello, can I speak to Dr. Jackson please?" There was a pause, presumably as the requested Dr. Jackson was fetched.
"Daniel?" She asked into the phone. "Daniel, it's Julianne Wallis. How are you?...I'm great thanks....oooh busy actually, I'm teaching again....I know it's been a long time since I was on a proper dig....How about you? Are you still with the Air Force?...Listen, I was wondering if you could do me a favor...Can you get any time off? I have a couple of translations that need doing and I think you might be the one with the expertise to do it.....Well it's some sort of ancient Egyptian dialect that I can't get my head round. Would you be free to come up here to San Francisco for a couple of days, they can't really be sent to you, you see...You can? Great when can you get here?...Tonight, just a sec, I'll ask..." She turned to Derek and asked "He can probably get a flight out tonight, is that ok?"
"Wonderful. Let me give you our fax number and he can send the details." He scribbled a number down on the jotter on the desk and gave it to Julianne.
She spoke back into the phone "Daniel? I got the number here that you can fax the flight details to." She recited the number. "Listen take care, ok. I'll see you when you get here....See you soon, bye." She put the phone down and looked at Derek.
"Well if anyone can translate this for you, it'll be Daniel. I hope he solves it for you."
"Thank you so much, Julianne. You should come by the island while your friend is here. It would be lovely to have you." Derek stood up and made his way to the door.
"I'll take you up on that offer Derek. It's been years since I saw Daniel, it'll be nice to catch up." She had the same wistful tone in her voice that she used when she spoke about Nick. Derek suspected that there was probably more than friendship, once, between Julianne and Dr. Daniel Jackson.
In his apartment in a small town in the Colorado Rockies, Daniel Jackson began packing for his trip. He was hindered somewhat by the large plaster cast on his left arm.
"Are you sure you want to do this Daniel? Janet said you should be resting." Said the female voice that Julianne had heard on the phone.
"C'mon, Sam. How much more restful can it be. All I'm going to be doing is some translations for a friend. Think about it, the sea air, the change of scenery. It'll be good for me." He gave up trying to fold the shirt he had gotten from the draw and let Sam do it.
"Listen, why don't you let me pack, you go and call the airline." She motioned him towards the living room and the phone book.
"I can't let you do that Sam. You were only supposed to give me a lift home." Daniel said apologetically.
"Don't be silly," She scolded him, "It would take you all day to pack with that thing on your arm." She pointed to his left arm. "Besides, I'll pack better than you."
"No you will not..."
"Do not argue with me Daniel or I won't let you go on this little trip of yours." Sam shouted from the bedroom. "You know I don't think the Colonel will be very happy about this."
"It's not up to him you know." He replied, "The Air Force doesn't own me. Any way, I can't go out in the field like this and there isn't much to do on base at the moment. Besides I need a holiday and this sounds like just the thing."
She couldn't fault his logic, he really did need a holiday. They had cut it too close on their last mission. Daniel had been captured on by the native inhabitants of the planet and held to ransom. He was lucky to get away with the broken arm, two cracked ribs and a nasty scalp laceration. Maybe it would be good for him to get away for a while. Sam just wished that he wasn't going alone. She turned her mind away from her morbid thoughts and started packing.
It was a late flight that he was waiting for, the airport was nearly deserted. Derek stood at the arrivals gate looking for people coming off the flight from Colorado. He didn't know what Dr. Jackson looked like and didn't know what to expect.
A small trickle of people began to emerge, many of them either pairing with others who were waiting or went purposefully to the taxi ranks outside. He was one of the last people to come out to the main airport area and Derek knew that it would be him. Derek made his way over to the young man. Although he hadn't known what to expect, Derek was pretty sure it wasn't what he saw. Daniel Jackson was a young man, younger than he had expected, with close-cropped brown-gold hair, metal rimmed spectacles that framed bright blue eyes that held a brilliant spark of intelligence. His face was marred by a large cut that ran from the end of his right eyebrow to the hairline that was held together with strips of tape. Derek also noticed the cast on his left arm and began to wonder what it was that Jackson did for the Air Force.
"I'm Dr. Derek Rayne from the Luna Foundation."
"Oh, yes. Daniel Jackson. I'm glad to meet you." Daniel stopped pushing his trolley and held out his right hand. As Derek took his hand, Precept suddenly received a flash from his psychic abilities. It was an image of Jackson kneeling on the floor, he was wearing a black T-shirt and combat pants. One arm was being held behind his back by a large man, a look of great pain on his face.
Derek quickly shook the vision from his mind, not wanting to alarm the linguist. Instead he asked
"What happened to your arm?" Although he knew exactly what had happened it would be interesting to see what the young man would say.
"Oh, this?" Jackson said rather nervously, "Hiking accident." He seemed to want to drop the subject so Derek let it go. They made their way to the car and back to Angel Island.
Jackson was quiet on the way to the island. They loosely discussed the translations, but there wasn't a lot that Derek could tell him without having the books to hand. There was small talk about the weather and various aspects of archaeology but the conversation was cursory. Derek did have a chance to evaluate the young man though.
Earlier, before leaving for the airport he had Nick find out Jackson's background. The man that was sat next to him in the car was not really what he had been expecting. His brief had said that he was 34 years old, he looked about ten years younger. They knew that he was smart, three Ph.D's certainly accounts for that, but the lack of activity by him in the academic circles over the last five years worried the Legacy members somewhat. It was if the man had just disappeared from the face of the earth. His resurfacement in the military was also somewhat odd, but they couldn't afford to be picky. Julianne had said that Jackson would be able to translate the journals and that's what they needed.
They arrived at the house and went inside. Jackson was impressed. The ranks of armour lining the hall greeted him in old fashioned salute.
"Welcome to the Luna Foundation" Rayne said as they moved through the house. Daniel, although admiring the ancient beauty of the house, couldn't help but have an eery feeling. The place was strange, hinting at a history steeped in mystery. At this point he felt he would be glad when his three days were over and he was back at home in Colorado.
They entered the living room where the other members were waiting to greet their guest.
"Everyone this is Dr Daniel Jackson," Rayne introduced him to the others in the room. "Dr Jackson, this is Alex Moreau our head researcher, Nick Boyle our head of security and Dr Rachel Corrigan our consultant psychologist." They all shook hands and said the usual pleasantaries, all of them asking what had happened to his arm, Daniel lying in order to keep his cover. The hiking accident had worked well so far, he had had a lot of practice at it.They'd all sat down and were drinking coffee when the topic of conversation turned to Daniel's work.
"So Dr Jackson, Julianne tells me you have a gift for languages," Derek said, "She said that at last count you were able to speak 18 different ones."
"Actually it's gone up to 23 now," Daniel replayed. He wasn't boasting, actually he seemed quite self conscious about it. He was simply stating a fact. "I hope though the one I'm here to translate for you is one of those 23."
"Dr Wallis also told us that you work for the Air Force now, how did you come by that job?" asked Alex. At that question Daniel froze. He was unaware that his work for the military was common knowledge and had not really prepared an explanation. He said the first plausible story that came to mind.
"Well, the military are always in need of linguists, I'm not really allowed to elaborate though, for security reasons, you understand." They appeared to accept the lie and Daniel breathed a sigh of relief, he didn't really relish the thought of having to explain to Jack or the General that he let slip about the SGC.
"Do you ever find time to do any archaeology any more?" Asked Rachel.
"Not as much as I would like," Now that wasn't a lie, "But I do occasionally get some time off to do what I originally trained for." He said with a slight chuckle.
"But wouldn't you rather be teaching or working in the field full time?"
"I don't know, sometimes but I have a great job now, and besides the last time I tried to give a lecture everyone walked out within ten minutes. I was never particularly popular with my peers." He said without bitterness. It was obvious to the others in he room that his peers weren't all that popular with him either.
"I bet the Air force jocks are the same though." Said Nick, who knew all to well how civilians were received within a military setting.
"Not all of them. I have some very good friends who are officers." Daniel said defensively, shifting in his seat slightly. He caught a particularly sore spot on his cracked ribs and winced slightly.
"Are you alright?" asked Rachel concernedly.
"Yes I'm fine. Just a couple of cracked ribs. I think the plane journey irritated them somewhat."
"What exactly did you do whilst hiking to get those sorts of injuries?"
"Oh well, I'm quite accident prone, I was out hiking in the mountains near my home and lost my footing on one of the paths. Took a bit of a tumble down the hillside, managed to fracture my arm in two places, crack two of my ribs and give myself a mild concussion."
"You weren't on your own were you?" Alex was horrified.
"Oh no. I was with some friends." Daniel became guarded again, the topic was getting too in depth for his liking. He decided to switch the subject.
"So, what is the purpose, exactly, of the Luna Foundation?" He asked innocently. The reply was very smooth, but Daniel was quick enough to spot the slight hesitation from the group.
"Well we tend to do a lot of historical research, translations and finding the origins of artifacts etceteras." Derek replied. "We occasionally do some consultation work for the local authorities too."
Daniel got the feeling that he was not supposed to question any further and so let it drop at that. He had plenty of time to find out more. Just as he was about to stifle a yawn Alex beat him to it.
"Well, I am beat." She declared. "I'm going to bed."
"That sounds like an excellent idea. Shall I show you to your room Dr Jackson?" Derek asked.
They all said their goodnights and drifted off upstairs to their separate rooms. Outside the guest bedroom Derek said
"If you need anything just ring downstairs, there's a phone in your room with an outside line if you want to call anyone. We'll get to work in the morning."
"Thank you. I just hope I can be of some help." Daniel stated and went into his room.
Daniel closed the door to the room and sank back against it. He was exhausted. The travelling had taken its toll on him and now he began to wonder whether it had been such a good idea to come all this way so soon after being discharged from the infirmary. His ribs had really started to hurt now, much more than the twinge that he had told his hosts downstairs. His arm was aching too.
He noticed the phone on the nightstand and wondered whether he should call Jack and let him know that he was ok, that he had arrived safely, but he decided against it.
"He'll only yell at me." He thought "I know he won't be happy about my decision to come here so soon after the mission."
He went over to the bed and eased himself down to sit on it. His ribs were really starting to hurt now and he wondered whether he had made them worse. He sat staring at the phone still debating whether to ring someone. He finally reached a decision and picked up the receiver and started dialing.
"Hello..Sam?" He said as the person answered.
"Daniel?" Sam asked. "How are you? How was the flight? What's the place like? How is your arm and ribs?"
Daniel laughed and began to feel a bit better. Sometimes it was hard to get a word in edgeways with Sam.
"I'm fine." He said. "This place is phenomenal, the flight was fine, the ribs and arm are a bit sore but they're ok. Does that answer all your questions?"
Sam chuckled on the other end. In the background Daniel heared other voices.
"Teal'c you can't do that...I do not understand, why not?....Because that's the rules that's why not."
Daniel clearly recognized those voices. Colonel Jack O'Neill and the alien Jaffa, Teal'c, who was also a member of SG-1. Suddenly he heard a question aimed at Sam.
"Who is it Carter?" O'Neill asked "If that's Daniel tell him I want a word with him."
The words were menacing and implied that the Colonel was none to happy with Daniel's decision to take this little trip.
"Sam, tell him I don't need to speak to him.."
"Too late buddy, I'm here now and I have a few words for you."
"Jack please don't start, I really am too tired for this now." Daniel said pleadingly.
"And you know why you're tired don't you? It's because two days ago we brought you back to the base unconscious with a broken arm and two cracked ribs! For crying out loud Daniel you didn't wake up until yesterday. Janet only agreed to release you on the premise that you were to rest!"
"Have you finished Jack?" Daniel sighed. "Because if you haven't would you mind me hanging up and you telling it to an empty line? 'Cause I really would like to get some sleep." He had heared this type of tirade from his CO and best friend before. He knew it was only because Jack was worried about him, but really, he could take care of himself.Jack's tone was softer the next time he spoke.
"Listen are you sure you're ok to be away? The last mission was pretty rough on you Daniel. You haven't spoken a word about what they did since you woke up. We're all just worried about you that's all."
"I know." Daniel said with a sigh. "I just need some time away from the SGC. I'll be back in a few days, anyway what can possibly go wrong with translating a few notes. I'll be fine really."
"If you're sure?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. Listen I'll let you get back to what ever it was you were doing. What are you and Teal'c doing at Sam's anyway?"
"Ahh, ya see me and the big guy here were coming round to yours for a few beers and to watch the game but you weren't in so we dropped by Carter's instead. At the moment I am trying to teach Teal'c how to play Monopoly. Needless to say we aren't getting very far! Take care of yourself Danny and ring if you need anything."
"Yeah, thanks Jack. Bye." He said and hung up the phone and lay back on the bed.
He had been trying to avoid thinking about the previous mission but his conversation with O'Neill had brought it all back.
They had gate d to a new world, the MALP had shown no signs of civilization within the immediate vicinity but as always they had to check it out. Not all the gates had settlements close by and this planet was very hospitable to human life so they went to look beyond the MALP's range.
No sooner had they come out of the gate when they were fired upon and had to take cover.There was very little cover available and the group got separated. Daniel had chosen to hide in a small grove of trees to the left of the Gate. The others were dotted about trying to defend themselves form the attackers. Daniel was the closest to the DHD and indicated to Jack for him to lay down cover fire so he could get out and dial home. He made it out of his hiding place, squeezing off a few rounds as he went, and managed to get the first three coordinates in before he was grabbed form behind. The man was huge, bigger than Teal'c. Daniel didn't stand a chance. Some form of energy weapon was pointed at his head and he was used as a human shield for the man to make it back to his friends. He was knocked unconscious soon after that.
The next time Daniel woke up was when a large bucket of water was thrown over him. He found himself bound at the hands and ankles and was pulled into a kneeling position, surrounded by four of the huge men.
The one in front of Daniel began speaking to him in some strange language. Even Daniel, who could speak 23 different languages and could probably get the gist of a lot more, was having trouble to even vaguely understand this one. The man wanted answers to his questions. This became painfully obvious when Daniel's silence was met with a hard kick to the stomach. Again the question was asked. Again Daniel couldn't answer. This time he received another kick, harder though than the last, cracking his ribs.
Seeing that this was getting him nowhere the man tried a different tactic. He signaled to the other soldier standing behind Daniel who came up behind him and grabbed the archaeologist's hair, pulling his head back painfully. Still gating no answers the man grabbed hold of Daniel's left arm and twisted it behind his back. Daniel's eyes began to tear as he felt his arm so close to breaking. He started to stammer in English that he couldn't tell them anything when he didn't understand what they were asking of him. This only caused the men to get more angry, more pressure was applied to the arm until it snapped.
The questioning was just about to end, with Daniel's death. The leader had pulled out a rather evil looking knife and had it pressed against Daniel's neck, ready to slit his throat, when a loud boom was heard coming from outside. The four looked up in shock as the sound of automatic gunfire filtered in from outside. Realizing that his teammates had come to rescue their comrade the men rushed outside, not before the one holding Daniel pushed his head hard against the wall of the building, knocking the young man out, and giving him a large cut just above the eye.
That was the last thing Daniel remembered about the mission. The next thing he knew he was waking up in the infirmary to the sound of O'neill and Dr Frasier talking quietly. His head hurt like hell and his chest didn't feel much better.
Now here he was after spending a day under observation until he had managed to badger Janet into letting him go home. She was probably about as happy with him taking this little trip as Jack was.
He had manage to get the rest of the story at the mission debriefing.
The others had followed the men back to the village where they set about planning his rescue. The idea was for Jack and Sam to distract them by throwing grenades and firing guns, whilst Teal'c went in and grabbed Daniel. Luckily they hadn't come too far from the Gate so the Jaffa didn't have too far to carry him. The natives only managed to catch up with them again as they all went through the wormhole to Earth.
This was just one of the experiences that Daniel decided that he would rather forget. He got up and changed and then settled down to sleep. He was just glad of being able to some mundane translating for once rather that having to risk his life off world. Not that he didn't like being on SG-1 and he loved Gate travel, it was that he really wished that he didn't end up in the infirmary so much. At least the next few days would be relaxing.
In a darkened room on the other side of town a man stood looking at a map.
Several points were marked on it with pins. Places that would soon be his.
He looked at the map and grinned.
As he grinned,
His eyes began to glow.....
The next morning Nick rose at his usual hour. He was always quiet so as not wake any of his collegues. This morning he was extra careful out of courtesy to their guest. When he got downstairs, however, he found that he needn't have worried. Dr Jackson was outside, sat crosslegged on the lawn, meditating in the light of the rising sun.
Nick had rarely met anyone outside the military whor got up as early as he did out of choice. Then again Jackson worked for the military, maybe his body clock had adjusted to early starts.
He watched the young man for a moment and then set off for his run.
Half an hour later, as Nick made his way back to the house, he found Jackson still sitting on the lawn. Now, though he just seemed to be appreciating the view. Nick made his way over to him.
Daniel heared footsteps behind him and turned to look up at the approaching form of Nick Boyle, the house's security officer.
"Do you mind if I join you?"
"No, not at all." Was Daniel's reply. Nick sat down next to him and looked out over the bay. The rapidly rising sun was casting an orange glow over everything, making the city look as if it was on fire.
"It's a beautiful setting you have here." Daniel said after a moment.
"Yeah, we're lucky. Most people don't get up to see dawn here though." Nick replied.
"Force of habit, I'm afraid." Daniel said with a laugh in his voice. "I'm used to having to be at work for five am so now I get up early even if I'm not working. It's nice to be able to experience this sort of thing once in a while though." He gestured towards the ocean.
"Nice view to meditate in front of." Nick said pointedly. Jackson looked at him sharply. "I saw you when I started out for my run earlier. Who taught you?"
"Oh, just a friend. Kel'Noreem usually involes candles and insence, but the sunrise was so beautiful and the smell of the gardens here replaced those this morning." His tone had become distant and he brought himself back from his thoughts and said, "When did you leave the military?" It was Nick's turn to look surprised now.
"How did you know?" He asked somewhat suspicious.
"Being a civilian in a military world, you just get the knack for identifying other soldiers. Who did you serve with?"
"The SEAL's." Nick never liked talking about his time in the military so tried to change the subject. "How did you get involved with the Air Force? I would have though that someone with three PH.D's would be able to get a teaching job anywhere." A look of deep sadness passed quickly over Jackson's face. It made Nick wonder what could have been in his question that would cause such a reaction.
"You'd be surprised how many doors close if you say something that goes against the norm. The Air Force was my last chance." It was a cryptic answer and it left Nick thinking as to what exactly he meant. As Nick thought Jackson began to get up.
"I should probably go in side and check in with my boss. He'll be expecting to hear from me." Daniel moved to go inside.
"Isn't it going to be a bit early in Colorado?" Nick asked
"Oh, he'll be up. Believe me." Daniel siad over his shoulder. Nick watched him go back inside, moving as quickly as two cracked ribs would allow.
Nick looked back over towards the bay. He had a lot to think about. Jackson was hiding something, of that he was sure, but whether it was something sinister or not, Nick couldn't tell. There was something slightly odd about his attatchment to the Air Force that Nick just couldn't pinpoint.
"Forget it," He told himself, "You're just being paranoid." With that he got up and went inside.
Later on that morning, once everyone had had breakfast, Daniel was left in Alex's capable hands and shown to the Library where he could work at the translation.
"You know I really hope you can help us with this," She said to the young archaeologist. "This has had us all stumped. Even Julianne didn't have a clue."
"Julianne was always more interested in the culture of Eygiptian society rather than the language. Besides I've spent most of my life translating heiroglyphs."
Coming from anyone else that might have sounded arrogant but Daniel just made it a statement of the facts. Alex was begining tp like the young man. Aside from him being extremely attractive, she sensed a great intellegence and passion lurking beneath the self affacing exterior. She felt quite protective of him. There was something in his eyes that spoke of great pain and loss, suffered for far too long in one so young.
"When did you first become interested in archaeology?" She asked, trying to draw him out of his shell. He had been very quiet all morning and Alex wanted to get to know him a bit better.