I am en-route to Egypt and am most eager to hear of your discoveries. Our fathers would be most proud.
Between Edward’s latest email that he would be arriving to their dig any day now and the chemist reports, Nisa could hardly contain her excitement and confusion.
The chemist reports listed out a few trace elements of rare chemicals found naturally in the earth in some of the most hostile environments—things that would be expected to be found in the deepest parts of the ocean, outside the atmosphere, or deep in the earth’s crust.
The rest of the liquid that had been inside the strange jars were chemicals completely unknown to earth.
The evidence stared her directly in the face and yet Nisa didn’t—no, couldn’t—let herself believe it.
Liquids inside bottles not known to earth. A language that had never been previously known or discovered. The statue of a creature not known to have ever walked the earth. Stories of a cursed man from another land…
“You alright?” Oliver asked as the tent flaps rustled behind him.
Nisa set down the chemist report, shaking her head. “I don’t… I don’t understand any of this, Ollie. What… what should I believe, when all the evidence points to one thing—only one explanation for all this and yet… I still can’t accept it?”
Oliver walked over and placed his hands on her shoulders. For a moment, Nisa closed her eyes and relished in the feel of him next to her. Ever since they had admitted their feelings for one another, both Nisa and Oliver had become more affectionate with each other, but they still hadn’t kissed. Not that that was particularly on either of their minds.
The man who had committed fraud and who had threatened Nisa had been escorted to the US Embassy who gladly agreed to deport him. As soon as they had landed, he had been arrested four days ago.
There were no signs of the terrorists who had attacked their camp and gunned down many workers and protestors. The local police did what they could, and then simply gave up—violence was not unusual around here, so a lot of time, the police in the area didn’t intervene.
The protestors, however, refused to let up, despite the threat against their lives if the terrorists ever returned. Nisa still firmly believed Callahan had hired them, but he was a rich man with all the right connections, so it was likely he would never have to answer for his crimes.
“Why don’t you talk specifics instead of jumping around the real subject?” Oliver asked. His hands massaged her aching shoulders; she hadn’t realized how long she had been sitting on her chair, hunching over her work.
Nisa leaned back and relaxed into his massage, taking it all in. “So many things discovered here that’s been unknown to earth—languages, the statues of a creature, stories of an alien man… Now, the remnant liquid that had been inside those jars have come back with trace amounts of rare elements from earth, but the rest are unknown. I sent this off to Doctor Craemor—the leading Scientist in Europe. It’s a good thing he owed my father a favor, or he never would have done this for me.”
Oliver paused his massage and stepped around to read over the chemist report. “Well, I’m no doctor, so a lot of that is medical jargon to me, but… Ni, if there’s only one explanation for all this, then shouldn’t you accept it? How many times have you discovered truths on digs you didn’t want to? Or would rather not have known?”
Nisa jumped from her chair, smacking her thighs. “Yes, I know, Ollie, but those were tragedies on earth or things that changed our perspective on certain points of history. This—you can’t tell me that you honestly believe the cursed man came from another world and that all this—this stuff is from that place!”
Oliver shook his head. “No, but maybe there’s a truth mixed into this story, a truth you don’t see yet. You’ve been at this dig for weeks, Nisa. I know how you work—you delve into the history and refuse to let up until the truth comes out. Whatever happened here is obviously older and unknown, which just means no one in history knew or discovered it yet. Think about how people reacted when Ancient Egyptian Mummies were first discovered or anything else in history. Everything has a first. What you have here, Ni, is a first. You just need to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes.”
Nisa smiled at him, wrapping her arms around him and let him embrace her tightly. “What would I do without you, Ollie?”
Oliver smirked down at her. “You’d have probably been shot by now.”
Nisa shrugged. “Likely. Look, they’re close to opening up a new chamber below the old ones, so I’m going to go down and check on it and then they should be ready to bring in our mummy. As soon as we get him out of the pyramid, we’re going to fly him to our lab in Cairo so I can study and do a cat scan before he decays too badly. I want to try to preserve him as much as possible.”
Oliver nodded. “I’ll send some trusted workers in to pack all these other artifacts up and get them loaded in the helicopter and I’ll get my guys on it. I think it’s best if I leave some of my best men here, in case those terrorists try again. So, I’ll just bring about three others with us back to the lab, if that’s alright with you.”
Nisa nodded. “Yeah, that’s perfectly fine.” She slipped out the entrance to her tent, just as several jeeps drove up. Men in suits poured out of them and other security men—not her own—stormed through the entire camp.
Oliver and his men raised their weapons, but then lowered them. “Ollie, what’s…?” Nisa started. That was when her eyes spotted the official seals on their shoulders—whoever these men were, they were here legally.
Callahan walked up to stand several feet away from her, holding out a paper. Male and female workers poured out of more vehicles that drove up, each with tents and tools and machinery of all kinds. “My team and I are taking over your excavation. Everything that was discovered in this pyramid, as well as all your research on it, now belongs to me.”
Bea stormed out of her tent, with two security men holding her on either arm. “Let go of me! You can’t touch that statue! What are you doing?”
Chris and Susie glared at Callahan, each with fury and anger on their expressions.
“You can’t do this to me, Callahan!” Nisa shouted. She went to snatch the paper from him, but Callahan held it just out of reach.
“It’s all perfectly legal, I can assure you. I gave you a chance to work with me, Nisa, and you didn’t take it. That’s your own fault, I’m afraid.” He motioned for his workers and team to spread out. Dozens of them poured through the tents, down into the pyramid. Two of them darted into her tent, so she sprinted after them.
They grabbed her bag of tools and hurled it outside while others grabbed her laptop, the artifacts, and all her paperwork and plunged them into bags. “Hey, you can’t do that!” Nisa shouted. She dashed over and tried to grab her stuff, but one of them grabbed her arms tightly.
Oliver stormed in but Callahan and three more men followed.
“Now, are you going to leave peacefully? Might I remind you that if you retaliate, it will be committing a crime?” Callahan gestured outside. “You can take your personal belongings, except your laptop, and go.”
Nisa’s fists clenched and her face reddened. Every fiber in her being wanted to deck him, but if she did that, this could easily turn into a gunfight and that was the last thing her team needed. “You’re a scumbag, Callahan. We’ll find a way to get this all back. This was mine… You know it was mine.”
Callahan grinned at her. “Now, it’s mine. Just like your father’s. Get out or I’ll have you removed forcefully.”