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Chapter 11

The teams stood tensely, listening to Ishram explain to Jarha what had happened. Daniel was trying to look completely disinterested in the entire proceeding. The old man listened closely, his face grave, his eyes flickering from Daniel, to Casey, then back again. When the young man had finished speaking, the leader of the villagers turned to Daniel.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must ask your forgiveness. Khusa came to us gravely wounded, and very ill. The gods miraculously healed his wounds. But his mind and his heart, I fear, are still healing. That he attacked your wife in such a manner is an act punishable by death according to our laws. If you wish to see him punished, I will order it done," the old man said.

Daniel shook his head. Khusa - Zinder - whoever the hell he was, had been taken into one of the tents as soon as they had arrived back at the settlement. None of them had seen him since. "That won't be necessary. What will become of him?"

"The healer says his wound is completely gone. Once again the gods have smiled upon him. He will be given the drink of forgetfulness once again, that the demons of his past cannot haunt him."

He studied the old man. "You know that he's Immortal; and who, or what he was."

Jarha started, stared at the young man for a minute. This man knew Khusa's true identity as well. "We know. Brethren who live far from here sent him to us. They requested that we help him…forget…the past. So that he might live simply, happily."

"Will he remember that we were here, or about the tombs?" Daniel asked.

The old man shook his head. "He will remember only that which we tell him during the sleep of the mind. When he awakens, Khusa will once again be happy with this simple life."

He nodded. "Thank you for answering my questions. I also thank you for your generous hospitality. I am happy that we became friends," he said, offering his hand to the wrinkled old man.

Shaking the young man's hand, Jarha smiled. "It is with much pleasure that I give you welcome. I am also pleased that we became friends. If you should return to this place, we will drink and smoke and talk of great hunts and battles again, Dan'yel."

Daniel turned to his friends, explained what had been said.

"Let's just hope that this time his memory stays gone," Jack said, glancing at Casey.

"I don't think that will be a problem, as long as we don’t come back," Daniel replied.


A  A  A  A  A  A


Tired, filthy, but excited, the teams walked down the ramp into the 'gate room. Duncan was waiting for them.

"Word is already out about your discoveries, Daniel," he said, grinning at the young archaeologist.


"Susan Whitman. She has a friend at GBN."

He shook his head. "Wait 'til she sees the pictures we took of the tomb!"

Casey giggled, wrapped her arms around his waist. "Makes Howard Carter's discovery of Tut's tomb look like an amateur dig in a sandbox."

"I wouldn’t say that," Daniel argued, blushing beneath the dirt and dust and sweat on his face.

"I would. It's gonna knock their socks off. They'll be talking about it for centuries to come!" she predicted.

Duncan laughed. "Well, I'm proud of all of you. What about Zinder?"

"It was him, but he's…he doesn't remember anything. He's a simple Bedouin named Khusa now," Daniel said quietly.

The Scot nodded. If Daniel was okay with this, then he wouldn't force the issue. "Okay. Go get cleaned up, see Doctor Montigue, debrief in an hour."

Casey leaned against him as they rode the elevator to the medical level, where the showers were located. "You're going to be so famous, Daniel! You can write a book about this discovery!"

He grinned. "When am I going to have time to write a book?"

She smiled up at him. "You'll find time. If you don't you'll explode!"

He laughed, not surprised that she knew him so well. "Probably. I guess I could have my assistant help me."

"I think that would work out," she replied.


A  A  A  A  A  A


They were tired, a good, happy tired. They had come to bed as soon as snuggle time ended. She cuddled against him, sighed contentedly. Giggled softly.

"What?" he asked, already smiling.

"That's the most fun we've had on a mission in a long time. Best sex we've had on a mission, too."

He laughed. "You're right, it was fun. Making love with you is always incredible, Angel."

She turned her head and kissed his shoulder. "I love the way you love me. I'm kinda fonda that anaconda of yours."

He chuckled. "Do tell."

"I take that back. I'm very fond of your anaconda." Her hand slid down, began to caress him.

"Yeah, well my anaconda is damned fond of you," he replied, making her giggle. He rolled her to her back, kissed her gently. "Love you, Angel."

"Love you, Sweetheart."

His lips moved back to hers.

In his arms there was no fear. Nothing could harm her, nothing could come between them. In his arms there was only the two of them. He made love to her; the passion, the need, the Fire, as powerful as the storm that had blown through the desert. She held to him as he took her on that incredible ride, soaring with her above the clouds.


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