The Crime Fighters in:
And Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them
It is time for you to fulfill your destiny
The diggers were already packed up for the trip back to Amarna, so it took only a few hours for Michelle to get the trucks ready. She took charge of the expedition quickly, organizing every detail of the move. Ali Bhai and his diggers seemed shocked, but the foreman, like Michelle, seemed intent on making her father's last wish come true.
The foreman also shared with Robert the story of his meeting with Stan Smith the day before. If anything, the news only seemed to make Robert madder. Richard had grown quiet and withdrawn, however. As they made the long trek from Thebes to Al Minya, Robert took the opportunity to talk with his friend, in the back of one of the trucks.
"If Stan think's he's going to scare us off, he's got another think coming," Robert said.
Richard was silent for a moment, so Robert continued. "He must have stopped by the mess tent after killin' Michelle's dad," he said. "The nerve of the guy. He can sure keep his cool, though. . ."
"He was probably hoping to warn Michelle off. Since he couldn't find the notes, he figured he'd try and scare her into giving up."
"It didn't work, though." Robert grinned. "He didn't know Michelle. He's only made her mad. . ."
Richard was silent again. "Come on, man," Robert said. "What's buggin' you? Are you thinkin' you shoulda seen this coming?"
Richard nodded. "I knew Mr. Bertrand was a target. I even told him so." His expression grew angry. "I should have told the cops myself! I should have made sure he had protection!"
"You couldn't have known," Robert protested. "Look, we couldn't have watched both him and Michelle. And Michelle's his target! He just killed her father to get to her! You couldn't have known he would do that!"
"I could have at least insisted he call the cops. . ."
"And tell them what? We reported the attempt on Michelle's life. The cops knew the same things we did. So why didn't they assign him a bodyguard?"
"Not enough manpower."
"Then what are you gettin' so riled up about? Look, man, if you'd said something to the cops it wouldn't have changed anything. If I'd been guarding him instead a' Michelle then she'd be dead now. And if you'd been guarding him then you wouldna had time to track down the needle and the explosives and all that stuff."
Richard sighed. "I know, Robert. It's just that. . ."
"Look, we can't win 'em all. Sometimes. . . sometimes you can't stop people from gettin' hurt." Robert put a hand on the taller man's shoulder. "You gotta just do the best you can, and don't blame yourself when things don't work out. If my dad taught me anything, he taught me that."
Richard looked at him. "We'll get this guy," Robert continued. "We'll make him pay for this. He thinks he's so smart. . . well, he's too smart for his own good, that's what he is. We're closin' in on him, and we're gonna get him."
Robert paused as the sound of the truck's engine slowed, and the vehicle turned and bumped off of the road. "Sounds like we're here."
The truck roared along for a short while longer, and then ground to a halt. Robert shoved aside the tarp covering the back of the van and stuck his head out into the sunlight, sheilding his eyes with a hand. "Sand, sand, and more sand," he muttered. "This must be the place, 'cause there's nothing but sand. . ."
Richard got to his feet. Robert jumped down off the back of the truck, and his friend joined him. They walked over to the lead truck, where Michelle was giving directions.
"Set that tent up over there," she instructed. "And make sure my dad's notes are locked up secure, in his trunk. I don't want Stan coming back and taking them."
"I think we should do something about getting some additional protection," Richard said. "More than just myself and Robert, I mean."
"You mean like guards?"
Richard nodded. "Stan could strike at this dig next, at Ali Bhai, at your equipment, anywhere."
The foreman, approaching from his truck, overhead the mention of his name. "Some of the men are talking about leaving," he said. "They know what happened, and they're scared."
"I don't blame them," Michelle said, quietly. "All right, I know of a good security company in Cairo. I'll have them send down a couple of guards." She looked at Richard. "We'll probably need guards, anyway, if there is as much treasure here as there was at the Valley of the Kings site."
"Right. You should probably put some men on that site, too. I doubt Stan will come back to it, but you left it kind of abruptly."
"This is where the real story is," Michelle looked around herself, at the sand dunes. "Akenaton's tomb is buried somewhere here. This could be the most important find since Tut. My father wouldn't have given up on it -- and I'm not going to either."
The team worked quickly, setting up stakes to mark out a grid, under which the ancient city lay buried. Michelle used some landmarks from the previous digs as reference points, and calculated the exact location of the tomb from her father's map. The diggers then set to work, clearing away the tons of sand that had covered over the city of Amarna.
By nightfall, they had finally reached solid rock, the streets of Amarna. What buildings had once stood there had long since been eroded away by sand and wind, but Michelle was able to use them to verify her calculations. The tomb was finally located, a slab of rock, hidden under an ancient temple, long since destroyed by time.
Robert watched as the diggers used prybars to lift the slab. "Reminds me of Raiders Of The Lost Ark," he commented.
"Actually, that movie wasn't all that accurate," Michelle told him. "The Egyptians usually didn't use hidden chambers under their cities, their tombs are usually cut into mountainsides."
"They couldn't do that here," Richard said, looking around himself at the drifting sand. There were some high dunes, but no mountains.
"That must be the reason," Michelle answered. "The few priests loyal to Akenaton must have wanted to make sure his body was never found by their enemies. So he was buried here."
"I wonder what happened to him. . ."
"That's a mystery." Michelle stared at the slab, as the men slowly inched it upwards. "No one knows what happened to Akenaton, whether he was killed, or defeated in battle, or what."
"I doubt he was killed in battle," Richard said. "From what I understand, he was no warrior. His enemies probably regarded him as a. . . weakling."
"If the legends were true, though, he had his four guardians. Perhaps without them he could no longer hold on to his power."
The slab was finally lifted, and the diggers moved it off to the side. A dark pit was revealed, tunnelling straight down into the rock. Michelle stepped forward, to peer down into the darkness.
"Well, we're not going down into that tonight. Cover this site with a tent, and put up stakes to keep the sand out. We'll return here in the morning. . . after the guards from Cairo get here. . ."
True to her word, Michelle returned to the tunnel as soon as her guards arrived. She talked with them for a while about Stan, and his previous visit to the Valley Of The Kings dig, and then stationed them outside the inventory tent, within earshot of the dig. Inside the main tent, the diggers had set up a scaffold over the opening in the ground, over which a rope hung.
Robert insisted on being the first down the hole, "to check for snakes", he said. "Red haired snakes." Michelle followed, with Richard right behind. The pit descended several yards down into the rock, and ended in a passage heading, according to Michelle, straight north.
Ali Bhai, joining them, took a moment to marvel at the passage. "This is unusually precise workmanship. Particularly for the period. It almost looks like this passage was cut through the rock with some kind of machine."
"Space aliens," Robert commented. "All them ancient Egyptians were space aliens. . ."
"Very funny," Richard said. He examined the wall. "Notice there are no heiroglyphs?"
"Just like in the Great Pyramid, yeah. . ." Michelle continued down the passage, where it opened out into a room. "Here are some."
Richard joined her. On the wall was an elaborate painting of Akenaton with his family. There was the mishappen Pharoah, his beautiful wife, Nefertiti, and their children. "Now this is more like it," Michelle said, excitedly.
Richard ran his hand over the heiroglyphs. He studied them carefully, frowning, but said nothing. Michelle continued on, her flashlight playing over more paintings and heiroglyphs, and finally coming to rest on another passage out of the room. There was a glimmer of light back, a reflection.
"I think we've got something!" She hurried to the opening, and shone her light inside. As the others came up behind her, she gave a squeal of delight. The room beyond was filled with gold, chairs and tables, pottery and fine clothing, statues and jewelry and religious icons.
"It's like Tutankamun's tomb!" Michelle said. "But even better!"
"Congratulations," Richard said, with a smile.
"It's the burial chamber I want to find." She looked around the room, spotting another passage out. "And I'll bet that is it."
She would have hurried down the passage on her own, had Robert not grabbed her arm. The stocky black haired fellow took the lead, looking around cautiously as he entered the next room. But then Michelle cried out again.
"This is it! It's him!!!"
A sarcophagus rested just to one side of the tomb. The golden mask was not as elaborate as Tut's, but to Michelle it was no less beautiful. She played the flashlight over the lid as she studied the artwork on the coffin, only barely able to contain her excitement.
"Behold, Akenaton, the chosen one of Aton, the Wisest of all Pharoahs. His was a reign of peace and harmony, the likes of which we shall never see again. His enemies struck him down, as he knew they would, and yet he bore them no ill will. May he live forever with Aton, and see the day when the One True God again reigns over the Earth."
"Wow. . ." Robert stared at the casket.
"There are those who say that Akenaton inspired Moses, who also led his people back to 'The One True God'. Although if that's the case, there must be some mistakes in the figures, because I think Akenaton actually lived some time after that."
"Then again, maybe Akenaton was basing his cult of One God on an earlier religion. Or memories of when the Hebrews were here."
Richard was walking around the room, shining his flashlight on the walls. He stopped at a spot opposite where they came in.
"Michelle!" He paused a moment as she joined him, then read the heiroglyphics. "Servants of The One True God, Aton. Our Pharoah and Prophet, Akenaton, guards the doorway to true power. He knows that you will come, and that you will serve Aton well. When the time is right, you will find the way open for you."
"In the time that is to come, when the One True God again reigns, then it is time for you to fulfill your destiny."
"The objects?" Michelle asked.
"It could be." In the light of Richard's flashlight, a false door could be seen, underneath the heiroglyphs. Richard ran a hand over it. "This is a real door. It's sealed, I don't know how it opens." He stepped back to look around the room.
"We can blast it open." She turned to Mr. Bhai. "Get some explosives and drilling equipment."
"Right." He left the room.
Richard studied the door for a long moment. Robert looked at him. "I've seen that look before. What's the problem?"
"You saw the tomb in the Valley Of The Kings. You remember how the passages looked?"
"Like passages." Robert shrugged. "I wasn't payin' attention."
"They were rough-hewn, like most tombs were at that time. The stonemasons of that time didn't have the skill of the earlier dynasties."
"Michelle, what dynasty would you place this stonework in? Ignore the heiroglyphs. . . just the stonework."
She looked around. "I dunno. . . Akenaton was in the Eighteenth Dynasty."
"I know that, Michelle. Don't think about that. Pretend you just walked in here, that you don't know it has anything to do with Akenaton."
"Well. . . it kind of looks like Eighth Dynasty. But. . ."
"No. It doesn't really look like that, either."
Richard stared at her for a moment, and Michelle frowned. But then she shook her head. "You're right. This kind of stone work is only found in one other place. . . the Great Pyramid."
"And in the Great Pyramid there are no heiroglyphs. There are theories that Cheops just used the pyramid, it was already there before him." Richard walked closer to the wall. "These heiroglyphs were added to the wall after it was made."
"Well of course." Michelle grinned. "You can't very well paint heiroglyphs on a wall before it is created. . ."
"Very funny. I mean the wall and the heiroglyphs are not from the same time."
"How can you tell that?"
Richard pointed. "The cracks, in this wall. . . they're from where the rock settled. If the heiroglyphics were painted before the cracks formed, then they should be broken at that point, shifted out of line. But they aren't. In fact, in some places the cracks were filled in with some sort of mortar before the heiroglyphs were added."
"You're right. . ." Michelle frowned as she studied the wall. "So this tomb was borrowed."
"The story of Akenaton says that he found his four objects in the pyramid, which was already there. He didn't make them. If. . . if whoever made the objects also built this system of passages, maybe Akenaton's followers decided this was the best place to bury him."
"It might also be that Akenaton built Amarna on this site, because this is where he felt his power came from."
"If you're sayin' what I think you're sayin'," Robert said, "The objects were left here by space aliens or somethin'."
"Of course not." Richard shook his head as his looked at his friend. "I don't think these objects were anything but some kind of religious relics. Maybe weapons of some kind, swords or something. At any rate, either a previous dynasty created them, or there was a forgotten civilization here before the Egyptians."
Michelle nodded. "It could still be Eighth Dynasty."
Before Richard could answer, however, Ali Bhai burst into the room. "Miss Bertrand! We have a problem!"
"It is a dog, miss. It won't let us near the dig. I was going to look about the explosives, when my men came and told me of it. It was prowling around and trying to bite the men. They held onto it while I came to get you."
Michelle and the three men hurried back to the pit, and climbed the rope back to the surface. There they found three of the diggers trying to hold onto a wildly struggling collie. It was growling and snapping.
"Hey, that's that mutt we saw at the pyramid!" Robert said.
Richard nodded. "Let him go."
The men did so, and the dog leaped away from them. He ran around the tent for a few minutes, but then when he realized they were not going to grab him again, he turned and started growling.
"It's okay, boy. Do you remember me?"
The collie looked at Richard, then sniffed. He looked around, and spotted Robert. He growled at him.
"It's okay. We're not going to hurt you."
The dog shook its head, then started wining. He closed his eyes, as if in pain, then started growling again. After a few moments, as the diggers all stood and watched him, he seemed to calm down. The dog shook his head again, pawing at his ear. Then he walked over to Richard, and timidly brushed his leg with his paw.
"He's trying to tell me something."
". . . That he has a flea in his ear," Robert commented.
The dog growled at Robert. He then winced again, shaking its head.
"What's hurting you, boy?"
The dog stared at Richard, studying him. Then he looked down at the hole in the ground. He remained sitting in front of Richard, though, as if waiting for him to do something.
Richard stared at him a moment more. Then he said, "Find." The dog jumped, as if startled, and then gave a short, excited bark. He got up, and walked over to the pit. He stared down into the darkness, for a moment, and then lowered himself down on his forelegs.
"He's going to jump!" Michelle warned.
But the collie stood back up. He looked around at the sides of the pit, apparently trying to see a way down, but then he looked up at Richard again.
"This dog's professionally trained. . ."
"He's just a mangy mutt."
The collie growled again, glaring at Robert. Richard laughed. "He's got your number."
"He's a mangy mutt."
The dog whined again, and then shook his head, intensely. He backed away from the hole, then walked over to stand behind Richard.
"You want to leave now?"
The dog barked. "I think he's trying to warn us about something. He's hearing something. Maybe an ultrasonic frequency. . ."
"What would be making a noise like that?"
"You tell me. . ." Richard continued to stare at the pit. The dog barked again, and then darted out of the tent.
"Well, there he goes. Stupid mutt." Robert smirked.
"No, he heard something, there's something down there." Richard was silent for a moment. "'When the time is right, you will find the way open for you'."
Michelle stared at him, curious, but for the moment, Richard was keeping his thoughts to himself.
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