Tale of Your Parents' Past

Author: Kyle Bernard <csktech[at]yahoo.com>

Copyrighted: May 19, 2002

Category: Crossover

Spoilers: None

Keywords: None

Disclaimer: All characters with their respective rights, properties, and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers, and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Warning: Crossovers ahead (Yes Plural.)
The Following TV Series or books have been included in the story.
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer
* Lara Croft Tomb Raider
* The Mummy and its sequels
* Red Dwarf (special appearance only)
* Indiana Jones series.

Summary: Based in Tenhawk's Journeyverse this story in meant to compliment his visions. I am not the writer that Ten is and never will be, but I count him a friend and thank him for letting me play in his universe; and even destroy it once or twice.

Rating: PG-13 to PG-16; for mild cursing, violence, and demonic horror content. in other words a bit more grown up then the series, but only cause I don't have to suck up to censors.

Author's Notes: < … > indicates thoughts. // … // Indicates telepathy.
Huge thanks to Tenhawk for his help with this and all of my stories. If he didn't let me play in his verse, my life would be less joyful. And as Always to Robert Stevenson (AKA Grossclout, The Editor From Hell) whom I can never give enough credit to.

"Your father kept many secrets."
"Not from me."
"Especially from you."

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider


The imposing steel bars behind, her she walked down the marbled hallway. Each beat of her booted footsteps echoing against the luxuriously decorated walls. Lara hated this place; it was a gilded cage, but a prison nevertheless. Lara's long hair bobbed up and down as she nodded to the nurse on duty, and the buzz of the electronic lock snicked as she opened the door to his room.

Lying there on the bed disheveled and unkempt was a middle-aged man with the look of madness about him. He'd been found one morning on the floor of his beloved museum screaming in pain and muttering like a mad man.

Lara could still hear the desperation in the doctor's voice when she answered the phone that fate full night. "Rather a severe case I'm afraid," the doctor had said. "You'd probably be best to place him in a home or some other institution, for there's very little chance of recovery. Even with the most aggressive drug therapy, he keeps mumbling about the Dark Elf and how only his sword can kill it. Totally mad I'm afraid.

So with a sense of depression that she'd not felt since her father had gone missing Lara moved the man she called uncle to the finest mental hospital. Drawing back from the memory she steeled herself and walked over to the restrained man. She took his hand and bent over to kiss him on the cheek. "Oh Uncle Rupert."

Giles was most definitely not crazy; there was a voice in his head, and an ancient one at that. The voice in his head was Daa'naal, the Sword of Life and Giles had been selected to bear the sword against the inter-dimensional creature that had named the Dark Elf.

As happens all too often around the Hellmouth things didn't work out as planned. The Dark Elf had been defeated. But only after the Hellmouth had been opened. Daa'naal had a spell and the power, but in order for it to work Giles and Faith had to approach very close to the opening. Just as the spell was cast something happened and the next thing Giles knew was pain, the only thing Giles knew was pain.

Six Months Later

Giles stared at the television shocked at what he watched. "And in Royal news, Princess Diana received her much sought after divorce settlement today. While there has been no official announcement of the terms, reliable sources report that she shall receive more then 15 million pounds in one large payment and more then 500,000 pounds yearly. Diana will also have shared custody of Prince Harry and William. Diana also abdicates any right to the throne and may no longer be called 'Her Royal Highness.' In the sporting world…"

It wasn't the news that shocked Giles it was the date.

Croft Manor
16 July 1995

"I don't care."

Miss Lara you can't be serious about this? Bringing a demented man into the manor."

"First off, she said icily," He's not demented, second, I've known Giles most of my life and I trust him and thirdly, it's none of your bleeding business who I bring into my home.

"Miss Lara. Please be reasonable"

"A room Hillary, by the library, get it done please."


"Good morning, Doctor Smythe."

"Good morning, Lady Croft. To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?"

Lara Croft smiled which usually had a devastating effect on men. "I've come to get my Uncle Giles released to my care." Lara could almost here the thoughts ticking in the doctor's head. He wouldn't want to alienate his largest contributor so in her mind that left him two options, The first, and the simplest would be to do as she asked, the second, which Lara was perfectly willing to do if necessary was to loose thirty percent of his budget. She smiled and waited to see which path he chose.

"Lady Croft, I truly believe that would not be an advisable course of action at this time. You're uncle is a very sick man.

"Nevertheless, please do as I ask."

The doctor set his jaw in frustration. "I'm afraid that is quiet impossible."

"Doctor," Lara drew the word out, almost making the simple word erotic. Lawrence Smythe gulped. "Did I ever tell you that I was born with a gift?" Lara took a step closer to the now visibly confused doctor. "You see," she purred, "On my mother's side we have the gypsies and from them I inherited the power of telling the future. You are at a crossroad in your future and what I foresee is that should my Uncle not leave with me today, well I'm afraid that your future become quite grim."

"Grim?" He gulped.

"Quite grim," she responded.

"Well then, perhaps I should initiate the paperwork and get your uncle on his way."

Lara pursed he lips into a smile and whispered under her breath, "I thought you might see things my way." Then in a very satisfied tone of voice, "I'll be with my uncle till you finish. Oh, and doctor, thank you."

Dr. Smythe stalked off muttering under his breath, "Bloody aristocrats."

Lara Croft followed the now familiar path to Giles room.

Lara Pulled the Mercedes Benz into the parking garage at Croft Manor and Giles joined her near the back of the car. When they walked by the weapons locker Giles couldn't help but comment. "I see you collection of toys has grown."

"What's the sense of having money if you can't buy toys to play with," she replied.

Giles followed Lara as she led him into a bedroom that was larger then his whole apartment in Sunnydale. And if Giles was honest with himself it was better furnished too. On the fall wall was a king-sized bed with satin sheets and a comforter that couldn't have been anything other then hand made. To the right of the bed was a Louie XIV dressed that should have been in a museum.

Lara derailed Giles train of thought. "I've taken the liberty of having your things brought over from London. I thought you might be more at ease with your own stuff." She took Giles by the hand, "If there's anything that you need all you have to do is ask."

Giles reached for his handkerchief and then realized that he wasn't wearing his glasses. It was an even bigger shock when he realized that he no longer needed his glasses.

"I talked to Alex and he has agreed to cover for you at the museum until you feel ready to go back to work. Oh I almost forgot: Lady O'Connell would also like to speak to you whenever you feel up to it."

"Lara," said Giles in a serious voice. "I am not Ill. Things have happened that may make it look that way, but I am not mentally ill. There are things on this earth," and off he admitted silently to himself. "Things the require that you simply believe." By the look on her face Giles knew that she wanted to believe him but all of her training as an archeologist needed proof of what he was saying.

"Uncle Giles," She began. "I believe you. But you have to admit that voices in your head would lead people to the conclusion that you'd gone whacko."

The sound of doubt in her voice left Giles with very few options. "Watch," Was all he said The Sword of Life filled his hand.

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Heiress to Sir Richard Croft, the person fated to find the legendary triangles of light, stood there, her mouth wide open, staring at the blade that appeared from thin air.

A shiver of fear coursed through Lara's body, but only for a second. Then fascination set in. Her eyes wide open; she took a step back and tilted her head to the side to study the blade more closely. The runes inscribed on the side of the hilt triggered a memory and she lifted a finger and pointed it upwards. "Wait here."

// Was that wise Giles? // Asked Daa'naal.

< Perhaps not, Giles admitted, but it was the least unwise option available. >

// Perhaps, but you know the dangers that we face. Any change in the timeline could have disastrous affects down the line. //

< I'm painfully aware of the fact. However, answering Lara's question won't affect that. She has a destiny that even she doesn't know that she knows yet. >

Lara scrambled to her office and began tearing her bookshelves apart. Notebook after notebook went flying into the center of the room. "Yes!" she shouted in glee, as she raced back to the bedroom she had given Giles.

Slamming on the brakes just in time to avoid running Giles down, Lara tossed her journal to Giles. The page opened to a well-worn section, obviously reviewed often, that showed runes in the same style as the inscriptions on the hilt of the sword. "What can you tell me about these?"

"Hmm," said Giles, slightly bothered by Lara leaning over his shoulder and reading along with him. "It's not Egyptian hieroglyphics and I think we can rule out Sumarrian and Mesopotamian as well."

"I KNOW WHAT IT'S NOT," yelled Lara in frustration.

Giles heard Daa'naal laugh mentally. Giles closed the book and set it in his lap. "Where did you find these?"

"That's just it I don't know." Lara huffed, "Dad and I were in Germany looking for some tribe or another." Giles stared at Lara and she just knew he was disappointed with the lack of detail felt her cheeks blush. "Hey, I was only seven. Give me a break here. Anyway, dad got lost as usual and we ended up on some goat path when Dad pulled over. Just off the side of the road was this small stone wall and those," she pointed to her journal, "were on the side of it"

"I see."

Daa'naal laughter even harder and in-between bouts of laughter he managed to ask Giles a question. // Are you trying to upset her? //

Lara stood there, her face red and her hands clenched in frustration. "Do. You. Know. What. This. Language. Is?"

"Well yes actually I do."


"Well what, Lara?" Giles smugly replied. If looks could kill Giles would have died that very second. "Oh, very well; but you won't believe me."

"What is It.?"


Lara fainted dead away.

In another part of England

Alex O'Connell walked into the trophy room only to find his mother standing in front of a case that held personal mementos. She'd opened the case and taken the wrist guard his father has always worn and was clutching it too her chest.

"I miss him, Alex."

"So do I mom, every day."

Evie turned and caressed her son's face. "You remind me so much of him. His sense of humor and the way he was always prepared for the absolute worst." Evie broke down in tears; the memories of her lost husband always at the forefront of her thoughts.

"Mom, what brought this all on?"

Evie playfully slapped her son on the shoulder, tears still trickling down her face slowly. "You not a very proper Englishman. No proper gentleman would call his mother 'Mom'. Can't you at least use Mum instead?

"I had bad influences when I was growing up. Between Uncle Jonathan, Dad, You, and Ardeth; it's a surprise I speak English at all, let alone the 'proper' Queen's English. Now, you avoided my question what brought this all on?"

"Well," she started, "when Little Lara called, I began thinking about her father, that led me to Rupert's father, and that reminded me of this. Evie held out the necklace that Alex had worn around his neck until he started college. At the end of the chain was a golden disc that held the imprinted image of Ra, the Egyptian sun god.

Croft Manor

Lara awoke in her own bed. When she remembered what Giles had done to her she was furious. No one, but no one, made a fool out of Lara Croft. Thankfully it took Lara a few seconds to tear the covers off of the bed and she realized that it really wasn't Giles' fault. The runes in her note book had been a life long obsession for Lara; everywhere she went, weather a museum or a college library, she always took time to research those runes and she had never found a single reference or clue as to their origins.

< No wonder I fainted, > she thought. < Elves, Honest to god elves; that can't be, there would be some other reference somewhere. What could possibly wipe out every trace of an intelligent species and leave a single wall of markings? >

"Time for some bloody answers," she announced to the empty room.

Lara found the men in the entertainment room. Giles and Hillary were on the long leather couch and Bryce was sitting in 'her' chair.

She stormed over to Giles. "We need to talk."

"Shhh," he said as he waved her away, his eyes never leaving the screen. "We're watching the show."

Lara stared at the large screen television for a few seconds and, in spite of her dislike for anything other then the occasional documentary, she found herself curious.

"What's that," she asked. The question not directed at anyone specific.

"Cat, answered her technogeek, Bryce.


"Well. Highly evolved cat.

Lara sat down on the couch next to Hillary and grabbed his bowl of popcorn. After a few more minutes of watching she leaned over and whispered in his ear. "Who's the silly little man with the H stuck on his forehead?"

"That's Rimmer. The actor is actually quite good. I do however wish that they would give him some better dialog."

"Oh my word," said a shocked Alex. "Professor Langford and…"

"Catherine," added his mother. "There, there dear, you were only five at the time."

"Right. And she was four going on forty."

"It was so funny to watch the two of you." Evie paused for a moment. "I think it's time we told Lara and Rupert about their fathers."

"Mother, what about the security agreements we signed?"

"Sixty-eight years in long enough, I think. Don't you?"

Evie walked over to the telephone and called her driver at home.

The Next Morning

The 1936 Rolls Royce Phantom III sailed gracefully into the Croft estate. The car, more a work of art then a practical mode of transportation, had been Rick O'Connell's pride and joy. Evie could never bring herself to sell the overly ostentatious car. With the V-12 motor it truly wasn't a daily driver, but it was comfortable and her old bones appreciated the padded leather seats.

The driver parked the car on the cobblestone rotunda in front of the manor house. He hurried to open the door for Evie, but Alex had beaten him to the draw. Alex reached in to help his mother out of the car.

"Damn it Alex, I'm old, not fragile."

"Yes, and if dad were here he would do the exact same thing."

"That's true," said Evie, as she gracefully gave in to her son's logic.

Alex led his mother over to the ornate doorway and he was surprised that, when he rang the doorbell, the first five notes of Close Encounter of the Third Kind rang out into the morning air.

The next thirty minutes were used up with inquiries of health and discussing old friend. It was only after Hillary had served tea that Lara asked the question on everyone else's mind.

"So Aunt Evie, what brings you to see us today?

Evelyn Carnarvon O'Donnell glanced at Lara, and the Giles, and then back to Lara. "I thought it was about time that I told you about your fathers. You see it all started in 1928 with a telegram from Professor Henry Jones, Jr."

Paris 1928

The museum was deadly quiet, the visitors and the scholars had left hours ago. Indiana had made arrangements to meet with the curator after hours to have a look at the discovery that had shocked the world.

Indy gently rapped on the director's door.


"Professor LeBlanc?"


"I'm Indiana Jones. We spoke on the telephone."

"Ah Doctor Jones," Said Rene LeBlanc in softly accented English. Your reputation preceedes you."

Indy gave the small a wry grin. "I hope that means you won't want to kill me.

Rene laughed. "Kill you," He wondered aloud. "On the contrary I find your work to be most compelling.

"That's never stopped anyone before. I'm curious how was the tablet discovered?"

Rene pulled a map from the old oak case on the wall. "Here," he pointed. "On the edge of the Western Desert. The worst sandstorm in the last one hundred years scoured the desert for six weeks. When the storm receded million of tons of sand had been displaced and the tablet was exposed. A caravan of traders that had been trapped while on the trade route to Tel El-Amarna found the tablet sticking out of the desert."

Indy retrieved his glasses out of his pocket and examined the map closely. "That's strange, there has never been a discovery like this near Tel El-Amarna before."

"The mystery is even deeper then that I'm afraid. Three other groups have searched that area and nothing else has been found." Rene considered what he should say next very carefully. "There is one other salient point. All of the traders on that caravan have been found dead, most likely murdered if my sources in Egypt are correct."

Indy looked up at the curator. "What could be on that tablet that would cause a man to be murdered."

"Perhaps you should see for yourself." Rene unlocked a large box on his desk and pulled a massive brass key out of the box. "Follow me if you please Dr. Jones."

The two scientists walked towards the workroom, their footsteps echoing off the empty walls of the museum. Rene stopped Indy if front of a huge oak door and unlocked the door with the key from the desk.

"I'm sorry the accommodations are so spartan, but this is the only room secure enough for a finding of this magnitude. In the room was a single desk and chair set off to one side. I'm the middle of the room was a large table that was covered by a white linen sheet.

"You sound like you have already made up your mind."

"Perhaps," Rene conceded, "Perhaps I have." He waved Indy into the room. "But I think you will draw the same conclusions that I did."

Indy swept the sheet away and bent over the tablet. "Amazingly well preserved given where it was found. Indy looked around and found a small paintbrush and swept away some of the accumulated dust and grime. Indy ran his fingers over the worn carvings in the stone. Looking around he spotted a roll of butcher paper. "May I, He indicated to Rene.

"Be my guest." A self satisfied smile on his face, Rene was secretly please that he had captured the interest of one of the worlds most respected archaeologists enough that he would want a tracing.

"Look at the first series of characters Doctor. I think you will find them particularly interesting."

Indy shifted his gaze and translated the hieroglyphics. "Imhotep," he whispered.

"Imhotep indeed."

Indy stood up, folded the tracing and stored it in his pocket. "Wait a second. I know this fairytale. Imhotep, High priest of Osiris, The holiest of High priests entrusted by Pharaoh himself to prepare the dead and grant them safe passage to the afterlife. Risking Pharaoh's jealous wrath, Imhotep fell in love with the king's beautiful mistress, Anck-Su-Namun, and she with him. In a fit of passion for his lover, Imhotep murdered Pharaoh, an act which brings a fate worse than death! For his crime, he was cursed to live forever in the darkness of his tomb, suffering eternally, the torture of ravenous Scarab beetles. Now he lays in wait for the day that he will rise again, take human form and avenge his curse."

The general scorn in Indy's voice surprised Rend. "I'm shocked Dr. Jones. You should know better then most that fairytales and myths often have a basis in fact."

"There has been no conclusive of the existence of the fabled city of the dead."

"Too a certain point I agree, but there have been rumors of discovery in 1923, but that's not why I was so excited that you called. It was Imhotep's other role in Egyptian society that I believe this tablet concerns. Imhotep was probably the premier doctor of his day and I think that this is the first copy of his diagnosis and treatments."

"The anatomy text?" Before Rene could answer a small explosion was heard nearby.

"Come, you must go." Pleaded Rene. The one thing about the fable is that everyone that looks into to it dies, that is a fact, not a rumor." The small Frenchman led Indy to the read door. "Be very careful with that tracing Doctor Jones, many would kill to claim the credit.

When the professor opened the back door and the pair stepped through, they were confronted by a swarthy skinned stranger. "French dog, You meddle in things that do not concern you."

<Not again> thought Indy.

The stranger pulled out an 1898 Mauser and shot Rene LeBlanc.

Indy shot forward and grabbed the strangers gun hand. As they struggled for the weapon the stranger smashed Indy in the face splitting his lip. Indy's head rocked backwards with the force of the blow and he lost his grip on the strangers arm and her fell backwards onto the cobblestone ally.

The stranger aimed the gun at Indy's head, "I don't know who you are, but you should have chosen your friend more carefully."

Indy kicked out with both feet and hit the stranger, smashing his testicles as flat as a pancake. "And you should be more careful when talking with strangers." Indy got up and retrieved the automatic pistol then stuck it in his belt.

"Doctor Jones," whispered Rene, blood trickling from his nose and mouth.

"Wait here I'll go get a doctor."

"Non. It is too late." Rene started to cough and blood welled from the bullet wound and his mouth. "In the box where I stored the key, there is a map. It will explain many things." Another racking cough seized Rene's body. When he stopped coughing his breathing became even more labored.

"Professor LeBlanc?"

"Doctor Evelyn O'Connell will know its meaning." Rene gasped out the final words, and then he died in the rain washed ally.

Just out side of London England

Rick O'Connell's deep blue eyes stared at his most fear-inspiring enemy yet. No one had caused his stomach to churn with acid like this he thought. No one was more cleaver, or agile or knew his weaknesses better. There has to be some way out of this. Then just when he thought that he was defeated an idea occurred to him.

"Here comes the airplane, open up the hanger." Rick was trying to feed his five-year-old son Alex and things were not going well.

"Dad, that so childish."

Look you, there are two options, one you mother is mad at me for not feeding you or two she is mad at you for not eating. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to be the one in trouble here."

Alex considered the options and then reluctantly opened his mouth.

Rick had almost finished feeding his little tornado when his brother in law, Jonathan Carnarvon came into the room. "Good morning all."

"Unca Jonathan," Alex exclaimed. "Pony ride, pony ride."

Jonathan ruffled Alex's hair, "Later sprout. I need to talk to your Mum first."

As if on cue, Evie O'Connell walked into the room. "Good morning Jonathan." She reached down towards the highchair and gave Alex a hug.

"I see your won the battle of the wills this morning," she said to her husband as he drew her into a romantic kiss."

Alex and Jonathan stared at the very much in love couple. "You two should get a room." Was the consensus, but it wasn't spoken out loud. Umm Evie, There was a telegram delivered for you this morning." Jonathan hated disturbing his sister; her temper could flash up very quickly, luckily for him it receded just as quickly.

Evie tore the envelope open quickly and read the message, she burst into tears and handed the telegram to Rick.

Rene LeBlanc dead! Stop! Would like to meet you concerning him. Stop. Concerns map! Stop
Indiana Jones.

Paris 1928

Indy spent a restless night wandering around Paris. The rain that had begun earlier changed to a downpour and his fedora was soaked to the brim. All night he'd had the little itch at the back of his neck that told him he was being watched.

Indy had made it back to the small hotel where he had rented a room when a shot rang out, the bullet chipping the brick fa�de next to Indy's head. Indy dove to one side and looked around. From his left came another swarthy stranger, this one dressed in the robes of a desert dweller.

Thinking that he was unarmed, The stranger advanced on the fallen Indiana Jones, the old Webley revolver cocked and ready. Indy was desperate, looking down he notice the pole that supported the canopy above the entrance. He kicked the pole and the blue and white-striped fabric fell on top of the advancing man.

Pure fate intervened when the man slipped on a puddle of water cracking his head against the sidewalk. The body lay there unmoving, giving Indy a few seconds to decided his next actions. Raising the heavy cloth of the canopy, he noticed the odd and unfamiliar tattoos on the man face.

"I see that you have not lost your most charming touch when dealing with strangers, Mon Ami"

Indy tossed the cover back over the unconscious man's face. He stood up to find a very fat man watching him.

Do I know you?"

"Bah, now my feelings are hurt. I was closing up my little bistro when a man walks by. I say to myself, That looks just like my old friend Indiana Jones. But, I answer myself, But it can not be, surely some jealous husband has caught him in the act and has removed him from this sordid world. Then I say to myself, I will find out and now here I am, my feelings hurt. Is that any way to treat and old comrade in arms I ask you."

" Remy… Remy Baudoin?"

"Oui my old friend, it is I." Remy grabbed Indy in a bear hug and then kissed him on the cheeks.

Indy's face was half tolerance and half confusion when his very Belgium friend, greeted him in a very French manner.

Remy followed Indy into the hotel. " So My friend why are people trying to kill you this time?"

"I'd settle for knowing who is trying too kill me." Indy and Remy trudged up the stairs to the fourth floor. Indy listened closely at the door before he unlocked it. He pulled out the Mauser, "Wait here."

Indy kicked the door open trying to catch anyone in the room unawares. The room was empty, empty that is, except for all of Indy's clothes strewn about the bed, and his suitcase was lying on the floor. Thankfully, Indy found his beloved leather jacket still hanging the closet and the bullwhip on the shelf above it.

"C'mon in Remy, they've already been here."

Indy's World War I comrade entered the room and looked around. "I see that they have improved the tourist accommodations since the war," he said. "What will you do now?"

Indy looked up from stuffing his belongings back into the suitcase. "What I always do, wing it."

The pair left the hotel in a hurry. Stopping just long enough to check on the still unconscious stranger near the front door. Indy kneeled down and checked for a pulse, and once relieved that the man was alive he casually picked up the Webley. Without looking he tossed the loaded pistol to Remy with the casual comment, "Here you may need this!"

Still bending over the stranger, Indy had an idea, his smile took on a mischievous grin. "Do you have a car?"

O'Connell Home

Rick could only watch as his wife fled upstairs crying. Looking over to his brother in law, "What was that all about and who in Rene LeBlanc?"

Jonathan's face took on that particular glow that said he'd rather not answer. "Well, it was before your time. " Jonathan tried and tried to find some excuse to leave or to at least make it look like he knew nothing.

Sensing that Jonathan did indeed know, Rick tossed the telegram on the table and stalked over to Jonathan, his blue eyes flaring in anger and his jaw set in determination." I know, you know, now spill."

"But… but… but he stammered. "Evie would kill me," he responded, torn between his respect for his brother in law and concern for his sister.

"She's upstairs and I'm right here… Now tell me why my wife is crying!" yelled the now frustrated Rick.

"Rene LeBlanc was Evie's teacher," and in a much softer tone, "and her first lover as well."

"Oh no, whispered Rick when he realized the pain Evie must be in. "Watch Alex would you?" said Rick as he charged out of the kitchen.

Rick O'Connell found his wife sitting on their bed, her eyes bloodshot from crying. He called out gently to her, "Evie." He pulled the grieving woman into his arms, "I'm so sorry to about your friend."

Evie buried her head in Rick's shoulder, her long black hair cascading down his back. It was more then a few minutes before she could speak. "He was such a gentle man, Images of her first year at Oxford flooded her mind. "Such a wonderful teacher, I'll miss him more then I can say."

Rick stood there and let her work through her grief. It took her twenty minutes of babbling about old times before she ran out of steam. "I'm sorry love, I shouldn't be bothering you with this."

"That's what husbands are for." Rick gently pulled her head off of his shoulder and stared her into her eyes. "I do have a question though."

A quick jolt of fear ran down her back. There were things about Rene that she would rather not discuss with Rick. She gathered her courage, determined to answer him, no matter what the consequences. "What's that?" she asked shyly.

"What map was the telegram talking about?"

Evie let an amused snort escape and then smiled at her husband. "I haven't a clue."

On the road, east of Dunkirk France

Indy twisted his head over towards the passenger's seat. "Are they still there?" Referring to the late model Mercedes Benz that had been following them since they left Paris.

"Yes I'm afraid they are."

"I've had about enough of being the rabbit." Indy cranked the ancient truck's wheel over to the right and headed off into a farmer's pasture. Spotting a tall haystack he headed that direction. <Hiding a car in a haystack, what a clique, > he thought to himself, <Whatever works. >Remy and he took cover behind a small outhouse and waited.

The driver spotted the nose of the old truck and parked the Benz 50 meters away. Four men, dressed in black robes and sporting automatic weapons, got out of the car and opened fire. With in seconds one of the bullets found the gas tank and the truck exploded, igniting the haystack.

"Now Remy!"

Remy and Indy charged the gunmen who failed to notice the pair till it was too late. Indy opened fire with the Mauser and Remy followed suit with the Webley. Thirty seconds later the four men lay by the side of the road, dead.

Port Facility, Dunkirk France

Indy collected his ticket from the gate and grabbed his luggage and headed back to Remy. "Well that's it, one passage to Dover. I wish I could say it was fun Remy"

"Fun Perhaps not, but it was indeed just like old times Mon Ami. What now?"

"Now I find out what was on that tablet that is worth killing over."

The sounding of the ferry's horn signaled the end of the all too brief reunion of the two old friends. This time it was Indy that hugged Remy farewell. Without a word the fat old friend of Indy's youth walked away.

Dover England

It was very nice as jail cells go, and Indy should know, he'd been in more then his fair share in his short career. As a murder suspect, He's been separated form the common low-life's that the Dover police regularly took into custody on the average Saturday night. Blocking out the chatter of the other prisoners, he paced around the eight-foot by eight-foot cell, wrapped in his jacket to fight off the dampness.

The creaking of the old hinges turned Indy around, but before he could see who it was, a voice in a very aristocratic accent rang through the small room. "Well now, this is one fine situation you find yourself in, isn't it lad."

Even through the din, Indy knew that voice. Just as he recognized the signature thump, thump, thump of a man with a false leg walking across a stone floor. Finding his most respectful tone of voice, "Sir John, Thank you for coming."

Sir John Croft, Duke of Saint Bridget, late of his Majesties Royal armies, Holder of the Victoria Cross was not a large man. At 5' 9" you would scarcely notice him in a crowd, until he spoke. Then the pure power of his personality dominated everyone. As a very young Major, he had fought in the Boer war where he had lost his leg and earned the citation that simply read: For service to the crown, above and beyond the call of duty. The mission that had cost Sir John his leg was still so classified, that only the King and the Prime Minister were privy to the whole story.

Sir John limped over to the cell, He removed his top hat and ran his fingers through his almost nonexistent hair, and "I could do no less for the son of Henry Jones."

The invocation of his father's name caused Indy to gulp. "Yes Sir."

"I've heard the police's version of what happened, now I'd like to hear your side of this tale." The look in Sir John's steel gray eye's left not doubts in Indiana's mind that the story had better be good enough to have justified pulling Sir John away from whatever formal function that he'd been attending.

Indy armed his most disarming smile and let it fly. "Well sir, It's really just a huge misunderstanding."

"I'd not call a dead man in your cabin and you caught standing there with a smoking gun in your hand a 'little' misunderstanding."

The accusatory tone of Sir John's voice took the wind out of the highly edited story that Indy had been preparing to tell. It took him fifteen minutes to tell the whole story, how he came to be on board the SS Botany Bay with a gun in his hand and a body on the floor of his cabin.

"So when I came back to my cabin this stranger was waiting for me in my cabin. Now normally I would have tried to talk him out of whatever he had planned, but with him standing there with a Thompson machine gun, that really wasn't an option." Indy paused to take a breath.

Sir John held his hand up, "That's enough. Guard." He bellowed in his most commanding tone.

The blue suited Bobbie stuck his head through the doorway, "Yes guvner."

"Let this man out if you would."

"Haf a mo suh."

Indy's jaw dropped in surprise. Here he'd been explaining as if his life depended on it, and the whole time Sir John had already arranged for his release. "You set me up," He accused the Ex-Major.

"Not really Indy. You see the Captain of the Botany Bay is well known to the local constabulary, a shady character as it were. It took very little to convince him that jurisdiction on this case was doubtful at best, and that it may be in his best interest to not be around to testify in open court. The ship and all of the evidence left the harbor an hour ago. So you are free to come home with me."

Indy and Sir John left the darkened cellblock amid the catcalls of the other prisoners and the scowl of the cell warden. "Not the worst jail I've ever been in but I'm not in any hurry to return."

"When Harry gets done with you for ruining her party, you may wish differently," Sir John said ruefully as they collected Indy's things from the property master.

Croft Manor

The driver honked the horn as the limousine drove through the wrought iron gates that normally protected the manor and grounds. Tonight they had been left open for the guest's convenience, left open and guarded by an old family retainer.

The driver skillfully wove around the cars parked on the newly installed rotunda and stopped the car by the front door, there; Indy and Sir John got out only to be assaulted by a tall English woman.

"Indiana Jones you should be ashamed of your self," she screeched in a royal manner.

Indy put on his most disarming smile and greeted the woman with a hug. "Harry, I've missed you too."

Lady Harriet 'Harry' Croft, Duchess of Saint Bridget was a beautiful creature, stunningly so and most people dismissed her as social butterfly and nothing more. They would be wrong to make that mistake and Harry counted on that and used it to her advantage. Growing up as the only girl in a family of nine, she learned to be just as rough as tumble as her six brothers were. Standing toe to toe with Indy's 6' 1" frame, Her 5' 9' seemed inflated with her anger.

"Of all the night that you could have chosen to return to England you just had to choose the one night I wanted to make and impression on the local gentry. Damn you Indiana Jones for taking my husband away from me tonight."

Indy could only stand there stunned, luckily for him, rescue was only seconds away and from an unlikely source. As Harry drew a breath in to continue her verbal assault on Indy's poor timing and general character she was interrupted but another woman, her equal in beauty and brains.

"Mother is that any way to treat a guest." Harriet's daughter Sara turned to her father; "Father, Professor Langford and Edward Giles would like to speak with you. I took the liberty of having them wait in your study."

"Thank you Sara," her father quickly answered. "Harry if you would come with me. Please to see to our guests if you would Sara."

Harriet, seeing that she had been out maneuvered, simply stared at Indy as her husband led her off.

Indy stared at the raven haired beauty that had just saved him from a tongue lashing from a woman that took pride in her ability in reducing a man to quivering jelly. " I don't believe we have met, I'm…"

"Indiana Jones." Sara's brilliant smile illuminated the room. "And no we haven't met. I've been away at school, I have met your father but I have to confess I can see where your charm with the ladies comes from. Seeing as your latest accommodations are now no longer available I suppose I should show you to the guest wing. Without another word, Sara led Indy to the stairs.

Indy watched her shapely form as she ascended the grand stairway. < Lots of attitude on that one. > He thought. <Still, > he mentally sighed, <attractive as hell and that body. Oh shit I maybe in trouble here. > Indy's lecherous thoughts nearly caused him to miss Sara turning off at the third floor landing.

"Quite a place you have here," he said making conversation to divert his own attention.

Eighty-three rooms are a bit much for the three of us, but father inherited it when the King invested him with the title. I used to play in the guest wing for hours on end. It drove mother crazy when she had the servants look for me and I was nowhere to be found. Sara stopped, "Can you keep a secret?"

Indy wondered where this was going, "I'd like to think I can," he confessed.

Sara looked up and down the empty hallway. "This part of the house is simply covered in secret passages."

A High pitch scream cut off the rest of what Sara was going to say. A little girl, no more then four or five came running out of one of the room her face a mask of fear and tears streaming down her cheeks. Indy pulled the Webley out of his waistband ready for anything.

"Put that away," Hissed Sara as she comforted the little girl. What's the matter Catherine, more nightmares?"

The little blonde girl just nodded and buried her head in Sara's neck. There…There, I'm sure Mr. Jones will be happy to check your room and chase away any monsters that are hiding in the closet." Sara stared at Indy and jerked her head towards the room several times.

Indy shrugged and set his valise down. Walking into the moonlight room he searched for a candle. It may have been his imagination, but later he would swear that he saw a flash of blue fur near the closet door out of the corner of his eye.

He dutifully checked under the bed and all of the nooks and crannies in the room. When he returned to the hallway, Sara had calmed Catherine down enough to put her back to bed. The pair of the adults waited till the small girl had returned to dream land and left the room quietly.

Sara, led Indy down to the end of the hall and opened the double doors of the guest quarters. "Good night Indiana Jones she said mischievously. I'm sure you will be comfortable and will have a pleasant night."

Indiana Jones tossed and turned in the gigantic bed that was in the guest suite. The combination of the split lip and the six hours in the local pokey left him unable to sleep. Thinking a hot bath would help he found his way to the bathroom. Not wanting to disturb the rest of the guests on the floor He lit the gas lamp instead of the electric switch.

After soaking in the hot water for twenty minutes Indy finally thought that he could relax enough to sleep. Pulling the stopper he left the water drain for the porcelain tub, only to find that there wasn't a towel to be found. He dried himself as best as he could with his shirt and headed back into the bedroom.

As he entered the room he was confronted with a very nervous Sara standing in a doorway that had been a bookcase when he had left for the bath. Sara was dressed in a very thin cotton shift. She stared at his nude form. "I seem to have you as a disadvantage." She pulled the shift off of her shoulders and let it pool on the floor, her nude body illuminated by the moonlight filtering in from the window.

Sara strode forward with the grace of a Black Panther. She kissed Indy on his still sore lip but he didn't seem to notice the pain, his attention focused elsewhere. As Sara withdrew her tongue, she leaned over to the right and whispered in Indy's ear, "I told you, you would have a pleasant night."

The pair collapsed on the bed with Sara on top of Indy. Within a few minutes a screaming of a much different nature was echoing throughout the halls of the guest wing, only to be followed by moans of pleasure.

The symphony of moans continued for the next hour and a half, with it reaching a crescendo three times. With Sara's head on his shoulder the once gigantic bed now seemed crowded. "I knew it would be like that," murmured Sara.

Indy turned his head just a bit, "You knew?"

"Well I hoped anyway."

"Wait a second sweetheart, that implies that you thought about this happening."

"Thought about it? I knew the moment I saw you that this is what I wanted. It was just a matter of getting the courage to take the first step. Remember that I told you this wing is covered in secret passages. Well the reason I choose this room for you, is that there is a direct connection between my bedroom and this suite"

A light bulb went off in Indy's head as he considered the implications of what just happened. "What about pregnancy?"

Sara smiled at her newfound lover. "It's a bit late to be worrying about that now isn't it?"

Indy just stared at Sara. She let him stew for a few more minutes, "Don't worry, It's the wrong time of the month for that to be a concern."

"Sara, do you know what they call women that use the rhythm method of birth control?

"No." Sara drew the answer out, wondering where this was headed.

"They call them mothers."

Croft Manor

"So… said Evie, "nine months later Richard was born." The words ran empty in Lara's heart when she heard that. Her father had never discussed his father with her. In fact his refusal was one of the few times that the father and daughter had ever fought. The whole thing had come to a head the night that Lara's mother was in the hospital, dying of cancer. She had a six-year olds memory of a tall stranger that had shown up and tried to comfort her grieving father. Her father yelling at the stranger was the most vivid memory that Lara had from that awful day.

Lara stared at the half cup of cold tea; her eyes brimming with unshed tears. "Why didn't my grandparents ever marry?"

Evie reached over and took Lara's hand. I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have to be the one to tell you this, but if you really want to know…?"

Giles watched as Lara fought with herself mentally. He rose from the table; "Perhaps this might be a good time for us to get a breath of fresh air." He looked across the table, "Coming Uncle Alex?"

Alex O'Connell was definitely his father son, he knew that his mother would rather tell this story in private and given Lara's temper, he would rather not be a convenient target. The two men bid the ladies good day and left Evie to the unpleasant task.

Lara watched as the door closed behind Alex and Giles. Then she turned back to Evie. "I want to know."

Evie considered just where she should start. "Well I want you to remember this: there are two traits that run true through your family, your temper and your stubbornness you've inherited from all of your grandparents. Sara tried her best to hide the pregnancy the best she could and she succeeded fairly well for a time, but when she started to show, she enlisted the help of her mother. For several more months they managed to hide it from Sir John, but that only made it worse when they finally had to tell him the truth.

Hillary bringing in a tray of sandwiches interrupted Evie's story, "Not now," Hissed Lara. The butler knew his employer and friend fairly well and beat a hasty retreat from the room.

Sir John was livid when Sara finally confessed. His first reaction was to throw Sara out into the night. Now this something that I learned later on, Harriet put her foot down, she even went so far as to move into the guest wing until Sir John finally started treating Sara like a daughter instead of some lost waif on the dole."

"What about my grand…. " Lara couldn't even bring herself to say the word. "What about Dr. Jones."

"That was the one thing that Sir John was dead set against, said 'he wasn't having any sodding American as a son in law', so Indy never knew that he was going to be a father. He unfortunately didn't learn about it till after your Grandmother and great grandmother were killed in the blitz during the war, by then it was much too late."

"I see. Then he didn't just abandon Sara."

"On the contrary, I think he would have married her the next day had he known.

"That's a relief." Lara confessed.

"I tried to visit Sara as often as I could and I think she appreciated it. The atmosphere in the manor was still very tense then. I don't think sir John accepted the situation until Richard was born. Sir John was an absolute nut when it came to that baby. I can recall him singing lullabies to Richard when he couldn't sleep," Evie smiled at the memory. Your great grandfather has a voice that made a rusty saw sound good, but Richard always smiled when Sir John sang to him."

"When the war came Richard was twelve, you mother went to work as a relief worker and Harry and Sir John watched over Richard while she was gone. Harry went to visit Sara in London and the Hotel took a direct hit, killing both of them. It was several months later when Indy, now working for American intelligence came to visit, Things got out of hand I'm afraid. Sir John threatened Indy with his old service revolver and told him to get the hell out and never try to see his son again."

"It was only after Sir John died that Indy had the chance to talk with Richard, but it was too late. Sir John's attitude about Indy rubbed off on the boy and Richard refused to see him. Oh there were attempts over the years. Richard gave in and allowed Indy to attend his wedding to your mother, but even that backfired and what should have been a perfect day was nearly ruined. The rest you already know."

"In a way it's my fault. I could have told you about Indy when Richard went missing, but you were already at school, and I suppose I always thought your father would return. I'm sorry Lara."

The two ladies sat there in silence. Lara thinking about her grandfather and what could have been and Evie regretting that she had to be the one to tell Lara this story.

Evie took Lara by the arm; "I think its time we rejoined the gentlemen."

"Right" was all that Lara would say.

Alex and Giles made a quick exit, leaving the distasteful task to Evie. The pair wandered around the estate, no particular destination in mind, for quite a while. When they had reached the shooting range they were joined by Lara and Evie.

"Ya know, Dad always loved this place. I can remember he and Uncle Richard spending hours shooting and discussing history and the future. Alex walked over to the number-three station and stopped. "I learned to shoot right here. God Dad's old pistols were almost too big for my hands.

Evie chuckled at her son. " I told your father they were too big for you, did he ever listen?

Alex laughed along with his mother while answering, "Not very often Mom, not very often."

"Would you like to try again," asked Lara.

"What, Shooting?

"Of course. Just some friendly competition," She turned, "how about you Uncle Rupert, care to give it a try?"

Giles looked a little out of place, and in fact other then the few times Xander had forced him to at least become familiar with the guns in the armory, he really didn't feel all that comfortable around them. Knowing just how good a marksman that Lara was he was hesitant to commit himself to this 'friendly' competition. "I'm afraid that I wouldn't be much good."

"Nonsense, anyone can learn to shoot, all it takes is practice." Lara grabbed her cell-phone and hit one of the speed dial buttons. "Bryce, Bring cases three, four, five, and nine to the shooting range please, bring the appropriate ammunition along as well."

"I'm afraid that I'm a bit old to be standing out here blasting away with guns all afternoon, Lara perhaps I could rest while you and the boy's play."

"Of Course Aunt Evie." Lara dialed another number. "Hillary, Evie is coming back to the house with Bryce will you set her up," Lara's face split into a wide grin, "in the third floor suite."

Bryce pulled up on an electric golf cart that had been loaded with four large black gun cases. He unloaded the cart and placed all of the boxes on the bench behind the shooting line.

Evie kissed Lara on the cheek and whispered in the girl's ear, "Don't beat them too badly. It's not good for their egos. With that said, she and Bryce headed back to the house where Evie could rest up until dinner.

"Well gentlemen, what do you say we make this interesting. 100 pounds a point as the wager?"

Giles stood there aghast. "I'm afraid that leaves me out. Unlike the two of you I didn't inherit a fortune."

The dark haired tomb raider looked at Giles, That's ok Uncle Giles, Ill cover you. This is between Alex and I.

Lara unlocked each of the cases and tossed the covers back reveling the contents of each one. "Choose your weapons." Case number three, held Lara's highly modified HK UPS's. Case four was filled with a brace of Colt Pythons. Case five held a pair of the classic Browning Hi-Powers. And case nine reveled a pair of stainless steel Detonics Score Masters.

Lara went directly to case three. As the others looked over the choices she strapped on her well use pistols, forgoing the custom tactical rig in favor of more traditional holsters. She didn't want to scare the fish off too quickly, so reloading would be a bit slower.

As the pair looked over the guns, Lara ran back four targets to the 50 meter line.

Alex hovered over cases five and nine, undecided on which he should choose. He finally picked one of the Hi-Powers. He turned to his niece, "Do we get a few practice round first?"

"Well if you feel you need It." she grinned, making Alex feels very uncomfortable. "I set up number four for practice."

Giles hovered over the remaining weapons. // Giles take the automatic.// chimed in Daa'naal. Giles took one of the Score Masters and laid it on the bench.

Lara gathered them all in a group and laid down the rules. "100 rounds each. Normal scoring, smallest value touched is the one that counts."

"I'm sorry, but I don't actually know what that means."

"What it means Giles, is that if you hit between the 9 ring and the 10 ring, you score 9 points even though the ten ring was touched. When Alex finished he turned his head to Lara. "We should give Giles a handicap, I suggest that highest score count for him."

"Agreed," said Lara.

Alex stepped to the line and slapped a magazine into the pistol. He pointed the Hi-Power down range then pulled the slide back to load the gun. In quick succession he loosed all 14 rounds in the clip. "well." he said, "the trigger is a little light for my tastes, but I think I can handle it."

"hmm, grunted Lara, "I'll be sure to tell Andy what you said."

// Giles would like to have some fun with them?//

<What kind of fun?>

Giles mimicked Alex's motions when he stepped forward. When he pulled the slide back his finger touched the trigger and a single round landed in the dirt 3-feet in front of him. The light trigger on the pistol surprised him. Giles had never had to deal with such a customized pistol before.

"Relax Uncle Giles. Keep your finger out of the guard until you have your sight picture. Here I'll show you. Lara stood beside Giles and showed him how to hold the pistol in a two handed grip. "Now, she said focus on the target and let the sights line up."

Giles squeezed his whole hand witch cause his trigger finger to touch off another round. Surprisingly enough, he hit the target in the 4 ring. Working his way through the rest of the clip and another, he managed to keep all of his shots on the target, and even managed to hit the ten ring three times.

With the empty pistol locked open, he advanced on Lara "are you sure you want to go on with this silly bet?"

Lara stepped to the line on station Three, "I'm not worried. Lara drew the right Pistol and emptied the magazine in less they 60 seconds. Rather then reload, she drew the left one and fired that one dry also. Showing off, she repeated switching hands till her 100 rounds were gone.

"Very impressive, Alex said as he stepped towards the number two station. "Dad would have been proud of you."

Lara smiled. "I learned from the best."

Though not as fast as Lara's switching hands, Alex shot at the steady pace of a trained marksman. Working through his hundred rounds in less than five minutes.

Giles walked into the manor counting his winnings. Lara's 997 score had yielded him 300 pounds and Alex's 992 had added another 800 to the total.

"I can't believe it," complained Alex, A perfect score. "No one is that good."

When Daa'naal had suggested a little fun, Giles had no idea what he had in mind. When he approached the shooting line, Daa'naal had taken over. Slowly lining up the sites and pulling the trigger. It had taken Giles longer to shoot then it has Alex or Lara, but when the targets were pulled back, the center ring had been perfectly shot out.

Well Congratulations Uncle Giles, said Lara. Perhaps you and Alex would like to rest til dinner, I'm afraid I have some guns to clean. She leaned over to Giles, "How did you do it?"

"The sword." Giles headed for his room, leaving Lara wondering.

Lara tapped gently on the double doors that led into the third floor suite. When there was no answer, she let herself in only to find Evie searching the bookshelf for something. Lara cleared her throat, "Ahhmmm. It's the bottom shelf, third book from the left." Referring to the catch that opened the bookcase into the secret passage.

"Oh, said Evie, as she jumped up off her knees with considerably more energy the most women her age. "I supposed I should be embarrassed. But every since Sara told me that story I have been trying to find just how that bookcase opens. Nosey of me I suppose."

"That's nonsense," said Lara, as she took Evie's arm. "I found it when I was three."

"Now why doesn't that surprise Me.?"

"Daddy always said I was too curious for my own good. Runs in the genes I guess."

"Your Father had no room to speak. Remind me one day to tell you about the time he and our maid met."

"MY Father and your maid? That promises to be one hell of a story."

"That's not the half of it. Evie's voice took on a teasing tone. "Let just say your father got and advanced course in female anatomy at a very early age and leave it at that."

Lara couldn't contain herself. She broke out in a laugh that filled the large room. "Now why am I not surprised."

"Because your are your father's daughter."

The light from the crystal chandelier reflected off of the formal china that Hillary had served dinner on. Lara's guests had reached the point where coffee or tea had been served and they were enjoying each others company. "Aunt Evie I don't mean to be pushy, but what happened the next morning?" Lara asked.

"I have to confess I'm curious as well." admitted Giles. "You said My grandfather was at the party so I feel compelled to inquire what his role in this 'adventure' was."

Glancing at Giles over her tea cup, Evie's eyes met His. "He and Professor Langford were at the party looking for financing for a third expedition to the Valley of the Kings. Its not well known, even today, but your grandfather was with Howard Carter when the tomb of King Tutankhamun was discovered, You could say he kept a close watch on things." Evie was unsurprised to see Giles eye's flickered in recognition at the word watch. "He was sure that there were even greater discoveries to be made there. As history was to show, He was right. They were ones that started the whole thing. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. It started the next morning with a phone call. She glanced at her son. "Alex as usual was up before everyone else…"

O'Connell Estate

Alex was wandering about the mansion, and like any five-year-old, he was looking for interesting things when the telephone rang. "O'Connell residence, Whom may I ask is calling," He answered, as he had seen his mother do a thousand times. "Hold on please. MOM, DAD, telephone," he bellowed, the phone only inches from his little mouth.

Rick came charging out of the kitchen, He took the phone from his young son, "this is Rick, can I get you to hold on for just one minute. Rick glared at Alex, You he said in a stern voice, "Big Trouble. How many time do I have to tell you aren't 20 yet. Go find your mother."

"Thanks for holding, can I help you ?"

The caller's answer was lost when Evie O'Connell walked into the room with a crying Alex on her Hip. "Rick, what did you do to Alex ?"

Rick held his hand up. "I'm sorry could you repeat that, He glared at his wife. "We must have a bad connection."

Evie passed Alex over to his father. "This is Evelyn O'Connell."

Dr. Jones, I've been expecting your call."

"You have WHAT." She shrieked jarring her husband with her high pitched squeal. Evie's face changed to a look of total disbelief.

"Are you sure."

Yes I know where that is, We'll be there tonight."

No I'm sorry but I have no clue about the map that Rene gave you. Perhaps my husband can help. He's quite good at figuring things out."

"Thank you for calling Dr. Jones."

Evie looked at her husband with equal parts fear and wonderment. "That was Dr. Jones, the one from the telegram. It seems that when Rene was killed he had a tablet in his possession."

"So, Rick wondered, "He was an archeologist, they always have a tablet or two hanging around. Look around here, I'm sure you'll find a dozen."

Evie looked at her husband as if he were a silly child, "Dear, Dr. Jones thinks he has one of the nine anatomy texts of Imhotep."

Croft Manor

When Evie mentioned the name Imhotep, the room went silent, just as Rick had done sixty eight years ago.

Giles was the first to recover. "Imhotep, the high priest," he said in awe. "Those texts are said to be the first truly scientific study of the human body. The were the ancient equivalent of Gray's Anatomy. There are countless references to them in later scrolls, but most scholars believe them to be a myth."

"Imhotep was no myth," Alex said forlornly. "I found him to be rather ugly and smelly, he added under his breath."

Alex listened as his mother explained. "Sixty eight years ago, one of the tablets was found and shipped to Rene LeBlanc's museum. The night he was killed, the tablet disappeared also and there has been no proof of its existence. Until Now." She added. "Follow me."

Evie got up from the table and lead the group into Sir Richards Library. "This used to be your great-grandfathers study." she told Lara. Evie closed her eyes, recalling an old memory. When she opened her eyes, she went over to one of the bookcases and pulled on three books on the center shelf, then she tugged and a section of the bookcase opened up and uncovered an old safe.

Lara stood there, her eyes wide open in surprise. She thought she had found all of the old hiding places but this one she never suspected. "BRYCE! she yelled. "I need some detonator cord in Father's library."

"That's not the answer" said Giles. "Mind if I give it a try?" He placed his fingers against the old safe, touching the face with a feather like touch. Spinning the dial, first right, then left. And then back to the right. "Damn. Must have lost the touch.

//Concentrate Giles. Let your fingers see what they need to see.//

Giles closed his eyes and tried again. This time with Daa'naal helping him feel the tumblers.

Click. //That's one.//

Click. //There's the second one.//

Thud. // And that's the last.//

Giles turned the safe's handle and pulled it open. Inside of the safe was a folded piece of butcher paper and an old Webley revolver that had two live rounds left in it.

"Well I'll be damned, said Lara.

Giles gently spread the yellowed butcher paper across the desk. Silence ruled as the four of them read the pencil etching.

Without raising her eyes from the paper and with a wry grin Lara asked, "Will anyone that can read Egyptian hieroglyphics please raise your hand."

With out a seconds hesitation all three of her elders raised their hands. Lara's grin broke out into a smile. "How sad is that?" as she raised her own hand.

Lara's disbelief manifested itself in humor, Giles's brought on absolute denial. "I don't believe it," he exclaimed after he'd worked his way through the yellowed document. "After all these years, how did this remain a secret."

Evie laid her hand on the watcher's, ex-watcher's, watcher to be's shoulder. "I afraid that leads us to the next part of our story. You see, Rick, Alex and I arrived early that evening…"

Metatron Looked in on Giles from outside. <Thank god. At least this one has enough sense not to diddle with things.> Still the voice of God made a note to himself to check on this one more often. With the Sword of Life in his possession, he had the greatest chance of damaging the timeline irrevocably.

Croft Manor

Indy waited in his room as preparations were made for a meeting of the various people that has assembled at Croft Manor. He was a little nervous about showing both the etching and the map that Rene had entrusted too him, But this offered the best chance to solve the mystery of who was trying to kill him this time. As he gathered up his things a soft knock came from the door, and without him answering, Sara Croft slipped into the room and gave him a soft kiss. "That was for last night," she purred.

"Well it was my pleasure." Indy replied as his hands wandered to her behind.

" And mine as well, but that will have to wait." she mockingly protested. "Father is ready."

Sara led Indy into her father's study.

Sir John rose and greeted him in a friendly tone and a firm handshake. "Nice of you to join us Indy."

Sir John turned to the group at large. "My friends let me introduce Dr. Henry Jones Jr."

"Indy," Indy insisted in a whisper.

"And I was going to add, before I was so rudely interrupted, He prefers that you call him Indy. I won't tell you how he got that name." Sir John chuckled, he was the only other one in the room that knew that Indy had nicknamed himself for the family dog.

Sir John led Indy over to the corner that Rick, Evie and Alex had claimed. The beautiful young lady is Dr. Evelyn O'Connell. Evie blushed at Sir John's compliment. "I'm so glad to meet you," she paused for a second, unsure of just how familiar she should address him, "Indy."

"I just hope that we can solve the mystery that is so secret that someone would kill to keep." When Indy finished speaking he was dragged along with Sir John.

This is Rick, Evie's husband and that is Alexander, Be careful of him, he reads and speaks Egyptian better then his Mother does."

Rick extended his hand. "Hey"

Alex copied his father, but added, "How do you do sir?'

Indy ruffled Alex's hair, "Gonna be a archeologist some day huh?"

"A museum curator actually."

The pair of men crossed the room. "Dr. Jones, I'd like you to meet Professor Langford and his associate Edward Giles. Gentlemen I didn't mean to drag you into this, but since you are here already maybe you can help."

"Well that's it, shall we get down to business?"

Indy spread the butcher paper that he had made the impression of the Imhotep tablet on. He held down the corners of the drawing with a few books and a plaque that was an old Webley revolver mounted on a piece of wood. "This was taken in Paris in Rene LeBlanc's museum. It's reportedly one of the nine lost anatomy texts."

How sure of its authenticity are you, asked Edward.

"Well I only got to examine it for a few minutes, but as you can see the pictograms are right for the era, and the condition of the tablet all points to it being real." Indy realized that he's assumed that everyone could read the tracing. "Who else in the room can read it?"

Nearly everyone in the room raised their hands, including Alex. The only exceptions were Rick and Sara.

Edward Giles looked up from the paper, "You realize of course, that this discovery is going to change how the world looks upon the whole ancient Egyptian culture. It shows a much more advanced civilization then anyone previously thought. Where is the original," he asked.

Indy just shook his head. "Stolen, destroyed, I just don't know. Dr. LeBlanc was killed minutes after I made this impression. It gets worse, before he died, Rene had me retrieve a map from his desk. He told me that Evelyn would know what it meant." Indy laid the smaller map on the desk.

The group shifted its attention to the hand drawn map. Unfortunately the map was just a series of stars in a seemingly random order "Well Evie does it look familiar," asked Rick.

"I'm sorry but I haven't a clue. I haven't spoken to Rene is months so I have no idea what he was working on."

"Perhaps I do," said Professor Langford. He hurried over to his briefcase and extracted a sheaf of photographs.

Professor Langford sat back down at the desk and started shuffling through the pictures, comparing them to the hand drawn map. Catharine climbed into his lap as he worked, "I've got it." He exclaimed.

Professor Langford sat there with Catharine in his lap and explained. "As you all know, In 1922 Dr. Carter made the most important find in history. Edward over there was with him on that dig and last year came to me. He felt that Tut was just the tip of the iceberg in the Valley of the Kings. Now you show us this map, and that combined with the tablet etching lead me to believe that Imhotep is also buried in the Valley of the Kings."

Catharine got up and went to sit next to Alex as her father continued. "There is this theory That the Ancient Egyptians were much more sophisticated then any currently believe, Wait," Professor Langford got up and retrieved an astronomy text from Sir John's library. "Look Here. This is Orion's belt, Note the alignment of the various stars and here," He retrieved the aerial photo of the Valley of the Kings. "Again the same alignment. The only thing missing is the fifth star and the two would be a perfect match. Doesn't anyone else see it? The Valley of the Kings was laid out to match the configuration of Orion's belt. Gentlemen I would say that we have found the Tomb of Imhotep."

"Excuse me professor," Rick interrupted, "but what make you think that. The tablet was found hundreds of miles away from the Valley of the Kings".

"Well young man, simple logic suggest that since the two were kept together…"

"Your Logic is full of crap. Imhotep is not buried in that valley." Rick looked over at his wife who nodded. "Imhotep is buried somewhere in the western desert."

"Really young man, I don't like to be rude, but I have studied this for…."

"I don't care how long you studied. I can tell you for a fact that his tomb isn't where you think it is."

"And how can you be so confident."

"Because Professor, My wife and I have been to the City of the Dead." Rick's pronouncement shocked the room into silence. "The question we have to ask now, is if the map isn't to the City of the Dead. Where does it lead, and what the hell is hidden there."

That's when the Madji attacked.

It wasn't the first time that Croft Manor had been under siege, and it wouldn't be the last.

Croft Manor 1995

Giles stared at Evie. "You've been to the City of the Dead?"

"twice actually. Once in 1923 and again in 1931. Rick had been there even before then.

And You never told me. Giles was disappointed in his adopted aunt.

"I'm sorry Giles it just wasn't a story that could be told. Then or now."

Croft Manor 1928

The black robed intruders met outside of the estate to plan their attack. The leader of the Madji gathers them together and assigned targets. The first five were to take and hold the first floor, no matter what the cost. The rest of us will sweep down from the top checking every room. Indiana Jones and anyone that has seen the tablet must die. This is our scared task.

When Sir John saw the intruders break through the doors his study, He pushed his daughter down, "Save the children." he shouted as he grabbed the old Webley on the desk. smashing the base of the presentation pistol, he pulled the pistol on line shooting the first Madji warrior.

Sir Johns action gave Rick time to pull one of the old Colts he always carried. He had just enough time to let off one round before his pistol jammed he was overcome by the Madji. In the back ground he could hear Sir John fired two more shots.

Indy grabbed a chair and smashed it over the tallest intruders head. The force of the blow stunned the warrior and he dropped the Thompson he'd been carrying. Indy hit him with a right cross, and then sucker punched him to the mid section. The soldier bent over and Indy sent him to the land of the unconscious with a knee to the face.

Rick had his own problems to deal with. Two of the intruders, bearing swords, advanced on Evie. Breaking free from his captors. Rick screamed like a madman, charging the men like a bull in the ring. He crashed into the first one, sending him stumbling off to the left. The second one raised his sword to cleave Rick in half, when the ringing of a brass spittoon rang out. Evie stood there with the spittoon in her hand looking very pleased with herself as the last intruder hit the floor.

:Close the doors, shouted Rick as he lifted the mask from the body at his feet. "Shit I know theses guys. What the hell are they doing here.

I don't know, said Indy, But they have been following me since Paris."

"Paris." Rick's eyes lit up. "Rene and the tablet. Sir John, no time to explain, Lose the etching. Better get some more modern fore power too, if I can't talk to these guys we could be in for big trouble."

"This is little trouble, I'd hate to see what you call big trouble. Said Indy.

"well at least there aren't any mummies chasing us, said Rick. Then after thinking a bit he added, "YET!"

Croft Manor 1928

The members of the Madji assembled out side of the manor to plan their attack. The leader of the Madji gathered them together and assigned them to various targets. "The first five will take and hold the first floor, no matter what the cost. The rest of us will sweep down from the top checking every room. The tablet must be recovered at all costs. This is our scared task, Alhamdulillah." The men bowed their heads at the invocation of their beloved god.

The five robed men searched the lower floor room by room. Hearing voices, the paused in front of the double door and readied their weapons.

When Sir John saw the intruders break through the doors his study, He pushed his daughter down, "Save the children." he shouted as he grabbed the old Webley on the desk. Smashing the base of the presentation pistol against the desk, he pulled the pistol on line shooting the first Madji warrior.

Sir John's action gave Rick time to pull one of the old Colts he always carried out and pulled the hammer back. He had just enough time to let off one round before his pistol jammed he was overcome by the Madji. In the back ground he could hear Sir John fired two more shots. BLAM… BLAM… the shots rang out across the small room deafening every one.

Indy grabbed a chair and smashed it over the tallest intruders head. The force of the blow stunned the warrior and he dropped the Thompson he'd been carrying. Indy hit him with a right cross, and then sucker punched him to the mid section. The soldier bent over and Indy sent him to the land of the unconscious with a knee to the face.

Rick had his own problems to deal with. throwing the jammed gun at two sword bearing intruders that were advanced on him. Rick screamed like a madman, charging the men like a bull in the ring. He crashed into the first one, sending him stumbling off to the left. The second one raised his sword to cleave Rick in half, when the ringing of a brass spittoon rang out. Evie stood there with the spittoon in her hand looking very pleased with herself as the last intruder hit the floor.

"Close the doors, shouted Rick as he lifted the mask from the body at his feet. "Shit I know theses guys. What the hell are they doing here.

"I don't know," said Indy, "But they have been following me since Paris."

"Paris." Rick's eyes lit up. "Rene and the tablet. Sir John, no time to explain, Lose the etching. Better get some more modern fore power too, if I can't talk to these guys we could be in for big trouble."

" If this is little trouble, I'd hate to see what you call big trouble. Said Indy.

Rick's eyes wandered over to where Alex and Catharine were hiding with Sara, but he didn't say a word to Indy.

"Well at least there aren't any mummies chasing us," said Rick. Then after thinking a bit he added, "YET!"

Rick spotted Sir John standing there with the Webley in one hand and the tracing in the other hand. "Sir John, I recommend that you lose that paper and get a little more firepower would you. These guys don't mess around.

Sir John hesitated just a second and then headed over to a bookcase. He tugged on three books simultaneous and a secret door opened up, exposing a safe. Sir John quickly worked the huge dial and cranked the door open. He folded the tracing so it would fit in the confined room…'

"Sir John," yelled Indy. "Heads up." Indy tossed one of the Thompsons at the master of Croft manor. Sir John looked at the old Webley and then at the Thompson, and he regretfully tossed his old service pistol in the safe with the tracing. He slammed the safe shut and then closed the bookcase, hiding the presence of the safe.

Upstairs Harriet Croft hid behind the bathroom door. She had heard the shots, opened the door to join her husband and daughter when she saw the black robed intruders. Grabbing a tennis racket she waited till one of the strangers crossed the threshold of the room, she swung that racket with all of her might.

The edge of the racket and the forehead of the intruder met in a mighty crack and both of them giving way. The intruder collapsed to the floor, knocked unconscious by the Mistress of Croft manor.

Hearing the body of their compatriot hit the floor two other members of the Madji quickly subdued Harriet.

The leader quickly joined the pair. He removed the covering from his face to expose his long black hair and his tattooed face. "We have little time and even less patience. Where is the tablet?

Harriet stood to her full height and spit in the Egyptians face. Then in a defiant tone, "I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about."

Ardeth Bay, wiped the spittle from his face.

Ardeth's second in command drew a long knife from under his robes. "Shall I kill her?" he said as he drew the razor sharp blade across her throat.

Bay thought for a second and before he could answer, the sound of gunfire sounded in the hallway.

"No. he declared firmly. "I may have another use for her."

The doors burst wide open a second time, but this time the group was ready for them. Edward and Sir John opened up with the confiscated Thompsons. The three attackers were stitched from head to toe with bullets holes. "Oh Christ." said Sir John, "Harry's is going to have my hide for all the blood on the floor."

"It beats blood on your clothes doesn't it?" Asked Indy.

After the furor dies there came the shout from the hall. Lord Croft, We have something you want, you have something we want. We will trade your wife for the tablet."

Rick recognizing the voice shouted back before Sir John could answer. "Ardeth?"

Rick laid the pistol down on the desk. "I'll be right back. No matter what, don't admit to having that tracing.

He sauntered out the doors carefully raising his hands trying to present no threat. Rick already knew that one false move could condemn them all, but equally sure that he could talk his way out of it.

Ardeth stepped forward, "O'Connell."

Rick smiled his most disarming smile. "Ardeth Bey," he acknowledged. "Look there's be a big misunderstanding. I'm sure we can …"

There is no misunderstanding as you say. You have the creatures tablet. It is our sacred duty to retrieve it. Nothing of the creature shall see the light of day. You best of all should know this."

"and if we had the damn thing. I'd be giving it back to you right this second…"

"Then why do you deny it?"

"Cuz we don't have the damn tablet," He honestly lied.

"You Lie," Ardeth screamed. "Kill the woman."

"Wait….. You can come look. Guys," Rick called out. We're coming in, don't shoot us."

When Ardeth walked through the door he saw Indiana Jones.. "That's the man. The one that blew up the museum and stole the tablet."

"wait a minute.. Wait a minute.. Wait a damn minute, yelled Rick. "Look, the only thing that came out of that museum was a piece of paper." He reached down on the desk, "Look."

The Egyptian Warrior glanced down at the paper, "Ah the Valley of the Kings.

Croft Manor 1995

Lara listened closely, when her aunt paused, she interrupted with a question. "How did he know it was the Valley of the Kings just by looking at a crude drawing?"

"Lara I'm surprised at you. Just because they don't conform to societies norms doesn't make them stupid. I doubt that there is anything that happens or has happened, in that desert that the twelve tribes don't know about."

Giles set his tea cup down unconsciously reaching for glasses that were no longer there. "There's something I don't understand as well. If Ardeth never knew about the etching, then why did Sir John never remove it from the safe again?

"That's not really for me to tell." Evie looked at her son, "Alex?"
There was a long silence and then Alex shook his head, as if fighting off a bad memory. " there are things about the Madji that you have to understand before I explain Sir John's actions."

The origins of the Madji are well documented. The have a longer written history then any other group of humans alive today, with possibly the exception of the Chinese. The first Madji were the Pharoh's palace guard. The left the city in shame at having failed to protect him from his murderous lover Anck-Su-Namun.

Many killed themselves outright, but twelve of the original guards wandered out into the desert, leaving themselves to the mercy of the gods.

Giles smiled, "The Twelve tribes."

"They wandered for days, never far from death, when the great god Anubis came to them. They cowered at his feet expecting to be killed for their failure. Instead, Anubis told them that their failure would be born by all the generations to follow. That they would never have a home and that the sacred task of guarding against the return of Imhotep would be their punishment.

The bravest of the Twelve stepped up to face the wrath of the god. "How will we keep the memory alive. Our children will remember and their children, but the generations of the future, How do we entrust this to them?"

It has come down throughout history, that that man, the ancient ancestor of Ardeth Bay was given a ring and told that every warrior of the Madji would wear the ring once in his life. That upon ascendancy to the warrior class he would don the ring and live the past, so that he could never forget.

"Alex I believe you are beginning to lecture, just tell the story."

Alex blushed, "Once a teacher always a teacher. Any way to answer your question. Several weeks after all of this took place, Ardeth invited us to visit the Madji before we left Egypt. They are a proud people Giles. The met us in their finest and made us feel as if we were one of them.

"Then the last night before we were to leave," Rick glanced at Evie, noting the still disgusted look she got every time that night got mentioned. "That night they came and got the men of the group. Alex gave a small shiver, "We were blindfolded and led into a tent. In the tent were the leaders of the Madji, we could hardly see them for the dim light coming from a single brazier in the center of the room. We were invited to sit down, which is almost never done in the Madji society". Alex wrinkled his nose. "There was this sickly sweet odor in the tent that intensified as the night went along. We were told the story of the Madji and its sacred duty."

"You were five and you remember all?" of this asked Lara.

"With what happened next you'd not be likely to forget. We sat there for hours. The room was becoming warmer and warmer. Finally the leader of the Clans told us to rise and step forward. Sir John was first. The ring of Anubis was placed on his finger and his eyes glossed over for a minute. When he came, too his eye's were a mixture of fear and determination. One by one each of us wore that ring. One by one, each of us joined Sir John in his.."

"What did the bloody ring show you." Exclaimed a now exasperated Giles.

"It didn't just show just the past, it also reveled the future if the creature ever gained control. It forced you to live it day by day, for an entire lifetime. So to answer your question: Sir John never opened that safe again because he was scared."

Croft Manor 1995
Early the next morning.

Giles found himself wide awake at 3am. Knowing that there was no hope of continued rest he rose. "Might as well do some thing useful. He thought.

//I could hardly agree more. You have been slack in your training.// the tone of Daa'naal's voice was a cross between teasing and serious. // If your slayer could see you now, you would be catching hell.//

"Oh shut up."

Giles stood in the middle of the floor dressed only in a pair of boxers, he called the sword into being. Closing his eyes he took a stance that his fencing master had taught him years ago.

//That is totally wrong. I'm not a foil or an epee. Watch, said the Sword of life.//

The room faded and in its place the forest of Toril appeared. In a clearing, there stood a young elf that Giles recognized as Ellendar, Daa'naal's nephew. The young elf stood there with his hand at his sides and his head bowed down. The in a flash of motion his head popped up and his hand raised skywards.

//Watch his feet. Notice that his balance is always centered.//

The sword filled Ellendar's hand. His left hand rose to support the sword and he dropped the sword butt to shoulder level. In a flurry of motion, Ellendar spun around and slashed diagonally across to his left, slicing through the six-inch tree branch that he'd chosen for a target. Without pausing, he continued the spin, and recovered back to his original stance.

In a second explosion of action, Ellendar jumped up as if dodging a sweeping attack and began a series of cross strikes against his invisible opponent.

//Watch his eyes Giles.//

Giles already knew that trick, but just as his fencing master had taught him, he saw the barely perceivable twitches of the eye's that exposed where the next strike was aimed. Giles watched as Ellendar finished up his exercise. The young elf finished up in the same position that he started in and bowed his head again and the Sword of Life faded back to nothingness.

// While the foil or rapier is an excellent weapon for a one on one duel, I was designed for a much greater threat. The quick flicks of the wrist that you are so used to are rarely used with a weapon of my size. Use the mass of the weapon to your advantage, but don't let it decide where you are going. Try Ellendar's routine.//

Giles duplicated the Kata slowly at first. Then again at a faster pace. Then finally he matched the demonstration he'd witnessed. When he was finished, his breathing was labored and he was covered in sweat.

//Draw the energy you need from me. I know it's difficult, it took Kevin weeks to learn not to exhaust himself. You have to let the power flow like water. Let it constantly fill your reserves back up//

Giles closed his eyes and a feeling of a connection that he couldn't describe other then a generally warmth infused his body, slowing his heartbeat and feeding oxygen to needy lungs.

Giles reverie was interrupted by the sounds of clapping hands from the door way. Raising his eyes, he found Lara standing there in her normal workout gear. "Very good Uncle Giles. Would you like to try something more challenging then hacking up my furniture?"

Giles looked around the room and sure enough, sometime during his exercise he has sliced off both corners of the priceless dresser. "Oh my god Lara," he said quietly. "I am so sorry."

Lara looked at him. "I won't say I'm not upset, but it's a thing, and things can be replaced. You're family, and I'm learning just how precious that truly is, But," she added, "There are better places and better things to destroy."

Giles dressed quickly in a sweat pants and a shirt and chased after Lara. He fond her waiting for him by the door.

Lara led him to the side of the manor where there was a highly polished travel trailer. Lara grabbed a steel rod and began banging on the side of the trailer. "Wake up Bryce. I have a new victim for your little shop of horrors."

Bryce, his hair looking as if it'd just been recovered from a tornado zone, stuck his head out the window. "It's bloody 4AM.

Lara gave him a seductive smile knowing that the little techowizard would always fall for it, "I'm not paying you by the hour. Besides, you can try your new toy out."

Bryce wasn't really sure if it was the smile, or the chance to play with the new robot that caused his complaints to be silenced. "I'll be there in Ten minutes, His head popped back into the trailer, only to come back out to warn Lara. "Don't touch anything till I get there."

Bryce cam running around the corner to find Giles and Lara waiting for him. "Did she touch anything?" he said in a worried tone.

"Lara glared at Bryce as Giles answered. "I don't think so."

"Good. She has the most amazing ability to break things. Then she expects me to fix them."

Lara's glance changed to a scowl. "Are you going to talk all morning or can we get started here?"

"What scenario do you want."

Lara thought about it for a few seconds. "Let me familiarize him with the room and I'll come back and we can choose."

Bryce nodded his head. "Right, what about weapons?"

Giles walked in and saw that the room was decorated like and ancient temple. There were stone blocks and hanging vines spread about the room.

"It's very simple" said Lara. "You have two goals. The first is to retrieve the idol that is somewhere in this room."

Lara walked off. "Lara what's the second goal," yelled Giles after her.

She turned her head, "Survive."

Bryce watched Lara leave the training room on the monitor. He heard the deadbolts shoot home with a thunk, trapping Giles in the exercise room. She quickly rejoined him in the control room. "Set it to lethal four."

Bryce's jaw dropped, "You work out at level seven and barely survive, How can you expect an unarmed man to live through that?"

"Look at him."

Bryce glanced at the screen and then looked away, Then looked back in shock. "Where did that sword come from?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you!"

Giles waited in the room, waited for what he didn't know. "I cant say that I liked the sound of survive. "

//Isn't that what you have always faced?//

"This is different. This is just a training exercise."

// My master always taught me that there was no such thing as practice. You either survived or you didn't. Either way you learned something.//

"Bloody hard lesson."

//Toril is a beautiful world, but like your coral snakes, beauty can mean danger.//

Before Giles could form an answer, speakers in the room started blasting out the opening licks of the song Heavy Metal… "Drive it on up and let's cruise a while… Leave your troubles far behind… You can hedge your bet on a clean Corvette, To get you where you want on time." <now that's my kind of music,> thought Giles, as his head started bobbing to the throbbing beat.

//Pay attention. She's trying to distract you. Damn it Giles, you have no idea what is coming and you stand here listening to a stupid song.//

"Let her try," said the ripper, 'let her try." With the music blasting away at his eardrums, Giles began searching the room. It was only a lull in the heavy guitar rifts that allowed Giles to hear the whining servo motors. Looking towards the sound, he saw a mechanized nightmare coming at him.

Giles dove behind one of the granite blocks just in time to avoid being hit by the burst of 9mm rounds the robot had let lose. The shower of rock chip pelted Giles. "I hate people that bring knives to gunfight he said, sprouting the punch like of one of his favorite jokes from his Ripper days.

// You had best work fast, even I cant protect you from that thing.// said Daa'naal.

"There has to be a way. Then he spotted the huge stand of rocks. Giles grabbed one of his shoes and tossed it the other way as he dashed behind the rocks. Climbing to the top, he removed the other shoe and threw it at the robot. "Over here you bastard" he screamed.

The robot responded to his shout with another barrage of bullets that just missed Giles. Giles was forced off of his perch, jumping down he landed at on one of the robots legs. Swinging the sword with all of his might, he managed to sever the control cables and to dent the stainless steel leg.

The small victory wasn't without a price. The robot's arm swung out and crashed into Giles, breaking one of his ribs and tossing him ten feet across the room.

//Ignore the pain.//

<That's easy for you to say.> Said Giles as he limped towards the pile of stones. With the injury Giles found it impossible to climb the stones with one hand. He released Daa'naal and sent back to wherever he stayed when not in sword form.

//Ask yourself where are its weaknesses?//

Reaching the peak of the pile of stones, Giles jumped. as he fell, he called the sword back. Pointing it downwards as he landed on top of the mechanical spider he thrust the sword directly into the center of the machine, hoping to catch something vital.

//Use all of your weapons Giles.//

Barely able to hang onto the flailing giant, Giles finally got what Daa'naal was saying. "Il um negato," invoking a spell that he had run across years ago.

Every circuit in Bryce's robot changed polarity and shorted out in a flurry of sparks. Giles, feeling all too proud of Himself, pulled the Sword of Life out of the carcass and raised it above his head like a gladiator claiming victory. "God I hate machines." He mumbled in pain.

Giles searched the room and found the Idol that he'd been instructed to find. He grimaced when he discovered it was a cheap copy of an American Oscar.

Lara collected the 20 pounds she'd bet Bryce. "I told you so."

Giles had showered and changed, He tried to rest but the healing rib was bothering him enough that every time he closed his eyes the itching sensation drove him to distraction

Reading his thoughts, Daa'naal answered the unasked question // That means its healing. You will be find in a day or so the itching will recede. After that you will find yourself extremely hungry and tired. //

There was a sharp rap on the bedroom door. Lara barged in with a sense of purpose in her eyes. "We need to talk… Now."

"Lara, I meant…"

"First off you pull a sword out of thin air."


"Then you tell me that the runes that I have been researching all my life belong to elves."


Lara held up a finger. "I'm not done yet."

"Lara I'm trying to ex…"

"Finally, you not only fight my training robot, You fry every circuit in the damn thing. Bryce is still scratching his head on that one and mumbling about all the 'blown capacitors'. Every damn circuit is fried and he can't find a reason as to why. Now I want an answer and I want it Now..."

"If you would bloody well shut up I'd tell you."

Lara was shocked by His vehemence. "Ok Go on."

Giles sat down, wishing that he still had his glasses to clean, that would buy him some time to think and decide just what he could and couldn't say. With a wry smile on his face he began. "Lara… there are forces in this universe that seem to be beyond our comprehension. The Sword of Life is one of those things.

"The Sword of Life?" Lara asked.

"I'll admit it does sound a bit dramatic, A weapon of war named as a savior of life but the things I've seen cause me to believe that the name is more then justified. Perhaps I should start at the beginning."

Lara Hopped up on the now worthless Louie XIVth dresser and hung he legs over the side. " You have my complete attention."

Giles cleared his throat. This world is much older then is commonly believed. It has gone through many changes in that time. Civilizations have risen and fallen. Creatures that form the basis of horror stories ruled the planet for at least 2000 year. Giles met Lara's eyes, To answer your question: Yes Elves did exist on this world."

Even having seen the runes on the partial wall in Germany as well and the writing on the sword itself, Lara was struck dumbfounded. She sat there in total silence waiting for Giles to continue. The only noise in the room came from the ceiling fan; finally Lara couldn't stand not knowing. "What happened?"

"I want you to understand that what I'm about to tell you must never be repeated."


"Because you will be branded an idiot and lose all credibility, because there are merely scraps of knowledge left. That wall, a few prophecies and legends that are treated as children's fables, because none of this can be proven." Giles met Lara's eyes, "But I swear, what I am about to tell you is the absolute truth."

"Eons ago the Earth was host to three intelligent species, Humans, Giles obfuscated, Elves, and Dragons. Giles began to pace back and forth across the room. Magick was common place then, it was used in everyday life "The humans were the most numerous and the most prolific. There came a time when the treaties that separated the species became unenforceable The Humans were growing out of their own lands and began encroaching on the ancestral lands of the others.

"Elves and Dragons?"

"Now you know why you will not be believed." Giles smirked in a kind manner. "So there came a time when war looked to be the only answer. None of them wanted war. Had happened it would have been a disaster for both the Dragons and the Elves." Giles sighed, "The birth rates are much lower then ours was and in the end, extinction could have been the only outcome. But the were fiercely protective of their lands and there was little promise of avoiding the inevitable."

"So what happened."

"A group of humans. The Kine'Iende and the leaders of the Dragons and the Elves got together and found that life valued life and freedom were more important.

"I'm sorry Giles, but this is sounding more and more like a fairytale."

// Perhaps you should let me explain. //

<No, she has to know that I'm telling the truth. I can't have her faith in me broken. > But Daa'naal suggestion gave Giles an idea. Calling the sword, he laid it on the bed.

"Lara, its no more a fairytale then a sword that appeared out of this air. Come over here please." Lara hopped off the dresser and walked over to Giles. "Now if you can pick the sword up, then not only will I agree that you are right, I'll pack my things and you can take me back to the hospital."

Lara placed her hand on the sword and bounced it up and down checking the weight of it for herself. "Giles this is foolish."

"If it's so foolish then pick it up."

Such a silly demand fired her temper; Lara grasped the sword with her right hand and lifted… Or she tried to lift. The sword that was so light and springy on the bed before now felt like 16 tons of hardened steel. She glanced back at Giles, then added her left hand and tried again… with the same results. "What the hell is going on here?"

<Ok Daa'naal; Let her bear you now. >

"Try again."

Lara looked skeptical, bracing her feet she grasped the sword again and pulled with all of her considerable might. She flung herself half way across the room. It was amazing that she didn't drop the sword. She ended up in a bundle on the floor, he hands still gripping the Sword of Life.

Before her very eyes, she saw, and felt, the sword dematerialize. Getting Lara Croft mad was usually a bad idea and broken bones were the usual result, but even she could see the humor in what Giles had done to her. Lara started to chuckle, Then she laughed, and then she burst out in, a tears in her eyes, uncontrolled mirth, when she finally settled down she offered her hand to Giles to help her up. "You set me up."

Pulling her to her feet, "Well perhaps a little" Giles admitted. "Call it payback for trapping me in a room with a murderous robot. "Call us even?" He asked.

"Even my ass," muttered Lara. Still she put her best face on, "even."

"Good then you are ready for this." Giles produced The Sword of Life and presented it to her hilt first.

// Good morning Lara Croft. I am Daa'naal, the spirit of the sword of life. //

<Oh my God> thought Lara.

<That was close to what I said the first time too. > Giles responded through his link to Daa'naal. <Listen and watch. >

Lara's vision faded and the image of a lush forest filled her eyes. In a clearing in that forest, were creatures that she'd never believed in. The ones that caught her eyes first were horses of the purest white with a single horn on their forehead. <Unicorn's>

// Once the rarest of breeds and friends of the eleven people. But watch. //

The group in the clearing suddenly vanished, only to be replaced with the next group. Elves of all descriptions filed the clearing. Tall ones, short ones, Elves dressed in armor and ones dressed in the robes of mages, all stood in the clearing waiting their turn.

// What you are seeing is the Outpouring. The Kine'Iende, the council of mages and the council of Dragons all agreed that the only answer was that another home had to be found, and it was. // The New World was lush and rich, but it was also inhabited by others. //

Lara's vision changed: She now saw elves and dragons fighting creatures that she would only dream of in her nightmares.

// Then came the dark times. Battles between the gods were fought out in the open. A group of my brethren broke away from our society and formed the Drow. Despair became the word of the day. //

< The Drow? > Asked Lara.

// Elves that moved from the forests and moved underground. They began to practice magick's that had been forbidden since before anyone could remember. For a long time darkness reigned. Then the council of mages was formed and over a period of time peace came to Toril. Peace came at a price, there were now places in the world that magick simply would not work, and there were others where it went wild but we adapted. //

<Simply amazing. > Lara commented,

< Isn't it just, > added Giles

// After the war the council of mages was retained and many years later Mystra, the goddess of Magick, came among us to warn us that a new and stronger evil had been created, that's when I was created. I was to balance the Dark Elf whose only purpose was the bringing of death. The final battle invoked such forces that neither of us could win and I was thrown back to the world of my people's creation. Now I stand here with Giles, and other of his kind, fighting the evil of your world //

Giles took the sword from Lara and her vision cleared. "That was almost unbelievable. She turned back to Giles, "Why did you tell em all of this?"

Giles nervously cleared his throat. "Over the next few years there will be a battle and its my hope that we shall win, but if I should fall, I… I… hope that Daa'naal will chose you as his next bearer."

Giles sat down at the table, still looking worse for the wear. There were bruises on his face where the robot had tossed him across the room. The good news was that the itching had already stopped and he was on the mend. Sitting down Giles reached for the teapot and filled his cup to the brim, after adding an outrageous amount of cream and sugar, he drank it down like a man dying of dehydration. He then reached for the Pot again.

The others stared in amazement as he drank 5 cups of tea so thick that it could've been legally called motor oil. Then to their further amazement he proceeded to eat 7 eggs, 9 waffles and every scrap of toast covered in strawberry jam. The rest of the group had been finish eating long ago when Giles finally picked up his napkin and wiped his mouth.

"Oh my," exclaimed Evie. "I haven't seen anyone eat like that since Rick. Since every one done with breakfast perhaps we should continue with our story." She glanced at Giles, she lips pursed in a wry smile. "It was your grandfather that got us on the road back to Egypt."

Aboard the SS. El Baz

Indy sat in the small cabin that the master had claimed was a stateroom, personally he'd been in phone booths with more space. Still, he thought, they were lucky to even be alive. After the tense confrontation with the Madji, Indy wouldn't have bet his last toenail that he would live another day. Luckily cooler heads had prevailed.

The Madji dead had been collected by their comrades and packed away in shipping trunks. The trunks had disappeared while the rest of the group planned the next steps.

It had been Edward Giles that has suggested that the next stop on this journey would have to be Egypt, and the Valley of the Kings. It took just a few phone calls by Edward and they had a ship waiting for them at the port of Dover. It all seemed just a little too convenient for Indy so he reserved judgement and was keeping an eye on the distinguished Englishman. The hell with that he thought. With his mind made up Indy headed out the door towards Edward Giles's Cabin.

Indy rapped on the door, when there was no answer, he looked down each side of the passageway and with a quick knee to the door he pooped the lock. The room was an immaculate as the man that occupied it. The bed was made and all of his personal belongings had been stowed in the proper place. "Now where would I hide something if I were an unimaginative stuff shirt." He wondered aloud. Indy's eyes lit on the bed. He raised the mattress and just as he thought, there was a book titled 'The Watchers Journal.'

Before Indy could do any more then scan the title; a shout came from the doorway. "What the hell are you doing in my room." Edward Giles browned off that someone had invaded his privacy rushed into the small room. He reached for the book. "Give me that."

"Not until I get some answers."

"That book has nothing to do with our current situation." Edward stared at Indy defiantly.

Indy smirked. "Some how I find that hard to believe. It's a little too coincidental that you make one phone call and we have passage on the only ship heading for Egypt the next day." Indy waved the book in Edward's face. "I think the answer is in this book. Would you care to explain, or should I take this book to the rest of the group?"

Torn between one person knowing his secret and many knowing it, Indecision shone in Edward's eyes. He shrugged his shoulders, "Oh very well," he conceded, "but you probably wont believe me."

"I've been to a lot of strange places and seen a lot of strange things, Try me." Indy handed Edward his book back and sat down on the bed waiting for the story.

Rick and Evie had been given a slightly larger cabin, which when you think about it, the captain really didn't have much choice seeing that there were three people staying in there.

"I do wish we had left Alex at home," Evie worried.

"Are you kidding, knowing him, if we had tried to leave him, we'd still be home arguing with him about it. Relax honey, he's smart and he knows more about Egyptology then 99 percent of the known world. I'm just thankful that Jonathan didn't decide that he needed to be here. Rick grinned at his wife, Besides I think he's met his match in Katharine."

Evie couldn't stop the laugh that escaped her lips. "That's true. That little girl is going to be a handful…"

Before Evie could finish speaking, Alex came crashing through the door, panting and out of breath. Mom…, …, Dad…,…, Ardeth… wants…"

"Slow down son. Take a few breaths and try speaking so normal people can understand."

Alex heaved a few breaths and started again. " Ardeth wants you on the deck."

Rick and Evie made their way through the maze of passageways to come out topside near the stern of the ship. There they found the remaining Madji warriors standing at the railings with the packing crates that had been loaded at Croft Manor.

In a silent ceremony the bodies of the fallen men were consigned to the sea. Rick and Evie joined the group at the back of the boat, standing near Ardeth Bey.

Ardeth's eyes squinted against the sun as he said a final prayer for his fallen brothers. He turned to Rick and Evie; we've passed the international limit. My brothers gave their lives for something they believed in.

"Ardeth, I' so sorry, but you have to understand we didn't know…"

"This is understood Rick O'Connell, However I fear that there are bigger problems ahead. Ardeth looked around to see if anyone was watching them. "I did not tell the others, but the four men that attacked Dr. Jones on the road were not of the Madji.

Rick seemed stunned. "What, he stammered. If it wasn't you that who else would have known?"

"Again, this we do not know. I fear that they also seek the creature's writings. We were not the only ones watching the museum in Paris."

Indy didn't have to pretend that he was stunned, he was in fact shocked. Edward's story about Vampires and demons being a real part of the world filled in a lot of the gaps from his own past. Indy had seen strange things, but this one took the prize. He collected his thoughts, "How long ahs this been going on?"

"We can have written history that goes back before the fall of the Roman Empire, but we believe that is goes back much further. Much like the Madji we do our job the best we can and try to keep the rest of the world from knowing, I'm afraid I've rather bullock's that up now."

"That's going to depend on your answer to the next question. Why was the council of watchers so eager to help us?"

"That's even more complicated. There a number of secret societies, some we interact with, others that we avoid, and some that we even belong to as well. This ship was provided because of a power struggle between the watcher's council and another group.

"Great. That's just what I need. A war between bookworms."

"Its much more complicated then that." Edward turned to the back of the book, marking the page he handed the book back to Indiana Jones. "Have you every seen this symbol before Dr. Jones?

Indy studied the strange symbol and it did look familiar to him. "It Russia during the revolution."

Edward retrieved the book from Indy. "The pyramid symbolizes strength and the base of the world. They eye represents the all knowing and all seeing…"

"Oh for crying out loud, who the hell are these guys?"

Giles slammed the book shut. And in a monotone voice, "The call themselves the Illuminati."

What are the Illuminati and why didn't you tell us about them before?" The accusation hung heavy in the air. Indy had dragged Mr. Giles to Sir John and Professor Langford; it was the professor that voiced the question that everyone was worried about.

The door to the cabin was flung open before Giles could even thing about a reply. Rick rushed in, in a panic. "Guys, We have big trouble It wasn't just the Madji that was chasing Indy."

The three men in the room all turned to the dark haired adventurer. "We know."

"You know? This is way too strange I just found out myself."

"We know," the group repeated.

"Damn, that's a relief. Ardeth told me about the four guys that chased Indy and I was getting worried.

"Four guys" said, Indy. "What four guys?"

"The four guys that followed you from Paris, that you just told me you know all about."

The stood there in silence each of them wondering just what the hell was going on. Professor Land forward stepped up and held his hands in the air to get the groups attention. "Gentlemen, I think that we may be a little confused, perhaps if each of us tell what he knows an answer might be found. Mr. Giles would you please explain the Illuminati for us.

"The Illuminati are an old society, an invisible government if you will. Their members are some of the richest and most highly placed in local governments. Very little is know as fact about these men, though they claim to have started the American revolutionary war and toppled the Czars of Russia. They are very powerful and worst of all, they are very patient."

"Wait a minute," said Indy. "Your saying that the founding father were members of this group?"

"Not all of them no. Do you have a dollar bill Dr. Jones?" While Indy dug into his wallet Edward continued. "If we are facing the Illuminati, we have substantial foe. We must be cautious not to under estimate them."

"Here you go', said Indy as he passed the dollar bill over to Edward. "I want that back if you don't mind."

"They have two weaknesses. The first is hubris. Who else would place their sacred symbol on a national currency? Edward turned the dollar bill over and pointed out the pyramid and eye on the back. The second weakness is that they always work through other agents. That way they can never be exposed. Call it plausible deniability."

Edward turned to Rick, "If those four men were of the Illuminati, then we face a foe with unlimited resources and no one can be trusted."

Croft Manor

"It turns out that your grandfather spoke prophetically. The problem was that we needed to hire a dig crew if we were to uncover whatever was hidden under the sand.

Lara, who had been fascinated during the whole story raised her hand to get Evie's attention. "I have a few questions she said quietly. Lara's mind was working a thousand miles and hour, "Do these Illuminati still exists today?" she asked suspiciously

Evie was about to answer Lara's question when she saw Giles shaking his head in warning. She quickly modified her answer to be as vague as possible. "They will always exists Lara. It's simply a matter of trying to determine what they are up to. We later found that their goal is no less then total control of the entire human race."

Lara accepted Evie's explanation at face value, but she stored the name and the story in the back of her mind. There were stories that her father had told her that now made a little more sense. "Ok second question; If you couldn't trust anyone, How did you find a dig crew?"

Evie started to giggle like a little girl frustrating Lara's question.

"Aunt Evie," she protested. Lara glanced over at Alex only to find that he also was fighting back laughter. "Ok what's so damn funny?"

"I'm sorry, said Evie between bouts of the giggles. "But this is another way that you and your grandfather are very much alike."

Lara glared at Evie but didn't say a word.

When the laughter finally tailed off Evie looked at Lara again, You see Lara, like you, your grandfather had the most amazing ability of walking into Timbuktu and within 15 minutes he would find someone that he knows, or someone that owed him a favor. In Egypt, Indy knew many people and it turned out that we ended up with the oddest dig crew imaginable."

Vienna 1928

Ernst Von Heckler, the military commander of the Illuminati marched into the ornate meeting hall unsure of his fate. A veteran of the First World War he'd been under fire more then once. He'd gone over the top in the hand to hand trench warfare that had been so common during the war. He'd been gassed by both side and lived to tell about it, but walking into the council room to report failure was the most lethal thing he'd ever done in his life. Luckily for him he had and ace up his sleeve.

Walking down the middle of the large u shaped meeting table he could feel the eyes of the council member's bore into him like he was a simple peasant who'd had the audacity to addressed them on the street.

He stopped before the chairman of the Illuminati and clicked his heels together and waited for what ever was coming.

"Von Heckler. Report."

"Sir, I'm sorry to report that out assault on LeBlanc's museum was a failure. We managed to kill LeBlanc but all we found were the remains of a stone tablet that had been destroyed by a grenade tossed by one of our operatives."

The chairman's face was turning a bright red in anger at the report of failure. "So you failed. Where is the map now?"

"The map is in the possession of a man who was with LeBlanc at the time of the attack. We learned through the hotel where he was stating that he is an archeologist of some renown one Dr. Henry Jones JR; the he goes by the ridiculous name of Indiana.

"And where is Indiana Jones right now?"

"Sir before I answer that question, let me point out that I advised that our own forces should have been utilized in this mission. I was against hiring hoodlums from the start." The chairman's glare told Von Heckler that he had very little time left. "Dr Jones killed the four men we hired in Paris. He then crossed the channel and met up with a group of his colleagues.

"You try me Von Heckler. Get on with it."

"We traced Dr Jones to the house of one Sir John Croft." A collective gasp escaped from the members of the council. "I see you remember that name. Yes it is the same John Croft who ruined our plans if Africa years back. However it also presented us with an opportunity. My agents tracked Dr Jones to the manor but were too late to catch him. Considering that force has not been successful to this point, I thought another option would be necessary."

Von Heckler snapped his fingers and two guards, their clothes in disarray, and one sporting the makings of a tremendous black eye dragged in the unconscious forms of Harriet and Sara Croft.

Aboard the SS El Baz

Indy dressed in his working clothes. Dark pants with reinforced knees and seat because sand the wears at everything. The customary leather jacket that he always wore hid a long sleeved tan shirt. The jacket also hid his trusty companions, the whip that he'd had since he was a kid, and a Webley revolver that was a match to the one that Sir John has used. As Indy reached for the doorknob a long deep note sounded from the tugboats that were docking the El Baz.

In the O'Connell cabin it was Rick that was having trouble accessorizing. He'd chosen clothes very much like Indy; in fact more then one person was going to mistake them for brothers. His problem was that he had too many weapons and not enough room to carry them all.

"Don't you think you're being a little paranoid?" Evie asked stand there in pant, boots and carrying an umbrella, her only concession to being a woman.

"This is Egypt," said Rick, as he planted the Colt automatics in the shoulder holsters. "There's no such thing as paranoid here."

"I'm sure that that won't happen again honey," Evie answered. "After all Imhotep is gone."

"Well I'm not taking any chances. Rick slung the bandoleer of shotgun shells over his shoulder. Here, He handed Evie one of the spare Colt's, "Keep this handy."

"Rick you know I don't like guns." Evie complained.

"And I don't like Alex being here either, looks like we both have to give in a little." Rick cinched the last strap on the old leather valise that held the rest of his weapons and turned to his wife. "You and I both know this place is dangerous. I'm counting on you to protect Alex if something happens and I'm not there."

Rick's words struck home with the tall brunette woman. She took the pistol and pulled the slide back to chamber a round. "Alright I'm ready."

Alex watched his parents argue and wondered what all the fuss was about. There were in his favorite place in the world, were there were all sorts of neat places to see and things to do. His father kneeled down by his side, "Look sprout, you stay close to your mother, okay?"

"Kay," replied Alex, just knowing that things just got much more boring.

Rick grabbed the luggage, "Let's go."

Evie lifted her son and placed him on her hip, "Right."

Croft Manor

"We spent the next few days trying to hire a dig crew. Indy and Sir john would go out every morning and return frustrated the same night. While they were looking for people Rick and I were gathering supplies and Edward was working out the exact location of where we should dig. Then one afternoon Sir John returned around noon, his face was ashen gray. I found him in the bar, already half drunk by the smell of it."

Alexandria Egypt

The ex-soldier had comeback to the hotel and headed for the bar. Three shots of whisky later he still didn't want to believe what he'd been told. He was just reaching for the bottle when Mrs. "O'Connell found him. "Sir John what's wrong?"

Sir John filled the tumbler full. "The bastards have Harry and Sara!" Sir John tossed the whisky down his throat and reached for the bottle again.

Evie, stunned and now worried about Alex too, grabbed his hand before he could pick up the bottle again. "Who has Harry and Sara?"

He shook her hand off and reached filled the glass again. "The Illuminati," he said as he tossed the powerful drink down his throat.

"Well that's not the answer, " Evie said as she grabbed the bottle, capped it and threw it away. "Get some coffee and sober up. I'll go get Rick, he'll figure out a way to get your wife and daughter back."

Indy sauntered back to the hotel room feeling very pleased with himself. After days of looking for a crew he'd finally found someone that was willing to hire out. "Great news I've hired a crew." When he was greeted with silence, "Well don't everyone thank me at once. It was only then; he noticed the grim looks on their faces. "What happened?"

Edward looked up from the desk where he was making the last of his computations and notations on a fresh piece of paper. "The Illuminati have Mrs. Croft and Sara. The want to trade them for the map."

Rick slammed the action of the Springfield closed with a snap and tossed the rifle to his wife. "And we are going to give it to them… In spades."

"When and where?" asked Indy as He headed for his grip.

Rick looked up from his weapons case where he was pulling out weapons that he hadn't used since his days in the Legion. "Tonight. There's a deserted wadi about 15 miles from here. We're to meet them at midnight."

Rick and Evie stopped the group just a half-mile from the wadi. Looking at his wife, "Follow me Evie." He turned back to the rest of the group. "Give us 30 minutes and then you go as planned." Just as they approached the raised ridge he stopped again. "You sure you can do this honey?"

Evie simply nodded her head.

"Ok give me three minutes and then come on up. Don't look at whatever you see, just set up and know that this is my call. Rick smiled at his bride. "Most of all don't worry. "I'm very good at this."

Rick O'Connell crept up the dune. He noticed the flare of a cigarette lighter just where he'd expected the sniper to be. Crawling forward the last ten feet Rick readied his weapon and leapt.

The loop of the piano wire garrote went around the sniper head and cut into his throat. With three quick flicks of his wrist, Rick sawed the wire thought the man's throat and backbone. The head separated from the body and rolled down the hill leaving only a corpse leaking blood into the sand.

Rick quickly kicked sand over the body hoping to save his wife from having to see his handiwork. Two minutes later Evie came crawling up the ridge. Rick whistled three time to let her know where he was.

Evie joined Rick and stared at the lump in the sand, knowing that there was a body buried under that sand. "You ok with this?" Asked her husband. She nodded her head, not feeling anything at the moment and she already knew that more would be asked of her tonight. "Good, you know the signal. I'll check for others and I'll get back here before anything else happens if it's possible."

Rick killed five more sentries that night, all of them silently. The skills he'd learned from the Legion hadn't deserted him, but he'd hoped to never to have to call on them again.

Sir John led Indy and Edward into the wadi, the half moon illuminating the path. When they got to the water's edge a voice rang out in heavily accented English, "That's far enough. Did you bring the map?"

"Did you bring my family?" asked Sir John coldly.

Von Heckler strode forward, "Get off the horse." Sir John struggled with the stirrups for a second and then planted his false leg on the sand. Von Heckler leaned toward Sir John; "I have trained sharpshooters all around us, should anything go wrong the first people that will die will be your wife and daughter. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. They will be dead. Now I ask again, did you bring the map?"

Sir John gave a sardonic grin. "Look you stupid bastard I was setting ambushes before your were out of your leaderhosen. Your snipers are already dead. Send my wife over to me. When they get here you get the map and not before." Sir John's grin turned into an evil smile. "I have my own snipers in place. One wrong move and you get a bullet right between the eyes. Sir John accented his words by pocking the Illuminati soldier on the forehead."

Von Heckler had to admit that he was at a disadvantage and he found it even more so when he looked up and Indy was now armed with a Thompson and Edward Giles was holding a sawed off shotgun. Von Heckler played his trump card. "I have thirty men here you have perhaps 5, there is now way that you leave this place alive if I'm dead."

That's the only reason that I'm keeping to the deal we made. I want my family now, if I don't get them you're a dead man in just about 15 seconds."

The German soldier raised his hand and waved Harriet and Sara forward. When they passed Sir John they ran to Indy and Edward and mounted behind the riders. Ok here how it goes down. My sniper will wait for 30 minutes, if any of you move in that time you die. Ill leave the map on that boulder over where you can see it at all times."

The group rode out. True to his word, Sir John dropped the map by the boulder as he passed it.

Croft Manor

"Why did he leave the map," Lara asked.

"Well," hesitated Evie. "Two reasons. The first was that without making the connection to Orion's belt and the Valley of the Kings the map was totally useless and the second, it had taken Edward three days to mathematically plot the spot where we would have to dig."

"Perfectly logical," Giles admitted in awe.

There was a third reason, though I doubt that Sir John would admit it. He was too much of a gentleman to go back on his word."

Alexandria Egypt

Ernst Von Heckler rose after a very short night of sleep. He'd gotten back to the hotel around 3 AM and fell asleep in his clothes, too tired to change and too scared that the anger that he seen in Sir John's eyes would be translated into vengeance. He pulled his suspenders up and stomped his feet into his boots. Cracking his door he yelled for his second in command. "Report."

Captain Voltaire, a scarred veteran of the Foreign Legion marched in to his room. "Sir all of the men have returned to their hotels. I have them on stand by so when you give the order to attack they can be here within the hour."

"There will be no attack… at least not here in the city."

Sir your orders from the council…"

"Are totally left up to my discretion. No, I won't make that mistake again. Captain, I want the 1st brigade assembled here in Egypt."

"Colonel you are treading on dangerous ground, the council wants action."

"Base on what." roared Von Heckler; "On this." he tossed the map that had been recovered during the debacle the night before. "This is useless. Points drawn on a piece of parchment, No map references… not even a marking to tell us North from South. No Captain, we'll let them do the work and when they have found what they are looking for we shall move in and take the prize that the council wants so badly.

<And> he thought, < I can kill that one legged son of a bitch. >

Captain Voltaire for his part believes that the Colonel had lost his mind. "Sir defying the council..."

"Captain, are you stupid. Croft and his bunch already know where they are going, otherwise he'd never have given us the map. No its time for the dog to wag the tail for once. Do as you're ordered. I want the 1st Brigade here before the week is up. Dismissed Captain."

Ardeth Bey had left the group as soon as the El Baz had docked. He would have preferred to stay and help them search for whatever lay at the end of the trail, but he had responsibilities of his own. Riding out into the desert that was home to him he went in search of the Twelve tribes.

He'd been called before the assembly of elders to report what had transpired. For three hours he told the story of following the rumor of a tablet of the creature's writings that had surfaced that had been held in a Paris museum. How he and his men were only minutes from taking the cursed work, when an explosion had robbed them of their sacred trust.

He went further when he explained the loss of his brothers during the mistaken attack on Lord Croft's home, and how he'd discovered that another group was after the tablet as well. It was in sadness that he explained that they had attacked Lord Croft's home mistakenly, that the tablet was never there in the first place. "Doctor Jones went there with a map of the Valley of the Kings, not the tablet we seek to destroy."

"So Ardeth Bay, said the leaders of the elders, This map you claim they had, how does it concern the Madji?"

" Honored Grandfather, I do not believe it is the map that should concern us, rather the group that seeks the map. It is my belief that the also seek the tablet as well. Ardeth hesitated, "Even as we speak, forces are gathering in Alexandria. I request that the twelve tribes ride to the Valley of the Kings."

"What is the basis of your request Ardeth?"

"Nothing more then a feeling that we need to be there, that and the knowing that Rick O'Connell holds our honor in his hands. His actions years ago, defeating the Mummy when we were not able to, leaves us in his debt."

Would you stake your honor on this"

Ardeth nodded his head. Everything in his soul told him that this battle had to be fought with the Madji at the forefront. "And My life grandfather."

The leader of the elders looked at each member in turn, moving on when they nodded affirmative. "Very Well" he said, stroking his beard, " You may have one tribe for your quest," the elder paused…The Madji Ride."

<The Valley of the Kings is quiet as a graveyard.> Rick chuckled out loud at his own thoughts and he stood watch by the crackling fire. The last few days had been a strain on him and this was the first chance since the telegram that he'd had a chance to relax.

Evie came up behind him and wrapped her arms around her husband. "Penny for you thoughts love."

Rick kissed her affectionately on the chin. "I'm afraid I'd get the better part of that deal Evie."

"Well then why don't try it and see. Humor and love filled her bright blue eyes. She dropped her chin and their lips met. As the lingering kiss broke she let out a sigh; "Well I think I can live with that investment."

"I love you, you know that, don't you?"

"Of course I…"

"You and Alex are the life that I never even dreamed that I could have.

Evie pulled back from her husband. "What brought all this on?"

"Rick took a deep breath, "You've seen a side of me that I hoped would never come out again. I've seen things," Rick gulped, "done things, that no man should ever have to do. When I married you I put the past behind me, but the other night it was so easy to kill those men."

Rick, that's nonsense. What you did, had to be done or Sara and Harriet would be dead, or worse. She saw the disbelief in his eyes and tried another tack. Taking him by the shoulders, "When you gave my that rifle did you expect me to shoot?"

"I hoped you wouldn't have to," Rick admitted.

"That's not what I asked, Did you expect me to kill someone if things didn't go the way Sir John planned it?"

"Well… the word trailed off.

"Well nothing. You know damned well I would have. These are good people Rick. Look at Sir John and Harriet, that could be us in twenty years, they deserve the gift you gave them. It's too bad that you had to kill someone, I understand that, but the other side is that if you hadn't our friends would be dead. Evie stood up. "I'm going to bed, would you like to join me?"

Rick watched his wife walk away and his thought went from regrets of the past to looking forward to the future.

In the tent that he shared with Professor Langford and his daughter, too tired to getup and too well rested to sleep Edward Giles lay in his cot wondering if his calculations had been correct. They had been on the site for a week and even with Sahlla and all of his family digging there hadn't been a sigh of anything yet.

It was only the sound of someone shouting that got Giles on his feet and running towards the center of the camp. He intercepted Alex as he was running as fast as his legs could carry him. "Alex what's wrong?"

"I found something. It's big." Alex took off running again before Edward could ask anything else, so he took off after the little boy. He arrived just in time to hear some of Alex story as he told his parents. "Its big Mom, and there's funny writing on it. I've never see anything like it before."

"Slow down Alex His Mother asked. Where were you and how did you find it?"

"I was playing in the first dig, the one we abandoned after the second day. I kicked over a rock and fell down and when I picked up the rock I found it."

Von hecklers aide rushed in, interrupting his breakfast. "Colonel, Something is happening in the camp."

Von Heckler raised his binoculars and watched as all the adults in the camp ran over to one of the holes that they had dug. "Ready the men, we attack in 40 minutes."

The nest 30 minutes were filled with the excitement of discovery. The small part of the artifact that Alex had stumbled over was now over 5 feet wide. The single row of marking had become 3 rows.

Indy and Evie were down on their knees slowly exposing more and more of the artifact. Giles furiously wrote in his journal describing the find as a think stone with three sets of characters set apart in what appear to be rings. Rick and Sir John were helping the Sahella's family remove the tailings as quickly as Evie and Indy could dig. Everyone was so busy that they never noticed the group of armed men headed their way.

The first brigade of the Illuminati got within 100 yards then an overeager soldier spoiled the surprise when he tripped and his rifle fired in to the air. "Cover," shouted Rick, already knowing it was too late. They were outnumbered a hundred to one and the best weapons were in the camp, not at the dig. Still he had to try.

Noting that the men were armed he Pulled one of the Colts from his waistband he shouted, "EVIE…" Before she had even caught the gun, Rick had drawn the other two colts from the shoulder holster. He was firing them alternately the empty brass casings ejected over his shoulder and collect in a pile behind his right foot.

Then came the lull that seems to happen in every battle, when both sides are reloading, a shot period of silence where you can hear your own pounding heart. This lull was anything like that, for the thunder of pounding hooves filled the air and grew steadily louder. The finest horsemen in the Middle East had arrived just in time to save Indy and the gang.

At first it was single riders, ranging ahead of the tribe. The groups of the Calvary rode thought the camp interposing themselves between the 1st brigade and the expedition. Then the main body of the force rode though the camp like a tidal wave over a beach. Indy and the group had been reduced to merely spectators to their own survival.

The tide of battle changed back and forth. First the Madji would seemly overwhelm the trapped soldiers, but Von Heckler wasn't a fool. He grouped his men into a strong defensive position where the advantage of their rifles would dissuade any single attacker from riding among them. Tribesmen were shot off of their horses and lay there dead or dying. But it wasn't one sided by all means. The tribesmen were outstanding marksmen, so for every sacred warrior that fell he was accompanied to hell by one of the commandos. It was only when a stalemate had been established, that the real enemy of man showed up.

In the center of the Valley of the Kings the sand began to swell and swirl like a tidal current trapped in a cove. A loud rumble, even louder then the hoof beats of the Madji horses, roared across the valley. In a flurry of dust and sand Osiris, the god of the dead rose to his height of 60 feet.

He rose and spread his hands, then in a voice that would be heard across Egypt he commanded the Army of the dead. "RISE."

Thousands upon thousands of dustdevils gathered around the Valley of the Kings. Each was collecting sand. The more sand they collected the more solid they became. Then in a split microsecond each of the dustdevils blew apart, exposing thousands of mummies.

"That's enough of the grandstanding," said the voice of RA as he too materialized on the middle of the battlefield. With a quick snap of his fingers all of the fighters, be they human or mummy was instantly frozen in that split second. The figure of Ra strode toward Osiris and as he walked he morphed from an Egyptian god dressed in ceremonial armor to that of a human dressed in the uniform of a Starfleet admiral. "Oops." he said, "Wrong time period." He snapped his fingers and he was then dressed as an archeologist.

When Q reached Osiris he snapped his fingers releasing him and forcing him into human form as well.

"You can't do this screamed them insane Q that had been Osiris. "These are my people, they do my bidding, and they love me.

"Judgement has been reached." Q leaned forward, "and I can do whatever I want. You on the other hand have been found to be insane and will be returned to the continuum for treatment."

"But… but…but…"

"Don't act so surprised. Said Q with contempt in his voice. "We've given you every chance to cure yourself. There is nothing sadder then a godlike being that needs to be worshiped like a god. With that, Q snapped his fingers for the third time and the insane Q was removed back to the continuum.

With Osiris gone the spirits of the mummies were released back to the afterlife and their bodies collapsed back into the sand.

Q stared upwards for a few seconds. "Oh all right, but this makes us even." Q walked over to where the men of the 1st Brigade were frozen. "The things I do for you Picard," he mumbled to himself as he considered millions of possible futures. Finding that none of the men of the commando group played a part in the future that he wanted, he snapped his fingers and the entire group was transported to the surface of Mars where the would die in seconds. " Stop kibitzing, Who's doing this your or me? Then let me do it my way.

Q stopped in front of the O'Connells, <Now this is much more interesting> he thought. With a wave of his hand a tattoo appeared on Rick's wrist and the memory of it always being there was implanted in his head. For Evie he had much more fun, He implanted the memories of an Egyptian princess and set it to go off in a few years.

Once again the voice from above gave him instructions. "What's the point. These creatures won't understand it anyway. All right all right don't get all uppity on me."

Q waved his hand and Rick and Evie and Alex were released from the time lock. "Who the hell are you, yelled Rick.

"Relax human, who I am you can't possibly comprehend, so stand there and listen.

Rick was stunned into silence.

"5000 or so of your years ago a group of what you will one day classify as aliens landed on this planet and set up their own little kingdom. Nasty little creatures this Goa'uld were, always scrounging about. Little scavengers, I don't like them much myself. Anyway at the same time one of my people went insane and left the continuum without anyone noticing.

He came to earth and took over the Goa'uld named Osiris and made himself right at home. Oh he loved the attention. You humans are a superstitious lot. When he tired of the game he simply moved on, but not before he'd set in motion things that would change how your culture developed. Now I can't simply take back what he's done, or you would be back to just learning to farm so here's the deal You have to deal with Imhotep on your own. I've given you everything you need to succeed. The rest is up to you."

"But" Evie protested. "This will change everything we believe about the ancient Egyptians."

"'Tis true 'tis true, 'Tis pity, 'Tis true." Q locked her eyes with his. "Too bad you won't remember any of this." He snapped his fingers one last time.

Croft Manor

"How did Uncle Rick deal with killing those men?" Lara was understandably curious. She had served with the SAS and had killed in the line of duty, but what Rick had done sent shivers up and down her spine. She found it hard to reconcile that the man who'd given her pony back rides when she was a little girl, could be the same man who had saved her grandmother.

"Lara," Evie responded gently. "Rick was one of the most compassionate men I'd ever known. He was also sweet and lovable and the day he died a piece of me died too. But you have to understand something; He was raised in an orphanage and the Foreign Legion was his only hope to escape an utterly hopeless life on the streets."

Back then the Legion was filled with criminals and the worst of the lot were the sergeants in basic training. To survive that, Rick learned to kill, and to do so without a thought. I found him one night by the fire. He was supposed to be on watch, were still worried that the Illuminati would discover what we were up to, but I found him staring into the fire his shoulders slumped in a way that I knew something was bothering him. I'll tell you that same thing I told him. What he'd done had to be done, or Harriet and Sara would be dead and probably the rest of us along side of them as well."

Lara pondered what Evie had told her. Then she wondered if anyone truly knew anyone else. Still the image of her kindly uncle sawing a man's head off with at garrote was something she wouldn't forget for a long time. "So it was your words that convinced him?"

Evie blushed. "Well that and I showed him that there were things worth living for."

Evie's last statement left the room quiet, Evie and Alex silent in embarrassment and Lara and Giles in shock. They had never known Evie to be quite that blunt before. She's always been the soul of modesty as long as either had known her.

"I hate to be rude," said Giles slowly, "but what was hidden under the sand and why was it so cleverly hidden?"

Evie's eyes brightened up in excitement. "I almost forgot. Let that be a lesson to you children, don't get distracted from your main task."

Giles and Lara broke out in laughter when Alex amended his mother's statement. "Now that a classic case of do as I say and not as I do."

Evie glared at her son in response. "Oh Hush Alex." She finally said after staring blankly for a few minutes. Evie turned back to Giles. To answer your question: The next morning, someone that shall remain nameless, was up at the crack of dawn and getting into things as usual.

"It wasn't MY fault that you and Dad were too tired." Alex chuckled.

"Alex came dashing into our tent, all out of breath and his knee bleeding rather badly. He was so excited that he wouldn't even settle down long enough for me to bandage his," Evie smiled at her son, "Boo boo."

"You just had to say it didn't you." Alex's words were empty of any true criticisms. He turned back to his adopted Nice and Nephew, "Let me remind you that I was only five."

"He just kept saying that it was big with strange writing on it. Finally we got him calmed down enough for him to tell us what happened. He'd been playing near one of the exploratory sites that Edward had abandoned after the first few days. Alex being Alex had fallen into the pit and knocked his knee against a rock."

" 'Well Indy always said that 'archeology is 90 percent sweat and 10 percent luck.' With Alex that seems to be reversed, with some of the best minds in England in our group, a five-year-old discovered an artifact whose style had never been seen before."

"Even with Sahella's family helping it too all day to uncover half of what Edward had begun to call the ring stone. It turned out that the single row of characters that Alex discovered was one row of three. None of us had ever seen this style of cuneiform before and Edward was driving him bonkers trying to decipher them."

To this day I don't understand how Sir John and Indy remained so calm. I think they were more concerned that the Illuminati would attack and take the ring stone away.

Giles spoke up, "What did happen to them?"

Actually we never found out. Dad always thought that when we… he, Alex corrected himself, killed those men that they simply packed up and left Egypt. We never saw them again and no one bothered us until the Army rode into camp."

"What!" Giles eyes snapped back to Alex.

"It seems that Professor Langford had made some compromises with the U.S. Government to get his expedition off the ground. He'd signed an agreement that gave away the rights to any discovery, should the U.S want it. Turns out they did. In less then a week they had the ring stone crated up and ready to move back to America."

"Things got even worse," Evie picked up the story again. "When they came to get our research records the Army wanted to take Rick's guns. Rick had to threaten to shoot Lt. Patton so that he could keep them. 'Said no tin horn little prick was gonna take his guns.' Things got a little tense there for a bit."

"The last day was the worst. We woke up surrounded by soldiers. It seems the Colonel in charge had decided to take us back to the states to be debriefed. It took ever ounce of will and a threat from Sir John to involve the king before anyone would back down. We were required to sign an agreement that we would never discuss this with anyone ever. They even made Alex sign one."

"Got even with then though," Alex chipped in.

"How's that?

"Alex, in his own way, protested . He signed the paper in Egyptian hieroglyphics. They never did figure out that Tutankhamun signed their damned piece of paper."

The group laughed as a whole. " We did however get away with two things. That first day just below the first character there was a gap between the stone and the ground, in that gap Professor Langford discovered two gold discs. He gave one of them Alex and the other one to Katharine. The Army wasn't bright enough to actually search the children so they are the only mementos we have that and the story I've just told you.

"Aunt Evie. Why tell Giles and I now?"

"I've been tempted at least a dozen times over the years but the time never seemed right. It's been more then a half a century since the ring stone has been seen, and most of the others are dead. Evie paused for the longest time. "I thought someone deserved to know, and who better then the pair of you. After all, these are the tales of your parents past.


Croft Manor
1995 two weeks later,

Giles's things had been packed and loaded into the Citroen. He nervously shifted from foot to foot, waiting on Lara so he could say goodbye. The rest had done him good and the training that Lara had provided would serve him well in the coming years. He was unsure of the future, he only knew that he had to be careful not to change too much or the future that included Buffy and the Slayerettes would become tangled in the web of possibility. He and Daa'naal had spent hours working on his magic and in-between lessons they had plotted a basic course of action for the next few months.

"You know you are welcome to stay as long as you like. Giles gave a little startled jump as Lara entered the room.

Giles stopped himself as he reached for glasses that were no longer there. "I appreciate everything that you've done Lara, but I want to get back to the museum. I don't want to put Alex out any longer then I have to."

"Nonsense. He's having more fun then when he and His father rode with the Madji during the war. She glanced at him suspiciously, "What's the real reason?"

"Well you've met Daa'naal, He rather likes you by the way. We need some time alone to prepare."

"Prepare for what?"

"That I can't tell you. I'm sorry Lara, but these secrets aren't mine to share."

Lara Hugged he Uncle and whispered in his ear, "I can accept that for now. She pulled back and continued in a louder tone, but if I hear that you got into trouble and didn't call on me for help, you'll be very sorry."

Giles could only smile at the bravado Lara showed. "You can count on it."

Giles turned to leave when Lara called him back. "I've a few presents for you."

"You didn't have to do that."

"I wanted to do it. Here." She shoved a large package into the surprised watcher's hands. He opened it to find a brown duster, vaguely reminiscent of the cloak Sherlock Holmes wore.

"You'll need it to hide these." Lara then grabbed the black weapons case that held the Detonics Score Masters that Giles had used in the shooting match. "There's also a 1000 rounds of hollow points and a carry permit signed by the head of MI6. That gives you the right to carry these anywhere in England." Lara smiled. "Works pretty well for the rest of Europe too, but don't count on that and DON'T take them on a plane."

"Lara, I don't know what to say." Giles was genuinely touched by her gift.

"Say good bye Giles."

The Ripper emerged for one last second and the smile that Giles wore proved it. "Goodbye Giles."

The End


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