Chapter 4.6: Dear Diary, the Doctor
Dear Diary, Egypt is amazing! In every way! But I’m getting way ahead of myself. I know there’s a lot of catching up to do since I haven’t been very diligent in writing.
The last you’d heard, Susan and I weren’t getting along and I’d basically been put in my place by Xalen. There was a lot of hurt to get over but when Susan and I began our classes at the university, everything changed. I guess you could say, we grew up a little bit and realized that no guy was worth what being sisters meant to us. That sounds so nice and tidy, doesn’t it? Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but at least we’re on good terms again.
Susan and Theo tried to maintain a long distance relationship, flying in the face of our family’s disapproval. Meanwhile, I busied myself with my studies and continued to work with Xalen. Of course, neither Susan nor I could skip out on the parties!
The more guys I went out with, the more I realized how deep my feelings for Xalen ran. He said I was rebounding after I kissed him that time but now I know I really love him and always will. Sadly, not long after I graduated, his father died and he quit teaching to take his father’s place at the Neptune Foundation in Alpine County. We hadn’t lost touch completely, but I couldn’t predict when a hurried email or text would come my way. It wasn’t often enough for me.
Even though Susan and I also parted ways, we kept in constant touch and I hoped to see her soon. Surprisingly, she didn’t go back to Winchester as she’d planned. Instead, she went into photography and decided to do her own traveling. It wasn’t what I expected her to do, but since when did a Larochette ever do what was expected?
As for Theo, I haven’t heard what happened with him and my sister. Either they broke up, or she has decided not to mention him. Perhaps she thinks it would still upset me.
I have bigger things going on right now than worrying about my former best friend and my sister. See that crummy building that’s half falling apart? That’s where I’m staying at the moment. At least until I can get back to Cairo to further examine some of the pieces we’ve found out here in the blistering desert.
Staying here pretty much felt like camping would, except for the fact that I find sand in places you never should. Thankfully, we have a camping shower with halfway decent water pressure.
I’ve found that coming from Winchester where there was no electricity, running water or any other basic comforts, I’m more suited to this type of life than my comrades. While they don’t spend the entire day complaining, it’s easy to tell how much they miss the comforts of everyday life.
Step into my office! These are some of our most recent finds. These things may not look like much, but every time I hold them in my hands and feel the material against my skin, it takes me back centuries. I can imagine myself in that time, using these things and holding them dear as the very first to own them.
From our campsite, I can see the great pyramids. They look deceptively close as if I could just reach out and touch them. But in all reality, there is a river that cuts through the sand, keeping us apart. For now.
I think it’s high time you met part of my team. Standing in back is one of the most respected Egyptologists on the planet, Dr. Nizam Tammam. He is also the Chief Research Officer on this project and such a joy to work with because he is a wealth of knowledge. I’ve learned so much just by sitting around the campfire with him in the evenings when it’s too dark to do anything else but listen to his fascinating stories.
Standing next to Dr. Tammam is Dr. Nadia Petrie who is our Field Director. She’s leading this expedition because our Primary Investigator had to leave unexpectedly. I really respect Nadia and am so thankful to be working under her direction.
You’re probably wondering what I do? Well, let me introduce myself again even though I did that only a few entries ago. You are now being written in by Dr. Martha Larochette and my doctorate is in Linguistic Anthropology! It was in one of Xalen’s lectures that I found I was fascinated by language, so here I am.
After that announcement, it seems kind of silly, but I’ll show you around the place. As you can see, it isn’t anything to write home about.
This morning, we’re spending most of our time in the heart of what used to be Akpo at what is left of the Temple of Ypmir. Nadia’s team found some hieroglyphics here that have never been translated, so Dr. Tammam asked me to have a look.
It wasn’t in color any longer but I could see it that way in my head as I traced my fingers along the cool stone.
“Cursed are you….. who enter…. here…” I slowly read aloud.
“Wonderful!” Nadia exclaimed with a grin. “Another curse!”
I moved along the wall, devouring the beauty of the ruins with my eyes. Truly in my element, I forgot everything around me as Nadia snapped pictures so we could study them later. Plopping down in the sand, I began to write down in my little notepad what I was deciphering.
Satisfied we’d collected enough for the moment, we hiked a little ways to where Dr. Tammam said there were columns. He wasn’t wrong! They were majestic even though they were no longer complete.
Kneeling near the base of one, I smoothed some of the sand away to get a look at the hieroglyphs underneath. As I scooped sand away from the base, my fingers touched something cold and hard.
“I’ve found something!” I yelled as I realized I should take a more careful approach.
It took the rest of the afternoon, but we carefully excavated several pieces of pottery. I couldn’t wait to get back to camp to get a closer look at them.
Excitement bubbled in me as I moved the pieces about. This was something I had found. Thousands of years ago, someone who created this piece had their hands on it, lovingly forming it into what it was. Then, other hands used it. It wasn’t an earth-shattering find, but how could you not feel geeked about this?
I lost myself for several hours as I studied the broken pottery. It wasn’t until the sun began to go down that I was distracted by Nadia.
“Marty, I’d like you to meet someone.”
Wiping my dirty hands on my jeans, I turned toward her.
“This is Beckett Quinn. Beckett, this is Dr. Larochette.”
After we both mumbled a hello, Nadia continued.
“Beckett is our new PI.”
I could not have been more shocked if she’d hit me with a cattle prod. “Huh?”
“Dr. Doman can no longer work with this expedition so Beckett is replacing him.”
How could this young guy be replacing our Primary Investigator? He looked about my age and unless he was some kind of child prodigy, there was no way he had the experience needed for such a position.
“It’s just temporary,” he explained as I continued to stare at him in shock. “Only until my dad can fill the position permanently.”
“Beckett’s father is none other than Dr. Mark Quinn.”
Again, my jaw hit the floor but that didn’t stop me from venting. “So, your dad is the president of the team? Boy, I wish my dad was, then I’d be in charge! Are you even a doctor?”
His expression became perplexed as he said, “Um, no, but like I said, it’s just tempor – ”
” – Yeah, I heard that the first time! This is just great! Do you even know what you’re supposed to be doing out here?”
“Well, yeah, I mean, I grew up around this stuff my entire life.”
“So, what do you normally do?”
“Uh, surveyance. I do surveyance.”
“You keep repeating yourself,” I fumed. “So you tell us where to dig.”
“I keep things safe,” he said.
“Well, don’t think that just because your daddy is in charge, you can tell me what to do. I’m good at my job, so, uh, just stay out of my way.”
With that, I turned on my heel and strode away from him as briskly as I could. The entire time, I was muttering to myself about how some young daddy’s boy who got lucky wasn’t going to push me around.
While I made some dinner, I was still going on about it. Finally, Nadia, who was washing her own dinner dishes, laughed and said, “Really, Marty, I don’t like it any more than you do. Technically, he’s my boss, too!”
“Well, how can you be so calm?”
“I can stay calm beause underneath it all, he is inexperienced and I’m still really in charge even if the job title doesn’t say it outright. Besides, he’s not bad to look at.”
“Hmph,” I said. “He’s all right if you like baby-faced guys. To me he just looks like a blowup doll.”
Author’s Note: I’m sorry that this chapter was shorter. It wasn’t intended to be but then, I caught that nasty bug going around and had kind of a miserable week. I am doing much better now, though. 🙂
Anyway, I also wanted to let you know that when I post an author interview, at the end of it, I always post a contact form so anyone wanting to be interviewed can contact me more easily. What I’ve noticed, though, is that several comments were instead put in the contact form and sent to my inbox instead of being posted in the comments section below. If you didn’t see your comment show up, this has probably happened to you as I rarely delete or edit comments that come through. I just wanted you all to know what happened and that I probably won’t include the form on future interviews. I apologize for the confusion.
Thank you so much for reading and for your wonderful support. I really value you.