Chapter 1 - A Ten Million Dollar Site

The sands of Egypt could seem unbearable sometimes. The vast scenery of the desert grew unimpressive after months of redundancy. Although the effects of the temperature faded with time, the sweltering atmosphere of the desert eventually grew wearisome.

It seemed much hotter today. The heat was more unbearable. The wait was more boring. The food was worse, the boss more annoying. Everything seemed to be getting worse for Jaclyn Samone.

"Listen Maggie, all I'm saying is that this project has been going on for what, three months now? What is ol' man Kissidrick looking for?" inquired Jaclyn.

"I don't get it Jaclyn. You may find something out here. You may not. You could make a revolutionary discovery. You might find some thousand year old trash. Either way, you get paid. It doesn't matter why Frank has us looking in this trash-heap. We still get our check," the woman responded.

"Don't you ever feel like you're wasting your life away? Like none of this means anything?"

"Honey, I worked as a secretary for 4 years. I sat behind a desk and answered phone calls. I felt like I was wasting my life before Frank hired me. Now I work outside. I work with my hands. I'm not in a stuffy office and neither are you. Besides, you're young yet, stop talking like you're fifty years old or something." Anyway, I gotta go sweetie, I'm busy. Apparently there's something that Frank wants me to take a look at. Thing's will get better I promise. This is just a phase."

Jaclyn Samone was a twenty nine year old archeologist. She had gotten into this field because of her obsession with ancient Greek civilizations. Now she was digging in Egypt. She had been working the current project for a little over three months. Still, nothing of any interest had turned up. It would have been okay had she known what they were looking for. However, Frank Kissidrick, Jaclyn's boss, hadn't informed them of what it was that they sought out.

Jaclyn decided to take Maggie's advice. For the next few weeks she continued to "work through the phase." However, these feelings didn't leave her. She was dissatisfied with the progress of the team.

She was happy to return to her trailer that night.

"You okay honey?" asked her husband, Michael.

"Yeah, I'm fine sweetie. Rough day today that's all. Everything is starting to get so repetitive. I can't take it anymore."

"Well, should we? Liven things up a bit?" deviously asked Michael.

Jaclyn walked over to Michael and sat down on his lap, facing him with her legs around his. She leaned against his chest.

"I don't know what I would do without you, baby. I really don't."

He put his arms around her and kissed her on the forehead.

"I know what I would do without you. I'd miss you everyday."

Despite the general cheesiness of the statement, Jaclyn smiled. She was happy to here him say it. It was Michael's love that motivated her to get up and work in the sand everyday, that, and their beautiful daughter Elizabeth.

Come on, let's go to bed babygirl."

Suddenly, their daughter, Lizzie came into the room.

"Hi Mommy," the child said.

"Hey angel. It's getting pretty late. It's time for you to get to bed little girl."

"Okay Mommy. Tomorrow can I come with you to play in the sand?"

Jaclyn laughed. "Sure, Lizzie. You can play in the sand with me tomorrow. First let's get you to bed okay?"

Michael and Jaclyn then brought Lizzie to her bed.

"Goodnight mommy, goodnight daddy."

"Goodnight sweetie."

A few weeks later, Jaclyn made an important discovery. It was the first discovery in a long time. A dusty sphere was protruding from the ground.

"Well, never seen this before," she thought.

She hastily dug out the object. As soon as she could grab it, she pulled it up.

"Just an ordinary vase."

The vase was made of common clay. At the top was the red sphere.

Something fell off of the top.

"And it's fallin' apart too."

She threw the piece of junk behind her.

Soon Maggie came by.

"What's that there?" She asked.

"Just garbage. Nothing we haven't seen before."

"No that, the thing on top. It looks like a marble or something."

"It's simple clay Mag. The round part was painted green. There's nothing unique about this."

Maggie bent down to pick it up.

"I'm gonna take this back and analyze it. If you don't mind that is."

"And you think I'm getting impatient? You're reaching for a breakthrough Mag," laughed Jaclyn.

No sooner than Jaclyn had said it, Maggie had taken off in the direction of her tent.

"Whatever keeps ya busy I guess."

After the humorous episode, Jaclyn returned to work.

The following day, Maggie grabbed Jaclyn before the site grew busy.

"Come here Jackie. I got something' to show ya.' Remember that little ball or whatever you found yesterday? Well there's more. That was what Frank wanted to show me. I found two, myself. Yours was red. Like a precious stone red. The only problem is, a rock like that wouldn't form naturally in this area. It's perfectly spherical, another reason it could not have been formed naturally."

"Okay, so someone in the biblical times had a precious stone."

"Wait. Lemme' finish, it gets weirder. It's not a precious stone. It's not anything. It's not an element, a compound. It doesn't show the characteristics of any natural rock formation. This is something totally new. And then there's this interesting little factor: feel it."

Maggie handed the stone to Jaclyn.

"It's hot," said Jaclyn.

"That's right, now feel this one." Maggie handed her a blue one.

Jaclyn was surprised to learn that it was numbing cold.

"Now ya' startin to believe me?" asked Maggie.

"Okay, so what does all of this mean?"

"I don't know but something is up. Maybe this is why Frank has been keeping us here."

"No, can't be, he would have told us right?"

"I don't know. Listen sweetie, if you find any more, make sure you bring them to me so that I can analyze them okay?"

"Of course, do your thing Mag."

When they left Maggie's trailer they saw Frank. He was standing in the middle of the site and he was with another man. The other man had a stern look on his face. They were talking business.

"Look, it's a simple deal. One million dollars. Just… pack up and go," the man said.

Frank grew suspicious.

"Why do you want it?"

"Why do you?"

"I asked first."

"Don't play stupid games. Does it matter why I want it? Look at your options. A mill- ten okay? Ten Million dollars among your team to just pack up and leave. You aren't going to find a ten million dollar dig site here."

"No. I've changed my mind now. Whatever's here I want to discover it. If you're willing to pay ten million dollars it must be something huge."

"It's of no use to you!" shouted the mysterious man.

"That's my final word."

"So you're turning me down then?"

"Good day sir."

"See to it that you never back out of a deal with me again."

Upon saying that, the man immediately turned and left. He looked very intimidating as he left the campsite. His face did not show anger. Instead, he wore a stoic expression of determination and frustration. He got into an SUV with the flap of his long trench-coat sliding into the vehicle.

Maggie and Jaclyn overheard this conversation.

"Something is going down girl. Somethin' big. Ya know what, I think you should gimme those marbles. I should keep em' safe."

"No problem Mag. You deal with it. Just be careful okay? I don't feel good about this."