Patrick knew he had no choice but to accept the fact that he was now in a different world altogether and he had to learn how to blend in. Deep in his heart he was relieved that he wasn't in his original time and place anymore- nobody really liked him there and everyone was out for his neck. This place looked promising- he could spend the rest of his life there in peace- he began to zone out.
"Here ... try this!", said Layha offering him a long white robe.
"Eh.. So this it what men wear out here?", he asked.
"Yes, it is a very luxurious gown here- every nobleman wears one of this plus it will hide that strange leg gown you are wearing.", she replied with a smile.
"These are called pants!", Patrick replied and snatched the gown from her hands and put it on.
Layha was amused and smiled as Patrick put on the white gown which stretched upto his feet. It was strangely comfortable, light and silky.
"You look good - now follow me!", said Layha.
Patrick followed her down the shack and into the streets. The place was getting crowded as people gathered to watch the parade of the royal guards. Layha quickly led him through the crowd and found him a good spot to watch the parade. Patrick was stupefied at what he saw.
The seven feet tall- well built guards stood in all corners protecting the palanquin of the royal one. The old man stepped out from the palanquin and placed his foot on a small decorated stool- he could barely stand and his eyes barely opened. He looked so old and fragile and had a stooped back.He had no hair on his head and even his scalp was wrinkled. He supported himself with an wooden stick.
"Here ye!"- said the old man in a trembling voice, " tis the time of the year again- the call for sacred duty of the chosen ones- rejoice for you shall have the supreme honour of serving the God Kings of our land!!", he said.
The crowd cheered upon hearing the announcement. Some people even cried in excitement.
"Who's that?", asked Patrick pointing at the old man.
Layha quickly pulled back his hand and said ," It's an offence to point at royalty- you'll have your hand chopped off… be quiet and listen."
Patrick quietly obeyed.
"Now who hear wants to fulfill their destiny?Come forth and kneel!", continued the old man.
It was night time now, Patrick looked at his watch - 8 pm. He was very tired due to his journey and the heat. At his request Hans has given him a laptop with an internet connection and a table fan for the heat. A guard also brought in some cheese burgers and a diet coke.
He took a sip from his drink and then placed the ancient text under the table lamp. But his mind was somewhere else-
"How did they even find me?", he wondered-
"I don't even own a phone!"
He took a deep breath and tried to focus on the text. He hadn't seen anything quite like it. It was not ancient Hebrew or Turkish. Strange letters like those of Celtic runes written by hand on a papyrus adorned the entire piece which might have looked quite appealing before.
"Must be Akkadian or Sumerian!",thought Patrick as he typed in his login credentials into the laptop.
He had a secret server where he kept his entire journals about discoveries and findings. Pictures taken of old books and maps and even his dad's diaries were perfectly scanned and stored in it. This was his secret- his ultimate store of knowledge. He scrolled through the pictures one by one and looked into his dad's journals trying to match the writings. The script looked familiar but he couldn't remember where he had last seen it. He scrolled through many folders on the laptop until he found the one titled -
"An account of the ancient mesopotamian history and literature"
This was one of his dad's forgotten journal that he had painstakingly scanned and uploaded into his private server. He opened the scanned images one by one and read through the contents-
"The ancient land of Mesopotamia or modern day Iraq has been home to many mysterious civilizations dating back far more than modern academia currently suggests..."
- read Patrick curiously, he never had time to read these journals and he never imagined these would ever come in handy.He continued reading -
"Modern day mainstream scholars often do not bother to dig any further than the Akkadian or Sumerian cultures which existed around 4000 BCE and they are hardly to blame for there doesn't exist much evidence of such a pre historical civilization. Except for a few clay tablets and sculptures of the dieties worshipped by those people. I am talking about the Annunakis here - the dieties who were worshipped by the ancient people..
- Patrick was intrigued when he read the word "Annunaki" and so he kept reading.
"The Epic Of Gilgamesh- an old poem belonging to that era mentions about these ancient people and their dieties..."
"Annunakis were Gods of the first civilization of the earth- this is what I've come to believe after my extensive research works. They helped to shape humanity's future- by teaching them about agriculture and crops, pottery and weapons, literature also seems to have propagated during that era as many cuneiform or clay tablets with curious writings have been discovered today- of course they are in a pretty bad shape but we can make out the important details necessary…Their accounts were recorded in the form of clay tablets and were held sacred by the later civilizations.People sang songs and wrote poems about these ancient beings but the records were lost in time. I believe that some ancient historians even knew the true language of these Gods and must have recorded in their cuneiform tablets…"
Patrick kept on reading and matching the samples of the scans with his papyrus. An hour later after an intense study he found out that the papyrus was not of that age and time but was merely an inspired work refering to the old ages- it was probably written during the middle ages by some unknown historian but it wasn't in any known language new or old! He reopened the scans again and continued reading-
"I call it 'the language of the Gods' because it cannot be spoken by any mere mortal- it can however be written down and understood or translated but can never be spoken in any human tongue…I have been fortunate enough to come by a peculiar looking tablet that was written in the same obscure language and have started to translate it… ", Patrick was intrigued and continued-
"I have made an attempt to reconstruct its vocabulary and grammar and made the following dictionary so that I can
continue to understand the ancient world…", Patrick opened the next scan and as soon as he did he saw pages and pages of weird scribbles and their corresponding meanings in English. He matched the scribbles with his papyrus. The words started to make sense. After an hour he made a crude translation of the language in the papyrus. It read:
"Here lies the gateway to anywhere and nowhere..."
-and then the rest was torn off. Then right below it were drawings of weird humanoid figures with elongated heads who seemed to worship in a circle around a portal looking structure that had a huge spiral in the middle.
Somewhere in the city, March 26th, 9 a.m.
Bishop opened her eyes and saw the ceiling of her room, her heart was racing, her forehead was covered with sweat and dirt and she was lying on the floor in her room. She sat upright and looked around- it was indeed her house , her room!
"But I was with my team...in that base...the sphere...", she spoke to herself.
She felt as if she had just woken up from a dream - a lucid dream. She stood up and walked towards her bed and noticed her clothes- those were the same clothes that she was wearing in that base- the same blue jacket- black jeans and black boots. She sat down on her bed and turned towards the mirror on the left of her- her face was covered with dirt- she tried to wipe it off...
"What on earth is happening?", she thought,
"why do i feel like I was supposed to be somewhere else?", she was having trouble with remembering , her thoughts were scattered.
She checked her pocket and found her phone- she clicked it open and immediately noticed the date- March 26 2013. She was shocked- although she couldn't remember much, but she atleast knew that it was supposed to be the 28th not 26th of March today! But she calmed herself down and tried to retrace her steps- the first thing she recalled was that she was with a few more people, but not here - somewhere else. Then she remembered being somewhere around military men and seeing a sphere- a huge metallic sphere. But how could she be at teo places at the same time? If she was dreaming in her bed then why was she fully dressed for outdoors and her face was covered with dirt? And for god's sake what's up with the date??
"Ugh!", she cried out in frustration and clenched her hair. It all seemed so strange as if her head was exploding with deja vu- on steroids.
After a few minutes of frustration, she felt like taking a cold shower would calm her down. She headed for her bathroom and stripped her clothes off one by one until she was bare naked. She looked at herself in the bathroom mirror and noticed her eyes were red - a blue vein was popping up from left side of her neck and ran down all the way to her breasts. She turned the faucet on and cold drops of water hit her warm body. A shiver ran down her spine and she cleaned herself up. Five minutes under the shower and her mind was beginning to calm down. She sat down on the bathroom floor , the water still dropping slowly on her head. She closed her eyes and touched the blue vein on her neck- it didn't hurt but it felt like something warm was flowing through it. Her breathing became slower and her mind cslmer and peaceful. She began to remember -
March 28th , she was on the Cordoba with her team- they had found the sarcophagus and taken to an army base where they met with General Roarke. He asked her to open the sarcophagus- she started to work on it with her team -
"Let me tell you something Miss Bridges...", said Roarke looking her in the eye "I think i need not remind you that you are under oath and under any circumstances you are not to reveal to anyone about this artefact and whatever lies within it...it will be considered an act of treason if you do so..."
"Spare me the details General...", replied Bishop with a hint of attitude in her voice, " I am a historian and I am just here to do my job, whatever 'treasure' we find inside is yours... I don't care as long as I receive my paycheck on time..."
The General gave her a strong look and walked away ordering his men to show them to the lab where the sarcophagus lay. Bishop was amazed - the way she spoke- this wasn't the same shy, soft spoken and timid girl from her University days. Life has taught her a lot especially after her broken relationship, she had learned to stand up for herself.
She and her team walked into the lab with their bags full of equipments. Mike followed Bishop with her bags and notes. Bishop asked Rico to carbon date the sealed sarcophagus so that they could make out it's age. A few minutes later Rico concluded that it must be more than a thousand years old but could only be sure once the seal is opened and the contents revealed.
Rhodes, Rico, Nina and Bishop stood around the sarcophagus which lay on the table in the centre-
" Hmm ... so it has no openings...", observed Bishop.
"Yeah and even scans don't work... wonder how an ancient artefact could be shielded so well..." , added Rico.
"I could drill a hole ...", said Rhodes.
"No... that won't work it's too hard and dense..your drill won't even scratch it", said Nina.
"Well let's hit it with a hammer then...", said Rhodes trying to add some humor.
"It rings like a bell .... I tried...", replied Nina crossing her arms.
"Wait! say that again", said Bishop, she was onto something.
"It rings... like a bell... when I hit it with this hammer...", replied Nina showing her the small hammer.
"What? Where did you hit it?", asked Bishop.
"Right here on the left side...", replied Nina.
Bishop looked at the side of the sarcophagus, there seemed to be some indentation on it, she touched it and felt three dots one after the other lined up perpendicularly. These dots were almost invisible to the naked eye due to the wear and tear but could be felt when touched.
"Do it again...", said Bishop moving closer to hear the sound.
Nina hit it slowly on the side like she did before- a low ringing voice emanated from it.
"Yes... it's a C !", replied Bishop excitedly,
"Again ... hit it two inches further..."
Nina obeyed and hit the sarcophagus again but this time a frustrating thud came out of it.
"Something's wrong ... wait hit it a bit lower from the starting spot...", said Bishop. The others watched curiously, clearly none of them had a clue as to what Bishop was rambling about. Nina hit the sarcophagus again a bit lower - there it was again, the ringing.
"Its an F !... yes!", said Bishop.
"What F ? What on earth are you talking about?, asked Nina.
"Can't you see... these are notes ... musical notes... C, F and the next one should be an A, it's skipping two notes on the scale!", replied Bishop trying to explain the mystery behind the ringing, clearly her degree in music has paid off - she had ear training classes where she learnt how to detect the pitch of a musical note.
Nina and the others were amazed at this revelation and she struck the hammer again a bit lower - another soft ringing tone emanated from it but this time at a different pitch.
" Okay, so musical notes on a 1000 year old sarcophagus - could this day get any more bizzare?", said Rhodes.
"How do we open it?", Nina was puzzled and looked at Bishop for guidance.
"This cannot be a coincidence that the pitches match musical notes...we are missing something else...", replied Bishop.
"Ah! I give up", said Nina and sat down on a chair.
Bishop was still observing the sarcophagus from all angles trying to find the next clue to opening it while the rest of the team sat on their chairs and relaxed.