My name is Eleanor Harper-Littlejohn, but everyone calls me “Johnny”. This is my first entry in the continuing journal started by Lester Dent, archeologist and geological expert otherwise known by his teammates as “Bones”.

Everything’s happened so quickly in the last five days I’ve barely had a moment to think on what I’m doing or what’s happened.I was a student of Clark Savage Sr. back in Princeton. I’d never met a man quite like him before; me being from a backwater little town in Texas.
The first time our paths crossed was in the school’s library. I was going over the syllabus for my courses when I heard a warm velvety voice over my shoulder.

“That’s quite an impressive selection you have there.”

My response?

“Back off creep. Why don’t you go find yourself a nice blond med student with an impressive selection to harass?”

I can’t begin to express the amount of embarrassment I felt when I heard that same warm velvety tone projecting from the front of the auditorium in my Egyptian archeology class.

“I have an impressive selection of assignments for you this term ladies and gentlemen.”

I don’t think anyone else noticed the fact that he was looking directly at me when he said this. If I couldn’t sink below the floor boards it wasn’t from lack of trying.

Nonetheless, for some reason, Professor Savage took a liking to me and he took me under his wing and not just in archeology. The two of us could be found at all hours in the halls of the library discussing everything from mathematics theories, social politics and of course archeology and geology. We were fast friends. He taught me when to question the facts in front of my face and when to accept improbable theories of the universe. In other words he taught me how to view the world through different eyes.

He was a true renaissance man, Clark Sr., and quite the physical specimen at 60 years old, I gotta say. I spent countless mornings during my senior year on the track field trying in vain to keep up with him. Every inch the man that the newsreels suggested.

Then, came graduation and the greatest gift I could never have imagined. A package arrived for me while I was in the middle of packing my things. A ticket on a chartered flight to Cairo, dossiers on the crew that I would be leading to a secret dig West of Aswan, Egypt (The same dig that Emily Sands was on her way to excavate when she disappeared on the Nile) and a letter.
The letter was from Clark. I won’t reveal everything contained in that letter, but in general, he was sorry that he couldn’t be there in person to give me my gift and he had the utmost confidence that there was no one more qualified for the expedition than me. He ended the letter by telling me he would be traveling in places unreachable by most men with his team, but he had no doubt that our paths would cross again.

That was the last I heard of Clark Savage, Sr. until five days ago when I was visited by an unexpected stranger.

150 miles South-West of Aswan, EgyptArcheological Dig Site of Eleanor Littlejohn

The hot dessert winds swept the dunes wiping away time as it had done for thousands of years. As the afternoon sun rose above the dig site it cast harsh, sharp shadows behind the ruins of an ancient weathered city, giving the burning desert sands the appearance of having sharp jagged teeth at the ready to swallow any foolish travelers, left unawares.

All around the site, hundreds of Bedouin’s toiled at various tasks from transporting water on their shoulders, chipping, digging and sweeping away at sandstone in order to uncover the many structures throughout the site or leading dromedaries laden with supplies. Orders and singing could be heard everywhere in Bedawi, Naidi and Hassani, the languages of the Bedouin people.
Directly at the epicenter of the ancient ruins was a small stone structure partially buried beneath the sand. It rose up about ten feet in the air with four outer walls each measuring approximately eight feet in length at the bottom and decreasing as they rose. The structure looked to be a miniature version of the Pyramids of Giza. At the base of one of these walls where the stone met the sand was an opening just wide enough for a large man to crawl through. One such large man stood at the mouth of the opening staring at a rope that trailed in to it. He was a broad thick necked man who towered over most of the workers around him with ruddy, leathern skin and a head of shocking red hair that trailed on to his face in a stern looking beard.Many of the Bedoiun’s spied the mysterious stranger out of the corner of their eyes which did not escape the attention of the barrel-chested visitor.

His steely gaze squinted past the glare on the stone wall in to the heart of the structure. The red haired man dug in to his satchel and produced a pair of thick skinned gloves which he deftly slipped his massive hands in to. Grabbing up the length of rope with a “hrumph” he dove head first in to the opening with the ease and skill of a man who had obviously been accustomed to unconventional entrances.

Within the structure the red headed stranger swiftly glided down the rope without hesitation and landed softly on to the stone floor fifty feet below the entrance.There were torches placed in to crevices all around the inner chamber casting playful, yet eerie light on the faces of giant statues that surrounded him on all four sides. Between each statue was a doorway with stairs descending even further in to the bowels of the pyramid. After a quick survey of his surroundings the red headed stranger shouldered his pack, chose a set of stairs and made his way in to the heart of the pyramid.

At the bottom of the staircase the man found a labyrinthine circuit of tunnels which he followed this way and that to a doorway in to what appeared to be a burial chamber. He paused outside the door for the briefest of moments and continued inside. Suddenly and without warning a shovel swung toward his face from the right side of the door, but instead of colliding with its mark, the shovel stopped abruptly in the massive, gloved grip of the read headed stranger. Before he had a moment to say a word, a small fist slammed in to his jaw. With a firm yank, the man pulled the shovel and it’s wielder out from shadows.

“Ms. Littlejohn. My name is Theodore Brooks and I come to ye with a message from Clark Savage, Jr.” he said in a brogue of the Scottish Highlands.

Eleanor Littlejohn’s face seemed to contort in to several different emotions all at once until finally settling on one of abject confusion. She let the shovel drop to the ground and collapsed against the wall with an exasperated sigh as she rubbed her temples.

“I’m sorry, can you say that again?”

One hour later in the cool confines of Eleanor’s tent the two of them sat across from each other at a wooden table. A portable 78 sat in the corner on top of some whiskey crates lazily explaining in the voice of Billie Holiday What A Little Moonlight Could Do. Eleanor laid out some fresh fruits, nuts, dried meats and a bottle of single malt whiskey. She poured two hefty glasses and handed one to her guest. She saluted him with a slight raise of her own.

“Hope I didn’t hurt you down in those tunnels big boy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had grave robbers and bandits try and poach my dig.”

“I think I’ll survive lass.” he said as he drained his glass.

“Now tell me again why you’re here, Red.”

Eleanor refilled the glasses, settled back in to her seat and kicked her feet up.

“Clark Savage, Jr. asked me te find ye in this godawful wasteland te extend an invitation for ye te join his team. He’s preparing as we speak for a very harrowing expedition te points unknown all across the globe and he would like you te be his resident archeological and geographical expert. The dangers you’ll face on this trip will probably be many and there’s a good chance you might die. If ye accept, we would depart for New York in the morn and ye would then have a day or two te prepare for the journey which will begin on the first of the month and last for an undetermined amount of time.”

There was a pregnant pause in which Eleanor drained her glass, walked over to Mr. Brooks and filled his as well as her own. She made her way to the mouth of the tent and stood staring out in to the desert getting a grasp on what she had just been asked.Mr. Brooks, not outwardly revealing his inner thoughts, was taken aback at the capacity Eleanor had for drinking his beverage of choice as well as the label which she had two cases of currently holding up Billie Holiday. It was one of his particular favorites, aged and bottled not far from where the hardened Scott spent his childhood. The young archeologist inadvertently gained a bit of respect from the man, which she would later learn was no small feat.

After some time, Eleanor went back to her seat and looked Mr. Brooks in the eye with a searching suspicious gaze.

“Why is Clark’s son inviting me anywhere and what is this team you keep mentioning? What’s the purpose of this mysterious expedition that could get me killed and why would I even consider leaving the research that I’ve been conducting for the past five years; thanks to Clark, and where the blazes is he anyway?”

Brooks lit up a cheap cigar and exhaled a gust of smoke that described an intricate trail around the tent until finding its way out the flap.

“He’s inviting you for many reasons, one being you’re tops in your field. Te find out the rest, you’ll have to ask him yourself. In regards to the team, that would be The Furious Five as we’ve come te be known by the papers and public. The team includes Lieutenant Colonel Winston Mayfair; Construction engineer, Sébastien Bordeleau; Industrial chemist, Major Thomas J. Strong; Electrical engineer and myself.

“That’s only four. The Furious Five is a pretty stupid name for four intelligent men of action I would think.”

“Yes, well...”

Brooks cast his head down and lowered his voice to almost a whisper.

“We recently lost someone on our team.”

He sat in silence for a moment and Eleanor respected this by waiting patiently for him to continue.

“He was our resident archeologist and geology expert. A right, contemptible bastard he was; the bloody old fool.”

All at once he gathered himself back to his previous surly business-like tone and looked up at Eleanor.

“One of your recommendations came from his last wishes.”

This came as a surprise to Eleanor which she expressed to Mr. Brooks.

“Who was this guy, Red and how did he know me?”

“His name was Lester Dent and I didnae’ say he knew you personally. He only knew of you and your work by reputation these past few years, but apparently you made enough of an impression that you were top on his list of successors.”

She was astounded.

“Lester Dent? The Lester Dent? The man who, singlehandedly filled a third of the British Museum’s current collection of ancient artifacts?” Lester Dent, knew about my work and actually asked for me by name?”

“Well, asked for you on paper anyway, and “singlehandedly” is hardly the way he filled those exhibits mind you. The rest of the boys and I had our hands in more than a few of those discoveries with “Bones” just as much as he did.”

Eleanor began to tell her guest in rapid fire succession all about how much she admired Lester Dents achievements since she was in high school as well as giving him detailed accounts of the many things Dent had done in his life, all with the enthusiasm of a child who had just been given proof Santa Claus actually exists.

“Aye, lass he was a brilliant old sod and a bloody pain in the arse when he got the spirits in to him.” Sigh

“I miss the crazy old bastard.”

“I’m sorry, Red. I didn’t mean to…”

“Don’t apologize lass’. Ole Bones would’ve loved to hear all of that. He had an ego the size of this desert and a weakness for any ladies who threw a compliment his way.”

They smiled to each other and toasted to the memory of Lester Dent.

“The world lost a great man and my only regret is I never got to meet him.”

After emptying her glass, she filled it again and asked Brooks for one of his stogies. She bit off the end, lit it up and sent a trail of smoke to pursue the puff that Brooks expelled out the tent.

“All right, Red, you’ve got me curious now, but you still haven’t told me where we would be going or where the hell is Clark Savage, Sr. and why haven’t I heard hide nor hair from the old man since he stuck me in the outer reaches of nowhere after I graduated?”

Brooks looked in to Eleanor’s eyes with the weight of a surgeon after losing a patient.

“I’m sorry, lassie, but the ole’ man disappeared almost five years ago. He’s the reason for this expedition. Our quest is to find Clark Savage, Sr.”