The interrogator grunted a bit, actually making a sound for the first time as he sat there and listened to Haakon. The first look that he had had since they had arrived creeping across his features. It was displeasure. Sighing he put his hands on the table and pushed himself back before rising sharply and leaving the room once again. This was becoming a habit. Nearly following the exact steps he took before there was a knocking sound at the wardens door, which in turn made the Warden grumble as he was just about to suggest a common trade for freedom in this prison. Flesh for freedom. What he said was not clear since it was in the local language but his frustration was more than apparent.
The door opened swiftly and the interrogator came back in. The two started conversing. Each one getting a little more angry with each sentence that came out of the others mouth. Flopping back in his chair behind his desk he finally let out his first word in English since the interrogator arrived. "Fine, they can go," he said. The interrogator nodded and left quickly but the door remained opened this time with a guard standing there in the doorway now. "Do not leave the city," he said in a huff.
The door for the interrogation room flew open and hit the wall as it swung back. "You up, leave now, stay in city," was all the interrogator said before he vanished back out of the door and down the hallway to tend to other matters. One could hear a door slamming a ways off and after a few moments of silence one could hear screaming coming from somewhere. Not anger, not frustration, but pain. These were the cries of someone in agony, pure pained agony, and the voice was familiar. It could be nothing but the blood cuddling screams of Abbas.
American University Cairo: Private Guest Quarters --> Qasr El Nil Barracks: Front Gate
The sound of a pens nib scratching over paper was the only noise that was in the small guest room, other than the periodic sound of someone swallowing. Sitting at the well worn out desk, a man sat there making notes on what he would say to the class at his next lecture. George was no scholar. He had no higher education, no diploma other than the one he had received when he finished his twelfth year of schooling back in Plover, Wisconsin. Yet, he had something others didn't. Life experience.
Millions had died during the great war, yet he had once heard someone say that the worst thing to happen in the war was not the death but to come home permanently disfigured. If that were true, George was a walking example of the true horrors of war. He had been a marksman, a sharpshooter, a sniper. Spending days and even weeks tucked beneath camouflage, waiting for just the right moment to squeeze the trigger. To take a life from more than 700 yards away. He didn't see their faces, other than through the scope before the blood splattered. Then he would see their bodies when he checked, took his proof, and move on. It was lonely, isolating, and left a mark on him that few others new. He didn't have the camaraderie other soldiers that had returned had. No brothers in arms, no one to pull him from the trenches. He was alone then and was alone now.
The knock at his door brought his attention out of his memories. Picking up the pair of glasses from his desk he slipped them on slowly, curling the wiry temples around his ears. Swallowing slightly he adjusted the piece of tin that was attached to them and took a quick glance towards the mirror to ensure that the plate covered the horror that lay beneath. Opening the door, the daily delivery man was standing there with news papers. The man stepped back slightly as he looked at George. He had been delivering papers to Mr. Benaszewski all week and yet he still was not use to the mans appearance. Yes, the horror was covered but seeing half a painted face staring blankly at him like some metal mannequin was a hard thing to get used to. "Thank you,"
George said as he took the papers from the man. His voice was gravelly, more than even one who had smoked two packs of Lucky Strikes a day for the last twenty years. The skin around his mouth pulling his lips up to reveal his teeth as he spoke, having to swallow once again after he had only said two words. The man nodded and hurried off. Leaning his head to the side, his eyes drifted down towards the floor as he lowered his head. He looked defeated as he closed the door and sat at the edge of his bed. It never surprised him how people reacted to how he looked but it did wear on him.
Pulling the top paper from the stack he flipped it open and looked it over. He could take a small break from his writing, he was not due to lecture for another week. He had time. It was a good thing too for as his one eye looked over the headlines of The Times, the newspaper from London. It wasn't news from home but it was News in English. He saw something on the paper that caused even his few movements to stop. Swallowing as he looked at the image and then read quickly over the story. "Alive... mmm,"
he said to himself before folding the paper over and rising from the bed.
Something had caught his eye: Something important, something personal. Moving deliberately he placed his page boy cap on his head and collected the things he normally had on him when he walked. The hallway was empty as he stepped out of his room and other than his footsteps, the occasional sound of him swallowing was all the noise that could be heard. Thankfully, in his mind, the sounds of the campus and the streets drowned out this little sound as he walked. He could have hailed a taxi. He would have passed less people directly in his line of sight that way but the thing about George was this; he liked to walk. That and he had found over the years as long as he kept his head down and didn't try to draw attention to himself, most passed him as if he wasn't even there. Those that did notice tried their best not to look again. A taxi would have meant close quarters with another human being, one that would have looked at him directly, probably several times. It made for awkward minutes. Yes, walking was best.
His head didn't lift until he reached the gates of the Qasr El Nil Barracks. At this time he was forced to look up. Just as so many had before, they were taken aback. He was sure that at least one had seem this type of face plate before. If you survived the war, there was a chance of it. Or at least you saw the horrors that caused the damage that laid beneath. Yet even hardened soldiers would take a step back from him usually. Not because they hadn't seen it before but because so few survived to have a plate and they knew what lay beneath it. The thought alone was usually enough to make something reel back even subconsciously.
"What you do you want?" one of the guards at the gate finally asked after a few looks exchanged between him and the others there. "Lieutenant Keystone...mmm.... Here to see, Lieutenant Keystone,"
he said slowly in his grating tone. His eye looking at the man before looking down.
"No one by that name here," the man stated. "Be on your way." With a single finger the guard pointed quickly back towards the street. George was not going to give up that easily. He knew Keystone was there or at least he was sure that he was. The paper had clearly stated that Keystone had come to Egypt, why it did not say. The Keystone George knew was a soldier as well, a pilot. If he was in Egypt, he would be at the barracks. Right?
George was sure of this and refused to leave. He kept his words calm even with the raspy way they came out. He stood his ground. He wasn't leaving until he spoke to Keystone, or until the person in charge of the barracks told him for a fact that Keystone was not there. Till that point, he wouldn't budge and was holding up others from passing. The guard didn't like it but he wasn't about to draw his weapon on a man that had obviously seen the worst war had to offer.
"ID," he demanded. George nodded and slowly reached into his front pocket, pulling out his wallet. Removing his American ID and his military ID he handed them over for inspection. The guard looked them over and then back to George before handing them back to the Tin Soldier. A few more words and George stepped aside so others could pass as he tucked his papers back into his wallet. The guard was off to speak with the commander of the barracks. He hadn't been let in but he hadn't walked away either.
Egyptian Museum: Her Office
Vera looked up slowly from the card and over to Lauren. "Lord Keystone,"
she began before catching herself. Saying Lord Keystone could present a bit of a confusion since there were two of them currently that most of those in the room knew at this point. That and she really shouldn't be referring to The Lord Captain as Lord Keystone but by his first name currently considering he was officially courting her at this time. "I mean Peter,"
she added as she looked back down at the note. "Apparently he is wishing for me to join him for a private dinner this evening so that we might catch up."
It had taken her a bit by surprise but she knew it shouldn't have. Peter had returned, they were picking up where they had left off, and Peter was ever the romantic. Flowers were not exactly something that Vera was used to receiving but she knew that the ones that were delivered meant much more than just a gesture of romance. Peter would have never just sent flowers without thinking it through. The number of flowers would represent something, as would the color, the type, everything had meaning to Peter. He never did anything without fully thinking it through.
Yet figuring out what would have to wait. Sitting down behind her desk she pulled a sheet of paper out and looked over to those there. "Just a moment if you all would,"
she said half mindedly as she wrote quickly. A few moments later she was folding up the paper and sticking it into a thick envelop. Sealing it and walking over to the door she peeked her head out and got the attention of one of the numerous people stationed through out the administrations hallway. "Please have this delivered to the barracks post haste,"
she said before turning her attention back to the group. "Do forgive the constant interruptions. Hopefully that will be the last. Please, have a seat and we can begin. There is food enough for all of us,"
she said, becoming the hostess she had been raised to be. Neema wasted no time taking a seat and began pouring the tea as if she was perfectly at home. Checking with each person if they would prefer milk or lemon, if they needed sugar, what they would like on their plates, and so forth.
Vera watched her but said nothing as she took a seat and looked over towards Nora. "Now, please, tell me what you have learned. I'm interested to hear what has occurred since last we spoke."
Out in the main venue of the museum the delivery man looked at Mr. Drake oddly for a moment before looking down at the money. It was a bit unusual for someone to grab him and ask him to make another delivery. Was this man trying to start a war of the roses? If he was, he didn't care. Long as there was money changing hands he would do as he was asked. Another sale would be welcome back at his employers shop. Nodding a bit he took the money. "Yes sir, of course. I should return within the half hour," he said in English though his accent made it a bit difficult to understand if one wasn't used to it.
With that he took off with a bit more haste than he had been when he left Vera's office. He had another job to do. As did others. Ahkmed smiled over towards Mosi, glad that she was satisfied with the display. At her words he cocked a brow and rubbed his chin a bit. "Perhaps I may be of some assistance with that. Forgive me if it seems that I was observing more than I should but when you came in I could help but notice there was more women with you. One in particular. An older woman. I do know her, she once worked here at the museum some time ago when I was younger. Now, she does not deal with the making of such items but her nephew, a dear friend of mine is quite skilled in the older methods. He gives lessons from time to time. I believe he has a class tomorrow. Would you care for me to inquire if he has an opening?" he asked her as he stood there.
Gheit el Idda: Sgt. Walsh's Apartment
"Yes, you did,"
Aziza said as she blushed slightly and placed her hand to her cheek. She could feel the warmth in it and her lips were still tingling from his kiss. Her heart thumping gently beneath her breast. The dancer could never recall a kiss making her feel so. They had normally made her feel sick but not this time, this time she felt early over joyed. Not only at the positive feelings his kiss gave her but that she now had the knowledge that this was how such an exchange between two people should be. It made her wonder just how much more pleasant other things could be with Harry than they had been with her former husband. A thought that made her cheeks redden even more. "Oh yes, of course,"
she finally said and stepped into his humble abode. Looking around she took in how he lived. It was a bit less room than she had at her place and far less decorated but it seemed to fit the man who lived there. Turning around she looked over to him and gave him a shy smile. "I will just have a seat and wait for you to be ready then?"
she said before finding a chair and resting herself down. Smoothing out her skirt she placed her hands in her lap and tried not to keep thinking back on the kiss. She hadn't wanted it to end. She knew they had things to do and it was probably best if they got back to the barracks. Not only because they were supposed to be joining the Lady Munn on this expedition so they could work out what their dreams were meaning but for safety considering the attack the last evening.
Forcing her mind onto something other than Harry was difficult but she managed. Thinking to Josephine. The woman seemed kind enough, even if Haakon's presence worried her. Surely if something came up, Josephine would be able to keep that man in line. Aziza felt that if Josephine put her mind to it, she should keep most any man in line. Maybe there was a thing or two to learn from her new friend. At least as far as how to be more confident. She didn't want to keep acting timid around Harry... Seemed her keeping her mind off Harry wasn't exactly as simple as she had first thought it would be.
Qasr El Nil Barracks: Reginald's Office
Peter rolled his eyes a bit. "My father can go take a leap off the Tower of London if he doesn't like my choice in investments. My money isn't his to control, not anymore,"
Peter stated flatly. It was no secret within the family that Peter and his father did not get along. They really never had. Peter was the second born and was always treated like the spare that he was. Sure, things had changed for his father since his return but Peter refused to let the man slide on the things he had said to Peter growing up. Sure, a son coming back from the dead made a father look at things a bit differently but for Peter, the way his father treated him now was how he should have been treated long before they thought he was dead. Death shouldn't be an excuse to finally come to ones senses. "Do what you need to uncle to ensure Vera has what she needs for this,"
he added as he stood there. Letting out a bit of a sigh he looked back over to his uncle. "Perhaps we should go over to the museum and get a list from Vera. See what she needs that we can go ahead and take care of."
There was a pause in his words, and it was obvious that he wanted to go to the museum for more than just seeing what they needed for the expedition. "And I wouldn't mind to see how she is doing considering what happened this morning. Plus the fresh air would do us both good,"
he said frankly before looking back out of the window.
There was a soft knock at the door which caused Peter to raise a brow as he heard the knob turning. Most waited for someone to say enter but apparently whoever was entering wasn't passing along that particular courtesy. "Terribly sorry to bother Lord Major but there is someone at the gate, an American. Normally I wouldn't bring this to your attention but this person seems rather adamant that he knows a Lieutenant Keystone. I assured him we had none but he is insisting that we do."
Peter looked at the man oddly. "Until recently that was my ranking. Who is this man?"
Peter asked tentatively. Who could possibly looking for him here, under that ranking?
"My mistake sir. He says his name is Private George Benaszewski, US Army," the man said. Peters eyes widened in shock at the news. "Bushwa!"
Peter exclaimed in surprise. It wasn't common for Peter to curse, ever. Yet he just had. Shaking off the near white that had taken over his features, he rubbed his face with his free hand as he leaned a bit more on his cane. "I mean, yes. Show him here immediately. That is if it is okay with you uncle."