It is back and phenomenal!
July 1948—Los Angeles, California.
A gentleman standing about six-foot tall, weighing in at about 210 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, wearing a brown suit and glasses strolled into the side entrance of the UCLA Library. The sun was just breaking through the morning clouds as the gentleman carried a brief case and whistled a happy little tune as he nodded politely to each person he saw along the way.
Reaching an office door a young woman sitting at her desk looked up from her typing and said, “Good Morning Dr. Burnett.”
Dr. Burnett stopped whistling and in his tracks as he looked down at the blonde haired hazel eyed young woman. He cocked his head to the side and asked, “Valerie? What have I told you for the last 18 months?”
Valerie rolled her eyes and shook her head. As she replied, “Sorry about that Nate. It’s just in some ways you remind me of my dad. Hope you’re not offended.”
Nate chuckled a bit and said, “Not at all I’m sure your dad is a good man, but just so you know if you call me Mr. Burnett I’ll start looking for my dad. Now if he’s here I’m shocked and scared because he’s been gone for a little over three years now. All that being said Nate is fine anyway any appointments today?”
Valerie looked at her appointment book and said, “Yes you are meeting with the other librarians in two hour to discuss the upcoming Fall Semester assignments, lunch with Director Abrahams at 12:30 about your upcoming vacation days, at two you’re meeting with Dr. Richards about talking to his Egyptology class sometime this semester, and from three to five you’re covering the reference desk.”
Nate shook his head and let out a small sigh as he said, “Ahh the thrilling life of a University Librarian. If it gets any more exciting I won’t be able to take it.” Nate let out a small laugh and Valerie let out one as well. He said, “Thank you for your help Valerie. I have no idea what we’d do without out you. Please hold my calls for the next half hour got some last minute paper work to catch up on.”
Valerie replied, “Not a problem Nate.”
Nate unlocked his office and walked in setting his brief case on the couch beside him. Nate closed the door and leaned against the door frame for a moment as he slowly closed his eyes. Letting out an exhale Nate said to himself in a whisper that was almost like a prayer, “Just get through today Burnett. Just make it through today.” Nate crossed over to his desk and sat down. Gazing out his mind drifted back to three years ago. That one expedition to Egypt into a city that hadn’t been seen in over 1,500 years. It didn’t even exist on any maps for the last two hundred years and it was supposed to be deserted.
It was supposed to be a quiet little milk run expedition, but then things went wrong. Everyone but Nate was killed and Nate should’ve been killed as well but survived by dumb luck. There was one other man who survived and for the last three years Nate has been convinced this one other explorer Paul Anders was the one who set the expedition for its doom. Nate still couldn’t believe Anders’ betrayal to this day. All for a few more dollars, a larger share of treasure, and his name in the books. This group was friends and colleagues they went through Hell and back only to be betrayed by one of their own. That betrayal cost Nate his name, his identity, and everything that made him who he was. Nate was always afraid that if Anders knew he was still alive he’d come looking for the one man who could prove what happened. Truth was Nate just wanted to live his life in peace so using a Government Contact, as he recovered in a secret Medical facility, Nathan Burnett was born and Rick Spenser died. The Government owed Rick more than a few favors so they were willing to help him out, but there were times Nate missed being Rick and this was one of them.
Nate opened up his desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of scotch. It was the last reminder from that doomed expedition that Nate had kept all those years. He poured himself a drink and as he held up the glass Nate said, “To the Black Rose. May you all rest in peace.”
Nate downed the shot and put the bottle away. He pulled out his folder for the upcoming meeting and began scanning through it, shaking his head slowly, and saying “This could be done in a memo.”