Prequel to Threadbare
Setting: An AU in which the Goa'uld invade Earth In the late 1800s. (OldWest!Gate)
Ernest Pratt came practically bounding into the laboratory. "Do you know what this is?" he asked waiving around an envelope.
Barely sparing him a glance, Janos Bartok replied, "I haven't the faintest idea, Ernest." Then he continued to adjust the dials on the contraption he was fiddling with. "Could you move a little to the left? You may be incinerated if you stay there."
Ernest quickly moved as far to the left as could be managed, but was otherwise unfazed by the possibility of something being incinerated. He'd gotten used to that by now. Besides, this was just too good of a scoop. "I happen to be holding a letter addressed to Professor Janos Christophe Bartok."
"What's so unusual about that? I have many correspondents."
"Ah, but this is in a lady's hand. Janos, have you been holding out on us? Do you have a lady friend in Paris?"
Ernest had rarely seen Janos move as quickly as when he darted across the lab and snatched the envelope out of Ernest's hand.
"It is a letter from Doctor Carter. Ramos, we'll resume the experiment again in an hour."
Bartock's assistant nodded. "Of course, Professor."
"If you'll excuse me," Janos said, eagerly ripping open the envelope as he left the lab.
Ernest ambled over to where Ramos was working, intent on finding out more about the professor's lady friend. "Lady sawbones?" he asked.
"Indeed. And have they been 'corresponding' for some time?"
"Several years, I believe."
"Ramos, Ramos!" Janos came rushing back into the lab all a fluster. "Doctor Carter is returning from Paris and will be travelling to visit her brother in California. She is planning to stop in Colorado on the way. And she wants to see the laboratory! She's considering working with us!"
Ernest sidled up behind his friend, trying to read the letter Janos was waving around in his excitement. He should have steamed it open before he delivered it. "So tell me about this lady physicist."
"She is brilliant. She has one of the most engaging minds I have ever known."
"But is she handsome?"
"Is that all that concerns you, Ernest? Is the entire worth of a woman her beauty and- and how she might please you?"
"No, I was wondering how she might please you."
Janos glared at him. "You should go visit your mother while Doctor Carter is here, Ernest. You are certainly not suitable company for a brilliant lady such as Doctor Carter."