Author: Spyridon
Title: Shot in the Dark
Status: WIP Incomplete
Pairing(s): Auggie Anderson/Annie Walker, Jake Foley/Diane Hughes, Arthur Campbell/Joan Campbell, Jerry Foley/OC, Jai Wilcox/OC, OC/OC
Additional Categories: Alternate Universe, Crossover,
Genre: Action, Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance,
Season/Episode/Book: Post Series for Jake 2.0, Post Episode 02x05 for Covert Affairs
Rating: Teen
Warnings: Language, Violence,
Spoilers: All of Jake 2.0 and up to episode 02x05 for Covert Affairs
Full Summary: Two men, one a former CIA field agent turned Tech Op while the other a disavowed NSA agent, begin the journey down a path filled with lies, betrayal, treason, and romance while both strive to prevent another national tragedy that could destroy their country as well as themselves.
Series/Sequels: Pending
Author's Note:I will be taking some creative liberties in a number of things but I will try to keep things realistic. Also, since I'm not military, I do not know what's really going on in regards to the military organization, requirements, and regulations. If you are military and are willing to shed some light on what you can, I will totally appreciate it. Same goes for those computer techies as well as foreign readers. I would like to keep the cultures of the representative foreign states that are mentioned within the story accurately.

This Story Summary will be updated periodically as needed. Reader discretion is advised.

Last Updated: September 1, 2011


Chapter One: Prologue


I've been left out alone like a damn criminal
I've been praying for help 'cause I can't take it all
I'm not done, it's not over
Now I'm fighting this war since the day of the fall
And I'm desperately holding on to it all
But I'm lost, I'm so damn lost

~ 'Shot in the Dark' by Within Temptation


~ 7:23am, May 4th, 2011: Location Unknown, Egypt~

"It has been confirmed." Abu-Malik Khabeer bin Muqeet al-Baqri stated, his dark eyes gazing out over the sands of Egypt, the moonlight casting darker shadows against his face. "They will announce it within two days time."

Abu-Mohammad Qahhār ibn Salēm al-Farooqi nodded, keeping his gaze on the stars above. "May Allah take him into his embrace for the good he has done for our people. Are there any other news that I should be made aware of?"

"Already, a number have been fighting for Sheik Osama's position. There have been comrades who believe the position will fall to either Saif al-Adel who is the interim commander or Ayman al-Zawahiri. I believe al-Zawahiri will win the position as he was already the Deputy Operations Chief."

"What about the plans for attacking the Western infidels?"

"With the invasion and ultimate destruction of the compound, it is safe to say that any plans that we have sent to Osama has ultimately fallen into their hands." Khabeer spat on the ground, the features twisting into a shadowed mask of fury. "Surely, they will increase their security which will prevent us from attacking them again for the foreseeable future."

"Do not think that. All security measures have a number of weaknesses. It's just a question of finding and exploiting it." Qahhār stood silent for a few minutes, quietly thinking. "Once the new leader is elected, I will speak with him to see about pushing our plans forward as well as expanding it. Osama bin Laden will be avenged. Such an injustice cannot be left unpunished."


~ 9:01am, June 15, 2011: Location Unknown, Egypt~

Men scattered as Qahhār stormed down the secret tunnel, his dark eyes burning with hate and fury. He had just finished speaking with Ayman al-Zawahiri about launching new attacks against the United States. Before the meeting, he had believed the new commander of the al-Qaeda forces would solidly back his plan in attacking the holy Western nation. What had happened instead had only served to anger him even further.

Ayman believed that it would wise to lie back down for the time being as the decentralized command structure re-stabilized itself after the devastating loss of such a leader and figure head as Osama. As for the actual plans to attack the United States, Ayman had emphasized to launch attacks against the United States with the same plans was foolhardy, especially since the infidels had a number of security details that would potentially lead to the capture before any permanent or long-lasting damage could be done.

Qahhār knew that security surrounding the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks would be increased to ensure the security of their people. He came to an abrupt stop as his men continued to work on around him, packing large cases of ammunition and guns into unmarked crates for transportation to a new base. The infidels were so sure in their knowledge of their Intel that they would fail to look for new threats.

Eyes narrowing, Qahhār vowed to strike at the wound again, to ensure the infidels would not forget.

He would make sure rivers of blood will run into the seas from the devil-infested land, the scar so deep, it would be forever seared into their memories.


~ 12:04pm, July 30th, 2011: West Cemetery, Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt~

The excavation site echoed with the sounds of workers digging in the sands, looking for ancient artifacts, the sun beating down with its heated rays. David Long stood up, feeling his bones crack due to the prolonged position he had been in while shoveling sand out of the pit. Swiping a sweaty hand over an equally sweaty bearded face, David allowed his dark eyes to wonder the site.

Among the Egyptian workers that steadfastly uncovered the new archaeological dig, he could easily point out the university students that labored right beside them. The undergraduates were doing most of the menial labor while the graduates worked on more important tasks of carefully cataloguing and removing potential artifacts from the grip of the sands. The tents on the edge of the excavation site flapped in the desert breeze coming off the Mediterranean Sea eighty miles north. Here and there, the wind picked up the loose sand, forming small twisters. The camels that brought in the supplies groaned as they clambered to their feet after delivering their loads.

When he was young, David had never believed that he would ever see the pyramids of Giza rising to the east of the excavation site, much less than a few hundred feet away, the bright harsh sun right above them. But then again, he had never once thought he would be on the run from US law enforcement, much less people he had once worked with. Sighing, David turned back to the work, ignoring the glare of the Egyptian supervisor overseeing his section.

It had been almost seven years since he had left the National Security Agency after escaping from Warner's henchmen, knowing from that moment on, he was a disavowed NSA agent, one with orders to kill on sight. Ever since then, he had been on the move, never staying in one place for long, especially in a country where the NSA could easily track his moves. He kept to third world countries, helping where he could in return for a place to stay, a little cash, and food. In every place, he made acquaintances but never really trusted them, knowing that one slip-up could lead to the NSA finding out where he was and forcefully dragging his dead carcass back to the U.S. for examination on a cold lab table for the $500 million dollars worth of technology that was quietly on hibernation mode in his body.

The half a billion dollars of nanite technology.

The little pieces of micro-sized computers that were about the size of normal human cells, each of them centered right on his central nervous system, waiting for him to activate them once more into action. The bits of hardware that had turned his life from a normal, geeky, awkward tech support into an accidental NSA Spec Ops agent and then into a federally wanted man. The nanites had turned his simple life into one of unexceptional struggle and strife, had ripped him from everything he had ever known and thrown him into a life of unknown situations with unknown enemies. All because of the one guy, the lead doctor of the project, decided to sell the nanite technology to foreign enemies of the United States. The massive download of the files on the program had caused the lab server to fail, forcing the Tech Support division of the NSA to send him and his supervisor to go repair it that fateful day. He angrily drove the shovel into the shifting rivers of sand in his pit.

When the hard life got to him and when he was in a mood, he had pondered the what-ifs. What if his friend Darin Metcalf had been sent instead of him? Would he had been shipped off somewhere in the world without ever knowing why? Would Darin have made it as a field agent? What if he had been the one killed instead of his supervisor? What if he had tried to fight back instead of sending the code black to the security desk? Would he have ever met Lou? Kyle? Would he have ever meet Diane?

Diane.

His thoughts turned back to the doctor, the woman he had meet right after the accident. He had been in shock from the shoot out and the ensuing infection, though they had not known it at the time. Diane with her dark curls, geeky glasses, wide smile, and articulate hands, had been sent to see if he was okay despite an NSA EMT working on sealing up the deep cut from the shard that had penetrated his forearm. She had definitely caught his attention on a subconscious level and by the time he had realized it, the time they had together wasn't enough.

Throughout the following hectic year after his infection, she had been there for him as a colleague, a doctor, a friend, and perhaps something more. . .

. . . Definitely something more.

Especially since that night when he had lost his memories, when he hadn't really had known who she was but could still feel the pull toward her enough that he had kissed her.

Despite the heat of the midday heat, David felt himself shiver in remembrance. He could still feel the silkiness of her arms against his, the softness of her breasts and stomach as he pressed down on her, the strength of her thighs as he rocked against her.

His thoughts were broken by the midday bell, signaling for lunch.

David stretched again, feeling the familiar cracks in his spine. He set his shovel against the pit carefully, knowing that laying his tools around would not put him in his supervisor's graces. He followed the other workers to the food tents on the outskirts of the excavation site, his nose twitching with the aromas coming from them.

"Hungry, yes?"

David turned around to see a friendly face behind him. "Kareem. I am hungry. I did not eat much this morning." He made space for the young man to join him in the food line. The younger man was in his early twenties with the common facial features seen in Egyptians. His dark hair was closely cropped, his beard and mustache neatly trimmed. His skin was bronzed to a dark caramel color. Kareem was shorter than Jake by about five inches but his bright, happy personality made up for it.

They had met last year when David had first joined the American Expedition team to dig out a new tomb that had been found in the West Cemetery near the Great Pyramids of Giza. With a little help from the nanites, he fooled the Supreme Council of Antiquities into thinking he was a qualified American with training in how to uncover archaeological artifacts from the ground. After surprising David with his accented English, Kareem had taken him under his wing, warning him about the tension between the SCA and foreigners and helping him carefully remove the tons of sand that covered the new tomb. Over the weeks of the excavation, an easy rapport grew between Kareem and David, almost to the point where David could call him friend.

Almost.

"Night terrors, my friend?" Kareem questioned in his thick Egyptian accent, tilting his head back to meet his much taller friend's eyes.

"How did you know?"

"You try to keep it from us but I know. Perhaps you join us tonight for a trip into the city? Tea could help with the night terrors." Kareem peered at David, his dark eyes searching. "Perhaps you will need something a little stronger?"

"No, I do not believe that Rashid will allow me to recover from a night with the bar. He does not like me and wishes me to leave the site so he can hire another Egyptian worker. I think he fears that I will take some priceless artifact with me when I leave."

Kareem laughed. "Rashid always believed that foreign workers would try to pillage from our ancient landmarks. You are no different from the foreign worker that found work as a laborer here." He leaned in closer. "Just do not let Rashid catch you when you do steal an artifact."

"Yeah, he might just call down the ancient gods to deal with me and have me devoured." David joked as he picked up a plate from the stacks at the beginning of the tent. He quickly made his way slowly to the first server who quickly poured a large spoonful of mashed fava beans onto his plate. The next server quickly handed him a thick, puffy loaf of eish masri. David took his large cup of rationed water and followed Kareem to a secluded spot from the other workers.

"What is it that visits you in your dreams?" Kareem asked as they made themselves comfortable on the rough-hewn bench.

David shrugged, using the eish masri to scoop some of the mashed fava beans. "Just memories of my life in the State," He silently chewed, thinking back to that day that had changed his life. "I didn't want to conform and so I had to leave. I left everything behind."

"Ah." David knew that would tug on Kareem's heartstrings as his own family had been targeted by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad when he had been younger and his family lived in Luxor. His father had been pressured to join along his two oldest brothers. All three had been killed when the base had been raided by the Egyptian military later, after the government received intelligence that led them to believe they were harboring nuclear weapons. In distress, his mother had moved them to Cairo to be close with her husband's remaining family. She had later remarried but the memories had never left them. Kareem and his remaining three brothers feared the day would come when the jihadists would lay pressure on them to join. Kareem had vowed he would die before joining the men that had caused his father's death. "I will take you to a bar in Cairo. Mohammed will cover for us."

"The last time your brother said he'll cover for us, I almost got fired."

"We bring him back something then." Kareem flashed a grin at his American friend.

David just shook his head and went back to eating, knowing that Rashid would force him to work when the next bell sounded, regardless if he finished or not.


~ 8:17pm, July 30th, 2011: Giza, Egypt~

"I thought we were going to a bar in Cairo, Kareem?" David asked as they ducked into the slightly rowdy bar. Just like any other bar in the world, the area was heavy with hazy fog of cigars and cigarettes.

"You are so worried about Rashid that I believed a bar closer to the site will calm your nerves." Kareem led David to a seat at the long counter, waving a bartender over. "Plus, it will be easier for us to go back to the sleeping tents. Two Sakara Gold's please." The two drinks appeared, cool and slick with frost on the outside.

"I like how you think." David smiled at the bartender, handing over the pay for the lagers. "I still can't get used to the fact on how calm bars here in Cairo are. By now, the bars in America would be loud, obscene, and uncontrollable by your standards."

"Alcohol is liked but is not the main drink."

"Tell me about it. I think I still prefer your version of coffee to tea even if it does create sludge at the bottom." David smiled as he took a sip of his drink, eyes going over the multitudes of Egyptians in the bar, a small number of them carrying alcoholic drinks, all of them talking about general topics and issues. He wasn't kidding about the night life in Cairo. Drunks in America were common at bars, taverns, and in the streets. He had hardly seen a drunken tourist that was even moderately tipsy. All in all, drinking in Egypt was a very calming experience in his hectic life.

Two hours passed with David drinking two more Sakara and Kareem switching to water after his second one.

Clapping a hand on Kareem's shoulder, David announced he would be back soon. Being a tall American, he made his way toward the bathroom stalls with curious looks thrown his way before the individual turned back to their conversations. He quickly did his business and washed his hands, humming an old 80's song under his breath. Just as he was about to leave, David heard two voices, both with Egyptian accents, talking furiously outside the door. He would have opened it to leave had he not heard a word that caught his attention.

It was inevitable that he learned some basic Egyptian Arabic during the two seasons he spent in Cairo, Egypt. In his first month here last year, Kareem had taught him basic Egyptian Arabic that a young Egyptian child would know, including ones that could be the indicators to very dangerous situations. Standing just inside the wood door, David heard a number of them in the fast and furious conversation between the two unknown men.

". . . . Can't go to the United States . . . . Amadullah is set to give birth . . . ."

". . . . Weapons have been sent already . . . . Our leader wants to the plans to be carried out. . . . It is our time . . . . The infidels will bleed . . . ."

David held his breath as the two men moved on, their footsteps fading away. His heart was beating fast in his chest, his mind on the verge of activating the nanites. His muscles tensed as his mind caught up with him. He was on the run from the NSA, a wanted criminal, for God's sakes.

But if what he heard was true, could they really be talking about possible plans to attack the US?

He closed his eyes, letting his head hit the stone wall behind him. The NSA may have labeled him a highly dangerous criminal and the nanites in him allowed him abilities that other men could never fully imagine but they never replaced the ideals that his parents had instilled in him from the moment of his birth. As he stood there, his father's words came back to him in his deep, caring voice that he associated with love and family; every man, regardless of who they are, is guilty of all the good he didn't do in his life. There was a risk of the NSA finding out where he was hiding and they would come after him, screw the diplomatic relationship between the US and Egypt. But the potential loss of life; it could be another September 11. Could he really have that on his conscience just to save his life?

The words he had uttered when sworn in as a NSA field agent came back to him.

I, Jake Foley, having been appointed as an agent for the National Security Agency of the United States, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic, of the Constitution of the United States . . . so help me God.

Clenching his fists, he came to a decision. David opened the door and made his way to where Kareem was talking with another worker who quickly left after bidding both David and Kareem goodbye. "I have to go somewhere, friend. I will try to come back by early rise tomorrow."

Confusion spread over Kareem's face. "But Rashid-"

"I know, I know. But something came up, something from my past and I can't run from it this time." David said softly, letting his determination ring in his words.

"What are you going to do?" Kareem made as if to slide off the chair.

"No, you are much safer if you stay here. I can't let you get involved with this." David clasped a hand on his shoulder. "After everything you lost, I can't allow you to lose something even more precious. Just cover for me at the camp." He could still see the conflicted emotions on Kareem's face. "Please, Kareem. You must stay here."

"I do not like this."

"I did not ask if you did." David gave him a small smile as he dropped a few Egyptian pounds on the bar before slipping away into the crowds. As soon as he got a ways from the bar, David Long melted back into the recesses of his mind.

As he stepped out into the cooler night of Giza, Egypt, Jake Foley, a rogue NSA agent, stared out in the blackened night.

His mind reached out to the small computerized machines inside of him, the nanites flaring to life. From one breath to the next, he could feel every single sense suddenly become clearer than ever before. The nerves underneath his skin tingled lightly as if blood had been cut off and was suddenly restored. Despite the distance to the Nile River, he could hear the gently waves lapping along the shoreline line as the river wound its way north to the Mediterranean Sea. Even in the lights from the surrounding area in the dark night, he could see as if it was as bright as midday. His licked his lips and could pinpoint the exact spices that were being used in the homes near the bar.

He had missed his feeling.

During the year with the NSA as an agent, Jake had gotten used to the sharpened senses of the nanites, feeling more alive, freer than ever before. Psychologists would say that he was getting a superiority complex from the power the nanites gave him. Maybe it was true on some level but when running through a forest, it spoke to him on a baser level. For being highly advanced technology, it made him feel more connected with the nature around him than at any one point before the infection. It was an enigma but there it was.

When he had taken on the persona of David Long, he had toyed with the computer code inside the nanites to learn how to shut them off without killing him. Once the nanites had gone into hibernation, it felt like the world had been dulled, almost as if everything was dead. Or rather, as if he himself was dead and not his senses. For a long time afterward, he felt weak, exposed, vulnerable, lost. It was even longer before he reacquainted himself with being a normal human being again.

Grinning at the sensations flowing within him now, he called on the night vision, searching the road for the two men even his ears began to pick out the various voices around him. He blocked out the sounds of the men within the bar, the camel groaning nearby, the couple in their apartment next to the bar. He hoped he didn't lose them already. Just as he was about to leave to begin a search, his ears picked up the familiar voices.

". . . . The plans are in motion . . . . We will succeed and go down in history."

Jake turned his head to the left side, eyes zeroing on the two Egyptian men walking along the path to the east. They were both wearing the traditional garb of Egyptian Muslims, the muted dark grey of their clothing helping them to blend in more with the shadows. Calling up on the NSA training, Jake reached up to the light cotton hood he had sewn to the collar of the shirt so he could shield his face from the sun and raised it to hide his face. Thankfully, his neatly trimmed beard, though not as thick as Kareem's, was grown out enough to mask the features of his lower face. Jake dropped behind the two men, mindful of keeping a good distance between him and the pair, hoping his makeshift cover. Thanks to the nanite hearing, he was able to hear every word the two men spoke, though he only was able to translate a few phrases.

Jake followed the two men through the streets of Giza even as he went over what Kyle had taught him in the brief time the older man was his mentor. When they got onto one of the ferry boats that crossed the river, he almost lost them but with some quick thinking, he was able to get on the boat as well by heaving himself over the side when no one was looking. While they stood in the back, Jake stuck to the starboard side, leaning on the rails of boat as it made its way across the river.

From the conversation, it seemed the man called Abd-al-Qadir was making excuses as to why he was not going with his older brother Mu'tasim to the United States despite saying earlier he would. At first, he told Mu'tasim that his family needed him, especially since his wife was due to give birth soon and the pregnancy so far had been filled with problems. A few minutes ago, Abd-al-Qadir was stating that his eldest daughter was arranged to be married soon to the son of a fellow terrorist who lived in Luxor. He could not afford to leave so he could oversee his daughter's marriage. Throughout the whole argument, Mu'tasim kept badgering as to why Abd-al-Qadir had suddenly gotten cold feet so close to the date to leave.

If Jake hadn't heard their earlier conversation in the bar, he would have thought they were talking about a business trip to the United States. Not once during their conversation did they ever directly state their attentions. Jake bit his lip. Maybe he hadn't translated the words correctly and jumped to conclusions? He had three Sakara Golds which were about 9 or 10% ABV and the nanites weren't on at the time to filter out the alcohol from his system like before.

By their own accord, his eyes drifted to the two men who were arguing, a sense of foolishness beginning to grow in the pit of his stomach.

But damn it, his intuition was clamoring at him to follow these men. He would follow them to their destination and if he didn't hear anything more of terrorist-related plans by sunrise, he would forget about this incident. Resolve hardening, Jake brought his eyes back on the dark waters of the Nile River.

The ferry docked on the far bank, the people quickly disembarked and going their separate ways. The two men made their way down a number of roads and alley ways, still arguing. After twenty minutes of leaving the ferry behind, Jake felt relieved that he wasn't being paranoid when Abd-al-Qadir finally admitted in a low but furious whisper that he didn't like how their leader was planning to do something so soon against the United States, especially on such a scale as what was being planned. It was too bold, too complicated, too soon. Mu'tasim snorted in the darkness, explaining to Abd-al-Qadir that they had gotten this far without being noticed by the infidels. It would only be a few weeks until the Western nation would bleed red into the oceans.

Jake froze.

Weeks? It was almost August already. The tenth anniversary of September 11th was only a month and a half away.

Jake must have made a suspicious sound as one of the men turned around, his eyes searching. Jake allowed himself to sink into the shadows of one of the buildings, hoping that the brightness of his clothing would not give him away. After a few seconds of looking, the man turned back and continued on as if he hadn't stopped. Jake let out a silent sigh of relief. If he was going to do this to find out what these men were up to, he would need darker clothing to blend in. The slightly off-white color of his cotton shirt and pants stuck out in the street, even if they were the normal garb for the summer in Egypt.

The men walked a few more blocks before heading toward an old building with weathered stonework. It seemed to be busy even despite the late hour. People were coming in and out, some carrying crates while others seemed to be carrying different styles of bags. Jake took up a position against the side of the building just down the street and across, further examining the activity of the front entrance and the surrounding area. The streets were nearly deserted except for the stragglers now and then, the occasional tourist group walking past, heading to a new bar. While being mindful of his surroundings, Jake amped up his hearing.

He could hear the multitude of men moving around the building, metal clashing against metal, against heavy wood, boots hitting the ground, scrapes as things were moved around. Mutterings, whispers, heated commands, whispered questions, echoed in his mind. It definitely was no business as what legal shop would see fully automatic Kalashnikovs?

By some quirk of fate, he had stumbled upon a terrorist cell in the process of moving bases.

Jake slipped back into the shadows of the building, quickly categorizing what he had. As a rogue NSA agent, he didn't carry much in the terms of electronics. A rebuilt laptop, his fake passport and identification, some cash in Egyptian pounds and a couple of regional currencies as well as American dollars, a few knick-knacks he couldn't let go off, a few changes of clothing, a small first aid kit, and a few survival items. Definitely nothing like the gadgets he had when a legal field agent. What he would give for some listening devices and GPS tracking devices. Without backup and the technology that came with being an American spy, he was severely limited in what he could do to make sure the terrorist group didn't disappear into the Egyptian night. Jake needed to get some intelligence on where they were headed and what they planned to do. He had only one plausible action.

To break into the building and search for any documents, laptops, USB drive, flash-drive, cell phone, anything that could hold information as well as identify the individuals associated with this ring.

He waited for a lull in activity before making his way to the side of the building, his hearing to the sounds headed his way. Just as he got to the north side of the building, his ears picked up someone coming from the front entrance. Almost immediately, his adrenaline kicked in, his body kicking into high gear. Jake crouched before launching himself straight up five feet, his fingers grasping the rungs of the ladder on the side of the building. To his surprise, the metal didn't make any noise as he quickly climbed up to the second floor landing. Below, a man carrying another crate walked past, right where Jake had been. The man disappeared down the street.

Jake waited another minute to make sure the man didn't return before glancing into the windows on the floor. He saw nothing of importance to him, the room looking like a storage closet than quarters. He made his way up to the third story. The moment his head cleared the window sill of the first window on the right, he quickly spotted a laptop on a simple desk. Leaning against the rough stone of the walls, he used his nanites to turn on the computer after making sure no one was in the room.

The laptop screen came alive, the screen dark except for the little area at the bottom signaling the process of the start up. A little under a minute later, the screen turned blue as it came to the home screen, the security login just below the center asking for a password. Keeping an ear out for any sound, Jake linked with the laptop, a command prompt appearing in the top right hand corner, code after code running in white letters against a black screen. Seconds passed before the computer dinged, the blue screen disappearing as it faded to the desktop.

Jake grinned.

He still had it.

The hard drive hummed almost silently, the sound only caught by Jake's ears as he delved into the recesses of the computer, searching for anything. He almost snorted with disbelief when he found the program for Angry Birds on there. The seconds kept on ticking by, the potential of being discovered increasing exponentially with every second he sat on the landing out in the open. Opening a file hidden in the data recovery drive, Jake almost cried out in relief.

It was a list of weapons, weapons made from plastic and metal alike, containing the number of pounds of explosives and types of detonators. As he read over the information in his mind's eye, something pulled at Jake's instincts. Something was missing. It was almost five minutes of Jake reading the report to find out what it was.

Locations.

There was nothing on the file about where the weapons were being sent if they were. Even where they came from was empty.

Could the weapons be in the crates? He had heard metal being pushed around in the beginning of his impromptu stakeout. If so, the NSA needed to know about this. Jake slammed his head against the wall, grimacing as the nerves registered the pain flooding his brain. He had temporarily forgotten about the super-strength.

Despite the fact that the nanites were small computers, they did not have enough space to store the amount of data in the laptop which meant he had to figure out a way to copy it before leaving tonight. Jake glanced around the room again, the nanites enhancing the resolution he could see in. The room was immaculate, everything neatly placed. He just needed something to store the information in. His eyes came down upon what looked like a CD case.

Allowing himself to smile, Jake pressed his hands against the window, testing it. It wouldn't budge.

"Just my luck." Jake muttered to himself. He studied the window frame. There was a lock on the window but it was open. The window was stuck. Huffing, Jake tried once more to open the window but it again did not budge. Blowing air out of his mouth in an angry huff, Jake ran his hands along the sides. Seeing nothing that was jamming it from the outside, Jake knew it was probably the amount of grime caught in the track. He began applying more and more force in increments until the window jerked up a bit. Repositioning his hands to the small open space, he forced the window open bit by bit. The moment there was enough space, he entered the room, thanking his parents for his lean build.

The floorboards creaked as his weight pressed down on the aging wood. Despite the ladder being taken care of, it seemed the floors inside the apartment were neglected. Jake quietly made his way to the CD cases on the bookshelves. The front covered was printed with Arabic words that Jake had no clue as to what they said. Opening one, he took out the silver CD and made his way to the laptop. Popping open the drive, Jake went to work.

He carefully deleted the track list of songs on it, erasing it clean. The drive whirred quietly as the computer began to copy the list of weapons as well as any other pertinent information he found. A board creaked outside the door causing Jake's muscles to freeze for a moment. Adrenaline rushed into his system as the nanite activity rose, kicking his senses into overdrive. His ears picked up the sounds of blood being pumped into the heart and body of the man, the sound getting clearer with every loud footstep. He bolted from desk, ducking behind the desk as his nanites reached out to the computer to shut the screen down.

The door opened.

Muscles tensing, Jake tilted his head against the side of the desk, preparing his mind for a mind. A second later, the door closed with a thump, the footfalls making their way up to the fourth floor. Breathing out heavily, Jake checked the progress of the download. He sat there as the last few megabytes were copied onto the disk. He popped the drive open and closed down the computer, deleting any trace that he had been there.

When the man came down the stairs ten minutes later with his comrade, Jake was gone.


~ 2:31am, July 31th, 2011: West Cemetery, Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt~

"Where have you been?" Kareem asked as Jake walked toward the camp, melting out from the shadows. Since his nanites were still active, Jake had heard his progress from his post near the camp entrance.

"Around." Jake breathed into the night, allowing his body to slow down after the adrenaline rush of tailing someone. With a quick thought, the nanites went back into hibernation mode, his senses dulling once more. Jake shivered. "I had to go see to something."

"Is it over?" They made their way to their on-site sleeping accommodations.

Jake froze for a bit before entering the tent. "I do not know. Most likely, I will have to be leaving soon."

"Has your government found you?"

This time, Jake whipped around to see an expression that he had never seen before on Kareem's face. "What do you mean?"

Kareem's head tilted to the side. "I am an underpaid Egyptian worker, David, but I am not stupid. You have told me that you are a travelling American who was forced from his home a long time ago and you thought it best that you took some time to travel to regain your thoughts and priorities. While I do believe you are not truly lying about the former, I believe there is more to the story than you let on." Kareem went to where his sleeping cot was and rummage around underneath, moving his things around. He pulled out a coffee tin and walked over to where Jake was sitting.

"I fear that whatever you did tonight will make you leave us soon. I had a feeling this would happen sooner or later as you are a good man who still hears the call of duty, David Long. You will need this for your journey." Jake took the tin and opened it. His eyes widened at the amount of cash inside, in American dollars and Egyptian pounds as well as a small trinket on a silver chain.

"I can't take this. You need it more than I." Jake knew that unemployment in Egypt was high and that families struggled to make ends meet. This amount of money meant that Kareem was taking this out of the family's pay book as well as making it harder for them to live their daily lives. Something that Jake couldn't bear.

"You must take it. I will not take it back." Kareem's jaw tightened slightly, a signal that he would not be moved on this. Jake had seen this many times over the time he had known the young Egyptian man.

Jake looked at the cash inside the tin. Sighing, he closed it, snapping the lid shut. "I will find you again after I leave, Kareem, and I will pay you back."

"Just do whatever you have to do, David, for something tells me that whatever it is, it will be important for things yet to come." Kareem softly said. "Just remember you will always have a friend here in Egypt and many more if you will always wear that chain within our borders." The younger man blew out the candle and went to bed, leaving Jake to ponder what he had just heard in the darkness.


Chapter Notes: Sakara Gold is a type of alcoholic drink made by the Heineken Brewing Company if my research is on the mark. Turns out that Egypt doesn't have much emphasis on drinking alcohols as much as we do in the US but they do socialize over drinks. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad group is really a part of al-Qaeda which is a decentralized terrorist group. Ayman al-Zawahiri and Saif al-Adel are real, documented terrorists (the rest of the terrorists will be my own creation). Fava beans and Eish Masri are part of the Egyptian diet.