MacLeod was more than a little concerned about the military showing any sort of interest in an Immortal, even mistakenly. God only knew what would happen if the existence of Immortals became known. Keeping the secret was something almost every Immortal, even the most depraved, agreed on. Methos still remembered with terrifying clarity that brief moment when a Watcher's grieving widow threatened to reveal them all to the world. The secret must be kept.

"Which is one of the reasons Adam Pierson died. But there's more," Methos continued grimly. He quickly filled MacLeod in on the details of the man who questioned him. The very mortal archaeologist who Methos had met in Egypt five thousand years before.

There was silence on the line for a long moment. "How is that even possible?"Duncan wanted to know.

"Either he's a different sort of Immortal, or he's got a time machine," Methos replied. "I'm leaning towards the latter."

"You have to be kidding, Methos. A time machine?"

"I'm a five thousand year old Immortal, MacLeod. A thousand years ago, the Internet would be the ravings of a deluded mind. Look, he's an archaeologist working for a military black project. Who knows what they're up to? Anyway, Dr. Jackson isn't my immediate concern anymore, especially now that he thinks I'm dead and cremated," Methos pointed out. "It's this Immortal that Amanda is tracking I'm more worried about."

Megalomaniacal Immortals weren't, unfortunately, that uncommon. But the ones who gathered followers and formed cults and the like tended to draw unwanted attention, especially in modern times. The world was growing ever smaller, and Immortals were definitely feeling the pinch.

"You got a name for this Immortal?"

"Amanda said he calls himself Sydyk, but I doubt he's actually old enough to be Phoenician. If he were, I'm fairly certain I would've heard of him." There simply weren't a lot of Immortals left from that long ago. There were few enough left now over two thousand years, and Methos knew all their names. "I'm guessing he picked the name because it fits in with his delusions of godhood. Somehow, 'Bob Smith from Brixton' just doesn't have the ring of divinity," Methos said dryly. "Maybe Joe can get a real name on this bastard, too, before one of us takes his head."

"Okay, I'll talk to Joe and get back to you. Oh, Methos? Be careful, and watch your head," MacLeod warned him seriously.

"Don't worry, Highlander, I'm more than capable of keeping my head attached to my neck. I only need to be concerned when you darken my doorstep. You are a magnet for trouble, MacLeod." That Scotsman had been in more trouble in his four hundred years than Methos had in five times that span, it seemed. But, even now, Methos couldn't wish for a more stalwart friend. With those words, he hung up and pondered his next move. The so-called Sydyk was probably still in Colorado Springs, somewhere.

So, to find him.

~o0o~

Amanda must not have been as drunk as Daniel thought she was, because they made it to Daniel's apartment in one piece.

"Hey, how'd you know where I live?" he asked muzzily as she unlocked the door with his keys.

Amanda patted him on the shoulder, a smile on her lips. "Driver's license in your wallet. Come on, Daniel, let's get you inside." She opened the door and guided him in. "Wow, nice place," Amanda remarked as she took in her surroundings. As a collector, no doubt she could appreciate his own collection, which was impressive, if he did say so himself.

"Thanks," he replied with a big grin. "It's taken me a lot of years to get all this stuff. You wouldn't believe where some of this comes from."

Amanda chuckled as she gently let him down on the couch. "Oh, I think I would." She spotted the centerpiece on his coffee table. "Is that a medieval European trephine? It's in remarkable condition."

He'd picked that up before he left a world where a young woman named Mary, who came near to having that trephine bore into her skull to release the 'evil spirits'. It had taken Jack only a few minutes to diagnose chicken pox instead of possession. Daniel was surprised Amanda recognized the tool. "You're right," Daniel said, certain that his apartment had to stop spinning at some point. To his surprise, Amanda then went over to examine the enormous shelf stuffed full of his journals. Thoughtfully, she pulled out the oldest and opened it up. "Colonel O'Neill thinks I'm a geek. I have no idea how to get us back. I'll never get paid," she read aloud.

Daniel suddenly grew cold inside, a surge of adrenaline sobering him somewhat. "Ah, those are my archaeological journals. Very boring stuff."

The woman raised her eyebrows, but returned the journal to its place on the shelf. "Must be, if they're labeled things like 'P3X-774'. What is that, a dig designation?"

"Something like that." He heard Jack's voice in his head, lecturing him on operational security. Keep the secret. Even totally plastered, Daniel still heard him. Apparently, more than ten years' friendship can do that to a man. Fortunately, most of his journals were written in various obscure languages as an exercise to keep his mind sharp, so they wouldn't mean anything to most people. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts.

Fortunately, Amanda saved him from himself. "Maybe I can come by another time. We can share another drink, maybe. But I gotta run. Have to pack up Adam's stuff from his motel room, let a few people know. I'll be seeing you around."

"Yeah, I'd like that," Daniel replied truthfully. He did like Amanda, a lot. She was smart and beautiful, witty and charming. "How is it you're not married?" he asked curiously.

Amanda grinned brightly from the door. "Just not good with long-term relationships, I guess. Short term, now those I can definitely manage."


A/N: A trephine is the tool used in the trepanning procedure, which, contrary to what Daniel said in the third season episode "Demons," wasn't usually used to treat demonic possession, but rather such things as seizures and head injuries. I've always found Daniel's understanding of the medieval period to be somewhat... lacking. He is portrayed as believing the popular caricature of the medieval period as an era when superstition and ignorance reigned over science and rational thought. This is a failure on the part of the script writers, rather than the character.

The journal Amanda reads from is Daniel's Abydos diary, which was also quoted in the first season episode "Fire and Water."

P3X-774, for those of you who are wondering, is the Nox world.