by Joseph Anderson

Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. Kimberly belongs to me. No copywrite infringement is intended with this fanfiction which may not be sold, may be copied for personal use only, and must contain all notices of copywrite.

In my Kimberly chronology this would follow Dropout and precede Kidnap. Jan and Mel have a romantic relationship in this story. No rough language. A little violence.

The tall dark haired woman picked her pith helmet up, carefully examining it. She took a pin from a small jewelry box and after a moment's consideration, attached it to the canvas covered headgear. It matched her khakis, of course. Both had been custom made for her in London.


The woman looked at the speaker, who was much smaller and blonde, and wore a weathered bomber jacket. "Too much, Janice? Would wearing jewelry like that be considered ostentatious or show lack of sensitivity to the poverty surrounding us?"

Janice Covington smiled wearily. "Yeah, you could say that. The poverty surrounding us might induce someone to try take your hat and your head with it if necessary."

Mel Pappas snatched the helmet off and removed the offending pin. "Thank you, Janice. I certainly would not want to commit such a faux pas."

The little blonde loved listening to her talk, the deep southern accent almost sounded musical to her. When she'd told her that, Mel had said that Janice was the one with an accent but that she liked her quaint Yankee phrases and inflections.

"You don't really need to get dressed up for Kimberly, Mel. For one thing, Kimberly is your granddaughter, bizarre as that is to contemplate, and for another she's used to conditions a lot harsher than this."

Mel looked with disdain at her friend. "Oh, I see. Is that some Yankee custom: that if someone is important to you, there is no reason to show them respect?"

Janice shook her head, picked her hat up from where it sat on the radio, and left her friend. She lit a cigar. Different worlds. They came from different worlds. She was amazed they could work together as well as they could, let alone be lovers. Mel had gotten a lot better at camp life and street savvy. And Janice wouldn't admit it to her, but she had emulated her friend's refined manners when she wanted to feel like she had a little class. And, of course, Melinda Pappas was a fantastic scholar just like her father had been, able to decipher at a glance what Janice had to labor over. Janice was more like her own father, Harry Covington: good in the field, almost having a nose for where to look for ruins and artifacts, whether they were in the ground or in some back street. They made a good team, complementing each other.

"Hello Janice." The little archaelogist turned to see a tall figure standing at the tent opening.

"You're early, Kimberly. Mel and I wanted to meet your flight."

The big woman shrugged and came in the tent, taking a wide-brimmed canvas hat and a pair of dark glasses off as she did so. "Someone I knew was coming in sooner so I hitched a ride."

The archaelogist smiled slightly to herself. The only flights outside regularly scheduled ones were smugglers and gun runners. Considering her connections it could have been an employee.

A moment later Mel came in and said "Kimberly! Oh my!" She kissed Kimberly on both cheeks.

Janice looked at them ironically. It was such an odd picture. The two women were physically almost identical but they couldn't be more different as people. Janice noticed they even had similar hairstyles--probably something fashionable that she didn't know anything about.

"So what can we do for you, Kimberly?" the little blonde asked.

Kimberly sat down in a canvas camp chair. Janice noticed Kimberly was watching the tent opening carefully just out of habit. She hoped it was just out of habit.

"I've been thinking. I thought I'd help you locate some sites if you're interested. Cal is going to be on the road for a while working, so now would be a good time."

"Wonderful, dear!" Mel said smiling.

Janice didn't say anything as she took a cigar out and clipped the end off. It sounded fishy to her. And as for Cal "working," Mel just conveniently didn't consider what that probably meant. The blonde looked at Mel's granddaughter. Kimberly was up to something: probably nothing that would hurt them but there had to be more to it than just wanting to be helpful. Those crafty blue eyes caught hers. Yep, she was up to something.


Kimberly had brought her own water and was sipping a glass of it now as she pointed to the map. "There's a good chance of a real find there, Janice," she said.

"Like what? There's never been signs of anything there?" the archaeologist asked, ignoring the harsh look Mel gave her.

"There used to be a something. Thought you might be interested."

Mel was distressed at how Janice kept looking suspciously at Kimberly. It was no way to treat a guest. "Thank you so much, dear!" she said. Kimberly smiled at her.

Janice began to reach into a small bag, then thought better of it. Kimberly said, "It's all right. You can drink around me."

The blonde looked at her and brought a bottle of scotch out. She'd be hearing about this later from Mel; she knew that. Might as well get her even madder. "What's there that you want, Kimberly? You leave a bag of magic beans there or something?"

"JANICE!" Mel said outraged.

"Moi?" Kimberly said innocently and looking hurt at Mel.

Oh, so that's the way it is, Janice thought. Thanks a lot, Kimberly.


They were all out at the site. Janice had said it all sounded very interesting but she didn't have the funding to just go out and begin a new dig. Kimberly had asked what it would cost. The little archaeologist gave her an estimate for workers and bribes for the local officials. The big woman just nodded. A few hours later Janice received a call from Cairo that twice that amount had been deposited in an account in her name. Janice had gone to Kimberly's tent.

"What's going on?"

"I figured maybe you were being conservative. Let's do it in style," Kimberly said. At the look on Janice's face she relented and said quietly, "Remember I told you the Sword of Ares had a baby who died. I want to take his body back with me to Chicago. I just want him close. There's plenty of stuff there to make it worth your time. I had the best architect I could find put it up. I had a rich tomb constructed."

Janice's face got red. This wasn't what she had expected at all. Kimberly wasn't trying to get away with anything. It was so personal she hadn't wanted to talk about it. "Okay, Kimberly."

Now three weeks later they looked at the site. Kimberly was breathing hard. Janice was watching her. She'd told Mel what was going on and she was hovering around Kimberly. The big woman had been a graduate archaeology student and knew what she was seeing.

"Janice," she said in a controlled voice. "When was the tomb robbed? Can you tell?"

"Probably not long after it was put up, Kimberly. A lot of time tomb robbers were the same people who built 'em."

The woman nodded. Mel put a hand on her arm but Kimberly shook her off. "Have you been inside yet, Janice?" she asked.

"Yeah," the small woman answered.

"I wanna go inside," Kimberly said.

"That's not a very good idea, dear," Mel said. She'd been in the tomb too. Janice had gotten her. They poured out any liquor anywhere in the camp.

Kimberly said frigidly, "What did they do?'

"Well, dear, you had the baby wrapped in goldleaf in a sarcophagus covered with gems..." Mel said helplessly.

Kimberly just leaped down into the pit and pushed past the workers. Janice was going to follow her in but Mel took her hand and stopped her, shaking her head. It was a half hour before Kimberly came out of the pit. She was carrying a bundle in a blanket. It didn't really seem like a baby though--more like something in pieces. She stopped and looked at Janice and Mel. "Can we go back to camp?" she said in a choked voice.

Janice woke up to the sound of a truck coming in. She shook Mel awake and they both quickly dressed. Just outside they saw a pair of torches had been planted in the ground and a bullock was being led out of a truck.

"What the...?" Janice said. Mel looked mystified.

Between the torches a post had been driven in the ground. Kimberly tied the bull to the post and said something to the driver of the truck who drove away. She spoke to the other workers and gave them all money and they disappeard. Janice and Mel began walking in her direction but then just stopped as if something told them to. Kimberly didn't even glance at them as she took an ax and nearly decapitated the bull. As they watched horrified Janice and Mel saw the air in front of her take on a strange appearance and Kimberly seemed to be speaking. There was a flash of light and she finally looked at them. She was no longer dressed in her khakis though but in tight leather garments with armored sections and she wore a helmet with a veil of chainmail over her face. It's elegant dangerous lines and silver and gold inlay glittered in the torchlight. The Sword of Ares walked over to them and said, "I didn't mean to wake you up. Go back to bed. I'll see you, tomorrow." She disappeared in another flash of light.

Mel and Janice looked at each other. Janice was sorry she'd poured out all of her scotch. They went back to bed since there didn't seem to be anything else to do.

Janice looked up at Kimberly's approach and caught Mel's eye. It was the next morning and they could see she seemed much calmer. Kimberly was back in her khakis. "Good morning," she said cheerfully.

"Kimberly," Janice said carefully.

"Here, dear," Mel said, and poured her a cup of coffee.

"Let's go back out to the site," Kimberly said.

"Dear.." Mel started to say sadly but stopped.

Janice didn't say anything, just looking thoughtful. Finally she said, "Okay."

Back out at the site Mel was stunned but Janice kept her face expressionless. Kimberly said, "Like I said in the first place, you can have all this tomb stuff. I just want my baby."

Janice was walking around the perimeter of the untouched tomb looking at the skulls that weren't there the day before.

The End