We touched down deep in the Eastern Tamanrasset, struggling to stay under the radar at Tiska.
No easy task that.
We smoked scorpion tails and drank frogs with the locals, and when we could touch down once again, and remember the mission, we gave away our gifts and struck out north towards the Illizi, guided by specks of surviving life marking a deep aquifer fed by the distant Djanet, far across the electrified sand.
And by GPS, of course. We weren't total savages.
I knew the area fairly well, having made a habit out of stumbling over ancient tombs, and knew that anyone - anyone - could get lost in the Labyrinth that ran from Chad nearly to Morocco. But where we were headed was outside the Labyrinth, just before it, and easily accessed. We didn't yet know if that was good news or bad.
The Algerians had found something, and we needed to determine what it was.
"Looks like a rock to me," Malee said, studying the reconnaissance photos.
Harper replied "Do you know what these people do with rocks? They worship them."
McClaren said "They throw rocks. Besides, this is probably just a meteor."
"Do you know what these people do with meteors?" Harper asked, "They worship them."
"That's way over in SA," McClaren said, not meaning South Africa.
Malee rotated the photos a bit, crinkled her nose and said "Could that be the cap to the Wishing Well?"
The others had the good grace to look worried.
"No," I said, "That's over in old Babylon. This is something else."
(To be continued...)