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Rupert Giles walked up the driveway to the modest bungalow, slightly short of breath due to the altitude. He knocked on the front door, then put his hand back in his pocket to conserve warmth. It was April already, but it was still cold in the Rockies, and a coat suitable for an English winter just wasn’t enough.
He blinked when the door opened, revealing not a middle-aged male academic but a stunning blond in her late thirties-early forties. “I’m looking for a Doctor Daniel Jackson?” he said. The New Watcher’s Council’s research hadn’t found any evidence of a wife or girlfriend.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the woman said. “He’s … away on a business trip. I just came over to water his flowers.” She noticed him shivering. “Do you want to come in and warm up? I have some coffee made, and you can tell me why you want to see Daniel. I’ll tell him you were here, of course.”
“Thank you, that would be lovely,” Giles said. He’d prefer tea, but he was a guest after all.
“I’m Sam Carter,” the woman said as she closed the door behind him.
“Rupert Giles,” he replied. He took off his coat and hung it in the closet as she headed further in to the house, presumably to the kitchen. Giles followed her, pulling a business card out as he did so.
“You can wait in here,” she said, gesturing to a nicely furnished living room. The walls and shelves were covered with an eclectic collection of art and artifacts, collected over a lifetime of archaeological experience. He studied them as Ms. Carter got the coffee; most seemed to be genuine, although there were several well-made copies.
“Here you go,” she said, coming back in with a mug in her hand.
“Thank you, Ms. Carter,” Giles said, wrapping his hands gratefully around the warm mug.
“Call me Sam,” she said with a smile. “So, what do you want with Daniel?”
“I work for a corporation—NWC—that often works with ancient texts.” He handed her his card. “Doctor Jackson is an excellent linguist who is fluent in many of the languages we need translated. We were hoping to hire him. He wouldn’t need to relocate, at least not unless he wished to take a more active role within our organization; we could simply have the documents couriered to him as needed.”
Ms. Carter took the card with a raised brow. “I thought the archaeological community didn’t care for his theories?” she asked.
“Ah.” Giles shrugged. “In general, you are correct. However, our main interest is not in his archaeological skills but his linguistic ones, which have never been maligned even by his worst detractors. That, and we are a rather less hidebound institution than the majority of academia, and we like researchers who are accustomed to thinking, as you Americans say, “outside the box.”
Ms. Carter smiled. “Well, that’s Daniel, all right,” she said. “I’ll give him your card, but he loves his current job. I doubt he’d be interested in a change.”
“Really?” Giles raised an eyebrow. What could the Air Force possibly have him doing that was better than what Giles was offering? By all accounts, Doctor Jackson lived and breathed archaeology. This job was the closest to that sort of work that he’d had in almost a decade. “Well, in either case, I will be in town for the next week, if he has any questions.” He finished his coffee and rose. “Thank you for your hospitality, Ms. Carter. By the way, can you recommend a good store for warm clothing in the area?”
“Sure,” she said. “There’s a mall about two miles away that’s got some good stores. I was just heading over there to do some birthday shopping. You can follow me in your car, if you like.”
“Thank you again, Ms. Carter,” Giles said with a warm smile. “I’m afraid the only real experience I have with American winters is from living in California for six years.”
“Oh, it’s no problem,” Ms. Carter said, standing up and heading for the coat closet. “I know I wasn’t really prepared for a Colorado winter when I first moved here, and I didn’t have the excuse of coming from California. And Mister Giles? Call me Sam.”