2010-07-21: Worth More Then 5k Camels (Egypt)



Date: July 21, 2010


Mark and Jo are on an airplane headed to Egypt.

"Worth More Then 5k Camels"

On an Airplane

The hum of the plane's engine whrrs loudly somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean while passengers on the plane shift unsettled in their seats. Jo Scott, however, isn't known for shifting, when she's restless she walks, paces, even. Her khaki coloured pants and white tank are covered by a long black sweater to keep her from catching a chill on the flight. Amongst her pacing she had managed to score two dixie cups of ice cream from a male flight attendant. Finally, she paces back to her seat, sliding into it and buckling her seat belt before placing the dixie cups of ice cream on Mark's leg. After doing so, she turns towards Mark and moves to squeeze his hand.

There's a certain softness in her eyes (only accentuated by the haphazard bun she'd pulled her hair into at the airport) as she gazes past him to the window her eyes focusing on the clouds outside. She clucks her tongue, and plucks one of the containers of ice cream from his leg. She opens it and uses the small wooden paddle that passes for a spoon to shovel some into her mouth. "Mmmmm. Vanilla." She grins.

The explorer hasn't moved from his seat since they took off, despite his continued use of airplanes, Mark Scotts is nervous as hell to be in the air. He puts on a strong face, but thank goodness there is no empaths around, they'd know the truth. The cold of the cups on his legs, helps drag his eyes from view outside.

He's dressed in new pair of khaki cargo pants, since the old pair were in pretty bad sharp, and a durable dark blue button up. Dressed for adventure, so to speak. He always feels a sense of being himself when he puts on these clothes.

That typical smile of his finally pulls at her lips, there's something in his expression when he looks at her, but it's hard to pin down. "Thanks." He says softly, picking up the cup of ice cream. As he works it open, his eyes go back to the cloudy scenery. "With all those people out there that can do amazing things…" He pauses as he licks the underside of the lid. "…do you think it's possible there are people out there that could do what that eclipse did?"

It's something that's been bothering him, since they had run into Tracy Strauss. Glancing back at her, his brows lift a little, spooning a chunk of the ice cream in his mouth.

The hand is squeezed a little harder before Jo lets go of it entirely in lieu of her ice cream— it might melt. Her own thoughts on the matter are completely silent as her expression changes, droops just a hint, as if considering the question. Spooning another scoop of ice cream into her mouth, she turns to him again, more thoughtfully this time. "Do you mean could there be someone who essentially takes away the incredible from everyone else?"

"I've seen some unusual things from otherwise normal people. With what I know exists and is possible…" which is more than she cares to admit "… I don't see why not." Not that she's seen negation before. Again she shovels a spoonful of the ice cream into her mouth.

Brows furrow in thought as he sucks at a bit of the sweet on his wood spoon. Finally he sighs softly and pulls the spoon from his mouth and stabs it into the cup. "I —" He trails off, looking as if he struggling for words. Finally, after a moment he just smiles at her and completely changes the subject.

"So… no one knows why we are really going to Egypt." He starts, putting the cup on his leg so that he can reach the back pack at his feet. "I think I have our cover story." His head turns from where he's hunched to look at her, flashing her a toothy grin.

When he straightens he has a folded paper in his hand. The gray paper with it's black in is an issue of that check stand rag. Mark has always viewed it as his holy grail for the unknown and his calling card. He offers it to her, an article circled in red. "It's a story from one of last years issues."

The title reads: Bastet Lives Among Us Leading Her Feline Army

"I guess your family wouldn't just believe you wanted a vacation with your lady— I mean… " her mouth gapes a little before she manages to grasp some more focused words, "with me." Her cheeks turn a slightly pink tinge, but she refocuses herself on her ice cream.

She leans over to look at the paper. "Bastet?" Jo asks quietly. While she may be a tough fighter, she's not familiar with mythology like her counterpart. She focuses on the paper a little more before looking up at Mark. "Do you think that's really possible? A cat army? I mean… they're cats…" She winces slightly.

Her little fumble gets a look of amusement from Mark, before he answers her question, he leans over with a gentle smile. "I liked 'your lady' better." He says softly, brows twitching above his glasses a bit. "And no… they wouldn't believe 'your man' would go to enjoy sometime with 'his lady'." For just a moment he looks like he wants to say more, but he remembers they are going over something.

Clearing his throat he straightens again, "Ah… Bastet. We were talking about Bastet…" He looks a little bit like a nervous schoolboy, until he starts giving her the rundown. "She is a Egyptian goddess, often depicted in hieroglyphics as a woman with a cat's head — of course, this woman doesn't have a cat head. Pharaohs… were once believed to be the gods walking among them… so it's not surprising they would think this is Bastet." He reaches into his bag and pulls out a thin paper bound book, it looks well broken in, with yellow post its marking places. Searching the pages he continues to explain.

"She is one of the most beloved of goddesses still today. She is considered the protector of women and children. Woman would turn to her when they looked for the god blessing for fertility. In fact…." His brows lifts as he folds the pages back and show her a printed drawing of the cat goddess. "Cats were once considered demigods, given places of honor within house holds and mummified just like people."

His eyes are on the picture in the book, "As for if I think she could have a cat army? Think about Dee and what she could do?" He taps a finger on the paper in her hands. "This person might be another Dee."

"Cats are just… cats," Jo says skeptically. "They meow, lick themselves, and have a fascination with catnip. I just don't find them scary— the notion of a cat army seems ridiculous." But then so do many other abilities. "Goddess of fertility and protector of women and children, huh? I sincerely doubt this lady has any of those intentions, especially if all she can control is … cats." She shudders a little, before remembering herself and toughening her exterior again.

"So… we're telling people we're looking into this mystery, right? Like we want to know more about this Bastet person and… that's why we're in Egypt?" she shoots him a small smile and leans towards him.

And then, in a moment of unusual honesty she quips, "I… liked the your lady thing better too." Her cheeks flush that pale pink again; blushing isn't a common thing for her, but here she is, blushing like a school girl. She finishes off her little cup of ice cream before adjusting in her seat. "Does your family even know where we're headed?"

"And… if we hear anything about the strangers, we can make some inquiries… but as far as people know we're on one of my trips." Mark explains, watching those cheeks flush pink. His smile falters a bit when she mentions his family. "Knowing my father, he knows we're going to Egypt. No idea if he'll figure out the real purpose, but… if we can keep him thrown off trail, maybe by time he realizes…"

His shoulders twitch up a little and he turns a slightly sad smile her way. Leaning over his presses a kiss to her temple, before adding. "I'm not going to worry myself about it." He's trying to to think about the attempts on his life last time.

"As for cats… I don't think you give them enough credit, they are observant and there are some smart cats out there." He nods his head to the paper, reaching to take it from her. "They say the cats do what she asks, but I don't think it's an army… not really. It's the Weekly Witness, about eighty nine percent of it is lies."

Leaning to put the stuff back in his bag, he gives her an honest look. "There is a chance that eventually, these people with the collars are going to come for her." Mark reaches over to take her hand in his, lacing his fingers with hers. "I'm hoping that she'll lead us to them."

"We both have reapers after us. I've been watching my back for years, watching yours too… nothing I can't handle as long as I can be armed— " the last bit is said rather quietly as they are flying on an airplane, some things are important to keep on the down-low especially here.

"So your father keeps close tabs on you then?" Jo hmmmms quietly before reaching for her own backpack to pull out— a book of crossword puzzles. "And for the purposes of our cover story, my role on your team is— ?" she shoots him a sly smile as he takes the paper from her. "Gun for hire? Spectator? Disliker of cats? It really is necessary to have someone who isn't a cat person. I always figured dogs were smarter and just… more awesome." She shrugs.

"So… you think she can help? That's… kind of brilliant. It's not like we're super familiar with the area…"

"Nah… your role is as my girlfriend. Why wouldn't I bring her with me?" The Lane heir gives her a matter of fact look. "Just a bonus she's a sexy, kick ass, super soldier." He pulls her hand up where he can press lips to the back of it, he lingers there for a moment, giving her a meaningful look, before letting her hands go so he can attempt to eat the last of the mostly melted treat.

"My dad keeps as close of tabs as he can… having a kid that can talk to computers on the down low is a wonderful things." Mark's smile shows a fondness for the young technopath. "But I think cause of this power glitch, my dad will be able to keep pretty good tabs."

"I like that role," Jo states gently as she leans over to plant a soft kiss on Mark's cheek. "I think I could get good at that role." There's a glimmer of something in her eye before she glances down to her now empty dixie cup which she puts in the seat back pocket. She idly chews on her bottom lip while settling her head on Mark's shoulder.

"Well we'll just have to be covert then!" She swallows before shifting in her seat again, "Has your dad always had it out for you… or just since things kind of… blew out of proportion? I mean with… the protocols….?"

A soft smile betrays him, as her head settles on his shoulder. Mark could get use to this, this was so much more different then any of the women before meeting Cody. Placing the stick in the now empty cup, he leans just enough to tuck it where she did, but not prompt her to lift her head. Settling back again, he lets his head rests against her own.

"Dad has… never been proud of me. I'm not the son that Robert is. An embarrassment really." His hand finds hers again as he sighs. "But it was a surprise to find out that my father wanted me dead." There is no hiding his feelings about that. The betrayal he feels by his own flesh and blood. Turning his head a little, ignoring the way the hair tickles his noses. "This is new… I'm a weak link in his plans, especially now that I know the companies dirtiest secret. Not to mention I stood up to him in a round about way there in the jungle."

Jo hmmms quietly, her own thoughts reflecting on things she wants to say but can't bring herself to speak. Still chewing on her bottom lip she fights herself, willing herself to say something anything comforting, but that's not her strength. It's never been her strength. And so instead she reaches for Mark's hand to press against her lips.

Finally she speaks, thoughtful and quiet, "Families are complicated. Everyone has their own motivations and their own lives and sometimes they cross and complicate things further." She swallows again before quietly stating, "My parents both died a few years ago and I haven't seen any of my brothers since the viewing… before the funeral I never went to…" Her eyebrows furrow as she takes a slow deep breath. It's not all of the truth, but at least it's a piece.

Inhaling deeply and exhaling softly, Mark listens to her talk about her own family. "Complicated." He says softly against her hair, with a humorless laugh under his breath. "It's a good word for it." Pulling his head away, he angles a look at her, studying her face for a long moment. He debates whether to ask more, to touch on a possibly sore subject as her family.

"Sounds like…" He starts slowly, giving her a gentle smile. "…an overdue reunion maybe?" Mark gives her a slightly nervous look, it however could be fake, "I do admit, I'm intimidated by the fact you have all these brothers who are probably bigger… and buffer then me and will probably want to beat me up for dating their sister."

The suggestion causes Jo to stiffen a little as she shakes her head, "I don't… know if that's a good idea… I don't even know where anyone ended up…" She pauses. "And Tony… Tony couldn't beat you up, he's been in a coma for a number of years now. And is probably still in the same hospital I left him in… there was some yelling involved… with a couple of my other brothers about… everything." She swallows hard and snuggles into the shoulder again.

Mark grimaces and his brows tilt up with a bit of worry for her. "I'm sorry." He murmurs softly, his other hand comes across to wrap around her closest arm, giving it a gentle squeeze. "I'll leave it alone, but… before I do, I just want you remind you that the years change people, Kate." A kiss is pressed to the top of her head. "People can change.”

The words trail off and he goes silent with thought. Finally, he displaces her head by leaning away, but only so he can slide an arm around her shoulder. With the arm of the seats between them, he can't pull her close. "You did." He whispers close to her ear.

"Years might. Circumstances… well they haven't changed," Jo murmurs quietly with a heavy sigh. "It's just… complicated." Her lips press together again, sadness tugging at her eyes in an almost droopy way. She squeezes Mark in return, her eyes close gently as she sighs again. "Did I? I mean, did I really?" She turns her head to look at him, that unspoken circumstance almost written on her face, weary, really.

"Yeah… I see a change in you, just in the time I knew you. Amazon changed a lot of us." Mark hasn't felt the same since it all, especially his vision walk. His fingers brush along her arm gently, eyes watching what he's doing. "And it speaks volumes that you walked away from the Protocols." He looks at her then.

It strikes him that in his vision, he reached out to Jo first, which never occurred to him before. Maybe it' nothing… but he can't help but brush the back of his fingers against her cheek. Something happened in that village and even now he's surprised she's sitting here with him.

"Maybe," is Jo's quiet reply as she leans towards him, that arm rest between them becoming more of a nuisance as the journey wears on. "I walked away because… I couldn't do what they wanted… I just couldn't. Even if I'd wanted to, it wasn't in me." Her face flushes as she turns to look at him again. "After everything was said and done… I… I was visited by this smoke… man… and I… I wrapped things up." Her face flushes a little.

And then asks carefully, "Did it change you? Amazon, I mean." She frowns slightly.

He answers the questions with a small nod of his head. Brows furrowing a little, "It did," he says softly. "It's… hard to explain what happened." His gaze travels to the back of the seat in front of them. "I came really close to dying there." He knows, he felt himself slipping away, before Mother of All healed him. "It makes you really look at your life." The words are murmured softly.

Quietly, Jo tucks a stray strand of hair behind her ear. With a quiet breath she squeezes his thigh tightly that reminiscent smile fading some. "And what did you find?" her voice is a whisper now, quiet and unsure. "I reexamined my life recently… Strauss when she saw me last I… I was sick. I had this disease that one of the targets gave me… special brand that coloured my skin, increased my visual acuity, and… made me hear voices in my head." In another whisper she adds, "They were my parents… I didn't realize I missed my family until the voices were gone…"

Fingers comb at her hair, lightly so not to mess it up too much. "I realized who I really was and what I needed to do." Mark doesn't address her family for the moment, "When…" He trails off softly, almost hesitant to admit what he says next.

"When I dying, the Mother came to me in my dream. She told me I had to be true to myself." A soft sigh escapes him, arm tightening around her a little. "She called my the guardian, but not just for her people." He looks at her then, moving his head just a little to do so. "It sounds crazy, but when I woke up… I felt… different, more certain of who I am."

Eyes close with the soothing motion, the rhythm having an almost therapeutic effect. "And that's why we're going to Egypt, isn't it?" Her eyes narrow a little as she suppresses a small sigh. Her cheeks flush again as she looks up at him. "More certain in what way? You're a good person. You were never on the wrong side of this, even if your family was."

"Keep your chin up, Sparky. No matter what your father thinks, who you are is pretty incredible. Even pre-Amazon." She smiles softly. "Also… I know he's your brother… but Robert is a smarmy leech. You're better than that. And even if they can't see that… I can…"

"I'm more certain that I am not destined to be my father. More certain I am not like them in anyway." Mark smiles softly, looking at her out of the corner of his eye. "And… yeah… that's why we're going. If there are people being collared again, I need to do something about it, no sitting back and pretending nothing is going on."

Shifting to sit a bit straighter in his seat, noses scrunching up a bit. "Robert." He sighs heavily, his mood taking a down turn. "He is an ass and enjoys making my life miserable. It's a relief to know that your immune to his… charm."

Pressing a kiss to her temple, Mark smiles, looking rather happy. "I mean… you put him in a hold and threw him out of my apartment. If that isn't a turn on…" Another kiss follows the first to her temple. "That will keep me amused for months."

"I wouldn't exactly call it charm— " Jo quips with a tilt of her head and a sly smile. "I don't think he liked me much; probably used to ladies fawning over him." Once again she squeezes his thigh. Her lips twitch a little before she finally adds something, "I didn't tell you this before and it doesn't exactly worry me… but.. I think he threatened me… I can't really understand why. Honestly, I'm not afraid of him. Being an ex-SEAL and all…"

She squeezes his thigh again. "I'm glad I'm with you… I mean more than just at this moment… like in general I'm glad I'm with you."

"He threatened you, but I don't think he really understood what he was poking at." He grins a little."I'm glad your with me, too." Mark murmurs with a gentle smile, fingers trace along her jaw. "Makes all this easier to handle."

"There's very little that scares me anymore," Jo smiles as she leans into his arm. She turns and plants a soft kiss on Mark's cheek. "Just don't sell me to some sheik for like five thousand camels, alright?" she grins playfully. "I think I'm worth at least ten…"

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