Chapter Six

When they came back to the opening, they had several unlit torches, canteens and a small kit containing archaeology tools. The Doctor went first after using his sonic to light all the torches. The other adults carried them while the Doctor scanned for any booby traps with his sonic. The walls were still smooth but the Doctor noticed something embedded in the wall to his right. He stopped and had Rick, who was behind him, shine his torchlight on it.

"That's a lion," Rick said, pointing to a little hieroglyphic carved into the wall.

Evie came up beside him and studied the reclining lion.

"It represents the letter R as well as being a pictograph of a lion," she said. " But I don't recall seeing it here the first time."

"Maybe it faded away with time," Rory suggested. "It's not that big to begin with."

"It looks a lot like the…well, what the Sphinx will become," Jonathon said. "Is the lion like a symbol ofEgyptat this time?"

"Good question," the Doctor said. "The lion seems to have some importance."

"You don't know for sure?" Rick said. "I thought you knew all about Egyptian culture."

"Not everything," the Doctor said. "I've never been this far back before. I've only been to the Dynastic Period of Egypt. I knew about the Sphinx originally being a lion but this is new to me. And why it's here in the middle of a sealed up pyramid with no other hieroglyphs around is another mystery. Still, let's find the tomb and come back to it afterwards."

They continued on down the passageway, keeping their eyes open for any more hieroglyphic lions but they didn't see any others, just smooth limestone walls. When they reached the tombs and went inside, the torchlight was adequate enough that they could see every inch of the room but there was no statue.

"Damn it," Rick said, walking over to the far right corner. "It was right here."

"Well, it's not there now," Amy said. "Maybe we went back too far."

"More than likely," the Doctor said, nodding.

"Daddy! There's another lion on the wall!" Hannah said.

The Doctor turned and saw Hannah running to the back wall. She pointed to another hieroglyphic lion halfway up the smooth, unadorned wall. The Doctor grinned.

"Good eye, my daughter," he said as they walked over to it.

"So, what's the connection?" Rory said while they studied it. "Why is there one here and one out there?"

The Doctor had a thought. He whipped out his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the lion. He turned it on and they heard a sharp click and everyone jumped back when a large door-sized slab of limestone slid back revealing another room.

"Okay, my guess is the lions are a sort of signal that there's a hidden room," the Doctor said.

They stepped inside and were shocked to see a room made out of shimmering alien metal.

"What'd you think the Bembridge scholars would have to say about this one, old mum?" Jonathon said to Evie as they stepped inside the futuristic room.

"I think the Bembridge scholars would have one massive, simultaneous heart attack, that's what I think," Evie said in a hushed voice.

The room contained a metal console at the back with a metal pod beside it that looked like a medicine capsule. Wires connected it to the console and beside it was a large monitor. On the left side of the wall was a metal door with another lion hieroglyphic on it. Next to that was a long metal table with nothing on top of it.

"I'm beginning to think your whole spiel about aliens coexisting with humans is correct," Rick said to the Doctor while looking around.

The Doctor walked over to the console and studied it. He pushed a button and heard a swish sound as the front part of the capsule slid open. Inside the capsule was a Perspex platform and a Perspex interior that lit up with a white light the moment the doors opened. Everyone came forward and studied it.

"Looks like some sort of chamber," Rory said.

"Indeed," the Doctor said, touching the interior. "Perhaps a suspended animation chamber?"

"What does that mean?" Rick said.

"I mean, it can put someone into a deep sleep, slow down their bodily functions so they'll…survive for a very long time," the Doctor said. "Like for example, you want to travel a vast amount of outer space, you can go into suspended animation and slow down your aging process to almost nil so you'll survive the journey and be almost the same age when you arrive."

"Why would something like that be inside the Great Pyramid?" Evie said.

"Not sure. I'm not even sure if this is a suspended animation capsule, I'm just hazarding a guess. It could be something entirely different."

"What about the lion back in the passageway?" Amy said. "Could that be another room then?"

"Let's go find out," the Doctor said.

They walked out of the room and walked back down the passageway. They found the other lion and the Doctor aimed the sonic at it and turned it on. They heard a click and the wall slid back. The room was made out of the same metal but it was larger with more capsules in it and two consoles at the front and the back of the room connecting them. There was a larger monitor and to the right was a table that had leather padding and leather straps for the neck, arms and legs.

"That looks sinister," Rick said, pointing to the table when they walked inside.

"Yeah, what is this place?" Amy said, looking around.

"Dunno, but I have a bad feeling it's not a health spa," the Doctor said.

"These aliens you mentioned, could they have performed experiments on the humans? You said that they started worshipping some of them as gods," Rory said to the Doctor.

"It's possible. Aliens did experiments on humans from time to time."

"Does that include you?" Rick said.

"No. I prefer traveling with humans to performing vivisections on them," the Doctor said.

"So, what do we do now?" Rory said. "Go talk to some of the villagers and find out what's going on here?"

The Doctor thought about that and then looked at his daughter.

"I'll be good, Daddy. I want to help," she said.

"Rose? Your opinion?" the Doctor said.

"Well…I'm not sure. Hannah is clever but…I don't want her to end up hurt or killed. I already watched Jonathon die."

"Huh?" Jonathon said.

"My first husband was called Jonathon," Rose said. "He died trying to protect me from an alien and it nearly done me in. I don't want to watch Hannah die as well. But she wants to come with us."

"I'll be careful, Mum. I promise!" Hannah said.

"If it helps, we have a son, Alex, and he helps us. And he's eight years old," Rick said.

"Have you run into trouble before?" Rose said.

Rick, Evie and Jonathon shared a look.

"Oh, just running from living mummies and rescuing him after he was kidnapped by psychos who wanted to raise a psycho Scorpion King from the dead," Rick said. "But our son handled himself when he was with his kidnappers and came out of it without a scratch. Your daughter seems to be intelligent. If our son can handle mummies and psychos, I don't see why she couldn't handle aliens."

"Please?" Hannah said to her father.

"You stay with us and you listen to us and don't you dare disobey or wander off, is that clear?" the Doctor said.

"Yes, Daddy."

"Okay, you can come then," he said.

Hannah bounced up and down with excitement. She took hold of her mother's hand, happy that she was still being included in the adventure as everyone left the room.

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