Parents Meeting When you say that you work for a government program that has a three letter acronym, most people jump to the assumption of either FBI or CIA. When people gave those guesses to Dan Sandborn, he'd sigh and tell them that he worked for the NSA as a cryptologist. He would then have to explain that he essentially broke codes for a living. If people then asked if it was like in thriller movies, Dan would sigh and tell them what he really did at work.
Normally, Dan would spend his lunch break in a small cafe near the NSA, finishing the Jumble in the newspaper, always trying to beat his previous record. One day, he was interrupted by a charming woman asking if she could barrow his paper when he was done so she could do the crossword.
Agreeing, Dan handed over the paper when he had finished his Jumble. Taking the paper, the woman mused at how quick he was able to finish the puzzle. As she worked on the crossword, the two of them started to talk about their love for word puzzles.
Realizing that he needed to get back to work, he bid the woman he came to know as Emma goodbye. As Dan went back to work, he actually had a spring in his step. It's not everyday that one meets a beautiful woman who has a mind with that.
The next day on his break, he found himself chatting with Emma again. This became a regular meeting. Between puzzles, the two of them began to grow closer. When Dan told her about his job, she became even more intrigued with him. Even though Dan couldn't tell the real secrets about his work, she understood. Little did he know that Emma had secrets of her own.
Their relationship grew deeper as Dan and Emma began dating. A common spot for them was a weekend lunch date to Kryptos where the two of them worked together on attempting to crack the statue's last code. It was on one of these weekend trips that the two turned adjectives into verbs...
That was one of the last times he saw Emma. She stopped showing up at the cafe. The happiness that Dan had held felt for the last few months evaporated. He returned to his job, more dreary than ever. A few months past until Dan arrived at work where a note was waiting for him at his desk. Finding it in code, he quickly deciphered it, as it was a basic Jumble code. The note instructed him to meet the author at the cafe. Arriving, Dan was surprised to find Emma several months along. She explained to him that she was actually the goddess Mnemosyne, goddess of language. The two continued their conversation via crossword puzzle, each filling in a few words at a time. Through this, Mnemosyne explained that her child would be threatened by monsters and that Dan would have to take care of her. Before she departed, Mnemosyne left Dan with two things, an old-fashioned decoder ring and a slip of paper that was written in code. "If our child needs more protection, have her solve this."
Dan watched with an unusual sensation of anticipation and remorse as he watched the goddess leave, knowing that he would soon see his child.
Youth: When the baby girl arrived at his home, he was elated. Again he had a person in his life that made him feel joy. Naming the girl Jessica, he raised her with care, as she had an appearence that reminded him of Mnemosyne. As the girl grew older, she began to share her father's love for codes, the two of them leaving little codes to each other to solve for fun. In school, she spent a lot of her time in the library, reading. At home, her bookshelves buckled a bit under their weight. Despite all of the books she read, her main passion of codes and code-breaking remained. When she asked about her mother, Dan would explain that her mother was always watching and that if she were able to solve the code, she'd learn more. It was when she was eight that Dan gave her the decoder ring and paper that Mnemosyne had given him years ago.
Not doing much for after-school activities, her friends remained close, but few. Usually, they'd talk about the books they were reading or played games such as Scrabble.
The Next Page: On weekends when Dan was called into work, he'd bring Jessica in with him. While he worked on his job at his desk, Jessica would typically sit on the ground either nose-deep in a book or working on a code that one of her father's co-workers had made for her.
It was one day when she was 13 when things changed for her. Jessica was taking a break from a rather difficult code and walking through the halls of the NSA, staying mainly in the public areas. It was while she was in the main lobby when the fill-in receptionist (as was told to her dad when they had arrived) began to follow her. Not trusting the malicious look in the woman's eyes, Jessica began to run back to her father's office, but as she glanced back to see the woman again, the 'receptionist's legs had melded into a single snake trunk and was slithering after her. Panicking, Jessica ran into server room to hide among the giant computer servers.
As she hid, she fiddled with her decoder ring, only to cause it to snap into two pieces, the spinning disk and the actual ring. She was only heartbroken for a second, as the ring proceeded to grow into a frisbee-like shape.
Her surprise was also short-lasted as when the metal frisbee had stopped growing, the door to the server room and the sounds of hissing reached Jessica's ears. Closing her eyes, she leaped out of her hiding spot and threw the metal frisbee at the snake-receptionist. There was a scream and the sound of sand being poured as Jessica hit the ground. Opening her eyes, she saw that the snake-lady was gone and the metal frisbee had lodged itself into a server.
Pulling it out, it shrunk back to the ring's disc to which Jessica popped it back on as the door to the server room opened again, this time several NSA agents charging in to see a young teenage girl standing next to a server had been wrecked. Jessica attempted to tell the men what had happened, but instead, the brought her to Dan's office, told them what had happened, and sent the two home for the day.
Driving home, both Dan and Jessica tried to figure what had happened at the NSA that day. Dan was starting to think that this was somehow connected to the fact Jessica was the daughter of a god. Jessica didn't know how she had managed to do what she had done, but her gut told her that whatever was on that slip of paper that her mother supposedly had gifted her, that it could provide answers.
In the weeks that followed, all of Jessica's free-time was dedicated to decoding the greek letters on the slip of paper. While her father had issues understanding each letter, Jessica could read them as plain as day.
It wasn't until several months later on her 14th birthday that Jessica finally decoded the paper. Discovering an address, she showed her father who explained to her who her mother was and that she was the child of a goddess. Thinking of her safety, Dan decided that to avoid any future incidents like the one at the NSA, that this address was their best bet. Driving her up to New York on a weekend trip, Dan got her as close to the address as he could before hugging his daughter goodbye so that she could start her own story...