Isis called the fleet which was on its way to Earth. The flagship carried a portal on board. This would allow her to be present when the fleet approached Earth. She knew somehow that Jim was already there. As a result, she ordered the fleet to increase speed to maximum possible. In a few more days she would be able to receive telecommunication signals from earth. If Jim was there and up to anything, it would be hard for him to conceal his activities from her. Catching him? Now that is another story.


Several possibilities crossed her mind and she then thought of something even better than invading earth. Jim was expecting her to invade earth. He would be his usual self and showoff, and somehow get there first. Stupid brother. He always underestimates me, she thought to herself. Whatever Jim used to get out of reach was of primary concern now.


The device had to be related to portal technology. She concluded that the only way for him to escape is that he must have constructed portable "wormholes". She kept hearing him muttering "wormhole" in his sleep. The speed of that "wormhole" had her salivating with desire. Then she remembered something that she had read about "time travel". Of course she was aware of the research of her own scientists concerning time travel. Efforts had failed because of a pronounced need to be able to control "singularities, magnetic monopoles, black holes, wormholes, ultra-light speed" and a host of other impossible things. Now Jim has done it. She was certain that he had made the breakthrough. She knew Jim would not travel time though. He forever would debate if time travel were possible, then it would leave room for lots of holes to be poked into space-time in the form of paradoxes, and the fabric of space-time would become unstable or chaotic or something worse. She knew Jim would be afraid of doing just these things. This would mean that he is probably already on earth. She guessed Jim wouldn't think that she would know that he is already there. However, Isis never underestimated Jim and her basic instincts simply told her that earth was where he was located.


She guessed further that Jim would deceive Antiope and Helen, misleading them both about the device that he must have used. The device was much more important than the conquest of earth. Isis resolved that she and a small party would go to earth once she ordered the "defeated" fleet to retreat. She selected to accompany her two special agents who she would have prepared to look and behave exactly like Antiope and Helen. When the time was right, and she knew she would find that time, she would pull a switch and Jim would open the door, himself, for Isis to come in. She loved it the most when she whiled Jim into trapping himself. Isis felt herself come alive as the thrill of the chase ran through her veins. 


Arrival of the fleet would now be pushed forward to only four months away. In two months she would be able to receive communication transmissions from earth, that had left earth today. If, somehow, she could get to earth in two months. Then she remembered the wormhole. She immediately ordered a portal to be erected inside two of her fleet cruisers based near Cygnus. Each cruiser would have a stasis field generator to reflect spatial-temporal energy fluctuations around the vehicle and thereby protecting it. She would send a crew approaching the hyperspace singularity limit. She would let them approach the vanishing point and then the crew would one by one pass through the portal back to her palace. As long as the crew safely passed through the portal, she would know that they were well. Then, she would send one of her warriors back in the portal back to the cruiser. If all went well, then certainly she might be able to find an edge. Isis was not just idly guessing at this remarkably dangerous form of space travel. She remembered the ride Jim had given her. She had noticed his subtle adjustment of anti-gravity stability during the black hole incident. Granted the ride was terrifyingly rough on the ship, and she herself was quite frightened. Yet, she noticed that Jim had turned away from the wormhole entrance, as if he had discovered something which he may have disguised, when, suddenly, the ship had been exposed to all that "turbulence", which he used as an excuse to pull away. Jim had even apologized to her later explaining that he had underestimated the effect of the wormhole on the ship. Now she was suspicious that he was hiding something from her.


Within a week, the first ship was prepared and outfitted. A "volunteer" crew had been assigned for the expedition. The officers had truly volunteered. They had faith in the "intuition" of their queen and they knew that they would be fixed for life, if they survived this expedition.


It is not really a coincidence that Artemis is so close to the "wormhole". Imperial legends were full of stories about entering the hole and never returning. Fables existed of beings that actually came from the "black hole'. All knew that was impossible, until now.


The captains of the Cygnus probe had always wanted to try what was about to be attempted. These two were handpicked as the best pilots of her fleet.


Everyone boarding was frightened and yet excited. No one really knew what to expect, yet Isis had indeed spared no detail as to what they were about to do, and what she expected. She did communicate to the entire crew that this mission was of utmost importance to her and that she would be watching their progress with a close eye. Within a week, they would be within the grips of the black hole. Then the pilots would pilot the cruiser much the same way as Jim had once done, and yet this time, they wouldn't turn away until Isis commanded so.


The little cruiser lifted off early the next morning and uneventfully found its way to the black hole. Classical communication would expect standard communication to take seven days to be transmitted; if the cruiser had been gone seven days. However, communication was facilitated to be same minute by couriers as they passed to and fro through the portal, relaying information as to the progress of the cruiser. When the day came, Isis canceled all court activity and called together all her chief staff officers.


As the cruiser began to accelerate more and more, subjects making round trips through the portals began to experience problems with their sense of experiencing time. They complained that it took longer for the portal to bring them back to their senses.


At the calculated occurrence of singularity, the portal changed its observed texture. No one returned. Isis feared that all was lost. She sent a slave into the portal.


From the background, a court courier announced, "Your majesty! The crew from the Cygnus flight is asking clearance for landing."


They were back! Incredible. She sent another into the portal. The pilots were to be commended. They had successfully traveled in hyperspace. The cruiser re-materialized into the local time field. Yes, the cruiser had returned at an extremely high rate of speed, so that almost no time had transpired between detection of the light being radiated and reflected from Cygnus space and the actual arrival of the cruiser from Cygnus space.


It was no coincidence that the cruiser had disappeared at the same moment it was seen reappearing. It is the nature of light mechanics. Her scientists and mathematicians meticulously went over the flight recorder, the observatory recordings, as well as anything else related to discover a quicker way to earth. They came up with a way. Rather than return to Artemis from Cygnus, her ships could reach Earth in only seven days, by using the zero time-traveled characteristic once Cygnus slung them to earth.


So that's how he did it, she thought. Yet, how did he get that much acceleration from the Pegasus to escape the stasis sphere? She envisioned the pieces of the puzzle fitting together. Then she realized the significance of the Pegasus. If Jim had the Pegasus, he would be capable of seeing the fleet before the fleet could suspect of being sensed. Isis would have to approach earth without being sensed by Pegasus. Jim wouldn't want earth to be able to detect Pegasus. She intuitively felt that he would probably hide the Pegasus on the far side of the moon. Thinking this, she calculated that she should approach earth once within range from the far side of the earth. By picking a date which would correspond to an earth full moon, she could target for Sol, and be there. Then she could fly directly for earth and land while out of the electronic eyesight of Pegasus. Being well ahead of the fleet, she should be able to thwart Jim's efforts against her fleet. She knew that she couldn't anticipate all that would happen, but it occurred to her that the odds were a little more in her favor now.


Her astronomers came up with a date for earth's projected next full moon. She, directed that both ships be fully outfitted and be ready for launch a week prior to that date. She would be on earth well in advance of the fleet. Her counterfeit models of Antiope and Helen would also be going. They had a very important role. She directed for some saucers to be loaded in each ship. All vehicles were armed with high voltage particle guns. No males were to be taken on this mission. All warriors selected were from the queen's guard as well as those from the Cygnus probe. It was a great honor to be chosen for this expedition.


On the week before departure, Isis directed a festival of holidays, as she prepared for sacrifice of 120,000 extra-terrestrial captive men. These men would be distributed to the local village and town centers, and would be freely available for use by any Amazon woman until they had expired. At that time, another captive would replace the dead man. Throughout the festival, from dusk till dawn, the men would be prepared on altars throughout the kingdom for sacrifice in order to perpetuate the Amazon species. Each man could be expected to survive maybe an hour or two, before he would have to be replaced.


The slave men were sometimes aware of their fate. The younger and more foolish doubted the fears of the elders. However, when their elders queried why such beautiful women would want to have sex with him, the younger fool stayed silent.


Yet the Venetians would never infer of the affair as an execution. To them it was nothing more than a sacrifice. The Amazons would sacrifice the males in order to perpetuate their species. To them, these sacrifices were sacred since the result was new life. If a prisoner objected that, much to his fate so as not to create a scene, then the Venetians would simply execute the prisoner. In this case, he would be denied the ecstasy which would have gone with his death.


Isis also ensured that a few selected virgins would be coming along. She also recruited Medusa and Godiva for this mission. She advised them both that they would be delegated janitorial duties during the flight. 


Chapter Fifteen 


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(Author's note: QBLHis a continuation of Venetia. QBLH ;Copyright 1999/2015; Lazarus Cain (G.T.King)) All rights reserved)