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Idiot relocated them to within the pyramids. The children were immediately recognized as was Jim when they arrived. Isis had stationed a guard at each of the chambers. The role as guard was thought merely as a ceremonial position. The guards were very surprised at the simultaneous appearances. Jim noticed the freshly finished atmosphere of the structure. Initiates conducted him to a large tent in the area. Isis had been notified about the new guests and was expected shortly.


Jim noticed several beautiful Amazons looking at him and smiling. Judging by their reaction, he shouldn't do poorly. He pretended not to notice them, but they knew that they had caught his eye. Diana and Vanessa hurried over to greet him and the children. "It's been quite a few months since we've seen these children, and they still haven't aged, and neither have you, Jim."


"Greetings ladies, how do you like living before the dark ages?"


"We're doing quite well, and these human helpers are very handy."


"Yes, and she's a little angry that she's been alone for this amount of time. John promised that he'd be right back."


"Well there seems to be a minor problem in pinpointing the date I should return. I don't have as much control of that as you would believe. Is Isis aboard the Pegasus?"


"She should be here within half an hour. She did ask us to ask you very nicely to stay put."


"I'm going nowhere."


"Does that mean you have come back to join us?"


"I'll discuss that with Isis."


The women went to escort the children to another location, but Jim vetoed that idea. "The children stay with me."


The Venetians were a little unprepared for that reaction by Jim. They didn't object. They simply would let Isis set him straight. For the rest of the half hour, Jim discussed more mundane things, as he queried about the civilization that Isis had established.


The children ran out to see the Pegasus as they heard it approaching. Jim and the Venetians followed them out of the tent as they watched the Pegasus slowly descend to just a few meters above ground. A shuttle flew out of the starship as Isis left the craft to receive her children and see Jim.


The children were her first interest as they rushed to greet her. Isis never had expected to see them again. Jim told Isis that John and she had been mistaken in their assumption that Ching was actually Jim. Isis thought that the names were quite cute, and decided that the children could keep those names.


"Jim, why are you being so good to bring me my children? I wouldn't normally expect you to do such a nice thing. What do you want?"


"I want you to abort the invasion of Earth."


"Well, that's a little too late. I already have. As you see this is now my planet, and I am here at the dawn of civilization. Earth is now mine and shall stay that way."


"Isis, I am afraid that you are making a rather serious mistake. You and the children don't belong here."


"Is that why you brought me the children. Did you expect that I would be so grateful for the children that I would do as you asked in return?"


"The thought did cross my mind. Besides if you want me to stay with you, then you should be a little less argumentative."


"Jim, without me, you're nothing. We need each other, and you know it. I'm just not afraid to conceal the fact but you are. What is the real reason that you brought me the children, and why did John give them to you?"


"Aphrodite gave me the children to return to you. She also asked me to take you back to Artemis."


"I really don't feel like going at the present. I have plenty of time to return to Artemis. I haven't even started to explore the stars yet."


"Very well then, Isis. I suppose you would like to show me how well your civilization is doing."


"Is that your Genie wrapped around your waist.?"


"Yes, and I've improved upon Genie's obedience circuit especially for this voyage. I have a lot of safeguards against any attempt by you or your staff to take this belt. Even if you did acquire it, you would not be able to use it or keep possession of it, so don't waste your effort."


"Oh Jim, you know I'm going to waste my effort at least once or twice to keep you honest. I shall also be pleased to show you our Earth empire." 


"I suppose you have them all worshipping the ground you walk on."


"I do require them to show me my due respect. Certainly, my position on Earth should not be an insult to my royal Venetian heritage. I certainly am not going to let anyone else rule. Are you planning on taking me prisoner and forcing me to go back to Artemis under your conditions?"


"It would be easier if you went willingly."


"I am not willing. Now, what are your plans?"


"I'd like to sight see."


Neither Jim nor Isis trusted one another. Isis was very thankful to Jim for bringing her children back and promised that she would always love him, always protect him, and never punish him. She told him she would treat him as an equal and as a rival. She then warned him, and you know what is next, Jim, my beloved, it is time for the midsummer's celebration as we celebrate your return in my court.


Jim winced. He was going to have to start putting up with her never ending ceremonies and rituals. He fondly remembered that he had forgotten all about them and now it seemed that the days had returned. To humor Isis he had the belt unfold into his awful costume. "Let me save your servants the worry," he remarked.


Isis, Jim and the children boarded the shuttle and returned to the Pegasus. A full crew and countless staff and attendants were on board. Jim obligingly merged Idiot and the Box with the Pegasus, and added some interior expansion so that her miniature throne had expanded to her more familiar home court in Xanadu. Isis was delighted and could scarcely believe that Jim was being so nice to her. She could not understand why. Slowly and gradually, she started to be a little less suspicious of Jim's motivations. She respected his expressed desire to not share the secrets of Genie with her. As long as he showered her with gifts from Genie, she would have no complaints. Isis also reduced the number of Initiates to be sacrificed in order to please Jim. In return, he had to promise to make up the difference.


Isis made a royal proclamation as soon as she ascended to her throne. She announced the upcoming coronation of Jim to rule all Earth at her side. She also ensured that her children were learning the activities of court life. Ching and Jan had never seen Isis at her throne, and they were very impressed by Genie's version. The interior of the Pegasus was to be opened up to human eyes to see for the very first time, albeit that Jim had used Genie to modify the interior somewhat. Genie was very comfortable at manipulating the Box around the Pegasus by now. It seemed that Isis had been very

industrious in building this civilization. In just a few decades, Earth's population had increased tenfold. The Venetians kept all the humans employed and content with the wages for their work. Isis was very pleased with the abundance of riches that Earth had to offer. A few Amazon cities had been constructed and Venetian efficiency made these habitats virtual paradises. 


Her greatest city, she called Atlantis, in memory of her lost starship. There the Earth's crust was thin and she had the ability to harness unlimited amounts of inexpensive geothermal energy. Energy was free for all to consume in that city and industry abounded. The ground near Atlantis was inhospitable to normal vegetation, and the heat from the many fissures made the climate outside the city dome somewhat unbearable. John had built the dome at the request of Isis to start an industrial complex where she wouldn't have to worry about the surrounding wildlife. There were many volcanoes near Atlantis and as a result, it was usually, hot and overcast. Yet certain strategic materials were nearby, and energy was free and plentiful. Being a very enormous city and fully air conditioned, the citizens of Atlantis were basically all technically employed. Helen's son was in charge of building this complex. Having obtained from the library on board the Pegasus many of the Venetian technologies, and being of royal blood, Ching's lesser brother, Pharos was regarded by all as the master craftsman of the planet. However, Isis wasn't quite sure of what Pharos was capable of inventing. He didn't seem to show the same creative knack that Jim most definitely had. She noticed that Ching had quite a tendency to follow Jim

everywhere. Little Jan would stay with her mother and learn the fine art of being beautiful. Ching delighted Isis with a clever little invention that thrilled her. Jim frowned at her idea of having Pharos teach him as well. "He's my son," he would warn her. Isis was secretly delighted that Jim was so jealous of his son's attention. In return, little Ching learned the most amazing things as Jim showed him wonder after wonder. Jim ensured that his son was not misinformed on anything. 


After a few years, the children grew and Jim was quite content to live in this ancient era. He constantly reminded himself about the need to go back to the future to fulfill his destiny. He speculated about the possibility of never returning, yet was always reminded of the great cataclysm to be. He remembered John's comments about the geography. Jim was aware of a legend concerning Atlantis. During his inspection of the facility, he noticed that Pharos was building anti-gravity units for use as transportation. Such devices, if manufactured near a geographically unstable area could have catastrophic effects if a stabilizer went out of control. The Venetian engineers assured him that they took countless precautions to make this fear of his an impossibility. After leaving Atlantis, Jim surveyed the Earth's surface. He then understood that he would have to leave the planet very soon.


Over the next few weeks, he viewed all the life before him with great sorrow. What could he tell them. Perhaps Pharos wouldn't be the cause of the catastrophe. Perhaps it would be something else. Jim sensed that perhaps his fears were running away from him. The engineers did show him the precautions they took, and he did agree that the countless stabilizer backup systems did seem to be overly redundant. He remembered John's warning about loose tongues. Then Jim felt responsible for the upcoming catastrophe. He thought about the humans who were evolving quite well without

Venetian meddling, and now that meddling could possibly be the ultimate cause for catastrophe. By attempting to trap Isis before the flood, perhaps he had caused it to happen. Jim was very uncomfortable with these thoughts. 


As time went on, the Earth's plentiful bounty and infinite resources made the Amazons lose their desire to return to Artemis. Jim would frequently bring up the suggestion. Isis told Jim that she would return to Artemis with him, and would take the children as well, but she was not yet quite ready. She gave all the Amazons the choice to stay or return. All agreed that she should return to the future and be the queen of all time, and they would stay behind and see that her civilization flourished. Isis had no idea that a catastrophe was coming, and Jim could not tell her for fear of compounding the paradox. He was simply happy that his patience with her had paid off, and she would agree to return to the future under her own free will. Now he would have to wait for the appropriate moment. 


One day, Jim heard a report of a very old man proclaiming doom and building a great boat high in the mountains. Jim decided that day it was time to leave Earth to its fate. Perhaps he was responsible; perhaps he was not. He had the opportunity to escape, or more precisely, it was his responsibility to conduct Isis and the children safely back to the future. He reminded Isis of his concern for the colony once they left. She reminded him that it was her colony, and not his, and if they all died because of her intervention, it was her fault and not his. Yet if the colony was not destroyed, then Earth would be hers, once they returned to the future. They would leave while her empire was clearly fully established. She laughed at the fact that he was leaving because some old man in the mountains was building a giant boat. All agreed that it was indeed her practical nature and realistic attitude which made Isis a better ruler than Jim. Jim was indeed very smart, but he had no common sense. 



Chapter Forty-Four

 Jim Visits Isis

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