Idiot had been programmed to make another time jump during the current time jump. The Pegasus was programmed to reemerge from Cygnus at the same time that the ship apparently disappeared across the event horizon. In effect, the Pegasus re-emerged from the Black Hole at the same instant that it had disappeared. Jim then made another jump back in time to the Flying Dutchman to the Nile Valley where he intercepted Isis and the children and relocated them to Artemis using the portal on board the Flying Dutchman. The trio were never aware of the transition since Jim never materialized them but simply redirected the flow of their essence. Idiot, still keeping them in Ghost State, accelerated the children to the desired date and rematerialized the bodies to the queen's chamber on Xanadu. Meanwhile, Jim would be able to step out and accomplish his objectives before Isis and his children returned from the past.
Jim found himself standing on the deck of the Flying Dutchman as Idiot rematerialized him. He looked at the clock. Indeed, no time had transpired since he had left with the children. He called for Antiope and Helen.
"What do you want now?" Helen retorted. "I thought you were going to take the children back."
He walked back to the recreation room and showed them that the children were gone. Idiot had immediately restored his form to the same as it was before they left. Everything was the same, except the children were gone.
"Where are they?"
Jim smiled. Good question, where and when truly were the children. "They are in the future," he told them," with Isis. "I believe she won't be able to stop us from preventing the invasion this time."
Antiope responded, "Well this is very good. It seems we have less than a month to purge the planet of the Amazons that are already here."
"Didn't we have a rendezvous scheduled in Ft. Lauderdale?" Jim asked.
Antiope confirmed the date and commented that they were a day late. Jim informed her to advise General Armstrong that they were on their way. Jim had said nothing about his sojourn as yet, but both women could sense that he had accomplished his objectives. Genie's information banks confirmed the location of all reported Amazons, and started to program an optimal retrieval pattern.
Idiot advised Jim of the necessary repairs and provided him with a parts list requisition. Antiope Industries conveniently had most of the parts available. Other parts were scheduled to be manufactured.
Mist drifted up the Nile again, as the Flying Dutchman disappeared. Idiot confirmed, upon arrival in Ft. Lauderdale, that history had not changed because of their excursion. Yet, Jim pondered the significance of the pyramids and their great mystery as he recalled his time traveling episode. He was surprised to learn how some of her ceremonies had seemed to persist through the ages.
Several limousines awaited the Flying Dutchman as the yacht arrived at Ft. Lauderdale. Captain McCoy and General Needhymen were present. Antiope and Helen both had specially designed portable computers which allowed then to stay in communication with Genie. A Navy SEAL unit was assigned to guard the Dutchman and a few units were assigned to guard the perimeter. The trio were driven to Homestead as Jim discussed the upcoming mission with the Earth authorities. Jim explained that he would be forced to return to Artemis, but Antiope and Helen would stay. The Colorado estate was given to Antiope and Helen would keep the Flying Dutchman. The two agreed that they would share their property and wealth. Helen instantly became a full partner in Antiope Industries, at Jim's insistence. Jim was fully aware that both Antiope and Helen were pregnant with twins. He would try to ensure that Ching and Jan would live peaceably with these children. Jim promoted Antiope and Helen to be captains of his royal guard and to act as his Earth agents. Genie would always maintain an active communication channel. The portal to Artemis would stay active aboard the Flying Dutchman. Antiope and Helen would alone have the key. Jim left exclusive orders to allow no humans through the portal, and warned them that the portal would automatically destroy anyone who tried.
For now, they would be concerned about retrieving Amazons. A special aircraft designed and built by Antiope Industries had been hangared at Homestead awaiting Jim's arrival. It was equipped with a special laser device that was capable of locking in on traces of ambrosia. Jim interfaced Idiot with the aircraft's computers and modified the onboard transceivers and booted up a special routine. Idiot then manufactured another device which would unfold into another portal, which Jim handed to Antiope and Helen. The Air Force flew Helen back to the Dutchman as Helen and Antiope set up the new portal. The SEALS were ordered to standby, as marines would guard the route between the two portals to ensure the captured Amazons knew which way they were expected to go. The SEALS were ordered to kill any Marine that neglected his duty and allowed an Amazon to break the ranks. They were then directed to kill the wayward Amazon with special weapons that Jim provided.
Spotters were placed on red alert and were ordered not to lose contact of their targets during any point in time. This required a few spotters to interrupt their meals and return to duty. Spotters who had lost their target were reminded and red-flagged. The Air Force started to fly masking missions, and other decoy strategies were employed. Jim climbed into the aircraft and proceeded to take off. Idiot controlled the aircraft laser. Idiot would aim the laser, which was capable of penetrating buildings, to lock in on an Amazon. Once the lock was confirmed, and Idiot had identified the target as Amazon, Jim would authorize the bio-transport.
The Amazon would find herself facing a detachment of Marines. They would also see Helen and Antiope who would direct them to enter the designated portal so that they could return to Artemis. They were each advised not to try to come back. Jim was prepared for any attempted Venetian counterassault through the portal. Antiope advised that any such attempt would place the life of all Amazons remaining on Earth in dire jeopardy. Helen promised the Amazons that executions would occur, if a counterattack was staged.
In general, the captured Amazons offered no resistance and were somewhat grateful that they were headed home instead of fearing execution.
Xanadu was in confusion as warriors started to return through the inactive portal. The guard on Artemis immediately recognized those returning as their own and Sophia was immediately notified and was on her way to the portal. She did not direct any forces to return through the portal and in a very sober fashion had her staff start accounting for the returned Amazons. She presumed that Jim was sending her back all the captives. Judging by the rate at which they were returned, Sophia knew that Venetian forces were clearly at a disadvantage. The surprise seemed to be total, and Jim essentially gave no warning when he struck. In each case, the Amazon was surprised when she found herself removed from the safety of her own environment and standing instead captive aboard the Flying Dutchman.
The arrivals began to thin out as it became known that those remaining were starting to elude their spotters. To some it was clear that they had not been spotted, but it was also clear to them that their friends had and had been removed. The Amazons remaining were somewhat scattered and disorganized. Although the Amazons outside American borders were relatively unaffected by this first purge, all became increasingly aware of the danger of being spotted. Jim's intentions being clear, he made a public appeal for all remaining Amazons to surrender peaceably. Yet, the Amazons were afraid to
return to their sisters in Xanadu after surrendering in dishonor. Those captured had no warning. Those remaining felt obliged to wait for the fleet.
Antiope departed to her Colorado retreat to spend some time. Helen and Jim stayed with the yacht as he once again put the Dutchman to sea. A few Amazons surrendered, but Jim never presumed the purge as being 100% complete.
With only days to go before fleet arrival, Idiot was able to intercept a host of communications between ground links and the Venetian fleet which was now decelerating, and making an approach pattern. Earth observatories were now able to detect the tracks of the fleet which was now between Mars and Jupiter. They also detected a sequence of explosions as some of the star cruisers passed through the asteroid belt. The strike was so successful that almost one hundred cruisers had to be abandoned. The Venetians destroyed the disabled cruisers, not ever wanting these great ships being copied by any alien.
The fleet was aware of the missile launches of some weeks ago, and now were somewhat familiar with the function of those pesky drones which persisted in bugging the fleet.
The number of missiles released clearly corresponded with the number of strikes. The kill ratio was exceedingly high.
Earth space defenses detected the explosions which revealed the location of the fleet. General Armstrong could scarcely believe the efficiency of Jim's defensive strike. Certainly that shook up the self-confidence of the invading Amazons. The press was given the news, and the stock market rallied up an incredible five hundred points. Antiope Industries was overloaded with contract requests. Her stock performed an unprecedented quadruple split as it increased in value eight-fold in a single week from one hundred twenty a share to two hundred forty a share.
Jim repeated his offer of amnesty to remaining Amazons. Ground Amazons were still organized and were still disposed to resist surrender. The immediate optimism faded into uncertain pessimism as Earth realized that the star cruiser's were still on their way. The President still straddled the fence somewhat. Jim was still retrieving spotted Amazons as they were reported.
The day came when the Amazon fleet was dangerously close. Jim established communication with the fleet admiral. He requested the admiral to abort the invasion. The admiral apologized, but she was under orders to request Earth's surrender. Jim was not acknowledged as an Earth authority. The admiral requested to speak with the President.
Jim advised the admiral that she would have to discuss terms with him. He then launched the submarine based arsenal. The admiral detected the launch and perceived the threat. Jim repeated his request that the Amazon fleet abort the invasion and return to Artemis.
Chapter Forty-Seven - What time is it?