Jim and John complied and both entered the portal and found themselves on board the Pegasus. Jim unfastened his belt and let it merge in with the Pegasus. "This is the means by which I left Artemis. Idiot is the code for access to the controls for my  hyperdimensional drive systems. Many of the systems are standard Venetian design, so you should have no problem with the principles involved. I've improved on local gravitational field controls. I employ three drive systems. Acceleration effects can be completely neutralized. Energy interchange is conservative. The spherical body can distort to absorb gravitational distortions that we feel under extreme acceleration conditions. Much of the mass is hydrogen which is completely dissipated in the form of high velocity, high energy thrust while our own mass is depleted. An additional thrust is provided by matter/anti-matter extracted mass. We sort of borrow this additional energy which we give back upon braking through a dedicated hyperspace light link."

 

"Very impressive. And I see it's her flagship. You aren't trying to make her angry are you?"

 

"Well, as far as starships go, she is top of the line."

 

Jim instructed Idiot to power up the starship to full power. "The girls can have the yacht. I have yet to top in this old girl."

 

Jim discussed with John his concerns about Isis going to the past. John concurred the possibility. These seem to have the forms of apparent paradoxes. Jim inquired as to whether it would be possible for Isis to control his Box if she ever gained possession. John responded by saying that his Box can not be activated or controlled by anyone but himself. Too many controls were unmarked. There were many neurocircuits involved as well. He would have to willingly take her back. Jim then suggested that he would program the Pegasus for a default arrival zone in earth's past. This way, he would be able to know where to intercept with the Idiot. If the Pegasus was capable of back traveling then perhaps it would be better to know where it would be if it did get captured. John went along with the idea. The circuit would be a strict fail-safe precaution and hopefully it wouldn't be needed. Earth space at some date around 10000 BC was selected. The Pegasus would rematerialize a few hundred thousand miles away from earth and any one on board would be able to use conventional propulsion to pilot the ship. Jim also preferred to program this trip himself since he didn't want the Amazons to make a mistake and actually destroy the ship while it was in the black hole. With the booby-trap in place, the two were ready for the confrontation. The Pegasus would be their flagship for the assault. The hyperspatial units were too valuable to be exposed on the front line. While Idiot programmed Pegasus, it programmed in itself its own interception routine. Idiot had similar instructions. Idiot was to materialize 30 miles due west of the Great Pyramid of Giza at the time just prior to its construction. John then went along and said if he was forced to take Isis back in time, he would take her to that time zone. This would permit Jim to find them in the past. The plan was fed to the Idiot which scanned it for paradox violations. Idiot's results were very interesting.

 

"There appears to be a 99% certainty that your efforts will be effective and all paradoxes will be explained if John surrenders himself to Isis and releases control of the Pegasus."

 

"And if John doesn't surrender the Pegasus?"

 

"Jim and Isis will both cease to exist and paradox will result."

 

"That's not a very pleasant option."

 

John interjected. "It seems we have to assist Isis to defeat us in order to gain victory. All this talk about the past should not affect our future. Is that not so, Idiot?", John requested.

 

"You have no future restrictions of which I am aware."

 

With remarkable adeptness, John scanned the controls, and pulled up pre-flight operational readiness test. "May I?"

 

"Go ahead. If you have any questions, just ask."

 

John accelerated all engines up to 100% potential. He zeroed gravity on-board. He spun up the vertical meridian ring group 247 degrees, positioned the ionic thrusters and switched energy absorption shields to absorb all light. He plugged his own box into Idiot to allow them to communicate. 

 

As "time" passed, maximum thrust remained applied. John was steering them straight for the fleet. As more power was expended, the relativistic shift in time already had them 128 hours into the future, with only an hour lapsed. Jim was failing to understand why he was deliberately creating the aging problem. Then it occurred to him. John had intentions of taking out the fleet now. At current rate of acceleration they would probably be encountering the fleet in only a few hours. John smiled. "With this ship and our two dimensional units, we should be more than a match for the fleet. This should be a

cinch."

 

Fifteen minutes later, Helen came through the portal. "Are you guys ever going to come back? Something has happened back on earth. The news is alive with UFO sightings and they think it's us, but there's been fighting. Someone else is here, and I'm afraid its her. Jim you've got to come back now."

 

John interjected, "Wait; don't go yet. Helen, you stay here. Jim you must go retrieve Antiope immediately. Don't waste any time. Go get her and return as fast as possible. Seconds count."

 

Jim jumped through the portal and found himself back on the yacht. In his haste, he had forgotten to bring Idiot. He checked the time. He had been gone a little over a month. Antiope was not on board, but he could tell that she had been there only a few hours before. It was 4:35 local time. Jim turned on the television to see what he had missed over the last three hours. He missed Idiot. He sure could use some military satellite information.

 

He decided to search the Internet for clues. 

 

He scanned the Honolulu local news for tell tale footprints that Antiope and Helen may have left. He came across an interesting article concerning a new drug epidemic that the Honolulu police were researching. Antiope's and Helen's work; no doubt.

 

Sure enough. The article went on to state that at least three dozen deaths over the past three weeks have been attributed to drug overdoses. The public has been alerted that there is a new drug on the street which must be going around. The police have been totally baffled and there have been absolutely no leads, but the autopsies...all the autopsies show that they all died the same way and by the same chemical.

 

Jim was startled. "Hello Jim." It was Isis.

VENETIA

Chapter Nineteen 

John Test Drives Pegasus

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