Back in the van, Jim removed his belt and said, "Genie, assume the shape of the van."
Immediately, the Box transformed itself into the van and the women were amazed to discover that they now had much more room. The van even had two full size commodes; customized for each of their needs.
"Freshen up ladies and not a word of Genie to anyone if you know what is good for you."
Helen objected, "Now Jim, just how is all this possible? We both know you're not a magician."
Jim responded, "Glad you asked. Genie is part of the machine that brought us here. If either of you attempts to take the control of Genie away from me, well just try it. I know you'll each try. The temptation is simply much too strong. You try just once and I'll guarantee you'll never try again. I know that I'm being obscure, but Genie is our ticket out of here if we ever want to go home, and I don't think anyone of us wants to be stranded. Just bear that in mind. Also, bear in mind that Genie is my invention as well as is the machine that Genie controls. This machine can change its shape. This machine has the characteristic of being larger on the inside than the outside. This machine is capable of converting the void into matter and anti-matter. This machine is the spaceship that got you here and I'm the pilot. Neither of you is qualified to fly the contraption and I'm not about to teach you. So, don't ask. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Open that side door there, Antiope."
Antiope complied. She could scarcely believe her eyes. On the other side of the door was the interior of the Pegasus.
"Is that really the Pegasus? How can it be inside this van, when we left it on the far side of the moon?"
"That door is our portal to the Pegasus if we get in a jam. If you want to enjoy the rec-room room go ahead."
Antiope was amazed. "I simply can't believe it, but it's so like you Jim. Can we get Genie to drive the van while I show you how much I like your machinery?"
"Antiope, I must be the only one to control this machine while we're on earth. Genie is not really geared for making decisions. That's my job. Also, the physical laws inside this machine follow set guidelines which are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to explain. So, please don't ask."
"You don't have to scold me, Jim. I was being nice to you and I don't care how your magic works. I know I'll never understand it."
Helen mentioned that perhaps they should go to the financial center of Chicago first. Jim didn't care where they went. He had told them it was up to them. He would stay in the van and hold the fort. He warned them that if he was not in the van, then neither was Genie and the spatial properties of the van would be those of a normal earth van and it would not provide sanctuary.
Jim dropped the women off at the Chicago Board of Trade. They figured this should be a good spot to sell some gold. Jim dropped them off and drove around the block. When he drove by again, it was not hard to spot the women. They must have been surrounded by several dozen gentlemen who were clamoring them for attention and waving dollar bills in their hands.
Jim laughed. "This is going to be good."
As he pulled up, they cried for more gold. "Jim we're sold out and these guys want more. They wanted to sell gold for $1300 an ounce. When we offered to sell gold for $1200 an ounce, cash only, they bought us out and they're clamoring for more. These guys have cash coming out of the woodwork."
Jim said, "OK. Let's deal; $1200 an ounce cash it is. Within minutes, the van was completely surrounded by merchants, brokers and all sorts of riffraff begging to buy some of Jim's gold.
One, two, three, four, five million; he counted. The cash was rolling in so fast that there just seemed to be no end. Within an hour, the entire street had been closed off by the crowd. Jim was vaguely aware of the law enforcement types trying to get a handle on the situation. However, all the gold involved only made their job all the more difficult. The police were in total confusion. Jim could hear in the background their desire for the gold dealing to cease; however, no one in the crowd wanted to get left out. Helen made matters worse when she dropped the price of gold by $1200 an ounce.
"Gold, $1000 an ounce! Come and get it while it's hot, shouted Helen."
By now the entire street was in chaos. There were rumors that the Chicago Board of Trade had closed for a recess. It seemed that all the brokers were outside trying to get some gold. Helen and Antiope reeled as the money kept rolling in; forty, fifty million. There just seemed to be no end. However, the banks in the area started to run short on ready cash. The money started to come in a little slower as the cash shortage became apparent.
Jim told the women to get inside. Genie's force field prevented anyone from entering the van. Jim then activated the Box and the van disappeared.
The van reappeared a few miles away in an obscure alley that Genie had selected based on minimal immediate view-ability. True to form, no one witnessed the reappearance of the van into real space.
"How did you do that Jim?" Helen asked.
"Don't ask me any questions and I won't tell you any lies. This is how we can get around if I don't want to be chased, bothered, or if I'm just in the mood. There should be an electronics store around here somewhere. We'll need to buy some local electronics to get some eyes as to what is happening in the world around us."
Antiope spied a 'Best Buy' retail store. "Let's go there."
Within minutes they were inside the store. Five top of the line laptops, Ipads, and Ipods were purchased. Helen and Antiope purchased some smartphones and managed to get some free phone time. A few televisions, a few radios, some software and whatever else they found potentially useful, they bought. The clerks could scarcely believe their eyes when the appropriate amount of cash was tendered. Upon conclusion of their business, they loaded the van and drove away.
"OK ladies, we have work to get done. See if you can break out one of those television sets and a couple of the computers. We can't expose ourselves to much more publicity. I have detected an abnormal amount of air activity, which is concerning our activities downtown. There is an APB for our van. It's too bad for them that we changed our paint job. It's also fortunate that Genie erased any electronic images that may have been observed downtown."
"Jim, listen to this radio news," said Antiope as she raised the volume level.
"Observers report that two women and a man flooded the downtown financial district of Chicago with what is believed to be over $150 million of gold in unmarked ounces. These gold pieces are reported to have been sold at well below market value at the time. It is reported that the gold is pure and that the trio would accept only cash for trade. A massive run on the local banks occurred as the word quickly spread and thousands flocked to gain a piece of the action. Law authorities were powerless against the crowd as millions were withdrawn from local banks in cash. The banks now have a problem with an excessive amount of gold, which was immediately re-deposited in safety deposit boxes. Oddly enough, no one managed to get a picture of the three. Police reported some form of technical problem with their video surveillance equipment at the time. Federal authorities are asking for information leading to the identification of these individuals."
Helen said, "Jim, look at this. It's the 5 o'clock Chicago television news. Do you think those women newscasters are prettier than us?"
"Helen, they are not prettier, nor can they be as intelligent as the both of you. Let me watch this."
"The Dow dropped more than 250 points shortly after Chicago financial centers closed. The spot price of gold quickly dropped $1250 before it recovered to this mornings opening prices after a van unloading the gold was reported to have literally disappeared. Stocks also have taken a sharp drop. The Dow dropped over 200 points in today's trading. The FBI and IRS have informed us that such trading is illegal and they will be on the alert for any future reoccurrence. The SEC has announced a special emergency action, which will revoke the brokerage license of anyone buying or selling gold of this type in the immediate future. Wall Street awaits tomorrow to see if any more gold dumping occurs. More news is expected to be released at our next report, as we are being flooded with reports at the present."
"Well, it seems that we created quite a stir," laughed Helen.
Jim frowned. Earth was going to be a real problem. He wondered for a moment why he was even bothering with these primitive buffoons.
Antiope pulled out a television. "Where should I hook this one up?"
Jim found a cheap motel. Helen managed to get them a room. Jim retrieved the money belt as they went inside.
"What an ordeal," he gasped. "Let's find some real living space."
With that he transformed the belt into a box which looked something like a windowless telephone booth. "Let's get all this stuff inside," he directed.
By now, Antiope and Helen were used to the unexpected. It did not seem at all unusual to them that the interior of the booth was an enormous building. In fact, they fully expected to spend a comfortable evening on the Pegasus. Once completely inside, Jim activated the box and the room was again empty. Jim directed them to the Pegasus facsimile. They immediately went to the rec-room.
"OK, Idiot. It's show time. Analyze these devices."
Idiot quickly scanned the units and reproduced copies. "Jim, these are toys of course. I can much more effectively retrieve the same information using my existing scanners."
"Well, how about making these devices easy for Antiope and Helen to use?"
"A lot of these services require an account to be established, which in turn requires you to disclose personal information."
"I'm not setting up any accounts. These are all encrypted and modulated signals?"
"The machine language instructions burnt into the computer microprocessors has provided the means required to decipher their binary code system. Much of the airwaves are packed with signals transmitting this digital code. The rest of the transmissions I have been able to demodulate into sound. The circuits of the radios were not even needed in order for me to demodulate the radio signals. Television video I can give you, if you use my coaxial interface. All electrical power is 120VAC. I will be able to give you cable and satellite TV images inside the van. I also will be able to tap into the world computer system through the Internet. Amazingly enough, I will be able to gain access to the same system they are using to try to track you down. The news is an understatement. The government wants to arrest you and the l dies on charges that I'm not sure I understand. They are quite disturbed about the disappearing trick. We will not be able to sell gold that easily and quickly anymore. The element of surprise paid off for you. If you can hook up all those devices to me, I shall modify those devices so they can function for you without being hooked up to me. I will also make a few improvements. I do advise you to proceed carefully tomorrow. The earth authorities must be viewed as hostile."
"How much time before Isis is due to arrive?"
"You have less than four months."
"Do the authorities have any clues as to how to find us?"
"None; a few eyewitnesses and that is all. However, they're questioning the validity of the eyewitnesses stories."
"What kind of crimes would they try to charge us with?"
"The FBI has been instructed to arrest you on income tax invasion and they think you're a member of a drug cartel. The DEA is also involved. They believe you may be involved in some form of narcotic conspiracy. They have orders to confiscate all money and property as possible illegal proceeds from sale of drugs. They figure if you can't satisfy the IRS as to where you got the gold, then they are entitled to arrest you and seize all your assets."
"We'll open up a communication channel between us then. I think it's about time we have a chat."
"What kind of channel?"
"Internet. Let's browse."
A few hours later Jim took a break. He had learned much. Earth culture was in complete chaos. No one knew what to believe. Governments everywhere were on the brink of bankruptcy and moral impotency. Efforts to provide a decent living worldwide still somehow managed to maintain some form of equilibrium. Perhaps, and most disturbing of all, was the severe impact that his little sale of gold created. The gold was a very minor effort on his part.
Jim was amused that a nation which terrorized the rest of the world with its nuclear threat and financial strength would be so terrified of insignificant threats from its own population. Yet, a mere 8000 pounds of gold was capable of turning the masses into an uncontrollable free for all. The world's financial markets were reeling. Evidently the government was afraid of any reoccurrence.
Jim sent a message through the Internet to a congressional news group and a White House news group. Let them try to trace this one he thought. Both messages were identical:
To whom it may concern:
I come in peace and I pose you no real threat. I could just have easily counterfeited the cash. I have an unimaginable amount of gold available. I know that your country cherishes gold. I desire to remain completely anonymous and my identity is really none of your concern. If I told you the reason why I do what I do, you would not believe me anyway. I do warn you however, to drop any indictments that you may have created to arrest me. I will severely embarrass any of your simple and feeble attempts to arrest me. It is to your best interest to keep any involvement between your government and myself to be of utmost importance to your national security. I shall be a very powerful ally to you and am suggesting to you that when you do make a sincere attempt to deal with me rationally and in a respectful manner, you may find me to be very cooperative. I will go so far as to say that I could be classified as an "illegal alien" by your definition of the law. I do have a need for a secure identity. I do have use for some private property for the use of the three of us. Yes, the three from the van. Antiope, Helen and myself the driver as well as the gold supply.
I know full well that you believe I am a crank. You also refuse to believe that the van disappeared. Do you really think I was going to let you follow me? You are also out of your minds if you think that I am going to pay tax on the $160,000,000.00 that I received as fair exchange for the 10,000 pounds of gold that I sold you. The way I figure, that gold is still worth $1000 an ounce. Why that means I gave your citizens an unprecedented $5.5 million dollars, which I effectively lost by selling the gold at less than par value. If I sold at a loss, how can you claim I owe taxes on income? I will continue to sell gold as the need suits me, although, in the future I shall be a little more discreet.
I warn you, do not harass me, you will be wasting your efforts; but since you must, I challenge you to catch me if you can. I love the chase. Oh, as conditions for your unconditional surrender, we shall require a deluxe rooftop secluded penthouse with a heliport and all the amenities.
PS I shall forward my confession to your FBI.
With that done, Jim hit enter and submitted the message. In the meantime, he decided he would join Antiope and Helen in the rec-room.
"I am very pleased by your help today. I had challenged you to $10 million and you raised $50 million. How did you do it so well?"
"Helen exposed her breast and the gold inside the exchange and yelled, 'Come and get it'," said Antiope.
"Helen, you didn't?"
Helen just smiled. "Eat it, slave." She offered Jim a morsel of ambrosia.
Jim complied and Helen smiled more.
Antiope, not to be left out, helped ready Jim for bed. After drowning in ambrosia, Jim slumbered off.
Chapter Ten - The Joyride