Shortly after the last guest departed, John quickly folded back up the walkway to his submarine and got underway. The President's orders for the submarine to stay put were ignored. No one had the courage to try to stop the submarine from leaving. The Flying Dutchman silently followed the submarine out of Pearl Harbor. Antiope looked back at Oahu with strong memories as the island gradually disappeared from view. John submerged, and Jim and Antiope were alone under the stars. They both gazed at the stars, the ocean depths, and the expanse of the horizon. Jim missed Helen. He speculated as to whether or not he would be able to rescue her from Artemis. He knew he would have to wait until Isis had arrived at Artemis aboard the Pegasus after John had left in order to even have a chance at bringing her back. He still felt responsible for leaving her with Isis, but what could he do. At the time Isis seemed to be looking for him as well. He was not prepared for her swift decision to go through the portal and leave her crew to fend him off. He discussed with Antiope his plans for capturing a US Navy ballistic submarine. They discussed what message he would leave on the moon for all to read. He would require 11 missiles with a total of 102 warheads for this last demonstration. Jim had not resolved to argue with the world's leaders. They had clearly shown to him that they didn't believe he could produce what he claimed. Earth authorities were too used to dealing with bumblers who consistently failed to deliver on promises. After all, he was dealing with the leaders of the earth who were well aware of how fickle the masses and other leaders truly were. Besides, he was not going to get full cooperation unless they were truly convinced of his abilities. It seemed that earth was expecting her to be a somewhat benevolent ruler. They correctly viewed that he had no great numbers of support, whereas she with a fleet of 400 and an empire could be easily regarded as a greater threat. Yet they were deathly afraid of terrorists. The greatest fear of America would definitely be realized if he commandeered a submarine. He had requested nicely, but had been refused. Antiope seemed to be pretty happy with the idea. She requested command of the submarine once Jim had programmed and modified the missiles. Jim stated that he would place the Flying Dutchman on autopilot, and he would have it pilot itself on the open ocean crewless but under automatic control. Antiope would be free to transit between the Dutchman and the submarine while she held command. In the meanwhile Jim would travel to Artemis to learn about the presence of a second portal. First priority, would be to snare the fish. The SSBN Abraham Lincoln left Pearl the next morning. Genie kept a track on it as it submerged and the Flying Dutchman proceeded to follow the boat. Jim blacked -out satellites overhead so that his course would be difficult to track. He noticed reconnaissance aircraft near the horizon as he was aware that the Generals were still keeping an eye on him. Genie monitored the defense command related communications. Jokes were being transmitted over the air, so Jim surmised that earth defensive commands were very comfortable with the fact that he was still very active. Internet scans showed that the public was very much divided concerning the Venetian threat. Many wanted to fight, but others resolved that it would be foolish to fight against such overwhelming forces. Needless to say, Wall Street did not take the news too kindly. Trading was forced to halt several times as the Dow started on a steep decent. Jim managed to offset further falls by buying into the market as it declined. With his new social security number and the help of his newly found friends, he was able to open several stock accounts. The brokers weren't too sure about Jim's ability with the Venetian fleet threat, but they all knew his gold was the finest quality. Antiope quickly caught on to Jim's games with the market. She insisted on opening her own account. She even found Bill's company and bought a few thousand shares of his stock. Jim's intervention did manage to stop the Plummet as word got out that Jim was buying. The Navy arranged for a rendezvous the next day so that Jim could deliver the $20 billion of gold bullion needed to pay for his stock and option transactions. He bought very heavily into the industries which he would require for his retrofits. The more the stocks fell, the more control he was able to buy. Genie provided some larger units of bullion, in the form of bricks instead of ounces. The federal government granted Jim special permission to mark the bullion with serial numbers to save themselves the expense of minting. They even provided Jim with the serial numbers. Jim allowed the government to open a special accounting office just to deal with his financial transactions. Everyone seemed happy with this arrangement, since the government would be able to get the income tax, the investor would be US friendly and Jim didn't have to concern himself with counting money. What did he care, he had an infinite gold supply. The price of gold did drop $20 that day though. The second day, the Dow recovered somewhat, and Jim bought nothing. He scanned the horizon for eyes in the sky. He saw none. The submarine they were tracking was a few miles southwest. Jim was fully aware of the fact that the US Navy did not know the exact location of their own submarine. This would be able to buy him the time necessary to capture the submarine without the full knowledge of the Pacific fleet. Antiope assured him that she would manage quite well on the Flying Dutchman. Jim promised to return frequently so as to refuel the Flying Dutchman and perform other necessities. He would also return if she called him for any reason. Jim fastened his belt as Genie detached itself from the Flying Dutchman. The Dutchman then gave chase to the submarine. The submarine captain was obviously quite perturbed when he realized he was being followed. Jim amused himself for a couple of hours as he toyed with the submarine. True to command procedures, the submarine maintained radio silence as it tried to evade him. He let up on the chase so as to give the crew a break and diverted the Dutchman away from the sub. He then relocated himself to on board the submarine. He maintained invisibility as he viewed the interior layout of the boat. While surveying the boat, he noticed that they had still not secured from evasive maneuvers and the crew seemed to be pretty spooked about the chase. Sonar had identified the craft in pursuit as a private yacht. This disturbed the captain greatly. He could handle being pursued by the enemy navy, but being pursued by a private yacht; that was another matter entirely. He speculated that it may be the Flying Dutchman, but he was unable to confirm that.
Jim materialized in the captain's cabin. "General Needhymen sends his regards." The captain jumped out of his chair in shocked amazement. The captain did not recognize that it was Jim, and saw only a stranger on this boat. "Where the f... did you come from, and who are you?" He reached for his weapon. Jim quickly stopped his reach for the gun and identified himself as Colonel James of the US Air Force. He announced that he was assuming command of the SSBN Abraham Lincoln. Commander Rickover strongly objected, but Jim assured him that no harm would come to him or his crew as long as he didn't resist. Commander Rickover mentioned that the Navy didn't work that way, and he was simply not allowed to surrender his submarine to an on board occupant. Jim used Genie and played a few magic tricks for the captain until he finally gained the captain's reluctant confidence. Jim discussed with Commander Rickover the details of his plan. Commander Rickover was very impressed with Jim's quick grasp of submarine systems. When Jim told the Commander that he was going to shoot eleven missiles at the moon just to spell a message, the Commander laughed heartily. "Why that's impossible, but if you can do that it will certainly shake up those politicians. Frankly, I was disappointed in the results of the summit as well, but I couldn't see how you would be able to deter 400 incoming star cruisers. However, if you can hit the moon with my bullets and spell out a message with great precision, I do believe you will get 100% of our support. I will surrender myself to you as your prisoner and I ask you to spare the lives of my crew. God bless you too, Jim, if you can stop Isis. I love my freedom as does every swinging dick on this crew." When Jim mentioned the possibility of Antiope coming aboard, the captain reminded Jim that he had no accommodations for her, but she would be welcome. Jim found these humans odd at times. He had no respect for the willingness of some to give up their freedom for security, and yet he had the greatest respect for those who would stand up to fight successfully against overwhelming odds. The likes of Commander Rickover and General Armstrong demonstrated that humanity was willing to fight for its freedom. Commander Rickover reminded Jim of how complacency had let America fall victim to surprise attacks before. He also reminded Jim that over 2,000 sailors had perished in the Venetian attack on Norfolk. To him the unprovoked attacks on Pearl Harbor and Norfolk were both evil. Due to the cooperation of the captain and the crew, Jim was able to complete the retrofit in a very short period of time. Genie interfaced the Box with each missile as the flight and weapon systems were refabricated. The crew smiled at Jim and were quite honored to have this celebrity on board. They especially enjoyed the audio-video link with the Flying Dutchman as each sailor took his turn talking to Antiope as she maintained surface surveillance. The crew was delighted as Antiope relayed to the submarine television and radio shows of all sorts. Everyone invited Antiope on board, but she reminded them all that there was quite an ocean between the two of them and they wouldn't be able to open the hatch to let her in. When the missiles were ready, Jim advised the captain that his work was finished. He advised the captain as to the dangers of sex with Antiope as he prepared to bring her on board. "Lt. Colonel Antiope will assume command of this boat until you return to port, Commander Rickover. This way she and I will be able to assume complete responsibility for this mission, and you may go on record as being hijacked if you would like. In the meanwhile, your crew has been so helpful, I would like to repay you for your hospitality." He extracted a pile of gold and instructed that he give each crewmember a couple of ounces as incentive. The captain was very appreciative, and so was the crew. Engineering especially liked having Jim aboard. It seemed that he did not want anything to go wrong with this missile test. Genie carefully monitored all ship's systems and instantly remedied any machine malfunctions. Drills were suspended, and Genie even took over reactor control. The reactor operator was somewhat unwilling to give up the control, but he soon saw that Genie could react quicker than he. Some operators tried to beat Genie to the draw, but Genie was always quicker and would freeze the controls once they had been automatically shifted. The crew were intrigued by this new control system that had been brought on board. However, the day came when Jim would have to leave the boat, so he returned control of all systems except the missiles to the crew, so that he could detach Genie from the submarine. As promised, he went back to the Flying Dutchman and fetched Antiope. He returned with her to the Lincoln while the crew went crazy with excitement after waiting for the arrival of Antiope. The entire crew planned a very nice reception for her and the cooks were preparing their best lobster and steak dinners. Antiope, of course, had to dress very provocatively. She would be extremely upset if there would be any sailor on board which would not desire her. Dinner went well and the crew gave quite a show of skits and antics to impress Antiope. At the end of the dinner, Jim addressed the crew. "I want to thank you for your support. I must admit that I was very disappointed in your leaders in their lack of desire to preserve your independence. We all know that it's not over till the fat lady sings. Well this evening, eleven of your fat ladies are going to sing very nicely. Believe it or not, your Tridents are headed to the moon." A great commotion was stirred on the mess decks. The moon? No one could believe that these missiles could make it to the moon. Yet they had seen many impossible feats already performed by this Jim, and they were all certain he wasn't on board playing games. "Yes, the moon. I have modified your missiles so that they have a slightly increased range. Also an improved navigational control system will allow me to place each and every warhead at a specific location on the moon's surface. Jim used a chalkboard to demonstrate how the missile would strike the moon's surface. The entire point of this exercise is to demonstrate to the entire world and any would be conquerors how deadly my aim is. I guarantee you, I can hit every incoming star cruiser, and Isis knows that. As fact. Her only hope is that your leaders will be intimidated by her and refuse my help as they did a few days ago in Pearl. In a little under 14 hours from now, the eleven missiles will strike the moon's surface clearly spelling out 'THIS IS A TEST' in the following manner." He then drew circles on the chalkboard to show the pattern of the 102 explosions. The test had to use live nuclear charges, because it was a live weapons test, and Jim had to ensure that everything would go as expected. No one believed that what Jim proposed could be done. All were somewhat disappointed when Jim told them that the test was top secret and the folks at home were not to know which submarine had that capability, nor were they to be told about Jim or Antiope. The crew found that a little harder to swallow, but their captain repeated the order and all fell silent as the crew gave Jim their undivided attention again. "I really don't know what to tell you what shall transpire after this, but there is a very good chance that you will be ordered back to port to receive some more birds to prepare for the real kill." The crew cheered. Even though the test had not yet occurred, all seemed confident that all would go as well as expected, and that perhaps the Venetians would have to go home after all. One look at Antiope, however, made many wish for a moment that the Venetians would take over, but the gentle reminder that sex with a Venetian meant death brought all the sailors back to reality, as they realized their own women were all that they really needed. The Venetians were beautiful, but deadly. The crew also acquired the greatest respect for Jim as they realized the sincerity of his efforts. When Jim announced to man battle stations, a great cheer went up as the crew went to their assigned station for a launch. Antiope assumed command of the Lincoln while Jim returned to the Flying Dutchman to coordinate the test firing. The crew was instructed to launch the missiles in a normal manner when the signal was given. Back on the Flying Dutchman, Jim scanned the airwaves for news. As expected there seemed to be still a lot of controversy concerning the summit. However, the Venetians still on earth were not coming out of hiding, and no word had been heard from Shady Jim contacted General Armstrong.
"Where you been, Colonel? I'm in a lot of hot water and the President wants my resignation. My lawyers have been able to keep the dogs at bay, but I think my days are numbered. Meanwhile you've been cruising around nonchalantly on your little yacht as if nothing's happening."
"General, I would like to call your attention to the waters 10 miles south of my yacht. Could you please advise your international friends to watch what is going to happen thirty minutes from now. Please advise all aircraft to stay away from my immediate air space. I have one of your submarines and I am fixing to launch eleven very hot missiles."
"Jim you can't do that? What will the President think? You're never going to get her cooperation now, and I might as well turn my stars in now." "General, have I ever disappointed you? Just watch. That is all I ask. You and General Needhymen clearly indicated to me that your leaders can't believe I can stop those 400 cruisers. Let's see what they say after observing this test." "But why do you have to use our nuke warheads, and the multiple warheads at that. What kind of target do you have in mind? There is no place on earth that you can safely set of those charges."
"How about the moon?"
General Armstrong fell silent. "You're kidding me, but even so, what will that accomplish. Don't get me wrong, I am very impressed with your ability to get our missiles that far in the first place, but taking out star cruisers in motion is a lot harder than hitting the broad side of the moon."
Jim then sent the General a map of the moon designating the targets and the message to be spelled out. The General was then impressed.
"OK, Jim, you have sold me. If you can hit the target in this prescribed manner, then I'm sure you can hit any target. But why this method?"
Jim smiled, "It's an old Venetian ploy that we used to conquer planets in the past. We would demonstrate our weapons proficiency, and the enemy would give up without a fight. Only Venetian technology is capable of such accuracy. Isis has never had to fight an adversary of equal technical capability. "
"So this message is meant for her as well?"
"Well my best wishes to you Jim. I will advise my peers and superiors. Please succeed."
"It's a piece of cake. The work has already been done, and now I'm ready to demonstrate. Please advise your President that I would like to commence the retrofits tomorrow. I can perform the retrofits at sea. I will just need all the crews notified." "Well let's see the test, and I'll see what we can do."
"Very well then."
Twenty minutes later Jim relayed the command to fire to Antiope. Antiope in turn advised Commander Rickover. The captain and the weapons officer then released the missiles for launch. The entire crew held its breath as one missile after another successfully left the tubes and entered the heavens above. NORAD was completely impressed with the modifications to the missiles. They had never seen missiles launched so perfectly. Radar showed the missiles directly in line with each other as they headed towards the moon. It was not long before the public became aware of this great experiment. For the next twelve hours, the world waited with breathless expectation as the missiles made their way to the moon. Those aboard the star cruiser, Canopus, were not exactly thrilled. Shady knew full well what Jim was up to. The threat to the fleet was a very real one. While Jim was free to take shots at star cruisers using his renown technical abilities, no star cruiser would be safe. No Venetian captain would ever attempt to engage Jim in space combat. To do such was suicide. Earth may underestimate Jim, but the Venetians knew better. Shady relayed the information back to Artemis. She also wondered where Isis was.
Jim Takes A SSBN