Jim pondered the possibilities. While invisible, Jim was also powerless. He could not influence his environment until he rematerialized. He counted the guards remaining on board, and discovered Antiope. Apparently they were still going to rendezvous with the cruiser and send Antiope back to Artemis. All together there were eleven Amazons on board; Jim, Antiope, the Amazon captain, Antiope had two guards, two communication technicians, two weapons officers and two pilots. Communications would have to be neutralized first. Jim directed Genie to place the Flying Dutchman in a space-time loop of sorts. For effect he selected four target points located on the high seas and at dusk. Genie complied and all aboard were thrown into complete confusion when the sky suddenly darkened. No one had yet seen Jim who had rematerialized and was on board hiding. The compasses went into an apparent state of confusion as the yacht relocated every thirty seconds. Four very odd looking wakes were established as the ghost ship would appear only to disappear again.
As a result of this consistent displacement, the pilots were lost, the mother ship could not communicate with the yacht because communications kept getting interrupted. The captain was totally involved with these problems. Jim crept up on the weapons officers and knocked them both out cold. He then had the Idiot produce a field to confine them. He dealt swiftly with the remaining seven. Fifteen minutes after Isis departed Jim had complete control of the yacht. To those on board it had seemed like days because of the time loops. He then changed the code to access the portal. He restored the communications channel and had his captives inform home base that the circuit had been repaired. The captain was too afraid of Jim to do anything but comply.
"Glad to see me?" He smiled at Antiope as he freed her.
"Where have you been, Jim?"
"I'll explain as we go along. We have a lot to accomplish. Do you know if those other boats out there are her cronies?"
"Check the occupants, if the commander is female, then you can probably assume out here she is most probably a Venetian craft."
"Do you think we can get these nine to cooperate any?"
"Ask them yourself. I can't speak for them. Can't you just whisk them back to Artemis? That's where they were going to take me for my trial."
"As you wish, Antiope. Genie return these nine captives to Artemis. Make the transfer instantaneous spatial displacement with no temporal distortion."
Genie responded, "Understand the minimum energy to accomplish this feat would be to reprogram our local portal to access a known Xanadu portal. We can simply just send them through the portal. I will be able to return target back to the Pegasus after the transfer, by maintaining active the Pegasus feedback loop.
"Genie, reestablish our link with the earth's defensive networks."
"You have mail, Jim."
"Yes it seems that a certain General Armstrong of NORAD is in great need of your assistance. He is sending this message through a very secure channel and apparently, it was intended for your eyes only."
A great explosion ripped the ocean apart thirty miles southwest of the yacht. Idiot immediately detected what happened. "Jim, a Venetian star cruiser has just been destroyed, and not by me."
All aboard were shocked. Jim felt that perhaps he could use this information against his captives. They would have to realize now that they had no way home.
Jim returned a message to General Armstrong by first seizing some of his satellites, and then reprogrammed their transmitters to convey his acceptance of the invitation.
John broke radio silence and surfaced his submarine flying a broomstick He flew an American flag so that he would be able to enter American waters unchallenged.
The Navy immediately spotted the submarine. The significance of the explosion with a flying broomstick did not escape the Navy pilots at all. They waved off a salute to the submarine. The cruisers attempted to signal to the submarine that whoever they were that this act to free them from their oppressors was well appreciated.
The new president on the other hand was enraged by the developments. Believing at first that the attacking submarine was her own, she was enraged that her orders had been countermanded. The Pentagon assured her that the submarine was not US, and that communications with the submarine were trying to be made.
Nor did this go unnoticed by Shady. Realizing the jeopardy of her situation, she and her associates immediately went into hiding. Whatever destroyed the first ship could destroy hers. A courier was ordered to Artemis to get directions from Sophia herself.
Within minutes of surfacing, Idiot spotted John's submarine. The boat was brought to Jim's attention. "Well, if it isn't dear old dad. How did he get here, if he is flying right now in Pegasus to intercept the Venetian fleet? He signaled the submarine to identify itself, identifying himself as Jim."
John opened communications. "For your eyes and ears only, Jim." Jim acknowledged, "Sorry to stay hidden for so long son. I must stay unknown to your captives, but you can't send them to Artemis yet. It is imperative that your captives believe that an earth submarine destroyed their cruiser. Keep them in communications quarantine until we've determined a course of action. I time traveled backwards to give you a hand. Isis is headed to Artemis with the Pegasus in a manner of speaking. She's not there yet, but will be there, because I left her there. I found the cruiser several days ago, but had to wait until after Isis left in order to destroy it. I figured that when you assumed command of the Flying Dutchman, she would have gone through the portal to capture me. Your re-establishment of communications with earth gave me the signal to destroy the cruiser. There have been no reports of any other cruiser, but I wouldn't rule that out. My identity must remain secret to avoid paradoxical problems. Direct the Navy to give us secure berthing in Pearl Harbor. Take credit for destruction of the star cruiser. Claim it was your submarine and your crew destroyed the cruiser. They will believe that.
Emphasize however to the General that US take credit for the destruction of the cruiser to discourage the Venetians in their attempt to invade. "
Jim advised General Armstrong about the star cruiser. General Armstrong informed General Needhymen to have his Navy contacts direct the cruisers to escort the yacht and submarine back to Pearl. The Navy cruisers silently followed the yacht and submarine to Pearl Harbor.
General Armstrong directed General Needhymen to greet the yacht and submarine at Pearl with full VIP treatment. News of the events spread like wild fire. With the mass exodus of the Venetians from the first ship as it was breaking up came the knowledge of a secret weapon that could be used against the star cruiser. With the destruction of Atlantis, only one ship remained as their sole link with Artemis. It had to be protected at all costs. A massive hunt went into effect to round up all known Venetian invaders. By then, however, all the Venetians had made their way underground.
Knowledge of the other cruiser was classified information, and none of the captives would dare reveal any information concerning a second cruiser. They were all aware that Jim would be responsible for their captivity and that he would treat them fairly. Jim on the other hand was certain that there was at least one more ship. It was bad form to engage on such missions without backup. Rather than leave them subject to earth witch trials and witch-hunts, Jim offered amnesty to any Amazon. captured. He would return them to Artemis unarmed yet unharmed. Before he returned them, he needed to consult with John and would review the damage inflicted.
The President offered to resign. The next in-line refused the resignation but requested a special general election be held so that the government could reorganize. Jim advised NORAD that a Venetian fleet of cruisers would be arriving within weeks and that a certain amount of security would be in order. Jim requested that the public not be told as to who or what he was. General Armstrong complied with all of Jim's requests. He informed them that the US government would provide them with a very beautiful yet secluded mountain retreat in Colorado with a heliport. A satellite view of the home pleased Antiope immensely. "Why it's beautiful!", she expressed. Jim accepted General Armstrong's offer. Jim donned his money belt and Antiope dressed herself up in a most exquisite outfit. General Armstrong had directed the finest chefs on the island to prepare a feast fit for a king. John requested that the feast to be held on the submarine. The military chiefs couldn't understand why he would hold such an elaborate feast in a cramped submarine. All feast guests were hand selected and required extensive security screening. Jim screened the guests from his yacht office. The entire base seemed to be at the docks trying to get a glimpse of those on board the yacht and the heroic submarine still flying the broom. John set the submarine up to receive guests.
Once moored, Jim preferred to stay on the yacht and restricted access to and from the yacht. The small submarine was moored alongside his yacht. General Needhymen offered a staff of one dozen marine guards to guard his property. Deadly force was ordered to be used against any trespassers.
Marine guards confined the captive Amazon women to below deck on the yacht. Jim advised each and everyone not to escape or cause trouble. He currently planned on sending them unharmed back to Artemis as long as they created no trouble. After being assured that they would be returned within a few hours, all complied.
General Needhymen mentioned that he would feel much better if all the aliens were sent back to where they came from, implying that the Amazon women were most unwelcome on earth. Jim shot the general remarked, "Missed me, didn't you?"
Jim escorted Antiope and General Needhymen to the submarine. Antiope recognized the boat as John's. The submarine hatch opened. Antiope was hysterically happy to see John and once inside, greeted him with a kiss. Jim introduced John to General Needhymen. John welcomed the first two marines that had come to stand guard for him. He smiled at them and said, "let me show you what you are guarding, and remember you haven't seen what I am fixing to show you nor have you seen me." The marines obediently complied and followed him down the hatch. He then closed the entrance hatch and opened up the hatch to the next compartment of the boat. He informed them that they would be guarding these hatches. As he opened one, they were amazed at the interior. The space of the next compartment defied comprehension. A huge room with several dozen lavishly set tables could be seen. He led the bewildered guards through as he showed them the kitchen and the smoking lounge. He then took them back into the small auxiliary space and closed the access hatch to the great hall. They all climbed back up to the outside. He looked at them quite sternly and said, "No one is to go down there without the Dutchman's written authorization. "Understood?" The guards nodded assertively and acquired an extra somber look on their faces as they commenced guard duty. General Needhymen was totally amazed by the submarine's interior. He had heard of five dimensional space ships and other such nonsense, but had never seen one. He would never believe this if he had never seen it for himself. He reiterated the order the order to the guards to keep their mouths shut.
The general then asked Jim why he was here. Queen Isis had informed him hat he was a fugitive. Jim questioned how he would be able to defend against a fleet of cruisers when it only took one to bring the nation into submission. Jim advised the General to invite all the relevant dignitaries he could muster and they would hold a conference to determine the course of action.
John advised Jim that they would have to fight Isis on two fronts. The subject of Venetian captives was then brought up. It was determined that they were to be returned to Artemis immediately. They would be on Artemis before Isis arrived with Pegasus. The less time they spent on Earth the less they could tell Isis upon her arrival. If there indeed was a second ship or more, the knowledge that Jim was searching for it would force the Venetians to maintain a low profile until reinforced. Artemis would already know now about the destruction of the Atlantis, but they don't know yet why. The captives don't know why either, but they know about Jim. John is about to be a global hero. Jim returned to the Dutchman while John entertained General Needhymen.
All the Amazons were happy that Jim was sending them home right away. No one wanted to be stuck on the planet Earth when home was just a compartment away. Jim had Genie realign the portal to intersect with Xanadu. A roster provided by General Needhymen confirmed that all guards that flew to Hawaii with Isis had been accounted for. All Venetians on the mainland had managed successfully to slip out of sight. Jim was instinctively certain that there was another ship, but it was apparently obvious that information concerning another ship was a very tightly guarded secret. Somehow Shady still managed to transmit threats, and things would fare very badly once Isis has returned with the main fleet. The propaganda was sufficient to place an enormous scare in the American public. The economy was in a panic. The Dow had risen sharply upon news of the cruiser destruction, but began to plummet precipitously when Shady made public the knowledge about the Venetian fleet. "Three months till arrival", she announced. "The Dow dropped three hundred and trading was suspended. For the sake of the economy, Jim did a public broadcast for a local reporter who just happened to be in the neighborhood. He flashed a smile for the camera with a handful of his gold coins. "Shady terrifies you from her hiding place. I'm her hunter, and she's hiding from me. It was my submarine that destroyed the Venetian cruiser. The Venetians wanted you to surrender me to them, because they know I can help you maintain your freedom, which you so dearly cherish. Antiope and I respect your values. My complements to the US Navy who are being most kind hosts. I will provide the necessary assistance to your governments to repel these invaders. Believe it or not!"
The response to Jim's broadcast was overwhelming, but the Dutchman was closed off by the marine guards to any further wanna-be guests. Jim went inside to send his captive's home. Genie announced that the portal realignment had been complete. Jim directed the Genie to ensure the portal was set up for one way transport only. He didn't need feedback. Jim merged Genie with the portal controls to provide the additional power to make this modified transference. Shortly all the Venetians had been sent back to Artemis. Genie allowed the window alignment to slip back to its Pegasus lock. Jim then
went on board the submarine to join the General, Antiope and John..
"General Needhymen, Jim tells me that you thought he was killed by your missile. Why were you so inclined to destroy this yacht?"
The general winced, "I just do what I am told."
Antiope latched on to John's arm, and told him, "You don't have a bad set-up either, daddy. Do you live here?"
"So if I tell you that Isis is not to know about me when she returns, you will be able to keep that secret from her. No man can live and hold a secret from her. I'm sure she told you nothing of her full intentions. She's not going to let her plans fall victim to mice and men. General, your life isn't worth two bits when she returns. Her cruiser was destroyed in your local waters with two of your battle groups sitting almost directly on top of the explosion. You are harboring a submarine which has just destroyed that same cruiser. I am going to disembark after hosting this dinner. You will never see this submarine again, nor are you likely to ever again see me. You will be permitted to release news of the fact that this submarine has been sent on a mission to find and destroy the other cruiser. The party tonight will bring a lot of attention to your new weapon of the hour. No recording equipment is to be permitted on board. Your Navy knows the procedure, and have all guests blindfolded. It will add to the effect. You can see by the size of our hall the number of guests you may invite. It's your party, General. I would like General Armstrong as our guest of honor. Don't you think she was the most beautiful
women that you have ever seen?"
Antiope frowned a little, she hated to be reminded about the queen's beauty.
"I noticed, but right now my mind is dazzled by Antiope here. I find Antiope much more attractive. I appreciate your efforts, I suppose. You tell me that the party isn't over, and she's on her way with the entire fleet. You manage to destroy one cruiser that you find in hiding. We could have done that once we found it. Now you have provoked a war with this Isis. Granted she had her faults with her new government style, but how are we to hold off against a full scale invasion now that you've provoked her wrath?"
"Do you want your freedom or not? Both Jim and I could just leave and leave you subject to the whims of Isis if you'd like. No skin off our backs, and it would put us back in good graces with her. You were perfectly willing to take on Jim with all your armed might, and yet now you tell me you are afraid to face Isis. Let me stimulate your memory, General. Your history shows that you have grown out of worshipping goddesses. Where's your faith, man. She is going to require you to worship her and make sacrifices to her. Presently on earth your entire civilization has lost any sense of direction. Your own country is basically hedonistic where you encourage materialistic values. Her civilization is hedonistic to the max and she has unlimited wealth. I am sure that if all you want to do is to be wealthy and fornicate, she will be able to satisfy your needs there. You will just have to remember that you must enforce her rules."
Chapter Twenty- Four
of the Worst Kind