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Chapter LI

     The Ace of Swords


Father and Son



Isis and Qblh have gone their separater ways again,

but we know that they shall meet again soon.

Star travel, is it a dream,

and some people wonder

where I get these absurd ideas.

  if they only knew.

Qblh and Xuang are to make short work of Shaltain.

The unit goes with hardly a whimper.

Mind you, I have my travellers "moving" at light velocity,

and certainly nothing less,

while they are bouncing around the universe.  

We all must remember the capabilities of Qblh's computer system,

the remarkable Genie unit. 

We find it so totally unbelievable that such a unit can manufacture gold from nothing,

but now we have it streaking around the galaxy at ultralight speed.

Which is more believable, the ability to create two tons of gold from nothing

or to be able to travel backward in time.  Both impossible, we all conclude.

Impossoible now, but how about for creatures of the future.

Who is to say that Artemis could not be as our own futuristic Earth?

Qblh shall strive against his consort, but will he ever truly achieve the edge.

I think not, they are much too evenly matched.

Well, father and son discuss what is next in their flight path.



Xiang laughed as her brother kept overshooting the galaxy and forever arriving at the wrong time when he did manage to slow down in time. Imagine the frustration of trying to intersect a point in space-time which comes and goes in a split second and is sub-nuclear in size.  Finding a needle in a haystack is child's play compared to this.  It is also the apparent impossibility of this task which was so frustrating to the Amazons.  Coming out of the hole was one thing.  Finding one's way back was another.


Eventually Xuang realized that he had to find the solution using his mind rather than his senses.  Genie would always give him accurate inertial information.  Xuang reviewed his mathematics and realized that he had to succumb to Idiot's tutelage before he would ever navigate his way back to the wormhole.  He then endured hours of great humiliation before Jim condescended and gave him a few clues.  These clues in turn would require hours more of patience to learn and master.  Qblh did not give up his secrets easily, and Xuang had to earn each and every lesson the hard way.


Finally, Xuang decided to fly into Cygnus of the past and gave up trying to locate the entry point.  He thought they had to be the same singularity, so he aimed the starship for the Black Hole of Cygnus and didn't care what time it was when he entered.  The equations suggested an indefinite reemergence point if he was drawn into any singularity.


Xuang's wild guess worked.  They reemerged within Artemis local space and were encountering Shaltain's defense networks.  Pegasus systems immediately started to scramble Shaltain's sensors with its own broadcasts.  Genie also used Isis authorization to gain clearance for landing.


Jim then entered an override command and detached the Box from the Pegasus as the Pegasus rematerialized at the same point at which it had disappeared.  Isis was back in command of the Pegasus again, and Jim had once again slipped away from her.  Xuang had learned enough about the Box's systems that he was able to stowaway in a manifold which was outside the Pegasus.  Idiot only had instructions to disengage the Pegasus from its manifold space, nothing else, so Xiang stayed within the Box's sphere.


Still Jim interfaced with Artemis long enough to reprogram Shaltain.  No one ever saw him switch the chips, and Idiot assumed control of Artemis long enough to download a new operating system.  Within seconds the conversion had occurred.  Shaltain no longer existed.  It was that simple.


Upon download completion, Jim reactivated the Box and returned to the past leaving his beloved safely on Artemis where she belonged.  Jim reemerged into Earth space at the same entry point that Isis had used.  Idiot had constructed an anti-matter equivalent to the Pegasus, so when the anti-matter Pegasus materialized, it effectively balanced the true Pegasus and kept local space stable.  It was pair-annihilation in reverse.  The result was that Jim's anti-matter equivalent to the Pegasus then immediately accelerated once again to light velocity, so that Jim could perform an anti-matter to matter inversion and change shape..  Accelerating forward in time, Idiot could then navigate a pin-point precision landing.


Jim had no use for Xuang at the present and considered the possibility of leaving him with grandfather John for a while.  "Can you establish a communication link with  John, Idiot."


"Affirmative, Jim.  That communication channel is still active.   I have just received a message from John requesting permission to retrieve Xiang from our manifold space."


Faster than light communications amazed Jim even at times.  "I am assuming that you wish to relay the request to him."


"Request or acceptance?"


"We must ask first?"


"Even when we know he accepts."


"He can't accept unless we ask.  I believe John was in receipt of your future request, which I shall relay to him in a faster-than-light fashion."


"OK ask him then, and then accept."


"Understood Jim.  Do you wish to see your son one last time?"


"Very well, Idiot, open a channel."


"But Father, I wish to accompany you."


"It is not possible, son.  I am returning to the time that you just left.  I have no memory of that time.  I have yet to perform my destiny, whereas you have already accomplished yours.  I am reluctant to return you to the past just yet, and my Father has many secrets which he wishes to share with you.  Besides the decision has already been made.  Perhaps the three of us may do something of great significance together next time we meet..  Your mother requested you accompany me, and my father has requested to take you under his tutelage while I perform my duty.  I may not survive this last mission, and I do not wish you to perish at my side."


"You simply wish not to be bothered with me.  I understand."


"I believe that I have just showed you a considerable amount, my son, and I agree with father that you are doing quite well, but you still need a little more education, plus you must construct your own vehicle rather than depending on mine. "


"That can take ages."


"It must be done.  Genie can only work in tune with me.  You will find that the time that you spend working to construct your own merkabah will be well worth your effort.  In addition, the flight solution has long been in operation and I can not formulate a solution that involves you at this time.  Yet there is a considerable  amount of influence suggesting that your immediate future involves your grandfather."


"And your present mission is dangerous?"


"I have already performed many simulations and have a solution in progress.  I cannot change course."


"I do not remember grandfather."


"He remembers you quite well.  In fact at that time, he thought you were me."


"How is that possible?"


"Many believe that what we do now is not possible, but I shall tell you the tale."


Jim then gave Xuang a short account as to how Xuang had been conceived in the twenty-first century yet had been born over ten-thousand years in the past. He revealed to Xiang that he, Jim, was the inventor of time travel, and that the time machine was indeed a relatively new invention.


"Relatively new, when your device has been around longer than the history of mankind?  That doesn't seem so new to me, father."


"I am not twelve-thousand years old son, and it was less than a year ago when I first broke the light barrier."


"Yes, it is confusing.  I see.  OK, father, as you wish.  So I am to construct my own unit?"


"If you wish to fly one of these things you must pay the price, and they are not for sale at any price.  Which means..."


"If I want one, I'll have to make it myself."


"That is correct my son, and you will teach your son the very same thing.  All father left me was the plans."


"Yet if I fail to construct a working unit, I shall never achieve my heritage.  Is that not so?"


"You will never gain Xiang's respect if you fail,  and that would make your life very miserable.  Do you wish to be your sister's slave all your life, or do you wish to be a man and appreciate our heritage?"


Xuang agreed to honor his father's wish and  spend some time with John.  Or if you would have it the other way, this author decided to put Xuang out of the way for a while so we could get back to the Antiope, Helen, and our other friends.


Idiot received another transmission from John indicating the desire to meet.  Jim owed him some anti-matter and he wished to retrieve it.


"Very well, Idiot.  Do we have a meeting place in mind?"


"John says that any time or any place shall be convenient."


Jim recollected his vow and the reason for his journey in the first place. "Very well.  I have a visit I wish to make, and a person I wish Xuang to meet."  Jim then entered the information in Idiot's data banks and asked for a solution.


"Solution obtained, Jim.   Do you wish the coordinates be sent to John."


"Shoot them,  Idiot," he commanded.


Then addressing Xiang, Jim expressed a change of heart.  "You may stay a little while till we meet your grandfather.  I am entering a course correction."


"Thank you, father."


Jim would be able to arrange for the detour and if the three of them were destined to have an intimate role in earth's history, then he decided to accept the role that he perceived.  He decided to give his son some more piloting lessons.


"Xuang, that was pretty shoddy flying back then, I believe you need some intensive training before we take you ground-side again.  Your mathematics is atrocious,  I suggest you have Idiot give you some lessons."




'"Yes.  Lesson number one, and let no one ever hear you call Genie, 'Idiot', understood?  That gives you full command capabilities of  the merkabah unit.  Now only you, I , and my father know the password.  It is a closely guarded secret, so permit no one to know ever."


"And you are now trusting me with this secret father, and mother is not to know?"


"Especially your mother and sister. They would change the password and lock you out my son, and secure control for themselves and mock you in the process.  They shall love you while they respect you, but they will never respect you if they can seduce a state secret from you."


"Is that the only reason?"


"Very observant, my son.  With the password comes great power, and when I yield to you the password, I must have some respect for your intelligence and preparedness myself.  In other words, I had planned on yielding to you the word of power when you had come of age."


"Then there is another reason why you are yielding me the helm other than a simple driving lesson."


"What did your simulation show you, Xuang?"


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