The Queen of Swords
Queen Antiope of the Amazons
Still Jim was aware of Antiope and the reason for his being here. Fair Antiope, he thought, now that he was back, he would find her and come and go invisibly, unnoticed by her rivals. He would wed her in this time, and fulfill her dreams of his ability to grant her happiness. To come and go as a Theseus, he would appear to be. He could not resist desiring to know where she was, and he could not help querying Genie.
"Genie, can you send up a surveillance probe and find Antiope and Helen?"
"I have them located Jim. Do you wish to visit them? We can launch a sentry from there to keep them protected."
"Very well. Where are they?"
"The Island of Lesbos. It is just a few leagues from the Hittite city of Iliam."
"Is that so? Perhaps we can visit, just for a quick survey. Invisibility mode, Idiot."
Within a blink of the eye, Jim was next to Antiope's side, but she could not sense him. Indeed she had seemed to unite the Amazons under her leadership. He did not see Helen.
"We still have heard nothing from her majesty, Lady Antiope. It is as you have forewarned; Artemis has abandoned us to be ravaged by these primitive men.. Is there no hope for us? It has been seven moons since we have last heard from our Lady Isis."
"Qblh has promised to rescue us, Medusa. Fear not for your welfare."
"It is not you that has been blamed for the deaths of all these good men. There is an awful rumor going around that I am a hideous looking monster. Men seek to slay me, and have never seen me."
"I can't help that Medusa, Isis appointed you for that role, and that was before my time. Don't worry, Qblh will be here just in time as always."
"We would feel much better, if we heard something from our true queen. It is not like her majesty to be silent for so long. We fear for the worst. Has something terrible happened, and you haven't told us?"
"Why nag me, Medusa? Why are you so defensive of her while she gives to you the most abominable tasks that she can imagine?"
"How will I ever advance myself, Antiope, if I acquire the habit of criticizing the traditions of Artemis. I still find it difficult to believe that she placed you in charge after your previous treachery. Consider yourself, very fortunate that Isis has forgiven you. or are you deceiving us?"
Antiope adjusted her protective shield somewhat so as to give Medusa a mild electric shock. "Regardless, Medusa, I have the power of the stone, and that is the true power of Artemis. Consider yourself fortunate that I did not strike you dead because of your insolence."
"Execute me, my lady Antiope, and you would be the first Amazon Queen to have ever executed her sister. Why make such idle threats?"
"Have it your way then, Medusa. You bank on Isis saving your miserable neck, and I'll bank on Qblh, and we'll see who is right."
Out of the shadows came Helen. "Also remember, I stand by Antiope and Qblh as well. If you wish to challenge Antiope's leadership, then you must champion me in combat. Any takers?"
No one spoke up. Antiope and Helen were champions of Artemis, royal bodyguards to the rulers of the Venetian empire. In short they were more than a match for just about anyone. Yet neither had the power of the queen, but she was absent, and until her return, no one dared to challenge the duo. Antiope and Helen also had weapons which Jim had given them for additional protection.. The jewel which rested on Helen's bosom transmitted to her hand weapon all the power that it demanded. Genie in turn would sense the drain of power from Helen's stone, open a transmission channel and transfer through "subspace" all the energy needed to effect the requested task and recharge the potential banks of Helen's moonstone. Antiope's belt had a similar power source, but she had at her disposal more options. She had employed these options to obtain leadership of the stranded Amazons, and she had promised to get them all home to Artemis as well. It seemed that no other Amazon had boasted of that capability, and as a result no one could challenge her. The gifts, which Jim had provided, proved, beyond any doubt, that Antiope and Helen were definitely receiving support from Qblh, and this fact alone required all Amazons to acknowledge the court-appointed Antiope as their leader. Helen, being Sophia's daughter, was a natural prime minister.
Jim wished to materialize to let Antiope and Helen know he was back, but Idiot could not accomplish the materialization; the paradox avoidance system prevented that. He would need to return to the Dutchman. He noticed some young boys running around. Finding this to be unexpected, he presumed that Isis had successfully crossbreed with the human animal. He would need to query Antiope considering such progress. Still he would be able to spy on this camp at his will, and left himself content with that fact. Both Antiope and Helen were showing signs of bearing child. Jim pondered this situation and speculated as to what should be done with these children, once they were born. It seemed to him that he must take them back to Artemis. He could not justify retrieving all the Venetians without retrieving his own children as well. Jim did not stay in the camp very long. He was able to overhear some choice gossip, but hearsay was not a good enough source of information on which to base his actions, but it did give him a general idea of what he must do.
Jim returned to the Dutchman acquiring his bodily form once again. Meaning to try his skills with the wind, he had Genie transform the boat into a fine sailing vessel of the day. A turbocharger assist would always be available. He chose the same form as they used when they had sailed across the Atlantic.
It was not long before he was spotted by another vessel, which Idiot identified as a Cretan ship of war. It was making headway for him, and he wondered if it was the same vessel indeed. Being not in the mood for conversation, but being in the mood to sail , Jim resolved to flee from the pirates, or so he considered them as such. Why the pursuit if they weren't pirates; certainly they were making waves to demand some form of tribute rather than saying hello. Northward he sailed, straight towards Mt. Thera once again, and into the volcanic mist that surrounded the island. The pursuing craft opted not to pursue though the smoke. Apparently, the crew were shy of the vicinity of the island.
Jim did not plan on sailing all the way to Colchis to meet Medea alone, even though he was capable. He resolved instead to sail to Greece and find some friends. Even though Jim enjoyed to sail, he did not wish to give it second by second attention. Once north of the volcano and clear of the mists, he resolved to place the ship on automatic, and then went below to consult with Genie.
"I suggest the solution is quite simple, Jim. When you arrive in Greece, get a crew of men to sail you to Colchis. We have plenty of time, and my calculations suggest there are still a few more Amazon tribes that we need to locate and identify."
"Very simple, Idiot. Get a crew of men, is that all? "
"It is bound to work out, Jim. As soon as you land and prove yourself invincible, you will certainly find a group of loyal men. Our mission here is a little ambitious so we may have to liberally exercise some of our abilities. In front of the men you will be admired as a Hercules, but for the ladies we can slip you in perhaps playing the roles of Theseus and Paris, although our actual course may deviate somewhat from the official myths. Legends will have it that Jason rescued Medea, but we shall have you perform this feat, and then abandon the Argonauts to their own destiny and allow Jason to write the history proclaiming himself as the hero. As shocking as your strength shall seem to these men, your death would have even greater and irrevocable consequences. Rest assured, I shall prevent any such death to you."
"Sounds interesting. Invulnerable am I then?"
"I didn't say that. You can die just as easily now as in your time, but your death here and now would have some very unpredictable results."
"Well, I think I can avoid dying on you for the time being. So what avenue is open to me so that we can retrieve the girls.?"
"Do you specifically mean Antiope and Helen?"
"We shall have to find an ally. "
"And that must be our Jason."
"Apparently so, Jim."
"I am sure that the legends will exaggerate our deeds somewhat."
"Indeed they will. We are using myths concerning events that happened 800 years before Homer. It would also be best to remind you that we do not want to deliberately guide our actions by these myths either, that is what we consider as knowledge the information that we have retrieved from Earth's twenty-first century."
"But is it necessary to retrieve Medea, before I can be with Antiope.?"
"Don't let your passions rule what we must do, Jim. I am programmed to remind you of this fact."
"Yes I remember. It just seems like I have such a great deal to accomplish in this time."
"We can time jump to make the time go by faster, Jim. The fact that you don't age will require you to assume multiple characters. Simply tell your associates that you must go away to perform some task which would be too dangerous for them to even witness. Any line will do, unless you wish to tell them the truth, which even they wouldn't be able to believe. They believe in dragons and other such oddities that they have never seen, but presume to exist."
"Did you not reveal to me that Xiang visited, Greece with his sister, before we interrupted them. "
"Yes, they were sent by their mother to set up a base at Delphi."
"She certainly has extended her influence, hasn't she?"
"Yes, much more than we can even imagine correcting during this visit. We are simply interrupting history at the present, and removing the instigators."