The Six of Pentacles
"Idiot did you by chance select the intercept time because of this coincidence?"
"Probability routines revealed that it would be the appropriate time to launch our assault with maximum probability of success. I had managed to intercept the transmission while we were bouncing through hyperspace on a previous displacement event occurrence."
"You intercepted her communication summoning her oriental chieftains, and timed the interception for when they were all aboard?"
"Precisely, it should be no coincidence that your children were aboard. Xiang and Xuang ruled the orient, under their mother's tutelage."
Jim smiled. "I doubt if Xuang really ruled. He was merely the figurehead. He had no power to change the Amazon social infrastucture; and while Isis was active in the region, no force could counter her."
"Now that she is gone, Jim, circumstances have changed."
"Yes, but as long as she remains the probability of catastrophic paradox occurrence increases at an exponential rate, isn't that correct, Idiot?"
"Correct Jim, and the only window open to us just happened to be the one that we are taking. There is no other course solution possible."
"What is the significance of our journey to Colchis?"
"The Greeks will be determined to wage war against the Trojans so that they can open up a trade route with Colchis."
"I just can't see Medea falling for Jason, not when she knows that I'm here."
"I don't believe Medea actually does fall for Jason, Jim. It wouldn't surprise me if you stage that romance to conceal your involvement with her."
"Now why would I do that?"
"I don't know. You're the one that makes the decision as to why."
"I would like to see her again."
"For mission or pleasure?"
"It might be advantageous to set her up in Athens for a while after we take her from Colchis."
"Until you and Antiope arrive to lay claim to the throne, and old Ageaus jumps off the cliff in despair."
"Unless he is I."
"Jim, why would you want to do that?"
"I promised to spend some time with Medea. I love her, and I will only be able to sweet talk her in Colchis if I promise to marry her and make her my queen. It may take some time, but I will need her cooperation."
"Legend has it that she attempts to murder Theseus, which is to be you also I suppose, and you are not the ruling kind, Jim."
"Well perhaps legend did not mention that I allowed Medea to have her way. She ruled Athens. She was the high priestess in charge of the oracle at Delphi, and effectively ruled Greece. I am sure that I will just be the figurehead."
"This is going to require me to have you simultaneously exist during the same time period at several different geographical locations."
"It seems that I have been doing that already."
"Yes but to maintain a relationship with Antiope and Medea at the same time? Now Jim that is quite foolhardy."
"I didn't say that I was going to do exactly that, but I must consider that course as a possibility. "
"Perhaps it would be best if we arrived at Colchis with the Greeks rather than the Amazons, Jim. I don't think it would be a good idea for you to have Antiope and Helen with you when you see Medea again."
"Negative, Idiot. Let Jason sail to Colchis on his own. I must lower my profile."
"It is hard to lower your profile if you are making history, Jim."
"Well. let me learn from my mistakes and let us minimize damage. We shall send Theseus to assist Jason. He can make up tales as to what Hercules needed to do with the Amazons. I'll need a little cosmetics so that the Argonauts won't recognize me."
"I do recall that Hercules and Theseus were friends in legend."
"I didn't make the name up, Idiot. It seems they dubbed me with the title."
"Well then it could be reference to another Hercules, perhaps a King Hercules of Thebes. Hercules the Fifth rules there now I believe."
"That explains it then. It is a title of respect and they think I would make a good king for them."
"Perhaps I do need a discussion with Medea. If I remove her from Earth, she will still be a major force to deal with on Artemis when she is returned, as will be the rest of the women. "
"Yes, but it will be apparent that time-travel is closed to them."
"They can always attempt another jump using Cygnus."
"They will find themselves entering a time loop with no future beyond their second entry unless they somehow break the loop during one cycle so as to prevent the mistake from reoccurring."
"How so? She made two trips."
"I navigated the first trip, if you remember so as to not to allow her to destroy herself while she attempted that foolhardy jump into Cygnus."
"Which would not have made the time jump had we not interacted."
"Correct Jim. Isis has only made one time jump on her own. That will be her loop. In this way she cannot change the past without having to relive her life in its entirety."
"Hmm that gives me an interesting thought. Can she remember her past lives? Do you think it is possible?"
"That does not seem to be beyond her talents, Jim. She does seem to have an excellent flair for anticipating your maneuvers."
"Interesting! With regard to any future time jumps, she will possibly encounter a time loop. So to us it will appear that they never made a second entry, but we will see many close encounters in the future, providing paradox is avoided.."
"Providing paradox avoidance, apparently so, Jim,."
"This is the reason we are careful to mask our departures and arrivals."
"Paradox avoidance system at work, Jim."
"It is nice being with Antiope and Helen at the present, Idiot. I am so tempted to live a long simple life with the both of them in this time. Yet it does not seem wise to prolong my visit here and avoid my immediate problems with Artemis, although we are talking about events which do not occur for another 3500 years local time. We can ride that time loop, can't we Idiot? Providing we ensure the integrity of the continuum manifold we can phase in and out smoothly without creating undesirable gravitational rifts and local time warps."
"I have the afore-mentioned loop modeled in all of my guidance circuits, Jim.. Do you wish to loop elsewhere for the moment?"
Jim thought a moment. The Genie had suggested that a myriad of time loops were available for him to explore.
"Many are the paths to doom," he thought. He sought a less obvious tactic. He dismissed the idiot and went to Antiope's tent.