Genie awakened Jim advising him that a route was available for him to the outskirts of the Gaza Strip, an immense Palestinian refugee camp. Resolved to make the visit, Qblh prepared himself for the visit. Doing a neurological interface with Genie, Qblh made last minute modifications. Coming to the sun deck, Jim appeared as a scraggly ruffian, armed with only the finest of commando gear.
"Want to come along, Helen? Antiope, you'll need to stay home and mind the ship. Allow no boarders. At the close we'll drive the price up further, but you exercise all your call options. Genie will buy sufficient shares to drive the price higher, and also buy back all the put contracts. Tomorrow, after our return, we shall arrange for gold production to replenish expended resources."
"Aye, aye, captain!"
"I hope you don't expect me to wear face covering, Jim."
Helen was referring to the Muslim custom for the women to hide their faces behind a veil.
"Heavens no! Helen! We would not expect such a hellenized woman like you to appear that way? The more intimidating you are, the better. Besides, you have me to protect you. What could possibly go wrong?”
"Well, you must wear something. Have Genie outfit you."
Helen chose an identical outfit to Jim, with equal armament and sunglasses, no hat. She chose an insignia so as to outrank him.
Jim was going to take Genie with him disguised as a cane, concealing a very fine metallic antenuator which was capable of altering surrounding electromagnetic fields utilizing Genie's very fine field generating system. Jim carried a ceremonial pearl handled Colt 45 which he didn't intend to use to kill, but could use to threaten, while his sword did all the work. Helen's sword was concealed in her parasol which she intended to use to shade her from the sun. She also carried her Venetian hand weapon which she used to guard the royalty. She was quite an adept with this tool. Both still carried on their exterior a few grenades and ammunition belts and magazines to fit their automatic weapons on display. They also each carried hand held control tablets for other related protective technology.
"You two are quite a pair. What kind of party are you going to? You are going after just more than bear."
Antiope felt a little twang of envy towards Helen concerning the inevitable adventure."Got to take care of some women killers."
Helen beamed with delight at the thought of revenge. Ready for transport, Antiope kissed Qblh good-bye, and stood back and shielded her eyes as Genie whisked the pair away.
It was very hot. Helen immediately complained of the heat. A stench in the air emanated from the Gaza encampment where three quarter million floundered in poverty. Still choosing to not cooperate but insisting on a past separate state be given to them, this land was the desire of different ethnic groups. The Palestinians did not seem to want to live under a unified government, or so he was under the impression. Insistence on a separate Palestinian state allying itself with the West Bank, Gaza faced an insurmountable logistic problem. The people seemed to have a propensity for making bad decisions inciting hatred and intolerance when they should be finding ways to cooperate. Yet travel restrictions on the road to the West Bank did seem ludicrous. Jim would get frustrated with them himself.
The Palestinians in Gaza were not an unfriendly lot. Being aware of the contract language that divided the parties, Qblh sympathized somewhat with the plight of the Palestinians. Yet the contract language as spelled out by the most articulate of the Palestinian ideology, did not smell right to him. Innuendoes of mistrust and derogatory terms were used throughout the guidelines. They were insisting on ethnic autonomy in a region which should be advocating universal brotherhood, if the people claimed any holiness to their conflict at all. Qblh very easily observed the schizophrenic nature of the area's leadership. Securing a path between Gaza, as a nation which seeks independence from Israel and the West Bank, the other part of such a nation, would make sense. The aim of the Palestinians was quite evident. They wanted a separate Palestinian state, and they would settle for nothing less than the pre-1967 borders which included a divided Jerusalem. One must remember this fact above all other matters concerning the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
The weak must suffer because of the acts of their sinful sons. Qblh did not intend to antagonize any in this community. He simply sought to understand. Helen did not like the community. She could feel the scorn of the communities women as they looked at her with jealous contempt.
Qblh gained respect very quickly upon entrance into the region by defending Helen's honor. A gang of boys challenging Jim's manhood, by insisting that he should have his woman dress more appropriately. A few hostile words were exchanged.
Jim brandished his Colt, the gang bangers brandished some AK47's.
Jim brandished his sword and 500,000 volts of charged energy was induced in some very hot weapons. Jim smiled and flicked a switch in his cane.
"CIA tool." He smiled at them, as Helen picked up their guns, and hit them in their behinds quite sharply with her sword as she sent them off.
She handed Jim a pair of the rifles, as she carried a couple herself. These trophies they would wear to dissuade future gangsters.
Helen was now quite a sight. The community was definitely not used to seeing such a fine woman carrying such articles. Women scurried out of her sight, avoiding her at all costs. Word of them preceded them and no one challenged them, and all seemed to meekly smile acknowledging them; but they were all afraid of these two. As their legend preceded them, new groups would seek to challenge them; but Jim and Helen would just ignore them, or would walk over anyone that stood in their way. Several shots were fired at them but Genie vaporized the bullets en route, and the pair would walk acting oblivious of the fire. The shooters would run away in disbelief, daring not to physically challenge the pair. Extreme poverty was everywhere. This community was economically dependent on the state from which they demanded independence. Qblh felt that both ethnic groups would need to live under the same set of laws. It was sheer madness to expect the two opposing cultures to live in unity under mutually opposing legal systems.
Helen did not find the sojourn very enjoyable. "It is hot and unpleasant Jim. I don't like this area. Are we going to be here long?"
Jim hailed a cab which could understand English. The cabby laughed when Jim asked for a ride to Jerusalem, but he was also very interested. The couple, he thought must be very rich to be able to afford that. Helen flashed a gold piece, and the cabby became more than accommodating. Money could get you past the border much quicker than paperwork.
"My name is Abdul. I see you are Americans. You are creating quite a stir around here."
Qblh remained silent. He gestured for Helen to take over. He didn't want to talk.
"Well we have just started. Take us to Jerusalem now.""That is not easy. They have secured the border."
"We'll see. Just drive."
Traffic was extremely congested on the approach to the Gaza border. Helen paid off an armed group to clear the way for her. They managed to get the cab to within a few yards of the border. Helen exited the cab, dragging Jim with her and walked to talk to the gate guards. Speaking English, a Palestinian officer assisted her in providing an unobstructed path to the gate. Ahead the road was considerably less congested. He was reluctant to allow Qblh to cross unquestioned, but a quick look from Helen persuaded him to comply.The Israeli guards were much more reluctant to allow Helen to pass, and the officer refused the gold offering and was ready to arrest Helen because of the attempted bribe, but Qblh then spoke to the guard in fluent Hebrew. No one else understood what Qblh said, but the guard immediately became a little more friendly towards Helen. He allowed the cab to pass and then called his superiors advising them as to the presence of this group within Israel.
General Armstrong took the call. He laughed. So that was where he was. He had been very busy that day keeping track of his aliens. It seemed that someone was playing havoc with the market insisting that fission and fusion energy systems would displace conventional power plants. He was even aware of some very powerful photovoltaic systems as well for low power applications. General Armstrong liked this brave new world that Jim seemed to be bringing with him. It was hard to trust Jim upon first appearances. It just didn't seem possible that what the man suggested was possible.
Satellite reconnaissance spotted the cab on the highway many miles below. General Armstrong placed a phone call to the closest Israeli command post. He asked to talk to the occupants of the cab.Abdul talked incessantly about this land. Qblh wasn't interested, and neither was Helen. Helen noticed the cab's air conditioner wasn't working.
"Turn on the air conditioner, Abdul. I'm hot."
"It doesn't work. No parts, no freon."
"Stop the cab, Abdul. I'll fix your air conditioner. She insists."
"You must be kidding, Commander!. I have no tools and neither do you. How do you propose to fix it? Your woman must be crazy? Are you going to listen to her?"
"She will not give either of us a moment of peace if we don't make her comfortable. She's on a date and wants to be comfortable. Just go buy yourself a carton of cigarettes on me, while I take care of your car."
Abdul was gone less than five minutes. He noticed his cab was running with the windows rolled up. Inside Helen was smiling at him. Getting inside, he was amazed at the blast of cool air that met him.
"Is it all right," he asked, "if you don't make it quite so cold. I'll settle for 76 degrees if that is cool enough for you."
"See Jim, I told you it was too cold for him."
"I thought he would appreciate 68 degrees. Sure Abdul, you can turn the air down a little."
"No I want to turn it up. I want it warmer."
"That is incorrect English, Abdul. To make it colder you turn up the air conditioner, you turn it down to make it warmer."
"You English people. Your language makes no sense."
Abdul still was very impressed by his functioning air conditioner. The unit had never worked. The woman had a delightful Egyptian aroma and it was very enticing, but her companion intimidated him. He had an air of self-confidence and fearlessness, the mark of a true commander.
"The road to Jerusalem has many checkpoints. It will be very expensive to attempt bribes all the way, and it doesn't always work. I have some friends who can see you there for a very modest fee."
Qblh had no intentions of explaining his tactics to Abdul.
"Just drive the cab. That is all I am paying you for."
"It can be very dangerous."
"I am dangerous, but don't be afraid; I will see that no harm befalls you. She trusts me to protect her. Why shouldn't you? She certainly needs more protection from others than you."
Satisfied that his passengers were not idiots, Abdul felt more at ease. In fact, he felt a little bit of a thrill with the sense of upcoming fun and surprises.