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The Tower

Chapter Seventeen






Antiope slept and Jim continued evaluating Earth. Idiot had some difficulty digesting the information objecting that it was loose, incoherent, inconsistent, and ludicrous. Jim advised Idiot to classify all information under category "Hearsay", and test new artificial intelligence routines with organizational trials at attempts to extract truth out of exaggerated, biased, and somewhat distorted reports. Idiot applied its current day master supervision routine, the one currently monitoring concurrent earth communication channels, to filter out the exaggerated claims from the report to acquire a probable model of the scenario. Idiot's memory was limitless, and it had to replicate motion images, sounds, and virtually any observable sensation from absolutely nothing, as it would essentially synthesize these realities from its memory of the form of that reality which it had previously recorded. A simple application of these abilities provided excellent simulation abilities as well. Quite often, Jim and Idiot would play out a scenario in virtual reality, with no real pain, as Jim would be allowed to examine the forces that he would be dealing with. Jim directed Idiot to go into a state of super hearing, in which case it was directed to gather as much information as possible till departure time concerning current human endeavors. While he would be occupying his time in the Pleasure Dome fulfilling his obligations, Idiot could run an analysis on information collected. Jim keyed Idiot to also do an intense study concerning his navigational objectives for time displacement. Part of Idiot keyed on history links, and the other part keyed on current events. Idiot discovered that it had to divide current events into two categories; what had occurred, and what the media reported. Idiot had a difficult categorizing Earth's events because of the myriad of false reports.


The Box was being recharged at the rate desired, and Idiot idled away its electronic energy patiently analyzing everything it could see, including all of Earth's satellites. NORAD patiently tolerated this intrusion into their "air" space, knowing they could do nothing about it, but restful in the knowledge that General Armstrong didn't seem to care and ordered them all to "keep it quiet".


Jim scanned Genie's system; capturing an event here or there of interest to him, as he considered what he would have to do upon his return. Jim considered his sister's challenge. She had tricked him into saving Earth. She was always the manipulative one, and he was always the manipulated. It mattered not how long it took, after all, he had a time machine. She meant to frustrate him again with an impossible task and laugh at him as he failed to meet expectations again. He was not meant to rule, she was. Jim refused to give in to the temptation to give up. He would face the challenge, and would exercise inimitable style that would bewilder his sister. This he knew, she expected. It did not matter anyway. Qblh was destined to play his role, and witness only more of the marvels of Creation.


Whether it was destiny or not, Jim did not know the answers. Antiope would stay buy his side for the duration. He had an unfailing love for her, wishing only the best in life that he could provide for her. She was a proudly independent woman, and Jim had no intents on placing any restraints on her. Antiope seemed to balk somewhat at the idea of giving up her financial empire, but after realizing all the wealth technically belonged to Isis, that which was not subject to Earth tax, she conceded. Indeed Qblh's money and wealth belonged to Isis because he was her representative; she had made that quite clear. Antiope complained that he had generated the gold. She failed to understand how Isis could consider it as hers. Qblh admitted to Antiope that he had promised not to share the Box technology with Earth, but with Isis alone. With this understanding he had been charged with his official mission. Gold generated by the Genie, Isis claimed as her property because the technology is subject to her dominion. Isis made the law and both Antiope and Qblh knew that. As Jim emphasized, "What difference does it make? If she thinks its hers, she'll take it anyway."


Isis always controlled the distribution of wealth among her subjects. This was the first principle of population control. Antiope Industries was getting too powerful and would be getting the focus of future media attention. Qblh had to focus on his reason for being here. He could not think of a solution. He needed more time; he had no choice. He needed time for contemplation. He had frozen time once, he could do it again. The future would not play out its course after tomorrow until "after" Qblh returned.


"Any comments, Idiot?"


"The only way to find the truth about Earth's past is from God Himself."


"Which means I must meet His face again as we journey to the past?"


"It seems that you are quite fortunate that you have been able to break the time barrier."


"It seems that I am meant to be shown something else. You are getting only one date as a prospective target."


"Yes Jim. The only window that I have open to the past gives our arrival as somewhere close to 1650 BC plus or minus ten years, because of the inaccuracy of Earth's calendar system. We can take advantage of Santorini related energy fluxes."


"And that is using the streamlines that we have already created."


"Yes, but there seems to have been some other streamlines converging very close to Earth local gravitational potential around that date. The fabric of space-time is somewhat thin there, and there may be a hole or two available there. It seems that we must materialize at that time period as the way further into the past seems to be closed."


"It seems that we are being summoned then, doesn't it, Idiot"


"Or something is baiting you, Jim. "


"And we can fit Antiope and Helen both in these time periods, and Isis can not pursue us there?"


"The way will be phase-locked sealed. You can reuse the route, but you must encounter the same experiences."


"Oh, my selves must overlap. That is tough on me, but I can endure the hardship, but I don't think the women can survive any thing more than one round trip."


"You're right Jim. I cannot take them into that past again once I have returned them to the present."


"Are there any other limitations?"


"Many, but I cannot define them at present; insufficient information."


"I have a good feel as to where we can place Antiope. How about Helen?"


"Helen will need some preflight indoctrination Jim. I assume that is why you have another date with her prior to departure."


"Yes, that is one of the primary reasons."


Jim resolved that he would not sleep that evening and decided to drive through the night and contemplate his immediate future. Leaving the garage he looked at the skyline. Idiot did the driving, Jim would indicate when to change apparent course. The van's window was superimposed with an interface screen for Jim. This would allow for the display of useful auxiliary information. At four in the morning there was still some activity in some parts of the city, but in general the streets were deserted. Poverty was easily seen to be a symptom of the infrastructure of the community. The city attracted the poor into its ghettoes and trapped them there. The affluent would aim to abandon entire neighborhoods leaving districts ravaged by the unemployed and fatherless children. The wretched of the city were viewed with contempt by the more well to do; they begged to find fair wages, but were victims of this contempt. America's economic system fatally wounded by its own flaws, rambled on as if nothing could possibly go wrong. Egotistical leaders fatted themselves on the sweat, toil, and misery of the masses. Power to the strong and few; that was truly the American way. Work hard, and just maybe you can get to the top! Who was Jim to judge; he had the most enviable position of all.


Blue lights called for Jim to pull over.


"What did you do wrong, Idiot?"


Monitoring the squad car's communications, Jim discovered that the police did not take kindly to Jim's windows. They could not see inside from outside. Before the police had made it to the side of the van, Idiot reconditioned the van's interior, and remodified the windows.


Rolling down the window, Jim asked, "Problem officer?"


The windows appeared as normal windows.


Confused and dumbfounded the officer didn't know what to say. "I notice that you aren't wearing your seat belt sir. I am going to have to issue you a warning. May I see your driver's license sir?"


Impressed by the officer's quick thinking, Jim smiled and made the van disappear. Jim did not feel like paying any fine for not wearing a seat belt. He also was not in a mood for dumb authority to be probing into his affairs. Ridiculous laws make another excuse to intrude into one's privacy for the sake of safety. Let us make the world super sanitary for the privileged few and leave the less fortunate to starve. The law is there for our own good. Such are the lies of Isis. The world seeks dominion over man's heart and mind, seeking to enslave him in its mortal concerns and greed. The seat belt issue was minor, but Jim did not mean to have to prove his identity; a simple demonstration sufficed. The officers looked at the thin air and the gloom of the night. They then acted as though they had both seen a ghost, and promptly vacated the area.


Antiope, awakened by the commotion, found the incident amusing, and was immediately game for some adventure. "So we shall be privatizing our own little sea; I think I shall enjoy this."


Jim smiled. The van rematerialized just a few blocks away but within sight as they watched the actions of the frightened police. Antiope decided that she wanted to return to the yacht, and requested Jim to take her there. The van then made way to Meig's Field as Antiope called for a helicopter. Jim instructed Idiot to scale down into a strict recharge state. Antiope took over the wheel, she didn't trust Jim's driving.


It was just approaching dawn as the van approached Meig's field. Oddly enough a taxi was also at the field also waiting for a ride. Antiope pulled up next to the taxi and saw that it was Helen and John. John grinned at Antiope. He had intercepted the communication requesting transportation and aimed to provide it. He invited them to get in the cab. Complying the four were soon headed towards a hangar. A door opened to allow them in, but the hangar was empty.


"Shut your eyes ladies. The light will blind you."


He handed each of them a mask. Jim did not need one. He knew what was about to happen. After the ladies were blindfolded, the taxi transformed into a helicopter. They were inside John's Box. The hangar door opened and out they flew.


It closed again behind them.The helicopter landed on the Dutchman, and all exited the craft.


John decided to say farewell, and took the marines back to land. They were given leave and funds to go home. John and the helicopter then disappeared.


Antiope cooked up breakfast. She was singing and happy. Curious, Helen inquired as to how the evening went. Antiope just smiled. Her mind was alive, thrilled by the next upcoming adventure with the Genie.


"He needs us.....both...for another voyage."Helen smiled.


"Does he now?"


Jim slept as the ladies ate. Helen tried to extract more from Antiope concerning upcoming events, but mindful of Qblh's warnings, she revealed no details that Helen did not already know. This intrigued Helen even more. Helen thought about what kind of day she should have with Jim. She desired to be somewhere else though. She was bored with Chicago as it did not suit her taste. She did manage to extract enough information to know that they were headed to the eastern Mediterranean region. She wondered if Qblh's Genie had enough power now to effect a transfer there for the rest of the day.


Indeed, Genie had the capability to displace the Dutchman to the Aegean. The energy to do such was infinitesimally vanishing compared to energy required for interstellar temporal displacement. Antiope showed Helen some of the new basics that Jim had taught her. For the rest of the morning Antiope and Helen tinkered with Genie's simulator interface. When Jim woke up, Helen was resolved to ask for an afternoon in the peaceful Mediterranean.


News of the previous day's event at the Fermilab could not keep up the excitement concerning the potential of Antiope Industries. A sharp sell-off was in the process as profiteers chose to get their profit now and let some one else reap the promised payoff. The momentum brought the value to lower than the previous day's opening. Antiope remembered Qblh's words from the night before comfort her. It wasn't her money anyway.


Intrigued by who was creating the panic or why the sell off, Antiope queried Genie. Genie could be of no help since it had an equally difficult time trying to model Earth's economic system.


"Nothing short of chaotic, Antiope. It seems that the market is not capable of adjusting to what we can promise. An overall fair distribution of the wealth will rob wealth from those currently in power. While being friendly to your face, these same people will look for a way to thwart the threat that you propose. Simple inertia, Antiope, the mass population is going to provide tremendous impedance to sudden changes. They really prefer to do things the way that they are used to, and are not inclined to learn new ways."


"Isis is banking on that, I bet."


Nevertheless, Antiope was quite angry because of the sell-off. She had Genie scan for the probable reason. Many media explanations were extracted and shown to Antiope. She really did not care for any of them. She was further very aggravated by the short selling.


"Genie, how can we take the stock price up to where it was yesterday?"


"Well I am aware of a technique to control market price. If we are to drive the stock price up, we buy calls and sell puts to amplify the gain received from a stock jump. Then we buy stock up very rapidly. This will cause the price of the stock to go up, still buying calls, and selling puts as we drive the price up. We can produce gold to generate the liquid capital. We can further advance the stock price during after hours. By the end of the day we should have a considerable portfolio of options to buy and put contracts. When the word gets out that you did this, your stock will be shown a little more respect, and the sellers will be the losers."


"But that is insider trading, and that is illegal and not allowed."


"Whether it is allowed or not, I can do it. You wanted to know if there was a way. There is a way, and I just told you what it is. I can bypass the electronic safeguards they would use to try to stop us. I am authorized to do so, if you command; but bear in mind, what happens tomorrow might make your action irrelevant."


"So then, it doesn't matter. Do we have enough liquid assets to start?"


"Liquid assets, I can electronically create. Your corporation also has excellent credit. I will have no problem obtaining the necessary funding to drive the stock price back up. I am also considerably faster than the other on-line computers. The timing shall be critical, but I have optimized a buying plan to implement during the day."


"How is the stock doing now?"


"It has leveled out, and the volume is slowing down."


"Genie, do I have command of you so far as to cause you to implement this plan myself, or does Jim have to give the command?"


"Jim must give the command."


"Helen, go wake up Jim."


"Wake him yourself. Who are you to command me?"


"No insult intended, Helen. I just thought you needed yoni. Today is your day, not mine. You are in charge of supervising him today."


"OK Antiope, but why the rush?"


Antiope explained to Helen what Genie just told her. Helen liked the idea and went to wake up Jim. Antiope noticed that oil stocks and other competitors were showing gains.


Remembering what Jim had told her the night before, she wondered if Jim would agree and give the command

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