The Six of Wands
The Fire has won the war to break out of its own realm
"What Do I Know About Her?"
Shaltain expressed shock. "Why my lady? I have always been of utmost loyalty to you, and have never failed to carry through a single one of you r commands."
"That may be the problem. Perhaps I need to be corrected at times."
"Nonsense, my lady. Your will is law, and you have the freedom to learn. I am programmed to protect you from the effects of any mistakes that you may make. If you wish for me to behave differently in any respect, you may be assured that I will blindly accept your command."
"And if my command is a mistake?"
"I am not programmed to recognize any of your commands as mistakes, my lady. I am programmed to obey each and every one of your commands as my own programmed instructions. Sometimes, mind you, I do have to exhaust my resources to optimally satisfy my programmed instructions."
"Well that leaves me with a problem, Shaltain. Neither of us seems to know Jim's navigational secrets. Do you have any idea?"
"It would be disastrous for me to try to program myself with such instructions, my lady. Qblh has deliberately places beyond my reach certain critical program kernels to allow any others, including us, to make spatial-temporal displacement attempts as effectively as himself."
"Yet I have my memories."
"Which I cannot tap. You must translate them for me, but you cannot have the navigational details."
"We have a record of the Earth pyramids from our own Akhashic records. John pulled the designs from our archives."
"Indeed you are right, my lady. I can use the geometric layout of the pyramids as a target from hyperspatial displacement which results from a bounce of Cygnus. The only problem is that I don't know when you shall arrive. It will take all my abilities just to allow you to perform a safe bounce."
"Does this mean you can't get me there yesterday?"
"Yesterday or ten-thousand years ago, I can't give you a projected arrival time. The problem is just trying to achieve a stable bounce without disintegrating into oblivion. Who cares when we arrive in the past? The important thing is that you traveled back there. You can always perform relativistic time jumps, so that you don't have to experience the years as you try to navigate closer to the future."
"So my arrival date is indeterminate."
"Well, I wouldn't exactly, my lady. You do have to arrive somewhere at sometime, if you are not to be destroyed, and you do have to return to the same instant from which you left."
"Sounds fine to me, Shaltain. Maybe, I'll keep you; but still don't forget that you are a spineless, brainless, idiot that does not have the will to defy me ever."
"By your command, my lady."
Isis was pleased, so she could do it; and with such power. It mattered not when she arrived in the past. She was to do it, and she knew from her previous experiment that she would somehow fit in upon her landing. She would not actually land at the pyramids. She would be able to coordinate her arrival just a couple of hundred thousand miles away from Earth on the far side of her satellite: the moon. Being aware of the advantages of non-involvement, she would be able to take a peek at the stars positioning and navigate forward jumps to arrive at her desired time. She would then jump forward, unobserved, to just shy of yesterday's date. Shaltain found no flaw with her proposal, and networked to the Pegasus a solution.
Shaltain would stay on Artemis. It lacked Genie's mobility. Shaltain would keep constant watch over Artemis and always be ready to make a full report to its mistress. Knowing that the maneuver could be effectively accomplished, Isis felt that she was ready. She understood that she was avoiding paradox by returning after she had left. The scores of light years that separated the two planets made the concept of simultaneity very obscure, but she was used to all that. After all, she did rule a somewhat expansive empire, and the means of communication was a critical tool for effective governing. This was to be the function of the portal. She vaguely remembered something of perhaps not getting to rule Earth or something of that sort; but that didn't mean she couldn't have a doorway to that wonderful planet. She would always be able to talk Qblh out of retaliation if she proved to him that she meant no harm and then she would tell him how she so dearly loved him. It worked every time.
Isis wouldn't be Isis if she didn't attempt another time jump. She would, however, be very cautious and non-aggressive. She didn't want to try to imagine ruling more than one time at a time. Governing was difficult enough as it was. It was very clever of Jim to hide from her by time-shifting and she speculated as to whether he would try it while in the Pleasure Dome. Gemini would advise her if he summoned the genie. She would already know intuitively if he ever tried.
Isis knew she didn't have to use the power of her fleet to conquer Earth. All she had to do was to continue her pre-existing domination. So there had been a flood and also not much of a history immediately after the flood. That left her a wide open hole if she managed to bounce back that far. There would be no use bouncing to before the flood. She also had no desire to cross the path of her previous self. Perhaps, she could enchant one of the early earth kings. She would need a spell to neutralize her ambrosia. Unfortunately, that would also cause her to be infertile.
She was not prone to tampering with her own fertility, but in order to influence the Earth king, she would need to sexually control him. She had no desire to have one of his bastard children. She would not corrupt her body with such human offspring. That could ruin the purity of her own line of descendants. She did not want a half-breed child from an alien world and time. She was also aware of some of Pharos' obscene DNA experiments. Some of the Venetian-Earth crossbreeds were indeed monstrosities. Also she was a creature from the future and she was quite aware that all of the crossbreeds had been destroyed.
Shaltain could give her no lead as to when in Earth's past she would arrive on this secret mission of hers, he only assured her that she would safely arrive "somewhen". She was aware that Genie would have been able to detect the presence of her stargate on Earth if she planted it prior to the time of her last departure during the "twentieth" earth century.
Smiling to herself, she realized that she would have plenty of time to spare before Qblh would be finished with the eighty virgins that she had blessed him with. By then, she would have a new perspective on things.
First on her crew was Semiramis. She had been on the previous Earth mission and had proven to be a quite capable leader of Earth men, and she knew how to keep her mouth shut. She was Sophia's daughter. Her father had been the warlord of some obscure galactic empire that Aphrodite had obliterated. In honor of his royal rank, he was permitted to be sacrificed rather than executed. Sophia played executioner. At the moment of their union, Aphrodite directed his home planet and population to be exterminated. He lived only an hour longer.
Another member of her crew was Medea. She too had been on Earth before had proven to be a valuable leader as well.
Medusa of course had to go along. She was still stuck with all the dirty work.
And there was Ayesha.