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Paradise

Written by castor :: [Tuesday, 16 September 2014 19:14] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:16]

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Paradise

by Castor

(with Special thanks to Dru for Editing and proofreading and Woodrow for comments and suggestions)

Steven opened his eyes.

He heard the water, before he felt it, letting it hit his brain in a wave of life.

He could definitively confirm he wasn’t dead. This was important. By all logical reason he should be dead. That was a given. His space craft had been hit by … something. Probably a meteorite, or space debris, or something. He was wearing his helmet, but there was incredibly rapid decompression of the craft. There was a small explosion, a burst of flame – then the flame just ended … blinked out. And he hit his head very hard against the wall and was knocked out and …

Steven opened his eyes.

He was alive!

And he wasn’t on the moon.

Instead he was on what looked to be a beach. Sand, surf, water waves, little shells – he was sitting in the edge of a beach, still wearing his space suit.

He looked around. However, his helmet was a bit bulky for that. You couldn’t really turn your head. He was forced to look up at the star in front of him as it beat down. He should have included that in his list: Sun … bright sun.

He sat up. He took stock of his body. Everything seemed more or less okay – arms legs, body, all in what looked to be a fairly intact spacesuit.

He was!

He felt a sudden joy as he looked around moved his hands as much as a space suit could, felt his fingers in there antiseptic space move. Felt reality.

He moved to stand up – felt a little dizzy, and sat down in the water.

Okay. That would take a little bit of time.

Steve paused and breathed in. Breath. He needed to breath. He was wearing an oxygen mask, which had …

He looked down sharply – 2 hours 10 minutes left. Which brought another thought to his head. This probably wasn’t an issue if he was on Earth. That didn’t make a lot of sence. He has 12 hours when he started, and he was more then 12 hours from earth. Time.

His watch was broken.

He closed his eyes and stood up, keeping his mask on for the time being, which had no meaning.

He sighed looking around. He was on a beach. If this wasn’t earth it was suspicious. The beach wasn’t that big-maybe 40 feet of white sand mixed with shells, no footprints no sholls on a mid tide. Beyond it he could see over the rise small hills and trees. Slightly flittery it wasn’t tropical, it wasn’t palm trees..olive trees. Cragily slightly faded olive wormy around and.

His crew.

Shit

Some captain he was.

Captain Trevor was in charge of the expedition-the first manned mission to the moon in nearly 50 years. He had a crew of 5 – captains Williams and Rich, Geo Specilists Ancel and Lord and The Chinese Astronaut Cho. All where …

He looked around.

Huh.

There wasn’t any wreckage. Not so much as a hatch, or an inanimate carbon rod. Just him.

And a set of footprints leading to him in the sand.

Well, this was either getting biblical, or he wasn’t alone.

He was a space captain, he should take out his laser pistol.

Except … he didn’t have a laser pistol.

Or, he realized, a radio that worked.

There were prints going out away – he chose away. Walking in his bulky space suit in normal Earth gravity was something that he never quite mastered. It weighed 40 pounds, which in a weightless environment, who cared? But wearing in something that was probably Earths gravity was tedious. Back in the Air Force academy he had been on the track team – he ran marathons for fun. They made him walk 2 miles once back in Cape Canaveral wearing the suit and it had exhausted him completely.

Away took him off the beach. As he entered the light forest at the edge, a kind of quasi meadow, he stopped and reflected on the sounds of the birds – they were muffled and broken – just noises. There is the expression that space is silent – and it is – but space helmets didn’t help with it. He heard them though, the vague sounds of gulls and puffins, egrets was it? Or just pigeons? He couldn’t tell, but they were … beautiful. Kind of a symphony of true peace, the sound of nature – he looked at the laurel trees, the grass, and he wanted to smell them … to feel them enter his nostrils. The smell of the ocean. But as long as he wore his mask, he couldn’t get that.

He kept it on.

About 50 feet in he saw it – well, at least he was looking for. In what looked to be a peaceful meadow had a large metal bulkhead he recognized that. That was part of him, or how he got he here. The faint letters of NASA were on it. It looked to be the door the the craft that the meteorite had hit, broken up then caused an explosion (which singed it significantly) and fell with him. This was an answer. This was where he had landed; someone had carried him to the beach. That was logical.

Except there was absolutely no way he could have survived being halfway to the moon, and landing with a broken metal door – he would have burned up at the very least in the upper atmosphere. Very least.

But he wasn’t dead.

Actually for about a second he wondered if he was dead, but put it aside as it wasn’t a useful thought.

He was a man alone now, and he had to consider: He needed fresh water food, shelter – air. Well, as long as he felt he needed air – which the illogical nature of his circumstance hadn’t change. But he needed to keep going. He considered his needs. He wasn’t hungry precisely, wasn’t thirsty precisely. He looked at what he had. A suit, that would keep him warm, a large metal plate and what looked to be a little bit of miscellaneous metal. His suit had some electronics, but they appeared smashed – maybe he could get them to work with time – it was a possibility, though the radio wasn’t designed to work all the way to Earth let alone to whichever side of it Houston was.

And would they care? His crash had exploded in space. He wasn’t suppose to be alive. He imagined the President was right now giving a speech about how his dedication would be missed, but we shouldn’t turn away from the stars. Very moving.

But he was alive!!

But underneath his suit he didn’t even have a T-shirt.

But he had olive trees, of which he had no experience, some wood, some rocks. No obvious food – except the olives, that he could see. He could hear birds, though he hadn’t really seen them. No clean water, except a small vial built into his suit.

He sat down on a rock. And took stock.

He had himself. In a strange land he had himself.

He was alive!!

He smiled. As long as that was true, he had something.

He considered then his predicament in that he had an hour an a half of oxygen – the replacement canisters he had where gone, and he had nothing left. The chances he would find fresh canisters was now…pretty close to zero. He had to keep breathing. If this world, this seeming – well, paradise – would take that away from him would be to cruel to imagine.

So he put his hands to unclick his helmet …

When he heard a noise.

He whipped around to see

A woman.

She was tall he could see that-5’10, 11, something like that. Maybe even taller. She had long black hair and dark blue eyes. Tan skin. She had a large chest, he could see that, but not her waist. She was wearing a long white garment – it wasn’t a dress, he knew that wasn’t the word. Tunic? Was that the word. A tunic? It obscured her form.

And she looked, as startled as he was.

Well, that was something.

Hello,” he said, unused to his voice.

No response.

She looked at him, could she even hear him?

Hello, my name is Captain Steven Trevor. I am with NASA.”

No response.

He took off his helmet. And breathed in the air … he tasted it. Air.

The woman looked at him strangely.

My name is Steven Trevor. I came in a space craft!”

No response.

He talked slower “My name is Steven Trevor, I come from the United States of America, I work with NASA … we built a space craft, and it crashed. Can you help me?”

She walked over, looking at him curiously, extending her hand.

He flinched.

She leaned back frightened.

Its okay, its okay! Where am I?”

No response.

Well, talking wasn’t going to help.

He got up.

She was about his height, maybe even an inch or 2 taller. Not a giant, but astronauts were hired for being average height men. She looked at him. He looked at her. He didn’t want to be threatening.

He extended his hand.

She looked at it, covered in the glove. It did look strange.

And he took the glove off.

She seem to look at it oddly-as if a part of his body was removed, to reveal bone underneath for a second. She looked at her own hands.

He kept it straight, not wanting to move as she slowly moved one hand … then the other. Then with a sharp gasp grabbed his hand…

He briefly felt the odd flinch but let it stood. She moved her fingers exploring his hands. And he felt her warmth, her slight sweat, her slight musk filled his lungs.

And he realized something he should have at sight. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Or would ever see. And she touched him.

He closed his eyes and breathed in, waiting for his reality to turn to normal, for himself to wake up from a dream dying in space. But he opened them when she put a hand on his neck and traced it.

He looked at her. Her fingers started to dance, to explore his brown hair, his face. Now, one could say that sounded romantic … the moment of a woman touching her lovers face. But in reality it seemed more like the act of someone seeing a giraffe for the first time and feeling the bumps of its skin. He realized she viewed him as a curiosity, a strange creature with features and ideas that were completely foreign and odd – not necessarily hostile or monstrous – but unusual.

Hadn’t she?

That struck him, of all the things he had experienced, as the strangest.

And he laughed. Because things were pretty fucking strange.

She looked at him sharply for a second strange..Then she laughed.

A woman who laughed.

Then she started talking

Δεν πρόκειται να σας βλάψει”

Well, that wasn’t English.

Steve spoke English and really bad Spanish – a couple of words of Uzbeki from his time in Afghanistan (which never involved stepping foot inside of it). This he could state with some certainty didn’t sound like any of them.

Um, I can’t understand you.”

Εντάξει ασφαλή σας της”

My name is Steven.”

Θα σας μεταφέρει πίσω στο χωριό μου, μπορούμε να πάρουμε βοήθεια εκεί”

He pointed at his body. “Steve.”

She looked at him curiously

This was supposed to work.

Steve”

He pointed at himself.

Steve”

Γιατί το λες αυτό;”

Still nothing understandable.

He took her hand.

She looked at it. And pushed it to her

Who are you?”

Ξέρω ότι φοβάται σας, αλλά εγώ είμαι εδώ

Whats your name?”

He sighed.

She grabbed his hand and turned to walk away.

And he went with her, cause well why not?

So are there any more of you?.like water”

No answer but they started to make progress. Walking to something that looked to be a path…

When he tripped on a rock.

Just like back in training. Stumbling was something he did a lot.

Hit the ground. Thankfully his space suit was pretty good he had learned about he sighed. The weight of his uniform really felt like something.

When he realized he was being helped up. The woman had put her hands around his body and was lifting him up. Firmly bringing him to his feet. He looked at her.

Huh.

A thought hit his mind. If this was his rescuer, which may yet prove to be too strong a word, the person who brought him a quarter of a mile to the ocean … He didn’t notice any indication that he had been dragged, no indentation in the sand. His uniform probably wouldn’t have survived that anyway. No, the person had carried him. No stretcher was visible, one set of footprints. He weighed, with his suit, maybe 300 pounds?

She smiled at him. It was a rather happy smile. He gave her a look offering a sense of how foolish he had been and that he should be more careful. Somehow ‘silly’ was appended to that non-verbal statement.

It was the first real communication he had gotten from her, and he was already feeling inadequate to this woman. This woman, he realized, who had very muscular arms. She looked like some marines he knew-not so much like a bodybuilder, but a powerhouse. At least her arms. And he noticed her legs. They where strong pillars of feminine strength.

Well… this changed what precisely?

He sighed.

They started off.

What choice did he have? Threat came to mind. She didn’t register, but he was going with her. Maybe if he ran off the welcome would turn into a hunt.

He new intellectually the fact that this woman was … strong. Stronger then a former all star quarterback – a man who went through the airforce academy, and NASA basic training – the fittest most able, which he didn’t know. But assuming that she was strong shouldn’t change how he related to her, shouldn’t affect things. She was being helpful, and hopefully leading him to real help. Nothing indicated otherwise.

But things did change.

And as she walked with him into more laurel trees he felt the weight of the suit, the weight of his circumstance – and he grew tired.

Do you have any water?” he asked.

He looked at her.

Water?”

ένα ποτάμι της δεν έχουν να τους όπου και αν βρίσκεστε;”

He shook his head..he moved his hand into vauge pantomime…..of

Well how would you pantomime water?

He sat down.

She looked at him.

Θέλετε να ξεκουραστούν λίγο περισσότερο”

What are you saying?”

Θέλετε να ξεκουραστούν λίγο περισσότερο”

He looked at her expression, the way she put her hands on her hips. Her agitation. She was frustrated by this as well. Well, they had something in common.

Steven. What should I call you”

Nothing.

Steven.”

Αυτό γίνεται όλο και κουραστική”

He sighed. He didn’t know why knowing her name meant so much to him, but It did. Somehow it did. She was still a wonder.

I am going to call you Wonder Woman..”

Αυτό είναι ένα πολύ ηλίθιο πράγμα”

He shook his head and got up.

Their journey continued. They were entering low hills and valleys – more bushes, more trees … he crossed a stream.

Ahh.

His thirst was great. He didn’t realize that until now.

He leaned down, cupped some water in his hands, and drank.

The wonder woman stopped in front of him and looked onward.

πιες μέχρι να χορτάσεις”

Water,” he said.

He looked at her.

Πρέπει να κάνουμε το χρόνο το πλάσμα είναι έξω”

Water, I am drinking water”

She paused.

He took her hand and put into the wetness.

Water”

He looked at her.

Water”

She at last spoke “Waeter”

He smiled.

Well, we’re getting somewhere.”

Τι είναι αυτά που λες”

He stood and got up. He noted she rolled her eyes as they did. But, well …

He moves a hand to help her. She looked at It curiously – but as she grabed it and pulled …

He got thrown head-first, very strongly, into the water.

Well, that’s what you got for helping!

When he heard a growl.

He looked at something behind him. And saw skin.

So much red skin.

So much splotchy red skin in wrinkles…on a …something.

It had what looked to be four legs, a mouth and teeth. No hair. Just skin. About 9 feet long 4 feet tall. And very much growling in a threatening sense.

It was … well …

Then his companion punched it.

It flew out of the river and hit a tree branch, shattering the 2 foot diameter branch 20 feet up with its 1000 pound body. There was enough force then to shatter it into tooth picks.

The creature fell and hit the ground and growled. It looked like it had really felt that.

Steven looked next to him to see the woman stand up, fully stretching her long legs as she did. The cords of her muscles, not so much forming as dancing across the sides of her body. She looked very serious

The creature screamed at them for a second. Then jumped at him.

Steven wanted to pass out just as it was about foot over the ground.

When she grabbed it in mid air and tackled it, throwing herself and the creature into the river.

Steven got out of the river, crawling. He turned and watched what looked passably like mud wrestling if one of the participants was a beautiful woman and the other looked like some kind of giant shrew. They traded vague blows and grunt noises as it seemed to throttle her neck.

Steven went to look for a rock or something.

The creature managed to throw her off – about a foot backwards into the water with a weak fall. Not really impressive.

The creature instead instantly climbed on top of her, pushing its mouth onto her neck, as it pushed her head into the water.

Steve found a rock and ran over … and hit its head.

The creature didn’t respond.

Steve hit again with the rock.

He got the vague sense of something … when a mighty two-leg kick came from the bottom of the river and the creature flew backwards, flying 50 feet off into the distance in a vague series of somersaults and a sound of surprise.

It crashed into something and ran away.

Steve watched it for a second, then looked down.

She was still lying in the river.

Steven realized this had demonstrated that she even if she viewed him as some kind of alien monster like say that, and that she had, well … if that wasn’t super strength, then language didn’t have good words for it (He supposed in any case that wasn’t really even a good word for what she could do, what her power was), she wasn’t doing that to him.

He wanted to ask her about it … but talking at this point seemed to be a bit of a dead end.

He instead just looked curious at her and grunted.

She looked back. Once again the most beautiful woman in the world, the most gorgeous, even as she had held a large bundle of monster in her arms. He also noted that she was now wet as the expression goes – her form previously obscured was manifest, and brother … what a form. She had heaving breasts, a tapered waists, and muscles everywhere. Every bit of her was a that of a powerful goddess, from her calves to her trapezoids, a texture of tan glory. From her abs to her arms all was perfect and powerful.

But she looked at him.

It was an apologetic look. A look that says sorry for bothering you. A look that almost said sorry for seeing that side of me. A look that …

A look that says I hope you think well of me.

Now, all of this he realized was projection, imagination, other words that end in “ion”. But he felt it. And he hoped it was true.

He looked down.

I am sorry for trying to help you..I don’t really know whats going on here. Not at all. No idea. But I want it to be good, I want to help you, and to go wherever you want me to go … and I want you to know I think you’re a hero. You saved my life.”

She smiled.

He offered her his hand.

She took it

And he helped her stand.

And then he noticed to things in quick succession.

1. The creature had no eyes.

2. Her white toga dress did not have a drop of blood or mud on it.

The second seemed somehow the odder.

****

They started walking through different terrain. It was still a mix of brush and forest, but here and there he saw what look to be fields. No fences, but grain, growing in an unhurried manner. They passed what looked to be small gardens, with things that looked to be lettuces and melons growing and other things that could have been vegetables that he just couldn’t identify. They passed more streams, a water system that looked kind of like irrigation.

In short, they were entering something that for lack of a better word might be called…civilization? He didn’t know. Steve didn’t know anything about this place. Except for her.

So they walked. She seemed a little more perceptive of the fact that he was carrying a heavy a weight, but didn’t offer to help or to carry him, though he had no doubt in his mind that she could. As he walked he tried to do the math of the force it would require. Math he understood much better than gardening.

20 feet assuming 1000 pounds force per inch … ..it was at least 5 tons of power to hit the tree, but to break it? It would have to be going maybe 100 miles an hour … which meant.

A lot.

He noticed someone in the field, tending to something. She turned, which was when he realized it was a woman. She was smaller then his companion, a tad slender, with a slight brown to her hair – but also youthful beauty. She turned and looked at him curiously … then ran over.

Perhaps a tad faster then she should.

Just a tad.

The two woman exchanged quick words in there gibberish language … then she moved a hand and touched his face again. Steve was prepared for it, but felt the weird about these pawing motions.

^ τι είναι αυτός” the new girl said “είναι ένας άνθρωπος”

Ναι εγώ τον βρήκε στην παραλία” said his companion.

Steve nodded in agreement.

εκπληκτική επιτυχία” said the girl.

Yeah” said steeve. “Exactly.”

Πάω να ρωτήσω τη μητέρα μου, τι πρέπει να κάνουμε πώς πρέπει να τον βοηθήσει” said his companion with the unmistakable tone of command. They started to walk off, the pair turning into a threesome. This, strangely, made Steve sad. He realized he wanted to be alone with this woman of paradise in a lagoon – somehow the fact that more did mean a more likely chance of help, that the two … oh the two was some how better.

But well …

They walked another two kilometers or so – and more women came. Each 100 steps brought new women – all of them looked somewhere between 15 and 30. All young. All fit. All beautiful – but she was the most beautiful. That was for certain, even as she left him with the group and walked in front. Blonds brunettes.

Not a man in the group.

Not a one.

This was perhaps odd.

Many of them wanted to touch his face. He obliged them.

They came into what looked to be a small canyon – if that was the word – a dry space between two hills. There appeared to be a small lake nearby with heavy reeds. He noted them for some reason as interesting. There were more women too, around 100 of them.

And he saw that the mounds contained caves – or at least some caves. It looked as if dirt had been moved to make weird little structures that met the rock. It was a bit of a village.

He saw fire pits, and sticks and … .well it didn’t look stone age, it didn’t look like something from a medieval fantasy – it all looked, well out of place with these weird woman who …

He saw one that was kind of fat tending a large pot

mostly looked like supermodels.

They walked into the village towards a hole that looked perhaps a little bigger then the rest. It was a majestic little cave hole that looked kind of warm and cozy, as holes in the ground went .

Then all the girls stopped, and the wonder talked.

Περιμένετε εδώ με αυτό το άγνωστο. Μας σημαίνει καμία ζημιά.”

One or two of the girls responded in noises that sounded like yes.

Nods.

She walked into the cave by herself. Steven moved to follow her, but the first girl, who Steven thought of as Freckles (which she didn’t really have), moved a hand to stop him. So he stayed.

And looked around

So … you guys come here often?”

They looked on silently.

Single?”

Είναι ένα παράξενο ένα” one of the girls said.

Big laughs from the group. Steve joined them.

They waited for maybe two or three minutes … when the wonder walked out.

θα τον στείλουμε σπίτι” she said “αφού η βασίλισσα έχει σκεφτεί πάνω σε αυτό. Εν τω μεταξύ, θέλουμε να τον κρατήσουμε έναν επισκέπτη. Να κρατήσει τα χέρια σου από πάνω του”

There was a weird sense of sadness from the group, a sense almost of shock, of amazement. But well, it was …

πελατών μας” she commanded.

He realized what was, if not before, now obvious. This woman had some authority here – he had been rescued by a woman of some repute.

One of the girls (let’s call her … Green eyes? This is getting tricky) walked with him to another cave as he watched the crowd slowly disperse behind him. They walked 20 feet into a small cave.

Inside the cave was lit somehow by the sunlight. He wasn’t sure how. It was setup as a large room. It had a small bed with fuzzy looking blankets, some things that looked like stools near a small table, all made with some skill. He noted a rug on the dirt floor. It all looked very … homey. Not quite tepee homey, or Hobbit-hole homey, either. It was a space.

The girl left him, making words as it went.

Steve stopped and sat down. Man, that felt good.

How long had it been. Five hours? Six? Longer? Shorter?

He looked at the radio built into his arm -no first he took of his top reveling his tan muscular chest.

God that felt good to get out of.

He looked at his boots and pants – they came off in a flash. Underneath was some Lycra shorts. He wasn’t seeing lots of Lycra.

The odd things looked odd in this space, like something from another world

Was he on another world?

It didn’t feel like it, but his world didn’t have mole monsters. He was pretty sure on that point.

Ah well. It just felt good to be out of that stuff. Out of that (for want of a better word) crap. Just to be for a second.

Naturally, Steve immediately went to sleep.

****

He woke to see her. Was she a dream? It was worth considering.

Nope. A dream wouldn’t remove a hand from his chest, yelping, when he woke up.

Steve sat up as she moved away.

Its okay,” he assured her. “No harm.”

Steven was out of his uniform a large man – well built, muscular. A result of thousands of hours at the gym, lifting. He was a strong man too … but as he looked at her in the light his eyes focused on the strength of her back, the way her muscles bunched in her arms as she moved them. It was a dance that he could never hope to better, only …

Only … what did he want?

He shook his head. He had to get home. To tell the world that he was okay … that he was here … and what would they do with ‘here’ when they found it? Steven wondered what was the end game to this story from his part, the future, the ending of the story.

He looked to the table and saw what appeared to be a clay pot on a small wood tray, some utensils, and some bread.

Food.

Thank you.”

She just looked at him.

The words they said had no meaning to each other. Strangers really. Just words for the sake of them. So he stopped talking and walked over to eat, sitting on the ground.

She sat across from him, where she drank something that looked like water from a cup. He tasted it. Good.

The food was too. A kind of vegetable stew with lots of onions and leaks. No tomatoes. Maybe this place didn’t have food from the new world, depending only on old world produce as he had learned in history class. Maybe he just didn’t get that yet. But the soup was good for it. The bread too. It felt warm, fresh out of the oven.

She watched him as she drank her water, not saying anything. Her eyes looked as if they had plenty to say, but didn’t. He didn’t speak either.

Then, as he watched her drink, the water occurred to him. His cup tasted like well-water. He had been on a week long exercise in the force about wilderness survival and what to do when you crash land(there had been no section on entering a tribe of women. Must have missed that). But what he remembered was that if you find water in a stream, only drink it if you can filter it – bacteria, dirt microorganisms. It wouldn’t necessarily kill you, but well-water only in emergencies. He drank some pond water, and it was dank.

This wasn’t that. Better then arrowhead, so had the stream water.

He remembered that in the olden days they had, for the most part, avoided water – drinking wine, or mead – that’s why they were invented. It killed all that.

Well, he was in a town with only woman, living in ancient conditions in a place that seemed to defy logic, and he had seen eyeless creatures – oh yeah, and at least one of these women was super strong.

This wasn’t a super big leap, but well … add it to the list.

The thoughts caught his eyes. His eyes caught hers. And they looked

He moved to toast.

She toasted back.

A woman came in. she had very dark hair. Her muscles looked massive – bigger then his companion, but somehow not quite as powerful.

She spoke harsh words, stark words. His companion turned to listen and responded in lazy tones. It was probably better to think in those terms rather then the words she said – tone often conveyed meaning.

A dialogue thus developed between his rescuer and the stranger, who clearly didn’t like him and wasn’t afraid to say so in the same room with him – almost as if he wasn’t quite human. The Wonder Woman mostly remained still – to raise her voice would be to give her opponents words power. She had a relaxed look that somehow was more regal, more in control. This was frustrating the other, but that only increased her power.

Steven was entranced, watching it unfold even as he strongly suspected it was about him, his fate and future. The black haired woman didn’t sound pleasant … possibly his life. But the wonder woman was seeming to protect him, to make sure he was safe. And as long as she was here, he felt safe. She wouldn’t let anything bad happen to him.

Steven was projecting terribly here, but what are you going to do?

Eventually the woman left them. Steve finished his meal passively as they argued, then she went.

Steven stood up.

As he did he realized she was watching him. Watching him work. He had something. One could make jokes there but it was something in his eye. He was here, and eating food at least in part because of that something – was it curiosity? Mad passionate love? Fear? He wasn’t quite sure.

He walked outside …

to be greeted by a scream.

It was one of the women. She had a pot of water, or more importantly had dropped a pot of water on the ground. She looked much younger than the others – maybe 13.

Steven realized he was frightening.

Then looked down to see he had a very hairy chest.

Well, he shrugged, what are you going to do? He did some stretches.

More of the women curiously came out, dozens of them. He saw the black bitch, freckles malone, and some of the others he could recognize. Behind him came the Wonder Woman.

The little girl came forward. Steven offered her his hand.

She looked at it.

Then ran away.

One of the girls in camp started to laugh. It was a short laugh, but a laugh. Then the group stare silenced her.

He looked around.

And he saw smoke.

What could that mean?

Well, fire obviously. But fire could mean more crashed materials. It could mean …

My crew!” he shouted.

And he started to run.

The group didn’t seem to expect this as he ran off into the woods.

****

Steven, as mentioned, was a pretty fast runner. Even wearing shorts and no shoes. He ran through brush and bramble, hurting his feet but not stopping.

He could see the smoke in the forest, still far away. It could have been burning the day before – if it had been a day. Smoldering wreckage, a camp fire – or, he supposed, another village. Maybe this is where the men lived.

He had to find out.

His foot hit a rock and bled.

It didn’t stop him.

He ran through the laurelish forest until he got into some actual hills. He ran through them, going up the rocky terrain that seemed more barren, more twisted, more black. He slipped over loose pebbles going over the hill.

Then he saw it … from the top of the hill.

It was his spacecraft, the Lumen 3, crashed into the ground. Like the shuttle it was designed to land the same way as an airplane. He remembered testing the landing – compared to the older shuttle it was relatively smooth. This had done so very poorly. It had hit the side of a small hill, looking like it landed at maybe a 30 degree angle, and wedged itself in, smoldering wreckage everywhere to be seen.

He ran down the hill. Would anyone …

Hey!” He heard a voice just down the hill.

Steven looked.

There was Francis Ancel. He looked beaten and bruised in his coverall uniform, but okay. Okay.

Francis was an Astro Geologist, and a professor at Georgetown. He always something of a drinker, with a smile framed by short black hair that made him look so very devious sometimes. It was a smile he gave him.

You’re alive!” he remarked in his slight french accent. “I thought you where a goner. You probably thought we were, too.”

Yeah,” Steven chuckled.

They walked forward towards the craft.

You’re a sight for sore eyes.”

He looked. It was Priscilla Rich. Captain Rich. Priscilla was his second in command on the mission. Even now, though, it wasn’t quite a smile. More of an accepting glower. Rich came from wealth, lots of wealth, and had an attitude that the world belonged to her spoiled hand. She would complain about all the indignities they had suffered, all the little things that went on. But, to her credit, never the work. She was an excellent pilot, one of the best he had served with – and for the physical – He had gone through 100s of hours of training and watched her complete all of it, in most cases better then the men. It had left her lithe and fit, but as he looked at blond hair and blue eyes there was still the challenge.

I would salute” she said. “But you don’t salute a man out of uniform.”

He looked down at his naked chest, and gave a weak chuckle.

It perhaps should be mentioned that a couple of times – perhaps for boredoms sake, they had slept together. She had conquered him like anything else, with incredible strength and passion – but when it was over she was often dressed by the time he turned over. He realized that what he was looking for in a relationship.

I was suppose to be the first woman on the moon” she said. “This doesn’t look like the moon. Let me check. Nope”

Wait till I tell you the next part.”

We got hit by a meteor,” said Ancel. “You were in the cargo bay”

We were up front,” Priscilla took over. “After the cabin was depressurized, the emergency locks sealed us in with 50 percent partial pressure. We spun off and went of course. I radioed mission control, but didn’t get a response as we rapidly entered the atmosphere. I was able to keep her in something of a tail spin, as I brought her down here.

Not a great landing,” observed Trevor. “But you walked away from it.”

Would you have done better?” asked Rich. “Its hard landing a plane with out an engine that’s going 500 miles an hour.”

Cho and Williams didn’t make it,” noted Ancel. “It wasn’t Rich’s fault. Williams blew out into space when she was adjusting your controls, without a suit. Cho crashed into a bulkhead when we entered normal gravity. Couldn’t strap in. Max was the same way but survived. Or, at least … so far.”

What?”

They raced towards the craft. A door had been crudely made opened out of the window. The back was smoking.

We just got out of there an hour ago,” said Ancel.

Inside it felt..it was smashed in some parts, pristine in others. His vessel.

Let me guess,” said Trevor “The radio doesn’t work.”

It works,” said Rich. “We just haven’t been able to get anything.”

Yeah,” said a voice “Weird isn’t it?”

He looked. There, in what looked to be a makeshift bed, was Max Lord. He was handsome with short brown hair – a big smiling man with broad shoulders. He was another scientist, though one of the sensible kinds, in Trevor’s book: Discoveries in physics had made him rich to see outer space. Owned villas and stuff. The rumors went that he had bought his way onto the mission. But well, the way his leg was bleeding heavily, even through the blanket, and the odd angle of its mate suggested that he was suffering anyway. Suffering so much.

No matter how much money you have, there is still pain,” Lord said absently.

Steve turned to see the mangled dead body of Cho in the corner. She, at least, had no more pain.

But he shook his head.

So you fell into the atmosphere?”

Rich nodded at the entrance. “Right away.”

We where about 120,000 miles away from Earth when we got hit,” Steven answered. “How fast was it before we hit?”

Ancel chucked. “About a minute”

So we were going hmmm … not 100,000 miles an hour, but if we did in a minute … 60 million miles an hour. Our ship couldn’t have survived that, I feel, with some wreckage on a beach. I certainly couldn’t have survived that, let alone the atmosphere..something stra …”

And there was noise outside of the ship.

Rich looked alarmed, and almost screamed, but Steve went to the door to see about 20 women standing there, including her.

Oh, that’s the people who helped me,” he offered.

Ancel laughed. “Look at you! Less then 24 hours and your the king of the natives.”

The Wonder woman walked forward towards the door, climbing in. She put her arm on his shoulder and hugged him quietly as she looked in.

Priscilla, Steven noted, noticed that.

τι συμβαίνει εδώ said the woman. “ποιος είσαι”

When something even stranger happened.

Είμαστε το πλήρωμα του διαστημοπλοίου Lumen τριών” said Mr. Lord “ εμείς συντριβή προσγειώθηκε”

What?” said Steven.

καλό να έχει κάποιος για να μιλήσει το όνομά μου είναι” said the woman. “h₂ŕ̥tḱos “

You speak this language?” Steven asked curiously.

gεπιτρέψτε μου να μεταφράσει” said Lord, then turned. “This is greek. A slightly weird dialect,, but understandable.”

You speak Greek?” said Ancel.

Obviously. That, and ten other languages.”

Ask where we are, then,” suggested Trevor.

θα ήθελα να ρωτήσω πού βρισκόμαστε”

νησί της Themyscira” said the woman

Diana says we are in Themyscira.”

Diana?”

that’s her name” Lord informed him.

Well that was helpful. He looked at Diana. She looked concerned. “ Αυτός ο άνθρωπος είναι ο φίλος μου” she said.

Tell her my name is Steven.”

Το όνομά του είναι Στίβενr” Lord intoned.

ξέρω.”

She’d already figured that out.”

****

The tribes carefully carried lord out of the craft and helped the others. Somehow or another something of a stretcher was produced, as Steven filled the group in on what happened, and learned bits and pieces from the wounded Lord.

This was Themyscira. Diana was the daughter of the Queen. They had no men – barely had a word for it. This was an island in an ocean – a refuge from a world they couldn’t quite articulate, even with lords help. They’re gifts from there gods for a great service. Steve wondered if the words were lost in the translation of a probably dying mans Greek.

Pity. When he saw Diana, as they stood outside the group for a second and looked into each others eyes, they had lost the ability to speak again.

They just looked at each others and wondered what happened.

But lord and the other seemed to blather together even as they started to walk back to the Themyscrian village. Steve held back looking through the craft. Diana stayed with him.

Steve studied the radio. It wasn’t broken, however it was only picking up static – as if they were too far away or something was blocking him. This happened when a space craft was circling the dark side of the moon – however, that was almost equally improbable to them being on earth. A lot was improbable. He shut things off.

They had food, some materials for rescue. A cloth suit he could wear, which he put on as Diana watched. He often looked at her when she looked at him. She seemed concerned for him and just a hint-but they managed okay. He was concerned for her. Beyond that there supplies of stuff you could use on a mysterious island where meager. He made two bag of it including an emergency transponder though he doubted that would work.

He handed one to Diana. It weighed 30 pounds but she lifted it easily. Hell he realized he could probably ask her to carry the damn ship back.

Then she took the other from his hand. Putting one over back and carrying the other in her hands.

He wanted to carry it … .but well.

They started to walk back.

Steven hadn’t realized how far it really was. It took about 2 hours to walk together.

Now that, theoretically, they had the power of words, he wondered what he and Diana would say. Did it matter really?

αυτό είναι πολύ περίεργο για μένα Steven”

She chattered a lot as they walked back. He nodded occasionally but didn’t speak.

It wasn’t until they got to another stream that she stopped, and drank.

He moved a hand to touch it as it went through the water. She looked at him.

They looked at each other.

He leaned in to kiss her … .but at the last second she pulled away.

Δεν είμαστε suppose να σας αγγίξει ως γυναίκα” she said, and got up.

Leaving the bag in her hand on the ground as she walked quickly.

Well. As he picked it up he remembered that it was rather heavy.

Great. He had lost the girl and the sherpa.

****

It was about an hour latter when he arrived back at the village. There was a lot of activity, and when he walked in, the man of the hour yesterday, he barely got a glance from the girl who was frightened this morning but.

Someone was looking at Lord outside on a table – a doctor or something or medicine woman, or shaman or some other word. She was rubbing ointment on him, over wounds that looked pretty dire. He knew, in fact. Nothing in itself was fatal – but infection. What could they do here about that? He didn’t think it would help, but well

Max was screaming as Ancel held his hand

You’ll be okay,” Ancel assured him.

Max screamed some more.

Fine,” said Ancel.

Steven thought about stopping it, but he knew he didn’t want to pick a fight here … maybe.

URRRGGG” screamed Maxwell.

Okay! Stop!! Stop!!!”

The doctor ignored him.

STOP!!!!”

Steven walked forward and pushed the doctor away.

She looked at him, offended,

Stop. You’re not helping him.”

She started to chatter violently.

Stop.”

And they stopped.

There was a great confusion in the group. The tall dark haired woman walked forward, and started yelling at him loudly in foreign words.

Steven drew back as she suggested that he should mind his own business.

She says you should mind your own business,” translated Lord.

Helpful that. Steve realized he was getting better at speaking the verbal language.

Tell her that will give you are own medicine we should wash it off with clean water and sterilise bandages I have in my bag.”

Lord started talking.

αγνοήσετε την φιλοξενία μας” she said.

Are you the leader?” Lord translated.

I am Captain of the Lumen”

There was translation when Lord spoke her words.

She says you were in charge of a ship. But your ship is crashed and destroyed. What authority do you now have … captain?”

It was a mark said in front of a group.

However, she spoke to the doctor.

She says you can take this stupid crap off me, tend to me as you will. If you don’t want their aid it won’t be given,” said lord. “I may have added the stupid crap stuff.”

I brought bandages in my bag.”

****

After bandaging and treating Lord as best as they could, Ancel looked around. Steve went back to his cave – to see Rich sleeping there in the bed.

Lord okay?” he asked.

Great. Never liked the sight of blood,” said Rich.

Took to the bed?”

Rich looked up and smiled. “Snooze you loose buster. They brought me and Ancel here – I think we have to share it.

Trevor laughed despite himself. To call Priscilla funny was a stretch, but at her best moments there was something amusing to her not-give-a-shitness.

We can share it I guess” said Priscilla

I don’t think we have ever done that,” said Trevor. “Every time we have been together you always left five minutes after. We may have had sex, but I don’t think we have ever actually slept together.”

Try it buster.” She patted the bed next to him.

Trevor smiled and laid down.

So what’s the next move?” Rich asked. “How do we get off Lost Island?”

I dunno,” admitted Trevor. “Ideas?”

Well the ships destroyed. No go there.”

You sure?” said Rich.

Pretty sure,” Steven confirmed. “This isn’t going to be Flight of the Phoenix. That’s not going to work. The radios not working. I suppose we could theoretically make it more powerful-”

I could give it a shot,” said Rich “But we both know that’s not going to work.”

Rich put her arm around his shoulder. It felt nice to be appreciated. “Right.”

So that leaves … waiting for someone to find us, or building a boat. They demonstrated to me they have at least the idea of boats.”

That’s good,” said Rich. “Do you think our captors are going to help?”

I don’t think they’re holding us here.”

I know women,” said rich, pushing her finger nails into his neck. “They’re just waiting to get their claws into you.”

She leaned in and kissed him …

For a second he kissed back, wanting the intimacy – before pushing her back.

Which was good timing, as that exact moment Diana walked through the door and saw them.

It’s not what you think.”

Well, you can say that,” said Rich “But she don’t know.”

She laughed and got up smiling at Diana. “However, you just told me what you think!” Rich bumped Diana as she walked out.

Diana watched her leave.

Steven looked down. He knew anything he said would have no meaning. There was power in just being … just being what precisely?

Diana looked at him. And the moment lasted longer and was more uncomfortable then words could have made it.

****

That was more painful then I expected” said Lord.

You feeling better now” said Ancel.

Trevor had gathered his group together for an impromptu meeting around the stretcher in the evening

I feel stable,” said Lord “I think if I don’t puke in the next 48 hours I’m all good.”

So any ideas what they plan do with us?” asked Ancel.

Put us all on a spit and eat us,” said Lord. “But seriously, they’re not saying.”

Have you asked them?” inquired Rich, who had found something that looked like an apple.

No,” Lord admitted.

Ask them,” Rich suggested.

Not a bad idea,” noted Trevor. “You’re the words. And we got to keep the words alive. “

What am I?” Ancel asked curiously.

You’re the laughter,” Trevor informed him.

Your must be the charm” observed Rich.

And you’re the bitch” Lord told her.

Hey!”

Rich looked as if she was going to smack him.

Ah, haha,” said lord. “Remember: I’m the words.”

But I’m the comic relief so know your role man, “ said Ancel.

They laughed for a second – and then Trevor realized that the black haired girl was watching them.

Her name is Artemis,” said Lord “And I don’t like the way she looks at us. She’s the one to watch out for. Their command structure is complex. That girl you hang with out-ranks her, but she’s in charge somehow.”

You mentioned there’s a Queen,” said Priscilla

She’s above everyone, but I don’t know where shes at. She’s not shown herself.”

Shes in the big cave in the middle of the town,” Trevor informed them, looking toward it. “When I first got here, Diana walked in there came out and started talking – that was the moment I knew I wasn’t going to be on the spit.”

Right,” said Lord. “Should we talk to her?”

Haven’t seen any other women enter,” said Steve, “So I don’t think we have been invited. Invitation only thing, I think.”

Really?” said Lord “Your standing on formality, military man?”

Your not standing at all,” quipped Steve, “So there. We don’t talk to her ‘til we get invited.”

Your not the captain of the ship” said Ancel parroting Artemis words.

His charter,” observed Rich, “Gave him command of the expedition in all circumstances until we return home. Though it was not specifically stated that the expedition included weird islands out of popular TV shows.”

That was not something he expected Rich to say, but he stood up for her. She was military.

Right,” said Trevor. “You can work on getting yourself invited and to get going.”

You don’t seem like you’ll have trouble getting yourself invited” Rich teased.

Lord looked troubled.

We all know that something profoundly weird is going on here” said Ancel. “This place can not exist – we are an uncharted, untamed, Island.”

Just at that moment a strange creature came towards the group. It looked at them. It appeared to be something like a kangaroo, but broader – like 4 feet wide and 10 feet tall with a strange almost bird_like mouth. It wasn’t hostile, however, just curious – as if looking at something strange, like most of the inhabitants of the island had so far.

An all-female tribe with names from ancient Greece, with giant kangaroos. Hi Artemis,” he waved.

Your point?” wondered Trevor.

This can’t be real. Nothing makes sense. Not by logic I understand of the Earth,” said Ancel.

He’s got a point,” agreed Lord.

Its obviously magic,” Rich told them.

Girls always suggest magic,” said Ancel. “It’s a cliché.”

We’re among women,” said Rich. “They have power here, and at some level we should respect that. And do you have any tests to find out all the highly improbably things are happening “

Trevor stood silently looking out at the moon as it rose. It was a giant moon, a full moon.

They continued to argue. Trevor could understand the words but he didn’t want to. He almost wanted to go back to the time he had no language-no words just the island.

Did he want to go back?

Eventually the meeting ended with out resolution they carried Lord inside. Rich went off to explore; Ancel took the opportunity to steal the bed. Trevor sat outside and looked at the stars.

****

Priscilla wandered off. Men. Am I right?

She looked at the village. It was a peaceful place. She saw some weaving a basket by the light of a fire. It was peaceful as she watched.

Priscilla had never completely felt comfortable in her own skin. For a 5’9 woman who had once fielded modeling offers had been a homely kind of fat child. It wasn’t until puberty that she developed – and her natural graces of athleticism. But at he same time that just brought different sets of anxieties Boys who looked at her, men to. Leering as did the woman. Expectations.

She had chosen to embrace it by being powerful, by being strong by having her will. Her father a senator helped her get into the airforce but she had earned it. She was a damn good pilot and who cared if she busted some balls to get there. She was going to be the first woman on the moon. Then come back and be President. Be a model. Be everything anyone had ever dreamed because that’s what she deserved by sweat and tears. She would earn it.

But as she looked at the peaceful girls – the beautiful girls sitting – talking among themselves and gossiping by the fire, weaving their little baskets, she longed. One of them put their hand on the other, holding it. She didn’t need rocket science to know what was between them.

Well: no men.

There was something to that. Not the lesbianism, Priscilla didn’t care a whiff about that, but the camaraderie, the connection. It was something she had never really known. She had dozens of conquests, but never a connection. Never really a friend.

She sat down next to them. At first they were nervous.

She took some reeds though, and started weaving. She approached it like everything. She would be the best damn weaver ever, too.

They smiled at her, and even as they started talking and she didn’t hear the words she understood their offer of friendship, and in her own simple words continued.

She wondered if they were talking about the handsome men and how they wanted them for there own. Priscilla wished she could convey that she privately thought they where all jerks. Lord Was full of himself, Ancel was a know it all, who was pretty dumb, and Trevor had ego issues the size of North Dakota. They were arguing between them about assholes.

They could argue.

But Trevor was hers.

But she was still friendly with her imaginary rivals (including the couple). She reached into her pocket and pulled out some gum. She passed it around and mimed.

(For all the talk of astronaut ice cream gum, NASA was a lot bigger on caffeine infused gum.)

She handed each a piece and mimed chewing it. After a couple of goes they seemed to grasp the concept. Cool. They seemed to very much enjoy it, yelping in enjoyment and gladness.

Priscilla was truly glad she had brought them the virtue of chewing gum.

She was glad for her friends and after an hour had a workable basket which she gave.

She then looked over. One of the girls had not only finished her basket but was painting using a simple brush and some paints. She handed hers to Priscilla as it was done.

It was a simple basket-maybe a foot wide. Priscilla would treasure it when they got back to civilization . She would maybe use it as dust basket but a basket.

Priscilla looked at the side. One it was a picture of a cat. Well they had those. Priscilla had seen a couple of chickens and what looked to be cows at the edge of village.

But upon closer investigation that wasn’t what it was at all. It was a big cat.

It was a cheetah, in yellow paint with black dots and a proud expression that looked to the world-even if it was simple lines.

That was nice.

So she went back to the cave and pushed Ancel out of bed.

****

Diana took one of the visitor’s bags into her enclosure before bring. She left it for a moment with her. Only a few minutes before she was ordered to take it to the visitors room . This was very useful for the current situation. So useful.

There was food, in weird containers, tubes and boxes, things that looked like medicine and bandages, food, a knife – things that could be identified. These she ignored, though perhaps she shouldn’t. So much time no need to be suspicious.

What was there of particular interest was a box. A box of metal and plastics. A box with what looked like dials and knobs and little buttons. A box that had use.

She studied the box. It would take time to figure the box out, but she studied. She quickly took it apart and put it back together to examine all the insides, which looked to be made of silicon with faint magnetic charges. She memorized them.

She hoped that no one would notice. She noticed the front was saying different things in the weird letters. The letters where important.

But one thing was obvious. The world that made this technology had developed tremendously.

Now to learn how far.

She put the box back into the hasty bag, reflecting on the irony of this incredible device staged hastily into something so primitive and called Diana – her precious Diana back to bring it to the strangers.

Hippolyta began the process of meditation on what she had observed. It would take time even for her. And she did not like the possibilities of what she would discover.

It wasn’t a weapon that was obvious. But she though of the weapons men who built that could make.

****

Steven slept uneasy that night, aware that there was another presence in the now crowded-feeling room. He awoke in the middle of the night aware that Lord was also awake.

You okay?”

I’m thirsty. Just very thirst,” Lord told him.

Steven got up.

I’ll get you some water.”

Thanks man.”

Steven walked to the entrance and out into the night. There was a question in his mind if they where, like, under guard – but no. Just empty space.

He walked forward. There wasn’t a lot of light, just the moon which was bare.

It was an odd sensation. Even in space travel it wasn’t so much that there was light in space but there was light around. Penlights, lanterns in the suits, the moon. The streets of the city. Steven had never been what one might be called a camper-he grew up in Boston to the city, football the airforce, space-he was never alone. Coaches supporters, his crew in the sky on the ground, interchangeable women whose names and faces barely seemed real any more.

But now he was alone in the dark.

It was a curious sensation.

He knew there was a pond … maybe 100 feet away 200. The geography of the place seemed a little vague to his mind – it was up out of the canyon … lets call it to the north. Which meant nothing at night.

He sighed.

He thought about asking one of the women but they where all probably sleeping in their camps so he walked.

He hit a rock and stumbled over. He also realized that he had no shoes of any kind. Great.

There probably was easier water somewhere.

Lord wasn’t in a good spot.

So he trudged on. The slight light suggested he was out of the village, towards … there was the vague outline of something.

Something.

He found the pond by the old fashioned method. His feet got wet. That was a good indication of water. He looked down and went to gather it.

When he realized he didn’t have a cup or anything.

Goddammit.

He turned to trudge back into into the village. He felt helpless, weak. Dumb. None of these were a comfortable fit for Steven Trevor.

However, he noticed something in the reeds. He leaned down and picked it up-it looked to be a spear.

What was that doing here?

Then he heard breathing.

83453535”

It was a voice. For half a second he thought it was Diana …

But no. It was Artemis, he could vaguely see her.

When she tackled him to the ground very roughly pushing him into the mud of the river with incredible force.

Steven had played football. He had been tackled. Yet he forgot for a second how terrible felt, the sensation of being hit and pressed in unnatural ways by the full strength of someone. And that was fully prepared. That was in pads on grass. This was at night, surprised, and alone.

All the air left his lungs in an instant – it went flat sickly as he lost the ability to breath. Blood rushed to his brain and from his brain and stars were in his eyes as he gasped for air.

He was momentarily unaware of pretty much anything else.

It was that moment he realized he dropped the spear.

That may have not been a good idea.

He started to be punched in the face repeatedly, by someone with no small amount of super-strength which wasn’t a good thing. In seconds his face was beat read.

He tried to punch her but his legs and arms were covered – there wasn’t much he could do in this position, except hope not to die – with one hand he was weakly able to cover his face.

He had the sensation that if she was as strong as Diana – or anywhere as near as strong as Diana, he would be dead by now. However, she didn’t seem to want that. Which was a shame as he was just about to think that might be an improvement.

This lasted about 20 seconds that he remembered as the longest in his life, and he wasn’t precisely sure how it ended. It was a weird sensation. Artemis got pulled from him roughly, he knew that, but the specifics of it where a little vague.

He noticed that she was arguing in Greek with someone, which took him a second to figure out was Diana. Loud hostile words where exchanged that he was too dazed to even pretend to understand.

It was, Trevor was a little ashamed to admit, he hadn’t thought of yet – all Greek to him.

However, a second later he got bodily picked up very roughly by Artemis and brought forward.

He felt woozy.

His eyes found Diana’s for a second and she looked at him. There was a mix of surprise, concern, disbelief, regret, empathy, and a dozen other things. He was getting really good at looking at her eyes and seeing stuff. So brief.

He was taken back to his cave – they were all asleep by now and heard Lord loudly woken up with a slap. Artemis, Diana and it seemed dozens more moved in to cramp.

Ahhh.”

The other two woke as they began very loud and animated conversation.

Whats going on?” demanded Ancel, asking a very good question that Trevor had no answer for/

What were you doing with a spear?” Inquired Lord.

I found it in the reeds as I was gathering water.”

"***%^&*^*^&*^&*^&."

^^**(*(^&(^(^&( ,” said lord.

%$^#^#$^#%^%$^$,” said Artemis.

345634634634554,”said Lord.

Various Amazons grabbed all four of the crew members, but in deference to his leg Lord wasn’t dealt with too hard. However, he felt terrible.

They don’t believe you. They say you were trying to attack them.”

They have superhuman strength. That would be stupid.”

"##%#%#$%#%#$%#%#$%$."

"@$@$@$@$@$."

They say your a man and that’s what men do.”

Even I would agree with him,” admitted Rich.

A hand went over riches mouth.

@2342423,” said Lord.

Please,” said Steven.

And Diana looked at him with regret … such regret.

And he was hit on the head with the back of a spear.

****

Steven awoke someplace.

This was a cave.

But not one with an entrance he could see just darkness and walls and cold. He felt cold like he hadn’t felt here before. Even in space they always kept things at a very controlled temperature – it had been a while in fact when he had such the sensation of it. This was good for him, getting used to the experiences of the reality – such as the experience of having your face punched in and freezing wet cold.

His face was covered in what looked to be some of the goo they used – and he didn’t regret it. He just felt terrible. His ribs which they seemed to have ignore felt broken. He sighed.

He was alive.

Under the control of silent savage woman.

This was a life of sorts.

He looked round his surroundings.

Round was a world it looked to be an oval-about 5’5 five at the center – which meant it was slightly shorter then he was and he couldn’t stand up fully at the top – and about 8 feet wide on all sides. Smooth – without a single straight line in the place. Just a lot of wet stone.

He moved his mouth and licked it. Well, at least he wasn’t going to go thirsty.

There didn’t seem to be a door – at least what he could observe, or any openings at all. He was breathing though. And the air seemed fresh as he knew from his training. But no way out.

He closed his eyes. He reviewed his mission.

1. escape from a prison that didn’t have any entrances.

2. Find his crew.

3. Get past an army of super-powered bitches.

4. Leave an island that wasn’t on any map, which seemed to block all radio contact, etc …

Steve mentally reviewed that last one for a second. Something very strange must exist for this place to even be. He knew more then most the Earth was a well mapped place. He had seen the map from outer space. If you missed it was odd.

It was also odd that he and the space craft had landed maybe 12 kilometers apart on it. Given the field of falling rocket debris often covers thousands of miles – especially if Rich was right and they actually made an attempt at landing while he just fell.

This didn’t make sense.

However, it was time to stop saying that.

This island appeared to be ob Earth. There was a sun, for example – but maybe it was like in a parallel dimension, a weak spot in space? Maybe he and the ship had crashed through some loose dimensional bondings.

This was less weird then it sounded. He knew that NASA occasionally just lost satellites when logically it shouldn’t happen. He had read scholarly articles that suggested that it wasn’t just lost contact but some inherent tremor of the vacuum.. Granted he didn’t believe it or know any scientist who did – but he couldn’t quite dismiss it off hand at this exact moment.

If this was a parallel dimension that still left lots of unanswered questions. Why the women? Why a language anyone could understand if this was separate reality? One couldn’t have Greek and kangaroo creatures in the same world.

Unless.

He shook his head.

When he heard something move …

The rock on top of him got moved aside, in a smooth motion.

Who is it?”

Diana.”

He looked up and saw her hand.

You can speak English now?”

Ελπίζω καλά-παρακαλώ σας είναι εντάξει. Παρακαλώ μην με μισήσεις. “

Wait … maybe he asked a logical question and she answered.

Her hand came into the dark and he grabbed it, pulling himself up.

He was in another cavern this with light from some strange source as he saw no entrance, just space. His cave he noted had a stone on top of it hided the way in and out-and looked to weigh maybe a ton.

He looked at her.

Whats going on”

Θα βεβαιωθείτε ότι σας ασφαλή”

Where are we?”

Θα βεβαιωθείτε ότι σας ασφαλή”

He paused.

Where do babies come from?”

να είστε ήρεμοι “

Where. Do . Babies come. From?”

Μιλώντας αργά, δεν θα σας βοηθήσει”

Steven made motions of holding a baby in his hands, and make fake noises.

She looked she got that.

She took his hand and they started walking.

Where are the men?”

Where?” Diana asked in response. “Steven.”

That was almost a sentence.

He made pointing gestures.

This was a question that somehow seemed the most important at the moment.

They turned a corner and entered a room/

Θα σας δείξω”

And row by row lights turned on up ahead, like a lab.

And a lot of questions where answered at once.

They were in another chamber. Built on stone tables here what looked to be a lot of metal tubes going into weird vats of what looked like moving liquid clay, bubbling away. They had glass fronts the better to see. Inside, like some kind of science fiction movie that Steven now realized he was in, where growing fetuses – babies. It all didn’t so much look normal- but he couldn’t see where the science ended and the magic began. Dozens of them, some little zygotes some bigger embryos. So this is where little girls came from.

Αυτό είναι όπου γεννιόμαστε”

I can see that.”

He looked around for a second. It had the look of what he realized the entire place was. Technology. Powerful advanced technology centuries more advanced then what had brought him, here that had become indistinguishable from … not magic but the everyday. The clean water was explained. The kangaroos where explained(kinda). Diana to. She must be genetically engineered to be …

Perfect.

He went to her arms and hugged her. Hugged her with all his passion and strength just feeling the warmth of her next to him-and she was warm. He was so cold. So very very cold. She was warm and soft and everything.

He started to cry. He didn’t know why, but he did. He just cried

All of this happened and she didn’t stop him. She kind of stroked his back and nuzzled him.

Then he lifted her face and he looked at her. He saw that she believed him. She was with him. She was …

He leaned into kiss her

Ο άνθρωπος. Εδώ!” interrupted Artemis.

She had a knack for breaking these things up, he gave her that.

Artemis and Diana talked and he could hear the music. How dare she bring him here? Their most sacred place? Show them their secrets? What if he got to the outside world and told them? What if …?

He looked at Artemis as if she wasn’t a threat.

That was the best strategy …

he hoped.

****

Priscilla stood in the village looking around. She was still a guest of the tribe, as where her two other crewman. This gave her cold comfort. She had the sensation that she would be the last taken--where ever that was.

Because of her womanhood.

Which kind of hurt her. Priscilla, despite joining the military, wasn’t a tomboy. Not really. But at the same time she wasn’t the type to want to have any special treatment, good or bad, because of her sex. Other then the special treatment she constantly demanded.

She sat outside by the pond. He was going to get water. That sounded like Steven. The big helpful man. He was an attentive lover, she could give him that. She didn’t actually love him, she thought. That would be something a bit much. He, like her, probably took his pleasures where he could. Didn’t he? But she felt something. She didn’t want him to actually suffer.

Not really.

Of course, that Diana bitch was making eyes at him. He was the type like something from Star Trek to make his eyes at every green babe they encountered. But it was wrong to be a green eyed monster of jealously.

Her eyes turned to see one of the girls. It was the girl with the basket the other night-in the day he could see that she was quite young-little freckles cheeks. Priscilla smiled at her.

She sat next to her. After a minute she mimed that she wanted more gum.

Priscilla chuckled. She was a gum machine. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a piece. She was safe here as long as she could supply caffeine infused gum. She handed it to the girl, who chewed it happily.

She put her arm on her shoulder and nuzzled. Ahh … she was making a friend. Priscilla didn’t swing that way, but well … there was use, she supposed, in having a friend like that.

The girl handed her something putting it in her lap. Was this the kind of gifts lovers share. Gum and …

It was like a hat of some kind. Like something you would buy off the internet, like a hat these days -it had little ears on top of a hood. It would look cute and scrumtchy on a semi-pretty girl chatting on her Youtube channel.

It was yellow with faint dots cat ears.

It was a cheetahs hood.

Was this a thing?

She wanted to ask.

She took the girls hand and walked back to the cave

Max was there. He was wearing more blankets, lying on the bed. He seemed to be stable and living – they were treating him well. How well, knowing Max?

(It should be noted that she had too many standards for Mr. Lord.)

Can you tell her thank you? And ask her what the cheetah represent.”

Max and the girl exchanged shy words.

Her name is Delphi. She says she is gifted among the tribe with the power of sight. She can see inside to the peoples inner spirit, their inner soul. She says you have in you the power of the Cheetah-cat – I am not quite sure on the word but I think that’s right. Its strength; its ferocity; its cunning.”

Priscilla chucked.

Tell her thank you. But ask her why she keeps hanging around me then.”

She watched the girl lower her head.

Because your power is intriguing. Haven’t you ever watched a predator?”

Priscilla took the girls head and lifted it.

Rarr …”

The girl laughed. Priscilla did too. At least for now.

****

They gave Steven a loaf of bread – not bad bread – and put him back in his cell. They gooed up his face.

Weirdly his face felt a lot better. He touched the goo. Maybe it had nanites, some weird tech word in them. Or maybe it was just aloe. Either way, he Felt kind of an asshole for treating this like strange shaman magic.

He needed a strategy.

Getting out of here would come through her. Literally, it was the only way he could see to get the stone to move.

But how?

He ate his bread.

Well … he could seduce her. That’s what captain Kirk would do.

Or she could seduce him. That would work as well.

****

How are we going to get out of this mad house” said Ancel.

I am getting kind of sick of being the translator,” said lord.

Ancel was looking at lord. The doctors had put the healing goop on him – and he was looking a lot better. His legs were still broken, though.

They’re going to execute Trevor,” said Lord “If they haven’t already.”

We need to get out of here,” observed Ancel. “Magic, science, who cares? We just need to go.”

They don’t seem to want to let us,” Lord informed him, “We’re probably getting the velvet cage, but it’s a cage nonetheless.”

Ancel nodded. “So what do we do?”

An amazon walked in.

Tell her I want to talk to Trevor,” said Ancel.

Θέλετε να μιλήσετε σε ένα φίλο σας”

Αφήστε τον να σαπίσουν για ό, τι έκανε. Λυπάμαι πολύ.”

You can’t do that,” said Lord. “It’s not allowed.”

Tell her again.”

Λυπάμαι πολύ.”

Εμείς δεν σας φταίει” she replied.

She wants you to stop asking.”

Ancel sighed.

We’re getting nowhere. We need to get out of here.”

The girl was still present, but he ignored her. She was just was a strange foreign girl.

I agree,” said lord and started to talk hurriedly to the Amazon.

The girl nodded and left.

What did you say?” asked Ancel.

That we want to see the Queen. The Queen is, however, off looking at our crash site. This gives us our chance.”

What?”

We need to get in there … see what’s there. It’s probably where they’re keeping Trevor. We need to get in and break him out.”

I dunno …”

Lord said something.

The girl grunted.

Want to spend the rest of your life here?”

****

Hippolyta examined the crash site-not with her eyes for she had no need for them really-but she examined it closely.

She had done her mental model of what she had learned was an emergency radio beacon – and reconstructed its programming from the electrical impulses inside of it once she had worked out the English language.

But only that.

She was looking at its design – what it was, what it had to be. Inside she found a manual – and carefully reading the almost 3000 page document (NASA, she had discovered, was through) learned everything about it.

It was clever. It was a toy steam engine turned into a hollow bird.

She went to the computer-which had a password but she cracked it in less time then you could think in seconds and read everything on the computer – at first in real time, but then figured out how to do it faster.

It wasn’t designed to teach all of Earth’s sciences, its history or its culture – it was designed to fly a souped up space shuttle to the moon. But it did that other thing anyway.

She learned of the atom and the atom bomb. She learned of great conquerors and heroes – Hitler and Ghandi. It would have been simplistic to say the people who built it where evil. Ghandi was a misogynist, Hitler was a vegetarian – but she saw the scope. The cruelty, the hurt, the pain, all of it, all of the mass of it. Blind and stupid

And knew her power to stop it. To fix it.

She could conquer the Earth with her amazons. Rule it as the gods once ruled her. They would have no response to the weapons she could build. They wouldn’t even recognize them.

But that was equally wrong.

Her will was the result of millennia guarding and sitting mostly in the cave. There wisdom yes, and love. But it was only hers.

She needed a different, path. A different way.

As she sat in the craft – their great achievement – she meditated on that. It really was a clever idea, this space plane.

****

Priscilla had wormed her way with even talking into an invitation inside one of the girls caves. She was pleased with herself.

It looked a bit like a very chic New York apartment. The Spartan interiors – the bits of handmade furniture. Yes, it was often the case right? The very rich and the very poor live alike. But the girls sitting on the bed seemed animate, chatting about the trivialities – they seemed happy enough. It reminded her of New York conversations she had seen – the words were different but the music was the same.

Something in her felt distance.

She saw what looked to be a vanity. She walked over. On top it had a silver mirror. Silver. They had metal obviously but she hadn’t seen a forge or anything – not that she seemed to be looking much. But that wasn’t important. What was important was that she looked like a mess. She had washed her face a couple of times, but really.

She hadn’t worn any makeup since before the launch. Since then she had been in a crash landing and spent three days outside. You don’t expect to get sun in outer space. Her face was browning unevenly, dry, and unseemly. No lipstick, no eye shadow. And her hair! Nope … no comb.

One of the girls came forward. She had been introduced as Phoebe. She was a muscular red head, with extremely wide hips. She looked like she could kick you like a horse – and apparently was the general of the Amazons – if that word make sense here.

She picked up a comb and started to work out Priscilla’s hair. She hadn’t noticed. She had a really nice face. And hair. She really took care of it obviously, and her makeup – which really emphasized her pretty green eyes. Outstanding. .

Priscilla smiled as several strange woman (including Phoebes lesbian partner Holitia) worked worked, attending to her needs. They couldn’t fix all the damage, but as they put powders and balms on her face they helped a lot.

She looked pretty again.

The girls walked away, and out of the room smiling and chuckling complimenting her in words that she didn’t understand.

Priscilla looked pretty again. She smiled as she stood alone.

Look at you,” said a voice

Priscilla turned she was alone

look at you” said the voice-which she realized was her own. Except … except it was different somehow. Different and strange. And powerful. So powerful.

She looked around a second-and saw the mirror.

She saw herself.

But it wasn’t the woman who had spent so much effort on makeup. It wasn’t that face. It wore the cheetahs hood. It was a cold face. A face without mercy, or remorse, fear or empathy. It was the face of a killer. Relentless.

Don’t you know me?” the figure demanded. “I am the real you”

No,” Priscilla gasped, scared by what she saw.

You hide behind your powders and your makeup – pretend to be this bitchy airforce jock. But that is just 1/100 of your true potential. Your real soul. You are a treacherous, relentless huntress. An animal on the prowl … your a … ”

But Priscilla ran out of the cave.

****

There was no guards in the villages as could be seen. Ancel had noted that they did seem to be more on the lookout since Trevor disappeared but not really. It was quiet.

Lord was able to walk with a cane of a wood branch-but he was having a hard time of it. Ahh well … this is what they had. Ancel didn’t trust Rich … she seemed to be going native.

They walked to the big cave.

You stand guard,” said Lord. “Act natural. Make a noise if anyone comes in, say “island”.”

Ancel nodded, then shook his head. “But you”

Maybe I can find out more in their book.”

Ancel nodded as Lord hobbled into the room.

Natural natural. Ancel was a scientist – he had spent time studying rocks all over the world. One sees a lot of people who thoughtlessly live over interesting rocks. He could observe them. There wasn’t a lot of Amazons around – they seemed to be off doing chores. Okay.

He walked over to a small pile of stones and looked at them – studying them. They appeared to be … huh Igneacious – had this been a volcanic island? He didn’t see like a caldera – no big hill in the center. But it was vaguely hilly. Coral atolls didn’t do that. Maybe this was part of a continental plate-but what plate and where.

He was very engrossed in the rock pile when Artemsis came up.

Τι κάνεις εδώ.”

He nodded.

άνδρες είναι dangerous – αλλά τόσο χαζός”

The words were getting angry, but he nodded.

She pushed a hand against him, but didn’t do anything more. Several of the Amazons surrounded them.

However they weren’t going into the cave, which was the important thing. He was, as they said in the trade, a distraction. One of them – he had heard her name but forgot it spoke to Artemis to calm her down. It wasn’t working much. It was turning into a bit of an argument – a nasty argument. The girl offered her hand to him and helped him up. Artemis looked at him..as the girl brought him back to their cave.

Probably to talk to Lord.

Priscilla walked forward from somewhere

What’s going on Phoebe?”

Ahhh … that was the name.

Phoebe talked to Priscilla.

I was looking at some rocks in the town.”

Priscilla laughed.

Don’t worry girls … he has rocks where his brains should be.”

Though this wasn’t in Greek, the girls did seem to laugh. Maybe it was the delivery. Even Artemis, who was watching him like a hawk, relaxed just a tad – granted with her that meant just ever so slightly less of a hawk.

Then another girl walked forward and hugged Priscilla impulsively – was it … Jesus Christ—it was Delphi. Priscilla smiled at her. Well she was probably turned to them. He suspected that in a year she too would be another one of them.

But it did give them all a bit more of delay – before they came into the cave – to see …

Πού είναι αυτός,” said Artemis – which Ancel suspected meant “Where is he?”

He smiled and …

εντάξει όλους τους,” said a voice behind them. He turned to see Lord. “Σας ευχαριστώ για την καλοσύνη σας.”

Ελπίζουμε της δεν χάνεται” said Artemis.

Lord was smiling. He had such a smile as if the world was at his feet. He looked confident, strong, yet willing.

And Ancel noted that while he still had his cane, he no longer seemed to limp.

The women by and by left them. After some small exchanges everyone agreed.

Stay careful guys” said rich. “We need to be careful”

Of course Captain Rich,” said Lord, sitting down. “We’ll be on guard.”

I am gathering that Trevor’s still alive,” observed Rich.

How?” inquired Lord. “They’re not telling me anything.”

.

You need to listen better, rocks for brains.”

She laughed, and walked out.

Bitch,” said Ancel.

Should we take her – or leave her here with her friends?” Lord asked.

What?” said Ancel.

I was in there..and I discovered some very interesting things about how you leave here,” said lord. “Very interesting things.”

****

Trevor woke up from the bottom of the cell with a strange sensation.

Diana was lying on top of him, holding him – cradling him in her arms. It was such as it were, a very good feeling of peace and care, and understanding. He did not know for a moment if she was asleep or if she was awake.

Not until he heard her crying. He looked down to see her crying in his shoulder. He stroked her hair.

He nuzzled her.

No matter how strong this woman was, no matter how powerful, she was still a person – a woman. A life. He had some value to her. He could be the man who held her hair as she cried.

Well … that was a job wasn’t it?

There was a part of him, that thought this silly, that thought this.

He had to help her. He had to make her feel better and safe and cared for. He hugged her. Holding her tight. She stopped crying for a second looked at him. He leaned in and kissed the top of her eye.

This prompted a giggle.

He kissed the other.

Then he was going to go into for the kill – when he realized something horrible terrible …

When she kissed him.

Lips touched lips, mouths touched mouths, and he could finally taste something that tasted of heaven. This was paradise. Trapped in a cave in a weird island, in a strange land, with a woman he couldn’t talk to..this was paradise.

And he kissed her.

And he kissed her.

As the world lasted forever.

Hippolyta made her way home by cover of darkness-she rarely was seen outside during the day.

It was a troubling time..she had made her decision.

When she got back to her cave she noted something important. One of the vases of the sacred oil had been moved. A quarter of an inch out of place.

Over time, so much time it had happened that a girl would come in not invited and escape. These things happened. Curiosity was human after all.

But she felt on edge – paranoid even. Doubting them, the strangers … anyone.

She would need to get this settled.

One way or the other.

And she knew how.

****

Steven found himself awoke several hours later alone. He was being helped out the cave, and brought by and by to the surface, walked out of the village by strange girls. No Diana.

You’re alive,” said Ancel. “How are you?”

The usual.”

That bad huh?” said Steven. “Whats going on?”

They entered a small grassless masa, an empty space.

They’re having a tournament,” said Lord. “I guess they brought you out here to watch.”

What’re the stakes?” Trevor asked.

The winner gets to decide out fate. And the fate of the universe, or something,” said lord.

Well, let’s hope the right person wins then,” said Trevor. “I think I discovered you’re right Ancel. This is science. Really advanced science. Real “press a button and the world as we know it is destroyed” level science.”

About 10 girls started to line up at a line drawn on the ground.

And they’re going to decide it with a footrace.”

Priscilla would be pissed” said Ancel. “Where is she?”

****

Is something wrong Delphi?” said Priscilla.

She and her had left that morning for a walk in the forest. She seemed very animate about it, very hurried.

They found a tree stump and sat down.

What’s going on”

Delphi started to push and makes noises, push around … and looked she was about to cry..

When Priscilla leaned in and kissed her.

Priscilla wasn’t a lesbian. That was impossible. But she did know how to shut people up.

****

Diana started the morning on a small mountain. She looked at her world. The only one she had ever known. She looked at her paradise.

She stared at it, watching the sunrise for what she knew maybe the last time.

It was beautiful.

But she had to do this.

****

Lord talked to one of the amazons and filled the rest of them in.

It’s going to be 10 events. The winner from each gets 2 points, second place gets 1. The 2 winners after the first 9 events compete in the final game.”

The 10 girls stood. Phoebe walked towards them … however at the last moment little Hela walked towards her and pushed a hand in her hair. And she stopped. It was a curious action.

Artemis walked up. Of course she did. Trevor would not like her to have access to the button. Which he assumed existed.

Where was … .

Diana walked up towards the group. She looked Serene. Calm. She didn’t look up at them, didn’t make eye contact.

Trevor who had played a lot of football knew why. It would make things more difficult.

A referee of sorts – an older Themysciran walked forward. She had a seashell. She explained the rules, which Trevor got. There was a line for a race. A second line 100 yards away. The first person to cross it after the shell hit the ground was the winner. He looked up to see …

No wait … the race was already over.

Gee these Amazons were fast.

And Diana was the winner.

****

Priscilla looked at Delphi in her arms.

Maybe..maybe.

When Priscilla turned to see something.

That didn’t see her. For it had no eyes.

It was a giant monster, skin and claws … skin and …

****

There were three races in total. The next was for twice as much distance. Diana won. He knew where to look so it was easy to follow

The next was for endurance. How much distance was involved Trevor didn’t know. Artemis won. It took nearly 40 seconds.

Next came an event that could be identified as discus.

It’s weird, the Greek influences,” said Ancel “I am not seeing any.”

People think of Greece as the Parthenon and togas-but there was a very old Greece,” said Lord. “I am talking 1000s of years old – they built ancient granaries out of dirt – masses of houses. There is something to it here. Like someone took Greece from from the year 1000 B.C. As a starting point. Or some date close to it.”

Artemis threw a discus nearly a mile. On the plain – it took then nearly a minute just to measure it out.

Or something like it.”

It would be dramatic to say that Diana went next but she waited nearly three turns. Then she went.

A mile and a quarter.

Something like it,” agreed Trevor.

****

Priscilla looked at the creature. She stared at it. Something in its soul responded to her even without eyes. She could see the beast in it. And it could smell the beast in her.

Delphi was scared.

Stay calm,” said Priscilla. “Stay …”

Then Delphi, scared and terrified, ran away … moving as fast as she could.

Which wasn’t fast enough.

In an instant the creature was on her and started to chew into her.

Priscilla would scream in anguish, scream in terror.

But she didn’t.

She reached into her pocket, pulled out her hood …

And roared

****

Shot-put. A woman no one knew the name of won. Javelin. For distance, Artemis won. Javelin at a target was won by Diana.

They raced kangaroo creatures. This was at least dramatic – they were very fast animals but could be followed, could be tracked – like some ancient chariot race it was six times around the track.

Diana got out to an early lead – a fast lead, but the others pushed her into the pack – next to Artemis. They looked at each as they went four laps waiting for their move, waiting and positioning against each other, into some grand display of aggression …

Then Diana shook her head and raced ahead.

When Artemis leaned her kangaroo forward and bit Diana’s creature on the leg.

Behind was a good point.

Diana’s creature cried.

It was about a lap left and she could have pushed forward – but Diana stopped got off and tended to her mount, looking over its wounded leg.

Artemis went on to win.

There was much booing but Diana ignored it, caring for the injured creature.

****

Priscilla jumped onto the monster as it attacked Delphi. Surprised.

Little did it know

It pushed itself off her but Priscilla pressed, pushing her body upward as the creature came upward pushing it up. She noted it had six legs and lots of teeth. Didn’t matter. Didn’t care. She swiped at it. She wasn’t as strong as Diana. The bitch. But she was crafty. And she was powerful.

She roared at it as she grabbed its legs. And bent it – the monster screamed in pain … but she pressed. With a massive bite to its muscle it went lame, squirting yellow coloured blood on her body. She kept at it, moving around so it couldn’t bite back. She pressed the attack on it’s legs angrily grabbing one back leg then another, fighting underneath it – turning it over.

And with a roar biting its neck, killing it pulling it side to side and squirting its jugular blood over her. Blood – so much blood. So much wonderful beautiful blood destruction, loss.

Hers.

She was.

****

They had jumping events(wow. Just wow) wrestling (which was less interesting then you might imagine).

Artemis was on 11. She was good at making the second places count.

Diana by Trevor’s count, had 9 points.

She was tied with a woman named Electra.

The ninth event was the important one.

The final event was to use a shield to doge stones thrown at you.

Artemis, in Trevor’s opinion, was smart. It didn’t matter if she won really, just as long as Diana didn’t place. And someone like Artemis could work to make that happen. They were put against each other.

Each hit counted – the girls taking the fewest hits won.

They took turns with each other – but when Artemis didn’t bother with the shield.

She threw.

The stone clinked off the shield

She threw.

Clink.

Artemis took two stones – and threw and threw

Clink.

Soon Trevor could barely watch the speed of the tossing.

Clink clink.

Artemis screamed to distract her.

Clink.

A friend of Artemis did the same.

Clink.

Artemis kept pushing.

No,” said Steve.

For a second Diana turned her head to look at Trevor. That was the last thing she should …

Clink.

Artemis looked down to see she was out of stones.

Diana picked up a single stone and tossed it, hitting Artemis in the knee.

Diana had won that even. Electra came in second

****

Priscilla came to Delphi.

Her arm was limp at her side, her chest was splatted. Blood was everywhere.

She looked at her dying.

είσαι όμορφη τέρας μου,” Delphi managed to say to her.

And Priscilla understood.

She put her forehead against her friend … her lover. Letting it rest for a moment in sympathy.

Then she went for her throat and pulled it, breaking her neck.

She looked up into the heavens and roared.

****

The final challenge was mock combat. Somehow that was obvious.

One of the Amazon competitors came up to the group now that she was out and talked to Lord.

They laughed.

Trevor noticed, and felt very alone. He was alone out here. Lord smiled at him. He was his crewman and should trust implicitly – but …

He was alone

Then he looked at Diana.

Artemis came forward.

She scowled at Lord and talked.

Don’t worry” said Lord, “You don’t get the worst of it.”

Oh?” said Trevor.

If she wins she’s going to kill all of us. But she’s going to cut out my tongue first for my terrible Greek.”

Maybe she should win,” observed Trevor. “I am getting a bit tired of it myself.”

Lord scowled into a smile.

Diana looked a little tired. A little beat-the edge of tired after all she had done was into her. Artemis looked fresh as a daisy.

Diana and Artemis were both given wooden swords and a guard was placed on their arms.they then both move into a white circle.

A shell was dropped.

And they went at it.

Artemis, it was clear, was an extremely skilled warrior – a master of the blade. But Diana held the blade with speed and strength. And Will. Such tremendous will. She pushed against the numerous attacks with grace and dignity and speed that somehow countered the incredible aggression.

They fought. They fought for what seemed like hours. Hand to hand combat was either very slow or very fast as Artemis kept looking for a weakness, a place to come in, while the slightly less experienced Diana kept fighting.

When with a quick glancing blow Artemis knocked the sword out of her hand.

Artemis smiled, and paused for a second – almost laughing.

When swordless Diana rushed in. the dropping the sword clearly a ploy

Artemis attempted to attack but it glanced off Diana’s guard – and she then grabbed her sword arm as she put her body around behind Artemis and plunged the wooden sword of Artemis into her stomach.

It shattered.

There was a great cry of cheers from the crowd.

Artemis scowled as she spoke.

She says it’s not fair,” explained Lord. “That in real life the sword would have gone through both there bodies and killed her as well”

The judge came forward. Walking quietly between the girls.

And then lifted Diana’s hand.

The judge says that a real warrior must be ready to die to face evil. She has the spirit.”

Diana looked up at the crowd.

Then at him.

And she seemed to cry tears of joy. Or maybe sadness.

****

Priscilla cried a bit, not so much – but tears.

Her uniform was stained yellow and black from its ichors matching the color of her hood. She now looked like the creature she was. A beast.

She should have been scared, she should have been frightened. But all of that was gone now. She instead a felt a calm a serenity that was better then flying a plane then making love. Then anything. Just the thrill of being entered her soul, and it felt divine.

She was the divine huntress, the divine monster.

The Cheetah

And as she crouched in the forest, she knew it was time to take all that was hers and become one with the jungle.

****

The contest took most of the day. By the end of it night had descended. Trevor was sure they where going to take him back to his cell now the festivities where over – but instead they let him and Diana be.

They went for a long walk in the forest, in the fields – they walked through paradise. And he knew if he never left this strange land he would be happy. This is where he wanted to be. With the woman he wanted more then anything. He could stay here yes, be her husband, yes – and treat her like a woman should be treated.

But he didn’t think that would happen. No.

She didn’t say anything either, which suggested that it was the same of her. When things are perfect, when thing are paradise, little has to be said.

But by and by they went back to the village and up to the forbidden cave of Hippolyta.

Previously he had been forbidden from entering.

Now they just walked in.

This cave had a small passage in a hallway. It made it feel more ominous but still … before they entered into the main chamber.

Sitting cross legged on a woven mat of rattan in an otherwise empty room was the Queen.

Trevor looked at her.

She wasn’t an alien. that’s what he had first thought – but his eyes told him that wasn’t quite the right word.

Her body looked completely normal – a woman of about 35 with a hint of crowfeet, age on top of a face that could be beautiful. He noticed the resemblance to Diana immediately – piercing eyes, that brow, those lips.

She was also blue, but not like something from star trek but like think skin was on top of blue flesh – but it was skin, it was more … gelatinous.

She moved – but not as humans do. It was if camera didn’t quite catch the frames – not 30 frames a second but 5. But that made her faster as if your eyes couldn’t quite catch the frames as if her non existent muscles didn’t quite actually propel her.

It wasn’t alien. But it definitely wasn’t human

You speak English?” Asked Trevor.

I learned it,” said Hippolyta. “Welcome.”

So what’s your story?” Trevor asked.

Men” said Hippoltya laughed. It was weird watching lips didn’t quite move right as they laughed. “They always want to get down to business. I miss that really. My people are always so deferential to me. “

Bluntness will get you far … so what’s your story?”

I was once human. A woman. I was the wife of a beast of a man, a tyrant in times … so long ago. How much time. I was pregnant with our child. A fortune teller told him that it was to be a girl – and in a fit of rage he slew us both for not first bearing him a son. But as we lay dying the gods came. They needed someone to protect and guard their fallen brethren. A monster who was lost to time. Deminos. He came to earth and saw war, and liked it too much. I was to be a guardian of the gate. So they transformed my dying body … they turned me into this.”

Steve looked at her.

Your a robot?”

That’s a word I wouldn’t use, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I have my soul … my being.”

I don’t doubt it … and them?”

You have no idea what it was though – to have all of it. All of it in me. I am a robot, a computer or what have you – I can process all of the data and never forget, and one day I realized if that’s what it was … my soul … it would be lost to me. Just something sitting there forever. So I looked into the secrets of the gods which they stored in me – I created my people. I built the chamber you saw, and bred them there. My children. All such beautiful girls”

Diana?” he looked up at her watching him.

She was the most special,” said Hippolyta. “I found inside of me the bits … the D … N.A.? Of my unborn child, and from that made her. My daughter. My real daughter … my most precious. I built her out of clay. This makes this all the harder”

What?” asked Steve.

I have lived here too long, in this world. I have decided to send your crew back. But not alone. that’s what the contests were for. I’m sending her with you. Your world is so war like, so much strife – it needs protection, a guardian – someone to show it the light. To remind you of peace, of understanding … of love. Yes … she is the right choice. Diana.”

And then she said something in Greek. Diana walked forward. She took Hippolyta’s hand.

If this was a movie there would be a shock a special effects, a big scene. But instead there was just a look – a touch … a sense.

Say hello to Mr. Trevor”

Steven,” said Diana.

I said hello,” said Hippolyta

Hello” said Diana, in flawless English. She waved. “This is very odd for me too.”

What did you do?” Trevor asked with wonder.

I imprinted all of Earth’s languages in her brain. Well, all I could figure out from your device, which is 12.”

もしもし,” said Diana “that’s hello in Japan. What’s Japan?”

You’re going to have to find the answer to that yourself child,” said Hippolyta “A stranger in a strange land.”

I’ll you help you every step of the way,” promised Trevor. “Every step”

Why did you try to make war with us – get the spear to fight your way to the craft to fly it away?”

what?” Steve asked.

That’s what you said the other night.”

I was just going out to get some water for lord.”

But that’s what he said,” said Diana, “You said”

Hippolyta looked. There was no true emotion anymore on her face, but the look of it.

Then I fear we have more problems then you can imagine.”

****

Ancel and Lord walked to the space. Ancel had thought when he said it would be a cave or a walk wall but as they got there it was … just a space

There was a big forest at the center of the island, and inside of it was an empty meadow – but that wasn’t the word. It was an almost circular expanse of white Sand.

This is the space,” said Lord. “The real space”

This is the portal back to our world.” said lord “We just need to open it.”

how?”

We just walk inside,” said lord. “Just come in.”

There was a pause.

And?”

Do you want magic words? We’re going home. It’s that simple. It’s a portal but there is like flat plane to nowhere. You just walk in … and your in Greece, I want to say. Somewhere in Greece. My guess is the isle of Lesbos. You first.”

Ancel looked at him.

They say you bought your way onto this mission.”

My corporation gave a large grant to NASA for the mission, but that’s not it. Well, maybe it helped – I mean I have always wanted to be on the moon.”

But you delayed it three months,” observed Ancel.

Mechanical failures delayed it. You know they lost the design of the Apollo rockets? We had to do it, time it … time it … Why all the questions?”

To fly right into the perfect vortex..to get us …”

Lord paused. He shook his head. As if masks where coming off …” … Here. You have no idea the timing of it – the perfect timing you needed to get it right. Themyscira exists in not so much a dimension of a space, that’s so close to our world but so far from it. Just the timing of the physics of getting it. I had to launch the argon particles the light rays of the void and …”

Why?” said Ancel, entering a defensive stance. “You wouldn’t be telling me this if you didn’t have an advantage.”

I do. When I first heard about this … the legend of gods, of an immortal queen … even before this happened I was dying slowly … cancer. It would have taken years-but we all have years if I could discover the secret you see, I can be immortal like her …”

what?” said Ancel.

Immortal and rule the world. And you’re going to help me.”

No” said Ancel.

Well … part of you will.”

Ancel’s stance was strong – but he was prepared for an attack damage. Lord simply pushed him into the glade.

You talk too much,” said Ancel.

Oh?”

Ancel suddenly felt. It wasn’t pain, it wasn’t pleasure, it wasn’t any word that he had felt before.

Then he exploded. Guts and brains and blood went everywhere.

His skeleton though stood … as it was rebuilt flesh and things came on it as it became..

It stood 10 feet high. It was humanoid – a giant demon of a creature with black and red skin, mottled flesh, weird muscles at odd angles and dark red eyes. It even had long tentacles for a mouth. It looked like something Lovecraft would have made in his worst dreams. And perhaps in some ways it was.

Who are you?” Demanded Deminos, in Greek.

Who I am is unimportant. I want to help you escape.”

I can’t escape,” said the god. “This is not the real me. Not real. Do you know I am the island itself? It’s literally my prison. No cell, no walls – just it. Every molecule is it, and every life on it is an insult to me. As long as it exists I am trapped here. Occasionally a rat or something will come and I can form a vessel. But for 3000 years I have tried.”

We can destroy your guardians,” said Lord, “and free you.”

You just want to cover your escape,” accused Deminos. “I have the memories of this host.”

A human form is 1000 times more powerful then the rats you use. You can either destroy me or let me help you. I don’t deny what you say, but that doesn’t mean you will fail.”

Deminos looked at him. Eyes looked for weakness but didn’t find any. He was.

All you have to loose is your chains,” Lord pointed out.

You know nothing of chains,” said Deminos. “But you will. After what you have done.”

****

Leave us, Captain Trevor,” said Hippolyta.

Trevor nodded and looked at Diana. He took her hands for a second and looked at it. Before walking out

You love him, don’t you?” Observed Hippolyta

Diana lowered her head.

The next bit, then, is the hardest. You can’t marry him. You can’t be close to him. You must love all of the world, which precludes being someones wife. The forces of darkness will find your weakness and use it against you – turn you into one of them. Romantic love – I know … is how they do it. I loved your father. I never told you that.”

Diana nodded.

But you still want this?” Asked Hippolyta. “Now is the last chance.”

Diana nodded.

Swear by the gods.”

I, Diana of Themyscira swear with all my heart to fight for truth and love wherever the world takes me, at whatever cost to myself. I swear my soul; my body; my heart. Yes … I swear even that to the to the cause. To my gods, to humanity, I swear to protect it and show it the way … not by force but through understanding.”

Hippolyta brought forth two gauntlets.

Then take your birthright. These will increase your strength … your power. They contain the secrets of the gods. There are other tools, but these are the most important. Wear them and remember: They symbolize bondage. May you fight to end it”

Diana nodded and put them on.

And as she did she was transformed.

****

Steven walked out of the cave shaking his head …

And walked straight into Priscilla all covered in blood, her NASA coverall stained with yellow blood which matched the mask covering her head.

What did you do?” Steve inquired.

I killed a monster. The power of it …”

Prisicilla?”

She shook her head. “You have no idea, but I can show you, Steve. Come with me. Come with me to the forest. We can be together forever … that’s what I want. To forget all the other men. The times I hurt you … but only you. My mate, I can show you the ways of the jungle, the power inside of us. The Cheetah”

No.”

Priscilla pushed him down and screamed.

When Diana walked out.

She was wearing red and blue armor that covered her chest and her behind – a bit like a swimming suit – but it had an eagle and stars on hard medal-not to swim but to fight. She also wore a tiara, boots, and bracelets. Such shiny bracelets.

Steve looked at her. Every ounce of superpowerful muscle was visible, every ounce of her power was on display. Her grace. Her wonder.

I don’t want to hurt you,” said Diana. “We can solve this.”

Priscilla turned and hissed at her.

You!” snarled Priscilla. “You took him from me.”

Diana looked sad. “I can’t have him, Captain Rich.”

Priscilla hissed. “Oh?”

It’s part of my oath now. I have been transformed. If you both want it, you can be together. But I don’t think he will go with you.”

Priscilla laughed.

Your a temporary distraction to our love. When he sees my strength, he’ll forget all about you.”

You haven’t seen mine.”

They circled each other, both looking for weakness. And then a giant explosion came behind them, as a fire at the heart of the island erupted.

Priscilla took the time to swipe her claws and knock her rival over. “Weakness,” she spat, as she kicked Diana.

Trevor moved to get up to stop her when Wonder Woman lifted her hand.

If I give up without fighting you … will you let me go to save my island?”

Priscilla stopped.

Will you leave Trevor?”

If he wants to stay he can. If you keep him against his will … well, you won’t really have him, even if you are the superior fighter between us.”

Prisiila looked at her … and roared, walking away in a huff.

Bitch. Save you precious island.” She looked at Trevor. “Go with her if you want. But I will have you, one way or the other. Cheetah always catches her prey. But she does hunt through surprise.”

Trevor turned to see Diana wander away.

Can I come?”

if you wish to help I could use it … the next part I’m a little unsure of.”

Why?” said Trevor as they walked to a cave in the hills and into it.

My mother looked at your technology – and told me something. We need to go very fast to the center of the island.

Then Steve saw something … or thought he saw something. There was a shape there. Vaguely, as if the light hit but moved just a fraction.

It’s an invisible plane. You experiment with stealth technology – this is that …”

wonder woman watched as landing gears formed from the side showing a black space inside.

But much better.”

****

Lord watched Deminos walk out into the forest.

He was an idiot. That’s probably how he got defeated the first time. Like all the people on Themyscira.

3000 years of perfect technology had not improved their craftiness, their deceit, their cunning … not one bit. They were dopes. He would have to remember that. Perhaps it was conflict that kept the mind sharp – unlike stupid old love.

He watched Deminos roar. He would have to remember that.

But the next part was more important.

****

The invisible plane flew out of a hole in the top of the cave.

So you know how to fly this thing?” asked Steve.

My mother imparted the knowledge how to fly one of your planes.”

There was a slight rock.

Mostly.”

Steve shook his head. “Women drivers …”

What did you say?”

Nothing.”

Want to go back to not understanding each other?” Diana asked.

Steve looked at her.

Any way I can spend time you is worth it. Even if we’re flying towards …”

In front of them was a 50 foot monster with gorgons for tentacles.

“… That.”

****

Lord watched from a ridge top next to his ship. The next part was tricky. He would need some time. Because when he did the Thalamyscariansi would know about this. She would know about this. Deminos would hopefully act as cover. He looked he was doing his job.

It wasn’t rituals. But it was happening as he touched the ground. Any space on the island would work so this would do.

He began the process of rendering the universe whole.

****

Take the controls,” said Diana.

Why?”

I am going out to fight it.” Diana opened the door … without another word. Steve grabbed the controls and jumped into the air.

She free-falled for a couple of seconds … then grabbed a rope at her arm … the wind flying past her hair, the clouds coming around …

and made a lasso as she flew downward towards the monster.

Deminos looked upwards and roared---as the lasso went around it’s neck, somehow containing it’s now gigantic width.

It screamed as Diana landed her body. Hitting the creatures stomach she looked up at the noose around its neck. It swatted its arms at her. But she moved to dodge as it swung its blow too fast and hit its own chest.

She climbed upwards towards its throat, a gorgons tentacle moved to bite the rope – it held it in human sized head – it couldn’t break it but it pushed left and right as Diana struggled to hold on. It looked down at her, a mighty arm came at her knocking her to its chest pushing with tremendous force.

When it saw energy blast towards it, the monster looked up see the invisible plane was shooting them from its guns, swooping around and peppering it.

Deminos roared with pain as it moves a hand upward to stop it, which gave Wonder Woman the chance she looked for. She climbed to its shoulder as the rope changed to something much smaller.

She pulled the cord tight around it … and pushed forward with it … Deminos started to move backwards.

You may be a god, but the even the gods have chains that bind.”

Deminos looked. One of the heads of the tentacles pushed its head at it as she sat on its shoulder.

Bitch,” Deminos accused acidly. “We created you humans you know. I was there. Some of us thought it was a bad idea … but I voted for it. I was proven right. Your creativity. Your ruthlessness.”

The power of the rope compels you to my will.”

I created you, I am stronger then you.”

But the creature kept moving backwards, compelled to move backwards even as Trevor peppered it.

Deminos walked back into the circle … and then the 100 foot tall monster collapsed into dust and bone.

But it spoke a few words more before the spirit was gone completely. “My brethren trapped me here because they know it would be a lesser punishment to kill me for my crimes. But He will destroy this island all. After all this, good luck to him.” He laughed and he was once again nothing.

Diana fell to earth …

only to feel the swoop of the plane as she landed on it.

She slid down the invisible side of it only to have a hand catch her.

She looked up.

You okay?” Steve asked.

We don’t have a lot of time.”

****

Lord was spinning. Strangely enough this involved spinning. Something about the molecules of the universes colliding.

When he looked behind him.

There were the Themyscira. Maybe a dozen of them Artemis was among them. Phoebe walked to the front.

Halt,” she commanded in Greek. “Halt or be stopped.”

Lord looked at them. “Don’t you recognize your master? Come with me you can help me take over the world.”

We will never,” the dark haired woman declared.

Lord smiled. “Do you speak for …”

Artemis moved behind her … and snapped the back of Phoebe ‘s neck, who swiftly went down.

“… all of you?”

****

Steven and Diana landed out of the plain near the ridge. They watched the blood bath.

Artemis, armed with her sword, pushed through her brethren – most before they could draw their own weapons. The rear was the best angle of attack.

Little Angie was with them …

Artemis tossed her down, but as she raised her sword she got tackled by Diana, and found herself tumbling backwards.

Why?”

This place is dull,” explained Artemis. “Dull, and boring as fuck.”

Lord looked over, the spinning had now stopped. “She contacted me from a telescopic radio tower I was monitoring. It took me years to work out the code, the coordinates of this place. But she served me well.”

Artemis kicked out and threw Diana off. “Don’t worry. I’ll protect the Earth … in a manner of speaking.”

Diana got up.

Artemis smiled. “There’s a speed to combat. To a proper blow … a speed and strength. I wonder if you have mastered it.”

Diana picked up a sword from her fallen phoebe. She looked down at her friend. “Let’s find out.”

And they started. The fight was real this time. There was something to what Artemis had said. It was a little faster – more drawn out. Less movement and taunting, just blow after blow of the two of the most powerful woman on Earth exchanging contact, fighting and struggling as they pushed against each other with their awesome might. A slug fest. Little stillness, little movement, just pure will.

Steven watched. This was their business, he knew he had to let the woman be.

Artemis, after a poor move, got too close to Diana’s hand. She was pushed down in the ground. As Diana moved with little quarter to take her- Artemis picked up some sand and threw it in her eyes.

Diana glowered as Artemis kicked her down over the edge of the ridge. Diana held on.

As Artemis turned to Steven.

Πάω να απολαύσετε σκοτώνει”

Steven didn’t need help translating for that one.

She lifted her sword to strike him dead … .

When a might roar was heard.

Priscilla jumped on Artemis’s back. With strength that seemed amazing … incredible …

But Steve was not really a judge for it any more.

Priscilla landed on her opponent, pushing back … and proceeded to tear Artemis limb from limb – literally – as Steve watched her.

No one hurts *him*!”

And then a shot rand out.

Priscilla fell over, hit in the side of her body.

Steven turned to see Lord. He had a handgun. A little Berretta.

A little unsporting, I know,” said Lord. “But what are you going to do? Goodbye, captain Trevor.”

He aimed the gun …

Ahem.” Diana stood up in front of them.

You’re not Superman,” observed Lord. “Your not invulnerable.”

No,” agreed Diana. “Who’s Superman?”

Lord laughed a second … and then turned the gun on her and shot.

Diana lifted her hand up. The bullet klinked off her bracelet.

What?” Lord was stunned. “That’s impossible.”

Lots of things are impossible,” Diana observed.

He shot again. Klink. Again. Klink.

Diana walked forward as the vortex behind him grew.

When this Vortex expands, it will destroy this island,” said Lord. “You need me to close it.”

I can do that myself, thank you,” Diana informed him. A bullet went off as she walked forward. Klink.

The gun was empty. Lord looked at her in front of him. “You wouldn’t hurt an unarmed …”

Diana grabbed Lords head and turned it 180 degrees.

He fell.

Well … that sure was something,” said Priscilla.

Diana turned to her. “Thank you so much.”

I hate you with the passion of a million suns – but sometimes one’s interests are aligned.”

Now you need to go through this before I close it up and …”

When Lord got up standing straight.

And he turned back around his head.

Steven watched him. As his skin turned a vivid shade of blue.

Your not human,” said Trevor to the robotic Lord.

I came here for a very special gift you see. Immortality. Intelligence. Power. No I am not human anymore … but well … what does it matter?”

As he kicked Diana down standing in place but moving faster then a speeding bullet.

A wave of energy down came down as a giant earthquake came over the island. He extended his hand into the wave of energy spinning but not quite visible but staying place as he moved past .

Goodbye paradise,” said lord as he laughed. It was a very good evil maniacal laugh.

Steve rushed to Diana as the quake continued. The kick hurt her – not the fall. She looked as if she had broken some bones in her stomach. He watched her cough up blood.

He stroked her hair.

It’s okay. It’s okay … you tried. And trying is what’s important. You were wonderful, really wonderful.” said Steve.

She looked up at him.

I love you” said Steven.

She looked into his eyes. And she needed no words.

****

Priscilla crawled towards the Vortex. She shimmed despite the pain. She looked at the two of them. In love. Even she could appreciate that. She couldn’t end it. She had lost.

She crawled into the light, hoping that it would take her back home. They would die of course, and she wouldn’t mourn them. But even she hoped somehow … .

****

Steven looked at Lord

We can just go back now, can’t we?” he said. “Close this up. Rule the world. I dunno. Why are you doing this?”

Because as long as I would live, I would fear the bitches coming after me.”

So you are afraid?” asked Diana, getting to her feet. “There’s something we could do …”

Did you mother teach you that the little magic green rock would kill her? No.”

Your a collection,” said Trevor, “of silicon, trapped in suspension. Actually a lot of things would kill you, even assuming you’re shielded from heat and cold.”

Lord laughed. At the edge of the world the sea was starting to collapse.

Ancel was right. This isn’t magic” said Lord “But you weren’t the scientist You were the dashing handsome devil may care rocket pilot, with the babe in every port.”

A really strong dose of electricity should short you,” observed Trevor. “That’s why they have surge protectors on computers.”

And where are you …”

Diana threw her sword right into Lord’s chest right where his heart should be. He looked down at it.

“ … .going to get that? “ he continued, barely pausing. “That tickles a little.”

Mighty Zeus hear my prayer” Diana intoned as she looked up.

Do you think the gods are real? I know the truth. You were created by aliens.”

You have all power, and all mercy,” continued Diana.

They abandoned you, they abandoned Earth. They are long since dead, on a forsaken star,” said Lord.

He has challenged your domain. But destroy him not for that, for he uses your power not for betterment, but for greed, for selfishness – I wish I could save him..but … but …”

Lord laughed. “I am God now.”

A stroke of lightening hit the sword with deafening thunder … and electrified the metal with its awesome might.

Lord fell over, the veneer of humanity turning to nothing, a mere puddle of goo around the blade.

Steven looked at Diana. “huh?”

Go through it,” Diana commanded. “Quickly.”

But … but …” Trevor hesitated.

Quickly, I think I can close it … and if I can’t … σ’ αγαπώ”

Trevor ran toward the vortex, pushing to it, its edge. He turned his head and looked.

As she started to spin …

Then there was a flash.

****

Steven opened his eyes.

He heard the water, before he felt it letting it hit his brain in a wave of life.

He was alive. On a beach

Then he heard a loud noise, the sound of a ship.

Then more noises. People.

He looked up and down. And realized exactly where he was.

He was lying face up the bank of the east river in New York. The Queens side The highly polluted and rather crummy East Ricer. The tall buildings of the city loomed up above him. Were they really that big?

A group of people – they looked like bums but who could say – were hurriedly coming down the road shouting.

Are you okay?” one of them asked, a man who had seen better days himself.

And Steve was glad. There was something good in humanity – even those in the worst of circumstances still cared. There was something good in that. He had found it.

He laughed.

****

Everything you say is going into a report,” said General Richards. “Everything. Which means in 75 years it will be public record, so all of this stuff about weird islands in space and monsters and amazons …”

Amazons?” said Steven as he lay in bed.

Well … it’s a tribe of all-women warriors. What do you want me to call them?”

Steve was in a Brooklyn navy hospital which featured such thing as an old set of cold blankets and a barking general Richards, who was a short martinet of a man who Steve knew from NASA. Authority; rules; things like that: back. Steve had been in here about 72 hours and was already slightly sick of it.

Look, I want to give a very intelligent and proper story to the press, to the public, to the President … all of it. If we can get that far I’ll be happy.”

I am not lying.”

So you flew back from a magical land in an invisible helicopter.”

plane. It’s an invisible plane.”

Look … if you’re trying to protect someone …”

Then Steve realized.

Okay. Tell them my wreckage was found in the Atlantic by a … .ship. A ship smuggling Chinese people and they gave me a ride … no wait. Did Priscilla give you a bullshit story?”

Yeah.”

Well, just use hers,” Steve suggested.

The General shook his head. “I am not supposed to do that.”

Well, you want a clean narrative? Use that.”

You guys were in the water for three days on a life raft.”

Yeah yeah …”

I ain’t putting you on any more missions.” The general shook his head. But he was right about one thing …

Steve did have someone to protect.

****

Priscilla scrounged. Her arm was badly broken – a bullet in her stomach – the idiots. They gave her the occasional drug, but shit. Didn’t they know who she was? She should be in the best hospital in the city, eating fresh meat (which seemed a strangely tasty proposition now). Not this flea bag.

She had spent years training to be an astronaut – decades really to fly on the moon – and she never got there. She doubted she was going to be flying many more missions-the moon was gone to her. Instead she was going to be a part of a media circus – not the triumphant hero, but the weak survivor … the powerless pawn.

And she did not want to be weak.

All she had been through – they threw out her mask, they told her when they found her, as medical waste.

She sometimes felt the strength in her shoulders – it felt itchy really. That was the word. Itchy. She want to scratch it so hard, till it was out, till she was loose – till she was loose …

She closed her eyes and pushed aside a tray.

She growled at the moon.

Then stopped.

She looked at the metal arm of the hospital bed. It was broken … cut. A wreck from her simple action.

Then she looked at her hand.

Growing out of her fingers were three inch claws. They looked to be retractable.

Now that was an interesting development …

****

Death.

It’s an odd thing to remember.

Maybe its the last thing you take with you to the afterlife, that Valhalla that awaits.

Maybe not.

But Lord remembered everything.

Of course Lord had died – but at the same time … not. He was dead. But not. His perfect android body remembered. Remembered everything – everything he saw or felt or touched. He could remember. He could access every memory he ever made from the time he was in the second grade and peed in the school yard to his first kiss to every book he ever read or movie he watched. And he had watched some clunkers.

He had total knowledge of self.

Now in a better universe that would make a good selfless person, a person who lived to help others but to him it just reinforced – he was just great, and the world which he had no knowledge of existed to serve him, to serve his ambition and drive.

Not that he really was anymore.

For now Max Lord was – words like robot, and android exist but they’re not good, and call to mind metal men and terminators. There was no iron in his system, no steal – but a machine he was. A machine.

There was nothing human about the shape that wafted over New York – it was a cloud, an amorphous thing. It existed in a microscopic haze. Little computers – though that was a word that did it injustice …

But it had no eyes to watch the city as it drifted.

It wasn’t really a body anyway. Just the small amount of goo that clung to Trevor’s shoe. In the different magnetic properties of Earth, its magnetic pole. There was just enough of a spark left.

It would take time to grow a human body. But he had take precautions. He realized that in the perfect circumstance after his adventure Max Lord would be missing – so he crafted ways for him to retake his company, his life, if he died – holding all the company’s shadow puppet codes. When he at last had the strength to rebuild his body he would be a god again.

For Deminos was wrong about the gods and chains.

He was truly a Lord now.

****

Steve was once again alone in his room. In a week he would visit the President and there would be a speech and a big crowd He would get a desk job somewhere-maybe military intelligence, he had done that before. He would be a normal man.

But that was in the future.

He had a chair in the hospital – they said he could leave in a few days. He looked out the window to the street.

It was a rainy day in Brooklyn. The streets were slick and dreary, as was his mood. He could have stayed in paradise – but well … paradise was lost. The mortal world. Was it greyer?

But he reflected perhaps it wasn’t. There had been olive trees, and streams of water, laurel bushes and stone, sun and the surf *here*. That was part of this world. There were strange soups and mole monsters – okay maybe not the mole monsters – but it was … it was all *here*. Steve had been here. All his life perhaps he had ignored it, a flitter trip through his eye as he past onto more important things. He could change. He could live in the everyday.

Women. Yes … they were here. Not as something to pass through your bed, but something to …

He looked out and saw an officer walk past randomly. A woman in a grey blue suit, hair up, thick glasses. She looked up at him in the window, he looked at her.

Astronauts had very good eyes, even though she was four floors down. Lt. Prince. Yes. He would find her. Yes … he would show her the world.

He had traveled through different dimensions, to other worlds, to the island of paradise on the sea of tranquility and he had learned that there was something else. Someone else. Some beautiful soul – hers. But also him. No matter what form, what question – it existed. And that deserved love.

And he would show her that, for in her eyes he could see she had lost it to.

****

Diana walked down the street. She was cold. She didn’t quite anticipate how cold it would be in … New York? Hmm. She pushed back the odd instruments on her eyes. The glasses that showed how weak she was supposed to be, this pedestrian in a grey business suit, this anonymous stranger, this woman.

But as she looked at the people on the streets, these people who would she never see again, she reflected that they were that too. They were the Earth, the people. She briefly saw a young woman like those of her friends back home – fatter, heftier, but kind eyed and thoughtful. They smiled at each other.

And then she was once again alone.

That was the irony. After all that had happen all she and Steven had experienced, she was still alone, still by herself … still ever so slightly afraid. All the monsters and demons she had fought scared her less then the thought of the street of hot dogs vendors and coke signs. It was a mess.

She wanted to look back. So close. So close. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t, now matter how much she wanted she had to walk forward. She would have to be …

in the distance she heard a loud rumble. It sounded like an explosion.

Her walk turned into a run down an alley. Her mind prepared the rituals she needed to turn from her frumpy dress to reveal the person she needed to be.

She would have to be Wonder Woman.

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