Note: Been thinking of this one for a while but never started it because I wanted to do it as one long story rather than as chapters. Why? Because I suck at the chapters thing. Most of my stuff is one shots because I end up not continuing it. But I'm really going to try this time. A little encouragement would certainly help.
I was bummed but not surprised to hear yet another Wonder Woman adaptation had been stopped in its tracks. Maybe I was kind of glad too. I'm not sure that anything outside of the comics will really get her right. She's impossible to cast. And even in the comics they get her wrong every now and again. She's not somebody who can have an alter ego. She's the avatar of truth. Wonder Woman at her best is a public figure, the ambassador, and a warrior for peace. She doesn't have to hide in the shadows like Batman and she didn't develop her powers in a gradual process like Superman. She was born and raised a warrior with powers granted from "birth." One of my favorite all time stories is the "Stoned" arc by Greg Rucka.
Itallics indicates Themysciran. The idea of "trikona" is from Steven Pressfield's book, "Last of the Amazons."
Not many bars could count a god among their regulars. And certainly Leroy's seemed a less likely place than all the rest. But there he sat, nonetheless, drinking his Maker's Mark in small measured sips.
He watched the men behind him playing pool. Daniel had returned from Afghanistan in a wheelchair, what remained of his legs hidden beneath a gray wool blanket. But it didn't stop him from playing pool. Or from drinking. Or fighting. And that made the God of War smile.
"Aren't we in a good mood, then?" Richard asked as he set another full glass of whisky down in front of Ares.
The god nodded and looked up, his sky blue eyes flashing in delight. "Things are looking up," he took the new glass and raised it to the bartender.
Richard took up a glass of his own. "Celebrating?"
"Not quiet yet but perhaps soon," Ares downed the glass in one gulp and winced, playing the part of human.
"Got something in the works?" Richard began picking up empty bottles.
Ares sighed and ran a hand over his stubble. "Looks like my old man may be retiring sometime soon. I may be taking over."
"Won't that be something," Richard nodded absently as he disposed of the bottles. "What's he do then?"
"He runs the world, my friend," Ares replied with a cocky grin. "Or, he used to in his younger days. I seem do be doing most of the work now." He had turned from the bartender and was watching the vets drink and play pool.
"Ain't it always the way?" Richard nodded.
"Well, not for too much longer," Ares dug some wrinkled bills out of his back pocket and lay them on the bar. He grabbed his leather jacket from the back of his chair and nodded to the men playing pool. "A round for my friends over there."
The men raised their glasses to him and cheered.
"I appreciate the service, boys," Ares made for the exit. He opened the door, sunlight smacking him in the face as he did.
"Where are you off to?" Richard shouted as he walked out.
"Got an appointment with destiny," the god let the door swing closed behind him and vanished.
She traced the outline of the footprint with her finger slowly. Rising from her crouch and wiping the dirt off her hands she muttered to herself, "Arrogance."
The squad of Amazons behind her remained still and silent watching as their titan haired leader paced before them.
"I thought I had taught her better," Artemis lamented as she picked up her spear from the olive tree upon which it rested.
"She has lead us on a merry chase," Alcippe offered.
"Yes and the higher she leads us up this peak the closer she comes to finding herself cornered and defeated. Perhaps Phillipus needs more time with her, obviously she has learned nothing of strategy." Artemis kicked at the rocks that littered the dirt road. The footprints clear as day showed a path up the mountain.
"Such arrogance," Artemis fitted her helmet to her head, the black plume of horsehair swishing as she shook her head. "Perhaps this defeat will be a lesson well learned. Just as it was when we last met in the arena."
There were some chuckles throughout the squad.
Artemis turned to them, green eyes fierce, "You laugh? You do not remember that day?"
Io grinned and stepped forward. "Yes, Artemis, we certainly do remember that day. It was right after her ninth birthday."
The eighteen women of the squad shifted nervously trying not to laugh aloud again.
Artemis blushed and turned away. "Even so," she muttered and tightened her grip on the spear she held.
Without a word, she jogged forward. The women behind her, dressed in earth tones to better hide among their surroundings, followed without question, spears and shields held high.
They had been jogging at a good pace for the past hour or so headed higher and higher up the mountain peak. The end was near.
Artemis halted and held up her hand. They could hear a shifting in the bushes directly ahead of them. She held up three fingers and Io, Alcippe and Lykopis stepped forward; the lead Trikona of the group ever at the ready. They crouched beside their commander. Artemis motioned forward with her hand and the four of them burst through the bush.
Artemis grinned in satisfaction as she watched the dark haired girl before her turn in surprise.
"Red, Princess?" Artemis asked in a scathing voice as she pointed her spear at the girl in the bright red chiton. "Are you trying your best to be seen?"
Diana shrugged and smiled; her blue eyes sparkling like the sapphire sea that stretched behind her endlessly. "I thought I would grant you an advantage, sister."
"As my mentor taught me," Diana laughed.
This earned a chuckle from the women who stood behind Artemis.
Artemis took a deep breath. "Obviously I did not teach you well enough, little princess. Here you are backed up against a cliff, six Trikona of Amazons before you. Concede your defeat, Princess, the day is mine."
Diana took another step backward, now only inches from the cliff's edge. "Is that so, sister?"
"It is, young warrior."
Diana turned and faced the edge of the cliff, looking out over the water. She turned her head over her shoulder, grinning.
Io's eyes widened in a panic. "Diana," she plead softly as she took a step forward.
"How many warriors did you leave guarding the flag at the beach?" Diana asked as she turned her head back to the water.
"Enough," Artemis grunted, not moving a step.
"One, I am thinking," Diana said as she leaned forward over the edge.
"Diana, please," Io dropped her spear and stepped forward again. Artemis held out a hand blocking the blacksmith's path.
"Be reasonable, princess," Artemis said in a low voice, "you know your powers do not work on this isle."
Diana shrugged, the wind playing with her soft black curls. "Why should I need my powers?"
"We are at least 150 feet above the sea," Lykopis said as she too moved forward in concern, "Perhaps more."
"You cannot fly here, princess," Artemis scoffed.
She turned her head to them again, striking a dazzling smile. "But I can swim." Without another word, she leaned and fell off the cliff.
The four of them rushed forward and lay down beside the cliff's edge, watching as their princess dropped like a stone to the water below.
Artemis felt her heart freeze in her chest as she watched the girl plummet.
"Hippolyta is going to murder you," Alcippe muttered.
Artemis licked her dry lips and flinched as Diana hit the water below, the sound echoing up like a crash of thunder. After a moment, her dark head bobbed up out of the water. She lifted an arm in salute and swam off toward the beach.
Leaping to her feet, Artemis ripped off her helmet. "Follow her!" she commanded as she pointed down to the water.
Silence passed between them.
"After you," Alcippe grinned and tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear.
Artemis shouted in frustration. She turned and headed back to the squad. "We need to get back to that beach now!"
Only Deinomache stood between the princess and her victory and the thought enraged Artemis to no end.
"Even if we sprint it will take at least half an hour to reach that flag," Io reasoned.
"That little brat," Artemis seethed through clenched teeth.
The squad gathered around, preparing themselves to head down the mountain when an enormous crack split through the air as if the heavens themselves were shattering in two. The Amazons watched in wide-eyed disbelief as a giant craft dropped through the air. It was flat, gray and shiny, with wings like a bird. They had never seen anything like it.
Artemis could do nothing but look on in horror as it dropped from the sky right toward where their beloved Diana had jumped.
A new panic took hold of her. "Run," she said simply and dropped her spear and shield.
Diana stopped her swim and bobbed up and down in the water watching the thing drop from the sky. It landed with a crash in the water less than fifty feet from her position. She turned her head up toward the ridge but the faces of her sisters were no longer to be seen. A moment of indecision clouded her. What was that thing?
She took a deep breath and swam toward it. Once she had reached the approximate location, she took another deep breath and dived. The water was clear, clear enough to see the craft below. She kicked her legs out, headed toward the thing. Her lungs were burning. She was going too far here where she was only human.
Amazon, she thought to herself. More than human, I am an Amazon. She furrowed her brow and pushed herself further. She came to the thing and saw a clear shell covering the front of it. She touched it and pulled herself to it. There was a person inside. They were dressed in green and wore a helmet. The wide shoulders, strong jaw, stubble.
A man. It was a man.
I'm going to drown. She pushed upward back toward the surface. Once there, she burst up and took a gasping breath. "Hera," she murmured. The salty water licked at her rose colored lips. Taking another deep breath she dove again. With purpose she went straight for the shell and the man within who appeared unconscious. She pounded at the shell with her fists but it was too strong. She swam further to the bottom and picked up a rock beating helplessly at the shell. The inside was filling with water. The man had little time left.
If only he had landed near the main isle instead of the training isle where the Gods had restricted the use of her powers. There, she would lift the craft as if it were nothing and carry the whole thing to the beach. Helpless, she pushed herself back up to the surface once more.
Panicked, she tread water. Think, think! "Help," she murmured. Her heart leapt. Once more she ducked her head under water. She shouted beneath the waves. Not all of her powers worked on the training island. It was a "gift" from her mother so that she could be trained as a true Amazon warrior. As an equal. If ever a child could be considered an equal to the immortal warrior women it was Diana.
There was one gift, however, that worked no matter where she was. And as the dark shapes swam toward her she thanked the goddess Artemis for this gift. She grabbed onto the fin of the first megalodon that swam to great her and directed him down toward the man. At her direction, he bit into the shell, ripping it apart with his razor teeth. Water flooded the compartment as Diana reached in and undid the straps that held the man in his seat. She gripped him by his collar and with her other hand held on tight to the fin of the giant shark beside her. He brought her to the surface in an instant and she heaved the man above the waves. The shark swam her as close as he could reach to the shore then nudged her forward with a final push. She held onto the man and rode the waves onto the beach.
She dragged the man across the wet sand and fell down beside him. She turned and looked down at him. His eyes were closed, he wasn't moving.
His face looked like the statue of Apollo that stood by the waterfall in the palace garden. She cursed herself for the blasphemous thought and pulled off the helmet he was wearing. He had short hair like Io's. It was blond and plastered to his wet face. She brushed it back from his forehead and laid a hand on his chest. It was rising and falling slowly. He was still alive.
Not knowing what to do, she poked at his cheek with her finger. "Hey." Not a very dignified or noble way for the princess to great the first man she had ever seen, she conceded.
She poked harder.
He groaned and his head moved a bit.
Encouraged, she poked again. But his eyes still remained closed.
Frustrated and scared, she straddled him and punched him in the jaw. His eyes flew open and he sat halfway up, dumping her off him and onto the wet sand. His arms flailed and he grabbed at his throbbing face.
"Agh!" He shouted and sat up.
She backed away, still seated in the wet sand, her red chiton plastered to her body.
He regarded the girl before him with blurred vision. He shook his head vigorously and wiped once at his salt stained eyes. Less than three feet from him sat the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. And she was soaking wet. And he could totally see her nipples.
"Where the hell—" he started as he looked around. The rocky shore, the oak and olive trees. He rose and held a hand to his head. He unzipped his flight suit and pushed the top half down his body. The white tank top he wore beneath clung to his body.
Diana blushed and looked away thinking once more of Apollo. But then again, who did she really have to compare him to?
She stood too, facing him.
He stared at her for a moment. They were almost eye-to-eye. "Tall," he croaked out. "You're really tall."
Her dark eyebrows furrowed and she pouted at him. What language was that?
He took a step backward and pointed at her, "I can see… your nipples," he dropped his hands to his side. He felt like puking. He plopped down onto the sand again and held his face in his hands groaning. "Am I dead? Is this being dead?"
"I don't understand you," Diana said slowly. She had crouched down and was staring at him with some concern.
He opened his eyes once more and found her staring. She had a striking face with smooth olive colored skin, dazzling blue eyes and a delicate nose. Her soft lips were turned down in a frown of concern.
"What language was that?" he murmured. It sounded like maybe Greek but not quite Greek.
"Are you hurt? Your head is bleeding," Diana pointed to his forehead where a small line of blood was trickling downward.
Though he didn't understand her words he recognized the gesture and he placed a hand to his forehead to wipe away the blood. "It's ok, I'm ok," he said as much to himself as to her. She had very kind eyes and seemed to be concerned for him.
He rose again, a bit more steadily this time.
"What's you're name?" He asked.
She just stared at him.
"Oh, man, this is going to be like one of those 'me Tarzan you Jane' type things, huh?" He was grinning at her. He set his hands on his hips and looked out toward the ocean.
Somewhere beneath the tranquil turquoise waves lay a 150 million dollar F22 Raptor. "I kinda wish I were dead," he muttered.
"What's your name?" Diana asked. She regretted that she had not paid as much attention as she should have in her language classes. She spoke six of them now and was not quite able to recognize this one.
He laughed helplessly and shrugged his shoulders. He turned toward her. "Maybe I am dead and that would make you an angel. Makes sense."
"What was that thing you were in? Where did you come from?" Diana pointed out to the water. She was excited now. She didn't care that he clearly didn't understand any of what she was saying.
"Slow down there, angel," he grinned and held up his hands, "introductions first." He laughed and held a hand to his chest. "Tarzan" Then he pointed at her and smiled, "Jane." He pounded his chest again, "Tarzan," he was laughing now.
"I think you must have hit your head really hard. What is wrong with you?" She was looking at him funny now. She took two steps toward him. Ready to catch him if he fell, as it looked like he was about to do. Clearly, he was injured but she could tell he was trying to make introductions. She stared at his face, transfixed as he looked into her eyes.
"Diana," she said softly and tapped her chest.
His clear blue eyes widened, startled. That he understood. It was his grandmother's name. He took a step forward, closing the small gap between them and reached out to grasp her wrist. He moved her hand to the center of his chest.
"Steve," he said. "Steve," he repeated again, his hand pressed over hers.
He heard the zip of the arrow and felt the sharp pain in his leg almost instantaneously. "Aghhh!" he shouted in pain and doubled over.
She caught him as he fell and he looked over her shoulder at the group of people running toward them from the tree line. Women, he realized, as they got closer. They were all women.
And they were carrying spears, shields, swords, bows and wearing helmets straight out of 'Clash of the Titans.'
As Diana eased him down onto the sand, he felt himself slipping back into unconsciousness. The crash, the head wound, the pain, it was all too much. "Where am I?" he murmured.
And suddenly she recognized it. English! He was speaking English.
"Themyscira," she answered as his eyes struggled to keep open.
The last thing he remembered seeing were a pair of sapphire blue eyes and a fall of dark hair.
End Chapter One