Chapter 4

325 B.C. - September 8, 1970

he Ampoletta was just beginning its transatlantic voyage back to Alexandria Egypt on a heading due east towards the radiant orange glow along the horizon. Dark blues and blacks above revealed a flawless gradient across the sky of another sunrise nearing.

Hours earlier, while traveling through the Matanzas waterway’s mouth into darkness, with the electric glow of St. Augustine in its wake, Sirianna had instructed her crew that Diego Duran’s body would be returned to the sea the next morning, at first light.
Diego’s body was prepared by several crew members, who wrapped it tightly in sailcloth and anchor chain. The bundle lay across the bow at the edge of starboard on a polished deck made of teak and cedar.

The magnificent Ampoletta set adrift, rocking gently on the calm mid-Atlantic waters. A deckhand lightly rang the ship’s bell at the helm, its ethereal sound and rhythm was a signal for the crew to gather near their fallen shipmate.

All fourteen desperate men gathered at the bow dressed in assorted dirty, ragged clothes, most without shoes, looking like vagrants gathering for a meal at a shelter. All of them were homeless, or the Ampoletta was now their only home.

Sirianna strolled forward from the stern, wearing a long flowing white linen dress that, despite the somber occasion, danced sensually in the light ocean breeze. The gathering of her shabby minions parted to let her pass and stand closest to Diego’s wrapped and chained body. Sirianna was stunning. Her dress was nearly matching the dead man’s sailcloth husk, and every man could smell her scent of burnt sage and blue lotus flowers. She looked out momentarily to the glowing horizon before turning to address her crew.

“Diego has been a great warrior among warriors, against the forces of Chaos and her brothers. Plucked from a lifeboat in New York after they nudged that iceberg towards the Titanic, just years before major operations in Europe, Diego was at my side in Sarajevo, during the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Our failure in Sarajevo created a chain reaction across Europe that would shape the path of what the time-bound call the 20th century.

Diego worked tirelessly against Chaos in Germany in the ’30s. There were victories in America at MIT and in Oakridge, Tennessee, in the ’40s. Success in Pittsburgh’s operations with Jonas Salk against Polio in the early ’50s, and with technology at Bell Labs, with Transistors in the late ’50s.

While Chaos would win more battles in south Asia, with the coup at Saigon in 63, and another coup later that same month in Dallas, Texas, Diego was involved in hundreds of much smaller operations. Operations that over time, were set to fight against Chaos and profoundly influence the decades ahead.”

Sirianna paused and looked out across the calm Atlantic waters radiating a golden reflective glow from the fiery sun rising just above the horizon, before looking back at her solemn crew.

“Diego knew that this day would come; he knew that one day, St. Augustine would be his last destination. When I gave him the mission almost ten years onward, he accepted it, understanding the ultimate sacrifice in these battles against Chaos. We will remember him for his boldness, clear and constantly calculating mind, and when Diego Duran returns, we will find him.”

Sirianna looked down at the white chrysalis of sailcloth and chains near her bare feet. Then she looked up at the two men nearest to Diego’s body in her band of ragged seafarers. Stoically nodding after her eulogy, she walked away as if floating in her long white breeze-blown gown, towards the stern. Her back to the burial, never looking back, nor flinching at the sound of the splash and quick submergence of Diego’s body into the Atlantic’s deep waters. She reached the wide aft hatch and descended below deck, into her cabin.

Sirianna Ananke, the primordial goddess of inevitability, she is almost as old as time itself. Her mother, Gaea, Goddess of Earth, and her father, Hydros, the God of all waters. From the bonds earth and water, Sirianna was born after her brother, Chronos, the personification of Time. Sirianna has taken many forms over three millennia, always female and almost always beautiful.

A goddess who is part of a forgotten religion that is no longer believed, but still exists nonetheless, in the spaces between spirituality and reality. And like most religions, even the forgotten ones, Sirianna dwells within the two theological realms of good and evil. Like everything else in this world, good and evil are often dependent on perspective. This world’s evil makes little sense unless you know the future and you are trying to shape it. For Sirianna, the future of humanity was about designing the future through peace and progress. The woman could become a roaring tempest or a sheltering sanctuary for humanity; it is always about perspective.

Once inside her large cabin below deck, a space filled with maroon tapestries and shafts of light from the rising sun through the three-round porthole windows. Sirianna picked up a thick triangular piece of glass from a table beside her bed, where she sat studying the prism while looking out one of the round windows at the sunrise.

The six-inch-long, slightly curved glass cast its familiar spectral colors throughout the room as she twisted it between her pristine fingers.

“Another portal possibly protected,” she purred to herself.

She was thinking about how sailing for three weeks through the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic had been worth it. Even if Diego had to be sacrificed like a lamb, the rest of them would remain lions. The operation was a necessity as part of humanity’s grand scheme. In another ten days or so, Sirianna would be back in Alexandria with her daughters.

The operation in St. Augustine had gone so smoothly Sirianna surmised, that Chaos and her children were unaware of this small victory. After all, Chaos seemed occupied in Asia for the moment, in places like Vietnam, while pushing Bangladesh closer to genocide, and soon enough Cambodia.

Sirianna could only take solace in the idea that the operations in Asia would be somewhat contained. As horrendous as the massacres would become, at least they would not spill over into other areas, setting the entire world ablaze as World Ward II had done 30 years earlier.

“Choose your battles wisely,” her father Hydros, the God of water, had advised her thousands of years earlier.

For now, Chaos could have her stranglehold of southeast Asia. At the same time, Sirianna and her band of destiny shapers would quietly lay the groundwork for future global peace and prosperity. Men were now traveling from the earth to the moon at regular intervals. While Sirianna knew such journeys were not sustainable for this century, the earthbound advancements of science and technology would change humanity for the better.

Closing the curtains to block out the blinding early morning sunlight in her cabin, Sirianna relaxed on her bed and thought about her opulent Egyptian home. How her three daughters would be waiting there in Alexandria at a palace, they have all called home for thousands of years. As the Ampoletta began to lurch forward again under sail, Sirianna closed her eyes and reflected on Diego, and how long would it be until they met up with him again.

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