On a date buried in time, Captain Jason sent word throughout Greece calling anyone who wanted adventure and glory. As the account was later embellished, young men came as fast as they could, including Hercules the Titan, the Gemini Twins Kastor and Pollux, Hercules and Hylas his squire, the winged Titan Twins Zetas and Calais, Mopsos the Seer (or Prophet), two sons of the Titan Hermes by a female human, Typhys the Helmsman, Orpheus the Musician, Peleus the father of famous Achilles, Meleagros the son of a prince of Calydon in northwestern Greece, and many other of lustrous parentage and achievement. When all were counted, there were fifty Argonauts, or Sailors of Argo. In truth, none of the Titans and Gemini took part, but as the epic voyage was related afterwards throughout Greece from generation to generation, the human sailors--the Argonauts--took on more and more "divine" characteristics, even to a change of many names. Since no one had an official crew list, it was quite easy to tamper with and no one was the wiser.
In the ancient Greek memory of it, the Golden Fleece was the golden pelt of a winged ram belonging to the Sun-Titan Hyperion. The ARGO set sail, traditionally, a generation before the Trojan War, which occurred about 1194-1193 B.C., and even as early as 1250.
The date for the Argo's sailing may never be pinned down, but the Trojan War connection is quite clear. Peleus, an Argonaut, fathered Achilles, the greatest Greek hero of the war. With the fall a Troy a generation away, the ARGO story goes that Peleus usurped the Thessalian kingdom of Iolcus in northern Greece. The youthful hero Jason, rightful heir to the throne, agrees to fetch the Golden Fleece, if Peleus will surrender the sovereignty to Jason. Peleus, however, has other plans. He agrees to the legitimacy of Jason's claim, but has no intention of ever surrendering the throne, not if he can distract the claimant and send him on a trip from which he may never return. After this cunning move, it is hard to imagine how Peleus would have ventured his life by sailing on the same boat with is youthful rival.
The long, perilous voyage from Iolcus (Iolkos on Earth II) to Colchis for the Golden Fleece proved just what Peleus hoped it woud be, the most farflung and dangerous obstacle course in history. The Fifty first encounter a group of women on Lemnos who have murdered all their men for proving unfaithful. Surviving Lemnos, after additional adventures in the northern Aegean Sea, they are confronted by the Symplegades, clashing rocks in the Dardenelles Strait. Other accounts, though, place them at the end of the strait, at the entrance to the Black Sea. Columba, the ship's dove given by Athena, an Olympian "god," guides the men through with only the loss of Columba's tail feathers and the lion's head ornament on the ship's stern. Reaching the Sea of Marmara, they pass on to the Black Sea and are challenged by further tests of their skill, strength, and courage.
It is not surprising, then, that a great Dutch-American scientist, depicted in the chronicles, chose this voyage as his model for a venture even more perilous, as it involved the survival of his world as humans know it. He did not fabricate a ship in virtual reality to play the Wargame he devised (though someone else would do that for him later), but he recruited the Earth itself as a second ARGO, the greatest ever known.
in the account of Earth's twin planet, the planet becomes a starship, powered by quark engines, and launches forth into deep space in order to re-locate in another galaxy where it, presumably, will find refuge.
This voyage is made possible by Dr. Pikkard, a Dutch-American scientist and explorer and inventor and many other things. But the thing that initiates the voyage is the com,puter programmer that Dr. Pikkard thoughtfully installed (since he knew he woujld not be alive to see his project and Wargame through to its conclusion). The supercomputer he uses to create the Wargame and his compuer programmer, Wally, is the size of a teacup. Nevertheless, built by an advanced 22nd Century civilization, it is mighty. The 18th Century English poet William Blake perceived infinity in a flower. The computerized teacup and Wally as its NTM (non-tethered-mode) pallidin, prove a real match for the Opposing Player--the unknow destroyer, originally, that has attacked Earth II and its Solar System.
Gathering some artifacts (the Sulkowsky painted cowhides and writings) for analysis and addition to their database for Earth, the dejected colonists return to their base colony, only to discover that the artifacts contain messages of a revolutionary nature that will threaten to destroy their community's fragile dyarchy of Mechanist Secularists and Religious Design Creationists.
Created by Dr. Pikkard's Cray programmer, Wally, it is the means for his retirement, or so he first planned it. He starts with some old perimeters with which he is comfortable (a retirement cruise ought to be comfortable, he reasons).
He recruits his old mentor and creator-programmer, Dr. Pikkard, as well as other players, from the genotypes of his genotype bank, Tutasix. Fortunately, he draws his last genotype just before the facility's Cray system crashes due to thousands of years of neglect after it was abandoned in the 22nd Century.