Sealtown, Empire of Kolumbia, in its heyday:

Quinn tries to help a woman on a windmill, her punishment for adultery in a Sealtown court of religious law.

Quinn is entertained by a hurdy-gurdy playing man in the street, but notices the wretched monkey without its tail. Called devils, long-tailed animals, unless domesticated cattle or livestock, must be destroyed, or suffer the loss of the tail, due to the strict religious law of the country. That is the cause of so many maimed cats and dogs in the city and country, Quinn discovered. He buys the monkey and pays a kind shopkeeper to keep him in his walled garden the rest of its days, as there is no way to return him safely to the far south jungles. The cruel riverboat men, Quinn knew from experience, would take the monkey's travel fare and then throw him overboard to the man-eating fish!

Quinn the Bluebird encounters a blind boy in the Grand Suk, Sealtown's Covered Bazaar:

Quinn touches the boy's eye with a feather and a dried plant that heals many bad afflictions, taken from his hidden medicine pouch, and after a prayer the boy's eyes regenerate in their sockets, and he can see! The whole Suk comes running, a crowd gathers, but Quinn has already slipped away.

Hearing of Quinn's good deeds (who in the city has not heard the reports of this visiting medicine-man, though he is but a youth in age?), a high official sends the royal city governor to invite Quinn to a private conference in the Chief of Court Ceremony's garden pavilion, a kiosk-like summer house given him by the Sultan himself.

The reason for the private conference is that the official, the Court Cup-Bearer of the Nectar of Isma, has a very ill son, about to die, whom all the court physicians have failed to cure. But he has heard about Quinn praying over and touching sick people and they are miraculously healed. A desperate father, no matter who he is, will do anything that can possibly save a dying son, so he has called in the infidel and stranger, an Indian no less, to do what his physicians have all failed to do. The Laws of Isma, however great, can produce no miracles of healing, he knows. And doctors can only do the possible. What he needs for his son is the impossible--a cure.

Quinn is led to the garden pavilion of an estate perched high above the city-- and it is warm there, due to the warm springs that issue from the great mountain, producing warmth for pools and fountains and gardens. Not only is it pleasant all year round, but it is most private and desirable for interviews, being away from the great mansion where there are the eyes and ears of many servants and relatives.

Quinn, as he often does, seeks guidance with spiritual means, which he has learned has helped in the past: sand paintings. He knows that often illness is the result of other causes than what are apparent. Men of the previous world poisoned the earth with huge, poison arrows that spouted fire at the ends and did not need a drawn bow to send them forth. Wherever the arrows stuck into the earth, people got sick and died, and nobody could live there again. The hoop of the whole world has been broken, and religion cannot fix it. Illness is the result, illness of all kinds. He must have the truth, however hard a truth it is to face. With the surgery of the Truth, there can be healing, for in the presence of Truth, all darkness, bondage, and falsehood must flee away, and when they flee, sickness of every kind no longer has power to afflict people and flies away with them.

What do the sand painting images reveal? A spirit-journey of fifty champions. And what is the prize they are seeking? He sees the Golden Hoops that carry each champion to the quest-ship. But what will they, joined together, find at the end of the danger-filled voyage? What can it be other than...?

The woman on the windmill, who was being punished for adultery (with her married lover going unpunished) flashes into his mind.

Quinn knows now--the father has sinned, and this painting that has just revealed itself to him is speaking of what everyone in the dying world needs to hear. He shares the painting with the father, who also grasps the Truth is speaking to him--and he confesses a secret to Quinn that is one many men would have to confess--if only they were truthful and sought healing for their souls (and their families in turn). Quinn prays for the dying boy, touching him with a feather of grace, and he quickly recovers. Quinn is offered a fortune by the grateful father, but accepts nothing and departs for the streets and the needy people there. Here, exposed to the whole society, not even the powerful Court Cupbearer can protect him--for Kolumbia is ruled, not so much by the Sultan, as by the religious system, and the iman is a chief representative holding the real power for which the exalted Sultan in the palace of the Divine Porte high above the City is but a golden figurehead.

Profile of the arachnids that invade and conquer much of Earth II, but finally meet their match in a Retrostar champion and letterman the size and ferocity of a Tasmanian devil, U the Dire Knight and the Algol-Slayer:

Algol, Gorgons, and Nergul Client Species

Chocolate City bit the dust after ignoring considerable warning, but 20th century London had its warning too--a poor, old, but skillful pavement artist, struck with a rather unsalable inspiration, chalked out for the benefit of a lone passer-by from Dulwich Boys School a future 22nd Century London under attack of an evil red star-- long before there was a geo-dome over the entire megacity.

Meanwhile, how is Earth I faring? Not so well! The European Union World Octopussy has as its head and chief peace envoy none other than Michael Jayson, the former pop singer and dancer turned legend before he wanted to be. Holding a benefit for terrorist victims, Michael, turned fortyish, enlists Britney Spears, N 'Sync and other groups to bolster his fading appeal:

Way back in time before the Cyber-ARGO, there is Jason, captain of the original Argo and the expedition. Jason suddenly appears one day in Iolkos in Hellas, wearing a jaguar-skin and only one sandal.

After a brief greeting to a beggar in the street, Jason leaves a sandal on the top of the carved stone at the city's edge bearing the city's name.

The one-armed beggar stares long and hard at it. Does the sandal's owner mean that the city and kingdom are now under his authority, and he intends to go and overthrow the king and put on his royal golden sandals? Or does leaving a sandal on the city's name-stone mean he has marked his escape route and he intends to return that way, should his venture fail? Or does it mean he has wagered one part of his plan, and has another better part in reserve? The beggar scratches his head. It is hard to tell just how the wind blows with this strange, lion-maned youth. The beggar will have to give it some more time and thought, but, fortunately, he has plenty time to do that--and perhaps some news will be coming about the stranger--and he, being so well situated, will surely be one of the first to hear of it from passers-by.

Jason, the son of the previous king (who was injured permanently in a hunting accident and let the throne go under his brother's aegis until his son came of age), is now of age to rule as the heir to the kingdom of which Iolkos, a small Aegean port, is the capital. Although he cannot find much excitement in the idea, he has come to claim his throne, so he goes first to the royal palace and fortress on the hill where his uncle, Peleus, is reigning in his stead.

The "interim" king agrees to the legitimacy of Jason's claim, but taking the whispered suggestion of his wife, "Queen" Syntyche, he has second thoughts about turning the throne over immediately.

Seeing he has a high-spirited champion on his hands who can easily take whatever he wants when he wants it, Peleus offers Jason a challenge of his strength before he turns the throne over to him--a quest over the wide sea for the Golden Fleece. Jason, not so anxious to settle down to the rather humdrum duties of a petty kingship, eagerly accepts the wily Peleus's diversionary tactic as a true test of his own strength and daring.

Argus the master ship-builder of Thessaly hears of the coming voyage and offers the finest ship in the world to Captain Jason--which he will design and build especially for this voyage.

He already has a prime piece of wood, oak from Dodona, hewn from the very tree that was reputed to tell the future. Whether or not his oak beam will tell the future is yet to be seen--but he intends for it to go into the ship in some good spot that will give honor to it.

The best and strongest timber for the keel and the main body of the ship grows high on the rocky slopes of Mt. Pelion, so Argus and Typhys go to the trouble to select it personally and bring every board down, log by log:

The ship will win him undying fame, but when a youth of means offers to buy the vessel so that he could be the captain, he might have let him have it, except that he wasn't going to sea under such a fool of a captain as this youth would make. That would put two fools to sea, and they'd both drown!

A trial run is necessary for the newly constructed ARGO NAVIS, not so much to test the seaworthiness of the vessel as the seaworthiness of the prospective crew. Here we see the sad and exhausted wash-outs, or wannabe Argonauts, recovering in the ship's hold:

Holland America, Twin Earth Atlas, Stellar and Terrestrial

Mizraim and Other Atlantis II Empires, Twin Earth Atlas, Stellar and Terrestrial

The Black Crystal and the White Stone

Bridges of Destiny

Star Map of the Re-Located Earth, Twin Earth Atlas, Stellar and Terrestrial

Argo, Ships of the Line

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