The five women were all sitting around the table: Oracle, Wonder Woman, Ultra Woman, White Owl, and Amazon Arrow. Oracle was getting caught up on everything that happened in Rio, particularly how Curia managed to trick Circe into changing Athena and Tania back after Medusa had turned them into statues.
“When word of this gets around, you just might find you have gained a bit of respect,” Oracle stated. “There aren’t many who can claim to have pulled off what you just did – slaying Medusa AND getting Circe to cast a spell against her wishes.”
“Thanks,” Curia responded. “There will be plenty of time for all of that, after we get back all of the artifacts.” She waved her hand across the table, where lay a number of items: Hermes’ Sword, the Golden Apples of Aphrodite, Circe’s Mirror, and Hera’s Sceptre. “At least we have these.”
“It’s a start,” Athena cut in. “I have a feeling that whoever is behind these thefts is going to be coming after these, once they know we have them.”
“We need to continue to be on the offensive, then,” Tania interjected. “Just like Curia did, we need to use these artifacts against whoever we come across, and be ready for anything!”
One of Oracle’s monitors picked that moment to buzz. All five heroines turned to look. “What’s that?” Chryseis asked.
“Ares’ spear has been in motion for a while, and I’ve been tracking it. Looks like it finally stopped somewhere,” Oracle replied, as she pulled it up on the big monitor.
“That’s out in the middle of the ocean?” Chryseis asked, confused.
“Yes, Amazon Arrow, it looks like somebody is paying a visit to Atlantis.”
“Atlantis? I thought that was a myth?”
Athena, Tania, and Curia all turned to look at Chryseis. “You really didn’t know it was a real place?” Curia laughed. “Wow, you really haven’t been in Man’s World long enough, sister.”
“Atlantis is ruled by Aquaman and his queen Mera,” Athena said to Chryseis. “Yes, that Aquaman.”
“I hope you ladies are in the mood for a swim,” Oracle chuckled. “I will try to raise Aquaman and let him know that you are on your way.”
“We should take the Sword and the Mirror,” Athena said, as Oracle rolled back from the table to place the call. “I don’t think the other two artifacts will be of much help, and we shouldn’t have them all in one place, in case we get ambushed.”
“Good thinking,” Tania nodded.
Oracle turned back to them. “No luck, he’s not answering. Which isn’t too surprising. When he is in Atlantis, he rarely wants anything to do with us ‘surface dwellers’.” She looked around at the four heroines, who were all on their feet now. “You will just have to announce your presence when you get there. I agree, it’s best to leave a couple of artifacts here. Aquaman is in possession of Poseidon’s Trident; that has to be what the thief is after.”
“Poseidon’s Trident,” Tania whispered. “As I recall, that is a powerful weapon, much more than any of these artifacts we have encountered so far.”
“Right,” Curia added. “It can shatter any object, cause earthquakes, tidal waves…if we encounter a villain with it, we will have to be ready!”
“Then, let’s get to it before they do,” Athena exclaimed, and the others nodded in agreement.
“I will keep trying Aquaman for a bit more. There’s some scuba gear in the next room, should be enough for all four of you.” She handed Curia a small map showing where they need to go. “Once you get to this point, you should be able to strap on the gear and drop straight down to Atlantis from there.”
Athena picked up the mirror, and Tania took the sword, as they went into the adjoining room and found the scuba gear. They said goodbye to Oracle, and a few minutes later, the four of them were soaring high above the ground, heading out towards the ocean and Atlantis. It didn’t take them very long to arrive at the coordinates Oracle provided. They helped Chryseis with her scuba gear first, and then, once she was suited up and in the water, the others got their gear on.
“So,” Chryseis asked through her communicator, the only way they could talk with the masks on, “we just swim straight down from here?”
“Right,” Athena replied, “straight down from here should put us at the entrance to Atlantis. I hope Oracle got through to them – I would hate to not be welcome!” She dove down first, Tania right behind her. Chryseis shrugged and followed next, with Curia bringing up the rear.
Just as Curia was starting her dive, she noticed something in the water, maybe a hundred yards away. The sunlight was reflecting off of it; she couldn’t tell what it was, though. She started to swim towards it, forgetting to tell the others – it didn’t seem like it was that far away, and she figured she could catch up quickly. As she got closer, it looked like whatever it was, it was gold!
‘Maybe it’s the Trident, or another artifact!’ Curia thought, as she swam closer. She got about thirty feet away, and realized whatever it was, was moving – that explained why she hadn’t caught up to it yet! She swam faster, determined to catch it, and find out what it was. As she got closer, she could see what appeared to be a rod with something coming out of it – it could be the Trident after all!
The object was moving a bit irregularly – it would move for a bit, then stop for a few seconds, then suddenly start to move again - and not necessarily in the same direction. Curia realized her chance to catch it would be in those few seconds when it stopped. She started to swim towards it again, her eyes focused on her target, watching it intently, and then, as it slowed down, she shot towards it like an arrow.
She reached her hands out for it, and as she did, she noticed that it looked less like a trident, and more like a hook. It stopped, and she grabbed it with both hands, and the moment she did, a million volts of electricity shot through her. She didn’t even have a chance to scream…the shock caused her hands to lock their grip on the golden hook, as her body convulsed in the water, and the hook began to ascend towards the surface. Her world blacked out…
…When consciousness returned to her, a few minutes later, she found herself lying on the deck of a boat. She was weak, dizzy, and her body was still convulsing and flopping about. Her scuba gear was off, and in a pile next to her. She looked up, and through blurred vision she saw a figure of a man, wearing a large raincoat, and holding something in his hand – her lasso.
“If I’m lucky, I might catch a mermaid or two,” he spoke to her, as he leaned in closer. “I never expected a trophy like you! Definitely the Catch of the Day. I didn’t even have to bait the hook.” He reached down and grabbed her wrists, and in one smooth movement, lashed them together with the lasso. “I know all about you, Wonder Woman. With your wrists bound by a man, you are no stronger than an ordinary fish!”
Curia groaned weakly, her senses still dulled by the electric shock she had experienced. She felt the lasso as he used it to tie her ankles together, and then he hoisted her up onto some sort of hanging rack, upside-down.
“Who…who are you,” Curia mumbled weakly. She saw that he had picked up something else, but she couldn’t tell what it was.
“My friends call me Ten, but on the open seas, I am simply known as The Fisherman,” he answered. “I fish for sport, and for trophies to stuff, mount, and display on my wall back home.” He held up oddly-shaped board he was holding. “I think this panel is the perfect size for you, Wonder Woman. Now, it is time I head this boat back to shore – I have a lot of work to do before you can be mounted properly!”
‘What have I done?’ she thought, as the boat started moving. ‘I feel so dizzy…nobody knows where I am…can’t call anyone…so foolish…’ She felt her skin getting warm as the sun dried her out, and the boat picked up speed…
“There’s the entrance,” Athena said into her communicator, as the large dome that covered the underwater city of Atlantis came into full view.
“And here comes the welcoming party,” Tania added, as two figures from inside the dome walked towards the door.
“Looks like Aquaman and Mera. We had better make our intentions known right away.” Athena reached the ocean floor, a few feet from the door, and walked towards it. The others were right behind her, none of them realizing their fourth member was missing.
The door opened just as Athena was reaching for it. As they entered, they quickly realized that the area they had entered was dry and filled with air, so they were able to remove their oxygen masks, revealing their identities to the Atlantean royals.
“White Owl,” Mera spoke, recognizing the heroine of Queen City. “Why are you here?”
“Oracle has been trying to reach you on our behalf. Someone is going to try and steal the Trident. Poseidon’s Trident.”
“This trident?” Aquaman thundered, as he approached, holding the large fork-like item in his hand. “We are more than capable of protecting it from any thief without any help from the three of you.”
“Three?” Athena, Tania and Chryseis all turned around at the same time, as they realized Curia wasn’t there. “Where’s Curia?” Athena gasped.
“Wonder Woman was with you?” Aquaman asked. Athena didn’t hear him, as she was too busy trying to call Curia on her communicator, with no luck.
“She was with us when we entered the water, just a few minutes ago,” Athena answered. “Oracle is tracking one of the stolen artifacts, and whoever has it was heading here, that’s why we came.”
“What could have happened to her?” Chryseis exclaimed. “I never heard a peep from her; I thought she was right behind me the whole time!”
“Maybe it has something to do with HER,” Mera replied, as she pointed up, through the glass dome, at a figure descending through the water.
“Queen Clea!” Aquaman shouted. “Then what you say is true, White Owl – she stole this Trident from us once before. Wonder Woman – Diana – helped us defeat her then, and get it back.” He turned to Mera, and handed her the Trident.
“What are you doing, Arthur?” she asked in surprise.
“Take this, and whatever you do, don’t let Clea get her hands on it. You three, stay here and help her. I’m going after Wonder Woman. Don’t do anything crazy, just hold her off until I can find her and get back.” He turned to the disconsolate Chryseis. “Don’t worry, Arrow, if she is in this ocean, I will find her. I know these seas like nobody else. You just make sure that witch doesn’t get my Trident, okay?”
“You got it!” Chryseis’ spirits were raised a bit, as Aquaman swam away.
“So what’s the deal with this Clea character?” Tania asked Mera.
“She’s Atlantean, like us, but for decades she has been trying to take away our rule. She is powerful enough on her own, but every time she has gotten this,” and she held out the trident, “she has become almost unstoppable. Without the help of your ‘Wonder Women’ through the ages, we would have surely lost.”
“I am Ultra Woman,” Tania stated, “and while I hail from a different tribe of Amazons, I would be honored to fight beside you and defend your land, as my Amazon sisters have done.”
“Then get ready,” Mera said, “you are about to get your chance!” Clea had made it to the outside of the dome, and was pounding away at it with some sort of mechanical device. “Get your masks back on, ladies, and go out there and stop her! If she should break the dome’s integrity, I will join the attack from here!”
Athena, Tania, and Chryseis did as she bode, wondering what kind of foe they were up against, and hoping Aquaman found their friend before something terrible happened to her…
The hot sun and the rocking motion of the boat, combined with her upside-down position, kept Curia in a dizzy and somewhat drowsy state. She had recovered from the effects of the electrical blast, but her own lasso binding her wrists kept her weak and unable to free herself from her fish-like predicament. Every few minutes, her captor would come and check on her – though by this time she was certain he had nothing but the worst intentions.
As she swung helplessly back and forth, she thought she caught sight of something in the water – something green and orange. ‘I must be hallucinating,’ she thought. Then she saw it again a minute later. She tried to clear her mind and focus on what she thought she saw, when her vision of the water was blocked by her captor standing in front of her.
“Let me go,” Curia breathed, as she felt his hand on her waist, stopping her from swinging.
“Catch and release?” he laughed. “Not a chance of that. I caught you fair and square, Wonder Woman, and now I am going to be the most famous Fisherman in history!”
There was a ‘thunk’ behind him, and he turned to look, just as a green-gloved punch caught him flush in the chin, sending him spinning. He was out cold before his body hit the deck.
“Sorry to ruin your plans, Fisherman,” Aquaman said, as he reached over and lifted Wonder Woman off of the rack, placing her gently on the deck so that he could untie the lasso. The moment she was free, Curia leaped into Arthur’s arms, embracing him.
“Arthur! You came for me!” Without even thinking, she planted a kiss right on his lips.
“Of course, Curia, my darling. I would never let anything happen to you, you should know that by now.” They finally broke the embrace, and he glanced down at the unmoving man on the deck. “So who is this guy?”
“I don’t know, I’d never seen him before. I thought you knew everyone on the ocean. He called himself ‘The Fisherman.”
“There have been a couple of villains who went by that name, but he’s not one of them. Anyway, we have another situation. Queen Clea is attacking Atlantis.”
“She must be after the Trident again,” Curia said. She reached down for her scuba gear. “My friends were headed there.”
“They are with Mera, defending the city, but Clea is strong, and if she gets the Trident, she will be far stronger.” He handed Curia her lasso. “Are you ready for this?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” she replied, and followed him into the water.
Meanwhile, White Owl, Ultra Woman, and Amazon Arrow were in the water just outside Atlantis. They were taking on Queen Clea, but even though it was three against one, the advantage Clea had was that she was used to fighting in the water. And the weapons that the heroines possessed – the Sword of Hermes, Tania’s lasso, Chryseis’ Light Rings – simply weren’t much use underwater.
“Unngghh!” Athena gulped, as Clea delivered a haymaker that sent her spinning through the sea.
“We’re not even slowing her down!” Chryseis exclaimed, as Tania went flying past, the victim of another punch from Clea. “I hope Aquaman gets back soo-aaaahh!!” And Amazon Arrow tumbled backwards, stunned.
Athena shook her head. “I don’t know how much longer we can keep this up! We need him and Curia both if we are going to have a chance!”
Just then, a blast from behind them hit Clea square in the chest, knocking her back a few feet. They turned to see Mera there, wielding the Trident. “Get away from them!” Mera shouted.
“With pleasure,” Clea smirked, as she launched herself towards Mera. The Queen of Atlantis didn’t have a chance to use the Trident again before Clea was on her; Clea’s momentum took the two of them down to the ocean floor, as they wrestled.
“Where is your precious Arthur?” Clea mocked, as she grappled with Mera, grabbing at the Trident and trying to rip it away from her.
“He’s on his way and so is Wonder Woman. You will be stopped!” Mera gritted her teeth, determined not to let her adversary get the weapon she sought.
“Wonder Woman?” Clea laughed. “You mean that little girl pretending to be her? I fought the real Wonder Woman. She was a worthy foe, unlike this one. Now, give me the Trident!” Mera was just about to lose her grip, when Amazon Arrow burst in between them.
“You have no idea! When she gets here, she will make you eat those words!”
“You insolent whelp.” Clea took her right hand off the Trident, and grabbed Chryseis’ oxygen mask, ripping it away from her face. “You go and drown now.”
The distraction was enough for Mera to re-tighten her grip on the Trident. “Get her into the dome,” she motioned to Athena and Tania, who nodded and helped Chryseis to the door, getting her inside quickly, as Chryseis could not hold her breath much longer. “And you,” she glared at Clea, “you will never again get this weapon away from me.”
“I’m stronger than you, Mera. You can’t keep this up forever!”
“I won’t have to.” At that moment, Clea felt something metal being pressed against the front of her neck… a sharp blade. “I don’t believe you have met the REAL Wonder Woman.”
“Let go of the Trident,” Curia hissed, as she held the Sword of Hermes against Clea’s neck. “Now.”
“Or what? You’re going to cut my throat? I don’t think you’re going to do that, girl. You don’t have it in you.”
Curia pressed the blade harder. “I used this same blade to cut off the head of Medusa, just yesterday. So perhaps, you had better rethink what you just said.”
“Fine,” spat Clea. “You want the Trident so bad, it’s yours!” And she let go quite suddenly, causing the weapon to fly backwards, out of Mera’s grip, onto the ocean floor behind them.
Curia swam around to Clea’s front, and a moment later, Aquaman was beside her. The three of them, a united front, stood resolutely before Clea. Curia pulled the sword back but kept it out in front of her.
“I can see when I’m not welcome,” Clea groaned. “I didn’t want your stupid Trident anyway! And the next time, I’ll bring a whole fleet of ships and take this city as mine, once and for all!” And she turned and swam back the way she came.
Aquaman, Mera, and Curia gave pursuit for a minute, but Clea was faster, and soon lost them in the ocean depths. They turned back and returned to Atlantis.
“Mera,” asked Aquaman, as they reached the door, “where’s the Trident?”
“It should be right here,” she answered. “I don’t see it either!”
Athena and Tania had found a replacement oxygen mask for Chryseis, and the three of them came out to see what was going on. The six of them scoured the ocean floor where the Trident had landed, but there was no sign of it anywhere.
After over an hour, they finally gave up and went into the dome, going into an air-filled and water-free room to talk.
“I think,” said Curia, once the heroines all had their gear off, “that Clea was just a distraction.” And she filled Aquaman and Mera in on what they had been dealing with. “Someone is stealing Greek artifacts, objects, and we still don’t know who, or why exactly.”
“Poseidon’s Trident, in the wrong hands, could cause a lot of damage, and not just to Atlantis,” Aquaman said. “Much more than that sword you have, or any of these other things. You will let me know the moment you get the tiniest lead, and I will be working it from my end as well.”
“Understood,” Athena nodded. “Ladies, we had better get back to Oracle. Perhaps she will have some idea where to look next.”
“I’ll take you to the surface in my submersible,” Aquaman said, “that way you don’t have to waste time putting all that gear back on, and this will get you to the surface much quicker. Time is of the essence – I’d like to find the Trident before it gets used against us.”
After saying goodbye to Mera, they were on their way. The sub got them topside in less than a minute! Curia was the last to exit, and as she did, she gave Arthur a hug, and whispered something into his ear, something that made him smile for the first time that day…