As the women confronted the distorted goddess gone mad, Steve Trevor rose again, his old self again. “I’m Steve again…” he said with a groan. “I still have the power of Odysseus — I can feel it — but I’m myself again.”
“Stay still, darling,” warned Diana.
Lyta Trevor rose from her hands and feet where she had fallen after diving toward the vanishing apparition of Aphrodite, carefully holding her pregnant stomach. “She’s flipped!” she exclaimed.
“Truly, I fear for her sanity, too,” said Queen Hippolyta. “Yet if she commands my sisters to attack the world of men, how can we dare disobey?”
“You can’t listen to such madness,” said Diana. “Mars himself could suggest nothing worse.”
Paula entered then. “Diana, what has occurred? Are you hurt?”
Explanations followed, and Paula examined them all. “Steve still has his powers, though I’d wager the momentary loss of them was meant to warn you not to challenge the Olympians,” she said.
“If Aphrodite could voice such mad threats, then she must be sick or insane, or under some spell,” said Diana. “We’ve all seen magic, and much of it dark, at that.”
Lyta shivered. “I begin to see why Daddy tries to avoid all this Edith Hamilton stuff.”
Steve held the blonde girl close. “Princess, don’t you worry about little Troy. We’ll get him back and settle this mystery. The JSA will help us if necessary.”
Lyta nodded. “And Infinity Inc., too… or most of them.”
“I have a visitor for you all that will help,” announced Paula Von Gunther. “Queen Desira of Venus is here via the magnetic earrings.”
She held out the red earrings Diana normally wore. They broadcast a sweet-voiced message from the hyperspace world of Venus, where delicate-winged women ruled fragile men in peace and love.
“Blessed child, this news grieves me,” said the lovely, gossamer-winged queen of Venus. “If fair Aphrodite wages war upon your world, then how can we do less? Still, out of the love I have for you and the kindness you and yours have ever bestowed upon me and my own child, Eve, I heed Paula’s plea and bequeath you the use of a spirit body!”
Diana smiled as her weakened body magically glowed with new energy and health. “You’ve returned me to my fighting peak!” she said eagerly.
“Pregnant women everywhere would love to get their old figures back, much less one as dynamic as yours, only hours after giving birth,” gasped Lyta.
Diana nodded. She was magnificent and had no trace of her weakened state. She was the glamorous, powerful woman out of myth and fantasy she had been when she first appeared in Man’s World over forty years before. Desira’s magic had made her recovery nearly instantaneous.
“I offer you this chance to restore our fair beloved and your child,” said Desira. “If things continue in this manner, all of Venus may be forced to wage war upon your world!”
“Thank you, Desira,” said Steve. “We’ll save our son.”
“While this crisis lasts, you may count on my aid,” assured Desira.
In a moment she was gone, and the queen of the Amazons smiled in appreciation. “Well done, Paula,” said Hippolyta. “As always, your keen mind continues to work miracles.”
Paula hugged her queen and said, “Ever I live to serve.”
Diana wore the eagle-breasted, red, white, and star-spangled blue costume that made her world famous. She now wore the hot pants from most of her career and not the split skirt of her pregnancy. “Steve and I shall try to solve this riddle. You stay here, Lyta,” she ordered.
“Mother, I am a heroine in my own right!” sputtered Lyta.
“Young lady, listen to your mother,” warned Steve. “You are also nine months pregnant and lack your mother’s full Amazon power.”
Lyta frowned and sat down. “Just be careful and bring back little Troy.”
They kissed their daughter, then the pair who had faced amazing perils for decades rushed off in her invisible plane.
“Be of hope, Hippolyta,” said the Amazon queen. “Your mother is legendary for her victories.”
Lyta nodded. “I know, Grandmother. Still, I wish I could join them.”
As she walked through the garden, she noticed the red earrings still resting on the marble column where Paula had placed them.
“Just maybe I can,” said a smiling Lyta Trevor as she glanced in both directions. She whispered into the earrings, “Queen Desira, I beg you, lend me the power to help my folks.” A glow came over the blonde as she also received a spirit form from the gossamer alien queen.
Lyta was still pregnant, but she now had the vitality and stamina of her mother, and that meant a lot. It was temporary, to be sure, since Desira could only offer such a boost in power by draining the resources of her own world. Still, as Lyta faced a mirror wearing a copy of her mother’s recent star-spangled, thigh-split skirt, sandals, and eagle top, she smiled. “Here’s comes Wonder Girl, for this case only!”
She ran toward a swan-shaped spacecraft and climbed aboard. OK, old Fury, get ready to face the new and improved version, she thought.
Diana silently piloted her invisible plane over the rocky coast of Greece. As she drew nearer to her destination, an old man appeared on a high mountain. He was bearded and benign, except for a rather glazed look to his eyes.
“Steve, hold on tightly,” said Wonder Woman. “This looks like trouble!”
Steve Trevor, a pilot of some renown, nodded. “What’s the old man doing? That sack he’s lifting — great Scott — is that what I think it is?”
Diana steered sharply and replied, “From the ancient markings which I can translate, it is indeed the bag which holds the winds. He must be Aeolus of legend.”
The old man gently unwound a rope, and as the mouth of the sack flapped open, a hurricane force wind exploded — no, roared — like a living being, out of the sack.
The plane was struck, and even with the grim determination of the superb pilot and the craftsmanship of the vehicle crafted from the strange substance called amazsilikon, the fight was a rough one.
“Steve, my best efforts can’t slow the buffeting force of this gale!” said Wonder Woman as the plane spun around like a top. “I need to take a more direct action; will you take the wheel now?”
“Sure,” he replied. “Be careful.”
Diana smiled and exited the plane in one swift, graceful movement as Steve moved into the pilot seat. Wonder Woman soared through the air and acted with ease. She folded her legs up tightly against her chest and rolled forward in an expert acrobatic manner. She seemed to ride the wind currents, which were in fact solid enough for a prodigy such as herself to do. She rolled out of the dive and hurled her gleaming tiara.
She smiled even as she hurled her lasso to catch a peak below and swung remarkably to a safe landing as the sharp circlet sliced through the rear of the bag. Wind exploded out of the back end and knocked the old man flat. She raced toward him and looped her now-free lasso around his arm.
“Summon back your winds,” she ordered.
He obeyed, and at his verbal command in ancient Greek, the sack repaired itself and absorbed the mighty winds, even as Trevor wrestled high above with the plane’s controls. He commanded the plane to hover as he dropped the ladder for his bride.
Diana spoke to the man called Aeolus. She helped him to his feet and caressed his withered cheek. “Steve, Aeolus here says he was commanded to let loose his winds when we appeared,” she explained. “He had no choice but to obey the woman he knows only as the Mistress.”
“Friend Odysseus, forgive me,” said the sad old man. “I recall you well from long ago. ’Twas not my desire to harm you.”
Steve nodded and patted the old fellow’s shoulder. “I understand. Who is this Mistress you serve?” he asked.
“I know not,” Aeolus replied. “She merely appeared to me upon my floating isle, and her magicks forced me to obey.”
“Sounds like Aphrodite,” said Steve.
Diana shook her head. “No, whatever madness possessed her, she wants us to rescue our baby from the Furies so she can… slay him herself. We’re being opposed by either poor mad Helena, who never had magic before, or by some unknown evil. But I promise that she will fail. I’ll save my son, or die trying!”
“Angel, I have to admit that I’m feeling really uncertain about myself,” said Steve. “I don’t know if my reactions are those of a guy from middle America or those of a epic hero from rocky Ithaca.”
Diana knew her husband’s nature was not normally of the reflective type. He had grown as a result of their long relationship, yet she had no answers for his question, either. “I can only tell you that you are the man I love and father of our children, and if you do anything as Stephen Trevor, it’s going to be noble, brave, selfless, and wonderful,” she said, pressing her hand against his chest. “Oh, yes, and reckless.”
He grinned that old boyish grin that had first set her heart pounding back in the early ’40s when she nursed him to health on Paradise Island. They marched upward to a rocky slope that offered a view of the immediate vicinity. “What’s our destination?” he asked.
“The natural, or supernatural hold of the Furies was centered around the pits found nearby,” said Wonder Woman. “They are said to lead down to Erebus itself. I believe it’s logical to assume that Helena Kosmatos will have taken our child there out of deep instinct.”
“Angel, I know she’s sick, but if she’s hurt our boy…” began Trevor.
Diana nodded. “I know, I know. Let’s pray we can restore her and our child while solving the madness of Aphrodite before she leads the poor Venusians in war against the Earth.”
They turned a craggy corner and jumped back as a hulking brute lurched unsteadily out of the darkness.
“Noman! You smell of the one called Noman!” growled the one-eyed beast. “But my father knew you to be the hated Odysseus!”
A cyclops, thought Diana as she raced into battle.
Steve knew this to be a cyclops as well. He knew it from the boyhood stories he enjoyed on winter nights growing up on the farm, but more troubling still, some part of him insisted that he knew this from memory. He recalled such monsters from the epic and ceaselessly troubled life he had led as Odysseus.
Wonder Woman danced aside as a fist the size of a boulder slammed down at her nimble feet. “Too slow by far to catch one who raced with the centaurs,” she joked.
“You are his mate,” roared the cyclops. “I thought you to be a silly maid weaving by a fire, not a fierce warrior princess! Still, you’ll taste the same as any female.”
“Hold it, buddy. Nobody makes a buffet out of my wife,” said Steve as he grabbed the brute’s massive leg and lifted. He sent the brute crashing downward even as Diana landed a swift kick to the monster’s nose.
“Let’s end this quickly,” Wonder Woman said, reeling backward as a punch connected with her stomach, and she gasped in pain. She stood again and jumped toward the beast, driving both fists into his chest and sending him rolling down the slope.
Diana jerked Steve back sharply. “Let him fall. Then follow through,” she advised.
“Penelope, I need your combat advice less than your silent obedience!” shouted Steve.
He’s going mad again, she realized as he tore free.
“The Mistress said you’d come. She promised me your entrails!” cried the monster as it slammed into Steve.
Wonder Woman hurled herself through the air and prayed that this nightmare would not result in the loss of Steve Trevor and their baby. She punched the cyclops and said, “Tell me the name of your Mistress! She lied to you… she used you… she thought you as blind as your father.”
The creation cried out and said, “Curse her! Curse you all! Her name is not mine to reveal; she works the dark arts. And she hurts me even now!”
Diana saw the beast writhe in pain. Some spell drives him onward past his own limits. She tripped him and let him slide down into the waters below. “Steve, are you unhurt?” she asked.
He said nothing. “The son of Laertes is well,” was his delayed reply.
She led him upward and frowned.