In the Havard University office of Professor Kapatelis, Julia looks up at the large poster of Wonder Woman hanging on the wall above her desk before opening her journal to begin making an entry.
Julia writes that although she had had her reservations about Myndi Mayer, she has to admit she has done an admirable job in promoting Diana’s mission to Man’s World, as the specially commissioned poster demonstrates. It has certainly been a very intense time for the young Amazon Princess, what with the untold hours the she and Julia have spent in the library preparing Diana for her appearance before the United Nations General Assembly. Julia would have preferred more time for rehearsal but the time limit imposed by Queen Hippolyta on her daughter made that impossible.
On the day, Diana insisted Julia acted as her interpreter, since she spoke her native Themyscirian. The Princess felt that the English language was still too new for her and she wanted no possible misinterpretation of her message of love and peace. Unfortunately, Diana soon discovered that in some backward countries of the supposedly “enlightened” world, the words of a woman, no matter how meaningful or true, simply will not be heard. To make matters worse, the Russian delegate protested that Diana’s star spangled uniform belied her true political leanings. He dismissed the mythological aspects of the whole “Ares Affair” as patently absurd and denounced her as an American propagandist! This perplexed Diana more than ever and she became determined to discover the cause of the strange political problems her costume seemed to generate in Man’s World.
Against Julia’s advice, Diana accepted an invitation from the military to prove the Ares Assault had been more than an attempted military coup. Julia was not allowed to accompany Diana but while she was away something happened that changed Diana’s attitude completely and by the time she returned she was subdued, dedicating herself to quiet, contemplative study. The Amazon Princess also asked Myndi to cancel all further public appearances and to Julia it seemed that the young Amazon was finally becoming aware of just how different this new, troubled world was from her beloved Paradise Island.
Coincidently, Diana’s self imposed exile came at almost precisely the same moment that the self styled saviour of the human race, fanatical Psychologist G. Gordon Godfrey, began his nationwide campaign to outlaw all of America’s so-called “super heroes”. His one man campaign seemed ludicrous at first but it quickly gained momentum. Suddenly, some of America’s foremost political figures were siding with Godfrey. In Julia’s own classroom, she watched helplessly as her students divided themselves into opposing factions. Because of her own relationship with Diana, Julia found herself under public scrutiny. She was considered a “subversive” by some for harbouring a supposed “super hero” in her home and they did not hesitate to make their displeasure known. When a brick was thrown through her window it was more than Diana could tolerate. After weeks of self imposed silence she decided the time had finally come to fight for her unalienable rights! Before Julia could even begin to dissuade her the Amazon was once again gone!
Wonder Woman crossed paths with Guy Gardner of the Green Lantern Corps during the height of Gordon Godfrey’s anti-heroic madness. Finally, Gordon met his downfall when his arrogance caused him to lose control of the raging mobs he had created. When it was finally all over, Diana found herself standing for the first time among many of the other super powered costumed heroes who had suffered because of Godfrey’s madness. At last it seemed Diana might finally find some sense of belonging in Man’s World. But despite their warm welcome she fled their company even as they invited her to join the newly formed Justice League.
Later, Julia had asked the Amazon why she had refused such an incredible invitation? She replied that she did not believe the point of her mission to Man’s World was to become a costumed crime fighter. That implied violence condoned by society in the name of order. However, from that day forward Diana was constantly discussing these unique comrades. The Black Canary was the first female crime fighter she had ever met and on Paradise Island she would have been hailed as a great gladiator. Then there was J’onn J’ozz, the Manhunter from Mars, a planet ironically named after a god who was Ares all but in name! And Captain Marvel, whose own powers were supposedly derived from the gods of various pantheons. Who were all these other gods? For the first time, Diana began to better understand the widespread scepticism regarding her own mythic origins!
Most interestingly was the strange silence that would come over Diana whenever Julia mentioned Superman. She would not talk about him as if some unspoken secret existed between them…
A day or two after the official announcement by the Pentagon Chiefs, acknowledging the veracity of Diana’s various claims regarding the Ares Affair, Diana and Julia received a call from Colonel Michaelis’ widow, Angelina. She wanted to know the details of how fiercely her husband had fought to save the world and how bravely he had died. The brave widow smiled proudly through her tears as Diana and Julia told her of her husband’s unwavering loyalty and heroism. As they spoke, Julia noticed that Diana was weeping as well. She would later confide that she had never before experienced the loss of a loved one and that she now understood the terrible fear that must have gripped her mother’s heart when Diana was called upon to face almost certain death in battle against Ares.
Some nights thereafter, Julia would awaken to find Diana standing nude on the lawn, praying to her Amazon gods. Julia realises just what a contradiction Diana is – On one hand nature’s innocent, her voice like a warm comforting breeze – on the other, desperate energy, forever searching for proper outlets. She is, in short, the living seed of change.
Diana’s time is growing short and there is still so much to do. Julia has began to despair as each day passes because the Amazon Princess is the closest thing she will ever know to a Goddess while the woman Diana is the closest thing she will ever have to a true friend. “God, how I’m going to miss her”.
On board a British Airways flight bound for Boston, Barbara Minerva asks Chuma if the plant is safe inside the cargo hold. He reassures her that all is well. As dinner is served, Barbara angrily calls for a Stewardess and tells her that she had specifically ordered her steak to be rare! Chuma tells his mistress to calm herself and think of the mission – the Amazon’s golden lariat. She replies that her body burns and she panics that the lasso is not real. Chuma soothingly replies that in her heart she know it is real. As he reads a magazine advert detailing Wonder Woman’s Farewell Tour he adds that tonight, Barbara will feed and the plant will feed as well…
In the office of Etta Candy at Lowry Air Force Base, the Lieutenant studies a photograph of Wonder Woman, showing Diana’s back, front and side profiles. Etta thinks to herself that she used to dream of having a body like that! She then sits down at her typewriter and begins to type a letter to Colonel Steve Trevor…
She tells him she has enclosed the Tribunal’s findings and recommendations regarding the “Ares Project” for his information. In his absence, she writes that she was asked to serve as an official observer during the now famous “Wonder Woman Manoeuvres”. After they had completed taking all her vital statistics and some photos (enclosed) General Hillary delivered the Princess into the capable hands of Major Dennis Warren and his research team.
By this time, Diana’s English was good enough for her to understand the meaning and the necessity of the tests. Diana was duly briefed as to the potential dangers of the tests but the Amazon was determined to prove her claims in the hope this would also prove and validate the respective reports that both Etta and Steve had filed. She was also interested in perhaps learning whether the amazing similarities between the U.S. flag and her own costume did indeed indicate that an alliance with America was part of Diana’s destiny.
Once at the test site, preparations had already been made. At the Princess’ request, the cameras had been set up in the observation building. Since the first test was going to be “The Flashing Thunder” as Diana called it (military codename: Bullets and Bracelets), she was afraid the equipment might be damaged by ricochets.
The volunteer marksman were all wearing protective clothing and had been armed with specially modified Uzis. Etta wanted to lodge a formal protest against major Warren for putting the Amazon in such danger but Diana assured her she was not at risk. Interestingly, the Princess has gone on to explain that she had faced a simpler version of this test on Themyscira when competing for the right to challenge Ares. It sounded like a .45 Magnum had been used, though how such a weapon had come to be on Paradise Island, Diana either could not or would not explain.
On a radioed command, the three marksmen opened fire at Diana point blank. Etta had nearly screamed but she need not have worried. In a frantic flurry of motion even a frame-by-frame playback had difficulty catching, Diana deflected the barrage with her bracelets. As the bullets flew, the Princess quickly, unexpectedly, charged the riflemen, not only disarming them but crushing their weapons with her bare hands! It was at this point Etta believes that Major Warren became somewhat impressed!
As impressive as the results of the bullets and bracelets test were though, even Etta was stunned at the extent of Diana’s abilities as demonstrated in subsequent tests. At one point she prevented a Grumman 14A Tomcat fighter jet from taking off from the runway! She simply lassoed the plane’s tail, planted her feet firmly against the tarmac and held her ground! The craft did not move an inch and Warren had to order the pilot to shut the engine down before the plane was damaged by the strain! Diana then proceeded to lift an M1 Abraham Tank into the air. Later, Diana told Etta that her first instinct had been to destroy both the jet and the tank, until she realised they were manned by human crews. Her reservation against harming another human being seemed to visibly annoy Major Warren, who was growing progressively more and more dumbfounded by this enigmatic warrior. For Etta’s part, she finds herself growing to respect Diana more and more.
When the Amazon next out performed the jet in aerial manoeuvres she actually smiled. She told Etta that this was what she preferred – a contest of skill which endangered no one and besides, she adored the sensation of flying!
With the final test over, Warren summoned Diana to his office. Although he was convinced of the truth of Diana’s claims, he thought the U.S. should be permitted to examine and, if possible, duplicate the materials used to form her bracelets and lariat. To say she did not take kindly to this request is to put it mildly! What were perceived as weapons by the Major were to Diana, gifts from the Gods and her sister Amazons. She would not permit anyone to take them from her! It took all of Etta’s composure to stop herself from telling off the Major! Even though Diana had more than proved herself he still seemed strangely ambivalent, even antagonistic, towards Diana.
The whole affair seemed to unnerve the Princess and Etta felt somewhat ashamed of how she must perceive the military. She had come to their world to help them and yet she was being treated like some sort of subversive. After the tests, Diana disappeared for a while from the public eye until the Gordon Godfrey affair boiled over. At least Diana’s acceptance by the other heroes, including the Martian Manhunter who had saved the President’s life, opened the way for the announcement by General Hillary exonerating Diana, Etta, Julia, Steve and Michaelis.
She hopes that the recent problems will not harden Steve against the career he once loved so much.
At Boston International Airport Barbara Minerva’s Special Museum Permit is checked and found to be in order, as her plant “exhibit” is unloaded from the plane. She tells them to be careful as the plant is worth more than their miserable lives! Twenty minutes later in a van making its way down Charles street, Barbara sits up front with her contact in Boston named Tam, while Chuma rides in the back with the crate. Tam asks her what she needs his services for this time? Guns? Men? And what is in the crate? What has she gone and stolen this time? But Barbara ignores him, instead engrossed in the newspaper she holds in her hands, reading the advert regarding Wonder Woman’s Farewell Tour…
At the Kapatelis Summer home in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Vanessa begins to make an entry in her diary. She writes about how she has just received a copy of the photograph taken of her and Diana, where Vanessa is wearing the special “Wonder Woman” bracelets and earrings given to her by Myndi.
On the day the picture was taken, she and Diana had had a long talk and she found out how really terrific the Amazon Princess is. Diana thinks Vanessa is beautiful and she is the first young girl she has ever seen, because when she grew up on Paradise Island she was the only child. The Amazon home land sounds wonderful, Vanessa writes, with beautiful scenery, clean fresh air and crystal clear waters that you can go swimming in every day. The Amazons however also do a lot of “schoolwork” which does not sound so cool, but Diana had told Vanessa that learning is part of growing.
Vanessa also learned that Diana is the only Amazon granted special powers which were a gift from the gods she worships. It seems the Amazons are heavily into their religion! The saddest part of the day was when Diana asked about Vanessa’s father. She had seen pictures of him around the house and wondered what it was like to have a father? Listening to Diana had made Vanessa feel really lucky she had had him for even such a short time before he died.
The two girls had really got along with each other and Vanessa felt such a “dork” for the way she had behaved when they had first met. She would not have blamed Diana for not saving her life!
It was at that point in their conversation that the Amazon Princess got the sudden urge to pick Vanessa up in her arms and take off into the sky! Yes! She had actually taken Vanessa flying!!! It was a little scary at first but after a while it was really awesome! They flew all over the place for hours, talking about anything that popped into their heads. Diana had told the young girl that she was nervous about giving a talk at Vanessa’s school the next day. The English language still confused her at times!
Anyway, the next day came and Vanessa got there really early to tell her friends all about their flight over the city together. Just then Barry Locatelli walked in. In Vanessa’s eyes, he is the cutest boy in the school. Barry came over and talked to her and she became really nervous. He told her he had admired her for ages and said she was cute! She was in heaven!!
So, Diana gave the lecture that afternoon wearing that weird red, white and blue costume of hers. Diana’s English was perfect and all the girls were really excited and started imitating Diana’s Amazon salute, which is when you cross your arms like an ‘X’ and have the bracelets touch each other (the local stores must have sold out of bracelets within a day!). A lot of the boys listened too, except for the usual jerks, one of which pretended to fall asleep while Diana was talking. Barry, on the other hand, listened to her intently. Vanessa could tell because he never took his eyes off her for a second. He is just so different from the other boys! Such a dreamboat! Maybe he will ask her out to next month’s dance?
After school, she and Barry went to the yard where Diana was still talking to some of the kids and even some of the teachers were standing around listening. She and Barry told Diana what a hit she had been with the school!
Around 3:30pm Diana finally departed and Vanessa and Barry were just kind of walking around together. They had heard a group of boys laughing behind a tree, looking at a photograph they had. They were making rude and disgusting noises and so Barry pushed them aside and grabbed hold of the picture. Vanessa was horrified to see that it was a photo of Diana that the morons had drawn all over to make it look really gross and disgusting! It reminded her of what Diana had said in the lecture, about how the Amazons had been treated by the Greek armies. Both she and Barry got fighting mad and piled into the creeps! The teacher had to come and break up the fight and thankfully her mum used her influence to ensure Vanessa did not get suspended as a result. But boy, was her mum mad! She yelled at Vanessa, telling her to apologise to the boys she had hit, adding that Diana would not have acted in such a way. She was right too. Diana never uses violence except as a last resort. Anyway, Vanessa was duly grounded for a month!
Still, at least she still gets to see Barry at school, who was so impressed during the fight that he gave her a picture of himself. He told her she was his “Wonder Woman”! You know, being grounded for a month was worth it!
Midnight, in the corridor outside a Boston apartment, Tam demands to see Barbara but Chuma refuses to let him in. Tam wants to know why she has come half way round the world from her precious Ivory Tower? Chuma calmly replies that she will contact him shortly. Tam lays his hand on the small old man’s shoulders, with the intention of pushing him aside but finds himself instead thrown across the corridor! As Chuma slams the door shut Tam pounds on it in a rage, threatening to go to the police unless he gets his cut of whatever she is planning!
A short while later as dawn begins to break, Barbara walks over to where Chuma is attending to the plant. She asks him if he is sure the letter has been received and he reassures her it has. He then adds that he approves of her choice of Mr. Tam. She replies that it was not her choice and that the plant is far more impartial than she is. But she will need all her strength should the Amazon Princess prove difficult. All she has to hope now is that Wonder Woman believes Barbara’s claim.
Across Town at the offices of Myndi Mayer, the flamboyant publicist surveys the huge poster hanging on her wall, promoting the “Wonder Woman Farewell Tour”. She will eat her hat if there is anyone left in America who has not heard Diana’s message by now! Life has certainly been interesting since the Amazon Princess walked through her door and the commission has not been half bad either! She proceeds to read through a note she has prepared, updating Julia on things…
With the whole horrid Gordon Godfrey problem over and the Military’s public acknowledgement of Diana’s claims regarding the “Ares Affair”, their “Wonder Woman” Tour could not have been better timed! Indeed, the Amazon’s brief period of seclusion has whetted everyone’s appetite to learn even more about her. Being all too aware of the time limits imposed on them by Diana’s mother, Myndi knew that the only way to accomplish the Princesses’ goals was with a juggernaut media blitz. Diana being presented with the Key to the City by the Mayor of Boston and her subsequent appearance on the Johnny Carson show were overwhelmingly positive.
The meeting with the President was the crowning touch though. Because of her busy schedule, she was the only super-hero who had not been honoured by him for her participation in the Godfrey Affair. By arranging a separate audience for Diana, they did not have to share the spotlight with anyone else!
On the merchandising front, stores nationwide cannot seem to stock enough Wonder Woman material. Add to that the licensing of her own monthly comic book to be published by D.C. Comics, as well as licensing her likeness to various clothing lines, huge profits are projected across the board. Since Diana claims she will no longer be with them by year’s end, her share of the profits will be channelled towards a “Wonder Woman Foundation” whose principal aim will be to publicise, promote and encourage the contribution of various women over 40 years old towards equality and advancement.
Although Myndi will miss her client, it may be just as well that Diana’s stay in Man’s World is only temporary. There has been increasing pressure from various religious groups demanding they be allowed to question the Princess regarding her own beliefs. In a recent round table discussion with prominent Christian and Judaic leaders, great concern was expressed about the “pagan” aspects of the mythic Greek philosophy Diana expounds. Indeed, a growing number of fundamentalists and even Atheists have been calling Myndi at all hours to lodge formal complaints.
As Julia is aware, Myndi finally had no choice but to tell the Princess about the problem and it became obvious that the strain of the tour was finally beginning to take its toll. Although Myndi tried to play up the potential positive responses they could make, Diana seemed lost in thoughts of male chauvinism, political polarisation, anti-heroic prejudice and now religious persecution – all still new to her.
Though the tour is finally drawing to a close, the fan mail still keeps pouring in! One letter in particular has caught her attention and she has forwarded it on to Julia. It is from a Doctor Barbara Minerva and strikes Myndi as just the tonic for Diana right now. If Minerva’s claims are valid, they have got a nifty piece of publicity here!
She proceeds to read out the letter from Doctor Minerva, which explains how over the course of many years, the Doctor has managed to procure many items of historical value. Thus, Diana’s own claims regarding the golden lasso have particularly fascinated Minerva. The Doctor then explains that she has in her possession an ancient forged relic that she had been unable to identify until she had reads the account of Diana’s lasso and its supposed origins.
Minerva now believes that this relic is the second girdle of Gaea, once given to Hippolyta by the Goddesses themselves. She is so certain of its authenticity that she felt obliged to inform Diana before making the information public. With this new discovery, she is certain new insights as to the true fate of Diana’s aunt Antiope and the Amazons she led can finally be gained. She firmly believes that several of these other Amazons survive to this day and perhaps the girdle can also help Diana explain her own true destiny in this world.
As a woman herself, Doctor Minerva is excited by these possibilities and hopes Diana will agree to meet her…
Meanwhile, in a darkened alleyway across town, police attend a homicide scene. The detectives stand over the ravaged corpse as a physician inspects the body. The victim has been torn apart by what must have been some sort of animal, though not much blood is in evidence as if the creature then began to eat him. Checking the I.D. they discover the victim is Tamsyn McConnell, a small time smuggler and gun runner…