In the endless pain of being tortured, Prometheus was still able to laugh at the Olympians, because as told them, he knew the secret of their inevitable demise. Being afraid now themselves, the Olypians offered him a chance to be set free if he revealed his secret to them. However, he couldn't comply as this would involve his betraying of his love, his love for humanity. He wasn't prepared to make this sacrifice. Thus, instead of pleading with the Olympians and begging them for mercy, he simply laughed at them. He told them in his laughter that whatever pain they could dish out, he could bear forever, because the pain was small in comparison with the profundity of his love and its boundless wonders. He also told them that that they thereby proved that they had no power over him at all, which also proved that they had no claim to be called gods. Thus, he won his freedom without a sacrifice.
"I guess the playwright wanted society to ask itself if it had the same kind of love for one-another that supercedes everything," said Ushi. Then she told her second story, which she said was from the same 'neck of the woods,' but from a slightly later time. She said that the writer of the second story was a writer of prophesy. He had a vision, and in this vision he beheld a woman. The woman that he beheld was naked, but being naked she appeared him as clothed with the sun. She stood upon the moon with her head held high that was crowned with a crown of twelve stars, the stars of rejoicing.
"Both of these stories are stories about love," said Ushi. "The Royal Dance story was modeled after both of these two stories, because my friend Helen found those two stories reflected in her life. She found herself many times in the position of Prometheus when she was challenged to denounce her love of mankind by the demands of small-minded thinking. She always stood her ground just as Prometheus did. She stood her ground for her higher vision of mankind that few shared and that most of the modern 'gods of Olympus' denied. She proved them likewise to have no power, really, and no legitimacy, because she saw herself and all others as arrayed with the sun and as having the universe under her feet and on her head a crown of rejoicing that no one could take away. Thus, her life became the Royal Dance. It became a light for many."
Ushi paused and smiled. "Helen always had a profound answer ready for the gods of Olympus when they raised their ugly head," said Ushi. "Helen's answer always was, to whatever problem came her way, 'what has the problem got to do with anything, does it change the principle involved?' The principle that she referred to is the Principle of Universal Love, the principle of the woman clothed with the sun, the Prometheus's principle, and Helen's principle, which I have also made my own," said Ushi. "The Principle of Universal Love is also the principle of the Royal Dance."
Ushi received a standing ovation that night. The whole crowd was instantly on its feet. At that moment she signaled the music man and when the music started again she continued to dance while everyone remained standing and clapped in the rhythm of the music of her dancing.
Peter and Cath took us to Vegas the next day for the sparkling lights, the swimming pools, the fine restaurants and cabarets. Ushi loved the service at the hotel, the doormen opening the doors for her, the bouquet of flowers in the room, the bowl of fruits and nuts that she found set up there for a welcome present. Still, Vegas appeared somewhat dull in comparison with what we had left behind. The lights of Vegas didn't measure up to the warmth and the excitement of our own shows. The sparkling lights of Vegas were no match for the sparkle in the people's eyes in the desert.
After Vegas, Peter and Cath took us to Tampa. That's where the helicopter had been borrowed. In Tampa we joined hands for another day and two nights of extravaganzas of the most extraordinary rides: the Scream Machine, giant carrousels, the Cork Screw, Satan's Tracks, Tumble Weed, Jungle Drop parachute rides, and the world's biggest water slides in the biggest water park in existence. Then, when the end came, time to say good bye, one more giant surprise awaited us all. This time even Peter and Cath were surprised. "We've got a four day extension," said Peter after he had checked in with his home base.
"And the reason for the extension is?" I asked.
"We have been offered a ride to Athens and back," said Peter. "It's all free. Arranged by some general from on high that I never heard of. We'll be flying with the 908th Airlift Wing from Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. We are going to be 'guests' on the C-141, all four of us."
"Athens sounds exciting," said Ushi.
"I can hardly believe it, we are really going to Athens?" said Ushi as we climbed up the steep crew ramp to a fully loaded C-141. The plane stood in the morning fog, ready to roll onto the runway at Maxwell Base. The sun was barely breaking through. Fog filled the entire airbase.
"Welcome to the C-141 Star Lifter," said the captain as we came aboard. "This airplane is the last in a long line of heavy transport aircraft and the finest ever built. We have unlimited global reach as the only heavy transport in the world that is built with in-flight refueling capability. This aircraft is a part of our country's proud tradition of absolute air-superiority, a tradition that makes the United States Air Force unchallenged in the world."
"I always wanted to stand on the Acropolis," said Ushi as if she hadn't heard a word.
"You will find the modern world of Athens more exciting than this dusty site of ancient relics," said the captain who had evidently expected a different response.
"The Athens of the Parthenon is the Athens of Pericles, the Athens of empire, the Athens of the Peloponnesian War," said I to the loadmaster in support of the captain. The loadmaster was taking his seat behind us, getting ready for takeoff.
"That's precisely why I brought the Acropolis up," said Ushi to the loadmaster, then turned her head to the captain. "I brought the Acropolis up, my friend, because you speak exactly like Pericles did. Pericles had built the Parthenon and other great works on the Acropolis, but he also launched the Peloponnesian War. To Pericles Athena was superior to anything in the world. This imperial dream of superiority over everything became the root for the eventual defeat of Athens. The arrogance of Pericles became its downfall. So, my friend, why do you strive for air-superiority? Why do you strife for superiority at all. Pericles never saw the total defeat of Athens. He died in the war that he created. Be careful therefore my friend, about wanting to be superior. Are we not all human beings right across the world? Why should any of us strife for superiority over another?"
"Don't worry, we will search for the real Athenians," I interjected since the captain didn't care to answer. "We'll look for the Athens of Solon, Socrates and Plato, and of Aeschylus the Athenian tragic dramatist, the author of Prometheus Bound," I said to the captain.
"Helen would love that," said Ushi. "Do they still perform Aeschylus and the Prometheus-Bound tragedy?"
"Maybe they do in back-alley theatres for the tourists," said the captain. "What interests me more, is the puzzle that you guys are? I can't understand what is happening here. Which one of you knows General Tony?"
"General Tony?" I repeated and began to laugh. "Did General Tony arrange our passage to Athens?"
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