This is the story of Theseus, set to sci-fi. It’s very rough. I might go back and make it better and longer later. For Mythology.
High Consul Aegeus, leader of the New Athenian Republic, desired a child, but was unable to conceive with his wife. He went to Chief Geneticist Pittheus for assistance. Pittheus discovered that there was nothing that could be done, but used DNA from Aegeus, altered in his genetics lab, to impregnate his own daughter, Aethra. Aegeus took Aethra to a rural retreat, and left a box for the child under a rock, telling Aethra to send the child to New Athens with the contents when he was old enough. And so Theseus was born…
The young man stood before the boulder, considering how best to move it. According to his mother, his father had left something for him under it, and as soon as he can move the rock, he will be ready to learn his father’s identity and go join him. However, the boulder had proven most intractable. It would not be pushed, pulled, scooted, rolled, shifted, or even budged. He had exhausted all his options.
All his physical options, at least. Today, he stood before the rock with a small case under one arm. He set it down, opened it, and pulled out a small metal disk. With an easy toss, he got it on top of the rock and then stepped back. A net of energy covered the rock, with a rope of the stuff hanging near him. He took hold of it and pulled, letting the energy in the net do most of the work. The rock rolled aside easily.
He reached into the newly revealed hollow and drew out the box it contained, his eyes gleaming with excitement. With one fluid motion, he unfastened and threw off the lid, looking in awe at the regal items within: a pair of hoverboots, and a golden vibra-blade, with the crest of the Republic on its hilt.
“So, you finally moved it.”
Theseus turned to see his mother, Aethra, standing behind him. “My father… is the High Consul Aegeus?”
Aethra nodded. “Now that you have moved the stone, you are to go to him, in New Athens, to be received as his son.”
“His son…” Theseus marveled at the blade in his hand. “I will prove myself worthy to him before I even arrive.”
He turned towards the edge of the woods, looking in the direction of New Athens, too far away to be seen. “The surface roads between here and New Athens have become the battlegrounds of unscrupulous gangs and petty opportunists. If I forgo the elevated highways and travel the surface, I will show my father that I am worthy to be his son.”
His mother’s face darkened. “Theseus, there’s no need for that. Your father will accept you.”
“But I don’t just want his acceptance. I want his love and respect. If I am nobody, I won’t have that.” A smile curled his lip. “But with sword and hoverboots and genetics, I can make a name for myself.”
Aethra shook her head. “You don’t need to do this.”
“I do, mother.” Theseus hugged her tightly. “I’ll be fine. Better than fine: I’ll be a hero.” He stepped off the side of the mountain, gliding to the surface on his hoverboots.
His mother sighed, looking after him. “His rashness is going to get him into trouble one of these days.”
Theseus travelled rapidly over the rocky ground, his hoverboots allowing him to avoid the difficulty of actually navigating the rough terrain. It took him less than an hour to find signs of life; more accurately, he found signs of death. A village, destroyed, ruined almost beyond recognition, the embers of the fires still glowing.
“Not more than an hour. I can catch them.” He drew his sword, the energy blade humming to life. With a grim smile, he followed the path of destruction, seeing the signs getting fresher and fresher. Finally he saw the rear guard of the gang.
He descended on them like the fury of the gods. His blade flew back and forth, slicing through their patchwork armor like wax. Not a single bandit survived.
The same fate befell another dozen gangs and bandit groups over the next few days. By the time Theseus reached the borders of the New Athenian Republic, his reputation had already reached the point of a local legend. High Consul Aegeus heard the rumors of him, and, not knowing Theseus was his son, he feared that his popularity could lead the people to put Theseus in the position of High Consul.
He devised a plan. A messenger met Theseus at the gates of New Athens. “Greetings, Theseus. The High Consul has heard of your prowess and would request a task of you.”
Theseus was eager to please his father. “I am the Consul’s to command.”
“The High Consul wishes for a hero to hunt down a genetic experiment that has gone awry. A bull, with the teeth and claws and ferocity of a lion, and some extra strength thrown in. It went feral, and escaped into the hills.”
“Does he want it slain or captured?”
“No man could capture it. Slay it.”
Theseus set off into the hills in pursuit of the beast. Subduing it proved simple with the help of his blade and boots, and he rode it back to New Athens. Medea, the wife of Aegeus, knew who Theseus was. She had been genetically enhanced for telepathy, and picked the thought out of his brain. Fearing (rightly so) that Theseus would replace her own son as the heir to the throne, she resolved to kill him before he could reveal to Aegeus who he was.
Medea gave Aegeus a vial of poison, telling him to kill the young man at his victory feast. Aegeus, who still worried that Theseus would incite the people of New Athens against him, agreed to do so. At the feast, a servant slipped the poison into Theseus’ goblet just as Aegeus proposed a toast.
“To the hero of New Athens, Theseus!”
“To Theseus!” the crowd echoed, drinking. Just as Theseus raised the goblet to his lips, however, Aegeus noticed the hilt of the vibra-sword at Theseus’ belt, and recognized it. He stretched out and struck the goblet from Theseus’ lips.
“Where did you come by that sword?” he demanded.
Theseus replied, “It was stowed under a rock by my father, so that when I was ready, I might be recognized by him when the time came.”
“My son…” Aegeus embraced Theseus, and the crowd marveled. When Aegeus released his son, he turned on Medea with a frightful scowl. “You knew. You tried to trick me into slaying my own son! Begone from New Athens! If ever you are seen within our borders again, you shall be executed.”
With Medea and her son banished, Aegeus set Theseus up in the palace, with a suite of rooms adjoining his own. Once the young man had gotten settled in, Aegeus called a meeting of the council, inviting Theseus to it. When they had all assembled, Aegeus explained why it had been called.
“New Athens narrowly avoided a war a few years ago,” he said, “and not without cost. New Crete has required us to send seven young men and seven young women as an annual tribute. The fourteen of them are sacrificed to a mutant creature in a vicious parody of an arena battle.”
Theseus scowled. “When is the next tribute due?”
“Then I will be one of the seven men, and I will slay this mutant.”
His father tried to talk him out of it, but to no avail. When the older man finally gave in, Theseus said, “Don’t worry, my father. When you see the transport returning under solar sail, you will know that I was successful.”
With that, Theseus prepared for the trip to New Crete. When the transport set off from the New Athens skyport, he stood at the prow, looking forward, savoring the anticipation of the battle to come.
Upon arrival in New Crete, the fourteen Athenians were escorted to their holding rooms, where they were met by Princess Ariadne, daughter of the New Cretan King, Minos. She explained to them how they would die, but halfway through her lecture, she noticed Theseus.
All the other Athenians had been lower class. That meant no genetic enhancement. Theseus was breathtakingly handsome, and Ariadne fell for him instantly. When all the others had left, Ariadne held him back. “You’re different from the others. Why are you here?”
“I’ve come to slay the mutant that kills my countrymen.”
“You cannot! The minotaur is invincible!”
Theseus drew the vibra-blade. “I have skills and weapons beyond those of most. I can slay it.”
She bit her lip. “Even if you can slay it, you will not be able to escape the labyrinth.” She drew a small device from her pocket. “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this. It will let you navigate the labyrinth.”
“Thank you.” Theseus kissed her and then joined the other Athenians in the antechamber of the labyrinth.
The gate opened and Theseus checked the device.
In three hundred feet, turn left.
He followed the device’s directions, eventually reaching the center, where the minotaur lay on a pile of bones, snoring. Theseus crept close, but before he could strike, a bone snapped under his foot and the minotaur awoke. With a bellow, it charged him, but Theseus flew up with his hoverboots and sliced its head off with the vibra-blade.
He carried the heavy, stinking, dripping head back to the Athenians, who all cheered and applauded. The victorious group, now including Ariadne, boarded the transport and sailed for New Athens. Night fell on the journey and they were forced to dock at a small island, since the night was stormy and none of them were expert sailors.
While they waited, they partied, and they all got drunk. As soon as the storm broke, Theseus gathered the Athenians and got back on board the ship and set off, leaving Ariadne behind. Theseus, heady with his victory and the wine, forgot to switch from standard propulsion to his solar sails, and Aegeus, thinking that his son had perished, threw himself into the sea.
Theseus was appointed High Consul in his father’s place and ruled mostly happily for some time.