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Calendar >  The Full Helios Treatment – Thomas Calabrese

The Full Helios Treatment – Thomas Calabrese

By   /  March 26, 2023  /  12 Comments


Olympus is just an ordinary mountain.

Thomas Calabrese -The ancient Greeks personified the sun as a handsome god named Helios. His astronomical pedigree was impeccable: He was the son of the Titan Hyperion and the Titaness Theia. Helios was also the brother of Selene, the goddess of the Moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Said to be crowned with a radiant burst of sunbeams, Helios daily drove his chariot of the sun, drawn by what the ancient Greek poet Pindar called “fire-breathing horses,” across the sky. Along the way, he delivered sunshine around the world. Helios repeated his appointed rounds each morning after his sister Eos announced the new dawn and he resided on Mount Olympus with the others Gods.

Nico Helios’ grandparents emigrated from Sparta, Greece to Oceanside, California after World War II. Spartans were considered to be invincible warriors during the years that spanned from 434 to 400 B.C. Their uncanny ability to fight had a lot to do with their specific ethics, code of honor and the training instilled in them from childhood.

Helios served eight years in the Marine Corps and received the Silver Star and Bronze Star for bravery in action while assigned to an infantry unit in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. When it came time to re-enlist, he requested embassy duty in return for three more years of active duty and was accepted into Marine Corps Embassy Security Group. After completing the training program, he was assigned to a hardship post in Beirut, Lebanon. After completing 12 months at that location, he requested a transfer to Athens, Greece but it was denied. There were other embassies available in South America and Europe, but Nico had his mind set on Athens. He was informed that if he accepted one more hardship duty station, he would have his choice of embassies for his last tour of duty. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear, but he had been around long enough to know that whining and complaining never gets you very far in the Corps so he volunteered for Bamako, Mali in West Africa.

Another year passed and Nico was standing before Colonel Jackson Breacher, Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Embassy Group who read from a service record book, “Your proficiency ratings are consistently between 4.8 excellent and 5.0 outstanding. You previously requested Athens, Greece, before Mali, is that still what you want?”

            “It is sir,” Nico replied, “More now than ever.”

            “You’ve earned it and you got it, but I’ve got one question, Staff Sergeant.”

            “Yes sir,” Nico replied.

            “Why are you so bound and determined to get to Greece?”

Nico replied, “When I was serving in Afghanistan, I started thinking about it so you can see it has been on my mind for some time.”

            “That tells me how long, it doesn’t tell me why?”

Nico sighed, “Have you ever had a thought get into your mind that you just couldn’t shake? Getting to Athens has been my obsession.”

            “Not that the Corps doesn’t appreciate your service, but there’s other ways to get to Athens than to be assigned there,” Colonel Breacher reminded his fellow Marine, “Some people call it a vacation.”

            “Yes sir, I know, but that would have been too easy, I had to earn it,” Nico said, “For lack of a better explanation, it’s my destiny to do it this way.”

While serving with the Marine Security Detachment in Athens, Nico met Christina Livanos, a beautiful raven haired woman who worked at the American embassy as the liaison officer for the Greek government. There was an immediate connection between them and not just because they were both Greeks. It may not have been love at first sight, but it couldn’t have been much more than three or four weeks before they realized there was a special connection between them. Their love grew with each passing day and it was undeniable, strong and overwhelming all at the same time. The couple decided to wait until Nico completed his tour of duty at the embassy and his enlistment in the Corps had expired before getting married. They didn’t want their relationship to interfere with Christina’s promising career so they were very discreet about their social life.

Christina’s family resided in the upscale neighborhood of Vouliagmeni, a suburb of Athens with exquisite bars, fancy restaurants, pristine beaches and beautiful homes. Three weeks after he left the Corps, Nico and Christina were married at her parents’ home.  Two years passed and Christina was pregnant with their first child and Nico had an excellent job working for Christina’s Uncle Dimitri Marinakis who owned a fleet of cargo and tanker ships. His official title was Director of Security and his office was located at Piraeus, the chief seaport of Athens, Greece.

Nico told his assistant, Spiro, “I’m going to take off a couple hours early. It’s my anniversary and I’m going to surprise my wife at the embassy. If there’s a problem that you can’t handle, don’t hesitate to call me.”

Spiro smiled, “Absolutely…give Christina my best and have good time.”

Black Star (also known as Mavro Asteri) is a Greek anarchist urban guerrilla group involved in violent direct action and had increased their activities around Athens lately. Their next attack would be of epic proportions.

When Nico arrived at 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue, the location of the American Embassy, he greeted the Marine guards at the gate who knew that he had been part of the security detachment. Upon entering his wife’s office on the second floor, Christina looked at her watch and saw it was 1500 hours, “I thought we were supposed to meet at 1700?”

            “I couldn’t wait to see you. If you’re busy, I can hang out with the Marines,” Nico suggested.

            “Give me 30 minutes to finish up,” Christina smiled.  

While socializing with several Marines in the cafeteria, a massive explosion went off outside that shook the building and rattled the windows. Alarms sounded and the Marines received a radio transmission that there was a breach at the main gate and they should go to their assigned posts.

 Evacuation orders were broadcasted over the public address system and Nico ran to find Christina. He saw her with a group of embassy employees coming down the hallway, but before he could reach them, they were intercepted by four Black Star terrorists. Nico immediately realized the severity and urgency of the situation and charged into the middle of the armed intruders. He knocked two of them down with a textbook body block and grabbed an assault rifle and was shot in the upper left arm. Nico disregarded the pain and returned fire. He shot the terrorists and grabbed two weapons from the dead men and as much ammunition as he could loop over his shoulder.  “Follow me!” Nico called out as blood poured from his wound.

Christina tore a strip of material from her bottom of her blouse and wrapped it around Nico’s wound and said,”  “You need medical care.”

Nico gave his wife a reassuring kiss, “Bleeding is a good reminder that I’m still alive. Not exactly the anniversary I had planned, but we’ll make do.”

There were several gunfights going around the embassy grounds and the Marine Security Detachment was starting to get the upper hand over the terrorists. It appeared that this assault was a suicide mission and there would be no prisoners taken. Nico led his wife and the other employees to the flower garden and pointed to a five-foot high stone wall. “Stay there until I come back for you.”

Christina responded, “Remember we have a date tonight…don’t stand me up!”

Nico checked the magazines in his weapons to see how much ammunition he had left. He moved forward toward the sound of gunfire and met up with three Marines and fought alongside them until this group of terrorists were killed. Weakened from his wound, Nico staggered back to where his wife and the others were still hiding. He saw a terrorist hiding behind a tree throw a hand grenade that landed near his wife. He instinctively shot the man and used his remaining strength to sprint to the grenade and throw himself on it. Nico’s body absorbed the full impact of the explosion and his sacrifice saved the lives of his wife and unborn child.

Christina screamed out in anguish and cradled the shattered body of her husband in her arms.  Nico’s last words were prophetic, “I’ll always be there for you.” At the particular moment that his soul left his body, a vapor trail rocketed across the sky to Mount Olympus. Over the coming months, all Christina had to do was close her eyes when the grief became too much and Nico’s spirit came to strengthen and console her. On the day that her son, Alexander was born, a weather phenomenon began to unfold. The morning started off with vibrant blue skies, then thunder began rumbling followed by a torrential downpour without one cloud above. If that wasn’t unusual enough, there was a total eclipse of the sun and for a few minutes there was total darkness before sunlight re-appeared.   Obviously the birth of this child did not go un-noticed by the Gods.

Alexander was truly special, there was an aura about him that was even more unusual than the day that he was born.  He continued to amaze his mother by what was he able to do as an infant, like speaking in complete sentences when he was 4 months-old and walking when he was six months-old. After having a premonition, Christina resigned from her job with the Greek government and moved to the small town of Litochoro at the base of Mount Olympus with her son. It was there where she believed that she would find peace, tranquility and sense of purpose.

Christina began home-schooling Alex and by the age of three and he was already a voracious learner. Philosophy was his favorite subject and when he saw or read something, his mind remembered it in detail. Alex was both creative and analytical, a potent combination.

 By the time, he was five-years, Alex was learning at a college level and spending a lot of time on Mt. Olympus. Any other mother would have been extremely worried to let their young child wander off by himself, but Christina knew this was her son’s destiny.

Alex would often ride his bike or run from his home to one of the nine climbing routes that included Prionia, Mousses Plateau, Kakalos, Kazania and Mytikas and scale the sheer rock cliffs into the abode of the Gods. Sometimes, Alex would be gone for a few days at a time before returning home. All his mother had to do was look out her window at night for the brightest star above and she knew her son was beneath it.

Time passed and Alexander grew up to be an exceptional young man. Like the God of the sun, Alexander Helios pedigree was impeccable. By the time he was 21-years-old, he was the youngest self-made multi-billionaire in the world. There were others that inherited vast wealth, but Alexander earned his through a wide range of opportune investments. Being at precisely the right place at precisely the right time was just one of the benefits of being a descendant of the Gods. It was never about the money for Alex, he just needed sufficient capital to fund his numerous altruistic activities that included animal rescues around the world and feeding multitudes of starving people.

In ancient Greek mythology, the twelve Olympians of the pantheon are Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Dionysus and Achilles was the greatest of all the Greek warriors of his time.  Alex learned from all of them during his numerous visits to the ‘Temple of the Sun’ a massive stone structure that rose majestically from the top of Mount Olympus into the clouds.

He spent so much time growing up around the Gods that transitioning back and forth between the mythological and mortal world became the only life Alex knew. His mother’s strength and guidance was a vital part of his human development. She reminded him, “If you are going to live in this world, you’ll need other skills than those taught to you by the Gods.”  

One of Alex’s mentors was the legendary Heracles, often called Hercules. Heracles was the son of Zeus and Alcmene (a mortal woman) and a Greek hero and demigod. Heracles’ life was full of hardships and struggle, having been cursed by one of the Gods. He could be hot-tempered and violent and often used his brute strength instead of his intelligence to overcome obstacles and problems. It was his human flaws that eventually led to his downfall and eventual death.

He told the young boy, “Not every feeling needs to be expressed and not every thought should be shared. You don’t need to knock down every wall or kill every enemy to win the battle. Discretion is the wisest part of valor.  Some people have called me a champion of civilization and a slayer of monsters, but remember that you are never as good or as bad as others say you are. That is why you need to have your own personal code of honor. Plato told me this, but I didn’t listen because I had a big ego and thought I knew everything. It costs me …big time.”

“I won’t forget,” Alex promised “It was pretty rough at the end for you, wasn’t it?”

“I got poisoned by the blood of Nessus. I should have kept my head on swivel, but love makes a guy do stupid things.”

            “Tough break,” Alex said.

Heracles shrugged, “You know what they say, one door closes and another one opens. When I realized that I wasn’t going to make it, I asked Zeus to end my suffering. He sent lightning to consume my mortal body and then Athena came with her chariot to take my ashes to Mount Olympus. I’ve got no complaints, the food is good, got a nice fitness center to work out and most of the gods are pretty decent. Of course Cupid gets on my nerves sometimes. For further reference, never give a boy with a bad aim a bow and arrow.”

            “Two things are for certain, Olympus will never have a crime, homeless or immigration problem,” Alex quipped.

            “Imagine the wrath of Zeus if some socialist came here and started preaching about shared equity between the Gods. He’d unleash a barrage of lightning bolts like the world had never seen,” Heracles said.

The state of Zacatecas in Mexico is invaluable to multiple organized crime groups, including the Sinaloa Cartel, Guadalajara Cartel, Juarez Cartel, Tijuana Cartel and the Sonora Cartel. Hundreds of millions of dollars in drug and human trafficking pass through this area on a yearly basis. The Cartels maintain an uneasy truce with each other as they flood the United States with their illegal and deadly contraband.

It was a clear day and Alex Helios was casually walking alone on a dirt road when he confronted a ten truck convoy. Five of the vehicles were filled with fentanyl and the other five had young women. It was guarded by fifty heavily armed Sicarios (gunmen or assassins).

Alex spoke in fluent Spanish, “You are out of business. Drop your weapons and walk away and you can live. Fight and you will die.”

There was a collective laugh from the men who must have thought that this solitary man had been in the sun too long and opened fire with their automatic weapons. Alex was carrying the shield of Achilles so he crouched down behind and let the bullets harmlessly bounce off it. He saw a vision of his father who reminded him, “Some people just can’t do things the easy way.”

When the shooting stopped, Alex stood up, looked at the shield and saw that there wasn’t a much a scratch or dent on it. He then pulled out the only weapon that he was carrying from its scabbard, one of Zeus’s lightning bolts that was attached to a leather handle.  Alex snapped it like a bullwhip and it sounded like Thunder. When the tip of the massive electrical charge hit a Cartel soldier, it immediately disintegrated him. In a matter of seconds, the only thing left of the Sicarios were small piles of smoldering ash.

It took a few more attacks on their regular shipping routes and the death of hundreds of men before most of Cartel kingpins began to get the message. There were still a few stubborn individuals whose arrogance exceeded their common sense. These men had become so addicted to the vast wealth they had accumulated from their criminal enterprise that they were not going to just walk away.

For the first time in history, all the Cartels in Mexico and Central America joined forces to eliminate the threat that had come to stop them. A thousand Sicarios with high tech weapons traveled northward through the state of Zacatecas, daring a confrontation with the mysterious stranger. When they came to a fork in the road, a large steel girder that was 50 feet in height and three feet thick was sticking out of the ground. It was split right down the middle and scorched.  These words engraved into it. ‘La Muerte, Sicarios.’

The convoy stopped at the sign and several of the leaders got out of their vehicles, unsure on whether to proceed any further.  They heard a voice high above them, looked up and saw Alex standing on top of the girder. He casually commented, “My friend Socrates once told me, “Free will is impossible without self-control and people without self-control are incapable of free will, so I won’t waste my time offering you the opportunity to turn around. Lucifer awaits your arrival.”

The Sicarios opened fire with a massive barrage of gunfire. Alex snapped his lightning bolt whip a dozen times and the area around the convoy burst into flames and engulfed the smugglers in an inferno of hellish proportion.

China, Russia, North Korea and Iran entered into an alliance for world dominance. There was massive show of military strength at Tiananmen Square in the city of Beijing, China. It was a massive display of military might. Tens of thousands of men and hundreds of pieces of military equipment were on display.

Sitting in review were, Xi Jinping, China, Kim Jong-un, North Korea, Ebrahim Raisi-Iran and Vladimir Putin, Russia, with their entourages and security details. Suddenly, the clouds parted and a comet smashed into two giant inter-ballistic missiles. When the smoke cleared, Alex was sitting among the world leaders. The guards rushed at him and he threw them aside like they were plastic toys. He greeted each world leader in their own language and commented,

“The parade is cancelled,” Alex flicked his flaming whip and destroyed ten more pieces of multi- million dollar equipment and added, “Achilles told me that bad leaders lose their taste for war where it’s their lives that they are risking and not the soldiers who follow their orders. No matter what you hope to accomplish, you won’t be around to see it.”

The four leaders looked at each other, confused on how to respond to this unusual man and his threat. This was a situation where the collective delusional philosophy of these world leaders was so ingrained into their existence that words could never convince them to do the right thing. Alex pulled out his lightning whip and wrapped it around the four men’s necks, lifted them off the ground and dangled them like toys in the air until they had almost choked to death. Gasping for air, the four dictators fell to the ground and by the time they regained their composure, Alex was gone.

When he got back to Mount Olympus, Alex rode his motorcycle down the narrow forest trail to the road. His mother opened the door when she heard the sound of the familiar engine approaching and greeted her son with a big smile, “How was work today?”

            “Nothing special…I gave them the full Helios treatment. Most of the credit goes to the Gods,” Alex answered humbly.

Christina saw the magical place in the distance and reaffirmed the obvious “Son, you are no more an ordinary man than Olympus is an ordinary mountain.”

The End


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  1. john michels says:

    What a fun work of fiction. Too bad such is not the case in this world

  2. Tom says:

    I bet this was fun to write! I enjoy mythology and you knocked this one out of the park with Alexander Helios! Too bad the lightning bolt whip didn’t finish the job on those four murderous leaders!

  3. Robert T. says:

    Loved it. keep up the good work.

  4. Robert says:

    I liked reading your story. Different but entertaining and enjoyable.

  5. wolf says:

    Alex and Wonder Woman.
    That would be a dating match.

  6. Tony says:

    Great review of Ancient Greek Mythology intertwined with current events in this weeks Sunday Story by Mr. Thomas Calabrese in the Vista Press.
    He took this story full circle and around to our countries present issues very smoothly. Our county is facing some seriously issues should these hostile nations ban together against our country. America has met and overcome adversaries in the past but our world has changed. Countries have large arsenals of mass destructive weapons that can move very quickly and with devastating effects. We can only hope to ward off some attacks but it is not likely we can stop all of them especially if attacked by a number of nations at the same time. Even if we retaliate in great force we could leave or trigger undesired effects around the world.
    Climate change may not be an issue. Very interesting and informative story Mr. Calaboose. Thank you for awakening or reawakening our minds of Greek Mythology and reminding us we have countries that do not concur with American policies. And “Yes” Drugs are a Big Problem in many countries that we could do without.

  7. Clyde says:

    I love Greek Mythology and the mixture of current events made it even more enjoyable.

  8. Jon Gregory Nielsen says:

    Mr. T,

    I still remember the very first day we met one another ? Do you…??? (Not to put you on the immediate spot) . This weekend’s story from you reminds me of the first day I met you. I was fascinated by your creative, positive and hilarious wit.

    Amen always, dear friend,
    Bunky Chabot of Turlock

  9. marty says:

    Great story Tom. Was that double the usual length of your stories?

  10. Mona says:

    I thought this was a very interesting story. I also enjoyed learning so much more about Ancient Greek mythology.

  11. Skip says:

    Alex Helios. He is a “sun” of a gun! Good job!

  12. Tamra says:

    The story is more about Greek mythology,!!! As a servant of Christ Jesus, I know that there is only One True God. He is The God of Heaven and of Earth and to Him I owe everything! I know that There is no one greater than He is!!! Good writing my dear friend Tom!

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