Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 14

Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 14

Chapter 5

Triparadisus

September 20

Eurydice sat on the couch, leaning against one arm and listened to the soldier read out the report from the signal fires. She knew that someone had gotten the size wrong. There was no way a ship could be that big. It wasn’t possible. Philip, though, was mumbling and Eurydice slid over to listen. He was muttering numbers as he often did. Philip wasn’t stupid, whatever the others thought. He just thought differently. He didn’t understand the value of a drachma and he never looked at people directly, but he read everything he could get his hands on and was constantly doing calculations. It was more than simple counting, what Philip did. He understood the world through numbers, shapes and vectors. So she listened carefully and began to wonder. Philip seemed to think it was at least possible.

Once that was out of the way, Eurydice got up and moved over to Roxane, who was sitting in state across the room. Philip would be busy with his calculations for a time. “What do you think?”

Roxane sniffed dismissively and Eurydice wanted to slap the spoiled bitch, but managed to restrain herself. She waited, and after a moment Roxane said, “With the army in the state it’s in, it could mean anything. Remember, Antipater is on his way, and will be arriving in no more than a week.”

“I’ll deal with the old man,” Eurydice said.

Roxane looked back at her. “Don’t underestimate him. Your hold on the army is weak, and Antipater has the rank. These are soldiers, Eurydice. Unpaid and angry, but soldiers. They are conditioned to respect rank.”

“They killed Perdiccas,” Eurydice insisted.

“No. Peithon and Arrhidaeus killed Perdiccas, and the army let it stand. And that only after the idiot had lost a third of the army trying to march them across the Nile.”

Eurydice didn’t like Roxane, but had to admit that the woman was astute. She understood politics, even if she lacked the guts of a Macedonian. Now Eurydice considered what that would mean for herself. Roxane was probably right about the reverence that Antipater was held in by the common soldiers, especially since they hadn’t had to deal with the old man for decades. Antipater wasn’t fond of Eurydice, and Eurydice didn’t trust him. She didn’t trust any of them. But old man Antipater despised anything that wasn’t Macedonian, and despised women even more than he did Greeks. Until now, Eurydice had been planning to continue her bid for the regency, or at least a real place on a regency council. But with Antipater running things, that seemed a lot less likely to succeed. She would need to push the sub-commanders so that the old man didn’t get to use his rank. “Do you want to be left in Antipater’s hands?”

“Do you think we have a choice?” Roxane hissed at her, her eyes slitted. “Disabuse yourself of the notion that we are queens, little girl. We are no more than bargaining chips in the game of power that the generals play now.”

“Is that what you want?” Eurydice hissed back. “To be a playing piece?”

“It’s –” Roxane started in what was almost a shout and suddenly everyone in the room was looking at them. Roxane looked back and they looked away, then she continued much more quietly. “It’s not a matter of what we want or don’t want. It’s a matter of what is.”

“But the ship,” Eurydice insisted. “It changes things, doesn’t it?”

“Maybe. If it’s real, and not some plot. At this point, how it changes things is anyone’s guess.”

Eurydice turned away from Alexander’s beauty and went back to Philip. The woman’s perfume was giving her a headache.

Reliance, Alexandria Harbor

6:23 AM, September 21

Joe Kugan saw the bulk of the Queen of the Sea rise out of the horizon with a mixture of relief and resentment. He’d had plenty of time to think as he made his slow way across the Mediterranean Sea. Everything was left back in the future. His wife, his sons, the company…everything. Meanwhile, he and his crew had been left behind by the Queen as she rushed off to Alexandria. They could have gone slower. They could have waited, but they didn’t. Well, fine. If they were going to be that way, so was he. The Reliance was his ship, and the fuel oil on her was his fuel oil. His and his crew’s.

“Radio message, Captain,” Michael Kimball said. “They want us to pull up on the starboard side of the Queen and prepare for fuel transfer.”

“We’ll go ahead and pull up to the side, but not a drop of our fuel oil is going to leave the barge till I have a few things settled with Captain Queeg over there.”

“Fine by me, Captain,” Michael said with a grin.

* * *

“The Reliance confirms that she will pull up alongside, but says that refueling will have to wait until a price and a medium of exchange are established.”

“Fine.” Lars Floden rubbed his eyes. He had been in meetings almost nonstop since they reached Alexandria. Meetings with the cooks and the engineering staff as they tried to come up with ways of separating the wheat from the chaff and grinding the wheat into flour suitable for making bread. Fortunately, there was yeast in the bakery. By using some of that, they had established a good colony of twenty-first century yeast, which they might be able to sell to the locals because clearly the Queen’s bakery turned out better bread than the locals. Then there were the meats, which often had tapeworms and other parasites. For right now, that was being handled by cooking everything well done. The vegetables were of indifferent quality and it was all expensive.

In spite of the amount of the provisioning problems Jane handled, a load of it had made its way to the captain’s desk because people didn’t like the answers Jane gave them. “Set up an appointment with Captain Kugan and the staff captain.” Lars felt himself smile. “And include Congressman Wiley. If he wants to be involved so much, let him tell Joe Kugan that the oil in Barge 14 is owned by all the passengers in common.”

“Yes, sir.” Doug smiled and pulled up the captain’s schedule. It was — unsurprisingly — full. It would be the next afternoon before the captain, staff captain, and Congressman Wiley would all be free at the same time.

Royal Lounge, Queen of the Sea

September 21

“Not at all, Captain Kugan. I agree completely. You and your crew own the Reliance and the fuel on board her as well.” Al Wiley smiled generally around the room and even snorted a laugh at the captain’s expression. “You always knew I was a Republican, Captain Floden, not a communist. I am simply concerned that all the, er, found wealth be shared out in a reasonably equitable manner. The people on the Reliance own the Reliance. The people on the Queen of the Sea own the Queen of the Sea.”

By now Kugan was looking smug, Floden was looking pissed, and Dahl was looking ready to chew nails and spit tacks. Which was pretty much what Al had been going for in all cases. “You and your crew have a valuable ship there, Captain Kugan, and a valuable cargo. However, it’s a very limited cargo too.”

“What do you mean?”

“You don’t have machine shops on the Reliance. You can’t fix anything that can’t be fixed by hand. You don’t have food, water or the means to get any of those things on your own. Perhaps most important of all, you don’t have someone who can speak to the locals to allow you to negotiate with them directly. And even if you could, what makes you think they would negotiate in good faith?”

Royal Palace, Alexandria

September 21

“We need to learn their language,” Dinocrates said. “I don’t like the idea of everything we say going through that woman. There’s something odd about her. For one thing, I’m sure she’s much older than she looks.”

Atum suppressed a grin when Ptolemy looked first at his hetaera, Thaïs, then back at Dinocrates.

“There are options, Philos Dinocrates,” Atum said. Philos was a court title roughly on a par with the later “count,” and had been given to Dinocrates by Alexander when he was given the job of overseeing the construction of Alexandria. Ptolemy reaffirmed the title when he was made satrap of Egypt by Perdiccas at Babylon, just after Alexander’s death.

“What alternatives?” asked Ptolemy.

Atum bowed. “They have a sort of magic slate.” He waved to Dinocrates and Crates, as well as Lateef. “We’ve all seen them.” Atum was referring to the e-pads and phones with their gorilla glass fronts. Something that you really had to see to believe. “Please withhold your judgment on our sanity until you have had a chance to see them. In any case, there is a demon or ghost they call a program that can be placed in the slates, and it can translate, if not well. Its Greek is barely understandable and it speaks no other tongue known in this time.”

“I thought they knew Egyptian in that future,” said Thaïs.

“So, apparently, did they,” Lateef said. “The language of my home has changed even more in the intervening centuries than Greek has. What about Latin, Atum? Didn’t Marie say something about the translation ghost having Latin?”

 

This entry was posted in 1632Snippet, Snippets. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 14

  1. Cobbler says:

    One time in Alexandria, in wicked Alexandria
    Where nights were wild with revelry and life was but a game,
    There lived, so the report is, an adventuress and courtesan
    The pride of Alexandria, and Thais was her name.

    • zakryerson says:

      Meanwhile, in peace and piety, Abandoning all society,
      There lived a group of holy men who built a refuge there ……….

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    ““There are options, Philos Dinocrates,” Atum said. Philos was a court title roughly on a par with the later “count,” and had been given to Dinocrates by Alexander when he was given the job of overseeing the construction of Alexandria. “

    What?! In what universe? Is it really hard to just explain the meaning of the titles, because they, quite often, have no equivalents at all?

    Btw – what “philos” he is? Philos Basilikos (“Friend of the King”) or Protos Philos (“First friend”)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aulic_titulature

    And that was the court/palace ranking system in the later Ptolemaic Egypt. We have no sources of it being used earlier.

    And we have no (N-O) source which would claim that Dinocrates held any of these titles. At all. So here Ptolemy might have adressed him simply as “friend” (which us still rather improbable).

    ” What about Latin, Atum? Didn’t Marie say something about the translation ghost having Latin?””

    What’s with the authors and their obsession with Lation? No one cared in that time about the upstart Rome. Yet.

    Thais has always been my favorite charater in the times of the “Alexandriad” and after. Whatever she does or plots or cajles Ptolemy to do – I’m with her.

    • cka2nd says:

      And now I want to check out the historical and science fiction of Ivan Yefremov.

      Thanks, Lyttenburgh.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Thais of Athens” is excellent work (read it 4 years ago), that deals not only with history of the period, but also with religion(s) and philosophy.

    • Johnny says:

      “What?! In what universe? Is it really hard to just explain the meaning of the titles, because they, quite often, have no equivalents at all?”

      Well, yes. This is a novel, not a textbook. Getting a page and a half of infodump any time a title from 2400 years ago is dropped would ruin the story.

      “What’s with the authors and their obsession with Latin? No one cared in that time about the upstart Rome. Yet.”

      Uh, well, for one, our entire culture, much of our language, our scientific vocabulary, our civic institutions, the symbols of power, and our military ideas ultimately derive from Rome. Also, from Germany to Russia to the United States, most major western powers have, at one point, claimed the mantle of successor to Rome. Also, at this point, Rome is not a global power but is certainly a major regional one. Fully apart from the authors, the ship residents are going to be obsessed with a Republican Rome set to achieve its “destiny”.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Well, yes. This is a novel, not a textbook. Getting a page and a half of infodump any time a title from 2400 years ago is dropped would ruin the story.”

        1) There are footnotes. Or a glossary at the end of the novel. Or other ways to do that.

        2) Meaning that other meanderings by Huff&Goodlett are not ruining the stroy already?

        “Uh, well, for one, our entire culture, much of our language, our scientific vocabulary, our civic institutions, the symbols of power, and our military ideas ultimately derive from Rome. “

        We are talking about the people (Greco-Macedonians for the lack of the better term) who are the dominant culture in their own time, prior to Rome. They should not care.

        ” Also, at this point, Rome is not a global power but is certainly a major regional one.”

        Hardly. Carthage was more powerful regional power in the West-Med. They should think about Pheonician language instead.

        • Johnny says:

          “1) There are footnotes. Or a glossary at the end of the novel. Or other ways to do that.”

          Or not. Informing people that “philos” means “Friend of the king which means an amount of power not dissimilar to early modern nobility but god forbid we just say Count” doesn’t help the story

          2) Meaning that other meanderings by Huff&Goodlett are not ruining the stroy already?”

          Meandering… worldbuilding… one of the two

          “We are talking about the people (Greco-Macedonians for the lack of the better term) who are the dominant culture in their own time, prior to Rome. They should not care.”

          That’s idiotic. THEY KNOW THE FUTURE. THESE ARE OUR CULTURE ANCESTORS. Everyone is going to care. Everyone “knows” Rome is a Republic (although they are closer to the Venezuela style republic than ours). Everyone “knows” Rome is the big bad boy on the block who is destined to conquer the world and make Europe a center of culture. Everyone will “know” that the weirdnesses they see from the Greeks and Persians will be swept aside by the Romans. It won’t matter if any of these are true.

          “Hardly. Carthage was more powerful regional power in the West-Med. They should think about Pheonician language instead.”

          Carthage was a global power… but it had serious structural issues. Rome was far more able to conquer and administer territories at this time. For that matter, we have far – FAR – more data on Latin, some of the passengers speak Romance languages, a huge portion of English is eventually based in Latin, and Latin is an Indo-European language that is far more similar to modern languages than any others spoken at the time. While Latin at this time is not a lingua franca for down timers, it is a helpful stepping stone for up timers.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Or not.”

            Indeed. The authors decided to “epgrade” him – not me. There won’t be any need ofr this discussion should someon refrain from outlandish cross-temporat tytling.

            Meandering… worldbuilding… one of the two

            They decided to:

            https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/b1/92/04/b192041a6f2d019939780150af1aa9cf.jpg

            “That’s idiotic. THEY KNOW THE FUTURE. THESE ARE OUR CULTURE ANCESTORS. Everyone is going to care. Everyone “knows” Rome is a Republic”

            Donwtime Egyptians (understood broadly) know nothing about this. Go ahead and apply your biases against them/

            Once. Again. Talk not with me – talk with the charatcers in the here and now of the earky 320s BC. Not “us”. With “them”.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Or not. Informing people that “philos” means “Friend of the king which means an amount of power not dissimilar to early modern nobility but god forbid we just say Count” doesn’t help the story”

            Once again. No one forced the authors to do such a thing. I.e. naming him a “Philos”. We’d awioided the whole mess if they just shut up, given the fat that no historical source claim that the person in questio (Dinocrates. if you already forgot that) held no such title.

            As for your anti-Crathaginian rant – once again, I’m taking avout here and now of the Hllenis tic people o of early 320s BC. What you are talking about I have no idea.

    • Ron says:

      Its currently spoken regional language they can easily acquire a Latin speaker that cant be said of English.

  3. Tweeky says:

    “What about Latin, Atum? Didn’t Marie say something about the translation ghost having Latin?”

    The current form of latin spoken in 330 BC is Old Latin and I don’t know which form of latin would be on the tablet but it is probably Late Latin or Mediaevil Latin of which Atum might have trouble understanding.

    • Andy says:

      The bigger problem would be that such an application would hardly be able to recognize any spoken latin, since there were no native speakers around.

      With current translation technology, even text-to-text much less speech-to-speech you can’t even run the program on an average desktop PC, much less a mobile device. You’d need a beefy cloud server to do that, preferably with a few GPUs. But in this story, they can even modify and retrain the translation software with different languages.

      Of course, that is permissible in terms of artistic license. Describing the details of how this translation works is completely beside the point.

  4. Wolf-U says:

    Spoiler alert! Just finished chapter 8 in the free sample chapters (http://www.baen.com/bookdata/schedule).

    Whats going on? Steam cannons? I was under the impression they were to use air cannons. Where are they getting the steam, the ships laundry? I was under the impression that the ship used multi-fueled gas turbines as the main engines. Steam is no good for local storage. Scuba tanks or oxygen bottles at 3000psi would do the trick. A Caselman air powered machine gun of 50 cal. or more, on a cut down caster task chair, for mobility, would be formidable. Buy some armor to test it on before deciding on the cal. Round ball may be inadequate. May need a 3cal. long pointed slug, which would make molds easier to make.

    PVC air powered mortars would be good for flinging Molotov cocktails at the highly flammable ships of the time. An air or black powder powered spigot mortar could be used to fling a wide assortment of warheads, too.

    Crossbows would seem to be a good idea, Firing over the side at archers on nearly the same level would quickly swamp them, if close enough.

    If intruders do get aboard, dropping the water tight doors may be th only way to stop them. I am sure that there are many other things that others have thought of out there.

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      Wolf-U, please don’t post any spoilers from the sample chapters.

      Also, it is not polite to talk about whatever “you” read in the eARC.

      • Wolf-U says:

        Dear Drak Bibliophile

        I went back to chapter 4 & found that they were talking about steam powered cannons not air powered. Powered by high pressure steam fire-fighting gear? I haven’t looked into that as yet.

        As for the free sample chapters, you may have no control over when they are released, but they are there for all to see. I only came upon this book’s, a few days ago.

        I have been thinking on how to defend a passenger ship, dropped into the time of chaos after the death of Alexander, ever sense I first laid eyes on the cover art.

        While crossbows & ballistas were some of the first things I though of, they would not be feared by the locals. Crossbows may have the range, bows have the speed. So I though about what they may have on hand to make more modern weapons. See my other post. I only let out a small fraction of my thoughts. The authors may use any of my thoughts I post to improve the book, if not too late.

        Another thought, while ammo for the hand guns is finite, the real problem with reloading is not the gun powder but the primers. Even with something like strike anywhere matches to reload them, they will quickly fail after a few uses. I will not say that they can’t be made on the ship, high preseason parts, but the cases would be the next failure point. A stopgap at best.

        While I do read the Snippets & the free sample chapters when I have the time, I have no excess money to buy the eARC. So I have never read any eARC, only what is free online.

        • Drak Bibliophile says:

          No, I was asking you politely to refrain from commenting about what you have read that hasn’t been covered by the snippets.

          Yes, the sample chapters are “freely available” but I see no reason that You Had To Comment Here.

          I consider refraining from commenting on the sample chapters or the eARC a matter of politeness toward the other people here.

          • Ron says:

            Wolf-U just so you know Drak is the site moderator

            • Wolf-U says:

              I see now that I should have made these comments at Snippet 12,when I first though of them. Unfortunately I had no time to do it. A day or two later I was trying to find the publication date for another book, when I saw that the free sample chapters were out. After reading them, I was struck by what I thought was a change from air to steam, in chapter 8. I should have gone back & reread the passage, in Snippet 12, or captor 4. I may have become confused by something said earlier when they first were looking for weapons in their database?? A few days with little rest didn’t help maters. I will try to keep things strait, if I ever post again.

              • John Roth says:

                Also, please remember that snippeting is usually from a draft which has not been copyedited. These problems will show up, as will spelling errors and other stuff that will be caught by the copyediting process.

    • Ron says:

      Fire screen doors would also be helpful in that and there many more of them throughout the vessel as opposed to just the lower decks, More important is keeping aggressors from gaining access, I had already mentioned reinforcing the embark/debark area just clear of the swing of the hydraulic shell doors at the tender platform with lockable doors in fact it should be a series of doors to ensure no one can bum rush the security there. This would allow the door to “sweep” the area clear as they are closed. Instituting sweeps around the harbor in the fast rescue boats (at lower speed, keep the full capability in reserve) to the portions not visible from the vessel might help catch ymobilization of forces.

  5. Ron says:

    Captain Kugan’s cargo is of extremely limited utility to the locals, granted it would probably make fantastic lampoil, but he is likely to get a better deal from the Queen.

    Biggest potential point of failure now that reliance has arrived is that ITB’s that’s integrated tugs and barge’s generally have low sterns making a possible boarding action against her chance of success when combined with her much smaller crew far greater. If gorgeous George can take and hold the reliance the Queen can be forced to negotiate of the locals terms.

    In a worst case scenario: I see Captain Floden standing on the bridge, after beating back the assault on the queen, looking out on the reliance as she burns, and saying now we are screwed.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “If gorgeous George”

      That’s not his name. That’s a lame invention by the authors who wanted to fill their obligatory word count quote. Gorgi(da)s is the name.

      And, yes. He must totally capture at least one ship.

      • Ron says:

        Clearly it’s not his name, it only amuses me because I worked with a few “Yorgos” (phonetic English spelling) who were legends in their own minds.

      • Johnny says:

        You think people appending nicknames to others with unfamiliar names is unrealistic?
        Bro, do you even human interaction?

  6. Based on past evidence, Assitti shrouds drop people into alternative universes, so whining that Macedonians did not have gear devices are simply proofs that they are in a different universe than ours, or not, and incidentally from a different universe than ours.

    Whining about ‘historical’ accuracy may now cease.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Based on past evidence, Assitti shrouds drop people into alternative universes”

      Just how much “alternative”? They become “altermative” only by the fact of the “drop”. The laws of physics and logic stay the same – as is the history prior to the “Event”.

      I’d also like to see a source for your claim that these “universes” are sooooo alternative so that they allow idiocy and handwavium like that to become a reality. And, yes, I read RoF books – most of them.

      • Johnny says:

        I’d like to see your source that

        “Just how much “alternative”? They become “altermative” only by the fact of the “drop”. The laws of physics and logic stay the same – as is the history prior to the “Event”.

        We have zero evidence of that and it has never been explicitly stated.

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          “We have zero evidence of that and it has never been explicitly stated.”

          I’m sorry – I honestly do not understand. Care to clarify here?

    • Andy says:

      Maybe these particular macedonians haven’t seen a lot of geared devices…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *