Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 25

Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 25

Royal Palace, Alexandria

October 3

Ptolemy looked out at the ship and worried. He had been on board her several times now and everything about the thing screamed disaster waiting to happen. There was disaffection among the passengers and no weapons to speak of. Even if they made weapons, none of them knew how to use a sword or a pike. He doubted most of them could survive a tavern brawl, much less a real battle. There didn’t seem to be a real soldier on the ship, not any. Even their so-called “security forces” would faint like women if they faced a Macedonian phalanx.

But in the hands of a competent general with good troops, that ship could take and hold the coast of Egypt. And holding the coast, it would control all of Egypt. He turned back to Gorgias. “If you fail, I will deny you. Hang you myself, if need be.”

“Yes, Satrap. And if I succeed?”

“Carthage to the pillars of Hercules as your own satrapy.” He gave his general a hard look. “Don’t get greedy once you have the ship. I will have people watching you.”

Gorgias nodded.

Ptolemy asked, “How long?”

“Another week. We have the galleys ready, and the towers are half built.”

“They should have let me provide them with guards,” Ptolemy said and Gorgias was silent. Ptolemy knew that any troops he put on the ship would be his hands and control of the ship would be his, not Captain Floden’s. Still, it would have made things easier for everyone.

He looked over at his general. “Very well. I don’t want to see you until it’s over.”

* * *

Gorgias smiled as he left the royal apartments. In fact, he knew just who Ptolemy had watching him, and his watchers were going to have some very bad accidents once the Queen was his.

Tyre

October 3

Roxane looked out the window at the Mediterranean Sea as Attalus discussed the options. Among the news that they had gotten from the future ship was the information that Attalus would lose to the Rhodians when he tried to gain control of Caria. Though, with the generals in disarray, the Rhodians might not be so quick to fight.

“We still need the link to Eumenes,” said Attalus’ sea commander, a Carthaginian named Metello. “And we should be able to take the Rhodians. It must have been bad luck in that other time. Assuming the tale of an alternate past where Antipater became regent is true and not just a clever ruse.” There was, in fact, almost no information about the fight between Attalus’ navy and the Rhodians, except for the fact that it was over Caria.

“Well, what makes you think we will have better luck this time?” Roxane asked the Carthaginian, ignoring the comment about it being a ruse.

“Attalus had better luck at Triparadisus,” Metello said. “The army is divided and the orders for his execution have been rescinded, at least for this army. The same for Eumenes and the rest. We’re still collecting more forces. We will have a bigger army.”

“Eumenes is not nearly so important now that the ship from the future is here,” Roxane said. “We need contact with them.”

“We need both,” Attalus said. “Metello, you go to the coast of Caria and be polite to — No. I will go to Caria. You will go to Alexandria. Stay out to sea, but send a boat into the harbor to make contact with the ship people. Polite contact.”

That made sense to Roxane, as she thought about it. Metello was a Carthaginian, and the Rhodians were supporting the other side in the conflict in Sicily. Metello wasn’t fond of the Rhodians, and the Greeks weren’t overly fond of Carthaginians in general. Metello was probably not the right man to negotiate with a Rhodian admiral. Still, Roxane was more interested in the Queen of the Sea. The knowledge of the future had already proven vital. More knowledge might well prove the difference between death and survival for her and her son. “I will go with Metello to visit the Queen of the Sea.”

“No! The risk is too great. I won’t put you in Ptolemy’s grasp again.”

“Why not? He wasn’t interested in keeping me last time he had me in his hands.”

“The only reason he let you go was that he wasn’t ready to try for the throne. I suspect that now he is. With the failure of Triparadisus leaving no clear successor to Alexander and no clear regent, Ptolemy will make his bid soon. I want you behind walls with an ocean between you and his army. It took Alexander himself over a year to take this island. You’re safe here.”

“But…”

“No, I said. You have had your say and I listened, but I will not risk the heir or his mother in this.”

Roxane sat silent. She had lost the argument and she knew it. There had never been much chance that she would win it. She and Eurydice were still counters in the game of empire more than players, whatever Eurydice thought.

* * *

It took a couple more days, but soon enough Roxane stood on a balcony and watched two fleets leave. Then she turned, picked up her son, and went inside to wait.

Queen of the Sea

October 10

“How’s it coming, Mom?” Josette Easley asked as she entered the corner that had been set aside for Marie Easley’s use in one of the ship’s internet cafes.

“Tediously. I hadn’t realized how much misinformation was in the electronic record. Britannica is as bad as Wikipedia. It’s not the outline that they get wrong, but the most recent studies are often missing and –” Marie stopped herself. That they could affect history had already been demonstrated. The butterfly effect — the unintentional effect of their mere presence, or the things they said and ideas they promulgated intentionally or not — was less fully confirmed, but seemed highly probable from the results her warnings had produced in Triparadisus. The exact nature of those results couldn’t be predicted in detail, but Marie believed strongly that more knowledge would, as a rule, produce better results than less knowledge. Based on that belief, she had been preparing a book on what was known about this period of history.

“Well, Doctor Miles has a section she wants you to include,” Josette said. “A basic outline of germ theory and how to clean wounds. Dag Jakobsen wants something on canning food and handling sewage.”

Marie considered. Adding the information was reasonable and made sense, but there were issues. Especially with Dag’s part. Canning and canned goods were a marketable product for the ship. She wouldn’t prevent Dag from making his own book, in fact she would help him later. But translating canning and sewage processing information was going to take time that she just didn’t have. The translation programs were adequate for conversational purposes, where confusion or mistranslation could be questioned and corrected. But a book took greater precision and understanding. That meant that Marie and a few Greek speakers were going to have to translate every word. And even the Greek speakers, like Panos Katsaros, spoke modern Greek, not Ptolemaic Macedonian Greek. On the other hand, leaving out Doctor Miles’ section on germ theory would be criminal. “We will include the doctor’s section if she can keep it short.”

* * *

“The steel team has made its first successful pour,” Dag reported to Eleanor Kinney. They were in her office and it was just her, Bernt Carlson and Dag, mostly because the chief engineer and all the other engineers were too busy with their work to get away for this meeting. Bernt Carlson was the ship safety officer and between them, he and Dag as environmental officer, were effectively OSHA for the ship, while Eleanor Kinney was the banker.

They were buying food and raw materials. Iron, copper, zinc, lead and other metals in ore form. Also wood, charcoal, hides and hooves, medicinal plants and other stuff. The Queen of the Seas had an impressive industrial capacity, but in the nature of things cruise liners don’t haul around a lot of raw materials.

Jackie Ward, the chief electrical engineer, with the help of a couple of retired engineers who were on the cruise and a team of engineering ratings, had come up with an induction furnace and blowers to turn iron ore and charcoal into steel. Well, they had come up with the designs, and as of about two hours ago had a small pilot plant running on the pool deck.

They also had a small plant that was — quietly and with no fanfare — starting to use the lead they were buying to make bullets for the steam cannons. But that production process was being done in a compartment, not out in the open where anyone could see it.

“We need more room,” Bernt said. “Putting a steel plant on the pool deck isn’t a good idea.”

It wasn’t a new complaint. Bernt had been making it almost since they arrived in Alexandria. The infrastructure for an industrial base was located on the Queen of the Sea, but it wasn’t readily transferable. They had the power lines and the electrical capacity to power a small city, but they couldn’t pull it out of the ship without effectively destroying the ship. That meant the factories and shops of their small city had to be located on the Queen. And there wasn’t enough room. It was an ongoing health and safety hazard for the workers and the passengers. It was also not something they could do anything about, and Eleanor Kinney was even more tired of hearing about it than Dag was.

“Rodriguez says they have another load of padded leather chairs,” Dag said quickly before it turned into yet another argument between Bernt and Eleanor.

The ship’s carpenter was turning out modern furniture for sale to the locals and daily maintenance was being pushed back. Several of the passengers were hired as extra hands for the carpentry shop, but there were only so many saws and planes and sanders.

Eleanor Kinney nodded at Dag, and made a note. “Good. Atum has a list of buyers for it, including His Nibs, who wants a lazyboy for the palace. Between that, the laundry, and other projects that the crew and passengers have started, we’ll be buying our food without eating more of our irreplaceable twenty-first century gear.”

“If we don’t kill people with the risks we’re…”

“Alert! Riot on the Promenade Deck!” came over the speakers.

Dag was up in a heartbeat. He ran for the elevators.

 

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

16 Responses to Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 25

  1. Ron says:

    The pool deck would be a useable area, because if I was in Dag’s spot recreational water features such as pools and whirl pools would be one of my first suggestions to shut down to the captain. it’s would save literally tons of food grade chlorine and muriatic acid (for disinfection like every pool and pH balancing) that could be used for other purposes first and foremost greatly increasing how long the potable water system could remain chlorinated, which protects everyone on board from water Borne illness. Additionally the piping pumps and sand filters could be used for other industrial applications. so the pool deck would be an ideal place to put heavy industry the pool itself would give you an recessed area where you be able to able to pour fairly large castings.

    There are codes for all types of emergency situations on board cruise vessels, nothing would spread panic faster on a vessel than shouting “riot on the promenade deck” or “fire in the main laundry” over public address. Crews are drilled and trained on the responses regularly, It wouldn’t happen that way.

    • Michael W Crichton says:

      They’re still in the “Have to keep the passengers placated so they don’t riot” mode, so I can see them keeping the pool operational even though it doesn’t make sense on paper.

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    “But in the hands of a competent general with good troops, that ship could take and hold the coast of Egypt. And holding the coast, it would control all of Egypt.”

    Why? No, really – why? You don’t need to “hold the cost” to controll all of Egypt, meaning that this won’t ipso fact grant you total control.

    “If you fail, I will deny you. Hang you myself, if need be.”

    Very unlikely that such method of execution would be chosen – after all, Gorgias is both a general and a vetaran. Something more face-saving could be used instead.

    “Carthage to the pillars of Hercules as your own satrapy.”

    Promising something that you don’t own to begin with… and trusting such promise… That’s, ah, not very bright.

    OTOH – YOU CAN DO IT, PTOLEMY! We belive in you!

    ““We still need the link to Eumenes,” said Attalus’ sea commander, a Carthaginian named Metello.”

    Why the Hell a Carthaginian is serving a Macedonina? Can someone provide me with sources, showing that a large diaspora of Carthaginians served in the ranks of Alexander’s Army and immediately after his death, to his successors? What, there were no Greek – or Pheonician (they are in Tyre right now – hint, hint!) – captains?

    • Geoffrey Nichols says:

      He’s back!
      Missed you the last 2 weeks.

      “he knew just who Ptolemy had watching him, and his watchers were going to have some very bad accidents once the Queen was his. ”
      So Gorgias is not trusting Ptolemy’s promise of “something that you don’t own to begin with” since he is planning to double cross Ptolemy.

      You don’t need a “large diaspora of Carthaginians” to have one person from there serving in a command position. The authors may need a Carthaginian for latter use in the plot and decided to introduce him at this point in the story.

      Now for my own nit picking.
      “I want you behind walls with an ocean between you and his army. It took Alexander himself over a year to take this island.”
      Most of the year Alexander took was spent building a causeway so Tyre is no longer an island. Although it did take Antigonus another year to capture Tyre in 315 BC with the causeway already in place.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “He’s back!
        Missed you the last 2 weeks.”

        You crowd managed to rip the idiocy of what you were fed in those snippets without me. Guess, I’m not the only one finding how incredulous is the plot.

        “So Gorgias is not trusting Ptolemy’s promise of “something that you don’t own to begin with” since he is planning to double cross Ptolemy.”

        …And soon this will all devolve “But does Ptolemy know that Gorgias know that he know that HE know?!”. Who will be more crafty and ruthless – a general or a guy who kickstarted his own dynasty (read: a politician)?

        “You don’t need a “large diaspora of Carthaginians” to have one person from there serving in a command position. The authors may need a Carthaginian for latter use in the plot and decided to introduce him at this point in the story.”

        That’s it – the needs of the plot trump logic. My question about the presence of Carthaginians (not Phoenicians!) in the top ranks of Alexander and Diadochi still stands. And, yes – you need a large diaspora network to go high enough in such early society.

        • Johnny says:

          By your logic, the only way Arnold was governor of California is by a large diaspora of Austrians.

          A single person a trend does not make

          • Geoffrey Nichols says:

            Another Carthaginian, Hannibal a century later, had high positions in both the Seleucid court and the court of Bithynia without any diaspora.

            We have a restaurant in town owned by an Austrian chef, does two count as a diaspora.

            • Lyttenburgh says:

              “Another Carthaginian, Hannibal a century later, had high positions in both the Seleucid court and the court of Bithynia without any diaspora.”

              Yes, because he was:

              a) A widely recognized badass with high “street cred”

              b) An exile from his own home city, who could not work for it anymore.

              In short – a rather spectacular, unique, exception, not the rule. Another such example and from earlier period?

              “We have a restaurant in town owned by an Austrian chef, does two count as a diaspora.”

              I suggest instead of asking such… “thoughtful”… question, you go up and see the definition of the word. A veritable hidden depth might be revealed to you.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “By your logic, the only way Arnold was governor of California is by a large diaspora of Austrians. “

            And where I said “this system remained unchanged for millennia”? I’m talking about Ancient societies – arguments from here and now are hardly working or applied… ‘cept when we are talking about such thing as Mafia, of course.

            Once again, Johnny – show me historical evidence of Carthaginians serving in Alexander’s/Diadochis top military.

    • Ron says:

      The queue would easily allow you to put 15,000 troop (well out side modern safety numbers but not a stretch) on any coast in the med doesn’t sound big until there are 15000 behind your line and 50,000 more in front.mit can literally smash any fleet currently in existence to those men that’s enough assurance they can own anything they chose because that’s exactly how the came to own Egypt and Babylon etc.

    • Ron says:

      The ability to interdict coastal shipping, which is essentially all of it during this period, and blockade the Nile would choke of the commerce that is responsible for most of egypts wealth if you control that you control Egypt.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        The blockade won’t be complete because:

        a) There is still one such little thing as the NILE RIVER, which allows you to trade and send supplies all the way through its length.

        b) The Red Sea.

        Are you going to tell, that Egypt was 100% dependant on external supplies? Since when? Also – where can I read some sources, indicating that ” the commerce that is responsible for most of egypts wealth”(c)?

        • Johnny says:

          He directly mentions the Nile.

          Also, yes. Egypt was dependent on grain exports for its wealth. That is going to be the case for the next, oh, 900 years or so.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Also, yes. Egypt was dependent on grain exports for its wealth. That is going to be the case for the next, oh, 900 years or so.”

            Please – can you show me the amount of sea trade grain export contribution to Egypt’s budget? How did Egypt of, say, 2000-1500 B.C. manage without advanced (for its time) boats and international trade network? How did it survive without Med trade?

Leave a Reply

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