The book should be available now, so this is the last snippet.
1636 The Viennese Waltz – Snippet 49
Marina was looking at him and he snorted. “All right. I’m not talking about the Partow twins. They’re clever enough, especially for untrained kids, but David Bartley and his grandmother are little more than con-artists who got tied into the down-time local power structure. You know that the down-timers do everything through marriage. And I don’t believe for a second that Bartley was opposed to Delia Higgins’ hotel venture. She got a sweetheart deal, count on it.”
“Never mind Bartley. He’s not coming here. What about Prince Karl?”
“A rich playboy is all. His family’s money plus some good luck. Besides, from what Gundaker said they sent a really bright advisor with him.”
“The Wendell’s seem all right,” Marina said.
“The Wendell’s are tied into the Grantville power structure and that’s why they got their positions, and that’s why the daughters . . . well, the older girl . . . got her job in Magdeburg. From what they were saying back in Grantville, that whole Barbie Consortium was a bunch of underage femme fatales, using their looks to scam everyone.”
“Some of the rumors said they used more than their looks,” Marina said. “I heard that that Susan Logsden didn’t fall far from her mother’s tree and that Velma Hardesty was a slut from way back.”
“Engineering takes time, skill, and training. The gambles they take in Grantville, the lack of proper analysis, is going to come back to haunt them,” Peter said, just like he had said hundreds of times before. And it was true. He was constantly being pressured to do the same sort of sloppy engineering here, but he wouldn’t do it. There were reasons for the regulations they had had up-time and no building or engine designed by Peter Barclay was going to fall down or blow up because he cut corners.
Meanwhile, Emperor Ferdinand was getting impatient and Peter couldn’t blame him. It was just incredibly hard to build engines down-time. He had to do everything himself. It seemed that every part to make every machine to make a part of the next machine took more time and cost more than it could have. People always talked about how skilled these primitive craftsmen were supposed to be, but they took forever, and they wasted so much time on curlicues and fancy work that nothing ever got done. And he was sure in his gut that the new up-timers were going to come in with some trick and steal all the credit for all the work he had done.
In a way, Peter was right. But in a lot of ways he was wrong. The big difference between up-time production techniques and down-time production was not quality, but time. It takes a hellacious long time to do almost anything by hand. And if you’re going to spend that much time on it in the first place, why not add in a little more to make it beautiful as well as functional? Meanwhile, over the past most of a year in Vienna, he had built up the infrastructure to build internal combustion engines. One piece at a time, because he wasn’t good at delegating or trusting, and so required everything to go through him, but it was at least halfway to a finished product.
Peter’s unwillingness to listen to the expertise of the down-time craftsmen who did know how to get the most out of their equipment was slowing things down even more.
Water Park, Race Track City
On the other hand, Dana Fortney was getting along quite well with down-timer ladies, teaching them yoga and therapeutic massage at the water park. The water park had evolved into a combination down-time bathhouse and up-time water park, with an up-time beauty shop next door to a down-time barber/surgeon. Well, sort of down-time barber/surgeons. The up-time knowledge of antiseptics had gone a long way to improve their outcomes. They weren’t in Sharon Nichols’ class — not even close — but they were much better than they had been. In fact, they were getting better results than the professional doctors from the university. The advance of the surgeon from hack to king of the medical profession was starting much sooner in this timeline.
The message was terse and less than informative. It had been sent before it was even known whether Pope Urban was still alive, but other messages in the same pouch had confirmed that the pope was alive but had fled from Rome. Cardinal Borja was claiming that Urban had fallen into heresy, and half the priests in Vienna seemed to believe Borja’s version. The other half was convinced that Borja was a Spanish pawn who was trying to place the whole church under the Spanish crown.
Over the next several days, the situation clarified some. In fact, there were two versions of events, each very clear and insistent. Even strident. Unfortunately, they were mutually exclusive.
In one version of events, Urban had fallen into heresy, abandoning the true church in favor of the Protestantism that the up-time church had fallen into, and — with great restraint and forbearance — the College of Cardinals had remonstrated with the erring pontiff for as long as possible. But the cardinals had finally been forced to take action to defend the faith against corruption. In this version, the true church had been forced to those measures only by Urban’s insanity and the corruption of a faction of cardinals who had abandoned Christ’s message.
In the other version of events, Urban had been in the process of weighing the issues brought into the world with the care and deliberation required by his position as head of the church, when a clique of ambitious and venal clerics under unknown influences had attempted to assassinate Christ’s vicar on Earth and had succeeded in assassinating a majority of the cardinals. But, through God’s grace, the pope had escaped the vile assassins and was continuing to do his duty. He had not decided the issue of the Ring of Fire and, even with the actions of Borja and his mad men, was not going to rush to judgment.
No one knew where Pope Urban was, but wherever he might be, messages from the Father General of the Jesuits confirmed that he was alive. On the other hand, the rump College of Cardinals — mostly the Spanish faction — had, in effect, charged Father General Mutius Vitelleschi of the Jesuits with heresy and insisted that he was not to be trusted. They were, at the least, no longer claiming that Pope Urban had been killed in Rome.
Meanwhile, there had been fist fights and even knife fights between priests of the holy mother church. Fights mostly between orders that were not overly friendly with each other to begin with. The conflict between the Dominicans and the Jesuits had approached riots. Neither faction was all in favor of Urban or Borja, but the Dominicans tended to support Borja and the Jesuits tended to support Urban. According to Ferdinand III’s confessor, Lamormaini was tending toward the Borja faction because of the raising of Larry Mazarre to cardinal, and was feeling somewhat ill-used by Father General Vitelleschi and Pope Urban.
And in the middle of this came the news that Karl Eusebius von Liechtenstein would be arriving within the week, with his fiancée . . . and in an airplane.