Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 08

Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 08

* * *

For the next few days, the villagers focused on stripping the dock and ruins of anything of any possible value. Two people were injured in collapsing buildings, and one died, but they picked the ruins clean. In doing so, they learned a large amount and made some surprisingly good guesses. They found a battery-powered flashlight and realized that the copper carried the power that produced the light. That explained much of the use of the wires in the walls of the buildings. They realized that lightbulbs were lightbulbs, and even managed to hook up a light bulb from a ceiling to a battery, and got it to light dimly.

By then the boat sent to Ibiza had returned, escorted by a larger ship. Mosicar and his wife boarded the ship, along with the goods for the trip to Carthage. This was a major risk, and his wife was going along to make sure Mosicar didn’t screw it up. As a rule in Carthage and its territories, the wife was in charge of dealing with the household gods. And, more generally, the household management.

Men were left in charge of politics and fighting.

Queen of the Sea, en route to Egypt, approaching Carthage

September 17

The officer of the watch looked out at the galley off the starboard bow. It had come over the horizon from the direction of Tunis — or at least what would be Tunis in a couple of millennia — gotten one good look at the Queen, then turned tail and run for port.

Honestly, Second Officer Adrian Scott wasn’t at all sure that he blamed them. He pulled up a camera, zoomed in, and took a quick snap. Eighteen oars on a side, a single sail that was not in use at the moment. They were making good time.

Adrian wondered if the rowers were slaves. He wasn’t sure. He knew that some of the ancients used slaves as rowers and some used soldiers or sailors who got paid. And those were probably Carthaginians, and what Professor Easley had said last night was that very little was known about the Carthaginians, aside from the fact that the Greeks and the Romans didn’t care for them.

It wasn’t the first ship they had seen on this watch, and probably wouldn’t be the last.

* * *

Lars Floden waved Al Wiley to the small table in the dining nook of his private cabin. “I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you, Congressman, but the things I absolutely had to do took precedence.” The captain was trying to be polite, but he wasn’t trying all that hard. It wasn’t as if the US Congress was anything he had to worry about three hundred years before Christ was born.

“I understand that the…urgencies, let’s call them…of command can make the long-term consequences of our actions seem to fade in importance.” Al waved at the window. “I note that we are under power and the rumor is that we are headed for Egypt. Is that true?”

“Yes, Congressman.” Floden nodded as Wiley took his seat at the table.

“Is that wise? Wouldn’t it have been better to stay where we were in the hope that we might return to our own time? I only ask these things, Captain, because they are the questions that the passengers are asking me.”

“We have looked into that question, Congressman, and the answer clearly seems to be that there is no chance we will be returned. Are you familiar with what is called the Minnesota Hypothesis concerning the mysterious disasters that befell the town of Grantville in West Virginia and Alexander Correctional Center in southern Illinois?”

Al shook his head. He knew about the disasters, of course. Everyone in America did — probably everyone in the world, outside of a few people in places like New Guinea. But he’d never studied the issue.

“Well, I just spent a fair amount of time with two passengers — both physicists — who have a great deal of knowledge of the matter. The Hypothesis argues that the records from the Alexander disaster are impossible to explain unless an element of deliberate purpose is included in the explanation. The term ‘intelligent design’ is not used, but that is clearly what is being suggested.”

Al’s expression must have looked skeptical because Floden shrugged his shoulders. “I have no opinion on that matter,” the captain said. “But what is relevant to us is that everything we can determine about our situation is that we have suffered something very much like what seems to have happened to Grantville and Alexander prison.”

He gestured toward the window. “Consider two things. First, we have definitely been moved in both time and space — more than two thousand years, in terms of time; almost five thousand miles, in terms of space. Second, the…let us call it the transposition, caused almost no damage to the ship and while it did damage the docks, it resulted in only one fatality. What are the chances of that happening if the disaster that befell us did not have elements of purpose? It would be like an explosion right next to someone that caused no damage except a ringing in the ears.”

Al frowned. “But…what purpose?”

“I have no idea, Congressman. Neither did the authors of the Hypothesis. But it really doesn’t matter, because what is uncontestable is the third feature of the Grantville and Alexander disaster.”

“Which is?”

“Whatever happened, no one ever came back. There is no reason at all to think we would either. So, we have come to the conclusion that we have no choice but to assume that we will remain in this new universe we find ourselves in for…perpetuity, let’s call it.”

Al grunted. “As long as we can stay alive, you mean.”

The captain smiled thinly. “Your words, Congressman. Not mine.”

Tug Reliance, in the Mediterranean

September 17

Captain Joe Kugan muttered curses. He was still in radio contact with the Queen, but they were over the horizon from him now. The Reliance could only make twelve knots, not the twenty-two that was the Queen’s most efficient cruising speed, so the Queen had left them behind. Using the Queen’s charts and the inertial compass as well as the magnetic, they followed as they could, keeping further out to sea just to be safe.

Meanwhile, Joe was cursing himself for a fool for having given away a full load of fuel to the Queen, based on a bill of lading that wouldn’t be good for two millennia and more.

“Captain, sail off the port bow.”

Joe looked up from his muttering and saw the monitor for the mast camera. What he saw was just the tip of a sail, and unless they had someone in the crow’s nest, there was no way they had seen the Reliance. “Bring us a point to starboard.” And more delay.

Queen of the Sea, en route to Egypt

September 17

Dag looked at the designs and wondered. It wasn’t as though there was anything in the designs that the ship didn’t either have or at least could make, but it seemed like a lot of work to fight off a bunch of primitives who couldn’t even climb the hull without a lot of help or a lot of luck.

He was looking at a WikiHow article on how pneumatic cannons worked and could be built. All because Marie Easley was an anal-retentive paranoid. Professor Easley had convinced Jane Carruthers, and Jane had convinced Staff Captain Anders Dahl, that they needed real weapons.

Anders hadn’t bothered to convince. He’d simply ordered.

“What do you think, Romi?”

“It looks fine, Mr. Jakobsen.” Romi Clarke was grinning broadly, displaying the gap in his teeth where he had lost some in a bar fight. Romi had a partial, but it was not something they could easily replace, so Romi wasn’t wearing it.

“How long?”

“It depends. If I have first call on supplies and labor, only a couple of days. We have the piping in stores and the machine shop can turn out what we need. If it’s as we have time, it’ll take a couple of weeks.”

“I’ll check with the staff captain, but for now treat it as when you have time.” Actually, Dag was pretty sure that the staff captain was going to want a higher priority than that, but Dag and the whole crew had a lot on their plates. They were preparing the ship for anchoring in Alexandria, Egypt, and converting the lifeboats to act as loading boats and transports while not losing their functionality as lifeboats. It was likely that this was going to be the fifth or sixth top priority on the list.


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18 Responses to Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 08

  1. VernonNemitz says:

    Question: For “1632” we were told that Grantville was modeled on the real town of Mannington. What ship should we consider as being the model for the “Queen of the Sea”?

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    “As a rule in Carthage and its territories, the wife was in charge of dealing with the household gods. “

    Interesting! Where can I find a source for that? Or is this just some other random BS from our authors?

    • Ron says:

      That sounds a lot like the Spartan model, full citizen Spartan men of fighting age lived in military barracks, their wives ran the family estates.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        Question – where am I as a historian (and I am a historian) can find out about his AMAZING new thing previously undiscovered?

        Or is it a… another made up thing?


        If yes – why not just call your genre “fantasy”?

        • John Cowan says:

          As a historian, you ought to know that the past is mostly lost. Even stories set in the present, which is infinitely better documented, always have the weather and the moon’s changes, and sometimes the geography, arranged to suit the purposes of the writer. Try to find Nero Wolfe’s house sometime — by the address given, it’s somewhere in the Hudson River.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “As a historian, you ought to know that the past is mostly lost.”

            Our job is to find out what really was, and not make up stuff. When you are investigating a crime you strive to find out clues, evidence and facts. That’s the job of the historian. When you make up facts during the investigation of the crime – how would you call such PI or a cop?

        • Ron says:

          Dude if your looking for exacting historical detail maybe you shouldn’t be looking in science FICTION novel snippets…

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Dude if your looking for exacting historical detail maybe you shouldn’t be looking in science FICTION novel snippets…”

            That’s why I’m suggesting that the genre of the novel must be changed for “fantasy fiction”.

            • cka2nd says:

              Flint has been widely praised for the quality of his historical research. Now, you may scoff at that, but you can either go with the flow – unless you expect novelists to footnote their work – or do a little research yourself if you seriously question something. Otherwise, you’re just trolling.

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “Flint has been widely praised for the quality of his historical research.”

                First time I hear about it. Who praised him for that? Were they actually historians?

                What I do remember, that there was a impeding screw up barely averted in Re:Belisarius series.

                And even if you claim that Mr. Flint did deliver in the past historically accurate works, what we see now either shows that:

                a) He made a mistake
                b) It was not written by him.

                I’m more inclined to go with the (b) version, judging by the past examples of his “collaboration” with Huff&Goodlet, where it turned out, that it was this duo writing about 95% of supposedly co-authored book, with his contribution being negligible.

                Them two – they have no reputation for being historically accurate.

                “Now, you may scoff at that, but you can either go with the flow”

                What “flow”? And, wait a minute – did you just without irony tried to endorse unthinking conformity?

                “Otherwise, you’re just trolling.”

                Since when pointing out inaccuracies and asking for the proof became “trolling”?

  3. VernonNemitz says:

    “They were … converting the lifeboats to act as loading boats and transports”
    It seems worth mentioning that I recently took a cruise, and while that particular ship had lifeboats, it also had 3 “tenders” that could double as lifeboats, and were mounted on the ship just like the lifeboats. At one of the ports we visited, there was no dock for the ship, so the tenders were put into service to let the passengers reach the shore (and return later). It seems to me that the fancy new-ish ship in this story should also have tenders among the lifeboats….

    • Doug Lampert says:

      Yep, I’ve also been on two cruise ships that tendered people to shore at various stops, one of them quite old and small, so it isn’t just a “new ship” thing. They may be doing something to the rest of the life-boats, but I would expect them to have at least two tenders aboard almost any cruise ship.

      • John Cowan says:

        Indeed, the Titanic and its sister ships were far too big for any of their ports, and passengers embarked and disembarked solely by tender. The SS Nomadic, one of the tenders, still survives as an exhibit in Belfast.

        • Doug Lampert says:

          But IIRC tenders for the Titantic and related ships weren’t actually carried aboard, they were part of the port establishment. When the main purpose of a cruise ship was transportation this was only sensible.

          Once the main purpose became tourism it became increasingly true that the ship might well be tendering people in precisely because there wasn’t much of a port establishment (or any port establishment in one case). Thus tenders carried aboard are post-Titantic era, but I’d expect it to be the case for anything currently in use.

          • Ron says:

            Major cruise ports that require tender service also tend to have local tender boats to supplement the ship carried tenders to speed up turn around time on and off the vessel. Some of the craziest stuff I saw during my time working aboard happened During tender operations. Night tendering in Cairns Australia watching huge salt water crocodiles cruise around just at the edge of the platform lights.

        • Tweeky says:

          Actually the wharves at both Southampton and New York city were big enough for the Olympic-class liners to dock with.

    • Geoffrey Nichols says:

      the ship I am currently on, Freedom of the Seas, does not have any tenders. probably because when it was built it was the biggest cruise ship in the world and trying to tender 4000 passages would take to long. so it only goes to ports where it can dock.
      it is easy to tell the tenders from the normal lifeboats. tenders have twin screws and liftboats are single screw. the smaller Royal Caribbean ship I have been on all had four tenders, two on port and two on starboard, placed in the middle of the lifeboats above deck four.

  4. onewhowishes says:

    The cover image indicates the Queen OTS was based on the Oasis class.Was it?The name
    indicates it was based in Empress OTS.

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