Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 17

Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 17

Chapter 6

Royal Lounge, Queen of the Sea

September 22

The tension in the bright and airy room could be cut with a knife. Captain Floden was keeping his poker face on, but Staff Captain Dahl was visibly bristling. Marie Easley, Amanda noted with carefully hidden amusement, was unbothered and perhaps even unaware of the tension. She was busy with a slate, checking pronunciations and tweaking the Greek translation program. She had an ear bud in one ear and was apparently paying no attention at all to the looks she was getting from the crew and, for that matter, Congressman Wiley.

“If you don’t find us too distracting,” Captain Floden said, “we’d like to discuss the warning you decided to issue to the locals about upcoming political events.”

Marie looked up. “Why?”

“Because it might have interfered with our negotiations with the locals on any number of matters. We’re expecting a visit from Ptolemy later today, and we have no idea how he reacted to your news,” Staff Captain Dahl said, and Congressman Wiley — for once — nodded in agreement.

“What are you nodding about, Congressman?” Dahl said hotly. “You’ve been half a step from open mutiny for the last three days.”

“Anders, calmly, please,” Jane Carruthers said, then looked at Wiley. “Not that I don’t agree with him, Congressman.”

“Then you are mistaken, Ms. Carruthers. The passengers are concerned, and rightly so. We have no plan. We simply react. If Professor Easley is to be censured for not following the plan, then there ought to be a plan. Not that I think she should have blurted out the predictions like a seeress at Delphi. Certainly not without consultation. But how can we expect her to follow the playbook if there is no playbook?”

Marie was now looking back at the slate.

Captain Floden held up a hand. “Believe it or not, Congressman, I tend to agree with your complaints, though I don’t agree that they justify incitement to mutiny.” He turned to Marie. “Is that why you went ahead and told them, Marie? Because there was no plan?”

“Not at all, Captain. I said what I said after careful, if quick, consideration, based on my judgment. I am an American citizen, even if America is lost in a distant future that will probably not happen at all. No one on Earth, either in the time we left or in this one, has the right to tell me I may not speak my mind. Some may, at some point, have the power to do so, but they still won’t have the right.”

She turned to Congressman Wiley. “‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’ My right to speak my mind is not yours to restrict, nor is my right to paint myself blue and worship sacred groves, should I choose to do so. Not yours, or all of Congress, or the captain and all his crew. And, Congressman, you have sworn an oath to defend that right of mine and all the others.”

Amanda wanted to cheer. She looked around the room to see consternation on all the faces there. Then Captain Floden spoke up. “No one is trying to restrict your rights, Marie. We are simply asking for a bit of restraint in…”

“Captain Floden, I am not impressed by sentences that contradict themselves. If you are trying to impose restraint, you’re trying to restrict. You can’t do the one without doing the other.” Marie took a deep breath. “Congressman Wiley is right that we need a plan, but the first thing we need to decide is are we to be free people or helots.”

“Or whats?” Amanda asked.

“The helots were the — no, still are — the slaves of the Spartans, though the status has probably changed by now, from outright slavery to something closer to serfdom. My point is that I am a free citizen, not a helot. I did not yell fire in a crowded theater, so I acted completely within my rights. I, at least, intend to remain a free citizen, and I expect my rights to be respected.”

“We take your point,” Jane Carruthers said soothingly.

“Yes, we do,” agreed Captain Floden. At least, he seemed to be agreeing, until he continued. “But we are in a ship at sea, under what must be considered emergency conditions.”

“First of all, Captain, I don’t concede that we are in a state of emergency. The word is quite specific. It refers to an immediate threat, not to a generally dangerous situation. But even if we were, absent me shouting fire in that crowded theater or somehow interfering with the crew delivering instructions to other passengers, you would still have no right to restrict my speech.”

Congressman Wiley held up a hand, like a student asking for attention. When Marie looked at him, he said, “I’m convinced, Professor. You had a perfect right to speak, whether it was wise or not. But having established that, what were you trying to accomplish?”

“Two things, Congressman Wiley,” Marie said. “First, I was proving my claims, and all our claims at the same time. An event that happened in our history hadn’t yet happened in this one, and I could tell them about it. If it happens as I said it would, or even if it just starts to happen as I said it would, if for instance Peithon and Arrhidaeus are forced to resign, we have proved that we know at least the outline of their future. Second, if my warning does affect the situation, if, for instance, having gotten word of Antipater’s trick, Eurydice manages to foil it, we will know that we can change history.

“But there was another reason. Antipater was a disaster as regent, and the generals, the successors to Alexander, were something of a disaster for the world. Almost any change would be a change for the better. There is a young woman with a mentally-challenged husband, and another with a two year old — or perhaps three by now — who, in the flow of time, would all die by murder. I was unwilling to sit by and let that happen without trying to change it.”

Amanda looked around the room. There were considering expressions on several of the faces.

Captain Floden gave a sharp nod. “I am Norwegian, but we also have those rights and I would be no happier to see them disappear than you would. We will be a free people, be assured of that. That still leaves two major questions. First, what are our plans? Second, how will we determine them? Congressman, I would hear your thoughts on the matter.”

“Elections will have to be held. An emergency committee could be established on an interim basis, but elections will have to be held as soon as we can manage. After that, it will be up to the elected body to determine policy.”

“I am leery of a majority trying to vote itself a free lunch,” Floden said. “I will not allow the expropriation of the Queen of the Sea by the passengers.”

And they got down to business. The meeting went on for hours and not much was actually settled. What was established were a set of basic principles under which they would build their government.

First, it was agreed that control of the Queen of the Sea would remain with the captain and crew of the Queen and control of the Reliance would remain with the captain and crew of the Reliance. However, it was also agreed, at least in principle, that all the transportees had a legitimate interest in both ships and their cargos. That, at the very least, the passengers could not be put off the ship without their consent.

 

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15 Responses to Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 17

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    ““What are you nodding about, Congressman?” Dahl said hotly. “You’ve been half a step from open mutiny for the last three days.”

    “Anders, calmly, please,” Jane Carruthers said, then looked at Wiley. “Not that I don’t agree with him, Congressman.”

    “Then you are mistaken, Ms. Carruthers. “

    Lying… politician. That’s fresh. Quick reminder of his own words from the previous snippet:

    “I know, Amanda. But if it turns out to be a choice between mutiny and a permanent dictatorship, I’ll risk the mutiny.”

    ““Not at all, Captain. I said what I said after careful, if quick, consideration, based on my judgment. I am an American citizen, even if America is lost in a distant future that will probably not happen at all. No one on Earth, either in the time we left or in this one, has the right to tell me I may not speak my mind. Some may, at some point, have the power to do so, but they still won’t have the right.””

    USA! USA! USA!

    Oh, the freest country in the world when, really, no one would have told you, Prof Easly, to shut your mouth… Well, with several crucial exceptions:

    A) Classified data.

    B) Hate speech.

    If no one has the right to “censor” her, than she has no rights to the freedom of speech either. Welcome to Hobbseian nightmare, everyone!

    “‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’ “

    Fine sentiments. But if you notice, the Constitution is way too thinner than the combine body of various legal codes which interpret the laws and set out the precedence. Suddenly, you will find, that freedom of religion is curtailed – you can’t practice genuine neo-Aztec worship with human sacrifices and whatnot. Tell about the freedom of speech to the whistleblowers. Tell about “right to assembly” to the people beaten by the police and now lying, face down, hands handcuffed, and bleeding profusely.

    There are ideals and fine sentiments. Then there is a reality.

    “Amanda wanted to cheer.”

    Amanda is not very bright, we have established that in the previous snippet.

    ““The helots were the — no, still are — the slaves of the Spartans, though the status has probably changed by now, from outright slavery to something closer to serfdom. “

    Wrong. Helots always had been closer to serfs than to slaves. They could not be traded for starters.

    “My point is that I am a free citizen, not a helot. I did not yell fire in a crowded theater, so I acted completely within my rights. I, at least, intend to remain a free citizen, and I expect my rights to be respected.”

    Citizens, no matter how free, are not at freedom to dispense the sensetive information as they like it. No, Prof Easly, tell the truth – you were arrogant. You are the Social Studies equivalent of the Mad Scientist, cacking and screaming from atop the tower: “Ignorant fools! They fail to see my brilliance – let the entire world feel my POWER!”

    Kinda like that.

    ““Yes, we do,” agreed Captain Floden. At least, he seemed to be agreeing, until he continued. “But we are in a ship at sea, under what must be considered emergency conditions.”

    “First of all, Captain, I don’t concede that we are in a state of emergency. “

    Once again – you had End of the World.

    But, nah! Denial… is a river in Egypt.

    “But there was another reason. Antipater was a disaster as regent, and the generals, the successors to Alexander, were something of a disaster for the world.”

    Tall words. There is, believe it or not, an entire world besides the Greek Oicumen unaffected by the struggle of Diadochi.

    “Captain Floden gave a sharp nod. “I am Norwegian, but we also have those rights and I would be no happier to see them disappear than you would. “

    Also you have monarchy. And lots of oil. So what?

    “Elections will have to be held. An emergency committee could be established on an interim basis, but elections will have to be held as soon as we can manage. After that, it will be up to the elected body to determine policy.”

    […]

    And they got down to business. The meeting went on for hours and not much was actually settled. What was established were a set of basic principles under which they would build their government.

    It’s been, what – two weeks since the Event? And they ONLY NOW are making plans?

    Truly, they deserve Darwin’s Award!

    • Ron says:

      It’s been a week since the event (September 15 was event day), but that is still too long for the passengers to wait for representation in the governance in this new world.
      As I had previously mentioned, the vessel should have already had the steering committee format in place allowing for the addition of passenger representation very quickly, not a week later.

      • Johnny says:

        You think that a WEEK is too long? Really?

        • Ron says:

          I do, Johnny, I lived and worked on a cruise ship for seven years, People who are inflexible do not last for long in management positions on board as your are constantly faced with challenges from storm diversions, to mechanical issues, political unrest in a port of call, and so many more, we would gather as a team discuss the situation in brief, break it up into our respective fields, let the whole group know where cross discipline challenges could occur then execute our portions based he Captains informed orders, then repeat at a regularly scheduled interval. In all of these situations the best thing is to get out ahead of it and do your absolute best to stay ahead of it. the mechanism in the form of adding passenger representative(s) to the existing steering/executive committee exists and would be a quick way to head off a lot of the dissent that appears to be building unmanaged by those in charge on the Queen.

          • cka2nd says:

            I just wanted to say that I have really appreciated your comments, and the knowledgeable perspective behind them, on these snippets.

    • Mark L says:

      There is no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment, despite attempts by some to create them. There is at best, legal redress against incitement to violence – and even there, the crime is not speech, it is conspiracy to commit a criminal act.

      Similarly, as established by the Pentagon Papers case it is not a crime to publish classified information. It is a crime to release classified information. If I were to find a classified document in the street, I have the First Amendment right (in the United States) to scan the documents and post them on my web page. (If it could be proved the classified material was under my charge or that I committed a crime – such as burglary – to obtain it, I could be charged with violating secrecy rules or burglary. But those are independent of First Amendment rights.

    • Terranovan says:

      I’ll concede the neo-Aztec exception to the “freedom of religion” clause.
      But the exception to the “right to assembly” you cite either has the either the arrested people rioting – in which case the law quite specifically and explicitly protects PEACEFUL assembly – or the law enforcement officials should be in trouble (and which of those is the case is a matter to be decided in court).
      Most relevantly, Prof. Easley didn’t say anything inflammatory (and even if she did, I agree with Mark L about a lack of “hate speech” censorship) and the history she told hadn’t been declared to be classified by any constituted government. Which is the point that Rep. Wiley is making about the lack of a playbook. (Are we ever going to meet the daughter for whose wedding he was on board?)
      She also had to act quickly, if she was to act at all. I believe that the Assiti were probably being somewhat careful as to when they placed the Queen of the Seas for that action.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “But the exception to the “right to assembly” you cite either has the either the arrested people rioting – in which case the law quite specifically and explicitly protects PEACEFUL assembly – or the law enforcement officials should be in trouble (and which of those is the case is a matter to be decided in court).”

        I’d recommend you to google the photos from numerous truly peaceful protests that happened in the last 6 months and how the people there were beaten, teargassed and bitten by police dogs. All in the USA. If you don’t know, posting links directly here in comment section takes it forever to crawl from “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” limbo. Will you search for that or should I try and post these images here?

        I’m making a point, that the reality is different from the law-enshrined ideal. And it is silly to deny that.

        Only the general idiocy of the crew have had failed to set up “classified data” or policy regarding exchange of sensetive data with the locals. But such guidelines did exist up-time (which was not all fun and sunshine). So, yeah – Prof Easly got out dry only because of a loophole and the universal idiocy of her fellow uptimers.

  2. We must thank Lyttenburgh for establishing that he does not appear to be an American and does not appear to know what he is talking about, which is unfortunate as his positive remarks on actual history were some times interesting, as witness his remark
    “Oh, the freest country in the world when, really, no one would have told you, Prof Easly, to shut your mouth… Well, with several crucial exceptions:
    A) Classified data.
    B) Hate speech.”

    The claim that there is such a thing as “hate speech” that is illegal is, well, something that no educated American would believe, while the complaints with respect to classified data were dealt with by the Pentagon Papers case and many mroe recent examples.

    • Mark L says:

      “The claim that there is such a thing as “hate speech” that is illegal is, well, something that no educated American would believe, . . .”

      We could debate that point. Your average schlub with a high school diploma instinctively understands there is no “hate speech exception” to the First Amendment. Most of those advocating that a “hate speech exception” exists seem to belong to the groves of academia and hold advance degrees, especially PhDs.

      This is not to say most educated Americans believe this, however, I would bet that at least two-thirds of those most vociferous about the point are highly educated. To quote Thomas Sowell: “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        For all intends and purporses the persecution for the “hate speech” does exist in the USA. Are you going to deny that?

        Inb4 – I don’t think that this is bad. In fact, making people choose their words with care, don’t be dicks to each other (verbally and in the Net/Print) is something that I fully approve. For this to be effective the peer pressure and informal approach are not enough – soon there will be a need to codify it in laws.

        This comment section is not a place for making further this argument but I will mention only a few reasons why having anti-hate speech is a must:

        – Richard Spencer.

        – Milo Yiannopoulos.

        – Breitbart.

        • Mark L says:

          “For all intends and purporses the persecution for the “hate speech” does exist in the USA. Are you going to deny that?”

          I believe I cited the main source for that persecution in my response to Mr. Phillies..

          And I agree the three you cited are excellent examples of individuals subject to bogus claims of “hate speech,” and why it is so important to push back against the non-existent “hate speech” exception. The solution to speech with which one disagrees is more speech, not suppression of speech you disagree with.

  3. Readers who are surprised that people in highly stressful situations sometimes overlook the obvious should consider how long it took the American government of 1860-1861 to inquire as to how long it would be before the food supplies in Fort Sumter would be exhausted.

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