Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 30

Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 30

Chapter 10

Queen of the Sea, Alexandra Harbor

October 15

“Do we go after them?” Anders Dahl asked. Not that there was any doubt.

“Captain, there is a ship heading out from the docks at Alexandria. It looks to be Ptolemy’s galley.”

“I am tempted to say to hell with it and leave now,” Captain Floden said. “We have people on the Reliance, even if Joe Kugan has been being a horse’s ass about weapons and fuel.”

“Well, he was apparently right about the weapons, Captain,” Daniel Lang said.

“Was he? If he had just stayed with us…”

“He would have been in our way when we ran over the triremes,” Elise said. “Sorry, Captain, but he would have been. It would have made maneuvering more difficult and dangerous for all of us.”

“Fine. He was right and I was wrong. All the more reason to go after him now.”

“I’d like to agree, Captain,” said a new voice as Congressman Wiley stepped onto the bridge. “But we are still going to need Alexandria for some time, and showing that level of disrespect for Ptolemy isn’t going to make that easy.”

“That bastard was behind this attack, Congressman. We had the ships on radar from the time they left the harbor to the time the last of them limped home.”

“I don’t doubt you, Captain. But we still have to deal with him.” Wiley waved a hand. “We don’t have to let him off easy. We can charge him through the nose. But we are going to have to let him save face publicly.”

“Fine. We’ll need Marie.” Lars looked around. “Where is she?”

“In the wardroom, having breakfast, Captain. After she delivered the warning, she didn’t want to be in the way,” Daniel Lang explained.

“Doug, would you go fetch her, please.”

* * *

It took Ptolemy’s galley fifteen minutes to reach the Queen, and almost the first words out of his mouth were protests that he had never authorized the attack, and that Gorgias had acted completely on his own and against Ptolemy’s orders. He didn’t try to convince them that it was anyone but Gorgias who had done it, which Marie thought was wise of him. For this meeting, Marie simply watched and translated. Wiley played peacemaker, with Floden in the background, muttering darkly about burning Alexandria to the ground in retaliation. It was a good bargaining ploy, and it worked in terms of getting the royal treasury to pay for the damage and loss of life, while letting Ptolemy save face and act as magnanimous innocent.

But it took time.

It was after nightfall by the time all was settled. By then they had received a phone call from Dag informing them that he was pretty sure they were going to Tyre. In a way, that made it less urgent to go after the ATB, articulated tug barge. They knew where they would be, and could go fetch them once the more immediate business was taken care of.

Internally, the attack cut the legs out from under the Jerusalemites. Yes, the Queen would defeat anything on the sea, but once they got on land, they could be taken prisoner and held for ransom. Not a good plan. Wiley’s plan of going to Trinidad or perhaps Spindletop, Texas and setting up the United States of America early gained a lot of credence and the consensus was that Trinidad was the best place. It was an island, so there would be some protection. And it had oil that was easy to get to.

They got a second call, but it was breaking up. Dag was out of range of the cell tower, even over water with no competing signals, well before the Reliance got to Tyre.

On learning that the Reliance had been captured and was on its way to Tyre, Ptolemy again offered a contingent of Greek soldiers to help them. Captain Floden started talking about the trojan horse, and Marie didn’t have to translate that, as Ptolemy’s next words made clear. “I understand the captain’s concern, but I am not Agamemnon.”

More time as Wiley smoothed things over.

Then the issue of burying their dead came up. There was a dive shop on the ship. Two of the entertainments available on the Queen were scuba diving and snorkeling, so there was extensive scuba and snorkeling gear. They had been able to recover the body of Eileen Sanders, the woman who had gone over the side in flames during the attack. They had three bodies to bury and they couldn’t afford the bad feeling that would be generated by ignoring the desires of the grieving loved ones.

Reliance, Approaching Tyre

Dawn, October 16

Dag, bloody and subdued, watched a bloody and subdued Captain Joe Kugan show Admiral Metello the sonar depth gauge. Dag knew Joe Kugan well enough to know that Joe was protecting the Reliance from going aground more than he was protecting himself from another beating. The Reliance and Barge 14 together made up a sea-going ship that was more seaworthy than anything from this time. They were designed to transport fuel across the high seas. In essence, Reliance and Barge 14 constituted a small tanker, except at need the massive fuel bunkerage in Barge 14 could be separated from the Reliance so that one of the two could receive maintenance or repair while the other part of the system was still in operation. That had happened several times before The Event. About half the time the Reliance had been attached to Barge 15. For a moment Dag was distracted by the question of whether the Reliance and Barge 14 would ever be separated again. It almost certainly would, he decided as he looked back toward the stern. It was a waste of fuel to lug around Barge 14 when you were towing triremes.

From the pilot house, Dag could see the steel cables that went from the stern of the Reliance to the bow of a trireme. After that was another cable from the stern of that trireme to the bow of the next, and so on until all six of the triremes under Metello’s command trailed the Reliance like ducklings. After Julio’s death, the crew had cooperated. In exchange, they had been mostly left alone.

Most of the crews of the flotilla were camped on the Reliance, with only steersman and a few sailors on the triremes. The campers were being careful to avoid dark places, the holds especially, and mostly not touching anything. Partly that was because of the guys who had died from the fire suppression system, but it was reinforced by how strange this giant ship made of steel was to them.

Dag had managed to make one covert phone call shortly after dark on the fifteenth, and confirmed that they were headed for Tyre. Everyone in the work party had phones. They were standard issue for the Queen’s crew. Pretty decent phones, not the most recent, but about two generations back. After making his point, Metello was surprisingly gentle with them. He had taken all the cell phones, but they hadn’t searched anyone and missed Dag’s.

Keith Seiver had a cell charger in his pocket, but there had been no opportunity to use it. The charger was, in Dag’s opinion, a silly gadget. At least, it had been before The Event. It was a battery to recharge your cell phone through the USB port. But this battery was shaped like a cellphone and had one side covered in solar cells. The idea was that you could just leave it in the sun and it would charge the battery, which could then charge the cell phone or tablet computer. The problem was the solar panel was small. It would take the solar panel a couple of days in the sun to fully charge the battery pack, then you could use the battery pack to charge the cell phone in a couple of hours. Given enough time, the solar panels would charge a cell phone, a slate, even a laptop, but that meant putting it out in the sunlight. As soon as they did that, it would be seized. At the moment Dag’s cell phone and Keith’s battery pack were both fully charged because they had managed to plug them into the ATB’s power grid last night. But who knew how long it would be before they had another chance to do that.

Dag looked out at the island they were approaching. Tyre was an island with an artificial causeway to shore. The causeway was about ten meters wide and nearly a kilometer long. Dag knew the history. Alexander the Great had built the causeway under the eyes and arrows of the defenders, then sacked the city. It hadn’t yet fully recovered, though a lot of Phoenicians still lived there, and the defenses had been mostly rebuilt. Now it was Attalus’ home base on the east end of the Mediterranean and currently the residence of Roxane and Alexander IV.

* * *

Dag and his work crew were pulled off the Reliance when they got to Tyre and put on a galley that took them into shore. A very beautiful, dark-haired young woman, surrounded by a bunch of grizzled old vets, was there to meet them.

“Why are these people tied up and what happened to them?”

Dag didn’t find the girl’s accent hard to follow. It was a bit different than the Macedonian accent, but was a lot closer to it than Metello’s. The girl had black hair done up with a sort of gold chain hat, dark eyes, pale olive skin…and she was built. This must be the famous Roxane. She looked a bit like Elizabeth Taylor.

The commander of the galley started to answer back, but apparently thought better of it and just said, “Admiral’s orders,” in a sulky tone.

“Release them.”

“Admiral said to…”

“I don’t care what Metello said, and I doubt Attalus will either,” Roxane said.

“You are not Alexander,” the commander said. “You’re not even Macedonian.” That struck Dag as strange, because from his accent and appearance, the commander was probably Phoenician from right here in Tyre. Not that Dag was an expert.

Roxane looked like she was about to back down, then an older guy moved up beside her. “I am! Release them.”

* * *

Hours later Dag felt better. He was washed, bandaged and even to an extent, briefed, by Kleitos, the guy who had backed Roxane. There was another man in the room, the commander of the Silver Shields, named Evgenij. Older and harder looking than Kleitos, he didn’t talk much. Kleitos was something between her bodyguard and jailor. Not one of the official bodyguards who had been appointed in Babylon, four for Philip and three for baby Alexander, but none of them were present. They were all out trying to raise armies to bite off their own chunk of Alexander the Great’s empire. Kleitos was a man for hire who would keep her safe or kill her, depending on the orders from the paymaster. That paymaster had been Perdiccas before his untimely demise, then Peithon for a couple of weeks, then Attalus. The Silver Shields were almost worse. They had appointed themselves and were halfway between guards and extortionists. As long as the money kept coming, they would keep Roxane and little Alexander safe. If the money stopped, they would sell her to the highest bidder.

And they were all quite disgustingly straightforward about it.

Kleitos had backed Roxane because he didn’t like Phoenicians, and the Silver Shields had backed him because they were mean old bastards who didn’t take crap from anyone.

“Roxane is pretty enough, I’ll grant, and smart too,” Kleitos explained. “But she has all the guts of a rabbit. You, on the other hand, look like you have at least a little bit of guts.” Kleitos waved vaguely in the direction of the Reliance. “So tell me all about the ship out there.”

 

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11 Responses to Alexander Inheritance – Snippet 30

  1. Mike says:

    “… or else we’ll open you up and find out whether you really do have guts?”

  2. Ron says:

    The last snippet was a poorly executed device, to put Dag in Roxane’s lap, thought so.

    The battle while not the most descriptive I’ve seen, has smashed any remaining delusions of safety and business as usual among those with functional brains. The Reverend however Is probably going to become unhinged and thus a the proverbial loose cannon. It also has shown Captain Floden where he has made his mistakes. Finally it gives Ptolemy an object lesson and the Queen the superior positive in future negotiations. I wonder if they are going to take the mentioned reparations in coin, materials, land? It

    I believe we haven’t seen the rest of Roxanne’s Irriatation on the subject of the reliance crews treatment. Any bets as to how long it takes “Roxy” to start attempting to seduce Dag? I say two snippets three at the outside.

    Once reunited and determine who to ally with they must also make better use of the reliances a versatility,fortifying barge 14 and building a iron reinforced timber gun barge capable of mating with the tug portion would give them a more nimble fighting platform.
    It’s also going to behoove them to start thinking about canabilizing a limited number of life boats, primarily for the Diesel engines and associated systems for off-vessel power production and also to make something faster but heavier than the fast rescue boats, envision something akin to a WWII PT-boat. But also for the other materials. They should Be able to convert a modern covered lifeboat back into an open rowed life boat with out too much trouble.

  3. Lyttenburgh says:

    “It took Ptolemy’s galley fifteen minutes to reach the Queen”

    Wow-wow! For Ptolemy to personally sail to them? Very unlikely and totally out of character. That’s below his dignity and, thus, damaging for his prestige. He’d never do that, instead sending some reasonably high placed (and loyal) courtier in his stead.

    “They knew where they would be, and could go fetch them once the more immediate business was taken care of.”

    Since when did they learned where is the Tyre? Or how to reach it safely without running on any shoals or, more likely. the bulk of Attalus’ fleet? What if they make some detour before reaching Tyre? What if there will be a clash between captains and their “admiral” Metello, resulting in fleet splitting up and going anywhere?

    No! They trust it will reach Tyre just as claimed by one (1) person. Why? The plot says so. But the real life is not a plot novel.

    “He had taken all the cell phones, but they hadn’t searched anyone and missed Dag’s.”

    Why? Does he now for what to look at or how they work?

    “Kleitos was something between her bodyguard and jailor.”

    How did Dag learned that? I don’t think that Kleitos said it out loud.

    ” The Silver Shields were almost worse. They had appointed themselves and were halfway between guards and extortionists. As long as the money kept coming, they would keep Roxane and little Alexander safe. If the money stopped, they would sell her to the highest bidder.”

    What, they just said all that to some random foreigner?! Why?

    • Geoffrey Nichols says:

      “Since when did they learned where is the Tyre?”
      Tyre is located at 33°16′15″N 35°11′46″E according to Wikipedia which they have a mirror of. Also the city still exists so it will be on their navigation software. Once they get close they will have to go slow and use sonar to avoid shoals.

      “For Ptolemy to personally sail to them? Very unlikely and totally out of character.”
      At this time Ptolemy is only a satrap and general not a Pharaoh, so his dignity is not so important. Besides generals actually do things. The more important reason for not going out is that his galley might just get destroyed like the other fleet, but then he would look like a coward, which is not good for his position either.

      “Since when did they learned where is the Tyre?”
      Tyre is located at 33°16′15″N 35°11′46″E according to Wikipedia which they have a mirror of. Also the city still exists so it will be on their navigation software. Once they get close they will have to go slow and use sonar to avoid shoals.

      “They trust it will reach Tyre just as claimed by one (1) person.”
      Dag is not just one person, he is a senior officer. So yes he is believed. If things change the Queen will expect another phone call from him. But why would it change, Tyre is Attalus’s base, so that is where they expect the ship to go.

      “How did Dag learned that? “
      “Hours later Dag felt better. He was … briefed, by Kleitos”
      So an exchange of info between senior officers is how he learned this. As a senior officer Dag is going to be well treated initially. The Macedonians will be very curious about everything for the future. Dag is the only one that speaks some Greek from among their prisoners.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Tyre is located at 33°16′15″N 35°11′46″E according to Wikipedia which they have a mirror of.”

        Modern age Tyre – not the one from 4th c. BC. In years between, Tyre had been sacked and destroyed enough times for it’s actual location to “move” elsewhere.

        Also – can *you* navigate a cruise ship using just Wikipedia?

        I think, we must ask Ron about it.

        “At this time Ptolemy is only a satrap and general not a Pharaoh, so his dignity is not so important. “

        That’s, ah, not possibly true, to put it mildly. Dignity (terms arête and hybris ring any bells?) was the greatest virtue for any Hellenized person, like Ptolemy. Just because he is not a monarch (yet) doesn’t mean that he can do such lowly things.

        Can you provide any similar examples of such behavior from that period of time?

        “Dag is not just one person, he is a senior officer. So yes he is believed. If things change the Queen will expect another phone call from him.”

        No, they can’t. Judging by his second call and knowing that he is in captivity they can’t assume that. In fact – they should assume the worst.

        “So an exchange of info between senior officers is how he learned this.”

        Which doesn’t answer my question – why both Silver Shields and Kleitos were so forthcoming with him? He is still their prisoner, a foreigner (read: barbarian) of unknown status. For all they know – they are possibly damaging their standing by speaking with a potential slave.

        “The Macedonians will be very curious about everything for the future.”

        Yes, which means pumping out said information out of Dag, while divulging as little as possible themselves.

        • Ron says:

          The admiral and his squadron’s captains which took the Reliance would know to get back from the city where they just came I imagine.

          As for the modern coordinates and navigation systems Latitude and longitude are latitude and longitude. The precise location might be off a bit. But it would be a good jumping off point, GPS of course isn’t working without the satellites, but a with tried and true sextant along with some charts, the sun and stars will get you where you need to go pretty effectively.

        • Geoffrey Nichols says:

          From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyre,_Lebanon
          Tyre originally consisted of two distinct urban centres, Tyre itself, which was on an island just off shore, and the associated settlement of Ushu on the adjacent mainland. … The original island city had two harbours, one on the south side and the other on the north side of the island. … The harbour on the south side has silted over, but the harbour on the north side … is still in use.[9]
          [9]See Jidejian, Nina. Tyre Through the Ages, 1969, for further information about the history of Tyre and its present condition.

          From https://www.britannica.com/place/Tyre
          “Excavations have uncovered remains of the Greco-Roman, Crusader, Arab, and Byzantine civilizations, but most of the remains of the Phoenician period lie beneath the present town.”

          So although Tyre was sacked many times the island is still there with the city on top of it. Although it is now a peninsula thanks to Alexander’s causeway.

          Having toured the bridge of a cruise ship and seen the array of navigation equipment and recalling my old navy training, yes I believe I could personally navigate a cruise ship from Alexandria to Tyre using “just” Wikipedia.

          “Can you provide any similar examples of such behavior from that period of time?”
          In 321 BC, when Perdiccas was murdered trying to invade Egypt. “Ptolemy immediately crossed the Nile, to provide supplies to what had the day before been an enemy army.”
          (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ptolemy_I_Soter)
          So Ptolemy was willing to take personal action when required. The failed attack on the Queen would normally invite massive retaliation. Keeping the most powerful force in the world (Queen) from destroying Alexandria certainly qualifies as requiring personal intervention in my opinion.

        • Johnny says:

          Wait, seriously?

          That’s like complaining that they wouldn’t be able to find Rome because it is ANCIENT Rome. I mean, according to Wikipedia, “The present city of Tyre covers a large part of the original island and has expanded onto and covers most of the causeway.”

          Again, you don’t have intelligent complaints. You just throw mud at the wall and turn your back before you see whether it stuck or not.

  4. Tweeky says:

    Since the novel is going to be published on July 4 how many more snippets will there be?

  5. Tweeky says:

    Drakbibliophile, the 1632.org website still needs fixing as when I click on the URL for eric’s website it is still https://http//ericflint.net/ instead of http://www.ericflint.net/.

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