The Macedonian Hazard – Snippet 04
May 15, 320 BCE
Ronald Kemper pulled the sheet up over Donald Carnegie’s head. The allergic reaction to the insulin contributed to a chest infection, which in Donald’s weakened state proved fatal. Other patients were doing fine, at least for now, on the fish-derived insulin that was only purified by centrifuge. But there were too damned many who died from allergy to the non-insulin element that the poor purification methods left in the juice, and even for those it did work for, there were often side effects. Gradual damage to the fatty tissue around the injection points. Other things.
He got up and scratched his head. He was a nurse, a surgical nurse, and a good one. Not a doctor, much less an expert in experimental medicine, which was what they needed.
214 12th Street, Fort Plymouth, Trinidad
May 16, 320BCE
Stella looked around Donald’s room in the double townhouse that was now hers. Donald’s will left her everything he had. She lived upstairs in her side, and there was another room just like hers in Donald’s side that he never occupied. She would move the bed and the chair up to her room and happily get rid of the sack full of reeds.
This floor, the ground floor, was designed to be a workshop. She spent two hours cleaning and packing everything Donald had. It wasn’t much. Some clothes and a book reader. Donald spent most of his time reading after The Event. He told her that he was never much of a reader before, but he was so weak after that he couldn’t do much else, and the nearest TV was in the community center.
Once she was done with his room, Stella went next door to look at her latest failure to make glass. She used a pry bar to break open the mold and looked at the roughly lens-shaped piece of flint.
The glass kiln in the back was up and operational, although the fire bricks weren’t of the quality she wanted. But as the dark gray object indicated, the real problem was that in spite of having all the equipment and reading up on it, she had no clue how to make glass. She needed an expert, and though there was one guy who blew glass as a hobby for a while when he was younger, he used pre-made glass ingots for his glass blowing. Besides, he wasn’t interested in “helping the competition.” The asshole.
She had to find someone who could make glass.
Community Center, Fort Plymouth, Trinidad
May 17, 320 BCE
Stella plugged her computer into the ethernet port. There was a row of them with bench seats and little wooden half walls between them. It was where Stella did all her research, and after much consideration she called up not Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica, but instead the post-Event news feed and did a search for glass making. What came up first on the search was glass baubles made in Carthage and Alexandria, and there bought by the Queen and available for sale on their next landing at Fort Plymouth. Apparently, the Carthaginians were competent glass makers. One thing that Stella knew from her reading was that glass making was easier if at least part of your mix was already made glass. She put in an order, but then she had a thought. She needed someone who knew how to make glass. Why not try to hire someone from Carthage or, for that matter, anywhere in Europe where they made glass? She sat at her computer and wrote out an ad to hire a glassmaker. Then she called up the translation app for Phoenician.
Wanted: Skilled glass maker to move to Fort Plymouth, Trinidad, New America.
Then she added her name and how to get in touch with her. After translating it into Phoenician, she translated it into Greek, Egyptian, and Latin. Then she checked the price for sending a message to the Queen and cursed for two minutes straight. The price, even for text, was twenty bucks.
Queen of the Sea, Port of Izmir
May 17, 320 BCE
Joshua Varner pulled the next message from the queue. It was an ad for a glass maker. It wasn’t the first of that sort of message. Over the last month since they left Trinidad, they’d gotten several requests for skilled craftsmen of one sort or another. This one, though, wasn’t from the government. It was a private individual. Joshua forwarded it to Eleanor Kinney.
Eleanor Kinney sat in her office, checking her email. They were going to be shipping craftsmen to the new world if they could find them. The “Indians”–everyone knew the term was inappropriate but it was still the one they wound up using because it was handy–mostly lacked the skills that they needed in Fort Plymouth, and the ship people certainly lacked them, skill being a completely different thing than knowledge.
The question was how to get the people they needed. In the here and now, a lot of the skilled craftspeople were slaves. Not all of them, but the majority. Eleanor would have liked to start up an underground railroad, but that wasn’t practical. A thought rose up in her mind and she slapped the disgusting thing back down to the evils of her subconscious where it belonged. But it wouldn’t stay slapped down.
We might have to buy slaves.
May 18, 320 BCE
Lars Floden listened to Eleanor’s proposal and turned to Marie Easley. First, because this really wasn’t his thing. And second, because it wasn’t really a proposal so much as a plea for him to tell her it was all a bad dream and she didn’t actually have to consider paying the bastards who kept slaves so that they could profit even more from their barbarity. He couldn’t tell her that, and he couldn’t quite bring himself to say “Yes, pay the bastards.”
Marie looked at Eleanor. “I think that we may have to do so, but first we need to talk to Roxane. And, for that matter, Eumenes. And if she is available, Cleopatra. They, especially Cleopatra, will be more conversant with the local laws and customs.”
Queen of the Sea, en route to Amphipolis
May 17, 320 BCE
Roxane looked around the private conference room where Cleopatra, Marie Easley, Lars Floden, Eleanor Kinney, and Dag Jakobsen sat. There was wine on the table and Cleopatra was sipping hers, clearly to buy time. Of course she was confused. She didn’t have Roxane’s time with the ship people. She didn’t understand how anyone could be as rabidly anti-slavery as they were.
Cleopatra put down her wine glass and said, “Well, certainly you can buy slaves. I had understood that you forbade slavery on the Queen and in New America.”
“They do,” Roxane said. “They will be freeing the slaves once they buy them.”
“Then why buy them?” Cleopatra asked. “Wait. Do you imagine that slaves will be so grateful that they will work for you after being freed? Slaves are the most ungrateful people in the world. It’s well known.”
“Gee.” Eleanor’s voice dripped sarcasm. “Why wouldn’t they work for free just because they didn’t have to?”
Cleopatra looked at Eleanor, and Roxane decided she should interrupt before things got heated.
“I told you, my friend–” She waved at the ship people. “–on this they are fanatics beyond reason.”
“And apparently beyond courtesy as well,” Cleopatra agreed, but her tone was more observant than harsh. She turned back to Eleanor and continued. “However good you feel their reasons are, once freed they will run off to their own endeavors. Buying a slave to ship to New America to work in one of your shops will get you no work if you free the slave. In fact, if you free the slave the moment it boards your ship, it will turn around and walk right back off.”
“What about contracts?” Dag asked. “I know I may be being corrupted by the locals, but crew on the Queen of the Sea signed on for at least a full voyage. They couldn’t get to Port au Prince and quit their job without being in breach of their contract.”