sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Thirteenth Colony (part four)

Thirteenth Colony
(part four)



a fictional short series


Roman formation "receive cavalry"
Gold fever strikes the camp when Quintus and his men return with fifty-four Phoenician gold coins, minted hundreds of years earlier in Carthage. Ursinius is circumspect in regard a campaign to hunt the dark men with more vigor, and to plunder their camp. Scouting the area confirms that the best place for a settlement was where the ruins now exist of a prior colony, but he is unwilling to uproot the fort simply because of the effort involved in that relocation. 

Seleucus tries to extract information from the captive that they took in the skirmish. His efforts are unsuccessful.



They called him Nero (meaning "black") and after Seleucus castrated him, they gave him work with the other castrati, laboring in the wheat field on the slope outside the walls of the fortress. The run-off of the spring had been diverted to irrigate a field of wheat and a field of barley that took form after the brush had been cleared.

Nero tried to run away, but the most he could manage was a painful hobble. Two burly legionnaires intercepted him while he was still in sight of the watch tower that stood over the ramparts. Now in addition to a weeping wound under his manhood that they'd plastered with pitch for a dressing, he wore a large, heavy wooden collar and thoughts of escape were put on hold. He understood Phoenician, but could not speak the language as Seleucus put questions to him. He tried to tell them that they wore leather pouches with gold coins in them for luck, because the traders who visited in generations before he was born had done so. The coins, with images of gods and men on their face were said to be good luck, though how much luck they'd been to him was something that he came to terms with as he sweated in the field with the large wooden collar around his neck.

Ursius and Quintus stood on the ramparts of the fort, looking over the fields now under cultivation.

"I love the smell of the countryside, free of cities and of the smells that accompany them," Ursinius said, leaning out and looking down. "But we are fast coming to the capacity of this land to support us in our present location."

"Time for me to go?"

"I think so, Quintus. We need support if we are to settle and farm this land. That support can only come with young men with dreams of their own land, and young women who can bear children who will grow up to expand themselves to other land. We can take slaves like Nero, but it is not our solution. We were promised more and younger people if we became pioneers. Naturally, nobody knows our fate and it should be you who goes and shares what you have seen here with your young eyes and your family connections to the political class."

"When?"

"Whenever you are ready. Take the two new boats and the sailors. They feel sour on the land anyway. The two captains can lead them. Go back and share our fate."

They made their offerings to Neptune and Mars early in the morning and the omens were propitious. Quintus and two boats with four seamen and the captains of the Fidelis and Sea Monster, respectively, cut through the surf and set their lateen sails early on a cloudless day with a freshening off-shore breeze.



The Thirteenth Colony will be continued



index

Separate but Equal

Sunday Sermonette - such as it is:  I've been amused recently by strident calls from black students at UCLA who demand a blacks-only dormitory. While I have no problem with that, I find it strange that black students are demanding segregation (separate but equal), when you consider how much they and their white sponsors didn't want that back when the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

When I attended university back in the Jurassic era, the African-American students claimed a portion of the Student Union for themselves, referred to by non-blacks as "crow corner". Today it would likely be declared a "Safe Zone on campus for black people". Everyone was content to allow them to segregate themselves and most people wouldn't want to go there anyway because it was filthy even though the custodial staff cleaned it every night. Yet the irony of self-segregation wasn't lost on in that era of forced integration and hiring quotas based ONLY on race.

Gen. Colin Powell
I was in Washington DC some years ago and learned of a regular gathering of black military officers, hosted by General Colin Powell. I asked for an invitation to the event for shits and giggles, even though I am not a negro. When my request was declined out of hand because of my race, I became more strident. I received a telephone call from the great man (Powell) himself, disinviting me, explaining that it was an opportunity for blacks to get to know up and coming blacks and to help advance their careers. My presence, he explained, would be a damper on the culture that black officers liked to share with each other. I didn't push it. Powell was the US Army Chief of Staff. But how ironic? 

Academia is the worst offender. Consider university petitions for hiring on the basis of race to ensure particular racial percentages for faculty and staff. They would be considered racist if turned around and applied to college football or basketball teams, which are often racially disproportionate. Why would that be? How ironic!

Can you imagine a bunch of non-black students parading through the university library while people are studying, screaming, "All Lives Matter"? Neither can I.

Live and let live is not politically correct. Neither is do unto others as you would have them do unto you (which is the point of the sermonette).