Immortal Dutch Domination - REX/Spy Fusion


Jan 30, 2005
The cast:

Left to right: Christiaan Huygens (science advisor and real-life Dutch scientist), Maarten Tromp (military advisor and real-life Dutch admiral), Willem van Oranje (real-life Dutch Father of the Fatherland), and Ilse Huizinga (domestic and cultural advisor and real-life Dutch jazz singer).

This thread is the story of an Immortal Dutch leader, Willem of Orange. It will incorporate some elements of all of the following:

1. The so-called cottage economy (“CE”) or hybrid economy ("HE") depending on how you count it.
2. The Infiltration gambit via Great Wall.
3. The Rapid Expansion strategy (“REXing”).
4. No early rushing. This wasn’t entirely by choice, as I infiltrated the tech leader, so I wanted to keep him alive, and everyone else around me was Protective.
5. Naval warfare, including use of transports and blockades.
6. Religion as a political tool, especially after the Apolostic Palace was constructed.
7. Lucrative map and resource trading.
8. Rapid-reaction forces to thwart naval invasions.
9. Extensive usage of Golden Ages, especially with regard to civic changes.

This game was played in Version 3.02 of the Beyond the Sword expansion pack.

I normally played Emperor up until this game, but I wanted a challenge.

Also, I didn’t reload with NO EXCEPTIONS regardless of my stupidity or misclicks or whatever. No worldbuilder, no regeneration, nada. Man versus machine, may the best civ win!

Settings as follows. Basically default everything except low sea levels, as I like larger maps but my computer can’t handle them, so I settle for lower sea levels to compensate. I also have save games, including 4000 BC if anyone wants to play a shadow game or something; see attached.

The overarching strategy with Willem in this game will be to REX like crazy and to cottagespam to keep the economy decent until at least Alphabet, after which time a spy from the Great Wall + a regular spy can steal technologies to help us catch up. Depending on the weakness of neighbors and availability of copper, we might want to axe-rush a neighbor, but that is second priority to the peaceful REX.

Either Organized or Financial is good for REXing as the former means cheap courthouses and lower civics upkeep, and the latter means more commerce from sea and cottage tiles. Willem is Financial so we will be cottagespamming in this game.

As for the other trait, Creative is useful for cheap theaters, libraries, and colosseums, and especially useful for the baseline +2 culture per turn. This is like having a double-strength Stonehenge for free, which means we can aim for good city placement from the very get-go. Good for REXing as well. I’ve found that Charismatic is also good for REXing via axe rush, so Napolean is another favorite. Really, as long as you have either Organized or Financial, the other trait can probably be anything and still allow for good REXing.

So Willem's Cre/Fin combination is just fine.

His UU (East Indiaman) is pretty crappy for non-archipelago maps: a galleon that can ignore cultural borders and has an additional cargo slot and +2 strength.

His UB (Dike) is strong--a levee that works with sea tiles as well, so every coastal city can potentially get its own Moai Statues + Levee combination in the form of the UB. Unfortunately it comes kind of late in the game (Steam Power).

Starting techs are basic (agriculture) and slightly crappy (fishing).



  • Demo Immortal Willem BigSmallLow BC-4000.CivBeyondSwordSave
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Settle in place, get Fishing if you dont have it and Agi too. Then beeline BW and start REXing.
I think it's already played he need only to post I think, I don't know what happened maybe internet connection. There's sure alot for one game. Looking especially the infiltration via great wall gambit. I haven't had time to try it myself, well more interest than time because I've been playing with Charismatic leader at the moment. What's strong trait indeed even for higher levels.

2 clams presents us with a dilemma. Clams aren't as good as fish, as clams only provide 4 food and not 5, but it's still pretty good, and food can be used like production for settler/worker production. Still, food only goes so far. If we had 3+ seafood we would just build 2 boats and then play worker/settler catch-up, leaving the rest of the seafood for later stages, when we have enough happiness to use them, and after the Great Wall has been built.

So the plan is to go 2 boats and since this leaves us with a huge amount of time to research stuff, we might as well research Hunting, the prereq to Animal Husbandry. That gives us a 20% discount to the cost of AH as well as giving us hunting tech, which is good for camps and to build spearmen.

This tech path will slow us down a bit for Bronze Working, but our plan was peaceful REX and not axe-rush REX anyway. Also, even if BW is slow, our worker can mine that gold in the meantime with just Mining tech.

We tell the capital to use the plains forest tile to increase production of the workboat.

Meanwhile, our brave warrior pops 29 gold from a hut.

1st workboat is done, 2nd one in progress.

In the prehistory of time, there has emerged a seafaring race of humans on the northern shores of a great continent. The year is 4000 BC when, after a series of poor harvests from the sea and the disappearance of game from overhunting, several bands of these fishermen discover that farming is productive and profitable.

Between two mighty rivers, the farmers and fishermen found Amsterdam. Although a mighty hurricane destroyed most of their boats, the fishermen rebuild them from the plentiful timber surrounding the city. Many decades later, some of the farmers spy cattle to the west and begin the slow process of domesticating them. They also discover a pocket of grain which they call "rice" to the south of the city.

From many emerges one clan, the van Oranjes, who through careful politicking control the fate of the people of Amsterdam, who have taken to calling themselves the Dutch...
We go from Hunting to Animal Husbandry to Mining.

We also meet 2 of our neighbors this round. Axeman-killer Native Americans, and slightly less annoyingly Protective Gilgamesh.

All during this time, the 1st clams is coupling with a plains forest to generate the second boat, after which we will go Worker->Settler to try to catch up with everyone else. It's a late start for a second city, but the extra commerce and food from the seafood should help a lot with the Worker generation. The Worker can also improve the Cows and Rice and chop another Settler later.

480 years later...

"Dictator van Oranje, there is a strange man here to see you. He says he's a tribal messenger of some sort."

"Bring him in."

The stranger approaches. "Greetings, Dictator van Oranje. My name is Geronimo, messenger for Chief Sitting Bull of the Native Americans. We desire peace but you should know that our settlements are our own, and that there shall be no trespassing on our lands. In return, we shall not trespass on yours."

Willem van Oranje is a lean, dark-haired man with a carefully trimmed moustache, which he fingers as he considers his options.

"Geronimo, you come from one of the nomadic clans to the west that have finally settled down, much as we Dutch here in Amsterdam?"

"Yes. We call ourselves the Native Americans. Don't ask us what America means; we don't know either. And you are native to this continent as well. Therefore perhaps we are as one."

"Then it is good. We shall not trespass if you do not. There shall be no blood spilt between us."

Geronimo, a swarthy man perspiring in his hides, is visibly relieved and bows. "May the peace last a thousand years!"

"Indeed," Willem replies. "Indeed."

After Geromino exits the van Oranje palace, Willem summons his chief advisor, a bright-eyed man by the name of Christiaan Huygens.

"Chris, were you watching from the balcony?"

"Yes, and I fear that they are more than just nomads. They have been established elsewhere on this continent as long as we have been. They can be powerful allies one day--or powerful enemies."

"What do you suggest that we do?"

"Well, speaking as friends, Willem, I think that we are safe for the time being. There is plenty of land for everybody. But I foresee a day when there is no more land left, as providence has created a limited amount of it."

"Perhaps we should claim as much land as we can now then?"

"I think that would be wise."

"Excellent. Let us continue to rebuild our fishing fleets. I understand that some of our farmers have tamed the four-legged creatures out west--the cattle?"

"Well, they know how to tame it, but we need to send work parties to do it on a large scale. And to farm the rice to our south on a large scale."

"Do that right after we have built enough boats to harvest our ancestral clam farms. Any other news?"

"Well, some of the farmers have tried to hunt but lack hard metal for spears. Nevertheless, they could establish hunting camps if there were anything to hunt."

"Can't we use that yellow metal that you found in the hills to the east?"

"The metal--gold--is too soft and rare. We'll have to keep looking."

"Very well, then, carry on!"

A knock sounds abruptly and the palace messenger's head pokes through. "Dictator van Oranje, a traveler is here to see you," the palace messenger says.

"Let him in," Willem says.

A massive man of dark complexion and long hairy braids strides in, along with two of his comrades.

"Are you Willem van Oranje, dictator of the Dutch and ruler of Amsterdam?" His voice is bass and reminiscent of grinding rocks.

"I am."

"And who is he?"

"He is Christiaan Huygens, my chief advisor."

"Very well, then. My name is Gilgamesh, and I am the divine leader of Sumeria."

"I have heard of such a place from the few travelers who pass through our humble lands," Willem offers diplomatically. Gilgamesh's scowl softens.

"We encountered Geronimo of the Native Americans on our way here and were interested in a similar arrangement between our peoples."

"Then it shall be done."

"That is all, then." And just as abruptly as he arrived, Gilgamesh and his bodyguards leave.

"Tough customer, Willem," Chris says after the strangers leave.

"We had better expand our domain quickly. Do we even know where Sumeria is?"

"No sire, we barely have enough warriors to scout our eastern frontiers as it is. They ran into the sea and had to turn back to explore more. They are sweeping south and west, and perhaps they will discover the exact whereabouts of these strangers' homes."

"Let us hope so, Chris. Let us hope so."
Our brave warrior continues west to sweep that side before heading south and then back east for a spiral. He fights off a pair of lions and then pops a hut for Mysticism, which is kind of useless for our REXing strategy.

The Koreans find us. More bad news, as they are not just hard to rush (Protective) but also fast researchers with their Financial and UB.

Meanwhile our 2nd clams boat hooks up and accelerates our Worker production as well as giving us even more commerce to tech up with.

You can see from the screenshots that even if we weren't desperate for hammers instead of food/commerce, the cows are better than the rice: 3 food, 3 hammers, 1 commerce when improved, versus the unirrigated rice's 4 food.

Since we are going REX/Spy, we need Masonry eventually for a GW, and Wheel-enabled Pottery for cottages to make use of our Financial trait and to generate lots of commerce to sustain the REXing. Wheel is also needed to connect our resources, which we will eventually need to do. Idle workers can always at least build roads once we have Wheel, too.

I also plan to go for Great Lighthouse on this map if possible, and that requires Masonry and Sailing. If we can snatch GrLight early, that can easily pay for itself and then some.

All of this is future-talk, because our capital will be busy spamming workers and settlers for several more turns.

Hundreds of years later, with Willem and Christiaan a little bit grayer, word is received about strangers who are neither Americans nor Sumerians. Willem, not wishing to offend the strangers, welcomes them to the Dutch palace.

The leader is a man who wears a yellow dress and a perpetually constipated look on his face. "My name is Wang Kon," he begins, looking constipated as always.

"And I am Willem van Orange, dictator of the Dutch, and ruler of Amsterdam. Welcome to my humble abode. Care for some clam chowder or baked clams or perhaps some clam linguine?"

Wang, in his high-pitched voice, nearly screams at Willem, "No! As leader of Korea, we merely seek faithful dealings with the mighty Dutch. But if you betray us, your life will be both short and full of--"

"There shall be no betraying going on. Come, have a clam--"

Wang and his entourage immediately exit the palace, though.

"Was it something I said?" Willem asks Chris.

"Ah, I don't think so. I think he's just one of those perpetually-constipated people. Maybe he had to go use the restroom finally after his long trip?"

Willem sighs. "Any good news?"

"Our warriors have gotten into the good graces of shaman-folk from some nomads near our borders. They have taught us how to pray."

"That's good, I guess."

"We can now make a stone doohickey."

"What's stone? And what's a doohickey?"

"It's just a silly toy and is barely half the strength of our awesome and creative Dutch culture."

"But what's stone?"

"It's hard stuff that you would think you'd be able to find just about anywhere, but apparently not around here or anywhere we've mapped so far. You can make big walls out of them that can keep out barbarians. They also allow us to see farther and thus spy better."

"That sounds interesting--let's see if we can build such a wall and have it magically expand every so often to encompass the ever-increasing size of our civilization."

"Yes, Willem, I've already given the orders to do so. The wall is to be made out of clamshells."

"What?! Who's in charge here?"

"Well, seeing as how I was born in The Hague many centuries from now in the future, I already know what you are going to do. It's just more efficient for me to take care of the nitty-gritty details while you relax and dine with the beautiful damsels of our lands."

"Oh, okay then, carry on. But what's The Hague?"

"It's a city that hasn't been founded yet."

"Oh, okay. That makes sense. Oh and, Chris?"

"Yes, sir?"

"This is Amsterdam, after all, so I want some pot. What do we need for pot?"

"The Wheel, sir."

"Okay, get us a wheel for our pot, then."

"Will do, sir!"
Meanwhile our intrepid warrior has been returning home to guide our first settler... somewhere. There are no glaringly obvious great city locations yet. (He also gets attacked by another lion on the way home.)

The western cows and corn look awesome for a 2nd city just for food reasons, but there is no river which makes it a pain to connect resources to the capital. It'd also be sort of coastal, but in that case we might as well go for the sheep and corn to get a lighthouse and help with the GrLight strategy.

The southern cows look interesting for that early-game food/hammer combo. The gold/desert is so-so because you can't really mine it without lots of food, and it's more of an early-midgame resource rather than early-game. Ditto with Spice, which requires Calendar.

Nevertheless it is inland and thus has a greater chance of tying up land and denying it to the AI, as well as helping our exploration efforts via cultural boundary exploration, which is safer than using warriors which can die from barbs and animals. Importantly, riverside cottages also help lots with commerce and sustaining a REX. Normal cottages take forever to get to the 2nd commerce, at which point Financial kicks in. Riverside cottages start at 2 commerce and Financial immediately boosts it to 3, similar to what happens with sea tiles. And lastly, there is some desert west of the corn/sheep/cows so that will probably hold off the AI's expansion there for a while, so it'll probably still be available later in the game.

Close call, but south wins. We welcome Utrecht into our dominion. It starts off building a Worker so our capital is free to build another Settler. Our first Worker--once it's done chopping that forest to speed our second Settler and also to give our 2nd city's borders time to expand--will head down and pasture those cows to accelerate the generation of our second Worker. This early in the game, barbs won't go into cultural borders, but if it looks risky our Worker may have to run away from that barb warrior. Our first and still ONLY warrior is healing up in Utrecht.

Pottery discovered! We go for Sailing next in the hopes of getting GrLighthouse after GrWall. Our undefended capital also needs a warrior so it builds that before embarking on the Great Wall building.

Thanks to the seafood which generates lots of commerce, we aren't that far behind in the tech race. Yet. Stonehenge got built somewhere. Whatever, we are Creative and don't need it.

Our warrior is healed up from that scuff with the lion and continues on his spiral to the southeast. There is lots of grassland for yummy cottages there so our 2nd settler follows him into the unknown. Some sea is showing so maybe we can get a coastal city with lots of grassland cottages set up there, then our 3rd settler can build the coastal city in the west near the corn/sheep.

Christiaan wakes with a start to hard knocking on his door.

"Christiaan! Where's my pot?"

"It's done sire!"

"Finally! It only took 400 years!"

"Sorry, sir, it took us a few hundred years just to figure out how a wheel works. Then we made some pot and then got kind of sidetracked and now we think it's really cool how boats work. And so we're making bigger boats and--"

"Enough, Chris. Just give me the pot."

"Yes sir." Chris hands over the pot.

"Any news?"

"Well, we had a clam-fueled population boom and have sent workers out to tame more cattle and farm more rice."


"Also, we sent out an expeditionary force to settle farther upstream, near Mount Utrecht. They have decided to creatively name the city Utrecht. They also found some cattle there along with more gold."

"Anything else?"

"Some lame civilization built the stone doohickey that is barely half as good as our naturally creative Dutch culture."

"Haha, suckers."

"We have also denuded large swaths of land in order to equip another settlement party which we were going to settle on the coast west of here. But they decided to follow our military into the unknown and have discovered maize fields near some grasslands and jungle. Perhaps that will work out better."

I just kills me to see that you're 2 away from pop 4 and building settlers/workers and not working that gold mine. This is Immortal anyway, right. :)
I just kills me to see that you're 2 away from pop 4 and building settlers/workers and not working that gold mine. This is Immortal anyway, right. :)

I actually played kinda sloppily this game, and yes it's Immortal. I had to balance REXing with teching with a low happy cap with GrWall, and I wanted REX/spy as a priority. One of my mistakes, as you will see, is that I didn't go for a high-food second city. I thought I could cottage up that 2nd city while REXing with it and my 3rd city. Sigh. This is why this is not Deity Dutch Domination, it's only my 2nd Immortal game ever and I can get away with a few mistakes. :)

Edit: the gold isn't even mined yet!
Wow, what a doozy of a turn. We were looking for corn + cottages and instead got a marble/fish/corn dye site. Only a moron wouldn't settle that ASAP, though it presents us with a dilemma--GrLight or marble wonders like Oracle?

We decide to go for Oracle even though we let Sailing finish. It was partway done anyway, plus we have no easy access to City 3 without Sailing, plus it would take time to finish the GrWall, build the marble quarry, and road it. So Sailing isn't going to get us GrLight, but it is useful to ship the marble back home, which is a nice consolation prize.

But first Wonders first. Worker 1 goes up north to help chop the Great Wall. In hindsight he should have mined the gold first, as that one chop wasn't going to do as much as the sustained mining hammer bonus and later chops.

2nd Worker goes up and together they build the gold mine and add another chop for good measure, so GrWall is built before anyone else. It's CRITICAL to get it so we spare no trees.

Since we have marble, getting Poly->Priesthood makes more sense than Meditation->Priesthood, as the former unlocks 2 marble wonders.

City 3, The Hague, is busy cranking a fishing boat for itself. Workers 1 and 2, after finishing up chopping that GrWall, will go down south to quarry and road the marble.

And then we run into an old nemesis--Capac of the Incans! His Industrious/Financial trait is a killer combination, and he will give us a serious run for the money in wonderspamming and teching. If only we had some copper, we might axe rush him before he takes off, but copper is nowhere to be found right now. He also owns a holy city.

Further, Sitting and Capac are 2 different religions and we are going to have to pick one or the other soon. Or stay out of the fray and give up any AP bonus.

In the meantime, City 2 is spamming warriors as it waits to grow to size 2.

Christiaan wakes up to a knock on his door late in the evening. Chris opens the door.

Willem barges in and says, "Christiaan, when you gave me this pot, you didn't tell me how hungry it would make me! I'm also curious to hear how things are going in the world."

Chris rubs his eyes. "Well, sir, we have some clam--"

"Not clam again! Or beef over rice! I know they are staples of the Dutch diet, but we really ought to eat something else once in a while!"

"I think perhaps our American, Sumerian, or Korean neighbors have such delicacies, but they aren't able or willing to ship anything to us right now."

Willem sighs. "What about the reports of the maize discoveries down south?"

Chris beams. "Our glorious army has bravely scouted an uninhabited area southeast of Utrecht. Our settlers then fought a grim battle with the trees and eventually won, chopping them down to clear space for my birthplace, The Hague. It has maize--corn to some people--and marble, and some colorful plants, and some rich fishing grounds!"

"Excellent! I could use some popcorn!"

"That's not all, your dictatorshipness, our workers got busy with the cows near Utrecht and helped them make more workers. They are coming here as we speak, to build our great, magically-expanding protective wall that is completely impervious to the most ferocious barbarian invasions and yet completely porous to our more civilized neighbors, who are smarter than the barbarians and thus know how to turn the handles on the doorknobs of the doors along the wall."

"What kind of idiot designed a wall with doors along it? Aren't they guarded doors at least?"

"Don't ask me, some Chinese guy designed it."

"What's Chinese?"

"Oh, it's an interplanetary thing."

"What's a planet?"

"I'll tell you later, maybe after Astronomy or Satellites or something."

"What's Satel--never mind. Just settle The Hague and have them build boats for the fish. I want that wall finished as soon as possible just in case those nasty barbarians show up within our borders."

"Yes sir. Also, sir, about the marble near The Hague."


"It's good for building a wide variety of stuff that we can't yet build."

"Um, okay."

"If we had multiple gods, and had corruptible human "priests" telling us what these multiple gods allegedly are telling us, then perhaps we could build an Oracle that would show us the best path for the Dutch people."

"What does this have to do with marble?"

"You can build the Oracle out of non-marble stuff, such as clamshells, but it'd take less time to build the Oracle with marble. Amsterdam is our most productive city, so it should be built here lest some other civilization build the Oracle first."

"So what if they do?"

"It means that we can't build it then."

"Darn those fickle priests. How do we get marble from The Hague to here?"

"Well, we are on the verge of making big enough boats to haul marble. And if after that we discover that there are multiple gods and allow these priests to have their way, we can make the Oracle around the time that we quarry the marble."

"You're a genius Chris. Good job!"

Chris blushes. "Thank you sir."

"You do realize how mad I'll be if after all that, some other civilization out there builds the Oracle a few decades before we do, right?!"

Chris gulps.

"Just kidding, Chris. Good night, and good luck!"

"Good night!"

As the nascent Dutch civilization grows, word spreads of its gold-fueled prosperity, and it is not long before a man claiming to be an "Incan" seeks an audience with Willem.

Willem is curious as to who this stranger could be. If he isn't Dutch, Korean, American, or barbarian, who was he? Was he a god?

The Incan approaches. After a single look at the gaudy clothing of this Incan, Willem has to suppress a laugh. "This creature certainly can't be a god!" he thinks.

"Greetings Willem. I am Huayna Capac, dictator of the Incans, hand-gesturer extraordinaire, and lover of various Wonder-ful monuments constructed in my name to spread the glory of me, me, and the Incans. We ran into the Koreans a while back and they told us about the no-trespass deal that you two have. We would like the same kind of--"


"Okay, bye!"
Our capital is doing fine. With the warrior in place, its happy cap is 6 and that would allow for a cottage on that floodplain.

Poly done. Heading for Priesthood for Oracle.

Our brave warrior is scouting south and stumbles upon copper. This is a priority resource; it allows axemen and spearmen to deter AI invasions. Even though the Great Wall protects against barbarians, it won't stop AIs.

City 2, Utrecht, is done warrior spamming once it hits size 2. It begins on a Worker but switches to Settler when the copper is discovered.

Our brave warrior climbs a hill to scout around west of the copper, and makes first visual contact with an AI city. Those dog soldier/anti-axeman Native Americans are brushing up against us to the west, so we might want to start settling westwards after we get copper.

One last forest chop and the Great Wall is ours at last!

Unfortunately I forgot about the marble and one worker starts on a cottage in our capital before trotting over to the marble.

Our scientists start on Writing technology so it will open up Alphabet and Code of Laws, which allows courthouses. Courts reduce maintenance costs and allows for more expansion without crippling our science rate.

Utrecht goes for a settler rather than a worker and The Hague assumes the Worker build.

The moment we finish researching Writing, Sitting Bull asks for open borders. We need foreign trade routes and diplomatic bonuses badly, so we will be opening borders with everybody. In the meantime, our warrior was attacked by a barbarian warrior in the jungles, but the +50% defense bonus for being in a jungle saved our daring hero.

Next up: Alphabet. The Great Wall, even with some of the Oracle's Great Prophet pollution, should be able to generate a Great Spy soon, and we need a regular spy to start stealing techs from somebody. Alphabet is required to build that spy.

2500 years after the founding of Amsterdam, the Dutch empire has expanded far and wide. Amsterdam has completed the massive, door-filled Great Magically-Expanding Clamshell Wall Designed By A Chinese Guy On Another Planet. Utrecht has not grown at all; all able-bodied males are conscripted into the fieldworker caste or the warrior caste, leaving many fertile, yet lonely, Dutch maidens behind them. And The Hague is a shining beacon of jungle unhealthiness counteracted by fish, as soon as their boats get done.

"Willem! Wake up!"

Willem opens his eyes to the sight of the admiral of his non-existent navy who is also serving as army general.

"Uh, what was your name again?" Willem asks.

"Maarten Tromp."


"Tromp. I'm a war hero."

"We haven't been in any wars yet."

"We will be. Oh, we will be," Maarten says with a wild glimmer in his eyes. "Anyway, sir, we have discovered copper metal southwest of Utrecht. We must settle it right away so that we can make nasty pointy things to throw at the enemy!"

"You mean spears?"

"No, I mean stuff that we haven't invented yet but will soon--little spears!"

"Aren't bigger spears more damaging than little spears?"

"Little spears with feathers on the ends of them are the wave of the future!" Maarten gestures wildly with his hands and arms. "Actually, sir, we know that all our rivals have them already. At least we get a tech research bonus out of it, since we presumably copy their designs and reverse engineer and such."

"Uh, right. Look, Mr. Trump--"


"If it's that important, do everything you can to claim that copper before our rivals do. Make The Hague settle it. They have enough fish to provision some settlers."

"Everything?" Maarten's eyes light up. "Including slavery?"

"Uh, no not that. We haven't switched to it and we won't, not until we can combine it with another switch to minimize the number of years of anarchy we'd go through."

"But all the cool civs are switching to slavery!"

"I guess we aren't cool then. Look, just get that copper. Without slaves!"

"Yes sir! Oh and Willem--"


"Chris is away right now, but he said to tell you that we've discovered a way to scratch stuff on clamshells to preserve the spoken word and thus to record agreements."


"Chris said he signed open border treaties with our rivals to facilitate trade and to improve diplomatic relations, but I think our enemies are just going to use that agreement to spy on us!" Tromp looks glum.

"Can we cancel them?"

"Yes but not for hundreds of years, no matter what. That's just not proper. Also, we are trying to standardize our writing via an alphabet. Dutch will be a written language using Roman letters."

"What's Roman?"

"Interplanetary thing. You wouldn't want to know." Tromp shudders, as if stricken by a long blade of harder-than-bronze-stuff. "You really wouldn't want to know."

"Um, okay."
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