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Pax Romana

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by Vanadorn, May 21, 2004.

  1. Vanadorn

    Vanadorn Motorcycling Paladin

    Sep 12, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Thanks man! Everything from page 105 has been fixed re: the ASCII nomenclature (“ for example instead of " ). And then I noticed all the ", ', and other punctuation disappeared from the start of the story, so in my down time I've been starting on page 1 and replacing all those from my saved file.

    Looking forward to going on with this. I did notice that Civ 3 doesn't run on my new windows 10 machine, so my daughter set me up on her Steam account to download a copy, but I don't want to lose my original saved game. So I unmothballed the original Windows XP machine that this sat on and it's sitting under my desk right now so I can refer back to the game, complete the writeup, and then finish the damned game! :)

    Please keep an eye out. Hoping to reach 2-3 updates per week.

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  2. barbslinger

    barbslinger Gun blast'n shot drinker

    Oct 1, 2003
    Buying a round for grumpy old men
    So happy to see you back Vanadorn!
    Vanadorn likes this.
  3. need my speed

    need my speed Rex Omnium Imperarium

    Oct 3, 2009
    European Union (Magna Batavia)
    Oh wow... I recently-ish thought of this story again, after reading through this one at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016 (that's what the 'I told you about them, I think, once' refers to):

    [30-7-2016 0:34:08] MyName: Many years ago - six? - I read some very nice stories in this Civilization III subforum. And so I decided to look at it again, to look at the stories present there. Stories from so very long ago - one was started in 2004 - that still have people watching for updates, and some are even still being updated... It's nice to see that. Stories from another lifetime, now back and further along. I told you about them, I think, once.

    And now, now it is back, and updated even! Vanadorn, yours is a name that will be remembered. Welcome back - and thank you, though I'd hope you write for your own enjoyment first and foremost. :)
  4. Vanadorn

    Vanadorn Motorcycling Paladin

    Sep 12, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Trust me, I write because I enjoy the heck out of it. Since I originally wrote this so long ago I've been continuously writing on and off (more on) on a variety of junk - most of it pet enjoyment projects - some posted elsewhere - but I've had this bundle of notes sitting around at the edge of my desk for so long. So here it is, and it's out, updating, and I'm working on my story again.

    I've been going back to the beginning of the thread and updating every post since during the migration, a majority of the punctuation had been either deleted or replaced with ASCII figures. I originally did pages 105 forward...but I have also gone back to the beginning and from 1-58, so far, have fixed it.

    Thanks so much for reading, following, and checking back. Not just yourself but everyone else who has come out of the woodwork to revisit this. Once I'm up to date I'll post much more frequently. Thanks again!


    Ok, every post has been fixed. All punctuation is returned and the story can be read without issue! Thanks for the patience. In fact, thanks so much...

    Next update in 30 seconds. :)
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  5. Vanadorn

    Vanadorn Motorcycling Paladin

    Sep 12, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Orvillus Wrighteous stood to the side of the deflated Aerodeck with shaking fists balled up in the terry cloth towel he had wrapped around his shoulders. His 7 man deck crew were breathing heavy, two of them also soaked to the skin and two others sporting angry 1st degree burns along their forearms and faces. They were squared off against a ten count of deckhands from the Twisting Albatross who were just as furious; three of the deckhands were currently sitting down and sporting fresh bandages from the medics tending to their assorted bruises and cuts.

    “’Ware the lines!’” Orvillus screamed, the veins on his neck pulsing wildly as he shouted his fury. “’Ware the Zeus-be-damned lines’ is called out because you have to STAY the hell away from them, you moronic Apes!”

    “Getting a bit fonging tired of you and your Flits screwing up the decks, Wrighteous!” Seaman Neurium surged up to his feet, his closely shaved blond head and wide cheekbones gave evidence to some Egyptian blood in his past. “You DELIBERATELY aimed your fonging Aerodeck at Gorseman and Hachtor! Like a raving madman!”

    “Aimed?! Are you stupid as well as a moron!? I sure as Tartarus did NOT aim my Aerodeck at anyone! Not at any time, ever! Especially not when it’s inflated! Not when the burner is lit! Not when the engine is running and the fuel lines are running HOT petroleum under my arse! And NOT when the Twisting Albatross is firing cannonade broadsides at Vilcas and I’m trying NOT to have the hawser lines ripped free OR get thrown the steel deck you jerkoff Apes are so fond of licking clean!”

    “Spare me your bull, Wrighteous!” Neurium spat at the aviast’s feet. “You Zeus-Damned well HIT them!”

    “They were hit because they GOT in the DAMNED way!”

    “So you ADMIT it?!?!”

    Orvillus threw his hands up. “What the…Of course I admit it! They were HIT by my damned Aerodeck because they got FOULED in my goose-crap-muck-stalling mother blasted LINES!” He stabbed his finger out, preventing Neurium from continuing. “And BECAUSE of their arse-ways stupidity, the Aerodeck hit the Twisting Albatross at a ‘Neptune Save Us’ deep angle, tore the main gas bag, dumped my rotting carcass OUT of the pilot chair and tossed me into the fonging OCEAN!!!”

    “Ram your sob story up a Carthaginian street sweeper’s bung hole, Wrighteous! See if I DON’T get some satisfaction for your reckless behavior and DELIBERATE assault on my guys!”

    “You want an assault…?” Orvillus made to lunge at Seaman Neurium but was restrained by his deck crew. In response to his sudden but halted attack, Neurium lashed out, his balled fist catching Orvillus at a glancing blow just across his shoulder before he too was grabbed and pulled back. “Hit ME?!?! Are you DAFT?!?! Let me go, I’ll tear his damned head off!”

    “Give it a shot, Flit!” Neurium shot back, practically spitting his words he was foaming with anger. “Any time! Anywhere!”

    The two men were forced further away until Orvillus was dragged and shoved into the small wooden façade his crew had built to house the Aerodeck as a hanger. “Don’t get so worked up, Ic,” one of the crewmen said, using the honorific they had adopted for Orvillus in place of his name. “He’s a deck Ape; and like all Apes, they only know how to shout, pound their chest, and make a mess. Be thankful no one got really hurt.”

    Orvillus sighed. “Two burns, three slashed arms and chests, and one poor putz tossed 8 meters to the Serenic is a bit more than zero.”

    “Trust me, Icarus, it could have been worse.” The men were nodding. “Minor stuff at best.”

    “Whatever,” Orvillus grumbled, tossing his towel to the tool chest and smoothing the front of his sodden shirt. “Let’s go see how bad the rip is on the gasbag.”

    The rest of the day had Orvillus’ deck crew and Neurium’s men giving foul looks at each other, but no more blows or exchanges were forthcoming. To the men working on the Aerodeck, not only was the rip a sizeable one, but the hard landing had stress cracked one of the landing struts and crimped some of the fuel lines. The elder Wrighteous brother was furious and after visiting the quartermaster was even more incensed to learn that neither copper nor brass tubing was available on board the Albatross at the dimensions he required to fix the Aerodeck.

    With the Aerodeck no longer available, the gun crews of the Albatross were forced to rely on the best estimations their limited views were able to provide. This resulted in the frigate being moved closer to Vilcas’ harbor and more wasted ammunition.

    After three days of poor results and with no standing ground troops to take advantage of the frigate’s constant bombardment of the Incan city, the orders eventually came from Admiral Vespasium for the Twisting Albatross to return to Luetitia for restock, refit, and repair. Lying in his rack that evening, the Incan lands fading below the horizon, Orvillus tried to ease the tension headache that was brewing behind his eyes. “I need a break,” he muttered. A smudged copy of a Liberty form was held tight against his thigh. With slow and deliberate care he used his poorly sharpened graphite stick to fill in the blank lines.

    About halfway down was a space for the amount of time requested. With the Albatross’ engines driving her west and the feel of the deck rising and falling below him, Orvillus drew a deliberate line through the words ‘from’ and ‘to’ and just wrote the word “Maximum” across both boxes.

    With a final sigh coming from deep within his soul, he rolled his eyes to the ceiling and repeated, “Sweet Neptune, do I need a break.”
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  6. Jakt

    Jakt Chieftain

    Dec 8, 2005
    Minnesota, USA
    I think the Roman Army and Navy need to discover Flight. And, for some reason, I sense planes and carriers are coming very soon.
  7. Vanadorn

    Vanadorn Motorcycling Paladin

    Sep 12, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Lunsilla lowered her cup with shaking fingers, the porcelain rattling against the table top until a firm press forced it to stop shaking, eyes flashing towards the lone door out of the room. “I don’t know anything more to tell you. Honestly, I don’t.”

    Dardanel looked at his two men near the door, their crisp red shirts, black pants and jackets, the silver epilates and the rather obvious golden eagle of Rome emblazoned on their bicep sleeves, were not making the former maidservant of Adept Plutarch any more relaxed. The five of them were in Interview Room III of the Communal Bureau of Investigation; Senior Director Dardanel, Special Agent Penthesilia, Agents Gorex and Shinhotep, and Lunsilla. They had been here since nine and it was already past one. The remains of an anisette tray covered in crumbs along with two empty carafes both were in the center of the table, Lunsilla on one side, her fingers twisting the hem of her skirt worryingly between her hands.

    Penthesilia extended her hand, laying it comfortingly on Lunsilla’s. “It’s ok. We understand. Truly we do. And I want to thank you so much for coming to talk with us.”

    The sorrowful woman sniffed worryingly. “So…can I…may I go?”

    Her eyes flicked to Dardanel’s, getting a slight sign from him, and then came back to Lunsilla’s before the Special Agent smiled and replied, “Yes. I think you’ve done more than enough. And for that, we thank you, Lunsilla.” She stood up and leaned over, helping the younger woman to her feet. “If there is anything you can remember, anything at all, no matter how small, you make sure to come back and let me know, ok?”

    Lunsilla nodded once, head down, hair hanging before her eyes. Timidly she looked up and gave Penthesilia a small smile, getting a larger reassuring one in return. “Ok.”

    “Agent Gorex? Can you escort this fine citizen to the main desk and have the bursar arrange train fare as well as give miss Lunsilla a 400 lira stipend for her efforts and thanks?”

    “Yes, Special Agent.”

    “400?” Lunsilla gasped. “That’s very generous of you.”

    “Nonsense. You’ve done our office, the Adeptus, and all of Rome a service by your recounting and testimony. It’s money well spent.”

    “Oh,” her gaze fell. “Well, thanks again Agent…Special Agent Penthesilia.” She shook her hand.

    “And thank you.”

    Dardanel pushed himself up, extending his own hand to grasp Lunsilla’s “Thanks. Seriously. It was an honor.”

    Once all the hand shaking had ended and Gorex led the subdued and emotionally wrung out Lunsilla from the Interview Room, Shinhotep gave a single salute to the Senior Director and left, closing the door behind him.

    “Son of a…ugh, what a damned mess.” Dardanel braced one hand on his weak left thigh and lowered himself back to his chair. Once sitting down, he stretched out his leg and rubbed the top of it with stiff fingers. “Zeus damn it all. It’s a mess, Penthesilia.”

    “I know. I know.” She also sat down, her breath whistling heavily as she hit the chair. “Murdered.”

    “No doubt.”

    “The Adeptus, too. What a damned mess.”

    Dardanel nodded, rubbing his chin. Rolling his neck towards the door, he asked, “What’s your read on her?”

    “Lunsilla?” Penthesilia shrugged, flicking her finger across the cookie plate until she found a sizeable chunk and popped it between her lips. “I think she was telling the truth.”

    “Yeah, me too. At first I thought she might have been in on it, you know, throwing deception around.”

    “Me too. But everything checked out. Place was locked up, what prints were found in the yard were in line with her testimony, and she was vague enough on all the right points to indicate that she DIDN’T know or easily see who might have been sneaking out of the Adeptus’ home.” She swallowed. “No, she saw the killer leaving by a bit of luck, giving us a bit more to go one than if the body was merely discovered cold the following morning.”

    Dardanel tapped the table top with a roll of his fingertips. “Right. And now we have to look out for a male figure standing 1.5 or 1.6 meters, thin, dexterous, size 24 shoes, with a knowledge of poison and full itinerary to the Adeptus’ schedule as well as one of the few persons to have access to his keys.” His eyes narrowed, “Don’t tell me you have no idea who we’re talking about.”

    “I know, I know, I know.” Penthesilia ground her teeth together. “But we can’t PROVE it.”

    “You can’t prove he didn’t do it either, Pen.” Dardanel’s head shook. “I don’t like it either. I really don’t. Tartarus, Felix helped me get this job. He’s been instrumental in dissolving the Matron’s network and setting up this one. There is almost nothing the CBI does that wasn’t or didn’t come from Felix and his time with the Matron’s CRS network. And now? I mean now? Assassinate Plutarch? Why?”

    “Who knows. Dozens of reasons that only Zhinskius knows. Sedition? Treason? Destabilization? How about good old fashioned hatred, the Master Director and the Adeptus were never friends, compatriots, or supporters of one another; neither in the Senate nor in public. What I do know is that we have a murdered head of state that represented 1/7th of the ruling body politic of this country until the Chairman is either found or his seat is declared vacated at the end of the year. And the fact that it is suspected by another seventh of the body politic only makes it even more Zeus-fouled up!”

    “A mess,” Dardanel moaned, “It’s all a mess.” He sighed and closed the cover to the file in his lap, pushing himself back to his feet. “But mess or not, we have a job to do. Let’s send the word out to every agent across Rome: Felix Zhinskius is considered a person of interest in the murder of Adept Plutarch. His movements should be reported to the local powers and he is to be arrested without delay at the earliest opportunity and brought here for questioning.”

    Penthesilia nodded, standing up to join her boss. “I’ll get it done. By four today it’ll be on every Telesomo from Ravenna to Pi-Ramses.” She sighed deeply. “For all the good it will do.”

    “That’s the messy part, Special Agent Penthesilia,” Senior Director Dardanel replied just as weary sounding, “we have to let every agent know to arrest the Master Director of THIS agency. Besides the logistical nightmare, there is the loyalty one to answer where we have to ask: ‘will the agents in question consider their loyalty to be more towards their superior, or more towards the edicts of the agency?’.”

    Penthesilia stopped with her hand on the door knob and asked, “What do you think?”

    “What do I think? I think we’re going to have some problems.”
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2016
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  8. mhminai

    mhminai Chieftain

    Mar 15, 2003
    Lucknow, India
    Read a bit of this story back in '05. And now its 126!!! Man I have some catching up to do
  9. Vanadorn

    Vanadorn Motorcycling Paladin

    Sep 12, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Hope you all had a great few weeks, it's been busy by me. Next chapter to follow...and Nero and Cincinnatus to return very soon! Vie Victus!

    Agent Gogoshen gave the beggar’s car a final once over before stepping off the 4:35 out of Rome. He glanced at the destination board, ignoring everything on the listing until he arrived at the bottom location: Ravenna Major Terminal. With a satisfied nod to himself he made his way over to the concession counter where the harried clerk was struggling to finish her sales to the long queue of travelers anxious to complete their purchases. He stood near the display of tonic waters and kept his eye on the platform.

    The final train heading towards Ravenna this week often attracted a large number of travelers and today was no exception. The conductors were doing the best they can to get the passengers loaded, checking tickets against ID papers while linemen were walking along the base of the locomotive cars with long necked cans of lubricating oil, squirting both sides of every axle they passed. Luggage handlers were standing on top the cars while stevedores tossed cases and baggage up to be lashed in place. Hundreds and hundreds of people were milling about, and to Gogoshen’s trained eyes, no one was standing around being suspicious or just observing.

    Except himself that is.

    “Well?” One of the customer’s from the counter had sidled up next to the Agent, a wax wrapped sandwich held loosely in his left hand. He had on a slouch cap that had been washed enough times it was a greyish-brown color. His second hand coat had the collars turned up, obscuring part of his face.

    “Looks ok.”

    “Good enough for me.” He reached out and shook Gogoshen’s hand. “You are doing your country a great service, Agent. I am proud to have someone like you defending the principles this country was built upon.”

    “Only doing what I know is right, Master Director.” Agent Gogoshen seemed to swell up with pride while he clasped hands with Felix Zhinskius. On the platform the main conductor was wandering down the wooden planks, pocket watch in his hand, shouting, “All Aboard! 4:35 leaving in 1 minute! All Aboard!”

    “That’s my cue.” Felix reached into his overcoat pocket and pulled out a slightly crinkled ticket. “I’ll keep you posted, Agent Gogoshen.” With a final nod, Felix walked away from beaming Agent and made his way to the beggar’s car. The ticket agent here was not comparing the cheaper tickets to ID’s, making the hurried line of passengers move faster but the quality of people on board left something to be desired.

    Satisfied that Master Director Zhinskius was on board, Agent Gogoshen turned towards the row of peddler’s carts that were near the muddy base of the train platform and perused the wares until he stopped at a wine seller’s cart. “Cup of Seven Hills Red,” he asked in a monotone voice.

    “Would you prefer a Rosé? I have a nice Foxmeadow?” the seller replied.

    “The foxes do love to wander,” the Agent answered. When the seller tapped the top of his cart with his ring finger twice in rapid succession Gogoshen relaxed slightly. “He’s on.”



    “Good. We’re going to extract at Casalotti Station.” The wine seller took a small brown bottle from his cart, checked the cork was set, and handed it to Gogoshen.

    “Terrific.” Gogoshen handed the man a 20 lira piece, taking the bottle in return. “I feel like filth,” he grimaced.

    The seller shrugged, “Comes with the territory.”

    “Whatever.” The locomotive gave a loud whistling blast and then the train began moving with ponderous purpose away from the platform and on its way. Agent Gogoshen turned away and made his way through the garbage choked street until he was back on Venezia Boulevard. He walked along the crowded road, his shoulders bowed and heart heavy. What does that make me? he mused, Am I a double agent for crossing the Master Director or am I a patriot for double crossing him? There was no answer to be found as he strode the cobbled street; only questions.

    Meanwhile, five minutes earlier, one of the passengers on the beggar’s car embraced Felix as he boarded, clapping the Master Director on the back. He held his hand out and took Zhinskius’ hat and coat from him. “Any problems, sir?”

    Felix smiled. “None, whatsoever.” The other man handed Felix a paper bag with a plaid tweed jacket and stovetop hat which Felix quickly slipped on. He patted the pocket and felt the ticket within. “Pisae Heights Station?” he asked.

    “As requested, boss.”

    With a satisfied grunt and nod, Zhinskius placed a hand on the covert agent’s shoulder and squeezed gently. “Perfect.” The two men locked eyes. “You are doing your country a great service, Agent. I am proud to have someone like you defending the principles this country was built upon.”

    “Happy to do my part, boss.” The locomotive gave a whistling blast, signaling it was about to leave. “You should go,” he said, pulling Felix’ slouch cap low while slipping his overcoat on.

    “Will do. Be careful, they’ll probably try and intercept at Casalotti or Vittoria.”

    The agent gave a wry grin. “Not bothered, boss. Get out of here.”

    Felix smiled, made his way to the back of the beggar’s car, kicked the floor trap open and shimmied out the hole and onto the tracks amidst the angry grumblings from the passengers within. He crouched low as the 4:35 to Ravenna picked up speed and the beggar’s car and eventual caboose passed over his head.

    Once no longer under the cover of the accelerating train, Felix mixed in with the various linesmen wandering the tracks, made his way to the platform on the south side, and entered the short line of men waiting to use the lavatory. Once inside he purposely let two men cut ahead of him until the far stall became available. His head held high he entered the squat stall and slid the locking bar closed.

    With deft motions he stripped off his tweed jacket, jammed it into the stovepipe hat, and then proceeded to take his pants off as well, adding it to the hat. He then reached behind the commodus until his fingers felt a stiff wire. He pulled the wire with a single jerking motion and a hollow spot in the back wall opened up. With delicate care he backed himself into the space until he was in the dank wet wall behind the bathroom. The wire was unhooked from the nail placed on the inside of the panel and the panel itself was nudged back into place until it was snuggly fitting.

    Feeling around the dimly lit interior, Felix felt the burlap bundle he placed here a week earlier before he visited the Adept one final time and took it down from its hook. He opened the bag and withdrew new pants, a grey and red trimmed overcoat, and a flat wool hat that was popular in Leptis Magna. Once dressed he placed his other clothes in the bag and then felt his way along the darkness until he arrived at the access door. A quick peek through showed no one nearby and with a confident twist of the knob, Felix emerged onto Platform IV and joined the mass of citizenry making their way to the waiting 5:15 nightly express on its way to Grand Antium Station.

    “Just made it, Brother,” the conductor said as he gave Felix’ ticket and ID a cursory glance. “Grab any seat you’d like.”

    “Thank you, Brother.” He paused. “Any idea when we arrive in Antium?”

    “Should be by 4:30 in the morning.”

    Nodding his thanks, Felix made his way to the far end of the passenger car where he sat down with a satisfied grunt. He glanced out the window and smiled as his fingers played with the heavy crease on his counterfeit ID badge. He gave a quick look. “Johannes Ferraro”. Felix chuckled aloud. Can’t get any more common than that, he thought.

    Eventually the 5:15 pulled out of the station and chugged its way through the business district of Rome’s heart. To Zhinskius he looked on the tall buildings, wide avenues, and tree lined parks with a wry grin. I’ll be back. Soon, my dear, he crooned internally to the city he loved. Just have to stay one step ahead until the vote to declare the Chairman’s seat open comes up next month. And then we can see about filling it at long last and getting this country back to where it’s supposed to be.

    “Can I interest you in some pipe weed, a cigar, or cigarettes?”

    The voice snapped him out of his silent musing and Felix turned to see the train’s smoking girl standing near; her tray of wares held in front of her, twin straps ran up and over her shoulders. “I’m sorry, Sister,” he said with a depreciating grin. “You surprised me.” He looked over her tray quickly and pointed to an open box of cigars. “Are those Gizan?”

    “Yes they are.”

    “Terrific. I’ll take one please.” He fished out a silver 3-lira piece. She cut the end off the cigar and handed it to him, taking the silver coin in return. He placed it between his lips as she then lit a sulfur match on the side of her tray and then held it to his cigar. Felix sucked in a few times, getting the end of the Gizan cigar well lit, while his eyes took in her cleavage as she held the position a moment longer.

    She stood up with a smile and asked, “Will there be anything else, sir?”

    Taking a deep draw of the cigar and letting the smoke coil about his mouth before letting it out with a grin, Felix shook his head. “No thank you, this is perfect. Just what I needed.” His grin grew wider, “You know, you are doing your country a great service, Sister.”

    She giggled, “Just doing my job.”

    Felix watched her shapely behind as she made her way to the next passenger to offer her wares to him before looking back out the window again. Absently he reached into his pocket and took out the wax paper wrapped sandwich he purchased earlier. As he opened it, the wrapper making a wet crinkly sound until he managed to withdraw half and take a small bite, he sighed deeply from the bottom of his heart. “So am I,” he whispered.
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  10. Vanadorn

    Vanadorn Motorcycling Paladin

    Sep 12, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Private Besmond of the 8th Neapolis Riflemen lifted the end of his bunk to check one last time for any of his personal effects. Seeing nothing but gritty sand and some dusty bits of fluff, he let the wooden frame down with a solid THUNK.

    “Zeus damned, Fustat,” he murmured aloud, his eyes flicking tiredly across the walls of the barracks and through the mismatched windows to the devastated city outside. “Glad to be going.” With well-practiced hands fueled from months of rote and repetition, he cinched the ties closed on his duffle and slung the kit across his shoulders, hands and arms sliding through the wide loops. He pulled the trailing belt tight against his waist and buckled it in place swiftly.

    Reaching down his picked up his Antium forged Remingus Military Standard Issue Model IV rifle, lovingly referred to as the REM-FOUR by the armed forces, and checked the trigger, hammer, barrel and safety with little thought. Satisfied all was in place and without issue, he slung his rifle over his shoulder, checked to make sure his bayonet and field knife were thrust through his belt, and then walked out of the barracks.

    The hot sun of Fustat Province burned down from the azure sky. Besmond adjusted his cap so the brim blocked most of the direct light, and made his way across the hard packed earth to the coal smoking engine and train cars that had been moved here just last month.

    Men and women of the Roman army were making their way out of the military encampment that had been their home for too many months. From where he walked, Besmond could see the leaning and staggered line of crosses as they made their way towards the urban heart of Fustat. The city still looked desolate, many of the buildings were missing roofs or had a pock marked look to them from the carnage and fires that had claimed the former UAL property. Thousands and tens of thousands of former Saracen citizenry had been displaced, sent to the fields, moved about, or incarcerated. To Besmond it felt like the actions of the 8th Neapolis as well as every other military unit were more like prison turnkeys and club wielding police.

    Patrolling the rubble of former cities for scavengers was not the ‘glory of Rome’ he once thought. Neither was snatching people off the streets for violating curfew. Or maintaining order on the bread and soup lines. It was not guarding the crucified prisoners as they died screaming on the crosses while their loved ones watched from behind barbed wire fences. It did not come from the words shouted in anger, the shots fired in fury, the clubs plied with determination, or the nightmares behind closed eyes.

    To Besmond, at just under nineteen years of age, all of the rhetoric and anger he had shouted towards his father, all of the ways of the world he “knew to be right”, all the things that he had wrapped around himself and touted to anyone who would listen…were sadly wrong. And like most of the youth today, disenfranchised and living in a Rome that was nothing like the Rome of their parents or grandparents, they were convinced they knew better.

    “What a joke,” he murmured again, joining the line of soldiers as they waited under the scorching sun for their chance to board the crude passenger cars waiting at the depot.

    “What?” the guy in front of him asked, turning around to give Besmond a quick once over. He was about Besmond’s age, but his hair was tightly curled and had a reddish hue to it. There were a double handful of thin wiry beard hairs that were struggling to cover the young adult’s cheeks but were failing for all their effort.

    “Nothing.” Besmond sighed, “Everything.”

    “I hear you, Brother.” The line shuffled forward a few steps. “At least we’re getting out of here.”

    “There is that. Any chance we’re going home?”

    “Ha!” the other soldier laughed, snorting as he did so. “Fat chance.” He pointed towards the smoking locomotive. “Nope, taking us north.”

    Besmond frowned. “Zulu?”

    “Nah, Inca. There’s a mounting force gathering there. We’re joining it.”

    “I hear that Jumpy Icarus was playing havoc around Lutetia,” Besmond said with wavering authority, using the armed forces slang for the Incan people, parroting back what he had overheard one of the Optio’s casually mention last week at the mess hall. “Mayhap that’s where we’ll go.”

    The other soldier shrugged, stepping forward a few more paces. “Could be. Whatever it is, and wherever we’re going, it’s going to be better than whipping the beaten people of Fustat even deeper into the dust.”

    “Between you, me, and Zeus, I can only hope so.”

    Besmond eventually boarded the train, took a seat on the simple wooden bench, and looked out the small window of the passenger car as the locomotive gave forth a plaintive whistle before chugging its way forward. To the tired soldier of the 8th Neapolis Riflemen, Besmond watched the land pass by without expression and without word. Only when the weariness became too much for him did he close his eyes and let the rocking motion of the travelling train lull him to sleep.

    His body would get the sleep it needed, but his mind would still be starved for the rest it desperately needed.
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  11. Littlefreak100

    Littlefreak100 Chieftain

    Jul 21, 2017

    I will fully admit that I only found your story from the link on Civilization's TV Tropes page. Going into this story, I expected it to be a modest work by someone with a bit too much free time.

    Boy was I wrong.

    This story is an absolute gem; it is a testament to what can be done from pure passion alone. Having read the entire thing up to this point, and shared it with my friends, we patiently await the next installment.

    Thank you so much for this.

    Edit: Aah! I forgot to start reading your dnd campaign log! Will do.
    need my speed and Synsensa like this.

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