A Piece of History - August 2012

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A Piece of History - August 2012

Post by Kathryn Lacey on Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:14 pm

Written by Ysopet

The Valenzetti Equation


May, 334 BC

Granicus River, Turkey


“Be ready,” said Cleitus the Black. “Parmenion’s feint on the left side of our forces will draw the Persians, but we must be ready for the charge immediately.”

Cleitus the Black, a friend and Companion, one of the Hetairoi, spoke from atop his vicious war horse. It had taken me years to earn the man’s trust, and years more to earn my place among the Companions. Sitting beside him on a horse of my own, I nodded in acknowledgement. I would be ready. Ready to do what I needed to do, no matter the cost.

I looked down the line arrayed against the Persians, passed the heavy Phalanxes in the middle and to Parmenion’s cavalry unit at the far end. The feint that would lure the Persians away from Alexander’s focus. And it worked. As Parmenion’s cavalry surged forward, the Persian forces were forced to meet them. Alexander made the call, holding his xiphos straight in the air over his head. His face was a painting of eagerness, of battle lust. His Boeotian helmet, close fitting around his head and then flaring out and downward over his face, covered his hair, but a golden plume marked him. I had met the man, Alexander the Great, and I was not disappointed. But I could not be dissuaded.

Our own cavalry unit, the Hetairoi, what would later be called the Companions, surged forward to invade the gap left by Parmenion’s feint. I rode just behind Alexander the Great, with Cleitus the Black on my right and Diodus to my left. Five more men rode behind us, and the lines increased farther back, creating a wedge formation. It was a solid tactic, one that I happened to know would work spectacularly. Alexander scabbarded his xiphos and pulled free his xyston from the saddle, a weapon more suited for horseback. We were already holding our own. As we neared the battle line, I dropped the reins of my horse, giving him complete control, and hefted the xyston with both hands. The front tip of the long spear I aimed forward, ready for the first target to cross my path. The rear point kept the weapon balanced, though I could still feel the enormous spear bouncing in my hands, like a wave traveling through both ends.

Alexander the Great roared as he reached the line of Persians. His xyston slammed through the breast of the first Persian to reach his vicinity. The wooden spear snapped just short of Alexander’s hands, and without a moment of hesitation the fearsome warrior spun the broken weapon around, with the secondary point now facing forward, and launched it at the next unfortunate soldier to feel the wrath of Alexander the Great. At this point, the battle forced me to keep my eyes from straying, though I knew I had to stay close. My own xyston lasted a bit longer, probably because I was not thrusting so forcefully or at such speeds. I tended to aim for the tender flesh of the rider’s horses as well.

When the weapon did break, I didn’t waste a moment in replacing it with my xiphos, a sword used specifically for cutting and thrusting.

Sweat… blood… sun… screams… hours and minutes… Everything streamed together throughout the battle, and what felt like days and seconds was no more than a few hours. I found my way to Alexander and Cleitus, whom I had become separated from. The time was drawing near; I could feel it in my bones. Sweat and blood dripped from my face as I stared down at my hands, also drenched. I let the xiphos drop to body-ridden ground. I would not be needing it anymore. Instead, I drew my kopis, a short, curved sword designed for slashing. A good close-quarters weapon. I was going to need to be in close quarters.

First Mithridates, who received Alexander’s new lance through the face. Then Petines and Omares, and still others, great and valiant Persians laid low by Alexander the Greater. When Spithridates arrived proudly and vengeful, time seemed to still. An interesting concept, all things considered.

Spithridates attacked first, launching his spear at Alexander with a force the equivalent of many standard men. That surprised me in more ways than one, for this was not how I remembered it. The spear struck Alexander’s shield with such impact that it pierced both shield and shining, gory, bronze muscle cuirass. My heart hammered in my chest, for once with real doubt-fueled adrenaline. Alexander thrust his arm out, freeing the point from his breastplate, and tried to shake the spear free. When that proved to be of no avail, Alexander simply broke the haft of the spear with his free hand, letting the rest fall to the ground. Grabbing another xyston from a fellow Companion, he spurred his horse forward. Using the momentum of the charge, he slammed the tip of the weapon against Spithridates own breastplate.

The suddenly still spectators, of both sides, were still cheering at the vigorous display, seeming to have missed the fact that Alexander’s spear point inexplicably bounced off of the chest plate of Spithridates, snapping jaggedly and recoiling backward. The Persian warrior drew his sword and lunged at Alexander’s chest. I watched as, like before, the king simply twirled the broken weapon in his hand until the new point was facing forward, and then drove it through the Persian’s face.

Another Persian rode forward, a man I recognized but did not expect to see: Rhoesaces, Spithridates brother. The man rode up behind the king as he gloated over the corpse of his fallen enemy. My moment was upon me, and I nearly missed it. As a brilliant man was known to have said, time has a way of course correcting itself.

Rhoesaces, somehow unseen by the king’s men, raised his axe and slammed it down upon Alexander’s helmeted head. The Boeotian helmet split, and Alexander the Great fell from his horse. Of course, as things had already gone awry, I could not be sure that it had not happened so once again. I dropped from my horse and rushed forward, eager to take matters into my own hands if need be. But The Black was there before me, almost too soon. Cleitus swung his blade, aiming for the upraised arm of the dismounted Rhoesaces, who’s tunnel-vision had focused itself on his brother’s murderer.

With the speed of a snake, I lunged forward and absorbed the impact of The Black’s blade on my own. Using the momentum of the impact, I swung around in a full circle, raised my blade high, and then let it descend upon my good friend’s neck.

Silence descended upon the battle field; two heads stared lifelessly upward. Cleitus the Black and Alexander the Great were dead. The tides of the battle had changed. The Macedonians would continue to fight, and would be routed. I was grabbed by the Companions and dragged back to the temporary haven of Sestos at Hellespont. Calm descended over me, despite my precarious situation.

*

They stared at me, three of the Hetairoi, seemingly unsure of where to even begin. I had betrayed them at the worst possible moment, a man who had been trusted to lay down his life for the king. Not bothering to test the tightness of the rope that held me bound to a post, I decided to satisfy their curiosity.

“The death of Alexander the Great, if it makes you feel any better, was not supposed to happen for a good many years. He would have achieved much in his lifetime, extending his conquest into Asia and completely eliminating the Persian Empire. He would lay what would become the foundation of the “Western World.”

“Why would you want to put an end to that?” asked Diodus. “And what makes you believe any of that should have happened?”

“I think he snapped,” said another of the Companions, one whose name I did not know. “The weight of battle was too much for him. I knew he rose too far too fast.”

“The numbers have to be changed,” I said. “If this doesn’t change them, nothing will. I have singly handedly put an end to Western civilization. The Persian Empire will find peace and stability, before colliding with the Roman Empire. Together, they will rebuild the world in a new image, one my own people cannot even imagine.”

At least, I hoped it would happen that way. What I saw on the battlefield had truly shaken me. Spithridates should have delivered the blow to Alexander, not his brother. Yet it still happened. Course correction… but why had it strayed in the first place?

“What numbers?” Diodus asked.

“You are a Persian, then,” said the third Companion.

“The Valenzetti Equation,” I said to Diodus, ignoring the other. “An equation said to give the exact date of the extinction of mankind. My people, from my own time, are researching ways to change that equation. To do that, we need to change the numbers that the equation produces…infallibly, as it turns out. ‘4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.’”

Suddenly, all three Companions started laughing. I saw it for what it was, a nervous, forced laugh to cover up their speechlessness and indecisiveness. Soon, they would decide to kill me simply because they could not understand me.

“The numbers are decided by the course of events that led us up to the point that I left, the year 2024. That is 2,358 years from now.”

There was no laughter now. Confusion was dripping from their faces like sweat.

“I have changed the course of history, and therefore, theoretically, I have changed at least one of the numbers. That alters the equation, as well as the date mankind extinguishes itself. Now, the question is, did I extend our time or shorten it? Fortunately, time itself cannot be changed. By altering the events of the past, I have simply created another path for history to pursue in an alternate universe. We will test the Valenzetti Equation here in this universe. If the numbers have changed for the better, we will then find a way to bridge these universes. With what we have achieved so far, I can’t imagine that will be too hard to figure out.”

Thirty four seconds of silence. I counted. These men were far from uneducated brutes, yet they were more uncivilized and uneducated than the youngest of children in modern society. Alternate universes, mathematical equations, time travel… they would not be able to fathom any of it. I was, technically, speaking another language to them.

“Who are you?” Diodus asked.

“My name… my real name, is Nathan. And I belong to the Dharma Initiative.”

Kathryn Lacey
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