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Chapter Two

Joe Modi lapsed into a coma on August seventh. He died six hours later. The funeral was on August tenth. Josh Modi kept his composure throughout the ceremony, accepting condolences and murmurs of sympathy.

Men, after all, don't cry.

"Keep a stiff upper lip."

"Be a man."

"Grin and bear it."

Society frowns on men who cry.

But men do cry. Often it is late at night or upon awakening from a bad dream. Then the walls come down.

For Josh Modi the walls came down the first time he slept in his grandfather's bed the night after the funeral. He woke from a sound sleep and found himself staring at the ceiling. He began remembering the simple things he and his grandfather had done. The chess games. The shared meals. The laughter.

Brick by emotional brick his wall crumbled. Loneliness seized his soul. Ah, Gramps!

Josh began to cry. Not simple tears, but the wracking sobs of a man who had kept things inside for too long. Josh didn't know how long he cried that night, but he would always remember when he stopped.

A hand with long supple fingers began stroking his hair. Colette slid into the bed at his back, spooning him.

"I'm sorry I woke you."

"Shhh," she said. "Shhh. Sleep now."

Slowly his body relaxed. Alone no more, he slept.


The next day they began to clean out the basement using the inventory lists that Joe had developed over the previous three months. The first place they went to was the large brown metal container Joe had shown him back in May. When he opened the container for Colette and Colas he was surprised to see the BM-59 still there.

Colas' eyes were round as Josh took the rifle out of the container. "What is that?"

Josh laughed. "I had to ask Gramps, myself. This is a BM-59. In the universe we came from there was a war called World War Two. Every army had its own main battle rifle. The American Army's rifle was called the Garand. It was a good rifle, one of the best. But it had limitations. The Italians created a main battle rifle based on the Garand but with twenty round magazines and in a different caliber. That's what this is."

Josh handed the battle rifle to Colas after checking to see it was empty. "I thought Gramps gave this to the army but apparently he forgot or decided not to."

After Colas had looked at the BM-59 for a minute Josh took it back and placed it in the container.

Colas pointed to the comic books on the left side. "What are those?"

Josh smiled. "Those are called comic books, but these are the rare ones, so we should leave them in the slip covers. Gramps said there were a few plastic containers of less valuable ones. Once we find them you can take a look at them. You'll have to learn to read English, though."

Might not be a bad way to learn English, now that I think about it Josh thought.

After relocking the container Colette, Colas and Josh began organizing the basement into three different piles: things to be sold, things to be kept, and other. Throughout the day Colette and Josh would sometimes touch or smile at each other. Occasionally they even embraced, when Colas wasn't looking. When it came time for bed, Colette yawned.

"Good night, Josh. I'm very tired." She smiled. "I didn't get much sleep last night." Colette came over and gave him a platonic kiss on the cheek, then went to her bedroom and closed the door.

Josh sighed. Well what did you expect, dummy? An hour later he went to bed.


This time, when he woke up, things were different. First off, he was hard and aching. Second, Colette was naked and her feverish hands were definitely not stroking his hair.

"It has been a long time," she murmured, swinging her legs over to straddle him. "You will forgive me if I am not very good at first?"

"Ahhhh, yes!"

They made love until, finally satiated, they fell asleep in each others' arms.


When Josh woke the next morning, Colette was gone.

A dream? But it had been no dream. The sheets were rumpled and the bed smelled of sex. Besides, he was still a bit sore. He'd never thought a woman born in the seventeenth century would be so gymnastic in her lovemaking.

After his shower Josh found Colas in the kitchen eating breakfast. "Seen Colette?"

Colas nodded. "She went over to Amy's house. Can I borrow your mountain bike again?"

"Sure." For the past month Colas had been riding Josh's bike nearly every day, exploring the streets, alleys, and paths in and around Grantville with newfound friends.

"Can you help us after lunch though? We're almost done with the basement."

"Okay, Josh." Colas looked over his shoulder as he walked out the door. "After lunch."

So why wasn't Colette here? thought Josh. After last night …

Then he realized what she was doing. Giving him time alone to make a decision. To decide what he was going to do without the pressure her presence would provide.

So what was he going to do?


Two weeks before, Gramps had brought up the same question. They had been washing dishes and Josh had been the dryer.

"You really ought to marry the girl, Josh," Joe had said, handing his grandson a dripping plate. "She's smart, she's pretty, and she plays a mean game of chess. Not to mention, she's got a fine business sense. You know what she said I should do with those houses on Clarksburg?"

Josh shook his head and took another plate from Joe.

"Since Vince has found places for almost all the relatives and guests from his wedding anniversary party, she thinks it could make a great inn. Grantville is going to grow and Clarksburg Street is centrally located. We could turn the partial basements into rooms and build a large common room in between the two houses."

"I don't know, Gramps," Josh said. "It feels like it's too soon."

"I know, Josh, I know." Joe's voice was soft. "But this is a new world we're in and Colette can help you adapt. It's time to move on, boy."

Josh shrugged. "I'll think about it." He smiled. "She is pretty darn attractive in a lot of ways."

"Well, if you do marry her … " Joe handed him another plate..".. just remember Joe's Maxims for a happy marriage."

Josh laughed. "I have had girlfriends before, Gramps."

Joe looked at him with a mock scowl. "You're still wet behind the ears as far as women are concerned, so listen up." He handed Josh another dish. "First thing, never discuss previous lovers. Never. No comparisons. She's the best ever, period. Second, if she's the touching type, touch her a lot. She'll appreciate it. Third, respect her privacy. If she doesn't want to talk about something, don't keep pressuring her."

Josh nodded. He'd learned that one with his last girl friend.

"And lastly, put a little romance into the relationship. Women love that kind of thing, especially on anniversaries and birthdays. And whatever you do, don't forget those." Joe shuddered. "Fate worse than death, boy, if you forget a birthday or anniversary."

Joe became thoughtful. "If you do decide to marry her, you can use grandma's ring. It's in the knick knack box on my dresser."

It was that last admonition that Josh remembered now. He looked around the living room and smiled. Joe had been right, time to move on. Now let's see, if he put the couch

there …


When Colette walked into Amy's house that morning, Amy knew something was different. "Okay, Colette, fess up. What happened? You're positively glowing. Did Josh give you a present or something?"

Colette laughed. "I would say it was the 'or something.'" She got a far away look in her eyes. "Oh, yes. Several 'or somethings.'"

Amy's eyebrows started climbing up her forehead. "You jumped his bones, didn't you? All right, girl! It's been a long time for you, hasn't it?"

Colette nodded. "Yes, we made love. And it was the first time since Etienne."

Colette flopped on the bed. "And it was very, very good."

Amy laughed. "So how many times did you … what was it Shakespeare called it … the little death?"

Colette smiled dreamily. "I don't remember. At least, if I am with child it will be a boy."

Amy cocked her head. "What?"

Colette waved her hand. "It is often said that for a child to be a boy, the woman must have an orgasm during the lovemaking."

"Well … " Amy laughed. "Did he propose this morning?"

Colette grinned. "That would be difficult since I left before he woke up."

Amy looked at her through her eyelashes. "Damn, girl. Men are most vulnerable when they're just waking up after sex. Now you have to start over from scratch. He did tell you he loved you, though. Right?"

Colette smiled. "We didn't exchange a lot of words last night. We made love and then fell asleep."

Amy looked at her critically. "I'm surprised you're able to walk. So what now?"

"Now, I think … " Colette grinned a bit. "It really is Josh's move."

They didn't have long to wait. The phone rang. Amy answered it. She handed the phone to Colette and mouthed It's him.


"Colette, can you come home?" Josh asked. "We need to talk." His voice seemed cool.

"Certainly, Josh. I'll be right there."

"And Colette?"


His voice turned soft. "I love you."

Her heart sang. "I love you, too, Josh."

"Oh," added Josh, "and bring little Miss Matchmaker with you. I'm sure she'll want to see the fruits of her labor."


Both Colette and Amy saw that the curtains were closed when they reached the house. They walked into the living room. Several lit candles were spaced around, giving the room a soft glow.

"Josh?" Colette's voice sounded nervous.

"Be right there. Have a seat on the couch, please."

Amy and Colette sat down. When Josh walked in he was holding something behind his back.

Josh switched to French. It is the better language for this. "Colette Dubois, I have loved you from the first day I saw you in the parish hall. I tried to tell myself that it couldn't happen, that love at first sight is impossible, an illusion. But it isn't. I want to share my life with you, and be a part of yours."

Josh brought his hand out from behind his back and got down on one knee. In his hand was a wide-mouthed brandy snifter with a flower floating in water. On the flower was a diamond ring. "Will you marry me?"

By then both Amy and Colette were crying. In the back of his mind he could hear his grandfather's voice. "Good job, boy. Good job."

Through her tears Colette smiled. "Yes, Josh, I will marry you."


Five minutes later they had their first fight.

"Lawyers!" Josh stomped around the room. "We don't need any stinking lawyers!"

"It's customary," Colette said stiffly. "I made a mistake with Etienne, I was young and immature. But we each must hire an attorney to negotiate our marriage contracts." Colette's voice softened. "Please Josh, this is important to me."

Josh sighed. "Tell you what, we can play a game of chess. Whoever wins gets their way."

Colette laughed. "I have a better idea." Her eyes turned smoky. "A wrestling match. Whoever dies the little death the most, wins."

Colette turned to Amy. "Would you mind waiting on the porch for Colas? Josh and I need some privacy to discuss this." She grabbed Josh's hand and began leading him into the bedroom.

Colette won. Josh found he didn't mind losing at all.

What he did mind, however, was that Colette insisted on real negotiations for their agreement. And that, while negotiations were going on, Colette felt it would be unfair to sleep with him since it might affect his judgment.

Wonderful, he grumbled to himself. I rediscover how great sex can be with a woman I'm in love with, and she cuts me off.

Fortunately, the negotiations only took five days. Father Mazzare, rather ruefully adapting to the times in which Grantville found itself now, abbreviated the six months of premarital counseling that had become standard up-time to what he could fit into calling the banns on three successive Sundays. On September 10, 1631, they were the first persons to be married in St. Mary's church since it was renamed.


"No, no!" shouted Henri. "Thrust, not slice! And watch your balance! You look like a headless duck flapping its wings!"

Colette smiled. A brief scuffle with ruffians in Erfurt on their honeymoon had prompted Josh to seek Henri's assistance in learning the proper modes of seventeenth- century combat. Henri had arrived back in Grantville in early September. He had also brought the first disbursement of Simon Dubois' estate, some two thousand guilders.

Colette turned back to her conversation with Amy. "So you don't like this Walter Miller?"

In July Greg Ferrara had convinced Amy to become an apprentice chemistry teacher at Grantville High School. What he had not told her, however, was who the teacher she was apprenticing with would be.

Amy rolled her eyes. "God, the man belongs in a geriatric ward! He actually fell asleep in sixth period yesterday!"

"What about Alexandra?" Colette smiled. Alexandra Selluci was the other new chemistry teacher at the high school.

"She's not too bad," Amy said. "I think I could actually learn something from her. I told Tonya today that we have got to switch at the end of the quarter. No way I'm putting up with Miller for an entire semester."

Colette looked over at the stove. "So how does the chicken look? I'm getting hungry." Colette had never learned to cook. Even when her mother had been alive Simon Dubois had hired servants to do both the cleaning and cooking.

Amy opened the oven door for a quick peek and then closed it. "Looking good. I just wish we had more spices."

Most of the spices available in Grantville when the Ring of Fire struck had been either used up or were being hoarded by cooks unwilling to part with them. This was particularly true given the fact that many spices taken for granted in the twentieth century were very expensive.

Colette moved to set the kitchen table and glanced back at Amy. "Where's Bart? Still working at the foundry?"

Amy nodded. "Yup, since he helped Josh get the two beehive ovens and the shell of the crucible steel building up, he's spent all of his time on getting the cupola furnace and the foundry started. He's got some partners for that, but they don't know much about casting. The smelting season is about to start and he wants to be ready in case they can get some cast iron from the local blast furnaces."

At that moment they heard Bart's voice in the living room. "Hello, anyone here?"

"Back in the kitchen, Dad. Is Mom coming?"

Bart walked into the kitchen and shook his head. "Nope. Colette Mora got sick at the café and Sebastian begged her to come in and help. Business is picking up for them."

Amy opened the oven door again and smiled at what she saw. "Chicken is ready. Better call the boys, Colette."


After dinner, conversation turned to the major topics of the month … Breitenfeld and business.

"I really don't see how our arrival could have changed the outcome at Breitenfeld," Josh pointed out. "Gustavus Adolphus will win and Tilly will be driven from the field. But the farther away in time we move from the Ring of Fire the more likely things will change, especially as we begin interacting with people outside Thuringia."

Colette nodded thoughtfully. "So my letters to Annette, my uncle, and Marie de Gournay will change history?"

"How could they not?" Amy asked. "In our history you were probably killed, from what you told me. Things are going to be way different now that we're here. And that probably means that a lot of the people who were born in our history, even the famous people, won't even exist in this universe. No Newton, no Einstein … nobody we're familiar with who was born after the 1630's."

Colette sat up in dismay. "But that means no Euler!"

Bart laughed at the expression on Colette's face. "Right, no Euler. Who's Euler?"

Colette glanced around the table. Every single person had a blank look on their face. She sighed.

Jerry Calafano had loaned her numerous books on mathematics including biographies, textbooks and problem books. She had spent hours each day reading, problem solving and pondering the mathematics of the future. Of all the mathematicians she had read about, she most identified with Euler. Not because she thought she had the same genius, but because Euler had seemed to love all of mathematics as she did, for the mere ability to challenge the mind.

"Euler," Colette said, "was the most famous mathematician since Archimedes. He averaged more than eight hundred pages of manuscript a year. Even when he lost his eyesight in 1771 he still kept publishing, dictating his thoughts to a secretary." Colette shook her head sadly. "No Euler. I will miss him."

Josh laughed. "Colette! He hasn't even been born yet!"

"True, but still … " Colette got a thoughtful look on her face.

Oh oh, thought Josh, I'm beginning to understand that look. "Colette, what are you scheming?"

Colette's face turned innocent. "Scheming? Nothing. Just thinking that I must do something to make sure people do not forget Euler in this universe." She patted Josh's hand. "Do not worry my husband, it will not affect us."

Colette was seldom wrong in her judgment. But Josh would remember the conversation later in life and point to it as a clear sign that there were times when she was not infallible.

The remainder of the dinner conversation centered around their various businesses.

"Well, I've got an idea for a name for the crucible steel business," Josh said. "I found a reference to a Pittsburgh firm that was one of the biggies. What do you think of Black Diamond Steel Corporation?"

Colette frowned. "I like diamond, and steel makes sense, but black is not good. People will think of death."

"What about blue?" Amy asked. "My favorite color."

Colette shook her head. "Too French. You will turn off the Germans."

Bart grinned. "How about yellow? I like yellow."

Colette shook her head again. "Too Swedish. All the Catholics will refuse to buy from you."

Amy laughed. "God, Colette. Is there any safe color?"

Colette thought for a moment. "White. White is a good color. Pure. Bright. The color of leadership."

Josh smiled. "White Diamond Steel Corporation it is, then."

"What about this inn you're planning on Clarksburg? Got a name for that yet?" Amy asked.

In their pre-nuptial agreement Colette and Josh had agreed to establish an inn using the two houses on Clarksburg. Money from Colette's inheritance would be used to renovate and maintain the properties and profits would go into a joint account.

For several minutes names were bandied about, but no one seemed satisfied. Colette had a thought. "We were planning to have chess club meetings at the inn when it opens, correct?"

Many members of the parish chess club were too busy with work to have time to play chess. So, Colette and Josh had started the Grantville Chess Club back in July.

"Yeah," Josh said. "We should have enough space since we're building the addition with two stories like you suggested. Why?"

" Échecs de la dame enragée," murmured Colette.

Josh laughed. "Perfect!"

Amy looked puzzled. "Chess of the madwoman?"

Colette shook her head. "No, no, it translates better as 'Chess of the Maddened Queen.' It was the name for the modern chess that we play. It was introduced in 1580 in Italy, some say, and everyone in Europe loved it, except for the Russians. So we will call our establishment … "

"Inn of the Maddened Queen!" blurted Amy. "I like it! And we all know who the Queen of the inn is going to be, don't we?" She grinned.

Josh smiled. "Are you sure we shouldn't call it Inn of the Maddening Queen instead?"

Colette hit him.


That night Colette dreamed. In her dream the souls of dead mathematicians and dead scientists flashed by her, vanishing into a stygian abyss. There were thousands, but a few she recognized because their names appeared in bright red above their heads.

Newton. Leibniz. Bernoulli. Bohr. Einstein. Euler. With nothing but her will she tried to keep them from vanishing, but it was useless. In her dream she cried tears that turned to diamonds that flowed into the abyss. Suddenly a light appeared in the abyss. As it drew closer she saw that it was the figure of a man dressed in brilliant white holding a steel crucible. In the crucible were her diamond tears.

"Can you save their souls?" Colette asked.

The man in white smiled. "No, but you can. No soul is ever lost to me so long as their name echoes through the corridors of time. That will be your mission, my daughter. Let their names echo through the corridors of time. Do you accept this mission?"

Colette nodded. "I do."

The man in white placed his hand on her head. "When you are ready, I will send you a messenger. Your name for this mission shall be … Crucibellus."

When Colette woke the next morning she remembered the dream. Crucibellus, she thought. It could mean so many different things. Perfect crucifixion. Tormented warrior. Torture of war. Crucible. Still, it was euphonious. She decided she liked it.


It was late November. Colette was in her office on the second floor above the common room of the Inn of the Maddened Queen when someone knocked on her door. She was going over the accounts of the inn and was happy to see that the inn was already making a profit. Not a large profit, it was true, but still a profit. "Yes? Who is it?" "John Dury," said a voice. "May I come in?"

"Sure, come in." When Dury entered Colette motioned to a chair next to her desk. "How can I help you, John?"

John Dury was an idealist. He had attended the Leipzig Colloquy in the hope of uniting all Protestants in a common front behind Gustavus Adolphus, but his hopes had been dashed. In July he had begun to travel around Germany trying once again to convince Protestant princes that the unity of all Protestants was the only means through which the Habsburgs could be defeated. In early November he had heard about a strange colony of Englishmen in Thuringia who had supposedly arrived from the future and decided to investigate.

When he stopped a stranger on the streets of Grantville and asked him where he might find lodging, the stranger looked him up and down and asked, "You interested in a good time or some peace and quiet?"

Dury had smiled. "Peace and quiet sounds nice."

"Then try the Inn of the Maddened Queen. It's on Clarksburg Street."

Dury had been very pleased with the accommodations at the inn. The rooms were spacious and the linens were clean and fresh. There was a fireplace, as well as a number of cozy chairs and couches in the common room. Several chess games were ongoing at all hours of the day and there were always guests around to engage in pleasant conversation. Bread, cheese, and wine were provided for guests in the evening.

It was there that he met Colette Modi, co-owner and manager of the inn. They struck up a conversation over a game of chess and he listened in fascination as she told her story of how she came to be in Grantville. Later that day he met her husband and it was clear that the love they felt for each other was deep and lasting. Over the next two days Colette and Josh Modi explained much about Grantville. He had been most impressed by Grantville High School since he had long been an advocate for education reform.

The day he was to depart he felt moved to return the kindness that had been extended to him. "Perhaps I can help you, Colette. Do you remember yesterday when you told me that you had prepared a manuscript on the mathematics of the future?"

Colette nodded, her eyes suddenly bright.

"Well, one of my friends is Samuel Hartlib. I think he would be interested in publishing such a manuscript. Samuel is endeavoring to be what is called an Intelligencer, someone who communicates new science and new ideas to others around Europe."

"That would be fine," Colette said. "I want anyone to be free to copy my manuscript. And this would be the first of eleven. Do you think he would still be interested?"

"I think so," Dury said, "although that might limit the number of copies that he decides to make. Don't you want any money for this?"

Colette shook her head. "No, my purpose is to disseminate the knowledge as widely as possible, not to restrict it. And I am just the synthesizer. Most of this knowledge is easy to come by here in Grantville, if you know where to look."

Dury smiled. "Well then, since I am headed to England tomorrow, perhaps I can place some copies in the right hands. How many do you have?"

"Three plus the original." Colette reached into her desk and pulled out three large envelopes and handed them to Dury. "One is for Samuel Hartlib, one is to be mailed to Nicolas Peiresc, and the third to Marin Mersenne." Colette smiled. "I believe you know those gentlemen?"

Dury gave a start of surprise. "How did you … "

Colette grinned. "I was told that a messenger would come, John." She looked up at the ceiling and then back at Dury.

Dury understood immediately. "Mysterious are the ways of God, Colette. Mysterious, indeed."

Before he left, Colette Modi made him promise one thing. "Initially I want no one to know that I wrote these, John. So please promise me that only the name Crucibellus will be connected with these manuscripts. The address I have left in the manuscript is Inn of The Maddened Queen. That way many will assume it is simply a postal drop."

Dury smiled. "I promise."

Two months later John Dury was in London. It was there that he mailed a copy of Colette's manuscript to Marin Mersenne in Paris and Nicolas Peiresc in Aix-en-Provence. The third he took to Samuel Hartlib.


To say that the Crucibellus Manuscripts took the European mathematical community by storm would be a vast understatement. In early 1632 many Europeans were still unaware that something unusual had happened to their universe. Even those who had heard the tales of a community of Englishmen in Thuringia tended to discredit the idea unless they had actually traveled to Grantville themselves. But when the Crucibellus Manuscripts began circulating in 1632, people's minds began to change. It was not that all of the concepts were totally new and different. But it was the style and the breadth and the mystery which set intellectual circles abuzz. For Crucibellus had outlined the topics of future manuscripts and promised that each would appear at approximately three month intervals. Mathematical Symbology of the Future. Analytical Geometry. Differential Calculus. Integral Calculus. Differential Equations. Matrix Algebra. Probability. Statistics. Fractals. Special and General Relativity. Quantum Mechanics.

The style was often brutally terse. While only the most essential concepts were given, the example problems in the manuscripts were explained in clear and exquisite detail and were often taken from problems the reader could imagine from everyday life.

And then there were the challenge problems. Theorems unheard of. Problems never dreamt of. Problems no mathematician in the seventeenth century could solve, especially in the ninety days before the answer would appear in the next manuscript. The first challenge problem set the stage for the rest: Prove the existence of the Euler Line. That is, that the orthocenter, centroid, and circumcenter of any triangle must lie in a straight line, with the centroid exactly twice as far from the orthocenter as from the circumcenter.

Soon, of course, a number of mathematicians had discovered the real name of the author and were studying in Grantville themselves.

But without the Crucibellus Manuscripts it might have taken years to stir their curiosity.

Ask a mathematician three hundred years later who Mike Stearns was and many would give you a blank look. But ask them about the Crucibellus Manuscripts and watch their eyes light up with recognition or listen to them discourse for hours on their impact.

The Crucibellus Manuscripts.

Long will they echo across the corridors of time.

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