At Annie's house, Beckett and Annie entered the laboratory. Beckett hadn't seen the time machine since he'd gone back to Rome to see Caesar for the final time. The lab was a lot more organised. Annie had put up some shelves. Beckett saw his tunic nicely folded and sitting next to his belt and sword, the blade with his name inscribed on it.
"Is this our shelf for mementos?" Beckett asked.
"Only if we keep having adventures." Annie replied.
"So look at this," Annie started, pulling up a news story on her computer. She and Beckett sat down to inspect it further. "This is from Cole Steel."
Cole Steel was Annie's hero. The scientist-entrepreneur who's inventions amazed the young, but terrified the old. Some of his creations were lauded as revolutionary, such as his replacement material for copper. But others had people up in arms. His company (rather one of his many companies) Farmhouse had created a major competitor for supermarket chains and produce distributors. Farmhouse was a system of building produce systems around a house or in an apartment complex. This system allowed people to grow their own food gardens on rooftops, reducing their need to purchase them from a shop. The systems were minimal maintenance, and quite cheap. A number of homes in North Vancouver and Commercial Drive in Vancouver had installed them. The systems were usually designed to match their topography and weather. In sunny Florida, people grew oranges. In rainy Vancouver, people grew kale. Beckett had seen a few of the systems in Burnaby, but remembered that there was a lot of uproar. Local supermarkets tried to block their construction, citing safety issues.
"No-one's died yet." Beckett's father had said. "But once these systems become more popular, someone's gonna have a bad fall."
"Read the article." Annie said.
Cole Steel cites Alexander the Great as one of his heroes. While he admits that he understands that some view the titan of history as an invader, the Macedonian's creativity and drive are inspirational. "I love the story of the 'Gordian Knot. No-one could untie this knot. And when Alexander came across it, he simply took his sword and cut it open." Steel said in an interview.
Steel believes that many old industries and ways of doing business need to be redesigned, and that he only starts up a new business if he feels it meets this key criteria.
Steel also cites the ideals of Socratic thinking in how he and his executives manage problems that they encounter with new products. "When we come to a problem, we simply ask ourselves questions. We ask questions until we answer our initial question, which ultimately leads us to new avenues and approaches. They don't always pan out, but they usually help us get past a roadblock.
"So you want to go back to Ancient Greece and learn from Alexander?" Beckett asked.
"No." Annie replied. "I want to learn from Alexander's teacher."
"So we'll need to use the translators and hope they can help us understand."
"No. We're going to use the translators to learn Greek first. Think about it. No fighting. No danger. This will be purely educational. We'll learn the language; then we'll attend Aristotle's school."
"How are we gonna attend this school? Can we just walk up and ask?"
"No. It's only for the children of the wealthy or the children of government officials."
"So how will we get in."
Annie walked over to the bookshelf and picked up a pouch. She threw the sac over to Beckett who caught it. The unmistakeable jingle of coins told Beckett that Annie's intent was to pay.
"What are these?" He asked.
"Money." Annie replied.
"Where did you get it?"
"That's a complicated story."
Suddenly, the room lit up. Annie and Beckett looked around, confused. Small burst of light exploded around them.
"Is this your machine?" Beckett asked.
"No. I don't know what this is." Annie replied.
The sillouhette of two people appeared surround by light. When the light died down, Annie and Beckett could see one woman and one man. They wore black suits over white shirts. Neither wore a tie.
Beckett and Annie were silent.
The two people in suits looked around the room. The woman looked over at the plexiglass floor and the attached cables. She smiled and looked over at Annie.
"Not bad." She said.
Annie just looked at her, gobsmacked.
The woman pulled the plastic sheet from the plexiglass floor to examine it more closely.
"I see, so the computer identifies the time and space, and the floor plants you into the coordinates."
"Um, yes." Annie replied.
"This is very clever." The woman continued. She looked over at Beckett. "And so you must be the one who kept going back. The 37th Legion, huh?"
"Um, yes?" Beckett replied.
"Alirght, you two, we have to talk about a few things."