About a hundred yards from the shore was a small sailing ship. It was short, made entirely of wood, with three masts and a high deck near the front and rear of the vessel; the type of ship Zorikh had always imagined the Mayflower to be. A steady movement closer to the shore proved to be two much smaller boats paddling out to the ship. A second of squinting revealed to Zorikh that the smaller boats were deep-hulled canoes, paddled by what he assumed were actors, coppery tan and dressed in colorful shirts and buckskins. He could now see that there were actors on the ship as well, dressed definitely more European. "What period clothing do you think that is?" he asked Theodora. "I figure seventeenth century. What is this, some sort of re-enactment rehearsal? Or do they just do it for the giggles? I don't see an audience anywhere around."
Theodora allowed a small smile to spoil her blank expression. "Seventeenth century? Yes, that's about right. About 1610 to be more exact."
Zorikh nodded smugly. "Well what do you know, post Renaissance isn't really my thing, but I got the clothes right. So what are they supposed to be, the English? I wish we were close enough to hear. These productions never get the accents right. I really wish we could see the Indians they use too, their getups look fantastic. Hey, this looks like Pennsylvania somewhere near those living history villages." A thought suddenly forced its way into his head. "We are in Pennsylvania! The Rift is a way to get from place to place instantly! Like teleporting sort of! That's what you had to show me!"
Theodora shook her head and gestured for him to lower his voice. "Dutch. They're Dutch. And we're not in Pennsylvania, Zorikh, we're on Manhattan Island. We haven't gone anywhere." She fixed him with an intense stare. "Not where, but when. We've just stepped back to about fourteen years before the Dutch bought the island from the Iriquois." She pointed at the men in the canoes, who had by now pulled up alongside the ship, and were holding up what looked like dark furs for the crew to examine. "The beginnings of a fur trade that would change this land forever, right here on what would be one day called the Hudson River. Roughly a year before this little meeting, Henry Hudson himself sailed this very way."
Zorikh watched the Iriquois climb aboard the ship, bringing their bounty of furs along with them, to the delight of the Dutch sailors. "I'd like to believe you," he spoke carefully, like a person who was well aware of a joke being played on them, "but what you're saying is impossible."
"Yet you were ready to believe that we were whisked away to Pennsylvania?" Ironically, it was she who was looking at him in disbelief.
"I have a girlfriend in Pennsylvania."
Theodora cocked her head to one side. "So, you don't believe me?"
"Like I said...I want to believe you."
She shrugged and said, "Get ready to put your Sadja back on." She got to her feet, filled her lungs and cried out "Alors! Alors! Alors!" The men out in the river had undoubtedly heard her. Men began to line the railings. A sailor scrambled like a spider into the riggings and climbed to a platform atop the mast. It took a second for Zorikh to understand what Theodora was bellowing to them. The woman was yelling in French at the top of her lungs: "Dutchmen stay out of the New World! This river and all these lands belong to France!" A puff of smoke erupted from the railing of the ship, followed by a sharp loud crack. A second later, Zorikh heard a whine and a zip as the water barely a dozen yards away splashed violently.
"They're shooting at us!" he ducked further into the woods. "Holy crap!"
"Your Sadja, Zorikh!" Theodora shouted. Desperately, Zorikh fumbled the bracelet open and clamped it onto his wrist. The canoes had been launched and were making good speed to where he was standing, loaded now with Iriquois and Dutchmen. Zorikh closed the Sadja.
The white roar again, then back on the snowy slope.
Before he knew what to do or say, Theodora was pushing something into his hand and facing him uphill. "Take the Sadja off again Zorikh. Zorikh? Zorikh! Take it off again! Do as I say!" Mechanically, he obeyed her, ignoring the roar this time.
He was back in Manhattan, on the pier. The joggers were no farther from Zorikh than they had been when he first jumped into the Rift. He opened his hand to see what Theodora had given him. It was a chopstick from the sushi place.
In a rush of wind, Theodora appeared next to him. Smiling. "Now do you believe me?"
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Impact of Early European Exploration on the New World (outline)
Beads for Manhattan?
History or Legend?
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