3. A Second Chance
have resulted in both of them being returned to Menelaus with Priam’s compliments, apologies, and an invitation to dispose of them as he pleased.
    No, I was convinced the Trojan War was about money and power, not a queen, no matter how beautiful she might have been. Troy was the most important city in that part of the world, strategically placed to control the maritime trade routes of the time. Mycenae coveted that role. Hence Agamemnon’s move against them and the massive following he was able to muster. It was a power struggle. We would see this again with Rome and Carthage.
    I continued.
    ‘Doctor Black will be at Site A and Doctor Peterson at Site B.
    ‘Mr Roberts, you’ll be at Site A. I’d like you to study commerce; trade, shipping, and the harbour – if there is one. Look at the shops, markets, warehouses, and associated trades. Please pay particular attention to coins – if they have any, together with the barter system and how it’s managed.’
    He was overjoyed and terrified all at the same time. He was the most recently qualified of all my historians and, as I had been at the time, both desperate for some responsibility and scared of messing it up. I glanced at Van Owen who nodded slightly. She’d keep an eye on him.
    ‘Major, I’m back to you again. I’d like you to liaise with Miss Morgan to report back on military politics. The army, the navy – they must have one, for heaven’s sake. Why weren’t they deployed when the black ships turned up? The structure of the government, city defences – you know the sort of thing. Walls, watchtowers, gates, water supplies. Please pay particular attention as to whether the siege was complete or whether they used the eastern routes to supply the city. How did they withstand a ten-year siege? You’ll both be at Site B.’
    I paused for a glug of water.
    ‘Right, team leaders, start organising your people. I want them to become specialists in at least one area but remain flexible enough to cross groups if needed.
    ‘All personnel are to undergo medicals. See Dr Foster and get your appointments sorted out. Everyone is to update their Field Medic training.
    ‘Report to Mrs Enderby and get yourselves kitted out. Everyone wears tunics – chitons – linen in summer and wool in winter. Ladies’ are full length; men’s finish around the knees so now is the time to tone those calf muscles, gentlemen, and deal with the vexing question of unwanted hair. And while I think about it, wear everything in before we jump. I don’t want to see a bunch of people running around in shiny new tunics and sandals.
    ‘The shift pattern is three weeks on and one week off. Miss Lee, please organise the shift rota, liaise with Mrs Mack over food supplies, and with Chief Farrell over the shuttle rota.
    ‘Dr Dowson will provide the background info. See him with your lists of material to upload.’
    I paused for another glug.
    ‘Please be aware that in one instance at least, we have been misled. In the Iliad , the Trojans speak Homeric Greek. In reality, they spoke Luwian, which is similar to Lycian and closely related to Hittite. Dr Dowson will be issuing everyone with a list of basic words and phrases. Learn as much as you can, but remember that while the Greeks have a more or less common language, sometimes the Trojan allies have difficulty understanding each other. So don’t panic if you can’t make yourself understood.
    ‘Dr Peterson, as head of the Pathfinders, please liaise with Dr Dowson about establishing the dates. He and Miss Lee will set up the usual rota.’
    When you have people coming and going, trying to narrow down a set of co-ordinates for a specific time and place, you need to monitor things very carefully indeed. Therefore, we set up a data-stack, to be maintained by someone who inspires terror in the ranks. In other words, Rosie Lee, my assistant, with whom no one ever argues. Ever. To keep it simple – we’re historians after

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