"I could not tread these perilous paths in safety, if I did not keep a saving sense of humor."

-Admiral Nelson

Chapter Eight: Jail House Nappy

The people of Cairo, like most people who live in a city under threat of ultimate annihilation by the British Navy of the early 19th century, were not overly delighted by the prospect of being buried alive beneath a pile of cannon balls. Therefore, some of the richest (thus most important) people in the city called a meeting to discuss the situation. Many of the poor people attended the meeting. They didn't want their shacks and back alleys destroyed anymore than the rich people wanted to loose their mansions. Besides, there was always the hope that someone had finally discovered a workable solution to the French soldier surplus.

After much surplus arguing, the topic of the discussion finally came to Napoleon and Admiral Nelson's threat to level the city at dawn if the Corsican didn't give himself up.

"He's never going to give himself up," a sensible Egyptian noted. "The way I see it, we only have one option, he have to go and find Napoleon and turn him over to Nelson."

The rest of the crowd nodded in agreement.

"And we really ought to make the British pay us for turning over the Nappy one," a merchant suggested.

The other merchants cackled. They liked any idea that could bring them some money.

"How much should we charge?" another inquired. He was new to the merchant way of life and unsure of the current selling rate of captured European dictators.

"Oh, we don't need to get money in return for Napoleon," a professor from the Cairo Undertaking Academy (who had been out of work for some time). "We'll hand over Napoleon if the British Navy will agree to remove all these dead French guys from our once-beautiful city."

A great cheer of approval rose up from the crowd. A few people grabbed torches from the walls as mob psychology began to take over. I will not attempt to explain why a large group of people simply cannot be classified as a mob unless they are wielding torches and pitchforks, but regardless of explain-ability, those objects are indeed required.

It did not take long for the mob of Cairo citizens to locate Napoleon. The French emperor had gone to a local restaurant for some dinner while he thought over the unpleasant situation with Nelson.

"I'm not afraid of Admiral Nelson," Napoleon spat, staring at his food, scant moments before the mob burst through the door.

Napoleon indeed was not afraid of Nelson. He was afraid of a fleet of British warships, however. That was the sort of thing he would never admit aloud, especially to his evening meal.

The great dictator had extensive experience with angry mobs. He'd seen his share of them during the French Revolution and reduced several into screaming masses of disorganization. Unfortunately, that night in Cairo, he didn't have any cannon, much less any grapeshot.

"You cannot do this to me!" the emperor bellowed as the head of the Cairo police force flung him unceremoniously into a cramped and dreary cell in the back of the city municipal dungeon. "I am the emperor of France; I must be treated with respect even if I am your prisoner!"

Despite being a revolutionary-minded man, there were still a few things about the old way of doing things that Napoleon was rather fond of. Treating an emperor like an emperor should be treated even while imprisoned was one of them.

"Idiots! I didn't even get to finish my dinner!"

The cell door creaked open a couple inches, the jailer deposited Marcion inside, the door closed again.

"Look what you have gotten us into this time, Marcion!" Napoleon snapped.

The manservant sat slumped against the wall for a while. Napoleon has dragged him to Egypt to follow a stupid old map, Napoleon had packed him in a trunk, Napoleon had gotten him thrown into prison, and Napoleon was probably going to get him killed. The situation was a dire one and Louis Marcion had put up with more than any self-respecting valet should have to. He was not about to let Napoleon blame this thing on him!


"Sorry, sire."

Bonaparte went over to the door and gave it a few loud and meaning full bangs.

"You, jailer, how long do you intend to keep me in here?!"

"Until we negotiate with Admiral Nelson," the jailer snapped. "Now, shut up in there."

The might French emperor went over to the damp and decaying wall and slumped down beside his manservant, the mildew, and a couple of cockroaches. Oddly enough, he had never expected it to end this way. He rummaged through his pockets. The mob had taken his sword, his gun, and his good lock-picking bobby pin.

"Sire, perhaps you could pick the lock with your Legion d'Honneur medal?" the servant suggested.

"Never!" Napoleon responded. "Such an honor must never be used for so mundane a purpose. Besides what if I broke it?"

The servant scratched his head. He had never understood military matters very well. "Couldn't you just present yourself with another one, maybe give yourself two. One to replace that one and one for lock-picking in the face of danger?"

Napoleon rolled his eyes but Marcion didn't notice in the dimly lit cell. "It is a good thing you are not in the army, Marcion."


Admiral Nelson sent the representative of the Cairo mob back to the city after two hours of negotiation. Nelson was a man of action. He was itching to reduce the city to tiny pieces of this and that, but he wanted Napoleon alive if possible.

The Admiral and the citizens were yet to reach an agreement. The annihilation of the city had been postponed, however, and negotiations were set to resume after breakfast the following morning.

"I will be damned if I agree to remove more than half of those bodies," Nelson spat, shaking his one fist. "Only the French would leave their own men to die like that and expect someone else to clean up their mess for them."

"I couldn't agree more."

Admiral Nelson made it a priority to know every man aboard his flagship. This was a voice he did not recognize as belonging to one of his crew members. This was proper aristocratic English, the sort of accent belonging to a man of the old system, but with just the slightest undercurrent of Irish distinguishing it from every other aristocrat in the country.

I should be noted that "The Victory" was so large that is was possible to come aboard, plant a cask of gunpowder with a lit fuse, and get off before the admiral was aware of it. This was a risk Nelson was willing to live with in exchange for the ship's pure intimidation factor.

The admiral turned and found himself facing a rather tall, impressively built young man. A few strands of gray were woven through his short black hair that framed a severe-looking face with a long aristocratic nose. This was a man with a talent for that most important of aristocratic practices, the haughty sneer. His bright red British Army uniform fit rather too tight (on purpose Nelson correctly suspected) to show off well-developed upper body muscles.

Overall, he was an impressive figure, except for the particularly nasty sunburn. Obviously he was the sort who didn't tan. It was either pale or burnt.

"Sir Arthur!" Nelson exclaimed, embracing the young man who he immediately recognized as the same person he had met several months before in London.

Sir Arthur had made quite a name for himself in India, as was obvious by the sparkly Order of the Knight of the Bath pinned to his uniform, identical to Nelson's own.

"What brings you here?" Nelson inquired, sneaking a quick peek through the multi-telescope device before turning back to his guest.

"The map," Arthur answered quickly, brushing off his uniform. Arthur really preferred not to be touched and he certainly didn't want any Nelson cooties lingering about his person.

"The map?" Nelson questioned, eyes widening. "You don't mean, THE map, do you?"

Arthur snapped his fingers and a short, nerdy-sort of officer, complete with freckles and glasses, stepped forward and handed his commanding officer a small yet intricately decorated map case.

"THE map, my dear Nelson. Why else would Bonaparte have returned to Egypt?"

Nelson felt his heart leap into his throat and for a moment he was afraid that was going to have to be amputated too. He snatched the map case. Indeed, it was empty and the little note normally glued to the top reading: "Do Not Open," was missing.

"Good God!" Nelson cried. "We have got to find Bonaparte!"

"Do you have any idea where in that city he might be?" Arthur inquired casually.

"The man who was just here was from the city council," Nelson explained. "He says they are holding Bonaparte in jail, they are willing to exchange him in return for us clearing the bodies of the dead French from their streets."

Arthur rolled his eyes. "That's madness. Point a few of those cannon at the city. Fire one off to show them how serious you are. We shall she how eager they are to 'negotiate' then."

"Impossible!" Nelson snapped. "We can't make enemies out of the people of Cairo."

Arthur rested his chin on his hand and thought for a moment. "Then someone will have to go into the city and retrieve the Corsican before it is too late."

Nelson walked to the edge of the deck and back again. "But who? My men aren't trained for that sort of thing."

"By someone," Arthur smiled, "I meant myself."


Arthur took a look through the device. He liked it, and made a mental note to request one of his own from the R&D Department.

The future Duke of Wellington smiled slightly, his face breaking with its haughty sneer as little as possible. "Why not? If you wish to have something done in the proper manner you must do it yourself."


Napoleon Bonaparte was altogether too busy feeling sorry for himself that he did not hear the outside door being kicked in, the class of swords, and the thunk of the jailer's body hitting the ground. In fact, he didn't even notice the knocking on the cell door.

"Sire," Marcion poked his emperor. He knew it was not proper to answer the door without Napoleon's permission.

"I tell you, Marcion, I am doomed," Napoleon lamented. "Oh, Marcion, how could I have been so stupid? How could I have come here without at least one hundred or so cannon. Why didn't I level the city?" The emperor banged his head against the wall. "Oh, Napoleon, you have screwed up!"


Alas, Napoleon was not through expressing his depression. "I tell you Marcion, if I had it all to do over again maybe I would have spared those Turks on that beach. Perhaps I would not have shot those peasants in the street. I would have committed myself more fully to the liberation of Corsica! Think, Marcion, I will never see Josephine again! I will never see my beloved France again! I will never see Talleyrand again!" He paused. "Well, maybe that isn't so bad. Oh, but, Marcion what a fool I have been!"

Standing on the other side of the door, calmly cleaning the blood from the sharp edge of his standard issue British saber (which is immensely different from the French model regardless of the fact that they look and handle exactly the same), Sir Arthur tapped one of his custom made boots against the floor.

"Are you quite finished, sir?" he inquired.

There was nothing that could draw Napoleon's attention faster than an obvious citizen of his empire's worst enemy.

"Great," he sighed. "Not only am I doomed but the English are here as well."

"Well, that is a fine thing to say to someone who has come here to rescue you."

"Rescue me? Don't be absurd, the English never help anybody besides themselves."

"How true," Sir Arthur sighed. "You are in possession of a certain map that I would like to see returned to its proper place."

Bonaparte ran to the door and stood on tip-toe so that he could see through the tiny barred window. His gaze met Arthur's. Napoleon stared. Arthur fixed him with an angry look.

Napoleon fainted.