Jena , Winter 1631-32
Henri Beaubriand-Lévesque watched the strange vehicle drive past. It was one of the up-timer horseless carriages everyone called an "APC." It was simply enormous, and noisy. Henri concentrated on absorbing all the details of the machine so he could draw it later.
The vehicle had all but disappeared from view when he felt a small hand tugging vigorously on his hand. "Papa! Papa! Come, you must look at this."
Henri let himself be dragged along by his excited daughter. "What's so important, Jacquette?"
"There on the wall, the poster."
There was a poster fixed on a display board on the grocery shop's wall. He let Jacquette's hand go and approached it. It advertised seminars on "the Philosophy of the Essence of Lightning" that claimed to demonstrate and explain the up-timer's science of electricity. A person couldn't be in Jena for long without hearing about the people from the future and their advanced understanding of the sciences. Henri's curiosity was excited. Just what was this "Wondrous Lightning Generator"? And what was an "Amazing Lightning Crystal"? He reached out to guide his daughter. "Come, Jacquette, let's see if we can secure places at one of these seminars."
They entered the shop and approached the shopkeeper. "Mein Herr, I noticed the poster outside advertising seminars on the up-timer electricity. How does one find this Dr. Gribbleflotz?"
The shopkeeper reached for a folded pamphlet and passed it over to Henri. "This will tell you everything you need to know, sir."
"Thank you." Henri started to read the pamphlet.
"Papa, come, over here."
Jacquette was gesturing for him to come to a pile of packages. "What is it now, Jacquette?"
Jacquette held one of the packages up so her father could read the label.
"Gribbleflotz Sal Aer Fixus?" Henri held the package up and asked the shopkeeper, "Is this the same Gribbleflotz?"
"Yes, sir. His cooking powders are becoming very popular. Pfannnenschmidt's bakery, just on the corner, offers a selection of delightful cakes and biscuits made with them. You should try the cakes." The shopkeeper kissed his fingertips. "Delicious."
"Thank you, sir. Maybe I will." Henri folded the pamphlet and placed it in his pouch before taking Jacquette's hand and leaving the store.
Once outside, Jacquette tried to lead her father toward the bakery. "Papa, can we go to the bakery now?"
Henri looked down at his daughter. She had her "butter wouldn't melt in her mouth" look. It reminded him so much of his wife he knelt down and hugged her. "Of course, and we might even sample some of this new cake."
A few days later, after the seminar
Henri placed an arm around his wife. "That was very brave of you to volunteer to let Dr Gribbleflotz charge you up with his Wondrous Lightning Generator, Sarah."
Sarah Beaubriand-Lévesque smiled and leaned into his chest. "I didn't feel brave when Dr Gribbleflotz asked if I would stand on the platform."
"But you did it. What was it like having the electricity pass through you?"
Sarah passed a hand through her still messy hair. "I didn't feel a thing, but didn't I look a fright with all my hair sticking out like that?'
Henri shook his head. "You could never look a fright, love. Isn't that right, Jacquette?"
"You looked funny, Mommy."
"Thank you very much, young lady." Sarah sniffed in mock offense.
Jacquette giggled. "But you did look funny, Mommy. Can we have more cake?"
"Of course, we can. Henri, I've been thinking, there could be a good business opportunity introducing the cooking powders back home."
"Sarah, I'm a wool merchant. Why would I want to make cooking powders?"
Sarah smiled and batted her eyelashes at him. "Because I asked you to?"
Henri tried to frown. "That's not fair, Sarah. You know there is nothing I won't do for you." Sighing heavily, Henri gave Dr. Gribbleflotz' laboratory a final look. "I guess it won't hurt to ask what price Dr. Gribbleflotz puts on his formulas."
A couple of days later, outside Dr. Gribbleflotz' laboratory
"Well, that was an expensive meeting. I don't think it was fair of Phillip to leave the bargaining in the hands of his housekeeper."
Sarah made a sound remarkably similar to a snort.
"Well, it wasn't fair. You'd have struck a much better deal if you'd been bargaining with Phillip."
Sarah laughed. "Maybe Ursula and I should have left the two of you to bargain between yourselves, Henri. You certainly became friends very quickly."
"Ah, but that was a meeting of minds. Phillip enjoyed showing me his electricity experiments. He's even promised to help get me a lightning generator of my own so I can hold similar seminars back home." Henri sighed. "I'm sorry that we'll have to spend over a week in Grantville. I hope you'll find something to do while I study the methods at Phillip's Spirits of Hartshorn facility."
"Hopefully they'll have some good shops and maybe something for the children to do. But we head for home immediately afterwards, you hear me, Henri?"
"Of course, dear. The sooner we get home the sooner I can start producing Phillip's cooking powders, and the little blue pills."
Sarah raised her eyebrows. "And, of course, you can try your hand at making lightning crystals."