A legendary day in the life of our fictional Hollywood super developer, sweetened into short online satirical story. Part of 5M Projects. Written by Rogue Saint.
One day this spring, I was watching the game on the big screen in my local sports bar. I had a cold brew and a plate of beef nachos to quench my cravings for junk food. I didn't notice when, but you sat next to me and ordered Wild Turkey. It didn't look good.
Your face looked tired, eyes desperate for something to happen, thoughts absent. Then the conversation started, slowly, without much pomp.
"I'm a temp," you said finally. "I've been temping for some time, for different people."
"That's nice. You've got your foot in the industry."
"That's a good joke," you responded resignedly. "The first temp job is like getting high. But that elation soon deflates. You realize the media stories are one thing, the reality is another. The prospect of getting a full-time job is slim to none."
"Who are you temping for at the moment?"
"That's a good company."
"Yeah, they're doing well. But the only thing I'm doing well is making coffee and responding to emails. It gets tiring after a while. I'd like to be more involved. Have the chance to develop things. But there's a problem."
"You need a spectacular idea."
"Yes. I can't go to my boss with some mishmash story. They'll throw me out the window, along with the coffeemaker I use every day. I need something strong, a spectacle with plenty of drama and a strong emotional spine."
"I admit, with the slate of movies the company has under its belt, that might be a daunting task. But on the other hand, we may find an answer back in the thirteenth century."
"The thirteenth century? What could be so fascinating from back then?"
"A little town with an awkward name in Levant, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Its name is Acre."
"Isn't that confusing already? A town with the same name as a unit of measurement?"
"I admit the name may be a bit distracting at the beginning. But the history of Acre will overpower the distraction."
"Okay. Let's hear it."
"Acre was a strategic town during the Crusades. It was taken by the knights in 1104, during the First Crusade. From that time until 1189, it was one of the major ports and towns to control merchant routes in what is today known as the Middle East."
"What happened in 1189?"
"It was taken by Saladin and his army of Mamluks."
"Slave soldiers. Many Islamic empires, including the biggest and the mightiest—the Ottoman Empire—depended on slave soldiers. They were their elite troupes. The Mamluks were slave soldiers of Egypt, and Saladin was one of their most famous battle leaders. But the Crusaders retook Acre in 1191 and held it until the year we want to start your project—the end of thirteen century. 1291."
"What circumstances are we talking about here?"
"By 1291, the Mamluks, under their new leader al-Ashraf Khalil, had taken all the major towns and fortresses in the area except Acre. Acre was defended by seventeen thousand knights, mostly from Templar and Hospitaller orders. Each day, their situation grew more precarious. The grip around Acre was getting tighter. The knights turned to the pope, asking him to send reinforcements."
"And he did?"
"No reinforcements ever came to Acre. Despite the pope's best efforts, the European nobles and power families shifted their priorities. The land they had found holy just a century ago didn't mean much in 1291. Acre was alone, abandoned by Europe and surrounded by the ever-increasing Mamluk forces. Four other Muslim armies had joined the Mamluks. Their total rose to a hundred sixty thousand heavily armed soldiers, armed with what were, for that age, very good siege weapons."
"When did the attack happen?"
"On April fifth, 1291. History marks it as pivotal and the most important battle of that time; its outcome shaped the world to come in the Middle East, as well as in Europe later on. As for the battle itself, outnumbered, cornered, and with no help from Europe, amid fierce fighting and devastating casualties, Acre fell forty-three days later, on May eighteenth, 1291. In the chronicles of the Templar and Hospitaller orders, the fall of Acre remains the highest example of unmatched bravery the members of these orders ever displayed."
"Okay. Sounds good. Is there anything else to consider?"
"Two things. Both important. First, the Crusaders were not a unified front in their fight for the holy land and their ideals. They were not just rivals—often they were actually enemies. Many of them had dreadful reputations, even in Europe, where the pope used them to fight his enemies. In Acre, all the orders fought to control the town, due to its importance as a strategic merchant stronghold. Holding Acre meant holding wealth. But the common enemy united them at the end."
"And the second thing?"
"Acre is a coastal town. It has an open sea route to Europe. How open it had been at that moment I'm not quite sure but you can research that. We already discussed the help that never came, but there's another aspect worth mentioning."
"The knights didn't abandoned the town, even though, in theory, they could've created some kind of an escape plan."
"Correct. You should not perpetuate the myth that nobody left. There were some who did, but the overwhelming number of them stayed to fight a battle they had no chance of winning. Why did they do it? I don't know. Maybe there's somebody who does. But the fact is they did stay, and fought an overwhelming opponent. That's the spine you were looking for."
You pulled out a stack of cash and left it next to me.
"This is to pay the tab. Thanks."
Different ideas for movies and TV are shelved at VillanLabs' Five Minute Projects - 5M Projects
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