Breath frosted in the frozen morning as students grunted and groaned as they pushed the onager into position. The onager had taken a month to construct by the physics students, who would operate it.
Alex’s class had been divided equally to help the physics students with historical accuracy, right down to the correct rope to provide torsional power to the catapult. The other half of his students lay up ahead behind the snow wall that took up half the campus quad. The goal was to replicate part of Julius Caesar’s siege of Alesia. The Roman fortifications were made of snow instead of wood, but it would help the architecture students understand load bearing and exceptional stresses on structures.
On his stick horse, Alex lifted his spear, crying “Attack!”
The students aimed and fired the catapult as quickly as possible while the defenders attempted to hurl hand-made snowballs the right distance.
The physics students overshot at first, then undershot before getting the hang of the reality of their calculations to begin hitting the wall. At first they would hit the top of the wall, where it was thinnest, knocking pieces down, only for the architecture students to begin repacking snow to repair as they shouted jeers back at them.
Professor Tremont corrected his students, telling them to aim for the base of the wall, or at least lower down where the weight of the wall above would work to help bring the wall down. Likewise, Professor Dixon yelled at her students to not just lump the snow on, but to construct it in specific block shapes for better structural support.
“Surrender, Caesar!” Alex Yelled
Cynthia Johnson, Alex’s TA, decked out in Roman armor, yelled back. “Never, Gaulish scum. Rome does not yield!”
His students inside the wall all shouted agreement as they raised fake spears and shields.
Now if we can just keep Dean Weirmont from catching wind of this. . . .