Cornelis Jansen van Sallee was sent on a journey to Grantville with his reluctant guide and forced tutor Sergio Antonelli by Cornelis' father, Jan Janszoon to learn more about the town and its technologies with the hope that such knowledge would benefit his father and the Republic of Sallee. To ensure Cornelis' safety, Jan Janszoon held Antonelli's son hostage, and instructed to Antonelli to bring Cornelis back within two years. Antonelli was instructed to teach Cornelis English and German.
Cornelis and Antonellis visited Haarlem on the way to Grantville. They brought Janszoon's first wife and the extended family gifts. Cornelis was also tasked with learning the fate of his older brother Anthony.
Cornelis was curiously dismayed that Antonelli hadn't actually been to Grantville. Upon examining a Barbie doll that Antonelli had acquired, Cornelis was curious as to the nature of Grantville's women.
After arriving in Grantville, Cornelis and Antonelli went to the library to look up what happened to Sallee up-time.