A Shift in Priorities - Sequel

Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.
(William Faulkner)

Okay, the chancellor seemed to come through. At least, the media said the medics said he was on the mend. – Hardly had word been received of the gory events in Daressalam, the spooks – and Hauptmann K’wapelo – had packed their bags and had hurried to the new place of action. Hermann Kizwete was glad the fuss was over, although it left him with – nothing… It wasn’t his case; and with K’wapelo gone, he was getting not a bit of information anymore. Typically, he should return to hunting petty criminals. But that was goofy…

Now, suppose the ‘Senoussi’ fag butts had been planted – as a diversion. To cause Hermann and his colleagues to look in the wrong direction. These were hard core terrorists from Somalia, this the Daressalam plot had shown. None of them would smoke ‘Senoussi’. – He must not look for well-to-do folks, but for outlaws hiding from daylight, police and scavengery. They would shun even the shanty towns. – But what about Pemba? An island inhabited by Muslims, wouldn’t that appear attractive for Somalis?

Because the island belonged to the precinct of the Tanga Police Department, Hermann had no problem to visit – and to stay for a night or two. Yeah, there was a lot of ship traffic – up and down the coast. Fishermen, traders, transporters, excursionists, you name it. – Were they controlled? Only when they came into port at Tumbe, Wete, Chake Chake or Mkoani. So, yes, you could land anywhere on the beaches – and not be controlled, not even be noticed at all. But that was also the case on the mainland. In fact, looking like fishermen terrorists might move with impunity.

Indeed, Tanga, Pemba, Sansibar and Daressalam were forming a continuous operation area, when you were moving by ship. Rats! Searching for a ‘Senoussi’ smoker in hotels and bars had been a complete waste of time. – Now, had there been suspicious strangers? – Not as far as customs and border police were concerned. – And what did the natives say? – If possible, they were saying nothing at all. But Hermann was a seasoned interviewer and investigator. – Yes, there had been people from the north – two days before the Chumbageni murder, one boat, five or six men. No nice folks. But only perambulating. They had called themselves Ilaah Ilmaha, God’s Warriors.
Water is the driving force of all nature.
(Leonardo da Vinci)

The drilling rig was a clever piece of engineering. It had to be operated manually, so there – at least – was no engine that could break down. Jochen Zeislitz and Peter Hoppe were alternating at the mechanism. It was mild slave labour, but it worked perfectly. Currently, one was down at fifty metres. – The Russians at Crater Klaproth at finished their drilling session already. But – of course – they had no possibility to know what was contained in their drill cores. One was in the same position though; the cores taken were to be analysed back on Earth.

Touchdown in Crater Meton had been pretty rough, as Jochen had had to swerve a medium sized impact crater in the last instance. But the Hüpfer had taken no damage. One had set up the instruments and the rig – and had started drilling. You only had to turn a handwheel. It was easy. – The real work was hoisting up the probe, taking out the core – and launching the probe again. The scientists seemed to be right: lunar rock was soft clobber. Drilling down wasn’t demanding, yet it took time.

Meton was a fairly flat field with irregular outer walls of only medium height – if they were visible at all. The individual eight craters that were forming Meton weren’t noticeable from Jochen’s and Peter’s perspective. They had been flooded and levelled by lava long ago. It was a vast grey wasteland. – Could one erect a settlement here? Peter was turning the handwheel right now. So, Jochen had time to look around. One would have to dig deep to protect the personnel from radiation. The drilling exercise was going produce some important data in this respect.

The far away crater walls looked like cheap papier-máché. Brittle stuff, hardly resilient by the look of it, judged Jochen. Yes, digging down here in the steady lava was perhaps the best solution. – Peter had stopped turning the wheel. Time to hoist up the probe – and to insert a new drillbit. Jochen went to the Hüpfer to fetch the next drillbit. Still five of them to be spent. – All right, once this was done, one would have to refill the breathing cylinders…
Water is the driving force of all nature.
(Leonardo da Vinci)
One had set up the instruments and the rig – and had started drilling. You only had to turn a handwheel. It was easy. – The real work was hoisting up the probe, taking out the core – and launching the probe again. The scientists seemed to be right: lunar rock was soft clobber. Drilling down wasn’t demanding, yet it took time.
Huh. Tell that to the Apollo 15 crew. They had major trouble with their their hand-operated drill and got stuck repeatedly. And that was only to a depth of three meters or so. :)

You probably wouldn't dig tunnels for a moon base. That strikes me as overly complicated. I think it is more likely that a future base would be built by first plopping the base modules down on the surface and then secondly have excavators cover them with an artificial mound. That way you'd also control the exact composition of the protective layer.
Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.
(Niccolo Machiavelli)

A sudden crashing noise awoke Malcolm Little from deep sleep. He jerked, but couldn’t rise as a heavy body seemed to be lying across his lap. A flashlight dazzled him, rough hands grabbed him, something hard hit his head – and again… He cried in pain – only to have a tight sack pulled over his head and lashed up. They – there were at least four or five of them – shackled him, dragged him out of the bed, plunked him on the floor. Boots hit his tummy and his renal pelvis. He almost fainted, doubled up and whined. Then they ceased maltreating him – and he was forced to listen helplessly how they were raping Camila.

Yeah, that had been the body lying across him. Eighteen-year-old Camila with the big boobs and long legs. They had spent the evening together – doing hot sex, spiced with booze and dope. In the end, Malcolm had been stoned and utterly exhausted – and Camila had been wholly zonked. – Now, the assailants were poking her. Malcolm could hear her moan – and them quip about her carnal qualities. She obviously was still too sloshed to wake up. – After a long period of moaning, grunting and joking, he suddenly was kicked again – and then hauled down the stairs.

They stuffed him into a kind of motor car, served him several more stingers – and off one drove. For hours, it seemed to Malcolm, they were negotiating awful roads. He hardly could breathe inside that bloody sack. But he didn’t faint; however fell into a state of trance. – The car stopped, voices could be heard, he was dragged out and kicked again. Two men pulled him forward – and then unexpectedly pushed him forward. He fell over. – After a while, someone loosened the sack and removed it. He stared into many faces. “Welcome to Hell Camp.” said an elderly dude. “You’re a lucky one, they didn’t break your bones.”
Huh. Tell that to the Apollo 15 crew. They had major trouble with their their hand-operated drill and got stuck repeatedly. And that was only to a depth of three meters or so. :)
The Apollo-15 drill was a small hand-held apparatus. The Raumkobold-33 drill rig is considerably larger.
I gave up caring about anything, and all the problems disappeared.
(Fyodor Dostoevsky)

Until now, the prime minister’s purple patch seemed to hold. Generál Sudoplatov knew of many plots to murder Shepilov, but none of them had succeeded. Reasons for failure were often grotesque. You could indeed arrive at the belief that Shepilov was fortune’s special darling. Of course, the Okhrana was working hard to neutralise the knaves – even if Sudoplatov had to admit that three of the conspiracies had been committed by his own men. Yet, even these carefully selected specialists had missed fire.

What could be observed was that public mood was in the process of swinging. People were well aware of the failed plots – well, at least of some of them. If so many stout Russians couldn’t take out Shepilov, the bloke truly had to be sent by heaven – or at any rate be protected by the angels. The Holy Synod, not necessarily keen to be contested in their dominance by the Patriarchate of Kiev, was beginning to support this reversal of opinion. While many of the lower clergy were still demanding Shepilov’s head, the bishops had already changed their minds.

Now, Russia certainly didn’t need the Ukraine. After the Great War and the Civil War, new land and new resources had been developed to compensate the loss of acreage and mines. Today, the Kuzbass was clearly exceeding the Donbass. And while the black earth of the Ukraine was exceptional, agriculture in Russia was healthy and supplying all needs. – Yes, longing for the Ukraine was a hunch, a yearning for the lost greatness of the Russian Empire before the Great War.

The Ukrainians, by contrast, were hardly avid to join Russia. There was a certain west-east divide. In the east, where many ethnic Russians were living, the propensity to go with Russia was undeniably real, even if not a majority objective in most districts. In the west, however, in the former Austrian lands, folks were simply horrified by the notion of Russian rule. – In general, Ukrainians wanted a better Ukraine, but no return to Mother Russia. – It was the same story like in the Baltic countries and Finland – or in the Pan-Turan states. Nobody there was keen to return under Russia’s yoke.
You can’t help the poor by being one of them.
(Abraham Lincoln)

Gudrun had made up her mind: she was going to become an entrepreneuse. She had scrutinised the situation. New products and new procedures – in brief: innovation – could revolutionise the business world. Traditional bureau methods were relying on tons of paper to be written, processed and stored. As a lawyer she had intimate knowledge of these affairs. They were well established and efficiently practised, but very much personnel-intensive.

Crowds of secretaries were operating typewriters. Office boys were moving around trolleys replete with files. Archivists were stewarding the file system. In other companies, halls full of mathematical menials were executing formulas for optical lenses, engine pieces and other variable stuff. – All this was going on since the beginning of industrialisation one hundred and fifty years ago. Since then, typewriters had been invented – and improved considerably, but it still remained a pedestrian manual business.

One of her clients was an engineer for zusies. He had told her about the potential and the possibilities of these gadgets. Right now, they were unwieldy chumps, big as busses. – But for spaceflight the Russians had begun developing small units – and RRA had followed suit. The process was still ongoing. However, what could be fitted into a space capsule should also be adequate for an office room. Conventional zusies were producing stacks of paper. That was no substantial improvement over traditional office procedures.

The new models under construction for RRA, however, were moving away from the paper-stack-approach. They had screens to display their computational results, like small TVs – or Fumeo. That was a significant improvement, if it worked… Gudrun didn’t quite understand the details, but her client, a certain Wilhelm Thüren, thought it meant a true revolution. The handy zusies could replace typewriters, calculators and archives. – Thüren needed an investor; Gudrun wanted to achieve something important with her wealth. It could match…

She was in the process of checking the basic conditions. Thüren was the zusie engineer. She could easily cover the legal aspects. A mercantile man had still to be found – but that could wait. First of all, a production site had to be set up – and Thüren had to prove that his ideas were practicable. She would take care that RRA couldn’t upset the scheme. One was not copying their work – or rather that of Siemens, who had been awarded the contract, but was pursuing quite another goal.

And a name for the new company had to be decided. Thüren had proposed ‘Allzug’ – Allgemeine Zusiegesellschaft – but Gudrun wasn’t happy with this. It was too sterile. ‘Heinzelmann’ or something like that ought to be better…
Nature is not a temple, but a workshop, and man’s the workman in it.
(Ivan Turgenev)

There was no water ice contained in the Lunobegún-12 drill cores. This was definitive. – It meant one now had to analyse the stuff for hydrates and hydroxides. – It was a disappointment. The existence of ice would have made things easy. Even if hydrates or hydroxides were detected, extracting water from lunar material would be a complicated operation. Setting up a chemical plant on the Moon was no mean feat.

Generál Tikhonravov had assumed matters wouldn’t be as simple as some media had painted them. Hence, he wasn’t unduly disenchanted. Okay, there was no water ice below Klaproth, which was a volcanic crater, after all. One would have to keep looking for ice in other places. – And one would have to see whether the Nyemtsi were going to find something. But Meton was a crater as well…

The scientists were still claiming that there ought to be water ice in some deep crevices in both polar regions. But they were not talking about appreciable quantities. So, either one found a neat supply of ice – or one had to consider alternative possibilities. Hoisting water up to the Moon wouldn’t be more expensive than hoisting up a chemical plant.

A lunar station would – by necessity – be a closed system. That meant the water couldn’t escape – in principle. It could be processed and reutilised forever. Having at disposal a rich supply of fresh water was more a psychological thing than a dire prerequisite. – One would have to examine this approach. A system like Venergost could easily transport large amounts of water into space…
The man who does not wish to be one of the mass only needs to cease to be easy on himself.
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

If Dmitri Trofimovich Shepilov was Russia’s lucky beggar, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was his Ukrainian match. He was Kantsler since six months now, the most powerful man in country. The Het’man, Pavlo Danylovich Skoropadskyi, wasn’t partaking in political business; he was spending his time rearing horses and children, leaving confusing politics confidently to his buddy Leonid.

The workforce problem had been solved elegantly. Leonid had brokered treaties with Greece and Armenia – and a good number of guest-workers from both countries had arrived to slave away in Ukrainian factories. Both Greeks and Armenians were civilised faithful Christians, causing no major problems in communal life. It was an excellent solution, earning Leonid much praise – at least from the important people.

With the economy thriving, ruling the country was like shooting fish in a barrel. Full employment was a splendid recipe for social peace. Leonid was taking care that workers and farmers were getting their fair share. That involved hard work indeed – in particular for his liver. Talking the bosses into something they didn’t appreciate required heavy drinking.

His Rodzyanko relatives were approving of his activities. He was no longer considered the parvenu, but a serious statesman, who was diligently taking care of the Rodzyanko financial interest. Marya, his loving wife, drug-addicted, porky and indolent, was still residing at Yalta. This was all right for Leonid. He didn’t miss her. – For representation however, he needed a woman at his side.

Thankfully, Marya’s younger sister Natalia was filling the gap. She was a sexy bitch and unwed, but was vehemently refusing to have intercourse with Leonid. Okay, as Kantsler he had no hardship to get a bit of fluff into his bed. So, he could live with the current arrangement. Natalia was a Rodzyanko, that was what counted. Her lesbian inclination, though, had to be kept utterly secret.

The Germans seemed to be quite happy with Leonid at the helm. The Ukraine – together with Italy and the Heymshtot – was offsetting the German loss of production. The country was prospering and stable. Leonid was a good guy and a trusted friend.
Love is a state of temporary psychosis.
(Sigmund Freud)

Life was wonderful. Hanne Zülch was on cloud nine. She had met Herbert Weller – and they had made love… – It had had happened in Hannover, during a party rally. Herbert was very active in supporting local party efforts and thus travelling a lot. They had met in the hotel lounge – and had quickly moved to Herbert’s room. – Well, it had all happened in a jiff, but Hanne had been more than ready for Herbert. Herbert was a potent and tender lover – but also a rapid one. The whole affair had taken perhaps… five minutes? Then, Herbert had patted her, had kissed her on the forehead – and had hurried to the meeting he had been scheduled to attend.

Hanne had slowly recovered – in Herbert’s bed. The said five minutes had brought an incredible turmoil of climaxes for her – and had utterly exhausted her. After a while, she picked herself up and had stumbled to her room. – Since that day, she was flying high. She hadn’t seen Herbert again, but that didn’t matter. – It had happened! It was gorgeous… Working for the party was a delight. Everything was coming naturally to her. She had drive – and success. – She had been elected AFV chairwoman of Province Westphalia, beating four male contenders. That meant she now also had a seat in the AFV central committee. Would she meet Herbert again? Perhaps in Berlin?

And… Was she pregnant? Her menstruation was overdue. Was she carrying Herbert’s child? That would be marvellous. – It couldn’t be Egon’s. Last time she had slept with the lad had been more than two months ago, before he had run away. – No, if she was pregnant, it was Herbert’s child, no doubt about it. – She had to see a gynaecologist, next week, in case the menstruation was still amiss… But now she had to complete that press release. And then chair the meeting of the youth leaders…
It is failure that is easy. Success is always hard.
(Henry Ford)

A shipload of fuss about nothing: no water ice had been found in the Raumkobold-33 drill cores. The scientists were ecstatic nevertheless, because the clobber was going to teach them amazing things about the Moon’s structure and history. But for Jochen Zeislitz and his crew it meant tough titty. They now could just line up with the ordinary moon landers; no water, no fame. – Okay, that was professional hazard; no hard feelings! What came next? After the moon-bug quarantine had been lifted…

Jochen was young enough to crack on. He had at least ten more years, before it became time for him to look for a new job. More missions to the Moon were certain. The Mars? Yes, why not? – He didn’t think much of this fabulous new spacecraft, about which so many rumours were circulating. If it should be a real thing, it was yet untested. And testing took time… No, for the next handful of years the existing stuff would have to do the trick.

But it was strange: no new gadgetry was under development. NASA’s equipment was much better. Yet, one had to carry on with the dated Raumkobolde. That didn’t look at all like Director Kammler. – So, were the rumours true? Was there something revolutionary on the boil? Once he got out of here, he would try to find out more. After all, also revolutionary new spacecraft were requiring jockeys.

Yeah, that ought to be a sensible approach. He was a seasoned kosmonaut. Why shouldn’t he transfer to the fabulous new spaceship, if it really was be under construction? Being a test jockey was dangerous work, true. But riding to the Moon in another Raumkobold was goofy…
If you run out of ideas follow the road; you’ll get there.
(Edgar Allan Poe)

Franz Josef Strauß poured more wine. He didn’t like that swill, but the journalists obviously did. Getting them drunk was perhaps the best way to learn more about the background of his current affliction. His ruse with the Russian plot had worked; the two hacks had taken the bait. Could he talk them into revealing their source? – These were exemplary specimens of capital yellow press reporters, smart-aleck, smug and pharisaic. They manifestly were thinking he was a yokel from Lower Bavaria, a dumb country prat.

Okay, he was willing to play along. Let the bastards enjoy their jaundices. – Now, these were the scoundrels who had posted the article that had led to his downfall. There was no reason to deal gently with them. He needed to know who had handed the compromising photographs to them; thereafter they could go to hell. – Yes, the Russians had had every reason to get rid of him. His reforms must have been very bothersome for them. The Okhrana spooks were notorious for such manoeuvres, weren’t they?

More wine… No Russians? Heymshtoters? But the Okhrana was known to use fake identities. Colleagues? Journalists from Nai Bialystok? Really? – Might they be on the Okhrana’s pay list? – Bother! These lousy Jews! Why had they done that? – It was the day when Franz Josef Strauß went anti-Semite.
Theory attracts practise as the magnet attracts iron.
(Carl Friedrich Gauss)

This was meant to be the first start of a Max-1, of the Max-1 pilot run prototype as a matter of fact. It looked quite impressive standing in its launch cradle. Max Sikuku had already taken photographs of it from all sides. His rocket! What an achievement! He was as proud as a peacock thought Adele, his wife. She was seeing things through a much more prosaic set of lenses. The missile was perhaps twelve metres high and 1.5 metres wide at the bottom. It had two sets of fins, one for each stage, she had been told. It was painted white and had the SIRAB emblem – a globe showing only Africa, circled by a generic rocket – painted on its fuselage, together with the name MAX-1 in red.

This modest gadget was supposed to fly to outer space. It was designed to carry a load of one metric ton in its nose, but this time had only been assigned a radio transmitter. The scientists thought it would circle in orbit for three days, telling the world that it had proudly been produced by SIRAB, before burning out on re-entry. The countdown had already begun. Control was urging Max and her to take seat. She came to sit beside Herbert K’nilowe, the SIRAB general manager. Herbert was quite a capable and clever fellow. Max didn’t know he was gay, but she had sensed it immediately upon meeting the chap for the first time. She liked chatting with him. He was gossipy like a woman.

Max was conversing with Professor Karl Poggensee, the German solid fuel whiz, who had been invited as special guest. Still half an hour until launch. So, what did Herbert have to tell? Chancellor Muramba had lost his balls… No, that wasn’t true; she knew better. But it was all over town. A bomb splinter had torn them off. No, no, he had been seriously hit in the abdomen, but his genitals were all right. Nevertheless, he had sworn gory revenge to the terrorists, hadn’t he? Well, that was a rumour as well. As far as she knew, he had done nothing of that kind. It was more a kind of popular desire; people wanted him to avenge himself.

Herbert turned to other gossip, most of which was new to Adele. In turn, she could tell him some juicy stories from the West Coast. – Then, launch became imminent. They stopped chatting and focused on the missile. It was a textbook start. MAX-1 darted into the air like a lightning. Adele had seen newsreels of the ponderous German and Russian rockets taking off. They were slowly forcing their way upwards. Compared to them, MAX-1 was incredibly fast. Okay, this enterprise of her husband seemed to perform, even if it didn’t produce revenue yet.
It isn’t important to come out on top, what matters is to be the one who comes out alive.
(Bertolt Brecht)

Truly, Elías Puga and the Blackmail Squad had been bloody amateurs – compared to the staff of this camp. Hell Camp was an apposite name, thought Malcolm Little, although he had only scant knowledge of Christian lore. You had to work hard ten hours each day and they were only feeding you crap. Instead, they were beating you on all occasions. He had seen four men die – in the seventeen days he was here. They had perished from enfeeblement and malady, had just withered away.

Escape was impossible. You were too weak to run away. Those who had tried had been ripped to pieces by the dogs, Malcolm had been told. – This was the place where the rulers of Panama were depositing their worst enemies. A raiding squad grabbed you in the dark of the night – and you were gone… Would anybody anticipate what had happened to you? Camila certainly wouldn’t; she had been too drunk to copy. And he had no kin too look out for him. The kids he had gathered would just scud for another dank distraction.

Hunger was making him dizzy, was weakening his ability to think clearly. How could he survive this ordeal? It was not a death camp. They could have shot him right away, but they hadn’t. The work you were forced to do – quarrying – could be done much more efficiently by machines. Yeah, the objective was to torture you, to rack you for a long time. You might die in the process, but it would be incidental – not intentional. Had people been released? Nobody seemed to know…

Yes, Panama was not a democracy; it was a frigging oligarchy, where the rich owned the state power and were using police and armed forces for their ends. And the US were tolerating – and supporting, most probably – this system, because it kept the country quiet and the Canal Zone safe. Fighting the pest – successfully – had exacerbated the proficiencies of the system to suppress its enemies. Evidently, he – with his band of young followers from uptown – had been rated as an enemy. True, several of his adherents were the offspring of powerful men… Hard luck!

Might the Venezuelans rescue him? There had to be other agents around. His disappearance should have been noticed. But would they care? He was just a petty pawn in their game. Yet, it was his only hope…
A man who is certain he is right is almost sure to be wrong.
(Michael Faraday)

So, these Middle Africans had launched a solid-fuel missile and had placed a short-lived satellite in orbit. The media had become excited and were thus scratching the nerves of the politicians, who in turn were peeving the professionals. Director Kammler, confronted with a load of stupid questions and silly conjectures, had sullenly tasked Sergei Pavlovich Korolev to provide a statement to the Tagesspiegel, the prime time news broadcast in state TV.

Okay, solid-fuel propulsion did have its advantages, no doubt. That was why it was used for various purposes – submarine-launched ballistic missiles, tactical missiles of the armed forces, boosters, emergency escape rockets. But it did have one crucial drawback: the larger the missile was growing, the more weight had to be dedicated to enclosing the thrust chamber. The technical maximum mass of a large solid-fuel rocket hence was smaller than that of a comparable liquid-propellant rocket, where extra shielding wasn’t required.

Really large liquid-propellant missiles like the A-14 or the Russian Titán therefore were considerably more economic than solid-fuel rockets with an analogous service profile could be. In other words: solid-fuel rockets could be used – just economically reasonable – for reaching Earth’s orbit; for flying to the Moon and further, they offered no advantage. The Middle African approach – by a private venture incidentally, and aided by German experts – was certainly remarkable, but strictly limited to achieving orbital operations.