A Shift in Priorities - Sequel

That's quite ambitious considering that they have precious little long-term space travel experience. Kinda like hoping to design an ocean liner right after constructing your first boat.
They're never going to get the funding for that dream.
Available energy is the main object at stake in the struggle for existence and evolution of the world.
(Ludwig Boltzmann)

Kindergarten! thought Jochen Zeislitz. One was back to Kindergarten. Okay, it wasn’t wrong to practise with intensity. But had it really been necessary to replace all pilots? He was the only one left from the Mars crew. All his co-pilots and all the lander crews were newbies. Hence, one was training come hell or high water. It was demanding – physically and mentally.

And at the same time, one had construction teams on board. An astronomical observatory was being installed, while he was flying training manoeuvres with his pupils. The Admiral – still the same Carl Emmermann, thank goodness – said it couldn’t be avoided. The observatory had been ordered immediately after return from Mars. But designing and building it took some time. One should be glad it had become available before departure…

Anyway, St. Nick’s Day was still up as scheduled time of departure. And the newbies were only new to the Hammer, not to space. – There were, however, no girls among them. The crew for Jupiter would be all male. The navy folks had prevailed this time, obviously. For the weekend trip to Mars, women had been acceptable – just about. But for a serious space voyage, one was better off without females.

Jochen knew he wouldn’t come back to Prerow before mission start. That was all right for him. Perhaps he could snatch a trip to Mondstadt, when the lander crews were exercising landing manoeuvres. The Jupiter system with its twelve moons would require quite of lot of flexibility in that respect. Ganymede was huge, only slightly smaller than Mars.
Politicians are not born; they are excreted.
(Marcus Tullius Cicero)

Yep, the socialists were again coupling with the bigots. Emil Muramba was due to run for chancellor once more, with Dietrich Kilduna of the BMC as vice-chancellor and foreign minister. Okay, another preacher to lull foreign diplomatists into subeth. It wouldn’t do much damage. Middle African foreign relations had proven to be pretty much stable – and not prone to sudden convulsions.

No, the real sensation was Seppel Mobutu: minister of the interior! That was quite a career for a plain MARB workman, even though the fellow certainly had gathered longstanding practise as labour union mandarin. Max Sikuku was aghast. The SDPMA was the party of the workers, sure. But a genuine worker in control of the interior? Was that wise?

Well, there was no overarching police force in Middle Africa. The police was controlled by the regions. Mobutu would only have the Staatsschutz, the civilian counterespionage service, under his thumb. That wasn’t much. – Had the bloke, said to be the coming man of the socialists, been fobbed off with a petty position? Or what was going on there?

One could find out, on occasion. The parliament was a gossipy place. Max had always taken care to entertain good relations with his fellow deputies – and their staffs. Quite in passing – and kidding – one could collect a lot of information. Perhaps he would undeck something useful…
Success is 90 % perspiration and 10 % inspiration.
(Thomas A. Edison)

Final sprint, mused Helga von Tschirschwitz, while watching the Raumbus approach the Hammer. The starship looked like a shark accompanied by a tight swarm of cleaner wrasses. Yeah, boarding the big beast was an awkward procedure, quite a proof that only trained kosmonauts should be sent up – and not politicians, journalists and other ilk…

Of course, Helga had taken – or rather been ceded – a seat in the cabin. The steward was attending the passengers in the rear anyway. Those passengers were her camera team and a bunch of technicians. The latter were to install an additional set of antennas.

Indeed, communication would be a problem – between Prerow and the Hammer. The distances were going to be enormous. It was not really a problem for the Hammer to address Raumkolonie and thus Prerow. They always would know where to find Earth – and they had ample energy at their disposal.

But the other way round, it would be difficult. Raumkolonie’s energy was limited – although its solar panels were being enhanced substantially right at the moment. It had been decided that the Hammer – after completion of the Jupiter trip – would be parked alongside Raumkolonie, so that its reactor could permanently supply energy to the station.

It was believed that the starship – at that point in time – would be too contaminated to allow permanent occupation any longer. Yet, its reactor still could be put to good use. But that was pie in the sky. Right now, Raumkolonie had to cope with solar panels and voltaic cells.

The Raumbus had finished decelerating. It was floating alongside the Hammer now. “All right, gentlemen, thank you for your hospitality. I’ll join the crowd now. See you tomorrow.” The pilots muttered some civilities. Helga climbed into the passenger room. Suit priming had already started.

The steward beckoned her to his side – and checked her suit. No big business, she never had taken off helmet or gloves. She was an old hand – quite accustomed to travelling like that. Okay, ready for deflation…
Everyone who wants to know what will happen ought to examine what has happened; everything in this world in any epoch has their replicas in antiquity.
(Niccolò Machiavelli)

It looked as if the Russians were focussing on the Kazakh Republic. The game plan ought to be simple: excite the Russian minority to rebellion, then support them in the ensuing civil war. – Josef Dembitzer thought it was a test. They were trying to find out how far they could go. The Kazakh Republic was weak, that was no secret. What would their protecting power, the Ottoman Empire, do?

Yeah, do not bother the creepy Germans and their precious COMECON chicken-run, leave the mean Chinese alone, zero in on the weakest neighbour. The Rodinyadniki had promised their voters the world; now, they were in a quandary – the world was not inclined to fulfil their wishes. A success – even a small one – was urgently needed.

Well, the Ottomans certainly would not sit idle. The pattern was not new. In the Great War, the Russians had tried to instrumentalise the Christian Armenian subjects of the Sultan – and the Ottomans had done the same with the Muslim subjects of the Tsar. For many Armenians, this had ended fatally. – Today, there were almost eight million Muslims living inside the Russian borders – compared to 2.5 million ethnic Russians dwelling in the Kazakh Republic.

The war for Uyghur independence had shown how skilled the Pan-Turans were – or had been? – in conjuring up guerrilla bands and other unpleasant occurrences. Therefore, the Russians might ask for more trouble than they were ready to take. – Would the Sublime Porte be rash to resort to nuclear means? Dembitzer and his staff weren’t sure. One didn’t have much information on their current doctrine.

But one certainly was going to find out…
It is easy to discover what another has discovered before.
(Christopher Columbus)

Coming home third was nothing to crave for. But OŞU didn’t have the option to be anything but third. Beating the Germans or Russians was off the cards. One could, however, take pride in being the first of those who followed after RRA and NASA. – Mare Tranquillitatis had been chosen for the first manned landing of the Ottoman Space Service on the moon.

The mission was Haberci-18. The Uzaylılar were Binbaşı Adem Ustacı, Yüsbaşı Recep Kalfalık, and Mülazımler-ı Sani Enver Çiftçi, Berkan Celil, and Ercan Göktürk. Of these, Kalfalık had the unthankful task of remaining inside the Haberci, while the four others travelled to the lunar surface with the Kedi lander.

It was Wednesday, November 21st, 1962. The landing occurred without problems. Ustacı was the first to step on the lunar surface. Unfortunately, he had forgotten his text – because of the pent-up tension. But he knew he had to say something. And so Binbaşı Adem Ustacı took possession of the Moon at the behest of the Ottoman Empire.
Politics is not a science, as the professors are apt to suppose. It is an art.
(Otto von Bismarck)

Major Ustacı’s declaration didn’t provoke forceful responses from Germany and Russia. One had scrutinised the situation long ago. Without feet permanently on the ground, any such declaration was null and void. Germany and Russia might indeed claim the territory on which their respective lunar settlements were located. But no one could claim possession of the Moon as a whole – or any other extraterrestrial body.

Hence, explanatory statements were issued to the media – but no fierce protests launched via the diplomatic channels. The gutter press in both countries tried, of course, to raise fuss, but the subject would not incite the masses. Not even the Rodinyadniki and the Deutsch-Völkischen considered it worthwhile. That Ustacı had only produced hot air was too obvious to all.

In ĺstanbul, however, the declaration, though delivered unintentionally, was well received. The binbaşı had shown pluck – and had done the right thing – once he couldn’t remember his text. One had to establish Ay Şehri – Moon Burgh – as fast as possible. When this had been accomplished, nobody would dare to ridicule legitimate Ottoman colonisation. Going for NPP was fine and dandy, but one mustn’t neglect getting a fat piece of the lunar pie. Pertaining orders were immediately sent to Ras Fartak.
We must look for consistency. Where there is a want of it we must suspect deception.
(Arthur Conan Doyle)

Attentively, Mirliva Zaghros watched the visitor enter and approach. A midsize blonde woman in her late thirties – or perhaps early forties, well-rounded, expensively dressed – and heavily made-up. The jewellery worn looked positively high-class, yet was far too exuberant to appear subtle.
“Merhaba. Be seated, please.”
“Yes, Bayan Paşa.”
The voice sounded clear and affable. The perfume, however, was heavy. Was there alcohol in the scent? Yes, and it wasn’t cologne...

Indeed, a respectable madam, at first look. The dossier, though, told of a wild life. For years on end, the woman had worked for the Istihbarat – out of self-defence, because the Okhrana had been chasing after her. Yeah, she had been on Moscow’s hit list – for an unsavoury love affair with the Tsarevich… Love affairs had been legion in her life. But only those with other women seemed to have been true ones. – Eventually, one had removed her to a safe place – on Kıbrıs.

But now, one needed her again. The situation in the Kazakh Republic was tense. And being a native Russian, the lady could be put to good use. The mirliva waited until an orderly had served tea before addressing the woman.
“I take it you have been briefed on the situation in the KR. The Vezir-i-Azam has decided to send help. I’ve been tasked to direct the secret service portion of this aid package. And I’ve been alerted to your special abilities…”
The woman giggled.

“Even the fiercest terrorist usually has a wife – or at least a girl friend, who is as gossipy as any other woman. I want you to work this aspect. You’ll have a squad of girls under your command – and be part of my outfit. We’ll be based in Qarağandi, but will, of course, work all over the country. You’ll be given the temporary rank of Yüzbaşı. We’ll travel the day after tomorrow. Any questions?”
Never underestimate the incompetence of government.
(James Cook)

A training trip to Venus! Jochen Zeislitz was abuzz. The Morning Star was at inferior conjunction. The distance was only 41 million kilometres – or rather had been, yesterday, November 12th. It was a weekend trip indeed. – One still had construction teams on board. The Admiral said it didn’t matter; the Kaiserliche Marine was doing that on a regular basis. – The question was: should one land? Or at least send a team into the atmosphere? After all, the Russians had already been in orbit around the planet.

It was an excellent opportunity to examine his co-pilots, Werner Aßmann and Fritz Meyer, although one wouldn’t even attain maximum speed. It was just about accelerating and decelerating – and manoeuvring for orbit. But it was the real thing, better than any simulation. – The ultimate challenge, however, would be sending a lander – or all of them – below the clouds. It was possible; the dinghies had been constructed for operations in the Jupiter System. If they could land on Ganymede or Callisto, they should also be able to touch down on Venus.

Fritz was just in train of swinging the bus into close orbit, when the veto arrived. The government did not allow any landing operations on Venus. The landing craft must not enter the atmosphere. – Now, look at those spoil sports! What did they think was going to happen in the Jupiter System? Life practice was the best preparation for it. True, it was risky, a little bit. But who had mastered Venus would also be able to cope with Ganymede or Europa. After all, the four large Jupiter moons were believed to have atmospheres.

Okay, Venus was hot – and they were cold, very cold most probably. But spacecraft were designed to withstand both, heat and ultimate chilliness. – But the Admiral was adamant. The government’s order would be obeyed. – Hence, one could gape at the cloud covered planet, that pearly enigma – and guess what might be below the cloud cover. Not even exploratory sondes were on board. They hadn’t been delivered yet. A terrible pity…
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
(George Bernard Shaw)

Hans Kammler was hopping mad. Godawful government was infringing on his prerogatives. Krosigk and his old boys’ club had – to cap it all – activated their senile stubbornness – and were exercising the who-pays-the-piper game. The ban on landing on Venus had been aimed at him, to drive home who was calling the tune.

The buggers were controlling the money anyway. That provided them ample opportunity to influence things. Why then were they insisting to micro-manage affairs? – Was Strauß on their tails? The DVP was attacking on several fronts at the same time. Gmeinwieser, Kornbichler and Steinle had been killed because the Krosigk government had rushed the Hammer to Mars – prematurely – in order to influence the national election.

That wasn’t entirely incorrect, but was of course resolutely denied by the government. However, Strauß was also complaining that they had no concept at all. The Hammer was a freak that could land nowhere. It couldn’t support colonisation of the Moon – and the journeys to Mars and Jupiter were pure propaganda without any scientific use.

Well, evaluation of the data gathered on Mars was going to take years; and there was almost no hope for any epochal discoveries. – But Strauß didn’t stop there. He was accusing the government to squander precious taxpayer money for cheap stunts. There was no overarching concept for colonising space and for spreading Deutschtum to the planets.

The problem was that Strauß was right in many points. The Krosigk team had been pushed into the defensive – and was reacting nervously. This didn’t bode well for the journey to Jupiter. Perhaps he should arrange some secret signals to be exchanged between him and Emmermann in case of emergency. A communications breakdown could easily cancel the government’s options to interfere…
Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in life.
(Benjamin Franklin)

He was Wukr el-Shabazz now, a humble worker at Kayi on the Nahr As-sinigȃl, the Senegal River. And he had converted to Islam. – Escaping from WAU custody had been quite an adventure. These people, however, hadn’t known that he was a champion in getting away. They had put him through the mill – and then had decided to extradite him to Venezuela. Their big boss once had been president over there; hence, they were entertaining close relations with that country.

Well, the Venezuelans would put him into a work camp again – for the rest of his life. That was not desirable at all. But because he hadn’t been accused of any crimes committed in the WAU, his detention had been rather mild. Bolting had been a cinch. – Where to go to? Portuguese Guinea or Ala Ka Kuma? The Portuguese were evil colonialists, suppressing and exploiting the natives.

Therefore, he had headed for Ala Ka Kuma, the land of the free. Yeah, they would not ask silly questions – if he was a true believer. Conversion was easy; you just did it. Of course he had to start unobtrusively. So, he was now toiling as an ore miner. It was drudgery – and dangerous, but better paid than farming or track working. He intended to accumulate some cash – and then move on – to Bamako or Dakar.

A new life was waiting for him. Wukr el-Shabazz was going to become a famous… well, teacher or something like that.
It is a strange fact, characteristic of the incomplete state of our current knowledge, that totally opposite conclusions are drawn about prehistoric conditions on Earth, depending on whether the problem is approached from the biological or the geophysical viewpoint.
(Alfred Wegener)

The respectable colleague McCormick from Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States, had submitted an immensely interesting article to the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften – German Journal of Geology. His observations and data about climate change in North America were sensational indeed. But an error at slipped in nevertheless: McCormick assumed the growing of trees was a sign indicating a warm stage.

Well, it wasn’t. Trees were growing whenever the summers were warm enough. Therefore, trees would also grow in a cooling climate. One had to observe which kinds of trees were growing where. But generally, the growth of trees was predictable until true subarctic conditions prevailed. Below a median air temperature of 6° Celsius during the growth period – the warm half-year – no trees could grow.

That meant McCormick’s observation of a general cooling down wasn’t contradicted by trees growing in the US Midwest. They were growing, as McCormick had explained, because no farmers and no grazers were preventing their growth – and not because the climate in that area was getting warmer. No, McCormick’s data were conclusive: a cold phase, perhaps even a new cold stage, was drawing near.

Hermann Wölken had already written a letter to McCormick, congratulating him for his outstanding work – and expounding the tree issue. He had also proposed to attribute the lack of climate change along the US East Coast to the still steady Gulf Stream. – Yes, indeed, a new cold stage seemed to be forming. That was exiting. One could observe it – and record everything.

It was established that the Laurentide Ice Shield had contained about sixty percent of the ice mass of the last ice age, the Weichselian – or Wisconsinan. That stipulated that North America should take the lead also in a new cold stage. The question was just: how long was it going to take? Would one see radical change during one’s own lifetime? Or would it be a slow process, taking many centuries?