A Shift in Priorities - Sequel

If there is no dull and determined effort, there will be no brilliant achievement.

The assault started on Tuesday, January 7th, 1964, when Reichsbank President Karl Blessing announced a rigorous lowering of interest rates. How Franz Josef Strauß had wheedled Blessing and his colleagues into accepting such a move could only be guessed. The office building of the Reichsbank was located in the zone formerly controlled by the rioters. Alfred Dutschke was known to have sent a strong picket to the area, where they had gathered within full sight of the bankers – without proceeding to action though.

Next, Strauß pushed a bundle of bills through the Reichstag that considerably lowered all tax rates, inclusive of those which benefitted the individual states. It was unconceivable that the Bundesrat, the second parliamentary chamber, would ever endorse this. But Strauß ordered the new tax rates to be effective at once – pending post hoc approval of the Bundesrat. At the same time, he proclaimed his intention to launch a complete revision of the constitution.

Alfred Dutschke was heard saying this was the last gasp of capitalism. One must encourage the capitalists to exhaust their resources in a final frenzy. It could only lead to the total collapse of the system. One just had to help them along on their path to doom. A new age was dawning… Signals went out to the regional councils to support the Strauß laws – and to put pressure on the state governments.

For the state governments it was a choice between devil and Beelzebub. One was steel feeling the stinging experience of impuissance opposite the rioters. And now, one was confronted with an unruly chancellor, who seemed to be in alliance with the rioters – and was out to change the balance between the realm and the states. His most formidable instrument, the army, was still reforming and exercising, it was true, but they might be committed rather soon – not against the rioters, however…
I base my calculation on the expectation that luck will be against me.
(Napoleon Bonaparte)

Dhuxul had botched it. The Khedive was still alive. The bullet had wounded him, but not enough to end his life. And Dhuxul had been apprehended – after a wild chase across the construction site of the Aswan Dam. Well, he had lost the poison capsule he had been given, so running had definitely been indicated. Oh, he had almost escaped – if not these stupid masons had alerted the henchmen.

He had been interrogated – in the traditional Egyptian style. That meant he had told his torturers everything he knew. Obviously, they now were detaining him as a witness. Or why else was he still alive? How many days did he have still? Or hours only? Had Bülent got away? What about his patron?

He was dead. That was the plain truth. The pain didn’t matter, nor did his disfigured fingers. The door of his cell opened. What did those four guys want? They were seizing him and dragging him away. The world went dark…

Having been briefed in-depth, Mohamed Bey Naguib, the Egyptian prime minister, dismissed the director of the domestic secret service. The conspiracy had failed. One had arrested the assassin and some minor figures. But the real scoundrels had fled in time. Okay, one would seize their fortunes – or at least those assets found in Egypt – and sent out operatives to eliminate them.

The Khedive’s condition was stable. He would live. The physicians said he had been very lucky indeed. The bullet had missed his heart by five centimetres only. Yet, he might recover completely. He had ordered not to kill the assassin. Mohamed Bey wondered why.
Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who’ll get the blame.
(Bertrand Russell)

Of course, one didn’t take orders from Berlin – neither from that bloody Bavarian nor from that dopey Brandenburger. But one had to adjust to the situation; the emergency was over, people wanted to return to normality. Well, the councils were still active. Should one humbly hand over to the forces of the old order? Or should something new emerge?

It was true, the councils hadn’t been elected by the general electorate. Yet, they had been supported by wide public acclaim. And the old order had run down, even before the riots had started. Nobody wanted it back, at least nobody Egon Schagalla knew.

Should one hold new elections? Or should the councils merge with the old city parliaments? Or should the councils just carry on? These were the questions one was debating incessantly. Egon had interviewed several factory owners and top managers. They were quite happy with the new order. The Dortmund Council had done a good job.

Getting the old crocks back didn’t bode well for progress. Now, as the limitations for new investments had just been swept aside, having the council run affairs would be a consolation. The council was crisp and grasping – and didn’t delay proceedings by dragging forth wiggy regulations.

Okay, Egon was a modest steelworker, but he wasn’t stupid. The guys were groping for deregulation. Considering the pile of restrictions to entrepreneurial vigour heaped up by the various socialists governments in the past, this approach was quite articulate.

What would be in the cards for the council if such a course of action was endorsed? Now that the capitalists were relieved from the most pressing tax burdens, some funds ought to be available for promoting community spirit. That issue had to be discussed in depth.
They muddy the water, to make it seem deep.
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

Indeed, the Venezuelans had taken the bait. Indigenes on Hispaniola might be a suitable vehicle for vexing the Yanquis. It would be a Venezuelan operation though; the Middle Africans should stay out of the way. Teniente de Navio Julius Nyerere had nevertheless tailed the packet boat that had carried the Venezuelan delegation to the island. Great fuss, these ladies – there were two of them - and gentlemen were raising in the Bahia de Neiba. Did they think the natives would be attracted by the noise?

The Amis were, however. A destroyer was lurking to the east. Nyerere had detected it while approaching. Why hadn’t they intercepted the packet boat – and captured it? Why were they watching on the sly? – Well, brooding wouldn’t solve the riddle. Observation might… His schedule allowed for some delay. The packet boat was leaving again. The Venezuelans were making camp at Barahona. And the Ami destroyer was resting where it had been hiding all the time.

Okay, this was kind of farcical. The Venezuelans were lying in wait for the natives. The Amis were stalking the Venezuelans. And S-17 ‘Jaquetón’ was shadowing the Amis. – Might there perhaps be someone monitoring S-17? The sonar operator said no; there was no other ship in the water. And the fumeo guy reported the air space was clear. – The Ami vessel still was doing nothing. S-17 was breathing on snorkel; one could wait.
Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
(Erich Fromm)

It didn’t really matter who was calling the tune, as long as the flow of commodities ran unimpeded. That seemed to be the lesson to be learnt from recent events. Even if the industries had turned out goods, their free flow had been deranged during the riot crisis. And hardly that Strauß had had proclaimed general amnesty, parts had started arriving again at Prerow. Hans Kammler could only shake his head in astonishment.

Hammerhorst was still down, but supply ships had already put out to sea. It was only a matter of few days, until work on the Feuerdrache could be resumed. And evacuation of the space facilities had been avoided in the last minute. Hence, RRA activities could now be continued in their entirety. Even DELAG had reported they were receiving spares – and hoped to be back in space by the end of the week.

Okay, three full weeks – almost four – had been lost. But no irrevocable damage had occurred. – Well, Strauß’s economic initiative had only just taken off. It still might wreak havoc to the supply chains. It was too early to sigh with relief. The current betterment might turn out to be a fleeting star. Kammler was deeply distrustful of Strauß’s motifs. The man was out to overturn the system. You couldn’t conduct business as usual with a bloody revolutionary at the national helm…

Therefore, he had already given order to stash as many supplies as possible. One had to strike while the iron was hot. All the parts required for the Feuerdrache and Mondstadt were to be transferred to Hammerhorst – now… One would even place supply ships on hold in the North Sea, if stores at Hammerhorst couldn’t accept more. Kammler was determined to – at least – complete the Feuerdrache and to complete the initial extension of Mondstadt. The four new ships – Alpha to Delta – were to be started, once the Feuerdrache had taken off. But their completion might be written in the stars…
This operation at Hammerhorst sounds like it is growing bigger and bigger. And now they are preemptively accumulating supplies and personnel. There must be thousands of people working there now. Do they have families on base? If it weren't for this pesky radioactive contamination issue Germany might inadvertently colonize Ireland.
To me all men are equal: there are jackasses everywhere, and I have the same contempt for them all.
(Karl Kraus)

Siegfried had seen it come, but not to the tremendous extent now ascendant. It had been manifest that the end of the riots was due to trigger increased demand. However, he hadn’t – well, nobody had – anticipated the radical rate cut and Strauß’s crazy tax laws. Thereupon, demand had virtually exploded.

Thank goodness, ZAZ was well poised to do the job. One had cultivated relations with all potential sending countries – and had even sponsored German courses for the future workers. Okay, nothing complicated, only the bare minimum to survive on the workstation, but nevertheless… And one had developed women as employees. That wasn’t easy, because of the traditional perception of women, in Germany – and in the sending countries all the more.

But in the current situation it was a gift of God. The supply of men had quickly run dry. Yet, ZAZ could still offer women. The receiving companies weren’t delighted, yet had no choice. Either women or nobody… And they came from civilised countries – Poland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania. One was offering no gypsies and no Muslimas, only hand-picked quality.

One couldn’t satisfy each and every demand though. It simply wasn’t possible. The industry had jumped into top gear in two shakes. Siegfried wondered how long they would be able to sustain that frenzy. Or were they already speculating on the collapse of the system? One should think it would happen sooner or later. And what would happen then?
Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.
(Bertolt Brecht)

There had been no riots in Italy, but the economic gridlock had, of course, shown effect. Delivery jam was the apt word. In the end, production had had to be stopped, because the stores – and the temporary stores – couldn’t be emptied. It was the backside of COMECON membership, said those who dreamt of an economically independent Italy. Once the Germans were suffering from a cold, all of Europe was coughing and sniffing.

Even worse: hardly that the riots had ended, the Germans had begun wooing away workers and engineers. Skilled workers could earn a fortune by crossing the border, and engineers were able to dictate their conditions. It was an outrage.

Switzerland, although not in the COMECON, was in the same dire straits. In fact, not being a member didn’t offer any advantage – in the matter of economics. The country was tied by countless treaties, otherwise trade with the COMECON would be impossible. Hence, one was fully dependent on the common market, but had no say when it came to stipulating the rules. Alienation was an ongoing problem. Normally, Swiss companies were offering enough to recruits foreigners, but at present, the Germans were massively headhunting in the Swiss Confederacy.

Even France, although accommodating only a third of her former populace, was affected. The eastern departments hadn’t been stricken hard by the pest. Enterprises in neighbouring Elsaß-Lothringen were now attracting French workers, were even advertising with the offer to speak French at work.

Belgium and the Netherlands, with their small residual population, were not concerned – because strict laws were banning all emigration.

For Spain and Portugal the language barrier was forming a grave impediment. Certain temporary employment agencies – first of all ZAZ, the brand leader – had offered language courses in the past – and were now scoring high. But generally, people from the Iberian Peninsula were rather going to France than to Germany.

The Scandinavian countries had no surplus workers to offer, at least not in any noteworthy quantity. And every disposable Pole had already been working in Germany even before the current frenzy.
All that is necessary to raise imbecility into what the mob regards as profundity is to lift it off the floor and put it on a platform.
(George Jean Nathan)

What kind of dirty trick was being enacted here? Josef Dembitzer had been racking his brains – in vain. He had consulted the specialists on his staff, had talked with diplomatists, economists and other experts – it didn’t make sense. What was Strauß up to?

Okay, Germans were a weird bunch; everybody knew this. The recent riots had proven it once again. One should think that the country now needed rest and refit. But what was Strauß doing? Throwing it into the next frenzy… It couldn’t work, said the economists. There might be a short-term boom, but in the long term it couldn’t work.

Well, Strauß was a villain, no doubt, but he wasn’t stupid. He must have something in mind, must be weighing some murky scheme. Dembitzer was quite sure. – What would he do next? Launch a gigantesque arms programme? And other gargantuan programmes?

It was Zissa, his secretary, who found the key, perhaps… “It’s about speed, isn’t it? The bloke is just sprinting ahead – and everybody else is trying to catch up with him, while he is setting the agenda. And because all and sundry are still desperately struggling to keep up with him, they don’t question the direction into which he is leading them.”
Democracy is the pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
(H. L. Mencken)

Supply for the construction site was rolling again. One would be able to observe the original schedule – just about. Karl Richter had already informed his superiors. It was strange; nobody seemed to miss the old order. Once the chancellor had proclaimed general amnesty, things had returned to normality in no time. Everybody was carrying on as if nothing had happened.

Okay, there had been no riots at Grohnde. The next riot centres had been Hannover and Bielefeld, both important rail hubs. That had – presumably – led to the supply blockade. The rioters were still in Hannover and Bielefeld – and in all those other places. Nothing much had changed on the ground. Obviously, it didn’t really matter who was ruling, as long as doings and dealings weren’t impeded.

Richter wondered how things were going to proceed. States were raising taxes to finance the common effort – defence, police, and so forth… The chancellor had just lowered all taxes, and the rioters weren’t transferring any. It was an enigma… PreußenElektra was funded by their customers. So, he needn’t worry for his job – at least not yet. And interest rates had been lowered as well, so that cheap money was available for extra investments.

In fact, everybody had more money available – all of a sudden. Could it work? Was the chancellor endeavouring to trigger a boom across the board? – Well, not everybody had more money in his pocket… Private persons and companies had, but the government and its services must be suffering, because there was considerably less money to pay them. Or would the government in fact gain more tax money – because the economy was thriving?

The workers were spending their extra money – it wasn’t an awful lot – for beer, schnaps and smoking articles. So, the producers of beer, schnaps and ziggies might indeed invest in order to increase their production, because workers everywhere were reacting to a wage increase in this way. His own wage increase might enable him to buy a house for the family – or build a new one. If the increase should be permanent…

Could it really work? Inciting growth by reducing the taxes? That would truly be revolutionary…
The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.
(H. P. Lovecraft)

The Kara Sea was quite a shallow stretch of water, covered by thick sea ice at this time of the year. The shallowness wasn’t a problem. One could place the boat on the seafloor – and just sit and wait. Kapitän zur See Wolfgang Doberthin had done exactly that with SMU 1742. There was no need for cruising around. Once one had gone stationary, one was undetectable for the Russian hunter subs.

It was a calm environment; nothing was happening. Even the stealthy hunters of the Toad and Lizard classes didn’t make any noise. It was good exercise for the sonar folks to detect them. Even the occasional whales were a welcome detraction. Further to the west, in the White Sea, affairs were running quite different. The Russian were employing huge nuclear-powered icebreakers for keeping the shipping lanes to and from Arkhangelsk open. But that noisy business could also serve as an excellent camouflage.

Communication was a problem. The extremely low frequency radio station at Neumünster – or one of the three reserve stations – could only issue short signals to rise to shallow depth for receiving more detailed very low frequency radio messages. It worked, but was complicated – and time-consuming. Hence, only the two boats operating in the Kara Sea – and the one in the Laptev Sea – were generally allowed to set down on the seafloor.

Therefore, one was completely ignorant about the situation at home. That had led to wild rumours. Doberthin had had a hard time to calm his men. At least, the four replacements one had been forced to take on board before putting to sea had integrated well. – One was laying bets on how the situation in Germany would be when the boat returned home. That kept the men occupied without leading to secret tinfoil hat theories. Instead one was laughing – and betting – on the theories.

The favourite version was the authoritarian crackdown. But also the rioter republic was getting many bets. Nobody, however, was betting on the old order…
Being busy does not always mean real work.
(Thomas A. Edison)

Hunting season was over. One knew now that wildmen were roaming the Emerald Isle; perhaps not as many as in Great Britain, but definitely more than one had thought previously. Well, they seemed to keep clear of Hammerhorst anyway; one could confidently leave them alone.

Construction had been given absolute priority, now that supplies had started arriving again. For Jochen Zeislitz this meant he could gear down. Pilot training was well organised – in principle, and actually there wasn’t much to do for him. Werner Aßmann and Fritz Meyer were training Sigmund Jähn and his two deputies. He was just the boss and had to carry the responsibility.

That allowed him time to chat with folks and gather information. The media were slowly recovering from paralysis, but reading newspapers wasn’t Jochen’s favourite. There were thousands of superbly educated people working here; one could learn a lot from them.

Of course, the situation in Germany was of prime interest. Opinions were wildly diverging. Yet, there seemed to exist a common understanding that the country was suffering from regulatory overkill. A clean sweep that removed all those profuse regulations would be welcome. This, combined with low interest rates and low taxes, should trigger a formidable boom.

Jochen thought this was a little bit too optimistic. One shouldn’t reckon without the rioters. These folks had suddenly gained real power – if only locally, but in many places; they wouldn’t humbly step back into rank and file. The amnesty had defused the situation, but it hadn’t solved the question of power.
I love fools’ experiments. I am always making them.
(Charles Darwin)

On return to Curaçao, Teniente de Navio Julius Nyerere learnt that the Venezuelan delegation to Hispaniola had been wiped out. The Venezuelan navy had sent a destroyer, but the Yanquis had denied access to the territorial waters of the island. There had been a US cruiser and three destroyers, quite a substantial force in the Caribbean these days.

Now, what a nasty surprise! Who had wiped out the delegation? The last radio message received talked of indigenes overrunning the camp. The Venezuelans seemed to accept this failure. His Middle African superiors didn’t care a damn. But Nyerere had second thoughts…

It wouldn’t be difficult for the Amis to disguise a band of their own Negroes as indigenes. They had shadowed the Venezuelans all the time. This was very fishy. – The long-range recon troopers were gone. They had returned to Middle Africa. But he could revisit Hispaniola – and ask the indigenes. According to the tales of the recon folks the indigenes were rather shy than really aggressive.

His next mission with S-17 ‘Jaquetón’ was due in three weeks. That provided ample time for preparations. He would go into the jungle himself, with two seasoned ratings as escorts – and with the cook, who was a French speaker.
It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

Otti was pregnant, and she wouldn’t say who the father was. It wasn’t important, she had stressed. She had the means to sustain a child; a father wasn’t required for education. Dad had agreed. It was good that the Sikuku family was starting to be productive. And Otti was right, she could raise the child alone; there would be nurses and teachers; everything would be fine. Mom hadn’t commented. She had only smiled.

Heine Sikuku was astounded. No marriage, a natural child… Okay, Otti had also been one, in Germany among the piggy-skinned Snowpushers. Sired by Dad… One should think she might want to do it differently, but no… Might Willi Umbeku, the SEM general manager, be the father? He was working closely with Otti. Close enough? Well, Willi was married. Not naming him as father might protect his marriage. But that was only conjecture…

Anyway, he would be uncle in six months, that was okay. How old was Otti? Thirty-eight, or so. That wasn’t an ideal age for pregnancy and delivery. However, Mom said it was going to be all right. Medicine had made good progress. There wouldn’t be major problems.

He and Erika were sharing a flat in Duala. But there was no thought of marriage or having children. Erika was taking birth control pills. That stuff, originally developed by some Russian chemical company and costing an arm and a leg, was now universally available for peanuts. Heine thought that was highly beneficial – for nature. Slow population growth – or even better stability – would save vast areas from human interference.

No, he wouldn’t sire children in the near future. It should be Karl’s turn first. And then Paula’s… Well, Karl didn’t even have a girlfriend. But the navy wanted their senior officers to be married. So, once he advanced to higher ranks, they would certainly prompt him to wed a reputable woman. – Paula, thirty-three years old, was wholly dedicated to being a medical doctor in the wilderness. She might never marry – and also have no kids.

Indeed, thinking about the family situation, it might get stuck on him. Erika came from prolific family; she had many siblings. Clergymen often had large offspring. So, she certainly could bear children. – But not now. Doctorate came first.
Whatever my fate, I’ll go to it laughing.
(Herman Melville)

The Kame Kiiro was a matter of the past. At least, a Hiroshima wrecker had paid a reasonable price for the old girl. Captain Haikā Nobutoshi was an employee now, hired by the Doosan Shipping Company of Incheon. Life hadn’t changed that much. He was still responsible for the ship, the Ja Ryok in this case, which was newer and larger than the Kame Kiiro. Well, during the last few years, Zhăngjìn JSC of Guangzhou had determined his doings and dealings anyway; hence he was accustomed to being remote-controlled.

Working for a fixed salary wasn’t altogether bad. And the worry for keeping the ship in good nick lay now in the offices at Incheon. Doosan SC was a subsidiary of the Doosan chaebōl, the oldest Korean chaebōl, and was transporting their goods to the customers all over the world. The Ja Ryok, however, wasn’t large enough for serving the intercontinental routes; she usually ran to the Philippines and the Banda States. The current tour had led her to Manila Bay.

Huge blue-and-white coated Middle African cargo vessels were abundant here, that obviously hadn’t changed. Massive material aid seemed to be flowing still. Well, Aguinaldo was as old as the hills and alive, although rumours said he was on his last lap. Were the Middle Africans arming their friends for the next round of the power struggle? But that was irrelevant for him – as long as he could unload his cargo and load again – and get away.

There were three of the blue-and-white steamers ahead of him for discharge. That meant a latency of thirty-six hours. He had considered allowing shore leave for part of the crew, but had decided against it. If trouble should truly erupt, he wouldn’t be able to get them back. On the waiting UMS – Ulugewe & Mwabi & Sikuku, the Middle African shipping line – vessels the crews were also on the spot. That showed Haikā that he wasn’t the only one who worried.

His cargo consisted of construction machines and steel pipes. On the tour back to Korea the Ja Ryok was to carry rice, fruit and palm oil. He needed the cranes of Manila harbour for unloading, while loading might also take place in the roads. Okay, he still could hope for the best. – But then, in the early morning of the next day, Radio Manila announced the demise of Emilio Aguinaldo, the beloved liberator of the people. Rats!
Nothing is so secure as that money will not defeat it.
(Marcus Tullius Cicero)

Yeah indeed, money was a big mover. Nevertheless, you couldn’t buy things – or capabilities – that didn’t exist. But the Ottomans were tenacious. If you couldn’t acquire NPP experts on the international job fairs, you at least could hire nuclear experts. That was what had happened. A bunch of atomic wizards had been dropped on OŞU’s threshold – and Ferik Amiral Çelik Demirci Bey had been tasked to morph them into NPP experts.

The Grand Vizier wanted NPP; he even had already assigned the name for the future vessel: Ateş Kuşu. That left Demirci Bey no choice, he had to groom the guys as NPP experts and have them build Ateş Kuşu. – Who, however, was going to train the blokes in the sciences of space flight and starship building? Right, the leading expert for building and utilising chemical rockets, Wernher von Braun.

Von Braun was eminently amused. Of course, he could – and would – teach the lads the basics of space flight. But that didn’t make them NPP experts. OŞU could provide the framework for the NPP circus – like RRA was doing for Hammerhorst. Nonetheless, they would have to learn by doing it. And that meant a hell of a lot of failures. The master class of the Ottoman Empire was allergic to failure though. This promised quite fascinating moments to unfold here at Ras Fartak…
Heaven and earth fight in vain against a dunce!
(Friedrich Schiller)

The Lord help us all! The government – Strauß! – had announced the intention to establish a permanent colony on Europa, the sixth-closest Jupiter moon. A pertaining bill would be pushed through the Reichstag next month, but RRA was to start planning immediately. Establishment of a colony of 40,000 residents was the objective.

40,000 on Europa! Director Kammler was aghast. It was nonsense on the highest level, of course. But should RRA by any chance oppose a spaceflight operation? Certainly not… One would branch off a dedicated command, the Koloniekommando (colony command), to project and lead the operation. And one would demand four more Feuerdrachen, needless to say.

The fleet currently under construction would be completely tied down by the colony effort. That was obvious. But one couldn’t – and wouldn’t – neglect exploration of the solar system because of that colony rag. If Strauß wanted to spend big, he could have it wholesale. Such an investment certainly would provide a marvellous boost for the economy, wouldn’t it?

Well, one also would have to turn Hammerhorst into a permanent settlement. Family homes, schools, kindergartens, churches, stores, and so on, would be needed. That should add another nice parcel to the bill. Kammler seemed almost to enjoy the situation. And yes, Konteradmiral Herbert Kastenmüller would be the commander of Koloniekommando. He knew the Jupiter system inside out.
All money is a matter of belief.
(Adam Smith)

That RRA bloke, Kammler, could be as stubborn as a mule, Franz Josef Strauß remembered with embarrassment. However, this time, the fellow seemed to have swallowed the idea hook, line and sinker; he was demanding a big pile of additional stuff. Strauß was entirely satisfied. He had endorsed the paper and forwarded it to the committee on finance. If only all authorities were hands-on like that!

The military, by contrast, were dragging their feet, the army in particular. They said they needed train their men – and recruit more reliable folks. There was no need to acquire extra hardware right now. The navy guys were basically of the same mind. They had ships galore; they needed more people, a whole lot more. But some modernisations would be okay.

Only the air force was showing more sense. They had submitted a long wish list. Well, most of it was petty clobber. But at least some items had potential. Yeah, new missiles were an excellent idea. You never could have enough missiles. – Unfortunately, the civil authorities were slow as turtles. It was going to take them a long while to find out and formulate their requirements. Dorks!

But it was true: lack of manpower was a grave problem. Germany urgently needed more labourers and engineers. His scheme might ultimately fail because of that. Economic growth required a substantial workforce. Well, he reckoned that there was going to happen a push towards increased automation. That should help. And one could exploit the current chaos in Hungary – and enlist Transylvanian Germans.

It was good that in the wake of the pest temp agencies had sprung up. That helped a lot. They were even placing women! – And thank goodness Germany was leading in the zusi business. It should make the process of automation faster and easier. Indeed, the going seemed to be good. Full speed ahead!
If socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists.
(Friedrich August von Hayek)

It was the insidious attack with the difference. Strauß was just about to suck dry the Heymshtot. Anyone who could dig out a justification of sorts was transferring to Germany. Earning money was an act of virtue, every Yid would agree to that pearl of wisdom. But too much was overmuch… Even Josef Dembitzer hadn’t seen it come. Well, at the moment, all of Europe seemed to hike to the Teuton workbenches.

Yes, Strauß was evidently bonkers, yet, his erratic actions were rocking not only Germany but the whole continent. Yes, it couldn’t go well; nevertheless, one couldn’t ignore it. – The Linksbundists in the government, however, didn’t understand what was going on. One mustn’t just sit and watch it happening. Critical professions had to be barred from leaving. And one had to raise salaries…

But the Linksbundists were celebrating the last gasps of capitalism instead. This was the final crisis Karl Marx had predicted; the end was in sight! Socialism was going to reign supreme! – Blockheads! There might be a collapse, that much was true. All of Europe would be afflicted – and plunge into disaster. There were no safeguards and no emergency stop; Strauß was in train of demolishing everything.

Yeah, the Russians might weather the storm, even while the trains running towards Berlin were full of Russians seeking a lucrative job with the Nyemtsi. That, at least, meant the Heymshtot wouldn’t be lost altogether. One protective power would survive. Although… the trick always had been to balance between the two powers. Being at the mercy of Moscow alone wasn’t desirable at all.
The perfect normal person is rare in our civilisation.
(Karen Horney)

There was going to be a colony on Jupiter – or rather on one of the Jupiter moons, Europa by name. Egon Schagalla had written down what was known about Europa. The Hammer had visited this moon. The ice crust had a thickness of circa 19 kilometres; below it was water, a hell of a lot of water. That meant life up there was possible. Gravity wasn’t much, the seventh part of Earth’s. And it was cold, stone-cold.

40,000 colonists was the number the media were reporting. That wasn’t much, just the population of a small country town. But, Egon had learnt, it would mean more Germans were on Europa than ever had lived contemporaneously in the African colonies. – Apart from this meagre information nothing was known. Who would be eligible? When was the venture going to start?

Egon and Gerdi had discussed the issue. Gerdi’s pregnancy was beginning to show. Delivery was due in April. That meant the kid would be three or four, when the NPP ships became eventually ready. Being out of the worst woods, the little family might well apply for emigration to Europa. Why not? Being security chief here in Dortmund wouldn’t differ much from providing law and order for the colony. And Gerdi, with her mastery of Krav Maga, could certainly add to the common good.

One had no great possessions down here. Swapping the flat for a berth on a spaceship – and then for a flat on Europa – would be okay. And for the kid, it would open a bright future. Growing up in space must be the ultimate adventure…