Given the level of sender and receiver this is not just a normal orderly or mailroom clerk. This is, more than likely, the personal assistant to the chief of staff for the hospital or the pa’s assistant that delivered it. These are generally ones who think they are so important until someone points out they are just an assistant not the actual person in charge.Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Seventy-Eight
3rd March 1965
Her parents had been completely surprised when they learned where she would be going this week. Out of all the things that Aurora could have as a career option, they had never considered industry, especially with her having gone to University. It seemed that Krupp was offering other possibilities even if Aurora hadn’t made her mind up just yet.
Aurora’s mother had said that she hoped that all of this wasn’t some sort of odd reaction to her perceived appearance or her lack of success in dating. In recent years Aurora had finally managed to lose the pudginess that was such a curse when she had been a teenager and yes, she’d had a string of rotten boyfriends. Still, she was interested in this because Krupp sold their products all over the world and she could be there representing them.
As Aurora followed Heinrich Vogt down the elevated steel walkway. Below them was a hive of activity as the foundry’s operations were continuous and the workers were preparing for the next round of operations. As she grew closer to getting her Diplom in International Relations, Aurora had found herself heavily recruited by both Government Ministries and Industrial interests. Krupp Steel had invited her to Essen for a three-day tour of their manufacturing and fabricating centers to entice her to come work for their public relations department.
It had been a lot to take in.
Divisions of Krupp made everything from precision instruments and cutlery all the way up to artillery pieces, the plates that would make up the hulls of ships and the thousands of kilometers of rail that linked the nations of the world. When she had walked into the hall of the Corporate Headquarters where the company’s varied products were displayed, the first thing she had seen was a StuG VIII Assault Gun that was waiting to be shipped to a unit in the Heer. Heinrich, her tour guide, said that if anything was made of a steel alloy then Krupp made it.
Heinrich Vogt was a bit of a surprise as well. He was a bit rough around the edges having started on the foundry floor and working his way up to his present position, Senior Operations Officer of Krupp’s heavy industry here in Essen. The first two days had been spent touring the tool & die works, one of the fabrication plants and a factory where they assembled marine diesel engines. The whole time Heinrich had been explaining to Aurora exactly what was going on. The entire time she had felt a nagging sense of familiarity towards him. Then it hit her, he reminded her of Fürstin Katherine somehow which was extremely strange.
When Aurora brought it up with him, Heinrich had just laughed. “Usually it’s people saying I remind them of Hans Mischner” He said, “Katy is my half-sister and I would prefer you didn’t spread that around.”
That was not what she had expected to hear. Sure, there were rumors that Katherine’s father had been some sort of mafioso and a complete rake, but to speak to someone who was that completely frank about it was different.
Now, hours later, Aurora followed Heinrich onto the observation platform. She was wearing heat reflecting coveralls and a steel hardhat, because plastic ones tended to melt according to Heinrich. They were going to see the foundry operation and one of the rolling mills today. This was the first part of that.
“That’s where the magic happens” Heinrich said as he pointed to the furnace. “The charging buckets are loading scrap steel into the crucible now. Before they turn on the juice, you’ll want to put on the earmuffs that I lent you.”
The earmuffs were different from what Aurora had seen before. They went around the back of the head and rested on the collar of the person wearing them. It wasn’t until she watched Heinrich putting them on that she realized that they were made to be worn with the hard hats. No sooner had she got them on than a klaxon sounded, and a large electrode descended into the crucible. The angle was wrong to see what was going on in the crucible itself beyond the flashes of blue-white light reflected off the corrugated steel roof of the foundry high above, but the sound was deafening. After a few minutes the crucible itself started to glow white hot and Aurora felt a wave of heat hit her though the furnace was at least hundred meters away.
Despite herself, Aurora was amazed as steel poured like a liquid through a ceramic pipe into water-cooled molds that were waiting below. The scale of this was larger than anything she had ever seen before.
The article had been submitted to English edition of the Mirror for local publication in Germany and supposedly it was to run in Time Magazine in the United States. Hunter had agreed that he wouldn’t embellish anything and would instead present Kiki as he saw her, warts and all.
Still, Kiki had gotten a call from Zella’s mother telling her that they wanted updated photographs of her for the story. Mercifully, Hunter had gone back to Paris and they were sending out Doug Blackwood because he had worked with her in the past. Even so, Kiki was wearing her least attractive clothes, an oversized brown sweater and a pair of baggy grey trousers.
Doug had not seemed to mind her look at all. He took several photographs of her in the back garden of the house she shared with Vicky, even a few with Rauchbier.