A Shift in Priorities - Sequel

Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.

Max Sikuku was uneasy. There were things going on which made him twitchy. It was nothing big, just minor events, every so often. But he nevertheless had the impression that something – or rather someone – was working against him. He couldn’t fathom it with facts, yet the feeling wouldn’t go away. – It weren’t the Amis. This affair was settled. They had destroyed the SIRAB plant; he had bombed their embassy in Deygbo. And it wasn’t Heine with his capers to stop deforestation.

No, this was different. It was political, shrilled his instincts. But, who might be behind it? – He was an imminently successful businessman – and a political heavy weight. MALU was his creation, although he didn’t hold chairmanship. MARFAK was his creation, although the socialists had botched the space effort. He had created the Middle African nuclear programme, although hardly anybody had noticed it. – So, who was trying to give him a slagging off?

The socialists came to mind in the first place. But they were a dreary lot. Even if they should target him, they would be unable to conceal it. And their religious coalition partners were actually more inept in that respect. – The nationalists? Possible… They were skilful enough at least. But why should they target him? – His own lot, the MALU? Well, he was the founding father, but he didn’t run the show since many years. He was an important player in the party, but not overly powerful.

The 1962 national elections were already casting long shadows, obviously. Who was considering him so dangerous to attempt attacking him on the sly? MALU couldn’t ever hope to catch more than fifty seats in parliament, hence about twenty percent of the cake – at maximum. But – on long-term average – MANaP wasn’t much stronger. Were the nationalists trying to keep MALU weak? To have a pliable smaller partner in government?

That might be an explanation. Damaging him wouldn’t necessarily mean thwarting MALU’s success in the ballot. But it would strongly impair the party’s position at the negotiating table. – Yes, this was plausible. – Okay, what now? He should arrange a private meeting with Adolf Zugebe, the former MANaP chairman. He had been sitting in Addi’s cabinet from 1954 to 1958; one knew each other. Addi had recently been voted out of office. The new man’s name was Fritz Polowesi, whom Max knew only vaguely. Perhaps Addi could help…
So far as he is able, a prince should stick to the path of good, but, if the necessity arises, he should know how to follow evil.
(Niccolò Machiavelli)

The pressure to pre-emptively nuke China was gaining strength. It would be foolish to wait until the Chinese nuclear programme had produced powerful bombs – and their armed forces possessed advanced delivery systems. Right now, they had only – less than two hundred – simple fission devices of 20 to 25 KT explosive power – and were relying on normal bombing aircraft to carry them to the targets.

That meant in the worst case one was going to lose ten or fifteen cities close to the border. That should be an acceptable price for eliminating the Chinese threat for the next century. One had potent fusion bombs to ultimately destroy Kanton – Guangzhou – and Tshungking – Chongqing, their industrial centre and their nuclear centre. And one had a sufficient number of sophisticated fission weapons to annihilate their armed forces.

The Japanese could be trusted to keep still – if they were not attacked. They were fearing China as much as Russia. The Americans might squawk – but they wouldn’t dare to intervene, even if some of their citizens – and a lot of their property – were reduced to ashes in the Kanton – Gonkong area. The rest of the world would only heave a sigh of relief to be rid of the yellow peril.

These were the monologues Kantsler Dmitri Trofimovich Shepilov was exposed to almost each and every day. And there was some truth in them, it couldn’t be denied. The question, however, was: how aggressive were the Chinese going to be? They had no tradition of invading their neighbourhood. Unfortunately, though, they were considering the Primorskaya Oblast an integral part of the Great Qing Empire.

Yeah, that was the big problem. Russia had taken these lands in the last century – had lost them to the Japanese after the Great War, who had given them to Manshū-koku, which finally had joined the Great Qing Empire. Then, under Savinkov, Russia had waged war to regain the area – and had almost lost this war due to Chinese numerical superiority. Only the nuking of Shanghai and Harbin had stopped the Chinese onslaught.

That was the reason for the pressure to strike pre-emptively. A lot of people – not only here in Moscow – were fearing another onslaught. – But the Chinese had never been the attackers… Shepilov had interviewed several renowned historians. The Chinese were no imperialists in the western sense; they were not disposed to invade foreign soil. They were rather waiting for the surrounding countries to bow to them.

Therefore, Dmitri Shepilov was still riding out the strain. He had asked the historians and some social scientists to figure out how the Chinese might react to a pre-emptive annihilative strike. Perhaps one was only due to arouse the dragon in that way…
The task is not to understand the world but to change it.
(Karl Marx)

Jeremy Dreaming Fox was appalled: thousands of files, paperwork like you wouldn’t believe. The heart of the Opaque Woodlands seemed to be made of paper. Contracts! Most of it was contracts. One didn’t have a constitution, but one already had a myriad of contracts. And only five people to look after all this stuff. It smelled like problems, a lot of problems – later…

Anyway! One was making progress. Although… It were the Incas who were driving things, not Jeremy’s folks from the north. They had a clear idea how a state ought to be organised. His folks had – if at all – an understanding of tribal structures and public welfare paid by somebody else. Yeah, it was a bitter truth for Jeremy: the Opaque Woodlands were about to turn into Tawantinsuyu.

It was a disappointment, true, but one that seemed unavoidable in retrospect. Jeremy’s people had been looking for a land where they could range freely. Founding a nation hadn’t been on their agenda. – Yet, not building a nation would deliver the populace to whoever came along to pick up the climes – either Mexico, the US or Venezuela. No, it was better indeed to do things the Incan way.

They were a dour ilk. Pizarro and his – less than two hundred – Spaniards had destroyed Tawantinsuyu at the drop of a hat. And imported diseases had decimated the Incas – and had put the survivors at the mercy of the Spaniards. – That sorry history must not be allowed to repeat itself. The brotherhoods were determined to succeed. One might call them fanatics, but they had what it took to build a nation.
I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are.
(William Tecumseh Sherman)

Anton Mbwesi didn’t budge when the soldiers entered the marketplace. He just continued carving. Carving spoons wasn’t difficult. He had learnt it within few hours. Old Maruk had shown him the few knacks involved. – They came in platoon strength. He counted twenty-five of them. The rest was – presumptively – surveiling the village from a high-lying observation spot. That was the standard approach, at least.

These were Sudanese Arabs, black folks whose ancestors had acknowledged Allah centuries ago. Well, not really black, rather brownish, like coffee with frothy milk… The Nuba, among whom Anton was sojourning, were black – like Anton; and they were Christians – like Anton. Underhandedly, he was now watching proceedings, while ostensibly carving.

Welcome was solemn but not unfriendly. Water was offered and fruit. The platoon leader, a lieutenant, was bowing to the elders present. A short conversion followed. No, no strangers, said the elders, nothing unusual had occurred since the last time. One was moving to the border – and due to come back in four days, said the lieutenant. One was going to rest for an hour, then one would leave.

Indeed, the soldiers were behaving well. Most were just catnapping in the shades, only a small guard kept walking about. After twenty minutes, the surveiling squad arrived as well. – Anton, in the meanwhile, had been taxing the backpacks of the soldiers. They were carrying heavy. Okay, there was no way to frisk the packs. But he would see them on the way back…

Anton had been attracted by rumours that the Emirate of Egypt was supporting – Muslim – tribal groups in northern Kenya and northern Uganda. The natives, who had accommodated him like a brother, were telling of many patrols heading for the border heavily loaded – and returning rather lightweight. Now, supplies were certainly consumed on such a trip – it might suffice to explain the loss of weight.

Infrastructure down here was poor – actually non-existent. There were no roads – and no railroads – only trails. Hence, bearers could be supposed to carry whatever had to be transported. And using soldiers would serve to keep proceedings secret. – Well, he would be here when the soldiers came back…
Men’s minds tend to fear more keenly those things that are absent.
(Julius Caesar)

Winter in the Ussuri valley was a time of danger. Since last month, the river was frozen up. By now, the ice was thick enough to support tanks and other vehicles. Ládno, the ditch didn’t stop tanks even when not icebound. But when the trucks carrying fuel, ammunition and provisions could easily trail behind, staging an attack was much more fun.

One had laid mines, quite a lot of them, which now were covered by snow. They had to be controlled regularly, the supervising engineers had warned: in sunshine, the snow cover might part-way melt – and the water then freeze to ice over night. This could disable the fuses and make the mines innocuous. In addition, all mines had to be removed prior to the spring floods – or the good citizens of Khabarovsk would have to deal with them.

Starshy unter-offitser Sergey Ivanovich Kasparov thought the whole mine business was bullshit. There were two anti-tank mines and twelve anti-personnel mines per metre of frontage. That might indeed help to stop the first wave, but the second one would just pass over it – and the third – and all other waves…

One was expendable, just put into position to gain precious time for the mobile reserves to manoeuvre. The men knew it as well. Yet, they were Russians – and hence were not going to run away but fight to the hilt, no quarter. The Zhyoltozhópi were going to learn it the hard way.

They were there – on the other bank of the Ussuri. One didn’t see them, but could often hear them – in particular by night. Ládno, of course nobody would reveal secret knowledge to the grunts in the first trench. So, one could only guess what might be going on over there.

Drilling and exercising was what remained to do. The bugs that had been unveiled during earlier incidents had been ironed out. The system seemed to work smoothly. But Generál Kammerkhov wouldn’t relent. Training was saving blood. One had to practise incessantly. – It was exhausting – but it kept you from gnawing your nails…
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There is something in humility which, strangely enough, exalts the heart, and something in pride which debases it.
(Saint Augustine)

Willemstad was quite something else entirely than Stabruk. Malcolm Little had arrived here a week ago. The Dutch, who had created this marvel, were all gone. Their places had been taken by Venezuelans – and Middle Africans. However, the vast majority of the inhabitants had been – and still were – Dutch-speaking Negroes and mulattoes. This was creating a language problem for the new masters – and had created an opportunity for Malcolm. His Spanish was impeccable. Hence, the Venezuelans had hired him as utility man for the port authority.

It was a demanding job: Fetch that! Get me this! I need… But Malcolm was learning a lot and gaining interesting insights. The Venezuelans weren’t really different from the Cubans he had known – supercilious pricks. Their communism, though, was quite different from the obstinate SUP ideology. It was almost likeable. Yet, Malcolm was a burnt child; he would rather keep clear of all these matters. The Venezuelans didn’t care. They wanted a submissive runner, a menial, not another comrade.

The real surprise for Malcolm was the Middle Africans. They were behaving like US citizens, like true WASPs. He didn’t understand them – or only when they were mangling their poor version of Spanish, but he could read them very well. They had a very high self-esteem and were assertive to be second to no one. He had already met some of this ilk in Caracas, but here he could study them behaving as a pack. Sheesh! They were looking down on all non-Middle Africans. There was no solidarity with other Negroes, not at all.

He, being as black as they were, was a lowly alien for them, a worthless drudge. It was so humiliating…
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
(Albert von Einstein)

This had to be prepared very carefully; every element had to function flawlessly. One could neither risk click-and-no-boom – nor too much boom. Fēilóng did send its love indeed. Professor Wú Jiànxióng had herself meticulously recalculated every detail. Pressure to get cracking was enormous. The prime minister had already telephoned twice. He said it was urgent. The Great Qing Empire needed Léigōng – now…

There was no need to hide it. On the contrary, the whole world had to know about it. And in particular, the Russians must be made aware of it. Hence, one was going to drop Léigōng in Inner Mongolia, in the Xilin Gol area. – Wú had asked for more time. But Deng had been obstinate. It had to happen as soon as possible. Each day gained could be of vital importance.

Highest echelons of the Russian government were discussing a pre-emptive strike against the Middle Kingdom. Therefore, one must show them Léigōng – and make abundantly clear that the device was not a one-hit wonder. The occurrence at Xilin Gol would certainly cool down the ardour of these barbarians.

Reluctantly, Wú had finally given the nod. The device was currently on the way to Xilin Gol, where it was due to arrive in two hours. Two of her assistants were accompanying the flight. She had decided to stay behind in Chongqing. Seeing thirty megatons go off certainly was a magnificent sight, but she dreaded flying; it made her sick. Watching the films ought to suffice…
God is on the side with the best artillery.
(Napoleon Bonaparte)

What in the West became known as the Chinese Christmas Gift did not inspire any such light-hearted notion in Russia, where the occurrence immediately was tagged the Mongolian Menace. There was not the merest doubt that the Chinese had dropped a fully functional fusion bomb of 30 MT from a turbojet-powered strategic bomber. Likewise, it was graphically clear that the bomb had been made in China by the Chinese. The aircraft, though, had proudly been produced in the US – and the Chinese were known to possess quite a sizeable fleet of them.

How many fusion bombs did the Chinese have? How many could they produce each month? – Once the conception had been mastered, said the experts, production was pretty much straightforward. Existing fission bombs could be utilised, or at least their components could. Professor Wú, the mother or the Chinese thermonuclear bomb, was known to be a formidable stickler. When she announced the model had entered the maturity phase, one had to believe her.

The Mongolian Menace had exploded at a height of 3,500 metres above ground, one hundred and twenty kilometres away from the border to the Khanate of Mongolia. Because the Chinese had heralded the drop, one had been able to observe – and gauge – the burst. Yes, a bomb of that type could obliterate Moscow – or any other major city in Russia. And those American bombers had the range to reach every target in Russia… but they could be intercepted as long as they didn’t come in nap-of-the-earth flight.

However, to add dire threat to sinister menace, on December 22nd, 1960, Tokyo announced the successful testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Ichi-Raiu. These wicked Asians seemed to be conspiring to debase the Russian Empire…
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As I lay dying, the woman with the dog’s eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.

Upon the news that Martha was dying, Moses, Abe and Wally had stopped working and returned to the Keller farm. The family was there already, gathered around Martha’s bed. One had phoned Doctor Morales’ surgery at Villa Hidalgo, but the chap was out, making house calls. It might take hours before he arrived. And – to be honest – there wasn’t much he could do – except issuing the certificate of death.

Martha was old; her time had run out. Her mind had slumped some years ago already; now, her body was ultimately failing. But it was sad nevertheless. Moses, Abe and Wally had come to appreciate the old girl. She was about ten years their senior and altogether scatterbrained. She would often give them cookies, chocolate and brandy. She was the only person who really was nice to them – without any ulterior motives.

Gloria, Martha’s daughter and Tom Keller Senior’s wife, was whining incessantly. Her husband, the big boss, seemed to be praying silently. Tom Keller Junior was looking distraught. He didn’t have much experience with death yet. And that his grandmother should pass away just like that appeared to dazzle him. His younger brother, Matthew, was snivelling and cursing at the same time. He was smelling of whisky – although drinking alcohol was not an approved Keller habit.

Jimena, Tom Junior’s wife, was outside, caring for her kids – and, thankfully, cooking something. At least someone was showing practical sense. – Martha lay still on her bed. She was unconscious. Was she breathing still? Yeah, it seemed so. – “Shall we sing?” asked Moses – and Tom Senior nodded. And Moses, Abe and Wally started singing. – After about ten minutes, when they were singing “Swing Down, Chariot”, Martha passed away.
Circumstances rule men; men do not rule circumstances.

It was on a knife edge by all means. Generál Pavel Anatolyevich Sudoplatov was already envisaging a ferocious punch-up. The enhanced Shepilov cabinet was in session since early afternoon. There was only one item on the agenda: the pre-emptive strike. The occurrence of the Mongolian Menace had divided the minds. Kántsler Shepilov, originally almost alone in his stance not to strike, had gathered partisans. But the falcons were determined to push it through. One had to act now – or it would be too late.

The latter notion was certainly true. Even if the Chinese should possess more than one fusion bomb right now, their arsenal was still small – and their means of delivery were feeble. – But hadn’t one underrated the Chinese already the last time? One had almost been submerged – and only the Matryoshkas had saved Mother Russia in the last instance. – Yes, and that was exactly the reason why one had to strike right now. It was now or never, wasn’t it?

But the Chinese had never attacked Russia… And so on ad nauseam… Sudoplatov had heard all arguments many times before. It was that blasted Field Marshal Dang and his aggressive demeanour who was driving the falcons to clamour for the strike. They were recognising a kindred spirit. But Dang wasn’t the king of the Chinese castle, Deng was… And the Little Man from Sichuan couldn’t be called a war monger. That didn’t turn him into a wimp though. The aliens should freely get on their knees and render homage to China’s glory; this was his idea of predominance.

Okay, Kántsler Shepilov was proclaiming his final decision: no strike. The falcons were appalled. Sudoplatov scrutinised their faces. Was there someone among them who might try to assassinate the kántsler? Rather not… Even though they were disagreeing, they were still under Shepilov’s spell. He was the nation’s lucky bastard. Whatever he did, it used to go well. – Kharashó, one was going to see…
A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something.

It was a win-win situation. Albert Leise was chuffed. Evelyn had severe guilt pangs – and Franz Josef was obliged head over ears. It had been a great idea to act the drunkard – and have Evelyn drag Franz Josef into bed. It bonded Evelyn to Franz Josef and the DVP, which was good – and provided him ample room for manoeuvre. Evelyn was a good girl – yet pretty proprietary. And Franz Josef was a prototypical politician – offer him the little finger and he was due to take the whole hand.

Globus had been easy to influence: drink a beer – or two – with him and whisper your ideas into his ears. Franz Josef was much more difficult to handle; the bloke was too intelligent to be a pushover for simpletons. But now, Albert had a firm handle on him. One couldn’t let the chap run uncontrolled. He might do something really stupid.

Albert didn’t mind hatred against Jews and general xenophobia; that was easy-peasy. The economy had to be fostered; this was the crux of the matter. That meant the COMECON had to be kept alive. And one had to maintain good relations to Russia. – Albert was determined to push these postulates through. Good relations to Russia were an ancient Prussian tenet; Bavarians and other southern folks were prone to disregard this. And the COMECON was the source of continued wealth; one had to stop the xenophobes from gilding the lily.

So, let Franz Josef poke Evelyn from time to time – and let her sponsor his quest for becoming chancellor. All was well. – Many people thought Albert was a goon and a tosspot. Well, drinking with folks was an important social function. And being a goon didn’t mean you were stupid by default. Albert had no drive to be the guy at the top. That had never interested him. But influencing was cool…
It is at all times more easy to make enemies than friends.
(George Washington)

The Central Bureau of Investment Control had compiled a dossier about the deteriorating relations with the US. Doctor Paula G’Norebbe-Wilmington – although not concerned with the matter – had read it attentively. It was something she wanted to discuss with her dad during the G’Norebbe family reunion at Christmas.

Once again, the G’Norebbes were gathering in the Cape Mesurado compound, Musa’s official residence. Henriette was in Germany, studying at Göttingen, and couldn’t attend, but Wilhelm had cabled that he would make it – on the 24th of December, just in time for the handing out of presents.

That provided a nice window of opportunity for Paula to calmly discuss the issue with her father – and her mother, of course. Charles, her husband, had decided to absent himself; he didn’t feel primed yet to endure a serious G’Norebbe family discussion.

Yes, Musa was aware of the dossier; he had already been briefed by CBIC. And he knew about the consequences. The Old Man had purposefully decided to entertain cordial relations with the US – and he was now steering a differing course, although the Old Man was still alive. But he wouldn’t toady to the Amis, never!

It was true that more than two million WAU citizens had their roots in the US. But they hadn’t come because they loved the country of their origin, quite the other way round. No, there would be no domestic problem. And there would be no international problem. The TAW had adjusted that.

In fact, the WAU was the great chance for the Amis to do trade on the other shore of the Atlantic Ocean. The COMECON wouldn’t let them in. The Ottomans neither. And the Middle Africans wouldn’t even – officially – talk with them. – It would be reasonable for the Amis to eat humble pie. It was them who were in peril to lose a good market.

But the WAU was about to lose a budget source of hightech. The US stuff was quite good – and usually available for less than the charges for German or Russian stuff. The Middle Africans weren’t good at hightech; look at their dismal space effort. – Yes, that was true. One might be forced to pay higher prices for some few items. But this was tolerable, said the experts.

No, no, Musa G’Norebbe wouldn’t relent. The Amis had to climb down.
People spend most of their lives worrying about things that never happen.

The Birmingham Bitch had eloped! And she had killed a warden! Professor Sigbert Ramsauer was shocked. The Abwehr had taken over – and promptly had shunted him. He was under house arrest, was confined to quarters. A conceited captain had interrogated him. It was an outrage.

Damn, he didn’t know what had happened. He hadn’t been concerned with that woman. The Middle Africans had worked with her – or rather with her blood. After that, she had been kept in detention, because nobody had wanted her – and releasing her had been judged inopportune.

The soldiers had been in charge. His lab had only provided the detention room. He never had worked with that woman, nor had his staff. – Yes, yes, the dead warden had been a member of his staff. But he had been under the orders of the military, like the second bloke working in the detention section.

Little by little, Ramsauer learnt more: obviously, the Bitch had clandestinely manufactured a weapon, a kind of knife. The warden’s throat had been cut. And with the warden’s keys, she had left the lab – without setting off the alarm. – Of course, the soldiers were pursuing her, but…

Was there anything negative – really negative – that could happen because the Bitch was running free now? Ramsauer didn’t think so. The locks had already been replaced; the keys the woman had – if she had kept them at all – were useless now. She had no knowledge about what had been going on in the lab.

Okay, she had murdered the warden. But all of England was a big prison. So, why worry? The soldiers should end the state of emergency – and let him do his work. Trying to hunt down the Bitch was silly. – He had some really cute creatures waiting for him…
We have sought for firm ground and found none.
(Max Born)

The Russians, it seemed, had begun testing a new series of orbital bombs. – The initial series, directed against Germany, had been well hedged in – thought LKL. One had identified the rockets used and recorded the signatures of the warheads – well, the test dummies. And one had deployed an adequate number of special anti-orbital-bomb missiles. Should the Russians launch their orbital bombs, one would destroy them – before they could do damage. There was no binding agreement concerning the use of force in orbit – hence destroying unmanned spacecraft ought to be quite legitimate.

The new series, however, did not appear to be directed against Germany. The Russians knew that their gadgets had all been targeted. Adding more bombs would immediately elicit deployment of more – the ratio was three to one – anti-systems. No, data soon revealed that China was in focus now. It was a strange kind of overkill. The Chinese couldn’t intercept normal ballistic missiles. It was even believed they were unable to intercept the bulk of more modern Russian strategic bombers.

Granted, nuking China from the south – or the south-west – or the south-east – might add to the ordeal, but it wasn’t really required to destroy the country. So, what was the Russian strategic command up to? – It looked like a game of dissuasion, with the Ivans desperate to dissuade. Yeah, indeed, the blokes must be scared stiff. That was – most probably – the message behind the whole affair. – One could recline and watch the drama unfold…
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Experiment is the only means of knowledge at our disposal. Everything else is poetry, imagination.
(Max Planck)

The New Year’s Eve celebration had been devastating, yet not for Jochen Zeislitz, who was shunting alcohol and other drugs. While the rest of the staff were still nursing their hangovers, he had gone jogging. Down to River Bandan, then following the river to Cionn tSáile, along the coast to Cuainín Riobard and back to Hammerhorst, that seemed a fitting tour for welcoming 1961. It was about a double marathon run and should keep him busy for several hours.

The countryside was magnificent. There was enough hustle and bustle to keep the roads open. And there was a string of military control posts along his itinerary, at which he was going to touch. They would also provide water and nutrition, hence he could run unburdened. – Of course, he couldn’t just scoot off into the blue. He had to indicate his route to the camp commander’s office, who in turn ordered the CPs to look out for him. He was a VIP after all.

Krupp had indeed succeeded in manufacturing the pusher plate – shortly before Christmas, therefore six weeks behind schedule. Serious testing was now planned to start on January 9th. For Jochen this meant a period of grace until mid-February, by when the first manned test was envisaged to take place. – Well, if the pusher plate should survive the initial tests…
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
(Karl Marx)

Josef Mobutu, called Seppel by his chums, was considered a rising star inside the SDPMA. Plain MARB workman and seasoned labour union operative, Seppel recently had been elected member of the national executive committee. One knew he was ambitious, but he obviously was too young yet to contend for chancellorship. And there was no doubt that popular Emil Muramba was going to run for the post again.

In fact, Seppel was aiming for SDPMA vice-chairmanship – and the ministry of the interior after the 1962 national election. – Middle Africa was organised according to German principles. That meant the regions, which in fact were powerful like states, controlled the police, their police. Hence, the national minister of the interior had no overarching police force at his disposal, only the civilian counterespionage service, the Staatsschutz.

Seppel intended to change that. A national police service was required – now that Middle Africa had come under terrorist attack. This ought to be evident. Well, he, Seppel, was going to create the Staatspolizei, the STAPO. That should make him a really powerful man – and enable him to ward off the dreadful terrorists. This accomplished, he would run for chancellorship in 1966.
It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
(Arthur Conan Doyle)

It looked like an ordinary murder, like dour routine. A teenage whore – from Shantytown West most probably – had been found with cut throat on a parking lot near Amboni Creek. Things like that used to happen once in a while. Hermann Kizwete was disgusted. The girl was – or rather had been – thirteen or fourteen, pitiful skinny and dishevelled. Well, trashy life… Some guy, instead of paying her a handful of marks, had sliced her throat – so it seemed.

The parking lot was one of those places to which the farmers from the periphery were delivering their products. The wholesale buyers of the central market were then seeing that the stuff was promptly conveyed to the market halls. It was a busy place – particularly during the night and in the early morning. This fact perturbed Hermann. Who would kill lightheartedly in the middle of such a hubbub?

Those who had discovered the corpse hadn’t seen the murder, they said. Those who might have been present at the time of it – about four o’clock in the morning, said the pathologist – couldn’t easily be identified. One would have to interrogate all buyers. And there was downright no hope to find the whole lot of the farmers. – Had there been other whores around? One didn’t know…

Of course, there was no ID card or other document to identify the girl. One would have to show around photographs of her – and hope that someone recognised her. It was going to be tedious. – The girl had been killed in the place she had been found, said the forensic people. Her corpse hadn’t been moved. It was… – sort of fishy, thought Hermann.

Okay, one or another farmer who had just sold his products might feel tempted to spend some dough for fornication. That could explain why the girl had been here. But this was not a place for having sex, said those buyers present, this was quite a busy workplace. Usually, the sluts – if there were any – were waiting at the exits – and were driving away with the farmers – or drivers – to some solitary location.

Yeah, that made sense. Why then had the girl been slain in the middle of this hustle and bustle? It didn’t figure… Now, imagine she had seen something she shouldn’t have seen… Had she been killed because – by chance – she had been around when something had occurred that was not supposed to come into plain view? Suddenly smelling a rat, Hermann decided to seize this case.
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It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Hamburg was a city of rich capitalists – and a city of poor proletarians. For the German KPD, the Hanseatic town constituted their mainstay in the north of the country. They could always reckon to gain a number of seats in the elections for the city government – and even one or two in the national elections. Even so, the KPD was a sorry outfit, thought Chayna Kalischer. Compared to the Linksbundists of the Heymshtot, the German communists could indeed be considered flaccid. Once upon a time, fifteen years ago, when this Hitler guy, the famous deceased painter, had been their chairman for a short while, they had seemed to be on the path to political success. But that had obviously only been a flare-up; since that time, they were nothing more than a mere splinter party.

Nevertheless, they were now in train of preparing for the 1962 Reichstag elections – and were holding their national convention im Hamburg. Chayna had been picked to lead the Linksbundist delegation. Was it a distinction? Or rather a punishment? But it was interesting anyway. These folks were clumsy and old-fogeyish, indulging themselves in vain old glory. However, they had realised that they had come under attack. The goons, the xenophobes of the DVP were trying to entice away their voters. This bad bunch was hating Jews in the hard-charging way, knew Chayna; one more reason to fight them high and low. Their leader was Franz Josef Strauß, the bloke who had had that sensible naked moment in Bialystok …

Was there anything she could contribute? Might the Seichl hold more information about Strauß and his machinations? This was not a matter of helping fellow Marx disciples alone; this was a matter of national interest for the Heymshtot. – Imagine the dude became chancellor… It would be a disaster for the Heymshtot. – Well, saving the KPD would certainly contribute to hedging in the DVP. But the KPD was a minnow; their six Reichstag seats wouldn’t turn the tide. The main objective of Strauß’s attack was the AFV, the star gazers. How could one help to stabilise them? Their leader had vanished some weeks ago… Chayna suddenly realised she needed to get in touch with the responsible folks in Bialystok.