A Shift in Priorities - Sequel

Two men look out a window. One sees mud, the other sees the stars.
(Oscar Wilde)

Strauß had done it. He had pushed a resolution through the Reichstag that demanded the establishment of a residential colony in the Jupiter system. It meant a great number of deputies belonging to the ruling coalition must have voted for the proposal. Had Strauß busted the coalition? Rather not, but he undoubtedly had done a lot of damage. Well, the colony was the darling of the public. Who could reproach the deputies for doing what their voters wanted?

Okay, the Krosigk government wasn’t obliged to comply. But if they ignored it, they were risking an unprecedented row of riots. So, saying yes and doing nothing was perhaps the wisest approach. The frenzy wouldn’t last forever. Hans Kammler had sent a paper to the Wilhelmstraße pointing out that before 1966 no fleet of NPP ships was going to be available. Obviously, the Feuerdrache alone shouldn’t – and couldn’t – do it.

One could only hope the nonsense faded away before one was forced to implement the resolution. Such a residential colony wasn’t good for anything. There was no population pressure in Germany; one had lost ten million people just a few years ago. A scientific research station might be established sooner or later – when a great number of NPP craft was available. But a residential colony would be utterly useless – at any time.

Who needed ordinary citizens on the Jupiter moons? Nobody did. It would cost a fortune to ferry them over – and another fortune to sustain them. Money poured down the drain, beyond question, for no sensible purpose.
In some ways, you know, people that don’t exist, are much nicer than people that do.
(Lewis Carroll)

Alert in Hammerhorst! A human being had been detected! Outside! – It had been reckoned that Ireland was indeed devoid of humans, except for the Germans who worked here. Until today, one never had encountered folks living in the wild. But now, an infrared image of a human had been detected when the films of a surveillance aircraft had been analysed. And not very far away, in the valley of the Munster Blackwater, about fifteen klicks to the north.

An immune! Most likely carrying germs nobody wanted. Or was it a spy? Anyway, alert was on. The guards were manning the perimeter. Helis were starting. The hunt was on. – Peter Vogel wondered whether they would find anything. Outside Hammerhorst, shrubs and small trees were ubiquitous. Finding someone who didn’t want to be found was extremely hard. Okay, catching the stranger alive wasn’t a stringent necessity. The body would suffice for scrutiny.

Construction had almost come to a standstill, although nobody had been sent to shelter yet. Well, construction noise wasn’t really helpful in this situation. Public address calls might occur any moment. Vogel thought a short interruption would do no harm; one was well on schedule. And if the stranger should indeed turn out to be a fomite, one was going to face far greater trouble very soon…
The Irish are the one race for which psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever… because they already live in a dream world.
(Sigmund Freud)

Alert in Hammerhorst! A body had been recovered. Professor Sigbert Ramsauer was simmering with excitement. His plane had touched down fifteen minutes ago. They didn’t have a special lab here. The corpse was stored in an external reefer unit. The authorities had been clever enough not to admit it into the base perimeter. That meant he had to examine the body in that external unit.

While his assistants were busy setting up the equipment, Ramsauer was interviewing the local folks. It was a man, aged about forty or fifty, dressed in… well, trapper clobber. He had been shot by an on-board machine gun, three hits. One had only seen him – and one had found no traces of others. He had carried a rifle, an old military model, British, a Lee-Enfield .303, a bushwhacker and a knife.

Okay, the assistants had finished preparations. Ramsauer thanked the guys, stepped forward, opened another box and started donning his protective suit. Pesky stuff, but indispensable. The body was cold, but not frozen, thank goodness. The assistants were already removing the clothes. Yes, three impacts, in chest and abdomen – and quite a lot of old scars…

Set of teeth fairly worn down and defective, most probably abscesses. He must have suffered from toothache. Ramsauer took samples of tissue and blood. Last, his assistants were taking photographs of the body and of all details. – That was all one could do here. The body would remain here in the reefer unit. Ramsauer and his team would fly back to the Isle of Sheppey – and scrutinise the samples. Was one going to find NED? Or RV? Or something else altogether?
Poor soul. To think you survived the complete collapse of society around you, only to be gunned down when you're finally encountering humans for the first time what must have been ages. Although I understand why the Germans are as cautious about it as they are.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
(H. L. Mencken)

Commander Leroy Cleaver, the captain of USS Phelps, was a crude hulk of a man, boisterous and brash. Teniente de Navio Julius Nyerere, though, refused to be intimidated. A black Ami was an Ami nevertheless – and no Ami would ever cause an honest Middle African sailor to be scared shitless. He was the captain of S-17 and hence equal to Cleaver. He wouldn’t accept any reproaches.

Of course, the Ami was roaring in English, but a mate was translating to Spanish. No, this was not US territory, this was nether land. There was no US base on Hispaniola, not a single US soldier was sojourning here. No feet on the ground, therefore no legal claim. Oh, cannibals? Really? – Now it was getting interesting. Would the commander care to explain?

Indeed, the US had lost two outposts on Hispaniola, with all hands, one after the other. Since then, one was leaving the island well alone. The US didn’t have enough people to colonise all of the Caribbean. And one wouldn’t send folks to a place where their brains were taken out and eaten. Yes, one had found the remains. And poison, the cannibals were using poisoned weapons…

Had one caught any of them? No, one hadn’t even seen them. One had only found the camp sites – and what had remained of the servicemen – and servicewomen… So, the mighty US was not avenging the gory death of their own? Well, forbearance wasn’t acquittance. For the time being, one was keeping the island isolated. And no frigging Middle African Venezuelans were tolerated here. He and his boat should leave immediately.

No, that wasn’t going to happen. S-17 would stay in the Bahia de Neiba as long as he wanted it to stay. Black holes were black holes – and no Ami would relabel them white. – To Nyerere’s surprise, Cleaver only shrugged his shoulders. Okay, I told you, so, don’t complain when the cannibals kill you and your goddamn crew. USS Phelps is awaited elsewhere. ¡Hasta la vista!
Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.
(Oscar Wilde)

It was a triumph of sorts; the Osmanlı Şirket Uzay – OŞU – was establishing Ay Şehri – Moon Burgh. Wernher von Braun had prevailed against all disruptive ascendancies. It was a strictly conventional – and very modest enterprise. Ay Şehri was established in Mare Tranquillitatis, where all five Ottoman moon missions had landed hitherto. Again, von Braun had withstood all fancy wishes. Mare Tranquillitatis was well known territory; home ground so to speak. There was no need to select a site somewhere else.

One was not going to mine, neither for ice nor for something else. Ay Şehri meant Ottoman boots on the ground, nothing else. A crew of four uzaylılar – kosmonauts – was to man the station. They were going to be supplied from Earth by a regular shuttle service. Von Braun had meticulously planned the operation. Residence time for the uzaylılar was two months.

It was September 25th, 1963, and the Kedi – the landing vehicle – of Haberci-23 had just touched down. Ay Şehri had become reality. The Ottoman Empire had a permanent base on the Moon now. Wernher von Braun had done the job he had been hired for.
It is useless to close the gates against ideas; they overlap them.
(Klemens von Metternich)

The establishment of the Turkish lunar colony didn’t even make it to the national headlines in Germany. Okay, it only was a dwarf colony, granted. In fact, one could only commiserate with the poor OŞU chaps. Neither Mondstadt nor Lunoseló were beds of roses, but Ay Şehri was nothing but a crude hovel. Well, if the Sublime Porte was happy with it… Helga von Tschirschwitz had no time to devote much attention to it; the Jupiter Colony Mania was keeping her downright busy.

It was a paradoxical situation: she had spent so much effort to promote spaceflight; and now she had to struggle hard to shove the jack back into the box. RRA was issuing one paper after another with the aim of toning down colonial enthusiasm, but the effect was failing to materialise. Director Kammler was ranting and raving – off the microphones – against the colony idea. It didn’t help. Strauß and his DVP were beating the big drums, drowning out all objections.

How could one stifle an immensely popular fad? Helga felt footless. She had laboured to make space likeable throughout – and never had wasted a thought on the contrary. Facts didn’t seem to bother the public at large. The dream was stronger. It was daunting. Would RRA truly be compelled to squander precious resources for this crazy idea? The Krosigk muppets certainly didn’t have the balls to calmly ignore Strauß’s colony resolution. One could only pray that something else was going to distract the masses…
Yo, this timeline has had plenty of those. It's scary what could be next.

I'm calling an incident US vs Venezuela
We had a nuclear disaster, a few plagues, I guess next would be a chemical catastrophe and The holy ABC-trinity would be complete.

I'm also wondering what population numbers for this world compared to OTL at the same time would be. I think a few hundred million fewer people would be a conservative estimate.
If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.
(Mark Twain)

USS Phelps had left the Bahia de Neiba, without any ado. And for S-17 ‘Jaquetón’ the time was also running out. One had to continue patrol duty. The bathing operation had been completed. No Askaris had shown up. Teniente de Navio Julius Nyerere wasn’t worried. If the guys weren’t in the vicinity anyway because they had already fulfilled their mission, they would remain invisible.

Yet, cannibals… It was scary. There had been this cannibal movement in China, after the super bomb. Millions of cannibals, munching away through the countryside. Nyerere had read a book about them, a stomach-turning story. Well, he would only know in thirty days… If the Askaris didn’t rendezvous then, one could assume they had been eaten. The hills around remained silent, they were providing no clue.

All right, all hands, get ready for putting to sea. First Watch Officer take over. Nyerere climbed down to his cabin. He had to compose a report to Curaçao. – The cannibal tale wouldn’t really stir up the command. But direct contact with the Amis would. That had been a true first. A black Ami as captain of a destroyer, who would have guessed? Even if this Cleaver fellow had turned out an oaf…
One must choose in life between boredom and suffering.
(Germaine de Staël)

What an impertinent lout this Middle African submarine commander was! Commander Leroy Cleaver was still vexed. He was quite used to white men frowning at him; that was normal, more or less. Even though segregation had been abolished in the US armed forces already in 1941 and black officer aspirants had first been admitted to Annapolis in 1946, seeing a senior black naval officer remained a surprise for many. And meeting the black captain of a large – well, not small at any rate – man-of-war meant an even greater surprise.

But that frigging Middle African was a Negro himself. Why then had the dude been sneering at him constantly? Cleaver knew the history of the Trans-Atlantic War, of course. Any US naval officer did. These Middle Africans had proven an aggressive lot – and there had been a lot of racial discrimination, on both sides. Well, the US Navy back then had been all white; blacks had been allowed to serve as stewards and orderlies only. In Cleaver’s mind, the fellow ought to be pleased to encounter a black senior US naval officer.

This hadn’t happened at all. Disdain had been the predominant air on that arrogant black face with the silly toothbrush moustache. – Nevertheless, he had got the message across. Hispaniola was a dangerous place. One better kept off, even if no US forces were visibly present. But the bugger hadn’t appeared to have been overly impressed. Well, they had landed spies on the island; a small number of scouts. Cleaver had seen the aerial photographs. Perhaps, when these didn’t show up at arranged retrieval time, the message might be accepted.
Last edited:
After victory, you have more enemies.
(Marcus Tullius Cicero)

Franz Josef was in tantivy, chasing about like crazy. His scheme seemed to work. Reformation of the party was in full swing. But it meant total commitment for him. One saw him only briefly, every other day or so. However, he would phone perpetually, be it day or night. That meant Hanne Zülch also didn’t get any minute’s rest. And implementing his latest inputs required her staff to graft twenty-four-seven. Organising shift operation had been easy, yet finding two able deputies who could thoroughly do her work hadn’t worked.

But while party revolution and Jupiter Colony Mania had been making rapid progress, Franz Josef’s enemies had gathered. The attacks were now coming from all directions, above the belt and below. Thank goodness that a good part of the media was – still? – sympathetic to the colony idea, otherwise one would be in dire straits. But the barrage was ever increasing in intensity nevertheless.

The RRA didn’t like the colony idea at all. They were trying to shoot it down by hook or by crook. And they had managed to mobilise the scientific community for their purposes. All the same, colony mania didn’t care much about scientific or economic facts. Hence, this attack hadn’t gained much ground yet. But one mustn’t underestimate it, said Franz Josef. It was designed to endure. Once the frenzy ebbed away, the voices of the scientists would become plainly audible.

The other parties hated Franz Josef and his new DVP, of course. The old DVP hadn’t been dangerous for them; a wiggy splinter party without many voters. But Franz Josef had vigorously changed the game. His new DVP had almost won chancellorship single-handedly, or almost… Well, it hadn’t really been new back then, but the enemies didn’t give a rip about such details. They were gathering together all filth about Franz Josef and the DVP they could find.

And the churches were ringing the doorbells against Franz Josef and Jupiter Colony Mania. They never had had problems with anti-semitism, but they didn’t appreciate the colony idea, not a bit. It was impious in their view. Franz Josef wasn’t happy with this development. He wasn’t a holy joe, in no sense, but he knew that the churches had a lot of influence – particularly in those rural areas, where the DVP had gained many votes. A lot of his efforts were aiming at repairing his relations with the churches. Hanne had even been tasked to arrange an audience with the Pope in Rome…
Government is essentially immoral.
(Herbert Spencer)

Lazing about in his office chair, Josef Dembitzer was contemplating the rotation of the earth, or almost… Things looked calm, on the surface. The Russians had suffered a severe setback in their attempt to destabilise the Kazakh Republic, but had taken it with grace. Yeah, the balance sheet of the Rodinyadniki didn’t look favourable. They had achieved none of the imperial goals they had carried before themselves in the electoral campaign. Neither the creepy Germans, nor the mean Chinese, nor the sly Turks had obliged to their grandiose wishes.

So, what were the Rodinyadniki and their coalition partners doing to stay in power? They were pampering the groups that had voted for them. Tax concessions, protective tariffs, government contracts, you could name it. It seemed to work. The Russian public was keeping calm. In fact, increasing domestic prosperity was far better than ruling over some scrubby aliens who hated Mother Russia and were making fun of ancient Russian customs. Russian economy was healthy and vigorous; they easily could afford the extra spending.

And the Germans were once again busy chasing their tail. That Jupiter colony idea was hard to beat – in botherheadedness. The German propensity for monumental projects was unbroken – High Seas Fleet, Middle African Uplift, the Weizsäcker Suns, Donars Hammer, Jupiter Colony, the braggadocious and absurd the better. Okay, if it kept them happy – and occupied. The tail – the COMECON – was of course wagging with the dog, hence also the Heymshtot. There were even idiots in Nay Bialystok who were babbling about erecting Eretz Yisrael in the Jupiter system…

The Turks had neatly duped the Russians – and had at the same time been gulled by the Chinese. That should keep them grounded. – Yes, Europe seemed to be a peaceful place – and might have a fair chance of remaining so. And perhaps the space colony idea wasn’t so bad at all… With the powerful NPP ships, a lot was suddenly becoming possible.
The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.
(John Stuart Mill)

Max Sikuku was back in Daressalam, leafing through his mail. Sikuku Enterprises had suffered from the epidemic lockdowns, but not too much. The closure of the port of Duala and of the rail lines had been the most expensive factor. The delays incurred had duly been compensated in the interim. Of course, the darned socialists had promptly invented new taxes, allegedly to finance epidemic precautions, forcing him to outhouse more production to the WAU, Ala Ka Kuma and the CAF.

The WAU’s educational system was good – and the wages still reasonable Hence, one could even translocate sophisticated production to this country. Ala Ka Kuma and the CAF were only suitable for outsourcing simple manufacturing processes. Ala Ka Kuma hadn’t improved a bit since he had first looked for foreign production facilities. A poor country with too many people. It was a pity. Poor people couldn’t afford the high-end products of Sikuku Enterprises.

The CAF was too new still to judge. But they weren’t Muslim. Therefore, they might manage to control their population growth. But there were other issues vexing Max. Quite a lot of whites happened to live there, and the example of the former Union of South Africa, the Boer thing, taught that this would lead to violence – rather sooner than later. Not that the outcome was in question; the proximity of UnSA and Middle Africa warranted black domination, but civil war was bad for business.

Yeah, and the UnSA was exerting a bad influence on the CAF. Their way of letting aliens do the work had already heavily infected the CAF. That didn’t support the development of an efficient domestic workforce. And in the case of the UnSA, the aliens were too expensive to hire them for industrial production, at least according to Max’s standards. Therefore, he had never contemplated shifting production to the UnSA. And he wasn’t alone in this appreciation. Most of his MALU colleagues were of the same opinion.

Well, the former English colonies – Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda – were too troubled to consider them. The Portuguese colonies – Angola particularly – were looking better, but on perfunctory view only. The people were there, but the infrastructure was abysmal. Indeed, Africa didn’t offer many possibilities. Perhaps he should take a look at the Philippines…
How about investing in the Ottoman Empire? Or in the semi-independent Egypt?
Africa north of the Sahara is quite another world in the view of most Middle Africans. The Philippines, with their colonial history, are closer to Middle African Weltsicht than the lands of the corrupt Arabs, the slave dealing scourges of black Africa for many centuries.
Last edited:
You can always tell a pig by its grunt.
(Nikolay Gogol)

That the construction site of the Indian NPP project should be located in the Thar Desert had never been in question. The Indian nuclear weapons had been tested there. It was also the ideal place for Sheshanaga, as the planned ship had been named. Of course, an efficient railway link was essential. Therefore, a spot near the line between Jodhpur and Bikaner had been chosen: Panchu, west of Nokha.

Shuttles would be relevant nevertheless. Hence, the IF spaceport at Puri, on the Gulf of Bengal, was to remain operational. The Staar Udaan Sangh had even ordered three more large carrier aircraft, more or less improved copies of the single existing – aged – Dornier Projekt SR aircraft, the famous Bhaee, to be built by Hindustan Aircraft Ltd. of Kolhapur.

That the Germans and Russians had switched to a fleet approach had duly been noted in Lahore and Puri. But one was determined to build Sheshanaga and test it thoroughly, before one advanced to building more NPP vessels. As always, SUS had to keep a close eye on the costs. Nevertheless, TISCO – Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd. – had already begun establishing their steel plant at Panchu. Sheshanaga might lift off in 1966.
The role of the infinitely small in nature is infinitely great.
(Louis Pasteur)

The Munster Blackwater Man had carried RV! Professor Sigbert Ramsauer was mystified. How had the variant travelled from England to Ireland? The Kaiserliche Marine was adamant; there wasn’t any – and had never been, since one was here – ship or boat traffic in the Irish Sea. Had RV then evolved independently on the Emerald Isle? It was possible, of course, that it was the – normal – next development stage of NED.

But on which population basis had it evolved? It was clear that several thousand individuals were straying all over England, but the Munster Blackwater Man was – well, had been – the first survivor one had ever found on the Irish Isle. Or could the disease evolve in a single person? Questions upon questions…

Anyway, security measures at Hammerhorst had already been stepped up to the maximum. New surveillance strips and more fences had been built. It was impossible that any prowler could penetrate. The rocket base ought to be safe. What remained was solving the scientific riddle.

He needed more samples. The island had to be swept for immunes. But that request met with grim resistance on the part of the military. One had no personnel to spare – and no extra helicopters – and no nothing. He should ask Wünsdorf directly. Reinforcements were always welcome.

Travelling to Germany was an inconvenience. But he was a scientist of international renown. They couldn’t turn him down. It was important. No antidote against RV had been found yet. He needed more data, more information… Grumbling, Ramsauer was packing his suitcase.
It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.
(Lewis Carroll)

Sheesh! From smoke into smother… Some dreadful plague thing was rocking Hammerhorst. Jochen Zeislitz had only arrived yesterday. He had anticipated being able to enjoy a sunny autumn period – with only cursory duty – in the mild southern Irish climate. Instead one was confined to indoor activities. And had to attend silly briefings three times a day. What had happened? Almost nothing… An Irish straggler had been shot outside the base; he had been infected, what else? But it seemed to mean a major peril, although Jochen failed to perceive the exact nature of it. The place was brimming with soldiers and dogs. Last night had been bright like day, because of the countless spot- and searchlights.

Okay, the hysteria was due to ebb away undoubtedly, sooner or later. He had already met Hauptmann Sigmund Jähn, the designated chief pilot of Feuerdrache. And Werner and Fritz had arrived together with him. – The Hammer simulator had been converted into the Feuerdrache simulator, Sigmund had told him. That sounded interesting. The simulator had been an important instrument in preparing him for flying the Hammer. – Sigmund would show him the construction site of Feuerdrache – once lockdown had been lifted.

The military chain of command was kind of confused. He was a Generalmajor, just like the commander here, an army guy by the name of Otto Ernst Remer, who was, however, about twenty years older than Jochen. Well, the bloke was in charge of the guard and support units; the real show was run by civilians – just like in the olden days. Doktor Rüchel was going to see him tomorrow. Jochen didn’t anticipate much action in the coming weeks. He, Werner and Fritz would train Sigmund and his two deputies; more wasn’t to do for the time being. Werner and Fritz had been promised chief pilot slots in ships to be constructed after the Feuerdrache’s launch.

And, of course, he had to keep fit – and fly. They had jet aircraft here. Not too many, just enough to keep the pilots in practise, but it would do. Business was done with helicopters. Choppers seemed to be in the air perpetually, be it day or night. Yeah, because of the wildmen… Perhaps he could snatch some heli rides – and see more of this island before the real strain began.