"A novel full of facts" - English Translation Archive for the first book of Landig's "Thule" trilogy, Goetzen gegen Thule

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chapter 5: The Messengers


Be gracious to me, Providence
And Psyche, as I write these
Surviving mysteries, alone for
An only child immortality,
O initiates, worthy of this our power, which
The great god Helios Mithras ordered
To be revealed to me by his archangel, so
That I alone, as an eagle, may
Ascend into heaven and behold the universe.

(Translation of the Mithras Liturgy)

The Arctic sky was a dreary grey. A pale light behind the notch of the horizon foreshadowed the light of the position of the distant sun. Gusts of wind swirled with small ice crystals and blew a fine veil from the crest of the high ringed mountains.
            Disagreeing the two pilot-officers made their short daily walk outdoors. Gutmann had come back so late last night that the conversation couldn’t be continued. Consistently left to themselves, the two men found the emerging boredom downright depressing.
            Novelty at all the latest technology as well as at the strangeness of their surroundings was no substitute for action in the long run, to which they were apparently condemned indefinitely. Somehow everything went along its right and planned duration, as it had been by their commander who’d come from Vernäs with them as well as with Major Küpper having transferred to Berlin. Furthermore the presence of the Waffen-SS, themselves in their ranking, was another visible proof that Point 103 must have had extraordinary importance to for the Reich. For this reason it couldn’t have seemed especially strange to them that the permanent staff of the secret base was formed by religious orders, which might have taken a special mission within the orders of the SS. Gutmann’s words from the day before had uncovered a smidgeon of these secrets now.
            The two officers had pulled the warm hoods of the parkas low over their faces. As they decided to return they suddenly saw in the sky three bright light-phenomena which darted towards them both quickly and staggering in a triangular formation. They were pale, iridescent disks like the one that had appeared over the Eskimo settlement on the Boothia Peninsula. The men couldn’t help appreciating the altitude and size of the disks. Nevertheless one could’ve gained the impression that they might have been significantly smaller than the first one. Like plates radiating light they sailed silently and then disappeared after a short time.
            “It’s no wonder to me anymore,” Recke could be heard, “But flying here could get uncomfortable with time!”
            Reimer pointed to the weather station lying in the middle of the mountains, “The men at Frogglass have also seen the light-saucers. You can see them behind the station’s windows!”
            “They’re always watching, even if there’s nothing to see!”
            A fine hum came through the air. A V7 flying top rotated closer and remained in place over the lateral center of the landing drop. Shortly thereafter the camouflaged trap door opened into a dark abyss. They could see clearly how the flight machine adjusted with minor corrections in its position and slid then straight down and disappeared exactly into the opening, which immediately closed again.
            “Just like us!” Recke said, “The first landing we’ve seen as observers. Whenever we’re out here the airport’s usually abandoned. You’d actually have to watch more to see the operations here in action.”
            “I think we’ve slept too much, rather. That’s it!” Reimer grinned.
            Recke looked at him askance, “Do you know something better against indolence?”
            Reimer suddenly shifted the conversation, “I have a feeling it was Juncker that just came back. If I’m not mistaken, we’ll be able to see what’s new. The flight command doesn’t send V7s for the weather checks!” Followed by Recke he walked with his broad-gauged aviator boots to one of the doors.
            “When the wind’s blowing, the freezing cold’s unbearable…”
            They made their way to the huge landing bay. Coming through a passageway, they saw standing before the descended gyro two more that they’d never noticed in the background. Reimer approached one of the men near the aircraft, “Has Major Juncker landed?”
            Jawohl!” he answered, “As I understand it, he’s already with the adjutant.”
            Reimer thanked him. Turning to Recke he said, “He’ll be coming back to his room to take his flight-suit off. It’ll probably be best to wait for him there.”
            As they walked their heard the loud-speaker abruptly shout, “Achtung – listen up! – Bay three prepare for landing – Bay three – Also: Ground crew for external landing, hands on deck! – I repeat, Bay three…”
            “It seems the shop’s finally getting business,” Recke noted.
            “I’ve noticed a greater bustle this morning,” Reimer agreed, “I wonder if it has something to do with light-disks?”
            “Hm – on the Boothia Peninsula it had also begun to alternatre and change places. It was quite pretty then – Aladdin's lamp in the North Pole! – If the tragedy with the shaman hadn’t happened…”
            “It somehow hung together at that time,” Reimer said, “Provisionally this story is still mysterious to us. Maybe we can find an explanation later. And besides, we’d landed by accident. The magnetic pole isn’t on the Boothia Peninsula anymore, it’s since moved north-west to the Prince of Wales Island. I spoke with Gutmann about it a few days ago and he told me our maps still had the old positions. The pole wanders and already dropped about three-hundred kilometers from the point we’d taken it as. The movement in our magnetic compass was perfectly understandable at that distance.”
            “No one told us before departure. Damn negligence in Vernäs.”
            Just before the passage that housed their rooms, they met three Japanese in uniform. The stripes on their shoulders pointed them out as officers.
            Reimer and Recke hailed them and thanked the Japanese as well, whereby they smiled authentically. All three were small in stature but looked unusually intelligent.
            “The Japs were dreaming not but six months ago of the North Pole as much as we were!” Recke said when they’d left, “They’re good soldiers!”
            Reimer guessed correctly back in the landing bay that Juncker would soon come to his room. The two captains hadn’t been long in Recke’s room before Juncker entered in flying clothes.
            “Hello, comrades,” he greeted and began to open his combination. Recke readily helped him. He motioned to hang the bulky dress in Juncker’s locker but he protested, “Leave it on the bed, Recke! It may be that I have to take off again soon. We don’t have many men that can fly the gyro. Would you like lessons?”
            “Why not?” laughed Reimer. Reimer nodded too with an affirmative gesture.
            “We don’t have enough men here for everything,” Juncker said casually, “You’ll soon find all sorts of versatility.”
            “Hopefully,” muttered Recke.
            “Why so grumpy?” Juncker said and looked to his comrade.
            Reimer answered in his place, “Curiosity. He’s expecting scalding-hot news!”
            “Ah – you’re not?”
            “I am too,” he admitted and laughed.
            “Hm – It’s actually the case that we’re the first ones in line to get news. I’ve picked up an Asian emissary from some base outside the Arctic circle. We already have a number of people here and some are still expected to come during the day. At the Grand Assembly a lot will be revealed that we don’t already know.”
            “We met three Japanese officers,” Recke confessed.
            Ach, they’ve already been here for three days! They’re envoys from the Black Dragon.”
            “Yikes – how awful,” Recke laughed broadly, “What kind of club is that?”
            Juncker remained serious, “The most powerful organization in Japan! It has influence far beyond the borders of their country. They’re valuable allies, the Japanese.”
            “Did they land here in one of the aircraft?” Reimer pried.
            “No. We picked them up with a long-range craft about half-way. Basically we do this for safety reasons. It’s also very hard to fly this area!”
            “Why?” asked Recke, “When you’ve come to terms with the navigation and you have a good plane…”
            “I didn’t mean that,” replied Juncker, “But there’s one particular area – not too far from here – where there have been disappearances already, which couldn’t be found despite our extensive searches. It’s forbidden land.”
            “I don’t get it,” Reimer shook his head, “With current aerial reconnaissance?”
            “That’s just it! I’d like to point out the sensational case of the polar aviator Levanevski. This Russian flew a four-engine aircraft with five crew members over the pole on a nonstop flight to Alaska. They mysteriously vanished from sight. A radio was broadcasting his flight over the pole, and later came a message that one of the right engines was aground and immediately all radio communications ceased.”
            “And then he crashed,” Recke said laconically.
            “The extraordinary part of the case is based on the complete disappearance and probably misguided search flights. We oldies, who’ve been here at Point 103 for a while, are very familiar with this story. There’s more: The airman Wilkins led ten of the flights from Northern Canada, and the experienced Grazianski also took off. The Russians even sent an icebreaker with airplanes into the Beaufort Sea, but there was no success. The most interesting part of this flight is the fact that the reconstruction of the flight-path over the pole revealed that in terms of distance the planes would’ve had to find traces of the missing men. As it was, the routes forked conspicuously around the area; it seems as if forces had taken the planes from their original course to keep them away from a certain area. The Russians later took a number of flghts from a base in Crowned-Prince Rudolf Land but all efforts were in vain. The secret around Levanevski and his companions remains unsolved. Since we’re able to keep foreign craft from our base ourselves, it’s quite possible that…” Juncker made a vague motion.
            “If you’ve made a flight-path reconstruction, all you have to do is make easy corrections,” Recke objected critically, “A strictly fixed route…”
            “I told you before,” repeated Juncker, “that our Magnetic Radio can distract approaching aircraft without the pilot noticing.”
            “It would therefore mean that Levanevski found something and didn’t have a chance to radio back. Then two questions remain: What did he find and who could’ve crashed the Russians or stopped them from radioing?”
            “Correct!” Juncker confirmed, “However, it’s still unanswered.”
            “Very strange,” Reimer ran his hand across his forehead, “There’s nothing to compare it with.”
            “There is! If not being so tragic…”
            Reimer looked at Juncker.
            “What then?”
            “Point 103!” Juncker replied, visible amused at the astonishment of the two captains, “Land has been found in this area before. In the first World War, the Canadian Macmillian undertook an expedition to find Cracker Land, which the known polar explorer Peary had reported in 1906. Macmillian took incursions with sleds from Ellesmere Island and Axel-Heiberg Island and came up to the eighty-second latitude, but couldn’t find it. It must have been easier to find back then. Since then Cracker Land has become a legendary land…”
            “Is that even possible?” Recke marveled.
            “Oh, science knows of two such cases! In 1907 the Koch brothers sighted a place they called Fata-Morgana Island. It was because thirty years later Lauge Koch went back to search for that very island, suspected to be behind Nansen Island, but they could no longer find it. Around the same time a great Russian expedition under Samoilovich to find among other things the legendary Sannikov Island. Despite their modern aids the Russians were unsuccessful. It’s north of the New Siberian Islands lying around the eightieth latitude.”
            “You’re well versed in the history of polar exploration!” Reimer had to acknowledge.
            “Pff,” Juncker was dismissive, “Gutmann knows a lot more!”
            Reimer looked up, “Gutmann spoke of a mystical high-seat…”
            “Ah – really? – When did he tell you about the Blue Island?”
            “Blue Island?”
            “You just said…!”
            “Gutmann never gave a name,” interrupted Recke, “He only spoke about it generally. But still: Here the solution to the Levanevski Problem might lie. The command staff of our base concerns itself with this unsolved mystery.”
            Recke rose from the edge of the bed, put his hands in his pockets and stood broadly.
            “That’s very interesting, dear Juncker. But doesn’t our staff here have any closer matters to attend to currently?”
            “I think Gutmann’s given you evidence that shows the casual relationships!”
            “Understand Recke,” Reimer said in between them, “He probably understands everything but at the moment he’s thinking of the most obvious things. We all have family members in the homeland and we’re concerned about the emerging chaos they’ll all fall to.”
            “That’s understandable,” Juncker admitted, “It’s not much better for me. I have a family in Magdeburg.” There was a slight twitch on his sharp-featured face, “It’s clear we need to get out of this brooding. When the Grand Assembly is over, there will be a grand wealth of operational orders!”
            “What kind of assembly is it?” Reimer wanted to know.
            “A big council session,” Juncker said secretively.
            Recke shuffled his heels on the floor, “Like Fiji islanders…”
            But Juncker didn’t listen, “I’m a bit tired. Let me sleep half an hour.”
            Reimer poked Recke annoyingly, “Some things one should take more seriously.”
            “Don’t blame him!” Juncker lied to Reimer, “It’s always good to look at things with a dry sense of humor. He understands, doesn’t he?”
He motioned with his hand nervously and turned himself over facing the wall. A few minutes later deep breaths betrayed that he was already asleep. When Gutmann arrived later in the night, Reimer was already sleeping. In the morning he was already preparing to leave when Reimer woke up.
“Hey, Gutmann.”
            “Where are you going so early?”
“Much to do today! Gotta go,” he pushed the door open and hurried away before Reimer could ask any more. Through the thinly opened door invaded the command channelings of the speaker system.
Reimer stretched his arms and jumped up with a start. Even as he dressed he yawned. He had a somewhat restless sleep behind him and had dreamed. As the trapping of steps could be heard outside the door and revealed an increase of activity, he tried to sort out his thoughts and recall the dreams from the night.
But he could only bring together vague notions relating to the mysterious high seat in the Arctic circle. Gutmann’s hints and Juncker’s remarks about a blue island had stimulated his imagination and dangled images into his dreams which didn’t want to come back into the waking world. Somehow he retained the memory that the strange glowing disks had played a role in his vision. A feeling not yet justifiable brought him to the idea that the phenomena could be related to this unknown center.
Even when he was in uniform he was unsure if he’d taken the technical knowledge and logic to help. Here lay a gulf he was unable to bridge. As he took up a towel towards the end of the hall where the wash room was, he decided to keep these mind games to themselves temporarily and see what Gutmann would say.
In the laundry room he met Recke who was already about to leave, “Since when dod you get up with the hens?”
Recke wiped some suds from his foot, “Funny comparison, especially when there’s not even a zoo here!”
“My God, it’s an idiom!” Reimer put his small shaving box on top of the wash basin and stripped off his shirt, “Gutmann’s flying again.”
“Juncker too!” Recke said, “The whole place seems empty now. The bustling and the speakers woke me up.”
Reimer turned on the hot water and started to lather his face, “Yeah, there’s no longer anybody in neighboring rooms around us. I think we’d have the whole bathroom to ourselves for a while. No one’s pushing around.”
“Oh – the baths! I want to see what’s going on. The base is like a beehive.”
“All the messengers are probably here, I suppose,” Reimer began to shave his chin slowly.
“For that very reason. Hurry mowing your stubble and let’s go to breakfast.”
Mhm,” made Reimer. He hurried in the restroom and hurried still from the baths. After nearly a quarter of an hour he brought Recke from the room and to the dining hall. Of all the comrades that had become known to them and were unknown still, none of them were there. Only the three Japanese officers from the day before sat at a table in the back and chatted lively with a bald Mongol, who’d had a long black coat.
The foreigners were engrossed in their conversation and payed no attention to the late comers. Their expressions were serious and calm. No gestures disturbed the dignity of their conversation.
“I was once handed one of the illustrated works by the famous Swedish explorer Sven Hedin,” Recke whispered to his comrade as they took a seat, “It included a Tibetan abbot that looked exactly like the black-caped one with the Japs!”
“It could be that he’s the Ta Lama that Gutmann spoke about,” Reimer retorted, “An interesting person!”
Around the bald-headed foreigner hung an indefinable attraction. Recke kept glancing furtively towards the man, “The Tibetans are strange and seemingly impenetrable people. I almost wish I could learn about their strange country!”
Reimer was about to launch into a response when he saw the man abruptly shift his jet-black eyes to Recke and penetrated his stare. The lama’s face was like a carved mask.
Drawn by the force of this look, Recke kept his gaze for a few seconds and then became restless. His lips moved slightly as if searching for words, but no sound came forth. Only his fingers made jerky fidgeting on the tabletop.
“What’s wrong with you?” Reimer bobbed one of his feet against Recke’s shin lightly. At the same time he noticed a fleeting smile in the features of the stranger after his comrade winced. It was only a slight twitching of the mouth, the otherwise motionless face awarding an ironic look and betraying profound significance. His small, black eyes glittered from under the half-dropped eyelids almost piercingly.
The Japanese were silent and motionless as well. A spell had settled on them. Then the lama stood up and said loudly and clearly, “Buddha’s ears are everywhere!
“Buddha’s ears are everywhere!” repeated Recke with difficulty, “The man can’t speak German but he can hear nonetheless!”
The Tibetan nodded to the Japanese for a moment, then drew the robe tighter and walked slowly out of the room. His gait was slightly shuffling and his gaze turned inward. A few minutes later the Japanese followed.
Reimer looked to his comrade thoughtfully, who stared still at the exit way through which the Asians had left, “That was no sleight of hand!”
“That’s right it wasn’t! What it actually was though we’ll never guess. Like a strange mixture of telepathy and metaphysics.”
“Asia will always have riddles for us Europeans. Just like you mentioned the inexplicable or wanting to define it, it’s beyond our horizons. The materialism of the West has drawn boundaries itself in which each outlook beyond is just a hindrance.”
“Maybe that’s best,” said Recke slowly, “Otherwise we might not be creative but just dream and dim ourselves. We have to built and create lasting things, but we don’t have to always have a foot in the afterlife. Otherwise it might invalidate this one!”
A man from the kitchen staff came up to them and placed breakfast on the table. Black coffee and Komissbrot with jam.
“I’d just like to know how these guys get coffee beans,” said the Kasseler, who always drank two or three cups, “In Vernäs there was only beet juice, called Nigra Sweat for short!”
“Our patrons in America, probably. Gutmann already said.”
During the quick meal the meager conversation between the two was interrupted several times by commands over the speakers which guided the landing operations. Duties were called upon constantly. Until now it had been little possible to estimate the number of personnel at Point 103, but the current orders showed just how a considerable many men had taken flight. The strategic import of the North Pole was unmistakable.
The men were clear on this without words. But for the moment their thoughts centered on the man in the black robe, who still must have understood Recke’s thoughts.
Recke said abruptly, “When I get home safe and sound, I’ll read books on Tibet and Lamaism. I’m very interested now how far our knowledge has come. Even if the inner core likely remains a mystery, I still want to know the outer part.”
“Buddha’s ears are everywhere,” Reimer repeated the translation from before, “It wouldn’t surprise me now if the Ta Lama had a similar wish as well.”
“It’d be incomprehensible if I had the time to dispute anything with the freshest energy had I not been informed any better. But if we ignore the strangeness of this incident, trying to guess at such a wish is meaningless. Anyone can guess at something. They can’t bring it into action though!”
With the progression of the day, stress was put on the two officers. The huge bustle at the station and the haste of the men particularly disgruntled Recke, who was already tired of doing nothing. Only the hope of imminent orders allowed the men to suppress their mood. Reimer also began to grow mellow.
In the afternoon the captains slept in their rooms. Recke, who was the first to awaken, went to Reimer and shook him harshly, “Up, Herbert! Previously, before stepping into your boudoir, some kind of guy from the staff came down the aisle and shouted something about a movie theater. We should see if they’re showing a movie with saloon heroes and sweetie pies. We don’t even know what cute girls look like anymore.”
Reimer scrambled awake and blinked, “Who gossips about movies here? If it were true, Gutmann would’ve said something about it long ago.”
“No one’s gossiping here!” Recke grumbled, “I heard the word ‘cinema’, so there has to be one here.”
“Alright.” Reimer got ready and went out into the hallway with Recke. Walking towards the dining room, they met no one. They noticed that, unlike that morning, an unusual calm prevailed. In the gyro hangars there were only a few men on duty. All work had ceased.
Recke went to one of the technicians he knew by sight already, “Where’s the movies?”
The man looked at him in astonishment, “It’s…” He interrupted the beginning of his sentence and showed uncertainty.
“You should already know! Or – ?”
“The heck we do – a police dog couldn’t even find its way around in this labyrinth!”
The man took a deep breath, “Ah, is that so… From the hallway going towards the Frogglass, it branches off from the blind alley just beyond the weather station to the room marked with the number thirty-eight in Roman numerals. It’s through there – you can’t go wrong!”
“Mm hm, thanks!” Recke made a snappy salute and pulled Reimer along with him. “Funny guy. He acts as if it’s the secret lab at Peenemünde.”
They followed the specified path. Their shadows on the floor waxed and waned, depending on where they entered a circle of light from the overhead lamps or exited. Unlike the other passageways of the complex, this corridor was sparsely lit because of its extraordinary length.
Before the emergence to the Frogglass, they came upon the entrance of the blind alley from before that led about fifty feet in length to a little door, the Roman numerals XXXVIII emblazoned on smooth wood. At the door stood a sentry whose stance was firm.
Passing through the half-opened door, they arrived in a small hallway which opened straight ahead. Subdued lighting showed the continued path. The faint murmur of voices came from within.
The two pilots would never have guessed that the next few seconds would bring with them the greatest surprise of their entire lives. Clueless, driven only by the need of a little variety, they entered the next room and halted in awe. What their eyes afforded was not a movie theater, not the sober or technical establishment, as they’d found until now fully functional yet modestly following the aspects of military necessity.
They found themselves in an anteroom, the center of the ceiling from which a huge astrolabe hung as a lighting fixture. Amidst the winding metal loop the opal lamp formed a bright core which spread a mild, pleasant light. Two-thirds of the otherwise barren room were decorated with the twelve symbols of the zodiac, while the ceiling showed the figures of the starry sky of the North in bright points painted against a dark background of night.
Their eyes wandered. On the wall to the left there was another perforation with a red curtain pulled to the side. From the next room came the murmur of voices like the sound of an ocean. Like lightning the realization struck Recke in the brain. He clutched Reimer’s arm, “The Grand Assembly!”
“Very strange,” he continued for him. Behind the curtain opened up a spacious hall which bore a set of steps leading downward. And here they saw a picture they presumed to be the product of an exalted imagination. An uncommon hall with uncommon people.
The room worked like the nave of a church. On both sides of the elongated hall ran some benches on which some of the men of the station sat. The aisles were lower and the processional path of the hall continued through four more planes. The whole looked like a road flanked by the walls of a mutual, low parapet which led to the end of the hall. Upon this path stood a procession of a type of people which for the most part wore red capes. Something just like that was like what the white robes of the Knights Templar would’ve looked like. 
At the head of the procession were foreign guests, whose attire also emphasized the strangeness of this assembly. Over everyone dominated the black, helmet-like headdress of the Tibetan Ta Lama, the Japanese next to him becoming small. While the Tibetan wore the already-known black robe, the Japanese officers had their uniforms on as well, however, also having black robes draped around them. A bit later the two pilots could see that the left chest of these coats bore a dragon in silver contours.
Remarkable was also the presence of officers from other nations, including two Americans. A portion of these men also had red robes, some of them black instead. Also many Indians in their tight, white trousers and black frock coats stood at the head of the long group. Some tall black men, one of them a typical Ethiopian, Arabs in black burnous and two Persians in lambskin caps completed this picture of a world tryst.
They all stared at a man in German uniform who, the red robe just slightly folded back, raised his arm into the air with a solemn gesture. On both sides of his collar patches shone a silver oak leaf.
“We welcome the messengers!” His voice sounded out sonorously and was audible throughout the whole hall. The captains pressed unobtrusively to the side and waited for the things that were now to come.
All of the quiet murmuring in the hall fell silent. With rapid panoramic glances Reimer and Recke saw yet that to the left and right of the man who’d just spoken stood a still representation originating from ancient mythology. One of them represented the lion-headed Kronos, the other was the famous statue of Helios.
To the side of these mythological figures stood a German and Italian officer of high rank, as if depicting a kind of honor guard. The back wall of the hall itself had a huge sculpted mural; to all peoples with humanistic education it was known also as the Mithras Relief. The lord of the sun, slaying the bull, and on either side the torch bearers, the lion, the dog at the belly of the bull, the serpent, the scorpion at the genitals of the sacrifice and above Mithras the raven.
Meanwhile, the red coat at the end of the hall began to speak again.
“Prized be the overseer, the lord, who rewards those who in their desire do good deeds and purifies their obedience!” A slight murmuring answered him as his arm sank. “The messengers know why they have come, and we are eager now to hear what they have to tell us. The messengers may speak so that we might decide thereafter.” He nodded to the messengers and stepped a little to the side.
The Japanese captain with the dragon robe was the first to come forward and face the congregation. He bowed deeply before lifting to speak.
“We ambassadors of the Black Dragon bring the greetings of our organization to the lords of Point 103. The Dragon is ready to fulfill the Great Commandment of the world with other organizations and and is willing to cooperate in its redesign. In a struggle on mental and mystical levels, the covenant will do everything in its power for the achievement of our major goals together with the members of the Ootomo Office. The Red Sun and the Black Sun serve the same lord! That is our message and we will take the resolves decided here by the Dragon in the face of our sacred mountain.” Once again the Japanese bowed solemnly and then stepped to the side.
From the small group of Indians another messenger came forth. Simply, without ceremony, he stood before the assembly, making only a measured bow. His almost perfect German has a slight singing voice.
“What is above the heavens and below the earth and everything in between the heaven and the earth, what is also the past, present and future, is woven and interwoven in space, as it is said in the Upanishads. I am a chaprasi, a messenger of my country, and we greet the lord of Point 103 who, like we, are in service of the King of the World! Our message is the same as that of the brothers of the Black Dragon and our mission, to communicate the decisions made here by the Grand Assembly to our guru in the service of higher powers. Here near the Su-Meru, the ancient sacred high seat, a force will be dispensed that will open the doors of humanity to a new era.” The eyes of the Indian burned and he enthralled the present audience. If the people, who here serve the Lord of the Sun, stir at the hands of the World Clock, they will also be supported by centers of ancient wisdom. That is what the Great Guru can say through my mouth!” With a slight bow to the German officer, putting his right hand to his forehead, mouth and heart, he stepped back and made way for one of the Persians.
“I am the safir, the emissary of the Sons of the Black Widower. We also look intently to the world mountain, which in our language we purely call Haraberezaiti and we are all close to it here. The grace of Ahura Mazda has opened our eyes and found it worthy to convey the greetings of our community to those gathered here on behalf of the Ustad. Whose who are the knowing know whose message I speak and that it cannot be different than those of the men before and behind me. Who is purified by the fire and left in silence waiting, all the doors are opened to him. My brother Mukaddasi, the safir of the Sufi Bi clan, it as ready as I to take the message we have brought you. It is time that the flame of the light blazes brighter and the forces of darkness are relegated in their borders. That is all I have to say!”
“So it is!” confirmed the second Persian, also protruding from the context, “In näzdi bäkuh dunjâi – we are close to the world’s peak, may the great power be with us! We are ready!”
As he stepped back, the first of the Persians added, “Huda wänd dunjâi 'l-ed'an-e mubaräk nikân-ra negâh nhi-daräd – the King of the World, who must be obeyed, protects the good!”
Following the Persians was a Chinese, who was again wearing a uniform and whom Reimer and Recke had overlooked. Smiling authentically he introduced himself as an ambassador of the Hung League and repeated in English similar phrases that his predecessors had said.
“We invoke the spirit of the North Pole, Si Nen Ti, who lives in the Great Bear, and we look to the Tien Tze Shan, the Mount of Paradise!” he cried out.
“It is the Tao,” he then concluded, “that creates the harmony of the universe and that we serve subordinately. The Tao that was taught from the Tai Shan mountains and by the Master of Heaven and the Hung League recognized and preached as the foundation for all existence. And so we knowing of our League also look to the secret high seat of mankind, the Kuen Lun, to receive the strength to carry out our mission. The way Confucius said in his book Lun Yu: The superior man is familiar with duty; the common man is well-verse in profit! If the hour has come for those who know they will be called, so are we ready. That is the message of the great Koh, our old man of the mountain, and his two Hiong-Ti!”
After the Chinese came a series including the Ethiopian, a Brazilian officer, a Venezuelan, a Siamese and a full-blooded Mexican Indian with messages as officers of the same rank. The willingness was on all sides to serve the same goals at the given hour. As the last messenger stepped up an Arabian, accompanied only by his two companions, to the platform by the two mythological figures. Gracefully he picked up his right hand before starting to speak. From under the dark kufiya looked a distinctive face out to the assembly, flashing from a pair of passionate eyes.
“We are the Sufar, the messengers of the Keepers of Secrets, of the ancient Ali Sikhs from Cairo and the guardians from the Valley of Wisdom from Jebel Hadhur! It’s us that they send to guard the ancient black stone Anat in ‘the Tower of the Ephemeral’, considered the mother of all being. They’re words are as follows: Bring those who are on the way to the mountain of assembly our greetings! We are also willing to complete with time and even reach full completion. Innumerable times has the path to the light been sought yet caught in the thorns of doubt. We seek the knowledge no more, for the knowledge will be us! The knowledge of the secrets of the world that separates existence from appearance. Just so do the Yazidi at Jabal Sinjar sacrifice to Melek Taus, the lord of evil, while they believe in the forgiving redemption of the High Court, and the people of the whole earth bow to the increasing strength of the negative pole and its magical influences.”
The Arab took a short step towards the listeners. His throaty voice rose as he said in flawless German, “But no one can escape the path they have led. A sura in the Koran says: When the sudden nears, there will be no more denial, nor decrease nor increase. When the earth writhes in pain, when mountains rub together and grind to nothingness, then you will be lined threefold!” The Arab gathered the burnoose around him.
“There is no crescent moon over the world, but rather a cross over humanity. The guardians of the stone of Anat see a division of the earth into a western and eastern half. That is the visible, horizontal bar of this cross. The polar forces: white and black magic, the top and the bottom of the invisible, the vertical bars which dominate the horizontal! Thus the physical force of the mental planes and the ethos of humanity is determined from the Midnight Mountain, directly to which we knowing look. There follows the message of the Sikhs: We have received an invitation to the Assembly of the Black Sun and at the same time have seen the bright disk in the sky. We read the signs that herald the turning of an age and promise the humanity of the coming Aquarian age a new paradise. Before us is the high time of the Great Mother. The gate of ‘The Tower of the Ephemeral’ is therefore open to those who know! Insân idhab ilâ 'lbhabi waftahhu!
Murmurs of approval became audible. The declarations of the man in black burnoose had made an impression and showed it as the personality of his group. The Arab had no doubt studied in Europe and spent many years in Germany as well. His mode of expression in this language baffled them. Slowly shuffling and stepping forward lightly, the Tibetan Ta Lama stepped into the middle of the semicircle that the previous messengers had formed. This brief moment of anticipation made Reimer and Recke slide forward even closer. No one noticed them.
The Tibetan tarried a little in pauses of breath. Then he turned and let his inquisitive eyes wander from half-closed lids out to the assembly. For those standing further on he gave the impression of a sleeper. The strangeness of his person was heightened by the fantastically working headdress; the typical Tibetan monk cap with a large dragoon-like ridge that steeped deeply. When he began to speak in English, everyone bowed forward to understand the Ta Lama better for he did not speak very loudly.
“I come as Ku-Chap, as envoy, of the Mahasiddha Lugtog, which stands in communication with the ways of Shangri La and with the voices that come from the midnight and from the underground Kingdom of Agartha. And this is its message and its prayer: I bring the lamp which will illuminate all the kingdoms of the world and is fulfilled with the light of the sun and moon in its precious vessel, as great as the three-thousand worlds, and its wick inserted into the swaying sea of butter, soaked in butter, as strong as Mount Meru!
“The lamp enlightens the world on the point of falling into chaos, when men do not remember in time. The glowing disks of Mani are signs in the sky and they will multiply if the gap between peoples grows deeper. The message of Ngönkyi Tsao Kung from the King of the World has not reached the rulers of the West who let their soldiers fight against the entire world. They are not warned and his enemies will therefore have benefited from it.”
The eyes of the Tibetan narrowed even more, “The Masiddha will mediate between the seekers and those who await. I have also seen men from here that come to us, who by us are well received. All have to go the way they are destined for and will fulfill it with time.”
“Everything will be fulfilled with time!” a voice repeated from somewhere with a resonance, as loud as the ones what came regularly from the loud-speakers. Simultaneously beamed an indirect light and played on the cult relief of the back wall with a bright red glow. While all the participants in the room remained in deep silence, the invisible voice continued.
“We have heard the words of the messengers and know now that the communities they represent represent the same knowledge and travel the same path. We thus now give the news that will come to determine our course of action!
“Above all: The Yalta Conference on the first of the February of this year there took place the agreement between the Japhetites of the Kremlin and the Shriners, keepers of the Covenant in New York. These forces represent themselves through the personalities of visible world politics. The result was, beyond the fate of Germany, a dictate for the division of the world into an Eastern and Western sphere of influence for a period of ten years. These forces, both of which are subject to the grey magic, will be to blame for the fact that over Europe will come chaos and especially in Germany, a terrible time that reminds us of the Thirty Years War. It is the terrible fulfillment of the prophecy of Walter Rathenau: Germany will be a desert!...”
There was a little modulation in his voice.
“It is already clear that a huge wave of persecution will be initiated equaling the collective persecution of earlier times. Just as once the Albigenses, the Cathars, the Templars, the Waldenses, the Patarines and the Bogomils were persecuted because of their religious affiliation or company, so in the near future there will be public baiting against the Schutzstaffeln, the Vlasovites, the Ustasha members, beginning against the men of the Italian Monta Rossa division and also the Slovakians of Tiso, as well as many French and Flemish, will be caught in the mill of the emerging East-West conflict.”
            A short, dramatic pause followed, during which half-loud exclamations from the audience could be heard. Dispassionate sober continued the unseen voice, “The persecuted collective will take the same path as the hunted had in such an intolerant world centuries ago. They are thus also chosen, remaining available as a substance, to go down into the magical plane. You will therefore open the gates of Agartha! Those who have violated the ethical principles of their communities and have contributed to their misfortune through their personal debt, they have fallen to the world’s court. The discovery and clarification – in what ways and to what extent the persecution will employ – are the coming task of the tactical group at Point 103. For the messengers of our affiliated communities let it be further said: Point 103 will endeavor in the period of the next five years to be able to enter, at the appropriate time, as determining factors on the mental level. For the reactions related thereto, which will be carried out globally, we seek the support of friendly organizations. Furthermore we will devote ourselves to the discovery and exploitation of specified raw materials to a greater extent and in addition the seeking and exploration of the technical and physical potential of ancient cultures. In this field we will also come into closer cooperation with other groups! And a reminder to all: We have no time to lose, especially since the Shriners have committed to securing the protection of the Great Pole. Their newest creation is the foundation some time ago of the Vereinte Nationen – United Nations, abbreviated as the UN, whose symbol is a blue flag with the pole as the center of the earth. This gesture and symbolic diffraction around the pole, this second edition of Woodrow Wilson’s old plan, must not be overlooked. The measurement of forces on the mental plane has begun – the works on the mystical plane strengthen themselves! We must therefore – having received the messengers and heard their words – take decisions immediately. The results we will tell the messengers. As Commander of Point 103 I order the staff immediately to their command posts and suspend the Assembly, referring to the introduction of the situation on the basis of recent reports and bringing the appropriate documents. The renewed meeting of the Grand Assembly will be announced by loudspeaker. The guests are requested in the common room for the duration of the interruption. I repeat: Staff to their command posts immediately!”
            As the voice ceased, the red light also went out. In the incurred silence they could hear the voice of the officer who’d opened up the meeting. With polite words he bid the messengers to follow him.
            While the men on both sides of the pews remained standing in their places, the speaker with the red cap walked slowly to the exit, followed by the Black Hat Lama, the three Japanese from Akyoujuuku and the other emissaries. Behind the red coat ascending the first level of the stairs, the Tibetan caught sight of Reimer and Recke who’d been driven to the wall and stared at the procession closely. For a moment the Ta Lama acted with a step faltering in the procession.
            Sang-gye ku-wang chem-po!” he said loudly and fixed his eyes on Recke.
            The Kasseler took his right hand hesitantly to his cap, “I don’t understand…” he stammered. A smile passed over the mask-like features of the Ta Lama. More widely he turned his head slightly and said in English, “Buddha is omnipotent!
            A secret knowledge sounded from the sentence of the Tibetan, whose meaning was hidden in the future. Without taking more notice of the Umwelt, the messengers left the hall. The strangest thing was that the intermezzo had caused no surprise at all. The eyes of the other men rested not much longer on the one being addressed, as the Ta Lama himself had paid little attention to him. Only after the departure of the messengers did the pews empty casually and the men crowded without particular haste towards the exit. Only the two officers next to the statues of Helios and Kronos, the German and the Italian, stayed in place.
            Reimer and Recke, who seemed also not to hasten, saw from the red-cloaked suit of messengers a man pushing his way sideways and coming towards them. It was Gutmann.
            “Who brought you here?” he asked, not unkindly, as he stood near his comrades. Recke hung around the thoughts filling his mind since the leave of the Tibetan and didn’t understand the question at first.
Reimer answered in his stead, “Feeling lonesome and abandoned, we wandered through a labyrinth of immortal gods and…”
“And so on,” Gutmann cut him off mockingly, “I know such phrases well enough!” He took the two friends by the arm and took them with him, “It’s actually a good coincidence you came here by yourselves. I truly didn’t know in these last few hours of the things I’d be thinking now. You being here cuts down explanations!”
Between individual small groups of men they walked through the cosmic vestibule, as Gutmann jokingly called the anteroom and then through the corridors and gangways to their rooms. Immediately Juncker arrived behind them. Both officers took off their red cloaks and made themselves comfortable in Gutmann’s room.
“The red robes at the meeting remind me of a tribunal,” Reimer said, pointing to them.
Gutmann sat on the field bed next to Reimer and replied earnestly, “That impression isn’t so inaccurate. It is actually – figuratively speaking – an arm of the world court!”
Recke looked up from his reverie. Looking at Gutmann, he said, “Whether court or not – that’s irrelevant to me! Something’s happening on this sick planet that the little soldiers at the front have no idea of. There’s still a lot of fog clouding my vision but it always seems that so much in politics has to be hidden. One question: Who are the Shriners?”
Gutmann leaned back, “If you remember the words previously spoken by the commander through the mic, he called them the keepers of the Covenant. In this, in a shrine, they keep the personified magic of Yahweh as a power center part ethnic and part cosmopolitan active substance that works in both directions. Their political representation on the visible world stage includes President Roosevelt among others. Churchill and other men in world politics also belong to the world brotherhood of all the lodges, whose mysterious leader, the HOATF based in Chicago, as well as over the Sanhedrin stands in the inner government of the world. All lodges are subordinate to the “Head of All True Freemasons”, which operate as the auxiliary troops of Mount Zion for the goal of a One World government under countless secular disguises. It is a power that has a network over all other forces and storm all together against the Midnight Mountain.”
“Oh, I’m understanding slowly,” replied Recke, “As far as the mystical or magical level is concerned, there already seems to be a very old conflict between spiritual direction and ethical concepts!”
“So it is,” Gutmann agreed with him, “The areas mentioned above go back to the Golden Age of a bygone era of humanity. In the fragments of traditions from the lost paradise, the Atlantis Period poses among other questions that there was an interregnum in which black magicians of semitic origin ruled over the Aryan Antlanteans. Doubtless they put their Bealim as well – their Baal idols – in addition to dominate the God Poseidon. The old black-magic god cults of the Baal persuasion are rooted in the Semitic living space; the Bealim outlasted the Atlantis catastrophe and maintained themselves – following the genitives of place names or even the article used to identify God – as lords of those relevant places, primarily as mountain gods. Thus the Baal Libanon and Baal Tabor. Baal-Melkart was a Phoenician City-Baal. The latter was worshiped at the time of the Omri Dynasty in Israel-Judah. Before the migration of Israel the Bealim were worshiped in the Palestinian areas by the local inhabitants of Ur, which during the transition of the old cult-places in Israel was merged with Baal-Yahweh. With the Israelites, the infiltrated esoteric concepts and Mystery Wisdom from the eastern sphere of life conveyed to them the knowledge of an esoteric world center, the Mount Meru known by various names, the Midnight Mountain!
“This high seat of ancient Atlantis, from a time when Greenland was still the Green Land, reminded the Israelites again that there was previously historically an interregnum of their race. Isaiah took the mount as Har-Moed in the Bible, the mount of congregation. The result was a spiritual variation: the Mount Zion as the Jewish center with Yahweh as Baal-Zion. The mystery of Asgard-Agartha is called in semitic: Gabbatha. Knowledge of these things united the Israelites intuitively with a longing for the happy era of their rule over generations of Atlanteans.
“This mystical subconscious is the real reason behind their historical-periodically ongoing unrest and infiltration into the western and northern spheres of life. In this they currently form a circle of gray magic with a black-magical center, so they won’t be able to lose their black cultic primordial reason. From this perspective on the Arctic world mountain results now the movements into the areas of the Great Pole in a race with the white-magical powers of the Indo-Aryan groups aspiring for an Atlantic Renaissance. A decision in the long run in the offing: Either the Shriners bring the Tablets of Sinai to the Midnight Mountain and assimilate the white force for the rule of Baal-Yahweh, or the coming Aquarian Age of a new Yuga comes through the purifying fire of the North!”
“It’s an invisible front, which the mass of people would call irrational,” Reimer interjected.
“Invisible – partly, yes! Irrational for those who haven’t looked. Moreover, even the irrational of all things, as a counterpoint in dualism, is a primal force, which without calculation and without mind to understand affects us naturally and which isn’t replaced by any conscious force. The materialistic world view of the modern era denies any relationship with the primordial and as rational remains always on the edge of all that happens. This knowledge is the secret of Asia. It is the result of objectivity that we in Europe have become desolated or vermonden, because the Europeans have sacrificed their inner strength, the irrational to the coolness of reason, to the coolness of a ratio. To whom but knows these things, there will come much else understood what otherwise in life seem incomprehensible. If Tibet, the roof of the world, stands in nexus with the Ri-rap-hlumpo and the Chang-Shambala – with the latter meant as Agartha – it will thus be a result of obedience before irrationalism.” Gutmann lowered his voice slightly, “And Tibet will become our best ally…”
“But the collapse of the Reich can’t be helped anymore,” Recke said somberly.
“No – Germany will temporarily be the sacrifice in the struggle on the mental plane. Not least because of some errors of its own policy… But at the same time it will engage with other nations refined by the fire, which is offered to it from the North. Until then, however, in the sign of the Black Sun we must prevent through defense the grey-magical forces pushing into the area of the White Circle!”
“Then there won’t be a vacation for picking flowers and kissing girls for a long time,” Recke sighed resignedly, “It’s obvious I won’t abandon you all…”
As a small pause entered their speech, Reimer placed a question, “Why couldn’t we ever see the commander of the base? Previously he received us with a message or even showed himself in any other occasion.”
As Juncker laid taciturn on Reimer’s bed, sprawled, Gutmann answered, “The commander lives among us, it could be said, undetected. Surely we have all seen him without knowing that it was him. He comes through the hangars and workshops as a mechanic, a sergeant and God knows what else. As a result of the Quarter-Group Organization, to identify him is almost impossible. Here everything is thought out very thoroughly. Only the Adjutant and the Chief of Operations know him.”
“And why all this?”
“For reasons of security for his person! He has overwhelming knowledge and the loss of the chief would be a disaster for us!”
“I thought the base would be shielded,” Recke said with hidden irony.
Gutmann looked at him disapprovingly, and then only said, “Better safe than sorry!”
“Then the magic of the Ta Lama wouldn’t be able to faze him either,” the Kasseler grinned.
“What do you mean?”
Recke hesitated for a moment. Then he told the SS officers about the two short episodes with the Tibetan. He didn’t withhold his feelings, which had caught him strangely. The few words the Ta Lama had given came back to his memory.
“These words carry weight and meaning,” Gutmann explained, “It wouldn’t surprise me should they affect your destiny. The man knew more than he spoke!”
The conversation stopped. After a little while the Kasseler rose and went to his room. Juncker followed him. Before Gutmann could lay down to snooze, he said to his comrade, “I have the feeling that’s having to do with everything. There’s going to be a hard time ahead of us!”
The rest granted to the men went by in a flash. The waking dreams or slumbers of others were disturbed by the noisy loudspeaker announcement, “Achtung – Achtung! The Grand Assembly meets back together in twenty minutes! The messengers are also asked to… In twenty minutes! I repeat...” The voice rasped down the words yet again.
            “Hey, Reimer! Get up!” Gutmann had spring up and reached for his red cape. A creaking from the door across the hall indicated that Juncker and Reimer were also already up. In fact the former slammed with his boot toe against the door of Gutmann’s room entirely, while other doors in the corridor began to be yelled at or be struck, “Out with you, you Schlafhasen!…”
            Just as drops collecting in a stream, the men flocked together commanded from multiple sides of the main passage way and walked in the same direction towards the meeting room. Now Reimer and Recke found the red capes less peculiar than they had before. They no longer seemed strange; everything was just as unusual thought and strange details merely made themselves less noticeable.
            For a second times the loudspeaker droned on underway. A myriad of small things showed repeatedly that there was a strict discipline. It was all as rigorous and exact as in the barracks of a normal military unit.
            This time Juncker took the two pilots with him to the pews of the assembly room so that they’d have a good view and not have to stand in the back again. Gutmann apologized that he was going to be accompanying the messengers instead and wouldn’t be able to meet them. Reimer and Recke has quite a few minutes now to inspect their surroundings in detail. Again their eyes were attracted to the Mithras relief on the rear wall of the room.
            The light of the overhead lights, which played less potently in the background, conjured mild shadows on the relief and let the figure of the light-god and the two torchbearers Cautes and Cautopates emerge plastically on either side. The room itself was otherwise unadorned.
            “What does the wall relief mean?” Reimer asked Juncker, who sat beside him, “I’ve already sweated through a part of my classical education.”
            The questioned turned his head slightly, “He is the Lord of the Sun! The ever-watching, never sleeping, the all-knowing and all-bountiful. As the light-god he is the implacable enemy of the darkness and its evil spirits. As protector of all truths, honesty and peaceableness, he goes to court strictly with all adversaries. His meaning…” He was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of the messengers. All murmuring in the hall had died.
            The train of emissaries came walking again down the middle aisle, the Waffen-SS officers at their head who had greeted at the opening of the meeting. Behind the men who hailed from different parts of the world came still some officers of the base as accompaniment, including Gutmann.
            The leader of the procession stepped onto the platform between the two statues while the following messengers formed a semicircle around the steps. Again he raised his arm, literally begging their attention.
            “Who sees the higher world purely and alone and approaching no gods, he awaits to hear the mighty roar of thunder so that he would be shaken. Then speak he: Silence, silence! And the prayer: I am a star who with you goes his path of transformation and is lit from below. After these words, the solar disk shall unfold!”
            The speaker lowered his arm and continued in changing tones, “We have bid the messengers in our midst that they like us hear the decisions of the Task-Staff of Point 103!”
            Stepping back he pulled the red cape closer and took on a waiting stance. In the same moment the red light shone again and covered the wall relief in a fiery glow. From the hidden speaker system came the sonorous voice of the invisible.
            “The Grand Assembly is convened so that it may fulfill the time as it is prescribed in the plan of the world. The messengers may hear: To the previously made comments on the major tasks of Point 103 of a general nature, their orders now endure to a number of men. One does not need to be a prognostic to know that the Chaos is already beginning to flood the earth and that already the policy makers of spirits cannot become the lords they claim to be. We do not know, therefore, what difficulties will oppose our troops in detail. Should individual members of our base become cunning in areas against expectation, where men from our friendly organizations live, so do we expect that they will give them help and support. From now on we will take all available forces to Germany to save her with technical potential and plans. The following orders will deal with a sampling of our opposing forces, to determine their strengths and position. Regardless of all plans however, a task force will be stopped immediately to devote itself to an intensive investigation of the Arctic. All the essentials that will be needed during deployments of their results will be delivered in a form suitable to each friendly organization. We therefore also expect to obtain rapid information in an exchange system.
            A little pause ensued. Then the voice continued, “At the conclusion of this assembly, all off-duty officers report to Hall 1 and take the new order roster made by the Ordinance Officer on my behalf to note. All officers who are not being sent within the next eight hours are to stay in their rooms or common room on my command. During this time a part of them will be called for operational orders. With that we now turn into the world of human affairs in the sign of the Black Disk!”
            The voice speaking in short, military sentences broke off. Almost simultaneously the red light went out yet again. The men in the pews looked at each other and exchanged meaningful glances, while the faces of the messengers remained unmoved.
            Recke leaned towards Juncker, “Do Reimer and I belong to the imprisoned?”
            “If you’re not on the new duty roster – then yes!”
            The messengers now began to leave the dais behind the lead of the red-caped men. They walked back through the aisle and then swung into the side aisles. Dividing into two streams, they took up the places in the first two rows at their leader’s behest. At the same time two men with the rank of lieutenant went to the front and pulled down a canvas over the embedded relief from the ceiling. Unbeknowst to the meeting participants, a movie projector had meanwhile been brought into the hall entrance.  With precise speed the cables were connected and minutes later a bright white beam of light flooded the canvas surface. For about half an hour followed excerpts from German and partly foreign newsreels.
            The included clips illustrated clearly the true state of the European fronts. Immense quantities of American military equipment for operations had been deployed on one hand, and on the other the weary groups of desperately struggling Germans.
            “We must recognize the situation as it really is,” explained the accompanying voice on the tape-strip.
            After the film had ended a map of Europe was projected onto the screen. A tall officer came out of the darkness at the edge of the light’s circle. He explained with a pointer stick in detail the true situations of the fronts.
            Juncker nudged the two captains, “That’s the Operations Officer!”
            The speech placed with responsible objectivity left no doubt as to the seriousness of the situation. Unsparingly the staff officer told of the advance of Allied troops and the discontinuation of their own units and the failure of replenishing the absent fuel and materials. He concluded his statements that an occupation of Germany would be an irreversible consequence of the development and in his final words appealed to the men of the base to serve unwaveringly a greater future. He concluded, “Let the messengers take with them the certainty that a collapse of our country will not hinder the efforts of the organizations. And however many persecutions repeat, so are they purifications by the fire of the highest test. And let the highest of all things be our duty!”
            The projector blanked out and for a few seconds darkness reigned in the room. As the room’s lighting was turned back on, the assembly saw the staff’s chief already leaving the room. The red cape waved like a flag behind him.
            “The Assembly is concluded!” the speaker called throughout the hall. The audience rose from their seats and let the messengers go first before they themselves began to leave.
            “I’m stunned,” Recke said to his comrade, “This openness…”
            Juncker raised an eyebrow, “You don’t mean to say the SS Front organizations consisted of sheep, do you?”
            “Well… not that…”
            “The Schutzstaffeln have an esoteric core, as Gutmann has already clarified. The Reichsheinrich – I mean Himmler – stands outside of it, but he knows of its existence. This creates an awkward situation which must be met with caution.”
            “I appreciate openness a lot,” Reimer took a turn in his small speech, “Especially when certain things need to be seen clearly. But whether or not it promotes morale…”
            “If a troop is good, the truth will never cripple them. We’d rather promote preparedness and bring out our last!” Juncker’s statement was dry and factual, “Here that recipe has proven itself to us.”
            The three men joined a small group of officers which discussed things lively as they aimed into the hallway. The curious were jammed in front of the bulletin board. The men who’d first arrived were already pushing back so that the other could move up. In short time Recke stood as the first of the comrades before the board and searched for their names.
            His voice rose above the banter of others, “Hey, Juncker, you seem to be among the chosen ones! Off-duty! – And Reimer? – Stay there, old boy! – Also free! – You got mighty lucky, you two!”
            His broad back arched slightly and they could clearly detail the tesne search.
            “Eureka!” he roared, “Someone has something against me!”
            Like a bull he pushed back smiling all over his face. He drew Reimer and Juncker and squeezed the Linzer’s arm in high spirits.
            “You’ve gone crazy!” he became indignant, partly annoyed, that the grip was painful. Recke didn’t have any too-delicate grips.
            “Don’t be so silly,” said the Kasseler, “We should see to it that we get into the house-arrest soon!”
            In the next hours the three men waited together in Juncker’s room, who sought to entertain his comrades. His comments were repeatedly interrupted by the loudspeaker that came in well audible the ajar door. Mostly they were the calls of officers being summoned to the commander. Recke was inattentive, and Reimer only now and then gave Juncker answers. Time flew.
            “We forgot to see if Gutmann was off-duty!” Reimer threw his hands together.
            Juncker was about to reply when the loudspeaker interrupted his intent, “Major Juncker and Captain Recke to the command center! – I repeat: Major…”
            In a flash Recke stood up, “All good spirits praise the Lord!” he cried out, “On, forwards – us, Juncker! – Hey, what about Reimer?” He broke his spontaneous outburst and listened. But the speakers were already silent and mentioned no names. “The hell! – Are they tearing us apart?”
            Juncker was already at the door.
“Don’t complain, just listen!” he said reassuringly.
As Recke and his companion entered the command room, he saw himself standing in a relatively small space whose facility bore a large table in the center surrounded by some shifted chairs. A pile of mapes covered it and lied apparently at random around an uprising microphone. Opposite of the door a glass sheet was inserted into the wall which granted no vision.
“Major Juncker and Captain Recke!” the first reported in.
“But there’s no one here yet!” the Kasseler said surprised.
“Shh!” Juncker hissed, “They can see through the glass, they’re not in here. It’s like that...”
“Don’t talk so much, Major!” chided the voice of the invisible, “For the moment we will only deal with one order. By the way – the Adju will be joining us immediately.”
“Oho, joining us…” Recke sneered under his breath. He looked to Juncker, who stood there with a red face.
“Don’t forget the microphone, Herr Hauptmann!” the commander warned mockingly.
The Kasseler was biting his lips. Now they’d both had their censure. He dared not even inspect the map in detail. While he scratched the deck half-embarassed with his boot tie, the door open and the aide came in. He had some papers in his hands and greeted them friendly. His insignia showed the same ranks as Juncker’s.
Now the invisible returned again, “I have little time and we must get to the core of the matter immediately. For now only one thing: Herr Hauptmann Recke! It is well known to me that you are one of the most enthusiastic officers have a great sense of duty. You have come through certain circumstances to Point 103 without first being prepared or screened. Major Küpper has taken responsibility for the crew of the destroyed Twin-Model and has given for you and Captain Reimer the best possible description. Allow me to make a long story short! Hitherto you have not actually belonged to our Gemeinschaft, but your comrade Gutmann – and Juncker too, I think – has already largely informed you about everything. About our organization itself you will be informed of in a timely manner. Are you ready, considering the current state of things and your knowledge, to fly under the sign of the Black Round and stand up?”
Recke looked forward to the glass as if he could see the commander physically before him, “So long as you stand by your word –  jawohl, Herr Kommandeur!
 A soft chuckle came back, “You have character. I like you, Hauptmann! I’ll keep an eye on you and promote you.” An indeterminable noise came through the loudspeaker system. Apparently papers rustling. Then the voice continued, “I order you with the new Dostra-Maschine to Prague, meine Herren! – The new model has a seven-man crew, that is to say, five men to administer the craft and you yourselves as Sonderkommando – special units – for the tasks provided. According to the progress of prior technology, this craft is safe against attack because it has flak-armor. I see your are astonished, Hauptmann! You will still have to get used to other surprises yet! Of course, the entire crew bears the greatest responsibility for the security and confidentiality of this model. If you land in Prague, allow no one to approach the machine. Juncker, you may take the command!”
Jawohl, Kommandeur!
“You have heard my words at the Grand Assembly, meine Herren! Your task is now to preserve certain plans or designs for a disk-aircraft from access by foreign hands. It is a model fundamentally similar to our design. The difficulty of your assignment will be that you can only be active during the beginning of the flight. At the same time, however, you must observe the onset of collective persecution and bring back a very precise report on the methodology. Provided that it is in your modest power, you are to provide all possible assistance if it does not compromise your assignment and the conservation of the machine. I’ve already pointed out clearly in my words that forces for the sake of persecution will be made extremely apparent. It is good to observe particularly well in this respect, meine Herren!  Our later decisions will be significantly influenced by your reports. Always remember!”
“Jawohl!” the two officers confirmed with discipline.
“In the Dosthra-Maschine you will find the complete flight-map equipment required for your route. Also I will give you an army map to give you a one-to-one hundred thousand scale of Bohemia’s area. The timing of your departure is not yet determined. Use the next few days to become familiar with the peculiarities of the new aircraft, and especially familiar with its weapons. There are yet secret weapons that the enemy doesn’t know of. You are both relieved of base service, meine Herren! According to previous reports it may be that your deployment will be in ten or fifteen days. Before you take off, I’ll call you up again. You will receive detailed instructions for your order from the Chief of Operations. I thank you in the meanwhile!”
Both officers threw up their hands and saluted. The Adjutant accompanied them to the door and comradely gave them his hand.
“Congratulations,” he said, “You’ve got a fine assignment!”
“Damn it,” Recke replied to Juncker underway, “I forgot to ask about Reimer!”
“Just don’t ask,” Juncker warned, “We’ll have a good chance without Reimer. Besides, our team is complete. The chief doesn’t like to exchange!
Instead of entering their room, they first went together to Reimer’s. There they found him in animated conversation with Gutmann.
“What gives?” he asked as the two walked in.
“Everything buttered!” Recke replied, using the popular expression among soliders, “We’re flying to Prague!”
“And indeed with a Dosthra,” added Juncker.
Gutmann whistled, “Our best model. The great surprise of airspace. If the chief uses this machine, then there’s going to be all kinds of projects!”
“It appears so,” said the Kasseler, “I’m pretty curious about this new type of model!”
“Tomorrow we’ll see!” Juncker ran his hand over his head, “I’m aware of these things already, but they’ll explain to our Recke soon enough. Moreover I’ll be running it too.”
“I just wonder when I’ll be brought to the commander,” Reimer interrupted. To the surprise of all Gutmann answered, “Not at the moment!”
“Ah – why not?”
Gutmann winked, amused, “He doesn’t want to interrupt your life now begun with all this tranquility.”
“Bullshit! Seriously, what’s going on?” The questioned put a hand on Reimer’s shoulder, “With me – Special Employment!”
“Special Employment?” The Linzer marveled, “Because we’re still together as pairs. That’s cute of the chief.”
“It all has its meaning,” Gutmann made a mysterious face, whose expression was already becoming known to his comrades.
            “Old secretive, you,” chided the Linzer.
            “Oh – not quite – As proof against your assertion I’ll share with you that tomorrow we join a tour of the Dosthra machine. The chief wants you to get to know this model and how to fly it.”
            “The chief’s wish is my wish. He is a very polite man if he refers to his orders as wishes!”
            “One more question,” Recke objected, “What about the other five men in the crew?”
            Gutmann made a casual movement of the hand, “They’ll report with us in the next few hours once the Adju’s brought them to their feet!”
            Gutmann was wrong. The tension of the busy day let the men forget the view’s they’d exchanged by the time of midnight. The continuous artificial light could easily confuse the concept of time. It was Juncker who, with a random look at his watch, diagnosed that it was time for bed.
            In the morning the telephone rattled. As Recke picked up the receiver, the Adjutant reported to him and told him that the five other crewmembers would report in about half an hour. He and Juncker were allowed to remain in their room for the moment.
            The two men had enough leisure to grab breakfast and finish up. At the expected time there was a knock on the door. As Recke opened it he saw a young Senior Lieutenant of the Luftwaffe standing before him, and behind him on the opposite side of the aisle stood in a row a Luftwaffe sergeant and three Unterführer from the Waffen-SS.
            “Lieutenant Jensen with four men reporting in on the commander’s order!” He led his right hand with the casual positioning of his fingers to the visor of his tight-fitting cap.
            “Ah – I’m glad it’s you!” said Juncker, who came up from behind Recke into the gangway. He gave the flight officer his hand and introduced him to the Kasseler.
            “Jensen and I have already flown a few times together.” Looking at the four men, he said, “Well then – we already know each other!”
            Then turning to Recke, “These are in order: Beer – an old Stuka-man, then Paulsen, Krammer and finally our Flying Dutchman, the Senior Squad Leader Van Huys!”
            They were selected men, all lined up for report. They all had awards and badges. Gutmann, attracted by the talking at the corridor, came out of his room with Reimer and smiled.
            “A fine crew,” he noted as the recent welcome ended, “An already Dosthra-trained staff…”
            The two captain, led by the SS officers, entered a hangar space blasted into the rock of the mountain-ring, which was extended by a small camouflaged structure. Some of the men from the ground crew were readily available. Gutmann left it to Juncker to give the explanations.
            After their initial queries, he showed the two captains a large aircraft which stood like a monster in the glare of the room. Reimer and Recke had expected a a design that would resemble a larger Henckel or Dornier type. Instead they saw a machine that resembled an outspoken attack craft.
            “This is the Dosthra-Maschine, Type E!” said Juncker. It sounded simple as if he were pointing to an ordinary object, “The latest standard-sized fighter, whose series production and use in the homeland is no longer possible.”
            The captains, seeing the technological marvel for the first time, took a few steps to the side to get a better look. Before them they saw a high-sitting deck, which had a pentagonal cross-section fuselage and its thickened nose gave it the appearance of a maligned insect. That visual impression was reinforced by the fact that on both sides, two great Black Circles worked themselves like eyes on a beast.
            “A powerful bird,” Reimer remarked in meditation, “It well has a wingspan of forty meters.”
            “Forty-five!” Juncker added factually, “Hull length about firty-five meters.”
            “Oh boy,” said Recke reverently.
            “We still have Model C and D here,” explained Juncker, “Model E is essentially a much improved pattern and, as already indicated by the commander, flak-proof.”
            “I can’t very well imagine that,” Reimer interrupted.
            “It’s made of the latest material. Namely Quetschmetall – “crimp metal”. It’s this highly-compressed metal that’s literally crushed under pressures of up to four-hundred-thousand atmospheres and therefore has a low specific weight and high strength. Because it’s usually radioactive, the activity is insulated with a plastic overlay. By this method almost any allow, including steel, can be compressed into a light metal. As armor for aircraft it’s virtually impenetrable. Furthermore secret inlays prevent the blowing out of hollow charges.”
            “You speak like a book!” consideration sounded from Recke’s words.
            “Man must know his machine!” In that reference was a slight reprimand. He stepped up the the pulpit extending far ahead which showed two juxtaposed, well-formed combat positions.
            “Here,” he pointed to two man-sized wheels of some four meters in diameter, presiding over very strong roll-bars like pincers from the head of the insect, “This chassis is capable of retracting both wings underneath! It has four engines, namely Piston-Radial engines from an Argus model. The hull has a fifth engine for particular altitudes and in addition on the tips there are charge-ramjets. These nozzles can be used for acute-angle depth changes.”
            “Excellent,” expressed Reimer, “The engine nacelles and the tail look a little strange.”
As if to himself, he added, “Well, well… short, coaxial Hammerhead-Propellers with four blades.” He let his eyes slide along the hull, “Interesting! Not a common V-shape. The hull looks like a long cigar.”
“And indeed, a strange coating,” it was now heard from the Kasseler, “Looks as if the machine were sprinkled with countless eyes. Strange bird!” He reviewed it also like Reimer, “Relatively narrow wings, stacked split-wings. Somwhat obliquely positioned and low set tail. Hmm…”
“A whole-metal model,” Reimer concluded his first considerations. Juncker nodded, “Already two-thirds of the shell structure without ribs!”
“And the speed?” asked the Linzer.
“Yeah – You wouldn’t want to believe it. But the plane actually flies at about eight-hundred and thirty kilometers per hour and has a range of twenty-two thousand kilometers at a maximum altitude of twenty-three. Especially noteworthy is its climb at about seventy-five percent of current fighter-jets, so that a risky climb is possible at any time!”
“Damn it! With an air force of such technology we could still turn this accursed war in our favor! Except for fuel…” The impulsive Recke clasped his hands together.
“I’m not nearly done,” Juncker added dryly, “The armament is also new and still secret! The Dosthra has board cannons, which are actually metal radiators.” The SS-Officer gloated over the questioning faces of his comrades, before continuing, “These radiators are based on the working of the sandblaster-principle and its cutting effect can readily cut through the wing of an enemy aircraft. The weapon has a standard outlet as a mounted armament and even looks as such on the outside. The process is somewhat like this, that metallic dust is chased by magnetic fields and an extremely fine beam with strong acceleration hits the target. The working of this weapon exceeds all other airborne cannons!”
            “Oh my God,” whispered the Kasseler, “This Dosthra E could never be surpassed!”
            “But,” Juncker countered immediately, “In a few years, the E-Model will be outdated already. In the new age of jet fighters and supersonic speed we must increase the speeds of our great war machines significantly. Work is already under way on new energy sources. We stand before revolutionary changes!”
            “That’s enough with the explanations,” Gutmann cut him off, “Let’s look at it from the inside now!”
            As the four officers left the hall at noon, they were serious and silent.