Winning Without Victory
a political and romantic fiction novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Volume 3 of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Page 176
Chapter 12 - Lord of Darkness

 

Chapter 12 - Lord of Darkness


War has matured: The game is now terror.
Weapons have matured: The bombs became Uranium Daisy Cutter.
Strategies have matured: The lies are now called cultural 'freedom.'
Objectives have matured: Empires are flirting with genocide
;
Pushing dark daisies
.




      The tape recorder was still in my pocket when I got out of bed. It was past seven in the morning. The second tape had run to its end. Palmerston had put a new one in, a part of the way through that horrible meeting, so that none of its terror would be lost. Strangely, he seemed pleased in the end with the way it had turned out, though his recruitment effort had obviously failed. Or maybe that meeting was more than just a recruitment effort. Maybe he did succeed in his mission. Maybe his recruitment effort was for a different objective. Maybe he was merely issuing marching orders that one simply couldn't ignore. Maybe that's how the Fondi Empire has been operated right from the beginning when Venice was the Empire that had terrorized and looted the Old World in its early days from its tiny outpost built into the sea.

      I wondered how many kings, queens, and princes of that world had in their days been subjected to the same kind of 'recruiting' session and received their marching orders in a manner that left them likewise no options but to obey. The Venetian Empire had taken over the Netherlands later, after the Thirty Years War, and then England when Prince William of Orange had obeyed likewise and invaded England for the Venetians. From this point on England was no longer a kingdom. It became an oligarchy, Venetian style. From the ashes of the English kingdom rose the British Empire in which the old Venetian Empire resurfaced with a new face. The British Empire became the first completely private World Empire. The new empire was no longer ruled by a monarchy as in previous times. Instead it effectively 'owned' the monarchy. This new trend of the privatization of power for profit would soon determine the shape of the world, controlling even the fate of the world's largest nations, like India, China, and other huge lands on a continental scale that made England appear like a postage stamp in comparison.

      In the context of this background Mr. Palmerston of the night before might have merely given me a history lesson of how things are done in the 'real world,' the world of empire, and how it has always been done in the fondi's imperial past. Nevertheless his terrible lesson wasn't that easily shrugged off. It had wrapped itself around my life like a blanket of darkness that suddenly seemed impenetrable. He had made it repeatedly clear that this blanket might become a blanket of death if I didn't act "wisely" as he had put it, according to his terms. That too was a part of that history lesson. In the historic 'glory' days of Venice the executioner's platform evidently stood tall and prominent and probably had not been ignored by anyone.



      I joined Sylvia on the balcony that morning, after those endless seeming, agonizing, hours with Palmerston. I was too tired however to speak about what had happened. Luckily she didn't ask. After simply saying good morning, as she looked at her watch, she joined the others inside. They all seemed too busy to even think about what might have happened. Everyone was rushing about getting ready to leave. Steve acknowledged jokingly in passing that I "made it back in one peace" and suggested that I should tell him on the plane about my "visit" as he called it. I agreed. Little did he realize that our mission at the physicist's conference in Venice, which had started out as an innocent visit to a gentle paradise, had ended with a visit to the portal of hell.

      With the tape recorder still weighing heavily in my pocket I almost felt that I had betrayed Ushi and Steve by asking them to join our mission, which were thereby now invariably touched by this dark blanket.

      Ushi had played her part well. Even before I stepped onto the world-stage at the physicist's conference where I had officially declared America's SDI project to be dead, I had felt uneasy about it even though I knew that the step had to be taken. Maybe the others had felt uneasy too. If they had, they hadn't let it show. They showed enthusiasm rather than reservations. Maybe they did so in an effort to hide their reservations. I could still see in my mind how Ushi had raised her hand for a question, excitedly, asking, "Sir, since this decision to terminate the SDI is of considerable significance to the Soviet Union and to my country, would you allow me as an East German journalist to observe the facts? I would like to witness the closing of one of your labs?"

      "Naturally! Be our guest," the speaker from the Energy Department had replied to her, who had been on the podium with me. "You are welcome if you think there is something worthwhile to be seen. We have nothing to hide."

      "If I were allowed such a visit, I could write with the authority of one who has observed the process in motion," she had replied to the man from the Energy Department. "As a journalist I can't allow myself to be contend with hearsay. I could be guilty of misinterpreting you."

      "If it is within my power to arrange such a visit, I invite you as my personal guest," the Energy Department fellow had replied to Ushi with a smile.

      In this respect I felt that the conference had been a big success, as big as we had hoped for, but it all seemed so insignificant suddenly in the light of that session with the fondi with which the day had ended.

      "Thank you kindly, sir!" Ushi had said to the Energy fellow and had waved at him. She had been jumping with the kind of joy that one derives from a great accomplishment. She had turned to Steve, "We've got it!" she had said and embraced both Steve and Ross in one giant hug. "Steve and I are going to America, publicly acknowledged, and by my own request." It hadn't occurred to me until that day that for someone living behind the Iron Curtain visiting America might be a rare treat.

     

      My presentation at the conference, and Steve's, had officially ended the conference. I remembered that Ushi and Steve practically ran to the nearest restaurant where they immediately got down to business, getting their reports together. Ushi had been on the phone for half an hour talking to Berlin, and Steve to Moscow. It had been a treat to see them both so excited that evening with Ushi running at top speed across Piazza San Marco with her pad in hand, looking for a telephone.

      "The story is out!" Ushi had said exhausted when she came back to the restaurant where I had waited with Tony, Sylvia, and Ross. "They could hardly believe it in Berlin," said Ushi. "It will be printed in tomorrow's papers."

      "No doubt it will also cause headlines on tonight's newscasts all over the Soviet sphere," said Steve. "America shutting down its SDI means a lot to them."

      "I wouldn't be surprised if the headlines would also include your remark about America giving the SDI away as a gift to the Soviet Union, all wrapped up with hugs and kisses," said Ushi to me in her excitement. "The only thing we have to do now, is to find the speaker again and take him up on his promise for us to visit one of the labs."

      "Actually you don't really need his help for this," I said to her. "Call the President yourself. Call him directly."

      "You must be mad," she said and grinned back, "nobody calls the President of the mightiest country in the world just like that!"

      "Try it!" I said. "Phone him. He wants this thing to succeed. Tell him how well it went."

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