Edited by Robert D. Morningstar
(Copyright 22018, Robert D. Morningstar – All Rights Reserved)
From the civil society, he felt expelled and attracted at the same time. But the more he had flushed the slander, the more his urge to be a part of that society had become. Years later, the effects of this were to show itself: he would defend an order, which he rejected at the same time. And so, as he, the rejected, would embrace the rejecting, he would try to seemingly lift the humiliation he had suffered. He would articulate his accusations of blame to the world in order to explain his own destiny with its faulty order. Back then, when he had stood in the long line in front of the homeless shelter to get a bowl of soup, in the middle of the washed-up Strandgut of the city, he was still a long way off. It was November 1909. But until May 24, 1913, when he turned his back on the city, he ought to have acquired what later one of his biographers would call the “granite foundation,” albeit without realizing how true this was, now that the events of that time passed his mind’s eye, he was back where he first stood in 1910. By 1913, he had been here dozens of times, but never He had enjoyed the privilege of being alone, alone with the spear of fate, with history alone: today his companions had fulfilled his wish, and more than half an hour had elapsed since they had closed the door behind them. Now he was lost in thought, giving the impression of a meditator speaking to his god, his head outstretched, his piercing gaze fixed on the spear that lay there on red velvet before him. Suddenly his chest began to shake, at first slightly, then more and more. Eventually his hands, his head, his legs were seized by it. On his face were drops of sweat that, when they slid down, left their salty marks on the skin and wet the hair of his thin mustache. The shakiness changed to a chill, his gaze remained fixed on the tip of the spear. But the trance that overwhelmed him to seize his spirit made his senses unaware. His mouth opened and a scream broke out that had nothing human about it. His arms shot forward, grabbing the spear, tearing it into the air. His head jerked upward, his dark eyes fixed on the piece of history he held in his outstretched, trembling hands. His uniform cap slid down and fell to the ground. A strand of his hair hung in his sweaty forehead. He had become one with the magical powers radiated by the spear, whose flow evolved, filled, and elated him more than he had ever experienced before. Four times seven years – 28 in total – he had been waiting for this moment. Now, on the night of 14th to 15th March 1938, he finally held the spear in his hands. He had become one with destiny, he was destiny himself. His scream ebbed away, ran out in a rattle, his upper body fell forward and clattered on the small table. His fingers tightened on the piece of metal, as if they swore never to let go. Only a few hours earlier he had moved into the city. What he had left quietly in 1913 he now took in triumph. Enthusiastic masses, seas of flowers, flag forests, roaring evil, crashing fanfares, decorated houses – all for him, the once outcast. When the German troops had marched in, the Austrian president had given the order to hermetically seal off the inner city of Vienna and, above all, to secure the government buildings around the Hofburg. But when the police units arrived there, they came across armed SS teams. Ernst Kaltenbrunner had personally overseen the handing over of the keys to the treasury, for the space was more important than any government building combined, more important than anything else. Here was the ultimate destination. It was not for nothing that the occupation of the Hofburg was given the highest priority and the coup was planned according to the standards. Hitler stepped out of the treasury through the door. Wolfram von Sievers, Major Walter Buch, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Heinrich Himmler were waiting outside. More than an hour had passed since they had left him there alone. But that one hour was enough to change something in him. The Lord of Germany had become the contender for the Challenge Cup Earth. In 1932 he had said to Hermann Rauschning: “We will disturb the world from its sleep. We will face tasks that today’s world can not dream of. Germany is always just a start. Whoever wins it will put the stamp on the next age. “Now he was sure that no one would be able to stop him.” “Nuremberg, April 30, 1945Information obtained thus far indicates that the order to make the imperial insignia one Apart from Himmler and the Nuremberg city officials who were involved in the transport, only Kaltenbrunner, the head of the German security service, and Müller, the head of the Gestapo, can talk about the real thing at a meeting of the department heads in the Reich Security Main Office, which took place in Berlin on April 1, one day after the insignia had been picked up, Muller reported to Kaltenbrunner: “The imperial insignia are sunk on the lake. ‘ Kaltenbrunner’s only answer was, ‘Good!’ This information was given by Lieutenant General Spacil, who was to take part in the meeting as Chief of Division II of the Reich Main Security Office, and from this exchange Spacil concluded that Kaltenbrunner must have been aware of the details of the operation, because otherwise he would be closer. On the other hand, it can be inferred from Muller’s remark that the idea of blurring the traces of invented history from the sinking of insignia in a lake must have originated in the highest circles of the German Security Police and that The order to stage an apparent transport of the treasures in Nuremberg came from Berlin.The fact that not even the chiefs in the Reich Security Main Office were considered worthy to be privy to the secret proves the political importance that was accorded to him. Facts and in accordance with talks between GeFa, The SS members, who were reported by the intelligence unit of the Third Army, seem to think that the imperial insignia, according to the German Security Service, should become the symbol of the future German resistance movement. “ (From the US Intelligence Agency archives: “Report on Recovery of Imperial German Insignia of Holy Roman Empire”, MGO, Detachment E-203, Company C, 3rd Military Government Regiment, AP 403, USA.) The jeep bumped the wreckage scattered on the road, the driver trying as best he could to avoid them, the American artillery and the bombers doing a great job, destruction wherever they looked, the last of them in the steel thunderstorms of thousands of tons of explosives. Captain Walter Thompson ordered the driver to stop and when he got out, he left his rifle in the car, and a few hours earlier, his men had discovered something in a small alley of Nuremberg that he wanted to take a closer look at.There had been an entrance to a tunnel, rumbling and rubble, and Thompson walked over to it, two Gls posted in front of it saying: “It’s an old cellar, sir There is no light. But we’ve already organized torches. “The soldier, a sergeant chewed, unimpressed by Thompson’s higher rank, on his chewing gum, grinning, holding up two torches.“Good, Sergeant, you’re coming.” Thompson took a torch and lit it with his storm lighter. He went ahead, the corporal followed him. For the first few meters, they had to climb over the walls of masonry that had once formed the house above the cellar, but then it was easier. The light of the torches eerily illuminated the walls of the vault.“Ancient,” thought Thompson.After a few yards, he realized the walls had not been cleared. The corridor was now carved directly into the rock. The sergeant was close behind him. Suddenly he cursed loudly. “What’s going on, sergeant?” Thompson turned around. “Nothing, sir, I just banged my head on that damned rock, pretty tight.” “Did you actually have the passage searched for mines and booby traps? It could be a lot more uncomfortable here. “” Yeah, sure, we’ve cleared away what we found, and if there’s anything else, then kick it first … “Thompson was now too excited to to correct the sergeant. Would he actually find what he hoped for here? Months before, long before the first US soldier entered German soil, Thompson had been assigned to it and subordinated to him a special unit specially designed for this purpose. The farther the American troops had advanced, the more information had converged on him. The last few weeks he had spent only searching the supposed hiding places of the Habsburg throne insignia – without success. But here, in Nuremberg, the ground was hot.
THE SPEAR OF LONGINUS
The Spear was kept long enough in this city, which had once set the stage for the gigantomanically-staged Reich Party Rally of the NSDAP.
“So why?,” Thompson wondered, “Why should not he still be here? There!“
The tochlight peeled the remains of a massive steel door out of the darkness. Soldiers had blown them up.
“It had to be behind it!” Thompson thought as he ignored the man behind him.
Thompson wanted to know now!
He hurriedly worked his way over the mess lying scattered everywhere.
Then he had passed the steel door. Behind it was a whole row of wooden boxes, turned off apparently in the highest hurry in a mess untypical for the Germans. Thompson handed his s torch to the sergeant, and at the same time he pulled his combat knife out of its scabbard, struggling over the boxes, opening them one after the other, all of them priceless treasures of art In every other situation, Thompson would have taken his time to look at her, but with every new box he opened that did not provide the content he was looking for, his feverish excitement only increased, and the sergeant looked blank Then, by the thirteenth chest, he finally found what he wanted, for him the war was over, at least his. “Sometimes the temporal coincidence of events is startling. even if they happen hundreds of kilometers away from each other, a thread seems to connect the two, linking them together, part of them of a common whole. If you pull on one end of the thread, something moves on the other. But often it is not the straight line that connects two things together. The thread deviates, describes turns, knots. And it is reserved for only a few people to solve these knots.
Hitler had had lunch at two o’clock in the depths of the Berlin Führerbunker, surrounded by his secretaries and his cook. While he was eating his last meal, two Soviet soldiers hoisted the Red Flag on the dome of the Reichstag building.
After dinner, Hitler called his closest associates together. He shook hands with Goebbels, Bormann, Generals Burgdorf and Krebs, his secretaries – Frau Jung and Frau Christian – and some orderlies. He then moved back to his room with his longtime companion Eva Braun, whom he had married shortly before. The clock showed 15 30 clock. The moment Captain Walter Thompson opened the thirteenth box in a cellar in Nuremberg, a shot was fired in the Berlin Fiihrer bunker. Adolf Hitler was dead, his wife had taken poison. While in Nuremberg some people were struggling to drag the boxes out of the basement, in Berlin the SS guards carried the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun up to the courtyard. They poured gasoline over them, Hitler’s adjutan Otto Günsche threw a burning rag on his body. Hitler had been in possession of the spear for seven years.
From the man who had once queued up in Vienna for a hot soup in the queue of the metropolitan Strandguts, the master of Germany and finally became the whole of Europe. Its power had reached its zenith from the icy North Cape to the fiery desert of North Africa, from the waves of the Atlantic to the endless expanse of Russia.
If anyone would come and say that Hitler’s way began in 1910 in the Vienna Treasury, they would declare him crazy. But the sages would look at each other and smile knowingly.
There were no coincidences, at most things that ordinary people explained for ordinary reasons. Now the flames consumed the flesh of the man who had become the symbol of icy destruction. Fire and ice, in the eternal play of magical powers.
It seemed as if the flames were paying tribute to the millions of dead who had remained behind. But the fire would give birth to ashes, and the ashes would be the seed for a new phoenix that would rise in distant times with a mighty flapping of its wings.
Vienna, November 18
It was not until the seventeenth time that the buzzing of the alarm came into Hans Weigert’s brain.
The alarm clock was indifferent. He would keep humming as long as there was electricity in his electronic interior. To the end of every day, if need be. Or until a master ordered his circuits to stop – and hit the key labeled “Off.”
After the twenty-second note, it was time to give him this order. Weigert rolled around and felt with his right hand for the troublemaker, or more precisely, for the white plastic button over which the master could transmit his orders to the machine.
The first two attempts failed, probably because Weigert had buried his head in the pillow, and his hand blindly made its foray into alarm clock, relied only on the tactile sense of her fingers. But then she succeeded. A short push and the humming stopped. The master had ordered. Weigert did not mind the alarm clock.
For him, he was like a ferryman, who every morning transferred him from one world to another. Out of the realm of dreams, into the reality of life.
In the morning, Weigert’s body functions slowed down more than usual. It was as if life had chosen to slow down, and thus prolong itself, by slowing down the pace at which it progressed. But the trick could not succeed.
For the outside world was pulsing at its usual pace, demanding people to take their places and adjust to the pace. And so Weigert’s body had to synchronize the speed of its processes with the world every day anew. It was time again. Things you could not change had to be accepted. As he straightened, he felt a hammering in his head. The previous night took its toll. Slowly the memory seeped through. Which restaurant was it?
The “Foggy Dew” with its delicious imports from Ireland, none of them below 43% by volume, or was it the “beer tide” where a dozen taps sticking out of the wall whose streams of barley juice never wanted to end? No, not… It must have been the “Foggy Dew.”
The hammering in his head grew stronger, with little light coming through the closed windows of the bedroom window, but it was enough to find his way around cigarette and a lighter, two glasses, one of which still contained some whiskey, made the still life perfect, two glasses!
Weigert turned his head to the right, aghast at the unusual speed of the movement. She was still lying there, one leg sticking out from under the covers – what a leg!
Waves of long, blond hair flowed down her bare shoulders, her eyes – yesterday they had been deep blue as far as Weigert could remember – where the eyeshadow had blurred a bit, it had to have happened when their hot bodies joined together to reach the peak of pleasure. Weigert had met her yesterday, probably in the “Foggy Dew”.
Her name … Was she Eve? No, he would have noticed. But there was an “E.” Maybe Daniela, maybe, maybe not, anyway, he’d have to wake her up before he left, but until then there was still time, what time was it? There was something else to do, but humming, Weigert told him it was already twenty minutes past nine, time to let the day go by, and cautiously he got out of bed, not wanting to wake her up.
Mornings later, Weigert often wondered how he could avoid this situation, but he had not found a solution yet, so he tried to limit communication to the bare essentials.
There were scattered garments everywhere, and he was just standing on his jeans, her skirt in the open door, two steps ahead, in the anteroom, the black panties he’d pulled out of her It is hardly bigger than a stamp. Halfway to the door, his white shirt, which was still white yesterday, covered the carpet. Someone had accidentally poured red wine over it in the evening, and one of those lousy years. He certainly would not be able to wear it today. Below, a sock peeked out. And right next to her were her stockings black stockings, whose seams had emphasized her long legs so inviting.
Actually, Weigert was looking for his Unterhoose. B ut she was nowhere to be seen. He decided to stay as he was: naked.
When he spotted his face in the bathroom mirror he was positively surprised. He had expected worse. The fact that he wore his black hair rather short had once again proved its worth. They were not too messed up. The stubble gave him a slightly audacious touch and so he decided to do without a shave.
The green eyes made a somewhat sleepy impression, but after a decent shower and a headache tablet would be synonymous. Weigert turned on the water – icy cold – and stood under the stream. That was his way of getting up to speed and synchronizing with the course of the world. His body still had a touch of the tan of last summer. It had been a beautiful, hot summer, as Weigert liked it. As often as his time allowed, he had driven on weekends to one of the lakes, which had a considerable influence on the landscape of the Salzkammergut or Carinthia. He had not done the right vacation, he had saved it for next year. Five weeks of Scotland. The Highlands. Misty valleys. Relaxing evenings in front of the fireplace. Smoky pubs. Bagpipes. Malt whiskey. Next year. The cold water splashed over his body and awakened life in it. Weigert still saw that he had done a lot of sports, albeit many years ago. But his job had left him less and less time for it. And so he finally had it left. But his cigarette consumption had risen, probably an occupational disease of journalists. Weigert turned off the water and reached for the towel. As he rubbed himself dry, he decided to give up breakfast. The time would not be enough anyway. He would make up for it in the editorial office. When he went into the bedroom to get fresh things out of the closet, the blond angel who had sweetened the night woke him up. When she opened her eyes, Weigert saw that his memory had not deceived him. They were really deep blue. “Good morning!” “What time is it?” Her voice sounded bright, apparently not just a fast trooper in the evening. “Half past 10. Unfortunately, I have to go.” The work is calling. “ “Do you always start so late?” “Mostly, being a journalist also has its advantages.” “Student life, too.” Now he remembered: French and history, she’d said yesterday, French dominating her, no doubt about it, they had not come back to the story, “That means I have to get out of here?” “Right, sweetheart.” “Well then …” She flipped back the blanket and got out of bed. If it had been earlier, Weigert could not have resisted. But it was half past nine. And life outside had long since started. He did not want to keep it waiting. She collected her things from the floor. “Did you happen to see my panties?” “It’s outside, in the anteroom.” She laughed. “She was sympathetic,” she said, bending down to look at her panties, the grace of the movement indicating that she was aware of her effect, she liked her body, as she had already shown him that night “Where can you reach you?” “I’ll write you my phone number.” She pulled the panties upwards, the transparent front part just enough to cover the bare necessities, and there was nothing in the back, except for a thin strip of cloth, Weigert had a lot over for such prospects Picking up her purse she pulled out a pen and a note and as she wrote down her number, Weigert unbuttoned his shirt, hoping he would at least be spared red wine stains today. She held out the note. When he reached for it, she kissed him. “Do not throw it away.” “I’ll take care of it like my eyeball, it’s about time for me …” “All right.” They had understood the hint with the fence post and quickly got dressed. “See you soon, Stubblebeard.” Another kiss, and she was gone. She had not written her name to him. When Weigert raised the blinds to let the not so fresh morning into the bedroom, he found out that there was a wonderful day outside. Only the sun, he thought, was a bit lower than usual at this time of day. Vienna, 18 November Franz Hawlicek, one of the editorial messengers, was the first to cross Weigert. “Hello Hans! You’re not looking fit right now. Hawlicek refuses, but did he have to be that loud? “Every night has its price, you hear, yours would have been rather expensive two days ago, if we had not had several messengers, then we would we can distribute the mail ourselves. “ Hawlicek raised his finger to his lips like a conspirator fearing that his secret plan might be exposed. “But, but … I had terrible migraines. What do you do besides stay at home? “” Well, you see. With the same migraine, I drag myself on all fours to the editorial office to work, and how is one received? “ “Alright, alright. Nevertheless, I support the idea that we should introduce the zero percentile limit for editors on the computer. Then the newspaper would finally have a chance to become really good. But no-one listens to me. “Hawlicek had a certain amount of freedom in the editorial office that he would not have been credited with because of his function.” He, the editorial messenger, was at the same time the jester of the newspaper. he did not care about rank or influence, everyone knew it, and most of them accepted it, and if he were an editor, he would not have it that easy, but he had often been the mouthpiece that trumpeted what would otherwise have been swallowed, and with it the icebreaker for long-hardened fronts, that was its proper function in that sociotope of editors who formed the crew of the “Blatt”. He was a messenger too, by the way. Seven years ago, Hans Weigert had first entered the hallowed halls of the “Blatt.” Like today, the first person he met in the editorial office was Hawlicek, who had collided at the front door. A huge stack of mail the messenger had carried had been spread evenly across the floor. “Look at it, look at it, a new sleeper-bear face.” Hawlicek’s greeting had not been respectful. He had pointed to the letters on the ground: “For you probably would not be there.” Weigert was then fresh from the John Hopkins University in Bologna, where he received his doctorate in economics in the context of a post-graduate education had come to the “leaf”. He had not had anything to do with journalism until then. But the idea of working in a media company had always irritated him. He had actually applied for a position on the management board. Chance would have it that he started as an editor. He had not regretted it yet. As he fooled around with Hawlicek, Weigert recalled his first few minutes at The Leaf, back when they had both picked up the scattered mail, Hawlicek’s voice interrupting his memories. “Today you have to be careful, Hans nicely loaded. “ “The Short”: This nickname had given the journalists of the “leaf” to its editor. Considered Dr. Closer to Karl Bergmann, it had to be admitted that the designation was rightly chosen. “First he went down the hall and shouted. Yesterday somebody wrote the name of our worthy chancellor wrongly. No one noticed it and today it is in the paper, to make matters worse still in a title. When he caught the culprit, the mail went off. A whirlwind is a gentle breeze against it. “” And who was to blame? “ “Internal politics, Geissler. He’d probably just had one of his daydreams again. “Weigert laughed. He could well imagine his colleague Geissler sitting in front of the computer, thinking in his sailboat, the oar firmly in his hand, ready to hit the waves What was the Chancellor? Weigert picked up a copy of the “sheet” from the big stack that was waiting in the reception and prepared to go to his office. “Do not get in the way of the boss, Hans. If he sees your crumpled face, we’ll have the next whirlwind. “10” Do not worry, I’ll hide in the toilet. “ As Weigert sauntered across the corridor, he glanced at the first page of the newspaper and read the two front-page headlines: “Russia in the EPU – New Talks in Moscow.” The EPU or European Political Union was formed four years ago as the last stage of the European Community.After long negotiations in 1995, Austria also belonged to the EPU. The European unification had become so far advanced that the European Council, as a European government, had largely replaced national legislation. Brussels was now the true heart of Europe, and the other capitals had only sta- tus roles. The revolutions in the Eastern European states at the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties had led to the collapse of what had hitherto been subsumed under the term “Eastern bloc.” Within a short time, more and more of these countries had embarked on a democratic and market-oriented course. Once again, in the break-up USSR, orthodox communists tried to reverse the wheel of time in 1991.But after they succeeded in deposing the initiator of Soviet reform policy, Mikhail Gorbachev, the coup had collapsed in just a few days. As a result, the old guard had been removed from their last positions of power. The Soviet Union did not survive this process. It had crumbled into its constituent republics, some of which were now held together only by the loose bands of a federation. A still persistent rapid economic catching up was the result. What no one had thought possible at the beginning of the 1980s had happened: Russia and most of the other republics had become functioning, democratic states according to capitalist principles. Karl Marx was probably still rotating in his grave. The economy of the West, provided the term “West”Anything else was good enough to conquer the now accessible huge market. It was not surprising, then, that the republics that emerged from the USSR, especially Russia, had shown increasing interest, first at the EC and later at the EPU. Memoranda of understanding on inclusion have been in existence for a few years. For some months now, however, they have been moving towards proper accession negotiations. The world was getting closer together. Weigert opened the door to his office, which he shared with three other colleagues. One of them was already there. “Good morning everyone!” “Whether the morning is good, must still show.” Heinz Tolmein had at least one feature that distinguished the trained Austrian: the grin. He always found something that did not suit him.Weigert had never really experienced it in a relaxed and contented way. There was already a hint of bitterness in his face, which, to be sure, was too weak to really fight against what seemed to be oppressively felt. He probably did not want it either. The Austrian 11 in Tolmin needed this ambiguity of suffering and simultaneous complaint. That was the masochistic essence of his life. Weigert did not particularly like him, but he respected him as a good journalist. He sat opposite Tolmein at his desk. “Where is the rest of the workforce?” “Erich is at a press conference of the Foreign Minister of the Maghreb Republic and Wolfgang left today on his business trip to Japan, at least you could have noticed.I’m sitting alone here and playing phone Miss for you three. You could have come earlier. “Tolmein paused, looked at Weigert, and said,” I understand from your face that the sobering-up process could not be concluded sooner. ” It was nice enough. When he looked in the mirror in the morning, it had not seemed so bad. Now Weigert was barely ten minutes in the newsroom, and already two people had addressed him. “And I understand from your face that your left foot generally takes precedence when you get up.” Weigert reached into his trouser pocket to fetch his cigarettes. “You can leave that at once.” “How come? Have you issued a smoking ban overnight? So I can quit right there. “” No smoking ban. Hillgruber wants to see you.”The head of the department was known as a militant nonsmoker, and in front of his office stood an ashtray with a sign that bore a cigarette that divided a thick red line in half, saying,” I must stay outside. ” One day they had bought all the cigars and had entered it. The sign showed only a cigarette. Since then, three signs hung: one for cigarettes, one for cigars and one for pipes. Maybe they would buy hookahs soon. “What does Hillgruber want?” “Dunno, I’m not your secretary after all. Ask him yourself.” “Alright.” Weigert put the cigarettes away and set off. “Good day, Mr. Weigert. Werner Hillgruber always came straight to the point.Long prefaces were not his case. Hillgruber was a journalist of pure water and one of the best known and best in the country. Although he sometimes cracked down on his staff, one could not deny him a certain care. When confronted with the editor-in-chief, he completely faced “his” editors, protecting them wherever he could, plucking his own chickens with them. And so, despite his enormous accomplishments, The editorial staff accepted it, but also because of a simple fact: not some obscure majority decision had taken him to the post of world politics director, but a circumstance that this was still superior:He was simply the best of them. Nobody doubted it. “Rittmeier from the Economic Department had an interview appointment today with Bernhard Volker, President of the European Central Bank. As you know, he stays in Vienna for two days for talks. “Weigert did not know, but who read the business section?” Yes, of course. ” “Unfortunately, she has to fill another appointment. Some symposium in the UNO City. Since the economy is extremely short of people right now, we have to take over Volker. “If Hillgruber spoke of” we, “he could only mean him, Weigert. It happened already. “Could you do that? The appointment is made at 6 pm, at the hotel ‘1 imperial’, where Volker lives. The room number is … “Hillgruber rummaged on his desperately tidied desk. Finally he triumphantly held a note in his hand. “There it is: Room number 1717. Easy to remember.” “Alright, will we bring the story to the late edition?” “If you hurry, yes. I’ll see to it that we have a pen in the early edition that can fly out. If you can not do it anymore, then tomorrow. We have the appointment exclusively, so there is not too much hurry. “Weigert sent himself to leave. When he was in the door, he heard Hillgruber behind him.” Are you not feeling well, Mr. Weigert? You look a bit battered. ” When Weigert turned, he saw that Hillgruber was smiling. “You are already the third to worry. Maybe I should go to a sight surgeon. “”Would the ladies appreciate the newspaper? Joking aside, Refuse, maybe you could tie a tie when you visit the Eurofed president. Otherwise the boss will be in my ears again. “Vienna, 18 November While Hans Weigert rummaged through the depths of his desk for a tie, Bernhard Volker was tying his own in. He was standing in the bathroom of his hotel suite he used to go down in the “Imperial”. There one already knew him, and one hurried to fulfill his wishes. After all, Volker was one of the most important men in Europe. As President of the European Central Bank, he was the master of the ECU, which replaced national European currencies several years ago. Now this original art form was the strongest currency in the world,more significant than the American dollar. And so the policy of Eurofed, as the bank was named after its American model, depended a lot on states, companies, people, destinies. The power of the little man from Germany, whose head was barely covered with hair, was not based on real values, but solely on an artificial structure that looked like a veil – like a spider web – over the economies of the world Modern times had laid: the money. Everything was caught in this net. It was the focal point of life and longing, the engine of modern society. And Bernhard Volker was the machinist. With practiced fingers, he tied the tie ends together to tie them into a knot. In the mirror he looked critically at the result.He was a perfectionist down to the last detail. He would not have forgiven a badly fitting tie knot. A quick glance at Cartier’s Santos on his wrist told him that it was time to move on: 11:11. In three quarters of an hour he would meet the Austrian Minister of Finance. He hated this little provincial treasurer, who did not want to see that Europe’s monetary policy was made in Luxembourg, where the Eurofed was based. These Austrians always had complaints and special requests. Could not they just submit? They thought too much in the categories of the nation state. But these categories were long outdated. In Austria, watches just always go back a bit. That was Volker’s opinion, and today he would let his host feel it.He stepped out of the bathroom into one of the two living rooms of the suite. His two bodyguards were already waiting there, as he had told them the night before. “Good day, Mr. President.” Volker did not return her greeting. “Where is Helmstedt? He knows exactly how I hate tardiness.” Volker was angry. He was less concerned about the delay, but more about his secretary having the nerve to let him wait. One of the bodyguards felt compelled to smooth the burgeoning waves. “I just saw him at breakfast. He must be here at any moment. “There was a knock, Volker gestured to the man to open it, Helmstedt was now getting a rubdown, and the bodyguard turned the doorknob and opened it, before the surprise had found its way into his features. came death.precise and relentless. 14 “What are you looking for?” Tolmein could be annoying. “My tie.” “What for? Do you want to hang yourself? “” Stupid, I’m supposed to interview Volker in the evening. ” “Naturally. The Rittmeier has better things to do again. And we’re supposed to jump in again. “” Now you start with ‘we’, it’s me who gets the work stuck, not you! ” “Last time it was very good me. You know, when … “Weigert interrupted him.” Do you have a tie for me? ” “Only the ones I have around. And I need it myself. “” Why? Do you want to hang yourself? ” “Oh, I like it!” Weigert could do it without a tie, at least he had found his dictaphone in the search, he had missed it for weeks.So that the tapes did not remain empty, he had to put together a few questions. Volker was considered a difficult interview partner among journalists. It was a miracle that he had even been persuaded to make an appointment. Weigert sat down at the computer and began to review the news agencies’ messages on the screen. Keyword “Volker”, keyword “Eurofed”, keyword “ECU” The list was getting longer and so he limited it to the period of the last four weeks 24 hours, around the clock, chased the news agencies their messages Whether it’s the Associated Press, Reuters, the Agence France Press, or the World News Agency, which emerged from United Press International, they all tried to hunt for information, even though it was sometimes insignificant.There was a constant, tough competition. From time to time, Weigert doubted the meaningfulness of the hunt, the results of which were often outdated the very next day or even hours later. But in the end, he was in the middle of it all, and so he usually pushed those doubts as fast as they came. The agencies provided the basis for each medium, “all the news that’s fit for print”, as it was called in the industry, but the salt in the soup was the extensive “Cornten” correspondence network. A total of 42 men and women sat in the most important metropolises in the world to send their own stories from there into the computer system of the editorial office. All areas that the correspondents could not cover or events that were too extensive for onewere looked after by the main editorial office in Vienna. Weigert traveled an average of ten to twelve times a year, 15 around the world. That’s what he valued the most: research far away from the editorial desk, right on the scene. He felt that traveling was one of the most enjoyable aspects of his job. If he was once again too eager for a new assignment abroad, he would sometimes argue with his colleagues. Although not all were as happy to travel as he was, but then the daily bone work was hanging on them: rewrite agency news, layout pages, make tare think, appoint correspondents. After all, it was the people in Vienna who coordinated the threads and finally, day after day, produced the final product: the “Journal”.The advance of the electronic media had pushed back the tabloids in recent years. On the high-quality papers, however, the electronic information revolution – some of them also spoke of disinformation revolution – had largely disappeared without a trace. These could assert their place, in many cases even expand. Before the accession of Austria to the European Community it was one of the two serious and serious newspapers of the country.The target group of the “newspaper” was not the masses, but the opinion leaders. And so, in the end, his influence was greater than his assumption would suggest. The new situation in a united Europe had been better served than expected at the “newspaper”: instead of losing market share,In Germany and later in Switzerland, too, a piece of the cake was conquered, albeit a relatively modest one. Internationally, however, the “newspaper” ranked among the others. Weigert had printed about three dozen messages. He was about to start arranging them when the door was torn open and an excited Hillgruber stormed in. The department chief planted himself in front of Weigert’s desk. Tolmein stopped working on his computer keys. “You can save the tie, Mr. Weigert.” “How nice, have you changed the dress code for interviews, or do you, Mr. Eurofed-President, love receiving me in your sleeping-jacket?” “Stop the nonsense. Volker can not receive you anymore. He was shot in the Imperial. “Tolmein answered, “What I told you. It always hangs on us. “Shot victims of assassinations, bodies blown apart by explosive devices, cruelly massacred bodies, piled up to mountains: For journalists of world politics, no day went by without such reports: sometimes one was there on one’s own Hillgruber was not so excited about being shot dead, he was excited because he scented a story. “The Chronicle has intercepted the police radio It’s about 20 minutes, grab a taxi and go straight to ‘Imperial’, find out as much as you can! I’m talking to the boss now so we can get room on side one. “16 “Does not that really matter to the local editors?” Weigert did not feel like making a fuss about some policemen. “I told the head of the Chronicle, we do the research, they were happy because a lot of their people are always still attached to the big toxic waste scandal. ” This was typical of Hillgruber: more stories, which worked on his department, ultimately meant more reputation and thus influence for him. Wherever possible, he struck and pulled topics to himself. Finally, he was on the way to replace Bergmann as editor-in-chief. Even if two attempts had failed, he would be safe. Bergmann did not have long until his retirement. “Hurry up. Maybe you can be there before the pack arrives. And you, Mr. Tolmein,Meanwhile, a tribute to Volker put together. “Weigert beckoned to a taxi, threw open the door and dropped into the passenger seat.” Hotel ‘Imperial’, but as quickly as possible! ” The driver looked at him grudgingly and started his car without any particular hurry. Weigert held out a bill to his nose. “Do you want to earn a little extra? Then push it hard! “” Do you also take over the police officers? ” “Do not worry about that. At the moment, the police are having their hands full with a big manhunt. “Weigert did not know what to convince the driver any more, at least he did his best, it was just after half past midnight have enough time to set up a usable story Weigert knew from experiencethat a political murder, if that was the case, on a man of the caliber of Volker would occupy him for at least the next few days or even weeks. And that meant for Weigert that his name at this time would be read daily on page one of the “Journal.” Actually not a bad prospect to once again profiling a little bit.From a long time you could see the twitching blue lights of the police vehicles When his taxi driver tried to turn into the side lane of the Ring Road, where the Imperial lay, the car was stopped by two policemen, both of whom carried machine guns, their gaze not showing any kindness, the driver lowering the window . “What is going on here?” “Do not look,that you can not drive to the hotel? Push it back and make sure you get on. “17 Weigert had already jumped out of the car and handed the driver some bills, the promised tip was in.” That’s right! ” The second policeman, the lesser of the two, had the floor to speak in. Weigert had experience with such officials, less in Austria, more abroad, but in principle the type was always the same. “Do you know that?” Weigert had pulled out his press card and held it under the nose of the two uniforms. “I’m from the ‘sheet’ The press will hopefully have access? After all, the public wants to be informed. “The policeman’s tone suddenly became friendlier by at least two levels.”So you are Mr. Weigert. I read your article very much … “” I’m glad that if you want to read something again tomorrow, then please let me through. I have to hurry. ” “Of course. Captain Warda is responsible for the press and television. They find him at the hotel. “Weigert pushed past and headed for the entrance, watching out of the corner of his eye as a TV broadcasting van headed toward the hotel, the mob on the jagd. Heigert climbed in. He climbed into the elevator and headed upstairs, and the elevator door opened, and Weigert found that he was by no means the first representative of his guild A police officer, apparently the chief of operations,was already surrounded by five journalists – three men and two women. Two of the colleagues knew Weigert. “Hello, Margaret! Already there? “” Of course, or do you think we’re sleeping? ” His colleague had drawn a pencil in her right hand, she held a block out of her purse sticking out a dictaphone. “Did he already say something?” Weigert pointed to the policeman. “No, not yet, he has little to do with the search, he’s only supposed to give the people outside the state of the investigation There are 18 rooms going so we do not hear anything, and the officers from the homicide unit have just arrived. ” “Hans, old house!” It was Tim Jacobs from BBC radio in Vienna.A few months ago, Weigert had traveled with him and some other journalists to Africa at the invitation of the United Nations. His fiery red hair was hard to miss. Like a lighthouse, Weigert thought. “What’s new, Tim?” “Hell will be loose in ten minutes.” Jacobs’ German was almost free of accents. “There’s no doubt that’s right with you.” Weigert looked around, and it was off, two photographers snapping off what was going on, the TV crew Weigert had first seen driving up the elevator: a cameraman, a sound engineer, two Reporter: The cameraman had already gotten his device ready and was filming the two policemen who had been stationed a few yards outside a door, presumably the entrance to Volker’s suite, Weigert thought.Across the corridor, a cord made of hotel stocks was curious. It was supposed to keep the journalists from getting too close to the crime scene. A few uniforms who had set up in front of it underlined this. Chance sometimes leads to a very useful direction. One had only to know how to use it. Weigert knew one of the policemen. Walter Müller and he had together pushed the school bench. After the Matura their paths had separated. While Müller had tried his luck at the police academy, Weigert had moved to the university. A few weeks after he had returned from Bologna to start at the “paper”, he had met Müller by chance, one beer giving the other and they had understood each other the same way they had in school days.Since then, the couple met a few times a year to chat and play billiards. “Walter!” The addressed turned around. “I just missed you here!” Weigert drew Müller aside. “What’s it in there?” He pointed to the door number 1717. “You want some special information?” “Sure, why do we know each other?” “I can not tell you more than Warda has already done.” Warda was the man whom Weigert had considered the chief of operations. 19 “I was not here when he gave his first wisdom to the best.” “Well, we have three dead in there, Obviously this Oberbankier Bernhard Volker and his two bodyguards The corpses found Volkers secretary, a certain Helmstedt. All three have been shotthat’s for sure. “” And? ” “Nothing and. That’s it again. “” What about the search for the perpetrators? ” “As far as I know, negative. But the thing is only half an hour ago. We might still have a chance to get her. “” Could you let me take a quick look at the dead? ” “You know that this is not possible.” “As I survey this, you are still the highest ranked person here at the moment, along with Warda over there.” Muellerchen, you know that I need a little color for my story . ” “The chief of police will be here any moment, Hans!” “Very nice boost, but you could still take the chance.” “I do not know …” “Next time, I’ll let you win the billiard, well, is that an offer?””All right then. Come on, and see that your colleagues do not get it right. Otherwise everyone wants to go in. “” They are fully occupied with this Warda. ” “Do you have a camera with you?” “No, forget it.” “OK then. I would have taken it from you in advance anyway. “” Do not you trust me? ” “Who dares to trust a journalist?” Müller lifted the drawstring and Weigert slipped through the bottom, and one of the press photographers saw it and stormed in. Müller also held him back, “I’m sorry.” Good that the photographer did not know him, thought Weigert. He thought he was a plainclothes policeman. If he had known that he was working for the “Blatt,” there would have been a rebellion.30 Miiller opened the door and stood aside so Weigert could look into the room.The forensics experts were already at work. They looked up for a moment. When they saw that no one was about to enter the room, they continued to work. The first of the bodyguards was in the immediate vicinity of the door. A shot had hit him right between the eyes. He must have gotten it first, without the slightest chance of reaching for the pistol, which now, as the jacket had slid back, looked out from under his left armpit. The second bodyguard sat slumped in a chair in the back of the room. A bullet had penetrated directly into his heart. She had thus abruptly slowed the movement with which the bodyguard had wanted to seize the submachine gun lying next to him on a small side table. Volker himself was in the passage to the bathroom. Weigert immediately recognized him.He had seen him often enough in photos or on television. The perpetrator shot him from behind as he tried to escape to the adjacent bathroom. Volker lay on his back. A policeman was drawing a white chalk line around the contours of his sadly twisted body. The most striking feature of Volkers corpse, however, was his forehead. Weigert looked closer. “That must not be true!” Müller, who had been monitoring the corridor, also looked in. “What is it?” “Do you see that?” “What?” “There! On Volkers forehead! They must have branded him directly! “” I suppose so. ” Müller concentrated again on the corridor. Weigert stared at Volker’s body. Something must have scorched his brow, an ugly,leave black-burned imprint. It was a sort of sun with twelve jets bent at their ends, forming something like a wheel. Weigert memorized the sign exactly. If he had known that moment was going to give his life a radical turn, he would have forgotten it right away. But from now on, nothing would be the way it once was. Vienna, 18th November It was just after half past eight. The restaurant was filled to about two-thirds, but more people were constantly rushing in. It was hot. Clouds of smoke traversed the air and formed a blanket of fog, reminiscent of a jungle after a downpour. The ventilation was bad, as you could feel with every breath. Music came from two speakers mounted above the bar.The dull, thumping rhythm of the bass filled the room, causing the man and the device to feel a slight, almost imperceptible vibration. In addition a voice that unmistakably belonged to a black man – deep, rough and full. The restaurant was one of those in the city that kept pouring new ones out of the ground. Although they sometimes differed considerably in their furnishings, music and audiences, they nevertheless took their right to exist from the same source: they were a pseudo-home and a center of life for the many. The few would very seldom set foot above their threshold and only find their attitude confirmed. Weigert leaned his back against the bar and looked at the people. They were young. With mass though no teenies, but between twenty and thirty most. He guessedthat not quite half were women or girls. A few of them strikingly pretty, some of disgusting ugliness, the most average. The men should not be different, he thought. But Weigert lacked the sure eye for it. People were standing or sitting in smaller or larger groups. Some talked, which made the volume of the music, unlike many other places of this kind, still somewhat possible. Zombies – living dead. Weigert’s friend Peter Villiger, whom he now waited for, had applied this term to the people around when they had once stood here. At first the two had found it funny and laughed at the idea. But then they had spun the idea further, and their laughter had escaped gravity.Villiger had hit the heart of the matter. Of course, it was not true for everyone. But the zombie species spread incessantly. Their covers seemed alive, but the souls in them were dead. And yet they displayed a remarkable vitality to the outside, a vitality that resembled the rise and fall of predators in cages. It was a blind reaction to external stimuli to which no one’s personality imposed any barriers. The zombies commuted between their in-pubs, chic boutiques and overcrowded gyms. They chased after the trends set by the zeitgeist via the media. But the trends were nothing more than clever marketing strategies. They were constantly changing, conveying the illusion of progress where in truth there was a break.Those who fell behind in the race of fashions ran the risk of being treated as lepers. But in the eyes of the zombies, it was still worthwhile to go to the start. The prize was valuable, because he mediated something that they could not give themselves, because their inner strength had long since died out: life content and identification. As vital as they seemed, the zombies were nothing but a dead envelope for the goods they stuffed into them. It was an artificial life that allowed them to immerse themselves in order to stand out from the agony of mediocrity. The zombies did not like Weigert. And yet he was afraid of being infected by the expansion drive of this species. The temptations were numerous. So far he had resisted them. Sometimes, when Weigert perceived them,he was amused by her. Sometimes he was displeased with displeasure. And sometimes there was a spark of hatred, not so much at the zombies themselves, but more at the system behind them that their real lives had taken away from them for an artificial placebo. Although the zombies were only the fitted cogs in a colorful glittering machine, they had long since taken the lead role on the company stage. But unlike in the past, there did not seem to be any lonely heroes left in the play, just the chorus of the many. Peter Villiger was rarely punctual, Weigert knew that, so he ordered another beer to shorten the waiting time. He was pretty boorish, but satisfied. After returning to the editorial office, he typed his article into the computer.Now this was the front page on page one of the “Der Blatt.” The perpetrators had not been caught, and it was not to be expected that TV news from the various broadcasters was the murder of the Eurofed president and his two Of course, bodyguards had been top news, and the other newspapers also made him big, as Weigert convinced himself in the evening editions, but Weigert was one step ahead of the rest: the look through the door gave him an information edge that the others did not realize Tomorrow would catch up when the police made their first official statements, and he was the only journalist to have seen Volker’s body and, with it, what had been done to her.which had disfigured the forehead of the murderer: a circle in the middle, assuming twelve rays bent at their ends, which in turn were surrounded by a circle – a sun? Now that Weigert remembered, he realized that the room had smelled strange. Black-burned meat. That’s why. A black sun? But why?If it was a political murder – and the circumstances and the person Volkers spoke for it – then a letter of confession would probably have been easier. He knew he could not solve it now. Tomorrow, the police would have to satisfy the insatiable need for information from the media. Then he would continue watching. But today he was here to meet his friend. Weigert looked at the clock: 15 minutes late, that still worked. He looked around the place. The zombies remembered him. And one more thing: refugees, he thought, yes, the zombies are refugees. They are afraid to face their persecutors: loneliness, monotony, meaninglessness. And if the zombies are refugees then this place is a refugee camp, one of many. The way the strong go out,the weak seek each other. They can not stand the silence of solitude that prevails on the peaks that only the few can climb. The zombies cling to each other, like the herd out of fear of the wolf. Weigert took a long sip of his beer, almost defiantly, as if he could change something with it. A renewed glance at the clock showed him that the delay of Villiger had meanwhile grown to 20 minutes. At the bar to his left stood two girls and a man. One of the girls, a blonde, was dressed smartly. She reminded him a little of the one he had found in his bed this morning. Her white, high-necked blouse showed that beneath it were two well-formed breasts.Their outlines were characterized by the light material more than clearly. Her black, leather mini skirt stuck to her body. There, where he was finished, and that was a little bit up, damned just below the belt, one could see the edge of her stockings on the right leg. Weigert liked that. And he did not like it again. In its deepest interior, there was a ditch that divided two souls in it. On one side of the grave was the world of the many, a world of vast plains and no obstacles. On the other side of the ditch was the kingdom of the few, with high, snow-capped peaks, from which they glimpsed the landscape on the other side of the tomb. And yet this trench was not an absolute limit. He only orderedwhat was found in Weigert as a duplicity. He was the dividing line between the two sides. Weigert’s head did not know it yet. His heart very well. The game was always the same, thought Weigert as he studied the girl. The uniforms and rituals of the night as well. Her face was not exactly striking, but she had tried to improve it with make-up, eyeshadow, and blush. This and her carefully styled hair indicated that she had spent at least half an hour in front of the mirror before escaping into the darkness of the night. The blonde and her friend listened attentively, sometimes smiling, to the man who stood with them. He was just talking about his last vacation on some island, describing the surf class,he had done there and the hotel with his morning aerobics classes. It was not exactly an inspiring narrative, not a real experience, but rather a list of what he had consumed. Weigert looked at the man with increasing amusement. While he was telling, he was almost desperately trying to be as casual as possible. Once he put his right hand in his pocket and leaned against the counter with his left hand. Then he pulled a car key out of his pocket to play with him. Styling was everything, even if it was just a try. The man reminded someone who wants to quit smoking and – lacking a cigarette in his hand – is looking for a replacement object. The keychain had a pendant attached to it. It was praisedHard to miss, the logo of a well-known Nobel car brand. Weigert had seen the man before, outside in the street when he parked his car. As far as he could remember, it had been an older compact car. The blonde did not seem to know that yet, otherwise her smile might have faded. Without realizing it, Weigert crossed the ditch and looked down from the summit of the few into the valley of the many: And there he saw people like the man with the car key. These people, who believed that they were the winners in the big game of life, were the real losers. Because they had lost their soul, sold for colorful fool’s land. And in their arrogance, they still believed they had made a good deal. The time of the most despicable people had come, thatwho could not despise themselves anymore. But they were not bad people. They believed they were alive, but the smell of death was already attached to them. Still, they stayed what they were. The bartender tapping his shoulder tore him out of his thoughts. He pointed to Weigert’s meanwhile empty glass. 24 “Another one?” Weigert nodded silently as the man behind the counter tapped the beer he looked closer at him, a bit older than most of his guests, his face a bit like the sun of South America Steppes of Asia and a shot of the coolness of autumnal Europe, his long black hair tied behind his head in a braid, wearing black trousers just below the knee, a purple shirt, and a bow tie .whose color was hard to describe. Through the left earlobe he had put a thin, golden ring. Weigert had to smile and did so from a snow-covered peak. All non-conformists, at least, proved that they were in conformity, he thought: in the display of their outer individuality, which was only shell and not content. Meanwhile, the bartender put down his beer. Weigert was getting angry, as always, when Peter Villiger s too late. But his anger faded as he thought that this would be his last meeting with him for a long time to come. Peter was fed up, he wanted to leave this country, at least that’s what he said. In reality, he wanted to get away from this society. Countless nights, the two friends had hit each other’s ears – drunk,raving, damned or just talked. Villiger had always been an unsteady character, “always on the go,” as he called it, but with no real goal, as Weigert had sometimes accused him of having met the two in the military, in the damp dirt of practice areas, on the hard asphalt of the parade grounds, in the stuffy rooms of the barracks to which they both had entered, and it had been ten years since they were among the first volunteers to abolish compulsory military service in Austria Still, that had always been her word, her very personal resistance to what was fashionable, her swimming against the tide, her search for a source they would probably never reach.Described as the father of all things at some point, no longer seemed like a real threat. Armies were dismantled, weapons scrapped, barracks demolished. The outbreak of peace had been unstoppable ever since the Warsaw Pact dissolved in the early 1990s, and the Soviet bear had proved toothless. But the war had undergone a metamorphosis, but no new one, of course: the blood-soaked ground of the battlefields, which had been scarred by impacts, had given way to the smooth floor of the stock markets; the Spartan command post below ground, from where the battle was waged, had become the stylized office of a corporate headquarters, and the brokerage of the brokers had replaced the warrior’s ethos. Weigert and Villiger had nevertheless contacted the Austrian army,which had shrunk dramatically since the 1990s and now only consisted of a very small cadre and a few thousand volunteers who committed themselves for one year each. There had begun one of those old-fashioned male friendships, where a glance or a handshake says more than a thousand words. 25 To the right of Weigert, a man who caught one cigarette after another talked to a woman. He: inconspicuous official figure; she: secretary type. The conversation was more serious than the one he had overheard before. The man was obviously trying to pour out his heart. Any problems in his work, difficulties with the boss, so much was to be understood. She seemed bored, occasionally sipping her drink, occasionally glancing around. Only when he changed the subject,his hand on hers, which she kept withdrawing from him, and he started with something like “coming home”, gave way to the boredom in her face of cool disapproval. “Weigert turned away A glass in hand, trying to drown the last remnants of their longing dormant in their depths, seeking security and finding sex, seeking friendship and betraying, believing that they were free, but their freedom was no different The party had become crowded in the meantime, a party of seven or eight people was already drunk, and they were ordering another round, laughing outrageously, already a bit too shrill, than that you could really call it funny.Two of them tried to toast with their glasses. Part of the contents poured over the table. Another group member was talking to a girl who was passing by and wanted to go to the bathroom. She turned away and squeezed past him under the laughter of the others. Behind her, Villiger pushed through the crowd. Unmistakable: 1.90 tall, strong, long blond hair that reached down to the shoulders. Without a greeting, he pointed to the group Weigert had been watching and grinned. “Most people just lick the plates clean and leave nothing but a pile of garbage. But maybe their garbage will be used as fertilizer for the fields where the real people grow. “” One of your 25 memorized quotes! Samuel Butler, if I’m not mistaken. ” “That’s right, old boy. I’m sorry,that I’m a bit late. But you know me. At least that gave you the opportunity to be a beer ahead of me. “” Wrong, two! ” “Damn!” Villiger waved a newspaper in his hand, it was the “paper”. “You struck hard again today. And immediately on page one. “His friend ordered a beer from the” clown “at the bar, as he called him because of his clothes, and had Weigert tell the full story in all its details. “Sounds very strange, that with this black sun, as you say. Do you already have a clue who could stand behind the attack? “” I do not know, it’s going to be tomorrow morning when the police and the minister of the interior are being potholed. ” “Same the Minister of the Interior?” 26 “Volker was no ordinary mortal.There is public interest, as the saying goes. But let’s leave that. Do you know exactly when it starts with you? “” Yes, next Sunday, I got the ticket today. ” “Then this is probably the last beer we drink together for some time?” “Do not get sentimental now, you’re coming to visit me next spring at the latest.” Weigert eyed his friend. Although Villiger was an unsteady character and had already started many things in his life, which he did not finish then. But this time he seemed serious. Until recently, he had been head of the PR department of a large company. He had come up there in no time. But the higher he had stumbled upon the career ladder, for he had neverthe more doubt he had received. The people in this country, as Villiger saw them, had long been suspect to him. Sometimes Weigert felt that his friend hated almost everyone, but sometimes he thought he was incapable of social relations. Only a few months ago Villiger had decided to start a new life. Weigert did not want to believe it at first. Villiger had been criticizing for too long to believe that he really had the consequences of his criticism. But on the day his friend had told him he had bought a log cabin in the middle of the Norwegian wilderness, his doubt had died out. He wanted to keep the apartment in Vienna for another year, leaving one last loophole open for a return. Weigert should see her every now and then.Villiger did not leave more. No wife, no friends, no home, because it should have been more than just the place where he was born. He had saved enough that if he was modest, he would live a few years. Besides, he would continue to work a bit, but only as much as absolutely necessary. So it was time next Sunday. “And how do you feel about being a dropout soon?” “Well, you know what Egger always said – never turn around – once you’re in the plane, jump too.” Egger had been one of their trainers in the military, the one who led the parachute course to which Weigert and Villiger had volunteered. “Here’s the second key for my parachute.”Peter handed him his apartment keys. “But no orgies there!” “I hope you leave at least a full home bar.” “I put in a bottle of malt whiskey especially for you.” “Touching, I suppose I can not say no, have you already got a phone in your crunchy house?” 27 “Yes. This week they told me the number. Here. “He rummaged for a piece of paper that he’d torn off some block, Weigert put it in. They drank a few more glasses of beer, and by two in the morning the two of them waved the clown over to join them Then they stood outside, facing each other in the cool autumn night, and everything that had been said between them had been said in their past years of friendship.than to say goodbye. “Well, take care, Hans.” Villiger slapped his shoulder vigorously. “Do it better, see you by spring.” Weigert punched his fist in the ribs. A firm handshake still and their ways parted. San Francisco, November 19 The morning sun sent its powerful beams against the glass facade of the huge skyscraper. The light that came in through the window was broken up by the blinds into many small, sharply delineated sunbeams that traversed the space with its pattern. Where they cut the air, one could see hovering particles of dust dancing about as if it was all about winning the favor of the Light. The room was so large that even the monstrous dimensions of the desk in its center seemed almost small.The few objects on the table were almost lost on the reddish-brown plane of the mahogany wood: a delicate Art Nouveau lamp whose price probably exceeded its size many times over; a slim black picture phone; a small stone cube made of granite, which served as a paperweight, half of which had been cut completely smooth while the other had retained its natural roughness; a simple, golden pen; a brown leather folder whose contents consisted of documents to be signed; a few letters and two small bumps with computer printouts. Behind the desk stood a black, high-backed leather chair with armrests, the size of which gave an idea of the importance of its owner. However, this chair was not facing the desk, but turnedthat he pointed in the direction of the window. The look of the man sitting in it was thoughtfully turned there. The silence that prevailed in the room had something sacrosanct about it, only pervaded and underlined by the quiet breathing of the man. Thomas Beckett’s wealth had increased to the same extent as that of the United States of America. The country, which for decades had been regarded as the epitome of economic prosperity, had begun to make significant trade deficits in the mid-1980s. It had become the largest debtor country in the world, from the largest creditor country. His companies, once the world’s largest and most powerful, had long since lost their leading position and eventually passed into the hands of Japanese, Germans and others. Wall Street was once again flying high,but it was a boom that was no longer based on real values, but only on the Potemkin village of stock prices that were in no relation to the true power of a company. The nineties had shown that the American dream of limitless growth was a nightmare. And it came, as it had to come: Shortly before the turn of the century, a crash against which the Black Friday of 1929 and the ensuing depression almost insignificantly shook the foundations of the US economy and thus the last remnants of American illusions. And, as in any crisis, there were once again a few speculators who had earned huge sums of money. Thomas Beckett was one of them. Although a citizen of the US, he was equallywhat his country and its population had to go through. For him, borders were nothing but demarcation lines between competing corporations. He played a game whose playing field was the globe, whose figures were humans, companies, raw materials, products and peoples. The price was also wealth, but, more than that, power. And he played the game at a time when the kings of gold had long since supplanted the dukes of war. But Beckett was not one of those shirt-sleeved guys who’d made it from rags to billionaires. He came from a highly respected and generously wealthy family on the East Coast. He had graduated Harvard as a senior bestseller, thanks to his superior intelligence.And although his fortunes were enormous by ordinary standards, his name was not found in the annual “hit list” of the 500 richest in the world, but his power was greater than any place in it could have expressed. Beckett’s thoughts were elsewhere: a few hours ago, a man who had been his friend was shot thousands of miles away in Vienna, more than that: a man who had been brotherly to him but it was not just the loss of a friend Beckett mourned, it was the idea that was far more powerful than the two he feared for now.The intercom built into the videophone buzzed in. Beckett looked away from the window and turned towards the desk.The voice of his secretary answered. “Mr. Kipling is here now, sir.” “Thank you, Vanessa, ask him up.” Beckett’s study had no visible door. It was possible to reach the room via a spiral staircase leading up from a room next to that of his secretary. The staircase was in the front quarter of the room, opposite Beckett’s desk, so that a visitor, still halfway up the stairs, usually looked first into Beckett’s green eyes. To the right and left of this staircase stood, completely free in the room, 29 as at the entrance of a temple, two stone pillars of about two and a half meters in height of graceful simplicity. Joe Kipling’s bulky body, which weighed in at 110 kilos, puffed up the stairs. Even before his sweaty face became visible,Beckett could see his black, thick curls on the stairs. Any physical effort meant annoying and hard-to-manage duty for Kipling. The man who ran the largest law firm in San Francisco was a prime contraceptive candidate, not least for the approximately four dozen cigarettes he used to inhale daily. “Hello, Thomas.” Kipling wiped the sweat from his forehead with a silk handkerchief. “Hello, Joe, please sit down.” He waved his hand toward the leather seating group that stood in one corner of the room. After Kipling had dropped into one of the chairs, Beckett sat down. “I assume you’ve heard of it.” Kipling came to the point without preamble, puffing on a cigarette. “If you mean Volker’s death,yes. “” Death, they killed him ice cold! After the murder of Garakin, he is number two, and I tell you, the killing will continue. ” The words just spilled out of Kipling, which was by no means uncommon for him. No matter what he did, he always gave the impression of being in a great hurry. “Are you sure?” “Yes, Thomas, no doubt, Garakin was the Russian Minister of Economics, Volker the President of the European Central Bank, and these are not targets any X-Aryan can target. Behind them there must be a well-functioning organization, both of us belonged to each other, both are dead, and both have been burnt that damn sign on their foreheads. ” Kipling gasped and took a deep draft of his cigarette.Beckett looked at him thoughtfully. “So you stick to your theory, Joe?” “What’s the theory here, how many of us still have to die to finally believe you?” Beckett did not like his counterpart although he acknowledged his abilities in certain matters. But his self-discipline had never let him show that. After all, there were more important things than personal animosities. “Thomas, you know as well as I do that we’ve been expecting these people to crawl out of their holes for decades. We had next to nothing except a small indication here and there. We have never been in a forced move and many of us have believed that this haunting will never happen again. If they want to play again, they have to do it now. It is her last chance. That’s why they strike.And that’s why it will not stay with two dead. Do not you understand that? “Beckett glanced over at the window for a moment, his mind elsewhere, then he reached out and looked back at Kipling, his lighter lit by another cigarette.” What makes you so sure? ” “There is nothing in common between Garakin and Volker that would suggest that one and the same terrorist group is behind the attacks. If it had been only one, there would have been enough reasons. Garakin as a victim of any Nationalist groups in Russia. Volker as a target for extreme leftists who do not want to see the consequences of his monetary policy. For example. But there is nothing that applies to both of them. Except that they were both ours.But who else could know that, and above all, who would have given it any meaning if he had known it? And both of them have the black sun burned on their foreheads. “” Do you see anything other than the two murders that confirms your theory? ” “I admit that this is a weak point. We know some of their sleepers, you know that. Most of them are now in promising positions. But that’s only about a dozen, too little to really do anything. Organizational structures that indicate that it starts again can not be identified with the best will. Either we are blind, what I want to exclude in our possibilities once, or they are still in their infancy. Still, we have to do something, Thomas! “If only he knew what, thought Beckett. But Kipling was right. Something had to happen. “Good, Joe. We will convene the council. But it will take a week, as you know. “” Anyway, it’s necessary. ” “But there’s something else you may not know yet. In Garakin we have portrayed him as a jealous murder of his wife. It’s a pity about her that she’s behind Swedish curtains now. But with Volker, there’s a small thing that could possibly be a problem. “Beckett went to his desk and took a slip of paper that he handed out to Kipling, who reached for it and found it to be a fax Page one of the “sheet”. “I do not know how that happened, but a journalist in Vienna saw the body.He describes the sign Volker has burned on his forehead. Of course, he will want to know more about its meaning and the background to the murder. That’s how this pack is. He must be damned lucky enough to get just a few right conclusions. But still, maybe you could make sure you keep an eye on him. You have best contacts to Austria, right? “Kipling scanned Weigert’s article, his German was good enough to understand the content,” I think that will be arranged. ” “That alone will not be enough. The official police report may not contain any reference to the sign. That means you have to act fast. “” But that also means that anyone who has seen the body must be silenced. “”That’s just not possible. Volkers secretary has found the body. As far as I know, he too is one of us. He is not a problem. Then there are the people on the homicide squad, the ones who took the dead, and the coroner. It must be possible. Because when the circumstances of the murder are known, not only a journalist hunts for more information, but the whole pack. That would not be in our favor. “Kipling thought for a moment,” I think I have a solution. ” “Whatever she looks like, I know I can count on you.” Beckett knew that such pats were sometimes necessary, and they were even appropriate for Kipling, even if he did not like him. “You can do that hear from me. ” When Kipling was outside, Beckett operated the intercom,to tell his secretary that he did not want to be disturbed by anyone in the next hour. He went to the back wall of the room and pushed to a specific spot. A cupboard swung sideways and cleared the entrance to the room beyond. In the middle of the black marble floor, a red circle of another stone was set. In the middle of it lay a small pillow. When Beckett entered, the secret door closed behind him. He sat down on the pillow, crossed his legs, put his hands on his thighs and closed his eyes. Vienna, November 20 The sign did not escape his head. Weigert had gone in late into the night yesterday morning, trying to figure out what the mark on the forehead of the murdered Eurofed president was.Still there was no commitment of an organization to the assassination. Weigert had spent many hours rummaging in the “Blatt” archives, reviewing old newspaper articles and rolling books, and he had made countless phone calls with the police, with terrorists, with Middle East specialists, with experts on left and right-wing extremism Almost ten years ago, there had been an attack on an American ambassador in Algiers, who had also burned something in his forehead, but that trail had fizzled, as the sign had been a very different one and few It had been months after the attack that it had been a personal revenge, and then Weigert had doubted he was on the right track.Maybe it was not a political murder? Maybe there were only personal reasons for Volker? But eventually his two bodyguards had been shot. They had been professionals, but they certainly would not have been overrun by an amateur. What had most irritated Weigert, however, was that his investigation of the police had found an impenetrable wall. It was quite common that in attacks on such high-ranking personalities as Volker officially extremely reserved, before one had not concrete evidence in hand. But most of the time there was some informant in the authorities who told him about the progress of the investigation. This, of course, only under the assurance not to be quoted in the newspaper.No one had found this time. And it seemed that no other newspaper, TV or radio station, or news journalist had found an informant. In the small but important detail of the assassination, everyone relied only on the “sheet,” Weigert’s observations through the open door of the hotel room, and this time, the information lock actually seemed to work, and in a few minutes he would know more Weigert had announced a press conference with the representative of the European Police in Vienna: Weigert had arrived in the press center of the European Police, which had its Austrian headquarters right next to the UNO City, twenty minutes before the announced start almost full.Around 80 to 90 domestic and foreign journalists as well as numerous camera crews had gathered. Weigert knew many of the colleagues on similar occasions. Such a concentrated media interest had not existed for a long time. “Hello God, Mr. Weigert.” It was Dieter Steinberg from Austrian television, editor and TV presenter in the big evening news program, but he was popular with viewers, but in the industry he was considered an enfant terrible for his arrogance I read your article about the assassination with interest, and I think I was not the only one, because Eichler, whom we sent to the ‘Imperial’, slept again, but unfortunately we were forced to do it ‘Sheet’ – to quote, you know how embarrassing such a thing can sometimes be. “”I was lucky. That’s the industry: today it’s me, tomorrow it’s you. “” Yes, of course, but, you say … “Steinberg lowered his voice. “Nobody wanted to confirm what they saw in my research. Most unusual, because TV people usually do not give us a basket so easily, do not you think? “33 I would give you a basket at any time, thought Weigert Steinberg and most of his TV colleagues thought better, and looked at the newspaper journalists only from above. “And?” Weigert looked at him questioningly. “Well, maybe they said a little more …” Naturally, Steinberg wanted to make it clear that it was quite common for people to support each other a bit and exchange information.if it was not exactly the immediate competition. One hand washed the other. After all, you could not always find out everything yourself. But television ministers like Steinberg he would never say anything. Not for a price, even if he knew something. “I’m sorry, Mr. Steinberg. Everything I know can be found in the ‘sheet’. “” They are not exactly cooperative. ” Weigert was looking for a way to end the conversation with some politeness. The events came to his aid. Suddenly it was quiet in the hall. The Minister of the Interior, followed by two senior officials, and the representative of the “Eurocops”, as they were called by the European police, strode purposefully toward the tables set up in front of him, and Steinberg ran to his cameraman to give him instructions.But he did, like many others, anyway. All around raged the flashlights of the photographers. The four settled down. Interior Minister Löser was the first to speak. After the usual brief welcome, he came straight to the point: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have decided to give you today an overview of the state of affairs in the case of the assassination of the President of the European Central Bank, Bernhard Volker, to give. Volker was shot dead on 18 November with his two bodyguards at the Imperial Hotel in Vienna. All three men were killed with the same weapon. It is most likely a Heckler & Koch pistol, caliber nine millimeters parabola. Common caseless ammunition was used.There are no immediate witnesses to the murder, and the shots were not heard by anyone. This, as well as ballistic analysis argue for the use of a silencer. The offender or perpetrators could not be caught so far, despite a large-scale search immediately initiated. Also, a review of the hotel guests has so far hardly provided any evidence. The only result is the observation of an employee of the ‘Imperial’, who saw a man leave the hotel in a hurry at the time of the crime, at about 11:15. The man is described as follows: About 1.80 tall, blond hair. According to the hotel clerk, he wore a light coat. The bodies were found a few minutes later by the Secretary Volkers, Mr. Friedrich Helmstedt. “Interior Minister Löser liked such appearances in public,especially in front of the media. His words were precisely chosen, the tone conveyed competence and clarity. The journalists wrote eagerly, the photographers snapped, the camera people filmed. The blockbuster Löser had saved for the end of his statement. 34 “A few hours ago we received a letter of confession. It is signed by the Islamic Popular Front, a fundamentalist terrorist group that, as you know, has made several appearances in Europe. As far as we have been able to determine in the few hours to date, there is no doubt about the genuineness of the letter due to comparisons with previous Group letters of reference. As a result, our investigation is currently focusing on those circles. The representative of the European Police in Vienna, Monsieur Francois Benoist,and my two colleagues and I are now available for further questions. “Weigert was stunned that Löser had not said a word about the sign Volker had burned on his forehead, not a word about what Weigert had been saying for the past two And another thing occurred to him: Of course he had also undertaken the Islamic Popular Front during his research, but their symbol was completely different from that which Weigert imprinted on his glance through the hotel room door He saw the heads of some of his colleagues turn to him, expecting him to make the first move, and Weigert raised his hand to indicate that he was asking a question to the Minister, and some other journalists had hers as well Hands raised.who had talked briefly with Benoist, looked up, as if he was looking for something in the hall. “Please, you first. Yes, there in the third row. “He pointed to Weigert, was it a coincidence? Either way, now he could not think about it, he had to ask his question.” Mr. Minister, there was a symbol on the forehead of the murdered man that you would tell him This symbol represents a kind of sun with twelve rays bent at its ends. Could you please clarify the meaning of this rather unusual act of the perpetrator and, secondly, to what extent is this sign related to the commitment of the Islamic Popular Front to the assassination? ” Everyone present seemed to have been waiting for this question. “You’re Mr. Weigert of the ‘Leaf’ if I’m not mistaken?””All right.” “Well, I’ve read your articles, but it’s unclear to me where you get your information from, and I can only say the following: None of the murdered people, nor Volker, nor his two bodyguards, point with the exception of the gunshot wounds, a special mark associated with the assassination. ” Weigert was speechless. His visibly disbelieving expression made Löser sit up again. “The reports of a burned-in sign on the forehead of the President of Eurofed are simply false.” A whisper went through the hall, and Weigert saw from the corner of his eye the television man Steinberg smirking.) Vienna, November 20 Heinz Tolmein worked the keys of his computer. If you watched him, you had the impressionthat he had a disturbed relationship with the device. It seemed as if he wanted to punish him, like a dominatrix to her slave. The nastier he was and the more orders he resisted, the harder Tolmein pounded on the keyboard. The modern man in him knew that this treatment would not be successful. The archaic Homo sapiens, on the other hand, demanded submission by force. He marched up and down in Tolmein’s eyes as he did now, rejoicing at his existence. Weigert slammed the office door and dropped into his chair. Tolmein interrupted the fight man against machine. “And? What did Löser say? “” Whole shit. ” “That would be nothing new. It can not have been very pleasing to your face. “Weigert fumbled the notes out of his briefcase.”Watch out: this sign that Volker had on his forehead …” “What about it?” “Solver claims that there is no such thing at all!” Tolmein whistled through his teeth. “That could be embarrassing.” “If you like Löser or the police and you can prove it to them, then they’re in the rain, if not, we’ll be stupid.” “One should explain the meaning of the word ‘we’ to you. I’ll be stupid then! “” I’ll do it yes, but first of all the ‘leaf’ Then the boss will turn and then he’ll make you. ” Tolmin’s logic was incorruptible. “What are you going to do now?” “First of all, I’ll look for someone to confirm my information, because I was not the only one who saw Volker’s body.And then I have to find out what’s wrong with this thing on Volker’s forehead. “” It will not be easy with the former, and if Soler knows about it, then he’ll have made sure nobody else blurts it out After all, he’s a minister, so he has some options, and if he’s been misinformed by his people, then you’ve got it a little easier. ” “You forget a third possibility.” “That would be?” “Maybe they do not want the investigation bothered. Allegedly, they follow a concrete trail. “” What kind of a? ” “Löser has declared that this morning a letter of confession from the Islamic Popular Front has arrived. He says that the writing is authentic. “” Why then does he want to conceal the disfigurement of Volkers? “”No idea.” The tormentor Tolmein turned back to the object of his desire, whenever he was in that mood, Weigert thought the keyboard would break apart, but so far Tolmein had resisted, “I’m going to Hillgruber for the Maybe he wants to comment on that. ” “Hillgruber is not there yet.” While Tolmein said that, he did not look up, his features grim, fingers working consistently on the keys, Weigert lit a cigarette, someone had to confirm what he had seen, he needed one Witnesses, whom he could cite – albeit without naming them – Walter Müller had allowed him to look at Volkers corpse, Müller had also seen it, and he was his former schoolmate and friend.Weigert reached for his electronic notebook to retrieve the phone number. First he tried it at Muller’s office. He was not there. He had been on duty the night before and was therefore free. So at home. “Müller …” The voice sounded sleepy. “Hans Weigert here, I’m sorry that I woke you, but unfortunately I have to deal with a few questions in the Volker thing.” “And if you let me win the billiards the next hundred times, the story is taboo.” Mueller’s voice was suddenly lively. “That can not be serious !?” “Is it.” “May one ask, why?” “No, you can not. Or do you want me to lose my job? “37 That sounded pretty serious.” Watch out, Walter, I promise you this high and holy,that I will not tell anyone your name in this context. He will not be in the paper and I will not call him any in the newsroom. Right? “” You’re taking me to the devil’s kitchen, Hans. ” “You know what we both saw. I mean that weird sign on Volker’s forehead. Löser claimed an hour ago that it does not exist. If it stays with his statements, everyone thinks I was fantasizing. My boss will rip me up in the air, just as the competition with the ‘leaf’ will do. Do not you understand that !? “” I really can not tell you anything, but I can not say anything about what happened to Volker’s body. ” “Walter, old boy. You can not just hang an old schoolmate like that? “The other end of the line was quiet.”And? What is it? “” To Volker’s body you hear nothing from me. ” Weigert was about to hang up. Such an asshole! But then Müller continued. “I can not say anything. Yesterday, two guys from the UN secret service were with me. As far as I’ve heard, they’ve heard not only me, but all who have seen Volker’s body. And then they broke everyone’s promise not to tell anyone. Not about the body, not about the questioning. If so, that would have serious consequences, they said. “” Look at one, that’s a lot. ” “Promise me, Hans, that you do not tell any of them. And do not bring it in the paper, not even without my name. The circle of those who saw the body is too small.These arrogant would-be James bonds from the UN would find out who you have the information from. “Weigert knew that Müller was not good at referring to United Nations intelligence, which was founded a few years ago. The founding had been a result of the UN’s strong appreciation, which was taking on more and more international tasks, and the Cold War, when the superpowers largely blocked the world organization with their vetoes, was long gone The UN Intelligence Service was increasingly ranked higher in many countries than national services, but also the police, and its powers were very extensive.In Vienna, for example, there was often friction between the UN people and the Austrian authorities and the European police. And Müller had been in the middle of it several times already. But if Weigert now promised his school friend that he would not write or tell, what would he have gained? 38 “You have to promise me that, Hans!” What else was left to him? First, Walter Müller was his friend, and secondly, any journalist who would stab his informant in the back would be badly advised, because then he would never get anything stuck again “All right, I promise.” “Make sure you can find out somewhere else. I would be very happy if you could wipe this arrogant cosmopolitan one. And solver to it. Because the fish begins to stink the head. “”I’m going to try my best. Thank you, Walter. The next beers at billiards will take my bill. “” I’ll come back to that. ” Weigert hung up. “What was it?” Tolmein once again began to annoy him. “Nothing of importance.” “That sounded very different.” “Did not you want to write your story?” His colleague remained silent and continued his fight against the technology, and Müller was right.The fish stank.The fact that the UN secret service had turned on was not surprising in itself.Bernhard Volker was an extremely important personality As the president of the European Central Bank, ie an institution of the Political Union, the Eurocops were actually responsible.But after the claim of the Islamic Popular Front, the whole thing had reached a dimension beyond Europe. So it was only logical for the United Nations to intervene. It was far from logical, however, that the UN secret service wanted to conceal a specific detail of the murder of Volker. What sense did that make? And above all, how should Weigert defend against the criticism that would undoubtedly come? Hillgruber and the boss would demand proof of his story. Finally, the reputation of the newspaper as a serious newspaper was at stake. No nice prospects for him. Weigert decided to continue his research first into the meaning of this ominous sign. Maybe that would take him forward. He began,rummaging in the newspaper clippings piled on his desk. He found a book he had taken yesterday from the archive: “Allah’s Empire – Islamic Terror in Europe and the US.” Weigert flipped around in. 39 The noise that caused Tolmein, his fingers and his keyboard, fell silent. “You were here until past midnight yesterday, looking through this stuff.” His colleague waved a hand towards Weigert’s tidy desk. “And if I read it ten more times, you do not care!” Could not Tolmein spare him for at least an hour with his mischief? “Well, well, not so upset, you’re looking for the meaning of the sign you’re using People have seen. ” “Thanks, I know what I’m doing.”Tolmein ignored Weigert’s anger. “And you think, because it was a political assassination, you have to try your luck with terrorist groups. Right? “” Extremely sharp. ” “And you have noticed that the Islamic Popular Front, which according to Löser it should have been, has never used this sign. Yours looks completely different. “” Yes. ” Weigert sighed. When would Tolmein finally leave him alone? “I can remember something that might be able to get you and the ‘leaf’ forward.” “And what’s that?” He was not exactly interested in the remarks made by his colleague. “A few months ago we published a special page about political symbols in a supplement. For this we have used a guest author. I think,it was a professor or lecturer at the university in Vienna. You could search the site in the archive. “Sometimes Tolmin was good for anything.” You have your good day today. ” “What does it mean today?” “I’m in the archive when someone is looking for me.” “Who should find you?” “Professor Meciar?” “Yes, please?” 40 Weigert had immediately found what he was looking for in the archive.Vaclav Meciar was a professor from Slovakia, who taught history at the University of Vienna.He had written the article back then.Weigert had called him right away. ” This is Hans Weigert from the ‘Blatt’. ” “What can I do for you, Mr. Weigert?” The voice with the unmistakable accent sounded friendly and cooperative. “A few months ago you wrote an article about political symbols for us.Now I’m facing a problem that I thought you might be able to help me with. “” Please, what’s up? ” “As you have certainly read or heard, the president of the European Central Bank was murdered in Vienna. Some people now claim that a sign has been burnt on his forehead. “” Oh, yes, I have read your article, Mr. Weigert, a bad thing. ” “Totally right. Well, I did not get any further in my research because to the best of my knowledge this sign has not yet been used by any terrorist group or political grouping. “” Could you please describe this sign to me again? I read your article, can But I do not remember it well enough. ” Weigert saw in his mind’s eyehow the body of Volker was located in the door to the bathroom of the hotel room. “Well, in the middle it has a full circle. Starting from this, at regular intervals, twelve rays go away. Each of the jets is angled twice at its upper end by 90 degrees. The whole thing is surrounded by a circle. “” Excuse me, Mr. Weigert, may I suggest that you record it and send it to me by fax so that we can avoid any misunderstandings. ” “That’s a good idea. In a few minutes you’ll have it. “Weigert had the number given to him, and the professor promised to get in touch as soon as he found out.” Three hours and 52 minutes later, Weigert’s telephone hummed and Vaclav Meciar found it. “Here it is . ” The professor handed Weigert a book,that was already exhausted. On a sober black-and-white photo, he was greeted by what Löser had denied, and what Weigert could not get out of his mind ever since. 41 The photograph was taken in a large hall. In the background was a door framed by two pillars. The black sun, as Weigert had called it, was embedded here in the ground as an ornament. She took in more than half of the picture that went all over the page. Weigert read the caption: “The group leader hall with artistic floor ornamentation. This picture vividly illustrates the rotunda of the hall. Still unknown is the number 12, which is repeated, among other things, in the twelve spokes of the sun wheel, the twelve pillars and niches of the group leader’s hall and in the twelve podiums in the Walhalla. “No doubt it was the sign that had been burned on the forehead of the Eurofed president. “This is a book about the SS School in Wewelsburg. The band is a good twenty years old. “Weigert looked at the envelope.” Himmler’s fortress “was written in red letters. The author was a certain Pierre Martin. “How did you come up with that?” “When I saw the fax with your drawing, I knew it had to be a sun gear.” The sun wheel is a symbol of millenia Just as you have told me, it seemed to me to be a symbol of recent history.Since the National Socialists made the sun wheel, in its modification as a swastika, sadly famous, I have to look for it there began.At first I did not find anything, because the party sign of the NSDAP and later symbol of the Third Reich looks quite different. I already wanted to continue with the South American Indian cultures when an assistant drew my attention to this book. He just read it recently. “Weigert was confused, Himmler and the SS, of course, were the concepts he could relate to, for after all, history lessons at school had not left their mark on him, but what did that and this castle have to deal with the murder of Volker? “Perhaps you know something about this … Wewelsburg?” “I’m sorry, Mr. Weigert. My field of expertise is the Middle Ages. With such details of contemporary history, I can hardly help you. “” Would you mind,if I borrow the book for a few days? “” Please, do it quietly, hardly anyone needs it anyway. ” “Thank you very much, Professor. They helped me a lot. “Help, yes, but Weigert did not really know what to do with it.He hung up on the phone back in the newsroom, and twenty minutes later he had the author’s address – a call to the publisher who had published the book, and who fortunately still existed, had sufficed.Pierre Martin, a Frenchman, as the publishing secretary had told him, lived directly in Wewelsburg, the small town that had named Himmler’s fortress in the middle of Germany, about 60 kilometers west of Kassel and about 15 kilometers south of Paderborn. It was a most abstruse track that Weigert had, but his only one.So what else could he do but pursue it? 42 Wewelsburg, 21 November “Would you like some more cake, Herr Weigert?” Pierre Martin’s wife looked at him expectantly and held out his plate, which was a bit plump, in his early sixties, with a warm-hearted air about him Mother reminded, “Please, gladly.” As soon as he got the address of Pierre Martin, Weigert had been at Hillgruber. He had at first hesitated to send him on a business trip to Wewelsburg because of such “triviality.” Weigert had been disappointed, but then at least he had managed to get Hillgruber to give him two days He had disappeared earlier than usual from the editorial board,He had read Martin’s book until late into the night, and in the morning took the first machine from Vienna to Frankfurt. There he had rented a car and had gone to Wewelsburg. When he thought of the cost of the whole business, he became uncomfortable. If nothing came of it, he had to pay her out of her own pocket. That was the agreement that Weigert had made with Hillgruber. But he was optimistic, at least he told himself. Comfortable warmth flooded Weigert as he took a sip of the cup that stood on the table in front of him. He could really use the coffee now. After all, he had slept little more than four hours. “If I understand you correctly, you want to know something more about the Wewelsburg?” Pierre Martin spoke perfect German,although one could easily recognize his French origin by his accent. He was 77 years old and has been living in Germany since 1972. Weigert had learned that while Martin’s wife had prepared the coffee. “Yes, that’s right. Yesterday I read your book, or better overflown. The context in which I found it is a bit strange. It is the murder of the President of the European Central Bank, Bernhard Volker. You’ve probably read about it in the papers or listened to it on TV? “Martin was a bit puzzled, rubbing his right hand over the few hairs that still covered his head.” Yeah, I happened to catch a glimpse of it, but I can not quite understand what that has to do with my book and the Wewelsburg. ” “There are reportsafter which Volker was branded on the forehead. “Weigert assumed that Martin had not followed the matter very closely, and he would hardly know here in Germany that” the newspaper “was the only newspaper to report it directly, and All other media in this case had just cited Weigert. 43 “When I researched what this sign could mean, a professor at the University of Vienna drew my attention to your book. In it is a photograph of a Saale in the Wewelsburg, in whose bottom exactly this sign is embedded. That’s why I’m here. “Martin’s eyes fixed on Weigert,” As far as I know, only your newspaper has reported on this peculiar aspect of the assassination, and all the others have referred to it, is that correct? “Martin seemed more than incidentally – as he said himself – to pursue things. “Yes, that’s right.” “And now you expect me to help you?” “I hope so.” “Let’s go for a coffee after coffee, and if you let me show you the castle, you’ll be able to see for yourself and ask your questions I can not promise your research. ” Slowly they walked across the bridge into the courtyard. Martin had put on a black beret. While walking, the Frenchman leaned on a walking stick. An old knee injury, he said, forced him to do so. Weigert did not want to ask any further, since he did not care, but Martin told himself. “A bullet caught me,in Algeria. “” In Algeria? ” Weigert looked at him questioningly. “Yes, before I came to Germany, I was an officer in the French army. Some Algerians did not like it that much. “Martin smiled.” I thought you were a historian? ” “If you understand that I enjoyed university consecrations, I must disappoint you. You can confidently call me a hobby-historian. After my departure from the army I started to write books. At first it was not easy to live on it. But I was lucky enough to inherit a bit. It helped me keep up the turns until my books began to sell well. “The Frenchman straightened his beret.” Come, here’s the entrance. “Weigert and Martin stepped through a large gate into one of the castle’s buildings. This was well renovated, as Weigert had already convinced from the outside. Its triangular plan was bounded by one tower each: two smaller ones on the west and east side, a larger one in the north. The castle, as well as the small village which had been named after her, was built on a small hill above the Alme valley. Its unusual triangular shape resulted from the natural development possibilities: A limestone ledge, which probably had already started to build fortifications in prehistoric times, advanced into the valley. However, it was not until the ninth century that a Wallburg was evidenced. In the present form the complex was built 1604 to 1607. But the old story of the castle,The Weigert had already taken from Martin’s book, interested him only marginally. He wanted toto know more about their recent past. “How did Himmler come to this castle?” “Well, the seizure of power by the National Socialists had consequences not only for Germany and subsequently for the whole world, even the Wewelsburg was affected very soon.” Martin talked as they walked through the corridors. “In November 1933, Heinrich Himmler visited the facility, which at that time was looking for a suitable place for a kind of spiritual center of his SS. He was thrilled and decided to restore the Wewelsburg, which had been quite down at the time. It is said that one of your compatriots also participated in the selection of Wewelsburg, a certain Colonel Wiligut,which was known in the SS under the name Weisthor – a highly dubious figure. He is said to have disposed of a kind of second face and recommended Himmler to this place. But what should one think of such stories? Finally, a huge complex was planned, an SS town, of which the castle itself would have been only a small part, even though its center. Part of the complex should have been shaped like a spear, the foremost point of which would then have been the north tower of the castle. However, the realization of these plans, with the exception of restoration, never happened because of the war. “” They spoke of a spiritual center for the SS. What do you mean? ” Weigert was eager to learn more. The passion for life had seized him. He wanted his story and he believedto be close to it. “As you probably know, the SS was something of a medal, at least from the original idea. Wewelsburg was to become its ideological center par excellence. In 1935, the construction of a library began. In the beginning there were only a few hundred books, but it quickly became more and more: prehistory, pre- and early history, departments for religion and myths research, but also art, literature and legal history. In 1939, a certain Bernhard Frank took over the management of the library. But soon after the outbreak of the war he left the Wewelsburg again to finally become Commander of the Waffen SS units in 1943 on Hitler’s Obersalzberg. After several other employees were called up for military service, this was practically the end of the work at the library.In addition, there was the construction of a pre-historic and early-historical museum under Wilhelm Jordan. In this context, several archaeological excavations were made around the castle. Oh yes, and then there was the clan researcher Rudi Bergmann. He was working on creating various pedigrees. “Martin paused, having just entered the group leader’s room on the first floor of the north tower.” Here’s what you’re looking for. ” So there it was: the sign that Weigert’s visit had triggered was in the middle of the hall, as he had already seen in the photo. Weigert stopped and stared at it. “What does it mean?” Weigert hoped the question would solve his riddle, but Martin had to disappoint him. “Nobody knows for surewhat should it be here in this room. There is no doubt that, like the swastika, it represents a sun wheel. But this form, with its twelve spokes, is nowhere to be found in the Nazi era. Even at the castle, it does not happen a second time. The only thing that struck me was the repeated repetition of that number – the Twelve – elsewhere in the castle. “Last stop, Weigert thought, three days ago the Eurofed president had been shot and now he was rummaging about things Where was the bridge, or was it not there at all? “Do you think it possible that some right-wing extremists murdered Volker and used this sign?” “I should actually ask you, Monsieur Weigert. You are the journalist of both of us. I’m just a hobby historian.What I want to know about politics, I take from the newspapers. “Martin was right: to clarify these things was due to Weigert, but what reason should some right-wing ruffians have to kill the president of the European Central Bank Such an assassination required an efficient Organization: Weigert did not know any group on this side of the political and terrorist spectrum who could be credited with such an arson attack on an asylum shelter, yes, but the murder of such a well-known and significant personality? “Martin tore him out of his thoughts. now I show you, so to speak, the heart of the Wewelsburg, the Walhalla. ” Weigert followed him. They stepped out of the building, passed through the courtyard, and finally left the complex via the bridge that spanned the former ditch.A small path led to the north tower on the outside of the castle, with access below the level of the courtyard. The door was locked, but Martin had his own key, which the administration had given him. After all, he had been involved with the Weibelburg for decades and was with you by almost everyone who had anything to do with the small town. After Martin had unlocked, the two climbed down a narrow staircase into the basement of the tower. A small lattice gate denied entry into the room beyond. But the Frenchman had a key for that too. He stepped in front of Weigert and switched on the lights that were attached to the walls inside. The journalist followed him. A huge cellar vault, dome-shaped,maybe ten or fifteen yards in diameter and about the same height, he could see. Martin explained. 46 “The hall is hewn directly in the grown rock. Nobody knows exactly why she served the SS. After the conversion of this room, it was left to a very small circle of people to enter the Walhalla. Incidentally, the term Walhalla does not come from the SS, as one would suppose. That’s what she just calls the vernacular here in Wewelsburg. “” But at least there’ll be speculation about what’s going on here? ” Weigert looked at Martin expectantly. He looked at him as if pondering what he should tell Weigert now. “Yes of course. There are speculations. Some people say that Himmler wanted to be buried here. But this has never happened because of the events.Others speak again of some cultic actions. But as I said, these are speculations. Nothing that a serious historian could build on. “Martin blighting something, giving accurate historical information when asked, but anything that went beyond the mere fact of it seemed like it was blocking off. That speculation did not interest him, the man of history, but they were also interesting to Weigert, the man of journalism, but maybe Martin has only blinkers too, thought Weigert, like a distracted professor who is only in his own right The study object was stubborn and everything that went beyond that just did not notice. “Is anyone here?” The voice came from the door at the top of the stairs, muffled by the thick walls. “Excuse me, please.Certainly some tourists who want to visit the Walhalla. “Martin limped upright on his cane, Weigert glanced around, the room was circular, with some stone pedestals, each about forty inches high, starting to count : one, two, three, … twelve, as many as the sun wheel had spokes in the group leader’s hall, and in the middle was a circular well, like a well, about seven meters in diameter, Weigert guessed At the center of this depression there must have been something, which could be seen quite clearly, and the place was now covered, instead of the usual stone slabs in the room be filled with concrete.Weigert approached and bent down to examine the ground. But he could not see anything conspicuous. There was only the rough surface of the concrete. When he straightened up, he was right in the center of the vault. It happened.Weigert had sighed, partly out of disappointment that he had discovered nothing of concern, partly because of his tiredness, which he had now become so well aware of. Suddenly there was a hall in his head. In one fell swoop, he felt very light. His body only seemed to be a weightless, insignificant shell. It seemed to him that his skull was growing immeasurably. With a start Weigert paused. The feeling faded, but he did not stop altogether. He made a sound experimentally. There it was again! One step to the side, 47 one more sound. Nothing.Weigert stood again exactly in the middle. The effect was resounding as before. His fright eased a bit. He had already experienced a lot of acoustic phenomena in buildings in churches which he always liked to visit on his travels. But that was beyond everything. Weigert crept over an uneasy feeling, not fear, rather something that made him aware of his smallness and insignificance. Was that what you wanted to show the SS men here? An acoustic trick? Or was it more than that? Weigert was not sure. He preferred to leave the vault. Outside the entrance to the tower stood Martin, chatting with a man, presumably the one who had called first. The man was in his mid-forties. In his elegant gray suit he looked like a wealthy businessman. When Weigert cameMartin had just said goodbye. “As I thought, a tourist who wanted to see the vault. I directed him to the next tour. It’ll start in fifteen minutes anyway. “Martin paused to grab the keys in his pocket.” And did you discover anything else? ” Weigert hesitated. “No, nothing of importance.” “But the small opening, at the top of the wall, just to the north, will you notice?” Now Weigert remembered that a rectangular hole had been cut into the thick wall of the tower, and he had looked around that you could see the sky beyond that, but he did not pay any more attention to it. “A little trick of the architect.” Martin smirked. “Every few years,When the winter solstice meets the full moon, a ray of moonlight falls right into the center of the vault. Provided, of course, there are no clouds. “After Martin had finished, the two made their way back, and when they passed the bridge over the weir, the old Frenchman pointed to the left,” In this building is the At the time, workers were needed for the restoration, and prisoners were taken from a concentration camp, and a branch of that camp was over there. ” Martin pointed with his hand in the direction. “Now you can not recognize it anymore. In the house there is a museum where this side of the Wewelsburg is illuminated. “48 These pigs, thought Weigert.They had not even been able to build Himmler’s grave on their own. Weigert turned the car and drove slowly out of the village. The sun was just about to disappear behind a ridge of hills. Their light dipped them in a dirty, dark orange. To the left of him lay the castle, of which he could only make out the outlines, majestic and a little menacing. If she kept a secret related to Weigert’s story, she’d saved it. But Weigert barely believed it. The bridge between past and present was unsuccessful. He was so lost in thought that he did not realize that a car was following him at a proper distance. But Weigert would not do it that easily. He was not crazy, not yet. Volkauer’s forehead had been branded with a signthere was no doubt about that. He, Hans Weigert, had seen it. Walter Müller confirmed it. And he had also confirmed that there were people who wanted to keep this secret. Why the hell? He had to find out, not just for reporting. The story slowly began to draw him in himself. San Francisco, November 22 “This Viennese journalist seems to cause us more trouble than we assumed.” Joe Kipling had gone to see Thomas Beckett to teach him about the progress of his efforts UNO secret service in Vienna, as you know, a number of the heads of the World Intelligence Service are brotherly. ” Kipling lit the next cigarette, the third since he’d entered Beckett’s office. He was sweating,as he always did when he was excited. Beckett looked at him and for a moment, displeasure reflected in his eyes. “The UN people have taken this Weigert in his research under the microscope. It seems he has a track. We do not know how he did it, but he was at the Wewelsburg. “Kipling looked at Beckett, but when he raised his eyebrows questioningly, the lawyer continued to explain.” The Wewelsburg is in Germany and – now It will be interesting – it should become the ideological center of the SS during the Nazi era. ” Beckett’s eyes continued to look calm, but his brain was in full swing. The thing seemed to get hot. “What did Weigert do there?” Beckett’s head leaned forward, not much, but enough.to indicate his growing excitement. “That’s the whole point.” Kipling’s eagerness to report to his counterpart 49 “He visited the castle like a normal tourist, but he did not do it alone – a certain Pierre Martin has him Martin is French and lives in the village next to the castle, a hobby historian and as such has written a number of books, including one about the Wewelsburg. ” The fat lawyer pulled his handkerchief from his pants and dabbed the sweat from his forehead. He continued talking. “I checked immediately if we have anything about Martin in our computers. That was the case, of course. After all, his hobby alone guarantees a file with us. “” The Wewelsburg … Now I remember again.It should be one of the centers then, of course. But what’s the significance of it today? “” Ninety-nine percent of it is a normal tourist destination, right next to it is a concentration camp museum, that’s all, our dear friends would be damn stupid if they went to such places embarrassed. ” “They say 99 percent. What about the one remaining percent? “” That’s exactly what I’m worried about. I’ve got Martin under closer scrutiny, of course without his noticing. “” The UN folks have taken their books. You have asked the publishers who have published it, they have pretense some pretexts in Wewelsburg, but there is nothing that matters to us, and then they came up with the idea,Search for flights on the central booking computer to locate any trips from Martin. This is not very easy and it does not allow a complete review due to the recording guidelines. But they came across something in spite of everything. And that’s what worries me. Martin was in Tibet for about two weeks in June. “Beckett pulled his outstretched head back,” Tibet, so that’s it … “” Yeah, and I do not need to explain what that means . “” Did you investigate in Tibet? ” “Of course. They have already started. But, frankly, I see pretty black that they also deliver usable results. For what kind of traces should Martin have already left there? He grabs some Sherpas and sets off.And finding this Sherpas now, four months later, is next to impossible. “” Joe, do you think it’s possible that this Martin was in Tibet by accident? I mean as a pure tourist? ” “Basically, this possibility exists of course. But what should an old man at 77 years do there? After all, Tibet is not Hawaii. And then there’s his research on Wewelsburg … “Beckett put his head back and looked at the ceiling of his office as if he could find the solution there.” So you think this journalist may have one Found a trail that could be of importance to us? ” 50 “Yes, I think so. The track is not the Wewelsburg, but it leads via Martin to Tibet. The Frenchman could certainly tell us more about it. “”Do you deny it?” “Hard to say, he has not written anything about it yet, but I would be very surprised if Martin told him something important, including the book he wrote about Wewelsburg has absolutely nothing of relevance, and even if Martin really knows something, he probably has no interest in having it published. ” “Do you have any suggestions as to how we should proceed?” Kipling had expected the question. “Well, I think we are dealing with two obvious problems for the time being: this journalist and Martin.” The journalist may be uncomfortable But in the end he’s a little sausage, no matter what he finds out, he’ll never know what’s really going on here.However, in order to avoid possible difficulties, his editor-in-chief could put everything right again. As a telephone conversation with Vienna has shown, he, too, is a link in the chain, albeit an insignificant one. “” And Martin? ” “If we want to know more about him, we’ll have to question him, well … well. Depending on what he answers, we’ll look ahead. “” Would not it be better if we still wait, maybe Martin will lead us to the goal? ” Kipling shook his massive head vigorously. “Garakin is dead, Volker is dead. If so, as I suspect, we will not have time. We have to do something, Thomas! “Beckett stood up and looked down at Kipling.” Okay, but I want you to take that personally. ” “All right. I will fly to Europe today.You hear from me. “Vienna, 25 November The editor of the” Blatt “had just taken his coat when he heard a voice behind him, which called his name. He turned around in search of the caller. “I’m sorry I could not greet you before. How are you, doctor? “The tall, gaunt figure strode toward him, only to stop short of him, and Hans-Jörg Schneider held out his hand to him, and Bergmann took it.” Oh, thanks, I can do not complain.” 51 Bergmann forced a smile. It was not easy for him. Because whenever he hit a tailor, he felt a bit uncomfortable. He was a powerful man in the country, more powerful than his role as Executive Director of the largest Austrian bank.”How is your lovely wife’s wife?” “Better than me, it seems, she’s listening to me with her wishes, you know, the latest fall fashion.” Schneider laughed. “Yes, yes, that’s no different with me. How things are the same. “Bergmann had to raise his head to peer into the angular face of his two-meter counterpart, the two men the perfect embodiment of contrasts.The tall, slender bank director took his authority He could have easily been used for an advertisement of his institute: dynamic and successful, the slogan might have sounded like this: he was a man whom you trusted to do, who was loyal, because he embodied competence and advancement.The small-headed miner, on the other hand, usually hid behind his function. He was, after all, editor-in-chief of one of the country’s most respectable newspapers. And as such, he used to appear as well. If that did not help, he was helpless. Here, in this place, it did not use anything. For the hierarchies outside had no validity in these halls. Another order of importance was here, one that corresponded to real power. Schneider was superior to Bergmann, and Bergmann, embarrassed by the protective shield of his professional function, was embarrassed. “Your newspaper has been following a somewhat unconventional line in the murder of Bernhard Volker, if I may say so.” Bergmann’s embarrassment grew – he had been approached several times in recent days.And every time his anger about Hans Weigert had widened. The editor-in-chief tried a smile. “You are not the first to tell me that. But unfortunately that’s the case: even the best journalists sometimes make mistakes. “Bergmann hated to have to defend Weigert, but what was printed in the” Blatt “was also closely linked to the name of his editor-in-chief. “I understand. But I suppose that’s not so pleasant in such a respectable newspaper as the ‘Blatt’. The newspaper is, in a sense, just too much of a state, is not it? “Bergmann shifted from one foot to the other, like a schoolboy who had been caught stealing a kirsch.” I have Hans Weigert, who did some research on the case , already washed his head, I think he sawthat he made a mistake. “The editor-in-chief’s brain was concerned with the possibilities that existed to end the unpleasant conversation, but Schneider thwarted these considerations and pulled him aside confidentially I wanted to talk to you, I talked to some brothers in the United States and the United Nations here in Vienna, they said it would be better to leave it alone, a man like Weigert, and I give now only the opinion of my friends again, could do a lot of damage with his fantasies. ” Now Bergmann knew where the wind was blowing. Nothing easier than that. Weigert was a thorn in his side anyway. And finally, the friends of his counterpart,even if he did not know them all personally, even his friends. In many cases, requests were made to him, the newspaper man. He had never thought of cutting it off, even if he had not understood their purpose. And occasionally he too had already benefited from the connections. Performance and return, ultimately for the benefit of all, not just those directly involved. Bergmann had often thought about it, but he could not find anything bad about it. It was about a bigger, noble thing. The paths might stay calm in the dark. “I’ll talk to Weigert again, and I hope there will be a satisfying solution.” Bergmann passed his hand over his head in embarrassment, hoping to have satisfied his counterpart. “Thank you, sir Doctor.It would be a pity if such a good journalist as Mr Weigert was no longer acceptable for the ‘paper’ because of his dubious reporting. Did not you think so? “Did that mean he should fire Weigert if he kept researching the matter? Bergmann was a bit confused, because he did not want to make a mistake when it came to Schneider’s wishes.” In which case would you become a man How Weigert thinks that they are no longer acceptable, Herr Schneider? ” “A difficult question. I do not understand anything about the newspaper business and of course I do not want to talk you into anything. But I suppose it would be possible to warm up certain aspects of the Volker attack again and again … “” You mean the thing with the sign that Volker, according to Weigert at least, should have burnt down? ” “Yes, that is exactly what I mean.”I understand, but I can assure you that it will not happen, here Weigert has clearly exceeded the measure of what is still manageable for the” leaf. “As I said before, I made it clear to him that we can not afford such revolver stories – ” “I’m glad to see that a newspaper as important to the country as the ‘Blatt’ is in such good and responsible hands as yours.” Bergmann’s attitude tightened, and his smile was a little easier than before Editor-in-chief’s hand. 53 “Goodbye, doctor, it was nice to chat with you, best regards to the wife.” “Thank you likewise. Goodbye. “Certainly one did not exclude certain wishes, Bergmann knew, and as for this refusal,It did not bother him in any way that he was the target of these wishes. After all, there were limits, also in journalism and especially for the “newspaper.” Bergmann pulled on his coat and stepped through the gate onto the Rauhensteingasse.Wewelsburg, November 26 The car’s digital clock showed 19:33 Her headlights were already spreading across the landscape, only the headlamps darting through the black with their blinding beams of light, letting the rain-soaked street glare in. Weigert had turned on the heating since it had become quite cold There was no news in the investigation into the assassination attempt on Volker, and as a result the reporting had also fallen asleep and slipped further from page one of the “Blatt”, and had shrunk considerably in its dealings.There was nothing that really worth writing about. “It’s being investigated,” the police said, meaning “we have no trace.” The only relevant thing was that they ordered the successor to the murdered Eurofed president. But a colleague of Weigerts from the business department wrote about it. The editor-in-chief had given him the order to do so. Weigert had used the tranquility in the case to take a week’s vacation. During this time, he did not want to relax, but continue to research, on his own. He was irritated, because now it was not just a story, it was his reputation. And he wanted to know that restored. The problem was that he had not told anyone about his plan. He had done that before,at that time, of course, without the underlying pressure to relieve oneself of perceived mistakes. A few years ago, he was the only European journalist to penetrate China-shaken China. Everyone believed in the “leaf” on a Greek beach, and the surprise had not come as a surprise when he had contacted him via satellite phone from Beijing, when he had almost returned as a hero, the editor-in-chief standing in front of his team The other newspapers had written off or quoted from his articles: Shortly before his supposed vacation, Bergmann had told him that no one could send anyone to China, too dangerous, and once again his chief boss and he had come into conflict.But after Weigert’s return, everything had suddenly become a blast again. Weigert had enjoyed it very much. For a few days he had been a celebrated man. He had been at the center of attention, almost as if he himself had been involved in the events. For a brief moment he had felt the pulse of world history that had hit faster than usual in those days and weeks in Beijing. It had been worth it. But when he looked at it right, and he did, he had not become a first-class journalist. He was now 35 and still belonged to the second set. He was aware of that. But it was up to him, there was no doubt about that. On the one hand, he was glad that he had this job. He certainly liked it better,to be on the middle management level of any company to survive. Fortunately, right after graduation, he had managed to escape this fate in time. But then, on the other hand, he found his current job-and if he thought better of it, his life too-more boring. It just did not happen. The prospect of delivering his stories to his pension, maybe even wedding and having children in between, and spending the rest of his time consuming his passable salary, sometimes made him shudder. Often he had talked about it with his friend Villiger. And just as often, they had parted again, without even going one step further. Until Villiger had finally thrown everything to live his life,as he called it. Yesterday he had phoned him again to say goodbye. Today, Villiger would probably be in Norway on his way to his log cabin. The conversation had not been very long and tense. They had revived their old jokes to assure themselves that they would meet again next spring to see a good deal of beer. Weigert did not feel well when he hung up the phone. His closest friend, perhaps the only one who really understood him, had moved away. But that was not all. Weigert dawned that he had failed. Villiger had given his dream a life, a step to which Weigert had previously lacked the courage. If only he knew where his dream was. He reached out for it,but they kept reaching empty space. He still estimated about eighty kilometers to Wewelsburg. He would be there in an hour to ask Pierre Martin a few more questions. It was the only track he had. And this time he would not let up. The rain was getting stronger and now formed large paints on the road. Weigert reduced the speed. It was 20 o’clock right away. He routinely set the radio louder. Like every journalist, it had become a habit for him to hear or see regular news. There was rarely anything of importance, but you still did not want to miss it. It was like an addiction the profession brought along with increased nicotine and coffee consumption. Weigert had cursed it often enough. Up to this point of time. A gong sounded from the radio.Then the voice of the speaker. “It’s eight o’clock now. We bring world news. New York.In New York, John Greenspan, a member of the UN Security Council, was shot dead in the street about an hour ago. The perpetrators, probably two men, escaped unrecognized. The immediately initiated large manhunt has so far been unsuccessful. There are no references to the motif. Eyewitnesses said the perpetrators tattooed Greenspan on the forehead before fleeing. We will interrupt our program in the next hour for a detailed report from our correspondent from New York. Brussels. “The foreign minister of the European Union …” Weigert was getting hot and cold by turns, that was it! That was his rehabilitation! If it was the same sign as with the President of Eurofed – and Weigert did not doubt that for a second – then you had to take him seriously again!Greenspan had been shot dead in front of witnesses in the street. No one would be able to miss this time! Suddenly his thoughts stopped. But then what had this damned castle he was traveling to deal with? The Interior Minister had claimed in Volker, there is an authentic letter of claim of the Islamic Popular Front. What made little sense to the Eurofed president did it well for Greenspan. It has long been attacked by Islamic fundamentalists, albeit only verbally so far. After all, the UN Security Council has not been friendly with the Muslims lately. For a number of years, the representatives in the Council had no longer been sent by their states, to which they had until then been committed, but elected by the people of the various regions of the world.The Arabs were only allowed to elect one representative, while the USA, for example, had four members. These men and women have been among the most powerful in the world since the 1990s, when the United Nations rapidly increased its value and expanded its tasks. And Greenspan, an American, had become the spokesman against the rapid spread of Islam. Weigert’s sense of triumph subsided somewhat. Now, one would believe that he did not have any hallucinations with Volker. But the Wewelsburg track seemed to be lost in the sand. There could be something in the Islamic Popular Front. Always presumed, of course, they were the same perpetrators as Volker’s and the same sign. For a moment, Weigert thought of turning back.What should he do now with Martin and the castle? Should he still keep his SS stories from the day before yesterday? But finally he had flown to Frankfurt to rent the car. If he was ready, at least he wanted to take the opportunity to ask a few more questions. The trip would be in vain, but in vain he had not been. After all, he had paid the ticket and the car out of his own pocket. Carefully Weigert parked the car. It was a hundred meters to Martin’s house. It was raining heavily and he had no umbrella. But closer to the house nothing had been done, no space. Twenty minutes ago they had aired a special on the radio. But there had been nothing new. A few statements from politicians,who, as usual after such events, made in dismay, as well as a description of the crime scene and the fact, as far as known. In a busy street, two men allegedly approached Greenspan and his bodyguard and immediately fired. Also this time you have probably used silencer, it said. Mention was also made of the eyewitnesses who had wanted to see that the two perpetrators had tattooed in a few seconds something on Greenspan’s corpse, specifically his forehead. Tattooed, at least that is how they expressed themselves. Weigert would interrupt his vacation and see tomorrow in the newsroom all the news agencies about the assassination. Then he would call the New York Correspondent of the “Journal.” She was certainly already on the story.He promised himself more of that. Eventually he would verbally tell Bergmann, that ignoramus. And then there was the cover-up policy of the Austrian authorities, which had to be uncovered and attacked. A lot of work was waiting for him. But first of all it was about Martin and the Wewelsburg, although Weigert’s interest in it had dropped considerably in the last hour. Weigert slammed the car door and ran through the rain to the entrance of Martin’s house. Under the small canopy, he found protection from the wet. He pressed his finger on the bell button. The seconds passed, but nobody opened. Weigert rang for the second time. Since he had not registered, he expected that Martin was not at home. In this case, he wanted to take a room in the small pension,which he had discovered on his last visit right next to the castle. Tomorrow he would surely have more luck. Weigert’s eyes wandered over the front of the house. He saw that light was burning in a room. As far as he could remember, it had to be the kitchen. So yes. He rang a third time. Again nothing. Maybe Martin and his wife were watching TV. Since the two had already reached a fairly old age, they might not hear him. Weigert decided to go around the house and try the back door, through which Martin and he had begun their walk to the castle on his first visit. He quickly crossed the dark garden. The meager light of the street lamps did not reach to this point. The wind whipped the raindrops against his face, leaving wet marks on them.Weigert thought of the delicious strong coffee he had enjoyed here a few days ago. The thought made him feel the weather and the cold more bearable. Now he had reached the back door. He raised his hand to knock. Even before his ankles hit the wood for the first time, the door was suddenly torn open. He was not able to get any further, everything was damn fast, a figure was about to storm out of the door, but she bounced back against Weigert, who was thrown back, stumbled, and fell down The other had been faltering, but he was standing there, the face! Weigert knew it, it was the man Martin had spoken to while Weigert had looked at the Walhalla, Instinctively Weigert rolled to one side, to escape an attack.But when he wanted to get up from the turning motion, hit him with full force kicked in the back and stretched him down again. Weigert once had considerable employee qualities. For a while each week, Villiger and he had three times subjected themselves to the hard discipline of a karate dojo. But that was a few years ago. Weigert cried out. When he looked up, dazed, from the ground, ten meters in front of him, he saw two figures flanking each other across the garden fence, disappearing in the darkness. Go on! But the order Weigert’s brain gave was answered by his body with severe pain in the kidney area. Slowly, infinitely slowly, Weigert came up. He was gasping for air. All he heard was the fading footsteps,which quickly disappeared and merged with the sound of rain. He stumbled to the garden fence, but as he made an attempt to get over, he felt a stabbing pain in his side. He decided to refrain. Only now came the shock of the sudden attack. The fear crept slowly from the belly into Weigert’s consciousness. His legs started to shake. He started to sit down, but his eyes fell on the open back door. Martin! Was the Frenchman in there? Or had the burglars deliberately chosen his absence for their coup? He dragged himself through the door, closed it behind him and put down the latch. A quick breather, keys after the light switch. There he was. When it became light, the first thing Weigert saw was indescribable chaos. Someone had knocked over a commode in the corridor.The stores were torn out, the contents lay scattered wild on the floor. A shelf next to it was still in place, but the two vases that had been placed on it were now broken in front of it. Where was Martin? A stinging pain in his kidneys made Weigert wince. He pressed his hand to his side and stifled a moan. There! Into the living room! When Weigert tried to drag himself through the door, he started back. Martin’s wife was hanging from a thin rope that had been looped over one of the wooden beams. Between her feet and the floor was about half a meter of space. Her face was blue, her eyeballs had come out of the caves. Weigert stared at the corpse paralyzed. These pigs!But what was that? Out of the pockets of her home clothes something protruded on the right and on the left. It looked like bricks. The feet had been tied together in a strange way so that they formed a right angle. On the other hand, one had renounced fetters. Martin himself lay motionless in the middle of the room. His shirt hung in tatters from his body so that his chest was bared. They had made him cruel. His face was just an indefinable mass of flesh and blood. Long cuts that still blew blood pulled over his chest. Shit, no! Weigert was hard on the verge of panicking. With the utmost effort, he forced himself to rest. He dragged himself to the hanged man. His hand groped in his pocket for the penknife he always carried with him. He pulled it out.With trembling fingers, he opened the blade and cut the rope. He caught the body and let it slide to the ground. Fingers to the neck. No more heartbeat. She was dead. Then the Frenchman. When Weigert leaned over to him, he saw that Martin opened his eyes, or rather, what was still to be seen of them. “What … What happened?” Weigert stammered, no longer properly in control, trying to gently put the man’s head on a pillow, Martin’s speech making a great deal of trouble, and spitting blood again and again … they did not find … anything … “Weigert had to bring his ear very close to Martin’s mouth to understand him. “What did not they find?” “Take it …” Weigert’s heart was racing, his brain unable to think clearly.”What? What should I take? “” There … over there … “Martin made a faint gesture towards the corner of the room. All Weigert could see there was a sizeable cluster of green plants stuck in big pots. “In that … tree there … Take it …. Please!” “Quiet, first of all, I’ll get an ambulance, do you have bandages in the house?” Weigert’s voice almost toppled with panic. “No … no!” Martin’s eyes were pleading, and he coughed again, blood spilling out of his mouth, “take something … write … please!” Weigert’s hands went into the pockets of his coat. He tore out his notebook and pulled out his pen. The trembling of his hands had become stronger. Of course he would be able to write.Martin wanted to tell him something important, he understood that now. “Karl Steiner … he is … in … Tibet … ask … about Steiner …” Martin paused, then continued talking in an increasingly dull voice. by Tashi Lhunpo … “The Frenchman laboriously spelled out his name. The breaks became longer and longer, which he had to do. Weigert had never so directly witnessed the death throes of a human being. But he sensed that Martin was coming to an end. “Go … go to Steiner …” The Frenchman looked at him and tried to accomplish something like a smile. “Much … luck …” Once again Martin wanted to start, but he did did not make it anymore. His eyes froze. Weigert dropped the notebook. As if in a trance, he looked around the room.His eyes were searching for the phone. His gaze fell on the green plants in the corner. Weigert jumped up. With fickle movements, he examined the small tree that Martin had interpreted. Nothing.A stink-normal tree in a stink-normal pot, thought Weigert. He knew he could save himself from calling a doctor. Martin and his wife were dead. There, the phone! While Weigert wanted to put the pot with the plant back on its stand, he turned in the direction of the apparatus. He was so excited that he did not put the tree right. This fell from the stand on the hard parquet floor. The pot broke, the earth trickled apart. Weigert’s head whirled around, startled by the splintering sound of the pot. Then he saw what Martin had wanted to call his attention: between the root ball of the tree, something silvery shimmered out. Weigert parted the earth, and 59 the thing turned out to be two CDs – storage media for computers,which had been replacing the good old hard drives for years. So that was it! But what was it? It had to be pretty important if it was worth it to kill two people for it. He knew that now he had to summon police and rescue. If the officers found the CDs, he might never know what was on them. Did it have something to do with Wewelsburg? Or was it even relevant to his story? He decided to keep the two silver discs and not tell the police. He could not help Martin and his wife anyway. Should something be on the disks, which was of no importance to him, but could help clear the murders, he could still send it anonymously to the investigating officers. But if it was importantthen he was well ahead of his colleagues. So far he could still think, in spite of the terrible sight that had deeply upset him. Sometimes journalism literally went over dead bodies. Still, no one would come back to life if he handed over the media to the police. Weigert felt his pain again. He picked up the phone and dialed the police emergency call. His whole body trembled. Vienna, November 27th “What do you think you are!” Bergmann had been shouting all the time, now his voice cracked. “You are researching without a job a story in which you have already built enough crap anyway! ” The editor-in-chief jumped up and his little body jerked out from behind the desk. He built himself up before Weigertto underline the effect of his vociferous attack. “I have already made it clear to you that special care must be taken after your last mishaps! And what are you doing!? Just go on your holiday once again on this strange castle … of course! Weigert’s face was only a few inches away from his boss’s, and this time, Weigert had sworn, he would not give it as cheap as he had the last time Bergmann made to catch his breath. “You know as well as I do that yesterday, while I was on my way to that weird castle, as you say, John Greenspan was murdered, and you know that the same sign was burned on his forehead as Volker’s.And …. “Weigert did not get any further, Bergmann had taken a few deep breaths and started screaming again, his hands on his hips, his whole body vibrating.” To hell with it, Weigert, what Volker’s got is Even if it’s true, which I do not believe in, we have to acknowledge that there are some crazy people doing it! What is Greenspan to do with Volker? they did not know each other, nor did they belong to the same political camps, and their functions were completely different. “You see ghosts!” Weigert, who would have liked to shout in between, hesitated. He realized that he could not offer his editor-in-chief any plausible explanation for a connection between the two murders,except this sign. And for that he still had no proof, at least with Volker. He could only hope that the Austrian authorities would now admit something in the face of the Greenspan assassination. But there had to be a connection. Weigert was firmly convinced. “They are not employed here for fun! Even if you do not like it, you have to follow what’s good for the ‘leaf’. “Bergmann marched up and down now, his volume down a bit.” Weigert, you’re involved in a murder case Two people have been brutally killed, and you, an editor of this paper, are in the thick of it! With your reports of the Volker murder, you have already shattered our reputation in the dirt! Weigert had no ideaBergmann had made his decision long ago. The “conversation” to which he had quoted Weigert probably only served him more to deflate his steam. Should he play his last trump card now? Should he tell the editor-in-chief about his find at Martin? The police officers who had interrogated Weigert had He said he had put the two CDs in his computer this morning-he had slept next to nothing-and the result was not encouraging, as he had discovered that it was on each of the two disks there was no file, but he had not been able to read them, none of his programs were able to handle those files, the stuff withstood all attempts, and so he had no idea what the contents of the CDs were, still,whether he would manage to make him readable at all. Of course he and Bergmann could hire some specialist, but who knew if the two discs really mattered? Weigert could not take the risk; he had too much of a crush on Bergmann. It heatedly stirred Weigert’s mind that there was another reason for this: when he told his boss about the existence of the two CDs, he admitted he had embezzled evidence in a murder case. Bergmann would drop him like a hot potato. The chief editor eyed his subordinates suspiciously. What was Weigert thinking about? Bergmann’s excitement was real, after all it was about his, yes – his -, newspaper. But he also knew that it was about much more than that.Schneider had called him a few hours ago. He was the first to tell him about the murder of Martin and his wife. His editor, he had told Bergmann, was involved. His editor: That implied that Bergmann was involved as well. And it meant that the banker, who was so respectful of the editor-in-chief of the Journal, was dissatisfied with him, and Bergmann was not a man of conflict, at least not when that conflict was shared with peers or even high-ranking people Instead, he relied on friendly helpfulness.61 It had to be important if Schneider asked him for something, and there had to be something at stake that was in their common interest, but that he, Dr. Karl Bergmann, should be put at risk Editor-in-chief of the “Blatt”,did not initiate the exact reason for the interest in Weigert made him angry. Schneider had not answered his questions. And so Bergmann had picked up the phone to call the competent police authority in Germany. She had already put together a first report for the media anyway. The official had read the contents of the report to him. When he came to the place that described the condition in which the bodies were found, Bergmann was one step further. Two bricks in the pockets, feet at right angles. Bergmann knew how to interpret certain signs. That’s why he knew his editor had nothing to do with the murders. That asshole, Weigert thought. If he wants to have good stories in his newspaper,then he can not just hang his editors when they’re in trouble! But nothing else had been expected. Weigert had already experienced such a behavior Bergmann twice before with other colleagues. He was just too weak to really carry out conflicts that might go against his substance. Weigert was angry, but worse, he was scared. Not only because of the consequences that miners could pull. But above all because of the two dead that he had seen yesterday in Wewelsburg. Of course, the police would interrogate him again. But he had done nothing. But maybe you would do something for him. He had been aware of this possibility since the sight of the blood-soaked body of Pierre Martin and his lifeless body-building wife.His reason told him that this was extremely unlikely. But his fear remained. Weigert was startled by his thoughts. “We’ve got to save what’s left!” Bergmann was dramatizing again, “I’ve got to keep the paper from going deeper into the whole thing, and there’s no other way than to suspend you from duty.” Weigert stared at Bergmann. Suspend: Every single letter of the word ate through his thoughts. So it was about his job. Bergmann answered Weigert’s glance. Now it was out. In a few minutes he would call Schneider to tell him that he had fulfilled his wish. Weigert felt empty and burned out. Again he had not defended himself properly, not fought as he had intended.He also had damn bad cards. His editor in chief clearly held the better hand. Weigert turned around without a word and slammed the door to the office loudly behind him. Bergmann picked up the phone. In the corridor Weigert met his head of department. “And, Mr. Weigert, what was wrong with the boss?” 62 Werner Hillgruber looked worried, trying to take care of everything that people in his department were interested in. He also liked Weigert. “He put me off duty. ” “What!? That must not be true! “Hillgruber rarely got aroused, but if that was the case, that meant something, he looked at his watch, then at Weigert.” Come on, let’s go get some food. ” Weigert fumbled with his fork in his fries, which lay on the plate beside the Wiener Schnitzel.He had not even touched the beer glass in front of him. He told Hillgruber the details of yesterday. It seemed to him as if everything was just a bad dream. At some point he would wake up and it would be over. “Heads up! We’ll do it again. “Hillgruber was radiating optimism that Weigert could not share.” We need to proceed systematically. ” The department chief took a sip of his apple juice. “So: we have a murder of Bernhard Volker, the Eurofed boss. We have a second murder of John Greenspan, a member of the UN Security Council. Are you listening to me at all? “Weigert looked up from his plate.” Yes, yes. ” “Listen, Mr. Weigert. I believe you, what you saw at Volker. You are not the type that tendsinventing such things or spending unconfirmed rumors as own observations. You have been working in my restaurant for too long. With this we have a commonality between the two attacks: the sign that you both have, however, turned on their foreheads. Please interrupt me if I miss something. “” Good. ” “At Volker we can not prove it because the authorities are keeping this detail secret, it seems. This may well have quite normal reasons, such as that they pursue a trail and do not want to make too much wind here. You, Mr Weigert, have finally discovered this sign, which has never been used by any extremist group or terrorist organization, in a book and visited its author. But he did not tell you much morethan that this sign is inscribed in the floor of a hall in a castle, which should have become, before the age of a century, an ideological center of the SS. Is that correct? “” Yes. ” “Did not he really tell you anything else that might help us?” Weigert thought for a moment. “No, nothing, just history.” “All right then. The problem is that, for the Volker murder, we have a letter of confession from the Islamic Popular Front, which is said to be authentic. But this does not fit with your castle. “” Then why did you kill Martin and his wife? ” “A good question. That is what makes me suspect that there may be something in the trail. Finally … “” Stop! There’s something else, I told you about the man who beat me down.I have seen this man before. On my first visit to Martin. The Frenchman spoke briefly with him while I was not there. When I arrived, the two said goodbye. Martin told me he was just a tourist who wanted to visit the castle. “” Did you mention that to the police? ” “Yes, of course.” “Could you describe the man as well?” “So bad and right. The first time, I did not pay much attention to him. The second time it was dark and he struck immediately. After that I had other worries. “” There really seems to be something about this Martin, you just found him dead? ” Now the point had come where he had to decide. He had not told anyone yet what the Frenchman had said to himnot the police either. He had also concealed the finding of the two disks. Should he now inaugurate Hillgruber? But Hillgruber was only an employee of The Leaf, and although he disliked Bergmann, he was forced to tell him the truth if he asked him if he included Hillgruber, told him more when he had even done it to the police, then … no, he had to move on alone. “Yes, Martin and his wife were already dead. Only his wife was queer.” “Why?” “They hanged her.” “That’s what you’ve already told me.” “Well, that seems a bit of a hassle to me, you could have just shot her, and then there were some weird things.” “What?” Hillgruber pushed the empty plate aside.The waiter cleared and brought the dessert. 64 “Out of the pockets of her dress were two bricks. I hardly believe that the old woman just carried her around. And their feet had been tied together so oddly that they formed a right angle. “Hillgruber looked a bit perplexed,” but you have not discovered anything that would have been comparable to the signs at Volker or Greenspan? ” “No, nothing.” “Anyway, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next in the Greenspan case, and if there’s a letter from the Islamic Popular Front, it’s probably going to be something to ask Maybe he had something to do with Arabs, well … “Weigert worked on his vanilla pudding. The red raspberry sauce,which spread over it, reminded him of the tortured body of Pierre Martin. Disgusted, he pushed the bowl away. “Do not let gray hair grow for now, Mr. Weigert. You are not the first to be suspended from the service by this newspaper. If Bergmann got upset, then I’ll find a way to put things right. “Hillgruber had almost a good luck in protecting” his “people. He never lost much words about it. But almost everyone in the department had already experienced that problems had suddenly been eliminated. Once Hillgruber Weigert had asked if he was satisfied with his salary. What should he have answered? He was only at the beginning of his work for the “Blatt”and initial salaries were low. So no. Hillgruber had not raised the subject again. When Weigert held his next paycheck in hand, he saw that his department chief had convinced the editor-in-chief that one of his people was underpaid. The increase was quite strong. Reliable on Hillgruber, Weigert knew that from numerous other events. And Hillgruber did not like Bergmann much. He simply thought him incapable. “Bergmann misjudges again vigorously. But we’ve all experienced that many times before. Volker and Greenspan, both outstanding figures in international politics. Both people, you do not just kill me, nothing kills you. This includes a powerful organization.I bet a monthly salary that there is a parallel. “Murder out, parallel ago Weigert was suspended from duty That was his main problem at the moment.” And what should I do now? ” Weigert looked almost helpfully to Hillgruber. “For the moment, nothing. Go home and enjoy a few days off, even if they happen under unlucky circumstances. If you want to drive away, then in any case leave me a number where I can reach you. “65” Alright, but … Do you think Bergmann wants to fire me? ” “Maybe he’s trying. But there are still some others who will have a say in it. “In spirit, Hillgruber already constructed an alliance he intended to forge, and there was the deputy editor-in-chief,with whom Hillgruber understood brilliantly, the cult leader and not least Bergmann’s secretary. The interest in her was probably the only thing that connected him and Bergmann. Of course, he would also take care of “his” editor, because creating loyalties could be useful later on. “Hillgruber did not want to be the head of the department for all eternity.” Bergmann’s leather swivel chair appealed to him, but Hillgruber did not Heigert would have been convinced that Heigert was right, and then he would not have thought of it. “Let’s wait and see if a confessor of the Islamic Popular Front will turn up in the next few days for the Greenspan assassinationThe interest in her was probably the only thing that connected him and Bergmann. Of course, he would also take care of “his” editor, because creating loyalties could be useful later on. “Hillgruber did not want to be the head of the department for all eternity.” Bergmann’s leather swivel chair appealed to him, but Hillgruber did not Heigert would have been convinced that Heigert was right, and then he would not have thought of it. “Let’s wait and see if a confessor of the Islamic Popular Front will turn up in the next few days for the Greenspan assassinationThe interest in her was probably the only thing that connected him and Bergmann. Of course, he would also take care of “his” editor, because creating loyalties could be useful later on. “Hillgruber did not want to be the head of the department for all eternity.” Bergmann’s leather swivel chair appealed to him, but Hillgruber did not Heigert would have been convinced that Heigert was right, and then he would not have thought of it. “Let’s wait and see if a confessor of the Islamic Popular Front will turn up in the next few days for the Greenspan assassinationHillgruber did not want to be the head of the department forever. Bergmann’s leather swivel chair pleased him. But if Hillgruber had not been convinced that Weigert was right, then he would not have thought of it either. “Let’s wait and see if, in the next few days, a confessor of the Islamic Popular Front will turn up for the Greenspan assassination. If so, become a minerHillgruber did not want to be the head of the department forever. Bergmann’s leather swivel chair pleased him. But if Hillgruber had not been convinced that Weigert was right, then he would not have thought of it either. “Let’s wait and see if, in the next few days, a confessor of the Islamic Popular Front will turn up for the Greenspan assassination. If so, become a minerhave to admit that you were on the right track. And as for the murders in Wewelsburg, do not worry about it. They did not do it, did they? “Hillgruber smiled, and Weigert shook his head slowly, his mind crumpling, thinking of the Islamic Popular Front, wondering if this time Hillgruber was not on a lumbering path. When the two of them had said goodbye, Weigert went to his car, and from afar he recognized the note under the wiper blade, and to top it all off, a punitive mandate When he arrived at his car, he reached for it – it was not a punitive mandate – it looked much more like a leaflet. “Weigert began to read.” It was a poem,printed on computer paper, with no indication of who it came from. As he scanned the lines, the basement vault in Wewelsburg appeared in his mind’s eye. The feeling of littleness and insignificance that he had felt then spread again. Irritated, he read on. “Awakens the end of this creation, nearing the last days of finality, And out of the depth of repression, through crevasses and cracks pour the pains of despair with the bitter touch of certainty only to be a part of what is in the maelstrom of almightiness reveals its transience. Thus, the end of this creation awakens, the determination of the final phase approaches. Surrounded by the stench of tears, mediocrity and insignificance die off. Experience reason and feeling the blind grief that stifles wildly in the blood of the drawing.And with the sun awakes in the morning, surrounded by radiant splendor, like the beguiling beauty of all eternity, the triumphant smile of victory. “I have the impression that you have not got the matter over there, Joe.” Thomas Beckett was excited, and this time he did nothing to hide his anger. Kipling’s sweaty face filled almost the entire screen of the videophone. “What is my name? These were people from the UN secret service. Nobody could have expected that they would behave in such a bumbling way and be surprised. But that’s not all … “Kipling dabbed his sweat from his face with his handkerchief He was afraid of it, but he had to tell Beckett.” They were not surprised by anyone, as we learned later .It was this journalist from Vienna. But do not worry, Thomas. I have already started everything. We’ll pull Weigert out of circulation. “Beckett’s right hand nervously played with a ballpoint pen-turn it off, off, over and over.” What do you mean, we can not just put him out of the way as you say, you’re hoping aware that this is what makes us aware of what we do not want to have in public, where others are, where a beagle is, and every new one pushes its nose deeper than its foremost, even if the most important thing remains hidden from them Over-zealous journalists could do a lot of damage, I hope you’re aware of that, Joe. ” Kipling hurried with his answer. “Naturally. But no fear.For Weigert it does not look good anyway. We took advantage of that. A few hours ago, his newspaper suspended him from the service. We did not even have to help much. His boss was because of the Volker story anyway not good to talk to him. That it was he who found Martin and his wife dead will break his neck. We’ll attach the murders to him. “Kipling was pleased with his move, made a virtue out of necessity, and as a lawyer he knew that it would not be too difficult to gather the necessary evidence of Weigert’s burden Beckett was satisfied that he, Kipling, was in place, and his relations with Vienna paid off once more.Kipling’s idea was usable, there was no doubt about that. If Weigert had once lost his job and stood trial on suspicion of murder, he would have other things to do than continue to snoop around. This solved a problem, if only the least of all. “Alright, Joe. Make everything happen. And make sure you do not make a mistake again. “” Do not worry, we’ll finish this smear, but what’s new in the Greenspan thing? ” “As good as nothing. You’ve heard that we did not cover up this time. They shot him in the street. That is why it is also important that this journalist can not make any more difficulties. We will probably have to blame the assassination attempt on the Islamic Popular Front again.At Greenspan, that’s also believable. Of course, thanks to this refusal, they will now seek parallels between the Greenspan assassination and the Volker murder. We will have no other choice than to activate the media organ and give the Islamic fundamentalist a little bit of temper. “Beckett knew how to launch such a campaign, he had had enough experience with it, and many people would or would have condemned the assassination Some would take the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon: Christian politicians would warn against the further spread of Islam, the law-and-order supporters warn of the increasing danger of terrorism, and many would only join the chorus, because they feared that they could become targets once.The defenders of the Third World would draw attention to the social situation in the Arab countries. And each of these statements would in turn produce counter-opinions. It would also come to some embarrassment, which in turn triggered disputes, because some would take the opportunity to one of their political opponents one. The media would print well and send what would be spread in hot air. For them, the rank of the information broadcaster mostly counts for more than the information itself anyway. You would not even have to help much. And finally, the fog would be so thick that nobody would think about finding the key to solve it elsewhere. “And, Joe, are you really sure that Martin had no closer connection to our friends?”Beckett asked for it a second time, with a disparaging emphasis on the word “friends.” He wanted to make sure that Kipling did not conceal any further problems. “Yes, I’m sure, as I said, the interrogation that the It has only revealed that Martin has been able to track down Steiner – a remarkable achievement for a hobby historian, after all – but all he wanted to know about him was about the Wewelsburg Me, Thomas: He was not one of them, if he was, he would have told us, you do not lie with certain questioning methods Steiner died six months ago according to Martin, the Frenchman is also dead now, even though Weigert crashed into it He has just found his body.The UN people did not have the ability to drape him as skillfully as his wife, but in any case he was dead when Weigert found him. We’ve got that under control, really. “Even if Beckett did not like Kipling, he knew he could count on him, and right now he needed him.” But where Steiner stayed until his death, Martin does not betray?” “More than Tibet, the UN boys did not get him out of it. Then he died. “” Are you sure you can rely on your helpers? I mean, is not the result a bit thin? ” “The people of the UN secret service are professionals, Thomas, not amateurs.” “If I look at the result and the fact that they have been surprised, I doubt it.” “But …” Beckett interrupted Kipling.”Alright, Joe. Now you can not do anything anymore. Make sure you fix the matter with the journalist. Once you’ve done that, let me know. Maybe we have another job for you in Europe. “” You think of the sleepers? ” “Perhaps. But that’s not decided yet. At least take care of yourself. You know, you could be the next to Greenspan to get it. “” You too, Thomas. ” Vienna, November 28 The ice cubes in the glass crackled and crackled as Weigert ran over the “Cardhu.” Malts in their noblest form, uncut and a dozen years old, water of life from the foggy Scottish Highlands. selampe was broken by the bright brown of the whiskey, the milky white of the pieces of ice,which gave the fluid the final maturity of its twelve-year history, and the cut of the crystal glass. Weigert shook the glass slightly so that the ice cubes nudged the rim and took a long sip. Comfortable warmth flooded his body, while his fingers, holding the glass, remained cool. Fire and Ice. Two powers whose elemental counterparts in the crystal cup formed a perfect coalition joined together to give birth to something new. In order to perfect the harmony, the sounds of Scottish bagpipes filled the room with their vibrations to bring their message from the bygone era to the present. In front of him, on his desk, Weigert had laid out everything that had to do with his story. And that it really was his story now,There was no doubt about that. On the top left was the book of Pierre Martin – pitched open – revealing the page depicting the sign that had indelibly burnt into Weigert’s mind as it had been done on the forehead of the victims. On it, half obscuring the black sun on the floor of the Wewelsburg Hall, lay the two shimmering silvery slices. Despite repeated attempts, he had failed to wrest from them the content they held. They had resisted every attempt and preferred to keep their secret. On the right were three stacks of newspaper clippings and printed agency reports. One pile for Bernhard Volker, the murdered president of the European Central Bank, another for John Greenspan, member of the UN Security Council,had met the same fate as Volker. The third contained material about the Islamic People’s Front. Weigert knew the contents of the three stacks almost by heart. In front of him, neatly next to each other, lay two notes. On the one hand, the poem he found on his car, on the other the brief notes of what Martin had told him before he died. So that was all he had. Weigert leaned back and lit a cigarette. Their smoke rose and mingled with the sounds of the bagpipes. It had been ten days since he had been the only journalist to see Volker’s body. And in this same function – as a journalist – he had written about it. But something had changed in those ten days. Weigert had become the viewer’s viewpointfrom the outsider to the involved. The first two murders of Volker and Greenspan left Weigert cold. Attacks on politicians occurred again and again. That was the professional risk of this caste. The media reported about it, nothing more, nothing less. But finding two old people, one hanging dead on the ceiling, the other terribly scrounged on its last legs, that was different. It went deeper, not only because it might cost him his job. A pull on the cigarette, another sip of whiskey. Cost the job … Was that really that bad? What had he done so far? About events that initiated others. Moody politician statements inflated because they did well in the headlines. Rewriting agency messages,which had been knocked into the computer thousands of miles away from other journalists. And now and then a comment, just not too far away from the leaf line, because otherwise it would have been rewritten. No, he had never sold himself, not that, but he had not really fought for something. For what? In a society whose only accepted value was wealth for all, there was nothing worth fighting for. Many of his acquaintances envied him for his job. He is always there, where something happens. He talks to ministers, talks to presidents, sometimes hears the shots of revolutions. Yes, he was there, but not anymore. He did not act himself. It was a mirage to believe such a thing. He only wrote down the actions of others. And of that, mostly just that,which was wanted to be put on paper. Seldom did Weigert find the time and peace to analyze his situation. Again and again, one event had replaced the other, one story the next. Nothing was as old as yesterday’s paper. Only very rarely had he wondered what it was like to set up such an information staccato on people. What could, yes, what did you want to do with it? The time of the great political movements was over. Where once people took to the streets for their ideas, today a small caste of colorless bureaucrats managed gross national products. The big rest stuffed their bellies fully. And the media provided the theater backdrop for pseudo events – bread and games. They suggested movement where there was none.They worked out issues that were not. They took seriously what they could possibly shake their heads at best. For the few really interested citizens, at least the impression remained that there was still politics, that the final exit from history had not yet taken place. So they held on to the belief that they could help shape their voice, even though they had long since given it a double meaning. Weigert had no illusions that he was part of this system. A wheel in a gigantic machine. He did not despise this yet, but he had long begun to criticize his role. He wanted to “move something” when he started young and full of energy at the “Blatt”.A few months later he realized that a newspaper could do nothing, and certainly not a single journalist. Cosmetic corrections were the maximum. The alliance of democracy and prosperity swallowed social contradictions and conflicts like a black hole. Everything was discussed so long, until nothing remained of it. Sometimes the faces changed at the top, not least thanks to the media, but that was like kidnapping an animal from an anthill. There was turmoil and restlessness in the short term, but then another animal took its place. The ant-pest remained. Business as usual. Did he really lose so much? If he thought it over, well no.But what should come after a possible termination? Was there an alternative to his current job? He could afford to end his activity on the “paper.” But he had to pay his rent, had to eat, and he was not averse to other comforts of life, whether he wrote his lines in “Der Blatt.” If he knocked on the computer or if he was doing it for another newspaper, if he was going to any company or carrying sacks somewhere, it did not matter. The system persisted, holding him dependent. It had at most other nuances of captivity ready. Maybe Villiger had done the right thing. But he had only been able to do it because he had played before. Because without money no exit. Villiger … That was the solution! To hell,why had not he thought of it right away? He could manage to elicit the secret from the silver discs. His friend had some hobbies that did not lack a certain absurdity. For a time he had practiced the art of sword fencing and had become a specialist in medieval weapons. Then he had dealt with the chaos theory, just like that. Weigert had never understood it, despite numerous attempts by Villiger to introduce him to the secrets of disorder. After the chaos theory, he finally ended up working on code systems. He had simply been fascinated by the possibility of being able to form meaningful words from seemingly meaningless combinations of letters and numbers. He had always called it “semantic transformations” and was thirstingly thirstyOnce again, Weigert had sent a coded “beer coupon.” At times Weigert had fiddled with it, but only once had he managed to crack a text encrypted by Villiger, and he had profaned that triumph until Villiger revealed it to him It had been one of the most primitive types of encryption ever taught to any underage boy Scout – sometimes Weigert had thought Villiger was a spider – but he was too intelligent for that, he was probably a bit quirky in some ways, even if you did Weigert had to get Villiger to take care of the two CDs: First, he was a computer specialist, and second, he had his code craziness, that was the chance, but Villiger was in Norway, and Weigert looked at the clock:half an hour past midnight. He decided to postpone his call. The disks were the most obvious track he had. She had to pursue it first. Maybe her content could free him from the trouble he was in. Only then would he decide what he would do with his second track: Karl Steiner and Tashi Lhunpo. Vienna, November 29th They had chained him. The steel links snaked around his joints, cutting deeply into the flesh, which was already bleeding in some places. To the left and right of him burned torches and dipped the large dome-shaped room in flickering light. Somewhere came the sound of drums, at first soft, then louder and louder – rhythmically – until it swelled to a crescendo. A figure in black dressed up in front of him,the face was covered by a cloth that left only two slits open for the eyes. Triumphantly, the figure thrust his hand up, holding a long object resembling a scepter. He screamed, trying to pull away, but the more he tore at his chains, the deeper they cut into his flesh. Other black figures, who had formed a semicircle around him, also tore their arms in the air to form a V with them outstretched. The man in front of him grabbed the item with both hands and aimed it at the face of the tied man. The thick end of the metal rod was burning hot and came closer and closer. The heat was already noticeable. Screaming, tugging – it did not help. He had no chance anymore. In a few seconds you would burn him the black sun. Weigert woke with sweat.Trembling, he straightened up. First orientation, then perception of the familiar. His bed, the overflowing ashtray beside him, his clothes scattered wildly in the room. Nothing, just a dream. He sank back, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. But there was something else. The telephone! Weigert struggled up from the bed and went to his study, naked as he was. His papers were still spread out on the desk the way he had left them yesterday. The water level in the whiskey bottle had dropped considerably, he noted as he reached for the receiver. He also felt like it. He answered. “Refusing.” In the mouth he felt a shelled taste, as always when he had smoked too much and drank. “Yes, Hans … Here’s Walter.” The police,your friend and helper, thought Weigert, looking at the clock that hung against the wall: 10:17, time to get up to speed. Müller seemed excited. Weigert stifled a yawn and fished for the cigarette pack on the desk. “The UN secret service has just questioned me once again.” Müller spoke quickly, his words almost flipping over and Weigert’s brain began to slow in. It began to get interesting. “It looked quite routine.” Why the hell did he have to wake him up? Or had he awakened anyway because of the dream? 72 “Are you still there?” Weigert fumbled a cigarette out of the pack and put it in his mouth. “Yes, yes, keep writing.” “There was only one man in the office to call me. As we spoke,There was a knock on the door and he had to get out of the room. “Weigert had heard something more exciting, the lighter, where was the lighter?” Curious as I am, I used the opportunity to look around the desk a little bit, I wanted to know Why the guys, even though I’m a cop, have summoned me again. ” The lighter was nowhere to be seen. It was probably in the bedroom. The day started well. “And on the desk there was something that would interest you: an arrest warrant, for two murders – against you.” Weigert opened his mouth, the cigarette fell out, good that he had not plugged it yet. “What !? ” “Yes, damn it. Signed by Francois Benoist, head of Eurocops. Reason: two murders committed three days ago in Germany. “” Shit, but I was. “I do not think so! “” That’s exactly what I think you would do a lot, but I do not think so, I have no idea what you came across, but the UN people are damned fond of you, they’re going to get you today still.” Weigert was suddenly wide awake. Mueller’s voice sounded anxious, “At least you did not hear anything from me. Right? “” Yes, yes, sure. ” “Well, I have to stop now, someone wants to go to my room. Take care and … good luck! “Weigert said” Thank you “, but Müller had already hung up. His thoughts were racing. Of course he was involved in the matter with Martin. But they could not attach two murders to him! But after they had emptied their findings during the Volker attack … What to do? Call a lawyer? But who? Weigert had never needed one.Call editor-in-chief? What for? The asshole would kill him anyway. You could not blame him. Who needs an editor who sits in custody under suspicion of murder? Weigert’s knees trembled. He sat down in his leather chair. 73 There had to be something lazy about the UN secret service and the Eurocops. Someone played a game there, of which he was a victim. If they caught him now, they would find Martin’s two CDs as well. Holy shit! There was hardly any better load material. The stuff had to go and he had to. But what then? Anyway, it was his only chance to bring light into the darkness that threatened to devour him more and more. He would not be able to do that out of a cell. Way! “He, Hans Weigert, so far irreproachable citizen,should escape the access of the authorities, who identified in a double murder? Naked fear had seized him, he was barely able to think clearly. Panic spread. It had always been a horror vision for him to sit in a jail where days just went by while life went on outside without him. And as he slowly went crazy on his eight square feet with barred view. The panic overcame him completely. Way, yes, first off! No cell, no interrogations. And one last chance to clarify the matter. He jumped up. From the study to the anteroom, cupboard, travel bag out. Back to the study. Stuffed documents in the bag, the two CDs in a side pocket. Desk drawer on: passport, driver’s license, wallet, credit cards.Back to the anteroom: underpants, socks, two shirts. Attract. Bathroom: toothbrush, towel. All fast, but like in a trance. Every moment they could be here. Path! Down in front of the house was his car. View from the window: nothing remarkable to see. Shoes on, door closed, down, the travel bag in one hand, holding on to the other a cloak dragging on the floor. Look left, right. Nothing! … Nothing yet! Weigert hurriedly unlocked the car, tossed the bag on the passenger seat, the cloak on it, dropped into the seat, slammed the door, and started. Way, nothing like gone! Bolzano, 1 December Europe has – at least – two sides: the north and the south. Both parts bring in human beings each other strings of their souls to swing,they elicit different sounds and thus not only give birth to different songs, but also express different mentalities, lifestyles and cultures in their lyrics and melodies. But both – the cool, restrained north and the warm, living south – are parts of a common whole, two sides of a coin called “Europe.” Where the north and south merge, at the imaginary center line of the coin Conti- nents, which are more strongly manifested in people’s minds than on maps, there lies Bolzano – no longer in the north, but not really in the south. “Weigert enthusiastically opened the double door to the balcony Mountains whose tops were covered with the brilliant white of the snow, and farther down, on the slopes, the green of the coniferous trees dominated.He inhaled deeply, drawing the fresh, spicy air into his lungs and squinting to protect it from the glare of the sun. It was surprisingly warm for the already advanced year. He stepped out onto the balcony and looked out over the little town, where the bustling streets and lanes were bustling with the busy mid-day life. He loved this city. Whenever he was here, he remembered the lines of a song that he had picked up years before, and whose title he did not know: “I was born there, but maybe l’ll there.” yes, maybe one day he would want to take his last breath here, the place where one was born could not be chosen, the one one died of, perhaps, but one had to be lucky. “Good morning!”Claudia Apollonio stood in the open balcony door, her smile jubilating with the sun’s rays. Sometimes, a simple question could set in motion complicated processes, leaving Vienna in a hurry, leaving the car somewhere, then wandering aimlessly through the area, sleeping one night in a haystack. Finally, the decision: Claudia, Bolzano, it was good that there were no passport controls in the European Union – the day had actually started pleasantly, but now, five minutes after getting up, it was all Sometimes you just should not get a foot out of bed. “Oh … it works.” “Sounds really like action. How about breakfast? “The thought of Prosciutto crudo,maybe some melon, some crunchy croissants – chocolate, of course – and a strong espresso had something to it. “Why not?” “Well, follow me inconspicuously, Signore Weigert.” That was Claudia: always happy and lively, a single clear yes to life. And that was exactly what he appreciated from the first moment on. The first moment: That was when he met her twelve years ago at John Hopkins University in Bolgna. In keeping with the motto “Oops, now I come,” she had entered a seminar room in which the lecture had been held long ago, and there was still space available next to Weigert, saying, “Well, so alone, young Man?” she had sat down without waiting for an answer. It had been the beginning of a long friendship.Claudia was not really pretty, at least she did not have the look that would have stood up to a democratic vote. “No beauty,” Weigert had once thoughtlessly told her, which had earned him a few days of criminal disregard, just like women, with smooth brown hair that covered part of her back in length Face was what one would probably call “dear”, in the sense that it awakens protective instincts in men. It was rather small, but it did not detract from its true impact on people. Her figure moved somewhere in the wide gray area between slim and plump. Sometimes she was bothered by what was expressed in a strict refusal to eat, but then again she enjoyed it unrestrainedly.what was offered with culinary delights. Three days of the seminar had passed. Hans Weigert and Claudia Apollonio had a lot of fun. They had received little from the knowledge offered. When her professor had just entered the depths of monetarism, she had invited him to visit them at one of the upcoming weekends in Bolzano. Weigert had the impudence to call his friend Villiger and bring it with him. “No problem,” she had said, and the three of them had had a deliciously good time, since then Weigert had come to understand what she had used every weekend to drive from Bologna to Bolzano. “Blood is thicker than water “Claudia once said, expressing one of her apparent contradictions,that made her so interesting. In fact, she was a cosmopolitan: she had grown up in a conglomerate of German and Italian culture. Despite her Italian name she was one of five children of German parents. She had studied for a few semesters in the US and later lived in London for a year. She liked to travel and did a lot, which allowed her father’s considerable fortune from early on. When, on one of his numerous visits to Bolzano, she had once referred to what she counted for herself, she had smiled: “German is German, and Walsch is walsch,” she had replied, although declared anti-fascist and deputy. Leftist, knew no ambiguities when it came to their innermost feelings Every year, on Sacred Heart,she marched to the big fires on the skis. But all that did not stop her from having numerous Italian friends. That’s how she was, and Weigert liked it. “Another croissant, my dear? You only had two. Normally, you do not get up before you’ve lost five of them. “Weigert’s response was not difficult, after all, he’d barely eaten in the last two days.” What do you want to do now? ” Claudia pushed a new load of pastry into the oven. Weigert took a sip of his espresso. Yesterday, when he arrived, he told her his story in detail. He knew he could trust her blindly. Even if they wrote him out to investigate, she would not talk. Hans or the police, the decision was extremely easy.She was also a journalist herself. After her stay in London, she had landed at a private Bolzano radio station. She also thought that now was a thick story. “First of all, I have to call Peter and persuade him to take care of the two CDs. And then I owe Hillgruber another explanation. He has always taken care of me and will now be quite disappointed. “The decision had been made: he just had to go on, the events had decided in his place.” They’ll look for you, Hans, and it’s only a matter of time, until they come to me. ” Claudia looked thoughtful as she put two more croissants on his plate. Of course, he had pulled her in there. But what was left for him? 76 “Our house, up on the mountain,you know that. It’s best you stay there. If the cops come in with a house search warrant, it will probably only apply to my home. The house is officially owned by my parents. I strongly believe that you want to continue. Or am I wrong? “” No, you are not wrong, what else is left for me? ” “OK then. Just do not let it get you down. So we will make a number of arrangements. Giuseppe will buy a portable phone in his name if the cops get the idea to monitor my connections. As you sit up on the mountain, I will see down here that I can get all the necessary material. We have to find out everything about Volker and Greenspan, not to mention this Frenchman. You, poor boy,You’ll be quiet up there by now, poking through the stuff I’m bringing. “She was thinking of everything, sitting down and putting her hands on her lap was not her thing, doing better than avoiding was her motto. “I’m going to take a few weeks off for a holiday, so I can only dedicate myself to this story, which I think will be more interesting than reporting on council meetings and firefighting festivals.” Two instead of one would make the job considerably easier, even more so where he was currently restricted in his freedom of movement. If then also Villiger would come, they would be three. Claudia really liked Peter. She just did not understand why he wanted to emigrate to Norway. Actually an unbeatable team, Weigert thought. Claudia would be his soul,that drove and carried away the others; Peter the man for the rough, who would not shy away from dangerous situations, the body, so to speak; and he, Weigert, would be the ghost analyzing, analyzing, and linking information. He did not take himself seriously when he thought that, but he liked it. “While you call Peter and clear things up with Hillgruber, I’ll go shopping. After all, you do not want to starve to death. And without your Single Highland Malt, you can not stand it anyway. She was refreshingly straightforward. “All right. Then let’s get started. “Weigert got up to go to the living room where the phone was.” I’ll do the dishes. ” “Something new. If I had known, I would not have bought a dishwasher. “Weigert was surprisedthat the connection came about the first time. “Einsiedelei Villiger.” No doubt, it was Peter. “Hans here, what’s new in Norway?” 77 “Extremely fine thing. Quite a lot of area here and, above all, no people who keep on chatting. “” Are you trying to pretend I’m talking to you? ” “No of course not. I only assume that you can no longer stand it alone in Vienna. So you call me. But if you believe that I can quickly get down to a beer, I’ll have to disappoint you. “” I’m not in Vienna. ” “Rather? Again on one of your pleasure cruises, which you always call as business trips? “” Unfortunately not. I’m with Claudia. ” “So, after all, an amusement ride.” Weigert told Villiger in a few words,what had happened since leaving Vienna. “You’re in a shit, old boy.” “That’s right, and to get you out there, I need you.” “Me? But now you are exaggerating. What should I do with it? “” I found two CDs with this French guy, both of them are full of some data, my problem is, I can not get to the stuff, I do not even know if that’s a computer problem is, or is it encrypted, to get that out and crack it, I need you. ” At the other end of the line it became quiet. “Are you still there?” “Yeah, sure.” Villiger seemed to be thinking. “So you expect me to seriously mess up the beginning of my new life with work?” “What does work mean here? I thought that’s something you enjoy doing.Besides, the matter will take at most a few days. Either you can do it or you can not do it. Then you can go back to the wilderness. “” Tell him we’ll cover the cost of his plane tickets. ” Claudia had her head through the living room door. “And from our little South Tyrolean I should tell you that we pay the flight. We’ve already cooled down the Budweiser. “” Sounds not bad, but seriously, you really mean that the data on the CDs contains something important? Who knows, maybe there are just a few games on board or his personal bookkeeping. ” “And he would surely buried that in a flower pot?” “There should be such people, I mean, I …” “Watch out, Peter. It is my only chance at the moment.They want to arrest me for a double murder. And if they want it, even though there’s nothing to suggest that I have anything to do with it in terms of criminal law, they’ll have thought something of it. When I first sit in the cell, my hands are tied. I can not tell you what’s on the CDs. Maybe it’s just nonsensical stuff. But I have to try it. “” You mean, I have to try it? ” “Well, you have to try it.” “You always have to pull yourself out of the dirt. No sooner will you not be there for a few days, do you shit.” “I …” “Save more Sunday speeches, you can keep the tickets, buy a second fridge and fill it with more Budweiser.” Weigert knew Villiger well enough to know that he had gotten him ready.His friend would not let him down. Weigert was warming almost warmly. “What you can rely on. When will you be there? “” The day after tomorrow could work. Do not forget the second fridge. ” “No fear. See you soon. “Weigert hung up.” And did he bite? ” Claudia was ready to go. “Yes. He estimates he can be there the day after tomorrow. “She was delighted.” The triumvirate is forming again, I can not wait. ” Sometimes Weigert got the impression she wanted more from Villiger than just his friendship. But she would never admit that. “I’m leaving now. Do not be nonsense in the meantime. “” Wait a minute, we’ll need a decent computer as well, and Peter, of course, refuses to work on average devices. ” 79 “No problema friend of mine is a general agent for a computer company. There we can borrow something decent. In the meantime the thing that already stands in the house above must be enough for you. Ciao, see you. “She slammed the door behind her, and now the more uncomfortable part came: Hillgruber, Weigert had probably put a lot of trouble to his head of department, he valued Hillgruber a lot, which did not make things any easier, but it had to be chose the number of the “sheet”. “Hello, doctor. Hans Weigert is here. “” Weigert! Where are you? We are looking for you! ” “I know. But I have nothing to do with it, at least not in the legal sense. “” Then why the hell did you disappear? ” “Nobody has any interest in having me investigated further. Can you promise me that,What I’m telling you to keep to himself? “Hillgruber hesitated.” Good, I can. ” He had to give Hillgruber a hint now, despite the promise his police friend Miiller had taken from him, and he could only hope Hillgruber would leave “All right, that too.” “Watch out: There is something lazy in the police and at the UN secret service in Vienna. After the Volker attack, all the people who saw the body went to the UN people. And they threatened them, if anyone blurted something out about the state of Volkers corpse would have the gravest consequences for him. I have that from an absolutely reliable source. When working with such methods,then they will not deal with me squeamishly. And the politicians, such as the Interior Minister play bravely with it. Bergmann clearly fears for the reputation of his newspaper. He does not want a conflict. Only if I stick to it now, I have the chance to get something out and prove that I’m not involved in the murders in Wewelsburg. Do you understand that? “Hillgruber did not respond, the question was rhetorical anyway.” I take note of what you’re telling me, but you can imagine that I’ll check it out subtly, of course, and what miner He dismissed you when he heard that you were being searched for. ” So it had happened. Weigert got rid of his job. It did not particularly interest him, rather it would have surprised him if it had happened differently.80 “Do you want to stay on the run forever? You will be caught sometime. Your behavior will only burden you then. “Hillgruber’s voice had a pleading undertone.” Where are you at all? ” For a moment Weigert thought of telling him. But what would he have won with it? Hillgruber had some sympathy for him, but he could not afford to be silent in this case. And anyway, what would Hillgruber already have? Also sympathy ended once, at the latest at murder suspicion. “In provisional security. I will continue and I will get my story. I’m so sorry for you that I’m giving you trouble. “” I’m in trouble, do not worry, I’m just your supervisor, your troubles are big enough and I thinkthey will become even bigger. If you should change your mind, let me know. Maybe I can do something for you. “” Thanks for the offer. If I have my story, you can print it. ” Hillgruber had to smile. “God forbid, Bergmann will never allow that. She can be so good. “” Still, thank you for everything you’ve done for me on the Leaf. ” “There is nothing to thank for that. I hired you back then because I thought you could become a good journalist. As it turns out, I’m not completely wrong. You really could be on a big deal. If you have them, you know how to spread them, even without the ‘leaf’. “It was time to end the conversation.”I have to stop now. A lot of work is waiting for me. “” Wait a minute, I have something for you that you might be interested in. We have not gotten it in the ‘sheet’ yet, and I do not know if it is is important. ” Weigert listened. “What is it all about?” “We looked for a parallel between the two murders of Volker and Green Span and found none other than the plot.” Our correspondent in New York has now discovered that there may be something there So Greenspan had something in common. ” Weigert gasped. “Both were members of Masonic lodges.” 81 Freemasons! History became more and more complicated, began to diverge in many directions, and Weigert had no ideawhat he should do with it. He only knew that the work ahead was getting more and more. “As I said, I have no idea if it means anything. For the time being I think it’s still too thin to report in the ‘Gazette’. “” Thank you for letting me know, I’ll try to find out more about it. So, goodbye, doctor. ” “Do not do nonsense, Refuse, and take care of yourself. I wish you to bring the matter to a good end. Good luck! “” Thanks, I can use it. ” Weigert had no idea how much he should be right. Bolzano, 3 December Peter Villiger eyed the black cube with the flat screen on it at first suspiciously. Then he sat downturned it on and reached for that appendage of the machine that was still lovingly called a mouse. Three minutes later he turned around. Weigert was already quite restless. He handed Villiger the two CDs. “Can we finally start?” “Let’s start the work.” Villiger shoved one of the silvery slices into the slot provided. Again the mouse came into action, handing the machine its orders. Suddenly he groaned and clapped his hands over his face. “You really are a bloody beginner, Hans!” “Does that mean you have it?” “Not yet.” “But?” Weigert could not stand it anymore. “The files on this CD were created using a very old word processing program. This Frenchman must have worked on an antiquated computerwhose operating system works differently than today’s devices. That’s all. “” So if we get the right software, can we read the stuff? ” “Exactly,” “Come, let’s try the second CD.” Villiger repeated the process. The result was the same as before. 82 “Good. First let’s have a beer and wait for Claudia. When she is there, she should immediately get in touch with her friend, who also gave us the device here. He’s supposed to get us the software. “The two of them went into the kitchen, just as Weigert opened the fridge to take out two Budweisers, there were noises at the front door, and Villiger stepped into the corridor to look in. It was Claudia. “Look at one, the emigrant is already there!”She wrapped her arms around Villiger’s neck and kissed him. Weigert looked at the scene amused. His friend did not have much for such greetings. They were usually embarrassing. Villiger picked up Claudia and set her down on a dresser in the antechamber on the wall. “Not so stormy, South Tyrolean!” “How are you?” “How can you do it, if one of these bunglers here” – Villiger pointed to Weigert – “specifically ordered here from Norway, because he does not get even the simplest things in the binary world under control.” “Well, nothing works without you. Coveted men have to make sacrifices. “Claudia beamed at him, Weigert handed his friend a Budweiser, and the three of them sat in the living room, where a fire in the open fireplace radiated warmth.”I would suggest we deliberate on how to proceed.” “Has Hans already told you the full story in all the details?” “Yes.” “And have you at least already made the two CDs?” “Clear. The result was quite positive. The files were written only with an old word processing program and under an old operating system. That’s why she did not read Hans – and so did I. All we need are the following programs. Peter took a note and a pen and wrote down what was needed. Then he handed it to Claudia. “Call your EDV-Fritzen and tell him to get us these programs. And as fast as possible. Then we can finally see what’s on the CDs. “” It looks like you’re worth your beer, too. “”Possible. But what it’s about right now is a computer problem. If we skipped the hurdle, it could still be that there are other problems. “” What’s that supposed to mean? ” Weigert’s eyes were skeptical. “Who tells you that Martin did not encrypt his notes? If he already keeps the CDs in a flower pot, it seems logical to me. “” Well, after all, we got you for it and not so much as a computer expert. ” “What a confidence.” Another sip and Villigers Budweiser was empty. “Do you want one more?” Villiger held the bottle in the direction of Weigert. “Stupid question.” While Peter brought the beer, Claudia telephoned her friend, who had the software he wanted.A few friendships from Claudia and he promised to come at once. Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang. Weigert and Villiger stayed in the living room so they would not be seen. Claudia swarmed under the pretext of her acquaintance again. As she entered the living room, she triumphantly held a CD of the programs she needed. “So. Let’s start! “The two friends were already excited, Villiger tore the disk from her hand and stormed up to where the computer stood, Weigert following closely, would his problem now be solved, would he have a chance the vicious circle he was about to break out of, homecoming again, washed clean with the suspicion of murdering two people, but perhaps he would be able to hold the evidence in hand in a few minutes,that he was on the right track and the bridge between Greenspan, Volker, Martin and the Wewelsburg open. And then he, Hans Weigert, the spit, would again dominate the headlines. Villiger turned on the device and rammed the CD with the requested programs into the drive. Claudia Apollonio and Hans Weigert stood behind him, watching over his shoulder as he worked obsessed mouse and keyboard. Tension was in the air. “Finished. The thing is going. Where are the discs of our Frenchman? “There was triumph in Villiger’s voice.” There! ” Weigert handed him the two CDs he had found with Martin. Now they had to reveal their secret! Villiger put the first in the slot. He pressed a few buttons and the screen filled up. “Crap!”The fist of Villiger slammed on the table. Weigert leaned forward to get a better look. There were only tangled strings on the screen. “As I thought, everything coded!” Peter seemed to take it personally, Claudia said nothing, Weigert’s face was disappointed. “Come, let’s try the second!” “I’d be surprised if it looks different.” Villiger was right, everything was encrypted on the second volume as well. “What now?” “I can tell you that, my friend. Now begins the hard bone work. “” How long can this take? ” “Maybe days, maybe weeks. And I can not guarantee the result. “Claudia had dropped onto a small couch that stood next to the computer on the wall.” Do not despair,Comrades. We have enough other things to do. Hans, you have the best overview. What can we both do with Peter squatting in front of the screen? “Weigert was downcast, but he clung to the hope that his friend would make it.” Now we need to concentrate on two things: like my own newspapers today Now, the Greenspan assassination has received a letter from the Islamic Popular Front, so we’ll have a closer look at it, and the second is Hillgruber’s tip, which states that both Volker and Greenspan were Masons. “Claudia interrupted him. “Your remarks in all honor. But there are a few snags. “” Which are? ” “Our hands are tied. You, Hans, have to hide here,So you can not research, but only evaluate the material that I bring. As for the Islamic Popular Front, I see black. All I can do is ask a few terror experts or talk to one or the other Muslim politician. Hundreds of journalists have come up with the idea. It is unlikely that I can learn something that has not been done to others. And that’s exactly what we can read and hear in the media anyway. “” Will the Masons remain? ” 85 “We seem to have this track exclusively, with Hillgruber of course. But since your boss has not published anything about the ‘leaf’, there are two explanations: either, the soup is too thin or he lied to you. “” Why would he have done that? “”It may be that there was no evil intent behind it. Since Hillgruber was expecting you to keep investigating, he might just want to pull you out of the direct line of fire. But maybe he already knows more and wants you to lose time. So he suggests a trail that ends in nothingness. “” Maybe you’re right, but we can not afford to just leave it alone, I can not imagine Hillgruber hiding me That’s why we have to stay tuned. ” “Good, confident. So I’ll focus on that. A little something I already collected yesterday. Italy seems like a good place for it. After all, we had our P-2 scandal. “Villiger had kept working,while Apollonio and Weigert had talked. Now he interrupted his silent communication with the computer. “What is that?” Claudia explained to him. “In the early eighties, the thing made a nice wind there was a secret lodge, the so-called P-2, which tried to undermine the state important positions in politics, economics, and the army, and when the scandal broke, they were surprised to see how far they had done their work, and I had to read that for myself first. ” “Well. Do that, but what do you want to do about Martin? “The question was addressed to Weigert.” Nothing for the time being, the reason is simple enough, is there any of us in Wewelsburg?that would very quickly put the police or the UN secret service here. So we can only read what’s written about it in the papers. And we have to rely on you. You just have to decode the records! “Claudia was not very happy with the way things went so far.” Take care, Hans, I do not necessarily need you to do the Masonic and Islamic Popular Front, and so does Peter can play alone with the computer, you could do something more productive in the meantime. ” “And what, if I may ask?” Weigert felt attacked. “You’ve forgotten a bit more: Tibet and Karl Steiner, whom Fran- cose has told you about, though we have no idea what that means Has,but if Martin, dying, had nothing better to do than tell you that name, then it must be important. “” Your ideas are great, you know, what happens to me when I show my passport at an airport “Then it’s Sense! I’m out for a search, my love!” “Who said you should show your passport?” “Should I go on board as cargo, with a sticker, pattern without value?” Claudia laughed. “The idea is good. But mine is better. Although in South Tyrol, we are in Italy. If you come, as I do, from a respected and not just starving family, then you have your contacts. Getting new papers should not be a problem. I know someone there. It will not be cheap,but money worries have never plagued me. We color his little hair on the little flanges, put a little toothpick on his nose, and he’s already born again. “” That can not be serious! “I’m glad to get out of this murder thing, and you want that And if so, what am I supposed to do, go to that monastery and ask for a Karl Steiner, what if they just stare at me and say, “What the hell.” a Steiner? “” Then you’ll come home again. That’s how easy it is. “Now Villiger had to add his mustard, too.” If I may interfere, she’s right, Hans, you could hardly help here, and the trail to Tibet must be traced anyway, as far as I can tell.You can not wait for me to finish the CDs here. Maybe I can not do it. So what? Volker, Greenspan and the Islamic Popular Front: That would go together somehow. But Martin and this Wewelsburg are the big unknowns in this game. Just try it! “” And to achieve that you would also accept the help of criminals and get me wrong papers? ” Claudia could not sit that down. “Slow down. If you were to act according to Austrian standards in Italy, you would have to put half the population under lock and key. What is there when you take the help of an artist? That bit of fake documenting is a breeze compared to the possible profit. “” You say it: possible profit,surely there is nothing there. “” Do you have a better idea than to sit here and read things I’m bringing? I’m interested in the story and I really want to help you, but ultimately it’s about you, and there You can contribute something yourself, you just do not get anything, risk is a part of life, and a properly faked passport is not even risky. ” 87 Weigert was in a bind. He actually could not just let the others work for himself while he sat by the fireplace and drank Budweiser. But what was happening had little to do with journalism. Did not he always wish that? Acting instead of putting the actions of others on paper? Now he had it. He did not feel well. Weigert tried one last resort.”Where should I take the change for this trip? If I cross my credit card somewhere, it’s only a matter of time before they get me. I … “Claudia put her hand on his shoulder.” As for money, let me confidently worry about that, at any rate, your trip to Tibet will not fail. ” Tibet, December 7, “It’s up there.” The Sherpa pointed his hand toward a mountainside, Weigert had to force himself to look up, he was finished, his legs ached, his head was tormented by pinpricks, his lungs were working High-speed tours to soak up the little oxygen that still existed at just under 4,000 meters altitude. Weigert had flown over from Rome to the Tibetan capital Lhasa.He had barely managed to suppress his fear when passing customs. When he was asked to open his luggage in Lhasa, Weigert had already thought he had been caught. But no one had complained about the wrong passport that Claudia had given him. Only his light brown hair did not please. But he could live with that. The main thing was, they did not catch him. At least not yet. First he had to follow his trail. From Lhasa he then made his way to Tashi Lhunpo. In the monastery, Weigert had laboriously queried to the rank of the monks. Few of the monks commanded English. But he finally made it. And then the surprise. The monastery elder, wrapped in yellow, had at first only smiled when Weigert had asked for Karl Steiner.Then he nodded slowly and brought one of the monks. A few minutes later, Weigert had a Sherpa who spoke passable English. The next day they left to tackle the difficult road to Karl Steiner. Since then Doigert has regretted coming here dozens of times. Never before had he felt as tired and exhausted as now. After each stop, he had had to overcome himself to go on. Never again had he ever sworn to it. And they often stopped. Mechanically, like a robot, he had set one foot in front of the other, sometimes slipped and fell. The Sherpa had to help him up again and again. Alone, he would have barely mustered the strength and will to do so. Somewhere up there was Karl Steiner, a manwhom he did not know, of which he did not know what role this played in the cruel game in which Weigert had got into. A dying man had given him that name. But what was the meaning of it? Did he have something to do with the murders of Pierre Martin and his wife? Did he know more about the attacks on Volker and Greenspan? What if Steiner could not help him? And what if Steiner did not want to help him? 88 hours ago, Weigert had given up asking such questions. They had appeared hundreds of times, but he had never been able to answer them. At some point he was just too tired for it. The answer was up there, on the slope of a steep mountain-maybe … Weptert’s gaze followed the sherp’s outstretched hand as slowly as in slow motion.Snow clung to the right glass of his glacier goggles and obstructed the view. When Weigert raised his arm to wipe it off, it seemed to him that his muscles were made of lead. Inch by inch, he pulled him higher, countering his last resistance to gravity, which seemed overpowering, then the sleeve of his anorak had reached the tinted glasses. Two, three movements and the arm fell down again. Much had not helped. Where the snow had been first was nowthen the sleeve of his anorak had reached the tinted glasses. Two, three movements and the arm fell down again. Much had not helped. Where the snow had been first was nowthen the sleeve of his anorak had reached the tinted glasses. Two, three movements and the arm fell down again. Much had not helped. Where the snow had been first was nowMoist traces on the glass. One eye saw everything as if it were a blur. The white of the snow all around was distorted by the tinted glasses to a blue, which sometimes played over into gray. Weigert could barely stand the color. For hours he had always seen only one color. No sooner had anything appeared in the landscape that had interrupted the monotony. Soon he would go insane, thought Weigert. The sun was just breaking through the gigantic cloud formations that towered over the mountains. Her beams made the snow sparkle as if she were giving her greetings before she took the last part up for a big lunch. The sun … the black sun … That’s why Weigert was here. Up there was the end of his way, maybe.But maybe it would only be an intermediate stage. That it could only be a beginning, this thought did not come. His brain stopped thinking. It only coordinated the most necessary biological processes in its body, and with difficulty maintained what it would have long since given up. 300, maybe 400 meters in front of the two men, there was something dark on the slope. Weigert narrowed his eyes, opened them again, and tried to look more closely. It was a small stone house that had nestled between several rocks, as if seeking shelter from the foul weather. Next to it, in the snow, was a yellow spot. Weigert suspected at least that it must be yellow. The tinted glacier glasses made him perceive the color not true to nature.Weigert closed his eyes again, opened them again, and focused on his last concentration. A human sitting in the snow wrapped in yellow cloth. Steiner? Possible, otherwise nobody was recognizable. “The Steiner.” The Sherpa’s voice tore Weigert out of his thoughts, adding nothing to it without making a gesture, and Weigert’s supervisor set in. 300 yards, maybe 400. Weigert knew he could do it Now that he had his destination in sight, the sun was still visible, she had made herself majestically between the clouds to demonstrate her mysterious power, and looking up, despite the chilling cold down here Anticipating the heat that emanated into space, and yet she was far too weak hereto melt the snow. The ice seemed to triumph over the fire in this place. 89 A few tens of meters still. Weigert could now recognize the man exactly. He crouched in the snow, his legs crossed as if in yoga, his forearms resting on his thighs. The gray-white hair was dense, but cut short. His eyes were closed, his face tanned, a work of the sun up here. Deepest peace and serenity emanated from the man. Weigert tried to estimate the man’s age. The light-heartedness of the youth, which Weigert always longed for, had been left behind by the man, long, if one took on earthly dimensions. But he still seemed to have the frailty of old age ahead of him. He had probably reached that limbo that lies between birth and death, there,where a man rears up to once again turn back the wheel of time, before accepting his inevitable fate, to feel the burden of aging not as a burden but as a new challenge. Not younger than 45, not older than 55, Weigert estimated. Steiner’s face was well cut. It had those traits that did not make it too heavy for its owner in women. A few small wrinkles at the corner of the eye, usually associated with frequent laughter, a prominent chin, thin eyebrows that were gently graying to match the color of the hair. If the man had not been here in the mountainous wasteland of Tibet, he would have been considered a successful businessman. But Weigert was irritated. Steiner wore nothing but a thin, yellow robe and simple shoes.No hat, no gloves, nothing to protect him from the cold. Minus 15 degrees, Weigert estimated. He must have heard him and the Sherpa long ago, but he showed no reaction, but sat immobile in the snow, his eyes closed, very slowly and deeply breathing. Steiner and the mountains, they were just there. Two people who had taken the long, arduous journey did not matter. Steiner and the mountains, they would still be there when the two people were long gone. They were the constant in time, like Polaris, which stood motionless while everything revolved around it. “Karl … Steiner …?” Softly and slowly, the words came over Weigert’s lips, he could not get more, then he felt only emptiness, his legs buckled and he sank into the snow.Before Weigert fainted, he still believed he heard a voice in German. “I’ve been waiting for you, Mr. Weigert.” Weigert opened his eyes and looked around, there were the colors, the right colors he’d missed on the march through the monotonous gray-blue, his glacier glasses gone, he realized That he was lying on a bed wrapped in the comforting warmth of his down sleeping bag … The stone cottage … Somebody had carried him in. Weigert had no idea how long he had been here, it seemed dark outside, but inside The cabin was lit by the light of an old kerosene lamp, and a few feet from the bed, the man who had first sat outside in the snow, was working on a small propane stove, still clad in his yellow, wide robe.which reached down to the ankles, interrupted only by a sort of belt of cloth, which was twice wrapped around the waist. There was no sign of the Sherpa who had accompanied Weigert. 90 “How are you, Mr. Weigert?” The full, deep voice of Steiner sounded friendly and a little worried.He spoke German – without a recognizable accent, so Weigert had not been wrong – Steiner actually knew his name, only Peter Villiger and Claudia Apollonio knew that he had gone to Tibet, that he had traveled with the wrong passport that Claudia had given him, and that he had given no names to the monks whom he had questioned in Tashi Lhunpo about Steiner’s whereabouts Do you know who I am? ” “Does it require a justification?” Steiner continued to work on the small cooker.”I just know.” “But only two people know that I’m in Tibet.” Weigert sat down in bed with his sleeping bag. When he refrained from aching his muscles, he felt well again. Steiner looked at him. Heigert noticed that he had light blue eyes. The look suggested the strong will hiding behind it. “There are things, Mr. Weigert, you can not understand them, even if you try so hard.” “Or things you do not want to tell me.” Steiner did not answer, but placed a kettle filled with water on the provocative stove. Then he sprinkled something that looked like herbs. Weigert had come here because he had accepted the challenge that fate had set for him. He wanted to know something, but he did not knowwith what and how he should start. Pierre Martin had dying him by the name Steiners. He decided to start with it. “How did you know Pierre Martin?” Steiner seemed satisfied with the course of the tea-making process and sat down on a wall of the fortress directly opposite Weigert. “Martin found me just as you found me.” “Found? Is that supposed to mean that you are hiding here? “Steiner smiled, but he did not say anything.” They are not very talkative, well, no wonder a man who seeks the loneliness of this mountain world. ” “Words are just a way of communicating.” 91 “The things I want to know can only be communicated through words.” “The things you want to know are beyond words.” “I’m gladthat you seem to know my wishes. “Weigert thought for a moment.” Karl Steiner, that’s right? ” “There were times when people called me that. Here in Tibet, people with such a name could not do much. Only in Tashi Lhunpo one knows under it. “What should the secrecy? If Steiner had known that he would come, then he could have disappeared in time.Since he stayed, Weigert assumed he wanted to talk to him too, but maybe he did He only knew what Weigert wanted, and then let him have the same fate as Martin Weigert had calculated in. He had not taken him particularly seriously, but he had taken precautions He had risen in Lhasa, and his backpack was beside the bed.It did not look like someone had messed with it during his sleep. “How did you get here?” “If I tell you that, then Weigert, you’re entering the ground, which you may not be able to leave.” The man spoke in riddles. Or was that supposed to be a threat? Weigert squinted at his backpack. “Let’s start easier, maybe. Where are you from? “” From Germany, but from a Germany you only know from the history books. ” Weigert thought. Steiner was an estimated ten to twenty years older than him. So the time he talked about could only be the one before the union of the Federal Republic with the GDR, which had taken place in 1990. “West or East?”Steiner’s face remained motionless. “Neither.” “What does that mean, neither?” “I came here from Germany in 1942.” “As a child?” “No. As a young man. “” Impossible, then you would have to be over 90 years old! ” “91, to be exact.” 92 Did Steiner want to untie him a bear? The man did not look like 91. Weigert decided to keep it for the time being, especially since he had the impression that Steiner was serious. ” Let’s say you’re telling the truth, although I realize you look very young for a man of 91 … “” I said, there are things you can not understand. “” Let’s take that So, you’re telling the truth, I can understand what makes a manbut I know with the best of intentions why it takes him to all of Tibet. “” You are wrong, Weigert, I did not fled at that time. ” “You did not escape?” “No. I was a member of a German expedition.” “A researcher, then?” “In a way, yes.” He raised his hand as Weigert began to speak. Now it was Steiner’s turn, that should mean that. “If research means striving for insight, then me and my camerades were researchers, if only to a limited extent in the classical sense. We were 13 when we left Berlin on July 7, 1942. We were selected by the Reichsführer of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, and by Karl Haushofer. “” Wait! ” Weigert simply interrupted Steiner. “Does that mean,that you were a member of the SS? “” All 13 belonged to the Black Order, the SS, as you say. ” Weigert went through it boiling hot: SS – Wewelsburg – black sun – the assassinations! Volker, the president of the European Central Bank, was shot dead in Vienna. Greenspan, a member of the UN Security Council, had caught it in New York. Both had the black sun burned on their forehead. The world accused the Islamic Popular Front. And SS-man Steiner was sitting in the Tibetan mountains, coming from Germany in 1942 and waiting for him. At the moment there was only chaos in Weigert’s mind. To proceed systematically, he ordered. The question of the attacks on Volker and Greenspan wanted to pick up Weigert for later. First of all, the simpler part.”What was the SS looking for in Tibet? Was not she busy enough to kill people? “Steiner had not disliked Steiner, but now …” I understand your aversions, after all you’re just a one-time-litter. ” Steiner smiled. Weigert had no idea what he meant by that. “Her picture of the SS is the image of the superficial observer. Not because you may not know enough about it. Even if you were to read all the books in the world, your way of looking at them would not change. “” Do you expect me to approve of what happened then? ” “That’s not the point. Good or bad, that’s up to you. It’s about things, Weigert, for which there is no room in your mundane worldview. “Steiner said it without disgust or arrogance, there was something like forbearance in his voice. He got up from the ledge, squatted next to the stove, and reached for the handle of the kettle where the tea was steaming. Steiner held the vessel in the direction of Weigert. “What do you see?” Weigert was stunned and annoyed at the same time. “A tea kettle.” “There you have it, Weigert. They see the cauldron, but not the hand that holds it, that moves it, that ultimately determines what happens to it. Because the cauldron covers the hand. “” Fine, but what does a teapot have to do with the SS? ” Steiner poured the tea in two clay bowls, which stood on the floor next to the cooker, and he took both and handed one to Weigert, who, after reaching for it, saw the tug of war. on it:the black sun! Burned in clay as in the skin of humans! Weerts hand trembled. Some tea dripped on his sleeping bag. “What you see in history or in politics are events that you can perceive: revolutions, wars, elections, inventions, ideas. Search for the explanation for an event, then resort to other events and try to make causal connections. But all these events are within the limited range of your perception. You always remain in the level that you can hear, see, read, understand and think. Things that are beyond that threshold have no meaning in the real world in which you feel they are moving – not for you and not for many others. They are nearsighted, Weigert.They do not recognize the hand behind the teapot and you only recognize history when it manifests in the material world. But then it only obeys the powers that have long since unfolded elsewhere. “” And what powers should that be? Fate? Providence? God? ” Weigert’s voice had a cynical undertone. Steiner seemed to ignore that. “I believe in the divine power because I believe in myself and in what I’ve seen, if not in the sense organs you see.” 94 Was Steiner crazy? Not in the clinical sense, perhaps, thought Weigert perhaps he had been struck by some religious delusion in Tibet, a third-world Buddhist SS man who had been practicing remorse for decades in the mountains?why he and his comrades had come to Tibet and, perhaps more importantly, why Steiner was still there. “So you and the other men were sent here in 1942, you say. But what was so important about your mission that Himmler chose you personally? Or, in other words, what was the connection between the Third Reich and Tibet? “” Well, first of all, I want to try to stay in the world that you can grasp. “There are often things here, before or next to the great events that you But you find them insignificant or overlook them, you probably know the history of the Third Reich as you generally call it. “There was a man gifted as a speaker and unscrupulous in his methods, just Hitler.He had his party, the NSDAP. And then there were the so-called circumstances. The economic crisis of the twenties, the German defeat of the First World War and so on. All this together made up the story of how it finally ended. The seizure of power of the NSDAP, the war, the collapse. Nothing but a regrettable historical coincidence, so to speak. Is not that the case? “” Why not, but I asked you about the connection between the Third Reich and Tibet. What about it? ” “At first I tried to portray the story as you presumably see it. In it an SS expedition to Tibet can at best be a bizarre detail on the sidelines. Meaningless, insignificant and negligible. But there is also another version of the story.Those from the hand behind the teakettle. And in this Tibet plays a much more important role. I have already mentioned that Karl Haushofer was involved in the selection of expedition participants besides Himmler … “” Who was that? I have never heard this name before. ” “I said yes, there are things that you just overlook. And yet you believe that this is the way to understand history. Karl Haushofer was one of the most important men of the Third Reich. One of the hands behind the kettle, if you like. And yet, relatively few people know about him. And even less know its true meaning. Haushofer has become known in university circles for his scientific work. He is considered one of the founders of geopolitics.After the war, he was accused of inspiring Hitler’s life-space concepts. In a way, that is correct, if not for a long time as it is. Haushofer was in Tibet for the first time long before an Adolf Hitler appeared on the political scene in Germany. “” And what is important? ” “They wanted to know why I came here. I’m just trying to explain it to you. “” Excuse me. ” Weigert was so excited that, contrary to his other journalistic habits, he did not let his counterpart speak properly. 95 “During the First World War, Haushofer made contacts with initiates of the yellow caps. The yellow caps are a sect founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, a Buddhist reformer. To this day, they have great influence in Tibet.And not only in Tibet. The contacts between Haushofer and the yellow caps led to the formation of some Tibetan communities in Germany in the twenties. Many of them maintained contacts with important personalities of the then increasingly powerful NSDAP. Haushofer had made these. After 1933, several expeditions were carried out, mainly at the instigation of the ancestral heritage. The one I belonged to was the last. “” You’ll understand that I’m not as familiar with some things as you are. What was the ancestral heritage? ” “The Ahnenerbe was a research office with several dozen institutes. It was subordinate to the SS. Officially, it dealt with scientific work in the field of pre- and early history, especially of course with the Teutons.But these were just the figureheads for the profane people. Much more important, but far less well-known, were some departments that dealt with things you might call occult. “” Can I conclude that the actual connection between the Third Reich and the Himalayas was an occult ? ” One thing seemed clear: Steiner spoke soberly and matter-of-factly, he had no trouble digging out things from his memory that were decades ago, nor did he seem a bit confused by what he wanted to say He had already heard that Himmler had had some quirks, and he had read in a book that the chief of the SS had foretold the future from the stars.American presidents had already done that. So why not a few expeditions to Tibet? Admittedly, this aspect of the Third Reich seemed quite strange to him. If he was right. After all, Steiner was also able to lie to him the blue from the sky. But what meaning did that already have? And, most of all, what had that got to do with Volker, Greenspan or Martin? These had now been murdered, decades after the end of the Third Reich. Weigert took a sip of his tea. In turn, he thought. “What was that … occult … connection?” Steiner looked at him as if pondering what he should say to him now, five, ten seconds passed, then he said, “We were on the Search for the beings of Thule. ” “Thule?” “I see the name does not tell you, and yet I’m surethat you have already heard of it, even as a legend. “” What legend? ” “The legend of Atlantis. Or the truth of Thule. “96 Legend? Truth? Atlantis? Was Steiner now completely dislocated?” What do you mean? ” “Twelve thousand years ago, an empire came to an end in a huge catastrophe, as it has never existed in the world until today. Thule was the realm of a race descended from the gods. This race possessed an indescribable knowledge that went far beyond what is known today. But it was not knowledge as we know it today. The human of the present is degenerate. He can only grasp more things that his five senses can perceive. And he can only process these things according to the laws of logic and rationality.The beings of Thule, on the other hand, lived in the spiritual world as well as in the material. “Weigert looked blankly, but Steiner ignored it, his eyes sparkled with a peculiar brilliance, and he simply went on.” Some Thule beings survived the catastrophe, Describing the Bible as the Flood, they moved into the world, where they met the beginnings of humanity, which just made their first steps into history, and were worshiped as gods, no wonder, because they came from them Their abilities fascinated the people who had no explanation, but what should the beings of Thule do to humans? This question split the last derivatives of the gods, some of them, when the time was ripe, wanted out of the people make their own.They wanted to give them the breath of the divine and let them partake of their gigantic knowledge, letting them rise to new heights. The others wanted people to stay what they are. This group still wanted to be worshiped as gods. For them, humans were nothing more than flocks of higher animals that needed the guidance of shepherds. They did not want to share their divine knowledge with anyone because they felt like gods themselves. And so it happened that the beings of Thule split into two groups. Some followed the path to the left hand and called themselves Agarthi after their oracle. The others who followed the law and still wanted to be worshiped as gods were the Shamballah. But both groups, even those of the Schamballah,Over the years thousands of people mingled with the people, so that they more and more resembled them externally. And yet the knowledge handed down from Thule has been preserved to this day. But the two groups, Agarthi and Shamballah, have been fighting each other for thousands of years. And the different fate that they have intended for people is the reason for that. “” And if they have not died, then they still live today. ” Weigert made no effort to hide his verdict. “And how is the story going? What does it have to do with Tibet? “” Tibet, because after the Thule disaster, one of the largest surviving groups has come to the Himalayan region, and since she has been out of contact with humans for a long time, she has her knowledge and skills longer preserved as the others,where so many lost. When she met people, she decided to join Agarthi. “A political murder had triggered a chain of events that cost Weigert the job, putting him on the brink of arrest, and finally on to Tibet His story, which he had hoped for clarity here, instead became more and more complicated: SS people, who clung to a millennia-old myth and in Tibet sought the remnants of a vanished race, while himself out there, in the world he was the only one who was willing to acknowledge things that seemed related to them, Steiner said, “You do not see your hand behind the cauldron.” a legend like many others.And you also consider that I tell you lies. Right? “Steiner raised his eyebrows in question.” Yes, I do. ” “Imagine the following consideration, Mr. Weigert: Consider what I have told you about the Thule realm, quietly as a fairy tale. You may understand that this is not my opinion. But if I were in your place, I would probably act the same way. But even if you only consider what I have just told you as a legend, you must remember one thing: this legend, like many others, is believed by people. And because they believe in it, they direct their actions accordingly. And so, what you, Weigert, are willing to accept as myth at best, is transformed into the world that you can grasp.Because people, guided by their faith, create events in that real world that is also accessible to you. And these events, in turn, influence history as they know people like you. And yet their roots are in a world that simply does not exist for you, Mr. Weigert. “Weigert had listened intently, of course it was a legend, but did not Steiner argue with his arguments anyway, and yet, from that point of view, everything actually was simple and complicated at the same time Weigert spun the idea further What if many personalities in history or in today’s politics believed in such things? Then there was hardly any action that could claim the notion of rationality also the era from which Steiner came or pretended to comesomething deeply irrational? If that were the case, then the world would only be a power game of … “… esoteric ideas.” Weigert was startled, because Steiner had finished his only sentence. “What did you say?” Weigert’s confusion increased. “Esoteric ideas. If we assume that important people believe in such ideas and direct their actions accordingly, then history is no longer just a contest of peoples, parties or economic forces, but also – and I would say, above all – a contest of such ideas. This would be at least a hypothesis that might accept you, who assumes that these ideas have no validity per se. “Had Steiner just picked up the same idea by chance? It must have been this way.” Well … “” Have you ever doubted the Bible? “”Who has not doubted that?” “Excuse me, my question was a bit imprecise, and I meant” if you ever doubted the power of the Bible, not its content. ” Weigert thought. Steiner went on. A smile played around his mouth. “Even if you do not believe in what the Old and New Testaments proclaim, you will admit that Christianity has greatly influenced history. If all men, like you, had not believed in it, such an influence would have been unthinkable. “Well, so far was Weigert ready to follow, but slowly it dawned on him that even this small step, which only touched him The edge of the world he grasped and for a long time did not bring beyond it, was like a revolution, history and politics as a contest of irrational ideas,because people believed in it. The logic that resulted was too compelling to sweep them off the table. Yet no one today seriously thought of including these things when it came to explaining historical and political events. He too, the political journalist, had never worried about it. Actually an unforgivable mistake. Had it really only been the sight of the black sun on the forehead of a dead man? “As you may now understand better, Tibet was by no means just Himmler’s personal fad. It was very important for the leadership of the Third Reich to search here. And yet it was only a small stone in a gigantic mosaic. “” A mosaic of annihilation. “Weigert had to give vent to his distaste, and yet he sensed that his moral dimensions here, in the Himalayas, face to face with Steiner, were simply not valid. They were human, but Steiner spoke of the gods. “When you talk about extermination, you certainly mean the war and the camps, things that you may find unique in history, in the negative sense, of course. Have you ever thought of how this could happen? “Weigert was a little surprised at the question, but then realized that Steiner was only going to let him talk to let a representative of the one reality have his say he opposes his other, his reality. “I suppose my version is different from yours, and I’m assuming thatthat my version is familiar to you. It coincides with the one found in the history books. So what if you’re about to start? “” You realize you’re a journalist. ” After Steiner knew his name, it was not surprising that he knew his profession. Nevertheless, Weigert’s uncertainty increased. “For you, the history of the Third Reich presumably begins with the rise of the NSDAP in the twenties. As late as 1923, when Hitler and his men marched to the Munich Feldherrnhalle, the party and its leader were no more than local Bavarian apparitions. But the course for everything that was yet to come had already been set years before: the seizure of power in Germany, the construction of a state according to completely new laws,the urge for expansion in Europe and beyond. “” If I assume that the ideology of Hitler and the most important of his followers had formed before they entered politics, then this does not seem surprising. far as I know, thirty years old when he joined the party. ” “You are right, but in a completely different sense than you suspect.” 99 “Could you perhaps be more precise?” “Gladly. On December 26, 1923, when Hitler was imprisoned after the unsuccessful coup, a certain Dietrich Eckart died in Munich. A few minutes before he died, he said, ‘Follow Hitler! We gave him the means to communicate with YOU. Do not complain, my friends.I’ll have more influence on history than any other German. Hitler will dance, but we have composed the music for his dance. ‘ Eckart was … “” Dying people say a lot and are not always in full possession of their mental powers. ” Weigert’s voice sounded like a prosecutor pleading “guilty” in court. “I understand that as a journalist you have to ask questions, critical questions, but I think we’re not in an argument here where the One must convince others that his view is the right one, which is impossible anyway, because we come from two different worlds, I know yours very well, but you do not know mine. Listen to what I am To tell them, think about it, check the facts,when you’re back in Europe, and then believe or reject it as you please. “” What you can count on. ” “So: Dietrich Eckart was a poet and writer. Among other things, he wrote a widely acclaimed version of ‘Peer Gynt’. He was a bohemian who liked to move in the Munich society. But all that is a minor matter. Above all, he was an initiate of the Thule Society. “” I suppose that the name was borrowed from the legend you first told me? ” “Right. The company was founded on August 17, 1918. Their lounges were in the Munich Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten. The founder was a certain Rudolf von Sebottendorf, whose real name was Rudolf Glauer. Sebottendorf spent many years in the Middle East,where he was in contact with numerous occult societies. Finally he returned to Germany. There he met Hermann Pohl, the master of the Teutonic Order, whom he joined. At the winter solstice in 1917 Sebottendorf is master of the Bavarian organizations of this order. In June 1918 he bought a newspaper, the Münchner Observer, whose editorial offices were also relocated to the ‘Vier Jahreszeiten’. Later, the Volkischer Beobachter comes out of it, the NSDAP party bulletin, as you know for sure. Sebottendorf wants his esoteric ideas to develop power in the real world as well. The Thule Society should become a link between both worlds. It should be a springboard for those who really aspire to initiation. At the same time she should, well,give ordinary people the opportunity to identify with it. So you create a kind of profane, popular version of real knowledge. In order to gain influence, one approaches above all to important personalities. Politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, officers, doctors, lawyers and the like are being sought for the Thule Society. And it succeeds. As more and more influential men gather there, more are coming to profit from the contacts among the lodge brothers. And yet it unites, one more, less the others, a common world view which Sebottendorf has given them and in which they can find themselves again. No wonder, because this mythological view of the world is held generally enough to allow everyone – within a certain framework, of course – to interpret it.Of course, Sebottendorf did not invent this strategy. If you look at politics from this point of view, you will notice that this is often the way to lay the foundations for the later, seemingly sudden emergence of ideas and organizations. However, it often began long before, unnoticed by the public and, unnoticed, by journalists like Johanna Weigert. Soon the Thule Society has many influential members of the Munich Society. In addition, however, there are also insiders who gather there: Alfred Rosenberg, a friend of Dietrich Eckart and later chief ideologue of the NSDAP, Rudolf Hess, later Hitler’s deputy, but also Karl Haushofer, of whom I have already told you. I do not want to bore you with the enumeration of names,but you can assume that almost all the personalities who influenced the later policies of the NSDAP and the Third Reich belonged or at least were close to the Thule Society. Oh yes, the NSDAP: As a focal point of ideas, so to speak, as a vehicle in the real world, of course, it is also a creation of the Thule society. The Thule brothers Anton Drexler and Karl Harrer founded the German Workers ‘Party in 1919 at the direction of the Society, which was renamed the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in February 1920. When Hitler joins her a few months after the founding of the DAP, he is embedded in a network of Thule people: the managing director is Max Amann. Editor-in-chief of the party newspaper, the observer, is Dietrich Eckart. His deputy is Alfred Rosenberg.Also the sign of the party – the swastika – which was later to enthrall millions of people came from the circles of the Thule. Sebottendorf had done a great job. He had sown, which was not to be fully developed until years later. It was time for him to disappear. He himself wrote at that time: ‘The Thule Society had fulfilled its purpose, it had to pass away, so that it could become the new that was already at the threshold.’ With the rise of the NSDAP the society lost its formal meaning. What had gathered earlier in her now gathered in the party. But the idea lived on, for it is never faint enough to bring it to the very idea. Finally, in 1930, the Thule company was liquidated and Sebottendorf disappeared. On 9 May 1945, one day after the end of the war in Europe,he was pulled dead from the Bosporus. “While Steiner spoke, Weigert had taken paper and pencil from his backpack and started taking notes, so Steiner did not seem to mind.” So the quintessence of what you tell me is, that at the beginning of the NSDAP, and thus actually at the beginning of the Third Reich, there was a secret society which derived its activity primarily from esoteric ideas, for then National Socialism would rather have the character of a sect or religion than a political movement ? ” “I see you are beginning to understand. Hermann Rauschning, the former Senate President of Danzig, who learned to hate the party, wrote: Every German stands with one foot in Atlantis, in which he owns a quite stately hereditary farm.This characteristic of the duplicity of natures, the ability to live in double worlds, to project an imaginary into the real again and again – all this applies in a special way to Hitler and his magical socialism. For all those who have come too late, National Socialism is the dream of great magic. ‘ But who really took Rauschning and some others seriously? There is probably no historical period that has been so thoroughly researched and analyzed as that of National Socialism. But the worldview of historians is a real one, one of the countable and measurable. Even if they came across things that would have allowed them to look behind the scenes, they have not taken any serious consequences. They would only have taken seriously Hitler, whom they often took seriously,when he said: ‘You know nothing about me, my party comrades have no idea of the dreams that move me and of the grandiose building whose foundations will at least stand when I die. There will be a revolution on Earth that you, the uninitiated, can not understand. What is going on here is more than the rise of a new religion, it is the will to a new human creation. ‘ For such and similar statements, historians have only megalomania as an explanation, because it exceeds the dimensions in which they think. That behind a man who had risen from the failed painter from nothing to master over Europe, perhaps more than an unfortunate chain of circumstances, could and never really came to mind.And if they were actually dealing with the occult background, they would be accused of occultism. In a world of rationality, that would be her scientific death sentence. “Weigert had wildly written in his notebook, and only gradually did what he said seep into his thoughts, where he linked with others and created new ones.” If so, you’re right But the whole thing still has a big catch. ” “And that would be?” “Let’s assume that the members of such a secret society actually had the plan to create a party and thus to gain power in one country or possibly even beyond.” I can well imagine that she by appropriate mechanisms could manage to get to the essential shifter.But what I can not imagine is that such a plan really does work out. For after all, your high-esoterics acted in the midst of a profane world. And there are other things that matter. What would have happened if there had not been the economic crisis that drove so many people into Hitler’s arms? What if the government had made short work of the NSDAP and its leaders? What would have happened if, for example, the French had not tolerated the occupation of the Rhineland and had given a lesson to the then still militarily weak Germany? What would have happened if Hitler had been shot in the coup of 1923? You yourself always speak of two worlds, Steiner. I want to acknowledge that, not because I really believe itbut because otherwise we would have no more basis of conversation. But when your world descends into mine, then it also obeys its laws there. Such a company, from zero to one hundred, can not be planned in advance. There are too many imponderables that can put you off balance. That is what puts your conspiracy theories in a wrong light. “” Esoteric knowledge can not be one-to-one translated into political goals.It can take many forms.The initiates of Thule society created the NSDAP with their program, because it At another point in time, they would have created something different, knowing that knowledge always stands above its manifestation in the real world, because it is transient.The knowledge is not. It also makes it difficult for people like you to recognize the true forces of history. They change their shape again and again, but never their core, which of course, Weigert, remains hidden from you. The people who connect with these powers think in completely different time periods. A lifetime is just a hint of transience. With that you already have the answer to your doubts. If the uncertainties of which you speak had arrived, then you would have tried something different – with different structures, in a different place or at a different time. Initiates do not know the low desire to reap the fruits of their labor for the duration of their earthly life. Of course you are right in saying that as you descend into the real world, their laws also come into play.The men of the Thule Society took advantage of this. They calculated the possibilities that time gave them. And they responded flexibly to changes when necessary. Such men do not need political dogmatics because they draw their vocation from very different sources. Only profane people must be given constant values so that they have something to cling to. These people want to see the success of their efforts tomorrow, a success they can grasp and understand. The initiate serves an idea that may only grasp the earthly world the day after tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then in the next century. “Weigert slowly began to realize that this was the key to his story.So far, Steiner and he had only talked about events that had lasted for decades. But Weigert had come to pick up the trail of the black sun, a sun whose deadly rays seized their victims today. Steiner had something to do with it, no doubt about that, even though he had only spoken of events that had long been history. If Steiner was involved in the two assassinations, then one dead person was more or less gone. Weigert reached for his backpack to bring him closer to the bed he was still sitting on. In an emergency, he wanted to be able to reach the gun as quickly as possible, because he had no desire to become the next victim of the black sun. Steiner interrupted his efforts. “You need not be afraid, Mr. Weigert. I’m not interestedTo take away your already transient life. To help you make the reverse decision, I have allowed myself to remove your pistol from the backpack. The only weapon that benefits you here is your mind. Use it! It’s your only chance to get out of your personal mess! “Weigert was startled.” What do you know about that? ” “For example, they’re looking for you for double murder.” Damn! “Weigert let go of the rucksack.” What did Steiner want with him? “He obviously knew the location he was in. And yet he told him his version of the story – te. Did he want to use it, maybe as a pebble in that obscure mosaic that he spread out before him? “Alright, Weigert.” Steiner’s voice was calm again. “Nobody can ask youthat you go into the lion’s den – at least from your point of view – without meeting precautions. I would not have done it any other way. “” While we’re at it, it’s time to return to the present with our reflections, so let’s get to the point: if that’s true, what you’re telling, then it must Give structures that are maintained over centuries, where traditions and secret knowledge are passed on, and sometimes they fall out of their world right into the wheel of real existing history. ” Weigert shuddered, suddenly aware of the consequences of his thoughts. There it was, the bridge he was looking for! Excited, he continued. “And if I continue that idea, it’s only logical that the haunting did not end,when in 1945 the real distorted image that Thule society created in this world landed on the dunghill of history. “” That’s right. ” “But after the Thule Society was founded especially for this mass-murdering event that left all of Europe in ruins, there was something behind it, something that existed before Thule and continued to live after its end. Something that still exists today! “” Do you still remember the men of Agarthi that I told you about? Their womb is still fertile, they should take legends more seriously. ” For a moment Weigert did not know whether he was dreaming or that it was really happening. Steiner’s voice almost painfully reminded him that it was not a dream.”Agarthi’s men have been living among humans for millennia. 1945 was the end of a failed attempt to defeat the forces of the Shamballah. But it was far from the end of Agarthi’s ideas. We had taken precautions. “Weigert noticed that Steiner first spoke of” We. ” All this time he had only reported as if he were an outsider, a chronicler of events in which he himself had no share. At times Weigert even forgot that Steiner was also part of this occult mosaic. “Only a few hours after my birth I was consecrated to the men of Agarthi. As I grew up, they taught me the secret knowledge they had kept for thousands of years. When I was 20 years old, I received my last consecration in the temple of Wewelsburg. Outside, the war was already raging.The Wehrmacht won – still. But we prepared for the time after. No matter how the fight should end, we should go out into the world to preserve knowledge, the knowledge that man can look the gods in the face if he only learns to possess one. There were hundreds like me in Germany. I went to Tibet with twelve of my comrades in 1942 to follow others who had been here for some time. When it became apparent that the luck of the war was no longer on the side of Agarthi, many others from the Reich were resounded. With airplanes, ships, submarines or by land. They did not have a hard time gaining a foothold in the world. For only very few of them had a tangible past in the Nazi structures that would have been provable.In addition, we all had excellent training to be able to position ourselves well in the real world. All who went were ready to preserve the knowledge of Agarthis, to come again in a distant hour, in a different guise. The black sun, the sign of Agarthis, lives. That’s the truth, refuse. And that’s why you’re here. “Weigert was perplexed, so that’s why he was here, but he was also here to save his own skin, having to face charges of murder, murders he had not committed This was unimportant, considering Steiner’s descriptions. “104 If Steiner was right … Weigert did not want to understand it, if he just threw his whole world picture overboard,just because a crazy SS man was making some stories for him? And even if, what should he do then? Return home and tell the police or Hillgruber the legend of Agarthi’s men? He would be put in a madhouse. Since the prison was still the better place. He was not finished with Steiner yet.
“Pierre Martin discovered that you were initiated in the Wewelsburg. And he has discovered that you live here in Tibet. That’s why you killed him and his wife! I want to be held responsible now! And Volker and Greenspan are the first victims of their occult rebirth, for which the Islamic Popular Front has to serve as the culprit!”
Weigert had risen from his sleeping bag and stood up, almost yelling now. Steiner disliked him.
As for Martin and his wife, we have absolutely nothing to do with it. Martin was a hobby historian. As you know, he was intensely involved with the Wewelsburg.
Of course, he also came across the occult side of his time during his work. But like so many, he did not take them seriously.
For him, it was the frippery. He searched for facts, sources that he could check black-and-white. And my name fell into his hands. He found me here in Tibet, and I helped him with his research on the castle, but not anymore. He did not want any more. We used it to set a wrong track.
” The Wewelsburg as a normal SS center, enriched by a few spun-ups of Heinrich Himmler, which could not hide, but no evidence of what really happened there. What you wanted? “
” Yes. “
“And when Martin wanted to know more, you killed him!”
“No. Martin had become sympathetic to me, and even something like friendship developed, and he was one of the few I met who talked unprejudiced about this time Although in his own way, and without trying to purify anything, but objectively, just as his scientist’s heart told him to do, he was alright because he had a character, a real-world man, who also demanded respect from me. We checked Martin and his work then, knowing that he would never think of revealing the truth, they were too abstruse because they did not fit into his world. “
Weigert considered. There were Volker and Greenspan. When Steiner was ready,to admit his involvement in these killings, he probably spoke the truth in the case of Martin.
For what sense did it make to admit two dead and deny the third?
“What do you have to do with the attacks on Volker and Greenspan? The black sun burned on their foreheads can be found on the clay bowls where you make your tea! “
Steiner got up from the wall platform, where he was sitting most of the time, and took a few steps into the room and then stopped, turning his back to Weigert.
What came now, the show performance of a magician who tried to increase the excitement of his audience before performing his best trick?
Very slow, almost sluggish, the words came over Steiner’s lips.
“And with the sun … awakes in the morning, surrounded by radiance, …the enchanting beauty of all eternity … the triumphant smile … of the victory. “
The poem! Now Weigert remembered the note he had found a few days ago on his car, who had put it there – the SS? Steiner’s Handlers, Agarthi’s men, who acted where, who was important, who was unimportant, where the insiders, where the profane, what was infiltrated, what was real in the real world, or was it all Potemkin’s Village?
What? The real world or what Steiner served him?
What was right, what was wrong, what was bad, what good? If Steiner said the truth, there was no up and no down.
“The black sun will rise again, up from the midnight of the world for a big noon. The gods will start dancing again and we will let them dance in us.
Soon. In a few weeks the time has come. Then we will take destiny back in hand. Behind us, the men of Agarthi, will pass what is still valid today! “
Steiner had turned around, his light blue eyes sparkled, for the first time he spoke deeply moved, his words grew louder, his hands rose. It took only a few seconds, then he regained control, had returned to the sober objectivity that he had spread throughout their conversation.
“They always talk about Volker and Greenspan. The first victim was Oleg Garakin, the Russian Minister of Economics, and they know nothing about it because the others do not want it, i.e. that the myth of Agarthi is revived. And that’s why they blamed the Islamic Popular Front. But this does not matter the least.
Yes, we killed the men. Not out of hatred, out of necessity. They belonged to Shamballah. Once Agarthi is on the train, once Shamballah. This is history, a story you can not understand.”
Garakin: “Volker had tried to cover up the circumstances of the murder, had Garakin succeeded?
Weigert was still well-acquainted with the circumstances of his death a few years ago. His wife had shot him out of jealousy, so it was said, if he ever returned, he’d try to check it, and Martin?
If Steiner admitted three assassinations, one of which Weigert had never even known,then he probably had nothing to do with the death of the Frenchman. Weigert felt ill at the thought that today, here in this world, hundreds or even thousands of esotericists were running about, whose minds had already breathed life into a Third Reich. If this Steiner was not a runaway lunatic boasting deeds he had nothing to do with, then … Yes, then Weigert had his story. But he would have gladly renounced that now. And finally, the men of Shamballah would still be there. Garakin, Volker, Greenspan: They had been among the opponents of Agarthi. What had his department chief Hillgruber told him? Volker and Greenspan were Freemasons. Did the same principle that Steiner had previously explained to him on the basis of the Thule Society fit behind their lodges? Schamballah.The same abstruse ideas in green! Or was the moral of the real world right here? Was there good and evil really? Were Agarthi and Shamballah the embodiment of what many people believed? Then Shamballah must have been the good side. But both had the same origin. But was not it the same with the devil and God? He was not allowed to go crazy now! He needed clues in the real world. Wherever he found his way and where the unreal, if it actually existed, was suppressed. “Are you suggesting that a new Thule Order is about to buy Shamballah off the cutting edge and pave the way for a new empire?” “That’s exactly what Weigert says, and the day is within reach!” “And why are you telling me all this?” “Because your head is in the noose!Your newspaper has fired you, the UN secret service is looking for you for the murders of Martin and his wife. You need your story, Weigert! Urgent. Otherwise you are delivered! Now you have your story. Write, refuse! Keep the myth of Agarthi alive! “So that was it Steiner wanted to take advantage of his situation He, Hans Weigert, should insert a pebble into the Agarthis mosaic” And what if I do not do it? Do not believe stories, or if I go with this information to the authorities and tell you where to find you? What then? ” Steiner smiled. The first time, there was something like superiority in it. “They will write. Not because of Agarthi, but because of yourself. You have to pull your head out of the noose. But even if you decide otherwise,that is completely irrelevant. What I have told you is new to the people of the world. But it is by no means new to Shamballah. And as for me, I’ll be out of here before you get back to Lhasa. The day of the meeting is imminent. No matter what you will do, Weigert, you can not stop Agarthi! “Bolzano, December 11 The three sat in front of the fireplace in Claudia’s house, slowly eating the wood, which sometimes made crackling noises. There was a warmth in the air outside, and outside the windows, the darkness had already settled over the mountains, and only a few hours before Weigert had arrived at the airport in Rome, the false papers that Claudia had obtained had served their purpose No one had doubted their authenticity.Only Weigert had doubted the authenticity of what he had experienced on the return flight. But then he had recalled the events of the last three weeks, and he was painfully aware that it was not a dream. Vienna – Wewelsburg – Bolzano – Tibet: It had been a long way to get there, measured not only in kilometers. He started off as a regular journalist to search for a story that could have ended like so many others. But then, unexpectedly and unintentionally, he stepped onto the stage from the audience. Now he played in one piece, the beginning of which he did not know and of which he did not know when and how it would end. The best actors, it is said, grow into a role until they finally identify with it completely.For the duration of their engagement they make a change that pushes back their own ego in favor of an artificially created figure. Weigert, too, had undergone a metamorphosis, with one difference: there was no going back for him, even if his involvement was over. Weigert played Weigert. And the change that had taken place in him was real. She could not be undone. His previous world view was broken. All the fixed points that had been there had been set in motion. Slow at first, then faster, until they finally disappeared. Up and down, right and left, good and evil: nothing more had any meaning. He was in the middle of a fight he only knew that all the rules he had known so farlost their validity. A random look through a hotel door; a corpse with a black sun on its forehead; a mysterious castle whose spirit haunted the world from bygone days; two old people, cruelly murdered; two silvery slices that did not want to reveal their treasure; Ministers, policemen, and intelligence agents whose true intentions seemed to be surrounded by an impenetrable veil; a man in the mountains of Tibet, who wandered lightly between two worlds, and of whom one did not know which of them he actually came from. The one, absolute truth was dead. Any attempt at resuscitation, undertaken on Weigert’s mind, would fail miserably. Thousands of truths vied with each other. And in this chaos, Hans Weigert first had to find his, new,that would have nothing to do with the old, past. His mind was still in the midst of that night of shambles. But Weigert’s heart had long since set off to leave the darkness behind. In a situation where there was no way out where the distance between the back and the wall could be measured in millimeters, there was nothing left to do but accept fate. Not mournful and lamenting, but determined to take it over completely. Cupid fati. Villiger had picked him up from the airport. On the trip to Bolzano they had not talked much. Weigert had wanted to spare himself telling his story twice. His friend had only told him that he had not managed to elicit from the data carriers of Martin their secret.The code was more complicated than Villiger had feared. Now they were sitting in front of the fireplace for three. Weigert had reported. Everything.Neither Claudia nor Peter had interrupted him. Now that he had finished, the discussion would begin. Already on the plane Weigert had been afraid of it. Who would believe this story? “Sorry, Hans. But all that sounds more than unbelievable. “Villiger opened up as Weigert had expected.” In the mountains of Tibet, therefore, a 91-year-old SS man is sitting, who looks so crisp that even young girls would bite. Hell, are you buying this story from Steiner? ” Weigert’s body tightened. Now it was about convincing the others. And again, for the last time, yourself. “For the moment, let’s forget about the 91-year-old SS man. Whether that’s right is ultimately secondary. There is a man in Tibet who calls himself Karl Steiner. Let’s stay with this name,even if we can not prove that he is right. This man, Steiner, knows about things he really can not know. He knows that Volker and Greenspan have burned a black sun on their foreheads. If we … “” Wait! ” 108 Villiger interrupted him. “Of course he could know that. All he had to do was listen to the radio and read newspapers. You wrote it yourself at Volker and Greenspan made that sign even more windy! “” Okay, let’s assume he gets his papers in the Himalayas on a regular basis … “” Come on, now do not be unkind. Who tells you that Steiner was there all the time? He might not have got there for a few hours before you. “” And how do you explain then,that there is the same sign on his tea-bowls as on the forehead of Volkers or Greenspan’s? “” There is no copyright on the sign. “This professor from the University of Vienna has told you himself that the symbol is thousands of years old “I do not doubt it, but why should not someone just use it to decorate his tea cups with it?” “Do not you think that would be a peculiar coincidence?” “And if he does, after all, he can not have peeled the shells until after the Greenspan assassination.” “Still the question remains, why all this. Fuck the bowls! Steiner has spoken of a third murder in this series, the Russian Minister of the Economy Oleg Garakin. “” That’s what you said. ” “At least you have listened to me.So, if we could prove that there’s something wrong with the official version of the crime, then we have every reason to believe Steiner. “” And how are you going to do that? Want to go to Russia and say hello ‘Here I am, I would like to hear the truth about the Garakin murder?’ You can make up for that, you would not get more than what was in the papers anyway. ” “Maybe that’s enough. Perhaps there is some inconsistency here that makes Steiner’s statements, if not really confirmed, more probable. “Claudia had listened attentively so far, but now she joined the conversation.” Stay on the carpet Thing is too serious to argue. ” “We do not argue!”Villiger poured out whiskey. “Alright, Peter. Conclusion from your discussion: We have two people to check first. The first is Oleg Garakin. As Hans first said, he is said to have been shot by his wife out of jealousy two months ago. I agree that we should always look at the reports of the murder. This is easy to do and does not take much time. The second person is Steiner himself. If he was an SS member, then there’s a good chance we’ll find something about him. Moscow opened its archives a few years ago. It contains a lot of documents about the time in question. Even with the British, the lock-up period for the files they took away from Germany in 1945 has already expired. We could … “Villiger interrupted her.” Everything,What you can determine there is, in the best case, that there was a man named Karl Steiner, to whom the biographical data, as Hans has told us, apply. But this is by no means a proof that the man whom Hans met in Tibet is Karl Steiner. “” Peter is unfortunately right, the research on this question would be quite laborious, and the result would never come to us much further. ” “Good, gentlemen. Let’s pick up the person Karl Steiner once. Even then, there is still a great deal of what he has said. If I understand Hans correctly, he has presented a completely new version of the history of the Third Reich. Agreed? “Weigert nodded. Villiger could not resist an objection.” Yes, he has, no doubt.But what does that mean? Even if we get a check on these facts – and I emphasize the facts – that does not mean anything. If we can find these things, then Steiner could. “Now it was up to Weigert to contradict.” True, but you forget one thing. If these facts, as you say, and you do not mean the esoteric trappings That would be a tremendous step forward, for if a secret society like this Thule Order was significantly behind a historical development like that of the Third Reich, that means no more and no less than that history at least in This one point is different from what is commonly shown. ” “Touche.” Villiger seemed convinced, at least in that aspect. “So,and now we go one step further. If this matter has worked, at least once, why not do it a second time? Is it really unlikely that this very Thule Order has saved its structures in the aftermath of the collapse of 1945? If these people believe in their religion, if I may say so, then why not submerge them for a while? If I think about it, it would be unusual if it had not been so. There are plenty of examples in history where religious groups have been persecuted and have passed their faith underground. And then we take the next step: if these people and their successors have actually managed to enter significant positions over the decades,why should not they make another attempt to mature after power? “Villiger took a sip of whiskey before answering.” I admit that sounds pretty plausible, but who says that Thule- And even if, what influence did he have? That is the sticking point of the whole thing: Was it really the triggering, decisive moment or was it only one of numerous phenomena that led to the development contributed? ” Weigert wanted to say something, but Claudia came before him. “Conclusion: We have to check Steiner’s statements. If they are true, then we have just taken the first hurdle from many. But it is true that a hypothesis is true as long as it can not be falsified.If we can falsify Steiner’s version of the story on this point, then we can put a stop to it. That would have helped us as well. “Now it was Weigert’s turn again.” That would help us, but who killed Volker and Greenspan and who Garakin, if Steiner’s statements on this point are true? His wife’s conscience? That’s why we’re all here and why I’m in shit, and not because the story was decades gone by differently than it is in the books. ” For a few breaths there was silence. Then Claudia broke the silence. “Volker, Greenspan, Martin. Now it will happen again! I have not even told you what I found out while you were away. “”But then it’s time!” “Hillgruber told you that Volker, the Eurofed president, and Greenspan, the United Nations Security Council member, were supposed to have been Masons, and as we agreed, I agreed The result: No news to Volker and Greenspan, confirmation from Hillgruber could not be found, but something else came out, I told you that in Italy at the beginning of the 1980’s the big P This was the first thing that came to my mind about the subject.The P-2 was a secret Masonic lodge, but I do not want to bore you with the details of this extremely complicated story, but I want one point Do not deprive yourself: In the scandal was a certain Roberto Calvi,the then head of the Vatican Bank, the Banco Ambrosiano, involved. His account, in the truest sense of the word, is a series of financial transactions. Calvi left Italy in the spring of 1982. In the same year he was dead. “” What does that have to do with us? ” “Always with Tranquillity. Calvi has been murdered in a most unusual way. He was found hanged under the Blackfriars Bridge in London, his feet at right angles, with bricks in his pockets. What was initially sold as suicide later turned out to be what it really was: a classic Freemason-style ritual murder. The right angle is one of their symbols that the lodges have adopted from their predecessors, the factory masons.And the bricks point to the symbol of the rough and hewn stone. The rough stone is the spirit of the newcomer in the box, who only works in the spirit of Masonic philosophy, and therefore has to carve that stone. “111 Weigert could not hold back any more.” Martin’s wife, their corpse is on them Sort of arranged! ” “That’s right, my dear.” “And that in turn corroborates Steiner’s statements: In his legend, he spoke of two rival groups, Agarthi and Shamballah, when we consider the legend as a legend and turn to the tangible reality Then we have to deal with two rival groups: There is one form of expression of the Agarthi group, the Thule Order.And there is another form of the Shamballah group, Freemasonry. Both fight against each other, in a struggle that eludes rational access for long stretches, a struggle that takes place at the esoteric-religious level. And sometimes we find signs of this struggle in the world we can see. There is … “Peter Villiger came back again, who was not satisfied with the abundance of malt whiskey alone.” I do not know what you have, Hans, you make a big deal out of it, but Steiner himself told you about it “Of the Shamballah and the Freemasons, what should the circumstances surrounding the murder of Martin’s wife prove to be?” “Moment! Steiner spoke of the Shamballah and the Masons. That’s right.And he also said that they have Martin and his wife on their conscience. But in our conversation there was no question of how I found the wife of Martin. So if Steiner establishes a causal connection between her murder and any Masonic lodges, and if this connection is confirmed by our, say Claudia, research, then that means that Steiner’s statements are in a certain way confirmed. “Villiger did not give up that easily. “Wrong! Like the symbol of the black sun, he also learned from the circumstances surrounding the killings of Martin and especially his wife from the newspaper!” Weigert countered: “He can. But it does not change the fact that he has given us a trail that has been condensed by Claudia’s research.And this trail leads in the direction of any lodges! And finally, Volker and Greenspan, or at least Hillgruber and our New York Correspondent Faith, have been members of Masonic lodges! “Villiger grunted, and Claudia said,” We can spend hours sitting here But it will not change anything that we have to do something, you, Peter, have still not been able to decipher Martin’s two CDs, who … “. 112 “But that’s enough! I’m perched in front of the screen for a whole week! I can not do more than that! If something does not suit you, then I can go back to my log cabin! “Now the point had come, where it was necessary to mediate. Villiger was not really convinced of the progress of the story.He also helped out of friendship. A one hundred percent identification with the story could not be asked of him. If you tackled him too hard now, he would get out. Weigert intervened. “All right. I am convinced that you have given your best. You will manage it. The stuff on the CDs must be important, otherwise Martin would not have encrypted it and hidden it in a flower pot. If he was just an insignificant marginal figure, then he would not have been killed. You are our hope, old boy! You must go on, please! “Claudia had realized that her choice of words had not exactly been diplomatic.” I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant, because I just wanted to say that you just have to go on. ” She put her hand on Villiger’s shoulder.”So you got me back. All right, I’ll go back to my chamber and keep playing. But if I did not make it in a week, I’ll be fine. “Villiger got up and made his way upstairs to the room where the computer stood.” Peter has his job, you, Hans, are going now I’ll be doing the Garakin murder tomorrow, and then I’m going to Munich to find out about this Thule Order in dusty files You’re going to evaluate the material Steiner told you that the day of the gathering, as he called it, is about to end, whatever he meant by that, if it’s true, then we have little time left. ” Vienna, 12 December “Good evening, Mr. Kipling!” Joe Kipling rose from his chair,to shake hands with Hans-Jörg Schneider. At the same time he looked around. None of the restaurant’s guests seemed to take notice of the men. “Good evening. Let’s stay with German. If the events continue, I’ll need that language more often than English, I’m afraid. “The fat lawyer told the slender bank manager to sit down.” The stock is not good for us, is it? ” Schneider put the napkin on his lap. “If that was a question, I wanted to address it to you. Maybe you have some positive news for me. “As he said that, Kipling took a cigarette out of the pack and now he lit it.” I’m sorry, the UN intelligence agency is running at full speed.what the people tackle, all traces are lost. As far as possible, the World Intelligence Service in Tibet has had all deaths checked during the period in question. Of course, Karl Steiner was not among them. But you know that does not mean anything. He may have lived there under a different name, or he may have died in a desolate wasteland without reporting to the authorities. That’s the norm and not the exception. And last but not least, Martin could have lied. “Kipling looked at Schneider thoughtfully.” The Frenchman did not lie, at least not as far as Steiner is concerned. “As you know, that’s how we keep our records, and it actually has a Karl Steiner with the SS who took part in the last Tibet expedition of the Third Reich in 1942.Already immediately after the war one tried to find these men. This has been achieved with a few dozen. But we lost a total of twelve. Most of them should have been blessed in the meantime. But before that, they will have passed on their knowledge to others we do not know. “No, no, Steiner’s right.” Schneider had waved the waiter in. The two men gave their orders, and when the waiter left, the bank director leaned forward, “Tell me, Mr. Kipling, what’s the matter? The people of Agarthi, they shoot some of our most important brothers like dogs, but what else do they do? I see no sign that anything like this is going on again in the twenties. “Kipling took a sip of the wine and lit the next cigarette. Schneider was one of the most important brothers in Europe. But in the strictly hierarchical order a whole series of people were still settled over him. Everyone, whether at the top or bottom of the ladder with the 33 rungs, had sworn to silence when they were taken. Outwardly, anyway, but also towards those who stood in the hierarchy of power among them. Only someone who had carved the stone was worthy of being initiated into the final secrets. And what you knew about Agarthi should not go down. Kipling did not know everything either. But he was aware that he himself was not allowed to pass that on to Schneider. Not yet. If you needed the help of the bank director and his contacts,you would tell him what was unnecessary. Just when the fat lawyer wanted to make an evasive answer, a man stepped to the table. “Good evening, gentlemen.” Then he turned to Schneider. “Excuse me for the disturbance, could I just talk to you privately? It’s important.” 114 “You are welcome to join us.” Schneider pointed to Kipling. “Mister Kipling likes to hear what you have to say to me, he is one of us, I would like to introduce: Joe Kipling from San Francisco, Mr. Olaf Carlsson from UN secret service in Vienna. ” Carlsson bowed slightly as he shook the lawyer’s hand. He sat down. “Please, Mr. Carlsson, what is this about?” “It is the journalist who, well …, is involved in this double murder in Germany.My men tracked him down. “” Where is he staying? ” “In Bolzano. He has an old college friend with whom he lives. Exactly in a house of their parents. “Carlsson’s eyes showed that he was expecting praise Schneider ignored it.” I hope you keep him shadowed this time, at least he should not escape you. ” “Of course. You wanted me to contact you when we found Weigert. Should I have him arrested now? “” Of course, we … “Kipling interrupted Schneider and turned to Carlsson. “Wait a while. I can tell you more in a few minutes. Please excuse me for a moment. “The lawyer got up and walked away without further comment. Carlsson looked after him, puzzled.Schneider felt it was time to make a statement. “It’s OK. Consider Mister Kipling’s request calmly as a wish among brothers. I often miss a sense of proper expression. “Kipling forced his bulky body into the telephone booth that was near the toilets, preferring the cell rather than the wireless telephone that a waiter would have brought to his table He dialed the number from Beckett, and seconds later his face appeared on the screen. “Hello, Thomas, I have news.” Beckett made an overtired impression. His eyes were red. He had not shaved yet, even though it had been long noon in San Francisco. “Get going, Joe.”115 “The UN secret service has tracked down this Austrian journalist.” “Is he already arrested?” “No.” “Then drop him off as planned, arrest, indictment, conviction, you know what we agreed.” “I know that. But in the meantime, I no longer think that’s the best idea. “” Do you have a better idea? ” “Perhaps. If we let Weigert arrest for murder and then face trial, it will cause a lot of hype. He was a journalist after all. So some of his colleagues will accept his fate at least medially. In court, Weigert would certainly also once again cook up the whole Volker thing. This has been since the Greenspan assassination, which we did not cover up,and the commitment of the Islamic Popular Front launched by us to the attacks no longer too significant, but at least. And who knows what Weigert has discovered in the meantime about the Wewelsburg. In front of the judge he will fight like a lion, because he is innocent. And a certain echo should be sure of his statements. Here in Europe, we have barely progressed. We do not need another front now. “” I’m waiting for your suggestion, Joe. ” “We buy Weigert. We offer him the hiring of the wanted and the return to his newspaper. He’s trapped anyway. As soon as he does not spurt, the Wewelsburg murders are simply rolled up again. And he ends up in front of the judge. But if he cooperates, he can be of use to us.At least he will then keep quiet and dutifully write what we want. After all, Weigert would not be the first to be taken out of circulation this way. And even some of our inveterate opponents have finally come to the conclusion that resistance is meaningless and that they join us. Who can resist the temptations of influential friends, power and money? Who knows, maybe he could lead us on a trail to Thule as well? “” From me, Joe, do what you think right. “Weigert is just our smallest problem.” The day after tomorrow, the council will finally meet we decide what to do, and I expect to be instructed to fly to Europe and coordinate matters with you there. ” “Contact me,if you know more. “” You hear from me, Joe. ” Vienna, December 13th Bergmann was not in a good mood today. Immediately after getting up, his wife had pestered him with their holiday wishes. She wanted to go to the Maldives to escape the unfriendly winter of Vienna. Sun, sand, idleness. And all this as soon as possible. But he had no time for it now. He could not leave where things were going to happen that needed to be influenced. But the chief editor of the “Blatt” had not dared to oppose her request a clear “No”. He had wanted to spare himself the following figure, at least for the time being. He could not have prevailed. So he played for time. Dr. Karl Bergmann entered the anteroom to his office at exactly 10 o’clock 27.Already at the corridor outside he had noticed the delicious smell of fresh coffee, a clear sign that his secretary was already there. “Good morning, doctor!” The voice of Annette Runge sounded as if her last night – and possibly also the night – had been most pleasant, her floral, low-cut dress suited her happiness Job joked with his “Miss Annette,” as he used to call her. But today his mood was really not up to it. His wife had been too nerve-wracking. He muttered vaguely “Tomorrow,” and started to head for his office, but apparently his secretary had one more concern. “Mr. Schneider is already waiting for you inside.She put the bottle of pink nail polish aside and reached for a note that appeared underneath. “Director Schneider is accompanied by a United Nations man …” She looked at the note , “One Mr. Olaf Carlsson.” First his wife and now that too! What did Schneider want again? And what had he brought Carlsson for? “Thank you, my dear, would you please bring us some coffee?” Bergmann opened the door to his office and walked in. Schneider and Carlsson, seated on the worn-out sofa, got up. “Good morning, gentlemen, please, stay seated . ” Schneider held out his hand to Bergmann. “Have a good morning, doctor. I hope,They forgive our unannounced robbery. I think you know Mr Carlsson. “It was more a statement than a question, rightly so, because Bergmann had met the UN intelligence officer several times at receptions, and once, it must have been during that hot summer last year He met Carlsson in the Vienna UNO-City, in the room that was not accessible to mere mortals, and only the brothers were allowed to enter to do their work, as they called it, and no one except them knew of its true purpose externally “We know each other, good morning.” He shook Carlsson’s hand as well. All three sat down. “What can I do for you, gentlemen?” And again she was there, this schoolboy’s nervousness towards his teacher,the fear, if one had done his homework correctly. Schneider, the bank manager, leaned back relaxed, much like a poker player who knows he has the better hand. “I am really terribly sorry to have to bother you with this matter again. But in the case of Hans Weigert, there have been some new developments. “Again Weigert! Bergmann cursed his former subordinate inwardly, and they always had to come to him with it.” The editor-in-chief did not ask to ask further. “There was a knock. ” The secretary entered, carrying a large tray in front of her to serve the coffee. The three men were silent as they took sugar and milk and stirred. When Miss Annette closed the door behind her again,Schneider took the floor. “You’re probably wondering what those new developments are. And I can tell you, by and large, it’s good news for the ‘leaf’. “Schneider’s voice had that sweetish sound that Arab traders at the souk were spouting when they wanted to turn a tourist around Bergmann could not imagine , which news was associated with Hans Weigert, who deserved the title “pleasing”. But finally he sat opposite Hans-Jörg Schneider. And so he did not dare to say that. The banker did not give him any time anyway. “Mr. Carlsson and his people were successful. They tracked down Weigert. “Bergmann almost choked on his coffee, and that too! He saw it already: arrest, trial, scandal.And in that scandal, the name of the “leaflet” would fall, too many presumably, and he would have preferred Weigert to have disappeared forever. “I understand from your reaction that you are not welcoming this message I understand, if I were you, I would be equally worried about the reputation of my company if one of my co-workers were involved in a murder trial, but I promised you a pleasant one, as it seems, and Mr Carlsson can confirm that the suspicions of your men are disappearing. ” Slowly Bergmann became too much. Was he considered a complete idiot? He had never seriously assumed that Weigert had actually committed the two murders in Wewelsburg. The goats in the pockets of the wife of Martin,he’d been told enough about it in the police report. No, these murders were on his brother’s account. He felt dizzy when he thought about it. Of course, humanity and tolerance sometimes had to defend themselves with such methods. But that he was brought near to it … Bergmann alternately got hot and cold. What was Schneider doing now? The answer followed on the foot. 118 “Now that the suspicion of Hans Weigert has dissipated, it would be in everyone’s interest, as I think, if he could return to the ‘sheet’. Or am I wrong about that? “The sharpness that Schneider’s voice now assumed, as well as his gaze, made it clear that he had issued an order that would not tolerate any contradiction.In his nervousness this Bergmann had probably overlooked. “You can not ask me to refuse? I mean … “The banker interrupted him sharply.” Your opinion in all honor, doctor, but I think there are interests that are ahead of yours, you know that too, right? ” Schneider leaned forward and fixed the editor-in-chief. Only now did Bergmann realize how serious his counterpart thought. But what was the reason? If only you told him the reasons for some decisions in the higher grades! He did not want any more than not to be treated like that. After all, he was the editor-in-chief of the “Blatt”! “Why … I mean, why did the situation change?” “I already told you:The suspicion against Weigert can no longer be upheld. “Schneider did not want to say any more, that was clear now, and if the banker was that vain, he certainly would have strengthened his back, and Bergmann had no choice but to give in. He could not afford a conflict with Schneider, not even if he really wanted to. “So I’m supposed to stop Weigert again?” “Exactly.” “Have not the UN people taken any contact with him yet?” Bergmann glanced at Carlsson, who had been silent all along. But Schneider gave the answer. “That’s the point, what we want to ask you above all. We know where he is. And we would like you to make him your offer. First, however, Mr. Carlsson will exchange a few words with Weigert. “Miner sighed. He could not stand it anymore. “All right then. Do you have the number? “Only now did Olaf Carlsson intervene.” Yes. ” He got up and picked up the phone on Bergmann’s desk. “You allow?” “Of course.” Carlsson chose. A few seconds later, the head of Claudia Apollonio appeared on the screen. “Hello.” “Hello, Mrs. Apollonio.” “Who am I having the pleasure with?” “My name is Olaf Carlsson from the World Intelligence Service.” Claudia was visibly startled. “We know that the Viennese journalist Hans Weigert stays with you. I would like to talk to him. And tell him that some of my men are watching the house. So it does not make sense if he tries to break away now. “” I’m sorry, you must be wrong.On the screen you could see how Claudia Apollonio was pushed aside. She was protesting. Then Hans Weigert was there. His face showed that all the hopes of the last days had just vanished. “Here I am. Your men noticed us half an hour ago. I always thought you were working more professionally. “” We do, too, people have been there since last night, let’s make it short, Mr. Weigert, we have an offer that I think is extremely fair. If you want, we’ll refrain from arresting you, and not only that, you might as well, washed clean of any suspicion of murder, start the ‘leaf’. ” “How kind of you. But you know as well as I do that I have nothing to do with the death of Martin and his wife anyway.Apart from that, what is the price for your humanity? Or is it all in vain? “” Almost-but, frankly, we would not very much like to see you continue your research into Volker, Greenspan, and everything related to it. ” “What makes you so sure I accept your offer?” “If you refused, you would be arrested a minute later, and your friend with you!” “So you want to blackmail me?” “A nasty word, I want to do a fair business with you.” “And how can you guarantee that my paper will pick me up again?” “Your boss will gladly do that. Wait a moment.” Carlsson handed over to Bergmann. 120 “Hello, Mr. Weigert. I am really sorry that you were so badly played.But I can assure you that, of course, now that your suspicions have been broken, you can of course start with us again. After all, I had no choice but to resign. After all, you were under suspicion of murder. But now, after all this is over … “” The mouth jaw for me, this Carlsson has agreed with you? ” “Please, Mr. Carlsson is a United Nations staff member. He does not have to make any rules for the ‘paper’. But you’ll surely see that it would not be very wise for you to revisit the issues that have given you so much trouble. “Carlsson took over again.” Well, you heard it, get in. Or not ? ” “The matter comes a little bit suddenly.I’d like to reconsider the whole thing. “” I do not know what there is to reconsider, I’ll have to explain the situation to you so that … “Schneider handed Carlsson a note so that it refused Screen could not see. “What’s up, Carlsson?” “Good, you’ll get your time.” “One week!” “You are crazy!” The banker made a few gestures. Carlsson was surprised, but Schneider had the say. “Well. One week. From now. But you have to be aware of one thing: my men are at your door. If you want to disappear, we’ll grab you. You have no chance! “” Good to know, what about Claudia Apollonio when I get in? ” “What should be with her? We’ll leave her alone. “” Where can I get you? “Carlsson gave him three phone numbers: those in the office, those of his car phone, and his private ones. “You’ll hear from me in no more than a week at the latest.” “Think well, Mr. Weigert, and always remember: we’re watching you.” 121 Bolzano, December 13 Weigert turned and looked at Claudia and Peter, who had been following the conversation. “Shit!” Villiger nodded. “I told you so right away, so Bul in the car is actually sitting there – len. ” “And I bet the two men in it are not the only thing they’ve got. What now? “” Could you maybe make coffee, Claudia? ” “Yes, sure. If you think of something better then. Come on, let’s get into the kitchen. “While Weigert sat down on the bench of the dining group, Claudia fiddled with the espresso machine.Villiger squatted on a sideboard from where he could survey everything. No one really knew what he should say now. What had been speculation half an hour ago when they had spotted the car in front of the house was now certain. Weigert was discovered. And they had set the knife on him. There was still a last reprieve, but then … “Do you know this Carlsson, Hans?” “Yes, at least by name, I once wrote a story about the UN secret service in Vienna, but at the time Carlsson did not have me Personally, I never met him, he is a rather tall animal, as far as I can remember, the second man in the Vienna head office.It’s not bad that Vienna is one of the three main bases of the World Intelligence Service across Europe. But important or not, there is something wrong with the UN people. First they try to cover up the circumstances of the assassination attempt on Volker, then they want to attach to me two murders with which I have nothing to do. And now that they’ve found me, they blow up the hunt again and in return they want to muzzle me in return. “Claudia had finished her preparations for the espresso and sat on the kitchen bench to Weigert.” The arrest warrant for you It was not issued by the UN secret service, but by the Eurocops, as you told us, but once the UN people put their noses into the peoples cause, it’s only logicalthat they also dealt with the murders of Martin and his wife. And that’s because there the journalist showed up, who had already fumbled them with Volker. “Weigert was getting indignant.” Should we chew it all over again? ” “No, that was just the introduction. What I want to get out of here are the statements that Steiner made to you in Tibet. Oh, Peter, could you take care of the coffee, please? “Villiger jumped from the sideboard and put three cups on the table, with milk and sugar, then the pot with the black steaming brew.” I can do that really well now Finally, I only slept three hours. ” “Do not interrupt her now. So, Claudia, go on. “” Steiner has the legend of Agarthi,say Thule Order, and Shamballah, meaning Masons, tells. Volker and Greenspan, as well as Garakin, if one believes Steiner, were men of the Shamballah. This statement is also covered by the tip of your departmental chief, according to which Volker and Greenspan should have been lodge members. “” We have already discussed everything! ” “Wait. If Steiner is so open with you and admits that the two assassinations you knew were committed by his people, and even admits that there had been a third assassination attempt before then, then he obviously has no interest in to conceal something from that relationship. “” What does it mean to conceal? He really asked me to write about it! ” “Just.Besides, Steiner and his people have little to do with the murders of Weibelburg. Otherwise he would have been able to admit it. “” That’s what I’ve always said! ” “Do not get impatient right now. So Shamballah is the side that does not want anything known about Agarthi. So if the UN secret service helps, then we can assume that Shamballah maintains the best contacts. There are probably even some people in this group sitting in appropriate functions. Maybe Carlsson is one of them. “” And? ” “Let me continue the thought. Let’s assume that the UN secret service is not a bogus club. In the end, evidence of its efficiency has not been lacking in the past. That would mean that you know exactly therethat you did not commit the murders in Wewelsburg. So, if there’s any relationship between the secret service and the Shamballah, and if the Shamballah is not interested in having someone rummage around in it, it’s only natural that they want to silence you. So they hang the murders on you. “” But you’ve just heard it yourself, obviously it’s no longer of interest. “Carlsson’s offer was to get me off scot-free.” “Yes, but the price is the same: you should keep your hands off the whole thing. If they let you return to the ‘leaf’, then they have won something else. A lawsuit against you would just raise dust, and that’s exactly what they want to avoid. “” I do not like that. ” Villiger smashed his coffee cup on the table.”At least since the Greenspan assassination, which happened in the street and where all the media have also reported on the sign that has been burned on his forehead, researched a whole horde of journalists in this matter. So why should Hans be so important to the Shamballah? “” Quite simply, Hans is the only one who, if by chance, found a trail to Agarthi. ” “Nonsense! The others do not know that Hans was in Tibet and talked to Steiner there. “” Obviously not, because otherwise the UN secret service would have arrested him long ago, but they know that he was at the Wewelsburg and there with them And so they know he’s on the right track, but what they do not know is how far we’ve come.That’s exactly what they think they can prevent by trying to buy Hans. “” Why do you suppose I do not care about you? ” “Is that so illogical? You are a normal journalist and not an agent. How should you live on, if you are looking for you? You would not have a chance to submerge permanently. That was clear to us. After all, we just wanted to put off so much time that we have something in hand until they arrest you. The price for not responding to their offer would be a life on the run. Who would accept that, even if you know yourself innocent? I think that the UN people are calculating very well. Their mistake is that they do not expect us to find out a whole lot more,But who could risk such coincidences as they did to Martin? “” That’s right, if only I had come ten minutes later, he would already have been dead and we would be today still there, without a clue what’s really going on. ” “So far, so bad. But why do they give you a whole week’s time to think? A couple of hours or a day would have been enough. “Villiger was really a critical mind.” No idea, but they do not care, they’re in control of us, because we’re not amateurs and professionals, we can not go out anyway We also do not know a lot about companies, whether they get me tomorrow or a week from now makes no difference. ” Claudia did not seem to have finished her remarks yet. “You Hans,and me, we are both journalists. You, Peter, understand as a former PR man enough of the profession. What we wanted was nothing but a hot stare. Right? “Weigert nodded slowly.” Well, yes. ” “Have you already realized that this has hardly anything to do with it? I … “124 Weigert interrupted her.” Stupid question, as soon as you see fresh bodies and you want to be held liable, that’s nothing to do with journalism, of course! ” “That too, Hans. But there’s something going on around us that – if you’re serious – could be of tremendous importance to the world. “” What do you mean when you take it seriously? “Garakin, Volker and Greenspan were actually murdered, all three of them very important personalities. Is there anything elsethat you can not take seriously? “” You’re right, only it does not matter if it’s normal terror, as we’re used to it, or processes whose importance goes far beyond eliminating them Persons going out? ” Villiger was not particularly satisfied with Claudia’s remarks. “So now you believe in Steiner’s conspiracy theories?” “Believe it or not, at least it’s only logical that politics and history are made in this way as well.” It would only be a conspiracy theory if I were to influence everything and everything But not even Steiner has maintained that Agarthi and Shamballah need no consideration for political action, as we have known so far.They just use it and try to use it according to their goals. But what I wanted to get out of is that it’s not really about the story we’re after. We are now playing with ourselves in the story. And we could influence her outcome. “Hans understood only too well what she meant by Claudia was a journalist after all, and like him, she had always been aware that they were only reporting on the actions of others For the first time, they had the tip of something in their hands, with which they could perhaps even influence the course of events, but how the hell did Villiger’s criticism not be long in coming. “I think you think that’s way too naive let’s say we’re going to start trumpeting everything we know via the media. “SS People,who sit in the Himalayas, esoteric secretions fighting for world domination, all peppered with a few political assassinations. This is the stuff that is from science fiction, but not the basis for credible reporting. We would be considered crazy. No one would believe that. In addition, we have virtually no tangible evidence. In the best case we could show some logical connections. No, that’s not going to happen. “Claudia did not want to give in.” Maybe we have the proof, on those CDs that you can not crack! ” “Here we go again. I … “Weigert intervened. 125” Stop it! Peter is right, as long as we can not substantiate anything, there’s no point in publishing anythingeven if there were a medium that would be ready for it. The only customer for our current information would be police or intelligence services. And also there I see black. Official focus of the whole thing are the attacks on Volker and Greenspan. Purely in terms of competence, this is primarily a case for the World Intelligence Service, even if it is handled by other authorities. It almost does not matter where we go with our information. Ultimately, everything would end up with the UN secret service. And there are people from Shamballah. To offer our knowledge to states that are not good at speaking to the UN is politically in no one’s interest here, is it? “Villiger shook his head.” No, of course not, but who actually tells you that Shamballah, that is Freimau? – rer,would be a bad starting point for us? I mean, if the alternative is the Thule Order, which is said to have produced a Third Reich – supposedly at least – then why not march on the people who are at the helm today? “” You’re making progress, if you believe Steiner and you do that by making such an option, then both are carved from the same wood, I do not dare yet to give a final verdict, but after all that has happened so far, I’m not Sure, if Shamballah is a good alternative, or maybe just the lesser of two evils at best. ” “Listen, you two heroes. I’ve come up with something else. “” Do not start with the CDs again! ” “No, do not worry.But it still has something to do with you, Peter. Did you notice that Carlsson just talked about Hans and me? “” Right, so what? ” “That means that UN intelligence might not know that Peter is here. He did not leave the house the whole time and locked himself up in the room at the top of the screen. And because he is such a nightshade plant, he has always pulled the curtains. “Weigert jumped up.” Of course, if they really only discovered me here yesterday, that means that they probably listen to Claudia’s phones only since yesterday So you could not have heard anything about the conversation with you, Peter, in Norway, not even about your arrival here, we … “Claudia could not be stopped. “That means we can remain able to act despite monitoringat least during the reprieve of a week! “” May I say something as a victim? ” “Please.” “If that meant that I should sneak out of the house to continue my research, you cut yourself.” First, if at all, then I’m the only one of us who does After these are, at least as before, our most important track, we can not do without it Second, you may have forgotten that I did not go to Norway to get back from there and in I want to help you, of course, but I do not want to be dumped, and then, thirdly, Hans has a week,to announce his decision. Who said that the UN people are staying outside in their cars at this time? Maybe they get cold and they want a schnapps. Or they just turn the place upside down. Then it’s off with the walker Vil liger. “Weigert wanted to counter something, but Claudia came before him.” Firstly, you’re right, secondly, I like to note, Hans did not ask you for more, but at least we can take some precautions and do not make it too easy for them. ” Villiger sighed. But Claudia was not deterred. “Now that they’ve discovered us, I can not go to Munich as planned. As soon as I start investigating the Thule Order in any of the archives,Our friends of the UN secret service will not hesitate much longer. Then it will be too hot for them. No matter how you turn it, you’re our joker now, Peter. “San Diego, December 14 The sun was just about to end her day and sink slowly behind the horizon, but before that, she had decided, should And so she sent out her rays one last time before disappearing to make clouds and sky shine brightly on the western horizon, as if to give a visible testimony of her mysterious power to tell people, “I’ll be back, and nothing can stop me.” For billions of years it was one of the constants of the divine order. She would continue to be, no matterwhat happened down here on Earth, too. The seven men who had gathered in the manor of Thomas Beckett were not in the mood right now to enjoy this spectacle. It was probably because they had come to discuss very serious matters. But in many of them the thought had arisen that they were here just because of this sun, which stretched their black rays of Agarthi at them. Whenever the seven of them came together-the council, as they called it-they always renounced everything that was imposed on the thousands upon thousands of ladders in their “work.” They no longer needed symbols as mediation to the divine, for they, like Karl Steiner, had long since become wanderers between two worlds.They tried very successfully to keep the threads of one world in their hands. But her true goal was in the other. There had always been seven men to advise. If one of them died, one also dedicated his chosen successor to the last secrets of Shamballah. For four years, the Circle of Seven had been put together the way it had been at Beckett’s estate. 127 Lutz Wettler was the youngest in the group at the age of 38. He was German, but his nationality had little in times like these and nothing in circles like these. Wettler had an astounding career, the last station of which was the Agricultural Minister in the European Political Union. Of course, the Brotherhood had helped him with his ascension,but at least as much he owed to his intelligence and diligence. Jim Glenn came from New York. He was the embodiment of the American dream. He had knocked himself from the bottom to the top. Glenn began at the age of 18 as an unknown journalist of a tabloid in the Big Apple. Now, 45 years later, he was one of the most powerful media czars in the world. He commanded a global empire of television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines, satellites and news agencies. And he knew how to use his position. Professor Robert Scott was a picture-perfect Brit: pale skin, red hair and a full-bodied red beard. The behavior of a true gentleman, underlined by a slightly nasal voice. His domain was the economy.Ever since he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics ten years ago, he has been a sought after adviser to many governments and international institutions. The British magazine “Economist” once called him “the gray eminence of world economic policy.” Carved from entirely different wood was General Jean-Paul Pascal. He came from a Parisian family whose masculine members were almost all committed to generations of the Grande Nation’s army for generations. Pascal was a soldier through and through, which did not mean he did not have a sense of political context. When France, which had been left out of NATO in 1966, entered the defense structures of the European Union several years ago,he had shortly after taken command of the first units of the European army. From there, Pascal was taken to the United Nations, where he now served as deputy military commander of the UN Army. Hiroshi Fukanaga had arrived here from Tokyo. But it could just as well have come from any other part of the globe. In order to effectively run the global corporation he headed, whose payroll totaled nearly 650,000 names, he had three large-capacity jets at his disposal, all of which were not only used as means of transport, but also as living, working and Sleeping accommodation served. The corporate conglomerate Fukanagas consisted of several hundred interconnected companies, the largest of which were primarily engaged in the electronics sector. By contrast, less was knownthat the huge multi held 70 percent of world patents in the area of gene technology. The sixth in the league was the Russian career diplomat Sergei Kamenev. Kamenev had fully supported the process of rebuilding the Soviet Union and opening it to the West, started in 1985 by Mikhail Gorbachev. After the 1991 coup, a number of important posts had to be filled in the then new Russian Foreign Office. Kamenev reached for it. Several years later, he was elected to the United Nations Security Council. The murder series of the last few weeks went to his heart especially. Both Oleg Garakin, whom he had known since his early youth, and his colleague on the Security Council, Alan Greenspan, had been his friends. Thomas Beckett was number seven. As a primus inter pares, the threads ran together,but necessary decisions were made together. And today, with the sun gone and night ruling, important decisions had to be made. 128 Bolzano, December 15 Peter Villiger did not look well. His eyes were red-rimmed. He had not been styling the long hair for days, the T-shirt he was wearing had not changed as well. He was just steaming out a cigarette and then lighting the next one. The ashtray next to the computer was already so full that a few taps threatened to fall out. Next to it stood a bottle of whiskey, which had presented itself the day before yesterday in virgin immaculateness. Today, their water level had dropped so low that it was already possible to anticipate the drought on the floor of the bottle. The glass that stood beforeone would have returned even in a third-rate restaurant the Ober. All that remained was the hope that alcohol really did disinfect. Villiger sat in front of the screen for eleven days and nights, interrupted only by a few hours’ sleep each night and the few joint conversations of the three. Most of the time he had moved the food to his desk. Yesterday, after 14 hours of uninterrupted computer work, the numbers and letters began to move. At first he thought something was wrong with the screen. But then, when he rubbed his hand over his closed eyes, it was over again. He had simply been tired. Ten minutes later he had fallen asleep in his chair, his right hand still clutching the mouse.Claudia found him that way in the morning and made a very worried face. What began as a friendly service, Villiger developed more and more to the nightmare. Sure, he too was interested in what the whole story would end up with. But slowly it stunk the matter. He had wanted to start a new life in Norway. Now heâ € ™ d been sitting in front of a computer screen for days trying to elicit alleged secrets from two silver disks that they might not even possess. And with all that, he was still in danger of being drawn into the maelstrom of events and perhaps being carried away by his friend Hans and Claudia to the UN secret service. Sometimes it was not easy being a friend. For the thousandth time he pushed the mouse back and forthIn between, she kept tapping her fingers on the keyboard to tell the guts of the machine what they had to do. The data Pierre Martin once recorded on the two CDs had so far defied all attempts to reveal their secrets. Now the next attempt was due. As always, before Villiger gave the final command to the computer after a lot of hard work to get him to start complicated calculations, he took a sip of whiskey. The moment he turned off the glass, he pressed the button and closed his eyes. The experience of the past few days had taught him that the machine was calculating for about two to three seconds before the result became visible on the screen. It was not long, but there was enough timeto treat the tortured eyes for a short relaxation break. Villiger opened it again, looked at the screen, closed it again, opened it again. He gave a loud cry and jumped up. The bottle of whiskey fell over, rolled across the table, and finally crashed to the ground without breaking. His screaming stopped only when Hans Weigert and Claudia Apollonio stormed into the room. Weigert was quite angry. “What’s wrong? Are you totally crazy! Out there stands the UN secret service. If they’re going to get it, then there’s someone else … “Weigert stopped short when he realized that the grin on his friend’s face did not stop.” I’ve got it! ” Claudia lunged at the screen, Weigert trying to push her aside.”This is just unreal! You really made it! “Claudia dropped Peter around the neck and kissed him loudly on the cheek, then turned back around, Villiger taking his place in front of the screen, the other two staring at what was spellbound appeared there and now – no longer encrypted – the eyes of the bebot darbot. “Have you already seen through everything? How did you do it? Is it …?” Weigert barely kept his excitement in check. “No, the hell! I have not got around to looking at anything yet. And how I did it, it does not matter now. The code is cracked, that’s the main thing! And now let’s check in peace what Uncle Martin has inherited from our Hänschen. “Claudia was the first to comment on it.”Addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, job functions, short lives! Holy crap! Why should that be good? “Villiger kept flipping through the file, so fast that one could not read along, until he had reached the end.” That’s it! A list of people with addresses and some biographical notes each. Then nothing.A little lean, right? “” What’s wrong with that? “This list could be very important to us.” “And which, if I may ask? Who are the people who are led there? “Weigert had an idea.” How many are there? ” Villiger pressed a few keys. “Funny, exactly 333.” “Come on, try the second CD!” Villiger did as he was told. He also cracked the code with the same method as the first one. The result was identical to the previous one, also an identically constructed list of persons, but – at least at first glance – with different names. “How many are they?” 130 Our Frenchman seems to have been a joker, and so are 333. ” “Together we have 666 names. Na cheers!Can you relate both files together and check if a name appears twice? “” Am I a beginner? Of course I can. ” A few seconds later, the result was there. “There is no full name that occurs twice or more. A few surnames and a few first names are identical, but that’s no big surprise for 666 people. “” Let’s go! Look for Bernhard Volker! “Yeah, I’ll do it already … Nonsense, does not exist.” “Alan Greenspan.” Villiger pressed a few keys again. “Does not exist either. Surely you’re looking for Oleg Garakin, too? “” Guess, old boy! ” “None. No one of that sort is there either. “Now Claudia intervened.” Try Karl Steiner, maybe we’ll be a bit luckier. “They had. The record appeared on the screen: “Steiner, Karl. Born: 9th September 1918. Admission to SS: 1st January 1937. Use on Wewelsburg. Inauguration: December 21, 1940. Departed for Tibet on July 7, 1942 as a member of an SS expedition. Since then lives in Tibet. Contact at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. “Suddenly a clapping sounded, Weigert had hit his forehead with the palm of his hand.” Of course, that’s it! Do you know what that list should be? ” Villiger had nothing at the moment for guessing games. He was too busy bringing out the downed whiskey bottle under the desk. So it was Claudia. “I sense something. But I do not want to steal the show for you. “Peter took a strong pull from the salvaged bottle, leaving one last sip.He held her up. “Will anyone else?” Weigert simply ignored his friend’s offer. “Steiner has said that especially at the end of the Second World War, a whole host of Agarthi or better Thule people were brought out of Germany, like Steiner said, “to come back in another form in a distant hour.” That was Agarthi’s survival structure beyond the Third Reich, and that list contains the names of those men and women! ” Since no one had made use of his offer, Villiger just took the last sip of whiskey himself. “What good is that to us, do you think they all have a fountain of youth, like Steiner, they all watch the radishes from below! ” “Watch out, Peter.Can you sort the names by birth dates and see how many were born in which decade? “” By now you should have realized that such games are possible. It took five minutes. Then Villiger had the result. “Born before 1920 are only three. Between 1920 and 1930 were born 17. Between 1930 and 1940, a total of 25 people saw the light of day. Then we make a small incision. From 1940 until the end of the war, 48 were born. This means that the large remainder of 573 persons were all born after the end of the Second World War. Do you want a more detailed breakdown? “” J a. Determine how many of them are younger than 20. ” “One moment … That’s … just eight.” “That can not be true! What we have in our handsIn my opinion, it can only be the list of Agarthi’s followers today! “” And what about those who were born after 1945? ” “They were called in by the Thule people, who were able to get out of Germany in time, and were finally initiated. Or it’s their children. The structure wants to keep alive and pass on its alleged secrets, no matter what happens around it. That’s what Steiner said in no uncertain terms. “Claudia answered from the background.” The only question left is how Martin came to this list. ” “No idea. He can not tell us any more. “” And if he was one of Steiner’s people, it would make sense that the Shamballah killed him, as Steiner told you. ” “Yes,that would be possible. Print out the contents of the list and copy the file, Peter. “Claudia had gotten up and walked up and down the room, and suddenly she stopped,” Let’s say you’re right, Hans hinted that his ghosts are about to be brought back to life soon, and then all these people would probably play a role. ” “If I’m right and if Steiner did not lie, then it could be. After all, Steiner’s statements have been more powerful since we checked on the murder of Garakin. “” So we’ve got a real bomb in our hands, we could stop Agarthi. ” “I do not know how.” “Quite simply, we’re giving the list to the UN secret service.” “And with that the Shamballah,the counterpart to Agarthi, of whom we do not even know whether behind it the same madmen are hidden in other garment. I do not like the methods of Steiner and his consorts. But I could not say I find the other side’s approach much more attractive. “” There’s something there, but what else could we do? ” Villiger interrupted the conversation of the two. “Agarthi, Shamballah and what else do I know! We have a list of names here, nothing else. No one of you can prove at the moment what this really is about. Are you abandoned by all good spirits? Or did this Steiner completely infected you with his occult conspiracy theories !? “Weigert was getting angry about the constant criticism of his friend.” Nice and slow you go to the alarm clock!Why can not you just take note of the most obvious and believe what Steiner said? Meanwhile, we have enough evidence that he has not served us a complete cheese! In the case of Garakin, we have at least discovered that his wife denied the crime in court. And her alibi, a friend of Garakin’s wife, who was at the time of the crime, strangely died in a car accident during the trial. Steiner’s statements do not seem to be completely out of thin air! “” And what if we were trapped? If everything was just staged as a beautifully coherent mosaic? What then, you smartass !? ” “So who now believes in conspiracy theories? That’s … “Villiger got up.” Do what you want.I’m going to get something to drink. “He left the room, Claudia looked after him, then turned to Weigert,” We do not have to pass the list on to the UN secret service, what if we just hinted that we have such a list, and as an advance, before we release them, we want a conversation with one of the Shamballah, so if they are stupid and have no idea what we’re talking about … “Weigert interrupted. 133 “Then we are back at the beginning. But if you are interested in the list then you will get it. And immediately. I do not know what demands we could make there. “” They can only get what is there. ” “Did you forget that they are lurking at the door? We could only hide them here in the house,and there they would find them, and if they had to tear down all the walls. “” Wrong, my dear, what about our Joker? Our friends from the UN obviously do not know that Peter is here. ” “So you want to send him to bury the CDs somewhere (here to disappear in a bank safe?” “Why not?) The list is our only trump card, with which we can play hand-tight and if we want to play along Time is of the essence, Steiner has not fantasized, we have to call Carlsson and arrange a meeting, and if he really wants the list, we need to make it credible to him that It does not help us to arrest and interrogate, and we can only do that if we do not know ourselves.where she’s hiding. “” So you think Peter’s risking himself to become a hunted codebreaker and what will happen to us? Claudia, we’re journalists and not agents! The whole thing is not a movie, it’s bloody Reality!” “Because of that. Or do you want Steiner and his cohorts to go about their plans unhindered? “” And if we publish the list? ” “That would be possible. But what if the UN secret service or the Shamballah are not interested in that happening? They hushed up the murder of Garakin. At Volker they tried. While they may not prevent the publication of the list, they could prevent the disclosure of the full truth. “” Is it the truth? “”What is the truth? The world of an SS man in today’s Tibet or ours? “” You’re talking like Steiner! ” “You saw him yourself. Is he real or not? “Weigert said nothing for a moment, then sighed,” So you really want to get into this war full? ” “Are not we already in the middle of things? Or should we close our eyes and ears and ask ourselves – after perfect facts – how all this could happen? We are at war, Hans. First of all, freely for Brecht, none of us wanted to go. But then the war came to us. Do we have a choice but to fight? “” I’m afraid no. ” 134 Bolzano, 16 December The Joker was ready. At exactly 4:25 in the morning, Peter Villiger pulled a fair face over his long, blond hair and announced: “Done.His mission was clear: he was to sneak out of the house unseen and walk down to Bolzano, where Claudia had parked her car that afternoon when she visited her parents, her father having her with his The UN people who had followed her had not been suspicious, and Villiger now had the keys to Claudia’s Alfa and the vehicle papers in his trouser pocket – he would only need to drive the car for about an hour, because even in Trento, he would change to a rental car Claudia’s brother should pick up the Alfa the same morning and park again in front of the house of the parents, at least that was how it had been determined To get millions of lire.The money was now hidden in Villiger’s Anorak, right next to the two CDs. It had to be enough to get to Rome and do some legal and some less legal business there. Peter’s most important partner would be Livio Lucentini, about whom in the files of the Roman police there was something of a close relationship with the mafia. Claudia had met him a few years ago in a luxury restaurant on the Tiber. He had fascinated her from the first moment and so it happened that they had landed directly in bed after dinner. A relationship did not arise from it. But the two met a few times a year and got along splendidly despite the considerable age gap. Even since Lucentini Claudia had one day dedicated to his double life, nothing had changed.When he arrived in Rome, Villiger was to contact the gray-haired member of the Honorable Society and obtain fake papers. After a lengthy discussion with Claudia, Weigert and his friend had agreed that Lucentini should get them pistols as well. Not that they were 100% sure they really needed it. But too much blood had already flowed, and too many dead paved the way of Agarthi and Shamballah. The three friends had long since fallen into the vortex too far to trust that they would be spared.After a lengthy discussion with Claudia, Weigert and his friend had agreed that Lucentini should get them pistols as well. Not that they were 100% sure they really needed it. But too much blood had already flowed, and too many dead paved the way of Agarthi and Shamballah. The three friends had long since fallen into the vortex too far to trust that they would be spared.After a lengthy discussion with Claudia, Weigert and his friend had agreed that Lucentini should get them pistols as well. Not that they were 100% sure they really needed it. But too much blood had already flowed, and too many dead paved the way of Agarthi and Shamballah. The three friends had long since fallen into the vortex too far to trust that they would be spared. Better safe than sorry.And if Villiger made contact with Lucentini, he could do it as well. Claudia had thankfully renounced a weapon. Equipped with a new identity, Villiger should then take the next step: to rent a room in an inconspicuous hotel and a safe deposit box at a bank. The safe was supposed to house the two silvery slices from the estate of Pierre Martin. Tomorrow, at 6 o’clock sharp, the OK was due. A call in Claudia’s house, ring three times, then hang up again. Then the whole thing again. Should Villiger fail to make all necessary arrangements by then, there would be a second appointment at twelve noon on the following day. Even if he did not answer, he had failed. Should the UN secret service snap him,Weigert and Apollonio would know that in advance anyway. But if he fulfilled his order as agreed, then his call was the starting signal for Hans and Claudia. “All right?” Weigert looked his friend in the eye. “Sure, I feel like I was in the military back then, you know, Hans, that anticipation mixed with a tingling sensation in the stomach when it came to the alleged enemy to play a little robber and gendarme. ” “Just make sure everything goes as smoothly as it did then.” “Can not remember it? Back then, I was always the best of our company in these games.” “I can remember. But do not forget that this is not a game today. It’s our only chance to get the list of names to safety. “” Do not worry, they will not get me. “Villiger had always been the most critical mind of the three. He still had doubts as to whether the story of Hans and Claudia was really such a big deal. But now that went from computer to adventure, he did not care. He began to find something like it fun. Claudia had peered through the windows to see if the people in the UN intelligence service – at least the ones she could see – had changed their positions. Now she joined the two men. “Everything’s the same out there. A car on the street in front of the house and one on the dirt road behind. Otherwise, there is no sign of it. “Villiger’s body tightened.” Well then, tell the adventure that I’m coming. ” Claudia stood on tiptoe and kissed him. Your eyes,in which the cheerfulness of her heart was always reflected, now looked uncertain and almost sad. “Please take care of yourself.” “What you can count on.” Hans Weigert patted his friend on the shoulder. “Keep your ears stiff!” “No problem with the cold, so, and now let the mutt off the leash.” Claudia went to the kitchen and sat down at the window. Their job was to warn the two of them if someone got out of the car in front of the house or if he got moving. Weigert, peering cautiously out of one of the two large living-room windows, kept an eye on the second vehicle. The UN officials inside had the more dangerous position for Villiger. Because this had to go through the door into the garden and him. Only when he had undetected the fence,he was in relative safety. The car, which had been set up on the dirt road, did not look directly at the door, but it overlooked about two-thirds of the garden. Villiger had opened the door only a small crack. Cold, spicy air hit him and made him shiver. On the radio they had announced early temperatures of minus four degrees. He peered outside. It had snowed until an hour ago. The snow was only a few inches high, but it would be enough to see its tracks in the morning. Claudia and Hans would take care of it by rolling around in the garden just after they got light. After all, the UN people did not realize that a Joker was involved. The night was very dark.The snow-swept clouds did not let the light of the stars or the moon through. The house was very lonely, just outside a small settlement. The street in front of it was not lit. Villiger realized that darkness did not help him much. His opponents were undoubtedly equipped with night vision devices or infrared glasses. He had experienced this in the military and knew how devilishly well this stuff worked. What he needed was luck. Villiger once again sucked the cold air deep into his lungs, then his body slipped through the gap. Ten to fifteen feet ahead, he saw the outline of a large tan. She would be his first stop. Beyond them, in the dark, began the rosebushes, which, of course, were without leaves at this time of year. They would give him little cover.He would have to slide along the ground there. Where they left off, there were still five meters to the hedge, which snaked its way directly along the garden fence. He carefully closed the door behind him and started walking. “Hey, wake up!” The UN intelligence man shook his colleague, who had been dozing on the wagon seat next to him, and they had agreed that one of them should alternately stay awake for one hour while the other could sleep At midnight they were already at their posts, waiting for the transfer at six o’clock, the parking heater protecting them from the cold outside, and only the radio and a few newspapers to help with the boredom. “What’s the matter, is my hour already over?” He looked at the clock. When he saw,He wanted to protest that there was more than a quarter of an hour until the agreed change with his colleague. In vain, because his colleague switched off the interior lighting and cut him off. “There’s something moving in the garden!” “Are you sure?” “I think so.” He squeezed the night-vision goggle at his eyes and peered through the window. “What do you mean, you think you’ve just read a newspaper, how do you know exactly if anyone is running around there?” Both were staring intently at the garden that surrounded the house, one with the naked eye, the other through the glass. “Shit, we do not have an infrared device with us. The residual light amplifier does not use too much here either. We’d better look it up. “” Do you know how cold it is out there? ” “Yes,minus eleven says the thermometer of the on-board computer. “” Well then. ” “And if there really is someone there?” “Did you see a movement or a person?” “Move. Shadow or something. “” Watch out now, we’re in the middle of the desert, so it’s quite normal for a hare or a deer or some other livestock to be around here … The job here pisses me off Days we sit around here and do not know exactly why, I really do not feel like freezing my ass out there to pick up a rabbit, if you really want to, then check it out for yourself. ” He dropped back into the seat to continue sleeping. The other man spent a few seconds staring outside, then put the night-vision device aside.He switched on the interior lights again and picked up the paper. Villiger had now reached the fence by the hedge. Through the branches he glanced in the direction of the car, which stood about fifty yards away. Strange. The interior lights had just been on. He remained motionless. His eyes tried to penetrate the darkness. But they could not make out more than the outlines of the vehicle now. He felt his heart thump. What should he do if someone got out and came to him? Overwhelm him? Hardly, because they were two. And two more in front of the house. Run away? Not exactly the yellow of the egg. He would have a fair chance of escaping, but then the UN people would make Hans and Claudia. And they would not be able to provide a useful explanationthat someone had been hanging around in the garden and finally ran away. There! Now the interior lights were on again. They must have noticed something. But it had not been enough to get her out of the car. Two minutes passed and nothing happened. Villiger straightened up slowly and worked his way through the hedge. A twig brushed his face and ripped his skin. He grabbed the chest-high wire and swung himself over it. Almost silently, he slid over to the ground. One last look back, but everything remained calm. Before him began the forest, threatening and offering protection at the same time. He had to cross this, which was not an easy task in the dark. And above all, he had to come out at the right end and head straight for the city,where Claudia’s car stood. He could have done it in less than an hour. But if he got off the road too much, it would take a lot of time, and he did not. Carefully, Villiger set off. He concentrated on the ground to keep from kicking at branches whose crack might have betrayed him. One could not know if anyone but the four men in the two cars was still here. He had almost no orientation possibilities in terms of his feelings. Moon and stars were invisible, and he did not have a compass either. He only knew that after about two hundred meters he would find a small path that ran past the edge of the forest and led down to Bolzano. Back in the military, he, Hans, and their comrades had done so many dozens of times.Now Villiger could rely on his instincts, which had been sharpened at that time. And indeed, fifteen minutes later he was on the little path. After 39 minutes in the run, he had reached the Alfa of Claudia. He gasped hard, but he felt good about it. The UN secret service, Shamballah, Agarthi or whoever else: they had lost this round. Villiger started the engine. The artist was on his way. Rome, 16 December “May I offer you something to drink? A cognac, perhaps? “Livio Lucentini was a man of the old school from top to toe, one of the last, perhaps, as much as Peter Villiger had already heard, and he knew how to live, not only because he offered a cognac to Villiger ,From the outside, the house Lucentinis seemed very inconspicuous. But his interior contained a facility that would have served any international antiques fair. Not pretentious, but very tasteful. The only thing that clouded the picture a little was the men who had received Villiger and escorted her to their boss. Not that it was roughly rude types of thugs. But one could see that they did not come from the environment that suggested the tasteful environment at first sight. Undoubtedly, they were able to send uninvited visitors back to the field in the most rough, yet efficient way. And that was probably one of the least tasks for which they were paid. “Do you also have whiskey?” Villiger only changed his habits,if it had to be necessarily. “Scotch? Bourbon? Malt? “” Please paint. ” “A good choice, Mr. Villiger. Do you also take ice? “” No ice, just a shot of water. ” Lucentini walked over to the bar, which, in terms of dimensions and, above all, of its interior design, could easily match that of a good hotel. Villiger felt almost envious at the sight of them. He watched the gray-haired man pour the whiskey into a crystal. So this gentleman was a member of what was usually described as an honorable society. Villiger had known such men only from films so far. The difference to reality was not too big, he thought. But had he expected something different from the description Claudia had given him? “Here please.”Lucentini handed the glass to Villiger and sat down in front of him in a delicate armchair. Rococo, Villiger suspected. Or not. He did not understand much of such things. “Cheers!” The gray-haired man toasted his guest, Villiger took a sip. “So Claudia sent you for help?” “All right.” The mafioso’s features were relaxed and friendly, but his gaze had something of the glaring brightness of a lamp that tried to rob sleep from the alleged culprit when interrogated. “Why does not she answer even with me? ” Villiger had expected this question. Claudia had told him, if necessary, to come out with the facts as much as possible. He decided to try a homeopathic dose for the time being.”She can not, without endangering herself and without you. Some … er … authorities are hot on her heels. “” Could you be more specific, which authorities? ” “To be precise, maybe the police. Certainly the United Nations Secret Service. “” The World Intelligence Service? ” “Yes.” Villiger took another sip from his glass, next the question of why would come, he was wrong, “How do you know Claudia?” “About a mutual friend. He met her while studying at the University of Bologna. She invited him to Bolzano then and I came along. Since then, we meet once or twice a year. “Lucentini’s gaze softened a bit.” Is this mutual friend a journalist? ” “Yes. Developed…or better: he was working for an Austrian newspaper. “Lucentini leaned back and looked at Villiger, then put his glass down and for a few seconds it was quiet.” May I assume that this journalist is Hans Weigert? ” “They may. It’s Hans Weigert. “140 What happened now? Had Lucentini heard of Weigert’s troubles? Presumably, he consumed newspapers and television more accurately than many, and his industry could benefit as well.” That’s why the malt whiskey. ” Lucentini smiled. Villiger understood only station. “Please?” “Claudia has told me a few times about Mr. Weigert, and also about you, although I must admit that I could not remember your name.” Now Villiger had to smile too. “I hope,she only told you about our good side. “” I think so, I’ve read about your friend’s research in the paper, and not just about it, and about his problems. “He’s with Claudia in Bolzano ? ” “At the moment, yes. But they are not all alone. Around the house, the UN secret service has, so to speak, set up a new field office. “” Why have not they arrested him yet? ” “Hans, or rather, all three of us, are on the track of a story. You know what it’s all about, if you’ve been following the papers. Hans is to be silenced by attaching two murders to him, which he did not commit. The UN secret service has given him an ultimatum. Either he returns to his newspaper that fired himbut he leaves his finger on further research into the matter or he gets arrested. Intelligence believes it has control over him and Claudia after watching the house where they are. That’s why he was given a week to think. But the service does not know that I too was in the house. And he does not know that we have managed to get hold of documents that may be of the utmost importance to certain circles. So that these documents do not fall into the wrong hands, we must, at least for the time being, bring them to safety. “Villiger hoped Claudia, Claudia, so he did not trust Lucentini, “And you need my help?” Finally it went to the point. Villiger was glad about that.”Actually, we only need a few little things. And we’re ready to pay a decent price for it. “” What do you need? ” “Papers on false names for me and Claudia and two pistols.” Lucentini pointed to Villiger’s glass. “Another one?” He got up and went to the bar. As he poured, he looked over at Villiger. “They said they were three of us: Claudia, you and Mr. Weigert, but you only need papers for two. From this I conclude that the passport that Claudia sent me about two weeks ago was intended for Mr. Weigert. “That’s true. Hans had to go abroad for our research. “What now, would Lucentini send him away again,because the thing about Weigert was too hot for him? He also had to do his business. Lucentini could hardly use problems with the UN secret service. He probably already had enough to do with the police. The mafioso came out from behind the bar, put two freshly filled glasses on the table and sat down. Villiger took the initiative. “Listen, I need things as fast as I can. Will you help us? “Lucentini toasted him and took a sip of brandy, I do not know what Claudia told you about my relationship with her, but I hope she did not seriously believe that I was going to run out of trouble to let.” Villiger fell a stone from the heart. “Of course we pay for …” “Do you want to embarrass me? You get what you and your friends need.Without paying for it of course. Do you have photos of yourself and Claudia for the papers? “” Yes, of course. ” Villiger rummaged in his pockets and brought out an envelope. “Here.” Lucentini looked at the passport pictures Weigert had made of the two in Bolzano. “Claudia just changed her hairstyle a bit, you look like you’re sitting in front of me, not very original.” “There was not much more to do in a hurry.” “I understand, you said you also want two pistols?” “Yes. We do not think we need them, but you never know. “” Do you have three or four hours left? ” “I think so. Anyway, right now I can not do anything without false papers. “” Can you play chess? ” “It works.But my best times are long gone. “” Then I may suggest that we make a party, meanwhile my people will take care of your wishes. ” Bolzano, December 17 The antique grandfather clock in the living room showed four to six. She had only two hands, one for the hours and one for the minutes. As soon as 60 seconds had elapsed, the minute hand jumped around a mark. Entering the hour announced the clock by means of a carillon. 240 seconds left, then it would sound again. Claudia Apollonio and Hans Weigert sat side by side on the couch. Both nervously smoked their cigarettes. Otherwise, they were silent. Their guards in front of and behind the house had left them undisturbed. So they did not catch the joker.Whether Peter Villiger had been equally successful with Livio Lucentini in Rome, was in the stars. One more minute. Claudia stifled her cigarette in the ashtray. She got up and started pacing the room. Weigert’s eyes fixed on the clock hands. 6 pm The carillon sounded and spread its bright melody. Twenty seconds later it was over. The radiotelephone on the table outside Weigert had still not made a sound. Claudia paused, took two steps toward the table, and fished for the cigar box. With a flick of her head she took out a cigarette and reached for the lighter to light it. As she held the flame to the front end of the glowing angel, the buzz of the phone sounded. She held her breath. Weigert fixed the apparatus instead of the clock. Once,two times three times. Then the humming broke off. Claudia’s words were sober, without any triumph, and finally the game with Shamballah really got started with Weigert just nodding, the humming sounding again, again three times before it stopped, “We can start. ” “Stop! Let’s wait another half hour. The call will of course have been intercepted, even if they can not do anything with it. But if we get in touch with Carlsson right now, they might get suspicious. “” Okay, I’m having a coffee now. ” The half hour passed agonizingly slowly. But finally it was time and Weigert picked up the phone and dialed Carlsson’s office number. This lifted immediately. “Oh, Mr. Weigert. I did not expect you so early.According to our agreement, you would have had three days left. Do you have bad weather in Bolzano? “His voice sounded cynical and confident at the same time, but that would be enough for him.” Save yourself your courtesies. “I made my decision.” “That pleases me. So can I tell your boss that he can expect you back soon? “” I have to disappoint you. ” “Then may I order my colleagues in front of your house to arrest you?” “I must disappoint you on this point, too.” “Who or what should stop me?” “Me.” “There I am other …” Weigert interrupted harshly, he did not feel like making a long talk now. “Now listen carefully, Carlsson, I will not repeat myself.Write down exactly what I have to say to you. “The strength in Weigert’s voice seemed to unsettle the UN intelligence official, and now it was important that the reaction would show if the trio of Hans Weigert was on the right track. “First, I know about Agarthi and Shamballah. Second, I have a list of exactly 666 names, these are the Agarthi sleeper today, just waiting to be awakened.” Carlsson’s reaction was more than clear. He did not bother to conceal the boundless surprise on his face. His mouth remained slightly open, his eyes had widened a little further than before. So you were on the right track. The Wewelsburg, Tibet, Steiner, Agarthi, Shamballah.So it was true. Although Weigert had scarcely doubted it, this last realization overwhelmed him like a shock. For a few seconds, neither said a word. Then Carlsson had caught again. “You know we could take that list down at any time.” The sentence sounded more like a question than a threat. “Of course I know that, and that’s why I’ve taken precautions, I do not have this list anymore in a safe place that neither I nor my girlfriend know, so if you let us arrest you will not win anything, but you will not win at all. ” “And what did you do with it, if you did not hand over the list to the authorities?” “I did not say I would not do that, but first I’d have a little request,I’m sure you will not refuse me. “” You want to blackmail the UN secret service? ” “A nasty word. I want to do a fair business with you. That’s what you said to me on our last phone call. Do you remember? “” To hell, what do you want? ” “Not much. Just a chat with an initiate of the Shamballah. “” And after that you will come out with the list? ” “Perhaps. It will depend on how this conversation ends. In any case, I emphasize again that it makes no sense to arrest me or Claudia. We can not say anything because we do not even know where the list is hidden. “” But you at least read it? ” “About Flew. But at the most I could remember three or four names. That would be a meager yield for you.Even if you treated me with drugs, I could not tell you anymore. “” You’ll understand that I can not make a definite commitment right now. ” “Of course. You have time until tomorrow, 18 o’clock. Then I will also tell you the location and time of the interview I want. “” And if one should not respond to your demands? ” “I hardly believe that will be the case. I have something that your people desperately want. A small conversation is probably a very low price. Do not forget: Tomorrow, 6 pm. “Weigert hung up.” Vienna, 18 December The fat American stood in the crowd and kept looking up at the billboard, its illuminated letters announcing the arrival of new planes a little boy.His mother had been trying to calm him for five minutes – unsuccessfully. The wait for the aunt – as the woman had tried to explain to him over and over again – had probably become too long for him. Kipling hated children, especially when they could not keep still. He pushed a few yards to the left and at the same time tried to get to the front. From there you had the best overview when the doors to the customs area opened and the next stream of passengers poured into the arrivals hall. Time was pressing. For the machine he was waiting for, the scoreboard noted 20 minutes late. The landing was now scheduled for 17:25. Then the boarding, the waiting for the luggage and – possibly – the customs. It would be extremely close. And nobody knewWhat the Viennese journalist had thought out in case he did not get the call in time. Only a few miles away, Olaf Carlsson was sitting in front of the telephone in one of the UNO City glass towers. Perhaps he would have to pick up the call at Weigert, but perhaps he would have to give his people the order to strike. Thomas Beckett had to make the decision as soon as he came out of this door. Joe Kipling had looked at the clock dozens of times. When he did it again, it was 5:20. At the same moment, the green light next to the flight number that had caught the attorney’s attention flashed.Perhaps he would have to pick up the call at Weigert, but perhaps he would have to give his people the order to strike. Thomas Beckett had to make the decision as soon as he came out of this door. Joe Kipling had looked at the clock dozens of times. When he did it again, it was 5:20. At the same moment, the green light next to the flight number that had caught the attorney’s attention flashed.Perhaps he would have to pick up the call at Weigert, but perhaps he would have to give his people the order to strike. Thomas Beckett had to make the decision as soon as he came out of this door. Joe Kipling had looked at the clock dozens of times. When he did it again, it was 5:20. At the same moment, the green light next to the flight number that had caught the attorney’s attention flashed.which had caught the attention of the lawyer.which had caught the attention of the lawyer. Finally!The machine had landed. Just a rush of travelers came through the door. Impossible, Beckett could not be there yet. People fell around their necks, kissing, sharing their luggage among the waiting people. Happy laughter, screaming, the barking of dogs. The stream of people spewing out the restricted area weakened, lost in the crowd of people waiting in the arrivals hall, and finally pulled away. The door closed. About fifteen minutes passed before she opened again. The clock was now clock 17:34. Kipling saw Beckett right off. He was one of the first to step out into the hall. Unlike many others, his body was not bent from the weight of heavy luggage. Beckett wore only a small leather travel bag in his right and a coat over his left arm.Kipling waved. Beckett came up to him. “Hello, Joe. I hope you did not have to wait too long. “” Not worth mentioning, Thomas, excuse me if I overrun you with something right away, but time is pretty close. ” “That does not sound very pleasing. Do you have a car? “” Yeah, he’s standing in front of the exit. Come on. ” The men began to move. Kipling turned around. The two UN officials Carlsson had defended for their protection were only a few meters behind them. When they got to the car, the driver got out to stow Beckett’s luggage in the trunk. As the men sat down, he stopped beside the car and lit a cigarette. Kipling had told him beforehandthat he and his visitor wanted to talk undisturbed. The man had understood. It was not the first order of this kind he had taken. “What’s so important?” “I’m sorry we could not reach you earlier, we tried everywhere, but it was impossible.” “I know. There were a few calls necessary. You’ll understand that I did not want to brief my secretaries. “” Of course. ” Kipling looked at his watch again. It was really time to tell Beckett without much ado. “The journalist came forward.” Beckett did not immediately understand. “Which one?” Kipling groaned unintentionally. “Hans Weigert. He contacted the UN Intelligence Service to let us know his answer to the ultimatum we gave him. “” I supposehe has complied? “” Not at all, he has given us an ultimatum, and this will expire in twelve minutes. ” Beckett reached into the bar, which was in the back of the car, and took out a small cognac bottle and a glass. “What does he want?” “What he wants is less important, what he has is of much greater importance.” Beckett opened the vial and poured the contents into the pan. Meanwhile, Kipling continued. “He knows more than we ever thought. And he claims to be in possession of a list of Agarthi sleepers. Weigert actually used this name: Agarthi. The list includes 666 names, he says. “” 666 !? ” The glass was left untouched again. “That can not be true! We only have a dozen names! “” We do not have much time, Thomas.He wants an answer by 6 pm. “” What for? ” “His demand is a conversation with an initiate of Shamballah.” “I suppose he also put that word in his mouth?” “Exactly.” “And why do not we let him arrest him?” “Because he claims the list is in a place he does not know. So he has to have contacts who work for him. An arrest would not do much good. “” Hell, how could that happen that you now have no idea where the list is !? ” While Beckett straightened upright, Kipling sank further back into the upholstery. “The UN secret service has monitored him and his girlfriend around the clock. It could just have happened before we found him in Bolzano. “” That was only necessary becausebecause these UN-freaks have been shitting for the second time after Martin’s story! It’s enough for me! “Kipling pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the beads of sweat from his face, feeling extremely embarrassed.” We only have a few more minutes, and we do not know what happens to Weigert’s list, though we will not contact each other. ” “Why does he want to talk to one of us?” “I do not know, he did not say anything about that, I thought we’d send Carlson in. He’s the deputy chief of the UN secret service in Vienna Number with us, but he could strike with his people immediately, if Weigert gives a nakedness. ” “And screw everything up again. No, no way. It must be someone from the upper gradeswho speaks with Weigert. Because if he really has the list of Agarthi people, then maybe he knows a lot more. How much and what, we have to find out. Maybe he can help us out. “Beckett looked at his watch, it was 5:58 pm” Do you have the number where you can reach Weigert? ” Kipling took a note from his pocket and handed it to Beckett. “Do you want to call yourself?” “Yes, but I’ll turn off the camera so he only hears my voice.” “Is your German sufficient?” “Yes, but Weigert will have to put up with English, I hate to speak German.” Beckett picked up the car phone and dialed. When Hans Weigert took off in Bolzano, his screen remained dark. “Who speaks?” “That does not matter much, Mr. Weigert.They wanted an answer to your ultimatum. “” That’s right. Are you a Shamballah? ” “If I say yes now, what proof would that be?” “None, but what happens to the list I own will depend on your answers to my questions You are ready for a meeting? ” “Yes, I’m ready.” “Then let me get down to business, tomorrow is a bit short so I suggest the day after tomorrow, where are you at the moment?” Beckett hesitated for a moment. But what did it matter if he spoke the truth? “In Vienna.” “As I thought it would, Vienna seems to be a hot place, and if I remember correctly, every day at 2 pm a machine will go from Vienna to Rome.You could easily be in Rome the day after tomorrow, between six-thirty and six-thirty. “” That could be done. ” “You have no choice, Mr. Unknown. Now to the exact place. In the west side of Piazza Navona opens a small street. There is a cafe on the corner. Sit down there and clearly place the current issue of the ‘Sheet’ in front of you. Nobody else should read that in Rome anyway. Mistakes are therefore excluded. Do you understand? “” Yes, I’m not deaf. ” “So, you’re on time. And one more thing: I have already pointed out to the U NO secret service that it makes absolutely no sense to adhere to me or Claudia Apollonio. No one of us knows where the list is. So make sure nobody comes up with stupid thoughts. “”If you have no way to get to the list yourself, how can you keep your part of the agreement?” “You misunderstand me.” When I say I do not know where the list is, that does not mean that that I have no way to get hold of them, and there can be no question of an agreement in which I have committed myself, perhaps you will get the list, maybe not. ” “You play poker high, refuse.” “Would you do anything else in my place?” “Hardly.” “Well, then, and that I’m in such a position, you and your consorts are to blame, so: The day after tomorrow, 5:30 pm, Piazza Navona, Rome. Beckett put down the phone and turned to Kipling.”Weigert seems to have something more on the box than your intelligence gorillas.” “It’s not my gorillas.” “No matter. We will talk to your contact person at the UN. Now maybe he has a chance to patch up his blunders. He is said to have a gapless trap built up by his colleagues in Rome. “” But you have heard that it will not do us any good. ” “We will see. Maybe Weigert is a naked man in the conversation. Then we have to be ready. But it could be a lot worse … “” Worse? ” 149 “Yes. Have you ever thought what happens if Weigert is one of Agarthi? Then I’m there on the presentation plate. If there are really 666 sleepers and we only know about a dozen of them,why should we know everything about Weigert? “Kipling sighed,” I can not imagine that. ” “You have not been able to imagine much. But at least we will be on the safe side. Let’s get started. “” And where? ” “To your glorious secret service man, of course.” The other two UN officials, who had already followed Kipling and Beckett in the arrivals hall, followed at a distance with their car. “What did the council decide, Thomas?” Kipling had calmed down a bit now. “Not too much that matters to you.” Just as Beckett had said “for you,” it had been a clear rebuke for Kipling’s lower position in the Brothers’ hierarchy. “Only this much: we will become one of the sleepers,we already know, buy. As far as I know, one of them lives in Rome anyway. If Weigert wants to see us there anyway, then we will use it immediately. “Rome, December 19 Soon the big day was approaching, the symbol of fate would return to the hands of those who deserved it the fire was thundering in the heart, as it had been since the year before, but the initiation would spark it and make the flames flare up, and it would be the starting point for a new future, beyond which everything that was still valid would go The new time stood powerfully at the door, waiting for Agarthi’s men to push open the gate, and soon it would be time for Bettino Agnelli to straighten up and concentrate on his work again.There was no time for such thoughts. He began flipping through the lists on his desk in front of him. These mainly included figures: balance sheet totals, production costs, equity and debt capital, key figures for individual cost centers, material expenses and so on. In some places he made short notes with the purple ink of his fountain pen. Agnelli was the head of a prestigious business consulting firm in Rome. With 112 employees and a reputation that many envied him, he was one of the greats in the industry. Many well-known companies sought his advice. Mergers, restructurings, rationalizations, diversifications: Agnelli and his top specialists were happy to assist in solving difficult business problems. They were not cheap,but her successes were legendary. And so you liked to pay. There was no doubt that it had brought Agnelli considerable wealth. In one of Rome’s residential districts, he owned a splendid house surrounded by a beautiful park. 150 There were often festive celebrations, which were among the coveted fixtures of the Roman Society. Often not only French champagne was drunk and Russian caviar was chewed, but also shops were made. What was going on behind the thick doors of Agnelli’s library did not always fit the letter of the law. And it sometimes happened that an envelope with banknotes changed hands, for example, to obtain building permits, to circumvent environmental protection requirements or to declare tax returns as correct.Over the years, Agnelli has built excellent relationships in business and politics. That alone would not have been anything special in his position. Moreover, he had scrupulously kept a record of the vulnerabilities of the people who went in and out of his villa and office. For example, in the shops and agreements that took place in his library, he was seldom personally present. They trusted him and saw his house as neutral ground, made for confidential talks across all fronts. But thanks to a hidden video system, Agnelli still knew all the details. Indeed, once his immediate presence was necessary, he was concerned that there was no evidence of his involvement in an illegal deal.His job as a business consultant provided him with important information about weak spots and dark spots in his clients’ companies. And then there were Laura, Jaqueline and Carla. It was thanks to their well-paid services that intimate secrets of managers and politicians also end up in his archive. Stefano supplemented the three, for those cases where a woman’s weapons were not sharp enough. Out in the hinterland of the Eternal City, in the Castelli, stood Agnelli’s country house. While his villa in Rome was open to many people, invitations to it were among the rarest rarities. Only a small circle of close friends was allowed to enter his personal sanctuary. There, in a sober room, to which only he himself had a key,In recent months, decisions had been made on how to use Agnelli’s contacts and his accumulated knowledge of others’ weaknesses in the future. His wealth had always been indifferent to Agnelli. He was only a means to an end, a contribution to Agarthi’s rebirth to boxes, a rebirth to whose cradle he would stand. Soon … He was making another note on one of the lists when the intercom made a subtle hum. The voice of his secretary sounded. “Here is a Mr. Schonfeld, who wants to speak to you. He’s a lawyer and says it’s extremely urgent. “Schonfeld? Agnelli could not remember, ever having met a lawyer of that name,” What does he want? ” “He did not want to tell me that.Only that it is very urgent. He brought two colleagues. “” Fine, I’ll ask. ” Agnelli collected the documents he was studying and put them in a desk drawer. Since the door was already open. Three men entered. Agnelli got up. “Buon giorno, Signori. What can I do for you? “” Are you Bettini no Agnelli? ” The voice that used English did not contain a hint of friendliness. “Who else? What do you want? “The man who had asked for his name was obviously the highest ranked of the three, and now he pulled a passport from the pocket of his jacket.” Olaf Carlsson, World Intelligence Service We would like you to join us . ” “That must be a misunderstanding. There is nothing against me … “”Not at all. But I’m sure you’ll come anyway. “” And what makes you so sure? ” “One word: Agarthi.” Agnelli flinched slightly, but an iron fist grabbed his stomach, so that was it! Shamballah drew in. How many did they know, was he the only one, or did they catch dozens at the same time? others around the world, how did they come to him, just do not give up now! “I’m sorry, I do not know what you’re saying.” Carlsson gave him a condescending smile. “Yes, you know it. But we do not want to spend too much time meddling around. You will now tell your secretary that you urgently need to leave for a business trip of several days. But you will not tell her where to go. “”You do not seriously believe that I follow you? Do you have a warrant? “” Yes. ” “Without anything against me?” “Paper is patient, what can I register?” “That’s the height! I’m going to … “The man to the left of Carlsson pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Agnelli.” You’re not going to do anything, so if you do not follow Mr. Carlsson’s instructions, then I can be very uncomfortable. ” “My employees are in the offices around here. You can not just kidnap me from here! “He grinned with the pistol.” Would you prefer me to shoot you to the knee, you would have resisted the arrest, which three UN officials would confirm. ” Agnelli felt miserable. He was at the mercy of them.But if they wanted to take him with him, it meant they wanted something from him. They did not identify themselves to his employees as UN officials. That did not mean anything good. Agnelli decided to play – at least for the time being. Agarthi was more important than his life. Carlsson’s voice became even sharper. “Now tell your secretary. And do not forget: no tricks! “Rome, 20 December Thomas Beckett sat at a small table in the cafe in Piazza Navona, in front of him lay the” sheet “. The clock above the entrance showed two to six. Hans Weigert had to come at any moment. Since this morning, however, the journalist was just the number two problem. The fight had taken a new turn. And Beckett knew that this phrase had meaningthat put everything else in the shade. Agarthi had struck again. This time it had caught no one from the brother chain. And yet, Shamballah had lost something even more valuable than human beings: fate. Seven minutes past midnight, Beckett had awakened from sleep with a sweat. It had been the moment when in Vienna a hand triumphantly raised the symbol of power. Beckett had guessed. The morning news had confirmed it. Agarthi’s storm was imminent. And Beckett did not know how to meet him. Maybe Weigert had a trace. Claudia parked the Mercedes right in front of the cafe. They were lucky. A gap had just been cleared. Her father’s car was conspicuous, but fast. Maybe they would still need it.”Well, you really do not want to come along?” “No. Mister Unknown will undoubtedly be more talkative, if only one of us goes, and if he really has something meaningful to say, then he’ll insist that there are no other witnesses. And if he has nothing to say, then it does not matter, I’ll just sit here. ” Hans Weigert looked around. In Piazza Navona there was a lot of pre-Christmas activity. There was nothing to see, which would have been somehow conspicuous, however much he tried. “I know what you’re thinking about, Hans. But it does not matter now anyway. If they really want to grab us then they do it. It does not help anymore if you recognize a secret service man or a police officer somewhere. We have decided to act that way.And now we have to go through. “Weigert looked at her indecisively, as if asking if everything was right, as they had planned, and Claudia’s face flickered with a smile.” Well, Signore Weigert, let’s go! 10 minutes late anyway, you do not want to keep Shamballah waiting? ” “We’ll have no other choice.” Weigert opened the door and got out of the car, and Claudia called after him, “Take care and just pull the worms out of his nose!” Heig slammed the door shut, three cars behind the Mercedes parked in an inconspicuous van, the inscription on the sides of a well-known Roman bakery, and the vehicle already ample from the outside There was nothing to suggestThe most modern technology hid itself behind the plate, which had been defaced by a few rusty spots. And under the bonnet, which had a respectable bump left in the front, there was a hot machine, the performance of which was only slightly inferior to the Mercedes of Claudia’s father. “Attention, to all. Target person arrived. Vehicle: Dark-blue Mercedes sedan with Bozener license plate, parked directly in front of the cafe. Second target person, female, stays in the car. End. “Lan Roper put the microphone aside.” It’s about time. ” His colleague Trevor Gillis held out a bag of chips. “Here. Now waiting is just starting to get started. “Twill reached into the bag and took out a handful of the baked potato slices.” The wait is the craziest thing about our job, and most of those jobs are waiting. “He put a few chips in his mouth. Gillis took a sip of beer from the can. “You’re right: shitty. If there was something going on more often, it would be easier to endure. “Roper looked at his colleague, who was sitting with him in the van’s cargo hold.” Do you understand something like the action with the Frenchman and his wife? ” “Perhaps. At least that was solid work. “” Somehow you’re sick, Trevor, sometimes I think you just went to the World Intelligence Service to kill people. ” “That’s part of it, just like the wait. Sometimes it has to be. “” Damn it, it makes a difference if you knock some terrorist off or hang an old woman on a beam! “”Why should the old box be less dangerous than an Arab with a Kalashnikov in his hand? After all, we do not always know why we have a job to do. For what? Those up there will give us the right orders. “Gillis took a sip from the can and wiped the foam from her mouth with the back of her hand.” Sometimes I doubt it, or do you have any idea why we’re giving the woman the bricks. ” stones in your pockets? ” “Wrong track, what else. How many times have we left cartridge cases, cigarette butts, lipstick prints or what else do I have left behind? Did you ever ask why that was good if they did not tell you? I’ll tell you one thing: thinking is death. Leave that to those up there.We’re quietly doing our job. “While the two men of the UN secret service talked, Stefano Lorenzo got off the streetcar just a few blocks from Piazza Navona, he was not in a hurry, because he was up His job was one that sometimes required a long wait, and like the agents of the World Intelligence Service, though he did not know they were sitting in their van a few hundred yards away, so had to Stefano Lorenzo was successful in his industry, growing up in a suburb of Rome, where it sometimes happened that the rats were struggling with the babies for food Some were more frequent guests than the postman.Lorenzo had learned to handle the knife earlier than the alphabet. Even as a fifteen-year-old he had dominated the street in which he lived. The elders had recognized him because he had sought harder and more uncompromisingly the way up. It was already ten years ago, on one of those Easter weekends, when Rome was full of tourists, all of whom wanted to take a look at the Pope. Stefano Lorenzo had never understood why this man was so adored. While fabulizing the hungry in the Third World in innumerable states, campaigning against the sin of abortion or speaking of the new evangelization of Europe, he, the little Stefano, fought to survive in the slums of Rome. In streets where this Holy Father had never set foot.They would have been only a few minutes by car from the Vatican. As I said, on an Easter weekend ten years ago – or was it already eleven? – Stefano Lorenzo, then 17 years old, stole his first Porsche. In red. Just because. The German tourist he had heard could afford a new one, he had thought. But when Stefano spent a few hours roaming the city in a sports car, a police patrol had tacked on his heels, not because of the stolen car, but because it had exceeded the maximum permissible speed. Stefano had been faster than the uniformed. Six, seven corners away he had left her. But since he did not want to get caught, he had gone Hingehend to a friend who ran a garage.Twenty million lire had brought him the sale of the Porsche. Not bad for his time. And so he had decided to specialize in vehicle theft in the future. By now he was one of the best car crafters Rome had ever seen. In certain circles he was something of a legend. If he had an assignment, he delivered exactly what was required, strange as some wishes were. Once someone had ordered a real fire truck. Lorenzo had stolen him from the police during a major fire. Three days later he had to find out that the vehicle had been used in a terrorist attack. Since then he has been a little more cautious in such special assignments. If he was on the way for free hunting, so to speakthen he took only the finest of the fine, preferably luxury cars of foreign origin, which of course did not mean that he as an Italian patriot Ferraris or Maseratis spared. But only a Mercedes just remains a Mercedes. Even in Italy. 155 Stefano Lorenzo put his collar on. The wind was cold, at least by Roman standards, and it had started to drizzle slightly. Let’s see what awaited him today, just before Christmas. A few steps and Weigert had reached the entrance of the cafe. He entered and looked around. The decor was simple and downright tasteless for someone used to the Viennese coffeehouse culture. Plastic and chrome. But at least clean. A fat woman in her fifties was standing behind the counter, busy washing off a few cups.About half of the tables were occupied. Weigert let his eyes wander. Where was his husband? Where was someone who had a copy of the “Journal” lying on the table in front of him? There! It could be, Weigert stepped closer to make sure that the newspaper the man was reading also read ” Sheet “was. None.It was the “Corriere della Sera.” He was about to turn around when he recognized the familiar letters on the table in the far corner of the room: the page one of the newspaper he had recently worked for. But there was no time for a revelry in the past, and the green eyes of the man at the table looked questioningly at the same time. “Weigert stepped closer, and after speaking the American accent on the phone, spoke to him in English. “Excuse me, but are you waiting for Hans Weigert here?” Thomas Beckett held out his hand. Weigert hesitantly grabbed her. He had seldom felt so insecure. “Please, sit down, Mr. Weigert. I’m glad to meet you. “” May I suggestthat we spare ourselves such courtesies and get right to the point? “” Do not you want to order something to drink first? ” Beckett did not wait for an answer, but beckoned to the fat woman at the counter. As she squeezed between the tables, Weigert studied his counterpart. The elegant gray suit probably cost as much as Weigert had earned until recently in the month. The hands were slim and well-groomed. On one finger sat a small, inconspicuous King, who was slightly wider at one point. There was a small pyramid engraved on it, which at its upper end did not converge sharply, but just locked up. Above it was a small triangle. The cheap-looking glasses stood in a strange contrast to the expensive suit.There was a small whisker over his mouth. Otherwise the face was clean shaven. The fair-haired hair was a bit disheveled, probably due to the wind outside. Weigert had no idea that Beckett usually did not wear whiskers. And he did not know that his real hair was brown. Likewise, that he did not need glasses. Beckett had preferred to change his appearance with the help of a make-up artist from the UN secret service. After all, he was not unheard-of as a successful big businessman, even though he largely avoided the numerous social obligations his position entailed. For a journalist like Hans Weigert, it would still be possible to find out his identity with the help of some archives.That’s why Beckett gladly used the services of the World Intelligence Service. The landlady had finished her hurdling and had reached them, Weigert activated the few Italian words he knew and ordered a cappuccino, then turned to Beckett, “Who are you?” “Does it matter?” “So you prefer to remain unknown?” “Exactly. I also think it makes no difference whether you know my name or not. “” As”So you prefer to remain unknown?” “Exactly, I also think it makes no difference whether you know my name or not.” “When”So you prefer to remain unknown?” “Exactly, I also think it makes no difference whether you know my name or not.” “WhenOkay, as you wish. “Weigert pulled his cigarettes out of his pocket and lit one, and the fat woman put the cappuccino on the table in front of him, and there were a few dark sprinkles on the white cream bonnet He decided that first of all, he had to fight the cream to show that he was not in a hurry, because it was he who had something to offer the other one that he was interested in. Perhaps it would be When he was about to put the second spoonful of cream in his mouth, it was time. “You have come very far with your research, Mr. Weigert.” Was that a question or an observation? Weigert put the spoon aside and took a drag on his cigarette.”Further than you wanted to allow it.” “As a journalist, you should know that sometimes it can be better not to write about something, because your job requires a good deal of sense of responsibility in addition to certain other skills.” “And you want to determine who can write what and when?” “No, of course not, but …” “Do not talk nonsense. When the murder of Volker wanted to cover up something. I wanted to attach the two murders in Wewelsburg, because I was afraid that I would drill deeper in my research, as some people like. And now they want to bait me: no charges, back to my newspaper, but keep silent. And behind all this you and your people are standing! “” Whoever likes to stand behind it, it does not change the responsibility,you have as a journalist. “” Responsibility for? For that no one learns that the ghosts of Agarthi are alive again? For the sake of keeping in the dark what makes Shamballah? ” Weigert slowly got going. Outwardly, Beckett showed no sign of intolerance or nervousness. Internally, however, he was extremely excited. Fate … Agarthi had snatched it from Shamballah. “How do you know about Agarthi and Shamballah?” Weigert considered, “Should he now talk about his conversation with Steiner?” But then UNO intelligence would snatch him in. An important source of information that might be needed again would be So no, “I just know, back again: responsibility for what?” “There are things,that people can not understand. It would simply overwhelm her. If you take away from them all their previous references, with the help of which they have located themselves in life and in history, then the consequences would hardly be foreseeable. Are you really going to tell someone that the threads of politics are spun elsewhere than people believe? What would happen if you, Weigert, could prove to the public that men like myself or Bernhard Volker feel exclusively committed to the ideas of Shamballah? And what would happen, we suppose, if you could prove that to hundreds or thousands of eminent personalities in the world? Demonstrations, riots, riots, maybe even wars would be the result. No one could believe more in what was sacred to him.What would humanity already have? She would not understand that such a leadership is only for her own good. And what did you have of it, Mr. Weigert? Or do you want something like that? “Steiner had said,” Those who followed the way to the left hand wanted to give people the breath of the Divine, and the others who were making their way to the right wanted to be worshiped as gods Agarthi and Shamballah That was the difference Weigert remembered Steiner’s words, so far he had not been able to do much with it, but slowly the fog began to clear. “I do not know if I want that, but I want the truth Report the whole truth. ” Beckett leaned back and took a sip from the glass, standing in front of him.”The truth? Which truth? Your truth? The truth about the woman behind the counter? The truth of the workers sitting over there? Or my truth? The real truth, Weigert, is not comprehensible to any X-Aryan. If you could tell people ‘God is dead’, that would be a shock to many people. But if you explain to them that God lives, and in the midst of them, then the shock is even greater. “” And you are God, or how? ” Beckett had to smile. Around his eyes small wrinkles formed. It took only a moment, then he became serious again. He reached into the pocket of his jacket and brought out his wallet. With sharp fingers he pulled out a banknote. It was a one-dollar bill. “Do you want to pay already?” “But no.Our conversation has just begun. I just want to show you something. “He put the dollar note on the table, the back up, then pushed it over to Weigert,” That’s God. ” Weigert looked at the bill, then at Beckett. “If you want to say that people today only worship the money, then …” “No, no, that would be too easy, but God leaves traces.” “On a dollar bill?” “So to speak, do you see the pyramid?” Only now did Weigert realize that it was the same one that was engraved in the ring of his opponent. “And? What about her? “” At the bottom you will find a year, 1776. ” “No wonder, that was the year the US declared itself independent.” “That, too. Now form the number sum of that number.”Weigert felt fooled. But he expected. “21.” “Very good, 21, three times the sacred number seven.” “So what? Will you now prove to me the existence of the seven dwarfs? “Beckett ignored Weigert’s cynicism.” Now count the steps of the pyramid over the pedestal with the year number. ” Weigert counted. “Twelve.” “Exactly, the number of perfect fellowship that rises above the base, the twelve apostles, the twelve knights of the Round Table, whatever.” “Listen, what’s this all about?” “Think of it as a little game, what’s over the pyramid?” “Do you want to sell me stupid? A radiant triangle with an eye in it. I do not know what that lost. “” Oh, it’s the eye of God that sees everything, the good and the bad, it’s above the twelve levels.It is, so to speak, the highest level, which leads the lower twelve and what is still below them. So thirteen steps, the second sacred number, twelve plus one. “At first Weigert thought he had met a madman, but then he had to remember Tibet and Steiner, there was more of that sort than he What did Steiner say? You see the kettle, but not the hand holding it and moving it, and now it saw a dollar bill, were the symbols a sign of the power behind it? “So, Mr. Weigert, Now count the leaves of the olive branch that the eagle holds in its claws on the right. ” Weigert counted again. He muttered the result half-tone. “13.” “And now count the arrows the eagle holds with its other claws.” One more time,swore Weigert. Then he would not count anymore. “13.” “Now count the stars over the eagle.” “I can save myself that. I assume the result is 13 again, right? “” Exactly. ” Weigert rummaged in his knowledge of history. Wait … “All this does not surprise me. The US was finally founded by 13 states. “” Yes, that too. “And with that a new era began. By the way, did you read the saying under the pyramid?” He did it. “Novus Ordo Seclorum. If my modest knowledge of Latin does not deceive me, I would say: A new world order. “” They hit the nail on the head, if you turn the bill over … “Weigert followed the recommendation. “… then you see a picture of George Washington, the first president of my country.Washington was admitted to the Fredericksburg Lodge in Virginia in 1752. In 1788, a year before his election as president, he became master of the chair of the Alexandrian Lodge. And like every American president after him, he also took his oath of office on the Bible. In the case of Washington, this belonged to St. John’s Lodge no. 1. “Slowly Weigert began to realize.” Masonry? Shamballah? ” “Call it what you want. The words are not the things. By the way, on the sign of the Treasury, next to the image of Washington, you can see a key under the angle, which is a Masonic symbol, by the way. It is the key of Salomon. He commands secrecy. “160 A quick glance, then Weigert pushed the banknote back across the table, so,as if he could simply push away Shamballah and its traces. Beckett put it back in his wallet. “Did you know what God is?” Weigert did not know, but he sensed that things were rarely as they were imagined. “Like Steiner, the man on the other side of the table was a wanderer between two They all tried to make Weigert look into the other world, but at the same time they made it clear to him that he would never understand it, they may be right, but here, in this world, they could not give him his home Do not you think so, or have you not left their mark here? “You are suddenly so silent, did not you like my little number game? You wanted to know more about Shamballah.” “With all due respect,but a dollar bill seems a bit unusual for me. “” I think it was a good example, think again of the pyramid, twelve layers stacked on top of it, and the divine power leading them. “Understand what it means having responsibility? ” “With responsibility over the basis, as you call it, do you mean power over people?” “The word ‘power’ has such a negative tone in your voice, but are not those who look deeper, downright committed, who To take leadership, not for its own sake, but for the benefit of humanity, that is the responsibility that I have meant. ” Beckett leaned forward. He spoke softly and urgently. “You could share this responsibility, Mr. Weigert.”Therefore, the wind was blowing. “You mean … me and Shamballah?” “Yes, I mean, you are in good company.” “Society like Eurofed President Bernhard Volker, UN Security Council member Alan Greenspan, or Russian Minister of Economic Affairs Oleg Garakin?” The last name had been sitting in amazement: “You know about Garakin?” One to zero for me, thought Weigert. “Yes. I’ve done my homework. “Beckett had caught himself again, this journalist was more dangerous when he accepted, but if you could not beat him, you’d just have to win him over.” “I assume you Did you add the result of your research to the mysterious list you spoke of? ” Damn it!He had not thought of the most obvious thing! But he would do it as soon as possible. But he was not allowed to betray his counterpart. Now it was time to bluff. And of course I can. And I can assure you my research was extensive. “Beckett thought,” If Weigert told the truth, then he had a lot of explosive material. “The explosive force would be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, if The journalist did not quite understand the meaning of what he had encountered, but he would not let it slip before he saw through it But how? arresting? And what, if he had handed over his documents to someone who should publish them,if Weigert had not returned by a certain time? Or had something else occurred to him? After all, he had said himself that his arrest would not make sense. It would be an opportunity, but the risk would be far greater. Perhaps he could persuade Weigert to publish the results of his research. “What about this list? Why do not you want to hand them over to the UN secret service? Or do you not know that the world owes the men of Agarthi the Third Reich? And now the same people are back in power. Garakin, Volker and Greenspan: three cowardly attacks on outstanding personalities. Carried out in a spirit we have believed dead since the age of eighteen. Do you really want to,that this haunting is not stopped? “” I have been informed about the connection between the Third Reich and Agarthi, but I do not know whether I should believe it all. ” “I do not know what you heard and by whom. But after you seem at least aware of the importance of the Thule Order, I tend to think that you have been properly informed. There are not many people who know the whole truth. “Now this man actually spoke of the Thule Order, which had somehow been understandable in Steiner, but the general public seemed to be slow, but he, Hans Weigert, had been really ever doubted his trip to Tibet that it could not have been like that? “What is it you really want,that Agarthi is brought to life again? Help us to stop this haunting! Or you have political changes on your conscience that you will never be able to answer for. “Weigert stifled his cigarette and cocked his head slightly to one side.” So you want me to join Shamballah, but at the same time explain to me ‘I could never understand this other world, how that?’ “They would learn. Not everyone can just come to us. We approach those whom we believe can contribute to the realization of the ideas of Shamballah. And you could. You would be taken to one of the lodges and initiated. And you would work on yourself to ascend the rungs of knowledge from degree to degree,sort of treading the path from the human to the divine. Slowly you would learn to understand. They would be part of a community that is leading humanity for the better. To peace, humanity and tolerance. This community is more influential than you can imagine. I understand that your boss will retire in a few years’ time. A newspaper like the ‘Blatt’ could very well use someone at the top who feels obliged to the values of Shamballah. So much the better if this man came from within the newspaper itself. “” Wait, does that mean Bergmann is on your side too? ” “Whoever belongs to Shamballah, he may at best admit that of himself. He has nothing to say to his profane people about his brothers. Everyone has to do this oathwho enters our ranks. “” And he must also be silent about the filth that you and your comrades have at the stake, about the murders committed in the name of Shamballah, about the influence that the brethren have on politics What about the murders of Pierre Martin and his wife, or the P-2 SkandaM, is that how your realization of your noble ideals of humanity and tolerance looks like? ” Now it was enough for Weigert. The only difference between the man and Steiner was the greater cynicism of his counterpart. But probably his interlocutor did not notice this. He was simply convinced that a small circle of descendants of the gods had to lead the stupid mass of humans. In his own way he was quite consistent.The fan in the secret service vehicle disguised as a bakery van had failed. The auxiliary heating could not be regulated as Roper and Gillis would have liked. It was 27 degrees in the car and the air was cut as a result of the cigarette’s excessive consumption of cigarettes. “I urgently need a cool down and some fresh air. Gillis got up and pulled on the overalls that hung on a hook on the back door, and on them was the logo of the bakery decorating the outside of the vehicle at the World Intelligence Service. “Okay, I’m staying here by now, the two in there are going to palate for a while anyway, and in the end everything will have been pointless anyway.We will not be able to arrest this Weigert again. “” I do not care. The main thing is that I’m going to bed earlier today than in the last few days. ” “Do not forget to pretend that we have something to unload here. Take a basket of bread and go to some house. You can dump the buns in the dustbin so you can come out with the empty basket. “Gillis grimly looked at his colleague.” Do you think I’ve only been with the club since yesterday? I’ve got my ass on such things Wounded when you were still in London with the Bobbies. ” “It’s alright. Do not stay too long. I want to get out of this sauna, too. “Gillis opened the hatchback and got out, grabbing a basket, setting him on the street, and slamming the door shut again.Slowly he strolled to a doorway about twenty yards from her car. Relieved, he sucked in the cool, fresh air. When he tried to avoid a dog who was sniffing at his shoes, he collided with a man. He glanced at the little Italian. With a muffled “Scusi,” he pushed past and walked on slowly, Stefano Lorenzo glancing after Gillis for only a moment, then turned around and his gaze moved back over the cars parked on the roadside, and a few feet away he suddenly saw The dark blue Mercedes, at least a few months old, he estimated, and the top of the range, with deliberate steps as if he were on an expedition, he kept going, as he was level with the car on the sidewalk he realized,that someone was at the wheel. A woman. She seemed to be waiting for someone. The ignition key was in the lock. Lorenzo sauntered over and looked left into the windows of a cafe. It could work. He just had to open the door and pretend to ask the woman for something. Then grab in no time, pull them out of the car, jump in and lock the door. Start and go. A matter of five to ten seconds. He seldom stole cars this way, but in this case, the risk-benefit ratio seemed appropriate. For this luxury sled, his fence would get at least 20,000 ECU. Lorenzo paused in front of the shoe store and looked carefully to the side. The sidewalk was abundantly busy. If the woman screamed in the car, if he pulled her out,one would first assume that she has a quarrel with her husband. And until the first realized what was going on, he would already be gone. He had no doubt. It would work. Beckett sat down straight. His eyes were serious. Weigert was not that easy to crack. He seemed genuinely inspired by a naive idealism to unravel the truth and make it accessible to the many who would not understand it anyway. Not even the clue to Bergmann’s disputed post had irritated him. “What you accuse us of, Mr. Weigert, may be true. But I think you are wrong. We must do so because we must defend ourselves against those who attack our path to humanity and tolerance. And this way is in grave danger. “” Suppose, the list of sleeper Agarthis,which I own is complete. Do you really think that 666 people are capable of accomplishing anything beyond a few political assassinations? “Beckett was startled.” What !? 666! “If Weigert really had an authentic list, then Agarthi was more alive When Beckett had ever thought it possible, and Shamballah knew just a dozen of his opponents, that damned journalist had to pull out the list. “They’re naive, Weigert, not some 666 people, these are men who have skills you can only dream of, and these men can not be balanced with either money or whole divisions, but apart from that, Agarthi has had something infinitely more valuable than these men since last night.which gives them the power to become the real power. “Trevor Gillis emptied the contents of the basket into one of the large trashcans in the hallway, put down the basket and made a few squats, then circled his arms, and finally He took a few steps at the stand. He picked up the basket and stepped out through the large wooden gate onto the sidewalk, which was brightly lit by numerous lamps and the light coming in from the shop windows and cafes The vast majority of it turned out later to be irrelevant, but at the same time it had happened twice before that his above-average professional attention had saved his life actually the little,black-haired man with whom he had collided two minutes ago. But then he had gone the other way. So he had to take a few steps to the cafe, which was the object of surveillance. Gillis wondered if he should arrange the man’s shading from the van. But at least two of the eight deployed agents had to be withdrawn. If the whole thing turns out to be a nuisance and at the same time complicating the possible arrest of Weigert and his girlfriend, he could get in trouble. Moment! What was that? The man stopped in front of the Mercedes where Weigert’s friend was sitting. He indicated something to her. Now she opened the Mir. Gillis quickened his pace to get to the van and his colleagues faster.Between him and the Mercedes were about fifty feet and a dozen passers-by on the sidewalk. Suddenly the man pushed his arm into the car and grabbed the woman. Gillis dropped the basket and jumped on the hood of a parked car. At the same time, his clerk dipped under his coat, gripped the Ingram and tore it on his halter. From the hood, he could aim his target over the heads of the passers-by. When he got to the car, he already had the small machine pistol ready. Not even a second had passed from the dropping of the basket to the curving of the index finger. When Stefano Lorenzo tore Claudia out of the car, it was already too late to stop the bullets. “How nice. And what does that mean that gives the ability to true power? “Weigert was getting impatient. He was already talking to his unknown counterpart for twenty minutes. And still he had not got around to asking the questions he really wanted to ask. “You are from Vienna, Mr. Weigert. Until last night there was a piece in the Hofburg that not only made history, but is itself history. It is commonly called the Holy Lance. But for us, the initiates of Shamballah and Agarthi, it is the spear of fate. The Roman legionnaire Longinus once rammed this spear into the body of Jesus. And since that time, the spear is sacred. He, a cup, and the crown of thorns are the only items that have ever come in contact with the blood of Jesus Christ. The cup, better known as the Holy Grail,and the crown of thorns are lost. The spear is here. He who possesses him has power, for better or for worse. We thought that nobody had a chance to enter the treasury. But Agarthi has taken the spear, as he had done before. You, Weigert, could help us find him again and prevent the awakening of Agarthis. If … “” Wait, I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about … 165 What … “Weigert whirled around as he heard the shots whipping outside. His pupils widened. He perceived everything as in slow motion. Outside the cafe he saw Claudia’s body shaken by the bullets. She hit a man holding her by the hand. A shot hit Claudia Hinterkopf. The bullet pierced the skull,He made his way through the brain and exited just above the eye, finally getting stuck in the neck of the little man whom Weigert had never seen before. From its wound, cascades of blood spurted out instantly. The Artery was hit. Claudia fell to the ground. Her body turned as it fell, batting its side on the concrete of the sidewalk. The man she hit had slid to the ground with the car door open and was half-lying on Claudia. The three workers, a few more tables away, just engrossed in their card game, jumped at the sound of the shots. Suddenly, each of them held a pistol in his hand. Two rushed to the door. The third one seemed indecisive at first, then turned to Beckett and Weigert.What had happened within seconds, Weigert appeared as if it took minutes. Claudia and the stranger half lying over her were dead. That was the realization that Weigert’s subconscious took. He and Beckett, too, had jumped. In Weigert’s eyes, there was only boundless anger and despair to see as Beckett looked at him. Weigert gave him a fist punch against his chest. The man cried out, stumbled backwards and fell over a chair. But of all this, Weigert did not notice anything. He had jumped to the door leading to the toilets. The third of the card players tried to make their way through the chaos that had seized the cafe. Weigert ran down the corridor to the lavatories toward a door that seemed to lead to the open air.Suddenly it was torn open and a man stormed in, a pistol at the ready. Weigert’s reactions, with the elimination of his thinking, proceeded as they had been drummed by a Japanese man years before. He leapt up from the running, pulled on his left leg and thrust his right hand forward with all his strength. At the same time he uttered a piercing scream, in which his rage and boundless despair resonated. The heel hit the man’s face with full force. At the same time, a shot broke from his weapon. Both fell to the ground. The man severely hit by the kick, Weigert, because he had lost the balance. The bullet had hit the wall behind him. He scrambled to his feet, jumped over the lifeless body, and dashed through the door.The secret service worker disguised as a worker interrupted the persecution when he saw his colleague. His nose and mouth were filled with blood. The jaw was oddly twisted. Meanwhile, Weigert drew up with a pull-up on the wall that closed off the courtyard, and dropped to the darkness on the other side. He started to run. His tears mingled with the raindrops and wet his face. All bridges were broken. There was no turning back now. Rome, December 20 There was a knock three times. Villiger got up and walked to the door. “Who’s there?” “It’s me, Hans. Get on with it!” He opened. Weigert rushed in and dropped into a chair. His eyes showed that something had happened. “What’s wrong? Did something go wrong? “” Claudia is dead. “At first Villiger did not say anything for a few seconds. Then he pulled up the second chair in the room and sat down. “Repeat that again!” Weigert took a deep breath when he spoke, his voice was brittle, and he kept taking short pauses in which the terrible event took place again in his mind’s eye. “You have Claudia … We went to the cafe as agreed … She waited … in the car outside … I went in there … In there … in the cafe … there was a man And then … “Weigert swallowed to remove the knot in his throat. It did not help. Then he continued talking. “Suddenly shots were fired …. I looked out the window … Out on the street someone pulled Claudia out of the car … At that moment she was hit… “Villiger jumped up and pushed the chair with a powerful hand movement to the side.” Those assholes! ” Villiger began to pace. To the door that led to the corridor, then turn around and back again. The second time he reached the door and turned, he repeated the words between the teeth he had used before. There was powerless fury in his voice. Weigert wanted to say something, but he did not really know what, Villiger stopped and looked at him, his eyes blazing with anger, “Why did not they catch you?” There was a slight reproach between the words. “Honest, Peter. I could not do anything for Claudia. She is … She has caught her a couple of times. At least four or five shots …One of them … in the head … “As Villiger walked over to the bed with a briefcase on it, he asked,” Who was it, one of the UN people? ” He opened the briefcase, reached in and took out a pistol and a full magazine. He jammed the magazine into the gun and charged. Weigert stood up and walked slowly towards his friend. “What are you doing with the thing? No matter what you do, you can not make her alive! “He put his hand on Villiger’s shoulder, his body trembling slightly,” So who was it? ” Weigert sat down on the edge of the bed. “I dont know. Really. The shots came from a place I could not see from the cafe. “Villiger looked thoughtfully at the weapon he held in his hand.Then he carefully put her back in the briefcase and sat down next to Weigert. “What did you do after it happened?” “I left, why, I do not know, it was like a trance.” “Did you try to catch yourself?” “Yes.” In Weigert’s mind the three supposed workers, who had suddenly had pistols in their hands, reappeared. And then the man in the hallway to the toilets. The Scream. The jump. The shot. The police bars in the streets he dodged as he walked through the city. Then his phone call with Livio Lucentini, from which he had learned where to find Villiger. “So you were faster.” “I was lucky.” “That means they wanted to kill you too. And if they find out that I’m inside, too, then I’m the next one. “Weigert stared at the pattern of the cheap rug on the floor. “Probably.” “Agarthi or Shamballah?” “What do you mean?” “I mean, who wants to annihilate us, Agarthi or Shamballah?” “I dont know. But does that make a difference? “” Hardly. ” Again, for a few breaths there was oppressive silence between the two men. Only the noise of the traffic coming from the street could be heard. Villiger got up from the bed and went to the bathroom. He came back with two glasses. He placed her on the small table in the corner of the room next to the whiskey bottle that had already found its place there. He poured and handed one of the Weigert glasses. Then he sat down on the bed again. Both took a sip. “Are you sure she’s dead?”Villiger looked questioningly at his friend. Weigert did not return the look. “Yes.” “Shit.” Silence again. Villiger lit a cigarette. Then the next question. “What now?” “We give up, that means you’ll see that you’re back in Norway, they probably do not know about you yet, and I’m going to the UN secret service.” Villiger took a deep draft from his cigarette. “And you went away for that? For the fact that you’re going to share it all the time? “” Damn it, Peter, we can not handle it anymore, if we keep going, maybe we’ll all be on it! ” “And if we do not continue? What is then? Maybe you just want to forget everything we found out? Do you want to pretend that nothing ever happened? Agarthi, Shamballah, Steiner,the Wewelsburg, Martin, his wife, Volker, Greenspan, Garakin, the sleeper and what else do I know? Do you want to surrender now? “Weigert stood up without a word to refill his empty glass, and Villiger followed him, grabbed him by the shoulder and jerked him around,” If you do that, Hans, then we’ve been friends for the longest time Claudia will not come back alive if we keep going, but we have a commitment to her, and we’ve taken on responsibility for this shit story, damn it, and nobody can take that away from us! ” Responsibility…? Had not the man in the cafe used the same words opposite him as Villiger did? “Funny. The man in the cafe also said that. “Villiger was irritated.” What? ” 169 “The responsibility.””What else did he tell you? Who did that mean? “” I do not know who it was, he did not want to tell me that, he did not say much, at least nothing of importance, the shootout got in the way, he showed me a dollar bill … “” What’s that for? “” He wanted to show me that God is leaving his mark. ” “Are you completely crazy?” “Why?” “What should God on a dollar bill?” “Did I say God? I meant Shamballah.” “Well?” “Well, just before the shots were fired, he still spoke of a symbol supposedly of immense importance because it came into contact with the blood of Jesus Christ, or at least these esotericists are obviously measuring it a central importance.He who owns possesses power, for good and bad. At least that’s what the man said. “” What was that symbol? ” Any spear that is supposed to lie in the Hofburg is better located. The men of Agarthi should have him, last night. “” In Vienna? ” “Yes.” Villiger slammed the glass down on the table and walked quickly over to the bed, carrying a duffel bag beside the briefcase, opening it and starting to rummage through it, and suddenly he took a newspaper out of his pocket and tossed it to Weigert He caught her. “What shall I do with it?” “Lies. There’s your spear. “Weigert unfolded the newspaper and looked at it more closely, the evening edition of the International Herald Tribune, which had come out of the press a few hours ago.He did not need to look far. The story was on page one. An announcement at the end of the article referred to another report on page three. He began to read. All he could extract from the text on page one was a more or less exact description of the events the man in the cafe had already suggested. Last night, unknown perpetrators had invaded the tightly secured treasury of the Hofburg Palace. Like, there was no clue about that. It was noteworthy that what might have been one of the greatest art thefts in history had gone off lightly. Only a piece had been stolen. This was the so-called Holy Lance, which was popular with the Habsburgs for throne insignia. Not even from the showcase,Those who had opened the offenders to remove the lance lacked anything other than this piece. Consequently, guesswork was rife with the motives of the perpetrators. Before Weigert turned page three, he lit a cigarette. Then he read on. His hands clenched the newspaper. The second article was an outline of the history of the Holy Lance and its significance for the Habsburg monarchy. Not interesting in itself if there had not been a single sentence that made Weigert sit up and take notice: “After the Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich in 1938, the Holy Lance, together with other treasury objects, was brought to Germany, where at the end of the war it could be restored by the American troops. “How did the man in the cafe call this piece of history? The “spear of fate.” Had there ever been a battle for fate? Agarthi, the Thule Order, the Third Reich, and – the spear, and Shamballah, as decades before … Now Weigert dawned, what the man Villiger had been quiet the whole time, and when he saw Weigert put the paper aside, he looked at his watch, it was two minutes before midnight, and he broke the silence Minutes begins December 21. Steiner has said to you, in a few days Agarthi will reach for power, so far we did not know what will happen then, even now we do not know, but if that’s true, what this guy is said in the cafe that Agarthi is behind this robberythen it has something to do with it. Maybe the robbery was what Steiner meant. If these people really believe in the power of the spear, then we still have some to do. Now they have the symbol of power. They will also get the power themselves. We can not give up, Hans! Not now, when it comes to the decision! “” And what should we do? We have no idea what and where it will happen, and we do not know for sure whether anything will happen or whether the theft of the spear is everything was! ” “Think again of exactly what Steiner told you! Maybe we overlooked something. “Weigert stood up and walked to the window, the spear of fate … Could a simple object change history? Could it really be fate? Not in this world.But Agarthi and Shamballah came from another. Did the spear have power there? If so, then his powers via Agarthi and Shamballah but also in his, Weigert’s world. But was not it enough for a few crazy people to believe in it, and for those, if these madmen obviously had considerable influence? Were they crazy at all? Or did they, at least in principle, only do things that every other believer did? Did the Marian apparitions in Lourdes have power? Or the Kaaba with the black meteorite in Mecca? Or did they gain their power only through the people who believed in it? But maybe there was a truth behind them that was more powerful than anything else. Why not the spear? Weigert looked out the window. Five floors below him,past the hotel, the Roman night traffic flowed. The clouds that had brought the drizzle were gone. The sky was clear now. Despite the brightness that emanated from the city, you could see the stars, at least the very bright ones below. And between them, controlling the sky, hung the round, dirty-yellow disk of the full moon. The full moon. For millions of years, he kept coming back with a precision that had fascinated people since their appearance on Earth. As of the sun. The full moon … Martin … The Wewelsburg … The Walhalla! Was that the connection he was looking for? What had Martin told? Every few years, when winter solstice met the full moon, the light of the moon fell right through the wall opening in that vault,that once served the SS as a cult space. And tomorrow – Weigert looked at the clock – no, today was winter solstice. Agarthi … Steiner … The spear … The Wewelsburg. The incident Steiner had spoken of had to take place there! In the face of the spear! And with the men of Agarthi! That was it. And only there would history be stopped. Abruptly, Weigert turned around. “Yes, Peter. We can do something. We’re going to the Wewelsburg! “Villiger realized quickly.” So you think Agarthi will bring the spear there? ” “I accept it. Martin told me that every few years, when the moon is full, the moonlight falls through an opening in this basement vault. And in the room the SS should have held some rituals. “Villiger whistled through his teeth.” Of course!Steiner also told you that he was initiated at the Wewelsburg! And on the CDs of Martin, it is also noted. That could be it. “He paused, looked down, then back at Weigert.” We can not bring Claudia back to life, but at least we can take our commitment, we owe her that. Let’s go. ” “Did you get everything from Lucentini?” “Yes, two pistols and the wrong papers, today I rented a car with my wrong ID card, it’s downstairs, you just have to adjust your appearance back to the picture in your passport after the events in Piazza Navona at least your likeness will have gone to all the cops of Europe long ago. “We still have to do something, nobody knows what awaits us at the Wewelsburg.Maybe nothing. Maybe Agarthi. Perhaps a large contingent of the UN secret service. Anyway. We need to make sure that whatever we’ve found out in the last few weeks is preserved if something happens to us. “” How do you do that? “The two CDs with the sleeper list are in a bank window I have the key, but everything else? ” “Hillgruber.” “You want to tell everything to your department chief?” “I’ll write it down and send it to him. Do you still have the printout from the list on the CDs? “” Yes, I just wanted to shred the stuff and wash it down in the loo, as we agreed, what are you doing with it? ” “We will also send the list to Hillgruber.” “Do you really believe that you can trust him?””I hope so. Time is short. What else is left for us? “” Then start, I’ll try to get some sleep by now, if I can do that at all … “Weigert sat down at the table and began to write. First a personal letter to Hillgruber. Then, on paper, he let the events of the past few weeks pass through in detail. When he reached Claudia’s death, he had to fight back tears. With difficulty he wrestled with the last lines. Then he took the pages he had written and put them in a large envelope with the term of the sleeper list. Two dozen sheets of paper were now the only cover against an overpowering enemy. Rome, December 20 “How could that happen, Thomas?” Kipling was so excitedthat his voice cracked. The sweat was even thicker than usual on his forehead. And no handkerchief was there to wipe it off. “It was just bad luck, combined with a trigger-happy intelligence man.” Olaf Carlsson did not want to sit on his own, his voice was so loud that you could even hear her outside at the UN secret service office in Rome should Gillis have done otherwise, maybe nothing? ” Beckett, too, screwed up the volume of his voice. “Why did this crazy man have to shoot right away !? Are you only dealing with gunslingers who know how to handle their weapon better than their brains? “Kipling burst in.” Why did he even feel embarrassed about shooting? ” Beckett was tired of it. He left the explanations Carlsson.”Claudia Apollonio waited in the car in front of the cafe on Weigert. As far as we can tell so far, a car thief tried to drag her out and steal the car. One of our men shot at the man and met Apollo- nio. “Kipling was not yet satisfied with the explanation.” Are you sure that Agarthi is not behind it? ” “Pretty.” “Why?” “First, the man could be identified. He has been arrested several times in the past for car theft and other offenses. Although he has rarely been able to prove anything, everything indicates that he is only a little crook. And secondly, if Agarthi had put behind the action, it would not have gone this way.Then the journalist and probably also Mr. Beckett would have fallen by the wayside. No, Agarthi is not behind it. It was just bad luck. “Thomas Beckett had sat down in a chair and sipped coffee from a paper cup, he was a little calmer again.” Joe, did you at least get something out of this Agnelli – does he know anything about the spear, or about Agarthi? ” Kipling dropped his bulky body onto a chair. “Agnelli, of course. We interrogated him. At first he was silent and did not want to know anything. Then the UN people became uncomfortable. But he tried … “” Spare me the details, I want to know the results. ” “Well. Bad and good news. He knows no more about the spear than we do. He has no idea,where he is and what should happen to him. The good news is that he was blabbering when Agarthi kicked off the offensive. And that’s … “Kipling looked at the clock, it was two minutes before midnight.” That’s almost it today, December 21. Winter solstice, we could have thought so. ” “After hearing about the theft of the spear last night, I almost thought so. Did Agnelli at least say what or where it will happen? “Kipling had spotted a napkin with which he dabbed his forehead.” No, since the drug we’ve missed him looks damned good, that’s one conclusion: he he does not even know that either he was not intended to take part in the action or he would have been informed. “”Did you at least arrange for his house, his office and his apartments to be monitored and the phones to be tapped?” Carlsson intervened again. “Of course we have. They think we’re utter bunglers!” “I did not say that. What else did Agnelli know about Agarthi? “” Hardly anything to help us in. As far as the number of sleeper is concerned, he has confirmed Weigert’s statements, which are really 666, far more than we have ever assumed It seems that they are organized in cells, and five of them met in Agnelli’s cottage near Rome twice a year … “” Of course, we have also put this house under the strictest surveillance. Maybe there will be a meeting there. “Olaf Carlsson wanted to showthat his secret service worked well. Beckett simply ignored him. What else, Joe? “” That’s it, we’ll continue the interrogation to find out more about Agarthi’s current organizational structure, but for the moment that was probably the most important thing. ” “Did he even divulge the names of a few sleepers?” “Only the five who met regularly at his house, two of which we already had on our list – the monitoring of the remaining three, and all others, of which we know otherwise has already been ordered. ” Carlsson took advantage of the break Kipling made. He wanted to vent his anger, which had been dammed in the last few days. “Gentlemen, I have to find something here.The UN secret service is instrumental in all actions against Agarthi. And I hate it when decisions are made concerning the secret service, which I only have to execute. I’m the boss here, Mr. Beckett! “Beckett got up to get fresh coffee from the machine, and as the hot, black liquid flowed into the paper cup, he turned to Carlsson.” May I point out that you I also know that you have not reckoned with events like those of the past weeks, you thought that Shamballah’s work hid behind the doors of some lodges Again, you bring us some dossiers to discredit any people.But unfortunately it is not done. We’re all pulling in the same direction, Carlsson. At first we are committed to our ideas, and then to our profession, is not that so? “Carlsson hesitated a bit with his answer, and when he gave it, he had clearly calmed down.” Yes, you are right, excuse me just a little indignant because they are accusing the UN secret service and therefore me of not doing everything to bring this matter to a happy end. ” Beckett’s cup had become full. He walked over to his chair again. “Nobody has personally blamed you. After all, you can not help it if one of your officials has too loose an index finger. We can not waste our time arguing about mishaps. The 21st of December has begun. We have to stop Agarthi.Everything else is now indifferent. “” And how? ” Beckett looked thoughtfully at the ceiling. Then he slowly began to develop his strategy. “You have the spear. That’s the key point. The next step is ritual, which allows them to use the spear’s powers. They will celebrate it the next night. There’s no doubt about that. “” But where, damn it? ” Kipling was completely upset because he had no cigarettes left. “Yes, where? Basically it could take place anywhere. But I would be very wrong if Agarthi had not chosen a special place for it. “” Maybe in Tibet – that would be the information we have from the Frenchman in Wewelsburg. ” Beckett shook his head. “No I do not think so.The spear was stolen last night. The time would hardly be enough to get him there. “” And what about the most obvious thing, Vienna? ” “Possible. But it could just as well take place at the Wewelsburg. “Now Carlsson came in.” I think we can not get any further, I have another suggestion, we knew of eleven sleepers, and Agnelli gave us three more. Agnelli himself falls down because he is a few floors down in a cell, so stay 13. All 13 are already under surveillance, we could increase the surveillance and hope that among them are those who will take part in the ritual. And then they could lead us there, we’re staying in Rome now, should the ceremony be over in Europe,and the short time between the steal of the spear and the ritual speaks for it, then we could be there in time with our people. “Beckett put down his cup and nodded imperceptibly.” That’s it. Please do everything necessary . ” December 21 Munich The two large candles placed on the floor bathed the room in warm light. Between them stood the slim, naked body of a man. His eyes were fixed on the wall in front of him, where the black sun was painted. His gaze dipped into the sign and imagined an invisible connection between body and sun. The man dropped his arms. He lowered his head so that his chin touched his chest. Then he closed his eyes slowly and began to breathe deeply and quietly. He focused onhow the air entered through her mouth, down the trachea, and into his lungs. As he exhaled, his mind followed the opposite path. Seven breaths long. Without opening his eyes, he squatted cautiously until his buttocks touched his lower thighs. The heels were now slightly raised from the ground. He put his forearms down on his thighs with his palms down. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven deep breaths. Then the lips opened and quietly released sounds from the body into the freedom of the room. First an elongated A, then, immediately afterwards, as if in a word, a hissing sir. “Aaaassssss.” There was a pause for a breath, followed by the next vowel in connection with S. “Eeeessssss.” Again a breath break and then the I.He did the same with the O. After the “Uuussssss,” the man carefully dropped forward so that his knees touched the ground, his eyes still closed, he raised his arms, the fingers of both hands interlocking to form the sign of the light, after another seven deep breaths The man lowered his eyes slowly, his gaze fixed again on the black sun, then slowly straightened his naked body, bowed slightly in the direction of the mysterious sign, and turned Ludwig Meliert, without extinguishing the candles, went over to his bedroom to get dressed, and when he had finished, he reached for his watch and put it around his wrist.In six to seven hours he would be in Wewelsburg. Meliert locked the door and drove down the elevator. He had parked his BMW one street further, because there was no room left in front of the house where he lived. He started and maneuvered the car out of the parking space. Twenty meters behind, across the street, another engine was also started. Mellert’s shadow took up the chase. Rome The big digital clock on the wall showed 3:47 pm. There was a tense silence in the room, which served as the mission lattice. 13 of the approximately two dozen phones were staffed by officials of the Roman branch of the World Intelligence Service. Each of them was the direct link to a surveillance team. Carlsson and Beckett were sitting at a big,round meeting table in the middle of the room and drank coffee. Both had slept only a few hours. Joe Kipling had retired half an hour ago to lie down. He would not be there when Carlsson and Beckett left. His job was to get Agnelli out of Agarthi as much as possible. Carlsson had taken over the operation. The chief of the UN Secretariat in Rome, like the action in Piazza Navo, had made no difficulties. He had renounced further explanations. Nobody would have given it to him anyway. After all, it was not uncommon for UN forces to coordinate actions away from their actual base. One of the phones buzzed. The man before picked up the phone. “Task Force.” He listened for a moment,then he hung up again. The officer got up and went to Carlsson’s table. “The team in Munich has just reported that the target five is on the highway to Nuremberg.” “Thanks.” Carlsson turned to Beckett. “So that’s the third one. What’s wrong with that? “” It’s hard to say, the one in London is on his way to Heathrow Airport, and no flight is booked under his name, but that does not mean much, because the one from Naples is traveling to Rome by car The rest of our thirteen customers are either at home or in the office. ” “Or lying in bed with his girlfriend, like the one in Vienna.” “Anyway, only three of them have had an activity that could be important to us.” Carlsson looked at the digitized map of Europe,a computer projected on the wall. He zoomed out Germany. “Autobahn Munich-Nuremberg … The direction could be right if he wants Wewelsburg.” “Could, could not, but if your people do not lose him, we’ll soon know more, he’s in London He’s driving to the airport, although there’s nothing under his name. ” “We’ll know soon, too. At the latest when his machine takes off. “” Let’s just hope that there is enough time left to do something, what if he flies to the United States, for example? ” “If the ritual is to take place tonight, then he would not be able to cope. And if it happens in the US, then I have to ask my colleagues there for support. “”That would not be in our interest. Already enough to me the few people who have heard something of the matter with Weigert and this Frenchman. The more people are called in, the more problems we can get. That means first and foremost you, Mr Carlsson. A lot of people might ask themselves later, for which we mobilized so many men. No, as long as we can somehow, we will try to handle the matter with your team without involving other authorities. No regular police, no other secret services and as few UN people as possible. Or do you perhaps want the real reason for our company to reach the public? “” No, not at all, but what about the people who monitor our 13 targets? “”What should it be? They are monitoring suspects. They do not know what this is about. It’s just an assignment for her, like many others. “” And when an assignment is needed? ” “Then pull them off as soon as we get there.” “But what if we can not get there in time?” We have the small jet, and we’ll be able to use helicopters too, but it’s all good for us only something, if the hype takes place in Europe. ” “Everything seems to speak for the moment. The targets in the US and Japan are still calm for the time being. And I think it will stay that way. “” Well, we’ll know more in an hour or two. ” Carlsson got up to get fresh coffee.Motorway Zurich-Stuttgart The digital display of the speedometer showed 135. The clock next to 16 o’clock and three minutes. The road was now dry again. No snowfall impeded the rapid progress. Villiger stared out the windshield. Two hours ago he had replaced Weigert at the wheel. His eyes were red-rimmed. Again and again the eyelids fell down. But each time he had managed to open them again immediately. But slowly it was time to sleep again. Weigert and Villiger left Rome in the night. The envelope for Hillgruber they had given up in the morning. As far as possible police controls were concerned, the car was the safest means of transport for them. The UN secret service knew nothing of Villiger. And he knew even less about Peter Riedl,who had presented his ID yesterday to a rental car company. The false papers Lucentini had given them fulfilled their purpose perfectly. And Hans Weigert had dyed his hair blond, as he did on his flight to Tibet. Weigert rolled around in the passenger seat and opened his eyes. “Where are we?” He sat up. “Just before Stuttgart.” There was silence for three or four minutes. Villiger interrupted the silence. “What if we were not mistaken and Agarthi did indeed bring the spear to the Wewelsburg?” “Then what’s the matter? We’ll get the spear as agreed.” 179 “And what do we do if we are prevented from doing so?” Weigert still did not understand the question. “Of course, they will not be willing to release the spear voluntarily.He has immense importance for these people. What do you think? “” Again, in plain English: Have you realized that we could be killed? If Agarthi is willing to kill high-ranking politicians, they will not shy away from us, and the macabre is that they so that even Schamballah will do a favor. ” Weigert looked out into the street, then over to Villiger. “Steiner could have killed me in Tibet. I … “” He wanted something from you, but you did not fulfill his desire to publish his legends, you or us … “Villiger paused, thinking of Claudia. He swallowed before continuing. “We were no danger to him. But now we have a list of sleepers. And we want to unbutton the spear for Agarthi.Do you seriously think they’ll just let us go? “” They do not know anything about the sleeper list. ” “And the spear?” Weigert stared out into the street again, “Would you only go in there if there was no resistance?” Villiger hesitated for a moment with his answer. “No. Claudia is dead. Whatever this spear may be, if Agarthi and Shamballah can be wiped out with it, we’ll get it. “He turned into a parking lot and stopped the car without turning off the engine.” So ‘Now you could drive again, I have to hit my ear a bit.’ The two exchange”Would you only go in there if there was no resistance?” Villiger hesitated for a moment. “No. Claudia is dead. Whatever this spear may be, if Agarthi and Shamballah are wiped out with it can, then we get him. ” He turned into a parking lot and stopped the car without turning off the engine. “So, now you could go again. I have to hit my ear a bit. “The two swap”Would you only go in there if there was no resistance?” Villiger hesitated for a moment. “No. Claudia is dead. Whatever this spear may be, if Agarthi and Shamballah are wiped out with it can, then we get him. ” He turned into a parking lot and stopped the car without turning off the engine. “So, now you could go again. I have to hit my ear a bit. “The two swapNow you could drive again. I have to hit my ear a bit. “The two swapNow you could drive again. I have to hit my ear a bit. “The two swapthe seats. Weigert sat behind the wheel and drove on. When he was back in the highway traffic, his friend spoke up. “A stupid question, Hans. If that’s the case, we’ll grab the spear. But what did we do with it? “The question was not stupid, but Weigert did not know the answer, not at least.” I do not know, but this spear seems to be of utmost importance to Agarthi and Shamballah, this man in the cafe spoke of the ‘spear of destiny’, maybe we can play destiny with it. ” Villiger grunted something Weigert could not understand. Then his eyes closed and his friend fell asleep. 180 Frankfurt “Well, and here’s another signature, please.” The man signed with Karl-Heinz Essinger.It was the name on which his driver’s license was issued. Next to it, the computer had printed the date and time on the form. December 21, 4:58 pm The clerk smiled, exposing two rows of flawless teeth whose whites stood in exciting contrast to the red of their lips. She pointed to one of the exits. “You find the car if you go over there, just to the left. It’s a blue Ford. The license plate is on the form. So you do not try faking it. “The man reached for the key.” Thank you. ” “Goodbye and good trip.” “Goodbye.” It was a lie. She would never see him again. Karl Steiner knew that today would be the last winter solstice of his life. Five days ago,When he was still sitting in the solitude of the Tibetan mountains, his fate had revealed itself to him. He had not mourned for a second. A human being was nothing compared to the world served by Steinen. Not even when this man has made great progress on the way to the divine. Now it was time to fulfill destiny. The old had to pass, for the new was already emerging as a silver lining on the horizon. Once the spear’s power was summoned, no one would stop Agarthi. That was his last great job before he would change forever from one world to another. Rarely had Steiner felt so free. Rome “Seven minutes past five. It’s about time. “Carlsson paced nervously, smoking. Beckett sat at the table, lost in thought.Suddenly one of the phones buzzed again. The man in the square had just got up to get some cigarettes. Carlsson rushed to the phone and picked himself up. “Task Force.” “Target Three has just left the airport and picked up a woman who came with the TWA machine from New York. Are we going to stay on?” “Yes of course. Log in as soon as you know where the two are going. End. “Beckett had watched Carlsson.” And? ” “The man in London did not fly away. He just picked someone up from the airport. One woman. “” Can you tell where the other two are? ” Carlsson had two talks. Then he had the information. “The man from Munich is now driving past Würzburg in the direction of Kassel.The other from Naples sits alone in a restaurant in Terracina. That’s about half way to Rome. “” Can you show me the route from our Munich friend on the map? ” “Yes, here.” Carlsson ran his finger along the track, “So that would fit?” “So far, yes.” “Can we be at the castle in time?” “It could work out with the jet and a helicopter from Cologne / Bonn.” “Then tell your people, we’ll start.” Wewelsburg What have been decades for a structure that for 400 years looked down from the hills to the valleys all around? It was as if the Wewelsburg had waited. That the disciples of Agarthi would come back once and awaken them from their sleep. Now it was time.A few hours ago a strong north wind had swept the clouds from the sky and left it in virgin blue. Only then was the sun set behind the horizon. The darkness of the night had come over the land from the east to take him in his arms. But the longest night of the year would be short lived today. The rebirth of a new sun would take place in her lap, a sun that only the few would be able to see, a black sun rising from the very foundation of time. And the next morning, fresh, clear, and cold, it would not be the same as it was today. The spear of fate would cause both procreation and death. His power would breathe life into the black sun and awaken a new era.And at the same time, his tip would dig deep into the womb of the old days and kill her. The story would hold its breath, then take a deep breath, change their direction and rush toward a new destination with giant strides. And the men of Agarthi would ride on their shoulders. The hour of the decision was there. “So far twelve people have disappeared in the castle, the last one about twenty minutes ago. You have taken the entrance to a tower that is outside the courtyard. As far as we can see so far, the event is likely to go largely unsecured on the stage. We could not make out any sentries. But it is quite possiblethat a reception committee for uninvited guests is available in the rooms of the castle or somewhere in the village. Shall we do something? “The intelligence man pressed the phone to his ear to better understand what was said at the other end of the link, a sound that sounded like the crackle of a helicopter rotor. let him hear the words of Carlsson only vaguely. “No, no way, wait until we’re there.” “And what if someone wants to disappear in the meantime?” At the other end, there was a short pause, and the task force officer seemed to be speaking to someone, “In that case you strike right away, but watch out, it’s expect the target people to be armed, if something suspicious happens tell us immediately. “”Roger that. When can you be here? “” In twenty minutes, I suppose. ” “All right. The agent put the receiver back on its cradle and the second man in the car had overheard, the third a few hundred yards behind a stack of construction materials, watching the entrance to the castle’s north tower Where twelve men had disappeared inside the walls, the top of the three UN agents reached into the back seat, pulling the lightweight Kevlar helmet forward and tucking it over his head, “you stay with the car We keep contact via Helmfunk, you tell me everything that seems suspicious to you, John and I will inform you about the situation at the castle, if there is something to do there, then you will give it to the chief of operations immediately. ” “It could get hot today.”Looks that way and that’s why we’re going to unpack the heavy artillery.” The two men got out and went to the trunk of their car, carefully parked in the shade of a barn. The one addressed with Dieter opened the lid and handed his boss a belt to which two bags were attached. Each contained two full magazines for the submachine guns, which were also in the trunk. His boss strapped on the strap. Then he took out another belt and two machine pistols. “I will bring John his toy. He loves this junk anyway. “” If that jerk had not forgotten to pack the bullet-proof vests and the night-vision equipment this morning, I really do not want to catch a bullet twelfth,we are three. A nice disproportion, do not you think? “” If so, as far as we’ve seen, none of the men have automatic weapons with them, maybe they do not even have pistols, and besides, the air cavalry is already on the way. ” The man just shook his head in disbelief and put on his helmet. He turned on the radio. “Audition. One, two, three. “” Alright, it works, so, I’m going to sock John. ” “Do not you want to take a helmet for him? What if you have to split up? “” I can not carry that much, I’ve got to carry his gun and the magazines, I’ll call when I’m with John, it’ll take about five to ten minutes. ” “There it is!”Weigert switched off the engine and let the car roll out on the side of the road. Above the roofs of the small village, the outlines of the castle stood out. They were clearer to recognize than he had assumed. No wonder. The full moon stood in full glory in the cloudless sky, bathing the landscape in its mild light. Villiger reached into the glove box and pulled out the two pistols Lucentini had given him. He handed one to Weigert. He hesitated a moment before grabbing her. “Take it already! Think about Claudia! “Weigert reached in. They both loaded their weapons, and in the distance a dog howled, Weigert put the pistol in the pocket of his leather jacket.” It’s about 500 meters to the castle past the houses,otherwise we will run into a night owl again. Somewhere in front there … “- Weigert pointed with his hand the direction -” there we have to turn left, then we come directly to the entrance of the North Tower. ” “Are you sure that the tower is the right place? Could not they be in the hall where the black sun is set in the ground? “” I’m almost certain they’re in the Valhalla, if not we’ll take the hall. ” Villiger’s eyes radiated his determination to atone for Claudia’s death, and the spear was now the object in which to focus his emotions, and that would be the hardest thing for Agarthi and Shamballah, and that’s what he wanted Peter would not hesitate for a moment to use his weapon,Weigert thought, and at the same time hoped that his friend would find no occasion for it. “Well then, let’s go.” The two climbed out of the car and made their way, careful to avoid any noise, the light from the full moon making it easy for them to straighten out, and twelve minutes later they collapsed side by side Grass sinking, the excitement that had spread in them made them unaware of the cold, staring forward to the entrance to the castle’s north tower, “Looks pretty calm.” Villiger had lowered his voice to whisper. “Yes, almost too quiet. If the UN secret service had found it, he would have stormed the castle long ago. So we’re just dealing with Agarthi. “” If anyone’s there, what now? “”We have to go in.” “I know that too, but how do you just want to go through the gate and greet the gentlemen in a friendly manner? What if they are armed?” Weigert lowered his eyes to the ground and looked at a clump of withered blades of grass sticking out of the ground. He thought. Villiger interrupted him. “Are you scared?” Weigert hesitated with his answer, then it came very softly over his lips. “Yes.” “Me too.” They were silent, half a minute passed, then it was Villiger, who spoke again. “If so, what did Egger always say, once you decide to jump, jump.” Weigert remembered the small, wiry instructor with the funny mustache. He had taught them to fight in the military.At that time, the two friends had still considered this as fun. But today … there he was. The spear of fate. Spread on a stone cube right in the middle of the Valhalla, over which the men of Agarthi had spread a train of velvet, blood-red cloth. Exactly 50 centimeters and seven millimeters long was the fate that had once been a simple spearhead sitting on a wooden shaft. Out of the iron leaf, around the year 1000, a blacksmith had sprung oval-pointed the middle ridge 185 and placed in this place a nail of the cross on which Jesus Christ had been struck. The spear had broken apart in the middle. The blacksmith then had some strong copper wires attached to hold the two parts together.With additional wires, two small knife blades – one right, one left – were attached to the lower end of the lance. A few decades later, under Henry IV, a silver cuff had been placed in the middle. About 300 years later, under Charles IV of Bohemia, the silver cuff had been exchanged for gold. She now bore the inscription “LANCEA ET CLAVVS DOMINI” – lance and nail of the Lord – that’s what the Spear of Fate still looked like today, when the Roman legionnaire Longinus had once bored the spear into the body of Jesus Blood of the Son of God had wetted the metal of the weapon, the power of the other world had jumped on the one, its focus was on the spear that was destined to determine the fate of humanity in the future, and so he traced his trail through history, Mauritius .Leader of the Theban Legion and direct descendant of the Longinus held him in his hand as he breathed his last breath. 6666 soldiers had previously paid their fidelity to their leader and their faith with death. The Legion had been commissioned by Maximian to crush a Christian uprising. When Mauritius and his men refused to execute the order and fight their fellow believers, Maximian made an example. He snatched the spear from dead Mauritius. Constantine the Great, who married Maximian’s daughter, received the lance as a wedding gift. Constantine clutched the spear as he rode into battle on the Milvian Bridge near Rome, where it decided who would rule the Roman Empire in the future. Attila, the King of the Huns,whose hordes were plundering and assassinating from the east, headed for Europe, spared the city of Constantinople during his campaign. But the price was gold and – the Holy Lance. But Attila did not know their power. The conquest of Rome failed. And so he rode before the gates of the city and threw the sacred weapon at the feet of the Roman officers, saying, “Take them back!” Karl Martell let the spear guide him as he won his victory against the Arabs at Poitiers. Trusting in the power of the lance, Charlemagne had led 47 successful campaigns, with Heinrich der Vogeler passing on the spear to the English king Athelstan, and when his sister Eadgita Otto married the Great, the symbol of power returned to Germany.With the help of Otto succeeded the victory on the Lechfeld. He passed on the Holy Lance to his son, who in turn gave it to his son, Otto III. After Henry II and his son and grandson, the spear finally landed at Friedrich Barbarossa. When he drowned in a Turkish river with a huge crusade army on his way to Jerusalem, Leopold of Austria took the spear. He brought him back to Palestine a, 1000 years after the Lance left that place where the power of the other world had jumped on one. There, a German order of knights took over the care of the sanctuary. In its wake, the spear was brought from palestine to eastern Europe. However, when the Mongols made this region unsafe during the time of Frederick II, they decided toto bring the lance back to Germany. There she was in 186 – largely unnoticed – the next 550 years. The scepter was now the symbol of the kingdom. In 1806, when Napoleon’s troops overrun most of Europe and defeated the First Reich, they hid the Holy Spear in a tunnel under Nuremberg Castle. But this place did not seem secure enough. And so he was brought to Vienna, where he passed into the possession of the house of Habsburg. In the night of March 14 to March 15, 1938, a new man took possession of the symbol in the Vienna Treasury, to which he had yielded 18 years previously. Adolf Hitler and the men of Agarthi remained for seven years to use the power of the spear. On April 30, 1945, fate changed to Shamballah. Until two nights ago.For now it had returned to the Wewelsburg. Twelve stone platforms nestled against the walls of the dome-shaped cellar vault. Eleven stood, absorbed in a trance, by Agarthi’s chosen ones. The twelfth podium was free. Karl Steiner would enter it when he finished his meditation before the spear. Seconds later, a beam of the full moon would fall through the wall opening and plunge the spear into its pale light. Then the time for the rebirth of Agarthis would have come in this world. The UN agent picked up the submachine gun and magazine pockets and, as he strapped on the strap, the other one knelt behind the pile of boards and peered toward the tower, then adjusted the small microphone on the radio hear me, Dieter? “The answer followed promptly. “Yeah, no problem.” “I’m with John now, there’s still nothing going on here, end.” “All right, end.” John unloaded the submachine gun, his face reflecting the hangman’s joyful anticipation of execution, “when are we going in there?” “Not at the moment. A command is on the way here. They will arrive in a few minutes. I suppose it will start then. “” I hope so … I have that … “John whirled around and started the submachine gun. The barrel now pointed against the bushes behind them. “Did you hear that?” “What?” The answer went down in a frenzied staccato of shots. The first bullets drove one meter into the ground in front of the two men. Then, fractions of a second later, the salvo danced closer.The last sound J heard was the clapping the lead pieces made as they punched the wood of the boards. Before, they had pierced the body of the UN agent. “Let me go.” Hans Weigert was about to straighten up when the cold night air was torn apart by the whip of the shots, and he instinctively threw himself to the ground and pressed his face to the ground, his body paralyzed. Villiger had rolled around and brought his pistol in both hands.There, about two hundred yards half-right, he saw the flash of muzzle-fire glowing into the night, and he aimed at the spot where it kept coming A lump had formed in his throat, his stomach felt as if ants were running around in it.His heart beat fast. He was afraid. When he finally realized that the fire was not for him and Weigert, he looked over for a moment at his friend. Weigert turned around slowly and carefully, his body nestled close to the ground. He, too, held his weapon in his hand. The shooting had stopped. It was spooky and quiet. But the night just seemed to wait for the right moment for another surprise. “Crap! Where does that come from? “Although Weigert muffled his voice to a whisper, one could feel the excitement and fear that lay in it.” Over there. ” Villiger pointed the pistol in the direction. “It did not apply to us.” Weigert gave a deep sigh that meant relief and despair at the same time.His thoughts turned in circles. Now! Now they had to go to the castle! Even before the men of Agarthi disappeared again in the night. They must have heard the shots. Shots … The sound of death … Why he, the hell !? Weigert would much rather have run away. But what then? There was fate inside! And nowhere else! If he did not act now, never again. He had to fulfill his destiny and nobody would help him with it. Except Villiger. “Come on! We have to go in! Now! “” Are you crazy !? ” Villiger wanted to hold back Weigert. But this was already jumped up and worked in the protection of the bushes in the direction of the North Tower. Claudia was dead. And his friend was well on the way to following her. No! He could not leave him alone. Not because of Agarthi,not because of Shamballah and not because of the spear. The only thing that mattered right now was their friendship. Now or never! Fighting fate had to prove what it was worth. When Villiger jumped up, gunshots whipped again. But still they were not the two friends. Where was Weigert? Now he saw him. Twenty meters ahead, he crouched in the shadow of a shrubbery. Villiger started. Damn it! What was Hans doing now? He could see how Weigert straightened up and jumped out onto the little footpath that led to the entrance to the tower. Until then his friend had ten, maybe fifteen meters. He saw it. A figure came out of a wall recess beside the gate. Frightened, she paused when she saw Weigert, who was storming the road in full swing.Now he, too, recognized the danger. He dropped and rolled sideways. The figure lifted his arms. Villiger recognized the outline of a submachine gun in the moonlight. Immediately, their deadly content would pour in the direction of Weigert. Villiger stopped abruptly, went slightly to his knees and aimed. No thought clouded his instincts. His forefinger crooked. Once, twice, three times. The figure was thrown back, bouncing against the heavy wooden gate of the tower entrance, and slowly slid down. The submachine gun rattled to the ground. When Weigert turned around, Villiger had already left. He dragged the dead body aside and reached for the weapon he had just held in his hands. His friend opened the gate. Entry into the Valhalla was free. “Dieter, please come!””What is going on with you? Who shot there? “” No idea, I’m stuck here! John got it! ” While the UNO agent uttered the words, he tried to make out his opponents. They had to be at least two. Suddenly it crashed three times in quick succession. The tower! He turned around hastily and saw two men walking toward the entrance. Before that, with his back against the door, was someone. Now he was dragged away. “Fast, Dieter! Someone is trying to break into the castle! Inform the operations manager! And then help me! Please! “The man in the car reached for the receiver of the radiotelephone.” Team Five calls in charge! ” It seemed like an eternity before someone answered. “Here are Einsatzleiter. What’s going on? “” Someone is trying to invade the castle!One of us has been hit. What should we do? “” As long as the target people do not come out of the castle, nothing at all. We’ll be with you shortly. ” Carlsson looked at Beckett, who was sitting next to him in the helicopter. “Who can that be?” Beckett stared at the bottom of the helicopter, then slowly raised his head. “Refuse, that dog, he did it.” “Fast! Down! “Weigert and Villiger stormed down the stairs into the Walhalla, their weapons at bay, Villiger the first to plunge into the cellar vault, Weigert followed a tenth of a second later.” Hands up, no one moves! ” Only now did Weigert realize there were twelve men in the room. Eleven of them stood on the podiums, which nestled against the wall.Her eyes were fixed in the middle of the vault. They had to be in a trance. A man was on his way to the last free podium. Weigert only saw his back. The man made no move to comply, Villiger shot up, the bang was deafening, often amplified by the vault, no response, and the man moved on and climbed onto the podium. Only then did he turn around – Weigert was startled, though he had guessed. “Steiner!” “I’ve been waiting for you, Mr. Weigert.” Weigert leapt into the circular hollow, in the center of which stood the stone cube laden with blood-red velvet with the spear, reaching for the sacred lance and lifting it up, at that moment The moonlight fell through the small opening high in the wall.The beam hit exactly where the spear had been. It was dead quiet. The looks of Weigert and Steiner met each other. Steiner raised his hand admonishingly. His face remained unmoved. “And now, Mr. Weigert? What do you want with the spear? Your life counts after years. But Agarthi lives forever. Others will come to take destiny in hand. You can not stop the story. “” I can, Steiner, I can, because I want! ” Weigert shoved the spear into his pocket. Almost half of them stood out. “Hans! Do you hear that? “Villiger had retreated to the entrance of the vault and listened.” That sounds like a helicopter! Let’s get away! ” Weigert slowly went backwards, always keeping Steiner in mind. “Goodbye, Steiner!”He turned and walked up the narrow spiral staircase. Villiger followed and secured the machine pistol behind him. At the top, Villiger slammed the heavy oak door. He reached for a piece of wood lying on the floor and slid it into the crack under the door. Weigert looked up. “There! The helicopter! “” Down there they are! Go on, down! ” Carlsson yelled at the pilot. Beckett clung convulsively to his seat as the helicopter was abruptly pulled down. Carlsson screamed even louder now. Just a few minutes ago, the UN agents had opened the sliding doors on the sides of the helicopter, one each strapped into the openings, with both men now having their submachine guns in place.While the remaining four agents positioned themselves to jump out of the helicopter as quickly as possible before landing, the men in the open doors opened the fire. Weigert had already taken a few steps ahead. Now he turned and shouted to Villiger. “Leave the door! We’ve got to go! “His friend was about to turn around when the first volley hit him in the castle wall, Weigert threw himself to the ground, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Villiger drop as well and come to rest behind a shrubbery The helicopter was only ten meters off the ground, and in two or three seconds it would start up, and next to Weigert, the bullets drove into the frozen ground, tearing out lumps of earth.Fainted with rage, he brought his pistol with both hands in the direction of the helicopter and pulled the trigger. Five feet from him, Villiger had pulled the MP to his shoulder and straightened up a bit. When he tried to crouch his forefinger, a powerful thump threw him back. He rolled around. When he saw the blood on his chest, he was suddenly overcome with the certainty that he had fulfilled his destiny. The man in the helicopter’s right-hand door tore the empty magazine from the gun, dropped it and yanked a new one from his belt. When he jerked it into the opening, the glass of the cockpit broke. The man behind it screamed and let go of the steering wheel. Immediately the helicopter crashed. Four meters free fall, then he opened. The skids broke apart under pressure,the hull crashed to the ground, burying the legs of the man beneath him who had just changed the magazine of his weapon. Beckett crouched dazed in his seat. One of the agents had fallen out of the open door and hit the helicopter at the same time. The pilot was hanging dead in his belts. The co-pilot held his right leg, from whose thigh the blood welled up. Carlsson and the other agents had been able to hold on in time. Now they jumped out of the machine. Villiger saw the helicopter collide with the ground. Once again he reached for the machine gun, gathered his last strength, and scrambled to his feet. Now the men jumped out of the damaged helicopter. He stood with his legs apart and shot.The bullets pattered against the metal of the helicopter and pierced it. The men returned the fire. Villiger was hit again – first in the shoulder, then in the leg and finally in the stomach. He collapsed. As his body hit the ground, the tank of the helicopter exploded with a thunderous bang. While the flames reached for Thomas Beckett to eat his flesh, Peter Villiger drew breath for the last time. His mouth twisted into a hint of a smile. He and Weigert: They had won! He had been waiting for this life for a lifetime. Then he sought admission to the other world. Austria, December 25th Winter graciously spread his white blanket over the land. Hidden beneath it, nature gathered new strength,to be able to reborn in spring in full bloom. But until then she was in deep sleep. The sky was covered with low-hanging clouds that had been trying to lighten for hours, unceasingly setting a dense veil of snowflakes on the ground. The branches of the firs were already bent under the heavy weight that the sky had transmitted to them. But between them, amidst the loneliness of the woods, stood someone who had been charged a much heavier burden. Hans Weigert looked out at the smooth surface of the small lake. His damp hair hung in his forehead, tears in his eyes. All around there was a diffused twilight. It was of the kind that must have been in the place that marked the transition from one world to the other.A light that warned the wanderer to tell him: Here is a limit that can only be crossed by the few. The many may turn back. Three hours of strenuous walk were behind Weigert. Through the dark woods, over the steep ridges, to the small lake. It lay in the midst of a concealed basin that gave the accumulation of water just enough room to be called “lake.” Immediately on its bank, the tree-covered slopes rose steeply, no house standing here, no road The only access that did not cross the mountains was a short boat ride, as the small lake was the last in a series of three waters, the first of which was by far the largest, and dominated in the summer there busy life,when the tourists filled the many neat houses to enjoy their vacation and the wealthy guests, mainly from Vienna, exchanged their tailored suits for leather trousers. The second body of water in this row of three was about 15 minutes’ walk from the first, connected to it by a small river, in whose cold tides you could see the slender bodies of trout flitting in the summer. As we approached across the sandy beach, which partly followed the course of the small river, we came across the only building there: a small wooden house that housed a restaurant and a boat rental business in the warmer months of the year. And from here you could then – across the dark, deep floods – almost row to that third body of water, which was the last in line,separated from the second only by a few hundred meters of land, but in turn connected to it by a brook rippling cheerfully over the stones.
Now that winter was in the country, the wooden house with the boat rental was closed. And so Weigert had chosen the arduous path over the mountains, like an outcast who secretly sneaked back to the place of his youth to see if anything had changed. That’s how it was. For Weigert had been here for the first time at fifteen, together with his father. It had been a wonderful, easy time back then. Back when he was young. But that was a long time ago. Weigert sat down carefully on a fallen tree trunk. His legs ached from the strain of the march. He rested his elbows on his upper thighs,He put his head in his hands and stared at the lake. It had not been very cold in the last few days. That was why only a thin layer of ice could form on the shore, no more than a meter or two in the distance. And yet, like the snow all around, she transmitted the impression of deep cold. Claudia was dead. Peter was dead. Hillgruber too.
Yesterday, on Christmas Day, he had learned from the “Journal of Death” his departmental chiefs. “The car pulled off the snow-slippery road, overturned several times and finally crashed twenty meters over an embankment, then went up in flames could only be killed dead. ” There followed a long obituary for the well-deserved editor of the “Blatt”, who had been loyal to his newspaper for more than two decades.Now he was no longer alive, and with him the only hope Die Weigert had left had died. The results of his research, the list of Agarthi sleepers, everything he had sent to his departmental chief was no more. Either burnt with Hillgrubber or in the wrong hands. There was no one who could convince Weigert that Hillgruber’s death had been an accident. He had also been sacrificed on the altar of the other world, like Peter and Claudia. He, Hans Weigert, was the only one who was missing. The hunt had already begun. Only with luck had he succeeded in getting here unmolested by the Wewelsburg. But he did not have any illusions. They would get him tomorrow, a week, a month, sometime. Because he owned somethingthat was of paramount importance to his hunters. He had already finished his life. All that was left was to finish the last act. He opened the zipper of his anorak, reached for the watertight metal box underneath, and pulled it out. It contained the key to the vault containing the two CDs he’d found on Pierre Martin, a copy of his search results written for Hillgruber, and – the spear.
Was this old weapon really a secret that was inaccessible to the one world in which Heigert, still alive? Was there really another world, as Steiner had told him in the Tibetan mountains or the unknown in the Roman cafe?
And did this other world actuallywhat happened in that of Weigert? Were Agarthi and Shamballah just a bunch of nuts who made their esotericism a political maxim? Garakin, Volker, Greenspan, Martin, his wife, all those who had died in the Wewelsburg, and especially Claudia and Peter: their death was a bloody reality.
And if they had Weigert once, he would not be the last on the list, just as Garakin was probably not the first. Agarthi and Shamballah, they would live on. Whether in this world or in another. But the spear of the fate would disappear forever. Maybe that could break her power. But maybe nothing but an old piece of metal disappeared. Weigert knew that the bottom of the small lake dropped steeply just after the bank. The water was very deep,in any case, much lower than one might have thought because of the size of the water.
Here, the spear, 2,000 years after he had, according to legend, pierced the body of Christ, would find his last dignified resting place. Weigert pulled out and threw the metal box far out. It permeated the dense snow, turned a few times in the air, and hit the water. A few fractions of a second, she stayed on the surface, then she sank. And fate sank with her. Weigert stared at the spot until the circles on the water had receded. Then he turned and started walking.
He had done what he could. If the hunters now find their victim. One would be able to take his life for him, not his secret.German section | Velesova Sloboda | 2010 Thule-Watch The scene timer – the symbol of the Black Sun dial! Chromed metal case, mineral glass, Swiss quality movement, water resistant,