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[This Quest is Bullshit] - Chapter 10: Promotion Commotion
Preston rubbed the back of his neck. “I—um—I’m sorry about that. One of them grabbed me and I—”
Wes cut him off, “It’s alright. These things happen. Instead of worrying about it, go heal Eve.”
The Acolyte blanched. “Right. Eve. I’m so sorry.” He dashed across the room, gently placing a glowing hand on her aching shoulder.
Ayla’s light was no less invasive than it’d been before, but Eve was ready this time. She braced herself against the golden onslaught, allowing Her forgiveness to course through the sprained and dislocated joint.
So engulfed was she in the intensity of the healing, she didn’t even notice the burst of agony as her shoulder popped back into place. The relief was immediate.
“Now that’s dealt with,” Alex broke the silence, “how in the hells did you unlock a Rare class?”
Wes turned up his palms. “I don’t fucking know! The requirement list says some crap about knowing the true nature of fire.”
“Well?” Eve stood. “Are you gonna tell us what it is?”
“I haven’t technically chosen it yet, but it’s the only Rare option. Acolyte of the Devouring Flame.”
Eve raised her eyebrows. “Say what you will about whether he deserves it; that sounds badass.”
Alex grimaced. “Badass and unfair.”
“You’re right, it is unfair. Just like it’s unfair that I got stuck with a noncombat class or Preston’s the only guy in an all-female holy order. But it’s not his fault. And it’s not mine, and it’s not Preston’s. So maybe you could get off your high horse and stop being an asshole about it.”
Alex shut her mouth, grit her teeth, and stormed from the chamber.
Wes turned to Eve. “Where did that come from?”
She exhaled. “Alex isn’t the only one feeling a little frustrated. She’s been rude since we met her, and I just put off reading my own upgrades so I could hear about yours.”
“Then read them.”
“I don’t need you to yell at Alex for me, and I don’t need you to celebrate my promotion for me. What I need is for you to celebrate yours. You saved our asses there, Eve, and you deserve every bit of reward that comes with it.”
“Awwww,” the healer cooed from across the room.
Eve glared. “Not now, Preston.”
The Acolyte jumped. “Right. Sorry. I’ll just…” He took his leave.
“So.” Wes peered down at her. “What’d you get?”
Eve pushed herself to her feet. “Not here. Not… with him.” She gestured down at Steven’s corpse. “Let’s go. I can read while we walk.”
Accepting Wes’s nod and quiet smile, Eve stepped over the fallen zombies and into the spiral hallway. She forced the necromancer from her mind as she walked; she could deal with those emotions later. For now, at last, she read her messages.
Class Upgrade Available: Envoy Common Tier 3 Class Requirements: Courier or Page base class. From humble beginnings, you’ve fought your way up the ladder into a position with real—if limited—influence. No more do you carry letters or packages, but diplomatic missives of great import. +15 Endurance +3 Endurance/Level
Eve dismissed the option outright. Definitely not taking another Common class, she thought. Especially not glorified Messenger Girl. She opened the next one.
Class Upgrade Available: Starlight Runner Uncommon Tier 3 Class Requirements: Courier, Scout, Thief or Messenger base class. Use your skills to escape under the cover of the stars. Reach enough Endurance to run through the night.
The night is your friend, and you’re determined to use it. Hide in the shadows, or shine silver starlight to expose that which is hidden. +25 Endurance +5 Spirit +9 Endurance/Level +1 Spirit/Level
Eve reread the class description. Well that’s vague. The name certainly sounded interesting, and the stats it granted caught her attention. Spirit meant magic. She flagged it as an option, but a few details left her with reservations.
First and foremost, nothing about it read like a combat class. Useful as stealth may be, she could already escape combat on her own. She needed something that could help the party, and she needed something that would get her into the guild. Starlight Runner did neither.
Class Upgrade Available: Medic Uncommon Tier 3 Class Requirements: Put your own life at risk to save another’s three times. Rescue someone from certain death by pulling them from combat. Make a personal sacrifice to stay at a patient’s side as he recovers.
Time and time again you’ve risked life and limb to save another, and should the opportunity arise again, you’ll take it. The life of a medic isn’t the most glamorous or renowned. You won’t be leading armies into battle or defeating ancient beasts, but to those people you save, you mean everything. You are a hero in the truest sense of the word. +20 Endurance +7 Spirit
+3 Intelligence +8 Endurance/Level +1 Intelligence/Level +1 Spirit/Level
Eve flagged this one too. Sure, the description seemed to imply the class wasn’t a good fit for someone on a Legendary quest, but she certainly liked the sound of it. A hero in the truest sense of the word, huh? She grinned.
Once again, the presence of Spirit meant the class likely had access to magic, but given the low quantities it probably wasn’t much. Given the name, they were likely healing spells meant to stabilize a wounded soldier until she could deliver him to safety. The class had two problems.
For one, while technically a combat class to satisfy the guild requirement, Medic was no use for fighting. Gaining exp would be a chore. Beyond that, their little party already had a healer. She liked Preston well enough. He’d even healed her twice in one day, and taking his job didn’t feel a great way to repay that.
She moved on.
Class Upgrade Available: Shatterfate Striker Rare Tier 3 Class Requirements: Successfully wield a weapon beyond your ability. As a noncombat class, defeat an enemy beyond your level. As a noncombat class, use a defensive ability offensively. Choose not to complete your life’s quest when given the opportunity. Accept and overcome the inequality of life.
The gods do not play dice, and neither do you. Unhappy with the life before you, you clenched your fists and stood your ground and whispered defiance at fate itself. You’ve proven to the divine, to the mundane, and to your very soul that this is the way of things. The path of shattered fate is neither safe nor easy, but know that as long as you choose to walk it, it is yours. +25 Endurance +15 Strength +5 Constitution +5 Dexterity +15 Endurance/Level +6 Strength/Level +5 Dexterity/Level +4 Constitution/Level
Eve fell over.
In her distraction, she hadn’t seen the dead zombie lying on the floor before her. She tripped over it, her arms windmilling as she careened forward into the opposite wall.
Wes laughed. “This is why we don’t read while we walk.”
“It’s not that…”
Wes gave her a concerned look. “Passing up an opportunity for a witty retort? That’s not like you. What’s wrong?”
“Sorry, I… I’m just thinking about my options.”
He helped her up. “Anything good?”
“How—um—how many stats will you get? Once you take your Rare class.”
“Twenty a level,” he rattled off the answer. “Split between Intelligence and Spirit with a sliver of Constitution in there for survivability. I’d guess it’ll be thirty per level once I hit tier 3.”
Eve nodded. “Yeah that’s right.”
Wes stopped in his tracks. “Right because you checked my math, or because you know?”
The width of her grin told him everything.
He surged forward, wrapping her in a tight hug. A combination of his natural strength and their difference in height left Eve’s feet dangling in the air. “Eve, that’s incredible! It hasn’t even been two weeks!”
“I mean… most of the experience came from my quest, and you know that’s not exactly fair.”
Wes set her down, staring deeply into her eyes as he replied. “Your quest didn’t give you a Rare class; it gave you a shitty one. You earned it.”
“It’s not like I—well—” she sighed. “Thank you.”
Wes smiled. “Guess it’s my turn to play catch-up, huh?”
Eve chuckled, taking a step to continue their walk through the dim tunnel.
Wes only needed a few long strides to catch back up with her. “What are the abilities?”
“I don’t know; I haven’t taken it yet.”
“Wanna hit ‘yes’ together?”
Eve shook her head. “Not here. I’ve heard the stories. Grondis the Great slept for thirty days when he jumped to his Legendary class. I’m not about to pass out in the middle of a crypt.”
“That’s a song. Besides, you aren’t getting a Legendary class.”
“I’m not getting a Legendary class now.” she corrected him. “We can wait until we get back to Lynthia.”
“Alright, alright,” he held up his hands in defeat. “But I’m telling the others.”
“What? It’s my class. They already kno—”
Preston’s voice interrupted her from the barrow’s exit. “Tell the others what?”
Wes stepped outside. “Eve got a Rare too.”
The healer’s mouth hung open. “Bandir’s balls, two rare upgrades in one day? That’s amazing!”
Alex stared with wide eyes. “Congratulations. You deserve it.” In a single motion, the Soldier turned on her heel and strode away.
“Seriously?” Wes watched her go. “How come she yells at me but congratulates you?”
“Because the one time she’s seen us fight I saved the day while you fell on your face?”
“Hey! I could’ve—”
Eve snapped her fingers as the realization struck her. “Speaking of which,” she held out a hand. “Pay up.”
“But it’s my last one.”
“Then get more. If it weren’t for me, a zombie would be eating you and it right now.”
Wes grumbled as he pulled the pack from his shoulder, digging through it to withdraw the final strawberry scone. He handed it over.
“That looks tasty,” Preston commented as Eve took a bite.
“It is,” Wes groaned. “And knowing her talent for getting bakeries shut down, it’ll be a while until I can find more. If I can even afford them.”
“Come on,” Eve licked sugary crumbs from her lips as she spoke. “You still have the hydra scales and that lightning staff/wand thing to sell. Not to mention payment for the job we just did.”
“Right, but I imagine a certain someone is going to use most of that to pay her guild fees.”
Eve smirked. “Oh, sorry, I misspoke. I meant payment for the job I just did.”
Preston guffawed. “She’s got you there.”
Wes cocked an eyebrow at him. “Strong words for a priestess.”
“Hey,” Eve stepped in. “Acolyte,” she corrected. “He’s not a priestess. Yet.”
Preston looked up at the tall mage. “Wait a minute, didn’t you say your new class is an Acolyte too?”
He nodded. “Acolyte of the Devouring Flame.”
The healer smiled. “I guess we’re peers then, huh? Maybe you can make it to priestess some day too.”
Wes scoffed. “Please. We all know I’m going to skip straight to Lord or Master of the Devouring Flame.”
Preston turned to Eve. “Five silver says he ends up Fuel for the Devouring Flame.”
It was Eve’s turn to let out a wild giggle. She shook his hand. “I don’t have five silver, but you’re absolutely on.”
The teasing jokes and friendly banter continued on as did the adventurers on their way back to Lynthia and to rest. The mirth of their verbal fencing and the lingering sweetness of the scone on her tongue elevated Eve’s mood beyond even the heights of her impending promotion. How she hoped it would all work out.
As the sun fell low on the horizon and walls of glass loomed up ahead, Eve struggled to keep her thoughts from wandering back to the dark barrow. Necessary or otherwise, she’d killed a man.
She knew she’d had no choice. Steven was a monster who’d murdered innocent animals to practice necromancy, desecrated dozens of ancient bodies, and threatened to kill her friends. This was no moral dilemma. He’d deserved his fate, and that was that. Still, it stuck with her.
It wasn’t so much she felt guilty, or that she questioned the righteousness of her actions. There was just a certain finality to it that left a bad taste in her mouth. Ending a human life was supposed to mean something, and however justified her actions were, it did.
Eve sighed as she and Wes climbed the steps to their shared room. She didn’t want to talk about it. Truth be told, she didn’t want to think about it. She knew she’d done the right thing; it was just a matter of allowing that truth to sink in so she might move on. She needed a distraction.
Fortunately enough, that very evening the world had deemed fit to grant her the greatest diversion it ever could. A thin smile crossed her face as she sat on the bed.
Class Upgrade Available: Shatterfate Striker Rare Tier 3 Class
With a silent prayer to whichever god might listen, Eve lay back, shut her eyes, and hit ‘yes.’
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Gravity’s Rainbow Group Read | Sections 41-45
TOILETSHIP TO ANUBIS – PASSAGE TO THE UNDERGROUND
Hello everyone, this is u/OntologicalErasure_, here is my demo on section 41 to 45. There'll be 2 parts: Part 1: TOILETSHIP and Part 2: ANUBIS. This post is a collaborative effort between me and another reddit user, u/FrenesiGates (highlighted in blue text). I sincerely apologize for my lateness (due to poor time management) and the haphazardness of this section (though rich in detail) that you will eventually notice as you keep reading. Part 2, Anubis, will come soon.
I'll be looking forward to your response and reply whenever I can <3 love y'all. Happy reading.
PART 1, TOILETSHIPSUMMARY:
- We learned about Rücksichstlos, a war ship from a category known as ‘toiletship’ and the bizarre lifestyle of its sailors and officers. It is currently located in the Kiel Canal, in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. It is Christmastime.
- General Electric was doing surveying for its selling potential on the market. This fact we pick up from 2 new characters, Charles and Steve, GE employee.
- Steve sang a song describing his nostalgia for his old day with his fiancée, Sheila, and the futile effort to kill all mosquitoes in Buffalo Bayou (Texas, America).
(2) Horst Achtfaden
- Achtfaden, an aerodynamic engineer who worked on the Rocket component at Peenemunde, was captured by Enzian & the Schwarzkommando.
- Achtfaden’s reminiscence about an old colleague named Fahringer, as he was being investigated by Enzian for information on the mythical Schwarzgerat.
- Achtfaden pleads with them not to hit him while insisting that he knows nothing of the Schwarzgerat. He tells them that he only knew his co-workers by code-names.
- Finally he revealed Klaus Narrisch was one of the people who worked on Rocket guidance control.
This will come in 2 parts - part 1: Rücksichstlos and part 2: Horst Achtfaden
(1) RücksichstlosPersonally, this section is both really satirical and reminiscent of V. period.
The overall color of the ship is grey (when empty), purple and green (crowded). All sailors and officers inhabit their own bathroom/restroom it seems, and the officer’s bathroom is in red velvet.
In the ship, old and ugly women were left to handle enlisted men’s machines.
About the Rücksichtslos’s character traits:
Toiletship is but a class, and Rücksichtslos is the flagship of all toiletships. (From Rücksicht (“consideration”) + -s- + -los = ruthless, inhuman.)
There are 4 main traits:
(1) Specialist’s fanaticism below the surface of Nazi’s fanaticism
(2) "… triumph of German mania for subdividing"
(3) Pynchon/narrator told Achtfaden himself – the toiletship is nothing but a wind tunnel.
(4) It was a war invention that was replaced by v-2 program :)
The Toiletship’s specialists, technologists and advocates all wore smoked grass and gray crew-cut (“The term, originally crew haircut, was most likely coined to describe the hairstyles worn by members of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell and other university crew teams,” . from wiki)
“If the house is organic,” argued the crafty early Toiletship advocates,Translation is… organic things have bathroom because have to shit, you know. Kriegsmarine (navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945) = the house. Toiletship = the bathroom.
“family lives in the house, family’s organic, house is outward-and-visible sign, you see,”
“and if the bathroom’s part of the house—house-is-organic!
All mentions of organic should comfortably bring up the V. dichotomies: organic/animate versus inorganic/inanimate. But that’s not all: all the technologists of the ship were described as “Machiavellian and youthful,” another V. motif.
“Machiavellian and youthful, not quite ripe yet for paranoia,”Of course, it’s hard not to think of the development of organic chemistry when the term ‘organic’ kept popping off on the page.
“Crew morale,” whispered the foxes at the Ministry meetings, “sailors’ superstitions. Mirrors athigh midnight. We know, don’t we?”Foxes here no longer means Spectro or Pointsman’s ‘patients’, but reverts back to Machiavellian’s ‘lion and fox’ distinction.
One notable figure on toiletship was Albert Speer (Link) RHIP, Rank Has Its Privilege (from Urban dictionary) is a German architect, Hitler’s friend and post-war criminal from Nuremberg trials. A small note: (1) August Keluke also moved from architecture into doing architecture in chemistry :) And (2) it is said in the story that Speer already moved on from the organic. Where would he move into, I wonder…
Anyway, in the backdrop of war, we learned that the steel industry seemed to eat more and more coal, which led to the boom in ammunition. On the other hand, the oil industry is running out.
It was Speer who convinced Hitler “to finally sign the order to expedite mass production of the rocket.”
On December 22, 1942, General Dornberger along with the Minister Albert Speer, were summoned to attend an important meeting at the Ministry of War in Berlin. Hitler gave them a directive to build a hardened "blockhaus" in northern France where V-2 rockets could attack England. There would be several V-2 projects in northern France, along with the V-1 and V-3 projects that were also underway. The preparation for the V-2 launching bunkers began in late 1942. In the month of December and January, officers, engineers and scientists from Oberstleutnant Thom & Peenmünde scoured the countryside of northern France searching for appropriate sites.So thank to the rise of the Rocket, Rücksichtslos came out already last year’s fad (in Horst Achtfaden’s words, “a derelict”).
(@/frenesi, There is a mention that the Toiletship plans were never finished because the materials that would’ve been used for all of this went to the rocket program)
[email protected]/frenesi : This toiletship thing is also a representation of the German specialization. Hitler considered Henry Ford to be an inspiring figure – the Henry Ford assembly line in which you have increased specialization of labor. This classification of things is part of this intellectual movement that Pynchon is relating to what the Germans turned into during this period. This is an extreme example of that.
[email protected]/frenesi :There is this German obsession with bricking things up into more specific little roles … this is a ship that just serves as a toilet … the logic is there would be a kitchenship and a bedroomship and a mancaveship and a livingroomship…
Now entered the due Charles and Steve - employees of General Electric. We got to know that this Toiletship is being surveyed for its selling potential on the market.
Charles is being paranoid, while Steve is being surly on top of being paranoid.
@/frenesi: Steve and Sheila – symbol SS (Schutzstaffel was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party). Examples of S alliteration: ‘sloping steel’ , ‘sausage-shaped’, ‘sailors superstitions’ Steve and Sheila…
@/frenesi: Steve sings a silly little song about the time he took Sheila on a date to a slow-moving river in Texas called Buffalo Bayou (and she got stung by a mosquito)
Of course Pynchon described as if the mosquito gave the girl a-dickin’….
So, we got a song followed by a math’s pun, I won’t comment on the pun, but the song is possibly a satire of 2 things:
(1) Operation Hydra which put Horst Achtfaden the aerodynamic engineer out of job
(2) Vietnam War
For the first thing, mosquito might be an allusion to mosquito aircraft that flies with the RAF.
On 30 January 1943, the 10th anniversary of the Nazis' seizure of power, a morning Mosquito attack knocked out the main Berlin broadcasting station while Hermann Göring was speaking, putting his speech off the air.Kiel canal, a major U-boat base and production center in the Baltic and the current location of Rücksichtslos, was bomb-raided heavily by the Allied’s Mosquito aircraft (more than 100 times). (in officer’s bathroom, there are pictures of U-boat sinking :) so they may lose the will to shit, lol)
As for Operation Hydra (1943), please consult wiki and here (Link) :
The evening of Aug. 17, 1943, had passed pleasantly for Wernher von Braun, the technical director of the Peenemünde Army Research Center, the home for Germany’s rocket powered weapons system program. He and members of his team had entertained his longtime friend, test pilot Hannah Reitsch, who was scheduled to conduct a test flight of the Me 163 Komet rocket powered fighter the next day. When the party broke up, von Braun retired to his bachelor quarters. Shortly after midnight he was awakened by the sound of air raid sirens. Dressing quickly, he strode to the nearby air raid alert and communications center to get a status report.Of course, the Vietnam War was more prominent:
Charles 'n' Steve, this largely proceeds as a parody, satire,whatever, of sorts, precisely of those "intellectual reparations" claimedunder Operation Paperclip (:Why don't teh British do something aboutthis?"). But, again, given the historical, literary, cinematic, cultural,political, whatever contexts for Gravity's Rainbow, an, esp. given that itwas written during, published at the USs deepest involvement in, the VietnamWar, any mention of GE in re: military contracts cannot help but evokeVietnam. And there's that "Buf-falo Bayou' song, bayou far more evocativeof Indochina than Europe ("Buffalo" evoking US Manifest Destiny,expansionism, Yankee Imperialism), those seemingly brainwashed "boys [...]with minds like an infant," the mosquitoes, "their unspeakable thing,'"we've laid down insecticides, a-and bombed the bayous with citronella"(napalm, Agent Orange) "and it's no good folks. They beed faster'n we cankill 'em, and are we just gonna turn tail and let them be [...]?" (Peacewith Honor) ...Buffalo Bayou. Literally it means ‘Vietnam as America’s backwater’, lol, couldn’t even be more pronounced than this. Of course mosquito swarms are a thing to be expected anywhere in Southeast Asia. Basically a veiled excuse: Vietnamese people (mosquitoes) drove “good church-goin’ kid,” Yanks boys into infantilizing rage enough to want to invade their own country huh? And then the boys would later come back, all war’s veterans now, “with the mind of an infant”.
Ain’t that awesome? Also Ya ta, ta-ta, ya-ta-ta, ta-ta is the sound of machine gun.
Also, the Ptomaine Epidemic of 1943 probably is a reference to Ptomaine poisoning in Minidoka National Historic Site (It commemorates the more than 9,000 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during the Second World War. (wiki)). Eh.
(2) Horst Achtfaden@/frenesi:
Horst Achtfaden – The surname is German for “Eight-thread”. But Faden can also mean “string,” so the surname Achtfaden can be read as “eight-string,” a reference to a guitar that features two more strings than the common six. Horst is common enough that it need not refer to anything, although it may recall famous Nazi culture hero and small-time thug, Horst Wessel. O_O WATCH OUT for Horsts in other works of Thomas Pynchon (BE, M&D, AtD)
Fahringer – The name derives from two German words: the verb fahren, meaning “to drive”; the adjective fahrig, meaning “nervous.” “Nervous driver” is a good name for an aerodynamics man charged with keeping rockets on course. It is also at odds with his Zen-approach to aerodynamic problem solving.
In this section we discovered Rücksichtslos is under Schwarzkommando control and Achtfaden is being captured and interrogated by Enzian.
Between 1939 and 1945, Karlshagen lay in the restricted area of the army laboratory Peenemünde Army Research Center. (Wiki) A housing development for scientists and high-leveled personnel, later destroyed by air raid 1943/44.
Gerda and her Fur Boa: one of the films on the "hand-cranked peep shows" on the Toiletship, which Achtfaden has watched 178 times since his capture. Basic pornography stuff :)
At first we're supposed to think that Schwarzkommando and Achtfaden are on the Toiletship, but, surprise:
There is not much that actually \happens* in this episode,but the narration that is focused through Achtfaden is veryrevealing, if also quite confusing. We don’t find out who isimagining this Toiletship *Rüchsichtslos* untilwe are four pages into the section or that this imaginaryToiletship is actually the wind tunnel used for testing theaerodynamic properties of the Aggregat weapons at theElektromechanische Werke, Karlshagan (AKA the testing station at Peenemunde).*So the Toiletship is actually an illusion, and Achtfaden is trapped in a wind tunnel.
I think this section is analogous to the Kenosha Kid section, which focalises Slothrop's hallucinations as he is dosed on Sodium Amatyl and interrogated at the White Visitation about American race relations in order to provide info for Operation Black Wing. The Toiletship section similarly begins without any context or framing, but it gradually emerges that the text is following Achtfaden, who helped out on a component of the Schwarzgerat.
The Toiletship itself is, I think, an absurd hallucination induced by a drug dose (possibly prompted by the fact that Narrisch is hiding on a toilet? Can't remember). All the math jokes come from him, as he's an engineer...
The narrator is actively at this point, speaking to Achtfaden, who might as well be the readers. So we must listen:
Node, critical points,… super- derivatives… of insatiable flows… that can be set equal to zero… (Why is every equation always equal to zero?)1904 was showed to be the herald, signs and symptoms, Pynchon once said, to the apocalypse that is WW2, extreme heat that preceded the coldness when death walked the earth. Or I’d like to say, the beginning of the inversion process (remember inverted Berlin, where every building was turned inside out?)
So yes, we learnt about the cocaine in cocacola, Ludwig Prandtl and the theory of boundary layers, that perhaps 1904 might be the birth year of Achtfaden? more than 40 years later Horst Achtfaden was made homeless, all thanks to British raids, chased by many spies (a sign of paranoid), but had it in him a “disastrous luck” to fall into the hand of Enzian. Of course Achtfaden would think his life as a joke.
Achtfaden is yet another self-important paranoid: “With thetechnical spies of three or four nations after him, he has hadthe disastrous luck to’ve been picked up by theSchwarzkommando, who for all he knows now constitute anation of their own.” [451.28-9] However, to have theSchwarzkommando be the first to get to him, he must be of little use to the Americans, Russians, or British.So the narrator suggests Achtfaden to abandon all thoughts of swimming upstream, instead (1) attach to it a number and suffer? (2) overcome the pornography of Gerda and her Fur Boa, find a non-dimensional coefficients for himself.
Often the sting was bigger than the model itself—the very need to measure interfered with the observations. That should have been a clue right there. No one wrote then about supersonic flow. It was surrounded by myth, and by a pure, primitive terror.In a control that is out of control?
“They pray not only for their daily bread,” Strese-mann had said, “but also for their daily illusion.” We, staring through the thick glass, had our Daily Shock—the only paper many of us read.
Should pitch and roll frequencies happen to be equal, the resonance would throw the projectile into violent oscillations. It would corkscrew to destruction.
**Gomerians (from GR. wiki)**La Gomera is the most westward of the Canary Islands, off the coast of North Africa. Until Columbus "discovered" the New World, it was the westernmost land known to the Europeans. The inhabitants of the deep valleys used to communicate with each other in a whistling language, comparable to the "yodeling" in Central European Alps. Barbara Kingsolver has written about La Gomera; "whistling from the high ravines" 453; "Gomera was the last piece of land Columbus touched before America" 453; See also ChipudaA neat detail: Faya here should be ‘fire tree’ (Myrica faya), and the Canarian holly, or holly on La Gomera, it is
...like its Irish counterpart (Ilex aquifolium), because no mammals existed in the Canaries to browse on the leaves and so Canarian holly (Ilex canariensis) didn't have to defend itself with spikes on them.@/frenesi
P.453 “The parameters breed like mosquitoes in the bayou, faster than he can knock them off.” ß First hint that the mosquito thing, as well as Charles and Steve, were part of Actfaden’s hallucination. The mosquitoes in the hallucination correspond to the amount of parameters in a hypothetical dimensionless coefficient named after Achtfaden.
So the mosquitoes are symbolic of Achtfaden’s guilt, and in this wind tunnel of Achtfaden’s unconscious (shape) it (the guilt) cannot be beaten (like lovers). Achtfaden’s trying to brush guilt aside (givin’ it minus sign), because it’s fashionable (a commodity) for every Zone’s Rocket scientist there is.
“There will be bars and nightclubs catering especially to guilt enthusiasts. Extermination campswill be turned into tourist attractions, foreigners with cameras will come piling through in droves, tickled and shivering with guilt. Sorry—not for Achtfaden here, shrugging”No no no no no, not him, he’s just doing the work.
“Ask the guidance section, they pointed it where it was going. . . .”
“Once the rockets are up, who cares where dey come down?” "I aim for the moon, but I often hit London"…Dimensionless coefficients are good for getting result from models without running into many unknowns – these coefficients are good for all dimension. But the Achtfaden number… is known, and is not good.
And the schizoid thing that is German obsession for subdividing… Well, Fahringer said best:
““breaking a flight profile up into segments of responsibility? It was half bullet, half arrow. It demanded this, we didn’t. So. Perhaps you used a rifle, a radio, a typewriter. Some typewriters in Whitehall, in the Pentagon, killed more civilians than our little A4 could have ever hoped to. You are either alone absolutely, alone with your own death, or you take part in the larger enterprise, and you share in the deaths of others. Are we not all one? Which is your choice,””But will we all go together when we go?
As for the Koan, a transcendent puzzle Fahringer has given to Achtfaden I’ll just leave this section here:
454.27 “The Rocket creating it own great wind . . . no wind without both, Rocket and atmosphere” This is of some conceptual importance. Growing up during the space age as I did, some fundamentals of propulsion go unquestioned. While the rocket within the atmosphere is “pushing” against air molecules for some of its lift, but fighting against full gravity and the weight of the atmosphere that is also being pulled by gravity. Fahringer may also be trying to say that outside the atmosphere, there are no air molecules against which to push,but also less effects of gravity and no air to swim through. The rocket must rely on its own “wind” - the gases produced by the combustion within it - to propel itself. The speed of the gases expelled by this reaction - the rocket’s wind - remains constant,but the relative airspeed changes as it is frees itself from the effects of gravity. Note also the capitalization of Rocket in the quoted passages.Which carries on to the part where “Achtfaden goes looking or the thunderstorm”.
as long as you stay always right at the edge between fair lowlands and the madness of Donar it does not fail you, whatever it is that flies, this carrying drive toward—is it freedom? Does no one recognize what enslavement gravity istill he reaches the interface of the thunder?@/frenesi:
Everyone is giving a new identity (nicknames at end of chapter) … the same way Slothrop gets a series of new identities.
Those identities are from Fritz Lang film (German) … Testament of Dr. Mabuse about character who controls people through hypnosis. “Weissmann was our Dr. Mabuse … he was hypnotizing us into doing something evil. We didn’t really mean it”Sporri and Hawasch are assistants to Mabuse … Wenk (Achtfaden) is hunting Mabuse down. Maybe he thinks he’s hunting Weissmann down?
"Emotional core of this episode: Achtfaden feels guilt for what he contributed to. He worked on aerodynamics, which is just a small tiny part of the whole project, and he tries to use this as justification – saying he shouldn’t have to feel guilty because it was just a little section of the project. When you’re just isolated in this tiny little sliver of a grand plan, you can only really cling to your position in order to feel like you’re part of something and not completely lost.In the war, Hitler recognized that if he failed, a lot of what he did would be considered war crimes. For this reason, he tried to involve the German citizens in these atrocities , in small ways, so that they would share in the blame and guilt if everything failed. Achtfaden is saying: “Ya know I helped the rocket get into the atmosphere, I’m not responsible for the fact that it fell back down and killed people.”
By losing yourself in the mathematics of aerodynamics … getting lost in these coeffecients (at the end) he’s reduced everything including himself to formulas … wants to absolve himself of guilt. "
(To be continued)