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FAN 192: God's Smugglers

Passenger Airmobile
En Route to Nairobi
12 January 1973

Karl Meyer-Gustavsen was feeling quite comfortable where he sat in his
first class SAL [1] airmobile seat; the man next to him was a member of
the Scandinavian embassy staff, and fortunately in on the secret,
something which made things so much easier. He leaned back into the
comfortable seat and let his fingers grab the arms of the seat firmly,
and feel the leather upholstery, he carefully breathed in then out, and
tried to sleep. It was not easy, a glass of schnapps and some coffee was
a poor choice if he wanted to sleep. As he began to slip in and out of
sleep he wondered if maybe he should order some wheat beer.

Karl Meyer-Gustavsen was in fact a priest, and sent to Victoria to tend
to the slum mission, a fact that was always good when you wanted to get
past government officials mindful of even worse public relations. Of
course he was a priest of the Lutheran Church of Scandinavia [2], an
organisation with a somewhat dubious reputation for fanaticism [3] be it
Old Lutheran [4], Haugian [5], or Equality Theology [6], with its near,
if you dare call it that, Jeffersonist ideas of justice and theology
[7]. In some areas Equality Theology had become so prevalent that a
Mexican once quipped "Luthers' Padre, Jeffersons' Cadre".

Still in their foreign missions they had been very apolitical in the
field, to avoid having their good works voided by government
interference, in fact the sermons he would give in the field were the
kind you would hear from the most world weary Anglican priest as he
tried to exhort his flock to please stop being a pack of unruly pagans,
if it is not too much trouble that is.

Just before it was too late Karl got out of his seat and went to the
bathroom. There he carefully made sure that the bundles of CNA pound
notes in the special body belt were securely attached to his body in a
manner that wouldn't show. The gold coins were equally concealed in his
rather fancy wide belt with a rather large buckle, which they told him
would defeat a cursory examination of said belt, if it got more than a
cursory examination the bills he had elsewhere would have been spotted
anyway.

As he sat down in his seat again he looked at the man next to him, the
functionary gave him a quick look and a little nod, nothing more, but it
told Karl that everything looked good. Of course he knew that already,
this was hardly the first time he had done this, and even before he
began running these missions he had trained several times in
Scandinavia, though then he'd use bundles of newspaper paper.

As the airmobile landed at the aerodrome, or airport, or whatever they
called these things these days, the Captain of the aircraft sent a
message "We are now landing at Nairobi International Airport, welcome to
Victoria the air-conditioned country [8], and thank you for flying with
Scandinavian Air Lines. We hope you had a fine journey, and that you
will fly with us again."

After the landing as they were ushered out Karl noticed to his surprise
that it was actually a bit chilly outside, something which surprised
him, even in January it was usually warmer than this, in fact he put on
his coat which up till then he had been carrying under his arm. Then
again it was night, and it was January, and that was probably the
reason; even so it was a chilly night, he just hoped it was not some bad
omen, but even if it was he had long since passed the point of no return
and so he walked on.

The airport lobby was like any he had seen during his travels, it hadn't
changed since the last time either. He walked through the area with the
text "Nothing to Declare" over it and he was waved through there like
pretty much everyone else, and then he reached the counter for foreign
visitors. His friend was lucky he simply held up his diplomatic passport
and walked to the fore saying "Diplomat, diplomat" and was promptly
waved through after a quick look.

After waiting about fifteen it was Karl's turn, he walked up to the
counter, presented his Visa and his Kingdom of Scandinavia passport, the
man at the counter asked a few perfunctory questions like "Purpose of
visit?" to which Karl replied "Charitable and missionary work", and
"Have you forgotten to declare anything at customs", with the obvious
reply "No." After that he was waved through again, no one even bothered
to look into his carry on duffel bag, not that there was anything
incriminating in it, just some bibles and religious tracts, all
perfectly legal in Victoria.

After waiting what seemed to be an eternity at the baggage claim area,
where he got a suitcase that he thought had been opened, maybe he was
just paranoid though, he made it into the reception area. It was busy
and bristling with Kiosks of all descriptions, from 24-7s to Buckeys,
and Peppe's Pizza, in other words he could just as easily have been in
any large airport in any modern part of the world.

There he was relieved to see an African in a chauffeur's uniform holding
up a sign with "Pastor Meyer-Gustavsen"; as Karl identified himself the
Chauffeur, who wore a name tag with the legend Martin Wamwere, took his
suitcase and said "Please follow me, Sir." Karl didn't like having
someone else carry his luggage, but he had been in Victoria before and
knew that it would draw attention if he did it himself when he had a
black chauffeur.

Once they got outside Karl stopped to take a deep breath from the cool
crisp night air, even if it was a breath that brought with it quite a
bit of exhaust fumes as well as air. The loke was a surprisingly big
thing for Victoria, it looked like an old Mexican model, painted green,
with enough room for a football team, and enough rear lights to blind
the whole of Jefferson. Obviously this was a DeSoto, strange to see a
loke named for an obscure Spanish explorer, but what could you do? [9]

As he sat down in the rear seat he saw Martin turn the key, and there
was a great BAROOMB sound as if ... well as if someone started up a
rather large piece of machinery. Martin, knowing something of Karl's
nature, commented, "Now Sir, they are smiling right up to the boardrooms
in London!" Obviously commenting on this things' ridiculous consumption
of fuel, but once more what could you do, the Church was poor (actually
it wasn't but it pretended to be) and fuel as always was cheap.

As they drove off Karl wondered if he was through with the difficult
part, or if it would be more troublesome, or gut wrenching to deliver
the money to the agent that was supposed to have it, or if this time he
would, as he had sometimes been forced to do, handle the delivery
himself.

Never mind, there would be time to think about this on the ride into
Nairobi, plenty of time to think, and hopefully a chance to do some
good. This damned regime was a tool of Satan, he had no doubts about
that, and in the epic struggle between good and evil he had at long last
spent the last few years firmly on the side of good, at least in this
matter.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Scandinavian Air Lines, the Cruise Ships of the Sky, at least if you
are flying first class and aboard one of their larger passenger
airmobiles.

[2] Officially "The Church of Scandinavia", a united Peoples Church that
takes care of all clerical affairs of Scandinavia, a concept that might
trigger hysterical laughter in anyone aware of the clerical affairs in
that Kingdom. Suffice to say reality is so different from the theory
that it is simply ludicrous.

[3] Not in the mainstream mind, which are much more observant than they
would be OTL, but generally have a similar outlook, in terms of religion
it might be good to compare them to believing devout Episcopalians (and
yes I know this rare creature is nearly extinct OTL in its original
habitat), but different.

[4] The Old Lutherans, pretty much what they sound like, social
conservatives and often rather puritanical.

[5] The Haugians have little to do with Hans Nielsen Hauge even if they
do claim him as their founder (instead of one of the figures from the
other Scandinavian countries). Best described as a mixture of Puritanism
and Lutheran Mysticism.

[6] Similar to OTLs Liberation Theology, wants the states to massively
expand the welfare systems, and to bring justice all around. Very small
and not too popular, especially due to the extreme rejection of worldly
objects that they preach (worse than the Haugians who allows for comfort
and encourages industry) generally seen as a bunch of useless eggheads
by the youth.

[7] Equality Theology calls for more economic equality, and for everyone
to get their fair share, their objection to worldly goods on the grounds
that it might cause inequality is however somewhat Jeffersonian. They do
however believe that everyone should be poor, whether it is necessary or
not.

[8] So called because the highlands of Victoria are very cool and
pleasant for Europeans, unlikely the nightmarish regions (for Europeans)
that surrounds it. This of course is why Victoria is dominated by whites
anyway.

[9] And my apologies to Ernie Fernwilter, and his creator Bud Grace, but
I just that to use this thing.