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Oxygen and Aromasia

by Claës Lundin

translated by Bertil Falk

Table of Contents
Part 1, Part 3
Part 4, Part 5
appear in this issue.
Chapter 12: New Joint Stock Companies

Part 2: Mars and the Moon

“But it’s also said,” one of the guests uttered, “that attempts to get in touch with the inhabitants of Mars has been declared impossible.”

“That’s balderdash,” someone else declared. “If we make a concerted effort to use circular ether-circuits, we’ll most likely succeed.”

“Undoubtedly!” many agreed.

“We already know the bodily constitution of the Martians. Now the object is to find out their inner faculties, something that has to be of enormous benefit to the inhabitants of Earth.”

“I’ve put up a proposal for a joint-stock company that takes care of that,” the bank director explained. “Ladies and gentlemen, you may want to put down your names for such a company. The name of the company will be Circular Ether-Circuits, Ltd., and it will be devoted to discovering the Martians’ state of mind.

“I can tell you that I already have collected almost the whole sum, a thousand million francs, so the list is almost fully subscribed. But I always want to do my best to serve my friends and get secure papers for you.”

Within a few moments all the shares of the Circular Ether-Circuits, Ltd were subscribed. It was no longer possible to get even a small lot of the stock. The next day the share was quoted at well above par, but only nominally, for nobody wanted to sell.

Director Giro was indefatigable when it came to entertaining his guests. From the basement, he hoisted them up to the roof of the palace, where they enjoyed the freshness of the sea and the beautiful moonlight of the mild August evening. The host asked his guests to have a look into the big looking-glasses that had been installed on the roof and furnished an opportunity to penetrate the inner conditions of the Moon.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the bank director said, “let me call your attention to the Moon.”

“This is a host who knows how to entertain,” said one of the guests, and the others concurred.

“How high are the stocks of the Moon Gold Mining Company at present?” someone asked.

“Very good,” director Giro explained. “There have been some problems with the transportation of gold to Earthm and they have not yet been overcome. But since the art of swimming in the air has been making great progress every day and is pushing aside the air-cycles and the old airships, there is hope of building some very big swimming-machines for the transportation of gold. It could happen any day now, and those who want to benefit from this splendid enterprise should not be long in subscribing.”

It did not take more than a quarter of an hour and then all the stocks in the Moon Gold Mining Company were sold. Even the stocks of the old silver factory on the moon rose to heights that had not been experienced in the past centuries.

One of the satirical magazines of Gothenburg, The Heavenly Hornet, had just recently expressed its surprise at the remarkable fact that silver stocks had been falling amazingly fast in spite of the low gravity on the lunar surface. But that joke, like many similar ones, had now lost its touch and could no longer be used, at least not until it had been reshaped and supplied with a new edge.

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Proceed to Chapter 12, part 3...

Story by Claës Lundin
Translation copyright © 2007 by Bertil Falk

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