Famine

by Istv├ín Rudas © 2022

He knew as well as Lin that the next task was far more difficult than the first. Fighting global hunger would be a very complicated matter. They bathed in the sea and let the artificial sun dry them. He discussed several ideas with Lin, they argued back and forth, and they scrapped the plans. There was no point in fighting hunger with mumbo-jumbo. Mankind had to realize that the planet could feed everyone. The distribution was the big problem and the smart production of food in the region. For example, it wasn't wise to burn food in power plants to make electricity, Ray said. The same was true for the water.

"Give the hungry a fishing rod, not a fish!" Lin quoted this wise saying of Lao Tse again and again. Ray knew how right she was. But man had to develop the fishing rod himself, forcing hocus-pocus on them was pointless. The Jareel, too, had taken millennia to feed their world population when they still had bodies. Humanity had to follow the same path, it had to develop the necessary steps itself.

Ray insisted on giving the starving fish. He could not see millions more starving to death while meetings and conferences on world hunger continued to be held. Perhaps one should do something concrete instead of discussing it. He had seen hunger in Asia, South America and Africa and it was the next pressing problem for him. He presented his thoughts to Lin, and she noticed that he was stubborn. It was a very simple plan, not at all brilliant. But Ray reminded Lin how the war had gone. People bowed to his dictates and became inventive in times of need. They didn't reinvent war, they invented how to deal with peace. The development was new and it was not known whether it would last. Lin finally nodded, they should at least try.

Zeus wrote identically to the governments in Washington, Brussels and Beijing. He ordered a female diplomat to the square in front of their government offices for three days. They were to bring any questions they had with them in writing and not carry any electronic devices. He guaranteed her safety.

The government lines were running hot. Anne Kilpatrick was ready at any time, a diplomat in Brussels and one in Beijing were prepared in joint conference calls with Anne. There were no questions, the diplomats had to improvise ad hoc. You didn't know what Zeus wanted.

Ray and Lin also prepared. Ray had prepared a very short speech, which he would read from the prompter if necessary. Lin said there was no need to move the spacecraft's position, the diplomats would be teleported here at the same time. It was to be exactly the same as Anne Kilpatrick's visit. The day came, the diplomats disappeared at the same time. In Washington and Beijing, the tiny bugs clattered to the ground. Brussels hadn't even tried, Kilpatrick's first experience had convinced them that the Thunder God's technology was vastly superior to that of humans. The diplomat in Brussels would probably have refused to play silly games.

The diplomats had to undress and put on a white, transparent tunic. Lin left her in the lighted circle to be scanned for a long time so Ray could get his glance at their naked bodies. Then they followed the LEDs into the throne room. They stopped, overwhelmed, the hall was brightly lit and the magnificence took their breath away. They admired the throne room for minutes. They followed the LEDs to the three benches and Zeus invited them to sit down. Three replicas of the beautiful Greek strewn flowers around Zeus' throne. They pushed small tables in front of the diplomats, served ice water and sipped from it. Then they sat down at the feet of the god.

Zeus greeted Anne Kilpatrick, Carin van der Velde and Wen Shi Seun by name. "Greetings, ladies, welcome to peace!" They answered in their mother tongue and bowed. Zeus looked them in the eye and let his eyes wander over the bodies. Ray lustfully stared at the women's nudity.

Zeus gave his short speech. "Humanity is just learning to get along without war and in peace. Give my thanks to your governments!" Zeus paused for a long time, then continued.

"It is very depressing that millions of people are starving while the others can eat their fill. I have two demands on you, and I spread my message to all governments. Give of your abundance to the starving and secondly, teach them, show them how they will look in the future feed themselves." Wen Shi spoke up.

"In my country hunger has been conquered, nobody has to go hungry!" Zeus interrupted Wen and lightning flashed from his staff as he thundered: "Spare us your party propaganda, Wen Shi Seun! In your homeland, more than 163 million people are currently starving or have just enough food to keep them from dying! We can understand your government's hiding this fact, but I want you to get my message across!" In Wen's mind, images of starving Chinese raced by in a split second. It was overwhelming and Wen Shi knew in an instant that it was the truth. She fell off the mule like Saul when the knowledge of God struck him like lightning. Her eyes widened, then she nodded, realizing the facts instantly.

Zeus' fingers played with the curls of his beard. He continued: "You didn't care until now, because hunger has always existed in the world and the starving didn't demand it loud enough! But you have to change that now, immediately!" Zeus paused and Ray stared at Wen Shi's body.

"Anne Kilpatrick, will you lobby your government to end hunger?" It wasn't a rhetorical question, it was a direct question. Anne cleared her throat and replied that she wanted to deliver his message and urge that something concrete be done. She avoided his gaze and added, "Honestly, I think it's unlikely they'll do anything tangible!" She lowered her head.

Zeus asked Carin van der Velde how she saw it. She immediately replied: "I will carry your message as well as Anne, but I'm afraid the 30 European countries will just talk it down. Unfortunately, I am just as pessimistic as Anne."

Zeus asked Wen Shi Seun what she had to say. "I saw these pictures and I fear for my future. The party does not know these pictures, most politicians believe in the truth that is presented to them. Of course I will deliver your message, but I will be ignored, maybe silenced! I have no hope that anything I say can matter." Wen Shi bowed her head and defiantly wiped the tears from her eyes. It was the first time that the very young career diplomat and loyal party soldier cried on duty. Zeus said reassuringly that nothing would happen to her.

Zeus smiled at the diplomats and nodded slowly. "I expected your answers exactly and I'm not surprised at all, I know the people. So listen to the second part of my message. Starting tomorrow, I will be distributing all the food from 10 randomly selected cities directly to the hungry. 10 cities, every day! I won't tell you which cities, I'll leave that to my assistants Hermes and Loki. The cities will supply themselves again the day after, I have no doubts about that, and nobody will be harmed. The food robbery will only stop where sharing with the hungry is vigorous, effective and sustainable!" Zeus looked from one to the other.

"The last part of my message is important: teach the hungry to support themselves, give generously and help them to feed themselves!"

He made a hand movement, the benches rose into the air, the diplomats kicked their legs anxiously and held on to the benches. They floated up a few meters until they were at eye level with the thunder god.

"Thank you for coming!" The diplomats stared at the body of the god famous for his sexual adventures. "Go in peace and bring my message! You will find a USB stick in your clothes with everything written on it. Go in peace!" The seats lowered gently to the floor.

The diplomats bowed and murmured that he may live in peace. They looked at each other, unsure whether to say anything else, then followed the LEDs to the dressing rooms. They blinked and found themselves back in front of their seats of government. They were surrounded and led away by government officials and secret service agents. Like Anne before them, they were scanned according to every trick in the book and played the audio file to the assembled greats. Wen Shi Seun was initially stared at in Beijing, but at the end of the broadcast, the chairman stood up and clapped directly in her direction. He applauded for minutes and said Wen Shi spoke very wisely. As Zeus had said, nothing happened to her.

At first only the diplomat and the boss looked at the video file, but the most intimate parts of the diplomats and Zeus were blurred so that the recordings could be released. One recognized the nudity of the diplomats, but nothing that explicitly showed her private.

Lin told Ray the performance was very good, we'll see how the governments react. He nodded and smoked nervously. His plan was primitive, but was it perhaps too primitive? Too naive? Lin smiled reassuringly and said they would see if there was enough pressure on the governments. Lin ruffled the hair on the back of his neck in the usual way and lightly said she had two surprises for him. He looked up in surprise and forgot his nervousness for a moment. "The first surprise!" announced Lin and sat down to the big screen.

She had three "cameras" film the bodies of the diplomats in close-up. Ray stared at the footage with growing excitement. "I thank you!" and hugged Lin tightly. The recordings showed everything down to the smallest detail and left nothing to be desired. Lin watched him and his reactions closely. After an hour they had looked through the recordings, Ray was sweating almost feverishly. Lin got up and went to the bed. "The second surprise, Ray!" she called softly. Wen Shi Seun dropped Lin's dress and got into the big bed. Ray almost couldn't believe his luck. After dinner with Lin, they splashed in the sea, then went to bed. Carin van der Velde, the oldest of the diplomats, was waiting for him there curiously with a sexy look.

The next morning he woke up next to Anne Kilpatrick, who hugged him before breakfast. He had breakfast with Lin and sat down with her at the screen. The Jareel informed him on a separate notice which ten cities had donated all their food.

All food in the cities, from all households, supermarkets and distribution centers had disappeared in the morning, the restaurants and cafes had to close. People were surprised, even though the recordings with Zeus' message were everywhere and they all knew. In the poor zones of Asia, Africa and South America, the food appeared and hundreds of thousands were able to eat their fill. Of course, the cities could supply themselves again the next day. But even a single day without food made the population of the cities nervous and panicky. Zeus was obviously not in the mood for a joke. Even the most indifferent person was hungry and angry after a day of involuntary fasting. So the pressure on the politicians increased. It was very slow and Carin, Anne and Wen Shi had guessed correctly. There were more conferences and meetings than food deliveries. There was a lot of talk and nothing done for a long time. Some politicians criticized the three diplomats that they should have opposed Zeus and somehow prevented his plan. President Andrews vigorously opposed this nonsense and telephoned Anne. She had done her job well and everything else was nonsense. Zeus had sent a message and there was nothing to discuss, not with Zeus. He defended her several times in public and in every media appearance. Should she have said, you can't do that!? Of course he could, as you could see. How, if you please, could one have discussed or negotiated with Zeus? Zeus announced his message, which was like an order, he didn't come to discuss it. Andrews thundered into the cameras to use your wits before criticizing Anne Kilpatrick!

Denmark and the Benelux countries were the first to present concrete plans in Brussels and start deliveries on a large scale.

Lin made a list of cities. Relentlessly, 10 new cities were added daily. Like Ray, she followed the debates and articles, which for the most part were smart and well-founded. Benelux built a huge bread factory in the Sahel and generated many new jobs. Of course, initially the flour etc. had to be delivered from Europe, but large sums were invested to support the farmers in the area. It was to be another year before regional agriculture yielded enough to produce the flour in the region.

New laws in Europe banned food waste from being exported to Africa, destroying the local economy. Likewise, fishing in African waters by European factory ships was banned or severely restricted. It was dirty money that was being made, and it was the first law that put morality above profit. Outrageous! USA, Mexico and Russia grudgingly followed suit, politicians needed these advantages. Other states followed suit overnight, the pressure from the electorate was too great. Governments and companies raced, factories and jobs sprang up in the famine regions of Asia, Africa and South America. It would be three years before that who were able to end the Jareel food robbery in large parts of the world. China was one of the most stubborn states, even war-torn Russia had caved in earlier. The Chinese leadership drove Wen Shi Seun to all conferences where she was a popular speaker, but the state media reported nothing. Hunger in the world has been reduced by 75 to 85% in these three years.

Each week, Zeus phoned the three diplomats individually to get updates on their next steps on the issue of hunger. Anne and Carin had far-reaching plans and were very successful in pushing governments to take further concrete steps. The media in the USA and Europe were successfully made aware of the global hunger crisis and the aid programs received approval from many. The two blocs actually brought together many joint projects that boosted regional agriculture and food production in particular. They had the capacity to help generously financially.

During a phone call, Zeus warned the diplomats that mankind knows very well how to make drinking water from seawater, but that the efforts are not sufficient and drinking water is becoming increasingly scarce. The diplomats also brought this up and a short time later a huge desalination plant was built on the Italian Adriatic coast, in northern Germany and on the Californian Pacific coast. Another one is planned in Saudi Arabia.

Wen Shi had it the hardest because the world's most powerful party was stubborn and incredibly difficult to move. But Zeus spoke to the Chinese in a friendly, comforting way, her hugs were the best, Zeus and Ray were grateful for that. Of course, Wen Shi didn't know why the thunder god treated her so kindly, but after every conversation she was full of energy and renewed vigour. Western coffee grounds analysts predicted that she would be the next Minister of Agriculture or Minister for Development Aid.

Lin was an excellent conversationalist, she was a good link to the Jareel. She was amazed at how well the plan against hunger was developing. When people felt compelled to do something, they became amazingly inventive. Lin said she would not contribute to helping people with technological mumbo-jumbo. The Jareel had already tried this on a planet and it hadn't gone well. Step by step, people had to develop their coexistence on their planet, discover space themselves and develop interstellar space travel. The collapse of the military complex freed up finances, resources and brain power in previously unknown dimensions, so defeat hunger! Lin and the Jareel told Ray he had done the world a very great service. In earlier times he would have been made king, Lin smiled and kissed him on the lips. Ray blushed and muttered that a king's job sucks, he doesn't want it. He's happy with how things are right now. Ray wanted to stay Ray.

For the next three years, he watched developments with Lin. The gods Hermes and Loki, whom he never met, let off steam. They were relentless and made their trail through the cities of the satiated. Millions of people were still starving and only a small proportion, together with their children, could eat enough of a city's groceries in one day. They shared with their neighbors as a matter of course, far more generously than the people of the saturated zones. Ray and Lin had their hands full teleporting the groceries to those remote villages where the old and sick couldn't go to the distribution centers. Very helpful was the well hidden system they worked with. It guided them exactly where in a village the hungry were. And it later carried out the orders automatically when they had supplied a village with food and said it had to continue to be supplied.

Only the beginning of the artificial sunset reminded her to finish the work. Even after a long day, Lin still had the power of the Jareel and gave Ray a nice end of the day. They ate like a king every evening, the best chefs from all over the world gave their best. A quick dip in the sea, a movie night together or reading a book over whiskey or gin — Ray always went to bed rested and relaxed. He transformed when she wanted it, so did she. Lin wisely made sure that the fire in the home hearth never went out. She liked to surprise him with the body, the esprit and the love arts of a complete stranger, because he also loved variety. Initially, Lin transformed herself, but she kept teleporting someone from Earth and watching them both. Lin knew him very carefully and chose a girl or a young woman very carefully. She read in his heart whether it should be young or experienced. She knew, of course, that he didn't want to have children. When the girl returned to the world in the morning, she had forgotten everything. Sometimes he wished that Wen Shi lay down with him, because he enjoyed her lovely and childlike lovemaking very much. In the morning, Wen Shi often did not know with whom she had spent the night, but she always felt deep happiness in her heart.

Ray and Lin happened to have the same birthday. Lin saw to it that they ate lavishly at breakfast, lay lazily in the sun during the day, and ate lavishly at noon and in the evening. Every year there was a giant bowl of ice cream with whipped cream, which they both loved. They gave each other something small, nothing big, but always something surprising. Lin did not cheat when ordering his gift from the Jareel, and pointedly covered her ears. The quiet music was always solemn and atmospheric. They only had to look into each other's eyes, and Zeus and Wen Shi went to bed with bright eyes.

Three years later there was still hunger, but the investments were beginning to have an impact. Ray and Lin still sat in front of the screen every day and teleported groceries to the remote villages. They didn't just stay in Washington anymore, many people wanted to see the spacecraft with their own eyes. They let the spaceship glide over the landscape at low altitude.

In China, the people discussed the hunger crisis more and more openly. The almighty party bigwigs could not avoid at least allowing the discussions. Wen Shi avoided public appearances as much as possible, letting other people carry her message. She pulled the strings in the background and allowed Anne Kilpatrick and Carin van der Velde to make media appearances in China again and again. The powerful leader was not yet ready to take a public stand and sent subordinates to the fire. Officially, there were no starving people in China, period!

Several times, Lin and Ray discussed the issue of a targeted appearance of Zeus on Chinese TV channels in Chinese languages. But somehow they always came to the conclusion that it was counterproductive. The Chinese mentality didn't tolerate outside interference, it had nothing to do with the Party. They could only wait for the Chinese people to exert enough pressure of their own accord. Lin had enough insight and knowledge of the Chinese mentality herself and was a great asset in these conversations. Both of them followed Wen Shi's efforts very closely. Lin always recognized in good time when a party apparatchik wanted to get at Wen Shi and vigorously paralyzed his intentions. Zeus said so and kept his word.

Ray called his mother at least once a month. He videophoned in his first conversation from his office/living room. She admired his cozy, beautiful living room and he told her about his life. It was all a lie, but he had to make up a good legend. He was in demand as a legal advisor overseas and Ray said as little as possible, he didn't like lying to his mother. It was much more important to him that his mother saw to it that the housekeeper kept his house in good shape. The mother told about it in great detail, she was very strict with the housekeeper. She also mentioned his generous check that she and his father received monthly. It was far too much, she said, and they didn't even know what to do with it anymore. He suggested that with a clear conscience they should go to Venice a third time and of course also to Paris, it is beautiful there at this time of the year! They gradually traveled all over Central Europe after his father took early retirement. Ray was very happy to be able to give presents to his parents. She mentioned in a subordinate clause that the love between her and her father had become even more intimate, although he was no longer interested in sex. It made Ray very sad.

He already had the second conversation with his mother on the sandy beach and ignored her reproachful comment that he was naked. She didn't mention it again and just stared at his body throughout the conversation. On the third or fourth call, he introduced Lin, and the mother curiously appraised the Asian woman's beautiful body. The two women talked for a long time and his mother seemed very pleased with his wife. The mother had meanwhile gotten used to the nudity of the two. Lin smiled, "She enjoys these shots very much."

Ray and Lin regularly videophoned his mother, and sometimes their father as well. He was very short-sighted and rarely got around to it. Once he'd gotten his glasses to gawk at his naked daughter-in-law. Since he could hardly see anything despite his glasses, he quickly left after talking to Ray and let his wife do the videophoning. The parents wanted to escape the cold winter in Vienna and had been considering renting somewhere in southern Spain for months. Ray didn't think much of renting, he had spotted a lovely penthouse apartment in Marbella and asked them if they liked it. They were enthusiastic about the beautiful apartment and the magnificent view. Ray didn't hesitate and bought it. Marbella was outrageously expensive, but there were many German-speaking residents and they might make new friends. They shouldn't worry about the costs, he took care of that.

More and more desalination plants were built on a large scale and drinking water was pumped to inland countries. It was a good deal and a lot cheaper than struggling with the drought. Ray and Lin were happy with this small step towards saving the planet. These were small steps, of course, but they led to the greening of a few square kilometers of desert, square kilometer by square kilometer. It was actually crazy that the Amazon forest was being felled at the same time.

Every month the three diplomats visited Zeus, they wanted to discuss the next projects with the god personally. Of course phone calls or video calls would have been enough, but Ray was happy to see the ladies in the flesh. Lin smiled knowingly, giving him pleasure. Even though they were busier than ever and never ran out of work, the bottom line was it was just the two of them.

President Andrews had been overwhelmingly elected to his second term and had no intention of governing as a lame duck. He had ceremoniously opened the tenth desalination plant of gigantic dimensions and huge pipelines brought fresh drinking water to the middle of the USA. Where fields withered and millions of farmers were thrown into misery in the 1920s, grass grew again and hundreds of thousands began cultivating the land again. President Andrews could be rightly proud of that. He was planning a long tour of Asia and was received triumphantly in the big cities. He was in Beijing now, appearing with the great leader in a joint press conference at Mai'jian Square. Suddenly shots rang out across the square. The great chairman collapsed, President Andrews was hit in the arm. The shot went through his upper arm and hit his chief of staff, Morris, square in the chest, killing him instantly. Chinese security guards arrested two of the assassins and shot dead the third. After a few minutes the spook was over.

The chairman was only hit in the shoulder. He and Andrews were immediately helicoptered to the military hospital and treated. The two statesmen discussed at length in their hospital how they should react. They agreed to hold the press conference the next day at the same time and in the same place. They chose to hide their injuries to show off their strength and power. The Chairman was still unwilling to discuss hunger in China and Andrews promised not to raise the issue. Peaceful trade with China was the only option. Russia's senseless war against Ukraine had done immense damage to the world and shown that war was a bad option. Especially since they had no more weapons. Andrews spent half an hour on the phone with the chief of staff's widow, who was placed in an Air Force One refrigerated chamber to be buried at home. The press conference went ahead, made pithy, powerful speeches and didn't answer any questions about the assassination. The great leader announced his country had struck a $140 billion deal with President Andrews and the US would provide giant desalination plants, pipeline technology and know-how. Andrews continued his journey via South Korea and Japan and returned on schedule. Popular Chief of Staff Morris was buried with a state funeral in Arlington.