Wietze Oil Field, near Celle, in the Duchy of Calenberg Early, 1634

"Hans, dammit! Where's the report on the new mine cars?"

"In a moment, sir." Hans started rummaging through the files, at first calmly, then more frantically. "I am sure it's here somewhere."

"Perhaps it'll be faster for me to just open the window and yell. There's got to be someone down there who knows his ass from his elbow." Quentin Underwood, the Manager of Oil Operations, and former USE Secretary of the Interior, turned and walked over to the window. Looking out, he realized that several of the men were gathered around a stranger. "Who the hell is that? Some fucking labor organizer?" Forgetting, for the moment, that his political bosses were union men. Quentin grabbed his coat and stormed out the door.


"Yes, yes, it's working, can you see?" Martin Schmiedechen smiled broadly. His big hands quivered. The long end of the forked stick he held seemed to take on a life of its own. He appeared to be fighting it, as it swerved down and to the left. The oil field workers gaped.

"There's oil there, isn't there?" Martin added.

"Oh, yes," said one of the workers. "How'd you know?"

"Well, as I am sure you realize, petroleum is the oil of rock, and thus partakes of the elemental character of both Water and Earth. Consequently, I have modified a traditional dowsing rod. As you can see, I have wrapped copper wire about it. Copper is a metal, and thus is of Earth, but it is also the metal of Venus, and thus also represents Water, which is a female principle.

"The wires lead to the Harmonium on my back."

They looked with admiration at the black box with silvery alchemical signals painted upon it.

"So what's in the box?" one asked.

"I am sorry, I can't tell you that. It is one of the great philosophical secrets of this age. One possible only by my combining the great Magnetic Science of the uptimers with the secret, almost forgotten alchemical knowledge of the Pharaohs of Egypt." They looked at him blankly.

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