Volk by Piers Anthony

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Authors: Piers Anthony
qualify for officer’s training.”
    â€œYou could be an officer in the SS,” she pointed out.
    â€œWith my incomplete education? Without NPEA or national service? I fear they would laugh me right out of the SS if I applied.”
    â€œBut you have qualifications,” she insisted. “Your father is a Party member with good connections. He could get you a commission.”
    That was possible, Ernst realized. But he wasn’t satisfied. “I prefer to earn my own place, if I can.”
    â€œThat’s not the way it works,” she argued. “You have to have connections. No one gets anywhere by merit alone. Do you think you were given command of your Youth group because of your ability or enthusiasm? Your father pulled a string, as mine did for me.”
    He sighed. It was true. Merit alone was not enough, because there were many meritorious young men and women. “Still, this is not an aspect of the system I like.”
    They entered a shelter. For the moment they were out of sight of anyone else, and unlikely to be disturbed by surprise. “You have to use what you have,” she said, drawing him inside and into a corner. She pressed herself against him. “I did not like having to wheedle my father into making your father invite me to your house, but I did. I did not like letting you paw me, in order to get your attention, but I did. Because it was the only way. You don’t have to like what you have to do to get your commission, but it’s the only way. So do it.”
    â€œI am intrigued by your logic, but not convinced.”
    She took his hand and pressed it against her blouse, and the firm breast beneath. “What must I do to convince you?”
    She had succeeded in startling him again, but he did not try to draw his hand away. That was a very fine and intriguing surface he felt. Her device might be crude, but it was effective. “You already have my attention, Krista; you don’t have to let me paw you any more.” Was she conscious of his irony? This time she was in effect pawing herself. Her objection was verbal, not literal.
    â€œThis time I want you to do what is right. I’m sure you don’t want me to sully myself in the effort.” She pressed his hand in more securely. The delight of that soft, intimate, suggestive contact leaped from his hand to his heart, making it beat as hard as if he were running. It was hard to maintain his equilibrium.
    Was she making a promise, if he agreed to her way? It was persuasive, since he had already concluded that her course was the one he would have to follow. “Then I shall have to agree with you,” he said. “But if this is your manner of persuasion, I hope to find many more differences to reconcile.”
    She smiled. “Perhaps, in good time.” Then she gently drew his hand away and kissed him.
    She had of course been trying to make a further impression on him, so that he would not be interested in other feminine company. She was succeeding. He knew better than to let himself fall in love with her, but she did excite and fascinate him, as she intended.
    â€¢Â Â â€¢Â Â â€¢
    So it was that Ernst assembled the papers and made application for an officer’s commission in the SS. Herr Best put in a quiet word where it counted, and in due course the word came: Ernst had been granted a provisional status of
, second lieutenant, in the SS, if he completed training successfully.
    Of course it wasn’t as simple as that. He still had two years of military service to do before receiving any such promotion. He would have to start in the SS VT, though he hoped not to remain there. But it did mean that his course was marked, and that it was a good one.
    In July he reported to the local SS station for training. Krista gave him a most passionate embrace and kiss, straining the limits of propriety, for it was in the sight of their families as they saw him to

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