Chapter One Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty-One
31st October 1967
Going window shopping in the Bohemian capital when she should have been at her office working was a distraction that Gerta needed today. It was also Halloween, Gerta had always loved the idea of a holiday dedicated entirely to frivolity and fancy dress without any formal rational. It was too bad that it wasn’t a thing on this side of the Atlantic. Gerta had tried to make it one with Suse Rosa when her daughter had been a child but like with so many other things, Suse had been eager to outgrow it as she got older.
At a time when Gerta was enjoying continued professional success. Moving from acting to production had been a good move, ensuring her longevity in a fickle industry that preferred youth. Yet increasingly she was finding that it didn’t make up for the difficulties of the rest of her life.
Kurt had risen to command an Army Corps, one that he had needed to build from the ground up in a project that he was doing with Michael of Bohemia. Her son Alois was continuing to pursue his interest in the Culinary field, an apprenticeship in Prague was but the first step. The quibble that Gerta was starting to have was that neither of them really needed her. It was however the relationship, such as it existed, with Suse that was weighing most heavily on her.
The last time that Gerta had been in Berlin, Suse had tried to avoid her. Then Gerta had found out the reasoning second hand, from Kat no less. Learning what Suse had done with Manfred was a bit of a surprise. Gerta would have assumed that she would have picked the most boring option beyond doing nothing at all. Considering how up tight she was, it was a wonder that Suse’s head hadn’t exploded or burst into flames. Kat had then told Gerta that she needed to respect her daughter’s boundaries in this case.
Josefine had also been present that night, Kat’s ward and Suse’s best friend who was in the process of squandering several incredible opportunities. She was an incredibly beautiful woman who Gerta had offered to represent if she were interested in acting or modeling. Josefine had said she wasn’t interested which left Gerta flabbergasted. Seriously, who didn’t want to be a star?
Near Jassel, Poland
“Did it ever occur to any of you idiots that those other idiots in Warsaw just did you a favor?” Olli asked out of frustration.
The delegation from the Galician Freikorps had arrived at his farm that evening and they had borne the news that Erwin Bachmann and his favorite lackeys had been arrested by the Polish State Police. Amusingly for disturbing the peace.
Ever since the massacre in Krakow Generallieutenant Bachmann had been giving everyone a lesson as to exactly why he had been passed over for promotion by the Heer until he had left of his own accord. He was good at coming up with tactics on the fly, but when it came down to brass tacks, Bachmann wasn’t the great leader he imagined himself to be. Olli had seen over the prior year how he had alienated the political leaders of the Galician Independence movement at a time when they had the sympathy of the majority of the Empire. Events like the Moon landings had caused the public to forget all about what was happening in what they regarded as a backwater, much to the relief of Warsaw.
That internal squabbling had kept the Warsaw Government firmly in control of Galicia and Ruthenia. The Galician Freikorps was formidable in theory, being composed of veterans largely from the Heer and Luftwaffe, but it seemed like all they were known for was posturing and making the occasional nuisance of themselves. That was why Olli had quietly managed his farm and gotten on as best he could with his neighbors rather than getting caught up in the madness that occasionally flared up in the cities. Olli had seen what had happened in Spain when he had been involved with putting an end to the civil war there. The republican faction had been more intent on fighting with each other than with right-wing nationalists who would have cheerfully had them all lined them up and shot.
“How is losing most of our leadership doing us a favor, Sir?” A man from the delegation asked, clearly angered at what Olli had just said.
“Exactly what was Bachmann’s plan anyway?” Olli asked in reply, “Did you expect that you could show up wave your dicks around and the Government would give you your heart’s desire because you are so fucking awesome? And what were you going to do afterwards? Make Bachmann the King of Galicia as you attempt to throw out anyone who you don’t like, like those assholes in Greece?”
There was some grumbling among the delegation and the man who had spoken nervously shuffled his feet. Meaning that Olli’s interpretation of their plans was mostly on the mark.
“We weren’t planning on making Bachmann King” One of the men said lamely.
“Does he know that?” Olli asked. He had observed many times over the last few years that Erwin Bachmann’s ego knew no bounds.
“Whatever, Sir” The loudmouth who was doing most of the speaking said. “Just what exactly are we supposed to be doing?”
“Ask what’s left of your leadership” Olli replied, “Even Bachmann didn’t consider himself so indispensable that there isn’t a chain of command. Who is next down the totem pole and what not?”
The loudmouth gave Olli a confused look. “But that would be you Major Bauer” He said.
Olli noticed that the men of the delegation were all looking at him expectantly.
“Fuck” Olli muttered. Bachmann had better hope that Poles killed him, because it would be nothing compared to what Olli would do to him if he ever got the chance.