Chapter One Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty-Nine
20th January 1968
In transit, somewhere over Central Asia
It was now tradition that the Royal Family used a factory new airliner from Focke-Wulf-Dornier that was set up for their use for the first six months of its service life. Everyone saw the white plane with Luftwaffe markings, the Imperial Crest on the fuselage and rudder and assumed that it was always the same airplane, they would be wrong though. As soon as they were done with the airplane it would be repainted in Lufthansa livery and delivered to the airline.
Looking out the window of the airplane at the wing and engines grew tedious after the first six hours. Vicky had lost interest in the book she had been reading. It was part of the material that was supposed to be studying ahead of her religious conversion, but all it did was remind her of the cynical reasons for her course of her actions. She could hear the others sleeping around her. All she could do was look with envy at the members of her family who could sleep on an airliner, something that she had never been able to do. Charlotte was sleeping in the seat beside Vicky’s father while Nella and Nan were snuggled together in the seats by the window on the opposite side of the cabin. Vicky’s father was awake, but he was going over the notes that he had taken regarding the greeting of his Vietnamese counterpart when he stepped off the plane in Hanoi. There were also representatives from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand who were going to be present.
The last thing that anyone wanted was a diplomatic mishap. With the continued success of the Cam Ranh Bay Space Center, Vietnam had emerged as the German Empire’s most important strategic ally in South-East Asia. The stated reason for this visit, the start of the Lunar New Year, the Vietnamese Tet Holiday was a pretext for the start of negotiations of a regional trade deal and the continued containment of Chinese territorial ambitions. After the greeting at the airport, they were going to a resort on the South China Sea where they would spend a week acclimating.
“You have the same look on your face as you did when you were a little girl and you wanted to break something” Vicky heard her father say. It took a second for her to realize that he was talking to her.
“Having to care about what other people think is growing tiresome” Vicky said.
“You could always be like your sisters” Louis said, “Disregarding general opinion and making their own way in the world.”
“If I did that, I would only invite a massive scandal” Vicky replied, “I would hurt everyone I care about in the process.”
“That is why you have made some of the choices that have” Louis said, “You are a lot like Kristina in that regard, always caring about what people who are not necessarily inclined to like you think. It seldom makes either of you happy.”
That gave Vicky pause.
“If you think that and know the truth, how can you be fine with what I’ve been doing?” Vicky asked, “What I am going to be doing?”
“Because I also know that you want a family and that you and Franz seem to be friends” Louis said, “It seems like a way for you to live the life you want without causing the scandal you are obviously trying to avoid.”
It was ironic. Vicky knew that her father understood the reasons for her actions and was supporting her because he thought it was what she wanted. There was a voice in the bad of her head that was whispering that she had wanted him to tell her no.
Near Jassel, Poland
The tactics that Olli had used had worked, but he knew that the Polish Army would adapt in a hurry. Once the roads were cut, the columns were trapped, and their leaders had been picked off the men from the Polish Army had been forced to walk back the way they had come. They had been forced to abandon most of their equipment which had been a windfall for Olli’s side, however he knew that they would anticipate that the next time they came in force. The political leaders of Free Galicia movement had trumpeted it as a great victory, much to Olli’s dismay. He had tried to warn them that it was just a skirmish.
That was why Olli had sent off dozens of letters to every contact he had in the Heer trying to get them to understand the situation here and requesting help. He was trying not make it sound like he was panicking but Olli knew that he was in way over his head. He had returned to his farm and had felt a lot of guilt when he had seen Nele and his children. He was profoundly thankful that he had gotten Conrad into University in Thuringia so that his oldest son wouldn’t get caught up in this mess. Nele had endured his career for years. Living in Posen, Werder, and Zossen where she wasn’t comfortable. Now, he was back to being a soldier. He had started to apologize to her, but she had told that this time was different. The community that they were now a part of, and the farm was hers just as much as it was his. She understood that he was reluctantly having to defend it.