Chapter One Thousand Eight Hundred Forty-Eight
25th May 1968
When Kiki arrived at the hotel where the Royal entourage was taking an extended holiday on the island that was situated near Austrian border, she found Anna in the hotel lounge having an animated conversation with Princess Alberta “Birdie” Charlotte of England. At the same time, Vicky may have been present physically but she looked like she was barely able to stay awake.
The British Princess was studying Environmental Science at the Royal University of Breslau. She had accepted Vicky’s invitation to visit her here a couple weeks earlier, which was before Vicky’s latest crisis. It was the same crisis that had prompted Kiki to travel by train overnight, with an extended layover in Munich, to get here this morning. Birdie had always been a dear friend of Vicky’s and she had been hoping to get some advice on how to win over Vicky and Kiki’s brother Michael, who she had been crushing on for years. Kiki understood what the problem was. Michael still saw Birdie as the nine-year-old girl he had first met years earlier as opposed to the young woman she had grown into, albeit a somewhat socially awkward young woman who wasn’t exactly conventionally attractive. It was something that Birdie more than made up for with her intelligence and wit, though she remained rather naïve about the real nature of Vicky and Anna’s relationship. There was also the aspect of the people of Bohemia loving her when she came to visit that further complicated matters.
“Not adding much to the conversation, Sleepy?” Kiki asked Vicky as she sat down on the couch beside her younger sister.
Vicky turned her head and stared at Kiki for a few seconds before hugging her. “You came?” She asked, whispering into Kiki’s ear.
“Why wouldn’t I” Kiki said, “I agreed to help you.”
Weeks earlier, Kiki had an in-depth conversation with the expert that Franz and Vicky had been seeing and he had explained the entire process to her. After a series of examinations, he had determined just how receptive Vicky would be and the best technique to use. While Kiki had no interest in that particular specialty, she had observed as the Doctor had shown her the process in the lab where sperm from Franz were processed in preparation for later when they were injected into Vicky’s uterus. It was all experimental, having only been attempted on humans a handful of times. The Doctor had said that the hormone injections that had been given to Vicky would make her body particularly receptive while she was ovulating. Now, a few weeks later upon Vicky realizing that she was likely pregnant and had called Kiki for help, though exactly what she expected Kiki to do wasn’t exactly clear.
“Where is Franz?” Kiki asked, “He probably ought to know, even if confirmation won’t be until we can arrange it.”
“He went with some friends to go to Konstanz, something about a casino they wanted to see” Vicky replied, “He won’t be back until tomorrow.”
Despite the need to keep up appearances, Franz and Vicky led separate lives. That complicated moments like these.
“What’s going on?” Birdie asked.
“Vicky thinks she might be pregnant” Kiki replied.
The look on Birdie’s face instantly became one of pure joy. “You and Franz will be the most wonderful parents, filling your child’s life with art and music” She said, “Not like Franz’s stuffy father, he might as well have grown up in the Army.”
Considering just how sheltered she was, there were times when Birdie was amazingly perceptive. Even if she failed to reach the right conclusions most of the time.
At least it was now springtime.
Bogdan Gajos figured it would probably be a nice day if he were in a position to enjoy it. Instead, he was standing sentry next to a railroad track on the edge of Warsaw as the Government endlessly debated their next course of action. Rumor had it that the Emperor had told them to fix this mess or else he would, and they would not like how that played out.
Bogdan’s father had once said that Government was something that you had to pay attention to, otherwise it would happen to you. That had been during one of his more sober moments. For years, Bogdan’s father had been working towards the somewhat dubious distinction of going from Hetman to Village Drunk. He had been well on his way there when Bogdan had run off to join the Army. Bogdan had not been home in the two years since then, mostly because there wasn’t much to go back to in a flyspeck farming village near the border with Lithuania.
The reason why Bogdan was presently guarding a stretch of railroad track was because of rumors that the rebels in Lesser Poland were going to come north and sabotage the railway infrastructure. It was sort of absurd because the rebels seemed to have no interest in operating outside their own turf and they were just as dependent on the railway as the Polish Army. The real problem as Bogdan saw was that the High Command lacked imagination. Why sabotage the tracks when you could use them? And why build a bomb when what was loaded in boxcars and especially in tanker cars would be more than adequate.
Highjack the train, set the throttles, and jump off. It would be in the heart of Warsaw before it jumped the track, and no one could stop it. So far, no one had thought of that except Bogdan. He didn’t know if he should be disappointed or relieved.