Chapter One Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty
10th June 1968
When Kiki came back to the castle this time, she brought everything from her house in Jena with her. When she had arrived in Hechingen, she had seen that the Imperial flag and blue streamer were already flying over the north tower. Word had somehow reached here ahead of her. The people in this town still liked her though she had sort of upended their lives over the last few years. It was something that Kiki had difficulty understanding.
Kiki had passed the second State Examination, which had been her getting grilled over the decisions that she had made in actual cases. Why she had reached the conclusions she had, exactly what courses of action she had taken and what she had learned. For her that had made for an exhausting afternoon and she had spent the rest of the day with Rauchbier, because the dog was the only company she could stand after something like that. It did however mean that she was only a matter of months away from finally getting her Medical License.
With Vicky having moved out, there was really nothing keeping her in Jena anymore beyond Doctor Holz being her Doctoral Advisor. She had Staff School to contend with starting at the end of the Summer Holiday, Doctor Holz had told her that meant that the Medical Service was intending that she go on to bigger things. Kiki had a feeling that she was going to inevitably disappoint them because her ambition had always been to become a Doctor so that she could help people. Being buried in administration somewhere in Berlin or Koblenz was not at all what she wanted, quite the opposite. When she had discussed the matter with Ben, he had said that she might need to resign her Commission if it came right down to it. That had sounded drastic, but it wouldn’t be the first time that she had made a hard choice in order to retake control of her life.
A stack of neglected correspondence greeted her as soon as she entered her chambers. There was a letter from the charitable foundation started by her mother letting Kiki know exactly how many guests she would be having over the summer. The thought of a bunch of boys and girls from various cities doing work like scrubbing floors or weeding gardens, all while having a good time because it was an authentic experience was amusing. Kiki knew full well that if their mothers asked them to do work like that at home, they would probably put up a fight. It was also something that had grown in popularity over the years and determining just who would be allowed to take part had become an issue. The foundation made their selections to make sure that the girls came from a variety of backgrounds. Once again, Nella and Nan were coming. Hardly a surprise really and Kiki always enjoyed the presence of her youngest sisters. If Sophie Sommer wasn’t coming, then Kiki would have felt compelled to learn why. The three girls had grown close over the prior summer when they had shared a room with Kat’s youngest daughter. Marie Alexandra was going to be returning as well, but she would find that things had changed because of her age. She would have a room to herself and would be in a position of responsibility. Welcome to being a grownup Marie, Kiki thought to herself.
Tossing that aside, Kiki opened the next letter. It was from the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen regarding their lease of the Schloss Lindich coming up for renewal. Kiki had never been to the pleasure palace/hunting lodge that had been built a couple hundred years earlier by a member of the Swabian branch of her family. She just knew that that her father had leased it to the University forty years earlier because he was tired of paying for the upkeep of the grounds of a country estate that he had never set foot on. The University had located their botanical garden there and the old palace had become faculty housing. Kiki was perfectly prepared to give them whatever they wanted, so long as it didn’t become an out of pocket expense for her. Still, she wanted to see what their offer was before she agreed to anything.
Next was a letter from the Johanniter Order that was identical to the one that had arrived in Jena a few days earlier. They were inviting her to their Saint John’s Day Feast, and they made a point of mentioning that they had missed her last year. It was clear that they meant business this time and that Kiki couldn’t exactly blow them off again. Still, that would give her a chance to go to Berlin and meet with Doctor Berg, after recent events Kiki had a lot to discuss with her former mentor. After helping Suga and now Vicky negotiate the issues surrounding pregnancy and/or childbirth, Kiki had been left with a lot of questions and Berg was an expert in that field. Like how anyone managed to be conceived much less born in the first place? She had heard from the Doctor who had specialized in fertility some of the problems he had encountered in his practice and that had been vastly different from reading about it in a textbook. Immune responses, viral infections, and a huge number of other problems that came up.