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A simple transfer?


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For the past year, Chris Bogart had been living in Berlin, going to university in somewhere he had always wanted to live. The honeymoon with the city was over after a few months of him not being able to learn Nordlandic. He could read German in the normal roman script, but as soon as they introduced the Runic script, he was confused. He had gotten lost numerous times because he could not understand the mixing of the Germanic languages. In the winter term, he had decided to transfer to the University of Washington in the former UKIM. From what he saw in the German news, the people were quite complacent with their new Hapsburg leadership. Although it would be hard for him to swear fealty to a Queen, it was definitely easier than him trying to stomach the Catholicism that was everywhere in the Tahoe Republic.

Spring break rolled around, and Chris was all ready to go back to his motherland. After a three day stop in Jamaica to experience the local Rastafarian wares, he settled into a Seattle home with a few house-mates. Getting used to the new royal society in his homeland was hard to stomach, however. Every time he heard "royal" this or "the crown's" that, he felt bile rising in his chest. A few of his trusted friends, one of which lived with him, told him that he felt the same way about all of it. For his first term back on the Pacific, he took a course on the transition from Tahoe to Austria.

By the second week, he was leaving class angry. Everything his administration did was lost. When he left office and transferred power back to Tahoe, he hoped that the citizens would remain free and the lifestyles that they had gotten used to as Cascadian citizens would continue to exist. Now, though, it was worse off than the first Tahoe Republic. The breaking point was in the fifth class meeting.

The teacher was talking about the transfer of UKIM sovereignty to the Hapsburg throne in Vienna. She was explaining the ineptitude of the UKIM leadership, and referred to the Austrian leadership as a "saving grace".

He watched her. Everything about her said she was a Hapsburg ass-kisser. She had a portrait of the Queen behind her desk, hung a crucifix above the main board, and talked with a faked German accent. Sometimes she would force herself into saying entire sentences in broken German. She was the sole reason that half the things in Chris's room were broken or heavily damaged. He listened to her say something about the crown's sole authority over the UKIM, and how it was the natural order of things, and finally, he stood up and shushed her.

"Was there a vote?"

"Excuse me?" She asked, looking very offended.

"Was...there...a...vote?" he said slowly. "Did you guys vote in a general election?"

"No, the natural order of the royal succession was to transfer the crown of the Unite-"

"I thought we had thrown off royalty in the 18th century, especially here in the American continent."

"Listen, young man, you may have just moved here, but people here swear their allegiance to the crown now. This isn't some hippy paradise anymore."

"Hippy Paradise? That's what you'd call Cascadia? Our region saw more green economic growth in that period, and under the second Tahoe Republic than in any time under the 'crown.' Tell your queen that," Chris grabbed his backpack and left the classroom. After he left, the teacher ran to the phone to call the authorities and Immigration officials. The entire class left after they saw their teacher stoop that low after getting her ego bruised.

The Immigration offices contacted the high government, after they found out Chris's history as a member of the Cascadian and Tahoe Republic governments. Now that there was a direct threat to the crown's leadership over Austrian-American territory, the paranoia would start, and Chris could expect a talking to from the Austrian equivalent of state security.

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"I'm supposed to be worried about some kid with a drug problem?" Colonel Klemens Skimmel looked up at the aide who had dropped the paper onto his desk. "Have them get rid of the professor if she can't take having a student leave the class. I have other things to worry about Captain Kraft, Her Highness has been asking the progress of the referendum for awhile now, I need to worry about that before some deadbeat off the street." As he turned his head, Skimmel watched as another series of papers were dropped in front of him, lined with pictures of the young Bogart. "And this?"

"He's more trouble then you think Klemens, the kid is pretty much a professional revolutionary. Mind you all of his Drug Paradises fall after a few years, but the damage would be done. Austria would be removed from North America."

"Could be, Captain, lets not talk in absolutes here." Skimmel sifted through the papers for a moment reading over the descriptions of Bogart's activities throughout the world and especially in Northwestern North America. He ran his fingers through his thick mustache that curled up and around his face before finally standing up and pushing his chair out from the desk. The office of the Inspector General of Austrian-America was cluttered and cramped, the Colonel hadn't had time to really organize anything since he left Vienna to come to Boise for his appointment. Muskets and swords hung in no real order from the wall and only the framed portrait of Empress Maria and Queen Angelika hung proudly in the office. Moving around the desk and clutter, Skimmel looked out at the Boise skyline and chuckled. "You think he's actually a threat?"

"I definitely think its something worth looking into Colonel."

Skimmel turned his head and chuckled. He straightened his white uniform and epaulets and nodded. "I think that we might want to scare Herr Bogart, just a tad. He came from Berlin didn't he?"

"Yes Colonel."

"Maybe we can convince him to return then, go see if you can find him, talk to him, if he runs then he's hiding something to begin with. If not, then he shouldn't present a problem. He used to be a politician, he'll know what we're after, it all matters if he wants to play smart or not." Skimmel's face brightened. "Treat it like a welcoming ceremony, someone of such great importance to the history of the region."

Kraft clicked his heels and bowed. "A wonderful idea Colonel, I'll get men on it immediately."

After the Captain had left the office, Skimmel took a cigar out of his uniform pocket and after lighting it, held it gently between his teeth as the smoke drifted into the sky. "If you think you're going to waltz back in here Bogart and stop the Hapsburg Family, you're dead wrong, I'll kill you myself and you don't want to cross me."

A few hours later, two Austrian Military Policemen would approach the University of Washington looking for Chris Bogart.

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Chris sat in the library on his laptop, checking the latest news. More nations are mad about European interference in America. [i]Oh boy[/i], he thought, [i]kind of need a Tahoe around now, America is too weak to stand up to the European powerhouse. [/i]Chris lounged back in his chair and started to look up some music before studying. Just as he started to play a song, his friend Brian walked up to him.

"What'd you do," he asked.

Chris removed his headphones and looked at Brian as if he didn't hear him.

"What'd you do?" he asked again.

"What do you mean?"

"The Austrians are looking for you, now what did you do?"

"Well...either they found my stash, or I'm in trouble for bad-mouthing the Queen...or Empress...or whatever she is."

Brian stifled the urge to yell, and instead whispered, "What the hell! Don't do that! Yeah we may be pissed but we don't say anything! Christ!"

Chris looked out to the Austrian police walking towards the library. "Too late, they know I'm here. Might as well use that charm I get when dealing with authorities."

Brian looked to the police, and then back at Chris, "I was just asking you for directions, okay?" He then took off for the bookshelves.

The police approached Chris just as he was packing his stuff up. "Can I help you officers?" he asked as he was stuffing his laptop in his bag.

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"If it wouldn't be too much of a problem Mr. Bogart, we aren't often honored in having a celebrity such as yourself returning back home from Berlin." The first officer extended his hand to shake and smiled at the young man. "The Inspector General was hoping he could have a word with you about your visit here, the Immigration Ministry stated that you are here to make yourself at home and Austria would not be a proper hostess unless she welcomed you back."

"It was said, Mr. Bogart," chimed the second officer, "You were part of the Tahoean and Cascadian Government, to be honest, many hope that you would perhaps want to serve Her Highness in government as well, a man of your caliber could do well in Austria. I believe that is what the Inspector General would like to discuss with you. Job opportunities."

"Would you care to follow us Mr. Bogart? It should only take a few hours, Colonel Skimmel is a rather prompt man. Perhaps he could arrange an audience with the Queen as well." The first officer laughed and pointed to the door. "Shall we?"

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Chris cautiously shook the first officer's hand. Already he was trying to quell a feeling of uneasiness that seemed to float around his head. It was the unmistakable feeling that you should not be at that place at that particular time. [i]Celebrity?[/i] [i]I was President, but I would think people have forgotten by now. Maybe I underestimated the memories of these people. [/i]He finished packing his bag and slung it around his shoulders. It was then they started talking about the immigration ministry, and a 'proper welcome' that he knew the true meaning of their visit. He half expected to walk out of view and get a black bag placed over his head.

"Yes, I was a part of the two governments, short lived as they were. The war really destabilized this area," he said, "and seeing the unrest in the citizens prompted me to bring back the Tahoan government in exile. Unfortunately the damage was already done." He was just biding his time until his vision would be blocked by a large black bag. He knew it would happen, it was just a matter of time as to when it would happen. He would be anxious, but the possibility of escaping and telling everyone about his treatment at the hands of the crown would be too good to pass up. He replaced the anxiety with confidence and excitement as much as he could.

"If a meeting with the Queen can be arranged, I would definitely have a few things to...discuss with her," he said in his least hostile voice. He followed them out of the library, and got ready to become more angry than his Post-war history teacher could ever make him.

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"Queen Angelika is a great deal like yourself Mr. Bogart," The first officer said as they walked out onto the campus roads. "She came to the United Kingdom as a traveled and was able to place King Franklyn of Chadwick on to the throne, she was his Mistress for a year or so and then was given power as Queen. Though a lot of people credit the unifying force of the various North American states to her intelligence, as well that the United Kingdom wasn't utterly destroyed by the world. I'm sure you would both have a great deal to discuss."

"We have a car to take us to the Inspector's office in Seattle, he should be there now," Said the second officer checking his watch. "We're parked a little ways up the road, if you'd follow us."

The two officers led Bogart up the road towards a parked town car on the side of the street. He was let into the car with a gentleness, most likely not expected by cops and not once was a black bag brought out. Instead the cops made small talk, if Chris would humor them, all the way towards the Inspector's office in Downtown Seattle. Once they had arrived, the two officers escorted Chris out of the car and into the large building, a mixture of Western-American Architecture combined with the grandeur and glitter of Vienna. Walking in, their boots clicked on the hard wood floor and Chris found himself climbing staircase after staircase as they walked towards the top of the building and where Skimmel's Quarters were located.

Unlike in Boise, which the Colonel considered his home away from home, Seattle's office was much more bare. A wooden table dominated a rather empty room with a few papers scattered around. The smell of smoked cigars was thick, even with the windows cracked, and the eyes of Maria and Angelika faced him dauntingly, judgmentally, but at the same time, beautifully. Skimmel sat behind the table, a smile underneath his mustache and his dark eyes flickered wildly behind his bifocals. As he stood his uniform jingled from the metals and epaulets.

"Mr. Bogart it is a pleasure to meet you sir," the Colonel said extending his hand, "I'm guessing you're wondering why I asked to see you, but first would you like a cigar? They're Holy American. But that said, what I'd like to speak about is what a man such as yourself is hoping to do in Austrian-America. I don't mean any offense to a man of your stature Mr. Bogart, but you have a value to the Empire, an experienced politician, a man who knows the history of the region, is good with world politics. You'd be a hell of an asset to Her Imperial Majesty. What would you say to that?"

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Chris was somewhat relieved when he wasn't dragged kicking and screaming into some interrogation room. [i]Brian's right, I am just paranoid.[/i] He did make small talk with the officers, enjoying a ride through Seattle that wasn't on a bus or in a car with a timid driver. This was the first time he'd actually been in downtown Seattle since his return. "Well, it hasn't changed that much," he offhandedly commented as they drove towards their destination.

When he started walking up the staircases, the anxiety returned. He knew they had to have elevators, and he thought this was a strategy to break him down. Although he had no idea what was going on, he was the perfect candidate for interrogation. He was 22, a college student, and had a distaste for authority. [i]Remember, don't drink the water they place for you, no matter how thirsty you get.[/i]

He arrived at the blank, empty room, and sat in the chair facing the Colonel after shaking his hand firmly. He declined the cigar with a simple, "I don't like tobacco, thank you though." He sat up straight, trying to be attentive. As the Colonel spoke, he tried to gauge if he was serious, or trying to lure him. He remembered the points in his head, and tried to remember them as best he could for his response.

"I do know the history of the region, and I have been following politics, but I don't think I'd classify myself as a politician. I'm not very good at lying, you see," he said after letting out a slight chuckle. It was a bit of a tongue in cheek statement. Of course he was good at lying, otherwise he would have lashed out at the people who he thought were trying to take him away.

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"Well the issue of truth isn't a problem, its your dedication that would seal the deal Mr. Bogart. There are other jobs in the territory other than politician that you would perhaps be exemplary in. However, if you would rather take to a normal, civilian life in the Empire, which is perfectly your choice," Skimmel's features hardened, "I'm going to have to ask about what you plan to do as a subject of Her Highness."

The Colonel leaned back in his chair and nodded. "It isn't personal, I don't like to get into people's personal lives unless I have to, but you are a rather successful revolutionary and this is your home. Austria is getting ready to issue a referendum on the territory, we want it peaceful, we want it orderly, and what we do not want is a revolution. If you're planning on staying a good subject, a good and right minded man, you and I will have no problems. But if you step out of here and start rhetoric, we'll become good friends, very good friends, rather quickly. I don't want that, you don't want that, so how about a gentleman's agreement on the matter?"

Skimmel smiled and puffed the cigar he had lit. "I like you Bogart, but from what I heard in the Ministry of Immigration, I can't trust you. I want to trust you, can I?"

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Chris leaned forward in his chair and readjusted himself. "I don't plan on causing any problems, unless there's a problem with an Austrian citizen abhorring the idea of monarchy and the whole royal system. If it is, I can be quiet about it. I can work with you all as much as you need me to, just remember that I am trying to finish my degree."

Chris watched the red glow of the cigar, thinking about other things that he could put in that cigar leaf. "I don't sabotage things I've been entrusted to protect or improve, so you can trust me not to do that. If you ask me to do something, you can trust that I will get it done." He leaned back again, and took out a pad of paper and a pencil. "So what is it you're thinking about having me do?"

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"Glad to see you're interested, but if you're finishing a degree Mr. Bogart, we don't want to interrupt you there. Needless to say I can alert the Queen that you don't pose any revolutionary threat to our holdings in North America. People enjoy the royal system, it has its benefits, especially when there is a particularly good leader such as Empress Maria. But I'll tell you what, if you're ever looking for a future in the Empire, you know who to talk to and if you'd ever want an audience with Her Highness, Angelika, you have my personal seal to do so."

Skimmel leaned over in his chair and extended his hand again to the student. "That's all I have to say to you though Mr. Bogart, unless you have something you need to alert me to. Otherwise, you're more than welcome to return to your studies at the university, my officers will escort you back."

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"I'm sure you've heard that a lot, that people are enjoying having a Queen," the colonel would detect no sarcasm in his voice. Chris knew that there were just two types of people in the region: those who were Tahoe patriots, and those who welcomed the fall of Tahoe with open arms. The latter had no real national identity, and from Chris's experience, were happy with any type of government that wasn't an "oppressive Irish Catholic dictatorship." He found it amusing, though, you could place a Nordic emperor on the "throne" of the region and people would worship them.

"And, In any case, I'm too young to be in any real position of power. I would never get the respect of the 55-and-over crowd."

Chris began to stand up and shake the man's hand, but before he did, he remembered his sociology teacher, Dr. Frederick Straden, double-majored in Sociology and Philosophy, and went on to grad school. Chris knew Dr. Straden was very interested in politics. In fact, most of the university teachers were interested in getting into politics. Chris sat back down and leaned towards the desk as if to give a final thought. "Before I go, I do want to say that there are a lot of university professors at the University who would love a position of power. Just ask around in the social studies department.

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