Vignette:A Taste of Freedom

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A Taste of Freedom

10 Kirschstraße, Alvastadt, Imperial State of Alva
January 12th, 1980

iklas wiped the sweat from his brow as he signed yet another bill. The heaps of miscellaneous paperwork littering his desk served to distract him from reality: free elections in Alva were on the horizon, whether he liked it or not.

Justus Hergenröther, his Finance Minister, reclined comfortably on a lavish leather sofa, sipping from a glass of Ovannois champagne. Paulus von Anderle, his personal spinmeister and Home Minister, was busy jotting down yet another set of notes; they were most likely another set of his aptly named “calming rituals” to appease the dwindling number of conservatives that still populated the Reichstag. Even if he didn’t say it, Niklas knew he needed von Anderle’s help.

Justus groaned, sitting up from his seat. “Niklas, we all know we’re going to be out of this decrepit building by the end of the year. Student protests are daily news now. We have to give in.”

Niklas shot back, but the anger in his voice was stifled by his teeth. “They’re not ready yet.”

Von Anderle interjected, his eyes continuing to stare a hole into his notebook. “Come on, Niklas! There are university students dying every month because we aren’t liberalizing fast enough. Hildebrandt and his conservative cronies are dying off every Reichstag session, and Neumark and his nationalists are dust in the wind. If we get their demands into a bill, it’ll pass. I guarantee it.”

Niklas could barely contain the anger in his voice now. “That’s the damn problem! We give them an inch, they want a damn mile! Soon they’ll be asking for the fucking Kaiserin to be executed!”

Von Anderle put down his notebook with a quiet thud. “Niklas, you worked with Höss, right?”

Niklas sat back in his chair, sighing as it creaked. “Yeah, why do you ask?”

“You couped that chickenshit Arendt out for what reason?”

“He kept Alva back from reaching its full potential. He dragged us into a useless war.”

Von Anderle stood up, slowly walking towards Niklas’ paper-ridden desk.

“Niklas, I’ve worked with you for far too long. I’ve known you for longer.”

Niklas quietly buried his face into his hands. “I’m holding Alva back, aren’t I?”

“You aren’t Arendt. You’re better than that fucker.”

Niklas groaned. He could use a cold glass of water.

Justus spoke garbled, his mouth full of food. “Hey, these chocolates taste good!”

Niklas and Von Anderle chuckled. I suppose a taste of freedom wouldn’t hurt, Niklas thought.

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