The invaders were high-tech barbarians. They still had a monarchy and an absolute one at that, or so Barica was told. Their commanding generals and many of their other senior officials were clones, and Barica grew used to only being able to tell the enemy’s leaders apart in pictures and news footage by their clothes. The news services kept assuring the civilian population that the invaders could not win, up until the last of their broadcast facilities were overrun. Enemy patrols replaced the police in the streets and no-one could deny that the invaders were victorious.
The change of administration brought changes in procedures and rules, most of which were surprisingly easy to cope with. There were new identity cards, the rationing system became easier to navigate, and income tax dropped, although new luxury taxes made certain people closely connected with the deposed administration howl. Official disappearances stopped, partly because the new rulers weren’t shy about telling everyone who they’d hauled away and why. Even so, the first time Barica saw any of the invaders’ security troops was when they came for her.
She was standing in line for lunch at her work’s canteen when the men in green and blue body armour entered and the room went quiet. Everyone was wondering who they’d come for. Barica was astonished when they stopped in front of her and their leader bowed. He said, “Princess Barica, you need to come with us.”
“I’m not a princess.” That should have told him that he had the wrong Barica.
“Your father was Georg, known as Georg Lund, was he not?”
“Well, yes.” There was no point in denying the truth.
“And his father was known as Edouard Lund?”
“Grandfather was Edouard Lund!” She didn’t know what he was insinuating about her grandfather but it sounded bad.
“But he was born Prince Edouard-Ludwig, Duke of Geshirtz, Your Highness.” Another bow.
“I still think you have the wrong person,” but they took her anyway.
Soon after that she was ushered into the office of the commanding enemy general. He stood and said, “I’m glad to see you well, Your Highness.”
“Alleged Highness. Besides, we don’t have a royal family anymore.”
“That’s an interesting theory.” He looked at her seriously and said, “You realise, don’t you, that as the last remaining princess in the country you are going to be my trophy bride? I am General Tellick Barracus 47, but you may call me Tellick or Tell.”
“It’s our custom.” He smiled and added, “You should have plenty of opportunity to make friends in the family, most of my clone brothers’ wives are conquered princesses too.”