A Dark Day
9 September 2014
Kiev, Ruthenia, Poland-Lithuania
President Kligenberg was finally enjoying staying at home, and was in Lazienki Palace, her personal residence having a moment with Fryderyk and her family, who have since moved out of Wilanow Palace. Marlena and Janusz were visiting their daughter in the morning.
"Leading the country is quite a bit different, isn't it?" Janusz said, somewhat a shell of his former self.
"It is...nothing really prepared me for this, but being a President feels as if I'm more validated in my leadership. More than being an Empress despised by the majority of the country," Karolina said. Fryderyk was in the background, simply eating his bowl of fruit. Everything was normal, so when Mr. Symanowski showed up so quickly and breathlessly, the entire Kligenberg family looked distressed.
"Madam President, we need you in the Presidential Palace immediately," Mr. Syzmanowski said. Karolina stood up, as did Janusz when they realized the seriousness of tone. "There are early reports of an explosion in Kiev at a train station."
"Oh, yes, of course..." Karolina said, standing up immediately. She was already dressed for work anyway, and began to walk quickly with Mr. Syzmanowski across Lazienki Park.
"Train station explosion. Do we know of any casualties yet?" Karolina asked.
"No...it's very early, almost none of the logistical information is known yet," Mr. Syzmanowski said.
"I'll have to issue a statement expressing our condolences with the families of those poor families," Karolina said softly. "Okay, well get as much information as you can get, Ian."
"Yes, Karolina..." Mr. Syzmanowski said. It was a surprisingly short jaunt between Lazienki Palace and the Presidential Palace.
President Kligenberg sat in her Situation Room when she got there, and felt stunned. This was her first crisis, and one of the first in Poland for a very long time that involved an accident of some sort. The Cabinet was waiting for the two of them.
"Alright, what are we dealing with here?" the President asked.
"An explosion at the Kiev Passenger Train Station was detected at 9:37 a.m., and as of right now, we've got tons of safety personnel down there, and we've sent an intelligence team down there to the station from our Intelligence Office in Kiev," Mr. Syzmanowski said to the Cabinet. "Initial news images show several carriages of a northbound train ripped apart and still on fire."
"Alright...Benedycta, Josef...can we also try and rule out any international involvement, or do we need to keep that channel open?" President Kligenberg asked.
"I think we should keep every channel open. This sort of thing could be several options...Europe has had all of that Crusader business going for a very long time. We could also have separatists from Ruthenia or Hungary or anything like that. It's too early to rule out any potential leads," Secretary of Defence Josef Polanski said to the President.
"But this could also be an accident," interjected Secretary of Foreign Affairs Benedycta Gulczynska. "An electrical problem...it all depends on which northbound train it is. It's perfectly feasible that the slow passenger trains that needed to be replaced anyway could have simply set the train alight. They're even still running on diesel fuel. It's a possibility."
"Okay, so what do we do until we get a handle on the situation," President Kligenberg said to her Cabinet, and as she finished her sentence, Mr. Symanowski was handed a folder and his face contorted into concern.
"Madam President...one accident is of course, feasible...but two hundreds of miles apart, on the same day, not even an hour apart?" began Mr. Syzmanowski. "We just got a report from one of our aides that a second explosion on the metro network in Warsaw has occurred in the last three minutes."
Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi Train Station
The sirens were deafening, and all that young Nadia Kirilenko wanted to do was go home to see her boyfriend. Instead, she was sitting on next to a rail-road track, dazed and confused, with blood coating her body. She could't comprehend what happened...that she was ejected from the train and somehow landed safely, with barely any injury. She watched the lucky one in the entire situation. She heard the fire brigade, police, and paramedics yelling in complete chaos, while she simply sat there, unable to move.
"You!" one of the paramedics said to her, finally beginning to move her away. "Are you able to move on your own?"
Nadia couldn't say anything. She was catatonic, just unable to process what happened to her today. The paramedic pulled her onto her feet, and she began to walk. She looked further down the train, and noticed there were several explosions and diesel fires that the fire brigades were dealing with. The paramedic looked at Nadia.
"Get off the rails, and go to our triage centre," the paramedic said very nicely. He was middle aged, and seemed to not be phased by anything, which started to snap Nadia out of her catatonic state. She began to feel a searing pain on the back of her head. It grew from searing to overwhelming and she started to collapse. The paramedic caught her. "Let's go."
Nadia continued to look around, and heard the screams of the injured and dying persons. Everything was too much, and she could feel the emotions drain from her, and fatigue set in mentally. The paramedic walked her to the triage centre, and one of the other medical staff looked at Nadia, and immediately got alcohol swabs and started to clean her up.
"What is your name?" the medical staffer asked.
"Nadia Kirilenko," Nadia answered.
"Where are you from?"
"We'll take care of you Nadia, don't worry about anything. We're going to go ahead and take you in to the hospital."
Nadia simply wanted to go home, and now she was in the middle of death and destruction.
Presidential Palace, Warsaw
"No..." President Kligenberg gasped.
"I suggest that before we do anything else...that you give a statement, and that we express the government's outrage, and stand with the families affected by this national tragedy. Then, we launch an investigation with possible terrorism connections," Mr. Syzmanowski said. "All resources available will be used."
Karolina looked at Secretary Syzmanowski and understood the underlying statement. She could expect the Teutonic Knights to be fully involved in the investigation for their own purposes.
"Then I will...I just hope there's..." Karolina began, before an aide ran into the building.
"There was a bus attack in downtown Warsaw. We're evacuating the building now...the Special Forces are ordering us to leave Warsaw and get somewhere now," the aide yelled in a shrill, scared voice. The Cabinet stood up orderly and began to walk towards the door, Secretary Syzmanowski, Secretary Gulczynska and Secretary Polanski standing close with President Kligenberg as they orderly walked out of the Situation Room and out of the Presidential Palace. The sky was amazingly clear, and it was a beautiful day, and the deliberate attack during peak use for tourists and Poles alike was heinous to the President.
She fought back tears as the Cabinet entered two military helicopters and were flown out of Warsaw.
"Where are we going then?" Karolina asked.
"We're going to go to the place your father would have taken you in the event of an emergency like this: Malbork," Mr. Syzmanowski.
The President saw as Warsaw grew smaller in view, and wanted desperately to be among her people in their dark hour.
Nadia was in the hospital, she had finally woken up after she had been in the specific care unit for the people who were victims of the train disaster in Kiev. She didn't feel the stench of blood, but the stench of death hung in the air much higher than she would have ever been exposed to...she is just a business woman.
She was happy to see her boyfriend, who was driven in to Kiev by the government, in her room though, and the two hugged (though rather lightly).
"Nadia," said the boyfriend.
"Anatoly...what happened?" Nadia asked her boyfriend. Anatoly smiled at first, but then started to frown.
"Darling, you were involved in a terrorist attack. The train exploded at the station once you arrived, and has killed and injured thousands both on the train and nearby," Anatoly explained.
"Oh my God..." Nadia gasped.
"Yes. Warsaw has experienced two explosions as well," Anatoly replied. As he finished, a government official walked into Nadia's room.
"Miss Kirilenko, I am from the P.I.A. I have some questions for you."