The First Czech Battalion’s train had barely come to a halt at Nizhne Udinsk station before its Commander, Major Gustav Bečvář, leapt down on to the platform and hurried into the station master’s office. He was quite used to having to argue about movement priorities and the special importance of his own battalion getting on towards the east. It was therefore a somewhat suspicious and surprised Bečvář who found himself overwhelmed by cordiality and the total absence of the usual difficulties. ‘Yes, the sooner you go ahead the better we shall be pleased. Two engines are waiting for you with full steam up.’ It all seemed a little too straightforward, particularly the allocation of not just one but two precious engines. ‘What’s the joke?’ Bečvář demanded of the movements officer. ‘Ah then, you don’t know your good fortune. Well, my friend, you are to take Admiral Kolchak with you to Irkutsk.’ ‘So,’ reflected Bečvář, ‘the man who hated the Legionaries, who dismissed Gajda, and who could never utter an approving word of the Czechs, is now glad to accept our protection.’