Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Peabody-Martini, Sep 17, 2018.
You say this like it was a bad thing...
I recommend settling the disputed election results with a unique form of duelling, once suggested by a now defunct NZ political party for settling a by-election, that should theoretically keep the fatalities to a minimum and ensure such a situation never occurs again:
Nothing like seeing embarassed politicians squirming about in oatmeal to delight the electorate. Wish it had been adopted, sadly it wasn't .
I am not too sure....but Think it mostly depends on who it is doing the dueling....
And between who lives and dies.
Banjos at 10 paces
Deliverance....count me out.
Chapter One Thousand Four Hundred Twenty-One
7th January 1961
Being an Aide to General von Lettow-Vorbeck did have its perks. The room that Kiki had been assigned in the staff housing had an incredible view of the river and the eastern side of the city with the television tower that was rising over it. Today she was enjoying the fact that it was Saturday morning, and no one expected her to be doing anything just yet. It was also a chance to take in the view and watch the barges and boats that were making their way up and down the river.
Kiki had seen the tower that had been under construction for months in the distance, not difficult considering that it was visible from throughout the city. Being aware of it and what it did was one thing, to actually see it though from her window was something else. It was said that the architect had been influenced by the space program. It was also said that it was an eyesore that not only ruined the city’s skyline but stomped it into the mud and would leave it sullied for the next several years until someone finally tore it down. The sphere that was going to house the observation deck and a restaurant had been taking shape, in the short time that Kiki had lived in this room she had seen the steel frames being winched up the tower.
Zella said that when it opened in August, she wanted to go up there. Sure, there would probably be quite a view, but two hundred meters up would be dizzying. Kiki wasn’t sure that she would want to be up there for long. Her room was on the fourth floor and looking down at the pier where SMS U-541 was moored seemed high enough. She had other considerations, like having no idea where she would be next summer. She hadn’t volunteered this year like she had the year before. This was because Kiki had realized that she was a distraction wherever she went and that might hurt the mission itself. She wasn’t a Doctor, not yet anyway. However, the phrase; Primum non nocere, First, to do no harm, was still a part of her thinking. And Kiki had become uncomfortably aware of how her presence alone could do harm.
There was also what she would be doing for the next few months to consider. According to General Lettow-Vorbeck had told her, a psychological profile had been done on her that she had been unaware of until he had told her about it. The conclusion had been that she was shy. Anyone who actually knew Kiki could have told them that without the convoluted process that drawing up such a report must have entailed. It was the reason why it was felt that having her lead groups of tourists and schoolchildren through the museum, answering their questions and keeping them out of trouble would help her get past that. Over the first week Kiki had spent her mornings working on the General’s extensive correspondence and then had spent the afternoons exploring the museum. It seemed to Kiki like if she could spend a lifetime doing that and just barely scratch the surface. Then there were the archives which were a hive of activity as volunteers worked to process the materials and put them down on microfiche. No sooner than Kiki had introduced herself to the volunteers than she had found herself seated at a monitor reading the journals and letters that involved her family. The ones that stood out the most were her Grandfather’s journal from the First World War and the letters that her Uncle Wilhelm had sent home from Spain.
Both of the men had died before Kiki had been born, so this was as close as she would get to ever meeting them. Her Grandfather, the future Wilhelm the III, was every bit the rakish, blowhard that history remembered him as and mostly because of the manner of his death. In the journal however there was a bit more depth to the man. Particularly if one could read between the lines. Kiki got the impression that he knew that he was in over his head while trying to lead an Army Corps on the Western Front and had attempted to use bravado to hide it. The letters from her Uncle were different. By the time he had gone to Spain, the practice of putting Princes in charge of a Divisions had fallen out of favor. Even so, Wilhelm had joined the Heer and had risen to the rank of Oberst entirely upon his own merit and had been leading a Regiment in Spain. It was in his letters to his wife, the woman who Kiki knew as her Aunt Dorothea, that he had mentioned that he had kept being asked why he had volunteered to go to Spain when he didn’t need to. Wilhelm said in his letter that he needed to go for precisely that reason. He had been killed outside of Madrid shortly after that.
Kiki figured that she would have liked her Uncle, but at the same time she knew that had he lived her father would never have become Crown Prince and eventually Emperor. Her life would have been radically different. Her two Cousins, Felicitas and Christa would be in her position. As it was, the death of their father had prompted substantial changes in the laws regarding inheritance in Germany. That had been a bit late for them. Whenever Kiki talked to them at family functions, they seemed happy to have been largely removed from the line of succession though at the time of their father’s death a lot of people felt that they had been given short shrift.
I guess Kiki is going to be the one that discovers the not so secret love child of Kaiser Wilhelm III
Crown Prince Wilhelm, a man who probably would have taken the term "Kaiser Wilhelm" to the sort of heights the two previous ones could never reach.
Chapter One Thousand Four Hundred Twenty-Two
8th January 1961
This is going to result in another round of speculation, that was Suga’s thought as she made her way into the Grand Ballroom of the Winter Residence with Freddy.
That was what happened every time the two of them were spotted in public together. It was common knowledge that the two of them had been friends going back to when they had been children. The public was also somewhat enamored with the idea of her being beautiful, exotic and they loved the idea of them being childhood sweethearts. The truth was far less interesting. That Suga had found ready friends in Freddy and his younger siblings who were among the few people who understood who she was. She also loved the informal way they related to each other. Freddy and Michael were always poking fun at Kiki, Louis being fearless except when talking with girls, Rea and Vicky at odds with the world and each other. Suga found them all to be endlessly fascinating. That they had all warmly welcomed her when she had arrived in Berlin a couple years earlier was something that she had not expected. She had known Freddy and Kiki prior to that but had not known how the others would react to her.
At the back of Suga’s mind there was however the need to maintain what Freddy referred to as necessary ambiguity. The public in Berlin might like her and speculate about the status of their relationship. The fear was that fun would end if she and Freddy were ever actually in a relationship. Exactly what were the limits of what the public would except here? The Formal Nineteenth Century theme of tonight’s ball was proof that things did change over time. But what was the acceptable pace of that change? Freddy was wearing the blue uniform of a Hauptmann of the Pioneers, a century earlier the Crown Prince wearing that would have been a scandal. The Crown Prince of Prussia commissioned into such a pedestrian unit? And working in a trade like construction even if it was on a grand scale? Scandalous indeed. Suga herself was dressed like a Princess in the Edo Period. The elaborate winter theme of her attire was something that few others at this event might aspire to. For her to even be in Berlin during that time would have been a scandal, for different reasons though.
Now, Freddy being in the Pioneers was seen as him wanting to learn the skills required to be Emperor in a changing world. In most places, engineers were now needed more than soldiers. While Suga going to University in Berlin might have raised a few eyebrows back in Japan, a century earlier Suga might never have set foot outside the Imperial household before she was married and if she had come to Berlin it would have resulted in her being permanently exiled from Japan. Tonight though, they could come here and enjoy themselves in what amounted to a fancy-dress party as such considerations no longer applied.
“If I could have the first dance with you Princess Suga-no-Miya” Freddy asked in Japanese that was still a bit rough, but he had been improving.
“I’ll think about it, Prince Friedrich” Suga replied in the same language. That was clearly not the answer that he was expecting.
Douglas had gotten an assignment to photograph the City of Dublin for an American magazine. It had been a long time since he had Kat had managed to have an escape together, he had arranged for her to come along. Kat seemed to know this city a little too well. As Doug watched, she blended into the street scene perfectly, looking like she belonged there. He realized that it was nearly a lifetime of spycraft that she had learned and that it was second nature to her.
Over the course of the day, he had taken a lot of photographs of the city and even a few of Kat when he thought she wasn’t looking or was just having a bit of fun. It was something that Doug was looking forward to doing for the rest of the week.
Now it was evening, and Doug had followed Kat into a house that was in an upper middle-class neighborhood where she said that they were expected. Inside, there was a dinner party that was already underway. The host was Jack Kennedy, who Doug had met on a few occasions in Berlin and whose signature was seen frequently on the documents that were required to keep Kat’s multitude of financial interests looking at least somewhat respectable. There was also Bridget, Jack Kennedy’s wife who Doug was introduced to. Doug’s impression was that Bridget was a formidable woman, she would need to be if what Kat said about Jack’s roving eye was true. Kat had also told Doug that he should probably not mention the elephant in the room. Jack and Bridget had only gotten married the previous summer, but it was obvious that Jack Junior was going to be arriving at any time.
That’s just how these things happen and don’t make a big deal about it, was how Kat had put it. That was certainly true with her friend Nancy and their youngest daughter, Marie, hadn’t been what they had been planning on a few years earlier. Doug figured that it was probably safer to follow Kat’s lead this time.
“And just where are your children this weekend?” Bridget asked.
“My sister Ilse is watching them” Kat replied, “Her husband Albrecht is home on leave, so having them get in the practice of dealing with older children will be good for when my nephew Nikolaus is older.”
“Albrecht, like the Astronaut?” Bridget asked. Only to get a coughing response from Jack.
A couple years earlier when Ilse had been pregnant with Nikolaus and Albrecht had been in orbit, Kat had told him off in a spectacular fashion with most of the world listening in. Later, Jack had supposedly been one of the people having to work overtime to shield her from the consequences of that action.
Just when I was just about to ask for an update on Freddy and Suga...
While Suga has justifiable concerns about her relationship with Freddy, she should not be playing coy about Freddy asking her for the first dance because it is very appropriate for him to request the first dance with her.
Any speculation about their relationship is just that, now if she was seen getting instruction in to the Lutheran Church then that is something else.
What is really needed is a patented Peabody-Martini cameo from Jacqueline Bouvier.
It's the lines like this that I love. Yes, Kat is well known, Albrecht the Raumfahrer is well known, but sometimes people just don't click that the person they're sat with really is that famous person they've read about, because we never expect to meet famous people in real life.
Yeah, although most women in the planet likely felt vindicated for Kat's words.
And the common German would likely shrug. Considering the magnified and distorted reputation of the Tigress of Pankow by this point, her reading the Riot act to her Richthofen Brother in law, all while he is in Orbit of all things would be par the course with her image...
I could imagine the jokes that Albrecht chose to be an Astronaut, because in retrospective it was safer and more sane than be in the same planet than his sister in law most of the time.
Or the version of the Chuck Norris style jokes about Kat....... Kim Philby not having been thrown to the Tiger in London, but having thrown himself, escaping from his prison after he was told that Von Mischner wanted to interrogate him..... Philby saw death for mauling by a tiger as a quicker and more merciful way to go than for pissed Jerry Female.......
Kept his distance from the Nazis all the same, probably wouldn't have been as bad as all that. Just a tad colourful...
OK, Kat jokes (AKA Kat Claws): Kat doesn't sense danger. She is the danger.
What's worse than getting between a tigress and her cubs? Kat just Kat.
If Kat sees you, run. It won't help but you might have time to make your peace with God.
What is the difference between Kat and a terrorist?
You can negotiate with a terrorist
Kat has a Eurasian Bear statue in her house. She hasn't killed it, it's just too terrified to move.
Chapter One Thousand Four Hundred Twenty-Three
10th January 1961
After reading the letter, Kiki felt ill. The contents had been horrendous, and it had resulted in a run through the museum to one of the exhibits, because there had to be something in it that would prove what she thought she just had read wrong. Doctor Berg had warned Kiki about before she had really understood what it meant, the sorts of things that men were capable of when they didn’t respect women. To actually see the implications of that in what had been said in the letter…
It had been simple enough, in her spare time Kiki had been reading the large number of documents that the museum had from her family. Many of them were outside the museum’s purview. That was why the stack of letters had been among her grandfather’s personal documents been only cataloged but had remained unread until Kiki had shown an interest. That was when she stumbled across the one that had been so distressing. The very first line had been a demand that he stop impugning her character. What followed was line after strident line filled with anger and outrage. Several lines stated that what he described as a problem of hers alone that needed to be dealt with in the manner that he had suggested wasn’t going to just go away like that. The rest went on at length how he had taken advantage of her, how his irresponsibility had caused her a great deal of grief and she wasn’t some tart who he could just do that to. It concluded with a demand that Wilhelm the Third step up and do what was right for once. History revealed what the answer to the letter had been, Wilhelm had kept up his womanizing ways right up until the day he had died. Many would argue that it was what had killed him. It was who had signed it at the bottom, Astrid von Grimmelshausen. It was a name that Kiki knew well, though not belonging to an Astrid.
That was what prompted the run through the museum. In the exhibit on the recently concluded Dioscuri Program that included the Brotherhood II capsule. Closely studying the photographs. Kiki studied the shape of her face, particularly the nose and chin which were a bit softer but still recognizable. She was shocked that it was something she had not picked up on sooner. The face that Kiki was looking at was the feminine version of her father’s.
And if this was true then exactly what was she supposed to do about it?
Near Dublin, Ireland
“Think of a dirty joke” Doug said, “But don’t say it.”
“Excuse me?” Kat replied with a smile. She might not have followed those instructions, but it did have the desired outcome as Kat was leaning on a railing of the bridge that went over the Grand Canal. Douglas snapped a few photographs. It was a rare clear winter day, bright sunshine under a vivid blue sky. Kat was wearing her old grey coat that might have once been military issue and a green woolen scarf.
“Perfect” Doug said.
“You’re impossible” Kat replied as they resumed walking up the road that ran parallel to the canal.
It was nice to see her happy. Back home, Doug knew she was under tremendous pressure, partly from her responsibilities with the remainder of it being other people’s expectations. Lately, Kat had heard a number of jokes that poked fun at her fearsome reputation. These were not the sort of jokes made by her legion of detractors. Instead, they were being made by people who liked her, and they were generally good natured. While she didn’t show it outwardly, Doug knew that it pained Kat because she didn’t like being thought of in that way and one of her worst fears was what would happen if her children should see that side of her. Doug had also noticed that here in Ireland and in Canada, Kat could put all of that aside, even if it was only for a few hours.
“It should always be like this” Kat said.
“What should?” Doug asked.
“Our lives” Kat said, “It should be a fun adventure all the time.”
“If we had the children along, it might not be as fun” Doug said, “Remember in Montreal when Tat and Marie got it through their heads that they wanted to…”
Kat put a finger to Doug’s lips, “Let me have my fantasy please” She said before skipping ahead of Doug down the road.
The war of words on House Floor had proven every bit as bruising even the most cynical observers had figured it would be. There had been two developments so far. The first had been that the Southern States had overplayed their hand and united the rest of the country against them. The second one was that Barry Goldwater had managed to prove himself the biggest asshole in Washington D.C. Later the more cynical would joke that Goldwater was all for civil rights until pandering to Southern politicians would further his ambitions.
It was also said that W. Averell Harriman had won the 1960 Presidential Election but lost the country in the process. The outcome had exposed the fissures within the Democratic Coalition that had persisted since the Great Depression. No one realized it quite yet, but with those fault lines an earthquake was coming.
I was right
The rest of the United States now knows that the South really do not want to be part of the country with this stunt that they had just pulled, while the rest of the country is basically for Civil Rights on a theoretical level and has passed laws on state and local levels, those laws are scattered shot and not enforced to their fullest extent.
So before I go any further, there are things I needed clarification on, did Harriman win in the House and if so at what price?
If the election is still deadlocked in the House did Goldwater win the Vice Presidency in the Electoral College and is now set to become the Acting President on January 20th?
If Goldwater does becomes the Acting President then will the South become even more blatant in repressing African-Americans with officially state sanctioned violence?
If that happens then can Acting President Goldwater ignore it or will he have to do something about before everything spirals out of control?
With Kiki finding out about her Grandfather, who does she turn to with that information?
That will tell us a lot about who Kiki trusts the most in her life.
I think that it will either be Dr. Berg or her Stepmother Charlotte which be a surprising revelation to Kiki, but with all things considered Charlotte may be the right choice.
Harriman won in the House, the issue is that he broke apart the New Deal Coalition in the process.
Separate names with a comma.