Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

I dunno. Sometimes people tiptoe around an issue too long. It's only after you confront it that you will be able to understand it and be able to make the best decisions
We all are forgetting that Kiki is 22 years old and while she does have some life experience it was under combat conditions this is coloring her outlook on how to help her sister or in other words her approach is more like "See the hill, Take the hill" instead of using finesse.
We all are forgetting that Kiki is 22 years old and while she does have some life experience it was under combat conditions this is coloring her outlook on how to help her sister or in other words her approach is more like "See the hill, Take the hill" instead of using finesse.
She had plenty of interaction of the kind needed with the people trying to help her.

At least when Freddy's being an ass he's doing so unwittingly (and, well, it's the standard way big brothers show affection). Kiki thinks herself (unilaterally) in competition with them and doesn't seem to try to interact with her family unless mandatory. She doesn't even seem to have any kind of affection for them - at best, she seems to tolerate them.
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I dunno. Sometimes people tiptoe around an issue too long. It's only after you confront it that you will be able to understand it and be able to make the best decisions

I agree. I know it sucks to be direct sometimes, especially if you have make a conscious effort to do so but in certain circumstances it is useful.
She had plenty of interaction of the kind needed her with the people trying to help her.

At least when Freddy's being an ass he's doing so unwittingly (and, well, it's the standard way big brothers show affection). Kiki thinks herself (unilaterally) in competition with them and doesn't seem to try to interact with her family unless mandatory. She doesn't even seem to have any kind of affection for them - at best, she seems to tolerate them.
That is an interesting take but I tend to disagree with that assessment, when Rea was having problems with her school and Vicky after their "Spa Vacation" it was Kiki that Rea turned to, and she has great affection for Nella.
Kiki has become friends with her squid brother Louis Ferdinand and she has reached an understanding with Freddy that is leading to a more mature relationship between them, and of course she sees Freddy's fiance Suga as a sister already.
It is just that Freddy and Michael had each other and Rea and Vicky being identical twins were naturally in each others pockets until the disastrous trip, and Louie hung out with the twins and friends as their reluctant dance partner.
Kiki really does not see herself as in being competition with her siblings but as a marker to challenge herself to do better, it just comes across to others as Kiki being competitive.
Now that they all are getting older and having their own lives, they are now becoming more appreciative of each other and see each others as equals.
Part 98, Chapter 1562
Chapter One Thousand Five Hundred Sixty-Two

19th May 1963


This place was one of complete darkness with the only light coming from the flashlight that Kiki was holding, the air wasn’t stale though. Kiki said that the complex was climate controlled because there were things down here that were required to be kept at a constant temperature. It was a secret that Kiki had said that Vicky needed to see.

Kiki had led her deep under the castle through a maze of tunnels that she said dated back centuries. There were several steel grates that were locked from the inside, and Vicky knew that she would have been hopelessly lost if her sister hadn’t known the way. As the grates locked behind them, Kiki said that it was fine because they were not coming back the same way. Eventually the roughly cut stone walls gave way to concrete. After they had walked what seemed like several kilometers, they came to a sign that spelled out in red letters Danger! Radiation, Observe all Protocols.

When Vicky looked at that with fear, but Kiki just smiled.

“During the Soviet War the Wilhelm Institute relocated one of their research projects to Hechingen” Kiki said, “We’re deep under the town and that history is part of the reason why certain industries want to locate here.”

“Is it dangerous?” Vicky asked.

“I came through here with a Geiger counter and there is no more than the expected background radiation except in the core itself” Kiki replied.

“The what?” Vicky asked.

“What we came here to see, sort of” Kiki said, “We would not want to access the core obviously, but the control room is impressive.”

“Shouldn’t there be guards?” Vicky asked.

“The way we came is one of the few ways to get in that weren’t sealed off when the project was moved elsewhere” Kiki replied, “The core couldn’t be removed.”

“What was this project?” Vicky asked.

“Operation Hecate” Kiki answered, and Vicky felt her mouth go dry. That was the name of the project to develop the first atomic bombs in great secrecy. Decades later only the barest details had been given to the public.

The previous Friday night, Kiki had sussed out Vicky’s deepest secret and her reaction had surprised Vicky. Contrary to what Vicky had feared her reaction would be, Kiki had made it clear that she didn’t think it was the end of the world. “Just do me a favor” Kiki had said, “If you ever decide to go public with this, tell everyone that it was having Prince Vittorio as a potential suitor that was the final straw. He caused you to swear off men forever.” Despite her fear of being found out Vicky had laughed at that.

“That isn’t how it works” Vicky had said.

“I know” Kiki replied, “But the look on that pigheaded louse’s face when he hears that would be just delicious.”

Later they had talked late into the night and Vicky had learned the reason why Kiki had taken it all in stride. In the Medical Service and the FSR, she regularly encountered women who preferred the company of their own gender as she put it. They were respected professionals in their own fields, and no one made a big deal about who they went home to at night despite what the regulations said. When Vicky asked if Kiki ever worried about people thinking that she was one of them, she just smiled. Kiki said that the stories about her having a boyfriend were true and that she knew what she preferred. For Vicky herself, she had realized she felt like a great weight had been lifted off of her, when she was alone with her sister anyway. Then Kiki had told her that next autumn Vicky would be starting at University and that would be a new opportunity to meet new people and figure out how to live her life on her terms.

The next day, Kiki had let Vicky see what she had been doing over the prior weeks she had spent in the castle. At a typewriter filling out applications for Federal infrastructure grants and trying to lure corporations to build facilities in Hechingen and Sigmaringen. This had led directly to a conversation of why Zuse, Leica, Siemens, Zeiss or any of the others who Kiki had been in contact with would be interested. Kiki had said that it was because of history. Vicky had asked what she meant by that and Kiki had said that she needed to see it for herself.

Entering the control room, Kiki found a switch and turned on the overhead lights and Vicky saw the long rows of gauges with the needles occasionally moving. “The core is in there” Kiki said pointing to a small window at the end of the room. When Vicky looked, she saw a circular metal pedestal set into the floor. She realized that it was a lid on something like a jar.

“Metal over graphite and lead, cooled by a self-sustaining closed system that uses salt as a coolant” Kiki said, “It weighs several tons and after two decades its still quietly ticking away.”

“You know a lot about this” Vicky said.

“It’s my business to know” Kiki replied, “The men I’m dealing with want to know about this.”

“This is amazing” Vicky replied, “Scary though.”

“Sometimes the monsters under the bed are real” Kiki said. Vicky realized that if Kiki had just said that this was down here then there would be no way that she would have believed it.

With that they left the control room, down a corridor and up several flights of stairs. Vicky couldn’t help but notice that several of the side tunnels had been backfilled. Kiki was right about how they really had sealed this place off. Coming to a steel door set into the wall, Kiki pounded the butt of her flashlight into it until it swung open.

“You should have called us ahead of time your highness” A man in the green uniform of a policeman said as he let them through.

“Consider this a surprise inspection without the inspection” Kiki said as she led Vicky up one last flight of stairs into the Hechingen Police Station.
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That's definitively not your run of the mill police station.

And good for you Kiki to use your soft power wisely. Economic development, especially high tech is something that is always needed.

And it gives people another counterargument on the topic of useless royalty.
One of the things that Kiki can do to expand local economy is to encourage crafts and cottage products like wood working, furniture making, if they have sheep for wool then sweater making is a possibility.
Diversification of farm products is something to be looked at as the increase of immigrants brings the desire for other crops that are not being grown but there is a market for them now like certain herbs and crops.
With the Alexanderplatz Farmers Market being available and Kiki knowing the founder, I am sure that there could spaces available to sell their products to a wider population.
Tourism is something that should be encouraged along with film and television shows being shot there, there has been POV by other characters that has bemoaned the fact that people have this idea of Germany that is stuck in the past century, that could used as a selling point instead as tourists especially Americans want an "authentic" experience , and also have things like arts festivals like music and stage productions in the summer.
Part 98, Chapter 1563
Chapter One Thousand Five Hundred Sixty-Three

22nd May 1963

Kreuzberg, Berlin

Ji had just finished unloading crates of fresh produce from the van into the walk-in cooler. Many of the varieties of fruit and vegetables that he had seen were surprisingly familiar to him being the same as those sold in Korea. According to Suk it was because farmers outside the city knew that there was demand here within the Korean population looking for a taste of home. It was something that caused Ji to take a closer look at the jars and cans of the products that the store sold. He had seen the labels in Korean and assumed that they had been imported. It seemed that Ji’s assumptions were wrong and when he thought about it, he realized that these were locally produced goods that had Korean labels slapped on them. It would have been too expensive to do it otherwise.

“Are you here to window shop or work” Soo-Jin said sharply. It seemed like Ji was always running afoul of Soo-Jin, Suk’s wife who took the management of the store far more seriously than her husband did. If it wasn’t how he was doing his job, it was her concern about how Ji might put down roots here in Kreuzburg through her family. As if Ji was interested in the Han family’s homely daughter Bora. Even at the age of seventeen Bora gave Ji the impression that she would become her mother in twenty odd years. Ji would call the German authorities on himself before he considered going that route.

Rushing back to the front of the store, Ji grabbed the dust mop and started sweeping the aisles of the store. It was something safe to do, it made him look busy though he wasn’t doing a whole lot. He did a once around the whole store, trying to make sure that the linoleum floor was spotless. There were a few coins that he found that he pocketed, it wasn’t as if anyone’s name was on them. After shaking out the mop, Ji found a broom and a dustpan. As he swept up the pile of debris, Ji noticed that he was being watched.

A little girl with blue eyes and hair the color of copper was peeking around the corner at him. Seeing that she had been noticed, she stepped forward. “Good afternoon, Sir” She said in comprehensible Korean, and she gave him a slight nod in the manner considered polite.

“Thank you, Fraulein” Ji replied in German and the girl smiled.

“Stop bothering him Marie” Soo-Jin said, “The boy needs to earn his keep.”

Ji held his tongue, he felt he more than earned his place here. The Han family had been paying him a fair wage, but he still needed to get his living situation sorted and had been sleeping on a cot in the store’s back room until a more permanent arrangement could be found.

“You know her?” Ji asked.

“Marie’s father rents a space upstairs that he runs a photography business out of” Soo-Jin said, “Her parents have been encouraging her to learn new languages, so she bothers me and Suk until her father comes looking for her.”

“You said that you would teach me some more words Frau Han?” Marie asked plaintively.

Ji saw Soo-Jin pull a dogeared Grammar schoolbook from behind the counter that had several bookmarks in it. He couldn’t help that Soo-Jin’s actions didn’t reflect her words. She seemed to enjoy teaching the girl words in Korean.

Copenhagen International Airport

Erland Dalgaard knew that he was in deep shit because he was tied to a chair at what sounded like the airport. He couldn’t guess why he had been crammed into the trunk of a car with two of his co-workers, he would have known that it was Carsten and Ivar just from the smell. Of course, when Erland had seen the Oriental he should have known that something was up, not that he had seem him for long. It had been with shocking speed that he’d been soundly thrashed, which led directly to this current predicament.

After an unknown length of time, a woman entered the hanger and Erland recognized her. The term “deep shit” no longer applied to the situation. It had just become completely catastrophic.

“Did you have any trouble with them?” The woman asked the Oriental. He just shook his head.

“Why did you kidnap us?” Carsten demanded. He never had known when to keep his mouth shut. Didn’t he realize who this was?

The woman smiled warmly but her eyes were cold.

“Nathalie Falk” The woman said, and Carsten fell silent. Erland knew that judgment had come for them.

“We don’t know nothing about that” Ivar said, “She killed herself.”

“No, she didn’t and with that double negative you admit that you know the truth” The woman said, “She was beaten to death after the three of you got through having your way with her.”

She had them dead to rights and Erland had no doubt that the other two would sell him out in a heartbeat to save their own skin.

“Look, whatever price you name, we’ll pay it” Erland said.

“All I want is an answer to a simple question” The woman said, “What was so important that you would risk the wrath of Jarl Gunnarsson? Nathalie was under his protection.”

“We got a better offer” Erland replied.

“I know” The woman said, “Figuring out who that was took time. That is why I’ve had you three watched carefully for the last several months.”

Erland had no idea that had been happening.

“We just were supposed to learn who the father of Nathalie’s daughter was” Ivar said, “She never told us.”

“Idiots” The woman said, “I don’t have time to deal with the excuses that rapists make. We discussed this Kage.”

The Oriental nodded, then with one quick movement he expertly cut Ivar’s throat. As Erland watched him walk towards him, he remembered that there was an expansion of the airport terminal happening, somewhere under the concrete it would also be his tomb.
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Honest gov, they've 'ad an accident, they simply tripped into the freshly poured concrete foundations without no reason at all.

And the sharp force trauma at their throats? How do you explain that?

No idea gov they must've shaved it a bit close, eh.
The odd thing is, this is the kind of thing people expect of Kat.

Which means, it wouldn't be a big scandal if it came out. She'd be in legal trouble, but not socially. . .
I get the feeling that the Red headed woman won't like the answer to her questions.
Having local farmers grow produce that the new immigrants like is a win for all sides.
Gang Ji has just made a contact that will vastly improve his life and the funny thing is he doesn't know it yet.
"After an unknown length of time, a woman entered the hanger and Erland recognized her. The term “deep shit” no longer applied to the situation. It had just become completely catastrophic."

KAT-astrophic, to be precise. The worst kind to be on the receiving end of.

Thing is, if LKat had turned them over to the authorities, they wouldn't have lasted very long either. Jarl would have seen to that and it probably would have been
a more drawn out process... If the bodies ar efound a hundred years later, they will make for a nice little mystery and urban legends.
Part 98, Chapter 1564
Chapter One Thousand Five Hundred Sixty-Four

24th May 1963

London, England

“Then I had to tell him that I would be out of the country and wouldn’t be able to sort this latest mess” Kat said to Elizabeth who seemed amused by the whole situation.

“I am surprised that he did not just order you back to Berlin” Elizabeth said, “He has that authority.”

“Yes” Kat replied, “But he knows that I cannot be two places at once. I couldn’t be in both Berlin and at the Hohenzollern Castle. Especially since I got Kiki and Vicky on the phone so that I could get to the bottom of what has been going on.”

For Kat the previous days had been spent running from place to place. First from Berlin to Copenhagen and then on to London where she had promised Elizabeth that she would visit when it could be arranged. Kat wasn’t about to change her plans just because one of Louis Ferdinand’s children was having a crisis, if she did that then she would never get anything done. It was bad enough that she had needed to go to Copenhagen to conduct some distasteful but necessary business. At the moment, they were watching Elizabeth’s fourteen-year-old daughter Birdie as she held one of the reasons for Kat’s visit, the newborn Prince William. There was probably no one on Earth happier to have welcomed England having a new Crown Prince more than Birdie herself. Kat understood that Elizabeth had suffered a miscarriage a few years earlier, something that had dashed the hopes of the more traditionally minded within the British Government and Birdie.

Since she had been born, Alberta, better known by the nickname Birdie, had been the designated heir. It was a role that she had never been comfortable with and had even gone so far as to seriously look at converting to Catholicism to get out of it. It had been pointed out that making such a move might not work as intended. The legal and religious issues raised by that had never been adjudicated. Not to mention the reality that Birdie would hardly be free, instead she would have made herself the perfect candidate to be the future Queen consort in Spain or Italy. While her love for her baby brother was genuine, Birdie still felt liberated by her change in circumstance.

“What has been going on?” Elizabeth asked.

“Victoria is finding adult life a bit more complicated than she ever bargained for” Kat replied, “She ran to her older sister for help.”

That was a half-truth, but Kat had been protecting the children of the Emperor since she was not much older than Birdie. It wasn’t a habit that she was about to break now. Elizabeth didn’t need to know what the full story about what was driving Vicky’s actions.

“We all have those moments” Elizabeth said, “For instance, I convinced a friend to arrange for me to learn to drive a tank when I was her age.”

“It was a fun day” Kat said.

“That reminds me, how is Major Knispel these days?” Elizabeth asked.

“He’s a Generalmajor, er… Brigadier these days” Kat said correcting herself midsentence, remembering the equivalent rank. “Michael is trying to convince him to take command of the Armored Division of the Bohemian Army.”

The instant Kat mentioned Michael of Bohemia she noticed that Birdie’s entire demeanor changed. While the two of them had gleefully tossed aside the entire notion that they were to enter an arranged marriage, Michael had been one of the few people in Birdie’s life who had told her that she had choices. Years later, it was obvious to everyone that Birdie still had a thing for the young King of Bohemia.

A few minutes later William started fussing and the nurse retrieved William from Birdie. As her son was placed back into her arms, Elizabeth asked. “Do you miss this, when they are little?”

“Yes and no” Kat replied, “Babies were made cute by evolution to prevent us from killing them when they throw a fit because you said no to a sugary snack. Fortunately, Marie seems to have outgrown that sort of thing.”

“You need to bring Marie here next time” Elizabeth said, “I haven’t seen her since she was a toddler.”

“Lately she has taken to pestering the Korean couple who runs the market downstairs from Douglas’ studio to teach her that language” Kat said, “Do you really want to put yourself in that role?”

“Marie is what, seven or eight?” Elizabeth asked in reply, “At that age children are mostly harmless.”

Kat tried not to laugh. That was spoken like a woman who had an entire staff to help her mind her children. Kat’s experience was that children were small-minded selfish little brutes until they learned better.

“She’s seven” Kat replied, “Marie is extremely precocious. She loves playacting, dressing up as a pirate or as Robin Hood are the least of what she does. Having her in a palace packed full of historical artifacts is asking for trouble.”

Elizabeth just smiled at that, “The way you describe her sounds a lot like how I imagine you were at that age” She said.

“I never dressed up” Kat said.

“I will have to take your word for that, but didn’t you once say that you had visited almost every European capital city by the time you were six” Elizabeth said.

Kat was trying to remember why she had told the Queen of England about that.
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Part 98, Chapter 1565
Chapter One Thousand Five Hundred Sixty-Five

27th May 1963

Mitte, Berlin

After weeks in Swabia her father finally relented and allowed Kiki to come back to Berlin with Vicky. The stated reason was that with the preparations for the upcoming Royal wedding in full swing, having a key member of the wedding party on the wrong side of the country no longer made sense. The other reason was that Kiki’s father was hoping that Kiki could enlighten him about what had caused Vicky to flee Berlin in the first place. Kiki had placated him by saying that it was a personal crisis brought on by a feminine issue, which was sort of the truth. The next question from her father had catapulted the entire situation into the realm of the truly absurd. “Vicky isn’t pregnant, is she?” Kiki’s father had asked, and Kiki had said that was sort of impossible.

Staring at her face in the three mirrors facing her, Kiki looked at the form fitting suit that she was wearing while standing on a stool in a room full of people and wondered if she should be embarrassed. Klaus Voll had been commissioned to design the wedding dress for Suga and the dresses worn by the other women in the wedding party. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that he wasn’t about to let pass.

“We need you to hold still love” Klaus Voll said amicably to Kiki. She was finding it hard to do, especially because of the itch in the middle of her back that was growing more aggravating by the second.

“I’m doing my best” Kiki replied as one of Voll’s assistants was carefully measuring her body with a cloth measuring tape. “I thought that you already had my measurements?”

“As of a couple years ago, yes” Voll said, “But you’ve managed to put on a few centimeters around your hips since then, I see.”

That was news to Kiki, she had not gained any weight in that time and as she looked in the mirror, she saw the same thing she always did.

“You change as you get older, it is expected” Voll said, “There is also challenge of making a dress for a woman with an athletic body.”

Kiki had not heard herself described as athletic before, only having heard it said about Kat. It was far better than the terms that had been used a couple years earlier. If that was the only comparison with Kat that people made of her then she would be happy with that. When the conversation with her father had shifted away from Vicky, he had wanted to talk about how things had been going in the Province of Hohenzollern. The region had a reputation of being rebellious against Hohenzollern rule and the hope was that the people there would see Kiki as nonthreatening. It spoke volumes about how her father saw her and at the same time she realized that it couldn’t have been less true. Kiki could only imagine the sort of negative reception that she would have received if she had a reputation like Kat’s. While she loved her like an Aunt, there were times when Kat could be entirely too much. There had been in the moments after Kiki had finished with that counterattack when she had realized that she had become like Kat in the seconds before she had opened fire.

It wasn’t a great feeling.

Shortly before Kiki had left Hohenzollern Castle, she had found herself with an unexpected visitor, Friedrich Wilhelm, heir apparent of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen branch of her family. She had not known a whole lot about her distant cousins, other than they lived in Sigmaringen and that they closely related to the King of Romania. In the context of the visit, Friedrich’s father was the Graf of Sigmaringen, and they were very interested in what Kiki’s plans were for the future of the Province. She couldn’t tell if they were offering a partnership or were merely opportunists. If she had to guess, she would say that they were perfectly prepared to be both depending on whether she fell flat on her face or not.

“Now, in this matter your brother’s intended has not exactly been a great deal of help” Voll said, “She thinks that since the bride’s maids are going to be wearing these dresses then they ought to pick the color.”

“And all of them want something different?” Kiki asked.

Voll’s face reflected how vexing he found that and there had probably been a great deal of arguing about that judging from the expressions of the women around the room. Kiki had seen the various swatches of cloth.

“Then tell Suga to pick one and be done with it” Kiki finally said.

“Not everyone is as decisive as you are Kiki dear” Voll replied.

Kiki knew what Voll was getting at. “I’ll talk to her once this is finished” She said with a great deal of reluctance.

“Good” Voll said, “You are the sort I like, agreeable and your dimensions probably won’t be changing too much from day to day.”

Kiki wondered what would have prompted that comment when she noticed that Asia was sitting in the corner glaring at Voll. It was hardly a surprise that he would be less than sympathetic towards the issues surrounding pregnancy. Kiki figured that would be something else that she would need to smooth over before there was a body to hide.
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