Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

Vicky had asked him why and he had told her a somewhat humorous story about floodwaters rising and a stubborn man who refused aid from his neighbors who were evacuating because “God will provide” according to him. Over the following hours he declines aid from a rowboat and a helicopter that happened along as the waters threatened to wash his home away. Eventually he drowns in the flood. When the stubborn man arrives at the Pearly Gates, he asks Saint Peter why God didn’t provide. Peter looks at him and says, “God provided you with good neighbors, a rowboat and helicopter.”

Starts after the first minute.
Thanks for that. Although, like P-M, I have heard similar versions of that parable over the years. It goes back to Noah & his neighbours, I think.
 
Part 103, Chapter 1655
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Five



10th September 1964

Jena

This had been Doctor Holz’s idea and Kiki was entirely too mortified to speak. Here she was in a room with others who showed signs of having had serious injuries in the past, she felt like she was clearly out of place here. She was also the only woman which certainly didn’t help.

This was entirely because of Ben and Vicky ganging up on her the prior weekend, telling her that she needed to turn to the University for help. They felt that she would be more willing to do that as opposed to the things that she had refused to do in the past. Kiki knew that she had no one to blame but herself that this had happened. Treating her nineteen-year-old sister like a child had been a huge mistake, a mistake that Kiki hadn’t realized she was making. The fact that Vicky had understood that admitting to Ben the truth about her sexuality was a way to get him on her side was proof enough. Especially when Kiki had realized that she could hardly tell Vicky no after she had done something like that.

Talking with Doctor Holz the next afternoon about what was going on had hardly been easier with him pushing the conversation along as she kept hesitating to tell him everything. The most biting part had been when Doctor Holz had asked Kiki why she thought that her problems were unique. That had led directly to presence here today.

“Good afternoon” Doctor Holz said, “We are being joined today by Kristina, she has been struggling since she got back from Korea and a few other things that she might want to talk about when she is ready. I shouldn’t need to remind any of you of the rules. First names only, rank has no place in here and nothing said here leaves this room.”

All eyes were on her and Kiki wished that she could just disappear.

“I don’t belong here” Kiki said.

And they laughed like if she had just said the punchline in a joke.

It was like the wound badge in black that she had received all over again. Kiki tried arguing that because she wasn’t in uniform and was on student leave from the FSR, it shouldn’t count and had been overruled by her superiors. It wasn’t about who she was, instead it was all about what she had done and why according to them. When Kiki had seen it for the first time she had felt like a complete fraud.

“Not one of us belongs here” One of the men said, “Ask anyone.”



Moscow

Something had been eating at Anya.

Gia had been able to tell that much since she had returned from Siberia and the expansive stretch of the Trans-Baikal Region that she was overseeing the administration of on Alexei’s behalf. The who thing was something of a joke that Georgy was taking very seriously as Czar of Russia. He was using conflicting priorities between regional Governments and those who he had given titles to as “rewards” to prevent anyone from getting too large a slice of the pie as the previously untapped wealth of Siberia opened up. That was, except for Georgy himself along the funds that he was making sure were distributed through the Duma and into social programs in European Russia.

The result was that everyone was at each other’s throats most of the time. This was even as they presided over boom towns and should have had little to argue over. That was especially true along the Trans-Siberian Railroad where industry and commerce were following the people who had established themselves over the previous twenty years. Gia had found herself trying to forge a consensus in the Trans-Baikal between the various factions. It had not been easy going and then when she had returned to Moscow, she had discovered that Anya was in a snit.

It wasn’t until few days after she had returned home and had gotten Alexei asleep, hopefully for the night, that Gia got a chance to speak to Anya. It was Gia’s hope to learn what was going on, but Anya being Anya, she didn’t seem too interested in making it easy. Finally, after several minutes of patient, gentle prodding, Anya finally gave Gia an answer. It had turned out that Anya had travelled to Pskov over her Summer Holiday after learning a great deal about what had happened to the other children she had grown up with and how very few of them had enjoyed easy lives in the years since.

“Why did you pick me Sasha?” Anya asked, “Of all the children in the orphanage in the Yelizarov Convent, why me?”

“Because I wanted you to be able to remain the imaginative child who I met there for a few more years” Gia replied, “They were getting ready to separate the girls from the boys. Those who weren’t interested in a religious vocation would be sent to learn a trade. Even then it was accepted that most of the boys would end up in either the military or prison and that many of the girls would be lost to the streets.”

Anya had not been expecting a straight answer to that question. She was just one of the multitudes of orphans who had been created by the Second World War and the Stalinist purges that had occurred. It seemed like many of them had been slipping through the cracks at an alarming rate, to the extent that many were dubbing those who had been born during the war and were now coming of age as the lost generation. Gia had hoped that Anya would be able to put all that behind her and not feel that she had somehow cheated others by being given the chance to thrive.
 
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No-one does deserve to be there, don't know about PTSD therapy, but any therapy takes a good bit of effort to get over the initial reluctance.

Anya will be dealing with that for the rest of her life, no matter what Gia does.
 
“I don’t belong here” Kiki said.

And they laughed like if she had just said the punchline in a joke.

It was like the wound badge in black that she had received all over again. Kiki tried arguing that because she wasn’t in uniform and was on student leave from the FSR, it shouldn’t count and had been overruled by her superiors. It wasn’t about who she was, instead it was all about what she had done and why according to them. When Kiki had seen it for the first time she had felt like a complete fraud.

“Not one of us belongs here” One of the men said, “Ask anyone.”
So many people who do heroic things are convinced they didn't do anything special. New Zealand Victoria Cross holder Willie Apiata, on being told that he would be receiving the medal, responded: "But I was just doing my job, Boss."
And then there is 'Imposter Syndrome' where a person believes that they are not deserving of their success and that they will be exposed as a fraud who does not belong or deserve any of the recognition that they have earned.

“Why did you pick me Sasha?” Anya asked, “Of all the children in the orphanage in the Yelizarov Convent, why me?”
Poor Anya. Survivor's guilt really sucks.
 
Part 103, Chapter 1656
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Six



14th September 1964

Kreuzburg, Berlin

Scribbling her thoughts down in the latest notebook that contained her diary, Anne knew that she should be working on editing her latest manuscript. Instead, she was procrastinating by writing about the latest antics of her friends and family or the stories she had read in the newspaper.

An Interviewer had once asked Anne if her novels were intended to be allegories. That had caused her to take a step back and take a look at what she had written over the previous years and discovered that it was easy apply that interpretation to them. All of her novels featured characters who were not so different from herself living through times of rapid change. The difference was that setting them in an environment remote from her own in an imagined copper or bronze age made it far enough removed from her own life to be able to write effectively and have it published.

Through all of that, Anne was still a prolific diarist and that had extended into dozens of notebooks that she kept on a shelf in her home office. Included were things like getting books published, meeting the man who would become her husband for the first time, her marriage and the birth of her children. All of that was so deeply personal and included many embarrassing details about herself as well as those she loved. She simply could not imagine her diaries ever getting published, not in a million years. If the novels she wrote were anything like those, she would simply be unable to let them go.

Leni had a different perspective about it, even going so far as to offer to edit Anne’s diaries herself. Anne knew that would only last until Leni reached the pages that dealt with how she had been the one who had found Leni collapsed on the bathroom floor of the old house that they had lived in, bleeding out from where she had slit her wrists. It didn’t take much imagination to see what Leni’s reaction to reading about Anne’s reaction to her suicide attempt would be.

There were also things in there about everyone else who had lived in that house back then. The tabloids would eat up those parts, especially the bits about Katherine or Gia and present them without context. Anne loved them all like family and didn’t want to expose the details of their lives or her own. Yet still she wrote in her diary every day. Including ever greater numbers of the details about her circle of friends and family. It was not as if the details of her own life were something that anyone would ever actually want to read. Anne knew that she was just not a very exciting person.



Prague, Bohemia

Like with the Lynx before it, the Panzerkampfwagen VIII Leopard was being assembled by ČKD in Prague and the design had been somewhat altered to suit the needs of the Bohemian Army. No one had a problem with this because it had spurred innovation, the same sort that had resulted in the Lynx II with its 10.5cm main gun and SPz series of APCs. As the patron of the corporation, Michael was more than happy to go take a look at the new Panzer and he felt very much like the proverbial child in a candy store as he climbed down into the turret through the commander’s cupola.

Looking at all the various controls for the range finding and fire control systems, Michael found them both familiar and a bit daunting at the same time. While similar to the systems he had trained with, they were clearly more advanced. The radios though, they were exactly the same. Michael flipped the switch to turn one of the radios on and the turret was filled with Rock & Roll music from a station in Prague. That happening had been an easy prediction.

Glancing down at the Gunner’s seat, Michael saw the controls for the turret itself. The firing pedals, the knobs and gages for aiming the shots to the selected shells. Looking over at the loaders seat and the ready rack of shells. Michael saw that the Panzergranate 39 had been eliminated from the inventory. He had heard about that happening, but to actually see it. That felt like a bit of his childhood imaginings had gone with it. What had replaced though, was an odd combination of shells that he was not yet familiar with. Supposedly, the Leopard’s main gun had been designed to accommodate them, by making the barrel a smooth bore in response to the Russians doing something similar. Michael knew that he could see for himself by opening the gun breech, something he was reluctant to do. As much as he disliked spending his time that way, he was going to have to knuckle down and spend some time studying the new Panzer by reading the guidebooks. Whoever wrote those had an amazing talent for making any subject seem tedious and dull.

Climbing out of the turret, Michael saw that the regular crew of the Panzer were staring at him, without venturing comment. Everyone knew that he had commanded a Platoon of Lynx II Panzers in Korea, so they assumed that he was an expert in matters like these. It was aggravating because one of the lessons that Kurt had taught him was that if he wasn’t listening to what others said it was inevitable that he would mess something up. It was hard to listen when the other guy wasn’t speaking.

“So?” Michael asked them, “What do you think of the new ride?”

As it turned out they had plenty to say after all.
 
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I think that Anya will become the face of the "Lost Generation" because of her adoption by "Saint Sasha" and that may radicalize her in to becoming a leader in pressing for repatriations from the Imperial Russian government for the orphans that were created by the Soviet regime and essentially abandoned by the new Russian Empire.
There will be of course resentment from other Russians who will claim to be victims themselves and will point out that the orphans got three hot servings of gruel a day which is more than they ever got.

If Anne's diary is still intact it should be coming out in published form right now in ITTL 2020 and it will be considered to be one of the most important event in the history of Literature as it will give the world one of the most comprehensive look at the woman who defined Germany the most in the Twentieth Century.
 
OMG!
'The Diaries of Ann Frank', almost certainly to be published posthumously (but much, much later ITTL), are going to be an epic record of life at the centre of the German Empire during most of the 20th Century. Historians will consider her to be one of the greatest diarists since Samuel Pepys and an incomparable resource. The media, especially the scandal sheets, will go nuts over the behind-the-scenes revelations into the lives of some of the most important people in modern German history; and then kick their predecessors repeatedly for not noticing at least half of them themselves at the time. The public will be both titillated & horrified at the same revelations as well as details of Leni's suicide attempt, Asia's trauma at the hands of the Americans & later out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and possibly even her relationship with Gia (Anne WAS pretty observant, after all), life at the imperial court under (at least) two very different Empresses, not to mention all the little details of the private life of The Tigress Herself. Anne's own life, boring as she may think it (it isn't), will enthrall people simply because it will be a warts-&-all look at Anne's own life; her hopes, dreams, fears & disappointments over the years.

As for Michael, he is only in his mid-20s and yet has just recognised the unrelenting march of time as he sat in the turret of the new panzer. He is also smart enough to know that he has a whole lot of continuing education ahead of him, even if he can't stand it most of the time. The King cannot rest on his laurels; not if he wants to stay relevant (and on the throne).
 
Part 103, Chapter 1657
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Seven



20th September 1964

Jena

The day before Kiki had been panicking about the events of the upcoming week and Vicky had heard her up knocking about late into the night. She was loath to admit to it, but she was far outside of what she was comfortable with over the entire matter. Kiki had eventually fallen into an exhausted sleep in the early morning hours and Vicky had eventually had to be the one to let Rauchbier out into the back garden before he exploded. Hera watched the whole thing from the top of the icebox, far too dignified to acknowledge anything involving the dog.

Vicky knew full well that the living situation was far from ideal. Kiki moving into this house wasn’t a part of her plans, nor did it suit her preferences. That barge Kiki had lived on after she had returned from Korea, her first apartment in Jena and that tiny Chalet she had lived in over the summer all had one thing in common, Kiki seemed to be more comfortable living small spaces. The house was what Vicky had wanted and Kiki tolerated it because it was the arrangement that had needed to be made after everything that had transpired.

What Kiki didn’t seem to understand was that as much as she didn’t like the idea of going back to Berlin to deal with this matter, she had to in order to get past it. In a movie it would have ended when the credits rolled, probably after that stupidity on the airplane. Movie Writers, Directors and Producers would sell that as the happy ending, while completely ignoring the messy aftermath that inevitably followed. Kiki’s recovery from her head injury and the trauma that she had been coping with even before that wouldn’t have made for compelling television much less a motion picture.

About noon, Kiki came downstairs still wearing one of the old Football jerseys she slept in and to say she looked horrible was an understatement. Vicky sat there looking at her older sister’s head laying on the kitchen table and her right arm outstretched across it. Kiki had long fingers with fine bones, perfect for a musician. Something that she had dabbled in occasionally. Vicky could also see that Kiki had been chewing on her fingernails again, down to the quick on the middle finger. It was in keeping with the rest of Kiki. Disheveled would be how Vicky might describe it, so it was probably a good thing that Ben hadn’t come around this weekend.

There were times when Vicky wondered what Kiki’s boyfriend saw in her. Ben certainly got the huge mess for his trouble. It wasn’t that she was unattractive, instead it was that Kiki seemed uninterested in putting in the effort that it would require. And as much as Vicky loved her sister, even she had to admit that Kiki had more baggage than an ocean liner.

“Do you want something to eat?” Vicky asked, “The housekeeper left a few things that just need to be heated up.”

“I’m not hungry” Kiki replied, not even lifting her head.

“Fine then” Vicky said cheerfully, “I’ll feed it to Rauchbier.”

“Don’t you dare” Kiki said sitting up and giving Vicky the stink eye. Under the table by Kiki’s feet, Rauchbier started wagging his tail at the mention of his name and one of his favorite things, food.

“I guess you will be having it after all” Vicky said tartly as Kiki got up from the table and started pulling the containers out of the icebox.

“You burn salad when you try to cook” Kiki said as she grabbed a saucepan from the cupboard. As if she was much better as a cook. “I’m not letting you do this.”

It was noticeable that Kiki payed barely any attention to what was in the containers as she just threw the contents into a saucepan and it all mixed together as it heated. Like always, Kiki didn’t care. After months in Korea mostly living off of whatever the cooks in the camps that her FSR team happened to be in provided, Vicky figured that Kiki could probably eat nearly anything. The undifferentiated glop that Kiki spooned onto a plate certainly fit the description of that.

“At least you get a couple days away from the Medical Academy” Vicky said as Kiki sat back down at the table. “I’ve seen how you fret over that.”

Kiki didn’t respond to that. The University Medical Program was more or less pass/fail as opposed to necessarily keeping score constantly. It was the fact that failure was a very real possibility and that Kiki had been having some real difficulties lately that caused her to worry.

Yes, the scores did exist. However, they were used mostly for determining postgraduate placement. Kiki had been told that regardless of where she ended up, she would be a newly minted Medical Officer with a PLM and command experience having trained in one of the premier schools for emergency surgery. What that meant was that depending on the choices she made, Kiki could be commanding a Field Surgical Hospital or be the Head of an Emergency Department in a major metropolitan hospital by the time she was forty. Kiki had told Vicky that she had an extremely difficult time picturing exactly where she would be when she reached that age.
 
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As much as he disliked spending his time that way, he was going to have to knuckle down and spend some time studying the new Panzer by reading the guidebooks. Whoever wrote those had an amazing talent for making any subject seem tedious and dull.
Considering OTL WWII Panzer manuals, I'd expect a revolt of the tankers against the new, duller manuals.
 
Sometimes it is funny how different phrases are in other languages. Cannot cook at al in German is literally translated into English as „will burn water“.

And Kiki should be used to both high level cooking and survival food of an army giving her a decent range of culinary experiences.
And PM is basically laying down the symptoms of a classical depression here meaning Kiki needs serious help fast.
 
And Kiki should be used to both high level cooking and survival food of an army giving her a decent range of culinary experiences.
True. While the army does have tasty food on occasion, it's not always. And the reverse is also true, the food might be sometimes bad, but not always.
Bur there are times you eat the food just to put fuel in the tank. And eating whatever you've got (and sleeping whenever you can) is definently something that being in the military (well, army, at least) teaches you.
 
True. While the army does have tasty food on occasion, it's not always. And the reverse is also true, the food might be sometimes bad, but not always.
I think it's more by accident when the food is good. Generally, it's just...blah.

And Kiki should be used to both high level cooking and survival food of an army giving her a decent range of culinary experiences.
Just because she theoretically knows how doesn't mean that she can. Kiki has the problem that when she's in a position to cook, her mind isn't on it. Thus, she tends to wreck whatever it is she's working on. Could be good if she focused, but generally doesn't. Or makes military-grade gloop that nourishes, but stuns the palate.

That said, I think we've all known people that can't cook to save their lives.
 
What Kiki and Vicky need is their very own Petria to run their home in Jena in a no nonsense way and give them the advice they don't want but need.

The cultural butterflies in Russia.is going to be enormous as Boris Pasternik will write a much different Doctor Zhivago ITTL and he won't be thrown in the gulag and he will enjoy the money coming his way.
The Soviet Era is going the predominant event that will define the films, novels, music, theater, and other forms of entertainment in the New Russian Empire.
 
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