Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

Part 103, Chapter 1658
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Eight



23rd September 1964

Mitte, Berlin

The intention had been to give moral support to Kiki when she testified in court, giving her recounting of the events of the 22nd of April. Michael had travelled to Berlin that morning.

Upon getting to Berlin, Michael discovered a few things to his surprise. Instead of returning to the Winter Residence this year in the autumn, his family had moved into the top floor of a building in Mitte while the eventual fate of the old palace was waiting to be determined. There was talk of leasing it to the State and turning it into a museum as had already been done with the palace of the Crown Prince when Friedrich and Suga decided that they weren’t interested in living there. Michael’s father said that he had leased the place from a trusted family friend and that it would be nice to spend the winter without finding himself sitting in a draft, which tended to happen with some regularity in the old palace. Some more permanent arrangement would need to be worked out, but this worked out well in the meantime.

One other surprise was that Nella was a regular little chatterbox telling him all about her first weeks in Kindergarten and how the teacher insisted on calling her Antonia. Apparently, no one else called her that and his father and stepmother had decided that Nella would attend school like any other child her age. And how was Nella old enough to be attending school already?

Michael’s lunch with Kurt Knispel didn’t hold a whole lot of surprises. They had talked at length about the scandal involving the Hohenzollern Trust, the ongoing trial and everything that was going on with Michael in Bohemia. His mentor had listened amusedly to his complaints about the guidebooks for the Leopard Panzer before he had mentioned the old guidebooks that he had collected from the Second World War for Tigers, Panthers, StuGs and a whole host of other armored vehicles. Michael had wondered why Kurt would have collected those, until he saw them.

“We were in the middle of a war” Kurt said, “We had to basically train up our people as fast as possible, often while on the job. Making the guidebooks so boring that they put people to sleep was the exact opposite of what we needed. As Gerta says, know your audience.”

Then Michael saw them, and he understood Kurt’s interest. They were colorful, both in appearance and in content. They were full of cartoons making fun of Army Life, mostly in the form of thickheaded Officers and Noncoms, questionable food, dodgy weather and the ever-present dangers of machinery in even the best of times. All intermixed with pinup girls and practical material on how to run and maintain the systems of armored vehicles in the field.

“Why did this go away?” Michael asked.

“The war ended” Kurt replied, “And some Staff flunky in Wunsdorf got their knickers in a twist over it and decided to be a killjoy. Degrading the moral fiber of our fighting men was how it was put at the time.”

It was obvious from the tone of Kurt’s voice that he hadn’t thought much of that change. It was exactly as it had been put, know your audience.



Near Jassel, Poland

Olli had heard the joke a million times since he had arrived in Jassel. That they cannot have pencils in Government buildings in Warsaw because Politicians keep trying to stick their dicks into the sharpeners. The idea that to Poles were stupid was in itself a stupid idea. Olli had known many Polish soldiers and he had never doubted their abilities, he also got on well with his neighbors. But the actions of the Government in Warsaw were a different story entirely.

As summer passed the regional tensions had fell by the wayside as the business of getting on with life had gained priority and the funds that had been driving the notion of a Free Division of Galicia had dried up. Now as autumn was setting in, life wasn’t bad. For Olli, once the harvest was in and the ground was prepared for the coming winter, he actually had some spare time for a change. Except those dunderheads in Warsaw were opening their flies and looking for pencil sharpeners and that ruined everything.

It had all started when pre-election polling had revealed that most of those running for office in the region were either neutral or supportive on the question of Galician independence and that the National Liberal Party of Germany was likely to win a plurality of seats in the upcoming regional elections here. Olli’s politics tended to reflect his profession in that he supported the Democratic Ecology Party because part of their platform was that productive farmland should remain farmland. It was a position on an issue that most political parties had yet to even address.

The response of the Government in Warsaw was to cancel the regional elections in this region. There had also been a draft proposal to make it so that all official business in Poland had to be done in Polish, an act that would freeze out thousands of German, Yiddish and Rusyn speakers. Didn’t those idiots realize that they were playing right into the hands of the independence movement with those actions?

Olli had other concerns as well. His oldest son, Conrad, was the perfect age to be targeted by the sort of idealists looking for cannon fodder to advance the cause. It was something that Olli knew better than anyone because he had run off to join the fight in Spain when he had been the exact same age.
 
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“Keep Poland Polish” is a great way to get a rump Polish state when other areas with non Polish ethnic citizens feel that their best best bet is to join Germany.

I still think Kurt is going to end up as the Chief of Staff for Bohemia.
 
Love the analogy of pencils & pencil sharpeners. Far too many conflicts & other political cluster-fucks have begun by politicians unable to keep their 'pencils' out of a wide variety of 'pencil-sharpeners'.

"Keep Poland Polish" = "Keep (insert nation name)(insert nationality)" = right wing nationalism = "how to ruin an (almost) totally functional nation".
 
Part 103, Chapter 1659
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Fifty-Nine



24th September 1964

Mitte, Berlin

Today Lothar was forced to sit there silently in the courtroom as the State Prosecutors questioned Princess Kristina. His Court appointed team of Public Defenders had warned him that any outbursts by him would result in severe consequences. They would get their turn.

Once the lengthy list of charges had been read aloud and several days’ worth of corroborating was in the process of being presented, there were few doubts about his guilt. Just the fact that he had been connected to not just one, but four separate incidents involving Princess Kristina was particularly damning. There was also the East Station bombing, possession of illegal weaponry, and countless acts of vandalism. Just for shits and giggles they had thrown in the bombing of the Hamburg Stock Exchange though Lothar had made clear that he had nothing to do with that. No one seemed to care.

It wasn’t a question of whether or not Lothar was going away. The State no longer had the option of sending him to Spandau for a brief stay until he took a short walk to the scaffold where Madame Guillotine waited. Instead, throwing him into a cage until he left feet first was what they were running with. It was only a question of exactly where he would land. The Penitentiary would be bad but ending up in the Zuchthaus would be worse. Lothar had heard that a sentence there involved hard labor, strict rules ruthlessly enforced, loss of citizenship and other punitive actions designed to reinforce the fact that he would never be free again for the rest of his life. His Defense Attorneys were trying to make sure that he remained in a regular Penitentiary, but they didn’t seem optimistic.

Worse, the entire trial was taking place under the watchful eye of Emperor Louis Ferdinand himself. It had been after he had made his entrance that one of Lothar’s Attorney had told him in hushed tones that there was a third possibility, being held at the Emperor’s pleasure as a special class of prisoner. That didn’t sound like much, but the reality was that it amounted to being buried alive. It was reserved for the worst sort of criminal who had conspired to or committed crimes against the Empire itself or the House of Hohenzollern. Then the Lawyer remembered that Lothar had done exactly that as well as assaulting the Emperor’s daughter, he went pale and had shuffled his notes nervously until the trial had resumed. Even if Lothar hadn’t become entirely too acquainted with his cellmate in the pre-trial confinement, he would know that he was completely fucked.

He had spent weeks in the hospital where he had been treated for burns that he had received during his capture. Then once he had been deemed to have recovered, the authorities had sent him to Plötzensee Prison, a reflection of seriousness of the crimes of which he had been accused. It was there that he had met Blut. Lothar had no idea if Blut was Blut’s actual name or not, but Blut was a murderous thug who had delighted in telling Lothar that he had never seen someone with as many people wanting him dead and the staggering price on his head. Blut had given Lothar a terrifying smile and told him that it was alright so long as he remained close to him, the Boss wanted him to remain alive and healthy because that was how the Tigress liked her prey. However, if Lothar got shanked because he was too stupid to do what he was told, the Boss and the Tigress were fine with that.

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Kiki told her version of events as best she could. She didn’t pretend to be a saint, there were more than a few times when her conduct had been extremely questionable. The Lead Public Defender had questioned exactly how she had known of the presence of the men following her that night on the barge when she had shot at them. Kiki said that she had seen movement, which was technically true, but she knew how paranoid she had been that night… The Prosecutor saved her by pointing out that many of the same men who had been following her that night had later ambushed her FSR Team after conducting a hoax emergency call to lure them out. It was obvious that their intentions had not been good. Kiki had a right to protect herself and the pistol she had was her service weapon, which she had the proper permits and qualifications to possess. One of the things that Lothar was on trial for was for illegally obtained weapons, so that last statement had to be particularly stinging for the Defense.

Then the East Station bombing when Kiki had been one of the emergency personnel who had responded though she had not been on duty at the time. Like many of the others responding, Kiki had come under fire and had gotten hit, her flak vest preventing serious injury. Then the ambush in the forest on the Saxon/Brandenburg border and finally the events of the 22nd of April. The rifle that she had locked open while walking into the bank and the karambit that she had used to help Marie von Mischner-Blackwood escape were entered as evidence. Then she was asked if she felt any remorse for the men she had been forced to kill, of course she did. It was a stupid question. Then she had to recount the difficulties she had encountered in the months since Lothar had done his level best to kill her. The Defense had objected to that characterization and that had led to the X-ray of her head being entered into evidence. What exactly had he been trying to do when he hit her with the butt of a gun hard enough to crack her skull?

The entire time Lothar had been sitting there silently staring at her, rage filling his eyes.
 
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Yes......."rage".

I honestly think he is just overly infatuated with her.
Imagine all he gotta do to avoid this mess was to just man up and talk to a girl like a normal person. /s

Honestly Lothar should start begging for Frau Guillotine. Any other option won't end well for him - he's fucked (in every sense of the word) in gen pop and rotting away in a dark hole is horrible.

Marc A
 
He had spent weeks in the hospital where he had been treated for burns that he had received during his capture. Then once he had been deemed to have recovered, the authorities had sent him to Plötzensee Prison, a reflection of seriousness of the crimes of which he had been accused. It was there that he had met Blut. Lothar had no idea if Blut was Blut’s actual name or not, but Blut was a murderous thug who had delighted in telling Lothar that he had never seen someone with as many people wanting him dead and the staggering price on his head. Blut had given Lothar a terrifying smile and told him that it was alright so long as he remained close to him, the Boss wanted him to remain alive and healthy because that was how the Tigress liked her prey. However, if Lothar got shanked because he was too stupid to do what he was told, the Boss and the Tigress were fine with that.
I suspect that one of the many instructions Lothar will have to follow on a regular basis will be 'assume the position'. After all, he can't be allowed any contraband of any sort now, can he? Especially since he is almost certainly on full suicide watch, for his own protection of course, so full body checks on a daily basis will be necessary. Some of them may even be official.
 
I don't think that Lothar will be found guilty, instead he will be found to be "Incredibly Guilty".
But seriously Lothar has no comprehension on how screwed he is but also we really don't know how screwed he is because no one has ever been in that situation before.
The world's eyes are on Germany right now as they have to show that the trial of Lothar is fair beyond any doubt and that means Lothar has the best defense possible.
Meanwhile Lothar is living in a state of terror as his minder Blut is taking delight in telling him all the ways that he could die or worse be kept alive as just a shell of his former self.

Editorial cartoons about Poland will show a Polish politician complaining about German influence and in the same breath demanding more subsidies from Berlin.
 
But seriously Lothar has no comprehension on how screwed he is but also we really don't know how screwed he is because no one has ever been in that situation before.
Lothar is a very bad imitation of that french dude who bombed the Reichstag from the first thread.

Be kinda funny if that was some intent of @Peabody-Martini .....that Lothar escapes sometime later on, but his obsession with Kiki is what keeps him going.
 
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.
As a cook in the navy, you had to use minimal spices as feeding so many people ment many different tolerance. Google armed forces recipe service. It Is the cook book for all the branches.
Unless your in the captain or flag mess. Cooks can get more creative there.
 
As a cook in the navy, you had to use minimal spices as feeding so many people ment many different tolerance. Google armed forces recipe service. It Is the cook book for all the branches.
Unless your in the captain or flag mess. Cooks can get more creative there.
More... creative... yes...

Years ago, I read a book about the WW2 Royal Naval Patrol Service (armed anti-submarine / mine-sweeping trawlers); basically a collection of the wartime experiences of various members, mostly enlisted. One story that has stuck with me was one told by a rating who was assigned to assist the Captain's Steward with delivering the Captain's meal. He recounted that the Steward had a special trick that was used to ensure that the Captain always had a swirl of bubbles on the surface of his nightly cup of cocoa. The trick was needed because the bubbles would always dissipate before the Steward could reach the cabin, so he would take along a spoon, give the cocoa a quick stir & spit in the cup. Voila! Instant bubbles!
Apparently the Captain never twigged.
 
The Lothar trial doesn't interest me that much, not a knock on P-M, I just don't care about him.

More interesting thing from the last two chapters for me is the talk of the Royal Family really downsizing their housing options. I'd say they should keep the Charlottenburg Palace, and a nice Country estate, but otherwise Louis is on the right path of lease out everything else. A palace needs to be kept for the sake of "keeping up appearances" and I'd imagine any political advisors he has would be telling him as such (I'm default assuming that the ones he'd actually listen to are ones who wouldn't be trying to be total sycophants but actually helping his ideas deal with reality), and while I'm not German myself, I doubt any ITTL Germans would begrudge the Kaiser and his family if they had a big holiday home somewhere in the countryside, maybe near the beaches of the North Sea?

Anything after that is unnecessary and either an untapped asset at best, or an outright liability at worst. I know it would be some dry reading (never mind writing for poor P-M) but I'd be fascinated for a full on breakdown of the Hohenzollern assets and Louis plans for them. I'm a nosy bastard when it comes to stuff like this and have a terrible habit of enjoying making budgets.
 
The normal approach is to carve out private apartments and open the rest of the place to the public. Some very good British architects specialised in this during the 1950s and 1960s.
 
The normal approach is to carve out private apartments and open the rest of the place to the public. Some very good British architects specialised in this during the 1950s and 1960s.
Now imagine if some architects with taste were doing it :p (I'm aware that the Irishman is casting that stone, I have lunch everyday in a building that is of that vintage and dog-ugly at best).
 
With the wind down in the von Papen plot, I would love to see how the USA is faring right now. Because it was terribly quite in that corner of the world for a long time. And that with all the unresolved racial tension that is seeking an outlet.

Otherwise Lothar going down in ignorable dismissal of importance would be a right treat for him...
 
Part 103, Chapter 1660
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Sixty



27th September 1964

Tempelhof, Berlin

The sun was coming up and Kiki was sleeping peacefully which was a mercy after the week she’d had. She had stayed in Ben’s apartment the night before, she said that after everything that had gone on, she just wasn’t ready to face her family yet. She looked far better than she had the night before with her eyes swollen from crying and snot bubbling from her nose. Ben’s father had warned him that loving someone meant being present for their darkest moments and Kiki had gone through one the night before.

As always Kiki was true to herself and that wasn’t always a good thing. For years she had said that she wanted to make the world a better place, criticism had been levelled against her that she wanted everyone to love her. All of that was true to an extent. Then she had been in the same room as the infamous Mithras, the man who had terrorized Germany in general and her in particular for the better part of two years. He absolutely hated her. Not because of who she was or anything that she might have done, but simply because she had been born into the wrong family. A large amount of material had been introduced as evidence in the trial, it had revealed that Mithras had grown obsessed with Kiki and what he actually thought of her. Mithras had depicted Louis Ferdinand as a bloated parasite sucking blood from the State, Prince Freidrich as the exemplar of those who were selling Germany to the foreign other for a pittance. Most of all though, he had seemed to have had a particular hatred for Kiki, who he regarded as the worst sort of hypocrite because she tried to pretend that she was something else. Extended screeds about how she was the scion of wealth that had largely been purloined, gaining advancement and achievements simply by the weight of her name and not by any actual merit.

Ben knew that was garbage and had told Kiki that, but the issue was that those words had ripped the bandage off a whole host of wounds that she had. All her insecurities were wrapped around the notion that she wasn’t quite good enough and that she didn’t really earn anything. It was all just handed to her because of her family connections and she elbowed more deserving people out of the way in the process. Ben saw the truth, that she had earned her current place in the world a dozen times over and he wished she could see that.

The real tragedy of Kiki von Preussen seemed to be that her considerable efforts to be a better person had led her to this.

In the dim light, Ben could see the thin seam of the scar on Kiki’s head where the skin had split open. That had largely healed, but the real damage hadn’t been done there. She talked about possible brain injury as something that was still being investigated. Ben had his doubts about that though. From his perspective, it had been the injury mixed with something less tangible. The way that everything had played out had made Kiki doubt herself, her abilities and worst of all gave her an excuse for giving up her ambitions as things grew difficult.

The question that Ben was asking himself was if he should keep pushing her forward like Vicky was asking of him. Was that even the right thing to do?

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The smell of the cut grass on the park’s athletic field was a thing that Manfred loved. The best moments of his life were associated with that. It being a brisk autumn morning, Manfred had involved himself with a pickup game with a few friends. No one was keeping score or worrying about who was on which side of the imaginary lines that cut across the field they happened to be on. It was playing the game just for the fun of it, something that had been happening less often as Manfred grew older. As he had progressed from the youth leagues into the clubs, things had grown ever more serious.

When Manfred had explored his options besides University and Football, he had discovered that his parents had very skillfully and subtly seen to it that most other avenues had been blocked. It could be said that that they had abused their respective professional positions to that end, but Manfred wasn’t inclined to make that argument.

As he ran up the field, the ball was passed to him and it took a bit of footwork to get it under control. The entire time he could hear the others bearing down on him. While everyone knew that Manfred excelled at the physical aspects of the game, that had never caused anyone to hesitate to plow into him if it got the ball away from his side. He turned and passed the ball away to a teammate and continued the advance. Seconds later the teammate passed the ball back across the field to Manfred, leaving the opposing Goal Tender on the wrong foot as he rocketed to ball into the goal. That resulted in a storm of protests from the other team who were arguing that they needed to shuffle everyone around to even things out.

Manfred didn’t really care which of the teams he was on. He was just out here playing for the fun of it. Walking over to the sideline, he grabbed the old canteen that his namesake Opa had given him and was drinking his fill. The same problems rushed back to the forefront of his mind. What to do about the obstacles that had been put in his path? In this case the obstacles were academic in nature, particularly mathematics.

Looking up he saw that the usual audience that these pickup games had was only partially present. His little sister Katherine and Suse Rosa were chatting with each other and not paying attention to what was happening on the field. Josefine was missing, probably just was well since she tended to distract the players. There had been something that Ina had said about Suse a few weeks earlier. Apparently, his sister’s best friend got extremely high marks in school. How many times had his parents told him that he needed to ask for help when he needed it? Countless times, especially when academics were involved.

“You’re smart Suse?” Manfred asked, “Right?”

Suse just stared at him like if he had grown a second head while Ina laughed.
 
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