Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III


There are a couple of reasons why older soldiers are normally not in the front line. Physical prowess being the least of them. The older you get the less you are able to see yourself as invincible and the more you have second guesses before you react. Both traits are good in commanding officers but terrible when an enemy tank rolls to your position.


And again Kiki feels guilt about something that was completely out of her control. If she ever wanted to raise children that would be terrible.
I imagine Kiki being Kiki she would have bowed deeply when introducing herself. Given her rank that mark of respect would count very deeply.
Part 115, Chapter 1903
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Three

15th February 1969

Britz, Berlin

It had taken a whole lot of cajoling, but Ziska had talked her parents into buying her a bicycle as an early birthday present. This was after they had been less than thrilled to learn that Sophie had been teaching her to ride on the sly. Kat said that it was because they were used to treating Ziska as if she were made of porcelain. They had even built a house in the Berlin suburb of Britz that was all on one floor, so that Ziska wouldn’t have to take the risks involved in walking up or down stairs. Sophie had been there many times over the prior months and still found the experience a bit odd. Astrid, Ziska’s older sister found the whole thing funny, sharing the same perspective as Kat, that Ziska was far tougher than her parents realized.

Then the incident happened, and it sort of ruined everything. A few days earlier, Sophie and Ziska had decided to take advantage of her newfound mobility after school to go to the corner store to get a forbidden treat in the form of a chocolate bar. The problem they ran into was that they were in the midst of a cold snap and Ziska had hit a patch of ice in the shade of a building on the way back. She skidded out, skinned her elbow, and hurt her dignity. That would have been the end of it except they drew the attention of a well meaning but unfortunately easily excited woman. She had rushed over to help Ziska to her feet, not realizing that Ziska was trying to secure her right leg back into its socket on the prosthesis. Ziska’s leg below the knee fell off and the woman had started screaming, attracting a crowd in the process. Ziska and Sophie had been forced to explain several times what the truth was, starting with the crowd of people who had not really been interested in listening and eventually to Ziska’s parents after they had been brought home by the police with a warning about creating a public disturbance. As if what had happened had been an elaborate prank they had pulled or something. They had also not been thrilled about the two of them sneaking a chocolate bar without permission and it had been taken from them before they had a chance to take a bite.

Now, Ziska was grounded, forbidden from leaving her room for anything other than school, family meals, or anything else that had to be strictly necessities. Her mother had however relented when Sophie had explained that she was there to help Ziska with her studies. Kat and Doug had been understanding, knowing that it had not been Sophie’s intention to cause a scene. She got the impression that her Aunt and Uncle had seen and heard everything over the years between their own children and a number of young women who had occupied Sophie’s position over the years. Of course, rather than studying Sophie and Ziska were laying on her bed and were reading fashion magazines that belonged to Astrid which they had borrowed. With any luck they would be able to put them back before she noticed they were missing.

“Could you imagine wearing something like this?” Sophie asked pointing at a model wearing a very revealing dress.

“No” Ziska replied, and Sophie realized that she was staring at her right lower leg. It was painted to look like flesh, but it was hardly convincing, especially where the paint had chipped revealing the grey fiberglass beneath. The dress was cut to show off the model’s legs, among other things.

“I couldn’t either” Sophie said, “The thought of men’s reactions, yuck.”

“My mother and Astrid both say we will want that sort of attention…” Ziska replied, then paused on seeing the look on Sophie’s face. “What is so frightening about that?”

“It’s nothing” Sophie replied. Knowing full well that wasn’t true. It was something that she had only discussed with Kat, how much she feared what would happen to her when she grew up. Kat had said that while growing up was inevitable, the sort of person she became was entirely her choice. The problem was that Sophie’s mother had pounded the idea into her head that she was a terrible person who ruined everything she touched. Even though she hadn’t seen her mother in months, Sophie still had intrusive thoughts that unsettled her which were frequently in her mother’s words. One of those was how Sophie was bound to be a worthless slattern because that was all she was good for. When Sophie had told Kat about that, Kat had mentioned something about projection. Whatever that meant.

Turning the page in the magazine, Sophie saw a photograph of Kristina in surgical scrubs at what must a hospital somewhere alongside a photograph of Ben Hirsch sitting in the cockpit of his fighter plane yelling over his shoulder at the man in the seat just behind his. Are they getting ready to tie the knot? The headline asked. Sophie checked the date and saw that it was from late the year before. Emperor Lou had announced their betrothal on Christmas Eve.

“Remember when we ran into Benny in the castle last summer?” Sophie asked, “Sneaking back from Kiki’s chambers.”

“Astrid said that they must have been snogging” Ziska said with a bit of a giggle.

“Why’d you go and tell Astrid about that?” Sophie asked, a bit put out that her friend would have violated Kiki’s privacy like that.

“I thought she might know what was going on” Ziska said, “She’s fourteen, you know.”
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With both Jost and Reier facing mandatory retirement I can't see then adjusting that well to civilian life.
They are both are single and should receive a very nice pension which would make them very attractive to women of their own ages who are widows (both grass and sod) but they may be too old and set in their ways to be trained properly to be good husbands.

Kik has shown that she is a natural leader and has a commanding presence in the field during emergencies which is to her chagrin that she is slated for an important command slot not too far in the future.
Furthermore the publicity that Kiki received in her role in the disaster has made the JMS happy as there should be more inquiries from those who may see the JMS as a potential career path for them and by this time I have no doubt that Kiki has been told by the newest members that Kiki was the inspiration for them to join.
Part 115, Chapter 1904
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Four

3rd March 1969

Mitte, Berlin

The man was a headache that Helene had to deal with on a regular basis. It seemed like every choice she made resulted in Gustav Heinemann, one of the members of the “Team of Experts” that the opposition had assembled publicly second guessing her. It was obvious that he would likely have her post in the Cabinet if the National Liberals were in charge and his party was in a coalition with them. She had found that her office had to contend with Government agencies that frequently had contradictory missions, tight budgets, and fraught politics. So, having someone second guess her when she was doing enough of that herself was not needed.

Then there was the latest trouble caused by her father. Frequently, Helene wondered why he couldn’t just go off and happily spend his days at his hunting lodge. She knew he preferred to be there. Instead he was in Breslau where it seemed that he was able to exert an incredible amount of influence due to the minor detail that nearly everyone in a position of power owed him a considerable amount of money. They had thought that putting him forward to be the Prince-Elector of Silesia would cause him to tone it down a notch once he was in the public spotlight. They clearly didn’t know him as well as Helene did because she might have warned them that was not how her father worked. Give him cameras to get in front of and an adoring crowd and you would seem him play the public like a maestro.

A Reporter had asked Helene about what might happen if he went over the line. Would she be willing to use her position as Minister of the Interior to rein him in hard? The truth was that while Helene would have no problem doing that. The trouble was that it would probably cost Helene her career because her father was extremely popular in Silesia, especially in her own constituency. She would need to have a quiet word with her father to tone down the powerplays for a while. It was something she would need to do with a bit of caution because no one dared to tell the great Manfred von Richthofen what to do.

Closer to home, Helene had Hans to contend with. For years, his career had been a constant source of worry for her. She had never considered what would happen when that career ended. He had been quietly been mustered out after his final promotion to Generaloberst and had joyfully taken up his new position as a Commentator for the Federal Football League while he waited for his resignation from the Heer to become official. Talking Football was something that he still couldn’t believe they were paying him to do. The issue for Helene was that she had gotten used to having her life a certain way and always having Hans at home disrupted that. On the other hand, he had been spending a lot of time with Ina and the two of them were closer than they had been in years.

Tempelhof, Berlin

Marie Alexandra was upset and much to her annoyance, it seemed everyone was indifferent to her this afternoon. That was until they weren’t, and it was for all the wrong reasons.

“This is what happens when you get like this all the time” Petia said when Marie had brought it up with her. “Too much drama and you acting like every little thing is the end of the world, no one wants to hear it.”

Today, the crisis had started when she had noticed that her cat had abandoned her. She had never had to think too much about Cheshire, the tabby cat was always around but today he had not been in evidence. Eventually, she had found him dozing on the windowsill in Sophie’s room. That had caused Marie to rush in there and she had said a few things to Sophie that she knew she really shouldn’t have. It ended with Sophie breaking down sobbing and Marie getting read the riot act by her mother after she got home that evening.

“There are some things you need to understand Marie” Marie’s mother said to her, “Sophie is rather delicate, and it doesn’t take much hurt her feelings. She really does look up to you, so that made what you did especially painful for her. The other is that Cheshire is the family’s cat, not just yours alone. We never really own cats, they own us, and choose to spend time with us if they are being nice. Cheshire is choosing to spend time with Sophie for his own reasons, but she needs that more than you do right now.”

Marie had spent the next several minutes staring at her shoes feeling guilty about what she had done. Eventually, she had agreed to apologize to Sophie. The walk up the stairs became the most difficult of Marie’s life and her feelings of guilt grew when she saw Sophie laying on her bed. She wasn’t crying but her eyes were still swollen meaning that she had been until just a few minutes earlier.

“Sophie… I just wanted to say that I am terribly sorry about what happened” Marie said, “Is there any way I could…”

“Get out” Sophie said sharply getting off her bed and pushing Marie towards the door. “Out, out, OUT, OUT!” Sophie’s voice rising before she slammed the door in Marie’s face.

Marie stared at the door that had stopped only a few centimeters from her nose. She could hear Sophie crying again on the other side of it.

“You have your work cut out for you if you want to regain her trust” Marie heard her mother say, “And I hope you learn an important lesson from this, your actions affect other people.”

Marie had not noticed her mother following her and something about her mother’s face, the set of her posture, was unsettling. For years, Marie had heard about those who feared her mother, she realized that this aspect of her was exactly what they were afraid of.
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Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Two
2nd February 1969

“As of thirty years ago today, before most of you morons were even born the Empire got a taste of things to come!” Jost proclaimed to the assembled Company. “I was just as clueless as you fuckwits, having no idea what the damned Russians had in store for me over the next five years! I thought I knew war because I had been in Spain. The truth was that it was a walk in the park compared the Soviet Front, and I was too stupid to realize it!”

“As you observe a moment of silence this afternoon, I want you to consider the reality of hundreds killed in an instant. Thousands of their friends and family mourning their loss as well and consider that it is your job to prevent that sort of tragedy from befalling out nation again” Jost said stalking around in front of the men as he concluded.

I see this as a section from a forthcoming text what will soon become the ‘NCO’s bible’ - 'Inspirational speeches for every occasion: The wit and wisdom of Oberstabber Jost Schulz' (with a foreword by Wenceslas Reier).
Kiki is going to be extremely popular in Japan as she, yet again, demonstrates compassion towards a commoner. Ditto for her own empire, as she will increasingly be seen as The People's Princess.

Helene is just now realising that she should have been far more careful of her wishes, as Hans being home more is exactly what she has wanted for a few decades now.

Marie is going to need to grovel and be extremely mindful of Sophie if she wants to regain that trust. Her apology was originally due to embarrassment over her actions; now she understands just how deeply she has hurt Sophie through thoughtless words. She is also now aware of the steel reinforced sense of justice within her mother.
Part 115, Chapter 1905
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Five

24th March 1969

Tempelhof, Berlin

Why did anyone agree to this? Kiki thought glumly to herself as she saw Zella and Yuri entering the University Hospital’s Emergency Department. Yuri was already filming things and one of the patients in the waiting area was mugging in front of the video camera. It was funny how no matter how sick they were, they still did that.

Zella had great success with her first documentary featuring Kiki traveling in America. When she had heard about Kiki being one of the responders to the plane crash that had occurred in January despite Kiki’s attempts to keep her involvement out of the public eye Zella had approached her. “The public wants to know more about who you are” Zella had said, “The real you, not just who they see in public appearances. Let them see that you are an Emergency Surgeon for real.” Oddly, that was the part of her life that Kiki didn’t exactly want the public to see. There was also the aspect of what happened whenever a video camera entered the room. In a case of dirty pool, Zella had buttered up Doctor Burg, in turn Burg had told the Hospital’s Medical Director what a wonderful idea it was.

“Zella, Yuri” Kiki said in greeting with a bit of apprehension, “I know you were informed about what the rules are, so I will not have to repeat them.”

They were to observe, not to interfere. Kiki had no idea how to make sure that happened. Zella did tend to make herself the center of the story.

“Yes” Zella said as she followed Kiki down the corridor. “We might need to interview you directly later. Do you have an office we could use?”

“I have a locker” Kiki said, “I might be in my final year of my Internship, but I am still low on the totem pole. Only the senior staff get the use of offices.”

“Couldn’t you pull rank or something?” Zella asked.

“I would never do that” Kiki said without further elaboration. Things were already awkward enough around the Hospital without having the detail that she outranked many of her instructors coming up again. “If you really want to do that, the cafeteria would probably be our best choice, the chapel or the benches in the atrium might also work.”

“Alright” Zella said happily. She was entirely too agreeable making Kiki wonder what Zella had up her sleeve.

“What is your opinion of Emperor Hirohito of Japan praising your actions and your respect for the Japanese people at a public forum recently?” Zella asked. That caused Kiki to stop walking.

“I did what I felt was right” Kiki replied, “Whatever the Emperor of Japan has to say is immaterial.”

“But your own father…” Zella started to say only to have Kiki hold her hand up silencing her.

“Please” Kiki said, “That doesn’t interest me, so can we talk about something else? Have you talked to Aurora recently? I’ve been so busy for the last few months that I’ve completely lost touch with her.”

Aurora was a dear friend of both Kiki and Zella, for the last few years she had worked for the Public Relations Department of Krupp Steel in Essen. That had made it difficult to maintain their friendship.

“She was doing well when I talked to her on Saturday” Zella replied, “She is trying to get a job in Berlin so that she can be closer to her family and to us.”

Kiki might have mentioned that she considered Aurora and Zella to be a part her family but lacked the courage at that moment.

“I would like that” Kiki said as she resumed walking towards the cubicles where the patents awaited. It being a Monday afternoon, there was bound to be a case that was disgusting or disturbing enough to keep Zella and Yuri’s interest.

Washington D.C.

It was called a charity dinner, but Hendrix didn’t see anything charitable going on here. It was mostly about being seen and the internal squabbling of the various factions Democratic Party as it played out at events like this one. What it came down to was a number of old men stuffed into tailored suits who paid a hundred dollars for a plate of inedible food and to pretend that they were not here for the most cynical of reasons.

“Your name sounds like that of a Rock and Roller” A man who Hendrix had not been introduced to said. Tall, thin, and bespectacled. He didn’t seem to be particularly malicious, but Hendrix had a lifetime of being cautious towards people like this. Especially because he heard a slight accent that betrayed this man’s Southern origins. Presumptions were presumptions regardless of the intent of those who made them.

“You know, J.M. Hendrix, or Jimmy Hendrix” The man said, “That sounds like the name of a Bluesman.”

“Southpaw” Hendrix said holding up his left hand, “My folks didn’t have much coming up, so learning guitar was out of question even if they could have found one that I could have played.”

“That’s too bad” The man said, “I play out with my Tele every once in a while, though my wife hates it when I come home with my clothes smelling of smoke.”

“Tele?” Hendrix asked.

“Yes, I’m a Fender man myself” The man said not realizing that didn’t mean a whole lot to Hendrix. “Where are my manners, I’m Charles Holly, though my friends call me Bud or Buddy.”

Of course, they would, Hendrix thought to himself as he shook Bud’s hand.

“And just what do you do Mr. Holly?” Hendrix asked.

“I am Senior Legal Counsel to the New York Democratic Party” Bud said with a smile. That was not what Hendrix was expecting.
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Random Thoughts from the Worst Timeline Ever (the one I am in now):
For years Helene like the wives of other career military men have wanted their husbands to home more often and like them Helene is finding out that reality is a cruel mistress.
Hans with his dream job of being a commentator (I see him giving the fans perspective) could find himself as the head of the League if there is a big scandal and there is a push for a more powerful commissioner.
Zella showing the unglamorous side of Kiki being a doctor is just going to make Kiki even more popular and the one singing the praises of Kiki in the program is going to be Dr. Berg.
Sophie will eventually forgive Marie but Marie will have to do something that is very special for Sophie.
President Hendrix will appoint Charles "Buddy" Holly as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Random Thoughts from the Worst Timeline Ever (the one I am in now):
President Hendrix will appoint Charles "Buddy" Holly as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

And now I want to see Attorney General David Crosby pleading a case before Holly on the court for President Hendrix's government .... Thanks for that ....
Part 115, Chapter 1906
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Six

1st April 1969

Mitte, Berlin

“I know her Yuri” Zella said as they reviewed hours of footage from the University Hospital Emergency Department that they had shot over the prior week. “Kiki is going to hate what this will do for her public image.”

Yuri looked dumbfounded by that.

“People will see that she has a stressful job and works hard to be the best she can at it” Yuri said, “They will see that she is professional and cares about people.”

“Perhaps” Zella said. They had inadvertently caught the aspects of Kiki that she tried to keep hidden which is what shaped Zella’s opinion, it had been exactly what she had wanted from this. They had a lot of that on tape. Things like Kiki getting flustered about something she thought was stupid once she thought no one could see or her trying to comfort a child who had suffered a minor injury but still thought it was the end of the world. Mostly what they caught was Kiki’s humanity, that she was just as fallible and imperfect as anyone else. That was completely contrary to what Kiki felt she had to be seen as.

“Will you look at that?” Yuri said as he played the tape of Kiki as she was assisting another more senior Surgeon as they were working to stabilize a man who had an unfortunate fall from a ladder with a pair of hedge clippers. They were trying to clamp off an artery that was spraying blood every time they loosened the tourniquet on his leg. Kiki had been so focused on the task at hand she hardly acknowledged that some of the blood had sprayed her in the face even as a nurse was wiping it off her glasses for her. Zella understood that viewers would be completely enraptured by this. They would be seeing a Princess who many thought of as being little more than an ornament, the pretty poster girl for the Medical Service, being nothing short of heroic. This was the Kiki who Zella had known since she was a child, and it was about time that others saw it too.

“We are definitely keeping that part in” Zella said.

“The Suits upstairs might not like it” Yuri replied.

“You don’t know them like I do” Zella said, “Blood and guts draw viewers, which is all they really care about. If they give us trouble, we will just remind them that bloodless drama is what the entertainment networks provide in spades. We deal in reality.”

“If you say so” Yuri said.

Zella wasn’t even going to pretend she was unbiased with this story. The presentation was going to be incredible. Kiki at work, interviews with her colleagues, instructors, and even Kiki herself. Like always Kiki attempted to minimize her accomplishments and she saw those supervising her saying that she was competent but still had a lot to learn as validation of that. Zella however understood that was actually high praise from some professionals whose judgement was extremely tough. For her entire life Kiki had wanted to be treated like anyone else, in Zella’s opinion, her friend had finally found an environment where she was.

“I’m going to a party after work tonight” Yuri said, “Artsy crowd, mostly from the theater scene, an invitation was extended to you.”

“I already have a date with my bed and about twelve hours of sleep” Zella replied, “We have days of editing this down to something workable for the network ahead of us, so try not to have a late night.”

“Alright then” Yuri said, sounding a touch disappointed.

Washington D.C.

“Here is the truth about Party politics” Bill Stoughton said, “We always have to play the long game and keeping a man like Bud Holly happy and on side is a part of that. He’s not going to be a Lawyer for our people in New York forever. He is young, looks good on television and has a young family. His wife Maria, she is a lovely woman, but her background is Puerto Rican. That might play well in New York City, but we have the rest of the country to consider.”

It was comments like that last one that made Hendrix understand just what he figured Stoughton had to say when he wasn’t in the room. It would be just him like to say one thing in his presence and something completely different if the room was full of members of the Southern branch of the Democratic Party, the guns and God crowd who Hendrix generally avoided.

This conversation had started when Hendrix had come for his monthly meeting with the Speaker and Stoughton had somehow learned that he had a conversation with Bud Holly. It was the idea behind having events like the one that Hendrix had attended, being seen and meeting people.

“He seemed like a nice guy” Hendrix replied.

“Yes” Stoughton said, “And it seems that the Senate Judiciary Committee shares your assessment. The trouble is that the White House is a bit of an obstacle at the moment.”

That meant that they were eying Bud Holly for a Judicial appointment as soon as Nelson Rockefeller was out of the way. No wonder they were trying to keep him happy.

“What about your own ambitions Jim?” Stoughton asked, “You have to want more than just a Congressional Seat in Washington.”

“Some of us learn to temper our ambitions by considering what is possible first” Hendrix replied, cautiously.

Stoughton just stared at Hendrix for a moment before flashing a tight smile and saying, “Playing the cards close to your vest Hendrix, I like that.”
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I’m going to a party after work tonight” Yuri said, “Artsy crowd, mostly from the theater scene, an invitation was extended to you.”

“I already have a date with my bed and about twelve hours of sleep” Zella replied, “We have days of editing this down to something workable for the network ahead of us, so try not to have a late night.”

“Alright then” Yuri said, sounding a touch disappointed.
Yep....bound to happen. Given his mother's opinion.

“Some of us learn to temper our ambitions by considering what is possible first” Hendrix replied, cautiously.
Nixon-hendrix ticket?
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