Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Part 115, Chapter 1918 New
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Eighteen



27th July 1969

Mitte, Berlin

Everyone was interested in the strange happening that had occurred the previous Friday. Zella had gotten the story because she been right in the middle of it, because of course she had, Maria thought sourly to herself knowing full well that she was thinking the same thoughts that her Editors must have thought about her decades earlier. Maria had lost count of the times she had told Zella not to become a part of the story, but there she was interviewing a handful of young men who had led what must have been every Rocker and Gear Freak in Berlin on wild ride around the city at speeds of upwards two-hundred kilometers per hour. The photograph that ran on the front page of the Berliner Tageblatt had been taken on the side of the road somewhere along Autobahn 10 was absolutely surreal. Headlights of dozens of motorcycles stretching back in the distance, in the foreground two riders raced past in a blur.

Zella had gotten the story and then raced back to the offices of the BT early Saturday morning, just in time to get it into the Sunday edition. All for a Cup of Coffee? the headline read, even if it was below the fold. The article detailed the strange sequence of events, from the clubs in the City Center emptying out to the race around the orbital highway and finally to an all-night diner near Werder. Despite Maria’s misgivings about her daughter, it was actually a beautifully written article. It seemed that all the hours that Maria had punished Zella by making her learn to type had paid off.

There was a profound irony in all of this though.

A few years earlier, Maria would have been overjoyed at seeing Zella applying herself and finally coming into her own professionally. That had been when Zella had been in her early twenties and showing no sign of putting aside her wild teenage behavior. Things had changed, but Maria was starting to quibble that perhaps it had come at too high a cost. Zella never talked about it, but she had been taken advantage of and that had hurt in ways that she had never gotten over.

Sure, Zella had gotten revenge in a way that had probably been particularly satisfying at least for that moment. Years later, she was still living at home and seeming content to be alone. Or was she afraid? One of Maria’s friends had used to term “arrested development” to describe Zella and had asked what she intended to do about her. Maria was at a bit of a loss.

Emil was still saying that Zella was fine and that she would sort it out eventually. Then he had pointed out that their daughter was about the age that Maria was when she had met him. Reminding her of the hairbrained stunt to sneak onto the airfield where he commanded the security and everything that had happened in Spain shortly after. It was rather easy for him to say that. His relationship with Zella had always been far simpler than for Maria.



Montreal, Canada

The previous days had been spent getting settled. Meals were what Marie Alexandra had the hardest time getting used to. They preferred to have the big meal of the day for supper and she had not liked eating that much at the end of the day. None of this was helped by Oma Blackwood looking at her like if she were a bomb that could go off at any second. Opa Blackwood had told Marie that she needed to be patient with her grandmother. Still, it was obvious that her actual reputation preceded her to Canada because when they had gone to church on Sunday morning, Sir Malcolm had made a point of making sure that she was seated between himself and Oma so that her causing any trouble was more or less impossible without getting caught.

It had been her mother’s idea to pretend to be Catholic and to get pointers from Aunt Ilse, that probably being the fastest way to win over Oma Blackwood. Ilse had grown up as an orphan after being abandoned on the steps of a church when she was only a few hours old, so she had years of experience of pretending to be Catholic before she had embraced Agnostic skepticism as an adult. That was why Marie was able to go through the motions in a way that kept Oma Blackwood happy for the moment. It was afterwards when Opa and Oma went to speak with the Priest that Marie caused a bit of trouble when her curiosity got the better of her.

There was a man handing out pamphlets to the parishioners as they left the church. He was tall, with dark skin and white hair denoting great age. He was wearing what was obviously a well-maintained suit, even if it looked rather old. Marie took one of his pamphlets and saw that a poem was printed on it.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

like a raisin in the Sun?

Or fester like sore-

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over-

Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags

Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


Marie looked at the title, Harlem by Langston Hughes. On the back was a lengthy description of a meeting that was going to take place that Wednesday at a different church in Montreal, the subject being Civil Rights.

Looking at the man, Marie greeted him how she might have had she run into such a man in Berlin. “Habari gani?” She asked getting a quizzical look from the man.

“Pardon?” The man asked in French, though with an unmistakable American accent.

“How are you?” Marie replied, “In Swahili.”

“Exactly why would you assume I would know that?”

“Most of the Africans I know back home speak that” Marie replied.

“And you thought I would too?” The man asked.

“I was trying to be polite” Marie replied, “And I love languages, Swahili is one I need to practice in.”

The quizzical look on the man’s face changed to one of amusement. “That is not something I was expecting to hear” He said, “Exactly where is home that you would meet actual Africans?”

“You’re not African?” Marie asked.

“History happened” The man said, “So, I am something a bit different.”

Before he could elaborate further, Sir Malcolm and Oma Blackwood walked past. “Don’t bother that gentleman Marie” Sir Malcolm said, it was in a tone that caused the man to look for safer conversations to have. A moment later, Marie heard Oma Blackwood mention that Marie had her mother’s impulsive nature, Sir Malcolm quietly pointed out that Douglas was the impulsive one. Either way, Marie didn’t see what the problem with that was.
 
I had thought that Margot would not blame her grand-daughter for the “sins” of her mother. It appears that I am mistaken. Such a shame and a practice that will do Marie-Alexandra no good at all. Such arrant selfishness and ignorance deserves nothing more than complete contempt. There are only a few truly irredeemably reprehensible individuals in this TL and this character is surely one of them.
 
For all of Zella's daring she has a safety net with her with her parents.
Emil is fine with that but Maria wants Zella to get on with her life and she has hopes that Zella's "Mysterious" boyfriend can help her with that.

Maria is apparently a natural at picking up languages which should take her places but she has just learned a valuable lesson in not making assumptions.
Margot is basically physically deteriorating before our eyes and she may not live that much longer and Margot has seen the antagonism of Kat has been replaced with something worse: pity.
 
Maria has spent so many years thinking of Zella as being so much like Emil, that she has trouble seeing that Zella is a blend of both of them. Which is why she has had such a difficult relationship with her daughter. Emil is right; Zella will sort things out, one way or another.

Marie, meanwhile, is about to learn that civil rights on the western shores of the Atlantic are very different from what she is used to, even in Canada. She has also yet to learn that her Oma's hatred/dislike for her is based purely on Margot's hatred/dislike of Kat... and of Marie's close resemblance of her mother.
 
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I hope that traveling on a Canadian passport doesn't turn into a mistake. I could see Margot pressing for custody, claiming that it's for the good of the child, who is living with unfit, immoral parents. I could even see it as an attempt at revenge against Germany for being "treated badly."

That would not end well...
 
I hope that traveling on a Canadian passport doesn't turn into a mistake. I could see Margot pressing for custody, claiming that it's for the good of the child, who is living with unfit, immoral parents. I could even see it as an attempt at revenge against Germany for being "treated badly."

That would not end well...
I could see Margot attempting this only for it to blow up in her face when she finds out her husband is definitely NOT okay with it, especially when it creates a diplomatic scandal and causes her son to outright disown her.
 
Pretending to be of one religion which you are not is not easy at all. Yes, you may imitate what you see around you but it will be hard to get all the little details right and for a curious child to not ask any questions which a good catholic child should know by heart.
 
Part 116, Chapter 1919 New
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Nineteen



29th July 1969

Český Krumlov, Bohemia

It had come as something of a shock to Michael when Birdie had come to Prague this year saying that she was going to the Český Krumlov International Music Festival to see the Baroque Opera and that he was going to be her date. His advisors had watched with a great deal of amusement. It seemed that the Lady had decided that she had enough of Bohemia having a bachelor for a King and was moving things along in her own way. The twenty-year-old Princess was about to start her fourth year at the University of Breslau, where she had been studying Environmental Sciences. The result was that Michael tended to see her on holidays as she was passing through on her way to Italy or Greece unless she had a pressing need to return to England.

The organizers of the Festival were ecstatic when they learned that Michael was coming along with his guest. They had been planning a performance of L’incoronazione di Poppea for months, but the presence of Michael had caused them to pull out all the stops. Tonight, as he watched, Michael wished that he shared the love of Opera that Birdie had. She sat beside him, holding his left arm while completely enraptured by the unfolding story on the stage in the simulated candlelight of the Castle Theater of Český Krumlov. Michael had been a bit disappointed that they had arrived too late in the day to see the castle’s famous bears, he personally would have found that a bit more interesting than the opera he was watching. Birdie was happy and that seemed most important. She was a lot like Michael’s sisters in that she tended to treasure anything that was genuine, especially if it was given without anything asked in return. Michael agreeing to take her to see this was exactly that.

Still, Michael’s mind kept drifting as he grew bored. The recent plebiscite in Galicia and Ruthenia was the first thing that came to mind. It had concluded in the anticlimax that everyone had been expecting. What had been unexpected was what Rea had done. She had traveled all over the nascent kingdom campaigning for the draft constitution. At the same time, it was the introduction of herself as the Queen of a diverse nation, but she had not mentioned that. Instead she had sold a staggering percentage of the population on a constitution that she said gave everyone a place in their nation. Michael had been one of the first to congratulate Rea when the returns had come in. She had certainly not expected that herself.

Then there were the 1972 Olympic Games coming up in Munich. Michael knew that he would need to put aside the time to start training if he was going to qualify for Equestrian and Shooting events again. That had proven difficult for him as there seemed to be a million different demands that needed to be addressed, usually all at once.



Montreal, Canada

“You are quite the little actress” Sir Malcolm said, “But what you are doing is ill advised because you are not as convincing as you think.”

“Excuse me?” Marie asked, trying to act innocent though she knew that there could be at least a dozen, if not more things he could be referring to.

Opa Blackwood had asked to speak with her, saying that it was a matter of some import. It seemed that she had been caught out over something. Just what though?

“Last Sunday, you were both polished and clumsy at different turns” Malcolm said, “The thing about ritual is that people doing it don’t often look like are trying to stay in character when they are doing it.”

“Oh” Marie replied, feeling deflated because she had done all that in an effort to try to keep the peace.

“Your grandmother will be extremely upset if she figures it out” Malcolm said, “So, I suggest that you do better next week.”

At that point Marie looked at Malcolm as if he had grown a second head.

“I understand the reasons for your actions” Malcolm said.

“How did she not notice if you did?” Marie asked.

“Margot expects you to behave in the way your mother does” Malcolm replied, “Both of them are extremely headstrong, determined women. So, it is hardly a surprise that they would clash with each other. Katherine has always been in the far stronger position, which makes Margot feel rather uncomfortable. That was why it was actually a great relief to her when you didn’t talk back to Father Comtois or something along those lines.”

“Oma was expecting me to do something like that?” Marie asked, slightly horrified that so little was thought of her.

“Just the fact that you use German terms to address us is a bit of a provocation, albeit not a deliberate one” Malcolm replied, “It is little things like that which remind us that there is just as much of your mother in you as there is of your father. You need to forgive all of us adults for not always acting the part.”

Marie didn’t quite understand all of that, so she just nodded and pretended in the same manner she did when her mother was lecturing her about her latest transgression.

“Good” Malcolm said, “The other thing I wanted to talk to you about was if you would be interested in being around people your own age? There is a social function coming up with Literary Society that Margot is a member of and there will be the children and grandchildren of the other members around. Introductions can be made.”

Marie just sat there staring at Sir Malcolm for a long moment. Unsure what to say about that. The sorts of introductions he was talking about were the sort of thing that she dreaded. It was always awkward, and she never seemed to say the right thing. Then there was the inevitable moment when whoever she was being introduced to decided that she was strange.
 
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Well King Albrecht is going to be pleased about having the Olympics in Munich and it is going to be one of the few times that the Olympics are going to held in a city that is not the Capital city of the host nation.
IOTL the the Olympic stadium and other venues reflected the Post War modernism that Munich wanted to show after the destruction it suffered during IOTL WW II.
ITTL it may be a different style more keeping with the traditional look of the city since there is not the OTL destruction, also a certain OTL event is not going happen or if it does it is going to be so much different.

Love the way Opa Malcolm has Marie's number and not only he is not mad at her but he is helping her keep the deception against Margot going.

Birdie has finally had enough of Michael's dithering and is taking charge of the relationship and with the marriage of Kiki and Ben being postponed for a year that opens a window for a wedding to happen and when Michael tries to point out that it takes time to plan out a Royal Wedding he is going to find out the the protocol office has already has the plans already to go all they need is a date and a winter wedding in Prague sounds romantic...
 
Well King Albrecht is going to be pleased about having the Olympics in Munich and it is going to be one of the few times that the Olympics are going to held in a city that is not the Capital city of the host nation
Well, except every time they are held in the USA...
 
Love the way Opa Malcolm has Marie's number and not only he is not mad at her but he is helping her keep the deception against Margot going.
Sir Malcolm is a spook of the highest order, Marie's mother is a spook of the highest order, Marie has no chance of slipping anythung padt either of them.
 
Well, except every time they are held in the USA...
For the games outside of the United States Antwerp in 1920, Amsterdam 1928, and Melbourne in 1956 were the only non Capital cities that hosted the games until Munich hosted them in 1972.
From 1972 in Munich until Athens in 2004 only Moscow in 1980 and Seoul in 1988 were the only Capital cities to host the games and from Athens 2004 until the 2028 game scheduled for Los Angeles only Rio de Janeiro in 2016 was a non capital city to host the games.
ITTL I really see no major changes in the cities hosting the games.

As for Atlanta it is at over 1000 ft. in elevation and the humidity is somewhat bearable and compared to the brutal heat of summers in Athens, Atlanta is a better place in the summer.
 
Michael is starting to realise that he is Doomed and that his entire court is fully on-side with Birdie's campaign.

There are a whole shit load of politicians in the Empire that are starting to have "oh, shit... what have we done... " realisations regarding Queen Rea.

Hopefully TTL's Munich Olympics are far more peaceful than OTL.

Most of Margot's problems with Kat & her daughters stem from her refusal to admit that she done fucked up back in the day and that she refuses to apologise.
 
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Nineteen


Montreal, Canada

“You are quite the little actress” Sir Malcolm said, “But what you are doing is ill advised because you are not as convincing as you think.”
[...]
“Last Sunday, you were both polished and clumsy at different turns” Malcolm said, “The thing about ritual is that people doing it don’t often look like are trying to stay in character when they are doing it.”
I don't get it. Marie is a guest in a foreign country. Even a staunch Catholic would be hard-pressed to be instantly familiar with the way a foreign community does its service.
Plus, everybody mumbles their way through the less well-known bits anyway. This criticism sounds ridiculously intolerant and fundamentalist.
 
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