Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

There is another use to rifle scopes:

If you can detect the other side and have a radio, you can call in artillery. Even low magnification increases the odds of detecting the other side.
All this emphasis on long-range marksmanship and their next deployment will take them someplace where sight-lines are measured in single-digit meters.
It gets even worse than that when you consider that they are the scouting element of a Mechanized Division.
It'll be even worse when they are deployed on a strict RoE assignment and basically can't even knock over a fence.

I think even Jost would blanch at the level of cruelty a suitably motivated and empowered civil servant could do with a clipboard under the right RoE.
It gets even worse than that when you consider that they are the scouting element of a Mechanized Division.
So they'll be proceeding the tanks.
Might be worth asking Tante Kat about scare cats as road markers.

"So long as your tanks follow the cats eyes, you'll be fine"
Part 119, Chapter 1980
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Eighty

5th May 1970

Tallinn, Estonia

Finding himself carrying boxes into an Estonian classroom as a group of schoolchildren stared at him was never how Ben had imagined he would spend his honeymoon. Then, he had never imagined that he would be married to someone quite like who Kiki had become either. They were in Tallinn as guests of Jaak, Prince of Estonia and that most of these schoolchildren were apparently Wards of the State. At Kiki’s insistence, Jaak had been forced to hastily arrange this. Ben had long become used to how Kiki placed her priorities, they came as a complete surprise for Jaak though.

Prince Jaak of Estonia was a distant relative of Kiki’s, though Ben wasn’t exactly sure how they were connected. His grandfather had been one of the Princes who had been tasked with establishing the Baltic country as a Principality just after the First World War and the family had managed to hang on to it over the turbulent decades since. During the Second World War Estonia had been one of the key battlefronts. It had seemed that the Estonians themselves had remembered their country being occupied by the Russian Empire and had fought the Soviets harder than most because of that. It had been the Estonian and Latvian Landwehr Divisions who had set the stage for the apocalyptic Battle of Leningrad. They had eventually made it all the way to Moscow in the later stages of the war. All of that had been in the briefing that had been given to Ben and Kiki as they had flown from Berlin to Tallinn the day before along with the small Staff and Security Detail that was coming with them.

It had served as another reminder of everything that Kiki had ever said about how she felt that she was often trapped inside a bubble. Not being allowed to go to the market or run errands for herself. If she went out it had to be in places where she would remain in full view of security. It reminded Ben of the times when they had gone on walks when Kiki had been a teenager to the corner store to get ice cream or how she had been given a great deal of freedom while at University. Those must have been incredibly special occasions for Kiki and any laxness in her personal security had gone away after her near fatal encounter with student radicals who had played at being revolutionaries.

Being in Estonia as a guest of the Prince had been the plan, make a few public appearances, visit some attractions and whatnot. But Kiki being Kiki, she had plans of her own and it was a taste of what the next few weeks were going to be like as Kiki was determined to use this as an opportunity to bring some desperately needed visibility to those who had been traditionally marginalized and unwanted. She said that orphanages and State Schools had been centers of abuse and neglect right up until there had been much needed reforms that had been in the very recent past. Mostly it was because the Empress, who was a Social Worker had taken a keen interest in the matter.

Ben had asked how Kiki had taken an interest as well. She had pointed out that a dear friend of hers, Ilse, had grown up in a place like the school they were now in and had health problems that were going to affect the rest of her life due to childhood malnutrition. That had been a bit of a surprise to Ben, he’d had no idea about any of that and Ilse had been his neighbor for years.

That was why Ben found himself surrounded by children as he carried boxes into the school’s infirmary where Kiki was working. “Just ignore him” Kiki said as she was talking to a girl who reacted with fear when Ben entered the room. He had been told that most of these children been removed from situations included examples of the most horrific abuse at the hands their own families. Kiki had also mentioned that most of these children had never seen a Physician and she was perfect because she was seen as nonthreatening. Ben had pointed out that she wasn’t a Pediatrician. Kiki had shrugged and told him that she was a Field Surgeon which was probably more appropriate for the situation.

Until she had said that it had never occurred to Ben that the situation which they were walking into was like a car wreck or a gas explosion. An ongoing emergency. Ben had started to ask why that was, these were citizens entitled to medical care if they needed it and some standard of living? Even as the thought had occurred to him, he had realized he already knew the answer. The word Kiki had used, marginalized, as in kept out of sight so that no one had to think about them. These children had a roof over their heads and because of the reforms that Charlotte had pushed, they were no longer in danger of starving. Still though, they came with huge problems and were they getting anything beyond the basics? The girl who was terrified of Ben being a good example. A girl who was frightened of men obviously wouldn’t ask for medical care from a male Doctor. He set down the boxes at the far end of where table from Kiki and made sure to keep his distance as he made his way to the door.
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It looks like Ben will have some character development going on through this story arc, perhaps humbling him a little but I hope that Kiki gets some too, for the better.
Kiki visits Russia and she and Gia can have a Saint off. Fyodor can also let Ben know some of his coping skills that might help him as the marriage goes on when the other half is in full Sainthood mode. As a place to unwind they can visit Gia and Fyodor's country place out in the sticks, way out in the sticks and there bodyguards could actually have a rest with Gia's Spetnaz troops keeping watch. Not only would they not want to fail Gia, but finding out how Kiki is with her record in Korea would be a big help and the topper would be to tell them she is under the personal protection of the Kat herself and you don't want her to have to come here and take care of business do you?
Ben is a celebrity in his own right with an interesting story to tell.
If he and Kiki visits schools he can tell about going to the moon and he can present a model of the spacecraft he was on, IOTL one of the most influential photographs of the Twentieth Century was taken on Apollo 8 by William Anderson called "Earthrise" and I am sure that picture was taken on the mission and a signed and framed picture of that would be appreciated.
Ben can also tell as a joke that he later found out that the Kaiser and future Father-in-law had a special signal he could have sent that would have ejected him in space but the Kaiser "generously" didn't use it.
Part 119, Chapter 1981
Chapter One Thousand Nine Hundred Eighty-One

7th May 1970

Mitte, Berlin

The two soldiers who had come out to escort her into Louis’ office snapped to attention with clicking heels as Kat stepped out of her car once her driver opened the door. She might be out of uniform, but they recognized who she was. The building was typical of the office towers that had been springing up in city center despite the fact that Berlin had famously been built atop what basically amounted to a swamp. Louis Ferdinand had located his office in this building and had been taking on a staff in preparation for the role he was intending to take as Emperor Emeritus next year. Kat could see that the outer offices were already a hive of activity.

While most men would have been expected to take up golf or fishing, Louis clearly had greater ambitions. Kat suspected that Louis would probably be a thorn in Freddy’s side if everything went to plan, which was perfect because those at the top of the heap needed someone to kick them back to reality every once in a while. Kat figured Louis, Rea, Kiki, and Suga were going to be there to do exactly that.

When Kat finally got up to Louis’ office, she discovered that he was in a buoyant mood. “Is there anything that I can get for you Kurfürstin?” Louis asked as she sat down. He seemed so happy that Kat figured that cussing at him for his latest gambit wouldn’t fit the mood in this room. He had insisted that she take on the role of Elector of Berlin, meaning that the city of her birth truly was her kingdom. If Kat’s father had still been around, he would have found this hilarious, right up until he discovered that Kat’s domain included Spandau Prison. And she would have been more than happy to reopen it for one night only, with one rather special guest who would be in way over his head. That is, until the blade came down and he lost it.

But alas, Otto Mischner was long dead. That meant that justice for all the lives he had wrecked, the people he had ordered killed or had done himself, and the sort of activities he had facilitated throughout the Empire had become a question of Theology. Had her father gone on to final judgement and had been cast into a fiery pit to spend all eternity, or had he simply ceased to exist on the night he had died? Kat had no clue, the same as everyone else, if they were being honest about it.

“You don’t need to get me anything” Kat replied to Louis. Still, he opened the refrigerator that he must have had installed behind his desk and pulled out a bottle of Italian soda, blood orange flavored, something that he knew she liked. “Though I will take some of that if you are offering.”

Louis knew that Kat didn’t drink alcoholic beverages, not since she had suffered a bleeding ulcer twenty years earlier. That was probably why he had the soda on hand, he had asked for it once he knew that she was coming today. Filling the glass with ice, Louis poured the soda into in before handing it to her.

“How are my Godchildren?” Louis asked.

“Malcolm is doing well at University, studying computer science” Kat replied, “Tatiana has been taking classes seriously which is a relief, but there has yet to be a thaw between us I am afraid. Marie is being Marie, so I have little idea just who she is trying to be on any given day.”

Louis chuckled at that last part. He knew what Kat’s daughter was like and how on any given day she might radically change her appearance, much to the annoyance of the adults around her.

“And the others?” Louis asked.

“Jo is looking to broaden her horizons by doing exactly the sort of thing she has been advised against. Sophie just cannot seem to get her mother out of her head. She’s convinced that she is a terrible person, that is just going to get worse as this will inevitably get more complicated in the future.” Kat said, “Finally there is Suse Rosa. Suse likes to think she is levelheaded, but she is more like her mother than she likes to think. There are times when she does things or has attitudes that so closely mirror Gerta from when she was that age that I am tempted to strangle her.”

“Suse is the granddaughter of Field Marshal von Wolvogle” Louis observed as if that held great meaning. “You should know what comes with that.”

Kat wasn’t sure what exactly Louis meant. He had detested the Old Wolf when he had been alive, only tolerating him because it had been necessary.

“You seem to be having a good day” Kat said, hopefully changing the subject to something safer.

Louis smiled. “Friedrich and Suga came back from their latest scan this morning” He said, “Development is proceeding as expected and he seems to be healthy.”

“Are Mirai and Alex excited about how they are going to have a baby brother in another couple months?” Kat asked.

“What do you think?” Louis asked.

“I remember Tat and Kol’s reaction when Marie was born” Kat said, “They were full of all kinds of questions. I hope that Freddy and Suga are prepared.”

“They are” Louis replied, “Mirai though, she is getting to an age where simple answers are no longer sufficient.”

“Inquisitive little girls tend to become Doctors in your family these days” Kat said, “So that is not something I would discourage.”

That much was true with Kiki and now Vicky, who was working towards a Doctorate in Psychology.
Great update and it is Legacy time for Louis Ferdinand as the media starts to look back at his reign before the handover.
Apparently he must be sure that Friedrich has the votes secured if he
Once again I see Louis Ferdinand getting involved with international organizations like the League of Nations, International Red Cross, and the International Olympic Committee or maybe Non Governmental Organizations.
How is the Tegal project going I see it becoming the tech and sport center of Berlin.
In the second timeline Nella thought that Mirai was her sister and her fifth birthday present so how is that going, does Nella still feel that way?
The building was typical of the office towers that had been springing up in city center despite the fact that Berlin had famously been built atop what basically amounted to a swamp.
I'd have to look up a lot of things to be honest to make a full judgement on that, but from what I remember by the early 70s Germany (and yes I know this is a Germany that hasn't experienced the efforts of the RAF and their allies) high-rise development should happen more to the edges of cities, not the centre.

I don't know Berlin personally however, and never looked into it specifically. I remember some damage due to bombing in the war against Russia. On the other hand there are developments closely linked to 'reclaimed' areas mentioned. So I don't know.

A hint might be that other 'preservation' movements are on track or even ahead of OTL Germany, so listing of buildings and even the character of inner cities might be a thing.

Acid rain and it's effect on trees was already a point in this story - OTL a development of the 70s IIRC. So how long until one makes the connection to it's effect on old (limestone) buildings?
Filling the glass with ice, Louis poured the soda into in before handing it to her.

Someone else correct me if I'm wrong, but filling glasses with ice seems to be an American quirk? From my experience in OTL Germany it's rare outside of US franchised chains.

It's usually a handful of ice cubes added later in 'normal' gastronomy. Similar in private households that bother with it (the few that do) and usually more limited to the summer months.

Though a royal household might be different.
Acid rain and it's effect on trees was already a point in this story - OTL a development of the 70s IIRC. So how long until one makes the connection to it's effect on old (limestone) buildings?
Also affected are Sandstone buildings like the Kölner Dom (which it has even today it's own Dom Bau Hütte/Builders guild ).