Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Glad to see that ITTL’s ‘slowhand’ hasn’t developed the raging heroin habit that IOTL’s one had managed to put together by 1970. Although she might still make a play for the wife of the lead guitarist from The Moondogs.
 
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Part 124, Chapter 2085
Chapter Two Thousand Eighty-Five



23rd August 1971

Munich, Bavaria

BMW was supposed to have stopped production of model 700 in 1968 in favor of a new line of midsized sedans and getting out of the crowded sub-compact market. Things had not quite worked according to plan. First had come the sharp rises in fuel costs as the chaotic situation in the Near-East was causing trouble around the globe, making an extremely efficient car very desirable for the average consumer. So, the 700 had remained in production even if that meant continuing to compete directly with Volkswagen, Fiat, and Honda internationally.

At the same time, something strange started had to happen. The 700 had become popular with a certain set not just in Germany but the rest of Europe as well. Namely those who aspired to be taken seriously as professionals and wanted an image that reflected that but couldn’t afford something nicer. Exactly how the 700 had gained that popularity was a bit of mystery, but as he listened to the presentation Emil had a fairly good idea of how that might have happened. He had given Zella the BMW 700 Sport Coupe he had received as a bonus five or six years earlier when she had first started doing video journalism. Since then, that car had been featured frequently in the background as she had driven it from Ireland in the west to Moscow in the east and from Sicily in the south to the Norwegian town of Hammerfest in the north and well as hundreds of points between. Emil had been astonished to learn that Zella had somehow put nearly half a million kilometers on the odometer when he had noticed that the car was back in the shop because the engine needed to be rebuilt. The rest of the car was falling apart despite Zella having gone to considerable lengths to maintain it.

Looking at the schematic of the 1972 model 700 Saloon, Emil saw that it was not a bad looking car. While it was still a sub-compact, it had a revised layout with a liquid cooled inline 4-cylinder engine that had been changed from its RR layout to a MF layout similar to that which was employed by the VW Föhn. The interior had several improvements made to it as well.

It was supposed to go on the market in the coming months, but Emil figured that he could use his position as the head of one of the teams in the Motorrad Racing Division to acquire one of the first ones to roll off the assembly line. He figured that it would make Zella happy, providing that she was around. It seemed that despite her not actually moving out of Emil’s house, she was still gone for days at a time as her assignments frequently took her away. Emil and Maria had realized that she had made the choice to be based out of their house while she was in Berlin. The alternative was that they would likely seldom see her. It would the same as with Walter, ever since he had started his Legal Apprenticeship it had grown difficult at times to remember what he even looked like.



Tres Lagos, Argentina

They were encountering the same problem that the Chileans had months earlier. They could advance hundreds of kilometers into mostly empty territory, but unless they ran across something that the other side was willing to fight for then they would just retreat west and leave you with a village in the middle of nowhere like the one that the First Platoon was entering. The whole place seemed to be just a church, a tavern, and a market surrounded by houses on a few streets, most of which were not even paved. Evidently, the Chileans had not considered it worth fighting over and they had even seen them running out of Tres Lagos as they had approached from the east. That was when Christian spotted a school and a post office. Those were almost a surprise.

“The orders are to stay here until logistics catch up with us” Manfred said over the radio from a few kilometers back, “Until then I expect you to be on your best behavior.”

That was met by groans in the Iltis as Christian looked out the window at the empty buildings as his team entered the village. The irony of Manny’s comment was profound. What sort of trouble were they likely to cause? The whole thing seemed pointless, sort of like the reasons for this war if the rumors were true.

“Rook, this is Gold Three” Christian said into the mic after switching over to the Command Net.

It took a minute for Rook to get on the horn and Christian had to inform him of their map coordinates again. He wondered at times if Rook was looking at other things or if Rook had been asleep until he had called at moments like these.

“If you could look ahead Rook?” Christian asked, “See if we are missing something.”

“Well, there are heat signatures in the buildings on either side of you” Rook said, and Christian had to bite back several swear words. The time to have called Rook would have been before they entered the village. However, everyone was tired and not thinking things through at the moment. Cursing out Rook wouldn’t change that. The resolution of the thermal imaging cameras on the satellites wasn’t particularly great, but large blobs of heat inside buildings generally meant the presence of people.

Switching back to the Tactical Network, Christian told the others the wonderful news. As he stepped out into the street, he looked over his shoulder, Christian spotted Einar standing in the door of the Squad’s other Iltis, his rifle pointing at the buildings. Einar didn’t look happy.

If shooting did start, the others would slam their vehicles into reverse while the gunners provided covering fire. Christian would be in a rather precarious position at that point. “The joys of command” Christian muttered to himself as he approached the front of a house.

“Anyone home?” Christian called out in Spanish.

A man’s face appeared in the window, looking at Christian who doubtlessly looked strange to him.

“Who are you supposed to be?” The man demanded.

“We’re from the Army Group South, we’re supposed to take control here now that the Chileans are gone” Christian said and word of what he had just said spread swiftly because minutes later there were people crowding the street celebrating their liberation.

When Manny pulled up, he saw the party was just getting started and Christian could only shrug. He really had tried to be on his best behavior.
 
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Looking at the schematic of the 1972 model 700 Saloon, Emil saw that it was not a bad looking car. While it was still a sub-compact, it had a revised layout with a liquid cooled inline 4-cylinder engine that had been changed from its RR layout to a MF layout similar to that which was employed by the VW Föhn. The interior had several improvements made to it as well.
Mid-engine, front wheel drive? That doesn't sound effective, and would need a hump on the interior to run the driveshaft to the front wheels.

FF is where it's at for a subcompact, better for driving in weather to have the weight over the drive wheels.
 
Many German cars at the time in the luxury segment were and are front engine but back wheel drive. Without ESP you had to know what to do in winter times.
 
Mid-engine, front wheel drive? That doesn't sound effective, and would need a hump on the interior to run the driveshaft to the front wheels.

FF is where it's at for a subcompact, better for driving in weather to have the weight over the drive wheels.
Mid engine means Engine somewhere behind Front wheels and front of the rear wheels, the engine can be front of the driver and passengers.


Seems, that Renault 5 in OTL had this scheme.
 
Mid engine means Engine somewhere behind Front wheels and front of the rear wheels, the engine can be front of the driver and passengers.


Seems, that Renault 5 in OTL had this scheme.
Yeah, I know what that means, but it's not anywhere near space efficient. Either you're sacrificing cargo/passenger volume, or you're adding length or height unnecessarily.
 
Yeah, I know what that means, but it's not anywhere near space efficient. Either you're sacrificing cargo/passenger volume, or you're adding length or height unnecessarily.
I know too , that simplest solution against most drawbacks with front wheel drive is FF with traverse engine - the Issigonis concept - I have no idea, if is this radical idea developed in this timeline. But when a car maker must choose between FF and MF with longitudial engines, then MF has two advantages compared to FF: 1) Better weight distribution. 2) Wheels on the corners of car make steering much better (e.q OTL Renault 5). Both longitudial engine front wheel systems have unnecessary long noses, excamples in OTL for FF are big Audis and for MF classical Saabs.
 
I know too , that simplest solution against most drawbacks with front wheel drive is FF with traverse engine - the Issigonis concept - I have no idea, if is this radical idea developed in this timeline. But when a car maker must choose between FF and MF with longitudial engines, then MF has two advantages compared to FF: 1) Better weight distribution. 2) Wheels on the corners of car make steering much better (e.q OTL Renault 5). Both longitudial engine front wheel systems have unnecessary long noses, excamples in OTL for FF are big Audis and for MF classical Saabs.
Sure, but the car in the post has an I-4 engine. FF even longitudinally would allow for more cargo volume, or more room for rear passengers. When I read "subcompact with MF engine/drive, " it just comes across as a two seater with a small trunk, something the target market might be put off by.
 
Part 124, Chapter 2086
Chapter Two Thousand Eighty-Six



27th August 1971

Plänterwald, Berlin

Kiki’s thinking was a bit odd as the Meta pulled into her mooring. It was nice to be home was her first thought, but then it occurred to her that the ML Meta was home. The holiday that she was returning from was probably going to be the last trip that she would take aboard the old Dutch Barge and that was something that she looked at with a bit of sadness. At the same time, Kiki understood that the Epione was taking shape in Kiel so next year she would be able to go a similar journey except it wouldn’t be nearly as crowded. She was looking forward to seeing the Péniche when she was towed up the river to Spandau so that a team of carpenters could finish the interior.

Looking at the bank, Kiki noticed that her father was standing there with Charlotte, Nella, and Nan. They were making a big deal of it, as if she were returning from some epic voyage as opposed to just puttering around the rivers and canals. She remembered they had done the same thing when Louis Junior had returned from Antarctica, it had been warranted then.

Stepping onto the quay from the deck of the Meta, Kiki looped the bow line around the cleat. With long practice, she let the cleat take the weight of the Meta, thirty odd tons of barge being pulled by the current of the river. Every time the line went slack, she pulled it taunt. It actually looked as if she were pulling the Meta into shore and reveled in the illusion as the others watched. Once she had tied off, she ran back to the center line and repeated the process.

“The new boat is not going to be as easy to get in” Gregor said as Kiki approached him as he finished tying off the stern.

It was a part of the continuing conversation that they had been having over the crewing of the Epione. He was leaning towards having the crew be as large as possible, which was practical. The trouble was that the Epione wasn’t just going to be just any barge. Any crew would need to be selected with considerations towards more than just their competence, their discretion would be a factor as well. While the Meta had been in Amsterdam Kiki had entertained John Lennon and Queen Juliana of the Netherlands on different occasions. A light meal followed by playing music with John and tea with Juliana the next afternoon. There were tabloid journalists who would probably give anything to be a fly on the wall when that had been happening.

“Can we talk about that later?” Kiki asked, “The Epione will not be ready before next spring and I still have no idea what is going to happen to the Meta.”

Gregor just shrugged in response. He was not one of those people who needed to make long term decisions that instant.

In the minutes that followed, the others who had been aboard the Meta seemed to be in a rush as they went ashore. Kiki just watched with a touch of annoyance. There were many times when she wished that people would tell her if they had problem. This was one of those times.



Fort Irwin, California

There was nothing else to do but try to catch up on sleep. The others were interested in making that easy though by playing cards on the bay’s one table just a few feet away.

Of all the times of the year and locations for the 40th Division to be conducting field maneuvers, Ritchie thought to himself as he listened to the air conditioning unit in the barracks going full blast. This was the asshole end of the Mojave Desert, and it was the hottest time of the year. Before he had managed to make it inside, Ritchie had seen that it was a hundred and twelve degrees. In a rare bout of common sense, the General had ordered everyone inside until it started cooling down in the evening, then operations would resume. The trouble that he was running into was that he was stuck in here with an entire Company who were less than thrilled with their present circumstance. Mostly that had been in the form of him politely explaining that he would break the legs of the next idiot who annoyed him and going into great detail as to how exactly he would go about doing it.

“Tell us how you got that new rocker Sarge?” Walt asked from across the bay. Ritchie knew that none of his Platoon would believe it, his promotion to First Sergeant had occurred at the same time he had been ordered to report to the Headquarters of the 160th Infantry Regiment so that he could spend the next couple weeks in this delightful paradise. He had been tightlipped about why that had happened, mostly because no one would believe it.

It had been Dick Nixon calling up the General and asking about the matter. Ritchie had been up for further promotion for months. Ever since his previous promotion. Nixon had made sure that the General knew exactly what Ritchie had done the previous May and because the Governor of California was the Commander in Chief of the State National Guard when it wasn’t federalized it was obvious what he was getting at. And Ritchie was a First Sergeant, just like that.

“I don’t want to talk about it” Ritchie replied before rolling onto his side away from the ongoing card game. Unless they started betting stupid things like houses or cars, the game was none of his concern.
 
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I wonder if ITTL if there is going to be a Fort Hunter Liggett which was before an US Army post part of the Hearst San Simeon Castle lands.
Normally the involvement of a State Governor in the promotion of a member of the State National Guard is a cause for concern but if the promotion was held up because of discrimination then Nixon was right to get involved.
This basically confirms the strategy that Nixon is going to use to run for President in 1972 as both a leader in civil rights and Law & Order.
Ritchie deserves this promotion as a former Green Beret he has increased the professionalism of his unit and his heroism in the school shooting incident is drawing interest in potential new members for the Guard, plus the extra money is something that is always appreciated.

Kiki has done her duty to Kaiser and Empire with her trip and next year there is not going to be the same level of public interest so she can have more fun on her terms.
Kiki should just be happy of the greeting that her family gave her and I will bet anything that Nella and Nan wants to go on at least part of the trip next year and more importantly they will be old enough to help out a bit with her daughter.
 
Kiki has done her duty to Kaiser and Empire with her trip and next year there is not going to be the same level of public interest so she can have more fun on her terms.
Kiki should just be happy of the greeting that her family gave her and I will bet anything that Nella and Nan wants to go on at least part of the trip next year and more importantly they will be old enough to help out a bit with her daughter.
Considering we've already seen dozens of boats join her on that excursion up the Ludwig Kanal due to media coverage? And since (holiday) boats aren't something you just have lying around, but often are something you have to rent weeks or months in advance (if you don't own them)? And since it's probably been mentioned during Zella's coverage that there is a bigger boat coming up next year?

Yeah, I can't see that one not drawing similar or even more public attention. Maybe not quite in terms of media coverage, but probably in copy cats and people following her around. And probably some of the canal towns setting up some kind of contingency plans for the chance of a royal visit...
 
With the success of Kiki's canal tour it is quite possible that her office will be inundated with request from various canal side Burgs for inclusion on the the tour next year!
It is quite possible that the whole thing could snowball much to Kiki's disgust!
 
I wonder if in Germany they have what some communities in the United States have during the Christmas season a boat parade at night with the boats decked out in lights and some have sound systems that blast music.
If so then Kiki is going to get a lot of invites to be the Grand Marshall of the various parades.
 
Probably not too much of a coincidence, but still an amusing one. I was looking at satellite pictures of the area where the mooring of the ML Meta is depicted. There were three barges moored on the river only a few hundred meters down the river from that spot, the larger of the three, the one with the red painted bow section is of the Péniche Classification, meaning that it would be the same size as the Epione.
Screenshot 2021-06-19 114558.png
 

Falkenburg

Monthly Donor
There’s no way the towns and businesses along the route of any Progress wouldn’t want to have this be an annual event.
Publicity and attention that money simply can’t buy and a boon for knitting the Nation together.

Poor Kiki.
 
Part 124, Chapter 2087
Chapter Two Thousand Eighty-Seven



4th September 1970

Mitte, Berlin

The Model of car wasn’t even making its debut to the public until the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. Somehow, Zella’s father had convinced BMW to give him one of the first cars to come down the production line. He said that he was giving it to Zella as an early Christmas present to replace her old car before it completely fell apart. The two cars were superficially similar, the new one being dark blue while the old one was maroon.

Zella had noticed the key differences though as soon as she got a look underneath. While the engine was still displaced 700 cubic centimeters, but unlike the old boxer engine in the rear of the old car, this one was mounted under the bonnet in the front. It was an enlarged version the of the four-cylinder K Series engines that Zella knew quite well. Her motorcycle used the smaller three-cylinder engine that was a part of the same series. The new car was also a Saloon model, so the back seats were not as cramped as they had been in the Sport Coupe.

“Shouldn’t it be pointed the other way?” Yuri asked as he looked over Zella’s shoulder.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be” Zella replied, looking at the valve cover and wires from the spark plugs, revealing that the engine was mounted parallel to the firewall. Just in front of that was the aluminum housing of the transmission which the front axle ran through and the radiator.

“You’re the mechanical expert” Yuri said, “So I’ll need take your word for it.”

As Zella closed the bonnet, she wondered for what must have been the millionth time what made Yuri tick. Most men were into mechanical curiosities, all he cared about was if the new car would continue to get them from point A to point B like the old one had. She figured that it was just Yuri being Yuri.

“How did things with Thea go?” Zella asked changing the subject.

“She asked me not to ask her out again” Yuri replied.

“Do you have any idea what I went through to get her to take you up on your invitation in the first place?” Zella asked as she watched Yuri shuffle his feet nervously. “I thought that things were going well between the two of you?”

“Thea said that she wasn’t interested in settling for second place” Yuri said.

“What the Hell was that supposed to mean?”

Yuri looked like he was about to say something, but stopped for an awkward moment before saying, “I haven’t the foggiest” instead.

“I don’t understand Thea then” Zella said, “She should be able to see what you got going for you.”

“If you say so” Yuri replied.

“Let’s go for drive then, around the Orbital and we’ll stop at the roadhouse for a lousy cup of coffee” Zella said, “That will help get rid of the cobwebs.”

“Cobwebs, Zee?” Yuri said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s something my father says” Zella replied as she opened the door of the car and got behind the wheel.

As Yuri climbed into the passenger seat, Zella turned on the ignition. While this new 700 was clearly built for economy over speed, that didn’t mean that it was incapable of doing a few impressive things. Whoever had given it a five-speed manual transmission had to have understood that. For Zella it was only a matter of seeing what this car could do.

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Driving around A10, the Orbital highway that circled Berlin, listening to Rock music, and singing along badly with Zella did help Yuri forget things for a time. It wasn’t until got to the junction of A10 and Bundesstraße 1 that his reality started to intrude on his thoughts again. He’d had the perfect opportunity to tell Zella the truth, but he had chickened out. When Thea had told him that she wasn’t interested in coming in second, she had obviously meant behind Zella though she hadn’t actually said that. That had been what he had almost told Zella.

Entering the car park that the Roadhouse Diner shared with a petrol station, Yuri saw that like most weekend nights during the summertime, the place was packed. A couple years earlier there had been a happening that had involved a midnight motorcycle ride around the A10 involving possibly hundreds of riders that had started at the V8 Club and ended here. The Diner, open 24-hours a day, didn’t have great food, they just served a lot of it at reasonable prices. It had catered mostly to the Lorry Drivers who came in and out of Berlin at all hours. They still did that, however much to the owner’s astonishment, Zella had written a widely read article about the place after the midnight ride, and it had swiftly gained a whole lot of new customers. With all the motorcycles and even a few hotrods, a factory new BMW stood out like a sore thumb. Zella just laughed at the strange looks she was getting when they realized that it was her driving.

When Zella came through the front doors, she was warmly greeted. The diner was full of Rockers, Racers, and Gear Freaks, many of them people who Zella had known since she was a teenager. This was her scene and Yuri was out of place like he always was whenever he went somewhere with Zella.

“Who’d you steal the car from?” Someone asked and Zella just laughed.

“From no one” Zella replied, “It’s for work, you know, looking respectable on Television.”

“What’d you know about that Zee?” Someone else asked and Zella didn’t bother answering as she pushed her way through the crowd to the counter to order coffee. Like always, Yuri followed closely, a bit worried about what these people thought of him.
 
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“Do you have any idea what I went through to get her to take you up on your invitation in the first place?” Zella asked as she watched Yuri shuffle his feet nervously. “I thought that things were going well between the two of you?”

“Thea said that she wasn’t interested in settling for second place” Yuri said.

“What the Hell was that supposed to mean?”

Yuri looked like he was about to say something, but stopped for an awkward moment before saying, “I haven’t the foggiest” instead.

This feels familiar to me for some reason....

.....like I have been there before.....

....many many times.
 
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