Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

I wonder how much Martzel will share with Manny about Thorwald himself and his Aunty Kat? Not what he can share but what he decides to share on his own. Just talking about how he knew Thorwald personally will be interesting.
When Opa von Richthofen hears about Manny and the shooting exhibition he just gave and he will, he is going to preen around like a peacock.
Also giving his Machiavellian plans for the Richthofen-Mischner-Shultz Alliance in the future he probably sees Manny as Nikola’s right hand and Bas Schultz as his left hand when it is Nikola’s time.
Part 125, Chapter 2103
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Three

6th December 1971


Feeling like a total idiot, Sophie stomped up the stairs and slammed the door of her bedroom, not that it helped her feel any better. Slamming the door just served to draw more attention to herself. The worst part was that Katherine had not only known for months, but she had also been completely understanding of what was going on with Sophie’s about face with Malcolm. Deciding that he was a villain right up there with Stalin or Mithras.

That had happened when Malcolm had come home today and asked if his girlfriend Cora could be his guest to Christmas dinner this year. Sophie had overheard this and was instantly eaten up by jealousy. While she had done her level best to keep from reacting outwardly, she had sat there feeling sick to her stomach and wishing that she could blast Malcolm into atoms.

“You have a crush on Malcolm because you saw his intelligence and how he is always kind to you” Katherine said, “That is perfectly understandable. Malcolm was able to see what was going on and I told him to let it run its course. No matter what else happens, try to learn from this experience.”

That had caused Sophie to stomp up the stairs and slam the door.

Sophie understood. If Malcolm and Katherine knew then that meant that everyone else in household did as well. This was possibly the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened to Sophie. Looking over at the door of her bedroom, she wished that she could leave it closed forever. If Sophie could just live in this room for the rest of her life, then that would be fine with her. She didn’t think that there was nothing that could pry her out after what had happened today…

It turned out that Sophie was very wrong on that score.

No sooner than the thought ran through her head than her stomach cramped up again and she was left feeling feverish as it passed. Minutes later, she was out of her room looking for Katherine because she needed help. That just made things worse because all the other women in the household were talking at her like if what she was going through needed to be celebrated when she wanted to curl up and die. If it wasn’t the worst day of her life, it certainly was in the top ten.

Wahlstatt, Silesia

Earlier that day, Niko had taken part in the weekly field review as the entire School had assembled on the parade ground wearing full kit and when the moment came, they would be inspected to see if anything were out of place. They had stood there for what had seemed like an eternity as the Headmaster had inspected each class while shivering in the cold. By the time they got back to their dormitory, it was already dark and all anyone wanted to do was sleep after what had been an arduous day.

At the moment, Niko was in his bed wrapped in a woolen blanket pondering one of the greatest mysteries of living in the dormitory. If he had gotten the top bunk, where Bas was, he would be roasting. However, Niko had gotten a lower bunk because of his high rank within the structure of the dormitory and felt every cold draft that blew through the room acutely.

“I heard that with that cowboy movie playing in the theater, the one with that guy who was a cop in that other movie and the really hot babe, so most of the upper classmen will be off campus on Saturday” Bas said while hanging down from the top bunk.

“What has that got to do with us?” Niko asked.

“It means that the pool will be open for everyone” Bas said, “Not just the six and seventh years.”

It was a problem that had existed for them since they had started at the school two and half years earlier. While the school’s heated indoor pool was always open for everyone in theory. In practice though, going in there on a weekend afternoon with a few dozen sixth- and seventh-year students was asking for trouble. While there were rules against mistreating younger students those were not as rigorously enforced as anyone would have liked. That was especially true for third year students like Niko and Bas. Bas was tall as most of them these days and had a reputation as a fighter, so they wouldn’t mess with him. Niko wasn’t so fortunate. He was widely seen as an apple polisher and was small for his age.

“That would be fun” Niko said, “But I’m trying to get ahead of the final surprise of the term.”

Bas looked annoyed when Niko said that. They were old hands at this game by now. They would get surprised by Staber Arbeit in the last couple of the days of the term when he told them about a pending white-glove inspection that they would inevitably fail, a long slog through the woods, or something else that would make them too sore to do anything for the first week of the holiday. There was always something and that was by design. Just to let them know who was really in charge before they left for the Christmas Holiday.

“You are never going to manage to do that” Bas said, “So have a little bit of fun in the meantime.”

“I’ll think about it” Niko replied.

“You’ll have the rest of your life” Bas said, “You know, to go make a name for yourself like Manfred is.”

It was something that they had been hearing about a lot lately, about how their older cousin was covering himself in glory in South America. Opa was just beaming with pride the last time they had seen him. One day it would be their turn, but Niko wasn’t stupid. He could be like his father or cousin if he were ever really put to the test, or he could be like his uncle, the one who didn’t amount to much, so he was seldom mentioned.
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Poor Sophie,
Having of those days where things go from bad to worse, getting your heart broken and crossing one of life’s thresholds all in a matter of hours.

As for Niko and Bas, there are big shoes to fill for both of them and a lot of expectations upon them. and for Niko, there’s always the family ghost of uncle Lothar (Of Whom We Do Not Talk About).
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Poor Sophie,
Having of those days where things go from bad to worse, getting your heart broken and crossing one of life’s thresholds all in a matter of hours.

As for Niko and Bas, there are big shoes to fill for both of them and a lot of expectations upon them. and for Niko, there’s always the family ghost of uncle Lothar (Of Whom We Do Not Talk About).
Yes that is very true I will bet that every time that Niko asks about Uncle Lothar especially to Aunt Helene the conversation is shut down quickly and the topic is changed to something else.
Helene is very much going to be the Guardian of Lothar's Memory and Reputation and woe betide anyone saying anything less than complimentary about Lothar because Helene will defend Lothar with every bone in her body, Kat on the other hand will just tell Niko when he gets older the unvarnished truth but with compassion.

Love the way Bas knows the score on how the school operates and tries to keep Niko from over thinking things about stuff that Niko has no control over with.
Niko could follow after his Uncle Stefan and marry a smoking hot babe, get a staff job that is actually important but no one gets covered in glory with so no one wants, but the real powers know how good you are and know you are the one to do the job and get rewarded.
You'd think so, but some people like to brag a little, especially if its something no-one else knows. Or they want to score some quick political points during an election, or because their poll numbers are down, maybe with a photo-op thrown in. Or they want to make a quick buck using insider knowledge. Then there's straight out treason of course.

As for electing someone like that, well, pick a country. You'll find people like that and the people who keep supporting & voting for them anywhere.

Cynical of me, I know.
Or even the good ol' honeypot. The brain doesn't function so well when the blood's... elsewhere, after all.

Marc A
Part 125, Chapter 2104
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Four

11th December 1971

Near Los Grutas, Rio Negro Province, Argentina

Standing in Martzel’s office, Manny was amused by the Commemorative Olympic Medal hanging on a picture frame. The picture itself was of Martzel at the 1936 Opening Ceremonies in Berlin running down the track with the box of kitchen matches in his hand. It being a Sunday he had been forced to drive all over the city looking for a store that would be open. That was before the whole torch relay had become a thing and in the years since whether or not they would need to include a Cowboy had become something of a standing joke among Olympic Planners. Martzel got interviewed by the International Press every few years over the matter and was expecting the same thing to happen again with the Summer Games happening in Munich next year. It was Manny’s understanding that King Albrecht of Bavaria was highly motivated for it to be successful and be a showcase for Bavaria to the world. It really did bother the Bavarian King that his Kingdom remained mostly rural and agrarian while the rest of Germany advanced.

The next photograph on the wall was Martzel at about the same period as the Berlin Olympics. It was him standing on the Oberbaumbrücke on the River Spree. The surprising part was who he was with, Manny’s Aunt Katherine, she looked like she was fifteen or sixteen at the time. A girl with a shy smile in an oversized coat and a what looked like men’s trousers.

“That was before Kat was the Tigress” Martzel said when he noticed that Manny was looking at that picture. “We all loved having her around, she made things interesting.”

That was as profound an understatement as Manny had ever heard.

“She rounded out the team” Martzel said, “If Johann had not overplayed his hand after getting bad advice, then we would have gone on to far greater things, but alas… Martzel shrugged apologetically.

“You were part of a team?” Manny asked. Almost fearing the answer.

“You tend to have those when something needs to be done” Martzel replied, “Ours was of the rather secretive sort who did the most dangerous things.”

That was something that Manny had not been expecting to hear. Martzel had just implied that he had been in one of the BND’s Hunter/Killer teams with Aunt Kat. It tracked perfectly with the rumors that had been floating around for years. It also explained why when Patagonia had been invaded, Martzel had gone south to personally lead the resistance. He had done things like that before.

“When I was a bit younger than you are now, I went up to Rosario in the Santa Fe Province on business” Martzel said, “For lack of anything better to do, I got involved in a crooked card game with a trio of cardsharps who thought I was an easy mark from the country. The game didn’t have the outcome they were expecting, and I got into a fight with them. Three against one, though it was still unfair odds if you ask me.”

Martzel walked over and poured a clear liquor into two glasses. It was obvious to Manny that he liked telling stories, this one though had probably seldom been told to anyone. Not the full details anyway. He handed Manny a glass before launching back into the story. Manny took a sip and nearly choked as it burned all the way down, Martzel drank the stuff like water.

“So, no sooner than the fight had ended then there was this group of three Germans and a Spaniard who had watched the whole thing” Martzel said, “Then one of them, a big bruiser named Schultz asks me if I want a job. A few days work, easy money. I didn’t realize at the time that the job would last fifteen years.”

“You are saying that you were recruited by Johann Schultz after he saw you get into a barfight?” Manny asked.

“The one and only” Martzel replied, “Fritz Schafer, Juan Pujol-Garcia, and Karl Weise were there as well. I don’t think I need to tell you that your friend Christian is Karl’s nephew. The world is a small place at times.”

“A knife maker and one of the richest men in the world were in the bar that night?”

“That’s the thing” Martzel replied “That was before they became those things. Juan got rich during the war when he was put in charge of Imperial Shipping, since then he has sort of got into everything. Schafer was a renowned knife fighter back then. He just found a way to make a living doing what he loved after he got too old to be in the Heer. Karl, the street that runs past the new Reichstag building in Berlin is named for him, you know that story. There was a marksman who was an on-off member of the team who had worked with Schultz for years, Heinz Thorwald, I know you know that name already. That’s not the real kick in the head though.”

Martzel was delighting in this while Manny was a bit bewildered. His Aunt Kat had hung around with this crowd while she was little more than a child? Had worked with them? Where was Aunt Marcella when all this was going on? She should have gone ballistic.

“Leading this team was the brains behind the entire outfit” Martzel said, “Go there, do this, drop that off, put a bullet in this guy, and often for inexplicable reasons that didn’t become obvious until years, even decades later.”

The booze in Manny’s stomach curdled. What Martzel was describing was something that was all too familiar to those within a generation of the German military. Something that everyone knew about and even the Government fretted over the possibility of it happening again.

“Your team was directed by Jacob von Schmidt?” Manny asked.

Martzel just smiled. “You said it, not me” He replied.
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Manny will have some very directed questions for Tante Kat when he returns. The thing is, ALL of the answers are there in TTL's public domain, if you look in the right place.
If this TL tech tracks like OTL, then in about 25 or so year's time, this will all come together when someone starts doing some simple internet searches.

That will be an "interesting" day...
I think that Martzel is giving Manny a preview of what direction his career and life is going in as he becomes part of a new BND "Werewolf" team.
That little preview that Peabody-Martini gave us about Tatiana in Boston on the Fourth of July 1976 could also had involve Manny doing some wet work that was set up by Tatiana.
When we last saw the son of Sara Schmidt and grandson of Jacob von Schmidt he was learning how to keep the books of the V-8 Club from his Godfather Good old John Elis and now he could be working for Imperial Shipping under the watchful eye of Juan Pujol-Garcia.
And of course rounding out the team is Christian who is dedicated to having Manny's back and is the nephew of original team member Karl Weise.
Don't know who is going to the brains of this outfit maybe Malcolm...
This is just one of hundreds of different scenarios that this timeline can take and still be both logical and surprising at the same time.
That little preview that Peabody-Martini gave us about Tatiana in Boston on the Fourth of July 1976 could also had involve Manny doing some wet work that was set up by Tatiana.
Actually, it was 1978, which is where I thought I would be at Chapter 2000. As it turned out, I was off by a bit.

Your timing is interesting because the story is about to have "Anne Morgan" enter it.
Part 125, Chapter 2105
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Five

17th December 1971

Falkensee, Brandenburg

“Good morning, Tatiana” The nondescript woman who entered the interview room said as she entered. She pulled a pen and a blank notepad out of the briefcase she brought into the room. “I am certain that you want to go home to start your Christmas Holiday with your family, so I will do my best to keep this brief. You can call me Frau Sagen, I am the Staff Linguist among other things, and I have been assigned to be your Case Officer while you are training here in Falkensee.”

It was obvious that Sagen was not her actual name, it was the sort of thing that would lead whoever Tatiana might blab to down a pointless cul-de-sac. A Linguist named Sagen, get it, Tatiana thought to herself. The entire thing was too cute and sent a message to her loud and clear, they didn’t trust her because she hadn’t earned it. There was also Sagen mentioning her family, meaning that they didn’t know much about her either. Tatiana knew that her father and Malcolm would probably be okay. Marie Alexandra though, who knew which persona she would have on. The only thing that was certain about Tatiana’s little sister was that no matter how dressed up she was always a pretentious bitch. Then there was her mother’s ward Sophie, it was hard to get a read on her other than how she jumped at her own shadow. Finally, there was her mother. Tatiana hoped that they could make it through the Christmas Holiday without getting into a screaming match like they had a couple times over the Summer Holiday. It seemed like they always ended up at odds with each other over trifling things that really had nothing to do with anything. The truth was that her mother did not approve of Tatiana training to join the BND and that was the elephant in the room.

“You are studying Humanities at the Friedrich Wilhelm University?” Sagen asked.

“Yes” Tatiana replied.

“That is sort of an odd choice” Sagen said, “Most of the people I see are studying Economics or International Relations.”

“Ever thought that might be a problem?” Tatiana asked in a slightly defensive manner. “Understanding why people do things as opposed to what they are presently doing.”

“Perhaps” Sagen replied as she wrote something down on her notepad. “I also understand that you speak several languages. English?”

“Yes” Tatiana replied.

“What is your relationship with your mother like?” Sagen asked in English.

“What sort of question is that?” Tatiana demanded, when Sagen didn’t respond, Tatiana had to repeat the question in English which left her stewing.

“I ask because she can make all our lives very difficult” Sagen replied as she wrote more down on her notepad, “Your accent is terrible by the way, we will need to work on that.”

Then the two sat in silence for several minutes, the only sound the scratching of Frau Sagen’s pen on her notepad. The question about her mother was an honest one. Tatiana’s mother could do a lot more than just make things difficult. She had an unimaginable amount of power, far more than her mere title suggested. She had learned from classmates once she started at University that in the Working-Class neighborhoods of Berlin, Katherine of Pankow, was seen as their champion, but she was also equally feared as the Tigress by those who crossed her. Unlike most other Rulers in this era, she held the power of life and death over her subjects.

“There is someone I would like to introduce you to” Sagen said as she pulled a file from her briefcase and placed it on the table. “To see if you have any insights.”

Opening the folder to first document. Tatiana saw the name on an American Birth Certificate, Margaret Anne Morgan. It said that she was the daughter of Dafydd Morgan, a Laborer from Cardiff, Wales and Rosemarie Morgan, nee Donnelly, a Seamstress from Salem, Massachusetts. Born on March 14th, 1951, at the New England Deaconess Hospital. The next document was Death Certificate for Dafydd Siors Morgan from Mesothelioma on July the 6th, 1954 at the age of forty. Stapled to the document was a photocopy of a Newspaper Obituary page, someone had taken a yellow highlighter pen to mark a short paragraph about Dafydd “Taffy” Morgan. The next document was a State Coroner’s report detailing how Rosemarie Morgan died of a previously undiagnosed heart defect on January 15th, 1955, at the age of thirty-five, six months after her husband. The final document detailed how three-year-old Margaret Anne was sent to live with her only living relatives in County Antrim, Ireland.

“All I can say is that this girl did not have an easy start” Tatiana said.

“I would think not” Sagen replied, “She died a few hours after she was born, our people within the hospital system over there pass along certain files that might one day be useful, like the ones you are holding in your hand. Others, like the ones documenting Margaret Anne Morgan’s death were destroyed before they were entered into the system. As far as the State knew, her parents had a minor child at the time of their deaths. Having relatives, even ones overseas, willing to take in such a child would be seen as a godsend.”

“Wouldn’t they figure out that she didn’t actually exist?” Tatiana asked.

“You would think” Sagen replied, “But arrangements were made to everyone’s satisfaction. As I said, the system is overburdened.”

Tatiana found that more than a little disturbing, then it occurred to her that they expected her to become this person.

“Now what do you think you can tell me about her?” Sagen asked.

“She doesn’t like her first name” Tatiana replied while thinking about what she knew about American names. “Margaret is terribly old-fashioned, and she absolutely hates it if anyone calls her Maggie. She prefers to go by her middle name, Anne.”

“That’s good” Sagen said before writing more down on her notepad, “What else have you got?”

Now that Tatiana was getting into it, this was actually kind of fun.
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Helping to build her own legend, now that is Deep.
It's far harder to trip someone up in their legend if they're the ones that created it.

It's something that's always bugged me about spy movies, Bond especially.
"Here are your papers Bond, your cover is that you're a world renowned neuro surgeon going to a brain surgery competition"
"Thanks Q, you know I know nothing about brain surgery"
"Oh don't worry about that, it's not rocket science"
"Yes, well I know how hard that is after M sent me undercover as a Rocket Scientist at Krasnoyarsk. How was I supposed to know that stuff was toxic or so explosive"?
"Well, it was in the legend..."
"That I had 2 hours to read before I got there"
"It was a 27 hour train ride Bond"!
"I got distracted..."
"Lol, good times"
Now that Tatiana was getting into it, this was actually kind of fun.
Kat thought so too, at first. Then Shultz & Pujol had their little oopsy with her training program, the results of which had significant... repercussions, the least of which is why Frau Sagen is treating Tatiana with kid gloves. There is no way in hell that BND want to repeat THAT faux pas. From memory, the rest of their team, including Martzel, thought Shultz was playing with fire when he brought that woman into the training mix. They were right and I don't think von Schmidt ever quite forgave Shultz for that decision.
I just realized that Tatiana can never go to the United States under her own name because anyone with the name von Mischner-Blackwood is going to be immediately flagged by the Immigration and Naturalization Service for extra questioning with the good possibility of being photographed and fingerprinted Diplomatic Passport or not be damned.
Just imagine the fun if Marie meets her Canadian Aunt and Uncle in Los Angeles to go to Disneyland with her cousins and she gets pulled for some extra attention.
In the first timeline Tilo got pulled aside at LAX because of who his father was.
Part 125, Chapter 2106
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Six

21st December 1971

Mitte, Berlin

Nella just sipped a cup of hot chocolate while looking at the various wares that were on display. She didn’t seem to be particularly interested in the sweets like she had been in years past. Kiki wasn’t sure if she was relieved or disappointed. Nella had always overindulged until she made herself sick but at the same time Kiki missed the little girl with infectious enthusiasm for the Christmas Market. Instead, Nella was buying trinkets for friends and close family, seemingly indifferent to what exactly she was buying. Kiki hoped that indifference wasn’t practice for what Nella would be like in a few years. She felt like it would be a great loss if her little sister started to behave that way.

If anything, Nan was even more reserved this year, but she had never trusted superficial things like the Christmas Market. Nan had seen too often in her early childhood how anything could be taken away, even the most basic of necessities. Charlotte had explained to Kiki her worries about the daughter that she had adopted years earlier. Her biological father had been a creep of the sort that normally didn’t exist outside of monster movies. Nan had already put two and two together, figuring out her indelible connection to her mother’s rapist. The concern now was what would happen when Nan figured out that she’d had other siblings who had not been as fortunate as she had been. Their bones had been found buried in a wooded part of the family farm, the fatal consequences of becoming a disappointment. It had been suggested that Nan had narrowly escaped that fate.

“My when did this happen?” the Russian woman who had sold Kiki the pickled ginger root when Nella had made herself sick asked as they approached her booth and she saw Nella and Nan. It was a reminder that Kiki had missed the year before because she had been lost behind the lines in Patagonia at the time. “You used to be this tiny little thing showing up here after you had too many sweets, luckily your big sister was there to help you.”

Nella gave her an embarrassed smile.

“We wouldn’t miss this for the world” Kiki said, for lack of anything better to say. She feared that there was a good chance that Nella would not be interested in doing this next year.

“Don’t you have your own little girl now?” The Russian woman asked warmly.

“Nina is still too young” Kiki replied, “And today was an excellent chance for her to visit her grandparents.”

“I hope that the Emperor doing well these days” The Russian woman said guessing correctly that Nina was with Kiki’s father and stepmother. Despite everything that had happened, Kiki’s father had been the Emperor for thirty years and people had a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that in the now Friedrich IV that sat on the throne.

“He is enjoying retirement” Kiki replied, “Trying to start his second act.”

“I am happy to hear that” The Russian woman said.

A few minutes later, Kiki, Nella, and Nan resumed their Christmas shopping. The entire time, Kiki was thinking about how Ben was not thrilled about her going to Kiel after New Year’s because she was going to be taking classes so that she could pilot the Epione if it were ever necessary. He had joked about how the last time she had gone out of town for any length of time, she’d had somehow managed to have a baby by the time he had managed to catch up with her again.

Kiki had not found that in the least bit funny. The only way they were having another kid anytime in the near future was over Kiki’s dead body and she was not near as caviler this time around. For her the unlikely had already happened and she wasn’t taking chances.

Washington D.C.

“Is this true?” Nelson Rockefeller asked.

“According to our latest intelligence, yes” Frank Church replied. He had served as the National Security Advisor across two Administrations and with Rockefeller on his way out he was unlikely to serve in a third. Instead, he was in a strong position to be the next Director of the CIA or the NSA. The trouble was that he had to get through the next year until the new Administration came in.

“Are we going to do anything about it?” Rockefeller asked.

“That is ultimately your call, Sir” Church said, “But I would advise against it.”

“You are saying that an important regional ally is about to get hammered because Martinez wants to make a brutal point before he is going be willing to sit down and begin negotiations” Rockefeller stated, “And suggesting that we sit on our hands.”

“Yes and no” Church replied, “We can act, but if we do then the question will become exactly where we got the information from. Our source in Berlin will be compromised.”

“Would that really be enough to leave our man exposed?” Rockefeller asked.

“In this game, all it takes is mere suspicion to cause someone to clean house and the Germans are as ruthless at that as they are with anything else” Church said, “And we had to work for years to cultivate our current asset. One wrong move and he is spending the rest of his career counting penguins at Wilhelm Station if he is lucky, and that is only if the German BII or BND doesn’t have enough to throw him into a dark hole from which no one emerges.”
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