Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Part 129, Chapter 2185
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Eighty-Five



26th October 1972

Tempelhof, Berlin

Kat really wished that Aunt Marcella had not been quite so frank with Sophie. It was Marcella’s style to bring things to a head, take it on directly, but telling Sophie that Kat was aware of how Sophie didn’t trust her had taken things a bit far. Marcella’s thinking was that it had been five years and a teenaged girl who was afraid to talk to anyone was an accident waiting to happen. Kat supposed that Aunt Marcella probably had a lot of experience when it came to matters like this. Kat had hardly spoken to anyone for a long time, right up until Helene and Gerta entered her life. Sophie had her friend Ziska, but Kat suspected that it wasn’t enough and as she had drawn increasingly inward over recent months Kat was increasingly worried. Then Marcella had decided that direct action was needed.

For Kat, her domestic concerns were a diversion from what was going on in the wider city. She was getting static regarding a Rock & Roll festival that Zella Holz and Sarah Schmidt were planning in honor of the deceased owner of the V8 Club next spring. The club’s stock as a concert venue had skyrocketed once word about who had owned it had gotten out. It was an understatement to say that the entirety of the German Government did not like the situation that had arose. Not even Kat had all the details, but it had all the hallmarks of the sort of convoluted scheming of Johann Schultz or Jacob Schmidt when it all went sideways. She had been dealing with this nonsense since she was fifteen and not even those two men being dead seemed to have brought that nonsense to a stop.

Turning her chair, Kat looked down into the garden. Sophie was doing what she did most afternoons and was playing with sprocket. The little dog would chase a ball until he fell over from exhaustion and he was doing his level best to do that. Sophie paused what she was doing, then turned and looked up at the window. It seemed that she had figured out how Kat had been observing her unseen. No one had ever accused Sophie of being stupid.



Washington D.C.

The media surrounding that German Prince was intense and it was setting off the analysts in the basement of the Pentagon. It seemed that his ship, SMS K24 “Grindwal” the German name for Pilot Whale was of a new series of Corvettes and Destroyers that were the current annoyance of the US Navy. In their thinking, the other side had gotten a few new toys, so they needed more. K24 had a new revolutionary form of propulsion, and even though the Navy had ships with a similar arrangement as paper projects at that very moment and would probably start construction as soon as possible, they were leaning on Members of Congress to get it done sooner. Like if the House or Senate needed an excuse to throw money at the Military.

As an outgoing President, Rockefeller was personally debating vetoing the Defense Budget. He knew full well that it would be overridden in a heartbeat, but he had grown tired of what he had seen over the prior eight years. Massive waste, greed, Congress pushing for favored projects whether the Military asked for them or not. There had also been demands that the Nuclear Stockpile be increased beyond the deterrence that it was limited to by International treaties. Finally, there had been the clusterfucks in Chile or China where an American Allies had gotten pasted, but not before American Industry had made out like bandits. Rockefeller had concluded that he had gotten rolled in the entire Chilian matter when he considered who the actual big winners had been.

The CIA was also never interested in how Margaretta de Roumanie, the Romanian Princess who had apparently taken some time away from studying at the School of Fine Arts in Paris to meet socially with Louis Ferdinand Junior. It was the sort of thing that the tabloids lived for because it sold a million trashy newspapers. Despite these people no longer being the heads of Government in their respective nations, they still played a key role in the balance of power. If Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia became King Louis of Romania, which was what was being speculated about, then it would affect the balance of power in Eastern Europe. The Tsar of Russia and Emperor of Greece were both Louis Ferdinand’s cousins and the CIA knew that this would expand the influence of House of Hohenzollern in an area where they already had a huge amount of influence. Being able to be as oblivious as most people to the complexities of a part of the world that most Americans had never heard of was something that he was starting to envy.

Finally, there was his own Party who was openly courting people who Rockefeller felt belonged in prison. Those who had loaded the guns during the Truman Administration as it were. They hated Nixon and when asked they just repeated incomprehensible nonsense about Augustus Lang and Martin King, a man who few on this side of the Atlantic knew much about and a man who had vanished, probably killed by the Klan, after becoming the scapegoat for a generation of violence. The FBI had not needed to have told Rockefeller that it was code speak because they were embarrassed by who they were pandering to, but not too embarrassed about receiving their votes.
 
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If Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia became King Louis of Romania, which was what was being speculated about, then it would affect the balance of power in Eastern Europe.

Would that not destroy the Dream of Louis being the Grand Admiral of the Imperial Navy....i mean, yeah in OTL Willy II was captain of the Queens Dragoons or somehting at the outbreak of WW1, and he was hardly there, but its a bit different now, and he would have to be in Germany proper rather than in ROmania if he was King/Grand Admiral respectively.
 
US Presidents in this timeline seem to just want to get their terms done with and retire with a relatively intact reputation and a presidency that'll be remembered for not ruining the country.
 
She had been dealing with this nonsense since she was fifteen and not even those two men being dead seemed to have brought that nonsense to a stop.
The ripples of those two stones hitting the pond will be felt for many generations to come yet. I get the feeling that Kat's Great, Great Grandchildren will still be dealing with it.
 
US Presidents in this timeline seem to just want to get their terms done with and retire with a relatively intact reputation and a presidency that'll be remembered for not ruining the country.
Read the memoirs of the American Presidents from OTL, it is not that different and those that survived the experience couldn't get out of the White House fast enough.
 
I am absolutely not suprised that at the end of the second term they just want to leave. Limiting the terms to two was a very wise decision Look at Adenauer and Kohl during their respective last terms (avoiding actual politics).
 
The idea of a Hohenzollern on the throne of Romania is making that Bismarck quote about dammed fool thing in the Balkans come to mind....
 
Did I miss something and the royal family of Romania changed? Because AFAIK the royal family of Romania were catholic Hohenzollerns.
 
The idea of a Hohenzollern on the throne of Romania is making that Bismarck quote about dammed fool thing in the Balkans come to mind....
The Hohenzollerns are already on the throne of Romania it is a cadet branch that is Catholic the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen but apparently Carol II either converted or was baptized a Romanian Orthodox.
Under the IOTL rules at the time if there were no direct male heir to the throne the Crown would go the the next eligible male in the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Michael only had daughters but this won't become a problem ITTL until Michael's IOTL death in 2017.
 
Part 129, Chapter 2186
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Eighty-Six



8th November 1972

Los Angeles, California

The headline in the Los Angeles Times Early Edition had Nixon Wins in Landslide Victory emblazoned across the front page. Hardly a surprise, once Agnew had gotten caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar it was pretty much over. Nixon had even made a point of making a campaign stop in Maryland in the last days before the election as a way of rubbing salt into that particular wound. Lucia had been watching the election returns on television when Ritchie had been getting ready for work that night. By the time he had walked out the door Richard Nixon had already been giving his victory speech.

“So, we got a new President and a new Governor in Sacramento now that Nixon is gone” Mike said looking at the paper as they had the car parked and were watching an afterhours club in the Arts District that was doing brisk business despite the flagrantly illegal nature of the establishment. They had been told just to keep an eye on the place. While Vice was apparently planning to shut the place down sometime in the near future, Intelligence was actually living up to its name for once and finding out where the “party favors” served up in this particular establishment had come first. The trouble was that drugs followed money and from what Ritchie had observed there was a lot it, if the sort of people who came and went from the club were anything to judge by.

“It just means that the Lieutenant Governor moves up a slot” Ritchie replied, “We all know who Pat Brown is”

Mike chuckled at that.

“Mister Green Beret Hero Cop who doesn’t care about politics but has met all the politicians personally” Mike said, “Here in California anyway. Talked to Tricky Dick since he became President Elect?”

“I only met them once and that was after Roosevelt High” Ritchie replied.

“Hell of a thing to put you on the radar” Mike said, “Putting a stop to that before anyone else died.”

“You were right there with me if I recall” Ritchie said.

Mike had been there and had been more than happy benefit from being on the scene. While they had both received a Medal of Valor for what they had done, it was Ritchie who had gotten most of the headlines. There had also been the matter of him wearing a Flak vest that was German Police issue that was lightyears better than anything the Department had up to that point. It had saved Ritchie from serious injury during that incident. The investigation had concluded correctly that the vest, as well as its replacement, had been a gift from Kristina von Preussen. They had also noticed that she was above regular Law and Politics in Germany. When Ritchie thought that; it occurred to him that not even God could help the Cop who busted the Kaiser’s little sister if he got anything wrong.

Since then, the Department had been mulling requiring similar vests be worn by all Officers in uniform. It had gone so far that the German Corporation that Ritchie’s vest had acquired an American partner in the manufacture of their products. They had to know that events in California tended to set the tone for the rest of the country. Still, it wasn’t without controversy. Some Officers on the Force believed that wearing armor was unmanly or something. As if anyone would care if you were a wuss as they were arranging your funeral. Ritchie had worn a Flak vest the entire time he was in the Army and no one with any sanity called someone in the Special Forces something like that.

“Yeah, I was there” Mike said, “Clair gave me holy Hell for doing that. Am I trying to leave our kids without a father?”

“She didn’t mind the all-expense paid vacation out to the Chanel Islands” Ritchie replied.

“No, she didn’t mind” Mike said, “Almost enough to try for a slot in the Hat Squad though, they mostly show up after whatever it is that happened has already happened. They also work regular hours, which Clair would also like.”

“That would take some doing” Ritchie replied, “RHD is rather choosy.”

Ritchie knew that if Big Mike wanted into Robbery Homicide after passing the Detective’s exam, he would probably get it. But would Mike be willing to play the role of the heavy? It was something that they would inevitably want him to be.

“I know, but even if they have me investigating bicycle theft in the Valley it would be worth it to avoid marital strife” Mike said.

“I don’t know” Ritchie said, “Those kids in the San Fernando Valley are tough customers, especially the bicycle thieves.”

“Until they run off to join the Army?” Mike asked with a smile.

“I plead the Fifth” Ritchie replied.

“You would” Mike said, “But what are you gonna say at the Scott trial?”

Mike had just brought the conversation back to the Roosevelt High shooting. The Lawyers were still wrangling over motions about what would be allowed in the trail. Both the defense and the prosecution were taking their sweet old time going about it, it wasn’t as if Dicky Scott, the defendant, was going anywhere other than the cell in the County Jail where he had been for months. The defense knew that the case was a stinker but were making as much noise as they could in the hope that something would shake out if they could play for enough time. They were aiming for their client to spend the rest of his life in a place like Folsom or Chino, avoiding San Quinton with its gas chamber. When it got to trial Ritchie and Mike were going to be called as key witnesses.
 
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Great series of updates we are now seeing the butterflies of butterflies affecting this timeline.
IOTL the California Supreme Court in 1971 and in 1972 The United States Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional and the last execution was in California in 1967.
We can assume that while there have some changes the death penalty is still in effect but probably barely used.
Nixon without his IOTL resentment and paranoia could be that transforming President that brings the United States to its full potential.
By the way say good bye to Harry Truman soon as he dies very soon IOTL maybe ITTL Bess will let him have that State Funeral that he planned for.
 
Part 129, Chapter 2187
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Eighty-Seven



18th November 1972

Tempelhof, Berlin

“Then he told me that if I refrained from reporting this injury to the Police it would be mutually beneficial to both our Governments” Kiki said to Kat as she told the story about how an old friend had turned up in the Emergency Department. “That was when I called you.”

“I see” Kat replied as they walked through the expansive open ward. It had been a few years since Kat had last been in a Hospital’s Emergency Department, but they still looked and smelled the same. Blue-green and white linoleum tile floors, matching walls and curtains, chrome fixtures, and the overpowering smell of disinfectant.

“Did you promise him anything?” Kat asked.

“Of course, not” Kiki replied as they rounded a corner and saw Cosimo de’ Medici laying on his stomach on an examination table in a cubical. A sheet was thrown over his backside to preserve a bit of his dignity and he was talking to a young Nurse.

Kiki had laid it out in Medical jargon exactly where Cosimo had been shot, how it was a superficial wound caused by what looked like a small caliber handgun. Basically, it meant that Cosimo had gotten himself shot in the ass and Kiki had dug what looked like a jacketed 7.65mm slug out of the muscle. He was incredibly lucky that whoever had been shooting at him wasn’t using anything more powerful.

“Looking lovely as always Katherine” Cosimo said as soon as he saw Kat approach like if they were in a Paris Saloon. “I was just entertaining Dora here.”

The Nurse had obviously been taken in by the silver-tongued rogue, despite the fact that he was old enough to be her grandfather. It only took a look from Kat to get her to find something better to be doing elsewhere.

“A good day to you Herr de’ Medici” Dora said quickly before she fled.

“A pity” Cosimo said as Dora vanished, “She is a wonderful girl, such a shame that you had to be yourself Katherine.”

“You are far too old to be playing these games” Kat replied, in a tone that suggested that ice wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

“You sound just like my wife” Cosimo said.

“Perhaps you ought to listen for once” Kat said, “Play the Handler for once as opposed to the Agent.”

“Says the woman who carved out a Principality for herself” Cosimo said, “Retirement in this field sucks in case you haven’t noticed Katherine, not everyone has been as fortunate as you. Houses, cars, wives, and mistresses who demand a certain lifestyle. And daughters, don’t get me started about them, they will bankrupt you in a heartbeat.”

“What about your sons?” Kiki asked, “They must surely cost you money.”

“My eldest and namesake, Cosimo is going to University. He wants to be a Lawyer, the Prime Minister of Italy or the Mayor of Florence depending on what day it is.” Cosimo replied, “Cesare is in the Army on a self-funding vacation to Rhodes. Neither of them currently costs me anything.”

Kat figured that bringing up how according to reports she had seen a substantial portion of the Italian Army and Navy were based in Rhodes to discourage the Greeks from grabbing it would annoy Cosimo. The matter was currently under arbitration in the League of Nations, but both sides were so firmly dug in that it would not be settled for a long time. The odds of Cesare de’ Medici being there if he was in the Italian Army was rather high. Finding out that there was another Cosimo de’ Medici out there who had political ambitions. That was a scary development. What Cosimo had said though, the people involved in the games that International rivals played with each other often were left with nothing after they grew too old to play their part. Kat was also aware that Cosimo was exaggerating somewhat about the expense presented by his “Daughters” because she knew that he only had one who was still a child and he’d had her with his mistress.

“Perhaps you should talk to Umberto about a Title with land and a pension. That is how we reward men in your position in Germany and you have always been one of your King’s favorites” Kat said, “Surely you would enjoy playing the role of the Country Squire on an estate in the Tuscan Countryside.”

Cosimo gave Kat a sour look. “Umberto has always been a friend, nothing more” He said firmly, perfectly aware of the inadvertent comedy of his situation. He had been a friend of the Italian King for decades with Umberto somehow becoming aware of Cosimo talents as a fixer on the streets of Florence and hiring him to work for the throne. It was something that Cosimo had done for the last four decades. That included keeping quiet the rumors of Umberto preferring the company of his fellow man.

“Regardless” Kat said, “Kiki is going to need to report this to the Police, Hospital policy that not even she can get out of.”

“I told her that we can work out a deal” Cosimo said indignantly, “This whole thing is supposed to be hush-hush.”

“Bullet wounds are anything but hush-hush” Kat said, “We should just say that you were shot while fleeing from a jealous husband. Anyone who knows you would hardly bat an eye over that, and I doubt that the police will pursue the matter too far.”

“Works for me” Kiki said, and she started filling out the paperwork, humming to herself.

“In the meantime,” Kat said to Cosimo, “We get to figure out how to solve your money problems in a way that doesn’t involve you dodging bullets into your eighties.”
 
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Eighty-Seven



18th November 1972

Tempelhof, Berlin

“Then he told me that if I refrained from reporting this injury to the Police it would be mutually beneficial to both our Governments” Kiki said to Kat as she told the story about how an old friend had turned up in the Emergency Department. “That was when I called you.”

“I see” Kat replied as they walked through the expansive open ward. It had been a few years since Kat had last been in a Hospital’s Emergency Department, but they still looked and smelled the same. Blue-green and white linoleum tile floors, matching walls and curtains, chrome fixtures, and the overpowering smell of disinfectant.

“Did you promise him anything?” Kat asked.

“Of course, not” Kiki replied as they rounded a corner and saw Cosimo de’ Medici laying on his stomach on an examination

“In the meantime,” Kat said to Cosimo, “We get to figure out how to solve your money problems in a way that doesn’t involve you dodging bullets into your eighties.”

First, Kiki know how this underworld works: don’t make promises. Second Cosmo is an old reprobate and according to this chapter, a fixer for his king’s secret life. Third his real origins have no report with his assumed surname.

It is true that the destinies of the protagonists of this series working at this level are variable: Schmidt ended Großadmiral with the Alzheimer’s illness, Schulz had a good life with one of his sons a philosopher, thinker and senior general, Blackwood an enabler of Canadian aviation industry, Bush a gas station owner(?) in Germany and the confident of the tsar the spouse of “holy” Gia.
 
I am not an expert on this but all quiet on the western front claims that bullets into the lower backside are pretty painful.

Oh and btw lucky to not have had that particular experience.
 
MICE
Money
Ideology
Conscience
Ego

These are the main motivations for agents to be recruited and it looks like Cosimo is going to be tempted by a combination of Money and Ego.
 
It looks like that Greece is ready to start more trouble in the Eastern Mediterranean again and after how the LON failed to respond to the Ethnic Cleansing in Albania a few years ago they may be looking past the Italian possessions in the Dodecanese and try to annex Cyprus contrary to previous agreements with great Britain and to Turkey to respect the independence of Cyprus.
Kat may be looking to find out what the Italian Government response to any provocation that the Greeks may do, as an example Italy may respond to any armed attack against them by Greece but ignore an invasion of Cyprus.
Cosmo as a fixer to King Umberto may have the inside information that Germany wants so that they are not caught flat footed.
The wild card in all of this speculation is how much if any support that Russia would give to Greece because maybe Russia wants to establish more presence in the Eastern Med and reduce the influence of Great Britain at the same time.
 
If Rhodes is still in Italian hands, then so is the rest of the Dodecanese. A revanchist Greece would be more inclined to reacquire those before moving on Cyprus.

Speaking of Italy, does it still control its African colonies of Eritrea, Italian Somaliland & Libya? If so, how? And have they found the Libyan oil fields yet? I honestly cannot remember if these have been addressed in P-M epic saga.
 
These are the main motivations for agents to be recruited and it looks like Cosimo is going to be tempted by a combination of Money and Ego.

Or possibly he's setting it up to look like the Germans are able to recruit him to feed them information (both true and false) Italy wants them to have. The Spy Game is like that.
 
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