Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

In another time, hearing the words "...And you get to help clear it up" would be a cue to take a walk in the woods with a bottle of whisky and a revolver.

Luckily, these are more civilised times.
Fortunately for Emil Holz, that kind of bargain worked out well. For others, not so well.
Part 133, Chapter 2270
Chapter Two Thousand Two Hundred Seventy

11th January 1974


Contrary to what many people seemed to think, Ziska was hardly helpless. Provided that prosthesis on her right leg was adjusted properly, she could walk without much undue difficulty. The trouble was that it was difficult to keep the complex device made up of fiberglass, springs, and metal hinges working properly. If any part of it went wrong, it swiftly became cumbersome and annoying. She also risked injury to her good leg and in a disgustingly ironic twist, the portion of her right leg that she still had in the process. There had been a day months earlier when she had been clothes shopping with her mother and sister that had been particularly dark when it had all been going wrong at once. Ziska had refused to take another step and had just wanted to go home. They had been less than understanding.

Later, she had talked with the same Orthopedic Specialist who she had been seeing since she was a small child about what had happened. “We are trying to replace with artifice what was perfected by evolution over millennia” He said, “And as clever as we are, we cannot build better than what we are trying to replace. The weight is wrong and the field of movement of the human ankle is difficult to duplicate, so we do the best we can.”

Basically, it came down to the acceptance of her own disability and Ziska’s own rebellion against those who didn’t understand it. The later was a circle of people that seemed to be growing by the hour. That was hardly a surprise. Ziska’s older sister had never been kind to her, occasionally crossing the line into outright cruelty. Her mother though, she expected Ziska to be normal, that was impossible, and as Ziska grew older, her mother’s impatience with her seemed to be increasing.

All of that was at the forefront of Ziska’s mind as she listened to Sophie’s latest frustration. It seemed like everything, without many exceptions, Sophie eventually turned into frustration. The most galling part this time was that it involved cycling. A few years earlier, Sophie had taught her how to ride and it had been like something from a dream. Flying down hills in a way that she never could have before. The bicycles that both of them had back then, the one that Ziska still had, were built for families. Heavy, well-constructed, with solid step-through frames, up-right geometry, and platform pedals. Perfect for someone like Ziska who discovered that the racing bicycles that Sophie had gotten into were nearly impossible for her to ride. That alone sort of cast a pall over the whole thing, but now Sophie had found a whole new thing to complain about.

“She isn’t interested in what I can do” Sophie said, “Her interest in me is entirely because she wants Katherine’s sponsorship.”

It was unbelievable, it seemed like Sophie had come to define her entire life around refusing to compromise. It was difficult for Ziska because she had been forced to compromise one way or another her entire life due to being disabled.

The latest example of this was when Alida Baruch entered the picture. She had been a world-class athlete from the Netherlands a decade earlier as a sprinter in track and field. She had gotten into cycling after an injury had sidelined her and was part of a group that was trying to get Women’s Cycling made an Olympic event. That effort had brought her to Berlin where she apparently figured that growing interest in the sport was an opening. The thing was that she needed money, numbers, and visibility. The offer to give Sophie Pauline Sommers, the fourteen-year-old ward of Kurfürstin Katherine von Mischner zu Berlin a chance to try out for the team she was building fit her needs perfectly in all three of those areas. Of course, Sophie being Sophie, she didn’t trust any of it, not for a second.

“Isn’t it what you want though?” Ziska asked.

“Anyone who gives you something can always just take it away” Sophie replied flatly as she had countless times before.

It was her typical response.

Ziska had realized that it was actually about power and trust. Sophie didn’t want anyone she didn’t trust to have power over her. Except for Ziska, Sophie’s half-sister Gabi and perhaps Katherine and her husband, Sophie didn’t really trust anyone. If someone gave anything to her, she felt beholden to them and that was unacceptable.

“That isn’t what is happening” Ziska said choosing her words carefully, if Sophie got defensive then nothing could change her mind. “You are being given a chance to try out, nothing more, if what you told me is true.”

“Why though?” Sophie asked, “I’ve never been in an actual race, she has no idea what I am capable of.”

Ziska knew the answer. There had been many times when Sophie had ridden on the nearby University campus following the same routes as the student athletes. Just the fact that she could keep up had drawn attention. There was also Katherine herself who might have dropped a word or two set it up. Sophie had told Ziska that she had asked for Katherine’s help in physical training, that meant Katherine’s standards which were far beyond what Ziska believed she was capable of.

“Then win some races” Ziska replied, “Make everyone think that she would be insane not to have you on her team.”

Sophie just stood there blinking for a moment. As if something so painfully obvious had never occurred to her.
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Women Cycling Events won't be introduced IOTL to the Olympics until 1984 with the Road event and Track events until 1988.
ITTL it is very logical for Women Cycling to be introduced by 1980 at the latest and by then Sophie should at 21 be in a position to make the German team.
A sport that Sophie should look at is Speed Skating as it will build up the leg muscles and many top speed skaters like Eric Heiden were also highly rated international cyclists.
If racing handcycles are available at this time ITTL Ziska should look into it so that she can join Sophie in the Cycling Club.


Women were supposed to not wear trousers OTL way into the 70s (heavy discussions about that matter ensued in the Bundestag).

And that meant they had to ride women‘s bycicles which are impossible to ride faster.

ITTL the golden twenties with women already racing might last longer and give them faster access to real bikes and then to racing.

OTOH then again TTL Germany has adopted some modern type USA stances coming to sex and the role of sex in young children (strict sexual segregation of the genders in kids summercamps.

So all is open.
Part 133, Chapter 2271
Chapter Two Thousand Two Hundred Seventy-One

14th January 1974

Moscow, Russia

Mikhail II, the alleged Czar of Russia, and so-called Defender of the Faith, whatever that even meant, hated Monday mornings as much as anyone else. The difference was that where most men just had their boss ranting impotently at them as they nursed their hangovers from weekend, Mikhail had “important” men pretending that he actually ran this country talking at him as if it mattered. Most days he suspected that a department store mannequin could credibly do his job. It wasn’t that he wanted more power or responsibilities, it was that he felt so useless much of the time.

It was the result of the lasting lesson that the Bolsheviks, may they all burn forever in Hell’s deepest pits, had taught the Russian people. Too much power in the hands of one man was a disaster waiting to happen. It didn’t matter if it was Nicholas the Stupid, Mikhail’s late largely unlamented Great Uncle who blundered Russia from one crisis to another or Iosif Stalin, who ruled over Russia with an iron fist as General Secretary of the Communist Party killing anyone who dared to disagree with him. Both men had led the nation into calamities. One dying in exile and the other being hung like a common criminal when his enemies wanted to maximize the symbolism of his death.

When the system had been devised, it had used what was seen as the strengths of other Governmental models from around the world featuring separation of powers as well as checks and balances. A generation later, the flaws in the new system had grown very apparent in that it favored inertia. The generation, that which many deemed the lost, that had come of age after the Soviet War had ended had wanted peace and stability above all else. Now a new generation was coming of age, and they wanted the long-deferred promise about Russia’s place in the world to finally be fulfilled. Instead, they were being stopped by the very inertia that was built into the system and the older generations that wanted something much different. Those older generations also looked at the flood of new ideas and fashions coming from the west with a mixture of alarm and suspicion. There was finally the resurgent Orthodox Church, who had collectively decided that regardless of official titles strict separation of Church and State was a wonderful idea whose time had come, particularly if the people ever decided to burn the State to the ground again.

For Mikhail himself, he wanted nothing to do with any of this and sincerely wished his father were still alive to deal with it all. He had been perfectly happy as a Doctoral Student studying Anthropology at Lomonosov State University of Moscow. These days the best he could do was auditing the occasional class via video with having learned the hard way that the Professors should not find out who was watching the recordings. The prior summer he the conversation he’d had with his cousin Kristina’s husband, Doctor Benjamin Hirsch, had been like a breath of air to a drowning man. Talking with a peer about various topics at his own level was something that Mikhail had missed profoundly. The University had given him the Doctorate as a formality the instant he had completed the Dissertation. No one having read it or him having to defend it had left it a hollow exercise. The rest of the major Universities of Russia had fallen all over themselves to grant him Honorary Doctorates, pleased as punch that the Czar was a Scholar who clearly valued education.

“We have received a query from the entourage of Princess Eva of Denmark and Greece about her travel arrangements” Mikhail’s Secretary, who he had tuned out several minutes earlier, said. It was a reminder that his bride was coming for their Easter Wedding. He liked Eva, a lovely young woman who he could talk to about most topics and realized that was probably as good as he would be able to do. This was not a fairy tale wedding by any stretch of the imagination though Russian Media would do their level damnedest to make it look that way.


The Grindwal was tied up to the pier as she prepared to put to sea. The reason for this was the rail spur that ran down the pier and the cargo crane that was unloading the flatcars. Despite the Corvette being a relatively small ship, everything that she and her crew would need for the next few months had to be taken aboard with its location on the ships noted. There was an endless list of items, tools, and supplies. The crates, many containing foodstuffs needed to be taken to the hold, freezers, or any other available space. It wasn’t uncommon for sailors to find themselves sharing space with boxes of tins, machine tools, planks of lumber or metal bar stock in their sleeping quarters. It was something that few people ashore ever thought about. How they needed to bring everything with them and anything they didn’t have on hand would need to be fabricated. There was also a barge tied up alongside the Grindwal that was pumping fuel into her bunker.

As Captain, Louis was supervising this activity, but mostly that involved knowing when to stay out of the way of his crew as they did the jobs they had been trained to do. Borchardt was yelling at the crew, waving a clipboard in his hand. It was said that he wasn’t above hitting anyone in the crew who he felt wasn’t pulling their weight with it. Recently, the Grindwal had a new Chief Bosun's Mate assigned to her who was not one of Borchardt’s people. The Oberdeckoffizer was less than thrilled by that development. Louis had seen it when he had a recent meeting with the ship’s Noncommissioned Officers. On this next cruise there were going to be some fault lines among the crew to be mindful of. It was just as well that this was going to be a mission of the sort that sailors would give anything to be on.

The US Navy was planning an exercise by their Atlantic Fleet in the Caribbean Sea and the Grindwal was tasked with observing what the Americans were up to. There had been a prior agreement, so the Americans knew that they were coming. Louis figured that whatever morale issues the crew currently had would evaporate as soon as they got underway, and he announced that they had liberty in Cuba to look forward to.
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Gitmo should be a sore point in Cuban-American relations but the United States in every timeline is going to insists that they are going to keep Gitmo.
When we last saw Cuba in the second timeline, it was going under a "Langest" Revolution where American businesses both legitimate and illegitimate opposed but the American people objected to any intervention that would have restored the Battista Government.
If Cuba can keep corruption down to a bare minimum and did an effective land reform program along side improving opportunities for everybody, then while it won't be "Sunshine,Lollipops, and Rainbows" it should be a much better place then IOTL.
Oh also expect a "surprise" visit from a certain Princess from a country in the Balkans.
Part 133, Chapter 2272
Chapter Two Thousand Two Hundred Seventy-Two

15th January 1974

Munich, Bavaria

After two weeks as an Instructor at the University Hospital, Kiki had asked Louis Junior if his ship needed a Medical Officer when he had told her that it was going to be putting to sea. As it had turned out, that position was already filled so she was out of luck. Besides, Louis having his big sister who held a Rank equivalent to his would be awkward, not to mention her being the only woman in a ship’s compliment of ninety-five Men and Officers. The truth was that she had no interest in going to sea, just a strong desire to be somewhere else.

So, it had not taken too much prompting to get Kiki to drop everything and leave Berlin. Her younger sister Vicky having a baby certainly counted as prompting. The thing was that by the time Kiki had made it to Munich, it was over except for the question as to what to name her newborn son. It seemed that Vicky had been certain that she was having a girl, so she and Franz had not thought of boy’s names. Eventually, they decided to name him Albrecht Louis after his grandfathers for lack of any better ideas. It was all that Kiki could do not to laugh as she watched that old goat, King Albrecht of Bavaria, strut around like a peacock when he got that news. Watching the men smoke cigars and congratulate Franz, as if any of them had done anything, was a version of a ritual that Kiki knew had been playing out in one form or another for centuries. There was now an heir and a spare as it were, ensuring that the House of Wittelsbach would continue for another generation.

This had been so welcome for Kiki because she had been dealing with a dozen “Physicians in Internship” who had come from Medical School with the notion learning Emergency Medicine. Unfortunately, none of them were prepared for the reality that greeted them when not five minutes after Kiki had finished briefing them the Field Surgeon brought in a construction worker with an open comminuted fracture of the leg. It was something that Kiki had seen dozens of times, but the students were understandably horrified by what they were looking at. Kiki had little patience for them and had proceeded as if they were not there. The following two weeks had hardly improved matters with her finding herself treating them like the particularly dim subordinates she had dealt with in the Medical Service by ordering them around and having no tolerance for hesitation or dallying. It was hardly a surprise that two of them had quickly dropped out, requesting to go to less demanding fields of study. Kiki had not heard from the Hospital’s Administration but figured that they must be appalled.

Then this week something else had happened that had left Kiki feeling completely absurd. A seven-year-old boy, Dieter Deisler, had wandered into the Emergency Department looking for a Doctor Noah Bauer. The Charge Nurse didn’t have the heart to tell him that was a fictional character from a television show who didn’t exist in real life. Instead, she had referred the boy to Kiki, who she said was an actual Emergency Surgeon who had saved the lives of literally thousands of people and had been featured in a documentaries that Dieter had in fact watched. Kiki had a number of opinions about parents who essentially let the television raise their children, but in this case, it seemed to have created an interest in the Medical Profession.

Kiki was used to people’s reactions when they learned that yes, she was that Kristina, but to have a little boy staring at her in awe because of what she did professionally was a new, uncomfortable experience. He had babbled on about how he always watched Medical shows with his brothers, Josef and Hagen as Kiki had used the opportunity to do a few checks on him. Dieter seemed to be in good health, but Kiki could see that he was small for his age and that his clothes looked like they were mended and patched, presumably given to him after they had been outgrown by the two older brothers he had mentioned. He had told her a great deal about his life. How his mother worked nights, Sepp was the one who took care of him after their father passed out on the couch in the parlor and Hagen had left for the night doing whatever he did.

Kiki figured out that Dieter lived only a few blocks from the Hospital, so just letting him go wouldn’t be too much of a problem in that he would be able to find his own way home on a Sunday afternoon. Now, a few days later, looking at her nephew Kiki couldn’t help but be reminded of that boy. Albrecht and his older brother Max would have every opportunity in life. Dieter probably was already falling behind his peers. She was aware of how children who happened to have rich parents were far more likely to get recommended to better schools while the poorest were almost always sent to get a basic education and learn a trade if they were lucky. The way that Dieter described it, his oldest brother was having to move Heaven and Earth to get into University while working to help keep the family afloat. While his middle brother seemed to have already given up.
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There's a game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Shall we now play six Degrees of Kat? Dieter - Sepp - Sophie - Kat. or Dieter - Kiki - Kat. LA cops, Russian nobility, Berlin Gansters, etc. all know Kat or someone who does.
There's a game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Shall we now play six Degrees of Kat? Dieter - Sepp - Sophie - Kat. or Dieter - Kiki - Kat. LA cops, Russian nobility, Berlin Gansters, etc. all know Kat or someone who does.
we've come a long ways (or rather Peabody and his merry gang has) not sure I want see it but the funeral of Kat will bring people from all over the world that she had touched (figuaretively and litterally) to mourn or celebrate her passing.


On one side I can understand Kiki here. On the other side I am pretty happy when a generation of medical students come up who had not seen injuries from military battles.

I think medical students not up for ER tasks is a good sign for the society they live in.
On one side I can understand Kiki here. On the other side I am pretty happy when a generation of medical students come up who had not seen injuries from military battles.

I think medical students not up for ER tasks is a good sign for the society they live in.
That is the difference between Kiki and her students. Kiki learned in the six months of The Sino-Korean War as a member of the FSR more than her students will ever learn.
Kiki has to get as much of her experience distilled into practical learning moments in the time, she has but there are only so much unusual cases to go around.
IOTL the US Army Hospital Walter Reed used to shoot dogs they got from shelters in order to teach their doctors how to treat gunshot wounds until the Animal Rights groups protested so the Army sent their doctors to emergency rooms in places like Chicago or Los Angelas to learn.
With that in mind imagine an exchange program between hospitals in Germany and the United States in order for German doctors to get the more cases that are rare in Germany but are more common in the United States.


Yep in Germany you can spend years in an ER without seeing a gunshut wound. More likely to see victims of car accidents and even people with badly mauled hands after New Years Eve.
Germany should have at this time a good number of doctors who know how to treat gunshot victims because of the various conflicts they have been in.
It is just with the very low rate in Germany of such patients that it is hard to train new doctors in the procedures, you can always teach it through lectures but it is still hands on training that is the best way.
Part 133, Chapter 2273
Chapter Two Thousand Two Hundred Seventy-Three

25th January 1974


It seemed like no sooner than Sepp managed to bus a table than the next one was needed to be cleared. Going behind the counter, Sepp fished a rag out of a bucket of the diluted sanitizer whose smell revealed it to basically be bleach so that he could wipe off the tables. His coworker, the one who was manning the counter was practically dozing while standing there.

Working in Benno’s on a Friday afternoon was its own special sort of Hell. Most of the customers were from the nearby Humboldt Campus of the Fredrich-Wilhelm University of Berlin and it was hard to feel a touch of resentment when he overheard the inane things that they considered problems. Here they were, living lives that he could only aspire to, and they were complaining about having to wait the color of paint for their apartment which they had on order. Couldn’t they see how easy they had it?

Then there was his other problem.

Sepp had picked up Dieter after school so that his mother could sleep. While a seven-year-old didn’t have much in way of studies, Sepp was having him work on that in the corner table by the fire exit. He had gotten him a Cub Burger with extra pickles, something that he knew Dieter liked. The picked over remains of that plus a few French fries were sitting on a tray. He was sitting there watching Sepp wipe off the tables with an intent expression that Sepp knew probably meant trouble if he couldn’t divert his little brother’s attention elsewhere.

“What you got going Didi?” Sepp asked.

“Thinking about television” Dieter replied, “What’s real and what’s not.”

“We’ve been over this” Sepp said as he reached for a bin to catch the debris that he pushed off the table. “Most of what you see is rubbish.”

“I know” Dieter said, “I asked at the hospital about Doctor Bauer and the Nurse who spoke to me said that she was surprised that show was still on the air and that Doctor Bauer isn’t real, though it wasn’t what I asked.”

“You shouldn’t have done that” Sepp said as he dumped the remains of Dieter’s meal into the bin. “They are busy people who get cross if you get in their way or waste their time. What if there had been a real emergency?”

“That was what they told me” Dieter replied, “The Doctors and Nurses were really nice though, even when I told them I had no reason to be there. I just wanted to see what it looked like, for reals.”

“For reals” Sepp repeated, “Now that you’ve seen it, don’t go back cause if Mama hears about it, you will be in there, except for reals.”

Dieter looked back to the workbook he had been looking at before they had started talking. As much trouble as Dieter caused at times, Sepp knew he wasn’t stupid. Completely unlike Hagen who would best be compared to a box of rocks in that regard. Getting back to work, Sepp grabbed a broom and began sweeping the floor. The Shift Lead who had been in the back helping the cook with cleaning so that they could all leave the instant Benno’s closed for the night, saw that Sepp was working and didn’t say anything. Probably the only advice that his father had given him that was worth anything was to always look busy at work. He continued working on that for the next few minutes.

“There was one Doctor I met who was on television” Dieter said, “The one who was in that show with the blood spurting in her face, Hagen thought was so keen.”

“That wasn’t a show, that was a documentary” Sepp said, “I doubt that they would allow that in a drama.”

“But I thought you said it was all rubbish?” Dieter asked.

“It is, but not always” Sepp said, “A documentary is different, it’s like the news. There to document, meaning to record what happens in real life.”

“Poppa says that the news is a load of shit” Dieter said all wide-eyed innocence. Their father thought that anything he didn’t like was a load of shit, of course as Sepp had discovered those terms could easily be used to their father more often than not. If Poppa were not such an opinionated blowhard, he would have a decent job or at least steady work and Sepp wouldn’t need to work at Benno’s to help keep them from freezing over the winter. It was the sort of thing that Dieter would learn on his own soon enough if he hadn’t already figured it out.

“That is the sort of thing he says” Sepp replied, “And you don’t need to go around repeating it.”

“Oh” Dieter said, a bit disappointed.

“You met this woman Doctor?” Sepp asked.

“Yes” Dieter said, “She was ordering these other Doctors around, the Nurse said that they were training to be Doctors and Doctor Fischer was like in the Army or something and had saved a gazillion people in Korea and Argentina, so it was her job to make them learn.”

“A gazillion is a big number Didi” Sepp said as he grabbed the dustpan and started sweeping the pile of dirt which he had accumulated into it. It was nice to see that Dieter was interested something non-arson related. “It’s like what Oma did during the Soviet War as Nurse.”

Dieter looked at Sepp with a touch of surprise. Oma lived across town, and they visited her on holidays. The idea that she had had a life before they knew her was a new idea for him.
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Sepp goes to university, gets a decent job and basically Didi, who in turn will get through school and join the Medical Corps because "I don't know, I've always been interested in this stuff. Hey, did you know [reels off obscure biomedical fact]..."

Are Paramedics a thing anywhere in the world at the moment?
I know in the UK at this time ambulance drivers were basically just blue light taxis to hospital with just basic first aid training.
This could be something Kiki accidentally triggers.
Well in OTL in the USA the TV show 'Emergency had been showing since 1972 and was portraying early paramedic style intervention based on the real life service in southern California ( California had some on scene medical intervention from 1959 when JEMS was set up). So ITL for the Germans to have a similar service in 1974 would not be a stretch. Now Kiki as the founding head of the German Paramedic service could be a good story line!