Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

IIRC, as the State of California is over the City of LA, the state NG orders take precedence. If the NG was "federalized" - put under U.S. Government orders - those orders would certainly take precedence over any state or local needs.
This. If Richie is called in by the California NG, he's going where they tell him, and the LAPD knows this.
King of Prussia
That's still Louis Ferdinand, IIRC.
“Sir Malcolm and Margot are delighted that you chose to come here for University” The woman said, “And Margot said that it is about time that they were able to get you away from your mother. I understand that she is something of a tyrant, so I feel sorry for your poor father.”

“She said that?” Marie asked, wondering if her Grandmother was knowingly trying to start a war.
Margot just doesn't learn, does she? I suspect that her friends are about to discover that their dear friend has extremely biased and less than truthful in her depiction of Kat and her home life. Sir Malcolm is also about to discover that little fact, as well as what Marie's response might be.
Part 136, Chapter 2326
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Twenty-Six

13th September 1974

Montreal, Canada

As news reached Montreal that made it seem as if the entire world had gone mad, Sir Malcolm Blackwood had received a number of calls from newspapers and even current Government Ministers asking if he had any insights based on his experience. While he did his best to answer their questions, he was secretly glad that he was retired, and that this latest crisis was someone else’s problem. Presently, he was finding that peace within his own house was also difficult to come by.

Malcolm knew about what his granddaughter was capable of because in his correspondence with Douglas the subject had come up a great deal over the previous years. How she was a chameleon of sorts, extremely capable of changing her appearance and manner radically to suit her own ends. That extended far beyond language and clothing to the point where she practically became someone else. Margot had no clue about this and that was why what happened that evening was a shock. Whatever she had done to tick Marie off must have been a doozy, because she was showing she knew exactly how that talent of hers could be weaponized.

That much was clear as Marie came downstairs for dinner.

She was wearing a dark green velvet dress that was the height of elegance. Her hair was pinned up with silver pins that had emeralds that glittered in the dining room lights, Marie was wearing matching earrings and an emerald pendent on a silver chain around her neck that Malcolm knew had been gifts from her mother. There were also three medals on bows pinned to the front of her dress. Malcolm recognized them as an Order of Louise, 1st Class, a golden Ladies Merit Cross, and a Cross of Merit for Women and Girls. Those were unmistakably Prussian in origion with the ribbons that made up the bows on two of them being black and white. When Marie spoke, it was in Metropolitan French which oddly had been the language of the German Court decades earlier and her manner was that of a highborn woman so the not so subtle message that Marie was sending Margot was rather unmistakable. That compared her, she was a provincial nobody. The proverbial big fish in a little pond. Because Marie had not actually done anything overt, Margot could only sit across the table stewing.

“The two of you need to cut this out this instant” Sir Malcolm said flatly, “I’ve had enough of both your games.”

“This is entirely one-sided” Margot replied.

“Margot, this is a continuation of what you have been doing since you first met Katherine almost thirty years ago” Malcolm said, “And Marie, do you think that I don’t recognize what you are doing? If the two of you insist on sniping at each other, then you can do it elsewhere, because I am not putting up with it for another minute.”

Neither Margot nor Marie looked happy that Malcolm had put his foot down. He knew that they would resume this the instant he looked elsewhere. For the duration of this meal anyway he would get a little bit of peace. He would take that until he figured out how to arrange détente between his wife and granddaughter.

Los Angeles, California

The California National Guard had first dibs on Ritchie’s time once the Governor had declared a State of Emergency and that elements of the 40th Division had been activated to assist the LAPD in restoring order to the city. This had been a bit awkward because Ritchie had already been in the field with the Central Division, knew what the situation was, and had been very reluctant to return to headquarters. That had resulted in him on the phone with Pat Brown as he had tried to explain what the prior hours had been like. He found it difficult to put into words things such as the smell of smoke and tear gas as wind whipped flames had consumed entire city blocks in what had become a firestorm which disturbingly reminded of photographs of places Kure or Moscow during the Second World War. The Fire Department was unable to put the fires out because of the unsafe situation and had eventually resorted to using explosives. There was also the incoherent rage that he had witnessed first-hand in that kaleidoscope of destruction. As the Department had moved to contain the disturbance to South Los Angeles but had found that there were opportunists who were taking advantage of the chaos outside the cordoned area. Then they discovered that this went far beyond Los Angeles as word arrived of disturbances in the Bay Area, Chicago, and New York. Apparently enough was enough and the State Guard was coming in.

Before he had left for Inglewood, he had spoken with Lucia briefly. Fortunately, Eagle Rock was located well outside the areas of rioting. She had been mostly concerned that Ritchie was safe. That had been good for Ritchie’s peace of mind as he had gotten into Frankenstein with Big Mike driving which had enabled him to get a bit of sleep as they had taken the long roundabout way to Inglewood. The scene at the Armory was a strange oasis of calm, of course having the growing presence of a Mechanized Division during a citywide curfew was enough to keep all but the most insane from causing trouble. Ritchie wasn’t expecting that he would be told that General Ware had asked for Sergeant Major Valenzuela to be sent to him the instant he showed up at the Armory. It seemed that he had made an impression on Governor Brown.
Ritchie as both a Special Warfare soldier and a LAPD officer has a very unique perspective on the situation that is unfolding at a breakneck pace where events are outstripping the information coming in.
Ritchie is most likely is going to be the one who helps to coordinate the National Guard with local law enforcement agencies and because he is Hispanic with a Black officer as his partner, look for him to talk to various representatives of minorities groups to find out information that the national Guard and police can't get.
Studies have shown that there is a need to put in an overwhelming show of force as early as possible in the initial riot zone to keep it from spreading to other areas.
The main problem is the Santa Ana Winds have a possibility of starting brushfires throughout Southern California away from the riot areas and that will stretch out the fire services in the state and more importantly the California National Guard which is usually called in to fight the fires can't because they are committed elsewhere.
President Nixon is going to have to call out every possible military unit from the Pacific Coast to the Rockies.

First Blood to Marie in The War of the Blackwoods as she shows Margot whose daughter she is, unfortunately for Margot she doesn't understand that she is out armed by her granddaughter.
Was French really the court language until only a few decades ago? From my understanding that largely ended with the time of Frederick the Great or maybe shortly after with the Napoleonic Wars.

I'm not saying that it's not in character for Malcolm to say it, I'm actually just curious :coldsweat:
Marie knows very well that her mother can be a ruthless tyrant if she wants to be. She also knows that her mother so rarely does want that. She also knows that within her home in Berlin, Kat and Doug are very much equals, with Doug being the solid foundation that Kat has anchored herself to. For Marie to learn that her Oma Blackwood has been maligning both of her parents, and therefore Marie and her siblings by extension, has rightfully infuriated her. Hence the oh so elegant retaliatory strike. Sir Malcolm has already surmised that Margot is to blame for this escalation, and that he will not be pleased to hear exactly what triggered it. I would also love to know what Margot's friends thought when (if) Marie corrected their misunderstanding of her parents relationship.
Was French really the court language until only a few decades ago? From my understanding that largely ended with the time of Frederick the Great or maybe shortly after with the Napoleonic Wars.

I'm not saying that it's not in character for Malcolm to say it, I'm actually just curious :coldsweat:
It lingered as a major diplomatic and court language in OTL Europe until WW1. All the royal & imperial families spoke it, so it was frequently easier for them to converse among themselves in French rather than learn each others languages. Ditto for the courtiers, diplomats & officials that accompanied them on their visits. During WW1, the Central Powers stopped speaking it due to the war, along with many families on both sides changing names to avoid accusations of being 'foreign'. Most notably the British Royal Family changing their name to Windsor, while the English branch of their cousins, the Battenburgs, changed to Mountbatten. Post WW1, there were far fewer royal and imperial families still standing, so the use of French dropped out of fashion.
Was French really the court language until only a few decades ago? From my understanding that largely ended with the time of Frederick the Great or maybe shortly after with the Napoleonic Wars.

I'm not saying that it's not in character for Malcolm to say it, I'm actually just curious :coldsweat:
It most likely was not the Court language, but as it was still the language of International Diplomacy, it is an easy enough mistake to make.
Was French really the court language until only a few decades ago? From my understanding that largely ended with the time of Frederick the Great or maybe shortly after with the Napoleonic Wars.
This practice endured until Franco-Prussian War and didn't completely go out of practice until WW1. French remained the language of diplomacy into the 1950's. For Sir Malcolm that meant that the ended a few decades before he was born. Another thing to consider is that he has spent most of his life in Nouvelle-France, which colors his perspective.
“The two of you need to cut this out this instant” Sir Malcolm said flatly, “I’ve had enough of both your games.”

“This is entirely one-sided” Margot replied.

“Margot, this is a continuation of what you have been doing since you first met Katherine almost thirty years ago” Malcolm said, “And Marie, do you think that I don’t recognize what you are doing? If the two of you insist on sniping at each other, then you can do it elsewhere, because I am not putting up with it for another minute.”

Neither Margot nor Marie looked happy that Malcolm had put his foot down. He knew that they would resume this the instant he looked elsewhere. For the duration of this meal anyway he would get a little bit of peace. He would take that until he figured out how to arrange détente between his wife and granddaughter.

To be Malcolm is suffering.
Part 136, Chapter 2327
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Twenty-Seven

17th September 1974

Montreal, Canada

It was brisk autumn morning with it raining off and on. Marie Alexandra had been warned that winter here in Montreal was more severe than what she was used to in Germany. That had been pushed to the back of her mind as classes had started and she simply had not had the time to think about that. Now though, feeling the wind that cut right through the light jacket she was wearing it was hard not to focus on anything else until she walked past a shop that sold television sets.

The news was playing on the televisions in the storefront, footage of buildings on fire and massive crowds of people in the streets. Then they showed the latest development, heavily armed soldiers in green uniforms backed by armored vehicles and helicopters imposing order block by block. Marie saw one of the soldiers, who looked like he was a Spaniard giving a public statement, but Marie couldn’t hear the sound though the glass. He wore stripes on his sleeve in the manner of the American and British Armies, and there were a lot of them. The caption at the bottom of the screen identified him as Sgt. Major Richard Valenzuela, 40th Div. CA National Guard. It cut back to the news anchor who was a familiar face on Montreal television before showing more destruction in Southern California. Wildfires in other parts of the State this time.

Turning away and continuing her walk back to the Blackwood house, Marie was reminded of what her grandfather had told her about how with everything else going on in the world he would have peace under his own roof. That was nonnegotiable. He also said that to make that happen Marie and her grandmother needed to work out their differences, he didn’t care how. Preferably without any more stupid games because unless she was prepared to keep that up for the next few years, then her grandmother would win that stupid pissing contest due to exhaustion on Marie’s part. Then he had then pointed out that Marie was an extremely attractive young woman when she put in the effort like she had on Friday night and wished that in the future she would do entirely for herself. Sir Malcolm had also mentioned that he was proud that she was already so accomplished at her age.

It had taken a moment for Marie to figure out what her grandfather was getting at with that last part, then she remembered the three medals. He must have understood exactly what they meant, and she had felt a bit silly with how she had worn them deliberately to antagonize her grandmother. Still, her grandmother had made her angry with how she belittled her parent’s relationship and made her mother out to be some sort of ogre. It simply wasn’t true, and she had wanted to get back at her somehow. That just seemed childish now that she had a chance to think about it.

The next shop that Marie stopped in front of sold bicycles. Must of the colorful bicycles were by Japanese manufacturers who she had never heard of before. Considering that she didn’t want the bother of a car, but still needed to get around, a bicycle would probably be perfect for her needs. She understood that there were designs that did well going up hills which was critical in a place like Montreal. She just hoped that Sophie didn’t find out because Sophie had been trying to sell her on cycling in general for ages and Marie had resisted that mostly out of general obstinance. Now, she was annoyed that it was a practical consideration.

Shoving her hands into the pocket of her jacket, Marie continued up the street until she got to the corner. It was there that she saw something she wasn’t expecting. An elderly Black man wearing a suit and tie was handing flyers out to passersby. As she got closer, Marie saw that they read, Understanding what is really happening in Los Angeles. She instantly recognized him as being the same man she had seen outside her grandparent’s Church when she had visited Montreal five years earlier.

“Not quite Langston Hughes” Marie said as he handed her one of the flyers.

“Do I know you?” The man asked.

“No” Marie replied, “But you handed me a paper with the words of the poem Harlem five years ago as I was coming out of church.”

“I have done that a lot over the years” The man said, “And if you’ve seen the news then you know how well people have listened.”

“I remember that I tried to speak to you in Swahili” Marie, “A rather stupid assumption on my part.”

“I recall” The man said, “That was a bit strange, having this little girl with red hair saying that she had met actual Africans where she came from. That sort of thing sticks with you. You never said where you came from.”

“Tempelhof” Marie said, before finishing with “In Berlin” when she drew a blank look back.

“In Germany?” The man asked, “This is a bit distant from there.”

“I came here to go to University” Marie replied, “And I’ve family here.”

“I see” The man said guardedly.

“Most of the Africans you meet there are professionals or soldiers” Marie said, “The issues you find there are not quite as stark as here.”

“You expect me to believe that you don’t discriminate over there?” The man asked.

“Against Africans, not so much because there are so few of them” Marie replied, “If you were a Pole or Jewish it would be an entirely different story.”

The man reacted as if Marie had just said something quite funny.
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Part 136, Chapter 2328
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Twenty-Eight

18th September 1974


Getting together with Kiki for lunch was normally the highlight of Berg’s week. That was unless Kiki was in a snit like she was today.

“I am starting to think that Zella is right” Kiki said, “That bringing a child into this world is an act of cruelty.”

“Is that how you feel about Nina?” Berg asked.

“Please, don’t, Nora” Kiki said as sat there staring at the plate of food in front of her. She had been poking at it for the last half hour after complaining about how it wasn’t to her taste today. “I love Nina and couldn’t imagine things without her, but what the Hell were Ben and I thinking?”

Berg knew that Kiki was difficult to reach when she was in a mood like this. Probably it had to do with the news. Blood and fire on television, the incoherent rage of people who had endured systematic inequity for generations lashing out, opportunists of every stripe taking advantage of the chaos. Anyone who was informed about the situation in Los Angeles wasn’t surprised that there were similar incidents in other cities that were not allowed to spiral so out of control. Still, Berg was uncomfortably aware that the same thing could just as easily occur in their own city with the wrong sort of prompting.

For Kiki it was worse because she had worked in Los Angeles for a few days, the very city that was in the news. She knew people on the ground there and her first instinct was to get involved. The trouble was that it was on the other side of the globe and Kiki knew full well that her presence alone would just make things worse. She had also mentioned in passing the death of a retired General who had helped her when she had been recovering from a skull fracture a decade earlier by letting her live on his property for a couple of months. She had needed a place to rest without the constant barrage of stimulus that came with everyday life. An isolated chalet with no electricity on a mountainside in the Alps had been perfect for that. Berg sort of felt like that was something that Kiki could use again.

“I think that you and Benjamin have a wonderful family that you would welcome a new addition to” Berg said, “Just life has gotten in the way. You didn’t bother taking a holiday this year during the summer, perhaps you should consider doing something this winter. Get some perspective and reduce the amount of stress.”

“We can try, but as Ben said, even our holidays are not really holidays” Kiki replied, “Do I need to tell you about what the trip to Russia was like?”

“I saw it in the news” Berg replied, “You did a world of good on that trip as a Goodwill Ambassador to Russia, then facilitating the reunion of Stalin’s children to show everyone that the war was truly over.”

“Not exactly a holiday” Kiki said, “Ben said that if we go on a holiday then we should go as a family and the rest of the world can go on without us for a few weeks.”

“It seems to me that he has the right idea” Berg said.

“I guess” Kiki said as she just stared at her plate with no appetite. “I should just tell Ben that is exactly what we should do, that I don’t care where we go, we just need to leave as soon as it can be arranged. We also need to stop it with this whole baby nonsense before we do something for stupid reasons.”

Looking at Kiki, Berg noticed that she looked a bit feverish and tired. That coupled with what she had already observed, there was a good chance that it was a bit late for that last part of what Kiki had just said. Berg had decades of experience in these matters. She figured that Kiki would likely take it badly if she said anything. Let her figure it out on her own, Berg thought to herself. Unless this turned into another bout of cryptic bullshit like the last time that is.

Los Angeles

It was the smell that bothered Ritchie.

People thought that when a building burnt down it was like the woodsmoke from the fire when they went camping. The truth was that everything that went into a building burnt along with it. Wood, wall insulation, the plastic in the wiring, the paint on the walls, the tiles on the floor, everything. All of that went up in flames and the smell was awful. Frequently, soldiers from the 40th had been seen wearing gas masks and that had little to do with the threat of the tear gas that was being used, it had everything to do with that smell.

Ritchie was reminded of this as he shined his flashlight into the burnt out remains of what had been a grocery store just week earlier. There were quite a few insurance companies that were going to get soaked from the events of the last few days, was the thought that running through his head as he looked at every building.

It had taken some doing for Ritchie to get himself and the rest of the 160th Regiment’s LRRP section out into the field where they belonged. He had gotten tired of being the Spokesman for the Division and the Department. They had people whose specialty that was, so let them do their job.

Big Mike had taken full advantage of the situation. It seemed that Lieutenant General Keith Ware, who commanded the 40th Division, knew Mike from watching him on TV when he had played for UCLA back in the day. So, the General had been more than happy to make the phone calls to have Mike made the Police Liaison for the duration of the crisis. It wasn’t as if he was getting called to do anything, that was until he got a call from Clair. It seemed that his wife had been trapped for the last week with their children and wasn’t happy about it. She had made him pick Little Mike and Derik, his two oldest boys from his house. Clair didn’t care where they went, just so long as they weren’t there. Things had worked out because the 40th had need of “civilian volunteers” and there they were. Ritchie had joked that if Little Mike got the smell of Army all over him then the Navy wouldn’t take him when he turned 18 next year. Big Mike didn’t find that funny, though everyone else within earshot did.
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I don't know if anyone else knows the smell described in the last post, but it is every bit as unpleasant as described.
Fortunately the smell is not familiar to me. I've smelled just burning plastic before, but whilst vile is probably not on the level described here.

Looking forward to Kiki's flat forehead moment. When she realizes that she missed it again.

And as always, I love the story. It is one of the major reasons I check this website twice a day. I genuinely get an endorphin rush when I see you've posted. Thanks for the awesome story!
I've smelt burnt house before, but luckily without anyone dead inside.

Best way I can describe it is as a garbage fire turned up to 11.
If as we suspected that Kiki is pregnant, she can “enjoy” it this time compared to when she didn’t know about it until she got back from Argentina.
There are three older women in Kiki’s life who probably felt cheated that they didn’t get to be a part of the experience that Kiki was going though, of course they are her mother-in- law Nadine, step-mother Charlotte, and her mentor and surrogate mother Nora, Kiki’s sister Vicky would have loved to share her own experiences with childbirth with her sister.

One of the aftermath of the LA Riots is there are going to be calls for reform in the various law enforcement agencies in and around the LA area such as the recruitment of more minorities in to the police and sheriffs departments and the promotion of minorities already in the various departments.
IOTL in the store 1980’s Chicago PD got in trouble for failing to promote women and minorities to Sargent and above even through they got excellent results in the written tests but got low scores in the oral exams which were more subjectivity scored.
Earlier it was posted that Ritchie’s partner was trying to get in to the Detective Squad and Ritchie has gotten an AA degree from community college it I don’t know if he is working on a four year degree, if he is and already gotten it or is close that will help him get further promotion in the years ahead.
The fact that Ritchie is a Sargent Major in the National Guard and is a former Special Forces member may fast track him in to a leadership role in a newly reformed Tactical Response Team.
Part 136, Chapter 2329
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Twenty-Nine

19th September 1974

Los Angeles

Ritchie had thought that coming home once South Central was declared pacified, as terrible as it was to use those terms about a community that was a part of his city, would be a lowkey affair. Instead, he found that his extended family along with Lucia’s was there to greet him as the great hero and that was an excuse to throw a party. A party that was ongoing in the back yard as Ritchie was in the kitchen trying to catch up with everything that had been happening at home over the last week. Everyone had seen him on television, not just in Los Angeles but nationally as well. This included Fort Drum where he still had a lot of friends and they let him know exactly what they thought of seeing him on the Evening News. Lucia had a notepad with messages written on it with requests that Ritchie call them back as soon as it was convenient. This included President Nixon, Governor Brown, Mayor Bradley, the Chief of Police, as well as a Senator, a few Congressmen and State Assemblymen.

“You had the President on the phone?” Ritchie asked Lucia who just smiled.

“Actually, it was your mother who answered the phone” Lucia replied, “She even got him to agree with her about how handsome you looked as you were answering those reporters’ questions on TV.

“Are you kidding me?” Ritchie asked in disbelief.

“No” Lucia replied.

This wasn’t the first time that Ritchie’s mother had done something like this. When it came to promoting her children, she really was fearless.

“I suppose I had better return these calls” Ritchie said.

“Save it for tomorrow” Lucia said, “Today is for us.”

It was sort of hard to argue with that, Ritchie thought to himself as they walked out the back door to the party. Celebrating Ritchie as the big hero was a bit odd considering the events of the last several days and the role he had really played in it, but right now it felt like everyone needed to blow off a bit of steam.

21st September 1974

Prague, Bohemia

Kiki had been explaining about the plans that she had been making with Ben over the last few days. The fact that this was happening at a tourney with knights jousting in plate armor and horses made the whole thing surreal. Leave it to her brother to cook something like this up and have men from around the world travel here to take part.

“That is very exciting” Birdie said as they watched from the box in the stands as a horse and rider thundered past. Seconds later, there came the sound of metal smashing into metal and the splintering of wood. The other rider came past seconds later wobbling but managing to stay on the saddle. Considering how violent the collision had been it was a wonder that neither rider had been unhorsed. It left Kiki wondering if she was going to be needed in her capacity as an Emergency Surgeon because when they got knocked off the horse, they hit the ground hard.

“Yes, from here we are going to Balderschwang so that Ben can be the Director of the Observatory” Kiki said, “Since King Albrecht of Bavaria promoted Ben to be the Graf of Oberallgäu, there have been calls for us to live part of the year there. Now seemed as good a time as any.”

What Kiki didn’t mention to Birdie was that while she was living in that rustic corner of Bavaria she would be rather difficult to contact. That was seen as something of a perk in that she needed a break from people in general for a time.

“What will you be doing?” Birdie asked.

“That is one of the things about being a Surgeon” Kiki replied, “No matter where I go there is always a demand.”

Kiki looked at the plate of cheese, fruit, and bread that had been brought out to them. This included gorgonzola and feta cheese along with the aged cheddar. Normally, she didn’t care for the strongly flavored blue cheese and feta smelled of sheep. Today, she didn’t seem to mind. The figs and apple slices were a welcome counterpart to the cheese. Her appetite had been nonexistent lately and she had felt like she was battling a minor bout of flu. It was probably that she was hungry after having eaten hardly anything over the previous days. That was until she took a drink of wine… And immediately spit it out.

“Is there a problem?” Birdie asked.

“This wine tastes like battery acid” Kiki replied.

“I should hope not” Birdie said, “That is a Muscat that is produced here in Bohemia, the Winemaker will be extremely disappointed if this was a bad batch that he sent us.”

Kiki nibbled on another piece of cheese as she watched as Birdie took an experimental sip of the wine before looking at it with a perplexed look on her face.

“Well?” Kiki asked.

“It tastes all right to me” Birdie said, “A bit on the sweet side, but that is why it matches well with strong flavored cheese.”

“That makes no sense” Kiki said.

Birdie looked at Kiki for a second, then she got a smirk on her face. “When I was pregnant with Philipp the way I tasted things changed, radically.”

Kiki looked at the piece of gorgonzola that she had been nibbling on. “Well… fuck…” She muttered.

“Language Kiki” Birdie said, “Personally I think that it is wonderful for you and Ben.”

Kiki was saved from Birdie saying anything else when Michael trotted up on that big bay stallion of his. As had been planned in advance, Birdie took off the silk scarf she was wearing, she tied it around Michael’s left arm before leaning out and kissing him. He saluted her with his lance before taking his place at the far end of the lists. The crowd loved it.
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