Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Part 136, Chapter 2341
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Forty-One

23rd November 1974

Eagle Rock, Los Angeles

The spare upstairs bedroom was empty except for the drop cloth that was covering the floor. At the moment a whole lot was still up in the air, so Lucia had decided that it should be painted a cheerful yellow. Ritchie’s brother Bobby was unavailable to help out today because Lockheed had ramped up production of the Galaxy Airliner which meant that every warm body that aircraft manufacturer could get on the line was there. So, Ritchie had been forced to pick up the phone and call Big Mike who got there just as Ritchie was finishing the job of masking the walls. He was more than happy to use his skills of deduction to figure out that there was more going on than just Ritchie repainting a room in the first few seconds.

“I warned that this was gonna happen” Mike said as he poured a measure of paint into tray before grabbing a fresh roller out of the plastic bag.

It was something that Ritchie didn’t want to get into with anyone. It was less than a week before Thanksgiving and the last thing that Ritchie and Lucia needed was to have anyone in their respective families speaking out of turn. Christmas was something that they were dreading this year because by then talk would have gotten around.

“If you breath a word of this to anyone…” Ritchie said, not finishing the sentence. With Ritchie getting promoted and Mike going to the Detective Bureau there wasn’t a whole lot that Ritchie could do to him, and he knew it. So, Mike started painting the wall opposite the door with a smile on his face, enjoying Ritchie’s discomfort.

“I’m sure Clair is going to be delighted when I tell her about this” Mike said.

“That is not what I mean by not telling anyone” Ritchie replied, “You might as well take out a full-page ad in the Times.”

“I get you” Mike said, “Of course, a nice helping from the leftovers of your Mama’s Thanksgiving spread might make me forgetful.”

“That’s extortion” Ritchie said. The meal in question was the odd fusion between a traditional Thanksgiving meal and the Mexican roots of Ritchie’s family. As far as he knew, it was unlike anything that could be found anywhere else. Of course, Mike would be after a plate or two of that even if it meant that Ritchie would have to fight his brother’s and cousins for it.

“It is, what it is” Mike said, “And what are friends for if not blackmail?”

Ritchie muttered a phrase under his breath in Spanish that they had heard often enough on the job for no translation to be needed. Mike knew that he had Ritchie over a barrel.

Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina

There were a lot of things that Niko knew better than to trust. Bas’ word that he would stay out of trouble for example. Or in this case, the Argentine Volunteer who had appeared in the Depot who just happened to be the grandson of Martzel Ibarra, a friend of his Aunt Katherine. That just seemed a little too good to be true. While he had no doubt that Juan was who he said he was. The Regiment vetted all the locals who they hired to provide services or had useful skills. Once the full Regiment was in place they would start patrols that would cover an area that covered tens of thousands of kilometers. The knowledge that Juan had of this region was invaluable and he was exactly who the Regiment wanted helping them. The part that troubled Niko was that he had even the remotest interest in being friends with Niko. He had seen how the Junior Officers had invited him to be among them as they saw Juan as being a peer of theirs. Niko was decidedly not that. Willi was sort of useless because he thought that Juan was the absolute epitome of cool.

He had written a letter to his Aunt Katherine and got it on the next flight out. It had a lot of questions about just who Martzel Ibarra is and if she had a way of finding out what Juan’s real motives were. What followed was several days of waiting as he hoped that his Aunt was taking his questions seriously. So, he went about doing what he had been doing. Mostly that involved teaching Willi how to ride a horse properly. He also found himself actually doing the tasks that he had been assigned to the 3rd Hussar Regiment to do in the first place. He figured that he would be doing more of the same unless he went out on one of the patrols, which didn’t seem too likely at this moment.

Stepping out of the Mess Hall, where he’d just had a questionable meal of the sort that only the militaries of the world could provide. He saw that there was a commotion on the Parade Ground. A couple trucks were parked there. Every day a cargo plane from home landed with anything that the Regiment might need within reason. That included mail, which was why a crowd of Hussars always gathered around the trucks that came from the airport.

With his hands in his pockets, Niko watched as bundles of letters were passed out as the Company Clerks yelled out names. He wondered if Aunt Katherine’s response had finally arrived.

“Fahnenjunker von Richthofen!” One of the Clerks yelled, “Nikolaus!”

As if there were more than one member of his family among them.

“Here” Niko said, then got handed three large packages and several letters. He wasn’t able to get a look at any of them until he made it back to the barracks. The first package was a woolen sweater from his mother, a wallet sized photograph of his parents with his little sister that must have been taken recently and a handful of Argentine banknotes, just in case. The second two were from Katherine and his Great Aunt Marcella that included a number of items which they figured he would find useful. Uncle Hans had told him all about these packages and how they were a lifeline for him during the Soviet War. There was a letter from his Grandfather that was heartfelt but mostly platitudes about how proud he was of who Niko was becoming. Two were from Gretchen Schultz and Mathilda Auer respectively, who had apparently written letters to him as part of school assignments. Finally, the letter from Aunt Katherine, which was rather short. Just one sentence.

Martzel Ibarra is someone you can trust without reservation.
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I like how Gandpa Martzel and Aunt Kat were not too specific in what Jaun and Niko were to do and whom to meet but letting them figure it out on their own.
If things fall in the right way, then Jaun and Niko will realize that it would be mutually beneficial to be friends with each other and along with Willie they become known as "The Three Caballeros".
A water damaged copy of Alice in Wonderland that has grown mushrooms. You would never guess who would love this image...
Part 136, Chapter 2342
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Forty-Two

2nd December 1974

Mitte, Berlin

The club was an old institution with photographs on the walls that boasted of a storied past and an exclusive membership. That all seemed rather remote as the membership had aged and dwindled. These clubs that were once the unofficial halls of power within the Empire had not changed with the times and that was reflected over the decades as the only new thing they seemed to collect was dust. Franz Josef Strauss however found the one he was in to be an oasis away from the insanity that teemed on the streets of Berlin. It was like a machine that was poorly tuned and on the verge of spinning out of control, only continuing to work because it always had. In the club, he could get a meal and enjoy a short time of retrospection before he had to go out and deal with this city again.

Looking at his meal, Franz was reminded anew of how much he hated this city as his appetite vanished. It corrupted everything and everyone within it. The cut of meat on his plate next to the potatoes and vegetables reminded him of the latest incident he had been assigned to investigate which he already feared was the work of Birsha Bleier or at least one of his underlings. He had already seen what happened when the Criminal Kingpin wanted to make an example of someone too many times. This time, it had been what could only be described as an orgy of blood and fire. The State Medical Examiner was still trying to piece together just how many bodies had been left behind.

“You shouldn’t be brooding” Birsha said as he sat down across the table from Franz. Speak of the Devil and he appears, Franz though sourly to himself. Due to the club rules, Birsha had checked his usual frock coat, revealing the black suit he always wore underneath it. Franz might have asked whose funeral he was going the be attending but he suspected that Birsha would think that was a joke. The sense of humor of a man like Birsha was the sort of thing Franz shuttered to even think about. “Tonight, is one where we need to celebrate” Birsha concluded.

“I saw the warehouse by the river” Franz replied, “That was extreme even for you and not cause for celebration.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about” Birsha replied. He wasn’t foolish enough to admit to having been involved in what had happened earlier that day in the presence of Franz. It didn’t matter if Birsha had Franz by the balls, this was simply too big for him not to act, regardless of the personal and professional consequences. “If I did have an idea though… I would say that it was necessary to convince our friends from Bratva that Germany was not open to them. Hypothetically speaking that is.”

Franz looked sourly at Birsha. He suspected that Birsha Bleier, a particularly dark handle, wasn’t his real name but part of a persona he had adopted years earlier when he had become a Lieutenant of Otto Mischner within the GS. There was nothing before that. It was as if Birsha had fallen from the sky a couple decades earlier. Even as he had the thought, it occurred to Franz that someone like Birsha wouldn’t have come from the sky, rather he would have been far more likely to rise up from Hell.

“Are you eating this?” Birsha asked as he slid Franz’s plate across the table. And Franz wondered where the Waiter, Host, or any of the other staff in the club had vanished to. One would think that they would take issue with Birsha’s mere presence. Of course, who among them would dare to lay a finger on the head the GS syndicate? That was asking for a closed casket funeral if your remains were ever found.

“When I was a boy, the war meant that food was always scarce” Birsha said, talking with his mouth full. “We received rations from the State, but those didn’t ever seem to go far enough towards being filled. So, if there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s wasting food.”

That was in keeping with what they presumed was Birsha’s age. He would have been an adolescent during the Soviet War. There had been rations intended for adults and children. Those that fell in between tended to either get too much, or not enough, depending on what amounted to the luck of the draw.

“You might recall that your predecessors used a great deal of discretion in how they went about their business” Franz said, hating that he had to speak with this man as opposed to throwing him into a deep, dark hole.

“Proves what you know” Birsha replied, “I was the one who frequently had to clean up the mess when they got excessive.”

Otto Mischner was dead and buried. Jarl Gunnarsson had simply vanished. No one knew exactly what had happened, but he was gone and Birsha Bleier had taken his place. Franz understood what it took to stay on top of such an organization and that his usefulness for Birsha was the only thing keeping him alive.

“Be that as it may” Franz said, “What do you want? I know you didn’t come here to reminisce.”

“I though you would never ask” Birsha said, and Franz knew that he wasn’t going like the answer to that question.
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Hmm, adolescent during the war, appeared from nowhere, no problems being the cleanup.

If this is another P-M reusing of a historical character I have an idea as to whom it could be.
If this is another P-M reusing of a historical character I have an idea as to whom it could be.
In TTL George Soros had no reason to leave Hungary, his name will still come up eventually.

Someone else you might be thinking of probably feels a bit of kinship to Franz Josef Strauss in that both are from Bavaria. Someone who also has a reputation for being totally evil and shockingly ambitious with little regard for others.
In TTL George Soros had no reason to leave Hungary, his name will still come up eventually.

Someone else you might be thinking of probably feels a bit of kinship to Franz Josef Strauss in that both are from Bavaria. Someone who also has a reputation for being totally evil and shockingly ambitious with little regard for others.
I'm thinking of someone from Baden-Wurtenburg