Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

On the opposite extreme was Juan Ibarra. The Gaucho seemed to come and go as he pleased, and Niko figured that was because his knowledge of the region was priceless as far as the 3rd Hussars were concerned.

This sounds like one of those times when Niko is more correct than he realises. Especially the "come and go as he pleased" and "knowledge of the region was priceless".
Learning the ground in the way the Groucho's do means learning how accessible the supposedly inaccessible or impossible routes are so that patrols can "come and go as they please" instead.
It may not be long until Niko gets on one of those patrols as a reward.
Learning the ground in the way the Groucho's do
‘Did I ever tell you Niko, about the time I shot a coyote in my pyjamas? What it was doing in my pyjamas I’ll never know. So, here we are, this is my little study. You know, Niko, a little study’ll get you a long way. And I wish you’d start now. If you can’t leave in a cab, leave in a huff. If that’s too soon leave in a minute and a huff.”
‘Did I ever tell you Niko, about the time I shot a coyote in my pyjamas? What it was doing in my pyjamas I’ll never know. So, here we are, this is my little study. You know, Niko, a little study’ll get you a long way. And I wish you’d start now. If you can’t leave in a cab, leave in a huff. If that’s too soon leave in a minute and a huff.”
Why I aughta...
The grey man, a most dangerous form of life. Unnoticed, until it is too late...
So, is he going to turn out to be a foreign agent, a serial killer, (have we discovered what happened Jenni's father), or an RCMP domestic counter security officer, one of Sir Malcolm's protégés?

Or, just a really boring insurance salesman. 🤣
So, is he going to turn out to be a foreign agent, a serial killer, (have we discovered what happened Jenni's father), or an RCMP domestic counter security officer, one of Sir Malcolm's protégés?

Or, just a really boring insurance salesman. 🤣
As for who Robert Lane really is, Facta non verba/Ubique.
Part 137, Chapter 2352
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Fifty-Two

26th January 1975

Richthofen Estate, Rural Silesia

The latest letter from Niko mostly contained him describing repetitious days spent doing boring tasks. That was hardly a surprise, even an outfit like the 3rd Hussars which had a hard-charging reputation of pursuing sharp action even while conducting missions like their present one would want to keep Niko away from the action mostly due to his age. Of course, Albrecht was under no illusions about his son. Even at the age of fifteen, Niko had already demonstrated that he was truly one of the Richthofen family on many different occasions. If there was a way for him to get into trouble, then there wasn’t a whole lot that anyone could do to keep him out of it.

Ilse had been told by her sister that an old and trusted friend in Patagonia had dispatched several individuals to watch Niko’s back including one of his own grandsons. Albrecht just hoped that it would be enough when it came right down to it. The region that the 3rd Hussars tasked with patrolling was vast and remote, comprised mostly of the areas that Argentina had occupied prior to the ceasefire that ended the Patagonian War. As the negotiations for a final treaty that would officially end the had dragged out, the presence of the Argentine Army had become an issue as the Chilean Government had grown increasingly aware of how easily those areas could simply be annexed. They had demanded that the Argentinians pull back at the League of Nations Assembly in Switzerland. Though that was an idea that had been soundly rejected, simple economics had eventually caused that to happen to a degree. Keeping thousands of soldiers in the field along the present frontier indefinitely was expensive and despite being an emerging economic power, Argentina had been feeling the strain of that.

What had happened next had not been a retreat so much as a restructuring the lines with defense in depth. Beyond a handful of “tripwire” forces, the bulk of the Argentine Army had withdrawn to scattered garrisons along the old frontier. What they had left behind though was a lawless region and a growing humanitarian crisis. Regrettably, anyone who had even a little bit knowledge about the history of South America would not be in the least bit surprised by what had transpired.

“Anxious, Poppa?” Ingrid asked very earnestly.

“Considering things, who can blame me” Albrecht replied only to get a blank look back.

“Do you even know what that word means?” Albrecht asked after an awkward pause.

“Ciocia says I make her anxious when I climb trees” Ingrid said with as much solemnity as a five-year-old could muster. “She says I go too high, and the branches might break.”

Albrecht knew that Ciocia was the Polish word for Auntie and the woman in question was Izabella Lis, a woman who came to work on the Richthofen Estate shortly after Ingrid had been adopted by Albrecht and Ilse. She also happened to be Ingrid’s biological mother. The deal was that Izabella could be a part of Ingrid’s life so long as it didn’t interfere with her regular duties within the household and there be no confusion about who Ingrid’s parents were. Izabella have lived up to her end of the bargain and despite Albrecht’s father had been rather unhappy to learn that detail well after the fact, Ilse had steadfastly defended Izabella’s place in the household.

“Your Ciocia isn’t wrong” Albrecht said, “She is worried that you might get hurt, you worry me and your mother at times as well.”

“Not Opa?”

“Of course, not Opa” Albrecht replied, “Recklessness has been his stock in trade for his entire life.”

Ingrid gave Albrecht a quizzical look that reminded him of all the times that Ilse had given him the same look.

After Ilse had nearly died giving birth to Niko, they had been advised that they should not have any more children because of the strain that would put on Ilse’s heart. In her heart of hearts Ilse had wanted more children though and when Ingrid was abandoned as a newborn in a Church in Breslau she had seen it as the perfect opportunity. Ilse had been abandoned herself in a similar manner decades earlier and while Albrecht had agreed to go along with that readily enough, he’d had his own misgivings.

Just what was Ingrid’s background and how would she ultimately fit into the Richthofen family?

Five years later, half of that had been answered with Albrecht’s father happily playing Opa for another child. Ingrid also had taken in a lot from Ilse, the manner which she conducted herself for example. Still, Albrecht had always studied the features of this little girl who was his daughter in all the ways that counted and tried to fill in the blanks. There were features that could only have come from her birth mother. Others though, Ingrid’s thin face and slight build for example, suggested that her biological father was unlikely to have been an ethnic Pole.

“What’s this?” Ingrid asked snatching the photograph that had come with Niko’s letter off the table.

“Your brother sent another letter” Albrecht replied, “With photographs.”

Ingrid had not mastered reading just yet; still being of an age when children in school were still encouraged to learn through play. That hadn’t stopped her from trying to learn ahead of her class, something that neither Albrecht nor Ilse had any reason to discourage her from doing. She understood photographs perfectly and was looking at the picture of Niko and his friend Willi unloading horses from a trailer that was hitched to a lorry. She worshipped her big brother and delighted in seeing pictures of him having this grand adventure in the distant land of Patagonia. A few days earlier she had described it, a place she had never been in a way that fell squarely into the magical and fantastic. Albrecht had a feeling that when Niko made it back, he was going to get an earful from Ingrid and find himself unable to make heads or tails of it.
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Part 137, Chapter 2353
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Fifty-Three

3rd February 1975

Munich, Bavaria

“How does it look?” Kiki asked staring at the ceiling as the cold probe slide on the lubrication that had been smeared across her abdomen during the ultrasound. She was dreading the answer considering some of the unpleasant surprises she had endured in rooms like this one in the past. There was also the aspect of her pregnancy showing a lot more this time, which had caused her a great deal of trouble as it had become the story of the day for the Tabloid Press.

“Everything looks like it is developing normally” The Technician replied, she was a younger than expected woman who came across as a little too into her work. She had made Kiki a bit uncomfortable with that intensity, but Ermentrud Aue had said that she was one of the best in the field having worked with her in the past. The trouble was that Nora Berg had come from Berlin to check on Kiki so the two of them were comparing notes about everything they knew about her today as they were looking at the scan. Where Doctor Berg was all about science and comparing results, Frau Aue considered the role she played far more of an art where frequently things that Berg considered “Old wife’s tales” came into play. Frau Aue was an old wife and she had seen a whole lot over the previous seven decades.

“I told you so” Frau Aue said matter of fact as they were looking at the monitor screen.

Berg just glowered at it. “You had a fifty-fifty shot, so what?” She muttered in reply.

“I would say better than that” Aue said happily.

“What are you two on about?” Kiki asked.

“You should tell your husband to pick out a boy’s name so that you’ll be ready in a few months” Frau Aue replied, “That is tradition.”

“Shouldn’t we both be picking names?” Kiki asked, “In case it’s a girl.”

“This one is definitely a boy” The Technician said, though no one asked her. Kiki knew that she must look at these scans every single day, so she probably knew what she was talking about.

“I would say that she is correct about that” Berg replied, “But that doesn’t mean that Frau Aue’s guesses were more than a coin toss.”

Frau Aue just smirked at that, clearly satisfied with how this had played out. Kiki was reminded of the three witches from McBeth. The Maiden, the Matron, and the Crone. It was unclear exactly who fell into what role, though it was Kiki’s understanding that a woman played all three roles over the course of a lifetime. Frequently more than one at once.

Annoyed, Kiki looked back at up at the ceiling only to have the jarring thought that she was going to have a son in a few months intrude into her thoughts. Ben had suggested the name Bernhard after his father, Kiki felt that they could do better though. That discussion would need to reach a conclusion because this was really happening. Looking over, Kiki saw the screen with the black and white image on it. The outline of the head and body. The bit of anatomy that revealed its gender was visible from this angle, which answered a question that Kiki had not thought to even ask.

“Three months” Kiki whispered to herself as the Technician handed her paper towels to clean the gel lubricant off herself. She realized that she didn’t care Frau Aue and Doctor Berg’s opinions. When the time came, they would play their roles. In the meantime, Kiki would have to do her best to maintain the peace between them.

It was then that Doctor Huber decided to make an appearance as Kiki was buttoning up her blouse. She had tried to dismiss the Obstetrician when she had first met with him months earlier, only to find herself at odds with Ben, Vicky, and Vicky’s father-in-law about the best care that she could receive. They told her that she needed a whole team of Specialists and Practitioners minding her this time and had been more than happy to send them her way. For Kiki, that was a special kind of Hell and wasn’t surprised when she was of the receiving end of all sorts of contradictory dictates. She had most of them thrown out. There was also something that she had not anticipated but should have. Nora Berg and Ermentrud Aue saw Doctor Huber as a common enemy and Kiki had found herself defending him. It was a complication that she didn’t need.

“How are things progressing?” Doctor Huber asked pointedly ignoring Doctor Berg and Frau Aue, clearly annoyed that they had proceeded without him.

“Normally for six-months gestation” The Technician replied.

“That’s nice” Doctor Huber said as he stood over Kiki.

Why did he have to be so tall? Kiki thought to herself.

“You probably shouldn’t have put your shirt back on” Huber continued, “While I few doubts about the bun, it is the oven that concerns me, if you wouldn’t mind.”

For once, Berg and Frau Aue had nothing to say as Kiki took her blouse back off. Suggesting that they agreed with Huber this time. If she had known this would happen she might have worn something else Kiki thought, as she felt the metal of the stethoscope pressed against her back. Kiki knew that he was going to check her blood pressure followed by a blood draw, because Huber had done that every week.
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The Maiden, the Matron, and the Crone Other One.
Corrected the language so that a witch from Lancre doesn't come for our author.

As to the update, a boys name is going to be fun to figure out, as there is a lot of egos at play. Ironically the most straight forward one that wouldn't rustle any would be if Kiki just went with Ben's idea as no one would (loudly) grumble at the boy being named for his grandfather. I'm expecting everyone who doesn't know Kiki to try and put their oar in it, and that will include the Patriarch of Berlin.

Huber is a professional, and while Berg and Aue may dislike him on territorial grounds, they can at least recognize and respect professionalism. The old line about "salute the rank, not the man" comes to mind.
Corrected the language so that a witch from Lancre doesn't come for our author.
Terry Pratchett was parodying McBeth with the Witches of Lancre. Come to think of it, Frau Aue probably would resemble Esme Weatherwax without the hat in the same way that Hugh Laurie as Doctor Gregory House came to mind when I described Doctor Huber.
Bas may well end up being the Reier figure to a wet behind the ears 'Line Dog' like his old man. Continually earning and losing his stripes due to a hot temper and impulsive nature.
Bas will be more like his Grandfather. If he makes it to international competition especially the Olympics, there are going to be all kinds of agencies that have just initials going ape s**t when they make the connection to his Opa.
Politics abound in the last updates.
In Argentina, there is a push to form a lasting peace treaty in order to prevent Round Two, Three, etc... from happening, but Argentina feels that they have paid with blood thus they want to stick it to Chile.
For Germany, they are seeing their commitment to Argentina as a financial and military an endless suck hole and they want an equitable peace deal so they can cut back on what they are spending there.
For Chile, they lost big time and if they are forced to swallow an onerous peace deal this time, they may decide to take some time and rearm themselves in order to get ready to start a new war, and this time they will limit the scope of any war.

For Kiki, the naming of her and Ben's new child shows why royalty has a long string of names.
By naming their son Bernhard will get Nadine off their backs and that may be enough for Kiki to approve of it.
Ben and Kiki also have to be mindful of their host, King Albrecht of Bavaria who would want some acknowledgement, and since Vicky and Franz named their latest son after him so either Rupprecht or Franz has to be part of the name.
Then there is Kiki's side of the family and once again Vicky and Franz named their latest son after her father, so another name has to be chose and Kiki will have qualms naming after her older brother after years of being called "Whippet" and naming her son after 'The Mad King of Bohemia" is just asking for trouble.
Finally, either Kiki's or Ben's professional mentors have to get a place in all of this.
Part 137, Chapter 2354
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Fifty-Four

8th February 1975

Breslau, Silesia

Having to make the long journey from Berlin was not the highlight of Suse Rosa’s week. In many ways it was the culmination of every nightmare she’d had over the previous years about how her wedding would play out. It wasn’t just her getting married to Manny, it was the joining of three powerful families, and she had always feared that her mother would make it into a massive production. This gave Lagertha von Knispel nee Wolvogle the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. There was also the aspect of this being a double wedding with Manny’s little sister Ina’s marriage to Christian Weise. Manny regarded Christian as a brother having served in the same Regiment since they had completed Basic Training and having seen each other through some hairy situations in Argentina. There had also been the suggestion that his maternal grandfather probably wouldn’t be around for many more weddings, so he couldn’t just say no this time. Tonight, he was delayed in getting out of Wunsdorf-Zossen, so she didn’t even have the comfort of his presence to even things out.

“You are supposed to save the tears for the wedding day, Love” Klaus Voll said as he approached her. So far, he was one of the few people in the rancid production who was not ignoring her. The fact that Suse had been sulking at the table what would be the venue for the reception with no one seeming to notice spoke volumes. The place was huge, so vast that Suse felt like she was lost in it. It was the sort of symbol that her mother would have known that she wanted to avoid, if she could be bothered to pay attention. Even Ina, who was going along with this entire thing had looked at this venue with a great deal of trepidation. This was entirely because of politics. Everyone of importance in Silesia had needed to be invited. A considerable number of invitations had gone elsewhere as well. All the capitals of the various States within the German Empire as well as several other nations. That meant that there were going to be hundreds of guests.

“Tears of happiness” Suse replied, “From my mother perhaps, after all, this is her big day.”

Voll gave her an appraising look.

“Your mother wants you to have the fairy tale wedding that she didn’t get to have” Voll said, “And you can trust that on that day, which happens to be the first day of spring, all eyes will be on you, with your mother in the background.”

“That doesn’t sound very appealing” Suse replied.

Voll just smiled. “You are not your mother, that is something that I understand better than most” He said, “The not wanting to draw attention to yourself. The truth is that this is your one day to shine and then your mother cannot ever ask anything from you again after this sort of favor.”

“Don’t be absurd. My mother won’t stop being my mother because of this” Suse replied before switching to an imitation of her mother’s voice. “Suse, we’ve company tonight, and would it kill you not be such a sour-faced little bitch for once. By the way Suse, your boyfriend called to say he is coming by, and you how you get with all that repressed sexual tension…”

Voll actually laughed at that.

“I’m being dead serious” Suse said, “She says those things to me.”

“Your mother is not necessarily the libertine that she imagines herself to be” Voll replied, “Underneath the flossy exterior is something else entirely.”

“If you say so” Suse replied. She had seen nothing but the frivolous aspect of her mother for her entire life. While supposedly, Gerta was a hardnosed businesswoman who got results with the production company she had started as well as a huge portion of the existing film and television studios in Potsdam, Vienna, and Prague. That was an aspect of her mother that Suse was totally unfamiliar with.

“I don’t blame you for the sexual tension part” Voll said, “I’ve seen your fiancé around. I must say if you like them tall and ruggedly handsome, he is quite the dish.”

That was a reminder as to just whose side Voll played for. Suse was a Berliner from birth so someone being a dear friend of Old Fritz had never bothered her. Klaus Voll had never judged her either over the years that Suse had known him. Others in his position might have pointed out that she was entirely too short and too plain to have his services be of much help. Instead, he had worked to bring out the best in her during certain milestone events in her life. It occurred Suse as she had that thought that it was only right that he be here for her wedding too, even if he couldn’t contain her mother’s worst impulses.

“Whoever said that there is any sexual tension between me and Manny?” Suse asked, “Aside from my mother who thinks that it is a giant joke? What happens, or has happened, between us is no one else’s business”

“Well, I had assumed that…” Voll started to say, “Er… You haven’t mentioned any of this to anyone else have you?”

“Of course, not” Suse replied, “As you said, my mother is not the libertine she thinks she is. God only knows how she would react if I ever told her everything about my personal life.”

“Funny how that works” Voll said, “Just as well you can keep the personal, personal. It would be a real pity if I had to redesign your dress at this late stage of the game.”

“My mother would just throw money at the problem” Suse replied, “She’s been doing that a lot lately.”

“Luckily for her and your father, she just has the one daughter” Voll said, “Otherwise, bankruptcy might be a real possibility.”

“Care to tell my mother that?” Suse asked in reply.
We are going to see in this double wedding The Greatest Hits of Stupid Luck and Happenstance,
There will be "The Three Furies" back together again and dressed to the Nines and the photograph by Doug of them will run in newspapers and magazines around the world alongside of the photo that was taken of them at a function at the City Palace during the European War.
This is probably the last major public appearance of Kurfurst Manfred von Richthoffen: The Red Baron and many of the invitations to Very Important People will be accepted for that fact alone even though they may have no connections to the Happy Couples themselves.
Jo is certain to be a Bridesmaid and wearing something stunning designed by Claude Voll that will bring her to the attention of the many guests who are in Show Business.