Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Or the informal becomes formal.

"Ok, you want to be a Rear Admiral? You'll need to sign these papers affirming your renouncment of all claims to royal title and re-acknowledge your first loyalty is to the Constitution and Rule of Law"
Scientists would need to invest a new measurement of time small enough to measure the gap between the sentence being finished and Louis grabbing the pen.
I do not think that would fly actually. If all are equal before the law (and constitution) how can a law requiring a specific subset of people to affirm special loyalty oaths be constitutional? Keep in mind their oath, which every person entering the armed forces gives, when entering the armed forces should already be covering what you suggest.
Asking to reaffirm an oath already given (if said oath is even given ITTL) wouldn't be a major scandal, just make it a necessary part of whenever you "re-up" for another term of service and no one would bat an eyelid.

And this entire situation proves that just because all are equal before the law, not all are treated as equal before the law. There is a whole lot of lawyers who could get very wealthy off of arguing this for a case that, fundamentally, no one will win.
Trying and forcing such a law and then losing the court cases might very well be the thing that cuts short the reign of Heinz "the bloody handed" Kissinger.
Yes, and considering the name of this story it being exactly what brings down the man who will have a Cambodian national holiday in the future would be fitting.
What is Jacques Cousteau doing right now? If they needed more cooperation between France and Germany, have Louis jr. sent to be with him and given the fact that the Germans might have their own version of his group he could also be appointed second in command as either a civilian or Naval Officer.
What we are dealing with the speculation over the status of LF Jr. is something that ITTL that has never come up IOTL.
We have very little facts to rely on, and a lot of groundless opinions based on personal bias.
What if Prince Andrew was serious about a career in the Royal Navy and he was a very good officer with an excellent record, how far up the ladder could he have gone and what would the reaction be if he was in line to become the First Sea Lord?
I first thought that LF Jr. had an excellent shot at becoming the Grand Admiral, but as he kept being assigned to small boats instead larger ships like cruisers and destroyers, it became clear to me after serving as the XO of a destroyer, that it wasn’t a coincidence that he was sent to command another small boat instead of getting his own destroyer or an important staff job.
Most military services have broad discretion in carrying out the policies set by the national legislature in the name of “Good Order and Discipline” and any effort by LF Jr. to go outside the Chain of Command is an automatic career ender for him.
Part 138, Chapter 2384
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Eighty-Four

7th July 1975

Dublin, Ireland

They could see Marie Alexandra von Mischner-Blackwood sitting in the conference room filling out the paperwork that one of the secretaries had provided for her. She had dressed conservatively presumably because it was appropriate for the occasion, and she wanted to be taken seriously. Ironically, it had not had the desired effect. The problem, as Jack saw it, was that it made her look like a child playing dress up.

“Are you sure about her?” Andy O’Neal asked, “She seems a bit young.”

“Nineteen” Jack replied, “Don’t let that fool you though. When her mother was that age, she was capable of things that would turn you white and she looked exactly the same.”

“The Tigress” Andy said, “I’ve heard.”

“You’ve only heard the half of it” Jack said, “If that.”

Andy gave Jake a look. He had been there when the evidence of the Galway Scandal had arrived at the firm’s offices. It had been Kat von Mischner who had been the investigator in that case and now, almost three decades later it was still reverberating throughout Ireland and well beyond. The Catholic Church had taken a massive hit to its prestige and that had led to massive changes in Law and Society as new scandals had continued to erupt. Strangely, it had ultimately been for the better if Jack had to guess.

“It is also likely that you are looking at the next Prefect of Berlin” Jack said.

“Doesn’t she have older siblings?” Andy asked.

“Yes” Jack replied, “Tatiana is a prickly character. She has her mother’s ruthlessness but little of her charm and Malcolm is the exact opposite. The position is appointed rather than inherited. Marie grew up in the German Imperial Court, she was basically the Kaiserin’s Personal Assistant and confidante for two years before starting University at McGill in Canada last year. Do I need to point out how useful someone with dual citizenship in Germany and Canada would be to us?”

“That is an interesting background” Andy said, “Of course, her qualifications, or lack thereof, is not the issue. The other Partners are concerned that you might have fallen into old habits.”

Despite the gravity of that statement, Jack had to smile at that. When he had been younger he had been quite the womanizer and his reputation from those days still followed him around.

“Besides Jacqueline being only a few years younger than her there would be the issue of the massive legal settlement, along with what her mother and then my wife would personally do to me” Jack said, “I doubt there would be a whole lot left for the Partners to take to take to task.”

Andy found that funny. For years Jack had heard the joke about how having a daughter would cause you trouble because you knew damn well that there were millions of other men just like you out there. Fifteen-year-old Jacqueline, that name had stuck after “Jack Junior” had been born a girl and she had been causing Jack a lot of trouble over the last few years. Jack’s son Sean, who had been born a couple years later, had been named for his Maternal Grandfather and had caused a different kind of trouble.

What Andy wasn’t aware of was that despite Marie’s harmless appearance, she was very much her mother’s daughter. Jack had heard about what she had done to the CIA Agents in Canada who had lingered too close to her and the influence of Akio Kage, an odd man who worked for the Japanese Government but frequently pursued his own agenda and that involved working with Katherine von Mischner. Underestimate her at your own peril.

“Have you given any thought to how our friends across the water will react to her?” Andy asked, meaning the Chinese and the British Officials who they were going to be dealing with this week in London.

Jack snorted at that. “She will be seen but none of them will understand who she is” He replied, “They will only hear a voice translating their words and ours while thinking that she is little more than a pretty little brainless ornament with a talent for repeating whatever she hears with little real understanding. Meanwhile, I expect that she will see and hear everything they say when they assume she doesn’t understand the nuances. My calculation is that she will be more than happy to share it with us after they inevitably talk down to her.”

“That is cynical even for you” Andy replied drolly.

“Optimism is for the Associates” Jack said, “As Partners in this firm we have to have to be realistic and use the tools we have.”

Jack had known Andy for decades and he remembered how they had joked about how the Firm’s Partners were a bunch of cynical old men. Over time most of the old Partners had either died or retired and they had replaced them as the cynical old men who the Associates made fun of.

With that, Andy walked into the conference room followed by Jack. Andy was acting like he did whenever they met with a Client, though in this case it was Marie’s family who was the Client rather than just her, all smiles and welcoming. Jack figured that he ought to warn his business partner that she would probably see right through him but didn’t see the point.

“I understand that you are going to be working with us for the next few days” Andy said, as he exchanged greetings with the girl. “I trust that the Secretaries went over all of this with you?”

Andy gestured to the paperwork that was typical for a new hire. Marie just nodded and smiled, something about the look in her eye suggested that there was far more going on in there than it seemed.
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35 years of, shall we say, close association with the Mischner matriarch would give Jack a good read on the family's capabilities.
And unlike a certain British author, JFK at least learned to respect Katherine, which ironically, is probably the only reason why she keeps him on retainer.

Easy to have a bunch of lawyers who respect "The Prefect of Berlin" or "The Tigress" or "Katherine von Mischner-Blackwood", but it's a different kettle of fish to have the one on who respects "Katherine Mischner".
With Chinese and British officials meeting more or less openly in London, that could mean that the British backed side of The Chinese Civil War has either won or on the cusp of winning, which means the UK is finding out if they get a more permeant solution to the status of Hong Kong.
Options include an outright transfer of sovereignty of the leased areas of Hong Kong to Great Britian, an extension of the current lease from anywhere from 50 years to "Infinity less a day".

Of course, in every timeline, "Only Nixon can go to China".
Part 138, Chapter 2385
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Eighty-Five

9th July 1975

London, England

On occasion, Marie Alexandra had heard Suga mention days when she wished she could just escape. Not to anywhere particular, just anywhere else. She knew that she had only herself to blame for this. She could have been sitting on the back porch of the beach house enjoying a book at this very moment. Or if it were a warm afternoon she might have gone swimming. That was something which she had come to enjoy in the months since that had become a fun escape from her grandparent’s house much to her own surprise. That certainly would have been better than where she had found herself.

While Jack Kennedy had offered to pay handsomely her for her services. It wasn’t entirely about the money. He had made it sound interesting. She would act as a Translator for Kennedy and his colleague Andrew O’Neal so that they wouldn’t have to rely on the British Translator who they apparently didn’t trust. That seemed simple enough, but as she had swiftly figured out, the situation was anything but straight forward.

Even mentioning China seemed was a somewhat fraught subject with the country split between North and South with both sides claiming that they were the legitimate rulers of the country. Jack had warned Marie that the Chinese Officials who she was dealing with would become very cross with her if she mentioned their counterparts on the other side of that divide. She also needed to remember that the British had sided with the Southern part of China in a move which they felt would serve their own interests, namely Hong Kong and the lease on the New Territories which was set to expire in 1997. In return for military, fiscal, and agricultural aid over the previous decade the British were asking for that deal to be renegotiated. Southern China was receptive while in the North, the Government was threatening to have them all shot for even having the discussion. Of course, that wasn’t a new thing. The British position was that the state of China, whose civil war had ended mostly out of mutual exhaustion with neither side able to gain the upper-hand and the former battle lines becoming the new frontier, suited them just fine. They knew that the South was rearming for the next round, and presumably the North as well.

That was why representatives from the Guangzhou Government were in London, to negotiate the transfer of advanced weapons systems. Jack Kennedy had been brokering this deal for months and as Marie watched, the British were basically trying to renegotiate the entire deal at the last minute. Then there was the gulf between what everyone was saying and what each party was actually saying. The other Translators, the ones who Jack said he didn’t trust, were smoothing everything out and glossing over anything that might cause offense. Marie realized that was what they had been told to do. Then there was what was said about Marie herself. The British treated her with thinly veiled disdain, she had heard that it was assumed that anything said to her would instantly be repeated to Jack, her mother, and then “The Kaiser” in that order. The Chinese on the other hand used insulting terms right in front of Marie to describe her and the British clearly thinking that she wouldn’t understand.

Marie was already counting down the hours until she could just go home.

Rural Silesia

Riding in the front passenger seat of a DKW Munga, the substitute standard as a light transport vehicle that wasn’t as well regarded as the VW Iltis, Christian could only stew over his current predicament. The muzzle of the artillery piece being towed by a modified SpZ-4 APC was pointed right at him which was the perfect metaphor for his situation. He could also see Soldat Gajos atop the APC, not someone he wanted to think about at the moment.

Soldat Arek Gajos bagged groceries at a market in Breslau most of the time when he wasn’t attending University classes and had an unfortunate habit of saluting Officers in the field. Gajos was now Christian’s problem along with a dozens of others and he happened to be the biggest one at the moment. He was one of the members of the Artillery Battery Section who Christian inherited when he arrived at the 3rd Landwehr Division’s Headquarters and was told that he was now an Artillery Officer. That was totally absurd. He had been Scout in a Panzer Division. He had even been wearing the gold Waffenfarbe that said that he had been in a Recon Unit with Cavalry traditions as they had told him. Later, Manny had told him that he had been sent to where he was needed as opposed to what he wanted. Manny had also told him that Artillery was where they sent you if they had expectations. After all, he had been trained extensively in Radio Communications, being an Artillery Officer was the other half of that. He had come to Silesia and the 3rd Landwehr to have the time to spend with Ina, this was the cost.

That was where Soldat Gajos entered the picture.

The 10.5-centimeter “Light Field Howitzers” had been built during the Second World War and had remained is service in the decades since. It seemed that there was always a demand for the ability to lob 15-kilogram high explosive shells 10 kilometers. Gajos had somehow memorized the tables for each shell type and the charge used. Having to depend on a nineteen-year-old Soldat in order to not look like a complete incompetent was not a comfortable spot to be in.
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Christian has a new best "Friend". He just needs to learn how to work the situation he is in now and to figure out the best way to keep Gajos out of trouble and on track.
I was watching Jaws on Peacock; I was thinking how the movie would be basically the same but different ITTL.
In IOTL version of the movie Quint talks about how he was on the USS Indianapolis when it was sunk by a Japanese submarine after delivering the Atomic Bomb, but in the ITTL version the USS Indianapolis could still be sunk by a Japanese submarine, but instead of delivering the Atomic Bomb, the ship could have been on a "Neutrality Patrol" in the Pacific that the USN was doing ITTL, and was sunk by "accident", that became the Cause Belli for the United States to enter the war against Japan in the late stages.
No, I think this is definitely an occasion where saying nothing is, by far and away more powerful.

Especially if one of the Chinese delegates assume she's little better than Jack's concubine and makes an equally ill-informed proposition in private.
I could see Marie verbally shredding the man, who would be too ashamed to say anything to his peers, and as such would keep his discovery of her linguistic prowess to herself.
Part 138, Chapter 2386
Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Eighty-Six

10th July 1975

Tempelhof, Berlin

It had been a long evening at Benno’s and all Sepp wanted was some uninterrupted sleep. Tomorrow was another day of classes followed by a shift at Benno’s Burgers, the same as today. Fumbling with his keys, he opened the front door and saw his father was passed out on the recliner in the parlor with the television on. Sepp was really starting to wonder why his mother put up with his father, even at the best of times he was worthless…

“Josef?” Sepp heard his mother ask from the kitchen and he felt a stab of guilt over his previous thoughts.

Seeing his mother seated alone at the kitchen table with papers spread out before her, he could see that she looked tired. If she had been paying bills, continuing the juggling act which she had been doing for years, then that explained a great deal.

“I spoke with your Headmaster today” Sepp’s mother said, “He said that you have been recommended to start taking preparatory classes next year. Why didn’t you tell me?”

Because his mother would force him to take that recommendation.

“I forgot” Sepp replied. His mother didn’t take issue with that, but Sepp could tell from her expression that she didn’t like that answer.

“You will have plenty of time to remember” Sepp’s mother said as she pulled a letter out from one of the piles and handed it to him.

Sepp read it with growing disbelief at what his mother had done behind his back. Apparently he and Dieter had been selected to take part in a historical emersion program. Reading between the lines, Sepp could see that this was another “Get the poor kids out of the city for a few weeks” program.

“Is this a joke?” Sepp asked, “I can understand Didi doing this, but I’ve too much to do.”

“No, you don’t” Sepp’s mother said, “You and your brother have a chance at a better life, and I’ll be damned before I let you fuck that up.”

Sepp was rather surprised by the vehemence in his mother’s words. For years, he had only seen a weary acceptance for the way things were from her.

“I see” Sepp replied. Realizing that he was not going to be given a choice in this matter.

“And enough of you working at Benno’s” Sepp’s mother said, her words growing angry as she said them. “Yes, the money helps, but if it comes at the cost of your future then it is not worth it.”

Sepp said nothing in reply. It had been a long time since he had had his mother talk to him this way, but he remembered that she had been unbending in the past. She wasn’t going to allow him to do anything but what she wanted this time.

Dublin, Ireland

With a day’s wait before the flight which would take Marie Alexandra home, Jack had insisted that she be his guest and have dinner with his family. Out of courtesy, she couldn’t exactly say no even though she was tired and just wanted to spend the rest of her Summer Holiday sleeping.

When Marie had told Jack what she had seen and heard over the course of the week he didn’t seem too surprised. Not even when she mentioned the British or Chinese Officials who had treated her in such a shabby way. He had been particularly interested in what they had said to each other when they thought no one who could understand was listening. Marie had heard plenty and had no problem with telling Jack all of it. Her mother had told her once that respect goes both ways. Those who disrespect you are not worthy of being given it in turn.

Mercifully, the negotiations had ended with all parties getting as much as they could get their greedy hands on. Marie had traveled back to Dublin where she spent all afternoon once again going over every word she had heard spoken with Jack and Andy. To her shock, they had transcribed everything said officially at the meetings in London and there had been a Stenographer present during what had turned into a debriefing.

Had Jack known what was going to happen and planned accordingly?

That was not a pleasant thought and Marie knew that if she complained it would be one of those situations where her mother would tell her that things like this come when you are an adult. Small wonder that Marie would have remained a child forever if she had gotten her way. Life had been so much easier when her primary concerns had been Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Robin Hood, or Treasure Island.

“You attend McGill University in Canada, right?” Jacqueline, or Jackie as she preferred to be called asked. Like in every interaction Marie had had with her, Jackie’s words came in an almost incompressible mad rush with an odd Dublin accent, giving Marie little or no time to answer her questions. If she could understand them. “They say that McGill is the Harvard of Canada, Da went to Harvard. Did you know that? And I asked him if that means that Harvard is the McGill of the United States. He didn’t answer the question…”

On and on Jackie went, with Marie answering “Yes” or “No” but most often “I don’t know” over and over. She got the impression that Jackie must get that reaction often from people.

“Our guest is tired, Jackie” Bridget said, and Marie was profoundly grateful. “Why don’t you talk to your brother about his day instead?”

“Ew, gross” Jackie replied.

Sean said nothing but was pushing food around the plate with his fork. Considering some of the things that Jack had said about his son it was probably for the best that he was quiet.
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