Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Dieter wasn’t happy because for the first time he had made an actual friend. A girl named Alex, apparently short for Alexandrine apparently shared several interests with him. He had found out that they lived in different neighborhoods back home.
Three guesses on who Alexandine parents are, and the first two don't count.
She had changed the locks while he had been out on a Friday night blowing through a week’s wages and was divorcing him, provided he ever was dried out enough to start proceedings.
And now the real reason for the trip to the Castle is revealed, but this is not the end of all the trouble that Sepp and Dieter's father is going to cause.
I predict a major family tragedy is going to happen.

As for Marie, she may have no choice in the matter about skipping out the Olympics as a translator because Marie has a very good chance of being employed for the "Convivence of the Crown".
Maybe Marie can find employment with the Queen of Galicia next summer? Takes her away from ground zero and has an exposure to someone who might be a good future employee/employer match.
Maybe Marie can find employment with the Queen of Galicia next summer? Takes her away from ground zero and has an exposure to someone who might be a good future employee/employer match.
More likely, Alberta "Birdie" Glucksberg-Windsor, whose husband, Michael of Bohemia, would not miss the Olympics.
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Part 139, Chapter 2404
Chapter Two Thousand Four Hundred Four

1st September 1975

Mitte, Berlin

There was a key problem with the lens that Kiki looked at the world through. She was always on about not panicking over matters that haven’t played out yet. So, wait and see. The trouble was what came after you waited and saw that there simply wasn’t a whole lot to see. What did you do if you still had more questions than answers?

“You look rougher than usual for a Monday morning” One of Videographers said with a smile. Zella had hired her because of her talent for editing video, not her ability to avoid speaking out of turn. “Quite a weekend?”

Zella bit back an angry retort. Despite what the people she worked with thought of her, she wasn’t prone to excess in that manner. The week after her grandmother had died was an exception and what had happened since spelled out exactly why that was. The truth was that Zella had hardly been out of bed over the prior weekend because she had been feeling sick. It had been her hope that going into work would at least shift her focus elsewhere. She had obviously been wrong on that score. In some ways their assumptions were probably better than the truth, certainly less personally embarrassing.

“We have the Monday morning meeting” The Videographer said.

“Who came up with that bullshit?” Zella asked as she tried to find a clean cup on her desk. A first she had wanted coffee, to help her feel a little bit more human. Then just the thought of coffee made her feel nauseous. Instead, she wanted water. If for no other reason than to get the horrible taste out of her mouth that she suddenly had.

“You did” The Videographer said in a tone that reminded Zella of a chirping bird. “Remember how we had two teams working on the same story last year and they weren’t talking to each other so…”

“I get it” Zella said sharply giving up on finding a cup and following the Videographer down the hall to the conference room.

“What’s your deal?” The Videographer asked, Zella really did need to learn her name. Despite being annoying at times, she didn’t deserve to be snapped at.

“I’ve been sick for the last few days” Zella replied, “I thought I felt up for coming in to work this morning, but I was clearly mistaken.”

“I understand that there is a bug going around” The Videographer said, “Have you been to the clinic?”

A bug going around, Zella thought to herself. That was certainly an interesting spin on it. She would consider herself fortunate if that were what this turned out to be.

“A close friend of mine is a Physician” Zella replied, “I spoke with her yesterday.”

Zella had spoken with Kiki and what her friend had to say had not exactly been comforting. If Zella went to the clinic it might confirm a few things, and then as Kiki had told her, she would have some choices to make depending on the results. Sometimes it was just better not to know.

“Oh good” The Videographer said with a smile, “It wouldn’t do for the star get sick, even if you insist on being a complete bitch most of the time.”

Had she really needed to include that last part?

Upon entering the conference room, it was obvious that the people present fell into two camps. The older men who mainly were there to be in front of the cameras who took oh so seriously, and the much younger crowd of men and women who embraced what had come to be called “Guerrilla Journalism” that the video technology had made possible. The former looked at Zella with undisguised loathing due to what they saw as her lack of professionalism. She only dressed in the business casual clothes they approved of when she was about to go in front of the cameras in the studio. Today, she was wearing blue jeans and favorite leather jacket, but had left the motorcycle or cowboy boots at home. That resulted in a few disapproving looks when Zella took her seat at the table. The latter were those who had entered the new field of Video Journalism because it was the exciting new thing. Many of them also openly admired Zella for what they saw as her pioneering work.

It was a toss up as to which group she preferred to deal with less.

As the meeting started, they discussed the projects that they were going to be doing this week. As had been mentioned before, this was mostly to avoid redundant efforts. No one asked Zella what she was up to, they all knew that she had gotten a one-on-one interview with Kiki. Twenty years of friendship and Zella had never done an interview like that with her. Zella understood that Kiki had volunteered to do it as part of an effort to save Zella from herself. Another debt that could never be repaid. The worst part for Zella was that it was expected for it to be a hard-hitting interview. How did she do that without it costing Zella her friendship with Kiki? Looking around the room, she couldn’t help but notice that Yuri was absent and wondered where he was.

Zella was wrapped up in her thoughts and wasn’t paying much attention, so she hardly noticed when the yelling started and didn’t have the energy to take part. Many of the younger faction wanted to do a story about the small but growing protest movement against the new Chancellor’s priorities in the Universities. The older faction was against giving student groups air because they had memories of the Neo-Jacobins. Unfortunately, many saw all student led movements that way. There were still so many loose ends from that time as well. No one had ever been brought to justice for the Hamburg Stock Market Bombing or the 30th of June Shooting. Both of those incidents had left dozens hurt or dead and though it had been years since the political violence had tapered off, scars remained. Kiki herself had been injured by the leader of the Jacobins. It had been worse than the public had ever been aware of and there had been a guardedness in Kiki afterwards that had not been there before.

Months later, when the man who had self-styled as Mithras had been found to have an untreated wound that had gotten badly infected. Kiki had discovered the injury, but to save his life she had been forced to do an above the knee amputation. There was a part of Kiki that had reveled in the idea that she had crippled the man who had hurt her. That was the side of her that Zella suspected only she knew about.
The best use of Zella's skills and contacts would be a 60 Minute style newsmagazine show as she can do anything from the hard-hitting investigation pieces to the soft puff Entertaiment stories,
The documentary that Zella did on Kiki's trip to the United States was probably the first use of a video mini-cam in the mainstream commercial television market and was a factor in the earlier adoption of such cameras by other television networks and stations around the world.
Zella's time at the BT as a reporter makes her a bridge between the older television reporters who were newspaper reporters before going into television, and Zella being an earlier adopter of new technologies links her to "The New Breed" of television reporters.

Henry Kissinger IOTL despite coming from an academic background, proved very adapt as a political infighter in the Nixon and Ford Administrations, (he outmaneuvered Nixon's first Secretary of State William P. Rogers, a former law partner of Nixon) and I can See Hienz Kissinger ITTL also coming from an academic background before going into politics.
The Kissinger ITTL is highly respected by the other parties (for the most part) for his foreign policy insights as was the Kissinger of IOTL.
I see Kissinger as the Sir Anthony Eden type who able to use his prestige in foreign policy to lever himself to the leadership of the National Liberal Party while being acceptable to the different domestic policy factions of the party.
The fact that Kissinger leads a party that has a large anti- semitic following must be seen as one of the great cosmic jokes of the Twentieth Century.
Part 139, Chapter 2405
Chapter Two Thousand Four Hundred Five

8th September 1975

Sonthofen, Bavaria

The old joke about a child in a candy store had applied to where Ben had found himself over the prior two weeks in Kaiserslautern. His presence had been requested to train in the brand-new Arado Orkan B series, as if he had needed to be asked twice. The new planes were built incorporating all the lessons learned over the last five years including the Patagonian War where the Orkan had really made its mark in the skies over the Andes. It hadn’t just been Orkans either. There were also the latest fighter planes from Focke-Wulf and the Albatros trainer by Bohemian Aero GmbH. Ben had taken the opportunity to spend as much time in cockpit as he could while he was there. Who was going to tell him no? An Ace was a rockstar at Kaiserslautern.

That wasn’t to say that there wasn’t time spent in the classroom. Since the first Orkans had flown, pilots had figured out dozens of tricks involving the throttles, wing-angles, flaps, slats, and anything else they could think of to wring out any advantage they could. The Luftwaffe had a vested interest in making sure that information was disseminated widely. While that was something of a contradiction with how competitive pilots could be. All of them had had von Richthofen’s Dictate pounded into their heads since before they had been allowed anywhere near a cockpit; They lived and died as a Group. It didn’t matter if that was referring to the Hunting Squadron, the Air Wing or the whole of the Luftwaffe. Advanced fighter tactics revolved around two to twelve planes, so anyone who wasn’t a team player had best find something else to do.

As fun as all of that had been, Ben had needed to come back to Balderschwang. Because there were some things which took far higher priority. Holding Nina’s hand as she walked between Ben and Kiki on her first day in Kindergarten for example.

“She finally admitted that, shouldn’t the Vatican be informed or something?” Ben asked, “This seems like something they might want to know about so they can get ahead of it.”

“That isn’t funny Ben” Kiki replied.

“What are you talking about?” Nina asked.

“Nothing important” Kiki said, “I told your father something that he cannot seem to get past.”

Ben just shrugged. He had asked why Kiki had been preoccupied and she had told him why. How was it his fault that he instantly saw the comedy in it?

“I hope that you can refrain from joking while we introduce ourselves to Nina’s teacher” Kiki said, “We have already made her job considerably more complicated. The last thing we need to do is give her a bad impression.”

When the school had notified Ben and Kiki that Nina could start the Autumn Term, there had been many questions needing to be asked and things to be done. The school and staff had been subjected to a lengthy security assessment, a process which had probably not been much fun for anyone involved. There had also been many upgrades that had been done to the building of the school that Kiki had happily paid for herself. For her, the matter was nonnegotiable. She wanted Nina and Louis to have ordinary childhoods and was prepared to do whatever it took to see that happen.

Buffalo, New York

The mood in the Headquarters of the Curtis-Wright Corporation was surprisingly buoyant. It had taken years, but the House Armed Services Committee, Air Force, and Navy had finally recognized the writing on the wall long after it had been apparent to everyone else. The war in South America had demanded a complete rethink of what had been orthodoxy in aircraft design. For Curtis it had come at a good time because their Chief Designer, Robert H. Widmer had a prototype that had met the new criteria.

The trouble was that the Air Force and Navy had spent the prior two decades pursuing the idea of Point Defense Interceptors. Big, powerful, missile armed, aircraft that would in theory engage enemy bomber formations at long range. The handful of those airplanes that had found their way into Chilian Service during the Patagonian War had proven wholly inadequate and were easy prey for Argentinian Mirage fighters. The Chilian Airforce had swiftly switched to former Air National Guard Curtis Goshawk IIIs, leftovers from the 50’s, and the far newer Grumman F-11B Super Tiger.

Widmer’s attitude had not helped matters when he had compared many of the Air Force’s current fleet of “Fighters” to dump trucks, school buses, and garbage scows in a public statement. It had been suggested that this was in retaliation for what had happened when Curtis had first revealed the drawings for their new prototype, the Falcon, which was Widmer’s personal project. The Air Force Brass had almost universally said that all it would be good for was hotdogging over County Fairgrounds as part of an airshow. Them having to admit that initial assessment was totally wrong wasn’t about to happen. That was why they had dragged their feet after Curtis had several working prototypes, long enough for McDonnell-Douglas to produce a protype of their own for a fighter plane with similar performance and handling. Meanwhile, Grumman was in the process of building a new plane for the Navy that was incorporating the lessons learned with the Super Tiger and Curtis-Wright was kept afloat by the role they were playing in the construction of the Lockheed Galaxy Airliner.

Today, word had arrived that the Air Force had authorized a production run of the Falcons.
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Falcon huh?

Well the Yanks had to get a successful roll at least once in this timeline :p

Seriously though, it's a solid aircraft choice. Do we have an OTL craft for the Orkan again? Obv not the exact same.
Please tell me the F-16 has popped up?
Sounds like the F/A-18 is happening too!
The pressures that caused the development of those two planes exists in TTL. Robert H. Widmir is exactly as depicted, a brilliant designer, just not an easy guy to work with. The F-16 Falcon, B-58 Hustler, and F-111 Aardvark were all his designs in OTL.
I believe the Orkan is OTL's Tornado.
Thought so, part of my brain however was thinking Typhoon, even when I told myself it would be very early for that one.

Have to wonder now though, thinking on all things aeronatutical, did my favorite Swedish aircraft exist TTL? The Draken is one of those just unique looking craft.
Their cars are awesome, as are their planes.
Having never had the pleasure of driving one, I can't speak to that.

However, I've never been run off the road by a Saab driver so they join Volvo and Mercedes-Benz for the bonus points that is worth :p

But yes, the planes are all fascinating. A good showing of what neutrality done right looks like.
I was about to ask about the "Teen Series" of jets and it seems that the United States and Germany gained about the same amount of experience and learned the same lessons, it just that with the exception of a few pilots the United States paid a much cheaper price than the Germans did.
Without a Cold War and two superpowers being adversaries, the information about technology is more shared than ITTL, the main difference is in the applications of the technology.
Part 139, Chapter 2406
Chapter Two Thousand Four Hundred Six

13th September 1975

Constanța, Romania

The arrival of the Squadron was cause for great fanfare in the largest seaport in Romania. Everywhere Louis Ferdinand Junior looked, he saw the blue, yellow, and red flags of Romania mingled with the red, white, and black of Germany. It was painfully obvious what these people’s expectations were now that he was here. The Helmsman was expertly steering the Grindwal towards the pier, the actual size of the Corvette suddenly apparent as they could see hundreds of people there to greet them as they arrived.

“Looking forward to meeting the parents” Borchardt said with a chuckle.

“Don’t you start” Louis replied.

When they had arrived at station in Constantinople, there had been a message waiting for Louis. The Squadron had been ordered into the Black Sea for what had been described as a diplomatic visit. It seemed that the Navy was extremely interested in Constanța and the Danube Delta. From there they could keep tabs on what the Greeks and Russians were up to without drawing to much attention to themselves. Louis was reminded of the string of semi-secret listing posts that Naval Intelligence maintained on Atlantic islands so that they could observe what the Americans were doing. While there were already outposts in Odessa and Sevastopol, the unpredictable, and often openly hostile relationship between Ukraine and Russia imposed limits on them. No one in the BND, MND, and AA wanted to risk another war with Russia and had the goal of containing any conflict between Russia and Ukraine, should that happen.

The listening posts had been an idea of Grand Admiral von Schmidt, whose legacy the Navy had been built on over the last few decades. The Grindwal was also a part of that. Light, hard-hitting units that could operate over wide expanses of sea. The term glass cannon might have been used to describe the ships, though in an era with nuclear weapons and anti-ship guided missiles it was debatable just how much utility the old Dreadnaughts might have had. The electronic countermeasures, flare/chaff projectors, and the swift agility of the Grindwal herself were a different kind of armor. Louis had conducted drills where they had simulated missile attack.

The resulting mad scramble that had resulted had been informative. Louis’ greatest hope was that they would never put those systems to the test because in real life they couldn’t reset and start over. Any mistakes go them killed. To drive that point home, damage control drills had been conducted right after the missile drills.

The idea that Margareta was waiting for him in Constanța with her parents felt a lot like those missile drills. The difference was that this was obviously not a drill, the only difference was that no one was yelling “Vampire!” at the moment.

“The men are looking forward to liberty after they didn’t get it back in Greece” Borchardt said.

“I understand that Constanța is almost as good” Louis said, “They will be the toast of the town here. I’m not sure what sort of reception they might have gotten in Athens or Constantinople.”

“That’s you speaking as the Captain” Borchardt said, “The men just know that they have been at sea for a while and a few days of blowing through their back pay is in the offing. They could give two shits about politics right until the instant it lands them in the local jail.”

“Thinking about the welfare of the crew and avoiding international incidents?” Louis asked, “Starting to think like an Officer as opposed to being the buffer.”

Borchardt gave Louis a dirty look. His role as Oberdeckoffizer was a bit nebulous with men in his capacity often filling specialty roles. So, there was some question as to where Greg Borchardt fell into the chain of command aboard the Grindwal. Oberleutnant zur See Bruno Eglītis, the Grindwal’s new XO, the Ship’s Engineer, Doctor, ASW and Gunnery Officers all technically outranked him. At the same time, everyone knew that he was the enforcer of Louis’ will aboard the Grindwal. That had grown a bit more ticklish with the addition of Leutnant Muller to the crew, who now occupied the third in command slot which had once been held by Borchardt because no one else had been available.

Montreal, Canada

It was a beautiful September afternoon, the sort that Marie Alexandra wanted to get out and enjoy it. Winter was coming soon enough, and she remembered what last winter had been like. Inviting Henriette had been a good idea, Marie had been planning they were exploring the Little Italy and Mile-Ex neighborhoods anyway. As had happened occasionally in the past, Henriette’s mother had practically pushed them out the door telling them to go do the sort of fun things young women did. Henriette had been dragging Alice’s stroller towards the door. Mrs. Lane had been having none of that. She said that she, but more likely the Lane’s housekeeper Isabella, would mind Alice that afternoon.

With how Marie had arrived back in Montreal with barely enough time to prepare for the start of the new term they had not had time to catch up in the weeks since. At the moment, Henriette was watching with a bemused expression as Marie talked with the woman who ran the bakery they were in, in rapid fire Italian. She had only wanted to order biscotti for them, but upon hearing Marie speaking in Italian, it had turned into an entire conversation. She didn’t believe that Marie was German, saying that she didn’t have a German accent and that she looked more like someone from Turin or Milan. It was sort of an odd thing to say, still, Marie was able to get directions to the best coffee shop in the neighborhood to go with the Biscotti.
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Part 139, Chapter 2407
Chapter Two Thousand Four Hundred Seven

20th September 1975

Charlottenburg, Berlin

Zella was staring at the piece of paper hoping that if she stared at it long enough it would change the personal issues that she had. If she burned it would her latest problem go away or would that just cause her another problem. Her mind kept going back to that brief phone conversation she’d had with her mother how that had set in motion a series of events that had led to her staring at a piece of paper as she drew out the pros and cons of a deeply personal decision.

If only she had missed that call, she wouldn’t have gone to Jena. Or if she and Yuri had been late getting to the party she wouldn’t have been the one to find her grandmother having already suffered heart failure. Then perhaps she wouldn’t have tried to numb herself to the feeling of failure and loss which had led directly to her parent’s disapproval. That in turn had caused her to come home probably before she should have. Then when she had been feeling particularly lonely and still mourning, Yuri had stopped by to check on her and she had clearly not been thinking clearly.

Any break in that chain of events would have meant that she wouldn’t be here having to do this. It being a Saturday night, she would probably be out watching a band play live somewhere. Or riding her motorcycle around Autobahn 10 before stopping for a lousy cup of coffee at the all-night diner on the outskirts of Werder that mostly catered to Heavy Goods Drivers, but in recent years had become a destination for Rockers and Bikers out of Berlin. She turned her attention back to the paper, as much as she wanted to think about anything else.

“Pros and cons” Zella muttered to herself as she wrote, Telling my mother in the cons column before drawing a skull and crossbones. Kiki, whose idea this was, was probably going to love that. When Zella had tried to go back to work, she had been called into her Supervisor’s office and told that if she was sick, she needed to go home. Liesel Wehnert, the Videographer whose name she had been unable to remember had ratted her out. The worst part had been that they had insisted that Zella get cleared by a Doctor before she would be allowed to return. The final link in the chain of events that had been her undoing.

It had been the thing that Zella had been dreading the most and it had taken her a few days to screw up the courage to deal with it. The instant she stepped into the University Clinic and spoke to the Triage Nurse, she could see the wheels turning. The first thing the Doctor who had seen her had done was take a blood draw, then he had used a bunch of medical jargon to order a battery of tests before doing anything else. It was patronizing bullshit. As if Zella didn’t know what most of that meant after having filmed documentaries in hospitals. The worst part was what the first test he had ordered had been.

Zella had left before the results had come back and had unplugged her phone. It had been a few hours before Kiki had knocked on her door. Zella had forgotten about it, but she had made Kiki her emergency contact to avoid disputes with her mother and as Zella’s Personal Physician she had access to the results of those tests. Zella had no idea how Kiki had gotten to Berlin so fast, but she had.

“Everyone has gotten really tired of you acting like a teenager” Kiki had said as soon as she walked through the door.

Zella might have been inclined to argue with Kiki about that. She had built a good life for herself regardless of what was said about her. Except the next words out of Kiki’s mouth had thrown all of that out the window.

“You are pregnant and that is not something you can hide from” Kiki said. It was confirmation of everything that Zella had been trying to avoid hearing since she had figured out that she had messed up with the pills. Zella didn’t know how long it had been, but it had felt like her head had been full of static during the minutes that had followed. Afterwards, when she had finally calmed down enough to listen to what Kiki had to say, Kiki had told her that she needed to think about what her next move would be. That was where the wretched chart with the pros and cons came in, at Kiki’s suggestion. Of course, Kiki had needed to go back to Bavaria so that she could be there for Nina’s first day of school. She had said that she would be back tomorrow, but Zella had not finished the stupid chart though she had tried no less than three times before to do it. Each time she had ripped it up. That had been satisfying, but only for a few seconds because it changed absolutely nothing. The key problem wasn’t the long list of cons, it was in the list of pros. You are unlikely to get another chance at this. Of all the frustrating things to conclude. Trying to be objective in the face of that made her want to rip the thing up again.
From what has been presented by Marie is that she doesn't want to be placed in a box but is up to a challenge which is why she took a job with Jack Kennedy over the summer.
But with the Olympics in Montreal next summer Marie doesn't want to be forced into doing what other people expect her to do.B
The thing is that she may not have a choice as her "sister" Sophie is going to be at least an alternate on the German Women Cycling Team and her father Doug is sure to be there as a photographer, which leads to her family staying with the Blackwoods.
Marie has probably got a big paycheck for her work with Jack Kennedy, and may want to find out how much her services will get her.
There are so many different scenarios that could happen like she applies to ABC thinking that she would be behind the science only to find out that she is going to be fitted with a yellow blazer and be an on-air interpreter.