Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Part 144, Chapter 2612
Chapter Two Thousand Six Hundred Twelve

15th March 1977

Black Sea, off Constanta

The NMS Vlad Dracula was making good speed as it turned on a bearing that would pass close to the hulk that was the target in the live fire drill. Louis Ferdinand Junior remembered that this had been an effective means of practicing gunnery aboard the Grindwal. Convincing the Romanian Ministry of National Defense that the crew of the Dracula would benefit from live fire drills had been a chore. If he didn’t know better, he might assume that many in Bucharest thought that the job of the Navy was to look pretty during Fleet reviews. Louis had a far different view though. A Navy ship had a tough, dangerous job to do, and the crew needed the experience to do that job.

Louis knew that comparing the Dracula’s crew to that of the Grindwal wasn’t fair. Not only had the Grindwal’s crew had more time, but they also had a firmer grounding in the traditions of the High Seas Fleet. They also were not under his command. Comandor Codrin Ciobanu, Comandor being equivalent to Kapitan-zur-See in the Romanian Navy, held that honor. He was letting Louis tag along today so that he could show off what his crew could do. Having the ships guns under local command was a part of that, getting them to act as a team when the central fire control was placed on standby.

As the hulk came into range, the 12.8cm gun in the bow opened fire. Louis saw the splash through his binoculars and listened to the Gunnery Officer shouting commands to the crew as they corrected the aim. The second shot hit the hulk as the 40mm cannons opened up. Those were the familiar Bofors 40mm/L70s that saw service in nearly every Navy in the world. Louis felt that the Dracula could use some of the Vk30 30mm autocannons used by the German Navy which could claw missiles out of the air, but there were still export controls on those. As the Dracula turned broadside to the hulk, the aft 12.8cm gun fired as it came to bear, and a large hole was blown through the hulk. Having a second main gun certainly made a statement, Louis thought to himself.

Seeing movement in the corner of his eye, Louis turned his binoculars out to sea and saw a ship in the distance. It was too far away to get a name, but the White and Blue of the Russian Naval Ensign was unmistakable. It seemed that their friends from across the Black Sea had decided to get a look at the Dracula as she was going about her paces.

Montreal, Canada

Somehow word got out that today was Marie Alexandra’s birthday as much as she wanted it to be low key. There had been calls asking if she was planning on doing anything and her grandmother had made a point of telling her that in life she often didn’t have a choice as whether or not to entertain. If she did nothing then people were going to want to know why. As much as Marie knew that she would regret caving into her grandmother, she agreed to have a small party with a few friends from McGill and Dawson. That was well and good, except Sir Malcolm insisted that she remove the large boxes from his home office which was a gift from her mother. Marie had assumed that it would be an addition to the jewelry that her mother had given her over the years. She liked it when Marie wore emeralds, which supposedly perfectly complimented her. And her parents had done that to a degree in the form of a bracelet that matched what she already had, but that had been a gift directly from her father.

Instead, Marie’s mother had done something completely unexpected and that came in the form a Z185 made by Zuse AG that came with a color monitor, something that Marie had never seen before called a mouse, and a joystick game controller. She pushed the thought of how someone must have come up with the name of that last particular piece of equipment out of her mind. There was a printer that was still in the box which Marie intended to set up as soon as she figured out where she was going to do that.

Marie had heard about the innovative microcomputer that had been intended for home use from the outset, not having lived under a rock for the last few months. Having one given to her as a birthday present was certainly a surprise and Marie suspected that it had probably been a suggestion from her older brother. He was an expert in these things. The problem was that her guests found out that she had gotten it and they were not interested in anything else because a Zuse 185 was miles better than anything similar made on this side of the Atlantic. Marie had swiftly discovered that watching other people playing computer games was quite possibly the most boring thing that she had ever done. The Japanese game was also rather incomprehensible. The player guided an Italian Plumber of all things through a maze where he was under constant attack by what looked like dinosaurs, turtles, and walking mushrooms(?)

“We can use this for our studies?” Henriette asked as Marie looked through the manual and was reading the list of programs that came stored on the hard drive.

“Word processing and spreadsheets” Marie said, happy to talk about anything other than that silly game.

“That is actually pretty good” Henriette said, “Provided you can get them to give it back.”

“I’m sure they will get bored eventually and dinner is going to be served soon” Marie replied. Food far better than they ever got at the University might just have more appeal than the newest toy.
Wow. Mario Bros not only six years early, but on not-PC?
And in the original version that existed, though only on paper, prior to Donkey Kong.

The work of Konrad Zuse continued without interruption in TTL, so a computer similar to the IBM PC is also hitting the market several years earlier.
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The Russian Naval Ensign.

a Zuse 185 was miles better than anything similar made on this side of the Atlantic.
This is a big deal as it is four years before IBM releases their personal computer in 1981.
My question is the Zuse 185 an Open Architecture PC or is it proprietary technology based?
If it is proprietary based, then IBM or another company using Open Architecture will win the PC Wars as companies will compete against each other on price and technological advances.

This will become a big story as first a student reporter from McGill University will write an article about a student getting the latest and most advanced home computer in the world and is not available in large numbers in North America.
The story is then picked up by the Montreal Gazette, and then by the New York Times.
This will cause alarm bells to go off at every company that is selling mainframes as a new market for computers will emerge and they are not ready for it.
IOTL the Apple II is released in June 1977 and it should ITTL be somewhat better than it was IOTL.
If the Zuse PC is not released yet in North America, Marie may find the fledgling Computer Science department at McGill University wanting her to allow them to grant them some access to her gift.
IBM is sure to get in the PC market very soon if it hasn’t already started to develop their own products, and just like IOTL it should be based on Open Architecture which should allow other companies to enter the PC market and bring about the Home Computer revolution earlier.
Germany should have its own version of DARPA, and the question is does the United States ITTL have DARPA, because if not, then the internet is going to be much different.
As a side note, Kiki with her investments in Intel is going to become wealthier then she ever thought she could be.
Part 144, Chapter 2613
Chapter Two thousand Six Hundred Thirteen

17th March 1977

Prague, Bohemia

The blanket wrapped bundle in Kiki’s arms was a reminder of the future and a multitude of possibilities. Liliana Kristýna, Princess of Bohemia and Kiki’s latest niece. She had come straight to Prague when she had learned that Birdie had gone into labor and had been shocked at how fast she had made it from Ulm. Now Kiki and Michael had the task of introducing Liliana to possibly one of the most important people in her life.

“You now have a little sister” Kiki said to her nephew Philipp who looked at the world through the lens of a child who was about to turn four as he peered over Kiki’s shoulder at the newborn as Michael had lifted him high enough to see.

When Philipp had asked if arrival Liliana had anything to do with his own birthday in a couple weeks. Michael had patiently told him that it didn’t work that way. Liliana had arrived the night before the way that most did by letting everyone present know her displeasure about her sudden change in circumstance. Liliana being a Czech language variant of Elisabeth made it easy to figure out who they had named her after. It had not occurred to Kiki to ask Birdie what her parents thought about the names of their first two grandchildren. How Michael and Birdie had made certain that their children had Czech names.

Presently, Birdie was sleeping, and Kiki remembered what that was like. She had tried to wake her up, so that Birdie could watch this introduction, but she had fallen back asleep. Birdie would not want to focus on anything else for the next few days other than Liliana. That was how it had been with Nina and Lutz. It was Kiki’s job to keep it that way because she could already tell that the vultures from the tabloid press were circling.

When Queen Elisabeth and Princess Elinore arrived in a few hours that would cause them to become desperate for the story. While the tabloids in Germany had to walk a fine line because the Emperor and much of his family still had the power to make their lives miserable if they became too obnoxious, their counterparts in England and the United States especially had far less to worry about. Freddy was rather emphatic that they not test the limits of free speech in the Empire as opposed to Royal prerogative because he understood the consequences if they should win. However, there had been moments like when Kiki had been forced to greatly improve the security of her house in Balderschwang that she would have liked to have the options that her ancestors were said to have. A moat stocked with crocodiles might be impossible in this climate, but it did have its appeal. There was a castle that Michael had told Kiki about here in Bohemia where the family who owned it had bears in the moat. He had said that it was for the tourists these days and though great pains were being made to be sure the bears were well cared for, they were still potentially dangerous animals. Perhaps the family that owned the castle would have them as guests for a few days?

Rural County Mayo, Ireland

1976 had been a good year for the FBI, stealing a march on the German BND who had been doing God only knew what in the United States for the last few decades, meaning that good guys won one for once. On the other hand, it had been an absolutely lousy year for Ed and 1977 was not looking much better.

After he had only hit dead ends in his investigation of Greyson’s death Ed had been assigned to a different investigation involving the Department of Agriculture, subsidies fraud, and a suspect who had fled jurisdiction presumably, with a new partner who was completely clueless about how things worked in Ireland. Jimmy Hovanesian, and yes that was his actual name. In the first five minutes that Ed had known him, Jimmy had told him he was from Schenectady, his father was a millworker, and he had also been an athlete like Ed had been. Just not exactly on the Football field, and Ed had absolutely no desire to know what exactly that meant. The fact that he still went by what seemed like a twelve-year-old’s first name and had a last name that no one could pronounce told Ed just as much as his tendency to yell questions at farmers in the Irish countryside.

Like he was doing right now.

The Farmer out in the field yelled something back in Irish that didn’t sound like a compliment. Ed knew by now that the FBI didn’t send their best and brightest to work in the Legate. Jimmy didn’t need to make it so obvious.

“I told you that wouldn’t work” Ed said as he was leaning on the fender of his car.

“It works back home” Jimmy replied, “The Farmers there prefer that you be direct.”

It was a reminder that Jimmy came from somewhere that was only a few miles away from where Greyson had come from. Yet it might as well have been on a different planet. Jimmy might have lucked out and been the first man in his family to have gone to college, but he still tended to think that everywhere worked the same.

“Ever thought that you don’t even speak the same language as these people?” Ed Asked, “Fewer people admit to knowing English the further from Dublin you get and you can’t get much further than this county.”

Jimmy gave Ed a sheepish look.

“Lets get out of here then” Jimmy said, looking embarrassed. It was Ed’s hope that meant that he would learn from this. Though effectively doing his job in a place like Ireland was something that Ed was still trying to figure out.
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Where is Germany's Silicon Valley?
The Tegal Airport redevelopment was focused on satellite university campuses, tech research centers, among other things, so that could be a possibility.
King Albrecht of Bavaria may had try to get some of the high tech sector to locate around the Munich area, and Ben as his Science Advisor could have told him that computers are the next big thing to enter the home market.

Meanwhile, Louis Ferdinand Jr. is starting to show the Romanian Navy what a professional Navy is capable of, and is installing a sense of pride and tradition into the ranks.
The upcoming marriage is because of the fact that the bride and groom has strong German roots, is going to be very culturally Romanian.

The world of elite international law firms is very tight, and if word gets out that one Marie Alexandra Kristina von Mischner-Blackwood is interested in going to law school, she is going to be inundated with offers from top law schools around the world to enroll in them, and the top law firms are going to offer guarantee employment with internships and mentoring from the senior partners.
Where is Germany's Silicon Valley?
Three places. The first is Berlin as you suggested with it centered in the Berlin Technical University in Tegal and the Humboldt Campus of the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Tempelhof. The substantial amount of light industry in the City of Berlin, originally involved in the manufacture of precision instruments and tooling is playing a major role as well. The second in Kiel where Jacob von Schmidt set up an operation to build computer systems for the Navy. That has grown far beyond its original purpose. The third is in Southern Germany where Kristina von Prussian went out of her way to lure technological manufacturing to the Hohenzollern Province.

Finally, there is Kempten in Bavaria, which is a different kind of place, where dreams become nightmares.
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In the first timeline Uncle Klaus made precision jeweled instruments for use in aircraft, it is a possibility that an offshoot of that company is involved with the manufacturing of integrated circuits?
In the first timeline Uncle Klaus made precision jeweled instruments for use in aircraft, it is a possibility that an offshoot of that company is involved with the manufacturing of integrated circuits?
It is certainly easy to see how one technology would eventually lead into another.
It is certainly easy to see how one technology would eventually lead into another.
Giving that Kat was involved with the sale of the business after the death of Uncle Klaus, it is very likely that the sale was a mixture of cash and stock and if that is the case then Aunt Marcella is potentially a very wealthy woman...
Part 145, Chapter 2614
Chapter Two Thousand Six Hundred Fourteen

17th March 1977

Montreal, Canada

For a variety of reasons Marie Alexandra felt obligated to attend the annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration held by the United Irish Society in Montreal every year after the parade. Sir Malcolm said that it was a formal event where the movers and shakers of Montreal Society rubbed shoulders, of course he stated rather plainly that he was mostly Scottish and had little interest in attending himself this year. Marie was even less Irish than he was, but because she had stupidly told her father about how one of her possible plans involved post-graduate studies at Trinity and he had said told someone who had spread word around about that. She had found herself with an invitation and even had her grandmother leaning on her to not make a public embarrassment of herself this time. It was not as if that was the only school that had attempted to recruit Marie, it had only been the first one and represented one of the better offers.

Steeling herself, Marie walked towards the entrance. She would go in, introduce herself, be seen, and then leave. No one would hold that against her. It was a formal event and she had dressed appropriately for the event, just not for the climate. It was still a cold night though and she was starting to regret that she had not been able to wear anything warmer as she saw that it was starting to snow. It was nearly spring according to the calendar, but Marie had her doubts. It certainly felt like winter was lasting forever this year.

“Thank you, Miss Blackwood” The man minding the door said as Marie handed him the invitation. “Are you accompanied by…”

That was clearly a leading question. Marie didn’t really care about his expectations, so it didn’t matter where it led.

“Just me tonight” Marie replied, “I figure that I need to be in there just long enough to be seen before I make my escape.”

He seemed amused by that. It was not as if he needed to worry about her causing trouble. Her desire not to spend much time in awkward social situations must have been very evident.

“Have fun” He said as he waved Marie through the door.

Marie wondered if he would have let her through if he had not known exactly who she was. For someone who had no real interest in high social standing, it seemed that she was stuck with it. With a bit of reluctance, she checked her coat. As always at events like this, she noticed the eyes upon her. The dark green statin dress she was wearing was little too on the nose for this event. A small mercy was that they didn’t announce her as they liked to do back in Germany. For some reason, people thought that she was a Princess just because of who her mother was and that colored everything.

“Just what did Trudeau have to say for himself?” Marie overheard a voice say, “The last thing that Atlantic relations need is a pissing match like this. If Nixon finds out, and he will, we might be right back to where we were after Michael Collins told the Garner Administration to take a flying leap. We were just lucky that outside events changed the subject.”

Marie knew the incident they were talking about. Just prior to the Soviet War it was rumored that John Nance Garner had attempted to strongarm the Irish Republic in a trade deal, isolationism be damned. It had not gone well for anyone involved and the change of subject had been the start of the Soviet War. The two men who had spoken, one was Blair Mayne who Marie had learned had been exiled from Ireland after he had fought in Ukraine with the wrong Army after a lifetime of attending the wrong sort of church. It was rumored that there were other reasons as well, but Marie knew that sort of speculation was worthless. The other man was Conall Ahearn, the Irish Ambassador to Canada. The conversation she was overhearing involved two unlikely individuals and she didn’t understand the context other than someone. The Canadian Prime Minister? Had spoken out of turn and said or done something undiplomatic? And now there was a major public row about to play out on the front pages of the newspapers?

“If it isn’t the little chameleon” Mayne said when he noticed Marie.

“Please don’t call me that” Marie replied. Mayne had found her role in the security test that Bert Lane had asked Marie to take part in to be hilarious.

“Miss Blackwood is very clever and is a master of disguise” Mayne said to Ahearn, as he motioned for one of the waiters to give Marie a drink. “She managed to trick my own sentries by getting them to take her right into my office. I lost that particular bet.”

Marie had a glass of what turned out to be hard cider of all things handed to her. She tried not to react to the unexpected taste when she took a sip.

“I was asked to help out by General Lane” Marie replied, “His daughter is a dear friend of mine. Try not to make a big deal about it.”

“This is very irregular” Ahearn said, looking a bit uncomfortable.

“The girl is mostly harmless” Mayne said, “Her mother is the one you need to watch.”

“Mister Mayne is overstating things by a bit” Marie said, trying to redirect the conversation. “I’m a University student attending McGill, not a master of disguise as he put it, or anything else.”

The Irish Ambassador was staring at her with the sort of look that had become all too familiar. Like if Marie was a bomb about to go off. It was only then that she realized the mistake that she had made. The part of the conversation she had overheard, and the part that she had taken part in had been entirely in Irish.
The Irish Ambassador was staring at her with the sort of look that had become all too familiar. Like if Marie was a bomb about to go off. It was only then that she realized the mistake that she had made. The part of the conversation she had overheard, and the part that she had taken part in had been entirely in Irish.
This is why Marie isn't an agent of her, or any, government, but it is why all too many people will think that she is. And Mayne is correct in his assessment of Marie as a result; in his world, she is mostly harmless, at the moment, because it holds no interest for her.
This going to get back to British Intelligence real fast, and with Marie (CODE NAME: CHAMELEON) being the daughter of a friend of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth,there is going to be push to see if Marie is willing to work for their interests.
It is also because of the guest list, is going to get around to other countries just as fast.
Marie has already embarrassed two different intelligence services, and that alone makes her very dangerous to a lot of people who are paid to watch where the danger is coming from.
The problem is going to come from idiots in the various intelligence services who think that Marie is too dangerous to be left alone to her own devices.

If Marie is getting offers from different law schools around the world, imagine Margot's reaction to all the thick envelopes that are coming not from the mail, but from special couriers.
I can imagine Paddy having planned that exchange just for the fun of it and a way to "Take the Ambassador down a peg or two" for some reason. He would have known talking Gaelic to her would work, lots of folks from the ol' sod might have sent him things when he let them know what happened at the resort on Lake Ontario.
Part 145, Chapter 2615
Chapter Two Thousand Six Hundred Fifteen

18th April 1977

Bucharest, Romania

Midnight had come and gone. With it a few of the many courses of the meal. With that, the sort of entertainment that had been planned months ago was happening. Excusing himself from the table, Louis Ferdinand Junior walked out of the hall and into the residence of the palace so that he could find Margareta, who had been “kidnapped” minutes earlier by a group of men from the wedding party. Currently, Louis and Margareta’s fathers were negotiating her release back to Louis, but the kidnappers were driving a hard bargain while everyone found this whole thing incredibly amusing.

Michael I of Romania had insisted on a traditional wedding, which involved a celebration with what seemed like the entire City of Bucharest involved that had taken place over an entire weekend. They were in the final night, which involved a multicourse meal, lasting into the early morning hours and would end about the time the sun came up. It should have been no surprise that the actual ceremony had taken place on Easter Sunday, which Louis had realized was a deliberate shot at the Russian Czar. If the Russians thought that the Romanians belonged within their sphere of influence they had another thing coming, and they were messing up the Czar’s own wedding anniversary in the process. It had been whispered that the Russian Ambassador had implied to Michael that they had objections. The guests in the Wedding Party were also a who’s who of people from the Black Sea Region and the Balkans who were opposed to the sort of Russian expansionism that had occurred over the last thousand years. Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and even parts of Romania had bitter memories of what it had been like under Russian occupation, especially with the Soviets. No one else wanted the joys of that experience and the situation with Russia reminded Louis of a large bull in a narrow chute. An animal like could be extremely dangerous if it just shifted its weight, the intent hardly mattered for those who got crushed. There was also the complicated political situation in Romania that had played a key role in why Louis’ marriage Margareta was considered so advantageous in the first place. It would cement the Romanian Navy to the fortunes of the Royal family like few other things. Louis had heard a great deal about how the Army and the Petrochemical Industry in Romania had their own interests which had put them at odds with the Government as anti-corruption had become a huge issue over the past few election cycles.

Opening the door to Margareta’s chambers, Louis found that she and Borchardt were looking through the reems of photographs that Borchardt kept from his time on the Grindwal and Windhund. Margareta seemed to be enjoying herself as her staff looked uncomfortable about the invasion into the Princess’s personal domain by a group of unfamiliar men.

“We were just looking at all the photographs of your adventures” Margareta said with a smile. “Greg has been telling me the stories behind many of them.”

“Is that a fact?” Louis asked as he saw that there was a photograph of him wearing an Artic survival suit when he was at Wilhelm Station, another of him behind the controls of one of Raupenschlepper Arktis vehicles. “I didn’t know that they included ones from when I was in Antarctica.”

“There are photographs of you going all the way back to when you were a little boy” Margareta said, “Frau Jensen has been very helpful in that regard. I will have you know that I think you looked very handsome when you left for the Naval Academy.”

Louis had not put much thought into it, but thousands of photographs of him probably existed. Who else would be in possession of them other than the Royal Press Secretary who had served his father and brother?

“You said he looked cute when you first saw those photos earlier” Nancy said entering the room, as she handed Margareta another photo album. This one showing a great deal of wear. “This is the one I told you about.”

Upon opening the album, Margareta had a big smile. The photograph was of Louis when he had been just a few minutes old in the arms of Katherine von Mischner, who had been nineteen or twenty at the time. It was hard to tell which of them was more put out by the unexpected change in their situation.

“It was because of that incident that Medics of the First Foot accompanying the security detail of the Empress receive training in the Maternity Ward in the University Hospital” Louis said, “Everyone sort of assumed that Tante Kat knew what she was doing because she was a woman.”

“She must have been terrified” Margareta replied, “We should ask her about it when we go back downstairs.”

“Knowing Kat, she will never admit to being scared” Louis said, “She will probably tell you all about the changes she made so that nothing like that happened again. That is the extent of it.”

Nancy snorted at that.

“The last time I was in New York, I saw a t-shirt with the phrase Well-behaved women seldom make history printed on it” Nancy said, “Kat has made a lot of history.”

“What is the next event of the night?” Louis asked, “Once those lummoxes figure out what they want your father to give them for your safe return.”

“There is my Godmother helping me trade my wedding veil for a scarf so that I can look the part of a married woman” Margareta said, “Then we will all have cake and everyone can go on their merry way.”

Sounds like a plan, Louis thought to himself.
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The price for Margaret's release is a couple of cases of Rhine & Cie, the finest sparkling wine that Romania has produced as part of the emphasis that is being placed to spotlight the products of Romania.