Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Bas just hoped that Los Angeles would be better in four years, it wouldn’t be too difficult. It was hard to think of how it could be any worse without something blowing up or someone getting shot. Like if the Neo-Jacobins had crashed the Summer Games in Munich or something.
Race riots in SoCal, 1984....
 
I always like how the IOTL scheduled events like the Olympics compare to ITTL and how in many cases they are the same but different at the same time.
IOTL Moscow Olympics is boycotted by seventy nations led by the United States, Moscow is emptied of its residents and sent to hastily built resorts on the Black Sea, and the press is highly controlled by the Soviet government, but ITTL,there is no boycott, Moscow residents stay in town for the Olympics, and the press can go look for their own stories without a government minder.
What remains the same is the hostility by the Russian spectators to athletes from other countries, the near blatant cheating by the Russians organizing committee and Russian Sport Officials, the stadium doors were opened during the pole vault event to create a vortex whenever the IOTL winner who was from Poland and still won ITTL but from Lithuania instead, did his try, and the venues that were built for the most part IOTL were deteriorating the same in ITTL.
It was only with the press being able to freely report these items without fear of censorship or deportation that they get to be known by the world.
 
Part 156, Chapter 2841
Chapter Two Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-One



8th August 1980

Tempelhof, Berlin

Just once, Kat would like to see Sophie do something halfway. As it stood Sophie had created a firestorm that showed no sign of abating and despite everything, Kat understood her foster daughter’s motivations all too well. She had lost count of the times that she had advised her girls that personal security and constant awareness of your surroundings were nonnegotiable requirements. That was just the world that they lived in and it was something that Sophie had understood from the moment that she had arrived in Kat’s house as an eight-year-old. For Sophie, the fact that she had sustained minor injuries because negligence had left her incandescent with rage. She had made a point of pulling out of further competition unless the IOC, the Olympic Committee of Russia, and the Russian State address her concerns that instant. Of course that had not happened and even worse, the response that Sophie had gotten from those organizations had been incredibly patronizing. That was what had prompted her to withdraw from the competition and that might have been the end of it, except there had been a number of others who had withdrawn along with her out of solidarity and that made it all political.

Kat had found herself trying to limit the personal and professional damage that Sophie was doing to herself as the IOC had reacted in a predictable manner. How dare a mere athlete question their prerogatives? Sophie happened to be a young woman and that somehow made it worse. It was when there started to be talk about stripping Sophie of the medal that she had won in Moscow that Kat started getting actively involved. And she found out that Michael of Bohemia was already acting on Sophie’s behalf. Kat had always thought that Michael was a perfect example of arrested development and if he hadn’t been born into wealth and privilege he probably would run a store that sold comic books, games, and novelties while living in the same house he had spent his childhood in.

By accident of birth, Michael was a Prince of Prussia, and had been put forward to be crowned King of Bohemia to strengthen its ties to the German Empire. So he basically had an entire nation’s resources to pursue his passions which included everything from big budget film productions all the way down to the massive collection of model trains that was rumored to be somewhere in palace in Prague. Many of those things had actually proved to be extremely lucrative for the Bohemian State while increasing its visibility on the world stage, so the Landtag and the Minister-President were perfectly happy to indulge Michael. Birdie, Michael’s wife had proven to be a willing participant in all of that much to the chagrin of Michael’s family, who had hoped that what they had perceived as her more level-headed nature would rein him in. If only they had talked to Kat, or Birdie’s mother Elizabeth, before making that assumption. Birdie, originally Princess Alberta Charlotte of England, had been deeply troubled as a teenager and saw her marriage to Michael, an eccentric King in a foreign country, as her personal liberation from the oppressive atmosphere she had grown up in. Beyond that, it seemed that there had been an equal exchange within that relationship as Birdie had been influenced by second wave feminist writers including Kat’s own biographer, Gloria Steinem. She had convinced Michael of the need for women to have an equal place within society. Kat figured that probably had not been a whole lot of work considering that Michael had his younger sisters and Kat herself as examples of the need for that.

Among other things though, Michael had been a member of the International Olympic Movement his whole adult life and had even competed in Pistols at the Summer Games several times in his youth. To have him come down on the side of Sophie had been a huge development. He had also suggested that there were other issues that had occurred to the competitors in women’s events which had cropped up not only in Moscow but had also been problems in the prior Olympic Games, particularly Munich and Montreal. Was that really a can of worms that they wanted to open? It seemed that was a reckoning that Michael was perfectly willing to have, much to the horror of the IOC.



Near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria

The Half-Track was of American origin, dubbed the M3/5 by that country’s military bureaucracy, one of thousands that had been manufactured under license by Opel during the Soviet War. While its use by the German Army had been overshadowed by German designed Half-Tracks, the SPz-2 Armored Personnel Carrier, and the many incarnations of the Raupenschlepper Ost, they had still been a common sight in every sector of the Soviet Front and later in the Far East when the Japanese had been pushed out of Korea and Manchuria. Many still remained in use by the Pioneer and Landwehr Units, and of course by the Forest Service, which is where Sepp had found himself introduced to the vehicle as the one he was in crawled up a narrow mountain road with a cliff on one side and nothing on the other.

As third year Ranger candidates, Sepp and the others in his section had been given the dubious reward of getting sent to Berchtesgaden to train with the elite Alpine Troops based there. As Sepp was discovering, it was not something for the faint of heart. It seemed like much of the training was in locations that had the potential of a long drop with a sudden stop at the bottom of a cliff. Mountaineering and orienteering had been intermixed with lessons involving explosives and combat tactics. What had been only hinted at before was suddenly at the fore of their training.

For Sepp this was still better than what life at home had become. He had hated how naïve it made him look, but he had not thought through all the implications of his mother’s second marriage, more like he had not wanted to think about it at all. Then a few months earlier, Natalie had been born. Despite Sepp’s multitude of misgivings, he had found himself caring for his half-sister the same way that he had Didi years earlier and that had absolutely dighted his mother. What was he supposed to have done? He might not care for Thomas Ott, but Natalie was still his little sister.
 
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Caught up, this was a monster but has been a pleasure to read. It’s done a great job of making the characters feel like real people with actual flaws and ways of thinking. Many of the flaws were painful to read because I’m here rooting for the characters and life plus their outlook really make it hard for them to change from the mindsets that helped them survive earlier. It’s very human. Just tremendous.

Plotlines I’d be interested in catching up with (in addition to all the ones that are currently getting attention).
- Zella’s doc on Kiki in Russia vs something about the Olympics and the reception.

- Gia’s efforts in the remote areas to promote better civilization.
- - How is the network of schools, monasteries/churches, and hospitals going? Do they have some shared organization to shuffle personnel and improve coordination, spread best practices, and shared identity? Ditto vocational training for orphans that are near aging out of the system.
- - Is she involved with urban planning to try and make the new towns a little more modern ala what Kat did in Berlin with open markets/upstairs residential, space for recreation, parks, winter social spaces (like fitness clubs, greenhouses, and subterranean or above ground galleries). This but Russian:
piedmonte-395419042415939541240-1.jpg

She has the clout to push for better than soul crushing on her own and doubly so in areas where her husband has control. Aiming to create walkable cities with some future niches and broader job prospects (including tourism) seem like stuff she can have an impact in creating the foundations for.

- Is Emil still doing some occasional consulting work for BMW? He retired and went traveling but where have he and Maria been? ~”Market research” in distant lands.

- Industry in Kiki’s territory. Chip manufacturers, high tech optics, and consumer electronics screams optical disks and lasers. Where Krakow’s universities are developing OS, applied computing, and large data modeling has Kiki made an area for pushing hardware innovation?
- - Cheaper or better CT scanners, some sort of tech + medical partnerships, etc.?
- - ditto for consumer solar panels/ modified shipping container as the core of a clinic in remote areas where the ships don’t reach? Gives base equipment, low power stuff, information for expansion, etc.

- How’s that Illiterate girl doing with her dyslexia?

- How is Suse Rosa doing? With the amount of time she spent in tanks as a kid and her education I’d expect she’d be fine at pushing additional sensible motorized platforms. She’d have support with childcare so it’s something I’d wondered about.

- Has Ilse been involved with advising on acid rain prevention measures? Have they spotted a growing hole ozone layer, environmental lead in ice cores (Patterson)?

I hope at least some of that provides some fuel for the fire. Once again, great work and I look forward to seeing more of it!
 
Just once, Kat would like to see Sophie do something halfway.
As if Kat at that age did anything half ways herself...
Already both the IOC and the Moscow Games organizers are getting a lot of pushbacks from the public and the press with a bunch of "What I Saw in Moscow" stories.
Some of the reforms coming out could be the requirements that women locker rooms are equitable to the men's, and they are secured, and privacy is protected, IOTL there were complaints from women that they had to go back to their rooms at the Olympics and other competitions because of inadequate locker rooms without any privacy for them from prying eyes.
 
I forgot the ninja. Between whatever he’s been upto and the lady ninja once some of the group reaches Japan I’d be interested in learning more. Having a tutor move to Berlin to give the fitness club/some of the next gen girls self-defense lessons could be fun. A way for Mirai to break out of her shell a bit when not in public. Something a bit different than straight military training.
 
I forgot the ninja. Between whatever he’s been up to and the lady ninja once some of the group reaches Japan I’d be interested in learning more. Having a tutor move to Berlin to give the fitness club/some of the next gen girls self-defense lessons could be fun. A way for Mirai to break out of her shell a bit when not in public. Something a bit different than straight military training.
Kage Akio is a humble Maintenance Man working for the Japanese Government at the Embassy in Berlin. In that capacity he occasionally does favors for the Prefect of Berlin and the House of Hohenzollern. This business of him being a Ninja? He would remind you that they all died out ages ago. Just like his occasional protegee, Marie Alexandra von Mischner is just an ordinary girl with many varied talents.
 
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It seemed that was a reckoning that Michael was perfectly willing to have, much to the horror of the IOC.
Not all heroes wear capes, some, in this case wear crowns. Without getting all modern politics, for the 1980's, (at least as I remember them), this is a major step.
Story arc of Gerta, Zella, and Sophie working together incoming?
We have the means, the motive and the opportunity.
And I would be far from shocked if King Michael wasn't involved too somehow...
 
Sophie when she returns from Moscow is going to face many questions about what is next for her.
First off, after she got a serious illness after Montreal. Kat is going to insist that Sophie undergoes a thorough medical check-up supervised by Dr. Berg, and Sophie may vent about how bad the medical care at the Olympics was for the athletes in general, and especially for the women, and I think that both Kat and Dr. Berg would ask Sophie if she had a solution herself, and if she really wants to do something then becoming a doctor specializing in Sports Medicine is that solution, and with her two Gold Medals that would give her instant creditability with the IOC.

Second, Sophie is still young healthy and uninjured enough to compete until the Seoul Olympics in 1988, and maybe credible enough to compete at the 1992 Olympics.
I could see Kat with her disdain for competitive sports ask Sophie that with two Gold Medals and some world championships is there anything left for her to achieve besides getting more medals?

Sepp should give it a rest when it comes to his mother, she finally has someone who loves her wholeheartedly and is a good person, and now she has a daughter after having three sons, her oldest who is way too serious, her middle son is a criminal who is either going to die in prison or on the street, and her third son with the help of her husband Dr. Ott, is going live up to his potential.
It shows how good a person Sepp is that he loves his baby sister unreservedly and takes care of her without any hesitation.
 
her middle son is a criminal who is either going to die in prison or on the street
Speaking of him and others like him...

OTL in Germany the idea of rehabilitation of criminals started to really take root after World War II, and in this case probably more in response to Nazi 'justice'. Reforms of criminal law happed in the 70s to codify this - interestingly in both halfs of the nation.

Since those potential career criminals can no longer simply be sent to the Marine Infantry (whatever reputation they might claim for themselves), are there any similar movements at work in TTL Germany?

Or is there too much of the Prussian Empire in there, without the influences that the Interwar Republic and the post World War II developments, and punishment is still the most important factor?
 
St. Gia, Living Patron Saint of the Spetnatz, ArchDuchess of the House of Romanoff, has not spoken yet and I would think after what happened in Moscow she would have a few things to say.
 
Not all heroes wear capes, some, in this case wear crowns. Without getting all modern politics, for the 1980's, (at least as I remember them), this is a major step.
In this case he does wear both. And he likes to prance around in historical costumes. But the Renfaires in Bohemia must be awesome.
 
In this case he does wear both. And he likes to prance around in historical costumes. But the Renfaires in Bohemia must be awesome.
I have this idea that more than one unit in the Bohemian Army wears outfits that make the Swiss guards at the Vatican look like they are wearing olive drab. Bonus points if he has Polish Winged Hussars in his Cavalry guards.
 
Part 156, Chapter 2842
Chapter Two Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty-Two



9th August 1980

Kashmir, North-West India

The wind was howling around Malcolm’s tent in Camp 3 as he worked on the valve of the oxygen bottle. His knowledge of this system was from when he had been doing basic training with the Luftwaffe Reserve. That had been before he had known that he would be spending all of his time in the bunker staring at a monitor analyzing the satellite feed. Having to babysit the rest of the section came later.

It was Malcolm’s understanding that Camp 3 had been selected because it was one of the few halfway level spots on the mountain and it was located just below 8000 meters, above which the lethal “Death Zone” began. That struck Malcolm as being somewhat farcical. The climb from House’s Chimney and up the Black Pyramid had proven harrowing for the expedition, with a fatality when one of the members had made an error while fixing ropes and had resulted in him being sent plunging down the mountain narrowly missing the group that Malcolm had been climbing with. There had been injuries, some fairly major, due to the dangers of the weather, altitude, and the mountain itself. The head of expedition, Gerhard Schmatz, had suffered a fall that had resulted in him having broken ribs and possibly a broken wrist. Gerhard’s wife Hannelore, the only woman on the expedition had gone down the mountain with the party of Sherpas when they had decided that they needed to get him back to basecamp. That left Kurt Albert in charge of the expedition and as George Fennell had pointed out to Malcolm, a picture had started to form of who in the expedition was going to be in on the final assault on the summit. Of the half dozen remaining climbers, all of them were in their mid-twenties, extremely fit, skilled mountaineers, and crazy enough to keep going. That is until this mountain killed them all.

Fennell found that funny, of course, he had told Malcolm that he was either going to conquer this mountain or die trying. The thing was that Malcolm was coming to understand Fennell’s attitude about this mountain, how it was a living, vengeful thing waiting to trap the unwary or unlucky. When it came to dying, it had so many ways to oblige.



Königsberg, East Prussia

All her life Dalia had wished that she could just be normal, that the illiteracy that had resulted from dyslexia would just go away. The trouble was that more and more it was becoming a case of being careful what you wished for.

At the market where she worked had cut her a lot of slack over the last few years because they had seen her as an idiot. When she had started being tutored by Cecilie, she had figured that it was probably a waste of time. Cecilie had seen things differently, telling Dalia that she could be a student at the Alberta University and study Art for real someday if she applied to herself.

What no one could have prepared Dalia for was the reaction of other people as her literacy had slowly improved. The Manager of the market she worked at had often berated her over her frequent failures as a result of not being able to read labels and tags. Yet as those difficulties had passed, she had noticed that he had come to resent her. It wasn’t just the manager though. One of the baggers, a teenaged boy had demanded to know who she thought she was. Dalia had not understood what he had been getting at until he had told her that people didn’t just stop being stupid. Was she putting one over on them? Or had she been playing them as saps all along?

What could possibly cause the people around her to reach that sort of conclusion? Dalia had no clue.

Recently, Dalia had gone to work and discovered that she no longer had a job. She had gone to the Manager and had asked why? It wasn’t as if she was late often, rude to the customers, or had her hand in the till. That didn’t matter though, the Manager said that because of the current economy hard decisions needed to be made, so she should just collect her pay packet and not cause a scene. She knew that he was lying, that he felt that he couldn’t trust her for the reasons that the Bagger had mentioned. Faulting the economy was just an excuse to get rid of her.

Dalia’s mother had a different take on things though. If there was a possibility that she could get into University, Cecilie’s husband was President of the Alberta after all, then that might give her a chance at future that didn’t involve spending her whole life in a place like Königsberg. Like it or not, the city that she had spent her whole life in was a complete dead end.



Wilhelmshaven

Otto Kretschmer had found that his involvement in reaching a final settlement with the respective Governments and setting a course of action regarding the shipwreck of the RMS Lusitania had been noticed by certain players. That had included the ongoing mitigation of the danger that the contents of the Lusitania’s cargo holds represented. Tons of explosives sitting on the bottom of the ocean that might go boom at any time was not something that anyone wanted anywhere near their shores.

That was how Otto had found himself aboard the SMFS Meteor II, a Research Ship that was owned by the Kaiserliche Marine and run jointly by the KM, the Ministry of Education and Research, and the Wilhelm Institute. The Meteor was also the tinder ship for a TsUB IV, Deep Sea U-Boat Type IV. A sub that had been built to explore the deepest parts of the World’s Oceans. For Otto, it was chance to do what he did best, finding ships. Even if the one he would be looking for had already sunk decades ago.
 
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The RMS Lusitania is lies at 305 feet of water at a 30 degree angle on the bottom. It is covered by fishing nets and also has had the effects of depth charges going off around it during both world wars.
 
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