Part 43, Chapter 554
Chapter Five Hundred Fifty-Four


5th August 1946

Kiel

Jacob was looking out the window of his office at the SMS Preussen, the same office that had once belonged to Erich Raeder. Jacob had discovered that overlooking one of the busiest drydocks in Kiel helped put the realities of his job in perspective. One of the most formidable ships afloat and one wouldn’t know it to look at her in this state. Every hatch was open and where that didn’t accomplish what was wanted cutting torches had been employed. The sides were engulfed in scaffolding as crews modified, sandblasted and painted the portion of the ship that was normally below the waterline.

Jacob knew how many hours were required to maintain a ship of the Preussen Class for every hour spent at sea. It was the staggering cost in manpower and material that Battleships ate up that would eventually doom their existence as aircraft grew more effective. He’d known during the war that he’d probably extended the life of such ships in the World’s Navies by a decade with his clever use of them. Now he was seeing that play out as he battled with the Reichstag. They were seeking proposals for a successor to the Preussen Class, Jacob’s position was that doing that would be a waste of resources.

From his perspective dozens of new Destroyers for the Pacific Squadron were what they needed to be building at the moment as well as completing the process of modernizing the Submarine fleet. The SMS Manfred von Richthofen was finally about to join the Aircraft Carriers in service. The final design with the angled flight deck and steam catapult system was going to allow the Kaiserliche Marine Luftflottenkommando to finally enter the jet age. Jacob had assessments sitting on his desk regarding the refit of the Voss, the Graf Zeppelin and the Lilienthal. The older ship Class based on Mackensen hulls were probably going to follow the conversions into the breakers. It all came down to cost. The demise of the Bayern Class had angered a lot of constituencies and had been one of the last things that Raeder had done as Grand Admiral, sparing Jacob from having to make that decision. Jacob himself had felt like a piece of his youth had gone away forever when the SMS Bayern had been stricken.

The other thing that was consuming his mind as well as those of the Fleet’s planners was the appearance of nuclear weapons and possibilities of nuclear power. That was possibly a bigger disruption than the appearance of the HMS Dreadnaught decades earlier. Ships that could potentially go around the world without refueling, subs that could do the same without needing to on or run near the surface to recharge the batteries. The other disruptive technology was the rockets and not just the ones that that Luftwaffe jealously guarded. During the war the Navy had funded research into sold fuel rockets, now that research was starting to produce viable weapons systems. The researchers who were involved with that regarded Jacob’s hiring one of the foremost experts on rocket guidance systems in the form of Albrecht von Richthofen as quite a coup. Jacob was perfectly content to let them keep thinking that.

Jacob’s side venture continued to be a source of both satisfaction and frustration. When they had a new accomplishment it was satisfying, the rest of the time it was frustrating. The introduction of Frau Lamarr had come on the heels of Nessa showing up the week before. That had proven more than the ecosystem could handle. Nessa was frighteningly intelligent, even when compared to the young men she had found herself surrounded by. And she had just come from setting off a nuclear bomb in the South Pacific. Jacob had noticed that most of his staff was actually intimidated by his daughter.

Hedy touring the lab had caused all work to grind to a halt. Esther had been a big help in getting things running again, she had a great deal of experience in dealing with overgrown children. Esther had also mentioned that Hedy had told her that she was looking to come back to Europe to escape a difficult personal situation, something Jacob hadn’t known about. It was similar to the situation that had led to her leaving for Hollywood to escape an unhappy marriage more than a decade earlier. Having Jacob basically offer Hedy everything that she wanted in the pursuit of being an inventor had sealed the deal.

Jacob made a mental note to be sure to buy flowers for Esther every Friday for the next few months in appreciation of her efforts.


Berlin

“I notice that you are in fact wearing the ring” Peter said.

Kat unconsciously moved to hide her hands. “It was a thoughtful gift” She said, “Even if it is presumptuous.”

Kat had come in for her usual appointment and had launched into a tirade about what had happened. How Gianna had worked with Doug to make it happen and then her friend’s reactions. Gerta had wasted no time getting Helene back on the phone while Kat had been distracted by Nancy who was wondering what was going on. Helene had in turn told Hans who had called Aunt Marcella and things had snowballed from there. By the time Kat had left for Potsdam to brief the Empress on the Week’s events and to give her the condensed intelligence report Fredrich Grossmann from the BT was on the phone trying to confirm the story. Naturally, Kira wasn’t interested in the usual topics she wanted to see the ring.

“Have you given it any thought?” Peter asked.

“Thought about what?” Kat asked in reply.

“Your Fiancé’s question” Peter said flatly.

“No fair” Kat hissed.

“All’s fair in love and war Katherine” Peter said, “Now having seen both are you interested talking about either?”

Kat stared at him for a long moment. “Yes, I’ve thought about it. Satisfied?”

“Any conclusions?” Peter asked.

Kat sat in silence. She had answered that question with her silence to a degree. Peter had seen this before in the past when she’d rather throw herself out the nearest window than answer a question she was of two minds about. So, no conclusions yet.
 
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The idealists and the pessimists. Both tended to look at politics in terms of black and white. Lang was having to break it to them the reality was that it was a thousand shades of grey, frequently the least worst deals were ones where no one was happy with the outcome.
...
“Doesn’t an agreement require rational players?”
...
They had seen first hand what happens when there is a lack of rational players. It was the sort of thing that was on everyone’s mind over the last couple of months as the language used by the American President grew increasingly bellicose.
Quoted for truth.


Small nitpick:
a silver ring
You don't use silver for high class jewels, it tarnishs, you use white gold or platinum.
 
You don't use silver for high class jewels, it tarnishs, you use white gold or platinum.

I suspect "Silver colored" is meant. One thing that is regular in this story is the unreliable narrator. We see things from the perspective of characters who don't know things, so we see their interpretations.
 
I suspect "Silver colored" is meant. One thing that is regular in this story is the unreliable narrator. We see things from the perspective of characters who don't know things, so we see their interpretations.
The ring being made of silver was mentioned earlier through differed narrators. I only mentioned it in this post as an attachment.
 
One rather easy patent that would generate a lot of royalties would be a easy to manufacture electronic calculator for government, universities and buisnesses.
 
One rather easy patent that would generate a lot of royalties would be a easy to manufacture electronic calculator for government, universities and buisnesses.

It'll be competing with the already-established comptometer (patented in 1887), an electro-mechanical device that could do multiplication and division as well as addition and subtraction. Those early geeks did all kinds of kewel stuff, specially after electric motors decreased in size.
 
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Okay I didn't know they already had such a good calculator. Well perhaps an intern could create a massproducible electronic version.
 
Hedy touring the lab had caused all work to grind to a halt. Esther had been a big help in getting things running again, she had a great deal of experience in dealing with overgrown children. Esther had also mentioned that Hedy had told her that she was looking to come back to Europe to escape a difficult personal situation, something Jacob hadn’t known about. It was similar to the situation that had led to her leaving for Hollywood to escape an unhappy marriage more than a decade earlier. Having Jacob basically offer Hedy everything that she wanted in the pursuit of being an inventor had sealed the deal.

Jacob made a mental note to be sure to buy flowers for Esther every Friday for the next few months in appreciation of her efforts.
So a certain boss of an Hollywood studio was seeking to add miss Lamarr to the notches in his bed post and she was running out of excuses, tactics and the offer of the German studies combined with the offer of Admiral Schmidt fell like a heavenly gift?

...... You know? Given things as they are now, there are BIG odds here that Lamarr may, after a time back in Germany, and given how better are things in the German Cinematic scene and studios compared to the Mafia ridden, ego driven scene in Hollywood, open contacts with several of the Hollywood Actors and Actresses that are to this point tired of the situation in California and would be perfectly happy to jump the Atlantic if they were to have a channel of contact into the German Studios.

Could anyone imagine the potential reactions of the Hollywood studios as several of their Oscar winner actors and actresses jumped ship and dumped them, instead becoming figures in the European scene?

And their likely retaliation, as the European laws would spit in the quasi Slavery contracts of these figures, namely by promoting movies insulting the Germans's history and specially the history of the First World War..... pissing in the image of Grand Marshall Wolvogle..... and enraging most of Europe that admired the Undefeated Marshall.....
 
Part 43, Chapter 555
Chapter Five Hundred Fifty-Five


5th August 1946

Berlin

“You said not to worry about the cost Gia” Doug said as he handed her the receipt for the ring, “And you said you’d help me with it.” He felt a bit ridiculous for meeting his girlfriend’s cousin over this matter, but he wanted to see what would happen and was actually hoping that Gianna would have any news about if Kat had given any more thought about the implied question from the other night.

Gianna looked at it as if it were a venomous snake. The number was far more than she thought it would be and that wasn’t the only surprise, the silver ring wasn’t made of silver, only silver colored. “What’s the deal with this?” she asked.

“The jeweler looked at the stones and said that setting them in silver didn’t make much sense” Doug said. While Gianna thought that Doug had been upsold, the jeweler did have a point and the platinum worked with the other things Kat wore and perhaps it would be durable enough to not have Kat eventually destroy it.

“Give me a few hours to work this out with the bank” Gianna said, “I can cover this easily, except they always ask questions.”

“Really” Doug replied, “That is unexpected.” He’d been expecting to have to take some extra assignments in some uncomfortable places, like back to Egypt, Siberia or the Amazon Basin to cover this.

“Some of my relatives think thought that they could entice me into their brand of public stupidity with gifts on my birthday” Gianna said, “That included money among other things. Having them pay to help Kat find a bit of happiness is justice if you ask me.”

“I thought that Strobels and Mischners were the only family you had?” Doug asked.

“They’re the family that I have that I actually like” Gianna said, “The rest are cousins who are stiffs for the most part.”

“And why do you think that it would be justice?”

“A third cousin of mine, once removed, is married to a man who has been jerking Kat around for her whole career and her brother wanted to use me to advance his own ambitions through marriage” Gianna said with a great deal of disgust, “And my Great Uncle’s son seems like he would be a real bother if I responded to him.”

“These people aren’t related to Kat?” Doug asked.

“Of course not” Gianna said, “None of them would still be breathing if they were.”

“I can see why you prefer not to deal with that side of your family” Doug replied.

It was actually both sides of her family, Gianna thought to herself. She much preferred her adopted family to her actual extended family.

To Doug’s surprise the money was transferred to his business account the next day with very little fuss, he was planning on eventually paying back Gianna anyway, this would make that much easier. The bank manager had mentioned that they preferred to keep a customer of her stature happy in passing. “You mean Gräfin von Mischner?” He’d asked.

“No” The Bank Manager said, and that would be all he said on the subject.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Nancy had promised her mother that she would write. The last meal that she had with her family had not gone well. Her father had not liked the idea of her traveling to Europe to study for a year. Her father had never been able to get past the idea that this was the home of the people he’d considered the enemy in his youth when he’d been a Soldier in the US Army. Her mother knew very little about Europe beyond what she saw in movies and had worried that she would fall in with libertines or be swept up in the tide of revolution. So far, nothing like that had happened.

Instead, Nancy was writing about Gia’s birthday party and who had shown up for breakfast. Kat’s dear friend Helene had recently married Hans, who was also Kat’s brother. The two of them had been nice. They had told stories of their honeymoon in Italy and how they had spent it exploring and going wherever their fancy took them.

Maria, who was Kat and Gia’s mentor was amazing. She told stories about being a correspondent and her daughter Zella was excited about starting school. Maria also had a son who was still a baby, but she had arranged for him to spend the morning with his grandparents. Maria’s husband, Emil was said to be a General, but he had mostly self-contained in the same way that Nancy’s father was.

There was Gerta, she was dressed in full faux Gypsy splendor. Something she had done for years according to Kat. Between her wild blond curls and bells on her shoes Gerta cut quite a figure. Interestingly, she was exactly the sort of person that Nancy’s mother had warned her about. Yet Gerta had shown absolutely no interest in getting Nancy to do anything that she didn’t want to do.

Finally, there were the girls. Kat had said that she had recruited them to act as the body doubles for a Russian princess and then felt obligated towards them afterwards. Asia was silent most of the time though she and Gia lived together and were always exchanging whispers and quiet laughs. Ilse lived in a room just under the roof on the third flood, she struck Nancy as someone still trying to find herself. The others lived in student housing and were interested in various pursuits.

Finally, there was Gianna. While she was warm and friendly and had gone out of her way to help Nancy, she’d said that she had been found by Kat at a particularly dark moment but hadn’t elaborated. According to Ilse, Gianna had an old scar from a bullet wound that she had received at the same time her family had been killed by the Soviets. That was a shocking detail.

Most of all Nancy had tried to write that what she’d found here was totally unlike anything she’d imagined. Between the radically different culture and shocking age of some of the buildings she was left feeling like her head was spinning most of the time.
 
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According to Ilse, Gianna had an old scar from a bullet wound that she had received at the same time her family had been killed by the Soviets. That was a shocking detail.

I think the opening counterstrike in the Cold War is about to be leaked by a non-German agent FBI man. Gia's about to get a lot more scrutiny and publicity...
 
There has been hints that the Gianna/Jehane situation is coming to a head, first Gianna speaks in Qubecrois French to Doug then practically spills the story of her life to Nancy when they first meet.

I think that Gianna likes how normal her life is while a part of Jehane wants to reclaim her identity.
The problem is that she can not have both.
 
There has been hints that the Gianna/Jehane situation is coming to a head, first Gianna speaks in Qubecrois French to Doug then practically spills the story of her life to Nancy when they first meet.

I think that Gianna likes how normal her life is while a part of Jehane wants to reclaim her identity.
The problem is that she can not have both.
Or maybe it will go well...until the Tsar bites it and she is asked to make a big sacrifice. Although, god help any aristocrat who gets her as Tsarina (or any assassin for that matter).
Headline from the Moscow Gazette: Tsarina kills four, bludgeons fifth. "They had it coming"
 
Something that will really help Gianna when this comes out is that she's pretty consistently no one's pawn, and the article by Maria shows this to be the case.

I'm pretty sure in Kat's part of town, it's an open secret that Gianna is probably the Romanov heir but one everyone just nods about rather than discussing.

I also think more people in the POW camps would have noticed the facial features and diction, so she's likely more known than she thinks.

The American and Canadian reactions will be more interesting.
 
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