Part 50, Chapter 665
Chapter Six Hundred Sixty-Five


9th July 1948

Kure, Japan

The shipyards were too valuable to leave abandoned so they were rebuilt along with the city itself. Still though, the workers here complained that they were walking on ghosts. It was a statement that Taichi Satou found particularly offensive. He was one of the rare few who had survived the Night of Whispers. The firestorm and the gas that had followed. Many would say that he was already a ghost, a grey limping form that lived only around the margins. The paralyzed right side of his face frozen forever in a twisted rictus, the sightless eye on that side. The rest of his mind and body was similarly twisted by the effects of the gas. Taichi’s survival was dependent upon a Government pension but even he knew that this was no kind of life.

Still, Taichi refused to leave Kure, the ashes of everything he’d lost was here. He could only pray that the family he’d once had had been killed by the concussive blasts that had preceded the arrival of the gas. He could remember the feeling of the convulsions and spasms as his body had reacted to the exposure. The seconds that had seemed to stretch on for eternity. That had happened while he had been trying to rush home after the attack started. He had not made it. Instead he’d woken up in a hospital in Tokyo with Doctors trying to figure out how he, a mere worker in the shipyards of Kure, had survived when the multitudes around him had not.

Now Taichi was looking had the newspaper stand in his neighborhood in absolute rage as the story was about a sword, a 500-year-old katana. It had been captured in battle and a week ago it had been returned to its rightful owner. While it could be argued that it had been kept as a souvenir, the young soldier from the German Marine Infantry had said that he didn’t feel right keeping it. This Dietrich Schultz had used the opportunity of General Yoshitsugu Saitō being in Berlin to return it.

General Saitō himself had been put into a bind, unsure of how to react to this simple gesture. The Japanese Press had quickly seized upon the story, that even amid the Pacific War, which had been savage by all accounts, the Germans had done their best to remain an honorable enemy. There were elements within the Japanese Government who probably saw the benefit of it as well. Taichi thought that was a farce. How could anyone be honorable if their actions included killing entire cities?


Berlin

The guard van was profoundly different from anything that Kat had ridden in as a girl. This was purpose built, not a converted boxcar.

“All the comforts of home” Otto said as he opened the door and Kat climbed up with long practice.

That was a bit of an understatement. While it lacked the decadence of Manfred von Wolvogle’s train, it had a bit of everything else. Kat saw cabins with bunks as she walked through the narrow passage to the galley kitchen and common space.

“Have a seat” Otto said as he went into the kitchen, “You still drink coffee?”

“Yes” Kat replied as she sat at the table, “But I would rather know what you want?”

Otto sat a cup down in front of her before sitting down across the table. Kat fixed Otto with a look that would have blasted the paint off the wall behind him after reducing him to mere atoms. “You have every right to be angry with me” He said.

“I’m not angry with you” Kat replied, “I feel sorry for you. You’ve done your best to alienate the people closest to you and wreck everything good in your life for the last twenty-six years.”

“That reminds me. Happy birthday, Katherine” Otto said with a smile.

Kat was clearly not amused by that. “My birthday is not for a few weeks” She said, flatly.

“You know what I mean” Otto said, “I’m leaving on another run to the Far East tonight and won’t be here for your birthday.”

“Bullshit” Kat snapped, “If you were here you would probably be drunk and doing God only knows what in the apartment that you keep over Bert’s Tavern.”

“I swear, every year you seem to become more and more like your Aunt Marcella” Otto said, “That was the sort of thing she might say.”

“You say that as if it’s a dreadful thing” Kat replied before taking a sip of the coffee. It was military grade sludge, hardly worth drinking but she had gotten used to it during the war.

“The last thing on Earth I want is for us to have the sort of relationship that I have with your Aunt. Living constantly with her disapproval when she isn’t blindsiding me with a bottle or a shovel.”

“When did Marcella hit you with a shovel?” Kat asked.

Otto waved that away, “You know what I mean” He said.

“Just tell me what you want” Kat replied.

“On these runs to the Far East, the round trip is at least two or three weeks” Otto said, “That gives me a lot of time to think and how I don’t like you being angry with me like you’ve been.”

“Can you understand why I’m angry with you?”

“Is this about Elisabeth Tritten again?” Otto asked, “Yes, she’s probably another of mine, but that can’t leave here.”

“That is the problem” Kat said, “You think that you are keeping us safe by putting distance between us, but it doesn’t work that way. All that is happening is that I’m forced to be the one taking on your responsibilities.”

Otto looked at his daughter and realized that once again she was the one taking heat for his choices. What exactly was he supposed to do about that?
 
Last edited:
Part 50, Chapter 666
Chapter Six Hundred Sixty-Six


18th July 1948

Wunsdorf-Zosen

The fires burned bright as the sacrifice was brought forth dragged forward by two Acolytes, the congregation was a mass of densely packed people, in the half light of the fires they were just a writhing, chanting mass. They stood before the High Priest who invoked Satan as he brandished a wicked looking dagger…

It was obvious that the actress who had been cast in the role as the “human sacrifice” did not get the part because of her acting ability. This was further confirmed when her dress was torn off. When Jost had been a teenager that movie scene would have been a dream come true, now as an adult it just left him bored, though the part of him that was still an adolescent did admire the rather ample assets that the actress possessed. The cheering and applauding of the other men in the theater was proof of that. The fact that she had been without her clothes for what had seemed like half the movie did absolutely nothing for her wooden delivery of the lines and that she had absolutely no chemistry with the male lead. Right on cue. The hero leaped into action to save the girl from the Black Mass when Jost would have been temped to let them get on with the barbeque and then found someone who came across as having more brains than a turnip.

The truth was that Jost had known in the first five minutes that this movie was horribly derivative. While Jost appreciated a good B-Reel movie for the camp and inadvertent comedy, with this one all the components came together in exactly the wrong way. It was trash that lacked the charm to be considered good trash. Mostly it was because the filmmakers had tried to rise above the nature of material and clearly failed miserably. It being in color only made it worse, the special effects that might have worked in black and white, looked fake and cheap. Most of all the writing was an insult to the intelligence of whoever had paid the cost of a ticket. They should have payed the writers more and the special effects team less, was Jost’s conclusion. They also needed someone in charge of casting who wasn’t a horndog.

It was part of a wider trend that Jost had noticed, the whole Horror genre was in steep decline. Gore, nudity and what Doug Blackwood had once referred to as torture porn were being used as cheap substitute for decent writing in European studios. The American scene was even worse in the opposite extreme, those films were totally sanitized and cartoonish. Mercifully, the end credits rolled and Jost left the theater.

“What did you think, Spear?” One of the Soldaten asked who had been in the theater asked.

Jost just shrugged, he didn’t have time to explain all the reasons why he thought the movie had sucked.


Potsdam

There was a breathtaking scale to having a State visit like this. In this case the Japanese Emperor and his family had arrived in response to an invitation given to him by Louis Ferdinand a year prior. Being greeted at the airport and shuttled across the city they had been greeted by First Imperial Foot and Second Life Hussars in a display that looked like something from another century. The understanding was that these were the largely ceremonial troops. However, it was also understood that they were all combat veterans who had served with distinction and they were oathbound to the German Emperor and his family. While they were guests of Emperor Louis that protection was extended to them beyond their own security.

After a day of waiting for everyone in the Imperial Party to recover from the effects of the changes of traveling across several time zones at once Suga had grown bored, no one was paying attention when she wandered off. Her handlers had been told that the Orangery Palace, where they were staying in what were called the Czar and Czarina’s apartment for some reason, was on extensive grounds that were patrolled and monitored by a detachment from the 28th Regiment, there was nowhere for her to go that wouldn’t be seen. Apparently, they were used to chasing someone named Freddy around and nothing surprised them anymore. Suga figured that they probably would not stand for her to just be wandering around, even here. Tonight, they would be officially greeted in the Court of the German Emperor. Suga would be in another one of those seen and not heard situations that were all anyone seemed to expect from her.

Stepping out into the summer air she saw a statue standing before a wide empty tree-lined avenue that ran down the hill. There was a sound of birds chirping, wind in the trees and the distant sounds of a train whistle. A brown and white dog came running up to her, dropped a slobber-soaked, felt covered tennis ball by her feet and was sniffing at her. Sure, Suga had seen dogs before but this one was far bigger, as big as she was, long legs and floppy ears. To her mortification it licked her face.

“Ueli!” A voice yelled. The dog stopped what it was doing and turned in the direction that the voice had come from. “Ueli!” The voice called again.

Suga saw it was a boy her age, wearing what looked like bits and pieces of military uniforms. The dog ran to him and gave him the sort of greeting that dogs gave their people even if it had only been a few minutes. The boy picked the ball up, didn’t he realize it was covered in dog slobber? He hurled the ball away and the dog bounded after it. Then he turned and said something to Suga that she couldn’t understand.
 
They should have payed the writers more and the special effects team less, was Jost’s conclusion. They also needed someone in charge of casting who wasn’t a horndog.

The more things change... Could Jost perhaps find his place in the entertaingment industry and renew it?

Interesting development with the japanese, this could lead to many interesting and exciting places. Not only for the persons involved, but for the countries. Trying to guess what is coming (and failing to do so) is one of the best qualities in this TL.
 
Absolutely not shipping Suga and Freddy but:

"At the tail end of the reception one of the newsreel photographers caught some footage of Suga and Freddy in their finery sitting on the bottom step of a staircase. They were conversing with the aid of a German-Japanese phrasebook and dictionary. At the end of the clip they were evidently called away because Freddy scrambled to his feet and extended a hand to assist Suga. He had the dictionary in his other hand and he presented it to Suga with a formal bow."
 
Denial ain't just a River in Egypt indeed. Because certainly the guy knows JACK SHIT of what it took to push the Germans to the point of doing that.

Eeeh. We're talking about a country that saw two world wars already, both at their doorstep. Them doing that to Japan, if ugly, is expectable... as long as you have the hindsight that the dockworker does not have.
 
Denial ain't just a River in Egypt indeed. Because certainly the guy knows JACK SHIT of what it took to push the Germans to the point of doing that.
He was firebombed and gassed. He lost his family, and his hope is that they died in the blasts and not by being burned alive. This is not something to rationalize away as "it was actually our leadership's fault".
 
The fact that the flagship of the USN Atlantic Fleet is the USS Montana shows how far off the thought process that the leadership of the USN is.

Don't make assumptions about the Montana; it's highly probable that as the lead ship of her class she was designed with accommodations for one or more flag officers and their staffs.
 
And the Montana might also have the necessary signals equipment as well as the facilities for seaplanes as well as reconnaisance and liason aircraft.
 
Last edited:
And the Montana might also have the necessary signals equipment as well as the facilities for seaplanes as well as reconnaisance and liason aircraft.

By the way, here's the Wiki entry fo the USS Montana. Basically, 12x16" guns, 28 knots (too slow to escort Essexes), really heavy armor, too big to fit through the Panama Canal, two catapults for 3-4 floatplanes.

I wonder about how the speeds of the Preussen and her sisters and that of the Graf von Richthofen match up.
 

Md139115

Banned
By the way, here's the Wiki entry fo the USS Montana. Basically, 12x16" guns, 28 knots (too slow to escort Essexes), really heavy armor, too big to fit through the Panama Canal, two catapults for 3-4 floatplanes.

I wonder about how the speeds of the Preussen and her sisters and that of the Graf von Richthofen match up.

Keep in mind that unless P-M says it’s OTL Montana, it could be a very different ship.
 

FBKampfer

Banned
Turtledove season is upon us. Stupid Luck and Happenstance has been nominated and seconded.

@Peabody-Martini, I know it's already been said countless times, but your writing is without equal. I have immensely loved your story, and it has brought me both to laughter and to tears, and I can think of no better compliment I can give.

Win or not, you've already earned my admiration, and avid attention. I look forward to reading your next work.
 
Turtledove season is upon us. Stupid Luck and Happenstance has been nominated and seconded.

@Peabody-Martini, I know it's already been said countless times, but your writing is without equal. I have immensely loved your story, and it has brought me both to laughter and to tears, and I can think of no better compliment I can give.

Win or not, you've already earned my admiration, and avid attention. I look forward to reading your next work.

When voting comes up, please be sure to link
 
Top