Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Part 122, Chapter 2059
Chapter Two Thousand Fifty-Nine



1st May 1971

Over rural Argentina, near Córdoba

A lifetime had given Manfred von Richthofen a bit of perspective over matters he was mostly past. Mostly it revolved around how silly the games young people played were. Sitting in his seat, he observed how Emil Holz’s girl Zella and Yuri, the Cameraman, who was accompanying her were attempting to act as if they were just co-workers. Manfred knew that they had been all over the World over the last few years and if there were any chemistry between them, nature would eventually run its course. Of course, sometimes it took a while to get there. Käte would have laughed at what was going on here. She would have said that if it was obvious to the likes of Manfred, then it must be to everyone else. It would have made sitting in the tight confines of the Dorner Private Jet that Manfred owned for this extended flight to Argentina uncomfortable if he couldn’t see the humor in the situation. The two of them were with Manfred so that they could film this trip for the people back home.

This was meant to be an inspection tour of sorts. Manfred had retired decades earlier to manage his estate, but because he was regarded as being one of the Luftwaffe’s greatest heroes, he was asked to visit units in the field. It was something that he was honored to do. Especially because the one of units he was going to be paying a visit to was Jasta 11 of JG 1, his old unit, the same one that still regarded their Commanding Officer as having an “acting” role in the absence of the Rittmeister, meaning Manfred himself as if he might one day return. Every time the Squadron received a new type of fighter plane, they made a point of painting one of their planes in the crimson and white livery of his plane when he had led the Squadron. It was entirely for public consumption and Manfred knew that once the publicity was over, they painted it the colors of the rest of the Squadron. Still, it was a nice gesture that helped ground Jasta 11 and JG 1 in their shared history.

As the jet entered the pattern and landed, Manfred saw the jets from Jasta 11 parked on the flight line. Beside them were planes panted a mixture of white, black, and red. He recognized them as being from Schlasta 5, part of SKG 18. He had heard about the rivalry between Jasta 11 and the Jabos. The pilots of his old Squadron had no idea that the two Squadrons had a shared history that went all the way back to the First World War, pre-dating the Luftwaffe. Schlasta 5 had been a part of the air armada that had flown against the Soviets over Poland in the 20’s and JG 1 had escorted them during that air offensive. Manfred knew that he would need to spend some time talking with the members of the Fighter-Bomber Pilots. They had acquitted themselves well in this conflict so far.



Los Angeles, California

After a year of riding with Wilkinson, Ritchie was getting used to having Big Mike Washington as a partner. One of the few Black Officers in the Division. Ritchie had heard that there had been a bit of snickering in Personnel over this. The big Black guy and the little Mexican guy stuck in the same car for an extended period of time all day. What was the worst that could happen?

He wasn’t just called Big Mike because his son was Little Mike, though that much was true. He was also called that because he was built like a Linebacker, something that he had in fact been when he had played Football for UCLA a decade earlier. Later on, with little prospect of advancing on to the NFL and Degree in Physical Education, Mike had gone for the one employer in LA who would not turn him away because of the color of his skin, only caring about his ability to break heads. Him being six-six and somewhere in the ballpark of three hundred pounds made him someone who no suspect with an ounce of sanity would tangle with, that much was certain.

The truth was that unless Mike had his blood up, he was fairly easygoing generally. Word was that he was still a Police Officer 3 after ten years because he liked being in Patrol and wasn’t interested in moving higher in the ranks. He also hated driving, which meant that Ritchie often found himself behind the wheel. That was a key difference between Mike and Wilkinson. Wilkinson didn’t trust anyone driving and pointedly said as much on several occasions. That was why Ritchie had only driven the squad car a handful of times over the prior year. One of the unwritten rules was that the man in the passenger seat was the one sent in to get food while they were on shift. That was something that suited Mike fine. He was picky about just where they got food from and apparently one of his prior partners had messed up the order often, one of the few things that truly aggravated Mike.

As Mike climbed into the passenger seat, Ritchie felt the car’s suspension react to him sitting down. The smell of the fried-egg sandwiches and fresh coffee filled the car.

“You sure you don’t want anything to eat?” Mike asked.

“Quite sure” Ritchie replied.

Mike just shrugged. He ate enough for both of them.

“What stupidity you think we’ll be seeing to today?” Ritchie asked.

“Midday on a weekend?” Mike asked in reply, “Jack and shit if I were to guess. We won’t even have the neighborhood kids playing hooky today.”

“No” Ritchie said, “Just their parents, drunk and disorderly.”

Mike was silent for a few minutes after Ritchie said that. If there was anything the whole of the Department hated, it was so-called adults acting worse than children.
 
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Part 122, Chapter 2060
Chapter Two Thousand Sixty



10th May 1971

Mitte, Berlin

The fireworks were exploding right overhead and neither Nina nor Rauchbier liked the noise as they were sitting on the deck of the ML Meta a few hundred meters away from the barge that was moored on the bank of the River Spree. If Kiki had known that she would have a frightened dog cowering under her chair and a baby howling in displeasure, she would have made sure they were home before the fireworks began. It was a sour note to end what had been a wonderful week on. Ben glanced over his shoulder, a look of concern on his face. It was merely the latest of those which she had been getting since he had returned from Argentina. With that, Kiki carried Nina into the pilot house, which was somewhat protected from the noise and sat down on one of the bench seats. Rauchbier followed her into the pilot house before disappearing down into the aft cabin, presumably to hide under the bed.

Kiki had had the Meta taken out of storage so that the Motor Barge could join the Flotilla composed of dozens of small craft including the Royal Barge that had been specially constructed for the prior week’s events, though Freddy was talking about having it be a regular thing. After all, Germany had been linked by rivers and canals long before the existence of railroads and the highway network. Most of the Flotilla was composed of Motor Barges similar to the Meta along with a handful of Cabin Cruisers and other types of craft which ran on the rivers. A few of the Kaiserliche Marine’s Riverine Fleet and a pair of Patrol Boats of the Federal Police had been along as security.

A week earlier, on Monday the 3rd, the Flotilla had departed Berlin cruising down the Spree and Havel to the Oder-Havel Canal. From there they had proceeded north to Stettin, the west on the Baltic visiting coastal cities along the way. Then they had transited the Wilhelm Canal, with a stop in Hamburg. Finally, the Flotilla had proceeded up the Elbe River to Berlin, arriving just in time for the fireworks display that was the Grand Finale of the National Centenary celebration that had started on the 18th of January. It had been a week of dodgy weather, questionable taste by those greeting them at the various stops, and finally the problems associated having a number of boats in different states of repair and piloting abilities. Many of the boats and barges that had started the journey had been left behind by necessity, though there had been no guarantees at the start that everyone accompanying them would make it to the end. Kiki had even found herself pressed into service as a Physician a few times. It felt like this week had been the first time that Kiki had enjoyed herself in what had felt like an eternity.

Kiki had always found the pace of life on the rivers and canals restful. Even the Flotilla had moved at a moderate speed, not really pressed to go anywhere quickly and that had been extremely welcome. Unfortunately, that was coming to an end and in a few hours, Kiki would be returning to Plänterwald and her life would resume with all the stresses, the issues with photographers knowing exactly where she was trying to get a photograph of her with Nina, and the problems with her career still hanging over her.

To think, it had been less than a year ago that her worst problems had been Zella’s at times impulsive nature and her younger sisters going to her cottage in order to hide from their responsibilities. That was the thought that struck her as she tried to get Nina to calm down. Now, she had delighted in how the rocking of the Meta as it plied the rivers helped Nina sleep, unless there were fireworks exploding just a few hundred meters over their heads.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of” Kiki said softly as she held her daughter close, feeling a bit ridiculous because she knew that Nina couldn’t understand. As another of the shells exploded in the sky sending showers of brightly colored sparks earthward.

Looking across the water, Kiki spotted Nella and Nan sitting in front of the pilot house of the royal barge. The two girls were staring up into the sky while munching on what looked like popcorn, their faces lit up by the fireworks. They had stopped coming around as much after Nina was born. A bit too much grownup responsibility on display for them if Kiki had to guess. They had always come to Kiki in order to do fun things outside the view of Charlotte, even if she made them do their studies and was a terrible cook, they still had a lot of fun. She had realized that she missed that but knew better than to directly invite Nella and Nan around. Kiki remembered how they had occasionally overstayed their welcome in the past.

Minutes later, as the fireworks display reached its conclusion Kiki finally got Nina to calm down, though she suspected that it was more exhaustion and relief that the loud noise from the fireworks were over. Climbing down the ladder to the saloon, Kiki realized that she still had months of leave ahead of her. If she wanted to, she could spend the summer on the Meta. The Black Sea, the South of France, or any number of other places were within reach. Ben would need to be talked into it, but it would be a comfortable way to learn to be a family. With that, the engine of the Meta turned over and she got underway, bound for her mooring which was just a short walk from home. She could get used to having someone else to do the piloting as well now that she was thinking about it.
 
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I am doubtfull on two points here.
First would Britain realy back Chile to that extent?
Because of point two, would the LoN back an aggressive war by Chile?

And while I can see the USA backing Chile to a degree here, I doubt they want to build the precedent of aggressive war as being ok. More so as they would probably face a block of other nations that have to lose something if this is going to happen... you know keeping the status quo and all that.
While the Brits could back Chile, I don't think they'll miss the opportunity to use this to settle the 'Falklands Question' with Argentina. Back Argentina, provide intel and political support, and in return get the Argentinian government to finally acknowledge British sovereignty over the Falklands. Possibly toss in a preferrential trade/fishing agreement to sweeten the deal and get better access to Argentine markets while they're at it.
A lifetime had given Manfred von Richthofen a bit of perspective over matters he was mostly past. Mostly it revolved around how silly the games young people played were. Sitting in his seat, he observed how Emil Holz’s girl Zella and Yuri, the Cameraman, who was accompanying her were attempting to act as if they were just co-workers. Manfred knew that they had been all over the World over the last few years and if there were any chemistry between them, nature would eventually run its course. Of course, sometimes it took a while to get there. Käte would have laughed at what was going on here. She would have said that if it was obvious to the likes of Manfred, then it must be to everyone else. It would have made sitting in the tight confines of the Dorner Private Jet that Manfred owned for this extended flight to Argentina uncomfortable it he couldn’t see the humor in the situation. The two of them were with Manfred so that they could film this trip for the people back home.
Is Yuri going to enter history as Yuri the Patient? Is he doomed to pine after Zella fruitlessly forever? Or will Zella realise too late her true feelings for Yuri? Stay tuned for another exciting episode of Stupid Luck and Happenstance! Same Bat-time! Same Bat-Channel!

(Speaking of, did Batman become a thing ITTL?)
Minutes later, as the fireworks display reached its conclusion Kiki finally got Nina to calm down, though she suspected that it was more exhaustion and relief that the loud noise from the fireworks were over. Climbing down the ladder to the saloon, Kiki realized that she still had months of leave ahead of her. If she wanted to, she could spend the summer on the Meta. The Black Sea, the South of France, or any number of other places were within reach. Ben would need to be talked into it, but it would be a comfortable way to learn to be a family. With that, the engine of the Meta turned over and she got underway, bound for her mooring which was just a short walk from home. She could get used to having someone else to do the piloting as well now that she was thinking about it.
I think Kiki is going to be OK and a fantastic mum. Still neurotic as hell though. And that river/canal cruise idea could be exactly what they all need.
 
Henry M. Jackson is a person who could come up of use ITTL. IOTL he was a World War 2 vet, Governor of and Senator from Washington State. ITTL, he could have been a vet and ITTL he could have served as Governor of Washington & a Senator. Plus, if he is as big a hawk ITTL as he was IOTL he could always end up succeeding Nelson Rockefeller.
 
If they have a LPD or LSD heading out to the PacFleet load the Meta on board and fly out when it gets to Japan or the German Pacific Islands. Then have a cruise so the little one can meet the cousins in Japan or cruise the islands where they love Kiki and would want to meet the little one also.
 
If they have a LPD or LSD heading out to the PacFleet load the Meta on board and fly out when it gets to Japan or the German Pacific Islands. Then have a cruise so the little one can meet the cousins in Japan or cruise the islands where they love Kiki and would want to meet the little one also.
The ML Meta is a Dutch Barge with a flat bottomed hull and shallow draft. Perfect for rivers and canals. She can operate in sheltered coastal waters such as the Baltic in calm weather, but the open ocean, even the South Pacific, is out of the question.

Image is of a Motor Barge of the same type that the Meta was based on.
IMG_6547-scaled-949x459.jpeg
 
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Random Thoughts from the Eve of the Reopening:
Too bad it was in bad taste for the request by the Germans to the French to use the Hall of Mirrors in Palace of Versailles in order to recreate the famous painting of the various Kings and other nobles of the various German States proclaiming King Wilhelm of Prussia as the Kaiser of the reunited German Empire.
Sen. Henry (Scoop) Jackson D-Boeing is probably the strongest challenger to Gov. Nixon for the Democratic nomination and while he was a Hawk on the Vietnam War IOTL he is more likely is pushing for a massive modernization and upgrade of the United States military in light of the proven advances by the Germans ITTL.
Kiki is still Kiking it and is trying to live a parody of a middle class lifestyle when in ITTL a middle class family in Germany can afford some household help.
Just as it was after the end of The European War when Russian women who couldn't go back home many of them became housekeepers to German families at this point it is older Korean women who are now working as housekeepers and nannies at wages that are very affordable to the middle class and more importantly far more money then was ever earned by the Korean women in Korea.
I can see the former Emperor Louis Ferdinand and his wife Charlotte living in the penthouse apartment they used while the New Winter Palace was being built.
Look for Kaiser Friedrich and Kaiserine Suga to make a trip out to the German Pacific Islands to show that they value the support and loyalty of the Islanders.
 
Look for Kaiser Friedrich and Kaiserine Suga to make a trip out to the German Pacific Islands to show that they value the support and loyalty of the Islanders.
With a stop in Japan on the way back, because, when you're in the neighbourhood...
 
While the Brits could back Chile, I don't think they'll miss the opportunity to use this to settle the 'Falklands Question' with Argentina. Back Argentina, provide intel and political support, and in return get the Argentinian government to finally acknowledge British sovereignty over the Falklands. Possibly toss in a preferrential trade/fishing agreement to sweeten the deal and get better access to Argentine markets while they're at it.
I mean OTL if the Argentinians had waited for a decade the Brits would have probably handed those Islands over without a fuss. They were important when the Empire still needed them as a coaling station, and then again once they were invaded. Not in between. In fact, they were considered a drain on resources in the between times...

ATL, with no open conflict over them? Yeah, it's not as if anyone would care too much about them. Maybe some dragging feet over saving face, but I doubt they'd object to Argentina buying them. (That is, if Argentina can afford it, and I doubt they can with a war currently going on.)
 
The Falklands have an importance to the UK OTL as they substantiate a claim on territory in Antarctica. But who knows what that situation ITTL is.
 
The ML Meta is a Dutch Barge with a flat bottomed hull and shallow draft. Perfect for rivers and canals. She can operate in sheltered coastal waters such as the Baltic in calm weather, but the open ocean, even the South Pacific, is out of the question.

Image is of a Motor Barge of the same type that the Meta was based on.
View attachment 653349
Even inshore, boats like the Meta would, as the old salts might say, “roll on wet grass”.
 
IOTL the Falklands Islands were not important strategically to Great Britain because the USN had operational control over the South Atlantic Ocean while the main focus of the RN was ASW in the North Atlantic against the Soviet Navy.
ITTL there is no threat to Great Britain but they do have concerns over the intentions of the German Empire as they have a major presence in both South Africa and Argentina and the German Navy as I pointed out before could restrict access in and out of the South Atlantic from their bases in Argentina and South Africa.
This makes the Falklands very important to Great Britain as an ELINT station, a staging base for RAF and RN aircraft, there should be expanded port facilities for the RN and anything else we can think of.
Both the United States and Great Britain have their own reasons for not wanting Germany to become the dominate power in South America and having Germany being bogged down in a drawn out conflict while not getting too directly involved suites their purposes just fine.

If Kiki really was able to take the Meta on a tour through the riverways of Europe I can see her turning part of the boat in to an exam room to take care of people she meets along the way in case of emergencies..
 
Part 122, Chapter 2061
Chapter Two Thousand Sixty-One



15th May 1971

Tempelhof, Berlin

Visiting his mother on Saturday afternoons since Nina had been born was something that Ben did to keep the peace even if Kiki always found some excuse not to come. She had no objections and Nadine, Ben’s mother, always was delighted to see Nina.

“Kiki sends her regards” Ben said, “But she is arranging for work to be done on the Meta today.”

“You don’t need to make excuses for her Benjamin” Nadine replied as she lifted Nina from the carrier and cradled Nina in her arms, “I know that there are a lot of things she would sooner do before coming here.”

“Well, she does love that boat” Ben said a bit awkwardly.

“You remember your Oma, yes” Nadine said to Nina pointedly ignoring Ben. “I perfectly understand the reasons why your Momma loves to escape the pressures of her life on a boat when she can because that is her thing. Just like your Poppa flies his jet plane.”

“That is not quite the same thing” Ben said, “A Motor Barge like the Meta has a ninety-four-kilowatt diesel engine pushing thirty odd tons of boat. She was never intended to set any speed records. And I’ve never seen you with anything like that.”

“You are sitting in the middle of it” Nadine replied, as if that were something which Ben was supposed to have known.

Looking around the parlor, Ben wondered what she was getting at.

“This house was built to order” Nadine said, “At the time it was built, the University was offering incentives for Professors like your father to move here and work on the Humboldt Campus. This house was built exactly how I wanted it. The neighbors have left a bit to be desired at times, but things have worked out well for us.”

Ben had realized long ago that his mother saw things in term of pluses and minuses. Living in this house and his father’s Professorship were in the plus column, especially if this house was as his mother described it. Living across the alley from Katherine von Mischner and having Kiki catch Ben’s eye were probably in the minus column. Her first granddaughter, Nina seemed to have balanced all that at out to a degree.

“I didn’t know that” Ben replied.

“There are a lot of things like that” Nadine said, “You are like your father in that regard, he doesn’t always pay attention until it gets directly pointed out to him. Albert thought that I would just be setting up the interior, not working with the Architect. Now, what is Kristina really doing today.”

“She is at a boatyard getting an appraisal on having the electrical and water systems of the Meta updated as well as having some new items installed, air conditioning, a proper refrigerator, solar panels, and navigation radar. She thinks they would be useful if we are taking this extended holiday that she wants to take this summer.”

“Just what does she have in mind?”

“A grand tour of the canals of Europe” Ben replied, “In July and August.”

“I think that sounds like a wonderful idea” Nadine said as she rocked Nina who was enraptured with her earrings, something that Ben knew might end badly. “While this one is still little you ought to do that sort of thing every chance you get.”

Ben was surprised his mother said that. He also knew that Kiki had more than one reason for wanting to take this holiday. Over the week that they had spent with the Royal Flotilla several issues had revealed themselves. Ben and Kiki had shared the master’s cabin with Nina. That would have been fine except Kiki had her three-man security detail, Fianna Dunn, one of Nina’s Nannies, Steffi Bader, Kiki’s Personal Secretary along. There had also been a Pilot from Kaiserliche Marine aboard so that Kiki didn’t have to take on that role by herself.

That had made for a crowded journey on a boat the size of the Meta and had severely taxed the systems that Kiki was having upgraded, it had only worked because the bunk bed arrangement in the forward cabin. Twenty meters in length and four and a quarter in width seemed like a lot until there were eight people, a baby, and a dog aboard. As much as Kiki hated to admit it, she was probably going to have to get a bigger boat in the near future.

The difficulty with that was that Kiki had explored the history of Meta and as Ben discovered, it went back further and was far more interesting than he had realized. Originally constructed in Hamburg 1910, the Meta had been built to haul cargo. Where the galley, saloon, bathroom, and forward cabin now were, had been an open topped hold. The aft cabin and the wheelhouse were part of the original design, which was a surprising detail. Kiki had documents detailing that and photographs of the Meta as she had originally appeared. Including one which showed the forward area loaded down with bags of what were probably grain as the barge was entering one of the locks of the old Ludwig Canal, near the area where Kiki was talking about going this summer on the recently completed Albrecht Canal that had replaced it.

According to Kiki, the Meta had been sold off after she was no longer competitive as a cargo barge in 1947 and rebuilt to convert her to her present use. It occurred to Ben that would be the issue with any new boat, the lack of history. It needed to be like the house he was presently sitting in, built exactly how Kiki wanted it so that she could create some history of her own.
 
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Kiki could start a trend where traveling through Europe in a personal water craft is something that is both adventurous in some ways and safe at the same time.
Various local governments or private companies can establish docks with electrical, water, and waste management hook ups for overnight stays which will encourage tourism.
One of the things I wanted to do was take one of those boats you can rent and go through the old Erie Canal and I was saving my money for it but things just didn't work out but it was still enough to dream and plan for it.
If Kiki does gets to design and build her own boat she can always use the Meta for her support team.
 
Kiki could start a trend where traveling through Europe in a personal water craft is something that is both adventurous in some ways and safe at the same time.
Various local governments or private companies can establish docks with electrical, water, and waste management hook ups for overnight stays which will encourage tourism.
One of the things I wanted to do was take one of those boats you can rent and go through the old Erie Canal and I was saving my money for it but things just didn't work out but it was still enough to dream and plan for it.
If Kiki does gets to design and build her own boat she can always use the Meta for her support team.
When you see the young Queen Elizabeth taking a narrowboat through the Norfolk Broads, you know it's become a thing.
 
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