I seem to remember that Kiki has a private income from investments? Sony, if i remember correctly. If true, she could rent/buy a second vessel for her staff and also use it as a work office. Saving the Meta for her family and close friends.
There were times when Kiki really wished that Ben had a bit more discretion, or at least understood the extent that his mother was a gossip. The latest about whatever Kiki was doing was especially juicy among Nadine’s circle of friends. They were mostly the wives of University Professors and Kiki suspected that one would have to go to the Reichstag or the Order of Louise to find a more connected crowd. Even as she had that thought, she realized that there was probably considerable overlap among those three groups. Well, Ben had told Nadine that she was in the market for a new, larger boat that would better suit her needs and word had traveled fast.
Suddenly, she was receiving bids from shipyards all over Germany who were willing to build to suit Kiki’s exact needs. Looking at the brochures they were sending her, she had the dimensions and faculties of the new Barge taking shape in her mind. She even had ideas for the perfect name, Ben had suggested Asclepius, but in her thinking Epione or Aglaia would be better. Then Kiki had realized that even thinking about it felt like if she were betraying the Meta somehow. It was strange how the Kiki had learned that the old Barge had its own personality and character over the decade she had owned it.
Kiki had come to Spandau to see how the work on the Meta was progressing. She was having many of her systems upgraded, something that have proven sorely needed after the last trip they had been on. The various storage tanks and fuel bunker may have even been part of the original construction of the Meta sixty years earlier and the boiler that provided hot water and was a part of the heating system had been dying a slow death for the last few years. Those were finally being replaced as well as the refrigerator and freezer, neither of which had ever really worked. There were also a host of other things needing to be done. The Meta was sitting on supports in the drydock, her hull was being sand blasted so that it could be repainted with a coat of special paint that would prevent rusting and fouling. She could see that the upper parts of the boat were a hive of activity as well.
All the hatches were open, and Kiki was glad that she had made a point of going through every storage space to be certain that anything of hers had been removed. There was work going on in the wheelhouse where marine radar was being installed, it was a small set geared mostly for avoiding collisions. She remembered the first trip on the Meta to Prague and back just after she had returned from Korea. There had been times of low visibility and dark nights where she had pressed on, not really caring about the risks involved. Now that Nina was going to be aboard that was out of the question. If it was necessary for the Meta to be traveling in adverse conditions, Kiki wanted to be able to see them in advance as opposed to reacting when she came upon them.
The solar panels were a new thing. Kiki had read about how they would help recharge the batteries and Ben had told her about how he was familiar with them because this version had been developed by the Space Program. While she liked the idea that the technology had helped Ben get to the moon and back. The practical reality was that here on Earth it would mean that the marine diesel aboard the Meta would not need to be run as much in neutral to recharge the batteries if there was no power available while the Meta was moored.
“Here to check on your boat Ma’am?” The Owner of the Boatyard, Kiki couldn’t remember his name, asked as he handed Kiki a paper cup. “I can assure you that she is in good hands.”
Taking a sip from the cup, Kiki could taste the acidic flavor of military grade sludge coffee. Generous amounts of whitener and sugar did little to hide its nature. The Yard Owner had given it to her as a courtesy, it was obvious to her that he was hoping that she would be a repeat customer and would direct business from the rest of her family to him in the future. Still, the coffee was welcome on in an afternoon that was on the cool, wet side of things.
“Thank you” Kiki replied, “For the coffee. As for the rest. I just wanted to check on the Meta, see what was being done.”
“I understand” The Yard Owner said, “I’ve spent a lot of years on the water, so I’ve a good idea how people get attached.”
Of course, Kiki had had the Yard Owner and the men who worked for him vetted before she had agreed to let them work on the Meta. Supposedly, he had been in the Pacific with Admiral von Schmidt aboard one of the Destroyers and had taken part in many of the key battles. The Boatyard had been an investment that had paid off handsomely as the traffic on the rivers, lakes, and canals that surrounded Berlin had increased, both recreational and commercial.
“One thing I am curious about though” The Yard Owner said, “Me along with most of the guys who work for me are former Navy. We noticed something particular about the galley.”
“And that would be?” Kiki asked.
“The tile floor, the light fixtures, and the surface of the table, it is not just for meals, is it?”
“You know that I am a Surgeon with a specialty in Emergency Medicine?” Kiki asked in reply, “I’m sure you know what the Officer’s Wardroom is used for on Naval vessels while in General Quarters.”
“You would have something like that aboard your own boat?” The Yard Owner asked in disbelief.
Great series of updates and as a firm believer in the Laws of Unintended Consequences Kiki is going to get hit hard with a lot of requests for unwanted access to her.
First off the Boatyard owner is going to ask permission for an article by a boating magazine to be written about the new boat being constructed because that will give him more business.
Second the Ministry of Tourism in their desire to promote both domestic and international on the waterways is going to want Kiki to do interviews and be on the cover of travel and vacation magazines around the world touting how fun, adventurous, and safe it is for the whole family to travel the Waterways of the German Empire.
Third the smaller towns on the waterfronts of the various rivers and canals that used to be served by the barge traffic are now being bypassed as it is more efficient to just go to larger markets and having the smaller locals be served by rail and truck.
This means in order to attract other business from tourism the waterfronts are going have to be redeveloped to clean up docks, warehouses turning them in to shops and bike rentals, and places to eat.
Fourth both Michael and Marie Cecille are going to want Kiki to make stops in their respective Kingdoms to promote tourism also.
For the channel travels. It has been a thing especially in the Netherlands for quite some time now with some going on in France and the UK.
But it is mostly done on small and not heavily used by commercial travel waters.
Germany developed that significantly later because in the other countries one was allowed to drive a motor boat up to certain specs without a license ehile the rule in Germany was adamant that if it has an engine you need a license to run it.
And as I already mentioned once this license was and is expensive and time consuming to get. Now on dome waters in the North East up to certain specs you do not need a license anymore so some business goes there.
For a ship like the Meta used on commercial waters you would even need an upgraded version of said license.
Oh and Kiki is spending a lot of money into that boat. Solar panels at that time were very expensive while marine diesel is cheap.
Crossing over the Los Angeles River on the famous 6th Street Viaduct before it ran into Whittier. Ritchie looked out the window at the river which trickled through the concrete lined trench. They were stuck in traffic due to construction somewhere up ahead.
A couple weeks earlier, Ritchie had noticed that the afternoons had started to feel hot. Just a small taste of what was ahead over the long dry summer season in Los Angeles. Today was no exception as Ritchie felt sweat running down his sides and soaking into his shirt under his vest. Big Mike had mentioned something about how the heat made folks crazy, it was one the things that defined Los Angeles. That and the smog that hung over the Basin if Ritchie had ever offered his perspective.
It was days like today that made Ritchie wish that the squad cars had regular radios so that he could listen to the Dodgers game that was happening just a few miles away as opposed to hearing all about Mike’s difficulty in arranging a family vacation this summer. He didn’t care that they were playing the Expos. Huck Spooner would have thrown a fit over the matter. “What did the Canadians from the land of Ice Hockey and maple sirup know about Baseball?” Ritchie imagined Huck saying, “Jack and shit, that’s what” Huck would have concluded. For all Ritchie knew, Huck was saying exactly that, but far out of Ritchie’s hearing in Upstate New York where he was with the 82nd Airborne in a cushy billet as a Senior Noncom. Regardless, Los Angeles was playing Montreal at Dodgers Stadium today.
“Clair then says that come Hell or high water, she’s getting out of this city in August” Mike said, “With or without me. So, I asked her just where she intends to go, and she says that she wants to visit her sister in Oakland. You believe that shit? Oakland.”
“What’s the big deal about Oakland?” Ritchie asked as the car inched ahead.
“You ever been there?” Mike asked in reply, “It’s basically South-Central with fog, and my sister-in-law can’t go outside because a house might fall on her.”
“A Wizard of Oz reference to describe your wife’s sister” Ritchie said, “That’s laying it on a bit thick, you think.”
“You don’t know the half of it” Mike replied, “When me and Clair got hitched, she said that Clair would divorce my sorry ass within a year. Do I need to point out that was twelve years ago?”
“Playing the Devil’s Advocate here, what if you stay in Los Angeles? No wife or kids for a couple weeks?” Ritchie asked, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
“What would I eat?” Mike asked in reply, “And who would clean up house?”
Ritchie was starting to understand Clair’s often harsh dealings with her husband. It took a great deal of effort to get Mike moving in the right direction and he apparently preferred to loaf around the house when he wasn’t at work, much to his wife’s apparent aggravation.
It was at that moment that the radio crackled to life. “All units, reports of a disturbance at Theodor Roosevelt High School, please respond” Dispatch said with a noticeable lack of urgency. Mike told dispatch that they were close, just passing over the 101, and could be on the scene in minutes.
“Trouble in a high school” Mike said, “Probably the boys stealing the girl’s clothes while they were in the showers after gym class or something equally stupid.”
“You did that when you were in High School?” Ritchie asked.
Mike just gave Ritchie a sly grin. The Football Players got away with bloody murder, especially if they were a winning team like Mike said his had been. “And you didn’t?” He asked.
“I wasn’t into sports” Ritchie replied as he turned on the siren to try to get some of the traffic to move out of the way. “And I dropped out of school in the Tenth Grade because some of the Hats from Robbery-Homicide Division were looking to hurt me bad, ended up getting a Good Enough Diploma when I was working for Uncle Sam.”
There were a lot of stories around the Division about how Ritchie had gone from being a Barrio Rat who members of the Hat Squad had been looking to stomp to death to his present position. Everyone seemed to know about how he had been in the US Special Forces and the Airborne. He had just not gone out of his way to confirm or deny any of those stories until what he had just said to Mike. As the cars moved out of the way, Ritchie gunned the engine making it across the series of overpasses until they came to a Flagger who jumped out of the way as the squad car rushed past.
Turning into the side streets, Ritchie saw the masonry facade of the vast building that was the main building of the High School as he pulled into the parking lot. Looking for an open parking spot, Ritchie saw that this High School was different from the one he had attended out in the San Fernando Valley.
“There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on” Mike said looking at the front doors of the High School, “We’ll need to go in there and find the Principle, the Dean of Students, anyone who might know what’s going on, or if this is real.”
“You mean it might be a hoax?” Ritchie asked.
“These are teenagers, so yes it might be a hoax” Mike said, “That said though, if I find out that this was a crank call, I’m shoving my foot up someone’s…”
Before Mike could complete the sentence, Ritchie heard a pair of loud clanks on the driver’s side fender and the windshield exploded into a thousand tiny fragments.
Cheap but loud is true but even 10 years better science it will be hard to use solar panels to get enough juice into the battery of the engine to get the engine started.
The alternative would be a mechanically started one but that is not for the faint of heart.
We have not had any postings about the IOTL 1965 Watts Riot and ITTL Martin Luther King Jr. did not get killed in 1968 which sparked riots across the United States.
So this could be the start of a long hot summer in the United States or a targeted attack on the LAPD or even it was specifically targeted against Ritchie and Mike because they are minorities in the LAPD either way it is another patented cliffhanger.
Okay I skimmed the Wikipedia for the School.
And well, OTL at least there was no school shooting.
For those making connections to the civil rights movement? Maybe.
But from Wikipedia, the school would at the time have been one of the largest in the US, overwhelmingly "Mexican" and repeatedly accused of being a pipeline to force their students into dead end working class jobs, instead of educating them. (Sounding just like the kind of school Ritchie, or more like his wife, wanted to get away from.)
Sounds like it could be an explosive mixture. And well, with a war in Mexico in the past in there, there might be a second set of fault lines running through the country in an ATL Civil Rights struggle. Not just black-white, but also involving the Latino communities.
Or it might "just" be a school shooting by a disillusioned youth.
Or something different, not even connected to the school. "Stupid Luck" and all that.
(Goes back to wiki, reading up on the 1992 LA riots...)
They had unexpectedly come under fire in the parking lot.
Crawling out of the car on the passenger side, Ritchie and Mike had found themselves sheltering behind the car as number of bullets had struck the driver’s side and the rest of the windows shattered. It had stopped after a minute, something that had not been a great development because whoever had done the shooting had gone back into the building. Even as Ritchie could hear the sirens of additional police cars approaching and Mike radioing in their situation, he could hear gun fire from inside the building. A detached part of his mind noted that it sounded like a one of the carbines that the U.S. Army had used until a decade ago when they had been replaced. With that he had wrenched open the trunk of the squad car and pulled his Stoner rifle out of its case and started shoving the magazines into the front and side pockets of his vest. Like it or not, they had a job to do.
“So that is why you wear that?” Mike asked.
“Just one reason” Ritchie replied as he started walking towards the front doors of the School. As big as he was, this was a situation where Mike was incredibly vulnerable. The vest that Ritchie was wearing could easily stop a bullet from a carbine. Mike had no such protection. “I need you to hang back, try to keep under cover as much as possible.”
Mike just gave Ritchie a narrow-eyed glare, he wasn’t wired to do that sort of thing but would because that was what he had been trained to do.
Later, when the investigation pieced together the timeline, they made the events in Roosevelt High School seem almost sanitized. All neat and tidy, the scene that greeted Ritchie and Mike was anything but that. It was pure chaos as they had to force their way through a vast crowd of students who were fleeing whatever it was that was going on.
Like every High School that Ritchie had ever been in, the School Administration was the first thing that greeted any visitor when they entered. They found that it had been reduced to charnel pit. The items that one expected to find in any office, strewn about the floor. Papers, pencils, the shards from a coffee mug that had fallen. Ritchie noticed those details first, the things that were supposed to be there. Then there were the people, splattered blood, the brass cartridges thrown about. All mixed together. It was shortly after that, that they had found themselves rushed by students in the hallway. To Ritchie’s astonishment many of them were trying to tell him what was going on and who it was who was doing the shooting. This was even as he could hear shots being fired somewhere ahead and the screams that followed.
“THE DOORS ARE THAT WAY!” Mike bellowed, pointing in the direction of the school entrance. Ritchie knew that most of these students were the sort who might have individually been a pain in the ass to them on any given day as they cut class and got themselves into trouble out in the neighborhood. At the moment though, Mike and Ritchie were adults in positions of authority. They didn’t argue for once, they just headed for the entrance en masse, dragging Ritchie and Mike with them in the wrong direction.
Ritchie was sorely tempted to use the butt of his rifle as he pushed against the crowd. By the wall of lockers, he ran across a girl who had gotten knocked down and was in danger of getting trampled. After helping her to her feet he pushed on, following the sound of gunfire. After a time, the crowds of students thinned out, they saw those who were hiding and a number of bodies of those who were unlucky enough to be caught in the open or hadn’t found a good enough hiding place. They pointed the students they found to the nearest emergency exit. Ritchie figured that anyone setting off the fire alarm was the least of their worries at the moment.
As the minutes dragged on, the initial rush adrenaline wore off and he became aware that someone was calling for him on his radio. It wasn’t dispatch, but the Watch Commander demanding a status update. It wasn’t an easy conversation. He’d followed the sound of shooting down hallways, through classrooms, up and flights of stairs, and even into a few open areas. All he could tell was that this place was huge, and he didn’t have the first clue as to where he was. He wasn’t in the mood for bullshit. He had told the Watch Commander that he didn’t have the first clue as to where he was, but he was close to the shooter and would end it if he got the chance. Mike heard this and smiled.
“Still a Green Beret Valenzuela” Mike said.
“Always” Ritchie replied as they advanced down another hallway.
It was silent here, and Ritchie could hear the sound of footsteps ahead. A middle-aged man wearing a suit and tie stepped out from around a corner and nearly got himself shot by Mike and Ritchie. Ritchie could see that he was carrying a handful of examination papers, a teacher who had been caught up in this mess.
“The building is being evacuated Sir” Ritchie said, “Head for the nearest exit.”
The teacher looked like he was about to say something, but he was hit by three bullets. Mike was cursing as Ritchie stepped ahead. He took quick aim and fired a quick burst in the direction that the fire had come from. A moment later, they found a fresh blood leading trail away from where the shooter had been that led to a stairwell where he had collapsed.
“You got him” Mike said as he kicked the carbine out of the shooter’s hands before flipping him over and handcuffing him. It was at that moment that the shooter started moaning about how he was dying.
“No, you aren’t dying” Ritchie said to him, Ritchie knew full well that he had only clipped him. “You are getting the best of care and after what we’ve seen this afternoon, that will be right up until they strap you into San Quentin’s gas chamber.”
Mike gave Ritchie a look that suggested he might have taken it a little too far. He didn’t care.