Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

I’m just waiting for the flood that overwhelms all the old non maintained canals and local access until such a time as Kristina putters in on her barge boat and serves as the disaster command post
 
I’m just waiting for the flood that overwhelms all the old non maintained canals and local access until such a time as Kristina putters in on her barge boat and serves as the disaster command post
There are three major dams that didn't need rebuilding after TTL's WWII, you never know...
 
Sadly my German legal expert is no longer on this site, but I'd happily put money on the fact that its legal precedents are still with us today, after the dissolution of the HRE, the unification of Germany, WW1, WW2, Disunification of Germany, Reunification of Germany 2 (Now with less Prussia!) and the EU.

It is not for nothing that the Germans have a stereotype of being fastidious when it comes to rules and laws.
Legal precedent (that are far weaker in the German codified system than in the Anglo Common Law system) and contracts, maybe. (And a lot of that should have been cleared out during mediatisation during/after the Napoleonic wars.) But actual law should have been cleared out even TTL. OTL the oldest German law still in force appears to be the Konkursordnung (bankruptcy act) from 1877. (Compared to Austria that still uses parts of the ABGB [lit. Common civil law book] of 1812.)
Though, not a lawyer, just having spent too much time with some law students at times...

Once again Kiki should use the Meta as her support boat and Palace Security should also start thinking about either leasing or buying boats for their use in providing security for their protectees.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Meta sooner or later ends up tied up behind the Imperial War Museum once again. Probably Kiki 'loaning' it to them, but it soon ending up a permanent part of an exhibition that everyone is careful not to tell Kiki about...
 
Part 123, Chapter 2070
Chapter Two Thousand Seventy



10th July 1971

Montreux, Switzerland

This wasn’t her idea, and Marie Alexandra would prefer spending her time elsewhere. Anywhere not so far from home in the early morning hours for starters. Her mother said that it was a good idea considering the sort of role she was thinking of taking on, just it would involve spending a year away from home. In that time, Sophie would probably get into everything and leave her room in a shambles.

“You love acting Marie” Kat told her as the train pulled into Montreux. “Consider this your new role, that of a fifteen-year-old girl who has a lot to learn about the world and her elders are trying to give her a grounding in some areas where she clearly comes up lacking.”

Marie gave her mother a sour look in reply.

“At least you could try not to be a little shrew for a couple hours this afternoon and listen to what the Head Mistress has to say” Kat said, “You might find some of the things they teach interesting, and it is not like this will be in exclusion to your regular studies.”

“Skills needed to maintain upstanding home lives and social graces, to attract a proper husband?” Marie asked, “That’s right there in the literature. What year is this again?”

“Some of their practices are admittedly dated” Kat replied, “But do I need to remind you that the Imperial Court once served a similar function, to the point where your Aunt Helene compared it to a cattle market. You are the one so keen on taking a key role in the Court of the Empress, which is why we are here.”

The last thing that Marie wanted was a reminder that her choices were the entire reason she was here. Her parents had made it clear that if she accepted Princess Suga’s offer to be the new Kammerfräulein then there were certain things that should be expected, this weekend’s trip to Switzerland for example. It had involved the overnight ride on the train over the Alps, so there had not been a whole to see. In a few hours, they would board the train going back the other way, so the whole weekend would be shot. That would in turn ruin the whole week. Marie wondered if it was too late to tell Suga that she was no longer interested, especially if her offer involved spoiling her weekends and holidays.

“You didn’t do anything like this” Marie said.

Her mother gave Marie the smile she always gave her when she said something that she didn’t understand the full implications of.

“I was someone who no one dared to disobey” Kat said, “That is something that you cannot do, and I wouldn’t want for you even if you could. I am afraid that you are going to have to learn to lead by example.”

“I don’t recall the others having to do something like this” Marie said.

“The expectations for Tat and Jo are far lower than you, I did the best I could with them, but they made different choices so it was never really an issue” Kat said, “You might recall that Kiki spent a year in Japan under the tutelage of Maeda Natsumi.”

The expression on her face when she heard about that must have given her away because of what her mother said next.

“Finding yourself under Mistress Natsumi would not be the same as when she visits” Kat said, “She is a harsh taskmaster with little tolerance to human frailty. It would make a Swiss finishing school seem like a Summer Holiday by comparison.”

“Oh” Marie said with a pout as the brakes brought the train to a stop and they began the process of finding their way out to the platform. Marie knew that the next few hours were going to be terrible, but the look on her mother’s face suggested that complaining would be dealt with harshly.



Plänterwald, Berlin

As extraordinary as it seemed, once everything had been loaded onto the Meta, it looked as if she were sitting lower in the water. At least that was what it looked like as the sun rose over the eastern horizon. They had not even left the mooring yet before Rauchbier jumped into the river and needed to be fished out. In every trip that he had ever been on Rauchbier did that at least once, so it was a good thing that he had gotten it out of his system early. Gram von Guericke had been the one who had grabbed Rauchbier out of the water and had acted as if he had been the one who had done something wrong.

Kiki took a bit of pity on the boy because everything was so new for him. Gram had never heard rock music before he had walked in on Kiki listening to the Moondogs on the radio while she was working on preparations for the Meta to leave Berlin bound first for Prague up the Elbe where she was planning on visiting her brother Michael. Then they were planning on turning around and going back down to Magdeburg to the famous water bridge that led into the Midland Canal. Then there had been his reaction to spicy food, something that he had seldom encountered while attending one of the Prussian academies.

Before that though, they were traversing the Elbe-Havel Canal then the locks would drop them down to the level of the Elbe River. As the Meta pulled away from the mooring, Kiki saw that her father, along with Charlotte, Nella and Nan were there to see them off. Freddy and his family were living in Potsdam for the summer, and they had said they were going have them as guests for lunch when they reached the other side of Berlin in a few hours. As Kiki had forgotten how much she enjoyed this as she opened the throttle and the Meta surged forward. She glanced out out the windows and saw as Ben and Fianna were watching the urban landscape. Kiki turned on a course up the river for the moth of the Britz Canal, which led directly to the Teltow Canal and eventually to the River Havel. Gregor was watching from the bench seat, ready to step in if he felt that Kiki was in over her head. That had not proven necessary though. In a bit he would spell her out and she would join the others on the aft deck. It was nice to finally be leaving.
 
Magdeburg Water Bridge, the aqueduct over the Elbe River that was mentioned. In OTL it wasn't completed until the 1990's due to the partition of Germany. ITTL it was completed in the 1950's.
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I love the idea of a river barge „surging forward“. Even practically empty you can easily stay with them on foot for the first 100 m and even a moderate runner will not be outpaced on a kilometer long track.

Othala you nailed it. There are two big legal systems one is case law (USA and the UK the most known countries) the other is codified law with France and Germany being the most well known examples.

So precedents from medieval times do not matter and in the late 19th century a lot of common legislation was passed. A truly epic work which in many cases still works out more than a century later. The HGB (Commerce law) and the BGB (common law) have clauses in them that are the same since they were first put into use.
 
I love the idea of a river barge „surging forward“. Even practically empty you can easily stay with them on foot for the first 100 m and even a moderate runner will not be outpaced on a kilometer long track.
I am perfectly aware that a barge like the Meta has a top speed around 11 to 12 KM/H. A barge like that is possibly the one of the best examples of economy over speed.
Othala you nailed it. There are two big legal systems one is case law (USA and the UK the most known countries) the other is codified law with France and Germany being the most well known examples.

So precedents from medieval times do not matter and in the late 19th century a lot of common legislation was passed. A truly epic work which in many cases still works out more than a century later. The HGB (Commerce law) and the BGB (common law) have clauses in them that are the same since they were first put into use.
Granted, but every legal system that has teams of Lawyers searching for every advantage they can find and it is astonishing how often they will dig up long forgotten Case Law to bolster their case. Would you really put it past a group of Lawyers to argue a case with dusty documents from an attic somewhere, even if they know they are technically obsolete and no longer apply?
 
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I don’t know specifically the German legal system, but in France the Cour de Cassation (in civil/commercial/social/penal cases), the Conseil d’État (administratives cases) and the Conseil Constitutionnel don’t create law, but their jurisprudence can fill the silence of the law, a standard formula of the decisions of the CC is :


“Il n'appartient pas au Conseil constitutionnel, qui ne dispose pas d'un pouvoir général d'appréciation et de décision de même nature que celui du Parlement, de remettre en cause l'appréciation par le législateur de ce risque, dès lors que cette appréciation n'est pas, en l'état des connaissances, manifestement inadéquate au regard de la situation présente.” (Décision n° 2021-819 DC du 31 mai 2021 on a law relative to the COVID-19).
 
Granted, but every legal system that has teams of Lawyers searching for every advantage they can find and it is astonishing how often they will dig up long forgotten Case Law to bolster their case. Would you really put it past a group of Lawyers to argue a case with dusty documents from an attic somewhere, even if they know they are technically obsolete and no longer apply?
They aren't technically obsolete, they are obsolete when it comes to law. Case Law as it is understood in the US and UK does not exist in Germany, let alone old judgements from a time when not just the laws, but the legal system was very different than what it was after the historical breaks of the 19th century. (1806-1871 and all that happened in between, probably add 1919 (?) for this one, with that 'revolution' going on in Berlin. But no Weimar, no Nazis with their own breaks.) If it's not in the legal codex (or at least in a Gesetzblatt/government gazette) it doesn't apply. So no German lawyer will dig up old 'Case Law'. There are some cases where courts set precedents, especially the highest courts, but it's generally understood that due to separation of powers the courts do not have a legislative power. And that is generally just filling in gaps - for example 'Does secrecy of letters apply to email?' or 'Does a computer with an internet connection count as a TV for the purpose of Television licences?'. (To use some modern examples.)

However TTL Germany is still technically a Federation of nominally independent Kingdoms and territories under an Emperor. (And not a unified Republic with a federal structure.) So I did not dismiss your earlier post out of hand, because that means that all those treaties and contracts between the entities that make up TTL Germany are still nominally in force. And I'd be very surprised if some of them didn't apply to waterways of all kinds, so yeah, there might be "HRE law" buried in there in some parts. But it's basically somewhere between contract law and international treaties in application, not law on it's own. Some might be made obsolete by later law, some only kept around to placate some rulers and some probably still applicable. So changes there might be a bit fiddly to pull off, and I can fully understand Freddy (or other ruling families with interests in the canal business) not wanting them to go to court, because they fear that they might be losing out in the end there, no longer profiting from the grey zone they operate in. (Something Kiki can be annoyed about when she figures it out.)

(Again, not a lawyer, just having hung around some (proto-)lawyers in the past)
 
This has been a fascinating series of posts about Kiki and her boat.
For Kiki the Meta represents her desire to be in control of her life and gives her a sense of freedom that otherwise she feels that she doesn't have.
While this supposed to be a quiet family trip for her there is going to be some interest by the press of the " People's Princess " especially when she stops at a small town or village to buy things like fresh food, ice for the coolers, or gets a prepared picnic meal from the local shops.
The officials in these small towns and villages will want to do some sort of greetings ceremony because this is basically the first time in a long while that someone of her stature has made a visit there and Kiki should have some sort of prepared remarks like thanking the people of the locality for their hospitality and also bringing greetings from her brother the Emperor and his family to them which will go a long way in solidifying support for Freddy.
 
Part 123, Chapter 2071
Chapter Two Thousand Seventy-One



12th July 1971

Elbe River, Near Aken

It was late at night and Kiki had just put Nina back into her crib. She was getting noticeably heavier, and Fianna had told Kiki that she would start getting her teeth in soon, then they would all be in for a rough time. Presently, Nina was starting to sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Waking up to take care of Nina’s needs wasn’t something that Kiki was having to do as much. Ben had fallen back asleep while Kiki had been caring for Nina, it would his turn next time. Rauchbier had taken to sleeping under Nina’s crib, not that there was much room on the floor of the tiny cabin aft of the wheelhouse. As far as Kiki was concerned, Rauchbier was exactly where he needed to be. His whiplike tail beat the floor a few times as Kiki patted his head, but he swiftly fell back asleep.

The cabin was dominated by the bed that Ben and Kiki shared and unlike the rest of the barge, there was a head and standup shower that they didn’t have to share. There were advantages to being the “Master and Commander” of the ship as it were. Stepping up the ladder, really a short flight of stairs to the Wheelhouse, Kiki saw that Aaron, one of the members of her security detail was sleeping on the bench seat. It wasn’t the most comfortable bed, but the thinking was that any intruder would need to get through whichever of her security detail were there that night and good luck with that.

Stepping down into galley, Kiki saw that curtain that she had installed that separated the galley from the saloon had been closed. Fianna and Steffi, Kiki’s long suffering Personal Secretary, were sleeping in the saloon. Gregor, Bram, as well as Ulf and Wendel, the other two members of her security detail were sharing the forward cabin which had four bunks that were set at an odd angle as they were in the bow section. As Kiki put water on to boil as quietly as she could, she thought about how the next time she took a trip like this it would be on a much larger boat and conditions would be far less crowded.

The Meta was presently moored on the bank of the Elbe and in the dim light of the galley, Kiki could the running lights on a passing barge going down the river through one of the bay windows. While it was recommended for boats to tie up for the night, time was lost profits and many mariners on the river would press on through the night unless truly poor visibility or bad weather caused them to stop. It was a reminder of what her brother had explained to her in Potsdam a couple days earlier about how shipping on the waterways existed in a legally grey area that had been carved out over the centuries by the ruling houses of Germany. It was to their advantage to leave things as they were, and she was threatening to upset the applecart.

That wasn’t the only thing on Kiki’s mind though.

This stretch of the Elbe, between Magdeburg and Wittenberg, did not bring back fond memories for Kiki. It had been here that she had finally snapped after being overcome by the trauma she had endured in Korea. It had been somewhere along here that in a fit of panic, she had thought she had seen something move on the bank and had started shooting at it. It had been that incident that had prompted her to seek help.

There had been some questions raised by that incident when she had explained it to General von Lettow-Vorbeck. Like where her security detail had been? Kiki had guiltily admitted to having dismissed them. At that time, and many times since, Kiki had just wanted to be alone, and the presence of her security quickly became an aggravation when she was in that sort of mood. So, it had just been Kiki and her cat Hera on that trip up the Elbe. The elderly General had listened to her at a time when she had needed it the most. When she had served as his Aide, before the FSR and Korea, they had talked about things like what she had been up to during the day. Mostly it had been about her tribulations as a glorified tour guide in the War Museum and he had seldom asked much more of her. She occasionally missed having Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck to talk to. He had never judged her and had been nearly impossible to surprise, seemingly having seen or heard everything over his nearly century long life. He had been one of the few who had told her that it had been a good thing that she had gotten back together with Ben. Everyone else was worried that they had too much history, both good and bad, by that point.

Unknown to both of them at the time, it hadn’t just been shadows that Kiki had been shooting at. Years later, in police interrogations it had been learned that there had been three members of the Jacobin Club out there on the bank and Kiki had probably foiled whatever they’d had planned for her that night. While that didn’t exactly justify her actions, she no longer felt as if that were the most foolish thing that she had ever done. It had been nice to scratch one of her regrets off the list.

Pulling the canister of herbal tea from the cupboard, Kiki knew it would help her sleep.
 
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Othala you got it very right. The only contracts and laws that survived 1871 to 1900 are some surrounding the church that was very adept in making sure they kept their rights. Actually also boating and freight was regulated in the BGB and some other laws. As was all traffic through the former states of Germany including postal services.

PM of course stupid lawyers are like white snowmen but in this case it would be a self incenerating snow man. Any lawyer trying to argue a case with outdated laws would be thrown out of court in an instant and would have a good chance of having his license revoked.

So something like Louisiana building a low ceiling bridge across the Mississippi to block large ships to go upstream would not have been possible in Germany 1871 and onwards.

While Germany was and is much more federal than France it still was and is far more central than the USA.
 
So something like Louisiana building a low ceiling bridge across the Mississippi to block large ships to go upstream would not have been possible in Germany 1871 and onwards.
Louisiana never did anything like that. It was the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad with a assistance of State of Iowa who did.
 
Part 123, Chapter 2072
Chapter Two Thousand Seventy-Two



14th July 1971

Schmilka

After spending most of the previous day in Dresden, the ML Meta was moored on a pontoon pier in the river as the Princess made a point of stopping in this tiny village on the frontier between Saxony and Bohemia and being seen doing so. This wasn’t the first time she had made a stop like this either. There were members of the Press who were following her progress and everywhere she stopped they would shadow her on the streets. Taking note of what she was doing and who she talked to. Yet Bram had seen how she had become withdrawn as soon as she stepped back aboard the Meta, and no one was looking. She clearly hated what she was doing, and it was ruining her holiday.

So why was she doing it?

It was something Bram simply didn’t understand, and it was just one more thing that he added to the list of things about the people he had found himself among. There were the three men from the Foot Guard who barely hid the disdain that they had for the Princess. It seemed that the year before, four of their own had died in unfortunate circumstances and they blamed for what had happened. Gregor, the Meta’s Helmsman had told Bram that it had actually been the Chilian Airforce to blame. Then there was Steffi, she was a decade older than Bram and like all Berliners he had met, she was fast talking and somewhat manic. He typically avoided Steffi, but that was difficult to do on a boat. Fianna, the Irish woman was nice mentioning that one of her sons was Bram’s age. When Bram had asked where he was, she had said with his father back in Ireland. That had been when he had first learned of the notion of what was dubbed “Irish divorce” where two people who remain legally married lead separate lives and never see each other.

For lack of anything better to do while the Princess and the Markgraf were touring the village, Bram was walking down the bank watching the dog as it ran ahead of him. This was what he had been tasked to do by Markgraf von Hirsch, taking Rauchbier out for a run so that the whippet wouldn’t get stir crazy later that afternoon when they resumed their journey up the river.

It had rained the night before, Bram remembered he had woken to the sound of it drumming on the roof of the barge a few times. So, the river was running high and was full of silt. The Meta’s slow journey had been even slower that morning as the boat had fought against the current. That had probably been what had prompted stopping for a couple hours.

Bram could see the white tip of Rauchbier’s tail as he found something interesting in the brush to explore. He was typical of the dogs Bram had grown up with, always following his nose wherever it took him. Then Rauchbier went totally still, before darting forward in a blur of motion. Bram saw him intersect with something grey that was moving just as fast. An instant later, Rauchbier padded back to Bram carrying a still twitching rabbit. This wasn’t the first time that he had seen something like that. Bram had gone hunting many times on his grandfather’s land, so he made a point of praising Rauchbier for a job well done even as he wondered what to do with the rabbit.

A few minutes later, Rauchbier got a second rabbit and Bram realized that the first had not been a fluke and he had gotten this one the instant it had come out of its barrow. Bram recognized that Princess Kristina’s dog was a trained hunter in addition to the tags on his collar that identified him as an FSR Service Animal. Not that it was surprising. Despite her tendency to be dramatic, Bram understood that many of the choices that the Princess made had practicality as their as their primary motivation. Oddly, that made her current course of actions make even less sense.

When Rauchbier ran down a fourth rabbit, Bram called it a day. While he doubted the people around here would shed too many tears over the demise of rabbits whose borrows could damage the riverbank, they wouldn’t take kindly to an outsider like him just taking them. “I was wondering what we were having for supper” Fianna said as soon as she saw the rabbits and heard Bram’s explanation about where they had come from. “Stew it is.” That wasn’t what Bram had in mind and minutes later he found himself cleaning them on the back deck with Gregor. The Helmsman seemed to find it amusing that Bram had inadvertently did something he thought was right. Gregor had apparently piloted landing craft with Kiki’s brother Louis in Korea. Over there you didn’t pass up the opportunity for a freshly cooked meal, so this was a good lesson for Bram to learn.

Bram had a question or two about that; Like just who was Kiki? Gregor had looked amused when Bram had asked that, as if it were something so obvious that he should know it already.

A short time later, the Princess and the Markgraf came back with their security detail. Kristina disappeared into the aft cabin with her baby and Rauchbier as Fianna continued to work on supper and talking to the Markgraf about what he had seen in the village.
 
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There were the three men from the Foot Guard who barely hid the disdain that they had for the Princess. It seemed that the year before, four of their own had died in unfortunate circumstances and they blamed for what had happened.
This seems kind of silly, everyone did what they were supposed to do in that incident. Are the guardsmen some of the people who think that Kiki being a decorated combat veteran is all a big act, or is Bran simply misreading the entire situation.
 
This seems kind of silly, everyone did what they were supposed to do in that incident. Are the guardsmen some of the people who think that Kiki being a decorated combat veteran is all a big act, or is Bran simply misreading the entire situation.
Two possible lines of thought by the guardsmen (who probably don't believe that she didn't know she was pregnant).
1. She put her her security detail into a situation that got them killed in a fit of pique.
2. She went on a trip she shouldn't have, given that she was pregnant, and got her security killed trying to get her back to a place of safety she shouldn't have left in the first place.

In either case, fair or not, it's probably viewed as a selfish decision that wound up costing other people their lives. The disdain would not be because the guardsmen were killed (that's one of the accepted dangers of being a bodyguard) but because of the perception that they died unnecessarily because of the actions of their principal.
 
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