Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Louis Ferdinand Jr. to Zella:

“Zella you’re a fine girl (you’re a fine girl)
What a good wife you would be (such a fine girl)
But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea”.
More to the point, the tough, handsome navy officer has wintered at the South Pole, sailed the South Atlantic on patrol in a destroyer, taken on smugglers in an E-boat and is now looking for his next challenge…. Zella.
 
Considering the Louis and zella had a thing several years ago, is a second chance actually possible? He seems to be more of a playboy like his grandfather..... at lest tat was inferred.
 
I wonder if in the back of Kurt’s mind, there’s a flash of memory of the late Manfred vonWovogle and that same madness in the heat of battle. I’m sure the old wolf would have watched on approvingly at Michael’s efforts to restart the really old mounted warfare traditions of the armoured knights. Michael would, in the old days have been the ideal middle son of the Hohenzollerns, ready to come back with his shield or on it.
Which in turn makes me wonder how Louis Jr is going! When’s he coming back from the South Atlantic and whether Zella gets sent to Kiel to cover the return of the Emperor’s brother. Perhaps an old flame gets rekindled….?
In the old days, even in ( some) royal dynasties, the eldest got most, if not all, of the lands & titles, the middle son went into the church (a nice little prince-bishopric or similar), while the youngest was the soldier.
 
In the old days, even in ( some) royal dynasties, the eldest got most, if not all, of the lands & titles, the middle son went into the church (a nice little prince-bishopric or similar), while the youngest was the soldier.
Though that could then lead to blackly comic situations - trying to remember the specific case, but there was at least one thing I read from the 11th century where a lord’s eldest son died and he took his middle son back from the church at swordpoint so he could be the new heir.
 
Part 126, Chapter 2124
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Twenty-Four



22nd February 1972

Wunsdorf-Zossen

Christian was just here to collect his things from the barracks used by the Dragoon Company of the 7th Recon. It was to his surprise that he didn’t recognize many of the faces who he saw around him. Christian had heard talk that a reorganization had been coming, this was apparently it. The Division wanted the experience that they had gained during the Argentine Campaign, practicing a kind of war of movement that it was felt that the entire Division would benefit from. One of the examples they had used was an action by Christian himself, taking a bridge before the Chileans had a chance to mount a defense.

So, most of the men, some of whom Christian had known for years were getting scattered around the 8th Brigade. His own Platoon was only coming back in dribs and drabs to find they had been reassigned. Christian himself was to report in to the First Foot Guard Regiment in Potsdam as soon as he had completed this errand, he had no clue as to what would happen from there. He had heard word that Manny was taking over a Company in the 140th Regiment when his arm came out of that cast. Christian understood that was exactly what was exactly what his friend had wanted all along.

Upon opening his locker Christian instantly saw that he had wasted his time. It was mostly the junk he had not considered important enough to pack when he had left for Rio Gallegos about a million years earlier. At least he would have to buy a new paddle lock in Potsdam. Grabbing a trash can from the front of the bay, Christian started chucking things into it. There were odds and ends, things that tend to accumulate in barracks lockers over the course of years. Small cardboard boxes of laundry detergent and old books being the only things that he considered worth anything after eighteen months. Still, it took the others in the barracks about five seconds to be interested in what he was throwing away. That was until Jost showed up.

“Save yourself the trouble of chucking that stuff in the trash” Jost said, “Just leave the door open and these vultures will have it picked clean in minutes.”

Then Jost spun on his heel and walked out of the bay. Seeing the logic in that, Christian pocketed the paddle lock, shoved a few other things he wanted to keep into a bag and followed the Oberstaber.

“I’m surprised you’re still here” Christian said as he caught up with Jost.

“I had an errand or two to attend to before I could get back here and have the Division give me the boot” Jost said as they entered the small room an Oberstaber got all to himself and he sat down on the bed. “Got sent to Berlin to get the Red Eagle from the Emperor himself in an appreciation for a lifetime of service.”

Christian couldn’t help the sarcasm dripping from Jost’s words as the said that as he leaned on the doorframe. The Red Eagle, Enlisted Grade, a bronze disk on an orange ribbon with white stripes was almost always awarded at the end of a Soldier’s career. It was called many derogatory things for that reason even though it was considered the highest Service Order a Noncommissioned Officer could be inducted into. It was said that only Walter “Mad Dog” Horst had gotten the Red Eagle then had gone on to have a career. Then again, the old Mad Dog was a legend in the Panzer Corps. They would probably never see the likes of him again.

“I’m sure you’ll figure out something else to do” Christian said and got a withering look in return.

“Whatever” Jost muttered, “I just wanted to say that what you did at Paso de San Francisco, that was some real standup shit. I heard that they couldn’t find a single unfired cartridge afterwards.”

“That is a load of bullshit” Christian said, not knowing if that was true or not. He knew he had been out of ammunition for his rifle and had been shooting off his remaining 40mm grenades for lack of anything better to do. If Manny hadn’t ordered their own position bombarded it was likely that they would have been throwing rocks at the Chileans, there had been lots of rocks around on that ridge.

“I have found that it seldom matters what is or isn’t bullshit” Jost said, “It is what the rest of the Division believes, and you have everyone believing that you are among the toughest bastards in this outfit. That is going to follow you around for the rest of your career. I can think of worse things.”

“Like what you had from the Soviet War?” Christian asked.

“Yes” Jost said, “Do you think that I wouldn’t give anything for it to be like how it was back then?”

“You had the Russians killing you” Christian replied. He had seen the attrition rates during that conflict. The Panzer Dragoons had the life expectancy of dead men.

“And the Chileans were killing you a couple months ago” Jost said with a snort. “I can almost guarantee that thirty years from now you’ll have a very different perspective on the matter.”

It was a disturbing thought for Christian. Was he looking at his own future?
 
So what can Jost and by extension Reier can do outside of the military?
War films are always popular and with no more conscription the actors playing soldiers in film and television shows need to be trained to at least know which end of of the rifle needs to be pointed away from them and Jost and Reier are perfect for that.
Of course this will lead to the cliche of the ways the NCOs are depicted in the films and television shows on one hand you have the hard nose sadistic tough as nails Jost type and on the other hand you have the scheming bend the rules to get things done while the officers look the other way who while in the rear will pick your pocket and make you like it but will have your back in the heat of battle Reier type.
Bit with the retirement of Jost, the Heer basically looses the last directly Walter (Mad Dog) von Horst trained soldier but his influence will live on as those who were trained by Horst goes on and train others who then trains others.
 
I know it's a death sentence, but I want to give Jost a hug. Or at least a bottle of his choosing. Awesome news for Manny though!

And, Christian, learn how to take a compliment from an absolute badass. :p
 
Part 126, Chapter 2125
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Twenty-Five



25th February 1972

Kiel

One of the quirks of Kiki’s personality was that she tended to fight over every single pfennig, that included the hotel room they were staying in while they were in Kiel. She had arranged to stay here and had called more than one hotel letting them know that they were coming and that she was in contact with their competition. Considering the publicity that surrounded her movements when she wanted to be seen, whichever hotel they stayed in would get the sort of publicity that could not be purchased for any price. The result was that there was a bidding war between the various hotels on Kiel’s waterfront. While they were not staying here for free, they got a steep discount with many of the hotel’s many amenities thrown in.

Ben was reminded of how there was a reason why Kiki’s family had been on top for centuries. She had been told since before she had learned to walk that it was up to her to play her part in defending her family’s fortunes, this was how she did it. Ben was reminded of the ruthless manner in which the House of Hohenzollern had gone after those who had been caught stealing from them. The Criminal Prosecutions had been anticlimactic because they had already gone after the things that the conspirators actually cared about by suing them in the Civil Courts for contract violations. Franz von Papen had watched his family estate’s most valuable portions being seized by Hohenzollern Agents and given to trusted subordinates, with the remainder getting auctioned off piecemeal. Supposedly, it had been finding out that Katherine von Mischner had been the one who had taken his car as well as the lion’s share of his property that finally done him in.

Tonight, Kiki was sitting at the table that acted as a “dining room” in their suite with a stack of papers and medical journals in front of her under the light of a gooseneck lamp she had acquired. There was a medical case that she was trying to keep up with because she had been involved with it in the past, a mystery virus that was theoretically spreading in various corners of the globe. The Medical Service was actively hunting it because as Kiki said, just because they hadn’t been able to identify it yet did not mean that they couldn’t see the results. They were not sure if it was a viral cancer or immune disorder that they were dealing with, and they only had theories about how it was spread. Kiki had assured Ben that this thing was rare, so far. Somehow, that didn’t fill him with confidence.

Kiki was studying this because her Maternity Leave was coming to an end. While she would probably be allowed to stay in Kiel to complete her Barge Pilot’s training, sooner or later she was going to have to go to the Headquarters of the Imperial Central Medical Service in Koblenz and face the music. It was her intention to be prepared to handle anything that was thrown at her. Ben was aware that they had sent her on leave to avoid having to reach a decision and that her status would be reevaluated when she returned. Depending on the conclusion they reached, Kiki could be dismissed from the Service, though he figured that they would probably allow her to resign in order to avoid a high-profile controversy if it came to that. Ben had suggested to her that being out of the Medical Service wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to her. Her life would be entirely her own again. Kiki had not replied to that, but the look on her face suggested what she thought of that idea, she had never quit anything in her life and had no intention of starting now.

Ben turned his focus from Kiki to Nina, it was hard to believe that she was nearly a year old. Ben was trying to read his book while Nina found his fingers and thumbs endlessly fascinating, she was trying to grab them every chance she got. Naturally, this made reading difficult. When Ben looked back up at Kiki, he noticed that she was watching them with a smile on her face, the lights in the parlor and kitchenette reflecting off her glasses. When Kiki noticed that he was looking at her, she went back to her work.

Ben had been amazed by how Nina’s inquisitive nature was asserting itself. Everything that the adults around her did was an endless source of fascination. Though he wondered what she would make of his procrastination. He was ducking a number of things he was supposed to be doing. There was the book that he had said he was writing about being a pilot. That included Korea, Argentina, and a trip around the Moon. He had made up the idea for a book on the spot, unaware that there were a lot of people who wanted him to have a completed manuscript as soon as possible. The University had asked his opinion regarding their latest hire, if he had any objections in working with a woman in his Department. He didn’t, but he had not been in any rush to make his introduction to Jocelyn Bell Burnell. It seemed that she was currently less than thrilled by how she had been treated in her native country and had taken a job with the University of Berlin in a search for greener pastures. Not that he blamed her, there were many who felt that she had been cheated by her Supervisors.
 
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Looks like Jocelyn will miss out on the Nobel prize as per OTL, however at least this time she's more likely to be recognised for what she did with Pulsars earlier.
 
I have so many conflicting emotions about Kiki in the last post.
To me there is nothing enduring about a rich person being cheap but considering that not so long ago she and her family were victims of a massive embezzlement scheme that lead directly to her being kidnapped and a rifle butt to the head which kinds of excuses it.
But... there is a big difference in between being frugal and watching every Pfennig to being out right tight fisted in that she is demanding services to be billed to her at a less then profitable margin.
But... then again it is February in Kiel and there is not a lot of demand for hotel rooms so hotels are more then willing to take a little loss just to keep revenue coming in.
 
I have so many conflicting emotions about Kiki in the last post.
To me there is nothing enduring about a rich person being cheap but considering that not so long ago she and her family were victims of a massive embezzlement scheme that lead directly to her being kidnapped and a rifle butt to the head which kinds of excuses it.
But... there is a big difference in between being frugal and watching every Pfennig to being out right tight fisted in that she is demanding services to be billed to her at a less then profitable margin.
But... then again it is February in Kiel and there is not a lot of demand for hotel rooms so hotels are more then willing to take a little loss just to keep revenue coming in.
Part of stupid luck and happenstance is the irony that Kiki may well work herself to an early death from mental stress, while Kira died early from not taking care of her body, (plus genetics, but her lifestyle was a force multiplier for her genes).
 
I have so many conflicting emotions about Kiki in the last post.
To me there is nothing enduring about a rich person being cheap but considering that not so long ago she and her family were victims of a massive embezzlement scheme that lead directly to her being kidnapped and a rifle butt to the head which kinds of excuses it.
But... there is a big difference in between being frugal and watching every Pfennig to being out right tight fisted in that she is demanding services to be billed to her at a less then profitable margin.
But... then again it is February in Kiel and there is not a lot of demand for hotel rooms so hotels are more then willing to take a little loss just to keep revenue coming in.
Well, being tight-fisted with money tends to be how the rich stay rich :p
 
Part 126, Chapter 2126
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Twenty-Six



29th February 1972

Tempelhof, Berlin

The day before, Manny had gotten the cast taken off his arm and he had not been pleased with the result. His left arm was stiff, and he noticed that he didn’t have a full range of movement with it. The Doctor had warned him that with the fractures that he was still healing from it would take time to fully recover but he was young and had plenty of it. It was hard not to be impatient with that. He had seen his arm when it had come out the cast, pale, slightly shrunken, and covered with pealing skin. His mother said that it was a good thing because he could finally take a shower and get properly cleaned up. She had said she disliked how he was stinking up the house.

A day later, he knocked on the door of Kat von Mischner’s house. The crest on the brass doorknocker proclaiming exactly who this house this belonged. He knew that it was a subtle fortress whose defenses had never been tested. Few people were crazy enough to take on Manny’s Aunt directly, even fewer were willing to attack her physically. As far as he knew, only his father was one of the few people who dared to treat her like anything other than the fearsome Tigress, poking fun at his little sister for her paranoia. Manny knew his Aunt had enemies and the house was a secure base of operations. It was like that American Author had put in that weird book set in the Philippines in the midst of the Pacific War that Manny had read recently, “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they are not after you.” Considering the perspective of the story’s protagonist it was entirely understandable. He was flying combat missions that were not combat missions as part of the tripwire force that was based on the island of Luzon in case the Japanese or the Allied forces decided they were tired of the obstacle that the neutral Philippines represented.

He had only seen Suse a handful of times since he had gotten home. The first time had been disastrous with Suse going on at length saying things that were largely incomprehensible to Manny, mostly about how he was selfish and arrogant delivered at volumes normally associated with air raid sirens. Later, after Suse had stormed off, his father had told him that he had managed to scare her and what he had listened as a captive audience due to his arm, had been her saying as such. That had been that he noticed that his parents seemed to be in perfect agreement with Suse in this case. It was the sort of thing that let him know that he had pushed his luck way too far this time.

They had seen each other a few times since then and things had gotten better until Suse’s mother had spilled the beans about Manny having asked her to marry him in Argentina. The trouble was that Gerta had somehow left out what the answer had been. Manny don’t know if Suse had not told her mother that detail, or if it had been missed in the excitement. Either way, it had made things profoundly awkward.

Today though, Manny’s hope was that they could put that behind them. It was Suse’s birthday, and not just any birthday either. This year they were celebrating it on the date it had actually fell under. It was something that only happened during leap years. That was why when he was led into the house Manny saw that there were things alluding to how this was Suse Rosa’s sixth birthday, when everyone knew that she was really twenty-four. Suse was waiting for him in the library, a setting that was completely out of character for her and she was wearing a dress. Normal for Suse was Mechanic’s coveralls when she was working and equally practical clothes when she was not.

“Thank God you’re here” Suse said as soon as she saw Manny enter the library. “You won’t believe what they want to do.”

“That being?” Manny asked.

“My mother is making this a big production and Kat is helping her” Suse said, “They invited everyone I know.”

“Your birthday should be special” Manny said, “Especially this year.”

“Yes, but this is absurd” Suse replied, “It is like when I was a little girl, and my mother would invite my entire class.”

“While you hate being the center of attention” Manny observed.

“Exactly” Suse replied, “It isn’t too difficult to understand, and you know full well what everyone is going to want to talk about.”

“It’s the truth, isn’t it?” Manny asked.

“And who is going to tell them that I turned you down?” Suse asked in reply.

“You did then, but what about now?” Manny asked, “We might be able to tell them something different.”

“Little has changed” Suse replied, “You still love to take stupid chances.”

“Seeing that my mother is likely to successfully head off the next war or two, I would say that are going to be few opportunities to take chances, stupid or otherwise, over the next few years” Manny said, “I could also get in a car accident tomorrow.”

Suse gave him a sour look. She didn’t like being reminded that she had voiced her concern that he would recklessly get himself killed. Only he had sort of come close to having that exact thing happen. Inwardly, he kicked himself for doing that.
 
So Joseph Heller writes "Catch-22" after all, that novel is just too important to be butterfied away but just like ITTL "Doctor Zhivago" it is going to be a much different novel the OTL.

Manny is going to find out that the Empire is going to deem his skills as being too valuable to be left on the sidelines and will find him things to do to serve the Empire in ways he never thought possible outside a James Bond-Andrea Herzog movie.
 
And actually the aim of the enemy army is to kill as many people of your army so soldiers will get killed. And of course there are more risky positions and less risky positions

but if the Chilean army had had the idea to bomb this nice little Argentenean town via plane or Arty…

then suddenly Suse could have been under direct attack, repair shops of the enemy army are fair game and even valuable game.

But remainding her of that would not be helpful if done by Manny, done by Kat it might be.
 
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“Seeing that my mother is likely to successfully head off the next war or two, I would say that are going to be few opportunities to take chances, stupid or otherwise, over the next few years” Manny said, “I
Helene may think that the Americans have the right idea to limit their involvement in the various conflicts like the Sino-Korean War and the recently ended Patagonia War to Aid, Advisors, and Arms.
This could lead to a debate about when to intervene directly in conflicts around the world from a broad coalition of partners in a League of Nations or when the German Empire is directly threatened otherwise the liberal use of diplomacy is called for.
One of the things that might had happened was in the run up to The Patagonia War was the Argentina confident of German help in any conflict refused to any negotiations beforehand and basically baited the Chileans in to attacking them.
 
Part 126, Chapter 2127
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Twenty-Seven



1st March 1972

Tempelhof

Kat was enjoying a rare quiet afternoon in her office. The door to the hallway was locked and the phone was unplugged. She had found that such measures needed to be taken if she were to get a moment of peace. Besides, anyone who truly knew her and needed to talk would know that the door from the library was open. The day before had been… interesting, to say the least. Throwing a birthday party for Suse Rosa had seemed like the right thing to do, a simple dinner party with friends and family didn’t seem like it was too ostentatious. However, Kat’s goddaughter seemed to enjoy being difficult and had thrown a wrench in the works. It swiftly became obvious that even was too much from Suse’s perspective, the trouble was that Suse hadn’t come out and said it. Instead, she had stalked around and refused to join in, eventually hiding in the library. Once Manny had shown up, Suse dispensed with the passive aggressive behavior and started the fight that she had been spoiling for all afternoon.

It had been uncomfortable sitting at the table later, with Manny and Suse clearly angry with each other but trying to be civil as the guests were asking questions they didn’t want to answer. It was also apparent that the two of them cared deeply for each other and they were going through a rough patch. In Argentina, Suse had gotten a glimpse of the realities of war and hadn’t liked the sort of risks that she saw Manny taking on a regular basis. There was a bit of irony in that.

The Chileans had considered taking Rio Gallegos too costly a prize due to the Panzer Division based in the city. Instead, they had bypassed the city and did little more than leave a token force to contain the 4th Division. It seemed that at the time, the Chileans had hoped to avoid a wider war though it had already been a bit late. Aside from a handful of air raids and attacks with light artillery, Rio Gallegos had endured much in the way of direct attack. If Rio Gallegos had been on the receiving end of protracted bombardment, the warehouses, storage yards and machine shops would have been the places most heavily hit. Even as a civilian volunteer, Suse had been unaware of it, but she had been taking just as many risks as Manny as she had gone about repairing the Division’s vehicles. Kat had explained that to Suse, but it had not been something that she had been prepared to listen to. In Suse’s thinking, Manny had treated the Argentine War as a game. She couldn’t wrap her head around what Kat had told her, that Manny’s seemingly caviler attitude was entirely for the benefit of the men under his command. Having a Platoon Leader quivering in fear would destroy them as quickly as enemy action. At the same time, there had been a reason why Manny had reacted the way he had when he had learned that Suse, Ina, and Jo had come to Argentina. If he had gotten his way, they would have been on the first available flight back to Germany.

“Kat?” Kat heard a voice ask through the door to the library. Shifting her focus, Kat saw Sophie looking around the doorframe. She had done her level best to have as much time as possible for her over the last few months. Sophie’s crush on Malcolm might have seemed silly, but the feelings of heartbreak were real to her. That was on top of her maturing physically, something that Sophie’s mother had dripped loads of poison into her ears about. It had meant that she had endured difficult months as she had been forced to learn anew that these things were not the end of the world, just a part of growing up. Kat had known that she was working on her studies in the library.

“Do you need help with anything?” Kat asked.

“No” Sophie asked, “Can I go downstairs, to get something to eat?”

“You don’t need my permission” Kat said. It was a habit that she had never been able to break Sophie of, that she needed Kat’s permission for this sort of thing. “You should ask Darya or Petia to help you though.”

“Yes” Sophie said, but the tone of her voice suggested that she was distracted by something she saw on Kat’s desk. “What’s that?”

Kat looked at the letter on her desk, the writing was in Japanese. “It is an invitation to a reception at the Japanese Embassy Friday night. They wish to honor their German Allies after the successful campaign in South America.”

“What does that have to do with you?” Sophie asked.

Kat smiled at that; she had asked the exact same question when the letter had arrived.

“I am considered that important here in Berlin” Kat replied. “The former Commander of the Japanese Army is here acting as a proxy of the Japanese Emperor, him not paying his respects to me as the Prefect of Berlin would be unseemly.”

Sophie lit up when she heard that. In her thinking this was just Kat getting her proper due. For Kat, the formal reception was a bother. She would need to be at the side of Fredrich and Suga all night, holding her tongue so she didn’t cause an international incident. Of course, Tilo Schultz and Manny had been invited and that meant that there would be plenty of other opportunities for trouble. That also meant that Kat would probably be forced to talk Suse around to accompanying Manny. It would be good for Suse to see that what her boyfriend involved himself with was not all a game.
 
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