Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Starslayer my geography teacher might have a word with me about the three towns that you mentioned which are in the 120 to 150k range and there is a definition that a big town can start with 100k. But these are numbers of today with Bavaria actually having gained a large part of its population 1945 to 1960.

He might not have a word with me on the two around 50k and especially not about Günzburg with below 20k people.

But even all of them added together amount to just 500k people OTL so TTL I expect 350k so I stay to the point that the RMD connects the Ruhr with nothing.
 
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Actually the channels in Germany generate about 80 to 120% of the running costs by lock fees and harbor fees with the RMD at 15%.
Ulm as someone has mentioned can be regularly reached by ships with less than 2 meter draught.
That means an Epione class with half load.
And again this is after another 5 decades of Bavaria trying everything to improve on the shallowness of the Danube.
 
Part 128, Chapter 2177
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Seventy-Seven



11th September 1972

Tempelhof, Berlin

The girls had a secret.

If Kat had to guess, this was mostly Sophie because it was her style to not mention something in the hope that the problem would somehow solve itself if she could stall long enough. Marie Alexandra would have been far more direct. She tended to flaunt whatever it was that was causing the issue and dare Kat to object. The fact that Marie had followed Sophie’s play this time was actually a good thing. She had been encouraging them to act like sisters for ages even if it was them against her in this case.

The little detail that Kat probably wouldn’t tell Sophie or Marie was that she had watched the two of them along with Franziska going in and out of the garden shed that was up against the back wall of the garage from the window of her office over the last few days. An Anthropologist might have said that it was a part of Human evolution left from when their distant ancestors lived on the African Savana, that people tended to look for threats in their surroundings in a level plain. Most fail to realize that they occasionally needed to look up as well. That was why the girls were unaware that Kat had been observing them the entire time.

Walking across the back garden, Kat could only marvel at how different it was from the muddy patch of ground that it had been more than a decade and a half earlier. It was a tiny tree shaded patch of forest in the middle of the city. Cheshire was sunning himself atop the back fence the way he did most mornings when the weather was good and the girls were out, like they would be until this afternoon when they got home from school. He watched lazily as Kat opened the shed’s door. There were the expected assortment of gardening implements and a lawnmower. To the side though was an old blanket and half-grown terrier mix puppy staring at Kat with it’s tail wagging. A pair of bowls from the kitchen were there by the door, one empty and the other containing fresh water.

When Fleur died, Kat had had a long discussion with Doug about whether or not they should get another dog. He had said that it wasn’t up them and that the girls would let them know if they wanted a new one. Kat’s feeling was one she shared with a line that had been in that American television show, when Sam Fenley, played by George Carlin is explaining why an illness that the family dog goes through is so significant he said, “Home is where the dog is.” It seemed that Sophie had somehow happened on a new dog and Kat would need to get the whole story when she came clean, as Sophie inevitably would when she realized that this wasn’t something she could keep secret for much longer.

As she was giving the puppy a good scratching and having him trying to kiss Kat’s hands as she was doing it, Kat smiled. “If you could tell me what name my girls have given you?” Kat asked, “It would be helpful.”



Mitte, Berlin

There were times when Zella wondered what her life was coming to. Every mistake, every misjudgment, and everything else that tended to happen. Being asked to make the announcement for the upcoming festival that everyone had decided to put on in honor of John Elis was a part of that. The trouble was that Zella had been running late for the segment that was going to air on the Evening News and the Producer of the segment had assumed that her wearing the leather jacket and blue jeans was a part of the getup and not her regular street clothes that she hadn’t had a chance to change out of.

It was in keeping with something that Zella had listened to Kiki complain about for ages. That when you are enough of a public figure, people assume that they know you. It had resulted in Kiki going to considerable lengths to hide a great deal from the public. If only they knew, Zella thought to herself. Some of the things that her friend had done and continued to do regularly would probably blow their minds.

For Zella, it was how no one seemed to recognize her when she was out riding her motorcycle. Outside the context of seeing her on ARD News reports or in one of her mini documentaries it didn’t compute that she was the same person. Yet, if she went to have lunch with her mother and dressed presentably as her mother insisted that she should when she was around her staff and colleagues at the Berliner she was recognized in seconds.

That was why Zella had found herself feeling a great deal of reluctance to have this side of herself appear before the camera. It was a part of her that she hadn’t shared with the public. Of course, people would probably assume that it was all a put on like so much of what regularly appeared on television. However, those in the know would inevitably tell others and before you knew there would be one less bit of anonymity for Zella to enjoy. Perhaps, she would need to go find a boat to hide on as well before too much longer.
 
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I sincerely hope this time it is a Dackel (dachshound).

And for those who never met them give me one Doberman to fight over three Dackel anytime.
 
George Carlin is explaining why an illness that the family dog goes through is so significant he said, “Home is where the dog is.”
George Carlin had a much darker and more cynical take on pet ownership IOTL.
I referenced it when Uli who was a gift from King George VI to Freddy died.
 
George Carlin had a much darker and more cynical take on pet ownership IOTL.
Yes, but this is a direct quote from something he said in OTL. That home was series of dogs throughout your life.

Of course, he also said "Handle every situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away."
 
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Part 128, Chapter 2178
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Seventy-Eight



15th September 1972

Wahlstatt, Silesia

Their belated return to Wahlstatt had not gone unnoticed. Everyone seemed to have known where they had been and what they had been doing. Niko had enjoyed telling everyone about what he had seen, how it was very different from watching it on television. Bas though, he was deeply annoyed with his youngest sister. Gretchen was totally unrepentant and told Bas to sod off in the Mess Hall the first time he had tried to talk to her about the matter. She had done this in front of the entire school didn’t help matters and she had gone on to tear into Bas using several choice terms that Niko was unaware that Gretchen would have ever been in a position to learn. It was common knowledge that no one messed with Bas unless they were asking to land in a world of hurt. His little sister had done so in the most ruthless manner possible, and he couldn’t retaliate against her in the manner he would have with almost anyone else. At the same time, he was perfectly happy to take out his frustrations on anyone stupid enough to speak ill of Gretchen.

It all stood as a reminder to Niko of how the Schultz family worked. Even with how much time they spent squabbling with each other, they would close ranks and would go back to it being them against the world in a heartbeat. Niko had already seen that a few times as Bas and Gretchen had put aside their differences and dealt with someone who they found particularly offensive with absolutely shocking speed.

That also resulted in Gretchen spending most meals with the fourth-year students. Everyone joked about how she needed to have friends her own age, but it was okay because they had needed a mascot. Niko knew that she had friends her own age but liked to be around Niko and Bas whenever she got the chance. However, it was a joke that everyone laughed at.

The talk had however turned to Frau Pavlichenko. She taught history, but the things they studied were different from years past. There were details that their textbooks overlooked or were not as cut and dry as they had been taught. Rote learning had always been the order of the day, learning dry facts and being able to repeat them on examination, what happened on what date. She wanted them to learn the “why” as well.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that there were a lot of rumors flying around about their new History Teacher. That she had been a Sniper in the Red Army and as a prisoner of war had been a head case who had landed in the University Clinic in Jena, which where many of the worst cases of Traumatic Stress got sent, before joining the Pioneer Corps.

Niko personally thought that most of those rumors were absurd.

For starters, during the Soviet War Snipers were seldom captured. Something that was doubly true if they were women. Niko had heard stories about how front-line troops would just tear them to pieces and their Officers would look the other way. As for her getting sent to Jena, if she was that bad off, how had she been allowed to join the Pioneers and teach in Wahlstatt?



Over the Mid-Atlantic Ocean

This wasn’t a flight that Kiki wanted to take. As far as she was concerned, her never setting foot again in South America would be better for everyone. Freddy, President Martínez of Argentina, and the Medical Service disagreed with her though. So, here she was on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires. At least they had seated her in First Class, so at least Kiki could be comfortable while she was unable to sleep. Ben was snoring softly in the seat beside her, and she didn’t have the first as to how he could be so comfortable aboard airplanes.

Instead, she was paging a magazine that had been left in the pouch in back of the seat in front of hers. It was typical tabloid trash, speculation about which actors and actresses were sleeping with each other, who had gotten themselves arrested, and other celebrity drivel. It was fortunate that the tabloid press considered Kiki’s family boring. It was something that got them left alone for the most part these days. After all, outside of the House of Hohenzollern who cared about Kiki’s niece Alex learning to ride a bicycle? Not when there was the latest scandal brewing in England whose Royalty were always a hot mess. Small wonder that Alberta had been so keen on marrying Michael. Prague might not be London, but Birdie seemed to prefer the former to the later. Not that the tabloid press wouldn’t have reason to cover Michael and Birdie in the near future. Kiki had noticed it while they had been in Munich, as Doctor and a woman she had more experience in certain matters than she would have liked. When they had finally gotten a chance to talk, Birdie had told Kiki the truth, but she had also said that she hadn’t known how to tell Michael and had not screwed up the courage yet.

She had told Birdie not to worry about it and to just say something the first chance she got. If Kiki knew nothing else, it was that her older brother would be over the Moon with the prospect of becoming a father.

Flipping to another page, Kiki cursed aloud. Earning a stern look from the woman sitting across the aisle from her. It was a recent picture of Nina playing with wooden blocks aboard the Epione, on the floor of the saloon the previous summer. Rauchbier was curled up less than a meter away, ostensibly sleeping, but his ears were perked up as he listened to everyone nearby. He had become extremely protective of Nina, needing little in the way of encouragement by Kiki and it was something that she liked to see.

As adorable as the picture was. It was part of a batch that was never intended for public consumption but for Kiki’s father. When Kiki got back to Berlin, she would need to have a few strong words with the Office of Royal Protocol over this this matter.
 
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It was common knowledge that no one messed with Bas unless they were asking to land in a world of hurt. His little sister had done so in the most ruthless manner possible, and he couldn’t retaliate against her in the manner he would have with almost anyone else. At the same time, he was perfectly happy to take out his frustrations on anyone stupid enough to speak ill of Gretchen.
I suspect that Bas is going to be perfectly happy to take out his frustrations on anyone stupid enough to annoy him.
The talk had however turned to Frau Pavlichenko. She taught history, but the things they studied were different from years past. There were details that their textbooks overlooked or were not as cut and dry as they had been taught. Rote learning had always been the order of the day, learning dry facts and being able to repeat them on examination, what happened on what date. She wanted them to learn the “why” as well.
Teach them to learn the why and they also learn what to avoid if, or when, they find themselves in a similar situation.
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that there were a lot of rumors flying around about their new History Teacher. That she had been a Sniper in the Red Army and as a prisoner of war had been a head case who had landed in the University Clinic in Jena, which where many of the worst cases of Traumatic Stress got sent, before joining the Pioneer Corps.

Niko personally thought that most of those rumors were absurd.

For starters, during the Soviet War Snipers were seldom captured. Something that was doubly true if they were women. Niko had heard stories about how front-line troops would just tear them to pieces and their Officers would look the other way. As for her getting sent to Jena, if she was that bad off, how had she been allowed to join the Pioneers and teach in Wahlstatt?
Your Aunt Kat, Niko. And Peter Holz.
Not that the tabloid press wouldn’t have reason to cover Michael and Birdie in the near future. Kiki had noticed it while they had been in Munich, as Doctor and a woman she had more experience in certain matters than she would have liked. When they had finally gotten a chance to talk, Birdie had told Kiki the truth, but she had also said that she hadn’t known how to tell Michael and had not screwed up the courage yet.
Michael is still wondering exactly why Birdie decided that he was the one. I mean, he very carefully told her that she didn't have to marry him, despite what their families might want.
Flipping to another page, Kiki cursed aloud. Earning a stern look from the woman sitting across the aisle from her. It was a recent picture of Nina playing with wooden blocks aboard the Epione, on the floor of the saloon the previous summer. Rauchbier was curled up less than a meter away, ostensibly sleeping, but his ears were perked up as he listened to everyone nearby. He had become extremely protective of Nina, needing little in the way of encouragement by Kiki and it was something that she liked to see.

As adorable as the picture was. It was part of a batch that was never intended for public consumption but for Kiki’s father. When Kiki got back to Berlin, she would need to have a few strong words with the Office of Royal Protocol over this this matter.
While Nancy & her staff are going to get yelled at, big time, I hope Kiki remembers to save some for her father & possibly her eldest brother. One, or both, gave the all clear on those pics being used. Unless the photographer went rogue and just sold them, thinking (?) that it is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.
 
There are several questions that have to be answered before Kiki does anything that will make the situation worse.
1) Who took the picture in the first place, was it someone in the inner circle?
2) Who developed the picture, was it from a commercial business or Palace Press Office?
3) How was the photograph obtained, was through the PPO without clearing it with Kiki and Ben?
Did Ben give authorization by himself without checking with Kiki first?
In many cases the tabloids will trade an embarrassing picture that they have of a celebrity for some exclusive pictures of the celebrity that are more mundane.
The pictures could have come from "A friend of a friend" in which Kiki and Ben could have shared pictures of the family with other family members and friends who in turned shared them with their friends and that is how the picture wound up in the tabloid.
As an example Nadine could have showed a series of pictures to her friends and one of them could have taken a picture and sold it to the tabloid for a few Reich marks.
 
Part 128, Chapter 2179
Chapter Two Thousand One Hundred Seventy-Nine



16th September 1972

Tempelhof, Berlin

It was with great reluctance that Sophie walked across the garden. As much as she hated to say, the situation had proven just how correct Kat had been when she had told Sophie that she wasn’t ready to make adult choices, especially once there were other people involved. Or in this case, a dog involved.

Sprocket was happy to see Sophie as she opened the garden shed door. He always was. Even when she had first seen him in the pet store, he had been so likable that Sophie had fallen in love with him instantly. He was a mutt that was probably a mix of a dozen or more breeds of terriers and had grown too big to be easily sold by the store’s owner. The owner had been happy to sell Sprocket to Sophie at a steep discount.

Not for the first time did it occur to Sophie how stupid a move that had been. It had seemed like a good idea. They had lost their dog and even Marie had agreed this it was what they should do. Sophie knew now that she should have seen that as a big red flag. Since when had Marie ever been anything other than impulsive and frivolous? Sophie had paid a portion of the money she had been saving up in hopes of buying a 10-speed racer like the one she had seen in a magazine recently. Naming the pup Sprocket had been a cynical joke about the loss of that particular dream. Then had come all the things that went into maintaining even a little dog like Sprocket which had to be paid for. It wasn’t fair to ask Ziska because he wasn’t her dog and Marie had been reluctant to help. So, it had fallen on Sophie to take care of things and she had been able to do it for the first couple of weeks. Then Sprocket had gotten sick, and Sophie had needed to take him to the Veterinary Clinic for what had turned out to be a minor stomachache. That had consumed the last of Sophie’s money.

In the days since, Sophie had done everything she could to keep Sprocket fed. Yes, there was food from the kitchen, but she had heard that it was bad for him to eat cooked food. There was also Petia to contend with. Sophie suspected that the Russian woman kept a daily inventory of what was in the refrigerator and cupboards somewhere because she always knew exactly where everything was and how much of it was left.

Picking up Sprocket, Sophie didn’t know what was going to happen, but she couldn’t keep doing this. “I’m sorry” Sophie whispered to Sprocket who licked her chin as she carried him towards the house. Looking up, Sophie saw the back door swing open and Kat was standing there, her face was expressionless, but her eyes froze Sophie in place.

“You have something you are ready to tell me Sophie?” Kat asked. The tone of her voice was even, no emotion or surprise. Somehow that made it even more terrible. She knew, or more likely she had known all along what Sophie had been up to.



Buenos Aires, Argentina

The band was playing as Kiki entered, which made this all the more embarrassing. The original idea had been that they would arrive in Buenos Aires, Kiki would except this medal and then they would get back on a plane that would take them home without any frills or fanfare. Instead, she was standing there in her Medical Service Dress Uniform, with all the Medals and Orders on it as she was about to be awarded the Argentine National Cross to the Heroic Valour in Combat. This also included Argentine Citizenship with a huge land grant in some odd corner of Patagonia.

President Martínez had made these plans as he had originally planned this event in July, but Kiki had forced him to reschedule it for September much to the annoyance of Steffi Bader. It seemed like Kiki’s Personal Secretary was always exasperated by something that Kiki had done, but she was extremely well paid to keep her affairs in order and considering how much of a mess Kiki was on any given day, that was a fulltime job. That included making sure that Kiki was on the plane to Argentina this time.

“You are to let the President pin the medal on and then accept his gratitude on behalf of the People of Argentina” Steffi said, “Just keep to that script, please.”

It was obvious that Steffi had already had enough unscripted moments on this trip. There had been listening to Kiki’s complaints about the photograph of Nina and Rauchbier getting published when they had stepped off the plane. Then that morning Kiki had run into Che for the first time since he had dropped her off at the German Embassy in La Paz. Later, he had written at length about their journey across the Andes and their attempts to get to safety. She didn’t blame him for doing but wished that the resulting book had not been a best seller. That played a key role in why she was here today.

Kiki had also learned that the accounts of what had happened at Estancia María had grown with retelling. How she had dispatched a brut Hellbent on rooting out Argentine Patriots as they had fought a guerrilla war against the Chileans. She had then fled across the mountains to lead the Chileans away. The icing on the cake had been that Kiki had unknowingly been five or six months pregnant at the time. Something about all that made her some sort of warrior saint to the Argentinians.

“La Coronel-Doctora Kristina Alexandra Yekaterina Tatiana von Preussen zu Hohenzollern…” Martínez read aloud to the National Assembly to introduce her by her full name, before he started to read the citation.
 
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I won't comment on the ethics of buying and selling of dogs and cats. Just remember that this is a part of the story and a common practice that wasn't really debated in the early 70's.
 
Actually it is standard practice until today. But even back then a reputable seller had to make sure the puppies are not too young and properly treated (dewormed and vaccinated) and had to keep a family tree.

That there are always and will always be unreputable sellers and people willing to buy from them… is sad.
 
I thought the dog was going to be what my family would called a "Supermarket Dog" where there would be someone with a box of puppies or kittens in front of the supermarket trying to give them away for free.
On more then one occasion when it was puppies being given away the story was that the mother was a purebred dog in heat and was going to be bred to another purebred male dog when the mutt from next door got loose...
 
I suspect that once the whole thing comes out, Kat will be very supportive of Sophie and Sprocket will stay.
Marie may find that she will be shouldering her share of the expenses shortly too. And the various dog care chores, but in this, she only has herself to blame.

Now, who wants to bet that both Kat and Petia have been secretly looking after Sprockett, making sure he's properly fed etc on the quiet?
 
Seriously?
THats a thing?
It certainly used to be a thing. I can remember it being a thing in the UK as recently as the mid 80's. Once the internet became a thing they went on local small ad sites.
The most mind boggling one I saw was a GSD/Corgi mix: head, tail and colouring of a GSD, body and legs of the Corgi. By all accounts, the GSD was the mother...

These days though, they're given stupid names like Cockapoo or labradoodle and sold for a premium.
 
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