Part 46, Chapter 600
Chapter Six Hundred


20th June 1947

Washington D.C.

The most ticklish portion of this operation was getting everyone between the different buildings in the National Mall while drawing as little attention as possible. While Louis Ferdinand was meeting with a rather prickly President Dewey. Kira and her party had been sent to the Smithsonian and the other museums of Washington D.C. Kat got the impression that the Emperor would have preferred to have gone with them as they had parted company in the hotel that morning.

As they made their way from the Smithsonian’s Art and Industries building to the Natural History Museum. It was a couple hundred meters of open ground and they were doing their best to cover that walking at a brisk pace. The part about not drawing attention was easier said than done. The blue uniforms of their guards tended to get noticed. Gianna had Michael and Kristine holding her hands. She couldn’t help but notice that the press was around as well as a few people watching them go by curiously. That morning, as they had prepared for today Gianna had watched Kat prepare. She was wearing a specially made dress that seemed ordinary until one realized that it offered full freedom of movement, except for her upper body which seemed a bit stiff. Gianna had realized that it was armor. When Kat had put on her Pour le Mérite, she had understood fully that Kat had done that as a mental preparation for a fight if need be.

Gianna had been put in charge of keeping the children close so that Kat could keep both of her hands free, Freddy had been ordered not to leave Kat’s side. Beyond her knives and pistol, Kat had a submachinegun in her purse. It was the latest design from Mauser, compact, suppressed and with a rate of fire that would saw any target in half. Gianna hoped that it wouldn’t ever come to that.

They had reached the front of the Natural History Museum. They were to meet the Curator who was supposed to give them the tour, same as any other museum that they had been in over the prior days. The fact that they were moving around in America, which was regarded as potentially hostile was not lost on anyone.

It was as they made their way up the stairs, a woman stepped out from behind one of the pillars. Kat reacted with shocking speed and practice. Gianna had rarely seen her in action, but the woman found herself up against the pillar she’d just stepped out from behind with her arms twisted up behind her. Kat allowed one of the soldiers to take over with that while she searched the woman. She found a pocket camera and an autograph book. Kat figured that she knew what was going on but had to confirm. Looking at the woman’s driver’s license, Abigale Armstrong, age 22 and a resident of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “What are you trying to do here Abigale?” Kat asked.

“It’s Abby and I just want Queen Kira’s autograph and a picture” Abby replied, Kat could see a bruise forming on her chin from when she’d hit the pillar.

That confirmed what Kat suspected, an autograph hunter.

“There are safer ways to go about doing it” Kat said, “And she’s an Empress, there are several kingdoms in Germany.”

“But I just get ignored most of the time”

“There’s a reason for that” Kat said as she glanced towards Gianna who was standing protectively in front of Michael and Kristine.

“That’s all she wants?” Kira asked as she took the autograph book opened to a blank page and signed it. “I’d suggest that be more careful in the future, Katherine can be extremely dangerous.”

“Thank you” Abby said, her voice betraying that the reality of the situation she’d put herself in was sinking in.

Berlin

It had been a long day. All yesterday and a good portion of today Doug had been developing the photographs. Then had come the meeting at the Richthofen’s house while they went through and decided which photographs to keep and which ones would be released to the press. Then he’d gone to the Berlin offices of his Agency. His agent had taken one look at the photographs that had been selected for release and had immediately decided that he needed to take Doug out for a celebratory drink. He had gotten the photograph that every newspaper was clamoring for.

Doug had accepted the invitation but figured that he would have that one drink and then he’d go home and catch up on his sleep. While his agent was using the gent’s, Doug was sitting at the bar and he hardly noticed the large man who had sat on the stool next to him.

“You are not at all what I expected, Herr Blackwood” The large man said.

“Do I know you?” Doug asked.

“Not directly” The man said offering to shake Doug’s hand, “Johann Schultz.”

Kat had mentioned that name before, usually intermixed with several swear words. She had also warned Doug to never have any dealings with this man because he would regret it afterwards.

“What can I help you with?” Doug asked.

“Ten years ago, I recruited a troubled girl who had managed to befriend the daughters of some extremely powerful men” Schultz said, “Despite some missteps on my part I’ve proudly watched her live up to the potential I recognized in her from the start. What I want to know is why she’s pissing her entire career away for someone like you?”

“I’ve no idea what you are talking about” Doug said.

Schultz just gave a humorless chuckle and shook his head. “She’s marrying a foreign national, the son of an Officer in the armies of the British Empire. She’ll lose a great deal when she does that.”

That was not the way that Kat had described it. She had said that it would be the first time she’d been in complete control of her life since she was fifteen. The BND would no longer trust her enough to bother with her.

“Did she also tell you that she is on the short list to be the next Operations Officer of the First Foot Guard, an Oberstlieutenant’s position?” Schultz asked, “Her marriage to you jeopardizes that.”

Kat hadn’t mentioned that.

“That’s her business” Doug said.

“Keep telling yourself that” Schultz replied, “But is it really?”

With that Schultz bolted his drink and left.
 
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Schultz might just have set up his own Nemesis, because I am sure Kat will be less reasonable then Doug when she discovers him meddling with her personal life
 
Schultz might just have set up his own Nemesis, because I am sure Kat will be less reasonable then Doug when she discovers him meddling with her personal life

Kat is highly likely to put on her PLM and have a high-volume come-to-Thrognar meeting with the Principals of the BND.
 
Proverbially pigs were incredibly obstinate. So, if you wanted to drive a pig, the best way was to try and push it in the opposite direction to the way you wanted it to go. Possibly Schultz is aware of this strategy?
 
I don't see what purpose Schultz hopes to achieve with that...

Schultz sees Kat as the guttersnipe from Pankow-Heinersdorf whose decaying orbit he perturbed into becoming Gräfin Katherine Katja von Mischner, Major in the Luftwaffe with a PLM, confidant of Empress Kira, Voyevoda of the Russian Empire, and all the rest. He probably can't conceive that she'd rather be Kat, the girl from Pankow-Heinersdorf who's in love with a wonderful guy.
 
“Did she also tell you that she is on the short list to be the next Operations Officer of the First Foot Guard, an Oberstlieutenant’s position?” Schultz asked, “Her marriage to you jeopardizes that.”

In this part I'm pretty sure that he's blowing smoke outta his ass......

Because if she is in the list, the final decision of the command position in the 1st Foot Guard its to the final approval of the Kaiser, and to this point he would actually get VERY PISSED, with anyone who had the gall to question the Grafin Von Mischner's credentials.... and he knows that if Kira learns that they are trying to stop Kat of ascend to the position.... the row is going to be legendary.

..... Add that the raise in rank and Kat's marriage gives the Kaiser another amusing chance to make Kat groan as the wedding gift would be possibly a big chunk of real state... and an extra Noble title raise....
 
an extra Noble title raise
As a Grafin there isn't much higher she can go. Just Hertzog or Gross Hertzog/Princess, now a Dukedom might be possible but unlikely also at the Count level you are expected to serve and sacrifice so no additional reward would be granted. And if anyone were to try to make her a sovereign ruler as Grand Duke I think Kat would reassess her refraining of killing a Kaizer.

Though I now remember Jehanna's deteriorating Aunt/great-Aunt who is a reigning Grand Duchess, and likes Kat. She could leave her title to Kat with a stipulation that Kat's Heir would be Jehanna.
 
Well there is the rank of Furstin between Grafin and Hertzogin. King George may choose to up the standing of Doug by offering him a Baronry (though not Blackwood, there already is (was) a Baron Blackwood, it was one of Lord Dufferin's minor titles). The Canadian thing is a problem though -is there a McNickle Resolution this TL?
 
I don't see what purpose Schultz hopes to achieve with that...
Its possible that he is actually dissappointed. And not to cool about it.
Any committed craftsman/artist/scientist would have their professional hearts broken if their most gifted student wanted to go for a different trade.
 
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In this part I'm pretty sure that he's blowing smoke outta his ass......

Because if she is in the list, the final decision of the command position in the 1st Foot Guard its to the final approval of the Kaiser, and to this point he would actually get VERY PISSED, with anyone who had the gall to question the Grafin Von Mischner's credentials.... and he knows that if Kira learns that they are trying to stop Kat of ascend to the position.... the row is going to be legendary.

..... Add that the raise in rank and Kat's marriage gives the Kaiser another amusing chance to make Kat groan as the wedding gift would be possibly a big chunk of real state... and an extra Noble title raise....

If Philip Ferdinand and Kira hint at such a thing I can forsee a quieter but no less emphatic meeting: "Please, I beg of you with tears in my eyes, do not do this to me. The titles, medals, orders, promotions - they're not who I am, they're just part of the Katherine von Mischner persona that I take on when I have to. I'm happiest when I can take off that persona and just be Kat Mischner, the kid from Pankow-Heinersdorf in love with a wonderful man."
 
Its possible that he is actually dissappointes. And not to cool about it.
Any committed craftsman/artist/scientist would have their professional hearts broken if their most gifted student wanted to go for a different trade.
That.... or he chose now to realize one of HIS tests, you know... those that make Kat contemplate if gelding without Anesthesia in situ it's a viable option.

And now DOUG it's the test subject. In the eyes Schultz it's simple. He breaks and runs, he's going have to find a very dark corner of the world as there will be an unofficial hunt of very pissed family and friends.

If he keeps calm, then he its slightly off his rocker and an adequate husband for Kat.

.... And if he flips the fuck out and tries to murder Schultz, then he IS alike in a level to Kat deep down, the only difference being the lack of a fucked up childhood and such crap.
If Philip Ferdinand and Kira hint at such a thing I can forsee a quieter but no less emphatic meeting: "Please, I beg of you with tears in my eyes, do not do this to me. The titles, medals, orders, promotions - they're not who I am, they're just part of the Katherine von Mischner persona that I take on when I have to. I'm happiest when I can take off that persona and just be Kat Mischner, the kid from Pankow-Heinersdorf in love with a wonderful man."

And that its like WHY they took the SOP of NOT telling her about it... like almost a decade ago.
 
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One of the problems that Kat and the German Security is facing on the United States leg of the tour is that it appears that many of the security agencies of the United States are going through a massive shakeup right now and many of the things that need to liaison with the Germans are falling thru the cracks, like credible threats assessments and shared operations like the Americans are responsible for building and public spaces security and the Germans are responsible for personal security.

This may lead to a determined crack pot to slip through and start blasting at the Imperial Family or a terrorist group trying to kidnap a member of the family, and without current information from the Americans about the different real and imagined threats, the Germans are going in blind to many places in their tour.
 
One of the problems that Kat and the German Security is facing on the United States leg of the tour is that it appears that many of the security agencies of the United States are going through a massive shakeup right now and many of the things that need to liaison with the Germans are falling thru the cracks, like credible threats assessments and shared operations like the Americans are responsible for building and public spaces security and the Germans are responsible for personal security.

This may lead to a determined crack pot to slip through and start blasting at the Imperial Family or a terrorist group trying to kidnap a member of the family, and without current information from the Americans about the different real and imagined threats, the Germans are going in blind to many places in their tour.

If Something Happens then Kat and the 1st Foot will kill everyone involved. Show a gun, get shot.
 
If Something Happens then Kat and the 1st Foot will kill everyone involved. Show a gun, get shot.
So very true but the whole point of coordinating the different security teams is to stop something before it happens.
It is very likely that the German Embassy and Counsels have received various threats and have turned them over to the FBI and the Secret Service to be investigated.
If there is turmoil at the FBI and Secret Service, there is the possibility that there is no follow through on evaluation of the threats and the Kaiser and Family are in more danger then anybody realizes.
 
So very true but the whole point of coordinating the different security teams is to stop something before it happens.
It is very likely that the German Embassy and Counsels have received various threats and have turned them over to the FBI and the Secret Service to be investigated.
If there is turmoil at the FBI and Secret Service, there is the possibility that there is no follow through on evaluation of the threats and the Kaiser and Family are in more danger then anybody realizes.

Add to that, depending on what is actually known, some now former agents that now have a score to settle with Germans...
 
Part 46, Chapter 601
Chapter Six Hundred One


23rd June 1947

Wilhelmshaven

The SMS Rhineland had finally been relaunched after a substantial number of delays. The equipment specs had kept changing because the technology was advancing at such a clip that it was obsolescent before it could be installed. The superstructure was transformed beyond recognition and was now festooned with radar arrays, antennas and aerials. Christoph had told Arend what had been going on in the turrets, but he had needed to see it himself to believe it. Automation had sharply reduced the number of men required to man the 42-centimeter guns while speeding up the process of reloading them. The same thing had happened in the magazines. According the Christoph the take away from the last war was that the battleship needed to be optimized for the fire support role. The computer guided gun laying would fire a sequence of shots at different angles and with different propellent charges. The result was that one minute after the first volley was fired, forty shells would arrive at the same spot, at the same instant if things worked perfectly. Arend figured that he’d wait and see, his longtime position anytime newfangled technology found its way onto one of his ships.

He figured he would leave that sort of thing to Christoph. The things that never changed were what Arend preferred to deal in. Keeping a ship afloat was a never-ending task and it was one that would exist so long as there was a Fleet. But the changes to the Rhineland were not the only changes that had been coming. Arend had been promoted to Deckoffizier, an odd rank between the Officers and the Enlisted. It also made him the direct hand of the Captain below decks, answering only to the Captain and the XO. A position he was still adjusting to, but he missed his old position of authority in the forecastle.


Berlin

“Is that true?” Doug asked.

Kat was tired from having spent two nerve wracking days in the United States followed by a long flight home. She didn’t want to do more than to find a bed and sleep for at least the next day or so. Instead she found out when Doug picked her up at the airport that Schultz, damn him to Hell, had told Doug a bit and Doug had used his connections to find out the rest. The problem with sitting in a car was that uncomfortable conversations were something you couldn’t just walk away from.

“I’m unlikely to get the promotion” Kat said, “I’m one of several Majors who are being considered, but I’m still too junior and I’m still attending University for at least another year. Those are things will be factored in as well.”

“And your marriage to me might kill that forever?” Doug asked.

“Have you thought about why that overfed hyena told you that” Kat replied, “He still wants me to someday be the head of the BND, someone who he could pull the strings on and have dance to his tune.”

“Your response is to throw your entire career away?”

“NO!” Kat yelled, “I’m doing this because it’s what I want. My entire career, the thing you say I’m throwing away, happened by accident. And do you know what never once happened?”

Doug watched the road ahead, unsure if he wanted an answer to that.

“No one, especially Johann Schultz, ever once asked me what I wanted” Kat said, “I got blown up, shot, dumped out of airplanes, slept in ditches, and it wasn’t what I wanted.”

“What did you want?” Doug asked, “If those people had given you a choice.”

“Don’t do this” Kat said.

“Answer the question, Katherine” Doug replied, “I’m tired of it being wheels within wheels with you.”

“You don’t want to…”

“I’ll decide what I want to know” Doug said.

Kat sat there for an extremely long time unsure how to answer that question. The dark secret that she had only ever told Doctor Holz and Doctor Tangeman about. The thing that had driven her into greater and greater insanity during the war. Doug was someone who she needed to be able to trust and so far, he had proven that he was worthy of her trust.

“I wanted to die” Kat said in a voice that was hardly louder than the engine of the car, “Every day being painful and grey, I wanted it to end. And the Russians couldn’t ever get the job done.”

“Oh” Doug said, that wasn’t the answer he’d been expecting. “What about that time you got shot?” He said, unsure what else to say.

Kat looked at him suddenly extremely annoyed, “It was because of Schultz that I got shot. I was only lucky that Thorwald hit me in the vest and not the head” She said, “It would have been just my luck to get killed by my commanding officer because they insisted on using that crappy Russian rifle…”

That nearly caused Doug to drive off the road.

“Why the Hell did your CO shoot you?”

“It was street theater” Kat said, “Kira’s worthless brother was going to declare himself Czar that day, Abwehr had other ideas.”

“You got the Blue Max for that” Doug said as he realized the implications of what Kat had just said.

“And people can’t figure out why I dislike those stupid medals so much” Kat said.

“You are saying that Abwehr let you nearly get killed to control the Russian succession” Doug said, with considerable disbelief. “And they gave you a medal for it?”

“It was because Lavrentiy Beria was trying to maneuver Vladimir into being Czar” Kat said, “Stalin would have been taken out in a palace coup, peace would have been declared but all the people behind Stalin would still have been in place. The whole war would have been for nothing.”

Doug was shocked by that, it was a chapter of the war that no one could ever know about. “Why did you do it?” He asked.

“It brought the killer of Jehane’s parents to justice” Kat replied.

“Was that what you told Beria to set him off like that?” Doug asked, “That Jehane Thomas was still alive.”

“Yes” Kat said, “Among other things. That man was everything I hate in this world, he deserved to die screaming.”
 
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