Yeah this is a time for heroes, and Jacob Schmidt's career is going to be in HUGE trouble for this fiasco.

Major kudos to Helene and Gerta for being the friends before Kat was a somebody who are ensuring she doesn't get swept under the rug.

That might depend. Was Sauvegot left alive on Jacob's wishes, or was it someone higher up making that call?
I think the reason why Sauvegot was left alive was a very Germanic One. Them Rules Are Them Rules. The Death Penalty could only be given in some very specific cases in Germany.
He didn't tick the right boxes, so they could not kill him legaly. Also Jacob Schmidt wasn't responsible for the prison, he put him there, but others where responsible for keeping him there.
Kat is hurting and the guilt has set in. I am surprised Maria has not stopped by to visit Kat and give support to her protege.
These last few chapters have been truly great. You slowly built up towards it, Peabody, but let me tell you, the crescendo does not disappoint at all!

I think the reason why Sauvegot was left alive was a very Germanic One. Them Rules Are Them Rules. The Death Penalty could only be given in some very specific cases in Germany.
He didn't tick the right boxes, so they could not kill him legaly. Also Jacob Schmidt wasn't responsible for the prison, he put him there, but others where responsible for keeping him there.

I don't think keeping Sauvegot alive was according to the rules either. He never got a trial or anyhting, few people ever knew what became of him. Throwing him into some black hole with no way of ever escaping or enjoying life was - quite astutely - the worst punishment Jakob could think of. There is also no plausibel reason to blame Jakob for any of it. If a criminal escapes prison - do we blame the policeman who arrested him? That does not make any sense.....

I am calling it, by the way - Lang for Reichskanzler!
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Part 17, Chapter 178
Chapter One Hundred Seventy-Eight

5th February 1939


Augustus Lang had been talking to Katherine Mischner in front of Reichstag on a crisp winter afternoon one second, next thing he knew he had woken up in a hospital bed hours later and could hardly move. Rhona and his son Emil had fallen asleep in the room. What had surprised him was that there were armed Paras guarding the door. Emil Holz had not wasted time in reaching the city, the 1st Fallschirmjäger Division had done everything shy of doing a drop on the Tiergarten in the process of arriving a step ahead of elements of the Heer’s 2nd Army Corps. Shortly after that he’d learned that he was the ranking member of the SDP that had survived the Reichstag bombing.

It had turned out that the explosion had aggravated all of Lang’s old injuries plus there were a number of what they were calling blast effects that they were looking for. As if painful spasms and cramps in his back and legs were already not bad enough. As the Doctors had told him, he wasn’t a kid anymore and his body just couldn’t bounce back like it used to. Welcome to middle age with a brutal beating. The result was that the Doctors were keeping him here until they reached a satisfactory conclusion about the current state of his spine.

He’d also learned that both of the girl’s ears had been blown out causing what they thought was temporary deafness for her. Lang hoped they were right, having received life altering injuries at a young age he didn’t want to see anyone else subjected to something like that.

Politically the situation was a game of pickup sticks being played in the midst of a knife fight in a blacked-out room. Former coalition partners were making a grab for power, viva la revolution and all that crap, were they trying to tear this country apart? Had they ignored everything that had happened in Spain? Did they even care?

Then there were the proposed responses to the Reichstag bombing. They’d had their own version of the gunpowder plot and unlike the English version theirs had ended with the dome atop the Reichstag blasted into orbit. How had this madman managed to steal two tons of high explosives? And then smuggle them into the basement of the Reichstag? There were proposals for emergency powers in the wake of the bombing. Lang had made his opinion very clear on that. What was the point? They’d already gotten the bastard. If they wanted to improve security around public buildings and military depots, fine. If they wanted an exhaustive investigation into what had gone wrong with real consequences and recommendations, fine. If they wanted to arbitrarily increase the power and reach of the State security agencies, some of whom not only knew about Sauvageot since the Great War but had imprisoned him for a good chunk of that time, then the answer was a big, fat stinking NO! And if they wanted a reason for that Lang had a simple answer, he did not reward incompetence, period.

There was a commotion outside his room in the hospital ward and the Paras guarding the door snapped to rigid attention. Emil Holz must be back, Lang thought to himself. He needed to talk to Emil about perhaps springing him from here. Just like when they’d been university students and Emil would be there to get him out of jail. They could also get breakfast like they did back in the day, no more bland hospital food.

Lang was surprised that it wasn’t Emil who entered but Wilhelm the III.

Heinersdorf, Berlin

When Hans and Marcella got home they found Klaus sitting at the kitchen table talking with Otto. Marcella could not think of a time that she’d been more disappointed in her brother-in-law’s behavior since he’d reacted to the death of Marcella’s sister Suse by crawling into a bottle. Otto, Labor leader and train engineer had reacted with blind fear to the prospect of visiting Kat in the hospital. Even Kat’s supervisor at her job in the city, who Marcella suspected blamed herself for Kat landing in the hospital had at least contacted them about visiting Kat. While the journalist hadn’t made it in to see Kat yet she’d moved Heaven and Earth to make sure that the truth about what Kat had done could not be buried.

On some level, Marcella felt for Otto. Seeing Kat in the hospital would bring back memories of what he regarded as the worst day of his life. It didn’t help that Kat bore an uncanny resemblance to Suse though Kat had a fire that Suse had lacked, something that she had probably inherited from her father.

Kat herself was something of a mystery to Marcella. It was God’s will that her and Klaus had never had children of their own, instead they had basically raised Hans and Kat after Suse had died and Otto had mostly been absent. They’d done their best for them but a few years earlier it was like someone had flipped a switch in Kat. The precocious little girl had become a deeply insecure but driven young woman. She was convinced that she was failing out of school when she had consistently been in the top third of her class. That she was unwelcome and unloved in this house when that was anything but the truth. Worse of all Kat seemed to panic at the mention of Suse, terrified that one day she’d share the same fate. Marcella had tried to tell her that was not how it worked, that what had happened to Suse was the exception not the rule, but Kat had refused to listen. Then Marcella remembered with a shutter what had probably prompted that change in Kat, what couldn’t be undone, the poor girl.

Kat was so much like Otto, Marcella knew what the real danger was for her. She was going to end up alone and afraid to get too close to anyone, which would be tragic.
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Hopefully Kat will recover physically and emotionally.

Congrats to Lang and may he keep the peace in this trying time.
Kat needs to talk to Emil about how to handle unwanted and (in their eyes) undeserved fame. There's going to be a movie about this within the year.
What, the Kaiser can't ennoble her? There has to be some sort of medal for this. *snip*

The Order of Louise I suggested, is officially at the discretion of the Empress as head of the order. In normal circumstances the commission to award membership is controlled by the Prussian State/German Empire, but no one is going to gainsay the Empress on this.

It also makes the recipient a Dame and a noble, it is the house order of all female members of the Imperial court. And it still leaves room for further advancement as Kat is only starting out. It also makes Kat a companion of the Empress so expect interest and guidance from her Majesty.
Part 17, Chapter 179
Chapter One Hundred Seventy-Nine

19th February 1939

Heinersdorf, Berlin

They had cut Kat loose after two weeks, the Doctors had concluded that her ears were healing nicely. Her hearing was improving, but it still sounded like everything was underwater. She had been told that she needed to be patient. Her hearing would improve or she would adjust, that sounded a bit ominous from her perspective. The visit from Helene and Gerta had been awkward. They just didn’t understand why she was uncomfortable with being the center of attention. Now she was home, killing time during an obnoxious late winter afternoon and dreading her return to classes tomorrow.

There was a knock on the bedroom door, it must have been the second or third try because Kat could see the ceiling lamp rattling around. When she opened the door, she saw that it was Aunt Marcella.

“I’m sorry, I forgot” Marcella said loud enough for Kat to hear her. Kat chalked this up as example ten thousand of how this whole situation had grown tiresome.

“What do you need?” Kat asked.

Marcella didn’t answer. Instead she pushed past Kat and opened the wardrobe. Kat had been giving Marcella money intending to help out. Instead Marcella had put that money aside and she had bought Kat a dress that was made from dark green crushed velvet as a Christmas present with it. It was nothing like what Kat would normally wear, too formal and she found that the way it fit was too revealing for her tastes. Now Marcella had pulled out that dress and laid it out on Kat’s bed.

“I need you to change into that” Marcella said.

“But I’d never wear something like that” Kat said, “It’s just not my way of doing things.”

“Enough of that” Marcella “I understand your reasoning, stupid as it is and I knew exactly who I was buying this dress for. It is nearly floor length and the neck line is actually quite high. Most other young women would consider it quite modest.”

“The way it clings” Kat said, “It reveals too much.”

Marcella looked like she was going to laugh “All it reveals is that Katherine Katja Mischner is an attractive young woman when she’s not hiding herself under layers of secondhand clothes.”

Kat suddenly had an unwelcome flash of the last time someone had made a comment like that to her. She reminded herself that Aunt Marcella had never done anything to hurt her. To make Marcella happy Kat reluctantly changed into the dress. But when her Aunt started unraveling Kats braid she almost baulked, that was also bringing back bad memories. That horrible woman got thrown down the nut hatch, Kat reminded herself, she never had power over you and never will.

Kat sat there while Marcella brushed out her hair and then started pinning it back. She recognized the pins, silver with emeralds. “These are now yours too” Marcella said.

“But those are yours” Kat said.

“They are the sort of thing that would go to my daughter and they are” Marcella said as she put the matching necklace around Kat’s neck “Your grandfather brought these back from the Franco-Prussian War and gave them to your grandmother on their wedding day. She gave them to me and one day you’ll pass them along.”

“What is this about?” Kat asked, changing the subject.

“It’s a surprise” Marcella said as she led Kat downstairs, Kat noticed that the sensible shoes that Aunt Marcella had gotten to match this dress were not broken in and pinched her feet. She saw that her Father, Hans and Uncle Klaus were waiting for them. Her Father and Uncle were wearing what would be expected of an Engineer and Machinist on their weekends. It was Hans that was the exception, he was wearing a dress uniform with medals that Kat didn’t know he had.

“The perfect escort for the lady” Hans said with a smile “Any man looks at you twice and you can count on your big brother to punch out his lights.”

“All right both of you kids” Otto said as he put on the coat “Out to the car.”

They got a few curious looks from the neighbors as they piled into the car. Hans in the back, Kat in the passenger seat and Otto driving. Kat watched out the window as they drove into Central Berlin and across another bridge to Museum Island. They still hadn’t told her what this was about.

Her Father parked the car so they could get out. “I’ll be along when this show is over” He said.

“Are you sure about that?” Hans asked.

“Not my thing” Otto said, “Besides I’ve an image to live down to” He then turned to Kat and said in a low voice “Your Mother would have adored seeing you dressed up like this, you’re beautiful even if you can’t see it.”

That left Kat slightly shaken, her Father never talked about her Mother, ever. Kat tried not to dwell on that as she helped Hans climb out of the back seat of the Volkswagen.

“I offered to sit back there” Kat said.

“And as I told you before there is no way you could climb back there without messing up your dress” Hans said, “And knowing you that’s the goal.”

“I told you that was her” Kat heard a voice call out behind her.

She turned and saw that Gerta and Helene walking up to them. “Sorry, I barely recognize you when you’re dressed like that” Helene said.

“Good luck, Son” Otto said to Hans “I’m sure you’ll find escorting this bunch a real hardship.” He then started the car and drove off.

“Can someone please tell me what this is all about?” Kat asked.

“No one told you?” Gerta asked.

“We thought she might run away if we had” Hans said.

“Safe assumption” Gerta replied.

“Before I go any further I want to know what’s going on” Kat demanded.

“You’ve an audience with Empress Cecilie” Helene said, “And you’re getting inducted into the Order of Louise, it was the best we could do.”

“The best you could do?” Hans asked, “That’s equivalent to a Knight’s Cross only they’re choosier about who gets it.”

“It’s still a separate thing for women” Helene said, “That’s not right.”

“If you say so” Hans replied.

“Let me be the first to introduce Dame, 1st Class Katherine!” Gerta yelled joyfully. Kat realized that she already hated it. She also realized that Helene and Gerta were on either side of her and Hans was walking a couple paces behind. They had planned it this way because they knew she’d try to bolt. As there neared the Palace Kat saw a flash bulb and realized that the press was here and a crowd of well-wishers.

“You all could give Judas Iscariot lessons in these sorts of things” Kat said.

“Don’t be so dramatic” Helene said as she took Kat by the arm and led her through the crowd.
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Could Kat and Emil be secret siblings? It's like they have fobia of recognition.

They are both of a similar personality type but have differing motivations.
Emil likes the attention but hates how his actions are depicted when they get it wrong.
Kat on the other hand would be happy living alone on a deserted island. When she nearly lost her hearing she didn't mind because that was the perfect excuse not to talk to anyone.
They are both of a similar personality type but have differing motivations.
Emil likes the attention but hates how his actions are depicted when they get it wrong.
Kat on the other hand would be happy living alone on a deserted island. When she nearly lost her hearing she didn't mind because that was the perfect excuse not to talk to anyone.

With her spy training, I would imagine that it would make her paranoid on a level most can't understand.
This whole chapter was a nice break from the tension of the last few.

This is my favorite tl so far (though Renovation: an East Roman Revival is a close second).
Peabody, you very seriously need to publish this. It is already quite a good historical novel, with highly memorable characters passing through a very different world. It is easily one of the best timelines I've ever read.
Great update and nice to see Kat get rewarded. So if remember correctly, and I may be wrong, Gerta, Helene, and now Kat are entitled to the honorfic of Lady.

Though she is now out in the open, Kat may still be able to do some good for Abwehr, Schultz, and Germany. More education, in and out of school, will help polish her skills.