Tuesday, March 6, 1635

 

The door to the office opened. I looked up from my desk as a tall, weathered man entered. He hung his fedora and duster on pegs behind the door before greeting me.

Guten Morgen, Astrid.”

Guten Morgen, Neustatter.”

He glanced at my desk. I was doing follow-up paperwork.

“Any new clients?”

“Nein,” I told him.

“We need to find something. Not having clients puts us behind the eight-ball.”

He was right. Neustatter’s European Security Services needed clients. It was just like those movies he liked. If I had a Trommler record player, I would have put on something with a saxophone. Now it was about time for the blonde to walk in, concerned for her boyfriend, and give the boss a case. So I obliged.

I brushed my hair back over one shoulder. “Neustatter, I’ve been thinking. Maybe we could help the polizei again. Some of them have barely slept since Sunday.”

Naturally the boss saw through it right away. “You mean we could watch Georg Meisner’s back.” He didn’t believe in beating around the bush.

I shrugged.

“Are you going to pay us?”

“It’s free advertising,” I pointed out.

“It is, at that,” Neustatter admitted with just a bit of a drawl. He considered it for a couple of minutes. “As soon as the men are here, we’ll take your team and Hjalmar’s team. Uh, we’ll leave Lukas with Ditmar’s team. They can be the heavy backup. We’ll take Hans instead.”

****

At the crime scene—otherwise known as Leahy Medical Center—Georg Meisner was feeling more than a bit overwhelmed. He wanted to finish his examination of the sidewalks and drop-off zones so that doctors, nurses, patients, and families could do what they needed to do at the hospital without compromising the crime scene. There was a car with a spectator. Georg was reconsidering whether processing a corner of the parking lot yesterday and restoring it to its intended function had really been such a good idea. He would have thought the driver would have his windows up—running the heater had to be the whole point of sitting still in a car burning expensive gasoline—but the car had the windows down and was blaring music. Whoever it was seemed to have a very limited selections of songs, and this one had been playing over and over. Georg had started paraphrasing in his head.

“Got my first real six-gun . . . It was the frühling of ’35 . . . this was going to take forever . . .”

He heard a chuckle, and Chief Richards’ voice cut in. “I brought you one of the guys from school. But it’s not spring yet.”

Georg jumped to his feet, startled. He must have been paraphrasing out loud. Richards was standing there with Officer Stoltz and someone about Georg’s own age. “Uh, sorry, Chief!”

“Not a problem, Georg. Sorry for leaving you out here all day yesterday. Had to put officers on the dragnet and the perimeter before I could send you help.”

“I understand.”

“Georg, this is Martin Dörrenfelde. He’s from Alkersleben.”

Georg took his gloves off and shook hands. “Guten Tag. You’re a bit of legend around Calvert High—the student who scored 98% in the forensics course back in ’33. I thought you were with HDG Laboratories now?”

“I was, but forensics is much more interesting than making photographic chemicals.”

Georg nodded. “It is a lot more interesting than some of my classes. So how did you earn a 98, anyway?”

“Oh, the spectrometer worked better back then.”

“I bet you can still get good readings from it, too.” Georg gestured at the crime scene. “Do you take pictures as well as work with the development chemicals?”

Ja. I have a Certificate in Photography from Brennerei und Chemiefabrik Schwarza’s school in Grantville.”

Georg retrieved a camera. “Why don’t you start out photographing the next grid square? Then I will show you how we are measuring and recording each piece of evidence.”

 

Friday, March 2, 1635

 

It all started . . . well, I don’t know when it all started. I’ll tell you what I do know. As of last Friday, everything in Grantville seemed fairly normal. A late-season snowstorm had come through the day before. Students had hoped for the day off but had to settle for a two-hour delay to the start of the school day. . . .

On Friday afternoon, Katharina was enjoying working through the Greek syntax in Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace y’all are saved through the faith; and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” τῇ χάριτί was a dative of cause, “by grace.” The Greek students had started using you and y’all in English to mirror the German du and ihr. ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι was tricky. “Are saved” and “have been saved” were both acceptable translations. The verb was a perfect passive periphrastic, a roundabout way of saying something with a participle and a being verb when one could have just used a regular verb. This one was emphasizing the results of the action, and it was significant that it was passive.

“Next up is τοῦτο, ‘that,’ ” Dr. Green announced. “A simple little pronoun, but what gender is it? Friedrich?”

“Neuter.”

“Correct. What is its antecedent?”

Katharina smiled to herself. τῇ χάριτί (grace) and πίστεως (faith) were both out—they were feminine.

The bell rang.

“Think about this for tomorrow and translate up through, oh . . . we can probably get through verse 13 or so,” Dr. Green directed as he closed his book.

Katharina sighed. She had gym. Worse, they were doing gymnastics. While it thankfully had nothing to do with its etymology, it did mean that they were supposed to do stunts on odd pieces of equipment. They called it apparatus, which also didn’t have anything to do with its etymology, or she would feel a lot more prepared. She left her new glasses in their case, in her locker. They were too important to risk damaging them while doing silly things like gym.

Fifteen minutes later, she was standing in a short line, warily eying the vault. Several of the guys were showing off with complicated jumps.

“I am not sure this is respectable,” one of the girls ahead of her said.

Katharina smiled to herself. Margarata’s family was relatively new to Grantville but rapidly rising in status. Her father was a wealthy Bürger who was involved in several successful businesses in Grantville and Saalfeld. But Katharina more or less agreed with her. Flying through the air was not very dignified. Nevertheless she and Margarata both made it over the vault without crashing.

The balance beam wasn’t too bad. And the girls didn’t have to do the rings. They did, however, have to do the uneven parallel bars. Katharina made sure her tee shirt was tucked in and accepted a boost up. She managed to flip around the bar but lost her grip and landed on her backside. Flushing, she got back up and managed several elements, including moving from one bar to the other without falling flat on her face. However, she couldn’t spin all the way around the bar regardless of how hard she tried.

“Good effort, Katharina,” Frau Sims told her.

“Dank.” Katharina was conscientiously polite in return. She missed Kelli Fritz. Kelli had always been able to half-convince her she wasn’t a total flop at athletics. But the Fritzes had moved to Magdeburg, and Kelli was going to school up there.

Gym class ended a few minutes later, and Katharina headed for the locker room. She showered and started to turn the hot water up a bit more. Then she remembered that because of the mine disaster they were supposed to conserve energy. Heating water used energy. Besides, she needed to hurry up and catch the bus. As she dressed quickly, Nona Dobbs asked, “In a hurry, Kat?”

Ja. I have to work tonight.”

“Ha! I know you, Kat. You don’t have to work tonight. You get to work tonight.”

“Ja, Katharina agreed. “I enjoy it.”

“Why don’t you ask Dr. Green if you can take the night off and come out for pizza with us?” Nona asked. “We’re going to Marcantonio’s Pizza. It’s a youth group thing.”

“Who is going?” Katharina asked.

“Jack Sims, Aaron Craig, Jason Cheng, Melissa Higgenbottom, Michelle Carson . . . and my aunt Carole Ann.”

Katharina suddenly had a bad feeling about this. She struggled with how to point it out to Nona. Frau Carole Ann Hardy was the youth group director at the Baptist church. “Um, Nona? Frau Hardy frequently encourages the youth to be ‘involved.’ ” She had learned air quotes from the up-timers.

Nona laughed. “Yep, involved. And ‘integrated into all of the church functions,’ ” Nona added.

Katharina nodded. “Exactly! But I notice that everyone you listed is an up-timer.”

“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to . . .”

“You didn’t do anything wrong, Nona,” Katharina assured her quickly.

“You don’t think Aunt Carole Ann . . . ?”

“Are Johann Dietrich and Anna Maria going to be there?” Katharina asked. Donald and Carole Ann Hardy had adopted the Marbachers.

“Noooo.” Nona drew out the word. “They had something else going on . . .”

“We better go catch our buses,” Katharina noted.

“I’m sorry, Kat.”

“You didn’t do anything,” Katharina repeated. “And there could be a perfectly logical explanation.” Not that I can think of one.

****

Katharina arrived at ‘work’—the Baptist parsonage. First Baptist Church had one secretary—Bernice Richards—who answered the phone, updated the church records, kept track of who was in the hospital, and generally made sure that Brother Green didn’t forget things. At home, Claudette Green kept track of birthdays and anniversaries as well as social events at which the Greens were expected to put in an appearance. Together they managed his schedule in a low-key way.

Ever since the Earl of Carlisle’s secretary had written to him on behalf of Archbishop Ussher, and Reverend Cloppenburch had visited, and he himself had written to Moyses Amyraldus, Doctor Green’s correspondence had exploded. The deacons had made it clear that while he was welcome to correspond with whomever he pleased, that was on his own time, and it was not part of the church secretary’s job. Doctor and Frau Green had been a little overwhelmed. Frau Green volunteered full-time for the Red Cross, and they had four children. Allen—a senior—helped out some but it was not something that appealed to Anthony, a year younger. Johann and Emilia Gundermann were too young to help with the correspondence.

Shortly before Christmas, Dr. Green had noticed her squinting at her Greek Bible and interrupted a Bibelgesellschaft meeting with “Katharina, you need new glasses.” Worse, he had told her parents. They didn’t disagree but glasses were expensive. Dr. Green had offered to pay for them, but her parents demurred. Green had thoroughly embarrassed her by saying, “We can’t lose one of our top manuscript scholars to correctable eyesight problems. Suppose I hire you as my corresponding secretary, Katharina? I think I probably need one.”

“You definitely need one,” Frau Green had confirmed.

As of January, Katharina had a job and a new pair of glasses.

She knocked, and Allen Green opened the door.

“Allen! I thought you would have gone out for pizza with the youth group.”

“Huh? Nobody told me anything about a youth group activity tonight.”

“Nona said they were going to Marcantonio’s Pizza. Jack, Jason . . .” She fumbled for names. “Nona. Michelle Carson.”

“I didn’t hear anything about that.”

Interesting, Katharina thought to herself. Just up-timers but not the pastor’s eldest son.

“Dad’s in the office,” Allen said. “I think I’ll call Jack later tonight.”

Katharina knocked on the office door as she entered. Dr. Green had papers spread out and half a dozen volumes open.

“Hello, Katharina. I’m just putting the finishing touches on Sunday’s sermon.” He gestured at a stack. “That’s what’s come in. I’ve jotted down some replies.”

Katharina sat down and looked at the letter on top. It was from Moïse Amyraut—Moyses Amyraldus when he was writing. She sighed. Dr. Green and Dr. Amyraut’s letters tended to be really complicated. Learning enough Calvinist theology to intelligently write up Dr. Green’s replies was seriously cutting into the free time she had available for textual criticism. Occasionally seeking out Joe Jenkins to get the other point of view cut into even more free time.

But what was this? My colleagues Josue de la Place and Louis Cappel agree. As an aside, Cappel has been writing against the younger Buxtorf’s assertion that the Hebrew vowel points were part of the autographs. I have mentioned your Bibelgesellschaft to him, and he is interested in whatever up-time knowledge of Hebrew manuscripts is available.

“Yes!” Katharina exclaimed.

“I assume you reached the part about Dr. Cappel?” Dr. Green inquired drily.

Ja. We can show Dr. Buxtorf . . . Oh, nein, we can’t . . .”

Dr. Green put down his pen and swiveled his chair around. “We know, but we’ve agreed to do what we can to protect the Dead Sea Scrolls. So, y’all will have to find a different approach.”

Katharina added that to her to-do list. After she finished writing up Dr. Green’s reply, she moved on to the next letter. It was from Patrick Young but was solely concerned with the early Church fathers. She wrote Dr. Green’s notes out into complete sentences, got his approval, and made an additional clean copy for Dean Gerhard who was a leading scholar on the early Church Fathers and referred to the subject as patrology.

From there things took a turn toward the . . . less impressive. “Two more inquiries on supposed lost books of the Bible?” she asked.

“Since Wednesday,” Dr. Green confirmed. “Since you wrote such a nice position paper . . .”

Katharina made two copies of the canned response they had on file, then added a copy of the position paper to each. Dr. Green had paid for a small print run of the paper, so at least she didn’t have to copy that by hand.

Next up was . . . Katharina wasn’t sure what it was.

“Uh, Dr. Green, I’m not sure what the next one wants you to do.”

Green laughed. “It’s basically a rant.”

“What does that mean?”

He explained.

“So this person simply wants you to know that he does not like the English King James Version of the Bible?”

“Yep. Well, he’d probably like us to stop using it in church. You should have my response underneath.”

Katharina quickly read it over. “That’s quite diplomatic.”

“Well, there really isn’t anything I can do about it,” Dr. Green said. “The deacons won’t change translations. Well, Albert Underwood won’t change translations, and the rest of them aren’t going to fight him on it. And frankly, since we’ve got the King James pew Bibles, we may as well keep using them.”

“So Deacon Underwood will get the next letter.” Katharina smiled.

Al Green shrugged. “I suppose so,” he agreed innocently.

Katharina wrote up Dr. Green’s reply. By the time she finished that, it was time to go.

“Do you need a ride home?” Dr. Green asked. “It is still snowing a little.”

Nein, dank. I will catch one of the buses returning to school and then take the evening bus home.”

 

Sunday, March 4, 1635

 

Like I said, as of Friday, everything was fairly normal for Grantville. I did not notice anything unusual on Saturday, either. On Sunday morning, there was still snow on the ground, although it had started to melt. Pastor Kastenmayer preached on the Gospel reading, naturally. We were filing out of the church when we heard gunfire.

Neustatter shoved his way through the exiting congregation. “NESS! Come with me!”

I had more trouble getting through than the men did. I was trying to be polite. By the time I got outside there was sustained gunfire from the direction of Grantville.

“Who’s packing?” Neustatter asked.

“I am,” Otto Brenner answered.

“You and I are up front, Otto. The rest of you follow. We’ll stop for our guns first. Ursula, Anna, stay here with the children. Someone will call the church. Let’s go!”

“Neustatter!” Pastor Kastenmayer tried to get his attention. But Neustatter was already moving out. I figured the pastor was going to be a bit of a nance, so I hurried after Neustatter. I was wearing a dress and didn’t want to have to run to catch up.

I ended up running anyway. We hurried to our apartments for weapons. They are in the new construction along Route 250 out past Calvert High. My brother Hjalmar, my cousin Ditmar, and I grabbed our weapons and halstücher. I wasn’t sure why Neustatter was insisting on the neck scarves. I would have liked to have changed the rest of my clothes but there wasn’t time. I strapped on my gunbelt as I hurried back downstairs. The gunfire had abated. It no longer sounded like a pitched battle.

“Ditmar, Stefan, Lukas, Phillip, and Richart, take the left side of the road,” Neustatter ordered as soon as we were all assembled. “Hjalmar, Otto, Karl, Wolfram, Astrid, and I will take the right. It’s coming from further away from the high school. We’ll push right up 250.”

That’s what we did. We weren’t the only ones, either. A few men had come with us from St. Martin’s, and more had joined us from the apartment buildings. Neustatter put them together in a squad behind us. We weren’t even to the high school yet when Ditmar signaled Neustatter.

“Two men, running from something,” Neustatter said. “Karl, we’ll tackle them. Everyone else, off the road and into cover.”

I got behind a tree. The two men ran right down the road, not paying the slightest bit of attention to their surroundings. Neustatter and Karl Recker charged up out of the ditch beside the road. Neustatter clotheslined one of them, and Karl dove into the other.

“What are you running from?” Neustatter demanded while looming over the prone figure.

“The town watch is shooting us!” The man couldn’t spill fast enough. “The demonstration . . . the hospital . . . sacrilege!”

Neustatter hauled him to his feet. “Both of you are coming with us. See this pistol? I will shoot you if you run.”

He and Karl put the arm on both men. We kept going. Neustatter sent my brother and Otto on ahead to scout. We were just south of Deborah Road where Route 250 makes that funny little swerve to the side when Hjalmar turned and signaled something. Then he and Otto dove into the woods on the east side of the road.

“Four men coming!” Neustatter barked. “Weapons ready!” He and Karl pushed the two men we had captured to the ground.

I took the safety off my .22.

“Halt! Hands in the air!”

One of them actually listened. The other three bolted in different directions—one right at us, one back the way they came, and one straight into the woods.

“Weapons tight!” Neustatter barked. “Halt!”

The man was clearly in a panic and ran right into our line. Lukas buttstroked him to the ground with his U.S. Waffenfabrik rifle. I looked down the road to see that my brother and Otto had the man who had run into the woods. And the last one was running down Route 250 toward Grantville, brown cloak waving behind him.

Neustatter put the other men who had come with us in charge of the five prisoners. He put all of us from NESS in a skirmish line, and we started down the road.

“Neustatter.” Ditmar pointed. There were a couple of police cars sitting in the middle of Route 250 up by Leahy Medical Center.

“Slow and careful,” Neustatter directed.

“Halt!” There were several officers by the patrol cars. From the way they drew down on us, I’d say they were a bit spooked. And they had several men in custody, on the ground, including the man with the brown cloak who had fled from us.

Neustatter holstered his pistol. “Officers, what’s going on?”

“Drop your weapons!”

Neustatter held up both hands. “We’re here to help. What is the situation?”

“There was a riot. . . .”

Neustatter surveyed the parking lot. “You don’t say,” he drawled. I took a look myself. There was a police line tight around Leahy. The individual officers were taking cover behind cars and wagons and inside doorways. Even from here I could tell there were officers down, and a whole lot of other people. A burst of fire startled me.

“Three or four men behind that red car,” Neustatter stated instantly. “They’ve got those officers in the parking lot pinned down.”

“Neustatter,” Hans began, “there are . . .”

“Quiet!” Neustatter barked.

I spotted what they’d seen just before the two police officers coming around the far corner of Leahy flanked the men behind the car. There was a final burst of fire, and apparently everyone behind the car went down. The police officers ran up to them and kicked weapons away, then hurried a couple of the men inside the hospital.

“Now you can say it,” Neustatter drawled.

That seemed to be the last of the fighting. Another police car roared up, and two officers piled out. They checked in with the two officers who had stopped us, casting suspicious looks at us all the while.

“That’s Tipton and Neubert,” Neustatter told me. “Good men.”

We eavesdropped shamelessly.

“There were two or three hundred demonstrators. The first group was anti-vaccination. They were just trying to demonstrate, we think. Then the second group arrived. They drew weapons. I’m not real clear what they wanted. Someone opened fire . . .”

“And these people?” Tipton gestured toward us.

“We heard firing all the way out at St. Martin’s,” Neustatter answered. “We picked up our weapons on the way. Stopped two east of the high school and three near Deborah Road. How can we help?”

“You can’t. We can’t tell you apart,” the first officer said.

Neustatter pointed to his yellow scarf. “Yes, you can.” So that was why he made us take time to put them on.

“I appreciate the offer,” Officer Tipton said. “Put half your men across the road here, and half at the high school.” He and Officer Neubert hurried toward the hospital.

“Yes, sir.” Neustatter issued his orders. “Ditmar, take your team and half these men to the high school. Go in unarmed and coordinate with the librarians. Remember they’re packing. While you are inside, call St. Martin’s and tell Pastor Kastenmayer, Ursula, and Anna everything we know. Hjalmar, put the other half of these men on the far side of the road and help them pick lines of fire that won’t come close to Leahy or anything else.” He turned back to the officers. “Wolfram Kuntz here is a medic.”

One of the officers who had been there when we arrived spoke up. “Come with me. I’ll take you inside. I’m sure they can use every medic they can get.”

We guarded the road for a while. Then Officer Tipton, Neubert, and a few others ran to their police cars and went racing down Route 250 into Grantville.

“What is happening?” Neustatter asked the one officer who remained out by Route 250.

That’s when we found out Mayor Dreeson and Reverend Wiley had been killed. A while later we heard about Buster Beasley.

“Do you need more men over there?” Neustatter asked.

“Nein!” The officer was still pretty rattled. “Apparently the Hebraic Defense Force mopped up the rest of the rioters over there.”

“Huh.” Neustatter considered that for a few minutes. “Officer, did any of the attackers here escape?”

“Heck, yeah! A bunch of them scattered every which way.”

“Who is guarding the other roads out of the Ring of Fire?”

The officer swallowed a retort and reached for the handset in the patrol car. After a quick conversation, he told Neustatter, “They’re calling out the Reserves.”

“Well, that’s us,” Neustatter said. “Eight of us, anyway. Astrid, you are in charge here. Help out the cops.”

Some of the other men who had come with us were Reservists, too. Neustatter and the others backtracked for their horses. Neustatter sent Phillip to me from the high school. I put him in charge of the four armed civilians who were still with us. Hans was over at Calvert High with four more. By the time I had checked everyone’s position, Neustatter, Hjalmar, and the others were riding by. My brother told me to stay out of trouble.

****

I heard later that Georg Meisner was wishing his sister would stay out of trouble, too. Kat is no trouble at all, not really. It’s just that there are a few people in her church who seem to think that down-timers should be seen and not heard. Led by Deacon Albert Underwood, they wanted First Baptist to remain an English-language church with their version of up-time customs.

After the English service in the morning, most of the congregation had gone to the meeting hall to socialize and drink tea or broth. Others were just coming before the German service in the afternoon.

“The Anabaptists have split,” someone was saying.

“Knew they would,” Frau Baumgardner stated. “Got no idea how to have a proper church.”

“What did they split over?” Frau Walsh asked.

“Doctrine,” Frau Dorrman answered. “Some of them are pacifists, and some of them aren’t. As you all very well knew.”

“Well, then, why are the rest of them staying here?” Frau Foster wondered.

No one had an answer, until Kat piped up.

“Those who have left are generally non-Calvinistic. Those who have stayed are generally Calvinistic or haven’t made up our minds yet,” she offered.

“That can’t be right,” Frau Fogle stated. “Calvinists are Presbyterian, not Baptist. And who asked you, anyway?”

Kat decided not to point out that Presbyterians are Calvinists but not all Calvinists are Presbyterian. She also decided not to point out that Brother Green himself was, in fact, a four-point Calvinist—which she knew for a fact from his correspondence with Moïse Amyraut.

“I heard they were meeting in a shed.”

“Typical. Don’t know how to do nothing proper.”

“I’m not so sure it really matters where a church meets,” Frau Fleming put in.

Kat told me later she was toying with the idea of telling the old ladies that the Anabaptists had moved from the shed to the Club 250, of all places. But before she made up her mind, someone dashed downstairs to report there was gunfire in the streets.

Naturally, everyone went outside to take a look and merged with crowds from the other churches. A single police officer stopped them at the corner of Pleasant Street.

“Stay back. We don’t know if it’s over. I need any medical personnel and all off-duty police officers.”

Georg raised his hand. “Officer, do you need forensics?”

He laughed. “We’ve got enough crime scene to keep forensics busy for a couple of months, if we had any.”

“You’ve got me,” Georg said.

“Georg!” Katharina exclaimed.

“Georg!” their mother exclaimed.

The officer was already on his walkie-talkie. He conferred with someone, then asked, “Are you Georg Meisner?”

“Ja.”

“Chief Richards wants you over at the hospital. He’s sending a cruiser.”

****

We were still guarding Route 250 when a patrol car pulled up, and Georg got out of the passenger side. He retrieved a couple of cases from the trunk and started picking his way toward the hospital.

I caught up to him. “Georg!”

“Hi, Astrid.” He looked around. “What are you doing here?”

“We were leaving church and heard gunfire. I’ve got five men watching the road and five more at Calvert High. If you need any help . . . ?”

Dank. I need to find the chief. Stay here, okay? I don’t know how big a crime scene we have.”

I wanted to stay with Georg, but there are rules about crime scenes. So I stayed by the patrol car. Georg disappeared into Leahy. After a while he and Chief Richards and a couple of other officers came back out. The officers were pointing at various things. I had no idea what. But after a few minutes, Georg came over.

“Astrid, Chief Richards says I can use you and your men. You will have to stand in one place and not move around. Stop anyone from picking anything up off the ground. And the chief says that if any of you pick anything up, he’ll send all of you home.”

“Okay. Neustatter told me to help the police.”

Gut. I will need a few minutes to get a good look at the scene.”

“I will go get the men at the high school,” I told him.

When I got back, Georg and the officers were slowly walking around the parking lot. I could tell they were being careful where they stepped. Georg slowly made his way over to us.

“The police and I are going to process the crime scene,” Georg told us. “But we need to process the suspects first. So I am going to pick places for you to stand and guard the evidence until we can get to it. Do not touch anything. Do not pick up anything. Keep other people from touching or picking up anything. If you disturb the scene, a lawyer could have the physical evidence thrown out of court.”

“Uh, looks to me like most of the suspects are dead,” one of my men pointed out.

Ja, that is true,” Georg agreed. “But we do not know everything that happened, so I must work as though I were gathering evidence for trial. And if you stay, you must do what I ask.”

The man nodded.

“Then please follow me in single file. Step where I step.”

Georg stationed Hans out by the road. He made a circuitous route through the parking lot, occasionally posting one of us near a casualty or a pile of brass. He put Phillip and I near the main doors of Leahy with instructions to stop anyone leaving and direct them to proceed from man to man through the parking lot. Personal vehicles would have to remain in the parking lot overnight, but the police had arranged for a couple of pickup trucks to take people to their homes.

I stood in the parking lot for the rest of the afternoon, occasionally rotating my men. Georg was gone for a long time but finally returned with some police officers. By then some of my men needed to go home.

I watched Georg and the officers work. One of them had a camera and was taking pictures. The other had a sketch pad. Georg was wearing some sort of thin gloves. He put small yellow markers near bodies or brass. Then he and the officers used string to divide the parking lot into squares. They seemed particularly interested in bits of paper. After a few minutes, I realized those were cartridge papers. Georg was placing brass and cartridge paper in bags and making a lot of notes and measurements.

By the time Neustatter, Hjalmar, and the others rode up, it was evening. Neustatter started across the parking lot, but Hans stopped him.

Nein, Neustatter! Stop! The polizei say we must move from man to man, and all horses stay out on the road.”

Neustatter certainly isn’t used to being told what to do by one of his most junior men, but he’s smart. He knows none of us would make up something like that just to give him a hard time. So he and Hjalmar dismounted, handed their reins to a couple of the others, and picked their way across the parking lot to us.

“Report,” Neustatter directed.

“We are marking a safe path and keeping people away from the evidence,” I said.

“Good, good.” He took a careful look around, pretty much just turning in place. “Which parts are evidence?”

“Brass and cartridge paper, mostly,” I told him. “Whatever Georg and the officers say is important. The bodies, until they took them away.” I was fairly happy they had done that.

“We were relieved by a National Guard unit,” Neustatter informed me. “There should be another one coming here. Once it is in place, I think we may leave.” He pointed to where the police were setting up a portable light. “Will they work through the night?”

“As long as they can,” I answered. “Chief Richards will send officers home to sleep in shifts.”

“It is good that snowstorm already came through.”

The two pickup trucks dropped off two squads of National Guard. Hans stopped them and sent them down the proper path through the parking lot. We were all acting as though we were experienced crime scene guards. I could tell Neustatter was amused.

“Georg!”

Georg looked up and spotted the National Guardsmen. He came right over and gave them the same speech he had given us. Then he turned to us. “Neustatter. Hjalmar. Astrid, would you show the lieutenant where to post his men? One to replace each of your men. I’ll take the rest of your men, sir, and post another safe path in the parking lot on the other side of the building.”

Neustatter and Hjalmar followed me as I showed the lieutenant where to put his men. We met up with Georg out by Route 250.

“Dank,” he said. “Chief Richards and the Grantville police thank all of you.”

“Is there anything else we can do?” Neustatter asked.

Nein, I don’t think so,” Georg said. “I hear all the roads out of town are guarded.”

“Ja, Neustatter confirmed. “They’ve stopped quite a few people trying to leave town.”

“I know. Chief Richards was going to have me process them, but his officers can do everything I could. Just check their hands and faces for gunpowder. The rest is regular police work—asking questions. They will collect all the weapons, and I will examine them when I have time.”

Neustatter frowned. “Are you planning to sleep this week?”

Georg did look tired. “Ja. When I get a chance. Chief Richards said an officer would take me home and pick me up in the morning.”

“It’s important to sleep when you can,” Neustatter said, with the experience that came from having been a soldier for six years and a security consultant for the past two.

Georg nodded.

“We will come by in the morning,” Neustatter said. “There should be another National Guard unit by then. If not, we’ll help.”

 

Monday, March 5, 1635

 

So early on Monday morning, all of us gathered in the NESS office. Neustatter handed out the assignments.

“The National Guard is mounting perimeter patrols to assist the police. That’s our first priority, so the eight of us who are in the Reserves will be out on horseback. Astrid, take Hans, Jakob, and Richart to Leahy and see if the police still need help. If they’ve got enough help, take at least one man with you into town and find out what you can. Phillip, keep an eye on the office and our apartments. Anna, you’re in charge of the office today.”

****

The National Guardsmen standing guard at Leahy were not the ones who had relieved us. Georg was already on the job when we arrived, as were several police officers. One of them started to turn us away.

“Officer!” Georg called. “They can’t help with evidence, but some of the MPs are sworn officers. If NESS agents could take their places directing pedestrians, I could really use the sworn MPs to help me measure and label.”

The officer agreed.

Georg came over. “Sorry, Astrid. Any more than two, and they’ll just get in my way. Maybe they could use your other two men at the synagogue.”

I nodded. “I will leave Hans and Jakob here. Neustatter told me to go downtown with at least one man and gather information if you did not need all of us.”

Georg nodded. I think he would have preferred that I stay, but we both had our orders.

Richart and I went to the synagogue. The police had that crime scene blocked off but other than a whole lot of blood in the street, there was not much to see. An officer politely declined our offer to help stand guard. I could not argue. It appeared to be a much more contained crime scene than the one at Leahy.

We were watching a couple of police officers examining the scene when a man next to me in the crowd said, “The attackers were trying to kill the Jews.”

Neustatter had sent me to gather information. “Why?” I asked.

“Since when have anti-Semites needed a reason?” he returned. “It is frightening that it happened on the same day as the attack on the hospital.”

“Yeah, what are the odds?” another bystander put in.

So low as to be non-existent, I thought. There had not been an organized attack in Grantville since the Croat Raid. And now two attacks in one day? There had to be a connection.

“I suppose they might be related,” I suggested aloud.

Ppffffft. Of course they are related,” the first man said. “The mayor, the hospital, and the synagogue. Last time it was downtown and the high school.”

“I doubt it was Richelieu again,” someone else offered.

“Why is that?”

“Why shoot Mayor Dreeson? What good does that do Richelieu? The man is at least competent. His people would go after Mike Stearns or the Captain General.”

That did make sense to me. As they kept talking, I learned the details of the attack. Mayor Dreeson and Reverend Wiley had been shot first, before the crowd listening to a speaker had attacked the synagogue. Buster Beasley had been killed breaking up the attack, and then the Jewish militia had finished off what was left. When I thought we had learned all we could from those in the crowd, I motioned to Richart. We went to Cora’s.

Cora’s was crowded and buzzing with conversation. Yesterday’s attacks had replaced the recent state elections as the main topic of conversation. More people than usual were packing, too. After exchanging where-were-you-when-you-heard-about-it stories and agreeing that the Croat Raid had been much worse (though that was before any of us at NESS had come to Grantville), we mostly listened.

“I never figured Buster Beasley for a knight in shining armor,” an up-time lady was saying.

“Like the Swiss Guard protecting Clement VII,” a well-dressed down-timer agreed.

“Who?”

Up-timers have such surprising gaps in their knowledge. The well-dressed man explained that a century earlier the Hapsburgs had attacked Rome and that most of the Swiss Guard had died in defense of the pope.

The up-timer was surprised, but eventually caught on. “Oh! You mean a last stand. Like Davy Crockett at the Alamo.”

Now the down-timer was confused. But I was not. Neustatter had seen the movie, or perhaps a TV show, and made sure we all knew about the Alamo. More importantly, I got the dope. The attack on Leahy started out as a demonstration against vaccinations. That was töricht enough all by itself but then an anti-autopsy group had drawn weapons. There was discussion about who shot first. I did not care. Neither would Neustatter. Anyone could wear iron. That was in the Constitution. But the anti-autopsy group had drawn on the police. A few up-timers were very upset that the police had shot . . . first? At all? It wasn’t clear. I did get a name, a Frau Hill at Calvert High. Neustatter could send one of us to ask her about it if he were interested.

We wandered around town and saw a couple of arrests. We returned to Leahy in the afternoon. I told Georg what we had learned.

“I’ve heard most of that,” he confirmed. “I am worried about the anti-vaccination and anti-autopsy protests.”

“Because they could hinder the acceptance of science and technology?” I asked.

“Yes. The first is mostly bad science, the second is bad theology. Both put people in danger. I know that some of the doctors are going to explain that not vaccinating could get all of us killed. But they do not really know what to say to people who are against autopsies. Astrid, would you mind finding my sister and telling her about this? She will know whom to talk to.”

I nodded. “I’m on it.”

I took Jakob with me this time and walked down Route 250 to Calvert High. We checked in at the office, and I said I needed to consult with Katharina Meisnerin on a professional matter. The secretary looked up her schedule and detailed one of the security guards to take us to the cafeteria.

“Astrid!” Katharina exclaimed. She was seated with Barbara Kellermännin, who I remembered from our assignments escorting the Bible society to Jena and Erfurt. She introduced Marta Engelsberg, Alicia Rice, and Nona Dobbs. “This is Astrid Schäubin. She works for NESS. What can we do for you, Astrid?”

“Georg thinks you can help,” I said. “He said the doctors can explain why the anti-vaccination belief is bad science but he does not think they can explain why the anti-autopsy belief is bad theology.”

“He’s right,” Nona put it. “I don’t think many up-timers would talk about it like that.”

“Then we will talk to the pastors and priests,” Katharina stated.

“Thanks, Kat.”

Kat started rummaging through her backpack. “I have a list of them somewhere . . .”

“You carry around a list of all the clergy in town?”

“Sure.” Kat looked up at me. “You must have a list of all the security contractors in Thuringia.”

I had to laugh. “I do.”

“Excuse me.” I looked over to see a couple of students at the next table had been listening. “You’re Amish. Aren’t you supposed to be opposed to technology? Why are you in favor of vaccines?”

I watched Kat to see how she would respond.

“We’re not Amish,” she answered. “We’re Brethren—what you call Anabaptist. There were a number of leaders like Menno Simons. But Jakob Ammann was not born until 1693 up-time, so there are no Amish. Besides, they made their decisions about what technology to accept based on what promoted family life. Not dying of disease definitely promotes family life.”

“Okay. That’s cool.”

I exchanged where-were-you-when-you-heard-about-it stories with the girls and how different today felt from last week. That is how I found out what Kat had been working on for Dr. Green.

The Bible society girls promised to start talking to pastors and priests as soon as school let out. I figured I’d better go back and see how Georg was doing. Or at least give Hans a break.

****

I found that Georg had acquired an audience. In a way that was good because it meant the situation had gone from dangerous to curious. But since it could easily compromise evidence, Georg was only too happy to station Jakob and me in front of the bystanders.

“Georg, I talked to Kat and the other girls in the BGS. They said they would talk to the clergy.”

“Gut. Dank.”

Hjalmar, Neustatter, and the others came back near dusk. I gave my report.

“Very good, Miss Schäubin,” he said. “We rode around most of the northern side of the Ring of Fire. We detained one man trying to get out of Grantville. And the captain said he does not need us tomorrow.”

 

Tuesday, March 6, 1635

 

By the time we got to Leahy Medical Center the next morning, Georg had practically been overrun by people who were tired of the crime scene being in their way. Chief Richards noticed us right away.

“Neustatter, we don’t really need any more spectators.”

Nein, Chief. You need someone to keep the spectators back. My men actually slept last night so we can be patient with them.”

“Thanks. I think. Just don’t touch anything,” Chief Richards said gruffly.

After the chief left, Neustatter said, “I see you have a partner, Georg.”

Georg looked up. “Ja. This is Martin Dörrenfelde. Martin, these people are Neustatter’s European Security Services.” He introduced each of us.

We kept people from getting too close or stepping on evidence. Mostly I watched Georg work. And Martin Dörrenfelde. While trying to ignore the really loud music coming from a car.

“Fräulein Schäubin!”

I suddenly realized Neustatter was trying to get my attention.

“Neustatter?”

“What have you learned about forensics yesterday and today?”

I thought quickly. “Ballistics is easier to do for up-time weapons,” I managed. “There are marks on the shell casings that can be matched to the weapon. It is almost impossible to match a musketball to a particular musket.” I had picked that up from Georg.

“Uh-huh,” Neustatter grunted. “What else?”

“Brass gets checked for fingerprints.”

“Now that is useful to know.”

“Neustatter,” Georg called. “I heard that. This is not ‘How to Commit a Better Murder’ class.”

“Of course not.” Neustatter tried to sound virtuous. I did not find him convincing, and I do not think Georg did, either. On the other hand, Neustatter never killed anyone who didn’t need killin’, as the up-timers say.

After a while, a police vehicle—I don’t know what the big ones are called—carefully rolled down the safe lane Georg had cleared. Chief Richards came out to meet it.

“Those are professors,” Neustatter stated.

I agreed. Thanks to the Bibelgesellschaft, for security contractors we spent a lot of time around universities. We were mostly right.

“Georg! Martin! Are you at a point where you can step over here for a few minutes?” Chief Richards called.

“Yes, sir!”

We could barely hear the introductions over the music.

“This is Georg Meisner. He was instrumental in figuring out that incident of blood in the alley up in Erfurt last year,” Chief Richards said. “He has been training with us for a few months now. And this is Martin Dörrenfelde. He had the highest grade ever in the forensics class. Gentlemen, this is Attorney General Ortholph Fomann. Professor Domenicus Arumaeus, Dean of the University of Jena law faculty. Professor Johannes Limnaeus, also of the University of Jena law faculty.”

Georg glanced down at his crime scene gloves and bowed. Martin copied his lead.

“They are young,” the attorney general stated.

“I have officers assigned to the crime scenes, too,” Richards said. “But with the casualties, we’re barely able to staff our regular shifts. I’ve already talked to Colonel Grooms about borrowing some MPs. I don’t know for sure yet, but I expect we’ll need to formally transfer some of them to the Grantville Police Department. Major McAndrew let me borrow Gloria Papenheim and the rest of the State Police forensics team for the crime scene downtown. They’re finishing up there and will be over here later this morning.”

“Gut, Georg said.

“You don’t mind investigators from another agency?” the attorney general asked.

Nein. We need the best we can get on this case. Frau Papenheim is the best forensics tech. Is she bringing the rest of the Mounted Constabulary team?”

Ja, she is.”

“Sehr gut.

Dean Arumaeus spoke up. “Dean Gerhard told me about you. If it’s permitted, we would like to watch you work.”

“If it’s okay with Chief Richards . . .”

I think Chief Richards would have put most VIPs in the crowd with the rest of the spectators but having the dean of the University of Jena law faculty see forensics in action was a great opportunity. So the chief put them between Neustatter and me. Professor Limnaeus was literally taking notes.

He was also muttering to himself. “Ruler . . . protractor . . . triangulating the location of every piece of evidence. . . . We’re going to need to emphasize geometry in the law curriculum.” He was certainly right about that.

Neustatter was saying nice things about Dean Gerhard to Dean Arumaeus. I was a little surprised when Neustatter started narrating the scene, pointing out the initial police line marked by a fairly heavy scattering of brass. Then he indicated two piles of brass by a brown pickup truck.

“Two polizei advanced to cover behind that truck. They were putting down heavy fire. You can see that the truck’s windows were shot out, and there are two holes in the body on this side. Probably many more on the other side. The officer at the front of the truck fired in two directions. From where his brass landed, most of his shots were across the parking lot, but some were down the length of the parking lot because he was also covering their left flank.”

Georg has really good hearing.

“That’s pretty good, Neustatter,” he called. “But there were three polizei there. Some of that brass is .357 Magnum ammo. I’ve already processed a speedloader I found halfway between the pickup and the door.” He pointed at one of Leahy’s side doors. “At least three officers came from over there. One of them was hit halfway to the pickup and dragged inside. The .357 and the .40 at the front made it to the pickup. The other .40 at the back came from a different direction. He was firing as he ran and left those casings over there.” Georg pointed at a few scattered shell casings that approached the back of the truck diagonally.

“How is this going to help?” Dean Arumaeus asked.

“When we are done processing the scene, we will be able to figure out what each officer did and generally what the demonstrators did. Hopefully we will be able to track specific demonstrators, although that will be much more difficult,” Georg explained.

After a while an officer came by to collect the law professors. They and the attorney general left in the large police vehicle. When the vehicle returned, three people wearing torbert overalls got out. One of them was a woman. She went right over to Georg and Martin.

“Frau Papenheim. I am glad to see you. This is Martin Dörrenfelde. Martin, Frau Gloria Papenheim of the Mounted Constabulary forensics team.”

Frau Papenheim nodded curtly. “There are still cartridge papers that have not been processed?” she demanded.

“Ja, Frau.”

“Has the entire scene been photographed?”

“Ja, Frau.”

“Then we will process the cartridge papers,” she stated. “There may be latent fingerprints if the snowmelt has not washed them out.”

Georg looked really crestfallen at that. I felt bad for him.

“Eventually we will fume the cartridge papers with iodine,” Frau Papenheim continued. “If you cook any pasta in the next few days, save the water. It can be used to make latent prints permanently visible once the iodine shows them. There is also a chance of unburned black powder. We may be able to separate different batches of black powder by content.”

Georg brightened. “Some of the demonstrators would have had unfired cartridges on them.”

“Ja.”

Frau Papenheim belatedly introduced her team and sent them to specific sections of parking lot.

Around noon, Chief Richards checked on Georg and Martin.

“Chief, I screwed up,” Georg told him. “Frau Papenheim pointed out that the melting snow may have destroyed fingerprints on the cartridge papers. And she pointed out we might be able to match the powder to rounds they had left.”

“Georg, we were always going to lose some of the evidence. This scene needs an FBI task force to work it properly. I made the decision to concentrate on clearing the doorways and sidewalks first. We also could have done ABO testing of bloodstains on Sunday before they dried, but I couldn’t justify taking any of the reagents away from the emergency room. That’s a good idea about the powder, though. We’ll do what we can. Remember, I have officers interrogating suspects, too. I’m not letting you forensics people have that information because I don’t want it to influence your conclusions. Prove what you can prove. Just remember we have other means as well.”

****

When the forensic techs began rotating off-duty for lunch one at a time, Neustatter did the same thing with us. Then he and Hjalmar went into Grantville. NESS did need business, after all.

“Taking notes, Miss Schäubin?” Neustatter asked as he approached late in the afternoon.

“Ja.

“For Georg?”

“That would break chain of evidence. Or something like that,” I told him. “Some day you might find a scene like this and need to figure it out.”

“Like that place outside of Prague,” Hjalmar muttered darkly.

I gave him an interested look. He ignored it.

“Good point,” Neustatter said. “Good idea, Astrid,” he told me. He raised his voice. “Georg! All the police cars are on assignment. I volunteered NESS to give you a ride home.”

Dank, Neustatter. We will be finishing up for the day soon.”

Neustatter looked at me. “Why don’t you and Hjalmar take three of the horses and take Georg home?” My brother grinned and left to get the horses. “Phillip and Jakob, you live near Martin Dörrenfelde. See him safely home, please. Just do not forget to bring your gear back to the office in the morning.”

****

“It looks like you are making progress,” Hjalmar told Georg.

“It is going much faster now that the Mounted Constabulary forensics team is helping with the scene,” Georg said.

I didn’t say anything. I did not have anything nice to say. But I must have said nothing very loudly.

“Frau Papenheim did have a point,” Georg said. “We could have processed the cartridge papers sooner. She is friendlier than she seems. She just gets very focused on what she is doing. I’ve learned a lot from her.”

I think I looked unconvinced because Georg changed the subject.

“I hope that car is gone tomorrow.”

“It won’t be,” Hjalmar predicted. “That’s one of the things Neustatter did while we were downtown. Officer Onofrio was killed in the attack on the hospital. A friend of his wanted to keep an eye on the investigation for the family until Dan Frost gets here.”

“Okay.” That seemed logical to me.

“Maybe the friend can find different music,” Georg wished. “I have no idea what that song means, so I began making up my own words.”

“I have been wondering about some of the words myself,” I confessed. “It must be about their year 1969. But I have no idea what a six-string is.”

Neither did Georg or Hjalmar.

****

We rode up to the Anabaptist settlement. It was quiet. No one was outside at all, not even around the cold frames used to plant vegetables early.

Georg tried to open his front door, but it was locked. He knocked on it, and after a few seconds it slowly opened. Herr Meisner looked out at us very cautiously.

“Georg!”

“Father, why is the door locked?” Georg asked.

“How bad is it in Grantville?”

The door opened some more, and Frau Meisnerin tried to pull Georg inside. “Georg, are you all right?”

“I’m fine, Mother. Tired, but fine. What is going on?”

“Grantville is dangerous.”

Georg looked as confused as I felt. “No, Grantville is quiet,” he said. “The hospital parking lot got quite boring by afternoon.”

“There’s no rioting?”

“None. Many of the remaining rioters are in jail. The attorney general and two law professors from the University of Jena came by this morning. The professors watched us work, then Chief Richards got the Mounted Constabulary’s forensics team to help us out, so we made a lot of progress today. NESS volunteered to help with crowd control, and Neustatter asked Hjalmar and Astrid to see me home.”

“So it is dangerous out there.”

“No more than any other night, Frau Meisnerin,” Hjalmar put in. “It’s never a good idea to send someone up a road alone, and our horses were faster than walking. Chief Richards apologizes for not sending a police car, but they were all out on assignment.”

My brother can be quite the diplomat.

 

Wednesday, March 7

 

Wednesday began quietly enough. Neustatter, Hjalmar, Karl, Phillip, and I walked over to Leahy Medical Center to volunteer for crowd control. Georg, his new partner Martin, and Frau Papenheim’s team were already setting up for the day. It was cooler than yesterday, and that seemed to have discouraged some of yesterday’s spectators. The car with the loud music was still there, although he had the windows up today, which reduced it to a less annoying rumble.

About mid-morning, I realized that I had not seen Chief Richards. So when a police cruiser pulled into the parking lot, I expected it to be him. Instead, four officers piled out—two Grantville Police and two Mounted Constabulary. They hurried over to Georg and Frau Papenheim but I could hear what they said.

“There’s a weather front coming,” Officer Tipton said. “The chief’s busy. He told me to bring everyone over here that we could spare. We need to get as much of this evidence bagged as possible before it hits.”

“Cartridges and cartridge papers first,” Frau Papenheim directed.

Georg nodded vigorously. “Most of the brass is from police bullets. We don’t need their fingerprints. .40s and .357s get left in place. Officer Tipton, could one of your men walk the whole scene and check for any brass that looks different? If he can identify any of it as police brass, we can leave that for later, too. Martin, please process whatever he finds.”

Sometime after noon, we heard a horrible racket. It was something mechanical that I had never heard before. We all exchanged comments, but nobody knew what it was.

Officer Tipton came off. “Neustatter, could we send a couple of your people to go get lunch for everyone?”

“Of course,” my boss said. “Astrid, Hjalmar.”

While we were picking up sandwiches and small beer for everyone, we also picked up information.

“If you’re taking these back to the police,” the clerk said, “tell them I want to file a complaint about that hovercraft.”

“Hovercraft?”

I received a quick explanation. On the way back to Leahy, we saw an aircraft heading southwest. We shared the news while everyone gathered for a quick lunch. Officer Tipton walked over to the police cruiser and had a conversation over the radio.

“We are not going to bother with the noise complaint,” Officer Tipton said. “That was the Marines arriving and then taking off in the airplane.”

“What is going on?” Neustatter asked.

“There’s a plane down. They’re going to parachute down to it. Chief Richards and President Piazza are taking care of it. We’re taking care of this scene.”

Sure enough, a cold rain started during the afternoon. By the time we went home for the night, we were all soaked. Neustatter had sent Otto earlier, and Stefan’s wife Ursula had made soup for all of us.

 

Thursday, March 8

 

On Thursday, Neustatter and the team leaders went to the funeral for Mayor Dreeson and Reverend Wiley. Everyone in Grantville was still talking about the attacks, of course. But now they had a new topic, too. Vice President Gundelfinger had been aboard the plane that crashed yesterday. She was okay. The duke of Saxe-Altenburg was injured. The duchess was okay. The pilot was dead. Whether it had anything to do with Sunday’s attacks was an open question.

The forensics teams were still processing. Neustatter had sent Stefan, Hans, and Richart with me today. It was drizzling a little—not even close to yesterday’s rain but enough to make me thankful for the relatively good weather we had Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Neustatter, Ditmar, and Hjalmar stopped by after the funerals.

“Officer Tipton.”

“Neustatter.”

“You could have told us who was in the plane crash.”

“The chief didn’t want that getting out until we knew they were safe,” Tipton replied.

“Lucky for you, Miss Schäubin volunteered to bring a team over here today.”

Neustatter was exaggerating a little. But Georg and Officer Tipton both made a point of thanking me.

Neustatter and Ditmar went to Saalfeld and came back with an assignment. It was as straightforward as security assignments got. Some manufactured goods were being delivered to Ilmenau and some surrounding villages. The attacks in Grantville had everyone nervous, and there had been anti-Semitic speakers in other towns. The manufacturing company wanted half a dozen guards to ride out with the shipment on Saturday, guard the factory representatives during installation, and return to Saalfeld on Tuesday. Neustatter chose to take Ditmar’s team and Lukas to guard the wagons.

 

Friday, March 9

 

On Friday, we checked with the police but they didn’t need us. The forensics teams had cleared large sections of parking lot over the previous two days, and there were almost no spectators. Neustatter, Ditmar, and Hjalmar went to Buster Beasley’s funeral. I was sitting at my desk working on NESS’s accounts when the phone rang. It startles me every time.

“Guten Tag. Neustatter’s European Security Services,” I answered.

Guten Tag. Astrid, it’s Kat. Make sure you buy the newspapers today, all of them. Several of the pastors and priests have written letters to the editor about the autopsy controversy.”

“Great! Dank. We will get all three papers.”

I walked over to Rainbow Plaza, bought the papers, and brought them back to the NESS office so we could all read them.

The Grantville Times had a long letter to the editor that was comforting. It quoted Revelation 20:13a, “The sea gave up the dead in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them.” The letter emphasized that everything being made new meant everything, and that if even bodies that decayed at sea would be restored, then certainly an autopsy would be no problem at all for the Lord to repair. It concluded by appealing to John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends,” and arguing that letting doctors autopsy your body or otherwise use it to make medical progress that would save others’ lives was a commendable thing. It was signed by Methodist pastors Simon and Mary Ellen Jones, Presbyterian elder Orval McIntire, Church of Christ pastor Douglas Curtis, Disciples of Christ pastor Barton Campbell, Roman Catholic priest Athanasius Kircher and several Jesuits, and a Latter-Day Saint named Howard Carstairs. A note said that all of the signers completely endorsed the following letter as well.

The next letter in the Times was written by a couple of rabbis. As far as I could tell, it said the same thing, just from the Old Testament. It quoted Job 19:25-26, “And I know my Redeemer lives, And at last on the earth He will stand; And after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Then it discussed Ezekiel 37, the valley of the dry bones and how the bodies came back together when Ezekiel prophesied as the Lord commanded.

“Sounds okay to me,” Stefan ventured.

My brother and I exchanged grins. If Stefan could not find anything to complain about, then there probably was not anything to complain about.

The Grantville Freie Presse had a long letter, too. This one was a lot more intellectual. It argued that since salvation is by grace, it could not be affected by works—especially not someone else’s works of further damaging a dead body. A whole list of verses were cited. If anyone could counter grace with works, he would have to be as powerful as God, which was obviously not possible. In the end this became the same argument as the allegation that Satan had caused the Ring of Fire. He simply did not have power on the same level as God. Nor did anyone who autopsied a body have the power to disrupt God’s plan for that person’s resurrection. The particular heresy involved was Manichaeanism, and the letter reminded the readers that Cardinal Richelieu was reported to have agreed that God caused the Ring of Fire, on the basis of this same argument. This letter also concluded with John 15:13, and urged readers to recognize that autopsies indirectly saved lives. This letter had been written by Pastor Kastenmayer and also signed by Pastor Johann Rothmaler in Rudolstadt, Gary Lambert, and Johannes Musaeus.

“I am not sure I understood any of that,” Ditmar confessed.

“Whatever it says, it’s most of the Lutherans—Kastenmayer, Rothmaler, Lambert, Musaeus,” Hjalmar pointed out. “Well, except Holz, who would not sign a joint statement with Philippists, and the new one over on the other side of the Ring. What is his name?”

“Pastor Griep,” I supplied.

“Right. He’s Flacian, too. He probably can not afford to agree with Pastor Kastenmayer publicly.”

“But so is Musaeus,” Ditmar objected.

“Musaeus is in the Bibelgesellschaft,” I pointed out. “And a student at Jena. His name means that Dean Gerhard is quietly supporting this letter.”

“So the Lutherans agree, except for the ones with political considerations,” Neustatter summarized. “What does the Daily News have?”

The Grantville Daily News also had a long letter to the editor. It cited only one passage but it was the last half of 1 Corinthians 15. The letter reviewed all the times that Paul wrote that the dead are raised incorruptible. It was nine times in all. It cited verses 51-52 in particular: “Behold I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep but we will all be changed in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For it will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” The letter stated that treating a dead body with disrespect was wrong but that if people were willing to give up a body they weren’t going to be using for a while (and were going to get back perfected at the end) so that it would help others (and possibly give those others additional time to have a personal relationship with God), then that was a commendable thing. John 15:13 was quoted in support of this. The letter was signed by Dr. Green, a Brother Fiedler and a Brother Greiner for the Anabaptists, a Reverend Chalker for the Pentecostals, and a Mennonite pastor.

Neustatter whistled. “All the churches are not only in agreement on something but made nearly identical closing arguments. How did that happen?”

“I think the BGS is responsible for coordinating a lot of it,” I said.

“This never happens. I am impressed.”

The letters to the editors seemed to have that effect on a lot of people. At least that is the impression I got downtown on Saturday. After Neustatter and Ditmar’s team left, Hjalmar and I went looking for assignments. The letters were the hot topic in Cora’s that morning. The next day Pastor Kastenmayer preached about the resurrection of the dead. I did some checking over the next couple of days, and I am fairly certain that everyone who attended services in Grantville that Sunday heard the same sermon no matter which church he attended.

 

Monday, March 12

 

On Monday, the forensics teams finished up at the hospital. They had really tagged the last of the evidence on Saturday. Monday was a final walk-through before reopening the entire parking lot. The funerals were over, and the Vice President had returned to Grantville on Saturday. So Chief Richards was giving a day off to as many officers as he could.

Hjalmar and I were in Grantville that afternoon when the news came that the election results had been certified. The Crown Loyalists had officially won a majority of seats, and Wilhelm Wettin would be the new prime minister. Prime Minister Michael Stearns was going to give a speech over the radio. We headed for the high school because we knew there was a radio there. A lot of other people had the same idea. We all crowded into the gymnasium—they broadcast the radio over the public address system—and listened to Stearns’ concession speech over the radio. It was a good speech, I think.

While we were filing out of the building, I heard a couple of people behind us talking.

“I know I could have listened to Mike’s speech at home,” one of them was saying. “But I was right here in the bleachers the day that the Croats attacked Grantville. I thought it’d be appropriate to come here. Y’know, we’ve gone from fighting for our lives to changing leaders in an election.”

That was a nice thought. I was not sure I had a lot of confidence in William Wettin, but we would see how he worked out as prime minister soon enough.

 

Tuesday, March 13

 

Tuesday was quiet until the phone startled me again.

“Neustatter’s European Security Services,” I answered.

“Astrid, Georg here. I have just heard something you need to know. Officer Fred Jordan fell from a roof in Ohrdruf. He is dead. He was over there monitoring protesters harassing the countess of Gleichen. Astrid, Pastor Holz started those protests.”

“Is everyone else okay?” I asked quickly.

“Yes. So far. But the attacks in Grantville seem to have been religiously motivated . . .”

“So Pastor Holz is in danger. Thank you, Georg.”

“I have to get back to work.”

“See you later.” I hung up. Why had I said that instead of good-bye? I could think about that later. “Hjalmar! We’ve got a problem . . .”

Hjalmar heard my report and then said, “Holz will have Schlinck’s men protecting him.”

“If he’s heard about it,” I pointed out.

“That is true. Wolfram has a shift at the hospital. We’ll leave Phillip here and take everyone else.”

Hjalmar, Otto, Karl, Jakob, and I set out for Pastor Holz’s storefront church. We had not been welcome there since Holz had tried to tell Neustatter that we couldn’t guard the Bibelgesellschaft last November. Holz had intended to excommunicate Neustatter, but Neustatter beat him to the draw.

We approached cautiously. Wearing iron to this church was getting to be a habit.

“No guards,” Hjalmar observed. “Otto, Jakob, I want you to guard the front door. Stay at least six feet off to either side of it. If you hear trouble inside, come in. Otto, take my rifle and give me your pistol. I’ll go in first. Karl, you’re next.”

That left me in back. My brother was definitely looking out for me.

“Uh, Hjalmar?” I spoke up. “I look less threatening than Karl.” Karl had been a blacksmith’s apprentice and had the size for it.

“You are still in back,” Hjalmar told me. “One . . . two . . . three.” He opened the door.

The church was empty, which was something of a letdown. We filed back out the door.

“Let’s check his apartment,” Hjalmar directed. He took his rifle back from Otto and slung it over one shoulder. “Karl, sling arms. Just so we don’t look like the Earps and Doc Holliday walking through downtown Grantville.”

When we arrived, it was clear that Pastor Holz was not at home.

“Now what?” Karl asked.

“I have an idea,” Jakob spoke up. He pulled a packet from a pocket and displayed a set of lock picks.

I exchanged glances with Hjalmar.

“We are trying to keep him alive,” Hjalmar offered. “It will not do any good to wait for him if someone hostile finds him first.”

Jakob popped the lock and swung the door open. Hjalmar went straight to Pastor Holz’s desk and reached for the papers on top.

“Wait!” I ordered. “What did we watch all last week? Do not leave fingerprints. Jakob, two picks, bitte.” I handed them to Hjalmar.

He teased the top page to one side. “Read this.”

I did. “This is one of those tracts against Pastor Kastenmayer.”

“Neustatter figured he was involved but it is good to have confirmation.” Hjalmar flicked the next page to the side. “This one is about enthusiasts. I do not know who they are.”

“We can ask the BGS,” I said. I skimmed the second tract, too, and started copying key words into my notebook. “What else is in that pile?”

“Next Sunday’s sermon,” my brother answered. “Lots of stuff people shouldn’t do.”

That didn’t seem right. I said as much.

“It’s not really so different than lots of other sermons I’ve heard,” Hjalmar stated.

“I agree with Astrid,” Otto spoke up.

I started copying down key words from the sermon. And verse references.

“Maybe we should go before we get pinched for stealing advance copies of sermons,” my brother suggested dryly.

I flushed. “Ja. Where do we look now?”

“Where tracts show up. Wherever there are newspapers, people just drop off whatever tracts they’ve written,” Hjalmar answered.

That will teach me not to fumble for questions when I am embarrassed. I end up sounding even stupider. Yes, now that my brother had reminded me, I remembered seeing stacks of tracts in various shops. Political statements, business proposals, help wanted, what the up-timers called “rants.”

“So let’s go.” The other four started to leave Pastor Holz’s rooms.

“After I make sure we do not get caught,” I said. “Picks?” I coaxed the pages back into place. After the others were out the door, I pulled the door closed, took off my halstücher, and wiped down the doorknob and lock where Jakob and I had touched it.

“No fingerprints,” I said as I retied my neck scarf.

“Good to see you were paying attention last week,” Hjalmar returned. To something besides Georg, he meant.

****

We checked stores, restaurants, and everywhere else we thought Pastor Holz might go. We found a few leftover tracts from the elections, some from the Lutheran dispute, and a fresh stack accusing Protestants of incorrect Bible interpretations.

“Look.” I pointed at the author’s name. “These are by Horst Felke.”

“He’s in the BGS,” my brother said. “Why is he writing against Protestants?”

“Because he is Catholic and believes we are wrong,” I answered. “Everyone in the BGS does not agree on everything. They just work together on some things.”

“He makes a couple of reasonable points,” Jakob stated. Well, Jakob was Catholic. I glanced over to see he and Otto were both reading Horst’s tract.

Ja, I think you are right,” Otto said.

****

We finally found Holz outside the middle school, on his way to a tutoring lesson.

“Pastor Holz!” Hjalmar called.

Holz ignored us.

Hjalmar ran up to him. “Pastor Holz, there’s something you should know.”

“There is very little I want to know from you, young man.”

“Officer Fred Jordan fell off a roof in Ohrdruf and died. He was monitoring protests outside the former Countess of Gleichen’s residence.”

“The Grantville polizei were warned not to interfere. It is the Lord’s judgment upon them!”

I did not know what to say. Hjalmar just blinked.

But Otto spoke up. “So why didn’t the Lord judge the countess instead of the polizei?”

“Are you questioning my . . .”

“Yes,” Otto snapped.

“You come dangerously close to judgment yourself!”

“As do you, Pastor Holz,” Hjalmar cut in. “We came to warn you. Your demonstrations created a dangerous situation where an officer died. Some people could become upset with you when they hear about it. Many people in town are in no mood for religious violence, not after what happened last week.”

“Then this whole town incurs the judgment of God! He will . . .”

“You really are a . . .” I do not know what Otto called Holz.

But Holz obviously did. He slapped Otto across the mouth. Hjalmar quickly stepped between them, but Karl Recker was even faster. He lunged in, head down, and scooped Pankratz Holz up over his shoulder.

“We should take the pastor home,” he rumbled. “For his own protection.”

Holz squawked and threatened judgment some more. Karl thumped him in the back, and he shut up.

Hjalmar looked over at me, shrugged, and started down the street. So did Karl, with Holz still slung over his shoulder. Otto brought up the rear. Jakob was just standing there with his mouth hanging open.

“Do you remember how the men told you Neustatter excommunicated our last pastor?” I asked.

Ja. I thought they were joking.”

“Nein.

We drew some attention on the way back to Holz’s rooms. We would probably hear about it later. When we got there, Karl set Holz down. Holz immediately took a swing at him. I cringed. I expected Karl to sock him. But he just brushed Holz’s arm aside.

“That could get you in real trouble,” Karl told him. “We came to warn you and see you home safely.”

“This is outrageous! I will press charges! I’ll . . . I’ll . . .”

“We are done saving your life now,” Hjalmar interrupted, “but people may be upset with you. So perhaps you should arrange for protection.”

“You will provide it?” Holz sneered. “I see what you intend!”

“No,” Hjalmar said. “We will not take your case. Perhaps you should call Schlinck. Guten Tag, Herr Holz.” He looked at the rest of us and said, “Team, next case.” And then he started walking.

We followed.

****

Neustatter got back at dusk. When Hjalmar and I told him what had happened, he did not explode. It was what the up-timers call a controlled burn.

“Pankratz Holz got a cop killed? And then he hit one of my men?” His voice was slow and menacing.

Ja, but Karl picked him up and carried him back to his rooms,” Hjalmar said. “I told him he needed protection and to call Schlinck.”

Neustatter barked a laugh. “Ausgezeichnet! Exzellent!” He thought. “We are done with him now.” He waved a hand. “Anyone may go to his church if you wish. You have made an attempt to protect him, and he does not want our protection. However, I do need a case report.” He looked at me. “How do they say it? ‘Clean it’?”

“Sanitize it?” I offered.

Ja, that is it. Sanitize it and put it in our files. So it will be there if Holz makes a complaint to the Grantville PD. Now here is the dope we picked up. Thuringia is nervous. There were anti-Jewish speakers elsewhere before the attack on the synagogue. Lots of businessmen want guards right now. So, men who just came back, take care of the horses. Hjalmar, Otto, Karl, Jakob, Hans, Phillip, you are on call for the next assignment. Hjalmar, tomorrow you and I will go over to Saalfeld and see what we can find. Astrid, you said you took some notes you wanted to consult the Bibelgesellschaft about?”

“Ja.

“After you finish the case report tomorrow, you and Otto go see the BGS. Are the polizei still working on the scene at the hospital?”

Nein. They have collected everything and taken it to the lab.”

“Wear iron so you can stop by for range time. If you get a chance, ask how the investigation is going.”

 

Wednesday, March 14

 

I typed up the report in the morning, then Otto and I walked over to Calvert High. I remembered that the BGS girls would be having lunch. I imagine the boys would, too, but I wanted to talk to Kat.

Guten Tag, Astrid!” Kat called.

Guten Tag, Fräulein,” I greeted them.

When Neustatter had started calling me Fräulein whenever I called him Herr, I had blushed and giggled. That was only two years ago. These girls did not. I wondered.

“If you don’t mind, I would like a professional consult,” I said. “The same terms as before?”

The other girls deferred to Kat. She nodded.

Dank. First, though, are you just used to being called Fräulein or are you adopting the adel‘s form of address on purpose?”

Marta Engelsberg smiled, took out a Bible, and looked something up. “‘But y’all are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired, that y’all may proclaim the praises of Him who called y’all out of darkness into His marvelous light . . .’ 1 Peter 2:9. According to God we are just as royal as the adel.

“You are . . .” Otto stopped. “That is . . . hmm.”

“I say Fräulein is not just for nobles. Admittedly, right after the Ring of Fire the teachers did not know any better. But by now, everyone knows and just keeps saying it.”

Dank,” I told the girls. “We—NESS—had a look at some writings. I do not understand some of them. . . . The first is a tract about Pastor Kastenmayer,” I said.

“There are a lot of those,” Kat told me.

“There are?”

“You go to his church. Don’t you keep track?”

“Nein.

The down-time girls exchanged glances. “You should start keeping track,” Kat said. “It is not really my thing, either, but Johannes Musaeus thinks that the intra-Lutheran disputes are heating up locally. There’s Holz, Kastenmayer, and . . .” She pulled out a notebook and rapidly flipped through it. “Griep. He’s new to Grantville. St. Thomas Lutheran Church, over on the other side of the Ring. Do you have the tract with you?”

Nein. We just saw a copy we could not take with us. But I copied down some words and phrases.” I read them off.

“I will give them to Johannes and see what he thinks,” Kat promised. “But it sounds typical of the tracts that do not like Pastor Kastenmayer.”

“The second one was about enthusiasts.” I read off some more words and phrases.

“Crystal Meth?” Alicia Rice asked with a grin.

“I do not think he has a daughter with that name,” I said cautiously.

Alicia and Nona Dobbs laughed.

“What is funny?” I asked.

“Crystal meth is a drug,” Alicia explained. “One that people took to get high up-time. I don’t know if we could even make it now.”

“Oh. Well, this Meth is one of these enthusiasts,” I said.

Kat looked thoughtful. “I am not familiar with some of these words. Others are standard insults against Brethren. Uh, that’s what we Anabaptists call ourselves. I do know this one—chiliasts. That’s those of us who believe Christ will rule on earth for a thousand years, the Millennium. The up-timers were still having disagreements about that three hundred and sixty-five years from now.

“There are three basic positions on the end times. Premillennialists think that Jesus comes back and then rules for the Millennium. Postmillennialists think that there’s the Millennium, and then Jesus comes back. Amillennialists think that the Millennium is symbolic. Most of us . . .” Her wave included the table of girls.”. . . are premillennial. Dr. Green is postmillennial. Catholics, Lutherans, and most Calvinists are amillennial.” She grinned. “Alicia?”

“I’m Methodist,” Alicia Rice stated. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard Reverend Simon or Reverend Mary Ellen say anything about it. But I read Left Behind, and I guess I agree with it. Well, the basic idea, anyway. I don’t necessarily think it will happen exactly like that.”

I was confused. “Which theologian wrote this book Left Behind?”

“It’s a series of novels about the end times,” Alicia answered. “We could check and see if there are copies in Grantville, but I used to get them out of the libraries in Fairmont or Morgantown.”

“Oh.” I was a little disappointed that the books were novels. On the other hand, the Nancy Drew books were novels, too, but I had still found them useful when I started working assignments for Neustatter.

“I wonder how it ended,” Alicia mused.

“The same way Revelation does?” Barbara Kellermännin suggested with a smile.

Alicia wadded up a napkin and tossed it at her. “No kidding. I wonder what happened to the characters.”

“There was one more document,” I said. “It is a sermon.”

“When was it preached?”

“Next Sunday.”

“You have an advance copy of a sermon?” Kat asked carefully.

“I do not have it. I saw it.” I read off some things I had copied down.

“This is the part I want to know about,” Otto spoke up. “It is all ‘do this.’ ‘Do not do that.’ ‘Do this.’ ‘Do not do that.’ That is all. Ever.”

A couple of the girls looked very intent. Nona spoke first. “Do you mean that it is all rules and duty and no joy at all?”

“Ja.”

“It should not be. God loves us, ja?”

Ja, but this pastor, he has maybe forgotten that.”

“Maybe you should go to church where the pastor talks about Jesus more.”

Otto nodded.

“ ’For thus God loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, in order that all who believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life.’ ”

Ja, I want the pastor to talk more about that.”

“Sometimes even when people believe it, it doesn’t get said enough.”

Nona and Otto seemed to be having their own conversation. I left them to it.

Kat caught my attention. “Astrid, is this Pastor Kastenmayer’s sermon?”

“Nein.

“Good. I was hoping not. It sounds more like that proclamation Holz put up last fall.”

“There is a reason for that,” I said.

Kat’s mouth dropped open. “Y’all at NESS go to St. Martin’s now but you saw Holz’s next sermon? Are the tracts his, too?”

“We believe so. The copies we saw were hand-written.”

“Should I ask what is going on?”

“You cannot tell anyone,” I cautioned. “Except Georg. And Dr. Green.” I sighed. “And Magister Kircher, I suppose.”

“We will keep it inside the BGS?”

Ja. Officer Fred Jordan died from a fall in Ohrdruf. He was there because Holz and his followers were protesting the former countess of Gleichen being one of these enthusiasts. We were trying to find Holz and warn him that after Mayor Dreeson and Reverend Wiley being shot and the attacks on the hospital and the synagogue, people might be upset with anyone who was causing religious controversy. Especially since someone died. Holz did not appreciate the warning. When Neustatter got back from Ilmenau, he said we had done our duty.”

Kat sat back and thought. Since neither of us were talking, I heard what Nona was saying to Otto. “There are a whole bunch of verses in Romans that really summarize everything.”

“Here’s one,” Marta spoke up. “10:4. ‘For Christ is the end of the law to righteousness to everyone who believes.’ ”

“I was thinking 10:9,” Nona said. “That if you confess . . .”

“The end of the law,” Otto interrupted. “The law is ended? That is not how I understood Luther’s Smaller Catechism.

I spoke up. “I agree with Otto. We are not scholars, but I am pretty sure the pastor in our village said that we are still supposed to follow the law.”

The girls exchanged glances. Their body language told me Kat had been chosen to speak.

“The law of Moses is supposed to show us we need Christ,” Kat said. “After it did that, the law code is of no further use. But we are supposed to live holy lives, so we do what Christ wants out of gratitude instead of out of duty.” She paused. I got the impression she did not really want to go on. “As you have said, Lutherans disagree and believe in three uses of the law—to restrain men, to show them their sin, and to give them a rule to live by. At least that’s my understanding of what Johannes Musaeus said when we argued about it once.”

Otto looked at me. I looked at him. “We are not going back to the village to ask the pastor there,” I said. “I am not sure Holz ever explained this clearly. But I will ask Pastor Kastenmayer about it.”

“You could check with Dr. Green, too,” Kat suggested carefully. “He’s actually pretty good at being fair to different views when he is explaining them. He saves the excitement for sermons and prayers. But actually, I think the one you should talk to is Joe Jenkins. Uh, he’s one of the Anabaptist leaders. They’re meeting in the Club 250 now.”

I remembered something else. “Oh—we also saw a tract by Horst Felke.”

Kat groaned. “He gave me one himself.”

****

Otto and I went to the police station.

“Forensics is on the range right now,” an officer told us. “You will have to wait.”

Georg, Martin, Frau Papenheim, two members of her team, and two officers were all out on the range. They were firing one weapon at a time and collecting the brass. Each one went in an evidence bag which one of the forensics people labeled. They did this for several weapons before someone noticed us. After they had gathered up all the weapons, Georg came over.

Guten Tag, Astrid. Otto.”

Guten Tag, Georg. Are you making progress?”

“I can not talk about specifics, but, yes, we are.”

I nodded. “I understand. When you are finished, may we use the range?”

“We are done now,” Georg said. “We will be in the lab.”

Otto and I set up our targets, and we each took a lane. Otto emptied his .38 revolver before I was halfway through the magazine of my .22. The polizei officer at the hospital was not the only one who used speed loaders. Otto fired again at the same time as my last shot.

“Range is cold!” Otto called. “Weapons tight!”

We went and got our targets. Mine was decent, but not my best. Otto’s was . . . well, if it ever came down to it, Otto would be filling his targets with daylight.

“Nice group!” I told him.

We circled our bullet holes, put the targets back up, and reloaded. I emptied my second magazine into the target’s torso, and the third into its head. Neustatter and some of the polizei officers had made it clear that since I was carrying a .22, I had to be able to go for a head shot.

While we were picking up our brass, I heard a shout.

“Let’s check that out,” I suggested. “I think it came from the lab.”

An officer had the same idea we did. He threw open the door of the lab. “Everybody okay in here?”

“Ja!” That was Georg’s voice. “We got number twenty-three!”

Otto and I exchanged shrugs.

“Way to go!” the officer said. “We’ve got him in custody. Document everything, write the report, and I’ll go see Judge Tito with a list of charges.” Then he caught sight of us.

“We heard a shout,” I said.

He sighed. “Short version, forensics did good.”

Georg came out. “Sorry. I got excited.”

I smiled. “You got someone.”

“The investigation is making progress.”

“And Georg can tell you about it after it’s in the papers,” the officer said. He gave Georg a meaningful look before wandering off.

That seemed reasonable to me. “I will make sure we get the papers. I saw the pastors’ letters in last Friday’s editions. How much of that was BGS behind the scenes?”

“That was the girls,” Georg confirmed. “Plus Johannes Musaeus, Horst, and Joseph Engelsberg.” He was grinning a little.

“Your sister’s admirers,” I noted.

“She is still not sure what to do about that.”

Maybe it was wishful thinking, but from how he said it, I thought he might be talking about himself, too. And then my mind went blank.

“We talked to the BGS girls again today,” I managed to say after too long a pause. “We went to warn Holz yesterday. He did not listen to us. But we noticed some of his papers. There was a tract against Pastor Kastenmayer, a tract against enthusiasts, and next Sunday’s sermon. Otto noticed that Holz is really focused on keeping the rules. Kat said that Lutherans and Anabaptists have different views of the law and that we should talk to Dr. Green or Joe Jenkins.”

“Would you like to come to the Baptist church next Sunday?” Georg offered. “Bring your . . . team leader, right?” More unspoken meaning. Bring my brother.

I looked at Otto. He nodded. “We will come. We should leave now so that you can work.” Or because I was rapidly running out of things to say.

Guten Tag, Astrid.”

“See you later, Georg.”

Otto and I started to walk out of the polizei station. An officer stopped us.

“You’re with NESS, right? Yellow kerchiefs.”

I nodded.

“A Pankratz Holz was in complaining about NESS.”

I handed the officer my sanitized report. “We are very sorry to hear about Officer Jordan. We simply cautioned Holz that since he started the protests in Ohrdruf, people might not be happy with him after Officer Jordan’s death.”

“Did you offer him protection?”

Nein, we told him to call Schlinck.”

The officer laughed. “That’s evil. All right, just don’t bother Holz.”

****

Neustatter and Hjalmar had picked up an assignment. It was an straight out-and-back to Stadhilm, Thursday through Saturday.

“So we will be back for church on Sunday?” Otto asked.

Ja. I suppose so,” Neustatter said.

He looked confused. Normally I would enjoy that—Neustatter was never confused—but I felt that I ought to explain. “We talked to the BGS. Otto noticed that Holz’s sermon was all about keeping rules. The BGS says that different churches have different views of the law. Kat said we should talk to Dr. Green or Joe Jenkins.”

“Up to you.”

“Do you want to come with us?”

“Well, now,” Neustatter drawled. “Seems like the two of you can probably interview a couple of pastors after church.”

“We could talk to Herr Jenkins after the Anabaptist service and then walk over to First Baptist for the German service at two o’clock,” I suggested.

“Where is the Anabaptist service?” Neustatter asked.

“It’s, ah, in the Club 250,” I said.

Neustatter laughed. “This I’ve got to see.”

“I do not think I want you going there,” Hjalmar stated.

“I will wear iron,” I promised. After all, taking a gun to church seemed to be becoming standard procedure.

“I am coming with you.”

“As long as the rest of the team is going,” Karl said, “I will, too.”

 

Friday, March 16

 

I bought all the newspapers on Friday and took them back to the office.

“Listen to this! The police have filed additional charges against some of the men who attacked the hospital!” I skimmed through the article in the Freie Presse. “Johann Doe #23 has been charged with first-degree murder in the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of Polizei Officer Ralph Onofrio, Jr. He was wounded and taken into custody on March 4. Police have matched his fingerprints to those on an up-time weapon and matched the bullet to bullets fired from that weapon in laboratory conditions.” I looked up. “Otto! That must be what Georg meant when he said they got number twenty-three.”

Hm, that does not actually change much. They have charged all the rioters with first-degree murder for murder while in commission of a felony.”

“It matters,” Neustatter disagreed. “Because the lawyers for all these dummköpfe are going to argue that they are anti-vaccination protestors caught in the crossfire. The prosecution will have to either prove each man was an anti-autopsy rioter or try to prove that the anti-vaccination protestors were guilty of some other felony in order to get felony murder. Being able to prove he pulled the trigger should be easier.”

“Oh, I see.”

“Who else have they charged?”

“A Hans Krausser was charged with attempted murder, malicious assault, and assault in the commission of a felony for wounding Officer Gunther Wiener. Then there’s a list of names, all charged with attempted murder. Half of them are Johannes Doe and a number.”

Hm. The polizei must be able to match them to their weapons. I wonder how they know this Krausser shot Officer Wiener.”

 

Sunday, March 18

 

I had passed by the Club 250 numerous times—it is across the street from the Thuringen Gardens, after all—but I had never been inside. Quite a few people were coming and going. We were dressed as civilians. Okay, I was wearing a dress, and none of us were wearing our halstücher. Other than that I suppose we looked the same when we are working for NESS. But we were all armed. That drew some looks.

Neustatter pointed, and Hjalmar and Karl went to opposite sides of the door. Neustatter nodded to Otto and walked in like he owned the place. Otto followed, and I stepped inside just in time to hear someone greet Neustatter.

“Are you looking for the bar or for the church?”

“The church.”

“Thank you for coming. We will begin soon. Please have a seat.”

Hjalmar and Karl had come in behind me, and we all took seats in the back of the room. The Club 250 filled right up, and I saw a face I knew.

“Astrid!” Marta Engelsberg looked surprised to see me but came right over, trailed by a man and a woman who were clearly her parents and a young man who looked a couple of years older than she was.

“Marta, who is this?”

“Astrid Schäubin. Hjalmar Schaub. Otto. Neustatter. And . . .”

“Karl.”

“Karl. My parents, Herr und Frau Engelsberg and my brother Joseph.”

Guten Tag.” Neustatter stood and gave the men a firm handshake. He bent slightly over the women’s hands. “I know Joseph and Marta from the Bibelgesellschaft meetings.”

“You are a member of the Bibelgesellschaft?” Herr Engelsberg asked.

“Nein,” Neustatter answered. “I have a firm of security consultants, Neustatter’s European Security Services. Sometimes we guard the BGS and sometimes we hire them as theological consultants. That is how we came to be here this morning.”

“You picked the right service.” Joseph pointed at Neustatter’s holster. “The first service is Stäbler Täufer.”

“Staff-bearing Baptists?” Neustatter asked.

“Pacifists.”

“And you are?”

Schwertler Täufer.

Sword-bearing. I was about to follow up on that when the service started.

The service was much less formal than the Lutheran services I know. They sang some hymns. Various men prayed. They prayed as they went, not following any established liturgy. A couple of them exhorted the congregation. The sermon was from the Sermon on the Mount. There was nothing specific that I disagreed with. It was just unusual.

Afterward, Neustatter located Joe Jenkins.

Guten Tag, Herr Jenkins.”

“Guten Tag.” Jenkins looked confused. He was probably wondering why we were there.

“My name is Edgar Neustatter. I run a firm of security consultants.” He made the rest of the introductions. “A couple of my people have some questions about the law.”

“About Christ being the end of the law and whether all the rules are still in effect,” Otto clarified.

Jenkins blinked. “That’s not really what I was expecting you to ask. Romans 10:4, eh? What background are you folks, if I might ask?”

“Lutheran,” Neustatter said. “Flacian, but Pankratz Holz was trying to tell me who I could and could not do business with, so we have been attending St. Martin’s.”

“Lutherans. Hm. I’m just curious. Did you run across ‘Christ is the end of the law’ by chance?”

“We asked the Bibelgesellschaft about it. Marta Engelsberg found that verse,” I answered.

“Ah, so there was a dispensational influence. I thought maybe.”

“Kat said we should come see you.”

“Kat?”

“Katharina Meisnerin.”

“Oh, sure, sure. She’s got a good head on her shoulders. Well, what I have to say is different than any of your Lutheran pastors will say.”

Otto nodded.

“Well, then, what does the Bible itself say the law is for? It’s in Galatians 3.” He opened a German Bible and flipped to it. “ ’Therefore why the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom it was promised; being appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.’ That’s verse 19. And this is verse 24: ‘Therefore the law was our tutor to Christ, in order that we might be justified by faith.’ I see only one reason for the law here, and now that it’s done its job, there’s no need of it. But it never hurts if you read the whole chapter yourself. You might see something I missed.”

“What about the Ten Commandments?” Otto asked while I was busy writing down chapter and verse numbers.

Joe Jenkins grinned. “You’re already here on Sunday instead of Saturday. Nowhere in here does it say to change to Sunday. It just happened, and that was okay. ‘Course if you like Saturday better, have at it. You can find the other nine in the New Testament if you hunt around, just not all together in one place as a law code.”

I was not sure what to say. It seemed to make sense when he said it. But then Martin Luther’s Small Catechism seemed to make sense to me at the time, too.

“Don’t take my word for it, though,” Jenkins said. “Look it up for yourselves. You’ve got Bibles, right?”

“Uh, no.”

“Well, you do now,” he said, handing the Bible he was using to Neustatter. “How many different places do y’all live?”

“Three,” Neustatter said.

Jenkins quickly added two more Bibles. “Like I said, look it up for yourselves. Pray about it. Ask questions if you get stuck. But make up your own minds.”

Neustatter said, “We might decide differently than you.”

Jenkins shrugged. “Most do. I ain’t fussed about it.”

****

We ate lunch at the Thuringen Gardens before walking to First Baptist. We got some strange looks as we entered. I saw the Meisners and headed in that direction. Georg made the introductions. It may have been my imagination but I thought he looked quite pleased to do so. We were getting some odd looks, of course.

I heard whispering but could not make out the words. One of the children in the pew ahead of us turned around and blurted, “Are you really täuferjäger?”

His parents immediately shushed him and looked really uncomfortable. But Neustatter answered. “Nein, we are not Baptist-hunters. We are security consultants. Why do you ask?”

“Because you are carrying guns.”

Neustatter laughed. “I think Grantville would be too dangerous for anyone hunting people of a different religion. Especially after the attacks two weeks ago.”

The conversation might have gone further, but Dr. Green—Brother Green here—appeared and greeted the congregation.

The service was similar to the Anabaptist one—singing, prayer, and the sermon—but more centralized. One person led the singing, and Green guided the praying. Then he preached on “What Happens When We Die.” He talked about heaven and hell and how different people had different orders for what was going to happen but that having faith in Jesus was the important part. Of course he took much longer to say that. And Kat was right—Green was very different when he prayed or preached. He was so intense it was a little scary. But at least he was very clear about following Jesus rather than following rules, even if I did not understand all the things that were supposed to happen when Jesus came back. At the end he asked anyone who had just believed in Jesus to pray with him. That seemed very strange to me.

Afterward, Brother Green and his wife were greeting everyone at the door as they left.

“Neustatter!” he said. “I thought I saw you in a pew.”

“Some of my agents came across some tracts,” Neustatter said.

He sounded just a bit defensive to me. All of a sudden I realized that even Neustatter found Brother Green intimidating. He was certainly very different from Dr. Green.

Green smiled. “I heard about that.”

“Otto and Astrid had some questions about the law. We went to the Schwertler Täufer service this morning and talked to Joe Jenkins.”

“Okay. Do you know about Luther’s three uses of the law?” Brother Green had disappeared and been replaced by Dr. Green.

“Sort of. We know the Small Catechism,” I said.

“Old Joe would have told you that the law went away after Jesus fulfilled it, right? Well, I’m actually closer to Luther than I am to Jenkins on this one. I would say the ceremonial law went away but the moral law didn’t.”

I was surprised.

“But you did not tell people to follow the rules,” Otto objected. “You told us to follow Jesus.”

Hm. I see what you mean,” Green said. “The, uh, writings you came across have too much of an emphasis on the law. To be honest, from my late-twentieth-century perspective, I would say the same thing about this entire era after the Reformation. Please feel free to drop by any time, and we can discuss it.”

Georg and Katharina caught up to us outside.

“We read the newspapers,” I told Georg. “Good job on number twenty-three.”

“Dank.” He gave me a big smile.

“And the others.”

“Frau Papenheim was right about the cartridge papers. Martin did some excellent photography and actually got some decent spectroscopy results. The polizei questioned the suspects and put that information together with our forensics.”

“And?” I asked Georg.

“Oh, right.” Georg raised his voice. “Neustatter, Hjalmar, Karl, Otto, Astrid, the Grantville Police Department would like to thank you for apprehending Johannes Does number fourteen through number eighteen. Johannes Doe number seventeen was charged with attempted murder.”

Neustatter actually smiled. My brother’s team all looked very satisfied with themselves, too.

“Chief Richards said I could tell you,” Georg continued. “He said that he will thank you in a more formal setting but didn’t think he should just surprise you with that.”

“Dank, Neustatter said.

While everyone else was celebrating, I quietly told Georg, “Dank, but that was not what I meant. You left yourself out.”

Georg said, “I helped with some ballistics but I really need to learn how to shoot better.”

“I can teach you that,” I said.

“I did quite a bit of work with the blood spatter.” He seemed quite satisfied with that.

I realized why. “Your work made some of the new charges possible.”

“I can neither confirm nor deny . . .”

“Uh-huh.” I understood.

“And I helped with some fingerprints. Using the pasta water to fix fingerprints once the iodine makes them visible really does work. Officers were bringing it in from home. Chief Richards even had Frau Atkins making big pots of spaghetti for the prisoners in the jail and sent the water over to the lab afterward.”

“Spaghetti?” I stumbled over the word.

“It is an Italian pasta from up-time. You have never had it?”

“Nein.

“Georg! Katharina! It is time to go home!” Herr Meisner called.

“We should probably go, too,” Neustatter said. “Dank, Georg. Katharina.”

“Guten Tag,” Katharina said.

“Would you like to try some spaghetti?” Georg asked me.

I shrugged. “I would like to try it someday.”

Georg looked over my shoulder. “Hjalmar, may I take your sister to dinner?”

Hjalmar grinned. “Ja, but remember she is carrying iron.”

Georg offered me his right arm. I took it, and he led me over to his parents. “Father, Mother, this is Fräulein Schäubin. Astrid, my parents. I am going to take her out for dinner.”

“Herr und Frau Meisner,” I managed.

Georg made a respectable semi-bow and twirled me away before either of his parents recovered. I heard Katharina giggle. I did not dare look at Neustatter.

“Georg, you do know it is only afternoon?” I asked once we were a ways down the street.

“We could do some shooting and then go to Marcantonio’s,” he suggested.

“I like that plan.” I brushed my hair back over my shoulder.

My part of the case was closed, although Georg would keep working the forensics. It would not take forever but he did split time between school and the lab for several more weeks. NESS wasn’t as far behind the eight-ball, and it sounded like we were going to get a commendation from the polizei. The blonde had her boyfriend. He was about to learn how to handle a six-gun. It was the frühling of 1635—or would be when spring came in two more days.

****