Author's Note: Others own the Hogan's Heroes characters. The other characters are my creations. Please do not use them without my permission.
The Refugee – Part 5
By Diane Maher
As Karla stared at the squad of men assembled to kill her, she swallowed nervously and felt herself starting to panic when they pointed the guns at her. She turned her head and looked directly at Hogan. If something went wrong, and she was going to die, then the last person she wanted to see was Hogan. Several explosions rocked the compound an instant later.
Karla flattened herself on the ground and closed her eyes. A quick glance showed that everyone else was also flat on the ground, shielding themselves from the explosions. She then heard several hissing sounds. When Karla opened her eyes, she saw the white fog created by the smoke bombs as they belched their contents into the air around her. A moment later, someone said, "Come on, it's time for you to leave."
Karla immediately recognized the English accented voice of Jack Lynn, the medic who had treated her in the cell. He helped her stand, took her arm, and guided her to a waiting truck. She got behind the wheel and he climbed into the back. Before he lay down and covered himself with a tarp, he said, "The keys are in the ignition."
Karla turned the keys and the motor rumbled to life; she let out the clutch, put the truck into gear and accelerated forward through the smoke. The truck lurched forward out of the man-made fog; she put the accelerator to the floor, just barely missing General Freiberger's staff car, and crashed through the main gate. Behind the truck, there was bedlam. The alarm bells at Stalag 13 were ringing loudly as the truck headed away from the camp.
As Karla drove, Jack sat up and said, "Colonel, go about a mile down this road and stop around the bend. We'll have a couple of minutes to arrange your death."
Karla glanced nervously at him, and then kept her eyes trained on the road. A mile down the road and around the bend, she slowed the truck to a halt, parked it, shut off the motor and got out.
Jack climbed out of the truck, handed her a small black book and said, "Here's a fake ID with your name on it. Drop it at the edge of the road as we enter the forest."
Jack crawled beneath the truck and set the explosives to blow. Then, he crawled out from beneath the truck, stood, climbed into the truck cab, put the gear into drive, and jumped to the forest's edge as the truck slowly started forward. Karla casually dropped the fake ID papers at the edge of the road near the truck and headed for the forest. The truck exploded less than ten seconds later.
"Don't look back!" Jack said as they made their way through the dark forest.
Karla had no intention of looking back. She knew that her survival was now in the hands of Hogan and his crew. Jack slowed the pace to a walk.
"We need to be really careful as we approach Stalag 13," Jack whispered.
Karla nodded. They slowly made their way through the woods around Stalag 13. Several times they were forced to hide as they encountered some Luftwaffe guards. Jack stopped as they approached some leafy bushes; Karla looked over his shoulder as he cautiously pushed aside some branches and saw the edge of Stalag 13 and several tree stumps in the foreground. He started to stand until several guards came and stood around the trunks and started smoking. He quickly crouched down once more to avoid being seen.
Jack looked at her, apparently trying to think of another way out of this situation. He whispered, "I'm going to try and draw off the guards." He pushed apart the limbs of the bushes once more so they could see the edge of camp. "See that tree stump to the left of where the guards are standing?" Karla looked and nodded. "The top of the stump pulls upward and you go down through it to a tunnel."
"Where does the tunnel lead?" Karla whispered.
Jack replied, "Don't worry about that now."
"But..." Karla protested.
"Shhh. There's a ladder on the inside left of the stump," Jack whispered. "I'll see you soon. Good luck."
Karla nodded and Jack headed off through the woods. She heard some noise as he moved away from her. A minute later, she heard some shouts and then the alarm bells sounded. She watched as the guards quickly put out their cigarettes and left the vicinity of the stumps. Karla waited a moment to make sure that no one saw her; she carefully parted the limbs of the bushes and went to the tree stump that Jack had indicated. She saw the searchlight approaching and ducked behind the stump. After the light passed, there were no further alarms sounded and the light didn't return to her, so she hadn't been spotted.
Karla stood and pulled up on the top of the tree stump. To her amazement, it came up easily and revealed a hole. She stepped into the stump and put her foot on the top rung of the ladder. As she stepped down, she pulled the lid closed above her.
At the bottom of the ladder, Karla looked around and saw a light, which she started walking towards. It was a fair distance before she arrived at the lighted area. When she entered, she saw a cot against the wall, crossed the room to it and sat. Looking around, she then noticed the elaborate array of radio components against the far wall of the room. She recognized this place as where she had slept her first night in the tunnel.
Karla's attention was drawn towards the sound of a door of some sort opening not too far away. A few minutes later, an officer came into the room.
"Where is Colonel Hogan?" Karla asked.
"He's above at the moment," the man replied.
"I'm Colonel Karla Hoffman," Karla said, as she stood and extended her hand in greeting.
He shook her hand and introduced himself, "Wing Commander Clive Blackman."
Five minutes later, Hogan came into the room and Karla went to greet him. She hugged him as hard as she could. Hogan's arms gently encircled her and held her close. She felt herself trembling in his arms.
"Karla, are you all right?" Hogan asked.
"Yes," Karla whispered, nodding.
"What happened after you stole the truck?" Hogan asked.
Karla replied, "I drove it down the road about a mile and around the bend. Jack Lynn then set an explosive charge of some sort beneath the truck."
"We had Newkirk make a copy of her original papers and she was to drop them at the side of the road," Blackman said and Karla nodded. "Jack was to bring her back here through the stump," Blackman replied.
"What happened to Jack?" Hogan asked.
Karla stepped back from him, a distressed look on her face. "We ran into some guards outside the camp. Jack drew them away from the tree stump so I could get to the tunnel. Is he okay?"
"I don't know," Hogan replied. To Blackman he said, "Good job, Commander."
"Hogan, I'm indebted to you and can probably never repay you for all your kindness towards me," Karla replied.
"Don't worry about it; I'm sure I can come up with something appropriate," Hogan said with a sly wink and Karla grinned. "You'll have to stay down here until things calm down up above. That should only be a few hours."
"I can hardly believe that I'm still alive," Karla said. "I…I walked out of the building and…stood…in front...of...a…a firing squad!" Her eyes widened in fear as the enormity of what she'd done sank in before she fainted.
Hogan caught Karla as she fainted and carefully laid her on the cot. He lightly kissed her forehead and then left to return above as he heard Kinch calling. Blackman returned to his barracks. As Hogan approached the ladder, he was able to hear the black sergeant more clearly.
"Klink is going to inspect the barracks in an hour!" Kinch exclaimed. "Schultz was looking for you too. A prisoner was caught outside the fence and you are wanted in the Kommandant's office."
Hogan nodded in acknowledgement, then asked, "Why is Klink inspecting?"
Kinch shrugged. "I don't know, but Schultz said Klink's going to get out of his sick bed and inspect this place."
Hogan's brow furrowed as he climbed up the ladder. Kinch followed and closed the trap door. Hogan asked, "Are we ready for the inspection?"
Carter responded, "Everything's where it ought to be, sir."
"I better get over to Klink's office," Hogan said as he paused to pull up the collar of his jacket.
Hogan left the barracks, crossed the compound and entered Klink's office. He found Schultz standing next to Jack Lynn in front of Klink's desk.
"Colonel Hogan, when will your men ever learn?" Klink asked.
Hogan shrugged. "Did he cause you too much trouble?"
"He'll serve a week in the cooler for his attempted escape. Schultz, take him away!" Klink ordered.
"Jawohl, Herr Kommandant!" Schultz said. To Jack, he said, "Come on."
"Now just a moment, Kommandant! This man is our medic and there are sick prisoners who need his help," Hogan protested.
"He should have thought of that before he attempted to escape!" Klink replied.
Hogan glanced at Klink and said, "You look like you could use his help too."
"Never mind me, Hogan. I'll take care of myself, if you don't mind," Klink replied.
Hogan shrugged. "Whatever suits you, Kommandant."
"Most of the men in Barracks 2 are sick with the flu," Jack said.
Klink pulled out a folder, read something on the top page and said, "Since this was your first escape attempt, I'll be generous and let you off with a warning."
"Thank you, sir," Jack and Hogan said at the same time.
"Dismissed!" Klink said.
Hogan and Jack left Klink's office to return to their respective barracks. As they crossed the compound, Hogan said, "We have some more sick men in Barracks 2 since you last visited. Can you come and check on them?"
"Sure. How is Colonel Hoffman?" Jack replied.
"She seems okay. She fainted after realizing what extreme danger she was in earlier and is down on the cot in the tunnel," Hogan replied.
"If she wants me to check her ribs again, let me know," Jack said.
"I will Jack. Thanks for what you did to get her safely back into camp," Hogan said, with a nod.
"You're welcome Colonel," Jack replied.
An hour later, Schultz, Klink and Corporal Stolz arrived to search the barracks with several other Luftwaffe guards. They started their search by slicing open all the mattresses to see whether there was any contraband hidden within them.
"Kommandant, what exactly are you looking for?" Hogan asked as the search continued. "Besides, what are you doing out of bed in the first place, you look terrible!"
"Thank you Colonel Hogan!" Klink replied sarcastically. "After the debacle of the failed execution, I'm going to search this place thoroughly to ensure that Colonel Hoffman isn't hiding here!"
"What makes you think she would be hiding here?" Hogan asked.
"I saw her look at you before all hell broke loose," Stolz replied snidely. "If she's here, then I suspect you'll share her fate in front of the next firing squad Colonel Hogan." Stolz added threateningly, "And it won't miss." He then crossed the room to help in the search.
Hogan asked Klink, "Let me guess, Stolz probably threatened to call Burkhalter or Hochstetter, right?"
Klink looked around and saw that Stolz was nowhere near them before muttering quietly, "No. He did call Freiberger. I don't want him back here; he's worse than Hochstetter! General Freiberger was very angry with me. He had to return to Berlin for an important meeting with the Führer and I promised him that I would find Colonel Hoffman. If I don't, Freiberger's liable to have Berlin count her escape against my perfect record and I simply will not allow that to happen!"
The noise of things being thrown around didn't faze Hogan as he considered Stolz's spiteful words and Klink's response to the threat of Freiberger's return. He then noticed that the Germans had finished searching the barracks and were headed for the door.
Corporal Langenscheidt burst through the door at that moment and saluted Klink in his excited, formal salute and inquired, "Herr Kommandant?"
"Yes, what is it Langenscheidt?" Klink replied tiredly and turned away to sneeze.
"The remains of a burnt up truck have been found a mile down the road from Stalag 13. I found this on the ground near the wreckage," the young corporal replied as he handed Klink something.
"What is it, Kommandant?" Hogan asked. He went to look over Klink's shoulder, curious about the small black book Klink held.
Klink opened the book and frowned as he silently read its contents. Noticing Hogan looking over his shoulder, he snapped the book closed and said, "Hogan, this is none of your business!"
"Will you continue your search of the camp?" Hogan asked, relieved at Klink's sudden change of attitude.
"What? No," Klink replied.
Later that evening in Hogan's quarters, Karla sat on the bottom bunk and held the white towel to her face and smelled Hogan's cologne. It was a pleasing scent and she would miss his presence when she left Germany more than ever now. She remembered smelling it in Klink's quarters as Hogan had spruced himself up the night of the dinner. The night of the dinner — it seemed so long ago, and so much had happened since then, Karla mused.
Hogan and Kinch had left camp for some reason and she didn't really care or want to know why anymore. All she wanted was to bathe so she didn't smell like rotten socks just found buried in a footlocker. As the water heated in its bucket on the stove, Karla pulled a book and pen from her bag. Thumbing through the book, she found a blank page and started to write.
The book was a journal that Karla had started writing while she recovered in the Luftwaffe field hospital from the beating she received from her own unit…no, they were her so-called friends. Writing had helped her survive the pain of her injuries, the boredom of her surroundings and the ever-present fear of additional retribution against her at General Freiberger's orders. Now she added to what she had already written of her experiences since her arrival at Stalag 13 and how she felt about Hogan. When she finished, she sat back and closed the book. A few minutes later, she put the book down on the table, stood, crossed the room and tested the water heating on the stove with her finger.
Crossing to the door, Karla cracked it open and saw a poker game being played. She eased open the door and walked over to the stove where the other bucket of water was heating and stuck her finger into the liquid. Karla found the water was warm enough to bathe with now. She started to pick up the bucket and suddenly had several helpers.
"I'll help you with the water!" several of them exclaimed as they jumped and came towards her.
"This is a job for an officer," Blackman said as he stood and pushed his way through to the stove. He took the handle of the bucket from Karla. "Deal me out of the next hand."
Karla smiled at his chivalrous action and went back into Hogan's quarters, with Blackman following.
"Colonel, I'm not quite sure what to make of you," Blackman said after he had closed the door behind him.
"What do you mean?" Karla asked, frowning as she turned to face him.
Blackman replied, "I mean, are you truly the doomed woman you seem to be or is this some kind of complex SD plot for you to come here like this?"
"Wing Commander, let me tell you something," Karla began in an abrupt tone as she held up her index finger pointed at him. "My superior officer in the SD believes me to be a traitor to the Fatherland, a deserter, and someone who consorted with the enemy. He ordered my death as a lesson to the prisoners here and as a message for whoever is doing the sabotage in this area."
Blackman said, "I know."
Karla's tone was quieter as she continued, "In order to escape the heinous actions and erroneous judgments of my people, I made a choice."
Blackman's brow rose in doubt. "Oh?"
Karla's eyes narrowed in anger. "Yes. I stood up for what I believed was right. In doing so, I became an enemy of the Nazi state."
"What about Colonel Hogan?" Blackman asked.
"He was one of the reasons I came to Stalag 13. The Gestapo believes him to be responsible for the sabotage in this area, but they could never connect him to any of these events. After meeting him, I couldn't go through with my mission to prove that Hogan was responsible for anything. I gave Hogan all the information that the Gestapo had on him and Stalag 13. By that one act, I became the traitor that I was later accused of being," Karla replied.
"Are your superiors aware that you disposed of the information relating to Hogan and Stalag 13?" Blackman asked.
"No. The subject of the information never came up during my interrogation after I was captured," Karla replied quietly. "They were more concerned with what I had said to Hogan while in the car and why I had returned here. They seemed convinced that I was the one who set up the Zuglitz bombing."
"I see. I read the contents of the information you brought, your report on Schultz and your personal journal after Colonel Hogan was put into solitary. I had to learn about you," Blackman said.
Karla looked down for an instant, then met Blackman's gaze and said, "What did you think after reading the information?"
"I think that it is genuine," Blackman replied.
"What did you conclude?" Karla asked.
"I concluded that you have lost the man you loved to the war and until you were forced to witness the brutal execution of the Jewish scholars, you performed your duties as an analyst in the counterintelligence division of the SD to the best of your abilities and that's how you became a Colonel."
"You are correct," Karla said.
"I find it unusual for a woman to achieve your rank," Blackman said.
Karla smiled in acknowledgement, "I worked very hard."
"I'm not finished," Blackman said. "Until you were given your next assignment to come to Stalag 13, you believed that you had no choice but to continue in your work. Even so, you feared for your life daily."
Karla's eyes widened in fear and she swallowed nervously but said nothing. Blackman continued, "After reading the information from the Gestapo about Stalag 13 and Colonel Hogan, you had hope of leaving Germany alive. Upon your arrival at Stalag 13, you knew that you weren't going to complete your mission. Your only problem was whether Hogan really could help you or would even be willing to do so. You had to figure out how you could contact Hogan and make your wishes known to him once you arrived here."
"Yes," Karla whispered.
"You did a lot of introspection while you recovered in the hospital and here at Stalag 13 before your CO came looking for you," Blackman said.
"Yes, I did," Karla replied.
Blackman said, "I suppose I should let you bathe before that water cools. If you need anything, let me know. I'll be at the poker game in the next room."
Hogan had hung a line and put several blankets in the corner by the stove so she could hang them up for some privacy in which to bathe. Blackman poured the second bucket of water into the larger wash bin, which she recalled that Hogan said they used for doing their laundry. Blackman then hung the blankets over the line.
"Thank you, Commander," Karla said.
"You're welcome, Colonel," Blackman replied.
"You can call me Karla," Karla said as he turned to leave.
Blackman inclined his head in acknowledgement and said, "Karla."
When Blackman left, Karla removed her clothes and the bandages around her torso and bathed quickly as it was cold in the room despite the warmth from the stove and the water. She shivered as she ran the towel over her body to dry herself before dressing in the clothes that they had given her.
Karla then knelt on the floor, carefully leaned over, wet her hair, poured a little shampoo into her hand, then lathered and washed her hair. How do these men stand these conditions? Karla asked herself as, wincing, she bent over and dunked her head into the water to rinse the shampoo from her hair. When she finished, she towel dried it as much as possible. She picked up her journal and pen from the table, sat in the chair next to the stove, brushed her hair as it dried, opened her book and then continued to write.
In the tunnel below, Kinch and Hogan were changing back to their uniforms after their most recent sabotage mission and were discussing the current situation with the weather. It was worsening and as yet, they had no way to get Colonel Hoffman to England. Getting her to the coast wouldn't be difficult. The problem was how to get her across the water to England. The sub was still unavailable.
"Now we have to hope we don't get too much snow or else the Underground's vehicles won't be able to navigate the roads," Kinch commented.
"That would be terrible," Hogan replied with a hint of a sly grin as more pleasant thoughts came to mind.
"You don't want her to leave, do you?" Kinch asked.
"No, but I know that she must," Hogan replied. "By the way, I found some pieces of paper all wadded up in the corner of the radio room when I was down there earlier today."
"What pieces of paper?" Kinch asked.
Hogan turned, reached into his pocket, handed the crinkled blue pages to Kinch and replied in a suspicious tone, "They have information about Karla written on them. Do you know anything about them?"
Kinch looked down at his feet before replying, "Uh, yes, sir. I do. I was concerned that she was a spy. I contacted headquarters and asked them for any information they could give me about Colonel Hoffman. I wasn't sure what you knew about her except that you were infatuated with her."
Hogan looked at Kinch shrewdly before replying, "I see. So you lied about being able to contact London."
Kinch nodded. "At first, I did. I thought it was better for all our sakes to check out Colonel Hoffman and be safe rather than not check her out and have her blow our cover. Later, when the Gestapo and the SS were here, the Krauts were really jamming our transmissions. I should have told you sooner. I'm sorry."
"I'll let you get rid of them down here," Hogan replied as he finished tying his shoes, stood and headed through the tunnel to the ladder. He climbed up the ladder, closed the trap door and crossed the barracks to his quarters at the far end. Things seemed to be back to normal as far as the men in Barracks 2 were concerned. There was a poker game going on, but Hogan wanted no part of it tonight. As Hogan looked back towards the men playing cards, he grasped the doorknob. Blackman turned towards him, grinned slyly and gave him the thumbs up signal.
Hogan went into his office where he saw Karla trying to warm herself at the stove. When she looked towards the door, he indicated for her to follow him. She followed as he went to the window in the next room. The couple stood at the window and watched through a crack in the shutters as the phony SS men were dismissed by Klink and then they climbed into their truck. Now the men from the Underground could return to their homes as well. They had played their part in Hogan's scheme to prevent Karla's death.
As they stood at the window, Hogan felt a draft blow through the cracks around the window's frame and pulled Karla closer to him. The temperature outside had gotten even colder. Tonight, it will be necessary to stoke up the stoves quite a bit more than normal in the barracks and my office, Hogan thought as he closed the shutters before turning away from the window and going back into his quarters.
When Hogan turned on his desk lamp, Karla went to stand next to the stove to warm her hands. Hogan stoked up the stove. A moment later, she felt two hands slide over her hips and Hogan's warm lips on her neck. She reached down, briefly touched leather, and stroked his hands lightly.
Hogan said, "You know, you affect me like no one has for a long time."
"I'm flattered. Since you're such a handsome man I assume that you've known quite a few women?" Karla asked.
Hogan kissed her neck again before he replied, "Uh huh. Too many of them were only one night flings."
"I hope that's not our destiny," Karla commented.
"No, I think we have the potential for a much longer relationship," Hogan said.
"I'm sure of it," Karla said as she turned to face him. She noticed that Hogan seemed to relax with her reply and was relieved. "Robert, do you trust me? I mean, really trust me, even though I'm German?"
A muffled affirmative issued from his lips as he once more buried his head into the nape of her neck. She felt herself trembling as he took her in his arms.
"You're shaking like a leaf," Hogan said, as he raised his head.
"I know and I can't stop," Karla replied, utterly frustrated.
Hogan changed tack. "You told me that you thought you were weak for showing your emotions. When you walked out of the solitary confinement building this morning, you were well aware that your life could soon end. Despite that possibility, you kept your composure and your dignity."
Her trembling suddenly ceased. Karla reached up, removed his hat, unzipped and removed his jacket, and then started unbuttoning his shirt. He allowed her to do this, as every time she touched him, his skin tingled. When she finally removed his shirt, put it on his desk, and turned off the desk lamp, Hogan felt the chill in the room, but ignored it as he felt the heat of the stove.
"Karla, I care about you very much," Hogan said.
She gazed at him and replied, "I'm grateful that I am still alive to hear you say that, Robert."
Hogan took her into his arms again and hugged her. "You know, when I'm with you, I forget about the war," Hogan said.
"Even the fact that we started out on opposing sides?" Karla asked.
Hogan released her, moved toward the bunk, indicated for Karla to sit down and replied, "Yes, but I noticed that you've decided to come over to my side."
"Yes," Karla said as he sat next to her and she noticed the moonlight coming in through the small crack in the shutters. It made Hogan's skin look soft and his hair even darker than it was. She ran her fingers through his thick mane of dark hair. As she did this, Karla thought about how her own countrymen had betrayed and condemned her, Hogan's acceptance of her for herself, not her nationality and her feelings towards him.
Hogan lay down close to the wall and said, "Karla, I want you to be in my arms and this time, it's not for the prevention of hypothermia."
Karla smiled warmly at him, and lay next to him on the lower bunk. When his hand drifted down to rest on the curve of her hip, she noticed that he was looking at her intently.
"What is it?" Karla asked, thinking for an instant that she had done something wrong.
"I was thinking," Hogan replied.
"About?" Karla asked.
"About being with you," Hogan replied as he covered them both with the blanket.
Karla's expression softened and she gazed into Hogan's eyes. "I have found myself wanting you to touch me, to kiss me and..." her voice trailed off as Hogan pulled her close and silenced her with a kiss. His hands slid down over the curves of her body and she purred as he touched her.
Hogan draped one arm over her waist and pulled her shirt from her pants. She didn't move to stop him as his hands slid beneath the shirt. Hogan nuzzled her neck and nibbled it lightly as he then unbuttoned her shirt. "You are a very beautiful woman, Karla."
"Danke, Robert," Karla said. Hogan fondled her breasts and Karla gasped as he explored her body. She wrapped one leg around Hogan's thigh, and kissed him.
As Hogan looked into Karla's eyes, he realized that no more words were needed between them. As he made love to her, he felt, no, he corrected himself — he knew that Karla was special to him. The wall Hogan had built around himself to survive his incarceration in Stalag 13 crumbled as he allowed himself to experience the sensations she engendered in him.
As they lay together beneath the blankets in the darkness afterwards, Karla felt safe and comfortable snuggled next to Hogan's warm body. When she looked at Hogan, his expression was distant.
"What is it?" Karla asked.
After a brief pause, Hogan looked at her and said, "Karla, I don't want to trivialize the feelings that I have for you. What I'm trying to say, is that you mean more to me than simply another notch in my belt."
Karla's expression softened. She was about to reply but he raised his hand and touched his index finger to her lips to silence her.
"In case something happens to me," Hogan whispered, his voice breaking. "I wanted you to know that, Karla."
"Robert..." Karla whispered. She pressed herself against him and kissed him. His hands tenderly stroked her back beneath her shirt and she relaxed in his embrace. She said, "Thank you."
Hogan looked at her questioningly. "For what? I haven't been able to get you out of Germany yet."
Karla replied, "You have a presence that makes me feel safe."
"You feel safe in my arms?" Hogan asked, as a sly smile came over his face.
"Yes, I do," Karla whispered.
"You sound like you're lonely," Hogan said, his smile fading.
"Yes," Karla replied.
"I can't imagine how it must feel for you," Hogan said.
"Perhaps it's like you being cooped up in this POW camp?" Karla asked as she combed her fingers through his hair and stroked the back of his neck.
Hogan nodded. "You're very perceptive, Karla. I can't believe that you're lonely; I would think that men would be fawning over you."
Karla blushed. "Danke. I have tried not to get involved romantically with anyone for a long time."
"Why have you isolated yourself?" Hogan asked.
"Remember, I told you that my fiancé Johann Strassburg was killed during the Blitzkrieg in Poland in 1939. He was a Colonel in the Waffen SS. I found out about his death the day we were to be married," Karla replied softly.
Hogan leaned closer and kissed her. When they separated, he said, "I'm sorry that you lost the man you loved to the war."
"I don't think I could handle losing the man I love to the war again," Karla said, her voice tinged with anxiety.
Hogan held her close to reassure her of his presence as he closed his eyes to sleep and whispered, "For the first time in more than two years, I feel like a man and not like a prisoner."
Karla heard Hogan's rhythmic breathing and felt a tingle where his warm breath struck her skin. She had a tiny, satisfied smile on her face as she closed her eyes to go to sleep.
A few hours later, Karla woke and looked around the room. It was dark and silent. Karla felt the warmth of Hogan's body against her bare skin and smiled as she looked at Hogan's face and remembered how his touch on her body had felt as he made love to her earlier. She gently shook Hogan's shoulder to wake him. He opened his eyes and moved his arm so she could sit up; he watched as she buttoned her shirt, and stood to finish dressing.
"I think I should go below," Karla whispered.
Hogan pushed himself up on his elbow and looked at his watch in the light from the window. "I agree. As much as I'd like to have you up here with me, it would be safer for you down below."
Karla handed Hogan his shirt. Hogan sat up, swung his legs over the edge of the bunk, straightened his pants and pulled on his shirt and jacket. When he was ready, he stood, cautiously opened the door, looked out and then entered the main room of the barracks. They crossed to Kinch's bunk, which Karla noticed was empty. Hogan activated the hidden switch and the bunk rose up, revealing the tunnel below. Karla went down the ladder and Hogan followed.
"Where's Kinch?" Karla asked.
"He's down here," Hogan replied. He went down the tunnel and Karla followed.
Soon, they arrived at the radio room. Kinch was seated at the radio with his headset on. He looked up briefly when they entered the room.
Karla looked inquisitively at Hogan. "Kinch is down here a lot. He was here the other night while you were sleeping."
"So you didn't exactly trust me being down here alone," Karla said.
Hogan shrugged and replied, "There are too many lives at stake. I've already taken a tremendous risk by keeping you here. No matter how I feel about you," and Hogan paused to touch her cheek with his hand, "I had to make sure that you didn't wander around and then leave here to report us to Hochstetter."
Karla said, "I can't blame you for taking precautions; after all, I was a Colonel in the Nazi Secret Service and you had no reason to trust me when I came to you and asked for your help to leave Germany."
"I hope to be able to make good on my promise to get you to England," Hogan said as he reached up and lightly stroked her cheek. "One of us will come and get you for breakfast tomorrow."
Karla nodded, then made herself comfortable on the cot and soon fell asleep.
The next morning, Karla came above for breakfast. After she had consumed the food, it was time for the morning roll call. While the prisoners were outside for roll call, Karla went into Hogan's quarters to freshen up. She had just finished washing her face when she heard two guards talking just outside the window. One of the voices she recognized as Corporal Stolz. She flattened herself against the wall out of sight next to the window and listened to their conversation.
Stolz said, "Langenscheidt, I believe that Colonel Hoffman is still alive and could be hiding in this camp."
"You know that the search for her here in camp turned up nothing," Langenscheidt said.
"But that was before her failed execution!" Stolz protested.
"Heinrich, if you feel so strongly about it, you should go talk to the Kommandant," Langenscheidt said.
"I called General Freiberger to ask him to convince Klink to do a second search. The resulting search for her turned up nothing," Stolz replied.
"Doesn't that tell you that Colonel Hoffman is dead?" Langenscheidt asked.
Stolz was adamant when he replied, "No!"
"Listen, I was at the scene where the truck she stole was found. In fact, I was the one who found her charred ID at the edge of the road," Langenscheidt said. "It's not likely that she survived that land mine explosion."
"Are you certain that it was a land mine?" Stolz asked.
"The remains of the truck indicated that the explosion came from underneath the truck's body. Colonel Klink was satisfied with that explanation and he said the matter was closed," Langenscheidt replied.
"I can't believe you would all fall for such a pack of lies!" Stolz exclaimed.
"Even if she were alive, no one in their right mind would return to where everyone is looking for them!" Langenscheidt exclaimed.
"You aren't going to believe me without proof, are you?" Stolz asked.
"No. She's dead and gone. There is no proof to be found here. Just drop it, Heinrich. It's not worth the headaches you'll have with Klink if you keep bringing up the subject," Langenscheidt said as he walked away.
Stolz muttered, "When I find you Colonel Hoffman, I'll see to it that you are tried for treason." He then walked away.
Karla felt the fear that she was endangering those around her return. She covered her face with her hands and tried to keep from panicking. Karla sat down on the floor and took a few deep breaths to calm down and fervently wished that Hogan would return. A minute later, she heard the sound of the prisoners as they returned from roll call.
When Hogan returned to the barracks and opened the door to his quarters, he found Karla sitting on the floor, her eyes as wide as saucers.
"What's wrong?" Hogan asked softly as he squatted next to her.
"Corporal Stolz doesn't believe I'm dead and would still like to catch me again," Karla said, her lips and her voice trembling She swallowed nervously before adding, "He said as much to a guard just outside the window here while you were out at roll call."
"Corporal Stolz?" Hogan asked.
Karla closed her eyes, nodded and was able to take a normal breath before replying, "Yes. General Freiberger promoted Private Stolz when he captured me."
"I see. We'll have to watch out for him. Sorry it took so long for me to return after roll call, I went to talk to Wing Commander Blackman. Corporal Stolz has been harassing the men in Barracks 5 as well as us here in Barracks 2," Hogan said. "I have to go over to Klink's office now. Will you be all right?"
"Yes," Karla replied with a confident nod.
Hogan then left the barracks, crossed the compound, and entered the administration building. Hilda wasn't in the office yet and so Hogan entered Klink's office and found the German had just finished a phone call.
"What do you want, Colonel Hogan?" Klink asked. "I'm busy today."
"I wanted to see if we could get any more firewood for the stoves in the barracks," Hogan replied.
"We'll see. Did you want anything else?" Klink asked.
"I was wondering if you had made your report regarding Colonel Hoffman yet," Hogan replied.
"No, I haven't written my report yet. My investigation, combined with the reports of my men at the scene, showed the explosion that destroyed the truck she was driving came from beneath. I have concluded that Colonel Hoffman was killed by a land mine while trying to escape and my report on the matter will reflect what I have just told you," Klink replied. "Why do you ask?"
Hogan's expression was downcast when he quietly replied, "I just wondered what happened to her."
"Oh," Klink said. "I just spoke to General Freiberger and he is convinced that she is dead and pending the receipt of my report on the matter has officially closed the case."
"Thank you, Herr Kommandant," Hogan said quietly, lowering his gaze to the floor.
"Are you all right, Hogan?" Klink asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Hogan replied and then turned and left the office.
As Hogan walked out of the administration building, Corporal Stolz said in a sly tone, "I hope you're having fun with Colonel Hoffman. She is a sexy lady."
Hogan's face was pained as he whirled to face Stolz. His voice was hoarse as he exclaimed, "How dare you! She's gone and I'll never see her again!"
"So she really meant something to you, eh, Hogan?" Stolz chided, an evil grin spreading across his face. "I suppose that Hilda was right, you and Colonel Hoffman did sleep together after that dinner in the Kommandant's quarters."
Hogan said nothing, only turned away so Stolz couldn't see his face and caught a glimpse of Klink watching them from his window. Damn it, I said too much and Klink heard me! Hogan thought.
"But that doesn't matter to me. All that's important, is that Hilda loves me now, not you, Colonel Hogan," Stolz added. Hogan turned away and went down the steps to the compound.
"Colonel!" Blackman called as he saw an angry Hogan start across the compound.
Hogan went over to where Blackman stood and replied in a clipped tone, "What is it?"
"Are you all right?" Blackman asked.
"Yeah, Stolz just got under my skin a bit with his comments regarding Karla," Hogan replied.
"You can't let him get to you," Blackman said, interrupting Hogan's thoughts. "Especially about Karla."
"I know. Stolz is more astute than I've given him credit for in the past." Hogan glanced over his shoulder and watched as Stolz was now headed towards the guards' barracks and added, "We may not be able to get Karla out of Germany via our usual escape route."
"What then?" Blackman asked.
Hogan briefly considered his options and his expression was back to normal when he replied, "I'll have Kinch radio London and see if they'll send a plane for her."
When Hogan returned to the barracks, he went to his quarters. He found Kinch putting away the coffee pot and Karla standing there watching. As Karla looked at him and after hearing Stolz's comments on the porch of the administration building, and knowing that Klink heard his response, Hogan realized that it was too dangerous for her to go to England via their normal route. She would have to be flown to England.
"So I'm officially dead," Karla whispered.
"It was the only way to ensure that no one would be looking for you," Hogan said.
Karla nodded. "This is the first time since the deaths of those scholars that I haven't feared for my life." She came over to where Hogan stood and embraced him.
Kinch quietly left the room. Hogan held Karla close and whispered, "You're safe now."
Hogan felt Karla's body relax in his arms. "Thank you," she whispered.
Karla considered what she had seen and heard while at Stalag 13. She was in the office as Hogan and his crew discussed their latest sabotage mission just after lunch. Listening to Hogan give them orders made her feel that she had made the right decision to trust him. Hogan saw her looking at him and smiled. There was a knock on the door then and Hogan motioned for Karla to hide inside his locker. When she was out of sight, he called, "Come in!"
The door opened and Schultz entered. "Colonel Hogan, I need a work detail to unload some firewood for the barracks."
"Okay Schultz," Hogan said. "Where should we meet you?"
"The trucks are parked outside the motor pool," Schultz replied as he stepped out of the office.
"We'll be there in a couple of minutes," Hogan said as the rest of his crew left the office. He closed the office door behind them. "When I find out how long this will take, I'll let you know so you can come out of there," Hogan whispered.
"Okay," Karla replied.
A few minutes later, Hogan opened the locker and said, "This is going to take a while. I suggest you go below, out of sight and perhaps get some sleep. I'll see if I can get Schultz to allow LeBeau to cook us some food throughout the course of the day. If not, then I'll make sure that LeBeau gives you some food before he leaves the barracks."
"I'll see you later then," Karla replied. Hogan opened the trap door to the tunnel and closed it once she had climbed down the ladder.
By the time Hogan and the men of Barracks 2 were finished unloading the wood from the trucks and seeing to it that it was distributed to the buildings throughout camp, it was time for lights out in the barracks. Hogan went below to the radio room, saw Karla sleeping peacefully in the bunk there and grinned as he recalled their lustful encounter the night before. You're quite a woman, Karla Hoffman! Hogan thought.
Hogan noticed the blanket from her cot had fallen on the floor. He picked it up and covered her. She smiled in her sleep and pulled it tighter about herself. His lips curved upwards in a smile and he went back above and returned to his quarters.
The next morning, he woke early. Hogan changed to a fresh uniform and began his usual daily routine with the morning roll call. Klink had recovered quite a bit from his bout with the flu and was his usual pompous self. Afterwards, Kinch went below to contact London. Hogan returned to the barracks and entered his office.
Karla had come above to have some breakfast and was sitting on the lower bunk in Hogan's quarters. When he entered, she stood and asked, "What's happening?"
"Come with me," Hogan said.
"Where are we going?" Karla asked as she put the plate on his table.
"We're going to see about getting you out of Germany," Hogan replied. As they walked through the barracks, Hogan paused and said, "Carter, will you get your cameras set up down below? We need some pictures."
Carter looked at Karla and then replied, "Yes, sir."
They went over to Kinch's bunk, Hogan pressed twice on the hidden switch and the bunk rose up and a ladder dropped down into a hole. Carter went down, followed by Karla and then Hogan.
"This is an amazing set up you have here, Hogan," Karla said. "I'm amazed that the Gestapo hasn't found it."
"Thanks. We've had some close calls with those goons," Hogan said. He remembered who he was talking to and added, "Whoops, sorry."
"Don't worry about it," Karla said, unconsciously touching her cheek, where makeup now hid the gash caused by Hochstetter during her interrogation. "I think they're goons too."
Soon, they arrived at the place where Carter's photo equipment was set up.
"Carter, will you do a few extra shots?" Hogan asked. After a few individual shots of Karla for her new ID, he pulled up a second stool and placed it on her left, then sat on it and put his arm around her shoulders.
Carter wasn't expecting this. He managed to hide his surprise well, Hogan noticed. "Of course, sir," he replied.
Hogan sat next to Karla and after a few pictures were taken, Hogan turned her towards him, took her in his arms and started kissing her.
"All done, si..." Carter began, and then saw the couple was kissing.
Hogan caught a glimpse of Carter watching them as he finished rewinding the film before quietly leaving to develop it, giving them some privacy.
Kinch looked up when Hogan and Karla came into the radio room a few minutes later. "I have bad news. The sub still isn't available to get Colonel Hoffman to London."
Hogan went to the table, opened the drawer beneath it and pulled out a map of the local area. He spread it on the table and examined it carefully. "What about this clearing here at the abandoned farm a mile east of here? It looks big enough to land a plane there. Check with London and see whether they can send a plane to pick up Karla, will you?"
Kinch nodded and replied, "Yes, sir. Why do you want them to send a plane?"
Hogan's voice was barely above a whisper as he replied, "It's too dangerous for her to attempt to go to England via our normal escape route. There are too many patriots out there who would love to catch a so-called traitor, even if she's supposed to be dead. Someone might recognize her and there would be no mercy shown for her once they captured her."
"I'll check on the availability of a plane and let you know," Kinch replied.
Hogan noticed Karla looking at him when he said these things. "I'm sorry," Hogan said.
Karla replied, "You shouldn't be. What you said was no less than the truth. I am a traitor. I despise what my country has become and no longer want any part of it or Hitler's lies."
Hogan hoped the rest of the day would be uneventful, as things at Stalag 13 had settled back to their usual routine. They went back above to Hogan's quarters where they decided to spend the day together. Hogan went to give Schultz his chocolate bar payoff and when he returned, Karla had finished packing.
Over the course of the day between roll calls, Hogan and Karla talked and enjoyed each other's company. Later that evening, after consuming a nice dinner prepared by LeBeau, Hogan said, "You still do have both honor and loyalty in you, Karla. I suspect that those things mean something different to you now."
Karla replied, "Yes, they do. Robert?"
"Yes?" Hogan asked.
"Thank you for saving my life," Karla said.
Hogan smiled. "You're welcome."
There was a minute of silence as they sat together in Hogan's quarters. Hogan said, "I've grown accustomed to your presence."
"I wish you could come with me," Karla replied. "But I know that you can't. I understand that it's your duty to be here and help others to escape." Tears started rolling down her cheeks.
Hogan lightly brushed her tears away. "The war won't last forever."
"I lost Johann to the war. I don't want to lose you too!" Karla whispered.
"You won't lose me. I'll come find you after the war, I promise," Hogan said.
"That's a promise I'll hold you to, Robert," Karla said.
Hogan looked at his watch and then at her.
"Is it time?" Karla asked.
"The plane will be here soon," Hogan replied. He pulled her close and kissed her.
Hogan and Kinch took Karla Hoffman down through the tunnel, up through the tree stump exit and then they headed to the deserted farm a mile east of Stalag 13 where a plane from England was to arrive. The ground in the clearing was frozen. The snow that had fallen recently was light and fluffy; the wind gusts kept the landing strip clear. It was approaching 2215 hours which was the scheduled arrival time for the plane.
The time came and went and half an hour passed and still the plane hadn't arrived. Concerned, Hogan and Karla went out into the clearing to check the sky. Kinch watched them from the edge of the clearing.
Corporal Stolz was patrolling the perimeter of Stalag 13 when he saw three people moving stealthily through the woods ahead of him and decided to follow them. He felt he had been humiliated in the eyes of his fellow soldiers after Colonel Hoffman escaped from the firing squad and the subsequent search for her in camp had yielded nothing. Despite her apparent death, he believed she was still alive and was determined to redeem himself.
As the people he was following broke through into a moonlit clearing in front of him, he recognized the black American Sergeant Kinchloe, Colonel Hogan's uniform and the blonde hair of Colonel Hoffman. Well, I was right about her being with Hogan! What a shame we didn't find her before. I'll capture them now! Stolz thought, excited. He stealthily moved towards where the black man was standing at the edge of the clearing and pulled out his Luger.
Stolz watched as Hogan and the woman headed out to the center of the clearing and looked up at the sky and Kinchloe remained at the edge of the clearing. Creeping up behind Kinchloe, Stolz raised the Luger and brought it down on the back of the black man's neck, butt first. Kinchloe slumped silently to the ground. Stolz switched his grip on the gun to the proper position.
Stolz wanted these people to be alive for the Gestapo to interrogate them. He knew how anxious Major Hochstetter was to catch Hogan in the act of doing anything that a prisoner of war wasn't supposed to do. Escorting a supposedly dead German officer to where a plane would presumably land to take her out of Germany fit the bill. Looking up, Stolz saw the couple look away from where he stood hidden behind a tree. He ran into the clearing to try and capture them.
"Well, well, Colonel Hogan is fraternizing with the enemy!" Stolz exclaimed as he grinned wickedly and pointed his Luger at them.
Hogan whirled at the sound of his voice. He then motioned for Colonel Hoffman to move behind him. "Halt!" Stolz ordered as he fired at Hogan, hitting him.
"Nooo!" Colonel Hoffman cried out as Hogan fell to the ground in pain and reached for his right leg.
"I assume you were going to meet a plane that was to take you out of Germany, Colonel Hoffman. I am lucky that I found you before you could escape. You are both under arrest. I need Colonel Hogan alive so Major Hochstetter can interrogate him. Your presence at Hogan's interrogation can be used to persuade him to be more cooperative with the Gestapo." Stolz pointed the gun towards her and sneered.
Newkirk watched through the periscope as Hogan, Kinch, and Karla Hoffman left the vicinity of the tree stump just outside of Stalag 13. As he was going to pull the periscope down for the night, he saw one of the guards head after the others. He glimpsed the man's face briefly and recognized him as Corporal Stolz. Checking his watch, he saw it was 2200 hours. The plane was due to land in the clearing at the farm a mile east from camp at 2215 hours.
"Bloody 'ell! I've got to stop Stolz! He'll capture the lot of them and blow our operation!" Newkirk muttered. He didn't have time to put on the black clothing they usually wore outside of camp. He grabbed a Luger and then went up the ladder.
At the top of the stump, Newkirk cautiously lifted the lid, listened and peered out. No searchlight beam, no guards patrolling outside the wire. He continued up through the stump and into the woods, following Corporal Stolz. He was careful not to trip on anything and made good time to the clearing where the plane was to arrive. As he made his way through the forest, he noticed that the moon had risen, casting a speckled blanket of light on the already snow-covered forest floor.
When Newkirk reached the edge of the clearing, he found Kinch unconscious on the ground and heard a shot. He looked up and saw a German pointing his gun towards the two Colonels, one of whom was on the ground. At this distance, he wasn't sure, but it looked like Hogan who was injured. Furious, Newkirk burst into a run and when he was close enough, raised his gun and fired. Hogan and Karla were startled as Stolz slumped to the ground in front of them and Newkirk arrived on the scene.
"Newkirk?" Karla asked. Next to her, Hogan slowly sat up, still clutching his leg.
"Yes, ma'am," Newkirk replied.
"Thank you for saving us," Karla said quietly.
"Someone has to watch out for you officers or you'd never get anywhere alive," Newkirk said with a broad grin.
Frowning, Karla commented, "I doubt that Hogan would feel that way."
"Colonel 'ogan will never admit it, but we've trained him properly," Newkirk said with a conspiratorial wink and a grin as he knelt down to look at Hogan's wound.
"What are you doing here, Newkirk? Where's Kinch?" Hogan asked through clenched teeth.
"I was watching through the periscope after you left the stump and saw Stolz follow the three of you. I didn't get here in time to warn you and found Kinch unconscious at the edge of the clearing," Newkirk replied.
Kinch stumbled over to where Hogan sat on the ground and said, "Colonel? I'm here."
"Kinch! Are you all right?" Hogan asked, concerned. He saw his radioman rubbing the back of his neck.
"Yes, sir. Somebody knocked me out," Kinch replied. Seeing Hogan's wounded leg, he added, "We better get you back into camp, sir. That wound is bleeding quite a bit."
"What will happen to me now that the plane isn't here?" Karla asked as Kinch and Newkirk helped Hogan to stand.
Hogan winced as he put weight on his injured leg. "It's risky, but we'll have to keep you here until the Germans stop looking for you."
As they took Hogan back to the tunnel, Kinch asked, "What do we do with Corporal Stolz's body?"
"See to it that he appears to have stepped on a land mine," Hogan replied.
Nothing more was said until everyone was back in the tunnel. Newkirk sent the medic, Jack Lynn down to tend to Hogan's wound. A few minutes later, dust fell from the ceiling when an explosion shook the tunnel as a land mine exploded. The alarm was sounded and the guards went to investigate.
Karla looked at Hogan and whispered, "Are you going to be all right?"
Hogan replied, "I'll be okay, but I'll have to give Klink a story about how I was injured. It will go something like this, Corporal Stolz came to break up a fight in the barracks, but instead, he and I argued and he shot me in the leg."
"Why would Stolz shoot you?" Karla asked.
"He loved Hilda and saw me as a rival for her affections," Hogan replied.
"In that case, we better get you above, so you can tell Klink," Kinch said.
Kinch and Newkirk took Hogan above and Karla made herself comfortable on the bunk near the radio room.
"Carter, bring Schultz here," Kinch said once they were back in the barracks.
Jack Lynn climbed out of the tunnel and closed it behind him. "I'll stay here until this matter is sorted out. Klink better fall for your explanation, Colonel."
Hogan gave a confident nod and said, "He will."
A few minutes later, Carter returned with both Schultz and Klink and Jack Lynn had just finished bandaging Hogan's leg.
"Colonel Hogan, what is going on here?" Klink asked. Seeing the bandage on Hogan's leg, he asked, "Hogan, what happened to you?"
Hogan replied, "Corporal Stolz came to help sort out a fight in the barracks. Afterwards, he gloated to me about his relationship with Hilda. I got angry and we quarreled, but he was the one with the gun who decided that he wanted to get rid of the competition for her affections — permanently. I was lucky that Kinch managed to push down Stolz's gun and the shot only hit me in the leg."
Klink visibly shuddered and asked, "Stolz shot you over Hilda?"
"Yes, Herr Kommandant," Hogan replied quietly.
"Schultz, where is Corporal Stolz right now?" Klink asked.
"I don't know, Herr Kommandant, I was outside the wire investigating the explosion before I came in here," Schultz replied.
Just then, a guard came into the barracks, whispered into Schultz's ear, and then left.
Schultz frowned and before he could say anything, Jack Lynn said, "Kommandant, I think that Colonel Hogan should have this bullet removed immediately."
Klink nodded. "Schultz, see to it that Colonel Hogan is taken to the hospital. You and Langenscheidt will stay with him at all times to make sure he doesn't escape. I will accompany you to speak with the doctor."
"Jawohl, Herr Kommandant!" Schultz replied with a salute and then went to get Langenscheidt to help take Hogan to Klink's staff car.
On the way to the hospital, Klink asked, "Hogan, was Corporal Stolz really taunting you about Hilda, or was it about the late Colonel Hoffman?"
Hogan looked at Klink, the pain in his expression obvious for an instant, but then his usual mask of senior POW officer slipped back into place. Without answering, Hogan turned away and looked out of the staff car's window.
"After hearing you talking to Stolz yesterday, I realized that...," Klink paused for a moment, unable to voice his thoughts, and then added, "I'm sorry that Colonel Hoffman's demise has brought you so much pain."
Hogan turned to Klink and replied, "Yeah."
The car arrived at the hospital then and they took Hogan inside. He was allowed to see a doctor and Langenscheidt guarded Hogan during the procedure to remove the bullet. Schultz stood guard in the hallway.
When they were finished, Klink spoke to the doctor while Schultz and Langenscheidt took Hogan back to the car. On the way back to Stalag 13, Hogan was silent. Once they returned, Schultz and Langenscheidt took Hogan back to the barracks.
"Take it easy for a while, Colonel Hogan. Oh, by the way, the Kommandant has made arrangements for you to be examined by the doctor on a periodic basis until that wound is healed," Schultz said as they entered the barracks and made their way to Hogan's quarters. "Let me know if you need anything."
"Okay, Schultz. I will," Hogan said. "Good night."
"Good night, Colonel Hogan," Schultz said, then turned and left the room. A moment later, the outer door of the barracks closed.
A few minutes later, the door of his quarters opened and Karla entered. She closed the door, came over to Hogan and asked, "Are you all right?"
Hogan eased himself down onto the bunk. "Yes, I'll be fine, but I won't be playing football for a while."
"Can I get you anything?" Karla asked.
"No, but thanks for asking," Hogan said. "I'll have to make other arrangements to get you to England. It looks like you will go via our normal escape route."
"I thought you said it was too dangerous," Karla replied as she sat next to him.
Hogan nodded. "I did. I think the heat will be off by the time the sub is available to pick you up at the coast. Klink will have submitted his report in regards to your death by then."
"When will that be?" Karla asked.
"I don't know yet. It might not be until next week," Hogan replied. "You'll be safe here now that Stolz is gone, but it would be best if you stayed out of sight. Once Klink submits that report, any ongoing searches for you should be cancelled. In the meantime, we had best get some sleep."
Karla nodded and helped Hogan get settled comfortably in the lower bunk.
With a grin, Hogan said, "Thanks, Karla."
Karla smiled and replied, "You're welcome, Robert. See you in the morning." Karla then left his quarters to go below for the night.
The next morning, after roll call, Karla brought some breakfast for herself and Hogan and they had just finished consuming the food when there was a knock on the door.
"Colonel Hogan?" Carter asked.
"Come in," Hogan replied.
Carter entered and said, "Sir, LeBeau just returned from cleaning Klink's office and before he left to go on KP, wanted me to tell you that Klink's report on Colonel Hoffman's death is signed and waiting to be put in an envelope and mailed."
"Thanks Carter. Anything else?" Hogan asked as Karla set the plates on the desk.
"No, sir," Carter replied.
"We'll need to get Karla some money and some civilian clothes before we take her to the sub," Hogan said. "You know the drill."
"Yes, sir," Carter said, then turned and left.
Karla hugged Hogan. They separated briefly before sharing a tender kiss which blossomed into a more passionate one.
The next week, Carter was the one who took Karla to the location where she was to meet with the Underground to take her to the sub. Before leaving Stalag 13, Karla and Hogan met in the tunnel one final time.
"Don't open that package I gave you until you're safe on the sub," Hogan said.
Karla nodded. "I won't, I promise. I'll miss you until the end of the war, but I'll never forget you, Robert."
"I'll miss you too, Karla." Hogan said. He then pulled her to him and they shared a long, sensual kiss.
Carter looked impatiently at his watch and said, "Excuse me, sir and ma'am, but it's time for us to go."
Hogan reluctantly released Karla and she went with Carter. Before she was out of sight, Karla paused, turned, smiled and waved at Hogan. He returned the smile and the wave and then she continued down the tunnel after Carter.
Two nights later, Karla stood on the deck of the British submarine and briefly looked back at the coast of Germany and thought, Colonel Robert Hogan, I look forward to the day when we will be reunited.
"Ma'am? Please come below with me. It's time to leave," the Englander said.
Karla nodded. He took her bag and indicated for her to precede him. When Karla was settled in a tiny room and the sub dove and was starting for England, she opened her duffel bag and pulled out the package Hogan had given her. She opened it and found a framed picture of her together with Hogan who had his arm around her. Karla cried softly and felt a strong emotion well up inside her and she whispered in the silence of the room, "I love you, Robert."