Sorry my last chapter took so long, but I've been "Proofreading" some "Court proceedings" all this past week! ;D Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
Hogan glanced quickly around the jewelry store. "Okay," he said, "First, we need to mess up the place a little; make it look like someone was just starting to rob it before he got interrupted by General Wagner. LeBeau, Carter, you two can take care of that."
"You want me to open the safe, Colonel?" Newkirk asked.
"No," Hogan replied, "I want to make it look like the thief took off after shooting the General. No sense making this more complicated than it needs to be." Hogan then looked at Wagner. "Captain, I need you to give me your gun."
"I've got it, sir," Newkirk said, then pulled the gun out of his pocket and handed it to Hogan.
Wagner looked a little concerned. "Why do you need my gun, Colonel?"
"We need to hide it someplace where the SS will never find it, don't we?"
Wagner nodded in understanding. "Yes, of course." He replied. He was still new to all of this, but he could instantly tell that Colonel Hogan knew what he was doing.
"All right," Hogan continued, addressing Wagner, "As soon as my men are done here, we'll leave and head back to camp; except for Newkirk, who will be staying with you. I want you to give us a ten minute head start, and then phone the local police."
"You want me to call the police?" Wagner asked, surprised.
"Yes, Captain. You're going to tell them that you'd just finished capturing a missing prisoner, and were on your way to take him back to his Stalag, when you decided to drop by the Jewelry store to see your father, who had mentioned to you that he'd be here. But when you arrived, you found that he'd been shot, and the killer had escaped."
Wagner nodded, his amazement steadily growing over the cleverness of this American Colonel. If I'm going to be a spy, he thought to himself, I couldn't have picked a better man to learn from!
"Colonel," Newkirk piped up, "The Captain's got some bags in his car that he was plannin' to take with 'im to Argentina."
"Just some clothes, and a few mementos…and my cello." Wagner said.
Hogan's eyes widened a little. "Your cello?"
"Oh, he's a professional, he is!" Newkirk exclaimed, beaming at Wagner. "I've 'eard him play, sir; he's the best! Even writes his own music!"
Wagner looked back, blushing a little. "Thanks, Newkirk," he said, sounding embarrassed.
Hogan glanced at Newkirk, then back at Wagner, dumbfounded. What the heck's been going on at that house for the past two days? He was about to start asking questions, when he realized that it could wait; they needed to take care of the business at hand. "We can discuss this later," he finally said, shaking his head. He turned his attention back to Wagner. "I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll take the bags out of your car, and put them in the truck. Then we'll drop them off at your house on our way back to Stalag Thirteen."
Just then LeBeau and Carter came back to join the group.
"All finished, Colonel," LeBeau informed Hogan.
"Yeah, Colonel," Carter added, "And I think we did a pretty good job, too!"
"I'm sure you did." Hogan reassured them both, and then said, "Now, why don't you bring the truck up here and park it next to Wagner's car? We've got some things to transfer from it to the truck, and then we're leaving. Kinch, give 'em a hand, will you?"
"Yes, sir," They said in almost perfect unison.
As they left, Hogan again addressed Wagner. "After the police let you go, you head straight for Stalag Thirteen. Once you get there, you can inform Colonel Klink and Major Hochstetter that you've recaptured Newkirk here."
Wagner breathed in sharply. "Major Hochstetter is there?"
"Yes, but don't worry, we'll tell you how to handle him."
"That's right, Captain," Newkirk piped up, "We've done it lots of times! I'll even 'elp with makin' up a good story of how you captured me!"
Wagner was overwhelmed by now. "All right, I'll do as you say."
"Good." Hogan responded, then turned, and left to join the rest of the men, who had just about finished loading up the truck. A few minutes later, Wagner and Newkirk watched as Hogan, Kinch, Carter, and LeBeau climbed into the truck, and headed out.
Several hours later, as Captain Wagner was approaching Stalag Thirteen, he couldn't help thinking once again about everything that had transpired that evening. He had to admit that he felt somewhat sorry for what he'd done. He'd never killed anyone before, and to have it be his own father! But he just couldn't let his father's reign of terror continue; it had to stop. And he certainly wasn't going to let him shoot Newkirk!The thing that surprised him the most; however, was that, now that his father was gone, he had found a sense of strength and purpose in himself that he never knew was there. He had to believe that he'd done the right thing.
And he'd found out something else about himself; he actually did have some acting talent, judging by how easy it had been to convince the local authorities of his version of what had happened. He'd even managed to produce some real tears for his deceased father, which had elicited sympathy from the police. He knew that the SS would get involved, and quickly, but he had confidence now that he could fool them, too. It looked like he might have what it took to be a good spy, after all.
After he passed through the gate, Wagner pulled up in front of Klink's office and stopped. He got out of the car and, spotting Sergeant Schultz, waved him over.
"Go get Colonel Klink, Sergeant," Wagner ordered, "I need to speak to him immediately." He then went to open the back door of the car, helping Newkirk get out, who had handcuffs on again. They'd been necessary to keep their story believable.
"Newkirk!" Schultz exclaimed, glad to see that the Englander was alive. "Captain, you found him!"
"Yes I did, Sergeant," Wagner said, "That's why I need to see Colonel Klink."
"Yes, sir, right away, sir!" And then Schultz hurried off to wake the Kommandant.
"Sorry about the handcuffs," Wagner told Newkirk when Schultz was out of hearing range, "I hope they're not too tight."
"It's all right, mate," Newkirk flashed him a smile, "I've been through worse!"
A few minutes later Klink came stomping out of his quarters, mumbling, "Why does everything always have to happen at one o'clock in the morning?" He walked up to Wagner and stopped. "So, I see that you've found Corporal Newkirk; good work, Captain. Major Hochstetter will want to know about this. I've already sent Sergeant Schultz to get him."
Just then the door to barracks two opened, and Hogan emerged, instantly spotting the small cluster of men in front of Klink's office. He pulled the collar of his jacket up, and strode purposely over to them; a puzzled expression on his face.
Klink was the first one to spot him. "Colonel Hogan, what are you doing out of the barracks; and at this time of night?"
"I heard some commotion going on out here, Colonel, and I was curious. I wanted to find out if…" Hogan appeared to suddenly notice Newkirk standing there. "Newkirk! You're okay! Where have you been?"
"I'm still trying to determine that, Hogan." Klink answered impatiently.
Hogan looked closer, and suddenly gasped, "What happened to your face, Newkirk?"
Klink looked at Newkirk and saw what Hogan was referring to. "Yes, I see it, too. What did happen to your face, Corporal?"
"I'm sure I can explain, once Major Hochstetter arrives, Colonel." Wagner said.
"Yes, I'm sure you can," Klink agreed, "So, Hogan, why don't you go back to your barracks, and…"
Before Klink could finish, they all heard footsteps approaching, and a familiar voice growl, "Colonel Klink! Why are you conducting this business outside? You should be in your office, along with the rest of these men, and…" Hochstetter trailed off when he realized that one of the men was Hogan. "What is this man doing here?" He yelled, his voice reverberating throughout the entire camp.
Klink visibly shrunk, and spoke in a small voice, "He just came over from the barracks, Major. He wanted to see if we'd found Corporal Newkirk, which, as you can see, we have!"
Hochstetter, still fuming, looked at Klink, then at Newkirk, then at Wagner. "Klink," he stated in a more controlled voice, "Let's discuss this in your office. Now!"
"Of course, Major Hochstetter!" Klink motioned to the stairs leading to the porch in front of his office, "Please, after you!"
Hochstetter glared at him for a moment, and then headed for the stairs, the rest of the group following behind. They made their way, single file, into Klink's office. Hogan, who was last in line, shut the door behind him, and just stood there in front of it. Klink went to stand behind his desk, Hochstetter picked a spot near the window, and Wagner and Newkirk took their places on the other side of the desk, facing the Kommandant and the Gestapo Major. Before they got started, Wagner took a few moments to remove the handcuffs from Newkirk's wrists. When he was finished, Hochstetter spoke.
"All right, Captain Wagner, I want to know what happened! Where did you find this prisoner? And where has he been all this time?"
"I found him at an abandoned barn a few miles out of town, Herr Major," Wagner stated. "When he saw me approach, he made a run for it, but I caught up to him. We struggled, and he knocked the gun I was carrying out of my hand. It fell into a ravine, I'm afraid."
"Ja?" Hochstetter seemed engrossed in the tale. "Then what happened?"
"I had to subdue him, myself." Wagner continued. "After I punched him a few times, he surrendered."
"It's true, sir," Newkirk piped up, "Captain Wagner 'ere, he got the best of me, he did! If I'd known he was so strong, I wouldn't 'ave put up such a fight!"
Hochstetter seemed impressed. "Well, Captain, I must say, you did an excellent job re-capturing this prisoner." He remarked, admiring what he presumed to be Wagner's handiwork on Newkirk's face. "Perhaps I should consider having you transferred to a more active section of the Gestapo."
"That's very generous of you, Major," Wagner began, "But I would prefer to stay where I am for now. You see, there's something that's happened, and I think I will need time to…" He paused, swallowing hard and letting his eyes tear up a little, "To overcome my grief…"
"What are you talking about, Captain?" Hochstetter demanded.
As if on cue, the phone rang, and before Klink could pick it up, Hochstetter grabbed it.
"Hello, this is Major Hochstetter speaking…Ja, there is a Captain Wagner here…what's that? You need him at the police station? There are some SS officers that wish to speak to him? What about? General Wagner…yes, I've heard of him. He was what?" There was a long pause in the office while Major Hochstetter listened intently to the caller on the other end. "Oh, I see," Hochstetter said at last, "Yes, I'll send him immediately. Heil Hitler!"
Hochstetter hung up the phone and looked at Wagner. "Yes, well," he replied uncomfortably, "That was the police; they told me what happened, and I can understand why you need some time, Captain."
"Thank you, Major." Wagner responded.
"Well, what happened?" Klink asked, confused.
"Captain Wagner's father was killed in town tonight by an unknown assailant. He was a well-known SS General. The police and the SS are investigating." Hochstetter looked at Wagner with a smidge of sympathy. "I am sorry, Captain. I admired your father a great deal."
Wagner nodded. "I appreciate that, Major Hochstetter."
"Anyway," Hochstetter said in his business-as- usual voice, "They need you at the station, so you better get going."
"Yes, Major. Thank you, Major." Wagner saluted, and after it was returned, he left.
"That's terrible, what happened to his father!" Klink exclaimed after Wagner had gone.
"Yes, it's terrible," Hochstetter responded, "But I believe we still have some business to take care of, don't we?"
"Oh, yes, Major Hochstetter, you mean Newkirk, don't you?" Klink looked at the Englander suspiciously. "So, where have you been all this time, Corporal?"
"Klink!" Hochstetter yelled, "I'll ask the questions here!" He walked over to stand in front of Newkirk. "So, where have you been all this time, Corporal Newkirk?"
Newkirk appeared intimidated. "Just where Captain Wagner found me, Major," he told him. "I've been hidin' out in that ruddy barn for two days; hungry and cold, mind you, just tryin' to figure a way to escape."
"Then why did you run away from Captain Wagner in the first place?" Hochstetter asked, glaring at him.
"Well, I," Newkirk answered nervously, "I didn't want to go to Gestapo Headquarters, now, did I? I mean, all for just wantin' some paper to write a letter on."
"See?" Hogan spoke up. "I told you, Major. He was just looking for some paper."
"Yes, Major," Klink added, "I really don't see what all this fuss is about; it's just paper!"
Major Hochstetter whirled around and looked at Klink menacingly. "Klink! Stay out of this!" He yelled. Then he turned back to Newkirk. "The next time you want paper to write on, Corporal, why don't you try asking for it?"
"I will, Major," Newkirk answered quickly, "I promise!"
Hochstetter tossed one more glance at Klink, and then turned and stormed out of the room, practically knocking Hogan out of the way of the door. When he had left, Hogan looked at Klink and said, "He forgot to say, 'Auf Wiedersehen.'"
"Hogan!" Klink shouted, and then looked at Newkirk. "Corporal Newkirk, you're getting thirty days in the cooler for this!" Then he yelled for Schultz, who was in the outer office.
Hogan gave Klink his best puppy dog look. "Aw, c'mon, Kommandant, thirty days is too long! Make it two days." He beseeched him.
"Thirty days and that's final!"
Just then Schultz entered. "You wanted me, Kommandant?" He asked.
"Yes, Schultz, I want you to take Newkirk here to the cooler, right now!"
"Yes, sir," Schultz answered. "Come on, Newkirk, let's go."
"And as for you, Hogan," Klink said to the Colonel.
"Yes, sir?" Hogan replied, raising his eyebrows questioningly.
Hogan looked at Klink with a disappointed expression on his face. He gave him a sloppy salute, and left the office, not waiting to see if Klink had returned it. He hurried to catch up to Schultz and Newkirk.
"What are you doing, Colonel Hogan?" Schultz asked when he saw Hogan come up next to him.
"I just wanted to talk to Newkirk, here," Hogan said, "I haven't seen him in two days, you know!"
Schultz shook his head. "Nein, Colonel Hogan, it is not allowed."
"Please, Schultz? There's a chocolate bar in it for you." Hogan pulled a candy bar out of his pocket and waved it in front of the Sergeant.
Schultz eyed it hungrily. "All right, five minutes…but that's all!"
"That's fine, Schultz."
After Schultz had locked Newkirk in the cell, he left to stand guard outside, letting Hogan talk to the Corporal in private. Hogan looked at Newkirk through the bars, and smiled.
"Don't worry, Newkirk, I'll get Klink to let you out in a few days."
"I hope so, Colonel. I'm gettin' a bit tired of bein' cooped up like a bloody zoo animal!"
Hogan chuckled, and then grew serious. "You really think we can trust Wagner?"
Newkirk nodded. "Yes, sir. I know we can." Suddenly his eyes opened wide. "Colonel, there's one problem I 'aven't mentioned yet."
"What's that, Newkirk?"
"Well, sir, Wagner's still in hot water over that information that we go from him two weeks ago. It might cause trouble for him at Berlin Headquarters, where he works."
Hogan thought it over for a minute. "Don't worry," he said at last, "I think his superiors will ease off when they receive a phone call tomorrow from a certain Major Teppel, informing them that the Abwer has captured the spy responsible for the information that was stolen."
Newkirk smiled. "You think of everythin', don't you, sir?"
"That's why I'm a Colonel!" Hogan smiled back, and then remembered something he'd been meaning to ask about. "So, Newkirk, you seem to have become pretty friendly with Wagner, haven't you?"
"He's a good man, Colonel." Newkirk answered.
"Yes, and I understand he plays the cello?"
Newkirk smirked. "It's a long story."
"I look forward to hearing it when you get out of here, Newkirk."
Newkirk looked at Hogan, a mischievous grin forming on his face. "You know, Colonel, Wagner offered to take me with him to Argentina. I could be sittin' on a beach somewhere, talkin' to a pretty senorita, gettin' a tan…"
Hogan cut in. "But instead, you're stuck in the cooler."
Newkirk's grin faded. "Yeah. Pity, ain't it?"
Just then Schultz appeared. "Colonel Hogan, it's time to go."
"All right, Schultz." Hogan said, looking at the Sergeant. He started to follow the guard out, and then glanced briefly over his shoulder at Newkirk. "Glad to have you back, Newkirk," he called out.
"Glad to be back, sir," Newkirk replied, and then added, "Good night, Colonel."
As Hogan walked back to the barracks, he couldn't help thinking about the fact that Newkirk had single-handedly made a new contact for them; in the Gestapo, of all places! He shook his head in amazement and chuckled, then spoke out loud, even though there was no one around to hear him.
"Will wonders never cease!"