A/N: Hi there. In my literary wanderings through Hogan's Heroes fan fiction, I have seen many versions on how the heroes arrived at Stalag 13. I've also seen the character Joseph Wilson as the designated camp medic. While this character is not technically in the show, he seems to be fairly well accepted by a lot of HH's writers as a member of the camp but there has never been a story on how he was brought into the camp. So, I had a plot bunny of how he may have come into camp and decided to give the whole writing fan fiction thing a whirl.
I've never written fan fiction before, though I've read it for the past year or more, and this is my first attempt. Any and all constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated, but please don't be too harsh. J
This story is unbetaed, so any mistakes are totally my bad.
Disclaimer: I do not own Hogan's heroes, though I wish I did, I would watch it with my roommates all day long.
Sergeant Joseph Wilson stared at the door, specifically at the name plate attached to the door: General Alfred Butler. He didn't know why he was ordered to report to the general, but he didn't have a good feeling about the summons. Well, Joe, this is what you get for yelling at a bomb group commander, he thought to himself. He thought back with a twinge of regret to the incident that must have lead to his meeting with Gen. Butler. After refusing to give medical clearance for several squadron leaders he'd found himself at the wrong end of a colonel's temper. The resulting argument did not aid the medic's army career in any way. He mentally kicked himself again, not for refusing to clear the pilots but at allowing his temper to get the better of him and snap back at the commander.
However, that incident was several weeks ago and should have already been dealt with and settled. Wilson frowned once again as he stared at the door, wondering if he'd offended the colonel more than he'd realized. Only one way to find out. He stepped up to the door and knocked.
"Come in," a voice from inside the office called.
Wilson opened the door and stepped inside and delivered a quick salute, allowing the door to swing close behind him. Hearing the door click closed behind him gave him the added feeling of being trapped and he could feel his pulse pick up a few beats as he stood at rigid attention. Calm down! he told himself, you did the right thing in grounding those men and you were assured there would be no court-martial, so relax. His heart rate slowed for a moment but his pulse picked up as the seconds drew into minutes, and he grew unaccountably nervous with the long silence.
Wilson stole a quick glance down from the spot on the wall he'd chosen, to the general still sitting at the desk. General Butler was not looking at him but reading a personnel file, his personnel file Wilson realized with a sinking feeling. This may be about more than a disagreement between myself and my superior…
The file seemed thicker than Wilson remember from the last time he'd seen it, but he told himself it was only his imagination. True he'd transferred to and from several units starting with the campaigns as a field medic in Africa and finally moving to England as a ground medic for bomber and fighter crews. Wilson tried to think of anything from his previous assignments that may have resulted in his meeting with the general but nothing came to mind. Perhaps they're transferring me again, he thought to himself for a moment, but rejected the idea almost immediately.
Wilson had to strongly resist the urge to cough, reminding the general that he was still there, still at attention. Butler seemed quite content to sit and read the file, occasionally turning the page or flipping ahead or back and skimming over various sections of the reports. Finally, Butler lowered the file to his desk and looked up at Wilson still standing at attention.
"At ease, sergeant," the general said.
Wilson relaxed into an easier stance, hesitating before correcting the general. "Private, sir."
"Private?" The general looked at him over the opened file, "Oh yes, that disagreement over the groundings. Sergeant to private, rather a long drop, don't you think?"
Wilson was unsure what to say. He searched for the most diplomatic answer, "It was the punishment deemed necessary according to the circumstances."
Butler looked at him closely as he leaned over his desk. Then, leaning back into his chair and steeping his hands, his gaze never leaving Wilson, he asked, "Was it worth it?"
"Sir?" Wilson asked, somewhat confused on what the general was heading for.
"Would you do it again?" Butler rephrased.
"If you mean my decision? Then yes," Wilson said, certain he was signing his own execution but unwilling to change his position. "Those men were over worked and needing a rest. Pushing men that way will only damage their ability to perform their jobs and will cause more long term damage than short term success... However, I will say that my phrasing of some of my protests may have been… out of line." If you consider "thoughtless slave driver" as out of line, Wilson thought to himself, replaying some of the accusations he'd thrown at his commander and which he still agreed with, in part.
Butler regarded him with a thoughtful eye. "You seem to have a reputation for it," the general agreed, placing a hand on the personnel file. "It says here that you've come into conflict with superior officers several times concerning medical matters."
Wilson decided silence was the best response to this statement as Butler looked up again to see the doctor's reaction.
"It says here," the general continued, "That you yelled at General Maddox for disregarding your medical advice for both his men and himself. Then here it says you stole medical supplies from across enemy lines during your short assignment in Africa. Medics do not conduct raids, Private," the general added in a more sever tone before continuing, "After which you were transferred here and moved from unit to unit thanks to conflicts with your commanding officers. Quite frankly, Private, I'm surprised you haven't been court-martialed yet."
"Well sir…" Wilson falter, unsure how to respond.
After a few seconds of silence the general prodded him to continue. "Yes, Private?"
"Sir, that incident in Africa was under very specific circumstances. It could hardly be considered a 'raid'. We needed some supplies. There was a group of Germans who had been cut off from their group. I saw the opportunity and took it. No one was hurt and we got the medical supplies we needed."
"There are supply lines established for that exact purpose," the general came back harshly.
"With all due respect, sir, the supply line would have taken too long," Wilson said, positive that antagonizing another officer was the last thing he needed to do at the moment but needing to defend his actions.
The general seemed to consider this for a moment before nodding his head. "Very well, go on."
"As for the rest, sir….I have nothing to say except it was for the good of the men."
The general nodded again. "You were getting ready for your medical exams when you were drafted, weren't you?"
"Yes, sir," Wilson said, unsure what this had to do with his past insubordination. "My father was a doctor and his father before him."
"A healer first then a soldier?"
"You might say that, general, but I am a soldier, too," Wilson admitted, growing more confused by the moment.
The general nodded again and fell silent, looking at the personnel file. He seemed to be thinking of something, but Wilson couldn't read his expression past that. Wilson realized he was growing more rigid as he waited for the general to say something and fought the urge to open his mouth and break the silence.
Finally, the general looked at him and said, "How would you like to be a sergeant again?"
This was the last thing Wilson expected and for a moment he couldn't find anything to say in response. He stood with his mouth opening and closing slightly as he struggled to find the right words. "Well… yes, sir, depending on the circumstances…"
"A man of principle," the general muttered almost to himself, "Good, you'll need it." Then louder, "I have an assignment for you, if you'd like it."
"An assignment, sir?"
"Yes, but don't think I'm letting you off for all these insubordinations, it's a tough assignment and will probably last until the end of the war. Transfer is not an option, but you would regain your rank and be an integral part of the Allied war effort."
Wilson stared at the general, "I'm afraid I don't understand, sir."
Butler paused for a moment, pursing his lips as he clearly thought something over. Then he stood and walked around the desk speaking slowly and with care. "We have an agent working in Germany with the local underground helping to slow down the Nazi war machine. This agent is vital to Allied High command as well as all the resistance units within the area. We need someone there to look after any medical situations that may arise, a competent medic who can provide more than basic first aid if our agent, his men, or his contacts ever need it. You have precisely the type of medical background we need for that purpose."
Wilson frowned, unsure if the General was being completely serious, though he couldn't see anything in the man's demeanor that would prove otherwise. "But I have no training in covert work. Wouldn't a more qualified soldier, one with espionage and sabotage training as well as medical knowledge be more appropriate for this assignment? Or even a local doctor?"
The general shifted in his position leaning against the desk. "Perhaps," he agreed, continuing after a moment, "but finding someone who fit that description would take time we don't want to waste and there is another factor in play here. This particular agent can be very stubborn when he wants to be and will need someone who can be equally stiff necked, who isn't afraid to stand up to an authority figure and perhaps getting knocked down a few ranks in return. Your record speaks for itself in the amount of times you've locked horns with superior officers on this issue. As to the local doctor, the situation is a unique one and we want someone on hand in a moment's notice, not a radio call and a fifteen or half hour wait away. However," the general said, looking pointedly at Wilson, "he will still be your commanding officer and you will be expected to follow his orders. More than that I can't say until you accept; even then you won't learn much more incase something goes wrong while trying to make contact."
Wilson frowned, looking down at the general's desk. It sounded like a tough assignment, taking care of a person and yet having to obey their orders. Then the lack of information about where he would be, what the conditions would be didn't encourage him at all. The general mentioned it was behind enemy lines, that in itself was extremely dangerous. As far as he could tell the general hadn't done a very good job in selling the assignment if he was supposed to volunteer for it.
Wilson continued to frown in silence as he considered all of this, and yet… If he did accept it sounded as though he could really make a difference, not just handing out aspirin and grounding fliers, but helping those who did not have ready access to medical help, by the sounds of it. Not to mention the restoration of his rank.
"Would I have the last word in any medical situations?" Wilson asked the general, "Or would this agent have the authority in that area as well? Because if that's the case then I can hardly see the point in sending me at all."
The general chuckled, moving back to his seated position behind the desk, "You would of course have the last word when considering the men's health as far as London was concerned, but I think you'll find this agent somewhat reluctant to agree to every decision you make. Undoubtedly you'll find yourself in some very awkward and uncomfortable positions because of it. Am I to take it that you are accepting?" Butler, leaned forward resting his arms on his desk as he watched Wilson with an expectant expression.
Wilson opened his mouth, then closed it again. He still had his reservations but his gut told him to accept the assignment, despite all the unknowns. He glanced around the room briefly, noting the photos of planes and groups of airmen standing and smiling for that brief moment for the camera, who knew where they were now. The general certainly knew about dangerous assignments, considering his background before being promoted to a desk away from the fighting.
Looking back to Butler, Wilson nodded his head once, "Yes, I suppose I am."
"Good," the general said. He didn't smile or congratulate Wilson. It would be a tough assignment and something the private would probably regret accepting more than once before the war was over. "You're not to talk about this assignment to anyone. It is strictly top secret. You won't be informed where you will be going or staying until you get there. I'm sorry we have to keep you in the dark, but this is a very important operation and, as I said before, if something goes wrong we don't want the slightest chance in anything getting to the Nazis."
"I understand, sir," Wilson said with a nod, for the most part.
"Very good, you leave in two days. You'll be briefed again immediately before departure. Dismissed."
Wilson saluted and turned to leave the office, but stopped when the general called to him again.
"Oh, and sergeant, good luck."
"Thank you, sir," Wilson said, opening the door. I think I'm going to need it, he said to himself wondering what he'd gotten himself into as he left the office closing the door behind him.
Well, what did you think? Please give any suggestions and advice you may have to help me improve my writing. I'd be very grateful.