I don't normally write scenes involving character death...it's just too sad for me. But I was inspired by Sue's story, Sole Survivors, and I would like to express a huge note of thanks to Sue for allowing me to include parts of her own story in this one.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Hogan's Heroes characters.


Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
-
from the song, Brothers In Arms, by Dire Straits

Newkirk sat on the floor of his cell; the words that the guard had passed to him a few minutes earlier going round and round in his head. The execution was scheduled for 0700 tomorrow morning. That's when he, along with the rest of the men from Barracks two would be taken out into the compound, and shot as spies. 0700 tomorrow morning. He had until 0700 tomorrow morning to live.

Newkirk shifted uncomfortably on the cold, hard cement floor. He started thinking about how they'd gotten into this mess in the first place; how they'd gotten caught. It was all Major Hochstetter's fault; setting that trap for them. And they'd walked right into it! That bloody Hochstetter! He thought, his anger rushing to the surface, Oh, if I could just get meself out of 'ere, and 'ave five minutes alone with that…that…I'd tear 'im limb from limb, I would! I'd… He suddenly realized his hands were tightly closed into fists, and his fingernails were digging into the flesh of his palms. He breathed in slowly, filling his lungs, and then exhaled it out in a huge sigh. No, he wasn't going to spend his last night on Earth angry.

Newkirk shifted again, and let his thoughts start to drift to home. Mavis! What would become of his dear sister? Would she ever know what happened here, would they ever tell her what they'd really been up to during the war? Would she believe them? Operating a sabotage and rescue unit out of a POW camp was pretty far-fetched, to be sure. Then again, would she ever even find out that he'd been killed? Or would he and the rest of the men be disposed of, hidden like some kind of dirty little secret, their families never finding out what their fate had been. They'd just be reported as missing in action; their loved ones back home still hoping for years to come that somehow, they would be found alive.

Newkirk's thoughts now drifted back…back to the men who were waiting in the other cells, back to the men whom he'd grown so close to over the years. They seemed to pop into his mind, one by one. Kinch was first. Kinch, who had spent most of his time manning the radio down in the main tunnel. He was rather quiet and reserved, but when he spoke, there was wisdom in his words. Strong, dependable, Kinch…quick to take action when necessary, yet content to stay behind and keep watch while the rest of them went out on missions. And he was so calm! Newkirk couldn't remember a single time that Kinch had ever become over-excited, or nervous, or panicked…not one! That's Kinch…our rock! He smiled.

Then there was LeBeau, who had a temper from here to the moon! But beneath that fiery exterior beat a heart of gold. Newkirk had a feeling that Louis actually enjoyed the arguing and teasing that went on between them. But when the chips were down, Louis was right there, sharing the risks, watching their backs, charging forth when necessary. Our brave little Frenchman! What I wouldn't give for some o' your cookin' right now, Louis! Even your ruddy fish stew! That brought out a chuckle.

His thoughts then turned to Carter, and his smile faded. Andrew; so naïve, so optimistic. Andrew, who always saw the good in things, even when there was nothing good about it. He never understood why Carter had latched onto him so quickly after he'd arrived at Stalag 13, why Carter considered him his best friend; considering the way he teased him all the time. Carter could be clumsy, and silly, and forgetful, and just downright irritating sometimes! And what a chatterbox! But he was also warm, and forgiving, and friendly. And when they needed someone to masquerade as a German officer; particularly a General; why, Carter would transform himself so completely, sometimes he'd even find himself a little scared of the Sergeant! And, of course, if something was wrong, Carter was always quick to lend a sympathetic ear, wasn't he? Oh, Andrew, I never got to tell you, did I? You're my best friend, too.

And then there was the Colonel.

Newkirk swallowed hard, and shifted once again on the hard floor. They hadn't even left him with a cot; he had no where else to sit.

Colonel Hogan…their leader. His Commanding Officer. And his friend. Even now he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Colonel was pleading for the lives of his men; or at least, the lives of the men of the rest of the camp. Trying to take the blame, trying to save everyone but himself. And he also knew how it broke Hogan's heart that he couldn't. He couldn't save them.

Newkirk felt something wet on his cheek and reached up to wipe it away. He suddenly realized that he was sobbing.


Dawn arrived all too soon. Newkirk watched as the light started to stretch into his cell, ever so slowly. His was one of the few cells that had a small window to the outside world, positioned high up on the outer wall. The room grew brighter, and he knew that the time was getting close; the hour of their execution. As if on cue, the door to his cell suddenly opened, and two guards entered, yelling at him to get to his feet.

Newkirk got up and the guards approached, jerking him around and pulling his hands behind his back. They took out a pair of handcuffs and locked them tight around his wrists, and then grabbed his arms and forcefully led him out of the cell.

When they got outside, the sunlight hit his eyes, and Newkirk had to blink a few times to give them a chance to adjust. As he was dragged over to the wall by the guards, he instantly spotted them; Kinch, LeBeau, and Carter…already lined up, awaiting their ultimate fate. He caught their eyes and they looked back; their faces showing a mixture of fear, dread, and, not too surprisingly, acceptance.

Newkirk took his place next to Carter. He glanced at him, and flashed him a small smile. Then he looked back toward the cooler, waiting to see their last comrade brought out…Colonel Hogan.

Newkirk watched as Hogan was led out. He saw Burkhalter hold up his hand and walk over to Hogan, and he strained his ears to hear what was being said between them.

"What are you going to do with the other prisoners?" He heard Hogan ask.

Then Burkhalter answered. "Like I said, Hogan, you are all responsible for this operation of yours. They don't deserve to be transferred to other prisoner of war camps. No, they will be marched out of here later today. After reaching a transit center, they will all be assigned to labor camps in the east."

Newkirk then saw Hogan struggle; forcing two guards to hold him back. "You can't do that! I told you I was the one responsible!" Hogan exclaimed.

"And I told you Colonel, I don't believe that. No, all of these men were volunteers. They knew full well what they were doing, and what the consequences would be if you were caught. You're lucky all of them aren't being shot as well." Burkhalter turned to the guards. "Get this man over to the wall."

Newkirk watched as they dragged Hogan over to the wall, shoving him right next to him. He could see the desperation in Hogan's face; he knew the Colonel would keep pleading for the lives of the prisoners until the end.

Newkirk looked quickly to his left, at his friends that had become so dear to him; his brothers…his family. Then he looked to his right, and saw the one man that had held them all together; the one man that had shown them what real leadership was; the one man that had gained his respect and admiration more than any one else on the planet. The one man that deserved a long and happy life; far away from this cesspool of pain, and imprisonment, and death.

And then, a calm came over him, like a soft summer breeze drifting by, filled with the scent of hope, and somehow he knew that they would be okay; that they would be together…always.

He heard Hogan speak his last words;

"Burkhalter, I was responsible. The men, they were following orders, my orders. They weren't volunteers. They were following my orders!"

He saw the guards raise their rifles, and as they took aim, Newkirk whispered just loud enough for himself to hear; "See you on the other side, mates."

Then the shots rang out.

The End