A/N: I do not own any part of Hogan's Heroes nor any of the characters. But I do own the DVDs and enjoy watching them. The character of Sergeant Karl Dietrich is mine.
A Sergeant's Guilt
Colonel Robert Hogan, Senior POW officer, was in barracks two enjoying some free time with his men when it happened.
Dressed in his usual brown leather bomber jacket and with his crush cap pushed back on his head of thick black hair, Hogan balanced on one leg with his opposite foot on the wooden bench with both arms resting on his thigh as he watched Carter, LeBeau and Newkirk playing gin; Kinch was playing solitaire.
Suddenly a rifle shot was heard outside followed by the sound of breaking glass. Hogan turned at the sound; but before anybody could move, the Colonel gasped, clutched his chest, and staggered as his knees buckled.
"Colonel!" Newkirk cried as he and Kinch jumped to their feet at the same time and caught Hogan before he hit the floor. Both men were stunned to see the red stain on the front of his shirt spreading as blood ran between Hogan's fingers.
Carter was frozen on his seat wide-eyed while LeBeau, turning pale, looked away so he couldn't see the blood.
Newkirk, seated on the floor, cradled Hogan's head in his lap while Kinch removed his pea green jacket and, putting it on the Colonel's wound, applied pressure in an attempt to stop the bleeding. He was grateful Hogan had apparently passed out. Newkirk pressed two fingers against the Colonel's neck and let out a sigh of relief to find a pulse, though weak.
"LeBeau, go find Wilson!" Kinch shouted keeping pressure on the wound. He glanced over and saw the pale little Frenchman hadn't moved. "LeBeau! Go find Wilson! Now!"
Seeming to come out of his shock, LeBeau got to his feet and raced out of the barracks, glad to get away from all the blood, but frightened for his commanding officer at the same time.
Carter got shakily to his feet and knelt down beside Kinch. "What can I do to help?" he asked, fear on his face and in his voice. "Tell me what I can do."
Newkirk looked at him. "Andrew, that shot came from outside. Go out there and see if you can find out who fired it. Some ruddy guard's gonna answer for this!"
"On my way!" Carter replied getting up. He paused at the barracks door long enough to look at Hogan for a minute before hurriedly leaving the barracks.
Kinch wiped the perspiration from his forehead with the back of one bloodstained hand. "C'mon, Colonel," he said nervously. "Don't you leave us. Hang on! Help is coming! Just hang on!"
"You heard 'im, Colonel," Newkirk muttered softly, fighting to control his emotions, but the fear on his face showing he was failing miserably. "You stay with us. Don't you even think about leavin' us none. We're gonna take care of you and find out who's responsible for this. So, don't you worry none."
A soft moan from Hogan caused both men to glance at each other. Hogan's eyes opened just a crack. A bloody hand weakly grabbed Kinch's wrist. Kinch looked into his commander's eyes and could see the trust in them. He kept applying the pressure despite knowing it was causing discomfort for the Colonel. Hogan moaned again and grimaced whenever Kinch pressed. He turned his head toward his second-in-command. A weak smile appeared momentarily.
"Kinch…" he whispered. "…my friend…best…second…I could…have…" He grimaced again. It hurt to breath. "Look…after…men for…me…"
"You'll be able to do that yourself, sir," Kinch replied, his voice breaking. He was becoming frightened now. "Where is LeBeau with Wilson?" he asked nobody. He looked at Hogan. "Colonel, you're gonna be all right. Trust me. You will be fine."
Hogan swallowed hard. "I…trust…you." His eyes closed.
"Oh bloody hell!" Newkirk cried as he again pressed two fingers to Hogan's neck and let out a deep breath at still finding a pulse. He looked into Kinch's face. "Thank God he's only passed out, mate. But it don't look good. Where the ruddy hell is Wilson?!"
It was then the barracks door opened and Wilson entered with a shaken LeBeau behind him. Approaching the men, he knelt down beside Kinch sitting his medical bag beside him. "How is he?" he asked, worried.
"Not good, Joe. He's been in and out of consciousness since he was shot."
Wilson placed two fingers against Hogan's neck and heaved a sigh at finding a pulse. Opening his medical bag, he quickly removed his stethoscope and checked the Colonel's heart. His face was grim. "Okay, we have to move him from the floor to the infirmary and quickly," he said putting the stethoscope back in his bag. "But we need to place something under him to keep the bullet from shifting." He looked around at the other men in the barracks.
"There might be a board or something in the tunnel," Olsen replied.
"Then go get it," Wilson ordered. "And hurry!" He turned his attention back to the Colonel as Olsen, hurrying to the double bunk, struck the hidden mechanism and as soon as the lower bunk raised and the ladder dropped, the Sergeant climbed over the bed frame and onto the ladder, quickly disappearing down into the tunnel. Baker immediately went to the barracks door and cracked it open to keep watch. Wilson glanced at Kinch. "Kinch, I need to get a look at that bullet wound even if just for a minute."
Kinch swallowed hard and lifted his bloody pea green jacket to enable the medic to get a look at Hogan's injury. He heard Wilson's intake of breath at what he saw.
LeBeau covered his mouth with his hand at seeing all the blood, and was struggling to keep from fainting because to him it was important not to take any attention away from the Colonel.
"Okay," Wilson told him grimly. "Put pressure back on the wound and keep it there." The radioman wasted no time in reapplying the pressure which caused a moan from the injured officer. The medic saw Hogan's eyes crack open a slit and look at him. "Colonel, it's Wilson. I'm going to do everything I can. Just stay still and whatever you do, don't move. I don't want anything to cause that bullet to shift it's position."
Hogan, gritting his teeth, allowed a weak grin to appear. "You're…the…doc…tor…"
Everybody looked up when they heard a sound. Olsen reappeared from below with a large board which was one of several used for bracing the tunnel walls. Back in the barracks, Olsen slapped the hidden mechanism and watched the ladder rise and lower bunk drop before approaching the others.
"Will this do, Joe?" he asked the medic.
"That's perfect. Lay it down on the floor beside the Colonel." Olsen did as he was told. "Good. Now, this is gonna be tricky and we must be extremely careful when we move him," Wilson explained. He looked at Newkirk. "Newkirk, I'm gonna need you to lay the Colonel's head on the floor carefully because we're gonna have to slide this board under him and use it as a stretcher."
"Whatever you say, doc," the Englander replied quietly. "Gov'nor, I'll be as careful as I can."
"Ummmm," was Hogan's only response.
Newkirk supported the Colonel's head with both hands and slowly eased his body out from under him. It pained him with each grimace Hogan made as he did so. But after a minute or two, Newkirk laid the Colonel's head on the floor causing another moan to be heard.
"Sorry, sir," the Englander apologized.
"Ummmm…" was the response.
"Okay," Wilson ordered. "Kinch, keep pressure on that wound. Newkirk, LeBeau, I'm going to need both of you to hold the Colonel's body still. Olsen, I want you to help me slide this board under him."
"Louie, you all right, mate?" Newkirk asked as he positioned himself at the Colonel's shoulder and noticed a very pale Frenchman position himself at Hogan's legs. He saw LeBeau nod mechanically.
"I can do this, mon ami," he replied in a shaky voice.
Olsen knelt beside Wilson who looked around at the others. "Okay. On the count of three. One…two…three." He and Olsen carefully slid the board under the American's body as LeBeau and Newkirk gently but firmly held Hogan's body in place. Finally, the board was beneath his body. "Good work, everybody," the medic said.
"Hey," Baker suddenly announced. "Here comes Carter. And Klink and Schultz are with him." The Sergeant barely had time to back away from the door before it opened and Klink and Schultz, followed by Carter, entered the barracks. Klink's hand immediately flew to his mouth when he saw the site before him on the floor. Schultz, on the other hand, appeared frightened and extremely nervous as if he was about to be sick.
"Sergeant Carter told me what happened," Klink explained in a strained voice. "How is Colonel Hogan?"
"Not good, Kommandant," Wilson replied. "His wound is extremely serious from only having had a quick look at it. He's definitely going to need surgery to remove that bullet as-soon-as-possible."
Newkirk looked angrily at Klink. "Whichever of your bloody guards fired through our barracks window and hit the Gov'nor, I hope you punish him good and proper, Kommandant. He could've killed the Colonel." The Englander couldn't be sure, but he could have sworn he saw Schultz flinch.
"To be honest, Newkirk," Wilson replied. "That could still be the case. It's going to be touch and go for awhile considering how much blood he's lost and the seriousness of his injury." He looked around at the men. "Olsen, Baker, Saunders, Carter, I want each of you to grab a corner of the board and Kinch, keep applying pressure. We've got to get him to the infirmary." Wilson picked up his medical bag and watched the men he asked for each pick up their corner of the board and lifting it, carefully carried it out of the barracks with Wilson close behind.
After they had left, Newkirk and LeBeau looked at Klink. And if looks could kill, Klink would have dropped dead right there in the barracks.
"Whatever Colonel Hogan needs, just have Sergeant Wilson send word to me and I'll make sure he gets it." Klink swallowed hard seeing the amount of blood on the floor.
"What Colonel Hogan and us need to know right now, Kommandant," began Newkirk, "Is which of you bloody guards did this!" He didn't bother to hide his rage.
"Oui," LeBeau agreed, equally angry. "Le lache pourri degoutant! Si Hogan de Colonel meurt, donc le devoir!" (1) he said in his native language.
"I have no idea who…." Klink began when Schultz suddenly stopped him. Klink turned and looked over at his obese Sergeant-of-the-Guard. "Schultz, dummkopf! I'll handle this."
"No, Herr Kommandant," Schultz explained sadly. In fact, he looked as if he was about to cry. "It is not right."
"Schuuuuuuultz! I'm warning you to keep you big mouth shut! And that's an order!"
"I'm sorry, Herr Kommandant, but this order I cannot obey."
"Schultzie," Newkirk looked at the guard. "You know who shot the Gov'nor?"
Schultz, his eyes downcast, slowly nodded.
"Tell us who it is, Schultzie," LeBeau demanded. "Tell us!"
Sighing wearily, Schultz kept his head bowed but raised his eyes. He looked directly at Newkirk and LeBeau.
"I'm afraid it was me."
(1) "Le lache pourri degoutant! Si Hogan de Colonel meurt, donc le devoir!" means "Filthy, rotten coward! If Colonel Hogan dies, so should he!"