FUBAR

Chapter 10

Hogan slept for several hours; then headed down below to check on the assorted guests taking up residence in the tunnels. His first stop was a small area where Boswell and Garrett were sacking out.

"Well. You look as good as I feel," Boswell said to Hogan.

"Don't remind me." Hogan pinched the bridge of his nose. He walked over to the other cot. "How are you feeling, Garrett?"

The agent, one arm thrown over his face, was lying on his back, one leg up. "Hanging in there, sir."

Hogan patted Garrett's shoulder and glanced at Boswell. "Guess what? I was wrong. Looks like my department didn't know what your department was doing."

"I got the same story as you when I spoke to our office. Another screw up. But there's one thing," Boswell continued. "This contact; he had to make the first connection. Somehow, he must've talked to both organizations."

"Or, he talked, and then someone else did," Hogan said. "And maybe that person deliberately set up two separate missions as an insurance policy."

"Too bad it didn't work," Garrett, who had been listening, said. "Todd said our office was upset."

"Mine, too." Hogan figured the contact had been caught and killed, rather than chicken out. "Guess we'll never know."

"Nope," Boswell agreed. "Um, we have to stay here a few more days. Wilson said Mitch isn't ready to travel yet."

"I heard. You can help with the processing of the guys we rescued. We can use the extra hands."

"Sure, I'll do that," Boswell said

"I guess I can finish up my afghan," Garrett laughed. "Ouch! Now that hurt."

"Colonel? Oh, there you are." Carter poked his head around the corner. "Hey guys, we have a pick-up scheduled in two days."

"These two can't go yet. Not until Wilson clears Garrett."

"Oh." Carter walked over to Garrett's cot. "Better do what Wilson says, then. Let anyone of us know if you need something."

"Thanks." Garrett rolled over and slowly sat up. "Colonel, I never thanked you for helping me out in the cave."

Hogan grinned. "You're welcome." He glanced over at Boswell. "We worked well together; not that I plan on going into medicine in the future."

Boswell was shocked at Hogan's compliment, but held his tongue. "He's right, Mitch. We did work well together."

Carter, now happy, pleased, and grinning with the change in attitude in the colonel and the two agents, went upstairs and reported that, for now, everyone was finally getting along.

*********

Colonel Klink was still mulling over the odd situation involving the two prisoners transferred to Stalag 9, and Hogan's reaction to them. Something in his gut told him they weren't who they said they were.

Hochstetter is an idiot, he thought. The man even thinks Hogan is responsible for all of the sabotage. "Impossible," he said out loud. Now angry that the Gestapo major hadn't taken him seriously, Klink decided to pick up the phone.

"Hilda, please connect me to the Kommandant at Stalag 9." Klink waited impatiently for the connection to go through, and picked up the phone before the second ring signaling that the other Kommandant was on the line. The two Kommandants exchanged a few pleasantries and then Klink came to the point. "Those two privates I sent over, I wanted to let you know they might be Gestapo plants. Just a warning. The Gestapo denied it, of course. What? What prisoners? I placed the call myself. Yes. Thank you." Klink hung up the phone. "I knew it," he said. He got up. "I just knew it. Hogan thought he knew, but he couldn't be sure." Klink laughed. "But I know, and you don't." Ecstatic that he now knew something that his senior POW officer didn't know, Klink left his office in a great mood, forgetting to question how his original phone call got misdirected.

Later that afternoon, Klink, who was looking out the window, left his office after he spied Hogan relaxing in the compound. He nonchalantly stopped next to the bench where Hogan, who was observing a volleyball game, had taken a seat.

"I take it you are feeling better, Colonel Hogan?"

"Yeah. Thanks. The fresh air helps."

"Ah, that's good." The Kommandant was almost bouncing.

Hogan looked at him suspiciously. Klink was too happy. Yes, definitely cheerful, and that was not a good sign.

"Anything up, sir?" Hogan asked. "You look like you have something to say."

"No." Klink smiled. "No, just checking in, that's all; and to tell you the truth…" he emphasized the last word, "I think I know something that you thought you knew, but that you weren't sure about knowing."

"Excuse me? I'm not following you."

"No?" Klink chuckled. "Never mind. Forget what I said."

Now that's bizarre. Hogan shook his head and returned to the barracks.

One week later.

"Colonel Hogan to see you, Kommandant."

Klink looked up from his never-ending paperwork.

"Thanks, Fraulein. Send him in." Normally, he would be annoyed at the interruption. But he was still in a good mood. General Burkhalter was in Berlin and couldn't be reached, which meant he wouldn't bother Klink. Hochstetter had not been to the camp since Klink had called him out several weeks earlier. No new prisoners had been sent to Stalag 13, which was now in danger of becoming overcrowded, and Hogan had basically kept the prisoners in line, despite the shortages. Yes, Klink, although fearful the war was about to be lost, was in a good mood. After all, there wasn't much he could do about the oncoming onslaught of Allied troops. That wasn't his problem.

Hogan walked in.

"What can I do…" Klink started to say; then his jaw dropped at the sight in front of him. The Senior POW's head was missing. It was hidden behind a huge pile of what appeared to be knitted goods.

"Thanks, Kommandant. May I?" Hogan dumped the entire pile on Klink's desk.

"Hogan, what is the meaning of this?" Klink started pouring through the assorted hats, scarves and afghans now covering his entire desktop. Fortunately, Hogan had missed the top of Klink's helmet.

"Scarves, afghans and hats. For winter relief. The orphanage in Hammelburg, sir. The prisoners have been bored, and we had some extra wool." Hogan shrugged. "Besides," his eyes twinkled, "You can't take it with you."

"That's very generous of you, Hogan. But surely your men could use these?"

"No, sir. We have enough of this stuff, believe it or not." Supplies of winter wear, extra rations and whatever additional medical supplies the prisoners could scrounge, were stored down in the tunnels.

"I'm really touched by this gesture, Colonel Hogan. Please, thank your men."

"I will be sure to do that." Hogan waited. "You know, sir, it's for the kids, but we are getting hungry."

"Rations have been cut. You know that," Klink said sharply.

"Dirty." Hogan tried.

"No extra hot water. The guards are dirty as well," Klink retorted.

"Scared of the dark?" That was a lame attempt on Hogan's part, but it was worth a shot. He removed an afghan from the pile.

Klink caved. He reached over and took back the afghan. "An extra half hour of electricity at night. And that's my final offer."

"You're a true humanitarian, sir." Hogan saluted and turned on his heels.

***********

"Are you sure he won't hoard my scarves?" Garrett asked Hogan. He and Boswell were about to leave the camp for good this time.

"Klink is a sneak," Hogan responded. "But, he has enough winter outerwear. He won't deprive the kids. He wouldn't sink that low. He's given aid to relief organizations before. And the orphanage will send a thank you note, which he'll parade in front of me, and then frame."

"Good." Garrett, who was now fully recovered from his injuries, suddenly became tongue-tied.

"So, we're okay?" Boswell asked.

"We're okay," Hogan repeated. "Unless you two show up here again."

"Not if we can help it," Garrett joked. "Listen, I've never met a bunch of guys not in the front lines who take more risks than you and the men in this camp do."

"There are others out there," Hogan replied, "But thanks. Be careful." He held out his hand.

Garrett shook it. "You, too."

"Colonel," Boswell held out his hand, "I know I've been a pain in the ass, but I second what he said. I owe you a beer after the war."

"You're on." Hogan shook Boswell's hand. "Hey, before you two go, take this, memorize it and then eat it or whatever." He handed Boswell a small piece of paper.

Boswell opened it up and raised his eyebrows. "Recognition code and a radio frequency?"

"In case of emergency. We'll know it's you."

"Why, Colonel, I didn't know you cared," Garrett laughed as he and Boswell climbed up the ladder heading to the outside.

I didn't know I did either, Hogan thought as he climbed up the ladder heading to the barracks.

The End