Author's note: Others own the Hogan's Heroes characters. All other characters are my creations. Please do not use them without my permission.
More Than One Way to Catch a Papa Bear
By Diane Maher
Dawn had just broken when a black car arrived at the gates of Stalag 13. The guard on duty admitted the car and sent someone to rouse Sergeant Schultz and the Kommandant from bed. Schultz quickly dressed and went to greet their guests. The man who woke him didn't say who their visitors were, just that they were waiting inside their car that was parked outside the administration building. As Schultz approached, the men in the car got out and walked up to him.
"What is going on here?" Klink bellowed as he came out of the building. He had just finished buttoning his uniform and was still half asleep.
A tall, dark haired man with a thick mustache who was smartly dressed in a black uniform with a red armband bearing a swastika emblem stood next to the car. Several others stood behind him. He approached the Kommandant and said, "Herr Kommandant, I am Colonel Fritz Krantzmann, SS Counterintelligence Division. I need to speak to you on a matter of the utmost importance. Let us go into your office."
"Yes, sir," Klink replied and the guard on duty opened the administration building door for his guest. As the man waited just inside, Klink opened his office door; and when he turned around, Schultz had just closed the outer door. "Schultz, we are not to be disturbed for any reason whatsoever," Klink ordered and then closed the door and went to sit behind his desk.
Klink asked, "Colonel, what can I do for you?"
"I will be relieving you of one of your prisoners and taking him to Berlin for more intensive interrogation," Krantzmann replied.
"Which prisoner are you taking?" Klink asked.
Krantzmann pulled a manila folder from his briefcase, opened it and after he looked at the document continued, "His name is Colonel Robert Hogan. Here are the papers authorizing me to transfer Hogan to Berlin."
Klink inhaled sharply and inquired, "But why?"
"He is suspected of espionage against the state," Krantzmann said, his tone low and menacing. He then took some papers from the folder and ordered, "You will have your Sergeant bring this man to my car immediately."
Klink took the documents handed to him and examined them. Everything seemed to be in order. "Schultz!" Klink bellowed.
The door opened and Schultz entered. "Yes, Herr Kommandant?" the portly sergeant asked.
"Bring Colonel Hogan to this man's car outside, at once!" Klink ordered.
Schultz looked at his commanding officer, "Yes, sir."
Schultz left first the office, then the building and walked across the compound to Barracks 2. From the window of his office, Klink watched as Schultz entered the wooden frame building across the compound. He wondered what the SS man would do to Hogan.
Schultz quietly entered the barracks, went to the office at the end of the building and opened the door. When he closed it, turned and looked at the top bunk, he found Colonel Hogan sound asleep there. He walked over and shook the American officer's shoulder. "Colonel Hogan?"
"Huh?" Hogan asked, still half asleep.
"Wake up, Colonel!" Schultz replied.
"What?" Hogan asked, opening his eyes.
Schultz replied quietly, "The Kommandant wants to see you."
"What time is it?" Hogan asked wearily.
Schultz checked his pocket watch and replied, "Five a.m."
"What does Klink want at this hour?" Hogan asked.
"I don't know. You are to come with me immediately," Schultz replied.
"All right. Give me a few minutes to get dressed," Hogan responded sleepily.
"I'll wait outside the barracks," Schultz said.
"Thanks Schultz," Hogan said.
Hogan wondered what the hell Klink wanted with him and dressed quickly. He pulled on his jacket, put on his cap and turned off the lights before quietly opening the door leading to the main room of the barracks. He crossed to the main door, opened it, walked outside and closed it quietly behind himself. Schultz was waiting for him just outside the door.
"Sorry Colonel. I didn't want to wake you at this hour," Schultz began as they slowly walked across the compound.
"Any idea what's going on?" Hogan asked.
Schultz looked at him with fear in his eyes and replied, "No. All I know is that there is some SS colonel here."
"What's he here for?" Hogan tried not to let the unease he felt creep into his voice or show on his face.
"I don't know," Schultz replied. "Shortly after they entered the Kommandant's office, Klink called me in and told me to come and get you."
By then they had crossed the compound and Klink and the SS colonel were standing next to the black car parked in front of Klink's office. They walked over to where the two officers stood. "Herr Kommandant, Colonel Hogan as you requested," Schultz said.
Klink replied, "Danke Schultz."
"So, this is Colonel Hogan," the SS officer began derisively. "I am SS Colonel Krantzmann, Counterintelligence Division."
With a slight nod of his head, Hogan acknowledged the officer, "Colonel."
"I'm sure you are wondering why you are here. I won't keep you in suspense. You are being transferred to my custody, Colonel Hogan," Krantzmann said.
"Why?" Hogan asked.
The SS man signaled his men with a slight nod. Suddenly, Hogan felt rough hands grab his arms, and slam his hands on the hood of the car, his legs were kicked apart and he was thoroughly frisked. Then, his arms were pulled behind him and he felt the cold steel of handcuffs as they were put on his wrists.
Krantzmann opened the car door and said, "Get in, Colonel Hogan. I'm taking you to Berlin for intensive interrogation."
"This is against the Geneva…" Hogan protested.
"Silence!" Krantzmann shouted.
Hogan fell silent and as he bent down to get into the car, someone hit him hard across his shoulders. He fell forward into the car, unconscious.
"Colonel!" Klink exclaimed, appalled at Hogan's treatment.
Krantzmann glared murderously at Klink. "You had something to say, Kommandant?"
Klink shook his head nervously. The SS man then got into the car now that his prisoner was secure and said nothing other than, "Driver, let's go." The other men climbed into the car and the driver started the engine.
Klink glimpsed Hogan's unconscious form as Krantzmann closed the door. When the car turned around and went out the gate, he wondered what would become of the American officer. The prisoners would demand an explanation of their senior officer's sudden disappearance. He returned to his office, removed his coat and hat and poured himself a glass of schnapps. His cuckoo clock read ten past five.
Schultz entered the office and asked, "Herr Kommandant? What will we tell the prisoners?"
"I don't know, Schultz. I hope I come up with something by the time the new senior POW finds out about Hogan's transfer," Klink replied wearily. He then downed the schnapps in one draught.
Two hours later, at morning roll call, Wing Commander Blackman, Kinch and the others in Hogan's group noticed Hogan's absence. Klink took Schultz's report normally, and then dismissed the men. Kinch wondered what was wrong, Klink was never happy when Hogan missed a roll call, even if he was deathly ill. Something was wrong and he wanted to know what it was. Blackman walked over to where Kinch, Carter and LeBeau were standing just outside the door to Barracks 2 and asked, "Where's Colonel Hogan?"
"I don't know," Carter replied.
"He's never missed a roll call without a good reason and Klink didn't say anything about his absence," LeBeau observed.
Newkirk came out of the barracks and joined them. There was a concerned expression on his face. "What is it?" Blackman asked.
Just then, Schultz came over to where the group stood. "Commander, the Kommandant wants to speak with you."
"All right, Schultz. I'll be there in a minute," Blackman replied.
"I don't have all day to give you a minute!" Schultz snapped.
"Can I finish what I was saying to the guys? You interrupted me," Blackman replied.
Schultz sighed. "All right. But make it snappy!"
After Schultz left, Newkirk said, "The Colonel's not in his room."
Blackman's brow furrowed and he said, "I better get over to Klink's office. This is our chance to find out what happened to Colonel Hogan."
Blackman then turned and crossed the compound to where Schultz waited outside the administration building. When he and Schultz entered Klink's office, Blackman noticed Klink's resigned expression, saluted and said, "Wing Commander Blackman reporting as ordered, sir."
Klink acknowledged Blackman's salute and said, "At ease. I'm sure you're wondering about Colonel Hogan's absence."
"Yes," Blackman replied.
Klink stood and slowly went to the window. He looked out at the compound before answering, "Hogan was taken from camp early this morning by an SS colonel who said he was going to take him to Berlin for intensive interrogation."
Blackman felt an arctic chill run through him. "What time did this happen? And why was Hogan taken?"
"Colonel Krantzmann arrived at five this morning and said that Hogan was suspected of espionage," Klink replied. "I find that hard to believe since Hogan is a prisoner in my camp. However, the colonel had all of the necessary paperwork to remove Hogan from here and take him to Berlin."
Blackman nodded. "Thank you for telling me, Herr Kommandant. May I return to the barracks?"
"Yes. Dismissed," Klink replied.
Blackman saluted and left the office. As he walked out of the building, he felt scared as he headed across the compound to Barracks 2. I'll have to contact London, he thought. By this time, he had reached the barracks door and entered. All heads turned towards him.
"Well?" Carter asked.
"Not here," Blackman replied.
"What?" Carter asked.
Blackman forced the emotions in his mind down and as he headed for the tunnel entrance, he said, "Not yet. I need to contact London and confirm something."
As they got up to follow him, Blackman turned his head slightly towards them and said in a tone that brooked no arguments, "Alone."
At that, he headed down to the radio room in their tunnel. When he arrived, he turned on the radio and called London. No response. He tried again. No response. He then contacted the leader of the local underground, a man who went by the code name of Wolfram.
A male voice said, "Go ahead, Papa Bear."
Blackman exhaled slowly as he said, "Thank God you answered. Have you spoken with London today?"
"No. Why?" Wolfram asked.
"I just tried and they didn't answer me," Blackman replied.
"Did you identify yourself as Papa Bear?" Wolfram asked.
"Yes," Blackman replied.
"I think that's the problem," Wolfram said.
"Stop talking in riddles. What is going on?" Blackman asked.
"I've only heard rumors. I'll contact London and try to confirm what is happening. I won't say that I've spoken to you or that you're having trouble contacting them. I'll contact you again in ten minutes. Be ready," Wolfram replied.
Blackman closed their radio down and looked at his watch. The next ten minutes felt like an eternity.
Ten minutes later, after Wolfram contacted London to find out what was happening he contacted Blackman again.
"Well? What did they say?" Blackman asked.
"I'm not willing to discuss this over the radio," Wolfram replied.
Blackman's brow rose in surprise. "All right. 2300 hours then?"
"Yes. The usual place?" Wolfram asked.
"I'll be there," Blackman replied as he closed down the radio and considered what had happened in the last week. There had been problems with several of their operations. It was strange, like there was someone sabotaging the missions. "I'll feel better when I know the whole story about what happened to Colonel Hogan," Blackman muttered to himself.
After speaking with Wolfram, Blackman took the tunnel to return to Barracks 5. He didn't want to return to Barracks 2 as the others would relentlessly assault him with questions and he had no answers. The rest of the day would undoubtedly go very slowly for him.
It didn't take long until Kinch found him in his quarters in Barracks 5. "What's going on, Commander?" Kinch asked.
Blackman looked up and replied, "I don't know yet. I'm to meet Wolfram later tonight. Before you say anything, I'm meeting him alone. When I know more, you guys will be the first to know."
"Can I tell the guys that?" Kinch asked.
"Yes," Blackman replied.
Later that night, Blackman left Stalag 13 and went to the deserted farm a mile east of camp. When he arrived and entered the barn, he found Wolfram already there. He sat on a bail of hay next to the man who had dark hair, was dressed in gray pants, a black turtleneck sweater and coat and asked, "Well? What's going on? Why wouldn't you tell me what's going on with regards to Hogan over the radio?"
"We have a problem," a feminine voice said from the shadows. The agent known to them as Tiger came out of the shadows. She was dressed in a gray skirt and a brown turtleneck sweater that fit her curvaceous body like a glove.
"I thought you were in England!" Blackman exclaimed, surprised to see the female agent.
"I was," Tiger replied.
Wolfram said, "Commander, what I'm about to tell you, is the craziest thing I've ever heard in my life. London informed me that Colonel Hogan was taken from Stalag 13 by the Underground."
"What? Hogan was taken by our people? Why?" Blackman asked, incredulous.
"He's being accused of treason," Wolfram replied.
Blackman looked first at him, and then at Tiger. "That's…that's crazy!" he finally replied.
Wolfram said, "I agree with you. What do you know about the situation?"
"I was told by the Kommandant that an SS Colonel Krantzmann took Hogan away this morning and that he was being taken to Berlin for intensive interrogation," Blackman replied.
"Hmmm…" Wolfram mumbled.
"Did they say anything about the rest of us?" Blackman asked.
"No," Wolfram said. "Only that until further notice, absolutely no one in the Underground was to contact or assist you for any reason."
"The two of you have already disregarded those orders," Blackman commented.
This time, it was Tiger who responded. "Yes. We're doing this because we care about Hogan's fate and that of his organization. All of you have done much to help us against the Nazis. Neither he nor you deserves to be abandoned."
"Thank you," Blackman said. "I'm glad that someone cared enough to disobey London's orders."
"They think that you and the others assisted Hogan in his treasonous activities unknowingly. No charges are being filed against you or them," Wolfram said.
"They're really serious about this?!" Blackman asked, relieved.
"Yes," Wolfram replied as he stood and paced around the room.
"Now that I'm over the shock, can you give me any details about how this happened?" Blackman inquired.
"I can," Tiger replied. Blackman turned towards Tiger and saw her expression was strained and tired.
Tiger said, "From what I've been able to find out from my contacts in London, an Allied agent here in Germany saw Hogan dressed in a German uniform, recognized him and concluded that he was a traitor."
Incredulous, Blackman replied, "That's crazy!"
Tiger nodded and continued, "We suspect that there is an Underground network run by either Germans or German sympathizers in England and it is very similar to the one here in Germany — and it's for the same purpose. There may even be a double agent in a high place perhaps in the military that has something personal against Hogan. Right now, my people are looking into that aspect of things."
Blackman asked, "Where does Colonel Hogan fit into that theory?"
Tiger shook her head and replied, "We don't know. The only other thing we know is that once Hogan arrives in England, they'll be holding him in solitary confinement in an English POW camp."
"What?" Blackman asked. The surprises kept on coming.
Tiger nodded and watched Blackman's expression as he considered what she had just told him. Blackman closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger to ward off the headache that he was starting to feel.
"What about the Stalag 13 operation?" Blackman asked. "What can we do to try and clear Hogan's name and get him back here?"
Wolfram replied, "According to London, no one in the Underground is to do anything until the Hogan matter is resolved and then they'll contact us at that time. However, in my opinion, you should do everything in your power to clear Colonel Hogan. I'd say they have themselves a scapegoat. I don't see anyone trying to get him out of this predicament."
Blackman's brow furrowed when he asked, "A scapegoat for what?"
"We don't know, but I have my contacts in London investigating," Tiger replied.
Blackman closed his eyes for a moment and felt relieved that someone was willing to help them clear Hogan's name. "Thanks, both of you. I'll come up with something. I hope. It'll be hard with Hogan in England and us here." Suddenly, he had an idea and smiled.
"What is it?" Wolfram asked as the devilish smile slowly appeared on the Englishman's face.
"I'll need your assistance to pull this off," Blackman replied. He briefly described the basic idea of the plan he had in mind to Wolfram and Tiger.
When he was finished, the older man said, "It's a plan worthy of Hogan himself. I'll see to it that you have all the assistance you need."
Tiger replied, "Everyone who is available in my Underground group will help, too."
"Good," Blackman replied, and then left the barn to return to Stalag 13 where he would brief the others on his plan.
Blackman returned to Stalag 13, entered the tunnel through the tree stump and headed for the barracks. When he checked his watch, he saw it was just after midnight. The tunnels were silent and empty. The SS colonel had only taken Hogan away that morning. He activated the trap door leading to Barracks 5, climbed the ladder and found the barracks was quiet. He closed the trap door and quickly left the barracks and headed for Barracks 2. Once inside, he went across the room to the office previously occupied by Hogan to try and make sense of the crazy idea that he'd been fleshing out in his mind as he returned to camp.
Blackman quietly closed the office door, turned on the desk lamp and found the hidden cubbyhole that he knew Hogan kept his most personal things in. For an instant, he felt like he was violating Hogan's privacy. Then, he thought, If I don't do something to help Hogan, it won't matter because they'll either lock him up for life or hang him for treason. I can't stand by and do nothing for him, he's my friend!
Blackman carefully removed the board covering the hole, reached in, pulled out a small pile of envelopes addressed to Colonel Robert Hogan and slid off the string which kept the pile neat. When he looked at the addresses, he found several from Bridgeport, Connecticut and one more envelope which was blank. He chose the blank one, and pulled out the letter. It had an address on it and he wrote down the address on a piece of paper and replaced the letter to the envelope. He replaced the string around the envelopes, placed the pile back in its place and replaced the board which hid the cubbyhole from view.
The office door opened just as he stood and a nightshirt clad, half-awake Newkirk came in followed by Carter and a yawning LeBeau. "What's goin' on, Commander?" Newkirk began.
"Yeah, what did London have to say?" Carter asked.
"Well…" Blackman began as he checked the window of Hogan's office for eavesdroppers.
"Come on, sir! The suspense is killing us!" LeBeau exclaimed quietly.
Blackman turned to face them. "London didn't answer when I called."
"What?" Kinch asked, his expression one of disbelief.
Blackman replied, "I then contacted Wolfram. He contacted London and a little while ago, I met with him and Tiger was also there. They informed me that Hogan has been taken to England, not Berlin. The so-called SS men that came and took him away this morning were really members of the Underground."
"What?" Newkirk asked, shocked and suddenly awake as though a bucket of ice water had been thrown on him.
Blackman nodded and looked at the floor for a moment to order his thoughts before continuing. "According to Tiger, Hogan will be placed in solitary confinement in an English POW camp."
"What the bloody 'ell for?" Newkirk asked.
"Hogan is being accused of treason," Blackman finished quietly.
The rafters supporting the roof above them creaked and it sounded like a wrecking ball in the blanket of silence that had suddenly descended upon the room. A pin dropping to the floor would have sounded like pistol fire.
"You're kiddin'!" Carter exclaimed quietly as his jaw dropped open in shock.
"I wish I was," Blackman replied as he shook his head.
"Sir, what are we gonna do?" Carter asked.
"Yeah, do you 'ave any ideas of how to rescue the guv'nr?" Newkirk asked.
"Yes, I do and it won't be easy. Now, here's what I have in mind," Blackman replied and described his plan.
As the sun rose that morning in Germany, the black car arrived at an airstrip on the north side of Hammelburg. The driver parked the vehicle and the men took their unconscious burden on board a plane that was waiting for them.
"Sir? Do you have the sedative?" one of the men asked as they lifted their prisoner into the plane.
"Yes. Remove the handcuffs and prepare the prisoner to be injected. It's imperative that he remain unconscious for the whole trip," Krantzmann replied.
Soon, they had strapped Hogan into one of the seats and the colonel gave him the injection.
"There, it's done. He won't need another dose until after we land, but keep a watchful eye on him. He's dangerous," Krantzmann said.
"Yes, sir," the man replied as he closed and secured the door of the plane.
The pilot called, "Everybody strap in back there! We're ready to take off!"
Several hours later, the plane landed at an abandoned airstrip just north of a town called Luton, about an hour north of London. During the flight, Krantzmann changed to his real uniform, that of a wing commander of the RAF. As the plane taxied to a halt, there was a truck and a squad of men waiting. Krantzmann administered another dose of the sedative to Hogan before they left the plane. They then transferred Hogan's unconscious form from the plane to the truck and began their journey.
As they rode from the airstrip to their destination, Krantzmann, whose real name was Wing Commander Sedgwick, checked to make sure he had all the necessary papers that would secure Hogan in this POW camp. Sedgwick was to accompany his prisoner all the way to the POW camp. On their arrival, Sedgwick made sure there was an armed guard watching the prisoner before he left the truck and entered the administration building.
The commandant's secretary looked up when he entered and said, "Good morning, sir. Can I help you?"
Sedgwick noticed that she was an attractive, red haired woman in her mid-thirties. "Hello. Please inform the commandant that Wing Commander Sedgwick is here to see him."
"Just a moment, sir," the secretary said. She then lifted the phone's receiver and buzzed the commandant. After giving the commandant his visitor's name, she nodded, hung up the phone and turned back to face Sedgwick. "You may go right in, sir."
Sedgwick entered the commandant's office and saw the beige walls that had various pictures of the English landscape hanging on them. These were combined with various military pictures and personal items scattered about the office.
The commandant looked up from his work when Sedgwick entered the office and saluted him. "Commander, I'm Group Captain Neville Archer; what can I do for you?" Archer asked, returning the salute.
"Sir, I have a very dangerous prisoner that I'm handing over to you temporarily for safekeeping. I expect you to keep him in solitary confinement until I return for him," Sedgwick replied.
"How long will that be?" Archer asked.
"It shouldn't be more than a week," Sedgwick replied. "Beyond that, I'll let you know."
"What's so special about him?" Archer asked.
Sedgwick frowned and replied, "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't tell you. That's on a 'need to know' basis."
"I'm the one that will be guarding the prisoner. Therefore, I need to know," Archer protested.
Sedgwick replied, "I'm not authorized to tell you anything except that this man is suspected of treason against the Allies and that he is to speak to no one. Is that clear?"
"Perfectly," Archer said.
"Show me where the solitary cells are and I'll have my men bring him from the truck," Sedgwick finished.
They left the office and went outside. Sedgwick motioned to the men in the truck who were guarding the prisoner to follow him. The men carried Hogan's limp form down from the truck and followed their CO to the solitary confinement building. Hogan's feet dragged the ground.
"Why is he unconscious?" Archer asked.
"Because he's such a dangerous man, we sedated him. Once he wakes, he'll be groggy and unable to move much. That's a side effect of this particular sedative. Whoever brings him food should not speak to him and leave immediately," Sedgwick replied.
Archer thought for a moment before commenting, "You stacked the deck against your prisoner, didn't you?"
"Yes. This man is very important. We believe he knows the locations and identities of all our spies in Germany and was about to give that information to the Germans," Sedgwick said, deciding to give Archer an incentive to enforce the isolation of the prisoner.
"That bloody traitor!" Archer swore. Sedgwick nodded, satisfied.
When they arrived at the cell, Sedgwick walked in and checked for any possible means of escape such as tunnels, sliding doors or panels.
"Is there a problem?" Archer asked as Sedgwick came out and signaled his men.
"No, I'm just doing a security check before we leave this prisoner here," Sedgwick replied. He noticed that the solitary confinement cell was small, dark and damp.
When they put Hogan into the cell, Archer asked, "Isn't that an American uniform?"
Sedgwick nodded. "He's to see no one."
"Does he have a name?" Archer asked.
"Not that you need to know and the name on his uniform is phony. Now, he's all yours for a week and he'd better not escape," Sedgwick replied. Once the cell door was closed and locked, Sedgwick was satisfied. His men had already left the building and would be waiting at the truck.
Sedgwick and Archer left the building and neither man said anything. Once they were outside, Sedgwick saluted Archer and said, "Good bye, sir."
"Good bye," Archer replied, returning the salute. "I'll be waiting to hear from you."
Outside and across the compound, the evening roll call was occurring and the ranking POW in the camp, a Luftwaffe major by the name of Kurt Gertenfelt observed the new prisoner being taken to the solitary confinement cells and wondered what was happening. The commandant returned to his office after hearing the report that all of his prisoners were present and accounted for.
After the truck drove out the front gate, the major crossed the compound, entered first the administration building and then the commandant's office. "Herr Kommandant?" Gertenfelt asked.
"Yes, Major?" Archer asked, irritated at the interruption.
Gertenfelt continued, "Was that a new prisoner that was just put into solitary?"
"Yes," Archer said.
"As senior POW, I have the right under the Geneva Convention to see any prisoner and advise him of his rights," Gertenfelt said.
"No, Major. You may not see this prisoner under any circumstances. He's a top security prisoner and will only be here for a week. During that time, he will see no one, is that clear? You're dismissed," Archer said tersely.
"Perfectly, Herr Kommandant," Gertenfelt muttered in reply, then turned and left the office. On his way back to the barracks, he wondered what was so special about this prisoner.
When Gertenfelt entered the barracks a few minutes later, one of his fellow prisoners, an Italian corporal, asked, "What was that truck?"
"They've brought in a top security prisoner," Gertenfelt began. "He's being held in solitary and according to the Kommandant is to be here no longer than a week. The Kommandant won't let me near him. I believe it's in our best interests to contact the prisoner and assist him to escape."
"What will we do?" the Italian asked.
"I will get in via our good friend, the sergeant," Gertenfelt replied.
"Will he let you in there?" the Italian asked.
"Probably not," Gertenfelt replied with a shrug. "Or at least, he won't intentionally allow me in to see the prisoner. You will cook him some of his favorite dish."
"Not Yorkshire pudding! I thought he didn't like it the last time I made it," the Italian said.
Gertenfelt grinned when he replied, "No. Later, he told me how much he enjoyed it. He said that if the other guards knew how good it was, he wouldn't get his fair share."
The Italian nodded. "I'll do it. So, the sergeant will smell it, come to the barracks and you'll convince him that you won't tell the Kommandant that he's fraternizing with us if he allows you to see the prisoner."
"Precisely. And if that doesn't work, one of you will steal his keys and I'll sneak over there," Gertenfelt finished.
Soon, the smell of Yorkshire pudding was wafting throughout the barracks. One of the men opened a window and fanned the odor outside. Gertenfelt watched with amusement as he wondered about the English. What a strange people!
Across the compound in the solitary cell, the effects of the sedative were wearing off and Hogan began to wake up. What happened? Where am I? he thought, his mind still groggy. He closed his eyes for a few minutes and when he opened them again, felt somewhat better. The place where he'd been hit was still very sore. He looked around and saw that he was in a cell of some sort. When he listened for the presence of other prisoners, he heard nothing. They must have me in some sort of solitary confinement. Why did they knock me out? Hogan wondered.
A few minutes later, Hogan heard a door open, tried to move, and found that he couldn't. Hogan felt a wave of panic start to overwhelm him. A key rattled, and then turned in the lock and the cell door slowly opened. Hogan crushed all thoughts of panic. It was more important to find out what was going on now. A man dressed in a Luftwaffe uniform entered. He couldn't see the man's rank insignia in the dimness of the cell.
Hogan asked, "What's going on here?"
"That's what I was going to ask you, friend," the man whispered in German-accented English.
Hogan was surprised by his visitor's response and asked, "What do you mean?"
"Shhh. Be quiet. I'm not supposed to be here. I'm Major Kurt Gertenfelt, the senior POW officer here," the man said to introduce himself.
Confused, Hogan asked, "Where am I?"
"You are in a prisoner of war camp an hour north of London," Gertenfelt replied.
"What?" Hogan asked, his eyes widening in shock.
"Are you a spy that was captured? Who are you?" Gertenfelt asked.
"No. I...," Hogan stuttered, and then replied with the first German-sounding name that came to mind, "I am SS Colonel Johann Strassburg."
Gertenfelt exclaimed quietly, "An SS Colonel? Mein Gott! We've got to get you out of here, sir!"
"But how?" Hogan asked.
"I'll think of something," Gertenfelt replied. He clasped Hogan's shoulder in a show of comradeship. Hogan tried to lift a hand to remove the German's hand from his shoulder, but found that he still couldn't. Gertenfelt noticed this and asked, "Are you hurt?"
Hogan shook his head. "Someone knocked me out. I feel queasy, too."
Gertenfelt thought for a minute before commenting, "It sounds like you were drugged."
"So much for the Geneva Convention," Hogan replied. They chuckled at that comment. "Seriously, I can hardly move."
"I'll see what I can arrange," Gertenfelt said. "Perhaps you will feel better soon. Is there anything you need?"
"To get out of here," Hogan replied.
A man outside the door said, "Herr Major! Someone's coming!"
"We'll talk again as soon as I can get back over here. They're not allowing anyone to see you for some reason. Don't tell them anything. Wiedersehen," Gertenfelt said.
"Danke. Wiedersehen," Hogan said.
After the German major left, Hogan considered what the man had said and wasn't reassured despite his promise to think of something. How many times have I told someone that when they were hiding from the Nazis at Stalag 13? Now I know how they felt, afraid and uncertain, Hogan thought as he closed his eyes. Why am I in an English POW camp? Surely that can't be! I was to be taken to Berlin by that SS officer. What is happening to me? he wondered.
Major Gertenfelt returned to his barracks after his brief visit to solitary to speak to the prisoner. He felt tired and irritable when he entered the barracks and headed for his quarters. A prisoner followed him to his quarters at the far end of the barracks.
"Well? What happened, Herr Major? What did you find out?" the thin, blond-haired Luftwaffe lieutenant asked.
Gertenfelt closed his office door. "I want this to be kept between the two of us. The prisoner said he was an SS Colonel."
"No wonder the Brits are making such a fuss over him!" the Lieutenant exclaimed in a whisper.
Gertenfelt nodded and continued, "He said his name is Johann Strassburg. Apparently, these filthy Brits gave him a drug to knock him out while they transported him here."
"So? That's not unusual," the Lieutenant commented sourly.
"There seems to be a side effect to this drug. It's weakened him so much that he can hardly move. When he did move, he seemed to be in a lot of pain," Gertenfelt said.
"Mein Gott! That's against the Geneva Convention!" the Lieutenant exclaimed quietly.
"If that isn't, then the fact that I haven't been allowed to see him and advise him of his rights under the Geneva Convention certainly is," Gertenfelt said.
"Why haven't you been allowed to see him?" the Lieutenant asked.
Gertenfelt shrugged. "The Kommandant won't allow it. He just said that the man is a top security prisoner and no one is to see him."
"When's the next outside inspection of this place?" the Lieutenant asked.
"I believe a German inspector will be coming in the next day or two. I'll make sure they know what's going on here. This is an outrage," Gertenfelt said.
Just then someone knocked on the door. It opened and was the barracks sergeant who said, "Major, the Commandant wants to see you."
Gertenfelt sighed. He followed the sergeant out of the barracks and across the compound. When they entered the administration building, the Commandant's pretty secretary smiled at Gertenfelt. While he waited to go into the office, Gertenfelt asked in a soft tone, "Do you know anything about the inspector who is coming to this place in a couple of days?"
"No. The inspection schedule isn't due out until tomorrow. I can let you know if you like," the woman replied softly.
"Danke, mein Liebchen," Gertenfelt said with a sly grin. After his brief visit with the Commandant, he returned to the barracks. As Gertenfelt crossed the compound, he thought, Maybe we'll get lucky and the inspector will be a sexy German woman!
Back at Stalag 13, the men of Barracks 2 had fallen out for the evening roll call. A black car entered camp through the main gate and pulled up in front of the administration building. As Klink was returning to his office after receiving Schultz's report, he saw an officer wearing a black uniform get out of the car. The officer came up to him and saluted him. Klink returned the salute and after a brief discussion, indicated for the officer to follow him to his office.
The man handed Klink his identification papers as well as another sheaf of papers. According to his identification papers, the man was an SS Oberstleutnant. His visitor had dark hair and a dark mustache. Aside from his taller, leaner frame, the man could have been Hochstetter's double, Klink noticed. When he read the other papers in his hand, Klink was shocked. This man wanted to take two more of his prisoners to Berlin for interrogation, namely Corporal Newkirk and Sergeant Carter.
"Why is there all this sudden interest in my prisoners?" Klink asked, suspicious.
"We have been ordered by SS Colonel Krantzmann to secure these two men as he needs to confirm his prisoner's answers to his questions," the SS man replied.
Klink was surprised that Hogan would talk under any circumstances. Colonel Krantzmann had done more than either he, General Burkhalter or Major Hochstetter had been able to do — he'd gotten Hogan to talk and to actually say something worth hearing! He shuddered inwardly and refused to consider the matter any further. Nodding, Klink said, "I'll arrange for a truck."
"No need for that, Herr Kommandant, I have already arranged for a truck to arrive here shortly and transport these men to Berlin," the SS man said.
"I'll have my Sergeant bring the prisoners here at once," Klink replied as he opened the door and motioned for Schultz to enter the office. "Schultz, please bring Corporal Newkirk and Sergeant Carter over here at once, this officer will be taking them to Berlin."
Schultz saluted and replied, "Yes, sir!"
The Oberstleutnant stood at the window to Klink's office and watched as a truck entered camp. It pulled up behind the car and several SS men came out of the back of the truck. Soon, Schultz returned with the prisoners and they entered Klink's office a moment later.
Klink said, "Herr Oberstleutnant, here are the two prisoners you requested."
The Oberstleutnant nodded and said, "Take these men out to the truck."
Schultz saluted and replied, "Yes, sir!"
In an undertone, Klink asked, "Will any of these men be coming back to us?"
The officer looked at him and replied in a calm, flat tone, "Of course!"
Klink's expression was fearful when the officer replied to his query. He watched as the two prisoners were handcuffed, led outside, and herded into the back of the truck.
The Oberstleutnant saluted Klink, and then got in his staff car and left the camp with the truck following. When the car was out of sight of Stalag 13, the Oberstleutnant sighed and said to himself, "At least that part of the plan worked." He drove to the deserted farm a mile east of Stalag 13 and parked.
Carter and Newkirk watched as the man who had handcuffed them now climbed into the back of the truck and released them. The SS officer then started changing into civilian clothes. "I spoke to Tiger today and she told me where Hogan is being held. Since we're going against London's orders, I'm going to fly you there myself. There is a deserted airfield near a village called Aldenham. It's halfway between London and the POW camp where they are holding Hogan. Tiger will meet us there and we'll go see this contact whose address Blackman gave me."
"What contact?" Carter asked, mystified.
"I don't know. He said that this person would help us clear Hogan's name and gave me their address," Wolfram replied.
"Wolfram, I didn't know you were a pilot," Carter said.
"Yes, but the Underground didn't need pilots, just people who believed in something other than Hitler. It's not well known that I can fly and I want it to stay that way," Wolfram replied.
"Let's go," Newkirk said.
"First, you two need to change clothes," Wolfram said as he handed Carter and Newkirk bundles containing civilian clothes.
Soon, they were in the air and headed for England. It was about a three and a half hour trip.
"Well, Newkirk, how's it feel to be going home?" Carter asked as the plane flew low over the English countryside later.
"This ain't the bleedin' end o' the war! I don't get to stay here when the mission's done!" Newkirk snapped.
Carter chuckled at his English friend.
"What's so bloody funny?" Newkirk asked.
"You," Carter replied with a chuckle. "That outfit looks terrible on you!"
"And what would you bleedin' suggest?" Newkirk demanded.
"I'd suggest that you stick to wearing your old lady costume," Carter replied and burst into a fit of laughter.
"Oh, I oughtta murder you!" Newkirk muttered.
"It's a wonder you two are still alive, with all of your bickering!" Wolfram said, frustrated with their petty arguing.
"What d' ya mean?" Newkirk asked.
"I'm surprised Hogan hasn't killed the two of you," Wolfram replied.
"He can't! He needs us!" Carter exclaimed, indignant.
"Good, so shut up and let me land this thing," Wolfram said.
Shortly after that, the plane landed. After taxiing to a halt, Wolfram shut off the engine. There was a car waiting for them at the edge of the runway. When they were all in the car, Tiger started the engine, put it into gear, and headed towards London.
"Let's go see this contact. We need to get Hogan out of that camp as soon as possible," Wolfram said as he gave Tiger the address.
"I couldn't agree with you more, mate," Newkirk commented quietly.
"Yeah, me too," Carter said, his tone serious.
An hour later, Tiger parked in front of a small, white, wood frame house on the northern outskirts of London near a town called Enfield. The lights were on in the front room of the house. They got out of the car, walked up to the door and Tiger knocked several times.
Inside the house, a blonde haired woman put down the book she was reading on the table next to her, stood and crossed the room to answer the door. When she opened it, she saw four people standing there, two of whom were looking towards the street as though they thought they were being followed.
"Come in, quickly!" she said.
After they entered, she closed the door behind them. Two of them whirled around and pointed their guns at her. Then they recognized her. "What are you doing here?" Newkirk asked, incredulous as he and Carter put away their guns.
"I live here," she replied. Her eyes widened in surprise as she recognized the two POWs. "Why aren't you two in Stalag 13?" she asked.
"Do you know her?" the blonde woman in the group asked Newkirk.
"Yes. This is Karla Hoffman. We helped her escape from Germany earlier this year," Newkirk replied. "This is Tiger and Wolfram," he continued as he introduced them to her.
"A German?" Tiger asked, her tone acid. "We were told that you could help us, not betray us and get us killed!"
"Yes, I am German. I have no intention of betraying you or getting you killed," Karla replied icily as she stared at the woman, whose accent marked her as being French. What is it with these French? Karla wondered. She noticed that Wolfram, as a German, wasn't pleased with Tiger's statement either.
Wolfram began, "I was informed that you would be willing to assist us in our mission."
Karla looked towards Carter who had a hopeful look on his face and said, "I'll do what I can. What's your mission?"
"Colonel Hogan has been brought to England and is being held in a POW camp outside of Luton," Wolfram began.
"What?" Karla asked, her expression one of concern and shock. "Why?"
"Let's sit down and I'll explain," Wolfram said. They sat on the couch and chairs in the living room and he told Karla what they knew about Hogan's situation.
When he finished, Karla exclaimed, "Treason? That's crazy!"
"Yeah, we thought so, too. We're not sure what headquarters has in mind, but we think that Hogan's been set up to take the fall for someone else's treachery. Perhaps there's a double agent here who needs to get some heat off himself," Wolfram said.
"I'll work with you to get Hogan out of there. What did you have in mind?" Karla asked.
Wolfram explained Blackman's idea to Karla and finished by saying, "He thought we could masquerade as intelligence agents or something like that."
Now that she knew what Blackman's idea was, Karla asked, "Do you have the necessary papers to get Hogan out of there?"
"Yes, but we have no plausible German name for Hogan and no way to inform him of it if we had one. We may need to inform the British of a name, you know."
Karla thought for a moment. "I have a name for Hogan."
"What is it?" Carter asked.
"Hogan's name will be listed on the papers as SS Colonel Johann Strassburg," Karla replied.
"Huh? Who's that?" Carter asked, mystified.
Before Karla could reply, Tiger changed the subject and said, "According to my contacts, the easiest way to get inside a POW camp is to pose as an inspector."
"Where will we find someone to go in there dressed convincingly as a German inspector?" Wolfram asked. "I don't know enough about the military to pull it off."
"And we need Newkirk and Carter to play an English officer and an American officer," Tiger added.
Karla stood, walked over to a closet, pulled a key from her pocket, unlocked the door and opened it. She reached in and pulled out an opaque garment bag. When she turned it to face them and unzipped it, they saw a black uniform. "I'll go as the German inspector. You said you needed some rank to get Hogan out of there, right Wolfram?"
"Yes. Where did you…?" Wolfram asked, astounded as Karla pulled the uniform out of the garment bag and showed it to them.
"Where did I get this? This is my old uniform. I was a full Colonel in the SD. Is that enough rank to get him out of the camp?" Karla asked.
Wolfram looked at Karla with doubt-filled eyes. As a German, he understood what the SD was. "Yes, I think so. Aren't inspectors usually male?" Wolfram replied.
Tiger shook her head and replied, "Not necessarily. We'll need to make arrangements for the normal inspector to be sent elsewhere. My people can handle the details for arranging the inspection party to be made up of Karla, Newkirk and Carter."
"We'll have Newkirk in the guise of an Air Commodore in the RAF to escort you," Wolfram said. To Karla, he asked, "Karla, do you have the appropriate identification to go with this uniform?"
Karla replied, "Yes, I still have my official ID." She pulled it from one of the tunic's pockets and showed it to Wolfram who examined it and nodded.
"How will we tell Colonel Hogan what his name will be?" Carter asked.
"If I get the chance to be alone with him, I'll tell him. He'll recognize it," Karla replied.
On the other side of the room, Tiger whispered to Newkirk, "Are you sure we can trust Karla?"
"Yes," Newkirk replied.
"I'm not. You can never trust someone who was in the Nazi Secret Service, no matter what they may say to convince you otherwise," Tiger said. When Newkirk said nothing, Tiger tried a different tack, "Would Hogan trust her?"
"Yes," Newkirk answered.
Tiger's eyes narrowed suspiciously and Newkirk realized that he had replied too quickly and confidently. "You say that as if you know it for a fact," Tiger stated.
Whoops! Think fast, Peter! "I know Hogan," Newkirk said.
"So do I and Hogan wouldn't trust this woman with his life," Tiger replied, her voice at a more normal level now.
Karla and Wolfram had stopped talking and were now listening intently to Tiger and Newkirk. Carter was at the window watching the street and totally oblivious to the conversation between Tiger and Newkirk.
"We have no choice but to trust her!" Newkirk protested.
"I can put on that uniform and do just as good a job as she'll do for us!" Tiger replied.
"No," Newkirk said firmly.
"You don't understand!" Tiger protested.
"Yes, I do. Karla owes Hogan her life and is willing to put it on the line for him," Newkirk replied.
"I owe Hogan my life too! What can this filthy Bosch mean to him? Besides, I love him!" Tiger exclaimed.
Newkirk put his arm around her shoulders and felt her trembling. He saw the desire, anxiety and loneliness in Tiger's eyes and found himself wanting to ease the pain she held within her soul. And he wanted to ease his own loneliness with her.
They suddenly noticed that they were the only ones talking. Even Carter was paying attention now. After this last statement, Newkirk and Carter looked at Karla for her reaction. Karla was furious, her eyes were narrowed and she quietly said, "I am German, but I'm not a 'filthy Bosch' as you French like to call us. I am a woman who loves Hogan and he loves me."
Wolfram and Tiger stared at her, their expressions frozen in a state of shock. "No, that can't be!" Tiger exclaimed angrily.
"Karla's telling the truth," Newkirk said quietly.
Tiger stared at him and realized that as he was at Stalag 13, he would know the truth of the matter. "What?" she whispered.
"Yes, Colonel Hogan loves Karla," Newkirk said.
Tiger glared jealously at Karla, then stood and went into the next room. She slammed the door, sat on the bed and looked out the window. She didn't hear what else was happening in the other room and was so upset at the moment that she honestly didn't care. Once she relaxed and her eyes adjusted to the moonlit room, she looked around. Her gaze fell upon a picture on the small table next to the bed. She stood, walked over, picked it up and looked at it. Hogan and this bitch were sitting together and he had his arm around her. Tiger closed her eyes as tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Get a grip on yourself, Marie Louise," Tiger muttered to herself. "You're a grown woman, not an infatuated child." She regretted now that she had never told Hogan how she felt about him. After returning the picture to its place, she straightened her clothes and took a few deep breaths to calm herself.
"I wouldn't have said anything, but she had to know the truth of the matter," Karla said after the bedroom door slammed.
"I know. I wasn't going to say anything either. Colonel Hogan didn't want anyone besides us in Germany to know about his feelings for you, but I suppose it was inevitable," Newkirk commented.
"Ahem!" Wolfram cleared his throat. The remaining people in the room turned and looked at him. He continued, "Can we return to the matter of Hogan's rescue?"
Karla nodded and said, "How I feel about Hogan will be a moot point if we don't clear his name and rescue him now."
Tiger walked back into the room then and lightly placed her hand on Karla's shoulder. She looked up and Tiger quietly asked, "May I have a word with you in private?"
Karla nodded once, excused herself stood and followed Tiger into the kitchen. Tiger leaned against the table and looked out the window over the sink for a moment before beginning, "I'm sorry. I…I didn't know."
"Danke. Does Hogan know how you feel about him?" Karla asked.
"No. I never told him. I suppose that was stupid on my part," Tiger replied as she crossed her arms over her chest. "I naïvely assumed that Hogan felt the same way towards me and that I had no need to tell him how I felt."
"Right now, we must concentrate our efforts on rescuing Hogan. How either of us feels about him won't make a bit of difference if he is shot or hung as a traitor," Karla said quietly.
"I agree," Tiger said.
The two women returned to the room to resume the discussion of the plan to rescue Hogan.
"Do you or your contacts have any idea who is behind Hogan's current problems?" Karla asked as she sat in a chair.
Tiger sat next to Newkirk on the couch and replied, "Not yet. Our only lead is the spy who reported Hogan wearing a German uniform. His superior officer reports to an Undersecretary by the name of Medwin."
"Please have your people keep an eye on this Medwin," Karla said.
Tiger nodded. "Oui, I will."
When they finished discussing the plan to rescue Hogan, Karla fixed some tea. Tiger left to contact several members of the Underground who would make the arrangements for them to go to the POW camp the next day.
"This is the first really good tea I've had in several years!" Newkirk said after he'd poured himself a second cup.
Carter rolled his eyes heavenward at that comment. "Newkirk, it figures that all you're interested in is a cup of tea."
"Of course, mate. Tea and ladies, what else is there in life?" Newkirk replied jovially. Carter shook his head in amazement.
"I'm glad it's to your liking, Newkirk," Karla said.
Tiger returned shortly and then, after everyone finished their tea, they worked on the finalizing the details of the plan prior to retiring for the night.
In the cell, Hogan tried to regain some mobility in his body. Every movement was painful. He decided to catch up on some sleep. The pain eventually subsided and he dozed off. When he woke later, he wondered what time it was. Out of habit, he looked at his left wrist for his watch. It wasn't there. Damn! I forgot to put on my watch before going to see Klink, Hogan thought. He looked over by the door and saw a tray with some food on it. He assumed that it was the typical slop the prisoners ate. Then, the door of his cell opened. A British private entered long enough to take away the untouched food tray.
"Wait a minute!" Hogan cried out.
The private glared at him.
"What time is it?" Hogan asked. The private completely ignored him and continued with his task.
Hogan was relieved when Gertenfelt came to see him again. If the British wouldn't tell him the time, Hogan thought, at least this man would. He asked, "What time is it, Major?"
"It's almost midnight," Gertenfelt replied. "How are you feeling, sir?"
Hogan sighed. "I'm tired, weak and hungry."
Gertenfelt looked over by the door. "Wasn't there food over by the door?"
Hogan replied, "Yes, but I slept most of the day and shortly after I woke, they came and took it away, so I didn't get a chance to eat it." He shook his head, "It might also have been poisoned. I can't risk it."
"I won't ask what your assignment here was, but it's obviously important enough to have someone of your rank here," Gertenfelt began. Hogan nodded and he continued, "The food here is all right to eat. I don't think they'll poison you."
"I won't eat until either I'm forced to do so or I can escape, which isn't very likely in my current condition," Hogan commented quietly.
"Have you regained movement in your limbs?" Gertenfelt asked.
"Yes, I have, to a degree. At least it's not as painful to move as it was before." Hogan stared at the far wall and thought about the previous night. He'd dreamt about Karla.
Hogan's mind was brought back to reality when he felt Gertenfelt shaking his shoulder and whispering urgently, "Sir! Herr Oberst! Are you all right?"
Hogan blinked. "Huh? Oh, sorry Herr Major. Please continue."
"There will be an inspector arriving here tomorrow. I'll do everything I can to ensure that they know of your presence here and that I've not been allowed to see you or advise you of your rights under the Geneva Convention. Once I've done that, the inspector will no doubt demand to see you."
"What inspector?" Hogan asked, curious.
Gertenfelt replied, "The English allow a German inspector to come and see how their prisoners are being treated."
Hogan's brow rose in surprise and he asked, "Oh?"
"We are usually able to smuggle uncensored letters home with the help of these inspectors." Gertenfelt chuckled. "The guards here in the camp are so stupid."
"Do you know who the inspector is?" Hogan asked.
"No, it's usually someone different every time. This afternoon, the Kommandant's secretary told me that the one coming tomorrow is a woman. That's something we could all use more of, eh?" Gertenfelt replied with a sly wink.
Hogan laughed at Gertenfelt's comment. "Yeah, I know I sure could." Rubbing his stubbly chin, Hogan continued, "I guess I look pretty bad. Even if she is a beautiful German war maiden, I'm dirty, grimy and unshaven. That's not the way to catch a woman."
"Don't worry about it sir. The worse you look, the more likely you'll get sympathy from her," Gertenfelt replied.
"You're right, I didn't think about it that way," Hogan said.
"So, as far as these Brits are concerned, you're an American Colonel?" Gertenfelt asked, changing the subject.
"Yes," Hogan replied.
The man in the hallway tapped four times on the door with a piece of metal. Gertenfelt turned towards the door for a moment. He then turned back to Hogan and said, "The guard is returning. I must leave. Wiedersehen."
"Wiedersehen," Hogan replied, as he watched Gertenfelt leave.
Early the next morning, Karla woke, crawled out of bed and put on her bra and panties. She crossed the room to her closet, opened the door, reached in, pulled out her old uniform and started to dress. "I never thought I'd put on this thing again," she muttered. Someone knocked twice on her bedroom door a few minutes later. "Who is it?" Karla asked as she finished tucking her shirt into her skirt.
"It's Newkirk!" Newkirk replied. "Are you ready?"
"Just a minute," Karla replied. She brushed her hair.
When Karla opened her bedroom door, Newkirk entered and was wearing what she assumed was an RAF air commodore's uniform.
"I hope we're not too late to get Colonel 'ogan out of that bloody POW camp! I could be ruddy court-martialed for impersonatin' an officer!" Newkirk exclaimed.
"I could be deported from England for wearing this uniform here," Karla replied.
"Are you sure that you can go through with this?" Newkirk asked.
Karla nodded and replied, "I must do everything in my power to save Robert."
Carter sauntered into the room dressed in an American major's uniform and said, "I'll be driving the car. Wolfram is driving the truck and Tiger will act as the commodore's secretary."
"Last night, Tiger's group made arrangements for the inspector that was supposed to go to this camp today to be sent elsewhere," Newkirk began as Karla put on her tunic, buttoned it, and then reached for a navy blue cloak to cover her uniform. She hid her cap in a small black cloth bag.
"Good. The car is parked outside," Carter said.
"Tiger, did you ask your people to follow up on those leads to find out who is responsible for all this?" Karla asked.
"Oui. They are making progress but wouldn't give me the details over the phone," Tiger replied.
They left the house then, walked out to the car and climbed in. Carter climbed behind the wheel, started the motor, put the car into gear, and followed the truck north towards where the POW camp was located. Three-quarters of an hour later, the truck stopped at a pub run by members of Tiger's group and Wolfram remained there with the truck while they continued on to the POW camp in the car.
Newkirk turned to Tiger and asked, "Are you ready, luv?" Tiger nodded.
Karla unfastened her cloak, put on her cap, and added, "I'm ready too, Air Commodore. Do you remember what I said about Hogan's name?"
"Yes. If we make any reference to Colonel Hogan, it will be using the name on these papers, SS Colonel Johann Strassburg. Tell me, 'ow's Colonel Hogan supposed to recognize that name?" Newkirk asked.
Karla replied, "He'll recognize it. It was the name of my late fiancé."
"Your late what?" Newkirk asked, shocked. "You mean that you were engaged before you met Colonel 'ogan?!"
Karla nodded. She closed her eyes and turned away from him to hide her pained expression even as she fought to keep her composure. Her voice betrayed her sorrow as she replied, "Johann was killed in the Blitzkrieg in Poland in 1939, just before we were to be wed. Hogan knows about him and that we had been engaged."
Newkirk's expression relaxed, though he replied quietly, "Sorry. I didn't know."
"We're almost there," Carter interrupted. Karla took a deep breath to compose herself as the car slowed.
Tiger said, "My people are ready to receive any inquiries about us and they're monitoring the airwaves as well as the phones. Karla, do you have the phone number where Wolfram can be reached?"
"Jawohl. Here we go," Karla commented as the car was stopped at the gate moments later.
The guard at the gate saluted Carter and then asked, "Who are you and what is your business here?"
"I am Major Carter, aide to Air Commodore Newkirkson. We are escorting a German officer who is here to make an inspection of this camp. We're expected," Carter replied.
"Yes, sir! The administration building is over there," the guard replied and indicated the building where they should go. He then called the commandant to inform him of his guests.
Carter parked the car in front of the administration building, got out and opened the rear car door for them. Newkirk lightly squeezed Tiger's hand before she left the car, and then followed. Carter also opened the opposite door for Karla. When the women emerged from the car, there were catcalls and whistles from the prisoners. As they headed towards the building, the door opened and a sergeant stepped out, followed by an officer.
"I am the camp commandant, Group Captain Neville Archer, at your service, Major Carter, Commodore Newkirkson and…" The commandant looked at Karla and stammered, "Um…who are you, ma'am?"
Karla replied, "I am Colonel Hoffman of the SS Sicherheitsdienst." She handed him her ID.
Archer briefly examined Karla's ID before handing it back to her and asking, "Isn't it unusual for the SS to inspect a POW camp?"
"No one else was available," Karla replied.
Archer inclined his head in acknowledgement and asked, "Shall we begin the inspection?"
"Of course," Karla replied.
"Please follow me," Archer began as he motioned to Karla for her to precede him from the office. The sergeant opened the door leading outside.
Once outside, Archer turned and walked away from the barracks. They visited many of the facilities of the camp and Karla was reminded of her tour of Stalag 13. She was grateful that there was nothing resembling the delousing station stench she had encountered there. Karla was resigned to the slowness of the inspection even as her anxiety with regards to Hogan was increasing. The next thing she knew, Archer said, "We'll visit with the senior POW officer now."
They crossed the compound to a wooden frame building. The sergeant entered first and called the prisoners to attention. Archer and his party followed, and then the sergeant closed the door. Upon entering, Karla noticed that it looked very much like the barracks she'd seen at Stalag 13. The prisoners whistled loudly on seeing her.
"Quiet!" the Sergeant shouted and the men quieted down.
"This is a typical barracks and these are some of our prisoners," Archer began and smiled deprecatingly at her.
Karla stared at him. "Where is the senior POW officer?" she demanded.
Just then, an inner door opened to her right and a Luftwaffe major entered the room. Archer said, "This is our senior POW officer. His name is…"
"My name is Herr Major Kurt Gertenfelt," the German greeted her in their native tongue and saluted her smartly. "I have some complaints."
"I am Colonel Hoffman of the SS Sicherheitsdienst," Karla replied. She knew that she had to hear out his complaints and didn't miss his swift inspection of her body. "Perhaps we can go into your office?" Karla asked. Gertenfelt nodded, started towards the room at the end of the barracks and she followed.
"Um, Colonel, that's not allowed," Archer said.
Karla whirled to face the commandant. "And WHY not?! This man wishes to speak to me about some complaints that he has and I feel that in your presence, he won't be able to give me the full details."
Newkirk was surprised at her tone and Karla hoped the commandant didn't notice the look of surprise on the Englishman's face. She turned and stalked towards the room at the end of the barracks and the Luftwaffe major silently followed.
Once they were inside his office with the door closed, Gertenfelt said, "Danke, Frau Oberst."
Glancing around, Karla noticed how similar these quarters were to Hogan's at Stalag 13. She decided it would be best if they spoke in German and said, "Quick, we don't have much time. What are your complaints?"
Gertenfelt replied, "The main one is that there is a prisoner who is being held in solitary confinement that no one has been allowed to see, not even me. I think he may be one of our spies and it would be to our advantage to assist him to escape."
"I agree. I'll demand to see him. The Kommandant can't refuse to allow me to see him without violating the Geneva Convention. Is there anything else?" Karla asked.
"Yes. Please take this and see to it that it gets to Berlin," Gertenfelt whispered and handed her an envelope that she slid inside her tunic's inner pocket. He came closer and before she could stop him, put his arms around her and then said, "It's not often that we see such a beautiful woman in this place — especially a sexy, good-looking German woman like you."
Karla felt herself blushing from his compliment. "Danke, Herr Major," she whispered. She found that she couldn't push herself away from him.
Gertenfelt's hands squeezed her butt and that brought her mind back to reality. For a moment, Karla realized that she had enjoyed Gertenfelt's advances and felt ashamed of herself. This must end now! Karla thought.
"Don't get any ideas, Herr Major, I'm taken," Karla said, the tone of her voice cold and flat as she pushed herself away from him.
Gertenfelt took the hint and dropped his arms back to his side. "What a shame. Whoever he is, he's one lucky man."
"Yes, he is," Karla replied softly. She decided to try something. "I love Colonel Johann Strassburg very much."
Gertenfelt's eyes widened in stunned shock and he gaped at her. He asked, "Did you say Colonel Johann Strassburg?"
"Why yes, I did. Why do you ask?" Karla replied.
Gertenfelt glanced toward the door leading to the next room and then said, "The prisoner over in solitary confinement told me that was his name when I spoke to him. You see, I have snuck over there a couple of times."
"Mein Gott!" Karla exclaimed quietly. Her expression was one of genuine concern when she asked, "How is he?"
"He is tired from the side effects of a drug he was injected with and suspicious. In his position, I don't blame him. It sounds like if you can get him out of here, you'll be doing yourself a favor too," Gertenfelt replied.
Karla closed her eyes and nodded before replying, "If that's all, Herr Major, then I'll demand to see this prisoner." She turned, walked to the door, yanked it open and the commandant almost fell into the office. Karla stifled a giggle and thought, You got what you deserved, Archer!
Newkirk and Carter smiled as Archer hastily grabbed the doorframe to maintain his balance. Archer stepped aside as Karla and the Luftwaffe major came out of the office. "Is there a problem, Colonel?" Archer asked once he regained his composure.
"Yes, Herr Kommandant, there is a problem," Karla began sharply. "I understand that you are holding a prisoner in your solitary confinement cells who has not yet been advised of his rights under the Geneva Convention. Is this true?"
Archer looked at her, completely taken aback by the sudden change in her tone towards him. "Yes. We do have a prisoner in solitary confinement. However, I have been instructed not to allow anyone to see this man until our headquarters determines what his fate is to be pending the completion of their investigation."
Newkirk stepped in at this juncture. He said, "Commandant, you will allow Colonel Hoffman to visit this man. If you refuse and she reports that you have violated the Geneva Convention as a result of your refusal, you will suffer the consequences, is that clear?"
"Yes, sir. Right away, sir!" Archer saluted Newkirkson and continued, "Please follow me, Colonel Hoffman."
Karla followed Archer out of the barracks and across the compound with Tiger, Carter and Newkirk following. With each step she took to cross the compound, Karla hoped that Hogan was all right and that they could get him out of this place safely. She slid her hands inside her pockets to keep them warm against the biting North wind. There was a small flask of water in one of her pockets and a couple of chocolate bars in her purse.
They entered the building which housed the solitary cells and the sergeant opened one of the cell doors. "I will see this man alone. Herr Commodore, please ensure that the Kommandant doesn't try to listen at the door," Karla said.
"I will, Colonel," Newkirk replied with a nod.
"Danke," Karla said. She then entered the cell and the door was closed behind her. As her eyes adjusted to the murky darkness, she saw something huddling in the corner farthest away from the door. When she squatted next to it and looked closely, she realized that it was a man. When he looked up, she almost didn't recognize him. Hogan's face was thinner than she remembered; his hair was unkempt and his face was covered with several days of stubbly growth. "Mein Gott! Herr Oberst!" Karla whispered when she saw him.
"What?" Hogan replied, his voice hoarse.
"Can you see me?" Karla asked quietly.
Hogan's eyes hadn't adjusted yet and he didn't recognize her. "No, but you have a beautiful voice."
"Danke," Karla said and smiled at Hogan's reply. She pulled the flask of water from her pocket, opened it and said softly, "Here is some water. Drink it."
Hogan replied, "It might be poisoned."
Karla frowned. She whispered, "No, it's not. You have my word on that, Robert."
Hogan looked at her again trying to see more than a gray and black blob, with a head-sized, oval-shaped area that was vaguely skin colored and for a moment thought he recognized the voice as Karla's. He mumbled, "What are you doing here?"
"Shhh…I'm trying to get you out of here, Herr Oberst Johann Strassburg," Karla replied.
"Huh?" Hogan asked. He realized that Karla would be the only one aside from Gertenfelt who would know that name and associate it with him in this place. He just couldn't make himself believe that she was here. He said, "It can't be you, Karla."
Karla quickly looked over her shoulder towards the door. When she turned back, Hogan had leaned forward and was looking at her closely. "It can't?" Karla whispered and then took his face in her hands and kissed his lips tenderly. The presence of the stubble on his face or his dry, chapped lips didn't bother her in the least.
Hogan could never forget the kiss of the woman he loved. When she pulled away from him, he responded weakly, "Danke. I'll take that water now."
Karla handed the flask to him and asked, "When was the last time you ate?"
"I have not eaten since I arrived here," Hogan replied. His hands shook as he raised the flask to his lips to take a drink from it and she steadied it for him. The water caused his throat muscles to relax and he felt much better.
"Why not?" Karla asked.
"One of the reasons was that I was afraid they might poison me," Hogan whispered.
Karla reached into her purse and pulled out two chocolate bars that she handed to him. "Here, eat these. Hide them until we leave the building."
Hogan took them and slid them into one of his jacket's pockets.
"I'm going to recommend that you be removed from here immediately and taken to a hospital," Karla said.
"Thanks. The last day or two has been a nightmare for me. Why is this happening?" Hogan asked.
"Your headquarters thinks you're a traitor. I don't know why. Now, be quiet. I'm going to leave before they get suspicious," Karla whispered as Hogan handed the flask to her and she stood and slid it back into her pocket.
"Jawohl, Frau Oberst," Hogan replied as he looked gratefully at her.
Karla stood, crossed the cell to the door, pounded on it with her fist, and called, "I'm ready to come out!"
The door was opened and Karla looked once more at Hogan who squinted and turned away as the light from the hallway fell upon him before she said, "I demand that he be taken to a hospital!"
"What?" Archer asked.
"That man is very ill. He needs medical attention immediately," Karla replied.
"What do you mean?" Archer asked, mystified.
"He has not been eating," Karla said.
Archer frowned. "We have taken food to him, but he has refused to eat what we provided."
"I demand that you release him to my custody. I will see to it that he receives medical attention and food," Karla said.
"I can't release him without proper authorization. What will you do?" Archer asked.
"I'll have to report to the authorities here and in Berlin that you are not following the Geneva Convention!" Karla replied in a scathing tone.
"I have my orders!" Archer protested.
Karla retorted angrily, "I'll see that you get your orders! I need to make a phone call." She stormed off toward the entrance to the building.
The rest of the group followed in Karla's wake as she left the solitary building and then returned to the administration building. Upon entering his office, Archer continued to protest. "But…but…"
"No buts!" Karla responded sharply as she picked up his phone and dialed a phone number. Shortly, she spoke to someone on the other end of the line and then informed him of where she was and what she had found. She demanded that he report this to the appropriate authorities and that the commandant be prosecuted for violating the Geneva Convention. She listened as the other person on the line spoke and her expression relaxed.
When Karla hung up, everyone looked at her and waited for the next bout of shouting to come from her. She had easily slipped back into the role of an SS Colonel quite well. Or at least, Karla thought wryly, what people expected from an SS Colonel, for her to be an obnoxious, officious bitch. Her voice was harsh when she continued, "Well, Herr Kommandant, you are fortunate. The only thing they want is for me to remove this prisoner from your custody immediately and see to it that he's taken to a hospital."
"What?" Archer asked, astonished and relieved at the same time.
Karla replied, "Yes. A truck is being sent for him. A Captain Hausmann will bring it here. Please see to it that he is admitted when he arrives."
"And?" Archer asked.
"The prisoner you are holding in solitary will be immediately brought out to the truck," Karla replied.
"Nothing else?" Archer asked.
"Nein. You will not be prosecuted for any violations of the Geneva Convention if you release your prisoner into my custody," Karla replied.
Archer grumbled, "I guess I have no choice."
"We must adhere to the Geneva Convention, Commandant," Newkirk commented.
Soon, the truck arrived and Hogan was brought out and hauled into the rear of the truck. Karla watched as he stumbled from sore muscles. Hogan could hardly see because of the bright daylight and had covered his eyes with his hands and arms. Gertenfelt came out of the barracks and watched while the prisoner was loaded in the back of the truck. When Karla looked over towards the prisoners, Gertenfelt saluted her and she returned the gesture as not to would raise his suspicions.
"All right Colonel Hoffman, here's your prisoner," Archer said snidely after witnessing the exchange between her and Gertenfelt.
"Danke, Herr Kommandant," Karla replied with a polite tone that bordered on insulting. She then walked around to the rear of the truck and was helped in by one of the men inside. Newkirk, Tiger and Carter climbed into the car; Carter started the motor, put it into gear and left the camp.
Karla sat next to Hogan after she climbed into the back of the truck and handed him the flask of water from her pocket. The truck's engine rumbled to life, the driver put it into gear and after the truck lurched forward, they left the POW camp.
"Thanks for getting me out of there," Hogan said in between gulps of water from her flask. He pulled the chocolate bars she had given him from his jacket's pocket. Soon, both the chocolate and the water were gone.
"You're welcome," Karla replied.
Gazing at Karla, Hogan said, "You're a sight for sore eyes."
"So are you, you're dirty, grimy," Karla began. Leaning closer to him, she continued, "smelly and…" She never got a chance to finish as he kissed her. When they separated she finished, "and your face feels like sandpaper."
Hogan chuckled at Karla's comments mocking his grungy appearance and with a grin he replied, "Yeah. I know."
Karla smiled and said, "And I don't care a bit. I still love you."
After the truck was about fifteen minutes away from the camp, it stopped with a jolt as they arrived back at the pub. The two men from the Underground left when Carter and Newkirk climbed into the back of the truck. Carter handed Karla her navy blue cloak, and the bag for her cap. Karla put on the cloak, removed her cap and put it into the bag.
"Colonel Hogan?" Carter asked.
"Yeah? Carter? Newkirk?" Hogan replied in surprise as he recognized the men.
"It's good to see you, sir," Carter replied.
"It's good to see you guys too. Now tell me, what the hell is going on here? Why aren't you two back at Stalag 13? What about Blackman, Kinch and LeBeau?" Hogan asked.
"It was Commander Blackman's idea to come and rescue you," Carter continued.
Hogan chuckled. "That crazy son of a…"
Karla pulled an envelope from her pocket, and asked, "Do one of you have a lighter?"
"Where did you get that?" Hogan asked.
"The senior POW officer at the camp gave it to me. He asked me to see to it that it got to Berlin," Karla replied.
Newkirk reached into his inner pocket and pulled out a lighter. He flipped open the top and flicked the flame into existence. He held the lighter so Karla could open and read the letter inside the envelope.
Karla gasped. "This letter gives the details of the next Allied offensive in Germany!"
"We'll have to inform headquarters that they have a leak," Hogan said.
"First we need to find out where the leak is," Karla commented.
Newkirk closed the lighter and said, "Let's move to the car. The Underground people need to return the truck. They'll meet us at Karla's place later."
Carter and Newkirk helped Hogan and Karla down from the truck and into the car. Carter took the wheel and soon they were headed back to Enfield. It was mid-afternoon when they arrived at Karla's house.
Someone knocked on the door and Carter answered. When he entered the room, Hogan asked, "Wolfram?"
"Yes. And Tiger," Wolfram replied. "She should be here shortly."
"Excuse me," Hogan said as he took Karla in his arms and kissed her. He didn't know what to say to her; words couldn't express how he felt. She had just saved his life.
Just then, Carter opened the door and Tiger entered. When she saw Hogan kissing Karla, her jaw dropped in shock. Hogan truly cared about Karla. She was extremely jealous of the German woman. No matter what she had previously told Karla, Tiger slammed the door behind her and shouted, "I can't take it anymore!"
Hogan looked over at Tiger, confused and asked, "What?"
"How can you love this SS bitch?" Tiger asked, furious.
"Tiger, that is none of your business," Hogan replied as he continued holding Karla in his arms.
"Calm down, my luv," Newkirk said from behind Tiger.
Tiger turned, looked at him and asked, "Your what?"
"My love," Newkirk said as he walked over to her, gently took her arm and guided her to a window away from everyone.
"As you can see, Hogan's in love with Karla," Newkirk said.
Tiger looked down at the floor and nodded, "I wouldn't have believed it but I saw Hogan kissing her."
Newkirk looked at her affectionately and gave her a hug. All Tiger's defenses crumbled and she returned the hug. It had been so long since she felt able to relax with a man. She briefly recalled the last time; it had been with Hogan in the cell of Gestapo Headquarters in Paris. She pushed the image from her mind. Perhaps now wasn't the time, but Newkirk seemed determined to try and win her heart.
"Now all we have to do is get the three of you back to Stalag 13 and find out for sure who is behind this," Tiger commented when they separated.
In the meantime, Hogan and Karla had separated. "Did your contact make any progress?" Karla asked as she removed her uniform tunic and tie and hung them in the closet.
"Yes. He's trying to arrange for surveillance on the suspect. Once he does, we may find out something," Tiger replied as she stared out the living room window.
"Oh! I nearly forgot! Carter, we need to contact Kinch," Newkirk said.
"That's right," Carter replied. He looked at Karla and asked, "Ma'am, do you have a radio that we can use to contact Kinch?"
Karla replied, "No, Carter, I'm sorry."
Tiger said, "We can contact them. I'll take you to where we have a radio."
"Thank you, ma'am. I think we better do that right now," Carter replied.
"I'll do it," Newkirk said.
Tiger and Newkirk left. When they arrived at their destination, Tiger spoke to the person there and indicated for Newkirk to come to the radio. Newkirk set the radio for 510 megahertz. "Papa Bear, this is Baby Bear," he began.
Through the static, came Kinch's reply, "Baby Bear, this is Papa Bear, I read you, go ahead."
"The package has been successfully retrieved and is intact. We will deliver it tomorrow," Newkirk said.
"Understood. Over and out," Kinch replied and then powered down the radio. To the man standing next to him, he said, "Congratulations on a successful plan, Commander."
Blackman nodded and smiled. "Thanks Kinch."
Shortly after Tiger's departure with Newkirk, Karla retired to the kitchen to fix some food. Hogan entered the kitchen half an hour later after bathing, then sat to the table and watched her cook from across the small kitchen. "Mmmm. That smells wonderful!" he commented.
"Don't gorge yourself. You'll be sick after not eating for a day or two," Karla replied as she headed toward the door to let the others know the food was ready.
Hogan said, "By the way Karla, I found a ring in the tunnel near the bunk where you slept at Stalag 13."
Without turning, Karla paused and replied, "You did? That was to be Johann's ring."
Hogan stood, walked over to where she stood, put his hands on her upper arms, leaned close to her and quietly said, "Perhaps one day soon, you can put it on my hand."
Realizing what Hogan had said and its implications, Karla turned to face him. She saw his expression was serious.
Hogan said softly, "Karla, I know neither of us intended to get romantically involved before the end of the war, but we have and I…" Hogan paused and looked down at his feet for a moment before his gaze rose to meet hers and he continued, "I love you. I love you more than you can possibly know. Will you marry me?"
Karla smiled happily at Hogan, and exclaimed, "Yes!" She hugged him, and kissed him, before pulling back and placing her hand on his cheek. "Yes," she repeated softly.
"I'm glad that the operation to rescue you was successful, Colonel Hogan," Tiger said as she came into the kitchen to find out what all the excitement was about.
"Oh, Tiger," Hogan said. His eyes widened at the realization of what had just been said and Tiger's previous outburst. Whoops!
Tiger turned towards him and quietly said, "Colonel, I heard everything you just said to Karla."
Hogan looked first at Karla, then at Tiger and back to Karla before they separated. He said, "I meant every word I said to Karla."
Tiger nodded in acknowledgement but said nothing more before leaving the room to inform the others that the food was ready.
Karla had set the dining room table while the food was cooking. She now put out the food. Everyone came and sat to the table to eat. When Hogan started eating, he felt a measure of his strength beginning to return. "Mmmm. Tasty."
"I'm glad you like it. Have some bread," Karla replied and handed the plate of bread to Hogan.
After dinner, several card games were played before everyone retired for the night. In one of the two bedrooms, Tiger and Newkirk spent some time getting to know one another better. Carter and Wolfram made themselves comfortable in sleeping bags on the couch and the living room floor. Hogan and Karla retired to her bedroom.
Hogan looked out the bedroom window at the moon and the stars before Karla lightly touched his arm. From here he noticed she had an unobstructed view of the night sky. Her house was on the edge of a large park. The moon was bright and Hogan noticed how much Karla's skin looked like delicate porcelain as he turned towards her and gently embraced her.
Karla said, "I'm so glad that you're safe, but sad that you went through that ordeal. Come over to the bed, let me look at you."
Hogan muttered, "Stop fussing! I'm all right."
Karla frowned and said, "Please let me look at you."
"All right," Hogan replied, then closed the curtains, removed his shirt and sat on the bed.
Karla turned on the lamp next to the bed and examined Hogan. "Turn your back towards the light," she said. As he complied with her request, she saw the black and blue area across his shoulders. Her brow furrowed when she asked, "Did they beat you?"
"No," Hogan replied.
"Then what is this bruise across your shoulders?" Karla asked as she touched it with her hand. "It's the only thing wrong with you other than that you're weak from not eating and the side effects of that drug they gave you."
Hogan relaxed at her touch. "Somebody decided that I should be unconscious before leaving Stalag 13 and they hit me there. And that was before they drugged me. It doesn't hurt anymore."
"It hurts me just looking at it," Karla whispered.
"I'll be able to sleep just fine," Hogan replied as he finished undressing.
Karla then turned off the bedside lamp and before she knew it, Hogan was helping her undress. Once her skirt and shirt were on the floor, she turned to face him. Hogan pulled her to him and they shared an intense kiss. His hands slid slowly over the curves of her body and she purred her approval.
Hogan pulled Karla's slip up and over her head; he removed her undergarments, she climbed into bed, and he covered them with the sheets and duvet as he climbed in next to her. As Karla settled next to Hogan, he ran his fingers through her hair, pulled her close and kissed her. When they separated, he said, "You look beautiful tonight, Karla."
"Thank you," Karla replied. After another kiss, she laid her head on Hogan's shoulder and added, "I've missed you so very much."
"I've missed you too," Hogan replied as his hand slid around and down her arm. "Stalag 13 is a cold and lonely place. I have cherished the letter you sent me via the medical supplies drop. It was such a wonderful surprise when I received it. I only wish I could have replied and expressed how I truly feel about you, but the censors would have had a field day with something like that."
"I understand, my love," Karla said. "I'm glad you received my letter. I wish I could send you more letters, but I didn't want to trouble the military people more than I did to get the first letter sent. Nor did I want to draw undue attention to either of us."
"Yes, you are supposed to be dead and it wouldn't take much to get Hochstetter investigating me," Hogan said, the corner of his lips curling upward. Karla then kissed him.
"I guess I won't be getting much rest tonight, huh?" Hogan asked when they separated.
Karla replied, "If you want to rest, then I'll just curl up next to you and sleep."
Hogan felt her warm, smooth, feminine curves against his body and the ache of loneliness within himself. Knowing that he would be leaving her embrace to return to that lonely life at Stalag 13, his hand drifted down her body to rest on her hip and he replied, "No, I can rest at camp. What is the date today?"
It was after midnight and she responded, "December thirtieth. Why?"
He thought for a moment before answering, "Happy birthday, Karla."
"Thanks. If not for you, I wouldn't have lived to see this or any future birthdays," Karla replied.
"You're welcome. What do you want for your birthday?" Hogan asked as he stroked her bare back.
"Hmmm," Karla replied, her voice calm and relaxed. Her fingers lightly traced the line from just behind his ear, down around his jaw, down his neck, to his chest and she said, "I want you, Robert."
"You can call me Rob," Hogan said as he slid the sheet and duvet down; he gently caressed her breasts and gave her a birthday present that neither of them would soon forget as they made love.
When Hogan closed his eyes as they lay together afterwards, Karla said, "I also want you to be free and with me forever."
Hogan mumbled an agreement as he drifted off to sleep. He was completely exhausted.
The next morning, Carter woke early, dressed and started waking everyone else. Wolfram was first because he was the closest. He found Newkirk and Tiger snuggled together in bed in one of the bedrooms and grinned before clearing his throat loudly to get their attention. Once they were awake and dressing, he went over to the room where he knew the two Colonels were sleeping and knocked. When he got no response, Carter cracked open the door, poked his head in and said, "Colonel! Colonel Hogan!"
"Mmmmphh!" Hogan mumbled.
A blonde-haired head lifted at the sound of his voice. "What is it, Carter?" Karla asked; her own eyes were still half shut.
"We have to start back to Stalag 13 first thing this morning, ma'am," Carter replied.
Hogan opened his eyes. "All right, Carter. We'll be out in a few minutes."
"Colonel, your clothes are over here on this chair," Carter said as he put the bundle he held there.
Hogan raised his head and was more alert when he asked, "What do you mean?"
"These clothes are for you to wear for most of the trip back to Stalag 13. They aren't as conspicuous as your uniform. We'll all change to our uniforms just before we arrive at camp," Carter replied.
"Thanks Andrew," Hogan replied quietly.
"You're welcome, sir," Carter said and then closed the door.
By then, Newkirk and Tiger had come out of the other room, dressed and ready to go. Carter noticed they were really friendly towards one another.
"Where's Colonel 'ogan?" Newkirk asked.
"Still half asleep," Carter replied with a grin.
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Newkirk asked.
"Give them a few minutes," Wolfram said as he picked up the last of the bags, and went and put them in the trunk of the car. When he came back in, they were ready to go, except for Karla and Hogan.
"I wish you didn't have to go, Rob," Karla said as she laid her head on his chest.
Hogan slid his arms around her and held her close while lightly stroking her back. "I know. I wish I could stay."
"You'll be able to rest and fully recover your strength once you return to Stalag 13," Karla commented.
Hogan released her and said, "Uh huh. In between missions, I worry about you, especially when I hear about London being bombed."
"Don't worry about me, love. I can take care of myself. You made sure of that when you helped me leave Germany," Karla whispered as she pushed herself up to a sitting position.
Hogan's gaze moved appreciatively down her naked body, memorizing every curve and he said, "Until this war ends and we are together, I will worry, no matter what. However, last night before we retired, Wolfram told me we only have a small window where we can leave England and enter Germany by plane without anyone from either country noticing."
Karla nodded and Hogan motioned for her to come closer. When she did, he pulled her close. Karla's skin smelled like lavender and he breathed in the scent deeply as he kissed first her neck and then her lips. "Oh, you smell heavenly! I probably still smell like I've been in the cooler."
"Thanks. I put it on just for you," Karla said as they separated. "Don't worry about what you smell like. You cleaned up well enough."
"Thanks. I enjoyed a nice, private, hot bath," Hogan whispered, a grin breaking across his face.
"We don't want to endanger the story that the SS interrogated you. That's why we didn't give you anything to shave off your stubble," Karla replied.
"I guess you didn't mind kissing sandpaper last night?" Hogan asked as he lightly stroked her breasts.
"I'd rather do that than not kiss anything at all," Karla replied softly with an affectionate smile. "I'm going to miss you, Rob."
Hogan met her gaze and said, "I'll miss you too, Karla."
A knock on the door made Hogan realize that he couldn't postpone his departure any longer. They crawled out of bed and dressed. Hogan whispered something in Karla's ear and before they left the room, she handed him a small velvet box. He opened it, pulled out the ring and slid it on Karla's left ring finger. Karla gazed at him and then they shared a sensual kiss before leaving and walking into the living room where everyone was waiting for them.
"Now you come out, after all the work is done," Wolfram said sarcastically.
Hogan and Karla shrugged innocently and put on their coats. Wolfram laughed at their expressions. "Are we ready to go to the plane?"
"I guess I have to be ready, don't I?" Hogan replied and put his arm around Karla's shoulders. Karla felt the weakness in Hogan's grip but wasn't about to say anything to him. There had been nothing weak about him last night when they made love.
"Yes, and so do I," Newkirk replied as Tiger squeezed his hand.
They went outside and piled into the car. The trip to the airstrip was a quiet one. Carter sat in the front, Wolfram was driving, and the others were situated in the back. Carter looked at his friends, winked, and said, "Don't forget to check for lipstick."
Newkirk rolled his eyes and said, exasperated, "Thanks a lot, Carter!"
Hogan looked at Carter, closed his eyes, and shook his head in disbelief. Karla looked in her purse for a mirror. "When we're leaving, I'll look. In the meantime, I want some lipstick on my lips," Hogan said as he pulled Karla close and kissed her. Newkirk and Tiger did the same.
An hour later, they arrived at the abandoned airstrip where they had arrived. Carter parked the car, Wolfram went to begin his preflight check of the plane and Carter followed Wolfram into the plane shortly afterwards.
The two couples stood together on the grass as the plane's engine warmed up. Hogan held Karla close, kissed her tenderly and said, "I hope to see you again soon, Karla. I know where you live and will come there after the war, I promise."
"That's a promise I'll hold you to, Rob," Karla replied softly. She heard the sadness in her voice as Hogan let her go, turned and went to the plane, followed by Newkirk who had said his farewells to Tiger.
Before they closed the plane's door, both men looked back at them. Then the door was closed and the plane taxied to the runway. When it took off, Karla said simply, "They're gone."
"Yes. I'm going to miss him," Tiger replied.
Karla nodded in agreement. "Let me know if your contacts find out who is responsible for Hogan ending up in this situation."
"Oui," Tiger replied.
They got in the car and Tiger dropped off Karla at her home before heading back towards London.
Back at the English POW camp, Wing Commander Sedgwick called to inform the camp commandant of the current situation regarding his top security prisoner.
"Good morning, Commander," Archer replied.
"Good morning, sir. I have news with regards to the fate of your prisoner," Sedgwick began.
"Oh?" Archer asked.
"Yes. You will continue to keep him in solitary confinement until I come and get him two days from now. He is to be brought before a tribunal of the Allied High Command," Sedgwick replied.
"But...but…" Archer stammered.
"But what?" Sedgwick asked, mystified.
"I thought you knew. He was taken from here by the German inspector because she claimed he was being mistreated according to the Geneva Convention," Archer replied.
"What? He's escaped?" Sedgwick asked, incredulous.
"Not exactly escaped, just taken to a hospital," Archer replied meekly.
"Which one?" Sedgwick demanded.
"I don't know and they didn't say," Archer replied.
"Who didn't say?" Sedgwick demanded. He was losing his patience with this bungler.
"The German inspector and the Air Commodore accompanying her," Archer replied.
At the other end of the line, Sedgwick closed his eyes in disbelief. Someone would have his head for this bungle. "Wait a minute! An Air Commodore was there? What was his name?" Sedgwick asked.
"He said his name was Air Commodore Newkirkson," Archer replied.
"Sir, you are an idiot! There is no Air Commodore in the RAF by that name. There will be an investigation into your mishandling of this matter, Commandant!" Sedgwick said angrily as he slammed down the handset.
Archer didn't know what to say. "Good bye, Commander," he replied, then hung up the handset before muttering, "This mess will probably end my military career."
The plane landed at the airstrip just outside of Hammelburg and Oscar Schnitzer and several other members of Wolfram's Underground group were waiting for them. They piled into Schnitzer's truck and rode to the farm where the truck in which they would return to Stalag 13 was parked inside the barn. Upon their arrival, they entered the barn.
Carter looked at Hogan and Newkirk. "No lipstick."
Hogan and Newkirk said nothing, only scowled and Carter chuckled. The three prisoners then changed into their uniforms and Wolfram changed into his SS Oberstleutnant's uniform. The men with Schnitzer put on their SS uniforms as well and brought the truck to transport Hogan, Carter and Newkirk back to Stalag 13 out of the barn.
To make it look as official as possible, they handcuffed the three prisoners after they were in the back of the truck and Wolfram said, "Good luck, Papa Bear."
"Thanks. Let's hope that Tiger and her contacts can find out who's responsible for putting me into that position," Hogan replied.
To the man in front, Wolfram said, "Let's go to Stalag 13." The man started the engine, put it in gear and began the short trip.
Schultz greeted the truck upon its arrival at Stalag 13 and asked, "What can I do for you?"
"We have three prisoners in the back of the truck," the driver replied.
"Take them to the administration building," Schultz ordered.
The truck parked in front of the administration building. The Oberstleutnant came down from the rear of the truck and found Schultz and Klink standing there.
"Herr Oberstleutnant, I've been told that you have three prisoners for me," Hogan heard Klink say.
"Jawohl. Out of the truck, schnell!!" Wolfram ordered.
First Carter and Newkirk climbed down, and then Hogan stood and climbed down from the truck. The look on Klink's face was one of surprise when he saw Hogan climb slowly down from the truck.
"Is there anything else I can do for you, Herr Oberstleutnant?" Klink asked as the SS guards removed the prisoners' handcuffs.
"Nein, Herr Oberst," Wolfram replied, saluting.
Klink returned the man's salute. Wolfram climbed into the front of the truck; the driver started the motor, let out the clutch, put it into gear and drove through the gates, leaving Stalag 13.
"Well Colonel Hogan, I see you survived whatever the SS threw at you," Klink commented.
Hogan nodded. His mind was elsewhere. Then, he blinked and asked, "Am I dismissed, Kommandant?"
"Yes, Hogan, you may return to the barracks," Klink replied, then turned and went into the administration building.
Hogan followed Carter and Newkirk, who had already returned to the barracks. When he entered, he found Carter sitting on his bunk reading a book and Newkirk sitting at the table writing a letter. Hogan noticed the other men in the barracks looked at him as though they'd seen a ghost. He went into his quarters and found Blackman sitting at the table and Kinch leaning against the far wall next to the window waiting for him with a small piece of blue paper in his hand.
"Hi, Kinch, Blackman," Hogan said. "What's that? News from headquarters?"
"Yes, a message from Mama Bear. The agent who reported that you were a traitor mistook you for someone else," Kinch replied.
"I went through all that over a case of mistaken identity? You gotta be kidding!" Hogan exclaimed in frustration.
"No, sir," Blackman said. "Apparently, they have the OSS looking into the matter. It seems the situation is more serious than they initially believed." Kinch left then.
"Thanks for the update," Hogan said and then paused before continuing, "Uh, Blackman?"
"Yeah?" Blackman replied.
"Thanks for coming after me. You did well with that plan. And with seeing to it that you got the right help in England. Karla helped to get me out of there," Hogan said.
"You're welcome. I knew she would. I replaced everything here just as I found it when I got her address from the letter in your cubbyhole," Blackman replied.
Outside, they heard Schultz bellowing for the prisoners to come out for roll call as he crossed the compound. "Well, I guess its back to the dull routine of prison life for us," Hogan commented as he and Blackman followed the men outside for roll call.