By San Antonio Rose
A/N: Hogan's Heroes characters are © Bing Crosby Productions/Hogan's
Horde, and LOTR characters are © Three Foot Six and Tolkien Enterprises.
I apologize if any of my French is incorrect. I'm going strictly on what little I know, which isn't a whole awful lot. Any German I put in later on should be accurate, though… aside from the little mistakes everyone who isn't a native speaker consistently makes.
"This way," a strong but elderly voice echoed through the long-vacant passageway of Khâzad-dûm. Nine pairs of feet plodded on through the gloom, led only by the white glow of the tip of Gandalf's staff. They went as quietly and cautiously as possible, knowing that orcs and goblins lurked somewhere in the darkness. None of them really relished the thought of going through Moria, but it was better than being killed by an avalanche on a hostile mountain.
Unfortunately, not even Gandalf saw the gaping hole in the floor until it was too late. He fell in first; the others, now having no light at all, were unable to see and thus avoid the hole. As a unit, the Fellowship of the Ring found itself hurtling through space… and time.
Col. Robert Hogan and Cpl. Louis LeBeau looked up sharply as a loud crash echoed through the emergency tunnel. At first Hogan thought Carter had dropped a box of nitro; his fears in that direction were allayed when he heard voices and scuffling coming from the direction of the noise, including Newkirk's voice swearing heartily.
"Gerroff!" Newkirk finally shouted. "I can't breathe wi' you sittin' on me chest!"
"I beg your pardon," replied a baritone that sounded English and yet… somehow different.
"Hi, Pip, you all right?" called another voice.
"Oof! Mind yer elbow, Gimli!"
"My apologies, Pippin… Legolas? Are you here?"
"Aye… Boromir, could you…"
"What? Oh, sorry."
"'As anyone seen Master Frodo?"
"'E's over 'ere, Sam, bu' i' looks like 'e 'it 'is 'ead on somethin'…"
"Gandalf, do you have any idea where we are?"
"Not the least, Aragorn, but it does not look like Moria."
"Golly, Newkirk, are you… what… who…" Carter's voice trailed off in incoherence.
Kinch poked his head around the corner. "Colonel, I think you oughta see this…"
Hogan and LeBeau left the map table and followed Kinch to the site of the commotion. When they got there, Hogan's jaw dropped and LeBeau involuntarily crossed himself.
There, in their very own tunnel, was the strangest assortment of characters they had ever seen. Newkirk stood glaring at a very tall elderly man with a huge pointed hat, long grey hair and a beard, flowing grey robes, and a gnarled staff that was as tall as he was; presumably this was the person who had been sitting on Newkirk's chest. Next to him stood a younger raven-haired man with an air of royalty about him; he seemed like a character out of the Arthurian legend, as did the sandy-haired man behind him. The latter was helping a short, stocky man who looked almost like a Viking to his feet. Next to him, a willowy young man with long blond hair was helping a dark-haired figure to rise; when the blond turned, Hogan was startled to notice his pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes. His companion was equally startling; he was shorter and rounder than the Viking, and he was barefoot, showing copious quantities of fuzz on the tops of his feet. Two other small figures huddled beside a third, who was probably the aforementioned Frodo.
One of these turned with a worried look on his face. "'E's 'urt bad, Strider," he reported, his concern showing plainly in his voice.
Both of the small ones moved aside as the raven-haired man hurried over to their fallen companion to assess the situation. "He is unconscious," he finally reported. "It looks like he struck his head on a rock as we fell."
"Kinch, get a medic," ordered Hogan softly.
"Right, Colonel," the black sergeant nodded and hurried away.
"LeBeau, get the first aid kit."
"Newkirk, what happened?"
"I was mindin' me own business when these blokes fell out o' the bloomin' sky an' landed on top o' me, that's wot 'appened!" Newkirk fumed.
"May I inquire as to where we are?" the old gentleman firmly but gently interrupted.
"Not until we find out exactly who you are," Hogan retorted, noting that all but the blond and the Viking were armed with swords and that the blond carried a bow and knife while the Viking held an axe.
The old man sized him up carefully, then nodded. "I am Gandalf the Grey. With me are Aragorn son of Arathorn, Boromir son of Denethor, Gimli son of Glóin, Legolas Greenleaf, Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, Samwise Gamgee, and the injured one is Frodo Baggins. We were on our way through the mines of Moria when…"
"We fell through the floor," supplied the one pointed out as Peregrin.
"An' found oursel's 'ere," added Meriadoc, still standing near Frodo.
LeBeau returned with the first aid kit. "Here, colonel."
Hogan handed it wordlessly to Aragorn, who started looking through it to see if he recognized anything he could use to begin mending the injury on Frodo's head.
Gimli looked around and snorted. "You call this a cave?" he grumbled.
"Naw, we call it a tunnel," Carter replied good-naturedly. He seemed to have recovered his wits that much.
"That explains a lot."
Something in Gimli's attitude suddenly struck Carter the wrong way. "Look, it might not be pretty, but it's all we've got. There's a war on, y'know, and as POWs…"
"Carter!" Hogan interrupted before Carter could give away anything further.
"Oops…" Carter realized his mistake and shut up.
But the revelation served only to confuse the newcomers more. "What war?" frowned Boromir.
"Wot's a POW?" asked Sam.
Legolas and Aragorn looked at each other and spoke briefly in a language none of the Heroes had ever heard before. Aragorn then looked from Carter to Hogan and back. "You speak strangely, Carter. Your accent is not that of Gondor or of Rohan."
"Gondor? Where's that?" frowned Carter.
Boromir stared. "You know nothing of Gondor?"
"No… never heard of it, or of Rohan either. Are they in England?"
"'Course not, Andrew," Newkirk put in. "I've never 'eard of 'em, either."
"Well, they are not in France, mon colonel," LeBeau spoke up for the first time.
"Or Germany," Carter added. "If they were, we'd'a heard of 'em."
"France?" squeaked Pippin.
"We should 'ave stayed in the Shire," moaned Merry.
Hogan finally made up his mind. "LeBeau, as soon as Kinch gets back, have him send the medic on over here and tell him to radio London to ask about Gondor, Rohan, and Moria."
"Oui." LeBeau looked at his watch. "Half an hour till roll call."
They did not have long to wait. Aragorn was still trying to figure out what hydrogen peroxide might be when LeBeau returned from the radio room with the medical officer Kinch had located in Barracks 9. The Ranger and the doctor worked together and had Frodo's head neatly bandaged within a matter of minutes.
"Will 'e be all right?" worried Sam.
"Oh, yes," smiled the doctor. "He has a concussion and may be out for another couple of hours, but there was no internal bleeding, so he should be fine. He does need to be moved someplace warmer, though, Colonel," he continued, turning to his superior.
"Fine. Put him in my room," Hogan nodded.
Aragorn gingerly lifted Frodo off the ground. "Lead on."
The doctor led him to the tunnel entrance inside the barracks. Between them, and with a little help from Sam (who, as usual, refused to leave his master), they got Frodo out of the tunnel and situated on the lower bunk in Hogan's quarters. Sam had just drawn a chair up to the bed when whistles and shouting began outside.
"Roll call," explained the medic. "Gotta go. But he'll be fine; just keep him warm. Oh, and you probably ought to stay away from the windows until Col. Hogan gets back."
Sam and Aragorn nodded mutely, and the doctor left.
Meanwhile, in the radio room, Kinch had gotten one message from London and was waiting for another. He handed the clipboard to Hogan.
"Names do not correspond to any known location, not part of any known code," Hogan read. "Will research further, stand by."
"Think they're loony, Colonel?" Kinch asked.
Hogan listened as Legolas and Gimli squabbled softly about elves and dwarves. "I dunno. It could be. But there's something… well, odd about them. Not bad, just odd." He shook his head and looked back at the clipboard.
"What should we do, Colonel?" Carter wondered.
Hogan shrugged eloquently.
"You're not gonna keep 'em down 'ere, are you?" Newkirk frowned.
"Well, for the moment, we've got no choice. We have to be careful until we find out what's going on."
"Roll call! Roll call!" LeBeau, who'd followed Sam and Aragorn into the barracks, shouted down into the tunnel. Hogan motioned Carter and Newkirk to go ahead.
"Should I leave the radio? I mean, London said to stand by," Kinch inquired, eyes wide.
Hogan thought fast. "No, stay down here. We can cover for you." He then walked over to where the newcomers were waiting. "Boromir, could you come with me? I need your help for a few minutes."
"What is it you ask of me?" Boromir asked warily.
"I need you to stand in for Kinch during roll call."
"What?" six voices gasped.
"It'll only take a sec," Hogan shrugged.
"But… I look nothing like your… Kinch," Boromir objected.
"Don't worry, I'll cover for you. C'mon."
Looking thoroughly unconvinced, Boromir followed Hogan up the ladder and outside. Hogan showed him where to stand, and they waited a moment until a voice yelled, "Achtung!"
Everyone snapped to attention except Boromir, who followed suit a split second later. Hogan sensed the other man's hesitation and filed it away with all the other small oddities about the group. Apparently he doesn't even understand that much German, he thought. I'll ask him about that later… if he doesn't ask me first.
Boromir stood still, impassive but uncomfortable, and watched with a mixture of irritation and curiosity as a fat man came by, counting under his breath. For the first time Boromir was able to get a sense of their surroundings. To one accustomed to the splendor of the White City, the place was a nightmare. The ramshackle one-story buildings stood on the largest piece of bare earth he'd seen this side of Mordor. There was no grass anywhere. Beyond the building in front of him he could see structures that looked like boxes on stilts and many tall poles held together by wire—barbed wire, from the look of it. He thought he saw trees beyond that, but he couldn't tell what kind. His eyes then strayed to the men around him. They were a motley crew, dressed in strange garb, but some wore clothes that looked distinctly similar. The longer he looked, the more similarities he could see, until at last he figured out that they were all wearing various kinds of uniforms, though none were of a style he was accustomed to seeing. He could also see that the men in the round helmets pointing bizarre-looking weapons at them also wore uniforms, and he got the distinct impression that they were being guarded.
The fat man stopped short as he passed Boromir. "Col. Hogan…" he said in a low voice. "That is not Sgt. Kinchloe."
"Yes, it is, Schultz," Hogan replied. "We were practicing for a play and he didn't have time to get his makeup off."
"Jolly joker," Schultz retorted, sounding unconvinced.
"All right, you wanna know the truth? Kinch is waiting for a radio message from London, but we didn't want you to look bad, so we brought out this guy."
"Boromir son of Denethor, captain of the Tower Guard of Minas Tirith and heir to the stewardship of Gondor," Boromir introduced himself, subconsciously putting his hand on his hilt.
Schultz stared at him in confusion for a moment, then stated emphatically, "I see NO-THINK!"
Boromir was still digesting this pronouncement when a tall, thin man came out of the building in front of them yelling, "Repoooooooooort!"
As Schultz hesitated, Hogan told him softly, "Kinch is here, Schultz, take my word for it. He'll be back to normal by the next roll call." Schultz still balked, so Hogan added, "I'll pay you later."
With a twinkle in his eye, Schultz went forward and saluted the newcomer. "Herr Kommandant, I wish to report all present and accounted for."
"Thank you, sergeant. Diiis-" The thin man broke off as he caught sight of Boromir. "Who is that?"
"Sergeant Kinchloe, Herr Kommandant. The men were practicing for a play and did not have time to help him take off his makeup."
"A play? At this hour of the morning?"
"I know, but that is what Col. Hogan said."
The commandant looked hard at Boromir. "Remarkable," he breathed at last. "He looks nothing like his normal self."
"Thank you, sir," Hogan grinned. "The boys worked on him pretty hard. Took all night, really; we haven't even started rehearsals yet."
The commandant stared a moment longer in admiration until a sudden thought occurred to him. "Hogan," he threatened, turning and shaking his finger at the senior POW, "you and your men had better not try to use their makeup skills to escape!"
Hogan looked genuinely astonished. "Colonel Klink, I'm surprised at you! You know we'd never try to leave here! Besides, as long as that job took, we'd never be able to get out of camp before daylight."
Klink still didn't look happy, but he let the subject drop. "Dis-missed!" he grumbled. Schultz saluted, the guards left, and the men dispersed… all except Boromir, who stood frowning where he was, trying to make sense of what he'd just seen.
"He looks genuinely confused, colonel," LeBeau reported, stealing a quick glance at Boromir.
"I saw him put his hand on his sword, almost like it was a reflex," added Carter, who'd been standing next to him.
"An' wot was all that nonsense about captain of the tower guard an' bein' an heir?" Newkirk frowned. "Don't think a Gerry would know to introduce 'imself that way."
"All right," nodded Hogan. "Add that to the facts we already know, plus the fact that he didn't seem to know what Achtung means…."
"You noticed that, too?" Carter interrupted. At Hogan's curious glance, he continued, "I… he didn't come to attention when everyone else did. Kinda looked startled and confused, looked around, and then came to attention. And the whole time he looked like he was trying to figure out what was going on."
Hogan nodded again, this time more thoughtfully. He then glanced over his shoulder at Boromir. "Okay."
The foursome walked back to where the man of Gondor was still staring off into space. Before any of them could say a word, Boromir turned his gaze on Hogan.
"This is a prison," Boromir said slowly. It was part statement and part question.
Hogan got the feeling that nothing less than the truth would satisfy the man. "Yes."
"And you are prisoners… prisoners of war."
"Coming from… three?… different lands."
"And those guarding you are from a fourth."
"And you work against your captors without their knowledge from the secret tunnels where we first met, is that not so?"
Since Boromir still sounded genuinely lost, Hogan nodded.
Boromir nodded also, still thinking. Then he continued, "That explains much. But still I do not know where we are. Everything is strange to me. And the guards speak a language I have never heard in Middle-earth." Again he frowned at the distant trees.
Hogan stared. "Did you say Middle-earth?"
Boromir looked back at him sharply. "You know the name?"
Hogan nodded. "It sounds vaguely familiar… came out of a book I read."
This time it was Boromir's turn to stare. "A book?" he asked incredulously.
"Colonel…" Newkirk broke in. "Are you suggestin' that these blokes came out of a book?"
"C'est impossible!" protested LeBeau. "Incroyable! How could someone fall out of a book into real life?"
"Well, I suppose it could be possible," Carter shrugged. "Y'know, if there was maybe some sort of worm hole between the book dimension and the dimension we're in…."
Ignoring his junior officers, Hogan stated, "There's only one way to find out. C'mon, let's go see what Kinch found out from London."
As they turned to go in, Hogan thought he caught sight of two young faces peering out the barracks window. Are they… nah, they couldn't be, he thought. Although the injured one is named Baggins… and isn't the old guy named Gandalf? Plus Glóin's son and Legolas, who is apparently an elf…
"Say, Boromir," he asked aloud as they walked through the door, "you wouldn't happen to know someone by the name of Bilbo Baggins, would you?"
"Yes! We met in Rivendell; he now lives there with Master Elrond and the elves. I last saw him over a fortnight ago when the Fellowship departed on this Quest. Young Frodo is his nephew. Why?"
I have got to be dreaming, Hogan thought as he answered, "Oh, no reason. Just… just curious."
Sam poked his head out of Hogan's office. "Strider's gone downstairs," he reported, "and I think Master Frodo might be waking up soon. Is there some way I could make 'im some soup? I'm sure 'e'll be 'ungry when 'e comes to."
"I'll do it, colonel," LeBeau volunteered. Hogan absently nodded his approval.
"You sure it's no trouble, Mister LeBeau? I don't mind doin' it meself…."
LeBeau laughed and ruffled the hobbit's hair. "Of course not, petit ami. I enjoy cooking. It will be no trouble, I assure you. You go watch over your friend, and I will make the soup. Okay?"
"That's fine, LeBeau," Hogan agreed. "Boromir, come with me."
The American and the Adan pushed past Merry and Pippin, who were both asking questions at once, and went down into the tunnel. LeBeau got started on making soup for Frodo, and Newkirk and Carter took it upon themselves to keep the two tweenagers occupied.
While Boromir reported to Aragorn and Gandalf, Hogan went to the radio room. Kinch handed him the clipboard with the disclaimer, "You're never gonna believe this, Colonel."
"I already don't quite believe it, if they said what I think they said," Hogan sighed and looked at the paper. He read it and shook his head. "No sources found for the name of Rohan or Gondor, but Moria mentioned in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, published 1937." He looked up at Kinch. "Is this really happening?"
"I'll pinch you if you want," Kinch volunteered with a twinkle.
Hogan was about to take him up on the offer when Gimli, who was observing the architecture, accidentally backed into him. The contact with the dwarf's mail convinced him that he was, indeed, wide awake.
"I'm very sorry, Col. Hogan," Gimli apologized. "I suppose I forgot to look where I was walking."
"What were you doing, anyway?" Hogan chuckled.
"Examining your tunnel system. As a dwarf, I take some interest in these things, and I found some structural weaknesses that I thought you ought to know about."
Gimli was just about to begin explaining his findings when another radio message came through from London. Kinch wrote it down and acknowledged it, then took off his headphones and looked up at Hogan. "They want us to meet Tiger as scheduled."
"Still at X14?"
Hogan nodded. "Okay. Send Carter and LeBeau. They'll be the easiest to cover for."
"You sure? She'll be expecting you, not them."
"Kinch, we've got nine guests around here, and six of 'em aren't even human! Somebody's gotta hang around and make sure the Krauts don't get suspicious!"
"Krauts? What race are they?" frowned Gimli.
"Men," answered Hogan.
"That's debatable," grumbled Kinch.
"Go get Carter and LeBeau," chuckled Hogan.
Kinch obeyed, and Hogan headed over to where the two men and the wizard were holding conference. They had barely acknowledged his presence when Legolas came down the ladder from the outside; when he reached the bottom and turned around, Hogan noticed that his face was somber and paler than usual. He would have asked where Legolas had been, but something told him he'd find out soon enough.
"Well?" asked Aragorn softly. "What say the trees?"
"Fell things," answered Legolas gravely. "Great evil rules in this land. They told me of what they know and what they have heard from the birds of places farther away… of the war, of midnight raids, of explosions that kill many and cause great destruction. They spoke also…" Here his voice almost failed. "Also of a plot to kill all who love Ilúvatar. To enslave all free men and subject them to the will of one lord they call Hitler. Already he has forced many into his service and swayed the minds of his people. All who oppose him fear for their lives, yet they support those who fight against him and aid them when they can."
"Verily, this Hitler is a servant of the Dark Lord," interjected Boromir.
"That is my opinion also, Boromir," nodded Aragorn. "We must be careful."
Seemingly oblivious to Hogan's presence, Gandalf asked, "What news did they have of our hosts?"
Legolas brightened some. "Only good, Mithrandir. They come and go without the knowledge of their captors. When they do, things happen. Captives are set free, others are kept from captivity altogether, and always something happens to disrupt the plans of the evil ones."
"I'm glad the trees approve," Hogan smiled. "The Gestapo doesn't."
"You say they plan to kill those who love the One," Gimli put in. "What did that mean?"
The elf's face fell again. "The trees say that the Nazis, who serve Hitler, have been rounding up a people called Jews. They are taken away to camps, and many thousands have already died there from starvation, illness, hard work, or some sort of poison. One told me that a bird had told him of a meeting in Nuremberg at which the generals produced a plan to kill everyone who is a Jew. Then they plan to round up those known as Christians and kill them in the same way. Both groups worship the One, but there is a distinction between the two that I did not quite understand… something about Christians believing that Jesus is the Messiah and Jews believing that Messiah has not yet come."
Gimli looked up at Hogan. "These, then, are the Krauts whom Kinch thinks are not worthy to be called Edain."
Hogan nodded sadly. "Yep. They also kill anyone who doesn't fit their idea of the 'superman.' Anyone who's old, sick, mentally retarded, or from any ethnic group other than Aryan is marked for death. And that's why we're at war."
Aragorn put a hand on Hogan's shoulder. "We know little of the situation or the times we find ourselves in, Hogan. Yet we, too, fight the servants of the Dark Lord wherever we may find them. As long as we are in your house, you shall have the aid of our arms."
Hogan's dark eyes met Aragorn's blue ones and held them for a moment. He didn't quite know why, but Hogan felt that he could trust this man implicitly.
"Thank you, Aragorn," Hogan smiled. "I appreciate it. And we may need your help, depending on what it is Tiger has to say."
Just then Kinch returned with Carter and LeBeau. Hogan turned and gave them their instructions, then asked how things were going upstairs. No one marked the unspoken command that Aragorn gave Legolas or the elf's silent acknowledgement.
"Sam is still watching Frodo," LeBeau reported. "He's made some noise, but he is not awake yet. But the soup is ready whenever he does wake, which Olsen thinks will be soon."
"Good news," Hogan nodded.
"Newkirk and I have been teaching Merry and Pippin how to play gin," Carter added. "You might want to keep an eye on 'em, though."
"All three of 'em have cards stuck to their foreheads."
"Oh, brother," Hogan grumbled good-naturedly and headed off to make sure the British corporal didn't completely corrupt the young hobbits under his care.
A/N: The report Legolas got about the Final Solution is based on the discovery made a couple of months ago that the Jews were not the only targets. I know not all Germans agreed with the Nazi regime, and I think the resistance workers were as brave and worthy of recognition as the Allied troops. As a Christian of Jewish ancestry (it's faint, but it's there), I've looked at both faiths and have come to the conclusion, as have many theologians, that the fundamental difference between Christianity and Judaism is acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. There are all kinds of ramifications that come from that, but that's the key distinction. The Hobbit was first published in England in 1937, so it's certainly possible for Hogan to have read it before becoming a POW, but there's no way he could have read LOTR because it wasn't published until 1954.