Author's Note: Others own the Hogan's Heroes characters.

Beyond the End

By Diane Maher

            As Colonel Wilhelm Klink, Kommandant of Stalag 13 sat at his office desk, he read the day's mail.  He came across an order signed by Hitler himself dated nine days previously.  The sheer length of time it took for the order to get to Stalag 13 from Berlin made him realize that Germany was close to losing the war.  When Klink opened the envelope and read the order, he was shocked beyond belief.  It was an insane order, one that he, as a human being felt that he couldn't execute, yet he knew he may have no alternative but to do so.  It read:

Kommandants of all Luft Stalags, the Allied hordes will soon be arriving at your gates.  If we must die to preserve our Fatherland and our beliefs, we must take as many of them with us as possible.  Therefore, I order you to begin executing all the prisoners in your camps.

            Adolf Hitler

            20 April 1945

            Klink paused and looked around his office at the things he surrounded himself with during his tenure here.  The pictures of the Führer were a given.  The other pictures were of the men he had trained with in his old flying unit, the planes they had flown in the first war and when he looked at his desk, the pictures of his family.  The pictures included his mother and brother, both living in Leipzig and his late father and grandfather both of whom he had worshipped when he was a boy.  He wanted to follow in their footsteps and be a soldier.  His only memories of them now besides these pictures were the spiked helmet his grandfather had given him only weeks before his death and the humidor that his father had given him upon his graduation from the academy.  Anymore, he found it difficult to even enjoy a good cigar without wondering what would happen to him when the Allies came to Stalag 13.

            It was seven in the morning and Klink called Sergeant Hans Schultz, the sergeant of the guard at Stalag 13, into his office.  "Schultz, bring Colonel Hogan over here right now," he ordered as he poured a glass of schnapps for himself.

            "Jawohl, Herr Kommandant!" Schultz replied.  The fat sergeant said nothing about his commanding officer drinking schnapps at this hour of the morning, which was extremely unusual.

            Klink then went and stood in front of the mirror on the wall and looked at his reflection.  His dark blue Luftwaffe uniform was as usual clean and neat.  Every remaining hair on his head was in place and his monocle was clean.  So why do I feel so dirty? he asked himself.  Perhaps it is because of the deed I am about to do or the order from the Führer that is precipitating my action -- or both.

            After Schultz left, Klink downed the glass of schnapps in one draught, poured himself a second glass and drank half of it as well.  Then, he went over to his desk, opened the top drawer on the right side, pulled out his Luger, checked that it was loaded and the safety was off.  He stood facing the map of Stalag 13 with his right hand hidden from the view of someone coming through the door.  He couldn't believe that he was even considering this, but that part of his mind was suddenly eclipsed by the Führer's order, his own national pride and perhaps a touch of temporary insanity brought on by the former.

            Schultz crossed the compound to Barracks 2, a wooden frame building like all the rest of the buildings in camp, entered quietly and walked into the room at the far end of the barracks where the senior POW officer had just woken up.  Hogan was dressed in his uniform as usual.  He had just finished his morning hygienic routine, as Schultz entered his room.

            "Colonel Hogan, Kommandant Klink wants to see you in his office right away," Schultz said.

            "Okay, Schultz," Hogan replied.  He couldn't imagine what Klink wanted at this hour, but as it was a warm morning, he just grabbed his brown cap, pulled on his jacket and followed Schultz across the compound to the Kommandant's office building.

            The door to his office opened and the senior POW officer, Colonel Hogan, walked in and stood on the opposite side of the desk from where Klink usually sat.  Hogan noticed the half-empty glass of schnapps and asked, "It's a little early for the schnapps, isn't it, Kommandant?"

            Klink mumbled something, but Hogan didn't catch the muttered reply as the German was facing the wall, ostentatiously examining the map of Stalag 13 which hung there.  It was warm in the office and since it looked like he would be there for a while, Hogan took off his jacket to be more comfortable and draped it over the chair next to him.

            Klink turned towards Hogan then and for the first time Hogan saw the morose expression on the German's face.  Then he knew that something was wrong.

            "What's wrong, Kommandant?" asked Hogan as he casually dropped his hat over the spiked helmet on the desk.  He folded his arms across his chest and tried to understand what was going on with Klink.  By the expression on Klink's face, Hogan thought that he was ready to commit suicide.

            Klink didn't answer.  Before he could stop himself, he raised the Luger, pointed it at Hogan and said, "I'm sorry, Colonel Hogan," and fired.