A/N: The drug used in this story is completely fictional; although its effects are very loosely based on the effects caused by PCP. (That's what gave me the idea for the story.) I want to thank Deana for encouraging me to post this; I was a little hesitant. As always, if you decide to read it, I hope you like it!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Hogan's Heroes characters. I just like to write stories about them.
Sergeant Kinchloe sat at the table down in the tunnel, monitoring the radio, anxiously waiting for his teammates – Sergeant Carter, Corporal Newkirk, and Corporal LeBeau – to get back. The three men had left several hours ago; on a mission to plant explosives along the railroad tracks that ran close by Stalag 13. They'd received word that a train was scheduled to pass through the area, and it was carrying airplane parts. Their job, naturally, was to stop it.
Kinch sighed and tapped his pencil on the table, wishing he could have gone with them instead of being stuck in the tunnel, waiting and worrying. But the colonel had wanted him to monitor the radio, as usual – and besides, tonight's mission was a three-man job. Still, it was the kind of mission that he could have easily gone on; his skin color not being an issue this time. He sighed again; then placed the pencil tip on the paper next to his hand, and absently started doodling.
Just then the trapdoor to the barracks opened, and Colonel Hogan climbed down. "Any word, Kinch?" he asked as he walked over to his radioman.
"No, sir," Kinch answered, sliding his headphones down and letting them rest around his neck, "It's been pretty quiet."
Hogan glanced toward the tunnel that led to the tree stump entrance. "The fellas should be back any minute," he murmured; then looked at Kinch. "Well, let me know if you hear anything."
"Yes, sir," Kinch replied. He reached up to put his headphones back on, when he heard a noise coming from the tunnel that Hogan had been gazing down a moment ago.
Hogan heard it, too, and quietly breathed a sigh of relief as he saw first LeBeau, then Carter, and finally Newkirk come into view. They were talking excitedly amongst themselves, and when they reached the main tunnel, they grinned broadly at Hogan and Kinch.
"So, I take it everything went well," Hogan said, looking at them amusedly.
"Oh, yes, sir!" Carter replied, his eyes wide with excitement, "You should have seen it, boy! That train went – "
Carter started making explosion noises and throwing his hands up in the air. Hogan let him carry on for a few seconds; then held up his hand. "I get the picture, Carter," he said, allowing a small smile to form on his face.
"You must 'ave 'eard it, Colonel," Newkirk said, "It went up only ten minutes ago."
Hogan nodded. "Yeah, I heard it. I was in my quarters." Then he grinned. "The dogs started barking like crazy. I think poor Schultz is still out there, trying to calm them down!"
The men all chuckled at that. Then Hogan said, "All right, why don't you get changed, and go on up to the barracks. You too, Kinch," he added, swiveling his head to look at the radioman, "I think we could all use some sleep."
"Yes, sir." Newkirk's reply was promptly echoed by Carter.
"Oui, mon Colonel," LeBeau responded.
"Oh, and fellas…" Hogan called out as the three of them started walking toward the changing area. They stopped and, when they turned their heads to look back at him, he smiled and said, "Good job."
The men nodded; then went over to where their uniforms were waiting for them and began to change; all three of them inwardly beaming from the praise.
Major Hochstetter was in a foul mood this morning. He'd barely arrived at his office, when he received a phone call from his superior that a train had been blown up the previous night in the vicinity of Stalag 13 – sabotaged, no doubt – and his superior was demanding that he find out who was behind it. He knew by the tone that his superior expected results; judging by the strong hint of a cold place that he, Hochstetter, would be visiting soon if he didn't get to the bottom of it.
Hochstetter sat at his desk and stewed. "I know it was you, Hogan!" he grumbled aloud, "And I'm going to prove it this time!" He continued to sit there, a frown permanently etched on his face. But, how? Oh, he knew what would happen. He would go to Stalag 13 to confront his nemesis; knowing he was right, knowing that Hogan was guilty, and yet, somehow, Hogan would manage to have an alibi, like he always did. There had to be something; something he could do, some way of either trapping Hogan into a confession, or finding irrefutable proof that the American colonel had been behind the sabotage in the area all along.
He picked up a stack of papers that had been left on his desk, and began pouring through them absently, while continuing to dwell on his current – and ongoing – problem. Something suddenly caught his eye, and he dropped the other papers; focusing on the one in his hand. He read through it several times; then a smile formed on his face and he reached for the phone.
"Put me through to General Burkhalter," Hochstetter said to his secretary. He waited as the connection was made, and was soon greeted by the General's voice.
"This is General Burkhalter."
"General, this is Major Hochstetter. I was wondering if I could set up a meeting with you this afternoon?"
"What is this about, Major?"
Hochstetter could hear the impatience in Burkhalter's voice. "General, there was another act of sabotage last night near Stalag 13 – "
"Yes, I know about that, Major."
"Sir, I believe Hogan is behind it – "
"You always believe Colonel Hogan is behind it! Get to the point, Major!"
Maybe if you would stop interrupting me! Hochstetter gritted his teeth, trying to keep his temper in check. "General, one of our scientists has developed a new drug that is supposed to, ah, persuade men to reveal secret information. I would like to use it on Hogan; I know I can get him to confess."
"Major, you know how I feel about my prisoners being drugged."
"That is why I want to set up a meeting with you and the scientist, Herr General. I'm sure if you see its effectiveness, you'll be willing to let me try it on Hogan."
There was a pause. "All right, Major, I'm willing to meet with you and this scientist. I was planning to visit Colonel Klink later this evening, anyway. But it will have to be at 1800 hours."
"That would be fine, Herr General." Hochstetter smiled as he hung up the phone. I'm going to get you, Hogan; one way or another!
At precisely 6:00 PM that evening, Burkhalter's car pulled up to the Gestapo Headquarters in Hammelburg. The General got out of the car and entered the building, where he was greeted by a very enthusiastic Hochstetter.
"Herr General, I'm glad you could make it," Hochstetter said, as pleasantly as possible.
"Yes, yes," Burkhalter grunted. "Let's get on with it, shall we?"
"Of course, General," Hochstetter replied, "Right this way." He gestured down the hall, and fell into step with Burkhalter as they walked down the hallway.
Hochstetter guided Burkhalter to the second last door on the right. He opened the door and stood aside to let the General enter first. Then he followed him inside and shut the door.
The man inside the room immediately stood up. He was a tall, thin fellow with a receding hairline and round, wire-rimmed glasses on his face, and he was wearing a white lab coat. He smiled as Burkhalter entered, greeting him warmly. "Herr General, what a pleasant surprise! We don't get many high-ranking visitors here."
Burkhalter glanced around the cluttered lab, and muttered with an undertone of sarcasm, "I can't imagine why not."
"Herr General, this is Heinrich Zimmer," Hochstetter introduced him. "He's one of the scientists who developed the drug."
"Very well, Herr Zimmer," Burkhalter said as he took a seat on one of the empty chairs near the wall, "Why don't you tell me about this drug you've developed."
"Well, sir," Zimmer began nervously, "We're still in the testing phase, but it looks promising so far."
"I thought you were having great success with it," Hochstetter remarked as he took a seat next to Burkhalter, "That is, according to the report I received."
"Well, you see," Zimmer replied, a slight tinge of red appearing on his cheeks, "The reports that we send out are usually a bit more, um, optimistic than what the results are showing."
"So, what can you tell us about this drug, Herr Zimmer?" Burkhalter asked curtly.
Zimmer took a seat opposite the two officers. "We're calling it XN-5 for now. That's the experimental designation." He glanced at the impatient faces in front of him, and hurriedly continued. "When administered to the subject, his initial reaction is to appear drunk; especially when the drug is mixed with a little alcohol."
"Go on," Burkhalter said.
Zimmer cleared his throat. "Well, then the subject experiences a strange sensation, and in most cases, suddenly becomes violent and paranoid."
"That's not what the report says," Hochstetter contradicted him. "It states that the subject becomes susceptible to suggestion."
"Ah, yes, the report does say that," Zimmer responded, tugging at his collar and looking even more uncomfortable, "Well, we, ah, got a little ahead of ourselves. The drug needs a lot more testing before it can be used as a reliable method of retrieving information. As it stands now, the subject usually becomes delusional, and thinks everyone is trying to kill him. It's led to some unfortunate injuries and deaths, as you can imagine."
Burkhalter nodded. "Yes, I can imagine," he said. Then he stood up and threw a glance at Hochstetter, indicating it was time to go. He turned his attention back to the scientist and stated, "Thank you for the information, Herr Zimmer. I hope you will be able to perfect the drug in the near future."
"What?" Hochstetter exclaimed, jumping to his feet, "You mean you're not going to let me use it on Hogan?"
"You heard Zimmer," Burkhalter replied tersely, "The drug is not ready."
"But, Herr General – "
"I said no!" Burkhalter shouted. Then he turned to Zimmer. "I hope you will inform me when the drug is working properly."
"Of course, Herr General! You will be the first to know!" Zimmer responded enthusiastically.
Hochstetter stood there, fuming. He was convinced the drug would work, despite what Zimmer said. While Burkhalter was talking to the scientist, he glanced around the room and spotted a few packets on a nearby table, each containing a small amount of a white, powdery substance. The label on the packets read, 'XN-5'. He glanced back at the two men and, when he saw they weren't looking, he grabbed one of the packets and stuffed it into his pocket. Then he waited for Burkhalter to exit the room, and followed after him.
As they were walking down the hall, Hochstetter stated determinedly, "I am still going to question Hogan about the train that was destroyed last night, Herr General. I am convinced he is behind it."
"Of course, Major," Burkhalter replied, "I understand; that's your job. I am afraid I don't share your conviction, however."
When they got outside, Burkhalter paused and turned to Hochstetter. "Tell you what, Major. I am on my way to visit Klink right now. Why don't you join me? Then you can ask Colonel Hogan your questions."
Hochstetter smiled. "That would be fine, Herr General."
The two men got into the back seat of Burkhalter's car, and the driver headed for Stalag 13.
Colonel Hogan was sitting at the long table in the common area of the barracks, playing gin with Newkirk, who was seated adjacent to him. LeBeau was cleaning up the dishes from the dinner they'd finished eating a short while ago, and Kinch was below in the tunnel, monitoring the radio. Carter had gone below as well; to tidy up his lab, and start getting explosives ready for the next time they'd need them.
Sergeant Olsen stood at the door, acting as lookout. As he was peering out into the compound, he saw a car drive in through the gate, approach Klink's office, and stop in front of it. The fact that it was a general's car didn't go unnoticed by him, and he immediately turned his head to look at Hogan and called out, "Klink's got a visitor – I think it's General Burkhalter, sir."
Newkirk frowned. "Burkhalter? Blimey, what's he doin' 'ere so late?"
Olsen saw Burkhalter exit the back seat of the car, and when the other occupant got out, he exclaimed, a little more nervously this time, "And Major Hochstetter's with him! Looks like they're headed for Klink's office."
Hogan raised his eyebrow. "Hochstetter? What does he want?"
"It might have something to do with that train we blew up last night, Colonel," LeBeau reminded him as he hung up the pot he'd just washed.
"Oh, yeah, that," Hogan muttered. He stood up from the table and eyed his men. "Well, there's one way to find out for sure," he announced; then headed for his quarters.
Newkirk and LeBeau followed him. By the time LeBeau closed the door, Hogan had the coffeepot receiver set up on his desk. Almost immediately they heard Klink's door open, and the Kommandant's voice.
"General Burkhalter! What a pleasant surprise! I wasn't expecting you this late."
"I know, Klink. I'm making an unscheduled visit. I have a few administrative questions to discuss with you."
LeBeau smirked. "He probably found out how much Klink has been paying for champagne, lately."
"Yes, of course, Herr General! Oh, and I see Major Hochstetter's with you."
"Yes, I am, Klink! And I have some questions for Colonel Hogan, regarding an act of sabotage that occurred near here last night."
"You were right, Louis," Newkirk said, glancing at the Frenchman.
"Certainly, Major Hochstetter! I'll have Sergeant Schultz go and get Colonel Hogan, and bring him here at once!"
"That's my cue," Hogan said, getting up from his chair by the desk and grabbing his crush cap from the top bunk, where he'd tossed it earlier.
"Now, wait a minute, Major, there's no reason we can't be comfortable. Klink, we can use your living quarters; perhaps even have some refreshment."
"I was just going to suggest that, Herr General!"
"I'm sure he was." LeBeau rolled his eyes.
"Colonel, we won't be able to listen in, if you're in Klink's quarters," Newkirk said, looking at him with concern. "What if he gives you trouble?"
"I wouldn't worry about that," Hogan answered reassuringly, "He's got nothing on us." He paused, appearing to think it over. "But, just in case," he said, looking at the Frenchman, "LeBeau, why don't you go down to the tunnel and let Kinch and Carter know what's going on. Then stay down there for a little while; if something happens, Newkirk can let you know to alert the other barracks."
"What about me, sir?" Newkirk asked.
Hogan put his hand on the Englishman's shoulder. "Newkirk, why don't you set up a card game with some of the guys out in the barracks? I want to keep things looking as normal as possible."
Newkirk still looked worried, but he nodded slightly and replied, "Yes, sir."
Hogan smiled at him and gave his shoulder a squeeze. "Trust me; everything's going to be fine."
Newkirk gave him a half-grin. "Well, since it's comin' from you, sir, I guess I can believe that."
Hogan chuckled. He dropped his hand and headed for the door to his quarters. As he grabbed the knob, he glanced back at his men. "Besides, with Burkhalter here, we'll probably just end up sitting around, drinking, anyway." He flashed them a big grin, and left the room.
Just as Hogan entered the main barracks, the outside door flew open and Schultz hurried in. He spotted the man he'd been sent to retrieve, and said loudly, "Colonel Hogan, you have to come with me right away. Colonel Klink wants to see you."
"Don't you mean Major Hochstetter?" Hogan asked.
A flash of worry appeared in Schultz's eyes, and quickly disappeared. "The Kommandant sent me to get you, Colonel Hogan. He didn't say why, and I didn't ask."
"That's all right, Schultz," Hogan replied calmly. He walked up and clapped the big sergeant on the shoulder. "Let's go." Then he headed out the door, followed closely by Schultz.
When they got to Klink's quarters, the Kommandant instructed Schultz to stand guard outside the door. As soon as Schultz left, Hogan looked at Klink innocently. "You wanted to see me, Kommandant?"
"Yes, I did, Hogan. Come in," Klink said, motioning for Hogan to follow him over to where Burkhalter and Hochstetter were already seated; each of them with a glass in hand.
"Colonel Hogan," Burkhalter said pleasantly, "Please, join us." He took a big sip of his drink, which appeared to be brandy, and gestured to the chair opposite of the couch where he was sitting.
"Thank you, General," Hogan replied, nodding politely and taking his seat. "And Major Hochstetter, what a pleasant surprise!" he added as he looked over at him.
"Yes, a very pleasant surprise," Hochstetter echoed, gritting his teeth slightly.
"Klink, I'm sure Colonel Hogan could use a drink," Burkhalter said, looking up at the Kommandant.
"No, allow me," Hochstetter offered, setting his drink down on the side table next to him and rising to his feet. "What would you like, Hogan?" he asked.
"Brandy's fine," Hogan replied, "Oh, on the rocks, if you don't mind."
Hochstetter nodded. The other three men looked at him curiously, but didn't comment. The Gestapo Major walked over to the table where the alcohol was kept, and grabbed a glass and a bottle of brandy. As he began to pour the brandy into the glass, he asked absently, "Do you have any ice, Klink?"
"Oh, yes, of course, Herr Major!" Klink replied; then hurried to the kitchen.
"So, tell me, Hogan, how have things been for you lately at Stalag 13?" Burkhalter asked while Klink scurried away.
"Oh, you know, General… Pretty boring, actually, but we make do."
Hochstetter quietly pulled the small packet of XN-5 from his pocket, and, when he was sure no one was looking, opened it and quickly poured the contents into the glass of brandy. Then he stuffed the now-empty packet back into his pocket and waited for Klink to return with the ice.
"So, it sounds like you spend most of your time playing cards," Burkhalter was saying when Klink finally reappeared with a full ice bucket. "That must get rather tedious, for a Colonel."
Hogan shrugged. "Like I said, General, we make do."
Hochstetter plunked a few ice cubes in the glass; then returned to join the conversation. He handed the glass to Hogan and sat down in his chair. "So, tell me, Hogan," he said, "Where were you last night?"
Hogan took a sip of his drink and looked at Hochstetter indifferently. "Same as every night, Major, in my quarters."
Hochstetter scrutinized him closely. "There was a train that blew up last night, Hogan. I don't suppose you know anything about that."
"Is that what that was?" Hogan asked curiously, "I thought I heard something last night." He stared at Hochstetter, nonchalantly taking another drink.
As the men sat and worked on their drinks, Hochstetter continued to grill Hogan, but the colonel evaded all of his questions. Hogan finished his drink fairly quickly, and ended up having another. Less than an hour into the visit, he started to act a bit funny, and began to slur his words.
"You know what your problem is?" Hogan asked Hochstetter, seemingly out of the blue, "You talk too much. I bet if you kept your mouth shut, you'd have a lot more friends."
Burkhalter chuckled. "He's right, Major. You would be wise to limit what you say."
"And you!" Hogan turned his attention to Burkhalter, "You would be wise to limit what you eat!"
Burkhalter's expression darkened. "You had better be very careful what you say next, Hogan."
"Oh, come on, sir!" Hogan responded loudly, "You're big enough to be your own country! I'm surprised Hitler hasn't sent you to Russia…you could conquer them all by yourself!"
Burkhalter slammed his drink down on the table and stood up. "That's enough, Hogan!" he shouted. Then he glanced over at Hochstetter and announced, "Let's go, Major, we're leaving."
"But, General, I still have some questions…"
"I don't care!" Burkhalter headed for the door, followed by a reluctant Hochstetter. The general turned to Klink and said, "The next time I visit, remind me not to invite Colonel Hogan; he obviously can't hold his liquor!" Then he stomped out of Klink's quarters and made a beeline for his car.
Hochstetter followed, wishing he could stay; he wanted to see what the drug would do, and if he could get any information out of Hogan. But he knew he couldn't; how would he explain it to General Burkhalter? Bah! I can't believe this is happening! He thought furiously; and then an idea struck him, and he inwardly smiled. Maybe I can't stay tonight, but I can come back tomorrow. He smiled as he got into Burkhalter's car; already planning to return first thing in the morning – to see what damage the drug had caused.