The men made it back to Stalag 13 for roll call at 2130 hours. Once they made it into the changing room, they all quickly changed out of their blacks and back into their Allied uniforms. They then set about cleaning the grease off their faces before heading back up into the barracks. In fact, no sooner had the lower bunk dropped over the tunnel opening, then the door opened and the large form of Sergeant Schultz waltzed inside announcing roll call.
"C'mon, Schultz," Hogan stated as he sat down at the table. "Have a heart. We're kinda tired."
"Huh," Schultz pointed out with a smirk and a twinkle in his eye. "You wouldn't be so tired, Colonel Hogan, if you weren't out with your monkey business."
"Monkey business, Schultzie?" asked Newkirk with an amused grin. "I don't see any monkeys here, do you?"
"Hey," Carter said excitedly from his position on his bunk. "Maybe Freddie's back! He's a monkey isn't he?"(1)
"Chimpanzee, Carter," Newkirk corrected. "Freddie would be very insulted if you called him a monkey."
"Never mind monkeys or chimpanzees!" Schultz bellowed. "Everybody outside for roll call now! Schnell!"
The men passed by Schultz and out into the cool night air mumbling with Hogan bringing up the rear. He paused in the doorway and looked innocently at the guard. "I don't know why you're upset. You brought it up to begin with."
Schultz groaned and rolled his eyes. "Please, Colonel Hogan. The Kommandant is not in a very happy mood after the last few days."
"Well, that's not my fault."
Schultz put his hands together as if in prayer. "Please, Colonel Hogan. Be a nice fellow and join your men outside for roll call. Pretty please?"
"All right, I'll do it just for you," Hogan replied looking innocently at the large man. "Besides, I can't stand to see a fat man cry." The Colonel strolled outside and took his place in the front line of the formation beside Newkirk and in front of Kinch.
Roll call, mercifully, was short, and the men trudged back inside the barracks. Hogan poured himself a cup of hot coffee and sat down while Newkirk broke out his cards and managed to coerce Kinch into a game of gin. LeBeau sat at the table writing a letter while Carter sat up on his bunk, his knees drawn up reading a paperback book he had borrowed. Despite their exhaustion, none of them would be able to sleep until hearing from London.
Hogan looked at his watch. It was nearing ten o'clock. The earliest they could hear from London would be around midnight. He knew Baker was monitoring the radio with orders to let them know the minute he heard anything. Hogan sighed as he took a drink of coffee and watched Kinch and Newkirk play cards. "Kinch," he said. "Tomorrow after breakfast, I want permanent repairs to begin on that antenna. Pull whoever you need to help you with the repair job."
"Right, Colonel," Kinch responded with a glance at his commanding officer, his eyes narrowed with concern. "Colonel, you all right? You seem kinda down. Maybe you should lay down in your quarters and rest. We'll let you know the moment we hear from London."
"Kinch is right, Gov'nor. You look beat."
LeBeau looked up from his letter, and Carter glanced over. They both looked at Hogan with concern.
"I'm fine. Just tired. It's been a long night and it isn't over yet. Besides, if I lay down I'll just get up again and start pacing, so I might as well stay where I am." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Newkirk and Kinch watching him trying not to be obvious. He knew the men were worried about him especially after tonight, but he had a lot on his mind that only he could deal with hopefully.
"I became more than a sympathizer, Hogan. I believed in what Hitler was preaching. In fact, after joining the military and being stationed in England, I continued attending meetings of the German underground with my girlfriend who was already a member."
Where had he gone wrong with Wylie? How had he missed the signs? Hogan had always prided himself on knowing when the men under him had problems, or that something was wrong and find a way to deal with it before it became a problem. But he missed this entirely. Am I to blame for Wylie becoming what he became in the end? Hogan thought to himself. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. His head was starting to pound. "I failed one of my men," he told himself. "I failed him in the worst possible way. Was Wylie right? Was I that self-absorbed that I didn't see what was happening right in front of me?"
"Colonel?" a British voice spoke. Hogan opened his eyes and looked at Newkirk who was staring right at him.
"What?" Hogan asked taking a drink of coffee.
"Sir, you still aren't thinking about that bloody bastard, are you?" the Englander asked. "He ain't worth it." Hogan's silence caused Newkirk even more distress and Newkirk knew why. "Gov'nor?"
"Drop it, Newkirk. I said I'm fine," Hogan replied more harshly then he intended. He remembered Newkirk telling him he had heard part of the conversation, and he wasn't in the mood to go into things.
"You aren't the big hotshot you think you are! You're nothing! That's why you lost your last command!"
Hogan had to admit he hadn't thought about the bombing mission in which he'd been shot down in quite awhile. On that mission he had lost nearly half of his crew in his own plane, and had lost about ten planes out of the entire squadron and had no idea what happened to those men. Were they alive? Were they dead? Had they been captured? "Was Wylie right about that too?" he asked himself. "Again, was I so cocky and arrogant that I didn't think anything could get to me and lead my crew into disaster in the end? Was my arrogance the reason they died? Will it be the reason I might lose this command? Am I being reckless again?" Hogan closed his eyes again and massaged his forehead. He felt the pounding intensify.
"After I arrive in England, I intend to contact the German underground there and have them pass on the information I have on you to Major Hochstetter."
Oh, God! This troubled Hogan more than anything. He knew there were spies in London and some even in headquarters in London. If Wylie somehow managed to talk to one of the spies there…
Opening his tired eyes, Hogan found himself looking into the worried green ones of Newkirk again. However, Hogan didn't want to be coddled or handled with kid gloves like a child either. Finishing his coffee, he got to his feet. "I think I'll lie down for awhile. Somebody come and get me when word comes in from London."
"Right, sir," Newkirk replied as he, Kinch, LeBeau and Carter all watched Hogan walk inside his quarters and close the door. After a few minutes, Newkirk tossed his cards on the table and started to his feet.
"Where are you going?" asked Kinch, suspecting he knew the answer.
"I'm gonna have a talk with the Gov'nor."
"I don't think you should," LeBeau suggested. "The Colonel looked kind of down to me. Something is definitely bothering him."
Carter looked at his best friend. "He's probably upset about one of the men he served with in England turning traitor. I know that would bother me."
Newkirk shrugged. "You could be right, mate," he lied. He knew exactly what was wrong but didn't want to hint to Carter how close he had come. Afterall, he would never betray his Colonel's confidence. Quietly, he walked toward the smaller room and hesitated outside Hogan's room. Taking a deep breath, Newkirk knocked on the door.
Kinch, Carter and LeBeau watched Newkirk open the door and go inside, closing the door behind him. They looked at each other.
"I think Pierre knows what is troubling the Colonel," said LeBeau. "But why wouldn't he tell us so we can help Colonel Hogan also? He's not the only one who cares about him."
"Newkirk knows that, Louie," Kinch explained with a weary sigh. He thought he had an idea what was bothering the Colonel. It was what Wylie had said to them on the plane about the German underground. Kinch had seen the look of fear in the Colonel's eyes and immediately knew. "And whatever it is Newkirk apparently knows, he is respecting Colonel Hogan's privacy which is what we should do and wait until the Colonel is ready to tell us."
When Newkirk quietly entered Hogan's quarters, he spotted the Colonel stretched out on his back on the lower bunk; an arm draped across his eyes. He closed the door and leaned his back against it, waiting.
"Colonel?" he finally said.
"Not now, Newkirk. I really don't feel like talking right now," Hogan replied not moving his arm.
"That's all right, sir," Newkirk slowly walked across the room to the desk, grabbed the chair and turning it around, placed it beside the bed so he could face the Colonel. He straddled the chair resting his arms across the back. "You don't have to say anything, just listen is all." He licked his lips before organizing his thoughts. "First off, sir, I didn't just hear part of the conversation between you and that bloke in the tunnels. I heard the entire thing."
After a few moments, Hogan raised his arm just a bit, uncovering his eyes and looked at the Englander who sat quietly. "What do you mean you heard everything?" he asked warily.
"Exactly what I said, sir. I heard the entire conversation."
Hogan dropped his arm over his eyes again and sighed. "I really don't want to talk about it."
"Well, sir, you don't have to. Like I said, I'll do the talkin' and you do the listenin'. Think you can do that?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Not really, sir, no." Newkirk paused to collect himself before continuing. "Y'see, Gov'nor, when I was a much younger lad, I had this chap who was me best mate. His name was Roger Hornsbee. Nice enough bloke except for one problem that drove me insane. His problem was always wanting to be different from the other blokes we hung around with. Sort of, as you Yanks put it, marching to the beat of a different drum. Anyway, as we got older, things became really dicey because the war was breakin' out and London was gettin' hammered. So me and me other mates joined the RAF to fight for jolly ole England and tried to convince Roger to join as well. But see, Roger had a different idea. What none of us knew was that Roger had secretly been attendin' pro-Hitler rallies. Became a real Nazi sympathizer he did. Nothing me or any of our mates said could sway 'im."
"What happened to Roger?" asked Hogan still not moving.
Newkirk sighed. "Well, sir. To the best of me knowledge ole Roger was killed by some local blokes because he started spewin' some of his pro-Nazi rubbish to some pro-England chaps and they didn't take too kindly to one of their own turnin' Nazi on 'em. What I'm tryin' to get across to you, Gov'nor, is that nothing me or any of me mates tried could change or stop how Roger was thinkin' or actin' any more than you could Wylie, and we knew what Roger was doing. You had no idea whatsoever. And believe me when I say I think I know you well enough to say that if you had known, you would have done something about it." Newkirk paused just then and waited. Sure enough, Hogan uncovered his eyes and slowly pulled himself up into a sitting position. He studied the Englander's face and saw the sincerity in his green eyes.
"I appreciate what you're trying to do, I really do. But the fact of the matter is I became too confident and too cocky thinking nothing could touch me or those under me. And those two things cost me many men from my first command. I took too much for granted. But what scares me the most is that I continually risk lives with my cockiness thinking nothing can touch us. It isn't right to risk all your lives because I can't see the forest for the trees as they say."
"Gov'nor, will you listen to yourself? You're beginning to sound like a new recruit who just got his first command. Are you cocky? Definitely. Are you confident? Without a doubt. But that's what makes you who you are. It's that combination that makes you able to deal with the hand you've currently been dealt. It makes you unique. And I'll tell you something else. If you weren't, none of us would follow you into hell and back. What I mean, Colonel, is that we couldn't follow a leader who has no confidence and isn't at least a bit cocky. And you inspire that same confidence and cockiness in all of us. In other words, Gov'nor, we trust you in every way no matter how crazy your schemes may be. I mean, every time we leave camp on a mission, there's a chance it could be our last. But that's got nothing to do with you. Even if we were caught and faced death, none of us would have any regrets. You always prepare for all eventualities, but Colonel, you have to remember there are just some things you have no bloody control over. So don't let that bloody bastard cause you to start doubtin' yourself, because if you do, then you're no longer the man we trust and will follow even if it means to our own deaths."
Hogan bowed his head and shook it. Up until just now he was concerned that he was leading his current team down the same path as his first command: a path heading for disaster and death. But these men had faith in him; an unshakable faith that he would get them through the stickiest of situations. Exhaling deeply, Hogan swung his legs over the edge of his bunk resting his feet on the floor. He then looked at his British Corporal.
"Thanks, Newkirk. But tell me something. Did you really have a friend named Roger Hornsbee?"
Newkirk smirked deviously. "Maybe I did, sir, and maybe I didn't."
Hogan chuckled as the corners of his mouth curled upward causing him to hear Newkirk chuckle as well. He also saw a twinkle in his Corporal's eyes. Letting out a deep breath, Hogan pushed himself up from the bunk and leaning against the bed frame, wrapped his arms around himself.
"Something tells me you're still troubled by something, Colonel," Newkirk said watching Hogan shake his head. "Want to talk about it?"
"It's something Wylie said to us on the plane that has me worried."
"He said a lot of things. Any one thing in particular?"
"Yeah. The part where he said when he returned to England he was gonna pass on information to the German underground to give to Hochstetter."
Newkirk shrugged his shoulders. "So what? He won't get the chance to make contact seein' as he'll be locked up in solitary before facing execution."
"But see, that's just the thing," Hogan replied, worried. "We know there are German spies in London and we know of at least one that we exposed who worked in Allied headquarters in London during that Freitag business. And where there's one, there could be others. All Wylie has to do is make contact with just one of them, and we'll all be in front of a firing squad."(2)
"But how are we gonna stop 'im? I mean, he's in London and we're here."
Suddenly a smirk appeared on Hogan's face and a familiar twinkle in his brown eyes. "That's it," he said snapping his fingers.
"We let him talk to a German underground agent working in Allied headquarters." He started towards the door of his quarters excitedly.
"Colonel, you've gone barmy!" Newkirk exclaimed jumping up from the chair to catch up with the Colonel. "You want Wylie to talk with a German spy about us? You feelin' all right, sir?"
Hogan smiled. "I'm feeling fine. And who's to say he's gonna be talking to a real German spy?" Opening his door, Hogan strode out confidently with Newkirk right behind him still wondering what the Colonel was up to. Hogan continued walking until he found himself beside the double bunk. He slapped the hidden mechanism and waited as the lower bunk rose and the ladder dropped. He then climbed down while Newkirk stood beside the table with the others watching everything.
"Is the Colonel all right? asked a still worried LeBeau of his friend.
Newkirk stuffed his hands in his pants pockets and glanced at Kinch. One look at the radioman's face and Newkirk knew that Kinch had figured it out.
"I'm not sure," was all he could say right now to LeBeau's question.
Baker was seated at the radio with the headset on his head reading a magazine. He looked up when he heard the sound of racing footsteps getting closer. He put aside the magazine when Colonel Hogan came into view.
"It's too early to have heard from London yet, sir," Baker told him.
"I know that," Hogan said. "I need you to contact headquarters and ask for General Butler. Tell them it's urgent. Use the emergency frequency."
"Yes, sir." Baker didn't ask any questions as he switched the channel to their emergency wavelength.
"Papa Bear to Goldilocks. Papa Bear to Goldilocks. Come in Goldilocks. Come in."
"This is Goldilocks, Papa Bear."
"Stand by for Papa Bear, Goldilocks."
Baker quickly handed Hogan the headset and watched as Hogan removed his crush cap and adjusted the headset. "This is Papa Bear, Goldilocks. I need to speak with General Butler. Urgent."
"Stand by for General Butler, Papa Bear."
Hogan only had to wait a few short minutes before he heard the voice of his commanding officer.
"This is General Butler, Colonel. The courier plane hasn't arrived yet if that's why you're calling. It's too soon."
"I know, sir. But what I have to discuss is related to Captain Wylie. Seems the good Captain has threatened to get in touch with the German underground and spill everything he knows about our operation. And since we had a problem with a previous German agent when dealing with Freitag, we don't need a repeat performance."
"Agreed. Sounds like you have a plan in mind, Colonel."
"I do, sir. I seriously doubt Wylie would know any German underground operatives who might be working in headquarters, so we might be able to use that to our advantage if we can convince him to speak with one of ours believing him to be a German agent. Can do, General?"
"Can do, Colonel. And I know just who we can use. Colonel Wembley speaks fluent German and has done this before. He's perfect for the task."
Hogan smirked. "Thanks, General. Let us know the results, will you? I'm gonna be on pins and needles here until then. Papa Bear out."
(1) Freddie is from the episode Monkey Business, Season 3.
(2) Is from the episode Two Nazis For The Price of One, Season 3.