"MY DEAR FRIEND, SCHULTZ"

By Lien

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Chapter One

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Col. Robert Hogan was not very happy.  The underground had just delivered a message to him: their main radio contact-an allied submarine-had been sunk, leaving them without their passage across the channel.  The underground also gave them their next mission, to blow up an ammo dump approximately 30 km north of camp, and something about a polish scientist that they needed to smuggle across would be getting there in about three or four days.  Hogan put the scientist towards the back of his head that could wait until the man got there.  The ammo dump was more of a concern.  Blowing up ammo dumps was typically an easy job; unfortunately, they didn't have a way to arrange for someone to bring explosives into camp.  Still, the on-base munitions warehouse was easy enough to break into, considering where they were: Luft-stalag 13.

Hogan realized that he didn't need too many, if any explosives at all, since ammo contained gunpowder, which was explosive.  A nice fuse to set it all off was hard to find, though, and to get one that would suit his purposes, he would have to get something out of Klink.  On the way, he saw Sgt. Hans Schultz the fat guard who was mostly aware of what the prisoners were really up to, but he was really a pacifist with a love of strudel, as well as a nice guy to boot, he was easily manipulated into looking the other way after six months worth of persuasion and bribes.

"Hey Schultz, how's it going?"

"Bad.  Commandant Klink is in a bad mood again."

"Any ideas why?"

" Colonel, you should know by now that the Big Shot never tells me anything!"

"OK, Schultz.  Sure.  I'll just go pop in on him myself."

"I would NOT recommend that, Colonel Klink is REALLY getting violent with this one."

"Oh come on, how bad can it be?"

***

Fraulein Helga was finding out exactly how bad that Col. Klink's mood was.  The sound of screaming and flying books was the average indicator, and her headache indicated that it was one of the worst ones she had ever seen.  The Colonel had been at it for an hour now and was making so much noise that she almost expected the Gestapo to raid for Klink shouting something he shouldn't have, like a secret or something.  Therefore, she wasn't surprised when the door to the hut opened.

"Hi Helga.  Commandant available?" asked the calm and collected Col. Hogan.

"I wouldn't think so, he's in one of his states."

Hogan started nuzzling up to Helga.  "Any reason why?"

"Col. Hogan, please.  You think that a little nuzzle can get information out of me?"

"You're right."  Hogan started to kiss Helga on her neck and cheeks.

"Mmmmm.  Colonel Hogan, please.  This is the kind of thing that a girl can get shot for."

"Then we'll have to be careful, won't we?"  Hogan started to get even more physically romantic with Helga.

"Colonel, this is undignified for someone at your position."

"You're right, but war does strange things to some men."

"Especially you."

"Definitely me.  But down to business.  What's eating Klink?"

"Something in the mail.  Personal type letter, not something from the war department as usual.  It must have been something from someone distant, I couldn't recognize the handwriting."

"I'll go talk to him."

***

Col. Wilhelm Klink was in a perfectly good rage when he heard the knocking on the door.  "Go away!  I'm busy!"  He shouted, as he slumped down into his chair.  Hogan decided to walk in anyways.

"Too busy to hear our latest requests?"

"Denied."

"Isn't that a bit early for a decision?"

"Denied."

"Oh, what's wrong?  The iron Colonel being alloyed today?"

"Hogan, get out of my office."

"Yes, sir."  Said Hogan as he left.  *I wonder what's up with him* he though.

***

As Hogan entered the barracks, the usual suspects, aka the main players aka the central unit quickly gathered around him.

Newkirk quickly asked the obvious question: "So why's Klink in such a ruddy knot?"

Hogan gave the honest reply.  "I don't know.  All I know is that he got something in the mail.  What'd he get today?"

Sgt. Kinchloe gave the answer: "Our guy reading Klink's mail is out today-sick or something."

Hogan nodded.  The flu was in a strong force this year, and usually brought various people in their workforce out for a day or two.  Today, it happened to be their guy who read all of Klink's mail.  Because of this, they had no idea of what was eating Klink.  Still, they had an ammo dump to destroy.

Hogan turned to Sgt. Carter: "what do we have in way of explosives?"

The American man thought a bit and gave the data required: "about 1/4 kilo dynamite, 3 smoke bombs, a handful of fireworks, and 6 of Schultz's rifle clips."

Newkirk started doing a bit of number crunching.  "We ought to be able to put something usable together with that, col."

"Something usable, yes.  What we need, no.  That's nowhere near enough to get through the barrier to where the actual ammo is and where we'd have to plant the bomb is too far away.  What we need is more of a firebomb or something that can ignite the ammo that's there."

Carter instantly piped up: "we could build a tunnel.  It shouldn't take that long."

LeBeau smacked Carter upside on the head.  "Do you know how long it would take to tunnel 30 clicks?  It takes 2 days to tunnel across camp, and that's 500 meters!"

Hogan agreed.  "That would take almost 4 months to dig to.  We need this done fast.  The allies need to keep the artillery from shooting them down when they do bombing runs."

Newkirk added his 2 pence.  "Why not just blow up the guns?"

Hogan thought for a minute about the proposal and rejected it.  "They'd just ship the ammo somewhere else...somewhere else!  That's it!"  He snapped his fingers.  "We can take out the guns, and when the krauts are transferring the ammo, we can send the RAF {royal air force} on a bombing run."

Kinchloe ruined the moment.  "But we can't radio mama bear, remember?"

"Kinch, can the radio broadcast all the way on our own to London?"

"It can, but the connection'll be pretty bad.  About 1/3 of all transmissions will be lost."

Newkirk interjected a question: "Then how come we can pick up the BBC in crystal clearness?"

Hogan had the answer for that one.  "Because the transmission is reinforced through amplifying towers throughout Europe."

A brainstorm hit Kinch.  "Why don't we patch ourselves into a BBC transmitter, ten?"

Hogan accepted the plan, but added a warning.  "Just remember that the krauts will hear everything we transmit.  Remember to encode heavily."

"Yes, sir.  I'll get right on it."

This mission was looking like it was going to be a success after all.

***

The trek had been long ad dangerous.  It was bad enough trying to avoid civilization and having an irregular schedule, their next contact points were going to be hellish.  The first was a tavern in Hamilburg that was reported to be crawling with Gestapo agents on a nightly basis, and the next!  Oy!  The tavern, which was more a refuelling station than a real contact point was nothing.  The man had stopped on many like that before.  Unfortunately, after the tavern, he had to take a map and find the next point on his own.  Again, not a problem.  It was always better that underground members not meet each other so if they were captured, they could not recognize or identify their fellow resistance man.

As the man left the tavern, he could swear he was being set up but had to risk it.  He looked at the point on the map what his destination was.  Circled in red was a large prisoner of war camp!  If this were legitimate, it would be the greatest irony of the whole war!

***

LeBeau was still trying to figure it out.  He had been picked to escort the Polish Scientist into camp.  How come it always had to be him?  Why couldn't Newkirk or Kinch ever bring the escapees to camp?  He knew what would happen if Carter did it and could understand why that scenario would never happen: Carter would get lost on the way back to camp.  Making explosives, yes, he could do that.  Finding his way in the dark?  No.  While brooding, he saw the flashing light.  Two blinks.  Time to be the early welcome wagon.

***

The man sat facing the west and blinked his light.  "This is stupid!  I'm sitting out here flashing a beacon for them to come straight for me!" he thought.  He saw a figure in the shadows heading for him.  "They've found me!" he thought, and froze with panic.

"Professor Carlson?" asked a small French man.

"Yes, that's right.  Who are you?"

"Your underground contact.  Come on, I'll get you into the tunnel."

"Tunnel?"

"Yeah, you expect prisoners of war to just walk in and out of camp through the gate?"

"You mean you're a prisoner?"

"Sort of.  More like I'm stationed here.  Come on."

Come on.  The man had heard that many times.  He was brilliant, but not very mobile.  He followed, and after all he had seen, he wasn't really surprised to see the man open a tree trunk and hop down.  Sighing, he followed.

***

The tunnel wasn't really a tunnel-it was a series of tunnels!  They led all over underneath the forest, and the men!  Oy!  Allied soldiers everywhere working on various things, yet still scattered about.  Mostly enlisted men, none of them above sergeant.  Also, mostly American, with a few British, French, and the very rare Soviet working also.

"You're Prisoners?!' asked the man again, in disbelief.

"Yep.  Home sweet home."

"If you have all these tunnels, why don't you just escape?"

"Because our duty is to help other POW's out of Germany and back to England."

"Oh, I see.  Are you the one in charge?"

"No, they wanted an officer for that."

"Ok.  When will I get to meet him?"

"Now."

***

Cpl. LeBeau took the professor a bit further into the tunnel.  An American man was waiting for them.

"Dr. Carlson, I presume?"

"Yes, and you are?"

"Col. Robert E. Hogan, U.S. Army Air Corps."

"This is incredible, a prison camp?  Operating as a head quarters for sabotage and espionage?

"Yeah," LeBeau said, rolling his eyes, "I've been here for four years, and I still don't believe it."

"LeBeau!"  Hogan warned.  "I've got more important questions, Doctor, like why are the krauts after you?"

"This," the man held up his brief case, "this is the reason I was get out of Germany!"  He unclipped the case, and inside were a row of five wine bottles."

"Wine?"  LeBeau asked confused.  "What's so special about that?   Is it the Fuhrer's personal collection?"

"Inside these bottles, is a new substance, called Gabou-Throim G!  It's a new type of fuel source I've been working on."

"A new fuel source?  Makes sense," Hogan said, rubbing his chin.

"However, It's still in its infancy stage," Carlson said, "It's highly unstable, any sudden motion, like someone shaking it up, could cause it to explode!"  Both Hogan, and LeBeau backed off.  "Don't be alarmed gentlemen, it also needs to be exposed to air, for the chemical reaction needed to make it explode."

"Well, that's a relief," Hogan said.

***

Sgt. Schultz was not having a good day.  A double shift for guard duty, Big Shot Klink's most recent rage, and now a staff car entering carrying a Big Shot General.  To make it worse, Col. Hogan was pressuring for information and starting to come again.

"Hey Schultz.  What's the bigwig doing here?"

"How should I know?  They never tell me anything."

Hogan started waving a chocolate bar in front of Schultz's face.  "Really?"

Schultz's eyes started following the candy bar with great interest.  "CHOCOLATE!"

"And it's all yours if you tell me why Burkhalter's here."

"Please, I see nothing, I hear nothing, I KNOW NOTH - ING!"

"Really?"  Hogan pulled out another candy bar.

"Very well.  Big Shot Klink just got turned down for another promotion."

"What a surprise.  Explains the happenings of yesterday."

"And he apparently called General Burkhalter to challenge the decision."

"Just like Klink.  Now he'll buckle under pressure and look like more of an idiot than usual."  Hogan sighed.  "Looks like I'll have to go bail him out."  Hogan said as he started walking away.

"Col. Hogan?"

"Yes?"

"The chocolate."

"Oh, right, here."  Hogan admitted as he handed Schultz the prize.

***

Hogan always had to be careful when raiding Klink's office when company called, so he stopped in the barracks to listen in on Klink and Burkhalter through their tap into his office.

"How is our boy doing?"

"Not so good, col." Said Newkirk.  "Listen for yourself."

***

"Klink, how long have you been a Colonel?"

"12 years herr general."

"12 years Klink.  And if not for me, you would still be a corporal!"

"Yes mein general."

"Klink, there is a place where men rise with rank very quickly, you know."

"Really?  Where?"

***

In the barracks, Newkirk couldn't contain himself: "As if we don't know where that would be."

***

"The Russian Front!  And unless you want to go there, I'd suggest you stop wasting my time."

"Yes mein general."

"Of course, there is one other way..."

"Yes?"

"My sister is coming to visit me in a few days.  I want her to be very happy while she's here.  You will take her out, you will show her a good time, and if things turn out, there could be a rise in rank through marriage."

"Yes herr General."

***

"Burkhalter's sister.  Yuck.  I almost feel sorry for Klink."

"I agree, LeBeau.  Maybe it's not so smart for me to go."

***

Schultz had watched, as Hogan had retreated back to the barracks after hearing news of Burkhalter's arrival.  Why was that?  Every time some big shot from Berlin, or wherever arrived, Hogan would always head back to the barracks, which meant only one thing.

Monkey business was afoot.

Wiggling his moustache from side to side, he quietly tiptoed over to the barracks, and gently opened the door.  No one was about.  Schultz's eyes widened.  Could they have escaped?  They wouldn't do that to him, would they?  He narrowed his eyes, they would.

Perhaps they were in Colonel Hogan's office?  He walked over to the door that lead to Hogan's room, and opened it. 

Like the barracks, it too, was empty.  It was then, that he spied the brief case lying on Hogan's desk.  Brief case?  Since when did prisoners of war need a brief case?  Maybe they needed one to pack their clothes for a trip.  Shrugging, he turned around to leave.

TRIP!  PACK CLOTHES!! 

He spun around and rushed back over to the brief case, and opened it.  Wine bottles.  No clothes, no maps of the surrounding area, just wine bottles.  Wine bottles?

Suddenly, there was a sliding sound in the room outside.  Schultz turned around, and saw half of Hogan's head, coming up from out of one of the bottom bunks.  His eyes bulged, as he quickly closed the brief case, then grabbing it, he quickly tip-toed over to the window, and pushed it open, he tossed the case out, then proceeded to climb out.  He would have been successful, had his mid-section not weighed more than his legs, the end result had Schultz tumbling head first out the window, and landing flat on his back.

Snowflakes fountain up around him as he fell.  He got up, and clutched his back, moaning.

"Hey," he heard Col. Hogan ask, "Who left the barracks door open?"  Schultz quickly remembered what he was doing, and reaching into Hogan's office, closed the windows.  Then, picking up the brief case, his back reminding him of the fall as he bent down to pick it up, he then hurried away.

***

"You were the last one in here, Col." Carter said, "Didn't you close it?"  Hogan narrowed his eyes, as he looked at the open door.

"Yes, you're right, Carter," he said, "I did close it when I came in."  Hogan looked suspiciously around the room.  His bedroom door was open.  Frowning, he hurried over to his office, his troops following as he went.  Nothing was disturbed in his room, his window was still closed.

He was about to leave, when he saw that his desk was empty.  No brief case.  "Uh-oh!"  He said.

"Uh-oh what, Col?"  Newkirk asked.

"Uh-oh, as in the brief case is missing."  Hogan said, walking over to the empty spot on his desk.

"You mean the brief case containing the unstable fuel?"  Kinch asked.  Hogan looked around the room.

"The very same." 

"Col." LeBeau said, "If they find out what's inside that, they'll…"

"…They'll be asking a whole lot of dangerous questions, we can't afford to answer, yeah I know!"  Hogan looked over at his window.  It was un-latched.  He walked over, and pushed it open.  No one was in sight.  He looked left, then looked right, and looked directly down.

The others all gathered around the window, looking down.  Right there below them, was a large crater in the snow-covered ground.

"That's too large to be human," Newkirk said.

"Schultz!"  They all answered at the same time.

"Come on," Hogan said, rushing for the exit, "We'd better get to him before he opens that stuff."

***

Klink was busy moping in his office, when Schultz barrelled in.  "Schultz, go away, I'm not in the mode."

"Herr, Commandant," Schultz said, holding up the brief case, "Look what I found in Col. Hogan's room!"

"A brief case?"  Klink said, "You barge on in here showing me an old leather brief case?  Hah!  I have seen better ones than that coming back from the Russian Front!"

"Herr Commandant," Schultz repeated, "Take a look what's inside it!"  Schultz carefully placed it on the desk, and opened the case.

"Wine?"  Klink said, getting up out of his chair, "How did the prisoners get a hold of wine?  I thought I confiscated all the Red Cross wine packages?"  Schultz looked up at him, confused.  Klink realised his mistake and hastily covered it up.  "Uhh, only for inspection purposes, you never know what's in that stuff?"

"Wine, Herr Commandant?"  Schultz said.

"Poison Schultz," Klink answered, "They could very well be trying to poison me!"

"Who wouldn't," Schultz mutter, Klink flashed him a deadly look.  "I mean, who wouldn't attempt to try and kill you, the prisoners I mean, Herr Commandant, I mean, you are the most ruthless and strict Commandant in all of Germany!"

Klink stood tall and proud, "Yes, I am the most ruthless commandant, aren't I?"  He suddenly leaned closer to Schultz, his proud image vanishing fast than a chocolate bar in Schultz's hands.  "You really think they would try and kill me, do you?"   He stuttered.

Schultz shock his head, "Oh no, herr Commandant, they would never do such a thing to you, you have them quivering in their boots, herr Commandant!"

Klink nodded, standing tall once again.  "Yes, I do, don't I!"  He started to walk around to the front of his desk, "I've always said, that discipline comes from the most dedicated of officers, and there's no one more dedicated to the 3rd Rich than me!"

"Oh no, herr Commandant," Schultz agreed.   "Umm, herr commandant?"  Schultz said looking down, "what shall I do with these?"  He picked up one of the bottles.

"I think I shall have to keep them here, and take a vigorous examination of these, to test if they are in fact poison."  Klink said, picking up one of the bottles.  He then tried to pull the stopper out of the bottle, but it was wedged tight.

"Oh, here, herr commandant," Schultz said, taking the bottle from him, "Let me do that for you!"

"Thankyou Schultz," Klink said, "You know, it's nice to have a trust worthy reliable friend like you around."  Schultz looked up, and beamed with pride, his right hand saluted, while his left went to his side.

"Why, thankyou herr commandant," he said. 

Just then, the door to Klink's office burst open, and Hogan barged in.

"Hogan, what do you want?"  Hogan spotted the wine bottle in Schultz's hands.

"Schultz!"  He cried.

"Huh?"  Schultz spun around to face Hogan, however, the bottle in his hand, smashed on the desk, spilling its contence onto the floor.

"Schultz!"  Klink cried out, "You blundering oaf!  Look what you've done!"  All three of them, looked down at the mess on the floor, "And right on my new carpet, too!"  Klink moaned.

"Umm, herr commandant?"  Schultz muttered, "dose wine normally bubble like that?"  They all looked down to see the green liquid on the floor, it was bubbling, and popping, and a slight haze was rising.

"I've never seen wine do that before?"  Klink said, rubbing his chin.

"Ummm, gentlemen?"  Hogan said, putting his arms around both Klink and Schultz, he stared leading them away from the mess on the floor.

"What is it Hogan?"  Hogan continued smiling, as he talked calmly.

"If I were you, I'd be leaping outta the window, right about now."

"What?"  Klink said.  Hogan didn't answer as he tightened his grip on both of them, and rushed the window.  Both Klink and Schultz cried out in alarm and fear, as the glass window gave way under the combined weight of all of them, and they tumbled out into Klink's garden. 

KA – BOOOWWWWWWWAAAMMMMMM!!!!!!!

Wood, and snow rained down on them, as they huddled on the ground, Hogan covering both of them.  Alarms suddenly began to wail all over the camp, followed by the shouted orders of guards, and the pounding of feet.

Hogan looked up, when the debris had stopped raining.  The top half of Klink's office was missing, and a thick black smoke was steadily rising towards the sky.  Klink was already getting to his feet.

"Call out the fire squa ---!"  He started shouting, only to be knocked flat again, by the fire hose that started spraying the building.  Klink coughed, and spluttered.  Schultz was already on his feet, looking up at the missing roof.

"Wow!"  He muttered, "That's some wine!"

"Maybe it was expired?"  Hogan chuckled.  Schultz chuckled too.

"SCHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULTZ!!!!!"  Schultz winced.

"That doesn't sound good."  He moaned.  The both of them turned around, to see a soaking wet, and steaming mad, Klink.  "Yes, herr commandant?"  Schultz answered in a small voice.

"Look at what you've done to my office!"  He screamed.    "How am I going to explain this to General Burkhalter?!?"

"Tell him it was an allied bomb!"  Hogan said.

"He won't believe that!"  Klink roared.  "Schultz, you Dumkopf!  This is the last straw!  In fact, this is the final straw!"

"Don't they mean the same thing, Commandant?"  Hogan asked.

"Shut up, Hogan!"  Klink snapped.  He then turned back to Schultz.  "You've humiliated me for the last time!  I'm going to make sure you won't get another chance to kill me again!"

"You're going to demote me, herr commandant?"  Schultz stammered.

"Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!"  Klink said, his mode lighting up.  "I'm going to do something else."  He smiled evilly.  "I'm giving you a transfer.  Do you remember that little request you made last week?"  Schultz's eyes brighten up.

"You're going to transfer me to Paris?!"  He cried out happily.  Klink waved his finger in front of his face.

"You'll be getting a transfer all right," Klink said, then lowering his voice to a snarl, "But you'll be heading in the opposite direction!"  Both Hogan and Schultz looked shocked.

"You don't mean..."  Hogan cried out.


"Oh I do, my dear Hogan," Klink said.  "As of this time tomorrow, Sergeant Hans Schultz will be heading for the Russian Front!"  And with that, he did a 180-degree spin, and stormed off.