This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any actual resemblance to persons or historical persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The Hogan's Heroes characters, settings, locales, ect. are owned by other entities who have not endorsed this fic nor have they given permission for their use. Author makes no claims to these characters and is not making any profit off their use.

All original characters are the property of the author.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the author or any legally assigned agents of the author.

Copyright: 2003. Lisa Philbrick

 

Berlin, Germany
January 25, 1944

Angus Marsden stood under the awning of the clock maker's shop and watched as the snow fell under the light of the nearby street lamp. The light, fluffy flakes were briefly illuminated as they passed by the glow of the lamp and then disappeared into the surrounding darkness. The snowfall offered a small moment of peace and tranquility in the eye of the hurricane that was known as the Third Reich. Angus adjusted his collar, turning it up, to keep the snow from falling on the back of his neck and stepped out from under the awning of the shop.

He walked purposely down the sidewalk, his hands shoved into the pockets of his dark coat, eyes slightly downcast. No one gave him so much as a second glance. He looked like an everyday German shopkeeper who was on his way home for the evening. But Angus wasn't an everyday German shopkeeper. Angus Marsden was a spy.

One of the single most dangerous weapons against the Nazi's was the operation of the Underground, a network of brave, unselfish individuals whose common goal was to seek out any and all information that would help the Allies in the fight against Hitler. The Underground was a secret army that collected information quietly, sabotaged whatever they could, and acted as the eyes and ears during the preplanning stages of most Allied bombing raids. Angus Marsden headed up a small band of anti-Nazi Germans in the heart of Berlin. They lived by the edge of the sword in a city blanketed by swastikas and patrolled by faceless, heartless men in black uniforms known the world over simply as, The Gestapo.

In the eleven years since Hitler came to power and especially in the last five years, since ordering German tanks to roll into Poland, Marsden had come to hate everything he saw in his native Berlin. The radio conveyed all of Hitler's tirades, played music that no one could dance to and had announcers telling the population Germany was winning the war. And the red and black flags with the swastika waved in the breeze from nearly every building, oblivious to the hatred and lies that had stained the city and country.

The only thing that gave Marsden any joy or hope, was knowing that the Nazi's were loosing. Badly. Although he cried for his country, he knew that loosing the war was the only way to end the nightmare. Germany would rise again someday, stronger and a better place to live. Maybe he wouldn't be around to see it, but he believed it would happen.

Angus walked for a block until he came to a pub. He went inside the already crowded establishment, nodding and smiling at familiar faces. German folk music struggled to be heard above the din of conversations. A table full of German officers laughed and drank, making them the most boisterous patrons in the establishment. Other officers were seated with civilians, mostly young women. Angus noted that most of the officers were of the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe. He was about to breathe a sigh of relief when the daunting black uniform of a Gestapo officer caught his eye.

As daunting as the uniform may have been, the man wearing it was not. Angus watched the man drink his beer and then laugh with the others he was seated with. The beer stein went down on the table with a clunk and the Gestapo officer pointed his finger at one of his companions to emphasize his point as he continued to laugh.

Keep laughing and drinking, Angus thought bitterly. You will have little to be laughing and drinking about soon enough...

Angus headed toward the bar and was greeted by the bartender.

"Is it that time?"

Angus nodded to the cryptic question. "That it is."

The bartender fixed a shot of scotch and placed it before Angus. As Angus took a drink, the bartender spoke. "Gentleman by the front window was looking for you earlier."

Angus turned to look. A well dressed man sat alone at the table reading a newspaper. Angus noted by the headline on the front that it was the paper from the day before. That was his clue that this was the contact he was to meet with. He turned back to the bartender and nodded. "I was expecting him."

The bartender nodded. Angus turned and walked over to the table. He removed his hat and sat down. The other man didn't look up from his paper.

Angus studied the man for a moment before speaking. "There's not enough ice on the Rhein."

The paper rustled and was gently laid upon the table. The man looked at Angus. "It is too dangerous to cross anyway," he replied.

"Herr Weisburg," Angus said.

The man nodded. "Herr Marsden, I thank you for meeting with me."

Marsden placed his hat on the table near Weisburg's newspaper. "Your message indicated you had sensitive information?"

Weisburg nodded. "Troop movements. Information that may help the Allies to end the war sooner than they think." Weisburg looked around the pub at the happy-go-lucky German officers. "I cannot discuss it here, however. There are too many...ears that may hear."

Angus nodded. "Of course." He picked up his hat. "I figured this would be too public. I have the others waiting at a place where we can discuss this." Angus stood up and Weisburg followed. The newspaper was left behind.

Marsden led Weisburg through the snow filled streets of Berlin, down an alley, behind a building and down a narrow, dimly lit stairwell. Waiting for them were four men, one of whom hurriedly closed the door once Marsden and Weisburg were inside the small room.

"Were you followed?"

"No," Marsden replied.

The man nodded and came to the middle of the room with the others to meet Weisburg who looked at Marsden with a smile.
"You run a small, efficient group here, Herr Marsden."

Marsden smiled. "I have learned that with running an intelligence unit out of Berlin, less is more."

Weisburg smiled. He unbuttoned his coat casually and to the shock of The Underground members removed a Gestapo issued Luger, with silencer, a split second later. "But it isn't enough, Herr Marsden."

It took Marsden a moment to realize something had gone wrong. "What--what is this??" he stammered, staring at the gun.

"I am Lt. Weisburg of the Gestapo--"

Upon hearing the word Gestapo the room suddenly came alive with action. Two of Marsden's men lunged toward Weisburg and the Lieutenant turned the Luger towards one taking the man down. The second man grabbed Weisburg and tried to throw him bodily to the floor. Weisburg fought off the man, keeping a tight grip on his gun and made no hesitation to use it. Marsden hadn't even realized his men had been shot until he saw the string of smoke from Weisburg's gun. The other two men just stood frozen, looking down at their confederates who made no movement on the floor.

Weisburg turned the gun toward Marsden. "Unless you want your wife and children to suffer the same fate, Herr Marsden, I suggest you cooperate."

"My wife--"

"Is being held, along with your children. If you choose not to cooperate, I make no guarantees as to what will...or will not... happen to her."

"I don't believe you."

"Don't you? Call her."

Marsden hesitated. Although he understood the danger of his work, as did his family, he always took steps to keep them as safe as possible. But now, despite every possible step he could have taken to prevent this, something had gone terribly wrong. His wife and young children were possibly being held by the Gestapo. Maybe they were already dead. If that were the case, and if Weisburg wanted to take Marsden out, the Gestapo officer would be taking the same trip.

"Call her, Herr Marsden."

Slowly, Angus turned toward the telephone. Keeping an eye on the Gestapo agent, he dialed the number. It rang, more times than Angus liked. When it stopped it wasn't his wife who answered. It was a man's voice. Gruff. Clipped. Gestapo.

"Let me speak to Gisela."

Muffled voices. The man gave instructions of some kind before turning the phone over to Gisela.

"Angus?"

"Gisela, are you okay?"

A voice in the background, commanding, reminding.

"I am okay, Angus. The children are okay." The phone was suddenly taken away from Gisela.

"And they will remain so, as long as you do as you are told," the man said.

"Now listen here--"

"Herr Marsden, there is nothing you can say that will change the situation." There was a soft sinister chuckle. "Heil Hitler..." The phone went dead.

Marsden looked at the receiver and then slammed it down. He glared at Weisburg.

"Do we have an understanding, Herr Marsden?"

Angus looked at his remaining men. They nodded slightly. They had no choice. Their own deaths to prevent the Gestapo from doing whatever it had planned was a consequence they were willing to accept. But for innocents, especially Marsden's children, to be killed, they would not defy the Gestapo even though no true promise of their safety had been made.

"All right," Marsden said. "What is it The Gestapo wants?"

Weisburg smiled. "Simple." He removed a paper from his coat and handed it to Marsden. "Give this information to your contacts in London."

Angus read the sheet and then looked at Weisburg, beyond perplexed. "All this," he said, glancing at his fallen comrades, "to tarnish a Royal Air Force pilot?"

Weisburg smirked. "All this to bring an end to The Underground, Herr Marsden."


Dusseldorf, Germany
Gestapo Headquarters
January 26, 1944

Major Wolfgang Hochstetter sat at his desk in his cramped office, hunched over paper work. He hated paper work more or less because it ended up in an unorganized disarray upon his desk. He had no secretary and was not always fortunate to get one of the rottenfuhrers (corporals) to type up his reports for him, if and when he decided to bother with typing them up. The tightening of the budget as a result of the war left personnel and equipment scarce commodities. One of the last functioning typewriters in the building had and 'e' and a 'b' that didn't always work and an ink ribbon that was nearly to the point of non existent when a letter struck the paper. Many of the officers had resorted to hand writing their final reports, figuring somebody would have about as much trouble deciphering their hand writing as the faint letters on a typed page.

Despite the dire working conditions, Hochstetter didn't mind. Happily he paused, rereading what he had written so far of his preliminary report. He smoothed a finger over his thin mustache, his eyes permanently narrowed in the expression of suspicion, a look he placed upon everything and anything he came into contact with on a daily basis. Behind his dark eyes of suspicion, however, was a touch of elation. When he finished reading, he glanced over at the clock on the wall. He was waiting impatiently for the phone to ring. The completion of his report and further work on this assignment rested on the news that would come with that call.

He glanced at the phone, partially buried by a few stray pieces of paper. He grabbed them up, found they were previous drafts of his report and proceeded to deposit them into the waste basket. With a restless sigh, the Major stood up and paced over to the frosty window and looked out on the town of Dusseldorf. The previous night's storm left had nearly four inches of snow on the ground, blanketing the town in soft white purity, with the sky threatening to deliver more. Stray flurries began to pass by the window and the horizon was as gray as the hull of a battleship. Hochstetter looked down to the street below, noting the black staff cars lined up along the curb, their small red and black flags barely moving with the wisp of the breeze.

Just below him, the Nazi symbol began to lift but the wind wasn't strong enough to completely unfurl the Swastika out. The red flag was a harsh contrast to the black, gray and white of the town, but it reminded Hochstetter of his current assignment and a small smile crept across his face. For the past two years, he had had suspicions about a certain faction of the Allied Underground operating in Hamelburg. Finding a file that had documentation confirming his suspicions was a god send. It was unfortunate that the file had originally been put together for the sole purpose of blackmail, instead of attempting to disable this faction. Apparently the diamonds Major Hegel received, which turned out to be fake, were worth more to him than the honor and glory of the Fatherland. Hochstetter didn't really care about Hegel's obvious greed. He had collected and documented enough information that if used properly, could put an end to the entire Allied Underground operation. And Hochstetter would receive the honor and glory of the Fatherland.

He was nearly giddy about it. His commanders jumped at the news, immediately suggesting a full scale raid. But Hochstetter disagreed and shared an alternate plan, one he felt would be more successful. And more fun to watch as the Underground scrambled under the crush of the Gestapo and all of Germany.

His commanders were skeptical, but agreed to let Hochstetter initiate the first phase of the plan. Now, however, he had to wait for the phone to ring before initiating the next phase.

He turned away from the window and stepped back toward his desk. It was still cluttered and the phone had not yet rung. He thought momentarily that maybe the first part had not been successful, that his man in Berlin didn't get in. Although there was no greater risk involved in this element of the plan, the entire operation depended on it’s success. If his man in Berlin failed, there was no way to implement the rest of it and with each passing moment that the phone didn't ring, a full fledged raid was looking like the better option.

Hochstetter sighed impatiently and stepped back behind his desk, pulling the black jacket of his uniform straight before sitting down. He picked up his pen and began to read his report again.

The phone rang. The Major's heart jumped and he had to stop himself from answering to eagerly. A second and a third ring of the phone gave him a moment to keep calm.

"Hochstetter speaking, Heil Hitler." As he listened he stared at the portrait of the Furhrer on the wall across the office. He dropped his gaze and smirked.

"Excellent," the Major said. "Continue as planned. Make sure that all information is filtered through the proper channels. Ja. Heil Hitler..."

Hochstetter hung up the phone with a victorious smile. He looked down at his report, which would now be complete. But there was still much to do...

 

Stalag 13, Barracks #2
January 29th, 1944

Down in the cold and damp tunnel that ran underneath the barracks of Stalag 13, Sgt. James Kinchloe finished writing the message down and then closed the radio communication channel with London. He turned toward the closest oil lamp and reread the message a few times, finding it hard to believe. He had had London repeat it three times just to make sure that what his ears were hearing was correct. Some how it just didn't seem possible.

He sighed and put the microphone and ear piece down. He folded the note and tucked it into the pocket of his faded green army jacket. The Colonel would have to be briefed immediately. Despite Kinch's disbelief at the message, it was to be taken seriously nonetheless.

Up in the barracks, the bottom bunk, that hid the entrance to the emergency tunnel suddenly clattered open, drawing the attention of the prisoners seated at the wooden table near by away from their poker cards. The mattress lifted up and the bottom slats of the bed went down into the tunnel entrance becoming a ladder.

Senior POW officer Colonel Robert Hogan, US Army Air Corps, stood up from the table. "What is it, Kinch?" he asked as his Sergeant emerged from the tunnel.

"Trouble," the sergeant replied. He climbed out, slapped the top bunk which brought the slats back up and returned the mattress to it's original position. He handed the folded paper to Hogan. "Message from London."

Hogan took the paper and read the short message: Recent information from Berlin is suggesting that RAF Corporal Peter Newkirk is suspected of treason against the Allies. This matter is to be dealt with accordingly.

Hogan stared at the message and then looked at Kinch, dumbfounded. "Are they serious?"

"I had them repeat it several times."

"What is it, Colonel?" Army Air Corps. Sgt. Andrew Carter asked. Other prisoners began to gather around, detecting something was up.

Hogan folded the paper. "It's exactly what Kinch said. Trouble."

"Is it orders for a mission, sir?" French Army Corporal Louis Lebeau asked.

Hogan shook his head. "Not quite." He glanced at Kinch. "We'll wait until Newkirk's back before we discuss this further."

Kinch nodded. "Yes sir."

Hogan headed toward his quarters, carefully tucking the message into the pocket of his brown leather bomber jacket. They gotta be wrong...


Hamelburg, Germany
January 29, 1944

Meanwhile, Royal Air Force Corporal Peter Newkirk, was sitting in a beer hall in Hamelburg dressed as a Luftwaffe pilot of the same rank. He sat alone, staring either out the window at the setting sun reflecting in the snow or down at his half empty beer stein. Occasionally he glanced up to see Serilda, the German-American brown haired waitress who had served him, as she had done several times before. Serilda was an Underground contact and they had been exchanging information for close to three months now. If anybody had noticed them, they would think they were no more than lovers having a rendezvous; a chance to see one another in the midst of war knowing perhaps they would never see each other again.

In the last week or so, Peter had sometimes felt that way. He was not immune to her attractiveness. She was easy on the eyes, her looks neither plain nor exotic. Her eyes were a dark hazel color, almost blue but not quite. He liked to just sit and watch her. When she spoke, he listened. Her German was flawless, but when she spoke English he liked it all the better. Unfortunately, she didn't seem to look at him the same way.

Serilda took her assignment in the Underground very seriously. She put on a good show, standing close to him, touching his hand, looking at him with that look that drove him crazy, usually all the while she was slipping a piece of paper with instructions on it into the pocket of his Luftwaffe uniform. She treated him like a good friend when they parted ways, but Peter couldn't find a way to curb the ache in his heart for her.

He had debated about telling her how he felt, but was sure that would have been fruitless. He knew she was resolute about her position in the Underground. To her, things were too important, too serious, too dangerous to let something like love get in the way. There was a war going on after all. And although an American by birth, she was of German decent and felt a sense of patriotism in the call to obliterate the Nazi influence from Germany.

So Peter's heart still ached and no matter what, he couldn't convince himself to let go of his feelings for her. He took comfort in being near her and was miserable when he got back to camp. It just wasn't meant to be.

He sighed because of his predicament and looked back into his half empty beer stein. A few moments later, Serilda was sitting across from him.

"Hallo, meine Liebe," she said with a smile. Hello, my love.

Peter melted, his heart ache lifted and he gave a lazy smile. "Hallo."

"Ich habe vermißt dich." I have missed you.

"Dich haben keine Idee." You have no idea.

She smiled at him and then lowered her voice. "I'm afraid I don't have anything new to pass along. The two divisions are still thirty miles outside of Essen. They haven't moved for three days and are making no indication as to when they will."

Peter nodded. "London thinks the Germans are trying to set up a diversion. Have the Allies focus on what these two divisions are up to while somewhere else the Germans make some kind of sneak attack."

Serilda nodded and looked around the Haufbrau. "I did want to ask you about something else though."

"Go ahead."

"A friend of mine here, her fiancé is with Angus Marsden's group in Berlin. She has not heard from him for several days; she was supposed to meet with him in Munich but he never showed. She tried to contact Berlin but received no answer. I have heard nothing about Berlin from my contacts, has Colonel Hogan heard anything that you know of?"

Peter thought for a moment and then shook his head. "No...the last contact we had with Berlin was about six months ago I believe."

Serilda sighed. "She's terribly upset. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to tell her. I also don't understand why Angus would ignore her message. It's not like him."

"Well, I'll let the Colonel know when I get back to camp. We can contact London and see if they know of anything."
Serilda smiled. "I would appreciate that very much, Peter, thank you."

"Anything for you, my luv." He took her hand and softly kissed it.

"Charmer," she said, amused.

He grinned at her as she left the table but the heartache soon returned.


Stalag 13, Barracks #2
January 29, 1944

When Newkirk arrived in the emergency tunnel, he was greeted by an anxious Sergeant Carter.

"It's about time you got back," he said.

"What's the matter?" Newkirk asked, removing his hat and shaking the light snow off his sleeves.

"The Colonel's got a message from London and won't tell any of us what it said until you got back. The suspense is killing me! The Colonel's never done that before."

Newkirk unbuttoned his over coat. "Maybe he doesn't feel like repeatin' himself this time."

"I think it's something big. Real big. Like, maybe we can all be allowed to escape and go home."

"He give any indication as to that?"

Carter shook his head. "No. The only thing he said was 'it's trouble.'"

Newkirk rolled his eyes. "That's not very encouraging, Andrew."

"Well, it's gotta be something big!"

"Well give me a minute to get out of this bloody Kraut uniform and I'll be right there."

Carter nodded and headed toward the ladder. Newkirk retrieved his RAF uniform, made a quick change and then went up the ladder to the barracks where everyone was waiting for him. Colonel Hogan made eye contact and then directed Newkirk and the heroes to his quarters. Whatever it was, Peter wanted to prepare himself for it. He grabbed a cigarette on his way.

Once everyone was in his quarters, Hogan closed the door. He then turned to face Newkirk and removed the folded paper from the pocket of his bomber jacket.

"This message came from London a little while ago." He held it out to the Englishman.

Newkirk looked at it and then moved his cigarette from between his fingers to his lips. He took the paper, unfolded it and read it. The cigarette nearly fell out of his mouth. He grabbed at it and looked up at Hogan his eyes flashing an immediate proclamation of innocence and silently asking the question, you don't believe this do you?

"Kinch had them repeat it," Hogan said. "More than once to make sure."

Newkirk suddenly wasn't feeling so great. It wasn't true! How could they accuse him of treason?? How??

"Peter, what does it say??" LeBeau asked. He and Carter were about ready to go into fits not knowing what was going on.

"I'm being accused of treason," Newkirk replied softly, but with ire.

"What?!" LeBeau said.

"Colonel, that can't be true," Carter added.

"I don't believe it is true, Carter," Hogan said. "I don't believe it one bit." He paused, looking at Newkirk. "But apparently London does."

"Well it's wrong!" Newkirk said. He looked at the message again, momentarily stepping away from the Colonel. "What the bloody hell is this information from Berlin? Since when did the underground in Berlin start keeping tabs on me when they can't even keep tabs on their own??" He turned back to Hogan.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Hogan asked.

"In town, Serilda asked me if we heard anything about the outfit in Berlin. One of her friend's fiancé is with the Underground there and apparently has disappeared. The friend tried to contact the group but got no response."

Hogan paused in thought. "An Underground agent's disappeared?"

Newkirk nodded. "Been missing for a few days, apparently."

Hogan narrowed his eyes. "London hasn't said anything about that. Kinch?" He looked to his radio man.

The sergeant shook his head. "Haven't heard anything to suggest there's a problem anywhere."

"Maybe we should ask them?" Carter suggested.

Hogan paused in thought. "Maybe we should. We've got a missing Underground agent, an Underground group in Berlin that's not saying anything about it and a treason charged based on information from Berlin. What does that tell us?"

"There's something bloody wrong in Berlin! Besides the current state o' German affairs," Newkirk said.

"You think something's gone wrong with the group in Berlin, Colonel?" Kinch asked.

"You bet I do. Angus Marsden runs that outfit?"

Kinch nodded. "Has for three years. Gets good intelligence and knows his stuff."

"I hate to think the Gestapo some how figured what he was up to," Hogan said. "Having a contact in Berlin has been risky enough. Trying to set up a new one will be damn near impossible."

"Serilda once said that Marsden purposely cut down on the number of people he had in Berlin in order to avoid any suspicion," Newkirk said.

"How does Serilda know him?" Hogan asked.

"She worked in Berlin when she first became part of the Underground. She then moved to Hamelburg a few months after."

Hogan grinned. "You have her entire life story don't you?"

Newkirk shrugged. "Parts of it."

"Why'd she move to Hamelburg?" Kinch asked.

"Her family roots are in Hamelburg."

Hogan smirked. "But Newkirk only knows parts of her life story."

"Should we try to contact Marsden first? Or London?" Kinch asked.

"Marsden," Hogan said. "Use the SOS code, find out if he's in trouble or not."

Kinch nodded and headed for the tunnel.

***

After a half hour that seemed to drag on forever, Kinch emerged from the tunnel. Newkirk leapt up from the table but all Kinch could provide was a shake of his head.

"I didn't get a response," he said.

"Nothing?" Hogan asked.

"Not even static. I don’t even know if they are receiving our signal or not."

Hogan sighed. "They have to be getting our signal." If there wasn't something wrong before, there was definitely something wrong now. "Contact London. Tell them I want to know what this evidence is they've got against Newkirk and also let them know we couldn't get through to Berlin."

Kinch nodded. "Yes sir."

***

The evidence the Colonel received back was circumstantial at best. In the privacy of his quarters, the Colonel reviewed the information. Berlin was claiming that Peter Newkirk was being spoken of by local German officials as looking to defect and share with the Germans any and all information he had of the Allies with them. Allegedly contact had been made. By what means, the report didn't say, nor did it say when or what coveted information it was that Peter, officially a POW, was going to share.

Hogan was both concerned and annoyed at the same time. Concerned at how this "information" came about and annoyed that London was taking it as the gospel, offering no chance for Peter to prove his innocence.

Either that or they figure we CAN'T prove his innocence. The use of a military court procedure was out of the question, given their covert operation and the fact they were already all prisoners of war. To send Peter back to London to face a formal court martial procedure was risking exposure of the entire operation. London obviously was not willing to take that chance. Therefore, as the commanding officer, Colonel Hogan was to declare Peter guilty and somehow sentence him, without disrupting things too much.

That's rich, I'm supposed to sentence a man who's already a prisoner!

And innocent. The evidence that had been presented didn't prove anything, certainly not guilt. Hogan knew a railroad job when he saw it and Peter was clearly being railroaded by somebody. The evidence only proved that something, somewhere was seriously wrong but Hogan just wished it would start making sense. The more pieces to the puzzle he got, the less he could figure out what the picture was supposed to look like.

Hogan glanced over to the closed door of his quarters. He knew standing outside waiting was Newkirk, more than anxious to know what the evidence against him was. Hogan had agreed to show it to him, once he had reviewed it himself. Hogan also decided that even though London was not allowing them the chance to disprove the charges, they were going to try to disprove them anyway.

He just wasn't sure how.

The Colonel stood up from his desk and went to the door. He opened it, finding Newkirk standing right there as he had expected, only with his back to the door, as if he had been pacing. The RAF Corporal had his hat in hand and turned to face the Colonel.

Hogan nodded. "Come on in."

"Thank you, sir." Newkirk stepped into the quarters and Hogan closed the door. He stepped over to the table and picked up the message Kinch had transcribed that contained the "evidence." He handed the papers to Newkirk, letting the Corporal read them for himself, as they were, without giving comment until he was finished.

"Reads like a nice tabloid story doesn't it Colonel?"

Hogan grinned. "Yeah it does."

Newkirk handed the papers back. "What are we going to do about it?"

"Well, London's not giving us permission to investigate this too much. You saw the first message they sent; this is to be 'dealt with accordingly.' Meaning I'm supposed to put you in a corner somewhere and maybe, when the war's over, we can figure out what the heck happened."

"But you're not?"

Hogan shook his head. "No. Somebody's railroading you, and I want to find out why. I want to find out why Berlin submitted this so-called evidence and why it is we can't get through to them to ask a few questions."

Peter was relieved and he looked at Hogan seriously. "How are we going to do that?"

Hogan paused. "I haven't figured that part out yet. One of us may have to go to Berlin."

Before the two pilots could contemplate the matter further there was a knock on the door and Lebeau poked his head in.

"Mon Colonel, Kinch is on the radio. It's Marsden."

Hogan and Newkirk followed Lebeau out of the quarters and to the tunnel entrance with haste. When they got down in the tunnel, Kinch was finishing up the message. He handed the note pad to Hogan before removing his headphones. "He's in trouble, Colonel."

"Hello my Golden child," Hogan read the message. "I am sorry I missed your birthday party, I was unable to travel in the storm. Your mother tells me you received your present. I'm sorry I could not be there in person when you got it, but I'm sure you were very surprised by it."

"There's the understatement of the war," Newkirk interjected.

Hogan continued. "I will not be able to come down next week due to unforeseen circumstances at the shop. But I hope to see you again. Soon. Uncle Angus."

There was a pause as Hogan decoded the crucial elements of the message. "Unable to travel in the storm....that means the Gestapo's in there."

"And those 'unforeseen circumstances' are preventing him from contacting London and telling them what's really going on," Kinch added.

Hogan nodded. "But he's asking for us to help. Whatever the Gestapo's holding on him, it's important enough to him that he won't risk a distress call to London."

"But he risked one to us," Kinch said.

"He knows that we know the treason charge is false. If he sends a distress call to London, they might cut him off in which case the Gestapo won't like that and Marsden might lose whatever it is the Gestapo's holding against him."

"Like his family," Newkirk said.

"Exactly. We need to get a plan together and fast. The sooner we can get Marsden out of this predicament the less time the Gestapo has to flood more false information to London and the rest of the Allies. Also the sooner we prove that treason charge is a load of baloney."

"Perhaps mon Colonel," LeBeau said, "we should talk to Serilda. She knows Marsden and his operation, it might help us try to figure out how we should approach this situation."

Hogan nodded. "That's what I was thinking." Hogan turned to his radio man. "Kinch, send a message to Serilda to meet with us here tomorrow night after roll call so we can have a little discussion about Angus Marsden."

"Right."

Hogan turned to Newkirk. "You can escort her in."

Newkirk grinned. "I'd be honored."

 

Hamelburg, Germany
January 30, 1944

"Gute Nacht, Serilda," Bruno, the Büfettier (bartender) said as he locked the front door of the Haufbrau.

"Gute Nacht." Serilda smiled and turned in the direction of her apartment which was only a few blocks away. When she got there, her friend Anjte, the one who's fiancé was with the Underground in Berlin, was waiting.

The young woman bounded off the step she had been sitting on. "Serilda."

"Anjte, what is it?"

"Did you tell them? The men at Stalag 13, did you tell them?"

"Yes, I did. I've heard nothing as of yet but I am to meet with Colonel Hogan tonight."

Anjte sighed. "I'm so scared. Serilda, I fear he is dead and no one will ever know. The Gestapo probably got him and then they're going to come to find me next."

"The Gestapo is not going to come to find you."

"How do you know?? They have ways! They will think I am a spy too! I told Hagan not to take part in it. Oh Serilda what am I going to do?!?"

"Will you calm down? Listen, why don't you come inside for a minute, get a hold of yourself." Serilda put a comforting hand on the young woman's shoulder.

"O-okay..." Anjte went up the steps ahead of Serilda. They disappeared inside the building. Upon entering Serilda's apartment, they removed their coats and Serilda headed toward the kitchen.

"I'll make some tea," she said.

"Okay." Anjte sat down and sighed. She looked around the scarcely decorated apartment for a moment. There were no pictures of family anywhere to be seen. There didn't seem to be any little mementos or trinkets either. Anjte was, of course, use to this. She knew of Serilda being in the Underground. The apartment wasn't "personalized" because photographs and trinkets held clues to one's true identity. Also, if Serilda had to leave suddenly there would be no mourning of things left behind.

"Don't you ever worry about that, Serilda?"

"About what?"

"Being caught by the Gestapo?"

"Everyday." Serilda chuckled. "But I am only a waitress, what would they want with me?"

Anjte admired her friend's bravery. She wished she had the kind of guts Serilda had. Maybe then she wouldn't be so scared about Hagan's disappearance.

"When do you have to go to the camp?"

"Soon." Serilda came out of the kitchen carrying a tray with two cups of tea on it. "Only I'm not going to the camp. Someone is coming to pick me up and take me there."

"Who will take you there?"

"One of the prisoners."

"One of the prisoners?!?"

Serilda laughed. "Oh they're in and out of there all the time with the Kommandant none the wiser."

Anjte raised her hands and waved them in the air. "I don't want to hear this. I don't want to hear this. The Gestapo will torture it out of me."

Serilda shook her head and took a sip of her tea.

Anjte sipped at hers and then placed the cup back down. "Is he attractive? The prisoner who will be picking you up?"

"I thought you didn't want to hear this?"

"Well, is he?"

"He is nice looking, yes."

Anjte smiled. "American? Frenchman?"

"English."

"Oooh..."

"The American officer is attractive as well."

"No wonder you do not fear the Gestapo. You can be saved by a dashing Allied soldier."

Serilda smiled. "The Gestapo will not be coming after you, Anjte. More than likely they do not know that you are Hagan's fiancé As any good Underground agent he kept personal details closely guarded. No pictures or letters from anyone. They don't know who you are. "

Anjte looked down at her tea cup. "That is probably why I don't know where he is. He is dead and they don't know who to tell." She suddenly buried her face in her hand.

Serilda put an arm over Anjte's shoulders. Nothing Serilda could say would offer much comfort so she said nothing. She figured Hagan was already dead and Anjte was hanging on to very little hope that he would be found alive.

A moment later a knock softly announced a visitor at the door. "Fraulein Serilda?"

Anjte looked up in a shot. "Who is that?"

Serilda smiled. "I believe my escort is here." She stood up and went to the door, pausing a moment to look through the peep hole. She turned back to Anjte and nodded. Anjte stood up as Serilda opened the door.

Peter stood there in the Luftwaffe uniform and removed his hat, smiling at Serilda. He glanced at Anjte and looked at Serilda in question. "Es tut mir leid (I apologize). I did not know you had company."

"It's okay. I want you to meet Anjte. Come in." Serilda closed the door behind Peter once he was in the room. "This is the girl I was telling you about the other night. Anjte, this is the Englishman."

Peter looked at Anjte and grinned. "Peter Newkirk at your service." He bowed slightly.

Anjte smiled shyly. "You are a convincing German."

He winked at her. "Let's not let that get around, eh?" He took a moment to remove his black leather gloves. "It is your fiancé is with the Underground in Berlin?"

Anjte stepped toward him. "Yes. Have you heard anything? Do you know where he is?"

He shook his head. "We don't know where he is, but we think there is something wrong in Berlin." He looked at Serilda. "That's why the Colonel wants to see you."

"What do you think is wrong??" Anjte asked, concerned.

"We're not sure," Peter said. Telling her that the Gestapo might be involved was premature. Plus there was no need to upset her anymore than she already was. "There's some strange things happening along with your fiancés disappearance that has the Colonel concerned." Peter looked at his watch. "Serilda, we don't have much time."

Serilda nodded. "Just let me get my coat." She picked her coat up from the couch and slipped it on. Anjte did the same. Peter then escorted the two ladies out of the apartment.

"Vorsicht, Serilda," Anjte said when they were on the street. Be careful.

"I will, Anjte. I will talk to you tomorrow okay?"

Anjte nodded and watched them disappear into the dark of the night. She pulled her coat tighter around her, fought to keep her fear in check and walked toward home.

 

Stalag 13, Barracks #2
January 30, 1944


Once Peter and Serilda returned, the heroes gathered in the emergency tunnel with them. Carter was the last one off the ladder.

"All clear sir," he said.

Hogan nodded and looked at Serilda, who was seated between Newkirk, still dressed in the Luftwaffe uniform, and LeBeau.

"How well do you know Angus Marsden?"

"I served with him when I first joined the Underground. I've known him well over three years."

"Does his lack of response to your friend's inquiry about her fiancé seem at all strange to you?"

"It is not like him, Colonel. If something happened to Hagan, Angus would have made sure that my friend, Anjte, was the first to know about it."

Hogan nodded. "At the time you were telling Newkirk here about your friend, we got a message from London issuing a treason charge against him. Supposedly based on information from Angus Marsden in Berlin."

Serilda blinked. "Colonel, that's absurd!"

"My feelings exactly," Newkirk said.

"Something is terribly wrong then. Is London not aware that one of Angus's men is missing?"

"They have made no indication to us that they are, but Marsden sent a coded SOS call to us. The Gestapo's in there and I've the feeling that Marsden can't or won't risk an SOS call to London."

"He has a wife and young children," Serilda said. "If the Gestapo is holding them, they can force Angus to their command. Otherwise, he would never let the Gestapo go so far as to feed false information to London." She paused and drew in a troubled breath. "I suspect that Hagen and the others were killed when the Gestapo took over."

There was a respectful pause. "Which raises the next question," Hogan said softly. "What are they up to and why?"

"Yeah," Carter said. "And why did they pick Newkirk for this false treason charge?"

"My charming personality, I'm sure," Peter replied dryly, taking a drag of his cigarette.

"Got a blue print of how we're to figure that all out?" Kinch asked.

"Somebody's going to have to go to Berlin," Hogan said, "and try to make contact with Marsden, find out where his family is being held and get them out."

"I know where his family lives," Serilda said. "I know where the clock shop is located too. Perhaps, I should go."

"Alone?" Newkirk said suddenly. "Colonel--"

Hogan held a hand up. "Perhaps you should but I'm not so sure you should travel alone. Is there anyone in the Underground who could accompany you?"

"I don't think so. With the 4th SS Division camped outside of Essen we need all the people we have to keep an eye on them and their movements."

"Colonel, I volunteer to go with her," Newkirk said. The Englishman wasn't joking around either. Usually put Newkirk with a pretty girl and he was willing to go anywhere. But this was different and the seriousness in which Peter announced his voluntary action wasn't lost on the Colonel.

Hogan looked around at the others. "Does anyone besides Newkirk here want to volunteer for this? Keeping in mind that if you're caught by the Gestapo any number of things could happen, not the least of which is you could be killed and tortured. In that order." Hogan more or less said it to try to discourage Peter from wanting to go. He should have known better that the others wouldn't be immediately interested either. No one said a word.

"Lebeau?"

"I have laundry duty this week."

"Carter?"

"And miss the smuggled in Betty Grable picture?"

"Kinch?"

"Somebody has to man the radio."

"I still volunteer, Colonel."

This wasn't exactly what Hogan wanted. Any other time he would have agreed to let Newkirk go, but with a treason charge hanging in the balance, sending the RAF pilot on this mission upped the stakes nearly two fold. London saw the charge as true, therefore Newkirk was not supposed to be taking part in any further operations. If Peter were to get caught, serious reprimands would follow, assuming Hogan and the others managed to get out before the entire lid was blown off their operation. On the other hand, Hogan and the others knew the charge was false, and to prove so, they needed Marsden to tell London himself, but for him to tell London what they knew was going on, was to risk the lives of Marsden's family.

Hogan sighed and looked at Serilda. "I'm not so sure Newkirk should be going with you," he said.

Serilda glanced at Peter and then looked back at the Colonel. She knew the treason charge alone was preventing Hogan from giving the go ahead. She understood this and figured she would be making the trip alone, no matter what.

"Very well, Colonel. But for the sake of my friend, Anjte and for the ridiculous charge of treason against Peter, I am going to Berlin." She stood up to leave.

"You would prefer to have Newkirk go with you?"

Serilda stopped and turned to Hogan. "Given a choice, yes. I'm more comfortable with Peter. I trust him."

Hogan made note of this. "How soon will you be leaving for Berlin?"

"I would like to leave as soon as possible. Probably within the next 24 hours."

The Colonel nodded. "We'll contact you before that 24 hours is up."

"Thank you, Colonel."

"Sir--" Newkirk started.

"Newkirk, see that she gets back to town okay." Hogan gave the Corporal a look that basically said, we'll discuss this later.

"Right, sir." Peter stood up and came up beside Serilda. Quietly they headed toward the exit of the tunnel that would take them outside the wire.


Hamelburg, Germany
January 30, 1944

Peter parked the 'borrowed' staff car down the street and walked with Serilda back to her apartment. When they reached the stairway, she stopped and turned to him.

"I meant what I said back at camp, about wanting you to come with me," she said. "But if Colonel Hogan does not allow you to accompany me I don't want you doing something ridiculous. Even if false, a charge of treason has to be taken very seriously. The Colonel has little choice."

"It's not me I'm worried about. It's you. I don't like the idea of you going to Berlin alone."

"There's a lot of things that happen during war that people don't like. But they must be done. I have traveled alone to Berlin before, I'm more than prepared to make the trip again." She placed a hand on his shoulder before he could speak in further protest. "Peter please. I'm going to Berlin whether the Colonel gives you permission to come with me or not."

Newkirk sighed and nodded. "All right," he said. "Just be careful, okay?"

She smiled at him. "I'm always careful." She looked at him for a moment, realizing it was possible she would never see him again. Peter was already thinking that himself and knowing it was too late to say anything about how he felt about her he did the only thing he could. He leaned to her and softly placed a kiss upon her lips.

When they parted, Serilda looked up to him but he dropped his gaze. He wasn't sure he wanted to see the look in her eyes, or for her to see the look in his eyes. "Auf weidersehen, meine Liebe," he whispered, mindful that there were people walking past them. He then slowly turned and walked back to the car.

Serilda sighed and headed up the stairs. The thought of not seeing Peter again bothered her, but she figured it would be for the better for the Colonel to not allow him to go with her. She knew what his feelings were toward her. If something were to happen to him, or her....

She shook her head. No sense dragging out the goodbye. It was for the best that they parted the way they just had.
She paused at the door and looked up the street watching the car disappear further into the darkness. Suddenly, she didn't want to go to Berlin alone.

 

Stalag 13, Barracks #2
January 30, 1944

The tunnel was empty when Peter returned. A few moments alone as he changed out of the German uniform and back into his RAF one gave him the chance to formulate an argument for going to Berlin. It was a weak argument at best. He had several reasons for going, but the Colonel had the best reason for keeping him grounded.

Suspicion of treason.

The idea that somebody could suspect him of treason did nothing to put him into a good mood. What bothered Peter more, was that London was accepting the charge as truth and fact, not offering any chance for it to be disproved.

He picked up his RAF hat, gazing at the King George pin that adorned the front of it.

A traitor? he though disgustedly. He had joined the RAF to help defend his country against the Nazi aggression, he had agreed to join Colonel Hogan and his group after being shot down and brought to Stalag 13 instead of taking part in an escape back to England. He had done these things because he believed in the Allied cause. His record alone should have been enough of a defense. He'd flown a total of 17 missions, his first 9 with a Spitfire plane before being transferred to a bomber squadron, and after two years at Stalag 13 he'd taken part in enough sabotage operations to warrant a new rank. Or maybe a couple.
He looked at the corporal stripes that adorned the arm of his uniform jacket. He decided Sargent...even Lieutenant stripes would look very nice...

But he'd never see them, or another sabotage operation or another Spitfire plane for that matter, if headquarters wasn't convinced that the treason charge was false. He placed his hat on and straightened it. He had his reasons. Now he had to convince the Colonel to take the risk.

He returned to the barracks where everyone was getting ready to turn in for the night. Colonel Hogan, however, sat at the table, a deck of cards in his hand. He was apparently waiting for Newkirk to return and he looked up at the Corporal. The cards were shuffled and then laid on the table in invitation for Peter to sit down.

Newkirk did and proceeded to cut the cards. "I still want to go with her, Colonel."

Hogan picked up the cards and shuffled them again. "I know. It's not that I'm beyond considering it, but I think you understand my predicament?"

"Yes sir. But with all due respect, I can't sit here and wait for somebody else to find the answer. One of us has to go to Berlin, you said that yourself. I just happen to be the only one willing to go."

Hogan dealt out a hand. "London finds out I let you go, we end up in serious trouble. Guilty or not, you don't fool around with a treason charge."

"London doesn't have to know I've gone."

"They will if you get caught."

Newkirk picked up his hand and fanned the cards. He looked at Hogan with a grin. "I don't plan on getting caught."

"I'd bet on that, Colonel," Carter spoke up.

Hogan shot him a look. "Thank you, Sergeant." He looked back to Newkirk. "It's not that I have any doubts about that, but if something should go wrong you and I both will have a lot to answer for."

"We need Marsden alive so he can refute the claim he made to London about my supposed treasonous activities. Can you think of any other way to do this?"

"No. And that's what's bothering me. I can't go against a treason charge unless I have hard evidence to the contrary. And the only way to get that is to have Marsden himself tell London. And out of everybody here the only man willing to go is the one that's being accused of treason!" Hogan looked down at his cards and then at Peter's.

"I'll take two, sir."

The Colonel placed his hand down and dealt Peter two new cards. "Dealer takes two." Hogan selected his cards and slipped them in with the rest of his poker hand. He studied the cards for a moment and then studied the RAF pilot's expression. He suddenly looked amused. "I know why you want to go with Serilda. Because you've fallen for her!"

"Oui, naturellement!" LeBeau said and grinned. "Can't blame him, Colonel."

"Yeah, I'd go on a suicide mission to Berlin with her too!" Carter added.

Everybody looked at him. "Why didn't you volunteer before when I asked?" Hogan asked.

"Well...I don't want to miss the Betty Grable picture..."

There was a collective rolling of eyes and then Peter looked at Hogan. "That has nothing to do with my going with her."

"But you have fallen for her, right?"

Newkirk said nothing, looking back down to his cards. His expression revealed nothing about his hand, but gave him away otherwise. Colonel Hogan saw right through it. Peter was in love with Serilda. But the brief look in the Corporal's eyes caused Hogan to pause. Yes, he did have feelings for her. Serious feelings at that. Serious enough that he'd do whatever he had to to protect her and keep her alive, knowing fully well that the love he felt for her was probably not going to be returned.

Peter looked up at everyone staring at him. "That has nothing to do with my going with her," he reiterated.

"Sure," Carter said.

"None of you is being accused of treason," Newkirk said, quickly becoming irritated. "Maybe if you were, you'd understand."

"London won't drop the treason charge unless they're proved otherwise," Kinch reminded.

"And the only way to do that is to go to Berlin," Newkirk said, turning his gaze on Hogan. "She can't go alone. She'll be stopped at every checkpoint on the road. It's too dangerous for her." Newkirk placed his cards down. Three of a kind. Once the Colonel saw the hand he folded.

"Colonel, I'm going on this mission whether I have your permission or not."

Hogan looked up in a shot. "That's insubordination, Corporal."

"Which is minor compared to treason, sir."

Hogan sighed and held up his hand, signaling wait a minute. "Newkirk, you're too emotionally close to all this. With Serilda, the treason charge. I let you go on this mission you can end up making things worse for yourself."

"I know what has to be done, Colonel. We have to find Marsden and determine what happened. We then have to get him and his family, if they're being held by the Gestapo, out of Berlin."

"What if Marsden let the Gestapo in? What do you do if you find that out?"

Newkirk paused. "Then Marsden's group will need to be cut off from the rest of the Underground. Discredited and disbanded."

Hogan stood up from the table and paced while he thought. Newkirk knew the risks, had the skills to pull off the mission, and understood the implications if something should go wrong. But the Colonel still hesitated. Not only because of Newkirk's feelings toward Serilda. Love could cloud a man's judgment, make him do things he shouldn't...

Like go on this mission to begin with! The Colonel stopped pacing and looked at the RAF corporal. There was something else that was bothering the Colonel, but he couldn't put his finger on it. He couldn't figure out what it was or why he had a sixth sense telling him that something was desperately wrong. All he knew was that the only way to find out was for some body to go to Berlin. And the look in Newkirk's eyes it was clear. He was going, no matter what.

Hogan sighed. "All right," he said. "I may regret this. So you want to go on this mission. Do you have any idea how we're going to get you out of camp for a week or more without anybody noticing?"

Newkirk didn't have an immediate answer for that. The rest of the heroes tried to think of possible ways to answer the question as well, but were suddenly stumped.

"We can't have you escape, because Klink would turn this camp upside down. We can't have you 'disappear' because Klink would turn this came upside down. We can't even throw you in the cooler because once they realized you weren't there anymore, Klink would be turning this camp upside down."

"Maybe we should just turn the camp upside down ourselves and leave Peter outside the front gate," Kinch joked.

The heroes chuckled but Hogan was preoccupied with his thoughts. "What we need is to figure a way to get you out of camp with everybody knowing you were out of camp, but not being concerned by it," he said.

"Oh sure," Carter said. "Why not just promise the moon!"

Newkirk was quickly frustrated with this. "Might as well wish for a plague to befall the Krauts. You ain't goin' to get that anymore than the moon, or me out of camp with nobody giving a rot."

Hogan looked up and smiled suddenly. "The Plague...."

"We gonna create the plague?" Carter asked, recognizing the look on the Colonel's face. There was an idea brewing.

"Not quite. Newkirk? How you been feeling lately?"

Peter shrugged. "Oh fine. 'Bout as well as can be expected in a place like this --" He stopped suddenly and looked at Hogan, his expression breaking into a grin once he realized what the Colonel was thinking. "Um, actually now that you mention it, I've been feelin' a bit lousy in the past couple of days..."

Hogan nodded. "We get Dr. Weinstein in Hamelburg to come here and tell Klink you have to go to the hospital for a week or so."

"Klink will have Schultz assign a guard," Kinch reminded.

"Who will never go into the room because the good doctor will have to put Newkirk under quarantine. Only the doctor will be allowed into the room."

"Wow..." Carter said. He looked at Newkirk. "This plague you got contagious?"

"Andrew..." Newkirk said, rolling his eyes.

"Whatever it is, he'll start showing signs of illness during the morning work detail," Hogan said. "By tomorrow night he should be on his way to Berlin."

Newkirk smiled and nodded.

"The illness, Carter," Lebeau said, "is called maladie de l'amour."

Carter paused as he translated. "Ohh," he said with a smile. "You mean love sick."

Newkirk made a face. "Very funny..."

Hogan grinned. "Kinch," he said turning to the radio man, "put a call in to Serilda. Tell her to stand by and we'll let her know when Newkirk's out of camp so she can meet with him."

Kinch smiled. "Yes sir."

 

Stalag 13, Work Detail
January 31, 1944

During the morning work detail, Newkirk started displaying the signs of his "illness." He would stop working every so often and lean on his shovel, closing his eyes for a moment as if dizzy. This prompted at most, a bark from Schultz to keep working. Peter would nod meekly and keep shoveling, but at a slower pace than the other prisoners.

The rest of the heroes played up their parts. They would all notice Peter, cast concerned looks toward each other and ask him if he was okay.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm all right..." he replied, his accent thick. He continued to shovel and looked toward Hogan, who nodded slightly. Keep it up.

A few moments later, he stopped again and the shovel failed to keep him standing. Hogan caught the corporal as he lurched forward.

This caught the attention of every prisoner on the detail and Schultz. Hogan managed to keep Newkirk from falling face down and steadied him on his feet.

"What's the matter, Newkirk?" Hogan asked as Schultz walked over.

"Sorry, sir," Newkirk said. "I just feel faint..."

"What's going on here?" Schultz asked, showing concern. "What's wrong with Newkirk?"

"He's not feeling so great," Hogan replied. "Listen, can we have him sit this round out, Schultz?"

Before Schultz could answer, Hogan was leading Newkirk away from the work detail to a spot on the dirt road to sit down. Schultz caught up as the Englishman sat down and put his head in his hand.

"He should be fine," Hogan said to the sergeant. "He's just a little light headed. Come to think of it he didn't eat much for breakfast this morning. I bet if he had something to eat he'd feel better."

Schultz felt over the pockets of his coat and discovered he still had half a chocolate bar. "Perhaps this?" he asked, showing it to Hogan.

"That might do the trick."

Newkirk looked up. "If it's that ruddy German chocolate, I don't want it."

Schultz chuckled. "It is not." He undid the re-wrapped wrapper and broke off a piece of the chocolate, handing it to Newkirk. The Englishman recognized the wrapper, part of Schultz's winnings from the poker game two nights ago, and smiled up at Schultz. "You're a life saver, Schultzie."

Schultz smiled. "Well, it is the least I can do seeing as I beat you at poker."

"Lucky shot."

Despite Schultz's act of kindness, Newkirk didn't appear to be any better once the detail made it back to camp. He walked back on his own power, but resumed his dizzy/light headed act once everyone was back in the compound. After Schultz dismissed the prisoners, the sergeant. watched as Newkirk made his way back to Barracks Two, with LeBeau and Carter flanking him, each offering a steady hand as he slowly walked.

"Colonel Hogan," Schultz said before Hogan could join up with the others. The Colonel turned back to the sergeant. "I think the Kommandant should be made aware of this," he said.

"Oh I'm sure Newkirk will be fine, Schultz. He's probably just been worked too hard on the work detail." The Colonel grinned.
"Huh. In my opinion the Englander does not do enough work on the detail."

"Well, there ya go. Today was just too much for him. I'll let Newkirk know you're worried about him though. He'll appreciate that." The Colonel smiled and turned back in the direction of the barracks. Schultz headed toward Klink's office.

"What did Schultz want?" Carter asked when Hogan returned inside the barracks.

"He's going to let Klink know that Newkirk's not feeling well." He looked at Peter. "He also thinks you don't work hard enough during the detail."

"Bloody hell," Newkirk replied and then smirked. The other's snickered.

"So far, everything's working fine," Hogan continued. "We'll keep up our little charade during roll call at noon and tonight you're going to be ill enough that I'll be asking Klink to send for Doctor Weinstein."

"Shouldn't we maybe let the good doctor know that we'll be calling for 'em?" Newkirk asked.

Hogan nodded. "Already did. I had Kinch send a message before we went out on the work detail."

"So all we do now is wait to finish playing out our cards," LeBeau said.

"Cards," Newkirk said with a grin. "Excellent idea, LeBeau." The Englishman sat down at the table and picked up the deck of playing of cards that were in the middle. Immediately he began to shuffle them like a professional gambler extending an unvoiced invite to anyone to join him for a game or two.


At the noon roll call, Schultz had no more than dismissed the prisoners when Newkirk started falling forward again. This time he had Hogan and Carter catch him.

"I'm just not feelin' well, sir," he said to Hogan after being steadied and while in ear shot of Schultz. "I keep thinking it's going to pass and it's not."

"It's all right corporal, let's get you back to the barracks..." Hogan nodded to Carter and the two of them escorted Newkirk back to the number two barracks. Schultz watched in concern and then followed.

Hogan and Carter got Newkirk to a bunk and the Englishman laid down. He closed his eyes and Carter placed a hand over Newkirk's forehead.

"He seems to be running a bit of a fever, sir."

Hogan stepped up next to the bunk and looked at Newkirk. "Besides feeling faint, how else have you been feeling lately?"

"Rotten," Peter admitted. He opened his eyes and looked up at the Colonel, who now had Schultz standing beside him. "It started last night. Felt more tired then usual. Had the chills, stomach felt kinda queasy. Figured it was because of dinner..."

Hogan looked at Schultz. "Guess it wasn't the work detail."

Schultz shook his head. "Perhaps the Kommandant should call for the doctor."

Hogan turned his attention to his men. "Keep an eye on Newkirk. I'm going to go talk to Klink."

"Yes sir."


Camp Kommandant Wilhelm Klink hardly looked up when Hogan entered the office without knocking. "Sir, I'd like to speak with you for a minute."

Klink sighed. "Hogan, what is it? I'm extremely busy!"

"I'm sorry sir, but it's Newkirk. He's ill and I'm making a formal request to have the doctor in Hamelburg come take a look at him."

Klink looked up, regarding Hogan through his monocle. "Hmm...yes, Schultz told me what happened during the work detail this morning."

"I think he's getting worse. It could be something serious."

"Hmm..." Klink pondered for a moment and then pointed his pen at Hogan. "Why do I get the feeling you're trying to pull something?"

"Me?? At a time like this?? One of my men is possibly deathly ill and you think I'm trying to pull something?! Of all the things I've been accused of by you, that's the lowest Kommandant. Besides, we don't know what he's sick with. What if it's something contagious and all the guards catch it and then it spreads through out Germany and you loose the war because everybody had to call in sick?"

Klink looked at Hogan wide eyed and then suddenly snatched up the phone. "Fraulien Hilda? Would you please put me through to Dr. Weinstein in Hamelburg? Danke."

Hogan smiled. "You're all heart, Kommandant."

Klink covered the mouth piece of the phone with his hand. "Not if you or any of your men are planning an escape with this. You have been warned Colonel Hogan. Dissss-misssed."

Hogan saluted with a grin and turned to leave. Before he closed the door, he heard Klink greet Dr. Weinstein.


About thirty minutes later, Dr. Zamiel Weinstein concluded his "examination" of Newkirk. Colonel Hogan graciously allowed for the use of his private quarters while the doctor did his examination. During the "exam," which lasted all of 15 minutes, Weinstein and Newkirk talked of what would happen once Peter got to the hospital. Newkirk threw an occasional cough in, in case anyone was listening at the door. Once the details were settled upon, Newkirk laid back down on the bottom bunk and the doctor opened the door.

Hogan and Klink were the first ones to the door, with Schultz just behind them. The other prisoners were also gathered around in curiosity. The doctor looked grimly at the camp Kommandant and senior POW officer.

"Gentlemen, this man is very ill. He's displaying symptoms of influenza."

"Influenza?" Klink repeated surprised.

"Ja, Kommandant. This man should be removed immediately to reduce any risk of exposure to the soldiers."

"And to the other prisoners?" Hogan added.

"Ja, and the prisoners as well," Weinstein replied. "The prisoner will be placed under quarantine, Kommandant, probably for several days." Weinstein looked at Hogan. "He will be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention, Colonel."
Hogan nodded.

"Very well," Klink said. "Schultz, help the doctor take Newkirk to his truck."

Schultz hesitated. "Uh...me, Herr Kommandant?" And be exposed to influenza? Forget it!

"Carter and I can help you take him out, doctor," Hogan said.

Weinstein, as was customary, looked to Klink to make sure the Kommandant approved. Klink nodded.

"Very well then," Weinstein said to Hogan. The Colonel and Carter went into the quarters and helped Newkirk to stand.

"Schultz," Klink said as Newkirk was escorted out the door, "see to it that a guard is assigned to be posted outside Newkirk's room."

"Jawhol, Herr Kommandant."

"What do you need the guard for?" Hogan asked. "He's gonna be under quarantine."

"There has never been a successful escape from Stalag 13," Klink reminded. "And I will take no chances."

Dr. Weinstein reached his truck and opened up the back door.

While Hogan and Carter were helping Newkirk into the back of truck, and keeping Klink and Schultz distracted, LeBeau and Kinch made a quick deposit of a duffle bag into the front seat of the truck. They then nonchalantly mingled back into the small group that was seeing Newkirk off.

"Take care of yourself," Hogan said quietly to the corporal. "And get back here as soon as you can."

"I will sir."

Hogan nodded and turned to step out of the truck. Carter smiled at Newkirk. "Hope ya feel better."

"So do I, in more ways than one."

Carter gave his friend a pat on the shoulder and then jumped down out of the truck. The door was closed and the doctor nodded to Klink, taking his leave. The prisoners stood back and watched as the truck rolled on toward the gate with a staff car of two guards following.

The heroes gathered around the Colonel, all eyes watching the truck clear the gate and travel down the road toward Hamelburg.

"I'll go radio to Serilda that he's out," Kinch said.

Hogan nodded. "Tell her the plan is for Newkirk to leave the hospital around 10:30 tonight, so she'll want to be there then."

Kinch nodded and headed toward the barracks.

With the truck and guards gone, the camp resumed it's normal facade. Klink headed back to his office, Schultz to the officer's mess and Hogan, LeBeau and Carter strolled back to barracks two. Despite the smooth sailing of getting Newkirk out of camp, Hogan couldn't shake his unease with the mission. In fact, it seemed to intensify now that things were set into motion.

 

Hamelburg Hospital
Hamelburg, Germany
January 31, 1944

Doctor Weinstein made sure the Peter was placed in a room that was on the first floor and out of site of the front side of the building. Peter spent the long afternoon and evening going over the items in his duffel bag. Every couple of hours, Dr. Weinstein would "check" on his patient and deliver to Newkirk any last minute items the corporal might need for his trip to Berlin. When he wasn't double checking his items, Newkirk spent the time studying the layout of the route to Berlin. Serilda would be supplying the car and any supplemental uniforms he or they might need. As far as Peter could tell from the map, there would be at least five checkpoints between Hamelburg and Berlin and it would be a long drive.

At approximately 10:15, Dr. Weinstein made his final rounds for the night. The guard outside Newkirk's room nodded and stepped away as the doctor opened the door. The guard never made any attempt to look into the room to see if Newkirk was still in there. If the man was sick and under quarantine, what was the point?

Newkirk, on the other hand, remained cautious at all times. Hidden behind the curtain that separated the two beds, he paused from buttoning the shirt of his SS uniform and listened. "Dr. Weinstein?"

"Ja..." The doctor peered around the curtain and smiled. "The guard still steps away from the door. Every time it seems to be a few inches more."

Newkirk grinned.

"Do you have everything you need?" Dr. Weinstein asked.

Peter nodded. "I'm pretty sure I do. If I don't I'll find out quick." He grinned and finished dressing into the uniform of an SS Lieutenant, tugging his shirt sleeves down in the jacket sleeves. He looked up at the doctor.

"Can you speak German as well as you look it?" Weinstein asked.

"You tell me."

Weinstein smiled. "Good luck to you, Herr Newkirk. The young woman who will be traveling with you is waiting just outside the front entrance. She is sitting on a bench near the walkway."

Newkirk nodded. "Thank you, doctor. Thank you for all you have done." He put his hand out.

Weinstein shook it. "Bitte." You're welcome. "Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Newkirk."

"Auf Wiedersehen."

Doctor Weinstein turned to leave. At the door, he turned the lights down low, as was customary at this hour of the night, but also to provide Newkirk the cover he would need when he climbed out of the window. After the door closed, Peter went over to the window.

Making as little noise as possible, Peter pushed the window open, feeling a blast of cold air sweep into the room. Peter looked around and noted that several bushes and shrubs hid the window of this room from view of the street and walkway. Quietly he leaned out the window and put his duffel bag down in the snow and then slipped out the window. He turned around and pulled the window back down, closing it.

Peter moved up within the shrubs until he was close enough to the walkway to see if anyone was walking past. Seeing he was alone, he stepped out on to the walkway and walked without hesitation around to the front side of the hospital.

He spotted the bench and the lone figure that was sitting there. He walked up to it and recognized Serilda in the faint light from the front of the hospital.

"Wie bitte, Fraulien," Excuse me, miss. "Is this seat taken?"

Serlida turned to him and smiled. "It is now." She stood up and hugged him warmly.

"Ready to go?" he asked.

"I'm ready. The car is parked down the street."

He nodded. Serilda picked up her suitcase and they walked to the street. Doctor Weinstein watched from the stairway as they disappeared into the dark, saying a silent prayer for their safe return.

 

~End Part One~

Part Two