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

 

Das Birken Hotel
Berlin, Germany
February 4, 1944


Early the next morning, Peter and Serilda were both up early hoping to make a quick exodus of Berlin. They had accomplished most of what they came for, but they still didn't have much of an answer for the treason charge. Peter felt assured by Marsden's words at the party that the charge would be taken care of. But he was still bothered for an answer as to why the Gestapo put through such information and on him specifically.

He washed quickly, combed his hair and dressed into the SS uniform for what he hoped was the last time. He stood in front of the vanity and straightened his neck tie. The knock on the door made him stop.

It was too early for a chambermaid and Serilda, being in the room next to him, always used the adjoining door. Peter was certainly not expecting any visitors this morning.

"Einen Augeblick, bitte!" Just a moment, please! Peter put on the uniform jacket, buttoned it and went to the door to greet his visitors.

His "visitors" were four men from the Gestapo. The shortest of the four wore the highest rank as Captain and he looked at Peter with smugness.

"Guten Morgen," Peter said. "Kannikh hilfe Sie?" Can I help you?

"We'd like to talk to you for a moment, Herr Reichslieutenant. May we come in?"

Something was wrong. However, Peter nodded, having no choice and opened the door wider to let the men in. The last one closed the door and the three looked around the room as the Captain kept a steady eye on Newkirk.

"I apologize for the early morning hour, Herr Reichslieutenant but I had to make sure you were still here in Berlin. You've been very hard to find for the past few days."

"I keep busy," Peter said. Despite his retort, he couldn't help the sinking feeling he was about to be arrested.

"Yes...you certainly do. In fact, you were seen speaking to a known Underground agent about the possibility of leaving the Fatherland. I'm sure you understand, Herr Reichslieutenant that this is very disturbing and we cannot allow for it to happen." The Captain made eye contact with one of the other officers who moved into position behind Newkirk.

Serilda, meanwhile, was listening to the voices from Peter's room at the adjoining door. Quietly she opened the door just enough to see the four Gestapo men surrounding Peter.

"You've also been keeping company with a young lady we would like to talk to as well." The Captain smirked. "I'm afraid she would be a bad influence on any young men here in Berlin..."

"You're doing a lot of talking, Herr Captain," Peter said. "But you haven't really told me why you're here."

"Of course, I should have stated my official intent at the start. You're under arrest, Herr Reichslieutenant, for treason against the Fatherland!"

Peter was suddenly held in the grips of two of the officers. He resisted momentarily and the two officers tightened their grips, meaning business.

The Captain grinned. "And the young woman who has been traveling with you is a spy and she will be dealt with..." He made a motion with his hand for the third officer to go to the adjoining door.

Serilda vacated the door and hastily grabbed her carry bag off the bed, running out of her room.

"NO!" Peter struggled against the hold but the two Gestapo officers held tight and then yanked his arms behind him. The Captain looked amused.

"She will be treated well, Herr Reichslieutenant."

Peter swore in German and kicked one of his captors in the shin. "Serilda! Get out of here!!"

The third officer ignored the commotion behind him and marched onto the door. He quickly threw the door opened and charged into the room. He found the room empty but saw the door to the hall way was hanging opened. He ran back to tell the Captain.
Peter, however, would hear nothing. His struggle with the two officers ended quickly when one took the butt end of his Luger and knocked Peter on the back of the head.

The Captain watched the Reichslieutenant go limp in the grips of his two officers then turned to receive the news. He instructed two of his men to get to the exits of the hotel before the woman did. He and the remaining officer would search the rooms. The two officers carried Peter to the bed to leave him and cleared out quickly.


Serilda's heart had caught in her chest when she heard Peter call out. She stopped her run down the hall and looked back, part of her begging to go back. The other part screamed to run away. Serilda! Get out of here!

Fear commanded her and she went back to running down the hall, heading toward the backside of the hotel. She zipped around another corner, caught the looks of a couple of chambermaids but kept running. Not long after, the chambermaids saw the Gestapo officer go running past them.

Serilda spotted the elevator and the door for the stairs. The elevator door was just closing, she would end up trapped in the stair well because if the officer figured she had just got on the elevator, he'd take the stairs. She looked around the hall way furiously and saw a door marked for employees. She rushed to it and opened it, finding a dark utility closet. She slipped inside and closed the door quickly.

The Gestapo officer came around the corner and saw the elevator was just beginning it's decent. He immediately took to the stairs. Serilda opened the door a crack and watched as the stair way door closed. She then closed the door again and found the light of the closet.

She put her carry bag down and rummaged through it. She found a kerchief and pair of sunglasses. She quickly tucked her hair up in a hasty bun, put the sunglasses on and then wrapped the kerchief around her head, tying it under her chin. She looked a Hollywood starlet trying to outfox the paparazzi. She hoped it would work to outfox the Gestapo. She pulled her light weight trenchcoat out and put it on, turning the collar up.

She shut the light off and then open the door a crack, peeking out to the hallway. Carefully she opened it wider and found the hallway empty. She briskly walked down the hall looking for another stairwell at the backside of the hotel.

She found one, which brought her out directly in back of the hotel. She tried to appear calm and natural, even though her heart was still racing. She had to get to the car and go to...somewhere. But where? She couldn't drive back to Hamelburg alone. How was she going to get a message to Colonel Hogan that things had gone terribly wrong?

She walked with these questions pounding in her head. Oh Peter... The thought of what could happen to him tore her apart. Forgive me...

When she came to the front corner of the hotel she peered around to the street. Another Gestapo car pulled up to the curb and two additional officers step out. The car she and Peter had driven in was already under guard by a Gestapo officer. She would obviously have to make her way on foot from now on.

She continued to watch the scene, glancing behind her occasionally and wondering where exactly was she going to go now. Movement by the front doorway of the hotel brought her attention back and she watched as the Gestapo carried Peter bodily out to one of the cars. The sight caught her breath and she brought her hand to her face. Although she was fairly sure that Peter wasn't dead, as the Gestapo wouldn't have permitted their vehicles to be used as hearses, she felt no more comfortable with the idea of Peter being in their custody.

She turned and hurriedly walked away from the hotel, swallowing tears...


About the same time the Gestapo was knocking on Peter's hotel room door, Angus was in the midst of battle with Lt. Weisburg at his Underground meeting location. The Gestapo lieutenant had been taken by surprise when Angus suddenly and without preamble, lashed out and struck Weisburg across the face. The Lieutenant staggered back in surprise and then realized that Marsden was obviously looking to terminate the coerced partnership. Weisburg could make no effort to go for his gun, because Angus had followed up on the strike by immediately going for the Luger. The two men struggled, Weisburg trying to push Marsden away form him with one hand and grab for his gun with the other. They scuffled for a moment, Marsden had the Luger in his grip but Weisburg pushed him back and they both went into the table where the radio set was located.

The table wobbled and Angus turned the motion of the fight to his advantage. He turned himself and Weisburg, pinning Weisburg to the table and with a swift motion of his knee to Weisburg's stomach, stunned the Lieutenant long enough to pull the Luger away.

Although finding it difficult to breathe, Weisburg wasn't about to let Marsden use the gun on him. He lunged at Angus and reached for the gun, forcing it to point outward. Angus discharged a shot with the motion and fought with Weisburg, who grabbed at the gun enough to expelling two more bullets. Angus finally pushed Weisburg back, sending him back into the table and knocking other electronics onto the floor.

Hand held radios and tracking devices smashed upon the floor and Weisburg nearly went down himself. Angus turned the Luger to point at Weisburg and pulled the trigger. But the gun was empty. It did nothing more than click.

Weisburg turned back to face Angus, who threw the empty gun back at the Gestapo Lieutenant. As Weisburg deflected the gun, Angus bolted for the door. The gun clattered on the floor and Weisburg followed after him.

Angus leapt up the stairs and ran down the alley way to the street. Weisburg followed, shouting for Angus to stop. The chase went down the sidewalk and Weisburg's shouts of Halt! did nothing to help him or stop Angus. No one in the neighborhood, if they were witnessing the chase at all, was making any moves to assist either man.

Little did Angus know, he had someone out there who would help him. Angus negotiated the snow and ice and nearly slipped on a patch but caught himself and quickly found cobblestone to run upon. Weisburg, would not be so lucky. He hit the ice too and slipped a little, but the jerk of his upper body told a different story as he went down. He collapsed in a heap upon the ice and slid about an inch, coming to a final stop.

Angus stopped and turned to look. He stared at the Gestapo officer laying still upon the ice and then looked around the neighborhood. He saw nothing in the windows or doorways. Cautiously, he walked toward Weisburg but not directly to him. Angus looked at the officer as he passed and noticed no movement at all. Angus figured Weisburg slipped on the ice and fell enough to knock himself out. What he didn't know, was that a silent bullet had taken the Gestapo officer down.

And the gun that bullet had come from belonged to the bartender of the haufbrau, Bruno, who watched carefully from his apartment window as Angus ran back in the direction of the Underground meeting place.


Gestapo Headquarters
Berlin, Germany
February 4, 1944

Peter came to later in a Gestapo interrogation room. They had laid him face down on the cold cement floor and three ranking Gestapo officers had waited patiently for him to awaken.

He stirred slightly and felt the dull ache in his head before he realized he was laying down. Slowly, he moved to get up, not realizing he wasn't alone.

The Gestapo men let him get as far as his hands and knees before grabbing by his arms and lifting him into a chair. This startled Peter and he let out a yelp, while whatever fog was left in his consciousness was lifted. The ache of the back of his head, however, intensified.

The two Gestapo men stepped away from the chair he was sitting in and Peter looked up at the third officer, who stood in the middle of the room across from him, one boot up on another chair. It was the same Captain who had arrested him.

"What is your name?"

It took Peter a moment to find his voice. He cleared his throat. "Hans von Dashden, SS Reichslieutenant."

"Why are you here in Berlin?"

"I'm trying to locate my sister's fiancé. He disappeared over two weeks ago."

"Why were you talking to Herr Marsden and inquiring about leaving Germany as a defector?"

"Because it's possible my sister's fiancé' took the same route. Or was trying to take the same route."

"What's his name?"

"Hagen Weiss."

"SS?"

"Ja."

"Hmm...." the Captain lifted his foot of the chair and walked up to Peter. "Your story would be quite convincing accept for the fact that the SS has no record of your existence. There is no Wehrstammbuch on a Hans von Dashden of the SS in Dueselldorf or anywhere in the Third Reich. So, I ask again...what is your name?"

Peter swallowed. "Hans von Dashden--"

The Captain gave Peter a violent back handed swipe. "How dare you defy me! There is no Hans von Dashden of the SS! You will tell me who you really are, why you are in Berlin and why you were talking to Angus Marsden!"

Peter said nothing but the look behind his eyes burned in rage. He looked down at the Captain's boots and spit on them.

"Argh!!!" the Captain lashed out at Peter again, striking him across the face, swearing at him in German. "Perhaps you think the SS will be more tolerant of you! Take him out of here!!"

The two other officers grabbed up Peter from the chair and hauled him out of the interrogation room. They pushed him down a hallway and down a flight of stairs to a lock up. He was pushed into a cell of four concrete walls, no windows, a metal door and a dirt floor, landing unceremoniously on the floor in a heap. The door banged shut behind him.

His ironic fate settled uneasily in his gut. He would more than likely be executed by the SS as a traitor...just as he had finally proved to London that he wasn't a traitor to the Allies. And Serilda. What had happened to her? Where was she? He prayed she had not been caught by the Gestapo but deep down, he doubted that. And lastly, why did this whole mess ever even start? What as the Gestapo's plan for him to have to be accused of treason?

And what of Colonel Hogan and the others? What would happen now?


Berlin, Germany
February 4, 1944

Serilda headed back to the side of Berlin where the Underground meeting place was located. What drew her there, she wasn’t sure. Surely she wouldn’t find Marsden or anyone for that matter. If anything the place would be empty or destroyed.
But there was no other place to go in Berlin. And with no car, she couldn’t leave on her own, unless she took a train to Dusseldorf. But leaving Peter behind bothered her. She felt that somehow she had to find a way to help him, despite knowing that pulling him from the clutches of the Gestapo was impossible. Added to that the fact that they were looking for her too. Her options were limited.

She hurried down the sidewalk and turned to the corner at the alleyway, keeping her pace quick. She came to the backside of the building and saw the stairwell that went down to a door. Cautiously, she stepped down the steps.

She could hear noises from behind the wooden door. Figuring she had come while the Gestapo was ripping the place apart, she held her breath and chanced a look through the dirty window.

Inside, however, was not a Gestapo officer, but Angus himself. He was moving quickly, loading papers and maps into a box next to the radio that was now dismantled. Other electronic gadgets lay in pieces on the table or floor.

Relieved to see him, Serilda knocked and opened the door. “Angus, it’s me. Serilda.”

Startled, Angus stopped what he was doing and turned to the doorway. “Serilda!” He smiled at her and came to her, embracing her.

“I did not expect to find you here,” she said.

“I honestly did not expect to make it back it here,” he answered. He gestured to the smashed pieces of electronics on the floor.

“Weisburg put up a fight, I then escaped on foot and he chased after me down the street. He slipped on a sheet of ice and fell, pretty hard. He did not move even when I came back to pass him.”

“Is he dead?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t stop to check for sure. I hurried back here to radio to London and get rid of this stuff so as not to allow the Allies to be compromised any more. London will be dropping the treason charge against Peter Newkirk.” He smiled.

“That’s great,” Serilda said, but the enthusiasm had to struggle to show.

“Just before I dismantled the radio, Emil contacted me and said Gisela and the boys are safely on their way to England. He said he can get me to Switzerland and then to England…Serilda? What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry, Angus. The Gestapo arrested Peter this morning before we could leave the hotel. And they’re looking for me too! They took the car, I have no way to get out of Berlin!”

Angus shook his head. “I will get you out of Berlin,” he said and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “And we will try to do what we can for Peter. Help me finish putting this stuff together to be destroyed and we will go.”

“Okay.”


Gestapo Headquarters
Berlin, Germany
February 4, 1944

Major Hans Teppel of the Obeveur, or SS Intelligence, looked like an aristocratic, Aryan, loyal and even somewhat arrogant German. He was approximately 55 years of age and looked as such that he lived comfortably. His graying hair matched the gray of his uniform and overcoat and he walked with a sense of importance. He spoke fondly of a childhood in Bavaria, had over 10 years in the German military, was shrewd, intelligent and decorated for his service to the Reich.

He was also a pretty damn good actor. Nobody in the Obeveur knew that Hans Teppel was really Roger Morris, who had grown up not in Bavaria, but in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And nobody knew that Hans Teppel was really an intelligence agent for the American OSS as opposed to the German SS.

As such, Tepple knew of Angus Marsden and the two had worked together several times. When Marsden suddenly could no longer be contacted, Teppel became concerned. Given his rank and position with the SS, Tepple couldn't go out looking for Marsden. He could only wait.

When the Gestapo called to say they had an SS officer in custody, a possible defector who had been seen speaking to Angus Marsden recently, Teppel took it upon himself to claim the prisoner and pick him up, hoping maybe to get some kind of answers as to Marsden's current whereabouts.

Teppel of course, had no idea what he was to find when he got to Gestapo Headquarters. He maintained a look a of disgust at the idea that an SS officer would be looking to defect, and followed the guard down a hall. They arrived at a cell door, which was unlocked for the Major.

Teppel looked in and saw the man lying upon the dirt floor. He looked at the guard. "I will be okay. I will call for you when I'm ready."

"Jawohl, Herr Major." The guard stepped back and Teppel walked into the cell. The metal door banged shut behind him and Teppel stepped toward the prisoner.

Newkirk curled inward more. Go away! Leave me alone, just go away!

Teppel kneeled down, finding the prisoner looked vaguely familiar.

"Look at me."

Newkirk didn't move right away and Teppel grabbed the lapels of Peter's jacket and pulled on them. "Look at me!"

Fearing reprisal, Newkirk flinched and tried to raise his arms in defense. He turned his head to look at the Major and instantly the two men recognized one another.

"Maj--Major Teppel."

"What is--what are you doing here?" Teppel hissed. He looked at Newkirk's dirtied SS uniform. "What is going on?? What are you doing here in Berlin?" He glanced toward the door and then back at Peter. "Is Colonel Hogan and the others here?" he asked, very softly not wanting the guard outside the door to hear.

"No..." Newkirk meekly shook his head. "I'm in bloody trouble this time..."

Teppel adjusted his grip on Newkirk's jacket and assisted the Englishman to sit upon the floor. Seeing his face more clearly in the light, Teppel finally came up with a name.

"You are Newkirk."

Peter nodded.

"Parading around Berlin as a defecting SS officer is not exactly a wise thing to be doing nowadays."

"I didn't have much choice," Peter replied. "The bloody Gestapo took over Angus Marsden's group and started feeding false information to London."

Teppel paused. "So that's why I haven't been able to find him." He looked at Peter. "What kind of false information?"

"A bloody treason charge against me, for one thing. I'm came here to find out what's going on."

"Alone?"

"No." Peter paused. Where was Serilda? "No, I came with an Underground agent."

"Where is he?"

"She." He looked at the Major. "I don't know where she is. We were both staying at Das Birken hotel in Berlin. The Gestapo busted down my door this morning. I don't know if they found her or not. I hope they didn't."

"They made no indication to me that they did." Teppel paused. "How did the Gestapo figure Marsden out?"

"I don't know, but they were holding his family and he had a Kraut following him around all the time. That's how I got busted. Serilda and I made contact with Marsden as brother and sister looking to defect. The story I gave the Gestapo was that we were looking for her missing fiancé."

Teppel nodded. "That's what they told me. Where's Marsden now?"

"I don't know. Probably telling the Kraut where to stuff his swatzika. Serilda and I sprung his wife and kids last night. They're on their way to England." Peter paused. "Sir, I'm sure there's nothing you can do for me. But if possible, can you make sure they didn't get Serilda?"

"I'm going to make sure the Gestapo doesn't keep you. If they were trying to paint you a traitor and then they find out you're here, it may put a damper on their plans."

"Whatever their plans are."

"All the same, I'm having you placed under SS custody. You'll be my prisoner and declared an internal matter. You're identity is unconfirmed because you're working under top secret orders." Teppel paused. "More or less I'm doing this to get you out of Berlin."

"But sir--"

"I will try to find what happened to her. But you have been caught by the Gestapo. They don't know you're Peter Newkirk of the RAF but when they find out you may end up a dead RAF pilot."

"Better that than a dead defecting SS officer."


Stalag 13
February 4, 1944


Colonel Hogan, Kinch and LeBeau were down in the tunnel, listening to the beeps and clicks from the code radio. Kinch scribbled the message down, acknowledged receiving back to London and then tore the paper off the pad. He handed it to the Colonel.

Hogan read the message. "They're dropping the treason charge," he announced with a smile.

"All right! That means Newkirk made it," LeBeau said.

"Yeah. Marsden's closing up shop and getting out of Berlin."

"Newkirk should be back here in a couple of days then," Kinch said.

"All we have to do is get rid of Hochstetter," LeBeau said. "Otherwise it will be difficult to get him back into camp."

Hogan nodded. "Kinch, send a message to the Underground in Hamelburg, let Dr. Weinstein know that Newkirk should be back in a couple of days. Tell them we've got Hochstetter hanging around here and the situation's iffy and we might not be able to get Newkirk back into camp right away."

Kinch nodded and started transmitting.

"How are we going to get him back into camp, Hochstetter or no?" LeBeau asked.

"I'm thinking have it look like Newkirk was trying to escape and was using the defection angle as a cover. The hard part is explaining how he managed to be out for so long and end up only being caught in Hamelburg."

"Just say he was home sick for Stalag 13."

Hogan smirked.

"Colonel!" Carter called down from the barracks above. "Hochstetter's back and he's brought the radio truck!"

Hogan looked at Kinch, who nodded. He ended the transmission and shut the radio off. "Short and sweet, Colonel. It went through."

"All right, let's get back up there."

The three climbed up the ladder and returned to the barracks. From the window, Hogan looked out on the compound and saw the truck parked just inside the gate.

"For somebody who's looking for Newkirk to be a new member of the Nazi party, Hochstetter's not exactly rolling out the welcome mat," Carter said.

"No," Hogan agreed. "There's no doubt now. He's looking for us."


Berlin, Germany
February 4, 1944

The box of papers that Angus packaged was carried to another part of the building where a fireplace was located. A fire was already burning and Angus instructed Serilda to place the papers into the fire. She did so, as Angus went back to complete the destruction of the radio and the other electronic equipment. He then carried various components from that to the fireplace as well and added them to the fire.

“That’s everything,” he said. Serilda dropped the last of the maps and documents into the fire. The electronic components smoldered and sparked and were rendered useless. Satisfied that everything was effectively destroyed Angus proceeded to extinguish the fire.

"By the time any of this is discovered, we will be long gone," Angus said. "Come, we must move quickly..."


Major Teppel left SS Headquarters and drove to Kessler Park. The late afternoon sun shone over Berlin and the park had a fair amount of people, walking, sitting on the benches and conversing with one another. A small group of children played in the snow. Teppel walked to a park bench where a man dressed in a gray SS uniform sat with a woman. The man stood up and saluted. Teppel returned the salute and then stepped in closer.

"I have to admit I'm surprised to see you at all," Teppel said. "I heard what happen with the Gestapo. I figured you'd be a dead man."

"Not that I didn't come close to it," Angus replied. "Teppel, this is Serilda Bachman she is with the Underground in Hamelburg. She came here with Peter Newkirk, of Colonel Hogan's group to help me out. Only now the Gestapo has arrested Herr Newkirk, thinking he is of the SS...."

"Who's now in my custody."

"He is?" Marsden said.

"Is he okay, Major?" Serilda asked.

"Yes, he is fine." Teppel smiled. "Although he's wondering the same thing about you."

Serilda blushed.

"He gave the Gestapo a hard enough time that they called me. I took him into SS custody and declared him an internal matter, top secret. That covers me long enough until I can figure how to get him out of Berlin and back to Stalag 13."

"Why not have the three of us, Angus, Peter and myself go to Switzerland?" Serilda asked. "And from there, England?"

"Normally I would recommend that," Teppel said. "But I am thinking of the continuity of Colonel Hogan's operations at Stalag 13. I don't know under what circumstances Newkirk got out of camp and whether or not he is expected back. To ship him off to England may jeopardize things."

"How do you plan to find out those circumstances?" Angus asked.

"I will go to Stalag 13 under the guise that I am to question some of the prisoners. I've done this before. I will talk to Colonel Hogan and find out what is going on."

"May I come with you?" Serilda asked.

"Fraulien, it may be best if you go with Angus to Switzerland."

"Please?" she said. "For Peter's sake. I want to see that he is returned back to Stalag 13 safely and with the honor of his country restored..."

Teppel looked at Serilda for a moment and the nodded. "Very well. You may come with me."

"Thank you, Herr Major."


Rosholt Hotel
Berlin, Germany
February 4, 1944

Having been declared an internal matter and top secret, Peter found he was basically being treated as an undercover SS officer. Teppel had provided Peter with a clean SS uniform, a new Soldbuch and documents with a different name and placed him up at the Rosholt Hotel for the time being.

Peter counted his blessings for being found by Major Teppel and not someone else, who would have not hesitated at seeing him executed. But as he looked out of his hotel window at the city of Berlin, he thought of Serilda and where she was. All the worse possible things he could think of that could happen to her ran through is mind. God, he hoped she hadn't been captured. But if she had....

He closed his eyes and hung his head. Teppel said he would try to find out what happened to her, but deep down Peter's aching heart told him the possibility of finding her was slim.

Little did he know that the Major would be bringing him a visitor. After a moment, he turned away from the window and sat down by the coffee table. He pulled the pack of smuggled in English cigarettes from his jacket pocket and removed one, lighting it.

On the street below, Teppel pulled up in his car with Serilda. A few minutes later they were on the second floor and outside Peter's hotel room door. Teppel knocked and then opened the door part way.
Peter looked up toward him.

"Herr Dousman, I have a visitor for you..." Teppel smiled and pushed the door open, standing back to let Serilda into the room first.

"Serilda...!" Peter sprung out of the chair and gathered Serilda into a welcoming and happy embrace. "Thank God you're all right!" he said.

"Thank God you are all right," she said and giggled in relief.

"Both of you are very fortunate," Teppel said. "As is Angus Marsden."

"Where is he now?" Peter asked.

"On his way to Switzerland," Teppel said. "I suggested that Serilda go with him, but she insisted on finding you."

Peter looked at her. "You probably should have gone with him."

"I couldn't. I want to make sure you get back to Stalag 13 and that England does not see you as a traitor anymore."

Peter was about to argue it when Teppel spoke up. "It is too late now, Newkirk. She is here. The task at hand now is getting the two of you back to Hamelburg."

Peter nodded. "Yes sir."

"I'm thinking to go to Stalag 13 in the next couple of days to "question" Colonel Hogan. The both of you will come with me, as my driver and secretary. I want to know how you got out of camp so that we can figure way to get you back in."

"Okay..."


After Teppel left, Newkirk ordered dinner for two to be delivered to his room. It was the first decent meal he and Serilda had had for several days and they took the time to enjoy it. Based on the cuisine served at Stalag 13, Peter often griped that he didn't care for German food. But the hot plate of Sauerbraten (beef roast, marinated with herbs and braised in rich sauce) served with potato dumplings was quickly turning Peter's opinion. He left nothing on the plate, much to Serilda's amusement.

"German food agrees with you, ja?"

He grinned. "When you're hungry and there's a hot plate of good smelling food in front of you, who cares where it's from."
Serilda laughed.

Peter took a sip of his wine but his eyes never left Serilda. She blushed under his gaze and picked up her wine glass. Peter found the look of her in the candlelight alluring and his feelings about her stirred stronger. He knew better. He shouldn't have been attracted to her like this because he knew when this was all over he would only end up with a broken heart. As would she. But denying his feelings was impossible. And trying to fight those feelings with her sitting across from him, her face a glow in the soft candlelight and then her eyes slowly turning up to look at him...it was a hopeless battle.

He placed his wine glass down and stood up, reaching a hand out to her, which she took and did so for all the same reasons he had reached to her. She knew she should resist, she knew, as did he that if it went any further, if they were to whisper words of love to one another, there was nothing guaranteeing any future. But it was like a spell, every time she looked into those blue/green eyes it was a blow to her resistance. When he kissed her, before the Barron's ball, and she found herself in his strong embrace there was little left to resist him with.

Now he gently pulled her to him, holding her close like a couple slow dancing but there was no music. He then touched his fingers to her chin, lifting her face to him.

"Tell me it's not hopeless...?" he whispered, searching her eyes.

"I don't know.... Peter, we both know we're caught in it. We both know what could or could not happen. There's no guarantee about tomorrow..."

"I don't care about tomorrow. I only care about right now. I only care that you're here with me, now...." his fingers traced across her cheek to her hair. "Let's not think about tomorrow...." His tender kiss made Serilda forget all about tomorrow.


Gestapo Headquarters
Dusseldorf, Germany
February 5, 1944

The next morning, Weisburg's final notes and a report from Sturmscharführer Kohler, the guard that had been assigned to watch Angus Marsden's family, were delivered by courier to Major Hochstetter. He read through Weisburg's final notes and sighed. How had it all unraveled? Weisburg was now dead, Kohler had been knocked unconscious and the family had fled and Angus Marsden himself had disappeared. The only connection Hochstetter had to those events was an SS officer named Hans von Dashden.

And just who the hell was Hans von Dashden? The additional report from Gestapo headquarters in Berlin on von Dashden's arrest gave little information, only that the Reichslieutenant had been uncooperative, and although he admitted to having talked to Angus Marsden, his reasons as to why could not be corroborated. And the reports from Weisburg and Kohler conflicted. The woman traveling with von Dashden was his sister, according to Weisburg. In Kohler's report, she was his fiancé. Both reports, however, described the woman's physical appearance the same.

Hochstetter pondered this a moment. He wondered, on the off chance, if Hans von Dashden was really Peter Newkirk. The coincidence fit. Newkirk was nowhere to be found in Dusseldorf or Hamelburg. An Underground operative would have known where to find Gisela and from there, find where Angus was. And the whole idea of the plan was to flush Colonel Hogan out. If Hochstetter grabbed one of the Colonel's men, exposing the whole operation should be easy....

Hochstetter picked up the phone beside him and asked the operator to be connected to SS Headquarters in Berlin. After connecting he announced himself and the nature of his inquiry. He was then directed to Major Hans Teppel.

"Guten Tag, Herr Major," Teppel greeted. "What can I do for you?"

"I hope you can help me, Herr Major. I understand that an SS officer that was arrested by the Gestapo in Berlin yesterday is now in your custody. SS Reichslieutenant Hans von Dashden?"

"Ja, but the matter concerning von Dashden is classified. It is an....internal matter." Teppel paused. "How do you know about von Dashden, Major, and what specifically are you inquiring about?"

"Von Dashden was seen talking to Angus Marsden and he was reported by one of my men, who has since been killed. I am attempting to break up an Underground sabotage operation and I think von Dashden is a member of that operation, by a different name."

"What name?"

"Peter Newkirk. An RAF pilot being held prisoner at LuftStalag 13 in Hamleburg. Who is not there as we speak. He allegedly became ill, was taken to the hospital in Hamelburg but is not there either. I think Hans Von Dashden and Peter Newkirk are one in the same."

"Major, are you saying there are Allied POW's committing sabotage against the Third Reich from inside a LuftStalag camp?"

"Ja I have documentation of such activities. I just have to catch one of them and I can bring the whole operation down."

"Interesting....however, Major, I can confirm that von Dashden was seen talking to Angus Marsden but he has never been part of any sabotage operation. For one thing, the man does not speak English."

"Hmm....would it be possible, Herr Major, to see the prisoner? I need not have to ask him any questions, but if he looks like who I think he looks like, I will be asking you some questions..."

Teppel, appropriately, took offense. "Are you implying, Herr Major, that I, as a loyal German and SS officer, am harboring enemies of the Fatherland??"

"I am merely following all my leads. If he does not look like Peter Newkirk, than I will have no further concern for him."

"Well then Major, he is being held here in Berlin at SS Headquarters. Come when it is convenient for you, I will show you to the prisoner."

"I will be there tomorrow."


SS Headquarters
Berlin, Germany
February 5, 1944

Major Teppel about had a fit when he hung up the phone after speaking to Major Hochstetter. Not only did the Gestapo Major know of Colonel Hogan's operations at Stalag 13, he was taking a damn well educated guess on Peter Newkirk's current whereabouts. Thankfully, for both his sake and Peter's, he had provided Newkirk with a different identity. But now he had to find somebody to be Hans von Dashden long enough to throw the Gestapo hound dog off the trail.

Teppel was also rethinking his trip to Stalag 13. Certainly if Hochstetter were to find out, he'd question it but Teppel could explain that it was on an unrelated matter and that the timing just happened to be coincidence. Hochstetter would still be suspicious, but Teppel could think of no other way to get a warning to Colonel Hogan and be able to assess the situation first hand. And he figured the Colonel was going to need all the help he could get.


Rosholt Hotel
Berlin, Germany
February 5, 1944

Not twenty minutes after Major Teppel received Major Hochstetter's call, Teppel was standing outside Newkirk's hotel room.

"I've discovered the who and the why for this whole mess that you're in," Teppel said as soon as Newkirk opened the door. The Major stepped in quickly and Newkirk shut the door.

Serilda was sitting by the coffee table and stood up as Teppel turned to Peter.

"Does the name Wolfgang Hochstetter, Gestapo Major, mean anything to you?" he asked.

"Hochstetter? He's only the bane of Stalag 13."

"Well he's looking to close down the Colonel's operation. And I think you were the randomly picked first domino that had to fall."

Peter blanched. "He hasn't busted the Colonel, has he?"

"Not yet. But he knows you're not at the hospital in Hamelburg. The two Gestapo officers that infiltrated Angus's operation were working under his orders. They filed reports and he knows everything that's happened. He's also guessed that Hans von Dashden is you."

Serilda gasped and Peter took a step back and sat down. "The dirty rotten Kraut..."

"Luckily for you and myself, you have a different identity. But I have to find somebody to be von Dashden for a spell."

"Why?"

"Because Hochstetter's coming here tomorrow. He wants to see if the prisoner I have looks like Peter Newkirk."

Peter closed his eyes and drew in a heavy sigh. "I can't believe Hochstetter's this close to figuring us out," he said as Serilda sat down beside him on the couch. "We've always thrown him off for years." He looked up at Teppel. "How did he know?"

"I'm not sure, but he said he had documentation of what all of you have been doing."

"Terrific..." Peter muttered.

"Major Hochstetter has been the bane of Underground agents in Hamelburg and Duesseldorf as well," Serilda said. "If he has plans to ruin Colonel Hogan's operation, there is no telling where he will stop."

"What do we do now?" Peter asked.

"Get you and Serilda back to Hamelburg. I'm still going to go to Stalag 13 to see how much the Colonel is aware of."
Peter nodded.

"We'll stop him," Teppel said. "The Colonel is crafty and I may be able to help by putting some official pressure on Hochstetter. Keep in mind, he could be bluffing."

"I don't think so sir," Peter said. "He's holding most of the aces right now."


SS Headquarters
Berlin, Germany
February 6, 1944

Major Teppel spent most of the night working in solitude swapping von Dashden's fake Soldbuch and other forged documents with another prisoner's identification, temporarily. By the morning, a new file on Hans von Dashden had been prepared and Teppel had it with him when the Gestapo Major arrived around mid afternoon.

"Hmm...." was all Hochstetter said for comment as he examined the papers and the Soldbuch. He studied the photograph in the Soldbuch, certainly not finding any likeness to the Englishman he was hoping to see.

As promised, Teppel showed Hochstetter to the prisoner's cell, and the man behind the bars matched the photo in the Soldbuch. Hochstetter scrutinized the prisoner, trying to find something that looked even vaguely like Peter Newkirk. Naturally, the prisoner looked back at Hochstetter with reserve, wondering why the Gestapo was suddenly interested in him. Hochstetter dismissed the look as wariness, considering von Dashden's recent history with the Gestapo.

As much as he looked, however, the man looked nothing like Peter Newkirk. Hochstetter turned to Teppel in obvious disappointment.

"Obviously this is not the man I was looking for..."

Teppel nodded. "I'm sorry I could not be of further help to you, Herr Major."

"Hmmm..." Hochstetter turned and walked down the hall. Teppel looked at the prisoner and shook his head before following after Hochstetter. The prisoner was thankful that he wasn't the man the Gestapo was interested in.

Once he was rid of the Gestapo, Major Teppel returned to his office. Before swapping von Dashden and the prisoner's Soldbuch's again, he picked up his telephone and asked be to connected to Luftstalag 13.


Stalag 13
February 6, 1944

Kinch came up to the barracks from the tunnel below. The rest of the heroes gathered around him in the middle of the barracks.

"I just over heard a phone call to Klink's office. Major Teppel of the SS is coming here tomorrow to question some of us."

Hogan raised an eyebrow. "Teppel? You sure?"

Kinch nodded. "It was him. He gave Klink a list of the prisoners he wants to question. Your name was right at the top."

"You think he knows about Marsden and what happened?" Carter asked.

"More than likely," Hogan said. "But I wonder if he knows Newkirk is in Berlin."

"How would he know?" LeBeau asked. "Unless..."

Hogan shook his head. "I don't even want to think about that. We'll just wait and see when he gets here."


Stalag 13
February 7, 1944

The next morning, after roll call, Kinch went down to the tunnel to listen in on any more phone calls that came to Klink's office. Particularly if any came in or went out while Major Hochstetter was there. Hogan, Carter and LeBeau were in the Colonel's quarters listening in on the coffee pot. Not ten minutes passes when the Kommandant's phone rang.

“Ja?”

“Kommandant, I have Gruppenführer Steuben on the phone for Major Hochstetter,” Hilda said.

“Ah, excellent. Put him through please.” Klink covered the mouth piece and looked at Hochstetter. “General Steuben from Berlin for you - Oh, yes hallo, Herr General! This is Kommandant Klink speaking. Heil Hitler! Yes, he’s right here...”

Hochstetter snatched the phone away. “Guten Tag, Herr General. Heil Hitler.”

“Major, I am calling for a status on your plan. Have you determined that the information from Major Hegel's file is true and accurate? Is the American POW Colonel Hogan operating a sabotage operation from that camp??”

“Begging the General’s pardon, I do not trust the security of this phone line. I will call you back from my office in Duseldorf later today with an update.”

“Understandable Herr Major. I look forward to hearing your report. Heil Hitler.”

“Heil Hitler, Herr General." Hochstetter quickly hung up the phone.


Kinch tossed the handset down and made a dash for the ladder. The box spring clattered and the mattress lifted up with Kinch practically leaping out of the tunnel entrance.

The rest of the heroes came out of Hogan's quarters.

"He shushed that General up quick," Hogan said.

“You were right about Hochstetter," Kinch said. "He is trying to flush us out. The General wanted to know if the information from a Major Hegel’s file was accurate and quote, is the American POW Colonel Hogan running a sabotage operation from this camp? unquote.”

Every head in the barracks looked up or turned to Colonel Hogan. Hogan stared at Kinch in momentary alarm. “That means he knows everything..."

Kinch nodded.

Hogan turned from the men and paced for a moment, keeping his thoughts to himself.

“Major Hegel ?” Carter said. “Ain’t that the fella that we had to pay those diamonds to?”

“The same,” Kinch replied.

“Yeah,” LeBeau piped in. “The one that knew everything about us.”

“And I thought all that information died with him,” Hogan said, returning to the group and stopping his pacing. “I didn’t figure he kept notes.”

“Sir! Major Hochstetter’s leaving.”

Hogan went over to the window to see the staff car leave the compound. "Heading to Duseldorf to talk to that General, no doubt..."

"Everything is ready, Colonel," Carter said. "We're just waiting on your command. We can be out of here in 10 minutes."

"Hochstetter has a lot of Gestapo guards around," LeBeau cautioned.

Hogan nodded. "I don't want to risk a mass escape, it's too dangerous. Besides, I refuse to give Hochstetter the satisfaction of being right."


Stalag 13
February 7, 1944

Peter drove Major Teppels car into the yard of Stalag 13 and brought it up to the front porch of Colonel Klink’s office. He got out and opened the back door for the Major and Serilda. The three of them walked up the steps, saluting the guard as they went in.

Fraulien Hilda stood up. “The Colonel is expecting you Major,” she said. She went to the Kommandant’s office door and announced the Major’s arrival.

Newkirk stayed behind the Major, keeping his face obscured as much as possible from Hilda even though he now wore a mustache. A moment later the Kommandant came out to greet his guest.

“Ah, Herr Major, welcome! A pleasure always…” Klink invited the Major and his staff members into the office.

Teppel introduced Peter and Serilda as his driver and secretary respectively. Peter clicked his heels and nodded to the Colonel but otherwise hung back. Colonel Klink didn’t seem to notice if Peter looked familiar.

"Now, Major, I have distributed the list to my sergeant of the guard, he will be bringing the prisoners you wish to question here to my office."

"Excellent, Colonel."

Klink smiled and gave an extra beaming smile to Serilda, who handled it with grace.

"My secretary will take dictation during the questioning," Teppel said. "I don't figure this to take too long and I appreciate your accommodating me on such short notice."

"Oh no trouble, Herr Major," Klink said, still smiling. "My stalag, is your stalag."


Over in the barracks, Colonel Hogan and the men had seen Teppel's car come in to the compound and the two additional people Teppel had with him. They then gathered in the Colonel's quarters to listen in but it was cut short up hearing from one of the other prisoners that Schultz was walking across the yard from the office to the barracks. The plug was pulled on the coffee pot in Hogan's quarters and the heroes returned to general quarters before Schultz came in with a paper in his hand.

“Colonel Hogan. Major Teppel of the SS would like to speak with you.”

“We’ve got a full house today, don’t we Schultz? Major Teppel, Major Hochstetter…”

“Major Big Shots,” Schultz concurred.

“Major pains in the backside if you ask me,” LeBeau said.

“Okay, Schultz, I’ll go talk to the nice SS man.” Hogan smiled and walked out of the barracks with Schultz following.

Back at Klink's office, Schultz announced the Colonel to Major Teppel and then let Hogan into the office. The Kommandant vacated the office, although he asked Major Teppel more than once if there was any way that he could stay during the questioning. Teppel said there was no reason for the Kommandant to be present and Klink was essentially pushed out of the office. Hogan looked at Peter and Serilda, waiting for the door behind him to close. When it did, he stepped forward and spoke.

“I have to admit I’m surprised to see the two of you here.”

“Is it safe to speak in here?” Teppel asked.

Hogan nodded. “The only listening devices in here are ours.”

Peter grinned and the Major nodded in relief. “They are fortunate to be here with me, Colonel. Things got a little hairy in Berlin.”

“We know you got to Marsden; London dropped the treason charge and said he told them he had been compromised by the Gestapo. What else happened?”

“Marsden had a Gestapo agent following him all the time,” Peter said. “When Serilda and I made contact with him, I went in as an SS officer looking to defect. None of us knew the other guy at the table was the bloody Gestapo. After we got Marsden’s family out of Berlin and on it’s way to England, the Gestapo busted me. It was sheer luck that the Major here came to find out what was going on.”

“And the only reason I did that was because the information the Gestapo gave me was that he had been seen talking to Marsden, who I hadn’t been able to contact for almost a week.”

“In other words, sheer luck,” Hogan said. “Any idea where Marsden is now?”

“Probably Switzerland,” Serilda replied. “Hopefully on his way to England.”

“Then he was successful in removing all trace of his operation in Berlin?”

Serilda nodded.

“Good. Because I may need his help in removing all traces of this operation.”

"Then you know Hochstetter is trying to cook your goose?" Teppel said.

Hogan nodded and looked at Peter. "You remember about a year ago, a Gestapo officer named Hegel? He knew everything about us and wanted 1 million dollars in diamonds for his silence?"

Peter nodded. "Yeah...but we bumped 'em off..?"

"Yeah, we did, but apparently he kept notes. Hochstetter got a hold of some file this guy had and he's waiting for the right opportunity to bust this place wide open. He played it cool when he got here, giving the story that you were looking to defect and that he wanted to talk to you. When he heard you were supposed to be in the hospital, he went to see if you were really there. Not finding you, he’s since clamped down on this camp like you’ve escaped. He’s been keeping a particular watch on our barracks and he's brought in the radio truck. This morning we found out just what he knew and how he knew it. Some General called wanting a report on us but Hochstetter shushed him and then left here like a shot to call this General back from Duesseldorf. I have everything ready should we have to make a quick break, but I wasn't sure if you would make it back here in time.”

"He figured out Peter was under the name Hans von Dashden," Teppel added. "He couldn't confirm it because I swapped Peter's von Dashden identity with another prisoner's temporarily. Hochstetter came to SS Headquarters in Berlin yesterday to view the prisoner and was quite disappointed that it was not Newkirk."

Hogan nodded. "That throws him off the trail long enough. Now we have to figure how to beat him at his own game."

"I may have a suggestion," Teppel said.

"I'm open to anything," Hogan said.

Teppel smiled. "We'll do exactly as you said. We'll beat him at his own game."


After working out a plan and some details quickly, Hogan left the office and Teppel questioned the remaining prisoners on the short list. Teppel then met with Klink, the conversation being overheard by Hogan and the others in the barracks.

"That did not take you very long, Major," Klink said.

"Just a few questions, Colonel. I had no intention of doing a full length interrogation."

"I see."

"Again, I do appreciate you accommodating me on such short notice."

"No trouble at all. Anything to assist the Obeveur."

Teppel smiled. "Which the SS appreciates. Tell me Colonel, has a Gestapo Major named Hochstetter been here inquiring about an RAF pilot, Peter Newkirk?"

"Yes. Yes, he has. In fact, he was he earlier."

"Is he saying that Newkirk is looking to defect?"

"Yes..." Klink stared at Teppel. "Major, how do you know of that--" Klink stopped short. "I mean, how did the SS become aware of that? My understanding was that it was not highly publicized information."

"The Obeveur has been watching what Hochstetter has been doing. Colonel, what I'm about to tell you is very sensitive and I trust that you will treat it as such."

"Of course, Major."

"The Obeveur has reason to believe that Major Hochstetter is attempting to commit treason."

Klink looked at Teppel so wide eyed his monocle fell from his eye. He caught it, clumsily and looked back at Teppel. "Major Hochstetter??"

Teppel nodded and worked to hold back his laugh. "Ja...I am only telling you this to warn you so that he does not try to implicate you in anything."

"Implicate me??" Klink said, alarmed.

Teppel raised a hand. "You are in no way under any suspicion, Colonel. But another reason that I came here from Berlin is to confront the Major. My questioning of the prisoners is only to confirm his actions. Do you know when the Major will be back?"

"I believe he will be back later this afternoon. He's gone to Dusseldorf to call Gruppenfuher Stueben."

"Hmm....very well then. I will be staying at the hotel in Hamelburg. If you would contact me please when the Major comes back here to camp."

"Certainly, Herr Major, certainly!"

Over in the barracks, Hogan smiled. "Gentlemen, get ready for a German version of the Spanish Inquisition."

 

~End Part Three~

Part Four