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

 

Hamelburg, Germany
February 7, 1944

Anjte had watched the four Gestapo officers for the past couple of days. They loitered around Serilda's apartment building and the haufbrau she worked at, asking about her, where was she and when was she expected to return. Regulars of the haufbrau and tenants of the apartment building gave no concrete answers. They all acted as if they hardly knew anything about her.

Like a moth to the flame, Anjte felt compelled to keep her eye on the Gestapo even though they terrified the hell out of her. No distance was comfortable enough, but as long as she wasn't seen by them, Anjte kept watch. Serilda had been gone nearly a week and Anjte didn't want to see her friend come back and walk into a Gestapo homecoming and Anjte herself certainly didn't want to meet up with any of them.

She didn't know specifically why they were looking for Serilda but Anjte knew it could have been for anything. What Anjte didn't know was how could Serilda be forewarned and who could Anjte trust and tell?

She lingered around the haufbrau long enough one afternoon, after the Gestapo men had left, that the bartender noticed. He also recognized her as one of Serilda's friends and figured she was just as concerned about the Gestapo as he was. He took a break from tending the bar and took a serving of coffee over to her.

Anjte looked up, startled. "Oh...Danke.."

He smiled and sat down across from her. "You look like you could use it."

"Ja, I think so..." She took a sip and smiled at him. "It's delicious."

"House specialty. Serilda helped with it."

She looked at him at the mention of Serilda's name and then realized her look alone probably revealed too much. She stared back down at her coffee cup.

"It's okay," he said. "She is my friend too. We fight on the same side in the same battle."

Anjte paused. "They are looking for her," she said quietly.

"I know. The munitions depot explosion in Essen about a month ago. Of course, no one here has anything to say of it."

"They have been watching her apartment. I am worried she will come back and they will catch her."

"You know she has gone to Berlin?"

"Yes..but I don't know when she is to come back."

The bartender paused. "My understanding is she would return first to Hamelburg Hospital, but there is the possibility she could go to her apartment ." He looked Anjte. "At the hospital, there is a Dr. Weinstein that would be waiting for her. Would you be willing to go there and tell him the Gestapo is waiting for her?"

"How would he would know to trust me?"

"Simple. Tell him Bruno sent you."

So Anjte did. She tried not to appear nervous asking the receptionist at the hospital to see Dr. Weinstein and tried to sit as calmly as possible while waiting for the doctor. Dr. Weinstein was cautious but courteous when he came to greet Anjte but as soon as she said that Bruno had sent her, he knew the young woman could be trusted.

Hearing that the Gestapo was waiting for Serilda was alarming to the doctor. He thanked Anjte for telling him this and told her he would make sure Serilda did not go back to her apartment, as long as Anjte would continue to watch the apartment. Anjte said she would.

Which was what she was doing when she saw an SS staff car pull up to Serilda's apartment building. After leaving Stalag 13, Major Teppel had dropped Peter back at the hospital and drove on to drop Serilda off at her place. Anjte saw the woman get out of the car but didn't immediately recognize Serilda dressed in an SS secretary's uniform. The staff car pulled away and the woman climbed the stairs and disappeared into the lobby of the apartment building.

The Gestapo did not seem overly concerned as they watched the staff car drive away. But Anjte wondered... She crossed the street nonchalantly and walked down the sidewalk to the stairs of the apartment building. She passed one Gestapo officer, giving a courteous nod and headed up the steps. Another Gestapo officer looked at a photograph and then at Anjte. His eyesight was apparently not such that he recognized the woman in the SS secretary's uniform either. But then again, he wasn't looking for a spy to show up dressed as an SS secretary.

Anjte entered the building and saw the woman standing at the mail boxes, fishing for a key from her purse. She walked up beside her, recognized it was Serilda and spoke softly.

"I thought you were supposed to return to the hospital?"

"I was but the plan changed."

"The Gestapo men are looking for you..."

Serilda paused after pulling her key out of her purse.

"They have been waiting for the past few days..."


At the hospital, after meeting up with Dr. Weinstein, Peter was escorted quickly to an empty room.

"Where is Serilda?"

"Major Teppel took her to her apartment."

Dr. Weinstein shook his head. "He should not have. The Gestapo is waiting for her there!"

"What?!"

"Come, we must stop them from getting there, or get them out." Peter's arm was pulled on and the two men quickly left the room.

 

"Are they upstairs?" Serilda asked. She put her key back in her purse.

"I don't know. What does it matter? You could leave now. They did not recognize you when you walked in, you can walk out. Walk down the street, get out of here."

"I don't think it's that simple..." Serilda cast a cautious glance toward the front door and then turned to Anjte. "Come with me."

"But--"

"It's okay, come with me." She gently took Anjte by the hand and they walked to the stairway.

Peter and Dr. Weinstein had jumped into the doctor's truck and had been well on their way by the time Anjte had first crossed the street. The were now cutting through traffic and were only five minutes away from the apartment building.

Peter held on to the door handle for his own dear life and prayed for Serilda's. "I can't believe it," he said. "How could they have known?"

"They may not know of your trip to Berlin. Serilda has taken part in other Underground operations, it could be for one of those."

"I don't know...they knew in Berlin she was a spy. They probably found her real name somehow. We have to stop 'em Doc! We can't let them catch her!"

"I make no argument of that, but I am driving as fast as I can."

 

Serilda shushed Anjte as they went up the stairs to the first floor. Before reaching the top of the second landing to the first floor, Serilda paused to look through the railing to see if anyone was loitering in the hall. At the far end, shadowed by the window that looked out toward the front side of the building, she could see a figure standing. She turned back to Anjte.

"Go to the second floor landing," she whispered. "There's a back door fire escape, go out that way and go down to the alley and wait for me for only five minutes. If I don't come, you must leave."

"Serilda--"

"You must go. Go on!"

Shaking, Anjte went on ahead and turned the corner to go up the next flight of stairs to the second floor. Serilda watched her go and when Anjte disappeared beyond the railing, Serilda continued her way to the first floor. She walked casually to the apartment door and removed the key to unlock it.


Anjte climbed down the fire escape, past the first floor and jumped down to the ground. She then looked up at the first floor, drawing in a deep breath and feeling her heart pounding in her ears. What was Serilda doing??


Out front, Peter and Dr. Weinstein pulled up in a much more subdued manner than that which they drove. They parked across the street and looked toward the building, spotting the Gestapo men waiting outside. They did not appear to be mobilizing for anything.

"Maybe she didn't come back here," Peter said. "Maybe Anjte was able to warn her. Teppel could have taken her to the hotel."

"That's possible."

Peter looked at the building and noticed the alley way and the fire escape on the side. "If she did go in and they didn't spot her, she could have climbed down the fire escape there."

The doctor looked and nodded. "Ja."

"Come on, let's take a look." Peter stepped out of the truck along with the doctor. They casually crossed the street and then paused behind a parked car, waiting for the three Gestapo men to not be looking in their direction. When the opportunity came, they quickly ducked into the alley.

Peter looked up at the first floor apartment windows but didn't see any open.


Serilda walked into her apartment and closed the door behind her. She went to her bedroom and removed the black necklace case from the night stand, placing it in her purse. No sooner had she done that there was a knock at the door.
She stepped out of her bedroom and pulled the small pistol she had in her purse out. "Who is it?"

"Gestapo! Open up!"



With a little help from the doctor, Peter pulled himself up the fire escape just as the sound of a gun discharging echoed in the alley.

Peter flinched, at first thinking the Gestapo men had spotted him and the doctor. He looked around wildly to both ends of the alley and then down at the doctor, who was anxiously looking too.

There was shouting coming from the front of the building and Peter looked in the window behind him and saw nothing. He scaled the fire escape to look into the next one. He thought of where Serilda's apartment door was located in relevance to the front of the building and he determined he was looking into her apartment. He couldn't see much, but there was no mistaken the bullet hole in the front door.

He pushed the window open and climbed into the apartment--at the same time the door was opening. He looked up and saw a Gestapo officer on the floor of the hall and two more were coming into the apartment. They looked down the short hallway and spotted Peter instantly.

"Halt! Halt!!"

Peter turned and jumped back out the window. The glass pane above him shattered from the Gestapo bullet. He lunged across the fire escape, yelling to Dr. Weinstein to run. The doctor took off back to where his truck was parked and Peter hauled himself down off the fire escape and ran toward the back of the building.

Both Gestapo men had run to the window but only one looked out and saw Peter running. He attempted to fire a shot from his Luger, kicking a hole into an old wooden shipping crate as Peter passed it. The Englishman kept running like hell.

Dr. Weinstein made it back to his truck and jumped in, bringing it to life with a terrible roar. He took off down the street, thankful to not see a single Gestapo officer come out of the front of the building. He turned the truck down the next side street heading to the street that ran behind the apartment building.

The Gestapo agents moved back through Serilda's apartment quickly meeting up with the third one. The two quickly told the third about seeing someone in an SS uniform jump out the back window. While one stayed behind to search the apartment, the other two went off to report to headquarters of what had just taken place. The one that had to search didn't find Serilda...or much of anything suspicious in the apartment.

Peter didn't see Anjte at the backside of the building because she had taken off after the first gun shot. He kept running in the direction opposite of Dr. Weinstein.

Dr. Weinstein sped up and saw Peter running up the street. He gave a quick honk on the horn and slowed down as the came up to Peter but didn't stop. Peter ran along side the truck and grabbed the tailgate, pulling himself up inside. Once the doctor saw he was in, he stepped on the accelerator.

Peter climbed through the back of the truck and made his way to the front, settling into the passenger seat. "What the bloody hell was that??"

"I don't know! Did you see Serilda?? What was the gun shot??"

"No, I didn't see Serilda, not that I had a lot of time to look around. But there was a bullet hole in her front door and a Gestapo officer sprawled on the floor in the hallway. Somebody had to be inside the apartment to put a hole like that in the door."

The doctor just shook his head, not knowing what to make of it. The truck rumbled on back to the hospital.


Gestapo Headquarters
Dusseldorf, Germany
February 8, 1944

Major Hochstetter didn't make it back to Stalag 13 until the next morning, having been detained most of the previous afternoon by the bizarre events at an apartment building in Hamelburg. The details he had made little sense. Four officers had been assigned to watch for Serilda Bachman's return, a woman wearing an SS secretary's uniform entered Fraulien Bachman's apartment, the officer who witnessed that event was then shot through the door of said apartment, two of the other officers responded to the gun shot and saw what appeared to be an SS officer was in the apartment who then escaped out the fire escape. Also another man was seeing running from the scene. And somehow, in all the confusion, the woman who had entered the apartment had disappeared.

Hochstetter was very disappointed. His plans to expose Colonel Hogan had started to unravel and now, his only solid lead on the munitions depot explosion had vanished into thin air.

Little did the Major know, his day was not going to get any better.


Hamelburg Hospital
Hamelburg, Germany
February 8, 1944

Peter didn't sleep well. Having Serilda disappear, not knowing if she was dead or alive upset him greatly. He never got to say goodbye and all he had to look forward to now was the heartache. It was already beginning and he knew it was only going to get worse.

Dr. Weinstein tried to help by offering Peter encouraging words and even a sedative to try to sleep, but the young pilot's dreams woke him up as the events of the past week collided together and Serilda kept fading away into the shadows.

By the time the morning rolled around, Peter was exhausted but there was no chance for sleep. The sounds of the hospital and the traffic outside kept him awake and finally he just sat up. He rubbed his hands over his face and stretched but found that made little improvement of his tired state.

Around quarter to ten, after Peter had dressed in his old RAF uniform and had a couple of servings of strong coffee with breakfast, Dr. Weinstein came and told Peter that Major Teppel was coming.

"Does he know about Serilda?"

"I told him," Weinstein nodded. "He is very sorry and feels it somewhat his fault."

Peter shook his head. "He had no way of knowing."

"That is true...but still, he regrets the event."

Peter sighed. "I just wish I knew where she was..."

The doctor nodded and patted Newkirk on the arm before turning to leave.


Stalag 13
February 8, 1944

"Major Teppel wants to talk to me?" Hochstetter said, looking at the camp Kommandant seated at his desk.

Klink nodded. "He asked me yesterday when he was here questioning a few of the prisoners to let you know that he is looking to speak with you."

"Hmmm....should be the other way around. I would be curious to speak to him about a few things," Hochstetter said. "Which prisoners did he question?"

Klink rattled off the short list, finishing with Colonel Hogan.

"Colonel Hogan...." Hochstetter repeated, very curious now. "If you don't mind, Kommandant, I'd like to speak to Colonel Hogan myself." Hochstetter turned and left the office. He marched across the compound to Barracks Two and the door was opened for him before he got there.

He stopped and then stepped into the barracks and looked around intently. Colonel Hogan sat at the table with the other heroes, shuffling a deck of cards.

"Hey Major," Hogan greeted. "Care to join us for an innocent game of cards?"

"No...I would like to speak with you for a moment, Colonel, if possible."

Hogan grinned. "Certainly. Step right into my office here..." The Colonel stood up and walked to his quarters with Hochstetter following.

Hochstetter closed the door as Hogan turned to face him. "What's on your mind, Major?"

"Major Teppel of the SS Obeveur was here yesterday, ja?"

"Ja, we had a nice chat. Huh, word sure does travel fast around here. How'd you know that?"

"Colonel Klink told me. He also said that Teppel was looking to speak with me as well."

Hogan turned his gaze off to the side and smiled. "Yeah....yeah, he is."

"You know what it is he wants to talk to me about?"

Hogan looked up. "Oh yeah. It's a doozy let me tell you."

"Perhaps you could tell me?"

"Well, I suppose I could but...I really don't think you'd like it."

"Really?? Hmmm...." Hochstetter paced for a moment. "It wouldn't have anything to do with Underground operations in this area....infact, in very close proximity to this camp, would it?"

"No..." Hogan said with thought. "No, that wasn't the line of questioning I got."

"No? Isn't it true Colonel Hogan that you are running a sabotage operation from this camp?"

Hogan looked at Hochstetter and burst out laughing. "Me?? A sabotage operation from a POW camp??? Oh that's beautiful!"

"You find that amusing, Colonel?"

"I find that an absolute riot! You sure have an interesting sense of what I can and can't do as compared to what the Army Air Corps thought I could do. You honestly think I'm crafty and crazy enough to run a sabotage operation from inside a POW camp? Let alone one of the toughest camps in all of Germany?!"

"No, I don't think. I know! I have documentation of your activities, your radio frequencies, the tunnels--everything!"

"Tunnels??" Hogan laughed even more. "Tunnels? What did we dig it out with? The wings on my uniform??" Hogan kept laughing and held a hand up. "Stop it, you're killin' me. Wait until Teppel gets here and finds out you've been cooking this up."

"Major Teppel more than likely will share in this discovery."

"Ho ho I don't think so. Lemme tell you what he wanted to know, heck you might even find this funny yourself." Hogan paused to chuckle and then continued. "Major Teppel thinks that you are looking to either defect or commit some form of treason!"

Hochstetter paled. "WHAT?"

"Yeah! Ain't that a riot??"

Hochstetter didn't say anything right away. Apparently the riot was too much.

"Me??" he said finally. "He thinks that....I am going to commit treason...?"

"Yeah....that's pretty much what the questions alluded to." Hogan studied Hochstetter. "You're not laughing though. You don't think it's funny?"

"Not really..." Hochstetter looked like a man who just had the wind knocked out of him and Hogan couldn't help but be amused at all.

"Well, I think it's pretty funny," Hogan said. "I mean, the idea of you committing treason is like me being a spy."

Hochstetter snapped out of his daze and glared at Hogan. "You are a spy! And I will prove it and I will show Major Teppel that I'm not committing any form of treason!" Hochstetter turned and stormed out of Hogan's quarters. The Colonel watched him march through general quarters and out the door and grinned.


Down the road from camp, an SS staff car carrying three SS guards rumbled along. Behind it, another staff car driven by Major Teppel slowed to a stop, so the passenger could be let out.

Peter looked at the Major before closing the door. "Good luck, sir. And thank you for all you've done."

Teppel nodded. "Good luck to you, Newkirk. In everything."

Peter gave a nod and shut the door. The staff car pulled away and Peter ducked into the bushes, waiting for one last car to pass.


In the compound, Major Hochstetter was half way across the yard heading back to Klink's office when the staff car carrying the SS guards Teppel had requested, pulled into the yard. The three guards spotted Hochstetter and the car came to a quick stop. Hochstetter suddenly found himself looking at the business ends of three rifles.

"What is this??" he demanded.

The rifles were raised higher. "Hands up!"

Hochstetter immediately reached for the clouds.

Over in the barracks, Hogan and his men watched gleefully. "There's a Kodak moment right there, " Hogan mused.

Colonel Klink came out of his office to see what was going on but he quickly stepped back upon seeing the SS guards holding Hochstetter at bay. Major Teppel then drove in through the gate and brought his staff car to a stop next to the car of the guards. He emerged from the vehicle and looked at Hochstetter.

"Guten Morgen, Herr Major," he said and smiled. "Just the person I'm looking for."


Newkirk, meanwhile, watched as the Gestapo staff car went by heading to camp. With the coast clear, he stepped out into the road and began walking back to Stalag 13.


"What is the meaning of this??" Hochstetter asked.

"Well, Major, we have one more guest coming. I think we'll wait until he arrives before we begin our proceedings here."

"What proceedings? Who's coming?"

"Gruppenfurher Stohler of the Gestapo in Dusseldorf."

"Gruppenfurher Stohler??"

"Ja. I will tell you, Major, that suspicion of treason is a very serious accusation to be made against anyone. Naturally, the Gestapo does not like to think that one of their own could think of such a thing."

Hochstetter fumed. "I have not and would not ever commit treason!"

"I have suggestions to the contrary. It'll be up to you to disprove them." Teppel turned to Klink. "Kommandant, if possible, I would like to include Colonel Hogan in these proceedings as well."

"Colonel Hogan, Major?"

"Yes..." Hochstetter agreed. "Let us have Colonel Hogan present during the proceedings. Because when the Major here fails to prove me as a traitor, I am going to prove that the Colonel is running a sabotage operation from this camp."

"Sabotage operation??" Klink repeated. "From Stalag 13?!?"

Hochstetter looked at Klink. "Yes, from Stalag 13, Kommandant..." The Major's words carried an implied threat, that being if proven true, Colonel Klink might find himself on a one way trip to the Eastern Front.

"Schultz! Go get Hogan!"

"Jawhol, Herr Kommandant!"

As Schultz headed for the barracks, the staff car carrying Gruppenfurher Stohler entered the camp. After the car parked, the General approached with three Gestapo guards of his own in tow.

Hochstetter cleared his throat and stood up as straight as possible. "Uh...Gruppenfurher Stohler, I can assure you that any accusations Major Teppel has made are false--"

"Are they??" Stohler said. "He has made some very serious conclusions regarding your conduct of the past couple of weeks. For your sake, you better hope they are false, otherwise your service to the Reich and the Furher will come to a shameful end." Stohler looked at Teppel. "Shall we begin, Major?"

Teppel clicked his boots and nodded. "Jawhol, Herr Gruppenfurher." He looked to his SS guards who influenced Hochstetter into Klink's office with the ends of their rifles. Major Teppel followed with Stohler, his guards and Colonel Klink bringing up the rear.

When Colonel Hogan arrived a few moments later, Major Teppel was seated behind Klink's desk, General Stohler was seated just off to the side, Major Hochstetter was seated front and center with two of the Gestapo guards posted behind him. Colonel Klink had to make do standing by his safe. One SS guard stood by the door, the other two having been posted outside the office with the third Gestapo guard.

"Look's like the party's just about to start," Hogan said as he came in.

"Hogan, please..." Klink said. The Kommandant hadn't had this many Gestapo and SS men in camp before and the sight was nerve wracking.

Teppel smiled. "Welcome, Colonel. I'm sorry we don't have enough seating."

"It's all right, I'm used to standing for long periods."

"Hopefully we won't be here too long," Teppel said, and turned his attention to the Gestapo Major seated in the middle of the room.

"Major Hochstetter, is it true that a Lieutenant Bernard Weisburg and a Sturmscharführer Kohler were working under your command in Berlin?"

"Ja."

"And they were sent there to infiltrate an Underground group run by Angus Marsden?"

"Ja. It was all part of--"

"Is it true Major, that Lt. Weisburg was killed and Angus Marsden had fled Berlin?"

"Er...unfortunate but, ja"

"Colonel Klink, would you tell us what day Peter Newkirk left this compound and went to Hamelburg Hospital?"

"Last Tuesday."

"And when was he discovered missing?"

"The day after."

"By whom?"

Klink pointed. "Major Hochstetter."

Teppel turned his gaze back to Hochstetter. "Isn't it true, Major Hochstetter that you went to Hamelburg Hospital knowing fully well that Peter Newkirk would not be there?"

"Well, ja but--"

"And isn't it true, Major, that Peter Newkirk was not looking to defect but that you were providing him additional cover for him to escape?"

"Nein!"

"No? Isn't that what Weisburg and Kohler were trying to do by infiltrating Angus Marsden? To find an easy way out of Germany for themselves and for you?"

"Nein! That is not what they were doing!"

The door to Klink's office suddenly opened and Schultz looked in. "Herr Kommandant, it's Newkirk. He has just come in the front gate."

"Hey, hey, all right!" Hogan said and looked at Klink. "And you said you couldn't find him."

"Hogan!" Klink scolded and then looked at Schultz. "Bring Newkirk here."

"Jawhol, Herr Kommandant."

Hogan grinned. "It'll be good to see ol' Newkirk again--won't it Major?" He looked at Hochstetter.

"No, it won't..." Hochstetter looked at the General. "Gruppenfurher Stohler, I can explain everything. Major Teppel is twisting things around! Everything the Major has mentioned that I have done has been done as part of a plan to expose an enemy sabotage operation that exits in this camp!"

"Hmmm, yes the information from Major Hegel's file. Gruppenfurher Stueben told me about that this morning, said he was disappointed that you were taking so long to produce any real results. I wonder now if you have been using this as a distraction of your real activities."

Schultz returned with Newkirk in tow. The Englishman walked in and smiled at everyone in the room. He then looked at Hochstetter.

"There you are," Newkirk said. He then lowered his voice. "I was waitin' for ya in town--"

"GAH!!" Hochstetter suddenly stood up but was grabbed and held by the two guards. "Herr Gruppenfurher please! Allow me the chance to prove to you and everyone here," he pointed to Hogan and Newkirk, "that these two men are committing sabotage! They have a radio to London and there is a tunnel system that runs beneath this camp!"

Newkirk looked at Hogan. "Us? What, has he gone mad?"

"I dunno. He had me in stitches earlier. He really thinks I'm capable of international espionage. Can you imagine?"

"Huh....well, I can't recall any such training when I was in pilot school sir," Newkirk said.

"Silence," Teppel said. He looked back to Hochstetter. "If the man wishes to attempt to prove his innocence, then he should be allowed to do so. Gentlemen, we will convene in the barracks."

"I hope you don't mind a little mess," Hogan said. "The cleaning lady hasn't been in yet."

"Hogan!" Klink hollered.

Major Teppel and General Stohler led the procession out of Klink's office and across the compound. Hogan and Newkirk dropped back a bit with Schultz behind them.

"Welcome back."

"Thank you, sir. Hochstetter looked like he was sweatin' in there."

"He was. You missed the best part. Teppel's guards had Hochstetter at gun point."

Newkirk grinned. "Oh, what a lovely image, sir."

"It was."

When Major Teppel and General Stohler came into Barracks Two, all of the prisoners stood at immediate attention. Hochstetter then came in and cast an eagle eye on each prisoner, despite the two guards that stood behind him. Klink, Hogan, Newkirk and Schultz were the last ones in.

Hochstetter searched the barracks, checking underneath the table, pulling mattresses off the bottom bunks, checking suspicious floor boards, looking in Hogan's quarters, checking underneath foot lockers....he kept looking...and looking. And looking.
Nothing looked anything like an entrance to a tunnel. Even the actual entrance itself was effectively disguised. Hochstetter looked right at it when he pulled the mattress off the bottom bunk that covered the entrance. The floor boards had been put back in place and the mechanism to raise the box spring and drop the slats as a ladder had been disabled. It would take them a couple of days to put it all back together, but to foil Hochstetter it was all worth it.

General Stohler looked at Teppel. "I've seen enough, Major. Obviously there is not a sabotage operation taking place here."

"But there is!" Hochstetter said. "I know there is! I have an entire file documenting everything! Their radio frequencies, codes, the tunnel system. Everything! I just need a little more time--"

"You've been given sufficient time, Herr Major," Stohler said. "It is apparent that you have used that time for other activities."

"I have not! Weisburg and Kohler were sent to disrupt Marsden's operation." Hochstetter stood flustered for a moment and then looked at Teppel. "What about--what about Hans von Dashden? Has Major Teppel explained that to you??"

"Yes, he has. Hans von Dashden was sent to Berlin to check up on what Lt. Weisburg and Sergeant Major Kohler were really doing. Weisburg was killed when von Dashden confronted him, tried to kill von Dashden. An unfortunate turn of events but it appears Weisburg was willing to risk everything to try to get out of Germany, and to try to help you get out as well."

"That's a lie! I would never consider treason!"

"You know..." Hogan's voice carried calmly, "in fairness to the major it is possible that Weisburg or whatever his name is, may have had his own agenda. When the SS showed up, Weisburg probably pointed the finger at the Major here in order to try to take the heat off of him. Of course, he ended up getting killed anyway."

Teppel nodded. "The possibility is noted. However, I'm surprised Colonel that you would offer something in defense of Major Hochstetter here, after he has tried, repeatedly to accuse you of spying and sabotage."

"Well, I have a peculiar sense of honor. Besides, Hochstetter's just doing his job. Even if the information he was working from is false."

Hochstetter gaped at Hogan. On the brink of being hanged and pulled back by the casual suggestion from an American POW...

"It's obviously false, isn't it Major?" Hogan asked, while casting a look at Hochstetter that said, if you say no, I'll dig your grave for you...

"Uh...it would appear I have been following a false lead...."

"And I am inclined to believe the Colonel's suggestion that Lt. Weisburg had an agenda of his own and was looking to smear his superior officer when things went wrong," General Stohler said. "Still, I will need to compile all of this information for my report and final decision."

Hochstetter swallowed. "Jawhol..." Well he was sorta off the hook.

"You will dismiss your men from Stalag 13, Major, and will be escorted back to headquarters in Dusseldorf by the guards here."

"Jawhol, Herr Gruppenfurher."

"That will be all here. Major Teppel." Stohler nodded to the SS Major. Teppel in turn bowed slightly as the General departed.

The barracks cleared out, Teppel being the last one to leave. He turned to the heroes and gave a smile with a thumbs up. The heroes nodded and smiled in thanks as the Major slipped out the door.


Peter had enough time to tell the Colonel and the others of what happened in Hamelburg before Schultz came to fetch the two of them to see Kommandant Klink. A few moments later, Newkirk and Hogan stood in the middle of Klink's office.

"Corporal Newkirk," Klink began. "Do you mind telling us where you've been for the past week?"

"Hamelburg, sir."

"The whole time?"

"Yes, sir."

"You were in Hamelburg the whole time and not once were you spotted by Major Hochstetter's men or the camp guards??"

Newkirk grinned. "Correct, sir."

"You weren't really sick were you at the time you left here to go Hamelburg Hospital?"

"No sir, I wasn't."

"And you had no intention of defecting to our side did you?"

"Hell no."

Klink scowled. "So, corporal, having eluded capture for a week, why all of a sudden did you decide to return to camp today?"

"Well sir, because of all the Gestapo men and the guards from here, I couldn't do much. I figured I'd just come back here. Have to admit, I kinda missed the old place."

"Hmm...well seeing as you missed it so much, I'm giving you thirty days in the cooler for trying to escape!"

"Now Colonel, wait a minute--" Hogan started.

"Thirty days and no less! Punishment to begin immediately! Disssss-misssed!"

With nothing more to say, Hogan and Newkirk left the office. They walked out of the building and paused on the porch.

"Small price to pay sir," Newkirk said and smiled.

Hogan patted Newkirk on the shoulder. "We'll see if we can get you out for good behavior."


Stalag 13
February 9, 1944

About an hour after the noon roll call, two young women arrived at the camp gate with a small push cart, loaded with vegetables and German breads and muffins. They sweet talked the guards and Schultz to let them in for a moment and this scene did not go unnoticed by Colonel Hogan and the heroes. They, with several other prisoners, gathered at the cart to sample the vittles and the Colonel noticed that one of the women looked very familar.

Serilda smiled at him. Anjte and the other prisoners effectively kept Schultz distracted as Hogan stepped closer to Serilda. She surreptitiously removed a small locket case from beneath a loaf of bread and turned to Hogan, slipping it inside his bomber jacket.

"Special delivery?" he said.

She smiled. "Yes. Would please see that Peter gets that?"

He nodded. "I will. He'll be very happy to see this."

"Is he okay, Colonel?"

"He's all right, other than having to spend thirty days in the cooler for trying to escape." He paused. "He thought maybe you had been killed after what happened in Hamelburg."

"He was there?"

Hogan nodded.

"I knew I would have to flee but I did not think that he would be there to see it all happen. I am glad I came here then."

"He'll be glad you did too. Is there anything you want me to tell him?"

"There is a note in the case. The only other thing I could give him, you can't pass along to him."

"What is it?"

Serilda glanced to see what Schultz and the other guards were doing and then placed a quick kiss on the Colonel's lips.

He grinned. "You're right, I can't pass that along."

She smiled at him and patted him on the arm. "Thank you, Colonel. For all you have done."

Hogan nodded.

Schultz now decided that it was time for the women to be on their way. With his coat full of vegetables and bread, he shooed the prisoners away from the cart and ordered the guards to open the front gate and let the women leave. The women did so as ordered and Shutlz was thankful that the Kommandant didn't see any of this


Later that afternoon, Hogan paid a visit to Newkirk.

"Got something to perk you up a little bit..." Hogan said and reached into his jacket. He pulled the locket case out and handed it to Newkirk. He didn't say where he got it right away.

Newkirk looked at the case and then carefully opened it. Tucked to the top side of the case was a piece of paper. Displayed on the velvet board was a gold necklace with a heart shaped locket with the initials "SB" in a fine script on the front and the word "Freedom" etched on the back. Inside the locket were two pictures, one a man and the other a woman. The woman looked very much like Serilda and Peter figured he was looking at her parents. He pulled the piece of paper from the top side of the case and then looked at the Colonel.

"This was Serilda's," he said.

Hogan nodded. "She came to camp with another woman looking like peddlers a little while ago. She left that for you. I told her what you saw in Hamelburg. She had no idea you were there but was glad she was leaving this for you so you would know she was okay."

Newkirk smiled. "I'm glad she left it too. Thank you, sir."

Hogan nodded. He then turned to leave to let Peter read the note alone. Once the Colonel was gone, Newkirk unfolded the paper...

Dear Peter,

This is short as I do not have a lot of space. Anjte and I are on our way to England with help from Emil. I hope this note and the locket get to you safely and that you are well. As long as you hold this locket close to your heart you will always be in mine. When the war ends, and freedom has found you and the world, I am sure we will meet once again to celebrate the victory. I know it in my heart.

Love,

Serilda

He smiled and folded the note back as it was, carefully tucking it back into the locket case. He then closed the case and held it to his heart.

 

~The End~

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Author acknowledgments: Special thanks to Dreamer for her early reading of this story and valuable input, and to Cuz for the very effective incentive program to finish the story. LOL. Also, thanks to the boys of Stalag 13 for being my creative salvation in my own tumultuous time. Email me with comments!