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Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 3

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Sunday, November 20th, 2011 | 12:04 pm
music: "Lucky Pierre" -- Robert Clary
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 3: When One Door Closes
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Claim: general series
Theme: 13B; The beginning of the end
Genre/s: Mystery/Suspense
Warnings: World War II-era fandom
Words: ~2200
Summary: Things begin to take an even more troubling turn...
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7505118/3/

“Colonel Hogan!” Schultz said, staring at the statue. “Colonel Hogan, that is the general who visited Stalag 13 that time the female spy—”

“We know, Schultz, we know,” Hogan said, through gritted teeth.

The likeness of the figure was uncanny; it did look exactly as Carter had been dressed, and his face was the sergeant’s mirror image—even down to the mole on his face. No detail had been spared; it was as though Carter had dressed up as the general and had posed for the artists or had given them a picture!

And it was that fact that concerned Hogan the most, of course; no pictures had ever been taken of Carter as von Siedelberg, and he certainly hadn’t posed for the artists, either. So how could such a perfect likeness have been crafted?

“What happens now, Colonel?” Kinch asked, quietly, sensing the colonel’s suspicions.

“We figure out a way to get out of here as soon as possible,” the colonel said.

“Schultz!” Klink called from outside. “Schultz, get the work detail out here!”

“And there it is,” Hogan said, as he ushered his men back out to the lobby. Hilda, Schultz, and Langenscheidt went with them, their desire to see the rest of the museum having faded.

Hogan’s mind was on something else, as well—a chance to have a word with the owner of this place. Who had made that von Siedelberg figure? How had the makers been able to create such an uncanny likeness, especially when there were no pictures of von Siedelberg in existence? Those questions were racing through the colonel’s head; and the answers to those questions could very well mean the difference between life and death—for him and his plucky crew.

“Schultz, this line of discussion is getting us nowhere,” Klink said, as Burkhalter and Hochstetter continued to argue. “I want you to take the work detail back to the camp at once.”

“What about the payment for the work we did?” Hogan said, using this moment to give the proprietor a searching look.

“Yes, I do owe these men for their work,” Wolfhelm said, not registering Hogan’s look. “If the major will permit me, I will go to the bank and withdraw the money, as well as put up a sign to announce that the special exhibition is postponed.”

“No, I do not permit you!” Hochstetter snarled. “I don’t want anyone to leave this place until I have finished my search! I have a squad of men outside—”

“You will tell your men to stand down!” Burkhalter ordered. “You have already succeeded in ruining this evening for all of us; this will end now! Herr Wolfhelm, do as you wish and get the money quickly; I want these men back in Stalag 13 as soon as possible!”

“Let me inform you, General, that your rank will not protect you from my investigation!” Hochstetter said. “Your undermining my authority will not look good for you in my report! One of my predecessors, Major Zolle, suggested that an investigation of you would not be completely amiss!”

“Are you threatening me, Hochstetter?”

“I am merely ensuring that there is some amount of order here!”

Herr Wolfhelm, looking very concerned, quickly slipped out the door, aiming to get his trip to the bank done as soon as possible.

“Hochstetter, for the last time, I order you to stop this nonsense!”

“You can be rest assured that my superiors will hear of this!” Hochstetter snarled to the general.

“Good!” he retorted. “For I intend to ensure that my superiors are aware of this, also! …And Major, might I remind you that your superiors are working for mine? My superiors will be especially intrigued to know of your notoriously low success rate in capturing Underground agents! Even during the rare times you do manage to catch one, you never seem to be able to hold onto them for long!”

“You can blame him for that!” Hochstetter spat, glaring pointedly at Hogan.

Hogan obligingly put on a fake innocent look.

“Who, me?” he asked. “I’m just locked up in the little Stalag down yonder, don’t you know? Isn’t that right, Boys?”

Ah, oui; c’est la guerre…”

“Too right; Cor, I ain’t seen the sights of a town since the last blooming work detail. ‘ow long ago was that, Kinch?”

“Oh, I’d say a few months ago… Maybe more.”

“That’s right! We’re cut off from civilization, Boy! Isn’t that right, Olsen?”

“Yeah; if it wasn’t for our sporadic mail calls, we’d forget all about the rest of the world!”

“Bah!” Hochstetter snarled. “He is behind it all, and you are all in his inner circle.”

“Inner circle? Us?” Newkirk asked, looking affronted. “You make me sound like a right thug! Cor, if me poor old Mum ‘eard you, she’d be rolling over in ‘er grave!”

“You know what it is, Major? I think you’re paranoid; stress can do that to a man,” Hogan said. “And that could be a sign of trouble, you know; have you checked your blood pressure lately?”

“Colonel Hogan, that’s enough,” Klink said, wanting to avoid any more trouble. “Major Hochstetter, Colonel Hogan and the others are under my watchful eye at all times; there is no possible way they could be aiding the Underground as you claim! They couldn’t leave the Stalag even if they tried!”

“Ah, yes, ‘tis a difficult and dreary life we live as prisoners of war,” Newkirk sighed dramatically.

“That will do, Newkirk,” Klink said. “Schultz?”

The big man gave a start as he was called upon.

J-Ja?”

“I want you and Langenscheidt to take Hogan and the work detail back to camp at once.”

“No, I forbid it!” Hochstetter fumed. “No one will go anywhere until—!”

“Hochstetter!” Burkhalter bellowed. “As Klink’s superior and as the one to oversee all of the prisoner of war camps, I see it as a matter of security for these men to be returned to Stalag 13 at once! And my word is worth more than yours!”

“Well, Men, it looks as though we have worn out our welcome here; it’s back to the old Stalag for us,” Hogan said, with a mock sigh. In reality, of course, he was grateful for Burkhalter’s insistence on their departure.

He paused as that thought registered deeper into his head. Could it be that Burkhalter was Nimrod after all…?

At any rate, Schultz and Langenscheidt were both eager to leave; the big sergeant shuffled over to the door and attempted to open it. The doorknob rattled, but did not move.

Herr Kommandant…” Schultz said, growing more nervous by the minute. “Herr Kommandant… The door… I cannot open the door! It is locked!”

“That’s ridiculous!” Klink said, walking over to the door. He, too, tried and failed to open it. “…It is locked. And the key is gone!”

Burkhalter glared daggers at Hochstetter.

“Is this your doing, Major?” he accused. “You and your ‘ring of steel’ you keep blathering about?”

“Bah! I have no key to this place! The only one who has a key is the proprietor!”

“Oh, he must have locked the door by accident when he went to the bank,” Klink said, massaging the bridge of his nose. “I expect the Major unnerved him so much that he didn’t know what he was doing. Langenscheidt?”

Ja, Herr Kommandant?”

“Go find a phone and call Herr Brinksmeyer at the bank; tell him to tell Herr Wolfhelm to hurry back as soon as possible since he has the key.”

“At once, Herr Kommandant,” the corporal said, looking around for a phone. Unable to find one in the lobby, he headed to the next room—the one with the composers—to search for a phone, room by room.

“Ruddy nonsense, waiting for a bloomin’ key,” Newkirk muttered to Hogan. “If we could distract that lot over there, I could ‘ave that door open in two shakes.”

“I know you could,” Hogan replied. “But I don’t want to risk them seeing you with that skill—only one of them is Nimrod. How would you explain the door suddenly opening?”

“They pushed the door when they should ‘ave pulled it open? Or maybe it was just jammed?”

“Never mind,” the colonel said, and he turned to address the men as a group. “Okay, Men, you know we’re going back as soon as that door is unlocked, so I want you to get all of that cleaning equipment back inside the storage closets. We made this place shine, so let’s put that equipment away! When Wolfhelm sees that, he just might decide to call us back to work on some of the other rooms! That could provide us with a chance for more fresh air, some more money in our pockets, and maybe a better look around town, even, on our way here!”

“Not if I have anything to do with it!” Hochstetter snarled. “You are a danger inside the camp as it is; I shudder to think how far your shenanigans go outside the camp!”

“Shenanigans?” Hogan said, in a (once again) faked hurt voice. “Major, you wound me!”

“Oh, if only I could,” Hochstetter muttered, through gritted teeth. “If only…”

“Now, Gentlemen, there is no reason for this,” Klink said, trying to act as peacekeeper again while Burkhalter rolled his eyes in boredom. “Major Hochstetter, I am sure that if you took a step back, you would eventually admit that it does seem as though your accusations are unfounded—”

“If I took a step back, I would undoubtedly fall right into one of Hogan’s traps!” Hochstetter snarled.

Now it was LeBeau’s turn to mutter “If only” as he gathered some of the leftover cleaning materials—though he said it in his own tongue, of course.

“Colonel!” Carter called. He was standing at the hallway where the storage cupboards were, but the door leading to the hallway was closed. “Colonel, this door won’t open, either!”

He pushed and pulled the door as Schultz and Klink had done with the front door, but it didn’t budge either.

“There’s nothing but storage cupboards in there; why would anyone lock this corridor?” the sergeant added, baffled.

“Aha!” Hochstetter exclaimed. “It is as I figured; the proprietor has something to hide from me! Why else would he call you six here? You are all in on it!”

“If we were, do you really think I’d bring the locked corridor to your attention?” Carter asked.

“Undoubtedly, you did it to cast suspicion away from yourself!” the major snarled, shoving Carter away from the locked door.

The sergeant gave his comrades a bemused look.

“He really is paranoid!”

“Never mind, Andrew,” Newkirk said, folding his arms as he watched Hochstetter attempt multiple times to pry open, kick down, and pick open the door—each attempt with the same results. “Let’s just enjoy it while it lasts.”

“It must pain you, Pierre, to see this,” LeBeau murmured to him, quietly.

Newkirk bit back a snark as he drew his arm around the Frenchman’s shoulders.

“Worst bloomin’ form I’ve ever seen,” he quietly replied. “I wish me mates from the Red Lion were ‘ere to see this…”

Hogan was not amused; however, and it wasn’t about Hochstetter’s antics—that, at least, he was confident he could handle. But between the von Siedelberg figure, the proprietor’s hasty exit, and now these locked doors, his suspicions about the man were growing stronger by the minute.

The colonel was now considering Newkirk’s idea of having him try to pick the lock on the front door while everyone was preoccupied with Hochstetter’s attempts to open the corridor’s door, but he soon found himself distracted as Klink began to pace nearby, muttering about Langenscheidt.

“Did you say something?” Hogan asked.

“I was just wondering how long does it take a man to find a phone and make a call!” Klink said. “Langenscheidt should have been back here by now—if for no other reason than to inform me that he couldn’t find a phone!”

Hogan’s ill feeling about all of this grew as he glanced at the door through which Langenscheidt had exited.

Silently, he walked over to the door and tried to open it. As he had feared, this door was locked, as well.

“How could that happen?” Klink asked, seeing what Hogan had tried to do. “We saw Langenscheidt go through that door without any trouble; it was unlocked then!”

“Well, it’s locked now,” the American colonel said, flatly, kicking the door in one last attempt to open it. The solid piece of wood refused to budge.

The others now drew their attention to Hogan upon hearing the kick.

“That one, too, Guv’nor?” Newkirk asked, his amusement at Hochstetter’s failed door-opening attempts quickly snuffing out.

“That one, too,” Hogan confirmed. “And Langenscheidt is somewhere in the building with no way to get back to us.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense at all,” Kinch said, frowning. “We saw the proprietor leave. And Langenscheidt went through the door without a problem. So how could the door lock itself?”

“It couldn’t,” Hogan said, remaining as stoic as he could. “Someone had to lock the door after Langenscheidt went through, since I’m pretty sure he couldn’t have locked it himself without a key.”

“Oh, Cor,” Newkirk said, his gaze shifting all around as it usually did when he was nervous.

It was clear that there were more than just the twelve of them in this building; someone else was here—someone who clearly wanted to ensure that they would all remain here, too.

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