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Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 4

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Sunday, December 4th, 2011 | 12:04 am
music: "Christmas Don't Be Late" -- Rockapella
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 4: Another Door Closes, Too
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Claim: general series
Theme: 34A; Confessions
Genre/s: Mystery/Suspense
Warnings: World War II-era fandom
Words: ~2200
Summary: Locked doors have never been more discomfiting...
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7505118/4/

Discussions and arguments over what to do quickly filled the room, giving the colonel a moment to assess the situation.

Hogan knew when to take risks, and what risks to take. He knew when to push his limits and try for something that seemed impossible. But he also knew when to retreat, and to prioritize. Now, he was willing to let Newkirk try his hand at picking the locks to get them out of the museum.

“Stand by,” he said, quietly, to the Englishman. “I want you to unlock the door to the culture exhibit as soon as I’ve distracted the others.”

“Why that one?” Newkirk asked. “We ought to scarper out the front door, and forget about this bloomin’ place…”

“I know, but there’s still a chance that Langenscheidt is Nimrod; we can’t risk abandoning him here in case he is. Open that door, and then the corridor door that Carter tried to open; I don’t want Hochstetter going through the exhibits and seeing the von Siedelberg figure. Once Hochstetter occupies himself with the storage corridor, work on the front door; we’ll clear out of here the second Langenscheidt is found.”

“Right-o, Guv.”

The colonel now crossed to where the rest of the Germans were discussing their dilemma.

“Colonel Klink, I think it only fair to remind you, Sir, that as prisoners of war, we are to be protected from danger, and I see us trapped by Hochstetter’s men outside as a direct threat to us.”

“Are you insinuating that I had something to do with this?!” Hochstetter fumed, turning to glare at Hogan. “You dare to stand there and accuse me when your entire reason for being here is to meet with some Underground contact?! You and your men—perhaps your contact, too, are the ones behind all of these locked doors!”

“Begging your pardon, Major,” Newkirk said, innocently, as he opened the door to the culture exhibit. “But it appears that this door wasn’t locked after all; it was just stuck.”

“Schultz,” Klink said, relief coming to his face as he considered that they weren’t trapped in here after all. “Go find Langenscheidt and get him back here.”

Schultz saluted and ambled off towards the now-open door, but hesitated before going through.

Herr Kommandant… I… I do not think it would be efficient to look for Langenscheidt when he might be on his way back here!”

“Go, you coward! Go!” Klink ordered, stamping his foot.

Schultz bustled out of the room as Newkirk now opened the corridor door.

“Blimey, Major, looks like this one was only stuck, too!” he exclaimed, with wonderfully staged surprise.

“Bah! This is all an act!” Hochstetter said, glaring at Newkirk. “You are party to whatever is being hidden in there!”

“A party, Sir?” Newkirk asked. “Why would I open the door for you if I ‘ad something to ‘ide?”

“For the same reason that one would alert my attention to the door in the first place!” Hochstetter answered, now casting a glare in Carter’s direction, who merely shrugged. “You are just as much a party to this as he is!”

Now it was Newkirk’s turn to shrug innocently.

“Well, you’re more than free to examine the corridor, Major; I, for one, am sure that you’ll only find more cleaning equipment in there.”

“We will see,” Hochstetter snarled.

He stormed into the corridor and attempted to wrench open the first door he came across, and fumed as it turned out to be locked, also.

“What is this?!” he demanded to no one in particular. “Why is every door locked in this place?”

“Not locked, Major; just stuck, I’ll wager,” Newkirk said, calmly.

Quick as a wink, Newkirk slid the wire out from his sleeve and got to work as Hochstetter turned and faced the next locked door.

“Just as we thought,” Newkirk said, as he opened it. “Cleaning products…”

Hochstetter was now giving Newkirk a suspicious look.

“You must have a key!” he accused.

“Major, please!” Newkirk said, pretending to look affronted. “You can search me if you wish!”

Hochstetter took him up on it, of course, and found nothing; Newkirk successfully palmed his pencil sharpener into Hochstetter’s pocket and took it back when the search had finished.

“You see, Major?”

Hochstetter gave him a glare before taking a closer look at the cleaning products inside.

“I’m pretty sure they are genuine,” Newkirk said, sounding far more casual than he felt. “Of course, if you still have any doubt, you could always try cleaning the placer yourself and see ‘ow well they work; we never got a chance to clean anything beyond the lobby; I’m sure old Wolfhelm would appreciate that…”

“Bah!” Hochstetter snarled, slamming the door to the closet. Realizing that he hadn’t looked thoroughly through it, the major tried to open the door again, and growled in frustration when he could not open it again.

Newkirk blinked; had the door somehow locked itself after being picked open? But how was that even possible? The lock required a key to lock and unlock, and there certainly hadn’t been a key inside the closet—or anyone to lock it.

The Englishman scratched his head as he looked to Hogan, who returned the look with a sigh.

“Now where has Schultz disappeared to?!” Klink demanded, distracting everyone again. “I sent him to find Langenscheidt; now I have to find the both of them!”

“And then?” Burkhalter said. “You will have no one to watch over your prisoners! You cannot ask myself or Hilda to look after them, and you would be a fool to trust them to Hochstetter.”

A few yards away, the major grumbled something unintelligible, but it sounded suspiciously like a curse to Newkirk, who was closest.

“Very well,” Klink said. “Hogan, you and your men will come with me to find Schultz and Langenscheidt!”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Hogan said. “We seem to have worn out our welcome here; we probably should head back to camp.”

“Without getting paid for the cleaning you did?” Klink asked, his eyebrows arching. “It isn’t like you to allow your men to work for free.”

“I’ll trust that Wolfhelm will send the money to us there,” the American colonel countered. “We’re not going anywhere, remember?”

“Of course you’re not,” Klink agreed. “You will not—”

“You will not be leaving here!” Hochstetter finished. “Since Corporal Newkirk seems to have better luck with opening these doors than the rest of us, he will stay here and help with my investigation!”

“Now that’s against the Geneva Convention!” Hogan shot back. “Newkirk is not obligated to help with your intelligence work!”

“Silence!” Hochstetter snarled. “I am not ‘obligated’ to put up with your tongue, Hogan, and I will not!”

Newkirk looked to Hogan in surprise. Hogan never snapped at Hochstetter; the colonel usually played innocent around the major. The Englishman quickly realized that the colonel’s stress level over their current situation was past the boiling point; he wanted to get them out of here.

“Sir, while I will stand by the Union Jack and refuse to ‘elp Major Hochstetter with ‘is search, I am sure that the Geneva Convention will allow me to ‘elp look for Schultz and Langenscheidt. The sooner we find them, the sooner we can leave.”

Hogan gave Newkirk a searching look, but gave a slight nod; he approved of the idea.

“We all will help look for Schultz and Langenscheidt,” he said. “With Colonel’s Klink’s permission, of course…”

“And Klink’s supervision,” Burkhalter said, curtly. “While I am sure that Hochstetter’s accusations against you are groundless, I do not want this turning into an escape attempt!”

“Under my watchful eyes, I can assure it will not, Herr General!” Klink said, saluting him. “Fraulein Hilda, my dear, perhaps you could come with us to help us look for those two and keep an eye on Hogan and his men for me? That is to say, you never did get your tour of this place—”

“Yes, I will go and help with the search,” she said, very quickly. She gave a look to Hogan that clearly said that she was banking on him to keep an eye on her, in case the two disappearances were not accidental.

Hogan glanced back at the blonde woman, reading the look on her face. There was no way of knowing whether or not she wanted him there because of their relationship, or if it may be because she was Nimrod. The colonel suspected it could even be both, though he wasn’t sure he could wrap his brain around the idea that, all this time, he had been trying to romance Nimrod.

Shaking off the thought, Hogan gave a nod to Klink, who led them through the room with the writers and composers. The German colonel paused to study them before heading towards the next door.

Klink scowled as this door refused to open, as well.

“This is impossible!” he said. “First Langenscheidt and then Schultz had to go through this door! How can it be locked?!”

“Not locked, Sir,” Newkirk lied, palming the wire he had been using to pick the lock. “I think it just needs a good kick.”

“He’s right, Colonel,” Carter said, trying to distract Klink. “There was always this basement door back in my home in Bullfrog—that’s North Dakota, by the way. Well, this door would always get stuck in the summer—the heat does that to doors, you know? You just needed to give it a kick, and it’d open right up!”

“Fascinating,” Klink deadpanned, in a voice that clearly suggested otherwise.

“I don’t know about Bullfrog, but a kick was all that this one needed,” Newkirk said, as he opened the door.

The corporal froze in his tracks as he stepped inside, however; the tableau where the General von Siedelberg figure had been standing was now completely empty.

“Newkirk?” Hogan asked, seeing how Newkirk had reacted.

LeBeau, concerned, had arrived at Newkirk’s side, only to let out a line in his own tongue that clearly illustrated his befuddlement.

“What is it?” Klink asked, unable to see what the fuss was about. “You can’t expect all of the exhibits to be completely ready; this was only a preview invitation—which you were not invited to, if I may remind you.”

Hogan just muttered a silent, “Oh, no…” under his breath as he saw the empty tableau. What did it mean? Who had moved the figure? Why? And where was the figure now? More than that, where were Schultz and Langenscheidt?

Klink was soon distracting himself slightly to take a look at the figures in the room while Hilda followed behind him, wrapping her coat more tightly around herself. Kinch waited for them to be some distance away before consulting with Hogan.

“What do you think, Colonel?” Kinch asked him, quietly.

“Stay tuned; I just might have half an idea of what’s going on here soon.”

Hogan’s wry wit did not disguise his stress, despite his valiant efforts to do so; this did not escape Kinch’s attention, either.

“It shouldn’t be too hard to convince Klink to take us back right now,” the sergeant said. “I’m sure Hilda would have no hesitation in trying to convince him, either.”

“That thought has crossed my mind more than once in the last several minutes,” Hogan said, in an undertone. “But it’s like I told Newkirk—so has the thought that either Schultz or Langenscheidt could be Nimrod, and that one of them was the one who moved that figure before anyone else could see it. Regardless, with everything going on around here, I don’t want to leave Nimrod—whoever he is—to the mercy of this so-called funhouse. I wouldn’t want to leave Schultz and Langenscheidt here even if neither of them was Nimrod.”

“So we’re staying here?”

“I’m going to see if I can send the five of you back with Klink; I’ll stay here talking to Burkhalter or something and see what I can do about seeing the others out of here.”

Kinch exhaled, his eyebrows arched, and it was Hogan’s turn to read him.

“I didn’t think you’d like that idea…” the colonel said, resigned.

“I think I speak for the others when I say that we would never leave you alone here, potentially high and dry,” the sergeant agreed.

“I could order all of you to go, but I know that’d be futile, too; you’d probably grab the first loophole you could find and head back here,” Hogan added.

Kinch gave him a look that clearly read, “Guilty as charged…”

“So,” the colonel continued. “We’re going to go with the plan of finding Schultz and Langenscheidt and then getting out of here as soon as possible.”

“Let’s just hope there’s some emphasis on that ‘soon,’” Kinch intoned. “Those barracks have never looked more welcoming.”

“Colonel Hogan, do keep up!” Klink ordered as he stood by the door to the next room.

Hogan took note that Newkirk was unlocking the door while Klink was looking in Hogan’s direction. Another locked door… another question as to who locked the door after Schultz and Langenscheidt clearly had gone through it… to say nothing of what the mysterious door-locker had done to them.

Without giving them a chance to answer the questions they already had, more and more questions were presenting themselves by the minute. And Hogan wasn’t sure that he would like the answers.

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