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Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 7

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Monday, December 12th, 2011 | 9:56 am
mood: pleasedpleased
music: Bonanza theme -- Johnny Cash
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 7: It's Personal
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Claim: general series
Theme: 18B; Finality
Genre/s: Mystery/Suspense
Warnings: World War II-era fandom
Words: ~2100
Summary: A couple clues are found, one that makes their captor's intentions very clear.
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7505118/7/

Author’s Notes: If anything looks like a reference to Once Upon a Time, it probably is.

**************************************


Hogan slowly felt Langenscheidt’s wax face and shook his head.

“The wax is very warm here, too,” he said, after feeling Schultz’s face to confirm it. “They couldn’t have been here for more than five minutes.”

Klink’s expression switched from shock to a scowl.

“I don’t care how hot the wax is; you cannot expect me to believe that such perfect… encasings were done so quickly! Someone made these figures in advance and kept them warm for us to believe otherwise!”

Hogan mulled over this for a moment. Klink had a point; hadn’t the von Siedelberg figure been there when they had arrived?

“Even if you’re right, it doesn’t answer what happened to the real McCoys,” Hogan said, now crossing towards the other door. “What’s in here?”

“We never went that far,” Newkirk reminded him, slowly edging ahead of Hogan so that he could work his magic on the door again.

Kinch now distracted Klink by questioning how the figures might have been placed here in such a short amount of time. Klink didn’t have any answers; he was just as lost as everyone else—which was unusual, seeing as though they were usually good at staying ahead of him at every turn.

“All I could tell you is that whoever did this must have some very fast way of getting in and out around here—carrying a heavy load or two, as well,” Klink said. “And they also must be somewhat psychotic, too, if they really want to try to make us believe that these statues are what’s left of the real people.”

“There’s something else that bothers me,” Carter said. “That blank tableau where all the tribute figures were standing around… Who’s going to be standing on that? Everyone is that display is dead; does that mean that whoever disappears next and gets placed there will be killed?”

No one replied him; they all just exchanged uneasy glances. Given how deranged their unknown captor was quickly proving himself to be, no one doubted that Carter’s theory was possible.

“I got the door unstuck,” Newkirk announced, breaking the eerie silence as it creaked open.

He reached inside and switched on the lights, illuminating a room depicting wax recreations of various scenes from the Grimms’ fairy tales. The charming prince was kneeling beside Snow White in her glass coffin, surrounded by the seven dwarves, as the wicked queen leered at them from nearby. A few yards from them, the Big Bad Wolf confronted Red Riding Hood. Past them, Hansel and Gretel stared hungrily at an edible house; the sneering witch was visible through the window.

Across from Snow White, Cinderella and her prince danced, a slipper missing from one of her feet. Past them, Rapunzel looked down from her tower as Gothel called up to her from the ground to carry her up. And in the center of the room, Rumpelstiltskin surveyed all of the scenes, apparently wringing his hands and carrying a smug, toothy grin on his face.

“The way they’ve set this up, it’s as though Rumpelstiltskin is pulling all of the bloomin’ strings around ‘ere…” Newkirk commented, somewhat unnerved by Rumpelstiltskin’s expression.

“I don’t like the looks of that evil queen,” Carter said, as he spotted her glaring at Snow White and the prince. “She looks like someone who could just move into a small town in Maine and continue her reign from there!”

“And that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever,” Klink said, shaking his head.

Carter shrugged, deciding that this wasn’t the time or place to discuss where Maine was.

Hogan now led everyone inside the room through the narrow doorway. He took note that there was an empty tableau near Gothel, as though whoever in that position would be observing from afar.

“Here’s another spot,” he announced.

“I expect it would be for the prince in the story,” Klink said. “He would observe Gothel coming to check on Rapunzel, and would visit Rapunzel himself when he was sure that Gothel wasn’t there.”

“Gothel…” Hogan repeated.

He inwardly cringed; hadn’t the person who had claimed that Nimrod was in danger gone under the code name of Mother Gothel? …Perhaps there was some sort of clue or message in the Gothel statue?

Now intrigued, Hogan stepped over the felt barrier again, glancing at the empty tableau first. He knelt beside it; taking note of how new and clean the tableau was.

“See anything?” Klink asked, following behind him.

“Nothing,” the colonel said. “Not even a few traces of wax or dust; this tableau hasn’t even been used at all.” He stood up and faced the statue of Gothel. This one, on the other hand, could have something.

There did seem to be something in Gothel’s hand—a piece of paper. Whether it was a taunt or information, it could at least have something that might help them—perhaps handwriting styles or maybe a legitimate clue…

Colonel, attention! Le plancher!” LeBeau suddenly cried out in his own tongue.

Hogan didn’t understand what he had said, but he soon figured it out on his own—as he stepped forward, the panel of floor under his foot suddenly vanished beneath him. A yell escaped him as he plunged downward, only to be stopped in mid-fall; Klink had grabbed Hogan’s arm at the last second.

The rest of the Heroes were at their side in an instant, helping to pull their commanding officer to safety. Hogan waited for them to pull him up before he exhaled in relief, wiping the sweat from his brow.

A mechanical clanking was heard now, and the panel swung back up, rejoining the floor, looking completely inconspicuous.

“LeBeau,” Hogan said, after he had caught his breath. “It’s not that I don’t appreciate you trying to warn me, but, next time, can you give a warning in a language I can actually understand?”

“Sorry, Colonel… Force of habit…”

Newkirk placed a hand on LeBeau’s shoulder; it wasn’t his fault, of course, but LeBeau would likely feel bad that he hadn’t been able to give a proper warning that would’ve actually helped.

“And you…” Hogan said, turning to Klink, who looked about as stunned as the others were with the knowledge of what he had just done. “Thanks, Colonel.”

It seemed so inadequate, but Hogan didn’t know what else to say, considering what had just happened and who had just saved him.

Klink nodded, letting out a sigh; he wasn’t so sure of what to say, either.

“Now I believe you; whoever is behind this is not making any distinction between the Allies and the Germans,” he said.

Yeah, and I’d be as big a catch as Nimrod, Hogan said to himself. And that’s probably what they want.

Taking care to avoid the trapdoor, Newkirk now stepped lightly towards the figure of Mother Gothel and took the piece of paper in her hand, slipping it into his pocket. Even if Klink had just saved Hogan, it was still a risk to let him know about the paper, in case it was something related to their organization.

Hogan got to his feet now, taking note of the look that Newkirk gave him, nodding in response. When they had a chance, he would look into that paper; hopefully, it would be somewhat helpful.

“Hey, Colonel!” Carter suddenly exclaimed, looking at the Cinderella display. “Look—next to the ballroom set, they have a set-up of the fireplace where she used to sweep the cinders away.”

“So?” Olsen asked.

“Take a closer look; there’s something in that fireplace,” Carter said.

“Check it out, but be careful,” Hogan instructed.

The sergeant nodded, heading to the fireplace as swift and sure as his Sioux name. He rooted through the ashes for a moment, and pulled out a mostly-burned document from within the other ashes.

“Someone tried to camouflage this!” he said. “I think it’s a passport!”

At last, a solid clue, Hogan thought, taking it from Carter. It was, indeed, a passport—or had been, at least. The colonel held it up to the light, trying to see if any of the writing was still visible.

“Carter’s right, but the name and signature are beyond recognition,” he said, shaking his head as bits of burned paper fell from it. “But if we could get a better light focused on it, I might be able to figure out where it was issued.”

“Not to mention that we just confirmed that someone here has something to hide,” Kinch said. “They didn’t want anyone finding that passport.”

“Then it must be one of yours,” Klink said. “Well, not yours personally, but to someone from the Allies…”

The others turned to stare at him.

“How did you come up with that?” Carter asked, surprised. “You haven’t even seen it yet!”

“It also stands to reason that whoever owned that passport doesn’t belong in Germany,” Klink said. “If they did, they wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of hiding that they were allowed to be here.”

Hogan could only blink in amazement. It wasn’t because Klink was right; it made sense now, and one of them would’ve likely come to that conclusion soon enough, but the fact that they hadn’t done it first didn’t speak so well for them.

Deciding that it was a product of their being on edge, Hogan decided to ignore it for now. They needed to get their wits about them, or they were going to fall headlong into even more traps.

“Colonel, I think I saw a flashlight in that first storage closet,” Newkirk said, deciding to break the awkward silence again. “It was back where I was opening the doors for ‘ochstetter; it should still be there, but with all the goings-on ‘ere, I wouldn’t bet me life on it.”

“Neither would I, but it’s worth a look if it’ll help us figure out what’s going on around here,” Hogan agreed. “Let’s head back the way we came, and be careful when you go through that Chamber of Horrors—that’s where Hilda vanished, so there’s bound to be another one of those trapdoors set up there.”

“I could lead the way,” Klink offered. “I’ve had enough practice looking for your tunnels to notice any anomalies in the floor.”

The other stared at him again, now for a different reason; after hiding underground for so long, they didn’t think too much of Klink’s “floor anomaly detection” skills. Carter had to bite his lip and look away nonchalantly.

“…Yeah,” Hogan said, after a moment. “You do that.” He cast a look to Kinch that clearly said, “Please look for them, too.”

The staff sergeant responded with a fervent nod. And as Klink and Kinch stared carefully at the ground as they headed back to the lobby, Hogan pulled back to where Newkirk was walking, staying just in front of him.

“Newkirk, that paper you got from Gothel…”

“I ‘ave it right ‘ere, Guv,” the corporal whispered, slipping it out of his pocket. “You want it now?”

“No, just tell me what’s on it; I don’t want Klink to see me reading it until I know what it is.”

“Right-o,” the Englishman said, un-crumpling it.

LeBeau, who was standing by Newkirk’s right side, also took a look at it, blinking in surprise.

“It is not a message or a clue at all,” the Frenchman said, quietly, seeing a few scribbled notes and diagrams on the paper.

“What is it?” Hogan asked,

“It’s a diagram of some of the exhibits,” Newkirk whispered. “Just an organization list of what is supposed to go where…”

Anything useful at all?” Hogan asked, disappointed that he had risked his life for a worthless piece of paper.

He frowned as Newkirk didn’t respond. Hogan turned slightly, surprised to see that the Englishman was now going pale, his hazel eyes widening.

“Newkirk?”

“Pierre, what is it?” LeBeau asked, concerned.

“…Would you consider a warning or a threat useful?”

What?” Hogan asked, flatly.

“That exhibit with General von Linzter and all the other dead officers… You know ‘ow they were surrounding that empty tableau, and Andrew was wondering who was supposed to go on it? Well, this piece of paper gives the details of who goes onto that central tableau.”

“Who?” Hogan asked, as LeBeau struggled and failed to read the paper in Newkirk’s hands due to his lack of height.

“…You, Guv.”

Quoi?” LeBeau asked, stunned.

Hogan stared at Newkirk wordlessly, and the corporal handed the paper over to the colonel, his gaze shifting all around in his unease.

The diagram was simple—a large rectangle designating the parameter of the exhibit, with the names of the figures in ovals, representing the tableaus. Sure enough, in the central tableau, someone had scrawled “Colonel Robert E. Hogan (Papa Bear),” and the name under the rectangle was but a single word: “Revenge.”

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