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Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 9

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Sunday, December 18th, 2011 | 10:18 am
music: Ghostbusters theme
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 9: Puzzle Pieces
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Claim: general series
Theme: 21B; Separate ways
Genre/s: Mystery/Suspense
Warnings: World War II-era fandom
Words: ~2300
Summary: The pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place.
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7505118/9/

Hogan and Kinch were not too far into the woods when the colonel audibly cursed. Getting out of the museum and into relative safety hadn’t done much to ease the colonel’s frustrations.

“This was a bad idea; I knew I should’ve gone with my gut instincts and just stuck with it over there. We were close to figuring out who it was; I even got a quick glimpse of the guy as we were leaving.”

“Sir, with all due respect, you can’t keep kicking yourself for anything that happened—even us leaving,” Kinch said. “I know exactly how you feel; I once had to leave Newkirk, LeBeau, and Carter to a German patrol when we got lost one night, remember?”

“Yeah, I remember,” Hogan said. “But this is different. That was just a freak accident; as far as tonight goes, I may as well have surrendered those four to some crazed, card-playing traitor whose real motive is to get rid of me.”

He paused in his tracks, his eyes widening as pieces started falling into place.

A crazed, card-playing traitor

“Colonel?” Kinch asked, as he now stopped.

“I’m not sure exactly,” Hogan said. “But I’ve got a feeling that with me out here, our captor is going to be taking out his frustrations on Newkirk. …And that also means that he won’t be expecting me to come back for a while; if I went back there right now, I could finally take him by surprise.”

“We’re going back?” Kinch asked, confused.

“You keep going,” Hogan instructed.

Kinch gave Hogan an unreadable look.

“…Is that an order?”

“I hate to say it, but it is,” Hogan said. “Just wait for one second before you go…”

The colonel hastily pulled a pencil and paper from his pocket and scribbled out a message.

“When you get back to Stalag 13, give this message to Baker and have him transmit it to London over the emergency wavelength. And have him use the backup code, too.”

“But if I’m supposed to bring him and the rest of the reserves back here, how does that work?”

“You’re not bringing them back here now,” Hogan announced. “Just in case, I want them getting ready for a possible evacuation if this plan of mine ends up going as badly as everything else has been so far. But don’t worry about that; I think I’ve finally got my touch back now that I have a clue.”

“What else do you want me to do?” Kinch asked.

“I want you to impersonate Klink’s voice—get Captain Gruber to send a squad of guards to the wax museum. Tell him there’s a riot or something; just make sure a squad is mobilized and on their way here. And then get back here as fast as you can; I know that’s asking a lot out of you, but you have to be accounted for here if my plan works and we succeed in freeing everyone.”

“I understand. I’ll go right away, but be sure to fill me in when I get back,” Kinch requested, sensing that this wasn’t the time or the place to ask Hogan to recount what he was thinking.

“I’ll do that,” Hogan said. “Good luck out there.”

Kinch nodded, hoping that the colonel hadn’t made a decision that he was going to end up regretting. Still, Hogan seemed a lot more confident now—more confident than when this mess had started, at any rate.

Hogan could feel it for himself, too.

This is a chess game, is it? Well, the king doesn’t get to do much for the first half of the game, but once he gets out there, kid gloves are off. Let’s see what this king can do now that he knows who he’s playing against.

That thought in his head, he headed back the way he had come, towards the museum.

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


Newkirk was shaking off the last of the mental cobwebs as LeBeau helped him to his feet, still clutching onto the small chain he had wrenched from his assailant; he still wasn’t paying much attention to it, though.

“Are you sure you are alright, Pierre?”

“Yeah,” Newkirk promised, his voice starting to sound less scratchy. “Thanks to you, Louis; your timing was impeccable.”

“What’s that you’ve got in your hand?” Carter asked, as he and LeBeau made sure that Newkirk was able to steady himself.

“Oh, this? Ripped it off the bloke’s neck when ‘e was trying to choke me.”

“It looks like the chain my dog tags are on,” Carter said, pulling his dog tags into view to compare them.

LeBeau’s eyes widened.

“Pierre, if you were able to take the dog tag chain off, the tags themselves must have fallen, too! If we find them, we can find out who is doing this to us!” He dropped to his knees, looking around.

“They couldn’t have fallen far,” Carter said, also looking around. “Hopefully, they didn’t fall into a crack or something like that…”

“It would be nice to go on something other than the fact that our captor is a card shark,” Newkirk said. “One who likes to toss me own words back at me.”

“What do you mean?” LeBeau asked.

“When ‘e was trying to choke me, ‘e threw back words ‘e claimed that I’d said to ‘im: ‘Unless you want to get killed—not that I care.’ Now that the oxygen’s getting back into me brain, I think I do remember saying that once.”

“I remember you saying that, too,” LeBeau said, blinking. “I think we were breaking someone out of the cooler who wanted to betray us; we were taking him to Colonel Hogan, and we were both angry.”

Newkirk’s eyes suddenly widened, and he pulled out the deck of red-backed cards.

“Louis!” he exclaimed. “That poker game in the barracks with that traitor, Williams! It was with these cards—and the kings were on the bottom of the deck! Cor blimey… That explains it all! That’s ‘ow ‘e knew all about those missions and created those statues of the dead officers to unnerve us!”

LeBeau punctuated Newkirk’s sentences with a few of the more colorful words in his vocabulary as Carter now found one of the fallen dog tags.

“Peter’s right—Jack Williams,” he said, staring at the tag, stunned. “But… I don’t understand… We sent him to England to be tried; how did he get away?”

“That’s something we’ll ‘ave to ask ‘im now that we know who we’re dealing with,” Newkirk said, his eyes narrowing. “But I’m willing to bet that ‘e ‘ad a bit of ‘elp. Just like we ‘ave Nimrod posing flawlessly as a German, there’s more than likely a counterpart to ‘im posing as an Ally. If anything, we should’ve expected it.”

“You give me five minutes alone with Williams,” LeBeau hissed. “I vow I will make him talk!”

“Easy, Little Mate,” Newkirk said, grasping the Frenchman’s shoulder. “I ‘ate to say it, but Olsen’s probably spending five minutes alone with that conniver right now. We’re going to ‘ave to go about this the way the Guv’nor would.”

“Well, for the moment, we do outnumber him,” Carter said. “Even if the proprietor of the place is involved—that’s something else we have to ask Williams when we finally confront him.”

“And there’s something that just might ‘elp us with that, Andrew,” Newkirk said. “You were the only other one in camp that Williams was borderline civil towards; ‘e seems to ‘ave a liking for you, and that might be the proverbial ace up our sleeve to counter ‘is deck-bottom kings.”

“Why did I have to be so lucky?” Carter muttered, disgusted that he had such a tie to that traitor. He’d had a feeling that the only reason Williams had acted friendly towards him was because Williams, like most everyone else in camp, had considered Carter to be a klutzy pushover.

The sergeant pushed the thought aside; now wasn’t the time to dwell on how he didn’t seem to be taken seriously. If Williams was still presuming him to be a pushover, then Carter was going to give him an unpleasant surprise indeed.

“We ‘ave to go about this carefully,” Newkirk continued. “For one thing, we ‘ave to stay together—so no five minutes with ‘im alone, Louis… at least, not until we get the bloomin’ twister where we want ‘im.”

LeBeau grunted in reply, his eyes scanning the lobby for something he could use as an improvised weapon.

“We also can’t wait for ‘im to show up again to try to take another one of us,” Newkirk went on. “This time, we ‘ave to take the battle to ‘im.”

“But if we go down the trapdoor, we have no guarantee of what kind of landing we have,” LeBeau said. “What if we need to retreat? There will be no easy way up from that! Given how Williams is, one misstep is all we need to fall to him! What are we supposed to do then?”

“…The walls,” Carter said, quietly, prompting the corporals to look his way.

“What about the walls?” Newkirk asked.

“He’s got to be coming through the walls!” Carter said. “Think about it! We know he’s not using the doors since we can see them, and it’d be difficult for him to use trapdoors to come up—and it’d be downright impossible to do if he had a load of wax figures to bring up, which we know he had. I’m telling you, the walls must be filled with passageways; he probably copied our entire tunnel system design and replaced the ladder-trapdoor entrance combos with wall panels! All we have to do is find out where one of the walls opens up, and we can find our way down to the bottom level with a way to get back!”

LeBeau considered this for a moment and nodded. It did seem like the best idea they had to finally turn this around and go on the offensive.

“We should look in that room with the Chamber of Horrors,” he said. “That is where most of those figures turned up earlier. If Williams was able to get them there so quickly, the wall panel must be there—or one of them, at the very least.”

“Right-o,” Newkirk said. “But mind where you step; we don’t need any more trapdoors surprising us. I’d rather we face Williams as a party of three.”

Carter found some semblance of a solution; he grabbed one of the curtain rods and used it to feel ahead if the floorboards moved unnaturally.

“You look like someone hiking through a bog, trying to see if there’s quicksand,” Newkirk commented.

“Hey, you were the one who said, ‘Mind where you step…’” Carter trailed off as they passed the dead officers statues. Williams had, within the last several minutes, set up plaques with the names of the statues, and had a thin, wooden plaque with Hogan’s name on it on the empty tableau.

LeBeau silently responded by ripping the plaque off of the tableau in a fury as they passed by.

“Still he tries to unnerve us,” he furiously hissed. “This is all one sick and twisted game to him!”

“Like I said before, ‘e’s been doing a good job of trying to unnerve us. The important thing is that the Guv’nor is where Williams can’t get at ‘im.”

Carter now opened the door to the Chamber of Horrors, freezing in his tracks.

“He’s still going all-out, even though he probably realizes we’re onto him,” the sergeant said.

He politely ignored LeBeau and Newkirk’s vehement outbursts as they got sight of the new figures of Klink and Olsen set up with the others, with Janos Skorzeny still leering at all of them. Newkirk was the one who confirmed that the wax was warm, scowling as he made the announcement.

LeBeau, in the meantime, was now tapping his fist against various parts of the wall, trying to sense which part of the wall was hollow.

“Pierre! Andre! I think I found it! All we need is to find the switch!”

“Well, it has to be near the part of the wall,” Carter said, as he got to his knees to see if there was a switch on the floor.

LeBeau inspected the rest of the wall as Newkirk looked at the nearby figures. The Englishman glanced at a figure of a mysterious strangler, a tie in his hands, ready to wrap around the neck of his next victim.

Just like the one who created this figure, Newkirk silently muttered, absently feeling his own sore neck from where Williams had choked him. And maybe that is a clue that twister didn’t count on.

That in mind, Newkirk gave a tug on the tie in the figure’s hands. The sound of clanking gears followed again, and Carter and LeBeau looked up as the panel of wall moved aside, revealing a darkened passage.

“Newkirk, you did it!” Carter grinned. He quickly sobered as he realized that they were heading right to the lion’s den.

“I don’t reckon I’ve done anything just yet,” the Englishman said. “Tell me that later after I get us through this. Give me that curtain rod; we never did get that flashlight, so we’re going to ‘ave to use that to avoid any unwanted spills.”

Carter handed over the curtain rod, and now it was Newkirk’s turn to act as a bog explorer as he slowly led the way into the passageway, with his two comrades behind him. The three men gave a slight start as the gears moved again; the panel closed behind them, plunging the passage into complete darkness and trapping them inside.

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


Author’s Note: A lot of my readers probably guessed this, but yes, the mastermind is Williams, from the season 3 episode “One in Every Crowd.” The whole idea for this fic came about after seeing Williams’ actor turn up in the 1953 version of House of Wax, so this is something I had in mind since the very beginning.

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