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30_losses

Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 10

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | 6:42 am
mood: rushedrushed
music: "One Winged Angel" (orchestral version)
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 10: Your Move
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Claim: general series
Theme: 6B; Shattered glass
Genre/s: Mystery/Suspense
Warnings: World War II-era fandom
Words: ~2300
Summary: The trio find themselves in the heart of the lion's den as Hogan and Kinch do their best to help and get help.
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7505118/10/

Back at Stalag 13, the nervousness in the air was tangible. Thomas spent most of the time waiting with Baker by the radio, his hands folded and lips moving in silent prayer as Baker joined him intermittently. Wilson went over his medical equipment several times to make sure that everything was in place, and Garlotti paced the tunnel so much that he was starting to wear out a depression in the dirt.

At last, they all looked up as they heard running footsteps from down the tunnel, surprised to see the sergeant heading towards them—and all alone, to boot.

“Kinch!” Thomas exclaimed. “My word! What happened?!”

Kinch paused for a moment to catch his breath, handing the message Hogan had written to Baker.

“Emergency code and wavelength…” he gasped. “Colonel’s orders.”

“So he’s okay, then?” Garlotti asked. “What happened to him and the others?”

“Give him a moment!” Wilson chided the private.

Baker blinked as he read the message Hogan had wanted him to send; he decided to wait for Kinch to be ready to speak before asking him his questions.

Eventually, Kinch caught his breath and explained the whole story.

“…So I’ve got to call in to Gruber as Klink and then head back there myself,” he said.

“If it’ll help, there’s an extra motorcycle we commandeered when we apprehended that messenger a few days ago and sent him to England,” Garlotti said. “It’s hidden in the woods just outside the wire, under a bunch of shrubbery.”

“Yes,” Thomas said. “I believe it was a unanimous decision to keep the motorcycle hidden there until the metaphorical rainy day.”

“Good,” Kinch said. “Because it’s metaphorically pouring out there. Now I’ve got to call up Gruber; Baker, you get ready with that message.”

“About that message,” Baker said. “Do you know why the colonel wants to ask London about Jack Williams?”

“Williams?” Wilson asked. “That traitor? Why does the colonel want to know about him for?”

“I didn’t actually read the message; I had to get over here as quickly as I could,” Kinch said, as he sat down at the switchboard. “But before I left, the colonel seemed to finally be getting an idea of what was going on. Now that I think about it, those cards that Newkirk found did seem to point to Williams.”

“Then he must have escaped from England!” Thomas exclaimed.

“Either that, or he was set loose,” Garlotti said, frowning. “Someone helped him set this up. Even if he had escaped, he would’ve had to have help to get here!”

“And the colonel wants some names,” Kinch finished. He now held up a hand for silence as he got through to Klink’s office. With relative ease, he morphed his voice to a flawless copy of Klink’s. “Hallo, Gruber? Ja. Gruber, I want you to send a squad of men to the wax museum at once! There is a riot going on here, and I will not let Major Hochstetter sneer upon the brand of discipline we have here at Stalag 13!”

This conversation continued for a few more minutes, and once it was through, Kinch knew he had only a few minutes to get back out through the tunnels before the guards assembled and moved out.

“Thanks for the heads-up about that motorcycle, but I still don’t have any time to lose. I’ll hopefully see you all later.”

“Is there anything else we can do?” Garlotti asked, as Baker now got on the radio and started transmitting.

“Just go through the preliminaries for an evacuation,” Kinch said. “As far as everything else, the colonel’s original order still stands—if we’re not back by morning, have everyone clear out of here.”

Even as he spoke, Kinch was getting out of his chair and heading back the way he had come.

“Godspeed, Kinch,” Thomas called after him.

The sergeant acknowledged him with a wave as he dashed out of sight.

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


Meanwhile, the wheels in Colonel Hogan’s head were turning now. His touch was back, and he knew it. With relative ease, he slipped past Hochstetter’s men. Soon, he was back outside the window that Newkirk had locked him out of.

Hogan certainly didn’t blame the Englishman; his selflessness was one of the key factors in selecting him for the team—he had been very impressed upon seeing how Newkirk had fiercely defended anyone who had crossed LeBeau. The Englishman’s adept lock-picking and pickpocketing skills were just a very useful bonus.

The colonel pushed the thought out of his mind; there would be time for nostalgia after they got out of this. Quickly realizing that there was no other alternative, Hogan removed his hat and used it to offer as much shielding as he could for his hand as he smashed his fist through the window and unlocked the catch. It would fit in with the story they had concocted about the riot at the museum, he rationalized.

This task completed, Hogan now opened the window and quickly slipped inside, ducking to the floor in order to stay out of view in case the shattering glass had attracted the attention of any of Hochstetter’s men. This wouldn’t help so much with hiding from the mastermind, inside, however, so Hogan kept his eyes peeled. The minutes ticked by, and he heard nothing from either of them; he had been lucky and had gone unheard by both threats.

Lady Luck is starting to smile on me again. That’s a good sign.

But what wasn’t a good sign was the fact that the rest of his men were nowhere in sight. There was no way of telling where they had gone, or whether or not they had gone of their own volition. And, of course, calling out for them was definitely out of the question; he had to find them without any clues.

…Or were there clues?

As Hogan pushed himself up to a kneeling position, he saw the curtains that Carter had left on the floor after taking the curtain rod. It didn’t take long for the colonel to put two and two together and realize that someone had used it to look for trapdoors—and that someone had to be one of his men.

It was then that Hogan noticed something else—the dog tag that was the sister to the one that Carter had found. As the colonel picked it up, he exhaled as he read Williams’ name on it, confirming his suspicions.

One question was answered, but so many more were taking its place. For a lot of those questions, Williams would be one of the few who could answer them—and Hogan would get answers.

But before that, he had to find out where his men had gone. Deciding to take their lead and using a curtain rod for himself to help navigate around the trapdoors in the floor, Hogan headed back along the route where the exhibits were—first the room with the composers, and then the room with the dead officers.

It was here that he saw the plaque with his name that LeBeau had ripped off of the empty tableau and had thrown to the ground. The colonel recognized the telltale signs of the Frenchman’s fury immediately. LeBeau was not one to hold back when someone or something annoyed him; usually his diatribes were hurled against their enemies, but LeBeau had been known to direct his fury at his comrades when provoked. But when push came to shove, LeBeau’s inner volcano would erupt when it came to protecting his comrades; just as Newkirk would do anything to help his friends, LeBeau would unleash all vicious fury to protect them, as well.

Hogan pushed the thoughts aside again and continued on to the next room, with the Chamber of Horrors. His own anger increased now that he saw Olsen’s wax figure standing with Klink’s, along with the rest of Janos Skorzeny’s victims.

As he walked towards the display, he paused; for a moment, it seemed as though he could hear his men’s voices.

Hogan now turned to face the wall, frowning. No, he was not imagining things; there were the trio’s voices, coming from behind the wall!

“There’s got to be a switch to get us out of here!” Carter was saying, trying to feel for one.

“Forget it,” Newkirk hissed back. “We need to keep going.”

“Then we are in the exact same problem as though we had gotten in through the trapdoor!” LeBeau countered.

Hogan couldn’t see him, but he could easily imagine the angry look on the Frenchman’s face.

“Well, there’s one thing different in this case,” Newkirk responded, dryly. “At least we can break the ruddy wall down if we need to make a quick exit; that ain’t something you can do with a trapdoor.”

As he listened to them, Hogan found himself in another dilemma. Should he announce his presence to his men? They might be relieved knowing that he would be there to back them up if need be, but, on the other hand, they could just as easily be concerned now that they had to worry about him again.

Hogan sighed again; for their sake, he would have to continue to let them think that he was still en route to camp. If anything, it might mean that he could be able to back them up more effectively.

“Look,” Newkirk now said. “We’re not accomplishing anything by standing ‘ere discussing this; we need to find out where Williams is keeping Olsen and the others, and we’ve got to find ‘im before ‘e finds us!”

“We are in agreement on that,” LeBeau said. “But we need to determine where we need to go; I can imagine that if Williams based these passageways on our tunnels, he will have them branching in several directions.”

“Easy,” Carter said. “We want to get to the lower level, right? We go in the direction that slopes downward.”

“I just ‘ope it’s that easy,” Newkirk said, his voice growing fainter, as though he was heading town the passageway.

Hogan mulled over this for a moment, trying to determine his next move. He could very well figure out how to open the wall switch here and follow some distance behind them. However, there was a chance that Williams might be coming back the same way and encounter them—a possibility that his men didn’t seem to have considered. And Hogan was in no position to warn them about it.

Recalling how he had seen Williams for a split-second in the lobby without ever hearing the door, Hogan knew that there had to be another panel from there. Hoping that the three would be able to hold their own for a little while, Hogan headed back into the lobby, striking the walls like LeBeau had done earlier until he found the hollow portion of the wall.

Instead of a rope triggering the wall panel, this one was opened by a small lever sticking out of the wall, hovering just slightly above the floor. He kicked this with the toe of his boot, and the wall panel opened to admit him into the network of passageways.

Realizing that he had to find a way to let Kinch know about the passageway, as well, Hogan took out his handkerchief and held it out as the panel closed again; part of the handkerchief would now be visible outside. The colonel had no doubt that Kinch would be able to see it and realize what to do.

As Hogan headed down the passage from his direction, the trio continued up ahead from their direction. They had found the passageway that sloped downward, as Carter had predicted. But the further they progressed, the more uncomfortably warm it felt. The Englishman was soon wiping the sweat off of his brow, frowning as Carter brought to words what he and LeBeau were clearly feeling.

“Boy, it’s really getting hot in here, isn’t it?” the sergeant asked. “Hot and stuffy…”

LeBeau silently agreed by removing his scarf and pocketing it, beads of perspiration working their way onto his face.

“Considering who we’re up against,” Newkirk threw in. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we’re ‘eaded right into the depths of—”

The Englishman was cut off as the curtain rod tapped against a solid, wooden surface.

He felt it, his fingers finding a groove that allowed him to slide the panel aside with the help of greased wheels.

“Cor blimey…” he murmured.

Cautiously, he led the way forward into a room that served both as a boiler room and the waxworks. But the most shocking sight of all was the sight of five wax figures standing near the boiling vat of wax.

For the trio, it was like looking into an eerie mirror; their wax likenesses stared back at them with haunting looks. Beside them were figures of Hogan and Kinch; all five figures glistened from the heat, including Carter’s figure, which was still dressed in the von Siedelberg outfit.

“Well, that accounts for the warm wax on the other figures,” Newkirk said, once the shock had begun to fade somewhat.

“Williams was just waiting to get us into his trapdoors so that he could display these figures,” LeBeau spat.

“But this confirms that the others have to be okay—all of the figures of the missing people on display up there were just replicas, like these ones!” Carter said.

“You’re right about that,” Newkirk agreed, still unable to take his eyes off of his statue. “The real prisoners can’t be too far from ‘ere; all we have to do is find them.”

“Correction,” a familiar voice responded, coldly. “All you have to do is join them.”

LeBeau was about to turn to face the voice, as it seemed to come from behind him, but the feeling of cold metal against the back of his neck made him freeze, in spite of how warm the room was.

Williams had been waiting for them to make their move after all. And now they were in yet another trap.

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