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Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 11

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Saturday, December 24th, 2011 | 10:00 am
music: "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" -- the Monkees
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 11: Genius and Madness
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Claim: general series
Theme: 27A; Outsider
Genre/s: Mystery/Suspense
Warnings: World War II-era fandom
Words: ~2300
Summary: What does our trio do when caught in a situation like this? Tactical stalling. But will it work?
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7505118/11/

Newkirk’s eyes blazed at the sound of Williams’ voice. He turned, cursing the traitor the best he could, but did not move a muscle once he realized that Williams had a gun planted on the back of LeBeau’s neck.

Carter stood stunned as he saw the sight, horrified that things had come to this just as when they had thought that things were finally going their way.

LeBeau did try to mask the fear in his eyes as he looked to his comrades, sending a voiceless plea for help; Newkirk responded with a silent vow that he would not let LeBeau die at Williams’ hands. He then cast quick glances to the Frenchman and to Carter with a clear message: The Guv’nor is coming back with reinforcements; we just have to keep stalling Williams until the colonel gets here.

Carter and LeBeau responded with quick looks that acknowledged that they clearly understood.

“You look well, Newkirk,” Williams taunted, unaware of the silent communications around him. “Life in the Stalag has been treating you well. Not that I’m surprised; LeBeau here always managed to keep you fed. Isn’t that right, LeBeau? It’s too bad that more people don’t know about your achievements—then again, what sort of award do they give glorified nursemaids?”

LeBeau responded with a few words that were definitely not a reply to Williams’ query, sounding a lot braver than he felt with the gun to his neck.

Newkirk cursed again.

“Let ‘im go, Williams!” he ordered. “You ‘ave all three of us right where you want us; we can’t get away.”

“Oh, no. I know how crafty you can be, Newkirk. While I was in London, I heard tell of the time you were caught in that brawl in the Red Lion, just before you were shipped out; you versus fifteen men, wasn’t it? And you got out of it without a scratch; me standing here with a gun isn’t going to slow you down…” He smirked as Newkirk’s eyes widened. “Ooh, looks like I struck a nerve.”

“…‘ow did you find out?”

“It was in the records,” Williams said, calmly. “Along with a few other things I found out about you and your craftiness. In fact, I don’t think I trust you with that curtain rod in your hands. Drop it.”

He pressed the gun harder against LeBeau’s neck. Newkirk dropped the curtain rod in an instant, angrier than a venom-spitting cobra.

“That’s better,” Williams said. “I’m sure you figured out by now that I didn’t get here on my own. I had help—a network that not only got me out, but also destroyed all traces of my being there. It wasn’t too hard; you guys went through a lot of trouble to make it look as though I was dead; the few who knew I was alive were easily fooled. In a way, it was your cover-up that allowed me to escape.”

“Charming,” Newkirk spat. “I’ll bet Williams ain’t even your real name now, is it?”

“Not anymore,” the man agreed. “With my new loyalty came a new identity to help me get out of England and make my way through here.”

“Let me guess…” the Englishman said. “Wolfhelm?”

“The team that helped me escape went to great lengths to teach me how to put on that act before I could be as convincing as you saw me,” Williams said, nodding. “But they spared no detail. And their efforts did not disappoint—it fooled you, the colonel, the Germans, and even the great Nimrod.”

Newkirk responded with a scowl; he didn’t want to admit it, but he never would’ve considered that the seemingly-timid proprietor of the museum they had been working for had, in fact, been one of their enemies.

LeBeau, thankfully, changed the subject.

“Then why did you leave those cards and wear your old dog tags?” the Frenchman hissed. “That defeated the whole purpose.”

“It didn’t defeat my purpose. The cards and the dog tags were just my way of dropping hints.”

“You wanted us to figure out it was you!” Carter said, his eyes going wide. “You knew we’d be furious enough to try to track you down after everything you tried to do to us, and so you waited here for us to show up!”

“You’re here, aren’t you?” Williams pointed out. “I’d say that’s another one of my plans that worked to perfection. …Well, near-perfection; you did ruin my chances of grabbing the top prize.”

Newkirk now finally smirked. Colonel Hogan was safe, as far as he knew. Even if they didn’t make it out of this, he would.

“Nice maneuver, eh?” he said. “Just like in a game of chess when you move the king out of the way and swap ‘im with the rook.”

“For the record, it’s called castling, and it doesn’t matter if Hogan’s not here now; he’ll be back with reinforcements,” Williams said. “But I know Hogan’s weaknesses; he’ll surrender once he realizes I’ve got you with Nimrod and the others.”

“What makes you so sure you have Nimrod?” LeBeau asked.

“Yes, I told you, I was able to find out a lot of things while I was being held in London,” he replied. “Among the things I found out was Nimrod’s true identity. I also found out that you guys don’t know who Nimrod is.”

“Your contacts know who Nimrod is, too?” Carter asked, his heart sinking. How much did they know? Would everyone associated with helping their operation suffer along with them?

“No, they don’t,” Williams said. “But, believe me, they wanted to know. It was decided that it would be more prudent if this information stayed with me. I promised to not only tell them Nimrod’s identity, but hand Nimrod over personally, providing that they help me pull off this… project of mine.”

“Your revenge, you mean,” LeBeau spat.

“You had it coming to you,” the traitor sneered. “After everything you put me through, I intend to enjoy this.”

“We could ‘ave avoided all this if you ‘adn’t started stabbing us in the back!” Newkirk accused. “We would’ve left you well enough alone, but no, you ‘ad to make a menace of yourself by stealing our Red Cross packages and cheating at poker games! And then you were ready to give away the secrets of our organization—after we’d let you in, even letting you coming along on missions!”

“Yeah, that’s one thing I don’t get,” Carter said. “Why’d you snitch on us when you were supposed to be on our side? You went along with us when we were fighting the Germans; Heck, you were in our Air Corps! You didn’t believe in anything the Germans stood for—I’ll bet you still don’t! Why did you ever betray us when you were a soldier, just like every other one of us?”

“Not by choice. Not all of us enlisted voluntarily like you did, Carter.”

“That’s Sergeant.”

All three heads turned to stare at Carter. He very rarely pulled rank, and when he did, it meant that he had tossed the kid gloves as far as he could throw them. Even Williams, who only knew Carter casually, knew him enough to be concerned.

“So you were drafted,” Carter went on. “Big deal. Newkirk was drafted, and he’d rather be at home in London than stay here! You don’t see him going around stabbing people in the back because he’s sore about staying in Germany, do you?”

“I see him, Sergeant, doing the same things I was doing in Stalag 13—stealing and cheating at cards!” Williams retorted. “And I didn’t see you or anyone else giving him a hard time over it! Compare his record to mine! I didn’t spend my life living off the streets, picking pockets! I didn’t snatch diamonds from a jewelry store and impersonate a Duke to try to romance a Duchess! And I certainly didn’t rob a man’s life savings and drive him over the edge!”

Newkirk paled, gritting his teeth. That heist was one he had not been proud of, nor had he divulged the story to anyone; had he known that he had been taking the unfortunate man’s life savings and not one of many stashes of a Scrooge-like miser, as he had been led to believe, he wouldn’t have gone through with it at all. He expected that, one day, he would have told LeBeau and Carter about what had happened, but he hated that they had to find out by Williams’ word, instead of his own.

“Yeah, I know,” Williams went on, addressing the Englishman now. “You were thinking it the moment I found out about that brawl you were in—what else did I find about you when I was in London? Well, I found out everything—more than what you’ve told LeBeau and the Sergeant here, I’ll bet!”

“Shut up.”

It wasn’t Newkirk who had spoken; Carter’s blue eyes were piercing right into Williams, and it was his turn to be unnerved.

“What?” he asked, flatly.

“You don’t have the right to judge Newkirk or anyone else. Newkirk has saved our lives more times than I can count, and he even saved your life once, when you got stuck in a minefield on one of the missions we let you come along on. He was the one who ended up helping you out of there, at great risk to his own life! Of course, I’m willing to bet you conveniently forgot about that, didn’t you?”

“…Okay, seriously, Carter, what gives?

“I said it’s ‘Sergeant!’”

LeBeau and Newkirk exchanged glances. This had gone beyond the stalling tactic they had been hoping for; Williams really did seem to be getting unnerved by Carter’s fury—not that they could blame him. An angry Carter was something rarely seen—and was something you did not want to see.

“Look, I meant what I said that time; you’re all right,” Williams said, seeing if he could charm Carter as he had done the day he had convinced him to lend him his flashlight for an unauthorized escape attempt that everyone—even Carter—had been dead-set against. “I was planning to let you come back to England with me, once I dealt with everyone else. Seriously, there’s a reason why I had you as von Siedelberg and not as yourself, like all the other figures I made.”

It was only now they noticed that the four figures of LeBeau, Newkirk, Hogan, and Kinch were, indeed, in uniform.

“My contacts would pay you good money if you could pull off those impersonations of yours for them,” Williams continued. “They’ve already paid me enough money to ensure that I’ll never have to work a day in my life; imagine what they’d do for you.”

“You think you can buy me off?!” Carter quipped back, a touch of venom now rising in his voice—a touch of venom that the others in the room, even Newkirk and LeBeau, never knew existed. “After what I just told you?! You know, at first I thought you were a little off your rocker, but you’re full-blown insane!”

“Fine, Sergeant,” Williams said, coolly. “It’s clear which side of the bread your butter is on. You’d rather align yourself with a thief, a nursemaid, and a coward of a CO who doesn’t even fight his own battles.”

“You take that back!” Carter ordered.

“Too right you’d better take it back; the Guv’nor ain’t a coward!” Newkirk said.

“He is braver than most commanders!” LeBeau agreed, so upset that he had to mentally remind himself repeatedly to speak in English. “Most officers sit at a desk and order their men from there, but le Colonel joins us on our missions! He would do anything to help us!”

“Yeah, he really proved that when he ran away from here not too long ago,” the traitor sneered, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Well, we ‘ad to get ‘im out of ‘ere; we thought there was a madman running amok, trying to get at the Guv’nor! And we were right!”

“I told you; he’s crazy!” Carter said, still glaring at the traitor.

“The fact remains that the colonel isn’t here,” Williams said, unfazed by Newkirk’s temper, at least, and deciding to ignore Carter until he could figure out what the sergeant’s angle was. “So now we’re doing things my way.”

“Just what do you have in mind?” LeBeau asked. “I am not enjoying standing here with your gun against my neck.”

“Well, I’m interested in what Colonel Hogan will say once he sees you three as my prisoners. So we have a little while to kill.”

“Emphasis on the final word in that sentence, I’ll wager,” Newkirk said, being as wry as he possibly could under the circumstances. “Dare I ask what you ‘ad in mind, or is this yet another guessing game?”

“A game is actually what I had in mind,” Williams said. “You have my cards. Why not a game of poker—just like the old days?”

Newkirk stared at Williams, befuddled. It was then he saw the mad gleam in the traitor’s eyes; Carter had been right—and he had obviously seen the look first. Williams was indeed deranged; whether or not it had been latent since the beginning or as a result of his imprisonment was unknown. But the fact remained that their captor was not all there. How much of his story had been the truth? How much had all been delusions? What had he done to the others who had vanished?

“Andrew’s right about you; you are crackers,” Newkirk said.

Williams suddenly shoved LeBeau to the ground, planting his foot on the smaller corporal’s back to pin him down as he aimed the weapon at Newkirk now.

“I will not be insulted by a common thief!” he bellowed. Muscles in his left eye twitched as he attempted to stare the Englishman down.

Newkirk didn’t dare to move, fearing that the slightest movement could make him snap fully. The impossible had happened; things had gotten worse, for their diabolical chessmaster was as much a madman as he was a genius.


Author’s note: Apologies for the dialogue-driven chapter; I know that not a lot happened here, but the next chapter will more than make up for it. And no, I didn’t forget about Hogan wandering the passageways; he was originally going to be in this chapter, but I felt that drawing focus away from the verbal confrontation would’ve weakened it (nor have I forgotten about Kinch, either). Also, I love writing for hardcore Carter; I’ve always felt that, goofy and wide-eyed as he is, the fact remains that he had the highest rank of the NCOs for a reason—he just rarely shows that side or pulls rank because he’s too nice a guy. Also, regarding Carter’s enlistment, there have been two completely different explanations in various episodes as to how he enlisted; one said he was drafted, and one said that he joined voluntarily. I ended up going with the latter, which I considered fair game, given the lack of continuity.

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