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Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 12

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Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 | 6:04 am
mood: rushedrushed
music: "One Winged Angel" (orchestral version)
posted by: rose_of_pollux in 30_losses

Title: Das Haus aus Wachs, chapter 12: Checkmate
Author/Artist: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Rating: PG13
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Claim: general series
Theme: 38A; A life of lies
Genre/s: Mystery/Suspense
Warnings: World War II-era fandom
Words: ~3700
Summary: The trio find themselves fighting for their lives against their captor as Hogan makes his move.
Disclaimer/Claimer: The characters are not mine (except for the OCs) and the story is
A/N: crossposted to http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7505118/12/

It was during this standoff that Hogan arrived at the end of the passageway, the door still opened when he arrived. Williams had his back to him, completely unaware of his presence as he continued to hold the gun aimed at Newkirk. LeBeau was smack against the floor, but the Frenchman’s eyes widened as he saw Hogan there. Carter did not move a muscle; he would not reveal the Colonel’s presence by revealing his surprise. And Newkirk was too busy staring down the barrel of Williams’ gun to notice.

The colonel placed a finger to his lips and looked in Carter’s direction, indicating the curtain rod on his hand. The sergeant’s gaze flickered to the curtain rod that Newkirk had dropped earlier; it was lying not too far from his feet.

Wait for LeBeau to throw him off-balance,” Hogan mouthed. He then looked to the Frenchman, raising his arm. Suddenly, he lowered it, and LeBeau knew it was his signal.

The Frenchman suddenly flipped over, throwing Williams off balance; the gun discharged into the wall as Newkirk threw himself to the ground. Carter grabbed the curtain rod from the ground and used it to send the gun flying from Williams’ hand as Hogan tossed his curtain rod to LeBeau so that he could defend himself, as well. LeBeau immediately used it to clout the traitor over the head.

The blow left Williams momentarily stunned, but it was enough for Hogan to slip inside the room unnoticed, hiding behind machinery as he worked his way to a door at the other side of the room. Newkirk got to his feet now, having seen the colonel for a split second, utterly baffled by his appearance, while also realizing that Williams hadn’t seen him. And they couldn’t let him; there was no telling what seeing Hogan would make the madman do.

Newkirk now launched himself into a flying tackle as Williams got to his feet, sending them crashing to the ground again.

“Find me a rope!” he yelled to the others, as he tried to pull one of the traitor’s arms behind his back. “Find me something to tie this barmy twister up with!”

“Not a chance,” Williams hissed, using his free arm to deck the Englishman in the jaw. “You know, Newkirk, I realized something. I don’t need all three of you to bargain with Hogan. Two of you will be enough—”

LeBeau, seething with rage, now used the curtain rod to press against Williams’ neck and pull him back from Newkirk, allowing the Englishman to shake off the blow.

“See how you like it,” LeBeau hissed.

Williams didn’t like it, of course. He tried a backwards tackle, causing him and LeBeau to fall over that way, after which Newkirk immediately punched the traitor in the stomach. As Williams cringed, LeBeau managed to pull away, but Williams grabbed at the curtain rod in the Frenchman’s hands.

“Andrew, where’s that bloomin’ rope?!” Newkirk yelled, helping LeBeau in this tug-of-war match.

“I’m looking! I’m looking!”

Williams suddenly let go of the curtain rod, sending both corporals backwards, and the reason quickly became clear—he had found where his gun had landed from earlier.

“Go. Go!” Newkirk hissed to LeBeau, pushing him so that he was hidden behind a piece of machinery. “Andrew, watch out; ‘e’s got ‘is gun back!”

The Englishman dove in the opposite direction, finding another piece of machinery to hide behind. Williams held his gun as he scanned the room, his eyes narrowing.

“You can hide, but you won’t get far!” he snarled. “I’ll find you, Newkirk—you and your French nursemaid! The sergeant will be more than enough to bargain with Hogan!”

No one dared to reply him and betray his presence—not as long as that madman was armed.

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


Once again, Hogan found himself conflicted, having left his men to deal with Williams without him. He did take comfort in the thought that he had helped them disarm that traitor (unaware, of course, that he was armed again). And as soon as he found where the others were being held, he would see to helping the trio again.

As he headed down this corridor, he soon became aware of voices arguing—some were angry, some were neutral, and some were genuinely frightened. And one was distinctly a woman’s voice.

The corridor stopped at another door, and Hogan opened it, seeing Williams’ prisoners, all tied to chairs. It was Hochstetter and Burkhalter who had been arguing, with Klink desperately trying to keep the peace between them again. Schultz was trembling in his chair, going on about his wife and children and how he was their sole provider and could not afford to be killed by a man whom he thought was dead; Olsen and Hilda did their best to console him as Langenscheidt just shut his eyes, praying.

It was Hilda who noticed the colonel first.

“Colonel Hogan!” she exclaimed, relief evident in her voice.

The conversations stopped immediately, and Hogan found himself being exclaimed at (or, in Hochstetter’s case, screamed at) by Williams’ captives.

“Colonel Hogan!” Schultz cried. “Ohhh, Colonel Hogan! Please, please save us! That madman means to kill us!”

“Hogan, I will have your head for this!” the major roared. “You are obviously behind this!”

“Yeah, I would really try to have my own man killed,” Hogan retorted, sarcastically, trying to untie the knots on Hilda’s ropes. Williams had tied them tightly, though. “Anyone have a knife on them?”

“I have one, Colonel,” Langenscheidt said. “It is in my pocket.”

“You would give a weapon to a prisoner of war?!” Hochstetter bellowed.

“Hochstetter, will you be quiet long enough for him to set us free?!” Burkhalter shot back, his face flushed.

Klink winced, shaking his head, clearly wanting to be away from it all. Hogan, in the meantime, ignored them and retrieved the knife from Langenscheidt.

“Thanks, Corporal; you just hang in there,” he said, as he moved to cut Hilda free. With a sigh, she hugged him, briefly, as soon as she had been cut loose.

“Hogan!” Klink chided.

“Will you all sit tight for a few more minutes?” Hogan shot back, now freeing Olsen. “Look, I have to go back and help the others before they get hurt—or worse—by this nut! Olsen, you free the others.”

“Hogaaaaaaan!” Klink yelled, as the American colonel handed the knife to the sergeant and headed back the way he had come. “Come back!”

The others yelled after him, as well, but Hogan forced himself to ignore them and move on.

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


As the trio continued to hide from Williams, nothing could be heard except the bubbling of the hot vat of wax and the hum of the machinery in the room. The noise was enough for LeBeau to creep about unheard; unfortunately, he realized that Williams’ movements would be just as inaudible.

The Frenchman slipped behind a second boiler and took a peek out from behind it, freezing as he saw Williams in front of him, creeping up behind Newkirk, who was looking out from behind another boiler father up ahead, completely unaware of Williams behind him, aiming his gun at him yet again.

“Pierre!” LeBeau screamed as Williams opened fire, emptying the remaining five bullets into the man in blue; the Frenchman’s warning had been too late. “PIERRE!”

“Louis!?” the Englishman called back, from another area of the room, thinking that he had been shot. “LOUIS?!”

LeBeau and Williams both stared at the blue-clad figure, now fallen to the ground. Newkirk emerged from behind another boiler, his eyes widening as he apparently saw himself lying on the ground.

“Cor blimey…”

“Pierre!” LeBeau exclaimed.

“Surprised, Williams?” Carter asked, stepping out from behind yet another piece of machinery. “I knew you’d be the type to shoot a guy in the back. So I grabbed that wax dummy you had made of Newkirk and placed it there. And now you’re out of bullets.”

Williams stared at Carter with a dumbfounded expression before turning back to Newkirk.

“I don’t need bullets to take care of him!” he hissed, hurling the empty gun at the Englishman. Newkirk raised his arm to block it, cursing.

“I shall kiss you on the cheeks later, Andre, when this is over,” LeBeau promised, as he launched into a savate kick that sent the traitor flying backwards, flipping over a horizontal piece of pipe.

“Genius, Chum,” Newkirk agreed, vaulting over the pipe to try to apprehend him again. But Williams expected it, kicking out at Newkirk’s stomach as he jumped over, sending him flipping over, falling smack on his back beside the large vat of wax.

Williams now got up, pulling Newkirk up by his sweater collar and now tried to press his face against the hot metal of the vat. At this point, Carter had decided to abandon his search for a rope as he and LeBeau charged towards Williams, but someone else had gotten there before either of them.

Kinch, having found the handkerchief that Hogan had left behind, quickly realized what he was supposed to do, and had followed the passageway down to the boiler room. He now gifted Williams a punch in the jaw that sent him reeling, letting go of Newkirk with a scream as his arm came into contact with the hot metal. The scream of pain turned into an angered yell as he charged at both of them; Kinch pulled the still-dazed Newkirk out of the way as Carter and LeBeau now stepped in to try to subdue Williams.

But Williams was now descending further into his madness, swinging his fists at anyone who even tried to get close. A flying tackle was out of the question, being too close to the vat.

“Come a bit closer…” he taunted. “Come on. Try it. I’ll flip you over and into the hot wax. Wanna try it, Newkirk? Or you want to watch me try it to Shorty the Nursemaid here?”

Kinch just stared as he realized how insane Williams had become. And as Hogan now entered the room through the corridor, arriving in time to hear him say that, he quickly realized it, too.

“It doesn’t matter that you tried castling,” Williams went on. “When your ‘king’ gets here, he’ll see all but one of you dead and will surrender to save the last one!”

“Actually,” Hogan said, deciding that this was the opportunity to make his presence known. “I believe this is checkmate.”

Williams’ eyes widened as he heard the voice of the man he hated even more than Newkirk, but his turning around was his undoing—as Hogan had hoped. The other four seized each of his limbs, and though the traitor fought against their hold, struggling, he could not pull free.

Slowly, he stopped struggling as despair filled him, mixing with his existing anger and bitterness.

“You ruined it…” he said, looking to Hogan with the mad look in his eyes. “YOU RUINED IT!”

“Ruined what?!” Hogan yelled back. “Ruined your sick plan for revenge?! Ruined your trying to make us all as insane as you are with these mind tricks?! Let me tell you something, Williams—we were doing fine until you started stabbing us in the back. We were even willing to put up with your thieving ways—”

“Don’t talk to me about thieving ways!” Williams screamed, his eyes almost bugging out in his mad rage. “You show all of your favoritism to that thief!”

He glared daggers at Newkirk, who was holding onto his arm, despite being noticeably weakened and weary from the fight.

“It’s like I told you!” Carter snapped back. “Newkirk may be a thief, but you saw how willing he was to save us just now!”

“Look, Williams, forget about my decisions for who I picked for my team,” Hogan ordered. “I never regretted picking Newkirk in my core team, but you have no idea how much I regret allowing you to get involved—however slightly!”

“The feeling is mutual, Sir!” Williams spat.

Hogan scowled in reply.

“We don’t have time for this; Williams, you’d better start talking. How did you get here? Who helped you?”

“He talked about some sort of network helping him, Colonel,” LeBeau said.

“Yeah, and that’s all I’m telling you,” Williams said.

“Oh, no, you’re not!” Carter said, before Hogan could speak. “I’ve had it with you, Williams! I had to stand by and watch as you tried to make us think that people were encased in wax and turned into statues! I had to stand by and watch you insulted and threatened my best friends over and over! Well, I have had enough! You are going to talk, or I’ll know the reason why!”

He pulled on Williams’ shirt collar so that his face was an inch from his.

“Who helped you get here and arrange this?!”

“I… I don’t know their names… We never brought up names…” Williams said. “All I told them is that I would deliver Papa Bear and Nimrod to them, and they trained me in the Wolfhelm disguise. I used my own wax sculpting skills to come up with this; I keep in touch with them by a radio, but we don’t use names. I was Vulture to them.”

“And what were they to you?” Hogan asked.

Williams hesitated.

“Tell him,” Carter said.

“..Sp…Spider Web.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Hogan asked.

“That’s what they’re called—their web is what lets traitors in England make their way to here. The Spiders got me out and trained me. They trained me to look into files—that’s how I found out the information on Newkirk and Nimrod; I tried it before I left, and it worked. That was how I knew that this was going to work… I thought it would work… It should have worked!”

If they hadn’t been holding onto him, he would’ve crashed to his knees, but he still let out a yell of frustration and defeat.

“Who is Nimrod?” Carter asked.

Williams responded with another defeated howl, and Carter let him go.

“What do we do with him, Sir?” he asked.

“I don’t think there’s anything more he can tell us,” Hogan said. “But just in case, we need to somehow get him out of here alive.”

LeBeau and Newkirk immediately protested this.

“Guv, you know ‘ow I ‘ate to go against you, but I’ve come close to death more times today than in all me life!”

Oui; he would kill us now without a second thought if he had the chance; I saw we throw him into his own vat of wax, like he had intended for us!”

“Tempting though it is, that isn’t how we work,” Hogan said, firmly but understandingly. “We’re getting him out of here alive.”

“There are two questions that come to mind, Colonel,” Kinch said. “The first is how do we get him out of here, and the second is what do we do with him if we somehow can? Sending him back to England isn’t going to work if that Spider Web will just get him out again. And even before that, how do we get him past Hochstetter and the guards from Stalag 13? I didn’t have that much of a headstart on them; I’ll bet they’re here already, and they’ll probably find the passageways soon enough.”

Olsen’s voice could be heard coming from the corridor; he was speaking loudly to alert Hogan and the others that the Germans were coming.

“Carter, do you still have that smokescreen charge?”

“Yeah…”

“Set it off right away and bring me one of those wax figures. Kinch, take Williams into one of the side passageways—as far as you can go—and then knock him out. Tie him up with this…” He handed over the ropes he had taken from when he had cut Hilda loose. “And see if you can block off the passageway somehow. We’ll have someone from the Underground pick him up as soon as possible.”

Kinch nodded, dragging Williams away as smoke began to fill the boiler room.

“I want the rest of you to sound like you’re fighting—and make it believable,” Hogan ordered.

The corporals the men immediately launched into yells, pretending to grapple with an unseen foe as Carter returned with the figure of himself. As the voices of the Germans could be heard approaching closer, Hogan threw the figure into the vat of wax, backing everyone away as the hot wax splashed out.

“What was that?!” Klink exclaimed.

“That was Jack Williams,” Hogan lied. “He completely snapped and when he realized he had lost, and he jumped in there to avoid getting tortured by Hochstetter after what he had put him through.

“Hogan…” Burkhalter said, coughing from all of the smoke. “Hogan, as much as I hate to admit it, it seems as though you and your men have saved us from this madman.”

“Bah!” Hochstetter snarled. “He orchestrated it! And then he had Williams killed to cover it up!”

“But I thought Williams was already dead!” Schultz exclaimed. “How was a dead man able to do all of this?!”

“…That is true,” Burkhalter realized. He looked to Klink. “Klink, didn’t you tell me that Williams had died sabotaging one of our weapons?”

Klink blinked, shaking his head.

“He was diabolical!” he exclaimed. “He faked his own death so that we would not look for him—and then he planned all of this!”

Burkhalter considered this and turned to Hogan.

“You are certain he is dead now?”

Hogan gestured to the vat of wax.

“If you can possibly find a way to search in there, we could confirm it.”

“That does it!” Hochstetter bellowed. “Hogan, you and every single one of your men are under arrest!”

“Major!” Klink protested. “You saw that they were singled out as much as we were! Williams is obviously mad and orchestrated this himself!”

“And may I remind you, Hochstetter, that Hogan was the one who saved all of us?” Burkhalter said, as Kinch slipped back into the room unobserved.

“An act!” Hochstetter insisted. “It is all an elaborate act to try to convince us of their innocence! And why are you so sure about this Williams acting alone, Klink?”

“This is how I am sure, Major,” Klink said, handing him some papers he had found. “This was in the room we were being held in; they are papers in Williams’ hand—details on how he planned to kill us as well as Colonel Hogan and his men. And I have seen the man’s handwriting before.”

“Bah! More evidence planted by Hogan to divert suspicions from himself!”

“Hochstetter, this has gone far enough!” Burkhalter bellowed. “The evidence points to this madman working alone, and I hereby order you to drop this case, unless you find substantial evidence that would suggest that Hogan was involved!”

Hochstetter was ready to fight, but the direct order forced him to withdraw, seething; he headed towards the door that led to the passageway, but stopped and stepped aside as the Stalag 13 guards entered the room.

“Herr Kommandant, we are here as you ordered,” one of them said.

Klink blinked in surprise again, but then seemingly decided that Langenscheidt must have found a phone after all before disappearing.

“Yes,” he said. “I want you to scour these passageways for any evidence you can find as to who was behind this museum. Bring everything to me. Herr General, I will alert you if anything turns up.”

“And you will alert me, as well!” Hochstetter ordered.

“May I remind you, Major, that the General gave you a direct order to stay out of this affair?” Klink asked, smugly.

“Klink…” Burkhalter said. “I can enforce my own orders without your help.”

“…Yes, of course,” the German colonel said, his smug look fading.

“And an investigation is still required from my angle; I am not leaving just yet,” Burkhalter continued. “You can be sure that some of my own investigators will be searching this place immediately.”

“I understand, Herr General,” Klink said. He looked to Schultz. “Schultz, I want you to take Hogan and his men back to the Stalag at once. I will return after General Burkhalter and I finish with our investigation.”

“At once, Herr Kommandant!”

The look on Hochstetter’s face as Schultz ushered them out said that he was certainly going to try to get his men inside when he got the chance. And he wasn’t going to leave until Burkhalter threw him out.

Deciding to ignore Klink telling Langenscheidt to take Hilda to her home, Kinch now turned to Hogan.

“Interesting that Klink, Burkhalter, and Hochstetter aren’t leaving just yet…” he said, in an undertone.

“What do you mean?”

“I managed to get one more thing out of Williams before I knocked him out,” Kinch said. “He said that Nimrod was an officer.”

Olsen and the trio now looked back as Schultz continued to lead them, eager to get out and not paying attention to what they were saying.

“An officer?” Newkirk whispered. “One of those three?”

“Seems like it.”

“Can you trust him?” Hogan asked.

“I believe so; he’s admitted defeat this time, so he has nothing to gain from lying.”

Hogan considered this for a moment.

“Well, considering what we just saw, it makes sense,” he said. “Klink was quick to come to our defense, Burkhalter was quick to order Hochstetter to stay out of it, and Hochstetter backed down fairly quickly—even for him.”

“So what you’re saying is, with all three of them staying here, whoever Nimrod is will cover up our tracks, if there are any?” Carter said.

Hogan gave a nod.

“I think we’re in good hands, but I’ll alert the Underground just in case the other two watch Nimrod too closely,” he finished.

“But what about Nimrod’s identity?” LeBeau asked. “We have narrowed it down to three; there must be more clues that will help us figure out who it is!”

“I don’t know about you, LeBeau, but I think that’s a riddle for another time,” the colonel replied. “I’ve had enough of mysteries to last me for quite a while.”

LeBeau had to admit that he had a point, as the others agreed.

“Colonel Hogan!” Schultz called to him as he saw them lagging behind. “Colonel Hogan, please! I have my orders to take you back! And I have had a most horrible day; please do not make this take any longer!”

“We’re coming, Schultz,” Hogan assured him. “Come on, fellas; the old Stalag 13 Hotel is calling to us.”

And never before did the drafty barracks and lumpy mattresses seem as inviting as they did now. It was time for a well-deserved rest and recovery.

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


Author’s note: We’re in the home stretch now; just the epilogue left to tie up the loose ends; many thanks to everyone who’s reviewed and encouraged me through what seemed to be an impossible speedwriting mission to get this done by the year’s end! There is a reason why I don’t want Nimrod’s identity revealed to the Heroes; it would mess up my fic timeline because it would ruin the relationship with the German officer in question, when I would much prefer to keep my fics—at least my war-era fics—at status quo. However, I wouldn’t be so cruel an author as to keep Nimrod’s identity a secret from my readers; his identity will be revealed in the epilogue.

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