Chapter 1 – Wili's Nightmare – Hogan to the Rescue:
A/N – as per usual, I do not own the characters of this fiction; they are owned by Bing Crosby Productions and CBS.
This is a tale of "What If?" a Nightmare mishmash of things that did, might have, and almost happened (with the appropriate dream metaphors), a flashback such as many soldiers experience long after the war is over, even if they walk around like nothing is wrong...
As promised, I am warning readers that this tale is a part of the "Dear Rob" AU, and thus while there is absolutely no mention of slash and no sex at all in this Chapter, the fact that Rob & Wili love each other will be a significant factor in the rest of the story.
Thank you for your time, and please review!
January 31st, 1959
Heidelberg, West Germany
He was driving late at night, down the back roads, on his way home. Sort of.
It should have been hard to call anything and anywhere home, that wasn't where Hilda and the kids were.
The Schatzie Toy Company had become his second home; the people there, his extended family.
And because they were family, no threat against them would be taken lightly.
At first it was only a rumor: a group calling itself 'Odessa' had been created in the death throes of the Third Reich. Its mission was to create and maintain escape routes out of Germany and the Allies' hands, over the ocean to safety in South America. The dark mirror of his own "Travelers' Aid Society".
And unfortunately, one equally successful. Thousands of minions of der Führer, running for their lives and freedom... it was terribly ironic, especially to the man once called Papa Bear.
And Papa Bear knew better than to ignore rumors in Germany.
So he'd begun to investigate, years ago, when the rumors (and the trails) were still fresh. But the brass had pulled him (pulled them) off the job and reassigned him to the latest bloodbath (all the subsequent Administrations have continued to call it a 'police action' long after even the history books called it the Korean War). The real reason was revealed in a discussion with his immediate superior in a Jeep in the middle of Korea in the middle of nowhere:
"Let the locals deal with it, Hogan. I need you and your men to help me keep the UN Coalition together."
"And how am I supposed to do that when you want to sideline my men...Sir."
"I'm not sidelining your men, just the one."
"But I need"
"No, out of all of them, he's the one that you need the least in Korea. But we need him to stay on in Germany, and no one better."
"But he can't do it alone! The Plan is at a crucial point and we need to make sure it succeeds. We can't afford to re-create another Weimar Republic."
"Which is why we need him there."
"Which is why the rest of my men and I should stay put, and let us do what we do best. We're a team, and we know Germany inside and out by now; we have a certain reputation, and we use it to our advantage. We get better results in half the time than anybody else that MI5 or Langley can send. Why fix something that isn't broken? I've just about got Faust in my cross-hairs and"
"So that's what this is about! Com' on, Rob. Still paranoid about a dead man?"
"He isn't dead, Pop. I swear. He's still alive, and while he is, not a soul I care about is safe."
His superior sighed: "Fine, let's say that Faust is alive. He's got to be running scared. If he stays to make trouble, there are still plenty of your people around, watching your back. Your old Kommandant's too. Faust's nothing if not intelligent, and even for revenge, making a play against anyone in the Underground now, especially Klink, even if your back is turned? That would be stupid. He'll high-tail it out of there, get to some place safe, THEN start plotting his options. So you've got time. Years of it."
"BUT" said Pop, interrupting Hogan's attempted interruption (and for an instant, Hogan dwelt on the fact that he was not only arguing with Brigadier General Tillman Walters, director of the former OSS now CIA, but that he could get away with calling the man 'Pop'), "we don't have time to spare in Korea. You speak Chinese; you still know people from the old Flying Tiger days. People you can trust who trust you. You even have Russian contacts, several in fact. At least that White Russian owes you a bucket of favors; what was her name again?"
"uuuhhh," the mere mention of the Lady makes Hogan's head spin and his eyes roll, "...Marya,...her name is Marya."
"And this war is moving faster than the tide during a storm."
"For now, until the Chinese cross the line. Then you'll have a real fight on your hands."
"Our analysts say not."
"Not?" A derisive snort followed, "Then they're either incompetent or lying. No way is Mao going to take a challenge like that lying down. He'll need to 'save face' and he doesn't have a Congress or a Parliament to cajole or tiptoe around; he can issue the decree tonight and make it stick tomorrow."
"See? We need you for analysis like this! And face it, you're one of the few people MacArthur respects and may MAY possibly listen to; too damn bad that you weren't in the Pacific the whole time," the older man trails off with a wince, remembering where they had first met – so no, better that Hogan to have stayed where he'd been. Then Walters added, "But not just that...and not for your crazy schemes either."
Looking extremely uncomfortable, the older man cleared his throat and continued: "Hogan, I'll come to the point. You're right about one thing; dead or alive, Faust is a threat. We found his list of, er, 'undesirables'...and Klink was on it." Walters threw up his hands in a conciliating gesture: "Not that I think that Klink IS an 'undesirable'! And he's no subversive. Or a Commie. Or even a Nazi. He's a good man and an exemplary officer; I still wish he'd take that star we offered him."
"He won't. He knows that it would make him too high-profile, too much of a target. Stopping Hitler's ghost and saving Germany is more important to him than a General's retirement pay. He has to fly under the radar to do it."
"Anyways, we found the list, and we panicked. All your friends in high places tried to grab the thing. Simultaneously. Without telling any of the others. It's a wonder the sheet wasn't torn to pieces with half a dozen aides snatching away. But all the secrecy and the bad Stooges routine caught the attention"
"Don't tell me, let me guess...Hoover?"
A nod in confirmation: "Yep, old J. Edgar himself. And what Hoover suspects, his bosom buddy McCarthy gets told. Those two are more of a threat to the country than any union organizer."
"And you think that they'll go after Klink. Why? He's no threat to them!"
"But you are; you've already shut them down from dozens of inquiries"
"Witch-hunts you mean."
"Exactly. Instead of pink elephants, McCarthy sees pink Commies every time he downs a fifth of Jack Daniels. And since you've interfered or intervened on behalf of plenty of innocent people, they can't wait to take you down."
The tired General was suddenly snatched from the past by a troop of deer crossing the road.
When the car (and his heart) were back under control, he started thinking again.
Walters was correct; they'd had time to deal with Faust. McCarthy and his ilk had been the more pressing threat – along with the war of course.
Of all the wrong moves in that disaster, at least getting Wili out of the firing line was one of the right ones.
That, and renewing ties with Pierce. As Kinch had remarked more than once, Hawkeye was like a younger version of himself, and each gang never hesitated to back the others' plays. Especially when it was in a good cause, like harassing that semi-insane martinet Flagg, he thought. Hmmm, better not let Flagg slip between the cracks either.
Hogan mentally gathered the strands of solutions to this problem in his mind: to keep Flagg bottled up 'training' new recruits would only work so long…Houlihan might be able to help there. Her and her new protégée, Mairi, Mirra, Moran, no Moira! The girl has a good head on her shoulders, with a nose for trouble and a flair for the dangerous and daring…would his new baby be like that? All the signs and old wives tales read 'girl' but one never knows for sure until the little stranger welcomes the world.
Hogan sighed and shook his head to clear it again; the ability to track several lines of inquiry at once was normally an advantage, but for right now, he knew what his brain was trying to do. He was trying to avoid the current unpleasant problem.
The aftermath of Korea could now wait.
The loose end of the Second Battle of Stalag 13 could not.
His greatest enemy had finally shown his hand.
It had happened a little over two weeks before, the tail end of the holiday season.
It had been an accident, an accident all the way.
An accident that a flight bound for Frankfort was re-routed to Düsseldorf.
An accident that the parts they needed to fix the plane were in Frankfort.
An accident that two airport taxis taking their fares into town got into a minor fender-bender.
An accident that a former Gestapo Major, (still on parole from his former life), was one of the passengers.
A coincidence that the other passenger was known to him, even disguised.
A greater coincidence that the parolee was meeting his parole officer at the Düsseldorf Police Station anyways.
Pure fate that the military parole officer was Capt. Brian Olsen.
And they all accidentally ran into each other on the steps of the police station.
"I'm telling you, Rob, it was like a bad Stooges routine." Olsen, their invaluable 'Outside Man', had remained in the Air Corps, (Air Force - Hogan's mind immediately corrected) and was 'technically' stationed in the American's Bremen Section, just another member of the General Staff.
And if you believe that one, General Robert E. Hogan has a bridge in Brooklyn he's considering renting out, along with some prime swampland to sell near Secaucus in New Jersey.
Anyways, Olsen had picked up the trail that Hogan had been forced to abandon, and had found so many layers of Byzantine deception, it would make Machiavelli proud. Olsen had also managed to piece together the real reason that Hogan had been pulled out of Germany:
"You were too good, too close to getting it right and closing down the entire network. The politicians and the high brass wanted German tech and know-how and the best way to get it was to get the scientists and have them work for us. Which wouldn't be so bad if they were all decent guys like Dingel and Gruber, but far too many were card-carrying Nazis only looking to save their own necks and whore themselves out to whoever would keep them in style. 'Operation Paperclip' was the biggest of all those types of Allied operations, and it's how we got people like Von Braun and his whole team. Not that Von Braun was the worst by any means."
"Are you saying the Allies were running Odessa?"
"No, thank God, but … Odessa was completely independent, but a lot of the same contacts and escape routes were used. Bust the one, and you'd find and blow the cover of the others. That, and there were too many in too many high places in too many countries who needed their German partners to disappear. You and the Kommandant were running right into the hornet's nest."
"Now, the guys we and our Allies wanted have all been 'de-nazified', and the rest are being hunted down. That Lehnsherr kid alone has 20 notches on his belt! I'd track the kid down and get him to off Faust, but he's got his own agenda and it's personal. Kid's also a loose cannon; he's too suspicious to trust anyone getting a government check, so you can't even get near enough to ask."
"I'll keep that in mind, but Faust? How come he gave you the slip...and are you sure it was him? You said he was disguised?"
"Yeah, he dyed his hair dark brown and grew a Van-dyke, but it was him alright," growled Olsen. "I may not have been in the compound with the rest of you guys, but I had a bird's eye view from the lookout, and me and Sam kept our binoculars peeled on him. I will never forget the sound of little Wally's voice when he babbled for help on the radio, and I will never forget the look on Faust's pasty gob when he made you strip, the bastard! Not in a thousand years, Rob. It was him."
It was HIM.
And he had disappeared like smoke in the wind.
Schultz had known something was up since the end of October.
Heidelberg was a regional American HQ, and thus had one of the biggest American enclaves in Germany. So it stood to reason that a bunch of American sports, customs and traditions had made their way into the mainstream of this international University town.
So it was no great shock when American kids started Trick-or-Treating in the American neighborhoods. Or when it caught on with their German classmates. Or even when shopkeepers started limiting sales of toilet paper and eggs on the 29th and 30th of October.
But this time, Halloween '58 came with a very nasty trick.
His military secretary was getting ready to go home after a long day when the phone rang: "General, switchboard says there's a call on your private line from a Lt. Schultz in Germany."
He ran to grab the phone.
Schultzie never called him at the office and never used his official rank….unless.
"Hey, Schultzie, what's wrong?"
"Robert, we have a sit-u-A-tion, und I thought it best to call you rrrright away."
"Well, don't keep me hanging, Schultz, what's up?"
"SOMEone tried to firebomb the factory und BLAME it on the amerikanische Kinder as a prrrrank!"
"WHAT?! Is everybody ok?"
"Ja, ja, not to worry. Almost no damage, und alles ist gut. We were even able to go on with the Haunted House without the Kinder and their parents the wiser."
"Details, Schultz, I need details."
"At 1800 hrs, Doofi was with Fritzie and my eldest, setting up for the big E-vent, when he heard a window break und a bottle smash. They rushed IN to the room and saw a burning Molotov cocktail. The boys put out the fire, und Doofi ran outside, and stepped on a bag of eggs. There was a rrroll of toi-let pai-per next to it, but he thought he heard some-THING, so he ran to the noise and saw some damage to the bushes und footprints leading away. He could not follow them verrry far, they went strrraight to the road, und many people were coming to the festivities.
Herr Schiff was helping his son mit the food, so he was there early, so we did not haff to call him. He said it looked clearly like some amerikaner boys, with the eggs and paper, but it bothered him, it did not seem right. He has been police chief ten years, he knew that no amerikan boy would hurt me or you. And all the deutscher Kinder think the world of you, you are BIG hero in Germany. Nein, it did not feel right. But Doofi told us of the smell und than solved everrrry-thing!"
"Smell? What smell?"
"It reeked in the bushes, unmistakable. 4711."
"Faust and his favorite aftershave."
"Jawohl. No young person would wear something so old-fashioned; no amerikan boy would know how to make a Molotov cocktail; and no one in Heidelberg would harm their fa-vor-rrrite place on a special holiday."
"Nein. Do not. Not yet! Listen to me, Robert. We are safe. We will pretend that it was just vandals. Schiff will have extra men, trrrust-ted men, looking and watching. Let them think they fooled us. Faust does not want ME, he wants YOU. Wait until after the holidays. We will plan. HE will show himself and make another mistake, ja? Then, we will POUNCE! Und, POOF, away he will go!"
So they planned.
Schultz had reached out to everyone: the Ladies' Auxiliary; the 'retired' members of Unit G-13 ("Don't worry, General, we are only retired as far as the Government is concerned," said Lt. Col. Otto Wagner, USAF and better known as "Huntsman", "For you? We are ready tomorrow."); the Underground, like Max and the Schnitzers; Doofi and the Drusselsteiners...pretty much everyone they could think of who might be compromised or in danger.
Hogan had just spent the last two weeks quartering the country to make the final arrangements, and making sure that everyone who wanted to leave could.
Of course, not everyone wanted to leave. The members of the Hammelburg Resistance were sitting tight, as were the Drusselsteiners, since both communities were too small to be infiltrated ("No reason for me to move, we are just simple peasants," reasoned the former Obersoldat Doofenshmirtz, "but maybe my son will move to the Tri-State area when he is a little more established, his first-born, Heinz is just a baby after all.") But many of the rest, especially the factory workers who had been part of the Stalag 13 operation, were relocating along with the factory and the Schultz family.
Just a few more days for head count and set-up and then the plan comes together, mused the American. Just a few more days, and then we buy people out, a few at a time, steady but just slow enough not to cause any red flags, and with that in mind, Hogan pulled into the driveway of the converted garage that served as Klink's apartment and office for the clerks of the Schatzie Toy Company.
Hogan didn't knock; he never knocked when his fink was concerned. He had a key, why should he? He let himself in and strode up the stairs to the apartment area, then used the second key and as he was just about to bellow, "OH, KOMMANDANT! I'M HOME!" when he heard them.
Screams, heart-rending screams - coming from the bedroom.
My endless thanks to the core group, Snooky, Kat & Wolfie, to Outside Man Gene, and now to the very kind 80sarcade, the Baker of our half dozen, all for acting as betas for this story. I must also thank Zevkia for allowing me to borrow the evil Faust, Susan M.M. for Obersoldat Jose Doofenshmirtz (who was in turn part of the Phineas and Ferb universe) and Crown Prince Wilhelm-Friederich "Fritzie" of Drusselstein, Snooky for Olsen's first name and a shout out for the movie "Gladiator" ("When will the men be ready to move?" "For you? Tomorrow.") and if I've forgotten anyone, please let me know!
And a small reminder that General Tillman Walters was featured in two episodes: "How to Cook a German Goose by Radar" (where he pretended to be an American POW until he revealed his mission to the Heroes) and "D-Day at Stalag 13" (where he was not mentioned by name, but only called 'British General' in the credits).