Small explosions had been rocking the camp all morning. Carter had been experimenting with small amounts of a new explosive formula hoping to find a way to delay the blast since it would make the new bombs ideal for small distractions. Hogan had cleverly manipulated their bumbling Kommandant into thinking the disturbances were being caused by SS training exercises nearby.

Aside from allaying suspicions over Carter's activities, the prisoners' lives had been fairly uninteresting that day. Newkirk had started up a game of gin (hoping to take advantage of Carter's absence). LeBeau was fussing over the dinner menu and participating in a round of lively banter with Newkirk over his culinary choices. Shultz had popped in whenever he got an excuse so that he could enjoy spending time with the prisoners without having to ignore monkey business. Hogan was in his quarter reading. Throughout the camp, peace reigned. Even the small explosions had faded into the background and the atmosphere was one of quiet relaxation. But this pleasant state of affairs was too good to last.

Newkirk was preparing to call gin when his triumph was chased from the air by a resounding BOOM that shook the barracks and caused billows of dust and smoke to float up through the tunnel entrance. He dropped his cards as though they had burnt him and ran to the tunnel only to stand there in shock until the others had congregated around the suddenly ominous hole in the floor. The silence from the men was complete but brief. As soon as they recovered themselves they filed down the ladder and hurried towards the lab to see the extent of the damage.

Miraculously, the lab was intact and the only damage to the tunnel seemed to be a few streams of dirt trickling down the walls. They'd have to check the supports more carefully later, but at the moment there was only one thought on everyone's mind: "Please let him be okay."

Inside the lab it looked like a bomb went off, which was precisely what had happened. Equipment was broken and scattered across the floor and every available surface. Oddly coloured substances bubbled and hissed as they dripped to the ground and tinted smoke rose from several puddles on the floor. The still form of Sergeant Andrew Carter lay in the wreckage, surrounded by wisps of haze and a thin stream of red ran from his temple to mingle with the other liquids leaking from their proper containers.

Hogan motioned for the other men to stay back and give him room to examine the unconscious demolitions expert. He heaved a sigh of relief when he found Carter's pulse, strong, if fast. The sergeant's skin was clammy and his pallor was disturbing, as was the amount of blood on the floor, but head wounds always bleed profusely, as Hogan kept reminding himself. After some gentle prodding and patting Carter still showed no signs of rousing so Hogan, Newkirk, and LeBeau manoeuvred him out of his mangled lab and up into the barracks. The other men were assigned to damage control and cleanup details to prevent any more nasty incidents.

Hogan had Newkirk and LeBeau lay their friend in his quarters so as to give them greater privacy in case of a surprise visit. While Hogan went to fetch Wilson, LeBeau and Newkirk set about cleaning up their injured comrade. Newkrik sighed as he watched the water in his basin turn pink as he refreshed the water on his rag. LeBeau paused and looked up at the Englander who was staring into the fouled water.

"Don't worry, mon ami, Andre is strong. He has blown himself up before. Surely he will be alright."

"That's not it, exactly, Louis. It's just….you ever look a' him an' feel like your seein' the young lads back 'ome playin' in the streets. Tearing around, getting chased by the bobbies for breakin' a window?"

LeBeau just gave him a questioning look.

"Sometimes it just feels like 'ee ought to be back in that strange home of his, not out 'ere giving the Jerries fits. He reminds me of the boys back home I'm here to protect an' 'ee ought to be with 'em. Not getting 'imself blown up." Newkirk finished with a touch of his usual fond mockery, tinged with regret.

"I think I understand, but it is good he is here."

It was Newkirk's turn to raise a puzzled eyebrow.

"I know he is American so it's not the same, but the boys back home are out of our sight, they have to take care of themselves while we're gone. Andre is here. When he is hurt we're here. We are his friends and if he were back in his little drugstore we wouldn't be around to help him." LeBeau paused, glanced around, and lowered his voice to a whisper. "Besides, he reminds me why we're fighting. Not just for France or England or even Europe, but so that once in a while someone will manage to reach his age and still be as innocent as he is."

Newkirk had opened his mouth to reply when Hogan walked through the door with Wilson hurrying behind him. Newkirk and LeBeau retreated a few yards to give the medic room to examine his patient. Hogan and the two corporals fidgeted nervously while Wilson completed his work. He finished applying a bandage to the gash on Carter's head, stood up, and faced them.

"It's a nasty wound. He's been unconscious long enough to be concerning but he will get better. I'm just not sure exactly how long it will take. I'll be able to tell you more when the patient wakes." The medic looked apologetically at Hogan while he delivered a report that he knew was about as useful to Hogan as no report would have been.

He packed his little bag and was about to leave when he heard a moan coming from the bunk. The four men turned rapidly in anticipation and saw the sandy-blond head shifting and then a sliver of blue appeared as Carter tried to open his eyes.

They gathered around him, in an almost smothering fashion, and started babbling.

"Oh, Andrew, you 'ad us worried ol' mate. Don't do that to a chap again…"

"Andre! We shall 'ave whatever dish you want for dinner today, even if you ask for grilled cheese sandwiches again…"

"Hey, Carter, so you decided to rejoin the land of the living, huh?"

As they noticed the disturbing lack of a response from the usually vocal sergeant their chatter trailed off and Hogan voiced the one thought remaining in all their heads: "Carter, are you all right?"

Carter blinked a few times, massaged his head, and answered "Well, boy, I guess so." He groaned and squeezed his eyes shut for a minute and asked "Where are we?" there was a short pause "And who are you guys anyway?" He turned to look at them with wide curious eyes.

Hogan and his men exchanged open-mouthed expressions of mixed horror and puzzlement. As usual, Hogan was the first to recover himself and so he answered the young explosives expert. He lowered his voice and kneeled down so he was at eye-level with the young man. And he shifted his tone from that of a commanding officer to one of his men to one appropriate of a friend.

"Andrew, what's the last thing you remember?"

At this question Carter paled dramatically and a panicked expression crossed his features and settled into an unsettling lost look deep in his eyes. He finally replied "I don't really know. I remember little things here and there. Some faces, some names, a few activities, but nothing very specific. I have a feeling it's November 'cause I think Christmas is coming up." His face screwed up in concentration for a moment longer. "And for some reason I can't get the song 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B' out of my head."

That last item sounded so much like the Carter they all knew and loved that some of the tension melted out of all the listeners. The shock of the situation had begun to wear off and the other men were beginning to become worried and a strange feeling of sadness crept over them each in turn. Before Hogan could reply to his damaged man, Newkirk spoke up with a surprisingly thick voice. "Andrew, you're sure you don't know me?"

At the slight shake of Carter's head (followed by a wince) Newkirk approached the bed and put his hand on Carter's shoulder while catching and holding his gaze with soft serious eyes. "I'm your mate, Peter Newkirk. You…"

He was cut short by hands on his shoulders from both Wilson and Hogan and so he pulled away with downcast eyes and looked at them questioningly. Hogan motioned Wilson and Newkirk out the door of his office with his head and turned to LeBeau.

"Take care of him, we'll be right back." The 'don't say anything too personal' came out silently.

As the other three men left the room, LeaBeau turned to Carter, trying to figure out the best way to stop the flood of questions that the young man was sure to ask. LeBeau didn't want to have to deny the man answers directly. A small frown flashed across his features as he realized that he didn't know a way to distract the usually inquisitive Carter from asking difficult questions, especially now that everything was once again new to his unfortunate comrade. He decided to start with a fairly safe line of conversation. "Well Andre, it seems that I know you but you don't know me at the moment. My name is Louis LeBeau. You may call me either." He extended his hand with a warm smile.

Carter tentatively accepted the offered appendage and returned the smile with a smaller nervous one of his one. "Hi." He said in a small voice.

LeBeau puzzled over his friend's strange behaviour. Usually he was very friendly and happy to meet new people. He supposed it was natural to be nervous under these stranger circumstances but 'Hi' was the shortest, least enthusiastic response to a friendly introduction he had ever heard out of Carter.

The next words out of his friend's mouth dispelled some of his confusion. "I'm sorry I don't remember you or the other fella. I'm sure you're both wonderful people, the guy in the brown cap too; I promise I'd remember you right now if I knew how. Whatever I did to my head, I didn't mean to make you sad."

"Andre, I am not sad. Of course I am worried for you, my friend, but I am sure you will remember us soon." He tried to sound more confident than he felt. He didn't know very much about head wounds but he felt he had to seem confident and optimistic to try and ease that horrible lost look in Carter's eyes.

Unfortunately for LeBeau, memory loss had not dulled Carter's perception skills. "You are so sad. Your face is screaming it. You have the same look on your face that Walter would get every time his grandpa forgot who he was." A flicker of joy crossed Carter's face and he said excitedly "I remembered something!" He quickly put a serious look back on and continued the train of thought he had interrupted "Anyway, you are sad and I'm not going to stop pointing it out until you admit it and let me try and cheer you up."

The look of determination on his face was so funny that LeBeau couldn't hold in a small chuckle. "'Ow are you supposed to cheer me up if you don't remember anything?" He asked.

Carter gave him a mischievous look. "I didn't forget everything." And with no more preamble than that he launched into a hilarious impression of Groucho Marx.

While LeBeau kept Carter occupied, Wilson, Newkirk, and Hogan discussed the situation out in the main barracks.

Wilson was saying "Head injuries are always a bit tricky. The wound on his head wasn't that severe so he'll probably get most of his memory back. It was probably more related to the shock of the explosion than the actual damage it did to his head. The biggest question is how long his recovery will take."

Newkirk had held his tongue while the medic gave them his report but he couldn't hold back much longer. "Why'd you 'ave me stop guv? We've got to remind 'im of stuff an' a darn sight quicker 'an we 'ave been too. 'Ow do you think 'is first conversation with Shultz 'll go, huh? Or roll call?"

Hogan held up a hand to forestall the outpouring of the rest of his corporal's anger. "I know all that but we've got to be gentle about this. If we pressure him into remembering us it won't keep him any calmer. We know Carter as the man he became because of all his life experiences. Who knows how Carter with a memory like a round of Swiss cheese will react to learning he's a POW in Germany, much less part of a secret group that runs missions for London out of the POW camp itself. He might not even remember there's a war on." The last sentence came out tinged with frustration, not at Carter but at the impossibility of the whole situation.

"Well then what do you suggest we do Colonel?" Newkirk asked, a slight edge of hostility still in his voice.

Hogan wasn't upset at Newkirk, he knew the anger wasn't really directed at him so he answered in a calm voice "We're going to start calmly introducing ourselves and telling him we're his friends. Then we're going to have to get him to promise to only talk to us about things he remembers for a bit. Otherwise he will blab to Shultz, or maybe even Klink."

"An' 'ow do you plan on convincin' 'im to 'old 'is tongue Colonel? 'Ee probably came out o' the womb talking. Even when 'ee tries to keep a secret 'ee can 'ardly resist tellin' everyone 'ee 'as a secret."

Hogan was worried about the same things, but knew that if he let on he was worried the entire situation would be out of control by evening roll call. He replied "Well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Then his confident smile slipped a little and he continued in a softer tone, "We can't blow it up this time."

Just when they thought things would calm down for a bit Shultz entered the door humming and Hogan cursed inwardly while grinning and asking amiably "What has you in such a good mood Shultzie?"

"Today, no monkey business." Shultz responded happily. "And the Kommandant is so busy wondering what little project the explosions are for that he does not care what I do today." He paused and looked around the barracks then said "Also, Carter promised last week that he would shine my boots for me today. I have a pass for the weekend to visit my family und I was going to surprise my wife and take her for a fancy dinner. This will also spare me her cooking." The face he made was so comical that under other circumstances Hogan would be enjoying the exchange with Shultz but now was really not a good time. He was about to make something up about not knowing where Carter was, or how he was otherwise occupied but then he saw a way to take advantage of the situation.

He put on his best 'concerned commanding officer face' (which wasn't very hard given the situation) and said "I'm sorry Shultz but that last explosion knocked some shelves over and they hit Carter in the head. He's not going to up to helping you with your boots for a while."

Shultz immediately looked concerned and lowered his voice as if worried it would disturb Carter. "Oh! The boy is injured?! You should have told me I would have told the Kommandant and he would do something about it."

Hogan had to hold in another grin at Shultz's way of viewing the prisoners. "Well we didn't want to concern Klink unnecessarily. We were going to tell him if Carter didn't get better close to roll call but Wilson here thinks if we're lucky he won't need any sort of outside help."

Shultz looked relieved at this statement and asked "If he is not feeling too badly could I see him?"

At this request Newkirk and Wilson exchanged a concerned look, not knowing what Hogan would decide and knowing that Shultz could be a force to be reckoned with whenever he started feeling fatherly towards one of the POWs.

Hogan looked as though he was considering the request and finally said "I think it would be best if we let him have rest and quiet for now. LeBeau is watching him in case he needs anything, but the rest of us left to give him some peace."

Shultz's face fell a little but he acceded to Hogan's judgement. After listening to a few more assurances that Carter would be alright and that they'd give him an update before roll call Shultz left to shine his own boots, though he sighed wistfully about how Carter did it much better.

He hadn't been gone very long when Kinch poked his head up from their trapdoor which had been left open to allow any fumes that built up in the tunnel to escape. "Colonel, we've gotten most of the chemicals cleared up. We're just getting rid of them since there's no way to tell which ones are good or where they came from even if they don't look contaminated. The glassware has been taken care of though I'd still recommend caution in case we missed a piece or two. I've made up a list of everything I think we'll need to replace but I'd like Carter to look it over before I radio London."

When he saw the look on his commander's face he grew worried and asked "Is Carter all right?" He quickly thought about the blood they'd cleaned up along with the dripping chemicals but he didn't think it was an overly concerning amount.

He was so busy reviewing the memory that he almost didn't hear Hogan's reply "Well he'll live, but his memory seems to be taking a vacation." The attempt at levity fell flat.

As concerned as Kinch was over his young friend he understood the importance of taking care of the tunnels. He had been planning on getting Carter's help with the last bit of the lab cleanup so as to spare the chemist from having to reorganize everything later but if he was going to be unavailable for a while it might be better to order the room according to his judgement rather than leave things lying around. And then there were the minor tunnel repairs to worry about.

After briefly weighing the factor in his own mind he decided to put the question to the Colonel. "Do you want me to finish up down here before coming up to see Andrew, sir?"

Hogan looked truly apologetic when he answered "Yeah Kinch, I think that would be for the best." As an afterthought he said "Leave the trapdoor open a little longer. Once you're certain that everything is taken of down there we'll close it up again but until then it's not worth risking poising anybody."

Kinch nodded his understanding, gave a small salute, asked them to forward his good wishes to Carter if and when it became appropriate, and returned to finish taking care of the damage done by the blast.

Wilson excused himself saying he'd come back and check on his patient later. He reminded them one last time to be gentle and encouraging as, in some cases; such behaviour seemed to help memories come back faster. As he reached the door a final thought occurred to him and he turned to them "Try and let him remember things on his own. You can remind him of some of the more essential things but letting memories come back naturally usually has the best results. Just talk to him like you usually would and be considerate."

After acknowledging the medic's advice, Newkirk and Hogan went back into Hogan's office and were surprised to hear LeBeau laughing and were even more surprised at the cause. Carter was doing a hilarious one-man performance of "Who's one first" stretching himself to his full height when doing Abbott's parts and slouching, stepping to the left, and affecting a high pitched child-like voice for Costello's lines. The sight caused the men's spirits to soar, assuming that it indicated the return of Carter's memory.

Hogan voiced it first "Carter, are you back?"

At the question Carter deflated and said "Boy, I'm sorry. I can remember songs and skits and every once in a while I'll remember a little about a person or a place but I don't remember you guys, or this room either."

At his crestfallen expression Hogan felt a pang of guilt. Here he was, telling his men not to pressure Carter into remembering lest they endanger his recovery and he goes and makes the poor kid feel bad about not being able to remember them. "Hey, don't worry about it. It's not as if you forgot us deliberately."

Now for the tricky part he thought. "Since we don't know how long it'll take for you to get your memory back we'd better have introductions. We can't have you calling everybody 'boy' or we won't know who you're talking to." Hogan also hoped that introducing the men with their military ranks would make the next part of this conversation easier.

He gestured to each man as he introduced them. "This is Corporal Peter Newkirk." Newkirk gave a small grin, really more like a quirk of one corner of his mouth, and said "'Allo mate." Hogan continued, "Corporal Louis LeBeau." At this introduction Carter nodded happily, glad to already know one of them, even if it was just because he'd already introduced himself. Then Hogan said "I'm Colonel Robert Hogan and you, in case you were wondering, are Sergeant Andrew Carter."

"So we're all in the military?" Carter asked, the real—unasked—question hanging thickly in the air.

Hogan sighed, knowing this part was not going to be fun. "I don't know what all you do remember so if I start telling you something that sounds really obvious don't be offended." At Carter's nod he continued, "There is a war on at the moment. All of us were fighting in our countries' militaries and our countries are allies. All of us in the room are prisoners of war and the POW camp we are in is called Stalag 13." At the look of uncertainty of his young sergeant's face he continued in as reassuring a tone as he could muster. "The guards and the Kommandant are fairly reasonable, and one of them, Sergeant Shultz, was worried about you when we told him you got injured. But for now don't talk to any of the German's about things you've remembered." The last sentence was gentle but it's status as an order was unmistakable. To Hogan's relief Carter nodded his agreement without question.

After a moment of solemn thought Carter asked "The German's know I got hurt…are they supposed to know I don't remember anything?" As an afterthought he amended, "Well, not anything much anyway."

Hogan was pleased at this sign he understood the importance of the situation even if he didn't know what to do with it. "That depends on your progress by roll call." Hogan said. At Carter's puzzled look he explained. "If you are well enough to satisfy Shultz then most of the other Germans will never know you were injured. So far Shultz is the only one who knows you suffered a blow to the head. He'll be worried about you so any strange behaviour is more likely to be noticed. However, if you pulled your hat over your bandage, Kilnk would never know the difference unless decided to talk to you personally for some reason." When Carter blanched Hogan hurriedly said "But he won't. It is November so Klink will be in almost as much of a hurry as us to get back inside where it's warm." Hogan thought for a minute longer. "If you don't start remembering the place in a few hours we will have to let Klink in on the story we fed Shultz."

Carter looked unhappy but Hogan believed it was because of the situation at large more than anything he'd said. As Hogan looked at his two corporals and his wounded sergeant he realized that, though he tried to have a warm relationship with all his men it was still different than the type they cultivated among themselves and it seemed to him that LeBeau and Newkirk stood a greater chance of connecting with Carter when he wasn't in the room so he politely excused himself.

Once they were alone, Newkirk sensed that Carter was about to hide his discomfort by trying to 'cheer them up' and as much as he'd like to pretend that it was just a lazy afternoon and Carter was trying to entertain them while they rolled their eyes and went about their normal activities it wouldn't help their friend come back to them so he decided to try a gentle test of his friend's memory. "So, with all the snow around I'm betting you're lookin' forward t' makin' one o' your snowmen?"

At that Carter's eyes lit up and he replied excitedly, "You bet, boy! With some good packing snow I can make it hollow and I'll bet it's the biggest one you've ever seen!"

Newkirk smirked at his friend's enthusiasm and his spirits brightened a bit at this sign that, with the right reminders, Carter's memory seemed to be coming back. At the next question though, he nearly choked.

Carter was asking, "So how did I become friends with you two?"

It was such a simple question and yet so hard to answer. Newkirk wasn't sure exactly when the eager young sergeant had become a close and valued friend instead of just another face. LeBeau also wondered when the American had managed to earn a place in his heart. But even aside from that it was hard to describe when they met. No one else had shown up at Stalag 13 in such an…unusual manner.

Their extended silence worried Carter and he asked in a small voice, "Is that an off-limits subject?"

LeBeau looked to Newkirk and Newkirk answered, "Naw, it ain't taboo. Ya' just asked a hard question is all. We both met ya before ya showed up for good, but we didn't really sit you down and get to know you then so I don't s'pose we'll count it just now.

"Any'ow, the second time you showed up's when we really met. Now, we're not supposed to be too detailed when we're tellin' you stories 'cause then you won't remember 'em as quickly. I'm not sure why but Wilson usually knows what he's talkin' about. So Here's the 'ighlights: You showed up lookin' as embarrassed as could be over bein' shot down an' your first meeting with Klink did not go smoothly. But that was lucky for us 'casue 'ee decided you were trouble an' put you in barracks two so the Colonel would keep an eye on you. You'd gotten a bit roughed up when you crashed 'an LeBeau here decided to make any dish o' your choice since you'd 'ad such a rough time o' it. As for you an' me, the bunk below mine was empty so I figured you could take it."

The unsaid words in the story screamed their absence loudly to both LeBeau and Newkirk but Carter felt only a vague sense that something was missing but he wasn't sure what. But he did have a foggy memory of a short bald man seeming amusing and somehow a little scary at the same time while shouting at him for something. Then with a flash he felt the phantom twinges of remembered pain and saw an image of LeBeau's sympathetic face looking at him and he recalled the wonderful sensation of eating a real, gooey, lightly buttered, grilled cheese sandwich. The memory suddenly switched to the feeling of a warm hand on his shoulder. Then Newkirk's face swam into his vision with an expression of understanding that somehow eased the knot of misery in his stomach that he hadn't even realized was there.

Suddenly reality broke in on his recollections and he saw both LeBeau and Newkirk looking at him with concern. Once Newkirk realized that Carter's eyes were focused on him again he asked "Are you aw'right there Andrew?"

"Yeah Newkirk. I think I remember some of that." Then Carter moved his hands to his head and he said "But, boy, do I have a headache now. I know you two are s'posed to talk to me to find out what to do at roll call but do you think I could go to sleep?"

He gazed at them with such a look of pleading in his eyes that LeBeau said "I don't think you're supposed to sleep, but I will ask Wilson."

Carter smiled at him gratefully as he left and closed the door behind him.

When LeBeau got back with Wilson they found a very concerned Newkirk. "I'm sorry Wilson, I tried to keep 'im awake but he just nodded off no matter what I did."

Wilson quickly examined Carter and turned to the two corporals and said "It's all right. It's probably just his head getting itself back in order. It isn't uncommon for people with head wounds to just fall asleep without much warning. However, it is important to wake him every hour to make sure his head wound isn't more serious than it looks on the outside."

Newkirk and LeBeau nodded dutifully and they told Wilson about the progress with his memory. Wilson smiled at that sign of recovery and went to get Hogan. When they returned, Hogan surveyed the sleeping sergeant and said "Well, it looks like we'll have to feed Klink the same story we gave Shultz, but we won't elaborate any." His confidant smirk returned and felt like it belonged again.

They set up a rotation to make sure Carter wouldn't wake up confused and alone or sleep for more than an hour at a time.

When roll call came they woke him and gave him sympathetic support when his headache threatened his balance. Shultz came over the instant he saw him and began clucking and fussing as if Carter was an overly adventurous nephew. Even Klink came to wish him well. But Carter drifted through the experience half asleep and feeling like his skull would explode at any minute. Klink spared them any speech he might have been planning on giving and Carter had barely reached his bunk before he fell back into the persuasive arms of sleep. Newkirk pulled the blanket up over his friend and they resumed their watch and woke him apologetically on the hour.

The next morning Carter groaned as he rejoined the land of the conscious and LeBeau, who was on watch, asked "'Ow are you this morning, mon ami?"

Carter groaned again and massaged his temples. "Golly, do I have a terrible headache. I hope no one else got hurt in the explosion. I think that last chemical I tried isn't a very good delaying agent."

LeBeau grinned, stood up, and hollered "Andre's memory has come back!"

Carter looked at his with a puzzled expression. "It was missing?"

Newkirk poked his head over the edge of his bunk to look down at Carter. "I'll say it was mate. Downright disconcerting when you don' know me name. Don't do tha' to us again."

Hogan had come out of his quarters when he heard the commotion. He walked over and said, "All right, it sounds like your memory decided the vacation wasn't much fun after all but just to test: What was that story you were telling me after Shultz got hit by the volleyball the other day?"

LeBeau smiled as the familiar voice washed over him, telling stories of a home that LeBeau had never seen but that meant more to the strange man in front of him than the wonders of Paris ever could. LeBeau would never really know how anyone could love anywhere else the way he loved his home since they were all so different and clearly inferior to his beloved France. But he did understand that somehow, to Carter, Bullfrog had all the glories of the Seine. As Carter's eager voice continued to rise and fall happily in his tales of home LeBeau reflected happily that everything was back to normal and he thought once more how lucky he was that the war had brought him together with the brave loyal men around him.