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Fic: Spies (Hogan's Heroes, PG)

Title: Spies
Fandom: Hogan's Heroes
Genre: Gen
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1742
Warnings/Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Fanfic, for fun, not profit.
Summary/Notes: Hogan gives a pep talk. And, yes, I wrote another fic in a small fandom that most have never thought about!

"They are the enemy. You have to think of them as your enemy." Hogan spoke the words calmly and firmly. It was a speech he had given countless times before, one he knew he would have to give countless times in the future. "You can't afford to let your guard down. You can't ever think of them as friends."

He ran his hand through his hair and wished, not for the first time, that this would get easier instead of harder over time. "The guards, Klink, Langenscheidt, Schulz – they’re the enemy. It doesn't matter how nice they appear to be or how much they remind you of people you know. They are enemy soldiers. They serve a megalomaniacal madman who's killing people by the millions and bombing London into dust. They are the reasons that your aircrew died. Their service allows animals like Hochstetter and his Gestapo goons to torture and kill all your real friends. You understand that, right?"

Hogan studied the face of the man who stood before him. It was the face of a good soldier, a good man, someone who had seen the horrors of war, but still could see goodness in others. That may have been good for the soul, but it was bad for the soldier. "They can't be your friends because they are your enemies – someday you may have to kill them." He searched the eyes again before he sighed and turned away. Some days it was harder to explain it than others.

They were soldiers. They fought other soldiers. They faced the enemy in short and deadly rounds, never really seeing who they fought. Hell, most of them were fliers. They were trained to stay thousands of feet above the world while they dropped their bombs. Or they danced through the skies in dogfights, one-on-one with a faceless rival. But what they were doing now, this endless game of subterfuge and deceit, this was hard on them all.

There was a reason why you didn't "fraternize" with the enemy, Hogan knew. You didn't want to remember that they were human. You didn't want to know that they had fears and dreams and loves just like you. Because then you couldn't kill them and, in war, you might have to kill them.

When he first started this little project, when London first proposed that he stay in Stalag 13, he thought the hard part would be the sneaking in and out, the sabotage and the fighting with the resistance. He'd been so wrong. The hardest part was keeping the enemy in mind, or rather keeping in mind exactly who the enemy was.

Not at first, of course. At first, it'd been easy. The death of his crew, the pain and fear at the hands of the Gestapo interrogators, the hatred of all things Nazi -- it all burned hot and fierce inside of him. And it still did, except now there were new memories, new experiences that also lived with him.

In the beginning, Klink's arrogance and cowardice and small-mindedness were easy to despise and manipulate. When Hogan first saw how truly afraid Klink was of the Gestapo, how the SS made him actually quake with fear, he felt satisfaction. It served the Kommandant right to be afraid of these evil creatures that he served. It was simpering fools like him, greedy for power and revenge that created them after all. It would serve them right if their own creation lined them up against the wall and shot them all.

After a while, though, Hogan saw beyond that first impression of Klink. He was greedy and self-serving and cowardly, but he didn't actively abuse the POWs. He observed the Geneva Convention even when Hogan wasn't there to remind him of it. He didn't allow his guards to mistreat anyone and the standing order of the tower guards was not to shoot to kill. The food he provided wasn't much and it wasn't good, but it was better and more plentiful than any of the other POW camps. The Red Cross Boxes that got to the camp were usually delivered to the prisoners. Klink’s fear of Hochstetter and his ilk was justified because he actually treated his POWs with some degree of respect and care - something the Gestapo would consider to be an executable offense. There were times when Hogan, much to his shame, actually felt for him.

Still, it was an easy thing, to keep that side of Klink hidden from the men. They didn't have contact with him very often. Hogan could keep the better aspects of the Kommandant under wraps and the men only saw the arrogant fool, who pompously meted out punishments and propaganda.

It was harder with Schulz. They had so much more contact with him. And while Schulz also was a fool and a buffoon, he was a harmless fool and buffoon. He joked with the men, he told them stories of his wife and children, and he actually cared when one of them was hurt. His distaste of the Nazi party wasn't an act and he really meant it when said he wished they could all just go home.

And, unlike Klink, Schultz held no real power here at the camp. He didn't make decisions and he didn't determine policy. In so many ways, Schultz was like so many of the soldiers they had served with: he was drafted, he bumbled his way through the training and he followed the orders that were given to him. Sometimes he even ignored those orders. He wasn't a killer at heart; he honestly didn't want to be here. It was a painful familiarity.

It was a deadly familiarity.

Hogan turned back and one again searched the eyes of the man looking back at him. "This is their war. This is their doing. You know what Germany stands for, what the Nazis want to do and what they are doing right now. We have to win this war, and this is the part you have volunteered to play in that victory. You can't afford to lose sight of that. You can't afford sympathy. Not now. Not in the middle of the battle. Anyone not for you is against you." He took a deep breath. "There is no such thing as harmless in this fight. Every man in this barracks -- every man in this camp -- depends on you understanding that. This is the mission you have chosen, this is what you volunteered to do."

But Hogan knew that none of them really understood the mission when they accepted it. Not really. Sure they understood the objectives: assist all escaping prisoners, cooperate with all friendly forces, and to use every means possible to injure and harass the enemy. It didn't seem that different from any other mission they did or any of the many covert operations carried out every day. But it was. As often as Hogan quoted military protocol to his men and relied on that built in system of authority and chain of command, he knew that they had long ago stepped out of the strict definition of soldier. They'd wondered into the realm of spies -- and it was much like falling down Alice's rabbit hole.

Each time they went out dressed in civilian clothes they left behind the safeguards of the Geneva Convention and the privileges accorded a soldier. If they were caught, they could be shot on sight. If they were lucky, they would be. Otherwise they faced interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Gestapo. Once in their hands, you would have to assume that they were all dead. That was the part that everyone focused on; that risk they all agreed to take: the very real possibility of a quick and painful decent into the horrors that the Nazis excelled at.

Only, that wasn't the real threat. Quite honestly, the safeguards of the Geneva Convention were tenuous at best. Evil things could -- and often did -- happen to any soldier. No, the real threat in being a spy is what you did to yourself.

A spy, Hogan discovered, lived on lies. The false face of friendship that was presented to the guards. The act of being harmless and cowed when at any one moment there was at least two contingency plans that would involve the death of any number of those guards. The quick and shallow seduction of the women who often held the key to a mission or the brutal and heartless blackmail of civilians who needed to be forced into helping.

Then there were the harder lies, the lies one told oneself. The lie that the enemy wasn’t really human. The lie that if their places were reversed, none of them would ever serve evil in such a way. The lie that there were no innocents in this war. The lie the need and necessity made it all acceptable. Lies that, when said often enough were almost believable. Lies that slowly ate away at your very soul. Lies that threatened to make you into the very monster that you fought.

Hogan picked up his crush cap and took a deep breath before turning and finishing his speech. "We’re at war. We didn't start this war and we didn't set the rules. They did. You cannot afford to extend them sympathy or pity. They are not your friends, they are your enemies. The men behind this door are counting on you to know what needs to be done and to take the responsibility of making the decisions that need to be made."

For underneath all those lies, was the final, bitter truth: There was no good here. No way to walk away from what they were doing unscathed and unscarred. The best he could hope for – the only thing he could hope for – is that he could shift the evil off his men’s shoulders. That he could be the barrier between them and all the untenable choices that had to be made, the unforgivable acts that had to be done.

He firmly put the cap on his head and stood at attention. For that instant he radiated all the command and authority that he rightly held. “They are the enemy. Some day they may try to kill you, and some day you may have to kill them. Never forget that.”

With one last look in the mirror, Hogan spun and headed out to face his men.


( 17 lines — Drop a line )
May. 15th, 2013 07:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, that is the sad truth. A good look at what is so easily forgotten, when Hogan dances around Klink and LeBeau plies Schultz with apple pie.
May. 19th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. There's always those one of two episodes where that "enemy" relationship is accentuated.
May. 15th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
Very nice - love the ending.
May. 19th, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad the ending worked.
May. 15th, 2013 08:33 pm (UTC)
Sad but realistic look at things. Very well done. (:

Edited at 2013-05-15 08:33 pm (UTC)
May. 19th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
May. 16th, 2013 12:52 am (UTC)
Very well done -- all very true.

And a very good job at the end! I'd expected "the man" to be tenderhearted Carter. But Hogan probably needed to hear that speech very frequently.

Good job!
May. 19th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
I figure Hogan has to tell himself this a lot -- especially ever time he concocts a plan that could ends up throwing those "familiar" enemies to the wolves.

I'm glad you liked it. Carter was the most obvious choice and I actually had him in mind when I started writing it, then the last line popped into my head and I had to go that way.

Thank you for you comment!
May. 17th, 2013 03:29 am (UTC)
Excellent job! :)
May. 19th, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comment!
May. 17th, 2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, one of my newer f-listers is a Hogan's Heroes fan so imagine my surprise when I saw another f-lister actually write fic! :)

Haven't watched this show since the reruns in the 70s, but I remember its comedic tone well. Your fic is so much more dramatic and realistic. Great lines about spies living on lies.
May. 19th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)
I love it when things like that happen! Hogan's Heroes has a very loyal fanbase, I've discovered.

This fic is what happens when I watch Burn Notice right after Hogan's Heroes!
May. 20th, 2013 07:00 am (UTC)
LOL yes! I felt the Burn Notice vibe. :D
May. 18th, 2013 04:51 am (UTC)
Oh, lovely! Really enjoyed this and hope for more Hogan fic :)
May. 19th, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Hogan is my favorite, although I'm also very fond of Carter. I have an idea or two for some Hogan fic, we'll see if it ever gets down!
Sep. 17th, 2014 11:23 am (UTC)
wow this was sad. and very realistic.
i especially enjoyed the first part where he describes Klink. the relationship between Hogan an Klink is the most interesting for me in means of fandom.
Jan. 6th, 2015 05:21 pm (UTC)
Very good! I too thought he was talking to Carter. Good twist there! :)

I'm not sure that Hogan can keep up the facade as the years drag on. How can you hate Schultz, of all people?! The guy makes toys in civilian life! And he understands Klink very well. It's easy to kill an enemy you don't see and don't know. Day-to-day contact wears you down.

Even with the series' lighthearted tone, you knew that the mission was changing Hogan and his men. Hard choices were being made every day and the lying gets to you after awhile. There would be a clear-cut victory in this war but at a terrible price.
( 17 lines — Drop a line )

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