The Green Room
(2006) No infringement upon the rightful owners of "Combat!" and the characters thereof, is intended. Any resemblance between real people and the characters in this story is purely coincidental and no insult is intended. This piece of fan fiction is for enjoyment only, and in no way will the author gain monetary profit from its existence.
"And on the Fourth Day of July..."
By White Queen
Lt. Hanley opened the front door and stepped into the Green Room. He looked around him, surprised. It was empty! The Green Room was never empty in the middle of the day.
Unless one of the writers had all the guys out working on a story, that is. Were they all off fanfic-ing without him? Surely not. Hanley dropped onto the couch by the door, shaking his head. It sure looked like they'd all left him, the traitors.
The front door popped open and in rushed Billy Nelson. "Oh, hi, Lieutenant!" He tossed off a sloppy salute, then opened the ice box.
"Nelson! Where in tarnation is everyone?" Hanley asked, jumping to his feet.
"Outside," Billy answered, setting a big wooden crate on the floor by the ice box.
"The Hogan's Heroes guys challenged us to a baseball game to celebrate," Billy explained as he loaded cold glass bottles of Coca-Cola into the crate.
"Celebrate what?" Hanley asked. He grabbed one of the Cokes and opened it by sticking the cap on the edge of the kitchenette's counter and smashing it with his hand. That always looked so cool, but stung so much.
"The Fourth of July, of course." Billy almost rolled his eyes, but realized just in time that Hanley was still his superior officer, even if they were off-duty.
"Oh, of course." Had he really been away that long? Time seemed to stop when he was off on one of those little jaunts; he'd intended to be back by July first. "So you're all out there, then?"
"All except Saunders and Brockmeyer."
"Where are they?"
"In the stockade."
Hanley nearly spat Coke all over the Green Room floor. "Saunders is in the stockade? You've got to be kidding!"
"Well, he's not actually in the stockade. I mean, he's not a prisoner. He's just in there guarding." Billy stood up and closed the ice box.
"Brockmeyer." The private picked up the crate full of Cokes and headed for the door. "Would you mind giving me a hand with the door?" he asked.
"Oh, sure." Hanley opened the front door, then closed it again after Billy had left. He finished his Coke and set the empty bottle on the counter, then opened the door that led to the barracks and the tiny one-celled stockade. Sure enough, there sat Saunders. He had tipped his chair up against the wall and put his feet up on another chair, effectively blocking the stockade entrance, and he was reading a stack of paper with printing on only one side. When the door opened, he looked up. "Hi, Lieutenant," he said. "Back already?"
Hanley decided to ignore the cute remarks. "Not a moment too soon, I see. The men are out playing baseball with that Stalag 13 crowd, Brockmeyer's in the stockade, and you're reading... what is it you're reading?"
"Nothing much." Saunders tried to put the sheaf of papers on the floor under his chair, but Hanley reached over and grabbed them.
"Aha! I knew it! Those writers are working on a story without me! And they're letting you read the dailies?" Hanley glowered. "What's been going on while I've been away?"
Saunders smiled. "Nice of you to take an interest. Have a good trip?"
"Just swell, thanks."
"Nice tan. Where was it this time, Mexico again?" Saunders removed his feet from the extra chair and kicked it toward Hanley.
"No, Tahiti." Hanley sat in the chair, since it was so graciously offered, and began thumbing through the papers he'd snatched. "Say, isn't this that fanzine story White Queen and Thompson Girl are doing?"
"Sure is. Been waiting for you to get back so they could work on your scenes some more. We've had to kill a lot of time doing action sequences while you were gone. Oh, and you'll notice we're switching some of the locales around. They got tired of the crumbled-village look, wanted something a little different."
Hanley nodded, only half-listening. He looked over a few more pages, then asked, "Why's Brockmeyer in the stockade?"
"I'm not. He's been at it again, trying to get a bigger part in a couple of stories, distracting writers...."
"Let me guess, Thompson Girl and White Queen again, right? He just won't seem to leave those two alone."
Saunders nodded. "He's even trying to worm his way into "Finders, Keepers," but White Queen's holding firm."
"So you threw him in here to cool his heels for a few days so they could have some peace, eh?"
Saunders looked away and muttered something. To Hanley it sounded like, "That's not all he needs to cool."
Hanley stood up. "Well, looks like things are progressing fine anyway." He handed the papers back to Saunders and headed for the barracks, loosening his tie as he walked. "Think I'll just clean up a little and then let the writers know I'm back."
Behind him, Saunders chuckled. "Oh, they know," he said.
Hanley turned around, his hand on the barracks door. "What do you mean?"
"We've all been under strict orders to let them know the moment you and Andrews get back. I'm sure by now Nelson's already alerted them. He was on sentry duty last I knew."
"Oh yeah?" Hanley pulled his tie tight again. "We'll just see about that. Those girls are getting a little too big for their boots."
Saunders shook his head. "I wouldn't do anything rash," he warned.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"White Queen told me last night that if you don't cooperate with her a little more on "Finders, Keepers," she's going to give all your good lines to someone else."
Saunders shrugged. "Me?"
Hanley's shoulders sagged. "She would, wouldn't she."
Hanley nodded. "You're right. I'll just have to cooperate."
Saunders grinned. "That's the spirit, Hanley. Always let the writers have their way."