2006 Papa Bear Awards Mission Briefing
Colonel Hogan surveyed the crowd of prisoners congregated in the recreation hall. “You’re a popular guest,” he told Captain Oboe standing beside him.
Before the captain could respond, Carter interrupted, “They want to see you on the trapeze!”
“Been there, done that,” the captain replied dryly. Turning to Hogan, she asked, “Is it about time to start? There’s a lot to go over this year.”
“We’re just waiting for a few stragglers,” he responded.
As he finished speaking, the door to the hall opened and Colonel Klink entered to a chorus of boos. The Kommandant looked around the room and shook his fist at the raucous prisoners before hurrying over to where Hogan was standing.
“Colonel Hogan, can we get on with this?” he asked. “I’m a busy man.”
“Is the war running into overtime, Kommandant?” Hogan asked with a smirk.
Klink glared at the American Colonel. “Hogaaaaaan,” he warned.
Hogan raised his arms to quiet the crowd. When the din subsided, he spoke up. “Okay folks, we need your attention up here. It’s that time of year again, and Captain Oboe is here with her crew to brief us on the annual Papa Bear Awards for 2006.”
“2006?” Klink asked quizzically. “Colonel, it’s the 1940’s.”
“Excuse me, Kommandant,” Kinch cut in. “It’s the 1940’s for all of us, but not for all of the people that put us in these situations we find ourselves in.”
Klink stared back at the Sergeant with a blank look.
“Fan fiction, sir,” Captain Oboe interjected. “There are many authors out there writing fictional stories featuring the gang here at Stalag 13.”
“Schultz!” Klink bellowed. When the portly sergeant appeared at his side saluting, Klink continued, “Did you know about this?”
“Who me, Kommandant?” Schultz asked timidly. “I know nothing!”
“Sir, we’re kind of pressed for time here,” Hogan said, hoping to get the presentation going. “We’re all in these stories.”
“Except for me and Vladimir,” Baker interrupted. “We’re not in them.”
Newkirk elbowed the American standing beside him. “Quiet,” he said. “You and Vladimir were featured in a song this year.”
“One song,” Vladimir replied sarcastically. “And we didn’t even get to do a video for it.”
“Can I continue?” Hogan asked impatiently. His men looked at him apologetically and quieted down. “As I was saying, we’re all in these stories, Kommandant – even you and Schultz.”
“He didn’t wear one of those ...” Klink began.
“NO!” Hogan replied quickly. “It’s best not to think about that.”
“Most definitely,” Schultz agreed vehemently.
“Now everyone pay attention to Captain Oboe,” Hogan said loudly to the assembled men. “She’ll brief us on the awards this year.”
“Isn’t it the same as last year?” LeBeau asked. “We’ve been through this before. We know the drill.”
“No, LeBeau,” Captain Oboe replied. “There are some differences this year, so everyone pay attention. I’ll briefly go over the purpose of the awards then turn it over to Lieutenant Hutchins, who will go over the different categories. Then Sergeant Bryan will then go over the ground rules.”
“What about him?” Klink asked, pointing to someone sitting in the corner.
“That’s Private Evans,” Captain Oboe replied. “He just takes up space.”
“Private?” Hogan asked. “Last year he was a Corporal.”
“That’s right, Colonel,” Captain Oboe replied. “Emphasis on the word was. And if you must know why ... I have two words for you. Plot Bunny.” A collective groan emerged from the men in the hall. “Exactly,” the captain said in acknowledgement.
Captain Oboe quickly scanned the papers containing her notes and turned to address the assembled men. “As some of you already know, the Hogan’s Heroes group on SmartGroups has, for the past three years, put together reader awards for the many Hogan’s Heroes fan fiction stories that are written each year. This year will be the fourth annual awards, and there are a couple very interesting things going on this time. First off, for the first time, we will be having a category for German language fiction.”
“It’s about time!” the Kommandant quipped.
Captain Oboe shot a glance at the German Colonel and continued speaking. “Second, those of you that remember last year’s awards might recall a special Triple Threat Challenge category.” She paused and noticed many heads nodding. “Well, this year there is another special category. Lieutenant Hutchins will fill you in on that a bit later. We also have made some changes in the nomination and voting time frames, which Sergeant Bryan will be briefing you on.”
“Your team has been pretty busy,” Hogan said. “Is that all of the changes?”
“No,” Captain Oboe replied. “Since we realize that not all of the readers of the fiction are member of the SmartGroups group, we are planning to post the mission briefing on the FanFiction.net website as well, so that more people will know about the awards.”
“That sounds like a good plan,” Hogan agreed.
“We hope this will get more readers to nominate and vote,” the captain replied. “Now, here’s Lieutenant Hutchins to go over the different categories.”
Lieutenant Hutchins cleared her throat and started reading from the sheet of paper she held in her hands. “First, we have Best Drama, which is, of course, the story with the strongest, most compelling dramatic impact.”
“Are those the serious stories where we almost get caught?” Carter asked.
“If the story is dramatic, it is included,” Captain Oboe said. “But there can be some comedic moments in it as well. Lieutenant Hutchins, please continue.”
Lieutenant Hutchins nodded. “The second category is Best Comedy, which, as you might have guessed, is the story with the funniest moment, or one that is most like the television series.”
“You mean like those silly stories about Pl ...” Le Beau beagn to ask.
Before he could finish, Newkirk reached over and put his hand over his mouth. “If you even finish that sentence, I’ll personally turn you over to the Gestapo,” Newkirk responded as menacingly as he could muster. Many other heads were bobbing in agreement.
Captain Oboe shushed the grumbling that rose from the men and motioned to Lieutenant Hutchins to continue.
“The next category is Best Original Character,” Lieutenant Hutchins said.
At that moment, the door to the recreation hall slammed open and Marya sauntered into the room, swinging the end of her furry boa provocatively and she approached the front of the room. “That would be me, Hogan darling,” she purred. “I’m very original.”
“No, I’m afraid not, Marya,” Lieutenant Hutchins replied. “The category is for the best original character created for a story whom you would like to see in the television show.”
Marya looked miffed. “Well I think people would enjoy seeing me in a television show,” she said. “Right, Hogan darling?” She drew the end of the boa under his chin and up to tickle his nose
Hogan waved the furry nuisance away. “I’d rather see you anywhere but here at the moment,” he muttered. He motioned to Lieutenant Hutchins, hoping to get the briefing going again.
“The next category is Best Crossover,” Lieutenant Hutchins said.
“Newkirk, you’d better get your dress out!” LeBeau exclaimed.
“No, LeBeau,” Kinch corrected him. “You’re thinking of cross-dressing. As we found out last year, a crossover is a story that would merge our characters and situations with those of another television series or movie.”
“That’s right, Kinch,” Lieutenant Hutchins replied. “The next category is Best Challenge, which is the best story written in response to a challenge or request posted on the SmartGroups group or the FanFiction.net website.”
“That would be like the time Carter got to impersonate a crazy German General and challenge Klink to a duel, right?” Newkirk asked.
Klink swung around to glare at Carter. “That was YOU?” he asked angrily.
Hogan raised his hands to quiet things down. “Whoa, hold on!” he commanded. “Keep your monocle on, Kommandant. Newkirk was talking about one of the television episodes.” Hogan gave a small wink to Carter. “It really was a crazy German General.”
Klink quieted down, but still gave Carter a glaring look.
“Excuse me, Lieutenant?” Kinch spoke up. “How can we tell which stories are challenges?”
“Good question,” Lieutenant Hutchins replied. “Usually, a challenge response will have authors notes that state that it was written in response to a challenge. If you don’t see that, then you can probably assume that it isn’t a challenge response.”
Kinch nodded his understanding.
Lieutenant Hutchins continued, “The next category is Best portrayal of a Canon Character.”
“You mean they have stories written about cannons?” Carter asked excitedly.
“Blimey, Andrew!” Newkirk exclaimed. “You said the exact same thing last year. Don’t you remember?” Carter shook his head and Newkirk continued, “She said canon, not cannon. A canon character is one that was created for, and appeared in, the television series.”
Carter looked saddened for a moment, but jumped when the recreation hall door burst open again.
“Nobody move!” screamed an angry Major Hochstetter. “I will surround this camp with a ring of steel until I win this category!”
“You will do no such thing, Hochstetter,” replied General Burkhalter as he strode into the room. “This is a Luftwaffe camp, and is not your concern.”
“Bah!” screamed Hochstetter. “It is always my concern!”
“Gentlemen, please!” Hogan protested. “Can your argument wait until we are done with this briefing?”
“But we were not arguing,” Hochstetter countered.
“Yes you were,” Hogan replied.
“No, we weren’t,” insisted Hochstetter. “We were disagreeing. A disagreement is not an argument.”
“It could be,” proposed Burkhalter.
“No it can’t!” Hochstetter responded.
Hogan gave an exasperated sigh. “Gentlemen, this is a briefing about Hogan’s Heroes fan fiction,” he said tiredly. “Could you please skip the Monty Python routine for the time being?”
“I want to be a lumberjack!” Carter exclaimed, causing everyone in the room to groan.
“Then shut up and go climb a tree, Andrew,” Newkirk replied. “Let’s let the Lieutenant continue.”
“Thanks, Newkirk, “Lieutenant Hutchins replied. “Now, the next category is Most Unique Story. This is the story with a unique plot twist, an unusual writing style, or is just simply a very unique story.”
“Define unique,” Hogan requested.
“That would be a story where I get to beat up Colonel Hogan,” Hochstetter said cheerfully.
“No, that’s not very unique,” Captain Oboe replied. “It actually happens quite often.”
“Don’t I know it,” Hogan muttered.
“How about a story where Colonel Hogan gets friendly with a female Underground agent?” Kinch asked.
“Or my secretaries!” Klink added.
Captain Oboe shook her head. “No, I’m afraid that happens quite often as well.”
Hogan smiled. “Kind of makes up for the beatings,” he quipped.
“How about one where I know nothing?” Schultz asked.
“Schultz, you dummkopf!” Klink bellowed. “A unique story would be one where you said nothing!”
Lieutenant Hutchins cleared her throat to quiet the interruption. When she had everyone’s attention, she continued, “The next category is Best Songfic/Poetry. This is a poem, or a story that is based on a song. It could also be one where the lyrics of a song have been changed to fall into a Hogan’s Heroes theme.”
“Hey Sam, this is where we get to participate!” Baker exclaimed excitedly.
“Yes, maybe we’ll even get to do our music video after all!” the Russian prisoner replied.
“The next category is Best German Language Story,” Lieutenant Hutchins went on. “As you might guess, this is the best story that is written in the German language.”
“But what if we don’t know German?” Schultz asked.
“Leave it to you not to know your own language, Schultzie!” Newkirk quipped.
“I was just trying to bring up a very valid question, Newkirk,” Schultz explained. “After all, I am neutral in this conflict.”
“It actually was a very good question,” Captain Oboe replied. “If you understand German, you can read the story, nominate it and vote on it. I also understand that there is an effort underway to translate some of the stories to English so more readers will have a chance to enjoy them.”
“Are these stories eligible for other categories as well?” Hogan asked.
“Yes, they are eligible for the other categories,” Lieutenant Hutchins answered. “Now, we have three more categories to go. The next category is Best Short Story.”
“Hey Louis, that would be a story about you,” Newkirk said, laughing.
“Newkirk, you used the same tired joke last year,” Le Beau said angrily.
“All right, that’s enough,” Colonel Hogan said, trying to calm the little Frenchman down. “Le Beau, he’s just teasing. We all know that dynamite comes in small packages.”
“I could make a joke about small packages,” Marya said seductively.
“Forget the jokes and marry me,” LeBeau said to her.
“Talk about a joke!” Newkirk muttered.
“As I was saying,” Lt. Hutchins said loudly, cutting off further comments. “A short story is one that has less than 5000 words, which, like last year, will NOT include this mission briefing!”
Private Evans looked at the ceiling, trying hard not to be noticed.
“Hey, why is he trying not to be noticed?” Carter asked, pointing at the Private.
“Pay no attention to him,” Captain Oboe ordered. “If you encourage him, we’ll NEVER get out of here! Lieutenant, please continue ... quickly!”
“The penultimate category is …” Lieutenant Hutchins began.
“The what category?” Carter asked.
“Penultimate, Carter,” Hogan responded. “That’s a word meaning next to last. Remember? You asked the same question last year.”
“Why didn’t she just say next to last?” Carter asked. “I can’t remember long words like that!”
“He can barely remember his own name,” Newkirk whispered to the prisoner beside him.
“Hey!” Carter protested. “I heard that!”
“Colonel Klink,” Hogan interrupted. “Is it possible for me to suggest that you put these two men in the cooler?”
“Your own men, Hogan?” a surprised Klink asked.
“Sometimes I don’t wish to claim them,” Hogan replied. “But for now, I’d like to get this briefing over with.” He motioned for the Lieutenant to continue.
“So the next to last category,” Lieutenant Hutchins said, glaring at Carter, “is the Best Overall Story. This is the story that, if anyone was only going to read one Hogan’s Heroes story, this would be the one.”
“Oh, that sounds like a good one to read,” Schultz said excitedly. “Which story is it?”
“Aw, Schultzie, don’t you know anything?” Newkirk teased. “We don’t know yet. The stories have to be nominated and voted on before we’ll know which one the readers think is the best.”
“That sounds like a lot of effort,” Schultz muttered.
“Of course it takes some effort!” Captain Oboe railed. “The awards are for the stories that the readers liked, not stories that some committee liked!”
“So it’s sort of like the difference between the Peoples Choice Awards and the Academy Awards?” Baker asked.
“Sort of, but there’s not going to be a televised awards show where all the over-dressed winners come up and thank everyone they’ve ever met,” Captain Oboe replied.
Newkirk chuckled. “Imagine Hochstetter in a tuxedo winning the Best Canon Character award!”
“Yeah, a penguin with a permanent sneer!” Carter answered.
“Bah!” Hochstetter screamed. “You will all shut up so I can hear the last category!”
“For once, I think Hochstetter makes some sense,” Hogan replied smiling.
“Thank you, Colonel Hogan ... I think” Hochstetter replied with a puzzled look on his face.
“Yes, we have one more category,” Lieutenant Hutchins said. “This is a new one this year. I’ll let Captain Oboe explain it.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Captain Oboe said. “This year we had a special challenge, which was called the Yankee Swap Challenge.”
“We have to swap things with an American?” Burkhalter asked.
“No,” Captain Oboe replied. “The authors swapped plot ideas. Many authors submitted ideas, which were passed out randomly to other authors to write a story based on that idea.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” Hogan commented. “Were the stories written?”
“Some of them,” Captain Oboe replied. “There are some plot ideas that haven’t yet been turned into stories though.”
“Is there still time to write those stories?” Kinch asked.
“Any that are completed by the deadline for this year’s awards will be eligible,” Sergeant Bryan responded.
Captain Oboe looked around at the assembled crew. “Any more questions?” she asked.
“Ja, I have one,” Hochstetter said. “Are stories written for this challenge award eligible in the other award categories too? This was a challenge, after all.”
Captain Oboe nodded her head. “Yes,” she replied. “They are eligible for all other categories. In addition, any story written for this challenge will automatically be nominated in this category.” She looked around again, drumming her fingers impatiently on her oboe. “Any more questions?”
“Will we be able to find the list of categories anywhere?” Klink asked. “This briefing has gone on for so long that I’ve forgotten them already.”
“Yes I know. For a briefing, this isn’t very brief,” mumbled Hogan.
“When we are finished here, I’ll post the category list on the bulletin board outside,” Lieutenant Hutchins said. “And now, Sergeant Bryan will explain the rules and timetable of the awards.”
Sergeant Bryan pulled a folded piece of paper from her pocket. She unfolded it and started to read. “As with anything, there are rules that must be followed,” she said. “First, I should say that the awards are open to those stories that have been completed and posted for the first time online between December 1, 2004 and December 31, 2005. The story still must be available somewhere online. The exceptions to this timeframe are the German language stories, since this is the first year they have been explicitly included in the awards. For this year, all German language stories are eligible, even if completed prior to December 1, 2004.”
“What about stories that were started before December last year,” Kinch asked. “There are some stories that had chapters posted before December but were not completed for months.”
Sergeant Bryan nodded. “Those will count too,” she replied. “The Lieutenant and I will create a list of the stories that we think fall under these guidelines, but if you know of one that we miss, please bring it to our attention.” Kinch nodded, satisfied with the answer.
“What about stories that have been reposted?” Baker asked. “There are some stories that get reposted with some minor changes made by the author.”
Sergeant Bryan shook her head. “If they were eligible in a previous year, they will not be eligible again,” she said. “Any more questions about eligible stories?” Every head shook.
“Next, we have the rules for the nominating process,” Sergeant Bryan said. “You can nominate no more than two stories per category, and if you don’t feel any story fits, you do not have to nominate any story for a particular category. And, you cannot nominate a single story in more than one category. Once you nominate it, you can’t nominate it again. So make sure you pick the category you feel is best for the story you are nominating.”
“Can authors nominate their own stories?” Private Evans asked.
“That’s probably the only bloody way yours got nominated last year, mate!” Newkirk quipped.
“Newkirk, that’s enough,” Hogan said, though not very strongly. He had the same thought himself. “Sergeant Bryan, go ahead,” he said.
“Authors can nominate their own stories if they want,” Sergeant Bryan said. “Now for the voting process. You can vote for only one story per category, and can skip a category if you are not impressed with any of the nominated stories. You can vote for the same story in different categories, if it is nominated for more than one. And before you ask,” she said, looking over at Private Evans, “authors can vote for their own stories.”
“Newkirk …” Hogan said, hoping to stop another comment by the Englishman. Newkirk blinked innocently at his commanding officer and said nothing.
“What about voting irregularities?” Klink asked.
“A very good question, Kommandant,” Hogan replied. “After all, you Germans know a lot about stuffing the ballot box, don’t you?”
“Hogaaaaaaan!” Klink said under his breath.
“That really is a good question, Kommandant” Sergeant Bryan said. “We are on the honor system here and ask that voters to only vote once. But we do have some checking in place to catch the fraudulent voters.”
“Anybody that tries to vote more than once will be shot by the Gestapo!” Hochstetter growled.
“But Major Hochstetter, the Geneva Convention …” Hogan began.
“Bah! Voting more than once is considered sabotage,” Hochstetter replied. “And anyone engaging in sabotage loses the protection of the Geneva Convention.”
“Major Hochstetter, I do not like you threatening my prisoners,” Klink protested.
“How would you feel about a cooler climate, Kommandant?” Hochstetter asked.
“All right, you heard Major Hochstetter,” Klink said loudly. “Keep the voting honest and we won’t have any trouble.”
“When can we start voting?” Hogan asked, hoping to get back to the issue at hand.
“Nominations begin on Sunday, January 1, 2006,” Sergeant Bryan replied.
“Blimey, that’s not very far away!” Newkirk exclaimed.
Sergeant Bryan shook her head. “No it isn’t,” she replied. “Nominations will end on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 and voting begins the next day.”
“How long does the voting last?” Vladimir asked.
“Voting will end on Friday, March 31, 2006,” Sergeant Bryan stated. “So you have two full months to read the nominated stories and vote for your favorites.”
“Will the winners be announced then?” Le Beau asked. “I want to know who wins as soon as possible.”
Sergeant Bryan nodded. “Yes, we will announce the winners once the votes are tabulated,” she replied. Seeing the questioning look on the faces in the room, she held up her hand and said, “And yes, Sergeant J. Peg will be awarding his prizes for the winners.”
“Excuse me ma’am?” Carter said hesitantly. “Just where can we find these stories?”
“Ah, an important detail,” Sergeant Bryan replied. “Any story that is available online is eligible, although you will find most of them at the FanFiction.net website.”
“Ahem,” interrupted Private Evans. “You can also find some of them at WebStalag 13.”
“You always have to get a plug in for your website, don’t you?” Newkirk retorted.
“Be quiet, Newkirk!” Private Evans replied tartly.
“Hold on you two,” Hogan said, interrupting before things got out of hand. “I don’t want any trouble here in front of the Germans. It’s bad form to argue in front of the enemy.”
“Sorry, Colonel,” both men muttered.
“That’s about it,” Captain Oboe said. “If there are no other questions, we will post the information on the bulletin board outside,” she said.
“Excuse me, Captain,” Klink spoke up. “Will this information be available online as well?”
“Excellent question, Kommandant,” Captain Oboe said. “You can find information on the official Papa Bear Awards website, which is H, T, T, P …”
“Carter, cover your ears, she’s starting to spell,” Newkirk said lightly. “You might be too young to hear this!”
“Ha, ha, ha,” Carter mocked. “I’ll have you know that I’m not as naďve as you may think. Before the war, I shared sodas with a lot of girls at the drug store in town … and sometimes we shared the same straw!” Carter crossed his arms and stared smugly at Newkirk in an “I guess I showed you” gesture.
Newkirk laughed. “Man of the world, you were,” he said.
“All right, hold it down!” Hogan commanded. “I want to hear where to find this stuff.”
“As I was saying,” Captain Oboe continued, “ the website is H, T, T, P …”
“Hittup?” LeBeau frowned. “What kind of word is that?”
Captain Oboe clenched her teeth and counted to ten before answering. “It is not a word,” she said as calmly as possible. “You type those letters, followed by a colon and two slashes.”
“Slash?” Hochstetter asked. “Klink! What kind of camp are you running here where prisoners can slash things with their hittups?”
Once again, Captain Oboe counted to ten through clenched teeth. “No, this is how you type a web page address … more commonly called a URL.”
“Earl?” Newkirk chimed in. “Royalty?”
Captain Oboe threw the papers in her hand up in the air and began to walk away, muttering.
The recreation hall became noisy as the prisoners chatted about the stories they had already read, and asked about those that they hadn’t gotten to yet. Colonel Hogan looked around, pleased. He was happy to have this diversion for his men. “Everyone, dismissed,” Hogan said loudly, trying to have his voice heard above the din. “Go and read the stories out there!”
Lieutenant Hutchins and Sergeant Bryan each put their papers up on the bulletin board outside of the barracks:
Text and original characters copyright 2005 by Jeff Evans
This copyright covers only original material and characters, and in no way intends to infringe upon the privileges of the holders of the copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights, for the Hogan's Heroes universe.