2007 Papa Bear Awards Mission Briefing
LeBeau stood by the stove in the barracks and stirred the contents of the large pot. Beside him stood Sergeant Schultz, who was leaning over the pot and breathing in large amounts of the steam rising from it.
“Come on, Schultz. Get moving,” Kinch said from the table where he was playing a game of gin with Carter. “It’s time for lights out.”
Schultz shook his head. “It is not time for lights out until I say it is time for lights out!” he said, poking his chest with his thumb as he spoke. “I do not know why you are in such a rush anyway.” He turned back to observe the large pot on the stove.
“We’re expecting someone, Schultzie,” Newkirk replied from his top bunk.
Schultz began to chuckle softly. “Expecting someone,” he muttered. “Jolly joker.”
Just then the men heard several loud taps from the bunk covering the tunnel entrance.
Schultz swung his head around looking for the source of the noise. “What was that?” he asked.
“Mice,” Carter said as he drew a card from the pile in front of him.
“You have mice that knock on the walls?” Schultz asked in surprise.
“Only when they want certain sergeants to leave the barracks,” Newkirk replied.
“I will leave when the cockroach gives me some of what he is cooking,” Schultz replied with determination.
Newkirk and Carter began laughing. Kinch smiled broadly before replying. “LeBeau, why don’t you tell him what’s in the pot,” he said.
LeBeau smiled and nodded happily. “Do you really want to know, Schultzie?” he asked.
Schultz nodded eagerly. “It smells so good!” he exclaimed.
LeBeau stopped stirring and lifted something from the pot with the long wooden spoon. “I’m doing the laundry,” he said. “You smell our underwear!”
The barracks erupted in laughter as a look of shock appeared on the portly Sergeant’s face. “That is not funny!" Schultz exclaimed, his face reddening with embarrassment. “Now I say it is time for lights out!” He glared at the laughing prisoners and stomped out of the barracks.
When the door closed, the men stopped laughing. “Carter, watch the door,” Kinch ordered as he rose from the table and rushed to the bunk. He tapped the activator switch and watched as the bottom bunk rose to expose the tunnel entrance. He waited as he saw a figure climb up from below.
“Hi fellas,” the newcomer said.
“Captain Oboe!” LeBeau said. “We weren’t expecting you.”
The Captain waited as several others climbed from the tunnel below.
“It’s that time of the year again,” Captain Oboe said. “You remember Lieutenant Hutchins, Sergeant Bryan and Corporal Evans, don’t you?”
“Corporal?” Kinch asked. “Last year he was a private.”
“That’s true,” Captain Oboe said. “But he’s been good this year and I gave him his second stripe back.”
“Pity,” Newkirk mumbled.
Captain Oboe ignored the comment and clapped her hands together. “Let’s get to it. We have a lot to go over.”
“We’re not waiting for Colonel Hogan?” Carter asked.
Captain Oboe shook her head as she accepted a cup of coffee from LeBeau. “He won’t be joining us this evening,” she replied.
“You know this for sure?” Kinch asked.
“He’s still in that ravine,” Lieutenant Hutchins said, accepting her cup of coffee.
“I’d forgotten that,” LeBeau said, handing a cup to Sergeant Bryan. “He’s been there so long. Is anyone else joining us?” he asked. “Tiger? Marya?”
Sergeant Bryan shook her head. “Nope. It’s just us this year,” she replied. “The Captain figured that things would go faster if we had a smaller meeting.”
“Doesn’t seem to be working out that way so far,” Captain Oboe said, glancing over at Corporal Evans. “So let’s get down to business.”
“Excuse me, Captain?” Carter asked tentatively. When Captain Oboe nodded in his direction, he continued, “We’ve done this every year and we all know what to expect. Is it different this year?”
The Captain nodded. “There are a few differences,” she replied. “Gather ‘round.”
The men crowded closer to the table in the middle of the room.
“First off, the Hogan’s Heroes group has moved from the Smartgroups camp to the Yahoo Groups camp,” Captain Oboe said. “We found that the enemy had compromised the messaging system at Smartgroups and we couldn’t trust the communications.”
Kinch nodded. “They’ve stopped broadcasting altogether lately,” he replied.
“The second change is that we have yet another special category this year to replace last years Yankee Swap Challenge category,” Captain Oboe continued.
“What’s it called?” Newkirk asked.
“I’ll turn things over to the Lieutenant now and she’ll tell you,” Captain Oboe replied.
“Thank you, Captain,” Lieutenant Hutchins said, removing several sheets of paper from her jacket pocket and unfolding them. “Most of the categories are the same as the previous years. We’ll start with Best Drama.” She looked around at the group. “This is, of course, the story with the strongest, most compelling dramatic impact.”
“So if we get all emotional and weepy in a story, that’s a drama?” Carter asked.
“That would be a melodrama, Andrew,” Kinch said.
“Oh,” Carter said.
“The second category is Best Comedy,” Lieutenant Hutchins continued. “This should be obvious – the story with the funniest moment, or one that is most like the television series.”
“We’ve been in quite a few funny moments this past year,” Newkirk commented, causing several heads to nod in agreement.
“Good, then we shouldn’t have a problem with stories being nominated in this category,” Captain Oboe said. “Lieutenant, please continue.”
Lieutenant Hutchins nodded and read from her papers again. “The next category is Best Original Character,” she said. “This is for a character created for a story that you would have liked to see in the television series.”
“And characters like our friend Vladimir?” Kinch asked.
Lieutenant Hutchins shook her head. “I’m afraid not,” she replied. “If the character actually appeared in one television episode, it is not an original character.”
“But he was only in the first episode,” LeBeau said. “And we learned a lot more about the character from a couple of the stories this year.”
“But he was in an episode,” Lieutenant Hutchins said. “So he would qualify for the next category, which is Best Portrayal of a Canon Character. As you should know by now, a canon character is one that was created for the television series.”
“And that could mean a character that only appeared in one episode?” Newkirk asked.
“That’s right,” Captain Oboe confirmed. “It could mean the guest characters for each episode or regular characters like you.”
“I guess that leaves you out, Andrew!” Newkirk exclaimed. “You’re not quite regular!”
“Ha ha, Newkirk,” Carter said.
Lieutenant Hutchins cleared her throat to quiet the men down. “The next category is Best Crossover,” she said.
“Where we get to dress up like the Germans and the Germans dress up as prisoners, right?” Carter asked.
The barracks door opened and a well dressed man stepped into the barracks. “That is not correct,” the man said. “A crossover is where you take the characters from one television series and have them step into another dimension - A dimension where they will interact with characters and situations of another series or movie. A dimension such as …” The man paused dramatically. “The Twilight Zone.” After speaking, the man turned and left the barracks.
“What a strange man,” LeBeau said.
“The next category is Best Challenge,” Lieutenant Hutchins said. “This is a story that is written in response to a challenge or request from another author or reader or one that was communicated via the Yahoo Groups list or the FanFiction-dot-net website.”
“Did we have any challenges this year?” Kinch asked. “I don’t remember any.”
Lieutenant Hutchins shrugged. “Usually a challenge doesn’t expire,” she said. “So there may be stories written in response to challenges from previous years.”
“And you can tell a challenge story because the author will usually remark that it is response to a specific challenge,” Captain Oboe said.
Kinch nodded his understanding.
“Next we have Most Unique Story,” Lieutenant Hutchins continued. “This is a story with a unique plot twist, unusual writing style, very different point of view, or is just simply a very unique story.”
“We do tend to have some pretty unique stories,” Newkirk observed. “At least we haven’t had to deal with any of those blasted Pl…”
“Newkirk!” Kinch shouted. “Do not ever say those two words in the presence of that man!” He nodded towards Corporal Evans, who was sitting quietly on one of the bunks.
“Sorry, Kinch,” Newkirk apologized. “I nearly forgot about that.”
“Next we have Best Songfic/Poetry,” Lieutenant Hutchins said. “This is a story based on a song, or it could be alternate lyrics to a song, as we saw last year. This category also covers poetic compositions and things like that.”
She paused, expecting some sort of comment from the men. When none occurred, she went on, “The next category was a new one last year – Best German Language Story. This is a story that was written in the German language.”
“What if we don’t read German?” LeBeau asked.
“Occasionally, the German language stories are translated into English,” Captain Oboe said. “But if not, you should nominate and vote in this category only if you understand the language and can read the stories.”
The room was quiet, so Lieutenant Hutchins continued. “We’re down to the last three categories,” she said. “The next one is Best Short Story.” She looked around the room as she added, “And before someone makes a joke about LeBeau’s height …”
“Or lack of height,” Newkirk said with a laugh.
“Right,” Lieutenant Hutchins said. “Like that. This category is for stories that are five thousand words or less … and like the past couple of years, this mission briefing will not qualify.”
“I’m trying to be brief!” Corporal Evans exclaimed.
“A likely story!” Newkirk countered.
“That’s enough, you two!” Captain Oboe said. “We still have a couple more categories to get through. Lieutenant, please go on.”
“The next to last category is Best Overall Story,” Lieutenant Hutchins said.
“Oh, you mean the penultimate category?” Carter asked. He looked around the room proudly. “See, I remember that from last year!”
“Congratulations, Andrew,” Kinch said. “Now hush.”
“This category is for the story that, if anyone was only going to read one Hogan’s Heroes story, would be the one,” Lieutenant Hutchins said. “And now, the last category is something new this year.” She paused for dramatic effect.
“You’re doing that on purpose, aren’t you?” Captain Oboe said, turning to look at Corporal Evans. “All this pausing for dramatic effect and the interruptions to the reading of the categories.”
Corporal Evans shrugged. “It is moving quicker than it did last year,” he replied, pausing for a moment before continuing. “Besides, it’s the last category.”
Captain Oboe glared silently at her subordinate for a moment and then looked away. “Go ahead, Lieutenant,” she said.
“Since this is the fifth anniversary of the Papa Bear Awards and we didn’t have a special challenge this year,” Lieutenant Hutchins said, “we decided to come up with a category that will honor the overall best of the best overall stories.”
“Did you just go around in a circle?” Newkirk asked. “The overall best of the best overall? What kind of category is that?”
“It’s a category that will allow for the voters to choose the best of the previous four years worth of Best Overall stories,” Lieutenant Hutchins said.
“So there are only four stories to choose from here?” Kinch asked.
Lieutenant Hutchins shook her head. “No,” she said. “Any story that won a gold, silver or bronze medal in the previous four years in the Best Overall Story category is automatically nominated for this special category.”
“So these stories will be stories that were completed before this year,” Cater stated.
Captain Oboe nodded. “They will be from previous years and all of them will have placed in the Best Overall Story category,” she replied.
“What’s the name of this category?” LeBeau asked.
“Good question,” Lieutenant Hutchins responded. “I guess you could say it was the Fifth Anniversary Papa Bear Awards Overall Best Story category.”
“It doesn’t really flow off the tongue,” Kinch mumbled.
“I bet he came up with that name,” Newkirk said, pointing a finger towards Corporal Evans. “He’s just the sort of unimaginative person what would come up with a terrible category name like that.”
“Do you have any better ideas?” Corporal Evans shot back.
“Hogan’s History Book?” Carter offered.
“What about the Lifetime Escape Award?” Kinch asked.
“I know,” LeBeau said. “The Clean Getaway Award.”
“What a load of rubbish!” Newkirk exclaimed. “How hard can it be to find a name for a legendary getaway award?”
Captain Oboe slammed her hand down on the table, causing everyone in the room to jump. “That’s it!” She shouted. She held her hands in front of her, framing some invisible object. “This was the fic that couldn't be stopped. A fic whose appeal knew no boundaries, whose legend could not be caught...an inspiration to all fellow authors following in its footsteps. This fic is required reading for all new Stalag 13 personnel, and a well worn copy rests beneath the pillow of every seasoned pro. This is the best of the best...the fic that deserves the Legendary Getaway Award.”
The room was silent. Every man was staring at Captain Oboe, who had been waving her arms around ash she spoke. “Well?” she asked. “What do you think?
Kinch shrugged and began shuffling the cards.
“I suppose that would work,” Newkirk said. “If you can’t think of anything better.”
“What could be better?” Captain Oboe asked.
“A night in the cooler?” Carter offered.
“Carter!” Newkirk admonished.
“Oh, sorry,” Carter stammered. “I thought she was asking for more of our input.”
“I’ll leave you a list of the categories before we leave,” Lieutenant Hutchins said, hoping to get the meeting back on track. “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 in 2006. The story still must be available somewhere online to be eligible.”
“What about stories that were started last year?” Kinch asked. “There are some stories that were started in 2005 but were completed this year.”
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. And …”
“Can authors nominate their own stories?” Corporal Evans said from the bunk he was occupying.
“Blimey, he asks the same question every year,” Newkirk muttered. “It almost as if he’s afraid the rules will change and his stories will be left out.”
“Yes, authors can nominate their own stories if they wish,” Sergeant Bryan replied, hoping to drown out any reply from the Corporal.
“And the special fifth anniversary category?” Kinch asked.
“We have a list of the Best Overall medalists from the previous years,” Captain Oboe replied. “They are all automatically nominated.”
“Now for the voting process,” Sergeant Bryan said. “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.”
“Is the system still in place to check for voter irregularities?” Kinch asked.
Sergeant Bryan nodded. “Yes, it is,” she replied.
“And when can we start nominating and voting?” Carter asked impatiently. “I can’t wait to get started!”
“Nominations begin on January 1, 2007,” 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 February 15, 2007 and voting begins the next day.”
“How long does the voting last?”
“Voting will end on March 31, 2007,” Sergeant Bryan stated. “So you will have plenty of time to read the stories to make your nominations and cast your votes.”
“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.”
“You’ll let us know where to find the stories?” LeBeau asked.
Sergeant Bryan nodded. “I’ll leave the information with you,” she replied. “Any other questions?” The room was quiet.
“Excellent,” Captain Oboe said, rising from her chair. “It
seems that we did get through this a lot quicker this year. And now, if you men
will excuse me, I have to shuffle off to
Lieutenant Hutchins looked at Sergeant Bryan and Corporal Evans. “It must be the trapeze,” she said. “We should get going, but I don’t think I will bound toward the tunnel entrance.”
Sergeant Bryan shook her head. “Me either,” she replied. “What about you, Corporal?”
Corporal Evans shook his head. “No bounding from me either,” he replied. “But, I say we take our Happy Feet over to that furniture store on the way home. A burger and a movie would be good after this.”
Lieutenant Hutchins and Sergeant Bryan both nodded.
“A movie and a burger … at a furniture store?” Kinch asked. “Is that some new kind of code?”
The three visitors began laughing as they headed towards the tunnel entrance.
“Sergeant Kinchloe, you would have to see it to believe it,” Sergeant Bryan replied.
Text and original characters copyright 2006 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.