Chapter 3 - What's Mine Is Yours, and Tokyo Bay Is Mined!
Shortly after 2AM , December 29, 1954
At different places and on different levels, the city of Tokyo was preparing for a possible assault by the mutated dinosaur known as Godzilla. They knew nothing of it, except that it was big, and that anything that big in a crowded city of eight million souls was bad news. The news would simply get worse, leading some to ask questions. Some questions, and some answers were more worthwhile than others. In the face of a disaster that no city planner had made contingincies for since the Hyborian Age, however, all q's and a's seemed SOL. Much as Tokyo itself would soon be. For all this, the questions continued to be asked, with much vigor.
"What do you mean, they can't transport us out? It was easy enough for them to put their hand in our face, and get us into Tokyo! It was stunningly easy to put us up in unused barracks, and give us this stellar cuisine! When it came to running interference against us running our own reunion, there was no trouble! But now? Wait a minute, guys! Now we have a problem! With all respect, Colonel, we want to go home! Strike that. We want to go BACK home! All of us CIVILIANS, the dumb jerks who gave in at this dumb jerk's-my-request! I owe these people an apology, and the Army owes us all a ride stateside!"
Hawkeye Pierce was, as always, more than somewhat brusque toward and disrespectful of authority, even if that authority's hold over him had technically expired. He retained his ability to raise his old Co's dander, and casually bring the crowd to his way of thinking. But in this case, he was also completely correct. Problem was, there was not a damned thing Colonel Sherman T. Potter could do about it. He wanted to desperately, but he had no authority here.
From the start, all their authorities, rights and priveleges had been tramelled. A small get-together of steaks, wine, and companionship, with the biggest problem being screaming little ones, bored out of their minds. That was the plan.
Sherman respected the Army, both the institution and the people. He knew it was no coincidence that so many of America's greats had served in the United States Military. He knew Harry Truman would do well as FDR's successor, because he had served with the man in WW1. You learned who people were, under such adversity. But the institution he loved so well sometimes caused him to have an opinion of it so low, it made Pierce's tirades seem like The Star Spangled Banner. He was the first to admit, that when the army was wrong, it was wrong. When it set out to be wrong, though, things usually went way wrong. This was seven of those times.
"Hawkeye, everyone, I'm sorry. That's all I can tellya is, I'm sorry! The transport we used to get here is unavailable, now. Until they locate and depth-charge that economy-sized lizard, only certain people are leaving. Now, the good news is, the Japanese Self-Defense Force is pretty sure that they can, using the charges, kill Godzilla."
Trapper John spoke next.
"Not to be a wet blankie, Colonel, but exactly what is the bad news? More chipped beef? Where is that Tacken character, anyway? I want to give him a piece of my mind, if I can spare it!"
"Sorry, McIntyre! Tacky and certain other high-ranking officials are set to leave Tokyo---on the next available plane, and before any of you ask, YES, it is the plane we all came in on, packed like sardines. But that's not the bad news. The bad news is, that, should the depth-charges fail...the US forces in Asia will be unable to act against Godzilla. Seems that China and the two Koreas are acting antsy with one another, and things are pretty tense, over there. The public story is that any movement of US forces might be seen as an act of war."
Now Margaret Houlihan asked her question.
"Colonel, how can that be? Japan can't defend itself against an Atomic Dragon, for pity's sake! Can't the Army send a small force to back up the SDF?"
"No, Major. None. Not even a consultant. You see, the private story is pretty nasty. I spoke to your General friend, Pierce. The guy from the Peace Talks, remember? He clued me in to the real deal, and like I'm sayin', it ain't pretty!"
Hawkeye did remember the one General he had ever really liked, and the way the man had excused Pierce's barging in to the Peace Talks at Panmunjon.
"What did he have to say, Colonel? I mean, I'm not big on tanks and bombs, but in the face of Godzilla, it seems to make sense!"
The assembled crowd in the overstuffed hall shifted once again. A good reunion with some bad moments was rapidly losing all remaining luster.
"Brace yourself, folks! He told me that the 3 countries in question are all working together to make damned sure US forces do NOT enagage the monster! Despite their differences, the two Koreas are of one mind on this, and China's with them."
BJ Hunnicutt merely shook his head, at that loathsome notion.
"Colonel, that doesn't make sense! What do they want, anyway? Why wouldn't those 3 countries want Japan's capital to survive? If that thing is 200 foot, then it could cause damage like we've never seen, just by doing a walkthrough!"
Radar interrupted, "Uh, I heard on the radio they think it's really more like 175 feet, BJ!"
Just to release tension-and there was a lot of it-Hawkeye shot back, "Well, what's 25 feet between fiends?"
Potter took in his breath before answering further. What he had to say next troubled him deeply.
"It is currently believed that these 3 countries, which were hurt badly by Japan not too long ago, still want revenge for the goings-on during the Big One. I use the term "goings-on" quite loosely, because we forget what the Axis powers did, back before we put paid to Tojo and Uncle Adolf. Those folks have legit gripes, but this is a helluva time to be tryin' for payback. So, bottom-line, no US troops!"
Frank Burns raised his hand, and Potter acknowledged.
"Uh, people? We're all being worry- warts! I mean, depth charges can poke holes in submarines! How can this--this-thing-possibly survive that?"
Wishful thinking is a wholly human trait, not limited at all to Frank Burns. Within the hour, the Reunion had resumed, and Radio Tokyo announced the operation had been a success; Best evidence showed that the depth charges had killed Godzilla, lying there in Tokyo Bay. A grateful city slowly came back to life.
But a bespectacled young man merely stared out at the Bay, knowing what was still out there. In favor of his nerves, though, even Hawkeye did not pay attention to Radar's brooding, which turned into his falling asleep in a chair. The former company clerk mumbled in his sleep.
"Darnit...know you're out there... whaddya mean, this is your place?...Hey, I didn't drop nothin on ya, ya big creep...No, ya shouldn't! That plane! It's got generals and other big people! DON'T! PLEASE, IN THE NAME OF GOD! WHAT's THAT COMIN FROM YOUR MOUTH! STOP IT!!!!!!"
Faster than anyone could see, Hawkeye was by Radar's side. Even he wondered how he moved that quickly, but was more concerned about his young friend.
"Radar! Wake Up! C'mon, pal, you're just having a nightmare!"
Shivering, O'Reilly looked around. He was no longer at the bottom of Tokyo Bay. But he didn't feel any better for it.
"It wasn't a nightmare, Hawkeye! Colonel, Godzilla just killed the people on that plane. The one with the General who set up this dumb reunion. I tried to stop him, but I failed ya! I'm so sorry, Colonel!"
Potter didn't wish to embarass himself or Radar, but knew that the lad must be tormented by images of planes crashing. Henry Blake had been like his father. The Colonel briefly let Radar cry on his shoulder, then spoke.
"Walter---I know how ya felt about Colonel Blake, but it was just a dream! Godzilla is dead, Son! Tacky and his band of wastrels are probably on Okinawa, figuring out ways to get around the promise I got from him, not to do this again! It's all right! Really!"
Radar just sat down in his chair and shook his head.
"You're wrong, sir! All of you are! It wouldn't matter if our guys were here! If everybody's army was here! We ain't got nothin' that can stop Godzilla! Nothin' at all! He's hurtin' and he's comin here to make sure everybody else hurts, too!"
Before some unkind remarks could be made, Max Klinger stepped in.
"You're crazy, Radar! Look, we're pals, right?"
"I spose so, Max."
"Sure we are! One, you're still one big ache from your wife ditching you on your honeymoon! If Soon-Lee left me, I wouldn't need a dress! They'd know I was nuts! That little vixen hurt my pal, and I ain't forgivin' that, ever! You just need time! It's her loss, not yours! Two, if that oversized iguana shows its face here, I'll betcha six shots from a 46mm cannon on some destroyer sends him to Dinosaur Heaven. Who knows, maybe he'll even get caught in traffic, stuck on the bridge! C'mon, lighten up! You're around nearly all the people that love ya, ya dope!"
Max's efforts were goodhearted, but wrongheaded, opening an old wond as it did. Only Radar's mentor, Sydney Freedman, knew that the former Mrs. O'Reilly had left her husband upon finding out that he would always be 21, while she grew older and died, as most mortals tend to. It was one of a couple of handfuls of drawbacks to the life of an Immortal. Sydney also knew, as did Potter, and the Padre, that Radar's senses were not just vague feelings. If the current Ottumwa police officer felt the creature's presence, then it was alive. As it then demonstrated.
"Hey, Hawk, BJ! You catchin this? Is that a crane out in the water?"
"If it is, it's awful close to that cruise ship! Noisy,too! Wait a minute, Peg's brother owns a construction company, and cranes...don't have arms! Do they? Trapper? Hawk?"
Hawkeye Pierce said nothing. The moonlight, where he was standing, afforded him an unparalleled view of Godzilla. Years later, a shadowy, psychotic figure with a fondness for Cigarettes would try to intimidate Pierce into cooperating with him and his unspeakable agenda. Having viewed a creature straight out of Revelations, though, Hawkeye just didn't scare that easy.
Potter just held his head down and said, "Go with God, Tackey. Maybe the man upstairs can use a planner." Charity aside, Potter could not bring himself to say, 'A good planner'.
Their sleep in the uncomfortable barracks was fitful, at best. Nightmares were not uncommon. The city of Tokyo faced one that was very real, in the form of Godzilla. In the late morning, the medics would face an awesome decision.