Chapter 4 - First, Do No Harm
December 29, 1954, about 5:35 AM
At the bottom of the bay that was its most primeval ancestral spawning site, the creature slept. Sleeping, it dreamed.
It saw nature's joy, when it, amphibian and omnivore, emerged. Perfect in all ways, survival and balance combined, it roamed the narrow Earth of old. Stronger than the tyrants. More flexible than the brachs. Smarter than the jumpers, who hunted in packs. Better armored by far than the spike-backs or ridge-backs. There were fewer of his kind, because fewer were needed.
In their case, simple birth meant survival over and against all comers. It settled in to be an herbivore, but nature had made it capable of eating anything. It loved its new child, and so told it to hide, deep, deep within her folds. The devil-star came, then, and wiped away nature's lesser children. The only other survivors were the bird-eggs, nestled within a series of volcanoes. There were stories, of course of turtles, hydras, and bugs, but who believes such fantastic nonsense?
When it awoke, its parent had its attention on the new child, fragile, and quite bratty. That new child caused the creature terrible pain. Now, one of that child's own children talked to its many-times great uncle. It had no use for the little one's words, but at least it was polite.
"Now, look! I don't know how I get here, but here I am! Godzilla, you gotta go away! This place isn't yours anymore! Please! I can only talk to ta you like I talk to my animals, but I know ya understand."
Radar O'Reilly had no idea how to consciously do what he was doing. Some might call it astral projection; others might say that an Immortal can do amazing things with the Quickening stored within them. Walter would simply say that he needed to try and talk to Godzilla. In another life, the creature might respond to the fervent pleas of young people ; but this was not that life.
Within O'Reilly's mind, a voice boomed : "I will be there for you, when you die, little one; Will you be there for me, when I die?"
Without hesitation, and waking up as he did, Radar said, "I promise."
It was only 6AM. No revelry, in these barracks. They were just another in a series of mistakes by the late General Tacken. No one had held a gun to their heads, and made them attend this reunion in doomed Tokyo. But, it could be honestly argued, that no one had expected any of this.
They hadn't expected first-class hotels. They hadn't expected 100$-a plate dinners. They hadn't expected use of the Tokyo Hilton. It was good that they hadn't expected this, because they got none of it.
The General decided on "nostalgia", which meant that they were staying there under conditions that roughly resembled those of the 4077th. Radar, who awoke to an empty barracks, suddenly found the mess food was not as tasty as he remembered. He joined his friends in the hall which did NOT look like his home of 2 years in Korea.
"Pierce! Hey, Pierce!"
Hawkeye never thought he'd be glad to see Colonel Victor Bloodworth. But the two's differences were in the past. Bloodworth had transferred out of casualty rate prediction, and he and Pierce even wrote each other on occasion. Hawkeye knew he was serving in Tokyo, but had absently hoped the man had been evacuated--for his sake.
"Heyy, Vic! Colonel Potter, you remember Vic Bloodworth?"
"Indeed I do! Colonel Bloodworth, I hope you don't want a rematch, with Pierce! Right now, we got bigger sea serpents to fry!"
"Hawkeye, didn't you tell your friends why I came? Colonel, he asked me here!"
Potter looked strangely at Pierce.
"Now, son! We're trying to get people OUT of Tokyo! We can't go, cause of the roads, and the air-sea route has a nasty troll waiting! But Colonel Bloodworth doesn't have to be here."
"Colonel, gather the other Doctors, plus Margaret, Kellye, Able, Baker, and Gwen! We'll need all the vets for this choice."
Potter knew this was coming, and so acquiesced. Gathered in a small anteroom, Pierce spoke to his friends.
"We can't get out. The shelters are overstuffed. If that thing comes out of the water, all we can do is vaguely hope it heads in the other direction. I'm not for that, myself. I say we make our stand."
Winchester did not understand.
"Besides stating the obvious, Pierce, I do not see what we would be making a stand against! Godzilla? Perhaps Zale and Rizzo can piece something together. We'll call it ...oh, I dunno, the SUPER X-JEEP? Or perhaps we'll just throw ping-pong balls at the Leviathan! That'll learn im! Stand, indeed!"
BJ did understand. Trapper took a moment, but the concept sank in rapidly.
"I'm with you, Hawk! God knows why, since I'd like to see my family again, but it beats standing around by a mile."
"I'm in, too! But you'll have to tell my wife Louise that I failed to show up for our counseling session because I got underfoot!"
The next answer was a complete surprise.
"I say we stay and help these people! Besides, as long as everyone has the good sense God gave them and stays clear of the beast, how many wounded could there be?"
"Thanks, Frank, but we'll get to that. Father Mulcahy, I'm only going to ask you as a formality-how about it?"
"Thank You, Hawkeye, but it is an unnceccesary formality. I'm afraid Tokyo is going to need a lot of prayer, and lose a lot of souls!"
"Now, before we continue, let me just apologze to the world's best nursing staff for never giving them enough credit. That's my ham-handed way of asking you if you will stay and help us in this very VERY dangerous place and time."
The veteran nursing staff turned and looked at one another, and then Kellye spoke.
"Since that beats MOST of your pickup lines, Doctor Pierce, we're staying. Besides, there are going to be patients here-many of them badly wounded! What the hell is being a healer about, if not that?"
"The Committee having voted yes, we now go to the floor. Colonel, it's all yours!"
Hawkeye hadn't asked Potter or Margaret; they would have socked him one for the insult.
Back in the main hall, Colonel Sherman T. Potter addressed a group of people who respected him, but who, for the most part, were under no obligation to obey his orders.
"So that's it, people. We can make a run for the hills, and maybe make it, or do what we do best-help sick people get better! There's no shame in wanting to leave, and I'll pulverize anyone who says otherwise. As the saying goes, we didn't sign on for this!"
A murmur rushed through the hall. It lasted a full 3 minutes. Max Klinger ended up saying what they all felt.
"Begging the Colonel's pardon, Sir! But last I checked, this is the 4077th! And the 4077th does not run! We do, on occasion, bug out, but not this time!"
As Klinger's words met with resounding acclimation, Major Houlihan started directing the sterilizing of the hall.
"All right, people! TWO mops in each hand, and don't spare the bleach! This place has got to be as close to germ-free as it gets! Surgeons! Join in, but wear three pairs of gloves, and NO heavy lifting!"
Potter, Pierce, and Bloodworth went back to the anteroom amid the bustle. Although under the worst possible conditions, the reunion was finally becoming memorable in a good way.
"What do you have, Vic?"
"Well, Pierce, I cobbled some old notes together and came up with this: Remember?"
Potter had been wondering why Pierce called Bloodworth; He now realized that, though a grim task, Bloodworth knew how to predict casualties. They would need such information, here.
"Hawkeye, while you and Vic confab, I gotta roust this base's medical supplies. If it were a full base, steada just an auxiliary, that wouldn't even be a problem!"
As Potter left, Hawkeye just said to Colonel Bloodworth, "Vic, are you sure?"
"I may not be able to do that job anymore, Doctor, but I was damned good at it when I did! I hope to God I'm wrong, Hawkeye, but...I think this is it."
"What was this scenario based on?"
"A next-to-worst-case scenario, just short of nuclear war. Our lines would break, Russia would be in chaos, and the Chinese would use both bacteriological and chemical weapons on a large scale. The result would be so many injured and dying that all medical facilities would be completely overwhelmed, within hours. The wounded would almost literally never stop coming. We even cobbed a name for it, God help us."
"Colonel Bloodworth, I'm not trying to start in, here. But, I have to ask one more time, are you certain?"
"It's all for real, Doctor. If Godzilla emerges from Tokyo Bay, we are looking straight down the barrel of The Endless O.R.!"
Armed with these grim facts, the 4077th made ready for something there was no preparing for.
That night, unable to sleep, Hawkeye and Margaret engaged in their favorite activity-that could be done in public, that is. Then, a sound of thunder.
"MMmh. Margaret, did the Earth move for you, too?"
"You're in rare form, tonight, Doctor! I really felt that one!"
Then, their eyes opened, and they looked towards Tokyo Bay, through the hall's front windows. The worst had occurred.
"Steady, people! This is what we've been waiting for! Though this son of Missoura could have honestly done quite nicley with a mite more waiting."
"Yea, though I walk through...Yea, though I walk...Oh, my! Oh, I can't remember the words! This is terrible!"
"Please, go back! This ain't none of it neccesary!"
"My Dad was in New York, back in 33'! Saw...Kong. That's why the McIntyres live on the West Coast, now! But the ape wasn't that big! How can anything be?"
"Beautiful Boston was in my thoughts at the 4077th; It's sweet image will see me through this, that I swear!"
"Tell Erin I loved her, Peg! She's gotta know that!"
All had comments; All had questions. Soon, all had their hands full. The creature's rampage, as it left the water, lasted only 15 minutes. But that was time enough for Godzilla to shrug off all weaponry, take out 5 buildings, and 1 very crowded suspension bridge. The initial toll : 100,000 persons dead or missing, perhaps 3 times that many wounded, many of them severely. For 12 hours, the hospitals in and around Tokyo were flooded. The 4077th was not. It was used to such nightmarish scenarios, and its staff knew how to process patients. But the 12 hours was solid, with no stops. They had operated for longer, but never on so many. Fractures, amputations, lacerations, all came and went in a blur. Only Pierce and Houlihan seemed unfatigued. This was something they would have reason to question-later. For now, though, they waded through the river of human bodies that was the first legacy of Godzilla : The Endless O.R.