Chapter 5 - You Must Tell Me, Sergeant, For I've Never Killed Before
Potter's tone, while brusque, was far less vague than Cassandra's. Margaret was beside herself with heartache. The dear old man she had almost worshipped as the perfect balance between military discipline and the real world had once been a barbarian. Cassandra, with whom she would normally be swapping Pierce stories, seemed little more than a child molester. The world was rapidly losing whatever balance it had left.
"Colonel, how much of what Cassandra said is true?"
Potter bit his lip.
The Colonel allowed the murmurs to continue, as Max Klinger entered the tent. Max turned and spoke to Hawkeye.
"Captain, your call to New York is ready. Can't keep the line for long, though."
Potter was surprised to see Hawkeye get up.
"Let me get this straight. You'll sit for the prosecution, but not for the defense? Blast it, Pierce, let me explain myself!"
Hawkeye gathered his courage for the next statement.
"Sherman, I believe in you. Barring something on the level of one of the Nazi camps, I'm not going to stop believing in you. I'll hear what you have to say, later. Because I know it will just back up what I've always known about the greatest man I've known after my father."
Cass was all angry silence. Potter didn't smile, but one could tell the affirmation helped. But Pierce did not go unchallenged in his faith.
"Pierce! Wha-hat do you call over two thou--send civilians? The witch trials of my dear Massachusetts pale in comparison. 2000 places him near the level of those camps...."
Cass got up and shouted.
"THERE WERE NO CAMPS!! THAAT IS ALL WELL KNOWN TO BE ISRAELI PROPAGANDA! YOU AMERICANS WISH TO FORGET WHAT YOU DID TO THE INDIANS, SO INSTEAD YOU HELP THE JUDEN....."
When both Margaret Houlihan and Kitty Jarrod stood up, hands balled into fists, the propaganda lady fell silent. Hawkeye looked at Winchester.
"Charles, I call what he did war. I don't like it, in fact I hate it. But I have to be who I am, and who I am believes in this man."
Potter walked outside with him and stopped Pierce.
"Thank You, Son. But Why?"
"Colonel, I don't know. Part of it is that, now that I think about it, I've heard these charges against you before. Remember Adams at the 8063rd?"
"Yeah. Kronny...is looking for him."
"He got loaded one night, and started saying how he was Immortal, over 5000 years old. More, he said that you rode with a 'brother' of his. I talked to Sidney--he confirmed it. Colonel--Kronopoulis is a bad number. Get away from him. Stay away from him."
Potter shook his head.
"Hawkeye--I took an oath. Gave my word. I have to see this through."
"To what--World War Three? That is what he's planning."
"To come what may, Pierce. I took an oath."
"In my life, I've trusted two older people who were not my parents. You know what Cass did to me. With that statement, you've just done the same thing. Only she's insane, Colonel. What's your excuse?"
Potter went in to resume his story, and Hawkeye took his call.
"Hawkeye Pierce here."
"Russell Nash-Nash Antiques--oh, hi, Hawkeye! Heh! The cousin wrote me about meeting up with you. You still in Korea?"
"Uh, yeah--Russ. Mr. Nash."
"Its okay, Hawkeye. Any man who held The Kurgan back at gunpoint has certainly earned the right to call me Connor Macleod."
"Thanks, Connor. Listen, what can you tell me about dealing with a guy named Kronopoulis?"
Hawkeye heard glass shatter on the other end of the line.
"Stay put, Pierce. I'll contact my kinsman and we'll----"
"No, you stay put! Connor, Kurgan's been sighted in Tokyo. You ready to face him?"
"Give me a few decades. Hawkeye, I've heard rumors about this Kronopoulis. Rumors that make Kurgan seem like my adopted daughter. Steer clear. I forgave part of your medical school loan in exchange for you sticking to medicine. You're not one of us. You were a quick learner, but... "
"Oops. Line's gone dead. Talk later, Connor."
Pierce hated doing that to his former employer, but his path was rather clear. He went to his footlocker, and pulled out something he kept very well hidden. It was his last year's birthday present from Connor.
"Well, they always tell me I'm a good cutter."
While not possessing the power or majesty of the original, the little boy in Pierce grinned at the sight of the duplicate of Connor's katana sword, a legacy from Juan Ramirez. He placed it in his hand to gather his resolve. He then pulled it away and looked at his hand.
"Y'know, this thing is sharp! Owwww!!!"
His hand shook, and not merely from the cut.