Chapter 7 - Why Do The Birds Go On Singing?
Max Klinger spoke into the phone.
"Ok, Mr. Nash. Yes, sir. Dr. Hunnicutt is right here."
He handed the phone to BJ.
"Not too long, BJ. There's a call coming in that's big-time important."
"Gotcha, Max. Hello? Is this Russell Nash? Yeah, well...where do you get off showing a medical student how to use a gun? Really? He wasn't just there to rob your shop? Your HEAD? Are you an...Oh, you're the cousin Duncan was writing..."
BJ held his hand over the phone.
"He says someone named Kurt Gahn was looking for him, and only Hawkeye's having a pistol aimed right at his head drove him off. The guy taunted him, took swipes...but Hawk held his ground. Boy, with all we're finding out about each other, I wonder if Peg is keeping any secrets."
In fact, Peg Hunnicutt, like her half-sister Samantha and mother Endora, was a witch. But BJ was nine years away from finding that out.
"Hunnicutt--the phone, if you would."
Charles spoke to 'Russell Nash' now.
"Hello, Connor. Yes, its good to hear from you, as well. Forgive my friend. He's found out that Pierce and Potter have a dark side. Ye-hes, but he means well. As you well know from the Revolutionary War, the Winchesters have a great many paranormal operatives, ma-hainly to keep the Emperor from pulling any tricks before the Tournament. Now, this--Kronopoulis--has he found his way into any legends I should know of? I---see. Thanks muchly, Connor. While we're on, let me option that Renoir you cabled me about. Yes, good luck as well."
BJ was staring at Charles as he hung up.
"What--did he say?"
"Oh--the Renoir will be delivered for the customary fee. Its a lovely find, to be sure."
"NOT the Renoir! About Kronopoulis?"
"Oh, him. Yes. Well, the Padre had indeed called it right. 'Kronny' and his fellows of times past were the inspiration for four certain figures in the Gospel according to St. John, in particular, the parts concerning Revelations. It would seem, Beeej...that we should prepare for nuclear fires to light the sky. Pity. I would have thought better of Colonel Potter."
At that, Klinger slammed his book down.
"For your information, you're both wrong about the Colonel. He only threw in with Kronopoulis to keep him busy. HQ in Seoul called before all this kicked up. They arrested a group of tank commanders, who were bragging about going into China. Kronny's boys. Those fake tanks never got ordered. The Colonel is risking his life to save the world from that maniac, and all you two can do is sit in judgement over him. Only Captain Pierce and Major Houlihan believed in him, and I'm going to tell them right now that they were right to."
BJ was feeling low. Then, he felt lower.
"Oh, my God! Hawkeye and Margaret went after them."
Max lowered his head.
"Then they're all dead, now. The Colonel said--he was probably never coming back."
There was a noise from outside Klinger's office.
"Whoa! Did they already launch the bombs?"
The man facing Kitty Jarrod was in his sixties, but was fully possessed of the strength of the completely insane. He was Casper Okthovsky, and he was the one The Boys From Golgotha sent in to the town squares, to 'work' the crowds. The crowds were always a bit thinner, when he was done. He moved and laughed like a wildman.
By contrast, Kitty Jarrod was every inch the fighting Princess, trained by the best fighters of two worlds. A study in calm, she ignored both the crazy man and the four or five dead nurses and corpsmen he left in his brutal wake. As BJ and Charles watched her pummel the lunatic, big, beefy hands grasped their throats and began to squeeze. Charles noted Rizzo, gasping for air in the background, and hoped the crude man was not going to die.
"Everybody says I'm dumb. But they always die, and I keep on. Guess who's dumb?"
Klinger came out, phone-bag in hand.
"Call for Cyrus Marner!"
"Who's it from?"
"Your pal,Colonel Potter."
"Hey, we ain't just pals. We're the Boys From Golgotha! Brothers!"
Max took the bag, and socked Marner in the gut with it. His mouth went wide, and he dropped BJ and Charles. Klinger, angry over the death these people had brought to his camp, remembered something he had once threatened to do to Frank Burns. He kicked the still-gasping Marner, and stuffed something in his opened mouth.
"Hey, Cy? The Colonel sent me a message."
Max pulled the pin on the grenade and pushed Marner well away.
"You ain't BROTHERS!!!"
The grenade did its work, and Cyrus Marner was now truly brainless. Max waved BJ off.
"Don't look at me like that, Captain. I never took a Doctor's oath."
BJ looked at him still, though.
"Max, are you all right?"
"Not really. Maybe cause I never really killed anyone before. That--was disgusting."
Charles spoke up.
"Klinger---may it always be so for you--and for us all."
But killing was still on the mind of Casper Okthovsky. He made a last, desperate lunge for Kitty Jarrod, who leaped well over him, appearing almost to fly like Superman. As she landed behind him, she whipped out her metal fan, then sliced off his head, which fell after a moment. She did not smile at her victory. But this man had to pay for hurting her friends. Charles clapped, in appreciation of her skills, if not their result.
"Princess. A Flawless Victory."
Kitty looked around the compound, at the dead and wounded who had served with her. Good people all. The warrior in her could never shake off so grisly a sight, no matter how hardened she felt.
"Yes, Charles. But, I fear, all too many fatalities."
At Kronopoulis' base of operations, Potter girded himself for what had to happen next.
"Been meaning to ask you about Cassandra."
"Don't worry. She's good and tied up."
"Yeah, well, I'm more concerned about how she just happens to show up and start spouting right before you were waiting in my office. Quite the coincidence, wouldn't you say?"
Kronopoulis grinned. It was the endgame.
"Here's a coincidence, Potter. Right after we had completed our missions inside Germany, and the Krauts stopped targeting our hospitals, Pershing has men ready to arrest us. How did he know where we would be returning? Hmmm?"
Potter was nodding.
"I'll see that raise and call you. Only you won't like what I call you. It was you who told the Germans where those hospitals were. A Brit Double-Agent spilled the beans. Our whole mission was based on a damned lie!"
Kronopoulis was unimpressed.
"I did what I had to, to keep that war interesting. But you still broke your oath, soldier! We were The Boys From Golgotha. Remember our motto, Sherm? 'Get The Job Done'. We did, and the enemy quaked as we rode."
Sherman Potter was a man fully prepared to die.
"My oath to you was phony. Pershing sent me along with you three to keep you from doing too much damage. My only regret was that I couldn't always steer us clear of those towns and villages. I was never a traitor. I was a spy---for my country."
"Semantics. Anything else before judgement is rendered?"
He gritted his teeth, then spoke.
"You--are not the mystery man of the night. You--are not the dark side of man. You--are not a bold warrior who dares and strives. I don't care how old you are, or how much older you get---you are nothing more than a thug with delusions of grandeur. You kill people--people that a lot of times, did nothing to you at all. So to hell with you, and to hell with all this crap you spew about brotherhood. I had brothers during WW One--but you and your pet killers weren't them. I die with a clear conscience. I'll answer before God for my sins and my sins alone. Pray I don't get sent to Hell, Kronny. Cause I'll be waiting for you. Mark me on that."
Kronopoulis cocked the barrel of his gun.
"Consider yourself marked."
Then, Kronopoulis felt steel at his back.
"I'll kill him, Pierce. And I don't die so easily, you know."
"Well, gee, Kronny, you would be right about that---if I didn't know what you were. Head-Cheese, anyone?"
He dropped the gun.
"Pierce, Pierce. No code of honor, huh?"
Hawkeye saw Margaret go in to free Cassandra, and smiled.
"Ok, just this once. Go for your sword."
Despite Potter's pleadings, Hawkeye let Kronopoulis go for his scabbard.
"What the hell is this?"
Pierce was holding Kronopoulis' sword and had left the duplicate of Connor's sword in its place. Kronny laughed.
"Its not the sword makes the man, Pierce. But you wouldn't know anything about real men, would you? Hey, Sherm, don't play with the missle! It could go off."
Potter stood by the missle, and punched a hole in it. It was a construct. A phony.
"I know people too, Kronny. The fake tanks never got ordered. So HQ swiped your Freud-type toy and left this in its place. In other words, maniac, you've been royally had!!"
His face was red with rage. Wildly, Kronopoulis swung at Pierce. He ducked. Kronny's European accent was back now, for good.
"Fight, damn you Pierce! What moron taught you how to wield a sword, anyway?"
Another gamble on Hawkeye's part.
"A gent by the name of...Macleod."
If they all thought Kronopoulis couldn't get any angrier, they were wrong. He swung in an even harder arc, now.
Hawkeye really only knew one basic movement--how to safely block another sword. Using his purloined saber, he did that now. The sword that Kronopoulis wielded--the duplicate of Connor Macleod's kitana---smashed into a thousand pieces. Pierce sliced his guts, and ran him through. Stavros Kronopoulis fell. Potter stared dumbfounded.
"Hawkeye--what--how--that sword of yours--"
Pierce could barely stand. His heart felt like it was about to leave his chest.
"Connor likes me. But not well enough to give me an expensive sword. Do you know how much it would cost to even make a reasonable working facsimile of that monster? That duplicate was ceremonial. For all its luster and sharpness, it may as well have been an antique vase."
Potter then looked below, and saw Kronopoulis was gone. Pierce almost didn't mind, not knowing whether he could have finished the job, and not really caring to find out. Then, a shot came from where Margaret and Cassandra were. Worriedly, the two men ran, hoping that Kronopoulis was not about. He wasn't. Margaret kneeled before the still form of Cassandra Weiskopf, who had taken her own life.
"I untied her, then she punched me and grabbed my sidearm. She was dead before I knew it. I'm sorry, Pierce."
As he mourned the sick woman who was his first love, Hawkeye held and was held by the woman who would one day agree to become his beloved wife. But certain memories would stay with them both. Potter reached over and closed Cassandra's eyes.
"Cass--you and The Boys are done. Rest easy, Madchen. I hope the kids can forgive you. I hope you--can forgive me."
The day had been a wild one. Wild, and savage. But at the 4077th M*A*S*H*, forgiveness found a way to rule the day.
ONE MONTH LATER..........
"No, Pierce isn't here, Connor. I sent him and Houlihan, and Hunnicutt and the Padre to fetch some healing herbs from this local Buddhist monastery. I don't think we'll ever forget that day. Poor Cass. She was such a pitiful girl, despite all she'd done. No, I have to feel for her. Y'see, Pierce and my Mildred and all the others will forgive me, eventually. But I feel like I have to keep that poor sick girl in mind. If I don't, then, she just drifts off--and becomes one of a thousand regrets, Macleod. Just one of a thousand regrets."
Potter hung up the phone, at that, and suddenly the faces of those he had been forced to kill for the sake of his country haunted him as they had so often before. Hawkeye Pierce had been right. In his heart, Sherman T. Potter was not a killer.
But for now, that thought lent him no comfort.
FORTY-TWO YEARS LATER.........
"You are certain Silas is in this remote place?"
"Quite certain. So did you seek revenge upon Potter?"
"He was mortal. Hardly worth it."
"Of course, the thought that Pierce and Houlihan's super-abilities kicked in not long thereafter had to help dissuade you."
"You wrong me, Brother. Actually, Sherman Potter continued to impress me. He and his band of misfits were in Tokyo when the first Godzilla emerged. Crazy old man drove a jeep straight at him. My legacy, Methos. My Boy From Golgotha rode straight for the Modern Dragon. He tried to deny it, but that was my influence, enabled him to do that. I'm merely glad we're together again, 'Doctor Adams'. Now things will truly be as they were."
"Of course, Brother. I would never betray you."
Two weeks later, as his head came free of his body, the Immortal known as Calvin Ixion, Melvin Koren, Stavros Kronopoulis, and Kronos Of The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse would not curse the name of his slayer, Duncan Macleod. The only names in his mind were Methos and Potter, two brothers who showed him the back of their hands, and to whom loyalty meant nothing, in his view of the world.
For the record, Sherman Potter was not waiting for the leader of The Boys From Golgotha.
"Cassandra Weiskopf is only very loosely based on the Cassandra of 'Highlander : The Series'. Since she is a figure of contention among HL fans, let me state clearly that I do not think she has the problems the character in this story does. In my stories, including this one, Cassandra the Immortal is the wronged party, and would never harm children. She and Cassandra Weiskopf are separate characters."