Part Seven - the next morning.
It was a strange sight that met Nurses Able, Kellye and Baker the next morning. They where on the way to the showers when they saw the jeeps Come in. Three jeeps to be precise. "We are not expecting any Brass are we?" Asked Nurse Baker. "I don't think so. Major Houlihan would have said something wouldn't she? Besides is that not someone in a straight Jacket" Said Kellye. "Oh My that's Captain McIntyre with Major Freedman!" Exclaimed Nurse Able. Indeed it was. Coronal Flagg had been brought back in a jeep with a M.P. Donald Penobscott had been escorted back in the second Jeep, Complete with straight jacket by another three M.PS and the third jeep was driven by Trapper John and a sleeping Sidney Friedman. They had all met each other at a road block and had been forced to go the long way around. "Well I am sure it will become apparent what's going on around here when we are meant to know" Commented Kellye. "Like we will ever know what's happening around here!" Joked Nurse Able and with that the trio headed for their planned shower. On the way they passed the swamp were Igor, Zale and Klinger were busy cleaning it up after the previous night activity. They had just finished in Their CO's office and Radar's office. After that they where going to clean up Major Houlihans tent. Inside the swamp Klinger was struggling to set up another two Cots for Frank and John, "Its alive!" he Commented as he freed himself for the three-D time in a minute much to the amusement of his Companions.
The jeeps where met by Radar, Margaret and the four resident surgeons. Wordlessly Trapper and Sidney followed BJ and Hawkeye into Sherman's office. Radar carried there stuff over to there respective guest rooms. Margaret escorted the others over to the Mess tent where the grateful M.PS grabbed something to eat. That was till they ate it! "What is this stuff, its fowl" Commented one, "That's what we got told it was, goose apparently!" was Margaret's mild reply. After a while she joined Hawkeye, Charles, BJ, Father Mulcahy, Trapper Sidney and Sherman in his office.
"Captain McIntyre I assume" said Sherman.
"Not Captain anymore" he answered with a lazy grin "I left the army when I got discharged. I prefer to think of myself as a civilian helper now!" He offered his hand out to Sherman whom accepted it. He also looked Confused. "I have my own practice back home now. The army send them home and I patch them up when they get to me." He offered with a shrug.
"I thought you said you had the misfortune of working with ferret face and Penobscott" Hawkeye mused. He was awkward around his former best buddy since he never said goodbye.
"I do. I sometimes work with Frank at the local veteran's hospital. Donald often ends up there" He glanced at Margaret before Continuing " we all met at a mental institute back home!" he said looking at his feet. He did not want to see the reaction on his former workmates faces. Damn I should not have said that! He chided himself. He turned to Hawkeye "that's why I never got in touch. I wanted to forget about this place and you got caught in the rush." Everyone in the room stared at each other shuffling there feet awkwardly. Hawkeye in a rare moment of seriousness simply said "We'll have to talk about that later!"
Coronal Potter cleared his throat. "Sidney there's some people I want you to speak to" With that he motioned that Sidney and BJ should follow him out of the office. "One of them is strictly off the record for now. " With that BJ and Sherman explained about what happened with Radar the previous night. Afterwards Sidney looked shocked. Radar was one of the most together kids he knew. However he asked "off the record?". Sherman nodded. "I also would, time permitting , like you to speak to our three unexpected guests we had last night. That would be on the record " Sidney looked worried. "We are swamped with M.PS if you want some nearby . Radar's over in the VIP tent waiting for you" With that Sidney left to talk to Radar. BJ and Sherman walked back into the latter's office.
As BJ walked back into the office he noticed Trapper and Hawkeye looked chummy, even after was previously said. BJ glanced at his watch, they had been talking to Sidney for 15 minutes but things seemed different now. Now that Trappers back even for a few days where does that leave me? Snap out of it BJ. They where best buds when they got sent out here and I can't claim Hawk all to myself. Its nice that they are getting on so well despite what happened. Charles noted BJ's awkward look around Trapper and Hawkeye with interest. However he also found it odd that Hawkeye had not noticed there bunkmates discomfort as did Margaret. She decided a word with BJ may be in order later.
"Now I have one problem solved Could you please tell me why you're here? Sherman's question was directed to Trapper.
"Sure. Hey where's Frank?" He replied.
"His still asleep" Replied Margaret.
"Sounds about right. Okay basically I have been working with Frank, helping out at the veteran's hospital. One day he received a call from Penobscott whom was in the mental hospital. Penobscott had mentioned bringing his girl back." Margaret looked annoyed at that." At any Cost. Frank to his credit calmly asked what he meant and he mentioned Coming to Korea to bring his girl back home. Well that's what Frank let slip later when he was drunk. Anyhow Frank came off the phone and he looked shaken. I didn't think anything of it. That was until we are all having a drink after work and Frank asks he could have a word. Now I thought that was strange. He changed since he got out of the institute but not as much as for us to be more than work Colleagues. Anyways he shows me this letter Donald had sent him taunting him because, well I think you can all work it out a bit quicker than I did. When Frank's wife left him they had gotten worse. It sent him back to the mental ward for a while, totally knocked him for six. It was whilst he was in there he found out that Donald's girl actually meant a daughter."
"What?" Was almost everyone's response. However Margaret was understandably angry. "He had a daughter. How old?" "Around about two years old. She was born to a Korean washer woman" Margaret now looked really upset. Whereas Hawkeye, the padre or Sherman would normally be the ones to placate her when she was mad it was Charles and BJ who put a calming hand on her shoulder. Pierce did not react at all to that, did not move forward anything, well that is a turn out for the books!" Charles thought.
"He had a daughter and didn't tell me. She was born and existing and he never bothered to tell me she existed." Margaret sobbed. She turned round and buried herself into the nearest person. Unfortunately for the immediate future for the friendship of Hawkeye and BJ it happened to be the latter. He dug out a tissue and put his arms round her offering some Comfort. That bugs me. His a married man and its just wrong. Hawkeye thought irrationally. It bugs me that it bugs me to! Was his next thought.
"Wait let me finish please. Trapper said. Frank also found out that Donald had this illusion that it was all going to be happy families no matter what. A few days later Frank resigned his Commission and left the hospital. He found out that Donald had broken out of his ward and was using his military Connections including Flagg to get here. Frank I guess gives chase."
"Whoa last night you mentioned something about this only being stage one?" Sherman pointed out.
"Yeah from what I gathered you folks found out about that part oh so well last night. Well stage two involved a horse a note and a syringe. I am not too clear how the are Connected though"
"A note!" exclaimed Hawkeye.
"A syringe" remarked BJ. Then something came back to him "I took a one of Flagg last night. I put it in your desk draw during the Commotion." Sherman checked and pulled out the aforementioned syringe out of the draw. Hawkeye produced an envelope from his pocket. "I took this of Donald last night alongside a grenade. What happened to that anyways" He asked as he tossed the note on the desk. "Oh that. It got passed on to the appropriate people. Our soldier had a visitor from his regiment last night whom took it to be destroyed." Sherman said. "Sealed up in a box!" Margaret, seeing the envelope was addressed to her finally Composed herself and retrieved the note. "What I don't understand is how Flagg is involved" said the padre scratching his head.
"That's easy. Donald simply told him that if he helped him then he would get proof that there was Communist sympathiser in camp. Well you the CO and Radar to be exact. He planned to hide some propaganda in a horse's paddock."
"How do you know all this?" BJ asked in a neutral tone. It seems strange that he does, there has to be a logical explanation for it though. BJ thought.
Is he questioning Trappers motives or is he curious? I have to admit that I am to though. Thought Hawkeye.
"Long story cut short, he wrote it down. I was called in to examine him one day and got a look. I was not sure what to believe but non the less I tried to get through to someone here to let them know. The postal system was to unreliable, had no joy through official army channels. I thought about Contacting Hawkeye's dad and seeing if he Could have any look but thought against it when the phone lines went down in crab apple Cove. By this stage both Frank and Donald had gone. I finally go some joy via the head of the veteran's hospital that knew people and got me here. A little too late to stop any damage from happening though I guess." He pulled up a chair and slumped gloomily into it. Everyone looked around the room not sure what to say or do or even believe in Charles and BJ's cases. However Margaret used the opportunity to open the note from Donald . She had looked shaken during Trappers rendition of what had happened. In fact she was shaking so hard that BJ noticed. After reading the letter she looked horrified. She felt he knees go week and promptly then Collapsed. Lucky for her and the drinks cabinet Charles and BJ caught her in time. Sherman took one look at her and his mind was made up on a cause of action. "Go take her back to her tent and make sure she is okay." He said to BJ. That request set Hawkeye's teeth on edge, something that everyone else cottoned on to that time. "Hawkeye Could you find me Klinger and send him over to me. Padre could you see how Sidney is getting on and if he is finished then send him to see Frank. Charles if you would not mind checking how Frank is and then possibly accompany our guest over to the swamp. I am sure you will find something in Common. I suspect you would like to get some rest" He said to Trapper. "Now that you mention it that would be nice" He responded trying to stifle a yawn. "I just wonder where I Could get a drop of anti-freeze"
BJ chose that point to take Margaret home and Charles went into post op. everyone else however answered "the still that you helped create."-with that they all went to there various tasks chuckling.
Sherman picked up Donald's note to Margaret. It was a short and Concise note but after he glanced at it he understood Margaret's horror. He put it down, took another belt of whiskey and then began to read it out loud softly to himself.
"Dear Major Houlihan
my darling I know I treated you wrong during our time of matrimony. However I am not sorry, whether or not anyone admits it all men do exactly the same thing. In fact you really have not seen anything yet. My child needs a mother and I believe you will be ideal. This is after all a reasonable request, however one way or another I know that you will see reason and agree to what I want.
He then remembered about the needle. He picked it up and looked at it. In it was a clear watery substance. He was pondering what it could be when Klinger walked in.
"You wanted to see me sir." He said as he approached Sherman's desk.
"Ah yes Klinger. First of all I want you to get into something close to a uniform. Then I have some jobs for you. I want you to take over Radar's duties for a while. First I want you to go look over in Sophie paddock for anything that should not be there. COmprende?""
"Almost sir. What type of things should I be looking for that shouldn't be there?"
Klinger looked puzzled. What the hell would that type of stuff be in her Paddock for. Geez it must be serious if he is trusting me to be in there! He never voiced that thought out aloud though. Instead he said: "Yes sir. May I ask a question?"
"Make it quick" Was his CO's gruff reply.
"How is Radar? I never seen him act like he did last night before ever. The closest was that haunted look he had when he had to deliver the news of our former CO's untimely death." Klinger sounded worried.
"I feared that. To be honest I am worried about him. That's why I want you to fill in for him whilst we find the root of that behaviour. However not a word about this to anyone!" The CO was all business.
"Yes sir" Klinger said as he exited to follow his CO's orders.
Sherman picked up the needle and went back to pondering. Charles suddenly came bursting through the door , his usual angry expression on his face.
"Sir I need to talk to you!" Charles said.
Aw hell. What about this time? Sherman thought. "Winchester, what is it now?"
"Its Burns. That imbecile is trying to treat the patients. Trying being the operative word. That man has the surgical skills of a chimpanzee!" Was Winchesters reply.
Pretty good assessment Winchester though not said as eloquently as you usually put it."Okay. I will deal with it. He can't cause that much harm to them. However there is something you can do for me. I would like you to determine the Contents of this. Hunnicutt wrestled it off Flagg last night." Winchester took the offered needle who looked disgusted . "Enlist the services of a Nurse if you have to. I want to know ASAP got it?"
"Yes sir." Winchester meekly said as he exited. The Coronal suspected that those unfortunate enough to be in the swamp that night would have to listen to him Complaining. However Winchester was the best man for that particular job. He got up with a sigh and went to check on Franks latest escapades.