Summary: Chapter Two: Alex talks to Hawkeye and BJ more and Meg gives Potter a revelation.
Notes: Thanks to Nertz to You, Golden Phoenix, fragmentpieces, SummerSunshine, and bluesparkle123 for reviewing, I appreciate it! I made a mistake on where the Canadian army wears its rank insignia. The insignia is actually sleeves that go on the flap on the top of the shoulders.
Chapter 2: Of Colonels and Surgical Skills.
'Good God...How long can they stay on one subject for?' Alex thought, tapping her fingers in annoyance on the arm of her chair. She and Meg had been sitting in Colonel Potter's office for two and a half hours, only ten minutes of which had actually been used to go over Meg's and Alex's Files. Potter had made the stupid mistake of mentioning that he had served in World War II, and Meg had pounced on the opportunity to start asking questions.
After the very familiar first twenty minutes, Alex had stopped listening and had started to let her thoughts wander towards other subjects; food, drink and sleep for example. Keeping up the pretense of supposed military hierarchy had exhausted her, both mentally and physically. Her drunken escapade from the previous night was also catching up with her. She wanted nothing more than to choke down some food (powdered or otherwise), knock back a few shots of vodka, and fall onto the nearest hard cot she could find.
She must have looked like she was wandering because Potter directed a question at her.
"What do you think Major?" he asked. Alex's jumped slightly, looking more and more foolish by the second.
"Sorry sir, what do I think about what?" she asked, blinking furiously.
"War. What is your opinion on it?"
"On the record or off?"
"Which ever you prefer." Potter said. Alex heard Meg whispering "On... on" forcefully under her breath. Alex shrugged.
"Its not the nicest experience in the world." She said softly, starting to hear the thoughts that wanted to just pop out of her mouth cascade around her skull. "And I definitely believe that we could do without it in the world." Potter smiled at her as she struggled not to go on. "But it's against human nature to be at peace. We need war to be happy, whether we call it or war or not." Meg sighed obviously beside her. "And I'm gonna shut up now..." She smiled in embarrassment at Potter. He just stared at her, as if thinking what move to make next. In response Alex looked out the small window in the back corner of the room
"The shelling has stopped," she said quietly still attempting to deflect the attention from her to something else.
"Yes they have," Potter said, shuffling the files on the desk. "Well I guess that you should both get settled in."
"Sir," Meg cut in, "Can I talk to you in private for a moment?"
"Of course," Potter replied. Both Meg and Potter looked at Alex.
"I get the point..." Alex said, sighing and standing up. She saluted both Potter and Meg before turning on her heal and stalking out of the room. Meg sighed deeply, shrinking into her chair. Alex had completely worn her out.
"Your cousin is a fire cracker Colonel." Potter said smiling.
"You have no idea..." Meg grumbled back. "Please, call me Meg."
"Okay, only if you call me Sherman."
"Only if it's an order."
"Okay, Sherman, sir." Meg smiled slightly. Potter glared at her for half a second.
"It looks like your cousin has rubbed off on you a little."
"Well, we did grow up together. She's always been this way. I just knew that she wouldn't change." Meg smiled, thinking back slightly. Potter stood up and walked over to a glass cabinet beside the window.
"Would you like a drink?" he asked.
"Sure, scotch and water if you've got some." Meg replied.
"What was it you wanted to talk to me about Meg?"
"Its about Alex- I mean Major Lexington. I've sat back in front of four previous CO's and not said a word, while they look he rover because she's a woman." She accepted the drink that Potter handed her. "As you know, there are no Canadian MASH units here, all we have is field ambulances, a dressing station and a dentists Corps. Alex and I work in one of the field ambulances, as a nursing unit. I have the pleasure to work with three of the best nurses, other than Alex, that I have ever met. I don't mind about the nursing stuff. I just have a slight problem. You see, Alex is... well... back home women are allowed to be surgeons if they can handle it...and she... um... handled it."
Radar and Alex crossed the compound, dodging the newly started (or continued) football game and (in Alex's case) the stares and whispers from the men. She had refused to let Radar take her bag, much to his confusion, and was wearing her Stetson again. Some of the men had to do a double take to make sure she was a "she" and not someone who was very familiar to them all. Radar led her to a tent, which amazingly looked like all the other tents in the compound except for the fact that it was smaller and had a sign on the front that read "VIP."
"How am I a VIP?" Alex asked with a chuckle. "I'm just a nurse."
"Nurses are important too ma'am" Radar said quietly. Alex smiled.
"Thank you Radar, you're brilliant with compliments." She said quietly. Radar smiled childishly back before opening the door to the VIP tent for her. Alex walked past him smiling slightly. It was a tent, but it was dark and quiet. Just what she wanted.
"Thank you bus boy, you'll get your tip attached to my bill." She said jokingly.
"Oh no ma'am, I don't need a tip-"
"I was kidding Radar."
"Oh okay..." Radar said, sounding confused. "Oh just to warn you, we're expecting casualties at any moment." Alex sighed.
"And the revolving door syndrome follows me..." she said quietly. Radar waited for half a second before leaving and heading back across the compound. Alex sighed and collapsed on the cot. She looked at her bag angrily before standing back up again. She opened the bag and sorted through the wad of stuff that she had thrown in there, looking for her fatigue uniform. The grayish green uniform was almost impossible to find amongst the other junk she had brought. Why on earth did she throw in a pair of skiing goggles that Meg had gotten her for a joke last Christmas? She finally had the wrinkled uniform in her hands and changed into it, still feeling like she has been run over by a bus. She quickly ran a brush through her hair and tied it back before a knock came at her door.
"Who is it?" she asked.
"Your neighbor wishing to run you out of- I mean welcome you to town." Said a slightly familiar voice. Alex sighed and opened the makeshift door. Hawkeye stood on the "door step".
"What do you want?" she asked with a smile. She leaned against the doorframe, hoping that it wouldn't cause the tent to collapse.
"Like I said, to welcome you to town." he answered.
"And how are you going to do that?" Alex asked skeptically.
"By showing you around and the like. Telling you who to avoid, though I bet you could find that out in ten seconds." Hawkeye said still grinning annoyingly. Alex frowned, debating whether or not to take up the offer.
"Okay. I'll come. But you have to promise me one thing."
"Which is?" Hawkeye asked.
"We get some take out on the way." She said with a grin. She walked completely out of the tent, letting the door crack closed behind her.
"You honestly don't want to eat here Major," Hawkeye warned, beginning to walk over towards a long tent. "This particular mess tent harbors various Kamikaze food groups, most of them in the form of powder."
"The army really goes all out with its training doesn't it?" Alex asked jokingly, making a disgusted face. Both BJ and Hawkeye snorted slightly.
"The army promised them fame and glory in the afterlife, and a Purple Heart." Alex chuckled slightly at Hawkeye's comment.
"Knowing how loony Generals are, I wouldn't put it past them..." she replied, suddenly stopping laughing.
"So where are you from Major?" Hawkeye asked in an attempt to break the silence.
"Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada." Alex replied. "Not that you know where that it of course..."
"No idea. It's no where near Montreal is it?" Hawkeye asked. Alex chuckled.
"Nope. It's over by the Pacific Ocean. Where are you hailing from?"
"Crabapple Cove in Maine. You've probably never heard of it right?"
"I've heard of Maine, but not Crabapple Cove. Sounds nice though."
"It is. It's one of the best places I know."
"Wish I could say that about Pitt..." Alex said darkly.
"Why? What's wrong with it?"
"It's nothing... It's a good place, but the people are... well... something else..."
"Like?" Hawkeye pressed slightly.
"It's a farming community. Very... well the nicest way to put it would be conservative..." Alex frowned slightly. "True born rednecks going on hillbillies the majority of them. The other five are Dorothy's just wishing about what is over the rainbow... and I'm ranting aren't I..." She looked sheepishly at Hawkeye.
"Not really, you're just letting out your feelings." he paused for a few seconds, " In the form of a rant." Alex rolled her eyes.
"That's something I've got to work on." Alex mumbled, looking around. "Aren't you supposed to be showing me which very similar tent is which?" Hawkeye smirked.
"Yeah I am, unless you're really not interested of course?"
"They're all labeled... reminds me of a department store..." Alex said with a grin. "Just walking around should be enough for me to get my bearings." Hawkeye smiled back. For the next ten minutes, they wandered around the camp until once again reaching the VIP tent.
"Well, that was... Interesting to say the least." Alex said haltingly.
"And very boring to say the most?"
"Not at all."
"Stop lying Major."
"Only if you call me Alex. Major is way too... Formal." Hawkeye smiled at her.
"Okay Alex, I'll keep that in mind." He said. "Look do you want a drink?"
"Only if it's alcoholic," Alex replied.
"Is there any other kind of drink?" Hawkeye asked with a smile, turning back towards the tent called "The Swamp." Alex followed him, walking slightly behind him.
"You've got your own still?" she asked as they reached the door.
"Yeah, how can you tell?"
"One, you can smell it, two, the Officers Club is over there, three The bar is not in the camp." Alex replied as Hawkeye opened the tent door.
"Very observant of you Alex."
"I'm an observant person," Alex said softly. "Should I really be going in there for one?"
"Why do you ask?" Hawkeye asked.
"Well... I uh... I have something to do, sorry Hawkeye." Alex replied, her face going slightly pale. She turned around and walked off quickly. Frank came out of the tent, an evil grin on his face.
"Strike out again Pierce?"
"No Frank, she's petrified of ferrets." Hawkeye replied angrily.
Potter looked at her, completely dumbfounded.
"So what your saying is that, Alex is not only a nurse, she's also a-"
"Surgeon, exactly." Meg pulled a small piece of folded paper out of her pocket, unfolded it and placed it on Potters desk. "And this paper proves it." Potter examined the paper, a diploma, carefully.
"Well, its legit..."
"I'm not asking you to let her operate, just to pay attention to the fact that she's a surgeon."
"I might let her assist on some operations. She's good a pretty good grade here."
"Ninety percent. And that's with her being pushed harder than most of the men."
"Yes... Well, this certainly is different. I get told that we're getting two nurses and I get a surgeon and a nurse."
"She's a nurse first," she said quietly, finishing the glass of scotch. "Always has been and always will be."
"Well that is really interesting." Potter replied. "But a welcome interesting..." Meg smiled slightly as the PA clicked on.
"Everyone get your tango shoes ready, we've got wounded in the compound!"
"Talk about ruining a good half hour..." Meg said with a sigh
To be continued...