Time Setting: Since MASH's continuity loops give Highlander a run for its
money, I'll do it this way:
Colonel Potter and BJ have been there a few months, and are now established. Margaret has not yet become engaged, but is growing weary of her relationship with Frank Burns. Frank Burns is, well, Frank Burns. Klinger is starting to transit from dresses to weird claims and disguises. Hawkeye, having recently endured a visit from his one true love, Carlye Walton, is a bit more on the prowl than usual. Need I say he now has competition? Medic Duncan has enlisted under a rather awkward surname, as we shall see. Finally, the meat of any Highlander story: The immies. There are 3 besides Duncan Macleod, and that shall be explained. The format is suggested by the title. Also, let us not forget that former student of Darius, present as well.
By Rob Morris
To: My Dearest Kinsman and Mentor,
Connor Macleod of The Clan Macleod
From: Your Beloved Kinsman and Student,
Duncan Macleod of The Clan Macleod
I post this series of messages to our pre-arranged place, where you can find them and yet not be found, either by The Kurgan or The bizarre General whom you swear haunts your dreams. My opinion is, you must've bested a psychotic in battle to dream that foolishness. I have arrived at the Army frontline medical unit where I believe I can find the friend who will help alleviate that problem of yours.
Do not worry, kinsman; At no time will I betray your location; My word as a Highlander. When you are ready, I will arrange that you find him. I know that you trust him, Connor, but even I, outside the Game these many years, know better than to extend explicit trust to anybody. HA HA, I know. I can hear your raspy, over-Gallicized voice saying, "Any body except a female body, Duncan. Heh, heh, heh, heh." I'm---getting better there---Really!
At least I haven't let that little thief rope me into anything of late-I have to get points for that. Anyway, when I first arrived, here at the MASH - Mobile Army Surgical Hospital - 4077th , I was quickly reminded of the immortal, who, in the end, will outlast even the Claimant to the Prize-Its Name Is War. For many, it is a shatterer of faith. For others, though, it is a chance to live that faith to its fullest and, in so doing, oppose death in a way even Immortals might do to learn from.
"Lord, I am grateful that these young men - if they had to be taken - were taken quickly. You-might want to listen to their families with a filtered ear, though, for a time. I fear their gratitude may be a while in coming. A wiser man than myself once said..."
At that, my unintentional eavesdropping was revealed as I interrupted Father Mulcahy's coda to his prayers of Extreme Unction for the fallen war dead.
"Ah, Johnny! Ye cannot see God's Plan because, in the end, it is all God's Plan! Trust is the basis of Faith-now on to cook Dinner! And Johnny-fewer potatoes, please!"
Francis Mulcahy was a trifle upset at being interrupted. But he was more intrigued by who would know that exact quote, from his year apprenticing at a small church in Paris.
"The only one who calls me Johnny is...You Know Father Darius?"
I nodded yes. "I am, you might say, one of his less successful students. I could never learn to believe in peace as he does-in my heart. Hello, Father Mulcahy. I am a new medic, assigned to your unit. I am Duncan Burns."
At the time, Connor, I thought, Where's the harm? Burns is a good, Scottish name, taken from a great poet. Little did I know that, at the MASH 4077th, the name was taken from a great TWIT! I've dealt with many a burden, Connor, but none so awesome as this nervous little man following me about, pestering me with questions.
"Major, I mean no disrespect! But Burns is a very common Scottish name. I am - almost certain - that we are not related."
Frank Burns had nothing in the way of real friends at the 4077th. Although he saw clearly the fact that I just wanted to sit down and eat my meal at the mess table, Frank figured he had nothing to lose. On the off chance that he and I were related, he had to pursue it. In his ---mind--- having family at the 4077th put him in a stronger position. In reality, he was coming dangerously close to being the first mortal I ever considered beheading.
"But Sergeant, all Burns are related! My mother said so. We have a great and noble tradition, men of many accomplishments!"
"You mean like the Poet Robert Burns?"
"Who? Oh, never mind! I meant the great warrior Benwick Burns, scourge of the Highland Barbarians!"
My sword was in my duffel bag, Connor. I was honestly contemplating how ground Frank would taste in the evening soup. Other people in the tent moved away from the look on my face. Off a row back, Burns' fellow doctors, Benjamin Pierce and BJ Hunnicutt, watched with a mixture of concern and delight. Concern that I actually would kill Frank Burns, delight that he had glommed onto someone else that day. You'd like Pierce, Connor. Has your kind of trudge-along, get through it, rest later attitude. Calls himself "Hawkeye" after the Last of the Mohicans. I call him Doctor Pierce or Ben, if it's called for. I won't bother you again with the pain that American Indian names bring me.
But back to Burns. He felt compelled to tell me the story of the "Great" Highlander-killer, Benwick Burns. Figuring it good for a calming laugh, I listened. BJ later told me that was probably my mistake. Smart man, Hunnicutt.
"So, unwilling to concede our clan's rightful claim to Glenfinnan, they called up this big bruiser. GET this-Heheh-they said he had come back from the dead! Sacrliegous and Stupid, those Highlanders! We had successfully nixed three of their best, and this fruitcake wanted revenge! We-hell, let me tell you! Benwick faced him upon the field of battle, and shouted out his war-cry : "it's Clan Burns or this land Burns!" Catchy, huh?"
Since this was a bit before I met you, Connor, allow me to explain. After besting that mad killer as called himself a Viking, my mother insisted that I at least try to rule the Clan. Those who had known me as a boy acquiesced for a meager few months. Then the Burnses came.
Their forged papers claiming much of Glenfinnan might have stood an even chance had they bothered to actually pay the forger. As it went, he denounced them. They, in turn, denounced him with their traditional clan cry of "Niarts" - I've checked with dialogue experts, and no one is quite sure of the derivation. No one is really even sure where this group of Burnses come from. I hope it's not what I'm thinking-some heads are better left untouched.
The three "Nixed" Macleods were 3 skinny-dipping lasses the Burns boys' came upon one summer day. There were charges of rape, to be sure, but the girls backed each other up, and the boys could never prove a damned thing. I mean, even I, as a randy 12-year old, knew better than to go near the Macleod girls' swimming hole. They'd take your virginity and perhaps a souvenir, if they felt like it! My uncle, Lady Henry, found that out the hard way. No souvenirs were taken from the Burns' boys.
So it was, that Benwick Burns challenged me. He said "This Clan Burns My Clan Or My Clan Burns My Clan! Er-That is, uh-We declare war on Clan Burns!"
I stood there, dumbfounded. "Ya great fool, yer Clan Burns! Ye jest declared war pon yourselves!"
Ever defiant, Benwick cried out : "And don't think we won't follow through! A Macleod's word is our Doom!"
At this point, Frank Burns was still yammering to me in the present.
"So, Duncan old cousin, guess what that yellow-bellied Highland Hillbilly Corpse said to Benwick?"
My face blood-red, I looked Frank directly in the eye and I said:
"Yeve ruined me chance to peacefully rule my Clan, Benwick Burns! For that, I'm going to cut out yer spleen and eat it in front of ye!"
Burns turned white as a sheet-just like his ancestor. He fled-just like his ancestor. There was a faint whiff of ammonia as he went-again a family tradition. I sat down and ate the chipped beef. It was a lot like Burns, only it didn't talk-although I did think I saw it move.
I heard Doctor Pierce say:
"Y'know, Beej? I think I'm gonna like this guy!"
"That's all well and good for us, Hawk, but what about Jesse Owens? Thanks to Duncan over there, Frank nearly broke his record. Or was that the wind?"
Just then, Connor, a group of the nurses walked in. Noticeably, they bypassed Pierce and sat down by me, all wanting---to talk.
Again I heard Pierce.
"Beej, I sincerely hope our new friend realizes - This Means War!"
My first day here, Connor, and already the Doctors have taken note of me-I just hope Pierce doesn't own a sword. His eyes have been looking daggers at me all day. So has this Goddess who, for some reason-is hooked up with Frank Burns.
Write More Soon,
PS - The UGLIEST, hairiest woman I have ever seen just passed in front of my tent. Yuck.