By anonymous and nsalem
"Colonel Potter you called me?" Margaret asked Potter while standing in front of him in his office.
"Yes, I have to ask you a favor. The 8063 wants me to go give a lecture on Heart murmurs and I would like you to come with me to help out. Would you mind?"
"Of course not. I'd love to go."
"Good," the colonel replied. "Radar's got my lecture notes, I'll get them and we'll be off." He moved towards the door. "Ra.." Before Col. Potter could finish, Radar came through the doors with some papers in hand. "I need my.."
"Here's your notes, sir." Radar smiled, handing them to the colonel.
"Oh, yes, thanks. Now, Major Houlihan and I won't be gone very long."
"You going too, ma'am?"
"Yes the colonel asked me to. So get the jeep ready and we'll be on our way."
Radar did as she ordered, and sure enough, the colonel and Margaret were on their way. It was a beautiful morning, barely a cloud in the sky. She could tell Col. Potter was a little nervous at giving this lecture.
"Colonel just relax. How come your so nervous?"
"A mentor of mine is going to be listening to this. I hope I do well enough."
"Your a good speaker."
"Your welcome," Margaret replied with a smile.
"I'm glad I'll have at least one person on my side. With you there to help me, maybe it will go smoothly."
"Of course it will. I bet this mentor of yours will be very pleased. So stop worrying."
"Well I'll still worry but at least it will be easier with you around." Shots where being fired near them. "Get down."
Potter struggled with all his might to keep the jeep on the road, while swerving this way and that, to avoid the sniper fire. Margaret was terrified, but she kept low as he instructed, when all she wanted to do was cling to him for safety. She hated the sound the bullets made as they whizzed by, one striking the dashboard just in front of her. She screamed.
"Now, you don't worry, we'll get out of this." This said with more courage than the colonel felt. It seemed like there was more than one shooter. But he wasn't going to stick around to find out.
They somehow managed to get to the 8063rd in tack. But everyone was packing. Colonel Potter went to the nearest Lt. "Whats going on?"
"Were bugging out. The Chinese are coming."
"Where's Col. Wheatley?"
"He's gone on ahead sir, to secure a safe place to set up camp." The Lt. and a corpsman were loading equipment into a truck. "Captain Dupree is in charge."
Potter went back to the jeep to tell Margaret of the news, but by the activity all around them, she had already guessed what was taking place. The colonel didn't like the idea of facing Dupree, but he and Margaret wanted to pitch in and help the camp clear out. Besides, with that sniper in the area, going back to the 4077th wasn't a wise choice.
Quick and efficiently, the compound was clear, and everything and everybody was loaded up and on the move.
"Hi Col. Patter," Depree said while coming to them. "Hi Maggs."
"Thats Col. Potter and mine Margaret. Don't forget that."
"Long time, no see. Y'all coming with us?"
"It looks like we have to," Potter did an eyeroll at Dupree's yeehaw yell. "Captain, shouldn't you be getting to your jeep?"
"Yeah, shur do," he hurried to his waiting vehicle. "See y'all at the new camp."
"Goodbye Dupree." Colonel Potter and Margaret went to there jeep. "Boy is he annoying. I wonder if Dupree is his name the way he mispronounces everything."
"Probably its Depret."
Both the colonel and Margaret laughed. Depree was a sight, leading this convoy out of the area by wildly waving his cowboy hat.
"Colonel, do you have any idea where we are headed?"
"No, I didn't get the chance to ask."
"But you know the area?" Margaret fretted, keeping her eyes trained for more snipers, not to mention the oncoming Chinese. "Do you think Depret will find it? I wish Col. Wheatley was in charge."
"Me too, Margaret," Potter tried a laugh to sooth her fears, enjoying her play on Depree's name, but all in all, he was just as worried as she. But they have the gun, and plenty of ammo, just in case. He hoped Margaret wasn't against firing a weapon like Pierce that time they got stranded.
Suddenly, a loud pop sounded and the jeep jerked to one side.
"Are they firing again? Is it the Chinese already?" Margaret was nearly hysterical.
"No, I think we've got a flat," Potter rolled the jeep to a halt. He got out to change the tire, and looked up to see the truck he was following disappearing around the bend.
"Colonel! They're not waiting!"
"Yeah, I see that," he walked over to Margaret. "It'll be fine, we'll get this fixed and I'm sure we will be able to catch up with them."
Col. Potter quickly replaced the tires, as Margaret kept a frantic lookout for any kind of movement. Just as he promised, they were soon on their way. But as quick as they were to catch the departing 8063rd, it was easier said than done.
"Where are they? Which way now?" Margaret questioned, looking at the fork in the road. Both ways had been heavily travelled, so just by looking at them, there was no way to tell where a big convoy of trucks and jeeps had gone.
Remembering reports of North Koreans being in the east quadrant, Potter quickly chose the right fork, hoping to himself he was making the right choice. Although, the further along they drove, there was still no sign of the unit.
Back at the mash4077. Hawkeye took charge. "The 8063 is on the line Hawkeye." Radar said.
"Is it Col. Potter?"
"No theres something wrong."
Hawkeye didn't want to take the phone, a feeling of dread came over him.
"Who's this? What's happened? Where's Col. Potter and Major Houlihan?" He demanded, not caring about the tone he used with Col. Wheatley. "What do you mean never arrived? Let me get this straight, colonel, our co and head nurse are missing from following your unit when you bugged out to a new location?"
"The colonel and Major Houlihan are missing? Where, sir?" Radar quickly asked, but Hawkeye waved him to be quiet.
"Didn't anyone notice their absence? Can you send someone to backtrack where you first lost sight of them? All right, all right, then we'll be sending someone to look for them." He was about to hang up the phone. "What? Yes, I know the reason you bugged out is because the Chinese are in the area, but what about our people? If you hear from them, uh yeah, let us know."
Hawkeye slammed the phone back into the holder.
"Surely nothing has happened to them, do you think that, sir?"
"I don't know, Radar. But I bet it's not anything bad, maybe a little jeep trouble. I'll get B.J., you find Klinger for me, and we'll start from this side and get as close to the 8063rd as we can."
"What about the Chinese, what if they're there?"
That was on Hawkeye's mind when he, along with B.J. and a reluctant Klinger started out from camp.
When they found Margaret and Potter they were both in a hut sleeping in each others arms clothed though.
"Margaret?" Hawkeye yelled.
"Hawk? What did you find? Are they.. ?" B.J. called as he made his way into the hut, his words stopped short with the scene Hawkeye was staring at.
"Uh, Colonel, Margaret," he gave a puzzled look back to Hawkeye. "Are you ok?"
"We're fine," Potter abruptly got to his feet. "Just fine. Right, Margaret?"
"Yes, yes, we are, what are you doing here? How did you find us?" She brushed herself off.
"We tracked you from the road out of the uh, the..," Hawk gestured behind him, "or what used to be the 8063rd. Are you sure your ok?"
"Yes? Wh-why?" Margaret stammered, she tried to get composure under Hawkeye's and B.J.'s amused stares.
"No sign of the Chinese?" Col. Potter didn't much like the glances he was receiving, either.
"The chinese bugged out. What where you two doing here?" Hawkeye asked.
"Nothing I swear." Margaret got mad.
Colonel Potter shot her a warning look. Margaret noticed it, and she wasn't the only one.
"Things are fine, Pierce," Potter snapped. "We just took cover when we got separated from the 8063."
"Yeah, can we just get out of here?" Margaret stormed out of the hut.
"Quiet, Pierce. You too, Hunnicutt."
"I'm not saying anything." B.J. defended himself, but couldn't help catching how the colonel watched Margaret's exit from the hut.
When they finally got to the 4077 an hour later Margaret asleep in the jeep to exhausted from the trip. Potter carried her to her tent and went to his office.
"Glad to have you back colonel." Radar said.
"Yeah, thanks, any thing new while we were gone?"
"No casualties or anything like that. Are you all right, sir?"
"I wish everyone would stop asking me that!" Col. Potter shouted, then felt remorse when he saw Radar's startled expression. "I'm fine. And she's fine, too."
"She, sir?" Radar asked, handing Potter the daily reports. "Do you mean Major Houlihan?"
"Yeah shes in her quarters. Can you get one of the nurses to take her shift? I noticed shes on now."
Margaret awoke a few hours later. Her body was rested, but she had a rather large burden on her mind. She didn't know where to go from here. This was different from all the rest. Then, a knock came on her door.
"Who is it?"
"What do you want?"
"Col. Potter needs to see you, Major, that is if you are not still asleep."
"You little twerp, of course I'm not still asleep. Tell the colonel I'll be right there."
"Very well, ma'am."
Margaret got changed, and was nearly to the office when Hawkeye came out of the Swamp and stepped in her path.
"I don't think this is a good idea."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Pierce, and I think you don't, either."
"The colonel, Margaret, this isn't right."
"Oh, boy, you're the one to talk!" Margaret pushed past him. He grabbed her arm. "Let go of me."
"It won't work," Hawkeye let go of her and she stomped off to the office.
"Col. Potter you sent for me?"
"I just wanted to talk. I'm sorry about last night. Listen this can never be. I'm married you know."
"I know and I am to. Lets just be friends again."
"Good friends," Margaret extended her hand, and with an agreeing smile, Col. Potter clasp it in his. "Now, we've both got work to do."
"Right, major," Potter sat back down at his desk, and she walked towards the door.
In the doorway, Margaret paused, looking back over her shoulder and for the briefest moment, her eyes met his, then she was gone. Life resumed to the call of wounded in the compound, the whirl of choppers overhead, and the faintest sound of shellfire in the distance.