"Well, well--what have we here? Never mind--I can see what we have here. Blatant and willful treason in wartime. Do I need to remind you how I'm allowed to punish that?"
He looked at Margaret with contempt.
"You--I trusted you. You could have been First Lady."
Houlihan said the obvious.
As a sure confirmation of Margaret's prognosis, Burns twisted back her hand, then released it. She held it in shock and amazement. As much as the ennui that haunted their later affair, this moment birthed Major Houlihan's desire to find someone other than Frank Burns. Some dark sides were a good deal darker than others, it seemed.
"People of no worth always call people like me mad. But we wake up--and when we do, there's no one who can stop us. Folks--the little man you all found so funny is gone for good."
Radar looked at Burns, and shook his head. Even with Nick's speed, someone was going to get hurt--unless he did something drastic. He did not yet know how to enter and alter another person's surface thoughts. But he knew how to look in those dark corners of the mind--where no one should go. Hearing what people thought, the boy could also reproduce voices with startling accuracy. He breathed in.
"Commander Burns--I want to talk to Doctor Burns, sir."
"Like I said, punk--he's not here. Find your pratfalls elsewhere."
Hawkeye and the others--except perhaps Nick--wondered at Radar's odd request. They all wondered at what Walter O'Reilly said next.
"Then I'm sorry. Ya didn't give me any choice."
"Shut Up, You Pimple!"
Breathing in again, Radar then spoke in a voice not at all his own.
"Franklin! Don't You Lock This Door Against Me! This Is My House! I Won't Have You Leaving Me Alone In It."
If the shift threw most of the others, it completely unnerved 'Commander' Burns.
"Stop It--That's An Order--Please?"
Radar shook his head.
"You go back where you came from--or before you can kill me--everyone'll know."
Burns shook his head.
"I'm in charge, now. Frank's gone."
Radar laughed, lightly.
"You--in charge? You're nothin' but a night watchman, a janitor. Now, despite it all, I like Major Burns. You--I don't like."
"I perform an important duty."
"So did the guys on the gun emplacements in California. Cept Japan never invaded. Now, those places are left alone. Just like you're gonna be. Now let Major Doctor Burns come out."
Potter looked at Knight. He whispered.
"Nick? What the devil's going on here?"
"A possession, Sherman--and an exorcism, if we're lucky."
Pierce was plainly unnerved by this tableau, and remembered odd Lovecraftian dreams of his childhood, and of a monster that dwelled in the lake outside his family's home. Except this monster dwelled inside an odd bunkmate he now realized he knew not at all.
Burns was defiant.
"If I can't be in charge--I'm not letting anyone be."
Burns reached over to Father Mulcahy.
"Father--is this Holy Water?"
Nick stiffened, at this. Potter prepared to step in front of him, if need be. Mulcahy nodded at the vial he had been holding, in case Nick lost control.
"Yes, Major--It is Holy Water."
To everyone's shock, Frank downed the vial's contents--and then screamed.
As he fainted, the three MP's cocked their weapons.
"Folks--we're all taking a trip, down the road, to the 3966th. Nobody try anything funny."
"You mean like this?"
Behind them, Klinger, Zale, and another corpsman all pointed rifles straight at the corrupt MP's heads. They were disarmed and led off--by MP's everyone knew.
Inside the tent, Frank Burns had not revived. Margaret held him, friendship briefly overcoming her newfound fear of the man.
"Doctor Pierce--I think he may be in a coma!"
Hawkeye checked Frank, hoping to hear the usual whiny voice, or a smear on his loyalty and morals. But Frank was still not moving.
"We have to get him into Post-Op. If he slips much further--we'll lose him. Father-- what was in The Holy Water that could do this?"
"Nothing, Hawkeye--the usual directed mixture--no more toxic than drinking tea on an empty stomach--especially in that small a dose."
Nick, too, felt Frank slipping away.
"Doctor Pierce--The Holy Water was merely a catalyst--it was reacting to something evil within Major Burns."
Hawkeye looked up from his patient and nodded.
"That would be me."
"That would be us. Our blood is tainted."
"All right--soon as we're in Post-Op--I want you two to tell me everything I ever wanted to know about the history of this Unit--but you were afraid to tell me. Am I understood?"
As a litter came for Frank, all but Nick and Radar left Potter's tent.
"Walter? Are you coming?"
Radar had been lost and withdrawn since Frank had collapsed, and not heard a word said since--til now.
"Nick--I think I killed Major Burns. Am I a monster?"
"You mean like me?"
"Not even close, Radar. Not even close. By the way--whose voice was that? Your imitation clearly had an effect."
Radar refused to say.
"That's--just somebody the Major knows-- who's got their own dark stuff."
With that ambiguous statement left hanging, the two joined their friends in Post-Op--and hoped that they were not part of a DeathWatch.
Driving in short spurts toward Kim Po, avoiding patrols as he went, was the AWOL, heartsick surgeon BJ Hunnicutt. Stopping yet again, he looked up at the sky.
"Am I Crazy To Try This? If I am--then I'm asking you to show me a sign--and I mean a sure sign--that I have lost my mind, and should head straight back to Camp."
Two figures emerged from the darkness.
"Excuse me, young man--could you maybe give us a lift? My feet are so tired, they feel like they're gonna fall off!"
Another voice--much deeper.
"Your feet? Granpa--Mine Did Fall Off--and they just took about forever to get back on."
BJ turned, and saw the would be hitchhikers..
"Sorry, guys, I---IIII-YiYiyiyiaaagghh!!!"
Receiving his sign, BJ turned the Jeep around and broke several land-speed records in heading back to the 4077th. Better by far, he thought, to take his lumps from Potter--than the two nightmare creatures he had just seen.
"What was with those guys?"
The two left behind wondered the same.
"Gee, Granpa--what's eating him?"
Count Dracula shrugged.
"Herman, who knows? This is a war zone. Obviously, that poor man suffers from shell-shock."
The Viscount Frankenstein nodded.
"Its just like Lily always says--War Is Heck!"
"Would You Stop Swearing Like A Sailor On Leave? We still haven't found Lacroix yet."
"All right, Granpa--but I won't ever help him again! He's always getting into trouble of some kind."
"What can I say, Herman? Lucien just tends to bite off more than he can chew - and in his case, that's a real trick!"