Chapter Seven - Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Knight
Lacroix saw two men arguing out his fate.
"Dammit, Steele----You Know That All Immortals are supposed to be reported to me. That was part of our agreement, you snot-nosed punk! And don't think I didn't hear about you calling me a strutting buffoon. I hear everything."
The overly-young head of Project Immunita smiled at his ally/adversary.
"Flagg--have you ever actually read Freedman's report on you? Its an eye-opener. 'A man who plays like he has power, even when he doesn't'. Colonel- you have none here. Now get out."
Flagg pointed at Lacroix.
"Eliminating The Hidden Races guarantees the future of humanity!"
Steele was all calm, in response to Flagg's storm.
"Studying them and bettering ourselves is a guarantee I like a lot better--sir."
A small man in a tux walked by the two.
"Pardon Me, gentlemen. I won't be long."
They both stared at the pasty-faced man.
"Lucien! Boy, you sure get yourself into some pickles. THIS almost beats the time you tried to take Lestat in The Plasma Chug-A-Lug! Boy, he spiked that punch something awful. You had color in your cheeks for weeks!"
"Gentleman--I'd like you to meet a retired bank clerk from The Los Angeles Area. Voivode Vladimir Dracul Tepesch. Also known as Count Dracula."
Granpa Munster nodded.
"I still do some accounting on the side--during tax season, mostly."
Steele shook his head.
"If that is Count Dracula--he can share your cage."
"His vampire-kind is different, Steele. They can go out in sunlight, even eat normal food. What a catch."
Granpa tilted his head.
"But nothing too spicy."
"Nah. Jalapenoes. But I Love Em'!"
"In the cage--Count."
The wall behind the two feuding captors then burst. Lacroix pointed at the seven-foot tall goofball.
"And this, gentlemen--is Viscount Herman Von Frankenstein, named a Baron by the Munster clan, who adopted him as their son. He is The Count's Son-In-Law. Herman, lad--tell them what you do for a living."
"Who, Me? Well, I work down at The Funeral Parlor. Business is always kicking-- just not the customers. Though, there was that one time----"
Lacroix held up his hand.
"Herman--that is classified, after all. You see, Colonel--this man---the ultimate product of Doctor Victor Frankenstein-- is an immigrant to America. Quite typical. He worries about his bills, his family, and he is yelled at by his boss. Normalcy, gentlemen. That is what people want. Not your stewardship. They no more want that than they want me to take their blood. It happens--but they do not want it. Leave humanity--and everyone else--be."
Herman ripped open the cage, sending sparks all about. Lacroix stepped out, and threw Flagg and Steele back. They were cowering, and close to wetting themselves.
"You may consider that--a very strong suggestion---from a man who does not offer suggestions. Ge-he-ntlemen!"
Dorian Taylor saw the departing trio.
"Madam--we are leaving. Your guards may not stop us."
"I know you're leaving---but please just sign this."
She offered a pen and paper to Herman. Granpa shook his head.
"Watch it, Herman--that's how they got Faust."
"No--I just want his autograph---Viscount Frankenstein--I've always been an admirer of your father's work."
For a man who was supposedly addled, Herman brushed off the plea with good reason.
"Maam--he would not admire you. Dad always said---Its one thing to offer a better soup---its another to sneak it into dinner."
Even when The Pagh Wraiths took her, Dorian Taylor would never encounter a greater disappointment.
Well outside Immunita grounds, Granpa Munster turned to Lacroix.
"You coming with us, Lucien? Lily's fixing up some Bloody Marys---in fact, now that I think about it, it was Bloody Mary who gave her the recipe."
Lacroix shook his head.
"No, Vladimir--I came here for Nicholas. I will not leave without him. Plus--there's another friend I must visit, while in Korea. Thank You, My Friends. For Everything."
Lacroix flew off, leaving the Munsters alone.
"Granpa--why don't Nicholas and Mister Lacroix get along?"
He shrugged at his son-in-law's question.
"Let's face it, Herman. Some families just aren't as normal as we are."
With that, The Average American Family began its journey home--after all, someone had to feed the dragon under the stairs.
Lacroix landed at the 4077th's vacant heli-pad. Walking down the path, he could sense both Nick---and Sherman.
"Another failed cure, Nicholas? Or a family reunion--also failed?"
"Who goes there?"
Lacroix was mightily surprised that a woman was on guard duty.
He looked again, and nodded.
"My friend, I fear you will have to do far better than that. During the Cisalpine Insurrection, a man under my command said that he was The Divine Julius Caesar, and that I had no authority to order him anywhere."
Klinger nodded appreciatively.
"So did he get out?"
"After a fashion. I asked him to grace us with a speech--then I had his four best friends stab him to death."
"As It Should Be."
Catching a whiff of Klinger's breath as he went by, Lacroix whispered lightly.
"Powers That Be Protect Me From The Fiendish Salami."
Nick was with the others in Post-Op. Frank Burns was still unconscious--and on the verge of slipping away entirely. Nick had already sensed his 'Father's' presence.
"Lacroix--I will gladly come along. But I must see to this man's life first. His condition is partly my fault."
Lacroix looked down at Burns.
"Those who partake of King Ghidorah's spore--must be the very strongest and clear-minded of beings. Else--death or madness. This is none of your doing, Nicholas--and none of your concern."
Potter saw Lacroix. Nick sensed genuine pleasure from his master at the sight of the once-younger man. There was a connection he was missing--but that was all he knew.
"Monsieur LaCroix. I wish I could say I was happy to see you--but there's not a lot of happiness, around these parts, right about now."
"Still, Sherman--it is good to see you. I was rather hoping you had made General by now--in keeping with family tradition."
Potter shook his head.
"Nick--what've you been telling your Dad? Lacroix--nobody else in my family has ever made Full Colonel, let alone General."
Lacroix did not react as a man would if caught in a mistake. Rather, his recovery was that of a reader who had skipped to a mystery's end, but did not wish others to know of it.
"Of course. Still--I am glad to see you are doing so well. Tell me, how long does the poor man have?"
Potter seemed as thrown by Lacroix's sincere interest as Nick.
"For that, you can ask Doctor Pierce."
"Very well then. I shall."
As Lacroix walked over to Pierce, Potter bid Nick walk outside with him.
"Nick--I got the definite impression that Lucien doesn't have but one use for we short-in-the-tooth folk. So why's he making like a mayoral candidate on November 1st all of a sudden?"
"Oddly, Sherm--Lacroix can be trusted. But as for truly understanding him--maybe in another 700 years. Strong Maybe."
Inside, Lacroix saw Pierce.
"Ah--Life Is A Circle, It Would Seem. How is Connor doing, Mister Pierce?"
Hawkeye looked up.
"Every once in a blue moon, he sends me a postcard, with the letters H, I, S, and A on it."
"H I S A?"
"Yeah. Stands for--Hello, Its Still Attached."
"That's our Macleod. Tell me--when were you infected with the spore?"
"Figures someone who's into blood would know that. Late 50'. Myself and our Head Nurse. From what you know--how long do you think we might have?"
"Have? If you've survived this long--eternity as a godlike individual."
"Ah-huh. Listen--I know you're not the gentle type--but can you help Doctor Burns, here? Frank may be a pain-but I'd just as soon he not die--especially not here."
"Doctor Pierce--I could try--but---Why Would I?"
Since Hawkeye knew exactly who he was dealing with, he accepted that answer, without speech or gesture. His glare, though, spoke volumes. Lacroix spied Radar, asleep in a chair next to Frank's bed. When the boy awoke suddenly, their eyes met. As Radar's jaw began to drop, Lacroix knew.
"Little mind-reader--do not make that presumption. Sherman may feel you are like a son to him. But probe me again-- and that will not save you."
Radar looked at Frank.
"Help him. Please. You can do it."
"As I said to Pierce--why should I?"
Radar rolled the dice for a man who often insulted him and his friends.
"Once--way back when--somebody asked you to do something you knew was wrong, Mister La---Sir. Well, somebody once asked the same thing of Doctor Burns here. Its not that stuff that's killing him. Its the secret. The bad secret."
"What secret--Little Man?"
Radar just said a name, and hoped he would survive.
Lacroix bid Radar get up. He sat down in his place.
"I will help him. But its a life for a life, boy. For your intrusion--I am going to kill you when this is done."
He turned and looked at Radar, and the lad knew true fear.
"You May Consider That A Promise."
Radar left, to inform the others of Lacroix's decision--while leaving out his promise. Potter gathered Houlihan and Pierce in his office--to hear the untold history of the 4077th M*A*S*H*.