Sherman Potter looked at the man who had tried his damnedest to desert the 4077th and his Command.
"Anything to say for yourself, Captain?"
BJ Hunnicutt shook his head.
"Other than stating the obvious, Colonel, no. I--went crazy. Is there going to be a court-martial?"
"Do you think there should be?"
Sherman allowed a slight smile.
"That's why you're not in command, Captain. I can't be bothered with paperwork and phone calls that in the end, are only gonna lose me a good surgeon. But--punishment is in order. Feel fortunate I can't put you on real KP--I'd buy out the state of Idaho to show you just how peeved I really am."
Potter looked at some papers.
"For the next month, you will take Captain Pierce's shift in Post-Op, in addition to your own duties. What's more, you will hear the following words, and take them to heart."
BJ waited for the kind of first and final warning that the arrogant Steele had been given. Interestingly, it never came.
"BJ--this entire camp went crazy. There were people keeping lots of secrets and I was sure one of them. You got lonely. You got homesick. It happens. But you're here now, until you're not. I need you. And those boys who are even lonelier and more homesick--they really need you. Don't let either of us down. Case--closed."
BJ smiled a moustache-less smile.
"I won't, Colonel. Now--I gotta hit the showers before my extra shift begins. I need a shower."
"BJ--catch 40, or even 80 winks. Said punishment starts--tomorrow."
Pierce and Houlihan were waiting in Radar's office.
"How'd it go, Captain?"
"A whole lot better than I deserved, Major. So how goes MASherlocking?"
"Suspended, for the moment. We--just have to figure out whether all our poking and prodding led to Henry being----"
He trailed off. Radar got up.
"You guys can't give up. You just can't. Don't you see? It don't matter why they done this to Colonel Blake. It only matters that they did do did dat did do da---"
BJ grabbed Radar, who was shaking.
"I'd breathe if I were you, Radar. No sense asking Colonel Blake any questions to his face."
Margaret stared at the door.
"I used to pray for the end of his Command. Now, I would like very much to see a befuddled, bedraggled man come through that door with an airplane seat wrapped around him saying, 'People, you won't believe what happened after the plane took off!'. But I would believe it. And this time, I just might return that ki...."
"I have duties in the Post-Op."
Margaret shot Hawkeye a look, a little sad and a little glad that their false declaration of suspension regarding the investigation went over so well. If someone was listening, they would hear that they scared them off.
Hawkeye turned to BJ.
"C'mon. Let me tell you a little story about some meteors from a kajillion years ago--and why you shouldn't go near them."
BJ shook his head.
"A kajillion years? Oh, great. Its gonna be one of those long stories."
"But we get to write its ending."
"You know the ending?"
"Yup. Its the standard ending. The heroes beat the bad guys, and this leads to the triumph of Truth, Justice, And The American Way."
In Post-Op, Margaret was present as Frank awoke.
"I'm here, Frank. I'll never leave you."
"Where's my mother?"
"She was pounding on my door, and I locked it tight--in my dream, that is."
Margaret felt his pulse rate increase.
"Why would you lock your mother out?"
Frank's powerful, protective denial took over then, detaching him from the dream.
"I don't know. But ya know--sometimes I get to feeling like my whole head is full of locked doors. In't that funny?"
Margaret didn't tell Frank that the hand he was grasping was sore from when one of the people behind those doors had tried to break it.
"That is funny, now that you mention it."
A relationship once fun and forbidden had turned draining and potentially dangerous. Without realizing it, she then and there made a decision to break the heart of a man who needed no more heartbreak. She couldn't allow her alliance with Pierce to blossom--so she would try to find a more stable version of Frank. As the dance between Margaret and Hawkeye continued, Frank would soon enough be back with a woman he had married solely so that he could never fall in love.
For Frank Burns was, you see, the odd man out. Perhaps even several men.
In Potter's office, the CO spoke to Radar.
"One last thing, son. You know, they don't always give an incoming CO enough info."
"Yeah. Sorry, sir. But we really thought you were who you weren't, and who you never were, but we really thought you might be."
"Radar--I have no idea what you just said. But I wasn't talking about the cloak-and-dagger crew. Son--do you remember what I told you when you said how Colonel Blake liked things a certain way?"
Radar nodded somberly.
"Blake's gone, son. I'm here. Well, I'm glad you said it. Cause he is gone, and I gotta accept it. Even though I really don't want to."
Sherman gathered himself.
"Walter--when I said that, I didn't know Henry Blake was dead. I thought I was referring to a man who went home--and got there in one piece. Seems that when HQ re-ran the story of the 4077th for me, they cut that little part out. Heh. It was probably that idiot Murdoch in Records."
"Thanks, Colonel. A whole lot. But however ya meant it, it was somethin we all needed to hear--specially me. Now--I gotta get ta work. My new CO--he's really tough. And he deserves my best. Just like I gave my old one."
Potter looked over a report from Blake.
"Good with me, son. Just don't send any more lambs home to Mother."
Feeling literally sheepish, Radar walked out to begin his vital work, and keep alive The House That Henry Built.
Potter felt two presences, and he knew.
"Leaving so soon?"
"Indeed, Sherman. It is time."
Nick wondered what further Lacroix had to say, in this place. He would wonder further still.