BJ sat and listened as Pierce finished his story. Edited for sheer volume though it was, he still couldn't believe the history of the camp he had walked into, not two months back.

"So that's who our arrogant little friend was. He just waltzed in here, and figured to cipher-talk all of you into submission."

Pierce nodded.

"He'd be good waterfront muscle--if we had a waterfront, and if he had any muscle. A whole lot of 'All I'm Saying Is', while not saying anything at all. It'd take an FBI agent to break his code--and even then the poor fella'd have a pulled brain muscle."

BJ looked over at his once-again friend.

"I guess--in that paranoid an atmosphere, I can forgive you not trusting me, or reading into my little quirks the wrong way. Tell me--did Trapper at least make it home safely?"

BJ's concern was a dual one. He actually wanted McIntyre home safely, but he also demanded it, so at least his own time at the 4077th meant something to another family. If Peg and Erin have to suffer, he reasoned, at least let Trapper's family be happy. But Hawkeye's look was not happy. Not happy at all.

"I haven't spoken to him. I guess he's okay."

BJ reasoned things out.

"Look, the guy was in a rush to get out of here, and I don't blame him. No offense, Hawk--but I'd bounce halfway to Guam, if Radar came in and gave me the news. I think I care about you people--but I wouldn't look back. Think of Lot's wife. Think of Orpheus. Think---of me, shutting my mouth."

Hawkeye seemed quite contemplative.

"The ten minute thing? No. No, I could forgive that--eventually. And I don't see you as the no-goodbye type. BJ---Trapper sold us out. That little weasel offered him a quick route home for his continued silence. He took it. When he did that, he went over to the enemy. I know how that sounds, coming from yours truly--but he sold us out. And so our little war claims another casualty, in this case a man's soul."

BJ was silent, having nothing to offer Hawkeye but the friendship that would sustain them both until that last day in Korea--and then for centuries to come.

Lacroix looked around.

"A good office, Sherman. During my campaigns, I also kept my tent lined with reminders of my life and accomplishments."

Sherman was still unnerved at the gentleness the master vampire showed him. Plus, was there something in his face? No. There wasn't. End of that.

"Much thanks, M'sieur Lacroix. I could break something out of our plasma banks, fore' you go."

"No. Not necessary. I merely have this to say, as I have before : We Are What We Are. One day, I will explain to you what that truly means. Until then, Au Revoir."

"Adios to you too, General. Keep--yourself together."

Lacroix smiled.

"Why, Colonel--I always do!"

Nick extended his hand. Potter stared at it, and shook his head.

"Knight--when a 700-year old uncle visits his great-nephew--do ya really think a handshake's gonna do it?"

They hugged, and both got a bit misty.

"Those days in Missouri, Sherman. They are to me like a light in the eternal darkness. Give Mildred and Evey my best. They, along with you, are parts of me I never want to lose."

"You were a good friend, more like a big brother than an Uncle. When Mother die--when I was forced to kill her--you stayed until I could be trusted not to run myself through. Agnes thought the world of you. So does her daughter-in-law. So does her son. After the war--I want to see you in Hannibal, bloodsucker!"

"A thousand Hunters couldn't keep me at bay, nephew. Now, we must go. I hate war, you see. So much waste."


Outside, Lacroix was having a conversation with someone interesting.

"Oh, Yes. They were the hardiest of souls. They inspired so many with their courage as they burned and were torn to pieces, I had to stop attending the games. It was no longer socially acceptable."

Father Mulcahy nodded.

"I always knew that, but thank you, Mister Lacroix. To hear about the early martyrs from an eyewitness--well, thank you."

As The Padre walked off, Lacroix nodded in his direction to Nicholas.

"Delightful fellow. Very polite. Didn't even try to repulse me once."

"Ah-huh. Lacroix--why do I have the feeling that your 'We Are What We Are' speech has more meaning for Sherman than you are letting on?"

Lacroix began to rise into the night sky, and his 'son' joined him.

"Because, Nicholas--you have good instincts."

Then they were gone.

Potter looked at the recovering Frank Burns.

"Major, I'll be blunt. No more reports. You have a problem with me, you bring it to me. Also, you try to bag my bird again--I'll make you into a Capon'. Do not go over my head--or you'll find your own in a basket. Starting one month from today, you will take Captain Pierce's shift in Post-Op. Between you and Hunnicutt, that should free up certain investigative time on Pierce and Houlihan's part. Don't like it? Tough. I don't offer second warnings. That one--was first and final."

Frank continued to lay there, and nodded.

"I think the Colonel likes me!"

"Radar--last two pieces of business for this very long month. One--fire Pierce as Chief Surgeon and fire Houlihan as Head Nurse."

"But Colonel, they...."

"Then--rehire Pierce as Chief Surgeon and rehire Houlihan as Head Nurse-- under my appointment."

Radar smiled.

"Yes, sir. Oh, what was the second thing?"

"Is it possible Colonel Blake left anything of his behind, by accident?"

"Well, sure. But I don't know what. Have you seen anything of the Colonel's, Colonel?"

Potter walked into Radar's office, a fishing cap with a great many hooks latched into the palm of his right hand. Both he and Radar smiled, despite the pain Sherman was in. Gingerly, Radar helped remove it.

"You want I should call Mrs. Blake, sir?"

Potter contemplated it.

"Yeah, Radar. But ask her if we can keep it--this place should have something of Henry Blake's about--besides the camp itself, of course."

"Yes, sir. Y'know, you and Colonel Blake, well now you're blood brothers!"

Sherman cleaned and bandaged his lightly wounded hand, and nodded at Radar's words.

"Son, with that hat, I believe it. Hell, that thing must be thirstier than Nick."

"Dear Mildred : I still hate this place. But I love the people. Granted, they aren't as stable as Nick and Mother--but they deal with even more blood. Honey, I'm here til I'm not. I hope you can forgive me. But now, at last, I feel like I'm making a difference. Plus--I owe a great man. I'll have to tell you about him, sometime. His name was Henry Blake."

Back | Forward