"Damn it, Colonel, we destroyed her travel plans for a reason! Why'd you let her go?" Hawkeye paced through the office as he told Potter of their plan to save Margaret's dignity.
"Well I didn't know, Pierce. Why didn't you say something? And why didn't you just call Penobscott to warn him she was coming?"
"It never occurred to me that she'd go flying off in a chopper! She's crazier than Klinger! We were going to make Bigalow fake an attack of appendicitis so that we'd be shortstaffed, but she left too fast. I have to go to Seoul!" Hawkeye grabbed for a travel pass, and thrust it at the Colonel, who signed it without question. "And I tried to call the bastard. He had his calls blocked. The desk said he was 'Otherwise occupied'."
"You don't really think she'll welcome your intrusion, do you, Pierce? Even if you can catch her before she gets to the hotel, she'll kill you for bothering her. She's damned and determined to make this marriage work." Potter regarded Hawkeye somberly over his glasses.
"Yeah well, he doesn't seem to care about making the marriage work. And if she does catch them, it'll be worse than if I had just told her. She'll be humiliated and hurt, and it'll be my fault for not stopping her." Hawkeye yelled for Klinger to come in.
"You screamed, Captain?" He entered, grateful for Margaret's hasty departure.
"Pack my bag with some clothes and a toothbrush. I'm going to Seoul." He turned back to Potter, remembering the travel orders. "I stole her travel orders. Call the MP's. We can clear her after she's been stopped. It won't go on her record, but if the MP's catch her, she'll have to stay with them until I get there to clear her name." Hawkeye was going to catch a chopper directly to Seoul so that he could beat her there. "And call O'Brien. I need him to fly me to Seoul."
"Okay, Pierce. Get your bag from Klinger, I'll call the MP's. And, Pierce? If you don't catch her before she gets to him, stay with her anyway. She'll need someone." Potter looked sad. He felt horrible for Margaret, and wished he could have five minutes alone with that rat she'd married. A horsewhip, that's what he needed.
"I will, Colonel. See ya." He was out the door, heading for the Swamp.
"I wish I could go with you, Pierce. I'd love to give that lowlife a piece of my mind. Or my fist." Charles's eyes lit at the thought of beating some decency into Margaret's low class idiot of a husband.
"I don't think it would be prudent to cold cock a superior officer, Charles. I was thinking more along the lines of jumping him in a dark alley and killing him." Hawkeye stuffed a shirt into his bag.
Klinger closed the duffel and handed it to Hawkeye. "Kill, Sir." He was serious. Damn Penobscott.
"Will do, Klinger. Is O'Brien here?"
"He got here about two minutes ago. He's in the chopper waiting for you." Charles held the door open, and they proceeded to the ambulance that was going to drive them up to the pad.
"Good luck. If you get a chance, hit him for me." Charles shook Hawkeye's hand.
"Thanks, Charles. You too, Klinger." Hawkeye climbed into the passenger seat and jerked his thumb into the air. They lifted off.
Margaret climbed out of the chopper. She'd gotten into the passenger seat after they'd dropped the patients off, and had convinced the pilot to fly her to Seoul.
"Thank you," she shouted over the noise of the rotors. She grabbed her duffel off the ground by her feet and started off to find a rickshaw. Off to the Pink Pagoda.
Hawkeye jumped to the ground, bag in hand. "Thanks!" he called to O'Brien. Now, off to find a rickshaw.
Easier said than done. Seoul was filled with recalcitrant Korean youths just waiting for a serviceman stupid enough to travel alone. Moments after he'd left the landing strip, he was mobbed by about eight children, ranging in age from five to twelve years old. Every one of them was sticky, and every one of them wanted some of what Hawkeye carried. They crawled over him, searching through his pockets, pilfering what they could, and he couldn't get them off. One hung off his arm, two had crawled onto his back, pulling at his shirt, and the smallest one sat on his shoes. The rest were pulling at his clothes and trying to grab at his duffel bag. He tried to shake them off to no avail. He couldn't move with two hundred pounds of children dangling from him.
At long last they had snatched everything they could and ran down the street, clutching their prizes. Hawkeye stared after them, bewildered, bereft, and half-naked. His captains bars were gone, his hat but a memory, and his shirt badly ripped. Only his caduceus remained on his dirt-smudged collar.
"Why me?" Hawkeye groaned. Finally, he'd successfully hailed a rickshaw, after having two snatched from him by faster travelers. Now that he had one, the wheel had fallen off. He jumped out and dropped some money in the hand of the startled driver, and started down the street on foot. It was only a few more blocks to the Pink Pagoda. Hawkeye knew the route by heart.
Margaret climbed out of her rickshaw and paid the man pushing it. The Pink Pagoda. At last!
She went to the front counter. She addressed the man in front of the register. "Major Margaret Houlihan, United States Army Nursing Corps. I'm here to see Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscott. I'm his wife."
"Wife, huh?" The man leered at her. "He's in room 207. Second floor."
"Thank you," she said brusquely. "Have a bellhop carry my bag up." She headed for the stairwell.
Hawkeye ran into the hotel so familiar to him. He arrived at the front desk out of breath. "What room is Penobscott in? Lt. Colonel Donald Penobscott!"
The little man regarded him suspiciously over wire-rimmed glasses. "Who you?" he asked hostilly.
He must remember me from that party last time, Hawkeye thought. "I'm Captain Pierce, Quong. You know me. I need to get to Penobscott fast!"
He saw from the obstinate look on the other man's face that he was getting nowhere. "Forget it. If you Captain, where you bars?"
"Oh, hell. I was robbed by a band of thugs." He held out his caduceus and said, "See? I'm a doctor!"
"I not sick. And you no see Penobscott." He glared at Hawkeye. "I calling MP's on you. You impersonate Captain."
Hawkeye ran toward the stairwell. On the way he saw a familiar chambermaid. "Kim, do you know where Donald Penobscott is?"
She bobbed her head. "Yes Hawkeye. Room 207."
"Thanks!" He kissed her cheek quickly and ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time.
He burst out of the stairwell just as a Margaret swung the door to room 207. "Margaret!" he shouted as he ran the distance to the room. He skidded to a stop in front of the open door. He was too late. Penobscott was lounging on the couch with a buxom young brunette sprawled across his torso.