Part 3

"Colonel, how's Hawkeye doing?" Unable to get out of the O.R., B.J. needed to know how his best friend was doing. "He'll be fine. He's recovering in post-op right now," Potter replied.

"Ah...Captain Pierce, Major Burns's mortal enemy," Charles said with an air of arrogance, "anyone who's an enemy of Major Burns can't be that bad. I look forward to meeting him."

"Oh shut up, Major know-it-all," Frank responded. "I'm not sure who's worse, you or Captain Pierce. I am definitely looking forward to your departure though."

"Not as much as I am," Charles said with some relish. "I cannot wait to get out of this sewer. My time here has given me an even deeper appreciation of what true civilization is. The stench here is exceeded in its repugnance only by the lack of courtesy around here..." Charles was beginning another of his tirades when blood from his patient's artery shot through the air, staining his mask crimson. "Clamp!" Charles worked frantically to stop the bleeding.

"You okay, Winchester?" Potter inquired. Although Charles had only been at the camp a short time, Col. Potter already knew Charles rarely lost his composure. For the first time Potter saw what appeared to be panic in the Major's eyes.

"Everything's fine! Just fine."

"Oh yeah? Did you ask your patient?" Frank injected. Charles did not even notice Frank's rude remarks. He was still issuing orders to the nurse and working as fast as he could. His forehead was awash in sweat.

"You're losing him doctor!" the gas-passer shouted.

"Not if I have anything to say about it," Charles said with determination.

"No pulse!"

Charles immediately tried to massage the heart, but to no avail. Charles's own heart pounded louder and louder. The adrenaline he injected had no effect. His repeated motions to massage the heart were unsuccessful. "He's gone, doctor." Charles stood wide-eyed over the patient. There was no noise in the O.R. except the metallic clang of instruments.

B.J. rushed out of O.R., his thoughts on Hawkeye. With his hand on the door about to leave the scrub room, B.J. stopped in his tracks when he heard a faint weeping. He turned to find Charles with his head in his hands trying desperately not to cry.

" did everything you could to save that man."

"But it wasn't enough! I should've been able to save that man!"

"You can't save everyone. You're a surgeon and you're only human. Look, we've all lost patients. It's always difficult but you can't get too caught up in that pain. If you do, it'll consume you. You won't be able to answer the call the next time you're needed. You did your best and that's all you can do."

"That doesn't make it any easier. I can't operate in this…this place."

"It's never easy, Charles. You'll get more used to it here." B.J. sat on the bench with his arm around Charles. Beginning to come to terms with what had happened, Charles wiped the tears away from his eyes. "Come on, I want to introduce you to Hawkeye."

"Thank you, but no. Perhaps later." **

Radar stood with his mouth hanging open staring down at the piece of paper that Hawkeye had handed him. "What did they say about him?!" Radar exclaimed.

"I don't know. I was hoping you could figure it out from what I wrote down," Hawkeye replied. "I can't write well in Korean either, but the sounds are all there."

Looking more determined than ever, Radar studied the scribbling on the paper. "Holy smokes!"

"What? What is it?" Hawkeye began to get up but winced from the pain and returned to his seat on the bed. He was in no condition to move.

"I think they may have him in a camp somewhere maybe," Radar replied, still in awe of what he was reading. "It mentions some prisoner camp."

"Oh my God," Hawkeye said, surprised by this revelation. Radar and Hawkeye stared at each other, both in shock over the news. "Henry may still be alive?!"

"Hawk! How are you feeling?" B.J. said, bursting into post-op. Upon seeing the awestruck expression on their faces, he inquired further, "What's wrong?"

"Beej, remember how I told you Henry Blake, our old C.O. never made it home? Well, from the sound of what I overheard, he may still be alive somewhere!"

Radar rushed into Col. Potter's office with the news. "Colonel! Sir, I was just talking to Hawkeye and he showed me something you oughta see." Radar handed him the paper with Hawkeye's writing and another paper with his own rough translation of it. Potter read over Radar's translation carefully.

"Are you sure about this?"

"Yes, sir, I was able to translate enough of what Hawkeye wrote down."

"And he overheard all this from a guard at the camp?"

"He said their commander was talking about it with one of his men."

"Well, I'm more than a little skeptical but it's worth looking into. Get I-Corps on the phone, we need to get Hawkeye off of their MIA list too."

"Yes, sir."

Radar hurried to the phone in his office and cranked it quickly. A couple minutes later he had I-Corps on the phone. He was barely able to calm himself down; the excitement he felt since he first learned that Henry could still be alive was tremendous. He thought back to the last time that he saw Henry. At times like this he could still feel the warmth from that hug. Then when he got that message about Henry's plane crashing into the Sea of Japan, his heart broke.

Because of the fighting the Army wasn't able to completely go over the crash site. When the search team turned up nothing but debris and the bodies of the pilot and some crewmembers, they assumed no one could've survived the crash. Maybe they missed something.

Later that afternoon, Potter had a meeting of the senior staff. He appraised them of the situation with I-Corps. They were sending out MPs to investigate the camp where Hawkeye had been held captive; however, beyond that they can't do much without some more evidence. I-Corps assured them that they would do what they could.

"So they're not going to do anything about Henry, is that it?" Hawkeye asked, slightly perturbed.

"Wow, Henry Blake still alive?" Margaret said, still shocked by the possibility.

"Now let's not all jump the gun here," Potter said, trying to remain neutral. "Right now all we have to go by is the words of a North Korean commander. While it's true the Army was unable to recover all the bodies from the crash, they also said the plane was completely destroyed. They felt that no one could've survived the crash. Still, they will launch another investigation if something should turn up at the camp site."

Two days later they received word of the MPs' findings. Most of the camp site had been wiped clean. Since Hawkeye had gotten away, the soldiers found it necessary to relocate elsewhere so as to not be caught. Among the charred ruins however, the MPs found portions of prisoner records. There were names and notes on the remaining scraps, including the names of Hawkeye Pierce and Henry Blake.

"...So they will be continuing their investigation," Potter informed the group. Hawkeye and B.J. had joined Radar and Potter in Radar's office to hear the news.

The Colonel turned his attention to the Swamp and could now hear yelling. Inside Frank and Charles were having another shouting match over each's opinion of the other's surgical skill.

"B.J. and I figure it's just one long argument and they just take breaks in-between rounds to eat and sleep."


"Do you think they'll find him, sir?" Radar inquired.

"I don't know. If he's out there to be found though, they'll find him."

"It just requires a call to the Korean Missing Persons' Bureau," Hawkeye joked.

"How do you think we found you?" B.J. retorted.

Radar rolled his eyes a bit and returned to his work.

Again remembering Henry's last day at the 4077th, Radar could still feel the warm hug. He could still see his chopper disappearing in the distance. He could still hear Henry's last words to him: "You behave yourself or I'm gonna come back and kick your butt." Since that dark day, Radar has occasionally dreamt of Henry's departure. In his dreams he would see Henry emerge from his tent wearing the new suit. Sometimes Henry would shake hands with everyone and other times he would simply hug Radar and then take off. The dreams always ended the same way: with the fateful ringing of the phone.

Ring. "M*A*S*H 4077th," Potter answered. Radar awoke from his daydream and picked up his phone only to find that Col. Potter had beaten him to it. It was the call they had all been waiting for.

"Uh-huh...yeah...oh really? I see…"

Radar listened anxiously to the conversation on the phone in his office, hanging on every word. He was hoping more than anything that the search party had been able to find Col. Blake. He was hoping his nightmares would remain simply bad dreams. He was hoping to get his friend and father figure back.

Still listening for a conclusive statement, Radar grew impatient. "Well, did ya find him or not!?" he wanted to scream into the phone, but he dared not. Injecting his own questions and comments into the conversation would only prolong it. And so, Radar waited. Then it came.

Radar dropped the phone and left his office. Seconds later, Hawkeye entered the office from post-op. Hawkeye walked into the Colonel's office and, taking one look at the Colonel, he knew.

The End

Back | Stories