Everyone was gathered in the Mess Tent for the memorial service. Margaret was there, weeping. She had been found by the MP's in a valley nearby, muttering something about, "I should've told him. I should've told him." Klinger was wringing his hands, locking and unlocking his fingers together. He just couldn't seem to sit still. Potter and Radar were sitting together, staring blankly at BJ as he spoke. Charles' eyes were red-rimmed and bloodshot, but he listened intently. Father Mulcahy, between fits of crying, would mumble a short prayer to God for the saving of Hawkeye's soul. BJ had cried himself out hours ago and had fallen into a fitful sleep. He had spent the rest of the time writing the eulogy for his best friend in the world. It was like he had lost a half of himself, and the words of remembrance had seemed to pour out of him.
"These feeble words of praise are not enough...." BJ paused to collect himself. After a few moments of silence he continued, "are not enough to express how much Hawkeye meant to me, to us. He was a caring, gentle, compassionate man, but, above all else, he was a friend. A friend to all those who knew him. He loved every one of the patients that came here, and he did all he could to save every precious life. He was a part of me and I know he was also a part of most of you. When we lost Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye' Pierce, we lost not only a great doctor, but a piece of the good part of our souls. The good part of humanity." The rest of the service continued in much the same manner, as the camp broke down and cried as one.
It had been only about an hour, but it seemed like an eternity to Hawkeye. He had been beaten severely and was on the verge of unconsciousness. He knew he had at least two broken ribs, countless bruises, and maybe a concussion, but there was nothing he could do about it. He was so weak by now that he couldn't even fend off the attack anymore. Just when he thought the blackness would engulf him, the commander asked him, surprisingly in English, "Where are your headquarters?"
"What?" he asked.
"You heard what I said. Where are your headquarters?" He repeated these last words with force and punctuated them with a swift kick to the stomach.
Hawkeye had a choice. He could tell him the truth---"I don't know"---or he could lie. Although by nature he was an honest man, he seriously considered the consequences if he lied. 'If I lie, I could buy myself some time to escape. Once they find out, though, they'll kill me. If I tell them that I have no idea, they'll most likely beat me to death anyway.' He decided to make something up and hope he had an opportunity to escape. "In Inchon," he lied and looked the commander in the eye.
The soldier looked him over, and, satisfied, nodded. He yelled to the guards, and one came in and dragged him back to his building. Hawkeye sighed in relief as he was pushed in.
As everyone was leaving the memorial service, the PA suddenly blared, "Incoming wounded! Incoming wounded! All personnel report to the chopper pad!" Everyone began to cry again, thinking about the chief surgeon no longer among them.
Although Hawkeye was in extreme pain, he paced around. Since he had a concussion, he needed to stay awake as long as possible. 'I need to get out of here!' he thought desperately. He looked around, searching for a way out, and noticed one of the corners of the tin roof was rolled up. He dug his boots into the rusty and dented walls and pulled himself up until he was at eye level with the small opening. He pushed it as hard as he could until he could push no more. His head made it through with no problem. He strained and forced his shoulders through; the sharp metal edges caught on his skin and ripped huge chunks off. He didn't care---he was free! He got his hips through and pulled himself up onto the roof. He tiptoed across and made his way over to the side facing the woods. He jumped down and the second his feet hit the ground he was off and running. He never looked back.
After a grueling marathon session in OR, everyone headed back to their tents. BJ was exhausted but he went straight to the still and poured himself a glass. Purely out of habit he asked, "Want one, Hawk?" He turned, half-expecting an answer. When he saw the Swamp was empty, he started crying again. It was like a wound had just been ripped open again.
He zig-zagged back and forth, trying to throw off the trail of anyone who may have noticed his disappearance and come in pursuit. He had no idea where he was nor where he was going, he just kept going. After an hour of this running, he had to stop or he would pass out with exhaustion. He hid himself in a bush and tried to breathe slowly. After only a few minutes, he heard voices coming down the trail. He held his breath and closed his eyes. The voices stopped right in front of his bush. He wished with all his might that they would just go away and not notice him there. Suddenly, a hand pushed back a branch. "No, don't hurt me! Please!" he said as he covered his face with his arms.
BJ was extremely drunk. Drunker than he had ever been. So drunk that he couldn't see straight, much less walk straight. He hated feeling so angry and sad; he wished he were a bottomless, emotionless void. He quickly downed the last of the drink from the Still. Since the Still had run dry, he headed to the Officer's Club. There were a few depressed people nursing drinks, but basically the place was empty. The loss of one of their own had hit the camp hard. He stumbled straight to the bar and asked Igor, the bartender for the night, "Give me a dry martini. That was Hawk's favorite, you know."
"Sorry, BJ. It looks like you've drunk enough for the night. You sit down over there and I'll give a Grape Nehi or something."
BJ suddenly grabbed the front of Igor's shirt and repeated, "Give. Me. A. Dry. Martini." He cut off each word and pulled Igor closer with each one.
"Okay, BJ. Here you go," Igor said reluctantly and poured him a glass.
BJ finished it off in one large gulp and asked for more. Igor got the mixer out to pour some more in the glass, but BJ yanked it from his hands and carried it like a newborn baby to a table. He didn't even bother with the glass; he drank it straight from the mixer.
'He's crazy!' Igor thought. 'I need Sidney for this one.' He motioned to one of the men at another table and told him to get Dr. Freedman. He ran out, and Igor shook his head sadly as he watched BJ trying to drown his sorrows.
The hand pushed the branch back even farther. Hawkeye curled himself into the tightest ball he could. "Hold on, there. We're on your side! What's your name? I'm Paul," a friendly-sounding voice said.
Hawkeye looked up at him in relief. "Hawkeye." He smiled. "Hawkeye Pierce. You guys have no idea how happy I am to see you."
"We need to take you to the nearest Aid Station," the second man piped up. "You're bleeding pretty bad. That's how we found you here. There's blood everywhere."
Hawk looked down at himself and his blood-soaked shirt. "Yeah, I guess I am."
Paul helped him up gently, then asked, "So, what's your story? What happened to you?"
Hawkeye related everything that had happened to him as they walked briskly down the trail in the direction Hawkeye had been heading.
"BJ was already stinkin' drunk when he came in here. Now he's on probably his fifth martini. I'm surprised he hasn't passed out yet," Igor told Sidney as he walked into the Officer's Club. "I bet he drank the Still dry."
"Uh-huh," was all Sidney said. He seemed distracted, detached.
"Are you okay?" Igor asked him worriedly.
"Yes, Igor. This has hit everyone pretty hard, you know. Me included." Sidney sadly shook his head. "I'm still having trouble believing it. Poor Hawkeye."
"Poor BJ too," Igor added. "They were connected at the hip. They were practically one person."
"I know. They helped each other through the hard times, and now BJ has no support system. He's just shut down."
"Can you help him?" Igor asked hopefully.
"I don't know, but I will sure try." Sidney looked at BJ sadly and thought, 'I hope I can get through to him.'
"He can wait," one of the doctors said as he looked Hawkeye over.
"Maybe I can help," he told the doctor. "Just tell me where to scrub up."
The doctor looked at him in confusion. "What? I think you're delirious. Sit down and hold still. I'll get someone here soon enough."
"No, you don't understand. I'm Dr. Hawkeye Pierce, MD." He emphasized the 'MD' to prove his point. "I can deal with my wounds after these wounded are taken care of. Just point the way."
"Dr. Pierce? You were supposed to be here hours ago," the doctor informed him. "Obviously you have an interesting story to tell, but that'll have to wait. We scrub over there," he said and pointed. "The lines are down here, so your unit only knows that you're gone. We have no way to inform them that you've made it. After this batch of wounded, you're free to head back to the 4077th." Hawkeye headed in the direction the doctor had pointed and scrubbed up, wincing as the soap hit his scratched and tender skin. He walked into the OR, ready to help other casualties.