Chapter Six

Several more soldiers had gotten off via truck by midday. However, the phone wires had been repaired by evening, with five more patients yet to be moved. Hogan radioed a message that they were looking to plant the explosives and leave, but that Burlunkin was monitoring him a little more closely than he would have liked. He ordered radio silence maintained till he broke it or returned, then he quickly put the radio away. He doubted it would be useful anymore, and besides, the sub and the trucks were in place, all they needed to do was to get the troops into them.

Hawkeye grinned as they awakened early the next morning. Hogan had neglected to replace the listening device in the post-op room, and had the North Koreans too scared to come in and replace it. To make themselves seem busy, he had LeBeau wordlessly leave and hand to a sergeant a sheet of phony plans for ground troop movements. Hogan then appeared out of nowhere and asked Colonel Ying if he'd obtained the "information he gleaned" from the Americans. He had.

They prepared to make their final move that morning, after roll call. It would be too early for another Russian to come down and investigate, but he knew the confusion couldn't last forever. Hogan spoke to the doctors. "I just hope we don't have to be part of any more schemes. I'm still a little skittish about making these people think we're Russian since Burlunkin knows our Russian is really English, and can tell them that in Korean."

"I can't believe I'm starting to understand that," noted BJ.

The general gave the go-ahead to LeBeau, who flashed it to Newkirk, who had been taking a leisurely stroll in the compound, anywhere but near Burlunkin. Hogan pulled a chair over to the light in the middle of the room as LeBeau watched the window - if it weren't for them having to remove the bug every once in a while, Burlunkin might not be suspicious. However, there were only so many malfunctions he could blame on shoddy Korean workmanship.

Now, the bug was back in place, and he began barking orders in Russian. Hawkeye and BJ merely said "Da" intermittently. Soon, Newkirk was signaling LeBeau from the compound, and the Frenchman was transferring the signal to Hogan and the doctors. Burlunkin was indeed rushing into the office of Colonel Ying after the CO informed him that the listening device was again working. Why was it so problematic, they wondered. As Burlunkin listened, Hogan explained - in Russian - that the base Burlunkin thought they were going to was not the intended gulag. He declared that someone must have gotten their information mixed up, and that - for the major's sake - he hoped it wasn't someone in the KGB attempting to discredit him.

"Oh, da, da!" spoke Hawkeye, barely concealing a chuckle as he considered how much he sounded like a baby calling for his Daddy. BJ, remaining silent, turned away and allowed his chuckle to be muffled by an unused pillow. Well, let's see you do this with a straighter face, Pierce considered, appraising the snickering man.

Burlunkin quickly phoned KGB headquarters in Vladivostok - that city name was all Newkirk could glean from his post, kindly assisting a corporal in mopping the floor. Of course, even had he been able to listen intently, he would not have picked up any more, since the conversation was in Russian. However, he knew that the major was likely calling to confirm that the location had switched. When asking if the first prisoners had arrived, he would learn they were not - and would then be in a difficult position. Hogan hoped the Russian would be forced to admit he'd been spying. Burlunkin, after all could not question the general without letting on that he had spied on them.

Newkirk glanced at his watch and quickly left the office. When Hogan noticed him jogging toward them, he explained. "Okay, now Newkirk's going to take these men who can't walk and put them in an ambulance."

Newkirk and LeBeau quickly loaded three patients into the ambulance, then drove off. Shortly after they left, however, Burlunkin stormed into the post-op room. "The people in Vladivostok report that there have been no Americans arriving at any gulags," noted the Russian.

As the doctors tried hard not to fidget at the angry voice, Hogan shrugged. "Well, the weather's not exactly the best in Siberia," he noted.

"True, but we are concerned there could be a breach of security. We are requested to keep you and your men here until they arrive, and I have ordered this camp surrounded to ensure they do not get out."

Radar tried to contact Sparky, the operator, and see if he could patch a line through to the North Korean unit. He couldn't; Hogan had asked them not to call him unless there was a Korean speaker on the line, and none could be located right then. Carter suggested he simply ask for Kinch, which Radar did. The former radio man came to the phone quickly. "Hey, Captain Kinchloe, this is Corporal Walter O'Reilly, at the 4077th."

"Hello, how are things going? Any word about those packages?"

Radar shook his head. "No, and we're sort of worried, because he's had to maintain radio silence for about 18 hours."

"There might not be a problem." Kinch wasn't too worried, but he knew there could always be complications. "They still had five to get out, after all."

Radar hummed. "Yeah, I guess I'm just not used to this sort of work. Still, though, don't you think we can help him somehow?"

"Like what?"

The farm boy shrugged. "Well, what would you guys do in that situation wherever you were?"

Kinch rubbed his chin. "Well, sometimes it would help to have a diversion."

"Like what?" Radar seemed excited to possibly have something to do besides sit and wait. Kinch could envision what the corporal was feeling - he'd had the same experience many times himself.

The captain shrugged. "Anything, really." Too bad LeBeau doesn't know Korean, he might be able to do Kim Il Sung just like Carter used to do Hitler, Kinch reasoned. "Something to distract the Koreans from the real problem and help our men get away." He offered his apologies for not being able to offer anything concrete.

The corporal hung up, and Carter said "bad news" in a somewhat worried voice.

The young man seemed distracted. "No, but Captain Kinch said a diversion might be helpful, and I don't know what we could send..." Radar suddenly sat up very still, and Carter imagined more wounded were on their way. However, instead of rushing to the loudspeaker, all the youthful corporal said after his statuesque five seconds was "tomato juice." He then ran toward the door.

"Tomato juice," came a stunned Carter, picking up the code book and leafing through it.

No time for official pleasantries, Radar decided. It's like Hogan said, we're a team now. "Look, call Kinch back, tell him order a large plane with room enough to hold lots of liquid; I think I've got an idea." As he fled the scene, Carter figured that he'd either gone crazy or the corporal was a budding Hogan.

Radar quickly found Zale, a supply sergeant. "Remember when we got that running supply of tomato juice for Colonel Potter before we knew he was allergic?" Zale nodded. "Where is it?" He pointed to a large storage shed whose basement had months of tomato juice which had never been used. "Pull it out, gather as many people together as you can. I've gotta get a couple large vats from the kitchen, and Kinch is sending an airplane."

Majors Houlihan and Winchester walked out of post-op after doing their rounds. Both gawked at the incredibly odd sight in the center of the compound. Large vats, normally used for food storage and other things, were being loaded with tomato juice. Two large trucks sat nearby. Colonel Potter invited them over. "Come on, Majors, we're going to give those North Koreans a bath."

Houlihan looked askance at the tomato juice. "In that; that's what you bathe dogs in when they get sprayed by a skunk."

Winchester chuckled. "Excuse me, but...this looks quite absurd."

"Whose idea was this?!?!"

"It was mine,, Ma'am," came Radar. "We knew the general needed some sort of diversion."

"And you decided to...give them tomato juice?" She turned to Potter and remarked "I'm totally clueless now."

"Well, it is the color of blood, and some of it's been sitting so long they might think it smells like old blood, might make them think it's a warning from Moscow or something, I don't know." Potter remarked. "Hopefully, tomato juice will make them as sick as it made me."

Hans Schultz, who had stopped back at the 4077th to visit before going on to Seoul and Tokyo, explained. "Major, if you had been at Stalag 13 when I was there, you would know that whenever Hogan is involved, very strange things happen."

"Father says planes used to disappear like magic," Lt. Schultz commented. "People would disappear, others would appear from nowhere, and the strangest things went on."

Houlihan shook her head and looked skyward as Winchester fought to stifle giggles as he excused himself. "Some days, this war makes no sense," Houlihan remarked.

"That is exactly what I would say - along with declaring that under the circumstances, it is so strange that I would much prefer to know noth-ing!" Houlihan shrugged and began pouring some of the last cans of juice into a vat.

As one of the vats was carted into a truck, Carter asked "what are you gonna be doing in Seoul? I thought you'd been there."

"My wife and I adopted five Jewish orphans after the war. I have always loved children, and now Oskar does, too. He and his new wife are adopting a child from a nearby orphanage, and I am going to help him get permission from the government." He remarked that "the child was just left there several months ago, and nobody knows where it came from."

Houlihan stopped. She wondered if she dared inquire. "A baby was dropped off at the camp about that time; I think it was a girl. We went and put the child on the doorstep of one of the orphanages without letting them know. We figured it was the child of some soldier, but the Army wouldn't let the child into the U.S. so it was the only way we knew the child would be safe."

"What did she look like?" Houlihan told him. "I believe that is the one. Oskar wondered why the child didn't look totally Korean."

"God works in mysterious ways," Father Mulcahy noted as the final vat was placed aboard the last truck, and the vehicles were driven out to meet the airplane Kinch had ordered.

Hogan, of course, was used to working in strange ways, as well, but he couldn't figure out how to get this to work. Thankfully, the communication barrier forced Burlunkin to leave the post-op room to speak on the phone. It was then that Hogan decided they'd better make their move. He bullied his way out of the building after setting the charges, threatening a Korean with decapitation if he didn't listen. He, Pierce, Hunnicutt, and the remaining two patients quickly hid in a supply shed.

Hogan snuck out, then eyed the camp perimeter. There was an area that was relatively unguarded if he could divert the guards' attention, but he also needed to remain behind to ensure that the depth charges went off. He hustled back in and ordered Pierce, Hunnicutt, and the last couple patients to the hidden chopper that was to transport them to safety. "No time to get another truck here, and we want to make sure these charges go off. They're ready to start arresting people, and I want to hide out here till the last possible moment, to keep them from finding the charges." With Newkirk and LeBeau having taken several prisoners out via truck, Hogan knew he'd be operating alone. But, he'd been alone plenty of times. It would be just like in Klink's office, delaying the investigation just long enough, so he could leave right before the explosions.

"Sir..." began Hawkeye, unsure what to say.

"Look, you know the patients take top priority. I'll be fine; it's nothing I haven't done a hundred times before." As Hogan barked orders sending a couple guards to the other side of the compound, where he claimed to have "spotted some prisoners," the other four began trekking into the hills. Major Burlunkin and several Koreans marched out into the compound and toward Hogan, inquiring where the others had gone. Suddenly, a plane flying overhead opened its cargo hold and sprayed the compound with a reddish liquid.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, Hogan began assailing the stunned men in Korean. "You miserable Koreans think you're a match for the might of the Soviet military? This is a signal to you, you lowlifes, once we complete this project it will be the first stage in our plans. Korean blood will be shed everywhere, and the Korean Soviet Socialist Republic will be born. Kim Il Sung will die a horrible death in the gulag with the Americans, and the Soviet Union will reign supreme! Major Burlunkin will try to deny it, but he was behind this bloody sign to your miserable Koreans; your independence will not last more than a couple more months now!" Hogan fled amid angry Koreans questioning Burlunkin. He joined Hawkeye and BJ, along with a couple patients, near the helicopter, as the sounds of explosions roared in the distance. Even if the comp were to be rebuilt, he had acted zany enough the Koreans and Soviets would take a long time to trust each other, once everyone got finished reporting back to their respective headquarters.

Hogan couldn't help but ask as BJ helped him aboard the helicopter. "What'd you do, use all your old blood?"

"Actually, I think it was tomato juice," Hunnicutt hollered above the increasing roar of the chopper blades.

Hogan shut the door and shouted "tomato juice?"

"I'll explain later," hollered the doctor as the plane took off.

Once they were in the air, Pierce breathed a sigh of relief and turned toward Hogan. "Nice work, General," Hawkeye uttered, giving a very short salute.

Hogan returned it spontaneously before raising his eyebrows. He inquired of BJ: "Did he just salute me?"

"Yeah, but don't tell anyone," BJ requested, "you'll spoil his reputation." They laughed as the chopper headed for the 4077th.

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