By Rob Morris
Summary: One Day, He Will Face Down Khan Singh. Now, Hawkeye must face down a child's questions--all in all, he'd rather be dealing with Khan. Set during the Potters' Sunday Brunch at the finale of 'Visions Of The Things To Be'
The grownups were all talking with one another. That meant, by and large, that they weren't talking to her. Wally Klinger was holding on to Grandma Soon-Lee for dear life, and Maxine was just a baby. Granpa Max ( Though neither he nor Soon-Lee looked like grandparents ) kept racing Doctor Julian around the block.
Everybody was talking to somebody, and the food Mrs. Potter ( Who was so very nice) made was just too heavy--she liked the pancakes, though. So Molly O'Brien found the living room. There, sitting alone, was Hawkeye Pierce. He was the funny man who made Worf and The Dominion people all upset. But now he looked tired.
Physically, he wasn't tired---could never become tired, ever again. But emotionally, events had taken their toll. A future he had to fulfill. A love he had just proposed to. Dead friends he had to avenge. Before all this, eternal life would have sounded to Pierce like an insurance policy pitch.
"Captain Pierce, what does this do?"
Molly addressed Pierce by his rank, as Nog did. Hawkeye was no longer in the military, and 'Captain' had never meant the same thing for him that it did for Benjamin Sisko or Jean-Luc Picard. Miles and Keiko had salvaged a piece of carpeting from Ten-Forward where Molly was born, but Molly almost didn't remember the D. As Pierce started, Molly pointed again to the glass-and-wood box with four legs.
"Oh. Well....Molly, that's a Television Set."
At least, Pierce thought, if a 24th Century kid doesn't know what television is, that's proof of progress.
Molly folded her arms.
"What Does It Do?"
The questions of an insistent child upon him, Pierce knew exactly what to do.
"Hey, Miles? Keiko? Soon-Lee? Max? Lucy? Ricky?"
Hawkeye realized he was on his own.
"Well, you turn it on, like this....."
"Well, now we wait....until it warms up."
Molly thought, like a recalibration cycle for the holo-suites.
Hawkeye observed the little girl plop herself in front of the set, arms under chin.
"Must be an instinct, like when they hear the ice cream truck."
Hawkeye decided on a bit of revenge towards a loose-lipped Klingon.
"Worf ate it all."
She showed her dissapointment.
"Must've been Gagh-flavored."
Pierce did not want to ask Molly what she meant--this was a good thing.
Finally, the set was warmed up. Both expected very little from the box.
"Is that all they do is try to sell stuff?"
"Yeah. Its kind of like Quark, only they pretend to not be interested in profit."
"Why won't he let her be in the show?"
"I dunno. I mean, his shows are never all that good."
"What does Ozzie do for a living?"
"Ask Bashir. No 20th Century mind has ever figured that one out."
"I can see the strings on those puppets."
"No, no. They're real. Its Buffalo Bob who has the strings."
"Why does the sheriff shoot all those people?"
"Well, this is a Western. If he doesn't kill everyone in town, then the West can never be safe--from---itself."
"Why does he say, 'Just The Facts', but then he asks for other stuff too?"
"Molly, Mister Friday is a divided, tormented individual with many problems."
"I think those people already know what questions they're gonna get asked."
"Kid, no one ever said it was a Pop Quiz Show."
Pierce had just about run out of patience with Molly, and Molly with the Tv. Then, it happened. Magic words came out of the monophonic speaker.
"Faster Than A Speeding Bullet...."
She stood up, at that. So did Super-fan Hawkeye.
"More powerful than a locomotive...."
Pierce sat down again, and Molly sat in his lap. Their eyes were wide open.
"Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound...."
For the next twenty-five minutes, Molly asked no questions, and Hawkeye offered up no quips. After all---some things were still sacred, even as late as 1956.
"....For Another Amazing Episode In The Adventures Of......"
Margaret Houlihan walked in, and saw her fiance' asleep in the chair, his young companion equally in slumber, safe in his arms. There were times she had her doubts about Hawkeye Pierce--but now was not one of those times. He awoke, and saw his combative lover. As she walked out again, he winked one eye at her, an unexpected mission happily accomplished.
Blake Pierce was helping her parents clean out The Stephens' household after the passing of Uncle Darrin. The 6 year old titan was going through material from their basement, when she came across an odd thing. Having only ever really known plasma flat-screens, she couldn't figure out what the glass-and-wood box with four-legs would ever be used for.
"Daddy, what does this do?"
Hawkeye Pierce turned. A wave of nostalgia struck him, and he felt his eighty-four years, physiology aside.
"Well, Blake---at times, it was just a box. But on occasion--it could change the course of mighty rivers."
"You're weird, Daddy."
The playful insult done, Hawkeye marveled again at the changes in his life wrought by the strange visitor named Blake Pierce. All in all, he was kind of glad she stayed.