Colonel Potter stood back and watched, irritated by his feelings of utter helplessness in this situation. Two armies stood on the field of battle, apparently frozen in time, and it was already clear which one was going to win. The battle thus far had been swift and fierce, and the fallen lie cluttered around, shamefully forgotten. However, now it appeared, at the critical moment, a dreadful indecision had descended. To choose rightly would allow the fight to continue. To choose wrongly...

The colonel sighed, his frustration getting the better of him. Finally he decided that he couldn't just stand back and watch and do nothing, not when he knew the exact remedy for the situation at hand. Muttering a few choice words, he bent down and whispered in B.J.'s ear.

"If you don't move your rook, you'll lose it."

B.J. turned to his commanding officer in surprise, though Potter simply gestured towards the chessboard.

"Hey, that cheating!" his opponent protested from across the table.

B.J. returned his attention to the game, and after several seconds of study, moved his queen's side rook out of its corner to avoid the impending attack of Major Winchester's bishop. "Thanks, colonel," he said with a smile.

The colonel eyed the Charles' stricken expression. "Don't worry, major," he assured the doctor, tiredly. "You can still win in... seven moves."

Charles's scowl quickly turned to an expression of disbelief before he dropped his eyes to the chessboard. After a considerably longer pause than B.J. took, Charles moved his knight into a more threatening position. "I believe you're right," he said wistfully, thinking ahead the next six moves. "I hadn't seen it before."

"What was it you said about cheating?" B.J. asked, amused despite the fact that he was on the verge of losing yet another game.

"You're obviously no stranger to the game," Charles said to the colonel, pointedly ignoring B.J.'s statement. "Care to stick around for a match with the winner?"

The colonel frowned slightly, a distant look in his eyes. The pause stretched out longer than intended, and suddenly the colonel noticed two sets of eyes regarding him intently. "Sorry, lads," he said, his tone colored by a seemingly misplaced sadness. "I don't play anymore."

With that cryptic statement, the colonel turned and walked away, exiting the officer's club without a backwards glance, and leaving two slightly confused officers in his wake.

"Did I miss something?" Hawkeye asked, returning from the bar, three drinks balanced in his hands.

"I think we all did," said B.J, who still hadn't taken his eyes from the door.