by Rob Morris
Chapter 1 - Reversing The Charges
The storm overhead rattled so fiercely, Hawkeye Pierce was sure that Kong was about to burst through the trees. He looked again at the Buddhist Monks they had come to see, while Jeep Driver and Chief Worrywart BJ Hunnicutt honked the horn.
"C'mon, Hawk! That storm is looking pre-tee bad, and I'd like to be back in Camp before it really hits."
Pierce smiled cockily at his best friend.
"Let me give it one last try, Beej. As to the storm, how could it look any worse than that cheesy moustache?"
As Hawkeye knew he would, BJ let the comment go, for time's sake. Fidgeting with him inside the jeep was Head Nurse Margaret Houlihan and Company Chaplain Father Francis Mulcahy. Colonel Sherman Potter had sent them to negotiate for the miraculous herbs this little community of Monks grew. One and all, they brought personalities that Potter felt would net them the herbs that would make a healer's job so very much easier. One and all, they failed. There was a major stumbling block to their acquisition. Despite knowing better, Pierce tried one last time.
"You know, praying for the peace and well-being of others is nice and all, but the stuff you guys grow here is the answer to prayers. Infections, amputations, head injuries, you name it. Everyone could benefit-even you."
The Head Monk looked steadfast but not judgmental. Pierce both envied the man his serenity and despised him for being so polite in saying No.
"Captain, you are a good man. I can tell this about you. Major Houlihan and Captain Hunnicutt are most compassionate, and we respect our fellow Holy Man, Father Mulcahy. But the indisputable fact remains that you would use our herbs to aid soldiers."
"That's kind of what we do."
"And would these soldiers return to war?"
"Some of them. That's kind of what they do."
"Then our resolve is unshakeable. We would rather allow our ancient order to pass from the Earth than aid any war that is not fought within the human heart."
BJ honked the horn-this time more loudly, and longer. Pierce spoke through gritted teeth.
"I heaaar you, Beeeej!"
"Captain Pierce. You could simply send in MP's to take them from us. We could offer you no resistance, save to try to destroy our herbs, to spare them warlike use."
As Pierce acquiesced to Hunnicutt's concern, he got the last word-as always.
"Yeah, I guess we could. But we won't. Chew on that."
As the jeep drove off, the monks watched the storm overhead. A novice spoke to the Head Monk.
"Master, I dreamed of the storm opening a blood-soaked door to a dark place. The American healers face much peril!"
"They are good people, Novice. The balance will protect them, just as this place of light we dwell in is balanced by the dark place you dreamed upon. Their true peril comes from this storm."
As the monks finally went inside, the Jeep was already half-way back to the 4077th MASH. But the storm was getting worse.
"Father, do you have a prayer to St. Christopher, for this trip's last leg?"
"Actually, BJ, I am currently being very creative with several Novenas I know. I wonder if Lucifer's rebellion looked anything at all like this?"
Margaret ticked off, "The Devil You Say, Father!"
Pierce shot the grinning Houlihan a warning look about stealing his lines. Then, he noted where the lightning was striking the most.
"Beej! Pull behind those rocks!"
At first BJ wondered why he should even consider this, but then all noticed that the mine field nearby was being struck repeatedly. He swerved.
Just as they pulled to safety, it sounded like every single mine in the Korean Theater of Operations went off simultaneously. The bright flash had Father Mulcahy paraphrasing Milton.
"And, as he fell, he gave off a horrible shriek, his beauty burned away. Sorry, folks-just shaken up a bit."
No one, not even the agnostic Hawkeye, disagreed with the sentiment the Padre expressed. BJ got the jeep back on the road. The storm was quieter, but it was still there, and still quite loud on its own merits. Hawkeye looked back.
"Hey, did we get turned around?"
"I-don't think we were. I can see the camp."
"BJ, why don't you use the walkie-talkie and call ahead? We're in range, and there could be fresh potholes we need to avoid."
Margaret's idea was sound, so long as someone was on the other end, and had theirs on. Luckily, someone did.
"Yes, Captain. Zale here. No new potholes to report, sir. I will remain on call until you are back, sir. Zale out."
In the jeep, there was a bit of confusion. BJ voiced the concern.
"Since when does Zelmo Zale speak like a pre-World War One English Aristocrat?"
"Who knows? Maybe he and Klinger are working together on a Section 8, this time. If they act too intelligent, we'll wonder if they are who they say they are. That one might actually work."
Then, they hit a pothole. They were only inches from the camp gate, so it didn't matter, but they were thrown-and not only by the bump. Hawkeye stood up in the Jeep.
"A gate-since when do we have a gate? Margaret, did you order this from Montgomery-Ward?"
"Oh, quit jabbering, and get them to open it!"
"Good idea. Hey, uh-tower guards? How about this gate?"
"Right away, Commander!"
"Don't try to be funny, guys! That's my job!"
"Sorry, sir! I'll put myself on report!"
Pierce sat back down.
"This guy doesn't know when to quit."
The gate opened, and the jeep was guided in. Awaiting them was Charles Emerson Winchester The Third.
"Ah, Commander Pierce. Any luck with those recalcitrant Monks? We could use those herbs, after all. It would make our appointed task easier."
Trying not to look too perplexed, Pierce avoided asking Charles how he had grown a beard in the last six hours.
"Uh, no. They um, still won't cough up."
"A pity that so old an order has chosen to lose its place in Washington's Cultural Pathology Museum. Well, they had to die, anyway, right? That is why we're here, at the behest of our Nipponese 'Allies'. Shall I send an extermination squad?"
"An extermination squad? For what?"
"Ha-ha, Commander. Once again, we see your rapier wit at work. One generally sends an extermination squad to-Exterminate! If these Holy men wish to have holes drilled in them, Marshal McIntyre and his men only too happy to go at it. Our 'Trapper' has been chomping at the bit, lately. Not that I noticed any change from his usual scholarly self."
Hawkeye, Margaret, BJ and the Padre all noticed many changes-none of them good. Now, the quite vicious Winchester spoke to the proper-talking Zale.
"You failed to guide them past the potholes, Lieutenant. Your nightstick, if you would-or even if you would not."
"Sir, it was not my fault. Group Captain Hunnicutt knew of that last pothole. It has been there for two weeks!"
"Two weeks, you say? Any excuse is, Mr. Zale, by definition, 'too weak'. Are you seeking to disgrace this unit still further?"
Zale withdrew the small but solid nightstick from his pressed pants right near his perfectly-shined boots. He handed to it to Winchester, who nodded to him.
"I accept my punishment for the American Fatherland. Victory!"
When Zale raised his arm in a sickeningly-familiar salute, Margaret was alarmed. When Winchester, in almost a flourish, proceeded to beat him senseless with the nightstick, she had to turn away. Pierce motioned Winchester away.
"She's still shook up from the pothole. I'll look after her-Winchester. You just-do your work."
"You'll look after her? Oh, DARN, and I thought this was my week with 'the flap that never closes.' Still, I suppose Command must have some prerogatives, else, where's the fun? "
The look in Margaret's eyes was one he had seen only a few times. Once had been when they agreed to suspend their early feud to try and find out the real reason Henry Blake was killed. Somehow, they would find out where the hell they were, and why in God's name the Nazi Swastika flew above this nightmare version of the 4077th MASH.
2003 - From the Private Journals Of Hawkeye Pierce
*The date was supposed to be June 1, 1953. Although there were rumors that the peace talks were finally on track, no one could say for certain at that point how soon the Korean War might be over. In fact, we would all be home within weeks.*
Pierce looked up from his writing.
"Um, Margaret? My journal? Remembrances of things past? I, my darling, have a hard time writing when Mr. Singh is yapping about his superior manhood. In other words, turn down the TV!"
Margaret Houlihan-Pierce was not impressed.
"You keep talking about how 'someone' should make Khan shut up. Well, Hawkeye, are you someone?"
Her words cut him straight to the bone, and he had no answer for those words. Especially disturbing was the thought that the same scientists who created Khan and his 'ubermen' had, during Korea, experimented on Pierce and his wife of thirty-eight years without their knowledge. The results of this had been startling. Still, Hawkeye wished to avoid a direct confrontation- either with Khan, who disturbed him- or with Margaret, whose anger and disdain concerning this subject scared the hell out of him. He went back to his writing.
*I say it was supposed to be June of 53' because we ended up in a place that time forgot-or at least was too sloppy to clean up after. And this place needed cleansing.*
He caught his breath.
*To this day, I don't know how we survived. It was me, Margaret, BJ Hunnicutt, and Father-later Bishop Francis Mulcahy. Thank God we had him with us. Like I said, that whole place could have used a holy-water deluge-or an enema, in any event.*
Hearing his wife snidely turn the TV volume up, Pierce put on a headset with light music playing.
*What place, might you ask, and why did it seem so strange? Well, BJ, etc., were travelling back from a Buddhist monastery. There was a nasty storm out, and-something happened. Myself, I'm a surgeon, not a physicist, so I have no clue as to what that something really was. But, as we approached the 4077th, we saw some things that were fundamentally wrong. Gates-we didn't have gates-just a minefield that seemed more interested in killing us than any supposed enemy. Sgt. Zale, who had transferred out 5 months back, about the same time Radar left, was not only present, but could give Charles Winchester a hassle in the good grammar contest. Said Winchester was now sporting a beard cheesier than BJ's moustache, and a love of discipline, which he then demonstrated on Zale. Charles was never a Joe Average, but whatever looseness he ever had was drained dry. As the saying goes, though, the worst was yet to come.*
The first thing Margaret noticed was the uniform she almost wasn't wearing. It was so skimpy and revealing, and so absurdly non-functional, she would have slapped Pierce for even briefly contemplating her in it. But despite how much of her it revealed, Hawkeye wasn't looking at the Major's charms. His attention-and now hers and BJ's-was on the obscenity that flew above the camp in place of the Stars And Stripes. It was an obscenity that millions of young Americans had fought hard to bring down. It was the Nazi swastika.
Father Mulcahy stared at his own uniform, all black and hard material, pressed very well. Even his glasses gave off the look and impression, not of a man who was there to help his fellow man-but to sit in judgment over him. The Bible he held felt cold in his hands, somehow. He would find that, too, was for a reason.
BJ noted his uniform smelled of soot-and something else. Hawkeye's was almost an advertisement to what the bearded Winchester had called him.
"Commander Pierce? Is something wrong? We've tried to keep the camp in order, while you were gone."
For the first time since BJ had stung him with an elaborate set-up, Hawkeye fervently hoped he was the victim of an immense practical joke. In a way, he was, but not how he thought.
"Ok, Charles. Where's Potter?"
Pierce hoped he would see the gregarious older man come bounding out, shouting about how badly he got them all. Instead, the look on Winchester's face said that he had been asked an unbelievable question, and was wondering why.
"Does the Commander wish the official version?"
The look on the *Commander's* face spoke impatience, no matter how one sliced it.
"Yeah, the official version. Why don't you do just that?"
"Very well. General Sherman Potter, while on his way to assume Command over the Mobile Army Racial Purifier 4077th, had his jeep hit a rather conveeeenient land mine, both paving the way for your confirmation as Commander, and ending the investigation into the deaths of Colonel Henry Blake and Lt. Colonel Frank Burns. Of course, one could add that the investigation was finished anyway, since the so-called 'Cowboy' who blew up their latrines never lived long enough to expose his employer. Commander Pierce."
Charles then made a small bow fully loaded with contempt. But a few things were clear, now. This was no joke. Hawkeye had all but shot his way to the top. And the 4077th was a death camp. As his head began to swim, he heard Margaret give off a yelp, then turn and sock someone, who themselves yelped. At this, he smiled slightly. Even he himself, while drunk, now knew better than to pinch Margaret, whatever she was wearing. He turned and was startled by who her assailant was. Margaret was angry, but also quickly realized his identity.
"Who the hell do you think you-Trapper?"
Smiling a predator's smile, and sporting his well-known sunglasses, Trapper John McIntyre got up, wiped the blood from his lip, and further regarded Margaret. It was making her ill. That was also ignoring the fact that Trapper had left the 4077th in early 1952.
"Well, I think that I'm in charge of Security, around here, Hot Lips! I was just trying to secure your buns for tonight's private dance. What-did life in the land of the Gooks grab your brain?"
"I-I can't be with you, tonight-Trapper. Commander Pierce and I-"
Trapper turned furiously towards Hawkeye at Margaret's hastily-chosen words.
"You know, Pierce? You are forever pulling this rank business. But it's okay. Really. I'd much prefer to do some field work-like those monks and the villages surrounding them? My boys are getting antsy to make mashed Gook."
Pierce was actually thankful for his daze. It kept him from killing this nightmare version of one of the two best friends he ever had.
"Not just now, Trapper. I, uh, have other considerations—regarding those-LIP's."
Winchester overheard this.
"Commander, if not now, when? When they don't cooperate, they are exterminated. Standard Reich procedure. As you yourself have explained to many an absent underling. Why, then, any delay?"
Trapper's face was full of analysis and ambition, like a lion that sees a crack in its keeper's resolve.
"Tsk. Disobeying the Reich. I mean, uh, Commander, it's a pretty big gamble yer takin'. Some might call that weakness, and some-never your loyal Security officer-might find that weakness inviting."
Hawkeye was sickened to realize that only a constantly angry façade and stream of comments was going to see him through even the next five minutes.
"First off, McIntyre, you wouldn't know an invitation if it knocked on that empty head of yours. As to big gambles, let us not forget that I'm the better poker player. I have my reasons, and those reasons will keep you happy for another twelve hours. Got it!"
McIntyre removed his sunglasses, revealing a small but deep gash underneath his right eye, likely the result of a bad bet on his part.
"Oh, I got it-Sir. But if I may be so bold, if those monks are that disagreeable, what the hell is twelve hours gonna do that my favorite steel pipe wouldn't?"
He saw that the appearance of mercy really was a trap, in this place, so Pierce adopted their tone.
"Well, there you go. Steel Pipe. You go in, there's less-of those people-than there were before, and we plod ahead. Now, if they-through fear-decide to give us what we want, there's progress. Imagine this camp's efficiency if everyone just laid down and-ya know, died when we told them to? Fear, gentleman. It's all about the fear that some people feel. Fear of-this place, this- MARP."
A voice came from behind Hawkeye.
"Yeah! That's why he's a Commander and you bums are always bums. Especially you, Trapper. By the by, here's the fugitive report for Chosan sector. They're to be brain-bulleted-yesterday!"
No one saw Trapper slip Walter O'Reilly a note when he was handed the report. Hawkeye nodded politely to a man he thought of as a kid brother, but who he properly suspected was nothing like the Radar he knew.
"Hey, folks! Lieutenant O'Reilly did something right, for once. Three cheers!"
"You watch it, Major McIntyre. I got a higher rating than you. In case you forgot, Washington says that the Irish are way whiter'n the Scotch."
Quietly, O'Reilly read and ate the note where only Trapper could see him do so.
"Anyhoo, here's the rest of you guys stuff. Chief Experimenter Houlihan, these are the results of that anthrax injections you gave those kids. Everyone this time! Just dropped off, within an hour."
Margaret tried to falsify a sense of pride on her face.
"Oh, good. Much better than-the last batch."
"Group Captain Hunnicutt, I got bad news. The ovens are still down. HQ says the heating elements were made by a firm with Zionist connections to people who were Zionist Jewish Hebrews. They gotta clean house and get some pure material there."
Not yelling what he wished to, BJ threw up his arms and lied his lungs out.
"Well, that's just great. How do they expect us to run a -a Racial Purifier-without ovens? I mean, it's just not done. Heads should roll—I suppose."
"Hey, Hunnicutt, I got Blake's old Pizza Oven-you could do one at a time! Gookie to go-with everything!"
"Hey, Trapper? You're lucky, cause I'm gonna pretend like we've never met before."
Which was, in fact, the truth. Trapper, Radar and Zale at least were no longer part of the 4077th as they knew it. But this was not that place. Sensing a need to withdraw, Father Mulcahy thought swiftly.
"Commander Pierce! I must protest the incompetence that Houlihan and Hunnicutt displayed on that retrieval mission. I suggest we resolve my charges- in-your-office."
BJ and Margaret gestured to a still-dazed Hawkeye, who finally caught on.
"Well, Father, those are some serious charges you're throwing around. Um, okay. Everyone who came with me, come with me to the CO-to my office. We'll settle this matter there."
As they left, Radar-if that was his nickname, here- stopped Father Mulcahy.
"Hey, Father? Here's the last payment on my big Confession. Although I still say that a guy's gotta right to inspect the women's shower at any time-so long as Lt. Colonel Houlihan isn't in there. She fights back too hard. Not like my three girls. They enjoy it."
Mulcahy's eyes stared at the picture on the 20-dollar bill.
"My, my. Herr Nietzsche was certainly a striking man, wasn't he?"
"I guess so. Praise Victory, Father!"
"You too-Walter. I'd salute you back, but my arm is sore."
With that, he darted into Hawkeye's office. In the compound, McIntyre talked to Winchester.
"Listen, uh, Colonel. It seems that the Commander is starting to come unglued. Now, if I moved you up, I could be your second-while maintaining my internal security role, of course. I have someone else interested in taking over my field work. Whaddaya say, Commander Winchester?"
Charles turned his head and looked at Trapper.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, McIntyre. Were you saying something to me?"
As Winchester walked off, McIntyre nodded.
"You know, I could learn to respect that kind of contempt."
Pierce and the others checked his spacious, immaculate office for listeners and/or listening devices. By chance or by design, there were none, and Radar was in his own office building, as per the Company Record-Keeper's position.
"All right. First Thing. Does everyone here remember this place a LOT differently?"
All of them nodded yes.
"Ok. I'm yielding the floor, and my dignity, people. If this is some kind of joke, speak now and let me never forgive you-cause I've lost my sense of humor about this 'MARP' ."
BJ shook his head.
"You're giving me too much credit, Hawk. No, no, this is real. And there's an easy explanation for it, too. When those mines went off, we were killed. And this place is where certain dead people end up. We're in..."
Hunnicutt's reserve was fading, and he was starting to shake. Margaret took him by the shoulder, and Hawkeye tried to reassure him.
"Beej, we're not in Hell. Me-maybe. You and Margaret-way on the outside, who knows? But Father Mulcahy? I may not be convinced that God is real, but even the Old Testament version wouldn't send him down with us. I know how you are about compliments, Father, but I had to say that."
"It's quite all right, Hawkeye. That's the closest I've ever heard you come to my type of faith. In this place, especially, it's a welcome comfort."
" Atheists and foxholes, Padre. Which brings us back-what is this place?"
Margaret raised her hand.
"I know what this is going to sound like. But, when I was a kid, going from base-to-base with my family, I'd read anything I could get my hands on. It didn't matter what it was. It passed the time. I grew to love the science fiction pulp magazines they published-all full of futuristic military hardware, and the like. Well, in some of them, they described a concept called 'alternate realities'. Places like the ones you know, but with differences, sometimes big, and sometimes small-sometimes, well, huge."
BJ looked quizzical.
"Alternate Realty? Margaret, this is more than just another house we're in."
"Actually, BJ, while I like to think of all the Earth as God's house, I feel him here just a little less than usual."
"Besides, Beej. She was talking about something like that scene in that Jimmy Stewart movie. You know the one, where the angel shows him what his town would be like without him?"
"Really, Pierce. I would have thought you watched it to see Donna Reed lose her bathrobe."
"Hey, Margaret. Never knock a double feature-especially a double-feature like Donna Reed's-"
"Could we stay on the subject? Hawkeye, wherever we are, as a man of God, I cannot permit those monks to be slaughtered. Now, whether we have found an alternate to our own world, or if we are those evil people, gone mad with grief and guilt, this butchery must not stand!"
"I agree, Father. But let's work on Margaret's theory. If we got here, we can get back. Otherwise, we're dead. I can't live here."
BJ shook his finger.
"Uh, guys? If we're the us who is supposed to be them, then where's the them that's supposed to be us?"
It was a sobering thought.
"Myself, Beej? I hope those slime buckets didn't make it. But they may be our ticket back, if there is one. More on them later. Here's what I strongly suggest we do. BJ-head for the motor pool, and keep those jeeps from running, in case Trapper of the Gestapo gets ideas about the monastery. Father-you know research. Try and find out a reason why this place is the way it is, if you can. If we know the ground rules, we're that much better off. Margaret, go reason out the pecking order. Who's who, and who wants what. I'll try and keep things from moving forward, for as long as I can."
BJ and the Padre quickly left, but Margaret remained.
"Major, you have your-suggestion. Is something wrong, besides the obvious?"
She looked up.
"Hawkeye, I'm afraid. This place stinks, even worse than our MASH did, on its worst day. To Trapper, I was less than nothing. Even back then, you and McIntyre never acted-"
Pierce walked around his desk, and held her hand, while looking deeply into her eyes.
"If I can act brave, Margaret, than so can the bravest person I've ever known."
She smiled, then kissed him full on the lips. As she began to leave, he asked her something.
"What was that about?"
She smiled again.
When she had left, Hawkeye cleared his head.
"All right, where do I keep all my important stuff?-my tent."
As he headed towards the CO's tent, Hawkeye was joined by maybe-Radar.
"Mind if I walk ya to yer tent, Commander?"
"Sure thing, O'Reilly. Appreciate the company."
Oddly, having Radar dog his steps made Pierce feel more like he was at home. As he opened his tent, though, nostalgia gave way to pain.
Radar shoved him forward, directly into a punch in the face. As Pierce fell in agony, he saw Radar and three friends- including a Klinger who looked he had his entire body bleached, standing over him with silencer-equipped Walther P38's. Walter was actually cackling, exactly the way his Radar did about things that were actually funny. If he needed a clincher to Margaret's theory-he might find it here-if he lived, which seemed doubtful.
"Guess ya die, Sir-and promotions all around! No one's gonna ask any questions about the death of a Commander who bummed on Reich's orders. So no board of inquiry. Geez, how stupid can a fella be?"
All in all, Doctor Benjamin Franklin Pierce was not enjoying his visit to this alternate universe.
Chapter 3 - A World Without Love
2003, Crabapple Cove, Maine
Hawkeye Pierce stopped typing his narrative of the hellish other world he and his friends had once found. A place where he was the ruthless Commander Pierce, in charge of a death camp euphemistically called a Mobile Army Racial Purifier. There, Charles Winchester acted more wooden than the man he knew ever had, on his worst day. There, Trapper John McIntyre was not a happy-go-lucky dependable chum with a temper. He was a casually brutal thug even more fond of beatings and epithets than he was of wine, women, or song. Adding to the festivities was a familiar symbol of evil flying over the camp, and the knowledge that he himself had arranged the deaths of Henry Blake, Frank Burns, and Sherman Potter. Given the racial climate he found, it was also a fair bet this Commander Pierce didn't call himself Hawkeye, either. Thinking about this next part had always been difficult for him. Writing it out, even on a computer screen, was pure agony. He paused, but found that did not help the words come. Out of the corner of his eye, he spied a small blue blur darting in and out of the back door, and he heard loud, joyful giggling.
"Blake? Don't run in the house, honey- you might cause..."
Every window in the house shattered.
"...a sonic boom. Great. Well, Hawkeye, you decided to be a father at 79. Come here, you!"
Moving almost as fast as his four year old, Hawkeye at first replaced the shattered windows, and disposed of the residue. This, of course, gave the rambunctious little girl - named after Hawkeye and Margaret's first CO - a ten second head start. She was halfway across the Atlantic when Hawkeye finally scooped her up, both of them laughing. Rather than running the whole way back, he leaped to a sub-orbital height, touching down near Newfoundland, then back for Maine. At home, Hawkeye looked harshly at Blake, but she knew he couldn't sustain that look on her.
"And just where did you think you were going, little girl?"
"I was going to Paris, to see Uncle Walter and Uncle Duncan."
"Honey, Uncle Walter and Uncle Duncan are very busy these days. Its head season, you know. Ah-ahahahhaaaah!"
Hawkeye's cheesy Elmer Fudd impression never failed to get a smile from his little heart. He hated the scum at Immunita for murdering Henry Blake. He hated them for their experiments, which killed many thousands, and accidentally bumped he and Margaret up the long ladder of evolution. They were immortal super humans, now, as utterly ridiculous as that sounded to them both. Blake and her younger brother Sherman had been born to a heritage beyond imagination. Sometimes, the evil origins of this power scared them both. But not when they looked at their children. Then, it all seemed to make sense. Nowadays, very little did. Khan Singh's followers were making the world very ugly indeed. A phone call from Nick Knight in Toronto, telling of Lacroix's final destruction by "Geneites", set things in motion. Suddenly, there were no Immortals living in Paris, although a pair of glasses sent with a smiley-face told him that Radar was alright, for now. Charles had withdrawn his various paranormal *investments*, and found a quiet spot to live out his years. BJ and Peg were in deep hiding, thankfully.
"Daddy, why are people so mean, lately?"
"It's not lately, kiddo. But it has gotten worse."
"Because of Khan? Mommy says that you're supposed to stop him, like the Klingon-man said. But you won't do it, because you don't have any ba..."
With baby Sherman in hand, Margaret Pierce raced over and covered her daughter's mouth. She had gotten home just in time to avert disaster-but not her husband's harsh glare.
"Blake, why don't you take your brother upstairs and crossload a movie?"
"Ok, Mommy. Can we watch Uncle Henry and The Temple Of Doom?"
"No-hooo way, little lady! Too violent! You watch Uncle Henry and The Last Crusade. Now, up with you two."
Blake kissed both her parents, and hurried upstairs. A smart kid, she knew what was coming.
"How dare you? Bad enough you have to take every spare opportunity to insult me this year. But you said those things in front of our little girl, Margaret. She thinks I'm a coward."
"I didn't mean for her to hear me. Anyway, the shoe fits, doesn't it? That rally is right up against us, Hawkeye. History says that Margaret Houlihan rides a reluctant husband until he confronts Khan at the rally, breaking his power, ending his threat. So do the Pierces save the world. Just ask Worf-in about three and a half centuries. Why are you afraid?"
"Oh, I dunno. Civil War, failure, and possibly making things worse all leap merrily to mind."
"Worse? Worse? Adam was almost beaten to death! Your sisters and stepmother and nieces are in hiding. People walk the streets afraid that an edict will declare them unfit to live. How in the HELL do you think it could possibly get any worse?"
"Don't hand me all that! I spoke to Fox just last week, and he says this whole thing will come to a head, soon. I mean, if you can't trust your FBI Director, then, who can you trust? In other words, history doesn't need me any more than I need your grief, Margaret!"
"Are you even listening to yourself? You can't depend on events to take care of themselves. If we'd taken your attitude, we would have never punished Henry's killers, that's for sure. Darling, I know the burden is great. It almost broke me once, too. But we can't take the chance that a monster will rule Earth's destiny. I apologize only for my approach and my choice of words. I'm going to back off, now-for four hours. Then, I'm going, with or without you. Odds are, though, that crew won't have much use for a woman's words. It's all up to you, Hawkeye. Will you sit here and be tortured by might-have-beens, or fulfill your destiny and in so doing, save the world?"
"Suppose I intervene, and fail? This world could end up like that other one."
"Take a look outside, Hawkeye. We're almost there, anyway. But you alone can make it right."
Pierce turned back to his typing, and Margaret started up the steps to join the children. Briefly, he spoke.
"I love you, Margaret."
"You know I love you, whatever else I might say. But this time, that isn't enough. The world needs its hero to open his big mouth, and shut the bad guy up. It needs you, even more than I always have."
Things were calmer, now. But they both still felt the sting of the argument. With the biggest event of his present and future standing right in front of him, he turned back to one of the most disturbing events of his past- the trip to the other world.
Another Earth, circa June 1953
Hawkeye learned that, on this other world, all an ambitious young officer needed to get ahead was three friends and four silencer-equipped pistols. Walter O'Reilly stood over him, quite ready to pull the trigger. If it weren't for the danger he was in the sight of ruthlessly confident Radar with a gun would have Pierce rolling in the aisles. He stalled for as much time as he could get.
"Trapper put you up to this?"
"Well, sure he did. But I'd do it anyway, Commander. You killed Henry Blake. Burns and Potter can rot in Muspelheim as far as I'm concerned, but Blake was like my own father. Yeah, he liked to slap me around a bit. But he was twice the mensch of all of yas combined. Guten Abend, Commander!"
As O'Reilly went to pull the trigger, two of his accomplices fell over, quite dead. He turned and saw Klinger, his pistol drawn, and smoking.
"Why, you lousy, backstabbing Arab Ni-Klinger, how could you go and pull this on me? You know what McIntyre promised us, for Pierce's death!"
The mantle of the scam artist took a very sinister turn on this Klinger's face.
"You're crazy, O'Reilly. First off, it was Trapper's bright idea that I should have a monthly peroxide bath, to whiten me up. Secondly, what he did to Kellye I ain't ever forgettin'. Lastly, he set you up, chump! I get to kill you and Pierce, and he gets me some local talent so's I can forget about my aforementioned wife, plus your job, and your three girls. Sweet, ain't it?"
Hawkeye's head spun with how many times Klinger had just contradicted himself in the same sentence. Then, it happened. They each fired simultaneously. Klinger was struck through the heart, a wound he stared at in wonder before dying. O'Reilly's head was blown apart, making Hawkeye wonder if this Walter had the same secret as his, not that it mattered anymore. Playing the part of the Commander as Rizzo walked in, he hid his sick grief behind red rage.
"Are you well, Sir? We heard a scuffle, and became quite concerned."
This Rizzo apparently had studied under the same grammar teacher as Zale, and it was just as disconcerting. Hawkeye threw that into the mix, as well.
"First, get these traitors out of my tent, and get a detail to clean up this mess! Also, LIEUTENANT, might I ask how it is you came to be so lax in your duty that I was almost killed in a supposedly secure area? Hmm? Are you on McIntyre's pay-list, like they were?"
"Sir, with all respect, you know that Marshal McIntyre led the force that suppressed the Cajun population in Louisiana. I await the day on which you will tell me to make a fine mist of his tiny brain. Still, as per procedure, I will review and discipline my men accordingly."
"See that you do. Also, get Mulcahy, Hunnicutt, and Houlihan, and bring them all to my office. I want to review the Monk Situation."
When he left the tent, Pierce had to grab himself to stop from shaking. It was scaring him how easily he fell into character in this nightmare world. He stopped as the bearded Charles Winchester walked up, a bit of anger in his eyes.
"You know, Commander, you brought this attempt upon yourself. Showing restraint in the matter of those Monks only begs a man like McIntyre to move against you. We have an efficient operation here, with our other concerns netting us quite a tidy profit. Why, I ask you, do you seek to upset-nay, to destroy this applecart?"
With less of an effort than he would have liked, Hawkeye once again resumed the role of Commander Pierce.
"Seems to me, Winchester, that in warning me about Trapper, you're sounding an awful lot like him. Got plans for my desk?"
"I...Command? No. No, I've not the desire. Far better to have someone like you at the top, where order may be maintained. If McIntyre takes over, the field will blow wide open, and we can't have that, now can we? But fair warning, Commander. Act soon in this matter, say within five hours? If you do not, I shall arrest you to protect my own position-and-my life. Am I clear enough?"
"Crystal. You do what you have to, Charles, and I'll do what I have to. Just like we both always have."
He now resolved to tell his own Charles Winchester how much of a gentleman he really was, no matter what else might change. Provided he ever saw his MASH again. As he walked off, Winchester watched him, and muttered something.
"What, then, in the name of Howard Philip Lovecraft goes on around here? Whatever it is, it's all quite-fascinating."
Before Rizzo's summons, each of Hawkeye's friends endured some hard facts about who they were in this place.
"It's just a simple question, Baker. Now, where is my tent? I want to see how well you know the camp's blueprints, in case of trouble."
Baker was a little tipsy, and quite gaunt compared to the woman Margaret knew. Behind a glass partition, Korean children were being fed candy. Margaret somehow doubted that sugar was the worst thing in those confections-confections the other Margaret had ordered made up, as part of her biological warfare experiments.
"You want to know where your tent is, Lt. Colonel? Well-Check Your Zipper! Whosever undoing it owns the tent you're in." Baker, much more than a little tipsy, then started laughing hysterically. Margaret walked out, disgusted.
"Take a break, Baker. Have some candy, while you're at it."
Father Mulcahy nervously read between the lines of propaganda in the history book he had found. He shook when he read the revised Bible, as well.
*Well, I hadn't known that King David and his descendants were of Anglo - Saxon origin. How very intriguing a premise, if one wishes to wear a white sheet in place of a white collar.*
Just before Rizzo came, Father Mulcahy found two books that shocked him beyond all measure. They told him what sort of man he was here in no uncertain terms.
BJ Hunnicutt was talking to a brick wall.
"Look, Lieutenant Zale. All I want to do is inspect the Commander's Jeep, AT the Commander's Orders, I might add."
"Understood, Group Captain. But Security Regulations prohibit any-save Security Officer McIntyre and his men- from touching any of these vehicles, or allowing their departure. In this, his orders supersede even Commander Pierce's. My regrets to him, Sir."
BJ gave up, but not before firing a parting shot.
"Ahh, the Commander will understand, Zale. But next time you address me, you had better use proper grammar and pronunciation, not that gutter-talk you've been using."
The confused, nervous look on Zale's face was priceless, as he backtracked his words, looking for errors.
As Pierce walked, a cocky Trapper looked over and smiled at him.
"Hey, Commander! I heard you had some trouble. Now, I wonder who it could be put those morons up to it? Hmm. Who COULD it be?"
Hawkeye was ready, though.
"Oh, c'mon. It's obvious who pulled the strings, McIntyre. It was Winchester. Who else could be that smart? Certainly no one I know."
Pierce entered his office, while Trapper slapped a steel pipe in his hand.
"Soon, Pierce. Soon!"
He then stopped slapping the pipe, looked at his hand, and began to shake it.
"Ya know, I gotta stop doin' this. It hurts after a while."
At the CO's office, there was no good news, only more questions.
"Pierce! What happened to you?"
"The tag-team of Klinger and O'Reilly happened. A team that suffered a falling out and then permanent retirement. They're both dead."
"Well, I wish I could say that's uncommon. Everyone I've spoken to just took it as a given that sex or death was the way up. Apparently, this Margaret Houlihan has a strong back, and a twisted love of children. She's sure as hell no giver of comfort. Pierce, there's something else, but it'll keep till later."
"Oh, Hawk, this place is just to die for. If you're a Korean national, that is. Our camp charter tells us that we are to clear this land of Koreans, so that our Japanese allies can rule a pure Asia. It was a treaty signed with-Emperor Tojo Hideki. Neat, huh? One of 'my' assistants told me how much he missed the ovens. Said I told him how the first smells always reminded me of pot roast."
"Good job, Beej. I know that must have been rough. How about you, Father?"
"I found the origins of this horrid place. I incorrectly assumed what I think we all must have-that Nazi Germany won World War Two."
"Well, Father, the damned Swastika is flying over the camp, and it's on our uniforms. What else could have happened?"
"Something even more disturbing, Major. You see, here, after the Bier Hall Putsch of 1923, this world's Adolf Hitler was expelled from both Austria and Germany. No other European country would keep him, so he sailed to America. There, as people like him are wont to do, he gained many followers. In 1930, when the Depression first hit with full force, a great many candidates from the National Socialist Party were elected to Congress. More still, in 1932, along with their Presidential Candidate, legitimately elected, just as we saw in our Germany. He moved to consolidate power just as quickly. With our nation's resources behind him, Hitler built an army that has control of half the Earth, while Japan has the other half. His philosophies are no different, here. Just the names, and the faces. We have all of us grown up knowing nothing but this evil, and thinking it good. Our mass production techniques have the very grimmest of purposes. Nazi Germany did not win the war. Nazi America did. Our worst traits rule, here. We are the Nazis. There's one more thing. I found two ledgers. One covers profit I'm turning releasing sinners from responsibility. The other has their confessions written down, for the purpose of reporting on possible traitors. Here, even the confessional itself is profane!"
"Alright. Now everyone go to your tents. We'll make a break at first light."
"Um, Hawkeye? Where exactly will we go, when we make this break?"
"Back to the monks, Beej. I have an odd feeling that if we have a way back, it's through them. It's vague, I know."
"Don't knock it, Doctor. It beats having nothing, which is what we currently have."
Agreeing, BJ and the Padre left, but Margaret stayed behind.
"C'mon, Major! Off to your tent. We're gonna need to be alert, when we try -whatever the hell it is we're gonna try."
Margaret seemed sullen and alone.
"Hawkeye, I don't have a tent. I stay-she stays-with whoever she's shacked up with, that week. I have to stay with you, for tonight. I know we're both exhausted. And I do trust you not to try anything, but..."
"Don't worry, Margaret. I'll crash on the floor, pull up a chair, whatever. No big deal. Like you always say, there's a time and place, and this doesn't seem like it."
What Margaret said next surprised them both.
"Hawkeye, I don't want you on the floor. I want us to be together. We might die here, and I'd just as soon be with someone I consider a friend my last night on-this Earth. Please, no comments, just tell me that you don't mind putting up with me for a few hours. I need to not be alone, tonight."
Pierce cleared his head, and spoke from his heart.
"Margaret, on the odd occasion, I've considered how it would be to - 'put up with you' - maybe for the rest of my life. Like you said, we might die, and I wanted that known beforehand."
He expected any number of reactions from her, from complaints about complicating matters, to wondering how serious he really was, to pledging devotion at the gallows, to a very solid punch in the face. Instead, Margaret cleared her head and spoke from her heart.
"Hawkeye, I've had those same odd occasions."
The world was hostile, and the night was short. But true love, as always, is just oh, so grand, no matter where or when it is finally revealed, once and for all.
One Universe Away
"I don't know how you survived, Potter, but you've left yourself open, just like before. Rizzo, shoot him!"
"Uh, no can do, Cap'n Pierce. If I went and shot the Colonel, well, then, he might get angry at me."
Potter looked at Rizzo.
"MIGHT get angry? Look, Pierce, you had a rough ride through that storm, why don't you just calm down and swill some brew?"
"Oh, should I take my hemlock like a good little boy? Listen up, Old Man! I know the Leader. The Big Guy. The Order Giver. So clear out, while you can. Winchester, front and center! What the hell kind of clothes are these? Where in blazes is McIntyre?"
A quite beardless Charles Winchester turned around.
"Oh, let's see. How best to answer your rant. I have it. One, Captains don't order Majors, Two, your taste in clothes is as lowbrow as ever it was, and Three, I - couldn't truly care less where your former bunky is. Last you said, he had moved from sainted Boston to The City By The Bay. Have we been sleeping enough, Pierce? Not that I care."
Actually, Charles regretted his words, but Pierce was asking to be brought low with this bizarre attitude. Pierce started looking around, shocked.
"This place has no gates! Lieber Gott, its crawling with Gooks!"
Potter stared at a man who wore a friend's face but was not him, not even close.
"Hunnicutt, is he all right? He's talking nuts. I've never heard him say anything remotely like this."
"He's lost it, Commander Potter. Always was on the verge of insanity. You'll have my full, unqualified support, of course, after a fashion, and some simple understandings."
"I'll remember this, traitor!"
"You're yesterday's news, Pierce. I think I'll burn your body in Number Seven-really does the job-and it's a whites only oven."
"Colonel, if you'll tell me your favored proclivities, I can be just as effective a CO's comfort as I've been all along. Myself, I like removing the gates. Brings more little gookies in, speeds the work."
Potter couldn't believe that a woman he thought of as a daughter had just propositioned him, and then talked hatefully about children she often played with.
"Well, I for one, demand that the gates be put back! Ours is a holy crusade for absolute racial purity! As the Book tells us, 'Suffer not the sons of Ham or Shem to live'. Further, Oh...NO!"
Pierce looked up, as did all the people in the jeep.
"What game are you playing, Potter? Why is that Zionist Occupation Banner flying over the most efficient MARP in all of Asia? I was part of the Youth Corps that cleaned out nests of the Old Order, set those things on fire. God, I remember when they sent us to Haarlem, and we..."
Pierce was cut off by a punch to the jaw, courtesy of Sherman T. Potter.
"I don't care how sick you are, Pierce! No one but NO ONE mocks Old Glory while I'm around!"
"A situation that is so easily rectified, Colonel. Besides, you need me. I can keep O'Reilly in line-I don't see you being able to do that."
Potter ignored them all.
"MP's! Guide these folks to Post-Op. It's clear right now, but I want guards on all exits."
Pierce sneered, Houlihan batted her eyes, and Mulcahy looked quite indignant. Hunnicutt stopped and talked to Colonel Potter.
"You do understand, sir that I had nothing whatsoever to do with that assassination attempt. I can arrange something for Pierce, if you like, Colonel."
"You mean like an accident."
"Ri-highht! Glad we're on the same frequency, Sir!"
"Nope. Not even the same modulation. Now get in there."
"Your choice, old man."
Potter looked at Sergeant Max Klinger, and shook his head.
"Did you do it, Max?"
"I may not be Radar, sir. But the way they're acting, I didn't need anyone to tell me to call Dr. Freedman"
Chapter 4 - Then The Inverse Must Be True
Margaret Houlihan Pierce looked in on her two children watching a movie. In it, their old friend Henry Jones was keeping the Holy Grail from falling into the wrong hands-the very wrongest of hands. The oohs and aahs on the faces of daughter Blake, now 4, and son Sherman, almost 1, were one of the things that kept her heart beating each new day in this very difficult world they lived in. Margaret absently realized that, in a month, she would turn 83. One not familiar with the extraordinary history of the 4077th MASH might well wonder why neither she nor her husband, Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce showed a single sign of aging. But those who did know the Truth were very few, and almost all of them had secrets of their own to protect. Not to mention families.
As her little girl spied her, Margaret saw a look that said *Blake has a question*. When it came to this situation, Margaret often pined nostalgically for the Tokyo of late 1954. At least Godzilla never asked any questions.
"Mommy, who were the Not-Sees?"
Margaret found she had an easy answer, to her surprise as much as Blake's.
"Blake, the Nazis were bad people who were more like us than we care to admit. When they hurt people, for stupid, made-up reasons, they were doing things other people had done before, and have done since. So, they didn't invent evil. They just came very close to perfecting it. The really scary part is that, to a lot of people, that evil seemed like it was good. Its oh-so complicated, kiddo. But in the end, they got as far as they did because they were just like anybody else, on the surface. It all started in Germany, but some people say it could have begun almost anywhere-even here."
The little girl folded her arms.
"Here? In the good ol' true-blue USof A America? Horse-Hockey!"
Margaret laughed, but made a mental note to ask Mulcahy not to whisk Blake to 1972, and meetings with her 'Uncle' Sherman. She had loved the old man, but his mouth was decidedly pre-PC, and Blake didn't know when not to use words. Scooping up a cooing Baby Sherman, Margaret held him close. She had wanted to name him Albert, after her own father, now 30 years gone, but decided against that. Duncan had recommended that Hawkeye and Margaret Pierce expire soon, to begin a new life under another name. Even though they weren't his kind of Immortal, the advice was sound. With two small children around the house, gray hair dye and a cane just wasn't doing it anymore. So they named their children after their CO's, a link to the past that didn't have to be explained quite as often.
Suddenly, Margaret felt her sweatshirt tearing open across the top. Sherm needed to feed, so feed he would and feed he did. His mother, still marveling at the sheer beauty of these two, grinned and bore the assault on her person.
"We have got to stop you from doing that, kiddo! Although, I think your method proves beyond all doubt that you are indeed Hawkeye Pierce's son. Oh, don't laugh, Blake. Your feedings cost me a whole set of wardrobes, and one tuxedo."
"Mommy? You own a tuxedo?"
"No. It was your Father's. I was away, Cousin Erin was receiving an award, and you got hungry."
"But Daddies can't..."
"You were REALLY hungry, Blake. We didn't realize that so many of our...abilities had been passed on to you, at that time. You're already as strong, as fast and as smart as we were when we got married. Sometimes, we forget that. I gotta go talk to your Father. Anything else?"
As Margaret put Sherman to sleep, and set the one-way sound dampeners for his autocrib, Blake thought of a question.
"What did the Not-Sees look like?"
That, too, was an astonishingly easy question to answer.
"It's easy to think that they were all ugly, branded monsters. But the truth is, they looked exactly like people you know."
"Put on a new sweatshirt. Your bazoomies are hanging out. Are mine gonna be that big someday?"
Margaret exited the room to get a new shirt or top, closing the door as she went.
"Watch your movie, Blake!"
Despite the closed door, Blake watched her Mother leave, change, and have a much gentler talk with her Father than an hour ago. She found, of late, that if she concentrated her stare, she could see through walls, and sometimes even make things heat up. She didn't tell her parents this, though. They worried too much as it was. For her stomach's sake, she tried not to look through the walls at night-Mommy and Daddy were just so silly then. She looked at her sleeping baby brother.
"Sherm, whadya suppose Mommy meant by the Not-Sees looking like people you know?"
In fact, saying that wasn't idle philosophy on Margaret's part. She had seen the face of evil up close many times, and at least once, that face was her own.
MASH 4077th, June 1953
"Attention, all personnel, this is your rightful Commanding Officer, Benjamin Franklin Pierce. In the name of the Leader, I ask that you arrest the traitor Potter and...Heyy!"
Max Klinger shoved Pierce away from the microphone.
"Captain, get back into post-op, or so help me, I'll feed you this thing next time!"
Seeing any defiance from Klinger, a non-entity in Pierce's eyes, was so stunning that he backed off, edging his way back to Post-Op, and into the hands of waiting MP's. He sneered at the company clerk.
"They told me not to accept an Arab, Klinger. I guess backstabbing is a given for all the filth from the Middle East, not merely the Juden."
At that, Max rushed him, only to be stopped by the sudden entrance of Colonel Sherman Potter.
"Easy, son. There's no way he's worth the skin on your fists, right now, with the garbage he's spouting. Pierce, back into Post-Op! Sergeant, please try to remember to guard the inside entrance, as well as the outside, hmm? These folk aren't in their right minds."
"I don't know how you got rid of McIntyre and O'Reilly, Potter, but you have my compliments. Good riddance to two people with suspect bloodlines. Of course, then, you're part Redskin, aren't you?"
"If I were you, Captain, I wouldn't mention the word 'Red' right now, cause that's what I'm seeing."
Potter shook his head.
"My God, Hawkeye. What happened to you four out there? You can tell me."
"Oh, you're good, Potter. Digging up that Injun nickname my father called me before I turned him over for sedition? Bravo, Herr General. But I was CO once here, and I will be again. You almost have to slip up, and when you do, I'll be waiting."
Pierce exited to Post-Op, where he and the other three waited. Pierce, Hunnicutt, Father Mulcahy, and Margaret Houlihan had all come back from the Buddhist Monastery without any healing herbs- and seemingly without their souls. Potter had heard Grand Wizards with more restraint. Besides their seeming insanity, Potter had spied something utterly impossible, something he would have to relay to the traveling frontline psychiatrist, Sidney Freedman, when he arrived. Inside the Post-Op, four fiends that looked like four dear friends spoke of their circumstance.
"I don't get it. I identified Potter's body myself. And that Asiatic, Nurse Nakahara who was in here earlier-didn't Trapper break her one night in one of his tantrums?"
A man light-years away from the soul of Francis Mulcahy chimed in.
"Oh, I fear its far worse than that, Commander. For you see, one of our guards chatted up the Asiatic, and asked her for a date, as though it were done all the time. For all we know, there could even be race mixing going on. By Wotan and The Cross, I'm away for a few hours and the camp teeters on miscegenation!"
"Look, Commander, you better know that I was just trying to butter up Potter. I don't want my loyalty to you questioned. Although, he did manage to take out Trapper and his little man. If I had to listen to one more of O'Reilly's stories about Commander Blake, I was gonna strangle him myself. I served under Blake for three months. You, Pierce, are the best CO this camp could have, and more..."
"Stow it, Hunnicutt. Remember, I'm the CO's woman, not you. But Commander, what is wrong with this place? My labs are gone, there's no scent of flesh around, and these oddballs act like it's we who've lost our minds. If I could get Potter alone..."
"No, Colonel Houlihan. That's out. First, his blood's not pure. Second, we don't even know if he's interested."
"You weren't, either. But then, I waited under your desk that day, and I caught your interest. Not to mention my promotion to Lt. Colonel."
They each smiled a predatory smile. They'd been together for years, but still waited on the day they could finish the other off. The depths of the mutual contempt between Pierce and Houlihan almost knew no bounds. It might seem like an exploitable weakness, but even McIntyre chose not to run across that minefield. Outside, Sidney Freedman arrived, to try and cipher things out.
Alternate Universe, MARP Vier
"Margaret, we have to try for that jeep at first light. Do you think I want to walk away from you, right now? My God, being with you is a dream..."
"Hawkeye, let's not rush things, here and now. I care for you, and you for me. Now that we've established that, let's build. But, my darling, let's build slowly. We both of us share a talent for self-sabotage that we can't overlook."
"Yeah, I suppose we do. But we still might die, so I'm gonna say it. I Love You, Margaret."
They are called three little words, but they had the impact of ball lightning. As they always have, and as they probably always will. Those words never have more impact than when they are returned in kind.
"Die. Live. As long as we're together. Because, I Love You, Hawkeye."
They stared dumbly at one another, wondering why it had taken entering a hell on Earth to bring out their true hearts.
"Let's get to the...
"We should go and get to the.."
Mindlessly, two patient pairs of lips locked tightly for another precious few seconds, before leaving for the Commander's Office. When they got there, BJ and the Padre motioned to them to hide behind some crates.
"What's up, Beej?"
"It's Charles Beard Winchester. See, he's loading all those Korean kids into those trucks. No guards, no resistance, and the kids look healthy enough."
"Yes, and now he's waving them through the rear gates. Odd for so brutal a man, but he appears to care for the children. They seem to like him, as well. I've thought it quite odd through this whole ordeal just how much he reminds me of our own Major Winchester."
"No surprise there, Father. My dad used to tell me, that when he served in the Philippines, there were two types of men, depending on what kind of day one man was having. Barbarism and savagery share a thin line with civilization, and they don't always play nice."
"Quick, everybody. In the office before we're seen."
At Hawkeye's behest, they did just that, and avoided being seen by an approaching Charles Winchester. When he entered the office, Hawkeye tried to act imperious without being pompous. Then he remembered where he was, and added pompous back.
"Yes, Colonel Winchester. Is there something I can do for you?"
Winchester pulled out a portrait of Hitler at his 1933 Inauguration as US President. He gestured to it, smiled-and then tore it in half. He threw the halves at the man he believed to be his Commanding Officer.
"That, you pea-brained, racist pipsqueak, was my effort at resigning my Commission! I have just now placed five truckloads of Korean Children-Human Children, mind you -despite your narrow views—on trucks bound for ships that will take them to a part of the Asian Mainland ruled by the Russo-Sino-Mongol Confederation. There, they will at least have a chance at life. Know this, I despise you all, and the Leader is an overcompensating psychopath masquerading as a statesman. You, Father, are a leech upon the body of decency! You, Colonel, have lost the subjects of your terrible experiments. Perhaps you should lie down and sleep off your disappointment. Perhaps our Neanderthal of a Commander would join you, if he can find anything with O'Reilly dead. You, Hunnicutt, are the lowest sort of man. You are a glorified switch-turner with a sick fixation on human suffering. There, now kill me, and be done with it! Well? I'm waaaiting."
Hawkeye sat numbly once again, remembering that he had witnessed the grisly deaths of this world's Max Klinger and Walter O'Reilly. His reverie was shaken by Winchester's insistence.
"Must I reiterate? All right, then. I remember a time when our country was a democracy. When equality was a goal, not a discredited dream. When books and the arts served their own purposes, not some agenda that some bigoted bureaucrat licking Hitler's boot bottoms crafted. In short, I remember a place called America. Commander, what ARE you waiting for? You promised to kill me if I ever betrayed you."
Smiling at the totally unexpected ray of hope in this nightmare, Hawkeye just casually shrugged.
This shook the other Winchester, but not less than the warm smiles he saw in the room. A thought crossed his mind, but it was a completely unbelievable one. Then, in the distance, was the sound of bazooka fire, and five explosions. Into the office walked Security Officer McIntyre, quite pleased with himself. In each of his hands he carried guns, aimed at the personnel within.
"I owe you, Winchester. Gathering those kids in trucks saved me and my boys a lot of time. Have to remember that trick, for next time I'm backed up with refuse. Also, that confession is great evidence against you. How tragic that you killed most of the Senior Staff before making it. Now, I pick who's first. That would be-The Commander-and his woman. You had your chance, baby."
"Oh, Trapper! I do regret it all! Truly."
Margaret turned back to Hawkeye.
"Think they have Hope and Crosby, here?"
"Why, you beautiful devil..."
"So we die, is that it? Ok. It happens. But how'd you like to see a special game that Houlihan and I made up? C'mon, Trapper! It'll knock your socks off."
The Security Officer flashed a disturbingly familiar boyish grin.
"Do It. Right Here, Right Now."
Appearing to move closer together, Pierce and Houlihan stood directly in Trapper's vision. They rubbed each other's opened hands.
"Hey! I like, I like! You two keep going, while you three stay put. That's why I got two guns. I'm not as dense as everybody thinks, ya know."
Now, Hawkeye and Margaret slapped their hands together, back and forth, moving more and more quickly. They recited an old verse together.
"Peas Porridge Hot! Peas Porridge Cold! Peas Porridge In The Pot-"
As one, they belted Trapper square in the face. He never saw it coming. He struck the far wall-hard.
"Nine Days OLD!"
To Winchester's shock, BJ immediately checked Trapper out, to see how he was.
"Beej? How badly we nail him?"
Margaret and Hawkeye were absolutely not expecting what BJ said next.
"He's dead, Hawk."
The room's silence was broken by the still-confused alternate Charles Winchester.
"I'm terribly sorry, here. But if I may, who in the hell are you people? You're obviously not child-killers like this scum. Yet, you express concern for even his wasted life. You can't be from here. I don't see you lasting even ten seconds in this fire. Where are you all from? And, most importantly, how do I get there?"
As they left the office, Pierce turned to Winchester and said one simple phrase.
"By coming with us, Charles. I won't leave you here. I can't."
"I shall come with you, then. But one moment. Unfinished business."
He took his boot, and kicked McIntyre's corpse in the head-twice.
"That was for the children, you ANIMAL!"
Hawkeye was going to stop him, but then remembered someone who would have kicked the body to pieces for the crimes of its former occupant. That someone was his own Trapper John McIntyre.
"Where, precisely, are we headed, Commander?"
"Back to the Monks. Only because I can't think of anything better right now. By the way, it's Captain. Where I come from, you outrank me."
"So! It seems your strange world is one of justice. Let's go, then."
"Ah, the Winchester ego. A universal constant. About the only thing, too."
As they left the gates, the Unit was dissolving into a full-fledged power grab. The bloody Death Camp was claiming its own, at long last. In the end, even the sign which read 'MARP Vier-An Efficiency Unmatched' was shot down. The blood-soaked Earth would not mourn this place or its staff.
MASH 4077th, June, 1953
Captain Kitty Jarrod had been leader of the camp's Corpsmen for five months, now. She had gotten along well enough with Head Nurse Margaret Houlihan, and she proved how tough she was to men who originally would not accept her. Now, she proved that same toughness to the woman who looked like Margaret Houlihan, backhanding her so quickly that no one saw it coming.
"My apologies, Major. But you see, MOST of my best friends are Asian."
Outside the doors waited Charles.
"Kit, was that necessary?"
"Oh, Charles. Of course it was."
"Is she truly from another dimension?"
"Yes, quite so."
"Are you certain, ahem, Kitty?"
"I should be. After all, I'm from one, myself."
(To my readers: This story thread will be picked up on. Just wanted to start it here. Captain Jarrod and her secret will be heard more of)
It was a dazed Sidney Freedman who emerged to give a despondent Sherman Potter news that was quite shocking indeed, even though Potter knew something bizarre was up.
"What's the prognosis, Sidney? Are those goose-steppers gonna get back to normal anytime soon?"
"Brace yourself, Sherm. They are normal. There's nothing wrong with their minds, except for the garbage they're spouting. They asked me where I was on Crystal Night."
"What'd you tell them?"
"The truth. I use porcelain plates and cups."
"That's not funny, Sidney. And how can you say there's nothing wrong with their heads? Pierce is a Machiavelli-a-fella, Margaret's a wanton, Hunnicutt's sniveling makes me sick, and I don't think even the Lord above wants to hear from the Padre in his current state. Now what is wrong with them? Because we have a problem here. Those aren't the people we know!"
Sidney looked directly at Sherman.
"You're right. They aren't the people we know. Sherman, they never were."
Still reeling from everything, Potter sat as Freedman gave an unbelievable explanation that nonetheless made perfect sense, if anything could right then.
Chapter 5 - The Price Of The Balance
2003, The Pierce Home, Maine
"So we're going?"
"That's what I said, didn't I?"
"You don't sound very enthusiastic."
"I'm not. I'm 1/3 scared of this crazy bastard, powers or no, 1/3 aching to rip him apart, and 1/3 waiting for Worf to be born so I can tell him to keep his big mouth shut around weary time-travelers."
"You know it's probably not his fault. The Prophets probably did something to his mind. Sisko told me that they love predestination paradoxes. That fellow with the flying phone booth never did forgive Father Mulcahy's checking in on the important days of our lives. Hawkeye, I have to ask again-are we going?"
"Yes. I have to stop running from it. My nephew got the pulp beaten out of him."
"How could I forget? When Adam announced, his parents just...I guess all the hidden races are still just people. I mean, I could hear the tears in Nick's voice after they killed Lacroix. Duncan says he'll always regret the way he hunted down Englishmen after the revolts failed. Even you and I. I hated the loose and easy approach to life you took so much, I couldn't see how I really felt about you. And if that isn't blind prejudice, I don't know what is."
"I guess love is blind, but hate just blinds. Margaret, do you think that if, maybe, just maybe, I would have laid off Frank, that he would've been a little more Human, a little more often?"
"Honey, I saw the human Frank, remember? He could be a very 'normal', sweet individual. But in many ways, he was just as off-putting as the caricature he put up as a shield. Oh, speaking of caricatures and shields, and people who deep down, really do love each other but fight a lot..."
"Tell me you didn't."
"All right, I won't tell you, then."
"Oh, great. Duncan and Amanda?"
"Look, they really want to give it a go, this time, Hawkeye. All they ask is..."
"Aren't you going to hear me out?"
"Love of my life, those two are N*U*T*S*! Noodles Under Tension and Steam! With all that's gone down between them, and all that she's pulled...no. We'll buy them swords, and throw them in a pit. Get twice the lightning."
"Radar asked that we do this as a personal favor to him. At least it isn't Cass and Methos, this time."
"Damn that little Imm...tell him three weeks from today. Look, I'm losing my nerve, here. What are we waiting for? You have the hair dye?"
"Silver Fox No. 3, and we're waiting for the baby-sitter."
"Well, either we have ball-lightning, or that blue-light special is Father Mulcahy. Um, Father? Could you assume human form? I find it difficult to talk to Reddy Kilowatt."
"Sorry, Hawkeye. There we are, a genuine mortal form, circa 1965. I always felt in my prime that year, when I finally married you two off. Not-that you made it easy to do so. Sorry I'm late. That Gul Dukat character…something to do with the Orbs. "
"Ouch! Uh, Father?"
"You have a 'Kick Me' sign on your back."
"I do? Oh, my, I...Q! Oh, he thinks he's so clever. Why, oh, why, can't he be more like Q? Or Q?"
"He just can't forgive the way you got him, Father. And you got him gooood. Ok. Margaret, we ready?"
"Just one second. Blake!"
"Don't run down the stairs, young lady. See, you burned the carpet again. Now, be good for Father Mulcahy, and look after your little brother."
"I will, Mommy. Daddy?"
"I love you. Are you going to fight Shao Kahn?"
"I love you to, honey. And, no, this is a different Khan-though not by much."
"I'm glad. See, Mommy, he does have balls. I know, because one night I walked into your room, and you were both..."
"That's-quite enough, Blake. You two go and keep your appointment, as it were. How is young Adam doing?"
"Why on Earth didn't he use his abilities in self-defense?"
"Khan's people have tracking devices, at least that's what Dana told me. She said they use them to gain a lock on others of the various hidden races. I worry about my niece sometimes, tough as she is."
"Cousin Dana's great, Mommy! She's so smart, she helped you set up the plan to make sure Daddy...shutting up."
"Well, there they go, Blake. Where to now?"
"Disney it is! During the time of its Grand Opening, No Less! Trip courtesy of The Prophets Of Bajor."
"I'll get Sherm."
"Hawkeye, can we talk?"
"At a thousand Kph? Sure! Just talk fast."
"Stop it! What are you afraid we'll find, after we've done what we have to?"
"What we found in the other world."
June, 1953, The Other World
As Hawkeye, Margaret, BJ and the then-mortal Father Mulcahy drove up to the Buddhist Monastery where all this began, their hearts sank and they were silent. Only the alternate world's Charles Winchester, their new friend and ally in this grim place, spoke at all.
"It would appear that the late, unlamented Marshal McIntyre exceeded his authority. Always was a lout."
Margaret looked around at the ruins and all the dead bodies. The monks had been as good as their word. Many of them had died while destroying their precious herbs.
"So was ours. But he was a lovable lout, whose greatest sin was to make love to my nurses."
"How is that a sin in your world?"
"Well, at the time, he was married. Plus, very often, he would have his dates in the shower itself, to save time. Right about now, I would like to see him, alive and well, offering me a complete physical. Then I would like to see Henry Blake tell me not to write a report, and Frank make a dumb comment about his wife back home...and..."
She was babbling, and beginning to crack. A man not too much behind her in that regard held her close. BJ's eyebrow raised a bit, but the Padre just smiled.
"Easy, Major. We're gonna get home. I didn't get soft and mushy last night just to have it all end here. I'm ditching this chicken-stand, beautiful, and I'm taking you with me!"
"I shouldn't be so weak. But, Pierce, this place is draining the life right out of me. As for mushy, I got that 'Let's Build' and 'Let's Go Slow' stuff out of one of Sidney Freedman's magazines. It sounded good at the time-oh, wait, no it didn't. But how about those three little words? I-meant-them."
"Me, too. But pop psychology or no, let's do two things. First, get the hell out of here, and second, plan to maybe start dating soon-war willing."
"Deal. But what about our punches and that lousy Imitation Trapper? Hawkeye, we killed the man, and somehow I don't think his hitting his head on the wall did it."
"We'll figure that out, too. Though if it's what I'm thinking, I don't much like it."
"Charming though this budding romance be, people, we must needs find a way out of here, and into your own world! I've never had much desire to live here, much less die in this place. I myself have a lifetime of sins to expiate, but I don't see that happening here."
BJ suddenly jumped out of the Jeep, and started yelling at the sky.
"All right, I've had it! I HAVE HAD IT! Are you hearing me? HUH! Each step I take these days seems to put me further away from my wife and little girl. Well, I want to go back! Out of this evil butcher's shop, out of Korea, never to roam again. I know you don't cotton too well to yelling, but I kind of think you owe us after this one. So give us a sign. How do we get back?"
Lights rose up from the monks' bodies, and flew through a hole that suddenly opened and closed. Then, Father Mulcahy spoke.
"The Camp. We've got to head back to the Camp."
"Father, you seem a decent sort. Certainly you are a good deal quieter than our own Mulcahy. But, you forget. MARP Vier is currently a war zone. All the petty thugs attempting to move up in the-in this world."
"With all respect, Colonel Winchester, my instinct tells me that if we head back, it will not be to your Death Camp. Rather, we will at long last go home to the 4077th MASH!"
Having nothing else, they slowly turned the jeep around, hoping and praying that the Padre was right.
June, 1953- MASH 4077th
Sherman T. Potter calmly and rationally heard the incredible explanation for the bizarre behavior of Pierce, Houlihan, Hunnicutt and Mulcahy. He offered his own unique take on this theory.
"Oh, good. And Here I was afraid you were going to reject what I said out of hand."
"Sidney, you're just not talking sense. Other worlds? What, did you cut the head off a drunk or something?"
"There you are, Sherman. Now, I'm an Immortal, right?"
"Correct. Still find it hard to believe that the man I pour my guts out to is pushing two thousand, and like as not inspired stories of the Wandering Jew."
"Now, who is my Watcher?"
"That's easy. The Padre. I know where you're going with this, Major. But he could've just had the tattoo on his wrist removed somehow."
"And leave no traces? C'mon, Sherm! They're all talking like Father Coughlin on dexies. I've dealt with alternate realities before, in my Kabballic research. Met a gunslinger with a wit so dry, one of Hawkeye's martinis couldn't compete. Their look, their mannerisms, all suggest that they not only are not the people we know, but that they never were."
Potter looked down.
"Funny. You know, Sidney, the scariest movie I ever saw didn't have Dracula, or Frankenstein, or even King Kong. It was a Jimmy Stewart flick called, 'It's A Wonderful Life'. There's one scene at the end, where he's in that other world, and the lovely Donna Reed tells her husband-that she's never seen him before. When she lost that bathrobe, early in the film, I wanted to be George Bailey. When she didn't even know him, though, I wanted to hide. Is that what we're up against?"
"Fraid' so. Of course, getting them back and bringing back our own people is not going to be easy. In fact, I don't know how the hell we're going to do it."
"But I might."
Freedman and Potter turned to see a Buddhist monk, a novice, standing behind them.
"Are you from the monastery? The one that my people left for before they lost it?"
"I am, Colonel. The balance must be restored. Your people must go home, and one person must come to his new home. I can accomplish this."
"Sorry, kid, but Buddhist monks usually don't deal in this kind of thing. I mean, I know a little about the subject of other worlds myself..."
"Yes, Doctor Freedman, I know. You learned at the feet of Kung Lao, priest and descendant of the Great Warrior. You were then called Siddig-Ben-Moshe."
"You-you're not from their sect of Buddhism, are you? You're Shaolin."
"I am apprenticed to those good, peaceful men, but I am in fact Shaolin, and an American, as well. My name is Kwai Chang Caine."
"Pleased to meet you, son. So what can we do to get this transfer approved, and quick?"
"It is quite simple. Of their own free will, the fiendish things that wear your friends' faces must ride back in the direction they came. I will do the rest."
"Assuming I buy all this, those birds in the Post-Op are paranoid. Won't eat, won't drink anything but water, and jump whenever anyone enters. They'll think we have a bomb planted in the Jeep, or something."
"I don't know, Sherm. Paranoia is a funny thing. Turned against itself, it can be quite a potent weapon."
Inside the Post-Op, the sullen thugs started as Potter and Freedman entered.
"I told you go to hell, Potter."
"Pierce. Be reasonable. Renounce all this racist booshwa and come back to work. Please?"
"Never. No. Some of you may have no sense of racial identity, but I'm on a mission from Wotan, as far I'm concerned."
"How about you three?"
"You seem to weak a Commander for me to respect, Potter. Unless you have a promotion for me to Full Colonel, that is. Then I can make you very glad you were born a man."
"Ya know, people have called me sniveling, but I am not gonna walk away from the teachings of a lifetime."
"Yours is an unholy place, Potter. Hear me, and hear me well. For Judgment awaits you and your race-mixers. Mine Eyes hath seen the Lightning and The Great Hammer Of Thor, he shall hie him to Ginnunagap where Jormugandr roars..."
As the others joined into the Asgardian hymn, Sidney fired a gun with a blank shot into the ceiling. They all stopped. He smiled.
"Congratulations, Commander. You and your people have passed this strenuous loyalty test. I'm sorry, but The Fu-The Leader found it necessary."
"This-was a loyalty test?"
"Of course. Remember, you did ask me where I was on Crystal Night, remember?"
"I can't believe The Reich would fail to tell the company Chaplain about an upcoming loyalty test! Oh, the Command shall hear of this! Some of their confessions, I have on tape!"
"It was necessary, Father. You see, soon, you're all going to Washington for an important assignment. He needs you people beside him. As you know, the Middle Bureaucracy is ripe with Zionists."
"I kind of always suspected that. So, Vater Familien wants me to clean house? He could've just asked."
"Commander, HE doesn't ask."
"Er, pal, who exactly are you, and why are you dressed up that way?"
"It's part of the scenario, Hunnicutt. As to my name, it's Sam-Sam Flagg."
Suddenly, Pierce's eyes went wide, and Sydney hoped he hadn't made a blunder.
"S-Sam Flagg? FLAGG?"
Pierce nervously reached over and shook his hand.
"Oh, Reichsminister Flagg! Sir, this is an honor! Your work in cleaning up New York State has always been an inspiration to me. Might I add, that Jew-disguise had me completely fooled."
"Don't snivel, Pierce! You're not as good at it is I am. Colonel Williams, go off and remove that Potter get-up. Good job, soldier!"
"Yes, Sir, Herr Minister!"
"So what do we do now?"
"Well, Commander, in order to keep this place's location a secret, I want you to get back in your jeep, and drive again to where those blasted monks are. Once there, you'll find your way back to where you all belong. We'll contact you thereafter, regarding your promotions."
With all in awe of Sidney's affected identity, they left camp in their original jeep. Potter looked at Freedman.
"Sidney, this had damned well better work. I do not like turning those yahoos loose, no matter who they are."
"Sherm, they're barbarians in a land full of people they despise. Finding them again won't be a problem."
But it also would not be necessary, for young Caine waited at the center point. The souls of the dead monks from the other world danced around him.
"Brothers, you who could bear no more of so fell and corrupt a place, help to restore the visitors who helped you escape. Send back the soulless ones, to the fate they so richly have earned."
Around him, a portal opened. He stepped back from it as each set of jeeps approached. In the distance, they all saw one another.
"Huh? Why's Winchester with them?"
"I suppose Flagg wants to test him next. Waste of time with Winchester. Loyal as a puppy dog."
"I agree, Hunnicutt. Plus, that beard makes him so compelling!"
"I'm not sure about him. Many times I've read sermons to him, and he acted as though he were humoring me. ME!"
In the other jeep, minds sharp and dangerous saw an opportunity to punish the fascists in their own special way.
"There's a part of our anatomy we're both familiar with."
"Major, are you suggesting we make our doubles see that part of us?"
"Captain, consider it an order. Eyes front, everyone!"
"Commander, what are those two doing? The ones dressed up as you and me?"
"Strange. They're undoing their belt buckles, partially lowering their trousers, and..."
Commander Pierce slammed down his fist, not even noticing he was back in his old uniform, as were they all. But then, he was quite indignant.
"THEY'RE MOONING US!"
Driving, Hunnicutt turned his head around.
"The woman, too?"
Now past the portal, Hunnicutt's inattention caused them to hit a large pothole. The jeep overturned, and now the whole sorry crew of Mobile Army Racial Purifier Four had joined their victims-at least in death. Any afterlife would probably involve a different destination.
At last, the four travelers returned to camp. Caine had been by earlier, to inform Potter of his success, before once again seeking the mists that are a Shaolin's home. They jumped out and smelled the air, which did not have the taste of human flesh in it.
"Are you four really you four? You ain't Commies, now, are ya?"
"Commies? Nyet! It's good to be home, Colonel."
"Klinger? Could you place a call to Peg? I need to speak to her really badly. Please?"
"Anything for a friend, Captain."
Potter noticed Pierce and Houlihan standing together.
"Slow and steady, Major?"
"Captain, I do believe that sounds like a plan."
While they were all smiles, Potter saw something that struck him like a two-by-four in the stomach. It was Winchester looking at the jeep's two remaining occupants. One was Father Mulcahy giving thanks for their safe return. The second-was another Winchester. Both, for some odd reason, seemed to take this in stride.
"Cognac, my good man?"
"But of course, my dear host. What else?"
"Nothing else, if I can help it. I shall contact Father and arrange a schedule for your departure. Imagine Honoria's face when you..."
"Honoria is alive!"
"Why, yes, of course...oh, no."
"My sister was killed for her stammer, after they got rid of almost everyone else."
"Then the first toast shall be to our sisters."
As Potter still stood dumbfounded at seeing the direct proof of Sidney's words, Charles-1 turned and looked at Hawkeye.
"My compliments. Your taste in souvenirs is -impeccable."
"As is, Charles, his taste in friends."
"Why, thank you, Charles. After You."
"As It Should Be."
One hour later, a BJ frustrated by stereophonic Winchesters went to sleep in Post-Op.
"Well, Sidney, we brought them back. I hope we never see those monsters again. It was like looking in a bad mirror."
"Well, Sherm, I found them crude, rude, lewd, obnoxious about their point of view, and acting as though they were on a crusade to save the world as they knew it. In every respect except their racial beliefs, the very flower of the 4077th MASH."
"Ha-ha. Just so long as they're all right."
"I don't know about that. They just left hell. I'd lay odds on at least one of them needing my help in the near future."
"You'll lose that bet, headshrinker! We have a genuine lull on, and this pater familias is taking his good boys and girls to the beach. That'll calm our voyagers' nerves."
Sidney had to leave, but most of the camp did in fact go to a nearby beach area, where a fun time was had by all. On the way back though, they ran into some trouble. A group of refugees needed help, so they took them on board their bus, there to treat their wounds.
An enemy patrol passed by, so the bus had to remain still. A lightly crying baby threatened to expose the healers and their charges. Hawkeye felt enraged. For him, it would be ridiculous to survive the other world only to die here, all because of something so trivial as a baby's noise. He turned on the mother.
"Will you shut that damn kid up? Keep it quiet!"
Before his eyes, Pierce saw then that the woman had done as he had said, and quieted the baby. Frightened, she had misinterpreted Hawkeye's words and anger. She had suffocated her own child.
Hawkeye realized in that grim moment, that, however inadvertently, he had ordered the death of a child, just like the other Pierce. Within three days, his worst fear had come to pass. The War had finally beaten him. Hawkeye Pierce, after three years of joking about it, had finally lost his mind to the horror of it all.
Sidney treated him, and he got back to the 4077th just before the cease-fire was signed, ending the Korean War. To say that he was never the same was an understatement. The horror of the other world had merely been the next to last straws. The universal horror of war had been putting him in position to fall apart for some time now. But Hawkeye Pierce was resilient, and he had help in rebuilding his life. The help of his father, Daniel Webster Pierce, and of his girlfriend, later fiancée, and still later, wife, Margaret Houlihan. And of course, he still had his friends, including both Charles Winchester and Charles Winchester, whose fate shall be revealed another day.
Epilogue 1 - The Other World
"So, here, we are savages-thugs. And officers move up by assassination. How could any world end up like this Empire?"
"I dinnae know, Captain. But if Uhura doesn't keep Security Chief Sulu away from his board, we will not be able to get back. I have no other ideas on how we might accomplish this. After all, it's not like anything like this has ever happened before!"
"Myself, I can't imagine what your counterpart is like, Jim. I'm glad I won't meet him, though."
"Why, Bones, I think you could handle him quite easily. If you could handle our Mr. Spock..."
"Don't joke, Jim. Not on this. I can't beat back a would-be barbarian king. I'm Leonard McCoy, blast it, not Hawkeye Pierce!"
Later, when they had made their way back to their own Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk found a surprise in the newly-discovered Private Journals of Doctor Benjamin Franklin Pierce.
Epilogue 2 - The Fall Of The Superior Man
It had been a week since Hawkeye Pierce had interrupted and heckled Khan Noonien Singh out of power. Now, the FBI was moving on the 'Tower Of Eugenics' in New York. The FBI Director was preparing to slap the cuffs on Khan when the 'perfect man' pushed him down.
"Another Day, Director Mulder!"
Fox Mulder was not concerned though. Khan wouldn't escape. After all, the FBI Director had Dana's aunt for backup.
Khan found that the Classic Roadster he was in was being lifted off the ground, then being shaken back and forth. Finally, he and his people fell out, and Margaret Houlihan threw the car at a nearby wall. The genetic thugs were rounded up as they ran.
"STOP! DO NOT RUN! Our cause is not yet done!"
Khan felt a tap on the shoulder.
"What do you want, you stupid..."
Holding back much of her incredible strength, Margaret knocked Khan out with one punch. He, too, was carted away. The Eugenics Wars were over, and in one week more its leader would be in permanent exile-far away from anyone and anything.
Finding his friend, Hawkeye helped Fox Mulder up. With Pierce was his four-year old daughter, Blake. Already, Fox and Dana were helping their friends establish new identities to hide their slow aging.
"Hey, Hawkeye. Your wife throws a mean car."
"How about your wife, Spooky?"
"Will you stop that? I told you, Dana and I aren't like you and Margaret."
"Uh-hunh. Well, I guess this is all done. You know, Khan was an imposing figure, but except for that ponytail and that bearing..."
"Yeah, I know. He looked just like anybody else. That is one part of the job you can never learn enough times-the monsters don't always look it."
Outside, Margaret stared at the Tower.
"This is a very bad place. So much evil was planned here, so much needless hurt."
Blake was held by her Uncle Spooky, and heard the angry tone in her mother's voice.
"Mommy? This is a bad place?"
"Yes, honey. A really bad place."
Hawkeye chimed in.
Blake Pierce stared at the building's front courtyard's bronze statue of Khan, and said one simple word.
As red beams lanced out from Blake's eyes, the three adults stared in shock as the statue melted into a pile of slag.
"Blake, how did you do that?"
"Don't be sorry, honey. Just tell your Mommy and me how you did that."
"I could teach you how to do it, I think."
"I guess you could, Honey. After all, you've already taught us both so much."
A quick note : In 'Transfer, Transfer', the Fascist versions of our heroes often use racist, ugly words quite casually, even infecting the famous MASH humor. I am not making light of the Holocaust or hate groups when doing this. The fact that their jokes are so casual reminds us of just how evil a world HP, MH, BJ, and the Padre have stumbled into. This explanation is not directed at a friend with whom I have discussed this subject, but rather to my audience in general. This isn't a PC apology, but just to make sure the offense given is directed at the villains of our piece. The only apology I'll offer is to the fans of Trapper John McIntyre, who does NOT come off well here. But take heart, for TJ will have his day in my stories.
Q : Why did the other world appreciate the designation 'Mirror Universe"?
A : It was beginning to think its name was A/U!