Hawkeye looked around their new destination with puzzlement. Claus had brought them to a park, all right, but it was in the middle of nowhere and just outside of Tokyo, where he knew no pretty geishas would roam, even at night. Trees were everywhere, granted, but the woodland had no clear pathways, giving their driver a hard time in navigation (which cost them more than five American dollars and some cursing later). It seemed to be the perfect spot for a cover though.
Or a crime. Hawkeye shuddered as they reached their destination and stood there, searching the dark cover for Klinger anxiously.
Claus, in the meantime, followed Hawkeye's gaze. Putting a reassuring hand on the surgeon's shoulder, he said, "He'll be here shortly. I'll sure of it."
Hawkeye still scanned the landscape, ignoring Claus' reassurance, until he found what he was looking for, afraid until he saw Klinger in his bright, sporty outfit. "Ah, there's our movie star now. And look, she's ready for her final scene. Where's her chair in the shade?"
Klinger, in his summer dress and holding onto his hat for dear life, waved at the pair ahead and showed his obvious irritation about the bumpy ride. As Hawkeye and Claus waved his driver over (ignoring his irritation as well), Klinger jumped out early, not too eager to stay in the carriage for much longer. He landed on his feet perfectly, despite being in slippers, and smiled.
"Boy, are we in the middle of nowhere or what?" Klinger asked, rubbing his hands in gleeful anticipation. "And gee, I've seen better alleyways in Toledo than in here. At least there were places to –"
"I think we've all seen better than this," Hawkeye interrupted quickly as Claus helped the second driver unload their meager luggage. Seeing that, the surgeon took the cross-dressing orderly by the elbow and walked a few paces out of earshot. "Ah, Klinger, do you know what's going on?"
"No, Sir, and you know that I didn't do anything." Klinger was serious for once.
"No, no, Klinger, I mean, do you know what Claus is up to?"
"I'm pretty sure I heard something about meeting a friend of his so that we could discuss a few things about Major Floyd. But hey, what do I know, Captain? I'm just your local wartime orderly dressing in dresses and aiming for that Section Eight still."
Hawkeye didn't want to remember all of Klinger's little schemes, escaping and otherwise, and wisely kept his mouth shut. To remind Klinger of his many failures might give him the added determination to go home instead of helping to save Margaret. At the same time, though, it also reminded Hawkeye and Klinger both that Korea was going to be home for a while longer…if not for the rest of their lives, if they were caught AWOL or even accused of murdering Nurse Curtis.
And even the chief surgeon was certain, by the way that people were following them around, that they were already on the arrest waiting list. It was only a matter of time now.
As Claus negotiated with the second driver about payment (not willing to pay more than ten American dollars), Hawkeye continued. "Regardless, Klinger, keep your eyes, ears and nose open. We don't know if this is a trap or what. Claus Schultz has been trustworthy so far, as far as my drunken little eyes can see, but how do we know that he's leading us by the string?"
"Are you saying, Captain, that Claus might be the puppet master of some sort? And we're just the entertainment?"
Hawkeye shook his head, as if to scatter the thought. "I don't know, Klinger. Right now, just do what I say. And that's an order."
Klinger realized how rare it was that Hawkeye gave orders. Unmilitary that Hawkeye always was, Klinger also knew that he was also stern at the moment. Life at the camp was slowly going downhill, from what they understood from Colonel Potter (in-between the lines, Klinger had figured), and it was possible that Hawkeye was trying to keep it all together and solve this mystery before more arrests were made, theirs especially.
Klinger, within moments after nodding to Hawkeye that he understood, saw that Claus was finished unloading their things and had paid the driver handsomely, despite the misgivings about it. The German, seeing the Army personnel in what seemed like a corner conversing, stopped in his tracks as he started to walk towards them. He sensed that something was wrong even with the two displaying poker faces (spy as he was, he realized it), so decided to approach them carefully.
"You two owe me fifteen more dollars of your money," Claus complained jokingly, trying to lighten the mood. "I paid the first one twenty in total and this one wanted thirty originally. I managed to pay half of it."
"When does the subordinate of Colonel Flagg carry so much money?" Hawkeye asked in the same tone, pushing himself away from Klinger and going towards Claus' general direction. "Does he drop money from his infinite, invisible arms?"
"I wish!" Claus laughed, then becoming grave in an instant. "Now, we're meeting my contact here in another hour. He flew in from Guam this morning and has gathered some information about Major Floyd for us."
"That quickly?" Klinger asked, joining the other two.
"Well, he has contacts and those people have more under them to do the work," Claus explained. "It's almost like a spider's web. For example, one person could know two people, those two people know four more each and those four each know eight. It's traceable sometimes, but it's also reliable. We could receive information almost at the touch of our hands and not everybody is getting hurt."
Hawkeye snorted, almost wishing that gaining insight into one person was that easy. However, he didn't realize that things have advanced so much in so few years.
"There is a technology out there that computes things quickly," Claus explained. "It's a machine that's surely about to break through to something. But enough of that for now. In any case, my contact should be here soon."
"What do we do in the meantime?" Hawkeye asked, motioning to both Claus and Klinger the emptiness of the location.
"Well, we need to hide our things first," Claus suggested, motioning to the three bags behind him, where he and the driver deposited them. "We take our own and hide them in three different places and meet back here before the hour is up. Agreed?"
"I guess." Klinger walked up to his large suitcase of dresses and accessories and picked it up. "I don't trust anyone with what remains of this wondrous Klinger Collection. It's priceless, I tell you. Priceless!"
Hawkeye and Claus exchanged their own looks, the former amused and the latter confused. While the chief surgeon laughed, mouthing that he would explain everything about Klinger later, Claus shook his head, trying to follow along with the joke. Then, knowing that he wouldn't be able to, he shrugged his shoulders and copied what the others did, except running in another direction as Klinger and Hawkeye disappeared with their own things.
A few yards away, a shadowy figure took notes and watched where each man went. Then, he memorized the location of the meeting spot before taking off to gather help.
In the hot summer sunshine, trapped in a spare tent across the camp, Charles and BJ stood quietly, both impatient and fanning themselves with their hands. While the Bostonian was groaning with obvious distaste about their confinement (especially the hot weather), the Californian stood in his corner, wondering when all this was going to end.
They both had been silent since being arrested and BJ was eager to break it. Hot, not knowing what the next step was and even worried about Hawkeye and Klinger, he stopped his pathetic attempts at cooling himself and sighed. Then, he sat down where he stood, trying to relax, but did not succeed. Words, however, did not fail him.
"Don't you realize that everything's gone downhill since that nurse had been killed?" he asked Charles randomly, the latter also slipping into a seat in his corner. "I mean, Charles, since Nurse Curtis had been murdered and Margaret blamed for the whole thing, this Major Floyd person has been taking over the camp and pointing his finger left and right. He's silenced Colonel Potter to the point where he's afraid to say something, even in his own office. I'm more troubled that the man's taken over this camp."
"If you want to call it that, Hunnicutt," Charles replied, always ready for a rebuttal. "I'd say that it's more a coup d'état, to be more accurate."
"Whatever, Charles," BJ said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "At least we know that Hawkeye is ok so far, according to Radar. Colonel Potter said to him that the phone call was a little strange, but it seems like they're getting more information than we are right now. It also seems like Nurse Curtis' sister works at Tokyo General and that she was married, so this supposed husband of hers is sending them on some wild goose chase to catch the criminal."
"I do believe, my dear bunkmate, that there are more men or women in this murdering spree." Charles smiled a grin that BJ had never seen before, as if he knew something that BJ did not. "You see, Hunnicutt, I have it on good authority that Sergeant Church is dead."
"What?" BJ was shocked, but almost not surprised to hear the news. "Where did you come upon this bit?"
"Well, you know that the insidious military police here in the camp like to brag about what they've found and what has happened and, well –"
"Hunnicutt, let me get to the point without your interruptions. Yes, now…where was I?"
"Charles, I'm not up to your games today. Out with it! You said something about the MP's liking to talk about what they found."
"Ah, yes! I remember now. I was passing some of them in line at the so-called 'Mess Tent' the other day and I heard some rather disturbing news about the man who was the lover of Nurse Curtis."
"And this concerns us how?"
"Hunnicutt, the man is dead. He was killed the same way as Nurse Curtis was and about a few feet away from where her body was. And the blame has been put on us."
BJ stared at Charles in confusion. "We're…being blamed for this murder?"
"And his lovers' too," Charles reminded him. "You see, we're all part of a group that kills US Army spies."
"But…but how? This doesn't make sense, Charles! I have a wonderful wife and a beautiful daughter at home. If anyone knew me, then why would they think that I want to do this?"
"Hunnicutt, the fact remains that we're stuck here. It doesn't have to make sense, just as long as the parties involved tuck their heads into the sand and make it all go away. However, there are always ways to get past the situation that we are in instead of complaining about it."
"I simply cannot believe that I am hearing this out of your mouth, Charles. You're the King of Complaints. I'm feeling rather apprehensive that you're not yelling at Major Floyd and asking for a lawyer, only for Boston's finest, of course."
"Naturally, I would have. You see, my dear bunkmate, there is more than meets the eye."
BJ was confused once more. "What do you mean?"
Charles smiled that same grin again, as if he was scheming something all along and would not reveal the plan until now. "Why, Hunnicutt, I am shaken that you don't know me as well as you think. After all, after all of this nonsense and then learning a few things from Klinger, I think that this escaping business should be as simple as one-two-three."
"Klinger's been caught every time," BJ said, this time his turn to remind.
"No, no, not if you have a better mind than that Lebanese twit," Charles replied calmly. "Then, you can plan accordingly and help rescue those damsels in distress, as Pierce would say. Now, here is the plan…"