By Rob Morris
Chapter One - A Potter Forges
Margaret Houlihan shook her head.
"Kitty! Sure I have feelings for Pierce. After almost three years, I couldn't not feel anything for the man. But his notions on how to treat women are straight from ancient history. Its as though, somewhere along the line, some lovely played with him that way, and being Pierce, he took away the wrong lesson."
Captain Kitty Jarrod, leader of the camp's corpsmen, took in Margaret's words.
"Its true. He comes on like a tornado. But Margaret, he never seems to want for nursely company. Plus, he does have an odd code of honor, regarding married or engaged women like myself. Plus, Major--you do tend to go on about him."
"Now you sound like Macleod. He was a medic, who came through here. All man. But he accused Pierce and me of dancing around our true feelings. Can you believe that?"
Kitty gave off a sarcastic grin.
"Oh, perish forbid! Connor NEVER knows what he's talking about."
"Connor? I was talking about Duncan Macleod. He did write to a cousin named Connor, though. Do you know them well?"
"Me? I Don't Think So."
The mystery of Captain Kitty Jarrod's past would continue as it had. But for now, her suspected paramour, Charles Winchester, approached the ladies.
"Major! Princess! Have either of you seen Pierce? I've a question for him about his dubious sheduling abilities for Post-Op."
"Hawkeye said, Charles, that an old, dear friend was to be among the UN visitors. He wished to show her around."
"Show her around? Its hardly like Pierce to use euphemisms that don't involve vulgar catch-phrases."
But around the corner, legitamately showing a fetching woman in her early 50's around, was Hawkeye. He looked like a little boy walking with a favorite aunt--an unrelated aunt.
"Hey, guys and dolls! I'd like you all to meet Cassandra Weiskopf. She stayed with us in Maine in the 30's. Cass, this is Kitty Jarrod, Charles Winchester, and Major Margaret Houlihan."
Winchester immediately knew that Pierce had once been with this woman, and that she had also once been a complete stunner. That said, she was no slouch now.
"Everyone, it is such a pleasure to meet Benjamin's friends. To know that my liebling is well is good for my heart."
Kitty sensed that this woman was a mixture of rage and pain, just as Hawkeye Pierce himself was. But while his edge lead toward healing, hers was almost pure rage, barely concealed.
"Hey, um, Margaret?"
"Charles wants to aggle-hay over the dule-sche. Could you finish up with Cass for me? It'd be a real favor."
Margaret was actually feeling jealous about the longing looks Pierce gave this woman, and so consented. Charles and Hawkeye walked off.
"So, Major. Are you and Benjamin lovers?"
"WHAAATT!!! Me and that libido with two legs? I thought it was the British who had a weird sense of humor, not the Germans. Cass, don't you resent the way he almost leers at you? Its like he's undressing you with his mind."
"I should resent the attentions of a handsome young man? Besides, Ben needs not his imagination to see me nude. Merely his memory."
"You see, Margaret, when I stayed in Crabapple Cove, I was still recovering from events of the First Great War. My therapist met Daniel Pierce, Ben's father, and asked that I go someplace quiet. They have this lovely secluded lake outside their home. One day, I realized Ben was watching me in hiding."
"I'll bet you chewed out that little Peeping Tom like nobody's business."
"Not at all. His attentions made me feel pretty. I invited him to watch by the water's edge. He had such a grateful look on his face. Two summers later---I invited him to stop watching. He was so very nervous."
Margaret stopped and stared.
"He would have been fifteen, Cass. That's a bit of an age difference, don't you think?"
Cass's face grew indignant.
"Don't ever presume to judge me. Ever."
"Whoa! Hold up. I'm sure Hawkeye enjoyed it. But a 15-year old has no judgement to speak of. I mean, a man that age with a girl that age would be grounds for lynching."
"Ben was a man in spirit before I ever knew him. Perhaps he's a man whose company you need more of."
As she stalked off, Margaret decided to keep her eye on this woman. She had something of the vicious Colonel Flagg about her. Also, like Frank Burns, she seemed to be an open wound.
In Post-Op, Charles brushed off the schedule.
"Let that wait, Pierce! How---was she?"
"None of your business, Charles."
Winchester was thrown. For Hawkeye Pierce not to brag about a sexual conquest was unheard of.
"Ah, I see. She wasn't one of your...conquests. You were one of hers. Tell me, when was the last time you saw her?"
"I told you. In Maine, in the late 30's."
"I...see. Take no offense, Pierce, but there is a line of decorum. This woman may have a lock on you that you've failed to recognize. Still, at 15, 16---I would have died smiling."
Pierce threw back the schedule, an angry look on his face.
"You almost died, just now."
As he stalked off, Winchester, well under his breath, said something.
"My mistake. She has no hold on him What-So-Ever."
In the mess tent that night, Hawkeye rang a glass.
"Hey, people. This dear lady sitting beside me is Cassandra Weiskopf, from the UN. She'd like to have the floor, such as it is."
Cass got up and raised a glass.
"To all of you healers, and the good work you do. And to your Colonel, Sherman T. Potter, a great hero of The First World War."
Potter got up, and nodded.
"Thanx, Ma'am. But this old Missouri mule did nothing special during WW One. Just another lonely, miserable soul with a rifle and some dirty songs in tow."
Her trap was closing, so Cass continued.
"The Colonel is far too modest. Everyone, please ask the Colonel about how he and I first met. Ask him about The Boys From Golgotha!"
Potter was stern, now.
"Lady, I've never seen you before in my life! As to the rest of your bilgewater, The Boys From Golgotha are only a myth, put out by the Kraut propaganda machine."
"They are no myth to me, Sherman. You said you loved me, but then deprived me of food whenever I wouldn't be with you. Golgotha was no myth to TEN THOUSAND innocent German civilians. Your Colonel is a monster, people. I just thought you should know."
Angry as hell, Hawkeye grabbed Cass by the arm and pulled her outside.
"You're hurting me!"
"Did you come here just to humiliate Potter in front of his command?"
"Ben, you will calm down, and think about what we have meant to one another."
Pierce shook his head.
"Time was, that soft voice of yours had me unbuckling, unzipping, and unbuttoning before I realized I was doing it. But we're done, Cassandra. Forget you knew me."
On cue, she began to sob, and put her arms around his waist.
"Ask him about Kronoupolis!!"
"I have to live here, Cass. Good night."
Despite his anger and her age, it took every ounce of Hawkeye's willpower not to enter her tent and make wild love to this woman. He saw Margaret. She was fuming, and got in his face.
"Well, Pierce, I hope our Colonel's dignity was worth you getting a little nookie."
"Major, you're a tough lady. But you are not the only one who can throw a punch. In other words, BACK THE HELL OFF!!"
In the distance, Klinger asked Father Mulcahy a question.
"Hey, Father! What does Golgotha mean, anyway?"
"Well, Max, it was the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. Its also known as Calvalry, though a great many confuse the Calvalry where Christ suffered with the word cavalry, which of course, refers to mounted soldiers."
It hit Pierce, then. Cavalry. Like A Horseman. Like Potter. He headed for Potter's office, though whether to apologize or accuse, he couldn't say. In the Clerk's office, he stopped, and pondered what to say. Inside, he heard Potter speak.
"What in the Sam Hill are you doing in my chair?"
The man turned around.
"Sherm!!Your chair is my chair! And vice-versa. The Brothers Of Golgotha always shared--well, almost everything. That piece of Sauerbraten, Cassandra, you always kept for yourself."
Sherman's jaw dropped, and his mouth grew dry. He had prayed that this man was dead. He said one word, a word that stung both him and Pierce, who was still listening in outside.