Chapter 3 - Digger For The Truth
"All I'm saying is, that if you think you have evidence of intimidation efforts, you should tell me about it. Hawkeye, let me be the judge of what is or is not relevant. It is part of my FBI training." Hawkeye Pierce was still massively hesitant. He had been reluctant to talk about any of this. He didn't like feeling like a small cog in a big conspiracy. If the accumulated evidence of a lifetime hadn't demanded it, he would never have contacted Fox Mulder. But it did, and he had. To his surprise, he liked the kid. He wasn't the humorless automaton he expected J. Edgar's boys to be. But then, he reminded himself that Hoover was almost a quarter-century dead and the war he spoke to Mulder about was gone almost a half-century ago.
"It's just that I've never been one to poke a gun under my bed, Fox. I was usually the kind of person people poked a gun under their bed looking for-and sometimes I was even there. But I just don't want to be one of those morons looking for conspiracies printed on our money!" Mulder knew Hawkeye didn't know enough about him, otherwise he wouldn't say those kinds of things. The older man was far too straightforward to make a completely ignorant crack. "The eye-pyramid symbol on some printed currency represents the Illuminati, a Deist-based religion that a number of our Founding Fathers belonged to. Current bills have an almost-invisible strip placed in them which is mainly used for verification but can be used for tracking individuals' movements within a fair degree of certainty. And, Hawkeye, since you are likely to hear this from someone, I firmly believe my younger sister was abducted by aliens when I was a child."
Hawkeye was more than slightly embarassed, but recovered in a very familiar manner. "Well, you understand, I meant morons in the best possible sense of the word-Aliens?" Mulder nodded. "Or, somebody going to a lot of trouble to make me believe that-or maybe even to make me believe I had a sister." Mulder tried to keep a straight face, but Pierce was getting to him, and Hawkeye finally saw that the last part, anyway, was meant as a joke. "Okay, I won't disparage your beliefs, partially because I have had my own wars with reality on occasion. Nah-I didn't mean that as a shot, kid, just don't take what anybody's peddling based on their pitch-line. They'll have you believing anything." Mulder sensed he was about to hear what Hawkeye had been reluctant to talk about. "What did they have you believing, Doctor?" Hawkeye put his head in the palm of his hand. "Me-oh, nothing. Well, not nothing. They had me believing I was dead." Mulder sipped his soft drink, noticing that Hawkeye was watching him, for another spit-take. "Oh, is that all?"
MASH4077-KTO-May 1, 1952
"Digger-is it? Look, Digger, all I want to know is whether or not my father has been informed of my untimely demise yet." The young man was nervous, not at all like the ghoul who'd come to tell about Henry. Hawkeye resolved to try harder to hate him, since he was such a nice guy. "Look, Captain, I just pick up the lumber. The sawmill does the rest." Hawkeye stopped. "Sawmill? LUMBER!? What do you guys do down there?" Digger merely shrugged. "Same as you. We get through the day. Only our guys can't be helped. The humor's a little low, but consider that we get your 5%. Every means of survival is jumped on." Pierce felt bad for yelling, but also felt compelled to ask, "Our 5%. Is that an estate tax or something?" Digger shook his head. "No,sir. We always know that when the 4077th makes a delivery, its a light one. You guys have a 95% survival rate-that's pretty good-except for six weeks ago, when Major Burns was on R+R, then, it was 98%." Hawkeye was not feeling right. "This is no time to joke about that." Digger pulled out a chart. "Its no joke, look!" Hawkeye felt worse than ever. "There it all is, in glorious black and white." He handed Digger back his chart. The sympathy he had felt for Frank Burns since Margaret's engagement didn't evaporate, but it was surely put to the test by those figures.
"Look, Digger, you still haven't answered my question. Did the army catch this snafu in time? Do you think my dad knows?" Digger thought for a moment. "Well, sir, its not really an Army snafu, per se. You see, when it comes to processing the notices, that's handled by Heroes America, a paper-pushing firm out of Langley, Virginia. Frees up army time for more important things." Hawkeye was becoming more exasperated by the moment. "Doubtlessly they use that time to drum up more business for me, you, and the paper-pushers. Well, what about my dad?" "Sir," Digger began," you're in luck there. The Iceman is handling it. He got rotated home, and would be the bereavement informer for your part of New England. Oh, he's good." Pierce let his anger go, for the moment. "I'm sure he is. Why "Iceman"?" Digger seemed almost pleased at talking about this. "Because, Captain, he can talk about death so matter - of - factly he'd have you believing it was not such a bad thing. Kind of an eerie guy, though." Pierce, unfortunately, didn't have to wonder what kind of fellow Digger thought of as eerie. "Young kid, looks like a snake, makes you feel like Kong and Godzilla went 15 rounds in your kids' nursery?" The army mortician nodded yes, "That's him. Boy, will he be hard to replace! I kind of miss him. I thought of him as a friend, while he thought of me as someone he tolerated."
"He does get around, doesn't he? I was once naive enough to believe I could nail him. Now, I'm not even sure if he's the one who needs nailing." Hawkeye, having completed his narrative, responded to Mulder. "Well, myself, I think it would be too harsh a punishment-for the nails, that is." Mulder, at times, felt exactly as Hawkeye did, but didn't chime in. Instead, he said, "So you're sure it was our Patch-less friend?" Pierce nodded. "Yeah, Fox, it was him. A month after I got home, my dad and I talk about this false death, how hard it was to contact him, but how quickly I was cut off, ready to throw the towel in. I gave up, Mulder. I gave up. I don't give up. But death, whom I had cheated on so many times, came home with a rolling pin, and knocked my brains out. This litlle creep, whom my dad also describes as a grinning ghoul, talks crossword puzzle to him the whole time, contradicting himself within the same sentence. Oh, and, one more thing. Letters I sent him were missing-on guess what subject?" Mulder didn't need to. "The Korean Village bombing and subsequent health problems?" Hawkeye was trying to keep himself from yelling out these words. "Did they kill me just to rob those letters, or to play with someone who wasn't playing along, or both?" Mulder tried to come up with a calming response. "My partner, Dana Scully, would probably ask whether or not your Dad just threw those out, and whether or not you're just placing similar individuals as one and the same during extremely stressful periods". Hawkeye actually laughed outtright at this. "Daniel Webster "Packrat" Pierce? He kept toenail clippings. His memory was sharp as a tack-straight through to-to... Damnit. Can we talk about anything else? Where is this level-headed partner of yours, anyway?"
Dana Scully had obtained the bootleg videotape. It contained things she didn't care for. Violence. Demonism. Mental Illness. Decapitation. It is not what she expected to have to obtain while she investigated possible early bio-weapon usage 45 years ago during the Korean War. Nor did she expect to find DNA strands, in both the ill and the healthy-the extremely healthy, that matched with nothing known to terrestrial science. While she was here in Seoul, South Korea hunting down leads, there was no way she was going to feed this to Mulder. She trusted her partner, but she also knew him, and didn't have time for his pursuit of that tangent-not until she was on the plane home, anyway. She found the girl she had spoken to earlier, and gave her the tape. "Great job, Agent Scully! Highlander: Archangel! This is the one where Richie gets it! Our local station is only up to Season 4. I'll take you to see Great-Grandmother." The girl spoke flawless English, much better than Scully's Korean. Her great-grandmother had founded a chain of rough-and-tumble bars for businessmen looking to unwind. She had dealt with drunken GI's, so this was no stretch. "Great-Grandma? The lady you wanted to see is here!" She had wanted to see Scully? The girl was a good scam artist, and disappeared with her unneccesary bribe. The old woman's English was broken, but more than passable. "Accountant bad influence on great-grandchildren, Agent-lady. You have Rosie's sincerest apology."