Chapter 4 - The Hole In The Shower Tent
"Rosie could speak better English, but Rosie not care to! English young, clumsy language. Not like Korean! People always making English up as they go. Korean language have rules, order. That very important! For example, Rosie's granddaughter get her tush pinched by men who come here after stock market. She no mind, Rosie no mind! But one of them put his hand under her schoolgirl skirt - he not use that hand for weeks! If you not say what they grab, they grab all. Pretty soon you like Rosie's mother, child by Japanese soldiers. Village throw us out. Build first bar just to live! GI's not care who Rosie father is! Rosie not care either! " The 92-year-old founder of a chain of rough-and-tumble bars where Korean businessmen unwound then stopped, caught her breath, and gathered herself. "For you, Agent Scully, though, I will speak as I am able to. Its just that when you are old and rich, you can speak any way you damn well please! Now, you wanted to know about Immunita? I only know what everyone knows."
Dana Scully was taking copious notes. "Mrs. Rosie, Immunita is some sort of quasi-governmental project working towards the goal of meta - immunity. Meta-Immunity is a non-word coined for an effort to have the human body fight off diseases itself, without the use of antibiotics that were quickly being outpaced by viral evolution. The goal, like many others, is laudable. The means stink to high heaven. Immunita's beneficiaries have immune systems so pro-active, they seek out, by means of some kind of microscopic spores, the diseases of others." The results were not pleasant, as Scully related. " One maternity ward in East St. Louis was wiped out to every mother, child, father, and member of the medical staff. One mother had been treated with the mega-doses of genetically altered echanicea, goldenseal, and an unguessable RNA/DNA combination in capsule form. Her body had treated her child as an invading parasite. Her husband, who had apparently invaded her during her pregnancy, died dehydrating. Her own heart gave up from the strain-but her immune system kept right on til all "parasites" in the surrounding area were destroyed." Dana tried to figure out a way to say the next part without sounding accusatory. "You've said that you were witness to the remote genesis of Immunita, back during the hot phase of the Korean War, when you ran your 1st establishment across from the 4077th MASH. Were patients at this MASH subjected to its early efforts?" Rosie merely shrugged. "Patients, Doctors, Nurses. Hah-nurses! That why they allow the men to look at them while they shower! These were wild ladies, but they liked their privacy. When problems from sickness show up, you never see it yourself. So they allow the men in camp to cut a small hole, to peep in on them while they in there. Men get what they want, ladies know they're not sick." Scully was more than a little disturbed by this. "So they allowed their privacy to be destroyed under the old, 'Boys Will Be Boys' Rule? Did the commanding officer tolerate this?" Rosie shook her head. "You're not listening, Agent Scully. Heat from shower make marks appear. Marks mean disease starting. Only someone drooling over you would notice them soon enough. Besides, Colonel Blake didn't know, and neither did Colonel Potter. Neither did Hawkeye or the other doctors, or Major Houlihan-she was the head nurse. It was so funny. She would sew up tent-flap, convinced Hawkeye or Trapper did it. Her own nurses rip threads right out, and take a look at enlisted men. It was a trade-off, and not a bad one, either. Everybody sees something they like, and most everybody stays alive. Enlisted men and nurses knew, command didn't. That was the way things went, back then."
Scully still had her doubts. "Rosie, you've said that you and other local Koreans knew about the experiments, and that the lower ranking people at the 4077th knew as well, to the point of putting together an almost pagan ritual to nip the ill effects in their early stages. Why would you all have that kind of information but not immediate higher-ups?" Rosie smiled, the smile of a teacher amused by a 1st grader's spelling efforts. "Because, Dana Scully, none of us mattered! Hawkeye could undo the whole thing, in a heartbeat. Major Houlihan would just punch her way through! Colonel Potter call a few old friends and have it all kiboshed! But what was Rosie gonna do? Or Zale? Or Kellye? Nothing, that's what. There's two types of people who not involved in a secret that you let know-One is someone who won't believe they have eyes, and then go looking for proof that they don't-the other is someone you don't care if they know! For example, Scully know, but they not care about him-and he tell Major Houlihan nothing, when they together-say-Jack Scully related to you?" Dana nodded. "My uncle. For a time, Margaret Houlihan was my aunt, although they were divorced before I was born. She and her new husband Ben Pierce got along with Uncle Jack, despite everything, before his strokes. I saw them occasionally, before and after they served in Vietnam. I doubt they remember me." Dana suddenly felt anew the grief she had felt as a child when Uncle Jack took inexplicably ill. But in the here and now, something else odd was occurring.
Rosie sat as though she was a deer caught in the headlights, then burst out in uncontrollable laughter. "Ben Pierce - Major Houlihan married to Hawkeye? BWAAAA - HAHHAAAA! Those two almost kill each other, then they playing house!? HOOOOH OOH AAHAA!" Scully feared the old woman was going to have a heart attack. A concerned friend came out, probably her accountant. This new woman had a lovely mix of Mid-East and Korean in her face. Her most prominent feature, though, was her prominent nose. While acquiline, and graceful, it was definitely there. It made her smile at Rosie seem all the more friendly, somehow. "Geez, Rosie, you gave me quite a scare!" Rosie related why she was laughing. "We never told you? Aww, that's the last time I leave anything like that to Dad! Those bowling alleys eat up all his time nowadays. Look, Rosie. Susie, she's asleep now. The pain in her leg was killing her. I'll bring her to the clinic tomorrow. Poor kid. She's got more steel in her than one of Uncle Sherman's war patients." Rosie sobered up. "Great - grand daughter, the one you give tape to, is very sick, Agent Scully. Watching those Immortal people make her feel like she will live forever." As Rosie left, she shot off, "Su-Na will not live forever. But I want you to promise Rosie, you tell those science-fellas she does matter!" Dana smiled. "Of course she does! And they will pay for this atrocity." Rosie just shook her head, feeling quite defeated."People like that, they never pay. When I come back, Rosie tell you about Colonel Blake and the meteors! Very Important!"
As Rosie went to check on her great-granddaughter, Scully felt her hand being shook by the accountant. "Pleased to meetcha! Maxine Hirona, Rosie's accountant! My Dad, Max Klinger, knows your partner, Spooky Mulder! Boy, my kids used to love it when Dad brought him over. "Spooky, tell me a story!" That was before me and the hubby relocated here, though, to help out Rosie, of course." Scully had heard Mulder mention a friend he called Old Max. "Fox tolerates that nickname, at best. But you all called him that?" Maxine pulled back, folded her arms and smiled that disarming smile once again. "You mean to say, he never told you this story? Huh? We women talk too much, but a man won't talk if he's on fire! Ok, here goes. Your partner's a new cadet at the FBI Academy. He's smart as a whip, but is always looking into weird stuff. Traipses around, reams of paper always in hand. Scares the living heck out of the other cadets. Finally, they ask my Dad to talk to him. Max Klinger can talk to any-body. They chat, and my Dad likes what he hears. The others ask "Old Max" what he thinks, and you know what he says?" Dana liked hearing about a younger, more awkward Mulder, even if he hadn't changed one bit. "No, I don't. What did your dad say?" Motioning in an apparent imitation of her father's body language, Maxine said "Well, ya know, that is one nice, sweet kid. Willing to talk, and be talked to. But boy, talk about Spooky!" And the name stuck".
Scully felt a rush of deja vu. Why did a MASH Unit half-a-world and half-a-century away seem to have so much bearing on the X-Files? More than that, it seemed to tie somehow into Mulder's view of a grander conspiracy. But these elements were all random, beyond the control of the dark forces of misinformation leading her partner around by the nose - Weren't they? Whatever the case, Rosie's words earlier about people with eyes who used them to prove that eyes didn't exist stung her. Was she the disabler? Meant to debunk some vital piece of information Mulder needed merely because her beliefs were not his? Suddenly, she felt as if she could see into the shower where the filthy people who had made Fox Mulder who he was tried in vain to cleanse themselves of the residue from rubber alien suits and plaster from movie sets. In that shower, she saw herself, washing away proof that meant she was wrong about the Big Picture. Dana Scully didn't mind serving as Mulder's counterbalance. But seeing herself as his neutralizer made her not like what she saw through the hole in the shower tent. She wasn't there to buttress his alien-based theories. Scully had as much as told him that. But all the coincidences surrounding the 4077th made her understand Mulder a bit better. It was hard not to see an unseen hand. Perhaps, she thought, for her it was too easy not to see it, just as it was a knee-jerk reaction for Mulder to always see it. She completed this thought as Rosie returned. Now, she wanted to know all about Henry Blake and the meteors, even if that did make her seem Spooky.