The days passed uncounted as Frank withdrew into himself. He no longer cared what happened to him. It was doubtful that he was going to survive one day the North Koreans would tire of torturing him for fun and he was done caring. His lack of reaction seemed to anger his captors and they even grew more violent and he was relieved that it would soon be all over. Each day they grew closer to going too far and he welcomed it.
Frank sat alone in the room he had called his own for months. It had been hours, maybe even days since he had last heard anyone outside his cell. The time for his daily meal had come and gone at least twice, and his daily questioning had also stopped.
It seemed like he had been left to die, though Frank knew he would be dead long before starvation or dehydration could take him.
During his last session, one of his ribs had finally broke under his captor's pounding fist, and the jagged piece of bone was pressing against his lung. Frank could only take shallow breaths, or risk puncturing it. Though he supposed it didn't matter, he had steadily been coughing blood for the past hour, a sure sign of internal bleeding. He idly considered just ending it, force the bone into the lung and die in a matter of minutes.
But the Frank he once was, the coward who feared death, stopped him from completing the act. It wasn't like he was going to last much longer anyway, this way was more peaceful. He didn't fancy dying drowning in blood as he struggled to breath.
Being so near the end, he felt no more pain, only a slight fuzzy feeling. A part of Frank knew that he should be fighting, trying to escape now that he was certain his captors were gone.
However Frank was tired and he was ready to die. He had made peace with it long ago.
Frank knew that there was no one waiting for him to return, no friends, and his family wasn't going to miss him. Frank knew that no one at camp was mourning his loss, probably congratulating themselves that they had finally gotten rid of him. Hawkeye and BJ probably already had a tent mate that they got along with, and Margret had Donald.
The only one who might have cared, even just a little bit had been executed in front of Frank. Lin would have cared, he had cared about Frank. He was the first person Frank could honestly say was his friend.
Now all Frank had left of his friend was the necklace which held a carved flower and the button that had been Lin's game piece. It was the only thing right now that mattered to him now. Frank hoped if his body was ever found, they would bury this necklace with him. Then maybe, maybe Lin, Mei-Ling, and Frank could all rest in peace. He carefully wrapped it around his hand and closed his fist over the pieces.
With a sigh Frank closed his eyes and leaned his head against the wall, he was ready.
A troop of American soldier approached the compound stealthy. They were far behind enemy lines, but they had heard rumors of American troops being held in the area.
The compound looked deserted, but they had been fooled before. Major Wrenn silently motioned for his troops to continue. Like a well-oiled machine the small squad of soldiers descended on the small building. Senses on high alert as they slowly entered it.
There were plenty of signs that this area had recently been occupied.
Carefully they breached the buildings outer walls and slowly made their way through the rooms. One room had the whole troop pausing, feeling sick.
"Bastards" one muttered staring at the chair and the tub sitting innocently in the room. The floor around and beneath each object was stained with blood. One could almost feel the sheer pain that echoed in the room.
"Carry on," Major Wrenn ordered softly.
The soldiers were more than happy to obey the Major, there were only a few more rooms left to search.
Trooper Philips carefully went to the furthest room in the building, and tried the door. Unlike the others, this one was locked. Taking his gun, he brought the butt of it down on the door knob. The noise was loud in the overall quiet of the building. Pushing the door open, the trooper scanned the room, expecting it to be empty just like the others. But he was surprised to see something huddled in the corner, something alive. Slowly advancing with his gun at the ready, he realized that it was a person. The smell of old blood assault the young man's nose the closer he got. Using one hand to grip the gun, he used the other to reach into his pack and draw out his flashlight.
Instead of the Korean face he was expecting, he was shocked to realize the man lying prone in the corner was a white man. And he was lying in a pool of blood.
"Major," yelled the trooper, setting his gun to the side to see if the man had a pulse. A weak uneven pulse greeted his questing fingers. "I found someone!"
The Major came running at the call of his trooper. He looked grim as he scanned the man in front of him. The Major had been hoping the rumors had been false, but it was not so
"Get him loaded on a stretcher and call a chopper. We need to get him to the 4077th. Their the closest MASH unit around."
Frank came around as he flew through the air, at first he thought he was dreaming, that is until the copter landed with a thud, waking up his injuries and making him gasp in pain. Frank struggled to breathe as he looked up at the fiberglass lid that covered him. Not a moment later, the lid was pulled away and he was looking in the concerned face of Hawkeye.
"Don't worry soldier, you'll be just fine" yelled Hawkeye over the sound of the helicopter.
It never occurred to Frank that he wouldn't be recognized. Hawkeye didn't recognize Frank and all of Frank's identification had been removed long ago. But Hawkeye looked just as Frank had remembered, well except for a few more grey hairs on the surgeons head.
Frank winced in pain as his stretcher was picked up by Radar and Klinger and put on a waiting jeep. It would seem as if Frank had arrived in rush hour, two other stretchers with soldiers were also on the jeep.
Unfortunately the jostling was the final straw for Frank's rib and he gasped at the sharp sensation of it finally piercing his lung and he immediately began to panic. He was home, he didn't want to die just yet.
Then an angel seemed to fill his vision, with blonde hair and kind eyes. But as he blinked he realized it wasn't an angel but Margret.
"Get him in the OR as quick as possible!" Margret ordered. More pain rocked his body as he was lifted off the jeep and carried inside the cool building.
For a moment it seemed as if Frank's mind was separate from his body struggling to breath. He recognized so many faces, even behind the white surgical masks. So many familiar faces that Frank thought he would never see again. Something inside Frank relaxed, he felt like he had come home.
He vaguely heard Hawk's voice telling someone to hold him down, he needed to inflate the lung.
The sharp pain of the scalpel cutting into his skin brought Frank back to reality.
Blacks spots danced across his vision as he tried to gasp much needed air.
Then he could, blessed oxygen entered his lungs and he could see Hawkeye leaning over him.
The next thing Frank knew, a mask was placed over his mouth and nose and he fell into obviation.
"This man looks like he's been through hell and back" observed Hawkeye as he operated, besides having numerous exterior wounds. The man had internal injuries as well.
"He has, he was found in a North Korean camp. Major in charge of the operation said it looked like he had been there for some time. Surprised as hell to find him there" answered Potter as he stitched some boy's intestines back together.
"They have any clue who he is?" asked BJ from where he was working.
"No, they found no identification on him and he hasn't been awake long enough to tell anyone who he is."
"It's a miracle that they found him alive, his left lung is punctured and his lungs are still filling with blood from the broken ribs that managed to pierce it. Not to mention the lacerations and bruising covering every square inch of his body, and the absence of fingernails" listed Hawkeye feeling disgust at what the North Koreans had did to this man.
Damn this war!
The man stayed on Hawkeye's mind even after he was done stitching him up, and moved onto the next patient, and the next, and the next. Until there was none left, and 5 hours had passed. All Hawkeye wanted was to fall into bed and sleep the rest of the day away. But the man was still weighing heavily on his mind.
Hawkeye wasn't surprised when he wandered into Post-Op that Margret was sitting beside the mystery patient with his chart in her hand.
"Has he shown any signs of waking?" asked Hawkeye leaning over Margret's shoulder to read the chart of their mystery soldier.
"Not yet Doctor. But given his condition it's no wonder why he still sleeps," Margret said softly.
"Let your nurses on rotation know I want to know the minute he wakes up."
"Of course Doctor."
Satisfied, Hawkeye turned to head towards Potter's off, BJ joining him.
"Officer's Pierce and Hunnicut, Sir," Radar announced to Potter.
"Any news Colonel about our friend?" asked Hawkeye helping himself to Potter's scotch and then pouring BJ another glass.
Potter sighed and accepted the glass Hawk poured for him also. "There isn't much we can do to narrow the field boys. There are dozens of MIA's that fit our guy's description. We are going to have to wait for him to wake up."
"I beat whoever he is, his family will be relieved," BJ said softly.
The Doctors retired soon after to relax after the long hours of surgery. The mysterious man slept on through the night without signs of waking. Until the next morning, when the sounds pierced through the thick fog of his mind.
Frank woke up slowly, the room was loud. Full of noise, noises that had been so familiar once, but now sounded so foreign. He could tell without opening his eyes that most of his body was covered in thick bandages and from the smell that he was in the Post-OP. He could hear the nurses making their rounds. He slowly opened his eyes and had to close them immediately at the amount of light that was in the room. It was a lot more than what he was used to. A nurse noticed him wakening and called the doctors.
"Doctors he's waking up."
From where they were standing, Hawkeye, BJ, Potter, and Winchester all walked up. Hawkeye sat on the cot next to Frank and began to check his blood pressure and examine the bandages. Potter leaned over the foot end to look at Frank.
"You're mighty lucky soldier, you came here almost dead. I'm Colonel Potter, can you tell us what your name is son?"
Frank looked at Potter, and then at Hawkeye and BJ, none of them knew who he was. He gave a brief glance at the man that he guessed that had replaced him. He ignored Potter's questions and turned to Hawkeye who was writing down his blood pressure on his chart.
"How am I Hawkeye?" he whispered in a hoarse voice.
Hawkeye looked up from his paper work and stared at the man. All the doctors were shocked that the man knew who Hawkeye was.
"Have I treated you before?" asked Hawkeye looking intently at the man.
Frank managed a small smile that felt strange on his face. "You set my arm one time."
"I hope that isn't you Flagg," said Hawkeye, it would make sense if the CIA man was captured by the North Koreans. "And if it is, you have fooled me with your disguise. I wouldn't have guessed that it was you" said Hawkeye with a smile on his face.
Frank shook his head, his eyes falling close with exhaustion, he knew that he didn't have long before he passed out again. "No, Major Ferret Face reporting for duty" he said weakly.
The pad that Hawkeye was holding clattered to the ground, "Frank?" he whispered his eyes wide with shock.
Frank managed to nod once before sleep claimed him once more. He missed the stunned expressions on everyone's face as they looked down at him.
"Doctors might I suggest that we go to my office" said Potter before anything else could be said.