The bright lights of the OR blinded Radar, contrasting from the dark night outside. He shifted in the white protective gown, as it was a bit too big to fit correctly, although he refused to use a smaller one in an attempt to protect his pride.
"Hawkeye, Colonel Potter wants to-" he paused and glanced around the room, looking for the surgeon. Nobody was there.
I must have just missed him, he thought to himself. He turned around to leave, but something caught his attention. In the corner, just off to the side, a tall figure loomed next to a cot. Radar stood still for a moment, watching the stranger. By the looks of their uniform, an American soldier. It didn't look like he was injured, so why...
Wait, hold on.
A bare uniform. They weren't even wearing a surgical mask, which was a huge contamination risk for everything in there! Who was this guy anyway? Radar hadn't heard of any new surgeons, and as for patients who were in the operating room, being able to stand was unlikely.
What was this guy doing here?
"Sir, excuse me, sir?" Radar hesitated, fidgeting with his jacket sleeve. "You, uh, you can't be in here with those clothes, but I can show you where the scrubs are!" he offered, but the soldier didn't seem to notice. He stood completely still, staring at the bed below him. Radar hoped he hadn't touched anything, as he'd have to write a painfully long report on it, along with sterilizing the entire room.
"It's against regulation, you cannot be in here!" he insisted, stepping towards the intruder "There are going to be consequences for this!"
He was nearly within arms reach of the soldier and reached towards his hand to lead him out of the OR. He didn't get an inch closer before a freezing chill shot through the room, making Radar flinch.
It was only April, it shouldn't be that cold! The bone-chilling gust caught him off guard, but remembering the task at hand, he quickly composed himself and looked back to his 'guest.'
He froze in his tracks.
No one was there.
Radar whipped around, attempting to relocate the man, but it was as if no one had been there at all. The door was closed, along with all windows, so no one could have left without being noticed.
He just… disappeared.
The cold still clung to the room, ominously haunting the space. Fear shot down Radar's spine.
Why had he even come in here?
"Hawkeye, I was looking for Hawkeye" he muttered to himself, glad to have a reason to leave the OR.
Hawkeye wasn't very active when he didn't have to be, so it didn't take long for Radar to find him. He wasn't in the operating room and had no reason to be in post-op, so the most probable place to find him was the Swamp. Radar took one last look at the OR door behind him before moving onwards, still shaken by whatever it was that had just occurred. He'd have to look into that eventually, as vanishing strangers usually mean something bad, but not right now. He had other tasks at hand.
Reaching the tent doorway, he let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding, relieved to be near people he knew again. People didn't just disappear.
That soldier was somewhere.
He tapped on the door before opening it, spotting Hawkeye immediately in his flamboyant Hawaiian shirt.
At the moment, he was on Frank's side of the tent, doing...something? Most likely setting up some kind of prank he'd hear about later when Frank reported Peirce for 'insubordination' or something of the sort. Radar stood uncomfortably in the doorway for a second before awkwardly clearing his throat.
"Hawkeye, the Colonel needs you"
Finally noticing the clerk, Hawkeye smiles and drops the task at hand, which happened to be one of Frank's things. The object hit the ground and Radar winced at the sound of breaking glass. Hawkeye stepped over the pieces, kicking them under Frank's bed and waved his hand dismissively at the concern.
"Eh, don't worry. I doubt Frank owns anything of value. So, what did I do this time? The war over yet?"
"As far as I know, not yet" Radar laughed a bit. He was about to leave before the door swung open, Frank strutting with the same over-confidence he had since his first day there. Radar stepped back, startled by the sudden entrance. He raised his hand to salute the Major, but Frank didn't seem to notice him there at all. Instead, he immediately began fuming at Hawkeye.
"Peirce, what did I tell you about being on my side of the tent! If you're touching my stuff again you will never hear the end of it!"
He was going to continue, but Hawkeye was already on his way out the door.
"Sorry Ferret Face, I've been beckoned, but call it a rain check."
Frank sputtered for a moment, turning to Radar, but he had left just as quickly, not wanting to be there for the rant he knew would follow. He quickly caught up to Hawkeye, who was strolling at a rather leisurely pace.
Obviously not in much of a hurry, he matched Radar's pace.
"So how does it feel to be an official adult? It's a weird age, old enough to get shot but not to get a drink."
Radar huffed and crossed his arms. "I was an adult before, you know"
"Nah, 18 is a trial year, it's like a tutorial. It'll be fun! Well," he corrected himself "as fun as it can be in Korea"
They walked in comfortable silence for a while, Hawkeye watching the stars and Radar looking at the ground. Hawkeye glanced over at him in slight concern. Radar wasn't loud, but certainly not this quiet.
"You alright? I won't judge, but I doubt there's anything that interesting in the dirt"
Radar stopped walking and bit his lip, trying to find the words to explain himself.
"Today, did anyone other than normal go into the OR today? A soldier about this tall?" he gestured with his hand. "Dark hair, American uniform?"
Hawkeye thought for a moment, attempting to recall such a character. "Today? Not as far as I know. Why, did you see something?" Hawkeye almost made a joke but it died in his throat while
he watched Radar, who looked nervous. More than usual, at least. He held the end of his coat and shuffled his feet in discomfort. Hawkeye could feel the unease radiating around him.
"I-uh… No, I guess not" Radar stumbled over his words "We should get going, don't want to keep anyone waiting" With no further comment, he continued onwards.
Hawkeye paused, surprised by the sudden change in topic, but shrugged it off. Radar obviously didn't want to elaborate and he wasn't going to force him to. At least for now.
It was a relatively uneventful walk to Potter's office, as the rest of it continued in silence. Once they arrived, the two stood at the door for a moment, neither moving. Radar put his hand on the handle but hesitated before opening it. Hawkeye felt his heart tear a bit as he watched him. Radar was still a bit skittish around the new Colonel. Potter was a fine man, really. A strong, no-nonsense kind of guy that the camp really benefited from. He was nice, pleasant enough to be around.
But he couldn't fill the hole Henry had left.
He and Radar had been so close and it was still an open wound that only time could handle. With a quiet sigh, Hawkeye continued into the building.
They walked through the transition room before Radar lightly knocked on the office doors, slowly opening them.
Potter glanced up from his assortment of paperwork.
"Ah, Radar, I was just looking for you. Can you get…" He trailed off as he saw Hawkeye walk in and lean against the wall, knowing the drill well. "Oh, well. I guess that'll be all then"
"Yes Sir" Radar said, then quietly slipped through the door.
What does he even do this time of night? Hawkeye wondered to himself.
"It's going to take me a while to get used to that" Potter chuckled, bringing him out of his train of thought. "Have you ever asked him how he does that?"
Hawkeye laughed fondly "Eh, he's from the midwest. Who knows what they have going on over there"
Radar anxiously walked through the camp, shivering at what he'd never admit was more than the cold. He didn't quite want to return to the OR, but he knew that's where the patient files were kept, and he wanted to go through them. He swore that he had seen that soldier before, and wanted to check who they were. They weren't staff, as any new surgeons had to go through him for paperwork. He had to be a patient, although they didn't seem injured in the slightest. Maybe it was internal? Well, if that were the case, he wouldn't be standing, and especially not disappearing into the night like some wizard.
He opened the door with caution, scanning the room before entering. It's unlikely anything would be in there, not anything aggressive, at least. But still...
Better be safe than sorry
There was no real need to be quiet, as no one was around to hear him, but he tiptoed to the file cabinet anyway. He pulled a few files out, looking through descriptions and pictures, trying to identify the stranger.
After 20 long irritatingly long and boring minutes later, he pulled another stack of files out of the drawer, sorting through them. He pulled one out of the pile and flipped it open.
"There he is!" Radar whispered excitedly to himself, rather proud of his expert sleuthing skills. The file had a description, along with some other information. Attached to the top was a small photo.
That's kind of weird, Radar looked at the picture. They don't take pictures of living patients that often.
He scanned through the page, looking through the injury details and other general test results.
His name was Louis Wright and he was brought in for various injuries caused by…
Radar squinted at the page, making sure he had read it correctly.
A direct mine blast.
Geez, he looked pretty good for getting blown up.
The rest of the page was pretty usual, except for the wounds listed, which were pretty severe for standing around with. It was pretty recent as well, as he had come in only a week before. Nothing else was too notable, he was allergic to peanuts, blood type B, high blood pressure…
Radar froze, ice-cold fear seeping through his jacket. He re-read the line again, then a third time to make complete sure he hadn't misread it.
At the bottom of the page, in red ink which was placed there with obvious purpose, read the short phrase.
Status: Dead at 0300 hrs.
Cause: Blood Loss due to hemorrhaging