The villagers sometimes came in trickles, and sometimes came in droves. Of course, it depended upon how much bombing there was or how many farmers kept trying, despite the obvious dangers, to till their fields. How else would they make a living?
"Living -- how can they care about living when everyone is dying?" said Hawkeye, watching as the small Korean family moved on from where they'd set up a temporary camp, on the outskirts of the 4077. A mother, father, three daughters, and an ox. And a whole lot of farming equipment.
The MASH unit had, as a whole, turned a blind eye to the family for a little over a week, allowing them the relative safety in contrast to the war-torn countryside. This all ended, of course, when Major Burns had finally noticed them, eight days after they'd arrived, and complained enough to the right amount of people to have them removed.
"Everybody has to live, Hawk," Trapper John replied, hands in his pockets. "Some of us are just better at it than others."
"In some parts of the world, they call that being a coward," said Hawkeye.
Trapper waved dismissively, and turned to go back to the Swamp. "Details."
While at the MASH unit, the Korean family had survived off bartering with the soldiers, nurses, and doctors. Their house had been bombed out, and they collected what valuables they could before evacuating. They were just a farming family, so their definition of "valuable" was quite different than that of the Americans they lived beside, but some of the doctors and most of the nurses were very susceptible to pity. The only things the family had refused to sell or trade had been that which was the most valuable -- their farming equipment, and their ox.
Trapper swore up and down that the father had tried to sell him the oldest daughter, but he had also been pretty drunk when he told this story, so nobody really believed him.
Now that the family had nothing left to sell and nobody left to sell it to, they had to move on and continue farming. How long would they survive out there? Weeks? Days? Hawkeye was well aware that there were villagers dying around the country, but none of them had been living twenty feet away for a week and a half. There had to be something they could do. Part of the reason why Hawkeye hated this war so much was because it made him feel so helpless, so insignificant. He was a surgeon, he saved lives, but nine times out of ten, they just sent those lives back out to the battlefield anyway. Or there were the lives he couldn't touch, the lives of people like the farmer and his family.
Sighing in aggravation, Hawkeye slammed open the door to the clerk's office on his way to see Henry. Radar, at his desk, didn't even look up from the paperwork he was diligently filling out, and spoke up only when Hawkeye had already crossed the room: "Colonel Blake isn't in there."
Hawkeye paused, then turned around again. "He's not?"
"No," Radar said to his paperwork.
Hawkeye waited for a second for an explanation that did not come, and then stalked over to Radar's desk, leaning against it and looking down at the young corporal. "So where is he?"
"It's private," mumbled Radar, still not looking up. Hawkeye rolled his eyes and reached down, grabbing the papers away. Radar, looking scandalised, finally looked up at him. "I'm not allowed to tell!"
"Radar, don't you get tired of covering for Henry all the time?"
"I'm not even," said Radar, making a grab for his paperwork, which Hawkeye held up and out of his reach. "Look, will you just let me finish this? He's not here."
"You need to start standing up for yourself, Radar," said Hawkeye.
"I stand up plenty!" said Radar, offended, and pushed his chair back to stand, still stretching his hand up. Hawkeye stood up straight as well, holding the paperwork above his head.
"Not ... not standing," said Hawkeye. "I mean standing up. Sticking up for yourself! Be your own man."
Radar stopped reaching for the papers and just assumed a stiff pose, a child's imitation of an angry adult's posture. "I am a man!"
"Then don't let other people push you around," said Hawkeye, pleased that he'd riled Radar up enough to get his attention. Radar nodded, his face set in a deep, determined frown. Hawkeye handed his papers back. "Alright. Now tell me where Henry is."
Radar collapsed back into his chair, looking up at Hawkeye. "But you just said not to --"
"I'm not people, Radar. I'm just me," said Hawkeye, leaning over and placing his hand against the desk again. When Radar spluttered and made protesting noises, Hawkeye added, "I'll take your papers again."
"Alright, alright!" said Radar, exasperated, clutching the papers to his chest. "Gee, you push me around more than Colonel Blake does. You know, I don't think you guys apprecitate me as much as you oughta."
"Ha ha," Hawkeye answered dryly, standing up straight and crossing his arms. "Don't try to guilt me, Radar. I 'apprecitate' you plenty. I'll even buy you an ice cream later."
"Yeah, yeah," Radar groused, either unamused by Hawkeye's sarcasm or, not picking up on it, not believing in the promise of ice cream. "He's in his office. But he said not to be disturbed, so will you please --"
"Thanks, Radar," said Hawkeye, cutting him off, and strode in the office to have words with Henry, who was apparently trying to give himself a tan with a reading lamp and a piece of cardboard wrapped in tin foil.
Sighing heavily, Radar shuffled his papers back into some semblance of order, and started filling them out again. He was two lines in when the door to his office banged open again. "What!" he said, immediately spinning to look at the door this time.
It wasn't Trapper John or Klinger or Sergeant Zale -- or any of the other 4077 denizens, for that matter -- but it was a very frightened-looking, wide-eyed Korean girl. Even though she was covered in dust and scrapes, she looked vaguely familiar, but Radar couldn't spend too much time dwelling on where he knew her from, because she burst into tears immediately after she saw him. Radar just stood there, stunned, as she rushed forward and enveloped him in her arms. It was only when he realised that he was at eye-level with her breasts did Radar gently push her away from himself, blushing furiously.
"Wait ... wait just a second," he managed, and the girl covered her face in her hands, crying. Radar awkwardly tried to calm her down, but the door to Colonel Blake's office banged open before he could get very far.
Henry looked on from the doorway, obviously perplexed by the scene in front of him. Hawkeye was behind him, peering over the colonel's shoulder. "Oh, nice, Radar -- breaking hearts already, you Casanova, you," Hawkeye said.
"I didn't do anything!" Radar protested, looking over his shoulder at the two men.
"Calm down, Radar," said Henry, stepping forward. "Where did she come from?"
"Outside," said Radar, pointing at the door.
Henry looked pained. "I know from outside, Corporal." He looked over at the girl, who had calmed down a little in the presence of two more people. "What I want to know is --"
"She didn't say nothing; just started crying, sir. I don't know what she wants," Radar said, talking over the colonel.
"... what she wants from us," finished Henry, looking mildly irritated when Radar once again finished his thoughts before he did. "Fine. Get her out of here, would you?"
"Henry --" started Hawkeye.
"I don't want to hear it, Pierce," said Henry, holding up his hand. "Look, if Burns complains one more time about how we let the locals use our facilities and our doctors, they're going to call for someone from I Corps to come down and inspect us. Now, I know you don't want that, and neither do I. Radar --"
Radar jumped, having just been quietly listening. "Jeorgia, jeorgia," he said to the Korean girl, shooing her away. Though he couldn't see, he knew that Hawkeye was looking at him disapprovingly. The girl looked startled, but only backed up a bit, shaking her head.
"Ask her what she wants," Henry instructed flatly, covering his face with his hand.
"What do you want?" Radar asked the girl, who looked confused. Unable to contain it, Hawkeye burst out laughing.
"Why doesn't anybody here speak Korean?" Henry said, looking up at the ceiling as if for guidance. "We're in Korea."
"That's army intelligence for you," said Hawkeye, smiling, and then squinted at the girl. She certainly looked familiar. "Radar ..."
"I know," Radar said, looking at the girl too. "But I don't -- oh, oh! The -- oh, gosh! Oh jeez!"
"What, Radar?" Hawkeye said.
"Holy cow, she's the girl -- the farmer's daughter!" Radar said, then clamped his hand over his mouth, looking guiltily at Colonel Blake. "The one we just sent away today ..."
Now Henry looked like he might spontaneously combust if this continued for any longer. Hawkeye instinctively edged away from him a little bit. "Radar," Henry said, muffled, both hands covering his face now. "Tell her to go away. We can't keep her here."
"I think she's hurt," answered Radar, looking at the girl. "Euisa?"
The girl nodded emphatically at that, repeating the word over and over again, amidst some others that none of the men in the room understood.
"She needs a doctor," said Radar. Hawkeye moved in closer, inspecting the scrapes on the girl's cheeks.
"It's not that bad. Did she walk all the way back here to get treated for this?" Hawkeye said. The girl just looked at him, wide-eyed, then looked at Radar and asked a question.
"Yeah -- yes, he's a doctor. Euisa," said Radar, pointing at Hawkeye. At that, the girl started speaking frantically, trying to tug Hawkeye out the door. Hawkeye resisted, but the girl -- made strong from years of working on the fields, apparently -- managed to move him far enough where he had to grab onto the edge of Radar's desk to keep from being forcibly taken outside.
"Hold it -- hold it!" Hawkeye shouted desperately, trying to squirm his way out of the girl's grasp, but she was severely determined to get him out the door. "See, Henry?" Hawkeye said, voice strained as he fought to keep from being dragged away, "girls can't keep their hands off me. Lady, we're not even on a first-name basis!"
"I think she wants you to go with her," Radar said.
"Yeah, very astute," Hawkeye answered dryly, glaring at the young clerk.
"Well, I don't know about that," Radar said, his brow creasing in confusion, "but we should see what she wants. I mean, she seems real riled up!"
Hawkeye, tired of being pulled like taffy, finally just let go of the desk and let the girl drag him outside. Radar and Henry followed, watching as she led the captain along like he was a disobedient little child. And then they followed some more. And then some more. Eventually, they followed her to the very edge of the camp, and only then did Henry stop, putting his hands on his hips.
"This is ridiculous," he said, and Hawkeye dug his heels into the ground to keep from being dragged further. "Let's just go back; she's just playing a game."
Hawkeye started to agree, trying to extract himself from the girl's grasp again. This caused her to start to protest loudly and rapidly in Korean, which in turn made Hawkeye try to explain to her, just as loudly, that he needed to be let go. This went on for a few seconds, and then Henry stomped over to try and help, also speaking loudly, and the three of them just got louder and louder until Radar, his eyes fixed on somewhere in the distance, realised that he was hearing something that wasn't them.
"Wait a second," he told them, taking a step away, toward the edge of the road. They didn't seem to hear him, and just kept arguing in two different languages. Radar slowly turned his head from side to side, trying to pick up on what he was hearing. It was faint, very faint, and muffled. It sounded almost like ... crying? Radar frowned. He needed to concentrate.
Radar continued walking until he stepped off the road and onto the sparsely vegetated land that made up the whole of Uijeongbu. The very faint sound was still faint, but a little more clear now. It would be clearer if there weren't three people behind him squabbling, though.
"Hey, hush up!" he shouted, and they stopped arguing. Hawkeye and Henry, most likely in shock, stayed where they were on the road, but the girl said something excitedly and ran to Radar. He glanced at her briefly, and she grabbed his shoulder, pointing a little ways away, toward some rocks and a small clutch of trees. The girl said something to him, and Radar just frowned, heading quickly toward the trees.
Henry and Hawkeye called for him, but he only hesitated for a small moment. When he did, the girl tugged his arm and said something, and Radar nodded and continued. "Radar, what are you -- Radar!" Henry shouted after him.
"There was a sinkhole and the ox fell," Radar called back, distracted by pushing aside tree branches. The girl helped him, and soon they saw what Radar already knew had happened -- the earth had opened up and swallowed the cart down, and the girl's family was trapped between it and the ox's massive body. Somehow, she had managed to escape, and naturally went to a doctor for help. "Oh gosh -- come quick, they're trapped!"
Henry and Hawkeye were at Radar's side in seconds, gaping at what was before them. After a few seconds of stunned inaction, Henry shook himself. "I'll go get help," he said, then left, headed back to the 4077.
"Radar," Hawkeye said slowly, somewhat awestruck, "how the hell did you know that she wasn't just pulling our collective legs? How did you know what happened?"
Radar shook his head, watching as the girl called down to her parents, crying. "I guess I just knew."
"Well," said Hawkeye, "I'm definitely buying you an ice cream now."