The Edge

By DC
©
September 2002

 

Rating: PG 13

Disclaimer: The ToD characters and situations do not belong to me, I simply love to play in their sandbox.

Summary: Not exactly a missing moment here, but rather one of the ones I always called a "marker" moment for Doc Hock and Myron. This from the episode The Ties That Bind.

***Hello sweet Meryn. My gift to you.***


"Doc, what happened out there?"

Lt. McKay stops me on the chopper pad, his hand on my arm. I donít mean to do it, but I step back from him a pace, ducking my head, my hair falling into my eyes.

He steps in front of me, cutting me off from following the guys and the silent L-T.

"Doc, I know something happened out there."

I donít want to deal with anyone else. Not now. Not after what happened today. Please, McKayÖ heís YOUR friend, you go talk to him. Please- canít you understand?

The crew chief and the gunner walk behind him, not paying attention to either of us as they lug the sixties and the ammo cans. The sounds of Camp Barnett seem distant and Iím standing here trying not to shiver with my fatigue in the wake of the dayís events.

The shadows are starting to lengthen with the rapidly approaching night. I can hear the ticking noises of the slickís engine as it cools down, the smell of the jet fuel thick in my nose and mouth. Iím sticky and filthy and sweaty and hot and I just want to creep away from everyone, have a cigarette and a beer and pretend that today didnít happen.

I can pretend all I want. But all the alcohol in the camp will NEVER erase what happened. I went right to the edge with himÖ

And hope like hell it wonít happen the next time we go out with Lt. Goldman. I donít EVER want to go through that again!

"Doc, please?" McKay reaches for me once more, and I canít help but look up at him. This is not the cocky and charismatic chopper jock looking at me. No, this is the John McKay without the show- green eyes dark with concern and sorrow and confusion. When he touches me, his bewilderment spills over me like a spray of cold water and I visibly flinch.

Is no one here untouched by Goldman and his destructive grief?

I have to stand here, trembling with my fatigue and wonder. I barely know the L-T and already Iím captured up in it. Was completely trapped in it back in that jungle, in that graveyard. Was shaking with his consuming rage, bleeding with his sorrow and standing on the edge of a choice. His choice.

And where was Anderson?

Goldman chased him away. He had lost someone he loved so much, so completely. His friendship with the sergeant is on that same level, and it made the L-T not just push Anderson away- but completely send him away, as far away as he could possibly get him.

But what about the rest of us?

A choice was made in order to keep a promise- and a part of him died.

There, standing in that jungle, staring down at the VC who begged for his life, Goldman stood on the edge and wanted to die. We stood in that graveyard and watched him shaking with unconcealed fury and sorrow- the irony was not lost on me.

The strength of that much grief and rage terrifies me. It was like a storm front that swept out of nowhere, yet you had heard it for hours on the horizon- grumbling and sullen. A distant and ignored warning at the edge of your awareness.

Maybe I didnít want to knowÖ

Lying there in that graveyard, left behind by the rest of the team who had slipped up into position. I was only a few yards at most behind the L-T. I just lay there, silent, out of the way, drenched in sweat and listening to the insects buzzing. The heat shimmered around the two of us in the dappled shade; each of us shouldered up against a headstone.

I watched the L-T. I had watched him silently all day, in fact. In the slick when he glanced over his shoulder at McKay who had been watching him. When we stopped for a moment and he didnít notice the snake.

Distant. The storm slowly building.

Watched him snap at Ruiz.

Watched him force Johnson to step up and be Anderson, to make a decision.

The thunder growling low over the hills.

Then in the graveyard. I was so unprepared. I had seen all the warning signs and still I didnít pay attention.

The storm front raced down off the hill and into the valley, and arrived with a blinding flash of lightning and a deafening crash of thunder.

Before I even realized it, the tide of rage and grief washed over me and I was pinned and trapped with the sheer intensity of it. I could only stare in numbed horror, at a loss to do anything. I became wrapped up in the overwhelming storm that was in that moment Lt. Myron Goldman.

Dry-mouthed and unable to speak, I lay mesmerized and shaking. Watched him strip the rag from our head and mop the sweat from our face. We shook with the increasing fury, our eyes never leaving the approaching tax collector and his escorts.

With my vision hazed in red, I trembled in the wake of that storm, powerless against its strength. I carefully set my rifle aside. I saw her in the crowded street, walking toward me with that smile, the explosion that drove us all to the ground, her lying there in a twisted heapÖ

NO!

Something inside snapped completely.

I was on my feet, walking out and pulling my pistol.

And in the blink of an eye two men were dead and another knelt begging for his life before me.

The storm ragedÖ

Cut and bleeding inside, I ached to die. I wanted to die. I didnít want to hurt any more. I didnít want to think about what I would do if something were to happen to Zeke or these men.

Iím sliced to my soul on the sharp edges of his grief and I donít know how to stop the pain and the bleeding.

"L-T! Okay, maybe you donít give a damn about your own life, but I know you care about these guys!" Johnsonís voice on the edge of the storm, trying to reach out to us, to the L-TÖ "Theyíre your guys L-T!"

Where is Anderson?

I chased Zeke away- oh god I made him go! I promised to take care of the menÖ but who is going to take care of me? Sheís deadÖ heís goneÖ

And the rain sweeps in.

It would be so easy in this moment to step over the edge and not look back.

A promise was made.

If youíre worried about the men, donít.

Something loosened, something broke and shattered into a million pieces and I found myself blinking and gulping air. I surfaced past it all, again found myself trembling with shock. I watched the L-T draw back from that edge.

The worst of the storm had played out.

Goldman turned midnight eyes on me, eyes haunted and shuttered. He had come back from that edge, but a part of him was lost- forever. I think a part of me, too. And I lowered my gaze, and bowed before the realization that a part of him had died.

It was the cost of a choice made.

The nights here seem to rush in on dark shadows and whispered thoughts. Tonight is no exception and it sweeps up around McKay and myself on its way across Camp Barnett.

I realize I havenít said a word since I checked Taylor over for a possible scorpion sting. It seems like a lifetime ago, not just mere hours. Iím still dazed with the violence of that emotional storm. Still trying to forget the sound and feel of the pistol in my hand. His handÖ Itís almost as if Iím still not all back where I belong, in my head and in my mind.

I can still see her smile and her dark eyesÖ I try to find my voice now as the pilot just stares at me.

Over his shoulder I catch a flash of lightning on the distant horizon. And hear the distant growling of the thunder. Looking away from McKay, I shove my hand through my hair. And finally find my voice.

"Weatherís changing, L-T."

~finis~

 

DC's Tour of Duty Doc's Tour of Duty Doc's Combat Vid Capture Gallery