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Fieldtrip

Fieldtrip

By jenben

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don't own the A-team and I get no money from this (or any) story.  Stinks, don't it?

Summery: Dr. Richter's son joins the A-team.  Against their will.

Warnings: None.

Author's note: Don't worry Susie; I'm starting a special Murdock one just for you J  Oh, and this fic is pointless.  I'm just having some fun (though, it's very well written fun…I think…I hope…oh, never mind!).

 

 Fieldtrip

The day had started out intensely boring.  Of all the things he could think of to do, Jack Richter found that going to work with his father was the last on his list.

            "Dad, I would have more fun with Sister Mary Clarence than with the nutties at the hospital!"

            John Richter turned to his son, a bemused expression on the doctor's face.  "Doesn't Sister Mary Clarence teach sex-ed?"

            "Yes!"

            "Well, you're not going to associate with the 'nutties,' as you so quaintly put it.  You're going to see what your father does at work and come to appreciate how hard his job is.  Now get on your shoes.  I have an early appointment."

            Jack grabbed his Converse high-tops and muttered something about becoming a psychotic, ax-murdering, porn star with visions of godhood for his future profession.

 

            "Merry Christmas, doc!"

            "Merry Christmas, Murdock.  How are you feeling today?"

            "A little obsessive-compulsive, but that should blow over by noon.  Who's the kid?"

            They turned to look at Jack who grew red at the attention.  "Jack Richter," he said.  "I'm his son.  Not by choice."

            Dr. Richter turned his attention back to Murdock.  "I wanted him to see what I do for a living.  I would like him to stay here and see what a little bit of the real world is like, but it's entirely your decision, H. M.  If you're not comfortable with—"

            "Not comfortable?  I think it's great!  Are you training to be crazy?"

            "No, but I think I'm on my way.  What are you in for?"

            Murdock lay down on the couch and got comfortable.  "If you can find it in a textbook, I'm here for it.  I'm the poster-pilot for psychoses."

            "Pilot?"

            "Jack, I'd like to start my session with Captain Murdock.  You can listen, but try to keep the comments and questions to a minimum.  When you have your psychiatrist's degree, you can ask all the questions you want."

            Jack rolled his eyes and settled back in his chair.  He listened absently, watching the clock, though he quickly found Murdock to be an interesting subject.  The man was crazy but funny.  He had lived a hard life, but he found joy in the littlest (and sometimes imaginary) things.

            The session was over quickly.  As Murdock walked out the door, Richter stopped him with a question.  "Is everything all right with your…friends?  Any unnecessary stress?"

            Murdock grinned.  "Do you mean Billy?  He's doing great, but he needs to be walked more.  He doesn't get enough exercise."

            "I'm glad to hear that, but Murdock, Billy isn't real."

            "Shows what you know."

            After Murdock left the room, Jack looked questioningly at his father.  "Who's Billy?"

            "Billy is Murdock's imaginary dog.  Billy represents Murdock's needs for unconditional affection, understanding, and love.  He also gives Murdock a feeling of responsibility for someone else."

            "Whatever.  At least Murdock gets a dog."

            "You're allergic."

            "Can I go get a soda?"

            Dr. Richter just nodded.  He wished Jack would take more of an interest in psychiatry.

 

            Jack walked around outside with his grape soda.  The grounds of the V. A. were lovely, though he figured they had to be so the nutties didn't jump out of the windows. 

            "Well, maybe that would be difficult," he said to himself as he noticed the bars on the building's windows.  "At least that Murdock guy was interesting.  I bet it'd be great to be a pilot.  Alone in the cockpit, soarin' through the skies—"

            "Got ya!"

            "Murdock, would you stop foolin' around?  Hannibal's rearin' to go and he won't appreciate if we come back covered in imaginary snow."

            "You're no fun, Faceman.  Don't you ever just want to throw caution to the wind and cluck like a chicken?  Or dance on a table in just your boxers?

            "No.  Now hurry up!"

            The voices startled Jack.  He crept around a bush and caught sight of Murdock and someone else heading off the V. A. grounds.  Jack followed.

            "That was a pretty clever scam, Facey."

            "I thought so.  I thought it up on the way here when Hannibal said something about the new mission.  I guess some guy is starting fires up the coast and I figured they wouldn't want some pyromaniac in the V. A."

            "Can I have a lighter, Faceman?"

            "Ask B. A."

            Face?  B. A.?  Hannibal?  Jack realized he was following the A-team and he nearly wet himself.  The day was turning considerably more exciting as he followed them around a corner and saw a black van.  There, inside, was the leader and the large black man. 

            Per Murdock's suggestion, Jack threw caution to the wind and ran behind some boxes so he reached the back of the van before Murdock and Face.  Careful to make as little sound as possible, he opened the back door of the van and crawled inside as Face and Murdock did the same.  With their attention elsewhere, none of the four men noticed.  As Face slammed the door shut, Jack grabbed the handle to the back and gently closed it.  He grinned from ear to ear and settled down for the ride.

 

            "I'm hungry!"

            "'Foo, you always hungry!"

            "Colonel, I gotta eat!"

            "I'm a little hungry, too, Colonel.  Can we stop in the next town?'

            "Yeah.  B. A., get off at the next exit."

            "You know, B. A., I think the longer you drive, the crankier you get.  How 'bout you let me take the wheel after we eat.  You can sit back here and take a little nap.  Maybe snuggle up with Billy.  Wha'd'ya say, Scooter?"

            "I say I'm gonna kill you when we get out of the van, 'foo.  Don't you call me Scooter.  And ain't no way you gonna drive my van.  You crazy!"

            "Would you two stop it?  You're like little kids."

            "B. A. started it."

            "I did not!  That crazy man is gettin' on my last nerve!"

            Jack was having an awful time suppressing a giggle.  He had to keep a hand over his mouth and even that wasn't working well.  The van pulled up to a diner, relieving Jack of his problem as the four men stepped out to eat and stretch their legs.  That, however, left him the problem that he also needed to eat.  But Murdock knew his face.

            "I'll just have to be as careful this time as I was getting into the van," he reasoned.  "I mean, if I could get into their van, I'm sure I can eat some food."

            Jack donned a cap that was lying in the back of the van and headed into the diner.  He ordered his food and ate it quickly so he could get back into the van before the team did.  The last thing he needed was to get stranded three hours away from home.

            There was a close call when Face passed Jack to go to the bathroom, walking slowly and close to the boy's booth, but Jack wasn't spotted.  "Thank you, God," he muttered softly and downed the rest of his coke.

            The waitress handed him the bill and he reached into his pocket only to find his wallet missing.  He patted down every single pocket on his body, from his pants to his jacket and couldn't find it anywhere.  Nervously he looked up at the waitress.

            "Hehe, I can't seem to find my wallet, ma'am.  I don't suppose you take any IOU's?"

            "No."

            How she managed to look angry, annoyed, and scary at the same time was beyond Jack.  He ran a nervous hand through his hair.

            "I know I came here with it.  I just can't…find it.  Is there anything I can do really fast?  I need to leave and I—"

            "Find your wallet or I call the sheriff, kid."

            "But I can't; it isn't here!"

            "Frank, get the sheriff on the phone!"

            "Ma'am!"

            Jack felt a strong hand grip his shoulder.  He turned his head up quickly and found Hannibal attached to the hand.  "It's all right, ma'am.  The boy's with us.  Just give me his bill and I'll pay for it."

            "As long as it gets paid."

            Hannibal handed her a five and told her to keep the change.  He then wrapped his hand around Jack's arm and pulled the boy up.  Together, and with the other members of the A-team, they walked out of the diner and into the parking lot.

            "Here, I think this is yours."  Face handed Jack his wallet, a poorly contained smile on the conman's face.  "You really ought to be more careful."

            Jack's eyes were wide as he took the wallet.  "How did you…?"

            "How did you, is the better question.  Murdock tells me that you're Dr. Richter's son and you were at the V. A. today.  That means you snuck into the van and came here with us.  You want to explain that?"

            He explained his boredom and his pleasant surprise at finding the A-team.  Jack apologized for tagging along but promised he wouldn't tell anyone.  "Where are we going?"

            Hannibal narrowed his gaze.  "We're not going anywhere."

            "But what about the arsonist?"

            Hannibal turned to Murdock.  "How much does this kid know, anyway?"

            "I overheard Captain Murdock and, uh, Face, talking about it."

            Face frowned.  "You can call me Lieutenant Peck."

            "Yes, sir.  Anyway, I overheard them on the grounds at the V. A.  Lieutenant Peck scammed Captain Murdock out and said you guys are going up the coast to stop someone who's setting fires.  It sounds like fun."

            "This ain't no fun, boy!" B. A. yelled.  He knew how dangerous their missions could be and he didn't want any kid getting hurt.  "It's dangerous!"

            Hannibal pulled four quarters out of his pocket and put them in Jack's hand.  "This is money for the phone.  Call your father and tell him to get you, but don't tell him how you got here.  Murdock doesn't need any trouble."  He started to walk away with the team.

            "I'm not calling him.  I'm going with you guys."  There was scared defiance in Jack's voice.  It became more scared and less defiant when Hannibal turned around.  Jack would have taken the waitress over Hannibal any day.  But the waitress didn't hold the promise of adventure.

            "Is that right?"

            Jack took a deep breath and stepped forward.  "Yes, sir.  I'm sixteen, I think I can make up my own mind.  You've got to let me come; I'm not just gonna go away."

            Murdock cocked his head.  "You'll tell if we don't let you come?"

            "Never.  I'd never tell."

            Hannibal sighed.  He hadn't been positive, but he was pretty sure that the tiny town didn't have a payphone and he knew that the waitress wasn't going to let Jack use the phone.  He glowered at Jack.  "Get in the van.  You won't make a sound.  You won't make a move.  You won't do anything except sit there.  When we get to the town, you will take those quarters and call your father.  Now get in the van."

            "Yes—" Jack stopped himself.  He just nodded and moved quickly into a seat.  Things weren't turning out exactly as he had pictured them, but at least the team wasn't leaving him in Hicksville with the psycho waitress.  But when Jack looked at Hannibal, he realized something.

            "I'm in such big trouble."

 

            "Nurse, have you seen my son?"

            "No, Dr. Richter.  I haven't seen him anywhere."

 

            Face was less angry than Hannibal.  He readily remembered doing stupid (very stupid) things at sixteen.  At least the kid had decided to follow the A-team.  He could have taken up drugs.  "Where do you go to school?" Face asked as they drove along.

            Jack gave Hannibal a nervous glance but when the older man didn't even look at Jack, he answered the question.  "St. Thomas Academy for Boys."

            Murdock whistled.  "Sounds pretty lonely."

            "I know that place!  Say, does Sister Mary Elizabeth still teach there?"

            Jack eyes lit up.  "You knew Sister Mary Elizabeth?  She doesn't teach anymore; she had to leave for some reason.  Every guy at school was disappointed.  She was the sole reason we didn't ditch class.  How did you know her?"

            "I was the reason she left."

            A wicked smile formed on Jack's face.  "I don't suppose you'd mind working that magic with Sister Mary Clarence.  Or Sister Mary Margaret.  Or Sister Mary Patrick."

            "Unless they look anything like Sister Mary Elizabeth, you're on your own."

            Murdock decided it was his turn to ask a question.  He didn't have any anger with Jack.  He liked the boy, in fact.  "Why was the V. A. so boring?  I think it's lots of fun!  Sometimes me and Billy sneak into the nurse's locker room and take a peek around."

            "Though you shouldn't do that," Face added quickly.

            Jack shrugged.  "My life is incredibly boring.  Get up in the morning, eat, put on my uniform, go to school, come home, study, eat dinner, study, take a shower, study, and go to bed.  Do you know what it's like to have your entire life regimented?"

            "We were in the army," Hannibal said from the front.  His voice had lost a little bit of its edge.  He was having trouble staying angry.

            "But were they training you to be psychiatrists?  That's all dad wants: his only son to follow in his sacred footsteps.  If he talked about me becoming a doctor anymore I think I'd throw up."

            There was silence until B. A. asked a question.  "You think you'd be happier if you was on the run from the military all the time?  Never have a sure place to stay, never be sure if you gonna get caught.  It's a crazy life."

            "And that's why it's right for me!" Murdock chirped, very pleased with himself.

            "Crazy?" Jack echoed.  "Sounds perfect."

            Murdock's eyes glinted sanely as he turned his smile to Jack.  "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."

 

            "Jack?  Jack, are you in here?  Where is that boy?"

 

            The van pulled up to a hotel and all four men (and one teenager) piled out.  After they had settled into the room, Hannibal guided Jack outside and pointed silently to a payphone.

            "I think it's broken."

            Hannibal forced away a smile and gave the boy a gentle push forward. 

            "Hmm, guess I'll just find out for myself," Jack muttered as he walked to the phone.  He picked it up and put in a quarter.  Then he looked at the numbers on the buttons.  Then he hung the phone back up and retrieved his quarter.  He tried again but still couldn't bring himself to dial.  Some opportunities only come once, and spending time with the A-team was one of those opportunities.  He put in another quarter, pretended to dial, then spoke to his imaginary father.  He used the remainder of the quarters to buy some candy from the vending machine.

            "Well, when will he pick you up?" Hannibal asked as Jack entered the room.  To his chagrin, the boy was eating a Hershey bar, obviously bought with Hannibal's money.

            "Dad said it's okay for me to stay with you guys.  He told me to have fun and not get killed.  Sound advice, if you ask me."

            Hannibal's eyes narrowed and he stood up; all semblance of levity gone from his person.  "I'll tolerate a lot of stuff, kid, but lying isn't on that list.  What did he say?"

            Jack wanted nothing more than a rock to crawl under.  The leader wasn't as tall as Murdock or as buff as B. A., but his attitude more than made up for anything he lacked physically.  "I didn't technically call him," Jack said meekly.  "You don't understand, Mr. Hannibal—"

            "Colonel Smith, to you!"

            "Yes, sir!  You don't understand, Colonel Smith.  I'd give anything to just be here while you kick that arsonist's butt!  It's the adventure of a lifetime and I'm here to take it!  Please, sir, please let me come along!  Please!  I promise to play it safe and not get in your way and I'll do anything to tell me to do and I can even be a help if you'll only let me stay with you.  Please?"

            Hannibal ground his teeth.  He hadn't seen persistence like that since…well, since it had been him at sixteen.  And Jack certainly had the right attitude to be with the A-team: smart, defiant, cocky.  And a big mouth.  It was Hannibal Smith forty years ago. 

            "Look, I'm not just gonna go away," Jack continued, knocking Hannibal about of his reverie.  "I'll take my life into my own hands and I'll handle my dad when the time comes.  Please, Colonel."

            "Okay."

            The response elicited a chorus of "what's" from Face, Murdock, and B. A.  It was Face who voiced the men's concern.  "Colonel, he's just a kid!  He can't handle himself like we can.  C'mon, we were trained in combat and he goes to Catholic school; you can't let him tag along."

            "And what do you propose we do, Lieutenant?  Would you like to call his father?"

            "Well, I—no.  But we could at least…I mean…I don't know.  But letting him come?  It's crazy!"

            Hannibal lit a cigar.  "Calling his father would raise suspicion, we can't just leave him in the middle of nowhere, and he'll only follow us if we try to leave him here.  Let me tell you something, though, Jack."

            "Yes, sir?"

            "This is a dangerous job.  If I tell you to jump, you jump.  Don't ask how high because it might get you killed.  Just jump.  If I tell you to run, run.  Don't ask questions, just follow orders.  Because if anything happens to you while you're with the Team, so help me, I will find you in the afterlife and kick your butt.  Do you understand?"

            Jack gulped hard; his bravado knocked down a few pegs.  "Yes, sir."

 

            "Have any of you see a boy wandering around?  About sixteen."

            All of the patients in the rec-room looked up but nobody answered.

            "Yes, well…thank you."

 

            "Eliot Seguin," the man said, shaking Hannibal's hand.  "I own the forest Willard tried to burn down and the grocery store he succeeded at destroying.  I can't tell you how grateful I am that you came.  This is John Luray and Matthew Collins.  John owns one of the largest cow milking plantations in all of California."

            The small man looked heartbroken as he turned his eyes up to Hannibal.  "He burned the barns and the cows…died.  My cows."

            Matthew Collins gazed bitterly at Hannibal.  "That son-of-a-bitch burned down my church!"

            Jack's eyes went wide.  "You're a preacher?"

            "Does my swearing surprise you, boy?  A church is only a building, but James Willard set it on fire last Sunday morning, while my parishioners were listening to my sermon.  Nobody tries to kill my flock.  Er, sorry, John."

            "Since we can't get to him, we figured you could," Eliot continued.  "Everyone knows where he is, but we can't get to him because he shoots at anything that moves.  Here's his address."

            Hannibal accepted the address and handed it to B. A.  The leader smiled at the three men.  "It shouldn't be too much of a problem.  We've dealt with people a lot worse than Mr. Willard."

            "Thank you.  And here's the money; $25,000.  We feel certain you won't run out on the job."

            The four men (and one teenager) headed out and into the van.  As they buckled themselves in, Murdock turned his attention to Hannibal.

            "Colonel, you've got that look.  What's wrong?"

            "There's something about Mr. Seguin that rubs me the wrong way.  I want you and Jack to look around a little and find out what you can on Eliot Seguin and James Willard.  Face, B. A., and I will go pay Mr. Willard a call."

            "Sounds like we need to pick up a white flag before we go anywhere near his place," Face muttered.

            "Lieutenant, that isn't a half bad idea."

 

            "Hello, dear.  Yes, I'm fine.  Jack?  Oh…he's doing well.  Uh-huh, he's loving every minute of this.  You want to talk to him?  You can't!  Why?  He's…uh…he's in the bathroom.  Well, I didn't ask.  Really, dear, I don't think he needs to tell us if it's number one or number two anymore.  Have him call you when he's done?  Uh…what?  Oh, wait!  I think I'm being called.  Gotta go.  Love you!  Bye!"

 

            "My poor shirts," Face moaned softly.  "Ralph Lauren, please forgive me."

            Each man held a stick with a white shirt hanging from it.  Hannibal was in front of Face and B. A. and he held the "flag" before him.  All three walked tentatively to the shack James Willard called home.

            A shotgun cocked and went off.  Fortunately, it went straight up.  A warning shot.  The next one wouldn't miss.

            "Who are you?  What do you want?" Willard yelled from his home.  The rifle was aimed at Hannibal who smiled disarmingly.

            "Name's Hannibal Smith.  Eliot Seguin sent me and my men to stop you from burning things."

            "Is that right?"  The shotgun cocked again.

            Hannibal dropped the flag down to his waist.  "Yeah, that's right.  Thing is, I get the feeling that Mr. Seguin wasn't being totally honest with me.  I don't like that.  Makes me nervous.  Do you think I have a right to be nervous with him, Mr. Willard?"

            James stared at Hannibal questioningly.  He summed the leader up and made his decision.  He un-cocked his rifle.  "Name's Jim."

            Hannibal grinned and turned to his men.  "I told you this would work."

            Face's eyes narrowed.  "You said that on the last mission's plan and guess what didn't work quite as well as we had hoped."

            "What makes you distrust Seguin?" Jim asked as he walked to meet Hannibal.

            "Just a feeling, but I usually trust my instincts.  Are you really burning things down, Mr. Willard?"

            "I sure am."

            The team stopped walking and stared at Jim who never even blinked.  "You've…really burnt stuff down?"

            "I burnt down Eliot's store and then I tried to burn down his forest, but he had it put out before any damage really got down.  That's all I've burnt down, though I'm gonna try for the forest again.  Kinda breaks my heart to see all those trees go to waste."

            "Maybe we should start from the top," Hannibal suggested.  Willard nodded and began:

            "I got the feeling that something funny was going on with Eliot about a year ago.  He got back from a trip to L. A. and suddenly he was doing just fine.  Granted, he owns a good chunk of land and he had the grocery store, but he added onto his house, bought two new cars, made the grocery store bigger, and started taking trips.  Out of the blue, he was wearing real fancy clothes and his wife started walking around town with new dresses and diamond earrings.

            "I got curious.  I took a look around his property but I didn't find anything.  Walked around his woods and there wasn't a trace of nothin'.  Then one day, after he closed the store and went home, I broke in and took a gander.  There wasn't nothin' in the front, or even in the back room, but down in the basement where he kept extra supplies, I found some machinery I recognized from an article on drugs.  He had purifyin' machines to make the chemicals in the drugs better.  I figured he'd bring in the drugs on one of the trucks that delivered the food and then ship 'em out the same way.  So I burnt down his store. 

            "I thought that'd take care of it, but it didn't even slow him down.  He moved himself out into his woods where nobody goes and set up a little shack to process the stuff there.  So I made to burn the woods but he stopped me.  Guess he figured someone was after him and he was keeping his eyes open 'cause he caught me in the act; tried to kill me but I got away."

            The team listened intently and when Willard was done, Face asked the first questions.  "Why didn't you just go to the police?"

            "The sheriff's name is Joshua Seguin."

            "Oh."

            B. A. wasn't totally convinced.  "What 'bout the other places?"

            "Eliot.  It doesn't make any sense that I would burn down his stuff without a reason.  We barely even knew each other.  So he sets a few other things on fire and blames me.  All the sudden I became a psycho who just wanted to burn the town down.  People'd thought it awfully suspicious if just Eliot's stuff was gettin' torched."

            Face turned to see Hannibal's expression and a look of horror spread over the Lieutenant.  "Aw, Hannibal—please!  Not the Jazz.  Anything but the Jazz."

            "The Jazz?"

            Face sadly shook his head.  "He's got a plan."

 

            "Jack," Dr. Richter spoke into the intercom.  "This is your father.  Get to my office now!"

 

            "That was fantastic!" Jack yelled, running through the parking lot.  He had more energy than he thought possible and he couldn't contain the jumping and running.  "Where did you come up with that?"

            "Did that three months ago with Face, 'cept I was the one havin' the seizure and it was at city hall and not a bank.  Worked like a charm.  You're a good actor, too. 

            Hannibal was standing in the doorway of the hotel room.  There was a look of approval on his face as he watched Jack jump around Murdock in excitement.  "Well?" he asked as Murdock approached.

            "I don't know what y'all found out, but we sure got some interestin' information.  Eliot Seguin's awful well-to-do."

            "He's rich!  The guys got so much money he probably doesn't know what to do with it all.  I don't know why he lives out here or why he doesn't just rebuild his store, but his bank account has bigger numbers than I've ever seen."

            Hannibal nodded knowingly and smoked his cigar.  "Willard wasn't lying.  I knew something was up with Seguin."

            Face and B. A. filled Jack and Murdock in on the day's happenings while Hannibal just stared thoughtfully out the door.  The plan, of course, had already come together, it just needed a few kinks worked out.  Finally, the colonel turned to his lieutenant and Face paled considerably.

            "What are you making me do this time, Colonel?"

            "Now when have I ever steered you wrong, kid?"

            Face sighed and rolled his eyes.  "Where do I begin?"

 

            "Jack?" Dr. Richter said into the intercom, again.  "Uh…Jack?  Son, are you here?"

 

            The conman straightened his suit and put on his best smile.  "Mr. Seguin?" he asked, knocking on the door.  "May I speak with you?"

            "Yes?  Oh, Mr. Peck, wasn't it?"

            "Yes, sir.  Templeton Peck.  I've come here about James Willard and a little proposition I have for you."

            "Please, sit down."

            There was a moment of silence and then Face took a breath.  "My team and I have spoken with James Willard and he tells us that you have a drug business going on and that you burned down most of the stuff."

            "That's absurd!"

            "Not really.  Colonel Smith and everyone else believe him, including me.  We had one of our people check on your bank account and you've got a lot of spare change lying around."

            Seguin's eyes narrowed and he reached slowly towards a drawer.  "You believe an arsonist over me?"

            "Yeah, and the colonel isn't too happy.  I, on the other hand, couldn't be more thrilled."

            "Huh?"

            "I have a deal that I think you might appreciate."

            "I'm listening."

            "You let me in on your very profitable venture and I'll help you get rid of James Willard and the A-team in one fowl swoop."

            Eliot was no longer reaching for his drawer (and his gun), but he was hardly convinced.  "So after working with the A-team and stopping men like me, you're just gonna switch sides and screw over your team?"

            Face gave a short laugh.  "The people we've helped haven't exactly been wealthy.  For some reason, Hannibal has a thing about helping people who just can't throw any money our way.  Even my good looks won't buy me an Armani suit.  But I think I could buy an entire Armani wardrobe if I help you process that—what is it?  Coke?"

            "Heroin."

            "Ah, an especially addictive drug.  And in serious need of refinement before distribution.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a person on payroll who has a working knowledge of the…darker parts of L. A.?"

            "I can't trust you."

            Face reached into his pocket and pulled out a small tape recorder.  He offered it to Eliot, then drew it away as the grocer tried to take it.  "I recorded Hannibal's plan as he told it to us.  Every word of his plan to catch you is on this.  Let me show you how much I prefer money over men: I'll give it to you for three thousand dollars.  You pull out the green and give it to me, I give you the tape."

            Eliot gave Face a hard stare.  The younger man never flinched, never batted an eye.  He only stared back, holding the tape recorder.  Yet Seguin saw a hint of intense greediness in Face's eyes.  It was no trick; Face really wanted the money.  So Eliot walked to his safe, pulled thirty, one-hundred dollar bills out, and put them on the desk.  Face set the recorder next to the money and took his bribe. 

            After listening to the tape, Seguin reached into his drawer and pulled out his gun.  Face only smiled.

            "You're gonna shoot me?  Sure, that'll go unnoticed.  Hannibal'll never suspect a thing if I don't show up tonight and his plan we'll go just like planned tomorrow.  And no one will ever trace my blood to your hands.  Don't you know better than to get your hands dirty?"

            Eliot's jaw dropped and so did his gun.  "You're really serious."

            "You're damn right.  I want in on your business and I just bought my share with the A-team.  And you probably shouldn't try to kill anybody tonight because you'll still have to worry about James Willard.  Tomorrow, you can kill…five birds with one stone.  Do we have a deal?"

            "We have a deal."

 

            "Um…honey?  Well, the thing is, things are very hectic here and Jack and I are gonna have to be spend the night.  He can sleep in my office.  No, no!  You don't have to come here; it's a half an hour drive and we'll be just fine.  Uh…he's in the bathroom, again.  Yes, well he drinks a lot of soda.  Yes, I'll have him brush his teeth.  No, I won't let him stay up to late.  Really, everything is great; you worry too much.  Of course I know he's your only child and you lo—yes, I know you're a mother and—honey, I—please don't yell, dear—yes, dear.  I understand, dear.  I'll see you in the morn—honey?  Hello?"

 

            "This is so exciting," Jack whispered.

            "It'd be a lot more exciting if we had cookies.  Colonel, can we get cookies after this?  Please?"

            "Afterwards, Murdock.  Focus on the plan right now.  Jim, have you got the gasoline?  B. A., you got the matches?  Good, let's get started."

            Each man (and the one teenager) took some gasoline and began dousing the shack in the forest that Eliot Seguin used to refine the heroin.  They got the trees and shrubs that surrounded the cabin as well.  They took their sweet time since Eliot hadn't shown up.  They couldn't start the fire until he was there. 

            "Stop right there," a large man with a sheriff's badge commanded.  He had a gun.  Beside him was Eliot (gun in hand) and two more men (with two more guns—the obvious accessory for any bad guy) who were not from the town but probably from Seguin's supplier.

            "What took you so long?" Hannibal asked, lighting his cigar.  "I thought you'd never show up."

            "Awfully cocky for a man with four guns pointed at him."

            "I've faced a lot worse than you, Seguin.  There are men smarter and more evil than you all over the world."

            Jack stepped forward.  "What makes you think a pusher like you can beat the A-team?  You're no match for us."  He got a rush just saying "us" in the same sentence as "A-team."

            "Because money is power, boy, and that's what I got.  I've refined enough drugs to keep me rich for a few lifetimes.  Money's just a bad a drug as what I've got in that shed and I'm addicted enough to kill for it.  And I think I'll start with your smug leader."

            All of the action went into slow-motion for Jack.  Face shot his gun at Eliot's hand from the tree limb the lieutenant sat on.  He had a gun in his right hand and a camcorder in his left.  B. A., Hannibal, Murdock and Jim rushed at the sheriff and two other men while Eliot cradled his flesh wound.

            The guns were quickly knocked away and punches were thrown.  Knowing that his teammates could take care of themselves, Face continued to film the action. 

            Jack watched from a small distance, though he kept creeping forward to see as much as he could.  Hannibal had strictly forbidden him from partaking in the fighting.  A punch at the sheriff.  A punch at one of the other pushers.  A kick in a stomach.  Jack could hardly keep from rooting his team on.  His team. 

            Slowly, Eliot regained some composure and reached for his gun.  He shakily pointed it towards the only person not moving: Jack.  With great effort, he pulled the trigger.

            "Jack!" Face yelled.

            For a moment, everything just stopped.  Every member of the A-team and all of the bad guys looked at Jack.  The bullet sliced through the air and headed directly at Jack.  He pulled back as best he could, but he was not match for the speed of the bullet.  It cut through his bangs and continued into a tree.  

            "Oh…my…God." Jack whispered.  The bullet had never entered his body, only given him a very strange haircut.  The blood drained from his face and he staggered back, falling to the ground.

            The fighting continued at its normal speed; possibly, it went faster than before.  Face jumped from the tree and aimed his gun at Eliot.  The other team members and Jim Willard subdued Seguin's cohorts.  Everyone but Hannibal tied the men up and securely attached them to a tree.

            "Are you okay?" Hannibal asked softly as he helped Jack up.  The boy was unsteady and nearly fell again.  His eyes were as big as saucers and his face as pale as the walls at the V. A.

            "No," he whispered.  "The bullet…by my head…I could have died."

            "Do you want to go home now?"

            Something clicked inside of Jack and he began to sob.  Hannibal held the boy and then walked him towards the van.  Along with their 28,000 dollars, the A-team (and one teenager) headed back to the V. A.

 

            "Good God!  Where have you been?"

            It was a little past noon when Dr. Richter finally set sight on his son.  Jack smiled wearily at his father.  After a moment, he ran to his dad and hugged him fiercely. 

            "Well I—what was that for?"

            "Can we go home, dad?"

            "Of course!  Your mother's been worried sick!  Where have you been all this time?  I almost called the police I was getting so nervous."

            Jack bit his lip then smiled.  "I was getting a lesson from some people here."

            The two of them left Richter's office and headed down the hall towards the exit.  Jack couldn't wait to get to his own home.  He was going to kiss the floor of his room.  His safe, mundane, relatively bullet proof room.

            Murdock passed them on the way out.  "See ya tomorrow, Dr. Richter!"

            "Goodbye, Murdock."

            "Goodbye, Captain Murdock."

            Just before they got through the door, Murdock turned around and yelled to Jack.  "I like your haircut!"

            Dr. Richter looked at his son and noticed that part of his bangs had been cut away the edges looked burned.

            "What happened to you?"

eNd



Fieldtrip by jenben

 

 


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