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Shepherd's Pie and Portals

Shepherd's Pie and Portals
by Kamikaze

><><><

The blue sphere disappeared, and so had the Earthlings. When it was rested enough, the leader of the bright, shiny creatures approached the Colonials.

"It is now your turn. If you will stand in the center of the circle, we can begin."

Apollo looked from Starbuck to Boxey. He heard Muffy's mechanical whimper.

"Excuse me. Are you sending us back to the Galactica this way?"

The creature shook its strangely shaped head.

"No, Captain Apollo. You see, your Earthling comrades are in great danger and need your help."

Starbuck thought of Davis and jerked his head towards the alien.

"What are we waiting for?" Apollo turned to Boxey. "They will send you and Muffy back to the ship. We shouldn't be long."

The creature looked down at the youngest Caprican. "I'm afraid you and your friend must accompany your father on this mission."

It saw the look on Apollo's face, but did not seem to notice. "Now, if you please. Valuable time is being wasted." The Colonials exchanged glances and entered the circle. The ritual began.

*Too bad Boomer isn't here to see this,* Apollo and Starbuck thought in unison as the blue sphere formed. Suddenly their fellow warrior appeared in the circle. Muffy barked at the newcomer, and a few of the creatures were distracted. The sphere quavered slightly, but before the Colonials could relay this fact they disappeared.

><><><

Now onto the part I know happened. The afore mentioned was pieced together from discussions with our Colonial visitors. If you'll recall, we were in the finals of our Water Balloon Ping Pong Olympics. It was Lonely Walker vs. myself, and the West Wing was up by three points. I served the blue balloon, since we had already burst all the red and yellow ones. To my great dismay Lonely Walker volleyed it back. Being the consomate dodgeball player, I ducked. From somewhere on the sidebench Noel jumped up.

"Starbuck, look out!" she screamed, but it was too late. The young warrior turned just in time to get squooshed by the blue balloon. It burst on impact, leaving the warrior resembling a drowned Colonial rat. Noel ran over to him.

"Oh, my poor warrior. I've always wondered what you'd look like with wet hair, but this isn't the way I wanted to find out."

She combed her fingers through his hair, and smiled. A thought occurred to her, and she reluctantly turned from his gaze.

"Hickup, get over here!" Cap'n Marina's unusual pet, a neon green dragon, took off from her shoulder. Yes, he's that small. He flew over and hovered in front of Noel. She snapped her fingers.

"Glass of water for Hickup!" she called. Gatorella rolled her eyes and fetched the water. As she held it up, Hickup drank.

"Wouldn't a towel be easier?" Noel nodded.

"I know, Gator. But this is more fun, and since when do we do things easy?" Hickup finished his drink and turned. Starbuck stared at the tiny creature.

"What's he going -"

Even before the warrior finished, the dragon answered his question. True to his name Hickup hickupped, and a puff of smoke came out of his tiny mouth. Starbuck coughed and wheezed, but he was still pretty much a drowned Colonial rat. Noel shrugged and thanked Hickup. She turned to Gatorella.

"I guess you were right." Gatorella gave her an 'I told you so' glance, and handed Starbuck a towel. It was at this point that the A-Team entered the rec room. See, they are in the story . . . And you were worried.

Upon seeing her precious Murdock, Marina jumped him and smothered him with passionate kisses. This made poor Hickup woozy, because, you see, he had reperched himself on her shoulder and wasn't expecting the sudden jolt. As he began to fall, Boxey ran over and caught him. Hickup grinned at the boy.

"Oh, thank you. I truly wish she'd warn me."

There was much happy barking off on the sidelines. Muffy looked in the direction of the sound, but could see nothing. The barking occurred again. Muffy processed it for a few seconds. It seems that invisible dog and mechanical daggit are closely related languages, like Italian and Spanish. Muffy barked a happy reply, after translating. Everyone looked at each other, wondering what the three animals were discussing. Oh, for those of you who think Billy is the only invisible dog, I have it on good authority that Erinna has her own invisible dog called Billy Bob. While Boxey was preoccupied with Hickup, Muffy sneaked out of the room with his two new friends. It was at the point that Face got his first good look at Starbuck. The two circled each other and grinned, deciding that the other was damn good looking.

><><><

Oh, excuse me. I'm being tapped on the shoulder by a certain leather glove.

"Yes, Lefty?"

"Exactly when do I enter the story? I have people to hold hostage, you know." I put down my pen and stare him in the knuckles.

"Look, Lefty. You held Ms. C and the Small Soldiers hostage in 'Chili Cheese Dip', using a tootsie pop, I might add. Don't you think it's time someone else held someone hostage?"

"I suppose." After giving me quite the rude gesture only a glove could, he left.

><><><

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Muffy had disappeared. No, he's not gone invisible, but he had left the rec room. Hannibal went over to Apollo and clasped the man on the shoulder.

"What're you in for, pal?"

The warrior turned. "We were sent here to help the A-Team."

I laughed at this. "'Help the A-Team'? Now, there's a switch."

Part 2

><><><

The team exchanged concerned looks, and Face stared at Apollo. "Save us from what? Who are you?"

Starbuck blinked. *Have they forgotten?* he wondered. He also wondered where Davis was. He looked at me, but realized I was a good six years younger.

"Where's Davis?"

The patients shrugged. Ms. C came forward and smiled at him.

"Well, she was here for a few pages about a year ago, but we haven't seen her since."

Apollo rolled his eyes, knowing his friend wouldn't be discouraged for long. He stared at Hannibal.

"Are you telling me the A-Team is not in danger?"

Murdock pulled away from Marina slightly and gulped in air. He was beginning to wonder if the next time she got him in a lip lock, his fellow Cap'n would ever allow him up for air. He grinned at Apollo.

"The only danger we're in is if Crane overruns the building with daisies."

Everyone laughed, knowing the absent Captain's fetish for flowers. Starbuck was confused.

"Then, why would those aliens send us here to help them?"

Boomer, who was often around but never said anything, finally spoke.

"Maybe Muffy's barking distracted them, and they sent us to the wrong place."

At the mention of his beloved daggit, Boxey looked around. "Where is Muffy?"

Glad to have a mission, the Nighthawk Commandos went into action. They syncronized their watches, and agreed to meet back in an hour. As the troops marched out they nearly mowed a young couple down.

"Man, you guys are worse than the Ewoks," the young woman called. Face looked up.

"ACE! Shane! Over here."

The couple joined everyone in the center of the room.

"What's going on?" Shane asked. Hannibal indicated Boxey.

"This boy's dog has gone missing, and we're going to find it."

ACE leered at the Colonel, but left the smartass comment unvoiced. Instead she turned to Face, grinning.

"You know, Da. I'd be able to help a lot more, if I had the key to my gun cabinet." Face stared at his daughter. "Not now, ACE." The young woman turned to Murdock. "Uncy, can't you do something?" she whined. GW rolled her eyes.

"Oh, ACE. Quit being so Peck. I'm really going to have to talk to Sara about that character trait of yours."

ACE glared at her, knowing full well that GW herself was a creation of Sara's, and a keyboard hog. Hannibal halted any further bickering.

"The rest of us, split up. We'll meet the Commandos back here in an hour."

That said, the Colonel grabbed Gatorella's hand and dragged her from the room, much to the patient's delight. Marina wrapped an arm around Murdock's waist, and escorted him out. ACE and Shane left together. Various patients paired off and exited. Somewhere in the throng of people Apollo, Boxey and BA were carrried out. Noel, unable to choose between her beloved Starbuck and Boomer, grabbed them both. This being my story, I don't mind the creative license I'm afforded that allows me to be paired with Face.

><><><

Meanwhile, in the invisible dog section of the VA, Muffy was having a little trouble. You see, not only were his companions invisible, but so was their area. Finally making it through the transparent doggie door, Muffy began tripping over toys and squeaky balls. Seeing their new friend's plight, Billy Bob and Billy quickly put away their stuff. Saving Muffy from anymore embarrassing landings on his electronic nose. They told him of their plan, and the daggit happily agreed to help.

><><><

Face and I ended up in the Lost and Found a half hour later. A cozy little room, which was rendered not when Hannibal, Gatorella, Murdock and Marina came in. The Colonel turned to us.

"Anything yet?" Face shook his head.

"Looking for a mechanical dog is one thing, but I can only see Billy part of the time. If Kamikaze hadn't told me about Billy Bob, I would never have known."

Hickup looked quizzically at Face. "Have you not noticed that there are two distinctive barks?" I turned to Hickup.

"That's not the point, Smoky. The point is they're harder to find than Waldo."

Before we could continue the discussion, the lights were out. Taking advantage of the situation, and following Marina's suit, I pounced on Face. I was overly pleased, let me tell you, that he's a very passionate kisser. A few minutes later the lights came back on. I vaguely remember hearing Murdock yell, "Marina!", and Gatorella shout, "Hannibal!" I was still only paying attention to the lips and hands of the Facial One. I was to learn later on that I wasn't the only one with lusty thoughts.
Hannibal had grabbed who he *thought* was Gatorella and kissed her passionately. When the lights came on he was kissing Marina. She told me later on that he does indeed kiss as wonderfully as she thought; made her toes tingle. I only have one question: If Hannibal just grabbed anyone and kissed them, would he have noticed if he had grabbed Murdock?
Face and I reluctantly parted several seconds later.

We all looked down to see a growling Muffy. And, even though the rest of us can only claim to have heard them, Murdock says Billy and Billy Bob were baring incisors as well. HM stepped forward and crouched down.

"Now, fellas, take it easy." He looked at the daggit.

"Muffy, Boxey's worried about you." Murdock jumped back when the three animals' barking and growling increased. Hannibal turned to him.

"What are they saying, Captain?"

Hickup chose this time to "hehem". Marina looked at the little dragon. "What is it, Hickup?" The tiny creature grinned.

"It seems Billy is quite irate with Murdock. He is tired of being invisible, and has staged this revolt to get the Captain to make him visible."

Part 3

Face stared at Hickup. "You understand them?"

The dragon nodded. "Why didn't you say so?"

Hickup shrugged his tiny wings. "No one asked." Marina rolled her eyes at me.

"I think my sane half is going to be emailing you about this unusual pet you created." I blinked at her.

"You're, or rather she's, the one who requested it. I seem to remember that she thought it was a good idea at the time."

Murdock placed a comforting arm around Marina's shoulders, and turned to Hickup. "How does Billy think I can make him visible?"

The pooch barked, and the flying lizard translated.

"Since you can make yourself invisible by repeating 'white paper', he believes you have the solution. You have simply forgotten."

Hannibal looked around the room. "Well, if it's a lost memory, we're in the perfect place." Face nodded. "Right, Hannibal, but Ms. Coyote's the only one who knows where everything is in here."

><><><

Excuse me, but the insistant glove has returned.

"Lefty, if you keep interrupting me, the patients are going to run *out* of patience." Lefty skimmed the pages.

"I'm not even in the story yet!" I roll my eyes.

"You will be later, I promise."

"Well, if I'm not, I think Davis will be very interested to know you're writing a story without her, again." I throw up my hands.

"Okay, okay. Just give me a few pages. Sheesh."

><><><

Back at the hostage situation, Gatorella turned to me.

"Kamikaze, why don't you just zap Ms. C in here, and she can find it?" I smiled back at her.

"I can't do that." Gatorella stared at me.

"Why not? It's your story. Better yet, find the memory and zap *us* out of here." I shook my head.

"I can't do that either. You see, there are definite rules to these crossovers of mine. One of them being, 'no zapping of any kind without a portal.'"

><><><

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the West Wing, Noel and her warriors were still searching for Muffy. Starbuck was getting suggestive leers from patients, who hadn't attended the Olympics. He looked nervously at his host.

"Noel, why are they staring at me?"

She looked around at the other women. Hooking her arm in his in a 'hands off he's mine' gesture, Noel smiled.

"You look so much like Face, and some of them like that you're more their age." Starbuck grinned.

"You mean, they all like him?" His wheels began to spin out of control. "Maybe I'm going to like this after all."

"I'm sure Cassiopea will love to hear that, good buddy." Starbuck glared at him, but Boomer just grinned.

><><><

Back in the Lost and Found, but only briefly, there is a scurry out the door, but it goes unnoticed. Lefty had been searching for who knows what. There! You're in the story, you malicious little glove. Having heard about the lost memory, Lefty hot fingered it to find Ms. C. He finally found her in room W13, miserable, and being comforted by the Small Soldiers. Upon seeing the leather glove, Ms. C screamed.

"Urgh! Not again! Kamikaze assured me, I wouldn't be held hostage again." Skip, one of the Soldiers, spun around.

"Wait, MC. He's not wielding a tootsie pop!" Lefty gave a thumb up. He's only got one. "Three quarters of the team, Cap'n Marina, Gatorella and Kamikaze are being held hostage. I named our narrator last, since she took so long to put me in the story. Billy, Billy Bob and Muffy are holding them, until Murdock remembers how to make Billy visible."

Ms. C scratched her head. "That memory's going to be a female poochie to find. Billy hasn't been visible since Murdock was five years old. It's probably in the back corner, buried under things like sanity, Decker's love of animals, and when William Shatner was a good singer." Lefty stared at her. "Well, first we have to find a way in there. After I left, the door was slammed shut, and it sounded like it was being barricaded. I could be wrong, of course, what with all this wool lining in my ears." Skip picked up the little glove. "We'll have to go to Decker. He's got the surveillance cameras."

They ran down the hall and into the Colonel's office. Crane howled as they came in.

"No! Don't trample through! First the daisies, and now you've destroyed my tulips! Don't you know you're supposed to tiptoe?"

"Get a hold of yourself, man!" Boomer, well, boomed as he shook Crane.

Having seen the parade run by, Noel and her warriors had decided to follow. Ms. C, the Small Soldiers, Noel, and Lefty (Just getting you back) suddenly froze. Could it be? Yes, it was. Decker was actually . . . laughing!

"It was a pot of pyrite???" he guffawed.

Noel stared at the man. "Colonel, are you alright?" Decker looked up.

"Yes. Patrick here was just telling me a story." Ms. C looked down at the wee person.

"Patrick?"

The tiny Irishman looked up. "'Tis I. Faith 'n' begorra! What with the new visitors, I thought it a bit o' fun to stay and meet the lot."

Decker finally set eyes on a certain Colonial Lieutenant. "Peck! Crane, get him!"

Noel flung her arms around Starbuck, protectively. "No! He's mine! . . . I mean, this is Starbuck, not Face."

The Colonel nodded, not believing a word of it. "I'm sorry, ma'am. It seems you've been had by another of Peck's scams."

Before he knew what was happening, Starbuck was being handcuffed.

"I take it back. I don't like this place." He smiled at Noel. "Well, most of it."

"Oh, Starbuck," she apologized. "We'll save the hostages, and then come back for you."

Starbuck kissed her passionately before being dragged off by Crane. The Colonel followed to make sure his prisoner did not escape.

Part 4

As the entourage was trying to figure out the camera system, Mandy walked in.

"Hey, guys. What's up?" Ms. C looked up.

"Fingers! Are we glad to see you. Quick, we need to see the Lost and Found camera."

Mandy came around to the bank of televisions. "I don't know what I can do, my specialty is email. I'll give it a try."

A few seconds later the room came up on a monitor. It was worse than they feared. Not only was the door closed, but there was a wall of kibble and milkbone stacked high behind it. Noel sighed and looked at Boomer.

"What do we do, Lieutenant?" Major Hazzard scoffed.

"I outrank him. I say we blow the door and take them doggies out!" Ms. C rolled her eyes.

"This for the man who was court martialled for eating at Burger King." Hazzard glared at her.

"While Kamikaze's stories usually have a good violent scene or two, I think we'll need to save it for rescuing Starbuck."

Patrick jumped up from his seat atop the stapler. "Why don't we use the PA to tell the hostages where the memory is?" Noel beamed.

"Patrick, you're brilliant!" Lefty tapped the Irishman on the shoulder.

"Yes. For a Leprechaun, you're not all that green."

"Lefty!" everyone groaned. Before they could call on Sockii to stuff the glove, Erinna entered with a little pilot on her shoulder. Ms. C smiled.

"Erinna! You're just in time." She looked at the little man.

"Murdock, you escaped! But how? And why did you shrink?" Erinna smiled at Ms. C's confusion.

"No, MC. This is Little Murdock, he's a buddy of mine."

The tiny pilot grinned as Erinna set him on the desk, next to Patrick. "I'm just like the Captain, only tiny."

Boomer thought for a minute. "Hey, I got an idea. Ms. Coyote, use the PA to contact the room. Tell them help is on the way for Billy."

><><><

The hostages in the Lost and Found were sitting against a wall. The team members wrapped their arms around their respective companions. Ms. C's voice came over the PA.

"Okay, guys. Help is on the way. The rescue party should be coming in a few minutes. He knows what box he's looking for, so just sit back and relax."

Marina turned to Murdock and grinned.

"An evening of educational videos, with popcorn and melted butter, to celebrate?" HM kissed her by way of affirmation.

Gatorella, taking Marina's lead, turned to Hannibal.

"I think a long, drawn out review of the situation, with the ranking hostage is in order." Hannibal smiled. "Absolutely," he nodded. "It is procedure, after all."

Face grinned and looked down at me, expecting to hear something similar. Much to his disappointment, I had fallen asleep on him. He nudged me. I opened my eyes and smiled at him.

"Sorry. You're just so comfy." He kissed me. "Well, maybe when we get out of here, you should finish your nap."

I widened my eyes at his blue ones, and was about to agree with his suggestion, when there was a knock on the vent. We all looked up and discovered it was coming from the inside. Hickup flew up and opened the grate. He did a double take when he saw Little Murdock.

"MC sent me to look for the box." The neon green dragon landed beside him.

"May I be of assistance?" Little Murdock grinned and jumped on Hickup's back.

"To the back wall, Jeeves." Hickup flew over the hostages, the dogs, the daggit and a few boxes before he was tapped on the shoulder. He landed on top of a box marked "Not Very Useful". They pulled the tape off and opened the box. A horrible sight jumped up.

It was Frankie Santana! The Greased One gulped in air.

"Finally! Next time we play hide 'n' seek, could someone put airholes in the box?"

Upon hearing his voice, the hostages jumped up in horror.

"Put him back in!" we cried.

"Squirt!" Little Murdock shrieked, and jumped into the box. Unfortunately he landed on the seltzer bottle dressed as a fireman. Squirt squirted seltzer water right into Hickup's mouth. The shocked little dragon hickupped into Frankie's face. Due to all the grease in Santana's hair, his head went up in a ball of flame. Hickup whooped triumphantly, glad to finally have made a fire. Little Murdock quickly re-aimed, and jumped on Squirt again. Frankie's head was doused, and the grease fire was put out. Little Murdock slid off the seltzer bottle.

"Phew, that was close. With everything in cardboard boxes, we could've lost every memory. Could you imagine it? A VA full of amnesia patients."

The tiny pilot looked down to see he was standing on the very memory he was looking for. "Quick, Hickup. Take this to Murdock."

The dragon did as instructed. HM opened the paper and slapped his forehead.

"Of course! It all makes sense, Billy's a German Shepherd." The pooch squad growled, and Face jumped.

"Um, Murdock, you better do it fast. They don't sound to pleased." HM cleared his throat and stood before Billy.

"Here goes." He closed his eyes and concentrated.

"Shepherd's pie . . . Shepherd's pie . . . Shepherd's pie . . ."

As Murdock recited the phrase over and over, Billy became visible until he was fully solid. Marina flung her arms around him.

"Oh, my beloved flyboy! You saved us!"

Hannibal grinned around a freshly lit cigar. "Nice, Murdock. Nice."

Just then Little Murdock came around the last row of boxes, dragging Squirt behind him. "Oh, Murdock, can I keep him? Erinna won't mind, and we've become such good friends." When HM said yes, Little Murdock, in his excitement, leapt in Squirt. Squirt squirt, and everyone heard a sizzling sound. We all turned in the direction of the smell of damaged electronics.

"Oh, Muffy!" I cried and knelt down beside the daggit. He had been hit by the seltzer directly in the servo circuit. He whined and then shut down. Billy grabbed Little Murdock, by the collar, in his teeth and growled. Gatorella grabbed the tiny pilot around the waist and tried to yank him from Billy.

"Let go, Billy! It was an accident."

Face picked up Muffy, while the rest of us cleared the door. Hannibal looked at the limp mechanical form.

"We better find BA."

Part 5

Marina, Murdock, Hickup and Little Murdock ran to Decker's office. When they got there, everyone rejoiced that Boomer's plan had worked. Marina turned to the sole unhappy patient.

"Noel, what's wrong?" She sniffed and looked at the leader of the West Wing.

"Decker's on a rampage. He captured Starbuck, thinking he was Face."

Boomer wrapped an arm around Noel. "It's okay. We'll get him back."

Murdock became quite serious. "First we have to help Muffy. His circuits were accidentally fried." Boomer thought about poor Boxey. After Marina used the PA to get BA to the mechanic shop, he turned to her.

"Have Apollo and Boxey meet us outside the door."

><><><

Inside the mechanic shop, Face had laid Muffy on one of the work benches. We heard Marina's message, and all hoped BA got there before Boxey. Hannibal looked at the daggit, then at me.

"Kamikaze, do you think you could start?" I shrugged and stood beside the bench.

"I dunno, Colonel. I mean, I did fail the electronics program." Face stared at me and smiled.

"That's okay. Murdock flunked pilot school the first time, and look how good he is."

Gatorella eased Muffy's head off and set it on the counter. I winced as I looked inside. Most of the boards were fused, and it was going to take a few hours to fix him. Hannibal came up across from me.

"Whadya need, kid?" I looked over the damage and spewed off a list.

"Soldering iron, solder, flux, isopropol alcohol." As the list grew Face ran around the room, retrieving the items.

"Resistors, mostly 1-2 Mega-ohms, Capacitors, 2200 micro ferads, 50 volts. Transistors, 22 gauge wire, 48 pin IC chips, printed circuit boards and a power supply. Oh, and a DMM." Face spun around.

"A what?"

"Digital multi-meter." I looked around the shop and pointed to a device that looked like a portable radio, with twelve buttons and four jacks.

"There it is."

I fluxed and soldered the leads before BA came in. He surveyed what little handy work I'd done and shook his head.

"Might as well scrap the thing and build a new one. If it weren't that little boy's pet, I'd do it." I stepped aside and let BA do his thing.

We marvelled at how fast he worked. First soldering the components, then the thru-holes and surface mount. Baracus began to growl when a 48 pin IC ship wouldn't cooperate.

"Kamikaze!" I surface mounted the troublesome component that BA was about to fling. I know the feeling. I handed him back the board, and he screwed it into place.

"Gatorella, bring the head over here."

"I got it," Face said, smiling. He winked at her as he handed Muffy's head to BA. Baracus bolted it onto the body and tested the functions, using the DDM. Boxey came barrelling down the corridor, closely followed by Apollo. The gang from Decker's office, including Little Murdock and Patrick, were already there. Upon seeing, or rather not seeing, Starbuck, Apollo turned to Boomer.

"Where's Starbuck?" Boomer glanced at him.

"It's a long story, Captain." Boxey looked around.

"Yeah, but where's Muffy? Where's my daggit?"

Everyone exchanged glances. Murdock knelt down before the youngest Caprican.

"He's in there," he said, pointing to the mechanic shop. "He might be a little different, but don't be afraid." Boxey ran through the door.

"Muffy!"

Everyone was surprised to hear the metallic bark. Marina looked at us.

"But how? He was completely fried." Hannibal grinned and clasped BA on the shoulder. "The Sergeant fixed him up like new."

"Kamikaze helped," Face added, wrapping his arms around me. He smiled as he stared down at me. "Told you, you could do it." We kissed, again. Noel became frustrated.

"This is all great. Now, can we rescue Starbuck?" Hannibal became concerned.

"Rescue him? What happened? Did Black Gem or GW mistake him for Face?"

"Worse," Noel exclaimed. "Decker!" At the mention of their arch nemesis BA growled. Face looked up.

"Decker thought Starbuck was me? Aside from the uniform and everything, how does he think I grew my hair that fast?" Ms. C shook her head.

"I don't think he was paying that much attention. He was just happy to finally have caught one of you." Hannibal frowned.

"But he hasn't. I've gotta see the look on his face when he figures it out." Major Hazzard grinned.

"Finally! I get to blow something up!" Marina stared at the leader of the Small Soldiers.

"Just be careful, Major. My mom was awful upset last time something blew up."

After forty-five minutes we came up with some ideas. First, we figured out the location Decker would use as a holding cell. It was sound proof and perfect. Grabbing Black Gem on the way, in case torture was needed, we headed for the shock therapy room. Noel was in a state, since we mentioned that Starbuck was probably being held there. She declined our offers for prozac and ritalin, saying she would be okay. Hannibal was glad she had said no. We had left the Colonials behind, since they were too personally involved, and might make irrational mistakes. That left Noel and myself as the ones with the most knowledge of Starbuck, and how well he would react to the situation.

><><><

Mandy had gone off on her own to visit George, the alligator from the moat at W71. He was regaling her with the stories of his family reunion last week in the Louisiana Bayou, and showing her the family photos.

"Maybe you should come inside," a deep voice barely suggested behind her. At first she thought it was Decker, but then noticed the accent was wrong. Mandy also became suspicious when she realized the voice sounded exactly like Leslie Neilson.

Part 6

><><><

When we got to the shock therapy room, it was empty. Black Gem spun on her heels and glared at us.

"You dragged me from my rack modifications, with a promise of torture and suffering, and now there's no one here!" She raised a menacing finger. "One of you is getting these electrodes, in parts unmentionable, before I leave."

Everyone took a huge step backwards, except . . . Frankie. He stared at us, with terror in his eyes. Murdock slapped him on the back.

"Be brave, muchacho." With that, we left for rooms unknown.

As we wandered the halls, our morale was running low. By the time we got to the foyer, the DMZ between the East and West wings, things had turned for the worst. BA and Murdock were arguing about the consciousness of household appliances. Gatorella was giving Marina nasty looks, but had yet to start in on her about the kiss. Various patients were arguing about the outcome of the Olympics. Little Murdock and Hickup were having a heated discussion about the dragon's lone fireball. The tiny pilot kept insisting it was the Greased One's hair that had caused the blaze, and not Hickup's ability. Even Face and I had gotten into it about ACE's gun cabinet key. No one noticed when the face painted golf ball rolled up.

"Excuse me . . . Excuse me! . . . ATTEN-HUT!!!" he finally bellowed. Everyone stood stalk straight at attention. Hannibal saluted the golf ball.

"Yes, Sir, General Teoph." If he had been able to, the General would have shaken his head.

"You're searching for the young Lieutenant, who resembles Lt. Peck, correct?" Everyone nodded.

"You can find him in room W71." Noel stared at the General in disbelief.

"He's in *my* room?"

"Affirmative, soldier." We all saluted him, and he rolled away.

While everyone was busy with General Teoph, Ms. C and Little Murdock took off from the group. Thanks for telling me, guys. They headed to, of all places, Erinna's room.

"Here it is," Little Murdock stated. Ms. C looked at the nine foot tall device, that somewhat resembled the machine from 'The Fly'. That would be the early 60s version with Vincent Price, and not the remake with Jeff Goldblum. "What is it?" Little Murdock grinned.

"Erinna's ISM; Incredible Shrinking Machine." Ms. C became uneasy.

"Little Murdock, what are you thinking?"

I think he's tired of being three inches tall, a voice inside Ms. C's head replied.

Her eyes widened. "Inner Murdock! I thought you were out 'helping' Captain Cab."

I was, but it's been a slow day, and 'he' sent me back.

Little Murdock stepped into the ISM and looked around. "MC, can you help me search?"

Just as Ms. C entered the machine, Little Murdock whooped, "I found it!"

"No, wait!" she cried. Little Murdock didn't notice and threw the switch. The floor began to turn, and they felt like they were in a revolving door. When the machine stopped its three-sixty turn, Ms. C was face to face with a regular, 6'2" Murdock. She smiled.

"Little Murdock, you did it! That was close, I thought I was going to come out twelve feet tall. That would have been fun, since the ceilings are ten feet high." Ms. C sighed. She then stared at the new, not so Little Murdock, who seemed to be rattling his head. "What's wrong?"

:::I think there's still a few bugs in the ISM.::: an echo of the pilot's voice replied.

"Little Murdock, you sound funny."

*Inner Murdock, what's going on?* she thought. *Inner Murdock . . .* Ms. C became worried.

"Inner Murdock, where are you?" The man before her grinned.

:::I'm right here. Well, we're right here,::: the echo stated. Ms. C's eyes almost fell out.

"Are you saying, you're both in there?" They smiled softly.

:::I guess so. Hey, I guess that makes us Inner Little Murdock; ILM. Not to be confused with Industrial Light and Magic.::: While the ILM was being created in the ISM . . . Is anyone else confused?

The rest of us had made it to W71. Across the moat we spotted a portly little dragon, smoking a cigar.

"Hey!" Hannibal shouted. "That's mine!" The dragon smiled.

"You wouldn't begrudge an old dragon his cigars, would you?" Face rolled his eyes.

"Surely, you must be joking." The dragon dropped his cigar in the moat, and flew over to Face.

"I'm not joking, and don't call me Shirley!" Hickup landed on Peck's shoulder.

"Oh, Uncle Buck. What are you doing here?

"I'm here on business, my boy. To protect the prisoners."

Hannibal called Hickup over, and whispered a plan in his ear. Hickup smiled and went over to George. Lifting a few scales, he produced a tiny photo album.

"Have I told you about my cousin Draco? He fought along side Sir Bowen, to defeat King Einon." George admired the photo, then disappeared beneath the surface. Coming back up, he had a photo of his own.

"Well, did I ever should you Grandma Nessie?" Buck's eyes popped out.

"WOW! WHAT A WOMAN!"

When the Mountie red dragon flew up and drooled over the picture, the team went into action. Murdock (this is plain, abnormal Murdock) and Face dove into the moat, and swam over to the door. With the guards properly occupied, they sneaked into W71.

Part 7 The sight before them was astonishing. Starbuck was sitting on the bed, with Mandy leaning up against him. He appeared to be massaging her leg. Murdock blinked at Face.

"Are you sure they need rescuing?" Face shrugged. Mandy sheepishly sat up, much to Starbuck's dismay.

"Oh, hi, guys. I had this awful knot in my calf, and Starbuck offered to work it out for me." Starbuck glared at the rescuers.

"Would you mind coming back in half a centare?" Face shook his head.

"We're here to spring you. Get moving, you two!" As they got back across the moat, Buck was still ogling Nessie.

Everyone sneaked back to the rec room, and there was much rejoicing. yay. (Sorry, couldn't resist the line from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. Or for you die hard fans: 'Ik Den Holy Grailen'.)

The Colonials were happy to have their Lieutenant back. As was Noel, who smothered him with kisses. No, not the chocolates. Apollo walked over to Mandy.

"I'm sorry for your ordeal."

"Maybe I should tell you about it." With that, they left together. It was at some point during their disappearance that Mandy did her stint in Davis' autobiography. Way to go, Mandy!
It is at this lull in my creativity that I would like to introduce you all to my boyfriend Jamie. Say hi, Jamie! . . . Jamie says "hi". Murdock turned to me, a quizzical expression on his mug.

"That's great, Kamikaze. But . . . I can't even see him. Where is he?" I smiled.

"Oh, that's okay, Murdock. You see - well, no you don't - but Jamie doesn't reside in the VA. He's reading the story along with everyone else."

Everyone "ah"-ed in recognition. When Jamie's introductions were finished, Ms. C and ILM, still not to be confused with Industrial Light and Magic, entered the rec room. Marina looked from ILM to her beloved and shook her head.

"Now I know I've lost it." Ms. C laughed.

"No, Marina. Everything's okay. Erinna's Little Murdock was tired of being, well, little, and used her ISM to enlarge himself. Only Inner Murdock and I happened to be in there . . . Well, there was a tiny accident." Major Hazzard stomped his feet.

"There was an explosion, and I *missed* it? That tears it!" ILM smiled.

:::There was no explosion,::: they echoed. :::It just appears that we are now together. We are proud to present ourselves. We are now ILM, Inner Little Murdock.:::

Face turned to Murdock. "You remember that offer you made when we rescued Richter? I think I'll take you up on it."

"What's up, everyone?" We all turned to see Cap'n Bloo Insanity standing in the doorway.

"Bloo!" I shouted, and gave her a big hug. "I've been meaning to say hi since you got back . . . Hi! Welcome back!"

Just as she was about to reply, a fart sounded down the hall and a fireball flew behind her. Hannibal went wide-eyed.

"What was that?" Noel rolled her eyes at having her smoochfest with Starbuck interrupted.

"That was the cigar stealing uncle of Hickup. Buck's probably searching the halls for Starbuck and Mandy."

"Well, at least Davis has Mandy occupied," Sabrina replied, glad to have her first line in the story. Sorry about that, Sabrina. I nodded.

"And if Buck's anything like his namesake, he won't find Starbuck anytime soon."

Just as we were deciding what to do if he was smarter, a naked Jack ran into the room. He flung himself at Face, and draped his arms around his neck. "Richie, you have to help me! I think Stockwell knows I was hiding in Lonely's room."

While Face was trying to squirm away, Lonely Walker unlocked Jack's arms from around him. "That's not your Face. It's hard to explain, but in this story, he belongs to Kamikaze." Jack began chasing me around the rec room. "You! This is all your fault!" Face reached out and grabbed me. I clung to him, trying to avert my eyes from Jack's more noticeable naked areas.

"I don't mind a good NC-17 story, but could someone get this Larry from 'Hellraiser' lookalike a towel!"

Instead Lonely Walker grabbed Jack's arm and dragged him away. No, Stockwell, I don't know where she took him. Sheesh!

><><><

Let's review. Okay, the Colonials arrived, ready to save the team. Only the team didn't need saving.
Muffy disappeared with Billy and Billy Bob. A bunch of us were taken hostage, until Murdock made Billy visible.
Oh, yeah. Lefty insisted on being in the story, and was instrumental in saving the hostages.
Little Murdock found Squirt and squirted Hickup, who in turn hiccuped and set Frankie's grease mop on fire. Then Little Murdock jumped on Squirt and accidentally fried Muffy. BA and I saved the daggit, and Boxey was grateful.
Meanwhile Decker captured Starbuck, thinking he was Face, much to the horror of poor Noel. Mandy was then captured by Buck, Noel's dragon, created in memory of Leslie Neilson's character Buck Frobisher from 'Due South'. We rescued them and there was much rejoicing. yay. (He he!)
Oh, geez. I forgot about the ILM being created in the ISM. (Still confused.)
Mandy and Apollo disappeared together. That's something I wouldn't mind hearing about. But you don't kiss and tell, do you, Mandy? Hint . . . hint.

><><><

That brings us up to Jack's escapades, and Bloo's return. I'm sitting on a couch with Face, who's wrapped his arms around me, consoling me after the incident with Jack.
This is the me in the VA, and not the me writing the story. Get it?

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Shepherd's Pie and Portals by Kamikaze

 

 


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