Fact or Fiction?
by Captain Marina
Warnings: angst, bad words, slight torture
Comments: Ok this was a story I starting writing about 3 years ago ( I have dusted it off, revised it tremendously and decided to finish it) based on a challenge that was issued to me by a dear friend of mine (who has long since checked out of the VA) I miss her... pity...but I digress. Anyway, the challenge was to come up with the 'most unusual' way for the A-team to become a real life A-team. (No meeting in Vietnam or really in any regular military situation allowed) This was my take on the challenge. It is hard to explain so I guess you will just have to read it and see. Its more of an AU story I would say...but I will shut up now.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, never will...pity...but I digress.
The pilot looked at his malfunctioning instruments. "Dammit!" He swore as he peered out the window trying to get a fix on his position. The commander immediately switched his radio over to a secured emergency frequency. "Crazyhorse, this is Blackbird 0925.... over." The radio was silent. Davis spoke into the microphone again. "Crazyhorse, this is Blackbird 0925... requesting assistance...over." Nothing. "Shit!" He turned the plane east. The pilot looked at his fuel gage. It was nearly empty. "Son of a bitch!" He shouted to the night sky. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. The seriousness of the situation was beginning to rattle the commander, he needed to rely on his military training to keep him calm. The red flashing light on the ejection mechanism left him no alternative. He had to stay with the aircraft and try to land it somewhere beyond communist occupied territory. His voice tinged with fear and frustration, the pilot spoke into his radio one more time. "Mayday, Mayday, Crazyhorse, this is Blackbird 0925...I am experiencing a total systems malfunction and running dangerously low on fuel... ejection failure... over." Still nothing but silence on the other end of the radio. Davis knew he couldn't keep this bird in the air much longer, but he also knew he couldn't land this plane without knowing 'exactly' where he was. He decreased his airspeed, hoping to conserve enough fuel to get him back into a neutral area, but he didn't even know where the hell that was at this point. "Mayday, Mayday, Crazyhorse, this is Blackbird 0925.....situation critical." Then the piercing sound of the warning indicator on the fuel gage broke the silence of the cockpit. The jet's port engine quit out and his starboard engine was beginning to fail, making the decision for him. This plane was going down. "Goddammit, Crazyhorse, this is Blackbird 0925... come in....where the fuck are you...." He spat angrily into the microphone. The commander radioed his last known coordinates and held on tightly to the controls. He skillfully guided the plane into a clearing. On impact, his head hit the windshield and he was knocked unconscious, blood streaming down his face.
Within ten minutes the jet was surrounded by Soviet soldiers. The leader of the group ordered his men to remove Davis from the cockpit. The soldiers climbed to the top of the aircraft and roughly lowered the injured pilot to the ground. "Take him to the base and have guards posted around this aircraft!"
The soldiers saluted and carried out their instructions.
"Sir, the aircraft has been secured! The pilot is on his way to the base!" The lieutenant said into his radio.
In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from the maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.
"Da da da den den da da da den den den den den," Colonel James Smithers sang along with the television as he sat curled up on the couch watching his all-time favorite show 'The A-Team.' "You know I always liked that Hannibal. Kinda reminds me of myself; handsome and so witty," he said out loud to the room as he placed a cigar in his mouth and grinned.
"Honey, will you please go outside with that thing!" The gorgeous lady commented as she came out of the kitchen holding her nose.
"Listen Marty, when you met me you knew I had a passion for cigars. So, if you want to marry me... you're just going to have to accept me, cigars and all." James got up off the couch and went over to Marty.
"Marry you?...now James Harrison Smithers, who said I wanted to marry you?"
"Aww, come on, Doc, you know you love me," James replied, leaned in closer to Marty and attempted to place a kiss on her lips.
"Ah, ah, not so fast," Marty stated as she held up a finger to her mouth to stop James' advances. "If you want to continue kissing me, you'll have to go outside and smoke that disgusting thing. Now it's the terrace or no more kisses. What's it going to be?"
James looked into the beautiful eyes of his one true love and realized that ever since the day he met Margaret Sultan, he couldn't resist giving in to her wishes. No one had ever touched his heart like the good doctor did the day she patched him up after he was injured in a hiking accident. He fell in love with her that day three years ago and promised that upon his retirement from the military that he would marry her. Well, he was retiring next year, after thirty years of exemplary service. He and Marty were looking forward to settling down and maybe starting a family. James thought himself too old to have children, but Marty was young and always wanted a child. He wasn't going to deny her that wish.
"Well?" Marty queried, interrupting James from his thoughts.
"The terrace, ma'am?"
"Yup, the terrace."
James saluted and then gave Marty a passionate kiss. He stepped out on the terrace and folded his arms across his chest. He looked up at the night sky. *It is so beautiful here at night, with all the stars,* he thought to himself. The clouds of smoke from his cigar swirled around his head and rose up into the air forming intricate shapes that disappeared into the darkness.
Marty opened the door to the patio and called to James. "Honey, there is a man here to see you."
"Mama, come out here and look how beautiful it is," Brian Barker
called from the balcony of his mother's apartment in Detroit.
"Oh, yes Skeeter, it is beautiful out here tonight. The robust dark skinned woman commented as she put her arms around her son and held him close. "I'm gonna miss you, baby."
"I'm gonna miss you too, Mama, but don' worry I'll call you as soon as I get settled into my new place."
"But why California, Skeeter? It's so far away."
"I know, Mama, but the head of the youth center out there really needs someone to run the place for him. And I want to do it...the kids need me."
"But what about your job at B&C's? They were going to offer you a partnership in the shop. You always wanted to own your own shop, Brian."
"Yeah Mama, I know. But ever since I got back from 'Nam, I promised to make sure all these poor kids had a place to feel safe. I saw too much bad stuff over there."
"I know baby, I know," Mrs. Barker replied and hugged him tighter. "Now, let's go back in and watch TV, your favorite show is on."
"Yeah man, The A-team. I love that Mr. T. He is one good actor."
"Skeeter, there is a man here to see you."
"Oh, Timmy, please shut off that stupid show and let's go to bed."
"I will in a minute, Jeannine. This is my favorite episode. The one where Face hires the A-team to go back to find out what happened to his old girlfriend and they dress up as nuns. I have to say, I think Dirk Benedict makes that whole show and he is handsome too," Timothy Peters replied as he stared intently at the television screen in front of him.
"Yeah, but not as handsome as my big strong Timmy-wimmy," she cooed and began running her fingers through his sandy-blond hair. Peters grinned and reached for Jeannine, guided her into a laying down position on the couch and began exploring her body with his fingertips. She was just about to run her tongue over his body when they were interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Boy! This had better be good," Timothy declared, as he opened the door to see a man in a dark suit standing there.
"Mr. Timothy Peters?"
"Yes, that's me, can I help you?"
"Mr. Peters, you have been requested to appear at the FBI building in Washington, DC at 0400hrs. There is a car downstairs waiting to take you to the airport."
"By whose authority has this request been made?"
"I am afraid, at this time, I can not divulge that information, but I do suggest that you comply with it or the consequences will be serious," the man replied and left without further comment.
Peters just stared at the door for a moment and then went back into the living room.
"Yee-hah!! You get 'em, Cap'n... tell that big angry Mudsucker what for!" HD Martin yelled at the television from inside his room in the psychiatric ward of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Westville, Connecticut.
"Martin is watching the A-team, right?" The orderly asked as he walked past the nurse's station and heard the commotion coming from the pilot's room.
"Yup! He always gets so into that show."
"Well, it is his favorite, you know."
"Yeah, I guess he needs to have some fun," the nurse replied and went back to her work.
The three men sat nervously in the darkened office across
from a man casually smoking a cigarette.
James was the first to speak, "Well sir, if I may ask this...who are these men and why have we all been summoned here in the middle of the night?"
"Ah, yes, Colonel, I suppose that an explanation would be in order. Well, you see my name is Nicholas Stapleton. And these men are going to be your team on a very important recovery and rescue mission for the United States Government," the man replied as he looked at the three men who were now staring blankly at him.
"Mission? Government? I am an accountant from New Jersey. I don't think you have the right man, Mr. Stapleton," Timothy Peters uttered as he got up from his place and began pacing the room.
Nicholas picked up a file from his desk and opened it. "You are one Timothy Peters, parents are David and Mary Peters-deceased. Birth date April 12, 1950. You served time in the Bergen County juvenile correctional facility for stealing a car..."
"I merely 'borrowed' it to impress Susie Shultz," Tim interrupted.
"Yes, if I may continue, served five years in the army."
Tim laughed. "Well, it was either that or jail."
"You left the army, pursued a degree in accounting, graduating cum laude, obtained a position with Winters and Winters and now have part ownership in the company. You reside in Hoboken, New Jersey with your girlfriend Jeannine Wolfe. Am I correct?" Nicholas asked smugly.
"Yes, Yes, that's me." Peters remarked hastily and continued pacing.
"Well, I loved the little glimpse into Peters' past, but you still haven't answered my question, Mr. Stapleton. I need a cigar," James commented and patted his uniform pocket.
Peters immediately reached into his suit coat. "Here you go, Colonel," he said nonchalantly and handed him a cigar.
"Thanks, Kid. So now, Nicky, what is it about this mission that must be so unorthodox or you would just be sending the military in to handle it?"
"Very perceptive, Colonel." Nicholas smiled and put out his cigarette in the silver ashtray on his desk. "Two days ago a navy pilot on a routine reconnaissance mission had a systems wide malfunction and he wandered in communist occupied territory. He radioed the aircraft carrier Crazy Horse for help, but due to some technical problem with the radios aboard the ship they were unable to respond to his distress calls. Lt. Commander Davis was forced to land and according to our latest Intelligence reports, he is being held in a small prison just inside the Tajikistan border."
"Well, if you don't mind me saying, Nicky, why would you go through the trouble of getting him back? I know the government is famous for letting people sit in prisons in foreign countries. So as not to cause an 'international incident.'" James eyes narrowed at Nicholas. "How many of our boys still sit and wait in Vietnam to be rescued? Huh, Nick?"
"Colonel, that is not the issue at hand. Our biggest concern is the jet that this pilot was flying was the newest top-secret aircraft the military has to date. If the Russians manage to break the computer code and obtain this technology the threat to our national security would be phenomenal."
"OK, so what does that have to do with us?" Timothy queried.
"Yeah man, I'm a mechanic from Detroit. Whatcha need me for?" Brian added.
"Well, you see, the United States Government can not very well go into the Soviet Union, infiltrate a military installation, steal an airplane, and rescue a soldier from their stockade without, as you say, Colonel Smithers, starting an 'international incident.' But a small group of men could go in undetected accomplish this task and escape with out consequence."
"And if we are caught?"
"Well, Colonel, the Government of the United States would be forever thankful to the Soviet Union for finally capturing the long sought after A-team."
The three men in the room looked at each other and exploded into laughter. "Okay, Okay, where is the hidden camera? The guys at the office set this up, right? To pay me back for all the practical jokes I pull on them," Timothy commented, as he looked around the room.
"No, Mr. Peters, this is not a joke. For you see, you are now officially the fugitive soldier of fortune group known as the A-team."
"Colonel, are you hearing this guy? The A-team is a silly, action-adventure show on television. Now, I like it and all, but come on, it's not real." Peters added as he threw his hands up in the air.
Colonel Smithers just sat in his chair and casually smoked his cigar. Being in the military for thirty years had taught him that the government could pull off most any outrageous stunt and make it seem believable. Area 51 and the Kennedy assassination came immediately to his mind. If the United States Government wanted to make the world believe the A-Team was real. They had the power, resources and the ability to do it.
Peters, however, was still in a tirade over this preposterous idea. "Well, now I see you have the three of us here. May I just say that the A-Team has four members, I believe. A rather insane pilot that resides in a mental institution. Now where are you going to find someone like that, Huh?" Peters smirked.
"Oh, Mr. Peters, I'd say he should be coming through that door any second now."
At that instant the door opened and a tall handsome man wearing a red baseball cap came into the office.
"Well, Howdy! Captain HD Martin reporting as ordered, sir," Martin said as he came into the office and saluted.
"At ease, Captain," Nicholas replied and returned his salute. "Well, everyone I would like you to meet your pilot for this mission. Captain HD Martin."
"Hiya guys! Nice to meet ya!" Martin grinned. "And I would like you all to meet Ralph," he said as he pulled out a small box from his jacket and opened it to reveal a centipede sitting on a few leaves.
"AHH, get that thing away from me!" Brian yelled and swatted at the box.
"Aww, what's the matter? You don't like bugs?"
"NO!" Brian growled.
"Don't pay any attention to him, Ralphie. Yeah, that's it, you like to be scratched right there," Martin cooed and walked over to the window to get a look at the sun that was just coming up.
"HELLO!" Tim declared sarcastically. "Am I the only sane man in this room?" He looked over at Martin who just grinned. "What makes you think that we will agree to go on this mission and just not walk out the door?"
"Well, Mr. Peters, because when you walk out that door you are all officially wanted men. You will be on the run from the military, the FBI, local law enforcement, every law official you can think of, even your meter maid will be on the look out for you."
Colonel Smithers was still sitting there smoking his cigar enjoying this little scene that was unfolding before him. "So, Nicky how did you pull it off? Probably went in and screwed up our military records to make it look like we actually robbed the Bank of Hanoi and have been on the run for the last thirteen years? I'll bet the papers are filled with our pictures."
"Well, Colonel I just happen to have this morning's addition of the Washington Post." Nicholas commented and threw the paper on the desk. The front page had pictures of the three of them smiling for the camera under the headline. 'THE A-TEAM FACT OR FICTION?'
James picked up the paper and began to read the article out loud to the five men. "A late breaking story has caused quite a stir in news rooms across the country. According to very reliable sources in the Pentagon, the television show the A-Team is in reality based on actual events that occurred some thirteen years ago in 1972. It seems as though the three fugitives one Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith, Lieutenant Templeton "Faceman" Peck, and Sergeant Bosco "BA" Baracus do actually exist. No confirmation can be obtained as to whether or not Captain HM "Howling Mad" Murdock is also a member of the team. The military has been unable to capture these three men and it has proven to be an embarrassment to high ranking officials. A secret that the government had managed to keep buried until three years ago, when word of this fiasco leaked to a few local newspapers in California. The rest of the country was left in the dark as the story was immediately swept under the rug as a gross distortion of the truth and basically forgotten about. However, the television producers at NBC decided to parody this in their weekly series that airs on Tuesday nights at 8pm EST here in the United States. The government, according to our sources, allowed this show to continue in order to take the pressure off themselves. If everyone in America believed that this was just fiction, then no one would be outraged by the fact that it has cost the country millions of dollars in tax payer money to fund a manhunt that has resulted in failure time and time again. The President is slated to have a press conference at 10am EST this morning to answer the pressing questions concerning these recent events. In this reporter's opinion, this is just another example of the kind of power the government has over the country it governs. The people of the United States need to become more involved in the activities of the politicians. The people of the United States have to let it be known that they will not tolerate the lying and covering up of the truth by a government that is suppose to be of the people, by the people, and for the people.......Awww, that last part kinda gets ya right here, doesn't it?" James commented and placed a hand to his heart.
Timothy put his hands on his hips and looked at Nicholas. "Can I remind you of one thing, Mr. Stapleton?"
Nicholas returned Timothy's gaze and leaned back in his chair.
"The 'A-team' is innocent of the charges against them. So your little plan doesn't work!"
"Oh Mr. Peters..." Nicholas laughed. "That's just NBC's take on the events..."
"Yeah, Americans are suckers for people who are wrongly accused of crimes they didn't commit." James grinned. "It's a great ratings grabber."
Nicholas ignored the colonel and continued his
comments. "In actuality, you are
all guilty as sin, something the President will explain at his press conference
this morning...I'm sure."
"OK, OK, now listen...I see that all of this can maybe go over with the people of the United States, but what about our families? Surely, they can prove that we are not these fugitives." Peters stated.
"Well, you see, Mr. Peters, that is exactly why we have chosen you four to be the A-Team. You are perfect candidates. What family do you have? Besides your mother, Mr. Barker and your girlfriends- Colonel and Timothy. Three minor glitches that have already been taken care of with one phone call. During the course of our meeting, they have been moved to a secured location and will be given new identities. There is no one that can disprove our story."
The four men looked at each other and just stared. For they all knew that Nicholas was correct none of them had any relatives that could disprove the government's tale.
"OK, but what about the Colonel? He is still in the military, surely there are plenty of people who know him, plenty of high ranking officers that would take issue with all this."
"Let me guess, Nicky...Colonel James Smithers has met with an unfortunate 'accident.' He will be buried with honors in Arlington and my resemblance to him will just be chalked up to mere coincidence." James smirked.
"Oh, yes, Colonel, your funeral will be very touching. It is a shame you won't be there to see it," Nicholas replied in mock sadness.
"I can not believe this guy!" Timothy shouted. "How do you expect us to just pick up our lives and go on some fool mission to the Soviet Union to rescue a pilot and plane? It has been a long time since I've held a rifle."
"Well, Mr. Peters, you have no choice that has already been decided for you. Now, as far as the training is concerned, that is why we have chosen Colonel Smithers to lead this operation. He has had thirty years of military training, including Special Forces. We have confidence that he should be able to whip you all into shape. So, I suggest you all get used to following orders, because it is going to be vital to the success of this mission. Colonel, you have one week to prepare your team for this assignment. Training facilities have been set up for you at a secured location and you will be briefed on the exact details of this operation shortly. Now, if you will follow me, please."
"Ah, hold it a minute, Nicky. If I am going to lead this little escapade, it is going to be done my way. I call the shots!"
"Of course, Colonel, that is also another reason why we have chosen you to lead this mission. You have fire, determination, spirit....something that you had better instill in your men. Now, if you will follow me, please." Nicholas commented as he led the four men out of the office and down the hall to a large room.
The men were instructed to wait there until someone arrived to take them to the plane. The room was empty except for a table with a chair for each of them. However, none of them felt like sitting. Too overwhelmed to relax, they all stood anxiously in the four corners of the room, each of them lost in thought until finally one of them broke the silence.
"Yes, Martin...what is it?" James replied.
"You wanna meet my dog?"
"Ah....sure, Martin. I'd like to meet your dog. In fact, we all would...wouldn't we, guys?"
"Oh sure," they both said wanting to humor the captain.
"Great! Come here girl! Yeah that's it what a beautiful girl. Everyone this is Willie, short for Willamena," Martin said as he stroked the air and smiled to the three men.
"Well, hello, Willie," James enthused and stooped down to pet the invisible ball of fur.
"She likes you, Colonel!" Martin remarked with a huge smile.
"Well, I like her too, Captain. I think she makes a fine addition to this bunch." James turned to the other two men in the room and clapped his hands. "Hey guys, if we are going to be working together I suggest we all get to know a little bit about each other, so..."
Peters banged the table with his fists. "Listen, Colonel. I don't know about you, but I am not in the mood to play twenty questions. We have been dragged from our beds and brought here in the middle of the night to masquerade as some fictitious fugitives. We've been ordered to go on some damn fool rescue mission to the Soviet Union. And you all are just standing around here acting as if we are going on a trip to Disney Land!"
"I am not your kid....so, can we knock it off with the nickname, huh?"
The two men glared at each other for a few moments, before the Colonel finally spoke. "OK, Timothy... listen up! None of us here like this idea any more then you do. We all have loved ones that we are worried about. But, we have been given a job to do and that is our first priority. Now, we will worry about this A-Team nonsense and figure out a way to get our families rescued when we get back. If we want to get out of Russia alive, we have to take this situation seriously. So, I want you to lose the attitude and show a little decorum for the rest of the mission. Understand, Lieutenant?"
Brian and Martin waited apprehensively to hear Timothy's response to the Colonel's instructions.
Timothy stared at the colonel for another moment, but then lowered his eyes. "Yes, sir," he replied softly.
"Colonel, may I ask you something?"
"How did you know I was a lieutenant?"
"Oh, that's easy, Kid, all lieutenants have an attitude problem," James replied with a huge grin and patted Peters on the back.
After about a half hour of waiting, the men were placed on a plane and taken to a small training facility just outside of Langley, VA. They were shown to their quarters, a small building similar to army barracks. There was a separate room for Colonel Smithers. Outside there was an obstacle course set up, a track and a firing range.
"Well, guys, I suggest since we all have had a very stressful night that we relax, eat and try to get some sleep. We will begin our training in the morning. 0500 hrs. to be exact," Colonel Smithers commented as he looked around the room. This brought a bunch of groans from the men. "Oh, cheer up, guys. Once this is all over we can try and get back to normal."
"I'm a bird, I'm a plane, I'm a choo-choo train," Martin yelled as he ran around the room.
"Well, most of us can get back to normal," James replied and rolled his eyes at the other two men.
So, Commander, are you going to tell us the code to unlock the secrets of your aircraft?"
"My name is Davis, Benson, Lt. Commander, serial number 12540227."
"Nyet! Nyet!! You have told us that repeatedly. I warn you, Commander. I am not a very patient man. I will take only so much of your insolence!" General Vasil Potapov stated as he looked menacingly at the pilot sitting in the darkened cell. Davis stared defiantly at him, daring him to come into the cell and beat the information out of him. The General, however, would let him sit a little longer before the beatings began. He was the kind of man that liked to see his victims wait in anticipation of what was going to happen to them, more then he actually liked to see them beaten. Potapov was very good at his job. He managed to torture his prisoners and keep it hidden from officials higher up in the Soviet Government. To them, he was an efficient, hardworking soldier and very gentle man, but to his victims he was sadistic and cruel. "Very Well, Commander Davis. I will let you remain quiet, for now," the general warned and headed off down the corridor back to his office.
"Rise and shine, sleeping beauties!!" James shouted as he came into the barracks banging the tops of two metal garbage can lids together to wake the men from their sleep.
"Aww boy, I haven't been awake at 5 am since I 'was' in the military," Peters groaned as he looked up at the Colonel who was standing by his bunk.
"Oh, you'll get used to it, Lieutenant, and just think we all get to go for a five mile run before breakfast." James grinned at the tired young man.
"ARGHHHHHH!!" Peters groaned and pulled the covers back over his head.
"Well, you all have till 0530 to be up, dressed, outside and ready to go. Understand?"James ordered.
"Yeah, Yeah," came the staggered replies from the reluctant men.
The colonel looked around at these three men who were now in his charge. They were strangers to him, but yet they seemed familiar some how. James had commanded many men in his thirty years in the army, but these men were different, they were 'special.' He hadn't quite figured out why yet, but that was the feeling he had. He didn't want to see them hurt. In order to avoid that, he had to make sure they followed his orders to the letter and the response he just got was not acceptable. A response like that would get them killed in a dangerous situation. If he was going to turn this rag-a-muffin group into a team, who would be able to accomplish the mission safely, he needed to command their respect. As much as he wanted to just be part of them, he also knew he had to keep his distance from them at the same time. "Alright, gentleman, I am only going to say this once. You are all, until this mission is over, and we get things straightened out...back in the 'military.' We have to learn to think and act as one if we are going to accomplish this task. In order to do that, we have to become a team. We only have a week to do this...not much time. You 'will' follow my orders without question or reluctance! Is that clear!?"
The three men looked at each other for a few moments and then came to attention. "Yes, Sir!"
"Much better!" James replied. "Tempus Fugit, Gentleman!" He added and left the room.
Martin was the first one up, dressed in his fatigues, and all ready to go on the run, while the other two just resented his eagerness.
"How come you're up and ready so fast?" Brian asked as he attempted to put his legs in to his pants with not much luck.
"Well, 'cause we gotta do what we gotta do, and besides I'm eager to become a lean, mean, fightin' machine!" Martin replied and pretended to box with the air.
"You know, you are crazier then that Murdock character on the show, man!" Brian commented as he looked at Martin who was now singing the theme song to Rocky.
"Awww, thanks. Murdock is my hero, you know," he replied and continued to sing.
Timothy just stared at the two of them and wondered how he was going to make it through this whole ordeal.
The three men filed out of the barracks and lined up in front of James. "Right on time...that is what I like to see," the colonel commented and looked at his watch. "Well, gentlemen shall we go?" He grinned when he noticed the unhappy faces of Brian and Timothy.
"Colonel...come quick!" Martin shouted.
"What.. what's the matter?"
"Look, sir...on the TV!"
James sat on the arm of the chair and listened to the news report. "Sources say that the Navy's newest and most technologically advanced aircraft has been captured by the Soviet Union. The pilot a Lt. Commander Benson Davis is being held in a small military installation inside Tajikistan. Pentagon Officials have refused to confirm or deny these rumors, but this information is believed to come from a very reliable source."
"I bet I know who that 'very reliable source' is, Colonel!"
"Yeah me too, Martin. Nicholas has just put in the last piece of the puzzle."
Martin sat back in his chair. "An airplane like that would be very valuable if the right person could get their hands on it and sell it to the highest bidder."
"And who better then the infamous fugitives the 'A-Team' to steal a plane from the Soviet Union and then sell it back to them at a price. They have the skills, a need for revenge against the US government and motivation to make a quick profit. I have been wondering how Stapleton was going to make all of his little plan work."
"Nicholas is good, sir...I gotta give him that."
James shook his head. "Well, Captain we have more work to do."
Martin nodded his head, shut off the television and the two went outside to join the others.
General Potapov paced back and forth in the hangar. He was becoming more and more angered that his team of so-called computer experts had not been able to make any headway with the weapon and guidance systems of the American aircraft. He had ordered the guards to beat Lt. Commander Davis and deprive him of all food and drink. However, he still would not crack and the general was enraged by this. "Comrades, I suggest that you find the code that opens this airplane's computers or you will find yourselves on a train to Siberia very soon," he warned as he looked at the frightened trio of men.
Back in the cell, Commander Davis was beginning to wonder just how long he could survive this torture before his body gave out. True, he had endured worse torture then this in Vietnam and survived, so he was confident that he could hold on 'physically' for awhile longer. But how long would his spirit survive? That was the nagging question running through his mind. At least in the prison camp he had some contact with the other prisoners. They had kept him going after a particularly brutal session with one of the guards. But now he faced the possibilities of equally grueling torture with no one to comfort him or no one to at least say, ' Hang in there. You'll make it.' This time he had to face the torture alone and he was unsure of his ability to do so. The agonizing pain of hunger burned in his stomach like a red-hot poker and the dried blood from his wounds stained his head and face. His one eye was swollen shut and he was sure that he had some cracked ribs. He leaned back carefully on his bunk and tried to picture his wife and children, sing a song, anything to take his mind off the hunger and pain.
The days following their first run were proving to be
pretty fruitful and James was happy with the progress. Each of the men seem to
possess talents and skills that complimented each other. He was especially
happy to see that Timothy had gotten into the training a little more gun-ho
then in the beginning. *If I didn't know any better, I would say we are really
becoming the A-Team* James thought to himself as he watch the three men
wrestling around playfully. There seemed to be a natural camaraderie between
the men, James included, and he was certain that this would help them out when
it came time for the mission. A team that truly cared about each other would be
more alert and concerned for the safety of its members. "OK, guys, enough fooling
around we still have lots of work to do," James called-out, just in time
to save Martin from the strangle hold that Brian had on him. The three of them
immediately stopped what they were doing and came over to the colonel.
"Well, sir, what's next? Martin asked eagerly.
"Oh, Captain, I think it is about time to have a little fun. How do you all feel about spending the next few days in the woods?" He asked.
"The woods?" They all replied in unison while James puffed away on his cigar.
The men packed the items on the list that James had given them and met the colonel at the jeep at 1600 hrs as instructed.
"Well, sir, I can't wait to see what you have in store for us," Timothy commented with a slight tinge of apprehension in his voice.
"Well, Lieutenant, If you manage to survive the next few days, without killing each other or yourselves, then I say we are ready to go on this mission." He smiled.
"Great!" Peters commented sarcastically and climbed into the jeep.
James drove the men about an hour from the training facility to a densely populated forest. He blindfolded them and drove about five more miles taking a few twists and turns to assure that the men would not have the slightest idea where they were. He then dropped them off in a clearing and instructed them to keep the blindfolds on to he was well on his way.
After about five minutes,
Timothy, Brian and Martin removed their blindfolds and looked around the
woods. "Well, I wonder what our leader has in store for us?" Peters
commented and looked nervously at the others.
"Don't know man, but I'm sure we ain't gonna like it," Brian added upon hearing the growl of an animal that none of them wanted to find out the identity of.
"Well, I guess we better figure out a way to build a shelter before the sun sets. We have only about an hour of day light left," Timothy suggested. "So, any ideas on how we do that?"
"Oh, no problem. I got that covered. All we need is some good strong tree branches, some dried grass and we got ourselves a shelter," Brian replied and quickly scanned the area for those items.
"OK, you and Martin gather up that stuff and I will find some kindling and start a fire. It is going to be cold when the sun sets."
The three men quickly headed off to gather the necessary supplies. About an hour later Brian had a pretty sturdy shelter built and Timothy had a fire going. "Well, guys, I'm hungry so what's for dinner?" Martin asked. The other two men just looked at each other.
guess we have to find some dinner," Peters commented just now realizing
that eating would depend on their abilities to find food in the woods.
"Well just so happens I was a boy scout," Martin replied happily. "I will be back with dinner in no time flat," he grabbed a canteen from his knapsack and went off into the woods carrying a torch from the fire.
"That crazy man is probably gonna burn down the forest with that torch," Brian stated as he watched Martin scurrying off into the woods.
"Oh, I am sure he will be all right. Just hope he comes back with some dinner soon, because I am starving."
Brian and Timothy sat around the fire in silence, staring into the flames as they danced and crackled in the night air. Each man lost in his own thoughts.
About an hour later Martin came back carrying a stick with fish hooked onto it and a canteen filled with water. "Well, guys dinner is served," he said as he shoved the dead, smelly fish at Brian.
"Hey man, get those things away from me," Barker yelled.
"What's the matter...you don't like fish either?"
"I like fish, fool, but not dead, slimy and hangin' in my face."
Martin just grinned at the hulking man and proceeded to roast the fish over the fire. The smell of fresh fish cooking over a open fire brought back memories to each of the men.
"Did you ever go camping?" Martin asked the two men.
"It's funny... I was just thinking that, HD. By the way what does the HD stand for, anyway?" Peters asked.
Martin grinned at the handsome man and said, "Well, Highly Demented, of course."
The three of them laughed and each began swapping tales of boyhood adventures.
Meanwhile, Colonel Smithers was watching the men, through binoculars, from a hideaway in the distance. He was pleased to see that they had quickly set up the shelter and started a fire in very little time. He was also pleased to see that they had acquired dinner easily. He noticed their laughter and assumed that they were taking this opportunity to get to know each other. This is what he was hoping for. He reached into his knapsack and pulled out a ham sandwich. He was happily munching on it when he was struck from behind and dragged to an awaiting jeep.
Quietly, the darkly dressed figure crept up on the three sleeping men. He reached into his pocket, took out a chloroformed rag and shoved it into the unsuspecting man's mouth. Timothy immediately opened his eyes and began to struggle, but was soon overcome with the noxious fumes. The figure picked Timothy up and flung him over his shoulder carrying him through the woods to his jeep.
Lt. Commander Davis sat hunched over in his cell trying desperately to block out the pain and anguish he was feeling. General Potapov had ordered him beaten again, still he remained strong. The mental pictures of his wife and children encouraging him to endure and come home quickly to them, kept him going. They were the only things he could hold onto especially now, at a point where his life was in jeopardy. He knew, that even if he didn't return to his family, that they would continue to love him long after he had gone and he found great comfort in that thought.
A small rodent scurried out from a crack in the cinder block. Davis watched the mouse scouring the floor for scraps of food. "You won't find anything to eat in here," he said to the little fellow. "I'm afraid you and I will both have empty bellies tonight." Davis smiled and patted his stomach.
The mouse turned and looked at him curiously, then quickly
scampered back into his home, as if he had understood what the commander had
said. Davis took off his badge and
scratched out another small mark on the wall, next to the other ones he had
made since his capture. "I hope
someone comes for me soon," he wished out loud to the empty cell and laid
back down on his bunk waiting for the sun to set.
"Who are you?" Timothy demanded.
"I am someone that you do not wish to mess with," the voice replied eerily, sending cold chills down Peters spine.
"Why have you taken me here? Where is Colonel Smithers and the others?" Timothy asked apprehensively as he studied his surroundings. The gray walls were damp with moisture. The man shined a bright light in his face, causing him to squint as he looked up.
"Your Colonel has been kidnapped, as well, and as for your friends they will soon be dead," the man commented coldly.
"Enough! of your constant badgering! Silence!" The man ordered and hit Timothy across the face, causing him to nearly pass-out. The lieutenant regained his composure and decided that, for now, he would remain silent as instructed.
Back at the campsite, Brian had gotten up to snack on the left-over fish from dinner, he noticed the empty bed and began scanning the area for Timothy. The ground surrounding Peters' bed showed signs of a struggle. He hurriedly woke up Martin "Get up! Somethin's up," Brian said to the sleepy pilot.
"What's happening?" Martin asked as he rubbed the drowsiness from his eyes.
"Peters missin' and we need to find him," Brian replied and threw Martin his clothes. "Get dressed!"
The two men quickly got dressed, grabbed a glowing stick from the fire for light and then headed off into the woods. They used the broken tree branches and disturbed surroundings to find the direction that Timothy had been taken in.
Colonel Smithers sat tied to a chair, in the darkened
room, illuminated only by the moonlight that radiated in from a small window.
His mind raced as he thought of the situation he was in and how he was going to
get out of it. His thoughts wandered to the three men in the woods and his
responsibility to them.
"So, you think your men will rescue you?" The hooded man asked. James didn't answer the man, but instead just glared at him.
"Well, we already have one of your men in custody and I am sure the other two will be with us shortly," the man replied and left James alone with his thoughts.
Martin and Brian had followed the trail through the woods, until they came to an abandoned building. The sun was getting ready to rise and they figured they had to act quickly while there was still enough darkness to conceal them. Martin crept up quietly and peered in the window. He noticed Timothy sitting, tied to a chair, blood coming from his lip.
"They've got Timothy," Martin remarked to Brian who was returning from the other side of the building.
"I saw two armed men guarding the entrance and the Colonel is in there," Brian whispered.
"OK, Brian, first thing we have to do is take out the goons with the guns. Then get Timothy and the Colonel and rendezvous back here in five minutes, " Martin instructed. "On the count of thirty we will meet at the front. Listen for the signal."
Brian smiled and nodded his head. 'I hope that crazyman remembers to hoot like
an owl and not cluck like a chicken or somethin.' He thought to himself as he
headed for the other side of the building.
The two men edged their way up on either side of the structure, moving in perfect sync. Martin and Brian made it to the front of the building. Upon arriving there, Martin gave the go signal and they rushed the two guards, easily overpowering them. They armed themselves and went into the building. Martin motioned for Brian to take left, while he headed right. Brian nodded and headed off to get James.
Martin slipped quietly down the hall to the room where the lieutenant was being held. He opened the door and went up to Timothy.
Peters opened his eyes and squinted. "Who's
"It's the man of your dreams, lieutenant," Martin teased and began untying Peters from his chair.
"Martin? How did you find me? Where's the Colonel? What's going on?" Timothy bombarded Martin with a barrage of questions.
"Shhhh...I don't know exactly, Tim. Let's just get you out of here," Martin ordered and helped Peters to his feet.
Martin and Timothy headed out of the room and down the corridor towards the main exit. The were nearing the door when they heard a gun cock behind them.
"Hold it!" A hooded figure ordered. "Drop your weapon!"
Martin hesitated for a moment, but then threw his gun to the ground. Just then, Brian was coming out of a room with James in tow. He froze when he saw the man holding Timothy and Martin hostage with the gun.
"Drop it!" The man ordered and Brian threw his gun to the ground as well.
The tension in the room was thick as the men each contemplated what their next move should be. Martin turned around quickly and knocked the gun out of the hooded man's hand. Brian saw the move and immediately jumped on the man knocking him to the ground. They struggled around on the ground for a few moments, Brian finally succeeding in knocking the man out. Brian got to his feet and they were about to get out of there until a figure appeared from the darkness pointing a gun at Colonel Smithers.
"Watch out, Colonel!" Peters yelled as he flung himself onto James, knocking him to the ground.
Martin and Brian jumped the man holding the gun and began struggling with him. Martin picked up the gun and pointed it at the hooded figure.
"Wait!" James shouted. "Martin, drop the weapon!" He ordered.
Martin looked at James confused, but followed his commander's instructions and quickly placed the gun on the ground.
The colonel got up off the floor and dusted himself off. "Thank you, Nicholas," James said and smiled at the hooded figure.
"Nicholas?" Brian, Martin and Timothy asked in unison as the hooded man took off his disguise to reveal his true identity. "Why?" They questioned James who was shaking Nicholas's hand.
"It was a test of your abilities," James commented, as he turned to his men. "I wanted to see how you would react in a situation where your life was in jeopardy, but so was the lives of your teammates. For the team must come first above everything," he stated.
Martin grinned. "Well, how'd we do, sir?"
"I'd say they past with flying colors. What about you, Nicky?" James asked smiling.
"I'd say your 'team' is ready for their mission, Colonel," Nicholas replied. "Final briefing will be at 1830 hours, gentlemen."
James turned to his team and smiled. "We will go back to head quarters and try to relax until then."
The team nodded in agreement and the four of them headed out the door.