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Sincerely, Uncle M
Ratings/Warnings: PG13 - slight use of adult language, some violence/torture, sexual situations
Summary: Murdock is receiving death threat letters at the VA, so the Team goes undercover at the VA to keep an eye on Murdock. Murdock and Max end up kidnapped, and the truth begins to reveal itself along the way.
There is character torture in this story, slight adult language, some sexual situations, and the usual A-Team violence. Do not know yet how many parts this story will have.
Disclaimer: All characters created within my stories are of my own creation, with the exception of the A-Team characters.
Copyright: August 2002
Comments: Yes, Please
Sincerely, Uncle M ñ Spoonful of Sugar
Mary Poppins song "Spoonful of a Sugar" lyrics referenced in this
story written by Robert B. Sherman]
"Look, Hannibal. I've been staked out here at the VA as an orderly for the past couple of weeks. I can't be on every shift, though. I got the day shift. Unfortunately, the last couple of letters that have come for Murdock have been delivered on the night shift." Face bemoaned as he sat down at the dining room table at Hannibal's apartment.
"What do you suggest, Face? We have to keep someone on watch for Murdock since he's been getting these threatening letters." Hannibal commented as he scanned the latest letter in his hands, signed by someone called Uncle M.
"Well, you could go in as an orderly on the night shift. And if we want someone to be really close to Murdock, we could send Max in as a new nurse on the night shift. There's never much action at night, but that seems to be when the notes are coming." Face suggested. "I just feel safer the more of us that are near him at all times of day. I just have a really bad feeling about these threats."
Hannibal looked at the anxiousness in Face's eyes and could identify with it. These letters were direct and were naming events in the last few months that no one should have known about, unless they were under surveillance somehow. His thoughts went to Max as he glanced over at her laid out on the couch. She had fallen asleep there after dinner, not feeling well. He just had a nagging feeling that this all involved her somehow as well.
"Agreed, Lieutenant. We'll get B.A. to create some tracking bracelets we can activate, just in case." Hannibal concluded.
"Yes, sir. I'll go by B.A.'s to fill him in and help him get his electronics together. Would you like me to go ahead and put in yours and Max's "applications?" Face asked as he headed for the door.
"Yeah, go ahead, Face. Put us in the system as new hirees by Dr. Richter. I'll be John Sampson and put Max down as that name she gave to Decker back in Alabama, Norah Morrison. We can start within the next day or so." Hannibal sighed, then bid Face goodnight.
The next evening, Face walked Hannibal and Max around, giving them a brief overview of the place before each of them went on to their respective orientations. They all checked the metal ID bracelets that B.A. had hidden the tracking devices in. If something came up, they were to press the inside of the large metal tag to
activate it. Hannibal went down the hall to be initiated in the ways of humane restraint and cleaning. Max went to the nurse's desk just down the hall from Murdock's room. She walked up to the desk and saw a middle-aged, brown-haired nurse picking through some files in the lower cabinet behind the desk. When she was not noticed at first, she cleared her throat timidly. The nurse spun around and eyed her warily.
"Um, . . . hi, . . . my name is Norah Morrison. I was told to report to this station for my orientation." Max stated in an unsure tone, trying to convey the first-day, first assignment jitters of a new nurse.
"Oh, yeah, . . . Dr. Richter mentioned something about you coming on tonight." The nurse finally smiled as she stood, holding her back as she tried to stretch out the kink that had settled there. "Let's get things straight right from the get go. My name is Nurse Richmond, and I am your superior here. You are here as an assistant to me. Whatever I need you to do, you do, no questions asked, got it, honey?"
"Yes, ma'am." Max replied and followed close behind Nurse Richmond as she walked down the hall, trying to remain close behind but not step on her heels.
Nurse Richmond went down the hall, pointing out who was in each room and letting Max look over each patient's chart while she explained each one's routine. Most of the patients were asleep by now, except one. As they neared Murdock's room, Max noticed the soft blue glow of a television screen illuminating the room. She peeked inside as Nurse Richmond handed her the chart. Murdock was curled up in a ball on his bed, cocooned in a blanket, talking back to the screen, which she deciphered was some old action show.
Nurse Richmond was called away for a few minutes to catch a phone call at the nurse's station desk. Max leaned her back against the doorframe, and studied Murdock's chart closer. Max scanned the chart, noting Dr. Richter hadn't prescribed any drugs (unless absolutely needed) or drastic measures, such as shock therapy, just one-on-one therapy with him and some group therapies. She flipped over to the personalized section of the chart and noticed his mother had died when he was about five years old, sighing wistfully as she thought about her own mother's death when she was only twelve. His career led him from the Thunderbirds, before Vietnam, to "special forces training" and Army training, to serving in the 1st Aviation Brigade.
"Murdock is one of our more cooperative patients. He is a doll, really. A little odd, no doubt, but still a very good patient, . . . on his good days." Nurse Richmond said as she took the chart back and placed it back on the hook on the wall.
The first night, nothing really changed in the VA. Max chuckled to herself as she entered chart information into the computer and Hannibal, donning a pony-tailed wig and glasses, mopped the floor by the nurse desk. He winked at her and worked his way on down to Murdock's room, pausing to look back up the hall. Max made sure Nurse Richmond was still in the back room and gave a thumbs up to Hannibal, who slipped into Murdock's room to explain the situation and the current "wait-and-see" plan.
The next night . . .
"Nurse Morrison!" Nurse Richmond boomed, startling Max.
"Yes, ma'am." Max said shakily.
"Take these meds to Mr. Murdock, please." Nurse Richmond said as she handed over a couple of pills.
"Um, I don't mean to ask, but what are these pills? I know that Mr. Murdock's chart says no meds unless absolutely necessary. Has he done something wrong?" Max asked, concern raising as she saw the hand-
scribbled note ordering the meds.
"The order has come down from Dr. Richter himself. He is going in for some physical observations early tomorrow morning and needs to be unconscious. These will knock him out for a couple of hours, . . . not that any of that matters to you! You just do as I order and give them to Mr. Murdock." Nurse Richmond retorted sternly.
ma'am. Forgive me." Max said apologetically, not wanting to warrant her
attention any more than need be.
She paused at Murdock's door and knocked "shave and a hair cut, . . . two bits," then slipped the key in to unlock the door. She waited to enter until Murdock said she could. Max entered the room and heard the clicking of heels in the hall coming toward the room. Nurse Richmond was going to make sure Max gave him the pills. Max sighed and dropped the pills in her pocket, extracting some others she had placed there earlier, in case.
"Okay, Murdock. I have some medicine for you to take." She said cheerily as she walked into the room.
"I don't want to take any medicine. I'd rather have a chilidog." He chimed back as he sat up on the bed. When she had gotten into viewing range, she turned to see a Woody Woodpecker on the television. She smiled to herself.
"See here, Murdock. It's Dr. Richter's orders." She urged.
"Na-uh, . . . not gonna'." Murdock pouted defiantly, like a child.
"C'mon, Murdock. I'll sing to you, if you want. That'll make it fun. How `bout that?" she responded.
One eyebrow crooked up and a smile started to spread across his face. "You're gonna' sing to me, Nurse Morrison?"
"If you'll take your medicine." Max bribed.
Max handed the pills to Murdock and began humming as she went to get a glass of water. She slowly handed the glass of water over to Murdock, who looked at her expectantly, waiting to hear her song of choice for the evening.
In ev'ry job that must be done
There is an element of fun
you find the fun and snap!
The job's a game
And ev'ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree!
It's very clear to me
Spoonful of SUGAR helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of SUGAR helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
She repeated the chorus, still emphasizing the word SUGAR, and motioning with her eyebrows to make sure Murdock noticed the word emphasis. He took the pills and gulped the water down. Max smiled and said "Thank you, Murdock." As she set the glass down on the side table, she heard the clicking of heels walking away. She walked to the door and looked down the hall to make sure, then walked back to his bed with a sigh.
"So, what's up with the placebos, Nurse Morrison?" Murdock asked with his crooked grin as she sat down on the edge of his bed, facing him.
"I had to exchange them for the pills she wanted me to give you. She said she had orders from Richter that you were to be knocked out for an early morning examination of some kind. I saw the note supposedly from Richter ñ it wasn't his signature, . . . I could read it. Anyway, I don't know what all this is about, but I have a
bad feeling about it." Max explained in a hushed tone.
"Go tell Hannibal, . . . sounds like something might go down really soon." Murdock told her, a glittering of anticipation in his eyes.
"Just remember, pretend to be knocked out if anyone comes here, alright. For the time being." Max said as she rose from the bedside. She left the room and walked back to the nurse's desk, then excused herself to the restroom down the other end of hall. On the way, she spotted Hannibal in a side room and ducked in to tell him
what had happened.
stay close to Murdock's room throughout the night. If someone is going to try
something, they'll probably do it near the shift change time." Hannibal
About an hour before shift change, the ward was deathly quiet. Nurse Richmond was on the far side of the hallway with a patient who had woken up screaming from a nightmare. Max sat at the nurse's desk, still entering more information into the computer, when two figures stepped up to the desk. She looked up to see two muscular men in orderly uniforms standing there.
"How can I help you gentlemen?" Max asked.
"We're here to transfer Mr. Murdock." The light brown haired orderly said as he handed over a clipboard with the orders on it. Max immediately noticed the fake Richter approval signature there as well.
"Yes, right this way." Max said as she rose slowly from the desk and walked toward Murdock's room. "I gave Mr. Murdock some sedatives earlier, so he should be good and under by now." She said a little louder as she walked to the door, making sure Murdock would hear her, as well as Hannibal, who was just a few doors down the hall. Once she opened the door, the two orderlies pushed past her.
"Okay, nursy, we can take over from here." The black-headed orderly said as he pulled out a gun.
"Hannibal!" Max screamed as she ran forward and bit the orderly's hand to get him to drop the gun. The man pulled her close to him, turning her back against his chest, catching her in a chokehold. As she struggled, the other goon had run to gather the "knocked out" Murdock.
All he found was bundled up blankets on the bed. Before he realized what was going on, Murdock pounced on his back, leaping from the top of a cabinet. The brown haired goon finally grabbed a hold of Murdock's jacket and flipped him over to the floor. Murdock pulled his legs in on the landing and kicked back up, squarely into
the orderly's chest. He jumped to his feet and bulldozed forward, grabbing the guy's legs and tackling him to the ground. By this time, Hannibal had run in the room and surprised the orderly holding Max. He had a pipe in hand and cracked it over the orderly's head, whose back had been toward the door. He let go of Max and fell to the ground in a groaning crumple. Max scrambled out of the way, still gasping to breathe. Hannibal lifted the pipe to strike again, but a muffled shot pierced his orderly jacket and he fell to the floor. Max was heaved off the ground, drug up by the scruff of her nurse uniform by the black haired man Hannibal had hit with the pipe. He started to crush her throat, but was stopped by a gloved hand.
"No, we need to take her, too. Uncle's orders." The masked person said, placing his gun back in a shoulder holster. Max recognized that voice.
Hannibal struggled, tapped his bracelet to activate it, and then slipped into unconsciousness. Max looked down and to her relief saw the tranquilizer dart protruding from his lower back. Max looked back at the masked man who now stood before her, the black haired orderly holding her arms behind her tightly. She knew this man, knew what all this was about, and was overcome by the guilt.
"Murdock, you will stop now." The masked man said, glancing toward Murdock still struggling with the black-headed orderly. Murdock, holding a baseball bat he had kept under his bed against the orderly's throat, shot a deadly look toward the masked man. His eyes then shot to Max, who was being held, then to Hannibal on the floor.
"Murdock, give yourself over and things will go much easier. We are here to transfer you and Ms. Monroe under orders." The masked man said in a steady, controlled tone.
"Do it, Murdock." Max practically whispered, her eyes dropping to the floor.
Murdock rose slowly, dropping the bat, watching Max the whole time, trying to read through her what was going on. Murdock and Max were dragged out of the room and the masked man ordered them placed in straightjackets for the time being. A fourth man emerged from down the hall, where Nurse Richmond was knocked out on the floor, with two straightjackets. Murdock struggled momentarily, offering a distraction time of a few seconds, during which Max pressed the inside of her bracelet to activate the tracking device in it.
This new orderly punched Murdock, stilling him in pain and knocking the air out of his lungs, and then strapped him into the straightjacket. Max cooperated putting the jacket on, continuing to just stare at the floor, not showing any emotion, her face now a mask. The group headed toward the back stairwell, heading down to
the laundry room, slipping through the back to a waiting vehicle. Max kicked the black-haired orderly holding her, to try to get a glimpse of what vehicle it was, but in the darkness before the dawn, she couldn't make it out. Then, she was lost in the darkness of unconsciousness as the butt of a handgun struck her in the back of
the head as a nerve in her neck was pinched.
She woke with a start sometime later; she couldn't tell how long it had been. The pitch dark didn't help calm her as she winced in pain and tried to focus her fuzzy vision. She felt the vehicle moving beneath her back. She was lying on her back, that much she could decipher quickly. She tried to move her arms and found she was still in a straightjacket. She felt a weight lying across her side, and feeling a heartbeat assumed it was Murdock, knocked out probably. She tried to move some and found her movement very constricted by the small space they were in. That's when she concluded they'd been thrown in the trunk of the vehicle, and that's
when she started to hyperventilate. Her breathing raged as she thrashed to try to kick against the trunk lid. She felt like her chest was going to explode as she gasped wildly to breathe.
Murdock stirred quickly at the sudden burst to chaos at his side. He had been awake the entire time and was trying to listen through the back of the trunk to either their captors or to hear vehicles and such around them to try to figure out where they were going. He tried to roll over more to pin her down, to restrain her, cursing at being in the straightjacket at the moment.
"Max, . . . c'mon, Max, . . . calm down. It's okay. I'm here. Good ol' Murdock. Calm down, Max. Stop thrashing. Breathe, Max, Breathe." Murdock said calmly as he weighed her down and then dipped her head beside hers to talk into her ear.
"No, got to get out of here . . . can't breathe . . . got to get us out of here." Max gasped as she tried to struggle more, but with more difficulty now as Murdock was trying to press his weight on top of her. Finally, she stopped thrashing, and laid, throwing her head back, eyes closed, gasping for air still.
moved his face closer to her ear in her stilled moment, whispering
"Sshhhh, . . . it's okay. We'll get out of this. Just breathe, . . .
relax." His voice and the feel of his breath on her skin calmed her more,
still felt like she was hyperventilating.
Murdock tried to think of how to distract her from her fit, and then asked himself what would Face do? He raised his head slightly and glided in right next to Max's face. She was still laying there, eyes closed as she tried to calm herself, still trembling from her fit, breathing getting more steady as the time slipped by. She
opened her eyes slightly when she felt Murdock's cheek brush against hers, felt his hot breath on her ear as he whispered soothingly but incoherently to her. She wondered as she felt his lips touch her neck, kissing there lightly, then felt the tip of his tongue flick out and back in quickly. Her breath caught in her throat when he
nibbled her ear lobe, closing her eyes at the wave of sensation that suddenly washed over her.
"Murdock," she sighed breathlessly, "what do you think you're doing?"
"Distracting you," he whispered huskily, then sucked on the lobe slightly. "Why? Is it working?"
Max held her breath and her thoughts, eyes closed, enjoying the sensation and getting lost in the scent of him, finally whispering, "yes."
At that moment, Murdock rose so that his face was right above hers, the back of his head against the trunk lid. They're breath mingled as they both strained to see into one another's eyes in the darkness. Max broke the silence with a quiet and sincere, "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Murdock asked, confused.
"For getting you dragged into this." Max replied sorrowfully.
"What does this have to do with you? They were sending ME the death threats, not you. You're not getting self-centered on me, are you? That's kind of Face's department." Murdock said with a laugh.
giggled slightly, then looked to Murdock again. "No, I'm wrapped up in all
of this. Uncle M, the one sending you the threats, he's, . . . well, he's, . .
. ah, you're gonna' find out soon enough." She retreated, not being able
to bring herself to tell him everything yet.
Murdock just looked at where he could see the outline of her face, lost in thought. Then, he tilted his head, hearing a sound he knew, "That's a plane!"
"Kind of need one to get to the east coast from here, Murdock." Max sighed.
"You KNOW where we're going?" he asked skeptically.
"Pretty sure, just not sure which CIA compound we're being taken to yet. Could be Langley, could be Camp Perry, could be Harvey's Point, or one of the smaller ones." She hypothesized. "Tracking!" Max interjected. She leaned up to Murdock's ear and whispered. "I hit the tracer on my bracelet. B.A. should be getting the signal. But," she paused, "even if they can trace us, they'll just get caught."
"Ah, have you already lost faith in the guys?" Murdock questioned.
"No, not that, . . . but I just know what they're up against, . . . well, mostly what they're up against." She sighed
dejectedly as exhaustion started to take over.
After a while, Murdock finally asked her, "What did you mean by that?"
His question was met with a soft snore. Murdock pouted, then resigned that he too should try to get sleep while he could. He had the distinct feeling they were about to be in a very painful deprivation situation ñ but for what? For what? The question repeated in his mind like a broken record as he nuzzled Max's throat, and relaxed against her with a sigh, smelling the strawberry scent emanating from her strawberry blonde curls.
Max and Murdock were shaken awake as they felt the vehicle start driving once again, backing out of the plane it had arrived wherever on. They struggled to understand how far they were traveling. Finally, they reached their destination. The vehicle came to a standstill and Murdock and Max waited expectantly for the trunk lid to rise.
Soon, it did and the trunk was flooded with afternoon sunlight, temporarily blinding them. They were unceremoniously drug from the trunk, their eyes still adjusting. The area was not distinct in any way either prisoners could see, so they couldn't be certain where they were exactly.
On the way deeper into the recesses of the building, Max began to struggle. She knew where they were going. "No, not the white room. Not the white room, not again." Max said steadily as she began to thrash against her escort. The escort restrained her by tossing her up against the wall, chest first and leaning into her. Another escort pulled out a syringe and stuck Max with it. She hissed at the burning liquid forcing its way into her. Her vision began to dim and she felt weak all of a sudden.
"Ms. Monroe, you will answer our questions in the white room, whether you want to or not." The masked escort said coldly.
"Caesar," Max whispered as she looked at the masked captor, "you know there's no such thing as a guaranteed truth serum, no matter what Uncle M might be telling you." Then, she passed out. Murdock
cooperated along the way, just absorbing everything he could about his surroundings and captors.
Sometime later, Max was shocked to consciousness by a sudden downpour of freezing water, feeling like thousands of cold needles pounding into her flesh. Her body tensed and she sucked in her breath, only relaxing when the showerhead was turned off. She opened her eyes, looking up to see she was hanging by her arms by two chains hooked in the ceiling. In between the chains hung a showerhead, and near that what look like a lightning rod. She sighed, and noticed she could see her breath. She felt a chilled numbness and realized the air conditioning must be full blast in the room. She then looked down, begrudging the fact that she saw her uniform had been removed and she hung there, now dripping wet, in a freezing white room, in a white cotton racerback bra, white cotton knit boy-short underwear, and a stretch cotton camisole. She groaned softly as a chill shiver caught her.
"Bit nippy in here, isn't it?" Murdock asked.
Max looked up to see a quirky grin from the pilot strapped to a chair a few feet in front of her, still tied up in his straightjacket. Max blushed slightly, realizing how revealed she was right now before Murdock. It was then they both heard the door open and saw three figures enter wearing all white uniforms and black, reflective sunglasses, shutting the door behind them.
"Ah, I see you've decided to wake and join us, Elektra." The older gentleman said in a clinical tone.
"Not that I had a choice in the matter, sir. What is this, like a rotten episode of Welcome Back, Kubark?" Max replied as she started to sing the theme to Welcome Back, Kotter.
"Report your specs, agent." The man demanded.
"Agent Azul, code name Elektra, CIA Special Covert Operative #312, PSYOP specialist, Chameleon Cell." Max reported stoically, her face an expressionless mask, her eyes glazed over and looking forward.
"Now, where are your manners, Agent Azul? Introduce us to your companion." The man said as he circled Murdock's chair.
"Captain H.M. Murdock, let me introduce you to your captors for the evening. First, we have the old man here who you may know as Uncle M, also called Colonel or Doctor (depending on what the situation calls for) Meridian. He is also my "dead" uncle, who had been grooming me for this work since I could walk and talk, who I was named after, Mr. Maximus Monroe." Max reported. Murdock looked at Max in shock. "And he is my biological father."
"I see you did get the blood test done, Max." Meridian droned.
"Yeah, just couldn't resist after you pulled the ol' Darth Vader "I am your father" speech the last time we were together." Max said matter-of-factly. "By the way, you still pissed about me taking your finger?" she added with a sly smile.
Meridian looked at his left hand, rubbed over the nub where his pinky had been. "It's fine now, Azul. You know I don't hold grudges." Max guffawed in response, and was subsequently slapped across her right cheek.
"Continue your introductions. I am sure Captain Murdock is interested to know who the others are." Meridian thought aloud as he looked from Max to Murdock.
"To your right, you will see Agent Caesar, the head operative of my former cell unit who also led our capture. Behind me at this moment is Agent Napoleon, another operative of my former cell unit." Max regurgitated slowly and steadily, looking forward the entire time.
"So, you are a CIA special forces operative?" Murdock asked unbelievably.
"She was, just as you were at one time, Murdock. She decided to go AWOL, though, and we have been after her ever since." Meridian chimed in, looking down at this captured pilot.
"Well, surprises never cease to amaze me. How many more things we got in common, Max?" Murdock joked, then was struck hard across the face for his trouble.
"Her disobedience will be dealt with accordingly, in due time. At the moment, I wish to hear her report of her last mission." Meridian hissed as he walked up to the dangling Max.
"I have no report, sir. I'm AWOL, remember." Max retorted.
but you still carried on with your last mission orders, did you not?" he
Max hesitated, and then replied, "Technically, . . . yes sir."
Murdock looked at Max hard, awaiting her next words.
"Why don't you tell Mr. Murdock exactly what your orders were, Azul?" Meridian implored.
"My last orders were to seek out the A-Team and infiltrate their unit." She said, wishing she could see Meridian's eyes to see what he was thinking.
"And, . . ." Meridian prodded.
"Conduct intelligence collection to lead to the capture of the unit known as the A-Team." Max continued, a wall of indifference blocking her face and eyes from emoting.
"Congratulations on accomplishing that objective." Meridian commended. "And we are certain that the rest of the Team will be apprehended shortly, when they track you here by this." He said, holding up the bracelet Max had been wearing."
Max didn't flinch. Murdock had seen a look like that in the psychiatric ward, when some of the more advanced patients would shut themselves off inside, oblivious to anything, especially harm, that may befall them. He knew he had done it a handful of the few times he'd been in control of himself near the beginning of his stay. She knew something was coming, and so did he.
"Now, Azul, report your findings on the unit in question." Meridian ordered.
Max didn't answer. He asked again, and again there was no answer. He stepped back and flicked his wrist, signaling to Agent Napoleon. Max flinched at the jolt of electricity coursing through her soaked skin, but didn't betray her emotions. They were playing with her, testing her, to see if she was still conditioned to her high tolerance of pain. The next shock was stronger, Max closing her eyes as if concentrating, but no flinching still. The next shock resulted in her body tightening as the current flowed through her. She closed her eyes tighter. She still wouldn't say a thing.
"You have to tell me, Azul, we gave you the drug." Meridian persuaded.
"I know that there is not a conclusive truth serum available, even to you with all your resources. You can tell me whatever lies you wish to try to trick me or persuade me to tell you things. Even though I can't see your eyes right now, I can still tell when you're telling me a big lie. I am no longer your agent to command." Max
Meridian's jaw clinched, and he signaled for another shock. This one was rather strong, Max's body jerking upward as she was overwhelmed by the convulsion, crying out in pain. He had the shock held for longer this time, enjoying seeing her writhe in pain he was commanding. He was lying; he still did hold a grudge. And whether she liked it or not, she would always be an agent under his tutelage, no choice about it. It was in her blood.
Murdock watched in horror, straining to break free of his restraints to stop this madness, to save Max. "Stop, I'll tell you whatever you want to know." Murdock said finally.
Meridian stopped the electricity pulsing through Max, her body falling limp from exhaustion, apparently knocking her out. Murdock agreed to tell them whatever they wanted to save Max, but he didn't want to until Max had recovered from her punishment of the day and he was sure she would not be hurt anymore.
"Murdock, that is a noble suggestion. If I wanted to know right now, you would tell me, whether Max was alright or not. But, you were a good agent when you did work for the Company and I am feeling generous toward you, I will give you some leeway and grant you time, . . . tomorrow morning our interrogations will begin." Meridian decreed and the three agents left the room.
Max waited until she heard the door shut and made sure no one had stayed in the room. She flipped her body up and interlocked her feet, ankles, and knees around the chains. She gasped at the pain that now surged in her numb arms, the weight relief awakening the nerves that had been stressed. She placed her feet against the
electrode and showerhead hanging down. Under her breath, said, "please, god." She then straightened her legs, gripping the chains with her hands for leverage, pushing with all her might against the electrode and showerhead. The devices started to bend slightly, but wouldn't break, as was her intent, Murdock was sure.
She finally relented and let her body fall back to its original position, her eyes studying the floor. She didn't want to look into Murdock's eyes. Feared what she might see there . . . Hatred? The hurt of Betrayal?
"Max, look at me." Murdock said in a husky voice.
"I don't want to." She pouted.
"Please, . . ." Murdock pleaded.
Max swallowed hard, a shiver having run up her spine when she heard him say please. She slowly looked up until her eyes met with Murdock's, taking her breath away. She saw there the same sweetness, compassion, tenderness he had always looked at her with. "I'm sorry." She whispered.
"I'm sorry you didn't tell me sooner. The Team could've helped you with this." Murdock insisted. They looked at each other in silence for a few minutes.
"How many missions did you go on, Max?" Murdock's curiosity breaking the silence.
"Too many to remember. They all ran together. I didn't finish my Masters degree because of them. The traveling I did and the newspaper alias were all fronts for missions. I could move easily around because of it." She remembered, smiling sadly.
"Did you kill anyone?" Murdock asked.
"Yes," she sighed reluctantly. "That was part of what led me to go AWOL. The last few missions I'd had, whether with my cell or not, was based on misinformation. Because of that I have innocent blood on my hands that I can never wash clean." She gazed at the floor for a moment before continuing. "I knew when I joined the CIA that I would probably be called upon to take some lives. But I could always justify it. It was what was best for everyone in the long run, in the big picture. The ones I took out were often very flawed, jaded people that would've gotten taken out from someone else if not by me. I always had the idealistic view that our government was just and right in these situations, that I was helping to ensure democracy and safety for the US." She laughed to herself. "Naivety can get you into a lot of trouble in life. And when it is ripped away and you are faced with the truth of your actions and all the gray in the world, it can be quite a shock. There is no black and white, good and bad. Everyone is a mixture, especially today ñ it's so confusing that you just can't tell." She took a deep breath.
"Do you think you should be saying all this?" Murdock looked around for surveillance of some kind.
"Doesn't matter. They already know everything, anyway. Besides, I have to get all this off my chest to you, to the Team if I could." She sighed again. "I got the orders to infiltrate the A-Team. I started looking through the files on each of you, and became engrossed with what you did in Vietnam and the "lone ranger" style exploits you'd committed afterwards. Then, I thought of Dad."
"Meridian?" Murdock asked.
"No, he might be my biological father by default, but he's not my Dad. Sgt. Henry Monroe is my father. He raised me." Max flared. "Anyway, Dad had been having trouble with those drug lords. I thought that a fine catalyst for me to meet the A-Team. Then, I heard some rumors that this could be my last mission. That I would be "transferred" afterward, which, I'm sure you know from being with the CIA for a short while, means termination more often than not. I apparently had rebelled a few too many times for Meridian's liking, be it in the quarters, on the mission, or in the aftermath of the mission. When I heard the rumors, I confronted Meridian, but he evaded my pointed questioning. He ordered me to obey orders, no question, or I may regret it. Well, I'd gotten detained before for punishment before, a few times," Max smiled, "so they couldn't do much more to me as punishment physically. You'd be amazed at my pain tolerance under pressure. He said something could happen to my Dad. Then he said something regarding my mother, and that got me thinking. Well, I got a hacker buddy of mine to work on a personal project, accessing some confidential files about me that blew me away. It turned out that Meridian WAS my biological father. I had been handpicked before I'd even been born to eventually become an agent. My mother had gone in for some regular physical checkup and
somehow, Meridian got it put in the file that they might've found something. This allowed a deeper investigation of my mother that she needed to be unconscious for. This allowed Meridian to place an agent, who impregnated my mother with Meridian's sperm. As far as my mom and dad were concerned afterward, they had been lucky enough to be blessed with a child after a couple of years of trying. My mother found out some information around when I was twelve that cost her life. In the files, the facts showed my mother was injected with an advanced cancer to kill her off before she could find out any more. She was a very stubborn and very curious person, traits Meridian has cursed in me." Max laughed. "I confronted him with these new facts and he berated me for accessing files I shouldn't have. But, I wanted to know everything that had led up to that point in my life. To do that I had to access Meridian's files directly. To get full access to all his files, I had to enter his super computer room ñ which needed his fingerprint to be accessed. He didn't want to cooperate, so I had to take it from him."
She smiled grimly, her eyes glittering with the evil she had committed. "Anyway, I accessed the files and found out more wrongdoing than I ever fathomed he was capable of, . . . this, my biological father, the man I had known as my uncle for years ñ who tested me even as a child, my memory, my creativity, my physicality, . . . he was grooming me all along and I went with it, dreams of helping people swirling in my head, abstracts of democracy, patriotism, what I thought was right, blurring my mind." She paused, and then continued, "That's when I just couldn't do it anymore. It had all built up to this point and I just couldn't take it anymore. I went AWOL. I knew my last mission was to get you guys, but in the back of my mind I felt that maybe you could help me, or at the very least I could go on the run with you."
looked at Murdock, her eyes burning brightly in excitement, "I knew they'd
never stop coming after me,... but I hoped. Then, you got those letters. I knew
then who it was and what was coming. I thought I could save you, with the
Team's help. I don't know, . . . I don't know how they knew about the missions
I had been on with the Team, . . . unless," she paused in thought.
"Unless what?" Murdock implored.
"They had a tracking device on me the whole time. But, where could it be? I have changed all clothing. They couldn't have planted anything inside me, except . . ."
"What? When could they've planted something?"
"When I went in for some dental work ñ I was having bad toothaches and had to get some work done. They put me under for a couple of hours ñ easily enough time to plant something." Max sighed dejectedly.
"I won't tell anything, Murdock. I swear I won't." Max emphasized.
won't have to. I agreed that I would so they'd stop torturing you."
Murdock relented, eyes down at the floor.
"When?" Max asked.
"Tomorrow morning the interrogations begin." Murdock replied.
Sincerely, Uncle M - Q&A
"Yeah, Hannibal. The tracker is showing up at about latitude 36 deg.03'06", longitude 76 deg.16'43"; that's Harvey Point, NC, just near Hertford in eastern North Carolina." Face said as the truck he'd scammed turned a corner, heading toward the small rural town. "You better be right, Face. If we can't find Murdock, I'll be mad. And when I get mad, I got to take it out on somebody, and YOU might be that somebody." B.A. said as he navigated the curves and bumps in the road.
find Murdock, Sergeant. And we'll get him back, along with Max, who I'm sure we
all have more than a few questions for." Hannibal said as he ground his
teeth, partly out of the anxiousness of the unknown they were walking into,
partly out of the concern for his Captain and a girl they had taken in but he
had begun to think of more as a daughter, and partly out of his nerves not
having a cigar to calm them. He had smoked his last one before they boarded the
plane, and when he asked Face for one after they'd landed and pealed B.A. out
of his seat that he had voluntarily taken, but Face had not had any on him.
"Harvey Point is part of the CIA's training grounds." B.A. thought aloud, some concern crossing his face.
"Well, at least we now have a slight idea of what we're up against." Face interjected, trying to sound hopeful and upbeat. The three rode in silence for the remainder of the trip, Hannibal grinding his teeth more as his brain went into overdrive.
The silence in the white room, with its ever-present piercing light, was broken by the dull shakings of bombs going off.
"Harvey Point," Murdock and Max said at the same time, recognizing the pattern of the bombings going on above their confine.
"Well, at least we have an idea of where we are now." Murdock laughed.
"That's not reassuring, Murdock." Max retorted as she looked up to her chains once again.
The morning hour came quickly. Murdock and Max came attentive with a start as the door to their sterile white room unlocked and jerked open. Meridian entered the room first, flanked by Caesar and Napoleon once again. Behind them entered a female agent that Max had not seen before, who was introduced as Cleo to
The interrogation started, only Meridian talking. Murdock made some joke answers. Meridian flicked his wrist, signaling Napoleon, who lowered Max to a standing position, but kept her hands chained up to the ceiling. Meridian asked again, and Murdock answered seriously as he eyed the other operatives nervously, trying to read them but being unable to. Later in the interview, he joked again, to which Meridian flicked his wrist and Max collapsed in a hiss of pain as a titanium baton struck the back of her right knee. Murdock looked at the baton that had appeared almost out of thin air, then traced the baton to the gloved hand holding it, up the arm, to look at the cold face of Cleo, a slight smile curling the corner of her mouth in a sadistic sneer. He refused to answer anymore.
"Ah, you see you have no choice Captain Murdock. If you don't answer, she will be beaten to death. If you do answer, but give us wrong information, she will be beaten to death. If you give us the correct information, maybe she'll only get a little beating as punishment for her running away from her responsibilities." Meridian
explained. "And just to make sure you tell us the truth as far as she knows it, we'll give her another dose of my serum." Meridian signaled and Napoleon walked up and stuck the syringe in the back of Max's neck. She hissed in response to the burning liquid entering her once again, only stronger this time.
"Azul," Meridian began as he walked over to Max, Cleo reaching down to gather a handful of curly hair and jerking her head back to look up at Meridian, "the serum we just gave you is our newest creation after you left us. It's a mix of a few things, so you might get a little delusional, but more often than not you will be able to decipher the truth from fiction. It will just take a few minutes to set in, so we will wait until then."
With this, he clapped his hands together and Max fell to a heap in the floor. Cleo unlocked the shackles, and then pulled a pair of handcuffs to lock Max's hands behind her back as she was pulled up to her knees. Murdock watched Max's face as she started to blink more and shake her head slightly, like she was trying to clear her vision. The drug was setting in apparently.
Max started to feel a dull pulsing headache and her vision began to blur at the edges, growing darker. She shook her head and blinked, but it just seemed to make it worse. She breathed a little more rapid as it crossed her mind that maybe Meridian had happened upon a real truth serum of some kind. Whatever it was, it was
confusing her mind, as past experiences seemed to be blending with this current white room reality.
Meridian signaled and Caesar walked to the door and opened it, allowing a new person to enter with a rolling cart full of torture devices. Max couldn't get a good look until the person was right beside her, then she began to try to struggle, receiving a baton strike to the back of the head for her trouble. She bowed low in pain, the looked up, drug-eyed at Meridian as he petted her head slightly.
"Poor little girl, I told you to be good." He condescended.
"I was a good girl. I was good. Please, don't let him hurt me."
"What do you know of Capitan Guerrero?"
"Capitan Guerrero is one of the lead operatives currently working in the Chile interrogation camps, the Villain of Villaricca. I have heard the horror stories of him." Max's eyes darted in panic as visions of the torture devices on the cart flashed through her mind. She saw glimpses of film some operatives had been shown prior
to infiltrating some remote areas of Chile to gain intelligence of the "questioning" that was going on at the time. A number of operatives had gotten physically ill, but Max had detached herself to look at the tortures as clinical and a necessary evil to implement the "right" democracy there. She had brainwashed herself so that
when she did her job, she could put away the guilt. "Don't let him hurt me." She whispered, pleading, as the visions grew stronger.
"What does he do, Azul?" Meridian prodded, glancing to make sure they had Murdock's attention.
"Torture by any name is that CO's MO. Instruments, burning, raping, the list goes on and on." Max reported, her head swiveling slightly as she continued to try to focus her eyes. "Please, don't let him hurt me."
"Well, that's really up to Captain Murdock." Meridian hissed through a stained toothy smile as he turned back around to look down at Murdock. "Azul, whatever he tells us now, if you know it not to be true, you tell us. If you don't know whether it is true or not, you tell us. If you know it is true, you tell us."
Max hesitated, then nodded affirmation of her orders, and her glazed eyes focused as much as possible on Murdock.
Murdock reported a number of things, most already known the cell unit before him, but they were testing Max and him through this initial interrogation. When they asked eventually if he knew the about the tracking device Max had activated, he denied it. They all looked to Max to see her reaction. She hesitated, a strained look
furrowing her brow as she fought not to say anything, but she relented and told them he had been informed of the device.
"Tsk, tsk, Captain Murdock. Now Max will have to taste a little pain for your lying." Meridian said as he signaled the Spanish operative, who stepped forward with a scalpel. Max's eyes became fearful as she stiffened when the Spanish operative walked around her. He was not this Capitan Guerrero, but Meridian wasn't going to correct her, because he saw in her delusional state that this could work in his favor. With her thinking this was this ruthless operative, she would be ever more fearful because it was well known and documented that the threat of punishment was often more effective than the actual punishment, and that in turn could influence Murdock. He watched the situation warily.
"El Capitan Guerrero, no me lastimÛ. Sido bueno. Sido cooperativo (Captain Guerrero, don't hurt me. I've been good. I've been cooperative)." Max said quickly, staying stiff and looking straight ahead the entire time.
"La calma, la mujerzuela. Usted pagar· por sus mentiras de amigo (Quiet, slut. You will pay for your friend's lies.)." The operative replied mockingly as he traced the scalpel lightly under her jaw across her throat, like he was thinking about whether to slice her there or not. Then, he noticed her left shoulder, a scar there from a bullet she'd obviously taken. The scalpel lingered over the scar, then sliced quickly. Max gritted her teeth, but did not flinch or move. Murdock sat stoically, trying not to betray his emotions to this cell unit. He looked into Max's eyes and saw her fighting back against the drug in her. He let his gaze fall to her shoulder that he had helped to fix back in Alabama, watching the blood trickle down her arm, dripping on the floor.
"We will end this interrogation at this time, now that you realize we are serious. We will return again in the near future to continue, and for her sake, I hope you'll be more forthcoming with your answers, Captain Murdock." Meridian said as he signaled for everyone to leave. Cleo clubbed Max in the back of the head a couple of times until she fell face-first, unconscious on the floor, hands still cuffed behind her back.
After a couple of hours, Max groaned to consciousness. She struggled to clear her mind, which was still slightly murky from whatever new drug Meridian had put in her.
She fought to get up, noticing she wasn't hanging around this time. She sighed in relief when she finally got up to her knees. She flipped her head back, then groaned at the headache still pulsing in her head. She opened her eyes halfway, looking up at Murdock still straighjacketed and strapped to the chair.
"I wasn't sure you'd wake up before they came back," Murdock said relieved.
"Me neither," Max croaked.
"Max, we have to hurry before they come back in here." Murdock urged.
"Hurry to do what?" Max asked, as she shook her head to try to clear her vision that was still blurring at the edges.
"Max, if you can undo these straps, I can get us out of here." Murdock said confidently.
Max hesitated as the suggestion sunk into her muddled mind. She grinned sleepily, and sarcastically said, "Well, if that's all, I'm sure we'll be out of here in no time at all."
She crawled over to Murdock in the chair and leaned against his thigh as she pushed herself up to a standing position. "So far, so good," she said as she looked down at him then wobbled unsteadily to the back of the chair.
Murdock leaned as far forward as he could, the ropes holding him to the chair straining against his chest and legs, crushing as he leaned farther forward to give Max room. Max raised her cuffed hands and slipped them over the back of the chair and slid them down Murdock's back, stretching to reach the lowest horizontal strap. She closed her eyes and leaned back against Murdock as she concentrated on the straps, working her fingers more nimbly than she thought she could in her current unbalanced state-of-mind. Soon, she had the three horizontal straps unfastened, but Murdock still couldn't move much as the arms were hooked up through the crotch strap as well. She came around the front of Murdock, and leaned back to unhook the initial arm strap in the very front holding the arms together. As she struggled with the strap, Murdock tried to lean out of her way,
but ended up leaning into her, to give her better access to the straps and to smell her, through all this she still smelled like strawberries.
"Now, the last strap." Murdock almost whispered as he parted his legs as much as he could still tied to the chair. Max stalled for a moment, sighed, and slid down slowly to sit on the edge of the chair between Murdock's legs.
"Um, . . . Murdock, . . . if I happen to touch something I shouldn't . . . let me apologize in advance, . . . and probably will several times afterwards, . . . especially if we get out of here." Max said, then gulped as she slid her hands back against the inside of his thighs, trying to slide her hands to the top of his thighs the closer she got to his torso. She felt for the edge of the straightjacket, followed the hem toward the center to where the
crotch strap was sewn. She slid her fingertips around the strap and moved further down, her knuckles brushing against Murdock's crotch. Murdock watched her carefully, dropping his head back and biting his lip to not moan or even breathe as he felt her knuckles brush against him. She struggled with the strap, leaning back against Murdock to get a better grip. "Yes, . . . got it." Max gasped as the strap finally came lose.
She leapt up, stumbling slightly, and stood back to watch Murdock. He struggled free of the straightjacket, and fumbled with the ropes. Finally, he was free from his restraints. He smiled triumphantly at Max, who turned around and raised her eyebrows and an expectant smile at him as she raised her handcuffed hands.
"What's the magic word?" Murdock teased as he reached inside his leather jacket.
"Now, Murdock. We don't have time to waste." Max sputtered hurriedly.
"Uh-uh, . . . that's not it and you know it." He smiled slyly at Max, just standing there with his hand in his inside jacket pocket.
"Please, Murdock," she sighed in an annoyed tone.
He cocked his head like he was thinking about it and finally agreed to accept her plea, removing from his jacket a small lock pick and dropping to his knees to get a good view of the lock as he worked on it. He laughed when he heard the lock click open and Max ripped the cuffs off, rubbing her wrists in relief, then turned and threw her arms around Murdock as he rose.
"Now, how do we get out of here?" Max asked Murdock, seeing his eyes glitter wildly. A grin spread across Max's face as she asked innocently, "You're on the jazz, aren't you?"
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