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This page last viewed: 2017-10-21 and has been viewed 4766 times
Rating: PG 13 (for now)
Summary: Takes place after Without Reservations. Hannibal and Face deal with some difficult truths, at last.
Notes: ******* indicate start and stop of flashbacks/memories.
"Youre not going, and thats final!" Hannibal jabbed one finger viciously at the air between them and stared at Face hard. The air between them fairly tingled with tension, but the lieutenant merely stared back and calmly waited for Hannibal to pause for breath. As the older man subsided into silence, the blond stood from his seemingly permanent place on the couch and crossed the short space between them.
"Its been five weeks, Hannibal. Im going nuts sitting here. Besides, YOU are the one who said that the team wouldnt be separated again. Now, you want to take off to parts unknown with just BA and Frankie for another of Stockwells suicide runs. Well, I wont let you. Im going with you, me and Murdock if you go, the whole team goes." Face stated this as calmly as possible and he might have succeeded in persuading his leader that he was right except that as he stood there, legs braced and face set, he let one hand hover protectively over the recent, vertical incision on his lean abdomen.
Hannibal swallowed hard and let his eyes dart to five-week-old wound, hidden beneath the black T-shirt. "Im sorry, Face. I know you dont like being left alone here. Thats why Murdock is staying with you. But I will not let you out in the field until you are cleared by the doctor and he said another three weeks before you were fit for active duty." He carefully and plainly enunciated each word of his last sentence, wanting no further argument from his second. He searched for a lighter for his cigar and automatically leaned forward as Face reached out to relight the now stubby remains of tobacco.
Face thought wildly even as he calmly lit the cigar as usual he just couldnt let this happen. He knew, somehow he knew, that if only part of the team went on this run into the wilds of South America to liberate one of Stockwells captured operatives well it would come to some bad end. Hed come so close, only weeks ago, to losing his life. Hed survived an assassins bullet; he wouldnt give in to the fates now. "Hannibal, please just listen " He tried to organize his thoughts to explain his grave misgivings to the man before him.
"No Face! You listen " Hannibals voice was harsh and the look on his face stopped the younger man in his tracks. Frustrated, he laid aside the cigar stub to put both hands on his lieutenants firm upper arms. "Five weeks ago, you were shot in the gut at point blank range. You lay, for way too long, on the floor of that restaurant; bleeding to death by the time I got there, there wasnt anything I could do. We scooped you up and ran for the van, knowing that it probably wouldnt be fast enough. I looked down at you, at your blood all over you and me, instead of inside of you where it should have been. I watched you stop breathing, Face. You died in my arms!"
With his grip still firm on Faces arms, Hannibal shook him harder probably than he intended and suddenly stepped back and away as if realizing what hed just done. His voice fell quieter but no less impassioned. "My world stopped right then it just ground to a halt and it didnt start again until hours later when they finally told us that theyd gotten you back and that you might live, if you fought hard enough."
Hannibal paused for breath and struggled for control. His hands fisted at his sides as he strove to control them and his face set in concrete lines. "Am I supposed to just send you back out now, just send you out to get shot again? Am I supposed to take that chance with your life so soon? I still havent made myself believe that youre really here right now, alive and well and you want me to take a chance on losing you again? Im sorry, Face I cant."
"Hannibal, please. Slow down. I dont understand You didnt lose me. Im right here. Im sorry you had to deal with all of that " His words trailed as he struggled to find the words to describe what he couldnt remember. Reaching out, he placed one hand on Hannibals shoulder and asked again, "Please talk to me."
The older man moved and Faces hand slid down his arm and just before they lost contact, Hannibal turned his hand, palm up and captured the slim fingers in his own. "Ive been trying to talk to you for days, Face. I just cant seem to find the words."
Face looked deep into the familiar, ice blue eyes and searched for the meaning of what hed heard. Hannibals fingers were warm on his cold, nervous ones and he gripped the older, harder hand in his. A niggling realization tugged at the back of his mind. Hannibal had been very attentive for the last three weeks hed been home. Often, he seemed to want to say something, but was usually interrupted or just unsure how to proceed. Face had chalked it up to the recent traumatic events, but now he had to wonder. What was Hannibal trying to tell him? His fingers clutched at Hannibals reflexively.
Before either man could speak again, Stockwells voice boomed through the house. "Colonel Smith your transport is ready."
Slipping free of Faces grip, Hannibal licked his lips and tried to speak once again. "Face I " He blew in frustration and shook his head. "Take care and do what the doctor says, huh?"
Hannibal spun on his heels without another word and walked away, leaving a defeated and bewildered Face behind. Hed never seen Hannibal so emphatic or his face so dark and forbidding. Thirty minutes later, as Stockwells chopper left, carrying Hannibal, BA, and Frankie away, Face still sat in dazed silence, trying to understand what he just had and hadnt been told.
Late that evening, Murdock bounded in, home from his latest job. Tossing his duffle onto the couch next, he plopped down and slapped his hand on Faces knee. "Hey, Faceyguy! Hannibal said I was to come on over and keep you company. Where they going?"
"Out." Faces answer was succinct and more than a little petulant.
Puzzled, Murdock continued, "Out, like on dates? The big guy?"
Frustrated by the events of the day, Face threw off Murdocks hand and stood. "No not on dates, like out in the field on a mission!" He turned to the open window and stared into the encroaching darkness.
"But, I thought I mean, after Hong Kong, Hannibal said no more splitting us up we work as a team, or not at all " Murdock stood and joined his friend at the window.
"I know. Thats what I said."
"Sooo what kind of reason did the Colonel give you?"
"Me." Face muttered this, low and disgusted.
"Yes, Murdock! Me me he said I wasnt fit for active duty and he wasnt going to let me go back out until Id been released."
"Okay, well, that does make sense, Face " Reluctantly, Murdock played devils advocate.
"For what its worth, yeah, it makes sense " Face murmured then moved away to his room, still trying to decipher the rest of the unspoken story.
Two days and nine hours later, Face sat in the soft, new sunlight of a dawning day and listened to the front door slam. The team! Hannibal! These were his first thoughts as he jumped up from his perch on the patio wall and walked into the Langley house. To his surprise, not only was it not the team, but it was probably his least favorite person in the world, right now: Stockwell, with Carla in tow. A quick glance at his watch showed the time to be only 0545 and way too early for even the straight-laced spook to be nosing around. Faces stomach flipped over and he swallowed back a sudden sense of unease. Something was wrong
"Whats going on, Stockwell?" He demanded without preamble and stalked over to get in the shorter mans face.
Face stood silent for the generals assessment of his physical condition before Stockwell began to speak at last. "Empress 7 is six hours late for pick up. It seems he and his team need rescuing again."
His stomach flipping again, Face followed Stockwell as he went to his office at the estate and began to rummage through piles of papers on his desk. "What do you mean, six hours late for pick-up? Where were they supposed to be picked up from and when was the last time you had confirmed contact with them?" Face demanded the answers, his lean hands braced on the shiny desk as he continued to stay in Stockwells line of vision as much as possible.
Handing the newly found files to Carla and indicating that she leave them alone, Stockwell leaned one hip on the desk directly across from the blond man and pursed his lips.
Damn it, Stockwell what have you gotten us into now? Face waited patiently although his mind demanded answers.
"Very well I cant go in alone anyway and you know what your team can do and what to look for as far as signs of them. Get your gear, jungle gear, and we leave in twenty minutes." Stockwell announced and turned his back on Face.
"Whoa! I think you need to tell me just a little bit of whats going on here, General! I mean, all I know is that Hannibal left me here, grounded by doctors orders, and without a clue as to exactly where or what they were going to do. You march in here now and blithely announce that theyre overdue and that you are going in to get them and I might as well come along for the ride?!" Face stood straight and glared hotly across the wide polished desk.
Mildly, Stockwell offered, "You dont want to go? Fine Ill have a team assembled and "
"You know damn well that Im going, you sanctimonious " Catching his words just in time, Face calmed down and spoke again, more rationally. "Ill be ready in ten minutes and then I want a full report! Oh and Ill call Murdock " He swung around and headed out the office door.
Face stopped dead and whirled back. "What?"
"The captain cant be reached, Ive already tried. Hes showing the tourists the capitol at sunrise again. It seems hes no longer busing tables. It will be just you and I on this trip, Lieutenant Peck. "
"Just you and I?" Face echoed then nodded, his voice firm and steady. "Fine Ill be ready in ten."
Twenty minutes later, the private Lear jet taxied down the private runway and winged west, bound for Colombia, South America and its rocky shore and jungle lands. In the plush interior, Face sat across from the taciturn general and waited for more information. His gaze must have eventually gotten to Stockwell for he finally sighed and removed his glasses from his face and looked squarely at the planes second passenger.
"Very well, Peck. Empress 7 led his team into the jungles of South America to locate and liberate an operative who is vital to the success of this organization. The Colonels last contact led me to believe that hed found the operative and would be ready for pick up " He glanced down at his watch and calculated quickly. "six hours and forty-five minutes ago." Carefully putting his glasses back in place, he continued. As of my last communication with the pick-up crew, four hours ago, they had not made radio or visual contact and there were no signs of Empress 7s team in the area. As the pick-up crew has not initiated any further contact, I can only assume that they have left the area as instructed and are waiting to take me us back to the landing site so that we can look for them ourselves."
"You know, four hours isnt that overdue for Hannibal " Face offered.
"True but he indicated that there were some serious injuries to the operative he went in for and no matter what my personal views are, I know that Smith would not take chance with a mans life unless he had no other choice." Stockwell, glanced pointedly at Faces own still lightly bandaged abdomen and waited for a reply.
Face only nodded tersely and fought the urge to place one hand over the gauze dressing beneath his olive drab t-shirt. Minutes passed before Face asked his final question. "Why is this operative so vital to your organization?" He asked out of curiosity, not really caring. He was just thankful that the mystery man was important, or no doubt Stockwell would have been willing to let Hannibal and the others rot in the South American jungle.
Stockwell just smirked and shook his head "Thats a need to know, Peck "
"Yeah, yeah and I dont need to know . gotcha." Face subsided into silence and gazed out the window at the rising sun. Soon he dozed, his blond head resting easy against the stuffed headrest. His dreams took him back, not far but far enough to cause his sleep to be restless and uneasy. As his head tossed from side to side on the cushioned rest, his thoughts weaved through the last five weeks, starting with his first conscious memories upon waking in the hospital.
He woke slowly, pulling himself painfully through the fog and haze toward the voice and the touch that was registering at his side. He struggled briefly; knowing that with awareness came reality and with reality came pain. The pain was there all the time, submerged in the misty unconsciousness that enshrouded him. But it was manageable as long as he could retreat at will into the fog. He wanted to keep the advantage of that retreat, but the voice and touch demanded that he return. And as he had for nearly 15 years, he responded to that voice and cracked his eyes open.
"Face? Can you hear me? Answer me."
The voice moved, shifted and came closer. His eyes blinked wider and he could see the fuzzy outline of a familiar form, back lit by the harsh florescent light above. The voice repeated the entreaty and a touch to his shoulder reinforced the directive.
"Face, answer me, nod your head if you hear me."
One painful nod was all he could manage and he drifted back into oblivion, welcomed by the cushioning haze of drugs and trauma.
Faintly, as he left, he could hear words breathed in his ear, "Thank you thank God."
In Faces present day, the small jet hit a pocket of turbulence that jarred him awake. His hand moved automatically to cover his abdomen and he straightened in the seat. Staring out the window, he thought back over his newly recovered memory and realized that the voice and the touch had been Hannibals. Hannibal had waited by his bed for him to wake. Hannibal had thanked him for returning; then had thanked God for allowing it.
He glanced about for Stockwell and saw him nearby, in conference with Carla via video remote. Dismissing the general, he turned back and reclined his seat. They had several more hours in the air by his estimate. Hed sleep while he could. Hannibal always said a unit worked better well rested.
"You have to rest Face! The doctor says you wont get better if you dont rest and let your body heal!" Hannibal stood over his recalcitrant officer and watched as he subsided onto the hospital bed, worn out from his impromptu, unprescribed, and interrupted jaunt about the tiny, cold room.
"I just wanted to see out the window, thats all." Face panted and eased himself back into the pillows. Even winded, he managed to pout and Hannibal had to grin at the familiar tactic.
"I know, Face. And Im sorry youre cooped up in here. You can go home in a few days." He hesitantly reached out and assisted the man in bed to arrange the many blankets over his long legs. His gloved fingers rested briefly on the top of the pile, kneading the shin and muscular calf of Faces leg. "We just cant take care of you like you need just yet. You still need the IV and the antibiotics." His voice wavered and his skin paled, "That restaurant floor was dirty. You lay there a long time, Face " Suddenly he broke contact and whirled away, putting his back to the bed and to the occupant. He strode for the door, calling over his shoulder, "Murdock will be here soon, kid. Is there anything you need when I come back?" Then he left without waiting for an answer.
"Hannibal, wait dont go, please."
The hospital room door swung shut soundlessly.
"Hannibal, dont go wait " Face mumbled in his sleep. His own voice roused him and sighing, he rose from his place and paced to the mini-bar.
Retrieving a bottled water, he uncapped and drank the cooling liquid. His stomach clenched briefly against the sudden coldness. He still needed to put on about five more pounds to be back to his pre-shooting weight. This clenching and cramping in his stomach with every bite or drink wasnt making that an easy task. The doctors assured him that the surgery was a success and all his internal parts worked just as they should. He forced himself to drink again and wished that someone would get the message to the fist in his gut.
The symptoms had first materialized nearly three weeks ago. Hannibal had proudly presented him with a meal fit for a king; his first full, solid meal since the doctors had approved. His first bite was heavenly, until he swallowed. The pain had hit hard accompanied by nausea and sweats. He tried to ignore it, tried to focus on Hannibal and what he was saying.
"Face, Ive been wanting to talk to you for a while now. Ive been thinking, a lot, since you were since you well, you know. I realized something that day and I think its been there for a long time, maybe since the beginning " He picked up and sipped at his iced tea. Fidgeting with the linen napkin, Hannibal drew in a deep breath and started talking again. "Face, I think " and his eyes moved up to focus on the man before him, his features so familiar. And at that very moment, those very features were contorted with pain and the struggle for breath. "Face, whats wrong?" Hannibal jumped from his chair and moved to kneel next to the one opposite him.
"Dont know, Hannibal hurts " Face had clutched his stomach and fallen over, directly into his colonels arms. Hed been rushed to the doctor and the conversation had never been resumed.
Now, watching white clouds float past the small plane windows, Face cursed and mutteringly asked the absent man, "What were you going to say, Hannibal?" A thousand thoughts flew over his mind. Perhaps the colonel was going to say that Face was being a pain in the ass and that he had to grow up and stop whining. Maybe he was going to say that he was a detriment to the team and was to be left behind permanently. After all, he majorly screwed up that scene in the restaurant. Murdocks bison scout troops should have been able to handle that situation.
Yet, Face somehow thought that Hannibal wasnt going to punish him, but tell him something important and deep. His clear blue eyes had sparkled with something and Faces curiosity had been high, until the unforgiving, abdominal pain hit. Thinking back now, he could recall a dozen times in the past weeks that hed seen Hannibals eyes have that glow, that sparkle and all those times had been spent with him, talking or trying to talk about some important matter. Just as he had for years, hed responded to that spark every time and each time theyd come so close to the point of the conversations, only to be interrupted again and again.
Unaccountably, Face recalled their last encounter, only days ago at Langley. He recalled Hannibals near sorrow at leaving and his adamant insistence that Face remain behind, safe for now. He recalled their parting and the fingers of his hand tingled as they recalled the touch that was so familiar yet somehow different now. Hannibal had gripped his fingers like a man saying good-bye to his wife or his lover
Faces stomach quivered anew and this time it had nothing to do with pain. This was wonder and bewilderment. Why hadnt he seen it? He, the teams expert on love and lust had been blind for so long. Why now, did it seem so clear, when distance and unknown obstacles separated them?
Making up his mind, he promised himself and Hannibal one thing: when he found his leader, he was going to force him to talk about whatever was behind that spark and if he was right, they had much to discuss, indeed.
The hot, South American jungle surrounded the small group of men. Trees crowded close and the dense canopy seemed to drop ever lower with each plodding step. The heavy undergrowth pulled and tugged at their legs, impeding their progress at every chance. The whole damn jungle seemed to be alive and doing its best to keep Hannibal from getting his men and his mission to safe ground. He paused for breath in a tiny clearing, panting shallowly in the heavy, humid air. "How is he, BA?"
BA touched the fevered mans forehead and checked his pupils. "Still out, Hannibal. But hes breathing and his pulse is steady."
"Good. Frankie, any sign of a signal from that pick-up unit?" Hannibal wiped the sweat from his face with a dirty handkerchief as he spoke.
The young Latino blinked at the silent, black box in his hand. "Nothing, Johnny. They cut out on us " He tossed the receiver into his pack and re-shouldered the load.
"Im not surprised. Were nearly ten hours late now. Backtracking through this jungle ate into our schedule. Lets make for the shore, guys. If Stockwell sends them back, thats where they are going to look for us." He tucked the handkerchief away and picked up the handles of the makeshift stretcher. "BA, take point."
He tightened his grip on the sweat-slicked stretcher handles and followed BAs broad back into the rough again. He marched steadily, mindful of the less-experienced man behind him. Frankie had held up like a trooper and he was proud of the boy. He reminded himself to tell Frankie how proud at the first opportunity. Frankie was young, but he was learning. He reminded him of Face in some ways, of how Face was in the early days: street-wise and cocky, but as out of place in a jungle as the jungle creature was in downtown LA. Face, who had come so far, growing up so fast in the jungles of Viet Nam, when he should have been cramming for tests in college like the other kids his age.
Damn, hed felt old the first time Face had looked at him with those eyes and saluted with a sarcastic "Yes, sir, Colonel." Hed felt old and wizened and war worn until hed looked closer and seen that the person who stood before him wasnt just a kid, but already a man in many ways. The eyes and the smiles and the smart mouth covered lots of things and Hannibal Smith had made it his business to find out just what. By the time he was through digging, hed corrected his first impression of a smart aleck street punk and formed another. This one of a world-weary young man, made old before his time by factors out of his control. In this discovery, Hannibal recognized a kindred soul, lost and at loose ends, just like he and the others in his A-Team. Hed reached out and pulled this soul into his unit and his life and in all the years that followed hed never looked back or regretted anything.
Until that night at Villa Cuchina. As hed held Face close, he cursed himself for being selfish and needy. Hed berated the Hannibal Smith of fifteen years earlier whod known that Face was not what hed presented and that he should have been sent back to less dangerous territory. Lieutenant Templeton Peck had no business with a team of Green Berets. But hed held onto the man back then, taught him what he hadnt already taught himself and taken him where he went, when he went. For a decade and a half, hed dragged his men from one escapade to another, from one danger to another, sometimes barely skimming by on the skin of their teeth. He loved them all and he knew they stayed because they wanted to, needed to. Whatever the reasons, Hannibal had never questioned or wondered before. And hed never thought of leaving any of them behind of leaving Face behind. He, Hannibal Smith, needed the blond lieutenant with him for entirely selfish reasons.
Well, at least he couldnt blame himself for that this time. Hed left Face safe at home, recuperating and probably cussing him with every breath but safe, in the cool, rolling hills of Virginia. Face wasnt here, in this God-forsaken steaming jungle, smelling rotting vegetation and listening for the attack of the men who chased them. And if he were lucky, Face would be so mad by the time he got back; hed have forgotten the confessions Hannibal had tried to make in recent weak moments. After all, hed decided long ago that acting on the deeper, confused feelings hed discovered he harbored for his first officer, wasnt the right thing to do.
Emotions such as these would put Face in emotional jeopardy and the team in physical jeopardy by disrupting the relationship between its commanding officers. He had done the right thing all these years and he would continue to do the right thing; protect Face from his jumbled feelings and the team from their possible repercussions. He dismissed the matter from his mind for the moment as he heard the minute but recognizable sounds of BA returning from his position at point. He signaled Frankie to lower the stretcher and crouched as BA reappeared.
"Hannibal, them guerillas are straight ahead." BA whispered. "They got reinforcements this time, too. Theyre fanning out, searching everywhere." He crouched down next to Hannibal, pulled his gun to the front and checked his ammunition clip. He was carrying the only weapon they had left and it was dangerously low. "What we going to do, Hannibal?"
Before he could answer, the man on the stretcher regained consciousness with a jerk and a yell. Frankie slapped a panicked hand over the mans mouth, but was seconds too late to conceal the noise. The yell carried through the jungle and soon the guerillas ahead were vectoring in on the sound. Rapid-fire native dialect sounded all about them and short, sharp bursts from automatic weapons resounded over their heads. A dozen camouflaged soldiers appeared and Hannibal gave a resigned sigh. " I dont think we have much choice at the moment, BA "
He raised his hands in surrender.
The small, fiberglass boat bounced through on the choppy waters of the Colombian shore. Its captain squinted into the setting sun; its orange glow was reflected in his aviator shades. He slowed the boat to a crawl and called over his shoulder to the other two men. "This is as close as I can get, General. Youll have to take the inflatable from here."
"Very good. Stay within radio range. When I signal, come in for the pick-up." Stockwell threw the rolled up bundle of the inflatable craft over the edge into the warm waters, releasing the strap and pulling the cord that released it to its full form. He lashed the rope to the handle of the speedboat, threw two packs and a large bundle into the flat bottom and nodded his head to Face. "Shall we?"
When both men were seated with oars in hand, the speedboats captain released their anchoring rope and gave the rubber dingy a hard shove toward the shore. The two men began to stroke at once, fighting the ocean currents to reach land. An hour later, they splashed into the foaming surf and towed the fragile boat onto the hot sand.
Barely sparing a moment to breathe, they pulled the craft into the cover of a small stand of trees. They pulled boots, fatigues and guns from the larger bundle. Dressed and with firearms nearby, Face quickly rummaged through his own pack and wrapped his abdomen securely with a tight elastic bandage to support and protect the still healing wound. Pulling the long sleeved camo shirt over the brown elastic, he slung his pack over his shoulders and was ready to depart.
Turning he found Stockwells eyes on him and he nodded uncomfortably. "What?"
"Your surgeon assured me that your wound is healing well and that in a few weeks time youll be cleared for active duty." Stockwell replied in an odd voice. "But, youre taking quite a risk with your health by joining me."
"No, Im not. Im fine. Besides, were a team and we should never have been separated in the first place." Face flatly stated. "Shall we?" He nodded inland and began to stride up the rocky beach.
"Yes, of course lead the way. You know what to look for."
Without further dialogue, the pair headed into the jungle.
Several miles inland, Hannibal, BA, Frankie and the injured man, whom they knew only as Empress 11, were shoved into a small thatch hut. Immediately Frankie moved to the door to check for guards and survey the general layout of the compound they were being held in. BA moved to the one, tiny window to do the same. Within seconds, both were back in the perimeter of the dirt floor reporting to Hannibal, who was checking the groggy, man on the floor. "Guards at every corner, Hannibal and two at the window. Jeeps all around and everyone is armed to the teeth," muttered BA.
"Same at the front, Johnny. Jungle on all sides that I could see." Frankie knelt next to the pair on the floor. "How is he?"
"Waking up. Maybe well get some answers now. Like who he is and why hes so high on those montoneros wanted list." He slapped the mans cheek and spoke firmly. "Wake up wake up. Whats your name?"
The man lying on the earth floor began to moan and toss his head fitfully. He coughed coarsely and tried to speak. His voice was low and guttural, scratchy from dehydration and trauma. Swallowing dryly, he coughed once more and tried again. "em " the rusty voice died and the mans eyes drooped shut again. When Hannibal tapped his cheek once more and shook him slightly, he groaned and forced his eyes to open fully. "Empress 11 clearance level alpha " Wakened by the pain caused by his own movements, the man sat up a bit and eyed Hannibal blearily. "Names Charles Stockwell you can call me Chase. I guess big brother sent you ?"
"Brother?" Hannibal glanced up at his men then down to Chase once more. "Youre Stockwells brother?"
"Stockwells brother and an Empress operative? Oh boy " Frankie rolled his eyes and shook his head.
Chase Stockwell eased himself up against the rough wall of the hut and cast his gaze over the men before him. "Youre the A-Team, at least part of it."
"Seems you know a lot more than we do, Stockwell. Wanna enlighten us?" Hannibal reached for the last of his cigars and jammed it, unlit, between his teeth.
"Guess I owe you that much. What did Hunt tell you?" Chase rubbed his hand over his aching, throbbing head and blinked back the weariness that wanted to come.
Face flattened himself against the rough bark of the nearest tree and motioned for the general to do the same. A large group of armed men was moving stealthily past them on the pocked and pitted Jeep trail. Several breathless minutes passed before he ventured to speak.
"Who are they?" he asked when the mean were finally out of sight. He crouched on the ground at the base of the tree, sipping water from a canteen in his pack.
"Soldiers of the FARC. They were holding my operative and I suspect that they also now hold the rest of your team." Stockwell declined the offered canteen.
Face shrugged, if the tight-assed general wanted to risk dehydration, fine. No skin off Faces nose for now. He carefully recapped the water container and reattached it to his pack. "Okay, so if they have the team we follow them. Theyll lead us to Hannibal and the others and then well get them out."
"You make that sound much easier than it will be, Peck."
"Probably but half the battle is in your head, General." And he set off to trail the armed forces of the guerrilla band.
In the camp of the FARC, an angry uniformed man made his way to the hut that held the captured Americans. They had broken into his camp, stolen his prisoner and made him a laughing stock in front of his commanding officer, but no more. They were all in his control now and he would make the smart mouthed white haired one pay for them all. He gestured to the guard at the door and barked out, "Bring their leader to me."
The guards pushed open the rough-hewn door went in. Scuffling was heard from inside, then Hannibal strolled out of his own accord. Insolently sticking the cigar stub between his teeth, he asked, "Anybody got a light?"
The camp leader sneered at him and nodded his head. He was going to enjoy this very much. He jerked his head to the guards and headed for the center of the camp. The guards dragged Hannibal into place then tied him tightly hand and foot from behind. The foreign leader slapped his cigar from his mouth and onto the ground nearby.
Forced to his knees, Hannibal stared up at the swarthy company of men. His eyes were cold and narrow. "What do you want, dirt bag?"
"Oh, I have what I want, American. And now Im going to enjoy it." He spoke in heavily accented English as he pulled a long, glistening knife from his belt and began to pare and shape his nails. "Tell me who you are."
Hannibal stayed silent, his eyes never wavering from their hold on the eyes of the man before him.
"Very well. I am Colonel Montoya of the FARC. I am in charge of this company and now..." He smiled grimly, "Im in charge of you. Id suggest that you cooperate."
Hannibal smirked once more, "Yeah, I bet you would."
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