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Rhapsody's Torment 1

Rhapsody's Torment
By Bloo

Rating: R
Summary: After a routine mission, Murdock goes missing and the team have to find him.
Warnings: Violence, some graphic descriptions.


***

Part 1

 

2 minutes had passed since the last time H.M checked his watch. He was pacing the floor of his room with great concern. It wasn't like the guys to not contacting. Something must have happened to them. He knew he shouldn't have asked for their help and now he felt as guilty as hell that he did. Thoughts of the past few days' events ran repeatedly through his head and each time he reached the end, he gave grunt of disapproval. Where were they? Murdock was getting more and more worried. If only they had let him go, then maybe he wouldn't be here dying for his friends' safety. If only.... It's always if only, the captain knew there was something wrong, but if only.... Murdock's thoughts trailed off as he tried hard to keep back the tear in his eye and battled with his conscience...

***

The sun was beating down on the van, heating its contents. Hannibal wiped the sweat off his brow with the back of his glove. He had his rifle ready and loaded. Hannibal seemed to be watching something in the distance. The suns rays were reflecting off a mirror.

'That's the signal guys' he said with his cigar still in his mouth' Let's go B.A' Hannibal requested while patting the big guy's muscular arm.

B.A put his foot to the floor causing the two men at the back to jolt backwards. They were use to B.A's driving and knew the attitude he had, so they knew better than to complain. As the van along with its four mercenaries approached the airbase the black sliding door opened to reveal a very eager man donning a baseball ball cap and a semi-automatic rifle. Trigger happy as H.M was, he did not precede his commander, who also had his gun aiming at the chatting guards that they were approaching. Hannibal gave H.M the signal and both Colonel and Captain pulled powerfully on their triggers. The guards dived out of the way as B.A drove the van though a barricade. Little did the guards know that they would not be hurt - it was just a ploy to scare them for a while, and it was working well. As they rounded the corner of the hanger, they saw their objectives. There it was in all its glory. Murdock stopped shooting and stared wide-mouthed at what they were approaching.

'Murdock' his commander shouted above the gun fire 'GO! GO! GO!' and with that, Murdock dived out of the van and rolled along the ground to break his fall.

He had done so many evacuations during 'Nam and survived to tell the tale, and being on the team gave him enough opportunity to keep in practise. It was second nature to him now.

'Face, Help me out here' was the call from the passenger seat as the van sped away leaving a trail of dust behind it.

After diving out of the van, Murdock headed straight for the target - the Hughes Apache AH-64. The first of it's kind. The capabilities that rumoured around this helicopter where now going to become truths for the captain. Like a child at Christmas he stared at the cockpit and all the buttons with bright wide eyes. Automatically, he placed the ear-guards on and tuned his frequency to match the one in the van. H.M flicked the cap and depressed the button. The engine hummed as it started up. It wasn't like the scammed copters in the past, all broken and could barely hold itself up. This was a mean fighting machine on that thought he laughed as a vision of the angry mud-sucker plagued his thoughts. The captain felt the rotors reach full speed, so he pulled gentle back on the stick - he knew that it was going to be sensitive, but he didn't figure it to feel like it was set in jelly, so much so that he hit the ground with the tail rotor. Correcting his mistake he took the bird up and off into the distance, while the guards tried to shoot down the Apache - but all in vain.

***

'Colonel, the target has been retrieved' was the familiar voice that came over the radio.

'Hey B.A, it has two cockpits. If I teach ya to fly, then you could be my gunner - pal!!' suggested Murdock.

'Shut up Fool!! I 'ain't gonna fly - I die before I fly and I especially 'ain't gonna fly with you!!' was the angry reply B.A gave.

'Well, who woke up on the wrong side of the sofa, then?' Questioned the insulted Captain.

'Don't you mean bed, Murdock?' Face corrected.


'That's what I said' said Murdock 'I said bed...oh oh' the captain began 'I'm rhyming my words again! Will I stop? Do you know when?'

During this time Hannibal sat there contentedly listening to Murdock wind up B.A, but he could see the sergeant about to burst.

'Err Murdock' the colonel intervened 'How far are you from base?'

'ETA 10 minutes, colonel, why?' the captain asked.

'Well...' Hannibal paused to light a new cigar 'We're thinking, seeing as we are wanted people and that this was a mission given to you by the CIA, we think that we shouldn't show our faces. So, we'll meet you back a B.A's `place, O.K?' the colonel asked, concerned about the zany pilot.

'Sure Hannibal, no probs, I'll meet you back at B.A's over and out' and with that the radio cackled, so B.A turned down the squelch.

The colonel puffed thoughtfully. He could detect the slight disappointment in H.M's voice, but knew it was for the best. He turned round to Face sitting in the back and saw that the Lieutenant was worried too. This mission was for Murdock, but he couldn't help wondering whether it was a trap for them. He knew Murdock wouldn't tell, but were they holding something on their chopper pilot?

***

Hannibal was quiet all the way back to L.A the long ride from Death Valley had given the colonel time to think. The other two men amused themselves as not to disturb the line of though. Hannibal had gone though 3 cigars and they knew he was planning. He wasn't on the jazz yet, but B.A could see it coming soon.

'B.A...' the first words that the colonel spoke for ages. 'Forget going to your place - let's got to the Catsnap motel across the street from you.'

Hannibal removed the cigar from his mouth and rolled it between his fingers. You could see his eyes light up.

'Why aren't we going to B.A's?' Face enquired, perching forward on his seat.

'Cos he's on the jazz, man - he's on the jazz!!'

B.A grunted as Peck slid back into his seat and continued to read his magazine. The colonel put his cigar back in his mouth and grinned. He turned around to face the lieutenant, who was sitting there shaking his head.

'What's the matter Lieutenant?' Hannibal said, still grinning.

'It's just when you're on the jazz, nothing's ever easy!!' Face answered, crossing his legs.

'Yeah man. You'll get us killed one day' B.A agreed.

Hannibal turned around to face B.A.

'Oh sergeant, have a little faith!' the colonel looked at the expression on B.A's face and had to laugh. Whenever B.A screwed up his face like that, Hannibal couldn't keep a straight face. B.A swiped his hand in the colonel's direction. Hannibal just laughed louder. Only the colonel would have gotten away with laughing at B.A. B.A just shook his head.

'Well, what's the plan then Colonel?' Face asked. He didn't even look up from the magazine he was reading, he just sniffed and cleared his throat.

'Just you wait Lieutenant, just you wait!!' Hannibal said keeping them in the dark as usual. The van sped away down the highway.

***

Murdock touched down on the red 'H'. The journey to the base was a lonely one and gave H.M some time to think about what he could do about the situation he got himself into. Men clutching handguns met his cold stare. They weren't aimed at the pilot, but he knew they were to persuade him to give them no funny business, or else. Murdock was not about to do anything stupid - he had carefully though over the concept and stepped out of the helicopter.

'Well Captain, how 'she handle?'

'Fine' was the blunt reply from H.M. He was not in the mood for making light conversation with the old man. Murdock walked off in the direction the goons were steering him in. Having 3 or 4 of them each side would do that. Thoughts ran though his head, but they were ones of fear right now. The old man with a wooden cane followed closely behind them.

The stairs were winding, not square flights. They were carpeted, which was unusual for this type of old building. Murdock took a mental note of everything about his surroundings. It was the first time they had taken Murdock in conscious. They used a tactless way to take the king of crazy out of the V.A. He was drugged by one of his own. Probably paid-off H.M thought to himself. They took the captain to the room he woke up in the first time. The good ol' Murdock would have had a few wise cracks about the situation, but Murdock was not himself - literally, this side of H.M was buried deep and it pained him to feel the anger and hate again. They pointed to a chair and Murdock went and sat in it. The goons left H.M in the room alone. He was sitting on a wooden chair in the centre of the room. The walls were lined with bright white wallpaper. A hanging light hanged above Murdock's head. There were no windows in the room and the current situation brought back bad memories. He hung his head. He just wanted it to end.

'Well H.M, can call you H.M?' Murdock looked up at the old man who was standing there leaning on his cane. Murdock didn't look amused.

'Hope you don't mind if I don't stand' the captain said with a sharp edge.

'You're funny, you know'

'I've been told' H.M replied bluntly. He wasn't in the mood for this old man's stupid quips and chit-chat.

'Will you get on with it. I 'ain't in the mood for this 'knowing me, knowing you' crap!' the captain said emphasising the knowing me part. The man looked at Murdock distastefully, knowing even though the goons where outside, H.M could do damage if provoked, so he stepped back and got to the point.

'Did you get it' the man questioned

'Get what?' Murdock replied

'Don't you play with me BOY!' the man shouted

'Look' the captain stated, standing up and stressing his point with forceful gestures 'You drag me out here, FORCE me to do a covert mission, I didn't want to do in the first place and then you expect me to give you what YOU want?!'

Murdock's outburst caused the old man to question how he had spoke H.M and he backed towards the door.

'YOU have another thing comin' BAAABIIEE!!!' Murdock pointed to the man.

H.M lifted his left leg and removed an ankle gun and pointed it at the quivering man. And so he should be frightened, this wasn't a charade -- no captain cab here. Murdock was truly sane this time and he meant business. The old man tapped heavily on the door with his cane. The door opened to reveal seven or eight goons pointing guns at Murdock, but he just stared with fiery eyes into the man's wrinkled eyes and could see the fear in them, like a beacon on a lighthouse, they showed who was in control.

'You aren't that stupid captain' you could hear the fear in his voice.

'Just try me' Murdock said as he pulled back the hammer. You could feel the tenseness in the atmosphere, the goons moved awkwardly, trying not to provoke the tempered captain.

'Well, I hope you haven't forgotten our agreement, sir' the man said stiffly.

As he finished his sentence, Murdock's eyes turned from hatred to worry instantly. He stared at the white haired man as the fear from his eyes set into Murdock's.

'Do I have to remind you of our deal, captain?' said the man, gaining confidence.

'You wouldn't' H.M said calling his bluff.

'Try me' the man replied. Murdock saw that the man was not bluffing and slowly let the gun drop from his finger to the floor.

Like a flock of vultures on a dead body, the goons took the tall captain down on the floor and once they had contained him, the turned him over pushing his head deep into the concrete floor while tying his hand behind his back. The captain did not resist any of the harsh treatment he was receiving; he just lay there while his thoughts flashed through his head. The pain hurt. The captain hurt from head to foot and he wished it would stop. His wish came true. A shooting pain tore at his arm as he passed out cold.

***

'All ready Hannibal'

B.A reported drying his hands on his red hanky, though B.A used it as a bandana mainly. He looked at the material and memories of Murdock filled his head. Even though he wouldn't admit it to the gang, he cared for his friend and felt empty not having the energetic pilot jumping all over him, though he didn't miss the flying one bit.

Hannibal was perched on the back of the sofa looking out the window through his binoculars. He had taken a room that gave them a clear view of B.A's apartment across the busy street. They were a floor above B.A's level so they had the advantage as anyone in B.A's place would have to stick his head out the window to see the colonel's prying eyes.

Face walked into the room from the bathroom.

'What ya been doin' in there Face?' B.A asked popping his head into the vacant bathroom.

'Well, unlike you, my friend, I like to keep clean, so I took a shower' Face said straightening his tie and cleared his throat.

'Yeah and anything else that wasn't fastened down' B.A stated seeing the bathroom towels and accessories were missing.

'Well, this job doesn't pay too well' Face said sarcastically, directing it towards Hannibal.

Hannibal didn't budge.

'Ya know Lieutenant, if you worked as hard as you moan, you'd be a very rich man!' Hannibal gypped.

'Hey, pass me a cigar' he said waving his hand out behind him searching for the cigar.

Face double looked the colonel and felt around in his pocket. He passed the cigar to Hannibal and walked over to the bed. He lay down on it and stared up at the ceiling with his hands behind his golden brown hair. Peck let out a sigh.

'Hannibal, what are we going to do now?'

'Wait Lieutenant, wait' was the colonel's reply as he exhaled a cloud of smoke with a depressive sigh.

***

Murdock moaned with the pain that attacked every part of his body. He was tied into the chair and they had gagged him. The gash in his forehead seeped slowly down the side of his eye. His ribs felt broken and his leg was felt limp at the knee. The captain was slumped forward in this chair as the rope dug deep into his chest. He came to, to see the old man was watching him writhe and wiggle with all the energy he could find. It was like he had died and gone to hell. The man nodded past the wounded H.M and suddenly felt the rope around his chest slacken. The captain was too weak and slid down the chair onto the floor. He lapsed between consciousness, and missed most of what the man was saying. Murdock felt this as a small blessing on missing most of what the man was saying, but he got the main idea. The man wanted to know where they were. Should he tell this crazed old man? What would Hannibal do in a situation like this? Were the thoughts that ran like a river through the injured man lying on the cold floor. He hurt bad, but the torment of having to deciding hurt him more. Was it the deal or his friends? His heart was torn in two. Where did his loyalties lie? The Colonel wouldn't give in to scum like this. He would have risked his life for the team and many a time Hannibal was put in that situation. Murdock was reminded of the shooting incident last year and that made up his mind. The deal could wait; heck they had to find it first, and he hated the man who put him here. The colonel would help him with the deal when he got out of his pit...IF he got out! He started to mumble. The old man can over and removed his gag.

'What was that captain?'

'Go to hell ol' man!' H.M said as he struggled to free his hands.

'Well sir, you have made a grave mistake. Yes sir you have. Consider the deal and yourself to be terminated' the man coldly said, giving his goons a nod.

Then Murdock was kicked and beaten unconscious. His last thoughts were with his team as his lifeless body lay leaking across the floor.

***

'They better not break anythin' in my apartment, man' B.A said beating his fist in his hand.

'Calm down sergeant save it' said the colonel, still looking through his binoculars.

'Well colonel, anything?' Face enquired, motionless, still with his hands behind his head.

'No nothi...' the colonel paused, which attracted the attention of his room mates.

'What is it Hannibal?' Face asked sitting up.

'Well, I think this may be it' Hannibal -- replied turning the focus on the binoculars. B.A and Face had joined him at the window, both squinting to see what was happening in the apartment.

'Let's do it!' Hannibal said, putting the binoculars on the window ledge.

He took his gun out and checked the barrel. He looked at the team, who were ready and waiting for their commander and with a nod at the door, Hannibal led his men out of the room.

***

A knock on the door startled the intruders and they pulled out their guns cautiously.

'Room service' a frail voice followed the knock.

'We didn't order anything' one of the goons replied 'Take it back' he tutted and put his gun away, turning his back to the door. Then all of a sudden a boot, attached to B.A's foot came through the door.

'This is a non-returnable service' Hannibal said pointing his semi-automatic at them, while searching the room with his eyes.

'Ah, three against three' the colonel began and turned to B.A 'I think that's fair, don't you B.A?'

'I'll show 'em fair in a minute' B.A growled. The colonel gave a grin with his ever present cigar between his teeth.

'Murdock? Where are you?' the colonel shouted.

Looking puzzled when the zany pilot did not appear or reply, he removed his cigar and rested his weapon on his shoulder. The other two kept their guns on the goons - they weren't going to let them leave in a hurry. The colonel paced up to the closet goon and pointed the machine gun at his chest. Hannibal pushed hard and placed his cigar back in his mouth and gripping it between his teeth.

'Where's the pilot?' Hannibal questioned.

The goon ignorantly looked away and gave a grunt as to say he wasn't going to tell. That was a big mistake and B.A and Face knew it and gave each other a little smile and shook their heads.

'That was a big mistake' Face warned the goon attached to the end of Hannibal's gun.

The goon turned to look at Face.

'Why? What are you goin' to do about it?' he asked, giving the Lieutenant some attitude.

'Oh it's not what I'm going to do' laughed Face 'It's what he'll do' Face finished pointing to Hannibal.

The goon looked at Hannibal and for the first time he saw the anger in the colonel's eyes. The goon gulped as realized the situation he was in.

'Well, are you gonna tell me where my man is or do I have to drop you here right now?' the tone of the colonel's voice showed authority and the goon knew it.

He didn't know what scared him so about the man. It wasn't the gun, he had faced death before and was not scared of it. There was an aura surrounding the silver-haired commander and the goon was scared of it.


'I...I don't know' the man stuttered.

'You better know' the colonel said not giving an inch. 'You better find out' Hannibal said ushering the man to the phone with his gun still pressed firmly into the goon's chest. He picked up the receiver and passed it to the giant goon cowering on the end of Hannibal's gun.

'Dial' the colonel said bluntly.

The man took the phone and depressed the buttons. Hannibal made a mental note of the number. It was an out of town number, which didn't surprise the colonel. They didn't seem to be from around here.

'Yeah, Mr Randall please.....it's Jimmy' he said not taking his eyes off the colonel .

'Mr Randall?' Hannibal pulled the hammer back on the gun, giving Jimmy a warning not to reveal the situation.

'Yes sir, we have finished checkin' over the apartment. They weren't here, but I found some information about the deal' Jimmy said, trying sound natural.

Hannibal took the cigar out of his mouth and rolled it in his between his gloved fingers. The deal? What deal? Murdock never mentioned anything about a deal, the colonel thought to himself.

'Yes sir, immediately. I understand. 64 Tailstop place, right sir - bye'

Jimmy hesitantly passed the receiver back to Hannibal. Looking at him, he decided not to and went to put the receiver back himself. As he bent over instead of putting the receiver back, Jimmy back-handed Hannibal across the face. The colonel was a bit taken back by this and the other goons started up on Face and B.A, but before Jimmy could get another punch in, Hannibal pulled the trigger on his weapon. The shots ripped through the wall, inches from Jimmy's head. The goons stopped in mid-punch, allowing Face to get up off the floor. Having a trim build, he was not built for this kind of physical contact. He stood up and touched his eyebrow. His face screwed up in pain. He looked at his finger that was stained with fresh blood.

'Oh great!!' Face began to moan 'Look at that' he said showing his finger and head cut to Hannibal.

'Save it Lieutenant, we have a man to go get' the colonel panted, still recovering from the recent incident. B.A was holding two very worn out goons by their collars on their jackets.

'You're going to pay for this' Face informed the goon, pointing his bloody finger at him. His confidence at a high seeing as B.A had a firm grip on them.


'Just you wait' Face finished.

He turned around and reached for the door handle. The colonel had the gun in Jimmy's back now and B.A dragged the goons towards to door. The last thing that Face could remember was opening the door and meeting someone's fist. As Face lay on the floor, B.A raised his hands in the air dropping his grip on the half conscious men. Hannibal gave a loud sighed and dropped his gun on the floor then took the time to light a new cigar.

***

Mr Randall stood over the body. He raised his cane and prodded Murdock. He didn't move.

'Well, non the less, we don't need him anymore. Jimmy said that he has details on the deal. Shame, he was a good pilot'

The old man said to Murdock's assailant and with that they left the room and locked the door.

***

'What?!' Randall shouted banging his fist on the desk 'How did this happen?' he asked 'Well, count your lucky stars that you have. I want you to bring them back here right away!'

Randall slammed the receiver down.

'Idiots complete idiots. Well, it looks like Mr Murdock has some visitors' he laughed evilly to his henchman.

'Go open the room' and with that command, the goon was gone.

The A-Team can't be as good as everyone thinks, Randall so stupidly thought.

***

The key turned stiffly in the lock. The room was dark and uninviting and there was the smell of blood too. Troy, the old man's henchman, was proud of his work as it lay silent on the floor. The blood that came out of H.M was still warm and ran down his face. Most of the weeping wounds were superficial, it was the inner ones that did it's damage. Troy stood over Murdock and looked down at him. What a waste, he thought. If only he had co-operated and given Randall what he wanted, then he would Have been spared. He wanted the A-Team and now Randall had no need for the deal. Troy grabbed the ropes that binded H.M's hands together and drag the captain into the corner, then he placed another two chairs to the one in the middle - it was party time and he knew there would only be one winner after tonight.

***

 

Randall sat back in his chair. He was a tormented man, a man with a past that nightmares were made of. The A-Team had deluded him for years, but not anymore. Murdock was his key to the mercenaries demise. And what better way than by the 'deal'. The old man looked smug as he thought how clever his plan was. It was something he knew Murdock couldn't risk calling his bluff - he knew that, that's what made it such a good plan, he couldn't lose. The team were not going to ruin another plan again. Randall was fed up with the team and he thought it was time to collect for the damages they had caused him Not only did he have the A-Team but he had the world's first combat capable helicopter and all through playing this easy charade. Randall was smug and loving it. One man dead and only four to go and three of them were on their way. The old man stood up and went over to the window and looked into the distance. Randall had a flash back of the time he was smuggling drugs. Everything was going to plan and the boat that the drugs were on was on the home straight and who should be waiting for them, but the A-Team on a cruise boat. Hannibal and his men had gotten on his boat and had Randall tied up. Hannibal played all high and mighty with his cigar and his speech about scum -- how dare he call me scum, Randall thought, then Hannibal sprayed him with yellow paint. He remembered when the cops took him away, they were laughing at him, he knew it!! The old man cringed at the thought. He spent 20 years in lock up and Randall had planned everything while he was banged up in a cell smaller then this room. He was proud at how his years of planning had resulted in the demise of the A-Team and the Charlie Winters, President of the United States. Randall was a very bitter man and planned on showing the president and his justice system a little something.

'This is where 'I' begin' the crazed man said breaking into an evil laugh.

***

The door closed shut. He felt the pain everywhere. He couldn't move because it hurt so much. Murdock lay motionless with his eyes closed. As he lay there he was having flashbacks of his first visit. The black-eye barely healed up from the first time and he was sure they broke his leg this time. Then there was the 'deal'. It was not something he was proud of and it lingered over him like death itself. H.M prayed that his team mates were O.K. He heard what the goon had said and had to hold back a tear for his friends. It had all blown up in his face and he didn't care that they had nearly killed him, he was forced into the deal and couldn't help thinking what would have happened if he had followed the agreements that Randall gave him. No, he thought, he couldn't have sold out his friends. They were his family and the colonel looked after him since 'Nam. He wished he hadn't been off guard. If only Face hadn't rang to say he was going to be late, then all of this would not be happening. He didn't blame Face, how was anyone to know what was going on. If only he had known what the deal was before signing it, there was no way he would have signed then. He felt cheated. The captain knew that they would get out of the situation that Murdock had gotten them into, if not, he thought, then let god strike me dead now. A cold shiver shot down his spine as the captain lay there in the shadows.

***

The men sat in the back of the van, under the watch of gun-wielding goons. Face nursed his broken nose, the bleeding had stopped now, but it still hurt. Splattered stains covered the front of his white shirt. He looked around and took a few mental notes that may come in handy. B.A was sitting there with his face screwed up tight, both warning the goons and letting his commander know his disapproval of the situation that he had put them in. Although, in his heart, he knew the colonel could not have anticipated another second set of goons. Hannibal reached for a cigar and heard a hammer on a gun get pulled back. He looked up from searching his shirt pocket and saw Jimmy pointing a hand gun at him.

'Can I have a cigar?' the colonel asked twiddling the unlit cigar in one of his cuffed hands.

'No, and if you move again, I'll shoot ya.' he replied with a harsh tone.

Hannibal turned to Face and B.A, who sat at the other end of the canvas backed truck, both donning hand-cuffs. Face sniffed and crossed his legs. B.A shook his head. He knew that when Hannibal gets cocky, it always rubs the people up the wrong way.

'They're no fun at all' Hannibal said sarcastically.

The next thing Hannibal felt was a shooting pain at the back of his head. The cigar dropped from his gloved hands and then everything went black.

'I told him not to move' Jimmy said, letting the others know the score, waving his gun at the both of them. B.A and Face stared in horror at what had happened. They feared the worst.

***

The door opened and a ray of light lit up the body in the corner. Face and B.A's eyes were shocked. They had beaten him almost unrecognisable. His face was covered in blood. B.A tried to break free from the goon who held him by the cuffs. He shook them off with ease and ran over to the captain. B.A knelt down gentle next to his friend.

'MURDOCK?' the big guy called, trying to tell if he was alive 'MURDOCK?' he repeated, trying to fight the overwhelming emotions for his friend. Murdock didn't move or say a thing. B.A trying to touch is Captain with his arm to give him a nudge, but the cuffs restricted him.

'Come on man! Don't give up Murdock! Don't give up!' he shouted, then B.A got up.

'Who the hell did this? I'm gonna make ya PAY!!' B.A turned around to find he was looking down the barrel of a hand gun.

'Well, you don't want to do anything stupid now do you? Troy said as another two goons tried to secured the Sergeant.

B.A still struggled with then as he looked at Face who was pale and looked like he was going to be sick. The team were dropping like flies and Face stared at Murdock's body, full of regret that he decided to go to Sally's place than to pick Murdock up at the V.A. He had guilt running through his mind as a vivid picture of Murdock was permanently scorched into his memory. He didn't resist as they put him in the chair and bound him up tightly with ropes. His commanding officer was down and he knew it was up to him to get them out of this. B.A struggled constantly as they forced him into the seat next to Face. Randall entered the room and Face and B.A looked at him.

'YOU!' Face shouted as the face brought back the memories. 'What have you done to our friend?'.

'Yeah!' B.A added, screwing up his face in disgust.

'He didn't co-operate, so I got fed up and finished him off'. Randall replied looking at the vacant chair next to B.A.

'Where's the white-haired one?' the old man asked one of his goons.

'Well, we had a problem' Jimmy began 'Come out here and I'll tell you' he said as he walked out of the door. Randall followed and closed the door behind him.

B.A was still struggling to get free, even though he had trigger happy goons pointing guns at him. He didn't care what happened to him, he just wanted to be with his friend and commander. Face saw B.A struggling and gave a secret message to him. B.A saw it out of the corner of his eye, then stopped. He knew exactly what Face was saying when he cleared his throat, crossed his legs and then winked his right eye. B.A returned the code with a nod. He felt a little more relaxed knowing that Face had a plan and since they had used this plan over and over again, it was sure to work, but still, B.A was as concerned as Face about their two associate friends, but they also knew that timing was everything for this plan and that they had to contain the overwhelming emotions that filled them, if they were gonna get out alive.

The door opened and Randall beckoned two of his goons over.

'Go get the other one and bring him in here, we don't want to leave any evidence lying around' he told them and they complied and left the room along with the other goons and Randall.

Troy wanted to stay to watch them. He was the only one who seemed to have not under-estimated them and even with two men down, he still didn't want risk it. It didn't ruin Face's plan anyway because he wanted them to be together. He wasn't about to leave the colonel's body with these scums. B.A could have taken Troy on no problem, but he also knew that they had to wait. Face was the pre-starter for this plan and B.A did the rest. It was a plan that the whole team used and it was more effective, but that just was not going to happen. As he went through the information, over and over in his head, his planning was interrupted by Troy sticking a gun in his chest. Face's pulse raced, but he showed a cool and calm exterior. B.A was on the verge of picking up his chair and breaking it over Troy's head, but Face uncrossed his legs. Whenever they were in trouble, if Face ever uncrossed his legs, it meant not to do anything, even if he gets shot. Over the years of being on the run and being in 'nam together, each man had his habits and gestures and they each learnt each other's. B.A showed his disapproval by stamping his left foot hard on the floor, but Face kept his legs uncrossed, crossing them in this situation meant he needed help and Face couldn't risk ruining the plan for everyone or anything.

'Hey, You don't look Military material' Troy said pushing the gun harder into Face's chest, pushing his chair onto it's back two legs.

Not again, Face thought as he felt his chair tip, expecting to fall back onto his cuffed hands and his head. But to his surprise, Troy removed the gun and let the chair come back onto the four legs.

'So what was 'Nam like?' Troy asked the Lieutenant as he moved to cover the both of them with the gun.

'It was hell' Peck began 'I lost a lot of friends out there and if I hadn't been put on the Colonel's SF team, I'm sure I wouldn't be here now' Face said, pausing to remember his dead friends. Everyone thought he was self centred and shallow, but even though it rang true during his scams, his scams did not make the Lieutenant Peck sitting here. Sure I'm always asked to scam stuff and I love it, Face thought, but I wish that I could be just plain old Templeton sometimes. It's hard keeping up a facade. He knew though that his team respected him as Face and this is why he was so determined to rectify this situation, not just because he wished he had picked Murdock up on time, but because the team needed him. He knew H.M would never hold this against him, but he was not so sure about himself, he just prayed that both Captain and Colonel were alive.

The door opened and it startled Troy a bit. Face cleared his throat, re-crossed his legs and winked his right eye. Again, B.A nodded acknowledging the status of the plan. Jimmy and another man were dragging a very groggy Colonel. They tied him to the seat but he just slumped forward in his seat.

'Well, it looks like your sentencing has been reprieved until the Colonel wakes up, I want to make sure he understands why and what I'm sentencing you for, after all, he is your Colonel, he shall have the pleasure of going first' Randall said giving an evil grin. 'Troy, let's go. Don't forget to lock up' and so they left B.A and Face with two unconscious men.

The slammed shut and then the key turned stiffly in the lock.

'Have they gone yet?' an alert Colonel whispered to a surprise Face and B.A.

'Hannibal?' a shocked Lieutenant asked.

'Yeah, Have they gone?'

'Yeah man. What the hell are ya playin' at?' B.A whispered as not to disturb the guard on the other side of the door.

'Well, I guessed after they knocked me out, that one of you would come up with the plan, then I though I'd buy us some time, because Randall's ego is too big, I thought he may like to address us all at once.'

'You were very good at it too. We though he had killed you Hannibal' Face said showing his concern. 'It looks like they've already killed Murdock. What are we going to do?'

The smug smile vanished off the colonel's face as he was informed of Murdock. He couldn't believe it, no, he wouldn't believe that his zany pilot was dead. He tried standing up to turn his chair around to look at H.M's body, but he went light headed and started to fall forward. Hannibal leaned backwards and sat back, hoping the chair wouldn't break under the pressure.

'B.A, can you get us out of this?' Hannibal impatiently asked.

'I can't get out without breaking this chair over the sucker that did this to him!' B.A said angrily.

'Keep calm Sergeant' Hannibal said trying to keep him quiet 'Can you undo my ropes?'

'I think so, get back to back' B.A replied.

The two men shuffled to get back to back. The Lieutenant kept an eye on the door and kept checking on their progress. After a long two or three minutes, the Colonel brought his hands to the front and rubbed at his wrists, they had moved the cuffs from his hands when they moved him from the truck as not to attract too much attention, they obviously forgot to put them back on. Hannibal rushed over to Murdock and removed a glove from his hand. He slid his hand up his shirt and put his hand on Murdock's heart. He put the other hand on his neck to find a pulse. B.A had edged closer to find out what the report was. Face had divided his attention between watching the door and worrying about Murdock's status.

'How is he' a concerned B.A asked 'Is he gonna be ok Hannibal?'

'I think so - I can feel a pulse, weak that it is, it's still beating.'

The Colonel attempted to untie his hands as gently as possible.

'Murdock? Can you hear me?' the Colonel asked trying to turn him into a more comfortable position. 'B.A, go watch the door with Face'.

'But Hannibal....'.

'You're not doing any good here, so go watch the door, that's an order Sergeant'.

Hannibal said firmly, knowing that having B.A worrying that much would put him off guard and they needed him for the plan so it was better sending him to watch the door. B.A edged over to where Face was. He felt useless and that angered him some.

Hannibal gave Murdock a brief check over, while calling his name, trying to get a response. He had a bruised rib and his knee was out of joint. Although Hannibal had put a few joints back into place, he wasn't going to risk it, just in case his judgement was wrong. He checked his pupils and they looked clouded slightly.

'Murdock? Are you in there?'.

To Hannibal's surprise, the Captain mumbled. He didn't move, because of the pain, but knowing the presence of his friends gave him the motivation to tell them he was alive.

'Don't strain Murdock' Hannibal said, putting his ear to Murdock's mouth. Then the Colonel laughed out loud.

Face and B.A had continued watching the door, but an extreme feeling of relief washed over them.

'What did he say' Face asked.

'He said, When ever have I been in here?' The Colonel laughed along with Face.

'Crazy Fool! Stop playin' around!' B.A told, but then he smiled to know that apart from the physical damage, nothing else was broken or out of place.

'Right Captain, we're gonna do Face's plan and since they think you're dead, just relax and we'll get you out of here' Hannibal informed Murdock. H.M attempted a smile, but the pain was too much and it came out as a wince.

'Take it easy Cap'n, Take it easy. Leave it all to us'.

He gently pulled the gag back over Murdock's mouth and made it look like his hands were still tied to the wondering eye. He the gave H.M a reassuring touch on the arm. Assisting B.A and Face back to their places, they went through the final ideas of the plan and then Hannibal sat back down and put his hands behind his back and grabbed tightly to the back of the chair. Then they waited for the signal.

After about 10 minutes, the signal came. The heard the old man shout down the stairs to the goon guarding the door to check whether the Colonel had come to. They knew what Randall was like from their previous experience and stupid he was. He was too lazy to come down and check himself and he only had one man posted at the door, so it was going to be a cinch. The key turned in the lock and each of the team gave each other confirmation nods. Face uncrossed his legs and spread them wide apart, ready to use his weight to lift the chair and spin around and smash his chair. Timing was everything, because after no one had answered Randall, he would send down the goons and they would be out numbered. It was going to be a challenge any way because two out of the three were cuffed, so Hannibal would have to do he most.

The door opened to reveal Jimmy. He came in and then closed the door, not taking his eyes off his prisoners. He had made enough mistakes and couldn't risk anything else happening.

'Well, well, well. Look what we have here' Jimmy said smugly as he was checking the chambers on his pistol.

'Well it look like to me, and you can back me up here guys, that there's just one of you and three of us' and with that, Hannibal stood up and swung his chair over Jimmy's head.

His gun slipped out of his hand and slid across the floor. B.A and Face were back to back, trying to undo the ropes. Hannibal was struggling for the gun, whilst keeping Jimmy occupied. As soon as the ropes were undone on B.A, he stood up and rugby[UK] / football[US] tackled him and pinned him up against the wall. Hannibal went and got the gun and pulled back the trigger and put it in Jimmy's chest.

'Do you guys get a feeling of De ja vou?' the Colonel said, while B.A and Face rushed over to Murdock.

'How are we going to carry him Colonel?' Face asked.

Jimmy looked smug because he thought that he couldn't keep the gun on him and help his friend. Hannibal looked at Jimmy.

'What are you smiling?' Hannibal asked and before Jimmy could say anything, he whacked Jimmy hard across the head with the gun handle. Jimmy's eyes closed and he slid down the wall. Hannibal checked his watch, they were running out of time.

'Do you know the way out Lieutenant?' Hannibal asked as he slid the gun into his belt.

'I think so Colonel. I noticed a little air vent shaft in the corridor, we'll all just about fit, if you give us a boost up. I have a screwdriver in my inside pocket, use it to undo the grill' Face said trying to indicate the pocket.

Hannibal slid his hand inside of Peck's jacket and found it. He then went over to Jimmy and searched him.

'What ya lookin' for? Get goin' man' B.A said.

'Do you think this is the only one?' the Colonel asked dangling a bunch of keys in front of him, smiling like a Cheshire cat.

Face stood there more relaxed and smiled shaking his head. Face should have known he Hannibal had the team's interest at hand.

'I've just had an idea' Hannibal said.

'Oh no, he's on the jazz' B.A moaned.

Hannibal just smiled at B.A which always rubbed the Sergeant up the wrong way. Face didn't even ask what it was because he knew that the Colonel wouldn't tell him. He always kept them in the dark, unless it was a life death situation, which this was not anymore. They had the upper hand and they all knew it too.

'Oh, Hannibal. Before you go, can you get my picks out of my pocket, there's no harm trying to pick B.A's locks. I don't think I've ever attempted it with my mouth'.

'I 'ain't letting you poke my hands to bits' B.A disapproved.

'Come on B.A, I promise it won't hurt....much'. The Lieutenant laughed as Hannibal selected the correct pick and placed it in Peck's mouth.

'Get away from me fool!' B.A growled, trying to get away from Face.

'Look B.A, If Face gets you out of those cuffs, you can help Murdock, so let him try'.

Hannibal told and B.A stopped and gave Hannibal a look, because he knew that the Colonel was right. Hannibal slowly opened the door and made sure no one was waiting out there and stepped outside. He closed the door quietly and put the key in the lock. It turned stiffly as he locked his friends into the room for their safety, just hoping there was only one key or they had lost the other.

***

As Face had said, there was the air shaft. Seeing as this was the lower part of the building, the air shaft should come out at street level. Hannibal stretched for the screws with the driver. He could have done with a boost up or a table, but he knew time was of the essence and he had to just make do. As Hannibal undid the last screw, the metal mesh fell towards the floor. Hannibal caught it before it crashed on the floor, then placed it to the side, out of view. The colonel climbed the wall pulling himself up with his gloved hands. They still felt weak after having them tied behind his back for ages. He got into the shaft and crawled through it, hoping that B.A could get through when the time came. He could see light in the distance and crawled up to it. As he had presumed, there he was, looking at deserted alley at the back of the building. Hannibal pushed at the grate that covered the exit and it was loose. He turned around in the shaft and gave it a swift kick with his leg. It flew across to the other side of the alley. He put a cautious head out to survey the surroundings, seeing if there were no cameras and such the like. There was nothing but an abandoned dumptruck. Once Hannibal was satisfied with everything and making sure there would be no traps, he headed back towards the room. Just as Hannibal got to the end of the shaft, he saw a goon trying the door to the room, then shouting,

'It's locked Mr Randall, sir'.

'Stupid Jimmy, I told him not to leave them unguarded. Where is he?' Randall shouted back.

'He must have gone to the restroom, sir'. the goon replied.

'Here' Randall began, throwing down a bunch of keys 'check on our prisoners and make sure you don't lose the keys, they're the spare set'.

A big smile came across the colonel's face, knowing that there were only two sets of keys and they had one and the goon was fumbling to pick the other set of keys off the floor below the shaft Hannibal was watching from. He could have jumped him then, but that would have been no fun at all, the jazzed up colonel thought.

The goon put the key into the lock and turned it with force. He opened the door to see Peck and B.A tied to their chairs and Face had his legs crossed. He stepped in and closed the door behind him.

'Hi, can we help you at all?' Face said sarcastically.

'Where's the other one gone?' the goon asked as he pointed his gun at the empty chair to the right of B.A.

'Oh he just popped out for some aspirin for his head' Face replied.

'Getting hit over the head will do that to you sometimes' B.A growled.

After realising that Hannibal wasn't there, he turned around and saw Jimmy lying there against the wall, thinking he was dead because of the blood that trickled down his neck. He put his hand on the door handle, as he pulled the door towards him, the colonel was standing there pointing a gun at his head. The goon dropped his gun and put his hands up, Hannibal pushed the goon back into the room with his gun and closed the door behind him with his foot.

'Nighty Night' the colonel said.

'Uh?' the goon said before B.A broke his chair over his head. He slumped on the floor.

'Nice B.A, Nice' the colonel commended 'I see that you picked them then Face'.

'Yeah' Face said standing up, revealing he was still cuffed 'And B.A tried to pick mine and he broke my best pick. He has not got a delicate bone in his body!' Face told Hannibal.

B.A was too concerned about Murdock's health than disputing the fact.

'My arms are starting to ache Hannibal' Face moaned.

'Hold up until we get out Lieutenant. The air shaft goes up to a deserted alley. I'll take Murdock....'.

'No.' B.A interrupted 'I wanna take him.'

Hannibal sighed. 'Alright Sergeant, but careful, he may have a few broken bones and we don't want to jeopardise his situation any more the it is'.

B.A nodded and gently lifted the captain up into his arms. He cradled his neck and grabbed him under his knees. Murdock wasn't a heavy man and this helped B.A. The captain groaned as B.A moved him.

'It's alright Murdock. We're gonna get ya out of here, take it easy' B.A said gently, reassuring his injured friend.

The captain seemed to flop in the sergeant's arms, knowing that it was his friend and not his foe, but he still worried about the deal, as he hadn't told his friends about it. He had to tell them soon.

'We've got to get out of here' Hannibal said seeing that B.A was ready.

Slowly, Hannibal stepped out of the room pointing the gun ahead of him. After he was sure it was safe, he ushered B.A out of the room and to the shaft. He helped B.A get Murdock up in the shaft. Having been moved, it caused too much pain for the captain and he slipped out of conscious. Maybe it was better that way, it wasn't easy for B.A to manoeuvre himself and Murdock along the shaft at the same time.

Hannibal gave the Lieutenant a boost into the shaft. It was big enough for Face to kneel and lean forward. He crawled along the shaft without the aid of his hands. It brought back nightmares of 'Nam and the P.O.W camps. Thanking god that he survived the experience and that his team were still together to this day. He hated 'Nam and wished that it never happened. His eyes filled with a tear, but he kept it back, only to be more determined to get out and help his friend. H.M needed a doctor and Face was already planning a scam to get his friend back into the V.A.

Hannibal heard Randall calling down to his goons, so he pulled himself into the shaft and then turned around to look out of the shaft. He lay flat on his stomach and started crawling backwards, making sure that no one was following them or was planning to stop them.

By the time Hannibal reached the end of the shaft. B.A was holding the captain tightly as not to let him fall and Face's trousers were covered in dirt.

'Face, come here' Hannibal said sorting through the set of keys. 'Turn round and let me get these cuffs off for you.'

'You mean to tell me you had the key all along and that I didn't have to crawl through that shaft and get my clothes dirty?' Face protested.

'Look Lieutenant, see it as extra training. Now we need transport' the colonel said changing the subject.

Face rubbed at his sore wrists and then dusted down his trousers. Just as he had finished straightening his tie, an alarm went off inside the building.

'Err Colonel, it looks like they've found out we're missing. I think we should get going' Face suggested.

The colonel took a cigar out of his pocket and lit it. He puffed away at it.

'I think we need a plan' Hannibal finally said.

'Get off the jazz Colonel, Murdock needs some serious medical attention' B.A said. He looked a the captain's bloody face. He felt useless. His friend was dying in his arms and there was nothing he could do.

'B.A, you go with Face to the V.A, I'm going to slow our friends down a bit.'

'And how do you propose we do that Colonel?' Face asked

'Scam it Lieutenant, Scam it' Hannibal said as he crawled back into the air shaft.

'He's gonna go get himself killed - MAN!' B.A shouted, and just as we get Murdock out, he thought, we have to go back for Hannibal.

'Well, Face. Get us a ride' B.A ushered

'Alright, alright. Let me think.....Ah!' Face exclaimed, pointing his index finger upwards as the idea entered his head. 'It's quite simple really. We have to....'

'Just do it Face' B.A interrupted blankly.

'OK, calm down' the Lieutenant said a little upset, but fully understood B.A's desire to get H.M some help.

'All you have to do is to walk out and stop a car yourself'. Face turned around to find B.A trying to run to the end of the alley where there was the sound of vehicles passing by.

'B.A!' Face shouted, running after the sergeant, but by the time he got there, it was too late. The sergeant had stood in the middle of the road, causing a backlog of screeching cars and angry drivers. B.A was forcing a couple out of their car at the front of the blockage. Face ran up to the old people who had a shocked look on their faces and they were afraid of the big guy, little did they know that he wasn't going to harm them at all. He was only concerned about his friend and that kind of fear can cause a grown man to do strange things that you wouldn't otherwise see him do. Face reached the car in time to console and reassure the couple about the loss of their car and passed them some money he had at hand.

'We're sorry and I apologise on behalf of my friend, but we really need to get our friend some help. This should cover it' Face finished as he gave them the $200 he had. B.A popped an angry face out of the drivers side.

'Get in MAN! Come on!' B.A shouted impatiently, as the car started to pull off. Face grabbed for the passengers door handle and pulled the door open. He jumped in just in time before B.A sped off down the street into the distance. You could see Face close the door. Murdock lay on the back seat, starting to shake, due to the loss of blood he had encountered. This was the sign that he was reaching a critical level, so B.A floored it, feeling frustrated that it wasn't fast enough, he punched the steering wheel. Face kept a concerned eye on H.M.

***

Hannibal looked cautiously over the edge of the end of the vent. He could see Jimmy being helped by another goon. He was nursing his head where Hannibal had hit him with the gun handle. They were being shouted at by Randall because of their incompetence to restrain the team. A jazzed up smile came across the colonel. His mind was quickly creating a plan. He checked his gun, he hadn't used it, so there were still 15 bullets stored in the magazine. He still had both sets of keys for that room and as he searched his pockets, he found a Dictaphone. It was the one he'd used to rehearse his lines for his latest movie - Talkin', and Hannibal was the voiceover for a talking dog, well, he was desperate, he argued to himself. He needed the tape for his rehearsals next week, but without hesitation, he knew he needed to use it. Checking the coast was clear, he climbed down quietly from the shaft and went into the room that the colonel had the keys to. He went over to the middle chair, turned up the volume on the Dictaphone and pressed play. He put it down on the chair an left the room, making sure the door was open slightly to allow the sound to travel. As quickly and quietly as he had re-entered the building, Hannibal was lying in the shaft, watching his trap unfold.

***

Randall was sat in his office, still cursing at the pitiful men that stood wounded in front of him. He was so close to having the A-Team. He couldn't use the deal now, the captain was dead, or so he thought. That deal was useless to him now and his 20 years of planned revenge was down the drain. But then the thought that maybe the captain wasn't really dead entered his head.

'Which of you idiots moved Murdock?' Randall questioned.

'It was me, I moved him sir' Troy said, lowering his head slightly.

'Did you feel for a pulse?'.

'No sir. I didn't. Why?' Troy asked.

'No concern to you' he began. 'Will you just all go. I want you to search this building from top to bottom. Do you all understand? Shoot to kill'.

'Yes Sir' they all said, leaving the room and closing the door behind them.

Well, Randall thought. The captain might still be alive, and with an injured man in their midst, they aren't going to get far. Randall opened his draw and removed a folded piece of paper. He held it up to the light, revealing Murdock's signature on the dotted line at the bottom. A satisfied look plagued the old man's wrinkled face.

***

Troy and Jimmy headed back down the stairs towards the room. Before they turned around the corner, they heard the colonel's voice coming from the room. They both pulled out their guns and proceeded to advance on the room. They couldn't mess this up, Randall was already upset about their last mistake. Hannibal watched quietly as they approached the room, trying hard not to laugh and to make sure he timed it right. As they got closer, the voice was talking about bones and walkies, they presumed he was talking code to the rest of the team. Jimmy indicated to Troy to go and get the others. This is what the colonel had hoped would happen, so now he could render all of Randall's goons locked up, with a great difficult on getting them out again.

Jimmy stayed at what he thought was a safe distance from the door, trying to decipher the colonel's code. It was not one he had heard of before, which intrigued him more. Thinking that 'digging up the bone' meant sorting out the past. Well Randall was in their past and he thought that the colonel wanted to sort out the past - Randall. It didn't hit home that the only familiar voice coming from the room was Hannibal's, even thought there were about two or three others, including a woman's voice.

Troy tapped Jimmy on the shoulder, scaring the life out of him. He turned around pointing the gun into Troy's face. Hannibal was fighting the laughter on having grown men scared to death and were just about to assault a Dictaphone. Randall was not going to be pleased, Hannibal thought to himself, smiling.

'Mr Randall said once we've killed them all, we should call him down' Troy whispered.

Jimmy nodded and started to usher the other 5 goons into some kind of order. He was planning for all of them to burst through the door and then surround the people in the room. After one last check to everyone's understanding of what they were going to do, Jimmy gave the signal. The colonel watched as the 7 goons kicked the door down and charged into the room.

The seven men surrounded the empty chairs automatically, only to find the Dictaphone on the chair. They all looked puzzled, but Troy was the first to realise, but before he could get to the door, it closed and a key turned slowly in the lock. Troy hung his head and banged the door with his hand.

'Not again.' Troy said out loud.

The colonel knew that he had the two sets and seeing as the door solid steel, Randall would have trouble getting his goons out and eventually, they would have suffocated. The colonel may have been many things, but he was not a murderer. He placed one set of keys on the door handle and headed to the shaft to get out of the building to be by his team mate's side.

***

 

The car screeched to a halt in the V.A ambulance bay. Smoke rose off the tyres, showing the surrounding people that this was an emergency. B.A pushed open his door and grabbed the stretcher an orderly was putting into the back of the ambulance in front. The man was not about to argue with the beefy B.A, covered in gold. He pushed the stretcher over to where Face was rallying Murdock's strength. Face helped B.A to get Murdock on the stretcher. During the journey there, H.M actually spoke to the guys. If was followed by a searing scream of agony, but it seemed that he was slowly getting his consciousness back. He was conscious of what was going on and had attempted to make light of the situation with his usual zany antidotes. As they wheeled him into the hospital, one thing worried Face. Murdock had mentioned a deal several times during their trip and being the conman, he was trying to think what the deal could have been. This is what worried him so, he had conned many people with contracts and the possibilities were endless to a mastermind conman like Face. He only hope that Murdock hadn't sold his soul to the devil.


TBC

 


Rhapsody's Torment by Bloo
Rhapsody's Torment 2 by Bloo