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INSIDE JOB

INSIDE JOB

by Closetfan

 

Rated:  G

Summary:  Hannibal, BA, Face and Murdock and the 500 word challenge.

This story began as a response to a challenge on the A-Team Storyboard 2:  "It's been too quiet lately, so here's a new challenge, something short, to get everyone thinking.  Your response should be no longer than 500 words, and should start with this line. . . "He paced back and forth, as much as the tiny room would allow."  You could say I got carried away, or that I hate to leave the guys hanging.  ;-)

Warnings:  None

Disclaimer:  Standard info.

 

lllllllllllll

 

PART 1

 

He paced back and forth, as much as the tiny room would allow.  Seven long strides one way, five long strides back. BA stopped and stared pointedly at Hannibal, who sat serenely in a chair, eyes half closed, an unlit cigar clenched between his teeth.  BA continued two more steps, turned, and began another circuit of pacing and staring.

The Colonel seemed to be half-asleep, but BA knew better.  The wheels were turning. Soon, there would be a plan. But not nearly soon enough for BA.

There was nothing to the room but two chairs, ominously bolted to the floor; the walls were bare and windowless.  BA crossed to the door, running his hands along the jam for what seemed like the hundredth time, wishing he had something he could use to pop the hinge pins.

BA glared accusingly at the door and pounded his fist against it in frustration.  The sound, at least, was loud and satisfying.  He was, after all, a grown man, and had too much self-control to allow himself to roar the anger out.

Of course, after the Colonel came up with a plan to get them out of here, and they found Face and Murdock, there'd be roaring a-plenty.

"Sit down, BA. Relax."

"Relax? How can I relax? Harper's got Face and Murdock too, somewhere. Who knows what's happening to them?"


"Probably about the same as what's happening to us," Hannibal said evenly.

BA shook his head, and resumed prowling the room. He knew Hannibal was probably right. Harper wanted information, and he wasn't sure which of them had it.  For now, that made them all safe.  Something about Harper's eyes, though, made BA nervous.  He'd seen that look
before, and he didn't like it.

BA sat heavily in the chair, elbows on his knees, and rubbed his temples.  It wasn't that he didn't worry about Hannibal and himself – he did.  But for some reason, he worried more about Face and Murdock.

Was it because he wasn't with them to protect them?  That was a possibility.  More likely, it was because he knew Face would make a bad situation worse by opening his big mouth when some goon was already on a short fuse.  And the fool would probably go off on some crazy rap and get himself pounded good.  God, those two love to taunt the bad guys.  Not that he didn't.  And Hannibalhe  probably loved it best of all of them.  But even the Colonel knew when to shut up.

There's a time and a place to be a wise ass. When you're getting the crap beaten out of you is *not* the time.

BA stood up again, and with a soft growl, began pacing again. On his third circuit, he turned to find that Hannibal's eyes had opened all the way, and a wicked gleam sparkled in them. BA felt himself relax, and allowed himself a bit of hope that the wait would soon be over.

The plan had been formed….


PART 2

 

He paced back and forth, as much as the tiny room would allow.  Walls're closin' in, closin' in, closin' in; a little song ran through his head.  A song he'd written himself long ago, and replayed
often throughout the years. 

 

He knew the walls weren't closing in.  It just seemed that way because he couldn't keep still.

It was the waiting.

Murdock took a deep breath and forced himself to slow his pacing.  He stood in the middle of the room and shook his hands around, exhaled, and rolled his shoulders, commanding himself to relax. 

Why was he not surprised that Hannibal's plan had gone wrong?

Hannibal had decided that his plan would be best served if, instead of waiting for Harper to come to them, they sought him out.  A classic "mountain sneaking up on Mohammed" strategy, he'd said with a confident grin.  What, Murdock had asked, no half pincer movement?

Before all the elements had been put in place, Face and Murdock were plucked off of the street in broad daylight, cuffed, gagged, and on their way to Harper's hideout before they'd even had a chance to react.  After being dumped into the small, windowless room, they hadn't had much chance to discuss their situation before Face had been hauled away by Harper's goons.

It had killed Murdock to watch him being lead off, acting cocky and confident as usual, despite the fact that they both knew Harper would try to get information from them using, from what they'd been able to glean from their research, whatever method he thought would work most quickly. 

Murdock sighed, hoping Hannibal and BA had managed to elude Harper's gang, but these guys were good.


It was a short time later when he heard a key in the lock.  Seeing right away that Face was not being returned, he knew it was his turn for quality time with Harper.

His mind moved nimbly.  Would he adopt a persona, or simply bait Harper and his thugs mercilessly?  Just as Face was a confident charmer, Murdock felt well grounded in his ability to annoy just about anyone to the point of distraction.  And distraction might be the only thing he'd have going for him now.  Hopefully while he had the bad guys off balance, Hannibal and BA could make their move – if Harper hadn't captured them as well.

Forcing his worry about his teammates aside for the moment, Murdock smiled brightly at the armed thugs in the doorway.  Whistling and grinning as if he didn't have a care in the world, he jammed his hands into his pockets and strolled by the goons into the hall.  He looked up and down, all around him, his casual demeanor disguising the fact that every detail of his surroundings was being taken in and memorized, hopefully for later use.

He turned to his captors, eyes shining and a wide, friendly smile on his face.  "Hey, guys! Glad you came, I was getting lonely.  So, where to now?"


PART 3

 

He paced back and forth, as much as the tiny room would allow.

Trying to get information from Peck had been a bust.  At least, they hadn't been able to beat it out of him before he passed out.  Which left Harper with a decision to make: waste time trying to bring him around and wait for him to get coherent, or start on the second guy?

Time was short, and Harper was very thrifty with time.  He had decided to work on the pilot until Peck came around.  Then, maybe, he'd work on both of them at once.  Nothing like a little peer
pressure.
  He smiled and rubbed his hands together briefly.  That could be another bright spot in an already successful day.

Who'd've thought he'd capture all four members of the famous A-Team so quickly?  Once he found out they were in the area, he knew he'd have to move fast - their reputation pegged them as unpredictable, and the very fact they'd shown up on his turf confirmed that beyond a doubt.  They'd caught Peck and Murdock by being random themselves.  Normally, a broad daylight snatch off of a busy street was not his first choice, but today it had worked like a charm.

It was almost disappointing that Smith had been so predictable in his attempt to rescue his men.  He and Baracus had actually tailed one of Harper's men right here to his headquarters.  Surrounding the van with men and guns had been almost too easy, but Harper didn't question it.  He was pressed for time, in a big way.  If he didn't find out what those bastards had done with his merchandise by this evening, he could kiss more than the money from his buyer goodbye.  His buyer had a reputation of being unpredictable, and quite deadly if disappointed.

He glanced over into the corner of the room.  Peck, slumped against the ropes that tied him to the chair, head hanging down, was still out cold.  Maybe he'd tell Murray to be a little more careful about how hard he hit this next guy.  Or at least, be more selective about *where* he hit. Unconscious, these guys would tell them nothing.  Dead, they'd tell even less.

If they had no success with Murdock, maybe he'd work on Smith next.  Harper grinned.  He almost hoped that Murdock wouldn't talk. It would be a pleasure working Smith over.

The door opened, and Murdock was shoved in ahead of the two guards.   He glanced around the room quickly, seeming to take no special note of his friend tied to the chair in the corner, and turned to focus on Harper.  Smiling, Murdock approached him, hand outstretched.

"Mr. Harper?  Good to meet you.  H.M. Murdock.  Nice place you got, here.  No windows, huh? A bold design move.  Dark, yes, but nary a draft anywhere.  Very cozy.  By the way...."

It was moments into Murdock's spiel when Harper found himself reiterating his inner wish that the man wouldn't talk.


PART 4

 

He paced back and forth, as much as the tiny room would allow.  BA sat quietly in the chair and watched Hannibal.  He knew that this was an important point, and any interruption now might kill the whole thing.  The spark of a plan had come to Hannibal, and he was fanning it into a flame.

Finally, the Colonel hunkered down in front of BA, his eyes glittering.  "It's perfect," he said, a bright grin on his face.  "I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner."

"Me either, man," BA growled impatiently.  "What's the plan?"

BA hunched forward and fixed his eyes on Hannibal.  It was moments like this when he felt all of his senses sharpen.  He could smell the cigar smoke clinging to the Colonel's clothes, hear the rustle of fabric and leather as Hannibal reached in his pocket to get his gloves, see the five o'clock shadow forming on his face.  But what he felt, most strongly, was the deep thrum of the jazz enveloping him with the slow sureness of quicksand.

Hannibal leaned forward and spoke quickly and quietly.  Neither of them knew if the room was bugged, or how much longer they would be there. BA knew they would need to act quickly once the plan was outlined.

"The door opens in, right?"  Hannibal slipped on a glove.  "So, even though it looks like we have nowhere to go...."  He grin, if possible, became larger.  "So, we make a little noise.  I think we
might be able to draw at least one of the guards in, don't you?"  He grinned, putting on the second glove.  "You up for it, Sargent?"

BA nodded, and allowed himself to smile.  It was an old plan, but tried and true, and the Team had used it any number of times with success.  BA was relieved; he was ready for some action.  Not knowing what had been happening to Face and Murdock since they'd been captured was beginning to fray his nerves.

"Ready?" Hannibal asked.

BA took a deep breath, grinned and nodded.  "I been ready all day, Hannibal. Let's do it."

The two of them started banging on the door with their fists, calling for help from the guard.  It was a few minutes before one of the thugs came to investigate the noise.  BA flattened back against the wall, behind the door, when he heard the key in the lock.  The door cracked open, cautiously, and BA watched the Colonel's face for direction.  He saw the smile light up, watched Hannibal move back a step, wordlessly encouraging the guard to come further into the room
to explore the reason for the commotion.


Hannibal's eyes flicked over to BA, then back as he saw the guard slowly enter the room, gun first.  "Hi, there," Hannibal said jovially.  The signal.  There was just the one.

BA was pretty sure that his smile looked more like a snarl, but it was going to feel really good finally hitting someone.


PART 5

 

He paced back and forth, as much as the tiny room would allow.  Harper was obviously furious. Face kept his head down as if still unconscious, surreptitiously watching him as Murdock prattled on. No one can stall like Murdock, he smiled to himself.

"Where are my drugs?" Harper demanded again.

"Hey, I'm just a nutcase - the guys never tell me anything important.  I might let it slip to the pixies that live in my closet, then they'd tell the gnomes, and the gnomes'd tell the little bunnies that live in the garden.  And we all know that they're in bed with the executives at Disney, and after that it's a vicious cycle that leads right to the CIA…."

There was a sound of a fist hitting flesh, and Harper's goon chuckling.

Face didn't dare look up to check Murdock's condition.  It was hard, but playing possum while he regained his strength and worked on his bonds seemed the most useful course of action at the moment.  His own ribs ached – probably a couple cracked, and he suspected his left eye was blackened.  But he nearly had that last bit of knot, and once he'd freed his hands, he could probably shrug the ropes around his chest off while Harper and his thug's attentions were elsewhere. He just had to wait for the right moment.

"Don't treat me like an idiot," Harper ground out.  "You're their pilot, and they flew my drug shipment out after stealing it.  Where is it?"

The answers sprouted out sounding like Shakespeare, dirty limericks, requests to buy a vowel, and phrased in the form of a question.  Most of the unsatisfactory responses earned Murdock another punch.  Face hoped that his friend wouldn't wind up with a broken nose.  That would be hard to explain away to the VA again.

Finally undoing the knot on the rope binding his hands, Face begun to slowly, and, he hoped, unnoticeably, move the ropes on his chest.

Then, in middle of all his nonsense, Murdock stopped talking.  Face froze.  Sudden silence meant one of two things. Either the pilot was unconscious, or….  Face listened carefully, picking up the sounds of a skirmish in the hall.

Murdock abruptly began to sing "That's Amore." He had heard the sounds, too, and was signaling their location with a musical homing beacon.

Face looked up.  Murdock was tied to a chair, signing for all he was worth, considering he had what appeared to be – oh, damn it – a broken nose.

Now the sound of two people running up the hallway was clear.  With a deep breath, the last of the ropes around his body quietly falling away, Face found his balance, readying himself to leap up as soon as Hannibal and BA crashed the door in.

Face could tell Harper sensed what was about to happen.  Motioning his thug towards the door, Harper pulled out a huge revolver and pressed the muzzle to Murdock's forehead.

"I can sign something different, if you'd like…."


PART 6

 

He paced back and forth, as much as the tiny room would allow.  It had felt good decking that guard, but BA was ready to move out and find the others.

Hannibal, now armed with the guard's mini-Uzi, peeked out the door checking the hallway.  "All clear," he said quietly, slipping out.  BA put his hand on the chains around his neck to minimize the noise and followed.

They moved quietly.  Coming to a corner, they flattened against the wall and Hannibal, at point, looked cautiously down the next hall.  Without looking back at BA, he put his hand up signaling a stop, and raised two fingers – two guards.

"Mr. Harper said he'd be ready for Smith in a minute."

"You'd'a thought Murray would've gotten *something* outta those other two."

"Who knows? Maybe he's losing his touch."

"Not likely." The men laughed.

BA could tell by this conversation that the Face and Murdock were in rough shape.  The fury from that knowledge sharpened his focus.

He could hear the men, still chatting, walking towards them.  BA signaled Hannibal to move behind while he took the point, and cocked his fist.  Years of experience meant he didn't need to see where the first guard would be.  BA could tell by the location of the man's voice where to throw the punch that would land squarely in the middle of his nose.

As it did.

The second guard was also quickly dispatched, but not before he cried out to raise the alarm.  Not knowing where the other guards were, the two men grabbed the downed thugs' weapons and ran down the hall. Hannibal took the point again, following the sound of someone singing.  "It's Murdock," he called quietly back to BA.

He musta heard us take out the guards, BA thought. He's leading us right to him.

They ran faster.

Arriving in front of the right door, BA used an anger-fueled kick to smash it in.  To BA's disappointment, the flying door took Murray out as well.  He wished that the man had stood back, since he'd been hoping to take more of his anger out on the thug.

BA and Hannibal stood in the doorway.  Neither moved, seeing Harper's .357 pressed to  Murdock's forehead.

"Stay back, or he's dead."

"Oh, how original, " Murdock sneered, glaring at Harper.  "You were gonna do that anyway.  Don't act like it's either or...."

BA saw Face in the corner, out of the line Harper's sight, dive at the thug's legs.  He felt rooted to the spot, waiting for the success or failure of Face's move.

Murdock didn't wait; he tipped the chair sideways and fell to the floor, out of the line of fire, just as the gun went off.  As soon as Face's tackle had Harper off balance, BA tore into the room and made sure with one punch that Harper wouldn't be getting up again soon.

As Hannibal checked the others, BA growled angrily.  He hadn't gotten to hit nearly enough people.

 

 


Inside Job by Closetfan

 

 


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