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Keeping Secrets (The Promise Challenge)

Keeping Secrets (The Promise Challenge on the StoryBoard 2 List)
by: Snickersmobo

Rating: R
Pairings: None
This has been sitting on my drive for a while. I thought there were a lot of secrets that usually result from promises. So it sort of applies.
Summary:  Just like the title.  The team is keeping secrets from  others.
Note to CF for stealing the perfect title <snickers sticks tongue out>
Thanks to the ATSB2 people who responded and made it better.


Part 1


Dr. Richter surveyed his patient sitting in front of him. Murdock had come a long way in the last four years. Murdock had arrived at the VA hospital four years ago from a hospital in South East Asia diagnosed with PTSD. He was comatose, completely unaware of his surroundings. The doctors and nurses tried everything to help the young veteran, but nothing seemed to work. He was on a feeding tube and incredibly weak.

About two months into his stay an old war buddy Alvin Brenner came to visit him. Soon after that particular visit, Murdock started to improve. With in a week the feeding tube was removed and he began to eat if only in small portions. Weekly visits from Mr. Brenner and near daily phone calls enhanced Murdock's physical and psychological improvements. Still, though Murdock had issues that had to be dealt with for him to leave the VA. Bringing his thoughts back to the present, Dr. Richter eyed his patient with concern.

They had been sitting in therapy for ten minutes and Murdock hadn't said a word. Usually, Murdock was very talkative, to the point that Dr. Richter had to constantly have to refocus the point of the therapy session. Murdock's eye has a far away, blank look in them. It was a look the doctor hadn't seen in a long time, not since the first year Murdock was in the hospital. One that he had hoped he would never see again in Murdock.

In a gentle voice, he asked, "Murdock, where are you right now?"

Murdock didn't respond. Dr. Richter wondered if he had heard him at all. He placed the palm of his hand on Murdock's face and turned his head to look directly into his own eyes. It was a tactic he used infrequently. Physical contact with veterans during therapy was not recommended as it could backfire and scare a patient. He and Murdock had built up a lot of trust, so he thought he'd try it to breakthrough to him.

Again Dr. Richter asked, "Murdock where are you right now?"

Murdock blinked suddenly aware of Dr. Richter sitting across from him, his hand on his cheek. He hadn't remembered walking to the office, but he must have. Dr. Richter removed his hand from Murdock's cheek, never removing his gaze from Murdock's face.

"Did you say something Doc?" Murdock queried.

"I asked where you were. You're physically in my office, but your mind was elsewhere. Where did you go?"

"I'm not sure what you mean doc." Murdock answered evasively.

"Murdock. The nurses and orderlies are reporting that you haven't been leaving your room for activities and that you're not eating much, if at all. You've been trying to hide that fact by giving your food away when you thought no one was looking."

Dr. Richter had written up several of the cafeteria staff for not reporting Murdock's behavior sooner. When Murdock came through the door Dr. Richter could tell immediately he had lost at least 10 pounds on his already skinny frame. It was an instant sign that something was wrong with Murdock.

Murdock looked right in the doc's eyes. He'd been his therapist for the past 4 years and Murdock knew he couldn't fool him with some lame excuse, but he couldn't tell him the truth either. Murdock was worried about the team. They were supposed to pick him up for Thanksgiving. They were supposed to spend a week at Crystal Lake relaxing, fishing and basically spending time like a family should.

He had tried all the phone numbers that he knew to reach the team. He tried the operator with all of Face's aliases. He called the studio where Hannibal worked part-time, and he tried all the day care centers looking for BA with no luck. The team had disappeared and Murdock did not have a clue where to start. The only thing he was grateful for was that Lynch had not captured them. That news would have been all over the TV, radio and newspapers.

"Doc, Alvin was supposed to come by for Thanksgiving and he didn't." Murdock improvised with partial truth. "He hasn't phoned or stopped by and I can't reach him. I guess I'm worried about him."

*Well, that explains a lot. They're practically brothers.*  Dr. Richter thought.

"Murdock, would you like me to stop by where he lives? I don't often make house calls, but if it would make you feel better, I don't mind."

"No, no, it's okay. It's probably nothing. He has other family so maybe something came up and he forgot to call." Murdock cringed at the thought of Dr. Richter actually finding out he was a member of the A-Team. There was no way he could mentions that he was a member of the A-Team. He was their secret weapon.

Dr. Richter noticed Murdock looking uncomfortable and he was aware of how exhausted he looked. He thought Murdock had had enough for today and wanted to leave the session on an upbeat note if possible.

"All right Murdock. We'll stop here for now and schedule a session for tomorrow on one condition. Will you promise me you will eat dinner tonight?" Dr. Richter needed him to eat. Murdock had to keep his strength up or he'd end up back on a feeding tube. That, thought Dr. Richter, would be a major setback for Murdock.

"I'll eat dinner doc. Thanks." Murdock quickly stood up and left the room.

Same day. Different location. Whereabouts unknown.

"Hannibal do you think Murdock's okay." Face's voice was greatly tinged with worry as he sat on the concrete floor. "He doesn't know where we are, hell, we don't know where we are or why we're here, but Murdock…." Face voice trailed off.

"Crazy foo' is fine. He's in the VA. It's us we should worry about. We been wherever here is for a month now and all we know is we're prisoners of some Russian." BA raised his voice in frustration.

"BA, calm down. Face has a point." Hannibal replied beginning to pace within the small room.

"Watcha talkin' about Hannibal. Why should we worry about Crazy Man?" BA looked at Hannibal.

"BA, Face and I have read Murdock's medical file…"

Hannibal, you and Face did what?" BA's interrupted. "How could you do that to the Foo'? That's private information. Crazy Man don't know you been reading his files does he?"

"BA, no, Murdock doesn't know we've been reading his file. We sort of promised we wouldn't so he would trust us again." Hannibal said authoritatively. "We've been reading it since the beginning. We both wanted Murdock to receive the best care and the only real way to do that was to read his file."

"Hannibal, you don't think I want him to get better too? Wait a minute, why are you worried about Murdock?" BA stood up to look Hannibal in directly in the eye.

It was Face who answered still sitting and now looking at the ground. "Murdock will probably never be released from the VA, BA. He's too sick and for him to get completely well, he'd have to come clean about us. And I think he did some things in the CIA too, things that he can't or won't talk about. I'm sure the stuff he did was classified top secret."

"I don' understand. Crazy foo' can fly, he can fight, he may act crazy, but he's not really crazy. Even I know that." BA kept looking between Hannibal and Face.  There was something they were not telling him.

"BA, Murdock's recovery is dependant on us. The team. Especially Face. Without us, Murdock wouldn't be flying and fighting. He'd still be in a vegetative state probably." Hannibal put his arm on BA's shoulder.

Hannibal never thought he would have to have this conversation with BA.  As much as BA and Murdock argued, he knew they both cared about each other deeply. He wished Face never brought Murdock up.  BA wasn't going to take this news well.

"You mean the crazy foo' might be hurtin' cause we're missin', Hannibal?"  BA's distressed look was easy to see now.

"I'm sorry, BA, but yeah, our being gone, could set the Captain back."  Hannibal regretted saying the words, knowing how much he just hurt BA and Face by saying it aloud.

BA punched the wall, "Then we gotta try harder to find a way outta here, Hannibal.  Crazy Man suffered enough, he don't need to suffer no more."

Hannibal silently agreed.  He had been trying to come up with a plan, but there had not been an opportunity to escape.  The room they were in was obvious some kind of basement with a small window for light. Food was brought three times a day, with 5 guards for company.  They were told to back up against the far wall when the door was opened.

Every few days a man with a Russian accent would come to check on their welfare.  He would not answer any of their questions, but appeared to be concerned that they were in good health.  The team had no idea why they were there.

Murdock sat in his room, lying on his side, his head feeling like it was going to explode.  It was dinnertime and Murdock did not feel like eating even though he promised Dr. Richter he would.  In the back of his mind, he heard Hannibal order him to eat also.  *Unless you know the food is poisoned or drugged Captain, a soldier must eat to keep up his strength.  *So eat.  * Never one to disobey orders, Murdock got off the bed and made his way to the dining facility.

Chewing the mystery meat, Murdock sat in the corner by himself, trying to gather his thoughts.  He had to make a decision.  The team was missing and they needed his help.  Could he, Murdock, one person, do what needed to be done to find and rescue them?  The question was rhetorical, though.  Murdock knew he could, but it was the person he needed to become to rescue the team that scared him and had left him unable to eat or to leave his room.  As he finished his meal, Murdock realized he had come to his decision just by doing what he was doing.  He would sacrifice himself and all that he had become to rescue the team.

Later that night….

Murdock climbed through the VA maintenance ducts until he reached the basement.  He dropped down from the ceiling and quickly mad his way to the door on the east side.  Murdock had found this escape route a year ago, but saved it for an emergency.  He figured this was an emergency.

Remembering Face's words on how to pick a lock, Murdock quickly unlocked the door with the paperclip and bobby pin, stepping out into a nearly moonless night.  Staying within the shadow of the VA, he headed toward street, mindful of the night security guard.  He had planned his escape, though, during the guard's break.  Not much of a guard as his routine ever varied from night to night.

Reaching the street, Murdock quickly walked the four blocks to the pay phone to call a cab.  His destination was the warehouse where they hid their stash of weapons, cash and BA's van when they did not use it.

Murdock had the taxi drop him two blocks from the warehouse.  He walked purposely to the warehouse and unlocked the door.  As soon as he closed it behind him, he turned on the lights physically prepared to fight anyone who might be there.  There was no one in the warehouse and he wasn't sure if the sight of BA's van was a good or a bad thing, but he moved toward it carefully.

The team was missing so Murdock could take nothing for granted.  He very carefully began checking the van for bugs or rigged explosives. Grabbing a flashlight, he made his way under the van.  He groped his hand where his spotlight could not reach.  After five minutes, he was rewarded with a small object in his hand.  He climbed out from under the van and went over to the desk to put the object under the brighter light.

Murdock had seen this type of bug before, but this one appeared to be a new generation.  It was of a Russian make.  Murdock's triumphant smile faded as he realized how serious the situation was.  The Russians had the team, but the question was why?  The A-Team had no known interaction with Russians.  They never had contact with the Russians in Vietnam or done a job for any Russian after the war. Murdock's expression turned down right angry as he realized he was the connection.  He had done several missions for the CIA before he met the team.  One mission in particular required him to….Murdock stopped his thoughts. He didn't want to go there. It was a long time ago and he didn't want to go back.

Murdock hadn't realized he closed his eyes until he opened them and the light blazed bright briefly. He didn't have a choice, but to go back to his CIA days. When he made the decision to go after the team, he already knew what was going to happen. He wished he didn't have to though.


The swarthy Russian entered the basement room. He looked across at the three men who leaned against the back wall. His five guards carrying AK-47s moved slightly to the side to let him in.

His accent thick, but understandable spoke, "Well, Mr. Smith, you be pleased to know the game has begun".

"And what game is that?" Hannibal grinned despite the circumstances.

"It is an old game that is, how do you say, resurrected. All pieces are in place finally."

The Russian returned Hannibal's grin.

"And what are all the pieces?" Hannibal queried.

"Not what. Who." Replied the Russian.

"Okay, I will bite. Who?" Returned Hannibal.

"I read your dossier, Mr. Smith. You are smart man. I am surprised you do not know the answer to your own question. Tell me, Mr. Smith, who is missing from this gathering?"

"Nobody is missing." Face smiled his best smile. "You know you have the A-Team, yet, you have not told us why.

"Ahhh, Mr. Peck, your dossier is as interesting as Mr. Smith's. But you are missing one man at the moment." The Russian emphasized. "I can see you do not wish to tell me, so I shall tell you. One Captain HM Murdock is missing is he not?"

"Murdock was our chopper pilot in Vietnam. He's not a member of the A-Team." Face still smiling, hoping he could con this man.

"Man is a crazy foo'" BA added. "What would you care about him for? He's locked up in the nut house."

"I see your Captain has not spoken of his exploits with the CIA to his teammates. You can tell me all you want, that he is not a member of your so called A-Team, but I know better. I have had a tracer device on your vehicle for one year now and I know what my paid spies tell me."

It bothered Hannibal that the man had not stopped smiling either. He wanted Murdock for some reason and the question was why.

"Why do you want Murdock?" Curiosity sounding in Hannibal's voice.

"Your Captain is a very old, shall I say, friend of mine. We have business to finish." With the last word the Russian abruptly left the room, the five guards right behind him.

"Hannibal, what's he want with Crazy Man?" BA moved away from the wall, his anger was telltale by his movements.

"I don't know BA. I don't know. Something's changed, though. He hasn't spoken to us about why were here and now he tells us he wants Murdock and we're the bait." Hannibal was still leaning against the wall.

"Hannibal, something is really wrong here." Face slid down the wall until he was sitting with his knees against his chest. His expression, also, reflecting anger.

All three became silent, thinking about the situation.


Murdock parked the van at the Los Angeles International Airport. He had put the bug back on the van in the exact same place from which he removed it. Earlier, inside the warehouse he had gathered a few weapons, ammo and all the cash. He memorized all the bank account numbers, telephone numbers and pass codes, but left the paperwork there. Before arriving at the airport, he went to Face's scammed apartment to see if there were any more clues, but there were none. From what he could tell, the phone wasn't bugged, but he didn't take any chances. Murdock knocked on the apartment next door. When no one answered, he picked the lock and went in.

Forty-five minutes and a dozen phone calls later, all the money the team had, had been transferred into new accounts with new pass codes. Murdock coded the information, wrote it down on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. He addressed it to BA's mother. The rest of the team hadn't met her yet, but somehow he knew that BA's mother would get the information to the team if he didn't survive this. What he did know was that their hard earned money wasn't going to go to anyone, but the team.

As he entered the airport, Murdock dropped the envelope into the nearest mailbox and kept briskly moving through the crowd. He didn't doubt he had been followed electronically, maybe even visually. He had no idea how long the bug had been on the van, but gathered it was long enough to establish him as a member of the A-Team. His every move now had to be carefully planned and executed.

He went to the nearest payphone to dial a number he hadn't dialed in a long time. He wasn't surprised that it was disconnected. He had connections that owed him, but how he could find them? Did he need them? Murdock once again kept walking through the airport moving from terminal to baggage claim to the bathroom. He hoped his movements would confuse any visual contacts. He had no established pattern. An hour later, Murdock walked outside baggage claim and grabbed a taxi. He handed the driver a twenty and told him to step on it.

The taxi dropped him at the bus station and he grabbed another cab. Another twenty-dollar bill, and the car was racing through LA. The third time he changed taxies, he had the driver take him to a junk-
yard. Murdock paid cash for a car and drove to San Francisco. He kept looking behind, but was rather sure he shook any tail. His next stop was the San Francisco airport and to scam a plane.



Keeping Secrets by Snickersmobo



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