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A Lifetime Supply of Cabbage Rolls
Summary: The Team is in southeast Asia, working to shut down General Chang's smuggling operation, but there is trouble brewing at home, particularly for Murdock's PI wife, Nancy. Sequel to Angels Shooting Fire, in which Nancy and Murdock meet, though this one has a lot more action and a lot less romance. It is helpful to read that first, but not absolutely necessary.
Warnings: Mild language, suggestion of sex (M/F), violence, death of character (not main)
Please review this fanfic . . . and my previous one if you have time. Constructive criticisms encouraged!
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own the A-Team, but I love 'em! I do, however, lay claim to Nancy Clay Murdock and her life and associates. They're all from my tiny little head, for good or bad.
As she entered the bathroom, she saw Murdock's robe, where it had been hanging untouched for the last six weeks. She missed him terribly, and that was only adding to her foul mood lately. The Team had been gone since the beginning of March. It was now mid-April and there was no word of when they were going to be home.
She gave herself a mental shake, and began washing. She had less to be upset about than Amy. Amy was now entering her third trimester and had no husband at home to help. Nancy, Maggie, and Mama B had been trying to fill the void, but they couldn't take Face's place, no matter how hard the tried. Then two weeks previous, Amy had ended up at the hospital with some spotty bleeding, which had scared them all. Dr. Phillips had done a thorough exam, including ultrasound, and it appeared that everything was alright, but she put Amy on bed rest as a precaution. That made Face's absence even more difficult.
Amy was the one who had finally changed her mind about starting a family. Amy had told her then that there was never a "good" time to start a family. When Nancy had tentatively raised her personal concerns about not knowing what to do with a baby, Amy had laughed and told her, "You can learn the mechanics of child-rearing from a book, the trick is having enough love in the home to get you through the tough times somehow I don't think that you and Murdock have anything to worry about there!"
bad news is that Face is ready to walk out," Maggie said shaking her head,
is Amy feeling?"
Maggie shrugged, "As well as can be expected. I've done several loads of baby clothes and set her to work organizing the baby's room. At least that keeps her busy, without having to be on her feet too much," Maggie chuckled, "but I have to watch her like a hawk, or before I know it she's rearranging furniture. Honestly, she just doesn't know when to take it easy."
on a bright smile for Mama B's, and Amy's, sake and said easily, "I'm
fine, just haven't had my morning cup of java yet!" she stopped briefly
and leaned down to give Mama B a kiss on the cheek, "I'll see you when I
come back down be thinking about what you want for dinner from Charlie's
tonight, my treat." Then
shook her head and turned to Maggie, who was standing in the kitchen doorway, "What
we gonna do with those girls, Maggie," she asked
ruefully, "They twice as stubborn as those men of theirs, and unwilling to
stop and rest when they need it. You see
the shadows under
Maggie nodded in agreement, "Maybe tonight we can get her to talk about it. She's been pretty focused on Amy lately, just like the rest of us. I'm sure it's nothing to be too concerned about."
Work a Distraction
At , there was a tentative knock on
glass of water would be much appreciated," Blanche said quietly, and
"What's wrong, Blanche?" she asked simply.
"I hate to bother you with this . . ."
eyes glistened with tears that were being held in check, and
Blanche took a deep shuddering breath, "I can't talk to the police, I don't want them involved . . . you see Jasmine came home Thursday, and Terra left with her."
began to dawn in
"How long ago did Jasmine and Terra leave?"
"They left Friday afternoon, right after I left for work," Blanche said, her face beginning to crumple again, "I got home 'bout Friday and found this note," Blanche handed over an envelope with a note scratched on the back:
"Ma, Terra and me are going somewhere safe. Don't worry."
It was signed "Jazz."
"Blanche, I need to know everything you know about Jasmine where she lives, where she hangs out, who she associates with anything that might give me a lead on her, and Terra's whereabouts. I assume you've been to her apartment . . ."
Blanche nodded miserably, "I went there Saturday morning, and again yesterday, hoping they'd show up there, but they haven't. In fact, there's a very unpleasant man there. I just don't understand what's going on."
hour later, Blanche had only filled a couple pages with information about
Jasmine, even with prompting. She was
able to give
nodded, "Thank you,
strapped on her shoulder holster and opened the gun safe in her office, pulling
out her Glock 32, the compact .357 model. She had gotten the gun from her father as a
graduation present of sorts, after she had finished her training at the
third floor she carefully surveyed the hall before stopping in front of
"I ain't seen Jazz in several days," the man at the door practically snarled, as he pushed his greasy dark hair out of his eyes, "and if you find her, remind the bitch she still owes me money!"
who are you?"
"Name's Claus," he said, "she knows who I am. And she better pay up if she wants her apartment back."
Nancy kept the smile plastered in place, pulling out the picture of Terra, "You haven't seen this girl around, have you?" she asked, thinking that Jasmine would be better off anywhere other than this rat trap, anyway.
told ya, I haven't seen Jazz or her brat in days
now get lost!" the door would have slammed, but
smiling she said, "If you hear from Jasmine, would you give me at call,"
A lewd smile crossed the man's face, "I'd settle for a roll in the hay, sweet cheeks."
ever touch me again,"
"She owes me a hell of lot more money than that," he said irritably, pulling his hand inside the door, and rubbing along the knuckles, "How do I know you'll pay up?"
have my word and my address,"
out and snatched the bill from
She then proceeded to knock on every other door in the apartment building, showing Jasmine's and Terra's pictures and asking if anyone had seen them. To a person, everyone denied having seen Jazz for at least four days, and no one appeared to recognize Terra.
was unlikely that anyone at the Boar had seen Jasmine, since she hadn't been
seen at her apartment,
At the entrance, she waited for a minute for her eyes to adjust to the dim interior. The bar ran the length of the building, with a mirror behind it and shelf after shelf of hard liquor. In the center was an extended platform with a huge stuffed boar hence the name of the bar.
The bar wasn't exactly hopping this time of day, with only a few patrons besides the bartender. The patrons were in various states of drunkenness, most looking as if they'd been there since early morning. The bartender was a big, bald man wearing almost as much jewelry as BA. He had several tattoos and a large nose ring, similar to the one on the stuffed boar behind him.
down at the pictures, then back up at
He indicated Jasmine's picture, "She's in here pretty regular, name's Jazz," He set down the glass he'd been drying and tossed the towel over his shoulder, "but then you know that, huh?"
know the kid," he looked at
He took the card and nodded, "Nice to meet you Nancy. I'm Justin. If I hear anything, I'll let ya know."
Next on the list was a shelter located several blocks away, but still in the same basic neighborhood. She parked about a block away and watched with interest the steady stream of people that moved in and out of the shelter. Maybe she'd get lucky here.
the car up and walked to the front door.
She held the door open for a man who had been struggling to get his
shopping cart full of possessions in through the door, with people passing and
cussing at him. He thanked
She moved up to the kitchen area, where several people, including a priest (identified by the collar) and several volunteers were bustling about filling plates and preparing more food. The priest was in is late fifties, and appeared very energetic. She approached him with a smile and he finished dumping canned tomato sauce into a roaster and came towards her with an outstretched hand.
"Hello," his smile was broad, and his blue eyes danced with an insuppressible happiness, "is there something that you can do for me today?"
Nancy smiled, he was both observant and straightforward, having picked her out as a potential volunteer, and not a customer, "I was hoping there was something you could do for me Father," Nancy said shaking his hand, "My name's Nancy Murdock, and I was wondering if you knew either of these people," Once again she held out the pictures of Jasmine and Terra.
took the pictures and motioned
of the food reminded
The priest looked at her with discerning eyes, "I'll be right back, with a glass of juice and some food."
Jasmine's picture down, facing
He looked at Terra's picture and smiled, "Though I've never met her, the resemblance is striking, this must be Jasmine's sister or daughter."
Father Jebediah looked at
Lauren smiled at the priest warmly, "Of course Father, that was last Wednesday night, you were running about like a maniac trying to find a replacement for Liz, 'cause she had the flu, and you needin' to get to bingo."
Lauren stopped, and thought for a moment, "Jazz came in actin' kinda nervous," she leaned forward conspiratorially, "You know, like she needed a fix. She wanted to talk to you but you was awful busy. I think she left without even eatin' her chili."
Father Jebediah was nodding his head earnestly, "Yes, I remember now," he said, looking ashamed, "She was acting terribly nervous, but I was honestly so spun up about needing a replacement and being late for bingo, that I wasn't terribly attentive. And then when I had a moment to talk, she was gone."
serious eyes towards
Nancy had finished her meal while they were talking, and put a comforting hand on his arm, "It's doubtful that it had anything to do with her disappearance, Father," she said, "But, do you remember anything that she told you that night, or did she say anything to any of the other volunteers that might help out?"
Father Jebediah looked at
He took the card and nodded, the smile returning to his face, "I'll do what I can. I'll even nose around a bit, and see if I can come up with any leads. I always fancied myself as a bit of a sleuth."
Before leaving she stopped Father Jebadiah once again, "Father, did Jasmine have any friends that you recall, anyone who might be able to give me some help?"
"Jasmine was always kind of a loner, I don't ever recall her even speaking with anyone else here at the shelter besides the volunteers . . .," he appeared lost in thought as he considered the question, then he looked at Nancy, his eyes sad, "She really didn't belong here she is such a lovely young woman. But drugs do terrible things to the best of us. If I had my way . . . but then I'm not a violent man," he smiled ruefully.
"Oh, by the way, here is a list of the volunteers who were working that night, and when they are scheduled in next. If you can make it in to talk to them personally, please feel free. But I will make a point to ask them myself, and I'll call if I learn anything useful."
started to put the car in gear, she noted a skinny woman in a pink tube top,
with a long pink fake fur coat, leopard skin stirrups, and spike heels in the
alley just ahead of her. The woman
appeared to be motioning for
towards the woman who looked nervously up and down the street, before grabbing
introduced herself as Clare, and told
"Listen, Jazz is a good friend, the best," Clare said, "She's helped me out, and I wanna do the same. I think she's in big trouble."
"You ain't a cop, right?" Clare asked.
I'm just a friend of her Mom's, trying to help out."
Clare looked around nervously again, and shivered visibly as the wind whipped around them. At least it wasn't sleeting, at the moment.
Clare shrugged, "Like I said, I don't know what went down, I just heard that he was involved somehow."
who told you?"
Clare shook her head, "No way, lady, I ain't telling you who I talk to. I'd never get the skinny on anything goin' down if they found out I was a nark."
make sure you call me if you hear from Jazz or hear anything else that might be
Clare nodded, "I can't believe that she even brought Terra out here, she loved the kid, even if she couldn't take care of her. She wouldnta done anything to hurt her, not on purpose, I'm sure of it."
Clare stomped her feet, "If I didn't think the same, I wouldn't be standing here talking to ya. It's not good for my health, if ya know what I mean. Even if you are only a private dick to the company, the laws the law, however you cut it."
She made quick stop at Charlie's to drop off the dinner order then headed down the street to the grocery store. She made a marathon run through, picking up everything that Maggie had on the list, and then headed back to Charlie's.
dinners weren't ready yet, so
"Who's there-ere?" Charlie's voice was coaxing and almost playful, and
"Not who you think?" she asked.
Charlie opened the door and reddened, "What the hell are you doing here?"
to see you too, Charlie,"
"Yea, great, now get lost, I'm expecting a business associate."
turned from the door miserably and
Charlie shrugged, and indicated the phone, "Be my guest, just promise me you won't start counseling my girls on the finer points of the employment laws."
Her next call was to Joe, her best friend Trixie's husband, who was a detective with the local police force. She knew Joe would have the connections to find out where to find Trigger McGill.
in homicide, but they often ended up on cases with vice, and Trigger McGill was
no stranger to the local police. Joe
By the time she finished her two phone calls, the dinner order was ready. She paid the tab, and headed to Amy's.
out to the car and helped
"Maggie is like a mother hen, so no, I haven't been overdoing it," Amy said irritably, "I'm just bored to death."
"And the afternoon?" Amy asked hopefully.
actually pretty interesting, if a bit worrisome,"
Blanche, and was aware of the family history.
She listened with interest, "
Mama broke the silence, "Nancy, Maggie and I've been worried sick about you. You look peaked, girl. Now what seems to be the problem?"
turned and looked at
She shrugged, "I've just been feeling kind of sorry for myself, which makes me feel guilty when I think about what Amy's going through right now," Nancy looked from Maggie to Mama B and finally smiled, "Listen, I'm just suffering from acute PMS, please don't worry about me. I'll be fine!" Her tone was insistent.
turned back and finished putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Mama B covered
smiled as she came over and sat down on
Meanwhile, Away from the Ranch . . .
"Be at least another hour in the air, Colonel. This head wind is a killer." Murdock looked down to check wind speed and direction, making a course correction, and adjusting the flaps, "Sorry for the rough ride," he added apologetically.
will they work out,
"Not to mention that Maggie wouldn't mind having you home more," Murdock added, "You're always making like you're not affected by this life style I know that's not true."
now headed to a remote landing strip in
Thousands of hours of intelligence gathering, not to mention planning time, had gone in to this mission. The Team was only one cog in the wheel, though in the General Stockwell's opinion a very important cog, placing a great deal of psychological pressure in just the right places.
The plan was to squeeze General Chang, steadily cutting off his trading outlets until he was vulnerable in his stronghold. A grand idea, but one that required the coordination of several teams, all working under tight time schedules. The A-Team had been given the higher profile outlets, just to make sure that General Chang knew they were coming.
They had known, when they'd taken on the mission that they'd be gone for an extended period of time for this one. Face had been particularly hard to sell on the mission, not that BA or Murdock had been a piece of cake. None of them wanted to be gone from home for that long.
In the end
Hannibal and General Stockwell had convinced them that their inclusion in the
mission, as the lead Team that would take down Chang's extensive arms- and
drug-dealing network, was a carriage of ultimate justice. Chang was the one who had set them up,
through Morrison, to take the fall for the Bank of Hanoi job. He'd then knocked off his then business
partner, Morrison, and ultimately, the Team had taken the fall for that as
well. Taking Chang down on his own turf
was going to be a bittersweet victory after all these years, and
last week, they'd been cut off from their home life entirely, moving rapidly
from outpost to outpost, taking each out methodically, and having little time
to think beyond the mission. But
crisis had passed, uneasily, but still hovered in the air.
"Colonel?" Murdock's voice shook
Help from Friends
When she arrived, Joe opened the door and led her into the living room. Trixie came out of the bathroom with her sleeves pushed up to her elbows and soap suds still lingering on her arms where she'd missed wiping them off with the towel.
"So, the only time I get to see you anymore is when you need something from my husband, huh?" Trixie asked scathingly.
"Anyways, the guys aren't expected back for a couple more weeks, which means I'll be running courier service for the Peck household for a while yet."
Trixie shook her head, "I don't know how you do it, it would drive me nuts if Joe was gone for weeks at a time." She snagged a naked, soapy three-year-old as she ran by giggling, "Well I'll let you and Joe get down to business while I try to quiet the natives. Stop by later when you have more time to talk." With that Trixie took her giggling package and headed back to the bathroom.
fondly as his wife went back down the hall, "You know she just misses you
when you aren't around,
"No apology necessary, I haven't been a very good friend lately."
"Well, I know he's had several run-ins with this Trigger McGill character. If you want to talk to him in more detail about the guy's record, just give him a call. I told him you were interested, though I don't know why . . ." Joe looked at her askently.
"Sorry, Joe, I can't talk about it with you, or Brett. Client privilege. What do you have for me?"
Joe handed her a piece of paper, "Here's his address and phone number, along with a couple common hangouts," Joe looked at her and his voice took on a severe tone, "Listen Nan, this guy is serious trouble. I don't know what your interest is in him, but whatever you do, promise me you'll be careful."
second time in as many hours,
Invite Yourself In
'Well, only one way to find out,' she thought, so she went up and knocked on the door. Sure enough no one answered, and looking through the front window, she could see that the interior was pitch black, even though the shades were drawn. She headed back to the car and drove a couple blocks away, pulling down a small deserted side street. She grabbed her black baseball cap out of the back seat and shoved all her hair up inside it and also traded her worn jean jacket for the black zip up sweat shirt she kept in the back of her car for just such occasions, along with a couple other essentials for breaking and entering. Then she headed back to the house along the back street, keeping to the shadows. An empty house just invites a snoop.
She came up empty-handed until she came to a locked inner room. She managed to get it open and found a small room (probably a bedroom in the home's former life) that had a desk, a chair, a couple filing cabinets and a large antique safe in one corner.
minutes later, after a quick skim of the meager contents of the files,
Back at the car
About an hour later an old Cadillac pulled into Trigger's drive, and a man fitting his description got out, followed by two young women. All three appear to be drunk, and stumbled, giggling and falling all over one another up to the front door and inside.
thorough inspection Trigger declared, "Well you ladies are obviously
equipped for the movie business, but do you have the on-screen talent that we're
looking for . . ." Again, giggling and grunting, and Nancy moved away from
the house, certain she wasn't going to learn any more useful that night.
Her energy was definitely starting to flag, and her thoughts were beginning to run in circles. She finished making notes about what she had seen and heard during the course of the evening, and then decided it was time to head home and get some sleep.
She stripped down to her underwear in the bedroom, then went and grabbed one of Murdock's crazy t-shirts out of the drawer, pulling it on over her head. This was when she missed him the worst. She lay down in bed and reached a hand over, resting it on his pillow. If she closed her eyes she could almost see him, his laughing eyes teasing her. She sighed as she opened her eyes and looked at the empty pillow where her hand lay it was going to be another long night.
the stop on their whirlwind tour that had
"Not asking much . . ." Murdock mumbled under his breath, holding the plane at altitude and banking so he could get a good view of the ground.
"What was that, Captain?"
"No problemo, herr Colonel!" Murdock quipped, and turned to scanning the ground.
About 10 minutes later, Murdock called back, "Got it, Colonel, it's about 5 clicks north-northeast of the landing field. Want me to take her down?"
"The sooner the better, we were high, but that doesn't mean the camp isn't already on the alert. The faster we move, the better."
At the landing strip, they unloaded their gear, and packed up in preparation for the jungle treck.
Face, let's get moving,"
Murdock leaned against the plane, with an automatic rifle over his shoulder, "Yea, I've got enough ammo to hold off a small army, if I need to. You got the flare gun?"
but we'll only flare if things get desperate, which shouldn't happen."
good time through the jungle. Once at the smugglers camp,
like they left the front door wide open,"
BA and Face just groaned. They took the guards soundlessly and tied them up, then moved in to get a closer look in the lodge. They had just gotten across the clearing when the front door opened, and a man stepped out, lighting a cigar and stretching. The Team flattened against the wall and stood motionless, hoping the gathering dusk would hide them.
The man didn't seem to notice much of anything, until he looked out where the guards should have been standing. He snatched his cigar out of his mouth, but before he could sound the alarm, BA reached up and with a hand over his mouth and pulled him down off the step.
"There are eight more inside," Face said, "And there isn't one who doesn't have a weapon. What's the plan, Colonel?"
I said, the front door is wide open,"
Blank faces stared back at him, so he repeated his request in the native language. Face and BA moved around the room, relieving the men of their weapons, with only a couple of minor skirmishes.
As BA and
Face began to tie the men up, a shadowy figure came in the door behind
Face both straightened at the sound of the voice.
flashed a winning smile and began raising his arms, with his weapon held in one
hand, "Now can't we all be
friends . . ." In one swift motion Hannibal swung his weapon up so he held
it in both hands and brought in back into his assailant's gut with considerable
force, doubling him over. BA and Face
were ready, and while
"You're dead men you have no idea who you're dealing with."
we know exactly who we're dealing with it's you guys who are in trouble,"
gathered the men in a central location, and BA kept watch while
torch the whole thing,"
hustled the smugglers outside,
their captives into a couple of circles around two big trees and trussed them
in place, checking the bonds to be sure they were secure, "Don't worry,
the authorities should be here in a day or two to pick you up."
When Murdock heard the blast, he knew the Team had reached their target. He was just finishing up setting explosives along the air strip. Enough damage would be done to make the strip unusable once they blew it. He went back to the plane to await the rest of the Team.
"Ready to blow, Colonel."
"Well, then, let's go."
lifted off the short strip, Face hit the radio transmitter, and several loud
explosions sounded. Murdock banked and
flew over to check his handiwork, then set course for
their next pit stop, in
"Not long, Colonel, we've got a good tail wind, should be there in well under an hour." Murdock was glad, he wasn't sure fuel reserves would have held up to another head wind.
me up when we get there."
Wake Up Call
course I'm alright, why wouldn't I be?"
told us about the case you're working on, it sounds dangerous
you for your astute assessment, Professor Hill,"
Maggie, I promise, I'll be careful, and I'm keeping Riley appraised of what I'm
doing. Honestly, it's no different than
any other case."
Maggie sighed, "Have I told you lately how much I dislike your profession, Nancy?"
Nancy smiled, Maggie never changed, "Yes, I believe you mentioned it a few short days ago," Nancy was thinking of a time about three weeks earlier when a not very flattering picture of her had ended up on the front page of the Langley Gazette.
told, she'd just gotten caught in the middle of a brawl between her operative
and a suspect. Besides, the guy had
ended up being guilty, and had looked a lot worse than her in the end. Unfortunately, she had gotten a black eye out
of the deal, which had only finally totally disappeared a few days ago. Maggie hadn't let a day of that black eye go
by without 'mentioning' how much she disliked
"I just think that you need to be reminded periodically that your presence in the office is just as important, perhaps more important, then in the field."
"Hannibal and I are going to have a talk when he gets home!" Maggie said severely.
got a bunch of stuff on my plate today, is there anything you girls desperately
need while I'm out?"
"No, you stocked us up pretty well yesterday, we should be good," Maggie said, "But we'll be looking forward to seeing you for supper this evening. I won't take no for an answer, Mama says we've got to make sure you eat."
promises, Maggie, I'm not sure when I'll get home,"
called to check on Blanche, and see if she had heard or remembered
anything. No such luck.
grabbed a quick breakfast at the golden arches on her way over to Jasmine's
apartment. She decided to try pressing Claus for more information. Something had to be up there, how had he
known that Terra was Jasmine's kid? He
knew more than he was letting on, and
in front of the apartment and headed up the stairs, walking straight to 305 and
pounding on the door. It was the same
routine as the previous day, and soon Claus was looking out at her around the
"Well if it isn't sweet cheeks, decided to take me up on my offer, huh?" He leered at her.
"You wouldn't happen to have another 20 to grease the wheels in my head, would you?" His smile was mocking.
"Well, if you're gonna be that way, the price just went up to 50 bucks."
He considered for a moment, then relented, "Alright, you wanna know what I heard. I heard Jazz owed a lot of people a lot of money and if what she owes me is any indication I'm bettin' she dug herself a deep hole."
"Like what people did she owe money?"
"Like drug dealers, ring leaders, crime bosses, like them kind of people you know, the dangerous kind."
like Trigger McGill and Grant Kennedy?"
"Man, you gotta death wish snooping 'round after those guys. I ain't givin' any names, but I bet Jazz owed all kinds of people money."
"What was the money for?"
"How the hell should I know, she didn't tell me," He held out his hand, "Now give me my grease, that's all you're gettin'."
stop was the Wild Boar. She saw Clare
outside and decided to touch base with her, to see if she had learned anything
new since they had last talked. Clare
looked scared when she saw
until I find Jazz and Terra,"
Justin leaned on the bar across from her, "Too bad, you sure do brighten up the scenery around here. Can I get you something to drink?"
I'll take a coke."
"Anything in it?" He coaxed.
alright, I'll be daring and take a lemon wedge in it,"
"Ladies choice you got it." He returned a moment later with her coke and resumed leaning on the bar.
have you heard anything that might give me a line on Jazz or her daughter?"
"Well, I asked around, quiet like, last night . . ." Justin's voice trailed off and he straightened as the door to the bar opened.
Kennedy was not physically remarkable, but his presence was palpable. He walked up to the bar, two stools down from
turned and leaned on the bar, facing
you have been making a bit of a nuisance of yourself. Who is it you're looking for?" He
feigned ignorance, though
been askin' after Jazz, Mr. President," Justin
Mom is worried about her,"
worried about Jazz, well isn't that nice, a Mother worried about her long lost
daughter. Blanche hasn't given a damn
about her daughter in the last 4 years, why should she start now." He was
baiting her, but
"You know, Ms. Murdock, it would be a shame if something were to happen to a pretty young woman such as yourself. This is a very dangerous neighborhood." Kennedy drained his drink and stepped away from the bar.
that a threat, Mr. Kennedy?"
"Why of course not, simply a concerned citizen providing a general warning about a dangerous neighborhood to an apparently naοve young woman." He smiled like a barracuda.
I just wanted to be clear on that,"
His smile disappeared, and when Kennedy spoke his voice was low and dangerous, "You're playing in the big boy's playground now little girl, make sure you aren't in over your head." He turned and stalked out of the bar.
She turned back to Justin, "So, you were saying that you talked to a few people last night, what did you find out."
Justin looked at her and shook his head, "No way, sweety. If Mr. President doesn't want you finding Jazz, I ain't helping. That would be just asking for trouble."
just glared at
Help from Friends
and Joe were eating when
"Legit porn, or black market stuff?" Joe asked, only half-jokingly.
"Probably the black market, but I'll take what I can get at this point. Who should I talk to?"
"Brett Katt is still your man, he'll be on top of the most recent news, especially if it involves Trigger McGill."
lived in a gated community with several guarded entrances, requiring a key card
or special identification to get in.
there," He said as
telephone call was obviously business, and he finished
it up in short order. Hanging up, Brett
turned to her with a more formal greeting, "Hello,
"Fine, fine well if I can't get you anything, why don't we find a quieter place where we can talk," he turned and looked through a stack of files on his desk, muttering to himself about not being able to find anything. He pulled out one thick file then turned to a detective at an adjacent desk, "Hey Carlisle, where's the KP file I had out did you take it?"
Brett took the two files and stood, "Right this way, there should be an interview room open somewhere down the hall."
the interview room, they took seats at a bare wooden table, and
"So, Joe says your interested in Trigger McGill and black market porn lovely combo, I must say," he was speaking off-handedly, but his eyes were sharp, and he was watching Nancy intently.
have a hunch that there might be a link between McGill, the porn market, and a
missing persons case I'm working on,"
Brett raised his eyebrows, "And who's the missing person?"
Brett sighed, "Well, if McGill and Mr. President are involved, I'd place my bets on kiddie porn which is why I brought this file. I'm not sure there's anything here that can help you, and I can't really show you the file. But, I can drop a few names of people that might have more information . . ."
He opened the KP file and flipped through, providing some general background information as he searched, "Kennedy has never been directly connected to the kiddie porn market, but I have reliable sources that tell me he's really in to it. Ahhh, here we go . . . this lady has starred in some pretty hard core stuff herself, though she tells me she never does anything illegal," Brett snorted, "Of course none of them do. Names Brandy Bush, here's her last known address. Sorry, no phone number."
Brett shuffled some more papers, "This guy, Randy James, has been known to do some filming, though I've never heard him working with Trigger. Anyways, he might be able to give you an idea where to start. He likes to talk, may not have anything direct, but he's an easy mark and can give you some good general information on the porn market itself."
"What about people directly involved with Trigger I'm pretty certain this trail starts with him, I just can't seem to get any further."
Brett opened the second file, flipping pages slowly, "Trigger's been in to a little of everything, though, here again, he's never been brought up on porn charges. He's almost as slippery as Kennedy, though with a lot less style."
and appeared to scrutinize a sheet, then flipped back
to the KP file, turning a few pages before a grim smile appeared on his face.
He turned the two top sheets around for
from Trigger's file had a poor quality black and white photo of Penny Turner
attached to it.
Brett held her hand a bit longer than professional courtesy dictated, his smile warm, as he let go he said teasingly, "You know if you ever get tired of that fly boy husband of yours . . ."
Brett opened the door for her, and sighed exaggeratedly, "Some guys have all the luck."
know me better than that, Brett I'd think you'd be feeling sorry for him!"
Pakse and Beyond
landed outside of Pakse, at a small military base,
later, as ordered, the Team received a wake up call. As they all rolled out of bed,
was a silent affair. Afterwards, they
strike this afternoon,"
"In broad daylight,
Murdock was less quick to jump to conclusions, "What exactly do you and Stockwell have in store for us?" he sounded very skeptical.
"Stockwell will have three Abel Teams here by late morning. We go in wired, so they know when we've got Chang in sight, and then we close the door on General Chang and his operation once and for all."
"Sounds great, Colonel, except for one thing. If Chang gets his hands on us, he's gonna kill us!" Murdock didn't look any happier than Face about the plan.
"So we're s'posed to trust Stockwell's men to get us out?" BA was shaking his head.
and Murdock stood looking anywhere but at the
This time Murdock broke the silence, "When do we leave?"
1100 came around quickly. The briefing took almost an hour, after which the Team were wired with sophisticated tracking and signaling devices, including backups. Before they knew it they were packing up to go. Murdock ran his last pre-flight and they were lifting off. The other three teams had left approximately 30 minutes earlier, to get into position. Once the Team sent the signal that Chang was in sight, the Abels should be able to respond in fairly short order. Now they just had to get captured.
shelter she parked about a block away and walked up the street. The sleet had given way to some scattered
snow flurries, though nothing had really accumulated. Absolutely
no sign of spring, yet.
Father Jebadiah waved at
"Well, I'm afraid that the other volunteers that night weren't much help. Most of them don't even remember seeing Jasmine. However, Jeremy, one of the younger members of our volunteer group, whom I suspect is rather sweet on Jasmine, said he also remembered her coming in, and that she had seemed nervous. He felt that her nervousness stemmed from something other than needing a fix."
Father Jebadiah took a deep breath, "Of course, Jeremy may just have been wishful thinking, but he said he thought, from what Jasmine said to him that she was afraid that someone was going to hurt her and her daughter. He mentioned, hmm, let me see, was it Roy Rogers? That doesn't sound right. I had him make a note of it here somewhere," he began shuffling through piles of bills and receipts on the desk.
it have been Trigger?"
Father snapped his fingers, "That was it Roy Roger's horse. Does that mean anything to you?"
"Can you give me Jeremy's phone number I'd really like to talk to him some more about what Jazz said to him that night."
been talking, Father had continued to sift through the contents of the desk,
and came up with an "Ah-hah, here it is. Jeremy wrote down everything he
could remember about his conversation with Jasmine. And at the bottom he put his name and phone
number in case you needed anything else.
I also believe he'll be working tomorrow, if you have a chance to stop
by" He handed the paper over to
Next she pulled out the picture of Penny Turner, "Father, do you know this woman?"
Father Jebadiah looked at the picture and nodded, handing it back,
"Of course, that's Penelope. A
member of the oldest profession, if you know what I mean," he said with a
knowing nod, that
comes in periodically to warm up between, ummm,
clients. And of course
to get sustenance. She's really
quite a nice girl,"
believe she was in here yesterday when you were here," Father added,
"So you did see her," he nodded appreciatively, "I'll bet it pays to be observant in your line of work. I bet you remember what everyone was wearing." He looked at her like the kid waiting for the magician to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
She stood and held out her hand, "Thank you so much for all of your help Father. I really should be going. It's getting late, and I still have a couple stops to make."
He smiled warmly, "Any time. And if you need anything else at all, please don't hesitate to ask."
Out at the
She made a few notes in her notebook, and then headed down the street to the Wild Boar.
Boar, sure enough, Clare, aka Penny, was standing
outside in the cold.
Clare pulled open the door about five minutes later, "Crank up the heat on this baby, I'm freezing."
Clare/Penny looked at her, and shrugged, "I figgered you was a smart girl. How'd you figure out who I was?"
"Really? Now that would explain why I didn't give you my real name wouldn't it?" she asked scathingly, "Listen sweet heart, don't act all high and mighty with me. I was just trying to help out a friend."
out a friend, or get an old boyfriend in trouble?"
"Everything I tol' you was the honest god's truth. Jazz is a friend. I'm the one set her up working with Trigger in the firs' place," Penny rubbed her hands together and hunkered into her coat, looking small and pitiful.
"Alright, so you set Jazz up with this sweet deal. I have information that says he threatened not only Jazz, but Terra, too. Something besides just a lost package went wrong for him to be so hot on both of them. There's something you're not telling me."
stared out the window blindly for a few minutes, and
of where, Penny,"
"Kennedy has them," Penny said after blowing her nose, "You see that was the plan all along. Trigger threatens Jazz and Terra, then Kennedy is there to 'protect' them from Trigger. Once he has both, he planned to get Jazz torqued on coke then use both of them in some movie."
"Oh, I don't know about that," Penny said, "Kennedy is very charming and he can be real persuasive, trust me I know."
"The films that you were in recently, did Kennedy produce those, too?"
"Yea, like I said, he's real persuasive. He's also a real pervert. You see the ones he releases on the market are tame compared to the private ones he makes for personal use. I think he gets off on seeing himself on film."
Penny's tongue had definitely loosened, "I 'member when I was with Trig, he used to say that Kennedy's sexual kinks were going to get him in trouble some day. But he's real careful about who he chooses for his personal movies. I think he's had his eye on Jazz for some time, she's an awful pretty girl. And when he found out she had a daughter, well that clinched it. Mr. President always gets what he wants."
don't suppose you'd be willing to repeat this for the police?"
"Do I look like I have a death wish hell no! Why do you think I told you, so you could take care of it."
"Do you know where Kennedy has them?"
"Probably in that fancy estate o' his. The cops cried wolf so many times, no judge'll grant a search warrant for the place. 'Sides, he's got all kinds of hidden rooms and shit like that. Even if the cops got in, they'd never find anything."
Penny started to fidget, "Listen, I gotta get back on my corner before anyone notices I'm gone. Please, get Jazz and Terra away from that nut." And with that she jumped out of the car and headed back down the street.
them away from the nut, no problem,'
She headed away from the Boar. It was almost , and she did want to stop by the office before heading to Amy's for supper.
forget it. You're asking for trouble
getting involved in this,
the cops get involved, Jazz and Terra are as good as dead,"
"He's been sloppy enough that you're on to him," Riley countered.
but he doesn't see me as a real threat,"
"He sees you as enough of a threat to try and scare you off."
"Maybe he likes you," Riley said snidely.
Riley's expression was turning to alarm, "Now you're starting to scare me. That's just plain stupid. What are you going to do once you're inside, stick your finger in your pocket and say 'Stick 'em up and hand over the woman and child'?"
landed without incident just outside of
one, the Team was picked off and hauled into the back of a waiting truck. When
At Chang's compound, they were split up, each locked into a separate cell.
Face sat down on the floor and began to draw haphazard circle in the dirt. All there was to do now was wait, and he'd had lots of practice at that. He looked up and scanned the interior of the cell. Things hadn't changed much in the intervening years. 'Still no amenities. You'd think by now they'd have valet service.' Face thought with a grim smile, then went back to drawing pictures in the dirt . . . and listening.
BA slammed himself against the closed door and growled at the guard that looked in through the grate over the window. He crossed his arms and paced like a caged cat. He'd never been good at the waiting game, had no patience for it. He hoped Chang showed up soon he'd personally rip his head off with his bear hands.
slouched against the wall of his cell hugging himself. This was way to close to the past, and he was
starting to feel a little unglued. Damn
Besides, they would get through this. They always did.
An Evening Off
dinner they sat down in the living room and Amy coaxed
evening had been relaxing, and
A Different Perspective
Paul Baldwin walked into Kennedy's office with some trepidation. Mr. President was not going to be happy about this latest development, and he hated being the bearer of bad news.
looking up, Kennedy acknowledged
"We have a bit of a problem, sir," Paul said nervously, "Penny Turner was seen talking with Nancy Murdock late this afternoon."
Kennedy looked up, his eyes flashing, "She has been nothing but a liability since McGill brought her into the picture," he made a dismissive gesture, "Tell him it's his problem, and I expect him to make it go away tonight."
"Yes, sir," Paul hesitated.
"Is there something more?" Kennedy looked up, clearly he thought the matter was settled.
"It's about Ms. Murdock . . . she's been all over asking about Jasmine and Terra."
"I know that, Paul, you're wasting my time . . ." Kennedy looked at his assistant impatiently.
"Well, she talked to that Father at the shelter, and one of the volunteers that Jazz was friendly with. I don't know what she found out, but between them and Penny, she must have gotten wind of where Jasmine and Terra are. She's been seen snooping around the community perimeter. I think she may suspect that Jasmine and Terra are here. We really need to finish that particular little project, sir." Paul hated Kennedy's pet projects, particularly where women and girls were concerned. They tended to be perverted. The killing and drugs were one thing, but the kinky stuff really turned his stomach.
Kennedy looked impatient, "So . . ."
"She's getting too close, sir. And she has connections at the police, the Bureau. She makes me nervous."
Kennedy sat back in his chair, an amused look on his face as he considered his assistant, "Ms. Murdock does present a rather fascinating quandary, doesn't she. What did you find out about her that has you so antsy, Paul."
Kennedy knew his assistant could dig up information on anyone. He had been an early entrant into the computer revolution, as well as having connections at several information bureaus. Well connected to dig up dirt on people, that was why Kennedy kept him around.
pulled out his notepad and began in a clinical tone, "Born Nancy Clay,
raised in the
Kennedy nodded, "Go on."
looked back down at his notes, found his place, and continued, "Attended
"And the husband?" Kennedy pressed.
shrugged, "I only just started checking him out," he admitted, "Name's
HM Murdock. Moved to
the area about three years ago.
Paul stopped and took a breath. Kennedy was nodding his head, "Anything on him before he moved to the area?"
place of residence I could find was the VA Hospital in
"Interesting twist, what's his military record look like?"
"Didn't get too far there yet. He was in Air Command, then Special Forces. I didn't find a lot of detail, but then, with those special forces guys you often have to get hold of the higher security files to really get to the meat."
"Fine, back to Nancy any family? You mentioned an uncle . . ."
flipped another page, "Father, Carl Clay, lawyer, still lives and works in
Kennedy steepled his hands and swiveled in his chair, looking out across the estate lawn reflectively. Nancy Murdock had been a bit of a distraction lately. Normally, he would have dismissed her meddling without a second thought, but something about the woman made him take a second look. She didn't scare easily that much was certain. She knew who he was, but didn't seem impressed, and that in itself he found intriguing. Perhaps she was worth moving up the time table on his little project with Jasmine and Terra. She'd make an interesting addition to the mix.
Kennedy nodded his head, as if coming to a decision, "I'll take care of Ms. Murdock, personally."
Paul looked visibly alarmed, "Sir, with all due respect, she's got connection at the FBI, the police, her husband was special forces don't you think it would be better to distance yourself from this little, er, problem." Paul understood the necessity of getting rid of Nancy Murdock, he just couldn't see why Kennedy wanted to handle it himself, "Let McGill take care of it." He recommended.
Kennedy looked at him, his eyes narrowed, "Are you questioning my judgment, Paul?"
Paul ran his tongue over suddenly dry lips, "Certainly not, it just seems risky to get involved yourself if it isn't necessary."
"This young woman deserves special attention, Paul. And I intend to give it to her. Don't worry, we won't move until it's safe. I have plans for Ms. Murdock she's so anxious to find Jasmine and Terra, then let's oblige her.
"In preparation, make sure that we have evidence of Trigger's involvement in Ms. Turner's untimely death this evening. I believe it may be time for McGill to make the ultimate sacrifice for his leader." Kennedy smiled smugly, then bent back to his work, Paul was obviously dismissed.
Paul nodded to the top of Kennedy's head and went out the door to take care of business. He hoped he never was called to make that sacrifice, but then with Kennedy, nothing was sacred.
No More Chang
He looked brightly at the soldiers standing there, "What took you guys so long?" he quipped, before being doubled over by the butt of a gun to his gut. His hands were bound roughly behind him. Then a soldier came on either side and dragged him out of the cell bodily.
looked decidedly cheerful considering the current situation, which worried
Chang stalked over and backhanded Murdock across the face, "Perhaps you do not recall prisoner protocol here, Captain. Let me remind you speak only when spoken to."
Murdock licked his cracked lip, "Ahhh, and here I thought we were having a happy reunion."
Chang snapped his head at the soldier behind Murdock, and the butt of the gun came down heavily on his shoulder, knocking him to the ground.
never did play fair, Chang,"
walked over, looking very smug, "Colonel Smith, this time, you and your
men will not get away," Chang leaned down and got in
stepped in front of
With ceremony, Chang pulled out his revolver and cocked it, lifting it over his head. At that point, a shot rang out, and the revolver flew out of his hand. Chang pulled his hand into his chest, as blood began pouring out of a fresh wound.
him only a few seconds to realize what was happening, "Kill them, kill them all!" he shouted frantically, only to watch
as each of the soldiers standing over the Team went down. Chang turned to flee
towards the jeep, but
Murdock swung his legs around and caught Chang right at the knees, bringing him down with a thud. The place was pandemonium for a few minutes, with the Team pretty much helpless in the center of it still bound.
Finally, Jeff Kent, Abel 9, came over with a knife and proceeded to cut the Team's bonds, "Waited long enough, didn't you Jeff?" Hannibal asked acidly, "I was beginning to think I was going to be short a pilot."
grinned, "We wouldn't let anything happen to Murdock," he said
lightly, "We're all afraid of
had the entire compound rounded up,
"It's OK, Joe. What's up?"
"Well, I wouldn't have even bothered you, but Brett thought you should know . . . Penny Turner was found dead in her apartment early this morning. Her room mate found her."
"You didn't happen to see her yesterday, did you?" Joe asked tentatively.
I talked to her about 5 or ,"
"Based on the coroner preliminary evaluation, you may have been one of the last people to speak to her. I'll need you to come down to the station and give a statement." Joe sounded official.
hour soon enough?"
"Yes, just ask for me when you arrive you know the drill." Joe rang off.
She took a quick shower, cursing when she couldn't get the second pair of jeans buttoned either. She gave in and looped a pony tail holder thru the button hole and over the button this was really becoming annoying.
She made several quick phone calls. The first was to Blanche, to tell her she was still on the trail and make sure she hadn't heard from Jasmine or Terra. No such luck.
Next she called Maggie and assured her that she'd be by that evening for dinner. Maggie told her that they were fine, and if they decided they needed anything, they'd page her.
Finally, she called Riley and brought him up to date on the latest development. He was less than pleased, and told her to check in after she got done at the station. She promised she would.
She stared into the refrigerator for a few minutes, before deciding that the cupboards were definitely bare. It didn't matter, she wasn't all that hungry anyway. She pulled on her jeans jacket and overcoat, grabbing her gun and holster out of the gun safe these she stuck in the trunk, and then climbed into the car and headed in to the police station.
At the station, she signed in and headed to Joe's desk. Brett was there, and the two appeared to be having a heated discussion. Brett looked up as she approached, "You knew right where to find her, didn't you," he said accusingly.
There was no point in denying it, "She was working the corner by the Wild Boar and was supposedly friends with my missing person. I thought it might be her when I saw the picture, but I didn't know her real name."
looked at Joe triumphantly, "I told you . . . "
turning back to
a hand, "Hang on, Brett,
his head, "It was made to look like a john did it, but the killer was
definitely wearing gloves, and we haven't yet found any physical evidence at
"Doesn't exactly sound like a crime of passion,"
Brett crossed his arms, "We were hoping you could shed some light on that." He said.
Joe pulled out a tape recorder, "Let's go to an interview room, and get your statement," he looked at Brett, "I'll talk to you later."
interview room, Joe shut the door and sat down heavily in the chair across from
on, Joe, it's not like I'm a suspect.
Let's just get this over with."
"Alright," he sat forward and pressed the start button on the tape recorder, "First, for the record, state your name and occupation."
Murdock, Private Investigator,"
"When was the last time you saw Penny Turner?"
"I saw her yesterday, at approximately , only at the time I didn't know that her name was Penny Turner, I thought her name was Clare."
"And why were you going to see Ms. Turner?"
"The previous day, that would be Monday, she had given me information regarding a missing persons case I'm working on. I was following up on that conversation."
"So you had seen Ms. Turner the day before the murder."
"Yes, for the first time. She approached me with some information about the woman I'm looking for."
"Who is it you're looking for?"
Joe looked at her sternly, "
"OK, back to Penny Turner, what was the information that she provided you?"
"At our first meeting, she told me that my client had been working for Trigger McGill as a drug courier when she misplaced a parcel. McGill was apparently upset about this and Penny said she suspected that my client was in trouble. She said she had also heard through the grapevine that Grant Kennedy was involved, but at the time, she didn't indicate how."
"And yesterday when you talked to her, what did she tell you?" Joe prodded.
"She admitted that she'd lied to me about her name, that's when I found out she was Penny Turner and not Clare, as she had told me before. She said that she and Trigger had been together, and that she had gotten my client the job with McGill."
"So you suspect that your missing person is with Grant Kennedy right now."
"Yes, and I think she may be there voluntarily, at least at the moment."
"Off the record," Joe confirmed.
Joe sat back, "We're back to the kiddie porn."
"Kennedy threatened me. He's definitely involved, and if he's killed Penny to cover this up there's no telling who might be next."
"But what's he covering up?" Joe said, "Black market porn? Drugs? Kennedy has so many layers between him and the dirty deals we've never been able to prosecute."
hour later Joe walked
"No way, Joe I'm not the one in danger."
"I disagree, you're in as much danger as Penny Turner was."
I don't have any first hand knowledge of Kennedy's dealings. Penny did Brett
said she had starred in a couple of the films that came out recently. They were Kennedy productions, and my guess
is Kennedy decided she was a liability."
"I'll be fine, Joe. I just don't know how to get my client and her daughter out of the predicament they're in. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears."
"I'll see what I can do about getting a search warrant, but I've gotta get some hard evidence that Kennedy is involved to swing that."
"I know you'll do your best, and I really appreciate it, Joe. Tell Trix and the kids I said 'hi'."
General Stockwell had made arrangement with the local authorities to put Chang and his gang under arrest. The Vietnamese government was more than happy to put a feather in their cap and garner some favor with the Americans. Chang had been losing popularity anyway, and the powers that be were just as happy to see him out of the picture.
strode towards where the Team was waiting in the hangar, "We're all set,
gentlemen. Job well done we've just
shut down one of the largest drugs and arms smuggling rings in
you ready to go home?"
"I was ready to go home over a month ago," Face said irritably, "When does our flight leave?"
Now Stockwell did smile, "You will be riding in the comfort of the jet for your trip home you've earned it. Besides, Colonel Smith tells me he has some important business to discuss, and I'm on my way to DC for a meeting anyway."
"Your chariot awaits, gentlemen."
Riley stood and began pacing, "I don't care what you think you're in danger. Kennedy threatened you once and you haven't backed off. He's going to do more than threaten the next time."
"If I thought I could get away with it, I'd lock you up in a jail cell. Where is that husband of yours anyway?" Riley looked perturbed.
you're thinking that HM can make me do something I don't want to, then you are
"No, but at least if he and his friends were around, I'd feel better about your safety."
"Well, they aren't, and my safety is not your concern. I can take care of myself."
turned and put his hands on her shoulders, "
straightened, "OK, then here's what I want you to do," he raised a
conciliatory hand as
going to the library for some late morning research right now,"
down at his desk and shook his head,
Maggie sighed exaggeratedly, "You're a terrible liar. But maybe this will cheer you up - the guys are on their way home. They'll be here sometime tomorrow."
that is the best news I've had in some time,"
smiled at the relief in
"Planning on it," Nancy said, "I'm at the library right now, and I have a couple other errands to run, but I think I may make it an early day, I'm whooped. Is there anything you need me to pick up?"
"We don't need anything," Maggie said, "Just take care of yourself, and get over here as soon as you can. You sound like you could use some good company."
see you soon,"
checked the quadrant map, and requested the last aerial photo of the section
with Kennedy's estate. The aerial wasn't
very much help, but did give
grabbing a quick lunch she decided to stop by the shelter. When she walked in Father Jebadiah
greeted her with his usual joviality, and motioned a skinny youth over, "
"It's nice to meet you Jeremy. I understand you saw Jasmine last Wednesday evening." Father led them to the shelter office as they spoke, "I'd really appreciate anything that you can remember about your conversation. I think she may be in big trouble."
Jeremy nodded, as they sat down in the office, "Jazz was nervous about the threats from Trigger, she came to talk to Father Jebadiah, to see what he thought of the offer she had for protection."
offered her the protection, Jeremy?"
Father was watching intently, "You know who she was talking about, don't you?"
"She said that it would be safer if no one knew where they were. That's all I remember. I hope it helps. Jazz is great, I'd hate to see her hurt."
Then she called Maggie from the office, and asked once more if they needed anything. Maggie gave her a short list of grocery items.
called Amy's at and cussed
"Fine," Riley said stubbornly, "Then call me when you get ready to head home, I'll meet you there."
"Fine, I'll see you then." With that Riley hung up.
"What was that all about?" Maggie asked.
Maggie, Amy and Mama B all looked at her in surprise, Mama was the first to find her voice, "That doesn't sound like Riley what have you gotten yourself into, girl?"
"Did you find Jasmine and Terra?" Amy asked.
"No, but I think I know where they are, and it isn't a good place."
Maggie shook her head, "You're staying here tonight, where we can keep an eye on you."
"I can't Maggie, I have a boat load of groceries in the car, and I need to get the house straightened up before HM gets home."
"HM could care less whether the house is clean," Maggie said dismissively.
so, but he will definitely notice that there is no food in it."
dinner and sat around visiting afterwards, with Maggie, Amy and Mama trying to
"Please listen to Riley, and stay safe." Maggie entreated.
be fine. See you tomorrow."
arrived at home, Riley was already there, so
"Thank goodness then I can give up the 'I care' routine and go back to being the disgruntled boss."
"Don't say it," Riley interjected, "It's OK, I'll just bed down here on the couch."
Now You See Her
Riley woke with a start and laid very still listening. He sat up slowly and scanned the dark room, catching a glimpse of a face out of the corner of his eye. This was just before a hand came across his face with a rag. Riley struggled briefly before going limp, "Good night Mr. Adams," McGill said with a laugh.
He trussed Riley up, checking that the bonds were firm, then turned to the man that he'd brought with him and hissed, "Let's go get the bitch and get outta here before we're seen."
the same scenario played out again, only
She sat up suddenly, "Riley."
assure you, Mr. Adams is just fine. Probably kicking himself right now, but
nonetheless, unharmed." Kennedy was sitting in a chair a few feet from the
She swung her feet to the floor and turned to face Kennedy, "I really didn't think you'd be this stupid." She said derisively, "Joe Martin and Brett Katt are going to be all over you when they realize I'm gone."
"What was it you said to me when we first met, 'Don't underestimate your opponent' well Ms. Murdock you are guilty of gross underestimation." Kennedy's smile was smug, "It will take Marin and Katt at least 24 hours to get a search warrant. I assure you, they will find nothing here to link me to your disappearance."
His eyes raked up and down her body, "A little private performance before the finale."
really are a pervert aren't you,"
stood, and walked up to
"Where are we?" she asked conversationally.
"You know where we are. Paul said you've been snooping around the community lately."
"How big is this place I saw some aerials, it looked huge."
"It's over 4 acreas." He offered.
"When do I get to see Jasmine and Terra are they still here?"
"Jasmine and Terra are perfectly safe in their little haven from Mr. McGill. Really, you put yourself in this position to come after someone who was here willingly."
Jazz came willingly, but Terra had no choice in the matter."
Kennedy shook his head, "Not yet. Paul is making the arrangements for the filming now. You'll see Jasmine and Terra shortly."
Kennedy was watching her with interest, "Planning your escape? Trust me it's quite hopeless. You would never make it out."
walked up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.
the door, and looked warily up and down the hall before stepping out. There weren't any surveillance cameras
Jasmine and Terra had to be somewhere nearby. She had to find them and get the hell out, which she knew was going to be easier said than done. When she reached the stairway, she looked down, then up. Hearing male voices down she decided up was her best bet.
third floor, she went through the same routine, moving quietly down the
hall. The house seemed to be totally
empty, and the uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach was getting worse. Something wasn't right,
she should have come upon at least a couple of gun-toting guards by now. The fourth door on the right was closed, and
to the next room, which was empty, and entered, closing the door quietly behind
her. She did a quick recon of the room, again no
surveillance cameras were evident. Maybe
Kennedy felt secure within his four acre estate, and didn't feel the need, but
The sun was just starting to rise, but the light was still faint. She went out onto the balcony quietly and looked into the grounds below. She saw one of the many armed guards walking a path about a hundred feet out from the house. She watched him for about 5 minutes, and he never once looked up towards the house.
only a gap of about 2 feet between the balcony
into the room, she saw Jasmine and Terra, both apparently unharmed. Jasmine seemed to still be asleep, but Terra
was awake, and laying across the end of the bed
reading a book. There was no one else in
up abruptly, "
outburst had awakened Jasmine, kind of.
She rolled over and sat up rubbing her eyes. She looked first at Terra then at
Terra turned to her mother, "This is Nancy Murdock, she's a friend of Gram's."
Jasmine's face turned to stone, "We're not going anywhere. We're safe here."
"Grant Kennedy took us in and protected us when no one else could," Jasmine countered stubbornly.
"Out of the goodness of his heart? What have you been doing for him
"You don't know what you're talking about. Grant loves me he'll take care of me and my daughter."
was a set up from the beginning Grant Kennedy wanted one thing,"
"Grant thinks of Terra as a daughter," Jasmine said, standing up and putting her hands on her hips, "He wants to take care of her. And me."
don't think you have a full picture of just how Kennedy wants to 'take care' of
"He didn't bring you here," Jasmine said dismissively, "You broke in you are nothing but a common burglar."
was starting to look frightened,
and looked at
not important now,"
Jasmine dropped into a chair, disconsolately, "It's no use he's watching us right now. He's probably been watching the whole time. We wouldn't make it to the front door."
Jasmine stood, "Terra, get dressed. I guess there's no harm in seeing how far we can get."
landed at the airfield at about .
Hannibal and General Stockwell had been in intense discussion for a good
portion of the trip, but had finally come to an agreement. The Team could go into a retirement of sorts,
as long as they trained other teams in the organization in their methods.
disembarked the plane immediately upon landing.
It had been a long mission, and they were all relieved to be home.
At home Murdock parked behind a Buick, wondering idly whose vehicle it was. Grabbing his duffle out of the back of the truck, he jogged up to the house and let himself in. He dropped the bag by the back door, put his jacket on the peg board, and headed quietly upstairs.
bedroom, he found an empty bed, and started towards the bathroom, "
towards the kitchen to call Amy and Face, when he heard a strangled noise
coming from the living room. He walked
cautiously into the room, until he saw Riley.
Leaning down over Riley, Murdock pulled the gag off his mouth. A burst of expletives greeted him, followed
by, "Murdock, thank God you're home.
had pulled out his pocket knife and after getting Riley to a sitting position,
cut off the ropes binding his hands, "Who has
"I can't be sure, but I think McGill and some thug were the ones that took her last night. But if I had to place bets, I'd bet Kennedy's behind it."
Murdock considered this for a split second before standing and making for the kitchen phone. He called the Peck house, and Maggie answered the phone, her voice cheerful.
didn't waste any words, "Maggie, I need to talk to
felt her heart drop into her toes. She
turned and held the phone to
"We'll be right over."
Riley came walking into the kitchen as Murdock hung up the phone, "Do you know where they'd be holding her?"
nodded, "Probably at Kennedy's estate in Langley Woods." Riley spied
"What do you know about the layout and security?"
his, but then smiled, "I don't know anything, but I know someone who could
Riley went to the phone and dialed Joe Martin at home, "Joe, we've got a problem. McGill snatched
Joe had been groggy when he picked up the phone, but he was wide awake by the time Riley finished his sentence, "Shit, I knew I should have locked her in a cell whether she liked it or not."
Riley chuckled, but then turned serious again, "Murdock wants to know about the estate, I told him that was probably where they had her."
"Murdock's home? Thank goodness," Joe felt slightly relieved, though not much, "Put him on."
Murdock took the phone, "Hey, Joe, what can you tell me about this place?"
Joe sighed, "Unfortunately, not a lot, but I do know that there are at least a dozen armed guards that patrol the grounds at any one time. He has a sophisticated security system, with cameras and motion detectors, so getting in undetected could be tricky. The one thing you might have going for you is the vegetation the grounds are practically a jungle, and should provide good cover."
going to have to go in quiet," Joe warned, "If he gets wind that you're
coming, he'll dispose of
Murdock was nodding, "Thanks, Joe. It's better than going in totally blind."
"I'll head to the court house now, I may be able to swing an emergency search warrant and get you some backup. But it's gonna take time, as Kennedy well knows."
"If what you say is true, a bunch of cop cars screaming in could be the wrong tact anyway."
"Call my pager when you get in," Joe gave him the number, "I'll be ready with backup just in case. I can justify entering the grounds without a warrant if I know that there are people in immediate danger."
"Thanks, again, Joe."
hung up, and returned to the notes and copies that
the sound of gravel crunching under tires, and a few minutes later,
Murdock filled him in on what he knew, "First we need to get into the gated community, then we need to get into the estate. I don't think this is going to be a walk in the park."
headed to the phone to call his Uncle-in-law, and quickly filled him in. Stockwell was walking in the door within 10
minutes, the codes necessary to get into the gates in hand.
was listening quietly, "I'm going into the courthouse, to give Detective
Martin some backup on getting a search warrant.
Mr. Riley, you should come with me, your testimony to the judge could be
helpful in securing the warrant," he turned to
Jasmine were dressed in no time.
Jasmine shook her head. But Terra jumped in, "The library downstairs has a bunch of antique armor and weapons that we might be able to use."
"First floor, at the other end of the house. I've been spending a lot of time there." She added.
the first floor,
to the library were open, and they entered unimpeded.
straight over to the set of maces, and pulled them down off the wall, handing
one to her mother. They found that even
the maces were too heavy for them to handle them with any effectiveness.
She pulled it out and checked the chamber, it was only a 6+1 shot, but there was extra ammo in the cabinet. Better than nothing. She shoved the gun into the back of her waist band thinking that at this point it was a good thing all of her pants were tight, or she'd be losing it in her underwear. Then she dumped the extra ammo into her pocket.
either of you ever handled fire arms?" both shook their heads no, and
"Well, might as well see how far we can get. Are you ready?"
to the door that led onto the porch from the library.
just started moving into the garden off the porch, with
Turning back she felt her heart drop, she'd known this was too good to be true. But she had hoped that Kennedy would let them get far enough where they might have a chance of escape.
"I think that is just about far enough," Kennedy had Terra's arm and was holding a gun to her head, "I'd hate to underestimate my opponent." His tone was mocking.
motioned with the gun, indicating that Jasmine and
Kennedy's smile was pure evil, "Oh I plan to have my hands all over your daughter, Jasmine, just as I've had them all over you," he reached out and stroked Jasmine's cheek, and she flinched.
When they entered the library again, a young sandy-haired man in professor glasses came in, looking distastefully at the scene. Kennedy regarded him with amusement, "Paul, please relieve Ms. Murdock of the gun. I'd hate to give her any opportunities, as I seriously doubt she'd waste them."
came striding in as well, "Martin was seen headed to the court house early
this morning. We need to get this over
with before the cops manage to get a search warrant."
Kennedy smiled smugly, "They don't have any hard evidence that Ms. Murdock is here it will take Martin some fast talking to get a judge to grant a search warrant."
"Just the same, this is risky." McGill growled, obviously not happy with the way things were going down.
"Boy are you gullible, McGill,"
One look at Paul showed that Nancy was right on target well sometimes a girl got lucky, she just hoped McGill had seen the panic cross the young man's face and realized what it meant. She had a bad feeling that he wasn't that smart.
"McGill looked at her warily, "Shut up, bitch. You aren't going to get to me with some stupid mind game."
turned to Kennedy angrily, "You been settin' me up all along." He advanced on Kennedy who
nodded to Paul. Paul was still standing
Hannibal and the Team, along with their backup got into the community using the key code that the General had obtained. They moved a panel van, advertising carpet cleaning into place just down the street from the main gate into Kennedy's estate. The backup team would wait here for Hannibal's signal. The Team ranged silently along the walls surrounding the estate, getting a general feel for the layout and looking for a good entry point. They reconvened near the van, and compared notes.
hearing everyone's report,
it over the wall without incident. Face was the first over, and pointed out the
motion sensors to each of his team mates in turn as they joined him. Once they were all over,
Murdock moved through the foliage, catching site of an unwary guard. He slung his weapon over his shoulder and pulled himself up into a small maple tree by the side of the path. As the guard walked underneath, Murdock swung down, sprawling him unconscious across the path. He dropped down and checked to make sure the man was out of action.
He dragged the man off the path and cuffed him to a tree, out of sight. When he went to tie a gag on, he noticed the small head set and receiver the guard was wearing. He pulled them off, looking curiously at the receiver which was labeled 'SE2', then clipped them on himself. There was only occasional traffic, and it appeared to be regularly timed check ins. They were going to have to hurry before central security realized that their guards were disappearing.
Face rose from his second guard, pulling the same kind of receiver and head set off. He checked the label 'NE1'. He already had one strapped to himself, so he tossed this one in the bushes, away from his most recent captive. A voice crackled over his head set, "NE2, radio check?"
That was the label on the receiver Face was wearing. He flicked a switch up on the ear piece, "Uh, NE2, all clear."
"Base clear," came the reply. Face let out a relieved breath, and headed further in towards the house.
BA pulled his second capture into the foliage and cuffed him to a tree, gagging him and throwing his head set and receiver into the bushes. He'd heard Face's voice on the last radio check, and checked the tag on the receiver before tossing it. They had to keep the base operator in the dark as long as possible. He moved in towards his next target, repeating the numbers for his guards in his head so he wouldn't miss a radio check.
Up on the porch, they conferred quietly behind a screen of climbing roses, "Alright, BA you're with me, we're going in the front. Murdock and Face, circle around back. Case the house, we need to find where they're being held and we need to neutralize central security."
didn't reply, but nodded his head at Paul, who nudged
Kennedy moved in front of Nancy and crouched so that his face was level with hers, "I've really enjoyed our little play, Nancy, but I fear McGill was right about one thing, we will have to hurry."
He ran a finger along her jaw line, down her neck and between her breasts, "Such a pity, too, I was hoping to take my time with you break you properly."
in a kissed her roughly, his hands closing around her neck in a strangle
hand was caught mid-air, as he swung back to slap her again.
Kennedy looked for Paul, only to see him hanging from BA's jeweled fist like a rag doll. There would be no help from that corner.
Face responded immediately "We're at security central, Colonel. Signal the backup in, we've got the front gate open. Oh, and Murdock is on his way down."
She stood on shaky legs as Murdock came running through from the front hall. He was at her side in an instant and gathered her into a bear hug, "Are you alright?" he looked at her critically, noting the bloody lip, and blackening eye.
yard, police cars were pulling in with sirens blaring Joe had obviously
gotten his search warrant.
Kennedy laughed, "Don't count me out yet, my dear. Rest assured that I will make you pay . . . eventually."
eyes flashed, and he turned towards Kennedy, but
He put his hands on her shoulders and leaned down to look directly in her eyes, his own still reflecting tension and worry, "Are you sure you're OK?"
the police awhile to round up all of the men scattered across the yard.
During the entire ordeal, Jasmine never left her daughter's side, keeping a protective arm around her. The last few hours had brought home just how off her judgment had been, and she seemed to be determined to make sure Terra was never put in harms way again.
you two alright?"
Terra gave her mother a squeeze around the waist, "Gram always said if you gave up the drugs you could come home," her young voice sounded hopeful, she'd obviously missed her mother.
Jasmine looked at her daughter lovingly, "I'll be home, but not until I'm clean. There's a clinic in DC. I'll go there for rehab, and be home when the drugs are out of my system," she smiled warmly at Terra's disappointed look, and kissed her forehead, "It's for the best sweet heart. Trust me, the rehab isn't going to be pretty."
A police car pulled up nearby, and Blanche jumped out of the back of it when the officer opened the door. She came running up to her daughter and granddaughter, and caught both of them in a strangling hug, "Oh thank God, you're both OK," she sobbed, kissing both and refusing to let go, "I thought I'd never see you again."
minutes later, after convincing herself that Jasmine and Terra were both
alright, Blanche turned to Nancy, "I'll never be able to thank you enough,"
she said, coming forward and giving Nancy a warm embrace and kiss on the
cheek. She looked in
Murdock came up as if on cue, "Did you say cabbage rolls? Yummy, I'm starving."
following Kennedy's arrest passed in a blur, with detectives coming and going,
and reporters calling to get information.
The next day, things finally seemed to be returning to some semblance of normalcy, and she was standing in the kitchen, gazing out the window over the sink. She was actually up before Murdock which was unusual, but not really surprising. He was still trying to catch up from time zone hopping for the last two months.
Murdock came down the stairs, whistling cheerfully. He came up behind her and put his arms around her waist, and was leaning to kiss her neck, when he stopped short.
He spun her around and lifted her shirt, "What's this?" he asked, indicating the pony tail elastic, holding her jeans closed.
Murdock unhooked the elastic and ran an exploratory hand along her stomach, feeling a definite swell.
"Feeling frisky, Captain?" she asked teasingly.
it, "What's this . . .," he stopped looking closer at the pregnancy
test, "Does this mean what I think it means?"
Murdock was practically bursting with excitement. He scooped her up and swung her around the kitchen, singing, "We're gonna have a baby, we're gonna have a baby!"
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