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The All-American City

The All-American City

By Mistress Lrigtar & N'am Tab

 

Rating:  PG; comedy

Summary:  The team finds themselves taking a job in Fayetteville, NC. 

Comments: Always welcome

Disclaimer: The usual…

Copy write: September 2004

 

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

 

 

Part 1

 

Sergeant BA Baracus sat inside the rec center he was currently volunteering at talking to a few young boys who sat at his feet.  The boys were fascinated with the gruff man who wore fatigues and tons of gold jewelry.

           

"BA!" Larry piped up, "When are we going to get to play baseball?"

           

"Yeah!  You promised us we could practice today so we can form a little league team," Marco chimed in.

           

"I know, and I'll teach you," BA said to them, "I'm jus' waitin' on the sports equipment we need for the rec center.  Can't teach you nothin' if we don't have the supplies!"

           

BA's head perked up when he heard the sound of screeching tires outside the building.  He stood up and strode to the door, followed by the twelve boys.

           

Lieutenant Templeton Peck rushed through the door, but stopped short when he saw BA standing there.

           

"Ah!  BA, there you are!" he said, as if he had been looking all over for BA.

           

BA glared balefully at the lieutenant, "You're late!"

           

"Well, BA, I got here as soon as I could," Face said, "Do you know how hard it is to get the quality stuff you asked for?  Hmm?"

           

"I asked for some baseballs and some bats!  How hard can that be?"  BA asked, advancing towards Face.  He sniffed the air slightly and Face cringed, "You were talkin' to some girl!"

           

"BA!" Face cried, "How could you think I would do a thing like that when I knew these nice, young boys were anxiously awaiting to play baseball?"

            " 'Cause I know you!  And there's only one reason why you're always late!"

           

Face grinned broadly and changed tactics, "BA, if you had seen her!  She was just your type!  I was doing you a favor; looking out for you buddy…"

           

"Outta my way, sucka!"  BA shoved Face aside and went out to the corvette, "Where's my stuff?"

           

Face came back out of the building, followed by the kids, "Hold your horses, I'm coming."

           

"Been waitin' over an hour!  I want my stuff!"  BA yelled at Face.

           

"OK!"  Face opened the trunk to the car.  The inside was loaded with baseballs, bats, gloves, and caps, "I even got you base plates and a home plate."

           

BA grunted and grabbed an armload of equipment, "Make yourself useful."

           

"That's gratitude for you," Face muttered and grabbed the bag of ball caps, "Hey kids, wanna help with this stuff?"

           

The kids cheered and grabbed the rest of the baseball supplies from the trunk.  They all ran into the rec center after BA.  Face was about to follow them when the phone in the corvette began to ring.  He smiled, thinking of the sweet young woman who had helped him with the baseball equipment.

           

He reached into the car to answer the phone, "Missed me already, hmm, Natalie?" he purred into the phone.

           

"Sorry to disappoint you, Lieutenant," the voice of Colonel John Smith replied.

           

"Hannibal!" Face said, "Why are you calling?  We're supposed to have the day off!"

           

"Well, I have a job for you and BA," Hannibal said, "I need you two to go down to Venice Beach to help me check out a potential client."

           

"This is just coming up now?" Face asked, exasperated that Hannibal always waited until the last minute to ask him to do something.

           

"If I could plan our clients' comings and goings to suit you, Lieutenant," Hannibal said, emphasizing the Lieutenant, "I would.  Now I need you two down there in an hour."

           

BA bellowed from the door of the center, "Faceman, you'd better get in here and help me!"

            "Problems, Face?" Hannibal asked and Face cringed for the second time that day. 

           

"No, Hannibal," Face said, "You're just helping me dig my grave, that's all."

           

"Well, if that's all, be outside the tattoo parlor in an hour," Hannibal said and hung up the phone.

           

Face turned around and looked at BA, "You'll never guess whom that was."

           

"You better not say it was Hannibal," BA said, glaring at Face. 

           

"OK, I won't say it," Face said, "But we have to go to Venice Beach now."

           

BA fumed, "If you had gotten here when you was supposed ta, this wouldn't have happened.  You're gonna pay, Faceman!"

           

"How was I supposed to know Hannibal was going to renege on our day off?"  Face whined, "I'm just as upset as you are, BA."

           

"You're still gonna pay," BA said.

           

"Now, BA, is that really fair?" Face asked.

           

"Don't care," BA said, "Eddie!"

           

A young man poked his head out of the rec center door, "Yeah, BA?"

           

"I've gotta go.  Will ya work with the kids for me?"  BA asked.

           

"Sure thing, BA," Eddie replied.  BA nodded, and Face tossed the bag of ball caps over to Eddie.

           

BA scowled at Face, "I'll see you at Venice Beach."  He stalked away to his van.  Face swallowed and got back into his car.  Hopefully, he could come up with something to get back into BA's good graces before they arrived at Venice Beach.

 

           

            Part 2

 

Merica Collins sat on a bench across from a tattoo parlor, as she had been instructed.  She had been there over an hour and still no one had approached her.  Of course, she hadn't been given a specific time, but she had just assumed if she had had to be there at a certain time, they would as well.  She sighed and looked at her watch again.  She would sit there another ten minutes and then she was leaving. 

           

Business at the tattoo parlor across the way had been slow.  The girl with more body piercings and tattoos than anyone should have stood at the door looking bored.  Merica found the girl's stare uncomfortable.  She turned away from the girl to watch the volleyball game taking place on the beach.  Even that was boring.  Instead, Merica looked down the sidewalk at the people walking to and fro.  She noticed immediately a burly black man with a Mohawk and dozens of gold chains around his neck.  He was wearing a t-shirt, camouflage pants and combat boots.  He had a scowl on his face and looked like he wished he was any place else but here.  Even though he looked tough, she was surprised to find that he didn't intimidate her, which was a good thing since he was headed towards her bench.

           

"Good afternoon," he said to her gruffly.

           

"Uh, good afternoon," she said, trying not to look at him.  She looked down at her hands in her lap.

           

BA had noticed the attractive woman as he had approached.  Face had been trying to placate him ever since they had arrived at the beach.  BA was enjoying an internal chuckle at Face's antics.  He may be a good conman, but he was easily fooled by BA's threats, which never ceased to amuse BA.  However, things had perked up even more when BA had seen Merica.  Her caramel colored skin seemed to glow in the afternoon sun.  Face had also spied her sitting on the bench and noticed the change in BA.  He had suggested that BA go over and talk to her while he went unnoticed behind the bench.  BA had readily agreed.

           

"Do you mind if I sit here?" BA asked.

           

"Oh," Merica said, "Um, sure."

           

"Thanks," BA said, and sat down at the other end of the bench.  BA saw Face approaching the bench from the beach. 

           

Sitting next to Merica, BA felt very shy and couldn't think of anything to say to her.  He was supposed to be distracting her so that Face could check out her credentials.  However, he wasn't used to being a part of one of Face's scams. Usually Murdock helped Face in that area, but Murdock was still in the VA, so Face had resorted to asking for BA's help.  So far, BA hadn't been very helpful.  He was just working up the courage to say something about the weather when squeals of dismay could be heard from the volleyball court and the ball came sailing over the bench and hit BA in the head.  Merica started when she heard the ball hit BA on the head and went over to him.

           

"Are you alright?" she asked BA, who was rubbing his head.  He was about to nod yes, when he saw Face limping towards the bench with the help of a bikini-clad girl.  Face shook his head slightly and BA changed his mind.

           

"Man," BA said, "My head sure does hurt!"      

           

"Here, let me take a look," Merica said, and examined BA's head.

           

Face leaned against the back of the bench near where Merica had been seated. "Are you sure you are OK?" the girl who was with him asked.

           

"I'm positive.  Just a little muscle cramp.  Sorry I disrupted your game.  Why don't you get your ball and finish your game," Face smiled, "I'm sure watching you all play will make me feel much better." 

 

"Well, just yell if you need anything," she said.

 

"Oh, I will," grinned Face.

 

The girl smiled back at him, kissed him on the cheek and went to retrieve her ball.  Face watched her return to the game and looked like he was heaven.  He settled back as if to watch the game. 

           

BA rolled his eyes at the scene between Face and the girl, and Merica giggled at his reaction.  He looked over at her and saw her looking at him.  He smiled at her, and suddenly feeling shy, she sat back down next to him. 

           

"I think you'll be fine in a little while.  You might have a headache though," she said quietly.

           

"Thanks for lookin' out for me," BA said gruffly.

           

"No problem," Merica replied, "I'm used to it.  My name's Merica, by the way."

           

"Nice to meet you.  I'm BA," BA said, smiling.

           

"Nice to meet you to.  Anyway, as I was saying, I'm used to dealing with balls hitting heads, etc.  I run an after-school program for disadvantaged kids, and they are always getting hurt somehow."

           

"I know what you mean," BA said, "I work at a recreational center for kids."

           

BA was about to say more, but realized Face had disappeared.  That meant he had to be leaving as well.  He made a show of looking at his watch.

           

"Man, I wish I could stay and talk longer with you, but I have an appointment I have ta go to," BA said, truly sounding disappointed.  He perked up and said, "Maybe I'll see you around sometime."

           

Merica smiled, "That would be nice, but I'm not from around here.  I'll only be in town until tonight."

           

"Oh, well it was nice meetin' you anyway," BA said.

           

"Same here," Merica said and watched him walk away.  She almost changed her mind and started to call after him, but decided against it.  She was here for a reason, and wouldn't be here long enough to establish a relationship with a man she knew nothing about.

           

During all the confusion, a hot dog vendor had pulled up next to the bench.  He looked like a kindly old gentleman with wispy white hair, a bulbous nose, and a hunched back.  He was doling out dogs to a couple of sunbathers who had come over.  When he was done serving them he turned to Merica.

           

"You look like you could use a hot dog," he said in a tired, scratchy voice.  "Here, it's on the house."

           

"Oh, I couldn't – really," Merica said.

           

"Please, do an old man a favor, and take it.  It's the least I can do for a pretty lady before I call it a day."  He smiled, handed her the hot dog in a napkin, and shuffled off.

           

Merica watched him disappear amongst the crowd on the sidewalk.  She was grateful that he had given her the hot dog.  She hadn't had a chance to eat lunch since she had been sitting here waiting for her appointment, which had never occurred she realized.  She blew out her breath in frustration and took a bite of the hot dog.  The hot dog was cold, but she was hungry so she took another bite and noticed there was something written on the napkin.  She finished off the hot dog and unfolded the napkin so she could read what was written on it:

           

YOU'VE JUST FOUND THE A-TEAM.  GO TO THE BACK ROOM OF THE TATTOO PARLOR.

           

Merica jumped off the bench and scanned the crowd around her.  The hot dog vendor and his cart were nowhere to be seen.  She crossed the sidewalk towards the tattoo parlor.  The girl still stood in the doorway, looking bored.

           

"Um, excuse me," Merica said, "Do you have a back room?"

           

The girl smacked her gum and looked Merica up and down, "You want a tattoo?  Tattoos are done in the back room."

           

"I guess I want a tattoo then," Merica replied.

           

The girl slunk away from the door and entered the store. "Follow me," she said over her shoulder.

           

Merica followed the girl through the small store.  The girl's bobbed brown hair swung as she walked and all her chains jangled.  They came to a door at the back of the store and walked through.

           

Sitting at a table in the center of the room was the hot dog vendor, and on either side of him were the man Merica had just been talking to and the blonde from the volleyball incident.  She also noticed that her wallet and all of her personal information were spread out on the table.

           

"Hey!" She exclaimed, as she looked through her purse. "How did you…?"  She looked up at the three men.  The hot dog vendor was calmly taking his wig and latex nose off, to reveal a head of snowy white hair.

           

"Don't worry, Miss Collins.  We needed to make sure you were who you said you were," he said, "Let me introduce you to my team.  My second-in-command, Lieutenant Templeton Peck."

           

The blond stepped forward, smiling, "Merica, I swear I didn't take anything else."

           

"Our ammunitions expert, Sergeant BA Baracus," Hannibal said and BA smiled at Merica.  She smiled back before she realized she was supposed to still be upset with him for aiding in the 'theft' of her wallet.  She turned the smile into a glare.  BA crossed his arms over his chest, but didn't say anything.

           

"Our associate, Miss Amy Allen," Hannibal indicated the girl with all the tattoos.  Amy was in the process of removing her fake piercings and placing the jewelry on the table.

           

Merica shook her head at the group, "So, I take it you're Hannibal Smith?"

           

"That's right.  So, would you like to have a seat and tell us your problem?"  He indicated a chair across from him.

           

Merica took the proffered seat, "My problem, Mr. Smith is that I run a center for disadvantaged kids and am being harassed."

           

"In what way?"  Hannibal asked.

           

"These men are threatening to harm the children that come to my center if I don't allow them to use the center as a front for their drug running operation," Merica said.

           

"Why don't you just call the local authorities and get them involved?" Hannibal asked.

           

"Look, Mr. Smith," Merica said, "I'll be honest with you.  Some of the kids who come to the center are one more misdemeanor away from going to juvenile detention.  If I involve the police, those kids are going to wind up being incriminated with those scumbags.  I am really starting to make some progress with those kids!  I can't give up on them now!"

           

"So, those thugs would go free and the kids would take the rap," BA growled.

           

"Exactly," Merica said.  "Unfortunately, this group has ties with the police force.  It would be very easy for them to blame the kids at my center."

           

"Where's your center located, Miss Collins?" Hannibal asked.

           

"In Stedman, near Fayetteville, NC," Merica replied.

           

"Fayetteville, NC?!"  BA and Face exclaimed at the same time.

           

"Uh, Hannibal, can we talk?  Alone?"  Face asked.

           

Hannibal looked at Face and BA and back at Merica before coming to a decision, "Amy, would you mind waiting with Miss Collins outside while we discuss this?"

           

"Now wait a minute!" Merica cried, "You are my last resort!  If you don't help me I don't know what I am going to do!  No one else will help me."

           

"I promise you we will take everything into consideration, Miss Collins.  Amy?"  Hannibal said.

           

Amy escorted Merica out of the room.  Face whirled on Hannibal, "You can't possibly be thinking of taking this case, Hannibal!"

           

"Yeah," BA said, "I really want ta help those kids, but Fayetteville, man?"

           

"Face, you're the one that said we had better get a case soon since our funds were running low," Hannibal said.

           

"Yes, but a nice, safe case.  Not one where we wind up in the middle of Fort Bragg!" Face wailed.  "We might as well wrap ourselves up as an early Christmas gift and ring their doorbell!"

           

"Face, she promised to pay us extra since we would be putting our necks on the line for this case," Hannibal said.

           

"Hannibal, you're nuts," BA said.

           

"Hasn't that fact already been established, BA?" Face asked.

           

"Guys, it'll be a piece of cake," Hannibal said, smiling, "The Army won't even know we are there."

           

"Who are you kidding?" Face asked, "When have any of our missions gone down 'quietly'?"

           

"We'll be as discreet as possible.  Besides, we've all been getting a little lax as of late.  I think this could be just the assignment to get us back on our toes," Hannibal said, emphasizing his point by rising up on his toes.

           

"Or this could be just the case to get us back inta the slammer!" BA growled, "Face, you're really gonna pay now."

           

"Me?" Face asked, "Why is this my fault?"

           

"Just is," BA said.

           

Face looked at BA askance and Hannibal laughed, "Does this mean we are taking the case?"

           

"Like we ever had a choice," Face said.

           

"Now, Face, you know we run our unit democratically," Hannibal said.

           

"Yeah, when it suits you," Face said.

 

            Hannibal took out a slip of paper and wrote a figure on it and slipped it into Face's hand.  Face looked at the paper and back up at Hannibal, "What is this?"

 

            "That's what Merica Collins is willing to pay for us to help her," Hannibal said.

 

            Face looked at the paper again and then slipped it into his pocket, "OK, I'm in.  It's worth the risk."

 

            "BA?" Hannibal asked.

 

            "What's in it for me?" BA asked.

 

            "A date with Merica," Face said.  BA scowled at him.  "I'm serious, BA.  I saw the way she was looking at you on the bench.  I think you two really made a connection.  There was a spark.  I saw it."

 

            "Shut up, Faceman," BA said, "You just tryin' ta con me."

 

            "Is it working?" Face asked.

 

            "You still gonna get it, but you can count me in," BA said.

 

            "Great, guys!" Hannibal said.  "Face, I need you to break Murdock out of the VA.  We have to leave tomorrow."

            "Murdock?"  BA yelled, "I ain't flyin'!"

           

"BA, how do you expect to get to NC in the next day?" Hannibal asked.

           

"I ain't flyin' with no crazy fool, Hannibal!" BA exclaimed.

 

            "All right, BA.  We'll figure out another way for you to join us in Fayetteville, but we still need Murdock.  Face?"  Hannibal said.

 

            "I'll be back before you know it," Face said and left. 

 

            As Face was leaving, Merica and Amy came back into the room.  Merica looked from BA to Hannibal, "Well, are you going to take my case or not?"       

 

            "Miss Collins," Hannibal said, "You've hired the A-Team."

 

            Merica laughed with relief, "Oh, thank you.  Thank you so much."

 

            "Just make sure you leave all your information with Miss Allen and we'll be in touch," Hannibal said.  He rose and exited the room.           

 

            Merica looked over at BA, "I can't tell you how much this means to me."

 

            "No problem.  We had to do it for the kids," BA said.

 

            "Uh, I hate to interrupt, but Merica doesn't your plane leave in an hour?"  Amy asked.

 

            "Oh, yes it does," Merica said, "Thank you for reminding me."

 

            "Do you need a ride?" BA asked.

 

            "Um, sure," Merica said.

 

            "Good.  My van's right outside," BA said.  He opened the door and waited for Merica to exit, and then he winked at Amy.  Amy smiled back at him and watched them pull away.  She shook her head and went back into the shop to close it up.  She wondered what Fayetteville was going to be like.  She was a little surprised that the guys had taken this case, kids in trouble or not, but they weren't the A-Team for nothing.  She just hoped they could keep a low profile for once and avoid the military in a highly military town.

 

 

Part 3

 

            The nurse at the VA hospital looked up from her paperwork when the handsome naval officer approached the front desk of the VA.

 

            "Good afternoon, sir.  How can I help you?" she asked.

 

            He smiled and glanced briefly at her nameplate, "Good afternoon, Nurse Mitchell.  I'm Captain Anderson.  I believe you were expecting me?  I'm here to check Captain Murdock out on a week pass."

 

            Nurse Mitchell looked puzzled and consulted her logbook, "I wasn't informed that Mr. Murdock would be checking out for the week."

 

            "What?" Captain Anderson exclaimed, "You weren't notified?  I phoned earlier this week and was assured that everything was in order and had been approved!"

 

            "I'm terribly sorry," Nurse Mitchell said, "I don't know what to tell you."

 

            Captain Anderson looked very disappointed, "I just don't know what I am going to tell the boys down at the naval base in Alameda.  They were really looking forward to learning some baseball pointers from Captain Murdock."  He shook his head sadly.

 

            "Baseball?" Nurse Mitchell asked, "I didn't know Mr. Murdock played baseball."

 

            "Oh yes," Anderson said, "Why do you think he wears that ball cap all the time?  Why back in 'Nam he was the best pitcher on the Da Nang baseball team, the Delta Squadron Sluggers, or DSS for short.  My boys on the Alameda Pelicans were counting on meeting the legend of Da Nang.  Especially since their leaves were revoked due to disorderly conduct during their last game.  Nearly put the entire opposing team in the hospital."

 

            "That's terrible!" Nurse Mitchell exclaimed.

 

            "I know!  Poor fellas were really looking forward to seeing their mamas and girlfriends," Captain Anderson said.

 

            "No, I meant about the opposing team," the nurse said.

 

            "Oh yes.  It's just terrible about them as well," the captain said and sighed, "Anyway, I guess I'll just have to go back and break the news as gently as possible to my boys.  Hate to think what this will do to them.  Might put some of 'em right over the edge.  I could be looking at a dishonorable discharge if I can't keep my men in line."

 

            Nurse Mitchell's eyes widened in shock, "The military can do that to you?"

           

"Oh yes, ma'am," Anderson said, "They blame me solely for the conduct of my men.  I was hoping Mr. Murdock's visit would shape them up.  Show them what could happen to them if they don't follow orders and such.  Oh well, I didn't mean to trouble you with my problems.  I'll just see myself out."  He turned to leave.

           

"Oh, Captain Anderson, I wish there was something I could do for you!  I just don't have the proper papers to fill out and our authorizing doctor is away on vacation," Nurse Mitchell said.

 

            Captain Anderson turned back to her and pulled a clipboard out of his briefcase, "I just happen to have copies of the paperwork here.  Would these be acceptable?"

 

            He handed her the clipboard and she looked over the paperwork.  "Well, these all look like they are in order.  Dr. Richter has even signed off on them.  I guess it would be alright if I accepted these."

 

            She stamped the papers and produced a week pass for Captain H. M. Murdock.

 

            "Here you go, Captain Anderson," she said, handing the pass over to the naval officer, "You can find Mr. Murdock down the hall in room 204.  I hope everything works out for you."

 

            "I greatly appreciate this, Nurse Mitchell," Captain Anderson replied and smiled a disarming smile her way, "You've saved my career."

 

            He smartly saluted and strode down the hall towards Captain Murdock's room.

 

            The patient in question, Captain H. M. Murdock stood in front of his bathroom mirror in his room massaging his head.  He stopped every once in awhile to check his progress.  Not seeing any, he would sigh, and continue massaging.

 

            Face knocked on the door and then entered.  He caught a glimpse of Murdock working on his scalp before Murdock came out of the bathroom at the sound of his door opening.  He smashed his blue ball cap down on his head and sat on his bed.

 

            "Hi, Face," Murdock said nonchalantly.

 

            "Murdock," Face said, "What were you doing?"

 

            "Nothing much," Murdock replied.

 

            "Nothing?  You were trying to make your hair grow again, weren't you?" Face asked.

 

            Murdock didn't say anything and began to whistle.

           

"Murdock," Face said, "I told you, you have to stop wearing that ball cap all the time if you want to stop losing your hair!"

 

            Murdock looked up at Face and then began to remove his cap, but Face slapped it right back on, "Well, don't start now!  That's your ticket out of here.  Well, that and this."  Face produced a baseball from his briefcase and tossed it to Murdock.

 

            "What's this?"  Murdock asked, tossing the ball back and forth between his hands.

 

            "That's a baseball," Face said, "It's leftover from a favor I did for BA.  And you, are a legendary pitcher from Da Nang that I, Captain Anderson am checking out for the week to coach my men at the naval base in Alameda."

 

            "Yeah?" Murdock asked, "What's your baseball team called?"

 

            "The Alameda Pelicans," Face replied.

 

            "The Alameda Pelicans?  That's the best you could come up with?" Murdock asked.

 

            "Hey, it was short notice!" Face shot back, "I'd like to see you do better!"  He headed for the door and Murdock followed, still tossing the ball.

 

            As they walked towards the front desk, Murdock wound up his arm and threw the ball.

 

            "Fore!" he yelled and chased after the ball, which had smashed into a vase of flowers on Nurse Mitchell's desk.

 

            Face looked horrified as water dripped all over the paperwork on her desk.  He grabbed Murdock and headed towards the front door.  "He's a little rusty!" he yelled over his shoulder as they exited.

           

           

Part 4

 

They had all agreed to meet at Hannibal's apartment the next morning before they left for NC.  Hannibal had called Face after the meeting with Merica and had asked him to secure a plane for them.  Hannibal had decided it would be safer to fly to NC on a private plane than to risk anyone recognizing them on a commercial flight.  Although Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base had their own airport, the military still used commercial flights into and out of Fayetteville all of the time.  Amy had a few loose ends to tie up at the paper and then she would fly out the next day on a commercial flight.

 

            Hannibal was in the kitchen making eggs and pancakes when Face and Murdock arrived.

 

            "Did you get a plane?" Hannibal asked.

 

            "Did I get a plane?" Face queried back, "One of my finer scams if I do say so myself." 

 

Murdock smirked behind his back and took a seat at the table.  Hannibal caught the look and replied, "Hmm."

 

Murdock took the baseball out of his jacket pocket and proceeded to rub it as if for luck.  The night before at Face's apartment he had spent at least an hour with markers drawing on the ball.  It now sported a set of crossed eyes and a mouth with the tongue lolling out.  He had decided to call the ball Mr. Raw and refused to let anyone say anything about the baseball unless they called it by its proper name.  He put the ball up to his ear and nodded at something the ball had said.

 

"You're right, Mr. Raw!  Hey Hannibal, where's BA?  He's usually the first to arrive and Mr. Raw was looking forward to meeting him," Murdock said.

 

Hannibal looked over at Face, but Face only shrugged, "Long story."

 

"Well, Murdock, I'm kind of surprised he's not here myself," Hannibal said.  Hannibal figured BA hadn't arrived yet because he didn't trust the team not to drug him to get him on a plane to NC.  He couldn't imagine why BA would feel that way.

 

"Mr. Raw would really like to meet the big angry mudsucker," Murdock was saying, "Especially since he is starting a little league team.  Mr. Raw and me could show them a lot of pointers."

 

"Hey Murdock," Face said, "Why don't you wait until the 'right' moment to introduce them.  Like we discussed this morning on the way here?"

 

"Oh, right!" Murdock said and placed the ball in his jacket pocket.

 

BA arrived a few moments later carrying a large bag of breakfast food from a local fast food joint.  He acknowledged his other team members with a nod and sat down at the table across from Murdock.  He proceeded to take out his breakfast, which consisted of eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes.

 

"BA," Hannibal said, "I told you I was making breakfast for you guys this morning."

 

"And I tol' you I don't want none of your food!" BA growled with his mouth full of pancake and sausage, "It's probably drugged!"

 

"But BA, Face and Murdock are eating my food.  Do you see them passing out?"

 

Murdock helped him self to some pancakes from the stack Hannibal was holding.  Face gingerly took a pancake as well, and both he and Murdock feigned how delicious the pancakes were.  Hannibal took a bite from the remaining pancakes.  BA watched and waited to see if any of them would pass out.

 

"Now, see how foolish you're being, BA?" Hannibal asked.

 

"I'm not the foolish one!" BA glared at Murdock, "That's the crazy man's job!"

 

"Hey!  I resemble that remark!" Murdock quipped.

 

BA glared at him a moment longer and then returned to eating his breakfast.  Murdock perked up some more and said, "BA, I have someone who would like to meet you."

 

Murdock reached slowly into his pocket as Face eased around behind BA.  Hannibal chewed his pancakes and watched the proceedings with amusement.

 

Murdock pulled Mr. Raw out of his pocket and yelled, "BA – catch!"  He threw the ball right at BA who jerked back into the waiting syringe Face was holding.  Of course, BA plunked right down into the plate of pancakes he had been eating.

 

Hannibal smiled, "Nice guys."

 

"Yeah?" Face asked, "Hopefully BA won't blame me this time for tricking him into flying."

 

Murdock nodded in agreement until he realized what that meant.  "Wait a minute!  You 'tricked' me!"

 

"Thanks Murdock," Face said and patted him on the shoulder.

 

 

Part 5

 

The flight to NC went relatively smooth as far as the plane was concerned.  The weather was perfect and BA slept soundly the entire way.  Murdock did his best to annoy Face and Hannibal with his antics with the baseball while still paying attention to flying the plane.  Hannibal spent most of the flight trying to come up with the best way to get the upper hand with the thugs threatening Merica Collins.  Face spent most of the flight fretting over their proximity to Fort Bragg regardless of how much they were getting paid.  Between Murdock and Face, by the end of the flight Hannibal had wished that he had hired a pilot and knocked out his entire team.

 

"This is your pilot speaking," Murdock projected in his best announcer's voice.  "Mr. Raw says to please fasten your safety belts and hold on to your loved ones, as we are about to make contact.

 

As the bright silver prop plane and the landing strip below became increasingly familiar with each other, Murdock noticed small green specks dotting the end of the runway.

 

"Hannibal!" he shouted, "I'm seein' little green men again!"

 

Hannibal knew exactly what that meant, "Murdock, those little green men are Decker's goons!  Get us out of here!!"

 

However, contact with the ground was imminent.  The plane lurched and wobbled wildly in the air as the landing struts screeched against the runway.  Murdock struggled valiantly as the plane bucked wildly in protest.  It bounced three times on the landing strip as bullets ricocheted off the hull and whizzed pass the cockpit.  Finally, just before running out of paved surface, Murdock pulled the bird back into the air.

 

The passengers all breathed a collective sigh of relief. "We've been made, boys," said Hannibal, while lighting a new cigar; "Looks like 'Miss Merica' led us straight into a trap-ola."

 

"I knew this was a bad idea.  I just thank my lucky stars that BA is still sawing logs," Face added, trying to add some levity to their situation.  "What do we do now, Hannibal?"

 

Suddenly from the cockpit Murdock shouted, "Well, I don't know what the boss man thinks, but Mr. Raw says we oughta land, and pronto!"

 

"Murdock, I'm sure 'Mr. Raw' will eventually make a valuable addition to the team, but for now let's just trust Hannibal to get us out of this, okay?" smirked Face.

 

"No man, he's really serious," Murdock replied, "He says we're losin' gas faster than you can say Jose Conseco.  We goin' down, man."

 

Hannibal listened as the plane choked and sputtered, and then watched the engines shut down one after the other.

 

"One of Decker's bullets must've cut the fuel line."  Hannibal pointed towards a clearing among the landscape covered with tall pines.  "Set her down over there, Captain.  Oh, and try not to wrinkle Face's suit.  You know how cranky he gets.  C'mon Face, cheer up.  What's the worst that can happen?"

 

"Oh, Mr. Raw," wept Murdock, "I know you and me just met, but I want you to know that you are the greatest friend a guy could have.  If we get outta of this in one piece, I'll make sure no one ever takes a bat to you again.  Hang on buddy!"

 

As jittery as Murdock was, crash landings were no stranger to him.  An expert pilot, he knew just how to glide the dying bird down into the trees.  The end result was a splendid mess any pilot would be proud of.  More importantly, it was a mess the A-Team could walk away from.

 

Wearily, Face, Murdock, and Hannibal pulled BA from the wreckage and collapsed with exhaustion on the forest bed, soft with fallen pine needles.  After a few moments Hannibal spoke, "Now, if I know Colonel Decker…and I do…he won't take long to track us down.  I say we beat him at his own game.  He was nice enough to send the welcome wagon for us, so it is only polite that we reciprocate!"

 

"What?  Where am I?" BA asked, finally waking up from his slumber.

 

"Well, Sergeant, we're glad you could finally join us," Hannibal said.

 

"What's going on?" BA asked, looking around.  He spotted what was left of the plane a few feet away from them.  "A plane?  You put me on a plane!"

 

"Now, BA," Hannibal said, "You know we promised you we wouldn't do that!"

 

"Yeah, BA," Face added, "You are not going to believe this!  Merica tricked all of us and then drugged you to get you on the plane.  Don't you remember?"

 

"What'chu talkin' about, man?" BA asked, "Last thing I remember was I was eatin' and the crazy fool threw a baseball at my head!"

 

"What?" Murdock cried, "BA!  I would never do that!  You're my blood brother, and I love you!"

 

"Shut up, fool!  You ain't my blood brother!" BA yelled, lunging at Murdock.

 

"Now, BA.  Stay calm," deflected Face.

 

"No!  You stay calm fool!  Take out that li'l mirror you keep in yo' back pocket and take one last look at that pretty face a' yours, 'cause when I get through with you, you won't have no face to look at!"

 

"Cool it, BA," Hannibal commanded, "We had to get you on that plane so you could come to North Carolina and help out that little turncoat friend of yours.  Turns out Merica was a plant by Decker to help weed us out…consider us weeded and mowed."

 

"No way, Hannibal.  All I had to do was take one look into Merica's big brown eyes to know that she ain't no jive talkin' sucka.  You da one talkin' jive!"

 

Hannibal blithely replied, "I hate to break it to you, BA, but Decker and his boys will be here any minute and we don't have time to mend broken hearts.  Unless you want to spend the rest of your life smashing roaches in the Fort Bragg brig, I suggest you and Murdock see what you can salvage from that wreckage over there.  If we're gonna get one up on Decker, we're gonna have to work hard and fast."

 

Without so much as a grumble, BA headed for the plane wreckage and set to work, followed by Murdock.  Hannibal turned to Face, "Face, check out the perimeter and report back to me."

 

Face nodded and headed off into the trees.  Hannibal entered the plane to see how BA and Murdock were progressing.

 

"Mr. Raw, I am so glad we made it through the crash in one piece," Murdock said, "Now, my bestest buddy, let's check out that storage locker at the back of the plane."

 

"Who are you talkin' to, fool?" BA growled, glaring at the pilot.

 

"My new best friend, Mr. Raw," Murdock said, "Since you can't treat me nicely I found someone who will.  Mr. Raw and me bonded in the crash.  He's going to teach me everything he knows about baseball."  Murdock held up the baseball and leered at BA.

 

"Crazy fool!  That's just a dirty old baseball!" BA yelled.

 

"BA, Murdock!" Hannibal yelled at both of the men, "Quit goofing off and find something for us to use!  Decker could be here any moment!"

 

BA scowled at Murdock and then headed towards the front of the plane to see if there was anything in the cockpit they could use.  Murdock and Mr. Raw looked in the storage locker and pulled out the cargo net used to hold the luggage in place.

 

"Hey, Colonel," Murdock yelled, "Mr. Raw thinks we might be able to use this somehow."

 

"He might be right," Hannibal said, eyeing the cargo net.  "Looks like a good trap for our guests, don't you think Capt'n?"

 

Murdock smiled and rubbed the baseball's 'head', "Good job, Mr. Raw!"

 

A muffled "Fool" could be heard from the cockpit.  BA poked his head out and held up the seat restraints he had torn from the seats, "Think we can use these, Colonel?"

 

Hannibal smiled, "I think we can find a use for them."

 

BA nodded and proceeded to tear the restraints from the other seats in the plane.  When he was finished he checked out the engine compartment and took out anything he thought could be useful.  When they had finished going through the plane, they had a nice pile of salvaged parts.

 

Face came huffing back to the plane and entered the cabin door, "Uh, Hannibal we have another problem."

 

Hannibal turned around to look at his second-in-command, "What did you survey?"

 

"If I'm not mistaken," Face began, "I think we conveniently crashed in one of Fort Bragg's drop zones.  It won't be too difficult for them to track us.  We could have military swarming all over this place in no time.  However, the good thing is there is only one way into this area."

 

Hannibal chewed thoughtfully on his cigar and grinned, "Fellas, I think I have a plan."

 

"Aw, man," BA said, shaking his head, "He's on the jazz."

 

Hannibal just grinned at his men and beckoned them closer.

 

The huddle broke up and with lightening fast speed and makeshift tools, BA skillfully constructed a welding torch made from an exhausted oxygen tank, remaining airplane fuel, his chewing gum, and other bits of debris.  BA spring loaded the cargo net from the plane, and welded the remnants of the hull into a pillbox bunker of sorts, expertly camouflaged with mud and leaves.  The rest of the fallen airliner was in plain sight; bait for the perfect trap.  However, BA and Hannibal wouldn't be content with a simple trap…they needed insurance and Hannibal ordered BA to scour the wreckage one last time, until he found exactly what he needed.

 

 

Part 6

 

Colonel Roderick Decker scanned the map as his second-in-command, Captain Crane navigated the military sedan.  Decker's convoy followed closely behind.

 

"I have you now Smith," Decker sneered as he instructed Crane where to go.  "He finally made a mistake, Captain.  I can't believe he fell so easily for the bait."

 

"Do you think we will finally capture the A-Team, Colonel?" Crane asked.

 

"They are as good as caught.  I believe they crashed into one of Bragg's drop zones.  There's only one way in or out of there, so we will have them trapped.  They'll be in the stockade before the sun sets on this dismal excuse for a city.  I'll finally be rid of three thorns that have plagued my side for years.  I can't wait to see the look on Smith's face."

 

Decker grinned, what went for a grin at least to Decker, more like a grimace, as he thought about capturing the A-Team at last.

 

 

Hannibal and Face were red in their faces as they tried to heft BA up into a tree near the entrance to the drop zone.

 

"BA," Face whined, "Could you please stop wearing so much gold?  Or lose some weight?"

 

"You better watch what you say, Face!" BA yelled, "You already gonna get it when this is all over!"

 

Face opened his mouth to reply, but thought better of it.  Hannibal grinned and they pushed BA the rest of the way up the tree.

 

"Look on the bright side, Face," Hannibal said, "At least I didn't ask you to climb the tree."

 

Face brushed at imaginary dust on the front of his suit and glanced up at BA perched on a branch in the tree, "Small consolation.  My suit is as good as ruined anyway."

 

"Hey, big guy!" Murdock called from a tree opposite BA's, "Mr. Raw wants to come over and see ya!  Catch!"  Murdock tossed the ball over to BA, and BA reflexively caught the ball before he realized what he was doing.  Growling he threw the ball down at Face and Hannibal.

 

"Mr. Raw!!!" Murdock cried, and breathed a sigh of relief that Hannibal caught the ball in his black-gloved hand.  He threw it back up at the pilot.

 

"I think 'Mr. Raw' is better off with you, Captain," he said.  Murdock nodded his agreement and cradled the ball in his hands.

 

"OK," Hannibal said, "Now all we have to do is wait."

 

"I don't know about this, Hannibal," Face complained, "What if this doesn't work and Decker winds up hauling us off to Bragg?"

 

"Then we'll have to depend on BA and Murdock to spring us," Hannibal calmly replied.

 

"Don't forget about Mr. Raw!" Murdock called, "He's a master of plans and disguise!"

 

Face shivered, "Right.  I feel better already."

 

Hannibal and Face took their positions within the bunker and settled in to wait for Decker's arrival.

 

 

Part 7

 

The military convoy, led by Colonel Decker halted right outside the entrance to the drop zone.  Decker had Captain Crane radio for a tank to come up to the front of the ranks.

 

"Smith expects me to come barreling in there in this standard issue military sedan," Decker said in his gravelly voice, "But I have the resources of one of the finest military installations in the world, and I plan on using them.  Captain Crane, you're with me!"

 

Crane and Decker climbed up into the tank.  Crane would be driving and Decker road with his upper torso sticking out of the top.  He waved his convoy, which consisted of a Humvee, a couple of jeeps, and your token military sedans, forward.

 

 

Up in the trees, Murdock and BA tensed as they saw Decker's convoy coming down the road.  Murdock nearly busted out laughing when he saw Decker sitting in the tank and he could have sworn that he heard a giggle from BA's general direction.

 

Murdock made a loud noise that sounded like a tomcat in heat and cocked his head to hear the response.  A duck call emanated from the camouflaged bunker.

 

"Let's play ball, you ugly mudsucker," Murdock crowed over to BA.

 

"Shut up, fool," was BA's response, but there was a twinkle in his eyes all the same.

 

"Looks like Decker means business, Hannibal," Face said from his position within the bunker.

 

"Well, Lieutenant," Hannibal said, chomping on his cigar, "Let's give him the best customer service possible."

 

He grinned and readied the makeshift cannon BA had jury-rigged.  Upon BA's second inspection of the plane, he had found another oxygen tank they had overlooked the first time.  He had quickly made a crude launch tube out of the luggage racks and leftover seat belts in the plane.  Hannibal nestled the oxygen tank into its slot and waited.  Meanwhile, Face settled his rifle against his shoulder and sighted down the barrel to take aim at the incoming tank.

 

 

So far, it didn't appear as if Decker had noticed the camouflaged bunker, but he had spotted the wreckage of the plane almost immediately.  As they neared the plane, he raised his hand to signal the convoy to come to a halt.  He surveyed the crash scene, but could see no signs of life.  He assumed the A-Team was holed up inside what remained of the plane.  The rest of his men exited their vehicles and fanned out around the wreckage.

 

Decker pulled a bullhorn from within the tank, "We have you surrounded, Smith!"

 

Decker waited for a response, but all he heard was the faint sound of a duck.  It sounded like it was coming from in front of the tank.  He looked down and finally saw the makeshift bunker.

 

"Alright, Smith, you think you are so funny," Decker said, "Why don't you, Peck, and Baracus make it easy on yourselves and surrender now."
           

"Where's the fun in that?" Hannibal called from the bunker.

 

"Listen, Smith!" Decker growled, "If you want to risk the lives of your men with your suicidal notions, that's your prerogative, but I don't have time to play your games!"

 

"Party pooper," Face said.

 

"Make your jokes now, Peck," Decker yelled back, "You won't think it is so funny when you are behind bars.  The A-Team's run ends here."

 

"He just doesn't get it, does he?" Hannibal said to Face, shaking his head sadly, "Do you think it's time to send out our welcoming committee?"

 

Face nodded and Hannibal shouted, "All right, Decker!  You asked for it!"

 

Decker motioned for Crane to take aim on the bunker.  As Crane was maneuvering the tank into position, Hannibal reared up with a sledgehammer (that just happened to be in the plane as well) and slammed it down onto the end of the oxygen tank.  The tank flew through the air and skidded to a stop just under the front end of the tank.  Face aimed with his rifle and fired into the tank.  The resulting explosion miraculously blew the running treads off the tank and disengaged the firing mechanism.  The tank shuttered to a halt.

 

Decker was about to blow his top when Hannibal shouted, "Now BA!"

 

BA and Murdock cut the lines to the cargo net that the team had strung up between the trees earlier.  The net fell down over Decker's head, trapping him and Crane in the tank, since the net was weighted down with whatever heavy odds and ends BA had found in the plane.

 

"Alright!" Hannibal shouted at the remaining military, "I have snipers trained on the colonel there.  So, unless you want to risk his injury in a firefight, I suggest you put down your weapons and enter that wreckage over there.  Move it!"

 

Decker's men looked up at the sputtering military colonel and quickly obeyed Hannibal.  They placed their weapons on the ground and trudged over to the plane.

 

After they had all entered the plane Hannibal shouted after them, "Shut the hatch!"  He trained the launch tube and the other nearly empty oxygen tank at them to show he meant business.

 

BA jumped down from his perch in the tree and ran over to Hannibal.  They both walked over to the door with the oxygen tank, and BA welded the door shut.  They returned to the tank, where Face was securing the cargo net so Decker and Crane would not be able to manage to escape on their own.  BA grabbed a discarded AK-57 and several other guns and ammunitions from the ground.

 

Hannibal peered up at Decker, "Sorry we can't stay for the party after all, Decker.  Send our regards to Bragg."

 

Hannibal sauntered over to the Humvee that Murdock had commandeered during all the commotion.  BA shoved Murdock out of the driver's seat and settled behind the wheel.

 

"You won't get away with this, Smith!" seethed Decker, "You'll never get out of town."

 

"Well," Hannibal said, climbing into the Humvee, "I guess there's no need for a long good-bye then.  See you around, Decker!"

 

BA peeled out of the clearing and headed towards Highway 301, "Where to now, Colonel?"

 

"Stedman," Hannibal said.

 

"Excuse me?" Face asked incredulously, "I don't think I heard you right.  Did you say Stedman?"

 

"Yep," Hannibal said, patting his pockets.

 

Face sighed and handed him a cigar, "I don't suppose you care to explain why it is we are going to head to Stedman instead of out of town?!"

 

"Face," Hannibal said patiently, "Decker 'expects' us to head out of town.  This way we remain one step ahead of him by staying 'in' town."

 

"Oh," was Face's only reply.

 

"Man, I thought the crazy man was crazy, but I'm beginning to wonder," BA said.

 

"Hey!" Murdock piped up from the passenger seat, "I believe I still own the corner on that market and Mr. Raw agrees!"  He waved the baseball in front of BA.

 

"Fool, you better git that ball outta ma face!" BA growled.

 

"Murdock, stop distracting BA while he's driving, ok?  We have enough to worry about as it is," moaned Face.

 

Murdock flopped back into his seat, crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.

 

"Listen guys," Hannibal was saying, "I've been doing some thinking and something isn't adding up.  We checked out Merica Collins pretty thoroughly and she came back clean.   I think we need to get down to Stedman and check Merica out further.  If she was telling us the truth, hopefully we can remedy her situation quickly and then figure out how to get out of town.  At any rate, we need to lay low for a few days.  First of all, we need to ditch this Hummer as soon as we get to Stedman.  We stand out like sore thumb in this thing."

 

 

Part 8

 

Upon arriving in Stedman, the team realized it consisted mainly of a few privately owned shops right off of Hwy 24 and farmland, with perhaps a few small neighborhoods nestled amongst the fields.  Spotting a small nursery, Hannibal ordered Face out of the Humvee and told him to procure them another means of transportation.

 

"We'll be waiting down the road a ways after we dump this Hummer," Hannibal said.

 

"Thanks a lot!" Face yelled at the retreating vehicle and entered the small seed shop.

 

BA continued driving down the highway until Hannibal pointed out a rutted dirt road leading off into a field of tobacco, "Pull in there, BA."

 

BA drove down the dirt road until they were well away from the highway and then turned into a narrow passage between the rows of tobacco.  After camouflaging the Humvee, Murdock, BA, and Hannibal trudged back towards the main road.  Well, Hannibal and BA trudged, while Murdock scampered along, throwing 'Mr. Raw' into the air and then scrambling around to catch the ball before it hit the ground.

 

Not long after they reached the highway, a truck, looking like a miniaturized version of 'Big Foot' pulled up to them with the horn blaring the opening refrain of  'Dixie'.  Face waved at them from behind the wheel.

 

"This was the best you could do?" Hannibal asked.

 

"What do you expect in a red-neck town like this, Hannibal?" Face cried, "I'm not a miracle worker you know!"

 

"I like it!" Murdock cried, clambering into the back of the truck.

 

BA glared at Face, "This ain't no better than the Hummer!"

 

"It was either this or a tractor!" Face yelled back at him.  "Next time you get the transportation!"

 

"Ain't my job," BA said, "That's what you're for!"

 

"Do we all have to yell so much?" complained Murdock.  "Seems like all we have done is yell and complain on this trip.  You all are giving me a headache and Mr. Raw the wrong impression.  I told him you were all a fun-loving bunch of guys."

 

BA turned on Murdock, "I'm sick of hearin' about that dumb ball.  If you say one more thing I'll throw that ball so far you'll never find it!"

 

Murdock wisely shut his mouth and slunk down in the bed of the truck. Hannibal was making himself comfortable in the passenger seat when BA walked over to the driver's side of the truck, "Get out."

 

"Excuse me?" Face asked.

 

"I'm driving," BA said bluntly.

 

"BA," Face said, "The humidity in this place is 100%.  Do you have any idea what that is going to do to my suit, not to mention my hair?  I am 'not' riding in the back of this truck."

 

Catching the sudden look in BA's eyes, Face scrambled to lock the door, but BA had already wrenched the door open.  He pulled Face out of the truck by his coat collar and tossed him into the dirt.  BA then got into the truck and locked the doors.  Without even a moments hesitation he pulled away, leaving Face no choice but to run after the truck and jump into the bed of the truck.

 

After a short ride down the road, they found the youth center run by Merica Collins.  BA parked the truck along the side of the garage of the house that served as the youth center and the team climbed out to investigate their surroundings.

 

Hannibal looked over at his wilted lieutenant and chuckled, "Face, you've never looked better."

 

"Can we just get this job over with, so we can get back to civilization?" Face whined, yet again.

 

Hannibal shrugged and approached the front door of the house.  The faint sound of children's voices drifted to the team's ears from the back of the house.  BA departed from the group and headed towards the sound of the voices.  Murdock quickly ran after him.  Face and Hannibal continued on into the house.

 

A young teenaged girl sat at desk just inside of the door, working on what looked like homework.  She looked up at Hannibal and Face, "Can I help you?"

 

"We're looking for Miss Collins," Hannibal said, "Is she around?"

 

"Sure, I'll go get her for you," the girl replied and quickly went down the hallway to a door at the back.  She poked her head inside and had a quick conversation with whoever was inside the room.  A flustered Merica Collins emerged from the room and followed the young girl back to Hannibal and Face.

 

"Jeanine, why don't you take your homework and finish it in my office?" Merica asked the girl.  Jeanine nodded, grabbing her schoolwork and heading back to the office.

 

Merica turned to Hannibal, "Mr. Smith, thank goodness you're here."

 

"You seem surprised to see us, Miss Collins," Hannibal calmly said.

 

Merica looked nervously from Face to Hannibal, "Where's BA?"

 

"Oh, BA's fine," Face said, "But he's not in a very good mood right now.  He doesn't like flying, especially if it's into a trap."

 

"You've got to believe me, I had no choice about that," Merica cried, wringing her hands.

 

"Lucky for you we were able to buy ourselves a little time," Hannibal said, "But we also don't take kindly to being lied to."

 

"I didn't lie to you," Merica said, "I was being threatened.  Maybe not by drug dealers, but horrible men just the same."

 

"We're listening," Hannibal said, leaning against the desk Jeanine had been using earlier.

 

"Please follow me, gentlemen," Merica said, and turned to go down the hallway without looking to see if they would follow.

 

Face and Hannibal looked at each other, but followed her all the same.  Merica approached a back door and opened it.  She stepped out onto a small porch and was joined by Hannibal and Face.  Children of various ages played on the swings in the yard.  BA and Murdock were in the midst of a game of catch with several of the children when they saw the trio on the porch.  They quickly ended the game and headed over to the porch.

 

When they were all assembled, Merica continued her story, "A few weeks ago a colonel from the Army came here and threatened to close my center if I didn't help him.  I really had no choice but to seek you out and send you into that trap.  Look around you.  These children are so happy here.  They know they have a safe, quiet place they can come to after school to play and do their homework.  A place where their parents don't have to worry where their children are or what they are doing.  As you can see this isn't a very prosperous town, and many of the parents can't afford daycare or after-school care.  Now they don't have to worry.  What would you have done in my position?"

 

"Ain't right to threaten kids," BA growled.

 

"Decker has really reached an all-time low trying to nab us," Hannibal agreed, "Miss Collins, I don't fault your decision.  I'm sorry you have had to deal with the likes of Decker at all.  I can assure you, that I seriously doubt he will be harassing you anymore."

 

"I hope you realize how truly sorry I am," Merica said, looking pointedly at BA "After I met you all, I knew I had made a terrible mistake, but at the same time I had my children to think about." 

 

"You ain't ta blame," BA said softly.  "You was thinking of the kids, and that's what matters."

 

Merica sighed in relief and fell into BA's arms.  BA, not one to show affection in front of the guys, looked awkward at first, but he soon returned Merica's embrace.

 

 

Part 9

 

Colonel Lynch pulled up outside the youth center in Stedman.  He knew Colonel Decker had dropped the ball on capturing the A-Team, so it was a good thing Lynch was there to pick up Decker's slack.  Who would have thought that Lynch and Decker would work together, but both colonels were tired of being foiled by the A-Team.  They were bound and determined to end this ten yearlong manhunt once and for all.

 

Lynch had staked out the youth center all day and had been about to concede that perhaps Decker had actually captured the team, when a 4x4 had pulled up to the center.  Lynch had practically rubbed his hands together, ok; he had rubbed his hands together when he had seen the A-Team emerge from the truck.  He rallied his troops and quickly surrounded the center.

 

 

Standing on the back porch, talking with Merica, Hannibal saw the sun glint off something in the trees surrounding the playground.  With a sinking feeling he realized it was more than likely military.  He couldn't imagine how Decker had gotten free so quickly, but he didn't have time to think about it.

 

"Everybody needs to get inside now," Hannibal said, "BA, Murdock, round up the kids out here and let's go."
           

After they had gathered up all the children and they were safely in one of the classrooms with another teacher, the team and Merica met in her office.

 

"Miss Collins, what have you got in your garage?" Hannibal asked.

 

"Just the van we use to shuttle the kids to and from school, and whatever else you usually find in a garage," Merica said, "Why?"

 

"We need to borrow the van," Hannibal said, "We're going to have to create a diversion so we can escape.  Come on guys, let's see what we can scrounge up in the garage."

 

 

TBC

 


The All-American City by Mistress Lrigtar & N'am Tab

 

 


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