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This page last viewed: 2017-10-17 and has been viewed 3370 times
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Warnings: A little bad language.
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"General Stockwell? Able Six here."
"We have a… situation here, sir."
"What is it, were you hit?"
"No, sir, it's Smith and Peck, they're arguing."
"Well, it's been going on for some
time now, since they got back from
"Able, I don't care if the A-Team are squabbling over who ate the last of the ice-cream, I have work to do."
"It seems a bit more… well, personal than that, sir. Should we intervene if it gets physical?"
"Are the others there?"
"Then let them handle it, intervene only if it looks like they are going to do serious damage to each other, I have another mission for them soon. Besides, we don't need to tip our hand about the cameras and microphones they haven't found."
The phone went dead and Able Six
damage? Was that just physical
damage? Because the argument was rapidly
approaching the stage when things would be said that couldn't be taken back,
things that made everything change. He
remembered a long ago Christmas, his father and uncle arguing, in front of the
whole family. Oh they always argued at
Christmas, but this time it went too far and his father brought up the woman in
He put the headphones back on and turned back to the monitor, checked the video was recording. Be a shame for the general to miss anything "useful", he thought bitterly. The team were all in the kitchen and Smith and Peck were facing off in the middle of the room. The others were standing around watching tensely, but not taking part in the argument.
"What's it gonna take? Does one of us have to get shot?" Face pointed at Frankie. "Does he have to get shot? Do you need a dead civilian on your conscience before you see sense? What if Trigorin had killed him?"
"As I recall he was with you when that happened, Lieutenant. If you're so concerned about Frankie why'd you let him follow Trigorin alone?"
"Hey, c'mon, that wasn't Face's fault," Frankie began, but was at once pulled away by Murdock, who spoke quickly in his ear.
"Don't say anything, Frankie. This is between them."
"So shouldn't we leave them to
it?" Frankie said. Standing around watching Face and
"That might not be a good idea," Murdock said. One of them's gonna take a swing at the other he thought and then it's all going to kick off. Watching his friends fighting was horrible, but they needed to be here, to drag them apart when it got past words and onto fists. BA was standing behind Face, he felt sure he knew who was going to throw the first punch and was ready to take him out of there when he did.
"You're a fool if you think Stockwell is going to keep his promises." Face yelled, "He'll run us into the ground until we conveniently get ourselves killed."
"If you're so sure about this why'd you come back, why didn't you keep on running?"
"That’s what I should have done."
"Oh, you think so?
"Yeah, I think so. You don't have anywhere else to go."
"What the hell does that mean?" Face yelled.
"Where were you going? Do you have anyone to go to? A family? A woman? No! You only have us!" Face had gone from flushed red to very pale
"Us?" Face's tone was quieter, and very bitter. "What 'us' are you talking about? The A-Team? There is no A-Team any more, we're just 'Stockwell's men'."
"If being Stockwell's men is what it takes then we'll be Stockwell's men. He will get us those pardons, men like that live on debts owed and debts repaid. And he's smart enough to know that he doesn't want us as enemies, he will come through I'm sure of it."
"He has lied to us from day one." Face's voice started rising again. "We owe him nothing! We went through that whole nightmare of a court martial because of him, so he could get us where he wanted. We stood in front of a firing squad that he did nothing to help us escape. And remember 'you don't join anybody and nobody joins you', and five minutes later it's 'oh, Frankie Santana is joining you, no arguments.' And you just accepted it!"
Frankie turned, said quietly to Murdock. "I can't take this, man, I have to get out of here."
"It's not about you, Frankie, trust me." Frankie shook his head, didn't know if it was or not, but couldn't listen to any more if it.
"I'll be in my room," he said and
fled the kitchen. Face and
"Sometimes you have to accept the way things are, Lieutenant, you just have to suck it up and make the best of it."
"Make the best of it?" Face gave a humourless, incredulous laugh. "What best? Tell me one good thing about this situation. We're in deeper shit than we ever were before! Suicide missions with an untrained man along for the ride. We could die tomorrow and we'd die as convicted murderers."
"What the hell is your
alternative?" Frustration joined
"We ran before. We ran and we did fine!"
"Nobody was trying to kill us back then. They won't send boobs like Lynch after us this time. We run and we'll be dead within weeks."
"We can go abroad,
"You think Stockwell's assassins
respect borders?" God, did Face
really believe they could get away safely.
The only reason
"Oh and this is the man you want us to keep working for?"
"Lieutenant, I'm done talking about this. I've made my decision, we stay. If you want to leave, then leave, but if you stay you button it and you follow my orders."
"Your orders?" Face sneered, "Why should I listen to your orders? It's not like you're in command any more."
Murdock and BA both jumped even as
"You want to take this outside,
"Sounds good to me! Let me go, BA!"
"Enough of this." Murdock shouted, "We won't let you fight, so just calm the hell down, now!" Hannibal still pushed against him, and looking back over his shoulder Murdock saw BA was hanging onto both of Face's arms and Face was struggling to twist out of his grip. "Get him out of here!" Murdock yelled at BA, knowing separation was the only course of action now. BA grabbed Face around the waist and dragged him out of the room. The lieutenant yelled and swore at him, ordering him to let go, but BA ignored him. They reached Face's bedroom and BA dragged Face inside. He closed and locked the door then leaned on it, arms folded.
Face turned to him, he was shaking and his fists were clenched.
"Let me out," Face said in a low, dangerous voice.
"Not gonna happen, Faceman." BA said flatly.
"Do I have to make it an order, Sergeant?"
"You can make it whatever you like. You try to get past I'll swat ya."
For a moment Face looked as if he was mad enough to try anyway, but a look at the determination on BA's face brought him to his senses. He relaxed his hands, but was still trembling. He started to pace back and forth.
"We gonna stay like this all night?" Face asked.
"Just till you calm down."
Face gave an exaggerated sigh, ran a hand through his hair and continued pacing. The two men were silent for a few minutes. Eventually BA spoke.
"You shouldn't have said what you said
"Why don't you sit down?" BA said. "You ain't going nowhere." Surprisingly Face obeyed, the tension seemed to rush out of him and he sank down onto the bed. BA decided it was safe to leave his post at the door and came over to sit beside him. The lieutenant lay down on his back, covered his face with both hands and groaned.
"Oh, god, BA, what am I gonna do?
"Can I tell you about something that happened to me when I was a little boy?" BA said. Face took his hands away from his eyes and looked at BA, a little taken aback by this apparent change in subject.
"Um…okay." He sat up.
"I was about eight I think. My dad got a job at one of the auto factories. It was a good job, paid real well. One time he took me into the factory to see where he worked. It was great, seeing all those cars being built, I coulda stayed there all day." He smiled. "I would sooner have gone there every day instead of going ta school." Face smiled back at him at that. "Then this guy comes over, he's the supervisor and he starts yelling at my dad for bringing me in, says it's against all the rules 'n' stuff. This guy is like just a skinny little runt, my dad coulda pasted him all over the wall, but he didn't. He just stood there and took it while this guy talks to him like he's a kid, tells him to take me out of there and how he'll dock his pay while he's gone. There's all my dad's workmates standing around watching too and I remember feeling so angry. At the supervisor yeah, but at my dad too. I never saw my dad take any disrespect from anybody, I wanted him to smack the guy, but he didn't and I was so mad at him and ashamed of him." BA closed his eyes for a moment. "Eventually, years later, I understood, he needed to keep that job, to provide for my mama and me. He just had to bite his lip and keep his cool when his boss talked to him in a way he'd never take from some guy on the street. He did it for me and mama. That didn't make it hurt any less to see him doing that, but I understood why." BA looked at Face, who was watching him intently. Face dropped his eyes and turned away.
"I see what you're saying, BA, but
"No, but he's the nearest you got to
one. Right now he's the nearest we all
got to one. Mine is gone, Murdock ain't
close to his dad. It hurts all of us to
see him take this crap from Stockwell, but he's doing it for us." It did hurt them all, but he knew it was
hardest on Face.
"You still miss your dad?" Face asked eventually.
"Yeah." BA said.
"I wish…" Face began, then stopped, and shook his head. "Nah, that'll never happen now." He wasn't really talking to BA at this point, more to himself. "Never find that out. Not even sure I want to know." Gently BA put an arm around his friend's shoulders and felt Face lean in to him. They sat, the silence stretching out.
In the control booth Able Six stopped the tape that was recording the feed from Peck's room. He rewound it and switched it to a dead channel, began to record over the last few minutes.
"Sorry, General." He muttered under his breath. "Must have been on the wrong channel."
~~ End ~~
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