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This page last viewed: 2017-04-25 and has been viewed 1846 times
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Warnings: Spoilers for the fifth season in general. Violence.
Disclaimer: The A-Team doesn't belong to me; I'm not making any money from this.
Summary: The A-Team become the targets of a vengeful enemy and end up fighting for their lives. They find allies in the unlikeliest places. This is a sequel to Settlement and takes place around 18 months after the end of that story.
You will need to have read Settlement before reading this, it's a sequel and features characters from that story. The state of Qumar is entirely fictional and I borrowed the name from the creators of The West Wing.
Face slid open the side door of the van and climbed in.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, guys," he said giving BA and Murdock a sheepish grin. BA scowled at him and put the van into gear, drove off into the darkness.
"That's okay, Face, we know it takes you longer than it used to to make yourself cute these days." Murdock said, saw BA give a tiny smirk at that and now Face was the one scowling.
"Anyway Hannibal isn't expecting us till eight," Murdock said, "We got plenty of time." He looked at Face's smart dark jacket and tie. "You know it's just an informal dinner with your friends, you didn't have to get dressed up. There won't be any women there."
"There might be, didn't Hannibal tell you to expect surprise guests?"
"Oh, yeah. Though I'm not sure how you 'expect' a 'surprise', but hey ho. So who do you think it is?"
"I'm hoping it's the actress he was working with on that cowboy flick," Face said, straightening his already straight tie. BA rolled his eyes.
"Maybe it's Amy." Murdock said.
"Nah," BA said, "She's in Ohio. I saw her on CNN today reporting on some political scandal."
"Frankie?" Face suggested.
"Still in Canada, blowing stuff up for that movie he's working on." BA said.
"Thought I heard a noise." Murdock muttered, then said brightly. "I know, Tawnia!"
"I heard from Tawnia a week ago," Face said, "She's in New York."
"She could have come back," said Murdock.
"Not unless they've run out of stuff to buy in New York." Face answered, grinning wryly.
"Maggie?" BA said. "Hannibal still seeing her?"
"He was kind of evasive about Maggie last time I mentioned her." Face looked thoughtful. "Not sure what's going on there."
"Lynch!" Murdock exclaimed, which made the others instinctively look around nervously, then look at Murdock annoyed.
"Fool," BA muttered.
"No, I mean, maybe the surprise guest is Lynch, you know to show there's no hard feelings now you're free."
"Please be joking," Face said.
"And why just Lynch?" BA asked, "Why not Decker?"
"Because there still are hard feelings with Decker," Murdock said, grinning. "Hey, I've got it, Stockwell!" Face shuddered and BA frowned even more than usual.
"Don't even joke about that." Face said. "That bastard's safely in jail. And if I never see him again it will be too soon."
"What do you suppose he's getting up to in there?" Murdock asked.
"Getting real friendly with a big, hairy biker named Killer, hopefully." Face said, grimly.
"Ah'll bet he's writing a book." BA said.
"Yeah…" Murdock said thoughtfully, then more eagerly. "Yeah, you're so right, BA, I'll bet he has a book deal! He'll write an autobiography called 'My Way'." Face and BA groaned at that, and Murdock smirked. But he regretted bringing up the subject of Stockwell, Face looked too serious now.
They drove on in silence for a few minutes.
"Stockwell's in jail." Murdock said eventually, breaking the silence. BA gave him a sidelong glance.
"Er, we know, Murdock, we just said." Face said.
"Yeah I know I was just saying it for fun. Stockwell's in jail." He chuckled. "I just love hearing those words. Stockwell's in jail, la la la," he started singing and snapping his fingers, "Oh, yeah, Stockwell's in the big house, he's in the federal pen, oh yeah, Stockwell's in the slammer, he's locked up in the can; he's in-car-cer-ated! Oh yeah, where is he? Gimme a J…"
"Shut up, fool!" BA yelled in extreme irritation, but Murdock didn't care, his silly song had made Face smile again.
A few minutes later the van pulled up outside Hannibal's house and they climbed out. Face and Murdock were each carrying a bottle of wine and BA carried something in a grocery bag.
"You brought dessert, big guy?" Murdock asked.
"Just some ice cream." BA said.
"Chocolate chocolate chip?" Murdock said hopefully.
"Wait and see," BA told him.
"No other cars," Face said, looking around at the drive and the road by the house. "Only Hannibal's. Guess our mystery guests haven't arrived yet." He rang the doorbell and in a moment Hannibal opened it.
"Come on in, fellas." They followed him into the living room, which the front door opened straight into; a delicious smell of roasting chicken filled the house. Hannibal took the wine and the ice cream into the kitchen, saying, "Help yourself to drinks." BA followed him into the kitchen and Hannibal poured him a glass of milk.
"So come on, Hannibal." BA said, "Who else is coming tonight?"
Hannibal just tapped the side of his nose, and winked at BA, then gave him a tray of wine glasses, said, "Could you go set these on the table, please?" BA went into the dining room, set out the glasses and took his glass of milk back to the living room.
"There's two more guests," he told Face and Murdock, "The table is set for six."
"Interesting." Murdock said. He sipped on the Harvey Wallbanger he'd had Face mix for him. Not that he particularly liked the taste, but he just liked ordering it because the thought the name was funny. Face mixed himself a whisky and soda and wandered through to help Hannibal in the kitchen.
When the doorbell rang a moment later Murdock was the quickest to reach it, even before Hannibal called out "I'm busy here, could one of you get that?" He opened the door to two Arab men, dressed in suits, one standing, the other crouching apparently tying his shoe.
"Captain Murdock, it's good to see you," the one standing said. "Sorry about Jahni, he's never been to the West before, he keeps forgetting you don't need to take off your shoes when you enter a house."
"You obviously never met my Grandmother, Major Madari." Murdock said, a delighted smile on his face. "Come in, come in!" Jahni straightened up, his smile as wide as Murdock's.
"Hello, Murdock," he said, stepping aside to let Madari go in first.
"Major! Lieutenant! " BA exclaimed as they came in. "You gotta be the last people ah expected to see." Hannibal and Face came out of the kitchen and there was a round of handshakes and greetings. Madari handed Hannibal a gift-wrapped parcel. Jahni hugged Murdock and Face.
Hannibal, removing his 'Kiss the Cook' apron before either Murdock or Jahni took him up on the invitation, said, "Well you both look a lot healthier than the last time we saw you," They did too, Madari was still thin as a whip, but it was all lean muscle, not inadequate food making him that way now and his face had lost the gauntness it had displayed in the camp. His fingernails were fully regrown, though scarring was still clearly visible on his hands. Jahni was bulkier than they remembered, his shoulders, chest and arms well muscled, his thick black hair glossy.
"Thank you," the Major said, inclining his head. "You all look well too. Thank you for inviting us to your home, Colonel."
"Thank you, Major, you are very welcome in my home. And please, call me Hannibal."
"Then you must call me Faris, Hannibal."
"And I am Kahil." Jahni said.
The formalities out of the way Hannibal offered them drinks. Madari took only fruit juice, but Jahni, somewhat unexpectedly, accepted a cocktail and went off with Face to mix him one. Hannibal went into the kitchen and Madari followed him.
"They were surprised to see us," the Major said. "You haven't told them what I told you about on the telephone."
"Not yet." Hannibal said. "I thought we'd have dinner first, catch up, then tell them."
"As you wish." He went back into the living room. Hannibal tore the wrapping paper from the gift Madari had brought, smiled to find a box of fine cigars inside. A few moments later Face came in.
"Need any help, Hannibal?"
"I'm about to serve, you can give me a hand."
Dinner passed quickly, everyone praised Hannibal's cooking, the wine went down well and the conversation was lively. Jahni kept them all entertained with his accounts of the heroic deeds of Madari and his company of guerrilla fighters, giving the impression, despite the Major's denials, that they had been almost solely responsible for the fall of the usurping regime in Qumar and the restoration of the rightful government.
"We helped," Madari said. "Significantly, perhaps even decisively, but the Lieutenant exaggerates everything. Next time he tells you the stories, and believe me, there will be a next time, they will be even more inflated." His chiding was only semi-serious though and Jahni just gave a slightly sheepish grin and was soon chattering again.
Madari insisted on helping Hannibal to clear the plates, went into the kitchen with him, the sound of the other men's talk and laughter reaching them through the open door.
"I'm sorry Mr Santana is not here tonight." Madari said as they loaded the dishwasher.
"Frankie's working, he's abroad."
"Ah." He paused, and then said. "And how is he? And Captain Murdock?" Hannibal knew what Madari was referring to.
"They're both doing well, Murdock, well he has at least got the training to deal with what happened, he bounced back pretty quick. Frankie didn't have that, but as soon as we got back I got him into counselling. And he's pretty resilient. He'll never be his old self, I don't think, but he's okay."
"That's good." Madari said, nodding. They were both silent for a while.
"And how are you, Faris?" Hannibal asked. Madari looked at him sharply, seemed ready to take offence at the question, but then spoke quietly.
"Better than I was." That seemed to be all Hannibal was getting and he was rather disappointed. He'd been corresponding with Madari for six months now, since the Qumari king had been restored and Madari had returned to his regular army duties. Hannibal thought he'd gained the Major's trust, but he was still nearly as difficult to get through to as he had been in the camp.
"That's good," Hannibal said, a little coldly. "Let's have dessert, then you can tell the others about why you're here."
Once the ice cream was gone, coffees and brandies were poured and the cigars were lit Hannibal said, speaking to his team. "Okay, fellas, listen up. I'm afraid this isn't just a social visit, the Major has something important to discuss with us." That shut them all up and they looked curiously at Madari. Jahni also went quiet and sat back in his chair. Madari leaned forward in his.
"Gentlemen, I came to the United States in pursuit of General Ziyahd, or rather ex-General Ziyahd."
"Ziyahd is here?" Murdock said.
"I suppose he wasn't very popular in Qumar after you threw out the government he supported." Face commented.
"Indeed no and there was a warrant for his arrest. But he hasn't come here simply to hide, I believe he has come here to kill Colonel Smith." The others reacted with shock and concern to this. Hannibal knowing about it already just puffed on his cigar and waited for Madari to continue.
"Ziyahd has sworn to kill all of those responsible for his losing his command of the prison camp. He lost his commission after that and was thrown out of the army in disgrace. I think the Russians probably had some say in that happening, since he was responsible for their people being taken too."
"Yeah, I can't imagine the KGB were too thrilled with him," Face said.
"He has tried to kill me." Madari looked at Jahni said, "If the Lieutenant hadn't put himself between me and an assassin's bullet he may well have succeeded." He touched the younger man's arm briefly. Jahni looked a little uncomfortable as the other men looked at him with admiration. Hannibal glanced at Murdock, remembering the captain doing the same thing for him, then turned back to Madari.
"Go on, Faris."
"He has already succeeded in killing three of my officers from the camp. They died in apparent 'accidents', not too difficult to explain away with men in a dangerous profession like ours, but when the third one happened I became suspicious and decided to investigate myself. That was Captain Noor."
"Noor!" Murdock exclaimed, dismayed. "Oh, man!"
"A good soldier, and my good friend." Madari said, paused for a moment, then gathered himself and went on. "He had rejoined his regiment and was training new recruits in weapons drill. There was a so-called 'tragic accident'."
"Don’t tell me; some guy 'didn't know it was loaded'?" BA said grimly.
"Exactly. But when I looked into it I discovered this recruit was a distant cousin of Ziyahd's and also that he had left the army and apparently disappeared. I suspect he may be here, with Ziyahd."
"Who were the other two? You said he killed three." Face asked quietly.
"Lieutenant Ishaq and Captain Fahad." Jahni said. His voice shook a little as he gave the names of his dead friends and his eyes were downcast and full of grief. There was silence for a few moments as they all remembered the men they had fought alongside, briefly and eighteen months ago in the case of the A-Team, but more recently and over much longer for the Major and the Lieutenant. Hannibal gave them the moment, waited until Madari looked up again before he spoke.
"You think you know where Ziyahd is, you told me."
"Yes." Madari confirmed, "I've tracked him to a town south west of Los Angeles. That’s why I believe he is after you, Hannibal, and probably the rest of you. Why else should he be near Los Angeles? If all he wanted was to hide, well, this is a big country; there are many other places he could live, many cities where no-one would notice another Arab face in the crowd. No, he came here for a purpose."
"And now you're going after him." Hannibal said.
"He murdered my friends, I intend to see he receives justice." The Americans exchanged glances, that sounded a lot like it was going to be pretty summary justice.
"But," Madari went on, "Ziyahd is rich, he will have hired plenty of men. We are only two men, and very much out of our element. So we decided…" he stopped and smiled slightly, turned to Jahni. "You say it, Lieutenant, I know you've been waiting to." Jahni grinned and leant forward.
"We would like to hire the A-Team."
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