"R&R" by Theresa 'Captain Marina" Thomas
Words you will need for this story:
Prithee-please/pray Shire-town/land Aye-yes Nay-no
Summary: The team goes camping in Lancaster PA. and runs into some unexpected trouble.
Inspired by Real Life events.
"You know, guys I think it is about time we had a little R&R. What do ya say?" Hannibal smiles as he turns to his teammates.
"Sounds good to me Colonel. Whatcha have in mind?" Murdock asks from his usual seat in the black and red van.
"Well Cap'n, I was thinking about going somewhere peaceful and quiet. Really get back to nature. Sleeping under the stars, eating food cooked over a freshly lit fire. I am talking about camping."
"Sounds great!! What about you, big guy?"
"Sounds good to me too, man, I could use a break."
"Great? Are you nuts? What about the fact that it is freezing outside, the wild animals, the dirt, and not to mention the various crawling insects that like to make your sleeping bag their new home," Face interjects.
"What's the matter, Lieutenant getting too old to rough it in the great outdoors?" Hannibal asks with a concerned look on his face.
"Nice try Colonel, but I am not falling for it. Why don't you guys just drop me off at the local airport and I'll see you in about two weeks."
"Sorry, Lieutenant-you know the rules about being out of contact that long. I can't have us in Pennsylvania and you in California, in case of an emergency situation," Hannibal says with a serious tone.
"No buts Face. You're outvoted. Camping it is," Hannibal grins and puts his cigar in his mouth.
"Oh don't worry Faceman-it'll be fun!! We can hike through those beautiful Pennsylvania mountains. Fish in crystal clear streams and sit around the campfire at night and tell spooky ghost stories. Hey maybe we can find some fellow campers of the female persuasion and go skinny dipping in the lake," Murdock says hoping the mention of pretty girls will get Face motivated about spending a week in a tent.
"Skinny Dipping? Do you realize that the water in the lake is about 50 degrees at this time of the year?"
"OK, well maybe skinny dipping is out, but I am sure we will have lots of fun anyway," Murdock says cheerfully.
"Oh yeah- loads of fun," Face mocks and sits back in his seat.
"BA we need to get a map of the area and we also have to find a place to get the camping equipment. Pull over in that gas station up ahead."
"Right Hannibal," BA says and pulls the van into the "Gas and Sip."
BA jumps out to fuel up the van and Hannibal goes inside to purchase a map. Murdock folds his legs into a yoga position, closes his eyes and begins to chant "Ummmmmmmm, ummmmmmm, ummmmmmmmmm."
"Murdock!! What are you doing?" Face enquires hesitantly.
"I am clearing my mind Faceman. I want to shed all the erroneous thoughts that are bouncing around in my head, so I can be in complete harmony with nature. Camping will be much more rewarding if you try to become one with the elements," Murdock replies and goes back to his chanting.
"Ummmmmm, ummmmmm, ummmmmmmm."
"This is going to be a fun trip," Face comments sarcastically, mainly to himself.
"Ah, what's Murdock doing, Face?" Hannibal asks as he opens the door to the van.
"He is communing with the elements Colonel. Trying to clear his mind of stray thoughts."
"OH I see...well anyway it looks like there is a campground not too far from here. The man in the store said that there is a string of outlets nearby where we should be able to get all the necessary equipment."
"Listen Colonel, let me handle getting the camping equipment. I don't really want to buy the stuff, because if we have it around you all might just decide to make camping our regular vacation. Personally, I prefer beautifully decorated penthouses with champagne and caviar."
"Hey man, BA Baracus don't steal things," BA snarls at Face.
"BA BA BA-Who said anything about stealing? I am merely suggesting that we creatively acquire the necessary gear, which can be happily returned to its original owners, at the end of our little excursion in the woods," Face quips using all the charm he can muster.
"OK Faceman, butcha better be tellin me the truth. Cause if you ain't, you'll answer to me," BA says as he pounds one fist into the palm of his other hand.
"Sounds good Face-Listen let's drive into town. You can take the van and borrow the equipment. While BA, Murdock and I do a little grocery shopping."
"Ummmmmm, ummmm, ummmm," Murdock continues to chant as the team heads for the picturesque county of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
"The van has been spotted in the area, Sir."
"Very good, my dear lad, keep me informed of their whereabouts," the figure commands.
The team pulls up to the grocery store and Hannibal, Murdock and BA jump out, while Face takes the van and goes off to get the camping gear.
Murdock grabs the shopping cart and into the store they go.
"Well guys I say we get the basics- Hamburgers, hot dogs, bake beans, eggs, lunchmeat, etc...." Hannibal says as he looks around at the various shelves.
"And milk, man-we gotta get plenty of milk."
"And s'mores Colonel, we have to make s'mores, it's a camping tradition," Murdock says as he looks around for the isle containing the marshmallows.
"OK, well let's do this right, Murdock you go find the needed ingredients for the s'mores, BA you grab the milk and I'll get the other stuff. We will rendezvous at the check out counter at 1300hrs. Understood?"
"Right Colonel," Murdock and BA say in unison and go off to complete their assignment.
"Excuse me, ma'am, I need to get some milk," BA says to the lady who is blocking the gallons of milk with her shopping cart.
"Oh I'm sorry," the lady says nervously as she looks at the huge mohawked man before her wearing tons of gold.
"No problem, ma'am," BA grins as the lady grabs her cart and hurries off.
BA reaches in and pulls out the entire rack of milk, "This should be enough for a few days," he remarks as he carries the milk up to the checkout counter to meet back with Hannibal and Murdock.
"You gotcha graham crackers, and you gotcha marshmallows, now all ya need is your basic chocolate bar," Murdock says in his best Italian accent as he scans the candy isle for the final ingredient.
"Oh there you are my beautiful little morsels," Murdock picks up the package of candy bars and kisses them. He heads back to the checkout counter to meet back with the Colonel and BA.
"Oops... sorry there pal I didn't mean to knock that display over. Let me help you," Hannibal says as he bends down to help the man pick up the cans of peas that have fallen and rolled down the isles.
"No sir please! I can do it myself," The stock boy half shouts as he recalls having only seconds earlier cleaned up the boxes of cookies that Hannibal had knocked over when he had reached for the bottom box.
"Suit your self Kid!!" Hannibal says and goes off to meet back with Murdock and BA.
"Well guys looks like we have everything we need," Hannibal remarks as he looks at the overflowing shopping cart.
They proceed through the checkout line and go outside to wait for Face to arrive with the camping equipment.
A little while and two gallons of milk later the familiar black and red van pulls up to the front of the store.
"I have done it again-all the latest in camping equipment right here for your pleasure," Face quips as he gets out of the van.
"Not so fast Faceman- ╬Captain Camper' must check to see if you have provided us with all the necessary items," Murdock says as he opens the van doors to see what gear Face has acquired for them.
"Oh don't worry about it Murdock-I got everything we need....and who is Captain Camper?"
"CAPTAIN CAMPER IS THE PROTECTOR OF FLORA AND FUANA. TOGETHER WITH HIS FAITHFUL SIDEKICK S'MOREY THEY SCOUR THE CAMPGROUNDS IN SEARCH OF CAMPERS IN DISTRESS." Murdock declares in a booming voice with his hands placed firmly on his hips, in the traditional super hero pose.
"Oh great, not another one," Face whines as Hannibal and BA unload the groceries from the cart.
"Do you guys hear him? If he puts on a mask and cape I am out of here, I swear."
"Now, Now, Lieutenant," Hannibal puts his arm around Face's shoulder-"I think having Captain Camper along is just what we need, in case of an emergency you know. Right Captain?" Hannibal says with an enormous grin.
"I don't know who is crazier you or Murdock," Face throws his arms up in the air and gets into the van.
The team heads down through the scenic country side past the rustic Amish farms that are nestled throughout the entire county of Lancaster. The horse drawn buggies clip-clop down the busy streets, causing traffic to come to a stand-still. Amish children giggle in the back of the covered family buggy, amused by the sight of the cars and their strangely dressed passengers. Cows and sheep graze on the various grasses, children romp and play among the wild flowers, huge bails of hay, bundled by a primitive tool, are strewn across the fields. The entire setting is reminiscent of the days before technology robbed the world of the simple way of life.
"It is so beautiful, so peaceful," Murdock comments as the van twists and turns down the winding country roads.
"Yes it is Captain-especially at this time of year," Hannibal remarks observing the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows of the autumn leaves.
Even the reluctant Face is taken aback by the breathtaking scenery.
"Take the next right, BA. The campground is about a mile down that road."
BA turns the van onto the little side street. After driving along this narrow road, they happen upon the campground. BA makes another right and pulls up to the front office.
"Let me out here BA, I'll go in and see if they have any spots available," Hannibal steps out of the van and goes into the office.
A whiff of camp fire smoke seeps into the van as the rest of the team watches the children play hide and seek among the trees. An elderly couple walks their Basset Hound on a leash, and a young couple pushes a baby carriage down a dirt path.
The aura of the campground is one of peace and quiet, just what the team needs after their last mission.
Hannibal emerges from the office carrying a map of the campground with directions to the site.
"Well there are plenty of sites available," Hannibal says happily as he closes the door to the van.
"Of course there are! Maybe I did something hideous in a previous life that God is punishing me for now," Face sighs.
"Well then you are going to be in big trouble in the next life Faceman, with all the lying and scamming you do in this one," Murdock teases as Hannibal and BA laugh hysterically.
"HA HA HA!!" Face mocks "Very funny."
"Says here that we have to make a right on Doe Run road and follow that to our site," Hannibal observes as he looks at the map.
BA gently eases the van through the trees, down the sinuous dirt road to site 115.
"This is it guys! Let's get our gear unpacked and get things setup. Then we will start our relaxing. Right Lieutenant?"
"Relaxing?" Face just rolls his eyes as Hannibal grins and puffs on his cigar.
"A battery operated humidifier, Face? Is that really necessary?" Hannibal asks as he watches Face unload his stuff from the van.
"Of course Hannibal. I can't have my skin drying out in this cold mountain air," Face says as he clutches the humidifier under his arm.
Hannibal just folds his arms across his chest and gives Face a disbelieving stare.
"Well I can't!" Face shouts indignantly-"Now where is my Aunt Ann's moisturizing body wash?" he utters out loud.
Hannibal shakes his head and goes off to see how BA and Murdock are making out with the tents.
"Listen, fool...hold the pole right there and stop all your crazy jibber jabbering about rightin wrongs, and protectin the innocent!"
"But BA you don't understand...someone has to help the poor defenseless campers in distress, and who better then CAPTAIN CAMPER?"
"That's it Murdock! I've had it!! Enough with your invisible friends, masks and capes, enough with all this crazy nonsense!!" BA growls as he throws down the tent poles and grabs Murdock by his jacket.
"BA, please be reasonable!!"
"No, Murdock... I ain't gonna be reasonable no more!! You are makin me as crazy as you with all your crazy talk!" BA grabs Murdock tighter.
"Colonel help!!" Murdock gasps under the angry man's grip.
"Ah, let him go, sergeant!" Hannibal orders as he places his hand on BA's shoulder.
BA hesitates for a moment, but then lets Murdock go with a little shove and a angry glare.
"Boy! No one has any respect for super heroes anymore!" Murdock declares as he pulls down his crumpled jacket and picks up his baseball cap from the ground.
"Listen guys we have to get the tents set up before dark. So do you two think you can get along long enough to get that accomplished?" Hannibal asks with a very serious tone.
"Well he started it Colonel," Murdock pouts as he looks at BA.
"Whatcha saying sucka! I'm not the one that's talkin about runnin ╬round the campground bothering the other campers, dressed in a mask and cape, carrying a stupid s'more!!"
"BA, don't make fun of S'morey he is very sensitive!!" Murdock pats the little man on the head that he made out of a stick and marshmallows.
"That's it!!" BA turns to grab Murdock again, but Hannibal puts out his arm to stop him.
"Listen up!! I don't care how it gets done! I just want these tents set up by 1700 hrs-Understood?" Hannibal commands, having about enough of BA and Murdock's bickering.
"Right Hannibal!" BA nods.
"Good!!" Hannibal states and goes off to get the rest of the gear stowed away.
"Crazy fool!!" BA picks up the tent poles and throws one to Murdock.
Murdock and BA manage to get the tents set up and Hannibal gets a roaring campfire going.
"I'm starving Colonel!" Murdock says as he pats his stomach.
"Yeah, me too Colonel.... did you buy any goose liver paté?"
"Sorry, Face we're having beans and wieners."
"Beans and wieners are you serious? We had better food in the prison camp," Face groans as Hannibal hands him a cold hot dog from the cooler.
"I'll go fetch us some sticks," Murdock runs off into the woods to find the perfect roasting sticks.
A few minutes later Murdock comes back with four sticks just right for roasting. He passes out the sticks to everyone. Face takes about five minutes to put his hot dog on the stick, and get it cooking.
"There is nothing like food cooked over and open fire is there, Lieutenant?"
"Oh yes, nothing like it!" Face says sarcastically as he bites into the hot dog that is burned on the outside and still cold in the inside.
"I got a great idea guys! Let's tell spooky stories," Murdock says as he shines the flashlight on his face.
"Great idea Captain!"
The team huddles closer together around the campfire as Murdock begins to recount his tale in an eerie voice.
"Well, you know guys, there once was this girl I knew years ago, before Nam. Her name was Emma Jean. She was this real rich girl, who also was very conceited. Emma Jean was getting married in the fall to her one true love. Her bridesmaids were three beautiful friends of hers who had spent the entire month of August basking in the tropical beaches of Jamaica. Needless to say they had very nice tans, and Emma Jean was jealous because she was as pale as a ghost.
"So she went to the tanning salon, but they had this strict rule that you could only use the tanning bed for 30 minutes one time a week. Knowing that she only had two weeks before her wedding, and that going twice to the tanning salon would not give her a dark enough tan to look better then her bridesmaids. She went around to various tanning salons, in the surrounding towns, sometimes even going two times in one day. By the middle of the following week she was extremely ill and a horrendous odor was emanating from her body. She went to the doctor's. The doctor could not determine the cause of her symptoms, so he sent her to the hospital for tests and x-rays. When the technician put the x-ray up on the machine to read it-she gasped and the orderly had to hold her up to keep her from fainting."
"What was it, man?" BA asks eagerly.
"Well you see-Poor Emma Jean had done something that no one had ever done before. She had literally cooked her internal organs, and the damage was irreversible. Emma Jean died in terrible pain held in her husband to be arms the night before her wedding. All because of her preoccupation with looking good!!" Murdock finishes sadly.
"EWWWW that's awful!! Poor girl!" Face mutters.
BA, Hannibal and Murdock stare at Face and burst out laughing.
"What's the matter is there a bug on me or something?" Face asks nervously as he looks around.
"Well you know Face that poor girl in the story died because she was worried about looking good," Hannibal says with a big grin.
"Yeah man, Hannibal's right!" BA snickers.
"OK that's it! I have had enough! Now I can deal with the bugs, the dirt, I can even deal with the beans and wieners, but I will not tolerate being tortured because of the way I look. After all its my face that gets us everything we need. Without my face we wouldn't be able to complete half our missions. I am going to bed," Face gets up, rewraps the Indian blanket around him and storms off to the tent.
Hannibal, Murdock and BA look at each other and burst out laughing once again, their laughter trailing off into the night air.
After a few more stories and some of Murdock's s'mores the team decides to call it a night. Hannibal unzips the door to the tent, inside fast asleep is Face. The humidifier running at full tilt. He looks at the Lieutenant sleeping peacefully and decides that for just tonight he wouldn't shut off his humidifier. After all, they had teased him pretty badly at dinner.
Hannibal quickly changes into the flannel pj's Face had gotten for him and zips himself up in the sleeping bag. There is complete silence except for the occasional hoot hoot of an owl. Hannibal closes his eyes and settles down to sleep. Until he is abruptly disturbed by a loud commotion coming from the next tent.
"Hey man-get that thing out of here!!"
"I can't BA-S'morey will get cold. He has to sleep right here between us," Murdock says as he pulls up the sleeping bag snugly around the marshmallow man.
"I swear Murdock if you don't get rid of that thing I'm gonna toast me some marshmallows right quick!"
"OH! Do you hear that, S'morey? I do believe he is threatening you. Well... now... that's gratitude for you! No respect for the hero of the campground!" Murdock remarks with a disgusted tone.
"I'll give you gratitude...give me that!!" BA grabs S'morey and throws him out the window of the tent.
"BA!! I can't believe you did that! Go get him!"
"NO way fool!"
"That's enough!!" Hannibal shouts from inside his tent "Since you two can't seem to be together five minutes without arguing. I'll just have to split you up for a while until you cool off! Murdock you are on watch till 0200! Understood?" he commands.
"Yes sir," Murdock replies dejectedly and unzips his sleeping bag.
BA begins snickering as Murdock climbs out of his sleeping bag to get dressed and venture out into the cold.
"Don't snicker too much, sergeant! You are on duty at 0200. So I suggest you get some sleep now."
"AWW Hannibal!" BA grumbles.
"HA HA HA!" Murdock says and sticks out his tongue, as BA throws his pillow at him.
"Go, Murdock!!" Hannibal commands trying not to laugh, realizing that Murdock couldn't resist teasing BA one last time.
"Yes sir! I'm going," Murdock says to Hannibal. "But I am getting S'morey and bringing him back with me," he whispers to BA just as he zips up the tent door.
"Crazy fool!" BA mutters to himself and turns over to sleep till 2 o'clock.
"Wh...Wh.. What's going on?" Face asks wearily awakened by all the noise.
"Nothing Lieutenant-just Murdock and BA, being Murdock and BA!"
"Oh, I see," Face mumbles and rolls over to go back to sleep.
Hannibal happily closes his eyes again, thankful that he is finally able to get some sleep. Happy until once again he is aroused from slumber, this time by the sound of Face's snoring.
"This is going to be a long vacation," Hannibal mutters and puts his pillow over his head.
Very early the next morning before dawn Face is the first one up, having been the only one who really slept. The sounds of snoring from his sleeping teammates fill the air. Face decides to go for a walk to stretch his aching muscles. After all, he isn't used to sleeping on anything but a king size bed in a recently scammed apartment.
Face starts off down a little path through the woods. Deeper and deeper he goes into the trees, stopping every so often to admire something along the way. He comes to a clearing overlooking a lake. He dusts off a nearby rock and sits down to watch the sun come up.
Running around on different missions, spending most of his time in the company of either the team or a pretty girl. Face rarely has time for quiet self-reflection. He sits there for awhile thinking about his life and all that has happened. Thinking a lot about the three men sleeping peacefully back in the campsite and how much they mean to him. As the first light of day begins to peek over the horizon a dark figure appears from the shadows placing a hand over Face's mouth. Face instinctively reaches for his gun, and curses himself as he realizes he left it in the tent. The figure knocks Face unconscious and drags him into the trees.
"Get off me man!!" BA yells as he pushes Murdock back over to his side of the tent.
"What's that matter, big guy...don't like to cuddle?" Murdock teases.
"Cuddle? I'll cuddle you!!" BA reaches for Murdock.
"Get off me BA!!"
"BA! Stop strangling him!!" Hannibal orders from inside his tent. "Didn't you two learn your lesson last night? Or would you prefer to spend the rest of this vacation on night duty?"
Comes the quick replies from inside the tent.
"Good! I'm glad to hear it! Well since we are all awake I say we go for a morning jog before breakfast. It's a good way to work up an appetite. Whatcha say guys?"
"I'm with you Colonel," Murdock says as he jumps up out of bed. "You coming big guy?"
"Aww man-up half the night, now jogging and I ain't even had my milk," BA grumbles as he slowly gets out of his sleeping bag.
"Wake up sleeping beauty!" Hannibal chides as he turns to Face.
"Face, you out there?" the Colonel calls out realizing Face is not in his bed.
"Hey guys, do you know where Face is?"
"No Colonel, haven't seen him since last night," Murdock answers.
"Hmm... maybe he went for a walk."
"Put him in the van. We will take their precious Lieutenant to our headquarters."
The figure places the unconscious Face into the van and closes the doors.
The old farmhouse sits proudly amid the overgrown weeds. A few hints of pristine white paint show through the cracked siding, reminiscent of the its glory days when it provided shelter to a family. If you listen carefully you can hear the voices of the children that once romped and played there.
"Wake up Lieutenant!" The man chides as he throws a bucket of ice cold water over Face to arouse him from his stupor.
"Wh... wh...what's going on? Where am I? Who are you?" Face asks confused as he desperately tries to get a grasp on his surroundings.
"Oh, I am hurt that you do not remember me," The man says melodramatically.
Face stares at the figure for a few minutes, a look of disbelief comes over his face.
"Tommy? Is that you? After all these years?"
"Oh, so you do remember me; I am delighted that you do Lieutenant." A sudden knot wells up in Face's stomach as the last memories of this man come rushing back to his mind.
"Hang in there man, the chopper will be here soon," Lieutenant Templeton Peck says as he places a hand on the scared, wounded private laying before him on the ground.
"I can't feel my legs! Don't let me die Lieutenant, please!!"
"Now Tommy would I ever let that happen? Besides you owe me 30 bucks from last night's poker game and I intend to collect," Face says trying to take the wounded boy's mind off the pain.
"No way Lieutenant!! I ain't paying you a dime-you cheated," the young man teases with a knowing glance.
"Cheated? Me? You insult me!" Face remarks with a sly smile.
The heavy sounds of artillery move in closer and closer. The voices of the enemy echo in the distance.
"We have to get you out of here!" Face states with a desperate tone as he wonders how he is going to move the paralyzed boy without causing permanent damage.
"Listen-Tommy I can't move you without a stretcher. Hang in there I will be right back."
"Don't leave me Lieutenant, please!" Tommy begs.
"I'll be back I promise," Face says assuredly and gives the young man a quick wink.
"I'll be back I promise-that was the last thing you said to me Lieutenant!" Tommy utters as he stares intently at Face-"But you never came back did you? You just left me there to die. I spent two years of torment captured in a filthy disgusting hell hole, all because of you."
"I tried to get back to you Tommy, I swear. I had found a stretcher and was on my way back to you when our position was overrun. There was no way I could reach you."
"Enough of your excuses! Coward!!" Tommy steps forward and punches Face in the stomach. "Lock him up!!"
The men quickly grab Face off his chair, drag him down a long dark hallway and throw him down the stairs. Face lands with a thump on the ice cold floor, once again going into unconsciousness.
"What do you intend to do with him sweetheart?" The beautiful woman dressed in Elizabethan garb asks her husband.
"Well my dear lady, I think we shall play a little game with the companions of Lieutenant Peck. It should be a wondrous time," Tommy takes the hand of his bride and gently kisses it.
"Aye indeed, a wondrous time!" he repeats with a smile.
Murdock, Hannibal and BA get dressed and start off on their morning jog.
"Where could Face be?" Murdock wonders out loud as he jogs up beside the Colonel.
"Don't know Cap'n, but I am starting to worry a little bit. I think maybe we should split up and search for him. BA you take left, Murdock you go right and I'll head this way. We will meet back at the campsite in an hour."
Murdock and BA nod in agreement.
They all search the surrounding areas thoroughly, but find no clues as to where Face is. After an hour they rendezvous back at the campsite.
"Any signs of him?" Hannibal asks partially out of breath.
"No man I didn't see him no where!"
"Me either Hannibal."
Murdock spots a scroll of parchment paper tied with a red ribbon to Hannibal's tent.
"Colonel look at this!"
"What is it Captain?"
"It's a scroll!" Murdock unwraps the parchment and begins to read out loud the calligraphy on the paper.
"Hear ye Hear ye Her Royal Majesty invites thee to join in the festivities. On this October day! Upon this parchment is written her Highness's decree:
If thou play the game of days of ole' Thou shall find the mystery will unfold Among the one's of mayhem and mirth Clues given by those with violet give birth To who we be and why we jest Blend in and try thy best. Hurry now there is no time to waste If thou wishes to see thy precious Face Her majesty will rein supreme Hail to all! God Save the Queen! "
Murdock, BA and Hannibal stare at each other, trying to make sense out of the unusual words.
"God Save the Queen?-what kinda jive nonsense is this-We ain't in England man!"
"I don't know BA, but whoever wrote this has Face. We have to find out who it is and come up with a plan to get him back," Hannibal comments.
Murdock paces back and forth trying to figure out the meaning behind the poem. Suddenly a light bulb goes off in his head.
"Hannibal, Hannibal! I think I know where Face is or at least where we might be able to find out!" Murdock shouts.
"Look-I found this earlier when I was out searching for Face," Murdock says as he hands Hannibal the flyer from his jacket.
"Medieval Festival-Join in the festivities," Hannibal reads out loud as he carefully examines the paper.
"That's got to be it Colonel. It would definitely explain the poem. The festival is in East Petersburg, we drove through that town on the way here."
"You're right Murdock, but it doesn't explain who has him or why. That is something that we need to figure out!"
Face begins to stir, he opens his eyes and sits up slowly, completely surrounded by darkness.
"AWW man my head," Face groans wearily as he puts his hands up to his head.
"Oh yeah come camping Face, it'll be fun Face, we'll have a good time Face. Well I have to say this isn't exactly a weekend at the Ritz," Face says sarcastically to the empty room.
The door to the basement opens and the light from the upstairs cuts through the darkness. Face immediately shields his eyes from its glare.
Tommy stands there at the top of the steps dressed suit of chain mail.
"Nice Armor!" Face says as he looks strangely at Tommy. "Did you make it yourself, or did you hire someone? Because I know someone who might be interested in a suit just like that."
"Oh Lieutenant thoust always did have a most wondrous sense of humor!" Tommy quips in a English accent as he comes down the stairs.
"Yes it is one of my better qualities," Face replies in a serious tone.
"Well Lieutenant, what doth thou say-shall we play a game?"
"Sorry Tommy I left my checkers back in the tent, but if you really want to play, we could go back there and get them," Face grins.
"Most amusing, but I am referring to a game of mystery, a game of suspense, a game of chance. A game that thou companions should find equally pleasing."
Tommy snaps his fingers and a man dressed in a black cloak and feathered cap comes carrying a costume for Face.
"Thank you Tommy really, but I prefer not to wear pantyhose and feathers if you don't mind."
"My good sir, this is the attire that thy must adorn if thou wishes to play the game. Or would thou rather die a slow and agonizing death?"
"I hope it fits," Face smiles as he reaches for the costume.
"Good-I shall return," Tommy leaves Face to change into his new clothes, being guarded by the man in the black cloak.
"Nice feather-is it quail?" Face asks the man and is greeted by a surly grin.
"Let's get to the fairgrounds and see if we can figure out what kinda game the dirtballs that have Face wanna play- I love games," Hannibal says with that familiar twinkle in his eye.
Murdock and BA look at each other "he's on the Jazz," they comment in unison.
BA pulls the van up to the fairgrounds, but there isn't a soul around anywhere.
"Looks deserted Hannibal."
"You're right BA. Murdock let me see that flyer again."
"Sure Colonel," Murdock says as he pulls the flyer from his jacket.
"It says here that the festival was over two weeks ago." Hannibal comments as he flips the flyer over and reads the small printing on the back cover.
"But this has to be it Colonel. I'm sure of it."
"The crazy fool is right Hannibal. Faceman's gotta be ╬round here somewhere."
Suddenly, a mysterious woman appears by the window of the van, "If thou will follow me my good sirs, we shall get thee reunited with thy companion. And prithee no trickery or thy companion will suffer terribly."
Hannibal, Murdock and BA look and each other and shrug.
"Well let's go guys, see what they are up to," Hannibal commands.
The three remaining team members get out of the van and follow the woman through the doors of the abandon fair grounds. The huge doors close tightly behind them.
"Welcome to the Shire, prithee gentlemen, place thy weapons upon the earth," Tommy requests while his followers surround the team completely.
"Ah listen pal, we are not in the habit of surrendering our weapons to slimeballs."
"Aye, I know well of the A-team's reputation sir, but I suggest that thee heed my suggestion," Tommy warns as he snaps his fingers.
Two men appear dragging Face with them.
"Or he will die and rather unpleasantly I might add."
Murdock and BA look at Hannibal and he motions for them to put their weapons on the ground.
"Nice tights, Lieutenant," Hannibal teases as the men shove Face toward the team.
"Thanks!" Face utters as he stands there dressed in green velvet knee length pants with green hose underneath, a white linen shirt covered by a green velvet jacket. To top it off the outfit a green velvet cap with a feather sits atop his head.
"You look like Robin Hood," Murdock laughs.
"HA HA HA!" Face mocks.
"Well I am glad that thou likes the attire of thy companion, because thou will soon be joining him. Take them away and see that they are fitted with proper clothing," Tommy orders.
The men surround the team and lead them off to get them ready to play the game.
"Tommy I know that you have been tormented by what happened to you, but do you think that killing Templeton Peck and his friends is the right thing to do?" Julia asks.
"Oh my dearest love. Thou must not worry thy pretty head over such things."
"Tommy this is serious! Will you please get out of character for one minute and talk to me?" His wife begs.
"I thought this is wanted you wanted Julia after what the A-team did to your father. I thought that is what we both wanted. My followers and I have been planning this for awhile, as a surprise for you. The team fell right into our hands. We didn't even have to lure them here. It made our job so much easier."
"Yes I know, and I want revenge for my father's downfall. However, Tommy, I am having second thoughts. After all, you are talking about cold blooded murder. I can't live with that on my conscience."
Tommy stares at Julia for a minute and then just walks away without saying a word.
"BA, would you just put on the costume and stop complaining. We are going to have to play along with them, until I can figure out a way to get us out of here," Hannibal commands as he puts on the black velvet vest and matching cap."
BA grumbles a bit and then proceeds to squeeze his muscular legs into the pair of white hose and red knee-length pants.
"I do not know what you all are complaining about. I Sir Murdock, Earl of Westwood is most delighted to adorn the attire of days of ole," Murdock remarks in his best English accent as he tips his blue feathered cap to his fellow team members.
"Shut up fool!!" BA snarls.
"Woe to thee Baracan one thou must not insult a loyal servant of her Royal Majesty, or I will have to challenge thee to a duel," Murdock declares as he assumes the dueling position and waves an imaginary sword a BA.
"I'll give you a duel!!" BA reaches for Murdock, but Face interjects.
"Would you two knock it off. We have enough trouble already."
"Aye Indeed Face of man. Our troubles have most hastily worsened since arriving at the Shire.
"Ahh Murdock cool it with the accent," Hannibal orders.
"Face do you know the dirtball in the armor?"
"His name is Tommy, Colonel. He was in my unit in Nam. We were pretty close. One day our squad fell under attack and he was hurt pretty bad. I went to get a stretcher to move him, but Charlie over took our position and I couldn't get back to him. From what he has told me, he was captured and thrown into a camp. Tommy blames me for the whole thing, he thinks I left him there to die. I have regretted not being able to get to him. I have carried this regret around with me since that day," Face remarks sadly.
Hannibal puts his hand on Face's shoulder. A simple gesture that connotes comfort, love and empathy, to the three men in his command.
"So this is a little revenge thing he has going. I wonder how he found us way out here in the woods?"
"I don't know Hannibal. I can't figure that one out."
The door to the room opens and a figure motions for them to follow him.
"Well my good sirs, now that thee are properly clothed. It is time to engage in the festivities," Tommy calls from atop the empty stage.
"My followers and I have turned this abandoned maze into a labyrinth of mystery and suspense," Tommy says as he points to the maze that was a child's game during the Medieval Fair.
"This is how the game will unfold. Thou must enter the maze, solve the puzzles and emerge from the finish. However, I must warn thee the puzzles will require the combined wits of each of thee to solve them.
"And if we refuse to play your little game?" Hannibal asks.
"Then thy companion will die."
Tommy laughs evilly as two men grab Face and drag him on up on the stage.
"His life depends on thee."
Murdock, BA and Hannibal enter the darkened maze, knowing that Face's life depends on their ability to work as a team.
"Listen Tommy, can't we work this out? I know what happened to you in that camp, believe me I went through the same thing. I regretted not being able to get back to you for many years. I still regret it deeply. That place played with everyone's mind, and I know that you suffered and are still suffering."
"Thou knows nothing about me Lieutenant."
"Tommy please enough with this game, besides it is me that you want revenge against. Let the others go."
"Nay Lieutenant thy companions are not innocent. Thee and thy friends are responsible for the heartache of my dear bride Julia," Tommy answers back fiercely.
"I don't understand."
"Oh thou will Lieutenant when the hour is right," Tommy smiles.
"Ok Hannibal whatta we goin' to do man?" BA queries as he looks around at the many passage ways.
"Well BA we stick together, and try to find our way out of this maze."
The three men head off in to the right and begin their journey through the labyrinth.
"Tommy, please we need to talk about this," Face begs.
"Take him away!"
They drag Face off the stage and throw him into a medieval jail cell, that is quite realistic despite the fact that it is a fairground prop.
Walking through the twisting a turning corridors BA, Murdock, and Hannibal finally come to a dead end.
A small rag doll hangs from a hook, holding a purple ribbon.
"Clues given by those with violet give birth. That's what the poem said Colonel."
"Right Murdock!" Hannibal takes the doll off the wall and sure enough there is an strip of paper inside the doll.
Hannibal holds the paper up to the beam of light that is streaming through a small crack in the ceiling
"At night they come without being fetched. And by day they are lost without being stolen."
"I was hoping for more like what's white, black and red all over," Hannibal jokes as he grins at Murdock and BA.
"Let me see that Colonel," Murdock says as he reaches for the riddle.
"Oh great! Leaving Face's life in the hands of a crazy fool," BA mutters.
"I'll have you know, oh disbelieving one, that I was riddle champion of my floor three months in a row," Murdock comments to BA in a smug voice.
"That's great Captain! Can you figure it out?"
"I'll give my best Muchacho!"
The door to the jail house creeks open and Face shields his eyes from the light. Julia steps in a quickly closes the door behind her.
"If you are here to make up the room, I could use a few more towels and there is no toilet paper in the bathroom," Face remarks as Julia comes into his view.
"Listen Mr. Peck, I am not here to make small talk. I am just here to warn you about my husband's plans."
"Oh so you are the lovely Julia that Tommy has spoken about. Why aren't you speaking to me in that catchy English accent?"
"Tommy is the one that is obsessed with all this medieval stuff, not me. I only play along to keep him happy and controlled. He uses it to escape the hell that invades his dreams. The hell of that place, it permeates every facet of his life."
"Controlled? Does he hurt you?" Face asks genuinely concerned for the woman who is equally responsible for the team's capture.
"Listen, my well being is not the issue here Mr. Peck. I am only here to warn that Tommy has plans to kill and your friends after the game is played."
"Well then let me out of here so I can warn them."
"I can not do that Mr. Peck. I will not betray my husband. I just could not let you face Tommy totally unprepared. I must go," Julia says as she gets up to leave.
"Please, you can not leave me here. I have to get to my friends," Face begs.
"Oh so I see you have changed your ways Mr. Peck," Julia remarks smugly.
"What is that suppose to mean?"
"You are concerned about someone else besides yourself!" Julia snaps back.
"Listen I have tried to explain to Tommy that I couldn't get back to him. I have lived with that guilt on my conscience since Nam."
"Oh yes, Mr. Peck I have heard your excuses as to what happen. I must leave."
"Wait before you go. Can you tell me what the team and I did to cause you heartache?"
"Do you remember a man named Douglas Kyle?"
"Yeah, he was this lunatic mercenary who thought he could captured us. Boy was he wrong!" Face grins recalling the fool they had made out of him. "He is probably rotting in some jail cell."
"Oh yes Mr. Peck he most certainly is. I visit him every chance I get. You see that crazy lunatic is my father."
"Yes, and he was a strong man, but now he is wasting away to nothing. It breaks my heart to see him like that," Julia says her voice cracking with emotion.
"Please, listen to me!" Face implores.
"No I shouldn't have come here. I have to leave. Good luck Mr. Peck, you will need it."
Julia quickly turns and hurries out the door.
"At night they come without being fetched. And by day they are lost without being stolen," Murdock repeats out loud as he paces back forth scratching his head.
"At night they come without being fetched......" An enormous grin comes over Murdock's face-"By Jove Watson I think I've got it!"
"What is it, Cap'n?"
"I've solved the riddle!! It's where I like to be Colonel....In the stars!" Murdock says as he puts his arms out and flies around like an airplane.
"Your head's in the stars fool!" BA grumbles.
"You're just jealous because my mind functions in a realm that most mortals will not reach in a lifetime. It's a gift BA, one that I hold close to my heart," Murdock clutches his hands to his chest.
"Great Job, Captain! Let's search around for anything that looks like a star."
The three men begin scouring the area. Hannibal dusts off part of the wall and underneath the grime is a fluorescent yellow star.
"Over here guys I found something!" Hannibal calls out.
"BA push on that star and see what happens!"
BA takes a deep breath and begins pushing on the heavy wall. Slowly it moves to reveal a secret passageway.
"Well, guys this looks like the place," Hannibal comments as they head into the narrow tunnel.
The tunnel ends in a fairly large room. In the corner is a statue of a strolling minstrel, it is draped in a purple cape.
Hannibal reaches for the cape and taped to it is a note.
"Congratulations thou has passed the first test of skill and strength. The second one will not be so easy. Thou must uncover the secret of this room, before thee can move on to the next puzzle. The secret of the room? This is getting old real fast guys!" Hannibal remarks as he looks at BA and Murdock.
"Yeah man!" BA mutters and shakes his head.
"Well Colonel whatcha suggest?"
"This time Murdock, I am out of suggestions. That dirtball has Face and there is no way to get to him. You know guys, Tommy and his followers went through a lot of trouble to set all this up. I don't think that all they have in mind is playing this little game and letting us go. We have to prepare for the worst. I have a feeling that this Tommy character is slightly out of his gourd. No offense Murdock!"
"None taken colonel."
Murdock, BA and Hannibal begin searching the room for its hidden secret, while Tommy waits patiently at the exit for their arrival.
"Well this is a fine mess we're in," Face mumbles to himself as he sits on the floor of the jail cell.
His mind races as the events of the last few days run through his head. Seeing Tommy again has rekindled the guilt and anger that he has tried to keep buried for so long.
*How do you reconcile feelings of self-blame and hatred. Especially, when the person you feel that you owe a million I am sorrys to, wants to kill you and the best friends you ever had,* Face mills this thought around in his mind.
His contemplation is interrupted by the sound of keys rattling in the lock.
"On thy feet Lieutenant, Sir Thomas wishes to speak with thee."
"Oh and just when I was coming up with some great redecorating ideas," Face whines.
The two men grab Face and lead him out to the end of the maze where Tommy is waiting.
"Hannibal over here look," BA shouts.
"What is it Sergeant?"
"It's a trap door man."
"Nice BA, real nice."
BA opens the trap door and they climb down through it to a room. They begin to search around for the next puzzle.
"Hannibal look at this!" Murdock calls out as he carefully studies the table before him.
"Whatcha find Cap'n?"
"I do believe that this one is for you Herr Colonel," Murdock remarks in a German accent.
"You're absolutely right Cap'n" Hannibal says with a grin as he looks at the tiny toy soldiers on the table, set up to represent a medieval battle.
"Well now this is more like it."
Hannibal removes the scroll of paper that is sitting in the middle of the battlefield.
"It says here that this is the "Battle of Stirling Bridge." It was fought on September 11, 1297, between the Scottish Troops led by William Wallace and the infantry forces of Edward the I of England. The English forces were led by John de Warrenne, Earl of Surrey and Sussex, and Hugh de Cressingham. According to this the English lost this battle after they were overwhelmed by the Scottish forces brandishing long spears. Eventually the bridge collapsed due to the weight of the troops and the stress of battle. Many of the English troops were drowned in the river."
"I guess you could say Colonel, that it was a crushing defeat for the English," Murdock quips in a Scottish accent.
"Ah yes lad, I think the English men took a wee dip in the pond," Hannibal muses back as BA just stares at the two of them.
Hannibal stoops down and carefully begins to study the game pieces. After a few minutes he gets up and begins to announce his observations.
"I see what the English troops did wrong. They didn't count on Wallace having so many men hidden in the hills. Make your enemy think that they have you outnumbered, military genius on Wallace's part. What the English should have done was have a few troops cross the river down here at this ford," Hannibal says pointing to a place on the battlefield where the water would have been quite shallow.
"Ah I see Colonel then they could have sneaked up behind the hiding Scotsmen and took out some of the forces, while the other English troops crossed the bridge and fought their way through the advancing Scottish troops."
"Right Captain, not only would they be able to take out the hidden troops, but also the bridge would have not have collapsed under the weight of the entire English infantry.
"Yes Colonel I see your point," Murdock says as he scratches his chin.
"Well gentleman- Shall we battle?"
Hannibal rearranges the soldiers on the game board to simulate how he would have dispersed the troops, if he was in command that day. Then they all step back to get a better look at the battlefield.
"Hey look man the solders are all facing in one direction," BA says pointing to the wooden figures.
"You're right BA and it's pointing over there." Hannibal points to the wall.
Hannibal, BA and Murdock follow the arrow of soldiers to the far left corner of the room. Sticking out from the sand is a note.
╬Bravo thou has solved the second challenge. The third and final challenge awaits thee in the next room my good gentlemen.'
The team pushes on the corner and it opens up to another room. The wall closes behind them. Leaving them trapped in a room that is empty, except for a small statue of a dragon in the middle of the floor.
Murdock goes over to pick up the dragon, but Hannibal stops him.
"Wait Murdock it's a trap!" Hannibal says noticing the dirt around the dragon is freshly disturbed.
"I bet you that this statue is sitting on some sort of pressure mine. We move it and this whole place goes up."
"That's a shame poor little guy! Misusing a poor defenseless statue like that it's inhumane," Murdock says as he shakes his head in disbelief.
"Hey man I bet that statue has the answer to how get outta this place Hannibal."
"You're right BA. What we need to do is replace the weight of that dragon with something equal to it."
"Well how we going to that Colonel? There is nothing in here but us, and I am sure we weigh a lot more than he does, especially BA," Murdock pats BA on the stomach.
"Get off me sucka!"
"We need something that weighs about the same."
The wheels in Hannibal's brain begin to twist and turn as he searches for a plan.
"BA! How much do you think that statue weighs?"
BA bends down to touch the statue. Very carefully he runs his fingers along the surface.
"Well from the feel of it, it's solid.. I'd say it weighs around ten pounds man."
A huge grin lights up Hannibal's face as he thinks of the perfect thing to replace the dragon statue.
Tommy paces back and forth at the exit of the maze.
"Tommy please this is insane. Let's call it off," Julia begs.
"Nay dear lady, we shall finish this to the end."
"Please listen to me."
Tommy's anger is becoming more apparent and so is his losing battle with reality.
"I shall not listen to a foolish wench who dares to contradict her beloved husband."
Tommy glares angrily at Julia, with a look that she has never before seen. It is obvious to her that Tommy has finally crossed the line between reality and illusion.
"Take the Queen to her royal throne and prepare the horses," Tommy orders.
The men lead Julia away to a throne, that sits in a viewing box, overlooking a large arena.
"Ah Lieutenant I trust that thee is having a most pleasant stay with us?" Tommy remarks to Face who has now joined him at the exit.
"Tommy where are my friends?"
"Thy friends are still in the maze. By this time they should be at the final challenge. Prithee that thy friends figure out the last puzzle or they shall be blown to bits along with the rest of us, if they fail.
"Well Sergeant how do you feel about putting that gold of yours to good use?" Hannibal grins as he puts his arm around BA's shoulders.
BA gives Hannibal a ╬awww Hannibal' look and begins removing the chains one at a time.
Hannibal stoops down and places one hand on the dragon statue and the other hand filled with gold right next to it. He takes a deep breath and simultaneously switches the two items.
Hannibal looks up at BA and Murdock-"I love it when a plan comes together."
"Bravo my dear Colonel. I Sir Murdock is humbled before the Jazz," Murdock says as he takes off his hat and bows ceremoniously to Hannibal.
Hannibal turns over the statue and on the bottom is the key to the door leading to the outside.
The team exits through the door to find Tommy and Face waiting for them.
"Hey Kid you should've been with us it was a blast!" Hannibal comments.
"Sorry Hannibal I was a little busy, but I promise the next time you guys are in a maze of death I'm there."
"Well gentlemen shall we adjourn to the arena for the final test?" Tommy queries.
"You know Tommy I always hated tests. Never could understand their purpose. So I think I will sit out for the final exam," Hannibal comments as he smiles at Tommy.
"Oh no need to fret my dear Colonel. The final test is for the Lieutenant. Take them to be with the Queen. Take the Lieutenant and see that he is fitted with the proper jousting attire."
"Jousting? Can we talk about this?" Face utters as he is once again taken away by two of Tommy's followers.
The men shove the team into the viewing box with Julia and lock the door.
"I am sorry," Julia says as she looks at Hannibal, BA and Murdock.
"This has gotten way out of hand," she continues.
"Listen lady can you fill us in on the details. Beginning with who you are and what Sir Tommy has up his sleeve," Hannibal asks.
"My name is Julia Benson-Tommy's wife. Tommy and I met a few years back in prison. I was there visiting my father-Douglas Kyle."
"Douglas Kyle? The same mercenary who tried to take us out?"
"Yes Mr. Smith-I am Kyle's daughter. Tommy was in prison serving a sentence for drug possession. We started talking and found out that we both had a vendetta with the A-team. After he was released we married."
"So you wanted revenge because your father's in jail? Julia he would have killed us if we had given him the chance to," Murdock interjects.
"I wanted revenge yes Mr. Murdock, but Tommy wants to see you all dead. I couldn't go through with it. Believe me I have begged Tommy to call this off and let you go, but he has gone over the edge. I am afraid that he will not listen to anyone."
"What I don't understand is-How he's got all these people following him man?"
"All these people are either drug addicts, Vietnam vets who are suffering from mental illness or both. Tommy still has a lot of connections and he gets the drugs they need, so they follow him. They use this medieval role playing to escape the hell that is their real life. Most of the time it's just harmless fantasy, but this time it has gone too far.
"And you Julia why do you follow him?" Hannibal asks.
"Because he is my husband and I love him. I know there is good in him, it is just buried under all the hatred. The hatred that he can not let go of and the memories of a horrible place that will not let go of him."
Deafening silence overtakes the three men as they reflect on Julia's words. Each of them knowing that they too have ghosts of that place that haunts their minds. The team is lucky to have each other for support, but many came back to nothing.
"Well guys we have to figure away out of this place. BA you think you can get that door open?"
"No problem Hannibal."
BA reaches for the door when he is stopped by a loud voice.
"Attention Ladies and Gentlemen!" the figure calls out from the center of the arena.
"Please thou must stay and enjoy the competition that is about to take place. Fighting for Her Royal Majesty-Queen Julia, is Sir Thomas Benson, and opposing the favored knight is Templeton Peck. The object of this competition is to dismount thy opponent and then fight with swords on the ground. In keeping with tradition this will be a true joust, with only one man remaining victorious."
"Hannibal, he is talkin' ╬bout fightin' to the death-Face is in trouble man-he can't fight with no sword."
"BA get that door off now!" Hannibal orders.
"Nay my good Sirs! Step away from the door or Lieutenant Peck will die," Tommy calls out from the arena as he holds a sword to Face's stomach.
BA backs away from the door and the three of them go over to the edge of the railing.
"Your Highness I shall fight most nobly for thy honor," Tommy kneels on one knee.
"On thy knees Lieutenant bow before her Majesty-Queen Julia."
Face looks up to his friends and than hesitantly kneels down on the ground.
"Tommy please. Stop this!!" Julia cries, but it is no use.
"The rules of the competition are as follows. Each man will make passes at each other on horseback. The competitors will be armed with a shield and lance. The object is to unhorse thy opponent and then fight on the ground with swords until the death of one."
"Until Death? Listen fellows. Can't we talk about this? I am allergic to horses, makes my eyes swell up, I break out in hives it's awful," Face says as the two men lift him up onto the horse.
*Oh great! Now what am I going to do?* Face wonders to himself as he sits atop the horse awkwardly holding a lance and heavy shield.
Face takes the horse to the his side of the arena and Tommy does the same.
"Oh well here goes nothing."
Face waits for the signal and sets off charging.
"AWW Hannibal I can't watch this man," BA says as he shuts his eyes.
The horses thunder toward each other at a gallop.
They approach each other at lightening speeds. The whole place is silent, except for the galloping hooves. Dust flies in all directions. They approach closer and closer. Tension so thick, it can almost be tasted, fills the air.
As the two men get with in striking distance, Tommy lunges his lance at Face nearly knocking him off the horse. However, Face recovers quickly and the two men bring the horses back to the starting position.
*Hannibal is the one that should be down here. He loves all this stuff,* Face comments as he steadies himself on the animal.
"You know guys, I am the one who should be down there. I love all this stuff," Hannibal grins at BA and Murdock.
Face grabs hold of the horses reins and charges once again toward Tommy.
Tommy barrels toward the center and stops short. Confused by Tommy's sudden stop, Face brings the enormous animal to a halt.
A few of Tommy's followers run out to him to see what is the matter. Tommy stares for a minute glaring intently at Face. Confusion overcomes him as he surveys his surroundings.
"Sir Thomas doth thou be alright?" one of his followers asks.
Tommy sits silently on the horse.
"What's wrong with him, Hannibal?"
"Don't know BA."
"Well BA it looks to me as though the real Tommy is trying to get out," Murdock comments.
"Whatcha you sayin crazy fool?"
"From what we've heard and seen, I would say that Tommy should have the room next to mine. Some people just need extra help to deal with the painful memories."
Hannibal reaches out an puts his hand on Murdock's shoulder and smiles.
Murdock returns the smile.
Tommy hesitates for a few minutes, then finally answers.
"Aye I'm fine, let's continue with the joust."
Once again Tommy and Face bring the animals back to the starting point and await the signal to go.
Face's heart begins beating rapidly. The snorts of the horses fill the arena. The two men set off charging for the third time.
As they get within striking distance Face hits Tommy with his lance, knocking him off the horse.
Spooked, the horse rears coming down on top of Tommy, crushing him beneath its massive weight.
Chaos takes hold of the scene as everyone rushes to Tommy's side.
Face jumps down off the horse and runs to Tommy.
"Everybody back! Give him some air!" Face orders.
Face places his hand on the wounded man.
"Don't worry Tommy, we will get you some help."
"I can't feel my legs Lieutenant. Please don't let me die!" Tommy begs completely out of his medieval character.
Face looks at the man before him and the hate immediately leaves his body. He is instantaneously transported back to that horrible time. All he can see now is the young helpless boy laying there battered and scared, instead of the man who only moments before wanted to see him dead.
"Don't worry Tommy I won't let that happen and I won't leave you. Not this time Tommy," Face states assuredly trying to take his mind off the pain.
Tommy looks at Face and smiles. Suddenly a grimace of pain comes over his face. Blood begins to seep from his eyes and mouth.
"Lieutenant... I need..." Tommy struggles trying to form the words in his mouth.
"Quiet Tommy don't speak. We have to get you to the hospital."
"No... too late!... Please... I know that you tried to come back for me... it was not your fault... I just couldn't see that until now...Thou was a brave and loyal soldier...I beg thy forgiveness...." Tommy utters to Face in a barely audibly whisper.
"Tommy we were both prisoners of something that was beyond our control. Forgiveness is not something that we owe each other, it is something we owe ourselves."
Tommy looks at Face a sudden calmness comes over him, as the weight of hate and guilt is lifted from his shoulders.
"Fare-thee-well Lieuten...." With a final gurgle of pain his eyes roll back into his head. A blank stare comes over his face as his tormented soul finally sets out in search of peace. Face gently places his fingers on Tommy's eyelids and closes them.
The team and Julia come running up to Face and Tommy. Face lays Tommy back on the ground and gets up to embrace his friends. Julia wraps her arms around her husband's body. Her cries echo throughout the empty fairgrounds.
"Are you OK, Kid?"
"Yeah Hannibal I am OK."
"Julia listen to me," Face comments gently as he places his hands on her shoulders.
"Tommy is at peace. His last words were of forgiveness, for himself and for me."
"Thank you. That means a lot to me," Julia utters through her tears.
Face squeezes her hand in silence. He turns to his three friends and they walk back to the van. They climb in; Face sits back in his seat very thankful for his teammates, and thankful that he can finally close a very painful chapter in his life.