Love is a battlefield
Summary: Stockwell tells the team they finally will get their pardons after
one last mission. But during the mission Murdock dies in a plane crash. The
others have to give their lives a new turn to live without him. But is
Murdock really dead or is this just a case of mistaken identity?
Warnings: Contains a few bad words and some violence. Suggests the death of
Murdock. Remember death plays an important role.
Copyright: Malou1337, Halsteren, May 16th- July 8th 2000.
Love is a battlefield
Chapter one: Diamonds are forever, life isn't
The first light of the new day gave the horizon a red glow when the
turned off the road to Charleville airport. The red sand blew up behind the
vehicle to fall down again a few seconds later.
Murdock swept his forehead with his hand. It was going to be a hot day. In
the week he had been here, he couldn't get used to Australia's climate. Far
too hot, far too dry. But it would only be a few more days before he could go
back to America.
With one hand on the wheel he opened his bag and took out a little box. With
a click it opened and Murdock looked at the pink diamond.
"You are going to get me the guys' pardons, sweetie," he smiled to the little
Finally it was going to happen. Finally the team had fulfilled enough
missions for Stockwell. Finally he would get them their pardons.
Murdock thought of what had happened this past month. It all started some
weeks ago when he was visiting his friends in Langley...
"That ball was in, Face," Murdock yelled.
"It was out."
Face walked to the volleyball net and faced his friend.
"For you it looked like it was in, but it was out, wasn't it, Frank? ," he
involved his co-player.
"Hey, don't get me into this, I didn't see it."
"It was in, Lieutenant," Hannibal smiled from the other side of the net.
"What??! Oh, Hannibal, you could see it was way out. I..."
"Face, shut up," B.A. grumbled from his seat.
Face knew he had lost the debate and he wisely shutted up. He took the
volleyball and threw it to his opponents.
"Your service, Murdock."
Murdock threw up the ball and smacked it over the heads of Face and Frankie.
"That one is way out," Face said smiling, glad he finally was right. But then
he saw Murdock and Hannibal look behind him and he turned. Stockwell was
standing some feet behind him, the ball in his hands.
"Well, general, what a nice surprise," Hannibal acted with a big grin,"
haven't seen much of you in quite some time."
"Colonel, I have to talk to you in private. Now."
Surprised Hannibal looked at Face, but he shrugged his shoulders.
"I'll be right back. B.A., take my place."
Hannibal followed Stockwell in and sat down in his chair. Stockwell was
standing near the window and looked outside.
"So, what's up, general, another mission?"
Stockwell didn't answer his question. He took his glasses off and turned to
face the Colonel.
"You will get your pardons by the end of this month."
Hannibal's smile froze when the words hit him. Did he hear it correct?
"Whàt did you say?," he asked.
The general turned back to the window.
"You heared what I said, Colonel. You will get your pardons this month."
Hannibal didn't believe a word Stockwell was saying. This was too easy.
Hannibal always thought Stockwell would let them go on missions for some
years more. The idea of stepping out of this had even crossed his mind.
Stockwell had them where he wanted them, they were dependent of him. He could
give them freedom, they did jobs for him. But Stockwell always abused his
power, he could let them run for him forever without giving them their
pardons. Hannibal just couldn't believe Stockwell was letting them go all of
a sudden, while they still were so usefull to him.
"You mean, you're thinking of giving us our pardons, but you're not sure."
Hannibal knew there was something fishy about this.
"I am saying you and your men no longer will be part of my organization by
the end of the month."
"And what makes you think I will believe that? You're playing one big game
with us, general. You promise us everything, we run like little puppies to
get you what you want and you give us nothing."
"Colonel, like I said, by the end of this month you are a free man."
"Just like that? Come on, Stockwell, that's way too easy for you."
"Colonel, you will go on one last mission and then I'll call the right person
for your deal of the bargain."
"And why would you let us go?"
"That piece of information isn't important to you. I only came here to tell
you the good news and to say that you and your men have a job to do in a few
weeks. Now if you excuse me, I have work to do."
As quickly as he had appeared, he was gone, leaving Hannibal confused in the
Face entered the room.
"I heared his car drive away. What did he wanted?"
Hannibal stared outside.
"Colonel?," Face softly asked.
Hannibal looked in the blue, worried eyes of his Lieutenant.
"He wants to give us our pardons..."
"He wants WHAT??"
"He said we'll be free by the end of this month..."
"But what if he's playing tricks with us again? This isn't the first time he
pulled something like this off..."
"I don't know, Face, he sounded pretty sure."
He wàs pretty sure. After two weeks Stockwell came again. He
showed them some
"This are your pardons. All they need is the signature of the president to be
valid. As soon as you get back from your mission, I will send them to
"And what do we have to do for them?"
"You have to steal two rare diamonds. I have somebody who is very interested
in those pieces of jewelery."
"And of course, this one will be the most difficult mission of all," Face
"No, Lieutenant. The first diamond is in New York, in the possession of a
master thieve. This blue diamond is worth a fortune, but I believe your
freedom is worth ten times as much to you."
"And the second?"
"The pink one is in Australia. A collector bought it some years ago from the
master thieve. It won't be too hard to get them. The only thing is that you
will have to have them by the end of next week."
"That's short daylight, now isn't it, general?," Hannibal said.
"You will succeed, Colonel. You know why you're doing it. All you have to
know is in this file."
Stockwell gave him some papers.
"Contact me in a week from now. Good luck."
Stockwell walked to the door. Hannibal grabbed him by the arm.
"Stockwell," he said softly, so that nobody could hear him," why are you
"Colonel, like I said before, that is none of your business, that is my
problem. Just be glad I'm doing this for you, it all could have ended up
With those words he left.
The plan was simple. Hannibal, B.A. and Frankie would get the blue diamond
from New York, he and Face would go to Australia. They left with instructions
of Hannibal. Seventeen hours later the two of them landed in Perth, in the
Southwest of Australia. But at the address they got from Stockwell, didn't
live a collector. He had moved to the other side of Australia a month ago. He
had moved to Brisbane, in the East. Face would stay in Perth to keep contact
with Hannibal and the others, while he scammed Murdock a plane to fly over.
The collector wasn't a real threat, so Murdock would do just fine alone.
And he did just fine. The collector wasn't at home when Murdock sneaked in.
The house was well protected against intruders with a great alarm, but
Murdock had done this so many times before, he knew all the weak spots in
security. He found the diamond in a safe and left in a jeep. He could leave
with his little plane in Brisbane, but the collector could easily track him
down that way, so he decided to go to a little airport some miles to the West
of the city. Charleville was perfect...
Murdock parked the car near the reception of the little airport. There
were three runways, but it was suitable for him. He took his bag,
straightened his cap and opened the door. Inside it was more comfortable than
outside. On the ceiling there was a big ventilator. The room baded in a light
yellow light. He walked to the desk, where a young girl was going through
some papers. Murdock cleared his throat. She looked up.
"Hi, can I help you?"
"Yes, I have booked a little plane for today."
"Let me see. What's your name?"
"Davis. Lee Davis."
"Ah, yes, you've booked the Windsailor. Here it says you can pilot it
"Can I see your licence and some ID?"
"Of course," Murdock smiled and opened his bag," let me see."
On the background he heared a radio play.
"Here is my ID and this is my licence."
"I'll check it in my computer. A moment please."
She typed in some information. Murdock was surprised they had computers in
such a little, far away place. He didn't doubt about the fact that the false
ID could be detected. Face always played things safe and his stuff was 100
per cent solid.
"It seems you are a well experienced pilot, Mr Davis," the girl smiled,"
three thousand flying hours, that's quite something."
A little grin appeared on Murdock's face. His friend had made this Lee Davis
a superpilot. Nice, Face.
"Well, girl, I love to fly. The sky is my second home."
"We are happy to let you fly with one of our planes. It says here you want to
fly to Adelaide, correct?"
"Quite a trip."
"Oh, it's just a little warm up for the fly contest next fall. I hope to win
"I'm sure you will make a good chance," the girl smiled," let me check if the
plane is ready."
She picked up the phone and dialled.
"Kenneth, have you checked and fuelled the Windsailor? Mr Davis has arrived
and wants to leave."
"No hurry, sugar," Murdock smiled, although he wanted to leave as soon as
She smiled and hung up.
"Ready in a few minutes, Mr Davis."
"Alright, Lee. Can you fill out these forms?"
"Sure thing, sugar. Here, hold my jacket for a moment."
He quickly read the paper. On the background there was a newsflash on the
"This is an official broadcast of the Australian government. At six o'clock
this morning there was a breakout in the prison of Brisbane. A prisoner shot
ten guards with one of their guns, while he was escorted to his cell. The
guards couldn't do anything because of a breakdown of electricity, probably
caused by the breakout. He took a car and left. The guards immediatly sounded
the alarm and they could prevent other prisoners from escaping too. The
police doesn't know how such a thing could have happened, but they will do
anything to get him back. The prisoner is Keith Russell, who was in jail for
three murders and several violent acts against guards. He is forty years old,
has blond hair and wears a blue overall. He could have changed clothes. He
left the prison in a brown Sedan. The police has no sign of him yet, but
there are many helicopters flying around the area. People in the area are
advised to stay in their houses and not to open their doors. This man is very
dangerous. People who have seen this man, or the car, can call 555-786756.
We'll keep you informed."
The girl shook her head.
"They say it's a good prison, but then somebody escapes."
"I think I'm right in time to leave here," Murdock joked.
"Yes, you're right," she smiled," thank you for signing. Kenneth will show
you the plane. See you in a few days, Mr Davis...er...I mean Lee."
"It's nice to touch the green green grass of home. La la la la," Murdock
Finally things would go the way he wanted. Stockwell would get them their
pardons as soon as they were back in America and then the guys were free. He
had longed for this moment so many years.
The Sturt desert lay under him as a big, sandy carpet. He was sorry for the
girl, but she had to pick her plain up in Perth.
He took his radio and set it to the right frequency.
"Face, are you there?"
"Hey, Murdock," it sounded a bit gratedly," how are things going over there?"
"Just fine, Faceman. I'm on my way back to Perth with the diamond and my
plane The Windsailor is full of energy. We can be there the next morning."
"I just spoke to Hannibal. They have the blue diamond."
"Oh, Murdock, I can't wait 'til we get those pardons. Hannibal thinks
Stockwell means it this time. Freedom, after all these years."
"You promised to buy me a coke if you ever would be cleared of all charges
fifteen years ago."
"Murdock, I'll buy you the whole factory if we get those pardons."
"I'll remind that, Faceman."
"Well, hurry up, I want to be back in Langley in two days."
"Rightio, Faceman. See you tomorrow."
"The day after that I will be a free man. Murdock, I could just hug you of
pure joy. See you tomorrow."
"Get it on the highway, looking for adventure and what ever comes our way,"
Murdock sang with his tape.
He was almost on half of his trip. Soon he would fly over lake Eyre. That
would be his first and only stop.
He couldn't wait to see the looks on his friends' faces when they got their
pardons. They had worked so hard for it, surviving every test. He knew he had
a big part in the achievement of this and that made him very happy. This was
the greatest gift he could give them: their freedom. No longer on the run.
Getting a hold on their own lives again. They had been there for him these
past years when he needed them the most and now he could show them his
gratitude for being his friends.
The sun was hot and that was why he was grateful there was a good airco in
the little plane. In years he hadn't felt so relieved. The thought of the
team working for Stockwell ruined him inside. They had been nothing more than
slaves, the team spirit was getting more negative with every mission they
furfilled. Each one of them longed for the old days, when they could act on
their own, travelling through the whole country with the MPs on their tail.
But they knew they had a chance of being cleared and they took it with both
hands. Murdock had always doubted if they had done the right thing. He didn't
trust Stockwell a bit and he didn't believe this man could free his friends.
He always thought they had been better off when they were still on the run
than working for a man as inpredictable as the general. But he knew this was
his friends' only chance and he decided to help them if this was what they
wanted. Still, he always had wished things were different. He saw his friends
growing more dependent of Stockwell by every step they took until there was
no turning back.
But it seemed that he had been wrong. Stockwell wàs going to keep his promise
and his friends would be free.
They finally would get a pardon, a little paper that was important for the
rest of their lives.
A sound from the back of the plane dragged Murdock out of his thoughts.
He turned and saw a box had fallen from a stack. With a sigh he concentrated
on his equipment again.
He wondered what would happen to the team after their pardons. There had been
signs they would split up, but he knew they couldn't. They needed each other
to survive. Maybe they would go and work for themselves again.
Again Murdock heared a sound. He then realized there was something with him
in the plane. He set the plane on the autopilot, took his gun and stood up.
He threw his jacket on the chair and slowly walked to the stack of boxes.
Another one had fallen on the ground. There was someone here besides him.
Immediatly Murdock thought of the escaped prisoner. Oh, joy. That was all he
could use right now.
Murdock looked behind the boxes and saw there was nobody. Maybe it was his
imagination playing tricks with him. But then somebody kicked the gun out of
his hand. Murdock quickly turned around. He stood eye in eye with a man in a
blue overall. The escaped prisoner.
The man punched him in his belly and Murdock gasped for breath. He managed to
stand up again and smacked the man against his head. He fell down, but stood
up immediatly and ran to the other side of the plane. Murdock saw he was
going to get the gun.
"Oh, no you don't, mister," he said and jumped in his neck. He could hit the
man again, but his opponent smacked a box against him. Dizzy he fell down,
but he knew he had to prevent the breakout from getting his gun. Again
Murdock jumped on him, but this time the man had already taken the gun.
Murdock tried to pull the gun out of the man's hand.
"Let go, idiot!," the man yelled," or I'll shoot you."
Murdock still was trying to get the gun. He was hit several times, but he
fought through. He managed to push the man against the floor.
"Give me the gun, dirtbag," he yelled. And then the gun went off. The bullet
hit the flank of the plane and caused a hole. At once the plane lost control
and began shaking. Murdock ran to the controls and tried to get a hold on the
plane again. They lost hight every second as Murdock tried to pull the plane
up again. It didn't work.
The prisoner pushed Murdock aside all of a sudden and he fell on the ground.
"What are you doing? We are going to crash!"
Murdock stood up again, but when the plane spinned around he was smacked
against the wall and lost conscious.
The man ran to him and dragged him to the door.
"I don't need you to escape," he said, grabbed a bar and opened the door.
"Happy flying!," he laughed and pushed Murdock out. Then he closed the door
again and ran to the controls, trying to pull up.
"Damn, it's blocked!," he yelled.
With all his strenght he pulled up, but it was too late. He screamed and then
the plane hit the ground. Immediatly the gas tank exploded and flames came
out of the plane. There sounded screaming for a few seconds. Then the plane
exploded. Big black clouds rose in the air when the flames ate the last
remaining parts of the Windsailor.
A few hundred feet from the fire a lifeless body lay in the sand, covered
Love is a battlefield 2/?
"I'm telling you, Hannibal, I'm worried. Murdock had to be here half a day
Face paced up and down in the room of the hotel, dragging the phone with him.
"He could have been delayed."
"He would have contacted me if that was so. No, there's something wrong. What
if he ranned out of fuel in the middle of nowhere? I want you to come over
"It isn't the first time Murdock is late, Lieutenant. But still, I can
understand you're worried. I'll fly over to Perth. We have to settle some
business before we go back to Stockwell. But you'll see, Face, Murdock will
show up in a few hours.
The few hours became another day and still Murdock didn't show up. Face was
getting more worried every minute. He had called several cities to check if
there hadn't landed a plane named Windsailor. But no sign of his friend. Face
nervously played with the thread of the phone.
"Charleville Airport, this is Maury Jennings, can I help you?"
"Yes, Greg Henderson here. I am looking for a friend of mine, named Lee
"Oh, yes, I remember him. He was here some days ago to hire a plane."
Face's heart skipped a beat. Finally, he was on to something.
"Was the name of the plane Windsailor?"
"Yes, that's correct. He'll be back here any moment to return the plane.
Shall I ask him to call you when I see him?"
Face knew Murdock wouldn't come back to that airport.
"No, thank you. I only want to know what time he left."
"That was at seven o'clock Wednesday morning. Anything else?"
"No, thank you."
"You're friend is quite something, mister."
"I know," Face sighed.
"Hannibal, good you could make it," Face greated the Colonel and Frankie,
dragging B.A. with them.
"Why are we here, Face?," Frankie said," I thought you and Murdock would get
the pink diamond. It isn't exactly my hobby to drug this big fellow here and
then have to carry him everywhere just because he doesn't want to fly."
"Still no sign of Murdock?," Hannibal asked.
"No. Hannibal, there's something wrong, I just know it."
"Calm down, Lieutenant. There's a restaurant at the airport. Let's have a
bite and discuss what has happened these past days."
"And then I came to pick you up from the airport," Face ended his story.
"So you've spoken him for the last time two days ago."
"Yes. He had the diamond with him and said he would be here the next morning."
Hannibal thought. On the background he heared a newsflash on the airport
"There are rumours that there has been a plane crash near lake Eyre in the
South of Australia. There were people who saw big black clouds on the horizon
that indicated a crash. Authorities are planning to check it out as soon as
Face spitted out his coffee.
Hannibal realized what he had feared the most. Murdock could have had an
"We are going to lake Eyre ASAP," he said, pushing his coffee aside.
When the cold evening breeze set in, he slowly opened his eyes. His instinct
told him he had to get up, but as he tried he felt pain all over his body. He
tried to yell, but there came no words over his lips. He felt helpless,
afraid of where he was and what had happened to him. The only thing he could
do was look around and slowly his eyes got used to the dark. He smelled a
strange fragrance of burned material. Thoughts spinned through his mind. He
saw images, images of war, images of death and he wanted to scream again. At
that moment he heared a scream, but it wasn't his own. Then he saw some faces
above him. He could see they were as black as the night and he tried to
remember if he had seen them before. He heared them talk. There were strange
sounds in their voices, but they made him feel safe. One of the faces came
close to his and he could see it was a young woman. He looked in her eyes.
They were brown and he could drown in them. The brown colour turned black as
he lost conscious again.
With screaming tires B.A. stopped the jeep. He had woken up at Woomera
Airport and just when he wanted to ask his friends what the hell he was doing
here, they told him Murdock might have had an accident. B.A.'s reaction was
pure perplexity, followed by great anger and concern. He drove them to lake
Eyre in no time at all, continuously saying that it couldn't be true.
A policeman stopped them.
"Hold it right there, gentlemen. This is a restricted area. We don't need any
tourists that want to look at the crashed plane. We are trying to do our
"We are friends of the pilot of that plane."
The expression on the cop's face changed.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I really am."
He looked at the floor.
"For heaven's sake, what has happened?," Face grabbed the man's arms and
jolted him,"what has happened?"
Hannibal pushed his Lieutenant back and smacked him in the face.
"Get yourself together."
"Can we talk to your boss?," the Colonel said to the cop.
"Yes, follow me," he said.
They walked past the fences.
"Wait here," the cop said and walked to a group of officers.
Then they saw the plane, at least, what had remained of it.
"Oh my God...," Face stammered.
"Jesus...," Frankie brought his hand to his mouth.
All parts of the plane were covered with ashes. The wings lay thirty feet
from the fuselage and all that had remained of that were some smoking heaps
"Are you relatives of the pilot?"
They looked aside. An aged man stood next to them.
"If... if this is...was...The Windsailor...then we are," Face stammered.
"The plane has been identified as The Windsailor from Charleville Airport."
"Then this is our friend's plane," Hannibal said," where is he?"
"I'm afraid he hasn't survived the crash," the man said.
"No...," Face stammered.
"We have found a body of a man in his early fourties. We couldn't identify
him, because...well...he...er...is too badly burned."
Face's heart skipped a beat and he gasped for breath. B.A. shivered all over.
Frankie just stood there with his hands before his mouth. Hannibal swallowed.
"I will try to identify him," he said with a faltering voice," there still is
a chance it isn't our friend."
"But Hannibal, Murdock was in that plane," Face said, almost crying.
"I have to look, Face, to believe this."
He followed the man. They walked to an officer.
"Chief, this man maybe can identify the body."
The officer looked at him.
"I'm sorry. I have to warn you, it's not a pretty sight."
"I have seen this before."
The officer took Hannibal to the plane. Men in protecting suits were
searching for remaining things that could explain why the plain crashed.
"Please, put on a suit," the officer handed over a white suit to Hannibal.
With his heart pounding in his throat Hannibal walked to the place where
there used to be the cockpit. There was a sheet covering it. Hannibal took a
"There are little fibres of fabric on the body. We think it's leather."
He pulled the sheet back. Hannibal almost vomited when he saw the body. It
brought back memories of Vietnam, where he had seen bodies just like this.
The hight of the person in the chair was the same as Murdock.
Hannibal realized the pieces of leather were from Murdock's jacket. It WAS
Murdock, it just had to be him. Hannibal turned around and the officer threw
the sheet on the body again.
"Was he the only one in the plane?"
"Yes, we found no other people in it and the records of Charleville show that
there only was one person on this plane. He was registered under the name Lee
Davis, but we don't know that for sure. Was it your friend?"
"He always wore a leather jacket..."
"I'm sorry, mister."
At that moment reality hit Hannibal. Murdock was dead. He had had a terrible
accident and now he was gone.
Tears filled Hannibal's eyes, but he knew he couldn't cry yet. He had to tell
the others about Murdock and he had to be tough for them. Hannibal slowly
walked back to the others.
"And?," Face said, with fear in his voice.
Hannibal shook his head.
"You're saying that he's injured, right?," Face said.
"That his life is in danger?"
"He is dead, Face."
"No, no, no, Hannibal," Face yelled," he can't be dead. Murdock can't be
dead. He can't be..."
Face breathed in deep as he felt tears burning in his eyes.
"He can't be...," he said softly.
"He had a leather jacket on him, Face. It was Murdock."
B.A. closed his eyes and shook his head. He felt tears coming up, tears that
he hadn't showed in many years.
"Hannibal...," Frankie stammered.
The Colonel breathed in deeply. He had to get his men out of here, away from
"Frankie, drive Face and B.A. back to the motel."
"Goddamned, kid, do as I say!"
Frankie realized Hannibal was only doing this for their own sakes, so he
turned around and walked to his friends.
"Come on, let's go back to the motel," he said, his voice skipping a few
Face looked up at him. Frankie saw his blue eyes were full of tears.
"It wasn't Murdock," he stammered," it can't be Murdock. Murdock is still
alive, I spoke to him two days ago."
B.A. put his arm around his friend's shoulder and whispered: "Come on, Face,
we have to leave this place."
They slowly walked to the jeep. Hannibal sighed when they drove away. They
had to leave. It would be easier for them if they didn't stay too long on the
place where Murdock had died.
The officer stood next to him.
"I'm sorry I have to ask you this at a time like this, but can you identify
"Was this man Lee Davis?"
"No, he wasn't. He was travelling under a false name. He was working
undercover for the government. He is an American."
"Murdock. Captain H.M. Murdock."
Love is a battlefield 3/?
When he woke up the second time he knew he was somewhere else. He lay in the
shadow of a tree. Getting his thoughts together he remembered the faces who
were above him. But he didn't see any people now. He realized his body no
longer hurted, but still he felt too tired to stand up. He looked at the blue
sky. Far above his head a bird of prey was flying in circles. He hoped it
wasn't waiting for him to die.
All of a sudden he heared people laugh and the sound of splashing water. He
tried to move his head. He could see people play in a lake. Their skin was
brown and he realized it were the people who he had seen the first time he
woke up. He wanted to call them and ask where they were. Then somebody
blocked the sunlight.
He saw it was the young woman with the brown eyes. She knelt down by his face
and moved her hands to his mouth. He felt something wet running on his face
and he drank gratefully.
"Thank you," he heared himself say, although it seemed like he had only moved
"More?," she asked with a friendly voice.
"Yes please," he answered.
A few seconds later she brought him water again. The water gave him new
energy as he finally felt his mouth wasn't dry anymore. He looked at the
woman. She had short, black hair and only wore a brown hide.
She smiled at him.
"Feeling better?," she said.
"Yes, thank you."
She stood up to walk away, but he grabbed her ankle.
"Wait," he begged her.
She knelt down again.
"Where are we?," he asked.
"Not far from lake Eyre."
The name vaguely rang a bell, but he couldn't remember where he had heared it
"Who are you?"
"First get some rest, then we'll talk."
She walked away and he knew she wouldn't come back before he had slept.
Hannibal entered the little motel room. He immediatly saw things were worse
than he had expected. Frankie was rubbing his eyes with a tissue, B.A. was
looking outside the window and Face was staring to the ceiling while lying on
"Hi guys," Hannibal said sadly.
At once they all turned.
"Sit down, B.A. I have to talk to you all."
He sat down and looked at his friends. He would give anything to tell them
that Murdock hadn't been in that plane. But he was. Hannibal rubbed his eyes.
"Murdock is dead."
Those three words screamed inside him. Murdock is dead, he's dead.
"No...," Face shook his head," no, Hannibal, he can't be dead...He..."
He stood up.
"Face...," Hannibal patted his friend's arm.
Face pushed it away.
"He can't be dead, Hannibal, goddamned, he can't be!," he yelled in anger.
He took the vase that stood on the table.
"He isn't!," he yelled and smacked the vase against the wall.
There fell a silence. Face didn't move and looked at the broken pieces on the
ground. Tears came in his eyes and he fell on the floor, touching the sharves.
"He can't be," he whispered in tears.
"Face...," B.A. put his hand on his friend's shoulder, holding back his own
It was still light when he woke up the third time. He saw he was still on the
same place under the tree.
He wondered how long he had slept. The fragrances of food reached his nose
and he breathed in deep. He tried to sit up, but his body hurted again. He
decided to call the people that were with him.
His voice sounded strange to him. He saw somebody walking towards him. It was
the young woman.
"Hi," he greeted her.
She knelt down and opened her hand.
"Here, eat something."
The meat she held in front of him smelled like cow's meat. He was hungry, so
he took a bite. It tasted delicious.
"Enough?," she said.
"Yes," he replied, observing her closely.
"How are you feeling?"
"I can't move, 'cause it hurts."
"It will feel better tomorrow," she said.
She wore a neckless with a big tooth on it. Somehow he knew he didn't belong
to her and her group.
"Do I know you?"
"I don't remember you."
"That's because you only knew me inside," she lay her hand on his chest.
He saw there were big green leaves on it.
"Why are they there?," he asked.
"They are there to cover your wounds."
She took off some leaves and he looked. His skin was covered with dried up
blood and he saw raw flesh.
"Jesus, what happened?," he asked her.
"We found you some miles back covered with blood."
"Who are you?"
He had wanted to ask her that for so long. He wanted to know who this girl
was that made him feel safe.
A sad smile appeared on her face.
"What's wrong?," he asked, afraid that he had hurted her with that question.
"Nothing," she said, but her voice didn't sound happy.
She looked aside to the lake. He followed her eyes and saw about twenty black
people sitting in the sand, forty feet from them.
"They are my family," she said after a short pause.
"And where does your family come from?"
"Don't ask me that now, you wouldn't understand."
He gave her a surprised look. What did she mean? Her look told him she didn't
want him to ask further.
"Do you have a name?"
Again she sadly smiled.
"My family calls me White Healer, but in your world they call me Saria."
Again he didn't know what she meant. He decided to ask her later.
"Saria, how did I get here?"
"I don't know. We only found you near the lake. I think you are from the big
cities in the East."
He didn't have the faintest idea, but he didn't want her to know.
"And what do they call you there?," she smiled, but she didn't look like she
He opened his mouth to speak, but then he realized he didn't know his name.
He didn't know who he was, where he was from, what he had done in the past. A
feeling of angst closed his throat and he gasped for breath.
Everything was gone, there was nothing left in his mind that reminded him of
himself. In panic he screamed. He wanted to run away from this chaos, but he
couldn't move. He saw a new head appearing above him. It was an old man with
a white beard. Then he smelled something with a strange frangrance and he
sunk away in a black fog.
Hannibal pulled his blanket back and sat straight on his bed in the motel.
knew he couldn't sleep. It was a day ago they had heared Murdock had died and
still the pain and the loss didn't come to him completely. It just seemed so
irrealistic that they would never see their friend again. He still hoped that
Murdock could walk in any minute, but he knew he wouldn't. And he knew that
very soon the team would crash down if they really realized Murdock was dead.
The past day they all had been silent, nobody could talk about Murdock.
Hannibal saw the pain of his friends, but he knew it would get worse.
Hannibal rubbed his eyes. Why did the plane crash? Why did Murdock die? Why
did this happen? They had been so close to freedom, to a pardon, to real
life. But now these three things lost their importance. Hannibal would
sacrifice everything again if he could bring back Murdock with it. But he
knew it didn't matter anymore what he did or didn't do. Murdock was dead.
Hannibal felt tears coming up. Tears that he hadn't cried for many years.
Tears he always could prevent with the jazz. But now even that couldn't help
him. He had lost one of his best friends and he knew he had lost a part of
his life too. Without Murdock the unit wasn't complete, their lives weren't
complete. In all these years they had grown dependent of each other. Their
lives were tangled together forever. Hannibal had always thought he would be
the first that would die. He had always lived on the edge. That was his way
of dealing with life. He could accept the fact that something could happen to
him. However, his biggest fear was that something happened to one of his
friends. And now it had happened.
He felt empty and wanted to cry. But he couldn't. Not yet. He had to support
his friends, get them through this. Then he could grieve. And he knew he
The image of his friend kept spinning around in his mind and he knew he would
go crazy if he stayed in his bed, if he thought too much.
He put on his jacket and walked to the living room. He turned on the
television and stared to the screen without seeing anything. He couldn't
describe what he was feeling right now. There simply were no words for this.
All of a sudden Hannibal heared somebody scream outside. He ran to the door
and opened it. On the vast plain that surrounded the lonely motel he saw the
image of a person, lit by the glow of the stars above. It was Face, throwing
little pebbles as far as he could, yelling everytime he threw one. Hannibal
shook his head. Face couldn't cope with this anymore. Murdock had been his
best friend and Face loved him with all of his heart, although he almost
never showed it.
"Why, goddamned?," Face yelled and he threw a pebble," why, Murdock? Why
couldn't you be careful for just this once?"
Another pebble hit the ground hundred feet away.
"You just had to take risks, now didn't you? Goddamned, Murdock, why?"
Hannibal couldn't see his friend suffer like this. He needed a shoulder to
cry on, somebody who would comfort him, who would drag him through this
He walked to Face and put a hand on his friend's shoulder. Face turned and
Hannibal saw his blue eyes were wet of tears. Face breathed out deep.
"How am I going to live without him, Hannibal?," he asked with a voice full
of sorrow and Hannibal wished he could give him an answer. But he couldn't.
"I just can't," Face said and tears ran over his cheeks. Hannibal took his
friend's face between his hands and swept some of the tears away with his
"Don't hold it back, Face," he softly said and embraced his friend. He felt
how he cried with shocks and he put his hand on his blond hair. Of all the
things they had gone through, he knew this would be the hardest. For all of
He had calmed down again when he woke up. He still didn't remember anything,
but somehow it didn't seem important at the moment. It was dark and at the
sky he saw stars that in a way were familiar, but in another new to him. He
didn't even try to get up, because he knew it would hurt him too much. A red
glow not far from him caught his attention. He saw the group of people had
made a fire and were sitting around it. The man who had made him fall asleep
was standing in the middle and was speaking with strange, exotic sounds. With
his hands he made quick movements to give his words strenght. Everybody in
the group was listening to him. Their faces had a red glow and he could see
they were smiling. He noticed the young woman sitting among them, eating
something while she listened.
The thought struck him again that he didn't know what he was doing here. How
could he have forgetten who he was? It was as if he knew deep inside, but a
big cloud prevented him from seeing it.
He realized somebody was looking at him and his eyes met the woman's. She saw
he was awake and she stood up. The old man kept silence and they all looked
at him. Their faces had a friendly expression and he knew they wanted to help
The woman walked to him.
"How are you feeling?"
"A little bit better I think. I'm not so tired anymore."
"Why don't you join us? You haven't met my family yet."
A bit helpless he looked at her.
"How? I can't move yet."
"You can, if you concentrate enough. Come, let me help you."
She put an arm around his waist. He slowly tried to stand on his legs. They
were still weak, he could feel that. A young man from the group walked
towards them and supported his other side. With shaking legs he walked the
few feet that looked like miles. He bit on his lip. His legs still hurted.
With a sigh he sat down near the fire. The man and the woman let go of him
and looked at him satisfied.
"The first breakthrough," she smiled," you will recover soon."
He was glad sitting didn't hurt him as much as he had thought. Looking up, he
realized all eyes were focused on him. The woman sat down next to him and
Insecure he whispered: "Why are they looking like that? Is there something I
have to do?"
"They are waiting until you greet them."
She said something to her family he didn't understand and at once they all
began talking and laughing. Then the old man stood up and put his hand out,
asking for silence. He looked at him and with long, almost singing words he
began talking. He pointed to his family and to the sky. With his hands he
made a circle.
"What is he saying?," he whispered to the woman.
"He says: Welcome, white man. Welcome to our people, The Skykeepers."
The man continued, but after a while he kept silence again.
"He wants you to know that we are a group of aboriginals, as you call us, and
that we were here to meet you."
"To meet me?," he asked, trying to remember.
"Yes. Our chief had a vision that said we had to go on a walkabout to meet
"A walkabout is a journey through the country that can last for months, even
for years. If we get a feeling we have to leave and go somewhere, we go. Our
hearts guide us to our destination. Months ago we left the other side of
Australia because our chief was told we had to go to meet somebody. And you
He rubbed his cheek. This sounded pretty vague and he didn't know what to
think of it.
"Why would you travel to meet somebody if you don't know who that person is?"
She smiled to him.
"You have much to learn, white man, you have much to learn."
The old man came to him and put his hand out. He looked to the woman
helplessly, but she nodded that it was okay. He got up. He realized he was
taller than any of the other persons and the chief was a head smaller than
him. He looked in the almost black eyes of the old man and waited. He knew he
didn't have enough strenght yet to stand there long, but he didn't want to
offend the people who had helped him.
The old man smiled at him, holding his hand. He slowly moved it to his brown
chest. He could feel the old man's heart beating softly. With slow, careful
words he said: "Land Spirit."
He looked at the woman.
"In English his name is Land Spirit. He is our leader, our chief."
The old man moved their hands to his chest.
"Mutant," he said with a strange accent.
He didn't dare asking what the old man meant, so he just stood there and
looked at him. An old woman stood up and brought the old man something that
looked like a hide. The old man slowly nodded his head.
"He wants you to take off your clothes," the young woman said.
"Why?," he asked.
"Trust me, we won't hurt you."
The old man, who's name apparently was Land Spirit, gave him the brown hide.
Not knowing how to handle the situation he took off his clothes and put on
the hide. It only covered a small part of his body, his chest and arms were
naked. Land Spirit took his clothes and threw them on the ground.
"What is he going to do?," he asked confused.
"You have to burn the past to start all over again," she said.
One of the younger men gave Land Spirit a burning twig and the old man lit
his pants and trainers. They began to smoke and the smell of burning rubber
reached his nose.
"You have died when we found you deserted and now you are reborn," she said,"
and like all new life you need a name."
"I...I can't remember mine...," he said softly.
"You will get a new one. Just listen to your heart and nature will answer
He looked at the fire. He didn't know what he had to do, but he did know that
he was dependent of these people until he remembered his old life.
Screaming to announce his presence a hawk flew over the group. He looked up
and all of a sudden he knew.
A name played through his head and he knew he would carry it until he
discovered who he really was.
The words had a strange familiarity to them when he spoke them out loud. Once
more the hawk flew over, to disappear as quickly as he had come. Land Spirit
smiled at him when he looked down again. The old man pointed at the ashes
that had remained from the fire.
"Mutant," he said. Then his black eyes met his. His hand touched the place
where his heart was.
He smiled back, although he didn't understand everything what had happened
these past minutes. But he understood that he now had a name.
"Nighthawk," he repeated.
The group shouted of joy and they all began talking. Land Spirit let go of
his hand and knelt down by the ashes. He took a hand full of sand and looked
at him. He nodded. And with the sand covering his bleeded clothes he knew
Nighthawk was born inside him. Land Spirit yelled something and all of a
sudden they all began singing and dancing.
He sat down, watching the group celebrate their happiness some feet in front
of him. The young woman sat down near him.
"I still don't understand much of this all," he whispered.
"You are now accepted in our tribe. Son of the sky and the earth, brother of
the hawk, that's what you are... Nighthawk."
He looked in her brown eyes.
"Nighthawk wants to know what your name was again," he said with a sparkle in
"Saria," she smiled and he saw she had dimpled cheeks when she laughed.
The clock in the main room stroke three when Hannibal sat down and looked at
the rest of the team.
It had been another two days, two long, exhausting, emotional days. He had to
get their lives on the track again.
True, it would never be the same as it was again without Murdock, but they
had to pay their friend their last respects. There had to be a funeral.
"Guys, we have to move on. We can't sit here forever, driving ourselves
crazy. We have to go back to America and arrange a funeral."
"How do you want to do that?," Frankie said," we're still wanted, remember?
We haven't furfilled this mission, so we don't get a pardon from Stockwell.
If we are at Murdock's funeral, the military police will come and arrest us.
I don't think that is what Murdock wanted. Can't we...," he swallowed," well...I
didn't know him as well as you guys did, but...er...can't we arrange a funeral
here in Australia?"
"Murdock is going to be burried in America, you hear?," B.A. yelled," that
man was one of America's bravest soldiers and he belongs on the ground he was
"Take it easy, B.A.," Hannibal patted his friend's arm.
"Sorry Frank. I just...," B.A. shook his head.
"Never mind, B.A., I understand," Frankie said sadly.
"I miss him, Hannibal," B.A. looked at the ground," I miss him."
"We all do, B.A."
It was silent for a moment.
"Murdock will be burried in America," Face said," I'm willing to take the
"There's no need to risk anything, Face," Hannibal said.
"What do you mean?," the Lieutenant looked surprised at his friend.
Hannibal picked something out of his pocket. It was a pink diamond,
glittering in the sunlight.
"Hannibal! That is...Where did you get that one???"
"I found it in the ashes of the plane. The police didn't see it yet, so I
took it with me."
"This means...," Face started.
"This means that we are going to get our pardons and that we can bury Murdock
as free American citizens."
Face smiled sadly.
"I would give my freedom up thousand times if that would bring Murdock back."
"But it won't," Hannibal said, although he would do the same if it would help.
Love is a battlefield 4/?
Nighthawk sat on a rock, while he watched his new family get their things
together. He wondered why they were doing that, but didn't want to disturb
them by asking. His wounds were doing better, with the care of Saria they
would heal soon. He had been very lucky that they had found him in the middle
These past days had been pretty weird for him. He knew he hadn't lived like
these people in the past. He probably was living in one of the big cities of
Australia. Maybe he had a big condo. Maybe he had a family.
Maybe somebody was looking for him this very moment. But if somebody was,
wouldn't they have found him by now?
"What are you thinking of, Nighthawk?"
He turned to face Saria.
"Trying to remember something I guess," he said sadly.
She sat down near him.
"No," he sighed.
"Well, you're part of this family until you remember, Nighthawk."
"Maybe it is better if I don't know who I am."
"What do you mean?"
"A normal person doesn't lie in the middle of nowhere, bleeding to death.
What if I am a criminal? What if I am a murderer, shot by the police?"
She put a hand on his and he felt there went a shiver through him.
"You are not a murderer, Nighthawk, I don't believe that. Your eyes tell me
you are a good person. You are like the hawk you got your name from, you
struggle to survive. That's why you haven't died."
They kept silence for a moment. He looked at the little woman next to him, to
her serious face. It was then he got the feeling she too didn't really belong
in the tribe.
"How come you can speak English and the rest of the tribe can't?," he asked
all of a sudden.
Her brown eyes became sad and he immediatly wished he hadn't asked that. She
put her hands in her lap and looked at the ground. He could sense her past
was a sensitive topic.
"You don't have to answer that if you don't want to."
"No, it's fine," she sadly looked up," I...well...I lived in one of the big
cities long ago."
He decided to change subject.
"What are they all doing?"
"Land Spirit has dreamed this night. He has dreamed we will get a sign very
soon. And when we get one, we are leaving again."
"Why don't you and your family go home?"
"The nature IS our home, Nighthawk. She gives life and we accept it. She
tells us what to do and we listen. She gives us food and we don't take more
than we need. We try to keep balance between all living spirits."
She saw his not understanding look.
"Time will teach you, Nighthawk, although you also will learn you can't
express time in minutes or seconds."
Hannibal parked the jeep in front of their motel room. His friends came
outside and put their luggage in the back.
"And?," Frankie asked.
"They want to do an autopsy on the body before they will send it back to
America. I told the officer in charge we will go to America to settle things.
After a few days I will fly back to Australia to take the body to America. By
that time we will be free and we can do this legal."
"Does Stockwell know yet?"
"No Frank, and I would like to keep it that way. I don't need his sympathy."
"He will find out."
"Yes, but when he does, we will be gone. I don't want to see anything of
"Life will be different without him," B.A. said.
"There will change a lot," Hannibal said and they kept silence again.
He walked through the desert all by himself. The sun was hot and burned his
skin. He hadn't drunk for many days. But he had to walk on. Above his head
the hawk flew. He had been his only company on this journey.
All of a sudden he saw Saria on top of the sandhill. She smiled at him and
reached for his hand. He began walking up the hill. But all of a sudden he
heared something fly over his head. He looked up and saw it was a helicopter,
flying to Saria.
"Look out!," he yelled.
Somebody opened fire and he saw Saria falling off the hill.
"NOOOOOO!!!," he screamed. Then the landscape changed. He was in some kind of
jungle. He smelled familiar fragrances, frangrances of death and danger. He
was carrying a gun.
"They are out there," he heard a voice say. He wanted to turn, but he
couldn't. A loud explosion lit the jungle and he closed his eyes. When he
opened them again he saw people lying dead on the ground. They were soldiers,
just like him. The gun fell out of his hands on the floor. He knew he had to
run to survive. His feet almost didn't touch the ground when he ran away from
that place of horror. Smoke filled the air. He heared shots everywhere. He
knew he had been here before. Then he saw the chopper. He ran to it and sat
down. He had to get out of this place. Without knowing if he could fly he
started the machine. The chopper got off the ground and at once the landscape
changed back to the desert.
He was at the foot of the hill again. With big steps he walked up to the top.
The wind blew through his hair when he looked down to the city.
"Who am I?," he yelled.
The hawk flew over him again and screamed when he quickly moved towards the
city. He heared the sound of the chopper again and he jumped off the hill,
down to the city.
At once he sat straight, his heart beating in his throat. Slowly his eyes got
used to the dark and his breath slowed down when he realized where he was.
The group of aboriginals was sleeping near him, close to the fire. With his
hand he swept the sweat off his forehead. Jesus, what kind of nightmare was
that? He had to drink something. Softly he stood up, walking to the water of
the lake. A young man taking the watch smiled at him when he left the group
and he smiled back, as cheery as he could at that moment. The cold breeze
made him realize he wasn't dressed for the night. Shivering a bit the soft
sounds of a flute reached his ears. He wondered who was playing and he walked
in the direction the sound was coming from. He saw somebody sit near a fire.
The song was sad, a bit melancholic. When the person playing heared him
approach, she stopped and turned. He saw it was Saria.
"You scared me for a moment, Nighthawk," she said.
"Please, play on," he said and sat down next to her.
"I...I'm not used to play for others."
"Please, try. It is beautiful."
She put the flute back to her lips and continued her song. Then he saw her
cheeks were wet.
"You have cried."
She stopped and rubbed her hands over her eyes.
"Maybe a bit," she softly said.
"Nothing, never mind, Nighthawk. It's not important."
"It is, otherwise you wouldn't be crying."
"I...I rather not talk about it, if you don't mind."
"Of course not," he said, but he knew something was wrong.
"Couldn't you sleep?," she asked.
"No," he answered, staring in the fire," I have dreamed."
With the pictures printed in his mind he told her. And she listened. He
looked at her when he finished his story.
"What do you think?"
She loooked in the fire, thinking.
"It could be that you are a soldier," she began," that you have fought in a
"Could be," he said, but he didn't remember being a soldier.
"You said the hawk flew to that city in your dream?"
"Yes. And then I heared that chopper again and I jumped."
"I think you have to go to that city, Nighthawk. I think you will find clues
to your past there."
"But I don't know where that city is, how am I supposed to find it?"
"I'll talk to Land Spirit tomorrow. He's older than we and he will know what
A silence fell between them. He looked in the fire. All of a sudden Saria
began playing a song, a song he had heared before. The words flew through his
mind and he couldn't prevent himself from singing out loud.
"You are my sunshine...," he sang and Saria looked at him. She repeated the
song once more.
"Please don't take my sunshine away..."
She put her flute down.
"You have a beautiful voice, Nighthawk."
"I know this song, Saria. It feels like it played an important role in my
life. But what is the connection between a soldier and such a harmless song
"I don't know, Nighthawk, but you are remembering something, that is a step
in the right direction."
"Colonel. You have the two diamonds?"
Stockwell got straight to business, like he always did.
"Yes I have."
Hannibal handed over a box. The general opened it and nodded.
"I knew you and your men would pull this last one off."
"Cut the crap, Stockwell and get to our part of the deal."
"Alright then," Stockwell said," I will get you your pardons."
"This isn't one of your games, is it?"
"No, Sergeant, I am serious. I can't have you in my organization at the
"Just like that?"
"Colonel, we have discussed that before. Let that be my problem."
"And when will we get our pardons?"
"Right now," Stockwell answered and walked to the telephone, dialling a
"Carla? Get me the president."
Hannibal looked at his friends. None of them could believe this.
"Hi," Stockwell said on the phone," yes. Yes, I took care of that. Of course,
I promised you, didn't I? No, I'm going to take a break for a while. Oh, you
heared. It's not your fault. Yes, tomorrow. Can we discuss this later? I have
company. Do you remember that matter we talked about last time? Yes, that
commando team. Yes. Well, I have finished my research and they haven't
committed that crime back in 'Nam. Yes. Yes. As soon as possible.
I knew I could count on you. I will send them to Washington right away. Thank
Stockwell hung up.
"The president, yes. You have to go to Washington right away and everything
will be taken care of."
Stockwell walked to the door and turned again.
"This will be the last time you see me, gentlemen. I can tell you it was a
pleasure working with you, although we had our problems. I hope you will
enjoy your pardons. Send my regards to the Captain, will you?"
The door closed and they heared a car driving away.
"I still can't believe anything of this," Frankie said," why is he giving us
those pardons so easily?"
"You call this easily?," B.A. yelled.
"We have a lot to do, guys," Hannibal sighed," let's go to Washington first
and receive our freedom."
Land Spirit looked at them both when Saria had told him about Nighthawk's
dream. He rubbed his white beard.
Then he began talking. He pointed to Nighthawk, then to the horizon.
"What is he saying?"
"He says we have to find this city. Land Spirit believes you will get your
memory back there."
"But how do we get there? I don't know where it is."
"Aboriginals never use maps, Nighthawk. We use our heart as a compass and it
will lead us to our destination."
Land Spirit put his hand on his shoulder.
Then he walked away, telling the others to pack their things.
"This is it, Nighthawk. This is where your walkabout begins. And we will help
you to find your destination."
Hannibal stared out of the window of the house they had rented. His thoughts
were back in 'Nam, with Murdock.
He had been a loyal soldier to his country and a true friend to the team.
Everything was settled. Tomorrow was Murdock's funeral. He had picked up the
body a day ago in Australia. The autopsy didn't show signs why the plane
could have crashed and that was why the record said Murdock was killed
because of his own fault or a defect of the plane.
It had to be the plane. Murdock could set every plane on the ground, burning
or not. He had been one of America's best pilots.
On the background he heared the television. Face was trying to get some
distraction, but Hannibal knew his friend didn't see what was on the screen.
"Hey, Hannibal, there's an item about us on CNN!," Frankie said.
Hannibal slowly stood up to watch. He saw a picture of the four of them
walking out of the White House, cameras everywhere.
"Colonel John Smith, Lieutenant Templeton Peck and Sergeant B.A. Baracus,
known as The A-Team, have got their pardons. They were convicted for robbing
the bank of Hanoi after the Vietnam War and for the murder of Colonel
Morrison. They were caught one year ago after running from the government for
more than fifteen years. They were set to trial and got the death penalty.
But with the help of Hollywood special effects maker Frank Santana they
managed to escape. The White House spokesman told the press fifteen minutes
ago the president had asked for a new investigation and new facts have proven
that The A-Team are not guilty. However, he didn't let out which facts. With
The A-Team their friend Frank Santana, who was a fugitive for helping
convicted murderers escape, has got his freedom. We asked the team for
comments, but they didn't want to react. Although the team is happy to get
their pardons, they aren't going to celebrate it. Their very close friend
H.M. Murdock, Captain in the U.S.A. army and part of the team, has passed
away in a plane crash in Australia and is going to be burried tomorrow. Press
isn't allowed, only the few people that have supported the team through the
years are welcome."
"News travels fast," Face sighed.
"We will keep you informed. This was Joanne Roberts for CNN-news."
"They all will be there again tomorrow," Frankie said.
"I have hired some guards to keep them on a safe distance," Hannibal said," I
don't need half of America watching over my shoulder when I say goodbye to
Hannibal sat down between Frankie and Face.
"Did you speak to Maggie yet?," Face asked.
"Yes, I gave her a ring this morning. She had seen the news and she almost
fainted when she heared we were still alive. After the first shock she knew I
would call her."
"Wasn't she mad that you didn't contact her for over a year?"
"When I explained she understood."
"Did you tell her about Murdock?"
"Is she coming too tomorrow?"
"Maybe that is for the best."
They both looked aside to Frankie, who stared at the television. They
followed his eyes and saw he was watching the next item on t.v. They saw
Stockwell being filmed while he walked into a church.
"What the...?," Hannibal stammered.
"This morning Alison Stockwell-Carter was burried on the cemetery of
Hannibal stared at the screen.
"After she was diagnosed with blood cancer a month ago, things got worse and
worse. Several doctors tried to cure her, but the cancer was in a stadium
that could not be turned back. After a few weeks of struggling she gave up
because she lacked the energy to fight. A few days later she died in
Washington D.C.'s hospital on an age of fiftyfive. Alison was born in Helena,
but she wanted to be part of this country's government, so she left to
Washington. For many years she was in the Senate. It was there she met her
husband, the now retired general Hunt Stockwell."
"Husband?," Face stammered," I never knew Stockwell was married."
"Neither did we, Face."
"The government sends his condolences to the general. He only said this to
A picture of Stockwell.
"I speak for Alison when I say thanks to all the people who supported her in
her life. She was a good person and died too soon."
Stockwell walking away. A picture of a woman with a friendly face and long,
blond hair with a grey glow.
"THAT is the wife of Stockwell???," Frankie stammered," she looks far too
nice to be married to Stockwell."
"Love makes blind, Frank," Hannibal said, although he couldn't believe it
"Press wasn't welcome on the funeral yesterday morning. Many members of the
government were there and security was optimal. Still we could get these
A white coffin was carried in the church. On the blue velvet the woman they
saw earlier was lying, her hands holding some flowers.
"Hannibal, look at her ears!," Face yelled.
Two diamond earrings were reflecting the sunlight of the October morning. One
blue, one pink.
"That are...That are the diamonds we got for Stockwell!," Frankie stammered.
Hannibal stared at the screen, where the doors of the church closed and the
press could only flim the outside of the church.
"This explaines a lot," Hannibal softly said.
"I still can't believe we didn't know Stockwell had a wife," Frankie said.
"Stockwell normally keeps work and private things separated. But not this
time. This time he needed his work to get him something for the woman he
"So we got those diamonds for the funeral of his wife?"
"It seems, Face."
Hannibal stood up and turned off the television.
"For the first time in my life I feel sorry for Stockwell."
"We are both in the same situation. We lost somebody we loved most in this
"I think Stockwell is quitting his dirty operation, because he has to get
over the death of his wife."
"And that's why he let us go."
"Things will change for him."
"For us too, Hannibal."
Hannibal knew his Lietenant was right, but he didn't want to think about the
"Are you coming, Nighthawk?"
Saria put her hand on his shoulder. He turned.
"Yes. But I'm not sure if this will work."
"It will, Nighthawk, trust me. Come on, the others are waiting."
He followed her to the tribe. In this desert he only had these people and if
they would go on a journey he would come too. A few men were carrying all
their belongings. They all were ready to go. Land Spirit smiled at him.
Nighthawk stood a bit uncomfortable next to Saria, waiting until they would
leave. But they didn't.
"Why aren't we going?," he whispered to Saria.
"You have to choose a direction," she replied.
Nighthawk still didn't understand much of this all, but these people were
only trying to help him, so he looked around. The lake lay behind them. He
decided to go the other direction.
"That way," he pointed.
Land Spirit softly nodded his head. Then he began walking, followed by the
"Come on," Saria took his hand and guided him to the group," your walkabout
is beginning, Nighthawk."