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Silence 1-4

Silence
by Rita Ractliffe (lovpeppard)


Rated:  PG (for some language)

Origin: Tired of trial stuff, so thought I'd whip off something that was inspired by a throwaway line on a tv show Sat. night... Summary:  Hannibal and Team set off an explosion which has unexpected result for the Colonel

Warnings: None.... some language - some depiction of concussion resultant deafness , but this is not a hearing impaired story, per se.

Disclaimer: A-Team characters were created by Cannell and Lupo and are owned by Universal.  Any other original characters and story otherwise belong to me. Copyright: Sept/2000 .

*********

Silence...

        They'd set the timers, primed the switches, and hooked the whole detonation up to go off in two minutes.  Hannibal Smith grinned at his men.  "Told ya', piece'a cake!"  His hand lingered over the plunger lovingly stroking it, itching to push it down and be done with this mission.

        BA hung back in the shadows, cradling his semi-auto rifle, keeping a watchful eye out for any unexpected visitors.  Peck hunkered down next to Smith behind the craggy three foot boulders they used for a fence here.  "I'll believe it when it blows, Hannibal."

        Smith's cocky grin answered him.  "Oh ye of little face... uh, faith."

        Peck couldn't help but grin finally, too, at the Colonel's slip.  "I'll stand by my original statement, Colonel."  Peck scanned nervously around, sensing that the bad guys weren't nearly as invisible as they seemed.  "Wish I could lose this feeling someone's watching us."

        Smith shrugged.  "Once I push this, it won't matter much. Now if Murdock would just get here..." he cocked his head listening for the telltale whup-whup of an approaching chopper.

        "Figured out how we're gonna get BA on board?"

        "Ah... no.  Something always comes up.  I'm not worried... believe me, Face, that's the least of my worries right now."

        Then they both heard the sound they were waiting for - the faraway gentle beating of rotors.  Hannibal held the detonator box in his left hand and wrapped his right hand around the plunger. "Here goes...."

        Out of nowhere, the surrounding area exploded in a sea of bodies, rising up from the boulders, weapons firing rapidly.

        "Shit!"  Hannibal pushed the plunger down - nothing happened.  He looked up, only to see one of the baddies holding up a cut wire, taunting him with his failure.

        "Our goose is cooked, Colonel!"  Peck began returning fire, while looking backwards to see how they could escape this debacle.

        "I don't think so!"  Smith's sudden look of determination startled the scammer next to him.

        "Hannibal, what the hell d'ya think you can do now?!  The connection is cut, we're shit outta' luck, dammit!"

        "Then we make our own.  Listen, Face, lay me down some cover fire.  I rigged up a second lead-in just in case we needed it.  I don't think they saw it.  Just have to connect it."  Smith's crouch was a study in tense, strictured muscles, aching for the release of motion.

        "What the hell are you thinking of, Hannibal?  You'll never make five yards with all of them out there."

        Smith's taut features answered him.  "Gotta give it the try, Lieutenant.  We didn't come this far just to quit."  Before Face could say another word, Smith jumped up and began running to one of the bundled lines about ten yards out from their location.

        Giving a despairing "SHIT!", Peck began laying down cover fire, doing his damnedest to protect the running man.  BA had seen what was going on and shaking his head in total disbelief, added his own automatic fire to the chatter.  It was an admirable attempt and they might've done it, except Hannibal tripped and fell over a half buried rock and took a tumble.  The detonator was thrown from his hand as he rolled over and over, finally coming to rest near where the explosives were buried.

        Peck and Baracus ducked instantly realizing they were now sitting ducks as well as Hannibal.  They peered over the low boulder they were crouched behind to see how Hannibal was.

        Smith shook his head trying to clear it, then looked at his hand to see it was empty.  A further look showed the small box lying about fifteen feet from him, apparently intact. //Don't rain but it pours// Smith thought dourly.   He had two choices in front of him. Get up, get the detonator and finish what he started ...//yeah, right, with all those guns out there pointed at me!// or surrender and hope they could salvage this.  He knew once they were under lock and key, all their careful work would be disassembled and the security perimeter would be heightened to at least ten times what it had been. //Nope, no choice at all, Johnny boy.//

        He noticed out of the corner of his eye that the wire he'd been heading for was almost within his grasp. //One quick twist and then get the box and finish this, dammit!//  He noticed that suddenly there was no more gunfire around him - it was as if everyone was waiting, breathless, to see what he was going to do.  Getting up as if in slow motion, Hannibal reached down, grabbed the wire, twisted the two ends and then headed towards the prize -- the box just a few feet away.  He'd almost made it when gunfire erupted again all around him and he felt the hard slam and fiery burn as bullets hit him, one in the thigh and one in his side, sending him down hard to the ground..

        Indefatigable, Smith ignored the pain and crawled the last few feet to the prized box.  Wrapping his hands around it, he forcefully slammed the plunger down, instigating a maelstrom of fire, light and concussive thunder.  The walls blew up around him, and then as the ammunition inside the ammo dump ignited, it became a roiling, fiery nightmare of light and sound, raining large and small rocks and cement and wood chunks around him.  A couple of rocks hit his head and he went limp again.

        Peck and BA dropped down behind their respective boulders in self defense.  "Hannibal!  What have you done?"  Peck's anguished scream was obliterated in the ongoing explosive domino effect that Smith had set off.

        It took a few minutes for all the ammunitions to spend themselves, during which none of the antagonists facing each other had any remote chance of either trying to shoot at each other or, in the Team's case, trying to rescue their leader.  They all had to wait until it was over.

        Smith lay sprawled out on the ground, motionless.  He began to come around, to feel the ragged holes in his body from the bullets and to feel the excruciating pain in his head.  He tried to hear what was going on but could hear nothing.  Shaking his head, he raised it a bit to see what was happening, but the thick pall of oily black and grey smoke made it impossible.  He choked deeply at inhaling the sulphur from the gunpowder and dropped limply back to the ground.

        Once the smoke began to spread, Face raised his own head above the boulder and saw that if they were quick, they might just be able to sprint over to where Hannibal lie and get him and get out of there.  Murdock had to be at the rendezvous point by now and no doubt worried as hell after seeing the billowing smoke and no Team waiting for him.    Giving the high sign to BA, he pointed to the Colonel and then signed a lifting motion then swept his hand over his shoulder.  BA understood implicitly.  Slipping his rifle strap over his shoulder, the big man waited for the smoke to get a bit closer and then slipped into it, graceful as a dancer as he ran to his fallen leader.

        Smith's ears were ringing now, but he still couldn't hear anything.  He saw BA's bulk emerge out of a smoke swirl and smiled wanly at the sight.  "BA... thought you weren't gonna make it."  He tried to get to his knees, but failed miserably, his hurt leg collapsing under him.

        "Don' be movin', Hannibal.  I'll get'ya just fine."  Baracus slipped his hands under the Colonel's armpits and lifted him up, ready to throw him over his shoulder.

        "I can make it, BA, I can."

        "Shut up, Hannibal!  You in no condition to be walkin' two steps."

        "BA, put me down, can't you hear me?  I'll be fine."  Smith tried to get the Sergeant to listen to him.

        "Ah do heah you.  You not lisenin' to me, Colonel."  BA prepared to toss the man over his shoulder.  "Where you hit, man?"

        "BA, I can walk dammit.  Put me down."  Smith seemed bent on the one track.

        "Ah can walk faster.  Where are yo hit, dammit?  Answer me, man!"  BA's temper was beginning to fray.  Hannibal didn't usually play these kinds of word games with him.

        Smith just gave up.  At this point he didn't have much ground to argue with anyway.  BA's strong loping gait got them away from the explosion and using the smoke as cover, they were able to join Face and then head to where Murdock was waiting.

        Face was loping along beside them, turning back every other step to see if any of the baddies had come to yet from their own concussions from the explosion.  None seemed to.  He looked at the bobbing head of Smith.  "What the hell were you thinking of, Hannibal?  Trying to play the hero?"

        Smith said nothing, just tried to keep from losing his lunch at this very inelegant position.

        Peck gave up talking to him and addressed BA.  "Uh, BA, I hate to have to tell you this, but the only way outta here is over that hill... in Murdock's chopper."  Face pulled back a half step, expecting a fist in his face.

        While running, BA considered that, then swatting Smith's butt, grinned back at the scammer.  "Guess I don' have much choice, den, huh?  The Colonel hurt, needs to get some hep, don' have da time to be goin' slow.  I guess I havta' trust the fool not to kill us dis time."

        Peck breathed a big sigh of relief. //This was gonna be a lot easier than I thought... thank goodness!//

        They reached the chopper in record time to meet the distraught face of Murdock when he saw how they were coming in. "Hannibal?  Oh, lordy, is he okay?"

        BA gently lay the man down just inside the doorway, then scrambled in after him, to the pilot's total shock.           "He's been shot, Murdock.  We gotta get him to a hospital ASAP!"  Peck's voice was choked, both from the emotion and all the smoke he'd gulped along the way, as he clambered in after the big black man.

        The pilot needed no other words.  In seconds he had the idling bird revved up to full bore and as he lifted off, he cast one last quick look back behind him to see what was happening.

        Face had grabbed some of the knapsacks and made a makeshift pillow for Smith's head.  "Okay, Hannibal, you just hang on.  We're gonna get you to a hospital or something, okay?"  Peck's hands were shaking as he reached for the med kit that BA handed him.  He peeled out gauze pads and, pulling aside Smith's shirt, began to pack the wound to his side, finally taping the whole thing down.  "Well, this doesn't look too bad.  Think you were lucky on this, Colonel."

        Smith's clouded eyes looked up at the scammer trying to give first aid.  "Face, what happened back there?"  He looked terribly confused.

        Peck looked up at BA, concerned.  He knew concussions often resulted in the loss of memory for a few days and this sounded like that kind of reaction.  "Easy, Colonel.  You got a little too close to the explosion.  You're gonna have a headache for a day or two." Pulling some small surgical scissors out of the box, he reached down and began to cut away Smith's slacks around the entry hole of the thigh wound.   He winced as he saw it -- Hannibal hadn't been so lucky with this one -- the bullet was still in there. //Which means I get to play surgeon until we can get somewhere civilized and get him some help.//  Peck grimaced.  Hannibal was the surgeon of the group -- as a commander, he'd been trained in rudimentary battlefield surgery and was pretty proficient at it, besides having the nerves to carry it through.

        "Face, what's wrong with me?"  Smith's eyes were wide and confused.  He watched as Face said something, but could hear nothing.  "What did you say?"  He watched Peck's lips move again, but could hear nothing.

        "Sorry, Hannibal, we're gonna have to get that bullet out once we get to ground."  He looked apologetically at his friend.

        Smith reached up and grabbed Peck's shirt collar.  "What the hell did you say?  I can't hear you, Face!"  He then released his grip and sank back to the makeshift pillow.

        "I said...." then it penetrated Peck's consciousness exactly what Smith had said.  A look of consternation passed over his features.  "Hannibal, can you hear me?"  He looked right at the Colonel as he said it.

        "Face, dammit, can't you talk louder?  I can't hear you!"

 

Silence  Pt. 2/? 

 

        Peck felt a shiver run through him. //Deaf?  Had the
explosion damaged his hearing?// Peck swallowed hard, knowing this
could be just a temporary condition, praying like hell that was the
situation.  He leaned closer to Smith's face and made sure Hannibal
was watching him as he mouthed very slowly and carefully.  "You ...
can't... hear ...me?"

        Smith shook his head.  "No.  I can't hear anything, Face.
What the hell happened to me?"

        Peck exchanged another look with Baracus; a heavy, loaded
look.  BA's eyebrows knitted together in helplessness as he shrugged
back at the scammer.  "He got one heckuva bump, Faceman.  Thet
explosion mebbe damaged his eardrums."

        "But just for now, right?  This is just temporary... just a
leftover from the explosion, right?  Right, BA?!"  Peck's voice
gained a strident edge.

        Baracus shook his head.  "Don' know, Faceman.  Sometimes
these things be permanent.  No way a' knowin' til we gets to the
hospital.  Best thin' for Hannibal is you don' get all upset.  He
already upset, he knowin' somethin' wrong."

        Face nodded, assimilating BA's sensible words. //Right.
Hannibal knows something's up besides being shot... don't want to get
him any more hyper.//    He leaned back down again, close to Smith's
eyes and carefully mouthed.  "You ... have ... con... cussion.
Hearing... messed up.  Okay?"

        Smith nodded, finally.  "What else?"

        Face sighed, trying to explain his other injuries would take
too much effort, so he gently touched Hannibal's side and then leg,
both of which made the Colonel wince.

        "Okay, Face, got the message.  Anything else?"

        Peck shook his head no.  "You ... need... to ... relax."  He
tried to remember if he knew any Amerslan signs.  He knew Hannibal
had learned to sign years ago when they'd had a partially deaf
parson at one of the bases, a placement none of them had been able to
quite comprehend.  Who in their right mind would put a hearing
disabled soldier in the middle of a war zone?  The man had not
lasted long there.  He'd been a really nice man, and good at the
preacher bit, but someone finally realized how very out of place he
was and he'd been rotated back to the States.

        A wave of pain wormed its way over Hannibal's features as
Face continued working on the thigh, trying to stanch the steady
blood flow.  BA saw it and handed Peck a morphine stick "He hurting',
Face.  Gi' him this."

        Peck took it, unwrapped it, swabbed an alcohol pad near the
wound and jabbed it in.  Hannibal arched back at the unexpected sharp
pain, then relaxed.

        "How bad, Face?"  Smith's eyes were growing vacuous.

        Peck shrugged elaborately "Bad enough, Colonel.  We need a
hospital."  He made sure to carefully phrase each word so it was
understandable.

        "Guess I'm just along for the ride, then, huh?"  Smith's
clouded eyes nevertheless held a glint of his usual sarcastic humor.

        Peck nodded.  "Yeah, guess so."  He looked up at the back of
the pilot's head.  "Murdock, how much fuel we got in this thing?"

        "I can get you to those cabins back up in the hill country,
but that's the best I can do.  We can get to Maggie's if I can go
back out and scare up some gas, Facey."  He kept his gaze rigidly in
front of him, refusing to dwell on what was happening behind him.

        "I don't know if we can wait that long.  I've got to get this
slug out.  It's a real mess in there and it's gonna infect real
fast."  Peck mentally wrung his hands, not liking being in command in
this case.  He looked back down at Hannibal, who lay quietly, eyes
closed, wasting no energy in useless motion, then made his decision.
"Do it, Murdock.  We'll get Hannibal in the cabin, and see what we
can do to help him til you get back."

        "That's a big 10-4, Face.  I can call Maggie too and let her
know we're coming."

        "Oh, she'll love that.  You know how she gets when Hannibal
is the hurt one."

        "Cain' help that, Faceman.  Let the crazy foo' do his thing
and get Hannibal some doctorin'."  BA's phobia was fighting to kick
in and he was likewise tamping it down as hard as he could.  All it
really took was to look at Hannibal lying there so still and quiet -
so unlike him.

        "We should be getting there in about twenty minutes, Face.
You need any help with Hannibal?"

        "That's okay, Murdock.  BA and I will manage.  Your job is
the most crucial right now.  Go get that gas and get back here asap!"

        Murdock nodded and kept his eyes on the terrain below him.

        Face and BA both kept after Hannibal, keeping him awake, the
standard rule of thumb with a concussion.  "C'mon, Colonel, you can't
sleep yet."  He gently nudged the man back to awareness.

        "Lemme sleep, Face."  Smith's speech was a little slurred
and he was obviously growing very groggy.

        "Later, Colonel, later."

        They felt the sudden decrease in rpm's as Murdock brought the
chopper down for a landing, handling the gawky craft with exquisite
grace and a deft touch.  There was barely a bump as it kissed the
ground.

        Face and BA were instantly out, pulling Smith carefully
behind them, then waved the pilot off on his errand of mercy and
need.  Locking their arms, they lifted and chair-carried the wounded
man toward the cabins up the grade.  Once the porch was gained, Peck
reached out with one hand and opened the cabin door.  He remembered
that these buildings were never left locked as there was no criminal
element up in the hills. //Unless you count us!// he thought wryly.
They were there for the use of any of the roaming hunters who might
be coming through the area.  The Team had helped out the owner of
this little retreat and he'd told him they were always welcome,
whether he was there or not.

        They got Hannibal on his feet and made the last few feet to
a big, heavy rustic bed carved out of massive pine logs.  They laid
him neatly down, got his feet up on the mattress and then stopped to
take a breath.  "We home yet?"  Hannibal asked sleepily.

        "Not yet, Colonel, not nearly yet."  Then remembering that
Hannibal couldn't hear his sarcastic muttering, Face shook his head
so Smith could see.

        BA was already reconnoitering the small room to see what he
could find in the way of medical implements.  After a few moments he
returned with a paltry supply of objects: a small fillet boning
knife, a small one-inch diameter piece of kindling, a partially
filled bottle of whiskey, some rags, a roll of unopened paper towels
and a small throwaway sewing kit found in most hotel rooms.  He lay
the objects down next to Peck.  "This be it, Faceman.  Ain' nuthin'
else to work with.  Dis all we got."  BA knew that if Face did
attempt any surgery with the pathetic objects he had at hand,
Hannibal was going to be in a lot of pain during the execution of it.

        Peck read his thoughts.  "How long do you think Murdock will
be?"

        "`Pends on where da gas is.  Ain' nuthin' around here, so he
got go where it is.  I'm thinkin' he gonna havta' get to Palmdale, da
closest."

        "He'll run out before then!"

        BA shrugged.  "So he havta hoof it to a station.  Mebbe call
da' doc and have her drive up heah.  Any case, we gots to wait."  He
looked back down at his C.O.  "As longs he can hol' out."

        Peck felt the pale face, drenched in sweat.  "He's getting
real warm, BA.  I don't know...  should I try to get that bullet out
now?  How long can we wait?"

        "We can wait for a day, mebbe, but he be so fevered by that
time, he might die.  You gotta dig it out, Face."  BA hated saying
it, knowing that both men below him would suffer far more than either
deserved by doing so.

        Face nodded, finally, took a deep breath and began making his
decisions.  "Okay.  Get some water, get that potbelly fired up and
heat the water, okay?  See if you can find some more cloth.  Did you
bring the med kit with you?"

        BA nodded, then scowled, "It ain' gonna hep much Face.  We
used the last morphine up in da bird.  Got no anesthesia, no pain
killers.  We gonna hurt him, y'know that."

        "I know, BA, believe me, I know.  But what else are we
supposed to do?"
 

Silence 3/?

   BA shrugged again.  Face was right - what could they do?

        Face sat on the edge of the bed and gently nudged the woozy
man awake.  "Hannibal, listen to me." //Oh, that's bright, Peck!  The
man can't hear anything right now!// "Colonel, we have to get that
bullet out."

        Smith's pain-filled eyes assimilated what he was being told.
"Okay, Face, do what you have to."  He let out a heavy sigh, not
looking forward to what was coming.

        Peck began unwrapping the makeshift bandage and watched,
dismayed, as the blood flow started up again.  He turned back to see
BA's progress.  The cast iron stove was beginning to heat up from all
the wood BA had tossed in and ignited.  It wouldn't take more than
fifteen minutes to have everything ready.  Now he had to get
Hannibal ready.

        He reached over for the bottle of bourbon, measured some out
into a cup BA had also brought over.  "It's not nearly enough, but I
hope it helps."  Nervous, Face was chattering away, forgetting yet
again that Smith couldn't hear a word he said.  He turned back to his
friend, reached down, slid his arm under Hannibal's neck and gently
raised  the man's head.

        Smith's nose wrinkled as the first whiff of the booze hit it.
 "Ugh, Face, that stuff is rotgut!  You don't expect me to drink
that, do you?"  The blue eyes gazed up at Peck, serious, belying the
humorous words.

        "Got any other ideas, Colonel?"

        Smith shook his head.  He was glad that over the years he and
Peck had developed a good rapport lip reading each other during
situations where you just couldn't talk out loud.  It was serving
good stead here.  He knew what the scammer was trying to do and also
knew that the amber liquid in the bottle would not begin to dampen
the pain they were going to explore here.  "Might as well save it for
the alcohol value, Face.  Not enough to even get a mild buzz.
Anyway, I'm not drinking that stuff, I guarantee you!  I guess I'll
just havta' grin and bear it, huh?"  The dread in the eyes was
growing; brave or not, Hannibal Smith knew the kind of pain that
digging in an open wound engendered  - God knew he'd been there often
enough over the years.

        Peck read the determination there and knew Hannibal intended
to grit it through.  He looked up at BA helplessly.  The big man
shook his head, he didn't have the answer, although the germ of a
plan was forming.   He turned back to the stove and watched the
nearly boiling pot of water with the strips of cloth agitating in
the bubbling liquid.

        "This nearly ready, Face.  Is you?"

        "I guess.  Here, heat this damned knife."  He handed the
filet blade to BA.  Trying to figure out what he was going to do
next, he was struck again by the clear blue eyes below him staring
straight up at him.

        "Give me something to bite on, Face.  It's the only way."
Those eyes were strong now, unwavering, knowing what he had to do.

        Face looked around and saw the chunk of kindling that BA had
brought over.  "Will... this... do?"  He looked at Smith's eyes for
affirmation.

        He nodded.  "Good as any.  Guess we better get this over
with, huh?"

        Face felt his stomach plummet about ten stories at that.  He
nodded, "Yeah, guess so, Colonel."

        BA brought over the pot of water and the dry bandages he had
made up.  He met Peck's grim look.  "You wan' me to do it, Face?"  BA
wasn't thrilled with the idea, but looking at his friend right now,
he wasn't sure Peck *could* do it.

        Peck stiffened his shoulders and straightened up.  "No, I'll
do it.  I'll be fine.  It's him I'm worried about."  His eyes flicked
momentarily down to gaze at his C.O.  "Listen, it's gonna be hard for
him - why don't you lay across him or something?  Anything to keep
him still?"

        BA nodded and crossed over to the other side of the bed.

        Smith felt the weight shift as Baracus knelt on the mattress.
 He turned his head to his friend.  "Dead weight, huh?  That oughta
help a whole lot."  He reached backwards trying to find something to
grab on to.  A flash of pain crossed his face as he lifted his left
arm, aggravating the wound in his left side.  "Damn.  This is not
gonna be easy, is it?"  He looked once again at Peck.

        Face slowly shook his head.  "I'm... sorry... Hannibal."

        "Don't be, Face... beats dyin', huh?"  His flip words could
not disguise the apprehension in his eyes; eyes which, this time,
were betraying him totally.  BA reached over and gently placed the
stick of wood between Smith's teeth.  He nodded back at the big man,
thanking him.

        Face reached for the knife, wiped it clean and then made a
small incision just above the wound.  Smith stiffened and arched
back, but managed to stay quiet.

        //He went through God-knows how much torture back in Vietnam
and managed to keep his screams to a minimum.  C'mon, Hannibal, let
it out... it's okay.//  Face tried to keep his own features composed,
trying to ignore thinking about who he was carving up as he began his
surgery, pulling apart the jagged edges of bloody ripped flesh and
trying to see the bullet lodged below.  Taking a deep breath he
pushed the blade in about a half inch and was nearly bucked off the
bed from Smith's involuntary arching back.   Sweat was beginning to
pour down his face. //Another one like that, Hannibal, and I'm gonna
sever an artery or a nerve and then what good will it be?// He felt
his hand start to tremble. //I can't do this... I'm gonna hit
something wrong.//

        BA was watching both men, trying to keep Smith still, and
gauging how far the scammer could realistically get.  He wasn't
worried about Face's ability, but if Hannibal jumped again like that,
it might prove fatal.  He decided to put his fledgling plan into
action.  He reached over and tugged at the stick in Smith's mouth.

        Hannibal relinquished it gratefully.  "Are we done?"

        BA shook his head no, slowly.

        "I blew it, didn't I?"  The recrimination was heavy in Smith's
voice.

        BA leaned closer to him so he could see his lips.  "It okay,
Hannibal.  You rest for a moment."   He watched as Smith's labored
breathing finally did slow down a bit, then looked over his shoulder
to see Face gearing up again.  Making his decision he suddenly jumped
up and looked at the door in horror.

        Peck wondered what the hell he was doing, hearing nothing,
but Hannibal bought the bait and turned and partially sat up to see
what was coming through the door.  When he saw nothing he turned back
questioningly to BA to be met with a massive right hook!  He crumpled
to the mattress, out cold.

        BA looked down at him compassionately.  "Tha's the bes' thin'
for him now.  Thet way he don' feel nothin'.  Okay, Faceman?"

        Peck tried to swallow the lump that had appeared in his
throat.  "Yeah.  Good move, BA."  He shook his head.  "Lordy, is he
gonna have a headache before we're through!"

        "Now, you get busy and finish befo' he wakes up, okay?!"  The
snarl was not to be argued with.

        Peck managed a sickly smile.  "Yeah.  Gotcha."  Knowing he
could now do the exploration without sending the Colonel into orbit,
he bent down and doggedly poked and probed, until he finally dug out
the nasty, jagged chunk of metal.  Pulling it out, he wiped it off
and then used the whiskey in the bottle as an antiseptic to wash out
the wound.  Then taking the needle from the sewing kit, he made a
couple of ragged stitches, hoping they would last long enough to get
Smith to Maggie's more skilled hands, grateful as hell that Hannibal
wasn't awake to have to feel this.  It was hard going as he wasn't
used to sewing flesh.  Finally finished, he squeezed a dollop of
antibiotic cream on top of the ragged tear, and using both the wet
and dry bandaging, managed to wrap up the wound, packing the outside
with the last remaining gauze bandages, then wrapping long strips
around and around until the leg was tightly encased in a gauze and
fabric cocoon.

        He leaned back, set down the needle and then watched, idly,
as his hand took on a life of its own, shaking like a leaf.  The
adrenaline reaction had finally set in and he was now free to give in
to it.

        BA went back around the bed, to join him, to sit next to him
and put an arm around the scammer's shoulders.  "You done good,
Faceman."

        Peck raised a weary gaze to Baracus.  "I hope so.  Hey,
thanks for taking him out.  I don't think I coulda...." he couldn't
finish.

        "S'okay.  I din' wanna see him hurtin' neither, Faceman.
Seemed easiest way to fix it."

        Peck laughed nervously.  "Something to be said for that fist
of yours."

        "Well, heck, call it payback fo all them times you guys
tricked me on a plane!"

        The humor helped and Peck actually found himself laughing
genuinely.  He glanced back down at the still form of his friend.
//Worked out best all around, Hannibal.// Then he checked his watch.
It had only been about an hour and a half since they'd gotten here.
"Wonder how Murdock is?"

        "He be back real soon, you know it.  Nothin' else we can do
til then."  BA, ever practical, went over to the couch and plopped
himself down on it.  "Nothin' to do but wait now.  Mebbe give
Hannibal some'a them aspirins?"

        "Yeah, like aspirins would help."

        "Cain' hurt."

        "Well, when he wakes up."  Peck lay back across the bed, at
the end of Smith's legs.  "BA, what are we going to do if his hearing
doesn't come back?"

        "We worry `bout thet when we see the doc, okay?  She tell us
if we got any problems to worry `bout.  Til then, ain' no use,
like
ah said."

        "Yeah, I guess."  Peck pulled his hand over his face, wiping
off the sheen of moisture that covered it.  In moments, he had
drifted off to sleep himself, the adrenaline bottom-out pulling him
under.

        BA watched both of them.  "Yeah, you sleep, guys... raht'
now, that the bes' thin' for both'a you.  BA Baracus is here... you
be
safe.  That's a promise."  The liquid brown doe eyes watched the two
sleeping men sadly.

Silence 4/?

 "C'mon, baby, you can do, I know you can."  He tapped the
gauge again, trying against all logical odds to urge the needle back
up a millimeter or two.  "C'mon, sweet thing, I just need a couple
more miles... c'mon...."  For all of Murdock's pleadings, the gauge
stubbornly refused to budge and jerked almost defiantly to below
EMPTY.

 Sighing heavily, the pilot knew he'd better land now while
he still had some control over the machine, otherwise it would be an
auto-rotation and those seldom ended up well.  Finding an open spot
about a half mile from the highway, but hidden behind a windbreak of
scrub cedars, he brought the recalcitrant chopper down to once again
lightly brush against the hard, dry earth.  Almost as soon as he hit
ground, the engine sputtered and died. //That's running it just a
little close, HM.// He reached in and pulled out maps to see how far
away he was from any gas'n'eats.  Since the Interstates had gone in,
it was harder to find gas-ups in the out of the way places like he
now found himself.  Following a thick black line, he surmised he was
about an hour shy of Bad Rock, with the Antelope Valley spread all
around him - the deserted part of the Antelope Valley.  If he could
get to Littlerock or Palmdale, he could get some gas, enough to bring
the bird in to the small municipal airports out here. //If.//

 //Bad Rock...// The name jogged his memory - he still had to
call Maggie.  Reaching in, he grabbed the microphone and punched out
her shortwave call-sign.  "Beached whale calling the lady doc... lady
doc, come in.... Doc Sullivan... come in, doc."  He waited for a few
moments, hearing only static. //Don't tell me the battery's dead,
too?// He looked at all the mountain ranges ringing the site wherein
he was parked.  The interference from the hills could be distorting
the signal, bouncing it anywhere but to Maggie.  Then he heard
returning static and finally her voice.

 "Lady doc here.  Where are you, beached whale?"

 "Hi, doc!  It's Murdock."

 "I know.  Where are you?"

 "About ten miles outside of Littlerock, on the southeast down
side of Edwards.  The bird ran outta feed and ain't chirpin' no
more."

 //He's down, but how bad?//  "You okay?  Need a ride?"

 "Yeah, but not from you, doc.  You're needed elsewhere."

 "I was afraid of that.  Who is it this time?"  Maggie's voice
barely disguised the annoyance she felt.

 "You're not gonna like it."

 "Do I ever?"  Then as the portent of his words hit her, she
came back.  "It's Hannibal, isn't it?"

 "Yeah, doc.  I dropped him and Face and BA off down around
Victorville.  He got shot up pretty bad, and a concussion and..."

 "Okay, Murdock.  Slow down....should I try to drive there?
Pick you up on the way?"

 "No, doc.  Easier if I can feed the bird and pick *you* up
and take you over there."

 "Okay, shall I send out some boy scouts to help you?"

 "Only if they're in the area.  Best I can tell, I'm about
half mile from the Interstate; gonna go and see if I can hitch a ride
to a gas station."

 "It's pretty desolate out there, Murdock.  Are you sure you
can find someone?"

 "Yeah, I think so.  Saw bunches of cars on the freeway on my
way down."

 His words hit her again.  "Are *you* okay?  You didn't crash
or anything?"

 "Nah, doc, I can fly better'n that.  Just gotta get out to
the freeway and get one of them nice folks to stop for me."

 Maggie smiled to herself at that.  Murdock at best made an
`interesting' picture, and most people out here were a little shy
about picking up strangers on the roads after too many hitchhiking
deaths, rapes and murders in recent times.  "If it's a no-go, call me
back.  I can be there in about 2 hours."

 "Hopin' in two hours to have picked you up and be back with
Hannibal and the boys, if that's okay?"

 "Whatever, Murdock, you're at the helm."

 "Sorry, doc, ain't drivin' no ship here...."  He grinned to
himself at her simile.

 "Murdock, don't play word games with me.  What do I need to
have ready?"

 "Need some blood, anaesthesia, morphine, stuff like that for
a couple of gunshot wounds."

 "Where?"

 "One's went through his side, looks pretty clean, Face got
the bleeding pretty much under contorl -- don't think it hit anything
vital.  The other's in his thigh, nasty one, deep, bullet still in
there."  Murdock wavered, wondering whether to burden Maggie with
their other concern at this point.  "Uh, doc...."

 "Yeah, Murdock?"

 "He was caught in a explosion, right smack dab in the middle.
 He got hit by some flying stuff and we think he's got a concussion."
 

 "Okay, I can handle that.  You guys know to keep him awake?"

 "Yeah, Face and BA were working on that.  But... uh...."

 "What?!"  Maggie's patience was getting stretched very thin.
This kind of news was not something that ever made her better.

 "His hearing seems weird.... uh, gone.  Could this be a
problem?"

 Maggie shook her head. //Leave it to Hannibal to never do
things half way - oh, no, he always had to push the envelope to the
max.//  "Might be.  Probably just a side effect of the explosion."

 "I sure hope so, doc."  His voice didn't sound too convinced.

 "What are you not saying, Murdock?"

 "Just worried, Maggie.  If his hearing really goes, he'll be
a sitting duck."

 "Like when he was blinded that time?" ++

 "Yeah.  He depends on his senses more'n most, and if they're
missing, he's gonna be in deep bandini."

 "Why don't you wait until we see if we have a problem before
building it up?"  Maggie's sensible voice was designed to soothe the
pilot, but inside she was wondering the very same things, having
heard Murdock's description of Hannibal's injuries and the
circumstances surrounding them. //Oh, lord, Hannibal, what the hell
have you gotten yourself into *this* time?//

 "Yeah, right, doc.  You're right.  I'm just jumpin' the gun,
huh?"

 "Yeah, you know Hannibal - takes a lot more than a little
bump on the head to hold him down." //But given the right bump, it
could be fatal, dammit.// The doctor refused to dwell on what she
didn't know right now.  Bullet wounds ­ those were tangible and
she
knew they existed, so she would focus her energies in that direction.
 "Call me when you know what you're doing, Murdock, okay?  Like I
said, I can start driving now and even meet you halfway somewhere if
you think it would help."

 "I'll see, doc.  If it don't go well here, then, yeah, okay,
we'll go that route.  Beached whale out."

 "Lady doc out."

 Murdock secured the chopper as best he could, took out a gas
can from under the seat and set off on his fuel foray.

************

 Maggie Sullivan knew by now that she could never anticipate
what the wacky leader of the A-Team was going to throw her way next.
But times like this always left her feeling exceptionally vulnerable.
 Hannibal so far away and needing help and all she could do was sit
here and worry. //Damn!// But cursing him wasn't going to help
either, so she went into the surgery and began assembling what she
thought they might need.

 She looked for a long moment at some of the ear diagnostic
tools, wondering whether she should bring them. //No, if his hearing
is damaged, there's nothing I can do there anyway.  We'll have to
hope that time will heal it.// But she was beginning to feel the
effects of a gnawing worry.  What if Murdock was right?  If Hannibal
ever lost either his sight or hearing, he wouldn't last long out in
the open with the military so hell bent on finding - //and killing//
- him.  That thought depressed the hell out of her, as she considered
and then set the small hand-sized audiometer back down next to the
larger version sitting on the sidebar and tried to find something
else to occupy her mind as she waited for Murdock's call back.

**********
Next
 

++Jackie Edwards' "WAR HERO", 1986,   zine: "Adult Situations #1". ++

 


Silence by Rita Ractliffe

 

 


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