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BANKING ON SUCCESS

BANKING ON SUCCESS (first half)

By Fingers

 

Rating: R ( I think)

Warnings: Violence & blood, language, stated THREAT of non-cons, death of minor characters

Summary: A little straightforward trip to the bank goes awry for one of our Team....This story is set in the time period of the fourth season - when a certain posting of a certain colonel has been made to a certain state and yes I know coincidences like this just don't happen hehehehe.....

Disclaimer: The characters from  the A-Team tv series belong to ?SJC, certainly someone other than me, this story is written for enjoyment and no profit will be made from it.....

Comments- appreciated.

 

Authors notes: Thanks to Lark and Wallygator who helped me craft this fic. Also, thanks to those on the ATFF - especially Ldot -who commented on the draft, it helped me revise the fic ....

 

Copyright Mandy *Fingers* Hall 2001.

 

Enjoy......

 


 

 

BA growled even louder as the voice next to him queried, "Do you know, BA, that the true name for the moose is Alces alces? Although of course there are geographical variations on the name, in Alaska, it is Alces alces gigas...."  BA looked despairingly into the back of the van but only saw the sleeping bodies and decided that he wouldn't get any help there.  He glanced out onto the empty highway; the early morning shadows had still yet to burn away. BA reached and turned up the heating and wiped a tired hand over his face.  The job that they left behind them had been completed satisfactorily and the money paid over and transferred into their bank account.  BA was pleased that they also had a few days on the road ahead of them before them.  He idly wondered if Hannibal would be able to be persuaded to make a detour to Chicago, so he could see his momma.  He tuned back into what Murdock was saying.

 

"And in North America, of course they are called alces alces americanus."

 

"Will you stop that crazy gibber gabber with the moose talk, Fool!" hissed BA angrily and grabbed Murdock's jacket to make his point.

 

Murdock turned his eyes from the road ahead of them and smiled at BA. "Look, BA, there's Papa Moose waiting to greet us."

 

BA dropped Murdock and saw in the headlights a 1200 lb. moose standing right in the middle of the road. Knowing the damage that would be done to the van if he hit it, BA steered frantically away.  The headlights of the van failed to highlight the rock lying at the side of the road, and the van bounced and groaned as the rock got caught underneath.  BA winced as he came to a stop.  Within a few seconds, he was out of the van and checking out the damage.

 

@@@@

 

Once Murdock's head had stopped spinning from the wild glide across the road, he whipped around in his seat to check on Hannibal and Face in the back. "You guys okay?"

 

Hannibal checked himself over, reaching for his gun at the same time, only putting it down when he saw Murdock's anxious face peep over the top of the front seat.  He asked, "What happened?"

 

Murdock swallowed as he heard the angry murmuring from outside the van.  "Ummm, well, it was like this... Umm, me and BA were cha..." His explanation was interrupted by a moan from the floor of the van. Both men looked down to see Face moaning and stirring. 

 

Hannibal bent down and asked solicitously, "You okay, Face?"

 

Murdock piled out of the van and raced around to the slider. He opened it up and helped Face out of the van. He babbled, "You okay, Facey, you okay?"

 

Face winced as he felt the area of his stomach where it had collided with something in the van.  He put a hand up to ward Murdock off and moaned, "You weren't talking about moose again, were you, Murdock?"

 

A more bad tempered voice broke in, "Yeah, crazy fool made me drive over a rock."

 

Hannibal threw a glance to Face that said, ‘Take the captain elsewhere.' Seeing Face distract Murdock with a request to check out his bruises, Hannibal turned to BA and asked, "How bad is the damage, BA?"

 

BA stood up, wiping his hand on a dirty rag, and said; "Ah need to check out the underside of the engine. Can't do it here.  Rock caught the underside of the van - cracked the exhaust for sure, and the brake lines might have gone." BA took a deep breath in after finishing his litany of complaints and then continued, "Man just wait ‘til I get my hands on that Crazy Fool!"

 

Hannibal put up a gloved hand and scratched his chin. "BA, the van, how far can we drive with the van?"

 

BA shook his head and then, clutching at his gold chains, estimated, "Not far, Hannibal, not far."

 

Hannibal unfolded the map and lay it on the bonnet. He traced the route they were on and saw there was a small town, Moosehead, about five miles away.  "Will we get five miles?"

 

BA chewed on his lip and said, "As long as we take it slow."

 

Hannibal nodded, "Face, Murdock, let's get going."

 

@@@@

 

The driver yawned as the early morning light seeped into the sky. It had been an early start for him, but the days at this time of year were short, so time had to be maximised if he was to get a day's hiking in.  An orange light from the dash alerted him to the fact that he hadn't filled up with gas before he left either.  To his relief, he saw the lights of a small town ahead; he could fill up there and have some breakfast at the same time.  Decker relaxed and turned his mind back to calculating how long it was before he could retire.

 

@@@@

 

The mechanic tipped up his baseball hat and commented, "Your fuel line needs replacing, too.  Your brake lines need doing also, and there's a crack in your exhaust that needs to be repaired."

 

Hannibal waved BA's inevitable protests and asked, "How much and how long?"

 

The mechanic looked at the notations he'd made and grimaced, "Well... could be up to a day, maybe less. The parts will cost two hundred dollars, labor, another hundred dollars."

 

Face smiled and slipped a hand in his pocket and produced his wallet. He opened it and produced a card. "No problem."

 

The mechanic stared at the MasterCard and shook his head.  "Boss don't like them things; he takes cash only." ‘Typical townies, trust me to get two in a morning.' The mechanic flashed a glance at the station wagon, parked up until its owner could get to the bank and get some money.

 

Face, his smile dimming a little, asked, "Check?"

 

The mechanic shook his head, "Cash only."

 

Hannibal stepped in. He said, "We'll get to the bank and draw some money out. I'm hungry. Face, Murdock, you are with me.  BA, you staying here?"

 

BA nodded. "Nobody's going to mess with my van without me being here to watch."

 

Hannibal nodded and said, "I'll send some food over later."

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal rubbed his hands in anticipation as he sniffed the fine cooking smells that were coming out from the diner.  Before he went in to the diner, he paused and asked, "Anybody got any cash on them at all?"

 

Murdock shrugged, and his hands disappeared into his pockets. He brought out a yo-yo and a packet of gum. Hannibal turned to Face, who had a crestfallen look on his face.  He paused before asking and said, "Face?"

 

"'Bout $5, Hannibal."

 

Hannibal creased his eyebrows and commented, "That will buy one breakfast."

 

Murdock looked at his watch and helpfully chimed in with, "Opening time at the bank, Face."

 

Face took a lingering look at the diner and then said, "I hope it has an ATM.  I hate standing in line."

 

Hannibal chuckled, "You're just thinking about the security cameras! We'll order for you... what do you want?"

 

Face bit his lip trying to decide and then said, "Pancakes and syrup, Hannibal."

 

Hannibal smiled. "Don't be long, or they'll get cold."

 

Face grimaced at him slightly and walked off down towards the bank.

 

@@@@

 

 

Decker smiled at the woman teller as she counted the cash he'd just withdrawn.  He received a friendly smile back. ‘Much better than living somewhere like LA.'  Decker idly wondered whether he could retire to a town like this.  He looked around him. There were a few customers that had followed him in, all typical small town Americans.  He smiled at the woman who was being served next to him.  A draft of air hit him as the bank door opened up.  He signed the withdrawal slip and passed it back to the woman and received his money in return.  As he turned away from the counter, he decided that, yes, he could settle down in a town like this, small, compact, and most definitely no A -Te.........

 

@@@@

 

Face made his way over to the desk and grabbed a withdrawal slip and began to fill it in, by habit scanning his surroundings.  He smiled to himself as he wondered what had distracted BA so much to make him run over the rock. Again, Face scanned the crowd.  Just the usual small town customers of a small town bank. There was a homely looking woman teller, a keen white shirted manager serving a woman in her mid thirties, Face smiled as he started to imagine her in a bikini on the beach at Venice.  His smile was also born of relaxation, small town in Maine, the bank account was flush for once, there was no mad army chase, no goons chasing them, no Fullbright, no Deck.......

 

@@@@

 

Face knew without thinking about it that Decker had seen him; he mentally cursed himself for not being armed. He looked around: one door and one exit.  He licked his lips and wondered what Decker would do.

 

@@@@

 

Decker moved instinctively over to face Peck.  "So what are you doing here, Peck?  Come to case the joint?"

 

Face just smiled smoothly back. "Well, actually Colonel, I was withdrawing a little money just like, you know, any regular guy would. What are you doing here?"

 

Decker looked around the bank and saw that two men were at the teller's window now. He moved back a little to let the woman between him and Peck.

 

Face took the opportunity to move a step or two nearer the door. He felt far too close to Decker. He was sure that Decker wouldn't shoot him. As far as he could see, the MP wasn't armed.  As he moved, eyes still on Decker, he noticed that the man was lifting his arms up.  Face thought, ‘Typical Hannibal, making a grand entrance!' He turned his head to greet his commanding officer and then lifted his hands in the air, too. 

 

@@@@

 

The leader of the gang smiled at the five people stood staring at him, their hands helplessly in the air, "Good mornin' to you folks.  I'd like you all to lie on the floor.  If everyone keeps calm and does what they are told to do, we'll come out this just fine."

 

@@@@

 

Face caught Decker's eyes as he moved to the floor  and shook his head, breathing out a sigh of relief when the older man's eyes were steady and that he was following instructions, too.  Face took that as a crumb of comfort; at least he wouldn't be alone when the time came to break the siege.  He wondered how long it would be before Hannibal realised what was going down.  Face closed his eyes briefly as his stomach rumbled, reminding him his breakfast was overdue.

 

@@@@

 

Face lifted his head up slightly from the floor as he heard whispered orders from the leader to appraise the situation. He counted five masked raiders in the main body of the hall, and from the sounds echoing from the back offices, at least another three with maybe the two people he'd seen earlier as hostages, He turned to assessing the other people in the bank.  There were three others in the banking hall beside him and Decker. To the woman who'd been crying, Face flashed her a confident smile, making sure he had eye contact with her before he went on to visually check the others.  He was relieved. They all seemed to be men who were middle aged, no young hotshot who was about to do something stupid.  Face visually checked each one; in the surprise of the raid, he hadn't seen anyone get hit, but he wanted to make sure.  He swore at himself, not only because he didn't have his gun with him (‘Who'd have thought I needed it in this hick town?'), but also because he'd let the appearance of Decker put him off his guard so much that he didn't notice the men coming into the bank. 

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal glanced at the clock and at the plate of rapidly cooling pancakes and syrup that lay uneaten next to him.  He glanced at Murdock, who had seemed to calm down once he was removed from the van and BA's presence.  Well, calm down was a relative term; Murdock had begun to draw a face on his plate with ketchup.  Hannibal leant back in his chair. "Murdock, can you go and find Face and tell him his pancakes are getting cold?"

 

Murdock pulled a face and concentrated on drawing the face. "Just got to finish my work of art, Colonel."

 

Hannibal raised his eyebrows and said, "Now Captain, he's taking too long at the bank. Go and get him."

 

Murdock pouted a little and asked, "Will you keep hold of my plate until I get back? I don't want my work of art to be casually destroyed."

 

Hannibal nodded, "Of course, Murdock, I'll protect it on my honor as an officer and a gentleman."

 

"Good enough for me. Be back in five."

 

Murdock jumped up off his seat and bounced out of the diner. Outside, the cool autumn wind bit into his face, and Murdock zipped up his jacket and brought his collar high as he made his way down the main sidewalk of the quiet town.  He kept his eyes open but saw little to alert him. He passed the garage, vaguely hearing BA and the mechanic talk over the repairs to the van.  The vehicles parked along the side of the sidewalk testified the town to being the centre of the local farming and outdoor community, dependant on themselves rather than outsiders.  Murdock suddenly felt the urge to be back in LA; all four of them stood out like a sore thumb in a town like this.  He saw the small modern bank building standing proud its own plot of land, next to the church at the end of the sidewalk.  He counted the vehicles pulled up in the parking lot provided and frowned as he saw only four.  ‘Hell of a lot of people must just park up and then walk to it.'  Murdock slowed his steps, his mind pulled back from the finer points of ketchup art, his eyes focused on the doorway of the bank, which was sensibly shut against the cold wind. He licked his lips as he tried to work out what was making his all of his senses go on alert.  He looked around him and saw that the few people that were around were carrying on their business as usual.  Murdock flicked his eyes to the bank and frowned again. He saw nothing out of place, nothing moving, nothing going in or out.  He stopped dead in his tracks.  He licked his lips and hoped the lack of activity just meant that the service was poor.

 

@@@@

 

Inside the bank, Face managed to make contact with Decker's eyes. Relieved the MP was going to be sensible, he decided to wait it out. He began to size up the gang members and then winced as he heard a muffled yelp of pain from the woman teller. Moving his head carefully, he began to seek out the positions of the gang members. He guessed that at least two must be behind the screen, trying to get at the safe.  Face licked his lips and wondered how to approach this, when all hell let loose.  The ring of the alarm bell was deafening. Face turned his head around quickly and saw that the other gang members had become panicked.  He heard with a sickening sense of dread the click of a safety going off.  He saw the leader raise his M16 towards him and the others. He decided after a look at Decker that he had to do something.  He jumped and was surprised to hear three shots in quick succession, and then as he fell to the ground, rolling on top of another body, a fourth and then a fifth.  The pain hit like a big wave, from his leg and then a second later from pain erupted from something crashing into his head. As the pain began to crest, he let the blackness take it away.

 

@@@@

 

 

All of a sudden, the alarm bell went off and then cut off suddenly and then in the eerie silence that followed the cut off sound, Murdock's sensitive, attuned hearing heard a series of familiar sounds that made his blood run cold.  ‘Shit!' People piled out of the store that was closest to him, a general store, his mind confusedly registered. He shouted and ran towards them, herding them back into the store. "Get back, get back!" He followed them in, standing station at the front of the store.

 

He heard a man, the storeowner he thought, shout, "I've called the police!" 

 

Murdock was frantically hoping that Face would be found among the small, confused clutch of people that milled around trying to see out of the store windows. He glanced back along the street and saw Hannibal sauntering quickly up the street, along with a clutch of other interested folks. Murdock came out of the store and met Hannibal halfway, having seen BA look out of the garage and signal that he would be ready to move.

 

Hannibal glanced around Murdock and noted there was no one with him. Biting down on his anxiety, he asked quietly, "Report."

 

Murdock shook his head, panting a little, "Alarm went off before I got there."

 

"Shots?"

 

Murdock looked at the ground and then back up at Hannibal, "Four or five, sir." 

 

Hannibal looked at the cigar in his hand with disgust and threw it away.  He muttered, "Get a radio from the van and get an observation post.  The police on the way?" Murdock nodded. Hannibal looked around him and began to think of the geography of the area. The town was fifty miles or so from the next town in either direction along the main road; mountains and lakes bordered the town on most sides. Getting a SWAT team in would take time, and it was unlikely that the sheriff would have experience in dealing with these sort of events.  Hannibal asked, "How many people inside, do you think?"

 

Murdock shook his head, "Difficult to say... four vehicles in the parking lot, sir."

 

Hannibal nodded, watching as finally two beat-up police trucks arrived outside the bank to be greeted by a burst of fire.  Both Hannibal and Murdock sprinted across to the garage and grabbed the rifles and radio that BA held out to them. 

 

Hannibal noted with relief that the crowd had suddenly thinned out somewhat. 

 

@@@@

 

Sheriff Dixon held onto his weapon and inclined his head to check on his three deputies and saw that they were all still firing, although, like him, they were trapped beneath their vehicle.  Suddenly, covering fire began, and he saw that the bullets were tracing a pattern on the ground in front of the bank.  He looked around urgently to see who was helping and saw just two men each firing from trees in the churchyard.  The silver haired man began waving with his hand to indicate him to move back.  Dixon decided to follow the man's advice and shouted over, "Johnson, James, Conrad, move back now. Leave the vehicles."

 

He waited until the three deputies had moved and then retreated himself. Secure, he watched the two men slither down their trees and work their way back to the safety zone.  Signalling Johnson and James to back him up, he greeted the two strangers with, "Thanks for what you did back there, and you are under arrest.  Johnson, James, take them back to the jailhouse, fingerprint them and lock them up." Noting a shifting of their eyes, he said, "Any more of you about?"

 

Hannibal looked at Murdock and then nodded to nobody in particular, "One in the bank..."

 

The sheriff looked at Hannibal and asked again, "Anyone else?"

 

Hannibal quickly glanced at Murdock and then admitted, "One in the garage."

 

The sheriff smiled slightly and put a hand up to stop the deputies taking the pair away.  Looking at Hannibal speculatively, he said quietly, "Boys, go and get our friend in the garage and find out what they are doing here."

 

One of the deputies clenched his fist around the rifle he carried and commented, "Sheriff..."

 

"Just do it, boys. We don't have time to debate things here."

 

Hannibal remarked, "No, we don't, Sheriff.  Seems as though you have a little siege on your hands."

 

The sheriff smiled back and said quietly, "Yes, and you might just be the back up boys for it, so I'd shut up if I were you."

 

Hannibal opened his mouth and then shut it again.  The sheriff turned away to consult with his deputies.

 

@@@@

 

Decker watched helplessly as the bleeding, unconscious man was attacked by two of the gang.  His attention was grabbed by the sound of a woman sobbing and pleading behind the counter.  Shrugging internally, there was little he could do to help there; he moved his focus back to the confused situation in the banking hall.

 

@@@@

 

 

Face felt the pain stab him back to consciousness. ‘Feels like I‘ve been shot.' He felt the warm stickiness of the hand that was protecting the leg where it hurt the most and decided he had been shot.  Without opening his eyes, he let his hearing try to give him the information his spinning brain needed. He could hear voices and bursts of automatic gunfire, both from within and without the bank, two women sobbing, a man groaning, and someone else protesting.  Turning his senses inward, he catalogued where it hurt - ribs, head, kidneys, leg. He winced as he felt a boot connect with his hand that was lying over his leg wound. He winced again as he felt the movement of the broken rib as he tried to breathe through the pain.  He winced for a third time, when he heard a voice whisper, "Peck, damn you, wake up!"

 

Face cracked open an eye and wasn't surprised to find it would only open halfway. He was surprised to find a concerned Decker looking his way.  He let himself groan when the hammer like object hit his wound again.  He saw Decker nod slightly and then closed his eye again.

 

Face waited until the pain had ebbed away slightly and concentrated on working out what had happened and why he was still alive. He heard a body move over to him and so positioned his head so that the man could whisper into his ear.  He hoped Decker would remember this tactic that had been developed for Vietnam.

 

Decker smiled grimly and briefly as he saw Peck change the position of his head.  He whispered very quietly, "What did you try to do that stupid thing for? Damn near got you and everybody else killed. Just listen.  Leader's down... guess he got in the way of one of the bullets meant for you... still alive though, as far as I can tell.  Manager's dead; he set the alarm off... the first of the bullets were for him.  Female teller seems okay. She's opened the safe for them. Two of them are packing the money.  Seem a bit hyped." Decker broke off as he saw one of the gang approach; he moved back.

 

Face heard Decker's voice stop and prepared himself for more pain and wasn't surprised when it arrived, this time to his kidneys.  He tried to suppress the yelp that grew in his throat, but couldn't.  He heard a low growl beside him and dimly heard a deep voice saying, "Coward, kicking a man when he's down."

 

Face winced when he heard Decker's groan, as no doubt his kidneys were attacked.  When he heard the guard move away, he whispered, "Thanks. How many times was I..."

 

"Just the once, upper right thigh. You're bleeding from both sides... must have gone through."

 

Face nodded and realised that the automatic gunfire had ceased. He looked up and saw through the haze of pain a hooded figure move from the doors to the man groaning on the floor. 

 

@@@@

 

Kurt looked at his bleeding, groaning leader and asked Marco, "How's he doing?"

 

Marco looked up and shook his head, "Not good, man. Needs to get to a hospital.  I'm sorry... should've stopped Stevo when..."

 

Kurt shook his head, his cold gray eyes reflecting anger; they flicked from his leader to the huddled, forgotten body on the floor. "He was incompetent... should have never have switched his attention from the hostages."

 

Marco glanced up from the bullet wound and asked, "Why didn't you kill the hero, boss?"

 

Kurt nodded at the change in his status and turned to view the hostages, all of whom were lying on the floor. He looked at the blond haired man.  He crooked a finger at Pete and ordered, "Bring Mr. F*****N' Hero over here." 

 

Pete scrambled to obey, hauling up the blond guy and dragging him over to Kurt.

 

@@@@

 

Face tensed as he saw the guy with the M-16 mutter an order and saw the gang member move behind him.  He managed to indicate to Decker not to move when he was dragged over to Mr. M-16. 

 

Face saw the flatness in the man's eyes and shuddered and thought, ‘Psycho.' He smiled as best he could through the pain and put out a bloody hand. "Nice to meet you. I'm Arturo Wainwright."

 

Kurt ignored the man's outstretched hand and looked him up and down. The leg of the jeans was soaked with blood, and his shirt was torn, showing glimpses of fresh and some old bruises. He raised an eyebrow at those.  Moving around the man, he addressed the hostages, "Okay folks, because of the stupid heroics of two of your number, my boss here is not very well.  So for a while, we'll need your cooperation. Have we got that?"

 

 

Face could just imagine the scene, the man with the big gun waving it around, two women and four middle aged or older unarmed guys.  ‘Peck, you really screwed it up. Why did you go then?' Face felt his ribs and knew he would have been faster if he hadn't had that bruise to slow him down.  His mind wandered to what Hannibal would be doing now but was jerked back from his thoughts by someone pulling on his hair and spinning him around.  Fighting down the urge to fight, he let the hand guide him and gratefully dropped to his knees. He let out a small cry as someone snatched his arms behind his back and twisting them tightly and held them there.  His leg began to throb even more than it did when he was standing up.

 

Kurt looked at the man on his knees before him and said to the hostages who were now looking up at him, "This man has not been so cooperative.  Have you, Mr. Wainwright?" Face gazed steadily out towards Decker, ignoring Mr. M16, and then slowly nodded.  Kurt smiled. "So what are we going to do with Mr. Hero?"

 

Face turned and smiled at the man. "Kill me like you did the manager?" Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Decker shift a little. 

 

Kurt's eyes darkened a little as he reached out to slap the smirking blond's face. "You little ****.  Oh yes, I'll kill you, but not now, not quickly or neatly, not like I was going to. You'll come with us, and I'll make sure you know that you are dying."

 

Marco's voice cut in, "Boss, can you come here?"

 

As he went past the now slumped figure of Face, Kurt aimed a kick into his unprotected stomach and smiled at the little yelp of unexpected pain that was heard.

 

Face curled up as best he could to ease the pain. What made it better was that he had made sure he would be kept alive now.  He could feel the warm stickiness of the blood flowing down his leg and knew that the fluttering on the edge of his vision wasn't a good thing; he needed to keep awake and alert.  While he had the energy to focus, he raised his eyes to Decker, who now sat like the rest against the sidewall of the bank.  Before the fluttering overcame his vision, Face managed to make contact with him.

 

Decker concentrated on checking the fellow hostages. The man at the end was looking sweaty, and his breathing sounded a little off. Decker thinned his lips and checked the other man and saw that he seemed okay but afraid, appalled at the violence that had erupted.  He checked the two women. The middle aged woman was still crying, but quieter now, and the younger, maybe mid thirties, was staring at the blond figure slumped in the middle of the banking hall. He followed her gaze and saw Peck's eyes blink at him before they closed and the head rolled a little. Decker heard the woman make a little eek sound and put a hand on her knee.  He then looked up at the patrolling guards whose attention was on the small group working on their leader.  He said to the nearest one,  "Excuse me, son."

 

The guard came along,  looked at the old man, and sneered, "Want to go to the bathroom, old man?"

 

Decker kept his temper under check and meekly replied, "No, I... the blond guy."

 

"Mr. Hero?"

 

"Yeah, is he still alive?"

 

The guard whirled and saw the curled up body.  "Dave, cover me."  He ran over and took the guy's pulse and nodded in relief.  The pulse was a little fast, and the man's breathing sounded fast, but at least he was still alive. He knew how angry Kurt would be if he died. The guard moved across to Kurt.

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal held BA's gaze as he was marched across the street towards them.  He caught BA's sidelong glance to the bank in the corner.  Hannibal turned to considering the sheriff, who was now looking at a map of the town. 

 

@@@@

 

The sheriff gave little consideration to the three strangers he'd rounded up.  Instinct told him they were no threat despite their fancy rifles.  He indicated to Johnson to start cuffing them.  He again looked at the map of the town and area, something he knew of by heart. He also knew the transport times of the SWAT team from Bangor.  He looked at the bank and sighed; it would be up to his men and however many state troopers he could find to hold them in the bank until then. If they got out, there would be a high chance the gang would disappear into the back woods with the hostages and the money.

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal stared at the sheriff as Deputy Johnson began to cuff them.  He caught BA's eyes and shook his head slightly; this would have to be handled delicately. Within an hour or so, the place would probably be swarming with SWAT teams, and then no doubt, the military.  If they were found in custody here in the middle of a bank raid... He turned and saw Murdock anxiously looking at the bank and then back at him. ‘He looks just like a kid who expects their dad to pull something impossible off for him.' Licking his lips, he made a decision. He coughed to attract the attention of the sheriff. "Sir, you're making a grave mistake here."

 

The sheriff looked up from the bank plans he was looking at. "And just what would that be?"

 

Hannibal drew himself into the picture of a soldier at attention. "I am Colonel Roderick Decker."

 

"Oh, I see. Where's your uniform then?"

 

Hannibal swept his eyes around his team and saw that both BA and Murdock had caught on immediately to his scam.  He turned his eyes back on the sheriff.  "We are a Special Forces unit.  We don't tend to go around on exercises advertising ourselves. Me and my men were in this area on business." Hannibal paused and looked at the sheriff, who seemed about to ask for ID.  "If you want ID, you'll have to call the Pentagon, and I can assure you it will take you two hours to get to the right individual, and I don't think you have that time, Sheriff."

 

The sheriff moved away from the bank plans and asked, "So who is this then?" pointing at Murdock.

 

Hannibal smiled, "Captain Murdock... and this is my sergeant." Hannibal glowered at BA not to react when he didn't introduce him.

 

The sheriff nodded at the introductions and then objected, "A little old, aren't we, for a Special Forces team?"

 

Hannibal raised his eyebrows and said, in a quiet, steel smooth voice, "We weren't too slow to save your asses thirty minutes ago."

 

He heard the step behind him and knew it was Johnson, but he kept his eyes on the sheriff.

 

The sheriff read the quiet dignity, and yes, authority that ran through the man's bearing.  He nodded his head towards the bank.  "So one of yours is in there? Armed?"

 

Hannibal slid his eyes to the right and saw Murdock shake his head. He replied, "No. We keep our arms locked away."

 

A voice behind them supplied, "That's right, Deke, big locker in the back of their vehicle.  Found the keys... it's full of weapons and ammunition."

 

The sheriff nodded and sucked on his teeth a bit.  Hannibal pushed, "How long will it take the SWAT team to get here?"

 

The sheriff looked up and said after a short while, "Three hours at least."

 

Murdock stepped forward, "Why so long?"

 

Hannibal interjected, "Murdock's usually in charge of our transport needs."

 

The sheriff replied testily, "This ain't like living in the big city.  We don't have SWAT teams just hanging around in every little town.  We have to rely on ourselves a lot."  The sheriff almost seemed embarrassed by his outburst and moved away back to the plans.

 

Hannibal said quietly, "You know they're likely to move before the SWAT team can get here."

 

The sheriff growled, "We can contain them."

 

BA snorted loudly at that and muttered, "Going to get them hostages killed.  Just you and three men."

 

The sheriff turned away from his car and said, "I can call on the state troopers."

 

Hannibal looked at the bank again and said, "How long will they take?" The sheriff met his eyes and then looked towards the floor.  Hannibal stated firmly, "Too long, and then of course they'd all expect briefings about what has been done." Hannibal turned towards Murdock and asked, "Captain, what did they say in that report about multiple agency operations?"

 

Murdock shifted where he stood and queried back, "Uh sir, isn't that report Top Secret? Should we be discussing it with a civilian?"

 

Hannibal turned back to the sheriff, who was bristling slightly at being described as a civilian and smiled disarmingly, "Sorry, Sheriff, the captain... well, all I can say about what we do is usually go in after the civi.. police forces have tried to do something and failed... it can get bloody at times." Hannibal glanced back towards the bank and said quietly, "They may already have killed, you know; gunfire this early in the process is a bad sign." He broke off the thought and shook his head.

 

The sheriff glanced towards the bank and then towards the microphone that he was about to pick up request for help.

 

Murdock stepped into the uncomfortable silence, "Excuse me, Sheriff sir, my other tactical specialty is the psychological aspect of warfare and terrorist and other operations."

 

The sheriff looked at him closely and said, "Oh?"

 

Murdock, encouraged, said coolly, "I have observed many psychos in my time on this team, and I would say that those operations that have multi agencies involved and don't have a negotiating team set up within the first hour are the ones that do tend to go wrong."

 

"Wrong?"

 

"Yeah, wrong."

 

"Like in what way?"

 

Murdock looked to Hannibal for support.  Hannibal smoothly commented, "Yeah, where we were last month?"

 

BA said without thinking, "Chicago."

 

"Yeah, Chicago.  Big bank robbery.  By the end of it, three or four agencies were involved." Hannibal shook his head slowly.  "We were handed the job too late.  By the time we got there, only the money was left to rescue."

 

The sheriff looked suspicious. "I didn't hear of any bank robbery on the news."

 

Hannibal nodded his head wisely. "Exactly. The state authorities wanted to keep it a secret and the fact that they decided to call us in too late.  Typical politicians. Poor families and friends of the victims."

 

The sheriff turned and looked at the bank building again.  He said quietly, distractedly, "Wasn't no secret the bank was expecting a large deposit of cash from some land deal."

 

Hannibal let the man have a few quiet moments. In a town like this, almost everybody would know someone who was involved in it.  His spirits lifted when the sheriff took his hat off and, cursing under his breath, ran a hand over his thinning hair.  They lifted even more when the sheriff looked him in the eye.  Hannibal stepped forward and queried, "Are those the plans of the bank?"

 

Before he even knew what he was doing, the sheriff said, "Yes, no way in or out except through those doors."

 

Hannibal sighed and started to consider options in his head.  He asked, "Do you know how many are in there?"

 

The sheriff nodded. "Just about, I think. There'll be two staff, and Johnson, how many people have been reported missing?"

 

"Three we know for sure, and Joe said a townie called in for gas earlier but didn't have any cash, sir."

 

Hannibal said, "Then there are seven hostages in the bank." He whirled again to view the small building and sighed. The weaponry that had been displayed indicated a strong determined group. He swore as he moved his hands to get a cigar for him to think on.

 

The sheriff looked up in confusion and after a moment's delay ordered, "Johnson, unlock them."

 

Hannibal smiled, "What about the SWAT team?"

 

The sheriff smiled back and said, "Don't need them, got you instead."

 

Hannibal bit off the end of the cigar and turned to worrying about how to end the siege.

 

@@@@

 

Kurt turned angrily to Pete after the last of the gurgling breaths had faded, leaving only silence. "What?"

 

Pete took a step back and said quietly, respecting the moment, "Boss, Mr. Hero there he needs some medical attention, I guess."

 

Kurt glanced over to where the blond man lay.  He nodded and then turned back to his late leader and closed the staring eyes.  Wiping his hands on his trousers, he strode angrily off to where Face was lying and looked down at him.  He looked up and ranged his eyes over the hostages, most of whom shrunk back.  He pointed at the woman and the man who was next to her. "You two get over here and do something for him. He dies, you all die, understand?"

 

They both nodded and slowly moved out to the stricken man.

 

Decker asked, "May we have a first aid kit?"

 

Kurt set his mouth and began to answer, but the sudden ringing of the telephone cut through his answer.  He swung around to answer it. "Yes?"

 

Hannibal said, "Decker here, chief negotiator."

 

Kurt sarcastically said, "Took your time to get in touch."

 

Hannibal smoothly commented, "We are a little far from our base, Mr?"

 

Kurt smiled, "M16, you can call me Mr. M16."

 

"Okay, Mr. M16, is there anything we can do to make you comfortable?"

 

Kurt smiled and looked down at the blond man, stirring under the ministration of the pair as they fixed a makeshift tourniquet on the bleeding leg.  "Yeah, as a matter of fact, you can.  We need a first aid kit."

 

Hannibal paled slightly. "What about food or water?"

 

"We won't be here long enough.  Bring the kit to the door. You can come yourself. I like to see who I am speaking to."

 

@@@@

 

Face, roused by the tugging on his leg, flailed around with his arms trying to prevent whoever it was from touching the wound.  "Murdock! Shit, it hurts!"

 

Decker grabbed hold of the hand and nodded to the woman, Elaine, to continue trying to clean and patch the wound up. Smoothing a hand over the head of Peck, Decker whispered, "Peck, hey there, calm down. We're trying to do the best we can."

 

Face opened his swollen eyes as wide as he could and, regaining his composure, nodded. "How long was I out?"

 

"Not long."

 

Face nodded again. 

 

Decker asked, "What made you try?"

 

Face winced at the memory of his desperate lunge. "Guy was going to kill the manager and then us. I could tell. Is he?"

 

Decker nodded, leaning back as the guard named Pete approached them. 

 

Face moaned quietly, "My ribs hurt."

 

Elaine took one of the man's hands in his and said, "You'll be all right."

 

Face looked into the worried brown eyes and smiled as best he could through the pain. "I'm already all right... are you married, by any chance?"

 

Elaine flushed a little under the keen blue eyes and said, "Yes."

 

Pete broke into the conversation and pulled Elaine's hand from Face's and said, "Really, sister, that's too bad."

 

Elaine looked at the gloved hand holding hers and, despite herself, asked, "Why?"

 

Pete sneered beneath his mask. "Because I hate coming between a man and his wife.  You know, I think I'm going to enjoy you later." Pete laughed at the worried look on the woman's face and said, "Later." Bending down after releasing the woman, he pulled Face upright.  "Boss wanted you once you were awake."

 

Decker stood up and protested, "That man needs a medical kit before your leader..."

 

Pete pulled out a knife and pressed the point into Decker's chest, "Pig, you don't fool me with your hunting clothes. You're a pig, right?" He pressed the point further down. "I like scratching pigs, except for the fact that you smell of pork when you're cut, don't you? First, I'm going to take your friend here to Kurt; he wants him." Pete smiled at the slight reaction in the eyes. "I heard you call him Peck.  Called himself Wainwright before. I wonder which of you is right."

 

Before Decker could answer Pete returned the knife to its sheath and turned away.  Decker ran a frustrated hand through his hair.  He looked up briefly as he heard Peck stumble away and met the blue eyes. He could have sworn a twinkle in them. He shook his head to clear it and turned to making sure the others were okay.

 

@@@@

 

Kurt looked at the pale man swaying before him and smiled. "You don't look so heroic now, Mr. Hero.  I've got a task for you to do. We're going to go outside the door, and you're going to go and get that first aid kit you need."

 

Face let his eyes slip down to the body of the leader, now cooling, and said, "I wonder why you didn't ask for it earlier." He winced as the hand struck him across his bruised chin.

 

Kurt hissed, "Be quiet.  Your death won't come any easier or sooner no matter how much you ask for it." He grabbed Face and walked with him to the door.

 

@@@@

 

Murdock kept the binoculars fixed on the door of the bank and radioed in as soon as he saw the doors open.  "Hannibal, there's movement."

 

A terse "received" was all that came back in reply.  Murdock kept his rifle trained on the door as he saw first one figure and then another step to the door.  He brought his rifle up at once and was about to transmit again, when he heard Hannibal say, "We see, Murdock. Keep calm." He kept the rifle steady and trained on the gang leader.

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal was glad that he was wearing a thick county police department coat as he stepped forward with the medical kit. It hid the bulletproof vest and also sheltered him from the cold, snow carrying wind that was beginning to disturb the trees.  He kept his eyes fixed on what he presumed was the leader of the gang and didn't even look at the man that Kurt had placed in front of his body as a shield. He challenged, "So, who do you need this for?" ‘Lieutenant, what the hell happened in there?'

 

Kurt looked the negotiator up and down and said, "So, Decker."

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal nodded internally at the messages that Face was frantically relaying with tiny hand movements.  Hannibal hoped that Kurt would think that the movements, if he even noticed them, were tremors from a wounded and frightened man. The messages contained information about the hostages, gang members, and then finally, a more modern signal, the one for Decker.  Hannibal licked his suddenly dry lips in reaction to the news; within a second, he'd recovered his composure, just one more thing to add to the jazz.

 

@@@@

 

Kurt caught the action and smiled beneath his mask. ‘This old guy would be easy to break.'  He put a hand out and smiled. "Nice meeting you, Officer Decker.  Don't call me. When I've decided what I want, I will call you."

 

Hannibal grimly smiled back and said, "Surely now we have proved our good faith, you can let one hostage go?"

 

Kurt smiled and nodded. "Sure. Give me five minutes, you stay there, we'll bring him out to you. Wainwright's coming back with me, aren't you? We have some business to settle later."

 

@@@@

 

Face let Kurt roughly drag him into the bank and collapsed panting against the pillar at which he was thrown.  He felt strong arms grab him, and he folded to the floor slowly rather than quickly.  Face held onto one of the arms and whispered, "He's going to let one of them go. Umm, the negotiator's called Decker."

 

Decker almost smiled, but as soon noted the seriousness in Peck's eyes, he nodded. "My name's Smith then. John Smith." Face nodded and then almost passed out.  Decker hunkered down and pulled the kit to him, watching carefully as the guards huddled around Kurt and then erupted in laughter.  He sought a bandage and antiseptic and began to cut away the trousers so that he could see the wound better.

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal stood still where he'd been left, not even turning to acknowledge BA or Murdock; he knew where they were.  He came to life as the door to the bank opened and watched silently as the same masked man came out again. This time he stopped just in front of the door. 

 

Kurt shouted, "We've decided who to release! Come and get him."

 

Hannibal's face didn't move out of its stony stillness as the body was thrown from inside the bank and hit the road. Hannibal nodded; he should have expected this.  He moved forward and picked up the young man's body and tenderly carried it away past the abandoned cordon of police vehicles.

 

The sheriff took off his hat and wiped his mouth as the body was laid on the gurney of the ambulance.  "That's Charlie Jimson's boy.  Damn it, he was going to get married next month."

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal watched the ambulance pull away slowly and ran a hand over his hair. "BA."

 

BA growled, "Faceman's hurt."

 

Hannibal nodded and then said, "That's not the best of it." Taking BA aside, he said, "Decker's in there with Face."

 

BA looked at Hannibal as if he was expecting him to say it was a joke, but at last he just remarked, "Oh man, oh man."

 

Hannibal made a few snap decisions. "BA, make sure the van is ready to move at any time. Take the seats out; make it look normal.  Park it on the street anywhere." Hannibal paused and said, "Get a sign. Make it look like a delivery van, okay?"

 

"Delivery van, Hannibal, delivering what, man?"

 

Hannibal snapped, "Anything, Sergeant. Just choose anything and then turn the keys over to Murdock."

 

BA opened his mouth and then decided not to argue. He shook his head and moved off towards the garage, just hoping that the mechanic had already started to repair the van.

 

@@@@

 

Face licked his lips and winced as a deep breath made his broken rib scrape against something.  He turned as he felt a hand grasp his again.  He managed to smile. "Hi, Elaine."

 

Elaine smiled tremulously. "I, I came to check you were okay."

 

Face winced and glanced over to the others. Decker was now back in the pack. To Elaine, he said quietly, "Well, nothing a week on the beach wouldn't cure. How are the others?"

 

Elaine thinned her lips. "Everyone is okay, but Mr. Gregson has heart problems. I'm worried."

 

Face nodded and said, "I know, that's okay, we're going to get out of here. Can you check my bandage? It feels wet." 

 

Elaine nodded and went to work. "I think it needs another bandage. I'll put one on."

 

@@@@

 

Pete watched the woman work on Mr. Hero and suddenly remembered the conversation with the old pig. Smirking, he moved over towards Kurt, who was sat counting the money.

 

"Boss?"

 

Kurt looked up and distractedly said, "Yes? Sit down, Pete."

 

"We may have a problem."

 

Kurt became fully alert. "Oh?"

 

"Yeah, Mr. Hero and that old guy treating him, I think they are cops."

 

"Why is that?" Kurt snapped.

 

Pete took his time to answer; he wanted to get it straight in his mind. "The old guy smells cop. I can smell pork however it's dressed.  He knows the younger guy. His name isn't Wainwright... the old guy called him Peck."

 

Kurt stood up slowly and nodded. "Good work, Pete. Get Marco, nice and quiet now. We don't want them to know that we are onto them."

 

Pete nodded and moved away.

 

@@@@

 

Face noted the movement of Pete away from the table where Kurt had sat resting and flashed a glance over to Decker, who at that point was checking the old man Elaine had pointed out a few minutes ago.  He looked up at Elaine and said quietly, "Elaine, I'm fine now. You go back to the group."

 

Elaine, halfway through her bandaging, shook her head. "Hardly started."

 

Face sighed, as he knew it was too late anyway. He commented, "Keep very still, Elaine."

 

Elaine stopped and asked, "Why?"

 

Kurt stepped in front of them. "Because there is a gun pointing at your head.  Now, are you going to tell me what your proper name is and your title?" Face played for time, aware that Kurt was blocking his view of Decker. He winced as he heard a deep groan and then the sound of two slaps.  Kurt smiled. "Two little piglets out on a hunting trip?"

 

Face pulled himself upright, knowing that his body would pay for the adrenaline pumping around his body.  "I don't understand." The sound of another slap reverberated through the hall.

 

Kurt stooped over him. "Piglet, one of my friends smelt pork in here.  You're his friend, and you know policemen go around in twos."

 

"I don't know him."

 

Kurt shook his head and said, "You know, because you are so used to truth, justice, and the American way. You pigs can't lie for anything.  Come on, I want names."

 

Face swallowed as he heard the trigger draw back. He said in a rush, "He's a captain, Internal Affairs, New Jersey.  I'm undercover, please, I'm a specialist. I'm a lieutenant..."

 

Kurt stepped back and turned around to Pete. "You were right, Pete. Good.  You can have that small reward I promised you, just a kiss for now, but I promise when we get back to camp..."

 

Face looked up into the frightened eyes of Elaine and then quickly across to Decker, who by now had been dragged across to the group.  When Pete laid a hand on Elaine's arm as if to drag her up, she moaned, "No, please, please."

 

Pete started to lift his mask, and Face laughed, "Really, Captain, these people don't have any intelligence, do they? Typical small time crooks."

 

Pete stopped and glared at Face and then Decker as he belatedly joined in with, "Yeah, they don't," while at the same time looking at the lieutenant, wondering how in his bleeding and bruised state he could keep functioning the way he did.  He narrowed his eyes and tried to focus past the pain of his bruises.  He knew he needed to be aware to follow the con.

 

Kurt realised at last what Mr. Hero meant.  He glared at Pete and said, "You'll have to keep it for later, when we're back at the camp.  Don't want any possibility of these two pigs being alive to identify you."

 

Pete growled, "Why don't you shoot them now, Boss?"

 

Kurt turned angrily to him and said, "Because I want to play with them later. You get your bonus out of this, I get mine, don't I, Mr. Hero?"

 

Face nodded reluctantly, "I guess." He watched as Pete let go of Elaine's arm and moved away. Elaine after a few moments crawled away and curled up by the side of the older woman teller who took her into her arms.  Face leant his head back and closed his eyes for a second. He flicked them open again after regaining his composure and saw that the gang members had moved away in conference.

 

@@@@

 

Decker sat by his side and asked, "What do we do now, Lieutenant? Do you think there will be an assault?"

 

Face ran his eyes around the room and shook his head.  He said weakly, "Don't think so, Guess the police would try it, but Hannibal.... Hannibal wouldn't risk it. There isn't any obvious entry point except for the front door."

 

Decker grunted quietly, his eyes marking the positions of the gang members. "He always prefers the front door approach."

 

Face shook his head. He felt lightheaded and dizzy all of a sudden. "Only when it's only us he has to risk, not when there are hostages."

 

Decker turned and assessed his temporary colleague's condition and said, "Son, you look terrible."

 

Face nodded and agreed, "Feel terrible."

 

Decker sighed and said, "Lie down."

 

"Floor's hard, harder than the ground."

 

"Rest your head on my thighs."

 

Face, too tired and full of pain to argue, merely nodded and slid down into the position commanded and curled up onto his side.  Decker felt for his pulse and was amazed that it was still only just above normal. ‘Kid must be fit.' Sighing, he also realised that Peck had positioned himself so he could see what was going on in the bank. He leaned over and examined the wounds and saw to his satisfaction that the bleeding seemed to have stopped for now.  He was disturbed by a touch on the shoulder. He looked up with a start and saw that it was one of the other men.

 

The man held out his jacket and whispered, "My name's Jake.  Thought you could use it to cover him. He might get cold."

 

Decker reached out and put the jacket over the now unconscious Face. "Thanks, Jake."

 

Jake ran his tongue over his dry lips.  "When the alarm went off, and I saw that M16 start to aim, I thought we were all dead.  He did a crazy thing to stop it."

 

Decker nodded and said, "Yep." His eyes caught a movement from the gang members and hissed, "Get back."

 

Jake nodded and moved away.

 

The two members that Decker knew as Pete and Marco came across with some rope in their hands. Decker protested when they began to tie both him and Face up.  "You don't need to do that to him."

 

There was no reply, just mocking smiles from both of them.  Eventually, they left the pair alone and retreated again to the conference.  Decker as best he could checked the still unconscious lieutenant over and was relieved when none of his vital signs had deteriorated.  In the silence that now reigned in the bank, Decker could hear the breathing of the hostages.  He checked them all over visually; Jake was sitting next to him, watchful and tense, but seemed physically okay, the two women were now silent, remaining huddled close to each other, the older male seemed to Decker to be in poor shape, but he had withdrawn from the rest of them.  Decker frowned and decided to put his head back and rest. He brought his bound hands up and rested them on Peck's back. That way, if they moved him, he would be woken.

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal walked into the garage and saw with delight that BA had come through yet again.  Moving around the now transformed black van, speaking from around his cigar,  he complimented BA. "Good work. Like the sign."

 

BA muttered, "Got it off one of the shops, Hannibal. Owner didn't like me taking it."

 

Hannibal nodded and then said, "I like it, BA.  Jackson's Hunting and Fishing Gear. Perfect.  Now, where's Murdock?"

 

BA threw a spanner into the toolbox.  "Crazy Fool was talking about rescuing one of his pictures."

 

Hannibal nodded and then said, "Come on, BA, we're going to get some food."

 

BA looked up and said, "Not hungry. And shouldn't you be contacting them crazies in the bank?"

 

Hannibal rolled his eyes and said, "I need for you to eat, BA.  And we can discuss the plan I have in mind. The crazies? No, let them come to me."

 

BA looked up and smiled. "I'm with you, then."

 

@@@@

 

Kurt sat down at the desk and watched the phone, willing it to ring. Wasn't that the job of the negotiator? Didn't they want the collection of people that he held freed?   He glared at the phone and then at the clock, nearly 12.  His stomach rumbled, and he felt thirsty.  Looking into the back of the bank, he saw a coffeepot.  Coming to a decision, he got up and went over to his hostages.  He smiled at the feeling of power it gave him; never in his life had he felt so completely powerful.  Kurt glanced over to where the body of the boss lay.  ‘The boss is dead, long live the boss.' He smiled at the thought of being able to rule at last over the little community that existed in the backwoods. They were loyal to no one but themselves, robbing on occasion to keep themselves both in supplies and to have that feeling of control.  He appraised the younger woman again... not bad. Maybe he would fight Pete for her.  Yes, he would keep the pretence up with the police that he would let the hostages go, but he didn't intend to go through with it.

 

@@@@

 

Decker tensed as he saw Kurt move over to them. He'd woken out of his doze a few minutes before and knew nothing had changed in the time that he'd been out of it. He kept a watchful eye as Kurt didn't come over to them but went over to the women and spoke to them.  Watching carefully, he saw the older woman get up and move towards the back of the bank.  He then heard the footfall of Kurt as he moved over to him. Looking up, he regarded the man coldly.

 

Kurt asked, "Mr. Hero?"

 

Decker rumbled, "Still alive. He needs medical attention. Please, at least get a paramedic in here for him."

 

Kurt smiled, "No. But because I'm generous, I'll get you some coffee after my men and I have had something to eat and drink."

 

Decker mumbled and said, "Thank you."

 

Kurt smiled. "My, you are a polite policeman.  How do you like Internal Affairs, chasing after your own?"

 

"Someone's got to do it. Root out the mavericks, the bad apples.  There'd be no structure, no point in the system if we didn't."

 

"My, we are so self important, aren't we?"

 

Decker glared at the mocking tone and bit down his reply.  Kurt smiled on seeing the struggle for self-mastery, patted Decker's bruised cheek, and moved back to ‘his' desk.  Within a few minutes, Decker could hear and smell the fresh coffee being brewed; he was glad that he had had time to have some food before the bank opened. He leaned his head back and sighed as he saw the gang's spirits begin to rise as they each disappeared and came back with a cup of steaming coffee and a cookie.

 

Eventually, the older woman was escorted back to their area; she carried a tray with a few cups of coffee and three cookies.  She knelt down by Decker first and said, "I managed to save three cookies, for your friend. We'll have to share the cups of coffee. They wouldn't let me make anymore."

 

Decker nodded and said, "Thanks, Ma'am, but we'll share the cookies, too.  What's your name?"

 

"Mary."

 

Decker shrugged. "Well, Mary, seeing as my wrists are tied, you'll have to do the dividing up."

 

Mary smiled sheepishly and nodded, quickly dividing the cookies up.

 

Decker waved her away once she'd finished.

 

As soon as she'd gone, Face awkwardly rolled over and asked, "Did I hear someone mention coffee and cookies?"

 

Decker nodded. "Can you sit up?"

 

Face grimaced at the pain still coursing through his body. "Yeah." He looked down at his wrists and held them up. "When did they tie me up?"

 

"You were out. Tied me up, too."

 

Face focused on the clock and saw that he'd been out for nearly an hour. He shivered involuntarily. ‘Shock,' he thought.  He forced himself to move so that he was sitting upright against the wall again and then sipped greedily at the coffee cup that was presented to him.  It was warm, strong, too milky and sweet for him normally, but at the moment, it felt like nectar.  When the cup was presented again, he said, "No, you take some, need you to be on top form, too."

 

Decker nodded and gratefully drank the rest.  He checked the others and saw they all seemed to be rejuvenating, all except for the older one in the corner.  He turned back to Peck and saw that there was a slight flush in his cheeks, infection or just warmth from the coffee?  He reminded Face, "There's a piece of cookie, too."

 

Face didn't feel like eating at the moment but decided he had to.  He nibbled slowly at the chocolate cookie, feeling the effect of the sugar as it poured into his veins. "That's better."

 

Decker nodded and then voiced his worry, "Older guy in the corner doesn't look well."

 

Face agreed, "Yeah, need to get him and the teller out."

 

"What about Elaine?"

 

Face shook his head slightly, "They won't give her up."

 

"Why not? I mean, if the negotiations..."

 

Face shook his head. ‘How could Decker be so stupid after all of these years? But then again, he hadn't seen what he and the team had seen all of these years on the run.'  "Trust me, bargaining with these guys is like bargaining with the devil.  Hannibal won't believe a word they say, and they won't believe a word Hannibal says."

 

Decker questioned, "But how then?"

 

Face drew a breath in, supporting his rib, wincing until the pain had gone. He felt strong hands rubbing his back as he came out the pain-induced haze.

 

Decker asked, "They got a rib?"

 

Face nodded, "Yep."

 

Decker said, "We need to get you out, let alone anyone else." The widening of the eyes and the sudden confident smile astonished him. He rolled his eyes and asked, "Do I want to know?"

 

Face shook his head. "Just play a dumb assed Captain of Internal Affairs, happy with doing the paperwork."

 

Decker thinned his lips at the role he'd been given, then nodded and settled back against the wall.

 

Kurt threw the telephone against the wall in frustration, "Why haven't they called, damn it?" Regaining his cool, he whirled around and finding Marco at his side as usual, he ordered, "Bring those two pigs here, now!"

 

Marco and Pete hastened to obey.  They got the two hostages and made them kneel.

 

Kurt went up to Decker and screamed, "Why haven't they called?!"

 

Decker asked, "Who hasn't?"

 

Kurt jammed the barrel of the revolver into Decker's chin and said, "Them, the other pigs out there. Why have they left us here? Why?"

 

Decker couldn't hide the trembling he now felt, the cold of the gun sinking into his soul. He shakily said, "I don't know, I don't know."

 

Kurt said, "You should, you should, you're a captain! Tell me, Pig!"

 

Decker shrugged with his shoulders desperately, "Look, I only push paper." Motioning with his eyes, he looked at the pale, sweaty figure next to him. Although this was what he was instructed to do, he felt as if he were selling out his soul. "Ask him, not me. I'm just a paper pusher, please. He's the specialist. Ask him." He rolled with the blow that came. Through the pain filled haze that erupted, he heard several slaps and groans. When Decker's vision had cleared, he saw that a couple of cuts had been opened up on the lieutenant's face.  Despite the blood, he saw that the blue eyes were almost twinkling. Decker concentrated on the orders being shouted by Kurt and realised he was going outside.

 

@@@@

 

Refreshed by the food he had consumed, BA sat hunched in the tree, watching the doors of the bank. As soon as he saw movement, he radioed it into Hannibal.  He slipped the radio back into his pocket and raised his rifle, keeping his sight on the masked gang member that came out.

 

@@@@

 

Hannibal stepped out to meet the leader once more.  "Good afternoon, sir."

 

Kurt nodded, "You have been silent. Why?"

 

Hannibal said calmly, "We've been waiting for you.  Usually in these situations, you have certain demands."

 

Kurt angrily said, "We want to be left alone, go free, take the money.  We'll let the hostages go once we have done that. You didn't call!"

 

Hannibal put out his hands in a calming gesture. "We tried to call, but there appears to be a fault on the line."

 

"We need something."

 

Hannibal nodded.  He offered, "A radio?"

 

"Do for starters."

 

Hannibal bit his lip. "We need something back in good faith."

 

"What?"

 

"A hostage." Kurt smiled, although Hannibal knew there wasn't any humor in it.  Hannibal hedged, "A live one this time.  I had great problem in controlling the sheriff when you threw that body out." Hannibal asked, "What about that guy that was out here the last time?"

 

 Kurt flatly refused, "No. I need the radio first."

 

Hannibal looked back to the place where the police vehicles had been moved back to, as if to get their agreement. Turning back, he said, "What about at the same time?"

 

Kurt nodded. "Five minutes is all you have, and if you don't deliver, the one I was going to choose gets shot instead."

 

Hannibal looked straight into the flat gray eyes and then turned around and walked slowly back to where the police were.  He saw Kurt move back to inside the bank. The sheriff asked, "Well?"

 

Hannibal took a big puff of the cigar that Murdock had lit for him. He answered, "He's a grade one psycho. Have you got that radio?" Murdock handed it over.  "Good." Hannibal passed the cigar back to Murdock. "Keep it lit."

 

Next


Banking on Success by Fingers

 

 


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