Ok I have decided to repost Precious Cargo seeing as Yiyia's Eyes is the sequel to it...I am posting it for all the newbies who might want to read it...and for all those of you who have read it and might just want to read it again...Which will be most of you I am sure.hehehehehhe. Not sure how many parts this will be in but I will let everyone know in the subject that it is the last post. ENJOY! Cap'n
Summary: The team
go up against a corrupt modeling agency and find themselves in more trouble
then they can handle.
Warnings:LANGUAGE, GRAPHIC, ATTEMPED NON-CONSENSUAL SEX
The mesmerizing sound of water lapping up against the sides of the rusty, run-down cargo ship lulled the mysterious figured into intense contemplation. Thinking about the voyage he was preparing to undertake disturbed him deeply. Gerald had made this journey at least ten times in the last two years, but that didn't make it any easier. He hated himself for doing it, but what other choice did he have. "Captain Gerald Simpson USN, in command of the newest, most beautiful ship in the navy, war hero. Sure... some war hero I am. I've become a washed up sea pirate for sale to any two-bit hoodlum, with a bag full of cash," he commented sarcastically to the sea. In his glory days Gerald had been decorated twice for bravery and was on a fast moving track to an admiral's insignia, but a shell explosion ended his brilliant career. Still capable of steering a ship he made a living working for people who needed to get places "no questions asked." This caused Gerald tremendous inner turmoil, for he always thought of himself as an honorable man, willing to die for the country he loved so deeply. But work was scarce for a disabled veteran home from a war that many believed should not have been fought in the first place. He absently rubbed the artificial limb that now replaced his left arm. An intense chill in the air made him shiver, he buttoned up his tattered overcoat and straightened his soiled Captain's cap.
The fog warning whistle cut through the silence, arousing the Captain from his self -contemplation. Fog had settled over the entire area; making it almost impossible for him to see the vast expanse of water that laid ahead of him. Smirking, he stuck a finger in his mouth and held it up to see which direction the wind was blowing. "Old fashioned" his crew called him, "would fit right in with Columbus."
A slender dark-skinned man with a thick black mustache hurried up the gang plank, coming to a stop behind the contemplating captain. "Excuse me, sir..." "Yes, what is it, Marcus?" the captain asked abruptly. His steel blue eyes staring past the young man's corporeal body and peering deep into his soul.
"The cargo is secure, sir."
"Good! Let's set sail!" the captain ordered in a huff as he ran his fingers through his chin length graying beard.
"But, Captain, what about the fog?" Marcus inquired hesitantly not wanting to upset the Captain when he was in one of his foul moods. He had served as part of his crew long enough to know when the Captain was not in the mood for questions.
"Who is the Captain of this vessel, young man?" Gerald queried raising one eyebrow at the cowering man.
"You are, sir!" Marcus replied as he snapped to attention.
"Very well then! Let's set sail!"
"Aye, Aye, Sir!" Marcus saluted and quickly hurried off to assume his position on the ship.
The captain let out a bitter sigh and sounded the debarkation whistle; setting off into the fog to deliver his precious cargo to its destination.
"Now, if anyone
dasses to risk my fisk,
It's bop an' it's wham, unnerstan'? ,
So keep good behav'or, ,
It's your one life-saver, ,
With Popeye the sailor man. ,
Oh, I'm Popeye the sailor man, ,
Popeye the sailor man, ,
Boy, I yam what I yam, ,
An' tha's all what I yam, ,
I'm Popeye the sailor man." ,
Murdock sang as he sat curled up on the couch wearing a sailor hat, watching old re-runs of Popeye on the 24-hour cartoon channel. "Shut up, sucka!" BA snarled as he shot Murdock a evil look. BA had been stuck baby-sitting Murdock, while Face and Hannibal were out getting lunch and he was not happy with his assignment.
"I'll have you know, you big angry mudsucker, that Popeye is a hero, a role model for all sailors present and future. They should all aspire to achieve his greatness."
"He is a cartoon, fool! He's not real!"
"How do you know, BA? Who put you in charge of deciding who or what is real or not real?"
"Hey Sucka! You better stop your crazy jibber-jabber before I show you how real my fist is when it hits your face!"
Just as BA was about to get up from his seat and grab Murdock by his jacket, Face and Hannibal came in the front door carrying bags of take out.
"Howdy, Colonel. Did you bring me any spinach?" Murdock asked eagerly as he searched through the bags.
"Spinach?" Face queried.
"Yeah man, the crazy fool thinks he is Popeye!"
"I do not think I am Popeye, BA. He is just a cartoon character, even Billy knows he isn't real! Geez, what some people think."
"Oh, I'm Popeye
the sailor man,
I'm Popeye the sailor man,
Boy, I'm strong to the finich,
'Cause I eats me spinach,
I'm Popeye the sailor man."
Murdock sang as he hid behind the Colonel for protection from the angry Sergeant.
"Here ya go, sweet hearts!" the filthy man shouted as he shoved a tray full of unappetizing food into the cell containing four very beautiful young women.
They sat there terrified, staring blankly at the man as he undressed them with his eyes; drool running down his chin.
"Well, eat up lasses. Yer gots a long jerney ahead."
"Please, sir... tell us what is going on?" the freckled-faced red head begged as she clung desperately to her cell mates. They were all about twenty years old; beautiful and perfect. The man continued to stare at the four girls with male lust in his perverted eyes.
"Aye, lasses, ya be gifts for a few fine gentleman ov'r seas," he replied sorrowfully as he wanted to keep them for himself.
"What?" The blond haired beauty uttered upon hearing this.
"Nothing, girlie, now eat!" the man snapped as he lunged forward at the cell door causing the frightened girls to scream.
Satisfied that he had scared them into submission, he walked away whistling an old sea shanty; his voice echoing eerily throughout the spacious cargo hold.
Violin music serenaded the patrons feasting on fine French cusines in the dimly lit dining room of "Chèz Moniquè"
A elegantly dressed couple sat dangerously close to one another, in a intimate booth, situated in the far left corner of the restaurant. Their equally attractive faces illuminated only by two white candles that flickered on the table. Their natural beauty enhanced by the orange glow of the candle light; the flames danced in their eyes as they stared longingly at each other.
"Oh, Temmy, you are so sweet," the raven-haired beauty cooed as she lightly ran her fingers through Face's golden curls.
"Jackie, darling, it is not that I am sweet really-it is just that I can not help, but be transformed into a helpless kitten when I am enveloped by your exquisite beauty. It overwhelms me and makes me putty in your hands," Face uttered softly as he brushed his fingers through Jackie's hair gently caressing her silky skin; placing a delicate kiss on the nape of her neck.
"OHH, Temmy, you are so romantic," the girl gushed as she gazed dreamily into Face's bluish-green eyes, totally enchanted by his alluring charms. "Jackie, let's go back to my place we can slip into something a little more comfortable. I'll turn on some Tchaikovsky, maybe piano concerto number one in Bb- Sèrènade Mèlancholique."
"ooOOOooo, I just love it when you speak German to me."
"Jackie, sweetheart, it is not Germa... ah, never mind, as I was saying-we can go back to my place, sip some Dom Pèriognon 1973 from fine led crystal, and I will feed you strawberries dipped in melted Godiva chocolate. How does that sound, Mon Cherie?"
Jackie let out a little squeak as Face realized now was the time to pay the check and discreetly slip out with his beautiful date wrapped tightly on his arm.
Once outside Face summoned the valet to bring his corvette to the front. He gallantly opened the door for Jackie and then ran around to the other side and gracefully slipped in beside her. Face drove the four miles to his recently scammed penthouse of the Bel View Towers Apartment building.
The couple exited the corvette and quickly hurried inside the apartment building, for a slight rain had begun falling and neither of the two wanted to get wet. They smiled and giggled as they rode the elevator up to the 35th floor where Face's lavishly decorated penthouse awaited them. As did the king sized waterbed, but Face was too much of a gentleman, for now at least, to even have that thought in his mind. Jackie and him had been dating for about a month, and even though he had wanted to make love to her the moment he had laid eyes on her-he wanted to wait for the proper time.
Face fumbled with the key to the door as Jackie was smothering him with kisses over every inch of bared skin. It was obvious to Face that Jackie had other thoughts on her mind, besides champagne and strawberries; tonight was the proper time. With great passion he reached down, scooped Jackie up in his arms and kicked the unlocked door open with his foot. "Oh, Temmy, I want you, I want you right now," she purred as she gently nipped at Face's ear lobe.
Face carried Jackie over to the couch and laid her down; placing his masculine body over hers. Their hearts began to quicken with anticipation, as they eagerly explored each other's bodies with their finger tips. Jackie reached up and tore off Face's tie flinging it haphazardly to the room. The temperature in the room rising as Jackie ripped open Face's shirt, exposing his finely-chiseled chest. With animal like lust Jackie ran her tongue over Face's muscular body, not missing an inch. Face felt himself becoming very aroused and wanted desperately to make love to this gorgeous creature that laid beneath him; trembling with excitement.
"Oh, Temmy, take me please!" Jackie begged.
"Are you sure?" Face queried, wanting to stay on the side of caution. "Oh, yes, Temmy! I'm sure."
Face smiled wryly and reach down to unfastened his...
"AHEM!" came the sound of a familiar voice from behind the half-naked couple. Who immediately stopped dead in their tracks and got up to face the silver-haired gentleman.
"OK, guys, it's all clear you can come in! How do you do Ma'am?" Hannibal asked the obviously embarrassed girl.
"Hannibal, really! I was in the ah... middle of something. So, if you don't mind can't this wait until tomorrow?" Face snapped as he hurriedly tried to rectify his current state of undress.
"Nope, sorry, Lieutenant, this can't wait. Hi, guys, is it camouflage free downstairs?" Hannibal asked Murdock and BA as they entered the room; shielding their eyes just in case.
"All clear, Colonel. No sign of Decker or his men."
"Good job, Captain. BA, you keep a look-out while I escort Ms?"
"Sutton... Jackie conceded," realizing her cover was blown.
"Ms Sutton to a taxi. And by the way, lady, let's have the gun!" Hannibal reached out a black-gloved hand to her as she nervously handed him the small caliber revolver, that had been discreetly hidden in her garter-belt.
Face stood stunned wondering exactly how far things would have progressed before she had taken him prisoner with the pistol. "Face, Murdock gather up everything and meet us at the van! Let's move I am sure Decker is not far behind," Hannibal ordered as Face stood there feeling just a little foolish.
"Don't worry, Lieutenant, you didn't stand a chance against her," Hannibal grinned as he placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. Face just smiled wryly knowing that they weren't going to let him live this mistake down.
Hannibal escorted Jackie down stairs and saw to it that she was placed in a taxi. BA pulled the van up front to the apartment building just in time to meet Face, Murdock and Hannibal.
The three men jumped in the van and BA pulled away smoke erupting from the tires. Hannibal reached back for Face to hand him a cigar, but Face sighed; they had fallen out during his little rendezvous in the penthouse.
"Oh boy, I can not believe that I let myself get taken in by Jackie," Face moaned as he straightened his wrinkled clothing.
"Yeah, Face, she was such and obvious plant, you should have watered her," Murdock joked as Hannibal and BA laughed at the Lieutenant's misfortune. "Got that right, Cap'n," Hannibal grinned.
"HA, HA, HA, very funny," Face replied sarcastically.
"Well, guys, Decker is hot on our trail. So, it looks like we should find a little spot in the woods somewheereee."
Hannibal was cut off mid-sentence by the abrupt slamming of the breaks by BA.
"Sergeant, what's the matter?"
"Look, Hannibal!" BA said pointing to the figure that was laying on the side of the road.
The team exited the van and quickly ran up to the young woman laying there, her clothes were torn and her body covered in bruises; apparently from a beating she had received. Hannibal knelt down, took off his glove and placed his fingers to her neck checking for a pulse it was faint, but steady.
"BA, put her in the van. Murdock, Face, grab the blankets and cover her up. We have to get her to the hospital!"
The team nodded in agreement at Hannibal's instructions.
BA gently placed the girl down in the back and ran around to the other side to take his normal position behind the wheel of his black and red van.
The girl shivered violently from the chilled night air. Murdock and Face placed the blankets over her, gently massaging her body trying to warm her up. A natural beauty laid underneath the purple welts that covered her face. As her body responded to the warmth she began to regain consciousness. Her emerald green eyes shot open and she frantically searched her surroundings, desperately trying to get a grasp on the situation. Confused and terrified, she instinctively began to fight the two men who were trying hard to keep her calm.
"It's OK, baby," Murdock cooed as he brushed her auburn hair from her face. "We're friends, we're here to help you."
The girl stared intensely at Murdock then trustingly closed her eyes and let the blackness envelop her; relieving her pain and fear for the moment at least.
As BA approached the hospital Hannibal began yelling. "Go, BA! Get out of here!"
Hannibal had spotted a few of Decker's squad cars in the parking lot across the street from the hospital. Decker wasn't taking any chances this time; he would have every public place he could think of guarded. "Now what are we going to do, Colonel?" Murdock asked.
"Well, guys, looks like we have another job for Maggie. Face, call her and tell her to meet us at the "Seaside Hotel" on Cooper street. She will know where that is."
The team looked at Hannibal and smiled all three of them thinking the same thing about their CO and his favorite doctor. Hannibal just returned their smiles with a "Who me?" expression, as Face picked up the cellular phone to call Maggie.
"Aye, lasses, yer haven't eaten for days. Yer will be skin and bones, not fat and sassy like yer should be."
"Please, sir, would you let us go. We're scared. We need to get back to our families," the quietest of the four girls begged their jailer as he just stared intensely at them; lecherous fantasies dancing around in his head
"Aye, lasses, I be afraid that I can not be letting ya go. That be the Captain's decision and since he be getting paid handsomely for yer safe delivery, I do not think that he be willing to give ya up. Now eat up, for if any of yer become sickly, we will just use ya as shark bait," he snarled as the girls all reached tentatively for the scraps of food that laid on the rusty tray.
Maggie had arrived at the hotel about an hour after Face had placed the phone call. She determined that this girl, though badly beaten, would only require bed rest and plenty of TLC to get better. Something the four men, especially Face, did not mind giving to this auburn-haired beauty.
Three days had passed since the team had brought the sick girl to the hotel and she was responding well to all the pampering.
"How is that, sweetheart?" Face queried as he straightened her pillow. "Thank you, Mr. Peck, but there is no need to fuss over me really. I am feeling much better."
"Call me Templeton and it's no bother really."
"Ahhhh...... Lieutenant, you are on watch!" Hannibal ordered, figuring now was a good time to pry Face away from this latest temptation. "Right," Face replied and gave a quick wink to the girl.
"So, Ms. Denton, do you feel up to filling us in on the details?" Hannibal asked as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
"Please, Mr. Smith, call me Amanda."
"OK, Amanda, can you tell us who did this to you and why?" Hannibal inquired gently touching the bruises on Amanda's face.
"Well, Mr. Smith, I am a model at the Martinique modeling agency."
"Classy place, Colonel," Face commented from the door.
"You're on watch, Lieutenant! I'll fill you in on the details later."
Hannibal stated as he raised one eye-brow at the eavesdropping Peck.
"Right!" Face replied and quickly shut the door.
"OK, now, you were saying, Amanda?"
"Well, Mr. Smith, I have been working for Martinique's for about eight months. Mostly commercials, magazine covers, and promotional tours. I have been on a few gigs over seas. A few of the girls went on these over seas assignments and never came back. The execs just said that they had decided to stay there and work the foreign market. I didn't think much of it Mr. Smith, because it is a common occurrence among models wanting to make it big on the international scene. But almost a week ago a good friend of mine Robin, who also works for Martinique's disappeared."
"Disappeared?" Murdock queried.
"Yes, Mr. Murdock, she was suppose to go on this great gig in a few days, but I haven't heard from her since and when I asked them at the agency they just brush it off as nothing."
"Well, how close are you to Robin, would it be unusual for her not to call you or tell you where she is going?"
"Oh yes, Mr. Smith, Robin and I are like sisters. We both come from small towns and this was our first time in the big city. So we kinda looked out for each other, it is highly unlikely she would just up and leave without at least a phone call."
"Do you know who roughed you up Amanda?" Murdock asked. "No, all I remember is that they said this was just a taste of what was to come if I didn't stop poking my nose around where it didn't belong. I'm afraid I didn't get a good look at them."
"Something fishy is going on at that agency and I say we find out exactly what that is. Whatcha say guys?"
"I'm with ya, colonel."
"Me too, man."
"Now, Amanda, do they have male models at this agency of yours?" "Yes, Mr. Smith, of course they do. Why do you ask?"
"Because I think I have a plan to get us into Martinique's." Hannibal said as he grinned at BA and Murdock.
"Awww, come on, Hannibal, why do I have to do it?" Face groaned as he looked at the Colonel from his usual place in the van.
"Well, Face, you are the only one who has the right look."
"Oh, you mean the pretty-boy, prissy type?" Murdock interjected throwing a devilish grin at the lieutenant.
"Pretty-boy, prissy type? I am not prissy." Face declared emphatically as he absently straightened his clothes, dusting off the few pieces of lint that were stuck to his new suit coat.
"Face, do I have to remind you of the pink silk jammies?" Hannibal remarked as he grinned mischievously at his second in command. Face glared at the Colonel, realizing it was useless to argue when he had an idea stuck in his head.
"Oh boy, I can not believe I am agreeing to this," Face grudgingly conceded.
"Good, I knew you would see it my way, Lieutenant. Now, let's get some pictures taken for your portfolio."
"Oh please, Monsieur, let the great Murdockian take the pictures. I will make the Facial One look marvelous, simply marvelous." Murdock commented in a French accent as he placed his hands into a u-shape and looked through them framing the frowning lieutenant's face.
"Great idea, Cap'n! BA, pull over right here. Face, we need camera equipment better start scamming!"
"Oh, wonderful! Not only do I have to model for the Murdockian one over here," Face moaned pointing to Murdock, who had somehow managed to replace his blue baseball cap with a red beret. "But now I have to come up with the camera equipment. Why is it always me?"
"Well, because you have charm, Face and besides it's an order, Lieutenant!" Hannibal smiled.
"Right," Face muttered and opened the door to the van.
Face took a deep breath and entered the photography studio, luckily behind the desk was a lovely young woman. *I shouldn't have any problems convincing her to "lend" me her camera equipment,* he thought to himself as he planted an engaging smile on his handsome face.
"Bonjour mademoiselle.Comment allez-vous?" he said with a French accent taking the woman's hand and placing a soft kiss on it. "My name is Claude Roberto Pierre Derouchè and I am in town scouting the location for my next picture. Due to some, oh how do you Americans say it? AH yes... mix-up at the airport, my camera equipment did not arrive. You see, mon cherie, I must take the pictures of this area immediately and rush them to Paris or the investors interested in my film will not contribute financially to it. And with out their support 'The Vacuum Cleaner That Ate California' will be but a figment of this poor artist's imagination." Face finished placing a hand over his face and sighing. "Mr. Derouchè I don't know if I can help you?" the woman behind the desk replied slowly as she gazed longingly at Face; captivated by his finely chiseled features and sparkling bluish-green eyes.
"Oh, mademoiselle, you must say that again, but this time with passion; with feeling"
"Mr. Derouchè I do not know if I can help you?" the woman repeated dramatically.
"Bravo, bravo!! Splendid! I must use you in my picture. Yes, I can see it now... you are perfect for the part of Christina. How do you feel about nude scenes?"
"Oh, never mind, we can discuss that later, say over dinner in my suite," Face commented as he placed his arm around her waste and led her to the back room to pick up the camera equipment.
Murdock was overjoyed to get the camera equipment. He immediately went to work setting it up in the hotel room adjacent to Amanda's.
"OK, Kid, let's write your profile, while Murdock gets things set-up."
"But, Hannibal, how am I going to do that? I don't have any modeling experience."
"Make it up, Kid, make it up. Start out with the basics and we'll work our way up from there."
"OK!" Face sighed. "Let's see here, I guess a name would be a good place to start, uummm how about Tom Benedict?"
"Benedict is good, but we need a better first name something more befitting a model!" Hannibal began pacing back and forth, the wheels in his brain turning.
"Mark?" Face asked.
"No... oh wait I got it! Dirk yeah that's it Dirk Benedict," Hannibal declared clapping his gloved hands together.
"Dirk? Who has a name like Dirk?" Face objected.
"Just write it down, Lieutenant!" Hannibal ordered pointing to the piece of paper resting in Face's lap.
"OK, now, we need a few words to describe you physically."
"Well, how about average build, trim, pleasant facial features?" Face queried looking up at his commanding officer.
"AH, no, we need something with flair, something with pizzazz, something snazzy... How about Hunk? Mouthwatering? A young golden Adonis?" Hannibal said with a toothy grin; he wasn't about to pass up this perfect opportunity to torment the Lieutenant.
"Adonis? Hannibal are you serious?" Face moaned.
"OK kid, you don't like those what about god-like perfection, stud-muffin?"
"STUD-MUFFIN?" Face frowned." Hannibal really! Just because I like to go out on the *occasional* date with a beautiful woman does not make me a stud-muffin."
Hannibal just looked at his second in command with a disbelieving stare, knowing full well that Face always had a different girl on his arm. He was trying to decide whether or not he should comment on the Lieutenant's last statement, but decided now was not the time. "OK, stud-muffin is out... what about simply divine..."
"Hey muchachos, what's happening?" Murdock inquired as he came in from
the next room followed closely by BA.
"Hey guys, we are just trying to come up with Face's bio. We need words to describe him physically," Hannibal commented as he winked at them. "Well, Colonel, I have always been fond of ROBOBABE myself." Murdock quipped as he plopped down next to Face and squeezed his bicept.
"Yeah, man, how 'bout hot?" BA snickered as he looked at Face who was growing more and more annoyed at the razzing of his teammates. "Or scrumptious, BA?" Murdock teased back.
"No guys, I got it! I got it!! Drop-dead gorgeous love-god!!" Hannibal declared as he fell hysterically into the chair he had been leaning against. Murdock and BA joined Hannibal in fits of laughter, as Face hastily gathered his belongings and got up off the couch.
"Laugh it up! I am glad you find my appearance so amusing. You know Hannibal, this was your ridiculous idea in the first place and now you are all having a good time at my expense. I am going to write this by myself." Face stormed off as BA, Murdock and Hannibal continued to laugh, tears streaming down their faces.
Gerald paced back and forth on the aft deck of the cargo ship. The ocean was exceptionally calm, but for the first time in his sea-fairing life he was actually feeling nauseous. He shook his head and braced himself up against the railing. Unable to control the contents of his stomach from creeping back up, he leaned over the railing and vomited into the salty swirls of foam that danced in the ship's wake.
This wave of nausea seemed unending and Gerald cursed his body for overreacting to the normal tossing and turning of the ship. Finally, the episode subsided and he brought himself back up to a standing position. As he looked at the land, now but a speck in the hazy distance, tremulous voices plagued his thoughts. Four distinctly different voices, but bound together by their helpless almost child-like pitch, begging, pleading with him not to leave them on a cold distant shore, shivering and terrified. Their eyes glaring at him, imploring him to help them. "Please, sir don't leave us here... please, come back...why is this happening?... what is going to happen?... we don't understand...we're frightened...we want our mothers."
These thoughts continued to swirl around in his head, swirling and swirling causing another wave of nausea to well up inside his body. He threw himself back over the railing as a violent sickness overtook him once again. The acid from his stomach burned his throat as it rushed out of his mouth spewing into the sea, polluting the waters with the regrets of a self-loathing man.
"Quiet!!" The angry man on shore yelled as he forced the girls into the truck. Their cries silenced, but still audible to someone listening for them; someone like Captain Gerald Simpson.
"Oh yes, Mr. Benedict, you have just the right look we want. He would be perfect for the "Polly Cotton" account. Wouldn't you agree, Michael?" Rebecca commented as she gently rolled the tip of her pen around in her mouth.
"Hmmmmm...yes, he's got the right build, not too muscular, not too flabby... nice features," one of the men commented as he checked out Face, much like one would check out a race horse they were interested in buying.
"Can you please turn around for us, Mr. Benedict?"
Face slowly turned around backwards to the panel of three women and two men, seated in a row under a snapshot collage of every pose imaginable. "Would you take off your suit coat for us please?" the blond- haired woman instructed.
"Oh, yes, he will do nicely!" A stern looking woman, with short black hair, observed as soon as she got one look at the Lieutenant's backside. "OK, Mr. Benedict, you can put your coat back on. We will have our legal department draw up the contract. As soon as you sign it, we will get started right away on the publicity shots for "Polly Cotton." Rebecca stated to Face who was standing there with this dumbfounded expression. "Ah, excuse me, Ma'am, but exactly what type of an account is "Polly Cotton?" Face queried hesitantly, not really wanting to confirm the suspicions that were already rising in his mind.
"Good looks and manners too. Well, I think we definitely made a excellent choice. Wouldn't you all agree?"
"Oh, yes, definitely!" everyone nodded their heads.
"Well, thank you, but you still haven't explained to me exactly what type of modeling I will be doing," Face added with an almost fearful expression.
"You will be modeling the latest in fashion underwear, boxers, briefs, bikinis. Why, with your obvious physical attributes "Polly Cotton" will be as famous as Calvin Klein! We will have that contract drawn as soon as possible and we will start shooting...oh, probably...as early as Friday. Now, be a dear boy and drop off your portfolio to Rachel on the way out. She will start a file on you, which I am sure will be filled with more offers before too long."
Face absently left the room trying to figure out the best way to exact revenge on Hannibal for this brilliant plan of his. *Poison Cigars? Naaaaahh not painful enough. Hand grenade in his boxers shorts, now that's a plan.*
"So, Lieutenant, what's the verdict?" Hannibal asked as Face climbed in the van and took his usual seat
"The verdict... He wants to know the verdict... Well, I'll tell you the verdict... They looked me over like I was some piece of meat in a grocery store. They poked at me, ordered me to turn around, almost stripped me naked... they looked at parts of my body, that no one should look at unless I say so. They called me not too flabby... Do I look flabby to you? Well, do I?" Face spouted off in a tirade as the rest of the team just sat there watching him.
"Calm down, Lieutenant!" Hannibal ordered. "Now, exactly what are you going to be modeling?"
"Underwear!" Face declared. "They want me to model underwear," he added dejectedly.
Hannibal, Murdock and BA just looked at each other and exploded into laughter.
"Well, it looks like we are going to get to the *bottom* of things now, right guys?" Hannibal smiled as he put his cigar in his mouth.
"Oh yeah, Colonel, you can bet your *bottom* dollar that it won't be long before we figure out what's happening in that agency."
"Yeah, Cap'n, we'll find out who is *behind* everything all right!" Hannibal's last statement threw the team into hysterics; all except Face who was not appreciating the humor of the situation.
"OK, that's it! I am not going through with it. Ask me to crawl through bug infested swamps to blow up bridges, ask me to go up against a barrage of bullets, ask me to parachute into enemy territory, all those things I'll do, but I will not, I repeat: I will not prance around in my underwear for anyone. And I certainly will not sit here and let you all torture me about it."
"Aww, Faceyguy, don't get mad. You know what the bible says about how to face your tormentors."
"Oh yeah, Murdock, and how must I face them?
"Turn the other *cheek*!!" Murdock fell back in his seat wracked with laughter.
"Yeah man, the crazy fool's right!" BA agreed, trying hard not to crash the van as he pulled out into traffic.
"Et tu, BA?" Face groaned.
BA just shrugged his shoulders as images of revenge brought a smile to the Lieutenant's face.
The temperature on the Island of *Salacia* was so unbearably hot even the strong night breezes swirling off the Aegean Sea across the rugged terrain provided no relief to the two guards sitting in the truck sharing a cigarette.
"When do you think they will call for us?"
"I don't know, but it better be soon because I am tired of baby-sitting these ones."
"Oh, I don't know, Nikko. They are young and beautiful, the kind of woman a man dreams about. I wouldn't mind having some fun with them before taking them to head quarters. What do you say?"
Nikko smiled evilly and tossed the cigarette out the window. They exited the truck and went around to the back. Dimos, the taller and more muscular of the two men, undid the canvas flap and threw it open. "Well, how are you fine ladies this evening?" He asked as he licked his lips and nudged Nikko on the arm. Too frightened to speak, they merely stared at him as he ordered them from the truck with the end of his rifle.
The girls stepped hastily out of the truck as Nikko ordered them to kneel down on the ground. He went to the prettiest of the girls and gently took her face in his hands. "What's your name sweetheart?" he asked between rotted teeth.
The girl, sickened by his disgusting appearance, began struggling to get free of his grasp. "Ah, we have a feisty one here I see. That's good I like them feisty." Nikko laughed. "Don't you Dimos?"
"Yes, I do, but not too feisty, so I suggest girl that you answer the man's question or I will have to hurt your friend here." Dimos snarled as he grabbed the raven-haired girl by her arm pulling her to a standing position. He held the barrel of his rifle to her temple.
"Wait! My name is Robin, don't hurt her please!" Robin answered as she glared at the guards.
"That's better! Now Robin, how's about you and I have a little fun?" Nikko commented and began kissing the red-haired girl as she fought to stop him. He forced her into a laying down position and Robin brought her knee up into his groin causing the man to double over in pain. He laid on the ground for a few minutes moaning as Dimos laughed at his colleague's misfortune. Nikko composed himself and immediately reached for Robin. "You stupid bitch! I'll teach you to mind your manners." He hissed.
"Olympus One to Olympus Two come in, over. I repeat Olympus One to Olympus Two come in, over." The words rang from the radio in the truck. Dimos instructed the girls to get back in the truck and Nikko stumbled to answer the radio. "Yes, Sir... we will bring them immediately." The guards mumbled a few phrases to each other in their native tongue, jumped in the truck and sped away.
After a few days of trying to convince Face to go along with this idea, the team pulled up to the Martinique modeling agency. "Hannibal, I would rather Jell-O wrestle with the bearded lady at the circus, then go through with this idea of yours," Face moaned as he stepped out of the van.
"Listen Face, you have to do this. Amanda said that these girls were being sent overseas on assignments and not returning. There has to be a connection between that and whoever beat her up. Something is going on in this agency. Now, what I want you to do is go in there, work that charm of yours and see what you can find out. Murdock will go with you and try and snoop around a little bit while you're having your pictures taken." "Murdock? Why do I have to bring him with me?"
"Face, you need someone to be the lookout in case Decker comes knocking or someone in the agency tries to kidnap you. Besides he loves all this stuff. Right Captain?"
"Wee monsieur, the Great Murdockian would love to see the Facial One model and maybe pick up a few pointers on how to photograph in certain settings. I am trying to become a world famous fashion photographer you know."
"See." Hannibal grinned and lit up his cigar.
"Now, while you two are in there, BA and I are going to talk to Amanda again see if there is anything else that she can think of to help us. Carpe Diem, Lieutenant." Hannibal stated and put his arm on Face's shoulder. "Right!" Face replied and grabbed Murdock out of the van dragging him into the modeling agency.
Once inside the agency Face introduced Murdock, who was still wearing his red beret, as a photographer friend of his from Paris. "He is interested in learning the ins and outs of an American modeling agency." Face added.
Rebecca smiled at Murdock as he casually placed a kiss on her hand and said something in French.
"Well Mr. Benedict.."
"Please, call me Dirk. There is no need for us to be so formal is there, ma'am?" Face smiled a crooked little smile at the very attractive golden-haired woman.
"Why no there isn't and you may call me Rebecca," she replied coyly. "Now, shall we get you ready for your first session?"
Face gulped nervously and let out a little laugh. "Lead the way, Rebecca," he said as he put out one arm in front of him, indicating for her to show them to his dressing room.
Face's dressing room was filled with racks and racks of various clothing and a wide assortment of undergarments.
"Dirk, you will find the products that you will be modeling today laid out for you on the table behind that screen. Just start with the first article on the table and come down to the second door on your right at the end of the hall. That is the studio. Your hair stylist/personal assistant will be here in a few minutes to get you ready. Monsieur Murdock, you are more then welcome to join us in the studio if you wish."
"Thank you, Rebecca," Face replied and gave her a little smile. Rebecca left the dressing room and closed the door. "Well, oh Facial one, how do you feel about your first modeling debut?" Murdock asked as he picked up a pink feathered boa from one of the racks and wrapped it around his neck.
"Feel? I'll tell you how I feel. Hannibal is more insane then you are. I am not going through with it!"
"Oh, but Face, you would look so cute in these," Murdock commented as he held up a pair of baby-blue bikini briefs from the table.
"Give me those!" Face snarled and grabbed them from his hand.
Murdock grinned at Face's obvious embarrassment and went about snooping around the dressing room, seeing what other mischief he could get into. Face went behind the screen and eased his muscular legs into the skimpy underwear. It showed every bump and Face was not happy at all. "They have got to be kidding! I am not going to go out there and dance around for the camera in these."
"Aww, come on, Faceman, it can't be that bad. Just think about that time in 'Nam when you had to infiltrate that VC bar dressed as a Vietnamese B-girl, to find out which one of our squad was passing info to the enemy. Nothing could be as embarrassing as the mental picture I have of you in that silk dress, with those high heels and makeup."
"Oh yeah? Look!" Face declared as he came out from behind the screen and did a little twirl for the pilot.
Murdock took one look at Face in the blue-bikini briefs and burst out laughing. "OK, well, maybe there is."
"That's it... I am out of here!!"
"Oh, Face, don't get mad I was only kidding...you look fine."
"Nice try, Murdock, but I am not falling for it. Hannibal will just have to think of another way."
"No buts, Murdock, especially not mine in these, these..... ridiculous costumes!" Face declared as he held up a various assortment of underwear.
He was about to get dressed when there was a knock on the dressing room door.
"Knock, Knock," the attractive young woman said as she opened the door slightly. "Mr. Benedict? Are you in here?"
Face grabbed a bathrobe and hurried out to meet the girl.
"Oh, Hello, Mr. Benedict, my name is Sabrina and I'm your hair stylist. I am also here to assist you any way I can," she said cheerfully as she reached out her hand to greet him.
Face took one look at this gorgeous lady before him and immediately grinned at Murdock. "Well, Sabrina, with a beautiful woman such as yourself to help me prepare...I may just enjoy this assignment after all. Oh, and please call me Dirk." Face commented as he placed his arm around her guiding her into the room.
Sabrina instructed Face to sit down in the chair in front of the three-sided mirror, his elegant features were illuminated by the bright lights that surrounded the mirror. She carefully laid out all her styling tools on the cart next to her and gave Face's hair a playful tousle.
"Well, Mr. Benedict..."
"Dirk, please." Face insisted.
"Oh yes, I forgot....well, you certainly have nice hair, Dirk. I don't think it is going to require much styling."
"Thank you." Face replied
Sabrina began running her fingers through Face's gorgeous head of sandy-blond hair, moving it this way and that, as she made comments to herself.
"I have to say, Dirk, that your hair is your best feature. Not that all of you isn't nice to look at," Sabrina noted, as she giggled coyly to the lieutenant.
"Well.." Face began.
"Oh, Sabrina, ask him to take off the robe. That way you will be able to see all his features, before you decide which one is the best," Murdock interjected and ducked behind the closest garment rack for protection. "Please, Sabrina, pay absolutely no attention to him. He's a little strange... a friend of my cousin. He wants to make it big in the fashion industry as a photographer and I offered to help him. You know, for the sake of family."
"Oh, I see...Well, that is certainly nice of you to help him out," Sabrina enthused as she observed Murdock slip a sheer purple robe, with fur trim on the collar and sleeves, over his clothing and pretend to be Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard."
"I'm ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille," Murdock declared as he wrapped the robe around himself melodramatically and batted his eyelashes to the make-believe camera in front of him.
Face did his best to ignore the pilot as Sabrina looked like she couldn't decide whether to laugh or run out of the room screaming. "So, Sabrina, you were saying that my hair won't require much styling?" "Oh, yes, you look best with your hair parted slightly in the middle and left natural. A little messed-up makes you seem carefree and a little mischievous," she grinned.
"A little mischievous? Sabrina, let me tell you..."Murdock was cut off mid-sentence by a well placed hand.
"Ah, excuse me a minute, please. I think there is something over here that Monsieur Murdock would be interested in." Face smiled and led Murdock over to the other side of the dressing room.
"Murdock, I am warning you... if you don't start behaving yourself, I swear I won't get those special doggy num-nums for Billy anymore."
"Not even the bacon-cheese flavored ones? You know, Face, they are me and Billy's favorite. Especially if you dunk them in an ice-cold glass of lemonade."
"Nope, not one single num-num," Face stated emphatically.
"All right, I'll be good." Murdock pouted. "But, I still think you look cute in that baby-blue underwear. It brings out the color of your eyes," he teased, as he quickly got out of Face's way.
Meanwhile, Hannibal and BA were in the hotel room with Amanda seeing if there was anything she could tell them.
"Well, Mr. Smith, I remember a folder on Rebecca's desk a few weeks back that was marked Salacia. I asked her about it but she just passed it off as nothing; said it was an old account."
"Did she seem nervous at all when you questioned her about it?" "Well, a little, Mr. Smith. She quickly put the file in the cabinet and changed the subject."
"Hmmmm...Salacia? Sounds like it could be the name of a place. BA, we need to find out where it is."
"Do you think that is where they are taking everybody?" Amanda asked. "Well, Amanda, I am not sure, but it's a start at least. I wonder how Face is making out?" Hannibal commented as he looked at BA and Amanda.
"Ok, Dirk, now would you flex a little more for us please? Oh, yes, that's it! Perfect!" Rebecca said as she instructed Face to do a little body-builder pose for the camera. "Well, things are going great. Let's get the jungle scene set-up. Dirk, please go change into the camouflage boxers. Oh, and make sure Sabrina oils your entire body; we want to have the sexy, sweat-covered look for this one."
Face just smiled at the prospect of having Sabrina smearing oil on his half-naked body, but his happiness was soon turned to concern when he saw the crew carrying a large crate into the studio marked 'Live animals.'
"Ah, Rebecca what's in the crate?" Face inquired hesitantly.
"Oh, the boa constrictor we need for your next session," she replied passively.
Murdock fought desperately to control his laughter as he watched the lieutenant turn an unusual shade of green.
Captain Simpson sat on his bunk in his cabin, the sounds of waves hitting the side of the boat and various seabirds cawing in the background were beginning to give him a headache. "I need to get off this tub and relax!" he said as he put on his overcoat and hurried topside for a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, for him, he still had a few days left on his journey back home to America and he was already going stir-crazy.
Marcus came up on deck carrying a message for the captain. "Sir, this message just came in for you from the States."
"Thank you, Marcus," the captain said abruptly, but then placed a hand on the young man's shoulder. "Thank you, Marcus," he said again softer and with a smile on his face.
"No problem, Cap'n," Marcus replied affectionately and hurried off back to the radio room.
The Captain took his reading glasses out of his pocket and placed them on his face. He carefully opened the paper expertly using his artificial limb. Many years of practice had taught him to use his new arm as sufficiently as his natural appendage. He never even gave it a second thought anymore, but he would always remember the day he woke up in the hospital and realized his left arm was gone. It had been mangled by a shell explosion so horribly, the surgeons had no option, but to amputate it. "Shhh..Shhh.." the kindly looking woman crooned as she wiped the sweat from the handsome captain's brow. "It's OK Captain Simpson... you were having a nightmare, but you are safe now."
"Wh Wh What happened? Wh Wh Where am I? Who are you?" he mumbled somewhat incoherently, as the effects of the pain medication were keeping him in a state of semi-consciousness.
"You are in the hospital, Captain... you were injured in a shell explosion...please try to relax... you need to save your strength." "Injured? Explosion?...Oh my God! My arm!" Gerald shouted fearfully as the sudden realization of what happened to him warded off the effects of the medication. He grabbed nervously at his left arm and was extremely confused by its absence. "But I still feel it... why isn't it there?"
"Please, Captain, you have to calm down!" the nurse said as she summoned an orderly to bring a sedative.
"But I feel it! I feel it! It hurts," he repeated blankly as the nurse administered the sedative and it quickly put him into a deep sleep. Sometime later during his recovery the doctors explained to him that it was common for people who have had limbs amputated to experience "phantom pains at the site of the amputation." It was his mind unable to convince his body that the limb was gone.
Gerald was shaken from his thoughts as he read the first few lines of the message. "What? They want me to make another trip back to this God awful island, as soon as I dock in the US. They are ridiculous!" He threw the piece of paper overboard and went back down to his cabin.
"Face, yoo-hoo Face!! Wake up buddy!!" Murdock snapped his fingers trying to bring the unconscious lieutenant around.
"Awww man, my head hurts." Face groaned as he put his hand to his head and brushed it through his hair. He opened his eyes and tried to focus on the face that was leaning over him. "Murdock, is that you?" Face queried tentatively as he reached out a hand and put it on the pilot's face.
"Yup-a-roo! Faceyman. It's your friendly neighborhood crazyman." "What happened? The last thing I remember is that Sabrina had her hands all over me and she was covering me with oil," Face commented as he sat up slightly off the couch.
"Well, Face... you were doing great until they wrapped that 6-foot long Boa Constrictor around you. Then you sorta passed out."
"Oh boy!!!! How embarrassing! Please... tell me Sabrina wasn't there, because I was planning to ask her out after the mission is over," Face pleaded.
"Well... umm... she wasn't in the studio, but she did see them carrying you out." "Man oh man! Now she'll never want to go out with me."
"Face, I am sure she will. Women love to smother a wounded soldier with TLC."
"Ah, Murdock, I wasn't injured in battle. I fainted because of a snake."
"Minor technicality, Faceyman. Don't worry. I am sure Sabrina will still want to date you."
A sudden look of terror came into Face's eyes. "Please, Murdock, I am begging you... you can't tell Hannibal or BA about this. They will never let me live it down."
"Oh, don't worry! Your secret is safe with me," Murdock replied and smiled at the Lieutenant. "BUT, only if you promise to buy double the doggie num-nums, and let me drive your corvette."
"My corvette?... Murdock, you are insane! No way... I refuse!"
"Face, you spring me out of a psychiatric ward all the time. You should know by now that I am crazy and besides I have THIS!!" Murdock stated as he produced a Polaroid picture of Face laying unconscious on the floor of the studio in his underwear with a gigantic snake wrapped around his oily body.
"Murdock, where did you get that?"
"Oh, I have my sources! Now, do I get to drive your vette?" Murdock asked seriously.
"HMMM... well the Colonel is going to love this. Maybe I will have it blown up to poster size and hang it in the van. This way all future clients can see you at your finest."
"OK, Murdock, you can drive my 'vette, but only once around the block," Face grudgingly conceded.
"Make it twice and you've got yourself a deal."
"OK, OK, twice. Now, give me that picture!"
"Nope! Not until I slip in behind the wheel, give a little HOWLLLLLLLL!! And take that baby for a spin." Murdock grinned.
"What? You don't trust me?" Face asked innocently.
"With my life? Yes. With you sticking to our deal? No," Murdock responded and put the picture in his jacket. Face just groaned and laid back down on the couch in Rebecca's office.
Hannibal and BA pulled the van up to the Martinique agency and waited for Face and Murdock.
"Hey Faceman! Be thankful you passed out it gave us the perfect opportunity to snoop around in the boss's office," Murdock said as he searched Rebecca's filing cabinet for any clues to what was going on. He noticed a folder that was sitting in there out of place, like it had been shoved back in hastily. "Well, Well, what have we here?" Murdock commented as he took the file out of the drawer.
"Let me see that," Face said as he got up off the couch. "Salacia?"
"Isn't that a little Island off the coast of Japan?" Murdock asked.
"No, it's one of the Greek Isles in the Aegean sea, population 35,000."
Murdock stared at Face for a moment then they both said in unison, "dated a Geography major."
"Hurry up! let's copy this and get out of here, before Rebecca gets back.
They were just placing the file back in the cabinet when Rebecca walked into the office. Face immediately began charming her, while Murdock quietly closed the drawer. "Well, Rebecca I must apologize for fainting the way I did," Face said as he put an arm around her shoulder distracting her from the pilot. "It was the combination of the hot lights and not eating breakfast, but you know sometimes it is so hard to get good service. The quiche was way too bland and... Oh... the café latte was terrible. I hope you don't hold this against me?" he looked at her with a innocent expression.
"Oh, of course not, Dirk. We all liked what we saw today. You have potential definite potential. If you could please come back on Monday for the next shoot... say...10am?"
"10 is marvelous," Face commented with a smile.
All three of them left the office. Face and Murdock went outside to see if Hannibal and BA were there to pick them up.
"Well, Lieutenant, how was your first day?" Hannibal asked as Murdock and Face climbed into the van. Face looked at Murdock with a fearful expression, not sure if the pilot was going to keep quiet about what had happened with the snake.
"OH, Colonel, the Faceman had a very interesting time especially with Bo."
"Bo? Who's Bo?" Hannibal asked.
"No one," Face quickly replied and shot a warning glance to the pilot. " So anyway, we found out some very interesting things!" he said and handed Hannibal the file.
"Yes, Amanda mentioned something about Salacia. Good job guys I was hoping you would find something out about this. These look like shipping manifests," Hannibal commented as he flipped through the pages.
"Yeah, Colonel, and it mentions someone by the name of Simpson," Face added.
"OK guys well I say this is how we should proceed. We find out who this Simpson character is and more about this Island of Salacia."
"Why yes these four will fetch a hefty price." Stefan said as he looked at the four girls sitting in the darkened cell.
"Did you see to it that the interested buyers have been informed that the merchandise has arrived."
"Yes, sir... I arranged to have them come her this afternoon."
"Very well done, Nicholas. We need to get these lovelies ready for the meeting."
Robin and the other girls listened intently to the conversation that was taking place before them. It was finally dawning on them what the purpose for kidnapping had been and they were horrified at this stunning revelation. Finally, the enraged Robin could keep silent no longer. "You can't keep us locked up here and I don't see how you think you can get away with selling us to the highest bidder to be some sort of slaves to these men. We are Americans, someone will find out about this and see to it that you are arrested and put in jail for a long time."
"Oh, darling girl, don't be foolish. I have no fears that I will be found out let alone arrested and incarcerated. So, I do suggest you keep a civil tongue in your head, unless you want me to turn you over to Nikko and Dimos, I am sure they would like to finish what they started." Stefan commented as the girls cringed at the thought of facing those two disgusting men. "Summon Helena, and instruct her to prepare these girls for the meeting," he ordered.
"Yes, sir. I will get her immediately," Nicholas replied and left.
Stefan looked at the girls once again and smirked at Robin. He liked her, she had fire, and spirit *pity he couldn't keep her for himself* he thought and then turned to leave the corridor.
"So, what did you find out, Lieutenant?"
"There is a cargo ship called the "Blue Horizon" registered to a Captain Gerald Simpson, Colonel," Face replied.
"You know, Hannibal, I think that Rebecca and her cronies are shipping these poor girls off to this Salacia place and selling them to the highest bidder. Probably some rich oil tycoons with a passion for beautiful American women," Murdock added.
"Murdock is right, Hannibal. I have heard of these rich, powerful men buying girls and using them for sexual favors; using them as slaves. Then once they have served their purpose they put them into work in factories or worse yet, they turn them out in the streets. These poor girls are left stranded, penniless and alone in a foreign country; some are never heard from again."
"Well, guys, if that is the case then we have to find this Simpson character and see what he can tell us."
The team piled into the van and headed off in the direction of the docks. "Face, we aren't going to be able to find out much more since it is after five and the county offices are closed. Looks like we are going to have to wait till Monday to get more information. And speaking of Monday when you go into that photo shoot I want you to work your magic on Rebecca. Ask her out, that way you can charm some information out of her."
"Oh great, and I will probably get myself kidnapped while I'm out with her."
"Oh, dont worry, Faceman. We would rescue you before some big strong Salacian had a chance to make you his sex slave," Murdock smiled. Face just looked at the Captain and groaned.
Once reaching the docks Face managed to find out (from a pretty young boat captain) that the 'Blue Horizon' wasn't due back till late Monday night. Face went back to the van and told the others this news.
"Well, Dirk, I have to say your choice in restaurants is absolutely divine," Rebecca said as she smiled at Face.
"Thank you, Rebecca. I have always had a flair for picking out fine restaurants," he replied and lightly touched Rebecca's hand, gazing into her hazel eyes. Rebecca giggled and returned his gaze.
"So, Rebecca, I have been wondering about what our next step is going to be after we are finished shooting for Polly Cotton. I know I have only done two sessions, but I am eager to get my career moving. Maybe, a few commercials or maybe a gig overseas."
"Well, Dirk many of our models tour overseas. So, I think once we are finished here that could be arranged."
"Oh, that would be so marvelous, Rebecca... you know I have always wanted to model internationally. This morning I heard one of the other models talking about an Island called Salacia," Face commented wanting to see the reaction from Rebecca. "Is that a hot spot for models?... I am afraid I am not very versed on the latest fashion scene."
Rebecca just smiled at Face not sure how to answer his questions. "Well, Dirk... could you excuse me for a moment. I have to powder my nose," Rebecca said as she got up from the table. Face smiled and chivalrously stood up. *She knows a lot about this,* he thought to himself as he sat back down and straightened the napkin on his lap.
Outside in the van Hannibal and BA listened to Face who was wired. Murdock was on the roof across the street from the restaurant keeping an eye on the lieutenant through binoculars.
"How's everything going in there, Colonel?" Murdock asked into the walkie-talkie.
"Well, looks like Face has tipped the apple cart, Captain. He mentioned Salacia and Rebecca ran to the head. Be ready to move out!" Hannibal commanded.
"Roger that, Colonel!" Murdock replied and went back to looking at Face. Twenty minutes went by and there was no sign of Rebecca returning from the bathroom. A suspicious looking van pulled up to the back of the restaurant and a man dressed in a very expensive Italian suit got out. "Rebecca," the man said and kissed her hand.
"I am so glad I managed to get you on the telephone," Rebecca said as she smiled at the man. "I think Benedict knows what is going on. He mentioned Salacia and he has been trying to con me all evening. I have been playing along with his little game, but now I think we need to act."
"Yes, darling, I think that you are right. Make some sort of an excuse that you aren't feeling well and have him drive you home. I will have my men waiting for you there. We will take this Benedict fellow to a secure location and see what kind of information we can get from him." Rebecca nodded and went back inside the restaurant.
"I'm sorry, Dirk. I am not feeling too well. Would you mind very much if we cut our evening short and went back to my place for a night cap?" "Not at all, Rebecca," Face smiled and left a 100 dollar bill on the table to cover the check. He helped her on with her coat and then the two of them drove away in his corvette.
"OK, guys, this is it. Something is going down. Murdock come down here and meet us at the van. We are going to follow Face back to Rebecca's. Murdock was just coming off the roof when he spotted Decker's patrol cars pull abruptly into the restaurant parking lot and surround the van. "I got you this time, Smith! Come out with your hands up!" Decker ordered as he got out of his car.
Hannibal quickly began assessing the situation. If he gave up to Decker he would be of no help to Face, but if he did give up the MP's would not search the area and discover Murdock who was still hiding up on the roof. He was sure that he could convince Decker that Face was not with them. Sometimes he really hated making these kinds of decisions, being responsible for the lives of his men. He looked at BA and gave him a glance that said they had better surrender. Face could take care of himself, but Murdock couldn't be exposed as being a member of the team. Decker had his suspicions and finding Murdock with them would confirm them. Hannibal reached for the door handle to the van.
Face and Rebecca took the elevator up to her apartment on the 15th floor. She unlocked the door with a key and went in. Face followed closely behind her and was greeted by the cocking of a gun trigger.
"If these are your brothers, Rebecca, tell them that I had nothing but honorable intentions towards you," Face joked and was rewarded with a swift punch to his stomach, another hit between his shoulder blades knocked him unconscious.
"Tie him up and take him to the van!" Aleksandros ordered.
The other men wrapped Face's hands with duct tape and put a handkerchief in his mouth. They took him to the elevator and down to the basement, through the heating room to the van; managing to avoid all the security and maintenance personnel. They shoved Face in the van and waited for Aleksandros and Rebecca to join them. They drove Face to a warehouse outside of Los Angeles. They dumped him in a chair and tied his arms and legs to it. One of the men through a bucket try, Mr. Benedict, but I am afraid I do not believe you. For you see, no other models know about the Island of Salacia... except for that troublesome Amanda. So, either you are psychic or she tipped you off. I thought that beating she suffered would have scared her enough to keep her quiet, guess I was mistaken. Dammit to hell!!! I hate to be wrong, it infuriates me so," Aleksandros replied and shook his head in disgust.
Meanwhile, back at the van Hannibal and BA had surrender to Decker and Murdock had managed to stay hidden on the roof. He observed the whole scene and was desperately trying to come up with a plan to get them all out of this situation. 'How does Hannibal come up with all his plans?' he thought to himself as the truck carrying the team back to Decker's base disappeared down the street.
Captain Simpson expertly docked the 'Blue Horizon' and the crew quickly secured it to the docks. He sighed knowing that this was just a temporary respite before he was to embark on another journey back to Salacia. For now though, he needed to get off that ship and stretch his legs on dry land. He ordered the crew to finish securing the ship, refuel it and prepare for the journey back.. Then he told them to take a break on land and relax. They weren't going to set sail till at least 2am so that gave them time to have a little fun.
Murdock waited till the Mp's left the area and he quietly slipped down from the roof and creatively acquired a vehicle. *Face isn't the only one with the tricks,* he thought to himself as he drove the black Toyota out of the parking lot. *How am I going to get them out of this one?* He wasn't sure how he was going to do it, but one thing he knew, he had to get them out and before Decker got them back to his base.
Aleksandros reached into the pocket of Face's jacket and pulled out his wallet. He opened it up and numerous Ids unraveled like pictures. "Well, now Mr. Benedict, or let's see here Mr. Rodman, Mr. Jones, Mr. Anthony," Aleksandros said as he looked at the cards all with Face's picture, but with various names and addresses.
Face just grinned nervously at him. "Umm..ah... I can explain."
"No need for explanations, Mr. Benedict. I know exactly who you are," Aleksandros replied smugly.
"You do?" Face queried.
Meanwhile, Murdock had heard on the car radio that a accident involving an overturned tractor-trailer had caused traffic to be backed up for miles on the Santa Monica freeway. *The truck carrying BA and Hannibal would be caught smack dab in the middle of all that,* he smiled to himself. *Perfect opportunity for a rescue.* Murdock took the back roads as to avoid the traffic. He pulled the car to the side of a ridge overlooking the highway. He grabbed his binoculars and began scanning the traffic. It was almost impossible to spot a truck in the sea of headlights that filled the street down below. Finally, he spotted the truck about a mile up ahead from where he was parked. He quickly jumped in the car and drove closer to the location of the truck. *I need a way to signal the guys,* he thought. Searching the car he looked for something to use as a signal. A smile came across his face when he thought of the rear-view mirror. He took the binoculars and hit the mirror till it fell off. Positioning it so the moonlight shined off of it. He signaled to Hannibal and BA in the truck that now was the time for them to make their move.
In the warehouse Aleksandros was staring intently at Face. "Ah yes, Mr. Benedict, I know exactly who you are. That troublesome Amanda hired you to find out what happened to her friend. You are what Americans call a Private Dick... you are an aspiring Sherlock Holmes."
"Ah... yeah...you got me... this broad came into my office and asked me to find out what happen to her girlfriend so I took the case. She wasn't paying much, but hell that was some hot looking little Dame. I figured she could work her debt off in trade to me if ya know what I mean," Face replied in a Brooklyn accent, going along with Aleksandros' private detective theory. It was better if Aleksandros thought that he was working alone. That way when the team showed up, it would be a total surprise to him and his men. Face was wondering what was taking so long for the team to show up.
Aleksandros looked at Face. "Well, Mr. whoever you are... taking the case for Amanda was the biggest mistake you ever made in your life." He then shouted out orders to his men in Greek and they quickly came over to Face. One of the men hit Face with the butt of his gun, knocking him unconscious. They quickly un-tied him from the chair and carried him out to the van.
Aleksandros met Rebecca in the entrance to the warehouse. "I think that Benedict is working alone, Rebecca. So, we should have no problems disposing of him and once we find that Amanda we will get rid of her as well."
"Alek, no he has help," Rebecca said apprehensively, knowing that her mistake would cause Aleksandros to become furious.
"Help? He has help?" Aleksandros inquired.
"When he came to the agency on Friday he had this unusual man with him a Monsieur Murdock as he called himself."
"Well, why didn't you tell me before this, Rebecca?" Aleksandros inquired angrily as he grabbed her roughly by the arm.
"I'm sorry, Alek... I was so scared and concerned tonight when Benedict mentioned Salacia that I panicked and forgot to mention it," Rebecca replied nervously looking at him with pleading eyes.
"Well, I will over look it this time Rebecca, but there will not be a second mistake made. Do I make myself clear?" Aleksandros stated as he pulled her closer to him, his hot breath landing on her face sending chills down her spine.
"Yes, Alek... I'm sorry," Rebecca replied meekly, averting her eyes from his menacing gaze.
Back at the truck Hannibal had spotted the signal coming from up on the ridge. Hannibal motioned to BA with his eyes to move now and move quickly. BA got up and body slammed the guard, knocking him out of the truck and onto the street. Hannibal and BA jumped out of the truck, doing their best to keep their balance as they were still handcuffed behind their backs. They headed up the ridge to where Murdock was waiting. The guards in the squad cars behind the truck, realized what was happening and opened fire on the two escaping prisoners. They took off in pursuit of them, but because they had been lost in the traffic jam more then ten car lengths back, Hannibal and BA had a good head start. Murdock returned their fire, but only firing up in the air to let them know he was armed. Murdock did not want to take the chance of hitting any innocent civilians sitting in their cars. Hannibal and BA managed to get into the car safe and unharmed.
"Go, Murdock!" Hannibal ordered.
In the van Face laid unconscious on the floor, as four beautiful young girls sat shivering around him.
"Well, if this Benedict character has help then we need to get him and the girls to the 'Blue Horizon' and order Captain Simpson to get underway immediately," Aleksandros said as he looked at Rebecca. "Yes, Alek. Tell the driver to take the next left up there on Rabb Street. I know a shortcut to the docks."
Alek ordered the driver to follow Rebecca's instructions and in about ten minutes they found themselves on the docks. The driver of the van pulled the vehicle as close as he could without going into the water. Aleksandros got out and found Captain Simpson, who was returning with a sandwich he had gotten from a local deli.
"Captain Simpson, it is imperative that you get your ship ready for its return voyage and set sail immediately," Aleksandros declared, dispensing with the formality of a greeting.
"But we are not scheduled to leave for another four hours. I promised my crew a little shore leave before we sailed."
"Well, I am afraid, Captain, that is impossible. Now, I suggest that if you wish to be paid for the journey you just completed and if you wish to be paid in the future, that you stop arguing with me and get that tub of yours ready to go."
Captain Simpson stared at Aleksandros for a few moments, then headed up the gang plank shouting various orders to his crew to prepare for their trip. The crew's grumble and groans were met with a few stern looks and a few threats to turn them into shark food, if the need arose.
Aleksandros ordered his men to carry Face and escort the four girls on to the ship. The men did as instructed and the prisoners were placed in the same cell as their predecessors. The crew had the ship prepared to sail within fifteen minutes. Captain Simpson sounded the debarkation whistle and was underway back to the Island of Salacia. This time with four new models and one unconscious Lieutenant Peck.
Murdock drove the Toyota a few miles and then pulled over on a side road.
"Well, we're not going to be any use to Face unless we find a way to get these handcuffs off," Hannibal stated the obvious to Murdock and BA. "Got that right, Colonel! Hey, BA, it's a shame that you aren't handcuffed in front... then you could just pretend that you are a wolf caught in a trap and you could gnaw right through your arm to get them off," Murdock commented and smiled at BA.
"I'll gnaw right through your head, sucka."
"Murdock, pop the trunk and see if there are any tools in there," Hannibal instructed ignoring Murdock's latest attempt to rouse BA. Murdock opened the trunk and fished around till he found a tool box. Luckily, there were a pair of pliers in it. He managed to get the handcuffs off of BA and Hannibal.
"OK, Colonel, what's the plan?"
"Well, guys, I have a strong feeling that Face is in some sort of trouble. We have to find out exactly where he is. Our best bet is to track down Rebecca, find out what she knows about all this. Let's get back to the modeling agency...if she is not there, then maybe we can get her address some how."
The three of them jumped back into the car and headed in the direction of Martinique's. Once they were there, they managed to quietly slip in with the help of a trusty screwdriver and BA's ability to disconnect the alarm.
"BA, you stand guard out here and signal us if you see trouble. Murdock, you come with me," Hannibal ordered. Murdock and Hannibal went straight to Rebecca's office, led by Murdock, who had remembered the lay out of the place from his little trip there on Friday.
"All right, Murdock there has to be something around here, with Rebecca's address on it. You search the desk. I'll look in the files." Murdock nodded and went about searching the desk for any clues. He rooted through the drawers until he came to a manila envelope tape to the bottom of the middle desk drawer.
"Hey, Hannibal, I think I got something!" Murdock opened the envelope and dumped the contents onto the desk. It was a few pictures, one was of a much younger Rebecca holding a little girl, of about two, in her arms. She was smiling, but looked apprehensive. A dark-haired man stood stoically next to her. Crystal blue water and a white sandy beach complimented the villa they were standing in front of.
"Colonel, that is Rebecca... looks like about five or six years ago." "Well, at least I know who we're looking for, but who is the statue standing next to her?"
"Don't know, sir, but I have a feeling he is the reason for all this," Murdock commented as he looked at the picture again. Something about his menacing stare and the fearful look in Rebecca's eyes gave him the chills.
Aleksandros took Rebecca back to her apartment and told her that he was leaving for the airport. He wanted to be on the next plane and back to Salacia to help his brother Stefan.
"But Alek, you promised that after this last shipment, I could come with you back to the Island," Rebecca stated.
"Oh, don't worry, my darling. You will be back home soon. It is just that things are not settled here enough to constitute your leaving. You must remain here until you find Amanda and dispose of her. I need to return to Salacia. I want to deal with Benedict personally and I must see to it that Stefan has Robin and the others secured into their new positions, before Captain Simpson arrives there in a few days."
Aleksandros leaned over to kiss Rebecca, but she backed away. "What's the matter my darling... don't I excite you anymore? There was a time when you begged for my touch," he said angrily.
"No, Alek, it's not you. It is all that is going on... I am afraid of the police finding out about everything," Rebecca replied nervously and gently touched his arm.
"Not to worry, my darling. I will see to it that everything goes as planned. Benedict is a minor problem. You will be in our bed very soon; I promise. Besides Alexis misses you very much and you know I would not want to disappoint her."
"I miss her too, Alek. Please, tell her I love her."
"I will... farewell my darling," Aleksandros whispered and placed a kiss on her hand.
Rebecca sat down and took a framed picture from on the end table. It was a picture of a beautiful little girl about eight years old. She had chocolate colored eyes, and tons of golden curls. Rebecca studied the picture, running her fingers over it. Talking to the little girl as if she was suddenly going to come out of the picture and fill the room with giggles. The tears began burning her eyes, a single tear rolled down her cheek and landed on the glass. Frantically, Rebecca wiped the salty water from the surface with her shirt sleeve, before it had a chance to ruin the one possession she apparently placed a high value on. She leaned back in the chair crying, clutching the picture to her heart.
Hannibal pulled a file from the cabinet and thumbed through it. "Got it, Murdock. Let's go!" Murdock and Hannibal quickly left the office and ran out to the car. BA got in behind the wheel and sped off following Hannibal's directions.
At the airport Aleksandros was waiting to board the private jet and head back to Salacia to check on Stefan. He reached in his suitcoat for his cell phone and felt something else in there. Confused he pulled it out and realized that he had put Face's wallet into his pocket. He was going to throw it away when he felt something bumpy sewn into the lining. Quickly, he ripped open the material and there inside was a small listening device. *Damn it!!! I think this Benedict character is more trouble then I thought,* he said to himself as he boarded the airplane.
Hannibal, Murdock and BA arrived at Rebecca's apartment building. After carefully checking to make sure that it was not being guarded, they silently made their way up to the 15th floor. Hannibal knocked on the door "Flower Delivery!"
*Flower delivery at this time of night?* Rebecca thought to herself as she looked at the door. *Must be from Aleksandros.*
Rebecca got up and opened the door, to find three men standing there, one of them pointing a gun at her.
"Not one peep, lady," Hannibal ordered as he grabbed her and the four of them went inside and closed the door.
Rebecca just looked at them confused.
"Monsieur Murdock?" she queried, recognizing Murdock.
"Wee, Mademoiselle," Murdock replied.
"Who are your friends?"
"Listen, lady, I'm the one asking the questions around here. Starting with where is Mr. Benedict? And please, don't lie to me... I don't look with favor on people who lie to me. Do I fellows?"
"No, sir." Came the replies from BA and Murdock.
Rebecca sat down on the couch and looked up at the angry men that were standing there before her.
"You don't understand... there is so much more here at stake then your friend's life," Rebecca said an began to cry.
Hannibal looked at the two remaining team members and indicated for Murdock to lower his weapon. He sat down next to Rebecca and put a hand on her shoulder. "We can't help you if we don't know what is going on. Obviously you are scared to death about something. You have to trust us."
Rebecca reached over without saying a word and handed Hannibal the picture of the little girl. It was the same little girl in the photograph that Murdock had found in Rebecca's desk drawer. "Her name is Alexis, and she is eight years old."
"She has her mother's hair," Murdock commented, as he gently brushed the few strands of golden hair that were covering Rebecca's eyes. Rebecca just looked at Murdock and smiled.
Aleksandros scanned his mind for a plan to deal with Face. He wanted to get a message to Captain Simpson. He quickly pulled out his cell phone and contacted his men, who were scheduled to take the next commercial flight back to Salacia. Aleksandros always traveled alone on his jet, something about air travel with other people made him ill. He didn't like the thought of traveling thousands of miles breathing other's recirculated air. He contacted the leader of his crew and told him to send a message to Captain Simpson telling him to immediately take the alternate route to Salacia. He also instructed his men to finish cleaning up the warehouse, not mention a word to Rebecca about the change in the shipping route and to be on the next plane ASAP.
"OK, Rebecca, so this little girl in the photo is your daughter, what does this have to do with kidnapping these girls and selling them overseas?" Hannibal asked.
Rebecca looked at Hannibal slightly surprised that he knew the gist of the operation. "Oh, it's a long story," she said to him in almost a whisper.
"Well, lady I love stories.. So, spill it! But, make it the shortened version...our friend's life is at stake...so, we don't have time for long winded speeches."
Captain Simpson received the message about twenty minutes after Aleksandros had placed the call to his men. The captain quickly turned the ship and headed for the alternate route that Stefan and Aleksandros had prearranged with him in case of an emergency. The route was longer and slightly more traveled, but it was secure. No chances of running into the Coast Guard since it was still far enough from the main shipping lanes. In all total the 'Blue Horizon' had been at sea for about an hour and was making good progress.
Down below Face was beginning to stir. He wearily opened his eyes to find four beautiful girls staring at him. *Hell, if this is a dream, than I don't want to wake up,* he thought to himself, still trying to clear his mind. Once the realization of what had actually happened hit, he immediately sat up. The unmistakable swaying of the ship indicated to him that he was probably aboard the 'Blue Horizon' on his way to Salacia. *Well, this is my luck... here I am on my way to a magnificent Island with four beautiful women, but do I get to enjoy it?... nahhhhh... instead I'll probably wind-up a sex-slave to some big hairy man named Adonis,* Face said to himself and smiled at the four girls who were just sitting there in silence.
"Do you know what is going on?" one of the girls finally asked. "Well, not exactly, but I have a pretty good idea," Face replied not sure how much he wanted to tell the girls. He knew the truth would frighten them too much, but keeping it from them was also not fair. "Let's just say that we have to find away off this ship and get back to the United States, because the place we are headed for is not going to be pleasant," he said finally.
Face stood up slowly trying to get his sea legs. *Never have been much for boats,* he thought to himself *that's why I didn't join the navy.* He inspected the cell thoroughly, aside from the four bunks and a toilet in the corner there wasn't much else. *This isn't exactly a suite at the Ritz.*
Sounds of conversation began filling the cargo hold as two of the crew headed down the passage way to the cell. They stopped in front of the cell and began eyeing up the prisoners. "My, My, what a handsome bunch we have here," the elder of the two men commented.
"Yes, indeed, Paulie... especially this one," the other man replied as he undressed Face with his eyes.
Face immediately picked up on this and began pulling his clothes over himself tightly trying to protect his modesty.
"Aye, Peter... the blonde-haired one is nice on the eyes. It's a shame we have to leave him in this cell...I wouldn't mind taking him back to my cabin," Paulie commented as he reached in to touch his desired object. Luckily, Face could move far enough back in the cell to avoid him. "What's the matter, pretty-boy? You don't like my friend?" Peter queried.
"Oh, your friend seems nice... it's just that I don't kiss on the first date," Face mused and had to move back in the corner to avoid being grabbed by Paulie. The two men were about to open the cell door and pull Face out when they were interrupted by a familiar voice behind them.
"Excuse me, Gentlemen... I believe there is work to be done," Captain Simpson commented as the two men snapped to attention.
"Aye, Sir," the crewmen replied and hastily hurried off.
"So, you're Captain Simpson," Face said with distaste in his voice.
"Well, you know my name... that is one advantage over me," Gerald replied as he smirked at Face.
Face stared at the captain for a moment. "How did that happen to you?" he inquired, obviously referring to the captain's artificial limb.
"It happened in a time and place I would soon rather forget," Gerald replied plainly.
"A lot of men want to forget that same time and place, but it isn't easy. The worst are the nightmares that plague your sleep. Do you have nightmares, Captain?" Face queried, remembering the many nights in which he had awoken in his bed drenched in sweat and shaking with fear. Gerald stared at Face for a moment, his eyes answering that question, and then said. "I normally do not come down here to check on the cargo, but you sir, seem to be causing quite a stir among the people who put you aboard my vessel. I wanted to see for myself what all the commotion was about. Curiosity I guess you could say."
"Well, now, that you have seen me has your curiosity been satisfied?" Face asked smugly.
"For now," Gerald replied and left the cargo hold.
"Well, that is some story, Rebecca," Hannibal commented and got up off the couch.
"I thought that convincing Aleksandros, seven years ago, that I wanted him, would save me from suffering the same fate as the other models and it did. But, I cringe at the thought of his touch. So, now you see the only reason I go along with his plans is because of Alexis. He will kill her... I am sure of that," Rebecca stated with fear in her voice. "All right, Rebecca, I believe you, but don't make me sorry that I am trusting you, believe me the man your boyfriend has captured means a lot to me and to this team. If something happens to him, because you do something stupid, I won't hesitate to..." Hannibal did not finish his sentence the look in Rebecca's eyes told him that it was not necessary to do so; she understood.
"Well, Colonel, what's our next step?" Murdock asked.
"We have to find out where Face is. Rebecca do you know where they have taken him?"
"Colonel? Face? You guys are the A-team," Rebecca stated upon hearing the true identity of Dirk.
"Yes, Ma'am... the one and only," Hannibal responded, "And a member of that team is in trouble. We will do anything necessary to get him back. Now, where has Aleksandros taken him?" he inquired.
"He is on a ship on his way to Salacia, with the next shipment of models."
"The 'Blue Horizon' under the command of Captain Simpson," Hannibal smiled. "I want to know all the details about this Captain Simpson. We need the route that Simpson takes, and we need to get out to the ship and pick up Face and the girls. Then I say we pay Aleksandros and Stefan a little visit on Salacia and find Robin and the others," Hannibal smiled.
"Colonel, the shipping manifests that Face and I copied from Rebecca's office are in the van. I don't think Decker will let us get them," Murdock commented.
"Well, then let's go back to the agency and get the originals from Rebecca's filing cabinet. Then we will acquire air transportation, somehow."
"Colonel Smith, the agency has a private helicopter. We use it to chauffeur important clients to various places, but we need a pilot. I'm afraid we could not trust the one we have, he works for Stefan and Alek," Rebecca added.
"Monsieur Murdock would be more than happy to volunteer for the job as pilot, Mademoiselle. And ya don't even have to pay me," Murdock replied with a grin.
"You're a pilot?" Rebecca asked surprised.
"Yes, Ma'am. There is nothing I like more then being in the clouds," Murdock said and did his best airplane impersonation.
"Knock it off, Fool! Hey man, I ain't flying!"
Hannibal went over to BA and placed and arm on his shoulder. "Listen, Sergeant. Face and those girls need us and so does Alexis. It's a matter of life or death. Now, you can stay here or come with us, it's your choice," Hannibal stated. He knew that BA's fear was real, but sometimes you have to face your fears.
The three of them looked at BA for a moment to see what his reaction to the Colonel's ultimatum was going to be. "Alright, Hannibal, I'll try for Face and that little girl," BA conceded, knowing that he couldn't stand to see Face or Alexis in danger.
"Oh, don't worry, Big Guy, you'll love it!!" Murdock enthused and slapped BA on the back. His enthusiasm was met with a menacing scowl. Murdock removed his hand from BA's back and nudged closer to Hannibal.
Back aboard the Blue Horizon, Face was really starting to worry. *Something must have happened to them... Decker probably,* he thought to himself. Face began to scan his mind for a plan, even if he could get out of the cell, what we he do next? It was a long swim back to the United States. His only hope was to convince Captain Simpson to let them go. Just from the brief meeting he had with the Captain, Face had sensed that he wasn't an evil man. Just a man caught up in something that he couldn't get out of; something beyond his control.
"What's the matter, Hannibal?" BA asked, not liking the sound of the colonel's voice.
"Look!" Hannibal replied pointing to the olive green squad cars that were staking out the modeling agency.
"How did they know we were coming, Colonel Smith?" Rebecca queried. "Aleksandros must have your apartment wired. Somebody overheard us talking and tipped off Decker."
Rebecca looked at Hannibal and then a sudden look of panic overcame her. "Oh my God... if Aleksandros' men overheard our conversation then Alexis' life is in dan...he is going to kill her... he is going to kill her," she began to sob hysterically.
Hannibal looked at Murdock and BA, searching their faces for any suggestions. Just then a ring from Rebecca's cell phone broke the tension.
"Yeah," Hannibal said into the phone.
"Well, Well, Hello, Colonel Smith. Nice to meet you," Aleksandros quipped sarcastically.
"Listen, sleazeball, We know you have our friend, we know all about your operation and we intend to crash your little party," Hannibal stated.
"Ah, yes, but you see I am afraid that I have you at a disadvantage. For you see, I have had my doubts about Rebecca's loyalty for some time, which caused me to take immediate action. Captain Simpson has taken a alternate route to Salacia per my instructions...so, no need to look for the Blue Horizon. Oh, and tell Rebecca that as soon as I land on Salacia, I will be visiting with Alexis." The phone went silent.
Hannibal clicked the phone off and sat back in his seat frustrated. When Rebecca had told him that Aleksandros would kill Alexis, he thought she was just overreacting, but after seeing her reaction and hearing the tone of Alek's last statement he wasn't so sure. His mind wandered to thoughts of the lieutenant, Face was in trouble and there wasn't much Hannibal could do about it. It went against everything he had promised himself and his team. 'We will be a team, we will look out for each other and I promise you that I will do my best to get us out of any situation. Now, who's with me?' They all had agreed to follow Hannibal those many years ago in that jungle and up until now Hannibal had kept his promise, but now saving Alexis was first priority. The only thing the team could do was hope that Face could find away off that ship. Hannibal looked at Murdock and BA, their faces reflecting his own. "Don't worry Rebecca, we will save Alexis. I promise you that," Hannibal commented and looked once more at BA and Murdock. Silently, they acknowledged Hannibal's decision to go to Salacia.
Rebecca wiped the tears from her eyes and gently placed her hand on Hannibal's. "Thank you, Colonel."
Hannibal returned her smile. "Rebecca where is this helicopter?" he asked.
"We keep it at a private airstrip about twenty minutes from here, but it isn't going to be easy to get. I am sure Aleksandros will have it guarded."
"Great! I'd like to meet Alek's friends maybe challenge them to a little game of football. Right, BA?"
"Yeah, man, I could use a little practice on some tacklin' dummies."
OK, guys, well our first priority is to acquire some firepower. Then get out to that helicopter. Let's go BA!" Hannibal commanded.
Face paced back and forth in the cell trying to think of a way to get himself and the girls off the ship. He knew that the team must be captured or involved in something very serious for them not to have gotten to him by now. *Hannibal would rescue me if it was at all possible,* he commented to himself as he thought back to the times when the colonel had risked everything to save one of them. Hannibal's fierce protectiveness was Face's security blanket, it made him feel loved and safe, especially from a world that hadn't given him his fair share of those things. Face looked into the darkness of the cargo hold and decided that there wasn't much he was going to do tonight, besides he was exhausted. An idea was forming in his head, but he needed time to work out the details, for now though, sleep was the best answer. Face settled down on the floor, took off his suit coat and used it as a pillow. The sounds of the girls sleeping soon lulled him into slumber.
"Wake up! Wake up!" Paulie called to the five prisoners who were huddled up into little balls in the cell. "Breakfast is here!"
Face opened his eyes and looked around at the surroundings, slightly confused. It took him a few seconds to remember where he was. The girls sat there staring at the haggard looking seaman. Paulie was returning their gazes, but was more interested in Face.
"Oh, I hope it's the kippers and fresh hot muffins I ordered," Face said to Paulie.
"Aye, matey... you're a funny one aren't ya?" Paulie replied.
"Yeah, always got me into trouble at school. Nuns don't have a sense of humor, but boy, they can sure swing a mean ruler," Face smirked. Paulie slid the tray of food under the bars. He winked at Face and then left the cargo hold.
Captain Simpson looked out over the water, his mind wandering to the man below deck in the cargo hold. Aleksandros had sent a message that the man below was Templeton Peck otherwise known as Face, of the notorious A-team. Simpson had heard stories of the A-team when he was in 'Nam. Stories about how this elite group of men had saved the lives of countless soldiers and taken out many enemy targets, but they robbed the bank of Hanoi and had been on the run for many years. *I've always had my doubts about their guilt,* the captain thought to himself as he watched a school of dolphin swimming in unison, jumping and diving as one, perfectly synchronized. A tear rolled down his cheek, nothing in his 30 years at sea triggered such emotion in him as the exquisite beauty of the sea creatures. He often longed to be one of them, free, and driven only by instinct. They lived everyday with one goal in mind, to survive. Sure, they faced countless perils, but life was lived to the fullest. Seeking out only the pleasures, food, companion ship, love, sex, while death was met with acceptance. It was part of the natural circle. Humans concern themselves with too many things, money, greed, hatred while death is met with fear and resentment. Captain Simpson wiped the tear from his face and turned his attentions once more to the man in his cargo hold. *Heroes,* that is what many soldiers called the team. *I wonder if Peck considers himself a hero? *Gerald's mind was filled with many thoughts. *What makes a man risk his life for someone else?* he wondered. *I used to know the answer to that question,* he thought as he rubbed his artificial limb, "but I have forgotten," he sighed out loud to the dolphins that jumped once again up into the air and then disappeared into the sea.
Aleksandros' plane landed on the island after a long an tiring flight. He quickly gathered his briefcase and personal effects and headed for the limousine that Stefan had sent to the airport for him. *I must prepare Stefan and the others for the A-team's arrival,* he thought to himself as he reached for the cell phone. Aleksandros knew that Colonel Smith would bring his team to the Island to save Alexis and the others, if he could. In his mind Alek always pictured that some day he would have to hurt Rebecca or Alexis or both for an act of betrayal on Rebecca's part, but he didn't know he was going to have such a large audience to do it in front of. *They will die for this betrayal, yes I think that is only fair,* Aleksandros thought as he dialed the villa to speak with Stefan.
Murdock was just taking the helicopter back up, after they had made a refueling stop. BA was still unconscious. Hannibal had had to knock him out after BA flipped out in the helicopter and almost jumped.
"Hannibal, what's the plan?" Murdock asked.
"Well, Cap'n, I think it is safe to assume that Aleksandros knows we're coming. He should be on the Island about now. He has a good head start on us, but I don't think that matters."
"Because Aleksandros seems like the kinda person who would want to hurt Alexis, only in front of Rebecca, just to see the look in her eyes."
"Yeah, the look that says... it's her own fault that this is all happening, right, Hannibal?"
"Yes, Murdock, unfortunately. This Aleksandros seems like one sick puppy from what Rebecca has told us."
Murdock just looked at the Colonel. "And what about Face, Hannibal?"
"Well, I think Face should be alright, the Blue Horizon won't arrive at Salacia for another day or two at least. By that time we should have Alek, Stefan and the rest of these goons taken care of. Hey, maybe we can take a nice relaxing cruise back to the States, reward BA for trying so hard to fly. You know?" Hannibal smiled.
"Sure, Colonel. Sounds good to me!" Murdock smiled, but he had a sinking suspicion that things were not going to work out exactly as the Colonel had planned.
Captain Simpson went below deck to the cargo hold to see Face and the girls. He found Face curled up on the floor in a little ball not looking well.
"What's the matter with him?" Gerald asked curious as to the lieutenant's condition.
"He is sick, Captain. I don't think he can handle the rocking of the ship very well," One of the girls informed the captain as she stroked Face's hair.
Gerald looked at Face for a few moments, normally he tried not to get involved with the affairs of his *passengers,* but this time it was different. He was transporting someone who had fought for his country. A soldier who would have willingly given his life so that millions of nameless, faceless strangers could continue to enjoy the freedoms afforded them by the government of the United States. Gerald pondered turning the ship around and heading back to America, but one thought stopped him--Aleksandros would surely find and kill him. *I'm afraid, Mr. Peck, that many years of relying on others has turned me into a coward,* he said softly to himself as he looked at the helpless young man before him. Looking into Face's eyes, Gerald could see his own reflection, arrogant and full of life, yet there was a underlying current of vulnerability in them. However, most of these qualities had died within Gerald the day the shell explosion took away his Naval career. That explosion left him a broken, bitter man who relished in self-pity and hated himself for it. A man that had lost his honor, his loyalty. A man that he didn't like very much. He looked again at the girls, "I will see to it that he gets something for the seasickness," Gerald replied hastily and left the cargo hold.
About this time Aleksandros was reaching the Villa. The chauffeur pulled up to the guarded gate and after exchanging pleasantries with the man on duty, he drove the limousine to the front of the villa where Stefan was waiting.
"Welcome Home, dear Brother," Stefan said to Aleksandros as he stepped out of the limousine.
"Stefan we have no time to waste on senseless banter. The A-team will be arriving soon and we need to prepare," Alek stated emphatically as he brushed passed Stefan and motioned for the guards to follow him inside the house.
Once inside Aleksandros filled Stefan in on the details on what had happened on his trip to America. Stefan in turn informed Alek that Robin and the other models were about to be placed in their new *homes.*
"Very good, Stefan. I am glad to see that you have things well under control on this end," Aleksandros commented as he smiled at his brother.
Stefan returned his smile and summoned the guards to gather around. Immediately the men huddled around the brothers and Aleksandros began to lay out the framework of their defense against the invaders that would soon be knocking on their door.
"Well, we are going to go through the front door of course, Cap'n," Hannibal commented to Murdock and grinned at him. "Since, the brother's grim no we are coming there is no such thing as a surprise attack in this case. Rebecca said that Stefan is keeping Robin and the others on the grounds of the Villa, however, our first priority is to rescue Alexis," he added as Murdock shook his head.
"Do you think that Alek will move Alexis and the models to a secure location?"
"No, I'm sure right now he is turning his little villa into a fortress. So, he would want us to come and test out his little security system," Hannibal replied.
"Well, Colonel, we should be there in about another eight hours."
"Good, Captain. I can't wait to rain of Alek's parade," Hannibal grinned and puffed on his cigar, the Jazz coursing through his veins.
Darkness had settled over the Island as Murdock gracefully set the chopper down on the sand. Quickly, and without a sound Hannibal and Murdock moved from the helicopter, taking with them the unconscious BA. "Murdock we need to wake BA up and then we have to head for the Villa. It should be about five miles in that direction," Hannibal said and pointed to the right.
"Roger, Colonel. Colonel?"
"It doesn't quite feel the same without Faceman aboard, does it?"
Murdock commented, worried about the safety of his friend and teammate. "No, Cap'n. Don't worry though, Face should be here tomorrow, and besides I am sure he is enjoying his little cruise with those models surrounding him," Hannibal grinned trying to alleviate Murdock's worry, but underneath he was just as concerned about Face as the pilot was.
Back on board the ship Captain Simpson had sent Marcus down with medication for Face. Face was starting to feel a little less queasy and was now standing in the cell wondering how to get out of his predicament. The ship was exceptionally quiet as all the crew had turned in for the night. All except for Peter and Paulie who were on night watch. The two men sat at a rickety card table playing poker, sipping the cheap whiskey that they had smuggled on board without Gerald's knowledge. Clouds of smoke encircled their heads as they puffed furiously on their cigars. Face studied the men for a few moments. He was sure that if he could convince them to let him out of the cell that he could overpower them with no trouble, make his way up to the Captain's quarters and hold him hostage until the crew agreed to dock the ship at the nearest port. He just needed a way to convince them to let him out and he needed to find a weapon. Face wondered if either or both of the two men were armed. He smiled when he remembered something that would definitely cause them to open the door. He hated to do it, but it was the only way.
"Ah, excuse me, Paulie, wasn't it?" Face's voice broke the almost dead silence of the cargo hold.
"Aye, matey, that is my name. What's it to ya?" Paulie said without looking up from his cards.
"Well, I wanted to apologize to you for my behavior yesterday. I mean, afterall, I was a little overwhelmed by all that is happening. This isn't exactly the Love Boat, you know," Face smiled wryly at Paulie who was now semi-interested in what the lieutenant was saying. "No, matey, it isn't. For if it was, I know I would not be sittin' here playin' cards with Petey," Paulie commented and smiled at Petey. "Well, what would you be doing?" Face asked happy that Paulie was falling right into his hands.
"Oh, matey, I best not talk about it, the ship's walls have ears, you know," Paulie said and looked around to make sure no one was listening. "Well, then why don't we go up on deck and talk about it. No one to hear us up there but the seagulls, and I don't think they gossip." Face smiled again.
"But the Captain would have my head, if anything was to happen to you," Paulie replied apprehensively.
"Now, Paulie, what could possibly happen? I am unarmed and we are in the middle of the ocean. Unless I plan on going for a long swim, I don't think I am going anywhere. Besides I'd much rather spend some time getting to know you better." Face winked at Paulie who was gazing at him.
Paulie thought about it for a moment then got up from the table and went over to the cell. He unlocked the door and let Face out. The girls had remained quiet during this whole scene. Face winked at them as Paulie led him out of the cell and they headed above deck.
Face was keeping tracked of the ship's layout as Paulie led him through the passageways. He had decided to wait until they were up on deck before trying to take him out. Face figured if he fought with him down in the ship, the crew would hear the noise and come out of their cabins. Silently, they made their way up to the main deck without alerting the crew to their presence. Face drew in a deep breath, the smell of the salt air started to make him a little queasy again, but he fought it off. Paulie slid his hand over Face's shoulders letting it come to rest in the small of his back. This motion made Face instinctively tighten his body.
Paulie sensed this and looked at him suspiciously. "What's the matter, little one? Haven't been touched like that in awhile?" he asked. "No, it's not that," Face quickly recovered, "it is just that I'm a little cold. I guess it's this sea air, it is quite chilling," he said hoping that that would satisfy Paulie's curiosity.
"Well, then allow me," Paulie said and put his arms around Face and began rubbing him up and down trying to warm him up. Face figured now was the perfect time and he grabbed Paulie's wrist and bent it behind his back. Paulie winced in pain as Face tightened his grip.
"Don't say a word, Paulie, or so help me I'll throw you overboard," Face hissed. Paulie didn't say anything, he simply nodded his understanding and let Face lead him. Face pushed Paulie forward and instructed him to show him where the captain's quarters were. Quickly, they made their way down the passageways until they came to Gerald's cabin. Face was just about to open the door using Paulie as a battering ram, when he felt a piercing pain in his side. In what seemed like an eternity he released his grip on Paulie and placed his hand to his side, redness began seeping through the wound, staining his shirt, as Face fell to his knees and then passed out on the floor.
"You idiot! what did you do?" Paulie yelled and was immediately silenced by a hand covering his mouth.
"Would you keep your voice down. You wanna wake up the Captain?" Peter warned.
"Matey, when the captain sees this poor lad here, he is going to hang us from the highest yard arm."
"Not if we get rid of him," Peter replied.
"Get rid of him?" Paulie asked confused. "Is he breathing, matey?"
"Don't matter none, whether he is alive or dead... if the captain sees him, we'll be shark food. We have to get him topside I have an idea. Grab his legs."
Paulie protested for a moment, but then relented and grabbed Face's legs. They lifted him up and carried him through the passageway to the main deck.
"If we make it look like he escaped we'll be free and clear. Sure Cap'n might chew us out for being careless in lettin' him escape, but that's better then what he'll do if he sees 'em now," Peter stated.
"But what about those girls? They saw us let him out of the cell," Paulie protested.
"Don't worry about them. By the time I am done with 'em they won't say much," Peter said with an evil smirk.
"Now, let's feed him to the sharks, Paulie." They hoisted Face up over the railing and tossed him into the salty swirls of water that eagerly awaited his arrival.
Murdock, Hannibal and BA were just reaching the villa. The trip up to the main entrance was uneventful, no booby-traps, no armed guards, nothing at all like Hannibal had expected. He motioned for BA and Murdock to go to either side of the front door, while he took the middle. Hannibal kicked the door open with his foot and BA and Murdock followed behind him giving him cover. Once inside the team was surprised at what they saw. There in the middle of the living room floor was Robin, Alexis and the three models tied up.
"BA, Murdock, search the premises!" Hannibal ordered and then went over to ungag Robin.
"Well, hello, Ma'am, you must be Robin," Hannibal said to the pretty red-haired girl. "And you little lady, must be Alexis," he said as he stroked the frightened little girl's golden curls. "Robin where is Aleksandros and Stefan?"
"I'm not sure. Stefan had the guards bring us here and tie us up and then they disappeared," Robin replied offering what little information she could.
"Alright, well the first thing we have to do is get you all out of here and to safety. I don't like this, I don't like this one bit," Hannibal said as he hurriedly began untying the rest of the girls.
Just then from down the hall BA and Murdock came running "There's a bomb, Hannibal!! We need to get out of here now!!!" BA shouted.
Once Gerald had found out about Face he was furious. He didn't believe Paulie and Peter, but with no proof he couldn't do anything. He had already docked the ship and couldn't go back to look for him, besides if the hypothermia hadn't gotten him the sharks would have by now. He prepared himself to inform Aleksandros and Stefan as to what had happened. He was puzzled however when Dimos and Nikko were not at the docks to meet him.
"I'm going into town to see what I can find out," Gerald informed the crew and hastily left the ship.
In a small tikki-bar in the main section of town, he overheard some tourists talking about the explosion that had happened last night. "A villa, can you believe it? It belonged to a Aleksandros and Stefan Stavoros. Some rich big-wigs, I guess." He heard an overweight middle-aged woman say to her husband as they both sipped on alcohol filled pineapples.
Gerald quickly found directions to the Villa and got a taxi out to it. Police cars and fire units surrounded the area. He went up to one of the detectives and asked what happen. "Bomb went off here last night," Detective Salarius said plainly.
"Were there any survivors?" Gerald asked.
"Well, we found some remains, but they are too badly burned to ID them. The coroner has one hell of a job to do," he said as he shook his head. "Do you know anyone that would have been in there?"
"No, I just was curious as to what happen. Thank you, Officer," Gerald replied and turned to leave. On the way back in the taxi his body shook with guilt and anger. He knew that four innocent men were now dead and he only had himself to blame. Once he got back to the ship he sadly took one look back to the Island and ordered the crew to get the ship refueled and underway. Gerald went up on deck and looked out over the water he silently began crying for he knew that this journey would be his last.