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Title: Forgotten - Prologue

Forgotten

By Nutty

 

Rating: R for swearing, violence and blood in later parts.

Comments: Always, even if they're bad ones please let me know what you think!

Summary: The team get hired by someone that Murdock knew in the past or does he?

Disclaimer: The team don't belong to me, some other extremely lucky person owns them but Tony and Katie are all mine.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to MCL for beta reading this and encouraging me to post it.

 

 

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

 

PROLOGUE

 

The young girl waited in the diner.  The blue Formica tables were cracked and there was a distinct smell of stale coffee in the air but other than that, it was a comfortable enough place to be. 

 

She drummed her fingers idly on the tabletop not even aware that she was doing it.  Her nails were bitten and uneven; a sign of the effect that the events of the last few days had had on her.  There was a dishevelled look about her and people who met her could have been forgiven for thinking that this was the way she normally looked.  On the contrary, this couldn't have been further from the truth; usually she prided herself on her appearance.  She wasn't a stunning beauty but she was pretty.

 

Her blond hair hung down to her shoulders and was cut in the latest style but instead of being thick and full as it usually was it hung lank and uncombed.  Her blue eyes normally sparkling with cheerfulness and just a hint of mischief were today dull and red-rimmed from crying.  She wore a blue denim shirt that was rumpled and missing a button.  Altogether, she looked nervous, troubled and dishevelled. 

 

It was 8:45 am and she was early, the people she was there to meet

weren't supposed to arrive until nine but she'd been here ever since

the diner opened at seven.  A whole hour and forty-five minutes spent

just waiting, five cups of coffee drunk and one slice of toast eaten.  It was all she had been able to bring herself to have, she was too tense to eat anything else but she'd known that she had to eat something or she would have fainted.

 

The door opened and she looked up instantly to see who had entered. 

An elderly couple shuffled in and took a booth on the other side of

the room to her.  She forced herself to relax they weren't the people

she'd come to see.  In all her twenty years of life, the only time she could remember feeling such a mixture of emotions had been when at age eight her father had died whilst fighting in the Vietnam War. That had been a dark, grim time and was something she never wanted to go through again.

 

Her name was Katherine but no one ever called her that at least not

anymore.  The last person to call her by her full name was her father.  Since he'd died, no one had ever called her that and she now went by Katie.

 

Around the diner were pictures, images of a sunny beach, the LA

skyline at night, even one of Elvis Presley.  The whole place reminded Katie of her childhood, Saturday afternoons were often spent in a diner very much like this one.  Katie, her mother and her father would all crowd into a booth talking and laughing over the week's events.  Even as the image rose in her mind, she knew that it was wrong; a fourth person had been present. 

 

Katie frowned wondering if all the coffee hadn't made her a little delusional.  She'd had no brothers or sisters and the Saturday afternoon diner trips were strictly a family deal so friends hardly ever accompanied them.  So why was she thinking that a fourth person had been there, a thought rose unbidden in Katie's mind. Tiger. She pushed it away immediately, it made no sense and she didn't have time to ponder over things that didn't make sense. She signaled for the waitress and the woman approached the table chewing bubble gum.  She had her dyed blond hair pulled back with an elastic band and she was wearing a bright pink lipstick that clashed with her rose red uniform.  A badge announced that her name was Candy and she looked to be a few years older than Katie.

 

The waitress blew a bubble and popped it as she waited for the girl

to give her order. 'Coffee again sugar?'  Candy asked when the girl

didn't say anything after a minute.

 

The girl shook her head and the waitress suppressed the urge to faint

to the floor in surprise.  In the hour and three quarters, that the kid had been here she'd drank numerous cups of coffee and one slice of toast.  Candy wouldn't have been surprised if the girl had started bouncing off the walls.  Heck, if nothing else, maybe it would liven up the place, the diner certainly needed it.  Candy wondered again how she'd ended up here.  It wasn't supposed to go this way, she was supposed to get a job modeling but then again LA hadn't been exactly what she'd thought it would be. 

 

'I'll have tea, please.'  The girl answered and Candy jotted it down on her notepad. 'Anything else with that, hun?'

 

'No, that'll be all thanks.' 

 

'Coming right up.'  Candy told her and putting her notepad in her

pocket, she wondered what it was that had caused this kid to end up

in this place in the state that she was.  Something had her worried

and worried bad.

 

The door opened and three men stepped in. Katie's head jerked up from

where she'd been studying her bitten nails with disinterest.  She knew the instant that she saw them that they were the ones.  She recognised all three of them from her dad's photograph, the photograph that was now in the back pocket of her jeans.

 

The first to enter the diner was a tall, distinguished man with white hair and a manner about him that suggested he was someone who liked to take charge.  His thumbs were hooked in the back pockets of his jeans.  From her dad's photo Katie could identify him as one Colonel Hannibal Smith.

 

The man that entered behind him was younger, very handsome with blond hair and Katie saw Candy stare at him longingly from her place behind the counter.  Katie knew that this man was Lieutenant Templeton Peck; otherwise known as Face.

 

The last man to enter was a tall, well-muscled black man with an array of jewelry around his neck and rings on every one of his fingers.  This was Sergeant BA Barracus.  The fourth man Captain HM Murdock wasn't with them and Katie felt an unexpected twinge of regret and unease at this.  An image started to form in her mind but she pushed it away and made herself concentrate on the matter at hand.

 

'Can I get you guys anything?'  Candy asked her eyes wandering all over Face.  The young man fixed her with a wide, friendly smile. Candy returned it.

 

The Colonel nodded.  'Two coffees and a glass of milk would do just

fine, ma'am.' Candy nodded and hurried away to fix the order.  BA tugged on Hannibal's sleeve and inclined his head towards the booth where Katie was waiting wondering whether she should just leave and not bother to speak to them.  Too late, they were heading right for her table.

 

'Katie Anderson?'  Hannibal asked and Katie managed a nod. Hannibal

intimidated her a little.  Hannibal and BA took the seat across from her and Face sat down beside her.  She realised that her hands were shaking and fought to control them.

 

'There's no need to be worried, we're here to help you.'  Face said gently evidently noticing her nervous state.

 

'I, I didn't know if you'd be able to show up.  I know it's been a long time but you all knew my dad and I thought maybe you could help me.'

 

'We were sorry to lose your father, Katie and anything that we can do for Tony's daughter we will.'  Hannibal said gravely.

 

'I understand that you were all at the funeral; you'll have to forgive me if I don't remember you.  I was only eight and I wasn't exactly aware of much that was going on.'

 

'Understandable.'  The Colonel answered.  'What can we do for you?'

 

'Yeah, you kinda young to be in much trouble, kid.'  BA Barracus

finally spoke up; he had been regarding her intently since he had sat

down.

 

'I'll be twenty-one in three months time but to answer your question;

my mother's the one whose in trouble.  She's been kidnapped and it's

all because of my lunatic of a step-father.'

 

'Yes I had heard that she'd remarried.'  Hannibal said with a touch of distaste in his voice, he obviously didn't agree with her mother's choice of husband the second time around.

 

Katie nodded.  'He's not been a wonderful husband certainly nothing

like my father.  He lost his job and started drinking heavily about a

year after she married him.  He always treated me as if I wasn't really a part of his family. 

 

He's got himself in some pretty shady deals trying to get some money

and this last one was the worst.  My mom actually threw him out a few

months ago, then two days ago, I came home, and she wasn't there.

 

There were signs of a struggle and they left a note.'  Katie paused and reached into her pocket and pulled out a piece of paper, she handed it to Hannibal who read it before handing it to BA.  'They want money in return for her safekeeping; they're obviously prepared to kill her if their demands aren't met.

 

The colonel was about to speak when Candy arrived with their drinks. 

He waited until she'd gone which was longer than it should have been

due to Candy's obvious interest in Face.  Finally, he looked at Katie.  'Do you have any idea where he might have taken her?' He asked sipping at his coffee.

 

'A friend of his, old gambling buddy, had an apartment in San Diego. If they were going to take her anywhere, I would say there. As you can see from the note, he's obviously got himself in deep.  I tried to get hold of him but I can't find him and then I thought about you guys, I'd heard Mom speak about you helping people.  I need your help here and I want you to know that I'm willing to pay whatever price you suggest, just help me to get her back.'

 

Hannibal nodded thoughtfully as he sipped his coffee.  'You don't need to pay us anything, you and your mother are old friends of ours and I'm not prepared to take money from my friends especially when they can't really afford to give it in the first place.'

 

'Does that mean you'll help me?'  Katie asked hopefully and her blue eyes sparkled with grateful tears.

 

'I think so, don't you Hannibal.'  Face asked smiling at his friend.

 

Hannibal returned the smile.  'Oh we'll help you Katie there's no question about it.  I don't think even BA would be willing to argue against this one.  BA?'

 

'Don't you worry we'll get that mud sucker and get him good.'

 

'Thank you.'  Katie managed.  'I've been so worried, if you weren't

going to help me then I don't know what I would have done.' She ran

a hand through her hair.  'So what now?'

 

Hannibal pulled a paper napkin out of its holder and looked at Katie.  'Got a pen?'

 

Katie reached into her purse and handed him a pen.  'Here.'

 

'Thanks, now I'm going to write down an address and a time.'  His voice dropped an octave and he leaned in closer.  'You understand our predicament so you understand that if you're not there at this time

we'll have to leave and contact you later.'

 

Katie nodded. 'I understand.'

 

'Good.  Memorise the address and then burn this, I don't want anyone

overhearing me telling you the address and I don't want anyone finding this by accident, got it?'

 

'Got it, what then?'

 

'We've got one other of our team to assemble and then we'll decide where to go from there.'

 

'I don't see why we have to have that crazy fool with us anyway.'  BA

grumbled in an annoyed tone.  'We don't have to fly anywhere so why

do we need a pilot?'

 

'Now BA.'  Hannibal admonished in a low tone.  'Murdock is as much a

part of this team as you are.  It doesn't matter that we're not flying he should be with us.'

 

'Just as long as I don't have to fly.'  BA growled.

 

'I promise, no flying.'  Hannibal told him soothingly. 'Now, Katie meet us at this address.'  He handed her the paper napkin and she looked at it for a minute committing the address to memory.

 

'I'll be there Colonel.'

 

Hannibal nodded and then got to his feet.  'Until then be careful.'

 

'Sure.'  She stayed sitting as the three men left the diner. She stared at the piece of paper for a moment before putting it in her the pocket of her jeans with the photo of the A-Team.  Her eyes were drawn to the man in the middle, tall and lean, he had blond hair. Still the picture didn't seem right, it never did no matter how hard she looked at the man called Murdock he never seemed right in that uniform.  She shook her head; no doubt, the answer would reveal itself in time.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Face approached the VA with apprehension; the mental hospital where

Murdock lived when not on missions with the team was quiet.  This wasn't unusual but all the same, it would be better to break Murdock

out if the place was busy.  Less people around to notice that one of

their number had gone missing.  Of course, residents and staff should

be quite used to Murdock vanishing from time to time by now but for

some reason they never seemed to be happy about it.

 

Of course, that wasn't the only reason why the lieutenant was feeling

a little uneasy.  Hannibal had specifically told him that he was under no circumstances to tell Murdock that it was Katie they were helping.  Face understood he'd seen the look on Katie's face when Murdock's name had been mentioned.  It had been one of concern and confusion; she apparently didn't remember him anymore than she remembered the rest of them.  That was worrying.

 

Hannibal had said that at this stage Murdock knowing about Katie could make things worse when he actually saw her, Face wasn't sure whether it would make any difference.  Murdock was sure to be hurt whether he knew that she'd forgotten him before or after they saw each other again.

 

Face walked down the hallway to Murdock's room hoping it wasn't going

to be too hard to get the pilot out of this place.  He straightened the white coat he was wearing and then knocked on the door pausing for a moment before entering the room.

 

 Murdock was lying on his bed staring up at the ceiling.  Face sighed

inwardly, he hoped that Murdock wasn't having one of his days, as much as he cared about the guy sometimes even he got a little exasperated when Murdock went into one of his crazy moods, not that the guy ever had moods that weren't crazy.  It was just that there were varying degrees of crazy and this looked to be one of those times that were worse than others.  That meant it would be bad for Murdock and bad for Katie.

 

'Hey Faceman.'  Murdock said lazily.  'See Billy said he'd be by today.'  He reached out and stroked the head of his imaginary dog.

 

'Ok, Murdock we've got a mission, time to go.' 

 

'What is it this time, can Billy come?'  The pilot was obviously eager to get out of the hospital, Face didn't blame him personally he thought that even a week in this place was enough to make a sane person go nuts.

 

'Young girl, her mother's been kidnapped.  I guess Billy can come, if

he's good.'

 

Murdock's face lit up and he sat up.  'You hear that Billy, you can come with us.'  He stood up and waited for a moment.  As soon as he 'saw' Billy jump down from the bed, he joined Face by the door.  'So what do I have to do?'

 

'Just follow me and agree with whatever I say.'

 

Murdock nodded and fell into step with Murdock.  They were nearly at

the exit when a nurse apprehended them.  'Excuse me, sir would you  mind telling me where you're taking Captain Murdock?' 

 

Face turned on his most charming smile.  'Of course, I'm Captain

Murdock's new psychiatrist.  I'm taking him for evaluation.'

 

'But he already has a psychiatrist.' The nurse protested and Face

decided it was time to speed things up a bit.  Before he could start,

Murdock chipped in.

 

'The doc's taking me and Billy to the park, Nancy, want to come?'  He

smiled a large wide grin at her.  'There's going to be ice cream,

ain't that right Doc?'

 

The nurse smiled indulgently.  'I'm sorry Captain but I'm still on duty.  Doctor, may I speak with you a moment.'  The nurse, Nancy, pulled Face aside.  'I don't remember receiving any notice that you were coming by, I don't see why his normal doctor can't see him.'

 

Face smiled again and Nancy immediately smiled back.  'You didn't

receive our fax?'  He asked innocently.  'It was all arranged, I'm conducting some new tests, his doctor here is aware of the situation I'm sure if you talked to him…' Face smiled again.

 

Nancy blushed and Face knew he almost had her.  He tried one more

pitch.  'Look at him, he's so looking forward to taking his dog to the park, poor man, he's going to be so crushed when he finds out that he can't have ice cream.'  Face shook his head sadly. 'Oh well, I suppose there's no hope for him to get well.  I mean, you do have rules here after all and I quite understand why you can't let me take him but it's going to break his heart.'

 

Nancy paused not saying anything just looking at Murdock who was

squatted down talking to Billy telling him all about the forthcoming trip to the park.  Face had to admit Murdock really was putting on a good performance.

 

'I don't know, I can't just let you leave, I'll have to speak to my superior about this.'

 

'Of course.'

 

'Can we go yet Doc?'  Murdock called.  'Billy wants to play ball.' He looked carefully at Face and the nurse.  'We can go can't we? Billy was really looking forward to it.'  He turned on the puppy dog expression and made his brown eyes look sad and large.  His lower lip pushed out in a pout.

 

That was all it took, Nancy looked at Face. 'Have him back in time for dinner Doctor.'  She told him smiling shyly at him.

 

'Of course.'  Face told her treating her to another one of his smiles.  He walked over to Murdock.  'Lets go, Captain.'

 

Murdock waved goodbye to Nancy who waved back and the two men and the invisible dog hurried out of there as fast as they could without

looking as if they were escaping.

 

In the car, Face breathed a sigh of relief.  'That was a close one Murdock, I thought she wasn't going to let you go for a moment there.'

 

'She's always had a soft spot for Billy.'  Murdock told him nonchalantly.

 

Face smiled.  'Soft spot for you most like.'

 

Murdock smiled smugly.  'Maybe.'  He turned his baseball cap around

backwards and smiled.  'I do have the charm, they can't resist me.'  He gave Face one of his quirky smiles and Face laughed; he couldn't help himself.  Maybe this mission wasn't going to be so bad after all.

 

***

 

Face drove his car into the garage that he'd rented for the team to use.  Hannibal and BA were waiting by the van and Face could just make out Katie's blond head behind BA.

 

Face and Murdock got out of the car and walked across to the van. Katie appeared from behind BA looking a little better than she had earlier on that morning.  Murdock had been making sure Billy was following him and now he looked up.  His eyes met Katie's and Face saw his eyes light up.  Murdock ran forward and grabbed Katie hugging her tightly.  The girl looked shocked by the greeting.

 

'Katie.'  Murdock cried in delight.  'God you're so big! So grown up!'

 

Katie smiled back at him.  'I'm sorry, have we met before? Oh, of

course, we must have you were at the funeral.'

 

Murdock's face fell and the light in his eyes died abruptly. Face felt the first inklings of disquiet in his stomach at the expression on the pilot's face.  'You don't remember me?'  He asked so quietly Face almost didn't hear him.  He looked bewildered.

 

'No, I'm sorry I don't.  Well, apart from this picture, I don't really remember the funeral which is when we must have met.'  She pulled a picture out of her back pocket and gave it to Murdock who studied it intently before handing it back to her.

 

This was worse than Face or even Hannibal had thought.  Murdock

looked as if his world had just come to an end.

 

Billy was all but forgotten now as Murdock stared at the young girl

standing in front of him.  'You don't remember, how can you not

remember?'  His voice was strained and Face couldn't remember ever

having seen the pilot this way since they'd come out of Vietnam.

 

'It's all kind of a blur, I don't really remember much about it.' Katie said obviously bothered by Murdock's reaction to her.  But that wasn't all, Face could see something else in her eyes, almost as if she did remember something but didn't want to.

 

'I'm not talking about the funeral.'  Murdock snapped in anger and

frustration.  'I'm talking about before that, you must remember, every Saturday we'd go to Fat Harry's diner.  All four of us, your mom, your dad, you and me.  You always had ice cream, always, even if you didn't eat anything else you'd always have ice cream and your mom would argue with your dad over it because she said it wasn't healthy. Sometimes we'd share one and you let me have the marshmallows.  You have to remember that!'

 

'No, I'm sorry but I don't.  I remember going to the diner on Saturdays but it was always a family thing, there was never anyone else there.'  It was as if she'd suddenly built up a brick wall between her and Murdock, blocking out all the things he was telling her. 

 

Murdock shook his head in disbelief and Hannibal stepped in.  'Murdock, why don't we worry about this later?  Has Face briefed you on the mission yet?'  He laid a hand on the man's shoulder but Murdock pulled away.

 

'No!  She has to remember; you can't just forget it when someone is

around you nearly every day for months at a time.  I flew with your Dad for a while, we fought in 'Nam together, he said I was practically a member of your family.  Why can't you remember?' 

 

His tone was desperate and Face felt for him.  It was obviously important to him that Katie should remember who he was but she didn't and wasn't prepared to.  Now it meant that Murdock's presence on this mission could become a problem.  If he was worrying about Katie and not the mission, it might become dangerous.  For all of them.

 

Hannibal spoke again and when he did, it was in a soothing but resolved tone.  'Murdock, we can discuss it later, right now we have a mission to concentrate on and that is the most important thing.'

 

Murdock looked down at the floor avoiding the colonel's gaze; instead, he focused on the blue and white high top sneakers that he always wore.  'Sure.'  He said quietly and Face was glad that some of the earlier anger had gone; it made him nervous to see his friend act that way.  It wasn't in Murdock's nature to be like that. Not unless BA really bothered him or he was fighting one of the bad guys.  He almost never spoke to Hannibal in the manner he'd used earlier.

 

'So, how far did Face get on briefing you?'

 

Murdock looked up now but carefully, avoiding looking at Katie. 'He

said we had to help this kid out, her mom's been kidnapped because of

some bad debts her stepfather's got himself into.  That was pretty much it.'  He obviously hadn't connected the dots yet; he was still too upset to be thinking clearly.

 

'It's not just bad debts.'  Katie spoke up.  'I think it runs deeper than that but I'm not sure how far.'

 

Murdock swung round his eyes boring into Katie's; there was a sense of urgency about him.  'Your mom, Karen?  She's the one who's in trouble?'  He asked and Face saw an expression of remorse and strangely, guilt cross his face.

 

'Yes, my mom and I'll do all I can to get her back.'

 

'Whatever I can do, whatever, I'll do it Katie.  I'm not going to let

anything happen to her, I wouldn't, not to her and not to you, I promised your dad.'

 

Murdock, usually the one who was making the jokes, being the crazy one of the group was being serious, frighteningly so.  In fact, Face thought, he almost looked sane, the humour and even the frustration at Katie not remembering him was gone now replaced with a sense of necessity. 

 

Murdock looked at Hannibal.  'What's the plan?'  He asked and Hannibal grinned that same old grin, the one that reached up to his eyes making them sparkle.  The one that meant that he was 'on the jazz' and very soon there was going to be some action and the bad guys were going to pay.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

Murdock sat in his usual seat in BA's van and patted his legs for Billy to jump up.  The dog just sat there staring at him.

 

'What's the matter, boy?  Come on Billy, come here.'  He coaxed. Billy just tilted his head to the side and regarded him with large, soft eyes.  Murdock closed his own eyes and gave up.  Nothing was going right today, he'd thought that when Face had shown up everything was going to be all right, that it would be a good day. So far he'd been wrong and now to make it worse his dog wasn't even going to be the comfort that he needed right now.

 

The door on his left side opened and opening one eye, Murdock saw Katie get in.  She sank down into the seat next to him with a sigh. She was carrying a plastic bag with a picture of a large yellow smiley face on it.  Smiley's Convenience Store was written across it in large red lettering. 

 

'Murdock?' She asked carefully, clearly she was still wary of him. That hurt more than anything that he could scare like that, he'd known her since before she could walk and had adored her as if she was the niece that he'd never had.  She was his best friend's daughter but now she didn't remember him and he had a new best friend, his old one long since dead.

 

'Yeah?'  He said afraid to open his eyes and look at her.  He didn't want to see that look of fear and confusion that had been there earlier.  Why did things have to change and why when they changed did they always have to change for the worse.

 

'I bought some biscuits for Billy.'  He opened his eyes fully now and

looked at her in surprise, maybe she remembered Billy; if she did that at least would be a starting point.  He regarded her carefully trying to gage whether or not she was serious.  She handed him a packet of dog biscuits and he took them.

 

'Thanks.'  He said and allowed a small smile to escape his lips. Billy licked his lips hungrily and Murdock laughed.  'Wait a minute Billy, I have to get 'em open first.'  The dog approached him nosing around the bag obviously eager for food.

 

'Hope you're not thinking of dropping them all over the floor of my

van.'  BA growled appearing from nowhere.

 

Murdock sighed dramatically.  'Oh BA, they won't go on the floor, how

can they go on the floor if Billy eats them.'  He shook his head at the big man; sometimes BA could be really dumb.

 

'For the last time, there is no Billy; you're feeding empty air. Billy don't exist, he's a figment of your crazy fool imagination and I don't want to hear no more about him and if I catch you feeding him in my van then you'll pay.'

 

Katie looked up at BA innocently.  'How can he feed him if Billy doesn't exist?' 

 

Murdock grinned.  'See, you do believe he's real.'  He announced triumphantly to BA who just glowered in return.

 

'There is no dog there; I don't believe he exists because he don't exist. I find anything on this floor that don't belong here and you'll regret it crazy man.'

 

Murdock glared at BA and BA glared back.  After a moment, Katie shook her head.  'Look, let's just feed him outside Murdock, I don't think

Billy'll mind just so long as he gets fed.'

 

Murdock nodded and moved over to the door on Katie's side, away from

BA.  He looked back at Billy.  'Come here Billy, BA don't want you in

his van so you're going to have to be fed out here in the cold and the rain, you'll probably catch your death out here.  You'll catch a cold and sneeze all over BA's upholstery.

 

BA rolled his eyes but Katie caught just a hint of smile. 'It's not raining, fool, it's warm as toast and there ain't anyone who's going to catch cold out here let alone a dog that's not real.'

 

Katie moved and sat next Murdock.  'Can I feed him?'  She asked

almost shyly.

 

Murdock smiled at her, glad to see that she seemed to have forgiven him for his earlier outburst.  'Sure you can.'  He handed her some of  the biscuits.  'Just drop them on the floor and he'll eat 'em up.'

 

Katie did as he had said and the biscuits remained where they were on

the floor.  She looked over at Murdock.  'I think he likes them.'  She said seriously.

 

'Yeah, you do don't you boy.'  He said stroking the dog's soft head.  'Yeah, they taste real good don't they Billy?  Yeah he likes them.' 

 

'Good because I'd hate to have him mad at me as well.'

 

Murdock was dismayed; he hadn't meant to make her think he was

angry with her for forgetting.  'I'm not mad at you; I mean I'm mad but

only in the crazy sense, not in the angry sense.  My shrink's been

helping me channel my anger, he says I've got issues, he thinks I

should relax more.'

 

Katie laughed pleasantly.  'I think maybe you should get a new shrink.'

 

Murdock was about to make a remark when Hannibal and Face returned to the van.  'Did you get food?'  Murdock pestered eagerly; he was

hungry, nearly hungry enough to eat the dog biscuits.  Hmm, they did

look kinda yummy.

 

'Sorry Murdock, this was a recon trip not a food trip.' Hannibal told him.

 

Murdock muttered something under his breath and reached for the dog

biscuits.  Katie pulled a Twinkie bar from her bag of shopping. Murdock held his breath and Katie handed it to him.  He stared at her for a moment before grabbing her in a bear hug and planting a big, smacking kiss on her cheek. 'Mmmmwah!'

 

Katie laughed.  'Whoa, it was only a Twinkie bar.'

 

Face chuckled.  'To Murdock that's the best present you could have

given him.  Now you've bought him food he'll be your friend for life.'

 

Murdock tore the wrapper of the bar and took a big bite. His eyes

closed and he made a sound of contentment.  'Ummm, ziz is delicious.'  He pronounced in a French accent.  'I must complement zee chef.'

 

Katie shook her head in amusement and Murdock grinned at her through

a mouthful of Twinkie. 

 

'Come on, let's get out of here.'  BA prompted them, he wasn't happy

about being stuck out here in the open for too long.  They had things

to do.

 

'Come on, fly boy.' Katie told Murdock.  'Time to go.'

 

Murdock polished off the Twinkie and motioned to Billy to follow him,

this time the dog obeyed instantly.

 

Once all were in the van, Hannibal turned round from his seat next to

BA up the front.  'Now, we've found out where the apartment is in San

Diego and, thanks to Face, we know that you're stepfather's friend, Carl went back there two days ago for a business appointment.

 

'How did you find all that out?'  Katie asked in amazement. 'I couldn't get a thing out of them when I tried.'

 

'Ahh, you just have to have the right touch.'  Face told her with a small smile of self-satisfaction.

 

'Who was she?'  Katie asked instantly.

 

Hannibal concealed a smile but BA burst out laughing.  'Oh, she's got

your number down good, man.'

 

'You don't know that it was a she.'

 

'Something you want to tell us, Face?'  Hannibal asked with some

amusement.

 

'Ok, so it was a girl.  Her name was Brenda and she was very helpful,

very nice.'

 

'When you taking her to dinner?'  Katie asked matter of factly. She'd met enough guys like Face to have figured him out from the moment she saw him.

 

'Assuming all goes well, Monday.'

 

Murdock shook his head.  'Faceman, you don't change.'

 

'That's why ya love me.'  He answered with his trademark grin.

 

As they made their way to San Diego, Katie looked at the surroundings

she was leaving and wondered when she would look on the City of Angels again.  When she came back, would it be with her mom and these

four guys?  She closed her eyes tightly and feeling a little silly, she wished as hard as she could that everything would be ok.  That in a few days they would be back here with her mother and then she found herself wishing that she could remember the things that Murdock so desperately wanted her to remember.

 

A hand touched her shoulder.  'We'll find her.'  Face told her quietly and Katie favoured him with a grateful smile.

 

Murdock looked at her from his place between the two seats.  He was

stroking Billy's fur in gently, soothing movements.  He gave her a reassuring smile and she felt a little better.

 

'So, what's the plan?'  BA asked Hannibal.  He gripped the steering

wheel tighter.  'Hope we get to bust those guys up good, if they've

harmed even one hair on her head I'll kill 'em.'

 

A smile tugged at Hannibal's lips and Katie felt a warm surge of

happiness flood through her.  They were going to find her mother, with guys like this how could they not win.

 

'We'll drive to San Diego, then Face will arrange for an apartment as

near to Carl's place as we can get.  We'll go from there.'

 

***

 

The drive was pleasant for a while and Katie felt herself begin to drift off to sleep.  She had hardly slept at all the night before and now she was feeling drowsy.  She had just drifted off when the van made a hard right.  She fell right off the seat and into Murdock's lap. 

 

She woke with a start and blinked, surprised to find herself staring into the pilot's brown eyes.  'What happened?'  She asked.  'Did I hurt Billy?'

 

'Billy's fine but be careful where you put your feet. We've got cops

after us.'

 

Katie nodded and yawning she pushed herself back onto her seat. 

 

'Everyone ok back there?'  BA asked.

 

'We're fine.'  Face told him.  Katie slid forward in her seat looked in the side mirror on her side to see what was happening.  Behind the van, she could see the shape of the police cars, three of them with the blue and red warning lights flashing.

 

Murdock scooped Billy up in his arms and held the dog protectively

against him.  'Shh, it's ok boy.'  He whispered.

 

'Fool better not be talking to that dog again.'  BA said menacingly,

he glanced into the mirror.  'Damn, will these guys never get off our

tail?'

 

'Take a left here.'  Hannibal ordered and BA obeyed instantly.  Katie

slid sideways against the wall of the van.  BA sped along the road and then began a weaving dance between cars trying to shake the cops.  The cops persevered and carried on chasing them, to make matters worse another cop car was up ahead. Murdock covered his eyes and then peeked through his fingers to see what was happening. Face's attention was riveted to the car up ahead.  There seemed to be no way out this time. 

 

Everyone held their breath and then BA spun the wheel and took the van into the opposite lane, heading back towards the centre of the city.  The cop car behind them tried to follow suite but ended up crashing into a Corvette instead.  BA stepped on the gas putting pedal to metal.  The van surged forward and shot across an intersection at an alarming speed, cars braked and the drivers lent on their horns in anger and frustration.

 

'Better take us back to the warehouse, BA.'  Hannibal told the

sergeant.  'We should lay low for a while.'

 

'I knew we should have left sooner.'  BA grumbled. 

 

'I've got a better idea.'  Katie spoke up.  'I've got a fair sized garage at my place, should take the van no trouble.  Just in case the cops have managed to trace you to the garage.'

 

'Good idea, BA, take a right at the next set of lights.' Hannibal said taking a deep breath and gathering himself together.

 

'How do you know where I live?'  Katie asked surprised. 'I didn't say.'

 

'No, but when Mr Lee said you were looking for us I took the trouble

to look you up.'

 

'Find anything interesting?' 

 

Hannibal smirked.  'Maybe.'

 

 

To Be Continued....

 

 


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