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Can't Say Goodbye
Rating: - PG
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the team, they belong to Steven J Cannell, I make no profits from this story, don't sue me, I'm skint. Starlight is mine, however.
Summary: - As promised to some, this is the sequel to Starlight, Starbright. Hannibal and Face's friendship is pushed to the limit as they come to terms with recent events.
"Such a waste of a young life. I didn't really know her all that well but she was always good to me. It came as quite a shock when Amy told us the news. I think it hit Faceman and Hannibal the hardest as they were the closest to her. I'm glad it was Amy who told us. It would have been awful if we'd read it in the papers. I still can't believe she's gone. Now she'll never see the new trick I taught Billy the other day. She always liked Billy."
"I'm really worried about Hannibal. He hasn't said a word for the last hour. Come to think of it, he hasn't said much for the last three days. Not that I blame him. It must be hard for him. He's not used to showing much emotion, especially in front of us guys but this has really knocked him for six. I can't believe she's dead. When I think about the accident, it really makes me mad. Hit and run. It's something that I just can't deal with. I've driven this van for over ten years and I've never once hit anyone. When I think about how many high speed chases we've had with MP's amongst others, that is nothing short of a miracle. How anyone can knock down a young girl and leave her to die is beyond me. It's just tragic. I wish I could talk to the guys about this, tell them how I'm feeling. I can't though. I need to be strong for them."
"I can't believe I'm never going to see her again. I can honestly say that in my whole life as I can remember I've only ever loved three women. One was my sister so she doesn't count. Three isn't really a large number. I've dated more women than I've had hot dinners but I've never really got that close to any of them. She was different. She got to me in a way nobody else has ever done. I didn't even know her all that long either. I suppose it's because Hannibal deemed her off limits, that's why I wanted her so badly but in the end, it was more. I would have given up the team for her if she had only said the word. She didn't though. It's not as though I can tell any of the guys how I'm feeling, it's something that we don't really discuss. I suppose if I could have talked to anyone, it would have been Hannibal. He's going through his own grief though. I don't want to burden him with my sorrow too. I'm never going to allow myself to love another woman for as long as I live. I can't go through this pain again. I can't."
"No, no, no, no, no. I want to scream it out loud. Have done since Amy told us. Some heartless bastard has taken my beautiful Jo-Jo away from me, not two years since I found her again. She had it all, wealth, fame, love, happiness and he took it all away from her in a single moment. I wanted to go out and find him, make him suffer the way he made me suffer but what was the point? It wouldn't have brought Jo-Jo back. I couldn't even attend her funeral. The police would have been there, her being such a high-profile celebrity. I feel for her husband, he hadn't known her long before the accident. I know the guys are wondering if I'm ok. BA keeps giving me sideways glances when he thinks I'm not looking. It's nice to know they care even if I can't bring myself to talk to them about it. Murdock keeps everything to himself. That's years of intensive therapy at the VA working for him. It's Face that I'm really concerned about. He hasn't said much since we found out and he hasn't dated much either. That's really not like him. I think he was more attached to Jo-Jo than I or any of the others realised. I must speak to him later, alone and see if I can help him deal with this. See if he can help me. I don't know how I'm ever going to get over this. She was too young to go. NOOO!"
Hannibal slammed his fist against the dashboard of the van and BA slammed the brakes on. He looked at Hannibal, who had started to cry openly, his face buried in his hands. Face and Murdock looked at each other in uncomfortable silence and BA sat there, not knowing what to do. Suddenly the phone inside the van started ringing. Face picked it up.
"Candelabra Restaurants. How can I help you?"
"Face, it's Amy."
"Amy, it's eleven o clock at night. What's up?"
"I need to speak to Hannibal. Is he there?"
Face glanced at Hannibal who was still sobbing, now with Murdock's arm wrapped round him. He was shaking like a child. Nobody had ever seen their colonel like this before.
"Erm, I don't think that now is a good time, kid."
"What's up, Face? I can hear someone screaming."
Face watched in amazement as Hannibal slammed the van door open and shot past him into the woods, in the darkness. BA and Murdock followed him quickly but at a discreet distance.
"Amy, Hannibal's just let all his grief go at once. Jo-Jo's death has hit him pretty badly."
"That's what I need to talk to him about. The police have arrested someone in connection with the hit and run."
"A guy named Phillip Thompson. He's a well-known figure in the underworld. Deals mainly with drugs and prostitution. He's known to the police as Hairy Phil."
"Yes, but get this. He claims that the girl he hit wasn't Jo-Jo."
"He says that it was a dark haired girl he hit under orders."
Face started to shake. It wasn't possible that she was still alive.
"Face, are you still there?"
"Erm, yeah, I'm here."
"I know this is hard for you. I know how you feel about her, remember?"
"Amy, I'll tell Hannibal about this. Gotta go."
"Face, wait. Don't hang up. Face!"
Face put the phone down and sat back in his seat. Jo-Jo was alive. He looked out of the van and saw BA and Murdock walking back towards him. There was no sign of Hannibal.
"Where is he?" asked Face.
BA looked at him and shook his head.
"We lost him, man. We came back to get the flashlights. He must have gone into the forest."
"Wait a second, guys," said Face, grabbing the torch off the floor. "Let me go. There's something I need to tell him."
"Face, what are you talkin' about?" asked Murdock, looking at his friend.
"Ring Amy. She'll explain," said Face and he jumped out of the van. Dashing towards the forest, all that was racing through his mind was the fact that Jo-Jo was still alive. If he could find Hannibal and tell him, the colonel might be all right. He sprinted through the trees, the flashlight beaming a wide shaft of light ahead. His feet were pounding in time with his heartbeat and they seemed to be talking to him.
"She's alive, she's alive."
Suddenly, he tripped and the flashlight shot out of his hand and bounced along the forest floor. The light was gone. He looked back to see what he had fallen over. It was a leg. Hannibal! He made his way over to the leg, cautiously in case he was wrong.
"What took you so long, kid?"
Face breathed a sigh of relief as he looked down at Hannibal. He was sitting against the trunk of an old oak tree, smoking a cigar.
"What are you doing here?" asked Face, sitting down next to him. "The others are worried sick about you."
"I know," said Hannibal. "I just needed some time on my own, that's all."
"I know how you feel."
"I'm glad it was you who came to find me," said Hannibal. "I've been wanting to talk to you about Jo-Jo."
"Hannibal, I need to tell you something about Jo-Jo."
"I think I know how you feel, Face."
"No, listen to me, Hannibal. That phone call I took just before you shot out of the van. It was Amy. She told me that the police have arrested someone called Hairy Phil for the accident that killed Jo-Jo."
Hannibal sat up straight, his blue eyes gleaming with interest.
"Yes, but that's not the end of it. He claims he didn't hit Jo-Jo. He says it was a different girl he hit."
"So the police haven't got anybody, then."
"No, you're missing the point. He is the right person for the accident, the police aren't looking for anyone else. It means that it wasn't Jo-Jo that was killed. She's alive, Hannibal."
Hannibal looked at him with amazement in his eyes, and then he slumped back against the tree.
"Maybe, but we're still stuck here until morning."
"Well, you dropped the flashlight and I'm not trying to find my way out in the darkness."
"I know the way back."
"In the dark? I don't think so."
"I do. Just follow me."
"You'd better know the way, Lieutenant or else I'll personally drop you from a very tall tree."
Face smiled at Hannibal.
"Trust me, Colonel."
"Yeah, right," muttered Hannibal.
"Faceman's been gone an awful long time, BA," said Murdock, pacing up and down by the side of the van.
"Sit down, crazy fool." BA was sat with his back against the van. He looked as though he didn't care what was happening around him but a cautious glance in the direction of the forest betrayed the fact he was constantly on the lookout. "Try and get some sleep. Face has probably found Hannibal by now and the two of them have probably holed up for the night in a tree. It's too dark to try and find their way out now. They'll probably wait 'til morning."
"You think so?"
"Yeah, I do. Now shut up and get some sleep."
"But what if something's happened to them and….."
"I'll keep watch," said BA and he put his arm on Murdock's shoulder to reassure the pilot.
"Thanks, big guy."
"Just keep Billy quiet in the night."
Murdock grinned at BA who grinned back, then resumed watch on the forest. He hadn't wanted to worry Murdock but he was getting more than a bit concerned about the Colonel. In his frame of mind, he might do anything. BA was just praying Face got there in time.
"Make sure he's all right, Faceman."
"Hannibal, will you get a move on?" said Face, as he made his way cautiously through the trees. "BA and Murdock are going to be worried to death about us."
"That's if they haven't driven each other crazy first," said Hannibal, picking his way through the forest, focusing on Face.
"Murdock's already crazy. It's BA I'm worried about."
"Face, will you slow down? It's hard to keep up with you and it's not like I know where I'm going."
"The quicker we get back, the quicker we can find Jo-Jo."
"Oh and you think I don't want to find her. Damn it, Face, she's my niece."
"Like I don't know that. If she wasn't your niece, I'd have done a
whole lot more than steal a few kisses from her."
"Face, don't even go there."
"Hannibal, I'm not having this argument now. You're ruining my
concentration and if that goes, we're lost."
Hannibal grabbed hold of Face's arm.
"You mean you're not 100% certain of the right way out of this forest."
"Let's say 90%. Call it 85% for luck."
"Luck? You call this lucky. I'm lost in a forest with a smart arse lieutenant who claims to know the way out and you call that luck. I call it bad judgement."
"Come on, Hannibal. Feel the jazz."
"You'll feel my fist in a minute when it makes contact with your face."
"Not the face, please Hannibal. Hannibal!"
Hannibal swung his arm back and was about to place a well timed punch to Face's jaw when the ground gave way beneath them and they fell into an underground cave below. Fortunately for the two men, the drop wasn't very long and they both hit the ground with a large thump. Face picked himself up and dusted himself down.
"Well, that wasn't too bad a fall considering."
Hannibal looked up at him, pain on his face.
"Speak for yourself. I think I've broken my ankle."
"Think you can stand on it?"
"Doubt it but I'll try."
Face held onto Hannibal's arm as he tried to stand up but as soon as he put his weight onto his left ankle, a sharp pain shot up his leg and Hannibal couldn't help but cry out in pain. He sat back down on the floor and looked at Face.
"Well, Lieutenant. You'll have to climb out by yourself and go and get help."
"I'm not leaving you here on your own. Anything could happen to you."
"I doubt it."
"I don't care what you say and you can court martial me later but I'm not leaving you."
"Alright but I'm gonna do more than court martial you when we get out
Face smiled weakly at Hannibal and sat down next to him.
"Feel like going to sleep?"
Hannibal looked at him.
"Nah, I feel like talking. To you. About Jo-Jo."
"Hannibal, we've been through this. She's your niece and as much as I like her, I'm not going to risk getting a punch in the face from you because you've caught me messing about with your niece."
"You can't like her that much then if you're not willing to risk that for her."
Face looked at Hannibal, anger burning in his eyes.
"You have no idea, have you? If she had asked me to, I would have quite happily turned my back on you guys and walked."
"With Decker breathing down your neck for the rest of your life?"
"If that was what it took to be with Jo-Jo, then yes!"
"I didn't realise you felt that strongly about her."
"I love her, Hannibal."
Hannibal stared at Face in amazement. Face turned away from him and walked over to the side of the cave. Neither man said a word for a few moments. Then Hannibal spoke.
"Got a cigar on you, kid?"
Face turned back and smiled gratefully at Hannibal for changing the subject. He hadn't meant to blurt it out like that. He pulled a cigar out of his inside pocket and handed it to Hannibal, then lit it for him. Hannibal took a couple of puffs and motioned for Face to sit down next to him.
"Listen kid. If she's alive, you know I'm going to do everything I can to find her. Could you handle it if she didn't want you anymore?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, say for example, she was involved with somebody else. Would you be able to handle that rejection?"
"Rejection? She wouldn't reject me. She felt just as strongly about me as I did about her. I know she did, Hannibal. She wouldn't go off with anyone else."
"Even though you left her? You expect her to wait for you?"
"I'd wait for her if it was the other way round."
"Did you ask her to wait for you?"
"Not in so many words. Look, Hannibal, where is this leading? Do you
know something? Something you're not telling me?"
"Did I say that?"
"You don't have to. I can see it in your eyes. What is it?"
"There's no easy way to tell you this, Face."
"Well, tell me the hard way then. You're driving me crazy, Hannibal."
"She got married, kid. Not long after we left."
"She married Huey, her driver."
"How long after we left?"
"About 3 months."
Face sat quietly for a few moments. Hannibal watched him, waiting for him to say something. The next move belonged to Face. Hannibal knew what his next question would be. He wasn't sure though if he had the answer. Finally, Face spoke.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't tell any of you guys. Amy told me, it had been in the papers. If I'd known how you felt about her, I would have told you, I swear."
Face sat, his face shielded by his arms, rocking backwards and forwards like a child. Hannibal watched him for a moment, then realised he was crying. He reached out and pulled Face closer but Face jumped up and flew over to the other side of the cave. His turned to look at Hannibal, the anger back blazing in his eyes.
"This is your fault, Colonel," Face hissed. The 'Colonel' part dripped with sarcasm. "If you'd have let us be, this wouldn't have happened."
"Now, that's not fair, Lieutenant," said Hannibal. "You'd still have had to leave her, even if I had given you my full blessing."
"You think we needed your blessing, Uncle John." Face laughed but there was no humour in the sound. "We did it because we respected you, not because we feared you."
"I never imagined for one minute that you did."
"I'm going to find her and I don't want your help."
"Then why are you still here with me and not halfway across this forest
on your way home?"
Face opened his mouth, ready to come back with a quick retort but for some reason the usually smooth talker had gone. He sighed with defeat and sat back down next to Hannibal.
"I'm sorry, Colonel," he said and this time there was no sarcasm in his voice, only regret and sorrow.
"Forget it, kid," said Hannibal. "We all need to let off steam occasionally."
"I shouldn't have taken it out on you though," said Face. "You're having your own problems too."
"Get some sleep, Face," said Hannibal, lying down on the floor. Face did the same. "We'll see what the morning brings."
The early morning sun streamed down onto the black van parked at the edge of the forest and Murdock opened his eyes and stretched. He looked out of the window and saw BA pacing up and down. Murdock opened the back doors and jumped out of the van. He walked over to BA who was still pacing.
"Are they still not back yet?" asked Murdock, looking around as if waiting for Face to appear, whining about his clothes being creased or Hannibal chewing on his cigar, thinking up a new plan.
"No, and now you're up, we can go look for them."
"Billy can track them down."
BA shook his head and went and got a rope. He followed Murdock who was talking to the invisible dog.
"Billy says they're over this way," said Murdock, starting to walk in the direction of the forest.
"Crazy fool," muttered BA, under his breath. "We'll be the ones who are lost, man."
"Hi ho, hi ho, to find the team we go," sang Murdock as they walked through the forest. BA shook his head in despair.
Meanwhile, back in the cave, Hannibal was awake and quietly puffing on his cigar. He looked at Face who was still asleep and smiled. Hannibal knew that last night had taken a lot out of him. He hadn't realised just how deep Face's feelings for Jo-Jo were. When the lieutenant had confessed he was in love with his niece, it had surprised him to say the least. He decided not to mention last night to Face unless he brought it up first. Hannibal was still trying to come to terms with the fact that Jo-Jo could still be alive. A moan from behind him told him that Face was waking up.
"Man, I am so stiff," said Face, getting up and stretching. "The ground is not the best place to spend the night."
He looked at Hannibal. The colonel didn't look as though he had had much sleep.
"How's the ankle, Colonel?"
"Sore," said Hannibal, rubbing it. "Still, now its morning, the others will probably come looking for us. Once they realise we didn't come back last night, that is."
"Did you get much sleep or was the ankle too painful?" said Face.
"Throbbed a bit," said Hannibal.
Face looked at Hannibal and knew he was in more pain than he was letting on.
"Do you think the others will find us down this hole?"
Hannibal grinned at him.
"If they don't, it's me and you 'til eternity, kid."
"Great. That's if we don't kill each other first."
"Just don't try and convince me that you know the way out of any more forests, that's all."
"I honestly thought I knew the way. It's just that all these trees look
the same in the dark. They look like trees."
"And what exactly do they look like in the daylight, then?"
Hannibal grinned at Face, who pulled a face back at him. Then he looked serious again.
"Can you stand up on your ankle this morning?"
"Give me your hand and I'll try," said Hannibal, reaching out to Face. Face got hold of his arm and helped him to his feet. Hannibal stood up but then as he shifted the weight onto his bad ankle, he felt the red-hot pain shoot through his leg again.
"It's no good, Face," said Hannibal, sitting back down. "I can't put any weight on it. We'll have to wait for the others, unless you want to take off and find them."
Face looked at Hannibal, shaking his head.
"I told you last night. I'm not leaving you here on your own, especially with a bad ankle. You're a sitting duck for hunters or worse."
"All right. It was only a thought."
"Well, keep those thoughts to yourself. Something we could both do with doing."
"Face, I swear I won't mention any of last night's conversation to the
"Thanks, Hannibal but they'll find out soon enough, won't they?"
"I guess so but only if one of us mentions it. I won't, so it's up to you."
Face went quiet and Hannibal lit up a cigar. They sat in silence for a while then something caught Hannibal's attention.
The two of them sat silent, straining their ears to listen. The sound of someone singing came floating through the trees towards them.
"It's Murdock," said Face, jumping up. "Murdock, we're down here. Murdock!"
Face shouted as loud as he could through the forest. Just then, a face appeared over the top of the hole. It was Murdock.
"Hey, Faceman. Whatcha doin' down that hole?"
"The ground collapsed underneath us and we've been here all night."
"BA! Billy found them," shouted Murdock. Suddenly BA's face joined Murdock over the side of the hole.
"Hey man, whatcha doin' down there?"
"Is there an echo in these woods? Look, can you figure a way of getting us out of here?"
"Can't you just climb out?" said Murdock. "It doesn't look
that deep to me?"
"I'm all right but Hannibal's broken his ankle."
"Colonel, are you ok?" shouted Murdock.
"I can't put any weight on my ankle," replied Hannibal.
BA jumped down into the hole and went over to Hannibal.
"Faceman, you climb out of here and I'll pass Hannibal up to you and Murdock."
Face scrambled out of the hole and BA gently picked up Hannibal. He lifted him up and Murdock and Face each got hold of an arm and dragged him out of the hole. BA then jumped back out of the hole and picked Hannibal up again. With Murdock leading the way back out of the forest, they made their way back to the van.
"I've never been as glad to see this van as I am now," said Face, as he opened the door for BA to put Hannibal inside.
"I know what you mean," said Hannibal. BA shut the door and got
into the driver's seat. Face and Murdock both jumped in and BA sped off.
"Where are we going?" asked Hannibal.
"I'm takin' you to a hospital, man. You need to get that ankle sorted
"I'll be fine, BA. Don't make a fuss.
"You're going, sucker so shut up."
Hannibal grinned at Murdock.
"Did you put him in this good a mood?"
"He's mad because Billy found you and he didn't."
"Billy don't exist, fool. It was just good luck that you found them before I did."
"Say what you like, BA, but I know it was Billy who found them."
Face and Hannibal started to laugh. BA pulled the van up outside the hospital and, supported by Face and BA, Hannibal made his way into the hospital. Murdock waited outside with the van. Moments later, Face reappeared and stood talking to Murdock.
"Did you ring Amy last night?"
"Yes, we did but I don't see why you had to go racing off after Hannibal like that. We could have all gone and told him."
"I needed to talk to him on my own," said Face.
"Oh," said Murdock. "You know Face, you've been real strange
"Yeah, you've been real quiet and you haven't told us about your latest conquest for ages now. Billy and me are gettin' dead worried about you."
"Well, I don't like to bore you guys with my problems."
"That's bull, Face. You always like to bore us with you problems."
Face pretended to look hurt, then grinned at Murdock.
"What did Amy tell you last night?"
"That she had told you there was a chance Jo-Jo was still alive and then you hung up on her. You know, she was really upset with you."
"I'll ring her later and apologise."
"Before you do, I'd better tell you what she told me and BA last night."
"Well, she told us that the reason she thought Jo-Jo might be alive is
that this dude Hairy Phil had knocked down a brunette and we all know Jo-Jo is
"Yes, what's your point, Murdock?"
"Well, after she had spoken to you, she dug out some old files on Jo-Jo or Starlight and discovered that about two months before the accident, Jo-Jo had had her hair dyed brown."
"Fraid so, Face. I'm sorry. It looks like she's dead after all."
"What am I supposed to tell Hannibal now?"
"Well, if you'd given us half a chance last night before taking off, we
could have found out and Hannibal need never have known about it."
"So it's my fault now," shouted Face, grabbing hold of Murdock's jacket and pushing him up against the side of the van. Murdock just looked at Face with a distressed look on his face. He had never seen his friend like this before.
"Take it easy, Faceman," said Murdock, trying to wriggle his way out of Face's grip. Face tightened his grip on Murdock and Murdock started to choke.
"Face, let me go. You're choking me."
"Face! Let the fool go!"
BA came out of the hospital and dragged Face off Murdock, who fell to the floor, gasping for breath. BA held onto Face and glared at him.
"What's got into you, man? I know he's enough to drive any man crazy but it's my job to sort him out. What's goin' on?"
"Nothing," said Murdock, standing up. "Let him go, BA."
BA released his grip on Face and Face took off through the hospital grounds. BA watched him go and then turned to Murdock.
"What was all that about?"
"I told him about Jo-Jo. I don't think he took it too well."
"Whatcha go and tell him for?"
"I had to. He was going to ring Amy, I thought it would come better from one of us."
"You do have a point, fool."
"Will he be alright?"
"I think he'll burn some energy off and then take off for his latest apartment. I'll drop you back at the VA and then I'll go home and get some sleep. Hannibal has to stay here overnight so we'll meet back here tomorrow morning at nine o'clock. I'll get word to Faceman to meet us here. Things should be better in the morning."
"Morning, Face," said Murdock as Face pulled up in the Corvette outside the hospital.
"Hi, Murdock," said Face and he smiled nervously at the pilot.
"I'm really sorry about yesterday. I didn't mean to take anything out on
"I know," said Murdock and slapped his friend on the back. "Forget about it."
"I've been doing a lot of thinking since yesterday and I realise that I
needed to let my grief go. You just happened to be the nearest one to let it go
"I know. I said forget about it. That's what friends are for."
"Anyway, I think I'm okay now. She's dead. I have to get on with my own life. It's not like I meant anything to her. She got married apparently. It was nothing, just another fling. It's not like I've never been dumped before. I can cope."
"Sure you can, Faceman."
A young nurse with golden blonde hair wandered past them at that moment and smiled seductively at Face. Face smiled back and the blonde blew him a kiss as she wandered into the building.
"It looks as though this could be the right place to cope as
well," said Murdock, grinning at Face.
"Could well be," said Face, as a young brunette walked past him in the opposite direction. She glanced at him for a moment and seemed to stop. Then she looked at Murdock and then she threw herself at Face, flinging her arms around her neck.
"It's you," she cried as she kissed his face all over. "I can't believe it, after all this time. It's really you."
"If this is a paternity suit, Face then you're telling Hannibal, not me," said Murdock, watching this scene with amusement. Face tried to disentangle himself from the brunette.
"I'm sure pleased to see you, honey but I usually prefer an introduction first."
"You don't remember me," said the brunette.
"Don't take it too badly, sweetheart," said Murdock. "He has trouble remembering most pretty girls."
"Murdock," said Face. "I can handle this, thank you."
"You don't remember me either, do you Murdock?"
Murdock looked at the girl and shook his head.
"Okay, fair enough. I suppose I have changed quite a lot. I'm sorry to have bothered you."
The girl started to walk off and Face and Murdock watched her, puzzled expressions on their faces. As she pushed open the door to the hospital and turned back and looked at them.
"Say hello to Uncle John for me when you see him."
She shut the door and went into the hospital. Face and Murdock looked at
each other in amazement and then flew through the door after her.
"Jo-Jo," shouted Face, racing up to her. He spun her round and then realised it was a different nurse. "I'm terribly sorry. I was looking for someone."
The young nurse smiled at him.
"Well, I'm sorry you're not looking for me but who was it you're
"Her name is Caroline Smith."
"I don't know anyone working here by that name. This is only a small hospital and I know most people. Perhaps she's new so I'll check the duty roster for today. Just a second."
The nurse went over to the reception desk and pulled out a clipboard. She scanned it and then said,
"No, there's no-one by that name on duty today."
"Okay, thanks for your help."
Face and Murdock sat down in the waiting area and Face put his head in his hands.
"It was her, wasn't Murdock? Tell me I wasn't imagining it."
"No, I saw her too, Faceman. She didn't look like a ghost to me."
BA walked up to them, pushing Hannibal in a wheelchair.
"What's up, fellas?" said Hannibal.
"You are not going to believe this," said Face. "I've just
"Face, BA has already told me about what Amy said. I know she's dead. You don't have to try and pretend."
"No, I swear, Hannibal. She was real. Murdock saw her too."
"That's right, muchacho. She was here. She threw herself at Face and then when he didn't recognise her, she told us to say hello to you for her and then disappeared into this building."
"She was dressed as a nurse but when we enquired about her, we were told that no-one by that name was working here."
"Something's going on," said Hannibal. "Let's phone Amy and see if she can help us."
"Well, I haven't really been able to find much out, I'm afraid," said Amy, walking into the apartment. "Nice apartment, Face."
"Thanks, I'm looking after it for a friend of mine while he's on holiday."
"Sit down, Amy," said Hannibal, patting the couch next to him. "Tell us anything."
"How's the ankle, Hannibal?"
"Getting better every day."
"Good. Well, all I've been able to dig up from the files at work is that about eighteen months ago, Starlight married her limo driver Huey Stretford and that's about it. She carried on with her singing career for a while then she seemed to go quiet. She didn't tour or release any material for a couple of months. I enquired at the hospital again for you and there isn't a nurse registered there under the name Caroline Smith or Caroline Stretford."
"It was definitely her. She even mentioned Hannibal, she called him Uncle John."
Face started to pace up and down the room.
"Take it easy, Face," said Hannibal. "Carry on, Amy."
"Well, that's basically it, other than about two months before the accident, she did a talk show saying that she was going to release a final album soon and that was it. It was from that I discovered she had dark hair too."
"And there's nothing else?" asked Hannibal.
"Only that she had made enquiries about returning to train as a nurse."
"That has to be it," said Face. "She has to be working at that hospital."
"Maybe," said Hannibal, sitting back against the sofa and taking a cigar out of his pocket. "But that doesn't explain why all our enquiries came up blank."
"Perhaps the hospital is protecting her?" said Murdock.
"But why and from whom?" said Hannibal. He lit the cigar and Face looked at him in disgust.
"Hannibal, do you have to smoke those in here?" Face opened the window and flapped the smoke outside. "I told you, this isn't my apartment. Try not to ruin it, please?"
"Smoking helps me to think and takes my mind off the pain in my ankle,
which I am still holding you responsible for."
"It wasn't my fault," said Face, looking decidedly guilty.
"Why is it Face's fault?" asked Amy.
"Because it was Face who decided he knew where he was going and got us
lost in the forest."
"Yes but it was you trying to hit me that made the ground give way beneath us. If we'd have kept going, we wouldn't have fallen down."
"If you hadn't have dropped the torch, we would have been able to see our way out of the forest with no trouble and then I wouldn't have been forced to hit you."
"If you hadn't left your leg out where I could trip over it, then I wouldn't have dropped the torch so this is all your fault after all," said Face, triumphantly.
"Nobody asked you to come and find me," said Hannibal, sulkily, knowing he had lost. Face just gave him a look which said "As if" and Hannibal blew a puff of smoke into his face.
"When you two have finished bickering," said Amy. "We still haven't decided what to do about Jo-Jo."
"I have a plan," said Hannibal, grinning at her.
"Why am I not surprised," said BA.
"Why does it have to be me going into hospital?" asked Face, for
the hundredth time that morning. "Hannibal, you're the one with a broken
ankle, why can't you do it?"
"If you don't shut up, sucker, I'll put you in hospital for real," growled BA, from the driver's seat.
"You are the best one to pull this scam off," said Hannibal. "Now stop your whining."
"I don't whine," said Face. "And I still don't see why you
can't do it?"
"The staff already know my face so they would know I wasn't Hugh Stretford."
"Colonel, tell me again why Faceman is posing as Huey," said Murdock.
"If Jo-Jo really is at this hospital, then seeing her husband's name on the patient's board will draw her out and she will visit him and we'll know for sure it's her."
"Good idea, Colonel."
"Thanks. I kinda like it myself."
"Well, I don't," said Face. "I think it's sadistic asking me
to pose as Jo-Jo's husband. Do you not think so, Hannibal?"
Hannibal glared at Face.
"Do you really want me to answer, Face? I thought that was a no-go discussion."
"Alright," said Face, sulkily.
"What's goin' on, man?" BA asked Hannibal. "I thought there were no secrets in the team."
"There isn't, BA," said Face. "Hannibal, he's right. They
"That's your call, kid. You can tell em, not me."
"Tell us what, Faceguy?" asked Murdock.
"When me and Hannibal were stuck down that hole the other night, we had quite an in-depth chat about Jo-Jo and I told him I was in love with her."
Face sat back and waited for the others to respond. BA was the first.
"Why didn't you tell us, man? You kept it all bottled up inside."
"I knew what Hannibal was goin' through and I didn't want anyone to pity me."
"You seriously thought we would?" asked BA.
"Not really," sighed Face. "I was just embarrassed, I guess.
I've got this reputation with the ladies and suddenly there was this one woman
who I wanted so badly and she didn't feel the same. I thought you'd
BA drew the van to a halt and turned his seat round so he was looking at Face.
"Listen, Faceman. We're a family and you can tell us anything. You're my little brother, man and I love you. Now don't make me say that again. You tell us if somethin' is buggin' ya."
Murdock had been quiet throughout this whole exchange. Then he looked at Face and then he opened the van door.
"Where are you goin' fool?" asked BA.
"I need some fresh air," said Murdock, climbing out of the van.
"I'll meet you guys back at Face's apartment later."
"Murdock, are you OK?" asked Face.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just need some quality time with me."
The others watched in amazement as Murdock walked off down the road, with his hands in his pockets.
"Come on, let's get Face admitted to hospital," said Hannibal.
"Are you just going to let him go off on his own?" asked Face.
"You heard him. He wants to be on his own," answered Hannibal. "We all need that occasionally. Right?"
"Allen. There's someone downstairs to see you." The editor of the LA Courier, Grant Eldridge, came towards Amy and threw a pile of papers on her desk. "Make it quick, you've got a lot of work to get through."
Amy smiled at Grant and made her way downstairs to the front entrance of the paper's offices. There were plenty of people milling about as it was deadline day and everyone was rushing around trying to get their articles finished in time for printing. Amy opened the door and looked outside. The sidewalk was busy as people went to and fro, minding their business. She could not see anyone she recognised. She turned to go back inside when she heard a voice shout "Amy." She turned back and saw a young woman on the opposite side of the road, waving at her. She crossed the road and approached her. She didn't look familiar but she kept walking towards her. The woman ran up to her.
"Amy, thank goodness you've come back to work at the Courier. I need your help."
"I'm sorry, do I know you?"
The woman looked at her in amazement.
"Amy, it's me."
Amy looked at her, then looked closely at her eyes. They had a familiar twinkle.
"Yeah, it's me."
"Wow. You look so different. I love the hair."
"Thanks. Are you busy or can you come for a coffee?"
"No, I've got a minute for a coffee. I guess you're in trouble or you
wouldn't have come to find me."
The two women started to walk down the road towards the small coffee shop on the corner. Amy was a regular customer there and when they entered the shop, the young man behind the counter grinned at her.
"The usual, Amy?"
"Yes please, Darren. Make it two though today and we're staying inside."
"On their way, gorgeous."
Amy smiled at him and he blushed a deep scarlet. Amy and Jo-Jo sat down at a table in the corner. Darren brought their coffees over and Amy looked at Jo-Jo.
"So, what's up? You do realise that Face and Hannibal are going mad, trying to find you."
"I should never have said anything to Face that day at the hospital."
"In a way, it's a good job you did. He thought you were dead."
Jo-Jo smiled at her.
"That's what everyone was supposed to think."
Jo-Jo stirred her coffee and looked at Amy.
"I'd had enough of being in the public eye. I knew that if I just quit, people would still hound me. The only way out was to fake my death. That's why nobody was ever caught for the accident."
"But they were. I got it over the wire that a drug baron called Hairy Phil was arrested and charged with your murder."
"No." Jo-Jo looked at her in horror. "No-one was ever supposed to be caught. There was nothing to point suspicion at anyone because there was never any crime."
"Well, he was the one who made us believe you were still alive. When
the police questioned him, he told them he hit a brunette in his car. We
thought you were still blonde at the time you died. It was only later that we
discovered you had dyed your hair. I assume it was all part of the change of
"Yeah. I've got a whole new name and everything."
"Which is why the hospital had no records of Caroline Smith or Caroline Stretford."
"I'm Catherine Skipton now, or Skip as everyone calls me. You can't call me Jo-Jo anymore. She's dead."
"It might take a bit of getting used to."
"I know. Lennie couldn't get used to it."
"Do you still see Lennie? I thought he was jailed for his part in that
whole stalking fiasco a couple of years ago."
"He was," admitted Jo-Jo. "But he was released early after I appealed on his behalf. He never really meant me any harm, it was all Scott's idea and he pressured Lennie to go along with it. However, I haven't seen him for about twelve months now."
"So, how's Huey?"
Suddenly, Jo-Jo looked upset and stared at the coffee as the hot liquid swirled round the cup.
"Skip, what is it?" asked Amy, suddenly concerned.
"Huey died, three months after my supposed accident."
"I'm sorry," said Amy, laying her hand on Jo-Jo's arm. Jo-Jo's eyes filled with tears. "I guess you really loved him, huh?"
Jo-Jo shook her head.
"That's what makes it so awful," she whispered, the tears falling down her cheeks. "I never loved him the way he loved me."
"Want to talk about it?" asked Amy, sympathetically. "I'm a good listener."
"After Uncle John, Face and the others left, I felt really low. I
couldn't concentrate on my career. I was just going through the motions.
Everyone assumed it was because of what happened with Scott. Only I knew it was
because I'd lost my uncle and my lover in one go."
"You and Face? You actually…"
"Only once. If Uncle John finds out, Temp's dead for sure," replied Jo-Jo. She looked at Amy. "Please don't tell him."
"I won't. You have my word on that."
"Thank you. Anyway, Huey would always stick close to me. He was like a brother to me. If I was upset, he'd comfort me. One night, that comfort turned into something more. I felt so damn guilty the next morning."
"Guilt for using Huey. Guilty for betraying Temp."
"So what happened? How did you end up marrying him?"
"It was my fault for being such a coward. I couldn't bring myself to confess to Huey that I didn't love him. He was so happy and then things seemed to steamroll out of my hands. Next thing I know, I'm Mrs Huey Stretford and I'm on my honeymoon."
"Boy, that was fast."
"You have no idea. While we were on honeymoon, I had the idea of
quitting. My heart wasn't in performing anymore and so I thought about faking
my own death. I made some enquiries and got my name changed. I also managed to
get new papers, strictly off the record, you understand."
"Huey then went ahead and reported me as missing. After I had been 'missing' for a month, the police closed the case. Huey left town and joined me at a secret location. We were moderately happy. We talked, went for walks and went scuba diving."
"That's how Huey died."
"Yeah, we were both supposed to be going down in the water but I pulled out at the last minute. I had a terrible headache and I didn't feel like swimming so Huey went down on his own. He used up his oxygen tank and came back up. I was still feeling under the weather so he decided to go back down with my oxygen tank."
Jo-Jo started to cry again.
"The tank was faulty. Something wrong with the gauge. Huey drowned. It should have been me."
Jo-Jo started to sob harder and Amy put her hand out to comfort her.
"Wait here a second," she said, pulling a coin out of her purse. She walked over to the payphone in the corner of the coffee shop and quickly dialled her office. When someone picked up, she explained hurriedly that she was out chasing up a lead on a story and she didn't know when she would get back to the office. She hung up and went back over to Jo-Jo.
"Come back to my place," she said. "You can stay there as long as you like."
Jo-Jo gave her a watery smile.
"Thanks Amy," she said. "I've still got lots to tell you and I still haven't explained why I need your help."
Amy led the way out of the shop and over to where her car was parked. Jo-Jo was quiet on the way back to Amy's apartment. Amy unlocked the front door and motioned Jo-Jo into the lounge. Seeing Jo-Jo settle down on the couch, fussing over Sophie, Amy's Persian cat, Amy went into the kitchen and dialed the number Hannibal had given her for the van. She let it ring for a while but there was no answer at the other end. She hung up and opened the fridge. She took something out and went back into the lounge.
"Here," she said, holding out the item to Jo-Jo. "I thought you might enjoy some of this. It always works for me when I'm upset."
Jo-Jo looked at what Amy was holding out. It was a large bar of sweet Belgian chocolate and she smiled at Amy gratefully.
"How did you know I'm a chocoholic?" she asked, taking the chocolate.
"I didn't," said Amy, sitting down next to her. "But I know I am so I always have a bar in the fridge."
"Thanks for listening to me," said Jo-Jo, breaking a piece of the chocolate and nibbling it.
"You said you had more to tell me," said Amy, also taking a piece of the chocolate. "Do you feel up to telling me?"
"After Huey died, I came back to LA and went back to training as a nurse. I started my training just after I left school but I dropped out when I started hanging round with a dodgy crowd."
"Hannibal told me. That's how you met Scott."
Jo-Jo dropped her head. Scott Riley was someone she preferred to forget about.
"Anyway," continued Jo-Jo. "I went back to my nursing training and got a post at Sheridan Hospital. That's where I saw Face and Murdock the other day. I had no idea that they were still in the area."
"They had just got back from a job out of state," explained Amy. "But something happened on the way home and a detour was needed to the hospital."
"I noticed that BA and Uncle John weren't with them. I assumed they were inside. I know this is going to sound awful because I really like him but I hope it was BA that was hurt."
Amy shook her head and Jo-Jo's eyes widened in fright.
"Uncle John's hurt?"
"Relax, it was only a broken ankle. Him and Face fell down a hole in the woods the night before and Hannibal landed heavily on his ankle."
Jo-Jo breathed deeply.
"Thank goodness. It seems to be the week for shocks for me."
"Why, what else has happened?" asked Amy. "I'm guessing this
is the bit you need my help for."
"Yeah, I needed you to get in touch with the guys for me. I need the A-Team."
"I think Huey is still alive."
Amy just looked at her in amazement.
"Woah. What makes you think that?"
"I saw his name on the admissions list this morning at the hospital. He's been admitted for stomach pains. I had to get out of there pretty quick."
"I think someone is coming after me. I think Scott has paid someone to get rid of me."
"But why use the name of Huey Stretford? Surely they would know the
name would make you suspicious. If they were out to kill you, they must know
about you surviving the scuba accident and that Huey is dead."
"I don't understand it either," said Jo-Jo. "So you can understand why I need the team."
"I tried to call Hannibal before when we got here but there was no answer. Hang on a minute and I'll try them again. If not, I'll call Murdock at the VA."
"Amy, I have to ask you something."
"Don't tell them who I am."
"Are you serious?"
"If they know who I am, then my whole cover is blown."
"Would that be such a bad thing? The public misses you like crazy. What better publicity stunt than a return from the dead."
"I left to get away from all that."
"You really don't miss it?"
"No, I love nursing," Jo-Jo said. "Look Amy, please don't tell the team."
"They'll figure it out, you know."
"If and when they do, I'll come clean but I need to know who wants me dead."
Amy got up.
"I'll call Hannibal."
Amy picked up the phone and dialed the van again. After a couple of rings, the phone was picked up.
"Hannibal, it's Amy."
""Hey kid, what's up?"
"I've got a job for you."
"Now? We're trying to look for Jo-Jo."
"I think you should at least hear the girl's story. It's quite remarkable."
"Okay but Jo-Jo still takes precedence."
"Great, come round to mine, she's here with me. Where are you?"
"On the way back from the hospital, we nearly had a run in with Decker."
"We tried to check Face into the hospital under an assumed name but
there was already someone in the hospital with that name."
"Two people could have the same name."
"Hugh Stretford isn't that common a name."
""What name did you say?"
"Hugh Stretford. We were checking Face in to see if we could lure Jo-Jo out but there was already a patient with that name checked in."
"Tell me about it. Another great plan down the drain. Nurses called the cops who alerted Decker. Him and Crane came racing down here faster than a rabbit in mating season."
"Are you coming over?"
Hannibal sighed again.
"Yeah, we'll come over but you'd better be sure this isn't a set
"I'm positive, Hannibal."
"See you in about ten minutes."
Amy put the phone down. She walked back into the living room. Jo-Jo got up.
"Are they coming?"
Amy nodded and Jo-Jo smiled.
"Can I use your bathroom?"
"Sure, just up the stairs and first on the left."
"Thanks Amy, I might be a while."
"What are you doing?"
Jo-Jo grinned and picked up her bag. She went upstairs and Amy went into the kitchen. She washed the cups up and then there was a knock at the door. She walked through to the hall and opened the door.
"Hannibal, guys, it's good to see you."
"Hey Amy," said Hannibal. He walked into the apartment, followed by Face and BA. Murdock brought up the rear, giving Amy a hug as he walked in.
"Hi Amy, I brought you a present."
Murdock held his hand out and Amy glanced down. She saw a large bar of chocolate, similar to the one she had just shared with Jo-Jo. Amy grinned and took the chocolate from him.
"Murdock, you're gonna make me fat."
Murdock looked upset.
"I thought you liked it."
Amy hugged him.
"I love it, Murdock. I could never have too much chocolate."
Murdock smiled at her.
"You have to share it with me though."
They went into the lounge. Hannibal looked at Amy.
"So where is she?"
"She's in the bathroom. She won't be long."
"Is this genuine Amy?"
"I'm 100% sure of this girl, she's an old friend of mine."
"Okay, if you're sure."
"Just you wait."
Amy looked at Face who was sat quietly by the fire.
"You okay, Face?"
Face looked up.
"You were miles away," said Amy, sitting next to him.
"Just thinking, that's all." Face smiled at her but Amy knew it was his con man smile. "I'm fine."
"Face, what is it? You can tell me."
Face smiled at her, this time it was a genuine smile.
"Really, I'm fine, but thanks for the concern."
Hannibal looked at Amy.
"So do we get a cup of coffee around here or what?"
"You know where the kettle is, Hannibal," replied Amy.
Hannibal mumbled something incoherent and walked into the kitchen.
"Give me a hand here, Face?" he shouted and Face got up and followed him out to the kitchen. Amy and Murdock shared the chocolate out and sat munching on it. The door opened and Jo-Jo came into the room. Amy stared at her.
Her hair was now a vibrant shade of red.
"I coloured it. Do you like it?"
"Yeah, but it was a bit of a shock. I know why you've done this."
"I know you do," replied Jo-Jo. "But we won't say anything will we?"
Amy shook her head.
"I promised, didn't I?"
Amy turned to Murdock and BA.
"This is Skip, an old friend of mine. Skip, this is Murdock and BA."
Jo-Jo shook hands with Murdock and BA and waited for them to recognise her but neither one did. They shook hands with her and she sat down, next to Amy. Murdock offered her some of the chocolate and she accepted. Face came back into the lounge carrying two cups of coffee. He looked at Jo-Jo and suddenly stopped. His hand started to shake, spilling coffee on the floor. Hannibal, who was following him out of the kitchen, didn't see him stop and walked into the back of him.
"Face, what the hell…"
He stopped as he saw who Face was looking at.
Jo-Jo sighed. She should have known she couldn't fool Hannibal.
"Hi Uncle John."
Hannibal didn't move. Neither did Face. Amy and BA took the cups from each of them. Murdock stared at Jo-Jo.
"It's really you?"
"Yeah, it's me, Murdock. How's Billy?"
Murdock squealed and threw his arms round Jo-Jo.
"It's you, you're alive. I've missed you."
Jo-Jo smiled and hugged him back.
"I've missed you too. There's been times when I've needed you, just to make me smile."
Hannibal seemed to come out of his trance and he slammed out of the apartment. Jo-Jo jumped up and went to run after him. She shouted to Amy as she left.
"If we're not back in half an hour, come and get us." She looked at Face. "I'll talk to you later, I promise."
Face nodded, still not able to speak. Jo-Jo raced out of the door and after Hannibal. She noticed the van was still up the driveway and breathed a sigh of relief. If he was on foot, he couldn't have gone very far. She ran down the road and came to the junction. She cursed to herself, he could have gone in any one of three directions. She looked ahead and didn't see anyone walking down the road. To her left there was an old couple walking together. Turning to her right, she spotted Hannibal just turning off into a side street. She ran down the road and turned off in the direction he was walking. She came to the end and found herself in a small park. She surveyed the area but she couldn't see him. Sighing, she started to turn away to go back to the apartment. As she was about to leave, she saw him, sitting by the pond, watching a little girl feeding the ducks. She walked over to him quietly and sat down next to him, placing her hand gently on his arm.
"Don't call me that."
Jo-Jo looked startled at the fierceness in his voice.
"I don't have a niece. She was killed in a hit and run accident."
"I know what you must be going through."
Hannibal laughed, humourlessly.
"Do you? Do you really? You have NO IDEA!"
Hannibal stood up and started to walk away from Jo-Jo but she followed him.
"You can't walk away from me."
"How can you have any possible idea what I'm going through? I thought I'd lost you, you were dead, I've grieved for you, I'm still coming to terms with that grief and suddenly you show up and say "Hi Uncle John" as though nothing has happened. How can you know what I'm going through? You've never been through this."
Jo-Jo looked down and sighed.
"No, you're right. I just thought my favourite uncle was shot by a firing squad in Vietnam and suddenly he came back from the dead two years ago. I have no idea, do I?"
She brought her face up so her eyes met his and she stared at him, waiting for him to say something.
He turned away from her.
"It's not the same."
"Why isn't it?" Jo-Jo shouted at him. "It's alright for you to pretend to be dead but not for me, is that it?"
Hannibal turned back and took hold of her arms.
"I didn't have a choice, if I told anybody, then I would have been
dead. It was easier for everyone that I didn't tell anyone."
"And you think I had a choice?"
"Of course you did. You had everything the world could give you. You had fame, fortune, beauty, youth and love."
"I never had love, yet that's all I wanted."
"Out of guilt, not for love. I couldn't have the man I loved, you saw to that."
Hannibal stared at her in amazement.
"Please tell me you don't mean Face."
"Yes I mean Temp."
"You hardly knew him, never mind loved him."
"Shows how little you know."
Jo-Jo shook Hannibal off and started to walk away. Hannibal caught her up.
"No you don't. Don't drop this on me then walk away."
"I don't want to discuss this."
"Well I do. As far as I know, you and Face only met the once, while we were sorting out Riley. Now, if you know different to me, I'd like to know."
"Why? So you can read us both the riot act and play protective uncle on me. Forget it!"
"Don't get mouthy with me, young lady."
"You're dead, I fend for myself now."
"So are you. Face can find a new girlfriend."
"You're dead. Why should you care?"
Jo-Jo sighed. She sat down on a nearby bench and put her head in her hands. Hannibal sat next to her and put his arm round her shoulders.
"Hey Moneypenny, don't cry."
Jo-Jo heard the softness of his tone and it was too much for her. She threw herself into Hannibal and started crying. Hannibal closed his eyes, memories flooding back to him. It was just like when she was a little girl and she'd hurt herself falling off her bike or scraping her knees in the street. He was the one she had come running to, sobbing her little heart out and he'd been there to kiss it better and make her smile again. He wrapped his arms round her and hugged her close.
"I've messed everything up, haven't I?" Jo-Jo sniffed. Hannibal
handed her his handkerchief and she wiped her eyes. "I thought I was doing
the right thing."
"Don't we all," said Hannibal. He saw the van pull up a few yards away from them. Murdock and Amy got out.
"I think the search party has found us. I think they were expecting
"Mine especially, judging the mood you were in leaving the
"I'd never hurt you."
"You wouldn't get close enough to hurt me, I'd flatten you."
"That's true. You always were a tough little madam."
Amy approached the two cautiously.
"You okay, Skip?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. And you may as well call me Jo-Jo again, seeing as everyone knows."
"This is getting confusing," said Amy, grinning.
"Tell me about it," muttered BA, getting out of the van.
"Ah, now BA," said Jo-Jo, putting her arm through his. "Don't
tell me you've not missed me?"
"Course I have, little lady," said BA, blushing. "We all missed ya."
"Where's Temp?" asked Jo-Jo.
"He's back at the apartment," said Amy. "He said he'd wait for us there."
"Would you all mind if I went back and spoke to him alone?" asked Jo-Jo.
"Go ahead, kid," said Hannibal. "We'll wait here."
"Give me an hour. That should do it."
Hannibal nodded and Jo-Jo left the park. She walked back to the apartment and let herself in.
"Murdock, is that you? I've put the kettle on."
"Mine's a coffee, no sugar, I'm sweet enough."
Face spun round when he heard Jo-Jo's voice. He just stared at her, not moving, not speaking.
Face still didn't speak.
"Aren't you going to say hello?"
"Well, it's not the reunion I'd always imagined but at least you're speaking to me."
"Give me one good reason why I should speak to you again."
Jo-Jo stopped smiling.
"Temp, I'm sorry."
"Sorry? I hear that the woman I cared about is dead and then she turns up again, living and breathing and says sorry?"
"What do you want me to say?"
"How about an explanation?"
"It's a long story?"
Jo-Jo turned away from him.
"So? Are you in a rush? What's the matter? Your grave getting
"Temp, please! Don't hate me."
"Hate you? I can't hate you. In order to hate, you have to love first."
"That's right, I forgot, the great Templeton Peck doesn't fall in love, does he? Silly me thought we had something special."
"Okay, maybe I thought we did. Obviously, you didn't."
"Of course I did. You know I did."
"Then why did you get married?"
"Yeah, that. I'd say it was significant in our relationship, wouldn't
you? I won't marry you so you'll find someone who will?"
"It wasn't like that. Besides, who was it who left me?"
"You didn't ask me to stay?"
"How could I ask you to stay? I know what Murdock, BA and Uncle John mean to you. I couldn't ask you to leave them. And besides, the military would have got you as soon as they found out where you were. I couldn't ask you to put yourself in danger like that."
"If you'd have asked, I'd have stayed."
"I didn't know that."
"Well, you could've asked."
"We're going around in circles now."
Face looked at Jo-Jo.
"You still haven't told me why you married Huey."
Jo-Jo took hold of his hand and pulled him onto the sofa next to her.
"Do you really want to know?"
"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't."
"Okay, I married him out of guilt."
"After you all left, I was low, so low in fact, I couldn't concentrate on anything. Papers put it down to Scott and everything that had happened. Of course, no-one knew about you guys so no-one knew I was really pining for you."
"You mean Hannibal."
"I mean you. I missed you like crazy. It's silly. I knew you for a couple of weeks."
"I know, there was that one time when you sneaked back without Hannibal knowing. I've never forgotten that day."
"Yes, really. And not because it was anything flashy. Because we did normal things. We went for walks, we had a picnic in the park, we went to the movies, we watched black and white films until the early hours, and we made love. It was the kind of day normal couples have, not a rock singer and a fugitive. I could forget who we were, it was just Temp and Jo-Jo on their own, without the outside world telling us it wouldn't work."
"So where does Huey fit into this?"
"Huey looked out for me when I started to unravel and eventually one thing led to another."
Face started to get up but Jo-Jo held him back.
"You said you wanted to hear this."
"I don't need to hear about you sleeping with Huey."
"You think I married someone I'd never slept with. Come on, Temp. You're not that naïve."
Face sat down again.
"I couldn't tell him I loved you, he didn't know about you and me. The next morning, Huey confessed he'd always loved me and how happy he was I felt the same. Next thing, we're married. It happened so fast and I never got the chance to tell him."
"So where is he now?"
"He's dead. Or at least I thought he was."
"Don't tell me, another corpse comes back to life. You know, doctors should bottle this stuff, they'd make a fortune curing death."
"Please Temp, don't start again. I know this is crazy but when I got to
the hospital this morning, Huey Stretford was checked in."
"I know, thanks to him, Decker almost had us again."
"Lynch's replacement. He's much worse."
"How did he nearly get you?"
"I tried to check in under Huey's name to lure you out. That was you at the hospital who threw yourself round my neck."
Jo-Jo smiled and blushed. Face smiled and put his arm round her.
"For caring that much you gave yourself away."
"I love you, I thought I'd made that clear?"
"You really do?"
"Yes, I really love you, Templeton Peck."
Face pulled her closer.
"I love you too," he whispered and kissed her. She kissed him back. Suddenly, the door opened as Hannibal, Murdock, BA and Amy came back in.
"Erm, you said an hour but we can go away again if you haven't finished talking yet," said Hannibal, grinning.
Face and Jo-Jo both ignored him and Hannibal turned to the others.
"A couple more runs round the block should do it, guys."
"So if we all stick to the plan, nothing can go wrong," said Hannibal, lighting a cigar.
"You always say that and it always goes wrong."
"What are you complaining for? You get to stay here and co-ordinate things from back here. You don't even have to step foot in the hospital."
"Yes, but you're sending Jo-Jo in."
"She works there, Face. Besides, I'll be right behind her, I swear nothing will happen to her."
"Do you think I'd place her in any danger? I don't think anything will happen except for whoever wants to lure Jo-Jo out will be informed that she works there."
Hannibal placed his hand on Face's shoulder.
"I swear she'll be safe."
Face nodded. Hannibal slapped him on the back.
"Okay, let's get this moving. Jo-Jo, go to the hospital as usual. As soon as you see me around, go and see whoever it is pretending to be Huey. We know it isn't him now, Amy dug up the death certificate. As soon as you see him, come out to the car park. I'll protect your back, Murdock will be in the next corridor. BA, you stay in the van in the car park and pick us all up on the way out."
"What about me?" asked Amy.
"You wait here with Face," said Hannibal. "We'll radio you from the van and let you know what's happening. Okay, everyone happy? Let's move."
Hannibal, BA and Murdock left in the van and Amy muttered something about the dishes needed doing and vanished into the kitchen. Face and Jo-Jo were left in the lounge.
"Be careful, I don't like Hannibal using you like this," said Face.
"Come on, Temp," Jo-Jo smiled. "You know Uncle John as well as I do. We can't change his mind when he gets a plan formed. He'll watch out for me. All I'm doing is walking into a ward to see who this guy is. Then I'm walking out and coming back here."
"Like I said, just be careful."
"I will. I'd best go and I'll see you later."
She hugged him and went out of the apartment. Amy came back into the room and sat next to Face and they waited for Hannibal's call.
At the hospital, Jo-Jo went into the locker room and opened her locker. She took out her uniform and got changed. Just as she was fastening her belt, Sabrina O'Connor, the staff nurse came into the locker room.
"Hiya Skip," she said, seeing Jo-Jo. "Didn't expect to see you back today. Didn't you go home yesterday, Dixie said you nearly threw up on her while checking the admissions board."
"Yeah, but I feel fine today. Must have been something I ate at lunchtime."
"As long as you feel okay now."
"At the moment I do so touch wood."
Sabrina smiled and patted her on the shoulder.
"See you later, Skip."
"Okay Brie, maybe see you in the cafeteria for lunch."
Jo-Jo straightened her cap and walked out into the corridor. She made her way to the third floor where the wards were situated. She was walking down the corridor when she passed an electrician, up a ladder.
"Scuse me darlin', do you have the time on yer?"
Jo-Jo looked at her watch.
"Three minutes past eleven and don't call me darling."
Jo-Jo looked up at him, ready to reprimand him again. He grinned at her. It was Murdock. She tried to hide her smile as she said, "I'm not your darlin'".
"Such a sweet girl," said Murdock and went back to tinkering with the lights. Jo-Jo grinned and carried on walking down the corridor. As she got closer to Ward Seven, where 'Huey Stretford' was currently residing, her heart started to beat faster. She had no idea who she would find in the room. She was so busy thinking about who it was, she didn't see the man in the corridor until she collided with him.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I wasn't watching where I was going," said Jo-Jo. "Are you okay?"
The man smiled at her.
"I'm okay, lassie." He was a porter and he spoke with a thick Irish accent. "You look as if the weight of the world is weighin' ya down."
"I'm fine, just a bit preoccupied."
The porter smiled.
"I'm sure the A-Team is lookin' after ya."
Jo-Jo looked up at the porter, surprised. It was Hannibal in disguise. Jo-Jo forced back a laugh. Hannibal smiled at her.
"We're right behind you, sweetheart," he whispered. Jo-Jo smiled gratefully and pushed open the door of Ward Seven. She closed the door behind her and turned to face the man in the bed.
"Hello, sweet Caroline."
Jo-Jo bit back a scream as she saw who it was.
"Hey baby, I'm glad you came to see me. Saves us the trouble of coming to see you."
"He means me," said a voice from behind her. A man stepped out and grabbed Jo-Jo, putting his hand over her mouth. Jo-Jo struggled but couldn't wrench herself free from his grasp. Joey jumped out of the bed and opened the door. He scanned the corridor.
"Quickly Tony while there's nobody here."
The man called Tony dragged Jo-Jo out of the room. As they headed down the corridor, Hannibal came round the corner, banging into Joey as he raced through the corridor.
"You foolish old man, get out of the way."
Hannibal threw a left hook and caught Joey off guard. While Tony was distracted watching Joey and Hannibal, Murdock jumped down from the gap in the ceiling tiles and knocked him to the floor. Murdock ran in the opposite direction with Jo-Jo and Hannibal joined them. Joey and Tony picked themselves up off the floor.
"Let's get out of here, someone's blown our cover," shouted Joey. The two of them headed for the exit. Hannibal, Murdock and Jo-Jo headed out of the side entrance. Just as they left the building, a car pulled up and three heavies with guns got out and fired them in the air.
"Everybody hit the ground, NOW!"
Everyone in the car park dropped to the ground. One of the men ran over and picked Jo-Jo up. He bundled her in the back of the car and he fired the gun once more.
"Nobody move a muscle or they lose a limb."
He jumped into the car and it sped off out of the car park. BA pulled the van up to a screaming halt and Hannibal and Murdock jumped in and they shot out of the car park in the same direction as the car. They turned the corner and followed the car as it twisted and turned through the narrow back streets. Someone in the car decided that the team had followed him for long enough and a figure leaned out of the car window, clutching a revolver. He fired off a couple of shots but didn't bank on Hannibal returning fire. The car squealed round another corner and the man fired again at the team. Hannibal again returned fire but couldn't seem to hit the tyres. The car raced over a road junction. BA made to follow.
"BA, hold it!" shouted Murdock. "Ambulance."
The team watched in despair as an ambulance raced past them. When it had passed, BA moved forward again but there was no sign of the other car. Hannibal slammed his fist against the dashboard.
Murdock and BA looked at Hannibal.
"We'd better phone Faceman and Amy," said Murdock. "They'll be wondering where we are."
"You phone them, Murdock," said Hannibal. "I'm not ready to have Face yell down the phone at me just yet."
"It wasn't your fault, Colonel. It went to plan, we just didn't expect there to be another car in the car park."
"I should have known though."
"You couldn't have known, man," said BA. He turned the van round and headed back to Amy's apartment. Murdock rang Face and Amy on the way back. Hannibal could hear Face yelling from where he was sitting. The van pulled up and they got out. Hannibal walked into the apartment and the first thing he saw was Face take a swing at him. He ducked in time.
"Face, take it easy."
"Take it easy? You swore she wouldn't be in any danger, you promised me that you'd be right behind her. You said you wouldn't let anything happen to her."
"Face, I did everything I said I would."
"Then how come she isn't here with us then."
"I know how you feel, Face."
Hannibal sighed. Face stopped yelling and sat down.
"I know, but it doesn't make me feel any better."
"We need to calm down and take stock. Murdock, did Jo-Jo say anything
to you when you dragged her away from those two goons in the hospital?"
"She only said one thing, a name. I didn't pay much attention at first."
"What did she say?"
"She mentioned someone called Joey."
"Joey, Joey, why does that ring a bell? Amy, can you do some reference
work for me?"
"Sure, Hannibal, I've got the Courier database on my computer here in the apartment."
Amy went over to the desk and switched on the computer. When it had booted up, she loaded the LA Courier Data Search program.
"What do you want to search for?"
"Scott Riley. I'm assuming this has got something to do with him."
Face looked at him.
"Isn't he still inside though?"
"That's what I want to know."
Amy typed in 'Scott Riley'.
"I'll cross reference it with Starlight and we'll get the details of his trial and sentence," said Amy. "Here we go."
They all stared at the computer screen.
"The trial took place almost two years ago and he was sentenced to
twenty years for kidnap and assault. I would imagine he's still inside. There
was no appeal submitted and there's no follow-up story about his release or
escape so I would take it as certain he's still in prison."
"So that means it's not Riley," said Murdock.
"Unless," said Hannibal. "He's pulling the strings from
inside. Can you cross-reference Scott Riley with Joey and see if he's a known
associate. It bugs me, I know the name from somewhere."
"I can't do that here," said Amy. "I'll need a bigger database to handle a query as vague as that. I'll go over to the office and do it from there. I'll ring you as soon as I find anything."
"BA will take you in the van. If any of these goons have seen you
talking to Jo-Jo, they might make a play for you. I don't want to be too
"I'll wait in the van in the car park for you."
"Cheers, guys. I'll let you know if I find anything. It shouldn't take more than an hour."
Amy and BA left. Hannibal began pacing.
"Hannibal, sit down, your making me nervous," said Face.
"I just know Joey from somewhere," said Hannibal. "If only I
knew where…. Wait a second."
Hannibal went over to the computer and punched up Scott Riley's personal file.
"I knew it," Hannibal cried. "Look, Scott Riley, brother Joseph Riley."
Hannibal punched up Joseph Riley's picture.
"That's him," cried Murdock. "That's him from the hospital."
"Scott's brother. I knew I knew him from somewhere. Big brother is pulling the strings from inside his cell, while little brother jumps like Pinocchio."
"But why would Joseph Riley do anything his brother asks him to?" asked Face. "If Scott's inside, he can't do anything to Joseph if he refuses."
"So that means that Joseph, or Joey as he's known to most people, must
be getting something out of this."
"But what? He doesn't have any connection to Jo-Jo, does he?"
"Not that I know of, apart from he's Scott's brother and Jo-Jo's old next door neighbour."
Hannibal sat down and lit a cigar. He chewed it thoughtfully.
"Joey has to be profiting from this. I wonder if Amy's found anything
As if reading his mind, the phone rang and he picked it up.
"Yeah, it's me. Just wait until you hear what I've found out."
"We know that Joey is Scott's brother. I remembered him from years ago."
"Yeah but wait 'til you hear the rest. You want it now or do you want me to come back to the apartment?"
"Come back here, you never know who's listening or watching. Besides, BA needs briefing too."
"Okay, sit tight until I get back."
Hannibal grinned as he replaced the receiver.
"Sit tight. She's been around us too long."
The minutes seemed to drag by until at last Amy walked into the apartment, followed by BA. She sat down and looked at Hannibal.
"You are gonna love this."
Hannibal looked at her.
"Well, like you said, you know who Joey is. He's Scott's little
brother. Joey is only running the biggest drug operation this side of the
country. The police know he's doing it but can't pin anything on him."
"Drugs. So, Joey does a favour for Scott and Scott puts more money into little brother's 'pharmaceutical' business."
"But where does Scott get the money from in order to finance Joey's operation?" asked Murdock.
"And how did Joey know where to get hold of Jo-Jo?" asked Face.
"This is the interesting bit," replied Amy. "Scott is the major shareholder in Cosmos International, the biggest talent agency in LA. And guess who was one of his employees?"
"Starlight," said Face.
"Close. Lennie Berghard."
"Yep. And I know for a fact that Lennie knew about Jo-Jo's change of identity," said Amy. "She told me herself that Lennie couldn't get used to calling her Skip."
"I knew he was involved more than was ever let on," said Hannibal.
"But wasn't he put away with Scott?"
"This is the irony. Jo-Jo appealed on his behalf and got his sentence reduced to a couple of months. He's been out for about eighteen months now, but Jo-Jo hasn't seen him for about a year."
"So, he sold her out. Told Scott about her change of identity and Scott's been waiting for his chance to get even."
"So what do we do, Hannibal?" asked BA.
"I have a plan," said Hannibal, his eyes twinkling.
"This is degrading, Hannibal."
Hannibal didn't even look up from the plans he was going over with Face.
"You look fine, Amy."
"Hannibal, look at me."
Hannibal looked up and took in Amy's appearance. She was dressed in a white low-cut blouse and an emerald green skirt, which barely covered her thighs. Her naturally dark hair had been covered up with a long, blonde wig. The acrylic nails on her hands had been painted bright red to match the thick, lush gloss on her lips. Her eyeliner was too thick and she was having difficulty walking in the 3-inch stiletto heels that completed her outfit.
"Like I said, you look fine."
"I look like a street walker," complained Amy. "How can
anyone walk around all day looking like this?"
Hannibal looked at Face.
"Tanya seemed to manage okay."
Face grinned and nodded. Hannibal walked over to Amy and put his arm round her shoulders.
"I've explained to you. You have to be in disguise, Lennie knows you. You were there last time we had the misfortune of meeting him."
"But this disguise, even an eighty year old granny would have been a better disguise than this."
"Amy, you're whining like Face now. You have to seem to be naïve and not exceptionally bright, otherwise they won't hire you. Just act like a dumb blonde and you're in."
Amy pulled a face.
The Cosmos International Talent Agency had a huge office complex on the outskirts of the city centre. From the moment Amy sashayed into the office of Joseph Riley, she was hired. As Hannibal had predicted, she had been hired on the spot. She had been thoroughly searched for any kind of tracking or transmitting device, again as Hannibal had suspected. This procedure was repeated every morning without fail and every evening before she left, she was searched again to ensure she wasn't taking any information out of the building with her. She had been put to work in the front office, typing letters, filing, answering the phones, which she had discovered early on, were tapped and also copies of every conversation were made on cassette. It was a very secure set-up for a talent agency. On her first day, she had discovered there was nowhere in the building she was prohibited from except for Joey's office. There was no way Jo-Jo was being held on the premises. On her second day, she entered the office as usual following her search and sat down at her desk. She had just begun typing a new document when the door opened and two workmen entered.
"Mornin' miss," said the older man. "We're here to install a new phone/fax for you."
"Oh, okay," drawled Amy. "You got authorisation."
The second younger man produced an invoice. Amy took it from him and read it.
'This line isn't connected to the switchboard. No tap, no tape, no secrets!'
She looked up at the workmen and found herself staring into the bright blue eyes of Hannibal. She looked the other and saw Murdock grinning back. She started to speak but a shout from the office door stopped her.
"What's goin' on, Bunty?"
Hannibal stared at Murdock, who mouthed 'Bunty?' but Amy glared at them and turned to face Tony who had entered the office.
"It's okay, Tony," she said. "They're just fitting a new phone/fax extension for me."
"Okay baby. So when do I get that date you've been promisin' me?"
"You aren't my type, Tony. I like a tough guy. You're too soft for
"Me? Soft?" Tony looked stunned. "I'll soon prove how tough I am, sugar, then you'll come beggin'."
Tony stood up and walked out, giving Amy a wink as he left. Amy turned to Hannibal.
"This is, without a doubt, the most humiliating experience of my
"Stick with it, kid. You're doing great," said Hannibal. He finished installing the fax machine and he and Murdock left. Joey came out of the office and handed her a sheaf of papers.
"I want these typed up. Yesterday!"
Amy took them from him.
"They must be important."
"You're paid to type, not to ask questions," said Joey and he stalked back to his office, slamming the door as he went. Amy looked at the papers. She read through them, her heart beating faster and faster. This was what she had been waiting for. She quickly dialled the team from the new phone. Face answered after two rings.
"Face, it's me."
"Amy, have you got anything for us?"
"Have you found out where Jo-Jo is?"
"We need to know where she is," Face said, his voice raising. "Damn it, Amy, we may be running out of time."
She heard Hannibal say "Calm down, kid", then there was a pause and Hannibal's voice came on the phone.
"What have you got, kid?"
"They're planning to break Scott out. I can't say too much now but I'll try and tell you more when Joey leaves. He's got an appointment in an hour, I'll phone you then."
"Anything you can tell us now?"
"Just that it's happening the day after tomorrow. Joey is going to see him later today to finalise the arrangements."
"Where is he? Scott, I mean."
"He's in the prison infirmary." Amy stopped as Joey's office door opened. "Gotta go, mum. See you soon. Make sure BA picks me up from work tonight."
"Bye dearest daughter."
Amy hung the phone up. Hannibal turned to the others.
"Joey's planning a jailbreak. Scott is in the prison infirmary but Joey's going to see him later to finalise the plan. We need to work out some kind of plan to stop this."
He put his arm round Face's shoulder.
"Face, I think it's time I turned you in."
Face just groaned.
Just over an hour later, the phone in the van rang. Hannibal answered it. It was Amy.
"Hannibal, listen to this. The reason Scott never filed an appeal is because he's now filed a fake one. Two guys from here, Kenny and Barry, are inside the prison as guards. Tony, the gorilla you met this morning, is going in to the prison the day after tomorrow disguised as Scott's lawyer, ready to take him to his supposed court hearing. He will be accompanied by two prison guards."
"Let me guess. Kenny and Barry?"
"You got it. Once they are out of sight of the prison, they can just
"Good work, Amy. But how come Scott is in the hospital?"
"He's faked an illness because security isn't as tight on the hospital wing. Joey can talk pretty freely to Scott and tell him the plan."
"What are you going to do, Hannibal?"
"I'm putting Face on the inside."
Face stared at his reflection in the mirror. He had to admit Hannibal had done an excellent make-up job. To the casual observer, he was no longer Templeton Peck, he was Scott Riley. A well-known criminal. It wasn't a good enough job to fool Joey but that wasn't the plan. All he had to do was fool the hired help, just long enough for them to break him out. He breathed deeply. Hannibal, who was standing in the doorway, heard him.
"Relax, Face. You'll be fine."
"What if we're too late, Colonel? What if they kill her before we get to her?"
"That won't happen, Face."
Face looked at Hannibal, wide-eyed and apprehensive.
"How do you know? You can't possibly know."
Hannibal put his hand on the younger man's shoulder to steady him.
"I know how Riley thinks. Jo-Jo got the better of him. Twice. He's gonna want to do this one personally. He won't let Joey kill her, he wants to do it himself."
"I'm sure. I'm asking for your trust, Lieutenant, something I feel we both lost down in that hole."
"Trust me to know how Scott works and to get you in."
"I trust you, Hannibal. I know Jo-Jo means the world to you."
"Yeah, she does but I'm trusting you not to lose your cool in there. Think clearly and we'll get her out."
"You can count on me, Colonel."
Hannibal patted Face on the back and they left the room.
The prison doctor was confused.
"Are you sure?"
The other doctor handed him the papers.
"I have authorisation to remove this man, Scott Riley, for further tests at the civilian hospital down the road."
The prison doctor read the papers.
"This seems genuine. Go ahead."
The other doctor smiled.
"Thank you doctor. Come along, Nurse Baracus."
BA pushed the trolley towards the room containing Scott Riley. The 'doctor' grinned at him. It was Hannibal. They found Scott reading the newspaper.
"Come along, Mr Riley, time to go."
"What's going on? Who are you?"
"We're here to take you for more tests although I'm afraid we must
Before Scott could argue, Hannibal jabbed a syringe into his arm and Scott promptly lost consciousness. They loaded him onto the trolley and wheeled him quickly down the corridor and out into the waiting ambulance. They closed the doors of the ambulance. Just as they were about to get into the ambulance themselves, the doctor came rushing out with two guards.
"Just a minute, you two."
Inside the ambulance, Face pushed out the secret panel in the side of the ambulance. He climbed out of the gap and stood up. Scott was still asleep on the trolley. He dragged the unconscious form off the trolley and stuffed him into the gap in the side of the ambulance. He heard the doctor call out to Hannibal and froze. Face heard Hannibal start talking to the doctor, which gave him time to leap onto the trolley and lie down. Outside, Hannibal was objecting to the doctor's interference.
"I don't see what the problem is."
"There seems to be a problem with these papers. I'm going to have to ask you to come back inside the prison, so we can sort it out."
Hannibal sighed and BA shook his head in despair. The doctor called three guards out of the prison. He pointed at one of them.
"You, take the patient back to the hospital wing. He's sedated so he won't give you any trouble."
The prison guard wheeled the trolley and Face back into the hospital wing. The doctor pointed at the other two guards.
"You two, escort these gentlemen into my office please."
The prison guards marched Hannibal and BA into the office where a man dressed in a black suit and tie was waiting for them. The doctor addressed him.
"These are the two men who tried to breakout one of my patients."
The other man turned and faced them. It was Murdock.
"Thank you, doctor. We've had suspicions about this jailbreak for a while which is why we're checking all documents coming in today. With your help, we've managed to prevent it happening. I'll take these two to the station to process them. I'll have to take the ambulance as evidence and leave my car here. Perhaps someone could lock it up for me, it's the white corvette."
He handed the keys to the doctor and escorted Hannibal and BA outside. They got into the ambulance and Murdock drove it away. He drove it round the corner to where the van was parked and they all got out of the ambulance.
"That was a close call, I thought Face was a goner. That doctor came out pretty quick," said Hannibal.
They all climbed into the van and set off.
"Murdock can you check the signal from Face's transmitter."
Murdock switched on the tailing device.
"Coming in, nice and strong, Colonel. We'll be able to follow him with no problems."
"I can't wait to see the look on Joey's face when we turn up to his secret rendezvous."
When Amy got to work the next day, there was hardly a soul about. She sat down at her desk and started to sort out some paperwork. She heard someone enter her office and looked up. It was Lennie Berghard.
"Hi Lennie. Where is everyone?"
"They've gone to break Scott out, as well you know, Amy."
Amy looked at him, startled. Lennie closed the office door and Amy started to get worried.
"I'm Bunty, I don't know who Amy is," she started to say but Lennie cut her off.
"Listen. I know who you are and I think I know why you're here. You're Amy Allen and you're a reporter for the LA Courier. I remember you from when Scott first went after Jo-Jo. I've found out quite a lot since that last meeting."
"What do you mean?"
"All I knew when you started working here was that I knew you from somewhere. Then I remembered you had come to interview Starlight after her near miss with the lights at her last show. I also know that the crew she hired for that gig was none other than The A-Team."
"The A-Team? You mean that Special Forces unit that is on the run from the military? I keep reading about them in the paper."
"Cut the naïve routine, Miss Allen. Once I found out that that's who they were, I did some reading up on them. Guess whose name crops up on most of the newspaper articles about them."
"Amy Allen. Then I remembered something else. Back in my office when I first saw you, I remember the two men calling you Amy. So you had to be Amy Allen. I know you're working with the A-Team and I know that's why you're here."
"My, my. Quite the little detective aren't we?"
"I also now know that Jo-Jo's real name is Caroline Joanne
"Nope, she was christened Caroline Joanne Brannigan. She had her name
changed by deed poll when she discovered her uncle was dead. She changed it to
take her uncle's name."
"I'm now confused."
"Caroline's parents are David Brannigan and Caroline Brannigan, nee
Smith. Caroline Brannigan is the sister of a certain Lieutenant Colonel John
Smith, known to most people as Hannibal."
"With you so far," said Amy. "But I still don't see why you're telling me all this."
"Because I know you're working with them on some kind of scam to rescue
Jo-Jo from Joey and Scott and I know you're a plant."
Lennie's face had become red as he became more and more agitated and Amy was now a little bit scared.
"So, you know who I am. What are you going to do to me?"
"I'm not going to do anything to you. I'm going to help you."
Amy stared at him.
"But it was you who helped Scott in the first place. You told him about
Jo-Jo changing her identity."
Lennie sighed and sat down in the chair by Amy's desk.
"I didn't mean to. It was a slip of the tongue."
"Jo-Jo mentioned you couldn't get used to calling her Skip."
"It was really difficult. For years she had been Jo-Jo or Starlight and
now I'm supposed to call her Skip. Scott knew about the accident and her death.
He was mad, he really wanted revenge on her for setting him up and putting him
away. He knew I'd got out after she appealed for me so in order to keep an eye
on me, he bought out the company I work for, puts his brother in charge and
then just waited for me to slip up somehow."
"How did you?"
"She phoned me here one day about a year ago. It was just after Huey had died, she needed to talk to someone. I'd completely forgotten about the phones being tapped and I called her Jo-Jo."
"Joey heard you?"
"He must have done. Next thing I know, there is a major hush-hush operation being set-up. Scott files an appeal with his so-called lawyer and then suddenly half the workforce vanishes. Joey takes Tony and disappears for a couple of days. Next, Barry and Kenny, two of the security guards from here, resign saying they've got jobs as prison guards and also Eric and Jimmy haven't been seen for days. I knew something was going on."
"So, where do you fit into this and how can you help me?"
"There's nothing I can do about the jailbreak, it's happened or is happening today. They've left, it's too late."
"Maybe not but I can't be sure."
"What do you mean?"
"I've managed to get the information about the jailbreak out to Hannibal and the team. I'm sure Hannibal has a plan."
"How did you do it without Joey hearing you?"
"I had a new phone installed, it's not connected to the switchboard," grinned Amy. "No tap, no tape, no secrets."
"Never mind. What I need is a way of ensuring Scott can't go after Jo-Jo again."
"That's where I can help you. I know where Joey keeps all the documents referring to his 'other' business."
"You mean the drugs operation?"
"Yes. The girl you replaced discovered some information by accident. She came and told me. Joey knew she had found something but not that she'd told me. Crystal, that's the girl's name, was involved in a car accident two weeks ago. I can't prove Joey was behind it but I'm pretty sure he was. No witnesses, police say she lost control of the car and hit a tree. She was the most careful driver I ever knew. Her car was tampered with, I'm sure of it."
"I am sorry," said Amy. "No-one deserves that, especially when she'd done nothing wrong."
"Which is why I can help you put them away. I'll show you where the documents are. How are you at picking locks?"
"I'll do my best," said Amy, wishing Face were there. "What if someone catches us?"
"They won't. Seeing as though the breakout is today, no one from that side of the business is around today. Joey locked his office and that's it. As far as he's concerned, no-one else knows about the drugs operation."
"Come on, let's go. The quicker we get the stuff, the quicker we can go and meet Hannibal."
"Riley! Time to move. Your brief is here."
Face straightened his jacket and stepped outside the hospital doors. Two guards immediately flanked him. They marched across the courtyard and over to the prison gates. Another guard approached them.
"The governor wants to see you, Johnson," said the other guard.
"But I'm supposed to be escorting Riley to court," said the guard named Johnson.
"It's okay. I'm here to relieve you. Me an' Barry here can take
"If you're sure."
"Governor asked me himself to get you."
Johnson nodded and set off for the governor's office.
The guard named Barry grinned at the other guard.
"Nice move, Kenny. Come on, Scottie Let's make a move. Tony's outside, waiting for us."
Face swallowed nervously.
"Sure thing, Barry."
"You sound different, Scottie. You okay?"
Kenny punched him in the arm.
"The man's been inside for two years, he's just getting used to bein' a free man again."
"Right, sure," said Barry, rubbing his arm. They walked round to the front of the prison where Tony was waiting for them. He walked up to Face and smacked him on the back.
"Nice to see you again, buddy. Let's go. Joey's got a real treat lined up for you."
Face nodded. They set off in the car and out of sight of the prison. They had been travelling for about ten minutes when Tony looked at Face.
"You're real quiet, Scottie. Something botherin' ya?"
"Just thinkin'," said Face.
"Bet we know what about too," smirked Kenny. Barry, who was driving grinned too but said nothing. Tony laughed.
"I'd be thinkin' too if I had a broad like that Starlight to get back to."
Face clenched his fists by his side and said nothing. If he spoke, he knew he'd blow the whole plan and he couldn't let Jo-Jo down, or Hannibal. They drove in silence for another fifteen minutes then the car pulled up outside an abandoned theatre. They all got out of the car and Face looked up at the title of the theatre. The sign said Meridian Theatre.
"Why here?" he asked. "Why the Meridian Theatre?"
"Joey thought it'd be appropriate, seeing as how last time Starlight was here, she cheated death. This time, she won't be as lucky, eh?" Tony laughed. "Come on, Joey's inside waiting for you."
Tony led Face into the theatre and into the long disused theatre area. They stepped up onto the stage and Tony shouted out.
"Joey, we did it."
Joey came out from behind the stage. He approached Face.
"Great to see you at last, big bro'er."
Face turned round and faced Joey. Joey looked at him and then pulled his gun out and trained it on Face.
"Okay, wise guy, where's Scott?"
Face just smiled at Joey.
"I am Scott."
Joey glared at him then shouted Tony over.
"What's goin' on, Joey?"
"Just bloody search him."
Tony shrugged and frisked Face. He reached into his jacket pocket and took out a transmitter. He handed it to Joey and Face sighed. Joey smiled with triumph as he dropped the transmitter on the floor and crushed it under the heel of his boot. He looked at Face.
"Okay, I'm gonna ask you one more time," he said, resting the barrel of the gun against Face's forehead. "Where's Scott?"
Face just stared at him. Joey glared at him for a moment then laughed and took the gun away from his forehead.
"Tough guy, hmmm? We'll see how tough you are."
Joey started to turn away from Face then swung round and punched him in the jaw. Tony rushed forward but stopped when Joey held his hand up.
"Joey, what's goin' on? Whatcha hit Scottie for?"
"That is not Scott Riley," said Joey, watching Face pick himself up off the floor. "It's a damn good makeup job but I should know my own brother."
Face smiled and brought his hand up to rub his jaw, which ached with the impact of Joey's fist. Joey started to smile, enjoying Face's discomfort, and then he stopped and grabbed Face's hand. He turned it over then he pulled the ring from Face's finger.
"That belongs to my brother."
He twirled it round before slipping it on his own finger. Then he looked at Face again.
"Who the hell are you?"
"Where's Jo-Jo?" asked Face, speaking for the first time. Joey smiled.
"So you've come for the girl? How do you know she's here?"
"Because I know she is. Let me see she's all right."
"Give me one good reason why I should."
"Fine. Don't tell me. But until I know she's all right, your brother's whereabouts remain a secret. You know I've got him. The ring tells you that much."
"How do I know you're not bluffing?"
"Look, you said yourself that's your brother's ring. If I've got his ring, I must have Scott."
"And you'll tell me where he is if I let you see Jo-Jo."
"Just let me see her and speak to her."
Joey nodded at Barry. He disappeared backstage. He came back a few moments later, dragging Jo-Jo with him. She saw Face and broke free from Barry. She ran over to him.
"Face, you came."
"Jo-Jo, are you okay?" asked Face, looking at her, trying to assess her condition.
"I'm fine, they didn't hurt me."
Face nodded. He turned back to Joey, smiling. As he turned, he shot his fist out and sent Joey reeling backwards. Just at that moment, the back of the stage collapsed as something resembling a battering ram came charging through it. The back doors swung open and Hannibal opened fire on Barry and Kenny. They ducked for cover behind the seats and returned fire. The fire doors burst open and Murdock raced in firing bullets everywhere. Tony ducked behind the curtains and fired back at Murdock. Face grabbed the gun that Joey had dropped when Face hit him. Face took hold of Jo-Jo's arm and pulled her out of the firing line.
"Keep your head down."
Jo-Jo did as she was told and Face fired some shots off at Joey who was heading for the doors. BA leapt out of the driver's seat of the vehicle and cut him off, knocking him to the floor. Hannibal jumped out and easily cornered Barry and Kenny. Murdock got the better of Tony and he manoeuvred him over to where Hannibal was. BA picked Joey up and dragged him over to join them. Face went over to Jo-Jo and she collapsed against him, shaking with relief it was all over. Hannibal grinned at Face.
"You did a good job, kid."
Joey looked up at him groggily and Hannibal stared at him.
"You wanted to be reunited with your brother, I see no reason why we
can't let that part of you plan happen."
He walked over to the vehicle and opened the back door. He dragged Scott out and pushed him over to where Joey was. Scott looked up and got his first proper look at the people who had foiled him.
"Colonel Smith? You again."
"Life's a bitch, isn't it Scottie?" grinned Hannibal.
Joey turned to Scott and handed him his ring back.
"This belongs to you, I think."
Scott looked at him, puzzled.
"I've got mine here."
He held his hand up to show Joey his ring. Joey looked just as puzzled. Face laughed.
"The ring I was wearing is a fake. You thought you'd outwitted me when
you found the transmitter in my pocket. You were meant to find that one. The
diamond in that ring contains a tiny microphone."
"We could hear every word you said," said Hannibal. He turned to Face. "It was smart thinking on your part to tell us the name of the theatre. We might not have found you otherwise."
"But surely you followed the transmitter signal to find me," said Face.
"Erm, well actually," said Hannibal. Face groaned.
"What went wrong this time?"
"Well, the signal from the tracking device went dead so we thought Joey had found it and destroyed it. It was only when you said the theatre name, we knew we were waiting at the wrong place."
Face put his head in his hands and sighed. Jo-Jo put her arm round his shoulder.
"At least they found us in time though."
Face sighed again then grinned.
"Yeah, I suppose they did."
Hannibal walked over to where Scott and Joey were sitting.
"Just think, Joey. You'll be able to spend a lot of time with your brother from now on."
"Just you wait, Smith," said Joey. "I'll get a couple of years maximum for a jailbreak."
"Plus whatever you get for kidnapping Jo-Jo."
"Whatever. As soon as I get out, you're dead. I've got the funds to do
"You mean, your drug operation?" said Hannibal.
"Oh yes. The cops can't pin anything on me for that. It'll be ticking over quite nicely while I'm inside and when I get out, just make sure you watch your back."
"I don't think you'll be out for quite a while," said a voice from
the doorway of the theatre. Everyone turned to see Amy and Lennie stood in the
doorway. Face ran over and grabbed Lennie's collar.
"You. It's your fault we got into this mess in the first place."
Amy pulled Face away.
"Leave him alone. It was a misunderstanding, he never meant to hurt her." Amy quickly explained what Lennie had told her. Face calmed down. Amy handed some papers over to Hannibal. Hannibal read through them and a grin stretched over his face. BA and Murdock tied Joey and Scott together and then tied Barry, Kenny and Tony together. Hannibal placed the papers inside Joey's pocket.
"What's that?" asked Joey.
"It's some lovely documents detailing the entire set-up of your whole illegal drugs circle, dates, names, sums of money etc. I'm sure it will make an interesting read for the local magistrates court."
Joey looked at Amy.
"You were a plant?"
Scott stared at him.
"Of course she was, you stupid kid."
Joey glared at Hannibal again.
"I've still got a backup plan."
"You mean that $300,000 dollars. I know a lovely little day-care centre that could use that money."
BA squeezed her arm, gratefully. Joey sighed, finally defeated. In the distance, the faint sound of sirens could be heard.
"Decker," shouted Murdock from the front of the theatre. They all raced out the back of the theatre and hopped into the van waiting for them.
"I love it when a plan comes together," said Jo-Jo. Hannibal stared at her then everyone began to laugh.
A couple of days later, the team was gathered outside Amy's apartment. BA was making some last minute checks to the van and Murdock was annoying him as usual. Amy was talking to Hannibal who was giving her some instructions on how to contact them over the next few days. Jo-Jo was arguing with Face, on the pavement.
Jo-Jo looked ready to drop to her knees and beg.
"No. It's too dangerous." Face was adamant.
"But it's okay for you to put yourself in danger."
"I'm not voluntarily putting you at risk. This time was bad enough, I'm not going through that again."
"But it's okay for me to go through it every time you go on another one of your daft missions. At least if I'm there, I can look after you all. I'm a trained medic."
"I don't care. I mean, I do care. That's my problem, I care too much."
"Then don't leave me." Jo-Jo wrapped her arms round his waist. "You said last time, if I'd asked you to stay, you would have stayed. So, I'm asking you to stay."
"You know as well as I do, I can't. You were right. If I have a permanent address, Decker will nab me for sure."
"Then I'm coming with you. I'm not going to let you leave me again."
Hannibal walked over and caught the tail end of the conversation.
"You're staying here with Amy and that is final."
"Uncle John, don't."
"Don't what? It's not open for debate, you are staying here. Think positive. At least, you can see us when we get back."
"What, once a month. Hardly the best basis for a relationship, is it?"
"Jo-Jo, look at me."
Jo-Jo looked up at Hannibal and he smiled at her.
"I love you. You're the most precious thing in the world to me and the
last thing I want is to lose you. I can't go through that again, and neither
can you. So if I promise to be careful, not only with my own life, but Face's
too, and Murdock and BA. I won't take any chances, no silly gambles, no jazz."
"No jazz?" smiled Jo-Jo.
"Well, only a little jazz, nothing dangerous. If I promise that, will you promise to stay here?"
Jo-Jo nodded and Hannibal hugged her tight.
"I don't like it either, sweetheart," he said. "But it's for the best."
Jo-Jo nodded. BA started the engine and Murdock jumped in the van. Jo-Jo looked up and smiled at Hannibal.
"See you when you get back then."
"I promise," said Hannibal, getting into the van. Face walked over to Jo-Jo and she threw herself into his arms. He stroked her hair and hugged her tight.
"I'll come back, I promise and we'll just be Jo-Jo and Temp again. We'll go to the movies, eat popcorn and go for walks in the moonlight."
Jo-Jo nodded. Hannibal put his hand on Face's arm.
"Time to move, Lieutenant."
Face nodded and kissed Jo-Jo before getting into the van. Amy smiled at Jo-Jo.
"They'll be back before you know it," she said. "Fancy some chocolate?"
Jo-Jo smiled at her.
"Thanks but I'm going for a walk, clear my head."
"Okay. See you later."
Jo-Jo set off down the road. Meanwhile, in the van, the atmosphere was subdued. Hannibal sat in the front passenger seat, quietly puffing his cigar. Face, sat in the back, rested his head against the side of the van, his eyes closed. BA was quietly driving along and even Murdock was unusually quiet. BA pulled up at the next junction. Suddenly, Murdock threw the back door of the van open and Jo-Jo leapt in and BA set off down the road again.
"What the hell are you doing here?" asked Hannibal as Jo-Jo threw herself at Face. His next words were cut off as Jo-Jo turned to Murdock and the two of them whooped and howled for joy. Hannibal turned to BA and was surprised to see him grinning his head off.
"Why are you so cheerful? Normally you'd be telling Murdock off for making too much noise. Something is going on and CAN WE PLEASE KEEP THE NOISE DOWN IN THIS VAN. I'M GETTING A HEADACHE!"
Murdock and Jo-Jo stopped singing and dancing and looked at Hannibal, trying to wipe the grins off their faces. Hannibal sighed.
"Thank you. Now could someone please tell me what is going on?" He
looked at Face, who looked completely stunned. "You're behind this, aren't
"Nothing to do with me, Colonel, I swear," said Face. "You heard me, I thought it was a bad idea from the beginning."
Hannibal looked at the other three, who were all grinning.
"Hang on. You were all in on this, weren't you?"
They dissolved into laughter. When Jo-Jo caught her breath, she crept over to Hannibal and rested her head in his lap.
"Now, don't start that," said Hannibal, trying not to smile. "You
always pulled this trick when you were a kid. If you were in trouble, you'd put
your head on my knees and look at me with those eyes."
"What eyes?" asked Jo-Jo, innocently, staring at him wide-eyed.
"Those eyes," said Hannibal. "We are dropping you off at the next junction and you can walk home."
"Come on, Uncle John," said Jo-Jo. "Don't tell me you wouldn't benefit from having a medic on board. What about the time BA was shot in the leg and you had to drive all the way to Bad Rock to get help for him?"
Hannibal turned to BA.
"You told her about that? I knew you were in on this."
BA just shrugged, still grinning.
"And what about the time Murdock took that bullet for you? You had to take the bullet out. I'm not saying you did a bad job but I could have done it much sooner and less painfully."
Hannibal glared at Murdock who just stared back at him, a cheerfully vacant look on his face. Hannibal looked back at Jo-Jo.
"And what happens if Face or myself gets injured? Could you handle
having to operate on one of us? Seeing us in so much pain?"
"I'd feel better operating on you than sitting at home waiting for a phone call telling me you're dead. I'd be with you at the end, should that ever happen. I'm coming with you, you can't stop me. I'll find a way. I've got BA and Murdock on my side too."
Hannibal looked at Face.
"Your call, kid."
"Don't lay this one on me, Hannibal. You're always pulling rank on me, now I'm doing it to you. You're the leader of this team and you're her uncle. You choose. I trust you."
"Great time to trust me, kid."
Jo-Jo looked up at him again.
"I never could resist those eyes," muttered Hannibal and then grimaced as the whole van whooped with joy, Face included. Jo-Jo hugged Hannibal tightly.
"Thanks, Uncle John."
Hannibal smiled at her, then watched as she snuggled down next to Face. Face reached over and cuddled her in next to him. Murdock sat next to Hannibal and joined him in watching them. He leaned over and whispered to Hannibal.
"It might be sweetness and light now but wait 'til he finds out I've left his 'Vette in the prison car park."
Watch this space for more of Jo-Jo and her adventures with the team. Coming Soon.
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