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At Your Service

At Your Service

by Reckless

Rated:  PG-13.

Copyright:  2001

Disclaimer:  The A-Team characters belong to Stephen J. Cannell and Universal.

Warning:  Humor. Some language. Some sexual references (all off-screen). A couple of religious jokes. Lawyer jokes.

Comments:  Abuse welcomed. [Special thanks to Merry, Partly and a host of others for their comments]

Summary:  After their pardon, the A-Team faces off against their toughest challenge - greedy trial lawyers.

 
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The members of the A-Team were savoring their freedom. They were now seated in the living room of Face's new beach house in Malibu. Discovering the documents that proved they had been set up, falsely imprisoned, nearly executed and forced to spend fifteen years on the run had resulted in a confidential settlement with the government. A very large confidential settlement. And the team was determined to enjoy it.

"This is the life, isn't it Hannibal?" Face grinned as he strolled across the room in his new Armani suit. "Sun, surf and the most beautiful woman in the city just outside the door."

The colonel sat back on the leather sofa and inhaled on his fine cigar. He could definitely get used to this. The next step was to get a car. Maybe a flashy little convertible like the lieutenant's or even a Lamborghini. Hannibal's eyes lit up at the thought.

"And I want Superman number 1, Amazing Fantasy number 15 . . ." Murdock's voice wafted from across the room.

"Whas the crazy fool goin' on about?" BA asked from his seat by the window.

"Oh, Murdock?" Face answered. "He's making telephone bids on the comic book auction at Christie's." Turning, Face called out to where Murdock was hunched over the catalog with the phone glued to his ear. "Murdock, don't spend it all in one place." Murdock looked up, nodded quickly and continued talking.

Hannibal leaned his head back and looked up at the ceiling. Yes, this was the life. He took another drag on his cigar. Maybe he would look up that doctor.

The ringing of the doorbell startled him out of his thoughts. He started to rise, but Face waived the colonel off. Hannibal could hear Face talking to someone, but paid no attention. Probably another of the lieutenant's expensive surprises. Oh well, for the first time, the team could afford them.

"Guys . . ."

The tone of Face's voice grabbed their attention immediately.

"Umm. . . We've been sued."
 

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"Whatcha mean, fool?" BA nearly lunged out of his chair at the man seated behind the desk in the wood-paneled office. The sergeant hated lawyers, even the ones who were supposedly on the team's side.

"Yeah," Hannibal asked. "How can the Barbarians sue us when they're an outlaw motorcycle gang?"

"Actually, Colonel," replied the nerdy-looking, dark-haired man in the navy blue suit., "you officially are being sued by 'Barbarian Holdings, LLC', a limited liability corporate entity that owns all of the equipment used by that outlaw motorcycle gang. See, even if the gang is outlawed, the corporation is not. Therefore, the corporate entity can sue for the destruction of their property. Their complaint alleges that you, or what they term 'the A-Team, a business entity of unknown corporate form, intentionally, willfully and maliciously . . .'"

"Don't those all really mean the same thing?" Face asked.

"Well, actually, yes, but this is a legal document so we say it in triplicate." At their dumbfounded looks, the lawyer laughed nervously. "That was a joke." When the four glaring men seemed to relax, the lawyer continued, "'. . . maliciously hooked thirteen motorcycles to a crane, lifted them off the ground, damaging six of them beyond repair and causing partial damage to the rest.'"

Hannibal's eyes twinkled as he remembered the sight of the dangling motorcycles. "That was beautiful, a great job, Murdock."

"So, what's the big deal," Face interjected. "The sheriff in Bad Rock will testify that we only did it to stop the Barbarians from destroying the town."

The lawyer shook his head. "Actually, I have a letter from the Bad Rock Chamber of Commerce. They are threatening to bring a lawsuit against you for destruction of public property, to wit, a city-owned building that was once a real estate office."

"That's gratitude for you," Face harrumphed.

"They are asking for damages in the amount of $450,000," the lawyer continued.

"$450,000!!!" BA leaped up. "Tha' building was fallin' apart."

The lawyer shrank back in his chair. "Well, umm, not according to the real estate appraisal they attached to this letter." Plainly nervous, the lawyer rubbed his acquiline nose and adjusted his glasses. "Umm, there is something else I should tell you."

"Go ahead, counselor," Hannibal said. As he spoke, the colonel reached out a hand and grasped BA's arm until, finally, BA sat back in his seat.

Seeing that the danger had passed, the lawyer reached down to where a box sat by his feet. He pulled a stack of letters out of the box and sat them on his desk.

"It, umm, appears that, umm, people have figured out that I am, umm, the A-Team's lawyer. I have here 37 letters from lawyers for various people and business entities that claim you owe them money. It's kind of a courtesy to send a letter before filing a lawsuit. I'm not sure where exactly to start."

"How about the highlights," Face said acidly.

Apparently missing the finer points of sarcasm in Face's comment, the lawyer shuffled a few of the letters. "Oh, here's one. Ted Jarrett, a rancher in Central California. He contends that the A-Team invaded a barbeque he was hosting, stole all the food and extorted a diamond ring and money."

Hannibal grinned. "That was a good one. Do you remember the expression on Jarrett's face when Face appraised the ring?"

"How about when I gave his flunky his seventy-five cents in change?" Face laughed at the memory.

"Hey, man," BA said to the lawyer. "Them things were donations ta the new union."

The lawyer cocked an eyebrow at the sergeant. "Donations? Purely voluntary?"

BA fell back in his chair with his arms crossed. "No," he admitted.

"Precisely. Jarrett is alleging that you committed extortion, racketeering, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress - before you ask, there is a difference - trespass, conversion, tortious interference with prospective business advantage, nuisance-"

"Enough, counselor," Hannibal ordered sharply. "I think we get the picture."

The lawyer nodded nervously and adjusted his glasses again. "There are some other causes of action, but there is one other you should know about. It's in most of the letters and in the Barbarian Complaint. Jarrett alleges that the A-Team engaged in unlawful or unfair business practices."

"What does that mean?" Hannibal asked.

The lawyer shrugged slightly. "It's a little quirk of California law. Umm . . . anything that is unlawful or unfair can be the basis for a claim. That-"

"Wait," Murdock interrupted. "I must have been fading in and out a bit here, but did you say 'unfair'?"

"Yes, Captain," the lawyer answered.

"Life ain't fair," BA huffed.

"That might be, Sergeant Baracus, but that means in California, you can sue for it. It also means that the plaintiff can ask for an injunction preventing you from engaging in those activities in the future and the 'disgorgement' of all profits arising out of those unlawful or unfair activities."

"I can't believe this!" Face jumped up in exasperation and began to pace around the lawyer's office. "You know what this means, Hannibal," he said pointing the colonel. "Goodbye beach house. Hasta la vista to the sports car."

"Calm down, Lieutenant," Hannibal instructed. "Surely we can show a jury that Ted Jarrett is a low-life slime." Turning his attention away from the still-pacing lieutenant back to the lawyer, Hannibal asked, "So who else has sent you Christmas cards?"

The lawyer shook his head. "Let's see. I've got one here from the Beverly Bay Country Club, mainly alleging misrepresentation against Lieutenant Peck and trespass and destruction of property against the rest of you. A group of neighbors from Canoga Park have banded together to sue you for nuisance. A guy named Owens is threatening to sue you in Florida for assault, battery and false imprisonment. Did you really lock him in a steam room?"

The entire team laughed at that one.

"Wait a second," Face said as he continued to pace. "We were working for Stockwell on that job. Doesn't that count for anything?"

The lawyer gave it a thought and then nodded. "Yes. I believe we would have an immunity defense. Very good thinking, Lieutenant." The man adjusted his glasses again and continued to leaf through the letters, pointing out highlights. "That probably would also work as a defense to the formal complaint we received from the government of some island in the Pacific regarding your attempts to pass yourself off as a . . . god?" At the last word, the lawyer voice rose and he looked up inquisitively.

Silence reigned as the rest of the team turned toward Murdock.

"Well, what did you want me to do?" the pilot shot back defensively. "If it weren't for Stockwell's crystal skull, Face, Frankie and I probably would have been skewered and roasted over a spit."

The lawyer shook his head and muttered, apparently believing no one could hear him. "I just don't want to know . . . I really don't want to know." Returning to the main topic of conversation, he perused a few more letters before point out, "I also have a complaint served through the Hague Convention seeking $100,000 for the theft of some dynamite in Zulabwe."

Murdock grinned broadly and immediately assumed an English accent. "That serves those chaps right for not stocking kippers or herringbone tweed."

"Or original pressings of 'Hey Jude.'" Face added with a chuckle. Hannibal and BA looked at the two younger men with skepticism, but Face waved it off. "Trust me, it was a Murdock classic. I even think he still has the riding crop."

"Rightyo, ole chap."

"Well, the government of Zulabwe is not amused, gentlemen," said the lawyer. "They take the unauthorized theft of controlled substances very seriously. I would strongly encourage you to stay away from that part of the world."

"At least until the next coup," Hannibal joked as he lit up a new cigar. "So is that everything, counselor."

"Umm . . . There's one more thing." The lawyer looked nervously at the team. "Actually, it's, umm, really for Lieutenant Peck only."

Face stopped his pacing and studied the lawyer. "That's okay. Whatever you have to say to me, you can say in front of the team."

"Are you sure, Mr. Peck?"

"He say he sure, so go ahead and talk, sucka." BA scowled across the desk.

The lawyer paused and swallowed hard at the sight of the growling sergeant. Regaining his composure, he mumbled a quick "very well" and the reached down to another box at his feet. He emerged from behind the desk with a large stack of papers, nearly twice the size of the previous stack, and placed them on top of the desk.

"These are letters from lawyers representing women who intend to file paternity suits against Templeton Peck."

Face's jaw fell open and the others stared at him in astonishment. Finally, Hannibal broke the silence.

"How many?"

"Umm . . . twenty four," the lawyer replied.

"Tha's nearly two football teams," BA exclaimed.

Face's eyes grew wide and locked on the stack of letters, but he said nothing.

"Facey?" Murdock asked as he stood and waved a hand in front of the lieutenant. "Earth to Facey?"

Seeing his lieutenant in a near-catatonic state, Hannibal reached forward and began to examine the letters. "Rhonda . . . That was the aerobics instructor, right?"

Face nodded, though the vacant look never left his face.

"Lisa Coulton. Why does that name sound familiar?" Hannibal asked.

There was a small pause before Murdock exclaimed. "Coulton Farms. Where you guys went after escaping Martin James. Jeez, Face, the farmer's daughter?"

Face looked down at the floor and shifted uncomfortably from side to side.

"Who's Gail Nimmer?"

Face drew a complete blank, but the lawyer came to his aid. "She claims she was seduced by Lieutenant Peck while he was impersonating a world-famous neurologist."

Seeing the glares of his teammates in his direction, Face backed away toward the door. "She wanted to know about my neurons and ganglions," he explained in his most innocent tone.

Hannibal turned back to the stack of letters. "Another Lisa . . . Wait her last name seems familiar." He never mentioned the last name out loud, but looked up in shock. "The blind girl? The blind girl who owned the messenger service. Aww, Face," he groaned. "How could you?"

When there was no answer, Hannibal continued listing names. "Barbie Knox, Julie Silva, Cindy Thompson, Dicki Gordon . . ."

"Ya mean the girl from the Venice Boy's Center," BA thundered. "The one the Hulkster said was like his sister . . ."

"Now what a minute, BA," Face pleaded. "I behaved like a perfect gentleman."

Murdock slapped his hand to his forehead and mumbled, "You're a dead man, muchacho."

"Guys!" Face exhorted.

"Stephanie Frankel," Hannibal continued. He froze suddenly and asked, "Wasn't that Stevie Faith's real name?"

"Yeah," Face said with a faraway expression. "She really rocked my world."

The colonel just shook his head and looked back at the letters. "Kelly Rogers. Wait a minute. Isn't that 'Uncle Buckle-Up's' daughter?" he accused.

"Oh Facey," Murdock moaned. "Not 'Uncle Buckle-Up's' daughter. Please tell me you didn't have sex with 'Uncle Buckle-Up's' daughter."

"Well it was better than screwing the Truthful Turtle," Face said.

"Oh no . . . I'll never be able to watch that show the same way again," Murdock wailed in anguish.

Hannibal grew serious as he finished leafing through the letters. "Lieutenant, I've known you to be pretty irresponsible at times, but this . . . Didn't you use protection?"

Face grew indignant. "Of course I did."

The other three members of the team and the lawyer all looked at Face incredulously.

"Well . . . umm . . . No method is 100 percent effective . . ." Face finished lamely.

"Faaaace," Hannibal, Murdock and BA all said in unison.

"Guys . . . I can explain . . ."

"Start explainin' fool," BA growled.

"Well, BA . . . umm . . . you know I'm a Catholic . . . And well it's kind of hard to do the rhythm method with one-night stands . . . You . . . umm . . . can't really get a rhythm . . ."

"Oh Face," Hannibal groaned as he slapped his forehead and shook his head.

"Man," BA drawled. "Ya should be the poster boy for castration."

Face cringed, and instinctively dropped his hands in a protective motion.

After a long pause, Hannibal turned back to the lawyer. "So, counselor, what to do we do now?"

The lawyer looked at them carefully. "For starters, I'll deal with the Barbarians' suit. There's nothing we can do about that. As for the rest, all we have are letters. None of the actual lawsuits have been served on you and I can refuse to accept them on your behalf."

"So we're going to have process servers chasing us down?" Face moaned as he began to pace again. "I can just see it. I'll be out with Bambi or Cindy or Laura . . ." He paused wistfully and repeated, "Laura . . . and we'll be having a romantic dinner at Le Chardonnay or Spago when some kid walks up and announces, 'Templeton Peck, you've been served.' Actually, once the news about these suits gets out, there probably won't be anymore Bambi, Cindy or Laura." As he finished the rant, he fell back into his chair and sunk his head into his hands.

At that, Hannibal spoke up. "First off, Lieutenant, you're right about that. There will be no more 'romantic' dinners for you, so you don't have to worry about that part. As for service, we'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen."

The rest of the team looked at their leader as if he had just announced that they should parachute into Los Angeles from Neptune.

"How we gonna do that?" BA snarled.

"We just evade service," Hannibal grinned back. "Come on, guys. We evaded the army for fifteen years. How hard can it be to avoid some high school dropouts on motorcycles?"

"Wait a second, Hannibal," BA said. "Are you sayin' we gotta go back on the run."

Hannibal grinned broadly and the others saw the gleam in his eyes.

"Oh no," Face groaned.

"He's on the jazz. He's on the jazz," BA muttered.

Murdock, visions of the world's greatest comic book collection crumbling to dust before his eyes, just moaned, "I want to cry."
 

finis
 


At Your Service by Reckless

 

 


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