Gerald watched the sun beginning to lighten the darkness of the sky as he stood behind the wheel, navigating the ship through the waves. He had let the models out of the cell below and made them as comfortable as possible. The images of those bodies being carried from the wreckage plagued his thoughts. The wind whistled and he shivered from its eerieness. On his way back to the ship in the cab he had made a promise to himself that he was going to hang up his cap as soon as he docked in America. Too many bad memories had taken the joy out of his love of the sea and he needed to make a new life for himself. But then a sudden urgency came over him, he felt something drawing him back to the island. He couldn’t explain it, but he gave into it and immediately turned the wheel hard and headed back for Salacia. Many years at sea had trained him to rely on his gut feelings, to trust his instincts.
“BA? BA? Are you OK,” Hannibal said as he crawled over to the sergeant who was beginning to come around.
“Yeah, man, I think so, where is that crazy fool and the girls?”
“I don’t know BA, last thing I remember is you shouting ‘there’s a bomb’ and after that I’m blank,” Hannibal replied as he sat up and rubbed the back of his neck and head with his hands.
“What time is it, man?”
“It’s 0600 BA. We’ve been out for nearly nine hours. That must have been some blast,” Hannibal commented as he looked around through the trees. “Alright, let’s search the woods. We have to find Murdock and the girls,” Hannibal instructed.
BA and Hannibal searched the woods and found Robin laying next to a tree. “Is she OK, man?”
Hannibal checked Robin for a pulse and there wasn’t any. He looked up to BA. “No, BA, she’s gone,” he said sadly.
BA inhaled and stood up trying to contain his emotions. It was hard to accept the death of someone so young, even someone you didn’t know. “We can’t leave her here, Hannibal. We gotta tell her kin.”
“BA we are going to have to make and anonymous tip to the police and then call Amanda back in the States. I’m sure they can see to it that the arrangements are made to bring her body home,” Hannibal said and placed a comforting hand on BA’s shoulder. He then took off his jacket and placed it over her body.
BA looked one more time at Robin as he and Hannibal headed for the Villa. Upon arriving there they saw the police and fire trucks surrounding the area. “What are we going to do, man?” BA said as he looked at Hannibal for suggestions.
“Don’t worry, BA. They’re not looking for us. Let’s go back in the woods and see if we can find Murdock and the gir..” Hannibal was cut off mid-sentence when he noticed a police officer pick up a charred baseball cap that was laying near a body bag. Hannibal looked at BA, both of them shocked by the sight.
“Papa, BonOeia,” Alexis cried out as she coughed and choked. “BonOeia, BonOeia! Papa.”
Murdock opened his eyes upon hearing the frightened voice. He got up slowly and half crawled, half dragged himself over to the injured little girl. Tears stained her face and her arms and legs were covered with burns. Murdock went to her and put his hand on her curls and gently brushed them. He had to fight the tears that threatened to spill over onto his face as he looked at the little girl laying there helpless. He frantically searched the woods with his eyes for signs of the others.
“Hannibal, BA, Robin! Someone answer me please!” he shouted, but no one responded. He shouted again and again; still all was silent. Realizing that his first priority was getting Alexis to the hospital he wearily stood up. The blackness began swirling around, an intense pain shot through his head. He fought desperately not to drop her as he began placing one foot in front of the other trying to get to the main road.
He walked about a mile no cars in sight. Alexis began to come around again and she was whimpering in pain every time Murdock took another step forward. He stopped and knelt down. Alexis let out a cry of pain and Murdock felt his heart go out in sympathy for her.
“Hey, baby….open your eyes and look at me, come on now. Let me see those beautiful brown eyes of yours,” he gently prodded as he stroked her curls. Alexis’ eyes fluttered for a moment and then opened. She looked so lost, so frightened. “Ah, there they are…. Why, they’re as pretty as your mama’s.”
“Yiyia’s eyes,” Alexis whispered.
Murdock looked at her and smiled, “Ah, so you have your grandmother’s eyes,” he said making Alexis smile that he had understood her.
Murdock stood up and began to walk with her, but Alexis started crying again in pain at each movement. He wanted so desperately to stop right there and not take another step, anything to ease her suffering, but he knew that he had to get her to the hospital. “Alexis, you have to listen to me sweetheart. I was sent by your Mommy to help you and in order for me to do that I have to get you to the doctor. Now, I know it hurts when we move, but there is no other way to get you there. So, what I need you to do is be a big girl and try not to think about the pain. Do you think you can do that for me?”
Alexis nodded her head slightly and Murdock was happy that she could understand him. He didn’t know too many Greek words. “Alexis, can you do something else for me? I am feeling a little sad and I need something to cheer me up….do you think you could sing a song for me?”
Alexis nodded her head again closed her eyes and began singing very softly a Greek lullaby. Murdock smiled. He was hoping that having her sing would take her mind off the pain that she was feeling. The song was so sweet, so innocent that it brought tears to his eyes. The sound of her angelic little voice bravely fighting to stay on key even though every step he took sent pain through her body, tugged at his heart. The courage of children never ceased to amaze him. He just hoped he could find the same courage as the pain in his head was becoming nearly unbearable.
“Over there, Sir!” The young crewman pointed to the figure floating lifeless in the water.
Expertly, the pilot maneuvered the giant helicopter into position and lowered the sailor down on a cable. The sailor turned the man over and checked him for signs of life. Not finding a pulse he immediately fastened the harness to him and motioned for the chopper to bring them up. Once inside the chopper they began CPR. After a few minutes, they managed to revive the young man. The pilot notified the nearest hospital on Salacia that they had a near drowning victim en route. “Sir, the patient is stable. It looks as though he has been stabbed,” the crewman informed the pilot over the headset.
“Very good, sailor. Keep him comfortable and keep him covered-up,” the pilot instructed.
One of the other sailors in the chopper looked at Face, studying him for a few minutes. A big smile came over his face. “Hey, Joey, you know who this is?” he said pointing to Face.
“You mean besides the man we just rescued from the sea?” Joey replied teasingly.
“Smart-ass!” Bobby joked, playfully nudging his friend, “It’s Templeton Peck!”
“Peck? Peck? You mean of the A-team?”
“Yup the one and only….I saw his picture in the LA Courier when I was on leave last month.”
“Well, now,” Joey said with a smile. “We captured ourselves one of the A-team….better inform the commander. Sir, Bobb–I mean, Seaman Walters, has informed us that our patient is Templeton Peck.”
“The A-team’s Templeton Peck?” the pilot asked in disbelief.
“Are you positive?”
“Yes, sir, Seaman Walters is positive,” Joey replied smiling at Bobby. “Very good. I will inform base command that we have one of the A-team in our custody and notify them that they should send a team from HQ to guard the prisoner once he is secured in the hospital. Good work!”
“Alexis, baby, you have to hang in there,” Murdock said desperately as the little girl suddenly went limp. He stumbled through the emergency room doors with Alexis still in his arms. She had slipped into unconsciousness as her injuries were causing her to go into shock. “Help her, please,” Murdock shouted to the nearest nurse who was standing behind the desk. Immediately the nurse summoned the orderly to bring a gurney and Murdock placed Alexis gently down on the clean sheet. “What happened?” the nurse demanded.
“She was injured in the explosion at the Villa,” Murdock said trying to remember exactly what had happened.
“And you, sir….are you hurt as well?” the nurse asked as she placed a hand on Murdock’s arm.
“Well, I think I took a bump on the ol’ noggin,” Murdock replied and then passed out on the floor. The nurse summoned for another gurney and Murdock was placed on it and wheeled into the nearest examining room. Just then, an announcement came over the intercom into the emergency room. “A US Naval helicopter is landing on the helipad. They have a near drowning victim with what appears to be a stab wound to his right side. Dispatch a pick-up team out to the helicopter STAT! Have emergency personnel standing by. Patient was resuscitated and seemed to be stable. The crew of the Seahawk has informed us that the patient is a military fugitive. The US Naval base on Greece has been notified and will be sending a team of SPs to guard the prisoner.”
The head nurse just looked at the other staff members and shook her head. “Listen everyone! George, notify Dr. Pappas that we have a near-drowning case arriving with possible stab wound. Nicholas, have Dr. Syracuse informed that we have a burn victim in room 4 and notify Dr. Dimitry that we have a possible concussion in Room 6. The rest of you we need to have the rewarming procedures readied, in case the drowning victim is also suffering hypothermia. OK, people let’s move!” Instantly the emergency room burst into a flurry of activity as everyone hurried to carry out their assignments.
“Hannibal we have to check and see if it’s Murdock,” BA said desperately.
“BA, listen to me. We can’t walk into the middle of all those uniforms, Salacian or not, they are still the police and getting ourselves captured isn’t the way to go. Let’s get down to the docks, and see if Simpson arrived during the night with Face and the girls. Once we have Face safe then we can find out more about Murdock. I’m sure he is OK, BA.”
*At least I hope he is,* Hannibal thought to himself.
“You’re right, Colonel,” BA replied, silently praying to himself that Murdock was alive.
The bright white lights glared intensely at the young man lying in the hospital bed. Monitors hooked up to check his pulse, respiration, temperature, and blood pressure whirred and beeped insistently. Warmed saline solution was being fed intravenously and warming packs had been placed in his neck, armpit and groin area to try and bring up his body temperature.
“Do you think he will make a full recovery, Dr. Pappas?” the nurse asked as she checked the IV lines.
“Well, only time will tell. His body should respond well to the medications and the rewarming procedures. I am worried, though, that once his body reaches normal temperature that he will start bleeding internally from that wound on his side. I am also concerned about the length of time his brain was deprived of oxygen. He might not regain consciousness at all,” Dr. Pappas replied solemnly.
The nurse stared at Face for a moment. *So, handsome and so young, it’s not fair,* she thought to herself as she straightened his pillows behind him.
“We have to keep careful watch on that stab wound and alert me at the first signs of any internal bleeding,” the doctor instructed and left the room, leaving the nurse to attend to her patient.
Hannibal and BA were finally reaching the docks, having been slowed down by the military presence on the Island.
“Hey, Hannibal. What’s with the uniforms?”
“I don’t know BA, but I don’t like it. We have to get to Simpson and see what is going on. Let’s move!”
Gerald was coming off the ship when he was rushed by BA. He grabbed the captain and dragged him to where Hannibal was waiting.
“What’s happening, who are you?” Gerald stuttered for a moment and then recognizing Hannibal he nearly fainted.
“You’re the A-team!” he exclaimed. “But you’re dead!”
“Not the last time I looked, pal….now, where is my lieutenant? You’d better start talking or I’ll have BA turn you into something even your mother wouldn’t recognize.” Hannibal grabbed Gerald by the shirt, bringing him within inches of his own face. BA pounded his fist into the palm of his other hand and let out a threatening scowl.
“I’m afraid your man is dead, sir,” Gerald replied and quickly shifted his gaze to the ground.
Hannibal dropped the man and went to his knees.
“Liar!” BA shouted and immediately charged at the defenseless man. Hannibal got to his feet and grabbed BA just before his fist connected with Simpson’s jaw. “OK, Captain….start talking and don’t leave anything out!” he hissed.
The cries of pain filled the unit as the nurses attended to Alexis’ burns. Her frightened eyes shot opened as she called out for her mother. We have to move her up to the burn unit.
“Yes, ma’am,” the young orderly replied as he helped place Alexis on the stretcher and wheeled her up to the third floor.
Back in examining room six, Murdock was coming around an heard Alexis’ cries.
“Let me go Doc. I have to get to her,” Murdock protested but was stopped by a hand to his shoulder.
“You are hurt and there is nothing you can do for her right now. She needs medical attention.”
“But she is so little, Doc and I know she is scared,” Murdock commented as he looked pleadingly at the doctor.
“Are you a relative?”
“No, sir, but I’m all she’s got right now,” Murdock stated, hoping that the doctor would not press him for more information that, at this point, he was not prepared to give.
“She will be alright, and as soon as she is resting comfortably, I will allow you to go up and see her.” The doctor smiled. “But only for a few minutes. You need your rest as well. That was a pretty serious blow you took to the head,” Dr. Dimitry said as he held up the X-ray to the light.
“Thanks, Doc,” Murdock said and laid back down on the examining table.
As Murdock laid on the examining table, everything started rushing to his brain. When he woke up a few hours ago all he could think of was getting Alexis to the hospital. Now that she was safe his thoughts wandered to Hannibal, BA and the girls. *I got to get myself out of this place and find them* he thought, but the pain in his head was not going to let up. He also didn’t want to leave Alexis alone in case Aleksandros was still lurking about.
Back at the docks, Gerald was explaining to Hannibal that Face had been stabbed and thrown overboard. BA and Hannibal looked at each other, neither one of them able to utter a single word. *When did I lose control of this whole mission?* Hannibal asked himself as he let Gerald go and fell back against a tree.
“I’m sorry Colonel. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I was scared of what Aleksandros would do.”
“No!” Hannibal raged as he grabbed the Captain one more time. “Scared is normal, scared I have felt and seen many times. You are a coward, it is two different things. Don’t confuse the two, Captain!” Hannibal seethed as he looked into Gerald’s eyes; blue meeting blue.
Gerald averted his gaze and Hannibal let him go. “What are we going to do now, Hannibal?” BA asked trying to gain some sense of control. “I don’t know BA,” Hannibal conceded.
“Sir, if I may suggest something?” Gerald asked fearful of Hannibal’s reaction to the sound of his voice. The look in Hannibal’s eyes answered the Captain’s question. Gerald remained quiet.
“Well, BA, if we survived the blast. Murdock may have as well. I say we go to the hospital and see if any survivors have been brought in.”
“And you Captain, will be joining us!” Hannibal ordered and indicated for Gerald to start walking. “We will deal with the arrangements for Face after we get a handle on this whole situation.
Colonel Decker sat at his desk. He was furious over the recent escape of the team and the inability of his men to gain a lead as to where the team had gone. A search of the van had proven to be in vain as all they had found was a few photo copies of shipping routes. He had ordered his men to find out exactly where these routes were going to and to report to him. The stake out of the modeling agency proved itself to be fruitless as well. The team had not shown up there, nor did anyone who had any clue as to what was really going on. A knock on the door interrupted Decker from his thoughts.
“Sir, this report has just come over the wire,” Captain Crane said as he handed Decker a piece of paper.
Decker looked up and smiled at his second in command. “Well, Captain it looks like we are on our way to Salacia. If they have Peck, the rest of the team can’t be far away. Ready, the squad Captain!” he ordered and saluted his eager junior officer.
“Yes, Sir,” Crane returned the salute. “We have them this time sir.” He smiled.
Decker returned his smile, but underneath was not all that confident. *We’ve had them before* he thought.
Rebecca sat on the edge of the bed, while Amanda watched TV. Hannibal had moved Rebecca and Amanda to a hotel outside of the city. He figured they would be safe there until the team returned home from Salacia. Rebecca was thinking about Alexis, her heart sank as a feeling of dread came over her. She felt as though something terrible had happened to her, maybe it was just the fear that Aleksandros had forced into her. She was praying that Hannibal and the team could find Alexis and bring her home to her safe and sound. She prayed for the safety of the models as well. She knew first hand how scared they all must be feeling.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Amanda and Rebecca stared at each other not knowing what to do.
“Get down!” Hannibal ordered as they approached the hospital. BA, Hannibal and Gerald quickly ducked behind a Chevy Blazer as two SPs came out from the exit to smoke a cigarette.
“Hey, man what are we going to do?” BA asked.
“We have to find out why the military is all over this place BA,” Hannibal said and looked at the nervous sergeant. “We need to find someplace to regroup and think this through.”
“Sir, there is a small hotel just outside the town, maybe we should go there and rest. You two look very tired and very hungry,” Gerald suggested.
Hannibal glanced at BA who seemed eager to heed Gerald’s suggestion. Hannibal knew that they needed to rest and eat something before they figured out what to do next. *Finding out about Murdock, if he was even still alive, was not going to be easy with all this increased security* Hannibal thought to himself. “OK, Captain, we will take your suggestion, but don’t try anything!” Hannibal warned. The three men waited for the sailors to go back inside before they jumped in a taxi and headed off for the hotel.
Rebecca motioned for Amanda to peek out the window to see if she could figure out who was knocking on the door. Just as Amanda moved the curtain the door was kicked in and four men with guns quickly surrounded the girls. A dark haired man walked in behind the gunmen and smiled wickedly at Rebecca. “Nice to see you my dear,” he said and reached out to touch her face.
“Stefan, where is Aleksandros? Where is Alexis?” Rebecca stammered out as she struggled to avoid his touch.
“Aleksandros’ whereabouts are none of your concern and as for your precious baby girl, well, I’m afraid she is with the Angels,” Stefan replied in mock sadness.
“NO!!!” Rebecca cried out and began to struggle with her captors. The man knocked her unconscious with the butt of his 9mm.
“Bring them!” Stefan ordered and the men quickly dragged the girls from the hotel room and loaded them into the awaiting limousine.
Upon reaching the hotel, Hannibal, BA and Gerald grabbed some take-out from the restaurant and went into the room to rest and regroup. Hannibal was pacing back and forth in the room when suddenly he began to feel very dizzy and collapsed onto the floor.
“Help me get him to the bed!” BA ordered and immediately Gerald helped carry the colonel to the awaiting mattress. “Get a cold rag!”
Gerald went into the bathroom and ran a washcloth under the faucet. He ran out and handed the dripping rag to BA. BA wiped Hannibal’s face and that seemed to bring him around. Hannibal tried to sit up but was stopped by a firm hand to his shoulder. “Take it easy, Hannibal. You fainted man!”
“Let me up, BA, we have to figure out what is going on,” Hannibal protested but to no avail.
“BA is right Colonel you have to rest. Your body has been through a lot in the last day or so,” Gerald added and was met with a angry stare.
“OK,” Hannibal said still glaring at the Captain. “I’ll rest for a little while, but then we need to come up with a plan to find Murdock. You need to rest too, BA , that’s an order!”
“Right.” BA smiled as he watched the Colonel drift off into sleep.
“I’ll take first watch sergeant and I’ll wake you if anything happens,” Gerald commented.
BA looked at him suspiciously for a moment and then realizing that this man was all they had. “I’ll trust you for now sucka. I ain’t got no other choice, but don’t you go makin’ me sorry I did. Understand?” BA growled.
“Y-y-es,” Gerald stammered out.
BA gave Gerald one last scowl and headed off to rest for awhile.
A few hours had passed and the doctor informed Murdock that he could now go up and see Alexis. Quietly, he crept into her room and went over to her bed. He looked down at the sleeping child a tear ran down his face. Her body was swollen and distorted because of the burns and her arms and legs were wrapped in bandages. An intravenous line pumped fluids and pain medication into her veins and monitors set up to track her pulse rate and blood pressure whirred and beeped. Murdock pulled the chair over to the side of her bed, sat down and reached out to brush her curls. He began singing softly to her the lullaby that she had bravely sung to him earlier. His mind wandered back to the Villa and he wondered why Hannibal, BA and the girls had not been near him when he and Alexis had awoken. His mind also raced to thoughts of Face. Had the Blue Horizon docked during the night and if so was Face alright. It killed him not to know these things. He desperately wanted to leave the hospital and find out the information, but he had promised Alexis he would be here and for now that is where he was going to stay.
In room 216 Face laid on his bed still unconscious. The nurse gently wiped Face’s brow with a damp cloth. His body had reached normal temperature and so far there weren’t any signs of internal bleeding. However, he still was not responding to any external stimuli. His pupils were dilated. “It is too soon to tell,” Dr. Pappas said as he shined a light into Face’s eyes.
“His condition is critical isn’t it, doctor?” the nurse asked.
“Yes, the next twelve hours should give us a good indication of his chances for recovery. Keep me informed at the first sign of change,” Dr. Pappas ordered and left the room.
Captain Simpson sat back in the chair and watched the two men sleeping. He wondered what they were going to do to him once this mission was over. After all, he was responsible for the death of one of their men and the possible death of another, he knew that Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith was not going to let that go unpunished. Simpson grimaced at the thought, but then quickly put that in the back of his mind. He wanted to prove to Hannibal that there was still a soldier underneath the cowardice; he wanted to prove it to himself. The noises of the Island carried on the tropical breezes that flowed through the room. Gerald found it hard to stay awake as the music from a nearby street band threatened to lull him into unconsciousness. He knew that he needed to stay alert and protect the sleeping soldiers it was his duty and he wasn’t going to shirk his responsibility; not this time.
Dusk had settled over the Island. Hannibal had woken up and relieved Gerald from his post. Gerald stretched out on the bed, but was too nervous and uptight to sleep. He heard Hannibal muttering to himself and he caught him looking up to the heavens *asking God for strength maybe* he thought as he closed his eyes.
“Turn on the television, BA, maybe we can figure out why the military is here,” Hannibal instructed.
BA began flipping through the channels until he came across a news bulletin.
“Police and fire crews have ascertained that the explosion at the Stavoros estate was a result of a bomb placed in the library of the Villa. Police investigators have declined to comment on whether or not they suspect arson. The identities of the bodies found in the wreckage have not been released to the press.”
Hannibal and BA cringed upon hearing this news.
“We have unconfirmed reports that Alexis Stavoros, the eight year old daughter of Aleksandros and Rebecca Stavoros, is being treated at Salacia General for injuries sustained in the blast. We also have reports that the little girl was brought into the hospital by a man. His identity is still unknown.”
“That could be Murdock man!” BA exclaimed as he jumped up from his seat.
“Calm down, BA! We don’t know anything yet!” Hannibal commanded and listened eagerly to the newscast.
“In other news, a man who has been identified as Templeton “Faceman” Peck of the A-team, was brought in this morning by the crew of the USN Seahawk. Mr. Peck was found floating off the coast of Salacia and was rescued by the crewmen. He is believed to be in critical but stable condition. The A-team as you know is a fugitive group of soldiers on the run from the United States Government. The US Naval base on Greece has been notified and has sent a squad of SPs to guard the prisoner. Military presence on the Island has been upgraded and a search for the other team members is underway.”
“If the Navy found Face….”
“Then that means Decker is on his way,” Hannibal finished BA’s sentence.
Gerald had awoken in time to hear the ending reports. He came and stood by Hannibal. “Your man is alive,” he said happily as he placed an arm of congratulations on the colonel’s shoulder.
“No thanks to you,” Hannibal retorted and knocked Gerald’s hand away.
Gerald stepped back as Hannibal and BA brushed passed him and went over to the phone. Hannibal picked it up and asked the operator to connect him with Salacia General.
Aleksandros sat in the living room of his cottage listening to the reports on the news. “Damn!” he shouted and immediately one of his guards came running.
“What’s the matter, sir?” the guard asked nervously.
“Alexis is still alive.”
“But sir that is impossible the bomb we planted was powerful enough to take out a city block,” the guard added.
“Well obviously it was not enough. Damnit, and I was so looking forward to seeing Rebecca’s reaction when we were asked to identify Alexis’ remains at the morgue,” Aleksandros replied in an almost demonic tone. “But, sir, don’t you think that this will work to your advantage?” Aleksandros didn’t say anything but gave the guard a nod to continue his thoughts. “When Rebecca arrives you can have the pleasure of killing Alexis in front of her.”
Alek smiled evilly at the guard and then dismissed him with instructions to have the limousine brought to the front of the house.
Hannibal managed to ascertain that the man who brought in Alexis to the hospital fit the description of Murdock. He didn’t ask about Face, he didn’t want to tip off the police or the military as to their whereabouts.
“Colonel neither the police or the military are looking for me, perhaps I could get a message to your man for you?” Gerald asked hoping that this would prove to Hannibal that he was willing to help. Hannibal looked at BA, who gave him a worried glance, but just shrugged his shoulders.
“Colonel I know that you do not trust me and you have every right not to. However, I was once a soldier like yourself. I lost that part of myself the day I lost this,” Gerald said as he held up his artificial limb to BA and Hannibal. “Please, I know this can never be found, but I can find my honor again.”
“Why should I want to help you?” Hannibal snapped. “I won’t feel sorry for you because you lost your arm. Plenty of boys lost arms and legs or worse in that place. Suffering was long and plentiful there, everyone got more then their fair share. It is no excuse for what you did!” Gerald looked at Hannibal for a moment he could see the rage in his eyes.
“You are responsible for innocent girls being sold into slavery. You caused the death of at least four of those girls, directly or indirectly, it doesn’t matter. A little girl is lying in a hospital bed suffering in pain and my lieutenant may be in some sort of irreversible coma, for all I know. And *you* are worried about restoring your honor? You have a lot more to worry about then that pal! You have to worry if BA can keep me from killing you before this day is over,” Hannibal raged in a tone filled with hatred and anger. A tone that BA had never heard before.
Gerald backed away from Hannibal and went to sit in a chair in the corner. He was stunned by Hannibal’s words. They had cut through him like a knife. Especially, since he knew that Hannibal was right. Aleksandros may have been behind this whole operation, but standing by and letting him do it was worse and Gerald knew that.
Back at the hospital, Murdock was settling into his bed when a bouquet of flowers arrived for him.
“Who sent these?” Murdock asked suspiciously, knowing that no one knew he was there.
“They are from Alexis’ father. He wanted to thank you for saving his daughter’s life,” the nurse replied. “I’ll get some water for you to put these in.”
Murdock reached quickly for the note that was attached to the flowers. “No!” he shouted and quickly jumped out of bed, nearly knocking the nurse over and headed down the hall to the elevator.
Vietnamese Phrases You will Need for this part: CACA DAU: “I’ll kill you.”
DU MI AMI: the F-word with maternal overtones.
DUNG LAI: “STOP!” or “HALT!”
Hannibal, having no other choice, agreed to let Gerald go to the hospital to make contact with Murdock. He knew that they had to get Murdock out of there and find out about Face’s condition. Decker would probably be there in a few hours and he would want to transfer Face to the base hospital on Greece. Hannibal knew that there was nothing he could do to stop that and he knew that Face needed medical care. He assumed from the news reports that Face was probably not in any condition to be rescued right now. Hannibal hated feeling helpless and that is exactly how he felt. He didn’t like for his team to be separated from him and that was exactly the case. Hannibal hoped that Gerald could get word to Murdock and find out something about Face. He also had a sinking suspicion that he had not heard the last of Aleksandros and this worried him most of all.
Gerald went up to the information desk. “Excuse me, ma’am, but could you tell me what room HM Murdock is in?”
“Are you a relative?” the nurse queried.
“Oh, yes ma’am, he is my nephew. My sister is away on vacation. I contacted her and she should be here soon. She asked me to come over right away and check on the boy. Is he OK?” Gerald answered her, trying to think up a believable story.
“Well, Mr. Murdock is in room 118, but I’m afraid visiting hours are over, sir.”
“But I have to see him. I don’t want not to have any news for my sister when she calls. Please, ma’am I won’t stay long. I’ll just peek in on him and let him know that his family is here for him,” Gerald pleaded.
“Alright, but only for a few minutes and don’t get him excited!” the nurse ordered.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Gerald replied and went off to see Murdock.. Upon arriving at his room Gerald saw the bouquet on the floor and quickly picked up the card. He read the note: “Thank you for saving my daughter’s life. I just hope that Rebecca appreciates your kindness as well when she arrives.”
Gerald picked up the bouquet and headed out into the hallway. “Excuse me, sir,” he said to an orderly who was wheeling a patient to x-ray. “I have this delivery for Alexis Stavoros, can you tell me what floor she is on?”
“Oh, you mean the little girl that was hurt in that bomb blast. She is in the burn unit on the third floor.”
“Thank you.” Gerald headed for the nearest elevator.
Murdock went into Alexis’ room and found that she was missing. “That bastard! How could he do this to her?!” Murdock cried.
A nurse heard Murdock’s cries and came running to see what was the matter.
“Where is Alexis?” Murdock demanded.
“She is with her Father,” the nurse replied casually.
“How could you let him take her out of the hospital? She is a sick little girl!” Murdock fumed.
“Her father insisted that she be transferred to his private medical facility.”
“Couldn’t the doctor’s stop him?” Murdock almost pleaded.
“Mr. Stavoros is a powerful man. He usually gets what he wants,” the nurse stated.
“Not this time!” Murdock shouted vehemently and hurried past the nurse.
Murdock rushed towards the exit and bumped into Gerald who was getting out of the elevator.
“Murdock? It’s you, but I never knew,” Gerald said surprised upon recognizing Murdock.
“Brian….is that you? What are you doing here?”
“Yes, Murdock, it’s me. I have come with a message from a friend, but my real name is Gerald. I haven’t went by Brian since my days spent at the VA,” Gerald stated.
“A friend? Gerald? You son of a bitch!” Murdock raged. “It’s you, you’re the one who works for Aleksandros….where has he taken Alexis? Tell me!” Murdock yelled and held Gerald up against the wall.
“Murdock, please you have to calm down,” Gerald suggested as the nurse on duty was now staring at them. “I did work for Aleksandros, but I am not here on a mission for him. I bring a message from a friend, a true friend. Please, let me explain,” Gerald begged.
“Alright,” Murdock said and slowly released his grip. “But not here, we have to get out of this hospital. Let’s go to my room and I’ll get changed.”
“Stefan, tell me what you said isn’t true, please!” Rebecca pleaded as she looked at the stoic man sitting next to her on the plane.
“Tell me what you said about Alexis being dead is not true. Please, Stefan, tell me you were lying to me, please!” she begged.
“Oh, darling girl, I do have wondrous news for you. Alexis has been found alive.”
“Thank the Lord in heaven.” Rebecca let out a sigh of relief, but then a sudden look of panic overcame her. “Oh, Stefan, tell me is she alright?” she asked hoping that Alexis was not harmed.
“She is badly burned,” Stefan stated coldly.
“Oh no, please, no. She is so little….Stefan, please I have to be with her, she needs me.”
“You will be with her soon enough and I am sure Aleksandros has *special* plans for the two of you,” Stefan smiled evilly at Rebecca sending a cold chill down her spine.
“Hannibal, do you think Simpson has found that crazy fool yet?” BA asked.
“I don’t know BA. I don’t like this whole situation. Too many factors are playing against us this time,” Hannibal said with a tinge of defeat in his voice.
BA looked at the Colonel and put a hand on his shoulder. “We’ve been in tough spots before man. You’ll think of a way to get us out. You always do, Hannibal.”
“I hope so Sergeant. I hope so!” Hannibal smiled weakly.
“See to it that Alexis is comfortable,” Aleksandros ordered. “And see to it that she stays alive long enough for her mother to arrive.” “But, sir, she is hurt badly. The doctor is worried that her condition may worsen,” the guard replied.
“Well, you tell Dr. Cassidine that if Alexis dies before her mother gets here to see it that he will join them in the afterlife. Now, leave me I have work to do!” Alek ordered and the guard hurried off to relay Aleksandros’ message to the doctor.
Murdock pushed Gerald back into the elevator. “Hold the door!” the young SP yelled as he ran towards them. “Thank you, sir,” he said out of breath as he squeezed into the elevator with Murdock and Gerald. Murdock quickly grabbed the bouquet of flowers that Gerald had in his hand and covered his face with it. He knew that the military would probably not recognize the “unknown” member of the team, but he wasn’t taking any chances.
Gerald smiled at the boy and attempted to make small talk with him, hoping to illicit some information regarding Face. “So, rumor has it that the military has captured one of the A-team? I heard it on the news report on my way over here in the car.” He gripped Murdock’s arm to keep him from losing it upon hearing the news.
“I am afraid I can’t comment on that, sir,” the SP replied sharply. “Oh, come on son, from one Navy man to another, let me in on a little of the gossip. It’s been a long time since this old seadog has seen any action,” Gerald commented and grinned at the boy.
The SP glanced down at Gerald’s artificial limb and then looked him in the eyes. He looked over to Murdock who was casually sniffing some petunias.
“Oh, don’t worry about him. He is an old friend of mine. He won’t say anything,” Gerald assured the young man.
“Well….ok, just between you and me….the navy captured itself no one other then Lieutenant Templeton Peck,” the young man said excitedly. “Really? And how is he doing? I heard something about him being in a coma or something?”
“Not sure, but the looks on the Doctor’s face makes me think not too well.”
“Well, guess it’s not too much of a shame. I mean he is a criminal, after all,” Gerald said and nudged the young man on the arm. “So, I guess it’s back to the stockade for him, if he makes it, that is.” “Yeah, well a Colonel from the States is on his way here to take command of the search for the rest of the team. Whoever finds these guys is in for a big promotion.”
Just then, the elevator came to a stop on Murdock’s floor. “Well, this is my stop.” Gerald said and got off the elevator dragging Murdock with him. “Good luck, son, and I hope you find them,” he called back to the SP.
“Thank you, sir,” the SP said as the doors closed.
“Be quiet, Murdock. I’ll tell you all about it when we get back to your room,” Gerald gave a warning to the pilot who looked like he was ready to explode.
The nurse went over to Face and checked his IV line. “Poor thing,” she said to him and squeezed his hand gently. Face returned her gesture and gave her hand a little squeeze. For a moment the nurse was not sure that he had squeezed her hand so she did it again and Face in turn returned her grip. “So, you are in there, Mr. Peck?” She smiled and went out to get the doctor.
“Alright, start talking Brian, Gerald, whatever you call yourself these days. Why is Face in the hospital and who is this friend you have a message from?” Murdock asked angrily as the two men stood in the hospital room. Murdock went to the closet and found his clothes. “Well, Murdock, I bring a message from Hannibal. He and BA are OK and they sent me here to see if I could find you and find out about Face. Face was injured aboard my ship and thrown overboard. The navy rescued him, but I am afraid that he is not doing too well.”
Murdock’s mouth dropped open and he desperately wanted all the details, but time was of an essence. However, he allowed himself to feel for a moment though as the waves of sadness and relief filled his body simultaneously. BA and Hannibal had survived the explosion, but Face was in trouble; and so was Alexis. Then his anger took hold of him again. “How could you do all this, Brian? How could you work for men like that. I thought you were one of the good guys,” he added. Gerald averted his eyes from Murdock and went to stare out the window. After a few minutes, he finally spoke.
“I don’t know, Murdock. I’m not proud of what I have done. I always thought of myself as one of the good guys Murdock….one of the good guys caught up in something that was beyond my control. But I realize now it seems as though I have been fooling myself for a long while. I am a weak pathetic coward who could have stood up to them and not the honorable man I was once. I have become one of them, I am no better then Aleksandros or Stefan. ” Murdock stood there for a moment pondering Gerald’s words. There was a genuine sadness to them and tone of despair.
Murdock could hear the pain in Gerald’s voice and it reminded him of a time long ago. “Well, Howdy. What brings you to this place?” Murdock asked as he looked at the newly admitted patient to the VA, sitting in the wheelchair cradling an arm that wasn’t there.
The man looked up to him with an expressionless gaze, but Murdock could see that there was a soul lurking beneath the cold blue eyes. “Hey man, look, I can give you the grand tour of the place if you want. I’ve been here for a couple of years myself. So, I think I know it pretty well and the only fee for my services is you telling me your name,” Murdock said with a grin.
The man sat in the chair and then whispered. “Brian….it’s Brian.” Gerald had used a false name since his injury. Why, he didn’t know, but he just knew he was no longer Gerald.
“Well, nice to meet you, Brian, the name’s HM but don’t ask me what it stands for ’cause I ain’t tellin'” Murdock teased. “Now, how’s about that tour?”
Gerald looked up to him and smiled.
“HM, HM, are you OK?” Gerald asked as he wheeled himself into Murdock’s room. Two months had passed since that first meeting and the two men had developed an affection for each other. Murdock had been there when Gerald was fitted for his first prosthesis and had egged him on when he wanted to give up and quit using it. Now, here Murdock was sitting in his bed drenched in sweat and shaking uncontrollably. “Hey pal, it’s me Brian,” Gerald said as he reached out and placed and arm on the pilot’s leg. ” Come on pal, you were just having one of your flashbacks again, but you are safe. No one will hurt you….not as long as I am here.” Murdock looked at him, but gave no indication that he was understanding him. Suddenly, Murdock knocked Gerald out of his wheelchair and then went to hide in the corner of the room.
Gerald hoped that the night nurse would not come in for a while to check on Murdock, for if she found him like this, they would put him in restraints and Gerald knew how much Murdock hated that. “Can’t stand to be tied up, Brian….that’s what they used to do to us. I remember one time, they tied me up and left me hanging there half-naked for days on that rack as punishment for sharing my rations with this guy they were trying to extract information from. They hadn’t fed him for four days and he was slowly dying. I sneaked him some bread and water. Damn guard, caught me and I always tried to be so careful…we all did when we helped each other. They tied me up and forced the other prisoners to watch as they placed those damn burning bamboo shoots on my body. The VC liked to hear us prisoners cry out in pain. I think they got off on it, those sick, twisted, bastards, but I showed them….I never let them hear me cry….never.” Murdock would recount those days spent in the prison camp with such detail that Gerald wondered if he was reading it from a script, but he knew it was because the horrors were etched in Murdock’s brain forever.
Gerald crawled over to Murdock who was in the corner still shivering with fear. “Come on bud, talk to me….I am hear to listen.”
“CACA DAU! CACA DAU!” Murdock shouted and lunged at Gerald. ” CACA DAU! DU MI AMI!”
“DUNG LAI, HM! DUNG LAI,” Gerald shouted back as Murdock jumped on top of him and tried to strangle the life out of him. “HM, please….I’m your friend,” Gerald gasped out as he struggled to push Murdock off of him. “Please….stop.”
Suddenly, the rage left Murdock’s eyes and he fell back onto the floor. He dragged himself back to the corner, curled up in a little ball and began to weep uncontrollably. Gerald crawled over to Murdock scooped him up in his arms and there they sat for the next two hours while Murdock cried away just a few ounces of the pain that he kept locked inside him.
The sound of Gerald’s tears filled the hospital room and shook Murdock from his reverie, he went over to him and placed and arm on his shoulder. “Listen, old friend, I know that there is a good guy still in there. I’ll help you find him again,” he said and smiled at the Captain. “Now, we have to get to Hannibal and BA. Aleksandros has Alexis and he is going to hurt her.”
“Yes, HM…let’s go.”
“Alright, Crane, I want this entire area sealed tight. No one so much as breathes without my say so. Understood?”
“The A-team is on this Island and we will find them. I want Smith! This time we will not fail,” Decker stated and glared at his junior officer.
“We’ll get them this time, sir.” Crane saluted.
Doctor Pappas shined the light into Face’s eyes. “Well, his pupils are responding. I would say that there is a good chance of recovery. Monitor him closely and alert me to any changes in his condition immediately.”
“Yes, sir,” the nurse replied and smiled at her charge laying there in the bed.
Murdock and Gerald slipped quietly out of the hospital unnoticed and walked down to the main road hoping to catch a ride to the hotel and avoid Decker. They had to warn Hannibal and BA that Decker was on the Island. They also needed to come up with a plan to rescue Alexis, Rebecca and Face.
“You need a ride?” the man asked as he pulled the beat up brown sedan over to Gerald and Murdock.
Murdock looked at Gerald apprehensively but the hotel was a good five miles from the hospital and even though Murdock was up and walking he still was feeling the affects of the concussion.
“Yes, sir….we would appreciate it,” Gerald replied and nudged Murdock into the car.
“So where ya headed?”
“If you could take us to the Trade Winds restaurant. We are suppose to meet some friends there and our car broke down a few miles back,” Gerald explained not wanting to give the driver the name of the hotel. Gerald knew that the restaurant was only about a half a mile from the hotel. They could get dropped off there and walk the rest of the way.
“Sure, I would be happy to,” the driver replied and started off in the direction of the restaurant.
Decker arrived at the hospital and immediately ordered security beefed up. He was not happy to hear that the doctor was refusing to have Face transferred to the military hospital.
“Colonel, this man has suffered serious brain trauma not to mention hypothermia and blood loss. I refuse to have him moved until I am better able to ascertain his condition,” Dr. Pappas said sternly. “Listen, Doctor, Peck here will be transferred to the base hospital on Greece,” Decker commanded.
“By whose authority?” Dr. Pappas inquired peering over the rim of his glasses.
“Mine,” Decker snarled. “This man is a dangerous military fugitive. I can not risk him escaping from here.”
“Believe me, sir…this man poses no danger to anyone and he is in no condition to escape,” Dr. Pappas replied finding it hard not to laugh at Decker’s concerns.
“Oh, believe me, Doctor…you have no idea who you are dealing with,” Decker commented seriously.
“I am dealing with a very sick patient and his well-being is my only concern. So, I’m sorry, Colonel, but as long as Mr. Peck is in this hospital….I am the only one who gets to make the decisions regarding his care . He will remain here until I am confident that he can be moved without any risks to his health. End of discussion.” Dr. Pappas glared at Decker for a moment daring him to challenge him. “Now, if you please, I have other patients to attend to. Oh and see to it that your men do not disturb my staff or the other patients….this is a hospital after all.”
Decker stood there stunned for a moment then the rage entered his voice “I will get my way on this Doctor.”
Dr. Pappas smirked and left Decker standing there in the hallway.
“So, you two sound like Americans?” the driver commented to Gerald and Murdock.
“Umm….yeah, old Navy man….retired….found my way to this Island some ten years ago and haven’t left. This is my nephew from the States….just showing him the splendors of Greece,” Gerald replied.
“Oh..” the driver commented as he continued to head for the restaurant.
Stefan hurried Rebecca and Amanda off the plane and ushered them into the awaiting limousine, not stopping to hear any of Rebecca’s protests.
A little while later, Gerald looked out the window of the car and noticed that the driver was heading into unfamiliar territory. “Umm….excuse me, sir….where are we going?”
“Oh, don’t worry, I know a short cut,” the driver said and continued to head off into the trees.
Gerald looked at Murdock nervously.
“Sir, if you please just pull the car over and let us out we can walk the rest of the way,” Gerald said and grabbed Murdock’s arm indicating their urgent need to get out of the car.
The driver immediately stopped the car, Murdock and Gerald jumped out and were instantly surrounded by armed guards dressed in black from head to toe. The head guard went over to the driver, removed a his ski cap and placed a hand on the driver’s shoulder. “Thank you George….you will be rewarded for your help in this matter.”
“Just don’t hurt my family, please,” George said nervously and quickly pulled the car away giving an apologetic look to Murdock and Gerald. The guard raised his hand in the air and motioned for the group to move ahead.
“Where are you taking us?” Murdock demanded as a hooded man ushered him forward with the barrel of his rifle.
“There is someone who is dying to thank you for all that you have done, Mr. Murdock,” the lead guard smiled wickedly at Murdock and placed his ski cap back over his face.
“I don’t like this at all BA. Gerald has been gone too long,” Hannibal said as he turned to Face the sergeant who was sitting uncomfortably on the edge of the recliner nervously fidgeting with his gun.
“Yeah, man. We have to find out what happened to them.”
Hannibal quickly gathered what little supplies they had and the two remaining team members headed for the hospital.
After about a two mile walk into the darkened woods, the group came across a cottage nestled amongst the trees. Murdock looked at the cabin for a moment and reveled in its quaintness. He often wished he had a place just like this. A place where he could get away from the anguished cries of the tormented souls that inhabited the mental institution he now called home. He envisioned the sound of his children, freshly wet from an encounter with the garden hose, romping through the house. Closely followed by a mud covered golden retriever bounding endlessly after them properly gracing the floor with paw prints.
He could hear the melodious voice of his soulmate scolding the little rascals to get outside and dry off. Her face twisted into a pretend look of dissatisfaction as she tried desperately not to laugh along with them. He imagined her face, soft and beautiful, a few laugh lines gracing the once perfect complexion. Her hair tinged with a few strands of gray that she emphatically denied the existence of. Her figure long and slender but with a hint of left over baby fat filling out her hips. Murdock hadn’t met this woman yet but he knew he would some day and he would love her forever. Murdock was shaken from his reverie by a harsh jab to his ribs. “Move!” the guard ordered and Murdock reluctantly moved forward.
The door to the study opened and Murdock and Gerald were pushed in. Aleksandros sat in a black leather chair behind a solid oak desk. He was turned backwards to them, his face twisted into an evil smile as he heard the door open.
“Where’s Alexis?” Murdock demanded knowing who they had been brought before.
“Please, Mr. Murdock, sit and have a drink. There will be plenty of time for you to be reunited with my precious daughter,” Aleksandros said not turning to face them.
The sound of “precious daughter” coming from the evil creature that sat before him made Murdock want to vomit. “Don’t say that!” Murdock hissed.
“Say what?” Alek asked innocently, turning his chair around from the window.
“Daughter….you self-serving bastard. You don’t deserve the privilege to acknowledge her as your own flesh and blood,” Murdock lunged for Aleksandros but was immediately halted by a swift punch to his stomach from one of Alek’s henchmen.
“You’re quite right, Mr. Murdock.”
“What?” Murdock asked through clenched teeth as he tried to recover from the blow.
“You’re right….I shouldn’t acknowledge Alexis as my flesh and blood. Seeing as she is not.”
Murdock’s face twisted into a look of confusion as Alek turned his chair back to the window and motioned for the guards to put them in the basement.
Meanwhile, Hannibal and BA had arrived at the hospital and had a close encounter with Captain Crane.
“Great, Decker’s here….now what, Hannibal?” BA asked as they squatted down behind a nearby ambulance trying to remain undetected.
Hannibal gave out a exasperated sigh and brushed his hair with his hands. “I don’t know BA.”