THE A-TEAM RIDES AGAIN

By Lisa Davis

Dedications To my husband Richard, for all of his help and patience and for providing technical aspects to this book, I thank him immensely. He has supported me in all my efforts to get this published, even though it has been a futile battle. Thanks for everything. To my sister Valarie, who was my editor, thank you for reading through this book and helping me get it ready for publication and for just enjoying it for what it is. To my children, Keri, Kendra, Kelson and Kaden, whom I don‟t think really understood why I wrote this, but who still put up with me while I was busy typing away, thank you. To my mother for loving me unconditionally, thank you for your support in this effort.

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PROLOGE The A-Team was a Special Forces unit that fought in the Viet Nam War. The team consisted of Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, Lieutenant Templeton “Faceman” Peck, Sergeant B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus, and Captain H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock. Murdock was the team‟s pilot during the war. Very near the end of the war, they were sent on a mission to rob the Bank of Hanoi. This mission was a set-up by their commanding officer, who was killed the same night. They were brought to trial the first time for the robbery, but escaped and went underground in Los Angeles, California. All except Murdock, who was found insane and placed in a Veteran‟s Hospital, also in the L.A. area. He was broken out on several occasions in order to assist the team. While hiding out from the military, the team took on jobs as soldiers of fortune. They hired out to help people with whatever trouble they were in. Later, they were once again put on trial, but this time for not only the robbery, but for the murder of their commanding officer. They were found guilty, sentenced to death by firing squad, and supposedly shot. However with some help from Murdock and others, they managed to once again escape. After this escape, they worked for a secret government agency and finally earned their pardons. For another six years they continued helping the little guy with problems. Then retired and went their separate ways. This is where we find them today.

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The A-Team Rides Again

Chapter 1- The A-Team HANNIBAL It is the start of a fairly warm day here in Los Angeles, California. The sun is shining and you can already tell it is going to get hot later on in the afternoon. John “Hannibal” Smith gets up and plans his day. First, he will go to the coffee shop on the corner by the bank and get breakfast. He will spend the morning relaxing as he reads the latest copy of Variety. Next, he will stop by the bank and deposit his check and take out some cash. He only has a small check to put in the bank this morning, but it helps pay the bills now that he is retired, that and the money he and the team made helping people all those years ago. The team is the A-Team. They picked up money by getting rid of scumbags and slime balls that were extorting money from the little guy, or just plain taking things from people to further their own interests. The team charged a fee dependent on what the people could pay, or they took their fee from the bad guy‟s money. Sometimes they made out well and other times, not so much, but they still got the job done and put a lot of crooks behind bars. They also have a percentage in several different businesses that they helped out along the way. In this way Hannibal and the others are able to live fairly well and do what they want to do in life. His apartment is small, but nice, very nice. He lives in Hollywood because this is where he feels like living. Hannibal has retired and is just enjoying himself, like today, taking it easy and hoping something will come along to make his day interesting. He picks up his Mercedes keys, but decides to walk instead. He tries to keep somewhat in shape for his age, and walking is about all he feels like doing this morning. Besides helping his heart, he likes to walk because he reminisces as he goes. He stops and picks up the Variety magazine from in front of his door and heads out. His good friend and former lieutenant, Templeton Peck, is still making the news once in a while as a producer, and Hannibal likes to keep up with his career. Faceman, or Face, as he is affectionately known, has the gift of talking anyone out of their money, or anything else for that matter. He is a real con artist, but in show business it‟s called producing, and Face is pretty good at it. Today Hannibal is thinking about the last time the team got together. It was on his birthday. The weather had been perfect that day, also. They had made plans to go to Catalina and it turned out to be one of his best birthdays ever. There was the choice of the water plane, or the boat, but knowing B.A.‟s aversion to flying, they all knew they would be taking the boat to Catalina Island. They had a good time

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walking around Avalon, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner, where each of them gave him some really funny gifts. B.A. gave him a tool kit so he could do some “simple” repairs around his apartment. Murdock gave him a baseball cap with A.M. (Aquamaniac) on it, and Face gave him a larger than life, yet fake, Oscar. They laughed and talked and ate, B.A. more than the others, and then took the last boat back home. They really need to figure out a way to get together more often. He sees each of them separately, but the four of them get together so infrequently. He is going to have to do something about that. He‟ll just order them to meet with him. Nah, he can‟t do that anymore, but he could try! Well that is one of the few perks he has as a retired leader. Back to the present, he is thinking about his check and how much he should keep out for dinner tonight. He prefers to pay cash for things, as he has never gotten used to using plastic for payment. He tried for a time, but he didn‟t like keeping track of all those receipts. This way, when he runs out of money, he knows he has to go to the bank. A much better system as far as he is concerned. Short lived as his acting career was, it is surprising he has any checks to bank on at all from his movie days. He had enjoyed playing monsters in the movies. Like the Aquamaniac, but those type of movies are not being made anymore. Nowadays they use computer graphics for their monsters. His type of actor is gone for good. However, his main career had been a colonel in the United States Army. He had been known for his unusual methods, and quick thinking plans that seemed as if they would never work, but always did. “I haven‟t seen Face in a while, I need to call him and see if he wants to meet me for lunch. Maybe I can still get a bit part in one of his movies,” he thinks out loud. “Or maybe he can join Murdock and me for dinner tonight. I‟ll give him a call later. He‟s never up this early.” He steps out onto the sidewalk and immediately lights up a cigar. He does all his best thinking with a cigar in his mouth. That reminds him, he is running low. He‟ll have to walk down two more blocks past the bank to get to the store where he buys his cigars. Oh well, this last batch has lasted him quite a while, so he can‟t complain. He has his walk timed just right. He can smoke one cigar on his way to the café, so he will be finished before he gets there. With all the new smoking laws, he can‟t smoke inside anymore, and he hates putting them out and then having to relight them after he comes out. So like everything else in Hannibal‟s life, he has perfect timing. Hannibal covers the distance to the café in twenty minutes. He picks out a nice table outside and sits down. Today he decides on eggs, scrambled, with sour dough toast, coffee and some melon. He opens the paper and starts scanning the news. Things sure have changed in Hollywood. He sees where

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Face is mentioned as being one of the people at a premiere last night, just his name in small print, nothing more. Oh well, it‟s better than nothing. He does need to call him and tell him he saw it, so Face can gloat a bit. That‟s okay, he deserves it. With all the people in show business today, you are lucky to get even this much press. Come to think of it, I hardly ever got mentioned by name in the press. Oh well, most of the time I was on the run from Lynch, or Decker, so it was probably a good thing. He remembers his two nemeses with fondness. They could never catch the team, and keep them, so now he can enjoy the memory of the chase. The sun is starting to beat down on his table, so he decides to go on down to the bank, and then to the cigar store, before it gets too intense. As he walks into the bank, a feeling comes over him that something isn‟t right. He can‟t put his finger on it yet, but he “feels” something is different this morning. He steps over to the counter to make out his deposit slip. As he is filling it out, he is looking around, taking in everything. There are three people in line already. A man in his forties wearing a suit and tie is at the teller window. A beautiful young woman about twenty-five and a dark man, maybe thirty, dressed in khaki pants and a black shirt are waiting for the teller. The guy in the khakis seems a little high strung, so Hannibal decides to keep an eye on him. All his military training has caused him to be sensitive to his surroundings and something about this man is making the hair stand up on the back of his neck. When the woman moves to the teller window, the guy pulls a gun, grabs the woman, and yells for everyone to get down. “Get all the money and put it in this bag,” he yells at the teller. She tries to move as fast as she can, but she is fumbling with the opening on the bag. Hannibal can see the guy is getting anxious, so he says, “Hey pal, why don‟t you calm down and she‟ll do what you ask. Just relax and give her a chance.” The thief turns his black eyes to Hannibal‟s blue ones and stares hard at him, daring him to speak again. The teller fumbles with the bag and drops it on the counter, so the man turns back to her, menacing her with the gun. As Hannibal makes his move at the gun, the woman hostage screams and flings her arm out. It hits the gunman‟s arm, just enough to throw Hannibal‟s move off. Hannibal manages to push the woman down, out of the line of fire, but it puts him right in harm‟s way. The man pulls the trigger just as Hannibal gets between him and the woman. With a deafening bang, the bullet finds its target, Hannibal‟s heart. He has disrupted the robbery attempt, and the thief flees out the door, but Hannibal Smith has died instantly. He will never know that his death scene has been captured on tape, just like he would have liked it to be.

Detective Richard Johnson of the Wilshire Police Department gets a call that sends him to the Bank of America on Wilshire Blvd. This will be the tenth bank robbery in the last four weeks. He has

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been assigned as the lead on this case, and right now he wishes they would have given it to someone else. He just can‟t catch a break in these robberies. However, this is the first one with a shooting attached to it. As he walks in the door, he immediately smells the acrid smoke that hangs in the air from the firing of a weapon. The Medical Examiner beat him here and is already at work. Several officers in uniform are in groups taking statements from the witnesses. “Well, let‟s see what we‟ve got.” He walks over to Simmons. “Hey Simmons, what went down here?” “Morning Detective. It looks like we‟ve got the same m.o., except for the shooting. That‟s new.” “What happened to change it.” “It seems this guy Smith, tried to stop the robbery. Here‟s his wallet. The rest of his things have already been bagged.” “Okay. I suppose it got caught on video and you already have those?” “Right. I think we are about finished here. The two witnesses have given statements, but you can meet them if you like. They are Miss Valarie Elliott, bank teller, and Miss Sara Wilson, customer. She is the person the perpetrator grabbed to use as a hostage.” “Are the two ladies willing to come downtown if necessary, to identify this guy when we catch him?” “Yes, both agreed. Miss Elliott because she liked the deceased. Said he was a very nice gentleman, who always spoke with her when he came in, and Miss Wilson, because she owes him her life. “It seems like he jumped in and pushed her out of the way before the guy fired, so she feels extremely lucky to be alive. She really wants to put the guy away.” “Good! I like cooperative witnesses who are willing to step up. Now all we have to do is find him. Thanks, Simmons. I‟ll get back to you if I need anything else.” Det. Johnson walks over to where the M.E. is just finishing up and speaks with him a few minutes. It looks like there isn‟t much to it, a direct shot, point blank to the heart. He died instantly. He opens the wallet and finds a few bills, no credit cards, and a list of names with phone numbers. “Well, I guess I need to call and see if I can get in touch with a relative. None of these names are Smith, so I‟ll just start with the first one and work my way down. Let‟s see, how do you pronounce that, Ba ra cus? I hope so. I hate to say peoples‟ names wrong when I make these types of calls.”

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B.A. B.A. gets up at 6:00a.m. every morning. He has been doing it for so many years his body can‟t seem to adjust to any other time. B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus was a sergeant in the army during the Viet Nam war, and the muscle man of the A-Team. He still tries to keep in shape, so right now he is walking across his lot to his garage/gym to get in a thirty minute workout. He only has time for a quick workout today because he has a couple of young guys coming over to his gym on Firestone Blvd. to start training. They are two pretty good prospects and he always likes helping guys get started on the right path. B.A. also has a small daycare center that he keeps his hand in. He likes to go down there and see the kids. He has always had a soft spot in his heart for kids. A few years back he turned the day to day running of the business over to a very good manager, who has taken it further than B.A. could have ever imagined. It seems as if there are more and more kids who need something to keep them busy and out of trouble. B.A. didn‟t have that luxury as a child, so he wanted to help kids to keep them out of gangs and drugs. B.A.‟s life is very diverse. Beside the daycare, he also has the gym, and he still works on cars. Not as much as he used to, but he likes getting his hands dirty, and working on cars is very relaxing for him. He always looks after the team‟s cars. They all trust him and he keeps them in great running order. However, when it comes to planes, Murdock is on his own. After his workout, he takes a quick shower and heads out the door. He will stop at the little taco shop on the corner and grab a couple of breakfast burritos and some milk on his way. He hits the gym about 7:10a.m., where he decides to get the broom and sweep up a little bit before the guys arrive. They come in right at 8:00a.m., and he has the place looking great by then, great by his standards anyway. The morning is moving along quickly when his cell phone rings. He doesn‟t want to answer it and break the rhythm, but when he sees “Wilshire P D” pop up, he decides he better. “Yeah!” “Mr. Baracus? This is Detective Johnson of the Wilshire Police Dept.” “Yeah, what do you want?” “Uh, Mr. Baracus, your name was on a list in Mr. John Smith‟s wallet. We are trying to reach any relatives he might have. Do you have any idea who they are and how we can get in touch with them?” “Look Jack, Hannibal don‟t have any relatives, not livin‟ anyway. He has friends, who will handle anythin‟ that needs ta be done!” “Who? I said John Smith.”
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“Well, I call him Hannibal, and so do his other friends. Now, what‟s all this about? Is he in some kind of trouble, or somethin‟?” “I guess you could say that Mr. Baracus … he‟s dead.” *“What! What did you say?” “I‟m sorry Mr. Baracus, but Mr. Smith died this morning during a failed bank robbery.” “No way Jack, Hannibal wouldn‟t be robbin‟ no bank! You must be crazy!” “No Mr. Baracus, he wasn‟t robbing the bank, he was trying to prevent a robbery and he was shot by the assailant in the process.” “I can‟t believe it, Hannibal is dead! … I gotta go. I gotta talk ta some other people, or did you call the people on his list?” “No, your name was at the top, so I called you first. If you could come by the station house and identify the body for us, I would appreciate it, and I need something stating that you can have his effects, like a power of attorney, or something. Then I can turn his things over to you. Of course there will be an autopsy, because of the circumstances. You understand, right?” “Sure, I gotta go. I‟ll come down later.” B.A. hangs up the phone and just stands there, staring at it. “Hannibal dead, I can‟t believe it!” He repeats that several times and then turns to walk over to his small office for privacy to make the call he dreads making, but they have to know, and he has to tell them, Face, anyway. He doesn‟t want to call Murdock. He is so sensitive and B.A. isn‟t sure he can hold it together upon hearing this news, much less that fool.

FACE

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The phone rings out in the curtain darkened room. It is such a blaring tone. Templeton “Faceman” Peck is trying to pull himself out of the depths of a too shortened sleep cycle. He had been at the premiere for a new show until at least two a.m., and didn‟t get to bed until much later. Maybe it‟s Deborah, she seemed kind of promising, but he can‟t imagine anyone from that party up already this morning. Ring! “Where is that phone! Uh, who is calling at this hour, uh.” By the third ring, he has managed to find the phone and pick it up. “Hello?” “Faceman, its B.A., aren‟t you up yet?” “B.A.? What time is it?” “Man its 9:05.” “In the morning?! Why are you calling me this early?” “Hey Face, I got some bad news. Hannibal was just shot and killed tryn' ta stop a bank robbery about an hour ago.” “What? What did you say?” He is wide awake now, all grogginess from the night gone. “I said, Hannibal was shot and killed this mornin‟!” “I, I don‟t believe it! Wha, what happened?” “I don‟t know all the details. The police found my name in his wallet and they called me. They was lookin‟ for his relatives, but I told them he just has us.” “Oh, man, I can‟t believe it!” “Me neither, but I guess it‟s true.” “I always thought Hannibal was … indestructible, you know? I guess I was wrong.” “Yeah, me too. I still can‟t believe it, Hannibal dead!” “Have you called Murdock?” “No, I was kinda hopin‟ you would. I don‟t know how ta tell the crazy man cause he‟s gonna take it bad, and I don‟t wanna be the one he falls apart with. Ya know?”

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“Yeah, I hear ya. Ok I‟ll call him. Then I guess we should get together and decide what‟s going to happen next. I can‟t think right now. Give me a little time and I‟ll get myself together. I still can‟t wrap my head around this.” “Yeah.” “I‟ll call you later, when Murdock gets into town.” “I‟m gonna see if I can find out anythin‟ else. Talk ta you soon.” “Okay, bye.” “Man oh man, I just don‟t believe it”, Faceman says to no one at all. He heads for the shower. He needs to be in better shape before he calls Murdock. This is going to be tough. He pauses before getting into the shower. He is remembering last night. Face was at this big premiere for a new hit movie. Of course anyone who is anyone was there. He likes to go to these things for several reasons; to meet actors, to talk about new scripts, to see what the next big “thing” is in Hollywood, and of course there are the women. He was talking with a director who wants to do a new kind of monster movie. You take an actor and hook him up to all these sensors and then use the computer to mimic his actions. It isn‟t real new, but he wants to make it more like the old monster movies, but not look so stilted. Face listened intently, because he was thinking that maybe Hannibal would be good for this kind of part. He could put all of his monster angst together, yet it wouldn‟t be that hard on him. “I think I‟ll give him a call,” Face said quietly to himself. He pulled out his phone, but when he saw the time, 1:05 am, he decided he better wait until morning. Coming back to the present, he is feeling very low. “I should have called him. Now I,ll never get the chance. Why didn‟t I go ahead and call? I guess this will be one of the biggest regrets of my life.” Face‟s agony is almost too much to bear. He takes a very hot shower to try to clear the cobwebs, then dries off and gets dressed. “Why am I doing this? Oh yeah I‟m stalling. I really don‟t want to be the one to tell Murdock, but it‟s got to be done.” Face has always been the second in command. Murdock outranked him, but Face was the next in line whenever Hannibal was indisposed, or just not around for whatever reason. He didn‟t always like
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this job, and right now he would rather be anywhere but here making this call. In fact, right now he would rather be in Monte Carlo, or on the French Riviera with a beautiful woman on each arm. He has always been known as a ladies man, and right now, that sounds better, a whole lot better than this. Oh well, putting it off won‟t change the fact that he has to do it, and Murdock deserves to know. He picks up the phone and hits the speed dial number to connect him with Murdock‟s home phone. If he doesn‟t get him there, he‟ll try his cell. He realizes he is holding his breath. Then someone answers.

MURDOCK

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Murdock has been up for about three hours now. He and his wife Kelly, own a small ranch outside Upland. Kelly is a veterinarian, who Murdock met after being kidnapped by some bounty hunters. She helped him escape and he and Kelly stayed in touch off and on, until 1993 when they finally got married. This was after the team had earned pardons and had finally quit being the guardians of justice for the little guys who needed them. Murdock, who had lived in a Veteran‟s Hospital for over fifteen years, had finally gotten out, under rather questionable circumstances. Whether he ever was actually released, or just walked away, no one really knows, but him, and he‟s not telling. H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock was the A-Team‟s pilot in Viet Nam. He could fly anything with wings, as he so often stated, and he was great at crash landings. Today Murdock has a small cargo service. He owns and operates “The Flying Vets Cargo Service” out of an airfield not five miles from his home. He has told Kelly many times he could just land on their road and save having to drive back and forth the five miles, but she says it scares the animals. Besides being a veterinarian, Kelly has quite a menagerie going at their home. They have three horses, two pigs (with more on the way), two llamas, three goats, four dogs, and too many cats to count. Of course, the oldest mutt they have is named Billy. Billy had been brought into her office, a tiny puppy that had been abandoned and half starved. She nursed him back to health and gave him to Murdock for their fifth wedding anniversary. He is definitely Murdock‟s dog. He follows him all around the place, and has even gone up in the plane with him. Billy would sleep with him too, but Kelly put her foot down. After seventeen years of marriage, the only regret they have is that they can‟t have children. So the animals are their kids and his and Kelly‟s love keeps them going. Murdock is just finishing up the daily feeding, watering, and cleaning of pens, when he hears the phone ringing. Kelly calls him from the house. ”H.M., phone.” “Hey, tell whoever it is to call me on my cell, I‟ve got to head out to the field for that run to Barstow. I‟ll talk while I drive.” He has already told Kelly, good-bye for the morning and he is running a little late, so he is climbing into his pick-up when the phone in his pocket rings. “Hey, Faceman, how‟s it shakin‟? I didn‟t know it was you on the house phone.” He saw Face‟s picture come up on his cell phone, so knew who was calling him, that and the song that Murdock has as his ringtone for Face. He‟s glad Face doesn‟t hear the phone when he calls, because he has a non-flattering tune for his ringtone.

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“You sure are cheery for this time of day.” “What do you mean this time of day? I‟ve been up for hours.” “Yeah, well B.A. woke me up this morning with some bad news and I‟m trying to get up enough courage to tell you, but I‟m having a hard time.” “What? What? Just spit it out!” “Hannibal was shot and killed during a failed bank robbery this morning in L.A.” Silence! “Murdock, did you hear what I said? Hannibal‟s dead!” “Yeah, I heard you. I was trying to let it sink in. I had this funny feeling this morning. Now I know why. … How‟d B.A. find out?” “The police called him. Apparently his number was first on the list in Hannibal‟s wallet.” “I was supposed to meet Hannibal for dinner tonight. I just talked with him yesterday afternoon. I can‟t believe this.” “Yeah, me neither.” “I mean, what happened, what was he doing?” “I don‟t know. B.A. was going to try to talk with someone and get more information. Can you and Kelly come down? You can stay at my place. We need to make some decisions, you know?” “Sure, I can be there this afternoon. I don‟t know about Kelly. She‟s training this new vet to take over for her when she retires. I‟ll talk to her and see what she thinks. Silence I still can‟t believe it.” “I know. I‟ll pick you up at the airport. You still park the plane at that little airport in La Verne, right?” “Yeah.” “I didn‟t have any plans for the day anyway, so I can meet you there. About what time?” “I guess about two. I‟ve got a run to make to Barstow, and then I‟ll head that way.”

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“Okay. See you then.” Face hears a sharp intake of breath. “You okay?” He asks his friend, knowing that none of them are “okay” right now, but he gives him a chance to talk it out if he needs to. “Ah, yeah, I‟ll be alright. See you soon.” Murdock closes his phone and sits staring out the window, tears running down his face. He needs to do something, but he just can‟t move right now. That‟s where Kelly finds him fifteen minutes later. She holds him as he tells her what has happened and they both cry.

Chapter 2 – B.A. Gets Mad

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B.A. heads for the police station that made the call three hours ago. He remembers the detective saying his name was Detective Johnson, but after he said “Mr. Smith died this morning,” the rest is a blur. He still can‟t get his mind around the fact that Hannibal is gone. It has been a few months since he has seen the Colonel, but they always get together for fight nights. B.A.‟s small gym, where he trains young boxers, is losing clientele due to the MMA scene, but B.A. still has some who come for boxing techniques. They don‟t want to be boxers though. They want to do it all, Muay Thai, Jui Jitsu, grappling, all those things that B.A. isn‟t as skilled in, but he and the Colonel still like watching a good boxing match. In fact Hannibal owned a percentage of a fighter that B.A. had helped get started, so he would sometimes come by and watch the guys train. He and B.A. had a good time going over the new talent and their prospects of becoming good boxers. He parks his blue Chevy Camaro in the lot, and walks into the police station. The station is busy. B.A. stands by the counter for several minutes with no one looking his way. That in itself is unusual, because B.A. stands out in a crowd. Mohawk, beard, red tank top with shortened overalls, red high socks and combat boots. He has lost some of his bulk, but he is still imposing, some might say scary. What‟s goin‟ on here, can‟t they see me, he thinks. Then he speaks, or more like bellows, “Hey, can‟t nobody see me here?” A petite officer steps forward tentatively and says, “Yes sir. Can I help you?” “Yeah. I need some information and I need it now! Where‟s Detective Johnson? I need ta see him.” “Detective Johnson is very busy right now because of a shooting at the bank this morning. Can you make an appointment?” “NO! I need ta see him NOW!” “Well sir, I don‟t think he can see you now. I‟m really sorry.” Her voice is getting quieter as she speaks, but she doesn‟t back down. Just then, Detective Johnson walks out to the counter, this after hearing one side of the conversation from his office. “Let me take over, Ashley. Can I help you sir?” “If you‟re Johnson, you can. I‟m B.A. Baracus and I came ta find out what happened ta John Smith this mornin‟. You gonna talk ta me sucker, or do I need ta go over your head ta somebody else.” “No, Mr. Baracus, I would be happy to speak with you. Come on back to my office.”
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B.A. follows close on his heels, ignoring all the attention he is getting now, compared to earlier when he came in. “Would you sit down? Let me get my report. I just finished it a few minutes ago.” B.A. sits down uncomfortably in the chair across from Johnson. He is glaring at the man, who opens up his laptop to bring up the report. “Would you like me to read the report, or make you a copy to take with you?” “Well, I wanna hear what happened, but my friends will probably like a copy, since they aren‟t here right now.” “Very well, I‟ll read what I have here.” He scans past the beginning parts of the report that have to do with the case number and police involved. Mr. Baracus doesn‟t need this information. He gets to the meat of the report and starts to read. “At eight ten this morning, an assailant walked into the Bank of America on Wilshire Blvd. He was observed on camera to have gotten in line to see the teller. He placed himself behind a young woman, identified as Sara Wilson, age 25, of Beverly Hills. At eight eleven, he pulled out, what was later to be determined, a nine millimeter, grabbed Miss Wilson, and placed the gun in her back. He yelled for everyone to stay down, handed a bag to the teller, Miss Valarie Elliott, and told her to give him all the money. Miss Elliott, 45, has worked at the bank for twenty years, but this is the first time she has been robbed. She was fumbling with the bag. It was then observed by the video cameras in the bank, that Mr. John Smith, age 82, said something to the assailant, who then turned and looked squarely at Mr. Smith. The robber turned back around and made a menacing gesture toward Miss Elliott. Next, Miss Wilson screamed and tried to get away. Mr. Smith tried to rush the gunman, and the gunman fired at point blank range. The assailant fled the scene through the front doors and was observed going west on Wilshire. He has not been apprehended at this time. John Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. Miss Elliott and Miss Wilson have given their statements. They are recorded on the affidavit enclosed. Miss Wilson did state that Mr. Smith was a true hero, for what he had done. Miss Elliott stated he was a regular in the bank and a very nice man. She said he was in movies and was some kind of officer in the military.” When Det. Johnson looks up from his report, he sees a man who is clearly grieving, but who is not going to give into it. “Do you have any questions for me, Mr. Baracus?”

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“Only one. Have you caught the guy yet?” “No, we‟re still looking. We‟re checking other cameras in the area, and asking for anyone who may know him, or who may have seen anything to come forward. This guy‟s not too smart. He looked right at the camera at one point, so we‟ve a good picture of him.” “Can I see the tape? I want ta see for myself what happened. You know it‟s gonna run on T.V. in part, but I wanna see it all. And my friends may want ta, also. So go get the tape and I can go.” “Uh, Mr. Baracus, you aren‟t going to try to take matters into your own hands are you? Because if you are, the answer is NO! Well?” “No, we just wanna see what happened. He was our leader in Nam, and we just need ta see it, okay?” “I‟ll see what I can do, but in the meantime, there will be an autopsy and then you can make arrangements with the morgue on the disposition of the body.” “Hey fool, don‟t talk about the Colonel like that. He ain‟t just a body, and I don‟t like hearin' you talk like that about him. Got it!” “I‟m sorry. You‟re right. Mr. Smith will be released to you when they‟re finished. Please accept my heartfelt apologies and condolences for you and your friends‟ loss.” “Yeah. Okay. I‟ll be back later ta get that tape. I definitely wanna see it.” “Alright, I have your number. I‟ll get back to you later today.” “Thanks.” Det. Johnson is trying to put things together. The name “Hannibal Smith” keeps running through his head, but he can‟t place it. Where has he heard that name before? It is right there, but it just won‟t come to him. “Oh, well, I‟ll figure it out sooner or later.” Just then his phone rings and he moves on to the task at hand. Dejectedly, with head bowed, B.A. walks out of the police station and gets into his car. He had left the windows up and the inside is extremely hot. He quickly starts the car and turns on the air conditioning. He can‟t bring himself to put the car in gear. He just sits there feeling the air cooling him off. What‟s he supposed to do now? He needs someone to push him in a direction, so he knows what to do, but that had always been Hannibal‟s job.

[17]

Hannibal had taken B.A. under his wing when he was just a young man with an attitude, who had arrived in Viet Nam, without the faintest idea of what to do with his anger. The Colonel had molded him, as much as anyone could, to be a good soldier. When he had a job to do, he knew what it was. Hannibal always depended on him for mechanical problems, building weapons out of pipes and washing machines, and anything else that he needed for his “plan”, and B.A. had always come through. He feels like he has let Hannibal down, even though there is nothing that he could‟ve done. He still feels the blame is on him somehow, for not protecting his leader and friend. He hits the steering wheel with both hands. His frustration is evident, but what can he do? He finally puts the car in gear and heads home to await Face‟s call.

Chapter 3 – The Team Gets Back Together

[18]

Face leaves the coolness of his apartment, gets into the elevator to the parking garage, and goes to his car. He has a 1964, red and white Corvette convertible, which he bought many years ago to replace his white one. That had been a great car, but he decided the older, more classic model suited him now. Plus, B.A. could work on these older models, before all the computerized components came into play. B.A. could fix anything. He also didn‟t charge Face to work on it. He would just have to drop by and hang out while B.A. worked on it, and if it needed parts, Face would pick them up and bring them over. He also had the new Porsche, but he didn‟t feel like being confined in it today. He gets in the Corvette and starts it up. Listen to that engine! B.A. keeps it in such good running condition. He heads out of the garage going east, then north on the freeway to get to the little airfield Murdock uses when he comes into town. It isn‟t much, but he usually is just parking his plane for a few hours and then heading back out, so who needs the hassle of a bigger airport to deal with? The day was really getting hot, but the breeze was keeping the smog away. It was clear and bright. “Oh yeah, where are my shades?” he asks himself. Finding them in the visor, he puts them on and drives at a pretty good pace on the freeway. No slowing, unusual, but nice. He really is not looking forward to this meeting with Murdock. In fact he isn‟t looking forward to the next several days. It is going to be hard on all of them. Aw, cheer up Face! We all gotta go sometime. “Yeah, but did you have to go so soon, and like this?” Agony shows in his face, then acceptance. “Yeah, it was probably what you would have wanted.” Hey was that really the Colonel‟s voice in my head? Or am I just hallucinating? Maybe I am getting to be as crazy as Murdock! He pulls up as close as he can to where Murdock always parks his plane and waits. Since the traffic is light, he makes good time and beats the 2:00 p.m. meeting by ten minutes. He hears the plane before he sees it, so he watches it come in from the east to land. It‟s a beautiful plane and he knows how much Murdock enjoys flying it. Murdock sets it down, bounces it two or three times and sets it down again. “Wow! That was a rough one for Murdock! I bet he‟s not doing very well,” Face thinks. “Oh boy, oh boy, I‟m really not looking forward to this.” He watches Murdock taxi in, stop, and shut down the engine. It takes a few minutes longer before he climbs out and chocks the wheels, then he reaches back in to grab a little black bag, his catchall, as he calls it. Face knows that bag well. He has seen it so many times before. Murdock walks his way, head bowed, and looking as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders. He really looks old walking toward Face and Face wonders if he looks the same to others around him.

[19]

Murdock is dressed as always. In fact, since he got out of Army attire, he has had a very limited wardrobe. Tan pants, t-shirt, sometimes a flannel shirt over that and the inevitable ball cap and tennis shoes. Because of the heat of the day, his flannel shirt is thrown over his shoulder. Face had tried to help him with his wardrobe many times, but he always goes back to the old standby. Today he is wearing his Flying Vets cap. It is blue with silver wings. They make it look as if the “V” is flying. He was so proud and happy when he bought his first plane that he had hats made up for all the team. Face still has his up in his closet somewhere and he knows the other guys kept theirs, too. Without a word, Murdock tosses his bag into the back and climbs into the Vette. “You‟re right on time!” “Yep.” That was it. One word then silence. Face starts the car and they begin the trip back. “B.A. called and said I need to take a power of attorney down to the police station, identify Hannibal, and pick up his things. I thought we could do it on the way back, if that‟s alright with you?” “Can you just drop me at your place? I need to shower and change. I‟ve been working all day, and I feel grubby.” “Sure, it‟s not really out of the way. Make yourself at home. You know which room is yours.” Face knows the real reason Murdock wants to go to the apartment. He doesn‟t want to see Hannibal like this. In fact, Face isn‟t sure he does, but it has to be done, and since he is second in command, it falls to him. “Rough landing! Are you okay?” “Yep.” Again with the one word answer. This is going to be harder than he thought. He hopes Murdock isn‟t losing it again, going back to the way he was after the war. If so, it is going to be bad. Silence for at least ten minutes, then – “Face, do you know what happened yet, I mean, do we have any answers, like who the scumbag is who shot Hannibal?” “No, not yet, but maybe when I get finished at police headquarters, I‟ll know a little more. Murdock, you‟re not getting any crazy ideas are you? Like, trying to go after this guy?” … “Are you?”

[20]

“Don‟t know yet, don‟t know enough about what‟s happening. … Maybe.” “Well don‟t! We don‟t need you out there getting into trouble. It would be the last thing Hannibal would want.” “Really? Cause I think it would be just what Hannibal would want, and he even told me so.” “When?” “On the flight down here. He came into my head and told me to find the sleezeball, and figure out what the heck is going on.” “Murdock, you‟re not hearing voices again, are you?” “Maybe, maybe not, but I think we still need to find out what happened and do something if we can.” Face doesn‟t tell Murdock that he has heard Hannibal‟s voice in his head, too, because he isn‟t sure that is what Murdock meant. Better to just leave it alone right now. He doesn‟t want to pressure his friend and cause a breakdown, or something. When Murdock came back from the war, he was in pretty bad shape. That‟s why he was in the V.A. Hospital and Face had to always break him out when they needed his help. He could be pretty weird, but the guys knew he could fly like nobody‟s business and he always managed to help them out of a tough scrape. Face pulls up to the curb in front of his building, and Murdock gets out. He never said another word the whole trip. He climbs out of the Corvette, grabs his bag and slowly walks toward the building. When Murdock gets inside, he takes the elevator to the fifteenth floor and gets off. He hates elevators, but he can‟t hike that many stairs today. Face‟s place is at the end. It takes up the whole end of the building, so he has a great panoramic view of L.A. Murdock unlocks the door, steps inside and stops. The last time he had been here was New Year‟s Eve. Face had had a big party. Murdock and Kelly had come and Hannibal had been there. He could see him standing by the fireplace, drink in hand and cigar in the corner of his mouth, talking to a very beautiful woman. Murdock had no idea who she was, but the Colonel was enjoying himself and having a good time. Kelly and Murdock had stayed the night since it was a long drive back to their place, especially that late at night and after partying. Hannibal had crashed on the couch. Yep, it had been quite a party. The next day they had all went out for brunch. They didn‟t get up early enough for breakfast. Murdock slowly comes back to the now. Reality check, Hannibal won‟t be here next year. “Why, Colonel? Why did you have to interfere?” Cause a lady was in distress, Captain, and I had to
[21]

help her! “No you didn‟t! … Yes, you did. That‟s who you were Hannibal and you died the way you lived, didn‟t you? I guess that‟s better than a nursing home, sitting in a wheelchair and drooling. You would have hated that. Now you‟ve got a great story to tell St. Peter, don‟t you?” Murdock looks at the kitchen to the left, his room beyond it. Face‟s master suite is on the right and the rest is wide open in front of him. “I bet there isn‟t a speck of food in that fridge! I guess I better get in the shower, and walk down to that little corner store and get some grub.” He goes in, tosses his bag on the bed and unloads his toiletries and fresh clothes. What‟s this? His bomber jacket! Why had Kelly packed that? Of course, she saw it as his security blanket and she is probably right. What would he do without her? Most likely something he shouldn‟t, but that may happen anyway. Kelly is driving down with the good clothes he will need for the rest of the week. She should be here around 8:00 p.m. and he will be glad to see her. Then he can thank her for packing his jacket, and for just being here to help him get through this. He really needs her support right now. After his shower, he goes back down the elevator and walks down the street. He steps into a little store where he purchases sandwich material, chips, fruit, and milk, especially milk, since B.A. will be over later. He also gets some cookies and stops to pick up the evening paper. He can see the front page has the story of the robbery, but he doesn‟t want to read it now, so he folds it in half and walks to the cash register. After paying for the items, he heads back to the apartment to unload and wait for the others. Face gets to the police department just at four o‟clock. That is a busy time and if he needs to do anything nefarious, it is easier to do when people are otherwise engaged in getting to where they want to go, either on or off shift. He walks up to the counter, but as he expected, everyone is busy. With his hand on his stomach, he leans over the counter, to see if there are any papers lying around that might come in handy down the road. You know, blank warrants, ticket books, just anything that might be useful. He starts to reach over for a promising looking piece of paper, when the petite officer who had waited on B.A. earlier appears. Oh well, better luck next time. He smiles at her as she approaches. “May I help you?” “Yes, I‟m sure you can. I am here to identify someone, and pick up his belongings. He is in the, you know, the morgue. I have a power of attorney. Do I give that to you?” “No, you give it to the attendant at the morgue. What‟s the name?” “Mine? Templeton Peck.” “The deceased‟s?”
[22]

“John Smith, really, John Smith.” This is after she gives him a funny look. “Oh yes, the shooting from this morning. I‟m sorry for your friend?” She had turned it into a question. “Yes, friend.” “You can take the elevators behind you. They lead down to the morgue, and someone will help you there.” “Thank you. You have been very kind.” He feels her eyes on his back as he walks away. “I guess I‟ve still got it,” he thinks. Ha ha. Now why did Hannibal have to chime in? He didn‟t need to bruise his ego like that. Thanks, Colonel. Are you jealous? The ride down was quick, but the walk to the end of the hall seemed to take forever. Maybe he was slowing down, too. Or maybe it was just what he was heading to do. He pushes open the door and walks to the desk where a man is sitting. He isn‟t an officer, but looks as if he belongs at the lab, white coat over a blue shirt with a tie. He seems intent on a report he is reading and doesn‟t even look up when Face stops in front of his desk. “Uh hem, I have a power of attorney to pick up John Smith‟s belongings, and I think they want me to take a look at the body to make sure it‟s him. I really hope it‟s not, you know what I mean?” “Yes sir, I do. Sign here, and I‟ll take that and make a copy, then we can go back.” He reaches out, and takes the paper Face is holding. “Sure, sure, whatever you need to do.” Boy he is really nervous. This is harder than he thought. Hey kid, it’s just me. Hopefully I’ve got a smile on my face. Not again! This is getting weird. He is beginning to think he knows how Murdock feels when nobody believes him. Because nobody will believe this, he is sure of it. “Okay, come on back. He‟s over here. You okay? You look a little pale.” “No, no I‟m okay, I think. Let‟s just do it, alright?” “If you‟re sure?” The lab attendant walks over and pulls open the steel door that looks like a weird shaped refrigerator, slides out the table and pulls back the sheet. Face holds his breath, and then looks. It‟s Hannibal all right. No mistaking that. He doesn‟t exactly have a smile, but he looks kind of peaceful. “Yeah, that‟s him, John Hannibal Smith.”

[23]

“No kidding! You mean the guy that was the head of the A-team all those years ago. Wow, I didn‟t know it was him. Wait til I tell the guys upstairs. They‟ll never believe it.” “Now, look, buddy, you are not going to make a side show freak out of him by letting everyone come down here and take pictures with their camera phones, cause, if I see one picture on one of those website things, I‟ll come back down here and bring a couple of friends, and we‟ll wipe the floor with you, capiche?” “Sorry man, I didn‟t mean it like that, I mean, I was a real fan. I grew up reading the papers about those guys. He‟s like a legend to me. I wouldn‟t do that, I swear.” “Okay, well, you heard what I said and my one friend, I can‟t hold him back, so you better mean what you say.” “Hey, does that mean you are part of the, you know, the A-Team?” “Yeah, I was. There is no team, not any more, not without him.” He nods toward the door that holds his friend‟s body. To himself he says, “Not much longer, Colonel, I promise.” As he walks back to the elevator, Hannibal‟s face comes to mind. Had he been smiling, or was it just what Face wanted to see. As he is riding back upstairs, he looks through the envelope holding Hannibal‟s things. Let‟s see; his watch, Face had given that to him for Christmas two years ago; his wallet, two birthdays ago; his cell phone; keys to the apartment, a handful of change, and an unwrapped cigar. By the time the doors open, word has already spread. The whole office area is quiet, not a sound but Face‟s shoes on the floor. They are all standing, but Face doesn‟t even notice. He is miles away in another place, seeing Hannibal for the first time as he walked into a staff meeting as a raw lieutenant. Hey kid, what’s your name?” Hannibal had asked. “Templeton Peck,” Face had replied. “With a face like that, you could go far. I think I’ll just call you Face, okay kid?” And the rest, they say, is history. Face arrives back at his place. He had called B.A. on the way and he sees him pull into the slot that was meant for the folks in 1547. “B.A., why do you always do that? I‟ve told you to park in the visitor‟s slot, what, a hundred times?” “This is a better spot. I don‟t want nobody scratching my ride, and besides, it‟s closer ta the elevator.” “Ok, but if those people show up and complain, you‟re paying the fine this time.”

[24]

“Ugh,” B.A. says as he brushes off Face‟s remark as he usually does when Face is trying to get him to do something he doesn‟t want to do. They ride the elevator up and Face lets them into the apartment. Murdock is sitting in Face‟s favorite chair reading the paper. A kind of unusual sight, but then Face notices what he is reading, so he doesn‟t say anything about the faux pax of sitting in “his” chair. Murdock turns around and sees Face and B.A. standing just inside the door. The look on Murdock‟s face is mortifying, but then he closes the paper, stands and smiles at B.A. He comes over to shake his hand, or give him a hug, Face isn‟t quite sure which, but then Murdock stops and just says, “Long time, no see, big guy,” and playfully slugs him in the shoulder. “Not long enough, fool.” Nothing has changed between the two of them. That is as close to a natural greeting as they ever get. “Hi Face. I took the liberty of going to the store and stalking up your fridge a bit. I even got you a gallon of milk, B.A.” “Only one? That won‟t last the night!” “Well I was walking and I‟m not going to lug six or seven gallons of milk three blocks!” “Why not?” Murdock just rolls his eyes and turns to Face “How did it go? I mean, is it the Colonel?” Face can see the hope in Murdock‟s eyes. He hates to let him down. “Yes, it was Hannibal. I got his things and got out of there. It was too…overwhelming. And we need to keep an eye out on the social networks, cause the guy in the lab recognized Hannibal‟s name. I warned him, but you never know.” “Social network? What‟s that?” B.A. never does keep up with the times. “You know the internet, pictures of people doing things they think others want to see.” “What, you mean Hannibal‟s picture, laying dead, out there for everyone to see?! I‟ll tear his head off!” “Calm down B.A. We‟ll just have to wait and see. I hope not, but…” Face trails off. The look on B.A.‟s face is terrorizing. Boy he hopes that guy listened to him. He told him he couldn‟t hold B.A. back, and he‟s not too sure he could even talk him down. Better to change the subject.

[25]

“Is Kelly going to make it?” “Yeah, she‟s driving down.” “What time is she going to be here? We could order in?” “Depending on traffic, anytime now I guess. What time is it any way?” “About 6:30. You guys want Chinese, or pizza?” “Pizza.” They both say in unison. “Pizza it is. Dare I ask what to put on it, or just order what I like?” “No anchovies, pineapple, or mushrooms,” says B.A. “Oh B.A., what‟s wrong with mushrooms?” asks Murdock. “Yuck, they got no taste and I hate the way they squeak on my teeth!” “Okay, no mushrooms.” Murdock concedes, way too soon. In the past they would have fought over that one point for thirty minutes or until the pizza arrived with no mushrooms. Face knew which one could hurt him the most and he isn‟t going to mess with B.A. and his food for anything. He orders three pizzas any way, one pepperoni, one sausage and pepperoni, and one with everything, but mushrooms, anchovies, or pineapple. Kelly arrives just as the pizza boy is leaving, so Murdock goes down to meet her in the garage to bring up the luggage. They all sit down and eat, not with the appetite they usually have. They only eat a total of one combined pizza from the three they have. Kelly turns in early. One, because she is tired from the day and the drive, and two, because she knows they are the team‟s decisions to make, not hers. They sit in the living area, B.A. at one end of the couch, Murdock slouched at the other, Face occupying his favorite chair. They all are looking somewhat older, but just as focused as ever as they go about making decisions on what to do next. The A-Team, minus their leader, is back together again and starting to form a “plan”.

[26]

Chapter 4 – Plans to be made, but not “the Plan”. Face speaks first. “Look, I know what you two are thinking and we don‟t have enough Intel, to even begin to go that way. And besides, we‟ve got to plan the, you know, the funeral. So let‟s get that accomplished and then maybe, and I mean maybe, we can come back to the other. Okay?” “Yeah, okay,” agrees B.A. “I guess so, but if we let things go cold, it may be hard to pick back up again,” chimes in Murdock. “There is nothing going cold, Murdock. We aren‟t here to solve this crime, or catch the guy or anything like that. The police will handle it and we need to stay out of it. Get that through your head. We are not going to start up the “team” to solve this, understand?” Face is a little harsher than he means to be, but they can‟t get involved, not any more. They have been out of this game too long and they are getting too old to go running around with machine guns and catching the bad guys. Ah kid, don’t you know I was about your age when I headed the team? What’s wrong, no guts anymore, lieutenant? Hannibal, you have got to get out of my head. I have work to do here. I‟ve got to get you out of that morgue and plan the most spectacular funeral, or you won‟t be satisfied and then you will come back and haunt me, or is that what you‟re doing now? To the others he says, “What do you think, should we arrange for burial here at the Riverside National Cemetery, or do we want to go to Arlington?” “Well, Arlington is in Virginia, and I really don‟t want to see that state ever again. Not after the last time, so I vote here. Besides, that would mean flying and I ain‟t goin‟ ta do that. Got it?!” “I guess I would agree with B.A. I mean I don‟t mind the flying, but I‟m not that fond of Virginia either, and Hannibal‟s friends are out here. His movie people and all of his recent friends are here in California. I really want a big turnout for the Colonel, you know? B.A. nods his head and Face agrees with a small sound he makes in the back of his throat. “Alright, that much has been decided and that was one of the bigger decisions. I would have gone with Arlington, but you guys are right, here is better for all concerned. I think Hannibal would agree, don‟t you? I mean he loves Hollywood and all and I don‟t think he has fond memories of Virginia either. Sorry, had.” It was going to take a while to speak in the past tense of a man who had been so much a part of their lives.
[27]

“Yeah.” Both Murdock and B.A. say at the same time, again. “Okay, I‟ll check with the people at the National Cemetery and see what I can find out about using their chapel or something for the funeral, and then interment there. I‟ll call in the morning and get a funeral home to pick up the Colonel and make the other arrangements then.” After that is settled, they talk long into the wee hours of the morning, each recalling things that Hannibal had said or done. They laugh, come close to crying, and enjoy being in each other‟s company again. Finally, they turn in for what is left of the night. B.A. decides to stay and sleep on the couch. The next morning Kelly wakes up first. She slips quietly out of bed because she knows H.M. hasn‟t gotten much sleep and he needs all he can get to hang on for the next few days. She takes a quick shower, gets dressed, and slips out to make coffee. Thank goodness H.M. has taught her how to make decent coffee, because when they first met, her coffee was more like light brown water. She gets the coffee going and then looks around to see what they can have with it for breakfast. It looks like B.A. must of gotten hungry in the night. The sandwich material has been opened and most of the chips are gone. She does manage to get the fruit on the table and the cookies H.M. had bought, but there isn‟t much else, besides toast and left over pizza. She knew H.M. would eat cold pizza, because he had done so before and she guesses B.A. will too, if that‟s all they have. She is going to need to make a run to the store for more supplies, or she will have at least two hungry men and those two don‟t need any other problems right now to make them any angrier than they already are, being on short fuses already. B.A. stirs next. He smells the coffee and even though he doesn‟t drink it, the smell of it will usually wake him up. Within seconds of each other, Face and Murdock come out of their respective bedrooms, dressed and ready for the day. “Wow, that coffee smells great, hon. Thanks for getting up and making breakfast.” Murdock kisses her good morning. “Breakfast?! Alls I see is some fruit and cookies. That ain‟t breakfast. You should have bought some eggs when you went to the store, fool!” Kelly knows she has to head this off quickly. “B.A. I really don‟t cook. H.M. does most of the cooking at our house. He is just being nice to me. He did teach me how to make good coffee. If you would like a cup, I‟ll get it for you?” “Uh, no thanks. Sorry, I wake up kind of mean sometimes, especially when I don‟t get much sleep. Sorry.”
[28]

“Don‟t mention it. I could make you some orange juice? I saw some concentrate in the freezer when I was looking for things to put out for breakfast.” “Thanks. That would be nice.” Murdock smiles his little smile, knowing exactly what Kelly has done. He doesn‟t say another word, just grabs a piece of pepperoni pizza and settles down with it and a cup of coffee. Face takes some fruit and a couple of cookies with his coffee. He usually doesn‟t get up this early anymore, so he isn‟t a breakfast eater. “This is real nice of you Kelly, thanks! Did you sleep okay? We didn‟t keep you up, did we?” “No! I mean yes! I mean, yes I slept fine and no you didn‟t keep me up. Thanks for asking. This really isn‟t anything. I‟ll go to the store later and get some more supplies so you guys can do what you need to do. I don‟t want to be in the way.” “No, no, you‟re not in the way. Please don‟t think that. I know when we get together, we‟re a pretty closed group, but you are always welcome and don‟t you ever feel like you‟re an outsider.” “Well thank you, Temp. I appreciate that you all have included me because of H.M., but I know this is a totally different part of his life, one I wasn‟t a party to and never will be. He really is different around you all.” “Good different, or bad different?” “I don‟t know, just different. I guess I can‟t explain it, but I definitely see a different side of him when he is around you and B.A. and Hannibal. Oh! I‟m so sorry, I shouldn‟t have said that.” Face has a slight look of pain cross his face with the mention of Hannibal‟s name. He didn‟t mean for Kelly to see it. She has taken it the wrong way and now is hurt because of it. “No. Its okay, Kelly. We will be mentioning his name and talking about him a lot here in the next little while, and I‟m the one who needs to apologize. I‟m sorry. Don‟t feel like you can‟t say “Hannibal”, because we need to keep saying it, so that maybe this will settle in and we can deal with it.” “Oh, okay. I think I‟ll go to the store now, before B.A. starts eating the pizza boxes. Hang in their Temp, and keep an eye on H.M. for me. I‟m a little worried about his reaction to all of this. Please?” “Sure, and don‟t worry, I think he‟s doing okay.”

[29]

Kelly says her goodbyes and heads out the door. Face gets on the phone to the funeral home. B.A. and Murdock are left alone at the table, probably not a good idea. “B.A., you and I know there is something going on with this case. I can feel it, can‟t you?” “Feel it? You can‟t feel nuthin. That country air must be rotting your brain, what you have left of it. Either that, or you‟ve crashed one too many times.” “Come on. B.A. you know what I‟m talking about. I read in the paper that there have been nine other robberies in a ten mile radius of the one yesterday. They said they don‟t have any good leads, because the m.o.‟s are all different and the guys are all different. No two descriptions have been the same. Now, tell me you don‟t think something is happening?” “I don‟t know yet. It does sound pretty strange, but then you are a strange guy, so maybe I‟m not gettin‟ the whole story.” “B.A., be nice. I can only tell you what‟s in the paper, and what Hannibal said.” “What did Hannibal say? When‟d you talk to him? I didn‟t know he was workin‟ on this!” “He wasn‟t, but he told me that he thinks something big is getting ready to happen and we need to get involved, and try to stop it.” “When? When did he say that?” “Aaaa, yesterday. Now I know B.A. what you‟re going to say and you‟re wrong. I‟m not nuts! I‟m not hearing things! It‟s like Hannibal came to me and told me. It was as clear as you talking to me right now, but not out loud, you know?” “All I know is you are talkin‟ crazy again, and I ain‟t gonna listen ta it. Now that‟s all of that, so shut up!” “I will for now, but when this is over, we are going to talk and try to figure out what happened in that bank and why Hannibal had to get shot. And if you don‟t want to help, so be it, but I‟m going to get to the bottom of this, even if I have to do it myself.” “Shut up, Murdock! Just shut up! I don‟t want ta talk about it right now!” “Would you two keep it down. I‟m trying to have a conversation here.” Face is getting everything ready with the funeral home. Then he still has to put an obituary in the paper. He decides not to do that over the phone, and he needs to go by Hannibal‟s and pick up a picture of him and his uniform for the

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mortician. He is pretty sure Hannibal would want to be buried in his uniform. No, I really want to be buried in my Aquamaniac costume. Ha ha, just kidding. You need to lighten up Face. You’re too serious, kid. Oh man! Now I have to listen to his comedic side. This is weird. To the guys he says – “I‟m heading to Hannibal‟s place. Want to come along?” “Nah, I gotta get home. I need ta take a shower and change, and I need ta take care of a few things. So I‟ll be back later. “I‟ll go with you Face. I gave Kelly my key, so she can let herself in and I don‟t have transportation anyway, so I would be stuck here.” I‟ll give her a call and let her know we‟re all going to be out for a while.” Murdock steps back into his room to grab his jacket. Now that it is out of the closet again, he feels like he needs it on. Face and B.A. look at him and the jacket, but neither says a word. The three of them head down on the elevator together and go to their respective cars. B.A. takes the ticket off his windshield, wads it up and tosses it into the trash by the elevator. Face didn‟t notice this action, because his mind is somewhere else. Mostly thinking about the next few hours and what they will bring. Face and Murdock drive out of the garage toward Hollywood, and the apartment that Hannibal used for the past three, or was it four years now. The traffic is bad and it takes them almost an hour to go the short distance between the two apartments. Murdock is again unusually quiet, and Face doesn‟t mind because he has things to think about, also. They finally get to Hannibal‟s apartment complex. They take the elevator up to the tenth floor and get off and walk the short distance to Hannibal‟s apartment. When they open the door, they get a slight whiff of cigar smoke that usually means Hannibal is around. He has some special filtering machines that B.A. made up for him, but they don‟t get rid of the odor entirely. “Let‟s see, we need to find his head shots, or some picture to take to the paper, and get his uniform.” “Face, do you think Hannibal was kidding when he said he wanted to be buried in his Aquamaniac costume?” “What do you mean? When did he say that?!” Face can‟t believe what he is hearing. “I think it was last night, but it could have been a while back. I‟m not sure, why?” “Uh, never mind. I think he was kidding if he said that, and besides, we don‟t have any way to get that costume.”

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“Yeah, okay. I‟ll go find his uniform.” This is not good. Did Murdock really hear what Hannibal had told him this morning? Wait a minute, had he really heard Hannibal say that? I may need to get the number of Murdock‟s old psychiatrist! Face finds the pictures he is looking for in the desk drawer, filed under “My Picture File”. He also finds a file that says, “Last Will and Testament”. He‟ll take that, too, and look at it later. He‟ll have to find out who the executor is and get in touch with him. Funny, now that he thinks about it, he had always thought he had everyone‟s wills in the safe at his place where he kept their legal papers. Oh well, maybe Hannibal had updated his and just hadn‟t gotten it to him as yet. “Murdock, you ready to go? I got what I came for.” Silence. What is he doing in there? Is he having trouble finding the uniform? Hopefully Hannibal hasn‟t sent it to the cleaners, or something. It will take a lot more time to track it down. Following his friend, Face goes into Hannibal‟s bedroom down the hall. There he finds Murdock, holding the uniform in one hand and a picture of the four of them in the other. He looks like he‟s about to cry, so Face steps in and takes the picture to look at it himself, hoping to break the tension. “Wow, we were pretty good looking back then. Even B.A. looks good. Great you found the uniform, and it already has the ribbons on it. Did you get the beret?” Murdock breaks from the trance-like state he is in and pulls down the box that has the Colonel‟s beret. He sniffs once and turns to hurry out of the room, followed by Face. “We‟ll have to come back and go through this place later. I‟ll stop and talk to the manager real quick, while you put this stuff in the car. Okay, Murdock?” “Sure, I‟ll see you down there.” Face goes to the manager‟s office to let him know what is happening, but the manager has already heard, and says he was expecting someone to stop by sooner or later. “You can easily have two weeks to get the apartment cleaned out. He was paid up until the end of the month.” “Thanks, I think we can get things cleared up by then. I‟ll call you when we‟re going to be coming. My friends and I all have keys. We‟ll make sure we turn them all in when we‟re finished.”

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As he is walking to the car, his mind is on what it will take to get the apartment cleared out. Let‟s see, we‟ll need plenty of boxes and maybe a moving truck. Well, that can wait for a few days. They have more important things to do now. Next. they drive to the paper office and turn in the copy for the obituary. Wow! How long has it been since Amy and then Tawnia worked here at the L.A. Courier Express? Face can‟t remember the last time he stopped by here to speak with one or the other of the girls. Face has already written out the obituary and Murdock and B.A. agreed with it last night. He and Murdock decide on the picture in the car before he takes it into the paper. They both hope B.A. will be okay with the picture, because they didn‟t check with him first. Last, the funeral home. This time Murdock comes in with him. Face is a little surprised, but maybe it is time for Murdock to say good-bye, with no one else around. Face goes in to speak with the director about all the details, while Murdock walks down to see Hannibal. “Hello, anybody here?” A man walks up behind Face noiselessly and says, “Yes, may I help you?” “Gee! You scared me. I‟m Templeton Peck, we spoke on the phone. Face sticks out his hand and the funeral director says, “Mr. Waller” and they shake hands. “I‟m here to bring the items for the Smith funeral. Here is his uniform and I have some pictures you can blow up to put on the dais. Do you need anything else?” “No, that sounds fine. Let‟s see, do you know about how many people will be attending?” “No, no I don‟t. I mean we hope for a good turn-out. He had many friends, and then there are the military people he kept in touch with. I just don‟t know for sure.” “Well if you think more than one hundred fifty, we will go to the bigger auditorium. What do you think?” “I think the bigger one. I would rather have too much room, then not enough.” “What about the cost, do you know how much you want to spend? I can show you a variety of caskets and linings. Then there are the flower arrangements, black draping, etc.” “Look, money isn‟t an object here, but I don‟t want black anything. To do this right, we want a total military funeral. You know red, white, and blue. Not gaudy, but formal. Do you get the picture?”

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“I think I know exactly what you have in mind Mr. Peck. Just leave it all to me. When everything is arranged, Face goes looking for Murdock, and finds him still standing by the gurney they have brought Hannibal in on. The cover is pulled back and Hannibal‟s face is showing. Murdock is saying something, but Face can‟t hear him. As he moves closer he hears Murdock say – “You were a hero, sir, and I intend to find out just what is going on and put a stop to it, and…” He quits talking when he hears, or senses, Face coming up behind him. “Murdock, are you ready to go, or do you need more time?” “No. I‟m finished, for now.” Murdock backs up a pace, comes to full attention and salutes. Then he turns sharply and heads for the door. Face isn‟t sure what the “for now” means, but he isn‟t going to ask. He takes one more look at the older, but still handsome face of John Hannibal Smith, and follows his friend to the car.

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Chapter 5 – Farewell to Leader and Friend After putting the obituary in the paper, things start happening. Telegrams are coming in, and Facebook© has so many heartfelt comments on Templeton‟s sight, they almost shut it down. Face has always liked the name of that site. He feels very partial to it. He signs on and starts reading the comments out loud, to B.A. and Murdock. They are all very touched by the outpouring of love that people are expressing concerning Hannibal. “Hey guys, there‟s one here from Tawnia. Listen.” “Face, Murdock, and B.A., I know you all are grieving as I am at the loss of Hannibal. Please remember that he was loved by a lot of people and he will be sorely missed by many. I always remember the good times and “fun times?” we had and what Hannibal and you all did for Brian and myself. I will never forget him. Please accept our heartfelt sympathy as you move on without your leader and friend. Tawnia and Brian Leftcourt. P. S. I am sorry we can‟t make the funeral. We‟re currently in Egypt and can‟t leave at this time.” “Wow! That was really nice.” Murdock remembers a few of those “fun times” also with fondness. “How‟d she hear about it so fast, if they‟re in Egypt?” “B.A., you have to remember the internet sends things out rather quickly. I‟m sure they saw it there.” “Oh, right.” “Oh, and here is one from Amy, too.” “Guys, I can‟t believe this tragic news. Please know that I‟m grieving as you are. I know you‟ll sorely miss him. I really wish I could come out there, but my job here on the evening news won‟t allow me time off right now. I just got promoted to evening anchor and I can‟t get away. Again, I‟m really sorry for your loss. Love, Amy” They‟re all grieving in their own way, but it‟s nice to hear from old friends. In some ways it has lightened their hearts a bit, knowing that others are missing Hannibal, also. B.A. is coming and going as needed from his place, and sleeping on the couch when he stays too late to make the drive. Kelly has decided to go home, too.

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“Honey, you know I‟m really just in the way here, and I really do have things to do at home. I promise I‟ll be back in time for the funeral on Friday. Please don‟t be upset with me.” “I‟m not upset. I‟m just really going to miss you. I feel like my support is all leaving me, when I need it most.” “Now, you know that‟s not true. You have Temp and B.A. to keep you company, and you have things to do here that I can‟t help with. Please, just enjoy the time with you friends. I‟ll see you soon, okay?” “Yeah, okay, but I‟ll miss you and I‟ll call every day until then. If you need help with things, keep Tommy on til I get home. He can do the hard work for you. I don‟t want you doing it, got it?” “Yes, I know. Tommy is doing fine I‟m sure and he can use the money, so don‟t worry about anything. I‟ll call your list of clients and tell them you‟ll get back to them when you can. I‟m sure they‟ll understand.” “Right, okay, you better get going. I‟ll see you soon. Love ya.” “Love you, too. Now be good and don‟t annoy B.A. so much.” “Ha! Are you kidding me? He loves all the attention.” Kelly pecks him on the cheek and climbs into the car. They keep waving until she pulls out of the parking garage and they can‟t see each other anymore. Things seem to be moving in a blur these days, but they all manage to get through it without too much anguish. Face is going to give the eulogy, so he‟s been working on that, and he hopes that a few others will be willing to get up and say a few words. B.A. of course declines because that is not his forte, and Face is discouraging Murdock because he‟s afraid it‟ll be very hard on him, and he doesn‟t want him to have a break down. Murdock has been keeping it together fairly well, but something is nagging at the back of Face‟s thoughts. Something he can‟t put his finger on just yet, and he doesn‟t want it, whatever it is, to materialize at Hannibal‟s memorial. Murdock says he‟ll not interfere with Face‟s plans, but that he will say his final farewell away from the public eye. The day breaks as none other can in L.A. It is bright and beautiful. However, the moods are not so bright. Face and Murdock get up early. They dress in their uniforms, looking very sharp. “Do you want some coffee or something for breakfast?” Face is trying to be a good host. “No thanks, I really don‟t think I want anything on my stomach right now.”
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This is a first. Even though B.A. is known for eating very heartily, Murdock sometimes rivals him. For as skinny as he is, he manages to put away food pretty handily. Face never did know where he put it, and not only food, but sometimes some very odd items. They are to meet B.A. at Memorial Service Hall at Riverside National Cemetery, about an hour before the service, so they can go over any last minute details. Face is nervous about the day. He has put his grief on hold, until all this is over. He wants everything to go according to plan for Hannibal‟s last act. Not that you can orchestrate a memorial service, but he wants it to be what he thinks Hannibal would have wanted it to be, and that is a little different than your ordinary funeral. You gotta do things with style, kid. Always remember that. Yeah Hannibal, but you aren‟t the one left here to do this, and I don‟t want it to look hokey, or anything. You‟re well loved by a lot of people, but you‟re also hated by the many you humiliated and put behind bars, and it‟s been just long enough for most of them to be out now. I don‟t want trouble at your funeral. I want it to be what it should be, the last respect of a man who meant a lot to others and was willing to help the little guy. And why do I have to justify this to someone who is dead. What are you trying to do to me? Really, are you trying to drive me crazy? Ha Ha. That laugh again. I sure hope you quit talking to me like this, once your funeral is over! Don’t count on it. I kinda like being in your thoughts like this, it keeps me alive! Yeah, I guess. As they pull into the parking lot, they see B.A. has beaten them there. His uniform looks a little big on him now, since he has lost some weight, but he still looks imposing. They walk inside without a word and Mr. Waller, the funeral director, meets them in the foyer. He moves like one accustomed to being quiet and seems almost sneaky, but that‟s probably just the tilt that Hollywood puts on funeral directors and it seems to fit this guy to a “t”. “How are we all doing this morning? I once again want to express my deepest sympathy to all of you over the loss of your friend.” (Muttered acceptance from the three of them) “Would you all like to come this way, and I‟ll take you to the viewing room where you can have some privacy.” “Sure, that‟ll be fine.” Face finally speaks up for all of them as they follow the little man back to a secluded alcove with chairs to sit in and the casket, open in front of them. The man bows his way out and leaves the three of them standing there, each in his own thoughts about the man who is lying in front of them. Finally, B.A. speaks. “The Colonel looks pretty good, considerin‟.” Face gives him one of his knowing looks and smiles. “Yeah, considering.”

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Then Murdock says, “Isn‟t that what people always say at funerals. “They” never looked so good. Well I think he looks dead and I don‟t like it. I just want to remember him the way he was. Full of life and smiling his big smile, and laughing, and ordering us around, and…” he finally trails off. “I‟m going to wait outside for Kelly.” He turns and abruptly leaves. B.A.‟s eyes follow him out. “Wow, he really is falling apart, but I have to admit it, I don‟t like looking at Hannibal like this either.” B.A. follows Murdock out. Face is left alone and right now that is just how he feels, alone! He always knew if he needed advice, or help, Hannibal was there for him. Since he was raised in an orphanage, he had never known his father, and he kind of looked to Hannibal to fill that void. Now what! Kid, and I say that with affection, because you aren’t a kid anymore, I think you can handle things on your own just fine now and I expect you to do just that. Move on! You can always talk to me like this whenever you need to, but I think you are going to be a great leader, now that I’m gone. So go, do it! Keep Murdock out of trouble and out of the V.A., he doesn’t belong there. Don’t let B.A. get into any fights he can’t handle, and keep a watch over all their finances just like always. You’ll be fine. Now, go do what you do best. Dance around the people who are coming and talk up a storm. Make me sound good and don’t leave a dry eye in the house. I wanna kill em kid, my last act. Now, go! He could almost smell the cigar smoke. Why hadn‟t he brought one to put in the coffin? He should have done that one last time, it had been his job, and now he forgot. “I‟m not doing a very good job after all, Colonel. Maybe you should replace me with a younger model.” He turns and follows his friends outside, to wait for things to start. He never had the faintest idea of the turn out that was about to take place for Hannibal‟s big send off. My, oh my, did the people come. The cars are lined up clear down Van Buren Blvd. to the Riverside Freeway and all the way back the other way to the 215 Freeway. No one, except maybe Murdock, had foreseen this kind of turnout. People, not in the know, figure it must be some big Hollywood film star who has died, or maybe a big, wig general who is being buried today. This is just the attention Hannibal liked to have and he is the star, for a few brief hours. Aw, fame is fleeting and then we all go to the big show in the sky! Good-bye to all my friends and fans. I know you will all miss me in the days to come. A true prophecy, as they would really miss his “Plan”, in just a few short hours from now, but that‟s not in their thoughts at the moment. As they walk into the service, the team, along with Kelly, move to sit on the front row. To the left side of the coffin is a larger than life picture of Hannibal in his uniform. To the right is a picture of him in civilian life, cigar in mouth and hand on hip, looking as boisterous as always. Since the guys are

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the first ones in, and they are so lost in their own thoughts, they don‟t see the multitude of people coming in behind them. The funeral director has to bring in more chairs and then it is standing room only. Kelly turns around at one point and she can‟t believe her eyes. She hates to bother him, but she nudges H.M. and looks back. He does the same and almost loses it right then and there. Face, who is sitting between Murdock and B.A., notices his friends discomfort and turns to follow his gaze. “Oh my goodness!” Face is totally astounded. This remark causes B.A. to also look. He almost jumps out of his seat, but manages to stay put. The first person he sees when he turns around is Decker. He is standing in the back by the door. Colonel Decker is one of the people who used to chase the team when they were on the run back in the eighties. This is before they earned their pardon, but none of them has seen him for many, many years. It took B.A. by surprise so much, that he almost got up to leave. Instead he glares back at Decker, then turns around to totally ignore him. Once the last person crowds into the room, former Lieutenant Templeton Peck gets up to speak. He starts out quietly, one of the only times in his life that he is at a loss for words. He had prepared a eulogy, but upon seeing all of the people out in front of him, he almost can‟t speak at all. “We are here today, uh hem, to say farewell to a great friend and leader. Most of you knew him because he and his team, (he indicates the guys) helped you out in one way or another. We his team, knew him as a friend who was willing to do whatever it took to bring us all back alive. Whether it was from Viet Nam, Borneo, Mexico, or just from Bad Rock, or Las Vegas, he always made sure to keep us safe and together. He never left a team member behind, and he never said quit until the job was done. Most of you only saw the working side of John Hannibal Smith, but we saw the personal side. He was a friend that would do anything to help you out, whether you were a raw lieutenant, a sergeant, or a captain, who was a little crazy. He never talked down to his friends and he never backed down to a, pardon the expression, slime ball that was trying to hurt someone. I think this is the reason that we are all here today and we the remaining members of the A-Team want to thank you all for coming. If anyone would like to say a few words, please step forward.” People on all sides of the room stand up and form a line along the wall leading up to the dais. They tell of all the things that Hannibal had done for them and why they would be forever in his debt. Even Decker finally makes his way to the front to speak. “Colonel Hannibal Smith was a man who knew how to get things done. He had very unusual methods, some would say insane methods, but he managed to get the job done at any cost. Sometimes they would
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stretch the limit of legal and sometimes they were downright illegal, but he always accomplished his goal. That was the reason I never managed to catch him before his pardon. He was the best and I salute a worthy foe.” At that, Decker turns around and smartly salutes the Colonel, then quickly leaves the stage. Face is flabbergasted, B.A. is even following his departure with awe, and Murdock is just looking down. His thoughts seem to be inward, but it is because he is listening. I am just as surprised as you are Captain. I didn’t know he had it in him to say something nice about me. Quite a turnout though, don’t you think? The service lasts much longer than anyone has anticipated because so many people get up to “say a few words”. Most of them have tears in their eyes and some choke up, but they all have nice things to say. The team members are barely holding it together themselves while listening to all this adoration aimed at their leader and themselves. It is almost too much to bear, but they do get through it. The people file past them and say quiet words of condolence. Others shake each member‟s hand, and still others just touch them on the arm as they pass as a small token of understanding. One very pretty woman walks up and introduces herself as Sara Wilson. “I know that you don‟t know me, but I was the person in the bank that John Smith protected. He died saving my life, and I just felt like I had to come and tell you this. I owe him my life and I can never repay that, so the least I could do was to come here today and let you know. I am so very sorry for your loss. I can tell by the outpouring of love here today, that he was a wonderful friend and person, and I just needed to tell you how I felt.” She shakes every team member‟s hand and moves on. They stand a little taller after this, because she is walking proof of the Colonel‟s heroism. They look stoic and handsome in their uniforms, as they bravely act as pall bearers along with three members of the Los Angeles Police Department. Because even though they were wanted for several years by the military police, the L.A.P.D. has very fond memories of all the bad guys that Hannibal led the team to capture. They take the casket to the waiting hearse, and climb into the trailing limousine to drive to the final resting place of Hannibal Smith. It seems that everyone is following them to the graveside military burial that follows the memorial service. There was a slight problem, when three car loads of former crooks that Hannibal and the team were responsible for putting in jail, show up. They were quickly and quietly detained before they could even utter a sound of protest, thanks to the volunteer presence of some military police. The M.P.s came

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forward and offered their services for crowd control and to be on watch for just this circumstance. The guys didn‟t even know anything had occurred because they were so effective at their job. The graveside service is short. A military Chaplin offers words of rejoicing because Heaven is receiving a new member. There is an Honor Guard from Camp Pendleton who fire the accustomed twenty-one gun salute. Unknown to Face and B.A., Murdock enlisted a group of pilots who are at March Air Force Base for an air show, to do a fly over. They fly vintage planes, but they are still able to do the Missing Man Formation. Face guesses that pilots are pilots no matter what their branch of service and Murdock has a very good record as a pilot from Nam. His exploits are still talked about in some areas. Plus his cargo service keeps him in touch with a lot of other guys who love to fly as much as he does. Murdock was torn over whether to be here on the ground or up there with the other pilots. He decided that being here closer to the service, was the best choice. He timed their entrance with a text message sent out unobtrusively at just the right time. “That‟s for you, Colonel.” He salutes the group as they fly over. Next, the three step forward where B.A. and Face remove the flag from the coffin and retire it appropriately with the triangle fold. B.A. finishes the fold and hands it to Face. He in turn walks around and hands it to Murdock. Murdock takes the flag and presents it to Kelly. Since Hannibal has no living relatives, Murdock and Kelly have agreed to take the flag, at B.A.‟s and Face‟s insistence, to fly on their flagpole in their front yard to honor Hannibal in its flying. After a few last words, the people begin to file past the coffin to say their last good-byes, or lay a rose on the coffin. By the time they are all gone, the casket is covered and flowers are falling off onto the ground, there are so many of them. The remaining A-Team members say their silent farewells. Face and B.A. make ready to leave, but notice that Murdock is not ready to go ju.st yet. He moves to the coffin, places his hand on it and quietly says his final farewell. He then bows his head, walks over to the other two, where they turn as one, and march back down the slope to the waiting limo.

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Chapter 6 – The Reason behind the Robberies The dark, man who had tried to rob the bank and succeeded in killing Hannibal, finally shows up at the rendezvous point. He has waited several days. One, because he knows the cops are looking for him and two, because he is a little afraid of Mr. Thompson. Alexander Thompson is the man behind the robberies. He is a solid, good-looking man, dark hair and mustache, but his eyes are hard. Dark and foreboding, they seem to look right through a man when he fixes his eyes on him. He needs the money to finance his plan, and Roberto has messed with his money, and that is bad. This plan involves liberating money from several rich men from the Los Angeles area. These men all have children attending a very exclusive private college and he knows they will pay dearly to keep their children from harm, and not just the kids. If all goes well, a big chunk of L.A. could go, too. Heh, heh he chuckles to himself. It is going to be really big, and the ten million they are going to ask for will set him up for a long time. His comrades don‟t realize just how many of them will not be sharing the wealth. So what they don‟t know won‟t hurt them, right? Not now, anyway. “So Roberto, you have finally decided to show your face here again. It has taken you several days to come back. Why?” “Hey Mr. Thompson, I wanted to come earlier, but I knew the cops would be looking for me and I didn‟t want to bring them back here to you, you know?” The look on Thompson‟s face tells Roberto to stop talking, now! “Oh, I see, and why would they be looking for you so diligently? Is it because you have screwed up everything?!” The last of the question ends in a decibel that shakes the lights in the cheap warehouse. He continues, “You not only kill a man, but you look right at the camera, so the police, and everyone in L.A. who watches the 10:00 news, has now seen your face!” “I‟m sorry, Mr. Thompson, it won‟t happen again, I swear.” He is now pleading. “You are right. It won‟t.” Thompson nods his head at two of his other men, and they grab Roberto on either side, and walk him out, kicking and screaming for mercy the whole way. “Okay, now how far has this set us back?” He turns to his second in command, Gary Waters. “Well, we really need that last fifty thousand to finish off this deal, but we can try another bank in Pasadena tomorrow. It is out of the area we have been hitting, and I don‟t think the cops will be watching that far out. Plus we scouted it two weeks ago and I think it will bring in what we need.”

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“Okay. Get Artie and Simon to make that hit. They are more experienced and I know they can pull it off.” “Yes sir, I know they‟re ready to go. They just needed your okay. “I don‟t want any more problems! Do you understand? The timing on this is critical. We need to meet the sellers in three days. Their ship will be docking at five in the afternoon and by nine o‟clock that night, I want the plutonium in hand. Now, do we need to discuss anything else that might interfere with this plan?” “No sir. Everything is all arranged. We have been practicing the timing on the operation and everything is going as planned. We won‟t miss Roberto. He was an extra man anyway.” “Good! Because I don‟t want to start working with a new man, not this close to the plan. It is imperative we pull this off without any more problems. You know exactly what I mean. You and I will be the only ones splitting the money when this is all over, and these guys won‟t have any ties to me. So we‟ll be very rich, very soon.” The body of Roberto is found in the alley behind a cheap dive. They don‟t even try to hide his identity, because they want the cops to quit looking so hard for him, which might lead them to Mr. Thompson. That would be a mistake for them, also, and they don‟t want to end up like their “friend” here. The medical examiner‟s office is called out and they take in hand Hannibal‟s killer. They also take any evidence at the scene that may lead them to catching his conspirators, because they suspect Roberto Martinez is not working alone. Detective Johnson has been put in charge of this whole mess and he wants to know everything he can about the men behind the robberies. He wants the robberies stopped before someone else gets hurt, or killed. But what‟s behind these robberies? Why are they hitting so many local banks? They really are pushing their luck, because he has plain clothes officers in each and every bank for a fifteen mile radius, to catch the next guy who tries to rob one. Johnson has also been toying with another idea. He needs help! That‟s for sure. He has tried everything to get a lead on this bunch of crooks to no avail. Now that he has the body of the murderer of John Smith, he intends to meet with the remaining members of the A-Team, and see if they can help. Yes, he finally put two and two together and knows that John Smith was the notorious leader of the ATeam. He knows his captain, and the police commissioner, will not like it, so he plans on doing this without their knowledge. He doesn‟t care if it costs him his job! He has got to get to the bottom of this

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crime spree. He feels that it is going somewhere beyond robbing banks, but he hasn‟t been able to figure it out yet. Maybe some fresh eyes, and minds, of people who were really good at this a few years back, will help him get some answers. Besides, he owes them the tape of the robbery, and the chance to see for themselves just how their leader died. He runs a check and gets the location of Templeton Peck‟s apartment. He will start there, because that other guy, Baracus, scares him a little bit. As he is driving to Face‟s apartment, he gets a call. “Det. Johnson? This is Adams out here in Pasadena. I think we ran across a robbery that has the same flavor to it that you have down there.” “Really? One man early in the day, gets about fifty thou?” “Yep, that‟s about how it went. Do you think they are going to start hitting banks all over the L.A. basin now?” “I don‟t know. My gut tells me this is all a part of something bigger. Can you send me over a copy of the report and any video footage you got?” “Sure, will do. I‟ll keep a patrol around the banks up here for a while. Hopefully this was a one-time deal, but only time will tell.” “Thanks Adams, keep me informed.” “Okay, bye.” This has put a new twist on things. What‟s going on? I have got to get these guys to help me. We have to stop this before it gets any further out of control. The guys are all sitting around in various forms of relaxing. Kelly decides to head back as soon as the service is over. That way she will miss some of the rush hour traffic. She needs to get home, back to her life and leave H.M. to do what he has to do here, without her as a distraction. “The traffic will be lighter now, so I think I will go ahead and head out.” “Alright, hun, but I need to stay for a while. Are you going to be okay?” “You know I‟ll be fine, and the guys need you right now. I can‟t tell you to stay out of it, because I know you feel that you have to find out what happened to Hannibal, but please take care of yourself! I don‟t want to worry about you.”
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“I‟ll be fine. You know these two won‟t let anything happen to me, and I have to keep an eye on them too, but I‟ll be careful.” “Promise?” “Promise!” “Bye, and don‟t be too crazy!” “That I can‟t promise.” He laughs. She kisses him and leaves before he sees the emotion in her eyes. Murdock heads back upstairs to the apartment that is fast becoming his home away from home. He flops on the couch and joins the others, just sitting there in silence. Fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rings. “Maybe Kelly forgot something,” Murdock states as he goes to answer the door. However, standing in the doorway is a man that he doesn‟t know. B.A. recognizes him and says, “Detective Johnson.” It is the flat statement of fact that makes them all wonder why he is here. “Come in.” This from Face, after no one else says anything. “I‟m sorry to barge in like this. I know it has been a long day for all of you.” “It‟s okay, we‟re just sitting here. Do you have some news for us?” Face asks. “Yes, I do, but I also have some questions for you. Today, the body of Roberto Martinez was found in a dumpster in an alleyway. I am assuming you had nothing to do with that?” “What?” B.A. speaks for all of them, as they have no idea who Roberto Martinez is and why they would have anything to do with his death. “He was the man who shot John Smith. You‟re sure you know nothing about this?” “Yeah, we‟re sure,” Face states, anger starting to rise. “Well, I know who you all are, the A-Team, and I needed to make sure you weren‟t involved in this man‟s death. … I believe you, and I am sure all evidence will point to someone else for this murder. I realize you probably wish you could have pulled the trigger, after what he did, but it‟s just as well you didn‟t.” “Look, buddy, we‟re glad the guy is dead, but we wouldn‟t have handled it like that.”

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Murdock is upset about the accusation, even though inwardly he is glad the guy is gone. One less thing he needs to do for the Colonel. Now all I have to do, Colonel, is find out the why behind the robbery. He hasn‟t been listening to the man for the last few seconds, but his ears perk up when he hears him offering to show them the cd of the robbery. “I know you asked for the “tape”, Mr. Baracus, but everything is digitized now, so it is on a cd. May I play it for you?” B.A. sighs loudly, but shakes his head yes to the detective‟s question. Detective Johnson, puts in the cd and turns on the television. Face picks up his controller and hits the play button. They are glued to the television. As they watch the scene unfold in front of them, the looks on their faces begin to change; first-intensity, shock, anger, then last-sorrow. Murdock is the first to turn away. He has put to memory everything that he has seen on that cd and he‟ll carry it to his grave. The detective finally speaks out. “Okay, I know this has been hard to watch, but I think the reason that Roberto was killed is because he looked up at the camera and we got him dead to rights. I believe that the person he‟s working for didn‟t want him to lead the police back to himself. So now what small lead we had into the robberies, has died.” Face asks, “Why are you telling us this? The guy we would have gone after is dead, so we‟re done here.” “I‟m hoping to convince you to help me figure out just what‟s going on.” “What? Why do you need us? We have no tie to any of this.” Face is adamant that they not buy into whatever this guy is selling. Murdock has other ideas. “What do you have in mind for us? I mean, where do we come in?” “Murdock, I don‟t think you understand this guy, he wants something from us and I don‟t think we should give it to him.” “Why not Face, why can‟t we help? It‟s what Hannibal would do, if he were here and you, or I, or B.A. was the one who is dead.” “The fool‟s right Face. Hannibal would be the first ta try ta figure out what‟s goin‟ on here.” “B.A., not you too? I thought you would be the one to stand up with me here and agree not to do this.” Face is becoming extremely frustrated. He turns his back and walks over to the fireplace. He is the supposed leader now, and they are ganging up on him. Okay, Hannibal, what now? Do we do this, or do I have to put my foot down and stop this nonsense? Waiting Oh great, now you‟re not talking. Now is
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when you need to help me decide what to do and how to get out of this, because I‟m not sure we should be involved. So is your silence telling me to do it, or not to do it? Come on Hannibal, help me out here. You would help this guy if I were the one dead wouldn‟t you? Okay, if you‟re not going to help me, I guess I‟m on my own. Turning back to face them, “Okay, let‟s see what you‟ve got.” Face can only hold his ground for so long against his two friends, because as far back as they go, it has been a team effort and he can‟t let them down now. Murdock claps him on the back and B.A. nods his approval. Det. Johnson has been very quiet through all this, he knows that a team like this one must come together in one accord, or it doesn‟t work at all. He has seen it in other teams, football, baseball, basketball, all need to be on the same page, or they pull against each other and the goal is not accomplished. He wants these guys to be on the same page, because he wants them to accomplish this goal, to solve this case. Alright, now he will give them as much information as he can, without overstepping his bounds as a policeman. He knows his career is on the line with this, but he doesn‟t want it to end with these crimes unsolved anyway, so might as well go out with a bang, no matter what happens.

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Chapter 7 – The Gelling of the Team It has been a very emotional day and that takes a lot out of a man. Det. Johnson says his goodbyes around 11:00, so the rest of the talk this night will be the three team members only. They don‟t have contacts anymore to call upon for information, so right now they are as dead in the water as the police. Det. Johnson has promised them any new information as soon as he gets it, but that could take a while. They are also awaiting the information from the crime lab. Hopefully, this will produce something to get them going in one direction or another. They never had this kind of luxury in the past, but they are willing to take all the help they can get at this time. After a good night‟s sleep, they awake refreshed and ready to go, but where are they going? B.A. excuses himself and heads out. He says he has a surprise and he will be back in a couple of hours. Face gets on the phone and tries calling a few people he knows to see if there is anyone out there that can, or will help them. Murdock feels totally at a loss. He decides to clean up the area they have been living in and get weapons ready. He pulls out Face‟s locker to see what he has here at the apartment. Not a lot. He has two automatic rifles, a nine millimeter pistol and three hand grenades. Not enough. They are going to have to get more ammo and guns. What about my stash Murdock. Did you forget that I have several weapons at my place, and there is the storage locker, too? Hannibal I did forget. Sorry, I need to get my mind into sharper form. Maybe I need some gingko, they say that sharpens your brain function. Murdock smiles to himself as he cleans the hand gun. At least the guns will be ready, if needed. B.A. calls Face on his cell. “Hey, come down to the front. I‟ve got a surprise for you guys.” “Okay B.A. We‟ll be right down.” He turns to tell Murdock, but he is in the bedroom. “Hey Murdock, B.A. has something to show us. What are you doing in there?” “Cleaning the weapons and oiling them. When was the last time you did this? They look a little grim.” “Well, I wasn‟t planning on using them again, so you caught me. I didn‟t keep my weapons at the ready.” “It‟s okay, kid, I‟ve got them all ready to go, and it only took me an hour. What did you say? B.A. wants to show us something?” “Yeah, let‟s go down.” Why did Murdock sound like Hannibal just then? I‟ve got to keep a real close eye on him. He is beginning to worry me! They head down the elevator and out the front door. When they look down the street, they get a sight they never thought to see again. The van, in all its glory! It is black and grey, with a red stripe that
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separates the two colors. They stop in their tracks. They can‟t believe their eyes. B.A. jumps down and comes toward them. He has the biggest grin on his face, and he looks like a kid at Christmas. “Well, whada ya think? Did I surprise you?” Murdock is speechless, but his smile matches B.A.‟s. Face can‟t believe it either. He thought the van was long gone. Where has B.A. been hiding it? “Where? How? I can‟t believe it!” Face finally stammers out. “I agree with you, oh facialed one. Where have you been hiding this?” Murdock finally speaks up. “I found it in a junk yard. I went lookin‟ for it after we got back to L.A. all those years ago, and finally found it out in San Bernardino. I‟ve been workin‟ on it for years. I was gonna bring it out for Hannibal‟s birthday this year, but…” he trails off uncomfortably. “It looks great, B.A. I can‟t believe you have had the van this long, and not told any of us.” Face is astonished. “Well, I wanted it ta be perfect before I brought it out, and I have been kinda busy lately, so I decided ta wait until the Colonel‟s eighty-third birthday. Sorry guys. I didn‟t tell ya about it earlier, you know, I was gonna make it a big deal for Hannibal.” They both understand his reasoning, but they still can‟t believe their eyes. Murdock walks over and practically pets the van. He is really excited. He goes to open the sliding door. It opens as smooth as butter. Nice! B.A. has made some improvements to the engine and interior and he is more than happy to give them a tour both inside and out of the “old girl” as Murdock calls her. They all climb in for a test drive around town. Murdock gets in the back and shuts the door in Faceman‟s face. He knows that Face‟s rightful place is now in the passenger seat where Hannibal used to sit. B.A. of course, drives. After all the pain and agony over the past several days, this one act of camaraderie brings them back together more than anything. It is like they are whole again. Like this van, an inanimate object in many ways, has taken on life. They drive around L.A. and lose total track of time, until B.A. declares that he is starving. They pull into a small diner and order lunch. “Man I am starvin‟. When did we eat last anyway?” “Oh, let‟s see big guy, maybe three hours ago.” Murdock is hungry too.
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“You know we haven‟t really been eating much the last few days, but I could go for a nice steak and salad myself.” Face orders his meal. B.A. orders a double burger and fries and milk. Murdock orders a ham and cheese sandwich, the soup of the day, and a milkshake. They begin to talk and unwind, feeling right at home with each other as only true friends can. “Do you remember the time that your van was run off the road and we all flipped over? I think I had permanent damage from that one.” “Yeah, Murdock, you and me both. How about you B.A., remember that time?” “All‟s I remember is that we made those guys pay for hurtin‟ my van. That was nice, real nice.” “You said she was in a junkyard? When exactly did you find her? Did she call out to you from the depths of the metal mountains?” “No fool, the van didn‟t call nobody. I found it by searchin‟ all the places that scrapped cars for the police. It took me a lot of hours drivin‟ around and lookin‟.” “Gee! She really is pretty unique. You would think she would have stood out in someone‟s mind,” Face comments. “I hate to say it fellas, but if you would have seen it when I found it, you would understand why no one recognized it. It was all rusted and beat up and I almost didn‟t realize it was my van.” “Wow! That just makes it seem more amazing that she looks like she does now. You did a lot of work and it must have taken you a long time. I am as impressed as always with you talent B.A.” “Thanks Murdock, I did put a buncha hours into rebuildin‟ her.” “Well someday in the near future, we‟ll have a real celebration of her rebirth so to speak. Maybe go on a trip to Vegas or somewhere, just to reacquaint ourselves with her.” “Murdock, you are nuts! It‟s only a van, not a person.” “I don‟t know B.A. I think that‟s kind of a nice idea. We should plan something, when all this is over.” “Sure. Whatever. I guess a road trip would be okay. As long as you (and he points at Murdock) don‟t jibber jabber too much, got it?” “Cross my heart.” Murdock crosses his heart with his finger as he says this.

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As they head out the door, they notice a group of shady characters standing by the van. B.A. rushes over to make sure they aren‟t trying to break in, or steal the tires, or something. “What‟re you doin‟ by my van?” “Chill out buddy, we‟re just looking.” One guy steps toward B.A. “Yeah, we‟re just lookin‟. Another one comes forward. “Well, I think it‟s time for you ta move on. You‟re done lookin‟! Got it?” “Hey, that‟s not very friendly,” says the first guy. “Yeah, we weren‟t hurtin‟ it, were we fellas?” “The rest of the group of five, all say “no”, at the same time. As B.A. starts to walk by them, the first one pushes him into the second one. They try to play a mean game of pinball with B.A. as the ball. Of course, they just made a big mistake. B.A. grabs the closest one, and tosses him about six feet onto the pavement. They all try to rush him, but by then Murdock and Face have joined in. Fists start flying and then bodies as they work their way through the group. Punch! Punch! Toss! Punch! Back to B.A., toss! When all five of them are lying in a heap on the ground, the team climbs into the van and B.A. drives out of the parking lot. “Thanks, fellas, but I think I could have handled them.” “Sure, big guy. You really didn‟t need our help, but we need to get in a little practice, too.” “Yeah B.A. We just wanted to have a little fun, too.” Face is shaking his fist as if he broke some bones. “Fun!” The cares of the world have, for a few brief hours, been lifted from them as they talk of all the ins and outs of the van‟s rebirth, old times they spent in it, and finally to what they can do with it in the future. It is a great time, and they head back to Face‟s somewhat lighter of heart and ready to move forward. Of course B.A. has to take a couple of hard corners to prove he can still drift like in the old days. They don‟t have a clear direction as yet, but they at last feel more confident in their abilities and are ready to take on the challenge head on.

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Chapter 8 – The “Plan” Det. Johnson shows up at the apartment about six, just as they are sitting down to sandwiches and chips. “Would you like to join us?” asks Murdock. “It‟s not much, but we haven‟t gone shopping lately.” “Sure, why not. I haven‟t eaten anything since eleven. The reason I stopped by, though, is to give you the details of the autopsy on Roberto. The crime lab says he was shot, point blank, in the back of the head, then drug for several yards. The dragging has turned out to be our most productive clue. Of course he was dumped in that alley. That‟s not where he was killed, but in the scuff marks on his shoes, they pulled off particulates that place him somewhere in the San Pedro area. Something to do with the type of sand and other things. I don‟t understand everything they do down there in the lab, but they seem to be pretty sure of their findings. That is still a lot of ground to cover, but if we think about it, there are a bunch of warehouses down there and they would make good hideouts for a group of scum ball robbers. What do you think?” “It‟s something. Hey B.A., do you think we could get our hands on one of those listening devices? You know the ones they use on TV, where you can listen into buildings and pick up conversations?” “I don‟t know Face, those are pretty hard ta get ahold of, but I‟ll see what I can do. You might have ta help me get them, you know what I mean?” Face knows exactly what B.A. means. He might have to scam the stuff they need, but he doesn‟t want to say anything in front of “company”. “I just think we could go down in that area, and drive around, listening, to the different buildings to see if we can hear the robbers talking.” Face thinks this might work. “Do we have any idea about the reason behind the robberies?” Murdock asks as he reaches for an apple at the end of the table. “I mean are they just robberies, or is the money for staging something else?” “I wish I knew. I “feel” that if they are just robbing banks, they would do it differently. Hit the bank at the most opportune time, for big amounts. They seem to be gathering money, hit and run style, for something bigger. I just don‟t know what.” “You thinkin‟ terrorists, or somethin‟, cause if so, we need ta move fast and get them off the streets before they hurt a lotta people.” B.A. is getting mad. He slams his right fist into his left palm, the way he used to when he was angry, but it is hard to focus anger, especially when you don‟t know where to focus it!

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“My guts are telling me, something like that, but I have no proof, no leads, no anything to take to anyone else, so that‟s why I‟m turning to you. I hope you can take nothing and find something. I know I am asking a lot, but if it is terrorists, you‟re right, we have to find them and stop them, before anything else happens.” They all sit there, lost in their own thoughts. Finally, Det. Johnson speaks as he rises to go, “Well, that really is all I have now, and I better be going. Thanks for the sandwich.” He doesn‟t need to be let out, so he takes his leave. “Okay, we need a plan, so let‟s see what we can do to get this thing solved.” Face is filling Hannibal‟s shoes now, so he knows he must step up and take the lead. The other two are looking to him for inspiration and leadership, and he has to take the reins between his teeth, and get the job done. “You asked for it now, Hannibal, I am doing the best I can, so either help me, or not, but I‟ve got to get a plan going.” He hopes his two friends have not put their faith in the wrong guy. Only time will tell. The next day they wake up with many things to do. Face decides he needs to freshen up his wardrobe of costumes and other things he uses for disguises and props for his stock in trade. He will put them in a trunk for B.A. to take down to the van. He also gets into his safe and pulls out several fake ID‟s to use if necessary. He hasn‟t used these for years. Now that he is considered legit, he hasn‟t conned his way into too many places. “Well I guess I kept them for a reason, maybe this is it,” he says to no one but himself. Murdock is on the internet, looking for different items, new discoveries in science, or gadgets, anything that might help them when they make their move. He finds a new “glue” that looks promising. He hits the print button and puts the copy, neatly folded, into his wallet. “Who knows, it might come in handy.” He continues his search and repeats the process on several other unique items. B.A. gets up and leaves early. He is trying to find the item that Face mentioned. He knows just what he wants, he just has to find one somewhere in L.A. that will not cost too much and also not raise eyebrows when he buys it. This is a unique item that only certain government agencies are supposed to have, so he doesn‟t want to draw attention to himself, or the team by trying to purchase one. “Let‟s see, Milt‟s Electronics on Jefferson has a back room for this type of item. I‟ll just head over there and see what I can find.” He talks out loud, because it helps him to focus on his course of action. He checks and Milt‟s has them, but man are they expensive. Now it‟s time to call Face. He should be able to get them cheaper, or maybe free. You never know with Faceman, he can con the spots off a leopard.
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Ring. Face answers his cell. “Hey, B.A. how‟s it going?” “Not too good. This guy looked at me sideways and then wanted $5000.00 for this stuff. You think you could get him down a bit?” “Sure B.A. Where are you? “Milt‟s Electronics on Jefferson. Do you know where that is?” “Yeah, I‟ll be right there. What did you tell him you wanted it for?” “I didn‟t. I just left. That‟s your department. I can‟t lie like you do.” “Ok, just hang out somewhere out of sight and I‟ll be there soon.” Face fills Murdock in on where he is going, then heads out to meet B.A. It takes him about an hour to find the place. He meets with B.A. briefly, then walks in to talk with Milt. “Good morning. How‟s it going?” “Slow.” “Right. Well maybe I can help you out there. You Milt?” “Yep.” Face flashes his fake F.B.I. badge at him. “Special Agent Peck. Your country needs your help.” “Me, what can I do?” “Well Milt, what I need is an A6-419 listening device with an R36-508 receiver, and of course all the hardware and cables that go with it.” “What makes you think I carry that kind of stuff?” “Well Milt, word on the street says you do, and I had Agent Davis check you out a little while ago and he says you do. I need this stuff really quick, cause I‟m pursuing a terrorist group and I need to stay one step ahead of them. This is very secretive until we find out what‟s going on. Ya know what I mean?” “Why did you come here? Why don‟t you get it from your warehouse or wherever you get that stuff?”

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“Because Milt, I don‟t have time. You ever deal with the government? Let me tell you, you fill out a requisition. Then you wait six weeks for it to hit the right desk to get signed. Then you wait four, or five weeks more for someone to decide you can have it. Then another six before it gets back to you with a signature on it, and you hope it‟s the right one, or you start all over. You see Milt, I need this now! I‟ve been trailing these guys, and I don‟t have time to wait. They could make their move at any time, got it?” “Okay, I guess. I have to be careful, ya know? I‟m not really supposed to have this stuff and I don‟t want to get in trouble. Lot a fines, and they could shut me down.” “I tell you what. You let me borrow this stuff and when we catch these terrorists, I‟ll see what I can do to get you a license for carrying these. You know? Kind of a thank you gift for all your help.” “You can do that?” “I sure can, if we catch the bad guys first. Now, what do you say, can we shake on it and call it a deal?” “Alright. I guess. Sure.” Face comes out the door a few minutes later, with he hopes all the equipment they need. He and B.A. put it in the back and B.A. looks through the bags to make sure they have everything. “Looks good, Face.” “Okay B.A., I‟ll see you back at my place.” “Right, let‟s go.” B.A. gets back to Face‟s apartment around 11:00 a.m. He brings in a couple of large paper bags, his tool kit and lunch. “I stopped off for some burgers and fries on the way back. I dunno about you guys, but I‟m hungry and those sandwiches Murdock makes don‟t begin to fill me up.” Murdock looks hurt, but still grabs for the sack of burgers. “What‟ve you got in the paper bags, your lunch?” He starts to laugh, but cuts it off when he looks at B.A., who is glaring daggers at him. “No, I got what Face wants, and I‟m going ta get it together now, so‟s we can go out lookin‟ for those bad guys. Now, you got any other, oh so stupid questions, fool?” Murdock casually says, “No, not right now, but maybe later. Are you going to eat this, or can I have your other burger?” He only does this to get B.A. to growl at him, and it works.
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“Grrrrr, touch my food and I‟ll eat your arm, sucker.” Face loves the banter between them. It has been a long time, but it seems like only yesterday, now. He grabs some food, and sits down next to B.A. as he starts fiddling with the gadgets he has brought in. He loves watching B.A. work, and as long as he doesn‟t have to get his hands dirty, he will even help out if necessary. “What do you think B.A., will it work? I mean, how far is the range on this thing, and will it go through the metal walls of the warehouses?” “Yeah, I‟m pretty sure it can go through the walls. It doesn‟t have a very long range though, maybe fifty yards.” By eight o‟clock, B.A. has everything ready to go. He has the receiver locked into the front of the van, right behind the driver‟s seat, and the rest of the equipment tucked away here and there where they can get to it, when they need to. The hand-held dish that picks up voices is in the seat by Murdock. They all buckle in, a feature most of them didn‟t use much in the past, and B.A. starts the drive down to the docks in San Pedro, so they can cruise along the warehouses in hopes of finding the robbers-terrorists. They will soon find out just what they are dealing with, and it is not going to be good. B.A. decides he will just start at one end of the warehouse area and work his way through the twists and turns, so that they go by each and every building. They move into position near the first building, and turn on the equipment. Murdock is holding the dish by his window and Face has the headphones on to do the listening. Nothing here, so he has Murdock move the dish a little further to his left. “I‟m not picking up anything. Of course they might not be in right now. So do we move on, or wait a while to see if anyone shows?” Murdock says, “I think we better keep moving. If they are planning something big in the next few days, they should be in their lair, don‟t you think?” “I don‟t like ta agree with Murdock, but I guess we should move on.” “Thanks, B.A., you are a true friend.” Murdock states sarcastically. Face makes the decision and they move on. “Okay, let‟s move on slowly down this row.”

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About four buildings down, they get some activity, but it turns out to be a meeting of disgruntled dock workers. After about an hour, they have not heard anything that would lead them to believe the robbers are in any of these buildings. They take a quick break, for some coffee, milk, and snacks, then decide to keep going on this long row. Murdock‟s arm is getting tired, so he and B.A. swap spots. As they are moving around to get B.A. into position, the dish goes up and to the right, and quite by accident Face hears something, very faint. “Do you want to put the bomb…” That‟s all he hears, then B.A. moves the dish again. “Wait, go back. I think I heard something.” B.A. moves the dish around in different ways, but to no avail. Face can‟t hear anything like what he thought he had heard. “Let‟s drive over to the north and left of here, I think that may be where I was picking up the talk about the bomb.” “Bomb! Did you say bomb?” B.A. doesn‟t like the sound of that. “Yes, they said something and the last word was definitely bomb,” Face explains. Murdock pulls the van out very slowly, from where they are parked, and moves in the direction Faceman says to go. Face still isn‟t picking up any more conversations. “Okay B.A., we need to mark this area on the map, and get out and see what we can see in some of these warehouses.” “Alright, I‟ve got it. Let‟s go.” They get out of the van as quietly as possible, lock it, and start heading for the closest building. B.A. peels off and goes around the side, looking for another entrance. Murdock and Face move to the main door, and Face looks in. It seems dark inside, no movement so he tries opening the door. No good, it‟s locked. Without saying a word, he pulls out his lock picks and unlocks the door. He opens it and steps in moving to the left. Murdock comes in after and goes right, still no lights, or signs of anyone here. They both pull out small beamed flashlights and keep moving in the opposite direction of each other around the perimeter of the warehouse. After a few minutes, Murdock picks up a sound further back in and to his left. He switches off his flashlight and holds, waiting to see what is making the noise and whether it will repeat. After a few seconds, hearing only his heart pounding in his ears, he turns his light back on to see B.A. standing only five feet in front of him. Whispering ”B.A. you almost scared me to death, what‟re you doing?”

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“I came in the back, fool. You almost got jumped. I didn‟t think you would be this far in so fast.” “Well, I am and you are the only thing I have encountered so…” He breaks off when a flashlight beam hits him square in the eyes. “What‟re you two doing? Playing hide and seek?” Face thinks it is funny that neither one of them heard him come up. “Very funny, Faceman! Now I can‟t see a thing.” Murdock is standing with his eyes closed, waiting for the little flash bulb effects from being beamed in the eyes, to calm down and go away. “Well, there doesn‟t seem to be anyone in this building. Let‟s move to the next one.” But before he can say another word, a large beam encompasses all three of them. “Halt! Who‟s back there? This is the police, so face down on the floor.” Face thinking quickly says, “The police? Great! We just caught this guy working in here and we think he is related to an underground terrorist group.” As he is saying this, he grabs B.A.‟s arm as if he is in custody. “He‟s kind of big, have you got a set of cuffs, I left mine in the van.” Thankfully, B.A. goes along with the “charade” and acts like he is a bad guy trying to get away. Murdock steps up to his other side and grabs B.A.‟s right arm. B.A. again tries to struggle free, but not very hard, from the two who are holding him. “Sure, here are my cuffs. You can borrow them for now, but until I know what‟s going on, we are all going to take a ride down to the main office.” “Great. Thanks, but we have a van out front. We can take it from here.” “Just who are you guys anyway?” Face reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a badge (fake of course) and flashes it at the cop in front of him. “I am Special Agent Jones, and this is Special Agent Dawkins, of Homeland Security.” Murdock also has a badge stashed in his back pocket. He also flashes it at the policeman. He says, “Yeah, we were down here on this investigation into a terrorist group, when we ran across this guy,

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trying to sneak out the back. He is wanted for a variety of suspicious activities and we have been trailing him for two days.” “Wow, a terrorist group right here in San Pedro, I can‟t believe it. How come the police haven‟t heard anything about it?” “Because it‟s very hush-hush.” Face takes the cuffs and puts them onto B.A.‟s wrists. He locks them in front so B.A. can maneuver more easily. It‟s then he notices that this guy is not a policeman, but a security guard. “Ah, which guard service are you with? I thought you said „police‟ when you came in and caught us.” “Well „Norton Security‟ doesn‟t sound very official so I say „police‟, cause it has more affect. Most people stop what they‟re doing, just like you guys. It made you stop, and I can handle bad guys just like him without being a cop. I‟ve been trying to get on at the academy, but you know how hard that can be.” “Well we gotta go. We need to get him downtown for interrogation as soon as possible.” “Oh! I still can‟t believe it, and to think I am partially responsible for helping capture a terrorist. Wait til the guys at the office here about this.” “You know officer … Face waits for the officer to fill in his name. “Connors, Dan Connors.” “Officer Connors”, Face continues, “We would rather you keep this sort of on the Q.T. right now. We are in the middle of this investigation and if anything should leak out, well, we might lose the rest of his group and that would be bad, real bad. Okay?” “Sure, I understand. I just hope when you write your report, you at least mention me, cause I want to move into Homeland Security someday and this might help. You know?” “You bet kid. We‟ll put your name into the report, and mention it to our commander. He is always looking for bright, energetic and brave recruits.” Murdock is trying not to smile, but he feels if they butter the kid up a bit, he might keep his mouth shut in the hopes of moving up in life. “Thanks. I mean it. Thanks. Now let me help you guys get him outside. I think my lights a little brighter than yours.” Connors leads the way back to the door. The team, with B.A. in tow, follows close on his heels and out the door to the waiting van.

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“Gee, this sure is a funny van for Homeland Security.” Murdock unlocks the door, slides it open, and Connors sees all the equipment that B.A. has installed. “Well, I guess you have everything you need in here.” He starts to look around, so Murdock pushes him back gently and places B.A. in the door frame, so Connors can‟t look too closely. He helps B.A. up since his hands are cuffed. “You know this could be a matter of life and death, so we need to get going as quickly as possible.” Murdock climbs in behind B.A. and slams the door shut. Face walks around to the driver‟s door and climbs in. He is followed by Connors, so he starts the engine, tells him thanks again for his help and peels out heading out of the warehouse area and back toward his apartment. “That was a little too close.” “Hey fool, get these off me.” B.A. holds his hands out for Murdock to take off the cuffs. “Let‟s see, where is that key? Did he give you a key, Face?” Murdock is patting all of his pockets in an attempt to find the key. “No, he didn‟t give me a key. You mean we don‟t have one?” “I don‟t think so…” Murdock is cut off by B.A.‟s hands grabbing him by the jacket front. “You better have a key sucker! I‟m not gonna run around like this.” “B.A. calm down, I‟m sure we can find a key, if not in the van, then in my apartment. Now, please let go of Murdock.” B.A. let‟s go by shoving Murdock back into the seat. “You better find a key, and soon. B.A. Baracus don‟t like being handcuffed.” Murdock manages to find a handcuff key in the glove compartment of the van. Who knows when it got placed in there, but that doesn‟t matter, the important thing is getting the cuffs off of B.A., and the sooner the better. Face drives them back to his apartment. He and Murdock get out, but B.A. says he sleeps better in his own bed, so he heads to his place. The two say quick good nights and head to their respective
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rooms. It is too late for Murdock to call Kelly tonight, so he undresses and crawls into bed. His head barely hits the pillow before he is out. The same action takes place in the other room. Face gets into bed and is out just as quickly. It has been a long day, with nothing to show for it, except those words that keep echoing in Face‟s mind, do you want to put the bomb… They have got to find the building where that conversation was coming from, and they need to find it fast.

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Chapter 9 – The Dirty Bomb Three hours earlier. Two buildings over and three back from where the team will end up this night is where the robber/terrorists are gathering to go to the Liberian ship. The ship docked right on time at five this afternoon. At eight forty-five Mr. Thompson is sitting in back of his Lincoln Continental. He is being chauffeured by Waters to the ship to pick up their „package‟. The rest of their gang follows behind in a large Chevy Suburban. They pull up as close as they can to the ship. Waters gets out and opens the door for Mr. Thompson. The rest of the men pile out of the Suburban, and move to positions to watch for any trouble. They are all armed with side-arms in holsters tucked neatly under their arms. Mr. Thompson and Waters walk up the gang plank, and onto the ship. He is met at the top by two armed men from the ship. They escort him back to the captain‟s cabin. There he is introduced to Captain D‟Jean. “Ah, do I have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Thompson?” “Yes, you do. I am here for one thing and one thing only. Do you have the agreed upon package for me?” “Slow down, Mr. Thompson, we will get to that in a moment. How about a drink, to seal the deal? I have cognac, whiskey, or beer, if you prefer?” “No thank you Captain. I never drink when I am conducting business. It can interfere with my judgment and I can‟t have that now, can I?” “As you wish, maybe later after our business is over.” “Now, I believe we agreed on the price of one million dollars?” “Yes, that was the agreed upon price. Do you have the money?” Mr. Thompson nods his head at Waters. He opens up the briefcase he has been carrying. The Captain, picks up a stack of bills, flips through them, and smells the package. “There is nothing like the smell of money, no?” “Yes, I agree. Money does have a very distinct smell. Now, for my package?” “Alright.” He gestures to his second in command who is guarding the door. He steps over to a large metal locker and unlocks it. He lifts the lid and reaches inside. He pulls out a large metal case. It appears heavy. He sets it on the top of the table next to the money case.
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“Of course the case is lead lined to protect everyone in this room and my crew.” “Of course.” Thompson again nods his head and Waters pulls a small Geiger counter out of his jacket. He turns it on and it starts clicking like a card in the spokes of a bike. “It is registering at a low level, but it is definitely radio-active.” Waters puts the Geiger counter back inside his jacket and reaches to pick up the case. “So it is a deal, Mr. Thompson?” “Yes, Captain D‟Jean, it is a deal. It has been nice doing business with you.” “What are you planning to do with this plutonium, Mr. Thompson?” “Just keep an eye on the headlines, you‟ll know soon enough.” Waters opens the door and let‟s Mr. Thompson pass in front of him and out the door. He follows with the heavy case in tow. They retrace their steps off the ship and to the waiting cars. Waters places the case in the back of the Suburban before climbing into the Lincoln. No sense in him and Mr. Thompson being exposed any more than necessary. The others? Well, they will not need to worry about growing old anyway. They are completely and utterly expendable. They drive back to the warehouse and Waters pushes the button that automatically opens the large door for the cars to drive in and be unseen from the outside world. “When is Douglas getting here? We need to get this thing put together and put things in motion.” “Tomorrow morning sir, he will be here in plenty of time. Do you want to put the bomb in the school after he assembles it, or do you want him to assemble it at the school?” “I think at the school. I really don‟t want you and the others driving around with the bomb ready to go off at any time. We don‟t want an accident to ruin our plans for ten million dollars. It would ruin a few other people‟s plans also, ha ha, so better to do it at the school.” “I‟ll put the case in the large safe. We wouldn‟t want someone to come along and steal it.” “No, Waters that would not be a good thing. Send the men home for a good night‟s sleep, and then you can drive me to my place.” “Alright, sir.” He places the case in the safe, spins the tumbler and tells everyone to go home, get some sleep and most off all, keep their mouths shut.
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Yes, tomorrow is going to be a busy day for all concerned.

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Chapter 10 – Eavesdropping! Their Favorite Past time? The next morning, bright and early, B.A. pulls up in front of Face‟s place. He gets out and goes up to the apartment and knocks on the door. “Come in.” Face is sitting at his desk, reading the newspaper. “You guys ready?” The way B.A. says that, it could be a question, or a command. Murdock calls from the other room. “I‟ll be right there, as soon as I tell Kelly bye.” “Huh, well let‟s get going, we still have a lot of ground to cover. Maybe in the daytime we can find them.” He doesn‟t wait for them to follow, just heads out the door. Face picks up his sport jacket and follows B.A. “Coming, Murdock? You better hurry, or B.A. will leave you.” “I‟m here. Let‟s go.” “How‟s Kelly doing?” “Okay, she says not to call too often, cause she doesn‟t want me distracted.” “Well, she may have something there. We do need to stay sharp and focused. Things are likely going to get hairy real quick now.” “Oh Faceman, don‟t worry about me. You know I‟m right on target when it comes to dropping bombs on the bad guys.” “Uh, Murdock, we aren‟t dropping bombs, but they may be. We need to find them before that happens. Got it? We are not bombing anything, okay?” “Right! No bomb dropping! How about name dropping? Would that be okay? Maybe dropping the ball, or dropping a line.” Murdock continues along this line until they get to the van. As soon as he sees B.A.‟s angry mug, and hears his growl, he stops, climbs in, and shuts the door without another word. “Face, I marked on the map where we were last night, and some of the buildin‟s near where our dish may have picked up the voices you heard. I figured how far our dish would work, compared ta where we were parked last night.”
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“Wow B.A., this is great. Let‟s head back down to that area. Of course, we will have to be a little more careful today, because we can‟t get caught again by that security guard, Connors, and we don‟t want to be spotted by the robbers, either.” “No problem. I think I remember a little place I can pull inta and we can still get the dish out far enough ta pick up any conversations goin‟ on.” “Face, are we ready to move if we need to, to stop these guys?” Murdock is itching for action and it is going to get active, real soon, he can feel it. Right Murdock, be one step ahead of those scum balls. Face has the main plan down. Just follow his orders and stay loose. You’ll catch em. I know. Thanks Hannibal, I know we can do this. We may be old, but we‟re not done yet. We‟ll get em for you. “Murdock, did you hear what I said? Murdock?” “Sorry Face, I guess, I zoned out a bit. What did you say?” “I said, make sure you have your fake i.d. again, in case we get spotted, and stay loose. We may have to improvise as we go along, you, too, B.A. You handled it just right last night guys, but he was an easy con. These guys won‟t be that gullible, so be ready to go with anything.” B.A. pulls into the area he has marked on the map and they settle in to try to locate the building that Face heard the conversation emanating from last night. “Okay Murdock, hold it up and let‟s get started.” Face once again puts the headset on and starts listening. They try different directions and altitudes on the dish for about an hour. “I don‟t get it. I know what I heard last night. Why can‟t we find these guys!” “You know Face, maybe we should try to increase the range of our dish, or try moving again.” Murdock suggests. “Murdock, whado you know about these things? I could try ta increase the range, Face, but it will take a little time. Do you think we have it?” B.A. and Murdock are both looking at Face for conformation. Ok, Lieutenant, you’ve got em now! Keep up the good work kid, you’re doing me proud. Ok, Hannibal, I‟ll try, and thanks for the confidence in me. To B.A. he says, “Do it.” B.A. spends about thirty minutes working on the dish and fiddling with the receiver. He finally declares that he thinks it will reach a little farther than before.

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“Let‟s give it another try.” Face puts on the headset again and immediately hears a voice. It is faint, but it sounds like the same guy he heard last night. “B.A., can you turn up the volume a little, I‟ve got something.” B.A. reaches behind him and turns a knob. “How‟s that?” “Better, thanks.” The man is talking about going somewhere and…”what was that, putting together the bomb? “Can we figure out which building we‟re picking up?” “Well, we can drive in the direction that Murdock is holdin‟ the dish. Just keep it pointed the same direction, no matter which way I turn. Can you do that?” “Sure big guy. Just don‟t make too big a turn, or jerk the wheel around and I should be able to do it?” “Don‟t you tell me how ta drive! I know what I‟m doin‟! You do your part.” “I always do, big guy, I always do.” B.A. slowly drives the van down to the end of the row they are on, turns right, and then back to the left as soon as they get to the next row of warehouses. “That‟s it B.A., I think it is coming from that building. Go past it and park in between this building and the next one.” Just as they drive by, the big garage type door opens up and a car pulls out. Murdock moves the dish out of the window and Face ducks down in the seat. “Keep going B.A., don‟t stop now. Just keep going, slowly.” “They pulled out and went the other way. I‟m goin‟ ta go up a couple more buildin‟s and then turn around. Okay, Face?” “Sure.” Face says this as he sits back up in the seat. “Yeah, pull over here. Let‟s see if anybody else comes out.” They wait for about ten minutes with no sign of activity. It has been several hours now since they came down to the warehouses, and Murdock is tired of waiting. “I‟m going in to see if I can find anything that might prove these are the guys we‟re looking for. If I‟m not out in an hour, you can come in and help me out.”

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“Good thinking. Get in there and look around. We sure don‟t want to waste our time on this warehouse, if it‟s the wrong one.” Face comments. “Wish me luck, big guy?” “Just don‟t blow yourself up if you find the bomb.” “Thanks, B.A. I mean, thanks, for caring.” “Carin‟? If it‟s a bomb, it might take us out, too! Now get goin!” “Yeah, I knew you loved me.” “Git!” Murdock slides open the door and climbs out. Then he shuts the door behind him. Next, he walks over to the left side of the building. He searches around and finds a door in the back that has a lock he can pick. He slips inside, hoping no one is standing just inside the door. He lets his eyes adjust to the darker interior, and then slowly starts moving around some boxes that are stacked in front of him. He gets to a corner and peers around. He hasn‟t heard any voices, but that doesn‟t mean no one is here. Well so far, so good. He steps out into the open and heads for a group of tables, with chairs scattered around them, like someone has recently had a meeting and then just got up and left. There are some papers and what looks like plans on the table, so Murdock shuffles them around so he can look through them. It seems he is looking at a building layout. It shows three stories above ground and a basement. Two of the rooms are numbered. The one on the first floor looks like a laboratory of some sort, and the one on the second floor, maybe a classroom? Hey, this looks like a college. Wonder what they‟re planning. He starts to move around to the other side of the table to look at some other drawings, when he hears the motor on the overhead door kick in. Oh no, time to go! He heads back toward the boxes and just manages to get out of sight before the door is open far enough for the people in the car to see him. He doesn‟t have time to get out the back door, so he lays low, hoping no one will come back in his direction. He will have to wait for the opportune time to get out the door, unheard. Oh drats! I left my cell phone in the van. How could I be so forgetful? He knows the guys are watching and they will realize soon enough that he didn‟t get out. The only thing they won‟t know is if he is safe or not. Well, I‟ll just have to hope they don‟t come barging in the door, guns blazing, or we might lose this lead. While Murdock is inside, Face and B.A. sit outside keeping an eye out for trouble. Face decides to tell B.A. that Hannibal‟s been “helping” him to know what to do.

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“Ah, B.A., I have something to tell you. Since Hannibal died, I have been, you know, hearing him in my head, like he‟s talking to me.” Face glances over at B.A. to see him looking at him as if he has lost it. “You are hearin‟ Hannibal talkin‟ ta you? Are you goin‟ senile? I mean Face, you gotta be kiddin‟ me?” “Forget it. I shouldn‟t have said anything. I just figured maybe I should level with you, cause I am not coming up with all these ideas on my own. Hannibal has been helping me.” He looks at B.A. again out of the corner of his eye and what he sees tells him he really should have kept this to himself. “Face, you are losin‟ it. I know that since Hannibal died, we have all been a little upset, but…” “Okay, B.A. Just forget I said anything, got it?” Under his breath, B.A. mutters, “That crazy man is rubbin‟ off on all of us!” Just then the suburban pulls around the corner and triggers the garage door to open. “Oh, no! They sure came back in a hurry. Now what?” They wait for five tension filled minutes hoping Murdock will come out. No Murdock. “Okay Face, now what do we do? That crazy fool must still be in there. He could be in trouble, they might be hurtin‟ him, what are we gonna do?” “Just calm down B.A., I haven‟t heard any gun fire, so he is probably hiding out. We need to…uh oh, here comes that rent- a-cop again. Duck B.A. Let me into the driver‟s seat. We don‟t want him to see you. He thinks you‟re in custody. Now, to get out us out of here.” From the floor behind the front seats, B.A. speaks up, “Where are we goin‟?” “Away from here, for now. We can‟t have this guy walking in on this. He could get hurt.” “Yeah, but what about Murdock?” “Well, we‟ll get back to him as soon as we can. Murdock knows what to do. He‟ll be okay.” Under his breath he says, “I hope.” Face takes a right turn and then another right and drives out of the warehouse area. Quickly, he heads for the highway, to try to lose Officer Connors. He doesn‟t want to go too fast, or appear like he is running, he just needs to lose him and get back to Murdock. He gets enough ahead of Connors‟ car so he

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can safely leave the highway. He stops at the bottom of the ramp, and waits to see if Connors follows him off. No sign of him, so he drives under the freeway and up the onramp heading back to San Pedro. “Okay, B.A. you can get up now.” B.A. climbs into the passenger seat and asks, “so now what? How‟re we gonna get the crazy man outa there?” “Well, I‟ve been thinking about that. I think we need a diversion. Then maybe Murdock can get out. If that doesn‟t work, I guess we‟ll have to break out the weapons.” “Yeah? What kinda diversion?” They are pulling off the highway again and heading for the warehouses. “You know that warehouse across from the one Murdock is in?” “Yeah, what about it?” “I think we can heat it up. Know what I mean?” Face looks at him with a wild look in his eye and a smile on his face. He raises his eyebrow and then the light bulb goes off in B.A.‟s head. “Oh! Right! Now I know what you got in mind,” he says grinning. Just then, they pull up to the building that is one down from where Murdock is hiding. They quietly leave the van and sneak into the unoccupied building. They go about gathering flammable materials and place them in a pile for burning. Then, Face pulls out a lighter and they get the flame to catch. “Now B.A., let‟s get out of here.” They head back out the door, and when the smoke starts coming out from under the door, they go into action. B.A. jogs back to the van and turns it facing along the side of the building, just out of sight, so they can head out as fast as possible. Face is running toward the building yelling, “Fire! Fire! Somebody help me.” He doesn‟t want to get so close that they get a good look at him, but he needs to get their attention. Waters and the others hear Face yelling and rush over to their walk-in door to look out. “Hey, that warehouse is on fire. Shouldn‟t we do something to help? Would that be okay?”

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Waters pushes him and the others out the door and grabs a fire extinguisher just inside. “We‟ve got to get this out before the whole San Pedro fire department shows up. We can‟t have them looking too closely at what is going on in our building.” “Thank you, Faceman and B.A.” Murdock uses the “fire” to make good his escape. He manages to get out the back door and heads in the opposite direction from the fire. Face jumps into the van when he sees the door opening and the bad guys spilling out. B.A. guns the van‟s engine and they take off. They go around the building and pick Murdock up on the way down the back row. The guys putting out the fire don‟t even notice them. They are too busy fighting the fire and worrying about Mr. Thompson‟s plan being ruined to notice anything else. “Thanks guys, I was hoping you hadn‟t left me for good.” “Face wouldn‟t let me.” “Oh come on B.A., you know you were worried about me. Wasn‟t he, Face? He was worried, right?” “Ah, Murdock, did you learn anything while you were in there?” “Yes I did. Actually, I learned a lot. They are going to put a bomb in a college somewhere here in L.A. They never actually said the name of the school, but it is one where there are a lot of kids whose daddies are rich. The whole idea is for the parents to pay up one million each for a total of ten million, for their kids to be released unharmed. Otherwise, Mr. Thompson and his friends back there are going to blow up the college and everyone in it.” “What? Blow up a college full of rich kids, you gotta be kiddin‟? Is that really the plan, or did you fade out and make this all up?” “No B.A., I didn‟t fade out! I saw the plans on the table. The building where they are planning the attack is one that has three stories and a basement. I think there was a pool in the basement, but just as I was going to look at the other plans, they came in and I had to hide. The rest I picked up from listening to their conversation while I was waiting for you to come back and get me out of there.” “Did you say Thompson? Anybody know who he is? I don‟t think I have ever heard that name before.” “I don‟t know him Face, but they all seem pretty scared of him. A guy named Waters was there telling everyone what to do.”

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“Did you hear anything else?” Face is hoping for more information because this isn‟t much to go on. “I mean, what are we going to tell Det. Johnson? Out of all the colleges in the city, the bad guys are going to bomb one, and oh yeah it may have a pool in the basement?” “Well next time, you can go in and risk your own life to get some Intel.” “I‟m sorry, Murdock. I didn‟t mean it like that, but we have to have more than this to go on.” “I did hear them say something about building the bomb at the school because it‟s closed for the day for some reason, but they never mentioned the school by name. Did I miss a holiday, or something? “ “No, no holidays this week, none that I know about. So maybe the school is closed for some other reason?” “Do you think Johnson could help us, maybe call around and find a college that is closed for a day for some reason, maybe a repair or something?” “I guess we could try that. It‟s better than nothing. I‟ll give him both of those names and see if he has a line on either of them. Meanwhile, let‟s get back to my place. If we are going to go into a college, we have got to figure out some angles, or something to get us in and I need to get a plan going, a different one now that we have some idea as to what is going on. Did they mention anything more about the bomb? Like what kind, how much explosive they are using, anything?” “Well, I was saving that for the right time. It‟s a dirty bomb. They got their hands on some plutonium. I don‟t know how much, but my guess is enough to get the job done at the school and plenty left over for the surrounding neighborhood, like five to ten miles of neighborhood!” “A dirty bomb? Did you say a dirty bomb? Man that could wipeout a pretty good chunk of L.A.” B.A. can‟t understand why anyone would want to do something like this for money. It‟s just too horrible to even imagine. “This certainly puts a new twist on it, like how are we going to stop these guys, and just where in the heck are they planning to do this deed?” “We could follow em?” “No B.A., we need to get there first and get set up. If we are following them, we‟re always a step behind. And if they already have it built and in place, we may have a very hard time locating it. We have got to get the location of that college and we‟ve got to get it before they start their campaign of destruction. It‟s

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not going to be just getting the kids out, we have to find the bomb before they get a chance to detonate it and wipe out a lot of innocent people.” “These guys are truly crazy!” Murdock is aghast. “Well I guess you would know!” B.A. snickers, but then focuses quickly on his driving. Murdock gives B.A. a look that says, “Thanks”, but doesn‟t say anything else about the remark. Hannibal has just told him to “cool it, Captain, and so he does. “We could go back to school?” “I think you are a little old Murdock, and besides, we can‟t register this late. However, we might be able to go in as teachers.” “I ain‟t gonna be no teacher, so you better think of something else.” “Well B.A., maybe you could be a maintenance person, or security guard.” He looks over at B.A. and quickly says, “No, not a security guard, besides they would be looking to take you out first thing, and we don‟t want that.” “No, we don‟t!” “I think we need to go back one more time with the listening device and see if we can pick up the location, but I want to be totally ready to head out as soon as we get it so we can get set up. Let‟s go B.A. We have work to do!” B.A. guns the van and they head quickly back to Face‟s apartment, their headquarters so to speak for all the plans they have been making. They just hope they can figure out a good one, so they can put a stop to this act of kidnapping and terrorism. As the A-Team of old, they don‟t have a care for themselves, but a total focus on how to stop the bad guys and help the innocent.

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Chapter 11 – The New Plan and a Few Surprises B.A. drops Face and Murdock one more time and heads back to his garage for a few other important tools he might need. Face calls Det. Johnson and lets him in on what they know so far. It isn‟t much, but they feel they need to keep him ready and available when the time comes. They may need some help and the police can get there, where ever there is, a lot quicker than most people. “Face, you think we should go to Hannibal‟s place and pick up some more fire power?” “No Murdock, I don‟t think we need a bunch of weapons dragging us down. This is going to have to be done with subtlety, so we don‟t tip our hand and they blow the bomb.” “Subtlety? Okay, I have a few ideas. Let‟s get what we need and get going. When is B.A. going to be back? We need to move before they pull out and get a jump on us.” “Depending on traffic? Maybe an hour. Murdock let‟s get into some different clothes and I have a few other props that we can use to make us look more, shall we say, scholarly.” “Man, Face, I never thought about being a teacher. Maybe I missed my true calling.” “Are you serious? I think you followed just the right career path. You could have never stood being cooped up in a classroom. Not out there in the wild blue, flying planes and helicopters, and crates and anything else you could put a motor on. A school teacher? Right!” “Yeah. You‟re right. I would have lasted about a semester and then I would have went stir crazy.” Face doesn‟t say what he is thinking, “stir crazy? Is that any different than regular crazy?” He just agrees and keeps working. They‟re ready to go when B.A. calls them. He doesn‟t come up to get them. He just phones, and they head down. Face is thinking what a difference cell phones have made in their lives. Before they had those bulky radios and the car phone, which cost them a fortune, and they didn‟t always work. However, with a bomb in the mix, they will have to refrain from using their phones, because the electronic signal could set the bomb off prematurely, and they sure don‟t want that! Back to San Pedro and the warehouse area. Maybe we should have gotten a different vehicle. This one is distinctive and we‟ve been down here several times, Face is thinking. Murdock must have read his thoughts because he voices the same thought the next minute.

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“Faceman, do you think we should have gotten a different vehicle to come down here in? I mean what if they spotted us the last time?” “I don‟t know Murdock, but all of our equipment is set up in this one and it would take B.A. too long to reset up in a different one.” “Right. Good thinking. We just don‟t have that kind of time, so I guess we will have to risk it.” “Slow down B.A. Now that we know which building it is, we shouldn‟t have to get so close.” Face has B.A. park three buildings down and into a small space where one building is a little shorter than the other. This way they are behind the building, yet they can still get the equipment to pick up voices from the crooks. They set up surveillance again, and wait. It doesn‟t seem like anyone is in the building. “Are you pickin‟ up anythin‟?” “No, nothing. Maybe they aren‟t here right now, or maybe they went to set up the bomb. If so, that‟s not good. If we could get them before they moved the bomb then we wouldn‟t have to put the whole school in trouble. It‟s pretty isolated down here. If it goes off, the damage would be minimal compared to a college campus and surrounding neighborhoods.” “Yeah accept for us, only a few dock workers and maybe a few cars on the freeway.” Murdock says it very nonchalantly like “who cares if we are killed”, and Face doesn‟t like the sound of that. “Murdock, did you have to put it that way. It‟s not really the way I pictured myself dying.” B.A. chimes in, “Aw Face, you won‟t even know what happened. Just here one second and gone the next.” “Thanks B.A. that makes me feel so much better. Okay, I‟m not hearing anything. Do you think we should go have another look see to find out if they have gone or not?” “Well, I got in once. I guess I can do it again.” Murdock slides open the van door, and shuts it as noiselessly as he can. He then moves across the open area between the buildings and heads to the back. He goes along the back of the buildings until he comes to the one he is looking for. He starts to pull out his lock picks, but then decides to just try the handle. Maybe they haven‟t relocked the door from the last time. He is in luck and the handle turns, so he opens the door and steps quietly inside. Again, let the eyes adjust. Then he moves toward the front to
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take a look. No one is here as far as he can tell, so he once again goes to the work area. The papers are still on the table. He quickly looks through them, but still cannot find a location. Wait a minute, what‟s this. He finds a parking permit that says Englewood College on it. This is what they need. Now, is the bomb here, or have they already moved it? He looks to the left and sees a small office that he had not noticed before. He moves quickly and quietly over to the door. He peeks around the corner, but sees no one inside. There is an open locker/safe with nothing in it. There is also a desk, telephone and very little else. It looks like maybe they have cleared out of here, whoever they are. He backs out of the office, gives one more, quick glance around and decides to get out of here before they come back, if they are coming back. He doesn‟t think Face will want to start another fire to give him a chance to sneak out the back. He steps outside the warehouse door, moves down behind the buildings once again, then turns toward the front and the waiting van. Just as he reaches the front of the warehouse and starts to go across the open area once more, he hears the garage rising again down the way. He looks around the building‟s edge to see the suburban going through the door. Once the door is closed, he runs across and gets back into the van. “Well?” B.A. asks. “It looked like they were gone, but apparently they‟re back. I think they have already moved the bomb, so stopping them here won‟t be happening. I did find one piece of good news, the college is Englewood College.” B.A. interrupts, “Are you sure?” “Yeah, pretty sure. They have a parking sticker with that college‟s name on it lying on the table. I mean, that is the best info we have at this time. Face, do you think we should listen in for a little while, to see if they for sure moved the bomb already, or not? Otherwise, we are going to have to go in there and take the place now, before they leave again.” “Let‟s give it a try for a few minutes, but if they have moved the bomb, I don‟t want to waste time here. We need to go find it fast. If it is already in place at that school, we have got to get moving.” B.A. turns the system on, Face puts on the headset, and Murdock holds up the receiver aiming it toward the building where the bad guys are located. Face picks up the conversation quickly. “Well, Douglas has most of the bomb assembled now. I sure am glad he did it over there and we didn‟t have to transport it.”

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“Me, too. Let‟s get ready to go. They want us over there in about two hours and you know traffic, we don‟t want to be late.” “Yeah, let‟s clean up and get outta here. Remember, wipe all the surfaces and make sure you get door handles and light switches.” “Hey, I wasn‟t born yesterday. I know the drill. You just get your part done, so we can go!” “I hope this goes according to plan, cause Thompson scares me and I don‟t want his wrath turned on me.” “Me neither.” Little do they know, Thompson plans on getting rid of them as soon as he has his money.

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Chapter 12 – The A-Team in Action “Let‟s go B.A. These guys are only here cleaning up and then they‟re headed back to the college. I think it‟s getting ready to go down. We missed stopping them here, so let‟s go, we have to get that bomb located NOW.” Without a word, B.A puts the van in gear and peels out, tires squealing and rubber flying. It doesn‟t matter if they‟re seen now, because by the time those two get there car out, they‟ll be long gone. B.A. isn‟t quite sure how to get to this college, so Face types it into the van‟s GPS system, a nice touch to the van that they didn‟t have in the past. The annoying voice starts telling B.A. which way to go. Turn left in three hund…, now right in fifty ya…, the poor thing can‟t even get it out before B.A., driving at breakneck speed, has already traveled the distance and moved on. “You should‟ve started it after I got on the freeway. That thing is annoyin‟! I should have left it out!” “Well if it gets us to that school faster, I think it is a great addition.” “Yeah, big guy, it‟s kinda fun hearing someone order you around like this. Hey, Face, maybe we could get it programed to Hannibal‟s voice, then B.A. wouldn‟t take it so rough.” Face says, “Right.” He‟s thinking, Murdock is talking about Hannibal and none of them are flinching. Either we‟re all doing okay, or maybe it‟s just because our focus is somewhere else right now. “B.A., when we get there, we need to stash the van and find out where this building is that Murdock saw on the plans. We want to keep it close so we can all get back to it in a hurry if need be.” “Sure, but how are we gonna know which buildin‟. What if this place has twenty buildin‟s! Do ya think we can possibly search all them before the bomb goes off?” “No, no I don‟t. I have to admit that right now I‟m winging it. We‟re just going to have to get the lay of the land and go from there. Murdock and I will go in as teachers.” He turns to Murdock, “We will have to get rid of the real teachers and try to locate the two rooms you saw on the building plan.” “Man, I almost forgot, I found a list with ten names on it.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a slip of paper. It has ten names, three girls and seven boys. “It‟s probably the kids they‟re going to ransom.” “Well, we could go to the dean at the school and try to get all the kids out, but the slime balls might just blow the building anyway, and then there goes the neighborhood, so to speak.”

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“No Faceman, I think I have a better way to get everyone out, but it will take some time and it could alert the bad guys to our position. Maybe they only want the kids for ransom, and they won‟t blow up the bomb, if they can‟t get their money. I mean, what purpose would that serve. They would go up with the building, too.” “I don‟t know. That‟s a lot of ifs and buts and maybes. We better just hang loose and see what happens as we go along.” Face calls Det. Johnson and clues him in. He tells him not to come barging into the school with sirens blaring. “Just give us a chance to do what we do best. If things go bad, you‟ll know, but don‟t tip them off early, or they will know something is wrong and who knows what they‟ll do then. … Okay, thanks and good luck to you, also.” He hangs up the phone and turns to B.A. “Did you get the tools you need to block cell phone transmissions so the bomb doesn‟t go off accidentally?” “Yeah, but Face, if they can‟t use cell phones, won‟t they get suspicious?” “Maybe, but let em. I mean if they can‟t call out, maybe it will shut down the operation for a while and give us time to locate that bomb.” “Almost there, I‟m pretty sure that‟s the college just up the road.” B.A. points down the road in front of them. “Hey, I think we are in luck,” Murdock states. “There is only one three story building on this campus!” “We just got very lucky. Okay B.A., let‟s find a parking space where we can get out of here in a hurry, if we have to.” “Faceman, what are we going to do with that bomb if and when we find it?” Murdock asks the question they have all been thinking about, but were afraid to ask. “You know Murdock, I‟m not sure, but let‟s worry about finding it first! Maybe Det. Johnson has an idea of where to go with it from here. I hate to do this, guys, but we need to leave our cells here in the van. We won‟t be able to talk to one another, but if B.A.‟s device works then we can‟t use them anyway, and if it doesn‟t we don‟t want to be the ones to set off the bomb.” “Whado ya mean, if it works. I always hold up my end of the plan. It‟ll work just fine!”

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“Okay, let‟s go.” Face takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, focusing his mind on the next few minutes, or hours, whatever it takes to put a stop to this. “By the way Murdock, we are going to have to get rid of the teachers in those classes. So come up with something you can tell your prof to get him, or her out of the room. You okay?” “Fine, let‟s get this show on the road. You are in room 218. I‟m taking the lab, because I have some chemistry to get going, which may help us get out of here when the time comes.” They get out of the van and B.A. heads to the back. He hands both the guys a handgun and takes one for himself. “You know we can‟t get caught with these, or this could get real hairy.” “Right, guns on a college campus is bad, and we don‟t want to be the ones caught and locked up.” They put their guns down the back of their pants waistband, hoping they won‟t need them. B .A. is going in first. He is dressed in a janitorial shirt and jeans to ward off suspicion. He finds a back door, and locates the closet where cleaning supplies are kept. He grabs a mop and push bucket to use as part of his cover. He fills the bucket half full of soapy water and starts down the hall toward the electrical panels. Opening the panel, he places a jamming device inside to keep the detonator from going off from any stray radio, or cell phone signals. Now he will use his cover to move around and look for the bomb, escape routes, possible hideouts, and any type of surveillance that might help the team. He will also look for a good spot to step into the fray, if everything goes bad in a hurry. Face heads in the front door and goes up the stairs to the second floor. The room he is looking for is 218. Great, the classroom is empty. He will have a few minutes to set up undisturbed. He doesn‟t want to alarm the terrorists to what‟s about to happen so they have a chance to do anything about it. If he looks like a professor and can get the students out of the building, he might just save some lives, and he does. He is wearing casual slacks, a shirt and tie, and a sport jacket. He has also added a pair of glasses, to make himself appear more scholarly. Once inside the classroom, he pulls the gun from underneath his jacket where he has it tucked, places it in the top desk drawer of the teacher‟s desk and sits down to wait. While waiting, he is trying to figure out what he is supposed to be teaching. There is one comment on the board. It says “read Chapter 12- Ancient Military Strategies Used During the Viet Nam War. “Are they kidding? Do they really teach this stuff? Hannibal did you write a book and not tell us?” He really can‟t believe his luck. This is something he has firsthand knowledge of and can maybe even talk intelligently about. He scans the room for objects that can be of help if necessary, other ways out of the room, and how heavy this desk is if he needs to hide under it to escape gun fire. The bell should be ringing in about

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two minutes if his watch is the same as the school‟s clock. He is tense, but focused and ready for action. Okay, he thinks, here comes the real professor. “Good morning professor…?” “Whitley” “Yes, Whitley. I am here to teach a special class on the importance of leadership during the Viet Nam era. You know, the different generals and colonels and how they used their knowledge of ancient military actions to try to win that war.” “I‟m afraid I don‟t know anything about this. Who are you anyway?” “I‟m Professor Peck from West Point. Yes, you see I was sent out here to help with this particular group of students because they have parents who have strong ties to the military framework of this wonderful nation, and they requested this lesson be taught by me as I have firsthand knowledge of this particular subject.” “How would the parents know anything about my schedule and why would they care? These students are barely staying awake in this class and I don‟t think they will be impressed by a West Point professor any more than they are of me!” “Look Professor Whitley, all I know is I was summoned here by the head of this university to teach this particular lesson. If you have an issue with it, you can go talk with your chair head, or the president of the college, or whomever you need to, but I am teaching this class because I have orders to teach this class and you will not stop me from doing it.” “Well, I‟ll just call Dean Jergins and see what he has to say about this.” “Be my guest.” The professor pulls out his cell phone. He must have Dean Jergins‟ number on speed dial, because he only presses one button and then waits for it to ring. He gets a puzzled look on his face and tries again. Then he closes his phone loudly and utters a sound of disgust. “Stupid cell phones, half the time I can‟t get through in this building. Okay, I am going to speak with him directly, but I will be back!” With that he turns and leaves the room, slamming the door behind him. “Don‟t make it too quick professor, or you might end up in the middle of something you don‟t want to be involved in”, Face says to the slammed door.
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Just then the bell rings and he hears students heading out of rooms, talking loudly and going on their way to wherever. A few students start coming into his room and taking desks. They give him puzzled looks, but for the most part are ignoring him. I guess the professor is right, they don‟t seem too excited to be here, but then why should they. This isn‟t the reason I went to college; ancient history, no, but making history, yes, that and finding a date for Saturday night. Okay, well that‟s not the reason I am here, so focus and see what I can do to get these kids out of here in one piece. Murdock locates the lab that was marked on the plans in the warehouse. He is posing as a chemistry professor. He is dressed in what he hopes looks like scientist garb. He put on a shirt and bow tie, and a white smock, similar to a doctor‟s coat. He is also wearing glasses, so he looks more like a professor. He does have on tennis shoes, which tend to squeak as he moves about the room. He is picking the locks on several cabinets, looking for chemicals which can aid in the escape when the time comes. He locates several items and places them on a portable cart, and pushes it to the back of the room. There is a large table he can use for setting everything up and it is out of sight from the door. He locates three beakers, and a glass stirring rod, also a syringe that can hold 500 c.c. of liquid and a hot plate to get things warmed up. He pulls the folded piece of paper out of his wallet to check one last time that he has all the ingredients. Yes, that looks like everything. One more glance at the process he has to follow, and then he puts the paper back away. This is going to be fun, he thinks to himself. He has a few things hidden up his sleeve and he puts his gun into a cabinet for safe keeping. It wouldn‟t look right, if he got caught with a gun on him. Just then the teacher walks in the door. “What‟s this?” He is looking at the stuff Murdock has set up on the table. “Hello Professor. I am here to run a special experiment and you can have the time off to do whatever you like.” “Really? That‟s great! I have this experiment I am working on in my other lab, and I could really use the time. I was thinking about cancelling this class today anyway, but now I won‟t have to. What are you teaching?” “Oh, just a little something I found on the internet.” Murdock tells him the truth as he steers him toward the door and out in the hall. “Believe me, if all goes well, this experiment will make history.” “Maybe I should stay and watch. If it is new, I could learn something from it.” “No, no, no, no that would not work. You see, I‟m a little nervous about teaching it and I don‟t want any colleagues critiquing me before I try it out. No, you just go on your way to your own experiment and I‟ll

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handle the class just fine. I‟ll let you know how it goes and then we‟ll sit down and discuss the results. Bye now, take care.” He manages to get him out and moving down the hall before the bell rings. He can‟t wait for class to start, and there is the bell. Students start pouring out of classrooms, heading for their next class, whether in this building or another. Unbeknownst to the guys, these are the only two classes taking place in this building now. All the other students head out the door and go to other buildings for their next class, or home. The kidnappers have done their homework. The ten students that are on Mr. Thompson‟s list move into their respective classes. Six students, Keri, Michelle, Greg, Thomas, Ben and Ron, go into the history class that Face is teaching. The other four, Kendra, Danny, Bill, and Paul move to Murdock‟s chemistry lab. Now only time will tell. All the players are in place.

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Chapter 13 - The Hostages are Taken Just as the final door in the hall closes, six gunmen and Gary Waters come up out of the basement where they have been working on the bomb. They are all dressed in black with ski masks covering their faces. It doesn‟t really matter because they don‟t intend to leave anyone alive when they depart the building, but Mr. Thompson insisted that they cover their faces. He says that it appears more sinister. Thompson himself is not here. He is waiting several miles away, ready to detonate the bomb when the time comes. He is pacing back and forth in his office on Sepulveda Blvd. He hopes for everyone‟s sake that this goes off on time. He doesn‟t want to hit the button to blow up the bomb too early and lose Waters and the money. Well, the money anyway. He can always get another second in command, but he wants that ten million. He knows that as soon as Waters calls, he will wait exactly ten minutes and then hit the button. Waters will have plenty of time to get far enough away, and in all the confusion that the bomb will cause, they can easily slip out of L.A. and be long gone, without a trace of their being here in the first place. With the pool closed for summer school, it made the basement the perfect hiding place, and they were undisturbed while putting last minute plans together. Everything has gone very smoothly so far and Waters doesn‟t see any problems. The ten kids they want are all in this building where they can trap them and get rid of them, when the time comes. No words are necessary. This group has the timing and application of their jobs down perfectly. Three of the group and Mr. Waters head upstairs to the classroom where Face is starting his lecture. The other three are moving down the hall to the Chemistry Lab. At exactly the same time, they burst into their respective rooms. “May I help you?” Face asks with a note of disdain in his voice for their barging into his class. He was just getting ready to explain to the students what is going down, but he didn‟t get the chance. He was hoping to give them a little forewarning, so maybe they would be able to help out and not panic when things started happening. Well, keep tap dancing and go forward. Without a word the first gunman, shoves him face first onto the desk and places a zip tie around his wrists. With this action and the notice of the guns, the students start screaming and jumping up from their desks as though to take off, they no not where, but out of this room. Waters yells, “sit down and shut up, or we start shooting.” The students obey, but the fear in their eyes increases as he moves further into the room, flanked by the other two gunmen.
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“Do you have a problem with today‟s topic, or are you just against college in general?” Face asks. “Shut up you, or I‟ll have you gagged, understand? Waters is not a very friendly sort, but then most bad guys don‟t seem to have a sense of humor. Face sure hopes B.A. can find the bomb and figure out what to do with it. “I‟ll come around and separate you into two groups. You will do exactly as I say, or you will be shot. Do you understand?” He doesn‟t really expect an answer, but looks at each of the fifteen students in the room and sees it in their eyes. Some do nod their heads as they agree with him silently. He walks by each desk, sending the group he wants to keep, to the window side of the room and the others to the door side. Face is still face down on the desk, but he has managed to move a little to see what is happening. “Not yet, wait until the right time.” He tells himself. Next, Waters tells the gunman closest to the door, to escort the students he doesn‟t want out the door. That only leaves the six hostages they want and Face along with the rest of the kidnappers. He tells the students to line up at the door, because he is moving them. One of the men pulls Face up and shoves him toward the door and he follows the kids downstairs. “Boy it‟s not easy going downstairs with your hands tied behind your back,” he says. “I sure hope I don‟t fall.” They‟ll probably shoot me if I do, he thinks, and I might just want to be put out of my misery after a fall like that. Downstairs in the Chemistry Lab, the same scenario is playing out. They grab Murdock and tie his hands with a zip tie, while separating out the four remaining hostages and turning the others loose. Then the group from upstairs is ushered into the lab. They place all of the students on the floor and put ties on their wrists as well. Face and Murdock are pushed to the back of the room and shoved to the floor. Then, Waters brings out a small video camera, and walks along the line of kids, making sure to get a good view of all of their faces as he goes. “You can smile for the camera, or you can cry. I don‟t care, as long as we get a good view of your faces for your parents to see. That‟s right! Look up.” “Don‟t you want our pictures, too?” Face asks. “I mean, we have families who would be interested in seeing us, also.” “Shut up! You are just extra bodies and we can turn you into “bodies” very quickly.” He points the gun at Face, and then laughs and moves away.

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With the video finished, he takes out his cell phone and places a call. His phone must be on a different frequency, because he is able to get through. However, it must not be on the same frequency as the bomb, because nothing blows up in the process. Face thinks, “This could come in handy later on, if we can get our hands on that phone.” “Mr. Thompson, we have them all. … Yes, all ten. We also have two teachers. … Yes, I‟m sure the whole campus knows by now. … Yes, everything is on schedule. I will make the demands as soon as I am contacted from the outside.” He hangs up the phone, tells everyone to stay quiet and then the terrorist-kidnappers go out the door and lock it behind them. They place a guard in the hall to keep an eye on the room, but they aren‟t really interested in the group, who will soon be dead anyway. Murdock springs into action first. He has hidden a small syringe up his sleeve and he has just enough wiggle room to move it down into his hand. With his thumb, he pushes the needle as best he can into the plastic of the tie wrap and then depresses the plunger. The acid in the syringe, very efficiently, causes the plastic to disintegrate and Murdock is able to break the bond that is holding him. He moves slowly, in case they should look back in the window, toward Face to do the same thing for him. The gunmen didn‟t seem to expect any weapons on two college professors, so they didn‟t even search them. Face then pulls out a small knife and while soothing the students with his voice, moves down the line cutting their ties and freeing them. “Look, stay calm, don‟t move until we tell you to. You are going to be fine. No sudden moves and keep quiet, okay? That‟s it, you are doing great. Just stay sitting here. We have a plan to get you all out, but we need a little time. Okay?” Although the students are terrified, they are listening to Face and doing exactly what he says. His looking like a professor probably helps, that and the confidence he is exuding. While Face is freeing the kids, Murdock is at the table where he starts to work on his “experiment”. With the addition of a few more ingredients, he finishes up the mixture. The glass rod clanks against the side of the beaker, ever so quietly. He hopes this is going to work. There is a slight movement in the beaker, even after he stops stirring. He then turns on the hot plate and sets the beaker of greenish mixture on it. “I think it is working.” He states more to himself than anyone else. Face has come to stand next to him, and Murdock doesn‟t even notice, because he is so intent on his experiment. That‟s why he jumps, when Face asks him, “How‟s it going?”

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“I think it is alive.” He uses his best Boris Karloff imitation and then laughs quietly, yet sinisterly as far as Face is concerned. “Great. How long will it take? Those guys could come back at any time.” “It said in the recipe, that it can take five to ten minutes to cook and then it can take up to thirty minutes to become effective as „a glue to end all glues‟.” “Wow, that long?” “Yeah, but it is going to be fantastic, a masterpiece. Just wait and see.” He has a gleam in his eye that once again, almost scares Faceman. “Right, okay, I‟ll go see if I can take a peek out the door.” Murdock doesn‟t even answer. His attention is all on his “growing” experiment. Face moves to the door, coming at it from the side. He peeks out and can see no one in the hall from the left. Then he ducks down, goes under the door and repeats the action to the right, with the same results. Okay, so far. B.A. is on the third floor, looking around, when everything starts happening. He sees the students running from the front of the building, so he knows things are going down. He looks up and down the hall here on the third floor, but doesn‟t see, or hear anything. He moves to the staircase at the right end of the building and starts slowly heading down. He is almost half way down, when he hears the movement of the students on the second floor heading toward the stairwell. He presses himself as close to the inside wall as he can and holds his breath. If they come up, he‟s dead. Thankfully, they are moving down to the first floor and not toward him. He takes a long needed breath and starts slowly down again. He walks down the hallway toward the room that Face had been in. He goes in and looks around. They must have taken Face with the students, so everything is going okay. Now Face wouldn‟t have his gun on him, so where would he have hidden it? He starts looking through drawers, and finds the gun in the top left one. He keeps it in his hand and steps back into the hall and listens again. Not a sound on this floor either. He once again moves to the stairwell, and slowly starts down. He can hear voices coming from somewhere down below, but he can‟t tell where. Just as he is about to take the last few steps, he hears people coming his way. He again freezes and holds his breath and once again he is lucky. The footsteps and quiet voices move to the door that leads to the basement. They go through the door and down. Funny, that door was supposed to be locked, because the swimming area is off limits for the summer session. He read that on a sign inside the janitor‟s closet. The janitor apparently didn‟t lock the door, or the bad guys had gotten in anyway. Dare he move any further down, or should he hold and see what
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happens next. Something tells him to hold and it is a good thing, because one of the gunmen comes over and sits down on the bottom step and lights a cigarette. B.A. has to inch himself back up the stairs without making a sound, because if this guy turns around, he will be spotted immediately. He manages to get up to the turn and though he doesn‟t know it, he is just out of sight when the guy looks up the stairs behind him, but sees nothing. He is too lazy and too absorbed in his cigarette to get up and go look. He just settles back down and finishes his smoke. Down in the pool area, Douglas has finished putting the bomb together and has placed it in a large gym bag. He then carefully places the gym bag into a cabinet in the corner of the room. Next, he puts several kickboards on top of the pack, so no idle look into the cabinet would discover its whereabouts. He closes the door and locks the cabinet. Okay, the bomb is ready and waiting for Mr. Thompson to detonate once he gets his ransom and they get out of the building. Unfortunately for Mr. Douglas, he doesn‟t know the plan for him does not include getting out of this building.

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Chapter 14 - The Ransom Demands Go Out The students who were let go, head out in all directions. The police, led by Det. Johnson, are just arriving in force, but on silent status, when they see them come running out. Thank goodness, they let most of the students go. Apparently the only ones they are interested in are the ten that the A-Team knows about. The police set up a line of defense along the south parking lot area. Since they know a bomb is involved, they don‟t want to park too close. The building does not have the best access for the police. The kidnappers have planned well. There is a large open space between this parking area and the building. A line of trees runs along both the west and south end and then it is practically butted up against another building on the east. There are bushes along the outer perimeter on every wall but the east, due to a sidewalk between the buildings. “Great, the bad guys can see us coming a mile away,” gripes Johnson. “How are we going to get any closer than this and not a single high position for the sharpshooters from S.W.A.T.” They have planned very well. His thoughts now go to the A-Team inside. He hopes they can pull this off, or he will have more explaining to do, then he has days on this earth. That is, if he lives through the bomb blast that they suspect. A dirty bomb will take out more than this campus. He is praying the team can do the impossible. He reaches back in the car and grabs the microphone attached to the cars speaker system. “You in the building, you are surrounded,” he lies. Might as well keep going, “come out with your hands in the air!” No response, but that was expected, then the radio in the car squawks. “Yeah?” It is dispatch. They have a call coming in from the kidnappers and they are sending it to him. “Okay, put them through. This is Detective Johnson.” “Detective, as you probably know by now, we have twelve hostages in here, who are very frightened and do not want to die. If you meet our demands, we will let them go home to their families tonight. If not, then we will send them and this school and the biggest part of a ten mile radius to the moon.” “Okay, I‟m listening. What do you want?” “First, I have a little video for you and the parents of these student‟s. Watch it. Make sure the parents watch it. Then, have the parents get together and come up with 10 million dollars. Place it in a duffle bag and bring it back here. You have one hour. That‟s one hour, or we will start taking them out one at a

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time. For every ten minutes you are late, we kill a hostage until we have the cash. If you decide not to even try, we have another little surprise for you. There is a dirty bomb planted on this campus. If we don‟t have the money in one hour, or when we run out of hostages, we‟ll leave, and set off the bomb. It‟s all in your court now!” Click I guess that‟s it for now. The video shows up in the cars computer. It shows the kids sitting in a line, hands tied, and looking pretty scared. Yep, all ten are there, was that a member of the A-Team? He is not sure, but he did say twelve people. Well, hopefully they have a good plan, because he is really counting on them. Okay, now how do I send this back to the office so they can pass it along to the parents. “Murphy, come over here. I know you know how to do this. We need to get this back to someone downtown, pronto, to let them know what‟s happening here.” In the lab, Murdock‟s goo, or whatever it is seems to have taken on a life of its own. It has boiled over so that he has to use the other two beakers. He wasn‟t sure how much to make, so he doubled the recipe. He should have plenty now, but there doesn‟t seem to be an end in sight. Murdock carefully picks up the first container then moves over to the door with it and a small brush he had inside his smock pocket. He dips the brush into the goo, and starts applying it to the door frame. He slowly works his way around the whole door, filling in as much of the cracks and openings he can, including the doorknob and lock. He has to return to the table to get the second container, then, moves back to the door to continue. Last, he goes all the way along the bottom, effectively sealing the door to the floor, and then he starts to cover the small glass window. He first looked out to make sure he didn‟t see anyone in the hall before applying it there, because it will definitely be visible to any of the kidnappers should they get close to the door. So far, so good, no one has been down the hall in their direction and now the goo can start to set up. His brush is already beginning to take on the look of a hammer, due to the drying adhesive. “Okay Faceman, I‟m finished with this phase.” All this has taken about forty minutes, and the time limit should be ending soon. Of course, they don‟t know there is a time limit. They‟re just working quickly to get the kids out, without the bad guys knowing, or being able to do anything about it. While Murdock is working on his experiment, Face has a plan of his own going. He takes the large syringe that Murdock has gotten out and fills it with an acid he pulls from the cabinets. He is going around the window sill, and using the needle to lay a bead of acid onto the aluminum frame that holds the window in place. He finishes up, just about the same time as Murdock, so he calls him over.
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“Right, come here and let‟s push this window out. The bushes outside should break the fall don‟t you think? I really don‟t want to shatter the glass. The noise alone could draw attention we don‟t need right now.” “I think you‟re right. Let‟s give it a try.” They get on either side of the 5 x 3 window and using gloves, push the whole window out. It works great and it doesn‟t even break. Next, Murdock takes off his smock, and lays it over the window to protect the kids as they climb out. “Okay, everyone stay together, don‟t panic, and we‟ll all get out of here and to those trees. I think the police are on the other side, and even if not, we‟ll soon be in the cover of the trees, should they spot us.” The advice from Murdock fills the kids with confidence. He climbs out the window, then he and Face help the kids climb out one at a time. They are on the west side of the building, so no one, not even the cops, notice them climbing out. They are standing along the side of the building waiting for all to get out before heading to safety. Then, Murdock grabs Keri‟s hand and starts leading them toward the line of trees, and freedom. Once there, the students head toward the police cars in the parking area. Murdock accompanies them to let Det. Johnson know what‟s going on inside and fill him in a little more as to their plan. Face turns back to the building as soon as the kids are in the trees. The team still has to find the bomb and decide what to do to keep it from detonating. He goes around to the north side of the building and finds a door. It‟s locked, as he suspects, but he quickly picks the lock and slips in. He‟s in the alcove by the janitor‟s closet. The door is probably used for bringing things in and out of the building without disturbing classes that are in progress. He sticks his head around the corner, so he can see down the hall. Nothing, but just as he starts to step out, he hears and sees the door open that leads to what he thinks is the basement. He ducks back into the alcove just in time. “Okay, the hour is up. Let‟s see what the police have brought us.” Waters pulls out his cell phone and dials the number. “Time is up! You have our money, or are we shooting kids?... “Good, bring it up, slowly, just you.” Face blows out air. He has been holding his breath the whole time, not knowing exactly what is happening outside. Well, I guess they are still bringing up the money, unless it‟s a trick, and then who knows what will happen next. He needs to be ready to move and move quickly. They will soon discover the kids are gone, and then what, the bomb gets detonated? Probably not with the terrorists in here, so he

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should have a little time to look for it. Maybe B.A. has discovered its whereabouts. Right, but where is B.A. As it so happens, B.A. is once again on the stairwell, up around the corner and out of sight. He is listening to the conversation and wondering the same things Face is, except he doesn‟t know that the kids are out of the building yet. Okay, now what? He can hear the one sided conversation, so he knows they are getting the money. What should he do? For now he is just going to continue to hang loose, and hope that when things happen, he will be close enough to help out. The bad guys are spreading out around the main entrance to the building. Waters opens the door a crack and yells, “Hold it right there. Now toss the duffle toward the door.” Det. Johnson follows the orders that are being given to him. “Now,” continues Waters,” move clear back to the cars. If I see one person make an aggressive move, we stop everything and begin the shootings!” Johnson moves quickly back to the car line, and hopes and prays the whole way, that the A-Team has things under control. Waters sends one of the gunmen out to grab the bag. He backs back in the door keeping an eye on the line of cops. Once inside, Waters grabs the duffle from him and inspects the inside. It looks like ten million and the weight is right. He also inspects the bag for chemical dyes, tracking devices or anything else the friendly cops might have put into it. He doesn‟t see anything, but it really doesn‟t matter because he transfers the money into a different duffle bag before telling the men to get ready to move out. Two of them know what their job is, dispatching of the students. Mr. Thompson wants them dead before the bomb goes off. I guess he has a little heart, because the blast will not be pretty. “Hey, what‟s all this stuff on the window? I can‟t see in!” This is from the guard who was supposed to be watching the students, not smoking in the stairwell. Waters pushes his way past the other gunmen to see what this guy is talking about. “What in the world? Open that door, NOW!” The gunman steps forward with the key, but it won‟t go into the lock. Next, another guy steps up and the two of them try to break down the door. Nothing! Finally, three of them rush it, but only get knocked back, not even moving it. “Way to go Murdock. That stuff works great. You are right, a real masterpiece.” Face doesn‟t say this loud enough for anyone to hear, but he will let Murdock know just how stymied these guys are by his goo, when and if he gets the chance. “I don‟t know what‟s going on, but I want you all to get this door open, no matter what it takes.”

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Waters doesn‟t care if the kids are shot, or blown up. He knows he is going out the back door and away from here before Mr. Thompson blows the whole place up, and everyone in it. He chuckles to himself as he heads for the door on the east side, away from the prying eyes of the police. His means of escape should be waiting for him. Murdock starts to head back into the building. He has given Johnson the layout and the bad guy count and that should be enough for now. Now he has to get back in to help Face and B.A. with the bomb. Wait a minute. What‟s that he hears? A chopper, and he bets it is heading for the open field behind the building, where everything is going down. That‟s where he would put down, if it was up to him. He heads out at a run, around the trees and moves as quickly as he can to the waiting bird. If he comes in from the back, the pilot won‟t see him. Stealthily now, he sneaks up to the open door on the right side of the chopper. He reaches in and grabs as much jacket as he can, pulling the guy toward the door and his right fist. The momentum is enough to knock him out. Next, he takes off the pilot‟s helmet, placing it on his own head. He then drags the limp pilot to the tree line and strips him down, putting on as many of his clothes as necessary to disguise himself as the pilot. He jogs back to the helicopter, and settles in just as Waters comes out between the buildings and heads his way. Murdock puts his hand with the gun, which he retrieved from the cabinet, just inside his borrowed jacket. Waters, not noticing that it isn‟t his pilot at the controls, steps up to the bird, shoves, a big duffle bag in the back, wedging it under the seat and then climbs upfront with Murdock and buckles in. Now Murdock takes action. He pulls out his gun and says, “Surprise! I bet you weren‟t expecting me.” Waters curses, and makes a move for his own gun. Murdock sticks the barrel of his gun right in Waters‟ chest. “I don‟t think you want to do that. Now do you? Take it out nice and easy and put it in the back seat.” Waters takes his gun out and places it on the floor in the back. “What are you doing? You don‟t know what‟s happening. If I don‟t show up at the rendezvous, someone will make a hole big enough to bury the Rose Bowl. There is a bomb planted in that college and he will detonate it, if he doesn‟t hear from me in about ten minutes!” “So give him a call, and tell him to hold off a few minutes, cause there is a delay, or something.” “I can‟t! He is waiting to see this bird coming in, and now there is no way we can get there in time. You idiot, we are all going to be dead in about ten minutes!” “Well, that may be true, but I am not an idiot, and I have friends who‟re going to stop this. Before I kill you, tell me where Thompson is.”
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“Why would I do that? If you‟re going to kill me anyway, I think I won‟t say anything.” “You know, instead of shooting you, I think I‟ll just set you down on top of that building and let the bomb take you out. Or you could tell me where Thompson is and I could let you make a run for it. Your choice.” Waters thinks about the bomb and decides he would rather try to get away. “Okay. He is in a building down on Sepulveda. It has a helo pad on top and he‟s going to set off the bomb as soon as he sees this chopper, or when the time is up. You are down to nine minutes, already!” “I have had enough of you. Out.” With that, Murdock, forces Waters out of the helicopter. He knows now that Thompson isn‟t here. Thompson has a time limit for Waters to get out and then he is going to blow this building no matter if there are people here, or not. The kidnapping victims didn‟t stand a chance, or the cops out front for that matter. The guys have got to find that bomb and figure out what to do with it, once they do. If not maybe, he can still get them out of there. He pulls back on the stick and the helicopter takes off. Waters runs toward the trees where he is immediately picked up by the waiting police. “Well, I think the top of the Science and History Building looks strong enough to sit down on.” He will have to take his chances. Now he just needs to find a way to get B.A. and Face up to him.

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Chapter 15 - The Bomb Goes Off Face has got to get out of this alcove and find B.A., but now the terrorists are right in front of him, banging with everything they can to try to get into the classroom. What‟s that noise? It sounds like a helicopter. Could it be? No, that‟s probably the bad guys ride out of here. By the way, where has Waters disappeared to, and Murdock? He thought he was coming back in to help find the bomb. He hasn‟t seen either of them since these guys went to work on the door. One of them must be reading Face‟s mind, because he voices the same concerns about Waters as Face has. “Hey, where did that helicopter come from? You think it‟s the police? And where is Waters?” They all look at each other, and take off running to the window at the far end of the building. Now is Face‟s chance. He runs as fast as he can to the opposite end of the hall. The gunmen turn when they hear him and pull their weapons and start firing. Face doesn‟t have his gun, so he just keeps running as fast as he can and practically dives through the door to the basement. Wait! Someone is firing right next to him! B.A. steps out from the stairwell and lays down a line of fire, so that Face can get inside the door. It just about shuts, then flies open again, and B.A. and Face are looking at each other. B.A. hands Face his gun, which he had retrieved from the desk drawer. B.A. then turns and locks the door, and they head down the stairs. “Thanks B.A. I‟m sure glad it was you on those stairs.” “No problem man, let‟s go down.” On the way down, they catch the overwhelming scent of chlorine. The pool can be seen from the bottom of the stairs. “Face, I think the bomb is down here. This is where they came when they locked you guys in.” “Well, move quickly, we have to find it and fast. It could go off at any time.” Face starts moving around the pool to the right. There aren‟t many places to hide something over here, so he just keeps skirting the edge of the pool. He does pick up a tarp over a canoe, but nothing here. Then he sees a stack of black trash bags holding something. He carefully opens one up and finds life jackets. He moves to the next, with the same results.

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B.A. moves left around the pool, nothing so far, but there is a cabinet at the far corner. He moves to the cabinet and, of course, it is locked. “Face, you‟re faster, come pick this lock.” Face moves around the pool end and comes to the cabinet. He picks the lock quickly, and B.A. opens the doors. Nothing at first, then B.A. moves a stack of kickboards and they see a large gym bag. It is so out of place in this cabinet, they figure it must be the bomb. B.A. gingerly picks it up, and carefully opens the zipper just far enough to peer inside. “It‟s the bomb! Now what?” They both hear the helicopter at the same time. Face moves over to the window. It is high up on the wall, but he can see enough of the sky to pick up the helicopter. He can‟t tell how many are in it, but then he notices a very familiar waggle. It is Murdock. He used to dip his helicopter back and forth like that to let the team know it was him, and he was ready for pick-up. Nobody else Face has known does that maneuver just like Murdock. Okay he is out there and we are down here. Now what do we do with the bomb. Just as he starts to think about their next move, Murdock pulls up and heads to the roof of the building. Now Face gets it. They can go to the roof and escape from the building, but what to do with the bomb. He turns to B.A. “Any ideas about what to do next?” “No, I was hopin‟ you had one. I don‟t know enough about this type of bomb ta even think about diffusin‟ it.” “Yeah, well neither do I, so now what?” Face is trying desperately to think of something. Then he spots the trash bags again. “B.A.? What if we put the bomb into the trash bags and seal them as best we can, then slip it into the deep end of the pool? That way if the bomb goes off the blast will be deflected somewhat by the water. Do you think it will work?” “I don‟t know man, but what have we got ta lose?” “Well for starters, our lives. Let‟s get going, we don‟t have much time, and by the way, Murdock is up on the roof ready to get us out of here.” “Oh yeah, how‟s that?” but Face has turned away and is running back to the trash bags. Murdock in the meantime has flown to every side of the building. He maneuvers the helicopter and dips it back and forth. It is an old signal he used to use. He just hopes Face, or B.A. sees him, so they know what to do. As he is moving to the west end of the building, he hears gunfire. First, automatic
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weapons, then forty-fives, he knows the guys have forty-fives so they are having to use them for some reason. He can‟t do much to help in there right now, so he continues on around the building. He only has one more side to do, then he will go to the roof and hold. “I‟ll hang in there til the last second guys, and my watch says about three more minutes.” Face picks up two trash bags, dumps the vests out and heads back to B.A. “Here, I‟ll put one inside the other, and maybe that will make it more watertight. Okay, B.A. I‟ll hold it while you put it in. Careful, not too fast, we don‟t want to drop it!” “I ain‟t gonna drop it! Quit shakin‟ the bag!” “I‟m trying. Believe me.” “Okay, here is some duct tape I found in that cabinet. You hold it and I‟ll tape the opening.” They finish the task and B.A. carries the bag over to the pool‟s deep end. “Do you think this will work?” Face is looking to B.A. for confirmation. “I don‟t know, but it‟s the best we can do, unless you just want ta let it lay here while we run for cover. It may go off the minute it hits the water, I dunno…” he trails off. “No, let‟s try, we‟ve come this far.” Face‟s insides are telling him this may be the end of the A-Team. With him and B.A. standing right here and Murdock three floors up in the chopper, it could all end right now! On the ground, the police take the student hostages as far away from the site as soon as they can. The few police that are left, are snagging the bad guys as they pour out of the building hoping to get away before the blast. When they noticed that Waters had left them, they figured the bomb would be going off shortly after, so they bailed. They were actually happy the police put them into cars and started moving away from the building. Det. Johnson is the last to leave. He hopes that the A-Team can get out before the bomb goes off, but he isn‟t sure they can. When he sees the helicopter come in, he figures it is the leader making his escape before the bomb blast. Well maybe it will take him with it since he is setting the thing down right on the roof. “I guess I better go. I pray you guys make it out.”

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The bag slides into the water with several bubbles being released out of the plastic. They don‟t stick around to assess it any longer. They are on a run for their lives up the flight of stairs from the basement, and then two more flights up and to the roof access at the far end of the hall. B.A. goes first and pushes up the trap door that opens onto the roof. Once they are both out, they head to the helicopter. B.A. stops at the door and refuses to get in. “No! I‟m not gonna fly!” Murdock has lost all patience with him. “Look, get in or be blown up, that bomb can go off any second! Don‟t be such a baby.” While Murdock has him occupied, Face pulls out his gun, and with both hands on the barrel, brings the butt end of the gun down on B.A.‟s neck. It works! With a loud grunt, B.A. slumps forward and his upper half falls into the helicopter. Face uses all the strength he has left to push the rest of B.A. into the bird and buckles him in. He climbs up front with Murdock, and buckles himself in. Before his seatbelt clicks into place, Murdock is lifting up and off the roof. The helicopter travels about two hundred yards away from the building, when the bomb goes off. The shock wave propels the helicopter forward. The bird jumps and pitches like an angry brahma bull, but Murdock keeps it in the air and moving away from the fall-out from the bomb. Face is white faced and holding on for dear life, only B.A. looks as if he is enjoying the ride. Of course he is unconscious and oblivious to all that is happening both here in the air and on the ground.

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Chapter 16 – The Fall-out Later they will find out that by slipping the bomb into the water, the detonation was somewhat diffused. The thing no one knew, not even Mr. Thompson, was that the “plutonium” was really just a bunch of rocks painted with a small trace of radioactive material. Just enough to make a Geiger counter pick up a reading. Mr. Thompson was duped by Captain D‟Jean and cheated out of his million dollars. As Robert Burns would say, “The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.” How appropriate for Thompson, Waters, and the rest of their gang. For Thompson and Waters did not get their ten million dollars, and their men did not get blown up by the bomb, so they were able to tell the police everything to try to save themselves and get Thompson picked up in the process. As it turns out, the only part of the bomb that worked was the plastic explosives that they packed tightly around the fake plutonium. The college building was demolished, but nothing else. In fact the only thing still standing was the door, that and a piece of the floor and upper frame where Murdock had glued it. That piece left a very funny memorial to the ingenuity of the A-Team. Thompson is watching the sky intently for the helicopter that is bringing him his money and his ride out of here. Come on Waters! You should be here in less than two minutes. I really don‟t want to blow up all that lovely money. Time slowly passes, but finally the alarm on his watch starts beeping. Time‟s up buddy, I guess something went wrong. He leans over and pushes the button on the remote control switch. A few seconds then, Wow! I actually felt the blast. That was fun, anyway. I will have to find another second in command and start over. Once Murdock gets the chopper under control, he turns to Face and says, “I know where Thompson is. We need to get there and pick him up, before he escapes from justice.” “Let‟s go. Just hope B.A. doesn‟t wake up before we get him.” Murdock follows the line of streets from about fifty feet up. He locates Sepulveda and goes north until he finds the building they are looking for. It is a high rise with a helo pad on top. He comes in and gently sets the bird down. He and Face jump out and head to the door where Thompson should be coming out after he gets off the elevator. They hold waiting for him. A few minutes before, Thompson looks out the window one last time, and sees the helicopter coming. Great! He made it out! He grabs the bag that carries all his things. He has already wiped down everything to get rid of any trace of his being here. He slips gloves on his hands and heads to the elevator. He pushes the button for the roof and the doors close as he heads up.
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He gets out of the elevator and walks across the small hallway to the outside door that leads to the landing pad. He turns the handle and starts to push the door open, when Murdock grabs the handle from the outside and yanks the door the rest of the way. Face is standing on the open door side, his gun leveled on Thompson. Murdock moves out from behind the door and puts his gun barrel on Thompson‟s forehead and cocks the gun by moving the slide back and releasing it “Just make one move, please. I really want to blow you away.” A flicker of fear crosses Thompson‟s face. He finally says, “Are you crazy? Who are you anyway?” Murdock says, “We are the garbage collectors, and we‟re here for pick up. Since you fit the bill, we‟re gonna take you out and bury you.” “Wait a minute. Please! Just wait. I have money. I can get you money.” “Are you kidding me? Do we look like we want money? You almost killed 12 people at a college and who knows how many in the surrounding area, and you think money will get you off? Besides you were instrumental in the death of a very dear friend of ours. If you think we are going to let you go, you are crazier than my friend here.” Face is astonished at his lack of feelings and callousness. Murdock hasn‟t moved a muscle. Face begins to think that he might pull the trigger. “Murdock? Murdock, please, let the police have him. He isn‟t worth your time and energy to take out. We‟ll just turn him over and you can go back and see Kelly.” Face thought mentioning Kelly‟s name here might help, and it does. Instead of shooting the guy, he pulls back his fist and hits him square in the face as hard as he can. So hard in fact, it knocks him clear back in the door and he ends up slumped against the elevator doors. Between the two of them, they get Thompson into the helicopter next to B.A. and Murdock heads back toward the college. He finds a nice open spot to land the chopper, he hopes far enough out of the fall-out area. They are a little shaken up, but no one is hurt, with maybe the exception of B.A.‟s head, and Thompson‟s jaw, but who cares about him. Murdock and Face just sit there wondering how they got out and how much radiation they have absorbed. B.A. is still out and looking rather peaceful. He won‟t be for long, but neither one of them has the strength to do anything about it right now. Murdock finally switches on the chopper‟s radio and tries to reach Det. Johnson. He finally gets patched through and tells him approximately where they have landed and within minutes, they are surrounded by police cars. No one is making a move toward them, but they are probably not going to be leaving anytime soon. They
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finally unbuckle and climb out of the helicopter. They just leave B.A. strapped in, so hopefully they can get away from him before he wakes up and tries to kill them. “Wow! That was quite a ride. Did you enjoy it Faceman?” “Oh right, it was a great ride. However, I don‟t want to repeat it, ever! At least B.A. didn‟t have to see how we flew out of there. He might have had a heart attack. In fact, I‟m not too sure I‟m not going to have one.” “Aw, Face, it was just a little bumpy, I got us down okay, didn‟t I?” “Right.” “And we managed to get Thompson for the police.” “Yeah, speaking of that, were you really thinking about shooting him? You had me kinda worried for a minute.” “I don‟t know. I thought about it, but then Hannibal said, „it‟s okay Murdock, you don‟t have to do this for me.‟ Then you mentioned Kelly, and that sealed the deal.” “AAAH! What‟s goin‟ on here? Get me outta here!” “Hold on big guy. It‟s just a seatbelt. You can undo a seatbelt, can‟t you?” “Faceman, I‟m gonna kill you. You hit me in the head. You‟re dead man, dead!” “Well we may all be dead. I‟m not too sure we got out of there before that bomb sent fall-out materials all over us.” B.A. walks over and joins them, getting as far away from the helicopter as possible. “Whadda you mean, fall-out? The bomb went off?” “Yeah B.A., the bomb went off. You got to miss it all cause I knocked you out, and if I hadn‟t gotten you into that chopper, you would definitely be dead now, okay?” “Well, you know I don‟t like flyn‟, but … I guess I need ta tell you thanks. You too, Murdock, thanks.” “No problem B.A., but you sure missed a great ride. Right Face?” “Oh yeah B.A., you missed a great flight.” Face says dripping sarcasm.

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“Where are we?” “About ten miles from the college, I think. It was a little hairy there for a while, so I‟m not positive.” “Man, my van is at that college! It better not be hurt, or I‟m gonna take it out on someone, and since you‟re the closest, I guess it will be you!” Murdock takes a step back, but only stares at B.A. “If you didn‟t park too close, the van should be okay, in about twenty years, or so, once the radiation is spent.” “What? What you mean sucker? I‟m not going ta be able ta drive my van?” “Well the half-life on Plutonium is about…” Murdock doesn‟t get to finish his science lesson, because at that moment Det. Johnson comes through the police line and calls out to them. “Guys, good news! They‟ve already run a scan on the area and there is no radiation involved with the bomb. You‟re all fine and there will be no ill effects to you, or the people who were within the radius of the bomb.” “Really? No plutonium, or uranium, or anything?” Face is very excited. He was envisioning his hair falling out in clumps and that wasn‟t a pretty sight. He automatically rubs his hand through his hair. “Well it was still a bomb, but not a radioactive one. By the way, what did you do? It blew up most of the building, but it should‟ve been a whole lot worse?” “We slipped it into the swimming pool in the basement. I guess it worked, B.A.” B.A. gets a big grin on his face and says, “Yeah, good job.” “By the way, detective, we have Thompson in the helicopter. He‟s unconscious, but alive.” “How did you find him?” “Well, when I got Waters in the helicopter, I ah, persuaded him to tell me where Thompson was.” Murdock looks a little sheepish. “That explains why he came tearing out of the bushes, like a demon was after him.” “Really? I didn‟t know I was that effective.” Murdock smiles. “But I do have one other question. Where is the money? I mean, when we grabbed Waters, he didn‟t have the money with him. Did he ditch it somewhere?”
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Murdock hits himself in the head with the flat of his hand and says, “Oh right, it‟s in the helicopter.” “You mean we were flying around with ten million dollars in that helicopter, and you didn‟t remember, or tell me?” Face can‟t believe it. He has a private thought, that they could have just kept flying and lived like kings. Oh well, that‟s the way it goes. Murdock comes back dragging the duffle bag. “Man is ten million really this heavy? I can‟t believe this. Come on B.A. give me a hand.” Detective Johnson signals and two policemen come over and relieve Murdock of his burden. He is a little reluctant to let it go, but he does. Det. Johnson follows the bag to the car. “Well I guess that‟s it for here.” Face is really tired and would just like to sit down now. “Go ahead Face, you can say it if you want.” “Say what, Murdock?” “You know, „you love it when a plan comes together.‟ I know it was what Hannibal always said, but he told me you could say it, if you want.” “Right, I guess I could, but I think I‟ll just let that be Hannibal‟s line.” “Well if you change your mind, it will be okay.” “Murdock when did Hannibal tell you that?” “Just now, when the plan was done and it worked out of course.” “But? … never mind.” He’s right kid, it is for a job well done, and you have my permission to use it when your plans come together in the future. Hannibal, there aren‟t going to be any more plans, remember, we retired a long time ago. But you guys are so good together, and I bet you are all bored with the lives you’re living now, right? Wrong! This was a one time, get the job done, sort of thing. No more, got it? “Did you say something, Faceman?” “No Murdock, I was just thinking out loud, I guess.” Did I say that out loud? I didn‟t think so. Oh well this has been a long day and a trying time for all of us. I‟m probably just really tired. “I agree, it has been a long day. Let‟s see if we can get a ride back to the van.”
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Not again! How is it that Murdock keeps saying, what I am thinking. I just don‟t get it. I wish I knew why this keeps happening, but then again, maybe I don‟t want to know. “Hey you two, come on. They said we could go back, so‟s I can check on my van. Come on, let‟s go!” They climb into a police car that takes them back to the college. It parks in the parking lot where the police cars were parked earlier. B.A. climbs out and runs to where he parked the van. He walks all around it, checking it from every angle. “Not a scratch on her, only a little dust from the buildin‟ blowin‟ up!” Face and Murdock both let out the breath they were holding. They might get to sleep a little easier tonight, knowing that B.A. is not planning on killing them. “Well, if it‟s all the same to you guys, I‟m ready to head home. I need a shower and a good night‟s sleep.” “I agree Face, let‟s get back to your place. I‟m exhausted. But, I have something else I have to do first.” Murdock climbs into the van and grabs his cell phone. “I‟ve got to call Kelly and let her know I‟m okay before she hears about this on the news. I see several news channels hanging around and I don‟t want her worrying about me.” “Good idea. Tell her we‟re all fine.” “Well, I‟m ready to get outta here. I‟ve seen enough of a college campus ta last me a life time.” B.A. goes to the back and opens it up so they can stow their weapons. Kelly answers on the first ring. He knew it. She is sitting on the phone, awaiting his call. “Hi, Hun. I‟m fine and we did a great job of keeping anyone from getting hurt. Look I can‟t explain everything now, but we‟re all fine and we‟re heading back to Face‟s place now. Pause listening. Right, let me call you back after I catch a shower. I am really tired, but I‟ll call soon. I love you. … I will. Not much longer, I promise.” “How‟s Kelly doing? Is she okay?” Face feels for the two of them. This is probably the longest they have been apart since they were married. “She‟s doing great! You know I wanted to tell her everything, but it‟s kind of hard when you haven‟t been around this kind of life like we have. She really just wanted to know that I was okay, and you guys, too. Of course she heard the news on the television and was worried, but now she is doing fine, just fine.”
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“Good. I‟m sure you can fill in some of the holes once you get home. When are you heading out?” “Well, I think we have a few things to do, like make sure everything is all cleared up, and we have Hannibal‟s place to clear out. I‟m not going to leave all that to you and B.A. I mean, it‟s a lot of work and I‟m not shirking my responsibility.” “You‟re right. We all have a few things to finish. So, I guess it‟s back to my place as soon as they let us go. I thought Johnson was following us back over here.” “I haven‟t seen him, but I say let‟s go.” B.A. has walked up beside them. “B.A. I don‟t know if we can. I hate to just sneak off. I mean we were here helping the police.” “Well, if he don‟t show up soon, I‟m outta here. I don‟t like bein‟ here, and I‟m tired and you know I get cranky when I get tired.” “I know. I guess I better call him before they haul us off to jail for blowing up that building.” Face dials the phone and Johnson answers on the fourth ring. “Hey, where are you, we‟re down here on the back side of the college and we‟re being looked at sideways. Are you going to get us out of this, or do we need to just take off? … “Right, okay. Well then, we will just hang here for a few more minutes. To the guys, “He says he‟ll be right back. They‟re tying up Mr. Thompson now, and then he‟ll come over here. He also said to tell you guys that we did a great job, but he is going to have some explaining to do. So I guess it‟s up to you guys. Do we go, or do we wait for him? I dunno Face, the police can be kinda funny when it comes ta carry‟n weapons and blowin‟ up buildin‟s. “Right, you angry mudsucker, let‟s just blow out of here before they know what hit them.” “Grrrr, I‟m gonna blow you outta here, sucker.” “Ah Murdock, I‟m trying to get him to stay.” Face conveniently places himself between the two of them before something happens to escalate the problem. B.A. turns and heads toward the driver‟s side of his van. “Oh great, he‟s getting in the van, now how am I going to explain this to Det. Johnson?” “No worries Face. I‟ll get him back over here and you can wait for Johnson. Then we will all head back to your place. Sounds like a plan, right? Just don‟t let the boys in blue put you into a car and haul you away before I get back, okay?”

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“Sure, I‟ll just wait here.” He can hear Murdock and B.A. going at it. It‟s kind of nice to have them all back together, even the craziness and the fighting. It‟s kind of like music. A very weird kind, and most people wouldn‟t agree, but it‟s music to Face‟s ears anyway. “Well Colonel, we pulled it off, and not a bad job if I do say so myself.” Just then, Det. Johnson pulls up. “You guys are free to go. I have some major explaining to do, but you all are off the hook.” He reaches out to shake Faceman‟s hand. “Thanks for everything. I may be off the force, but we did a good job here, or I should say, you did a good job here, and you should get a medal or something, but don‟t count on it. What‟s with those two?” He nods toward Murdock and B.A. “Oh, nothing. They‟re just discussing our next move. And you‟re welcome. It feels pretty good fooling the bad guys and spoiling their plans, not to mention getting the sleezeball behind Hannibal‟s death. Yeah, I think all in all, it was a pretty good day.” “Well thanks again. Maybe I‟ll see you around, but for now, you might want to just lay low, know what I mean?” “Right, we‟re out of here. Let‟s go, B.A., before they change their minds and start asking too many questions.” They all climb into the van, and B.A. squeals out of the parking lot. “B.A. did you have to do that, there must be twenty policemen here?” “Yeah, I did, and don‟t be tellin‟ me how ta drive. I know just what I am doin‟, got it?” They are all silent, lost in their own thoughts for the drive back to Face‟s apartment. B.A. growled when they asked him if he was coming up. Then pulled away from the curb, leaving skid marks on the way to his own place for a much needed shower and rest. Murdock and Face go up the elevator and into the apartment. They each head silently to their respective rooms shower and collapse on their beds. Exhaustion sets in and they sleep for hours before waking up hungry and in need of friendship after the harrowing day they have just had. B.A. comes back over around nine o‟clock and they finally talk about the day and everything that happened. They fill B.A. in on what was happening while he was upstairs. They even laugh at Murdock‟s glue and how it worked so well. Again they stay up late and finally settle down for a good night‟s sleep, knowing they have been instrumental in saving lives once again.
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Chapter 17 – The Last Will and Testament When they all get together the next day, Face broaches a touchy subject. “Ah, when I was at Hannibal‟s place getting his picture for the obituary, I found a will. I know we all have wills here in my safe, but there was also one in his desk drawer. I figure it‟s a newer version, but I‟ll cross check it with the one I have as far as dates go. Anyway, I was the executor of his first one, but I haven‟t even opened the other one. I wanted to wait until we were all together and could sit down and look at it. Any objections?” “No”, both Murdock and B.A. say at the same time. “Okay, let me get it.” He goes over to his safe, which is in the floor under a rug, in front of the fireplace. He gets down on one knee and opens it with a few turns of the dial and reaches in. He makes a small groan as he gets back to his feet. “I‟m going to have to get that moved to a better location. My knees aren‟t what they used to be.” Face walks over to the table and puts the folder down. The other two come over to join him. They each sit down and wait for him to explain what is in the folder. “Well, here is the will that Hannibal gave me many years ago, and here is the one I found. Let‟s see. The date on the new will is only a week before Hannibal died, so I guess it will replace the one I had in safekeeping. New Will and Testament of John Hannibal Smith, dated this 14th day of July, 2010. I, John Hannibal Smith, being of sound mind and body, do place this will into effect this day. I am asking Templeton Peck to be the executor of this will and I ask him to please abide by everything that I have written here. First, I must say that if this will is being read, then I must be dead. I hope I went out with the style I am accustomed to. I always liked playing a death scene, so hopefully mine was beautiful. Well, let‟s move on. I wish for all my household items to be given to the Disabled American Veterans. I don‟t have anything real special, but they can have everything in my apartment, with the exception of a few items, which I will lay out next. To Face, I leave the humidor that Murdock won and gave to me. Since you are the only one that smokes cigars, I figure you will get the most out of it, also
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the many paintings that you gave me over the years. They brightened up this place and made it very nice. You can also have my make-up and my wardrobe that is in storage, if you need it for any reason in the future. To B.A., I leave all the neat gadgets that you made for me over the years. I still have several in the storage space and a few here at the apartment. You know B.A. you really should patent some of these. They could be worth a fortune. I also leave you all the tools I have, which are few and far between, but you can probably get some use out of them, and the small percentage I have in those two boxers, Morgan and Stiles. Keep an eye on them. I think they will go far. Murdock, I leave you my video, record, and cd collections and the vintage record player that you gave me for Christmas three years ago. Enjoy! You may also have my small hat collection. I think you gave me most of them in the first place. That leaves the Mercedes. I always thought of her as a girl and I think she should go to a beautiful girl who will not race her, or take her around corners on two wheels. I hope that Kelly enjoys her and drives her with style. “Oh wow! I can‟t believe he gave his baby to Kelly. I am so touched.” “That‟s right, you‟re certainly touched.” “Guys I‟m not finished yet, do you mind?” “Go ahead, Face, we‟ll be quiet.” B.A. gives Murdock a glare that says “be quiet”, and Murdock closes his mouth without saying another word. “Ahem, let‟s see, where was I? Oh right.” Face, get all the weapons out and split them up amongst you three. I know you don‟t think you will need them in the future, but who knows? They might come in handy. In fact, I think you might just need them sooner than you think. Oh, if you can find Colonel Decker, give him my forty-five. I think it will bring back fond memories. If not, Face, you take it. It is the gun that a leader should have, and you are officially now the leader of the A-Team, whether you like it or not. Got it? Last, I would like you to split my assets equally. I hope you do something that will make me proud. I know you will because you always have. Well, I guess that‟s it. I will see you all on the other side, when your time comes. Keep in touch with each other, and remember you are always a team.

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Nothing is said after Face finishes reading the will. They are all thinking the same thing though. Each one of them would rather have the Colonel back, than any of his things. Finally Face breaks the silence. “Well, that‟s all there is.” “Right,” Murdock says through a choked up throat. “Face, what do you think? Did he know something was going to happen? I mean what was that about us needing the weapons?” “It don‟t mean nothin‟ fool, he was Hannibal and he always saw another battle in his future. That‟s just the way he was.” “I don‟t know B.A., I really don‟t know. Maybe Murdock is right, maybe Hannibal did know that something was going to happen. I mean, he did rewrite his will, and if I would have read it before now, he would have been aiming us toward doing what we ended up doing anyway.” “Wow, I never thought of it that way. Maybe that‟s why Hannibal keeps talking to me. He needed to make sure we followed through and solved this crime.” “What, what did you say crazy man? Are you bein‟ crazy again?” “Now B.A., I think Murdock is fine. You need to back off and leave him alone. You know you are really going to drive him crazy with all this.” “Yeah B.A., I need all the help I can get right now, you know with Hannibal gone, and being away from Kelly, and all.” “Well, I just don‟t want ta hear you talkin‟ about hearin‟ Hannibal. I don‟t like that weird stuff, and you know it, so cool it!” Everyone calms down and they make plans for going to Hannibal‟s apartment to clean it out. “I can get a truck and meet you all over there about 8:00 a.m.” “Ah B.A., could you make that 10:00? I really would like to sleep in and…” He sees the look on B.A.‟s face and says, “8:00a.m.? Fine, that will be great.” “I‟ll call the DAV and see if they can come by and pick up all the household items, and if they need to be in boxes, or whatever.” Murdock grabs the phone book and looks up the number. While he is calling, there is a knock at the door. Face answers it to see Det. Johnson standing in the hall.

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“Come in, how‟s it going Detective? You didn‟t come to arrest us did you?” “No, no, I just came to fill you in on all the details. I figured I owed you all that.” Murdock hangs up the phone and comes over to sit down to listen. “You mean, there is more to all that mess than we knew?” “Right, Captain! It seems that Thompson tried to buy plutonium from a freighter captain named D‟Jean. He pulled a trick and only coated some rocks with enough radioactive material to cause a Geiger counter to register. So Thompson lost out all the way around. The money he was stealing from the banks to buy the plutonium just went to line D‟Jean‟s pockets. D‟Jean was picked up by Homeland Security for various charges of terrorism and aiding a terrorist in the commission of a crime, etc. He doesn‟t get to spend his money either. They just got to him before he hit international waters. Pretty ironic when you think about it. It‟s just too bad that Colonel Smith had to die. “Not if you look at it in one sense. I mean we wouldn‟t have gotten involved at all if the Colonel hadn‟t been shot.” “I don‟t know Face, Hannibal may have decided this was crazy enough to bring us out of retirement for.” Murdock always likes to look at the crazy side of things and B.A. is the first to comment about it. “Only you would come up with that kind of crazy logic. I think your brain just rattles around inside your head.” “Well, Waters and Thompson are a pretty closed mouth duo, but not their group. They have been naming names and giving details. Anything that will maybe help them get off easier. I guess you know most of what went on. They were just a group of would be terrorists, who were thwarted by the A-Team once again. The next best thing is that the commissioner is not going to fire me for bringing you all in on this. However, I better keep my nose clean from here on out. We do have a lot of other cases that could use you guy‟s expertise, shall we say, if and when you want to help out!” “I‟m afraid we are re-retired, if you know what I mean.” “I don‟t know Faceman, we could think about helping out once in a while, don‟t you think B.A.?” “No, I don‟t. I don‟t like workin‟ for the police, and you know it!”

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“Well, anyway guys, I just wanted to tell you all “thanks” again for all you did. You performed a great service for this city, and I have something special for you. It‟s a check from the parents of the students that you saved.” He hands the check to Face. He takes one look and he smiles. One of those smiles that goes from ear to ear. “How much is it for Face?” Murdock asks. “One million dollars!” “You‟re kiddin‟? We never got a payment like that!” B.A. is astonished. “Maybe we should rethink our position on re-retiring.” Face says. “Maybe.” Again Murdock and B.A. say the same thing at the same time. “I gotta go guys. I still have some paperwork to do. You know how it is. We have to do everything by the book. It‟s not your long suit I know, but I have to. Well, thanks, again.” He walks out the door leaving the team standing there looking at the check.

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Chapter 18 – The Final Goodbye The team meets at Hannibal‟s apartment the next morning at 8:00a.m. sharp! Face looks a little tired and not his usual fastidious self. He is dressed in blue jeans and a denim shirt, ready to get to work. B.A. pulls the truck around to the back service elevator. They take up bundles of boxes and plan to get right to work. However, they end up sitting down and just looking around, all of them missing the man, who used to inhabit this place. Finally B.A. gets up and states, “time ta work!” Face also is ready to get busy. “Okay, let‟s get started and get this done. Just think of it as a “plan” that needs to be accomplished.” Murdock silently stands and heads to the kitchen and opens a cabinet, where he starts removing glasses and wrapping them in newspaper. Face decides to hit the bedroom. It‟s going to be harder to pack up Hannibal‟s personal effects, so he volunteers himself for this task. B.A. grabs a dolly and starts moving furniture down to the truck. Every once in a while he asks for help and either Murdock, or Face jumps in to help him. They finish the job in about four hours. Each has his own boxes to take away from here, but of course most of the things are being given to charity. Last, but not least, Face picks up the car keys and tosses them to Murdock. “Have you told Kelly, yet?” “No, I was going to surprise her later. Can I park it at your place until I can fly Kelly back down to drive it home?” “Why don‟t you park it at my place? B.A. offers. I can go over it and see if it needs anythin‟ done ta it before she drives it.” “Thanks B.A. I mean really, thanks a lot.” “Uh, just don‟t start huggin‟ me or anythin‟. I can‟t stand that!” “Okay, I won‟t, but I can‟t promise that she won‟t.” B.A. walks off and goes back toward the bedroom. He is taking one last look around to make sure they got everything. “Well, I never really felt that this was the place for Hannibal anyway. He always seemed more at home in the field.” Murdock also scans the rooms to make sure they didn‟t leave anything. “I know what you mean. I sure wish I would have spent more time here. I got so caught up in my life. I didn‟t see the Colonel as often as I should have.”

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“Yeah, I know. We all sorta went our separate ways, but I still tried to stay in touch. But you know Face, that‟s how people always feel when someone dies. You have guilt that you didn‟t do as much as you could have. What do you say, should we vow to spend more time together? Not let our lives get too busy?” “Sure Murdock, I think we should try to spend more time with each other, now that we are back together so to speak. What is B.A. doing in there? Did he find something we overlooked?” “I don‟t know. Let‟s go find out.” They walk down the hall toward the bedroom and stop at the entrance. What they hear B.A. saying, stops them in their tracks! “Ya know, Hannibal, I think we did pretty good work. pauses as if listening Yeah, it was kinda nice bein‟ part of the team again. … I hope so. I miss the guys, but you know I‟m really goin‟ to miss you the most. … I guess, but I will try to keep an eye on them for you. You know, watch their backs. … Bye, Colonel. See you soon.” Face looks at Murdock, and Murdock looks at Face. They can‟t believe their ears, but they know they need to get out of there fast, before B.A. turns around and sees them. Of course, they push each other into the door frame, so neither one of them can move. “You guys are dead, hear me, dead!”

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Epilogue It is the start of a fairly warm day here in Los Angeles, California. The sun is shining and you can already tell it is going to get hot later on in the afternoon. Hannibal wakes up and says, “That was the most vivid dream I can ever remember having. I have got to quit eating oysters so close to bedtime.” He climbs out of bed and tries to clear his head. He needs to call the guys. They need to get together so he can tell them about this dream. He grabs his cell phone from the nightstand and punches in Murdock‟s number. “Hey, Captain, are we still on for dinner tonight?” “Sure, Colonel, you bet. Eight at Bill‟s Steak House, right?” “Right, and bring Kelly. I would like to see her, too.” “Okay. I think she would love to come. Thank you for inviting her.” “Don‟t mention it. I think we all need to get together more often, so I‟m inviting Face and B.A. also. Any objections?” “Nope, none from me. I haven‟t seen the two of them for a while. Thanks, Colonel. It should be fun.” “See you tonight then.” Next he phones B.A. “Hey, B.A., what‟re your plans for today?” “Well, I was just headin‟ over ta the gym. I got a coupla new guys comin‟ in today. You wanna stop by and look em over?” “Sounds great! I also want to invite you to dinner tonight. We can talk about it when I get there. I was already meeting Murdock, but I decided I wanted to see all you guys. Think you can make it?” “Sure, Colonel. Sounds great. Well I gotta go, so I‟ll see you soon.” “Right, B.A. see you soon.” He hangs up and starts to phone Face, but then realizes the time. He knows Face will not be up this early, so he decides to call him later. Just as he starts to put down his phone, it sings out with Face‟s ringtone. No one knows it, but Hannibal‟s ringtone for Face is the same as Murdock‟s ringtone for him. “I hope he never finds this out. It‟s not very flattering.”
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“Morning kid! You‟re up awfully early. I was thinking about calling you, but figured you weren‟t awake yet.” “Well Hannibal, I met this director last night and he was telling me about this new technology, and I think it could work for you, you know to get you back into monster movies. I was going to call last night, but it was too late, so I set my alarm to call you first thing this morning.” “Really? That sounds great. When can I meet him?” “Soon. He wants to get started shooting in a couple of weeks. I‟ll give him a call later and let him know you‟re interested. Hey, but why did you want to call me?” “Lieutenant, I had the weirdest dream last night, and I need to talk with all you guys. Can you meet B.A., Murdock, Kelly and me for dinner tonight?” “Sure, sounds great. I‟ll try to call Dave and see if he can set a meeting to get with you and I‟ll let you know tonight. Wow! It‟s been a long time since we all got together. I think it‟s a great idea, Hannibal. Thanks for asking.” “Okay, I‟ll see you tonight.” Hannibal hits the button to end the call. “Now that was easy. Why don‟t we do this more often. I‟ll just have to make calls like this and set things up in the future.” He grabs his car keys and decides to go through the drive thru at the bank on his way to B.A.‟s gym. He needs to get some cash for dinner tonight. He has decided to pick up the check and he doesn‟t have that kind of money on him right now. He takes the stairs down to his car, since he won‟t be walking this morning the least he can do is take the stairs. As he steps into the parking garage, he pulls out a cigar, lights it, and heads to his car. He gets in and starts her up. “This is gonna be a great day!” With a twinkle in his bright blue eyes and a smile on his face he says – “I love it when a plan comes together!”

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