Status: Complete short story.
Characters: Hannibal, Murdock, Face, BA, (and the van).
Disclaimer: In memory of Stephen J. Cannell. The team are not mine, they are very much yours. Thank you for the years of viewing pleasure.
Also there's the brief use of some ABBA lyrics – just because it happens to fit the scene.
Warning: Violence and bloodshed. Serious injury to a major character. Some mild cursing.
Summary: For the A-Team this is a day much like any other until...
Just Another Day
The van screeched out of the parking lot, tightly rounded a corner on exit, and shot up the main high street.
"How's it looking Face? What we got on our tail?"
"Two vehicles in hot pursuit Hannibal. They're gaining ground too. Put your foot down BA."
"Don't be telling me how to drive fool. If it wasn't for you we wouldn't be in this mess. That plan was worse than ever."
"What do you mean if it wasn't for me? If it wasn't for me we wouldn't have found their HQ, we wouldn't have gotten past their security, and we definitely wouldn't be sitting in this van a cool eight thousand bucks better off."
"FaceyMan's got a point there BA." Murdock mimed holding a microphone, leaning forward between the front seats. "Money, money, money. Always sunny, in a rich man's world." He turned more towards BA thrusting the pretend microphone right up close to the driver's face. "Statement for the press, Sir? On what will you be spending your recently acquired riches? A new more respectable hair cut maybe? Or gold? Gold's always a safe investment. Or what about a cow?"
"Sit down fool." BA slapped Murdock's hand away. "I'm trying to concentrate here. Trying not to run anyone down. I don't want to hear no idiot jibber jabber from you right now you hear me."
As if to reinforce his words BA took yet another seemingly 'impossible to make at speed' corner throwing Murdock into Face to a response of complaint from the boys in the back.
"OK guys, cool it," Hannibal's voice was firm, "We've gotta shake these punks. BA head outta town. Once we're clear Face we'll see how they like our friends The Rugers."
BA jumped the van across a small median strip and flung it into a tight u-turn, narrowly missing two parked taxis and a motorbike. The chasing cars followed BA's move successfully but with less panache. One clipped his side wing on the very same taxis, but didn't slow up.
"They're still on us Hannibal." Face had made his way to the back of the van, two rifles now in his hands. He crouched behind the rear doors passing one of the rifles to Murdock who'd moved across to the side door. "Ready when you are Colonel."
Hannibal was carefully studying a map, ignoring the heavy jolts and bumps of the speeding van. "This is the best way out BA. You need to keep going about two miles then take a left onto what should be a road straight into the hills. Good tree cover and lots of bends. They'll have to single-file behind us. Perfect."
"You better not be on the jazz Hannibal. I want to get me and my van out of here in one piece you hear. No crazy moves OK."
"Relax BA. It's simple. We shoot, they crash, and we get away."
"And we go spend some of this money," added Face. "I fancy Vegas. What you reckon?"
x x x
As late as he dared BA swung the van off the main road and onto the narrow tree lined laneway as per Hannibal's instructions. The cars behind followed suit, skidded on the loose dirt, but again managed to control their vehicles.
"Who are these guys? Rally drivers?" Face still at the back of the van struggled to maintain his footing. Murdock too was anything but set.
"OK boys. Time to show them we're not just running scared."
Face and Murdock each grabbed a door handle and together counted, "One. Two. Three!" On three each man sprang into action. Murdock slid and locked open the side door. Face flung one of the rear doors wide leaving the other bolted shut so he could lean against it. Immediately both started firing on the lead pursuit car. In response the passenger in this car started to return fire.
The resulting noise was intense. The sound of the semi-autos and the bullets as they hit metal. The screeching of tyres and the complaining engines. The yells and whoops of Murdock who always seemed to have far too much fun in these situations. Face on the other hand was quiet, jaw set and full of intent. No more Mr Nice Guy. A thug in the second vehicle, a flatbed truck, had also started firing, using the cab as protection and aiming directly at the Lieutenant's position.
"Hannibal," yelled Face over the noise. "I'm being pinned down here."
"And I can't get a shot past the van," offered Murdock. To demonstrate he leant back out of the van, the toes of his high tops curled around the base of his chair. Even fully stretched it was obvious he was not going to be able to cause the chasing vehicles much damage.
"Throw me another rifle Lieutenant. I'm going through the top." BA had recently fitted a sunroof to the van, and it had fast become a favourite assault position of the Colonel's.
Hannibal eased himself slowly through the roof, a foot on the back of each seat. He waited to give himself the greatest element of surprise and then stood erect firing as he reached his full height. The surprise worked a treat, the driver of the first car lost concentration long enough to hit a pothole in the road as Hannibal's bullets connected with the windscreen. The car veered dramatically, crashed into the trunk of one tree and came to rest firmly between two others. Smoke poured from the mangled bonnet, but Hannibal breathed a little inward sigh of relief as the occupants pulled themselves clear. The A-Team's killing days were far behind them even with a bunch of weasely slime balls like these guys.
The driver of the flat-bed had deftly avoided running up the back of the car as it spun, and on course again it sped up. Face got a few shots away before he ducked inside. Hannibal had also dropped back down and had pulled Murdock in too.
"How's the plan going Hannibal?" yelled BA gruffly from the front, "I'm looking in my mirrors and I'm still seeing cars."
"Patience BA. We've one down. The plan's still viable and I say we go again. Murdock move next to Face. You two get on your fronts and when I start firing from the top open the back up completely and shoot out their tyres."
"The high speed equivalent of through the front door hey Hannibal." Face did not look convinced. "Seems to me we're putting ourselves directly in the line of fire."
"We'll be fine Muchacho." Murdock pulled at Face's sleeve. "C'mon soldier. Get down on your belly and crawl. Crawl like a snake in the grass. Sssssss."
"I still don't like this Hannibal," said Face but he had already started to move.
"That truck's right on us Hannibal," BA swerved hard to the right, then the left in an effort to avoid the bullets that had started coming at them again. "Whatever you're doing can you do it quick? My van's getting shot to pieces here."
"OK men." Hannibal was perched below the sun roof again. "Go! Go! Go!"
x x x
It all happened so quickly. You ask any of the team now and they'll tell you that it all happened so quickly. It's hard for any of them to remember.
Hannibal shot up through the sun roof and started firing on the truck. The driver of the truck veered left to avoid Hannibal's bullets. The shooter in the truck changed his aim towards Hannibal. Hannibal flattened himself awkwardly against the roof of the van as bullets bounced and skidded in all directions. Face and Murdock started to shoot from the floor of the van, both rear doors now open. Bullets bounced of the truck's bonnet, its grill, off the dirt. The door in front of Face having being pushed fully open suddenly sprung backwards, as doors tend to do at high speeds. Face rose from his stomach to his knees in order to push the door open again. Murdock concentrated his aim on the truck's right front tyre. In the blink of an eye it punctured pulling the truck right. The shooter caught off guard also lurched right, lost his footing, and still firing disappeared behind the cab. The driver unable to recover braced himself as the truck struck the low bank at the edge of the road, lifted, and now airborne plunged into a mass of overgrowth. Murdock, eyes fixed on the truck, followed its path to the right, locked eyes for a moment with Face, and then watched the Lieutenant pitch forward out of the back of the van, hit the dirt, bounce, skid, and then stop motionless in the middle of the road.
x x x
After so much noise the silence was deafening.
'Just like Nam,' Hannibal thought briefly.
- And just like Nam shock, blood, adrenaline, death!(?)
Even though BA has slammed on the brakes the moment Murdock had screamed out, the van had ended up a good fifty to sixty metres from Face. The hard braking had made Hannibal fall heavily back into the van, and he was still clearing his vision as Murdock leapt to the ground and sprinted towards his fallen friend. BA and Hannibal had not seen Face drop and as each exited the van it took a moment to realise what had happened. As it dawned on them they too sprinted.
Of course Murdock reached him first.
"Face, oh my god, Face. Look at me Face. Can you speak? Can you see me? Faceman, look at me!"
Face's blue eyes were open, but they weren't seeing. He was unresponsive. Murdock knelt beside the lieutenant frantically searching for the source of the blood that was pooling around Face's body. Hannibal and BA reached them at the same time, both immediately on their knees helping to assess their friend's condition. BA gently grasped the Lieutenant's face between his huge hands.
"Hey Faceman. What the heck do you think you're doing? You're scaring us here. What happened man? What you do to yourself?" No reaction.
"I think he's been shot Hannibal." Murdock was tearing at Face's blood soaked shirt trying to find an entry wound. "Goddamn it, there's cuts and scratches everywhere." Murdock's pitch rose as he frantically searched Face's chest and abdomen. "He just fell out of the van Hannibal. I watched him go but I couldn't grab him. He went so fast. I just couldn't grab him."
Hannibal put a steadying hand briefly on top of the younger man's. "It's ok Murdock. You're doing great."
"Hannibal." Murdock had found the entry wound in Face's stomach area. "Here it is. It looks pretty bad. Could've hit anything in there. Liver maybe, spleen, kidney. What we gonna do Colonel?"
Hannibal pulled off his gloves and put his fingers against Face's throat finding the pulse. "Murdock, has the bullet gone through? Can you tell?"
"I'm not sure Colonel. There's a lot of blood. Maybe, yeah, I think it's passed through."
"Well his pulse is ok considering. We've got to stop the bleeding. BA bring the van up. Grab the first aid kit and get some gauze on these wounds." BA was already running. "Murdock you apply pressure to the front and back as best you can. Use the gauze once you get it. Whatever you do don't let up. We can't move him yet."
Hannibal finally moved to Face's head himself and looked straight into the lieutenant's eyes. He tapped the blonde man's cheek lightly. "Face!" No response. "Templeton!" No response. He tapped again a little harder. "Lieutenant!" Face's eyes cleared slightly. He blinked, glazed over, blinked again and suddenly surfaced.
"Colonel?" he whispered.
"Hi kid. How you doing?"
"Where are we Colonel? Did we take it?"
"Take what kid?"
"Take the supply base."
Hannibal frowned slightly and looked up at Murdock. The Captain simply shrugged and gave a little nod.
"Yeah, we got it kid."
"I think I've been shot Colonel."
"You're gonna be ok kid you hear me. Rest easy now. Captain Murdock here is fixing you up. You're going to be A-Ok."
At mention of his name Murdock added, "He's right Lieutenant. You're gonna be fine. Just a stomach wound. No biggie."
BA pulled up in the van and leapt out, first aid kit in hand. He leant in to the team, "Hey Faceman, you back with us? That's good, that's good."
"Lieutenant Peck," corrected Face. "You must be Sergeant Baracus. I've heard tale of you." Face paused suddenly then coughed hard and started shivering slightly. A small line of blood formed in the corner of his mouth. Hannibal checked his pulse again.
"Pulse rate going up," he mouthed to Murdock and BA.
"Christ Colonel I'm chilly here," stuttered Face, "I'm not dumb you know. This ain't good is it?"
"BA grab some blankets and Murdock get that gauze on the wound."
"Colonel. I'm dying aren't I?"
"You're fine son. Don't think about it. Just save your breathe now."
"I thought it would hurt. Death I mean. I thought it would really hurt, but I can't feel anything. Just cold. Cold and scared."
"No-one's dying today Lieutenant. Not on my team. Nothing to be scared about."
"Am I on your team Colonel? I...I can't remember."
"You're definitely on my team Lieutenant. I requested you specifically. You're one of the best goddamn snipers in the unit. You're part of my team and you're not dying today!"
BA laid two blankets across Face's body right up to his chin. "Murdock, let me swap with you. I'll apply the force buddy. You help Hannibal. Keep Faceman thinking only good thoughts."
"Thanks BA." Murdock shifted sideways to make room for the big man. He wiped his bloodied hands as clean as he could on his khaki pants, and laid one on his friend's forehead.
"Please, just call me Murdock ok. I hate formalities. I'm Murdock, this here is Hannibal, and the dude holding your blood in, well that's BA. And you're Face right? I've heard the men call you that."
"Yeah. Stupid isn't it. People think I have an innocent look or something." He coughed again, more violently this time. His hands instinctively reached for the wound.
Murdock removed his palm from the clammy forehead and took both Face's hands into his instead. "You mustn't reach down there ok buddy."
"Lieutenant," Hannibal had spent the last minute or so in deep thought. "Do you mind if I just have a quick word with Murdock here?"
"Why? Is there something you're not telling me? It's bad isn't it?" The effort made Face cough again.
"Be still. It's ok, but we do need to get you and us out of here. We just need to work out how is all. Lie still. BA, don't let him move a muscle."
Hannibal and Murdock moved to the other side of the van.
"Colonel, we need to get him to a hospital fast. I reckon we head back into town. We've got to risk moving him Hannibal."
"I know Murdock. I'm just worried about those goons back there."
Just at that moment there was a rustle to the side and the familiar sounds of safety catches being released.
"Ain't the goons up there you wanna be worried about." The two men from the truck took a step closer to Hannibal and Murdock, but sensibly kept out of arms reach. Each had a handgun trained on the pair, but the second, the driver, had his left arm held close to his chest.
"Look," Hannibal took one step away from the van. "You're hurt, we're hurt. We've a man seriously injured. All we want to do is get him to the hospital. Let us do that. Come with us, take back the money, we don't care. Just let us get our friend back to town."
"Do you think I give a rat's arse about your friend? You should have thought of that before you chose to steal from us you son of a..."
"Please," urged Murdock. "He will die without proper help."
"Pete, maybe we should grab the money and leave them be." The driver lowered the gun to his side. "I don't want no death on my conscience and my arm's killing me man."
"Shut up you idiot." Pete looked Hannibal directly in the eye. Hannibal held the stare. A silent battle of wits. "Show me," Pete said eventually. He waved the gun as instruction for Hannibal and Murdock to move. "Show me your dying pal."
The four men moved around the van. BA had overheard the exchange, but couldn't do much to help without leaving Face's side. His hackles rose as they moved closer.
"Stand down there by his feet," Pete instructed Hannibal and Murdock. "You," he pointed the gun towards BA. "No funny business ok. Stay put."
"I'm not going anywhere sucker," BA replied and then to Hannibal, "Faceman's gotta get help fast. He's talking all funny like his mind's muddled up or something."
Pete had crouched down to look more closely at Face, his gun still trained on the rest of the team. Everyone's attention focused on the Lieutenant.
"It wasn't my fault Sister. I was just trying to help. Jump, goddamn it, jump. It's time to go. Is it open though? Can we get through? I'll take half a dozen plus the ones by the window. If I can carry it all. Might have to get Bobby. He'll do anything..."
"Please," begged Murdock again, his large brown eyes moistening with tears. "Please let us go. I don't want to lose my best friend."
Pete stood up and looked each man in the eye one by one. He looked back at Hannibal and said, "You're all veterans right?"
"Yes. Yes, we are."
Pete paused again and then said,
"You're the A-Team right?"
Hannibal answered coolly,
"I have captured the A-Team haven't I?"
Murdock squirmed slightly next to Hannibal but the Colonel was stock still. Neither answered.
"I have captured the A-Team," repeated Pete. He turned towards his companion. "Duane, do you know who these people are? It's the goddamn A-Team. Wanted by the military. They're on the run. Have been for years and nobody can find them. I can't believe that I have captured the A-Team." Pete returned his eye contact with Hannibal. "Isn't there like a massive reward for you guys. Isn't there a bounty on your heads?"
Hannibal was cautious now. "I believe there is yes, but I don't pay too much attention."
Again Pete paused as if his mind was processing every available option open to him.
Then he did the unexpected.
He lowered his gun.
"Jeez," he looked again at Hannibal. "Look man. I just want the money back ok. I work for Daniels yes, but it's all his show. He's back in town ready to rip my head off if I return empty handed. Now I know you guys think I'm a rotten egg, and maybe I am, but I was in Nam too and I know some things."
"What things?" prompted Hannibal.
"I know that you are Colonel John Smith and that most guys in Nam spoke of you with respect. But more importantly I know that this is Lieutenant Templeton Peck, and I know that this man once saved the life of a buddy of mine. I think I need to return the favour."
Hannibal again stared steely eyed at Pete trying to detect a hint of threat or deceit, but there was none.
"Murdock, swap with BA. Keep maximum pressure on that wound. BA grab another blanket and fold it in half. We're going to use it as a stretcher. You two," he pointed at Pete and Duane, "you're going to help us lift Face onto the van as gently as possible."
BA was already alongside Face with the prepared blanket.
"OK men." Hannibal was back in control. "Slide your hands under him as best you can. On my count we go. Three, two, one, lift."
Face groaned in obvious agony as he was transferred from the road to the blanket, and then into the van. Murdock was there alongside him, one hand pressing the wound from the top, the other on the Lieutenant's throat monitoring his pulse rate.
BA dived into the driver's seat and started the engine.
Hannibal moved to the front passenger seat and reached underneath. He grabbed the cash laden bag and tossed it Pete.
"One day we'll be back for that," he stated. "Make sure neither of you are still mixed up with this Daniels fellow when that day comes."
With that he jumped up into the van, slammed the door and yelled with great urgency,