Disclaimer: I do not own, nor did I create, any of the A-team characters (main or support) nor do I own, nor did I create, any of the episodes. That credit is due to Stephen J. Cannell and his associates. Any familiar catch phrases also belong to the Cannell team.

Spoiler Alert: Will eventually reveal key moments from the episode "Curtain Call"

Author's Notes: Russ Clayton is a character created by Stephen J. Cannell and associates. He appeared in the opening scenes of "Curtain Call" from Season 2 Episode 22.

This work of fan fiction explores the event leading up to the exciting opening scenes of that episode.

Summary: The Team implements Hannibal's plan.

Before the Curtain Called: by LAGC

Chapter Five- Pennies for Thought.

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At 0800 the next morning the A-team rolled up to Clayton's front door. They were using Milner's F-250. BA and Face were in the cab. Murdock and Hannibal were in the bed alongside BA's contraption - a large shop vac redesigned to propel items out versus vacuuming them in. The Big Guy had rewired the engine to expel air instead of sucking it. He had also augmented the blowing power using Milner's pneumatic tool air compressor.

Once the truck was positioned properly, BA laid on the horn and created quite a commotion. Clayton and his goons stormed out of the house.

"What the hell is going on!?" demanded Clayton.

"Boss, it's those same guys who interrupted our fun over at the Triple M Ranch." squealed one of the lackeys.

"I ain't blind you nitwit. I know who they are!" snapped Clayton.

"Well sorry to interrupt your conversation but we came here to set a few new ground rules." snarked Hannibal.

"Ground rules? Why would we give you the chance to list them?" Clayton snarled back.

"Face, show these vermin why it's in their best interest to listen to what we've got to say." ordered Hannibal.

Then he and Murdock ducked low into the truck bed. Face popped up through the sunroof and opened fire around the gaggle of goons until each one was kissing the dirt.

"Now listen up! You slimeballs are going to leave the Tripe M and the other ranches in this town alone from now on. You will not be harassing the townsfolk into selling you their properties. You and your corporate backers will have to make due mining the copper that this here spread gives you legal access to. That is, you can, once you've served your prison terms for all the vandalism, thefts, and assaults you've already committed." declared Hannibal.

"You all can't come on to MY property and tell ME what to do!" growled Clayton. "We are gonna put the four of you underground!"

As Clayton made this threat, two more goons blew out of the barn driving a tractor set on a collision course with the Team. Face opened fire on it but landing any shots on vulnerable parts was difficult because the front scoop was lifted defensively.

Clayton and his dirt sucking pals took this opportunity to reach for their pistols.

"Go BA! Now Murdock!" hollered Hannibal.

BA hit the gas pedal and Murdock flipped on the compressor and the anti-vacuum.

Hannibal aimed the suction pipe toward Clayton and crew and began pelting them with jet propelled pennies.

"You want copper so badly! Here's some, one cent at a time." taunted the Colonel.

Most of the thugs hit the ground but Clayton was running for his truck and commanding his men to follow him.

Faceman kept up his barrage on the tractor as BA maneuvered his way around it and away from Clayton's pursuing truck. Once Hannibal had shot through all his penny ammo, Murdock began firing a machine gun to keep their enemies at bay. The Team sped back to the outer edges of Milner's ranch and into the large open corral as planned.

Tawnia was waiting there with the van. Pandemonium quickly ensued. With some artful driving BA forced Clayton to drive his truck into a wall. Weapons were forgotten as all the men leapt from their vehicles and engaged in an all out brawl. Hannibal, of course took on Clayton directly. While the guys went to work on the rest of the goons.

Easily enough the A-team gained the upper hand and neutralized their foes. Hannibal had knocked down Clayton and left him lying semi conscious on the dusty smelly ground.

Hannibal monologued to Clayton, "See what happens when you try to run people out of the cattle business, burn their barn, hurt their families and animals, Creep? The pie you wind up in isn't necessarily apple."

Then Hannibal semi turned his back to address his Team as they assembled near him. Clayton took that opportunity to draw his gun and aim at Hannibal. Seeing this Murdock hollered, "Look out!" and leapt in front of his Colonel.

Hannibal let loose a roundhouse kick to Clayton's jaw rendering the scuzz comatose. Approaching sirens could be heard in the distance.

The Team rushed to Murdock's side.

Hannibal rolled him over saying, "Let me see how bad it is."

What he and everyone else saw was a gaping gunshot wound in their Captain's shoulder.

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Additional Disclaimer:

The final lines of dialogue in this piece are a mix of close paraphrasing as well as direct quoting from the season 2 episode "Curtain Call".

Whatever seems familiar is more than likely the product of the minds of Stephen Cannell and his associates.

Thank you for sticking with this story. I hope I created an enjoyable adventure and satisfactorily tied my concept into the action in "Curtain Call."