I can see through phones
I don't own any rights to the A-Team and I'm just borrowing them.
Massive thank you to ILIWAPCT for beta'ing. I'll upload the edited chapters as they're done.
The white light. It was relentless, stark, cold and unforgiving. Was it hours, weeks or even years since he'd seen darkness? He didn't know. Time had become an unrealistic concept, impossible to track. A blur. He wanted, he needed, peace from the light. It never came.
Was he dead? Was this hell?
To check, he gouged at his side with dirty nails. The pain almost a relief. He could still feel. The perverted pleasure, seeing his own blood welling in the narrow scratches. A color other than white, he must still be alive.
Maggots filled the vomit. He would have to eat it again. Trying to remember how many times he'd eaten it, before his stomach threw the putrid contents out. Would the maggots be more acceptable to his fragile body? They at least contained water; he knew he needed water.
The constant buzzing of the flies became white noise torture
, relentlessly combined with the white light. His sight and hearing under permanent attack, with no escape. His sense of taste and smell burned. Urine and feces covered the floor. High humidity prevented the fluid from evaporating, so it just sat festering. The endless imprisonment meant the ammonia built to such a level it burned his nose and scorched his throat with every ragged breath he took. The only sense he could still control was touch.
He heard them coming, but couldn't see them. The tiny tormentors were there. Seeing the metal pole, knowing they would tie him as if on a crucifix, he became desperate.
"Tránh xa tôi ra. để tôi yên" he begged, before anger took over. "Fuck off bạn mẹ fucker!"
Instead of tying him to the pole, they swung it to smash his already broken body. He cowered away.
The pain never came, he just watched the pole being swung over his head. The release he felt inflicting the scratches played in his mind. If his tormentors were not going to let him feel pain what sense did he have left? Touch. He could still touch. How would it feel to gouge his own eyes out? He could enjoy the sensation combined with stopping the relentless white light stabbing into his brain.
"I don't wanna go. He can't make me," Face grumbled, like a stroppy toddler. Wrapping himself tighter around Kelly. "Tell him to go away."
She started giggling at the thought of telling Hannibal anything, let alone to go away.
"Don't you laugh at me. It's not fair," Face continued his complaining. Suddenly he released the still giggling girl and sat bolt upright.
Kelly rolled on to her back, looking up at him. "What?" She asked, no longer laughing.
"Genius. You go instead," he suggested brightly, collapsing back on to the bed and holding her close. "He'll never notice. Perfect plan," he added, screwing up his eyes.
"Lieutenant MOVE IT!" Hannibal barked outside the door.
Kelly decided to take matters into her own hands and started detangling herself from his embrace. He groaned while recapturing her, his eyes still screwed shut.
"I'm not having Hannibal come in here, drag you out of bed and you end up dragging me up, too. It's four in the morning. I'm planning on staying asleep. So get up pretty boy," she teased. Gently kissing each tightly shut eyelid whispering, "Sooner you get up, sooner you're back. Sooner I can say thank you for letting me sleep now."
Face leapt out of bed, throwing his clothes on as he cheerily called, "On my way Hannibal. Get BA to start the van. I'm seconds away."
The girl started laughing again, watching him run out the door.
"What's the mission Hannibal?" Face asked, passing his colonel a cigar from his top pocket. It was nearly 0700 hours and he was finally feeling more human.
"To put a slimeball, loan shark out of business," Hannibal replied, gratefully accepting the offering.
"Is this what we're doing now?" BA asked, in a very matter of fact way, not moving his eyes from the road in front of him. "Chasing after bad guys in America instead of 'Nam?"
"$25,000 says yes, today, that's what we're doing," Hannibal smiled around his new cigar.
"It just feels a bit strange, like we're whores for hire. Except instead of our whole bodies, we're selling our fists," Face suggested, before adding, "And not having as much fun either."
Chuckling at his lieutenant's strange comparison, Hannibal lit the cigar. His eyes sparkled with their mischievous glint. "You both loved nailing those jerks, Craig Sutton and Jed Bartlett-Jones. You gotta admit that?"
"He's chasing the jazz, chasing the jazz," BA sighed.
"And you're not?" Hannibal smiled, raising his eyebrows.
"I like jazz too, Hannibal, but not so keen on leaving my girl and friend. Murdock isn't doing so well after that Arylib job." Face was referring to the team recently closing down a cult in LA, trying to recreate the Nazi Aryan project - drugging young girls to brainwash them into carrying the new population. Kelly got mixed up and accidental drugged before the team saved her. Murdock had been a core part of the mission, but after firing an assault rifle during the rescue, was now reliving his nightmares.
Hannibal, having been offered the loan shark mission, wasted no time. Just three days after closing down the Arylib cult, they were on the way to some God-forsaken small town for the next job.
"Face, when you were in college, what'd you study?" Hannibal asked, wanting to distract his lieutenant. He too, had concerns about leaving Murdock at the beach house, but it was too late to change his mind now.
"Business major. Didn't make it past the first year though. Joined up and ended up with you lot. Why?" Face asked, curious as to where this was going.
"Between the last two jobs and this one we're going to have a decent sum. Thinking you may need to revisit your business training." Hannibal knew this would play to Face's strengthens and interests. He watched, with satisfaction, as the younger man got a glint in his eyes.
"Yes. Yes, I've been following the stock on- " Face wasn't able to describe in detail how he would start to invest the team's earnings as BA interrupted him.
"We ain't got this money yet. We not done the job. My mama says don't spend what you don't got," he growled, never moving his eyes from the road.
BA wasn't impressed at Hannibal dragging them off to play bodyguards to some fool who borrowed money from the wrong person. He had to consoul Murdock twice the previous night when the pilot screamed with night terrors. Only because the crazy man got up at 04.00 was BA even willing to go. No way could the girl cope. He sure hoped Hannibal had a plan to get this job wrapped up in a day. They needed to be back at the beach house by tonight.
"Best solution for that is we get this job done then. Wipe out the cockroaches holding a whole town for ransom. Face can start his investment plans and your mama will be happy," Hannibal chuckled, as if reading his sergeant's mind.
BA glanced over at the man sat next to him, knowing from that comment, Hannibal was also concerned about leaving Murdock and the girl alone. Appreciating his colonel trying to deflect the team's unspoken fear, BA didn't voice his worries.
"Gold, got to get me some gold. Best stuff to invest in. Don't trust 'em smarmy banker types. I want some gold," BA firmly announced.
"It's 1972 not 1872. Needs to be property, technology, air travel-" Face was getting into the idea, until BA interrupted again.
"You go sticking my money on a plane, you'll be needing the gold for a new set of teeth," he growled.
Hannibal chuckled around his cigar. BA looked over, seeing his colonel's eyes had a wicked glint.
"Too late! He's on the jazz already," BA said, glancing back at Face, who rolled his eyes in response.
"Not wanting to douse your jazz Hannibal, but have you forgotten about Lynch? Oh, and a small army of MPs looking for us?" Face reminded him. "Should we be doing anything to draw attention to ourselves?"
"Crazy fool been with Murdock too much. Telling the paper it was us. Taunting Lynch just gonna make him mad," BA grumbled, thinking about the tip off Hannibal had given the press about his A-Team closing down a porn tycoon's drug operation.
"You have to admit it has a nice ring to it. 'A-Team Fugitives on the run from the Government. Helping out the Little People. Righting Wrongs and Bringing Bad Guys to Justice'. De Oppresso Liber" Hannibal beamed to his men, using his cigar to write the imaginary headline.
"This is real life, not one of Murdock's comics," Face sighed, rolling his eyes again, wishing he was at the beach house. In bed. Snuggled up next to a warm, welcoming girl and not about to risk getting punched by a loser goon. He pulled nervously at his shirt collar thinking about it.
"Come on, it'll be fun," Hannibal encouraged.
BA stopped outside a hardware store, in the quiet old gold-mining town of Wrightsville, three hours from LA.
A portly man came straight out of the store. He looked nervous, his eyes darting up and down the street. "Hello, I'm James Baxter. Are you Hannibal?" He asked BA, through the driver's window.
"Catherine Baxter's cousin? I'm Hannibal, this is BA and in the back is Faceman," Hannibal explained, leaning across BA.
"Yes, yes that's me. Thank you for coming so quickly." James sounded stressed. "McGregor's due to collect this week's money at noon. I don't have it. He threatened my little girl, Louise, last week when I was short."
Hannibal had gotten out of the white van with BA and Face flanking him. Removing his cigar, he smiled at James. "It'll be fine. You just hired 'The A-Team'. Your little girl is safe now." Hannibal extended his hand to shake James'.
James showed the team through his hardware store and up to the large apartment above. Ann, his short, round, kind looking wife, greeted them warmly. Playing on the floor was a sweet child, about five-years old, who they were informed was Louise. In front of her sat a small model farmyard, complete with tiny animals. BA lowered himself to the floor and joined her game.
"Coffee?" Ann asked. Her and James disappeared into the kitchen, after Hannibal and Face nodded.
Resting his arm over Face's shoulders, Hannibal smirked. "This is the image I see of you and Kelly in ten years," he teased, waving at the child playing on the floor.
Face physically shuddered and grimaced with the thought.
Enjoying his lieutenant's discomfort he continued. "Nice little home in suburbia. Little Faceletts playing in the backyard. You slaving all day selling brooms. Don't tell me that's not your dream?" Hannibal chuckled. It was too good an opportunity to wind up the younger man. Plus Hannibal knew it would help remind Face why he chased the jazz, too.
It was Face's worst nightmare. He pulled at his collar again considering Hannibal's vision. Thinking about the girl he'd been forced to leave behind, knowing it would probably be her worst nightmare, too. Ann returned with the coffee, halting Face's random thoughts.
"Murdock, if we don't find some ponies today I am going into full withdrawal. Trust me, it won't be pretty," Kelly informed her companion over breakfast. "Look it's started already." She held out her hand, making it tremble.
"Kemosabe, after Hannibal's phone call we'll go on a horse hunt," Murdock grinned back at her.
"Promise?" The girl pleaded, hands clasped in front of her.
The shrilling ring of the phone prevented Murdock replying. He leapt over the couch throwing himself on the phone, like a football touchdown.
Putting on a Chinese accent, Murdock lifted the receiver. "Ling Laundrette, service include shrink, stretch, dye but no fatal."
"Shut up Murdock, or I'll get BA on the phone," Face replied on the other end of the line.
"Faceman, you're no fun," Murdock whined.
"Look, we don't have time for this. Hannibal needs you to get some background sorted by 11.00." Face sounded tetchy now. "I want this job done, so we can get back."
"Go on then," Murdock drawled.
"Can you check the legislation on extortion by a public officer? We got a bent sheriff, turning a blind eye to his brother's methods to make local businesses repay loans. The guy who hired us borrowed $5k a year ago. Already paid back $12,000, but still owes $15k. Hannibal wants to nail both brothers. We need to know what'll hurt them most." Murdock wrote everything down, as Face spoke.
"Kemosabe going to have her little English nose out of joint now," Murdock told Face.
Silence on the other end.
"Faceman, stop rolling your eyes. I can see you."
"No you can't," Face replied.
"I can! Y'know I can," Murdock said with confidence.
"What am I wearing then?" Face asked evenly.
"Blue jeans, brown loafers and your white shirt with a blue padded jacket," Murdock told him, eyes closed, waving a hand in the air.
"You saw me before I left. That's cheating." Face sounded cross again.
"And you're drinking a coffee, half finished," Murdock continued.
A long sigh from Face.
"And you're rolling your eyes again. Faceman, I can see ya. Ya can't hide." Murdock still had his eyes closed, waving his hand around.
"Tell Kelly I miss her and get on with the damn research. We'll call at 11.00." Face hung up before Murdock could reply.
Murdock moved to the kitchen and turned his back on Kelly. Wrapping his arms around himself, so he was running his hands up and down his side while making loud kissing noises. She was confused, but started laughing at the strange sight. Murdock finally turned to look at her, with a lopsided grin.
"Faceman sends that," he said.
"Yeah right, I don't think so. Now can we go find me a horse?" Kelly asked, smiling back at Murdock.
"Soz, I'm just the messenger. Don't get all BA angry mud sucker on me. We got homework to do first," Murdock informed her in a cockney, London accent, Dick Van Dyke style.
Kelly clasped her chest and carefully fell off her stool. Once lying on the floor she gasped, "Withdrawal reaches dangerous level." Flopping her head to the side, shutting her eyes.
"Murdock can apparently see through phone lines now," Face told Hannibal and BA.
"Crazy fool's getting crazier," BA growled.
"Well I think it sounds like an excellent skill," Hannibal chuckled.
"Skill or not, if he's busy teleporting visions on the phone I'm not sure he'll actually do any background for us, Hannibal," Face replied, sounding frustrated.
Hannibal didn't bother to answer. He knew for all the random thoughts Murdock had, when given a specific task, his captain would deliver. This loan shark job was of little interest to Hannibal, but it would give his whole team a focus. That's why he'd agreed to help James Baxter.
Not sure strategically if he'd made the right choice leaving Murdock at the beach house. He hated having any doubts. Hannibal knew he couldn't have taken the girl, she seemed uncomfortable with the working personas of the team. Plus he wanted her to fully recover from being drugged. Not convinced she wouldn't bolt given the first opportunity, he left a minder behind. Expecting to need his conman and muscles for this gig. Also not wanting to avoid using fire power, if necessary. With Murdock regressing after firing an assault rifle on the last job, he'd not had much choice in leaving the pilot behind.
Logic or not, Hannibal had the uncomfortable gut feeling Murdock and the girl shouldn't be away from the team. He resolved to get this job done and dusted before the sunset and get back to the beach house. Such a simple problem of a couple of bullies frightening the local businesses, his team could sort them out before breakfast. It'll be a piece of cake, Hannibal thought confidently.
"Tránh xa tôi ra; để tôi yên; fuck off bạn mẹ fucker
Go away, leave me alone, fuck off you mother fucker
De Oppresso Liber Special Forces motto, To free the oppressed.
A/N Having helped Catherine Baxter get her daughter back from a cult in Early days 1972 part 1 her cousin has agreed with the local businesses in his town to pay the A-Team $25,000 to get rid of a loan shark. This was the equivalent of one month payments from the whole town.
BA and Face are 21/22 Hannibal 35 and Murdock about 28
The OC Kelly is 19 and met the team four months earlier when they ended up on a ranch, she was working at, after they escaped Fort Bragg in February of 1972. The Early Days part one covers the introduction of the character.