Hannibal, Face and Cheyanne were setting on one of the park benches surveying the area. Since his marriage to Chey, Face had gotten used to being around Hannibal even more than before. He truly did try to stay out of their personal life but at times the father in him had to speak up. Today it was a business meeting as Hannibal nodded.
"This is the best spot. There are a lot of tall buildings for line of fire coverage, plenty of open area so that an arrest team would have to cross and be seen and a straight street out front for easy access and getaway."
"Alright, I'll make the call." Face said.
Suddenly a woman approached them.
He looked up and smiled flirtatiously.
"Mattie, how are you?"
"I'm fine. I heard an interesting rumor recently that you had actually settled down and had gotten married."
"Yes, Mattie let me introduce you to my wife, Cheyanne."
Mattie was a well-dressed business woman who turned to Chey. She seemed very pleasant as they smiled at each other and shook hands in greeting.
"I never thought that anyone would be able to slow him down. Here's my business card if you ever need to talk to someone."
Cheyanne looked at the card and smiled giving her a nod. Face shifted around nervously while Hannibal watched in silent amusement. When Mattie left Chey turned to Face and smiled. Setting the card down on the table she spoke.
"You wanna tell?"
"Well, there's really nothing to tell, actually." He answered trying to avoid the question.
Hannibal looked at the card then up at him. In a surprised voice he questioned.
He looked from Hannibal to Chey and knew that he had just better go ahead and talk.
"Alright, everyone is completely aware that I have a type of addiction with sex. I freely admit it." He looked at the amused twinkle in both their eyes and knew that this was no revelation. He continued. "She's a licensed therapist who deals in my type of addiction. I went to her in order to calm me down a little."
"Well, it didn't work." Chey responded.
"No, I ended up seducing her as well." He admitted.
Chey just smiled and shook her head completely unsurprised by the news.
"Let me guess, she instructed you to breath, relax and focus your attention on something else until the urge subsides?" She asked.
"When she said focus you know that meant like art or puzzles or something like that. It did not mean focusing your attention on how to seduce your therapist."
"You can't blame me," He argued. "I mean, did you see her legs?"
"That would be the reason I am almost always in slacks or jeans with you. Less temptation."
Face nodded as Cheyanne just smiled. Hannibal looked up at her and spoke.
"Usually I don't ask you two about your personal life especially this part of it. However, I do know that you two together are both a bit hyper if left unsupervised. So, I just have to ask. Do you share the same addiction?"
Chey looked at him and nodded.
"I wasn't aware of it until we became physical. When I was young, I hated even the thought of it. I wouldn't even watch a movie if a sex scene was in it due to it just turning my stomach. However, since we've been together, as it turned out yes, we're completely compatible."
Hannibal just nodded and didn't say anything else. The three of them separated to get ready for the next day. Once in the Vette, Face connected a voice scrambler up to the car phone and called up one Cassie Hanks. Early the next morning the team is stationed around the park. Hannibal, dressed once more as a hot dog vendor, pushed his cart inside the park. Beginning to set up he looked around. Quietly he began talking into an open mike that sounded at all locations.
"Out here at the back gate. No movement."
"In the van in front of the park. Saw you enter but don't see any cars out of the ordinary."
"On top of the building across the street. Perfect cover shot at the entrance of the park. No strange movement."
"She's with me." Face answered.
"You two had better be paying attention to your jobs." He warned.
"We are, don't worry. I'm scanning the road to the North at the busy intersection. There's nothing unusual. No civilians talking into their shirt collars or darting between trees. Unless, you count the group of nine-year old's playing tag."
Face looked over at her.
"Just say that there is nothing unusual."
"He said detailed report." She smirked.
Hannibal responded in a warning tone.
It was then that Murdock spoke up.
"You really can't blame her. After all you did say detailed."
"And I'm about to say ten-mile hike for all of you."
Suddenly three voices sounded out.
"Chey, just say everything is good."
She simply smiled and settled down, returned to scanning the busy intersection up the street. Suddenly Face spoke.
"Alright, here we go. I have a red-head fitting your description heading for the park."
Studying her for a moment longer Face continued.
"Hannibal, be careful."
"Nothing unusual to speak of. I just don't like the way that she walks."
"Face." B.A. shouted. "She doesn't have to be a model to be a client."
"It's not that." He seriously answered. "Her walk is heavy heeled and purposeful. She walks like Chey. It's pretty but still has an army snap."
"What's she doing?" Hannibal asked.
"Nothing, she's stopped at the entrance. She's turning around occasionally, it looks like she's waiting for someone. I really don't like it."
"Hannibal." Chey said. "I'm taking my eyes off the intersection to get a look at her. If she is military, I might know her."
Shifting positions, she focused on the woman below.
"Damn." She whispered.
"Military?" Hannibal asked.
"No, but she does hop into bed with them on occasion. If she contacted you then she might really need help."
"I thought you just said she works with the military at times." Hannibal said.
"Sort of, but she's not the type to let the military use her to set someone up. I'll be right down. I'll approach her, I know her. She's not military but she is dangerous. I'll bring her over near you for us to talk. Sell hot dogs and listen."
"Alright, but if she shows any sign of military movement you run. Got it."
Face looked at her still standing there and spoke.
"Chey, she's still not moving. She's just standing there. I don't like it."
"She's standing there because she knows that I'm watching. She's waiting for me."
"Keep her near Hannibal's radio." Face said.
Chey nodded and headed down the steps and across the street. Entering the park from a side entrance she crossed to the front. Standing behind Cassie for a few seconds she studied her. She wasn't carrying a weapon, but she could be hiding one inside her purse. It was a small purse but still big enough for a revolver. After a couple of more minutes she stepped forward and spoke.
"Really Cassie, you can't be comfortable in those heels on this concrete."
Cassie jumped and turned around to see her standing right behind her. Cassie smiled while Chey just stared blankly back at her. Motioning her to follow they headed over to one of the hot dog stands. Cassie spoke.
"I was worried that I would actually have to eat one of those vile things."
"Well, if I had known that it was you, I would have had them send you to a vegetarian part of town. They did not tell me your name, so I didn't know." Chey said walking past the hot dog cart on that statement.
She heard Hannibal make some sort of growl and smiled.
"If I could find you, I would have eaten twelve of those things." She said as Chey leaned back against the tree nearby.
"Alright, you wanted to meet. Talk."
Looking around at all the people and the closeness of the hot dog vendor Cassie spoke.
"Couldn't we go somewhere a little bit more private?"
"Guess times have indeed changed. Privacy was never one of your concerns. Don't worry, we like parks because you can talk freely here, and no one cares what you have to say."
Cassie nodded then spoke.
"I need your help, or rather the A-Team's help."
"A-Team? Have you been listening to rumors again?"
"No, something a bit more substantial this time."
Opening her purse, she didn't notice Chey move her hand near the small of her back where her gun holster was located. She always wore one under her shirt, which was usually long and loose to cover the gun. Withdrawing a piece of paper, she handed it over. Opening the folded paper Cheyanne noticed that it was the latest wanted poster of the team. The one with her picture now added to it. Folding the poster, she put it in her back pocket. The fewer of these that were around the better.
"I simply couldn't believe it when I first saw it. You told me that you hated your father. To actually join up with him and then to get married to someone who is one of the most incredibly handsome men that I have ever seen is just amazing."
"Certain important withheld information came to light changing my mind from when we last met. Look Cassie, I'm not here for the past. What do you want?"
"Cheyanne, there is so much that I want to say and before you disappear back into L.A. again, I need to say it. Most importantly I want to explain about Jason."
"Stop. No past. Just tell me what you want, or I'm gone."
She nodded and reached back into her purse once again. This time she withdrew two photos. Handing her one of them Chey looked at it then spoke.
"Yes, her name was Sally."
"No, Mary Ann, but I already had a Mary Ann working for me. This girl seemed to just fit the name Sally."
"You used the term 'was' what happened?'
"Yes, this is her a month ago."
She handed Chey a photo of Sally on a mortuary table. Her face had been gashed open multiple times, but the wounds looked to be post-mortem.
"Duke? You two have been rivals ever since you took over the business. Why did he attack now?"
"When you were there, we both heard the rumors. About how he would photograph or video tape high profile political people with hookers and such. Then blackmail them."
"Yes, I remember."
"Due to this persisting rumor his clientele has greatly diminished and mine has greatly grown. Especially since I don't say anything."
"Don't say anything? Cassie your diaries could make the Hollywood Madam's diary look like it was written by the Virgin Mary. I should know, I typed up many of them."
"That's true, but I never used any real names. Like, you know, 'Bob' the then Lieutenant Governor."
"Yeah, Robert. Not much of a pseudonym."
"Well, perhaps not, but he wasn't the Lieutenant Governor."
"No, he was the Governor. Cassie, you and I both know that your business isn't exactly legal. Even in Las Vegas."
"It's perfectly legal. No money changes hands for intercourse. What one or two of my employees do in their off time is not my business."
"Cassie that's your police raid speech. I am not the police and I know you are not all legal."
"Look, you're asking us to get involved in a brothel war with questionable legal boundaries. I'm sorry about Sally but I think that you should just pull up stakes and relocate. Technically, what you yourself do isn't illegal so you can go somewhere else. I know of five here in L.A."
"Really? Are you typing up their biographies as well?"
"No, trying to keep my husband out of them."
"Husband. That is so strange coming from you. Still, I can't leave Las Vegas."
"He has to be stopped."
"What does Duke want from you? You two have been fighting since I can remember. What makes Sally different?"
"Because he's never killed one of my girls as a threat to me before. You see, politicians know about him now. They also know that my place won't blackmail you for a good time. Nevada will hold it's selection for Senate race soon and the main contender is one of my clients."
"I see. So, Duke wants you to get him information to continue his blackmail operation."
"Yes, but I refused."
"So, he killed Sally to force you to reconsider?"
"Yes, as well as another one very close to me."
Chey thought about it and answered.
"I'm sorry, but this is too much in the grey. I know that you've got a problem, but we simply can't get involved in your line of work. Good-bye."
Turning to leave Cassie loudly spoke.
"He killed Alex."
Stopping she turned around. Leaning back against the tree she looked pale, like she had just had the wind knocked out of her. Taking a couple of minutes to recover she spoke.
"We were leaving a nearby restaurant when this black limo pulls up and opens fire. Alex was the only one hit. After he fell in my arms the car sped away. I told the police about the car and even gave them the license plate number."
"What did they do?"
"Nothing. I was told that all the evidence had disappeared along with mine and other eyewitness statements along with the vehicle number. I told them that it was Duke's car. I saw the gold ring on the shooter's hand. It was Duke. That solid gold giant nugget can be seen a block away. They said that there was nothing that they could do about it since there was no evidence."
"Obviously one of Duke's blackmail operations. Who ordered the police to drop it?"
"The Police Commissioner."
"Are you serious? You want us to go up against Duke and the Police Commissioner of Las Vegas?"
"You're the only ones who can. Look, Chey, I know that you don't like me, and I know that I betrayed you. Please, don't let what I did in the past influence you. I really need your help."
Taking a deep breath, she nodded.
"I'll talk to the rest, but it's not my decision to make."
She started to leave as Chey spoke.
"One more thing."
Cassie turned back to her and waited.
"I know that you didn't betray me. It took me a very long time to figure that out, but I know that you did what you did to protect me the only way that you knew how."
Cassie smiled and nodded.
"When did you figure it out?"
"I started thinking about it almost a year ago. I finally figured it out a few minutes back."
Crossing to her once again Cassie and Chey hugged each other tightly. Handing her one more photo Cassie walked away. Chey headed over to the hot dog cart and read the back of the photo.
"What's it say?" Hannibal asked.
"Alex, fifteenth birthday, last photo."
"You're going to suggest that we pass?"
"Alex was my godson. The closest thing to a child I can have. I can't let this go."
"Hannibal." Face's voice sounded over the radio. "Will you please tell Chey to get back here and explain why she is such close friends with a Las Vegas Madam."
"Relax, it's not what you think."
"Well get up here and set me straight."
She could hear the jealous tension in his voice.
"I'll be right there."
Soon the entire team was assembled in a small office space across from the park. Chey was simply leaning back against the wall staring out the window while Face simply stared at her. The other three could feel the tension as Hannibal spoke.
"Chey, what's going on? Whose Cassie and what's your connection with her?"
"Yeah I would really like to know that as well." Face said. "I mean when you said that she would occasionally hop into bed with the military I thought that you meant figuratively, not literally."
"Actually, I meant it both ways." She answered.
Looking around she spoke.
"Alright, it's a long story, most of which Templeton already knows."
"You left out the entire Cassie chapter." He said.
She nodded and continued.
"Alright, I'm illegitimate. Everyone is perfectly aware of this. Carmen tended to go into drunken fits of rage when I was growing up due to this fact. When I was seven, she married a man named Vincent Wilder. He was a very abusive drunk who was constantly using her for a punching bag. However, he never hit me. Mother would go into a fit and lock me in a dark closet for hours on end, but he never did. He said that children should grow up free. It wasn't until a girl was ready to marry that things would change. It was up to the husband to train the wife as to what kind he wanted her to be. So, because of that belief he never hit me, no matter what. Every man wants something different so all he wanted me to do was just grow up. When I was eight Carmen finally got enough of being hit so she threw a lighted oil lamp at him. It landed on the wall and shattered but some of the oil splashed onto him causing sever burns. She managed to completely burn down the house and he filed charges on her for assault."
"He filed charges on her?" Face asked.
"It was acceptable for the man to strike since it was the man who controlled the house. For a woman to strike back was completely unacceptable. So, she was arrested. Of course, he didn't want me, and his family didn't want me. At the time I didn't know who my father was, and Carmen wouldn't say, so they sent me to my grand-father. He took one look at me and said that it was embarrassing enough for his political future for his daughter to be charged and arrested but he would not allow the press to find out about him being forced to raise her illegitimate child. So, off to the county home I went."
"For how long?" Hannibal asked.
"I got out when I was eleven and was returned to Carmen. She had undergone extensive therapy while in the mental hospital so when I got back, she never locked me up again. That's when she told me about my real father. Of course, as you know she left out a lot of important information. Shortly after that she met Decker and they began dating. He knew you, of course. You two had mixed it up before." She said looking at Hannibal.
He just nodded and continued to listen.
"When I was thirteen, they got married and he and I were at odds from day one. We lived on base and he, of course, tried to run it as a military household. I don't command very well if I don't want to." She admitted.
At this the team just nodded in agreement.
"One day there was a formal dinner party for the new base commander. His wife was a very self-righteous woman who was basically disgusted with all of the sin of life surrounding her every day. I was upstairs with several others of my age when she came over and grabbed me pulling me aside. She then began to lecture me in a loud voice that all the kids around me heard, about how I should be grateful for Decker to even consider accepting the responsibility of some illegitimate bastard child whose father never showed any interest and obviously didn't want to have anything to do with her. I was born into sin from sin and I would never be anything but a shame to my family name. At that she turned around to leave and the back of her formal dress got caught under my foot. I can't imagine how. Anyway, she then fell down a long flight of stairs, in front of the press, laying spread eagle with her dress above her head. It would seem that she had a love of thong panties that the press had a field day with."
Everyone laughed for a moment, not surprised by Chey's actions. Soon she continued.
"Everyone knew that I did it, but no one could prove it. To save his rank Decker had me shipped off to boarding school. More specifically St. Mary's School for Girls. It was in fact a type of reform school for wealthy girls with embarrassing problems. Drugs, sex, alcohol, it was all there. When I entered, I met my roommate, Cassie, who you saw today. Cassie is in fact the daughter of a Dallas Texas oil tycoon. She was there because she had just given birth to her son, Alex. I was fourteen and she had just turned fifteen. We didn't judge each other, and we became good friends. However, Cassie had one serious problem in that she enjoyed sex. Even at her age. She would talk about wanting to go to Nevada, where at the time prostitution was legal, and opening her own whorehouse. She said that if she was the Madam then she could make money while having fun and still be picky about who she chooses. She kept books inside of her mattress. Not under it, since the nuns were always searching our rooms for what they considered bad influences. There's nothing worse than nuns on a mission to save your soul."
At this Face nodded having experienced all to well the wrath of a nun's ruler.
"It was at this time that I got sick. Turns out it was a sever uteri infection and the only choice was to remove everything. I had a complete and total hysterectomy at the age of sixteen. I couldn't decide if I was upset about it or not since I had no interest in sex. The nuns began bringing me literature on becoming a novitiate because they said that since I couldn't ever have children no man would ever marry me. Sex before marriage was completely out of the question so they decided that I should become a nun."
Looking over at Face she noticed the smirk he had and spoke.
"Don't say it."
He just held up his hands as she continued.
"Cassie decided that she wanted to actually specialize in sex. So, she started studying everything about S&M and bondage techniques. When she graduated at eighteen you should have seen the look on the nuns faces while she packed her books. That was truly priceless. Not long before I graduated, I received a letter from her. She had gone to work for a popular dominatrix and had now inherited the business. She had been keeping diaries and wanted me to type them up into a biography. When I graduated, I headed to Los Vegas."
"So, you didn't actually work for her?" Face questioned.
"Not really, not in the sense that you're asking. I was set up in a nice building that she had turned into an office behind her business the Pink Paradise Lounge. I spent most of my time typing or helping to take care of Alex. It got to the point that he was as much my son as he was hers. There were times that I worked inside but only behind the cash register. She had the customer requests set up like a lunch menu and yes, she did have a prostitution ring going on even at the time it was against the law. There were four buttons with four set prices. 'The Works' was just that, a good time ending in sex. 'Overdone' the customer was wanting to be dominate with a partner. No actual intercourse involved. 'Underdone' the customer was submissive and wanted one of our trained dominatrices. 'Glass of water' was a dinner buffet with a stripper stage. No touching, just like any strip club. During one of the nights that I was working the register I met Jason. He wasn't exceptional by any means, just an average guy, but he was polite. He knew that I wasn't one of the girls, so we started dating. Then we became physical, and that was when everything fell apart. I didn't know what was wrong I thought that sex was supposed to be enjoyable. It turned out that I absolutely hated for him to touch me. Every time that we were together, I felt sick. That's why we were only together a few times. I couldn't understand what was wrong. However, he was the first guy to notice me and not judge me. He saw past the fact that no one wanted me and just saw me. So, for that reason I just stayed with him. I found out later that he made him money by robbing convenience stores and mugging tourists, but I refused to be swayed. Cassie kept warning me to get out but at that time I was so unsure of my own self-worth that I truly believed that I couldn't do any better. So, she did the only thing she knew how. She seduced him away from me. I was so confused and devastated when we broke up. I couldn't understand what I did wrong. Time and again she would continually flaunt him in front of me, making me feel even worse. I eventually got angry and left. The next year I was enrolled in veterinary college and had met my friends that eventually formed Pony Run. I really don't know where I would be now if she hadn't done that. Probably in jail or on the streets. She destroyed our friendship because she knew that I was getting into trouble and that I wasn't going to get myself out of it. I've held a grudge ever since. That is, until I met Templeton. With him I began to understand the true danger I had been in and I realized that I had been forcing myself to be something that I wasn't just to try to gain acceptance in the eyes of someone who only wanted to use me as an easy mark. I now know that I don't have to have a man to complete me and that I am fine just the way that I am. Still, even at that, having Templeton around makes me happier than I have ever been in my life."
Turning to Hannibal she spoke.
"Cassie sacrificed the only friendship that she ever had to protect me. I owe it to her to bring Alex's murderer to justice. If the team goes in it might look bad for us, but if I go alone no one will notice."
"Cheyanne." Face said. "When are you going to stop taking on the world's responsibilities by yourself. You don't have to do it alone, I'll go with you."
"Me too." Murdock said. "Your friend might run a questionable operation, but her son was a completely innocent target."
"Yeah." B.A. said. "I'm not comfortable going in there but nobody murders an innocent kid in front of his mother just to prove a point."
"Well," Hannibal smiled putting his cigar in his mouth. "Looks like we're heading to Vegas."
A couple of days later it was early in the morning when they pulled up to the club. Cassie headed out to meet them hugging Cheyanne tightly. Introducing everyone, Cassie looked at Face. Turning back to Chey she smiled and spoke.
"Honey, you've snatched up a real cute one. You have got to tell me all about him."
"What you want to know are things that I don't want to admit to."
Cassie laughed and nodded as she took them inside. It was obvious that it was still a long time until opening as the girls walked around in T-shirts and sweat pants. Cheyanne did notice that the girls' eyes lingered on the guys for a few moments. Face turned to her.
"I feel like I'm on the lunch buffet."
"With these girls, you are."
The team quickly scattered to the back-surveillance room.
"I thought that you said you didn't record anything?" Hannibal asked.
"I don't. None of these are recording, it's also only the front drive. I like to know beforehand who is about to walk in the front door."
They nodded as they walked around searching the perimeter.
"Alright, this place if far to easy to access. There is simply no way to fortify it. We're going to have to be careful about it. Chey, do you know this guy, Duke?"
"Not very well. We've only met once, and I don't know if I could spot him out of a crowd."
"Do either one of you know where his blackmail items are kept?"
"His office has been searched a number of times by the F.B.I. and other agencies he can't blackmail. However, no one has ever been able to secure a search warrant for his home. The problem with that is that his house is a fortress."
"Good, I always enjoy a challenge." Hannibal smiled.
Soon they were across town on a hill overlooking a gated compound. Cassie was with them since she had the most recent knowledge of his movements. Pointing out the owners of several of the cars entering the gate, one of which was the Police Commissioner, Hannibal turned to Face.
"Alright, I want you and Chey to go to City Hall and get a copy of those floor plans."
"That's impossible." Cassie said. "I've tried to get them before hoping to find a weakness for a little payback of my own but the plans for this house is kept in a vault in City Hall's downstairs room. All their important documents are kept in there. Anyone you ask will tell you that those plans simply don't exist."
Face smiled at her and answered.
"That's because you haven't been asking them the right way. Is the person on duty as a guard, a man or woman?"
"Both, all requests for those papers go through Natalie, but the vault is guarded by a guy named Hank."
Face and Chey nodded as they took Cassie with them to City Hall. As they looked around the corner Cassie spoke.
"That's Natalie." She whispered.
"I like this. She looks so completely bored. You're on." Chey said smiling at Face.
He nodded as Cassie noticed him slipping off his wedding ring and placing it in his jacket pocket. She needed to ask Chey about it later. They stepped back as Face adjusted his jacket and tie. Putting on a pair of glasses he stepped out and headed towards Natalie. She smiled at him as he started talking. Chey laughed.
"What?" Cassie asked.
"She's as good as out of the way. She gave him a chance to talk."
"Is he really that good?"
"He is multi-talented." She winked at her.
In only a couple of minutes he had led her away from the desk for an early break. Chey turned to Cassie and spoke.
Grabbing a stack of papers Chey headed to the next room where the vault was.
"Excuse me?" She asked juggling papers.
"Who are you?" Hank ordered.
"I'm Shelly, the new intern. I was supposed to deliver these papers to someone named Natalie, but she's not here. Where do I need to put them?"
"What do you mean she's not there? It's not time for her break."
"Well, that guy I saw someone walking away with could have been her I guess."
"I don't know, I haven't met him before. Some good-looking guy. I think that he has more than just law books on his mind."
Hank growled and left as Chey sat down the stack of papers and motioned to Cassie. She approached as Chey smiled at her.
"These safes are on a timer. The reason that there is a guard on duty is because the vault isn't locked during the day."
With a spin she opened the vault. Stepping inside she quickly found the blueprints that they were looking for. Heading out of the room they left to see Hank yelling at Natalie for taking an unauthorized break. Face was nowhere to be seen. Quickly passing by them they met Face outside.
"Did you get the plans?"
"Of course, I learned from the best."
Chey smiled kissing him quickly. They headed back to Cassie's where they met up with the others. As the guys went over the blueprints Cassie pulled Chey away.
"Listen, I don't really know these guys very well, although there is one that I wouldn't mind getting to know better. Anyway, I do know about men in general. Did you notice Face and his wedding band?"
"I know, I told him it's alright. His cons work better if women think that he's available. I told him that if it was for a job then it's fine. If were not at work, I better see a ring on that finger."
Cassie just nodded not really understanding. Chey turned to go but stopped, turning back around she spoke.
"Wait, which guy do you want to get to know better?'
"It's not Face. He's yours, don't worry."
"I'm not worried about him, I'm worried about Hannibal."
Cassie looked at her taken aback. She didn't know when Chey had developed such a perfect sixth sense. Chey just nodded noticing that Cassie didn't say anything. Giving her a wink, she walked away and headed back to the others. Soon they headed back over to her.
"Alright," Hannibal spoke. "Cassie, when are you supposed to give him an answer?"
"Good, set us up around the club. We'll keep an eye on the front for tonight."
"Alright, well I guess Chey can go back on the register. Unless, she's ready to give the stripper stage a try?" She winked.
Before she could even answer Face spoke up.
"I think that she'll be fine on the register."
"She knows how the register works, I haven't had it upgraded since she left."
"Good, I'll break it tonight and force an upgrade."
"I like the register. I believe that if it's not broke don't fix it. That does not give you leave to actually break my register." Chey smiled at her as she continued. "The prices have of course gone up, but the buttons are the same. Four buttons, four choices."
Heading to the front Chey sat behind the register as Cassie looked at her for a moment.
"You are still so pretty. Why don't I get one of my outfits for you? I mean since we last saw each other you have certainly filled out and muscled up. Your top is what? 34? 36?"
"38." Face spoke.
Cassie looked over at him as he continued.
"38-26-36." He finished.
"I wish half of my girls had those numbers. So, about that shirt, I'm think tight and low. That would show off nicely."
"I'm thinking that it wouldn't cover my gun." Chey answered.
"Right, gun. That is so weird coming from you." Cassie sighed. "Alright, I still need a bouncer for downstairs."
She immediately looked over at B.A. Chey spoke.
"No, B.A. is a rare person. He is a true gentleman. You need guys to stand there to make sure that the customers don't get out of hand. However, B.A. holds all women in high esteem, no matter their job. He tends to be overly protective."
"I see, so you know my set up. Where is the best place?"
"Surveillance room. He can see who is at the door and can come to any aid that we may need."
With that B.A. disappeared into the surveillance room. That left them with three.
"Alright, Chey. Who goes where?"
"Oh, you're fine now. Face has definitely been in strip clubs before. Half of the strippers we meet know him by name."
"In my defense, I haven't been in a strip-club in a while." Face argued.
Turning to Cassie, Chey smiled.
"Notice his wording. 'In a while', not 'since we've been married'."
Hannibal laughed and turned to him.
"She inherited her bull-shit detector from you. I swear at times I have trouble telling the two of you apart."
"The others?" Cassie asked.
"Obviously I keep out of Hannibal's life. We sort of have a don't ask, don't tell policy. However, I can pretty much bet he's as acquainted with your type of business as Face is."
Face smiled and looked beside him to Hannibal.
"Yep, she's got a pretty good detector."
"As for Murdock, he's stays in his own world. Currently I'm not sure what world he's in but he's probably been around your block as well."
"Alright, Murdock. Would you please be my door greeter? It's easy, just stand there. This is a private club so when a guest arrives, they will show our outside camera their membership card. Kia, in surveillance, will look at it. When the light beside the door turns green the door automatically unlocks. Just open the door. They'll come in and give their hats, coats or whatever to hat-check. That's Bradly, he'll be here soon. Now Bradly may disappear on occasion, he also works upstairs. If he is gone then Chey will do double duty as register and hat-check. All the door person does is open the door and lend back-up to the bouncers if needed. If escorting a customer out just hit the red button beside you. That will unlock the door."
Murdock nodded while Cassie looked at the other two and began speaking again about the different areas. Seeing an amused look on their faces she turned to Hannibal.
"Chey is asleep behind me, isn't she?"
"Uh-huh." Hannibal nodded.
Turning around she spoke.
"This used to be your speech. You want to finish?'
Looking at the other two Chey continued.
"I don't care who goes where. In front of me is a large buffet area and stage. It runs the same as any strip club. No touching. Upstairs, is the one on one rooms. Technically, since prostitution is now illegal, there is no intercourse going on upstairs. Believe whatever you want. Each room has a light above the door. Ignore who or how many go in or come out. However, is that light flashes, get in there. It means that things have gotten out of control. Don't be surprised at what you might walk in on. So, who wants where?"
Face turned to Hannibal and spoke.
"You know I should be down here with Chey. I'll take the main room."
Chey looked at him and spoke.
"That's nice of you. I mean most of these girls have men looking at them all day long. It must be nice for them to see a man whose only there because his wife is standing right behind him watching his every move."
Face coughed, straightened his tie and spoke.
"I'll get the stairs."
He then left and headed up to the second floor. Hannibal turned and went into the main room. Soon guests began arriving and the night began. Hours went by as the oddities of the private club continued. As ten after midnight came the door opened and Duke walked in. Ringing the bell near her Chey watched as the team moved to the area. He looked over at Chey for a few minutes trying to place her. He knew that he had seen her before, but he couldn't figure out where. Giving up he turned to Cassie as she entered.
"Have you made your decision?" He asked.
"Get out, Duke."
"Too bad. It seems like you are just a slow learner. I thought that killing two would work. Guess you son dying in your arms wasn't enough. I need to make it three."
Pulling out his gun he turned and aimed it at Chey. She was ready and pulled hers as well, pointing it back at him. He stood there for a moment in surprise, unable to believe that someone wasn't afraid of him. Looking at her and her cold stare he lowered his gun. She withdrew hers as well. He knew the look of someone who would pull the trigger if pressed. Looking at Cassie he spoke.
"I don't know where you got her, but I don't back down. I'll let you go tonight, but this was your last chance."
"I am not afraid of you, Duke."
"You should have taken my offer, Cassie. It's dangerous to even think about going against me. I always get what I want."
Holstering his gun, he looked over at Chey once again, then left. Cassie turned and noticed Hannibal had been standing behind him, his hand on the handle of his gun. Face was above and ready, Murdock was ready as well and looking around she saw B.A. in firing position around the corner. Looking at Chey she questioned.
"Why didn't you shoot? He had his gun on you."
"He also had the safety on. It was a threat to cause panic. It backfired."
Hannibal turned to the others.
"Alright, he made his move. Let's make ours. B.A. are you ready?"
B.A. nodded and returned s few minutes later with several listening bugs.
"He'll be at his club, so we have to hit the house tonight." Hannibal said.
Leaving Chey to guard the club the rest of the team headed to Duke's house. Scaling the wall, the first line of defense was immediately there, four Dobermans. Already having done the surveillance they knew to expect them. Soon four tranquilizer darts shot forward and four Dobermans were all soon fast asleep. Heading towards the house they skirted the security cameras as Face quickly picked the lock on the back door. From the blueprints they knew exactly where to look and where to bug. Scattering around the house Face went to work on the safes while B.A. hooked up the bugs. In minutes they were out and, on their way, back to Cassie's. Pulling up to the club they noticed that all the lights were off, and it was completely silent. Going to the back breaker box they noticed that all the fuses had been destroyed. Walking up to the front door Face tested the doorknob. The door easily swung open. Pushing it wide he shouted.
"Chey, where are you?'
"In here. We're all gathered in the main room. I'll light the oil lamps if you've got the area secure."
Hannibal looked over at him.
"Murdock and I will walk the perimeter. B.A. has the fuse box. You keep those girls calm."
Face smiled thinking about just how many girls were inside to calm down. Walking in he noticed Chey standing in the doorway to the main room on guard. The rest of the girls were simply setting around talking.
"What happened?" Face asked slightly upset that none of the girls needed to be comforted.
"Shortly after you left, we heard a couple of off-road vehicles coming in at full speed. They headed around to the back then all the lights went out. The door can be manually controlled for emergencies, so we got all the customers out easily enough then I gathered everyone in here. After the customers had left, they opened fire on us. Fortunately, the windows are bullet proof."
Face leaned down to her and whispered.
"It's dark and cramped. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. I'm not that scared little girl that you've heard about."
Leaning forward he gently kissed her, feeling her relax into him. He knew that she didn't like the dark due to her childhood, but she kept it hidden so well that he was never certain if she was actually over it or not. Hannibal walked in and spoke.
"Face let Chey and Cassie see the phots that we liberated. If we can take the heat off local politicians as well as getting some recorded information from the bugs we planted, we should be able to wrap this guy up in a nice package for the Police Commissioner."
Reluctantly Face and Chey separated as they went over to a table with lamp. Showing them the pictures Cassie spoke.
"There's the Commissioner." She pointed out.
"No wonder he's being blackmailed." Chey said. "He's married with three children and that prostitute is a man."
Looking at several other photos they named several other high politicians. Taking turns throughout the night they kept the phone tapes and bugs recording non-stop. By the time that the morning came around they had several great recordings. Nothing that could pass in court but enough to secure a search warrant. Face and Chey left and headed to City Hall once again. Walking into the Police Commissioners office they noticed a large wall of wanted posters. There in the mix of posters was a flyer for the A-Team. All four of their pictures were on it so it was one of the recent ones. The secretary looked up at them and smiled obviously not recognizing them from the poster that Chey was conveniently blocking.
"May I help you?"
Face smiled at her and answered.
"We need to see the Commissioner. Tell him that we have something that used to belong to Duke."
She nodded and picked up her phone calling into the back office.
"He'll see you right away."
They smiled and went inside. Entering the room, the Commissioner frowned at them.
"I have a whole city of well-trained police and SWAT available at my command. Just so that you know. Now, what do you want?"
"Simply to give you a present." Face answered taking out the blackmail photo and the negative.
Handing it over to him he continued.
"We came by these last night and thought that you might want them back."
"You're the ones who broke into his house?"
"Now, it doesn't matter how we came by them. What matters is that we didn't make any copies. Both the photos and the negatives are there and any others dealing with other people are on their way to everyone else on his list as well."
Reaching into her purse Chey pulled out a pile of recorded tapes and sat them down on his desk as well.
"What are those?"
"Just some tapes about his current business dealings that you might find interesting. Your own future is mentioned quiet clearly along with the name of your replacement."
"What do you want from me?"
"Nothing illegal. We would simply like for you to reopen the Alex Hanks murder case."
"I still have access to all of the missing evidence. It will magically reappear again very soon. Maybe even by this afternoon. These tapes should also get us a search warrant and hopefully we can shut him down, permanently."
"That's all that we're asking." Chey smiled.
Early the next morning they learned from the news that Duke had been arrested and the club closed. B.A. was packing the van more than ready to leave as Murdock continued to be popular with several of the girls chasing after him. Face and Chey headed outback where she kept a nice manicured lawn for relaxing. Cassie walked up to Hannibal and spoke.
"Can you come with me for a few minutes? There's something concerning Chey that I want you to see."
He followed her to a small back room that had an old movie projector set up. Going over to the window she looked out and smiled. Hannibal walked over as Cassie spoke.
"Chey is so different than I remember. I still can't get over the complete transformation of her character. I truly believe that he's the main reason for that. She adores him totally and I'm a pretty good judge of character, my instincts tell me that he's completely wrapped around her finger as well. If I had met him first, I would have told her to run. In my line of work, I've met many playboys and he's certainly one of that kind. Still, even with that fault he cares deeply for her and that's what I want to see for her. Someone to love her for her, someone that's let's her breath and just live."
"We all told her to run from him. Me, Decker and others. She is very well aware of the string of broken hearts behind him. Still, those two just seemed to fit together. I can't understand it or even begin to explain it."
"Hannibal, what I am about to show you Chey does not know that I still have. Once you see it, you'll see what a different person she is now. I mean, I've had lovers on both sides of the fence and I'm telling you that years ago, when I knew her, I only wanted to cover and protect her. She was so very fragile. Now, if it wasn't for Face, I would have probably made a move on her. She's so sure of herself now, so passionate about life. It's amazing."
Hannibal sat down in one of the chairs as she dimmed the lights and turned on the movie projector. As the film started the person holding the camera opened the outside building door that was at the time used as an office. Inside was a slightly heavyset young woman with stringy hair and oversize clothes hiding herself away with obvious insecurity. He could tell that it was Chey but as she spoke to the camera, he noticed her nervous behavior and her eyes were always constantly darting from side to side nervously surveying the room and area. A sudden loud noise of a car backfiring caused her to scream and jump. He could hear Cassie off camera calming her down as she stood there slightly trembling from the surprise noise. She looked at the camera once again and weakly smiled. The film jumped as it switched from different days and times. The more Hannibal saw of this trembling fractured soul the more his anger at Carmen grew. From her movements and speech, she was obviously an extremely emotionally abused woman. Her every movement and speech were done with a slight hesitation. She seemed to judge each possible outcome before even making a move. He smiled, just this morning they had been arguing over different topics. She absolutely refused to back down or seemed to even consider her words or language for that matter. He finally had to pull rank as a Colonel and leader of the team to get her to stop. She certainly had no problem voicing her opinion now. Watching the home movies, he could see why it had taken Decker seven years of training to get her to where she was now. Once the film was over Cassie spoke.
"Hannibal take care of her. She doesn't let it show but inside she's still fragile. I've watched her and I can see a lot of you in her. Even without her telling me I would have known that you were her father. She was just never allowed to show that side of her before and I believe that is her true side. The one they tried to destroy and make into someone else. She's changed so much, please don't let her ever go back to Carmen. Some women simply don't deserve to have children."
"She won't go back. I was never there as a father though not by my choice, so I really don't want to force my opinion on her now. Still, I will guide her as best I can."
"If you ever need me call. I owe you more than you know. Not only for Alex, but for her as well."
He nodded and soon the team was in the van and ready to leave. Giving Chey a tight hug Cassie spoke.
"If you ever need anything give me a call. I'm sure I could find any of you a nice place to hide for a while."
"I'll call if needed. Take care of yourself. You know some of the places I tend to haunt in L.A. If you're in town, find me."
Looking over at Face she smiled and turned back to Chey.
"Hey, if you ever need any tips or advice on keeping him in line and on the straight and narrow give me a call. I certainly know a few things about getting men to beg for forgiveness."
Face looked at the smile on Chey's face as the two of them seemed to have an unspoken conversation. Getting slightly nervous he shifted around and spoke.
"Chey, maybe we had better get going."
Chey laughed and nodded. Climbing into the van they were soon on their way back to L.A.