"Why aren't they answering?" a flustered Hannibal mumbled underneath his breath as he nervously paced the length of the living room. Amy momentarily left her seat by the Evans to reach out to her anguished friend.
"Hannibal, do you think something happened?"
"I told Murdock that if they smelled a trap, to cut loose. They probably left the van to take cover. I'll give them a couple of minutes and then I'm going after them."
"Do you know where they are?"
Face entered the house following his round around the property. "I've checked the premises, Hannibal. No one's prowling about."
Face's eyes roved from one forlorn expression to the other. "What's the matter?
"We can't reach B.A. and Murdock," Amy informed dismally.
"I've been calling them for the past ten minutes. No answer. I'm sure they're ok. They probably took cover somewhere and can't get to the radio," Hannibal affected.
"Unh, unh. Yeah, sure," Face mocked. "Come on, Hannibal! Who are you trying to convince here?"
Greg Evans edged up to the twosome with a deep frown."Something wrong, Colonel Smith?"
"No, just a technical glitch that's all," Hannibal extemporized. "I lost contact with my men, but I'm sure it's temporary."
"Or maybe Prescott got to them. If he did, he won't think twice about resorting to torture and then he'll ship what's left of them in body bags."
Amy's eyes widened in terror. "Oh my God! He wouldn't go that far?"
"Believe me, he will. They don't call him the terminator because he's a fan of Schwarzenegger."
"Colonel, we must do something," Amy stressed.
Distressed, Hannibal looked up at Evans. "Can I borrow your SUV?"
"On one condition; I'm coming with you."
Hannibal shook his head. "Too risky, Evans. For both your child and my men."
"We're talking about my daughter's life here! Do you honestly believe I'd do anything to jeopardize it or your men's for that matter?"
"Sorry to be so blunt but sadly... yes, Seeing your child in harm's way will without doubt push you over the edge. You'll do the unthinkable and that mister could spell doom for everyone."
Mary Evans stood from the sofa and came to stand beside her husband. "He's right Greg. Let the A-Team handle it. They know what they're doing," she mollified and then tugged at her spouse's arm to lead him away from Hannibal and back to the couch.
Evans reached into his trousers pocket to take out his set of car keys that he tossed at Hannibal. "Here! The car's parked out front. It's got a phone. Use it to let us know what's going on out there."
"Thanks. Face, you're coming with me."
Hannibal turned to Amy. "I want you to stay here with the Evans, just in case Murdock and B.A. call. We'll be in touch on our end."
"OK. And Hannibal...be careful."
Hannibal threw a reassuring wink at Amy before heading out the door with Face.
"Where to, Hannibal?"
"Sentinel Road. That's where Prescott was last seen."
With Face at the wheel, the dark gray SUV sped away.
"I should have gone with them," Greg Evans lamented bitterly. "Beats staying here and wait."
"Believe me, it's better this way. Colonel Smith has a plan to..."
"Oh yeah," Evans rudely interjected, "Well it looks like it backfired."
"We don't know that," Amy scowled in spite of herself. "I say let Hannibal tell us what to do next."
"She's right, honey," Mary assuaged, taking her husband by the arm.
Murdock groaned awake. No sooner had his eyes fluttered open that discomfort set in. A searing pang shot down his spine as he reached to probe his forehead where he felt caked blood. He winced and took a deep breath to deaden the pain, but it only made it worse. He quickly grabbed his aching chest and felt fractured ribs. He squinted his eyes shut against the throbbing in his head and then began to gently rub the sore area to alleviate the stinging sensation, while fighting the urge to cough. He blinked to clear the haze and established focus on his surroundings. His sight came to rest on the van lying on its side on top of him "What a silly place to land, big boy," he ribbed "You're crushing my...uh oh," A wave of panic spread over his face as it suddenly dawned on him that his legs were pinned underneath the van. "Something's not right." He tried to move his legs or even wiggle his toes. Both tasks proved unsuccessful. "Something's definitely not right."
He shut his eyes tightly, taking a few seconds to collect himself and assess his plight. As he reopened them, he noticed that B.A was slumped over the steering wheel, unconscious. He carefully took a deep breath to gather his wind in order to utter B.A's .name aloud without exacerbating his injuries.
"B.A!" he heaved out in pain."I know you're not dead. Come one, give me a sign here." He paused to breathe away a nasty twinge before resuming his plea. "Come on! Please don't make me repeat it or I'll lose my wind." He inhaled slowly and deeply to make one last attempt at rousing his friend.
"Murdock?" B.A. mumbled weakly.
"Yeah. Are you ok, Big Guy?"
"I don't know," he answered warily. One short move and then, "Aye!"
"What is it?"
"It's my left arm. Ah man, I think it's busted," he grumbled in pain as he tried to wiggle himself out of his seat.
B.A. took a moment to assess his condition, his face twitching as he prodded specific areas that felt abnormally tender to the touch. "Aside from a splitting headache and aching all over, I think I'm alright."
"Where are you? I can hear ya but I don't see ya."
B.A. craned his neck through the broken door window and looked down. "Whatcha doing down there?"
"Umm, good question."
"You ok, man?"
"Just about," Murdock cringed, gnashing his teeth as a stabbing pain shot down his spine. "My legs are pinned underneath the van."
"Hold on, I'll get you outta there."
With painstaking effort, B.A. scrambled out of the mangled van. The jerking motion added excessive pressure onto Murdock's body, sending it into the throes of agony.
"S'ok," Murdock huffed out in pain. "S'good to know the rest of me isn't numbed."
Cradling his injured left arm in his right hand, B.A. carefully slid out of the driver door and crouched down next to Murdock to size up the situation.
"Ok, when I lift the van up, you gotta pull your weight out with your hands and elbows. Can you do that?"
"Big Guy, be serious. You've only got one good arm"
"Don't mind that, fool. Now get ready, on three. One...two...three." With one loud grunt, B.A winched up the van a few inches off the ground with his right arm, creating enough space to free Murdock's legs and allow him to drag his way out. "Come on, fool! Pull!" B.A. shouted between teeth set in suppressed agony. "Can't hold on much longer."
The smallest effort caused Murdock to writhe in excruciating pain. "I can't."
"You have to. Come on you sucker, pull!" B.A. goaded but with little result. Murdock shook his head in defeat and let his body go flaccid. "I can't."
B.A lost his grip, causing the truck to drop back on Murdock who screamed in agony. "Man, I'm sorry."
"S'ok...s'ok. You tried." As the darting pain intensified, Murdock's eyes rolled back into their sockets and his world went black.
"Don't you dare!" B.A. slapped him in the face to trigger a response, "Stay awake, crazy man!" A second smack packing more punch elicited a muffled groan. "That's it, stay with me, here." He spotted a blanket lying on the van's floor and next to it, a thermos. He took one after the other and placed them on the ground next to the injured party.
"Want some water?" Murdock nodded weakly licking his lips in anticipation of quenching his thirst. However B.A's lame arm made it awkward for him to get the liquid into Murdock's mouth. He found the leverage he needed in the blanket that he furled into a makeshift pillow, after which he slid it underneath Murdock's neck to tilt his head forward. He then placed the opening of the thermos to the man's lips. "How's that?"
"Thanks, Big Guy. I needed that."
"How you feeling?"
Murdock took a few seconds to conduct a self-examination "Aside from a throbbing headache, a few cracked ribs no doubt, and being completely numbed below the waist, the rest is," he winced in fear of other grievous injuries, " well... I don't really know and don't care to check right now."
B.A. took the folded blanket acting as support for Murdock's neck and spread it over his friend's torso. "I think they made us out," Murdock stated.
"How do you figure that?"
"Didn't you hear the shots right before you lost control?"
"Yeah. Tires blew up."
"Tires didn't burst by themselves. I distinctly heard the shots." He paused to repress his raw emotions. "We had them, B.A.. They were leading us to Meghan," Murdock deplored, swallowing the lump in his throat.
"Don't fret about it none. We'll nail them."
"I hope you're right, but it's obvious you and me are out of the game."
"Yeah, well, it's just temporary till we get our limbs back up to shape and take off after them."
"It might be too late by then," Forlorn expressions crossed both faces as the reality of the moment sunk in. Murdock then glanced up at the steep hill. "How do you suppose we get up there with your arm and me...well."
"Hannibal and Face'll find us."
"Not in this pit, they won't. Haven't you noticed how far down we are, not to mention all that thick brush that's hindering the view from up there?" Murdock explained, throwing his partner into an ominous silence. "B.A.," Murdock gasped out.
"Shut up, fool!" B.A. rudely interrupted. "Save your strength."
"I was gonna say the radio. You can call Hannibal for help." There was a moment of hesitation on B.A.'s part that puzzled Murdock. "What?"
"I was wondering if I can reach it without getting back into the van, or else I'll crush you again." B.A stepped closer to the mangled door and extended his arm to reach the radio. He managed to grab the receiver but he soon discovered that the line was dead. Fuming, he banged it against the side of van several times, hoping to get it to work, but his efforts were futile.
"Cursing won't make it work, Big Guy," Murdock bantered. "It must have gotten damaged in the crash...like us. You have no choice but to go for help."
"I ain't leaving you here, alone. You've got a concussion. I gotta keep you awake."
"And then what? I won't make it outta here alive if you don't get Hannibal and the others. Go on! I'll be ok. I promise to stay awake." B.A. pondered Murdock's request with great reservations. He glanced down at his friend who threw him a reassuring wink. "Hannibal won't find us down here. You got go to him and bring back help." A painful twitch made Murdock cry out in pain.
"What is it?"
"It's my back," Murdock cried.
"I've got to get that truck off ya."
"Don't be silly!" Murdock puffed out through the pain. "You'll only make it worse for the both of us. Go on before it gets dark."
B.A. bent down closer to Murdock and with a finger pointed at his face, he threatened, "You'd better keep that promise, sucker, or I'll kill ya, understand?"
"I'll sing to myself and if that doesn't work, I'll reminisce about the times you got me in jams," he teased.
"It's the other way around, fool!"
Murdock fashioned a weak grin. "I won't let you down," he answered droopily.
"I'll leave you a gun, just in case some wild animal wants a piece of ya."
"Very kind, thanks."
After placing the revolver into Murdock's hand, B.A. tore out a piece of his shirt that he shaped into a sling for his arm. He then looked up at the steep slope to estimate its height and determine from which front to take on his adversary. He cast a last dejected glance at Murdock before embarking on his journey.
Murdock watched him walk away until he disappeared from view. Suddenly, a blazing spasm caused him to squint his eyes shut and grab his stomach that felt alarmingly rigid to the touch. "Oh no, not that," he quavered in fear that his hours were numbered. "Hurry back, Big Guy. Hurry back or I might be able to honour that promise."