Part 1: "the beginning of a beautiful partnership"
After revealing himself, the apparent leader of the A-Team scanned the Roses.
As he did so, they did the same to him. He was an old man, probably somewhere in his mid 50s, but his face had aged well, and his sharp calculating eyes showed that he was a very keen person. His look was completed by his Cuban cigar, which he apparently smoked quite a bit. As opposed to most smokers however, he caused no unpleasantness via some naturally given grace in the way he went about it.
He was dressed in a white jacket over a matching shirt, brown pants, and dressy leather boots. His hands were covered by black leather gloves.
"You know," he started with a smile, "a few of you don't seem like you're from around here."
He stopped for a moment to take a puff on his cigar.
"So tell me," he went on in a friendly manner, "what's brought all of you together?"
"We're wrestlers," Makoto smiled with a bit of upbeat pride in her voice.
"That explains some of your outfits," he laughingly responded with an eye towards Cidney.
After this, the man looked to the chair at his left, rubbing the nearest armrest with his hand. He would have sat down had it not been for someone else entering the room.
The Roses and the A-Team's leader were being joined by another member of the team who'd just walked into the room from the back.
He towered over everyone and nearly everything in the room as he stood in the doorway. He reminded the Roses of one of those bodyguards Aisha was always surrounded by on her tours, as his mohawked hair and overwhelmingly muscular physique made for quite the intimidating combination. Of course, he looked much more threatening than any bodyguard the Pop Idol could possibly find.
His unconventional hairstyle and muscular build weren't his most eye-catching features however, for draped down his chest were what seemed like countless gigantic gold chains that matched the large golden cuffs around his forearms. His jewelry collection didn't stop there, as his fingers boasted multiple jeweled rings. The countless jewels he wore didn't detract from his paralyzingly intimidating appearance however. Rather, they added to it in a way.
The leader turned his attention to him with another grinning smile.
"Ah," he beamed in a deadpan tone as he gestured a welcoming arm towards his partner. "You made it, BA."
'BA' didn't react, but simply stood in the doorway with his arms crossed.
The older man then let his arm drop as he refocused on the Roses who were still in awe of the other A-Team member's appearance. He paused to let them ease out of their state of wonder, but decided to simply snap them out of it himself,
"Ladies," he loudened his voice slightly on that word, accomplishing the aforementioned. "Meet Bosco 'BA' Baracus."
Candy Cane managed to work up a restrained "hey" as the other Roses simply raised a waving hand. However, they got no response from BA for their efforts.
"Don't worry," the older A-Team member said after another puff from his cigar, "he's got a bad attitude, but he'll grow on ya."
For a few beats, quietness fell over the room as Baracus remained in his quiet state and his partner simply sat back and enjoyed the company of his cigar, whereas the Roses were to unsure of themselves to say anything.
Assuming the responsibility, Reiko took it upon herself to break the silence, if only to hurry things up a bit.
"Okay," the Zero Fighter started to ask a question, "who are you guys again?"
"We're the A-Team," BA answered roughly, causing the Roses to jump.
It was then that the ladies found out BA's most fear generating feature was not his appearance, but rather his harsh booming voice which brought about another brief silence between the two parties until Love casually threw in a question of her own,
"From what I heard about yee fellows," she began, "yee blokes 've had a smidge of military training, iy?"
The team's leader finally sat back in the chair next to him and propped his soon to be crossed legs atop the table, taking the cigar out of his mouth to answer the buccaneer.
"You could say that," he smiled, causing Cidney to cock an eyebrow.
"What do you mean?" Candy Cane asked the next question for Cidney.
"We were actually in the military," he replied, now with his cig between his teeth and his legs neatly crossed on the table.
"Really?" Makoto asked in innocent curiosity. "When?"
"'Nam," BA answered with somewhat of a grunt, sounding as if he was reluctant to give an answer.
BA didn't cause another stint of silence this time however, as Dixie, apparently reassured by Makoto's unrestrained questioning that she was free to do the same, placed her hands on her hips.
"'Nam, hu?" she smiled. "What ranks were yall?"
Rather than answering the Cowgirl's question right away, the older man removed his legs from the countertop before sitting forwards in his chair as he took his cigar out of his mouth once again, giving her a hard look.
"You girls seem pretty interested in our back-story," he spoke in a much more serious tone of voice.
"A little to interested if you ask me!" BA growled.
BA stomped towards the Roses, dropping his arms down as he walked before slamming his hands on the counter and leaning forwards, causing the girls to back up a bit, shaking.
"How do we know that you aren't some kinda spies, hu!?" he demanded with a roar.
"No, no, no!" Makoto frantically responded as she and her friends recoiled. "We're not! I promise!"
"We just want to know what we're getting ourselves into!" Candy Cane answered with a yell.
Baracus ceased leaning on the counter and reverted to his previous stance with his arms crossed, leaving the Roses to just stand there, waiting. Silence fell over the room again as the tension on both sides winded down a bit.
The cigar smoking leader eventually broke the stillness in the room via getting out of his chair in order to slowly walk past his much larger partner and then ultimately around the counter and in front of the Roses.
"Sorry about that," he stopped walking as he popped his cig back into his mouth before whipping out a lighter and relighting it. He then looked up at the women and added with a smile, "we can't be to careful when it comes to pretty clients."
The Roses wondered what exactly they'd have to be careful of, but before any of them were able to bring up the matter, the leader of the A-Team continued speaking.
"So," he asked them as he removed his cigar and started to pace left and right, causing the women to snap their undivided attention onto him, "for what reason exactly did you come looking for us?"
They exchanged glances, silently deciding amongst themselves who would answer.
Cidney was the first to turn her head and make eye contact with the man, causing him to stop pacing and look at her, inadvertently volunteering herself for the task.
"Well," she stumbled over her first word, realizing that she had just done this. However, being clever as she was, the pirate quickly saw a way out of the predicament and turned to Reiko. "Technically speakin' mate, Reiko here's the one lookin' for help."
He and BA both looked at Reiko who was caught off guard by this and was left with no choice but to silently stand there for a moment before she could process something to say to the man. He didn't seem to mind the pause as he was using it to enjoy another hit from his cigar.
"It's kind of a long story..." Reiko looked down to her right as she slicked some of her hair back.
The Zero Fighter proceeded to tell the A-Team most everything about their plight. Anesthesia starting the fake Rumble Roses tourney, her mother mysteriously dieing, Ana's brainwashing of her sister, gathering the parts of dead wrestlers to construct a cyborg, how she destroyed the first Lady X and saved her sister, and of course Ana's sudden resurfacing and rekidnapping of her sister, and so on and so on.
"That's... pretty much it," she unconfidently shrugged as she wrapped up her story.
The two A-Team members didn't react in any immediate way, prompting Makoto to ask another question that she was actually somewhat afraid to ask,
"Can you help us?"
Without a word, BA and the other man briefly glanced at each other and then turned back to the Roses who were anxiously awaiting a response from one of them.
The older one started walking to his right, and eventually went back behind the counter and sat down in the chair again before finally speaking.
"About this 'Anesthesia'," he began whilst slowly twirling the cigar inbetween his middle and pointer fingers, looking mainly at Reiko, "what exactly does she want with your sister?"
"I don't know," Reiko sighed.
BA looked at her, prompting Reiko to do the same to him.
"You said that she made her first cyborg out of parts mainly from your mother," he began with concern in his voice, getting a frowning nod from the Zero Fighter as his leader used the downtime to puff on his cig (though he was clearly still listening). "Do you think that could have anything to do with why she needs your sister now?"
"I'm not sure," Reiko answered whilst lowering her head in shame, but seemed to regain some confidence a moment later as she raised her head up and added, "but it's possible."
"Uh hu...," the leader didn't ask another question, but rather leaned back in his chair, thinking and smoking.
As his partner was deep in thought, BA took it upon himself to throw in another inquiry of his own directed at Reiko,
"What's this crazy fool want to do with that lady cyborg?"
"We don't know," Reiko sighed, "but from what I can tell she wants to make her Lady X as strong as it can possibly be."
"For what?" the other man asked with his cig in his teeth.
"We aren't exactly sure," Cidney answered instead of Reiko. "That's what we be needin' the two of yees for,... um, ...," she stopped when she realized she didn't know either of their names.
"BA Baracus," BA reminded her.
Cidney and the others turned to the other A-Team member.
"It's 'Hannibal'," he answered their unspoken question.
BA again uncrossed his arms, catching the attention of the Roses again.
"Do you girls got any ideas where this crazy nurse is goin' with-" he started.
"No!" Candy Cane interrupted him, receiving an angry(er) glare from BA which she unhesitantly returned. "Sorry, but we don't know jack, babe!"
Hannibal looked at the other ladies to confirm this, and their body language told him that they were in the same boat as Candy Cane.
He sat back in his chair, putting his feet up on the counter again.
"Okay," he removed the cigar again to speak, "You don't know where this woman has gone, so we have to find her..."
"You don't know what she's planning, so we'll have to figure that out also..."
The Roses nodded again, waiting for Hannibal to point out another negative hindrance, but instead he smoked his cigar for a moment before looking up at the Roses.
"This sounds almost to tough for us," he said with his wolf-ish eyes far off in thought.
Candy Cane seemed to be angered at this as she crossed her arms with an unpleasant look, but before she had a chance to tell Hannibal off, Reiko did it for her.
"So what you're saying is," Reiko stepped up to the counter, "you won't do it!?"
It took Hannibal a moment to answer due to the unexpectedness of Reiko's outburst.
"I didn't say that," despite his best attempts not to, Hannibal was forced to finally speak with a bit of a chuckle. "On the contrary, this sounds like fun!"
Reiko's anger was suddenly swapped out for confusion as she and the others gave him a puzzled look, but their focus was shifted from him to BA when he let out a sigh.
"He's on the jazz," Baracus shook his head. "Haven't even accepted the work and he's already on the jazz..."
"What are you guys anyway?" Dixie questioned, further confused by this. "Some kinda police force?"
Hannibal had to laugh a bit louder this time.
"Not exactly," he explained, holding his cigar in place.
"So then... what are you?" Cidney shrugged her shoulders.
Hannibal rubbed his chin.
"Well," he grinned again before leaning forward towards Cidney. "You remember how I said we were in the military, right?"
"Iy," Love nodded.
He stood up, walking to his right in order to make his way around to the front of the counter again.
"We ran into a bit of trouble," he explained in a sarcastically nonchalant way as he stepped in front of the far right of the counter, "a technicality, really..."
"Uh hu," Dixie muttered, feeling a little uneasy.
"One thing led to another," Hannibal stopped and faced the Roses, "and now we're on the run from the military."
An overall feeling of uncomfort swept over the Roses just then. They all looked at Hannibal, uncertain of what to make of him, or his partner for that matter. BA seemed to realize this right away, as his eyes quickly scanned the Roses and then focused on Hannibal with a look of worry.
"We get by helpin' out people who need it," BA picked up the story, hoping to quell any negative impressions the women may have had of them.
Reiko stepped up to Hannibal.
"So," Reiko crossed her arms, "you're mercenaries?"
After a quick puff of his cigar, the older man again let a short laugh slip out.
"We prefer the term 'soldiers of fortune'," he smiled.
"Mmhm," Reiko nodded before she abruptly took a step back, now with her and the others' fears about the two confirmed.
At that moment, Hannibal suddenly realized what BA already had as all the Roses, even Makoto, shared Reiko's look of scorn. He was surprised that he hadn't caught it before.
"I think we should go," Dixie quickly said as she turned towards the door.
Shortly thereafter, the other Roses started following Dixie's lead. They would have left then and there if Hannibal hadn't hastily stood up with a loud "hold on", causing them to stop and turn to him.
"Listen," Hannibal breathed out, assuming a much more serious demeanor. "I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong. We're not bad guys!"
Their potential clients didn't seem moved by this in the least, causing Hannibal to breathe out with an aggravated sigh.
"Alright," he began, "If you want to try and do this without us, then that's fine, but what other options do you really have?"
Any chance that the Roses would walk out now was erased by what Hannibal had just said. It was an undeniable truth. If they tried to track down Ana on their own it would probably be to late, nevermind that none of them knew the first thing about how to accomplish this.
"You wrestlers are always on the move, correct?" Hannibal continued. "And even if you weren't, the police wouldn't be able to help you with something like this. You'd need someone like the military, and since their hands are full with enough of their own problems, they're out the window. So really, we're all that you've got left!"
The women just stood there. This Hannibal was alot smarter then they had bargained for. Everything else he had said was true, whether they wanted to admit it or not. His points mimicked the ones made by themselves during the conversation they had in the lockerroom earlier on.
"Now we may not be as well mannered or disciplined as you'd like us to be," he went on, "but what we lack in discipline we make up for in effectiveness."
He paused, inhaling on his cigar again and then clearing his throat.
"But," Hannibal sighed, "if you don't want our help, then there's the door..."
After another stint of silence, The Roses briefly exchanged glances before Reiko eventually stepped forward, looking at the two A-Team members.
"Could we have a moment?" she asked.
The two 'soldiers of fortune' again glanced at each other, silently trying to figure whether or not they had gotten through to their potential clients before Hannibal refocused on the Roses.
"Sure," he answered the Zero Fighter with a shrug of his shoulders. "Go ahead, Ms..."
Hannibal paused before he gestured an asking hand towards Reiko.
"Reiko," she answered with her first name even though she knew he probably wanted her last.
She hated being called, "Ms. Hinomoto".
"'Reiko'," the A-Team's leader repeated her name with a nodding smile.
After this, Reiko quickly turned and headed in the direction of the door, motioning for the other Roses to follow. They did so, huddling up in a circle with her. Hannibal and BA where left to look on at the huddle with curiosity, only able to catch inaudible whispers from the Roses as they decided what to do amongst themselves.
Giving up on trying to listen to the ladies, BA and Hannibal allowed themselves to drift off in thought. Hannibal of course took to his beloved cigar as his partner simply shut his eyes and daydreamed. Their aforementioned actions where ceased when they noticed the Roses rise from their huddle, all of their eyes looking at the two of them.
Hannibal casually inhaled on his cig before removing it from his lips and then looked to the ceiling to blow a ring of smoke upwards.
"Well?" he asked, perking his eyebrows.
Reiko stepped forwards.
"Are you guys good?" she asked.
Again, Hannibal couldn't help but smile. Surprisingly, neither could BA.
"Yes m'am," BA answered.
"Okay," Reiko laughed, looking at Hannibal again. "Well, I... I guess we've got a deal then."
Reiko extended her hand which Hannibal firmly shook. After the handshake, the Zero Fighter backed up to be with the rest of the Roses.
"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful partnership," Hannibal grinned.
BA walked until he was at Hannibal's side.
"Don't worry, girls," he said. "We'll find that nurse..."
Hannibal, who had just finished relighting his cigar once more put his lighter away after it had done its job.
"And then we'll find your sister," he added to BA's proclamation.
"Thank you," Reiko started but soon stopped for she had forgotten his name. "Wh- what was your name again?"
Suddenly, a voice form outside the deli boomed from a megaphone.
"Uh oh," Hannibal's eyes obtained a worried look as he knew full well whom the voice belonged to.
The Roses dashed to the window and were shocked by the sight that greeted their eyes. The parking lot of the deli was then playing host to a line of black military police cars lined up sideways. At the ends of the line were road blocks to keep bystanders away from the scene, and crouched behind the cars were dozens of soldiers clutching assault rifles. All in all it made for quite a threatening scene.
They noticed one soldier in particular. He was a rather old man who must have been close to the same age as Hannibal standing behind the center car with a megaphone up to his mouth. From the looks of things, he was the leader.
"JOHN 'HANNIBAL' SMITH!!" he continued yelling into the megaphone. "THIS IS COLONEL DECKER!"
Hannibal and BA casually walked up behind the Roses who didn't acknowledge either of them as they kept looking out the window at Decker and his men.
"As if I didn't know that," Hannibal rolled his eyes, puffing on his cigar.
Makoto turned her head from the window and looked at Smith.
"What did you guys do!?" she asked.
"Eh," he began his nonchalant reply, pausing to again use his cigar before adding, "nothing to bad."
"MY MEN ARE READY TO FIRE ON MY ORDERS!" Decker warned.
Decker's men proceeded to point their assault rifles right at the window in a firing position.
"'You sure about that!?" Dixie frantically asked, not turning away from the window.
Hannibal simply kept smoking his cigar as if nothing out of the ordinary was occurring.
"SMITH!" Decker continued. "THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE!"
Dixie allowed herself to glance at Hannibal, fear was practically written on her face.
"Don't worry," he told her, amazingly enough with a smile. "He'll give us 30 seconds like he always does!"
"YOU'VE GOT 15 SECONDS TO COME OUT BEFORE WE COME IN, SMITH!" Decker angrily issued a threat.
The rest of the Roses all looked at Hannibal along with Dixie as if to ask "what do we do", but he was still calm as ever.
"Well," he jokingly sighed, "at least he's learning."
BA then gave his leader an aggravated stare, taking a step closer to him. Even though this kind of thing was commonplace with his colonel, BA was still surprised at how level-headed Hannibal was at the time.
"If you don't have a plan, Hannibal," he growled, "then you'd betta think of one quick!"
With that, Smith began looking around the room starting at the front door and going to the right. He took note of a golden, life-sized monk statue next to the door, but began formulating a plan in his head when he noticed a doorway behind the counter that he hadn't seen before. From where he was standing, Smith saw that there was a rack of employee clothes inside the room.
He looked at the Roses, then at the clothing room again, then back at the Roses, then the clothing room, then the Roses again, and then back at the clothing room once more before he finally turned back to the Roses,
"You girls wanna play 'dress-up'?" he asked with a Cheshire cat-like smile.
Outside, Decker was standing alongside his men, obsessing over his wristwatch when his right hand man approached him.
He was a black man dressed in pretty much the same way as his colonel. Though he wasn't exactly a short man, he certainly looked like he was when standing near Decker. Still, he had a thick moustache and a fuller head of hair than his previously cited higher-up, and he was younger in appearance and most likely age than his colonel.
"Colonel Decker, sir?" he asked, getting a turn of the head from Decker.
"Crane?" Decker replied. "What is it, Captain?"
Captain Crane looked at the deli, prompting Decker to do the same.
"Do you think they've had enough time?" Crane asked, still looking at the deli. "Maybe we should move in now before they have a chance to try anything."
Decker removed his standard issue cap and rubbed his head as he thought for a brief moment before answering with, "Not just yet".
Decker was given a confused look by Crane, almost a silent question of "why".
"They'd be expecting us to go in sooner than later," the colonel further explained.
Back inside the deli, Hannibal had just gone into the clothing room to fetch what he had seen, leaving the Roses to look on with curiosity.
"What do ya mean 'play dress-up'?" Candy called to Hannibal.
Shortly thereafter, Hannibal emerged from the room with numerous articles of clothing about him. He proceeded to toss them to the Roses, who before putting them on held them out in front of themselves, finding out that they were bulky black dresses.
The ladies had to give their newly acquired garments a lookover for a moment. They were really quite ugly.
"Those dresses should be baggy enough to just throw on over what you're already wearing," Hannibal explained. "So hurry up getting those on, girls!"
The Roses then ceased their examination of the dresses to instead begin putting them on despite their unfondness of the dresses' appearances.
However, Candy Cane seemed particularly repulsed by her dress, which she continued to examine as the others where throwing their's on.
"These things look like trash bags," she griped.
Hannibal slipped his cigar into a chest pocket on his white jacket.
"Well it'll have to do," he gave her a grin.
Candy Cane would have made a reply, but her conversation with Smith was abruptly ended when BA approached him. He was holding the large monk statue that had been next to the door in his arms.
"Hannibal," he said. "We should get to the back!"
"Good thinking, BA," he replied.
After this, the two members of the A-Team began heading out of the room and into the back of the deli. However, Hannibal paused and turned around before exiting. BA stopped and gave him a look, but shortly thereafter continued onward to the back area with the statue, leaving Hannibal behind.
"Girls?" he loudly called.
The Roses stopped messing with their now adorned dresses and gave Hannibal their attention instead.
"I almost forgot to tell you what the dresses are for!" he exclaimed.
Realizing that he was about to tell them something important, the women hurried closer to Hannibal and sort of crowded in.
"Now listen," he began speaking. "We usually don't involve our clients in things like this, but if we want to get out of here then we're gonna need you girls to do something for us..."
Outside, the line of military cars and personnel continued to stick out amidst the quaint and peaceful scenery of the street like a sore thumb, threateningly looming before the deli.
"Sir?" Crane asked. "Should we move in now?"
"Not yet," Decker answered, breathing out. "Just a bit more time..."
Decker stopped his sentence, remembering something.
"Did you put that tracker on their van over there?" he quickly inquired of Crane.
"Yes sir," Crane answered.
"Did you hide it well?" the colonel asked another quick question.
"Don't worry sir," the captain responded. "They won't be able to find it. It's hidden well."
"Good," Decker commented.
Back inside the deli, Hannibal had just finished informing the Roses of their part of the plan and was heading to the door that lead to the back area of the building where BA was waiting for him.
"You want us to do what!?" Reiko exclaimed as the A-Team's leader kept walking towards the door.
Dixie, Cidney, and Makoto dashed to Hannibal's side as their trashbag-like dresses ruffled along as they tried to keep step with him, but he still kept moving as if they weren't there.
"We don't know howda act!" Dixie desperately explained over the colonel's shoulder.
"And those are bloody soldiers out there!" Love added. "They're trained to pick up on things like this!"
"You'll be fine," he answered plainly.
With that, the Roses stopped hurrying behind Hannibal and instead stood where they were as he kept walking.
"But Hannibal..." Makoto whined.
Apparently Makoto's last little plea got through to the A-Team's leader, for instead of leaving, Hannibal turned and leaned against the doorframe looking at his clients.
"Listen," he told them. "All we need you to do is stall them. Just enough to buy us some time back here."
"How are we supposed to do that?" Reiko asked.
"Come on," Hannibal crossed his arms. "Now how hard can acting like a waitress be?"
His clients didn't look as though they gained any confidence or reassurance from his words, so Hannibal continued with a different approach,
"If you girls want us to get out of here to save your friend and stop that nurse, then you're gonna have to help us get away from those guys."
Their heads sunk down in admission of Hannibal's correctness.
"Alright," Hannibal stopped propping himself against the doorframe and whipped around to exit the room with an order of, "Hop to it, ladies!"
After he had left, Candy Cane allowed herself to groan and then quickly started to throw on her dress. However, she soon found herself struggling to pull the collar down past her head when a pesky thread on one side of it snagged onto her left hairtie, causing the collar to get stuck.
"Stupid... piece of," Candy angrily grunted as she roughly tugged on the hung up side of the collar. "UMPH!"
Candy Cane lost her footing and was soon sent slamming back onto the floor with no way to brace herself since her arms were tangled up in the dress.
Ignoring the pain of the impact as she sat up with a quick jerk, Candy Cane popped her head through the collar, pulling out her left hairtie and ruining her hairdo in the process as the formerly tied left portion of it drooped down in front of half her face in a frizzied mess.
"You look lovely, lass."
The Punk Princess looked to where the voice came from and saw Cidney in her dress, undoing her purple bandana as she looked at her with a smile.
The rest of the Roses were forced to a state of full blown laughter at this point in spite of their current situation, causing Candy Cane to angrily scowl at each of them whilst attempting to mend her left pigtail.
"Back 'atcha, Pirate," she grumbled.
Outside, Decker's men were still positioned behind their cars, awaiting orders from their colonel.
Finally, Decker spoke to Crane,
"Get ready, Captain," he said.
Decker's voice just then sounded far off to Crane. He learned why when he again looked to his colonel and saw that he was glaring at the deli with an intense look, completely concentrated on whatever was going through his head at that moment.
"Sir?" a soldier on the other side of Decker asked out of concern, but got no reply as the colonel stepped around to the front of the car in front of him and then looked back at his men.
"Alright!" Decker barked, snapping all of his soldiers onto alert. "Let's move in, men! Move in!"
With Decker at the lead, the troop of soldiers charged towards the deli's front door, assault rifles firmly clutched. Their footsteps made it sound as though a train was roaring across the parking lot,
"We're gonna bust through the door, men!!" Decker screamed as he and his soldiers continued to charge.
The soldiers at the front of the platoon mentally braced themselves for impact with the door, ready to crash into the deli.
The door was only a few short seconds away, and the anticipation was high. Still, the pace of the soldiers' charge was unaltered, their footsteps still pounding the pavement in rapid beats.
"Here it comes, men!" Decker yelled, shutting his eyes.
Upon shutting his eyes, Decker took in all the noises around him. The wind in his face and blowing through what was left of his hair, his platoon's random battle cries, and foremost the sound of footsteps,
Suddenly, something from in front of him cut through the rest of the noise,
"Klink!" the sound of a door opening came first.
"Welcome to Mr. Lee's Deli!!" two women's voices happily yelled out.
"STOP!!" Captain Crane's voice cried.
Decker and his soldiers abruptly came to a halt, seeing that the doors of the deli had been opened. Standing in the doorway before them were two females in the ugliest black dresses Decker or any of the soldiers had ever seen.
Reiko and Dixie just stood there for a moment, each trying to think of something "employee-ish" to say.
"My," Reiko found her words first, taking in the sheer number of soldiers standing in front of her. "You have quite a party with you..."
The Zero Fighter then pretended to make a headcount of all the soldiers, remembering that whenever she and alot of her friends would go out to restaurants the person at the door would count them to see how big of a table they would need.
"That's ten, twelve, fourteen," she said whilst pointing a finger at random troops. "Thirty, thirty-six, fort-"
Reiko's pretended counting stopped when Decker pushed her back to shove his way forward, stepping into the deli.
"Listen ma'm!" he said in a loud militaristic way, looking down at Reiko with a rough glare.
He pointed out the window towards a black GMC van with a distinctive red stripe across its side parked in the undisturbed far left corner of the deli's parking lot.
"That van belongs to criminals wanted by the government!" he rudely informed her. "And I KNOW they're in here, miss!"
When he said "miss" Decker had pointed at Reiko, only to have his finger slapped away from her when Dixie got inbetween him and her friend.
"Listen, um... sir!" the Cowgirl placed her hands on her hips, receiving an angry look from Decker. "I... I don't know what you're on about," she paused, thinking of more lines, "but we don't serve wanted criminals here."
Decker narrowed his eyes. He really wasn't sure what to make of these girls.
"As a matter of fact," Dixie continued with a sudden burst of confidence, "you and your pals are the only business we've had in here all day, shug!"
Dixie's confidence was short lived and soon weaned as she became worried that the colonel hadn't bought her routine, so she gave Reiko an elbow, quickly blurting out, "Isn't that right, Reiko?"
"Hm!?" Reiko yelped, caught completely off-guard. Dixie had just passed the acting puck to her, and to make matters worse, it seemed as though her goalie was starring a hole right through her.
"C'mon Reiko..." Dixie murmured through her teeth when the Zero Fighter remained silent.
"Em, Yeah!" Reiko cleared her throat as she finally spoke. "Yeah, business has been pretty dead today."
"Mmhm," Clemets hastily added with a nod.
Decker figured that something was going on, although these two girls seemed like legit employees as far as he could tell. However, though the girls did seem jumpy, they were still pretty collected given that there was a troop of soldiers standing outside their deli, and the fact that they seemed totally oblivious to what had been going on outside struck Decker as being quite fishy. However, his contemplation was discontinued before he could come to a full conclusion when Dixie started talking again.
"Now," Dixie went on, "If you would quit bein' so rude to our employees then I'd be more than happy to get you a table."
"I don't want a table!" Decker exclaimed.
"Well," Cidney yelled from back behind the counter as she pretended to wash dishes with Candy and Makoto, "we don't have booth seating, mate."
Love tried her best not to smile, as she was sure that her response would get under the colonel's skin. And it clearly did, for Decker let out a "Grrr" as he then somewhat forcefully pushed Dixie out of his way whilst stepping forward, followed by the rest of the army men beginning to make their way into the deli.
Decker then stood in front of the counter where he turned to face his men, some of whom were still filing into the room from the parking lot. He waited until all of them had entered before signaling that he was ready to give them their instructions. They realized this, and those who weren't already doing it proceeded to stiffen up and stand at attention.
"You all keep a look out in here!" he commanded. "I'll check the back rooms."
He started for the door, but again stopped.
"Keep an eye on these 'waitresses'," the colonel turned his head, causing his troops to turn their's to him. "If these girls do anything fishy, then you tell me."
"SIR, YES SIR!" they all replied in synchronization.
This caused the girls to exchange timid glances, silently confirming with each other that not drawing attention to themselves was the plan of action at the moment. With that in mind, they continued to simply keep doing their fake jobs, with Cidney, Makoto, and Candy Cane all washing the same dishes over and over, and Reiko and Dixie standing at the door, arguably having an easier go of things.
After taking a last look at one or two of the Roses, Decker stomped to the back, exiting the room through the door that Hannibal and BA had used to do the same.
Although they continued doing their "jobs", each of the ladies gave at least a single glance to the door that Decker had just gone through out of concern for their new found soldiers of fortune. They were forced to do so covertly however, as the soldiers in the room had nothing better to do than watch them like hawks.
When he stepped through the doorway, Decker found himself in a predominantly darkish-grey hallway. He had two rooms on either side of him, so first he would have to decide whether to go left or right.
He thought for only a moment, and then unholstered his .45 as he slowly stepped towards the door on his right, backing against the wall as he got closer to the doorframe, holding his handgun downward.
As he slid closer to the door against the wall, Decker heard a noise of some kind coming from it.
"PING!" It was a short and quick, high-pitched sound. Like steel hitting steel, or something along those lines.
He simply jerked himself forward so that he was right next to the doorframe but still obscured by the wall to anyone who could possibly be in the room.
He paused to see if he could hear the noise again, but to no avail, thus guiding him to the conclusion that using his eyes would be a better option to figure out what was in the room. The colonel decided to peek his head into the room, finding out that it was a bathroom.
To his left was a sink with a mirror overlooking it on the wall next to a hand dryer. On the right wall of the room was an empty towel rack. Decker would have withdrawn from the bathroom right then, but noticed something that he had overlooked. Directly in front of him was a bathtub with a shower curtain, and through the black curtain Decker could faintly make out the silhouette of a man standing in the tub, assumably trying to hide behind the shower curtain.
Decker leaned in, squinting his eyes, and upon closer inspection the silhouette appeared to have a cigar of some kind sticking out of its' mouth.
Something suddenly clicked in the colonel's head.
Decker ducked out of the room and returned to his previous position against the wall and next to the doorframe.
He then raised his gun, clicking in a bullet.
"To easy, Smith," Decker muttered.
It was then that his mind suddenly began to race. Decker was about to do it. He was about to do what he had been hoping to do for so many years, what he had been hoping to do for so long, what he had been hoping to do since their fights in the mess hall during Vietnam. After all the fruitless chasing, after all the humiliation, he, Colonel Roderick Decker was about to finally defeat Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith.
With his firearm raised, he swung back into the room with the gun out in front of him, finger on the trigger.
"Bang!" the gunshot rang throughout the deli.
The soldier's heads turned to the door, wondering what or who the shot had come from. Either their colonel had succeeded in what he'd been hoping to do for so many years, or he had been felled by his archenemies. Either way, suspense pulsed through them, locking them onto high-alert.
The Roses winced, fearing the worst had happened to Hannibal and/or BA. They figured that the shot couldn't have come from either of them. For whatever reason, none of the Roses could picture the two of them actually 'killing' someone. Even though they certainly weren't model citizens and had been through a war, killing just didn't fit with their characters as far as the girls could tell, at least not any more.
Both Roses and soldiers watched the door, waiting to see if anyone would emerge and give them an answer.
After he had fired the shot, Decker darted back out of the bathroom and back to his spot against the wall. He rested against the wall for a moment, letting the gravity of what he had just done sink in, but only for a moment before peering back into the room.
"What the!?" Decker gasped at what he saw.
The silhouette remained standing in the shower behind the curtain. Decker knew he couldn't have missed the shot, for there was a bullet hole in the curtain right in front of the shadow's head.
The bewildered colonel slowly stepped further into the bathroom and approached the shower. Reluctantly, he reached a hand forward and threw the shower curtain to the side. What he saw only added to his confusion. Now standing unobscured before him in the tub was a golden monk statue with a bullet in its' head and a cigar sloppishly taped to the side of its' mouth.
Before Decker could even ask himself what the hell that was doing there, Hannibal, who had been laying down in the tub all this time popped up and pushed the statue into Decker, sending him falling backwards onto the floor.
"Gggoooaahhh," all Decker could do was groan as he laid there on his back looking at the ceiling tiles.
"To easy, Decker," Hannibal smirked, causing Decker to raise his head up.
After looking up, Roderick saw that Smith was pointing his own handgun down at him now.
With his free hand, Smith reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin of some kind and threw it at the side of the bathtub, making the same quick high-pitched "PING" noise Decker had heard in the hallway.
"Oh for the love of...," the military colonel's words trailed off as the realization came to him.
"And the hunter becomes the hunted," Hannibal joked.
"You won't get away with this, Smith," Decker grumbled.
Hannibal stopped pointing his gun at his rival of sorts and stepped closer to him before reaching down and pulling him up onto his feet by his shirt collar.
"That's funny," Smith grunted just as he'd gotten Decker onto his feet, proceeding to mockingly place an arm around his shoulder as if they were the best of friends, "I think I already have."
Hannibal looked to the door where the voice had come from and saw two of Decker's soldiers standing in the doorway pointing their assault rifles towards him.
"And the hunted becomes the hunter," Decker grinned, getting a look from Hannibal.
"Maybe YOU betta think again, fools!" BA's voice roared from the left.
The two footsoldiers dropped their rifles as BA approached them with his own, causing them to backup as Baracus stepped into Hannibal's field of view in the doorframe.
"Ah, BA!" Hannibal laughed. "you're just in time for the party."
Suddenly, the leader of the A-Team reached into Decker's pocket and pulled out a pair of handcuffs before holding them up so that they would dangle in front of Decker's face.
"They're just your size, colonel," Hannibal grinned.
Decker just sighed as Smith turned him around and slapped the cuffs onto him before turning to the door.
"Alright BA," he started his orders. "Let's get the girls and get out of here!"
After Smith had stepped out of the room with Decker, BA grabbed the two soldiers of Decker's platoon by their shirts and roughly threw them into the bathroom, closing and locking the door after he did so.
Back in the front room of the deli, the Roses and soldiers, having heard only a slight bit of the commotion that had taken place were still looking at the door, waiting to find out the fate of either Decker or the A-Team.
An answer soon came to them as someone stepped through the door, but before anyone in the room could get a good look at them they fired a shot into the air, causing everyone to duck.
"Everyone! Weapons on the ground!" the man yelled in militaristic fashion.
The Roses and soldiers raised their heads to see Hannibal and BA standing on either side of a handcuffed Colonel Decker, bringing smiles to the Roses' faces and worried frowns to the soldiers'.
"NOW!!" Hannibal yelled as he fired his gun into the air again.
The soldiers instantly dropped their firearms, getting an approving nod from Smith.
"Good," the leader of the A-Team said. "Now, all of you soldiers, get on the ground!"
They did so, having no choice but to comply with Hannibal since he had their Colonel.
Decker glared at Hannibal, enraged that Hannibal was the one giving his platoon commands. Smith noticed this, and gave him a sheepish smile.
"You've trained these men well, Decker," Hannibal stepped in front of Decker and patted him on the shoulder. "We should do this again sometime."
With that, Hannibal turned and began stepping forwards in the direction of the front door.
"Let's get out of here, girls!" he loudly ordered as his footsteps increased in pace.
Throwing off their dresses, the Roses dashed out of the deli with Hannibal and BA, heading for their van in the parking lot.
However, just after they had darted out of the deli, Captain Crane quickly got to his feet and ran at the door, getting a few turning heads from several soldiers who were still on the floor.
"Come on!" he yelled. "Get up! Don't let e'm get to the van!"
The soldiers scampered onto their feet, grabbing whatever rifle was closest to them and then hurrying out the door. They immediately began firing on the Roses and two A-Team members as they sprinted to their van.
With bullets whizzing past their heads, the girls and Hannibal and BA made it to the van. Hannibal quickly threw open the back of the van as he ran past it to then slide open one of the side doors. The Roses quickly jumped in through either of these doors as BA got into the driver's seat and Hannibal rode shotgun.
"Punch it, BA!" Hannibal yelled.
The van's tires squealed when BA's foot pounded on the gas. The van sped away from the deli as the soldiers' bullets continued to pepper the vehicle. BA and Hannibal simply sat back as their clients were to terrified of the bullets to do much more than duck down to the floor.
Now unhandcuffed thanks to one of his soldiers, Decker sauntered out of the deli to see his troops slowly start to give up on firing at the van as it sped down the road, shrinking from their view.
"You may have won this round, Smith," the colonel breathed out, "but this war's just begun."
Decker reached into his pocket and pulled out a monitor with a beeping red dot zipping down a line on the screen which represented a road.
Part 2: "A Real, 100, Grade A, Nutjob"
On the bottom of the A-Team van, Decker's tracker beeped in synchronization with its' representative dot on its' radar screen. Inside the van, not much had changed since it first sped out of the deli's parking lot. Hannibal and BA were still sitting in the front while all the Roses remained ducked down to the floor. After catching glances of this for awhile via the rear-view mirror, Hannibal finally decided to acknowledge them.
"You can come out now, girls," he called to them, but didn't turn around for he was busy digging in his white jacket's front pocket for something.
Makoto raised her head up with a timid question,
"Is it safe?"
"Yes," Hannibal laughed.
The Roses raised up and slowly arranged themselves into their own spots. Dixie and Candy ended up sitting in the two backseats while Reiko, Cidney, and Makoto sat on the floor in front of them.
"Damn," Hannibal slowly withdrew his hand from his pocket, "that monk had my last cigar."
Silence returned to the vehicle for a moment as Hannibal sat back in his seat with a relaxed sigh and BA concentrated on driving. The Roses just stayed where they were in silence, still getting over the small bit of shock remaining with them as they looked around at the inside of the van.
Suddenly, a peculiar noise caught their attention,
"Beep boop beep... boop beep beep beep boop," it was a series of beeping noises that at first baffled the girls in regards to where it was coming from. They soon found out as they all almost simultaneously saw Hannibal punching buttons on his cell phone.
The colonel put his phone up to his ear, waiting for whomever he was calling to pick up on the other end.
"Hello?" he said once someone had answered. "Yes, could you connect me with room 456, please? Thank you."
There was a brief pause as the colonel waited.
"Hello?" Smith again said when he was connected. "Yeah, it's me..."
Hannibal was soon engaged in a conversation.
"Yes, we're on our way to get you."
"You remember the plan right?"
"Yes, I already told Face about it."
"Yep, in the game room. Might as well start it now."
"Oh, yeah. We got you a cap."
"Okay, see you in a few."
"Dullink!" Hannibal ended the call.
A combination of wondering whom Hannibal was talking to and noticing the unfamiliar tree-filled surroundings outside BA's window caused Reiko to wonder where they were headed to.
"Um, Hannibal?" she somewhat shyly said from her spot behind his seat, having to pause to remember his name.
"Yes?" Smith replied without bothering to turn to her since she was right behind him.
"Where are we going?" the Zero Fighter inquired.
Hannibal grinned, knowing full well the reaction his answer would get from his partner.
"We're going to get our pilot," he answered.
BA groaned as if this was a surprise to him.
"Ah, Hannibal!" he said, slapping a hand on his steering wheel. "What do we need that crazy fool for?"
"Now BA," Smith began with a laugh, having gotten the exact reaction from BA that he had expected, "Murdock is a crucial member of the team."
BA replied with something that was half a sigh and half a groan, concentrating on the road with an angry scowl as he did so.
"If it makes you feel any better," Hannibal went on, "we're meeting with Face, too!"
BA just groaned again and kept driving, giving up on the matter until he muttered out one or two final points,
"'Long as he don't bring none of those invisible animals into my van, or starts talkin' in some sort of 'crazy fool' jibba-jabba..."
The Roses were all quite confused by the exchange between the two hired guns, especially by BA's last few words. Ultimately, they found themselves unable to draw up any conclusions about the A-Team▓s pilot via the conversation.
Dixie felt compelled to try for an answer to their shared inquiry from Hannibal or BA, but before pushing herself to ask for the group, the Cowgirl
checked if any of her friends wanted to volunteer for the task instead with a wordless question by way of a quick scan of the other Roses. Gathering a "no", Dixie went for it.
⌠Okay,■ she smiled as she leaned forward, getting the attention of Hannibal. ⌠Um, who▓s your pilot?■
⌠'Captain 'Howlin Mad' Murdock',■ Hannibal answered, leaning towards BA as he added, ⌠He▓s a great pilot.■
⌠He▓s a crazy fool is what he is!■ BA made a loud response.
Hannibal sort of chuckled at his sergeant▓s reaction. Dixie forced herself to nervously laugh along with him before making herself the focal point of the conversation again.
⌠Hee hee, Okay,■ she continued, ⌠and when ▒yall say he▓s ▒crazy▓┘■
Clemets stopped, wondering if her question was to ridiculous to ask. Then she figured that with guys as outlandish as these two, nothing was really out of the realm of possibility, so she carried on with her sentence,
"... you don▓t mean he▓s,■ she hindered her sentence once more to finalize her wording. ⌠Well, you know,┘" she dropped that approach altogether, deciding that it would be easier if she was more direct about it, "He ain▓t actually ▒crazy▓, is he?■
⌠Eerk!■ the van stopped. They had arrived at their destination.
Without answering Dixie▓s question, Smith opened his door and exited the vehicle, leaving Dixie to watch him part in confusion. Once outside the van, Hannibal took a few steps backwards and slid open the side door, after which Clemets and the other Roses climbed out of the van as well. BA remained in the driver's seat, feeling no need to get out.
Hannibal just stood where he was as the girls walked around to the front of the van to get a good look at the large, hospital-like building they had stopped at the gate of.
It wasn't long before something managed to catch the women's eyes. On one of the brick wall structures on either side of the gate was a small plaque that read the following,
⌠Los Angeles Mental and Psychiatric Facility■
As Dixie's eyes were glued to the plaque's writing along with the rest of the girls', Hannibal walked up behind her and slapped a hand on her shoulder, gaining her focus.
"Does that answer your question?" he asked in jest.
The Cowgirl would have responded in some way but was unable to when Candy Cane nudged her out of the way as she quickly approached the colonel.
"Woah, woah! Hold up a sec!" Candy shouted, continuing the rest of her words with a nervous laugh and a thumb towards the building. "Th-this isn't where your pilot is, is it?"
"We hope he's here," Hannibal replied.
The rest of the Roses went wide-eyed at this as Candy Cane continued to frantically question the colonel about this pilot of his.
"You mean your pilot's a real, 100, grade-A NUTJOB!?" the schoolgirl exclaimed.
"Oh, don't worry," Smith crossed his arms as he replied with his usual calm tonality, making light of Candy Cane's outburst. "He doesn't bite."
Hannibal quickly paused with his eyes looking away from Candy in sarcastic thought as he rubbed his chin, tacking on, "at least we don't think he does".
Candy Cane raised a signaling finger to ask yet another question, but again the conversation between her and the colonel would be prematurely nixed when the sound of an approaching car suddenly caught everyone's attention.
They all looked down the street, seeing someone in an eye-catching 1984 model corvette of a predominantly white color and a sharp red stripe driving towards them.
Hannibal turned back to the Roses
"That's our lieutenant," he edified them.
The Roses looked at the approaching corvette and wondered if there was another car or someone coming down the street whom Hannibal was really talking about. The corvette was the only car on the road, however, further confusing the Roses. A flashy corvette wasn't exactly a favored vehicle among military types as far as the Roses knew.
The driver carefully steered into the lane that the van and our group occupied, slowing to a complete stop one or two feet in front of Hannibal.
It was then that the Roses were able to get a good look at the man behind the wheel. He seemed to be slightly younger than BA and certainly Hannibal, possibly somewhere in his early to late 30s. His navy blue business suit which matched his pretty-boy blue eyes, along with his shimmering, perfectly styled bronze hair, and his naturally handsome face made him even more sleek than the car he drove.
His modelesqe style didn't cause him to look imasculine or anything of that sort. Like his fellow A-Team members, he still looked like a soldier. Though he was overall slim in figure, his shoulders were broad, and there was a certain intelligence in his longfully-shaped blue eyes.
He gave Hannibal a quick wave from his seat before clicking open the door and stepping out of the vehicle as Hannibal returned the wave.
As he started walking, Cidney found her eyes locked on the man. It seemed as though time suddenly moved in slow motion as the world around the lieutenant faded from her view, save for the autumn leaves drifting past him with each step, the light glistening in his hair and pearly smile, his eyes glimmering as the sun's light kissed them with a glassy glint of white, and th-
"See something you like, Pirate?" Candy Cane's voice abruptly slapped Cidney out of her nirvanick trance.
Love snappishly looked to her left and right. First seeing Candy on her right with her face graced by a devilish smile of self-gratification, and then seeing the rest of the Roses on her left. Makoto was openly giggling at her, whereas Reiko rolled her eyes with an unsuccessfully restrained smile. Dixie simply shook her head.
Needless to say, the pirate was caught completely off-guard, an rare occurrence for her. Thoroughly embarrassed, all Love could do was sort of sink down with a, "no..." escaping from her lips.
The lieutenant approached his colonel and the two shook hands.
"Face," Hannibal greeted him as they shook.
"Colonel," 'Face' returned the greeting loosely, letting his hand part from Hannibal's.
"How'd the date go last night?" Smith asked.
"It was alright," Face replied, his final words sort of trailing off as his eyes slowly shifted to the right as if something had just gotten their attention.
"Did you end up going with the waitress, or the girl from the realtor's office?" Hannibal asked another question and then smiled as he realized what his lieutenant was doing.
Face wasn't really paying attention to his colonel at all. He was far to busy looking over his shoulder at the stunning women standing back by the van. Most people wouldn't have even suspected that this was the case due to Face's uncanny "social techniques", but since Hannibal knew his lieutenant as well as he did he was able to pick up on it right away.
Still, Smith continued asking questions with no other purpose but to annoy him.
"Oh, uh, the waitress," Face answered after a delay, his words sounding even more distant than before.
"And I suppose you managed to swindle your way into that big premiere party last night?" Hannibal smirked, already knowing what the conman's answer would be.
"Uh hu," Face nodded, still locked on the Roses.
Speaking of the girls, Face noticed that they were having their own conversation as well, though they were just far enough away that he couldn't hear what they were saying.
"Ah, lay off her, Candy," Dixie patted Cidney on the back, concentrating on the conman. "He doesn't look that bad, to be honest."
Candy Cane gave Clemets an arched look.
"Well," Dixie began her defense, "I mean, he ain't my knight in blue jeans and cowboy boots or nothin', but he ain't bad."
The Punk Princess just rolled her eyes with an unpleasant Marge Simpson-ish "Emm", turning her head from Dixie.
Giving up on Candy, Dixie looked at Reiko, causing her to do the same to the Cowgirl.
"What do you think of e'm, Reiko?" she asked.
Before answering, Reiko took another look at the man in question to better solidify an opinion of him.
"Umm," she rubbed her chin, thinking. "He's not really my type..."
Reiko intended to continue her answer after that pause, but dropped the rest of it when Candy chimed in with a remark,
"Who's 'type' would that dolled up pretty-boy be?"
"Mine," Cidney cooed, clasping her hands together and holding them up to her cheek as she daintily raised her left heel, striking what was probably the girliest stance the others had ever seen her in.
"Ugghh," Candy crossed her arms and groaned at the pirate as she turned and parted from the group, walking to their right in the direction of BA's van.
Meanwhile, Face and Hannibal's conversation carried on.
"When did you pick her up?" Hannibal went on with his questioning.
"Oh," Face replied with an embarrassed smile, now suddenly more attentive, "we took her car."
Hannibal sighed with a grin.
"You know Face," he began, fully gaining Face's main focus, "back when I was young, the gentlemen would pick up the lady."
"Really?" Face laughed. "I thought that when you were young all you did was club the girl over the head and drag her back home by the hair."
"Cute," Hannibal's eyes narrowed.
Face's wisecrack caused Hannibal to give him a friendly yet rough glare, which Face was only able to respond to with an uncomfortable laugh, ultimately leading to a silence between the two. Shaking off the discomfort of the silence, Face soon recognized it as an opportunity to gear the subject towards a matter that he was much more interested in, and unhesitantly took it.
"Hey, uh, Hannibal?" he asked in a fast manner, clearly looking towards the Roses. He then pointed a finger towards them. "Are those our clients?"
"Same old Face," Hannibal thought as he lowered and shook his head, but still smiled with a drawn out sigh, at the end of which he raised his head again and placed a hand on his lieutenant's shoulder.
"Yes Face," he said with a disapproving smile. "Yes they are."
Face was beaming like a kid in a candy store as he started to take a step towards the Roses. His progression was ceased however when Smith once again slapped a hand on his shoulder, causing him to again focus on his colonel.
"Now Face," Hannibal began in somewhat of a more serious tone of voice. "You do remember the policy regarding female clients?"
"Ah, Hannibal," Face smirked in an attempt to wave off his colonel's concerns. "You don't think that I'll-"
"No," Hannibal interrupted him. "I don't think you will..."
Face gave him a puzzled look, though he felt a slight smidge of relief, and maybe even hope that Hannibal believed his unstated point of innocence. It would soon be dashed however when his colonel went on to say,
"I know you will."
"I...," Face began a retort, but figured that it was in vain before it even began and instead let out a defeated moan as Hannibal looked to the Roses, dropping the matter.
"Girls," he called to them, getting their attention. "Come here."
The Roses obliged and walked over, assuming that they were about to be acquainted with the lieutenant. Their assumption would soon be confirmed when Hannibal turned to Face and said with a gesture of his arm,
"I'd like you all to meet Lieutenant Templeton 'Faceman' Peck. The best 'song and dance' man you'll eve-"
"A pleasure to meet you ladies!" Face stepped towards the girls with an extended hand even before Hannibal had finished introducing the two parties.
He started to his right and shook hands with Makoto first.
"You can just call me 'Face'," he told them all though he was only looking at Makoto as their hands shook.
When their hands parted, Peck's eyes suddenly lit up as he just realized something looking at the girl in front of him.
"Hey," he slowly raised a pointing finger to Makoto. "Y-you're the girl who took the gold medal in Judo, aren't you?"
Makoto giggled at the recognition.
"Hannibal?" Face turned back to his colonel with a laugh. "Why didn't you tell me we had celebrities in our midst?"
"Hmhm," the Judo Babe stifled her giddy laughter and playfully raised up her fists when Peck's attention returned to her. "That's right!"
Giving Makoto a smile, Face continued to Reiko with his hand outreached for a handshake. Upon seeing her, Face's interest was grabbed. Sure the first girl was nice, but Reiko was nice.
"And your name is?" he asked.
Without thinking, Reiko stiffened her arms up for a bow, but quickly caught herself before Face noticed and shot out her hand, grabbing the lieutenant's for the handshake.
After the handshake however, Face still had a waiting expression about him.
"Well?" he asked kindly.
This confused Reiko for a moment before it donned on her with an "oh". In the course of swapping out her bow for a handshake, the Zero Fighter had forgotten that he had asked for her name.
"It's Reiko," she told him with an embarrassed smirk.
"A pleasure," Peck grinned at her, chuckling along with Reiko.
Again, Face moved to his left down the line of Roses, stepping to Dixie with his hand again outward. When Dixie was about to grasp it however, the A-Team's conman quickly retracted his hand as he gave the woman before him a quick up-and-down scan, and then a double-take before his eyes widened in another realization.
"Dixie Clemets!?" he exclaimed.
"Oh," the Cowgirl laughed as she put a palm up to her mouth before placing her hands on her hips. She then crooked her head with a sharp smile at the conman. "So you've heard of me?"
"Uh, yeah," Face nodded, still with a bit of a surprised bounce in his words which he discontinued with a clearing of his throat. "Em, awhile back when we were hiding out down in Texas I saw you in a gardening magazine."
"Really?" she nodded and then paused to give Face a sly look. "You into gardenin', shug?"
Templeton was forced to smile and go red in the cheeks.
"Ohh, um, yep!" he answered, at first smiling in a self-conscious way which weaned into an awkward, shamefaced expression as the rest of his words came out. "I-I love gardening..."
"Uh hu," Dixie nodded, almost laughing again.
Face cleared his throat and started to step to his left to see who was next, hoping to shake off that awkwardness ASAP, even if it was relatively playful. He didn't have to walk far however, for Cidney was already standing right in front of him, looking at him quite longingly. Her eyes would've been heart shaped had this been in a Tex Avery cartoon.
"Oh!" Face said in surprise, almost bumping into the pirate as he turned. "well- why hello there! Eheh."
"Hi," Cidney replied rather shyly, but still managed to lean in a slight bit and bat her eyes affectionately at her object of desire.
"Hi," Peck responded laughingly as he put out his hand.
Love abruptly stopped leaning in and took Face's hand for the handshake, looking into his eyes as she did so.
The pirate soon found herself once again in a daze, lost in his eyes as all but the lieutenant faded into darkness from her view, even the sun, though his beautiful blue eyes still managed to glimmer.
"What's your name?" Face asked, gently bringing Love back to consciousness.
"Cidney," she answered with her speech affected by an embarrassed laugh brought on by her wonderings of whether or not she had been out of it long enough for him to notice.
Face was silent, as if waiting for something to occur. However, he continued the conversation, letting the matter be for now.
"So," he began, just then taking notice of Love's attire. "You're a pirate?"
"Iy," she giggled with her free left hand up to her mouth in an attempt to hide her giggling with no success whatsoever.
"Hmhm," Face had to smirk at this, being pushed enough by the swashbuckler's cuteness to give her a playful, "Arr."
Cidney went red in the cheeks at this, and quickly moved her left hand up from her mouth to her nose in order to act as if she were scratching it in a futile effort to cover this up.
There was a short silence as Love slipped back into somewhat of a sub-trance, not really out of it but not all there. She was yet again absorbed in his eyes.
As Love was halfway in her own world, Face seemed to be waiting for something.
"Umm," Though his tone and probably mood were still happy, Face's smile slumped into a confused simper.
Peck's change of face caught Love's attention and restored her full consciousness, causing her to realize that she had done it again, worrying that he had noticed it this time around.
Her fears were discontinued when Face went on to say,
"You can stop shaking my hand now..."
"Oh!" Cidney jerked away her hand, at first feeling completely embarrassed, but then relieved as her knight with blue eyes and goochie shoes didn't seem as though he noticed her trance after all, or at least didn't care about it. "I'm sorry!"
"It's alright," Peck smirked it off.
At that point Cidney decided to end their conversation before she embarrassed herself with anymore uncharacteristically ditzy slip-ups. It wasn't as if they weren't going to see one another again. So, giving Face one last blushing laugh as she backed away, Cidney returned to her spot in the line next to Dixie.
With that conversation over, Face looked to the last remaining red-haired girl leaning against BA's van with her arms crossed and her eyes to the ground. Peck wondered why she was separated from the others, but waved the curiosity out of mind and started towards her with his confidence reinforced via the pleasantness of his previous exchanges with the other Roses.
As the lieutenant moved on, Cidney turned an eye to Dixie in an effort to get her attention. The Cowgirl soon noticed and looked at her.
"So how'd I do?" the pirate asked, looking away from Clemets with an embarrassed smile.
"Like a giddy little school gal," she answered.
"Ah!" Love laughed as she playfully slapped Dixie on the arm. "I wasn't that b-"
"Shhh!" Reiko suddenly got in-between the two of them before saying with a grin, "Look at him now."
As Makoto looked over the Zero Fighter's shoulder, Dixie and Cidney turned to see the conman making his way closer to Candy Cane.
"Uh oh...," Makoto sighed.
"Five bucks says he gets a black eye," Clemets joked.
"Noo!" Love smiled. "Not his eyes!"
"Shh!" Reiko shushed them again.
As Peck was now quite close to Candy Cane, she took notice and raised her head up as he approached her, looking not in the least bit enthusiastic about having to talk to this 'dolled-up pretty boy'.
"And last but not least," Face smiled with his hand out.
Candy didn't give Temp' a verbal response but rather a glare, a well veteraned glare of hers that at the very least told anyone she gave it to that she wasn't interested in whatever they had to say or offer.
"Eheh heh...," Face's hand sunk down to his side as he let out a restrained uncomfortable laugh, after which his eyes darted to the left towards his colonel.
With a quick sarcastic statement of, "I'll talk to you later", Peck made a snappish turn-around and began walking back towards his colonel who was still standing over by the corvette, at first with a rather quick step-pace which eased into somewhat of a stride as he placed his hands in his pockets.
Hannibal crossed his arms and gave Peck a smile when the conman stopped in front of him.
"'Had your fun?" Smith asked.
"Um, yeah," Face replied, taking a hand out of his pocket to scratch the back of his head as he sneaked a weary look back at Candy Cane.
"I'll bet," his colonel remarked teasingly.
Face let a moment pass before he repocketed his hands and started talking again.
"So," he breathed out, removing his left hand from its' pocket to shoot a thumb at the mental facility. "I should go get Murdock now, right?"
"Yep," Hannibal smiled.
The lieutenant returned his left hand to it's pocket as he sighed out, "Guess I'll go get him, then".
After taking a moment to examine the building, Face began walking towards the gate as Hannibal and the Roses looked on.
Once at the gate, he stopped to take out his wallet, proceeding to flip through his numorous collection of fraudulent ID cards in search of an appropriate one.
"Philip Graves: Open-Casket Caricatures"
"David, Lee, & Roth Legal Team: The three rockingist lawyers around"
"Dino's Alcoholics Anonymous: "If you drink, don't drive, don't even put"
"Longraud Vonhugeindawng: Deutschland's Spitzenreiter Erotischer Filmstar"
"Wachez Yuppi: Chippowa Indian Casino Head Bathroom Attendant"
"Joey and Dee Dee Kindergarten Math-tutouring Services: 1-2-3-4! Gabba Gabba Hey!"
As Face thumbed his cards, Cidney and the other Roses made their way over to Hannibal with Cidney at the lead.
"Umm," Love started her question as she stepped up to Hannibal's side, looking at Face, "what is he going to be doin', exactly?"
Hannibal turned his head to also observe Peck as he gave the pirate an answer.
"Well," he began. "Face is going to go in there, talk his way past the front desk, and get Murdock out. All according to plan."
"Hm," Love nodded. "Do yee do this often?"
"Quite a bit, actually," Hannibal replied.
As Cidney and Hannibal conversed, Face finally laid eyes on the ID he had been looking for after a bit more searching. He whipped it out of the wallet and held it up to examine it,
"Dr. Charles Chambers - Physciatrics Expert"
After neatly pinning the nametag to his buisness jacket, Face turned around to give his onlookers (Hannibal and the Roses) a smile. In doing so however, the conman saw that his colonel had a rather confused expression on his face. Before Face could address it himself, Hannibal, not being one to hold his tounge, did it for him.
"You're going in without a costume?" Smith asked loudly so that Face could hear him despite the distance between the two of them.
"Nah," Face called back. "You wouldn't believe how much they change their staff around. There's a new person at the front desk almost every time I go in!"
"Alright," he responded, nodding.
Now that his colonel's question had been answered, Peck picked up where he had left off. He pulled the unlocked gate open just enough for him to walk through.
As he put out a foot to step forward, an idea spawned by Hannibal's concerns suddenly popped into Face's head.
"Uh, Colonel!?" Face turned away from the gate and rushed back to his higher-up.
Hannibal and Cidney's light conversation ended when Face called Hannibal's name and turned their attention, and the attention of the rest of the group, to him as he approached his colonel.
"Face?" Hannibl asked as Peck stood before him. "What is it?"
"You know Hannibal," Face began with a smile, "I was thinking..."
"Okay," Hannibal replied, already a bit weary of where Templeton would go with this, suspecting that the lieutenant had some sort of motive in mind.
"You know how you were just worrying that someone might finally recognize me in there?" Face gave Hannibal a retorical question. "Well, I can see where you're coming from with that."
First he had only suspected it, but now Hannibal knew that Peck had something up his sleeve after that last sentence, and knowing the conman's hobbies and interested as well as he did, Hannibal figured that it more than likely had something to do with at least one of their clients.
Really, in some almost subconscious way, Face already sort of knew that his colonel was on to him, yet the two of them carried on the conversation, waiting for the confirming statement to pop rather than just getting to the point.
"I mean," Face continued, "We're wanted criminals. Chances are somebody in there is going to recognize me from some wanted poster eventually, right?"
"Sounds reasonable," Hannibal kept his response simple and of an agreeable nature to coax Face on.
"So you see what I was thinking is that someone should go in with me," Templeton explained, suddenly with a merrier-sounding voice. "Someone who has never gone in there before, you know? Just to draw attention away from myself."
With a drawn out "hmmm" Hannibal rubbed his chin as if contemplating over Face's proposal, but was really thinking of a way to cut the lieutenant off before he got a chance to involve the Roses.
He smiled when an idea came to him.
"Alright," the colonel said. "I'll go in with you."
"Eeyhmmm!" Face attempted to immediately respond and nix the offer, but the unexpectedness of Hannibal's response caught the conman off-guard, allowing him to only verbally let out an awkward slur.
Smith gave him a look, still playing dumb.
"What's the matter?" Hannibal asked, unable to not smile as he did so.
"Well, uh..." Peck's eyes wandered as he simultaniously searched for his words and a decent enough point that would prove effectively combatative of Hannibal's. When one finally came to him after a moment, Face began his sentence timidly, then speedily eased back into his usual car salesmen-esqe fashion, "I don't think that's such a good idea, colonel."
He paused to see Hannibal's reaction and then continued on after not getting much of one.
"No offense, colonel," Face smiled, "but I think it would be better if I had someone with me who was a bit more...," he again had to pause as he thought of the correct word, "umm..."
Face put an arm around Hannibal and walked him a short distance away from the Roses.
"'Eye-catching'," Templeton finished the sentence, slowly moving an eye to the right towards the Roses, trying to make it obvious so that Hannibal would pick up on it.
Of course, Hannibal would've noticed it even if Face had been as deceptive as he could about it.
"Ohhh," Smith acted like he just experienced a realization, as if what Face said had been the 'confirming statement'. He then turned his head to the Roses, solidifying his act of sudden surprise with a nodding statement of, "I see what you're saying, Face".
Fully turning himself in the direction of the girls, Smith began rubbing his chin again, slowly looking from left to right.
"Let's see here," he muttered just loud enough for Face to hear.
He had done it. Face had won! He had won the passive argument of word choice fair and square. With any threat of Hannibal preventing him from any female company, the lieutenant also looked at the line of girls, half in a daydream.
"Maybe I could go in with the pirate," he thought, "Her outfit's a bit weird, though. Might be TOO eyecatching... maybe Reiko, or the judo girl, or maybe even-"
Face's daydream suddenly shattered and he found himself back in reality, seeing BA poke his head out of the van as Hannibal smiled at him from afar.
"Face's needs someone to go into the building with him this time!" Hannibal yelled. "You're up, pal!"
Baracus went wide-eyed.
"WHAT!?" he slammed a fist against the outside of his door.
"Hannibal, That's not really what I meant!" Peck frantically scampered up to Smith.
"No way, man!" BA roared, clearly furious. "I ain't goin' in there!"
"Hannibal," Peck desperately tried to get his colonel's attention.
Smith kept ignoring him and continued to agitate BA.
"Why not?" Hannibal yelled again, letting himself grin afterwards.
"You makin' me deal with that one crazy fool is bad enough!" BA angrily explained. "There's more of e'm in that buildin' there! So you can forget it, sucka!"
Having made his point, BA slipped back into his seat, grumbling at just the thought of Hannibal asking him to go into that looney-bin.
"Aww," the colonel sighed, looking at Face again. "Sorry, Face, but it looks like you'll have to go it alone as usual. I-"
"You know what, colonel?" Temp' quickly put a hand up, his words going a mile-a-minute. "Th-that's fine. That's fine."
"Are you sure?" Smith raised his eyebrows, not even trying to sound sincere. "I'm sure if I kept talking to BA that-"
"No! No!" Face exclaimed, quickly easing into a false laughing tone, his words still going a mile-a-minute. "I'm sure I'll be fine. Heh heh! Yeah, no. I don't need anyone to go in with me. They haven't recognized me all those other times, so why would things be different this time, ya know? I'll just go in alone."
With a covert groan, the lieutenant hastily turned around and made his way towards the mental facility's gate as Hannibal watched with a smile.
"Somehow I knew you would, Face," he said to himself.
"AAAHHH!! WWWHHHHYYY!! WWHHHYYY!!"
Inside the psychiatric facility, bawling, screams, and cries of agony emitting from some sort of commotion in the establishment's "Game Room" thundered throughout its' halls, sending drones of frantic doctors dashing in its' direction, hoping to aid those already there in settling the patient causing it.
Outside the Game Room's door, a nurse was nervously peering inside and observing the frantic scene.
"Mr. Murdock, please! Just calm down!" a doctor inside the room pleaded.
"No, no, NNNOOOO!!"
She was really baffled by this. Having been personally assigned to H.M. Murdock, the nurse had conceived enough from his personality to gather that he was generally very friendly, and although not all there, he was certainly fun to be around. He struck her as being closer to someone of an overly free spirit as opposed to someone who should be in a psych ward. A freak-out such as this just seemed so out of character of him.
Yet, she watched as Murdock cried and threw his limbs about at the doctors around him, completely distraught.
"Excuse me," a voice came from the nurse's right.
She turned, seeing a fairly handsome man standing before her. He looked like a doctor, but she hadn't seen him around the ward before.
"Can I help you?" she asked as she looked up at him due to her rather short stature.
"Uh, yes," Face started, sounding as panicked as he could. "I'm Dr. Charles Chambers. I'm here about Mr. H.M. Murdo-"
"Oh, yes!" the nurse nodded quickly, then jitterishly pointed to the door. "He-he's in the game room right here!"
"Thank you," Face nodded.
The nurse hastily moved to the left, motioning to Dr, Chambers that he was free to approach it.
"Mr. Murdock's usually not like this," she explained as he walked up to the door. "Normally, he's a lot of fun."
Through the window on the door, Face could see that the Game Room consisted of a pool table and a pinball machine adjacent from each other near the back wall, and a row of three old-fashioned stand-up arcade games to the left of the door.
In front of the middle arcade machine was a group of doctors crowded around Murdock as he thrashed about in his seat, wailing out in grief.
Face was thankful for a second. Things hadn't gotten to out of control, yet anyway. At the very least, Murdock wasn't in a straight-jacket.
As usual, he was dressed in his brown leather pilot's jacket, a t-shirt, and a pair of faded khaki jeans. The only thing missing was his blue baseball cap, which left his brown balding hair, still somewhat long on the back of his head, exposed.
"THEY BLEW IT UP!" the pilot cried, gripping the front of a doctor's shirt. "THEY BLEW IT UUUPPP!!"
He then buried his head in the doctor's chest, violently sobbing.
"Mr. Murdock," the doctor yelled over a crying shriek from the pilot, "it's just a video game!"
Upon hearing those words, Murdock jerked his head away, paused for a moment, and then shoved the doctor back, sitting up in his chair with a demonic narrow-eyed glare.
The whole building was consumed by an amazing silence, a polar-opposite state compared to the earth-shattering noise and hysteria that had taken the halls for nearly the past thirty minutes. There was no peace to the silence, however, at least not in the Game Room where Murdock's eyes sporadically darted to each doctor. All of them waited, trying to anticipate what he would do next.
Finally, with his entire face twitching as if its' owner was experiencing a conniption, Murdock spoke with a gradually rising snarled hiss through his teeth,
"Just... a ggaaaammmmeeeeee!!"
"Mr. Murdock-" another visibly shaken doctor stepped forward.
Before that one could continue with whatever he was about to say, Murdock abruptly stood atop his arcade machine's chair with a condemning finger to the Asteroids game and a roar similar to that of an enraged preacher at the climax of a damning sermon regarding the fires of hell,
"YOU TELL THAT TO THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE 'USS TRIANGLE'!!"
The doctors then rushed the chair and reached up, grabbing Murdock from all sides in an attempt to remove him from the chair and subdue the pilot.
"GGrrr!" Murdock again thrashed about, struggling against the doctors' efforts.
Murdock was finally taken down off the chair when a doctor behind him was able to lock his arms in a full nelson and pull him backwards, leaving the crazed pilot able to only mindlessly kick his legs at the doctors in front of him. Even this effort was thwarted however when one of them was able to grip an arm around his left heel after catching it during a missed extension.
"Don't worry, Captain Sensible!" Murdock triumphantly cried out, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was continuing to ineffectively struggle against the doctors surrounding him. "The asteroid that has slain thee shall become one with the Damned!!"
"Doctors! Doctors, please!"
Though they heard the voice, the doctors and Murdock put it out of mind, to absorbed in their scuffle to pay it any attention.
Face tried again, louder this time,
This time, the MDs and Murdock stopped their rough-housing to find the source of the voice. Via turning towards the door they saw a man in a business suit hurrying in their direction.
"Just what do you think you're doing to that man!?" he exclaimed as he stopped in front of the group.
The doctors gently sat Murdock down in the chair as their attention turned to this curious newcomer.
"We are trying to subdue this patient!" the doctor standing behind Murdock (who had caught Murdock with the full nelson earlier) answered roughly, apparently annoyed by the interruption and insulted by the pointedness of Face's question. "We'd be making a lot more progress if you wouldn't come barging in here!"
"Don't you know anything about this patient!?" Face put on his best 'angry professional' act, firing back at the doctor's fierce question immediately with a question of his own.
He shot a finger to Murdock, causing his fellow A-Team member to give him a nod which Face covertly returned before redirecting his attention to the argumentative doctor and continuing with his act,
"And you call yourself a doctor!" he pointed at the doctor now, taking a step forward to emphasize his next proclamation. "You should be stripped of your license for making this man the center of an upheaval like this!"
"Who are you, anyway!?" that same doctor demanded.
"Who am I?" Face replied, sounding appalled at the question. "Who do you think you are!?"
Face stepped forward, easing to the right so that he could walk past Murdock's chair as the doctor eyed him during his approach. Face stopped as he placed a hand on the left side of the curve of the chair's back, looking at the doctor.
"I'm Doctor Charles Chambers," Face explained, whipping out his ID card again. He held it up in front of the doctor's eyes assertively, proceeding to explain in a professional manner, "I am the psychiatrician of Mr. HM Murdock, appointed as such by the Psychiatrics Division of the Federal Medical Board of the United States Government."
After seeing the ID card and hearing the explanation, the doctor's confrontational demeanor faded away as his face eased from an angry expression into an embarrassed frown.
Dr. Chambers slipped the card back into his jacket pocket, still glaring at the doctor who stood there with egg on his face.
"You know, I could have your license for this!" Face threatened him, stepping closer.
Face received no response from the doctor, telling him that he had effectively scared him. With the advantage of fear backing up his act, Dr. Chambers continued to yell at the previously confrontational doctor,
"HM Murdock is a Vietnam veteran suffering from dillusions, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and who knows what else!"
"I'm... I'm sorry," the doctor breathed out, not wanting to say much more than that so that as to not risk saying anything that would anger this Governement level doctor.
"Well, sorry doesn't exactly cut it!" Face jabbed a finger at the doctor, before taking a glance at Murdock.
Murdock was sitting in his chair, his head down and buried in his hands. He was pretending to sob uncontrollably, or maybe not. Face couldn't tell at this point. Then again, no one could ever be totally sure about Murdock.
Whatever the case, Dr. Chambers turned back to the doctor, motioning a hand to the pilot.
"Just look at him," he frowned, his furious disposition now swapped out in favor of one with a sentimental touch. "Who knows what kind of memories you and your doctors have reopened in his head?"
Face backed up and knelt down in front of Murdock, causing H.M. to look at him. The two again gave each other a nod, unbeknownst to the doctors, after which Face placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"Now Mr. Murdock," he began. His voice was soft, like a school teacher explaining something to a child, "I'm Charles Chambers, a doctor..."
Murdock gave him a puppy-eyed nod.
"I'm here to help you," Dr, Chambers continued, still gentle as ever in vocal tone and word choice. "Now, all you need to do is come with me to some place where we can help you, and everything will be just fine..."
Murdock again replied with a pitiful nod.
"Can you do that?" Chambers smiled as he removed his hand from the patient's shoulder, getting another nod.
Face stood up, focusing on the doctors again to address the group of them.
"You doctors are dismissed," Dr. Chamber's strict disposition returned as he crossed his arms. "I'll be taking this patient back with me to run some more tests and evaluations. No thanks to any of your efforts, everything should be just fine."
He breathed in, scanning all the MDs as they just stood there, waiting for nothing in particular, unsure of what to do.
"You can leave now," Face demanded with a jerky wave of his hand, tired of waiting for them to leave on their own.
With that, the doctors began filing out of the room through the door on the other side of the arcade games, none of them wanting to risk engaging the already angered doctor with the authority to fire them, not even to simply ask him to move out of their way.
Face and Murdock listened as the doctors' footsteps tapped the tiled floor almost rhythmically as they exited the room,
"Clop clop, clop clop, clop clop, clop clop..."
"Kulurk!" the last one out shut the door behind himself, telling the two A-Team members that all the MDs had left the room.
After a sigh of relief, Face stood up, fidgeting with his Dr. Charles nametag.
"Face!" Murdock suddenly popped up out of his chair, grabbing Templeton's focus away from the ID. "That was great!"
"Yeah, thanks," the lieutenant waved the compliment off, quickly getting back to the situation at hand. "Look, Murdock. Calm down. We're still not out of here!"
"Yeah, but Face," Murdock carried on, his enthusiasm not in the slightest bit daunted, "that was some of the best acting I've ever seen, even from Hannibal!"
Face opened his mouth to speak, but had to stop as he was forced to let that last complement sink in.
"You really think so?" he halfway smiled.
The pilot slapped an arm around him.
"Think so?" H.M. grinned, tightening his grip around Peck to bring him in a bit closer. "Faceman, I know so!"
Murdock turned away from Face and looked forward, putting his free arm out to let it glide across the air in an arch, as if an image of his words was being left hovering in the sky in its wake.
"Think of it, you could be on Broadway, Faceman!" Murdock smiled, his eyes far off as Face just smiled along, used to these silly ramblings of HM's. "Your name in lights!"
With a smirk, Face nudged the pilot off of him, and then smoothed out the shoulder of his jacket.
"Yeah," he said with a laugh, then a thumb to the door, "that's great, but let's get out of here first."
Murdock nodded, and the two of them started towards the door. Face grabbed the doorknob and turned it, but before pushing the door open stopped and instead looked at Murdock.
"Remember Murdock," he said, "look sad."
As Murdock worked up a bit of a sob, Face took him by the arm and the two stepped out the door. Face took a moment to see if that nurse he had seen earlier was still around, not wanting to have to speak with her again. She wasn't, so the two continued down the hallway with Murdock quietly sobbing just enough to make it seem legit to anyone who might pay them any notice as they walked to the elevator.
Outside the hospital, the Roses, now crowded together next to BA's van, had been questioning Hannibal, leaning on Face's corvette, about Murdock.
"So you're sayin' he ain't totally crazy?" Dixie reiterated Hannibal's last reply.
Giving himself a moment to think, Smith quit propping himself on the side of Face's car and then took a few steps closer to the group of women.
"I wouldn't call him 'crazy' myself," the colonel explained, "but he is a bit..." he paused to search for the word as he stopped walking, "different".
Reiko looked ready to ask a question of her own, but all the girls were caught off guard by a voice to their right,
They all looked just in time to see BA lean out of his van to look at his colonel with somewhat of a smile.
"Don't lie to these girls, Hannibal!" he grumbled, half-laughing. "That fool is nuts!"
After Baracus had thrown in his two cents, the Roses looked to Hannibal once more, their confidence in their own assumption of Murdock's mental state against Hannibal's explanation reinforced by Baracus' claim.
"Okay," Smith put his hands up. "He might not be all there, but Murdock has always been an irreplaceable asset to the team."
Reiko crossed her arms.
"But is he really worth all this trouble?" she asked in a suddenly hostile manner, letting her impatience shine through.
Hannibal tilted his head, concerned by Hinomoto's unexpected change of attitude.
"You have to send in one of your guys, who might get spotted and bust all of you, just to break out one guy who may or may not be nuts?" she asked, though it was clearly a rhetorical inquiry.
Smith thought of a reply, but swapped it out for a question of his own after his natural perceptiveness struck him,
"Is something bothering you, Reiko?"
He hadn't known the girl for very long, but something about the Zero Fighter told Hannibal that the confrontational nature of her questioning was rather uncharacteristic.
Reiko just sighed.
"I don't know," she began, "It's just..."
Hannibal and the others all frowned at Reiko, concerned about the sadness in her voice as her words trailed off.
"Well," Reiko started again after noticing them, "it just seems like we're wasting a lot of time here."
Reiko's head sunk down.
Hannibal approached her gingerly, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder once he got close enough.
"You're worried about your sister?"
Though the colonel had said it as a question, it was more of a statement of fact to let Reiko know that he knew.
Reiko raised her head up, giving Hannibal his desired response.
"Trust me," Smith backed up, taking his hand off her shoulder. "We will start looking for your sister as soon as possible."
Reiko nodded, a bit more confident in Hannibal's words.
"But if we're going to look for your sister, then we'll need Murdock," the colonel continued. "For all we know, she could be anywhere, and we'll probably need to fly."
the sound of BA's fist slamming against the side of his door turned the heads of everyone else to him once again.
"What's all this I'm hearin' about flyin'?" he roared at Hannibal, then added even more gruffly with a pointed finger, "You know I don't fly, Hannibal!"
Grumbling, BA briefly directed his attention to his seatbelt, unclicking it as he began to open his door.
"Now BA," Hannibal started to take a step back, "just calm down..."
Baracus stepped out of his van, slowly stomping towards Hannibal as his colonel continued to back away whilst BA drew closer.
The Roses watched the scene unfolding between the two A-Team members they had been the most familiar with in a highly alarmed state.
"I've already told you once, Hannibal!" BA yelled, continuing to advance towards Smith. "I don't fly, fool!"
"BA," Smith began another attempt to reason with the sergeant, "I was just saying that-"
"You ain't never just sayin' nothin', fool!" Baracus snapped as he halted his steps, allowing Hannibal to do the same.
The Roses were scared stiff. Not only was BA angry, but his words seemed to have a hint of fear in them, and though he tried to cover it up with his usual calm tonality, Hannibal's did as well, a fact given away via his body language. Smith looked more startled with BA coming down on him then he did when it was the military, and Baracus, the tough one, the muscle, was acting like a little kid being threatened with a shot.
They looked on as BA still roared at his colonel,
"I know you, Hannibal! And you know me, so you know that I don't fly!"
"BA," Hannibal replied, still sounding calm, "no one is going to make you fly, alright?"
BA grabbed Hannibal by his shirt to jerk him closer, causing the girls to jump.
"I ain't gettin' on no plane!" BA yelled as if oblivious to what Hannibal had said before. "You got that!? I ain't flyin', sucka!!"
After taking a moment to lock eyes with Hannibal, BA let him go, setting him down a bit further back with a shove. The two of them stood there for a moment as Baracus allowed his temper to steep, leaving Hannibal to stand there quietly, as did the Roses, both collectively sharing no desire to dare speak.
After a heavy breath of air, BA slowly walked closer to Hannibal until his colonel was forced to look up at him.
"I'm keepin' my eyes on you, Hannibal," he explained in a calmer but still angry tone. "I'm not eating anything you give me, or drinkin' anything you give me!" he then added an exclamating question of, "GOT IT!?"
After a few hour-long seconds, Hannibal just nodded.
The girls leaned in, heavily focused on the two of them, hoping that the colonel's reply would be good enough for BA and thus put this tense situation at ease.
"Good," BA growled.
They all sighed, feeling as if a weight had been lifted off of them now that the volatile situation was done with. Hannibal most certainly did too, on the inside at least.
Even though that whole issue seemed to be finished, no one spoke, still feeling uncomfortable. Hannibal crossed his arms as BA just stood in-between him and the Roses with his eyes easing left-to-right, glancing at each of them.
Finally, someone broke the silence and stillness of the group. Cidney, with her hands on her hips stepped around a few of the other girls and approached Hannibal, coming to a stop in front of him in somewhat of a pose.
"So what all can this pilot of yours fly?" she asked.
Hannibal's response was hindered for a moment as he reached a hand in his jacket pocket, only to be reminded that he no longer had any cigars. His focus shifted from that small disappointment however as something to the right caught his attention.
"Well," Smith said as he lifted his hand from his pocket before letting its arm drop lazily to his side, "why don't you ask him yourself?"
Cidney and the other Roses who had been listening in were momentarily confused by this response until Hannibal turned his head to the right, after which they did as well, seeing two men exiting the mental facility.
They immediately recognized one of the men as Face, walking rather hastily. Next to him was someone none of the Roses had seen before sort of childishly scampering alongside the conman in a very animated fashion. He was trying to talk to Face about something, though Face appeared to be ignoring him. The girls quickly figured that this was Murdock, the pilot.
"I'm tellin' ya, Faceman," Murdock continued to badger Face as they walked, "'Barry Dinsmore'! It's the perfect stage name!"
After that, Peck stopped walking, presumably ready to actually acknowledge the pilot's blabbering, causing Murdock to stop as well.
Face just looked at Murdock with a bit of a grimace for a second, causing HM's smile to fade into a more neutral, worried expression.
"Will you just drop it, Murdock?" Face finally couldn't take it anymore, turning away with a heavy breath.
Increasing the quickness of his step to get ahead of Murdock, Face started walking again, leaving Murdock to stand there watching him.
Murdock couldn't help but feel at least a little rejected, which visibly manifested into a slight frown on his face. Those feelings soon went away however as Murdock's focus shifted shortly thereafter as he started walking again and looked forward.
He came to another stop once something had caught his eye. The pilot stood in contemplation as he squinted, making sure it was what he thought it was.
As she watched him along with the rest of the Roses, Reiko wondered what Murdock was looking at as he suddenly shot towards Hannibal's and BA's direction.
"We're back," Face gave Hannibal and BA a somewhat exasperated greeting of sorts as he lazily approached them. "I was j-"
"Hannibal!" Murdock practically jumped in Hannibal's lap, giving Face just enough of a second to get out of the way.
"What is it, Captain?" Smith asked, a bit concerned since he couldn't tell if HM's excitement was negatively or positively induced.
Suddenly, with a zippy movement, Murdock stopped his jittering and got shoulder to shoulder with Hannibal, looking at the girls.
"Hannibal?" he asked slowly.
"What Murdock?" his colonel replied almost as slowly.
HM then managed to point at their clients, though he turned his gaze to Smith, asking,
"Is that who I think it is?"
At that moment, Hannibal and Reiko shared the exact same thought as they both looked at Murdock somewhat wearily, simultaneously realizing that he was pointing at her alone.
"Um...," Smith for once was utterly unsure of how to answer, although it ultimately didn't matter as Murdock dashed away.
As he almost leaped in her direction, Reiko jumped once Murdock stopped in front of her, feeling a bit uneasy with a man who just walked out of a mental facility single her out of a group, advance on her with such suddeness, and then look at her with bug-eyed wonder.
There was a moment of quietness for the whole group as the rest of the A-Team and the rest of the Roses looked on at Murdock and Reiko. Reiko was to uneasy to speak and Murdock was still giving her a confirming scan, before squinting his eyes and cocking his head as he finally asked,
"Do I know you from somewhere?"
Reiko swallowed, having no idea of a response.
"Yeah!" Murdock beamed, answering for her. His expression changed as his eyes perked up from their narrowed state of focus. He then started giggling like an excited child under his breath, raising a slightly shakey pointing finger as the realization finalized with a quick exclamation of, "Y-You're Reiko Hinomoto!"
The other girls went wide-eyed as the remaining A-Team members looked a bit confused.
"Oh yeah," Face nodded, remembering something, getting BA's and Hannibal's attention. "I forgot Murdock was a wrestling fan."
"Ahaha!" HM continued to laugh. "Wow!"
Reiko wanted to think of something to say, but was unable to as Murdock palmed her right hand and shook it rapidly, though gently.
"Ms. Hinomoto," he leaned in closer to her with a smile, continuing to shake her hand. His words went at a zipping pace, "I remember watching your mother in that ring, and I have to say that you are without a doubt a petal off the old rose!"
Reiko had to smile at the pilot. Her preconceived fears were put somewhat at ease once his apparent fondness for her seemed that it wasn't some sort of crazy unfoundedness and rather that of an overzealous fan.
"Thanks," Reiko managed to say as Murdock slowly let go of her hand.
"No, but really!" HM put his arms out with a quick hop. "I've gotta say Ms. Hinomoto, I think you're one of the best there is in that ring today!"
"I'll second that, shug,"
Finding the rightward voice familiar, Murdock looked to the right, finding himself starstruck once again upon laying eyes on the tall blonde-haired woman standing next to Reiko. He did a double-take, then gave her a quick up and down scan.
With a gasp and widened eyes, the pilot raised a highly unsteady finger.
"Y-yo-you're..." his words were as shaky as his arm until they were blurted out quickly when the revelation of his was able to be verbalized. "You're Dixie Clemets!!"
Dixie had to laugh as her cheeks turned a faint red, forced to let her eyes move away from Murdock.
"Aw, shucks," the Cowgirl again looked at the pilot, smirking whilst she smoothed her hair back with a nonchalant movement, proceeding to smile at him with a smarmy comment. "Well ain't I famous today."
Murdock started to advance towards her, but only took a single step before another familiar face was caught in the edge of his view, finding himself in awe. He took two steps to line himself up with his newer object of over-admiration.
"And you're Cidney Love!"
He was enraptured yet again with a farther look to the right, taking another two steps.
"And you're Makoto!"
And once more.
"And Candy Cane!"
With only an unsuccessfully stifled laugh of glee, HM walked to the left down the row of Roses, quickly shaking hands with the lot of them in much the same way he did Reiko's, palmed and quick. The only words he could muster as he went about this joyous activity were "this is great!"
After reaching the end of their line and shaking hands with the Zero Fighter yet again, HM broke into a wild spin and used it to back away from them. He stopped, facing the girls, possibly to view all of them with a further back and therefore wider perspective.
He turned his head left and right, far to overwhelmed to decide whom he should single out and speak to, or if he wanted to. All he could do was stand there, excitedly shaking as if in shock treatment, his eyes darting to each of the Roses.
"This is incredible!" he said, almost hyperventilating, his goofy smile only momentarily broken when he had to more effectively inhale. "This is awesome! I can't believe I'm getting to meet all of you!"
Murdock, feeling slightly less frantic, was able to take a moment and contemplate which of them he wanted to exclusively address. Soon, the decision came with a cry of,
"Hey, Candy Cane!"
The Punk Princess jerked, startled for whatever reason by the pilot calling her name.
As Murdock was about to walk towards her, however, a voice pierced his ears.
"Man, shut up, Murdock!" BA harshly barked, instantly causing Murdock to stiffen up and snap his head towards the sergeant. "You gonna scare these girls half to death with all your crazy jibba-jabba!"
Murdock gave him an indignant look, taking a moment to cross his arms before stepping towards him.
"Well aren't we one to talk!" he grumbled, pointing at BA as he came to a stop. "You know BA, I'll bet if you were a bit nicer to people that we would get a lot more business and-"
"Man, shut up, fool!" BA gave Murdock a slight push.
"See!?" Murdock gasped as he turned his attention to Smith, wildly gesturing towards Baracus. "Did you see that, colonel!? That's exactly what I'm talking about!"
Hannibal would have answered in some way had it not been for BA stepping up to HM threateningly, snarling as he looked down at the pilot, who backed away slowly as Baracus advanced.
"I'm gettin' tired of all this crazy jibba-jabba of yours, Murdock!" he growled.
Murdock straightened his posture and stood completely still, almost letting the sergeant bump into him, though he also came to a halt just in time to prevent this, locking eyes with Murdock.
"Well I'm getting tired of you being so angry all the time!" the pilot stood on the tips of his toes to get nose-to-nose with BA as he delivered the retort.
BA simply fumed under his breath.
"Really, BA," Murdock stepped back and returned to the base of his feet. His tone would change to that of a more concerned state as he continued, "I'm worried about you, big guy. All that anger's not healthy for you."
Suddenly, Murdock's eyes widened, as if some sort of revelation came to him.
"BA?" he slowly asked, pausing to let Baracus respond.
"What?" BA roughly asked.
"Have you done your yoga today?" HM asked.
Baracus wanted to verbally intervine before Murdock's "jibba-jabba" was allotted to progress, but found himself unable to as he was unsure of what to say due to the apparent randomness of Murdock's question.
"I know you haven't, because you are filled with anger," a big teethy smile graced Murdock's face as he continued to speak, placing a hand on the sergeant's shoulder, "and anger is a positively negative emotion."
Murdock then backed away to give the both of them some space, and cleared his throat.
"Whatchu talkin' about, fool!?" BA demanded. "You're soundin' like some kinda crazy guru!"
"You see, Mister Baracus," HM clasped his hands together behind his back, ignoring the outburst, "you must learn that it's all about thinking positively!"
"Oh no," Face rolled his eyes as he and Hannibal watched the familiar scene, sighing out, "I can already see where this is headed..."
"Now then," the pilot again got close to Baracus, placing a hand on his shoulder once more, "you see, you have to look at things in a different way. Take me for instance, you think that me being crazy is a bad thing, but it's not a bad thing, it's a GOOD thing!"
BA just starred at Murdock, trying to hold back his rage.
Meanwhile, the Roses watched the two as they conversed.
"I think the big one's right," Candy said, "that pilot's a few fries short of a kiddie meal."
Candy was surprised when she had to wait a moment for a response as the other Roses found themselves having to think about their own opinions.
"I dunno," Makoto timidly began, still half thinking about it, "I mean, he doesn't seem normal, but..."
"But what?" Candy laughed, amused that Makoto seemed to be making a case for the pilot's sanity.
Makoto frowned, regretting her attempt to challenge Candy Cane.
"I think she's right," the cowgirl placed a hand on Makoto's shoulder, getting surprised looks from both her and Candy Cane. "He ain't the sharpest knife in the shed, but he's got some sorta, um, 'grounding' about him, ya know?"
Candy Cane wanted to say something, but stopped when she noticed Reiko turn to Dixie, looking ready to add something.
"Yeah," the Zero Fighter agreed, "he seems like he can carry a conversation, if anything."
Candy rolled her eyes.
"Iy," Cidney chimed in, making it four to one. "No doubt he be a strange on, but he's got some restraint in there far's me eyes can tell."
The Punk Princess sighed, letting her head drop, admitting defeat.
Candy quickly reconsidered her descision after a moment of thought.
"They're all crazy if you ask me," she muttered.
Meanwhile, Face and Hannibal continued watching Murdock dish out his therapeutic advice to BA.
"How long before BA tries to punch him?" Face asked, not turning to look at Hannibal.
Smith took a moment to watch the two before answering.
"Come on, BA!" Murdock slapped an arm around him, still talking like 'some kinda crazy guru', his now ever present big-eyed smile remaining. "Do it for me!"
"No!" BA firmly shoved Murdock away with a single hand.
"You know it would help you," Murdock persisted. "Just one!"
"NO!" BA answered in much the same way as before.
"BA," Murdock finally sighed, going a different route, "I'm just trying to help you be happy like me!"
"I don't wanna be nothin' like you, fool!" Baracus roared.
"I like me, right?" Murdock explained as his cheery disposition and full smile returned. "Well, I like you, and I'm trying to help you like you!"
"Not long," the colonel answered Face, getting a slight laugh from the conman.
"Ha ha, yeah," he turned to look at Smith. "I'll bet you a-"
Peck stopped when he noticed the newly acquired look on Hannibal's face. It was a serious look, and the way his eyes seemed to be searching for something told Face that whatever the something was had effectively worried Hannibal enough to catch his attention.
Soon, after a moment of intent attention, Face heard it to. Both Face and Hannibal, now in the same mindset, looked at BA and Murdock with concern, seeing that they were to caught up in the squabble of their's to notice what the two of them had.
"Just give me one, BA. One!" HM's coaxing remained undaunted, much like his smile. "Turn that frown upside down, and give us a nice, big, pearly smile!"
Suddenly, BA gripped Murdock by his shirt and yanked him forward.
"If you don't stop it with all this crazy positive talk," Baracus raised up his right fist, "then I'm gonna positively knock the teeth out of your pearly smile and turn YOU upside down with my fist!"
"That's not positive at all!" Murdock yelped.
"GRRRR!!" BA clinched a fist, ready to send it rocketing into HM's nose.
Hannibal abruptly slipped under Baracus' arm and pushed the two of them apart. As he raised to stand between them, the hard look in his eyes told the sergeant and captain that something was up, and so they stood there quietly, waiting for their colonel to speak.
"Do you guys hear that?" Smith asked.
The seriousness in Smith's voice was enough to snap the Roses into alert mode once more. They all instinctively looked to him, hoping to discover what was going on.
He didn't say anything, but rather let the silence do it's job of making the sirens off in the distance audible to them all.
The Roses and the other three A-Team members looked down the road, shocked to see a familiar fleet of black military police cars howling down the street in their direction.
"Oh no," Reiko frowned.
The A-Team stepped forward, standing with the Roses as they watched the military cars advancing towards them.
"That's not the same crazy 'Full Metal Jacket' military guy from the deli, is it?" Candy looked back at Hannibal, whom was now standing behind her.
"How do you think he found us?" BA asked a question of his own, not bothering to look at anyone as he was focusing on the approaching group.
"Maybe someone really did notice me this time," Face answered no one in particular, also keeping his eyes on the cars.
Hannibal broke the stillness of the group and stepped up behind Face, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"That doesn't really matter right now," the colonel's eyes went to the van next to them, and then to Baracus. "BA, let's go!"
With a nod, BA ran the short distance to the door of his van and threw it open whilst hopping into the driver's seat in a quick motion.
Murdock and Face, quite familiar with this routine ran around to the back of the van and opened its twin doors before climbing into the back area behind the seats, shutting the doors behind them.
"Girls!" Hannibal called the Roses as he ran around the front of the van to the other side. "Come around here!"
All the Roses quickly followed the colonel, who slid open the side door and frantically motioned for the lot of them to pile inside between the two sets of seats, which they all did.
"Now keep your heads down!" he yelled out a final command, slamming the slide door shut.
The Roses obliged, all of them crowding to sit in fetal positions on the shag floor of the van inbetween the two pairs of seats, practically ontop of one another as Hannibal hastily got into the passenger seat.
In the back of the van, Murdock and Face were withdrawing their M16s from the container of weaponry which forced them to share a bit less than half of the back area at a frenzied pace.
"There are two kinds of people," Murdock began talking in an overly gruff voice, babbling to anyone who would listen as he slid in a clip, "Weasels, and weasel slappers, and Decker's a weasel!"
Ignoring Murdock as he loaded his own rifle, Face glanced out one the back windows, seeing Decker's troop of vehicles quickly gaining ground.
"Hannibal!" he called in an alertful manner, looking to the front of the van.
BA fastened his seatbelt, and then breathed in as he placed his hands upon the wheel.
"Alright," he closed his eyes momentarily, taking another deep breath. "Let's do it!"
The sergeant's foot pounded the gas, causing the van's tires to peel out, whipping up a cloud of smoke just before the van sped off with the military in hot pursuit.
"Oh, what a rush!" Murdock cried.
Part 3: "We're Getting Away!"
Leaving the grassy tree-filled area surrounding the mental facility, the A-Team's van tightly skidded onto the main road in order to slide past the oncoming lane with Decker's men following close behind, entering the very southwest outskirts of the business district and its large buildings. BA just barely succeeded the turn, as the van drifted almost sideways before he could regain control and continue speeding forward.
Luckily for them, there wasn't much traffic out and about, save for a few cars here and there. The multtitude of blaring sirens from Decker's platoon surely helped matters as well.
After being thrown against the wall and one another by the force of the turn, the Roses scrambled around on the floor to reposition themselves. None of them were very successful, although Dixie and Reiko managed to pull themselves up and curl up in the two bucket seats.
"Reiko," Dixie looked forward, yelling over the noise. "I don't think this was such a good idea!"
Before Reiko could respond, the two of them were thrown out of the chairs and back to the floor ontop of the other four Roses. BA and Hannibal jerked forward in their seats, saved from rocketing through the windshield via their seatbelts, while Peck and HM slammed backwards into the backs of the bucket seats.
One of the police cars had gotten close enough to the van to ram into the back of it, having pulled out ahead of the other four cars.
That same car rammed them again, though everyone braced themselves this time, not affected as much.
Hannibal looked back to Face and Murdock.
"Guys!" he yelled. "Can you take care of that!?"
"Han-" Face started.
"CRUNK!" yet another ram.
Everyone was again slung forward, with Hannibal and BA only uncomfortably pushed against their seatbelts, the Roses being jostled about the floor, and Face and Murdock bumping into the chairs in front of them.
After regaining his composure, Peck took a moment to glance out the window at the military car speeding right behind them.
"No, Hannibal!" he replied. "He's to close!"
"Yeah," Murdock added, picking up his dropped rifle. "We can't get a clear shot at the tires, colonel!"
Figuring that it was up to him, Smith reached down beneath his seat and pulled out a long red box. He flipped the lid open, taking out his preloaded M60 machine gun and then holding it up for a moment in order to check for any issues.
Finding none, he glanced to his right at the mirror, seeing that he also wouldn't be able to get a decent shot at the car behind them with it being so close. He figured that he could maybe hit the back tire, but ultimately decided, for once, to go for a less risky tactic, namely because he didn't want to fire ammunition so wildly in a rather populated area, as they had not yet exited the business district.
"BA," Hannibal turned to Baracus. "See if you can get some distance on this guy!"
"UMPH!" the driver grunted as his chest crashed into the steering wheel after that ram, answering gruffly. "I'm tryin', Hannibal!"
Frustrated, BA again focused intently on the road ahead of him. Luckily for him, he looked just in time to see a car in front of them, which he swerved into the oncoming left lane to avoid, barely making it around the slower moving pedestrian.
The ever ramming police car, along with the rest of the A-Team's chasers, was also able to avoid the citizen's automobile, alerted upon seeing the van's swerve.
Watching their frontmost pursuer avoid the other car through his mirror told Hannibal that their van had gained some ground on the car thanks to its superior handling and/or BA's driving skills, just enough for his shot.
Smith held up his rifle, but before he proceeded, the colonel quickly smiled at his driver with a simple complement of, "Nice, BA!"
Hannibal then leaned out of the window, firing his M60 at the military car, aiming for its front right tire. His aim, unsteadied due to obvious reasons, was a bit off, however. His first round of bullets exploded into dust on the pavement around the targeted wheel.
Meanwhile, at the back of the pack of military vehicles, Decker sat shotgun as Crane drove.
Looking at the A-Team van ahead, Decker squinted his eyes, narrowing in on Smith as he was leaning out the window firing at one of his cars. The very sight of Hannibal ignited that inner rivalrous flame.
"Captain," Decker began his order, "see if you can get us closer to the van."
"Yes sir," Crane responded.
Giving up on the tire, Smith adjusted his aim whilst still firing, taking out the car's right headlight as he aimed the gun at the grill, just barely catching the buildings of the city area slowly start to shrink into the distance, being replaced by a feild of grass dotted by small hills surrounding the road.
He started firing off another round, most of which collided with the protective bars of the grill, only causing a few holes and dents with a few "plink" noises here and there,
Soon enough, one stray bullet made it through the grill and hit the engine, causing it to explode, sending the hood of the car flying into the air with a brilliant burst of smoke and fire below it.
"Aaahhhh!" the driver screamed.
Blinded by the smoke and taken by his terror, the driver lost control of his now disabled vehicle and found himself veering off to the left into the oncoming lane, where at that time another car was coming.
The military police cruiser slammed into the left end of the front of the civillian's car, sending the the cruiser almost leaping up onto of the other car's hood before its momentum sent it airborne, flipping sideways and ultimately crashing back to the pavement on its roof.
The driver pushed out the already loosened windshield, allowing him to crawl out from under his vehicle just in time to watch as the remaining four military cars speed past, having enough time to avoid the crash since they were a decent distance behind.
Up ahead, Hannibal plopped himself back into his seat, reloading his weapon.
"One down, four to go," he groaned, looking into his jacket pocket for something before a remembrance occured, causing him to remove his searching hand with a sigh of, "I wish I had a cigar."
"Damn!" Decker cursed, slamming a fist on the dashboard. "Crane, get us up there!"
Wordlessly, the captain nodded, looking to see if there was any way he could pull ahead of the other four cars to appease his colonel.
There was one car in front of Crane and Decker, then two in front of that one driving side-by-side. The car on the left was driving atop the yellow line while the cruiser on the right was nearly going off the pavement.
Shifting gears, Crane turned into the oncoming lane, speeding up enough to get beside the fellow military vehicle he wanted to pass.
Decker then leaned out his window, calling to the two soldiers in the adjacent car,
Faintly hearing his voice, the driver of the other car turned to see Decker leaning out of his window.
"Is that the colonel?" he asked his partner.
The soldier in the passenger seat looked over his driver's shoulder, seeing Decker frantically motion with a few swipes of his arm for them to fall back, along with some inaudible yelling.
"Is he wanting to get past us?" he asked, a bit bewildered. "What does he think this is, a race?"
The driving soldier sighed.
"Well," he shrugged, "he is our colonel..."
As the group of military cars were passing a turn-on entryway, the soldier lightly let up on his gas pedal and backed away just enough to let Decker's car turn into the correct lane inbetween his automobile and the two at the front.
Unfortuantely, the cruiser backed in front of the aforementioned entry-road just in time to be hit by a civilian car turning onto the road in its rear-fender as Decker's car took his former spot in line.
"CRRASHHHH!!" the military cruiser's right rear-fender was completely smashed as the pedestrian's right headlight shattered on impact.
The force of the collision sent the civilian skidding sideways past both lanes and off the road into the grass while the soldiers' car was sent into a violent shrieking spinout in the middle of the street.
Shortly thereafter, the civilian threw open his door and stomped over to the two soldiers as they also got out of their car, yelling at them in a rage.
"Did you see that, Hannibal!?" Murdock howled, looking out one of the back windows with a smile. "There goes another one!"
Just in front of him on the other side of the backseats, the girls had finally arranged themselves into a somewhat barrable positioning, with Dixie and Reiko sitting against the seats they had previously occupied, Candy and Cidney sitting against each side wall, and Makoto squeezed in the center.
Looking up to her right at the back of Hannibal's seat, Cidney reached a hand up and pulled herself up onto her knees, poking her head over the chair.
"What the hell's going on out there!?" she asked Hannibal.
Smith just grinned at her.
"We're getting away!" he answered, getting a roll of the eyes from Love as she returned to her seated position.
"Colonel!" Crane tore himself away from his mirror. "Did you see that? I think you just cost us a vehicle!"
Decker just sat there, glaring at the black GMC van up ahead, not even so much as flinching or twitching at his Captain's declaration.
"Colonel!?" Crane asked, hopelessly doubting that Decker had heard him.
Still Decker remained silent and motionless, his intense gaze still cemented onto that van.
"Just get me to Smith," he said in such a way that would have sounded almost robotic had it not been for the intensity in his words.
Giving up, Crane shook his head, and kept driving, watching the two cars in front of him continue to give chase to the A-Team up ahead, having pulled out in front of his car as he transitioned into their lane.
Via the mirror outside his window, Hannibal was doing much of the same, eyeing the two leading cruisers as they sped after them.
As Smith looked back, BA looked forward, eyeing an upcoming left turn a short distance down the road.
Back in Decker's car, the colonel sat there, glaring at the driver's side of the van muttering to himself,
"I'll get you, Smith..."
"Chlurrrk!" feedback from the personel radio in the car clicked in, causing Decker to snatch it up and hold it to his mouth.
"Colonel, sir?" a soldier from one of his cars asked. "What if the A-Team takes that turn back towards the little bridge up there?"
Decker pushed in the button on the radio to activate the microphone, causing another "Chlrk".
"Then we'll follow them," he answered bluntly, getting a shocked look from the captain.
"What!?" Crane asked.
"Chlurk!" the radio clicked again.
"Um, sir?" the soldier on the other end of the transmission asked, uncertain if he had heard his colonel correctly. "That turn leads to an unfinished bridge. It would be-"
"We'll follow them," Decker interrupted him roughly, and then ended the transmission with a hard click of the radio's "transmit" button.
In the other car, the soldier waited for a moment to make sure that his colonel had actually hung up on him before setting the radio down.
"Chlurrk!" another transmission suddenly clicked over the radio.
"Is the colonel serious!?" it was the driver of the car ahead of his own. "Pursue them on that bridge? That's crazy!"
"Decker's losin' it!" his passenger added.
The driver looked at the lights on the side of the radio, making sure that Decker's feed had been cut off by the other driver before he replied to his fellow soldier, a practice they had become familiar with as of late.
"Yeah," he groaned into the microphone, "he did. Look, we've got to take them out quick if they try to head for that bridge."
"Roger," the other soldier answered.
Once at the turn, BA frantically spun his steering wheel to the left whilst everyone else in the van held on, the high rate of speed causing the van's wheels to let off a loud squeal as the large vehicle struggled to comply with the sudden turn.
For a brief millisecond, the van was stationary, with its tailend swaying left to right momentarily once the nose of the GMC was facing west.
"Pumpf!" Baracus'es foot slammed on the gas pedal, and the team went speeding down the road again, just as the somwhat caught-up trio of military squad cars filed onto the same road they had just turned onto.
After being raddled about after the turn and clearing out the effective cobwebs, Hannibal and the Roses fidgeted to return themselves to their previous positions.
Face and Murdock took a second to glance at the pursuing squad cars, seeing that one of them had pulled ahead the previously adjacent car, placing them all in a somewhat spread-out line. The one at the front was a decent distance ahead of the other two.
"Hannibal!" Murdock turned to call to the front of the van. "It looks like they might try that PIT maneuver again!"
Smith checked his mirror, seeing that the leading military car was indeed advancing on them more prominantly than the ones that followed.
With that confirmed, Smith undid his seatbelt in order to more easily turn around and poke his head over his seat, yelling back to Murdock,
"Then you guys take care of him before that happens!"
Gunshots began to ring out, coming from a source behind the van. Hannibal, Face, and Murdock all looked to see that the passenger of the leading car was now leaning outside his window, firing at their van with a pistol.
Murdock gave his colonel a nod as Face speedily set his rifle aside and dropped to a knee whilst opening the weapons compartment on his left, rummaging through it until he found what he was searching for; a hand grenade.
"Cover me, Murdock," Templeton said as he took a few steps towards the backs of the bucket seats, holding the grenade up in a bit of a displayful manner once Smith turned his head.
"I got it, Hannibal!" Face managed to smile as he nodded.
HM clicked off the safety switch on his rifle, and then turned an eye to the window, looking at the soldier, who was now having to reload his firearm.
"Hah!" the captain laughed, and then scoffed in a Scottish accent, "Ya don't throw rocks at a man with a machine gun!"
Murdock then spun to and kicked open the back left door, and shot his rifle at the soldier with the pistol, who zipped back into the vehicle once Murdock began firing at him.
HM quit shooting rather soon, having loaded an un-full clip, which gave the soldier the chance to pop out again and return fire, forcing Murdock to dash behind the closed door until he would run out of ammo as well.
As Murdock and the soldier went back and forth, and bullets panged against the outside of the van, the Roses looked up as Face somewhat gingerly lifted his right foot onto the shoulder of the right seat, and then hoisted himself up with his foot in order to reach up and push the sunroof open.
After opening the sunroof, the conman gripped the edge of the roof's opening with his free hand to raise himself up further and placed his other foot on the opposite seat.
"Bang! Bang!" the soldier fired, then ducked into his vehicle.
"Prkprkprkprkprkprk!!" Murdock returned fire.
Before fully standing up and poking himself out of the sunroof, Face stopped, and smiled downard at the girls.
"Ladies," he playfully acknowledged them.
Peck turned himself around and raised his upper body out of the van, his waist in-line with the border of the sunroof.
He watched as the passenger of his targetted military car continued shooting at the van, now aiming for the tires, only to again have to retreat into the car once Murdock started shooting again.
Figuring it was the safest chance he would have, Face bit the pin of the grenade and pulled it out between his teeth with a "click" noise that was all to familiar to him. He swung his arm downward, ready to lob the explosive at the car.
As he did so, however, Templeton caught wind of HM ceasing to fire his weapon, then saw the soldier raising his handgun towards him not a second to soon, and found himself instinctively ducking out of the way as a bullet whizzed passed his head.
"Prkprkprkprk!!" Murdock fired in an attempt to cover Face.
As he checked for any damage to his skull with his right hand, Face heard a high-pitched shriek of terror errupt from inside the van.
It was then that he noticed there was something wrong with his right hand: the grenade wasn't in it.
Down in the van, the rest of the team, sans the occupied Murdock, looked on in shock as the Roses were frantically playing the most serious game of Hot Potato they had ever played in their lives, mindlessly passing the grenade off to one another, taken by manic fear.
Reiko pegged it to Dixie. Dixie fumbled it in her hands before she pitched it to Cidney, who slung it towards Candy, who swatted it away and sent it right at Makoto, who attempted to block it by raising her arms up. She raised them to late, however, and grazed the grenade with her knuckles, flinging it up and over her, arching over Face's left shoulder, flying past Murdock's head, and out of the van into the street.
It detonated next to the frontmost police cruiser while still airborne, sending the car flying off of its right wheels and crashing on its roof next to the road.
The two remaining military cars sped onward, the one in front of Decker's and Crane's suffered a few tings and scratches as it drove through the rimnants of flying shrapnel, leaving Decker's car unscathed as it followed.
The two soldiers wriggled out of their overturned vehicle through the now busted-out windows of their doors, only a little shaken by the crash as they watched the two remaining vehicles of their original five continue to give chase to the A-Team as they all turned left and headed towards the bridge stretching over the water.
Face slinked back into the van behind the seats with a sigh of relief.
"That was close," Hannibal leaned back in his chair, releasing the tension from his muscles.
As a few of the other Roses were still hyperventilating, Cidney managed to give Makoto a nice pat on the head.
"Nice job, lass," she laughed, still catching her breath.
"Yeah," Dixie added, slowly regaining her nerves. "Thanks, shug."
Suddenly, the Judo Babe found herself being tackled to the floor thanks to Candy Cane pouncing on her with a glomping hug.
"Oh, I love you, babe!" Candy said with glee, practically squeezing the life out of Makoto as she rapidly slathered her in mushy words of praise. "I take back any bad things I've ever said about you. I love your hair! I love your eyes! I love your hair-bows! I love your judo!"
"Th-thank you," Makoto struggled to speak, gasping for air, "but please let go of me."
"Take it easy, girls," BA said front his seat, looking at the bridge boasting a white and orange-striped safety fence in front of it, "we ain't outta this yet."
Candy released her grip and got off of Makoto, allowing her to sit up.
"Well," Captain Crane sighed, "there goes another one..."
a transmission came over the radio.
"Colonel Decker, sir?" it was the soldier in the only remaining car. "We're down to two cars now, and they seem like they're going onto that bridge. I think we should fall b-"
Decker grabbed the radio and clicked on the mic.
"We won't do anything of the sort!" Decker said sternly.
"Maybe he's right, Colonel," Crane added.
"But Colonel, si-" the soldier started.
Before the matter could continue to be discussed, Decker clicked off the transmission and slammed the radio down.
Crane wanted say something, but his colonel's state of rage led him to decide against it, and instead just focus on driving.
The caution fence exploded into splinters as BA plowed through it and onto left lane of the two-laned bridge with the pair of military police cars in toe.
The bridge wasn't terribly high, only elevated about 12 feet above the water, but it was rather long even in its current half-finished construction faze. When completed, it would connect the beach district to the business district, the latter of which's skyline could be seen in the distance.
Once on the bridge, Decker continued to obsessively eye the A-Team van, having only the desire to catch it, to get close to it.
"Captain," Decker grumbled. "Get us next to the van."
Knowing better than to try and challenge Decker's judgment at a time like this, Crane shifted gears and listed his car into the right lane, accelerating in an attempt to catch up with the van.
"Colonel!" Face yelled, looking out one of the back windows. "It looks like one of the cars is trying to get closer."
Hannibal looked in his mirror, seeing a police cruiser turning into the opposite lane behind them.
Then, he smiled.
"It's probably Decker," Smith concluded, adding with a laugh, "this should be fun."
The Roses were more than a little confused by the statement, they were also quite concerned.
Candy scampered closer to the colonel's seat, nudging Makoto out of the way.
"Wh-what does that mea-" she was about to ask a question, but stopped with an exclamation of, "oh my god!"
Candy's eyes were locked on the road ahead. The terror in her voice caused the rest of the girls to clammer up to the front seats to see the Punk Princess's object of horror.
Reiko was the first to catch it.
"Look at that!" she pointed to it.
In their lane was a hole, a chunk of unfinished road in the bridge a few feet in length, with a large sign placed in front of it, propped up at an angle with some cement blocks, which read,
"CAUTION TO PERSONELL - Area under Construction!"
"Get in the other lane, BA!" Hannibal frantically ordered.
The Roses and the A-Team were thrown to the left, with Hannibal getting a bit of whiplash from his seatbelt, BA slamming into his door, and the Roes and the other half of the team banging against the left wall.
"This is insane, colonel!" Crane exclaimed, barely regaining control of his car's direction after the collision.
"Ram 'em again, damn it!" Decker roared.
BA's hands wrestled with the steering wheel, struggling to keep the van's direction steady.
This time, everyone in the van jerked forward. Hannibal's seatbelt barely lessened the force of his chest slamming into the dashboard, vice versa for BA with the steering wheel, and the Roses and Face and Murdock once again crashed into the backs of the pairs of seats.
"What the hell!?" Dixie yelled, looking back.
"They're flanking us!" Murdock exclaimed.
The radio of the trailing soldier's car clicked in.
"Yeah!" Decker yelled over the radio, "You don't let up either! Ram that van!"
Baracus again attempted to power the van into the other lane, but was slammed into by Crane's car, blocked off.
Smith almost collided shoulder to shoulder with BA, and Face and Murdock bumped into one another head to head, both falling to the floor momentarily as the Roses were thrown against the left wall and each other.
"We're bloody trapped!" screamed Cidney.
Everyone was again thrown forward like pinballs, roughly jostled about.
The gap was growing closer, and the warning sign was getting larger as they rushed towards it with no other option.
"There's nowhere I can go, Hannibal!" BA yelled.
Another ram from the right sent everyone crashing about once more.
"Agh!" BA grunted after hitting the door again. "There's no way I can turn, man!"
"Keep on 'em!" Decker commanded.
"EMPH!" Smith grunted as he was jerked forward in his seatbelt, feeling one of the girls crashing into the back of his seat. He then attempted to yell an answer to his sargeant, "Th-"
"CRNK!" another ram from the side.
Hannibal then held onto his seatbelt for leverage, trying to stay in place, whilst Face and Murdock had gripped firmly onto the backs of the second pair of seats for support. Their tactics worked, somewhat, but the girls were left to be whipped around on the floor with no defensive opportunities.
The hole was only a few feet away now, and it was getting closer with every second.
"Then just go-" Smith started again.
"CLUNK!" a ram from behind.
Not only were the girls thrown about, but the force of the ram sent Murdock tumbling over the bucket seats and crashing ontop of them. BA's nose met his steering wheel, bloodying it.
"Hit 'em again!" Decker screamed.
"This nutjob's tryin' to kill us!" Candy wailed.
"BA! Just go f-" Smith tried again.
"CLUNK!" another from the side.
Face crashed into the left wall, and was then propelled into the right, his rifle's barrel receiving a damaging crack from the second impact. The Roses and Murdock were heaved around, and Hannibal and BA again jerked harshly to the left.
The gap was an inevitable second away.
"JUST GO FORWARD!" Hannibal yelled.
Baracus shifted into the highest gear and pushed against the gas pedal with all his might.
The van was launched skyward via the crooked sign, which soon fell flat as the cement blocks crumbled under the van's weight shortly after it drove over the sign and went flying above the gap.
"AAAAHHHH!!" the Roses screamed as the van was in the air.
"CRPLUNPF!!" the van landed on the other side of the chasm, causing everyone inside to nearly crash into the ceiling upon landing.
The driver of the military car behind them attempted to slam on his breaks, but it was to late as his car went careening off of the bridge and into the pit, crashing into the waters below.
Moments later, the driver swam out the window of his now floating cruiser and pulled himself up onto the roof of it, having no other option but to sit there as his car bobbed in the water.
"Damn it!" Decker slammed a fist against his dashboard. "Damn that A-Team!"
As he sat in his seat rubbing his neck, Hannibal looked at BA the same time the sargeant looked at him, wordlessly telling one another that they were ok. With BA's welfare accounted for, Smith's thoughts dutifully switched to the others.
"Is everyone alright back there?" he asked. "Face? Murdock? Girls?"
"I'm ok, Colonel," Murdock weakly groaned from the back, having just dragged his body over the backseats, now laying on the floor.
Face slowly stood up, grasping the back of his head.
"I'm alright," he also groaned.
"Ugh, yeah," Cidney spoke for the other Roses, "I think we're al-"
The glass of Hannibal's window burst into shards with the sound of a gunshot, getting a yelp from one or two of the girls. He instantly raised his arm up to his eyes, shielding them from the rocketing shards.
He had just enough time to look and see the final military cruiser racing next to them in the opposite lane with Decker leaning out of the passenger window clutching a pistol before he had to zip out of the way of another shot from the military colonel.
This one whizzed past the tip of BA's nose, then forced the sergeant to turn away as it obliterated his window and sent shards of glass flying at him.
"GAH!" he yelled as the glass exploded into his face, still struggling to maintain control of the wheel.
Ducking down below the window, Smith withdrew his own handgun, a Browning Hi-Power, and listened as Decker's bullets panged off the outside of his door.
"Plunk! Plonk! Plunk! Pl-Plonk!"
Once he heard his rival's bullets stop, Hannibal instinctively popped out of his window and returned fire.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Seeing Smith's movements, Decker slipped back into his car, evading Smith's shots as the A-Team's leader continued to fire.
Realizing that he missed, Hannibal quit shooting to duck back down below his window in case Decker tried to return fire during his own arrant shooting.
Decker fulfilled this suspicion, as the sound of his ammunition pelting the outskirts of Smith's window returned.
"Plunk! Plonk! Pl-Plonk! Plunk!"
Before his rival quit shooting, Smith slung his gun-wielding hand just barely over the door, answering back with a blindly blasted batch of bullets.
The two shots were enough to send Decker retreating back into his car, giving the still firing Hannibal the chance to poke himself out of his window.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
One of Smith's last three shots made a hole in his adversary's windshield just before he zipped back down into the van upon seeing Decker again swing himself out of his window to answer back
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"
"Ponk! Plunk! Pllonk! Plnk!"
As Decker's bullets were again pelting the door, Hannibal frantically reloaded his handgun, speedily clicking open the chamber and sliding in a fresh clip.
In his haste, Hannibal hadn't noticed that Decker had ceased firing a bit prematurely, that is until he raised his head above the door in time to see the military car speeding sideways towards their lane.
Crane's car rammed into the GMC van sideways, throwing Hannibal back and crashing him neck-first into the armrest dividing his seat from BA's. The sergeant almost leaned out of his obliterated window, and those further back (the Roses and Face and Murdock) all slammed into the left wall of the van.
"CRUNP!" the van itself was sent wildly veering to the left, bumping into the concrete guardrail at the side of the bridge.
"Bang! Bang!" Decker fired a pair of shots at the van, neither of them even hitting the van itself due to his vehicle's unstableness after crashing into the aforementioned van.
Before he even regained full control of the vehicle, Baracus turned the wheel fiercely to the right, sending his van slamming into the side of the military cruiser.
Crane and Decker's smaller vehicle was thrown into the guardrail on the right side of the bridge, both of them knocked around like pinballs as the car still swerved somewhat after contact with the barricade.
Regaining a bit of his composure, Smith scrounged around on the floor as best as he could for his dropped gun, finding it after a moment of desperate searching.
After giving it a quick scan for any damage, Hannibal quickly raised up and fired at the unsteady police cruiser, hoping to keep its driver at bay with bullets and unable to ram them again.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
"KRINSH!" Crane's mirror exploded after being hit by one of Hannibal's shots.
Suddenly, Decker made a gutsy move, and popped out of his window whilst Hannibal was still shooting and fired a shot of his own. Smith saw this just in time and instantly ducked out of the way.
That brief second of downtime for Hannibal was all Captain Crane needed to send his car slamming into the van yet again.
Again, everyone in the van was thrown to the left, though it wasn't as rough this time since Crane's ram wasn't as fierce since he had to execute it so quickly.
Hannibal braced himself by holding onto the doorframe for leverage, preventing himself from being thrown onto the floor again, but dropped his gun when grabbing for the support.
Decker resumed his shooting, forcing Hannibal to drop to the floor again. The soldier instinct of his had him immediately searching for his once again dropped Browning.
"Where is it!?" he yelled at himself, his gloved hands desperately patting about the floor as his eyes darted across it.
Another ram from Crane sent Smith crashing shoulder-first into the armrest, BA being rocked-around in his seatbelt, and the others all again slamming into the wall and/or each other. The van collided with the guardrail again this time and sent everyone inside stumbling to the right now, crashing into the opposite walls, and each other once more.
"Goh!" Smith grunted, rubbing his right shoulder after slamming into the door.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" Decker started firing again.
BA actually had to duck this time, as these bullets seemed to be directed at him, one of them even grazing the top of his Mohawk.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!" the military colonel's shots freely continued, this time a bit more random, one or two arched in such a way that they were able to hit the left wall of the van's interior, forcing Candy Cane to duck.
"Do something, Hannibal!" Reiko pleaded from behind his seat, clutching at her knee that had been sandwiched between Makoto's elbow and the wall.
"I need another gun!" Smith answered.
BA ducked again with a grunt.
"Face, Murdock!" Hannibal yelled from his spot on the floor. "Give me a-"
"Mine's broken!" Face interrupted his colonel, holding up his M16, cracked barrel and all.
"I'm outta ammo!" Murdock also hastily replied.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Smith just sighed, letting his head lay flat on the floor.
"Anyone have a cigar?" he rolled his eyes.
As she was sitting with Reiko against the right wall to check on her knee, something suddenly clicked in Dixie's head, causing her to look down at the item hanging down from her belt at the side of her thigh.
Everyone was yet again jostled about, with the Roses piling atop one another against the left wall, BA pushed against his ever-saving buckle, Hannibal folding against the side of the armrest like an accordion, and Face crashing into the wall whilst Murdock managed to prevent this by gripping ahold of one of the seats.
The A-Team's leader grasped the back of his head and neck, having slammed into the armrest quite hard.
"Now what?" he groaned.
After a brief moment, he heard Dixie's voice called out,
Something had landed on the floor right next to Hannibal's head. He turned his gaze in the direction of the item, seeing the barrel of a golden pistol looking at him.
He automatically snatched it up, taking a quick moment to scan the pistol on both sides before looking to the window above him.
Hannibal began to rise up, but was stopped upon hearing more gunshots from Decker, and got back down.
Once Decker had stopped firing, Smith went for it, lunging his now re-weaponed arm out the window and intently fired.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
However, Decker didn't retreat back into his vehicle this time. Instead, he kept firing as his adversary's bullets blazed past him, consumed by rage.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Both of them were now shooting at one another with no cover, out in the open, gun to gun, man to man, both protruding from a side window of the speeding heaps of metal that seemed so distant to them at that moment, as did everything else sans the other soldier.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Inside the van, the girls looked on in amazement.
"Is he crazy!?" Reiko asked.
"Duh!" Candy unhesitantly answered.
"Nah," BA yelled from the front seat, glancing at his colonel before adding, "he's on the jazz."
Caged in their struggle, Smith and Decker locked burning eyes for a millisecond, but that was enough for the both of them to stare into the other as their lead flew, neither of them yet to succeed in guiding a successful shot.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
"Bang! Bang! Click, click, click."
Suddenly, Smith realized that his gun had stopped firing, and retreated into the van.
"The gun's out already!" he exclaimed over Decker's gunfire. "I need ano-"
Hannibal had to again drop down to avoid a shot from Decker. This one was louder, and seemed to be coming from a closer source.
When Smith turned his head, he saw that Decker had clawed his way closer to the van, now laying sideways across his vehicle's windshield, madly glaring at Smith as his pistoled-hand continued to fire.
"I can't see anything, Colonel!" Smith could hear Crane exclaim from within the military cruiser.
Decker, of course, just kept shooting.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Thanks to Decker's closer proximity, his aim was greatly improved, and BA was now forced to remain ducked down, his head almost level with the steering wheel as the bullets intended for Hannibal flew overhead.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!"
Seeing their driver effectively blinded, Hannibal realized that he would have to act fast, as this could put them in serious danger.
"Does anyone else have a gun!?" Smith desperately yelled.
Nudging Makoto out of her way, Cidney reached into her frock jacket and withdrew what must have been an antique pistol.
"Bang! Bang! Bang!"
As she made her way closer to Smith's seat to pass the gun off to him, Love caught sight of something out the windshield: Nothing. The bridge ended just a few feet ahead.
"LOOK OUT!" the pirate shrieked as she grabbed BA's shoulder, and everyone else's attention in the process.
Baracus popped his head up in spite of Decker's still flying bullets and immediately saw it.
BA slammed on the brake pedal and frantically thrust the steering wheel to the left, causing the van to violently skid as it still rocketed towards the edge of the bridge.
"EVVVVERRRKKKKK!!" the tires screeched.
Everyone in the van jerked to the right like rag dolls when the van came to a stop just as the military police car went rocketing past and soaring off of the bridge. Decker was ejected from the hood of the car and found himself flipping through the air alongside the car before it crashed into the water with a thunderous splash, followed by a much smaller one from Decker's contact with the water.
Like that, it was over. The easing of the pure adrenaline that had been coursing through everyone in the van left them breathing a sigh of relief, the Roses in particular.
Now able to freely move about without being battered and tossed around, the girls all dragged themselves to their original places, with Reiko and Dixie in the bucket seats, and Candy, Makoto, and Cidney on the floor.
"Is everyone alright?" Hannibal asked, leaning back in his chair.
"Yeah," BA groaned.
"A-ok," Face sighed, sitting against the wall adjacent to Murdock.
"That was scary," was all Makoto could think of to say.
"It wouldn't have been nearly as scary if someone knew how to hold a freakin' grenade," Candy chimed in with a roll of her eyes as she mended one of her hair ties.
Face frowned at this.
"Now what's that supposed to mean?" the conman asked indignantly as he got onto his knees and crossed his arms atop one of the seats, looking at Candy.
"I mean you almost got us killed!" she yelled.
"Oh, come off it, lass," Cidney jumped in at Face's defense. "I'd like to see yerself do any better."
"Why thank you, Cidney," he said.
Candy rolled her eyes with a sigh.
"Whatever," she dismissed the whole thing.
Clicking open his door, Hannibal casually stepped out of the van and took two steps towards the edge of the bridge, looking down at the waters below to see Decker and Crane both emerge on either side of their bobbing police car, coughing and hacking for air.
He gave the two of them a moment to notice him before he spoke.
"Hey Decker," Smith smiled, clasping his hands behind his back in a merry manner, "I always thought you and your platoon would make better marine troops!"
The A-Team's leader had to smile when he was able to hear a growl from Decker, pushing him to add another remark,
"You always did strike me as the navy type."
"GRRR!!" Decker growled again.
Hannibal just smirked.
"I'll get you, Smith!" Decker roared, thrashing out a pointing arm towards him. "You and you're whole A-Team!"
"Ah ha ha," Hannibal gave him a quick sarcastic laugh. "You've been saying that for how long now?"
Decker had to bob there and fume for a moment before he could even muster up enough control to speak.
"You're a lucky man, Smith," Roderick said, his teeth practically grinding as he spoke, "but just how much more luck can you possibly have?"
This was enough to cause the smile to leave Hannibal's face.
"You can only run from me for so long, Smith," Decker slammed a fist into the water as he continued. "Someday, mark my words, Smith, I will get you…"
Hannibal didn't say anything.
"What are you gonna do then?" Decker's eyes narrowed.
The two stayed there, completely silent and completely still for a minute.
Then, Hannibal looked off to nowhere as he slowly raised his hand to his chin, rubbing it with his pointer-finger in thought.
"Well, Decker," he looked down at his rival again, "while we're asking each other questions, I've got one for you…"
Murdock abruptly popped out of the van's sunroof donning Cidney's purple bandana. Focusing on Decker, HM pumped his fists frantically, summoning up all the masculinity and testosterone he could inject into his voice for a question of,
"Whatcha gonna do, Brother, when Murdamania runs wild on YOU!?"
Seemingly oblivious to the deathly glare his antics received from his questionee, Murdock broke into a showy series of poses, flexing his arms with a lot of heavy breathing and shaking of his head.
Slowly, and with a sheepish smile, Hannibal turned back to Decker.
"I couldn't have said it better myself," he grinned.
Smith turned on his heel and stepped back towards the van, but stopped before he entered and gave Decker a parting word,
It's been fun, Decker," Hannibal smiled again, "but we've got a schedule to keep. So, if you'll excuse us, we've got some friends of ours to help out."
With that, Smith closed his door as BA backed the van up and proceeded to drive down the bridge in the opposite way of which they came.
Once again, Decker stayed there, watching that van for as long as he could before it disappeared into the distance.
"I swear, Captain," he muttered, his words still stuttering with anger. "I will get that A-Team…"