Summary: In which the roles between Hannibal and the team are strangely reversed, Faceman has a plan, tanks are again used as getaway vehicles (although fortunately for BA it isn't airborne) and Howlin' Mad Murdock lives up to his nickname when it comes to providing suitable distraction.
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
1.A person who changes things; a radical
2.A reciprocal act; the action of doing to someone exactly as that person has done to oneself or another
There was no question that they would go back for him.
Face hadn't even allowed himself to consider the possibility of anything otherwise, and he knew that neither BA nor Murdock would consider it either. It probably wouldn't even be mentioned by way of their options. That wasn't how they did things round here, had never done it that way. You never leave anyone behind, was the unspoken rule within their lawless group, and it was a rule they had always honoured without question. They were Hannibal's boys, Rangers who had found each other in the strangest of circumstances. When Hannibal met BA, he shot him in the shoulder. When Face met Murdock, the pilot set his arm alight. Somehow their first impressions of each other had survived all that, and years later they were all still together, despite being imprisoned, despite being set up, despite everything. They were a group, the 'A' team, the four of them closer than brothers; family in their own right. They'd fought together, suffered together, and each person had found a kinship within the others that survived it all. Another factor unspoken was the loyalty that lined their bonds, and they all would fight tooth and claw to make sure the others were safe.
Of the nearly ten years they had been their group of four, Face had never known any of them even consider leaving another one of their group behind. It was sacrilege, blasphemy of the highest order, and the bonds of friendship and loyalty crossed over any barriers of risk or common sense. Personal regard didn't even come into it when one of them was in danger, even with their differences. Within the group Murdock and BA were probably the two that got along the least- at least on the outside- but Face had seen once when the Sergeant had been injured, Murdock had fought like the madman he could have been, eyes wild and shouting curses in at least three languages as he reloaded the clip in his gun in order to protect his team-mate. BA, despite his constant complaints about 'that crazy fool', Face knew would have done exactly the same if the situation had called for it.
Out of all of them however, it was probably the Colonel who had saved their asses the most times, with his impromptu "well-thought-out" plans and hare-brained schemes. Hannibal had come back for them when he had escaped from Fort Carson- hadn't just left them behind to fend for themselves . He could have just left, could have found himself a small remote area to settle down in where no-one would ever find him. He wouldn't have had to think about his colleagues-who had asked to be tried on their own backs instead of allowing their leader to take responsibility, their voices standing out loud and unafraid in the courtroom. Hannibal hadn't had to rescue them, but on escape it was the first thing he did. Hannibal had never left any of them behind.
And so now they would do the same for him.
"Hurry up, Face" Hannibal urged as the three of them raced down the corridors of the military base. It was grey and concrete, like most they had come across, although Murdock was adamant that a bit of paint and colour would make this whole place suitable for the housing-market. The military home of a Nigerian Warlord didn't appear to Face an attractive property investment, and he had told Murdock this as the two of them cracked the safe in the warlord's personal quarters, taking the contents within, helpfully all contained inside one black briefcase. But by now, Obesandjo - the warlord they'd just stolen the confidential suitcase full of secret plans for military invasion off (although they couldn't have been that secret if other people- specifically the party they had been hired by to retrieve them- had known about them)- had obviously realised what they'd done, and Face could hear the shouts starting up behind them as guards quickly jumped to follow orders from a most likely angered boss.
"Just one more door to go through gentlemen" , came Murdock's voice in front of them, his accent cut-glass British, sounding like a Victorian age Legionnaire "Come on now, pip-pip!"
"This is way too close Hannibal" Face looked at the Colonel as they reached the deadlocked door in front of them. The whole place was filled with the things and they seemed to be the newly formed enemy of Murdock in particular, considering it was him whose job it was to bypass the relays to get the damn things open. It really should have been BA considering his skills in mechanics and phone-tapping, but it had fallen on Murdock when it turned out he knew how to work computers like he knew how to stage a good sock-puppet show or make a good anti-freeze marinade. "Next time- no angry Nigerians, ok?"
"Don't worry," Hannibal said with his usual devil-may-care expression. The suitcase that was the cause of all their troubles was held tightly in his hand , and for once Face was glad that they were getting well paid for retrieving it, because he definitely wanted a couple of days break from people trying to kill him. It did get tiresome at times. Hannibal however, looked as unruffled as ever and Face almost expected him to pull a cigar from his pocket, he looked that at ease. But then Hannibal always exuded an air of calm that had helped them keep their heads in many a mission; when Face got doubtful about the plan, or Murdock had one of his 'moments' when the timing was just too unsuitable, or when BA refused and threatened when they tried to get him onto a plane- particularly a plane piloted by a certain invisible-dog owning Capitan . Hannibal always had something to say that would make everything seem ok, and it was one of the many reasons why Face trusted his commander to such an extent. "There's always a plan remember?"
Face rolled his eyebrows, but there was a smirk on his face from the thrill of it all, the danger giving him the adrenaline rush that came with all the jobs they did. The door slid open with a creaking noise as Murdock worked his magic on the electric panel, singing 'Electric Avenue' as he did so, and Hannibal and Face went through quickly, knowing the exit to be at the end of the long corridor before them, where BA was waiting for them with their escape transport.
"Come on Murdock" Face pressed ,lingering to wait for the pilot. He could hear the men getting closer, their shouts mingled with the thud of their boots against the concrete floor, and he didn't want to hang around to find out what they were saying. He'd rather prefer not to get to know them personally.
"Er, Houston...," Murdock said, his expression frowning, the actions of his fingers against the type pad suddenly frantic. "Mayday! Mayday! I think we got a problem here" Face frowned with confusion. Usually, the locks worked on a timer system, and when Murdock typed in the correct settings and code, he would have five seconds to get to the other side of the door before it closed behind him. It would give them a bit more time to get away, especially considering the added extra Murdock had coded in; a secondary layer of pass code systems that would take the men on the other side at least a couple of minutes to break through, giving them time to get out of the base and into the GMC Bosco was driving
"How big an issue?" Hannibal said urgently as he moved back to where Murdock was, looking over the pilot's shoulder with a concerned look. He didn't like it when things didn't go to plan;although Face was sure he should have gotten used to it by now. Hannibal's plans never turned out the way they were meant to.
"Those dastardly injun's cut the automatic power grid for the doors" Murdock looked worried, his fingers still trying for a solution, but finding none , the pilot biting his lip as he struggled with the system"Door won't operate 'less it's manual"
"So what's wrong with that?" Face asked quickly , hearing the soldiers getting closer "There's a panel on this side. We can lock those guys out, no harm"
"It only closes from this side now it's been opened" Hannibal spoke instead of Murdock, his look dark before an expression of action came into his eyes "HM, check it wont work from that side. We need to be sure"
Murdock looked doubtful as though he was sure it wouldn't work, but nodded regardless, moving over to the side of the door Face was on to check the system, accessing the panel with a few deft taps of his fingers.
Suddenly, without any warning, Hannibal calmly keyed the required locking code into panel, the door moving quickly across and shutting the two sides off , slamming closed with a reserved clink that seemed to echo down the long corridor.
"Shit! Hannibal?" Face swore, shouting through the window of the door so that Hannibal could hear him on the other side through the two inches of metal and glass, seeing the Colonel through the glass portion of the door that served as a small window-hole. Murdock looked panicked, thinking it might have possibly been his actions on this side that had caused the door to close, his efforts focusing on reversing the damage. "Hannibal, you gotta open this door. They'll be on you in a second"
"That's the idea," Hannibal smiled casually from the other side, his words muffled by the gap , his brogue seeming strengthened with the distance between them. "The door wont close without a manual lock for the secondary pass code system to kick in, and if this door isn't closed you wont have enough time to get out"
"Hannibal, stop jacking around and open the goddamn door!" Face slammed his fist onto the metal, angry that this choice had had to be made. The metal clanged loud and his hand jarred painfully, but he didn't notice as he looked at Hannibal , trying to make him understand that of all the plans the Colonel had ever had, Face definitely considered this the most stupid and foolhardy one of them all, the one that was most likely going to get him killed . Murdock worked frantically, muttering to himself as all his knowledge of electrical systems went into trying to bypass what Hannibal had done . But the Colonel had been right in what he had said, the door was only operable on manual from the side he was on. There was nothing Murdock could do, but Face watched out of the corner of his eye as the pilot stubbornly refused the facts, pulling the front of the panel off in an effort to get to the wiring underneath "We all get outta here, we stick together"
"Relax, kid," Hannibal looked so infuriatingly calm from the other side, and Face watched as he reached into his pocket and brought out a cigar, which he placed in his mouth, smirking "It's just a deviation from the plan, that's all. I'll give you guys more time to get out of here. I know you boys'll come back and get me"
"We can't just leave you!" Face said, needing Hannibal to understand. This wasn't how they did things, wasn't how they could do things. This plan had too many flaws, too many things that could go wrong.
"You have to if you wanna get that package away." Hannibal urged "Unless you want to get caught as well. I'm sure BA can rescue the three of us by himself" Hannibal's face was grave for a moment as he considered the thought before he smiled fondly at Face"Get outta here, Lieutenant. That's an order. "
Face was silent for a moment before he looked up directly into Hannibal's eyes. He hated this, every damn-stinking thing about it, but it was the only option they had now Hannibal had taken charge , like the leader he was. "We're coming back." Face said, his expression serious "I promise"
"Of that I have no doubt"Hannibal gave a small salute with his cigar, and Face could hear the soldiers almost upon him, the shouts audible even through the glass. Time was running out. Painfully, as though it was physically hurting him, he saluted back, then turned away- his back to his Colonel, hating himself. Grabbing the case from where he'd left it on the floor, he pulled Murdock along after him by the sleeve of his bomber jacket, the pilot looking confused for a second as he allowed himself to be pulled along the corridor.
"But Facey, Hannibal's still back there!"
"I know" Face said quietly, continuing to pull along the pilot before Murdock suddenly realised what that meant, resisting Face's hold, trying to get away , trying to run back to where Hannibal would be, his first instinct to protect his commander, not some damn case. It was Face's first instinct as well, but he rallied against it no matter the moral anguish it caused him. If they didn't get out, they'd all be in the hands of Obesandjo's men, and then that would help nobody. Hannibal could look after himself in the time it took Face to rally a rescue plan. At least that's what Face kept telling himself as he tried to pull Murdock back. Telling himself, even though he didn't really believe in it.
"We gotta go back an' get him Face!" Murdock said loudly, confused that Face was holding him back, that Face wasn't helping him try and rescue Hannibal "That's no place to abandon him, he's our Colonel, we can't jus' leave him. Let go, Faceman, we gotta get him outta there"
"Murdock, stop it." Face tried to explain, "Murdock, just stop..." But Murdock was adamant, his loyalty clouding his judgement, leaving Face to be the bad-guy and to make the decisions that hurt . He was in charge now, no matter how much he hated the responsibility.
"What if they kill him Facey? What if they put one of their goddamned cowardly stinking bullets into his chest and just leave him to die like we're doin'..."
"Shut up, Murdock!" Face slammed Murdock against the wall of the corridor, the pilot giving a small cry as his back connected hard against the solid concrete, Face's frustration showing itself in a violent outburst. "We can't go back, not now ok?" Murdock tried to protest, and Face hated that he was so mad, hated that it was Murdock he was mad at, Murdock who was only saying aloud what Face's frantic thoughts were thinking too. He tried to calm himself, slowly letting go of the hard grip he had on Murdock, knowing there would be marks on Murdock's shoulders from where Face's nails had unconsciously dug in, the self-hate rising in his throat like bile"They wont kill him." He whispered, trying to convince himself, yet he wanted to scream, wanted to shout and grab his gun and run back to Hannibal, break that door down with his damn fists if he had to. Hannibal couldn't die, just couldn't because Face wasn't ready to deal with that, not ever. 'Death does not wait for us to be ready' Hannibal had once told him, but Face pushed the memory out his head. He didn't even want to consider that alternative. "He's too valuable, he knows about this package and where we're gonna take it. They need to find that out first"
"They'll hurt him Facey" Murdock's voice was suddenly childlike, his thoughts conflicted between an instant desire to rescue his Colonel and listening to what Face was telling him. Face never lied to Murdock, and the pilot knew that. Face had known Hannibal before the rest of them had, was the one Hannibal always confided his doubts in when he couldn't tell BA or Murdock, and if Face was saying that they couldn't go back, it must have been serious. But Murdock was still worried, and Face looked desperately back down the corridor to see if any guards had got past the door. He heard gunfire,and closed his eyes for a moment as he hoped to any god that Hannibal wouldn't get himself killed before they could get him out "He wont tell them anything about the package" Murdock said, seriously, looking at Face "He wont tell them Face, and if he wont, they'll hurt him to try"
"We'll get him out before that happens" Face said, looking into the pilot's panicked eyes "I promise you Murdock, we'll get him outta there"
Something in Face's eyes must have told Murdock what he wanted to hear, what he needed to hear, the pilot stopping his struggling under Face's hold. But his eyes gazed gravely at Face, boring into him, not one trace of madness present at that moment but displaying all the fear and anxiety he suddenly housed inside him. For one frightening moment, the worried man in front of him, the man Face had known for nearly ten years, looked quite sane. You're crazy, Face told Murdock once, and the pilot had simply looked at him with a half smirk and replied; Not that crazy. And right now, Face believed him.
"Well, we better be quick about it" he said, with those sober eyes looking right at Face, "'Cause I don't think they're gonna beat about the bush with trying to get some answers."