Against All Odds

Chapter One

The newly put together team of the IMF had been sent on a mission to steal back classified documents that had been stolen from the president of some big corporation, whose main branch was located in Hong Kong. Apparently, the man believed that the documents were safer in his home safe, rather than at his office. However, the man had been stupid enough to allow himself to be seduced by a pretty woman and thief, hired to steal the documents.

Ethan Hunt and the rest of his teammates had objected to the mission at first, until they were briefed on, who IMF had suspected was the man, who hired the thief, Nicholas Bishop; hacker, thief, and murderer. IMF had dealt with the man once before, but he had managed to escape and disappeared after killing one of IMF's own.

After coming back out into the open, Hunt and his team tracked him down and took out each of the men and women, whom Bishop had on his payroll and then finally went after the big guy, thanks to one of the hackers giving up his boss' hideout location. All in all, the mission had been a piece of cake, until they had come to taking Nicholas Bishop down. The thug was slippery.

"Where the hells are you, Benji?" Ethan shouted out into the com located in his ear to the team's computer tech as he was chasing after the man running hard in front of him toward China's border into North Korea. "I need your help to pin Bishop down! Any day now would be nice!"

"I'm working on getting control of the bridge," Benji replied quickly. "Just another second will do it."

Ethan continued to close in on Bishop as he shouted again, "If he crosses the border, we can't touch him and I am going to fire you if he gets away from us again. Do you hear me, Benji?"

Benji answered, "Yeah, yeah, I hear you. Keep your pants on."

Just as Nicholas was about to run across the bridge, Brandt suddenly came from nowhere and tackled their killer to the ground. However, the man was almost twice Brandt's size and in the struggle, they both went over the edge. Ethan lunged forward and managed to grab a hold of Brandt's hand just in time, before he fell into the lake below. Bishop held onto Brandt's legs and began to beg for them to bring him back up to the ground.

Jane managed to catch up to them in time to help Ethan pull Brandt and Bishop back up and just as they did so, the bridge began to rise up. Benji excitedly repeated over and over again that he did it, causing Ethan, Jane, and Brandt to laugh, as Ethan roughly pulled Bishop over onto his stomach and zip-tied his wrists together behind his back.

"What's so funny?" Benji asked. "I did what you wanted me to do."

"You're a little late, Benji," Ethan responded. "We got him; thanks to Will."

Brandt worked to catch his breath as he looked over at Ethan and said, "Next time, don't let the bad guy get a drop on you. Thanks, by the way."

Ethan replied, "No problem. Good work!"

Two nights later…

Ethan, Will, Jane, and Benji were all over at Benji's house. After being debriefed from their latest mission at the IMF headquarters, they all decided to have a barbecue and a few drinks to relax. Benji was dancing to the beat of the loud music as he stood around the grill cooking the steaks, while Jane lay on a raft in the pool. Will was sitting alone at one of the tables, drinking soda instead of beer like everyone else, until Ethan came over and sat down in a chair across from him.

"Is everything all right?" the team leader asked.

"I don't ever drink alcohol unless I need to, you know, for a case or something," Brandt answered nonchalantly. "I don't like the stuff."

Ethan nodded and replied, "I know about your father's temper and him beating you whenever he drank. I'm sorry, but that isn't what was referring to. Why aren't you joining in the party? Everyone else is relaxing and having a good time, except for you."

Brandt looked at Ethan in confusion as he responded, "I'm relaxing and having a good time. I'm fine, I promise."

"You can tell me anything, you know," Ethan said firmly. "Is this about the other night? I mean, you had a pretty close call when you went over the edge of the bridge tackling Bishop to the ground like you did."

"No, not at all," Will answered. "You were there just in time to save my life. Believe me, we've had closer calls than that. Remember when you stupidly tried to fly through the window back at the hotel in Dubai? You were lucky I was there to catch you, or you would be splattered like a bug on the ground."

Ethan laughed as he nodded and replied, "Yeah, that was pretty stupid, but I knew you'd be there for me."

Will responded, "No you didn't. You hardly knew me."

"I knew you enough," Ethan said. "I was right, wasn't I?"

"Yeah, you were right," Brandt answered as he took a sip of his root beer. "It's funny you bring up my father. The scumbag's just been released from prison on some technicality. If you ask me, he deserves to rot there for the rest of his life."

Ethan asked, "What put him there in the first place?"

Will looked away and then replied, "When I was twelve, my mother committed suicide. I wasn't real close to her because she never lifted a finger to stop my father from beating me and she always defended him to the cops when they came by after the neighbors called about the noise, but I understood that she was afraid of him and rightly so. After she died, he almost killed me. He was arrested for attempted murder, among other things. I don't care about what he did to me, but as far as I'm concerned, he killed her."

"I'm sorry, Will," Ethan responded. "If it makes you feel any better, my father was a real dirtbag too. Nothing compared to yours, but…"

"Thanks," Brandt said as he chuckled. "Do you think those steaks Benji's cooking are going to be any good by the time he's done with them? I think he's paying more attention to this lousy music."

Ethan shouted out, "Hey, Benji! How are the steaks coming along?"

Benji called back, "They are beautiful, my friend! Your taste buds will go change forever after one bite!"

"I'm a little afraid," Brandt replied as he and Ethan laughed until Ethan's phone suddenly rang.

"Hunt," the leader said as he answered his phone, then listened as his boss at IMF spoke. "You got it, Sir. We'll be ready."

Brandt looked at Ethan as he asked, "I take it, it's our next case?"

Ethan nodded and answered, "That's right! It looks like we're headed to Ukraine in the morning. We'll be briefed on our mission on the way."

"Which means we still have time to enjoy the evening," Jane said as she walked up from behind Ethan, picked up a beer from the table, walked over next to Benji, and then joined the tech in his dance.

Ethan and Will laughed as they watched their friends dance. Within a few minutes, Benji called out that the steaks were finally ready and as the computer tech had said, they were the best steaks any of them had ever had. It turns out that Benji was a great cook. However, he wasn't a great dancer, but the team had fun watching him try.