Hannibal about choked on his cigar as they watched the footage on the tape showing Jean in the back of the helicopter with an unconscious Decker as she tried to put his jacket back on over a lifejacket she'd slipped on him. She looked straight to the camera and said, "Why'd you start the camera now, dummy?"
They heard Face's voice respond, "Just so the people at home can relax and know this isn't real. So tell the people at home what's going to happen."
Jean pointed over to the door and said, "Very soon we're going over a big lake that doesn't have a lot of people visiting it anymore. When we go over it, we're going to go down lower and our friend Decker here is going to go for a little swim. I figure if that doesn't wake him up, nothing should."
"Isn't that going to be dangerous, though?" Face asked cynically.
"I don't think so," she replied, "It turns out that there's this one little old couple that comes out on the lake every day at the same time in a little boat, I figure if we get the drop just right he should make his landing very close to where they're going to be rowing on by. Naturally when they see him they'll help him out of the water, but I don't know that he is going to enjoy the favor."
"And why is that?" Face asked.
Jean grinned for the camera and explained, "They moved here to California six years ago, but they immigrated to the United States from Saigon during the Vietnam War."
Hannibal almost swallowed his cigar from laughing so hard when he heard that part. On the film, Jean had gotten Decker's jacket buttoned up so the orange life preserver wasn't showing anymore and she waved her finger at the camera and said, "Alright, now when we make the final cut on this, this is where we start, alright?"
"Alright," Face replied.
Jean opened the door and the camera caught a glimpse at the blue lake down below, and Jean grabbed Decker by the back of his jacket and hauled him up into a sitting position and told him, "So long, Mr. Decker, have a nice swim, give my regards to Flipper," and she half shoved, half kicked him out of the helicopter and they saw Decker plummet to the water below and make a big splash.
Hannibal and B.A. were almost paralyzed by the time the video ran out from laughing; Murdock, Face and Jean were crammed together on the top of the couch and didn't make a sound between them but they were relieved that it was such a big hit with the colonel and the sergeant.
"And you're sure he was unconscious during all that?" Hannibal asked.
"I made sure of that," Jean told him, "Of course I would've preferred just throwing him out and letting him drown but I was outvoted on that one, so we had to stop and pick up the lifejacket."
"You can be sure when they fish him out, he'll be fuming for weeks over this one," Face said.
Hannibal was to a point he could hardly breathe and was still laughing. He looked to Jean and told her, "That was a good idea, kid, but how did you come up with it?"
"I have my ways," she answered, "But there's one thing I don't get, Hannibal, why all of a sudden is Decker suddenly doing these witch hunts solo when he usually brings a whole parade with him?"
"It's a good question," Hannibal said, "I don't doubt he thinks he could do the job by himself, but that never stopped him before from bringing the militia along for the ride."
"Well I hope he keeps on with this current idea," Jean said, "We can have a lot more fun at his expense this way."
Hannibal craned his neck around to look at her and he told her, "Now wait a minute, Jean, don't be getting any ideas about this."
"Come on, Hannibal, don't you think Decker's at least guessed that I'm involved in this? So since I'm in it already, I might as well make the most of it."
"You're only in this as a result of bad timing, this is our fight," Hannibal told her.
"Well as long as I am in it I might as well do something about it, shouldn't I?" she asked, "If I can help keep him off the scent, I will, if I could bury him it would be better."
The next couple of days passed without incident; the idea of actually being able to lay low and take it easy was nice in theory, however in practice it often proved an exercise in futility. Without any pressing issues that needed their immediate attention, Hannibal and Face were actually finding it possible to become bored. By the third day a heat wave hit the city and Jean's house was no exception; it was 110 outside and due to an air conditioner that wasn't supposed to be running until the next spring, the inside was close to 95. B.A. took a look at the air conditioner and after an hour managed to get it running, and while any decrease in the temperature would be an immense relief, the heat only got taken down to 85, still plenty warm for anybody's comfort, and as hot as it was all day, it didn't get any better at night.
Murdock had gone with Jean to her room for the night since he figured Face would not be dressing for bed and he expected his privacy for that. Oddly enough the heat inside or out hadn't been enough to get him out of his jacket or his shoes; somehow the others had all managed to succumb to the hot stuffy air and fall asleep, but the two of them stayed awake and drank a couple of beers that had been ice cold in the beginning but were quickly working their way to the level of lukewarm.
Sometime around midnight, Jean also managed to fall asleep but Murdock could tell it was anything but comfortable; the half of her that he saw was covered in perspiration and he was sure the other half was stuck to the sheets for the same reason. He paced around the room a few times and every so often glanced out the window, and finally an idea came to him and he went over to the bed and shook Jean to wake her up, "Hey Saint."
"What is it?" she tiredly asked as she tried burying her face in the pillow.
"Get up," Murdock said as he grabbed her and started to pull her to the edge of the bed.
Jean didn't even have her eyes open, but she was awake enough to ask him, "We going flying again?"
"No, I got another idea," he said.
Jean worked her eyes open one at a time and asked him, "What is it?"
"You still got a swimsuit, don't you?"
"Yeah sure, why?" she tiredly asked.
"Get it," he told her, "We're going swimming."
Jean fell back against the pillows and asked him, "Where?"
"There's a pool about half a mile from here, isn't there?" he asked.
"Yeah, city pool," Jean answered as she tried going back to sleep.
"Well," he told her as he climbed on the bed beside her to get her attention, "It's always been to my understanding that the best time to frequent the public pool is when there's nobody else there, and the best time for that to happen is when it's closed for the night."
Jean opened one eye and looked up at him, and then the other eye, and she smiled at him and said, "Why not? We won't have to pay admission." She started to sit up and asked, "Shall we get Face up and see if he wants to join us?"
"Nah, the man wants to sleep, let him sleep," he told her.
"Why? You wouldn't let me sleep," she replied teasingly.
All the same she got up and followed him out of her room down to the storage room and they crept down the fire escape and took her car out of there and parked a block away from the city pool; there they climbed over the chain link fence that had been bolted up for the night and got a running start before jumping clear in. It was a major relief after the heat of the day, to Murdock it was like diving into a large glass of ice water; as soon as every inch of his skin was covered in the cold water he felt like he was in heaven. They spent half an hour swimming and wrestling in the water, laughing and screaming though they worried too much attention would bring someone to investigate the noise.
After a while, they both became quiet and Jean thought they would be leaving soon to make sure they weren't arrested. She had half pulled herself out of the water and was wringing out her mohawk when she heard Murdock humming the theme from Jaws, a second before he tackled her and pulled her back in the water with him. They fought and splashed each other for a while longer before they finally got out of the pool, grabbed their clothes and scaled the wall again and headed back for Jean's car.
The night was still hot and it didn't take long for them to dry out; the stars were out but the main source of illumination was the whitish blue street lamps on every corner, they made things stick out so nobody walked into anything, but unless someone was standing right under one, actually being able to see them wouldn't be any easy task. All the same, when Murdock turned the corner and saw a man in that uniform, he stopped dead in his tracks, causing Jean to walk into him, and he grabbed her and pulled her back around the corner before they were spotted.
"What's the matter, Murdock?" she asked.
"Look over there," he pointed at the man, "You see him?"
Jean was able to see the outline of a helmet and a familiar uniform, "An MP around here?"
Murdock saw the man turn and was able to make out his facial features a bit and he doubled back with Jean at his side.
"That's Crane, Decker's right hand man," Murdock told her, "Every time Decker tries to bust us that guy's always right there behind Decker, but I don't remember seeing him around this time."
"Where's he been, on vacation?" Jean asked.
"I don't know," Murdock said, "But we better get out of here before he spots us," Murdock said.
"We can't, we have to go past him to get to my car," Jean told him, and an idea came to her, "Give me your jacket and your cap."
He scowled at her and said, "Aw come on Saint, you don't think I'm going to fall for that one again, do you?"
"No, give them to me," she said, he handed them to her and she explained, "As far as anybody knows, you're still locked up at the V.A., you're not here with anybody else from the Team, so nobody, not even Crane would have any reason to look at you and assume anything, especially here in the dark in the dead of night. As far as this guy's going to know, we're just a couple of people passing by, you get it now?"
"I get it but I don't like it," Murdock said, "It might not work."
"Well there's a backup plan incase it doesn't," Jean told him, and tucked his jacket and cap under her arm, and with her free hand she reached up and messed up Murdock's hair so it stood up where it ordinarily didn't, "Let's go."
Arm in arm they walked along the concrete sidewalk in the night and managed to walk right past Crane without him saying or doing anything, in fact he didn't seem to pay any attention to them whatsoever. Once they were a block away, they hopped into Jean's car and drove back to the house; and once there, Murdock went back on the footage he'd filmed to show Jean something, and she couldn't believe what she saw.
Murdock had gone back before they gave Decker a diving lesson and Jean recognized the restaurant they were at when the MPs stormed the place; the footage was mostly shot to show the faces of the MPs who were getting pies shoved in them, but not so much of the three people throwing the pies. Jean saw herself elbow one MP in the nose and break the seltzer bottle over the other's head and she felt like she'd lapsed into a nightmare.
"You were there," she said, "You saw it, you knew I about killed that man."
"And I knew that Hannibal took control of the situation like he always does," Murdock told her, "I knew he wouldn't let you do anything you'd regret." He wound the footage back again and showed Jean, "You look at the men in green, there's Decker, but Crane is nowhere to be seen, these last few times he's chased us, Crane hasn't been there."
"Which once again raises the question, where the hell has he been?" Jean asked, "And what does it all mean?"
"That is what we've got to find out," Murdock replied, "Maybe the Colonel will have an idea about it tomorrow."
"I think you may be onto something, Murdock," she said, "Because when I crashed my car into his, I never saw that guy Crane anywhere either, he sure as hell wasn't the one driving the car. Do you think there's a connection to Crane's absence and Decker going solo now?"
"Could be," Murdock nodded, "Could be."
The next morning when Murdock told Hannibal about what they'd found out, Hannibal agreed the whole thing seemed odd, but he wasn't sure if there was a connection. If there was, he said that he would look into the matter later, but today it was his turn at the studio because they had to reshoot the death of the Aquamaniac's second victim.
"Hannibal don't you think that's kind of dangerous?" Jean asked, "Decker knows you work in the movies, that's how he followed us in the chopper, if even Lynch could find you down there Decker won't have any trouble either, and if this guy Crane is nosing around then Decker can't be too far off, can he?"
"Perhaps," Hannibal nodded, "But the saying goes don't give up your day job and for the time being that's what this is, besides, that's why B.A.'s coming with me, if anybody does come to the studio, who better to make a fast getaway?"
"Man you are unbelievable," Jean told him, "You know what I think? I think you like the chase too much."
Hannibal was a patronizing person on occasion, and this was no exception; instead of actually responding to Jean he just chuckled and patted her on the head like a dog and told her, "You behave yourself while we're gone," he pointed to the others and added, "You too."
"Yes sir, Colonel," Murdock saluted him.
Hannibal went from Jean to Murdock and shook his hand and over to Face and took him by surprise and kissed him and said, as the lieutenant yelped in shock and disgust, "Goodbye, dear."
Jean and Murdock had a good laugh at his expense as Hannibal and B.A. left the house and it was just the three of them alone for the day.
"What do you think, Face?" Jean asked him, "You think there's a connection to all this?"
"Who knows? Who knows why Decker does anything that he does?" Face replied.
"Well they're gone for the day," Jean said, "What do we do now?"
Murdock had apparently already given the matter some thought; he went digging through Jean's music collection and found a tape he liked and put it on, cranked the volume up and grabbed her to dance with. Face could tell that Jean hadn't expected it but she was a good sport and caught on quickly and managed to keep in step with him, something that wasn't easy to do since he had some very unusual methods of dancing, and this was something Face knew too well because in past times when Murdock came up empty handed for a partner, he always substituted with him.
"Tell me something, Murdock," Jean said.
"Do they ever get any overhead shots for the Aquamaniac movies?" she asked.
"I don't know," he shook his head, "I never noticed."
"I was just thinking that would be an easy way to keep an eye on things down there, and an easier way to get Hannibal and B.A. out of there incase Decker did come in," she said.
"Except for one thing," Face reminded her, "You'll never willingly get B.A. on anything that flies and we wouldn't have time to knock him out, remember?"
Jean rolled her eyes and said, "That man's stubbornness is going to be the downfall of all of us someday." She looked back at Murdock and asked him, "How did he ever become a paratrooper?"
Murdock shook his head, "Talking to the wrong person, I wasn't there at the time, I was Air Force, they were Army."
"And the two don't intermingle?" Jean asked.
"Not like you'd think anyway," he replied, "Army's got a lot of rules, it's just like football, too many rules, you know football's the only game where you can get flagged 10 yards for breathing wrong."
"That would explain why I never played it," she said, "Also explains why I never would've lasted at the army."
Murdock let go of one of her hands and used his to scratch his head as he thought about something and he told Face, "Now that you think about it, the whole war was pretty much like a football game."
"Aren't they all?" Jean asked.
"What do you mean?" Face wanted to know.
"Think about it," Jean said, "Does the big fat coach that's always telling everybody else what to do ever go out on the field and do it himself? No, that's not his job, just like in war. Whoever declares the war is the coach, he makes the mess, but instead of cleaning it up himself, he picks 3 million boys to go and do it for him while he sits back comfortably and then tells them what they're doing wrong. But if he would ever be right in the middle of it, he wouldn't last 10 minutes."
A thought occurred to Face and he tapped Jean on the shoulder and asked her, "Incidentally you don't play chess, do you?"
"Who does he play with?" Jean asked.
"Nobody," Murdock answered, "He plays both sides by himself, he's not a very sociable kind of guy if you know what I mean."
"So what did this guy Decker do in Vietnam?" Jean asked, "What's his story?"
"Isn't much of one to that guy," Face explained, "He's ruthless, bloodthirsty, egotistical, and would love nothing more than to see us rotting in Fort Bragg, either that or…" he pointed to the floor, "You know…pushing up the daisies. Hannibal summed it up best, this guy bombed Cong hospitals like it was his favorite sport."
"Probably got a lot of brass," Jean commented, "Of course it's no mystery, they don't give out medals for holding hands with the Vietnamese…still, I can't help but wonder."
"What?" Murdock asked.
She looked at him and said nonchalantly, "Decker might've been a bloodthirsty killing machine back in the jungles of Vietnam, but he's in the concrete jungles of Los Angeles now, and I never had any qualms about killing in a civilian sector."
Murdock looked past Jean and saw the worried look on Templeton's face, and he could understand the reason why. Nobody else had been present that night in the hospital when Brutus died, so the others didn't understand that the killing sensation had likewise died out in Jean, or at least dimmed out to a point where she was plenty of intent and plot, and largely talk, but he knew that if it came down to it, she wouldn't be able to pull the trigger. Of course he knew that two people could never actually know each other very well, so the best he could do was hope it was true.
"Murdock," Jean leaned in to him to speak directly into his ear, "I've got an idea."
"What's that?" he asked.
"Face suggested that Decker had all the copters from the movie lot bugged, you think there could be any truth to that theory?"
"Well it's possible," he agreed.
"That's what I thought," she said, "So if we wanted to tail them, why should we have to find any new bugs?"
Murdock stopped dancing and looked at her for a second, and then he asked her, "What do you have in mind, Saint?"
"Well we already bugged Decker's jeep but the odds are he's not going to go back for it," she said, "But what about this guy Crane? I say we find out where he is and where he's going, and plant a bug on his car, then we can find out if he and Decker are still in cahoots with each other or not. Can you imagine the sight that'll make, all the MPs' cars and all the army's men chasing after another MP's car, and we just follow the convoy."
"But how're we going to get down there without drawing any attention to ourselves?" Face asked, "If Decker does come in to raid the studio…"
"Then it's all the better we are there to help Hannibal and the big mudsucker," Murdock added.
"Well I've got an idea how we can get in without anybody noticing us," Jean told Face, "You know all those costumes I got upstairs from the sets?"
"What about them?" Face asked.
Jean pointed to him and said, "You're the most recognizable, so you put on the Kamikaze Racer uniform, Murdock and I'll change into a couple of the others I've got tucked away, and if anybody asks, we got lost on the way to the shoot."
"It's a plan, Faceman," Murdock said, "Hey, I'm rhyming again!"
Face was starting to see why Jean was not particularly fond to the suit she had to wear for this movie; he was sure it weighed 25 or 30 pounds if it weighed an ounce with all the extra padding in it, and then the boots he guessed were an additional 10 pounds on each foot.
"They really have you race around in this?" he asked.
Jean, who had changed into fatigues and a camouflage jacket and combat boots, pointed at his own boots and explained, "Those are just for when he finally gets out of the car and you see him walking around, for the most part we wear a lighter pair that is more reliable for driving but they don't look as good."
"Hey Faceman, how's this for irony?" Murdock asked as he stepped out of the next room in a Thunderbirds pilot uniform.
Face didn't say anything and just turned and gawked at Jean curiously.
"Okay," she said with her hands up in a surrender gesture, "So I bring a few more costumes home than are actually necessary, so what? You have any idea how many outfits some of these people go through 12 times in a day and just throw them away after the end of one shoot?"
"Hey this could work out better than we planned," Murdock said as he adjusted the lapel on his jacket, "We could say we're technical advisors."
"That's the spirit, come on Face, we've got to get going," Jean told him.
They got in her car and drove to the studio and did well to get lost in the neverending crowds of actors, extras, technicians, makeup artists, and the common everyday sightseers who stopped to see a movie being made. They got to the hangar where the copters were kept and Murdock made short work of searching for another tracking device and slipped it into his pocket for the time being.
"Now for the next question," Face said, "How are we going to find Crane?"
"Well I don't know what he was doing out by the pool last night," Murdock told Face, "But he might retrace his steps and maybe we ought to as well, I mean what was he doing out there last night with nobody around?"
They managed to get back out of the studio as easily as they'd gotten in, but none of them felt that they'd made a perfect getaway; everywhere they went they turned their heads to look at the people standing all around and see if there was anybody in the crowds that didn't belong, and it was impossible to tell.
Since they only had one transmitter it didn't make much sense for all three of them to go out creeping around the neighborhood looking for Crane, especially since he could identify Face, so reluctantly he stayed behind that night while Jean and Murdock went out in search of the MP again.
"You know much about this guy Crane?" Jean asked Murdock during the drive.
"Not much," he answered, "Hannibal probably knows the most about him and even that probably isn't much."
"What's the matter, Murdock?" Jean asked teasingly, "Don't you guys believe in 'know your enemy'?"
He turned and glared at her coyly and she returned the glare before he looked back at the road and explained, "Decker is the enemy, Crane is more a victim of circumstance."
"He'd still turn you in to Decker, wouldn't he?" Jean asked.
"Yes," Murdock answered matter-of-factly, "That is his job."
"Yeah, where's his contract?" she wanted to know.
Murdock hit the brakes and they both got thrown against the dashboard, when they pulled themselves back he pointed out a car on the next corner that had a pair of lights on top. They got out of the car and walked over to it and saw that it wasn't a cop car, it was one of the army's.
"He's got to be around here somewhere then," Jean said.
"Yeah," Murdock took the transmitter out of his pocket, "But we already found the car so we just have to make sure he doesn't find us in the next minute." Jean watched him walk around to the back of the car and slip the device under the fender, and he said, "Let's get out of here before he comes back."
"We're not leaving?" Jean asked as they made a mad dash back for the car.
"No, but we gotta be out of sight if we're going to follow him without him seeing us first," Murdock explained.
They got back to her car and waited in the dark for half an hour before they saw the silhouette of a man that they presumed to be Crane, get into the car and drive off, and Murdock managed to keep their car half a block behind Crane's at all time. After a couple of miles, the army car got off the main road and pulled up near a house in a wooded area that was a good distance away from civilization.
"Think he's meeting anyone here?" Jean asked.
"Doubt it," Murdock answered, "More likely this is where he's staying right now."
"What time do these army guys get up?" she asked.
"Five A.M. at least," Murdock answered.
"Okay," she told him, "I got a new idea…take that bug off the car, if Crane is still working with Decker, that's probably the car they're going to use to chase after Hannibal and the others in, right?"
"Most likely," Murdock agreed, but didn't get where this was going, "So what?"
As Murdock had told Jean, at 5 o' clock the next morning Crane was up and ready to leave. He had just stepped out of the house when somebody came up behind him and hit him in the back of the neck with something he could identify as being a gun. He was knocked facedown on the ground and he felt the gun pointed at the side of his face and he heard a woman's voice say, "You move, Crane, and you're a dead man, you got that?"
"Yes ma'am," he replied calmly, wondering just what the hell was going on.
Jean kept her gun on him and made sure that Murdock stayed back where Crane couldn't see him. She leaned in close to Crane and asked him, "You on your way to get Decker, Crane?"
"Yes ma'am," he answered with no emotions and his eyes staring straight ahead.
"What weapons are you carrying?" she asked.
"Just a sidearm, ma'am," he answered.
Jean took the gun out of his belt and asked him, "That the car you're going to pick up Decker in?"
He confirmed that and Jean demanded to know where the keys were, he answered that they were in his front pocket. Jean grumbled about always getting stuck with the dirty work, but took the keys out, as well as Crane's walkie-talkie and shot it. Then she asked him, "Just where the hell have you been, Crane? I know you haven't been with Decker the last couple of weeks, so where have you been?"
"Hospital, ma'am," he answered like it was all routine, "Got caught in a grenade explosion and had pieces of shrapnel removed from both my legs and my back."
"For three weeks?" Jean asked.
"Infection set in, doctors said it was touch and go for a while," he told her.
Jean wasn't moved, she pulled the lever back on her gun and told him, "Sorry, Crane, I got nothing against you personally, but if you move, or if you tell anybody about me, or if you get up before I'm gone, I'm gonna have to kill you."
"I understand, ma'am," he said with an eerie calmness and acceptance.
Jean ordered him not to move as she took his helmet and wrestled his jacket off of him; as much as was possible he became one with the ground beneath him and never once tried to look up at his assailant.
"Where is Decker?" she asked him as she put on his jacket.
"I won't divulge that information," he told her.
"I can respect that," she said, "Do you have any idea why Decker's suddenly been on the move without any assistance from the military police?"
"Negative, ma'am," he said.
"You know what Decker's next move is?" she asked him.
"I do not," he answered.
"Would you answer if you did?" she wanted to know.
Crane cracked a small smile at that one as he answered, "No."
Jean smirked in return and said, "I can understand that…" she nodded towards the car and got in Crane's line of vision so he didn't see Murdock and she told him, "Alright pal, we leave you now, but remember, you never saw me, because if you suddenly remember my being here, I'll come back and kill you. Don't think I'd enjoy it, but if I have to I will."
"I understand, ma'am," Crane assured her.
Jean pocketed his gun and kept hers pointed at him as she backed up to the car and got in the driver's side. A minute later they were burning rubber and leaving Crane in the dust.
"Clyde Barrow couldn't have done it any better, darling," Murdock told her.
Jean couldn't help smiling though she said, "I almost feel sorry for that guy Crane, you can tell he's not the brains behind these wild goose chases."
Murdock bobbed up and down in his seat a few times before he turned to Jean and told her, "You know, I'm getting pretty tired of this…all this hiding, I want to be acknowledged as a member of the A-Team because that's exactly what I am."
Jean felt like arguing with him on them matter though she didn't because she knew she was just as guilty as the others; everything that had been done was done in the name of protecting Murdock and keep him from being a wanted fugitive along with the rest of them, but it went against everything she believed because he might have been safe from the military, but he was still a prisoner, he had fewer rights than the rest of them did being locked away in the madhouse all the time.
"I'm sorry, Murdock," she told him.
He looked over at her and said, "Oh, I didn't mean you, Saint…it's just that this has been going on for over 10 years now, and I'm getting tired of it, I want to be known for my part in the Team."
She thought about it for a minute and said, "I guess Decker chasing you all over the state couldn't possibly be any worse than being shut up at the V.A., could it?"
He gazed over at her and said, "Oh hey, don't you worry about your old buddy Murdock, I'll be fine no matter what happens, I'm just thinking out loud here, they encourage that at the V.A…up to a point anyway."
Jean inhaled what she was going to say and told Murdock, "You better let the others know what happened."
Murdock took out a walkie talkie and let Hannibal know that they got the car and would be at his location soon. It was only after he'd signed off that he noticed Jean was starting to look worried and he asked her, "What's wrong?"
"We might be getting there sooner than expected," she told him.
"What do you mean?" he asked her.
Jean quickly glanced over at him and said, "Somebody else must hate Decker as much as you guys do, the brakes aren't working!"
Murdock looked down and saw Jean had buried the brake pedal to the floor and the needle on the speedometer was still climbing; and he saw what she didn't see, that the accelerator was stuck to the floor of its own accord. He looked out the windows to see just how fast everything was going by and he and Jean reached the same conclusion; their best bet was to jump out before the car went any faster or they hit something. They threw the doors open and tucked and rolled out at the same time just a few seconds before the car crashed into a large oak tree and the whole front was smashed in.
Hannibal, Face and B.A. weren't too far off when they saw the car coming towards them and crash, and they ran to see what had happened. At the same time, Murdock was on the ground rolling over onto his back and groaning softly; he opened his eyes and saw Jean was sprawled out on the ground and didn't seem to have as much luck getting around. He crawled over to her and asked her, "You alright, Saint?"
"Of course I'm alright," she insisted, "I'm a stuntman, that's what they pay me for." All the same, her eyes rolled back in her head and she fell down against the hard ground again.
Hannibal and Face came up just at that time and helped get them to their feet.
"What happened?" Hannibal asked.
"I don't know," Jean answered, "But whoever's responsible, I don't know whether to kick him in the teeth or buy him a steak."
"You're lucky that car didn't explode," Face told them.
"I know it," Jean said, "Which reminds me, the next time I go to work, I'm insisting that they get me fitted with some of that flame retardant skin cover like they used on the stuntmen for the Towering Inferno, they could burn for 30 seconds before having to be extinguished, that'll come in real handy if the car ever does decide to spontaneously combust in a crash."
Face leaned over to Hannibal and said confidentially, "I think she rattled her brain in the fall."
"What happened to the car?" Hannibal asked Murdock.
"Colonel, I don't know," Murdock said, and he was gesturing wildly with his hands as he explained, "There was nothing wrong with this car last night when Crane was driving it, and today we take it and the brakes stop working and the accelerator sticks to the floor."
"Somebody tampered with the car?" Face asked, "Why?"
"To kill Decker obviously," Murdock said, "Crane said he was going to pick Decker up today, he'd just gotten out of the hospital."
"Wish whoever it was would've let us know that," Jean commented.
Hannibal was left scratching his head on this one, "Who would want to kill Decker?"
"I don't know," Jean said, "But when we find the guy I'm buying him the strongest drink they got around here." A wave of dizziness blew over her and she fell down again. "Irony of all ironies, I threaten to kill Crane if he tries anything, and we wind up saving his life instead, that's fate!"
"Yup," Murdock nodded in agreement, "And somewhere out there is a little man with a long beard and a blue raincoat with the name J.J. Fate stomping his hat because everybody blames him for everything going on…this is one time the blame can't help but fall on him."