A DIFFERENT CHOICE
by Gunman

Disclaimer: I do not own the A-Team or any of their characters.

Summary: What would happen if Hannibal had agreed not to go to Baghdad and retrieve those engraving plates?

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(Military Disciplinary Hearing)

The five Judge Advocates stared at the gray-haired man standing across the court room, dressed in a dark green military uniform and red beret on his head.

"Please state your name for the record." the first general said.

"Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith. Army Rangers." the gray-haired man said.

"Colonel Smith, would you kindly state for us the sequence of events that lead up to this rather... disastrous, international incident?"

"At approximately 1000 hours, on April 7th, I was approached by a man named Lynch, working for Central Intelligence, who informed me that Saddam loyalists had stolen American engraving plates and were planning to move over a billion dollars in unbacked American currency out of Baghdad within the next 30 hours. Fedayeen thugs had seized what was left of the Iraqi National Mint in order to run off that money, then move it inside an armored convoy, manned by former Iraqi spec ops. Upon hearing of this, I personally went to the base commander, General Russell Morrison, and pleaded with him, not to allow Black Forest to deploy on this, but to let me and my team go in to Baghdad to retrieve those plates and that money." Hannibal explained.

"And what were you basing this request on, Colonel?" a second general asked.

"The fact that Black Forest is a kill squad. They are not people capable of handling missions of this sensitivity. I stated quite clearly that they're... assassins in polo shirts. And Brock Pike is little more than a thug with a license to kill." he said.

"And what was General Morrison's response to your request?" the first general asked.

"He denied my request. Not only did he remind me that we were under orders to stay out of Baghdad, but he personally requested that I, and I quote, 'Hannibal, please, let this one go'. Even though I pleaded with him, practically on my hands and knees, to allow me the chance to retrieve those plates, that my team was the best chance to accomplish this mission without incident. General Morrison did not relent in this case. It was with the greatest reluctance that I did, at the request of a man I considered to be my oldest friend, rescinded my request to go back into Baghdad." Smith explained.

"And you and your men remained at FOB Headhunter the entire time?" the second general asked.

"Yes, sir." Smith replied.

"Their presence at Headhunter has been confirmed, by every member of the base, during the entire time this incident took place." a third general said.

"Thank you, Colonel, you may step down." the first general said.

Colonel Smith stepped down and returned to his seat, while a beautiful young woman with long brown hair, dressed in a military uniform, stepped forward.

"Please state your name for the record." the second general said.

"Captain Charissa Sosa." the young woman said.

"Captain Sosa. As a matter of clarification, what exactly was your mission in Baghdad?" the first general asked.

"My orders were to retrieve the engraving plates that the Iraqi's had stolen and were using to print over a billion dollars in unbacked American currency using a printing press stolen during the First Desert Storm." the female military officer explained.

"And did you retrieve those plates?" the general asked.

"No, sir." she said.

"Why not?" he asked.

"I was... following another lead." she replied.

"Another lead? What other lead?" the second general asked.

"Lieutenant Templeton Peck." she said.

"Of Colonel Smith's Alpha Unit." the general stated.

"Yes, sir." she replied.

"Captain... it is my understanding that you and Lieutenant Peck once had a relationship, is that right?" the first general asked.

She bristled slightly at that.

"I fail to see what that has to do with this..."

"Answer the question, Captain." the third general said.

"It was a long time ago, sir." she replied.

"But you still had one."

"Yes, sir."

"Captain Sosa, did you at any time at Headhunter, threaten to have Lieutenant Peck court-martialed for attempting to retrieve those engraving plates?" the first general asked.

Charissa swallowed, knowing where this was going.

"I did..., sir." she answered.

The tribunal sighed and looked at each other.

"So... even though you were under orders to retrieve those engraving plates, you instead threatened and shadowed your ex-boyfriend, under the assumption that he would go into Baghdad and retrieve those engraving plates, which he never did. As a result of this, another unit, that was deployed into Baghdad, not only stole the plates and the money, but also killed over two dozen Iraqi's in the process. All of them civilians. Something that has caused an international incident across the Middle East."

Charissa bowed her head. As if in shame.

"How do you account for this?" the first general asked.

"I was under the impression that Colonel Smith and his team were working with Brock Pike." she explained.

"Which is what lead you to bring charges against Colonel Smith and his team, despite that they had done nothing of which you say they had."

"Yes, sir." she replied.

"Captain Sosa, it is a clarifiable fact, from the desk of General Morrison himself, that Hannibal Smith and Brock Pike, the leader of Black Forest, did not get along. In fact more than once, General Morrison noted that he was surprised that Smith and Pike didn't come to blows in his own camp. Therefore, your assumption is, was, baseless." the first general said.

"My assumption, sir, was based on the fact that Colonel Smith and his group have a history of circumventing direct orders. They are an unorthodox, if not a talented, clandestine unit, and as such I thought that they would disobey direct orders in order to accomplish this mission." she explained.

"Accomplish a mission for which they had no clearance, nor authorization, for. A mission that they were denied by their commanding officer. In fact, while Colonel Smith has already stated that he had personally and repeatedly attempted to get Morrison's permission to send in his own team, he also said that he relented and did not even attempt to leave DOB Headhunter. Correct?" the second general asked.

"Yes, sir." she admitted.

The tribunal turned to itself, discussing amongst the assembled panel what to do about this young woman.

"Captain Sosa. It is the decision of this court that you be demoted in rank to Lieutenant, in light of the fact that you allowed your personal feelings to interfere with your mission, causing you to lose the engraving plates you were assigned to retrieve, adding to the fact that you threatened military personnel and shadowed them based on nothing but a resentment towards one of them."

It was obvious what they were saying.

They couldn't trust her if she couldn't trust other people.

And at this point, she was starting to wonder if she wasn't deserving of this accusation.

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"Captain Sosa." Colonel Smith said, getting the woman's attention as she exited the building where the tribunal had been held.

"Didn't you hear the Advocate General? It's Lieutenant Sosa, now." she snapped at Smith.

"But it could be Captain again." he said to her.

"Could be? What are you getting at?" she asked.

"We can help you." he said.

Though she was upset and more than a little irritated, she perked up at this.

"What are you offering?" she asked.

"Regardless of your feelings towards Face, or indifference, I meant what I said in there. My team is the best chance at getting those plates back. Feel like joining us?" he asked.

Charissa looked at Smith as if he was kidding.

"I'm not sure I heard you correctly, sir." she said. "You want me to join you, in retrieving those engraving plates? Why?"

"I think you did hear me correctly. For whatever your reasonings were for having your relationship with Face, at the time, you're a crusader. A determined soldier. And I respect that. Pike and his men have gone rogue with those plates. So, feel like joining the A-Team?" he asked with a smile.