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Up in Smoke
by: Lacey McBain
Summary: The team experiences plane trouble while escaping from Guatemalan drug dealers.
Time frame: First season, pre-Decker.
Warnings: Violence, some swearing, injury to main characters.
Notes: ~denotes emphasis~
Disclaimer: I don't own the A-Team, but if they ever go up for sale on Ebay, I'm there. Nor do I make any money from them. My copyright infringement is meant with the utmost respect for Stephen J. Cannell.
Up in Smoke
"Murdock, do you really expect me to believe that this has nothing to do with the A-Team?" Dr. Richter said with exasperation. His eyes took in the fresh ankle cast, and the bruises and cuts that were just starting to heal on the pilot's face.
"I don't know what you mean, Doc," Murdock said with a grin. "I told you, I was - -"
"- - visiting your cousin Paulo in
Murdock looked at the doctor with feigned surprise.
"Don't give me that look, Murdock. I've known you for some time now, and you can't tell me you're not in touch with the A-Team. The nurses all know your good-looking blonde friend, for heaven's sake. What do you call him? Elbows? The Nose?" Richter flipped through the file sitting in front of him.
"Ah-ha! So you do know who I'm talking about," Richter said triumphantly, leaning forward and pointing at Murdock accusingly.
"Of course I know who you're talkin' about, Doc. I read the papers. Those guys are wanted by the military."
"And you're their pilot."
"I was their pilot. In '
"Okay, Captain, you win. Next time you visit your, um, cousins, tell them to take better care of you. That's all I ask. You're my patient and your well-being is my responsibility. If your ~cousins~ can't remember that, then we're going to have to pay a little more attention to your comings-and-goings. Understood?"
Murdock eased himself up onto his crutches and gave a hearty salute.
"Aye-aye, Doc," he said, and headed for the door.
"Murdock, you know you can trust me, don't you? I wouldn't betray your friends. I just want to help you and I can't do that if you don't tell me the truth."
Murdock looked back over his shoulder, his gaze clear and steady.
"Truth's a dangerous thing, Doc. But I hear ya. Yessir, truth's a strange puppy. Come on, Billy, let's see if the nurses have some treats for you."
Richter watched his patient retreat down the hallway, encouraging his invisible dog Billy to keep up. Richter closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. There was no one quite like H.M. Murdock.
One week earlier
Murdock gripped the controls of the Lockheed
Electra in both hands and listened to the wheezing left engine.
"I don't know, Colonel. I didn't think we took a hit back there, but she's having trouble makin' up her mind whether she wants to fly or not." Murdock patted the dashboard gently. "Come on, sweetheart. Hold together for Murdock!"
"Could be contaminated fuel," Murdock
continued, thinking out loud. "Sometimes
crooked suppliers water down the gas to make a few bucks. It's not real noticeable on short hops, but
it screws up the engines somethin' awful in the long
haul. What's the map say,
"I've got an area stretching from
"Sorry," Murdock said, pulling the aircraft back to its cruising altitude. "Downdraft. Nasty little buggers. Lose a few hundred feet here and there but nothing to worry about. Face, you can let go now."
Sheepishly, Face released his grip on Murdock's
right shoulder. Murdock looked over at
"Flip it over, Colonel. See how far into
"That's not gonna help." The left engine made a sound like a backfire. The three of them stared helplessly out the window as the left prop slowed and the engine lost power. Murdock gave full throttle to the right engine. They could feel the nose pull to the left as the wing began to drag without the engine to maintain thrust. Murdock adjusted a lever, feathering the dead engine to minimize the drag from the windmilling propeller and the wing. The right engine rumbled erratically as Murdock compensated.
"Yeah, Murdock, what do you need?" Face said quickly.
"Check on the big guy. Make sure he's strapped in tight, then do the same for yourself. Away from the windows. That second engine's gonna go any time. I can't guarantee a cushy landing."
"See you on the flip-side," Face said, gently squeezing the pilot's shoulder. Murdock nodded in return, eyes darting between the side windows and the dials in front of him.
to shimmy worse than a belly dancer with a stutter," Murdock said as Face
slipped out of the cockpit.
"Can you set her down?"
"I think so, but she's not a chopper. Can't land her on a dime. Need at least a half-dollar," Murdock said, furrowing his brow and glancing out the window. "Once that other engine gives, we'll only have a few miles of glide. We've got to find somewhere to set this down. A field. A valley. Even a decent-sized clearing. I just don't want to take her into the trees if I can help it. Harder to control the damage."
"That's it, Colonel. That's all she's got. Show time."
Murdock feathered the right prop, then gripped the controls to slow the plane's descent. He concentrated on keeping the wings level, and scanned the horizon for a landing spot among the green.
"Where am I?" B.A. Baracus looked around. He took in the cylindrical shape of the metal roof, the uncomfortable seat, the seatbelt strapped tightly around his waist.
"Come on, B.A., get a grip," Face said from somewhere behind B.A.'s shoulder. "It's not like it's the first time."
"I'm on a plane!"
"Yes, B.A., and we just lost both engines from the sound of it. I'll be happy to hit you in the head with a two by four so you're unconscious when we crash into the Guatemalan jungle!" Face was in no mood for a debate with the big black man about the safety of air travel. Most of the time Face loved flying with Murdock; he just hated the inevitable crashes that went along with it. Not that this particular one was Murdock's fault. He'd had no way of knowing that the plane they'd grabbed had a fuel problem. They hadn't exactly had time to check the tanks as they were running from irate Guatemalan drug dealers. Trust drug dealers to get swindled on their fuel supply.
Face could see B.A.'s mohawk shifting from side to side as he sought to get a look at the con man who was strapped into the seat behind.
"You dead, Faceman."
"Not yet, B.A.."
"You and Hannibal and Murdock. You put me on a plane."
"I have to tell you that death threats don't have that much effect on me at this point," Face said grimly. He could feel the plane starting to descend.
"Stow that attitude, Sergeant,"
Face's voice was full of questions.
If Murdock had sent
"He wanted me out of the cockpit. If we go in nose first - -"
From the intercom, there was a crackle of static.
"Hang on, guys," Murdock said, trying to keep his voice cheerful, but the undertone of tension was obvious. "She's decided to give up flying and try a career in ground control."
Without a word,
A flash of silver caught the eye of the young man navigating his canoe down the river. He stared in amazement as a plane, silent as a cloud, shimmered in the distance and was lost among the trees. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. The sky was clear. He plunged his pole back into the water and pushed off against the muddy ground.
Sometimes, it was better not to see such things in this country. Planes meant drugs. Drugs meant guns. No, it was better to see nothing at all.
Face could hear ringing in his ears. For a moment he thought it was the bells of
heaven calling him home. He opened his
eyes and realized he was still bent over his knees. He shook his head to clear the ringing, and
gave a glance to the side.
"I'm okay," Face said sitting up. He could feel something sticky on his lip. He lifted a hand to his mouth. "Bloody nose, but not broken. Split lip. Dammit. That's going to interfere with my social life."
"I hate flyin'," B.A. said sullenly, sitting up slowly and taking stock. A large chunk of glass had pierced his shoulder, blood running down his arm, but that appeared to be his only real injury.
The three men slipped out of their seatbelts and into the aisle. They couldn't help but grin at each other, knowing they'd cheated death one more time. They all had cuts and bruises, but the worst of it seemed to be Face's bloody nose and B.A.'s sliced shoulder. Nothing that a bit of antiseptic and some bandages couldn't fix. As crashes went, they'd had worse.
"Murdock?" Face called. The plane was still except for the movement of the three men.
"Go see if he's okay,"
"If he's not okay, I'll kill him,"
Face picked his way up the centre aisle, which
was littered with leaves and glass. He
pulled open the door to the cockpit and let out a gasp. The right side of the cockpit where
"Murdock!" Face yelled. "Murdock, are you okay?"
"I've never been okay, Face, but thanks for asking," a voice came from somewhere ahead of him. Face couldn't see a space that was wide enough for him to push his way into the cockpit. He thought he could tell where Murdock's seat was, but there was no way for him to reach it. The roof and sides seemed to have crumpled inwards.
"Are you hurt?" Face tried again, pushing at the metal that had essentially sealed off the cockpit area. It groaned, but didn't move.
"It's hard to tell," Murdock said softly. "I'm kind of stuck."
Face turned as
"B.A., get that side exit door open and let's see how it looks from outside. Hang in there, Captain. We'll get you out of there."
"Sure thing, Colonel. I'm not goin' anywhere," Murdock said.
"Fool's not talkin' right. He's hurtin'," B.A. said quietly as he headed to the back and pushed against the exit door. The door opened partly and would go no further.
"Door's jammed against somethin'," B.A. said still pushing. "Face, see if you can fit through there." Face slipped past B.A. and out through the narrow opening. He lightly dropped the few feet to the ground. The sound of branches being pushed aside could be heard.
"Try it now, B.A.," Face said, and
this time when B.A. pushed, the door swung open completely.
Out on the ground, the three surveyed the scene in silence. Murdock had managed to set the plane in a small field ringed by dense jungle. The back end of the plane had dug into the field, tearing up plants as it rolled to a stop. The fuselage looked to be undamaged behind the cockpit, but the cockpit was a different story. The front of the plane had hit hard in a small grove of close-packed trees, landing gear collapsing as it made contact with the dense undergrowth. The right side of the cockpit was completely buckled where Murdock had shifted to avoid a full-on hit to the cockpit; the left side, although in better condition, was also dented. The windshield appeared to have shattered on impact, and a tree had sheered off and crumpled the roof of the cockpit.
"Dear God," Face said softly. "I've seen car wrecks that looked better."
B.A. was already disappearing into the grove of trees, and climbing his way up the nose of the plane.
"Faceman, get your butt up here and give me a hand."
Face didn't waste a moment scrambling up on top of the engine cowling. It was bent, and put him within easy reach of the side of the cockpit.
"Murdock, can you hear us?" Face yelled.
"I'm stuck, I'm not deaf," Murdock said. Through the space where the side window used to be, Face could make out the captain's form in the centre of the crumpled cockpit. Murdock turned to look at Face and gave a weak smile. Blood covered his right temple, but his eyes were clear. His hands were free and he gave a small wave.
"Hi, Face!" Murdock said cheerfully. "You guys all okay?"
"Yeah, no thanks to you," B.A. said
as he pulled himself up onto the nose of the plane, careful of the bandage
"B.A., I resent that," Murdock said looking up at the sergeant. "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. You know that."
"So far, I don't see you walkin' away, fool. Can ya move your legs?" B.A. said.
"I can feel 'em, but the control panel's kind of sittin' in my lap. Can't seem to budge."
"Besides the plane?"
"OK, B.A., take it easy. I don't know. Maybe. Legs hurt like hell."
I'll get you out. Faceman, stay
with him. I'll get
"We're in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle," Murdock said, "but you know what? I believe he'll find something or build something."
"I wouldn't bet against him," Face said. "But seriously, are you okay?"
"I've been better."
"We'd all be dead if it weren't for you, Murdock."
Murdock shrugged. They were his unit. Keeping them alive was what he'd always done. It was his job. His specialty.
"Still, next time B.A. suggests a boat, perhaps we should consider it before we hit him in the head."
"Just sit tight," Face said. He ignored the glare that Murdock aimed in
his direction. "I'm sure
"I don't know how the hell we're going to
get out of here,"
"Hold up, B.A.,"
"Murdock's hurt. No time for playin' with plants," B.A. said, looking over his shoulder.
"Except these plants are Cannabis."
B.A. stopped and hung his head.
operation might reach this far north, but it could be someone else
entirely. We might be expecting company
considering we just tore up half their crop."
"If we'd just taken a boat in the first place," B.A. muttered under his breath as they continued towards the building at double-time.
"And so the duck says, 'That's all you do? Bird imitations?'"
Face laughed, still leaning against the edge of the airplane.
"Bird imitations. That's good, Murdock. Here come the guys. I'll be right back." Face hopped down from the engine and circled around to meet Hannibal and B.A..
"He's fine. Have you heard his latest duck joke?"
"Yeah, bird imitations. I love it,"
B.A. set down a toolbox, and started to unbolt one blade of the propeller.
"What kind of problem, Colonel?" Face watched as
"Is this what I think it is?"
"Cheer up, Lieutenant,"
B.A. was struggling to pull the prop from its moorings. The big man grunted with satisfied exertion as the blade pulled from the engine.
"If you two are done jawin', you can gimme a hand," B.A. said. "We gotta get Murdock outta there."
Face stepped up onto the engine cowling and steadied himself to receive the weight. He took the half of the propeller that B.A. handed him.
"B.A., what am I doing with this?" Face asked, leaning the fifty-pound blade against the cockpit where Murdock looked on with interest.
B.A. slipped on a pair of safety glasses and
stepped up beside Face.
"Murdock, don't move," B.A. said. "I'm gonna cut the side of the plane with the torch, then use the prop as a lever to push the controls off you. Okay?"
Murdock gave a weak smile as B.A. lit up the torch. Murdock gave a thumbs-up and looked away.
"Be over in a minute, crazy man," B.A. said touching the torch gently to the edge of the cockpit.
"Those sons of bitches shut down my ops in Perrada, took my money, and now they're screwing with my set-up here. No damn way the A-Team is walkin' out of this one," Carlos Curruba shouted to his lieutenant as their jeep rumbled across gravel. Behind him, a small army of jeeps and trucks stirred up a cloud of dust.
going to regret the day they flew into
"Easy, Murdock," B.A. said from his position above Murdock. "Put your arms around Face's back. He's gonna pull, while I lever the controls outta the way."
"Okay, big guy," Murdock said. Face braced his right foot against the edge
of the cockpit where B.A. had cut away the metal shell.
"This is gonna hurt, Murdock," Face said softly, his face right beside Murdock's ear.
"I know. It's okay," Murdock returned. He gave Face a small squeeze.
"Ready, guys," Murdock said loudly. "Steady as she goes."
B.A. gritted his teeth and started to push down on the propeller that he'd wedged into the control panel. The creak of bending metal could be heard as B.A. twisted the blade, trying to lever the control panel up without putting any additional weight on Murdock's legs. Sweat was starting to bead on B.A.'s forehead as the metal began to curve under pressure.
Face pulled tentatively on Murdock as the metal
came away from his legs. He could hear
his friend's ragged breathing as Murdock clung to him, biting down the pain in
his legs. Face gently eased back,
"You okay, buddy?" Face said, still holding Murdock tight against him as he took another small step back. They were both sweating bullets. Face felt Murdock nod against his shoulder. Another step. Another. Then Murdock's legs were free of the control panel.
"Can you put any weight on your legs,
"Legs are numb, colonel. Sittin' too long."
"B.A., help us get him down,"
"Already here, Colonel," B.A. said
from off to their left. "Ease him
down, Faceman." Face knelt
"Hey, big guy," Murdock said weakly. "Thanks." B.A. nodded and tried not to put any pressure on Murdock's legs as he carried him into the shade.
Face and Hannibal scrambled down off the cowling and helped B.A. lay Murdock on a makeshift litter they'd constructed from poles and a piece of fabric they'd found in the barn. Murdock's khaki pants were torn in several places and blood had seeped through in a pattern of rust-coloured splotches. Face pulled out the scissors from the first aid kit and started to cut the pant legs away.
"Ah, Face, that was my best pair," Murdock complained, trying to sit up to get a look at how bad his legs looked.
"We'll buy you a new pair, Murdock,"
Face said, all business. He finished
cutting the pant legs off at mid-thigh, leaving Murdock with a ragged-edged
pair of shorts. He applied antiseptic to
each of the spots that had been cut by metal or glass, slowly cleaning the
blood away as he worked his way down.
Murdock let out a sharp gasp as
"Tickles, Colonel," Murdock said, face even whiter than before.
"Ankle's busted, Captain, but the legs are fine. Cut up somethin' awful and I'm sure they're hurtin', but at least it's just the one ankle that's broken."
Murdock took the canteen and the painkillers that B.A. offered him, and nodded slightly. It could've been a whole lot worse. Face continued his meticulous job of cleaning every wound. He reached for the sewing kit that was in the first aid bag.
"Is that really necessary, Faceman?" Murdock said softly, watching Face thread the needle.
"Sorry, Murdock. You've got a couple of pretty big cuts here. Can't have 'em bustin' open in the middle of things."
"In the middle of what things?" Murdock asked suspiciously. He noticed that B.A. and Hannibal had started packing their equipment off to the shed he could see across the field.
"You, my friend," Face said, gently sliding the needle into Murdock's flesh and pulling the largest of his wounds shut with a stitch, "managed to set us down in the middle of a marijuana crop, which, the way our luck is going, probably belongs to Curruba and his cronies."
"Are you kidding?"
"Nope," Face said, gathering the wound together with quick even stitches and tying it off. "Hannibal and B.A. are preparing the barn for a siege. Sooner or later the bad guys are gonna come to see what a Lockheed is doing in the middle of their operation. And considering it was their plane that we borrowed, I'm guessin' that they'll know it's us."
"Can't we just sneak off down the river?" Murdock said, wincing as Face taped a bandage around his thigh. "Geez, Face, not so much tape. You know how much hair that's gonna take with it when it comes off?"
Face just offered up his usual charming smile and started on another cut.
"Literally. Everybody within ten miles was gettin' high off that little bonfire," Murdock said with a grin.
"Local law was in his pocket, so not much more we could do there 'cept shut him down. And the client was happy. She just wanted him to stop using her students to work the fields."
"Trouble is," Murdock said, looking across the field, "there's always another field somewhere. Another dealer."
Face stopped mid-stitch and looked at the pilot. "Hey, you're not goin' serious on me, are you, Murdock?"
Murdock's eyes met Face's. A brief shadow flitted across the pilot's eyes like a passing cloud. In a second, it was as if it had never been there.
"No way, muchacho. B.A. would never cope. You almost done there, Face?" Murdock said, pointing to the stitching on his leg.
"Yeah, I'll just wrap your ankle and then we'll get ready to move out. Guys should be back any time."
Murdock nodded and looked back toward the river. He braced himself as Face got ready to set the bones in his ankle. As a wave of pain struck him, he briefly wondered how he was going to explain this to the staff at the VA. No doubt Face would think of something.
The sun was sliding towards the west by the time they had moved all necessary supplies from the plane to the barn. An escape route down the river had been scouted and the plane's life raft was inflated and camouflaged. B.A. had spent the better part of the afternoon refurbishing the truck that sat unused in the shed, and planting early warning signals on the road leading up to the farm. There appeared to be only one road in or out, and no easy air access. A ramshackle dock stretched into the river like a bony finger, but it was half-sunk in places.
"Obviously this is a fairly new set-up,"
"You still think it's Curruba's?" B.A. asked, as they made the last trip across the field to collect Murdock.
"I'd bet my life on it,"
"You on the jazz, man," B.A. said
shaking his head.
B.A. and Face each took an end of the litter they'd placed Murdock on and prepared to move him across to the barn they were using as a base. B.A. looked down at Murdock from the back end of the litter and growled.
"I don't like you puttin' me on planes and then crashin' 'em."
"B.A., I didn't crash," Murdock started to explain, indignant.
"You crashed the plane."
"It had a series of angry collisions with the ground."
"You crashed the plane."
"I merely landed in an atypical position."
"The ground rushed up to meet us."
Face shook his head and concentrated on negotiating a path through the field. This was one argument he was staying out of.
"I chose to place the aircraft in a position other than the destination originally intended."
"You crashed, Murdock."
"The engines went on strike."
"You crashed the plane."
Face looked hopefully down the road. It remained empty and silent. No drug dealers yet. Face sighed. He never thought he'd actually be wishing for a firefight to interrupt B.A. and Murdock.
"The terrain interfered with my intended flight path."
"Shut up, fool! You crashed."
"The trees reached up to cradle our descent."
"Basic physics: what goes up, must come down."
"You crashed the plane."
"My plane was just dragging its tail a little more than usual."
"YOU CRASHED THE PLANE!"
"All right, B.A.! All right! What do you want from me? I didn't put the water in the fuel tanks, but yes, I crashed the plane! I crashed it. Are you happy now?"
"Yes." B.A. smiled a small smile at the pilot as Murdock lay back down on the litter.
In his best Sigmund Freud voice, Murdock said: "Who knew it took so little to make him happy?"
"Early warning signals just went off. Let's get Murdock stashed in the loft with the weapons, and get ready for some fun!"
Face and B.A. grinned at each other. Only
"If for some reason they get past us, your .45's loaded too," B.A. said handing the pistol to the pilot. Murdock tucked it into the front of what was left of his khaki pants.
"Thanks, B.A.. I wish I didn't feel so useless, though,"
Murdock said looking out the window. He
could see a line of jeeps stirring up dust on the road at the edge of the
farm. "Just like '
"Ain't true, fool.
You got us all down alive. Here,
"You better get goin'," Murdock said softly. "Jeeps are comin' up the road fast."
"We ain't a team without you, crazy man. We need you up here. Don't you forget it."
B.A. started back down the ladder from the loft. Murdock could hear the ladder being hauled down and hidden. If he needed to get down before the team came back for him, it was going to be the hard way. Below, he could hear the rumble of the hot-wired truck complete with its new shielding.
He turned and rested his machine gun in the window of the hayloft. Curruba's jeeps were barrelling up the road. Murdock recognized the angry little man standing up in the foremost jeep, waving his hands and shouting in Spanish.
"Here we go," Murdock whispered to himself. The next moment the air was alive with gunfire, smoke, and the sound of a jeep flying through the air.
Curruba shouted orders to his men. He knew the A-Team was only four men. He had at least 30 with him, yet somehow he didn't feel like the odds were in his favour. Three of his jeeps had been hit just getting in to the farm yard, and now he could see the doors of the barn burst open and belch out what looked like an armour-plated version of his old farm truck. Curruba narrowed his eyes. He really hated the A-Team.
From his position in the loft, Murdock could
see everything in the front yard. He concentrated
on laying down covering fire as Face and
Everywhere the yard was full of dust, smoke,
and the shouts of angry men. Murdock's
Spanish was rusty, but he could follow most of what he heard. Luckily, a G.I. had taught him a selection of
Spanish swear words once, so Murdock did his part by egging on Curruba's men with well-chosen phrases tossed down from the
hay loft between bullets. Phrases that most often involved mothers, sex, and an assortment of
farm animals. He tried to draw their
fire away from the guys, knowing that the reinforcing B.A. had done around the
floor and window would protect him from most of the stray bullets. Once in a while he would hear Face or
Suddenly, Murdock caught a flurry of movement out of his left eye. A dark object was lobbed towards him. He managed to catch it as it came through the window. With a single motion, he threw it out again as far as he could. The grenade exploded in the front of the yard, scattering a cluster of Curruba's men.
"Missed me!" Murdock shouted gleefully. "Best damn fielder ever to play in Texas Little League - -"
Murdock turned as he heard the distinct clunk of an object hitting the wooden floor behind him. He turned, taking in the small window on the other side of the loft, the pineapple-shaped grenade spinning recklessly less than thirty feet away.
The far edge of the hay loft disappeared in a burst of smoke and splintering wood, as Murdock tucked his head down behind the hay bales B.A. had stacked around him for support. The section of floor he was sitting on teetered dangerously towards the middle of the barn as the floor joists were blown out of position. Murdock made a grab for the edge of the window and hung on as the floor fell away and the building swayed. The back wall of the barn disappeared as a truck burst through it.
"Drop, fool," B.A. shouted as he
pulled underneath where Murdock was hanging.
Face was reaching up from the back of the truck, ready to catch
"Now, B.A., how can you say that wasn't a
"Murdock almost got blown up, and he's still unconscious. Faceman took a round in the shoulder. You got a busted nose, and I lost my best chain tryin' to outrun the fire you started in that field."
"B.A., that's a pretty negative way to
look at things,"
"Hell of a bee sting," Face interjected.
"...and I got a little reminder to duck when someone swings at me."
"What about my chain?" B.A. said glowering at the colonel.
"You shouldn't attach such importance to
material possessions, Sergeant. The main
thing is we're together, we're alive, and we beat the bad guys. Twice. In one day."
Murdock used his crutches to swing himself down the hallway to his room at the VA. He liked Dr. Richter. Liked him a lot. Felt like the Doc really wanted to help him. Like he thought of Murdock as a person rather than some kind of bug to be examined under a microscope. Maybe he could be trusted with the truth.
Murdock swung open the door to his room, looked up with surprise to see Colonel Lynch standing looking out the window. Flipped through his mental Rolodex of personalities trying to decide which one to try out on the good colonel. Had it narrowed down to the schizophrenic cattle-roper who believed that aliens were communicating through his cows or the unicycle riding ex-circus clown who was afraid of shoes and big noses when Dr. Richter pushed through the door.
"Murdock, I was just informed of Colonel Lynch's arrival. You don't have to speak to him," the doctor said stepping between his patient and the uniformed colonel.
"The hell he doesn't, Doc," Lynch said politely. "We have good reason to believe that this man is in contact with the A-Team."
"A-Team?" Murdock said in a protracted drawl.
"Don't play coy with me, Captain,"
Lynch hollered. "A week ago, a
small handful of men took down one of the largest drug dealers in
Murdock's dark eyes glittered as he listened to Lynch's story. Apparently military Intel had gotten better over the years.
"What does any of this have to do with my patient?" Dr. Richter said, still maintaining his position between Lynch and Murdock.
"Someone flew those men out of Curruba's strip, but the plane went down in northern
Murdock's head involuntarily snapped up. He bit his tongue. Caught the lie in Lynch's eyes.
"Are you saying that the A-Team killed those men?" Dr. Richter said in disbelief.
"I'm sorry, doctor. You misunderstood me. The men were alive and well when the authorities got there. But Captain Murdock already knows that, don't you?" Lynch said pointedly. Murdock concentrated on keeping his face expressionless.
"The men identified photos of Smith, Peck, and Baracus as the ones that had shut them down. They also said there was a fourth man, their pilot, who was possibly injured in the crash."
Lynch's eyes strayed to Murdock's cast.
"Mr. Murdock is part of our Animal Therapy
program. He was working with the horses
last week when one got spooked and kicked him, breaking his ankle. I can assure you, Colonel, he was nowhere
Murdock kept still, a smile creeping onto his face.
"Is there anything else, Colonel?" Richter asked coldly. "If not, my patient needs his rest. I trust you won't be here harassing him again. If you do have any further questions regarding this A-Team, kindly direct them to me. I won't have his progress upset by your unfounded accusations."
Lynch nodded curtly at the doctor, and glared at Murdock on the way out.
"I ~will~ catch them," Lynch said. He turned and disappeared down the hallway.
Murdock hopped across the floor to the edge of his bed where he sat down and leaned his crutches against the wall. He lifted his cast up on to the bed.
"Thanks, Doc," Murdock said gratefully.
"I just hope one day you'll realize you can trust me, Murdock. Try to get some rest."
"Do you want to sign my cast?" Murdock asked impulsively.
"Not right now. Lynch has made me late for an appointment as it is. Another time, all right?"
"Sure thing, Doc," Murdock said and gave a little wave as the doctor left the room. He thought for a moment, and then decided that things had probably turned out for the best.
Murdock settled back on his bed and pulled up the pant leg of the new pair of khakis Face had bought him. There on the back of his clean white cast were three signatures, each with its own distinct flourish: Hannibal Smith, Templeton Peck, B.A. Baracus.
Maybe someday Richter would be ready to know everything. Maybe he would even understand.
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