There Goes the Neighborhood
Fandom: The A-Team
Rating: Mild PG - It's the A-Team.
Warnings: No sex, no language, some violence - and yet I managed to get every stinking element of Echo's challenge in there. Probably not the way she anticipated, but that's my business. So there.
Archive: A-Team Fan Fic Archive
For those who don't know me...a disclaimer, I decided a long time ago not to write anything my 8 year old niece and 4 year old nephew couldn't see or read before they were 18. I also have some congential smut block. I can't write it at all, I can skirt it, but I can't do it. Ask Sockii and Lori, they know. They've been there.
And just for the record, I'm not a demonspawned writer.
And now for the story...
"Whatcha doing, Faceman?" a slightly sibilant voice asked over Lieutenant Templeton "Faceman" Peck's shoulder, accompanied by a slight touch. The lieutenant turned his head from the laminating sheets he was meticulously using to create fake ids. He was face to well...Face with a slightly graying sweat sock complete with hand drawn black eyes and a well defined mouth.
"Murdock, where'd you find that thing? BA's going to have a fit. You know how he reacted the last time Socky came on a mission."
"Granted I'm not all that thrilled to be meeting up with Knock Out again. That was one big, angry fist, but I couldn't resist being part of the team one more time," the sock, Socky, replied.
Face turned even further to see the lanky pilot, Captain in the US Army, Howlin' Mad Murdock. The man so aptly names, and yet so necessary to the team. Wasn't he? It was times like this when Murdock brought out his imaginary friends, or in this instance, props, he started to wonder if their sergeant, Bosco "BA" Baracus was right about him.
Socky withdrew to Murdock's shoulder to watch. Face found something distinctly creepy about being watched by a sock.
"So what are you doing, Face?" Murdock asked. "Hannibal wants us ready to move out in an hour."
"I'm finishing up some ids to get us into the compound. And if I can't concentrate on it, I won't be able get them perfect, and this whole scam will be down the tubes."
Murdock wandered away. He found Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith in the living room talking to their client, Della Frasier. "Tell me more about these scumbags."
Della, would've been an attractive woman in her early thirties, if she wasn't obviously upset. She stood staring out the front windows of the farmhouse, nervously twisting her wedding ring. "There are about fifty of them. Rotating perimeter patrols of ten men each. They're heavily armed with assault weapons and grenades, and they're not happy to have neighbors," Della replied emotionlessly. "I think they may have a couple large caliber weapons and maybe assault vehicles. One of the joys of living this close to their firing range."
"Excuse me for asking," Murdock asked, as himself. "but you seem to know a lot about weapons for an ex-Army nurse."
"Just because I was a nurse, Mr. Murdock, doesn't mean I didn't know what was going on around me. Besides, Tom was in the 81st Air Cav in Viet Nam. He knew, I learned."
"Wait, yeah, I remember him now. I thought the name sounded familiar," Murdock mused. "Sorry, sometimes things get ping pong balled in the back dresser drawer of the labyrinth of my mind, and it takes me a while to remember. He's a good guy. So, if these guys are giving you this much trouble, why not just move?"
Della snorted. "This land has been in Tom's family for generations. Tom would rather die than give it up. He may have already."
"Look, Mrs. Frasier, Della, you hired us to get your husband back, and we will," Hannibal assured her. "One way or another."
Before Della could respond, a large man wearing a fierce scowl and forty pounds of gold jewelry came in, shouldering his M4 assault article. "Perimeter's secure, Hannibal. I heard some small arms fire coming from the compound, but nothin' closer than a mile!"
"Good work, BA," the colonel praised the sergeant, then Hannibal turned to Murdock. "Get Face, it's show time."
A half hour later, Face and Murdock approached the gates of the ultra extreme militia group. Face was in a suit. Murdock in less fancy attire, but not his trademark jacket and cap, was carrying television equipment. The guards fidgeted with their weapons. Face strode up to the first guard bodily.
"Howdy. I'm Brock Petersen, TBC Network News. We're here to do a story on your leader, Lawrence Titus. My office was supposed to have cleared everything before hand. I'll wait while you confirm. You getting this, Dewayne?"
"Oh, yeah, fabulous," Murdock replied in an accent which could only be described as bored, New York hairdresser.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Mister. Commander Titus don't speak to the press," the guard rumbled.
"He's decided to make an exception this one time. Go ahead ask. Call. Find out."
Seeing the two men weren't going away, the guard eased back and picked up a walkie talkie. Murdock sidled up to Face and whispered. "Do you know what you're doing?"
"I'm getting us inside," Face said through his smile. "Watch."
The guard opened the gate and directed them through. As Murdock and Face entered the command center, six automatic weapons were pointed at them. Face slowly raised his hands in surrender. Murdock followed suit as much as the camera would allow. A vicious looking man sauntered through the weapons and approached.
"Gentlemen, I am Commander Lawrence Titus, and you're about to find out what we do to nosy reporters around these parts." Titus barely turned to his guards. "Put them in with Frasier. We'll deal with them tonight after moon rise.
Face and Murdock were hustled out of the center, devoid of camera and id tags. Shortly thereafter they were thrown into a dark, tightly secured room. A deeper shadow in the corners moved. The two team members were instantly alert, but relaxed a bit when the shadow became a beaten, defeated man.
"You must be Tom Frasier," Murdock said, stating the obvious.
"Who are you?" the shadow croaked.
"We're the guys who're going to take you home. Your wife misses you," Face replied.
"And you plan on doing that from in here?" A note of sarcasm crept into Frasier's voice. "Either you're crazy, or you're something of a miracle worker."
"Both," Murdock replied, going over to the heavily shuttered window and messing with it. "He's the miracle worker. I'm the crazy one."
"I wouldn't worry about the window. They've got it too well secured. Air barely gets through there and a little bit of light. Nothing short of explosives will get that window open."
"Then it's a good then we brought the stuff that goes boom," Murdock replied, applying something to the window. He turned to Frasier and grinned with a wink. "Isn't it?"
"Who are you people?"
"Just call us the welcome wagon, Mr. Frasier," Face said, going over to inspect Murdock's work. "I'm Templeton Peck. This is H. M. Murdock. Your wife sent us."
"My wife... what does Della have to do with all of this?"
"She hired us to bring you home, and that's exactly what we're going to do.
"What can I do?"
Face looked at him. "Now we wait, and if you're a praying man, that wouldn't hurt either." The lieutenant turned to the captain. "You think Hannibal's got the signal by now?"
"Should they took the camera like they were supposed to, so they're probably getting the homing signal, and once they're in the compound, they'll blow the window, and we'll be home free."
"When's this supposed to happen?"
"Once it's good and dark. A couple of hours."
"I hate to tell you this, but you guys aren't going to make it that long."
Face and Murdock looked at him.
* * *
Back at the farm house, BA and Hannibal were busy making last minute plans. Della watched them work for a moment, but she kept feeling she was in the way, so she retreated to the porch with one of her wedding pictures. She rocked back and forth on the porch swing, clutching the ornate silver picture frame to her chest. She fought the tears she'd denied herself, but this time they escaped her and flowed freely down her cheeks.
Hannibal mounted the steps of the porch a short later, the sun was setting behind the trees. He and BA had been working steadily for the past couple of hours fortifying the Frasiers' old pickup with a battering ram for a grill and a gun turret in the truck bed. All they had to do was wait for night to completely fall. Hannibal didn't like the waiting part, especially since two of his team were in an unknown situation, but there were pitfalls to every plan.
He saw Della on the swing, her emotional release was not lost on her. He didn't want to intrude on her misery, but necessity demanded it. Hannibal went over to her and sat down next to her. Della immediately started wiping her eyes and trying to pretend everything was under control. Hannibal had to give her credit, she was a tough little soldier.
"It's almost time," Hannibal said gently. "We'll need your help."
"Absolutely, what do you need?"
"A magic marker and a driver."
"The magic marker is for park of my plan, and once BA and I get into the compound and blow the wall, we'll need someone to be a get away driver in the truck. Think you can handle it."
"If it helps get my husband back, then I'd belly crawl through a mine field."
"Lady, you are my kind of woman."
"Thank you, I think, Hannibal. There's a permanent marker in the desk by the phone. It's purple, I think. Is that a problem?"
"Not at all. We'll roll in an hour."
* * * *
Tom Frasier turned out to be quite eloquent once he was comfortable with the two members of the team. They had been reminiscing about their tours in the war when Frasier finally remembered. "Murdock? I think I flew escort with you on a couple of evacs. Man, you were..."
"Um...well, yeah, but I think I was going to say awesome. You got us in and out of situations I never would've flown in. Do you still fly?"
"All the time, `cept no one really knows about it, except the mental ones. They know all about those." Murdock looked out the crack in the window, mostly at light levels. "It's about time. Hannibal and BA will be here soon."
"Hannibal? That's not the first time you've mentioned him. Wait, not Colonel Hannibal Smith."
"The one and only."
"Then you guys are..."
"You guys didn't really take down the Bank of Hanoi like they said you did, did you?"
Before Face or Murdock could respond, the door to the cell flew open. Titus entered with two well armed me. "I hope you have enjoyed the last few hours. Now you'll find out what we do to reporters in this place." Titus turned to his men and said, "Take them to the clearing and strip them."
"Excuse me?" Face demanded as the armed minions came toward them. "Did you say strip? This is a six hundred dollar suit."
"Stripped. Naked." Titus reiterated sternly, as they were hustled out. He turned to Tom. "A similar fate may also await you if you don't get with the program."
Murdock and Face were quick marched to a clearing. To keep the mood light, Murdock whistled then said to his friend. "You really pay six hundred dollars for a suit?"
"What can I say, quality costs."
"You two shut up."
The clearing was ringed with men, all armed. There was a rough circle scratched into the ground beneath a tree limb, and a small fire inside the circle. Neither man like the looks of it, or what appeared to be two large boxes of...feathers? Too small to be goose, must be chicken feathers. All well too visible in the full moon. "I have a real bad feeling about this," Face muttered.
"No talking. Now strip."
Prodded by the muzzles of AK-47s, Face and Murdock started taking off their clothes.
* * * *
Hannibal was checking the final touches of the truck and the plan. BA shook the homing device's receiver. His deeper than usual scowl told the colonel something was dreadfully wrong. He approached the sergeant quickly. "What is it?"
"I think the batteries are dead."
"What kind do you need?" Della asked.
"I've got some, in the desk, where you found the magic marker. I'll be right back."
A major disaster was aborted. Within a few moments they were ready to go. Hannibal took Della aside and handed her a stopwatch and the detonator. "Once we get inside, BA and I are going to split off, cause a distraction. I want you to wait exactly thirty seconds and hit this button. The explosives Face and Murdock planted will blow, you get the truck in and get them out. We'll cover you. We all get picked up and out of there. Got it?"
"I got it. Let's go."
BA drove the truck through the compound gates, literally. They only met with token resistance. Hannibal was concerned, but the covering fire he lay down with the gun turret took most of his concentration. He and BA dove from the truck and took off. Della triggered the stopwatch and put her thumb on the switch.
Tom Frasier heard the commotion and had retreated to his dark corner when suddenly the wall blew out of the cell. He never thought Face and Murdock could've been right, but here was the gaping hole. Tom needed no further invitation, he was through the hole in a split second. The modified truck bearing down on him frightened him, until he saw his wife behind the wheel. The truck skidded to a halt, and he threw himself in. No time for heart felt hellos.
"Where are the others?" Della demanded.
"Gone. They took them."
"The clearing over the hill."
* * * *
Face and Murdock stood shivering in the deepening darkness. Knowing this was part of Titus' plan for demoralizing them didn't help matters any, it was still cold when you were buck naked. Then Titus was ready.
"You are about to feel the retribution of lying to me," Titus growled. "This was a form of punishment and humiliation not used in years, but call me old fashioned, but I like it."
"Can we ask what it is?"
"Have you ever heard of tar and feathering? How's the tar?"
"Nice and hot, Titus," one of the minions replied.
"Put `em in, and if they try to leave the circle, shoot `em where it'll hurt the most the longest," Titus ordered coldly with a dismissive flick of his eyes toward their genitals.
Face felt his anger grow, and he almost lunged at Titus. The sound of dozens of guns cocking stopped him. Four of the men pushed them into the circle.
"Hoist the tar!"
Buckets of dripping black, hot tar were pulled off the fire by chains, ropes would have burned through. When the buckets were poised, Titus paused a moment for dramatic purposes. "Drop them."
Just as the buckets were about to dump their cargo on the men, a large, mangy dog came out of no where and sprung at Titus and the men with the chains. They all went down in a heap of yells and snarls. Murdock and Face made use of the diversion and duck and rolled out of the circle. They took down two of the men around the circle and liberated the weapons. They scattered many of the remaining men with serious automatic gun fire. In the process the ropes holding the suspended boxes of feathers were broken and the air was choked with the small plumes, adding to the chaos.
The militiamen scattered, but only briefly. Titus got free of the dog and started rallying his men. Suddenly headlights broke through to the clearing and more gunfire enraged the madman. "Get them! Kill them!"
"Face! Murdock! Get aboard!" Hannibal called out.
The two men didn't need to be told twice as the truck went by, they scrambled into the truck bed, firing the rifles to keep the militiamen at bay. The truck tore out of the clearing and the compound. They left going away gifts of live grenades, in their wake, destroying much of the buildings as they went, including the fuel dump and ammo cache.
Titus watched his compound burn. His men were melting into the woods. They were a cowardly lot, anyway. Nothing more than a band of bullies, running at the first sign of true resistance. He didn't need them. He had a few hand picked lieutenants, and they would take care of the Frasiers and their friends.
The truck pulled into the Frasiers' yard. Hannibal looked down at his men and grinned. "Good to see more of you guys."
Face and Murdock laughed bitterly, not happy to have their nakedness pointed out as objects of humor. "Hannibal, that just cost me a suit."
"You've got plenty, Face. At least you're alive," Hannibal replied. "Go get some clothes on. Titus will be coming after us soon. We've got to stash Della and Tom and be ready for them."
A few moments later, a fully clothed Face and Murdock joined Hannibal and BA on the porch. Tom and Della joined them shortly thereafter.
"Now we've got some surprises set up along the perimeter. I figure Titus will make a move before dawn. He'll move as soon as he's regrouped some of his men. We scattered most of them. Fortunately, we're ready and by this time tomorrow, this will be over."
"And you two can go back to working through that copy of the Kama Sutra I saw on the bookcase," Face added.
"That was a gag gift from Tom's bachelor party," Della felt she had to say as she blushed. "I didn't even know we still had it."
"Excuse me, Colonel," Tom interrupted, getting back to the point. "But what do we do?"
"I want you two out of the way until this is over. You've done enough," Hannibal told them. He could see Tom about to protest. "Protect your wife, Mr. Frasier, let us protect the land. I'd suggest the basement or the barn and take these with you."
Tom took the two rifles Face and Murdock took off Titus' men. He and Della left for the basement without further discussion. Tom knew Hannibal was right.
Titus made his move two hours later, in the middle of the night when typical men's reactions were at the most lethargic. Hannibal had to applaud his choice as a strategist. What Titus didn't know, was that Hannibal was better. Titus deployed six men around the perimeter. He kept two with him, boldly going through the front. The farm appeared deserted, but Titus knew better.
Within moments he lost one of his men to a simple but elegant booby trap. He sent the other in search of the targets, while Titus himself seemed to disappear. The team made short work of the seven remaining militiamen. They were all securely left in tidy bundles in the barn except for Titus.
"Where do you think he is, Colonel?" Murdock asked.
"Somewhere where he'll do the most harm."
Tom and Della huddled in the basement wondering what was happening outside. A noise inside the house brought Tom to his feet, the AK-47 at the ready. Della knew the safety was off and a round had been chambered. The house went eerily quiet. Tom crept to the base of the stairs and stared up. Della followed behind, not willing to be left waiting.
"I'm going up. Stay here," Tom told her.
"Yeah, right. No way, I'm going with you. Someone's got to watch your back, and I have a legal obligation."
"What are you talking about?"
Tom didn't respond. He merely made his way silently up the stairs. Della followed one step behind. It was that step that ruined them. Titus counted on it. He grabbed Della once they were both clear of the door, and using her as a shield, clobbered Tom. He fell heavily to the floor. Della tried to go to him, but Titus' grip was too tight. She bit back the cry.
"We're getting out of here, and if any of your friends try anything, you'll be the first one to die," Titus hissed in her ear as he changed his grip from her neck to her hair. He wrapped a good sized hank a couple of times around his hand, pulling her head painfully back to his shoulder.
They hustled out to the porch and were met by three automatic assault rifles. Hannibal signaled them to hold their fire.
"We're walking out of here," Titus announced.
"No, you're not."
"If you try to stop me, she dies."
"No, she won't."
Hannibal's calm infuriated Titus. He took it out on Della's hair. She gasped and almost cried out, but didn't. "Yes, she will. I don't have anything to lose."
"Neither do I."
"You won't kill a woman."
"Neither will you."
"What makes you think so?"
Hannibal didn't have to answer. Murdock's body dropping from the porch roof answered for him. Fortunately Della was prepared. The instant Titus' grip loosened, she pulled away from him and did a beautiful tuck and roll maneuver out of the line of fire. Titus fought savagely, but the solid weight of BA's fist connecting with his jaw made him think twice. Just as soon as Titus was secure with the rest of his men, with the final except of a gag, Socky made one last appearance.
"Too bad you had to meet Knock Out," the sock said, now sporting new purple eyes, "but he does get your attention. Now you know it's not wise to mess with the A-Team or their friends." Socky retreated to Murdock's shoulder. The pilot added, "And that ain't no joke."
Tom and Della stood arm and arm on the porch as the A-Team loaded the van. "How can we ever thank you?"
The guys looked around. "Keep this place in the family another generation or two," Hannibal suggested.
"Christmas cards, send us lots of Christmas cards," Murdock also suggested. "We don't get many of those. Do we Socky?"
"Murdock," BA growled. "What have I told you about talking to your socks? Do you want to see Knock Out again?"
"The sheriff is on his way," Tom pointed out. "You might want to roll."
The Team said their good byes and headed off for their next job, leaving the area just as the sheriff's car pulled in.