WARNINGS: Violence, Alien Abduction, Character Death
STORY TYPE: Third Person
CATEGORY: AU - takes place during the episode 'Holiday in the Hills'
LENGTH: One-offDISCLAIMER: The characters are property of Cannell and company.
Hannibal lowered 'baby' to the ground. The forest was quiet, too quiet. There were no sounds of gunfire and the men had run off leaving the fifty year old man tied to the stake. But at least he wasn't burning alive.
"BA?" Hannibal called. He listened quietly to the surrounding forest.
"Right here" BA yelled back.
"Murdock?" Hannibal calld again.
"Yep, still here" Murdock said, coming out of his position to the rear.
There was absolute silence as no-one answered Hannibal's cry.
"His position's been overrun, those men are after him" Murdock cried out, the first to realise the situation.
Hannibal assessed the situation quickly. Face was trained to look after himself, he'd be fine. "Okay, lets get this guy down. Murdock, BA, help me. We need to get him back to the plane"
BA looked angry "Plane? What plane?".
Face ran through a selection of pine trees. His persuer was close, weilding a rifle. Face had no weapon except for the bible he was carrying. And you could hardly call that a weapon. What was he supposed to do? Attack his persuer with The Lord's Prayer?
The man behind him watched Face as he closed in. This was going to be so easy. He raised the rifle for a clean shot.
As Face hit the pine tree, winding himself temporarily, a white light suddenly engulfed the Lieutenant. Face shielded his eyes from the intense light, and felt himself being lifted.
The man chasing him let out a terrified cry and backed away. He dropped his rifle, and staggered away leaving Face alone.
Face cried out Hannibal's name once in pure disbelief, as the light faded and there was nothing. The pine trees swayed slightly in the breeze. The birds still chattered contendedly. But there was no more Face.
Hannibal had the unpleasant task of trying to convince BA not to kill them now he had figured out they had drugged him, and stuck him on an airoplane.
"Its okay, BA. Calm down" Hannibal said, calmly. His mind was split between what he could say to BA, and wondering if Face was going to arrive any time soon to help them get supplies.
"Calm down? I can't stand you guys drugging me all the time, man". BA yelled.
"Watch it Sergeant! I am not going to stand around talking while this man is dying" Hannibal said firmly. Under his breath he whispered "Come on Face, where the hell are you?".
Face opened his eyes and faced a whiteness he had never seen before. Was he in heaven?
The face at his side determined that was definately not the case. It was the worst face he'd ever seen, straight out of a horror movie.
Face's scream and cry's for help echoed in the whiteness of the craft he was being held in. But there was no-one there to help him now.
Five hours later, Hannibal had returned with the supplies a little worried and very annoyed that Face hadn't arrived yet. He knew if the Lieutenant was here, he would have got the supplies in half the time. The injured man was getting worse.
The three men worked on the ultra-light, fixing the small aircraft until it was ready and flyable with a horsey powered engine, as Murdock had called it. They strapped the injured man to one of the seats and Hannibal backed away.
BA's sudden fraile chatter about the struts and dynamics of the plane made Murdock smile. Murdock looked like a lost pilot from the second world war, scarf tied loosely around his throat. "I didn't know you cared, sweetheart" Murdock drawled, leaning close to BA for a second. "Thanks BA. Find Face while I'm gone, okay?".
BA nodded "Its done, Murdock. Just keep it out of the trees".
Murdock took off. He flew steadily and concentrated on the mission before him. He didn't see the hulking black spacecraft finally disappear behind a cloud. If he had looked up he would have seen the gigantic shape for a few seconds. Murdock would never have believed it though. His mind always conjured up invisible objects and animals. Why should this be any different?
The search proved fruitless. Hannibal and BA met back at the wrecked plane as Murdock flew in on a nice chopper he'd acquired at a run down airstrip where he had left the wounded man.
"Where's Faceman, Hannibal?" Murdock asked as he bounded out of the chopper.
Hannibal was smoking an oversized cigar. He narrowed his eyes and vowed under his breath "If they've hurt him ..... okay guys, we gotta pay those hillbillies a visit".
The hillbillies were easy to attack and overwhelm. Hannibl spelled out the problem to them, and they refused to answer. "Let me explain, pal. We want to know where our friend is. Or there will be real trouble."
One of the guys leant forward, the one who had been persuing Face. "Wait. I saw something in the forest. I was running after him when a white light came down and took him away".
Hannibal did not believe a word of it. He walked up to this man, brought him up to standing position and held on to his collar. He spoke through clenched teeth, his patience had worn out. "Where'd you guys bury the body? We're soldiers. We'd have no objection in killing you guys".
The man shook his head. "Its true".
Hannibal looked at the man angrily. "Why don't you show us where the 'light' took our friend?".
The man nodded, and gulped. He didn't wish to go back there. But the rifle in Hannibal's hand didn't leave him much choice.
Hannibal, BA and Murdock searched the area with renewed hope. However it was all in vain. Face wasn't here. Face was gone.
Face opened his eyes blarily and looked around himself in the forest. He had bumped his head on a pine tree, what a foolish thing to do.
He stumbled weakly to his feet, and scrambled on foot to the wrecked plane where Hannibal, Murdock and BA had decided to rendevous at. He found the plane, but his team mates were gone. Face looked closely at the wrecked plane. He noticed a few things were a little different from the last time he had seen it. Firstly, cobwebs were visible on the wings and on the door. Face let himself in the small door, and wandered around, noting the place looked like it had been deserted for years. Spiders wandered fearlessly through the small aircraft, there was even a birds nest in the cockpit.
Face walked out of the craft and shook his head helplessly. "Hannibal?" he called into the approaching darkness. Face had never felt so truly afraid, but at this moment things looked very bleak. Face remembered one of Hannibal's initial plans. To go over the mountains. As Face didn't have any other resource to get out of this area, he decided to do that.
The woods were bleak. Nightfall had fell about an hour ago, and Face trudged on. His expression was full of fear. He had never felt this alone, and his feet were killing him. He just hoped after the mountains, there would be a city .... anything. Please, he begged. No more trees. Half the night went as Face clambered up the side of the mountain. He smiled when he saw a cabin with a car in the front. Excellent. Exactly what he needed. A car and a road.
Face edged quietly to the vehicle, grabbing one of the stronger branches to pry open the door. His sarcastic boldness left him as the car began to squeal loudly and he dashed back into a thicket. Totally confused.
Lights came on in the cabin. Lights? In a cabin? An old man hurried out and turned out the car alarm. This man had to be in his late sixties. Another man joined him. He was a balding man, a little younger than the first man.
"What was that, Hannibal?" The younger man asked, looking at the car.
"I don't know Murdock" Hannibal said, looking around in the darkness.
Face's mind registered the names and he stumbled out of the thicket. "Hannibal?" He stopped dead. What the hell was going on? Hannibal looked twenty years old than he should be. And Murdock ....
The two men stared at Face blankly for a couple of seconds, then they walked forward and said simultaneously. "Face?".
Face backed away. He couldn't believe what his eyes were seeing. He looked over Murdock and Hannibal terrified. Then he collapsed. His body was worn from the walking, the tiredness and the disbelief.
Hannibal walked forward and picked Face up, then took him inside.
Face stirred uneasily. His eyes were closed and he was half dreaming about a very white place. He couldn't remember much, but this place was terrifying him.
He sat up suddenly with a start. Hannibal was beside him, looking at him with shocked eyes.
"Welcome back, Lieutenant".
"Hannibal, is that you?" Face asked weakly.
Hannibal nodded. "Your probably wondering why me and Murdock are sharing a cabin here. What do you remember?".
Face thought hard "A light. A white light. Then I woke up in the forest".
"Do you know how long you've been gone?" Hannibal asked gently.
Suddenly, the door opened. Murdock entered carrying a bowl of soup and some crusty bread on a tray. He handed the tray to Face, and sat down opposite Hannibal.
Face ate the soup hungrily. "I can guess its been a while. That old plane Murdock wrecked has a million cobwebs on it".
"Face. You've been gone almost twenty years". Hannibal explained. "I'm sixty five now. Murdock is sixty".
Face dropped the spoon in surprise, the soup spilling. Murdock quickly got a handerchief, and cleaned the spilled soup for Face.
"Twenty years? What happened?" Face asked, tears building.
"Whatever happened son. We'll find out." Hannibal vowed. "Murdock, call BA and Stockwell. Tell them Face is alive".
Murdock smiled and rose. He walked quickly out of the room to make his phone call.
"Stockwell?" Face asked, his mind reeling.
"You'll find out soon enough. Face, I need to explain what's happened these last twenty years. Are you comfortable if I run through the details?".
Face nodded, unsure.
"The year is 2002. After you disappeared in '82, we spent months searching for you in those woods. Without a trace. You were gone. We even put up posters everywhere, just in case. However, it became clear after a while you weren't coming back. We took on cases, but it didn't feel right. The introduction of a guy called Stockwell changed everything. He brought a fourth member to the team, a guy called Frankie Santana. Frankie was to be your subsitute, only he never really fitted in".
"Are we still on the run?" Face asked.
Hannibal sighed. "Yes. In 1985 there was a trial in which we were found guilty. They tried to execute us for killing Morrison and robbing the Bank of Hanoi. Only Frankie and Murdock came up with an escape plan. They worked it so it looked like we died, only we didn't die. We joined Stockwell in the hope of a pardon, and undertook suicide missions. The cabin was a gift from Stockwell. Just in case you should ever return. We never gave up hope, you see".
Face sighed and nodded. "Is this Frankie better than me? That's why he's took over, isn't it".
Hannibal shook his head. "If you knew how much we suffered when you left, you wouldn't say that. We thought it was over for a long time".
Face put his hands to his head. "There is so much I have to think about, so many questions".
Hannibal put a hand on Face's arm. "I know, kid. Don't worry. We'll be here to answer them for you. And maybe we'll find some answers to why you've been gone so long".
BA and the mysterious new member of the team, Frankie Santana arrived a few hours later. BA had been knocked out and taken a commercial flight by choice. He embraced Face tightly, and Face relished the security of the big man, his huge arms protecting Face from everything.
Face watched Frankie nervously. He didn't like this man at all. He was too much like him. Poised, and he knew how to turn on the charm. However, unlike Face's crisp and sweet charm, Frankie's was greasy and made you shiver with disgust at some of the things he said.
"So, Facey man. You were taken into outer space" Frankie said. His voice dripped sarcasm and Face laughed mirthlessly.
"I don't know, Frankie. I just don't know" Face clenched the seat tightly, wondering whether to use his fists and thump Frankie until that greasy smile disappeared.
"You know. You should handwash suits like that, or dry clean them. I have a formula for a liquid that beats 'em all, wanna try it?" Frankie said, feigning concern for Face's blue suit.
Face chuckled. "No thanks. I always have my suits dry cleaned".
Frankie sighed and shook his head. A signal from BA told him he'd better be silent. Face noticed the silent communication and felt an enormous blow to his ego. He had been replaced. They were a team now, and Face wasn't a part of this team any more. He hadn't been a part of the team for twenty years.
Hannibal noticed the sudden dramatic change in Face and signalled for Frankie to leave the room. Murdock, BA and Hannibal looked concerned at the younger man. A man who had not aged for twenty years. What the hell had happened?
"Face. It was drummed into us for twenty years you were dead and buried" BA explained softly. "Frankie was the best choice for a scam artist. But he never replaced you. We never gave up hope you'd come back".
"Its over. I have been replaced" Face said dejectedly. "And I can't help but dislike this Frankie. He's got more grease than BA's wheels".
Hannibal smiled "If you feel insecure with Frankie, I can have a word with Stockwell to change that. Nothing to it. Promise. We'd give him up in a second if it meant you were back with us for good".
Face suddenly felt tears rising. Hannibal noted the look and signalled to the others to leave the room. Hannibal stayed with Face, awkward, wondering what to say or do.
"There was a story once called Flight of the Navigator. It was a film about a young boy who was abducted and came back eight years later only to find out everyone had aged. He felt that it wasn't his home any more, felt completely out of touch with the age. I know you feel the same Face, but this IS your home. And we love you more than you'll ever know. It took me twenty years to realise how much you meant to me and you were gone. Suddenly here you are again, and I have the opportunity to make up what was wrong". Hannibal looked into Face's bright eyes, and clutched his hand tightly. "I love you, Face. You always have and always will be a part of The A-Team. Nothing and no-one will ever change that. Time has lapsed, but we are still here. We are all the same. Nothing has changed so radically that you can't fit back in again. People aren't flying around in air cars, everything is moving slowly forward. So don't worry"
Face nodded. He pressed Hannibal's hand. "What's the military like now?".
Hannibal sighed. "Weapons have advanced a lot. Aircraft has excelled what it used to be. There was another war after Vietnam called the Gulf War in the early nineties. Well, it wasn't really a war. Iraq was so far behind in technology. You'll have to watch a few films I have on the Gulf War. See what you missed, which was nothing much".
Face nodded. "I'd like that. Were you guys involved in the Gulf War?".
Hannibal nodded "To a certain degree. We had missions for Stockwell during that period. Nothing to get excited over".
"Anything else happen?" Face asked.
Hannibal thought for a long moment. "Lots. I have some history programs we'll watch together".
Face nodded. "Where have I been, Hannibal?".
Hannibal's eyes narrowed. "I don't know, Face. But its what we do from now on that counts. We won't be losing you again. You'll be stuck to my side like crazy glue".
Face laughed. "I'll help apply the adhesive".
The next night, Face had a nightmarish flashback. He was lying flat on a table with a gruesome face staring at him. He gasped and awoke covered with sweat.
He shakily got out of bed, and turned to see Hannibal dozing on the chair in front of him. He smiled, knowing his CO was keeping him company, and walked to the fridge to grab a glass of milk.
The whiteness seeped under the door, and Face turned in horror to the front door as it swung open. He stared blankly at the whiteness and the glass of milk dropped from his hand and smashed on the wooden floor.
Hannibal awoke at the sound and bounded out of the room. He edged his way to where Face was standing, spellbound, and pulled the Lieutenant on the arm. Hannibal couldn't see into the blinding whiteness, and knew if Face was taken away it may be the last time they would ever see him again.
Face walked blindly into the light, and Hannibal charged after him, wrapping his arms around Face's waist and pulling him back into the cabin. He closed the door. He heard the voices of Frankie, Murdock and BA as they awoke and charged to where Hannibal was holding onto Face.
"Whatever it was that took him, its back for him" Hannibal shouted.
"Give me him, Hannibal. I'll keep hold of Face" BA said protectively, pulling Face out of Hannibal's arms and holding onto him for dear life. Face gazed blankly at the team as they grabbed weapons from various positions around the room, and the safety's clicked off.
Pulling a sofa over, Hannibal, Murdock, BA, Frankie and Face knelt together, huddled. The door swung open again. Hannibal aimed his weapon, and then gave an anguished cry.
"Stockwell! What the hell are you doing here?" Hannibal breathed, as the team emerged from behind the sofa, weapons still ready to fire.
The headlights from two cars flooded into the room. BA growled.
"I'll take Face back to bed" Murdock said gently, ushering Face into his room.
"What the hell is the meaning of this?" Hannibal asked angrily, looking at his watch.
"I have another mission for you and your men, Colonel" Stockwell said, his voice even and steady.
"Screw it. We're staying here with Face" Hannibal turned away and folded his arms.
The next moment, a terrified scream came from the bedroom. The men rushed to Face's room, but the door was jammed and they couldn't open it. Finally BA leant all his weight on the door and it crashed open. The room was empty. A window was open. Murdock and Face were gone.
Hannibal felt his legs give way, and he felt BA's arms around his shoulders. "I've lost them both".
BA felt grief overwhelm him. "I'm sorry Hannibal, I shoulda stayed with them".
Hannibal rose "Its okay, BA. We're going to find them. This time we will!"
Ignoring the amazed Stockwell, Hannibal, BA and Frankie began an extensive search of the grounds. They found nothing. Not one paused to look up at the twinkling sky, and the huge alien ship that was disappearing behind a few clouds.
Face felt the whiteness again and screamed loudly. Murdock and Face clung to each other, a tight embrace, but they were roughly drawn apart from each other.
Face saw Murdock one last time as they were separated. He screamed and cried for Murdock wondering if he would ever see him again.
The two men awoke roughly in the soft mud and disentangled themselves.
"You okay Face?" Murdock asked.
Face nodded "What happened?".
Murdock shrugged. "There was a light, really bright. Then we woke up here".
Face nodded and looked away from Murdock. "There's the cabin. We should go back in, its cold".
Murdock nodded. "Yep".
Face chuckled. "Bet they are worried sick".
Murdock grinned and knocked on the door. A young black man answered. He was in his early twenties.
"Hello? Can I help you gentlemen?" The man asked.
Murdock looked confused. "We are looking for Hannibal. Hannibal Smith?".
The unknown man shook his head. "Been dead almost five years. Cancer".
"What?" Face said, drawing a little closer. "That can't be. We only fell asleep for five minutes!".
"Who are you anyway?" The man asked, eyeing Face and Murdock warily.
"This is Lt Tempelton "faceman" Peck and I am Cpt Howling Mad Murdock" Murdock answered.
The old man shook his head. "No, can't be. Face and Murdock have been gone for twenty years. It broke Hannibal's heart when they both disappeared. Most folks around here believe it was what eventually killed him. That the cancer was just a way out".
Face looked horrified towards Murdock. Murdock clung protectively to Face feeling his hold on reality slip away.
"And BA?" Murdock asked, tears rushing down his face.
"He's still here" The man smiled. "He's my father. He's got arthritis so he doesn't move a lot now. And he had a stroke a couple of years ago".
Murdock and Face followed the young man to the main room in the cabin, where an older black man was sleeping under a blanket by a fire.
"BA?" Murdock said.
BA opened his eyes. "We always knew you'd come back. Hannibal couldn't hold on, but he tried".
Face smiled. "I know".
"He blamed himself for it. All those years. I had to hold on to let you know this when you returned". BA explained breathlessly.
Murdock collapsed on the floor, his mind exploding with insanity. He curled into a ball and started muttering to himself.
"Murdock, please. I need you here" Face begged.
But Murdock was gone.
"I don't want him committed again" Face screamed, pushing the men in white coats away from Murdock.
"Its not your decision"
"It is. You guys haven't seen what we have seen. I am not going to have him seperated from me again" Face cried, shoving the men away as they came too close.
"Light him up".
Face felt the electricity jolt up his frame as the stick hit him. He fell over winded. Murdock came forward and knelt beside him, gathering Face into his arms.
"Its just a little jolt of electricity Face. It'll stop hurting in a minute" Murdock explained, rocking Face gently in his arms. "What the hell did you do that for!"
"You both must come with us"
"No!! Never!! Me and Face are sticking together. We don't need anyone else!". Murdock screamed as he was forced away from Face. Memories hit him suddenly of the whiteness, the place where they were dragged apart before. It was too much.
Murdock lashed out, catching one of the white coats over the head with one of the electricity sticks. The man shuddered as he passed out. Soldiers instincts kicked in as more men surrounded them, and Murdock fought without reservation. Brutal force.
He didn't notice he was now killing them. In a whirl wind, Murdock gathered Face to him and leapt out of the door. The mental institution wouldn't claim them both. He'd make sure of that. He patted the weapon in his pocket.
If there was no way out he'd shoot them both.
The news camera's followed the events that day as they wound to a close. Face and Murdock were fleeing, but the authorities were closing on them. Police cars were everywhere. Murdock hid under a ridge, pulling Face's body with him and into a drain.
He lay there sobbing, afraid. Wondering if Face was still breathing, yet too afraid to find out. He embraced Face tightly, choking on the Lieutenants wet hair and cursed the light, cursed whatever had taken them.
The search went on. No trace was found of Murdock or Face. A shoot on sight instruction was issued to all police in the area. These men were dangerous. They had killed five of the orderlies at a mental institution.
They had to be stopped.
Murdock watched Face open his eyes and sighed with relief. "Didn't think you'd make it for a moment there. Worried me, Face. Don't do that again".
Face nodded. He was cold and thirsting. He kissed Murdock on the lips. "Love you. Thanks for waking up when I needed you".
Murdock shrugged "I got us into more trouble. We probably have a death warrant out on us by now. I got a little carried away fighting off those orderlies".
Face grinned. "I can handle a death warrant. I couldn't handle being on my own again".
Murdock nodded. "It feels wrong. This all feels wrong. We've missed twenty years, another twenty years for you".
Face nodded. "I don't want to die alone, Murdock. Promise we'll be together".
Murdock nodded seriously. "I promise".
BA looked at the newspaper in disbelief. Murdock and Face were on the run together for killing five orderlies.
He felt his heart pull as tears began to fall. He felt his chest explode with sadness and realised he was having a heart attack. He tried to reach out for the telephone to call for help but it was too late. Within seconds his breathing ceased.
Murdock pulled the gun from his pocket as he looked at the cars that had surrounded them. Face was in serious pain from a wound he had sustained before they had clambered into this hell hole. Murdock knew it was over.
He showed the gun to Face who nodded his agreement. It was over. Murdock shot Face cleanly in the head, killing him instantly. Then he put the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger.
Face and Murdock held on tightly as they floated towards the light. It was blinding whiteness all around them, drawing them into it.
Suddenly they were both afraid.
"God, Murdock! They've come for us again" Face screamed, trying to turn away.
However, something emerged from the whiteness. It was not the grotesque alien beings Face and Murdock had been exposed to. It was Hannibal.
As he opened his arms to welcome them home for the first time Murdock and Face felt completely safe. They knew they were back where they belonged.