"We lost contact. They must've found the bugs."
"Sloppy. Smith's getting sloppy. They should've found those first. Oh, well. He's eaten crow now, he'll be angry. That's good. Angry men are reckless men." Carla smiled. "Time for another visit. Who's there now?"
"Baracus. He showed up early."
"Hmm. Okay. Not a problem. Anyone else at home?"
"The woman left for work shortly after Baracus arrived. The man left about an hour before that."
"What about the farm?"
"Just got the report. More oddities going on there." Her operative glanced over the sheet. "Seems Peck took an early morning walk. A little more than two hours later, after the captain returned, he and Smith took off after Peck. In a hurry. Approximately one hour later they returned to the house carrying Peck. Dr Sullivan showed up less than 20 minutes later. Still there."
"Carrying Peck? Wounded?"
"Not that they were able to see. More head problems?"
"Could be. Peck certainly is helping us out. Keeps the team spread too thin to cover the targets at work. Maybe a visit to the house isn't the best course right now. Baracus cooped up there, the rest strung out with Peck...got the address for the warehouse?"
"Okay. See what you can do with the husband. Take him for a little ride. Stay anonymous, naturally. Nothing damaging. In fact, don't say a word. Just a ride. Nice, quiet, ride around. Drop him back at work afterward. That should stir things up a bit." Carla's eyes glittered.
Face was staring out the window. Hannibal sat in Mama's old rocker, staring at some place under the bed. Neither man spoke, neither man looked at the other. Murdock leaned against the doorway, glancing first at one man, then the other, then down at his shoes. There hadn't been a sound in the room since Maggie had left, nearly an hour ago, after Face had awakened and she knew he was more or less okay. Murdock had drifted between the bedroom and the kitchen, tinkering with this and that on the cupboards before coming back to the doorway. Finally he looked at his watch. Another hour and he'd have to leave for Molly's. It was Hannibal's rotation but Murdock had no intention of letting him leave Face. Not until they had things worked out. Which might take a long time, the way things were going.
Well, time for Murdock to do what Murdock did best. If the mountain wouldn't go to Mohammed, and Mohammed was equally stubborn, Murdock would have to give them a little push. Or maybe a big push.
He headed down to the basement. To the lockers. Yanked open Face's. Headed determinedly back up the steps, into the bedroom.
"Is this what you want from Face, Hannibal?"
He tossed the sniper rifle on the bed. It bounced, landed with the barrel on Face's shin.
"What...?" Hannibal sat up straight, shocked.
"Is that what you want, Face? Is that what makes you part of the team?"
Face was staring at the rifle, stone like.
"You two sit there like statues, wanting to talk, wanting to get this whole fuckin mess straightened out, and neither one of you can take the first step. So I am. Answer the question, Hannibal. Is that what you want from Face? To be able to shoot at people? Is that what you need? Another gun on the team?"
"No, of course not. Murdock..." Hannibal was angry; good.
"Face, what about you? You think that's the reason you were still on the team? Because you could shoot? You think that's the main value you have to us?"
Face said nothing. He was pale, though. Okay, a little drastic, but the point was made. Murdock grabbed the rifle.
Murdock marched out of the room to lay the rifle to rest in the basement. He shut the bedroom door firmly behind him.
"Hey, Joe! Some guy out here wants to see you."
Joe looked up from his desk. "Who is it?" He was in the middle of the monthly inventory reports, didn't need an interruption right now.
"Didn't say. Just said Smith sent him."
Suddenly worried about Molly, Joe hurried out to the yard. Five minutes later, he was in the back seat of a sedan, wedged between two guys that made him look like a midget. Two more just like them sat in front. Dark suits, dark glasses. No one said a word to him. It had only taken him a few seconds to realize that Smith had not sent them, but by then it was too late. He'd felt something hard in his back, pushing him into the car.
He tried to ask questions. Why they were doing this to him, his wife. Where they were taking him. Back to why. No one said a word, no one would even look at him. As long as he sat still. If he moved at all, he felt the two men on either side of him tensed noticeably. It was warning enough. He sat still.
After about an hour, they pulled up beside the warehouse. One man looked at him before getting out of the car.
"No police, Joe."
He nodded mutely, followed the man out of the car, watched as it drove away. He moved, numbly, into his office, called his home. The one they called BA answered. He told him what had happened. BA said to stay put, he'd be there in ten minutes to pick him up. They would go from there to get Molly.
Joe sat, tapping his pencil on the desk. Watching the clock.
"Face, I..." Hannibal stopped. Murdock had opened the door; could he walk through? "I meant to talk this whole thing over with you a long time ago. It just seemed like something always came up."
"Yeah. I messed up a lot. I'm sorry."
"Face, God, man, you did what you had to do. And you couldn't help the hell you went through afterwards. No one blamed you."
"I did." The last was muttered so low Hannibal almost didn't catch it.
"I know you did. I know you do. But you shouldn't."
"How would you know?" There was definite anger there. Hannibal sensed it was not directed at him, though.
"Face, why don't you tell me, so I will know? BA said it the other day. You've never come out and told any of us what really went on over there. Maybe it's time you did. Maybe if you got it off your chest..."
"I already did that, Hannibal. With Father Magill."
"With all due respect, Face, Father Magill doesn't live with you. He doesn't see the pain you're going through every day." Hannibal leaned forward, looking intently at the sullen profile of his friend. "God's forgiven you, Face. When are you going to forgive yourself?"
Face jerked, looked over at Hannibal. "I..."
"Face, tell me what happened. Everything."
Face looked down at the bed. "I can't. I'd lose you."
Hannibal was shaken at that. Hannibal already knew the worst of what Face had done. Why would Face be afraid to tell him the details? Obviously there was more to it than just three dead terrorists. Something Face felt more ashamed of than the killing of three murderers.
"Face, you will never lose me. Never. I've known you most of your life. I know what's inside you. And that tells me the kind of man you are, regardless of what you had to do over there. If you haven't lost me yet, you never will. So you tell me, Lieutenant. You tell me everything."
BA had called the house before leaving to pick up Joe and Molly. He was bringing them back to the farm for the time being, until they could figure out what the next move would be. He'd even brought the dog. After all, it was only Hannibal's car.
Murdock met them at the gate, which was unusual. He ran along the driver's side as BA slowly pulled up to the house. He was trying to be quiet, explaining that Face and Hannibal had some things to work out and couldn't be disturbed, so they needed to get Joe and Molly settled someplace where they wouldn't disturb the two. Molly was already upset; her boss was threatening to fire her if she didn't get this 'mess' cleared up soon. She'd been missing far too much time, etc., etc. She had half a notion to tell the jerk to shove the job, but they needed the money. So being herded into the library to sit and wait for Colonel Smith was not exactly to her liking. If it hadn't been for Joe's quiet control of things, she might have been tempted to make a scene. As it was, she sat in the library muttering angrily while pretending to soothe their nervous dog.
Meanwhile, Murdock and BA were conferring just outside the library doors. BA was practically apoplectic when he heard what had transpired with Face. It was all Murdock could do to keep him from banging in to give Face a piece of his mind. As it was, Murdock took a great deal of abuse for not immediately telling Hannibal about his conversation with Face.
"Okay, BA, okay! I screwed up. I didn't know Face knew where the guns were kept. If I had, I'd'a told Hannibal right away, bad mood or not. Doesn't change anything now. At least the two of them are talking it out now, okay?"
BA glowered at the pilot, but held onto any further comments. "What are we gonna do with those two?" He nodded toward the library.
At that particular moment, Murdock's ideas on what to do with the clients was non too charitable. He hadn't wanted to get involved with them in the first place. "Give 'em some coffee and tell 'em to relax. They're safer here than anywhere. When Hannibal's done with Face, he'll come talk to them."
After one last mutual glare, BA headed for the kitchen and Murdock flopped down in the living room. The day was already too long.
Carla listened as her operative filled her in on the morning's activities.
"I doubt we'll be able to do anything while they're at the farm, ma'am, unless you want to mount a raid on it."
"No, we aren't familiar enough with the layout or their defenses there. They'll have to come out eventually. We'll give them a little time to stew." She picked up the little toy soldier from the dresser. "Let's send them a reminder that we're out here."
Carla was getting just a little impatient with the cat and mouse game. She had other business and clients starting to press on her time. She would have to finish this soon. But she wanted to make sure it stayed finished.