March 04 --- Need to Know

Holiday: March Forth and Do Something Day

Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth. - Mike Tyson

"I believe you would call it a 'milk run'."

"I believe you said we wouldn't be getting any more of those."

"I put my people where they are best suited, and easy or not, your team is best suited for this one. Of course, you can refuse it, which would mean - "

"We know what it would mean, Stockwell." Hannibal lit a cigar, settled on the couch, and waited.

It was a relatively simple job. They'd done several like it before - VIP's kid snatched by unsavory types for some political reason. In this case, the target was the son of a high-ranking official in a powerful government agency. Certain regulations were to be scuttled - subtly, of course - so the kidnappers' employers could continue to operate with impunity. Obviously, to keep the official from being publicly (politically) compromised, the rescue had to be kept as closely hidden as the kidnapping itself.

Hannibal understood now why the team was best suited for this job. If things went south, they would most likely end up the "kidnappers", since the government had no idea where they were.

Unsung heroes or scapegoats - it all depended on how well they performed.


Face had run point on this one. If anyone knew how to find a temporary and veiled place to stay, Face did, but he'd needed Stockwell's connections to get at the records. It had taken a couple of tense days and the assistance of a handful of the general's operatives, but he'd found this place. A suspicious increase in electrical use over the last couple of weeks, higher than what was needed for the security lights, but not nearly enough for a functioning factory. Face had tried tracing the owners of the plant, but dropped it when he realized it was a morass of holding companies.

"You sure this is the place, Hannibal? Looks deserted to me."

"Yeah, this is the building. Only thing I don't know is where in that building he is."

BA shook his head, scanning the mammoth building one more time. Even if Face could come up with the blueprints, it could take days for the five of them to search that. At least, without being discovered themselves.

Hannibal nudged him and the two men sneaked back to the van. A half hour later they were staring at the blueprints spread over the table.

"Okay." Face stood to one side, frowning at the massive layout. "These are a few years old, but considering how long the plant's been closed, they're current enough for our needs. I know it looks like a maze, but we won't have to search the whole thing. They'll have picked an area that has easy access, but isn't noticeable from the street. And they won't be spread out - they'll need somewhere to set up cots, a place to eat, and bathrooms. We'll have to figure out the best places for their lookouts, but it's surrounded by parking lots, so that should be easy enough."

"Uh, Face, if it's got parking lots all around it, how are we gonna get in?"

A deeper frown appeared. "Well, that's going to be the tricky part. Along the back of the property, there's a small river - very small. But the drainage system for the plant runs into it. Now, I'm making a couple assumptions here, but I doubt these guys are keeping a close eye on that side. I'd also guess that that drainage tunnel has been blocked in some way. We'll have to do a recon to find out exactly where it is and what kind of job it'll be to break in. But once we have, we should be able to travel through the main plant fairly easily."

"Drainage as in sewer?"

"No, Frankie, not a sewer. It was for waste water from plant operations - some kind of food processing. Anyway, the thing's been closed for years so there shouldn't be anything in there.

"So - let's start looking for any areas in the plant where, well, where we would be."


"A mob hit? What the hell - "

"It was not of my doing, Colonel. Nor the government's. The plan was to arrest them as terrorists, allowing the national security issues to remain hidden. Unfortunately, their employers had their own security issues and were able to reach them first."

"And just how did that happen?"

"Obviously a leak. That's being looked into, of course." Stockwell took off his glasses, looking somberly at each of the team. "This had nothing to do with your involvement, gentlemen. You did an excellent job, and exactly what was asked of you."

"I wouldn't call leaving a dozen men dead 'an excellent job', General." Face paced angrily. It had, after all, been his plan that left the kidnappers helpless targets instead of prisoners.

"No one could foresee that outcome, Lieutenant. And let's face facts - they knew who they were working for, and they undoubtedly understood the consequences for failure." Stockwell turned to leave, stopping at the door. "As far as the outside world is concerned, it was a mob hit, and a mob hit it will stay. But rest assured, the people involved are being watched much more closely, and the government is making sure they know that.

"Your mission must be considered a success. The boy is safely home, his father is no longer in a compromised position, and the power of the people responsible has been significantly reduced. Don't let the deaths of terrorists color your thinking. That was the chance they took."

The door had barely closed when Face stalked angrily toward his room. Hannibal sighed, trading glances with the others. He'd give Face a few minutes to vent by himself. Then he'd have to have another long talk with him about the nature of war.