CHAPTER EIGHTTEEN

Tommy Fiallos walked into his office and glared angrily at the workmen and their scattered equipment. It looked like an electronics convention.

"What the hell is going on here? I didn't authorize any work done!"

"Really? Did you hear that, Mal? Mr. Fiallos says he didn't authorize any work." The first workman stood and looked at his companion, confusion on his face.

"Well, I got a work order here, Fred. See, Mr. Fiallos - all signed, sealed and delivered."

Tommy looked angrily for the paperwork, and instead found himself staring down at a Saturday Night Special. Some people thought they were just glorified pea-shooters, but those people had never had one pointed at them.

"My guys will eat you for breakfast."

"Your guys better stay the hell out of the way, if they want to keep you breathing, pal." The blond workman stepped closer, the barrel of the gun shoving into Tommy's stomach. "We aren't going to play any funny games today, Tommy. We're going right through the front door. You tell your people to play dead, understand? Then we go down the hall and down the stairs. You try anything - you even breathe wrong - and they'll be picking out flowers for your funeral."

Tommy was starting to get very nervous. He had a lot of 'business associates', but he didn't think he'd pissed any of them off.

"Who sent you?"

Blondie winked at the other guy. "You might say General Stockwell sent us."

Tommy turned pale. This was not the agreement he had with Stockwell. He was supposed to be safe, as long as he kept the information flowing. What the hell was going on?

"I want to talk to Stockwell."

"You will, pal. You will. Once you get us out of here in one piece."

Tommy swallowed, and finally nodded. If these guys worked for Stockwell, he was in big trouble. No way he was going to make it worse.

With a final nudge of the gun, he turned and walked out of the office, his two escorts close behind him.


*****

Murdock hung up the telephone. He did not want to tell Hannibal. No way in hell did he want to tell Hannibal. Maybe he could pretend the stress had finally gotten to him. Yeah, that might work. He could already hear Billy trotting toward him from the kitchen.

"They've made contact?"

Too late. Hannibal, standing beside him. Waiting.

"Well, yeah, they've definitely made contact, Colonel." Murdock gulped. It wasn't just that they had made contact. It was the way they'd done it. And the fact that it was 'they'. There was just no way Murdock could deny that Face was an active participant any more.

"Out with it, Captain."

Murdock sighed. "That was Carla. Two men abducted Tommy Fiallos this morning when he arrived at his office. Tommy called Stockwell about an hour ago. In exchange for a full disclosure of his dealings with the general, he gets a guaranteed new identity."

If Murdock had expected fireworks, he was in for a shock. Hannibal actually chuckled.

"You all right, Hannibal? I mean, this is kind of a setback, isn't it?"

"Oh, it's a setback, but Stockwell really hasn't done anything that the government hasn't been doing for years. Keeping a snitch on the payroll, so-to-speak. It'll hurt, but it won't be fatal. No, what I really wanted to find out was if I was right."

Murdock closed his eyes and shook his head. He looked again at Hannibal, totally at sea.

"Right? Right about what?"

"Tell me, Murdock. What was our plan for Tommy?"

"Turn him over to the Feds in exchange for immunity."

"And what did that immunity entail?"

Murdock suddenly saw a light at the end of the tunnel. "A new identity."

"Exactly. Same plan, different method. Different only because they didn't have the Fed's on their side. It's going to work, Murdock."

"Okay, you lost me again, Hannibal."

"Trust me, Murdock. It's going to be a piece of cake."


*****

Sam was taking the newly 'minted' Tommy to Mexico City to begin his new life. Randy was staying in LA for a couple of days, taking care of some 'loose ends'; that was the explanation he gave his partner, who accepted it without question. What he was really doing was checking out the files of the LA Courier.

Watching Sam work out Tommy's new identity had been a mixture of awe and trepidation. He didn't miss a single detail. It had taken a couple of days but the necessary documents and forms magically appeared. Randy had checked them over himself and admiringly told Sam he would never have recognized them as forgeries.

"They aren't forgeries!" Sam had actually been upset at the suggestion. "These are perfectly legitimate. Every one of them. Forgeries..." he'd stalked off into the living room, still mumbling disgustedly.

The ease with which Sam had accomplished his task bothered Randy. He'd even asked him how he knew what to do, who to contact. Sam, engrossed in his task, had just shrugged.

"I don't know. Just takes a little finesse, that's all."

"But how do you..."

"Randy, c'mon. I can't get this done in time if you keep bugging me. I don't know how I know, I just do. Okay?" Sam was getting agitated, so Randy backed off. He knew Sam wouldn't have known how to do this. If he had, they could've easily disappeared when Barish was hunting them. Randy was very good as a con artist; Sam was excellent. But this guy...the man was a master.

And it worried Randy. He knew it wasn't Sam doing this. None of it.

When they had first discussed Tommy and how to handle him, Sam had made a few changes in Randy's plans, but had agreed with most of it. But a couple of days later, he'd suggested a completely new plan. It was definitely better than the original, but Sam had displayed an almost Puckish attitude while explaining it. It was that demeanor that alerted Randy, and so he had watched the plan unfold with more than his usual attention to detail. He'd watched the body language, listened to the telephone conversations. Sam had not even been aware of the changes, but Randy had noticed every one of them. The change in his tone of voice, the lighter step, the gleam in his eye as he gathered in yet another document, the way he was enjoying the challenge of coming up with a foolproof identity. And the gleeful triumph when they had finally abducted Tommy.

Randy knew he'd just been introduced to Face.


*****

"Who's next on the list, Hannibal?" BA was, for once, not tinkering with anything. He had awakened that morning with an unusual feeling of loss. He didn't consider himself a introspective man, and definitely not morose. But after these past few months, first thinking Face was dead, then finding him only to discover he had no idea who they were, or who he was, trying and trying to get him to remember, only to have it all go to hell...he just wanted to get on with the job. He needed to be doing something other than rebuilding all the things he'd already rebuilt several times.

Hannibal hesitated for a moment. He had been expecting a turn of events, but nothing quite this drastic.

"There's been a change. A new name added, with a deadline day after tomorrow."

"That doesn't give us much time, Hannibal." Murdock didn't like that. Despite Hannibal's return to his normal confidence, the pilot wasn't feeling nearly that cocky. He was still feeling the sting of Face's betrayal. Okay, maybe betrayal was too strong a word, but that's what it felt like.

"Well, the target has already been sequestered, so it's going to be a lot more difficult for them to get to him. But this one has its own unique problems."

"Okay, okay, Johnny. Out with it. Who's the next dude?" Frankie was still basking in the relief of not having to portray Tommy Fiallos, but feeling somewhat anxious about Hannibal's plans for him on this next one.

"John Clifton."