Self-deception is sometimes as necessary a tool as a crowbar. - Moss Hart

It had been close this time. He'd gotten away only moments before the Feds swarmed in.

He sat in the van and took slow, deep breaths. He thought through all his preparations and precautions, reassuring himself. He hadn't gone overboard with his disguise. He'd dressed down - way down - and covered his hair with a battered baseball cap. Two days of not shaving and a pair of sunglasses completed things. They'd remember what he'd worn, nothing else.

He put the van in gear and drove carefully - but not too carefully - away from the wharf, heading in a circular route back to the warehouse. He'd unload the illegal cargo and then dump the van miles from either location. That was the biggest problem - not getting caught in a stolen vehicle. A necessary evil. Nobody would be able to trace it back to him or the team. A minor inconvenience for the owner, but no damage had been done to it, so...

It wasn't as though he hadn't done this sort of thing before. Pre-Stockwell it had been SOP. They couldn't exactly walk into the local gun shop and buy cases of ammo or hand grenades. He thought of some of the other weapons they had to deal with and smiled a bit. Even Army surplus stores didn't carry ammo for those.

But it was different now. There was Frankie to consider, for one thing. Too many advances in special effects happened during those many months he'd been out East. Instead of opening his own shop, he found himself stuck with the team, lucky to get any job in special effects. Face sympathized with him.

Nothing like finding out you were redundant to quash one's self-image.

Their pardons precluded their usual employment, making the stakes much higher. If they were caught now... So now he tried to pick up at least two or three months worth of supplies each time. No sense tempting fate. That was also why there were no news stories about their 'exploits', and they made damn sure they were long gone before the authorities showed up to collect the bad guys. Even the way they met with clients had changed. No one ever knew exactly who they were dealing with.

He pulled up in front of the warehouse, quickly punching in the key code and driving in. He checked the street before closing the door, breathing only slightly easier. No one else was here and he hurried to unload, anxious to complete the task and get rid of the offending van.

He was exhausted by the time he stacked the last case. He wished at least one of the others had been here to help. But this chore belonged to Face, and Face alone. If he were caught, it would just be Peck, unable to go straight, as expected. No provable team involvement. Dangerous for him, but...

He suddenly grinned. It was worth it. After all, none of them could ever pull this off as smoothly as he could.