BA the Mechanic
A portal opened and through it two agents entered the abandoned warehouse. Well, abandoned. Its current owners saw no particular use for it so the A-Team were squatting the building. The van was parked in the middle of the spacious room and in one corner some living/sleeping space had been set up.
BA couldn't sleep and was working on his van.
If he did not keep it in good shape then the team could be caught by Decker or worse the bad guys could kill them if the van failed in getting them to safety. BA had no choice.
"Yeah," Allison said and pressed the button of her ball-point pen. "BA cares for the van for the sake of the van. He keeps it in top condition because that is the way he likes it."
BA, Hannibal and Face were staying in the abandon warehouse they some time use. They had to sleep on cots when they chosen to sleep in the warehouse.
"Face not able to scam himself a proper bed. Or a decent apartment. This Sue is really working her magic." Allison continued scribbling.
BA dropped some tools which seemed to wake up Hannibal, but not Face.
They heard Face yell "Leave me alone!" He sounded much like a child. Hannibal glanced back were the lieutenant was asleep on his cot. "It sounds like he is having another nightmare." Hannibal observed.
"How very observant," Tasmin mocked. "Of course screaming 'leave me alone' can't be anything but a nightmare."
"Here I was thinking he was doing a rather poor job of singing a Michael Jackson song."
"That would be anachronistic," Tasmin said. "Decker stopped chasing the Team some time before Michael Jackson recorded a song insisting the press should stop chasing stories about him."
Hannibal didn't think Face needed to be awoken from his nightmare. He told BA they had a new client: BA's momma just rang to tell him about a problem BA's childhood friend had.
"Putting a land-line in an abandoned warehouse," Tasmin said. Allison raised her eyebrows. "If Mrs. Baracus had called the phone in the van BA would have heard it ringing too."
Allison nodded and made the note. "Stupid Sue not even thinking about the geography of it all," she muttered. "I guess this friend is going to be our Sue, or Stu as the case may be."
BA wanted to leave immediately, but Hannibal insisted they would all try to get a couple more hours of sleep.
We are driving up in the morning to see BA's mother for a case.
"To Chicago!" Allison said. "Drive to Chicago? Unless otherwise stated, A-Team stories are assumed to take place in Los Angeles. That's a long drive to Chicago. Hannibal must not be in much of a rush to sort out that problem."
"Or he's just lulling BA into a false sense of security about not going to fly."
All the talking had woken up Face. He was in no mood to go back to sleep and decided to go for a walk. In an alley he found a kitten. It was all alone and Face took pity on the little creature. He tucked it in his pocket and went to an all-night grocery store to buy some pet food.
A chapter break gave the agents a smooth transition to the next scene: packed into BA's van with all of the Team and Amy on their way to Chicago.
"What's Amy doing here?" Allison asked as she tried to push Tasmin's duffel bag out of the way. Something in it was poking her in the back and she didn't really care to know what it was. "Shouldn't she be in Indonesia?"
"Perhaps her foreign correspondency ended," Tasmin suggested. She pulled her bag away from her partner and glared at her.
"But to go back to write about the Team... I'm sure she loved hanging out with them, but it's a big step down on the career ladder."
Tasmin nodded. "Make a note of that."
"I will. As soon as you stop sitting on my pen."
While the agents reset their boundaries of personal space, BA became annoyed about a sound he kept hearing. He told Murdock to shut up. Murdock argued he wasn't making any noise. Amy then noticed a bulge in Face's pocket that was moving.
"My gosh Face! Amy is right. You have an alien in your shirt!" Murdock screamed.
"Ow." Allison clasped her hands over her ears. "That's the first time OOCness causes high pitched voices."
"We've never sat this close to an OOC Team."
"Let's look on the bright side. If they get even more out of character, only dogs will be able to hear them, and we don't have to put up with this ridiculous conversation any more."
Tasmin considered that to be a bright side with a big, dark thunder cloud in front of it.
Murdock rambled on about aliens until Face pulled the kitten out of his pocket. Amy and Murdock both cooed over its cuteness. BA, however, was having none of it and pulled the van to a stop by the side of the road.
"I do not want a cat inside of my van now throw it out!"
"I'd sooner believe BA would throw Face out and tell him to take the kitten with him," Allison said.
"The big guy is kind to all animals. Except imaginary ones," Tasmin added.
The others were appalled at BA. Murdock even threatened to tell his momma.
"No fool don't tell my mama!" BA begged.
"And I'm appalled at that." Tasmin shivered.
BA bowed down and said the kitten could stay. Murdock said it should have a name, but Hannibal disagreed.
"Because you are a fugitive. Life on the run is no place for a pet especially if that fugitive is the ATeam." Hannibal said.
"Why am I even surprised Hannibal is talking to Face like that?" Tasmin said. "In fics where Face has nightmares Hannibal usually treats Face like a little kid."
"Bet he's also telling Face not to date or buy fine wines and expensive suits. He could get attached to such luxuries, and attachment is no place for a fugitive."
"How old does this Sue think Face is? Five?" Tasmin turned to look at her partner. "I'm starting to think that kitten is our Sue."
"Why? What did the Intelligence Report say?"
"You ain't seen nothing like it."
Allison eyed the kitten. "That would be true."
Murdock suggested the kitten should be named Mascot, because it could be a mascot for the Team.
Late at night the Team arrived in Chicago. The agents scrambled out of the van and stretched their sore limbs.
"It's a thirty-hour road trip from LA to Chicago. This Sue better have a bloody good excuse not to go by plane."
"Just be glad the chapter break shortened the trip considerably."
The agents followed the Team up the stairs to Mrs. Baracus' apartment. BA's momma had gotten up specially for the Team. She was also immediately taken in by the kitten. She went into the kitchen to fetch the kitten a saucer of milk.
"Cats should drink special cat-milk, not the cow milk fit for human consumption. That has too much lactose and kittens are often lactose intolerant. That milk could make the kitten seriously ill."
Mrs. Baracus then announced the sleeping arrangements.
"Amy you can sleep with me. Hannibal and Scooter can sleep in his old bedroom and Face and Murdock can sleep in the guess bedroom." Mrs. Baracus said.
"Murdock's going to keep Face up all night playing guessing games," Allison said.
"I think he's too far out of character to get a kick out of that typo."
Everyone went to their assigned rooms and the agents joined Murdock and Face. The good thing about a feline-Sue, Allison figured, was that they were naturally aloof and wouldn't be bothered about a few people more or less in a room. They simple didn't care. Besides, how was the kitten going to tell on them?"
Amy came in to say good night to the kitten. Murdock argued he was too ugly to say good night to, which encouraged Face and Amy to tell him that they liked him. Then -- out of nowhere -- Face started to talk about his childhood. Amy and Murdock listened on in silence. Face talked about how he'd always wanted a pet and that he once saved a kitten, but had not managed to keep it alive. And that the day after the kitten died he was sent to a foster family, where he was used as a household slave and physically abused.
"What brought this verbal diarrhea on?" Tasmin asked.
"The kitten, I'm sure. Now Face has something to cuddle and he can let all his childhood suffering and angst go." Allison gripped her pen tightly to make a note. "When is fandom going to realise that Face actually had a pretty happy childhood at the orphanage? He went to a reunion because he thought it would be fun. He wouldn't think it fun if he still had all these demons that needed to be dealt with."
"Actually, he went to impress a girl that used to snub him."
"Getting snubbed was about the full extent of his angst."
When Face was done talking he pulled the covers over his head and Amy and Murdock knew it would be a long time before he would talk about his childhood again.
"They are probably glad about it too."
The next morning the Team and Amy went to see BA's friend at his garage. The friend, Toby, had had his arm broken by some local crooks running a protection racket. Because of this he could now not work. BA immediately jumped in and said he'd cover for him as a mechanic.
Hannibal asked where he could find the head rat. Toby gave directions. The head rat also owned a garage, but Toby didn't think he was a good mechanic.
"Of course not, if he has a side business in extortion."
Face lured the rat out of his garage by promising him a car that had broken down. When Face and the rat got to the car, Face popped the hood and Hannibal jumped up from the engine space (the engine had been taken out) and aimed an assault rifle at the rat.
"You owe some business owners some money that you stole from them for a protection fee that is called extortion. Extortion is illegal." Hannibal informed Sammy.
"So is pointing rifles at people," Allison said.
"Pot, kettle, black," Tasmin added.
The agents were looking at the proceedings of the scene from a safe distance. Relatively safe in an environment that only had a permanent-looking structure because Allison imagined there should be a building.
Hannibal asked for the money back. BA suddenly appeared and made the rat gulp. Then Murdock skipped onto the scene and showed him the kitten.
"This thing needs a lot more description, if only to not make it look like people are appearing out of nowhere."
Hannibal said he would give the rat twenty four hours to get the money back.
Hannibal put his cigar out by using Sammy's chest.
"And that's even more illegal," Allison said.
"The first criminal act can be overlooked, 'cause the Team often points rifles at people they are talking to. They, however, do not torture."
The Team then ran to BA's van and drove off.
"I think the trick with the missing engine was a bit lame," Allison said. "All they really did was ask this guy to step into an alley."
"This is a different Hannibal, one who doesn't like to set up shop and wait for the bad guys to come round and rattle his cage."
"I think that's the best proof of Hannibal's OOCness. Hannibal loves playing the characters that set up these shops and he loves his cage getting rattled. Gives him a chance to teach a moral lesson. Don't rattle the cage if you haven't seen the tiger that's inside."
"As his dear old pappy used to say."
Allison smirked. "Let's go back to Toby's garage."
At Toby's garage Face gave Murdock an earful about taking the kitten along to meet the bad guy. He took it away from him and gave the kitten to Amy who he hoped would be more responsible.
The head rat and five of his associates walked into the garage.
"How did they know they could find the Team here?" Allison asked. "Hannibal didn't tell him."
"No, but BA left his van outside. I guess these rats aren't entirely clueless."
"That, and this garage and the coffee shop across the street are the only two buildings actually getting a mention. This story might as well take place on a salt plain."
The head rat said he wasn't going to give the money back. Some harsh words fell, someone was punched and a fight ensued, which the Team quickly won.
With the rats disposed off Hannibal thought of a plan and sent Face to get a few items. Face took Amy and the kitten with him.
The agents followed them to a store, but stayed outside to read the Words while Face talked to the manager.
Face introduced himself and Amy as representatives of the Humane Society and asked the store manager for a donation in the form of six hoses. The hoses could be used to give animals baths so that people would be more likely to adopt a pet. The manager went weak at the knees when Face put the kitten in her face.
"I think I'm starting to get allergic," Allison said. She pulled up a sleeve. "Look, I'm developing a rash."
"Face, I see it so many times but I still can't believe how you can always get what we need." Amy said..
"It is talent." Face bragged.
"Yeah, you're special," Allison said. "The way retarded kids are called special."
"Blame it on the Suefluence."
Face and Amy did not get very far with their loot before the head rat stepped in their way. He slapped Face across the face for giving a wiseguy answer, then ordered the two to be chained up.
"Chains?" Allison asked. "Nobody uses chains. Ropes are easier, more flexible, lighter to carry around."
"He works at a garage. He's probably got easier access to chains. You can lock chains together and they're not as easy to cut through as rope."
Allison glared at her partner. "There's no need to stick up for the head rat."
A scene break brought the agents to an undefined place. Empty, save for Face and Amy.
They were chained up together facing one another. Their arms were around each other.
"Classic," mocked Allison. "They are probably also going to realise their attraction to one another."
Face commented he would have liked the situation if Amy had been someone else.
"What is he? Eleven? Face does not put Amy down like hat. Any other women would be better than Amy? There would be a lot of women that would not be able to keep their cool as well as Amy, and that's a very useful thing right now." Allison snorted. "I think I'm going to slap him upside the head on behalf of Amy."
"No, you don't." Tasmin grabbed her partner by the collar of her shirt.
Face felt Amy up so close to him he was having trouble concentrating because she felt so good with her in his arms. Amy on the other hand was thinking I have to get away from him. He smells so good. "We can drop and roll to try to loosen the chains." Face suggested. The two dropped and rolled
The agents just stood and took in the scene.
"This is stupid," Tasmin said.
"If you had let me slap him, perhaps I could have knocked some sense into him."
"Nothing's going to knock sense into him as long as he's got that cat with him." Tasmin pointed at the kitten that had climbed on top of Face, who was lying on top of Amy.
"I am not joking. Mascot has climbed on my back if I roll over I would squish him."
"Come on!" Allison walked over and grabbed the kitten by the scruff of the neck and lifted it up. It meowed loudly and Amy and Face looked up at the agent. "If you roll over the cat will jump out of the way. Unless it's a particularly stupid cat." She looked the cat in the eye. "Let's find out how stupid this one is."
"You leave that kitten alone." Face tried to struggle free.
"Ow, Face, you are hurting me," Amy shouted.
"If I get my hands on you..."
Allison raised her eyebrows and gave him a look. "If you'll get your hands on me you'll what? Give me a cuddle? Back rub?"
"Charge the cat," Tasmin ordered.
"Mascot, we are Protectors of the Plot Continuum. We are here to charge you with crimes against fanfiction in general and A-Team fanfiction in particular." Allison held the kitten out at arm's length. With her free hand she fumbled for the right page on her notepad. The kitten swung its paws at her, but hit nothing but air. "We charge you with bad spelling and bad punctuation. We charge you with being so bloody cute everyone goes completely ga-ga over you, 'causing all of them to behave out of character. BA does not beg. Hannibal likes to play games with the bad guys. He does not put his cigar out on them. Face is a lot better at scamming stuff. He would not sleep in an abandoned warehouse on a cot.
"We charge you with making Amy fall down the career ladder, and with Face insulting Amy. We charge you with making Face and Amy realise their attraction to each other by chaining them up together. We charge you with giving Face an angsty childhood, and with divulging this childhood.
"We charge you with making the head rat repeatedly find members of the Team for no good reason. We charge you with not describing or setting a scene, but relying on dialogue alone to get the message across. This rarely works well." Allison shook the kitten lightly. "You have been charged. Do you understand these charges?"
The kitten meowed again.
"Your punishment for these crimes is death. Tasmin will sh--"
"No," Tasmin said.
"Better not, you'd probably shoot me in the hand."
"No, it's a little kitten. It's cute. I can't kill it."
Allison nearly fell over with astonishment. "Stay away from this kitten," she warned her partner. She looked around the space for another way to kill the cat. Curiosity was probably out. Tasmin made a dive for her, but Allison quickly stepped out of the way. "Get a grip, Tasmin!"
"I feel sick," Tasmin said. She sat on the floor holding her head and rocking back and forward.
Allison gave her a cautious look then turned her attention back to finding a method to kill the cat. She understood what had happened to Tasmin. Kittens were naturally cute, and a feline-Sue even more so, which was why this one had to die. Shooting was out, because at this moment Tasmin couldn't be trusted with a gun -- and Allison had never handled one, so she couldn't be trusted with one either. Quickly breaking its neck seemed like a good idea, but for some reason Allison was afraid the head would come off like that of a Lego puppet if she tried to do that. And that she found a little too icky to contemplate. She saw a wash basin. "Perfect."
"No!" Face screamed. He continued shouting abuse and threats all the while Allison ran the kitten a bath and held it under water. Suddenly, he stopped. "What? What? Amy? What's going on?"
"I take it the kitten is dead," Tasmin said. She belched and massaged her neck. She had the oddest feeling of cotton in her head.
"I'll check for a pulse, shall I?"
"In the mean time, I will help these two canons up." Tasmin undid the locks of the chains and helped Face and Amy untangle from them.
"What happened, Face?" Amy asked.
"I don't know." Face adjusted his tie. "I took you on a scam, but I don't know what happened there. I guess it went well. We've got all the stuff we want over there." He nodded to the pile of items.
"You're welcome," Tasmin said.
"As soon as the Sue is dead they forget all about us," Allison said. She held the dripping wet kitten out to Tasmin. "I guess it is safe now to give this to you?"
"It's as well he forgot us. He was ready to rip your head off." Tasmin pulled a plastic evidence bag from her bag.
Allison frowned at it but dropped the kitten in without commenting. He probably wasn't the only one, she thought.