Summary: "I swear to God, if you pull some shit like this again, I'm going to find the steak knife I know you have stashed in the lining of your mattress and kill you myself." H.M. "Howlin' Mad" Murdock has learned to trust his sister in most situations. The day Hannibal Smith comes to Sonora, Mexico is no exception.
AN: Well, I have no excuse for this really. Just an idea that won't leave me alone for a movie that should've gotten way more recognition than it did. This won't be a copy of the movie though. Future chapters are going to go into the eight years the team were completing missions and getting to know each other along the way.
Chapter I: A Basket Case and a Half
Hospital San Vicente de Paulo
U.S. Army Meddac
"I swear to God, if you pull some shit like this again, I'm going to find the steak knife I know you have stashed in the lining of your mattress and kill you myself."
"I'll have to call your bluff on that, Louanne, seeing as you never pulled a weapon on anyone in your life, let alone me…unless you count that time we were fighting with celery sticks and carrots and you managed to knock me off my chair and I fell and my carrot broke—"
The woman sighed tightly as she pinched the bridge of her nose. With her eyes closed, she willed herself the patience to work through the tantamount of frustration threatening to burst. She could already feel her eye beginning to twitch at the utterance of that damned nickname.
"…To be fair, that was last week on Stew Day, but that sure was some fun—"
How he snuck a steak knife in here from the cafeteria, I'll never want to know, she thought. He's freaking Houdini.
They didn't even allow the patients to use anything other than plastic.
"H.M.," she cut him off swiftly, "you cannot make a bicycle out of Mr. Freddie's wheelchair!"
"Aw, he didn't mind. Just wanted it back by Sunday for his mornin' stroll. I would've FedEx'ed it back more or less in time." Her brother's face feigned innocence as he sat on his cot, but the laughter in his green eyes made her roll hers. "It woulda been in pieces since it would cost extra to ship something that big, but it woulda been on time!"
"I'll admit it was creative, though not as good as the last one…"
That had given her a heart attack. Suffice to say, they'd had to invest in a new defibrillator and a new motor for the van he tried to resuscitate.
"But sooner or later when Decklan gets some hard evidence, he's going to deem me unfit to take care of you if you keep pulling escape stunts like this," she said, looking down sharply at him, but her demeanor softened when he grew tense. He knew where she was going with this, and he hated the thought more than she did. But at the same time, she saw the obstinate defiance in his gaze.
"I have to get outta here, Laura." His tone was uncharacteristically devoid of expression other than the slightly vacant (haunted) quality his eyes took on when they shifted from her to the white walls surrounding them. The plainness, the suffocating air, the barred windows.
She knew, and she hated them too.
"I know. But for right now, at least we're finally together, yeah?"
After he was declared clinically insane and given medical leave indefinitely, Laura fought tooth and nail to have him released into her care. What made things difficult was how at first, she argued that he wasn't insane. His numerous escape attempts, resilience to electroshock therapy, and hallucinations spoke to the contrary. Laura was forced to change her case if she was to have any hope of even being able to see H.M., though he only allowed her to call him that.
To everyone else, he was Captain Murdock. Or if you were a fellow patient on agreeable terms with him—Murdock.
It took her a year and four months to convince the judge that as a certified United States Army Nurse, specialized in psychiatric-mental health, she was adequately qualified to oversee her brother's medical state. Though she was denied permission to house him on her own due to his occasional violent episodes (a particularly condescending major general made the point that, while she was an officer, she was not similarly military trained in combat), when he was transferred from the Veterans Administration (VA) Psychiatric Hospital to an Army Hospital in Sonora, Mexico, she was given a position and put in charge of his medical care, including prescriptions and mandatory monthly tests.
Under no circumstance would his treatment be handled by another practitioner without her consent, but in turn, Dr. Richard Decklan would be her overseer to make sure her "familial bias" didn't cloud her judgment.
Murdock sighed and fingered the corner of her clipboard that had been unceremoniously tossed on the cot in her state of agitation.
"I know, but this isn't a life either of us is living, little sister," he said. Then, as soon as his bout of solemnity began, it was gone when he nearly leapt to a stand. Dulled to his eccentric behavior, she didn't start, merely lifted a brow at him as he gave her a boyish grin. Laura didn't let on how his words affected her, pierced her deeply and wove into her thoughts.
"I think I'll go see if Freddie wants a game of Scrabble while we wait for our feast of three-day-old Salisbury steak and runny potatoes. Stay out of trouble now, ya hear?" Murdock patted her on the head and, before Laura could get a word in edge-wise, was out the door.
She sighed once again at his retreating form and crossed her arms over her chest.
"I need a fucking vacation," she muttered to herself.
No, what they needed was a way out. Try as she may to ignore what he said, what she'd been pushing down in her mind with false hopes of things getting better, this was no place for either of them. Her brother was an excellent soldier. Eccentric and unorthodox, maybe, but he wasn't insane. Her own diagnosis had fallen on deaf ears.
Post-Traumatic Stress may have been the case at first, they'd said, but of course, because they had several years more experience and education, their opinion overruled hers, even if she was his sister. She agreed he needed medication, but not what the psychiatrists at the VA had been force-feeding him for over a year before she (and her lawyer) put an end to it.
Laura found herself walking out of the room once she shook her head of these thoughts, pausing to grab her clipboard. It had some papers that needed to be taken down to reception.
There was a mischievous gleam in his eye as he strolled down the corridor.
Having your sister on staff does come with its perks.
Namely her ring of keys that she hardly noticed missing from her pocket. It allowed him to get into a supply closet and borrow a set of scrubs, a paper mask, and for good measure, a stethoscope to hang around his neck. That last one he had procured from her desk, and how easy that was when the rest of the on-hand staff thought you were a doctor! They really made things too easy.
While Murdock really had heard Laura's warning, this was an idea he simply couldn't pass up. He'd been planning it for days, and really, one more outing for the week couldn't hurt. He'd be meeting his quota of at least five incidents per month. And besides, there was no way Decklan could prove Laura facilitated his escapes, or encouraged them in any way. That was only half true at most anyway.
He snuck into one of the main halls toward reception. He snickered a little to himself once the exit was in view.
It's almost too easy!
Until a strong, tan arm blocked his way, lightly gripping his shoulder.
"Oh hey, Doc, you got a second for a wounded vet?" the man asked. He was young, bright blue eyes that matched his shirt staring at him in askance. He smelled a little weird to Murdock, but seemed pleasant enough.
"Step into my office."
Laura's small heels clicked against the floor as her brusque pace came to a stop at the reception desk. There was a group of people swarming the area, but she managed to get through to the front and get the attention of one of the receptionists.
"Hey Rita, where's Decklan? He said he wanted me to meet him here at one," she asked. Rita stopped entering information on the computer in front of her and glanced over at the nurse.
"He and some guy went into his office, they're waiting for you I think," she said, and went back to her task. Laura thanked her and went across the hall, not bothering to knock as she entered her boss' office.
Dr. Decklan, a middle-aged man with a greying hairline, who suffered (in her opinion) from an obnoxious personality. He stood next to a taller man of similar age, but muscular build. He seemed a little worse for wear in a dusty blue button-up shirt and worn jeans, but exuded a manner of confident leadership that made her pause. This was a military man.
"…My kinda guy," he said as he looked over a file in his hand, but the two looked over upon hearing her come in.
"Ah, there you are," said Decklan. He glanced over at her before gesturing to the man. "This is Lieutenant Laura Murdock, my assistant…and the patient's sister. Laura, this is Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith."
The name sounded familiar, but she couldn't place it. Though she was instantly on-guard at the mention of her brother, she greeted the colonel with respect.
"Sir," she said, and shook his hand firmly. His gaze was of interest, but he caught the suspicion in hers.
"Nice to meet you, Lieutenant. I've heard positive things about you," he said. She raised a brow.
"Really now?" she said, and her suspicion moved from the colonel to Decklan, who looked annoyed. "Does this have anything to do with my brother?"
"Yes. I'm putting a team together, a Special Forces unit, and I need a pilot," said Hannibal. He looked down at her with kinder eyes when he saw the hope in hers. "I hear Captain H.M. Murdock is the best Ranger pilot in the Air Force."
"He is the best," Laura agreed, and her eyes widened at the implication of his words. Hannibal gave her a knowing smile.
"He is being reinstated to join me, and you're being transferred out of Mexico." She gave him an incredulous look, though she felt tears beginning to sting in her eyes despite how she was fighting to keep her emotions under control.
"Are…are you serious?" she stammered.
"Very much so. After some…negotiations, U.S. Marshals have approved of his discharge from this facility," Smith said. The wheels in Laura's mind were still trying to catch up with her heart that was now beating fairly quickly.
"But…how? How could you have possibly gotten that approved?"
Her eyes caught Decklan's for a moment. It appeared he was just as disbelieving, as well as irritated. When she looked back up at the colonel, there was no wavering in his gaze, or any hint of mischief or deception.
"I can be persuasive," he said with a small smirk, "and from the beginning they offered me an unhindered choice of who could be a part of my team."
She stared into those solid blue eyes, sincere without a shadow of a doubt. Finally, in what seemed to be months, she gave a wobbly smile, even as she heard her breaths coming out more shallowly and felt her hands beginning to tremble.
"I'm being transferred too?" she asked shakily. He nodded, and caught her arm gently to steady her when he saw her begin to waver.
"Back into the field, Lieutenant," he said. "You are still legally obligated to oversee your brother's medical treatment when he needs it, so for the time being you'll be commissioned where we will be. Is that a problem?"
Laura shook her head, even as one or two tears found their way down their cheeks. She brushed them aside and said, "No sir, that won't be a problem."
"Good, then let's go find him," he said. She smiled, but before she followed him out, first turned to the doctor giving her a wry look.
"Looks like you got what you wanted," he said flatly. "If he has an episode and gets someone killed, it's on you."
There was a time when he had sympathized with them, even gone so far as to evaluate Murdock himself. But after Murdock's reenactment of entire episodes from House M.D., interspersed with his aversion to sedatives given via syringe that quickly went down the road of "violent defense," the doctor hadn't written up her brother's report favorably. From then on he'd been convinced that Murdock needed a more extensive treatment plan. Laura blatantly refused the techniques Decklan insisted would help him.
"If it didn't work at the damn VA, it isn't going to work here. I am in charge of his treatment, and nothing you say is going to move me from my position," she'd told him.
At least, not without supportive evidence that Laura's "familial bias" deterred her from giving him proper medical treatment. This was the only way she could be overruled, as declared by U.S. Marshals.
"It was a pleasure working with you, sir," she said with as much seriousness as she could muster, and offered a salute that was just a hint mocking before leaving the room. What she found was chaos in the corridor, but what nearly made her see red was a large man, black and sporting a wound on his arm, trying to choke the life out of her brother. Though the colonel was already breaking them apart, it wasn't fast enough for her.
"Baracus, off. Now," Smith ordered and pulled the man off Murdock. Another man was a relatively safe distance away in clothes that appeared too big for him. He was clearly angry as he asked, "Who's a doctor here? Where's a real doctor?" but she brushed past him to go to her brother.
"What the hell is going on?" she shouted, and checked Murdock for injuries, though her brows shot into her hairline when she realized he was wearing a pair of scrubs.
"Back off, this is a hospital," Smith said to the taller, bigger man he'd identified to Laura as "Baracus." Said man did back off, but was silently simmering as he glared at Murdock.
"What did you do?" she asked her brother, even as he gently pushed her hands away. He was still regaining his breath and didn't answer.
"I see everyone's met Mr. Murdock," said Smith.
"Met him? He lit my arm on fire," said the other man, making Laura's eyes grow wide. Murdock laughed nervously as she groaned and pressed her hands to her face.
"He gave me a lightning bolt in mine, man," said Baracus. Laura grew curious and looked over at his arm. Sure enough, there was a lightning bolt of stitches closing a wound. Laura shook her head.
"Look at me, son," said Smith, earning Murdock's attention. "I'm told you're a hell of a chopper pilot."
"The best, sir," Murdock affirmed.
"I'm not getting on a chopper with this nut job," said Baracus, and pointed at said man for good measure.
"Yeah is—is he supposed to be another one of your projects?" the other interjected, making Laura look back at him with angry, narrowed eyes.
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"I'm a real soldier," Murdock said, using sharp gestures to punctuate his remark. "I'm a Ranger, baby!"
There was a brief moment of silence as the others took in that particular bit of information, and it gave Laura reason to believe the rest of them were as well.
"I'm worried," said the one in the blue shirt. His similarly colored eyes were wide and exasperated, and he annoyed Laura on sight. Though if their first impressions with her brother were correct, then she supposed she couldn't really blame him.
"I'm a Ranger, sir," Murdock asserted, and Smith nodded.
"That's good enough for me. You've been released into our care and reinstated, Captain," he said, ignoring his second in command's voice of, "I'm not even close to good with that." Murdock's eyes widened with incredulity and hope, until he glanced over at Laura.
"What about my sister, sir?"
"She's still in charge of your treatment, so she'll be transferred also," said the colonel.
"Thank you, sir," Murdock said, and saluted his commanding officer.
"Let's get the hell out of here," Smith said, and turned to go down the hall. Laura followed the rest of them, but was slightly shocked.
"Wait, right now? We're leaving right now?"
"Now she's coming with us too? What is this supposed to be, a bus stop?" said Blue Eyes. She gave him a peeved look.
"Yes, Lieutenant," Smith replied, mostly in answer to Laura, but he supposed it could have been in answer to both. "We're on the run from a renegade, General Tuco. We're in need of a good pilot."
He led the way up the stairs, and they ran all the way up until reaching the roof, where a red and white medical helicopter sat prettily waiting.
"You gorgeous old rust-bucket, did you miss Daddy?" Murdock said in a mock-Australian accent and strode forward to meet the copter.
"What are we doing, Hannibal? You know I hate running!"
"Face, what have I told you about a well-oiled plan?"
"To be one step ahead of the enemy, not to be running away from him!" he said, raising hand back to the door.
"Who says we're running?" asked Hannibal. Laura's eyes widened as she noticed what her brother was doing.
"I swear to God, H.M., if you don't get down—"
"What, we're going to get in this dinosaur with this freak show?" Blue Eyes, or more accurately, "Face," said. He gestured to Murdock, who was currently swinging from one of the helicopter's blades.
"You spin me right round, baby, right round. Like a record, baby…rudders are good, sir!"
Laura was too distracted by her brother's antics to hear what Face said, but she did hear his rather loud question of, "Who is this guy?"
"Just get in the helicopter!" Hannibal ordered. "Murdock, get the engines running!"
Murdock jumped down and complied, getting inside and sitting in front of the controls. He found two headsets and put on of them on. Laura's stomach protested at the idea. She'd been in the air with her brother driving before, and if it was a chase they were heading into…things weren't going to be smooth.
Hannibal got into the passenger's side and accepted the headset Murdock offered, while Laura, B.A. and Face climbed in the back seat. It was a bit cramped with Laura in the middle, but she was grateful for the protection when men with artillery burst through the doors and scrambled onto the roof. It took no time for them to begin shooting at the aircraft.
"Murdock, get this thing in the air!" said Hannibal as he, Face, and B.A. began shooting back at their enemies. Laura huddled down lower at hearing the gunfire. As the copter began to lift, she heard Murdock say, "Hold on boys, I'm gunna try something I saw in a cartoon once!"
"Oh, no…" she groaned.
"What you talkin' bout cartoons for, get us the hell outta here!" B.A. yelled.
"We got a hot chopper 2-6!" Face called out, pointing behind them. Murdock steered the chopper to the right and swerved around.
"Uh oh, hold on!" he said as they met the air conditioner vent and shoved it over until it fell off the side of the building. It wasn't until they flew away from the hospital that they saw where the vent landed. B.A. screamed in horror over the sound of the propellers.
"YOU PANCAKED MY VAN! I'M GUNNA KILL YOU, FOOL!"
"You can't park there, that's a handicapped zone!"
"You're crazy, I knew you was crazy moment I saw you!"
"He's not crazy!" Laura glared up at B.A.
"If you don't know what kinda nut job he is, then you're half a basket case too!"
"This was a mistake," Face muttered and gripped after he shut the door on his side of the helicopter. They sped off above the desert, the large canyons and precipices becoming less distant.
The chopper behind them began firing. Murdock swerved to and fro to avoid the bullets while some grazed the shell. When a steady torrent of bullets went their way, he steered up and around until they made a loop up-side-down and returned to center balance. They all screamed, but none as much as Laura, who had to raise her hands above her head against the ceiling to keep from hitting her head.
"How the fuck did you forget to put on a seat belt?" Face shouted and reached up for her.
"Just get me down!"
"I've never done this before!" Murdock called out as the vehicle went about the turn.
Face grabbed Laura by the waist so she wouldn't land painfully or fall out into open air, and pulled her down onto his lap when the chopper righted. Her dark hair fell out of the tight bun it was in and obscured her vision, but not enough so that she wouldn't see the cheeky grin Face was giving her.
She narrowed green eyes down at him.
"Don't even think about—IIIIIIIT!" The copter lurched again to the right, and she griped onto him for dear life. "Shiiiiiit!"
"Nothing like good ol' aerial combat, eh?" Murdock turned and asked Face, who let go of Laura with one hand only to point forward and say, "Don't look at me, look at there!"
It wasn't perfect grammar, but it was understandable, considering.
"He's only got heat seekers left," said Murdock as they approached an old, wooden bridge. They couldn't get through it without crashing.
"Get us out of here, Captain," Hannibal ordered, speaking for the first time since they took off. Murdock saw the man's tense expression out of the corner of his eye and couldn't help but admire the colonel's hold on his composure. Murdock himself was finally in his element, but he knew a barrel roll tended to make stomachs roll. He personally enjoyed that flip-flop feeling. It was like one of those carnival rides, but ten times better.
"Hold on, this could get ugly!" he replied and pulled up as hard as he could. "Here we go, baby, climb! Climb!" Face, B.A. and Laura screamed on the top of their lungs over the noise of the helicopter.
"Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" Murdock was at his happiest at the apex of a height achieved in the little helicopter, but as the heat seeking-missiles neared he reached for a top switch.
"Whoa, missiles!" He flipped it, making the copter shut completely off. "That's how we handle heat-seekers, chaps. We go cold!"
The British accent he took on wasn't exactly comforting when they began their backwards fall, inducing more screaming. By now Laura's fingernails were digging into Face's back and shoulders, but he hardly felt it with how they were falling to their deaths. The two screamed louder when they saw B.A. hanging out of the helicopter. A beeping noise was helpfully alerting them to the fact.
"Get him in here!" said Hannibal. Face switched places with Laura and let her buckle in as he went over to the other side of the chopper. He reached out and grabbed B.A.'s hand.
"Oh shit!" he screamed as the wind nearly dragged them both out. "Oh shit!"
But as Murdock quickly flipped a few switches to restart the engines and righted the machine again, Face was able to pull B.A. in and get him strapped into his seat. The man appeared to be going into shock, however, and his head hung against his chest.
"Close the door! I know you're air-born Rangers but that was ridiculous!" said Murdock, and Face could barely do more than close the door.
He placed his hands on B.A.'s shoulders and said, "You're going to be okay!"
B.A. nodded minutely, and Face sighed and sat in the middle, allowing Laura to keep his seat. He wanted to throw up. Again.
"Boss, the idea is to kill Tuco, not the other way around!" he called out to Hannibal.
"Being one step ahead isn't a plan, kid," he replied and glanced back at his second in command. "Two to three steps ahead. Beating an enemy's move before it's even made, that's a plan."
He looked down at a tracking device he'd been given from Intel at the hospital, and saw the two choppers as they moved over the countryside. He adjusted his headset.
"Hatchet, hatchet, lock onto my LC," then as the radio patched in to Tuco's headset, he said, "General Tuco. You are currently engaged in unauthorized warfare on United States Military personnel."
"No, no, no, no, you engaged me!" shouted the voice on the other line.
"Repeat, you are engaged in unauthorized warfare on United States Military personnel." Hannibal watched his tracker and waited until both helicopters were over the U.S. border. He smirked to himself before speaking into the intercom again.
"…Over United States Air Space."
Faceman and Hannibal wore similar looks of triumph as the colonel replied,
"Foxtrot!" the two finished.
"In otherwords," Face continued, "Adiós, motherfuck—"
And Murdock flew their helicopter out of the way as the chopper behind them was blown sky-high, the explosion's flames just licking their tail. They laughed and flew on, and the colonel and the captain clasped hands. Face turned to both B.A. and Laura and shared a laugh with her as she pumped both fists in the air.
"That was awesome!" Murdock yelled.
"That was not awesome!" B.A. protested.
"Murdock, you're a genius!" said Face, and slapped a hand over his eyes in sheer disbelief that they had actually made it through that. Though he rolled his eyes when Laura said, "Told you."
"I'm never flyin' again, I'll tell you that right now," B.A. continued, to the near giddy amusement of everyone else.
The adrenaline was addictive, Laura reflected. She'd almost forgotten how much she missed it, despite how petrified she'd been only minutes ago.
"I never should have doubted you, boss," said Face, and Hannibal smirked, pulling out a cigar and a lighter from his pocket.
"There's a plan in everything, kid." He stuck the cigar in his mouth, and after lighting it,
"And I love it when a plan comes together."
And there's plenty more where that came from. I won't be continuing right into movie after this chapter, but feel free to let me know what you all thought! :)