A/N: Murdock, Face and the rest of the A-Team are owned by Stephen J. Cannell. I don't own them... I am simply playing in the sandbox. *This story is AU and is my answer to the question of just why Murdock's gaskets fit just a bit loosely. * Also, please note that nothing in canon ever said that Murdock came to LA at the same time as the other members of the team. I have him leaving Vietnam and arriving in L.A. about a year after the rest of the team. *The event mentioned where Murdock nearly dies in the hills takes place in "Curtain Call," Season 2, Episode 23. Dr. Kelly Stevens and Bedford Falls appear in Season 3, Episode 22. * Thank you to my awesome writing partner xavionite, who never lets me get away with anything. You are the best! * There were several songs that I listened to as I wrote this story, and I made them the appropriate chapter titles. You can find them on Amazon or YouTube. I highly recommend listening to them as you read if you can.
Over Los Angeles County
Sometime in the mid-1980's
Things had gone well on their last mission. Hannibal had decided to give B. A. a break, and the two of them had driven the van back down to Los Angeles from Portland. They had a few days off, so it was something of a reward. Face had decided to join Murdock and fly back down to L.A. Murdock needed to be back at the VA fairly quickly, so he did not have the luxury of traveling by van.
Face was dozing in the co-pilot's seat the drone of the engines lulling him, when suddenly a vibration shuddered through the two-engine plane. Face sat up, his eyes wide. "What was that?"
Murdock frowned as he tapped a couple of gauges. "Dunno...everything checked out fine when we left Portland."
Face noticed the tension in Murdock's voice...there was no trace of humor or teasing at all. Nervously, he watched as the captain flipped a few switches, all to no avail...because a few moments later, several red lights began flashing, and two alarms began shrieking at the same time.
And Murdock began to sweat.
CHAPTER ONE "Carry On, Wayward Son: Kansas"
Inside the Plane
I watched as Murdock's hands seem to fly in every direction at once. The plane began to buck as if we had hit heavy turbulence. He silenced the alarms and then turned to look at me. His eyes were bleak. "Facey, go get your parachute on."
I panicked at that. "Wait, what about you?"
He smirked, but there was something odd in his expression. "It's okay. I'm right behind you."
Suddenly I was really scared. "You promise?"
He held up his right hand in a Boy Scout salute. "Have I ever lied to you? Now go on. Hurry up. I just gotta set some of these controls to make sure this baby doesn't kill anybody when she goes down. I'll only be a minute." And his hands started flying over the controls once more.
I hurried to the back and pulled out our parachutes and got them ready, putting Murdock's where he could reach it easily. I buckled into mine and was double-checking the straps when Murdock came hustling back next to me. The plane gave another tremendous shudder and one of the engines shrieked as it died. Murdock buckled on his parachute and grabbed my arm…"Come on, buddy, we gotta go!"
The next thing I knew, he had shoved a helmet onto my head, buckled it, unsealed the door and I found myself free-falling hundreds of feet towards the earth below.
I watched Faceman fall safely away from the crippled plane and pull his ripcord. His chute deployed, and I took a deep breath. He was gonna be okay. I shoved my ball cap inside my jacket, jammed on my helmet and jumped free of the plane, anticipating my own rush of freedom... that freight train feeling right before you pull the cord... there's no feeling like it in the world. I pulled my cord, bracing for the pull of the 'chute-and nothing happened. I grabbed for the lollipop. I yanked it, and unlike Face, I realized my ride to Earth was gonna be a whole lot faster...I….Face! I-I wish I had told him-I always meant to- and I started spinning dizzily….and I knew it was too late….I really should have told him...I never meant for him to find out this w-
Skydiving has never been one of my favorite ways to spend the day, even when I plan on doing it. Missions are one thing...we do it on occasion, and of course I never complain. Hannibal loves it and BA only tolerates it because he is normally unconscious when he does it. Murdock...well, he sometimes talks about flying without a parachute... probably would if he could-wait, what? A brown and khaki object hurtled past me doing what felt like 500 miles an hour. "Oh my God! MURDOCK! NOOOO!" The wind whipped the scream from my throat, but I screamed just the same…
I frantically guided my 'chute to try to follow him. Though I couldn't bear to watch, I couldn't take my eyes off him, either. The insane thought went through my head that I had somehow caused that 'chute not to open because of my thoughts about Murdock and parachutes. It couldn't have been that long, but it seemed like hours before he finally hit the valley floor. I was still too high to hear anything, but I swear I heard him break...and I broke with him.
I woke up alone. No sign of Murdock or the plane. My head hurt, and I must have been out for a while. It was darker than I remembered it being. I figured maybe I had hit my head on a rock or something after I hit the ground. Murdock had sent us into an unpopulated area that was only about ten miles from civilization… from help. He had pointed the plane out into the desert where it would crash harmlessly. I sat up and gazed around. Harmlessly. Murdock was dead, and I was alone. Right. Harmlessly.
I quickly took stock and realized that I was basically unhurt, except for a nasty gash on my left bicep, which I ignored, since I seemed in no danger of bleeding to death in the near future. I also had a whopper of a headache, but I could live with it. The survival pouch attached to my parachute was intact. It contained a couple of ration bars and a canteen of water, as well as a small tarp. I also had my knife and some matches. I was practically flush. I buried my parachute, (old habits die hard), secured the area and began scouting the terrain, looking for Murdock.
I wanted to find him and bury him in a shallow grave, to protect him from any predators that might roam this area. I figured it was the least I could do for him until we could get him back home...Home. Oh my God. What am I gonna tell the others? This will kill Hannibal and B. A. I can't tell them this! What am I gonna do?