Murdock had been enjoying the mission. Right up until it went wrong. The A-Team had been tasked with taking out a drug cartel in central Mexico, who had been terrorising locals through violence. Having rounded up the boss and his cronies, they had taken them to the police. It had turned out that the chief constable of the police (an American called Henry Allerton) was the man behind the whole thing. The A-Team had managed to leg it – all four of them making a break from the police station under the pelting rain of gunfire.
They were running. Always running. Murdock could feel himself falling behind, the others gradually getting ahead as they all legged it. He wasn't as fit as the rest of the team; after all he was a pilot in a mental institution and didn't have the ability to train as hard as the others. His breaths came out in ragged gasps, sounding like the puffing of a steam train. Increasingly, he felt as though his legs were on fire, like he could barely put one foot in front of the other. How long had they been running for? It felt like an age. Surely the van wasn't much further? Chancing a quick glance behind him, his big, brown eyes took in the sight of their pursuers finally reaching their own vehicle. The A-Team had to get to the van soon! They stood no chance on foot if they were pursued by car.
Not paying attention to where he was going, Murdock didn't notice the man jump him from the side until it was too late. The bloke was much larger and stronger than Murdock and sent the lanky pilot crashing to the floor with a cry. He hit the deck hard, his hands unable to get in front of his face in time and his head smashed against the ground in front of him. Dazed, he paused for a second, adrenaline pumping through his body. Struggling wildly, he tried to fend his attacker off, only to feel a pair of large hands thread their way around his slender neck. Blood began to trickle down his forehead, making him feel even more dizzy than he did already. What was that new pain in his knee? He must have twisted it in the ungainly fall to the ground. Flailing wildly, he panicked, desperate to try and rid himself of the aggressor but this only made them squeeze harder.
The corners of his vision were beginning to fade to black. Dimly, he was aware of the attacker suddenly being kicked off him. BA was here at last. BA grabbed the man by the scruff of the neck and slammed a large, brutish fist into the guy's face before picking the bastard up and sending him flying off. Murdock always admired BA's ability to send men flying and once again the pilot was glad that BA fought with them rather than against them.
Murdock gasped for breath, feeling dizzy from being strangled and from the gash and bruise to his face. He tried to stumble to his feet, pushing himself up with unsteady hands but his knee gave way abruptly and he went crashing to the floor again.
"BA grab him!" It was Hannibal. The rest of the team had dropped back to come to his aid.
Murdock felt the familiar large hands of BA grabbing him under his armpits and he was dragged roughly to his feet. BA slung Murdock's arm over his shoulder and began to help the injured pilot along. Murdock tried his best to hobble along, but his knee was already swelling up from the fall – a nasty sprain or some such injury. His head was throbbing painfully and the world seemed lopsidedly dizzy. He still gasped for air, gulping it down like a drink. It was painful and the progress was slow. They would almost certainly get caught at this rate.
"Y'all n-need to get out of here. R-run for it! Leave m-me!" Murdock stammered; his voice thick with pain.
"Face, come with me, we'll make a distraction. BA, get him to the van and get him out of here. Captain, we won't leave you, now get moving!"
With that, Hannibal and Face dropped backwards, protecting their ailing team member. BA needed no second bidding and ushered Murdock along protectively. Pulling out a handgun, Hannibal began to shoot at the tyres of the oncoming car while Face hunted around for some kind of weapon to use. A bullet flew true and a front tyre exploded, dramatically bringing the pursuing vehicle to an abrupt halt. But it was too late, the enemy was almost on top of them. They were heavily armed and Face and Hannibal stood no chance against the automatic weapons.
"Stop right there or I'll blow your brains out." Somehow, the policeman turned crime boss looked a lot scarier with an automatic weapon pointed straight towards them. "Lay down your weapons, nice and slow."
Hannibal dropped his gun and kicked it away from him slowly. Both he and Face raised their hands in the air slowly as men jumped out the car and surrounded them, weapons pointing at the pair. One of them stepped forwards and cuffed the conman and the colonel each in turn.
"Move out of turn and you're dead." Henry stated, his voice as cold as ice, "Where are the others? There were four of you."
"I don't remember there being any others. Do you Face?"
"Definitely not. Have you had your eyes tested recently?" Face replied with an award-winning smile. He was answered with a swift punch to the stomach, causing him to double over with a loud "Ooof," of complaint.
"Take them back to the police station. You two," Henry Allerton pointed towards a pair of dodgy police officers, "go find their friends. Kill them on site."
Murdock and BA had swerved to the left whilst Hannibal and Face provided a distraction. They got off the road and hid behind a few bushes, doing their best to conceal themselves. They could just about hear what was being said, although they were unable to witness the proceedings. Murdock felt sick to the stomach. This felt too much like his fault. If only he was a faster runner or had seen the guy coming, he might not have got them into this mess. His eyelids fluttered a little as he tried to keep his gaze focussed to spot any enemy movement. It felt so hard to stay awake. Once again, black spots danced in front of his eyes and his ears began to ring painfully. Even the guilt was starting to ebb away like the tide, leaving nothing but a blank, exhausted, pain-filled void.
"Hey Fool, stay awake!" BA hissed as he noticed his flagging companion. Carefully, he reached over and shook Murdock's shoulder gently, startling the man awake again.
"BA, we have t-to rescue them…" Murdock murmured, his concerned, dazed gaze flitting to rest on BA.
"We will." BA seemed to think for a minute, "Can you walk?"
"Sure thing, B-Big Guy." Murdock replied, his voice more confident than he felt.
Keeping low, they both stood up and began to quietly make their way towards the van. Murdock was stumbling along and slowly sinking more and more of his weight onto BA so that the man was half carrying him. It was all Murdock could do to stay awake. They trudged on regardless. Miraculously, after a painful, slow ten minutes they found the van where they had stowed it earlier on in the day. BA carefully helped Murdock into the passenger seat and then hopped into the driver's seat.
"We ain't got much time." BA said, his tone anxious, "I'll get you patched up first."
Murdock watched dozily as BA disappeared for a few minutes and then reappeared with a medical kit from the back of the van. The pilot felt sick to the stomach, dizzy as anything and had a pounding head and knee. Deciding to close his eyes for a second to rest them, he wasn't aware he had passed out until he woke up again with BA calling his name and anxiously shaking his shoulder once more.
"Go 'way BA. 'm awake." He mumbled in response; his voice thick after being strangled. He languidly opened his eyes. For all BA's tough talk, Murdock could see the concern in the sergeant's expression and couldn't help but comment, "You do care, big guy!"
BA growled in response before turning to the steering wheel and setting the van in motion. The medical kit had vanished and a tentative hand to his head suggested that BA had bandaged him up as well as possible while he was out for the count. The captain began to feel a little more alert. His head and knee were both dully throbbing and his throat ached, but the dizziness and nausea had abated somewhat. Resting his head back on the chair, he peered out of the window and watched the world go by.
"We need a plan. That's Hannibal's forte so we'll have to improvise Big Guy." His voice was little more than a whisper, but there was a clarity to his words that hadn't been there previously.
"We need weapons. We're almost out of ammo and have one grenade left. We go back to the motel; we might be able to get some. It's real risky though. Face and Hannibal ain't got much time."
Murdock rubbed the back of his sore neck anxiously, his gaze drifting to the roadside once again. His thoughts felt as scrambled as eggs after the blow to the head and he was finding it difficult to maintain any sense of focus. Still, his brown eyes flicked to the wing mirror absently.
"BA!" He suddenly said, "There's two of them guys following us. I'm sure it's them."
The larger man glanced into the wing mirror and his deadly scowl confirmed Murdock's suspicions. Suddenly, gunfire ripped out from behind. They were being shot at! BA swerved the van to try and make them a harder target and began to speed up his driving.
"Fool, get a weapon and fire back."
Steeling himself against the nausea that was bound to follow, Murdock began to clamber his way unsteadily to the back of the van, towards a rifle that was perched on the back seat. A fresh wave of dizziness washed over him from the movement, but he snatched up the weapon and returned to his seat nonetheless. He gave his brain a brief chance to recover before winding down the window and leaning out to return a few shots at the approaching pick-up truck that was chasing them down. His shots were well off though, his concussion disallowing for any semblance of accuracy as bullets went wild. Quickly realising his efforts were futile and he was wasting precious bullets, he collapsed back into a normal sitting position and closed his eyes for a moment, willing the dizziness to dissipate.
Sensing the current uselessness of his companion, BA began to fling the van around even more recklessly, determined to lose their pursuers. Suddenly, there was a gunshot and then a loud bang. BA slammed the brakes on. A tyre had been blown from them at last. The van came to an abrupt standstill, parked carelessly on the side of the quiet, rural road.
BA snatched the gun off Murdock, "Wait here and stay low." He said curtly. Then, he disappeared from the van, leaving Murdock alone.
Anxiously, Murdock watched in the wing mirror as BA approached the pick-up truck, firing at it as he went. The two men in the vehicle ducked down as BA fired, sending a few shots of their own in return. BA kept low and managed to reach the car door. Reaching in through the open window, he grabbed one of the guys by the collar and smashed his head against the dashboard, knocking the man out. BA then raised his rifle and pointed it straight at the other man who quickly raised his hands in defeat. Murdock couldn't hear what was said, but BA was obviously scary enough to cause the man to fling his car in reverse, spin the thing around and go driving back the way they came.
BA took a moment to inspect the busted tyre before returning to Murdock's window.
"It don't look good. I ain't got a spare tyre, I used it last week. Thing's bust and the rear axle took a poundin'."
"Damnit." Murdock let out a deep sigh before taking stock of the surroundings, "There's sure got to be something 'round here that we can use as a tyre?"
"Wait here, I'll look."
Murdock watched as BA trudged off. There were a few farm buildings and the larger man headed towards those. Murdock knew they would be lucky to find a tyre, but perhaps they would be able to find another way to help their team. Besides, the pilot was in no doubt that the enemy would be hot on their trail and they couldn't afford to delay for too long.
Bored of waiting, Murdock opened the van door and weakly got out. Limping heavily, he slowly made his way to the back of the van. There was a light breeze in the heat of the Mexican sun and it felt refreshing, clearing his head a little. The dizziness persisted and he was still in a lot of pain from his various injuries, but adrenaline was keeping him going.
At first, he wasn't sure whether the metallic glint was a figment of his imagination. He could just about make it out between the branches of a hedgerow. Limping closer, he grinned as he realised just what the glint was.
"BA!" He called, "BA, c'mere!"
The larger man trotted over and joined Murdock after a few moments. Concern was in his gaze, but he seemed to relax upon realising that the pilot wasn't in trouble.
"What is it, Fool?"
"I've just found us a way outta our situation." Raising an unsteady hand, Murdock pointed to the object glinting in the noon sun, "We fly!"
It took a moment for BA to recognise the crop sprayer that rested in the field beyond the hedge. His blatant scowl was an expected reaction to the sight.
"I ain't gettin' on no plane! 'specially not with some Crazy Fool as pilot." BA turned away, as though his word was final on the matter.
Reaching forward, Murdock grabbed him by the shoulder, "BA, hear me out!" The other man turned slowly, a huge scowl on his face as he towered over the pilot. Murdock gulped nervously, "Please, just listen to me."
"I ain't got no time for no crazy schemes or jibber jabber."
"It's neither." Murdock swayed a little, the effort of standing up and the emotional toll of the situation starting to wear the man down. He lowered his hand, gazing at BA with big, puppy-dog, brown eyes. "I know how much you hate flying BA. I can't think of any other way. But we will look around, try and find another tyre or way to repair the van. If we can't then you're going to have to fly."
"I ain't flyin'." He repeated, but some of the bite had gone out of the words.
"BA! I'm injured. I need a doctor." Murdock bit his lip anxiously, hating to show weakness, "Who knows what state Hannibal and Face are in. They only got caught 'cos I did! It's all my fault. The longer we wait, the more of a mess they'll be. The van is bust. I don't see another vehicle we can use. From the air we hold an advantage and more chance to save them. I can't see any other way of getting them out. Please, we have to try…"
There was a long pause as BA seemed to digest Murdock's passionate speech. After what seemed like an eternity to the pilot, BA nodded, almost imperceptibly.
"We ain't got Face to scam it."
"We can just…borrow without permission!" Murdock said, a lopsided grin of triumph gracing his lips, "Grab as many weapons from the van as you can and bring that grenade…we are going up!"
It took a while for them to get into the air. Longer than Murdock would have liked. But he needed to rest for a few minutes before attempting to crawl through the hedge and it took a few minutes to recover from that excursion too. The keys had been left in the plane, doubtless the lack of people around suggesting that the owner took little precaution with security. Murdock breathed a sigh of relief at their good fortune. After a few final minutes of coaxing a very reluctant BA into the plane, Murdock detailed his sketchy plan to BA. It wasn't as tight as Hannibal's plans were, but not bad for a crazy, concussed pilot. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Getting the small plane into the air required little effort for the expert pilot, despite the bumpy, makeshift landing strip on the edge of the field. Soon, they were cruising along at a low altitude, the world rushing by beneath them. Chancing a glance to BA, he noticed the pure fear that radiated from the man. The way how he gripped the seat so tightly his knuckles were white. The way how he sat with his back so rigid it must ache. The way how his eyes were shut tightly, as though denying the reality that he found himself in. Murdock frowned a little.
"BA, please trust me, we are safe." He murmured softly, keeping his sane act for as long as possible to try and reassure the other.
Receiving nothing but a growl in response, Murdock let the subject lie. Still, another quick glance to the side confirmed that BA had at least managed to open his eyes.
Before long, they were approaching the police station where their friends were being held. Murdock lowered the altitude gradually, trying to keep the ride as smooth as possible for BA.
"Get ready for fun time, Big Guy."
"Right…" The other replied uncertainly, before scooping up the grenade they had picked up from the van.
"Make it count!"
Making sure he was firmly strapped in, BA cautiously opened the door of the Cessna and glanced at the drop. Finally, he plucked up the courage and pulled the pin, lobbing the grenade out of the aircraft as hard as he could to avoid the wings. He shut the door quickly and sat back to his seat, rigid with terror again.
Below, there was a loud explosion as the grenade hit its target – the carpark in front of the police station. Murdock circled the aircraft around in a large loop and was able to see the desired reaction. People came scurrying out of the police station to investigate the explosion. With a loopy grin, Murdock turned the crop spray on. The men below got drenched with whatever fertiliser the aircraft had been carrying.
Murdock made another loop and did the same again. He wasn't even aware he had started to sing an excerpt of Gioacchino Rossini's Adina as he looped around once more, his sore throat giving the opera a rather hoarse quality, but his voice carried well considering. The adrenaline kept the pain at bay and he felt (quite literally), on top of the world! Squinting a little against the bright, Mexican sunshine, he could just about make out the silver and blonde of two of his favourite people. The distraction had worked! Emptying the police station of people to give Hannibal and Face chance to escape.
Taking the plane down, he lowered it gracefully onto the road below, using it as a makeshift runway. He brought the machine to a halt gently and scooped up a rifle.
"C'mon Big Guy, let's go get our unit."
It took a minute for BA to rouse himself from his terror, but when he finally did, he had grabbed a weapon and was out of the plane in record time.
By the time the pair reached the chaos, it was mostly over anyway. Hannibal and Face seemed to have done a spectacular job of facilitating their own rescue. They were both already pointing weapons at the assortment of criminals, who were all awkwardly standing around with their hands raised and covered in fertiliser.
"If one of you slimeballs so much as twitches, they won't even find all the pieces." Hannibal was speaking in the smug and threatening tone that he often used when they had successfully rounded up bad-guys.
"Colonel!" Murdock exclaimed, relieved to see that both Hannibal and Face seemed to be relatively unscathed from the experience.
"Good of you to join us, Captain."
"I can't believe the Crazy Fool's plan worked." BA growled as he arrived on the scene, "How'd you both get out?"
Face grinned at them with an award-winning smile, "Once they were distracted it was only a matter of moments for an artist such as myself." He opened his jacket to reveal a flash of the small pouch of lock picks that he always carried.
Murdock grinned. The adrenaline was wearing off and the team was back together. A wave of pain washed over him and he swayed dangerously, suddenly feeling rather dizzy. Without warning, he felt a strong hand on his shoulder, supporting him carefully. A quick glance to his side revealed a concerned looking BA, who was gently holding him up.
Murdock could detect the undertones of concern in BA's voice.
"I'll be alright." The pilot closed his eyes for a moment, allowing the dizziness to ease a little before looking back at BA, "Thank you for flying, Big Guy, I couldn't have done that alone."
"I ain't flying again…" BA growled, but there was no real heat behind it.
"Of course, you aren't." Murdock replied, a ghost of a smile gracing his lips, "Of course you aren't…"
A/N: I own nothing. Thanks for reading. Feel free to review. I hope you enjoyed.