Falling With Style
by Mahiri Chuma
Disclaimer: It's not mine, any of it!
A/N: Done for the kink!meme on LJ. Prompt: 5 times Murdock almost crashed a helicopter, and the 1 time he did crash to save his team.
Falling With Style
- Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk -
If each member of their illustrious A-Team had to vote on their least favorite sound, it would be a unanimous decision (though Murdock had recently petitioned to add 'the sound of that lady Justin Bieber' to his allergy list.)
The warning signal blared loudly throughout the cockpit and each member responded accordingly.
"Oh Shit! shit, shit …" Face mutters as he grips the fabric handholds and alternates between staring out through the cockpit and watching Murdock as he frantically makes corrections and flips an inordinate amount of switches so quickly he can hardly keep track.
He can hardly tell which way is up and his eyes nearly cross as he stares out the window, the world is spinning so violently he squeezes his eyes shut and shouts – he thinks he is shouting their pilot's name but he can't be sure.
Hannibal is tense, his body stiff but his expression lax save for a tightly knit brow. He growls in a low voice, almost in the fashion of a warning or admonishment.
B.A., who is usually lucky enough to be unconscious during these situations, has been jolted awake by the explosion and subsequent centrifugal hell. His head is painfully tight and it takes all his willpower not to vomit as the drug hangover reacts badly with the spinning. He is pretty sure he is screaming because his throat is already becoming raw. He refuses to open his eyes and knows they must be in a really bad tailspin by the way the light dances over his eyelids in dizzying patterns.
Hell of a way to wake up.
Murdock is so pumped full of adrenaline he hardly hears the cries and threats of his team. His muscle memory kicks in and without trying his hands find their place on all the correct knobs and switches. He updates the crew, reporting their altitude and speed in frantic shouts; he figures it's out of habit because it means absolutely nothing to them.
The Black Hawk is caught in one hell of a tailspin and Murdock is struggling to correct the chopper's orientation. Had he been any less of a pilot they would have fallen into an uncontrollable, sideways spin, driving them into the ground faster than they could say. 'that's-all-folks.'
They had been cruising rather smoothly above the Iraqi desert; there was no reason to think they would be attacked as they were flying over what was supposed to be a no-conflict zone just 10 short miles from the Air Base.
The only warning they had, had been the sound of the proximity alert, which went off for an entire 2.1-seconds before impact.
"I dunno, Face," Murdock had been grinning, "She looked a lot like a 'he' to me, but hey, I'm not here to tell who not to whisper sweet nothings to, not gonna stop you from tenderly pushing his hair behind his ear –"
"HER ear, man! HER, ear. C'mon, Hannibal, help me out here." Face had said as he leaned forward.
"I'm with the Captain on this one, Face." Face had been just about to submit his evidence when everything went to hell.
B.A. had groaned, shouting, "What the hell, man?" before realizing he was airborne.
Then came the shouting and screaming.
Murdock didn't have to read any instruments or see the outside of the chopper to know he had just lost his tail-rotor; that they were probably leaving a pretty trail of smoke as they spun through the sky.
"Hold on, boys!" Murdock shouted into his comm., his voice almost casual save for a smattering of stress, a result of managing the bucking copter. It wasn't easy – the joystick wobbled in his hands, trying to fight him and send them into the ground.
"'S no different than one of those spinny rides at the carnival! I got this!"
It must've been bad, real bad because B.A. didn't say something along the lines of, 'this ain't no carnival, fool' and Face had been reduced to monosyllabic curses.
"Better fix this quick, Captain!" Hannibal is watching the rapidly approaching desert ground, his hands holding onto the panel in front of him, trying to fight the pressure of the spin.
Despite his authorative and almost calm demeanor, Murdock knows he's stressed, dare he say, a little afraid. He knew Hannibal trusted him to get them to point A and B safely, even if he threw in barrel rolls for fun, but he also knew it was the one place that the Colonel wasn't in charge. Hannibal knew it, they all knew it – here, thousands of feet in the air, the Plan was no longer in Hannibal's hands.
"Don't you fret, Colonel, I know just how she likes it."
He does a quick look around and see's his team bracing for impact. He swallows heavily.
Crashing, in his professional opinion, is not an option. Tailspins usually ended in fiery explosions from which people did not walk away and though he was always up for a good ol' barbeque, he wasn't interested in filet o' Face or smoked Baracus.
He struggles with the joystick and finally finds them evening out. The Hawk has quit its tight, clockwise spin and is wobbling left and right, fighting to force them into another out of control spin – they're close enough to the ground to insure a second round would be immediately fatal.
For a moment, they fly straight and Murdock takes advantage of it and pushes the throttle forward, increasing the speed of the Hawk, helping maintain a generally straight and forward direction. All he had to do now was haul ass back to base and come in hot, landing at an unhealthy speed and probably bursting the tires as he went– he wouldn't tell the guys that, though, they'd find out soon enough and they all looked a little pale.
No one speaks – the only sound is that of panting and the purr of main rotor.
Face is dragging the back of his hand across his forehead, mopping up the incredible amount of sweat that had accumulated in the past 20-seconds.
B.A. hasn't found his voice yet but Murdock is sure he has something very colorful to say.
Hannibal is chewing on his almost-forgotten cigar and gives Murdock a quick, shaky pat on the shoulder.
"Anyway," Murdock says as if they hadn't been a mere two hundred feet from being ground meat marinated in jet fuel, "Faceman, that was totally a he."
- HH65A Dolphin -
Hannibal had never seen a more beautiful sight.
The large, red rescue helicopter that they had 'liberated' from the South African Coast Guard broke through the fog, it's downdraft rippling the already churning water as it neared and it's blades thumping so loudly he could hardly hear the ringing in his ears.
The mission had been going uncharacteristically well up until it came time to make their escape. They had been sent to intercept an anticipated act of terrorism on the HMSAS Amatola. The missile-armed ship had already been in the throes of a hijacking when Hannibal, BA and Face arrived on board – the missiles had been prepped for attack and they had made it just in time to infiltrate the ranks and prevent the attack on their apparent target currently residing off the coast of Cape Town: the HMS Good Hope.
The plan had gone off without a hitch, save for the bullet lodged deep in BA's thigh and Face's pupil-blowing concussion, and after subduing and binding the men responsible for the overthrowing of the ship and making contact with the South African Navy, they made their way to the deck.
They needed to get out before the military arrived; Face has made the call as the fictional Private Danny van de Merwe, his accent (thanks to the schooling of Murdock) believable enough for the South African Captain to forgive the fact that he could not remember such a Private being stationed upon the Amatola.
His cover wouldn't hold, however, when Captain Coetzee arrived and they were banking on their own pilot to get them out of there to avoid any 'awkward' moments between them and the South African Navy.
They weren't too concerned, as they knew they could always count on Murdock to swoop in a collect them before the brass arrived.
They could not, however, count on the weather.
At some point during their time below deck the weather had turned violent, downright murderous. Looking back, there had been signs. The way the frigate began to rock a little more, the way they all felt unexplainably nauseous, the occasional forward lurching …
When they finally made it to the deck it was pouring. The door opened outwards with a burst of wind. The sea was a rolling mess of gray; whitecaps graced each wave and they were splashed with freezing salt water as each one slammed against the deck and sides.
"Hannibal," Face shouted over the rain and wind, his voice barely audible above the raucous, "Where's our exit?"
Hannibal frowned, a tight and worrisome thing.
Murdock was supposed to be waiting for them on the helipad. Instead, the helipad was empty, barren, no sign of their captain anywhere.
"I ain't getting' on that damned helicopter in this weather!" BA had his arm around face's shoulders, his limp becoming more pronounced with the rocking deck of the ship. "I'll take my chances with the lifeboat."
A small lifeboat was rigged above the deck, held in place by a series of pulleys.
"Not in this weather, Sergeant." Hannibal said, not that it was an option, not unless, of course, Murdock failed to show in the next two minutes…
"Can you contact him, Boss?" Face looked about ready to pass out as he fought the concussion and the hurricane-like winds. Hannibal had tried before, when they were below deck and had only received static. At first he though it had been interference from being below deck, but now it was clear as to what the problem was.
"No, the storm is interfering with the comms." He shouted. He tried it again anyway, just to be sure.
"Fool ever fly in a damn hurricane?" BA said, a hint of concern in his voice.
"Don't worry, BA," Face stumbled and they almost lost themselves to the sea as a wall of water slammed into their knees, threatening to carry them off deck, "If anyone can fly in this, it's Murdock. Probably just got delayed trying to find the eye of the storm."
They really shouldn't have let him see the movie Twister.
Hannibal scanned the sky, gripping the railings next to the stairs they had come up. If he didn't arrive soon they were in deep s-
"There!" Hannibal said as he caught sight of two blinking, red lights. A moment later, the copter broke through the rain and fog. Hannibal was sure he could see Murdock waving from the cockpit.
At the moment, their comms came to life, crackling with an ear-piercing shriek.
"Aweh, my bru!" Murdock's voice, colored by a South African accent, exploded in their ears, on par with the volume of the storm. "Y' gettin' a bit wet down there, BA?"
"Shut up, fool! Damn crazy –" The frigate lurched and Face and BA found themselves on the ground, just barely able to stop themselves from sliding to the opposite side of the ship.
"Stay together, I'm coming in for the landing." His voice had taken on a serious tone as he witnessed their fall. Each second they spent on that frigate was a second closer to death.
"Bring her in easy, Captain." Hannibal shouted into the comm.. The ship was bucking unpredictably and he had seen choppers downed on aircraft carriers with lesser weather. The possibility of decapitation by rotor was also quite high.
"That's it …" Hannibal had a tight hold on Face's jacket, trying to keep them from flying all over the place as the frigate rolled. What Murdock was doing was a delicate procedure – it was rare that a helicopter had to actually land on a small helipad in this sort of weather. Usually, a rescue chopper would lower it's rescue lines – they didn't have the crew nor the time for that. Murdock had to land the thing.
Murdock inched closer, rising and falling with the movement of the ship. He was so close the ocean spray licked his windshield and Hannibal cold feel the sharp spray of wind and water as the rotors beat a mighty wind down on top of them.
"Alright, gents, once I'm down make a run for it, this may be a Dolphin but she's more of a fair-weather gal and never was a great swimmer …"
Murdock nearly had the landing skids down when the unthinkable happened.
The chopper was a mere five feet from the platform when a gigantic wave slammed into the ship. Hannibal felt his feet go from underneath him but he was able to keep his grip on the rail and Face. His eyes shot towards Face and BA who were watching the sky in horror.
He looked over just in time to see the ship's stern buck up, moving upwards fifty feet so quickly Murdock could never compensate.
"Murdock!" Face and BA shouted nearly simultaneously as the shipped slammed into the skids, denting them, and sending the chopper upwards and swinging sideways into the fog.
"Captain! Murdock! Report!" Hannibal shouted into his comm. as they eagerly watched the sky. They couldn't hear the beat of the rotors and Murdock wasn't responding over their comm. link.
The wind howled fiercely and Hannibal felt numb. He pictured the helicopter careening into the water, breaking apart on impact, the rotors cutting through the waves for a moment before sinking into the depths, Murdock in the pilot's seat …
Face looked to Hannibal and then the sky, his expression pained and his eyes glistening, whether from the concussion, the rain or from emotion, it was difficult to tell, though Hannibal had an idea. He was feeling about the same way. It had happened so fast, there was no time to process what they had seen …
"Where are you, you damn fool?" BA is grimacing and shouting into his comm., "You promised me some tampanade tonight –"
Static rings loudly in their ears.
"Boss, what do … what do we do?" Face says, his voice hoarse.
This wasn't part of the plan. This wasn't part of the goddamned plan.
BA was still shouting into his comm. and Face looked utterly lost. Hannibal's mind was racing, trying to cope with the fact that their pilot, a member of their team and family, had just crashed into the violent South Atlantic whist trying to come up with an escape route that didn't involved jail or swimming.
It wasn't working all too well.
"The lifeboat – "He could hear himself saying, but it didn't feel right, "let's unrig that lifeboat."
Hannibal felt himself moving towards the boat that wobbled dangerously in the wind and rain.
Then the thumping sound came back accompanied by an intense flash of light.
"Oh, no that fool did not …" BA said in slight disbelief as the worse for wear chopper appeared for the second time from the fog.
Face howled in excitement, throwing his arms in the air and nearly sending himself flat on his back.
Hannibal couldn't fight the grin on his face. The skids were nearly crushed and the pilot's side window was cracked – he could just make out Murdock pointing down. He must have smacked his head into the side of the window when the frigate had collided with his chopper, hence the radio silence.
This time, the chopper made it safely onto the helipad, despite the near death rolls of the frigate and the persistent spray from the waves. It bounced once and then stayed in place, the rotors slowing slightly.
"Sorry, boys, forgot I left the stove on back at base, had to go back and turn it off." He shouted as they made their way gratefully into the chopper.
Face threw the door open, unable to get the goofy smile off his features as he caught sight of Murdok.
"Hey there, Faceman!"
"Ho-ly Shit!" He dragged the words out as he helped (forced) BA into the cabin, "You really can fly, HM! That was insane!"
BA looked a little less angry than usual.
"I thought you was dead, man! When we get back on land I'm gonna kill you!" BA slid into a seat in the back, pushed along by Face who was helping hold pressure on the weeping wound in BA's thigh.
"Aww, Bosco, didn't know you cared …" Murdock waited for Hannibal to slide into the co-pilot seat before increasing the rotor speed. He gave the Colonel his best grin as the man clapped him on the back.
"Sorry 'bout that, Colonel. Nature called and nature's a real bitch sometimes." He maneuvered the chopper away from the frigate and back into the storm.
Hannibal eyed his Captain, a small trail of blood was snaking it's way down Murdock's temple, the helmet was cracked and he was sporting the beginnings of a black eye.
He shouldn't have doubted him for a second, no matter how bad it looked, Murdock always bounced back.
"You're a hell of a pilot, kid, a hell of a pilot."
- Learjet 60XR -
Face really doesn't want to die dressed as a steward. There's a gun to his head and he's bleeding from a cut along his hairline and he knows it's a ridiculous thought but it really is a god-awful uniform.
"Tell him to open the door." The man behind him said as he pushed the gun into his temple, making him wince.
Felipe Matrón, a drug runner from Cabo San Lucas, made the trip from La Paz to Orange County every two weeks.
They had infiltrated the Learjet operated by ExecuFlights without a hitch. Face had taken up the part as the flight's steward and Murdock the pilot, naturally.
Hannibal was posing as an investor, interested in 'advancing his business venture in exportation' with Matrón, and was sitting across from the man, nodding as Matrón explained the future of their relationship, his hand grasped firmly around the handle of the metal suitcase they were after; false passports, shipping dates, names of accomplices, inventory lists– everything a partner in such a business would need to successfully work with such 'exports'.
Matrón is flanked by his right-hand man and his bodyguard and they both look like mean mother fuckers. Their job is to glare at Hannibal, their hands resting on their holsters, as the two men speak.
The plan had been going fairly well. In fact, it was nearly complete as Matrón handed over the suitcase and shook Hannibal's hand, who looked as though he had wandered straight from the Texas oil-fields complete with cowboy hat and bolo.
They couldn't be more than twenty minutes from landing and it looked as though they were going to pull it off - until one of the men recognized Face.
It was a one in a million thing, really, one of those things you didn't even worry about because it was pretty much impossible. Hell, Face didn't even recognize him so he must've been one of the young men Tuco had scared into his ranks. One of the men he had only seen in passing when he was dragged from truck to tires to noose – somewhere in between, just another face grinning at the gringo who had been caught bedding Tuco's wife.
He had served them drinks and Matrón's right hand man, Reynosa-something-or-other, had looked at him suspiciously. He must've shrugged it off, for the time being, because he simply sipped at his drink and looked away.
Then Face had laughed at something Matrón had said, acting the part of an ass-kissing steward, and Reynosa's eyes sharpened.
"Señor," Reynosa addressed Face, "Te conozco?" Do I know you? Face frowned. This couldn't be good.
"Sorry, sir," He said, trying to keep his front – he understood Spanish very well and knew what the man was asking and he certainly didn't like the way he was asking it, "I don't speak Spanish. Can I get you another drink?"
Face could feel Hannibal watching him as he waited for Reynosa's response.
Reynosa apologized and waited for Face to turn his back and then all hell broke lose.
Face felt something strike him in the back of the head and then again in the temple. Hannibal was shouting and must have pulled his gun because he counted three clicks as gun hammers were pulled back.
Now, the bodyguard has a gun on Hannibal. Matrón is still seated, sipping at his drink as though nothing happened and Reynosa has a gun to his head.
Face groans as the man nudges him once more.
"I won't ask again. Tell your pilot to open the door or I will kill your friend here, Mr. Pickens, was it?
"Go ahead, Face." Mr. Pickens, aka Hannibal Smith said from his place on the floor. He was on his knees and his gun had been relinquished via a born-crushing kick to the hand.
Face knocks on the door to the cockpit. There is no answer.
Reynosa growls and bangs on the door.
"I've got your friends out here, Captain." He shouts, peering into the spy-hole, "We would like to have a little chat, all of us, together and see if we can't come to some sort of agreement."
Face couldn't help but grin. Murdock was a stubborn son of a bitch.
"Marquez." Reynosa pulled away, Face still in tow, and motioned toward the door with a nod.
The man shoots the lock to the cockpit door and promptly kicks it in.
"Qué es eso –" The man mutters and Face just catches sight of what he is looking at in complete confusion. The cockpit is empty, from their point of view, and the controls are wobbling back in forth on autopilot.
"Boss –" Marquez doesn't get to finish whatever he was about to say because a fire extinguisher comes crashing down onto his face, shattering his nose and sending blood all over his Armani suit.
Hannibal moves fast, grabbing his gun and pointing it at Felipe who is sinking into his seat, his hands grasping for the suitcase.
Face ducks away from Reynosa and lands a solid punch to his kidneys, then his gut and face. Reynosa elbows him in the solar-plexus and he coughs, the air rushing from his lungs. He kicks out and something cracks under his foot.
Sometime during their altercation, Reynosa discharges his weapon – twice – and suddenly there's a terrible sound, almost like that of an explosion and then wind.
Face feels breathless and his head feels really odd, like his ears are about to pop and his head might implode. He thinks he can make out Murdock shouting something at him but damn is he disoriented.
"C'mon, Faceman! It's gonna be a doozy! Good thing BA ain't here!"
He feels himself being dragged to his feet – he didn't remember falling – and sat down in a chair. He feels a seatbelt being snapped closed around his waist and something is shoved over his nose and mouth. It's hard, ill fitting, a little too tight but he feels like he can breathe a little better.
His head is spinning but he manages to catch a glimpse of Hannibal who is shoving something orange over his face and holding onto the suitcase. He gives the 'OK' sign and face follows his gaze.
Murdock is nodding and looks a little breathless himself. He makes a motion that looks like he might be trying to tell them to stay put and hold on and turns and stumbles back towards the cockpit.
Murdock doesn't bother to close the door and Face watches as he takes the controls. The alarm is going off in the cockpit and Face is wondering what the hell happened – and then he finds the source of the problem.
One of the windows is missing. Just gone. Papers and pieces of fabric, ripped from the plane's interior, are being pulled out like a vacuum. Depressurization.
Murdock had mentioned it once or twice before. Once when he was trying – and failing – to ensure that planes were very safe and only a few – many – things could bring one down. Depressurization had been one of them.
The second time was when they were watching a movie, some terribly boring shtick about a plane that was going down because of a tiny whole in the main cabin.
Murdock had snorted, claiming how unrealistic it was, that it would take at least a blown window to do bring a bird down. That and the fact that if going from 70 degrees to negative 60 was enough to kill the crew in mere minutes, maybe seconds.
He had then gone on to talk about a Learjet that had depressurized and flown around on autopilot like a ghost ship for a couple of hours until it ran out of fuel because everyone on board had died from hypoxia.
No wonder he was feeling so lightheaded…
Suddenly the belt is a bit too tight around his lap and his stomach lurched upwards. It takes him a second to realize they are in freefall. The pressure in his head is intense and he's seeing spots. The wind is roaring in his ears and he feels like his eardrums might burst. He loses all sense of balance and his world is a free for all – he can't even tell which way is up.
A moment later he passes out.
"Faaace … Facey-boy."
When he comes too he is sporting a tremendous headache but he can't help but grin when he opens his eyes to see Murdock smirking over him.
"Can you believe it, Facey!" He's shouting at him and he expects it has something to do with the blood running from both of the pilot's ears. "Twenty-thousand feet in eleven seconds!"
He looks far too happy for a man who just nosedived a plane that had been mere seconds from killing everyone on board by means of hypoxia and hypothermia.
"How're you feelin'?" Face manages to groan; it actually does his current state justice.
"Yeah, figured so. Sorry, buddy. Those 'ol G-Forces can be a bit persistent in the knock you unconscious field."
"Ha'bal?" He slurs, why is he slurring?
"Don't worry, just passed out for a moment, like you. Bossman will be chomping cigars in not time." He nods over at the other end of the cabin. They must have landed when he was out because BA is there (he definitely hadn't been on the plane before) offering Hannibal a bottle of water and the Bossman looks like he is nursing the mother of all headaches and the most epic nose bleed he has ever seen. He's trying to talk but BA is adamant that he keeps his mouth shut as he hands him another – he's gone through three – hand towel.
"Stop shoutin' fool, giving everyone a headache." Murdock motioned to his ears, a clear 'can't-hear-you' expression on his face. BA rolled his eyes but his heart wasn't in it. The Learjet had landed on the tarmac at a frightening speed. Murdock looked a little more shook up than BA was used to, probably a byproduct of fighting the G-Forces his rapid descent had caused, and the whole bleeding from the ears thing was never a comforting sight.
"Th' t'rget?" Murdock is handing him water and painkillers and he takes them gratefully.
"They're alright." Murdock turns around and Face peers behind him; the three men are sprawled throughout the cabin, their lips blue and their chests very still. "Well, not alright, kind of dead, actually. Serves 'em right for blowing a hole in my plane."
Face can only nod and doesn't bother breaking it to Murdock that this isn't his plane. His head feels like someone took a battering ram to it. How had Murdock managed not to pass out …
He must've said that out loud because BA is shaking his head and Murdock is grinning again.
"It's gonna take a bit more than a couple of wimpy G-Forces to bring 'ol Murdock down!" He says proudly.
"Yeah, man? Is that why you passed out after landing, you crazy fool?"
"Aw, Bosco, it was only for a second, why'd you have to go and say that?"
Face couldn't really follow the rest of whatever they were saying. He was too busy trying not to allow his mind to develop some sort of phobia towards planes similar to BA's.
Murdock was a fucking fantastic pilot; that much was true. If the last decade of missions hadn't proved it, than this one sure did. It didn't mean the insane saves Murdock made were any less terrifying.
He quickly banished any blossoming negative feelings towards flying, however, as Murdock brought his attention back to him.
"Y' okay, Faceman? Y' need anything? Water, a blanket - " He looked worried; as much as he loved pulling stunts and seeing the expressions on his usually horrified passenger's faces, he didn't like out right scaring his team and though he would never admit it, BA's fear of flying was something that bothered him greatly; he hated that he was the reason for BA's crippling phobia and he never wanted to repeat that with another one of his team.
"Yeah, man. Golden," He smiled, "Thanks to you."
The look on Murdock's face was so worth the near death experience.
- MH-47D Chinook -
Murdock loved to fly. Love being an understatement. He lived to fly. If he couldn't fly there was no point in living – he figured he might as well be six feet under should he ever find himself permanently grounded. Pun intended.
This did not mean, however, that there weren't any flight missions he didn't particularly like.
He enjoyed the personal fulfillment that came with rescue flights, he loved a good dogfight and even simple transports had their fun, mainly because they provided him time to practice his ever-growing repertoire of stunts.
Those were all good and dandy.
Battlefront delivery, however, was on the bottom of his favorites list.
On more than one occasion he had to watch as men were sniped from their rappelling lines, dangling like a marionette for a moment before they crashed to the ground. He couldn't stand pulling away from the battleground, watching as men fell to explosion and gunfire. Each payload mission felt as though he were delivering men to their deaths and it was always abnormally silent during the flight. They didn't want to talk, they were too stuck in their minds, knowing what was waiting for them.
He had received the orders while playing poker with BA and Face; because of the unusual nature of his reinstatement he was, effectively, susceptible to being 'on loan.'
"Captain Murdock," The man had entered the tent and Murdock's stomach had dropped at the sight of the papers in his hand. "Orders from General Mayes."
His team wasn't happy with any of these 'loaner' missions. They didn't like not being able to watch each other's backs, especially when it involved going into the field.
Hannibal watched from a table in the corner, chewing on his cigar as he leaned over a worn map. He often made a point to protest the matter with the higher-ups but they were adamant. He could choose his team, employ that 'whack-job-of-a-pilot' but there were conditions; when they needed his expertise, they would get his expertise.
Hannibal had effectively reduced the amount of times they could 'borrow' their pilot but the brass still got what they wanted. It didn't matter if they had just returned from a mission or if they were on leave, every three months or so they hijacked one of his men and he wasn't happy about it.
Murdock saluted, something that had always felt unnatural, and sat down, unable to keep the frown from his usual jubilant expression.
Face glared at the man who had delivered the orders as he left their tent and BA crossed his arms, looking as though he was a second away from beating the man's face in.
Murdock could feel the rest of his team regarding him carefully and he forced a smile as he put his cards down on the table.
"Well, gentleman, it has been a pleasure but duty calls." He said in the Queen's English, "Don't wait up for me, I shant be back for afternoon tea – Face, play nice, I saw you palm that Ace and BA, suppers in the fridge."
"Alright, man. Give 'em hell. Pull some barrel rolls in my name." Face said, trying not to appear concerned as he collected Murdock's abandoned cards. BA looks vaguely annoyed as Murdock holds his arms out.
"What? No hug? BA, this may be the last time we ever see each other." BA isn't sure if he's more pissed because the pilot is trying to hug him or because it's true.
"Man, get outta here." Murdock puts on a pout.
"Fine. I see how it is, big guy, can't get all emotional in front of the guys." BA swats at him and misses as the pilot jumps nimbly out of the way with a laugh, heading towards the tent flap.
"Come back safe, Captain." Hannibal says from his position over the maps. He isn't looking at the pilot but it doesn't matter. Murdock grins and salutes with a proper heel click.
He makes his way across the base for the briefing and in no time he is flying the sand-colored Chinook across the desert, filled to the brim with a 30-man repelling team.
"T-minus thirty seconds to drop zone." He says in a voice he has adopted for these missions. It's polished, professional and he's made a point to reduce his accent; it's an uncomfortable and painfully boring way to speak. How other's manage, he'll never know.
His co-pilot, Lieutenant Braddock or something along those lines, repeats his words with affirmative tagged to the front and God, he does not miss having a co-pilot. It was akin to having a parrot on your shoulder, repeating everything you said, and now that Murdock thought about it, it sounded pretty cool.
He reaches the drop zone in the predicted 30-seconds and gives the squad leader the go ahead. He hovers over the narrow street, just on the outskirts of Al-Qar, and watches the men drop to the ground in quick, efficient movements.
It looks quiet and he starts to think this mission will go off without the usual bloodshed and then there is the sound of bullets against metal and he knows he and the team below are under fire.
"Sergeant," Murdock yells to the man overseeing the deployment, "Unfriendlies at five o'clock!"
Murdock turns his attention back to the ground – there are about 15 or so men left in the Chinook and the men below are scrambling for cover as soon as they touchdown.
He grimaces as one man takes a slug in the abdomen; Murdock hates this part.
Almost everyone is out now and Murdock is nearly ready to pull out for the second ground team when that terrible metallic thunking sound comes back.
The windshield cracks but holds. This baby 's bullet proof, it would take a lot more –
Glass shatters and he hears Braddock grunt and choke before falling silent.
Fuck. Armor-piercing rounds. His lucky day.
Murdock knows he's dead without looking; the amount of blood covering the panels is proof enough that his co-pilot took a fatal hit.
"Deployment complete, Captain. Repeat, deployment complete." He hears the sergeant in his headset and pulls up sharply. He can hear the glass shifting on the floor as he maneuvers out of range.
"Roger that." The windshield on his side is badly cracked, bad enough to make it difficult to see through and he has to shout over the wind that's coming through the gaping hole on Braddock's side.
He looks over at his co-pilot. The man took a round in the chest and throat. At least it was quick, Murdock thinks.
He pushes the Chinook to full throttle, a staggering 160 mph – the things weren't meant for speed.
He takes a deep breath and tries to fight the impending headache as he prepares to make his report back to base. He is feeling woozy and he shakes his head, trying to clear his vision, which has gone grey at the edges.
Then he feels something wet on his fingers, dripping onto the floor. He looks down and is mildly shocked.
He's been hit, somewhere in the chest and shoulder region, he couldn't really pinpoint exactly where. There sure was a lot of red. He can't see the wound but he has to assume it's shrapnel; no one took an armor-piercing round to the chest and lived to tell the oh so gruesome tale.
"Well ain't that somethin'…" He's only fifteen minutes from base and he does his best to ignore the now apparent blood loss. It's dark. Artieral. Not a good sign.
He decides he might not be thinking clearly – but then again, is he ever? – when he realizes he's worried about the second transport and how this little problem will effect his next flight.
"It's just a flesh wound." He says to himself as he grips the throttle, his hands shaking. "I'm invincible!" He shouts to no one in his best Monty Python impression. He's getting dizzy and the horizon is kind of blurry.
He can see the base just ahead and it looks like he's going to make it and avoid the whole crash and burn scenario. During briefings they always made a point to tell him how much these birds cost and this one was a doozy. He felt mildly guilty for the new paint job it would need but hey, at least he hadn't crashed the damn thing. Not yet at least.
Air traffic is trying to reach him over the radio and he feels frustrated for a moment because Braddock isn't responding. Then he feels guilty, very guilty, because Braddock is kind of out of commission.
He rattles off some words he doesn't quite remember, he's actually pretty sure he just sang in his report, something Air Traffic never seems to appreciate.
Men are scrambling on the landing plane and the Chinook must look bad because they don't look happy to see him. News travels fast, scary fast, because he's pretty sure he sees BA, Face and Hannibal on the tarmac.
And he promised to come back safe. Oops.
With the last of his concentration he lands the heavy chopper, the jolt jarring his shoulder and sending white tendrils of agony down his arm and across his chest.
He feels his hands fall from the controls and his head droop. Stupid uncooperative body. He'd had to have a talk with it later.
Just before he loses consciousness he is pretty sure he can hear Hannibal chewing out the General who had ordered him on the mission. He smiles, or at least tries to, because he knows that this is probably his last loaner mission if Hannibal has anything to say about.
- Champion 7GC Sky-Trac -
Alaska. Why would they take a damn job in Alaska? It's cold, windy, isolated and the only way to get from point A to point B was to fly in a damn bush plane.
"Hell no, I ain't goin' in that, it's a damn dinosaur, man." BA is rooted to the ground and there's no way in hell Murdock is getting him in that thing. The pilot is dragging at his shirt, trying to pull him towards the beat looking plane, with little success.
"BA, this isn't the time to be irrational! There gonna be here any minute, now let's go!" He had told Hannibal he wasn't flying.
They had flown to Alaska. One there he 'reasoned' with them, telling them that if they flew there he wouldn't have to get around by any means of transportation that left the ground or ocean. No question about it; he would rent a whole damn team of sled dogs is he had to.
That was the whole point of the Snow Cat. He could get around fine in the thing and even though it took him longer than flying he still got there, even if it was three days after the rest of his team. It at least had given him time to clear his head.
"Don't worry, Bosco, it's only thirty years old! It's in its prime!" The sound of an approaching plane got Murdock pulling at his jacket again.
"No way man, I rather get shot up than get in that thing." Murdock sighed heavily – usually Face and Hannibal handled this kind of problem and his attempts had always ended in failure.
"Listen, BA," Murdock tried – that plane was getting close. If he was to make a guess he'd say it was the guys they had stolen all that money from. Stolen and burned. They were probably mad, mad enough to want to kill them. Probably. "Remember that time the van's back tires blew and you were gutshot and Hannibal was unconscious and Face was MIA and I had a concussion and those guys from Miami were chasing us and –"
"What does tha-" Murdock stopped him as he shook his shoulders, his eyes darting between him and the open airspace behind the man. They were cutting this a bit close …
"I trusted you to get us outta there, and you did. And that time that guy threw me overboard, handcuffed, I knew I could trust you to come get me."
BA opened his mouth; probably to remind him he had been very unconscious by the time he had reached him.
"And that time that guy was gonna shoot Face in the … face and we were counting on you to pity some fools …"
Murdock was fixing him with a look that was almost too intense and he fought the urge to look away.
"You came through. BA, I trust you, I've always trusted you." The sound of the approaching plane was getting louder and Murdock was getting more and more anxious, hardly able to stand still, his body telling him to move, to fly.
"Now," He licked his lips and took a deep breath, "I need you to trust me."
BA shifted his weight, allowing the words to really settle.
"Trust me like I trust you." BA sighed, casting a final glance at the ruined SnowCat, before shaking his head. He couldn't believe he was about to do this.
"Alright, man, but don't do any of your crazy man shit." His voice was hoarse, his throat choking up at the thought of getting in a plane. By choice. Concious.
"That's it, Bosco! The first step to recovery is always the hardest!" Murdock dragged him towards the old Champ and BA followed begrudgingly, familiar feelings of anxiety stirring in his gut making him nauseous.
"Man the things got no wheels!" He complained as they reached the plane. BA went around the side and put a hand on the handle, not yet willing to open the damn door.
"Its got skis! It's fine! This is Alaska, man, now get in!" Behind the plane comes a buzzing and Murdock looks back to see a plane climb over the crest of a hill.
BA fought back the nausea and dizziness and opened the door, sliding into the co-pilot seat; his body feeling like lead.
"Here we go. Hang on!" Murdock pushed the throttle forward, spinning the plane around in the direction in which they had the most room – he had landed it on a small glacier, as was typical for Alaskan bush pilots, and knew the takeoff was going to be a bit dicey.
He had had no intention of mentioning that to BA.
"Hang on? What do you mean? You said no crazy shit!" Murdock pushed the plane as it could go, pulling it up, testing it, as it bounced off the ground, unable to achieve enough speed.
"In my defense, BA," They were running out of space, the edge of the glacier coming closer, "I didn't actually say that."
"Pull up! Why aren't you pulling up?" BA was gripping the seat with a death grip, his knuckles almost white, which was quite a feat.
Murdock decided they didn't have much more time left and pulled up as hard as he could. BA shouted as the ground disappeared from underneath them and then they promptly fell, descending into an icy fog.
"Why are we falling, fool! I tol' you this was a piece of junk!" The plane dipped low, falling towards the snowy ground below as it's single buzzing alarm went off.
"Don't worry, BA, just need to get some lift, she'll come around!" It didn't help that Murdock was murmuring 'come on' multiple times as they continued to fall. BA was hard pressed to believe the pilot at this point.
"OOHH –" BA couldn't stop himself as the ground drew closer, Murdock was howling like a crazy bastard as he forced the plane to climb. At the last possible second the plane lurched upwards and he was pretty sure the plane's skids had just scraped the ice below.
"Whew-hoo-hoo." Murdock whooped as they continued a steady climb. He leveled the plane and checked to see if they were still being pursued. The plane that had been chasing them was nowhere in sight.
They must've seen him drop from the glacier and assumed the worst …
"Not too bad, right Bosco?" The other man didn't respond, he simply stared ahead, unblinking.
Murdock snapped his fingers in front of the man's face, hoping to illicit a reaction.
"Hello. Hello in there …"
"Oh come on, man, snap out of it!" Murdock sighed. He glanced over at the catatonic man. Dare he?
Murdock reached over and gave the man a light slap. Not even a flinch.
Oh well, he had been waiting for the proper time to re-enact The Princess Bride in it's entirety.
- Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion -
The bird was going down.
It was rare that he wished a fiery death on any sort of aircraft, but this was a very special occasion and it had become clear that the poor thing needed its wings clipped.
It was also equally unfortunate that he had to go down with it. Unfortunate, but worth it in the end.
He squirmed in the bucket seat, trying to make as little noise as possible, as he worked the handcuffs clasped tightly around his wrists. The pilot and co-pilot seated in front of him were unaware of his consciousness; there was no reason to think he'd be awake, they had drugged him with enough sedatives to take down a damn rhino.
They had also, however, severely underestimated his tolerance to that class of drugs.
One of them looked back at him and he expertly feigned unconsciousness. He was very good at that by now.
He cracked an eye open to find they had returned their attention to the skies and he scowled in disgust before continuing his work on the handcuffs. His hand ached as he tried to pull it thought the cuff but he didn't care, it was broken anyway, a little more abuse couldn't hurt …
He had been in the hands of these bastards for little over two days. The guys were Private Sector, real tough sons of bitches, and they hadn't been gentle with him. He had learned a lot during his time with them, mainly that they could hit hard, really hard, and weren't beyond using asshole torture techniques like water boarding, but most importantly, he had learned their objective.
Eliminate Colonel Hannibal Smith's A-Team.
Murdock knew the orders were coming from some higher up but that was all. DOD. CIA. Black Forest. One of those fuckers.
Not only did they plan to attack his A-Team, they were going to attack an entire base, an attack that would kill the infamous A-Team and a base full of innocent, country loving US soldiers.
To top it all off, to put a really huge fucking cherry on that cake, he wasn't so sure his team even knew he was captured.
He had been presented with 'top secret' orders; another fucking loaner mission, something they all thought he was done with but it was the first time three years and this time they had nearly begged him, treated him like the Captain he was, said innocent civilian lives were on the line.
BA had thrown down his wrench and called it bullshit. Face shook his head saying he had a real bad feeling. Hannibal's eyes narrowed before stalking off to talk to mission command.
Hannibal couldn't run interference this time. He had come back furious and Murdock was deployed two hours later.
He boarded the Orion assigned to him – officially in his command on fucking paper – and took off. Six hours later, not more than ten minutes after touch down, one of the men punched him square in the jaw, hard, before wrestling him to the ground. He hadn't seen it coming.
Not at all.
The next two days that followed were pure hell. They beat him for no reason, using him as a punching bag for sport. They didn't need answers because they didn't have any fucking questions. They just liked the way he squirmed, liked the way he would ask them why they were doing this, the way his eyes gathered moisture in complete rage when they talked about his team.
It wasn't until two hours before take off that he learned his part in this nightmare.
They were going to fly in friendly in the Orion of which he was supposed to be the damn pilot of. They would deliver the payload: 20,000 lbs of hell on earth. The pilots would bailout, parachuting from the Orion twenty miles from base. Finally, they would pin it on the 'crazy-fucking-pilot', finally pushed over the edge after years of psychological trauma and abuse.
The base was small and only had five fighters on the ground. If they took out the birds on the ground they wouldn't have a chance. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
In BA's words: this was some real bullshit.
They were three minutes from the base and Air Traffic was calling his name. Murdock cringed at their impression of him; they made him sound like some backwater hick.
He continued to pull at the cuffs but it just wasn't working. He had to think of something else. He was seriously running out of time.
"HM One, armed." The pilot said and Murdock couldn't believe it, they even went as far to name the fucking bombs after him! Talk about soiling his good name …
It was now or never, really. He could see the base on the horizon.
As quietly as he could he slide his cuffed hands underneath him, pulling them under his knees. His shoulders protested and his body felt like one giant bruise but he managed to get his arms in front of him without a damn sound. Hannibal would be proud.
He frowned. Don't think of that now …
He didn't like admitting it to himself but he wasn't ready. He wasn't the action hero type – that was Hannibal and Face's and BA's job. He never got to be the one who saved the damsel in distress (though he had pulled his team out of many sticky situations), he wasn't the one who beat the enemy into righteousness or submission (usually the latter) and he wasn't the one that they all looked to when everything had gone to shit, the man people looked at with hope when the world seemed just about over.
He was the pilot, the overly eccentric, gastronomically inclined, comedic relief of the team (they would argue the last point) and he wanted to play that part a little longer.
He wanted to live.
He took a deep breath and steeled himself, fighting the anxiety stirring in his gut. He stood into a low crouch, hands in front of him.
He wanted to help BA build the van he had accidentally destroyed in Mexico, to pester the man into calling him fool, to see Momma Baracus again and have her dote on him more than BA himself.
He couldn't fight the tremor in his hands as he approached the pilot from behind. He had never wanted to kill a man. This man, this bastard who wanted his team dead – he wanted to kill him.
He wanted more midnight talks with Haninbal, when his insomnia was at it's worst, to hear the ever wise words of the Bossman who always made him feel somewhat normal again. He wanted to hear him call him 'Captain' again, to hear the respect and pride in the man's voice when he talked about his – not the – team's pilot.
He threw his cuffed arms around the pilot's neck and pulled.
And Face, his best friend and a man he had come to love … he wanted to seem him laughing again, holding his sides as he rattled off some ridiculous story about why he is allergic to microwaves or to marvel at his (amazing) impression of BA. He wanted more time to say what he needed to say –
His mind was laughing at him as it played the Rolling Stones.
You can't always get what you want …
He pulled, hard, like they did in the movies and the pilot was grasping at his neck. The other co-pilot was more than a little surprised and gave a shout of surprise. Murdock was inclined to call it a girlish shriek.
The co-pilot reached for his gun and stood. Murdock shifted his weight, knocking the weapon away with a sturdy shoulder check.
The plane moaned and sloped downwards as the struggling pilot bucked in his chair, choking and gasping.
The co-pilot struggled to rearm himself but the gun had slid out of reach as the plane banked downwards.
The alarms began to sound and a mechanical voice warned them of their rapid descent.
The co-pilot grabbed at Murdock, punching and clawing, trying to rip him off the pilot who was losing the battle against the cuffs at his neck.
He wasn't going to let these fuckers kills his team
He kicked out, really fucking hard, and caught the man in the face, his heavy boot sending the man into oblivion as he cracked his head against the console. The blood that ran down the altimeter pleased him more than it ever should have.
The Orion was at 2,500 feet. The point of no return.
The man finally went slack and gurgled his last breath.
The ground was racing to meet them and though he knew it was useless he reached over and grabbed for the controls – call it pilot's instinct.
He pulled back, desperate to right the craft.
He wanted more fucking time …
The alarms continued to ring in his ears like a freshly delivered death sentence.
The plane leveled slightly but he knew he wasn't going to make it, if anything all he had done was avoid a frontal collision.
He could make out goddamn cracks in the desert. Time seemed to be slowing.
He went through a plethora of emotions, all too fast to register and he managed a final deep, cleansing breath. His desire for time was outweighed by the desire to save his time and he managed a smile.
He closed his eyes and thought of Hannibal and BA and Face.
His team was safe …
"See you on the other side."
Any epilogue may be forthcoming, perhaps :)
Thoughts? Any reviews would be most welcome!