Disclaimer: I do not own, nor did I create, any of the A-team characters (main or support) nor do I own, nor did I create, any of the episodes. That credit is due to Stephen J. Cannell and his associates. Any familiar catch phrases also belongs to the Cannell team.
Spoiler Alert: None needed for this installment.
Author's Notes: Please see the entry at the end of this one shot.
Summary: A light discussion about surnames brings forth a much deeper discussion about self.
What's in a Name?
"Aw come on Big Guy! Just listen up. I promise ya gonna like this." pleaded Murdock as he chased BA into their motel cabin.
"No, FOOL, I don't wanna hear any of your jibber jabber!" growled BA waving his ring clad hands at Murdock.
"But BA, that's the beauty of this. This, isn't MY jibber jabber. I'm reading it from a real book."
"What book? I don't see no book, Sucker." demanded BA
In response to this Murdock whipped a soft cover book out of his jacket. BA, unwilling to admit defeat, yanked it from Murdock's swooping hands.
"Real book my foot! That's a junk store leftover. Heck what real author would have a name like Madame Pennie Scentse!"
Face picked up the cheap book from the couch, where BA had flung it. Then after reading the cover, said, "Murdock? Really now, 'Unlock the Meaning, Unlock Your Power - the Natural Power of Your Name'. You've got to admit it sounds hokey."
"No No No, Faceman! This is a truthful tome!" insisted Murdock as he retrieved his guide from Face. "Listen to what it says about BA's last name. I'll read it word for word outta the book... Your family name means honor. But great power means great responsibility...Honor-Power-Responibility. Doesn't that totally match our Big Guy?"
With a reflective shrug, Face admitted that it did. BA, flattered by what Murdock had read and said, stopped his fussing. Throughout this exchange, Hannibal had been listening quietly from the armchair. Now, Murdock focussed in on him.
"Colonel! The book gets you too. I'm telling you this is a real book with an expert author."
"Ok, Captain, let's hear what Madame Scentse has to say about the surname Smith." indulged the Colonel.
"It says ... People always look to you for inspiration. Everyone considers you the epitome of honor.'" read Murdock.
Face thoughtfully nodded his agreement. Reluctantly BA confirmed that the passage matched Hannibal. For his part Hannibal tried not to show how touched he was that his Team viewed him this way. The subsequent lull in conversation was broken by the Big Guy.
"Oh alright, Fool. What does that crazy book say about your name?" BA asked crabbily yet curiously.
"Oh wait, I haven't looked yet." Murdock said as he furiously searched out his family name.
"Here goes... You come from a mysterious family with many secrets. Your family has been involved in many acts of heroism, often covert. Nothing is very clear regarding your name, only your courage."
"Just what are the credentials of this author?" inquired the Colonel, who was now rather intrigued. After all these interpretations were matching up well.
Murdock passed the book to him. Hannibal quietly scanned it while Murdock poured himself a cup of coffee and BA rifled through his duffle bag. To a casual observer it would have seemed that the men had not noticed that Face had quietly retreated from the cabin. However that would be wrong. They all had seen him slip out, and they all knew why. They also knew their Lieutenant needed some personal space. But not too much.
Hannibal waited about ten minutes. "Going to enjoy my cigar while watching the sunset." he announced as he strode to the door. Once outside he scanned his surroundings, and honed in on his target. Face was sitting at the edge of the small dock on the motel's pond.
Hannibal quietly strolled over there. Upon arrival he sat next to Faceman, who simply glanced at him.
"Got a light, Kid? I left mine inside."
"Sure, Colonel." Face replied automatically lighting the cigar.
"Have you seen anything interesting out here?"
"Not really looking, just sort of soaking in the silence." Face replied.
"You left before Murdock had a chance to look up your name."
Face shot Hannibal a cynical look, then smirked as if he didn't care.
"Aren't you the least bit curious?" pushed Hannibal. .
"Hannibal. I seriously doubt that book has any legitimate science behind it." Face said dismissively.
"So are you trying to say that you guys were just blowing smoke my way when you all agreed that my result matched me?" Hannibal challenged.
"No, it matched you well." Face avowed. "Murdock and BA too." he wistfully added.
Hannibal let the silence return. He took a few serene drags on his cigar. "So why didn't you stick around to hear your name?" he again prodded his Second in Command.
"Really, Hannibal? You and I both know it's pointless- even from a simple entertainment angle." Face retorted as he skipped a stone across the pond surface. However he had put a little too much force into it and the stone simply plopped and sank.
"Why? The book had just as much chance of accurately describing you as it did for the rest of us." stated the Colonel.
Face let out a sardonic sigh to this.
Hannibal fixed him with a fatherly yet unrelenting gaze, "Talk to me kid." He watched his Lieutenant struggle with himself - to speak or not to speak.
"Hannibal, ... What is your first memory from grade school?" Face asked.
Startled by this odd question Hannibal was momentarily at a loss for words. "Um... Let me think." he stalled, "I think it might be falling off the swing set in first grade."
"Did you get hurt?" asked Face.
"No but I did get detention." Hannibal answered with a sly grin.
"Detention? For falling off a swing? Face gasped, his curiosity beating out his broodiness.
"I didn't say swing. I said swing set. I had shimmied up the legs and was cat walking across the main beam. But then I slipped, landed right on top of the principal."
"And so began your lifelong pursuit of ticking off the Brass." Face chuckled.
After a pause Face quietly said, "Mine, is trying to write my name on a paper. It was a watercolor painting of the flower on Sister's desk. It was that week's art lesson. I was struggling to spell Templeton. And the boy sitting next to me caught on so he started teasing me. He was so loud that the entire class was alerted that I couldn't spell my name. ... Sister put a quick stop to it - Jeremy lost recesses for the rest of the week. But the damage was done, the kids thought I was a weirdo. And that's exactly how I felt. The weird kid. The kid who couldn't spell his name because he'd only had the name for a month. Father Maghill gave it to me when he took me into the orphanage. I couldn't remember my birth name when he found me."
"Sounds like that Jeremy was a royal jerk."
"Yeah he was, but that's not the point. I have no memories from before the orphanage. No birth certificate. Everything about me is made up. Father Maghill created Templeton Peck. Hell, he even decided the day he found me would become my birthday date. I don't know my real history, or my real name."
"Templeton Peck is a fabrication, so there wasn't any point in playing along with Murdock's game! I'm sorry, but I just couldn't pull that con tonight. It just stirred up too much."
Hannibal. slipped the book from the inner pocket of his coat. It was folded back to reveal a specific page. He read, "You have a hero's last name. The future holds great surprises and events for you. Your destiny is special and you will bring honor to your name."
Face locked gazes with his commander, his friend, his compass.
Returning the gaze with eyes full of sincerity and pride Hannibal said, "Looks to me that Father Maghill not only found YOU, but found your real real NAME too... You've been a hero and you've brought honor to your name. And I truly believe that you're going to go on to do even more."
Then, after a moment's pause Hannibal added, "Face, I'm sorry you had such a rough start. And since it bothers you so much I hope you someday find out what happened before Father Maghill took you in. But, having that info, won't change who you are, because you're already a damn fine person without it. "
"Thanks, Hannibal," Face said as he stood up. He offered his hand to his Colonel saying, "Let's go back inside."
Madame Pennie Scentse and her book are figments of my imaginations.
The name interpretations are paraphrased versions of results from an Internet "test" that popped up on a social media page. After I played around with my name I had the idea to try the names of S.J. Cannell's characters. It surprised me how much the interpretations for Smith, Baracus, Murdock, and Peck matched up with the characters. Thusly inspired, this one shot is the result.