On the Wings of Reminiscence
By A. Howard
A/N: This story is dedicated to my Dad, who introduced me to my favorite show of all time.
Here's to finding a place for fun and nostalgia in life and dreams... ~A.H.
Chapter 1 – Crash Into Me, What a Mess!
A rumble of distant thunder broke the haunting silence that encompassed the private Virginia residence. Standing outside the vast field of luscious grass surrounding the prestigious mansion, a gray-suited man raised a pair of binoculars and actively searched the broad, darkening horizon.
"General," a voice called out from behind him. "The medical assistance you've requested is on their way and should be arriving within the next fifteen minutes."
"Thank you, Able Three," General 'Hunt' Stockwell responded without bothering to lower the binocs. The Able, pleased with himself, lifted his gun to his chest, performed an 'about-face' and returned to patrolling the premises.
Lightning flashed far off in the distance and another round of thunder rolled in. When the last rumble faded away, Stockwell heard the faint sound of a sputtering engine following and he soon located the silhouette of a helicopter as it appeared through the dark clouds above - which were now threatening to open up at any moment. As the chopper quickly approached and descended towards the field to land, he could now see the damage it had taken prior to arriving and his lips pursed in anticipation.
Suddenly, the engine seized, then stalled out completely and the skids slammed hard against the ground. The force was too great and they buckled under the pressure, sending the fuselage hard into the dirt. It settled in a thick cloud of black billowing smoke, dust and eventually, dead silence.
But not for long.
"AHH, get me outta this thing!"
The angry yell was loud enough to be heard though the metal wall of the craft just before the side door, covered in black carbon scoring, flew open. Sergeant B.A. Baracus jumped from the cargo area and immediately tore the camouflaged helmet from his head, checking his trademark Mohawk to reassure himself that it was still there. He snarled, finding singed hair and blood trickling down his neck from a gash behind his right ear instead.
"Hannibal! Why does that fool have to crash every time you guys make me fly? That's it! I ain't gonna do it ever again - no more!" B.A. started walking toward the nearby house, still rambling on in protest. "You ain't gonna drag me on anything that leaves the ground ever again and I mean it. I've really had it this time. Hey, you hearin' me, Hannibal?"
"Yeah, I hear you, B.A."
Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith was the next to follow suit, sliding out of the chopper and steading himself, the extra weight of an unconscious body in his arms not helping matters. With his arms full and his mind reeling, he began the trek back to the house, but not before casually voicing his opinion on the situation first through his clenched teeth on a lit cigar.
"Well, that was quite a close call back there. Whaddaya say, guys?"
"Close, are you kidding me, Hannibal?"
Lieutenant Templeton 'Faceman' Peck slowly made his way to solid ground as well and winced as he tried to gingerly lift his injured shoulder. "That was a little too close! You know, I'm all for an exciting mission now and again, but that was ridiculous!" He looked to the house to gauge the distance, then turned back to yell, "And speaking of close - did you really have to set us down all the way out here, Murdock? Now we gotta walk all this way back. You know, some of us were busy fighting off those goons while you were off taking your sweet time finding our ride."
"Hey, what's your problem, Face? I got us back here in one piece, didn't I?"
The last one to depart, Captain H.M. Murdock jumped out of the cockpit, tested his limbs and realized he was no worse for wear, minus his ego. He curiously examined the exterior of the chopper and whistled in awe when he looked down at the mangled skids. "And from the looks of things, you can thank your lucky stars too because I swore I heard this little birdie lose her engine back there while we were dead center over the Chesapeake Bay."
"Well, that makes me feel a whole lot better." Face glared at him. "Thanks, Murdock."
"Anytime, Face." Murdock smirked back, then walked over to take a quick peek under the tail section and whistled in awe. Hannibal was right, it was a close one - there were enough damage to resemble the one too many choppers he saw fall from the sky in the Vietnam War. Breathing a sigh of relief, he gave a quick salute to the clouds above him.
Pilot's Prayer saves us all once again.
"Just you wait!" Murdock's religious moment was interrupted by B.A.'s angry yell. "I'm gonna pound all of you for this - you better believe it!"
"Hey, B.A., leave me out of it this time, will ya?" Face protested. "Murdock was the one that was supposed to be scouting the area so, uh, pound away at him."
Murdock gaped in disbelief. "Wait a second, what do you mean I was the scout?"
"Hannibal told you to check the hangar, remember?"
"Hey, I did check it, and it was all clear. Besides, he was looking at both of us and I was the one who found this pretty little bird that got us outta there."
"And nearly got us all killed in the process!" Face reminded him.
"Enough of the blame game, guys!" Hannibal interrupted them, calling out from ahead. "You gotta figure those sleazeballs were hot on our tail the minute we high-tailed it outta there, so it's obvious they were tracking us the moment we got back into the country. Now let's just deal with one thing at a time - starting with the wounded here, so let's pick up the pace, all right?"
The desire to further inspect the chopper nagged at Murdock, but his commanding officer's impatient tone told him it better wait. He pulled himself away from the wreckage and quickly caught up with the rest of the team as they all made their way back to their safe haven.
"Hey Hannibal!" B.A. called out. "Stockwell's already here, he's waiting for us."
"I see he's in a big hurry to help too," Face grumbled as he watched Stockwell remain still, poised in his typical tranquility. They finally met up with him on the concrete path leading back to the house and wasted no time trying to find out answers.
"Report, Colonel Smith."
Ignoring the question, Hannibal walked right past, glaring in response and quickening his pace. It wasn't long before Stockwell was alongside him and keeping stride.
"I would appreciate your report on this mission." Stockwell insisted. "What happened out there?"
What happened? You should know what happened. You're the one that sent us on the mission in the first place you son of a...
Ignoring the colorful list of obscenities that plagued his mind, Hannibal finally answered, "They got the drop on us during the transfer." He cocked his head towards the smoking chopper in the distance and added, "literally."
"I was told they might have been tracking you when you left Buenos Aires. Did you take care of the matter?"
"No doubt about that." Hannibal made no attempt to hide his smugness, adding, "You'll have to fish them out of the Chesapeake Bay about thirty miles back."
"Already done - and what about this?" Stockwell motioned to the unconscious body in his arms.
"This?" Hannibal's voice dripped with sarcasm. "You know that abandoned airfield you directed us to? Not so abandoned after all. You know, I'd appreciate it if the next time we go on one of your missions, General, that your people get their so-called facts straight the first time around. I'm getting real tired of surprises."
Stockwell glared back in response. Smith had always loved to get his digs in whenever he could and today was no different. Paying no attention to his comments, he quickly blocked the doorway with with a quick move of his arm, forcing Hannibal to stop in his tracks. Their eyes met, annoyance on both sides.
"What about the disk?" Stockwell's impatience was beginning to show through his stoic gaze. "Did you get it?"
"Priorities first, General." Hannibal answered through the cigar in his teeth. "I'm not going to stand around and chat when there's someone in need of medical attention." He readjusted the weight in his arms and warned, "Now, get out of my way."
Stockwell looked down at the unconscious body, then dropped his arm and stepped back, allowing Hannibal to edge his way through. Face, Murdock and B.A. followed closely behind, each sharing their own look of displeasure as they passed, and B.A. growled as he pulled his hand away, exposing his injury.
Not phased in the least by the gruesome wound, Stockwell turned to the Ables accompanying him. "Post extra security in case they were followed back here, also, get that mess off the lawn and tell the doc, 'code gray'. We are at a full security alert, gentleman!"
On entering the house, Hannibal wasted no time setting the unconscious figure down on a nearby couch and began carefully searching for any open or serious wounds. "Took a pretty big hit from that blast… was in and out the whole way over." After looking her over, he found only the obvious welt on the side of her head and sighed in resignation. "Where'd she even come from, Murdock - I thought you said we were clear?"
"Outta nowhere." Murdock shook his head apologetically. "Sorry, Colonel - must've been somewhere in the hangar. I didn't see her until it was too late." He saw the welt on her head and winced. "I'll go get some ice."
"Yeah, you do that," Face called out in retort as he watched Murdock scurry from the room. "And get some for me too, will ya?" He gingerly lowered himself in a chair and continued to test his throbbing shoulder. From the pain that radiated in return, he knew it was a little more than jarred from the crash. "Well I'm out of commission for a few days. What about you, B.A. - you okay?"
B.A. nodded as he pressed a fresh towel against his head. "Yeah, man. Gonna need a few stitches though. What about you, Hannibal?"
"Nothing that a hot shower and a few asprin won't cure."
Murdock soon returned, tossing ice packs to Face, B.A. and Hannibal.
Face pressed the cold pack against his burning shoulder and it finally brought some relief. "Hey, is it just me, or do these missions keep getting more and more dangerous the longer we've been out here?"
"It ain't just you, Face," B.A. muttered, holding up the now blood-soaked towel.
Stockwell's glare was as cold as the ice on their wounds. "You all want your pardons, don't you?"
Face rolled his eyes. He loathed that carrot constantly dangled in front of them. "Before we're dead would be nice."
"Speaking of pardons, General," Murdock piped up. "Frankie split for Puerto Rico without so much as a 'see you around' after he got his pardon, but here we are - still working for you."
"Yeah, man, what gives?" B.A. didn't hesitate to chime in. "What about the rest of us?"
"Mr. Santana wasn't the one with the fifteen-year rap sheets, was he? Now, if the rest of you keep doing as I say, you will receive the same in return, but until then, you'll do things my way." His expression remained unchanged as he looked at Hannibal. "Now, Colonel," he persisted, standing impatiently over Hannibal with his hand out, "the disk."
Hannibal turned his attention away from the injured long enough to reach into his jacket pocket. "Here," he said, handing Stockwell the computer floppy. "I hope it was worth it beating us to hell like this."
"It was, Colonel... it was." Stockwell smirked as he stared at his prize. "Mission successfully accomplished, gentlemen. Now, about our visitor..."
A/N : Rev. 5/9/20