Epilogue - Sweet Freedom
"Shine, sweet freedom, shine your light on me. You are the magic, you're right where I wanna be.
Oh, sweet freedom, carry me along, we'll keep the spirit alive on and on..."
~ Michael McDonald (1987)
"Welcome to your deeeluxe Moonlight tour featuring the 'Wild and Crazy Aces' – yes, that's plural folks! This is your Captain 'numero uno' speaking, telling you to sit back and strap-in folks because in just a few moments you'll be soaring into the heights of volition where you'll be seeing some of D.C.'s finest, and -"
"Save it for the real tourists, Murdock!" Face yelled to the cockpit, and the sound of Amy's gentle laughter followed as she settled in the seat beside him. He rolled his eyes. "Hard to believe he's certifiably sane now, isn't it? I can't believe people actually pay him to do this now. You, uh - you sure you want to do this?"
Amy nodded as she clicked her restraint harness across her chest. "Sure, why not? I'm all for a little nostalgia now and again." After a second thought, and a brief flashback from many years ago, she double-checked the straps just to make sure they were extra tight.
"Why not?" Face's voice rose to keep above the ever increasing sound of the engine as the slow whirl of the blades above began. "I'll tell you why not, because the last time I was in this thing, I, uh.." he wearily eyed the floor. "Never mind, you don't want to know, just trust me..."
"I don't see what you're so worried about." Amy leaned over just enough to catch a glimpse of A.J. in the cockpit, flipping random switches in tandem with Murdock. "She seems normal enough to me."
Face considered the idea for a brief moment as her voice carried over the intercom. "We're now at full power - engaging warp engines in three... two... one..."
"Normal, not even close!" Face rolled his eyes as Murdock's drawn out howl flooded their headsets as they swiftly lifted into flight. Feeling his stomach drop to his knees, he instinctively grabbed for Amy's hand.
Amy looked down in surprise, then teased, "What are you doing - I thought B.A. was the one afraid of flying."
"I don't know what you're talking about." Face's innocently brushed off the idea, but her knowing look followed. "Okay, well... this past year has been a little rough," he finally admitted.
She nodded. "Murdock filled me in about the trial, and Dickenson..." she hesitated before adding, "and what happened at the restaurant."
"Aw, did he? What a blabbermouth. I was going to fill you in about everything while we were having dinner tonight." Face glared at the cockpit, then lifted his mic. "Remind me to thank him later."
"You're welcome, Face!"
Face pointed at him and warned, "You know two can play this game, Murdock!"
"Guys, you're missing the great view!" A.J. excitedly told them. "Check your starboard!"
Amy eagerly leaned over Face so she could peer out of the opposite window. "Oh, wow. You're right, it's... beautiful!" She drew in a deep breath in awe, seeing the lit-up, now miniature White House far off in the distance and recalled what happened inside it today.
"It's absolutely stunning, I really could remember this moment forever."
Completely distracted by the view... of Amy's warm smile, not the sky, Face couldn't help but mutter, "You know, I was thinking the exact the same thing."
She blushed at his intent gaze, realizing exactly what he'd meant by that. "Face - uh, Templeton, I-"
"You know," A.J. interrupted, having no idea what was going on behind them, "I still can't help wondering what it would look like down there if you guys hadn't stopped Dickenson."
Amy's warm gaze never veered from Face as she answered back, "A.J., I've learned it's best not to think the what-if's and focus on what's actually happening right now, in this moment..."
Face grinned back in surprise, knowing he'd told Amy the exact same thing all those years ago when she'd left for Jakarta. "Yeah, kid - you'll drive yourself crazy with that kinda talk." He suddenly leaned in to meet her lips and any doubts about this moment finally faded away as she melted in his arms.
"Thanks for the lift, guys." Face poked his head in the cockpit and winked at both of them. "I think I'll take it from here. I'll call and let you guys know how it goes."
"Enjoy your first night of freedom, Faceman!" Murdock playfully saluted him.
"You know it." Face saluted back... seriously at first, then smiled back. "See you soon." He ducked out of the cockpit so Amy could take her leave as well.
"Thanks again for your help, Amy." Murdock winked, then motioned for a hug, which she quickly leaned into. "I'm so glad everything worked out the way we planned."
"What are teammates for, right?" Amy shared a knowing smile with him. "And you're still crazy, Murdock... just a different kind of crazy now."
"Aw, love you too, Chiquita banana." Murdock chuckled.
"I'm so very glad to have met you, A.J." Amy excitedly embraced A.J. next, then couldn't help but tease, "And what you guys pulled off today, I know you've gotta be crazy too."
"You may be right... or pretend to be, at least." A.J. knowingly grinned back. "Thank you so much for adding that story about my Dad in your press release too - it was beautiful."
"Well, I was inspired by your speech," Amy smiled warmly. "And you're welcome. Call anytime if need something, okay? Murdock has my number. Oh, and hey, guys - Face spilled the beans earlier, congrats on the big news!" She gave them one last wave before ducking out of the bird to re-join...
"Now who's the blabbermouth, Face?"
Murdock winced at A.J.'s loud outburst overpowering his headset, then burst into gentle laughter as she looked back to him, exasperated.
"So much for waiting to tell everyone," she told him as they watched at Amy and Face as they walked back to the Langley house, arm in arm. "Looks like you were right all along about them, Tiger."
"You know... call me crazy, but..." he knowingly smiled, "I really do think this bird has some true magic in 'er."
"Like how it brought us together, and maybe it helped do the same for them?"
"Yeah, something like that." He looked over at the picture wedged in the corner of his windshield and smiled at her father - his father-in-law. "Hey, I just thought of something - did you ever pick a name for this bird?"
"Mmm, not yet... still waiting for the right one to come to mind."
"Ace, you gotta have a name for this bird - it's tradition! Besides, it's been over six months since she was re-commissioned so she's long overdue. Hey, how about Mr. Howlin' Mad's Wild Ride - see what I did there?"
The faint sound of dual-chuckling echoed over their headsets. With Murdock now at the helm, she looked through the transparent floor of the cockpit to see them rising away from the well-it compound below. It was gone in a flash as they banked east and headed for the hangar back home.
In this moment...
Remembering Amy's advice, she wondered aloud, "How does 'The Spirit of Langley' sound?"
"Hmm." Murdock took his eyes off the sky long enough to briefly glance around the cockpit, then at her. "I like that... yeah, that's real good! 'The Spirit of Langley' - hey, I think she likes it too, listen to her purring like a kitten." His eyes suddenly narrowed into nothing short of a mischievous glint as he looked at her.
"So, you got to name the bird, that means I get to name the kid, right?"
"It's only fair! Because if it's a boy, I was thinking, 'John Bosco Templeton' - we'll call him J.B.T. - and I was figuring 'Ace-the-third' if it's a girl - A.J.3. - so whaddaya think, Acelynn...? Ace?!"
Hey, thanks for joining this insanity-inanity, from a longtime fan and friend of the show, here's to happy endings after all.
This one's dedicated to the untapped, raw and emotional nostalgia of the 1980's.
There was never a time more adventurous and pure.