Categories > TV > A-Team

Fire and Ice

by TVRacer 0 reviews

When the A-Team visit BA's mom for the holidays, they end up getting some surprises they didn't bargain for. Mrs. B has a beau, but is he really too good to be true?

Category: A-Team - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Published: 2013-11-09 - 2952 words

B.A.: We gotta find the fastest way possible to get to my mother.
Murdock: That’s gonna mean flying, Big Guy.
B.A.: That’s right! Flying.
Hannibal: You sure that’s what you want to do?
B.A.: Yeah. This time no commercial flight, they’re always late. We can’t be late. Faceman, I want you to scam a plane. Better yet, make that a jet.
Face: 2000 miles in a private jet, the fuel’s a buck 85 a gallon, that’s expensive, BA. Maybe we should consider driving to Chicago.
B.A.: I wanna fly!
-- "Lease With an Option to Die"

Chapter 1: Adventurous Landing

Rays of fading sunlight arched around the towering buildings, cutting through the crisp air and casting the city in a dazzling aura of gold. Thin wisps of gentle white smoke rose from the top of the various high rises, where many sought refuge from the cold winter air.

A gentle blanket of white snow covered the ground, with only the blacktop of the city streets and the famous Lake Shore Drive standing in stark contrast. Cars could be seen driving along the winding roadway, which separated the tall buildings from the various parks and the shore of Lake Michigan.

Normally filled with scores of bikini-clad sunbathers and swimmers during the summer, the popular North Avenue and Oak Street beaches had chunks of ice being pushed about with the flow and ebb of the water. Closer to the heart of the city, waves lapped up against the manufactured seawall, teased by a wind that danced within the atmosphere.

Boat docks around the famous Lincoln Park, Benton Harbor, and even south of the world famous Navy Pier, all lay vacant and empty . . . the private sailboats and cruisers had all been relocated for winter storage months prior.

The picturesque lakefront was the crown jewel of Chicago, the grand design of Daniel Burnham. A few buildings that had been part of his architectural plan for the World's Fair still stood, including what was now the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Art Institute. Each of those buildings were beautifully designed in their own right, with marble columns and other adornments that reminded one of the classical buildings found in Greece and Rome.

The famous Buckingham Fountain rested proudly at the center of the city's premiere lakefront park, named in honor of General Ulysses S. Grant. Normally, water flowed down its three tiers and spouted high into the air . . . with the central spout of water shooting to 150 feet into the air every hour on the hour for approximately 20 minutes. During the winter, the tiers were adorned with lights that seemed to flow down, almost like the water would during the summer.

A small, white two-engine private jet streaked through the air, banking as it slowly began its descent. A couple of lights on the tips of the wings glowed steadily, and another light under the fuselage blinked consistently. The approach took the plane south along the lakefront.

The wry figure of Captain H. M. Murdock gently held the controls of the plane within his expert hands. He was wearing his trademark brown A-2 bomber jacket, tan slacks, and dark blue baseball cap. Underneath the jacket was a yellow shirt with blue lettering on it that proudly boasted, "I'm not crazy. I'm just creatively insane."

Next to him, Colonel John Hannibal Smith climbed into the co-pilot seat. His silver-white hair almost seemed to match the color of the snow on the ground, and there was a sparkle within his icy blue eyes. He buttoned up the top button of the light blue button down shirt he was wearing, and then pulled the safari jacket a bit tighter around him. In spite of the plane being heated, there was a bit of a chill that could be felt, permeating from outside of the fuselage of the plane.

Murdock glanced out the window past the A-Team's leader, as his brown eyes caught sight of the city below. He let out a low whistle, and then remarked with appreciation, "Sure is pretty down there, Hannibal."

Hannibal followed the pilot's gaze out the cockpit window, his eyes filled with the stunning sight of the Christmas lights along the Magnificent Mile. Fond memories began flooding back to him, which brought a smile to his face. "Sure is, Captain," he added. "I remember that our family drove to Chicago just before for Christmas for a couple of years. We got up really early . . . so early it was dark out, and it was an 8 hour drive from Detroit, but we made a whole day of it whenever we did come here. My mom used to go shopping at Marshall Field's. There was nothing like a freshly made box of Frango mints."

"Seriously? An 8 hour drive just for a box of chocolate mints?" Face's voice could be heard from the passenger area of the plane, sounding a bit incredulous. Even though this was the first time that they heard Hannibal share this small morsel from his past, a rarity for him, the con artist still found it very hard to believe.

Hearing the con artist chime in with his own comments from the back, Hannibal turned toward the back of the plane and asked, "What do you think, Face?"

Lieutenant Templeton Peck looked out the window from the passenger section, and saw all of the sparkling lights below which seemed to burn more intensely as the evening sun set. Having been raised in a Catholic orphanage, he recalled how big of an event Christmas was . . . almost too big. Granted, it was a time of year where everyone was into the spirit of giving, but too much was made of the holiday with the decorations, the music, the last minute rush to buy gifts.

Letting out a bit of a sigh, he pushed himself up from off the seat and made his way to the doorway that separated the cockpit from the cabin. "I don't know, Hannibal," he began to say, the tone of his voice fairly melancholy. "When you've seen one Christmas, you've seen them all."

Hannibal looked back to his second-in-command and frowned slightly. This wasn't going to be another one of those years, was it? Based on the response from the young Supply Officer, there was a pretty good chance that it was, although each year seemed to get progressively worse than the year before. He'd have to have a good, long, and hard talk to put this to rest for good, before it made the holiday season miserable for all of them. "I've found that Christmas depends on where and how you see it . . ."

He was just about to continue his statement when static broke through the radio. "Private jet, Meigs control. Please identify," a deep male voice stated.

Hannibal narrowed his eyes a bit and gave the con artist a look that indicated that this discussion was not over yet . . . not by a long shot. In fact, this was a topic that they had tried to discuss several times before over the years, but Face always managed to finagle his way out of it. Only this time, he was saved by the voice of air traffic control . . .

Murdock reached forward to the radio on the center console and flipped a button to activate his microphone. He wore a thin black earpiece, which hung over his left ear, and had a microphone that extended from it toward his mouth. "Alpha Tango One-Niner-Seven-Two, requesting permission to land."

After a brief moment, the air traffic controller's voice could be heard once more over the radio as he informed them, "One-Niner-Seven-Two, you are not on our landing schedule. We need to put you into a holding pattern. Take a heading of Oh-Two-Niner and start a wide circle."

"Meigs, One-Niner-Seven-Two, roger," Murdock replied, gently turning the yoke of the plane to the heading indicated by the tower. Holding pattern . . . that was never good. Either they had too many flights on the schedule, or something else happened like an emergency that needed priority landing clearance. At least that was what he had hoped . . .

Hannibal looked back toward the young Lieutenant, trying to study him with a questioning gaze. Normally, he implicitly trusted Face, but he couldn't help but to be worried by this turn of events. Even seeing Murdock look at him confirmed that being put into a holding pattern was something out of the ordinary. All he could do was hope that, somehow, the Army hadn't caught on and contacted the Chicago police department to hold all of them until the boys in olive drab arrived. "Face," the Colonel began to say, "I thought you had filed those fake flight plans which would have cleared us for a landing here."

Templeton sighed, and then quickly complained, "Do you realize just how hard it is to not only hack into the FAA computers, but also to put something like that in without having it look suspicious?" In a way, the con artist wasn't sure that the others fully appreciated the extremes he sometimes had to go through, the hoops he had to jump through, in order to make some of these scams come off almost flawlessly. He cast a nervous glance toward the cabin behind him, and the sleeping giant that was strapped into one of the seats. Face shuddered at the thought of what would happen if BA woke up while they were still in the air . . .

As he thought about it, if nothing else, Face knew that BA had brought this upon himself. He had told the other members of the A-Team that this winter was the 20th anniversary of his father's death, which would have been especially hard on his mother. Despite the fact that she was watched by the military, especially around the holidays, he wanted to be there for her. Unfortunately, there was something personal that BA chose to attend to which delayed their departure for Chicago, forcing the Team to acquire air transportation if they wanted to arrive in the Windy City in time for the holidays.

Pulling out a cigar, Hannibal stuck it into his mouth but didn't light it just yet. He always was able to think more clearly with one wedged between his teeth, regardless of whether or not it was actually lit. Time to start assessing the situation just in case things took a bit too long with the tower. "How much fuel do we have left, Murdock?" he wondered.

The Texan looked at the gauge above his head and saw the amount. 600 pounds. He quickly calculated the weight of the plane, the passengers . . . adding a bit extra for BA since had gotten some extra gold . . . and figured out just how long that would keep them in the air. Unfortunately, everything he was coming up with didn't leave him feeling any better about this. "'Bout 8 minutes, Colonel. You'd better hope they find those flight plans, ore we're gonna be taking a swim."

Face gulped upon hearing that. He didn't know what Murdock had meant by that . . . by taking a swim. Did he mean it for real, or if they had to land in Lake Michigan? He had never been in Chicago during this time of the year, although he heard BA mention how brutal winters here could be sometimes. He could only guess that the water would be freezing right about now, which definitely wasn't too appealing. Shifting uncomfortably, he suggested, "What about re-routing to O'Hare or Midway?"

"Not enough fuel for that, Faceman," Murdock noted solemnly, his voice clearly indicating that he was a bit preoccupied with their current situation. His eyes were scanning the lakefront in order to try and come up with an alternative landing spot. "With how much fuel we have left, we'd end up going down in a residential area before we get to either airfield. 'Sides, Midway and O'Hare have more security. We'd all be in cuffs before you could sing 'Jingle Bells.'"

Face looked to Hannibal as he began to worry. It clearly showed with the look of uncertainty that spread across his face. He still wasn't sure why Murdock had mentioned taking a swim before, but now with the fuel that remained they couldn’t reach either of the two major airports that served the city? The whole reason why he filed these flight plans, in the first place, was to avoid O'Hare and Midway, since Murdock had echoed the exact reason why he had gone with Meigs. The prospect of getting thrown in jail by the local authorities until Decker could arrive was less than appealing.

Hannibal looked from Face back to Murdock, his calm expression not revealing the thoughts that swirled around within his cunning mind. He was formulating several alternative plans . . . places that he could order Murdock to set the plane down if it came to it. The long stretches of Lake Shore Drive or Columbus Drive around Grant Park could act like a runway. Columbus Drive would be even riskier due to the high rises to the north of the park, including Prudential Plaza and the Amoco Building. The later building was a single towering white tower, which actually was very similar in appearance to one of the World Trade Center buildings. Either way, they'd risk clipping some trees and knocking down some light poles and traffic lights, so the city wouldn’t be too happy with them.

Murdock was just about to inform the tower about their fuel situation when the voice of the air traffic controller burst over the radio once more. "One-Niner-Seven-Two, Meigs Tower. Our computer system had a glitch and just came up with your flight plans. You are cleared for a shoreline visual approach to Runway One-Eight. Winds are out of the southeast at ten knots."

"Meigs, One-Niner-Seven-Two, roger. Clear to land," the lanky pilot replied before shutting off the microphone. Inwardly, he let out a sigh of relief. Although it was touch and go for a while there, Face really did come through for them, didn't he? Reaching to the switches above him, he flipped a couple to lower the landing gear. He then brought his hand down to grab onto a lever and then pulled that down to the first notch. He could feel the plane begin to slow as the flaps lowered to the first position.

"Oh ye of little faith," Face remarked, a smug confident smile appearing upon his lips almost as if he had known, all along, that the flight plans would turn up. Of course, he didn't want to necessarily admit that he was worried about whether or not their flight plans would have turned up. The sign of a good con man was someone who could keep his cool, even when it seemed like everything was about to turn against him.

Murdock turned the yoke of the plane, causing it to bank once more, until he lined it up for an approach to the lakefront airport. Their path took them past several notable landmarks, including the Tribune Tower, Wrigley Building and Navy Pier. From what he had recalled, Navy Pier had actually been used as a Naval training base for about 10,000 officers, and actually started the first group of trainees in the days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Now, the pier was neglected and a shadow of its former self . . . probably nothing like what Daniel Burnham had intended when he had meant for one of two municipal piers to be included within his plan for Chicago's lakefront.

Hannibal looked out of the front windshield of the plane as a twinkle appeared within his eyes. He glanced back to the Lieutenant and grinned. He was on the Jazz. He knew something about the upcoming landing that Murdock would have to make, and was basking in the thrill of it.

Templeton Peck also looked through the front windshield of the cockpit, but his reaction was very different from that of Hannibal's. His jaw practically dropped when he spotted the airport. The runway lights glowed intensely, but there was still enough of the last strains of daylight for him to see the runway. Except for one small strip of land that contained a parking lot and an access road, it was completely surrounded by water. Was this what Murdock meant by them taking a swim if they couldn't land? From the looks of the landing strip, if the plane missed the runway or didn't stop in time at the end of it, they'd end up in the drink! Letting out a bit of a nervous laugh, Face asked, "We're landing there? You're kidding, right?"

Pulling the lever down once more to increase the flaps to 30, Murdock took on a regal British accent as he used the con man's own words against him, "Oh ye of little faith." His hands expertly ran over the controls in final preparations, as it wouldn't take too much longer before the wheels would touch the runway.

Hannibal turned to look at Face with amused interest. The expression of shock on the con man's face was absolutely priceless right now with what he saw. If the Colonel had a Polaroid instant camera, he would have taken a picture just to preserve that moment. He let out a slight laugh as he asked, "Where's your sense of adventure, Lieutenant?"

"I think I left it back in Los Angeles," Face replied dismally. He absent-mindedly performed the sign of the cross a he silently prayed to himself that this landing would not be like most of the ones the A-Team pilot informed . . . if you could consider a crash as being a landing.
Sign up to rate and review this story