The plane banks to the left with extreme prejudice, giving off a chortle and sputtering series of chokes. His gauge reads nearly sixty degrees, forty too extreme. It is a cry for mercy that Murdock instantaneously recognizes and attempts to fix. If he is unsuccessful in his attempts, the plane could start to roll or worse- plummet downwards till it crashed. “Come on, baby.” He internally pleads with the same devout desperation as he uttered his daily prayers.
With a delicate and patient adjustment of hands, the Captain attempts to regain some modem of control which, isn’t easy given the aircraft was showing off a spunky stubborn streak. One that caused even the experienced Captain Murdock to suck in his breath and hold it till his lungs seemed to scorch around the edges.
Another swat of the dials brings the weakened thrum of the engine to begrudgingly resume its more natural hum. Thank God above for still having some upward thrust left as the rigid outlines of the mountain tops slowly emerge from the plush pillows of the clouds and reveal themselves with astonishing clarity in the front windshield. Otherwise, the plane would have done a perfect Olympic-style swan dive right into the large rocks. Especially, with some of the harsh dips, they were taking.
That breath he was holding is slowly relinquished through the partition of his cracked lips. A visible but brief wave of relief bleeds over the pilot’s features as he is joined by his brother in the cockpit. Mahogany orbs drift over just to acknowledge Face’s presence before returning to his tasks of keeping the craft airborne and all of the passengers alive.
The corners of Murdock’s lips curl upwards into a hesitant smile, at the inquiry. It was really a humorous dribble of a story. One he’d normally relish telling, hell, he’d even heavily embellish the comedic parts if he thought it would entertain Face. But he doesn’t. He can’t devote his fullest attention to that right now. This is far too precarious a position and time to fall full force into an anxiety inspired split of personalities.
Furthermore, there is no use in terrifying the already white-knuckling lieutenant more than he has already. So he would allow a casual joke or two to snake through his tightly clamped teeth. “You know, it was slim pickin’s on the repair line so, I headed for the garbage heap this time. They don’t miss planes just before they’re about to be terminated.” No one ever did. While he spoke in jest, there is a gravity to what he is saying, not because it’s the truth about where he got the plane but rather, because lots of useful crafts met ugly ends. Exoskeletons of the once-proud crafts are left exposed to the elements, twisted, naked, and crumbling in graveyards until they no longer resembled anything of use. The same way that some people ‘considered less than normal’ are discarded at VA hospitals and then left to rot until the good Lord’s return. Murdock shivers at the unintentionally dark internalized comparison. He’s always felt for inanimate objects. He respected them and sometimes even related to them. In the case of planes and choppers, he oft felt a holy mix of both at the same time. He snaps back into the jest after zoning down the dismal path for a few minutes too many.
A twinkle of mirth shines in the shallows of Murdock’s mahogany eyes at the recollection of the scam where he heisted, okay borrowed, a plane right off the repair line before the repairs were even started. Everything had turned out alright in the end, hadn’t it? They had managed to land. Sure, it was a crash landing but there hadn’t been any casualties except for the plane.
Like a Kaleidoscope turned on end, the colored pieces of sanity gradually being to pixilate again, threatening to morph him into yet another one of his hidden personas. He grapples, wrestling mentally, with the violently tattered threads of Pasadena Murdock, Crazy Willie, and Captain Cab that were weaving together, evolving into something strangely unfamiliar but not unwelcoming. It beckons from deep in the tangled webs of his mind. He must resist!!!!! But how? Distraction was the best choice.
This distraction comes with Face’s prompt and the opportunity to convey the story behind the plane’s acquisition. Yes. He was well aware that Face had set something up with a rental agency. “Well, sure we went to the rental agency.” Murdock’s words escape edged with pride. He might be insane but he wasn’t a complete dunce! “We started too anyways...” he confides between tightly gritted teeth. Murdock can feel the inch of sweat bubbling up under the rim of his brim of his ball-cap as the plane began to gurgle out disgruntled complaints and it’s heavy weight sagged deeper in the sky. “But,” his eyes shift around the cockpit, “your reservations fell through, muchacho. And I mean, flatter than a door panel. So when I was talking to...” He pauses, his eyes squinting for the recollection of the name. He’d read it with his own two eyes but now failed in the information's retrieval. So he makes up a name and hopes that Face won’t call him out on it. “I spoke to May and she said there was only one plane left on the tarmac. One for a man named ‘Fat Tony’ Carismo and his wife. The names seemed innocent and harmless enough. Right?
“Sooooooo...” the word is long in its departing of his tongue. Murdock’s voice warps till it resembles something gravely with the faintest touch of a Chicagoan accent, “I had Amy put on that pretty little red number of her’s. The one you can’t keep your eyes off of... and I borrowed one of your suits. Next thing I know, Crazy Willie and his friends are taking off in Fat Tony’s plane.” By Crazy Willie and his friends, Murdock most definitely meant his unit, the A-team. Provoking another wayward dial into order with his hand, Murdock continued, “Amy was spectacular. It was beautiful!!!!! She weaved a web that Fat Tony’s wife entrusted us, his dearest of friends, with refurbishing his plane for his birthday. He wants solid gold inlays and everything.” Shifting in his seat, he resumes his normal accent. Murdock knows where Amy learned that little interior design con and the source is seated right next to him. “Well, we promised that we’d return it some time next week.” But with that remark, the Captain goes awfully quiet. He considers that Fat Tony wasn’t going to like it but there probably wasn’t going to be a return flight for this baby. At least, not the way it was behaving now.
The entire frame of the plane shudders, riveting to life with a force far greater than your typical turbulence.
Amy appears over their shoulders, “guys?” A thread of fear trails in the undercurrent of her tone. She’d noticed the all too rapid and uneven descent. “I know this isn’t the best time to ask this, but are we in trouble?” She’d seen the far off look in Hannibal’s eyes. It appeared only in the form of the faintest of lightning-quick flashes before vanishing again. Of course, from a journalistic view, this was going to make a great story but that was hinging on the ability to survive, should the plane continue with its present trajectory towards the earth.