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T+73

T+73

By Junkfoodmonkey

 

Rated: PG

Disclaimer: The A-Team doesn't belong to me, I'm not making any money from this. 

Parts: Complete.

Summary: Forget "what ifs".  A commemeration.

 

 

 

"C'mon, Murdock, I have to get you back to the VA, I have stuff to do today."

 

"Face, it's T-minus ten minutes, I can't miss the launch!  Get another cup of coffee, have some toast."

 

Face sighed.  Letting Murdock crash after a late return from a mission was always a bad idea, he was impossible to shift the next day.  And it wasn't that he wouldn't get up, on the contrary he was up at the crack of dawn watching cartoons. Of course this meant anyone else in the house was up too.  No cartoons this morning though, the TV showed live pictures from Cape Canaveral, a Space Shuttle on the launch pad.

 

"They'll probably just delay the launch again."  Face said, sourly.  He found this stuff terribly tedious but Murdock loved it.  He poured two more cups of coffee, sat down next to Murdock handing one to him.

 

"Thanks."  Murdock took the cup.  "No, it's definitely going up today, I feel it in my bones."  Murdock answered.  "Man, those guys are so lucky."

 

"The astronauts?"

 

"Yeah, getting to fly that big old bird."  He sighed.

 

"Ugly thing if you ask me."  Face said, frowning.  "Just a big ugly space truck."  Murdock shook his head.  He didn't expect Face to understand.  To Face a plane was just transport, to Murdock it was the way to reach a whole different world.  The sky.  And the Shuttle took you as far up in the sky as you could go.  To see not just counties but countries spread out under you, looking like the maps you'd seen at school come to life.

 

"I once applied for the space program you know."  Murdock said.

 

"You did?"  Face looked at him surprised.  "I didn't know.  When was that?"

 

"Nineteen-seventy-eight."  Murdock said.

 

"Seventy-eight?  So, uh, after you went to live at the VA, then?"

 

"Yeah."  Murdock frowned.  "Do you think that might have put them off?  Maybe having my return address as the VA psychiatric ward gave them the wrong idea."

 

"Wrong idea?"

 

"You know, that I was crazy or something."

 

"Erm, Murdock," Face said, trying to be tactful, "that wouldn't have been so much the wrong idea as… well, the right idea."

 

"Oh, yeah," he grinned suddenly.  "I suppose so.  They sent me a real nice letter back, saying thanks for my application and how they were really impressed with my service record and all but that they had no suitable openings for me.  Pity.  Would have been… nice."  He looked a little sad and Face patted his shoulder briefly, comfortingly.

 

It could have been, he thought, if things had been different.  Murdock did have a distinguished service record and underneath his craziness he was one of the smartest people Face knew.  Who knows what kind of dizzy heights his career could have reached?  Maybe the same dizzy heights the people in that ugly space truck were about to reach.

 

"Here goes!"  Murdock said, as excited as a kid as the countdown reached zero and the rockets fired.  "Look at that beauty go!" he cried as the Shuttle rose into the sky on a plume of fire and white smoke.

 

Face sipped his coffee and glanced at his watch, it was nearly twenty to nine.  Well hopefully he could get Murdock out of here by nine, surely even he'd be bored with this stuff by then.  From the TV he heard the broadcast of the radio signal from Mission Control.

 

"Challenger, go with throttle up."

 

Seconds later Murdock gasped and grabbed Face's hand.  Face said very quietly.  "Oh no."

 

They watched in silence for several more minutes.  At one point Face glanced at Murdock and saw that he was weeping, silently.  He put an arm around him and Murdock leaned against him.  And Face dismissed thoughts of "what ifs" from his mind and was grateful that things were just exactly the way they were and that Murdock was safely here with him.

 

 

~~End~~

 

 

 

On 28th January 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after lift off, killing all seven astronauts on board.

 


T+73 by Junkfoodmonkey

 

 


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