|FIC: Boston Legal: "Lawyers at 30,000 Feet"
||[Feb. 14th, 2006|06:38 pm]
Title: Lawyers at 30,000 Feet
Warnings, etc: Gen, Denny&Alan, ~2,000 words. Crossover, of a sort, if you're *insane*, like I am. Definitely crack.
Notes: This is me, writing without a net. Which is to say that at the time I wrote this story, I had seen all of two episodes of Boston Legal (Having seen several more episodes now, I have to say that the characterization holds up frighteningly well.) And I did *zero* background research on any of the real-world parts of this, it is most likely tragically wrong. On the other hand, I was *really* up on canon for the other TV show that's involved, since I wrote this late New Year's Eve after my uncle had had the Sci-Fi Channel marathon on *all day*. So it's really not my fault - I plead not guilty due to diminished capacity. And on the other hand, I've proven that I have an unhealthy grasp of William Shatner trivia. q-:
"Look, there, Alan!" said Denny.
Alan blinked slowly. "What am I supposed to be looking at, Denny?" he asked.
"There, on the wing - there's a wocket."
"A *wocket*," Alan repeated.
"Yes, you know; a little man in a badly-put-together costume made out of fur."
"Ah!" said Alan. "You mean an Ewok!"
"Yes, of course," said Denny. "What else might I have meant?"
They were quiet for a moment, both staring out of the airplane's window, which showed blue sky, white clouds, and a long expanse of completely unremarkable, completely uninhabited jetliner wing.
"And you mentioned this to me why?" asked Alan, eventually.
"I merely thought that you might be intrigued," said Denny regally. "It isn't something that one sees every day, after all."
"You're quite right," said Alan. "At any rate, it certainly isn't anything that *I* see every day."
"Well, of course not," said Denny. "I'm the only one who can see him. He hides whenever anyone else could see him."
Alan raised an eyebrow. "And why are *you* the person who can see him?"
"Denny Crane," said Denny Crane.
"Good point," replied Alan Shore. "I'm going to take a nap. Wake me up if any princesses in metal bikinis show up."
Alan woke up an hour or so later, but Denny wasn't paying any attention to him. His gaze was fixed out the window.
"Your Ewok still there, Denny?" Alan asked, trying to get the crick out of his neck.
"Yes, it is," said Denny, then narrowed his eyes. "I think it's doing something nefarious to the engine. Perhaps we should inform the authorities."
"Oh, I'm sure it's not doing any harm," replied Alan.
"I'm not so sure." Denny frowned. "I believe it's engaging in sabotage!"
"Denny, it's an Ewok. How much damage can an Ewok -" he stopped, hearing what he was saying, and changed track. "Right. I'll go talk to a stewardess."
"I would get rid of it myself," said Denny, "But I left my gun on the other plane."
"And then there's the sudden drop of cabin pressure and possible death that plan would cause."
"And then there's that."
The stewardess with the big breasts and the frown lines around her mouth was delivering drinks a few rows over. Alan tapped her on the shoulder.
"What is it?" she asked him, with a pleasantly false smile.
"My companion - the man in the window seat over there -" Alan pointed discreetly - "would very much like to talk to the flight engineer."
"I'm sorry, sir, that is not - "
"He claims he has knowledge that this plane is sabotaged," said Alan. "Oh, I wouldn't worry," he added. "He's a bit - you know -" he made a discreet hand motion - "but it might be best to humor him, so he doesn't get excited and panic the rest of the passengers."
She frowned. "I see. I'll speak to him then. But no guarantees!"
"That's all I can ask," said Alan.
"You said something about sabotage?" the flight engineer asked them a few minutes later.
"Just my companion here, he's very concerned," said Alan, and nudged him awake.
Denny jerked his head up. "Hm? Yes?"
The engineer raised his eyebrows at Alan and got a cool nod in return. "You were concerned about sabotage, sir?"
"Of course I'm concerned! Aren't you?"
"Well, I just wanted to reassure you - we know exactly what's going on; we're just letting them think that it worked, so that we can draw them into a trap." He winked broadly.
"Who's they?" blared Denny. "I only see the one man -" he pointed. "The one creature, that is. And how can you know what he did, when he's still doing it right now?"
The engineer looked at Alan again. Alan just shrugged, keeping his face blank.
"Well, sir, uh, I'm sure that's all part of the-the plan," said the engineer. "You see, you-you never know when they could be watching --"
"Stop," said Denny, holding up a hand. Then he cogitated for a moment. "You, sir," he said, "are patronizing me." And then he stood up. "There is an Ewok on the wing of this plane," he declaimed loudly, "and it is doing something to the engine. Nothing you say will change that plain fact. Now tell me, sir, do you--"
The engineer was gesticulating frantically at Alan. Eventually, Alan took pity on him and interrupted Denny.
"Now, Denny, I'm sure this man is correct. He probably doesn't know all the facts either, he's too low on the totem pole. Just look at him - does that look like somebody who would be trusted with vital security information? But they don't let the Ewoks out of Fort Bragg for just anything."
"You're patronizing me too," Denny said, sounding slightly puzzled.
"I'm always patronizing to everyone, Denny," Alan said. "You just don't usually deign to notice."
"Oh, right," Denny said, and sank back into his seat, defeated. "I'm off my game," he mumbled. "It's that God-damned Ewok - every time I'm about to relax, there it is again, out of the corner of my eye."
Alan glanced at him, then stood up with a hand on Denny's shoulder. "Why don't you try and take a nap, Denny. You'll feel better. I'll talk to the engineer myself; he'll be convinced."
"That's very good of you, Alan," said Denny.
"I know," Alan replied.
"Listen, his mind may be going, but his instincts are still good," said Alan, a bit later and a few rows down. "Are you absolutely sure that there isn't anything actually wrong out there?"
"I'm as sure as I ever am," said the engineer. "Why, have you seen something too?"
"Well, I haven't seen any Ewoks!" Alan said, faking sincerity with all his might. "But I keep thinking that engine looks a bit funny. Maybe it's just his anxiety affecting me, but it would be a load off my mind if you would check."
"I'm sorry, sir, but -"
"Surely there's something you could check? Some sort of dials or gauges or tests or something?"
"Well, yes, but -"
"What harm could it *possibly* do just to check? You're hesitating because you don't want to look ridiculous, listing to a senile old man's worries. That's such a selfish - and, pardon me, ridiculous - way of looking at the world. Take Denny. He never cares if he looks ridiculous." Alan paused, then corrected himself. "No, actually he just never realizes that he looks ridiculous. But my point still stands! You'll never get anywhere if you're afraid to take chances."
"It's not that, sir, it's-"
"And how difficult would it be, to take the trouble to settle the fears of one sick old man? Does the individual truly matter so little to you and to this airline?"
"Sir, I-" said the engineer desperately.
Alan cocked his head and smiled. "I'm a lawyer. I can keep this up all day if I have to."
The engineer closed his eyes and took a breath. "Right. I'll - uh - I'll go run an in-flight diagnostic on that engine. Just in case," he added, and fled up the aisle.
"You do that," Alan called after him. "And come back and tell us the results, or I'll go looking for you!"
"He's checking?" said Denny.
"He's checking," Alan agreed.
Alan looked over some old FBI files while they were waiting, but Denny kept restlessly looking back out the window. Finally Alan put the papers down and said, "Staring at him won't do any good."
"He won't go away, Alan," Denny said. "He's still there."
"So threaten to sue," said Alan. "That usually works on these cases." He saw the engineer approaching from the front of the plane and got up to intercept him.
"You found something, didn't you," he said.
"There was a minor discrepancy -" said the engineer. "- all right, one of the diagnostic sensors on that engine seems to be out, but it's probably just a short, I wouldn't worry -"
Alan just looked at him.
"No, really," the engineer said desperately. "It happens. It happens fairly often, that's why we don't usually *do* those diagnostics in-flight unless we have actual *evidence* of an actual problem."
"And if it's *not* just a short, it could be..."
"It could be half a dozen things," he said. "But it's not. The chances of any of them coincidentally malfunctioning at the same time as the sensor - well, they're about the same as the chance that they were sabotaged by an Ewok."
Alan shook his head. "And how will you feel when that engine really does malfunction?"
"Well, I suppose I'd feel pretty ridiculous." He grinned. "But I guess I'll just have to take that chance."
Alan thought fast. "You could abort the flight with that much evidence, though."
The engineer considered. "Technically, I suppose I could justify it if I had to - but I'd be under a lot of scrutiny once we landed. Nobody would do it. Really, mister, there's almost no risk."
"Are you willing to bet your life on that?"
"Mister, I'm a flight engineer. I bet my life on things like that all the time. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have real work I need to be doing."
"Do you know who that is?" Alan asked suddenly, pointing. "My friend there." They both looked over. Denny was pressed up against the window glass, very intent on something. "That is Denny Crane," Alan said. "Who happens to be a named partner in the most prestigious law firm in Boston, Crane Poole & Schmidt. I happen to be with that same firm. So I'm going to outline a few options for you here. You refuse to land the plane, it malfuctions, and we sue what is left of you and your airline for every cent you've got. Or you refuse to land the plane, everything is fine, and Mr. Crane has a nervous breakdown - and we sue you and your airline for mental distress and endangerment, and if you so much as mention little invisible monsters, we add slander charges to the list. On the other hand, if you do land the plane, you just might save us all from a fiery death - and if it turns out that nothing's wrong after all, you've just made one sick old man a little bit happier. And, by the way, you'll have the full weight of Crane Poole and Schmidt behind you to back up your decision."
"Mr. Shore, if you think you can threaten me -" he began, but he was interupted by the chime of a decorous alarm. They both looked at Denny automatically and Alan returned to his seat with perhaps unseemly haste. Denny had somehow managed to put a hairline crack in the window glass.
"What did you just do, Denny?" Alan asked calmly.
"I was threatening to sue, like you said. But he couldn't hear me," said Denny. "So I was trying to open the window. I'm afraid it didn't work very well. It seems to be sealed somehow," he added severely.
The engineer had followed them over and stood with his mouth open in disbelief.
"I suppose you'll have to land the plane now," Alan said, not allowing a sigle drop of victory to seep into his voice. "Cabin integrity has been compromised and everything."
The engineer stood there for a second more. He looked as if he'd come up with several things to say, and thought better of all of them. Instead, he left without a word.
"It wasn't just me," Denny confided. "He weakened the glass. Staring at it too hard."
"Hm," said Alan, and settled in for another nap.
They landed at the nearest airport and the passengers were disembarked and steered to alternate flights while mechanics swarmed over the plane. An airport security person caught Alan and Denny on their way out.
"You two are material witnesses to - whatever it was that happened up there," she said. "I'm afraid we'd like to request that you remain in the area, for at least the next forty-eight hours, until the preliminary investigations are taken care of."
"We can do that, ma'am," Alan said politely. "No problem at all."
She gave him a geniune smile. "Thank you. The airline will cover all of your expenses, of course; make sure you save your receipts."
"Well," said Alan, after she was gone, slinging his carry-on bag over his shoulder and picking up Denny's suitcase, "We seem to have an indefinite unscheduled layover in Las Vegas. What do you think - the Hilton or the Luxor?"
"Neither," said Denny. "I like the one with the pirate ship."
Note: Yes, this is heavily based on the Twilight Zone episode "Terror at 30,000 feet" - the one with "Someone on the wing!", which stars a terrifyingly young William Shatner as Mr. "Is he insane or isn't he? Just tell us already!" In this retelling, Alan Shore plays the part of his long-suffering wife.