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|MacGyver Online Forums > Library > Point of no Return|
|Posted by: bluegirl 9 May 2020 - 12:38 PM|
| Hello everyone!
I´m back! As I announced a week ago at the end of Breaking Point, the new story is written and ready (well, most of it, part 1 is ready - I´m still fine tuning the rest). Thanks to 'the virus' and the shutdown in Austria it didn´t take 15 years to finish it. I had a lot of spare time... I had the internet and google Earth for research, I had some loose ends left at the end of Breaking Point, and I had the encouragement and support of uniquelyjas (Yay!!! Thanks!!!).
I rated it 'R' because of references to what happened in Breaking Point, although nothing like it will be going on in this one... just to make sure, everyone is warned. I also warn you, that the parts will be quite uneven in length, but the flow of the story demanded that...
I plan to post a new part every two or three days. I hope you´ll enjoy and I´m looking forward to your feedback.
This story picks up about two months later...
|Posted by: bluegirl 9 May 2020 - 12:43 PM|
| Part 1
Just the low gurgle of the ripples the wind made on the water of the lake below the small pier. Only an occasional bird singing. The same wind rustling through the trees softly. All natural sounds. Nothing man-made.
Weeks ago the stillness had felt threatening to MacGyver. Through his brutal confinement the silence had been his cellmate. It had been there when he had been waiting for the next round of his torture. It had been there when he had tried to recover from the pain. It had been there through his recovery in the Phoenix underground infirmary, when he had believed that Pete Thornton had turned against him and he had killed Pete in his attempt to survive. Mac´s thoughts and his emotions had been roaring inside, but he had been forced to remain silent outside. Physically rescued from the torture, he had still been imprisoned emotionally.
Only after Willis and Pete had confronted him with the truth about the betrayal the silence had lessened. The incarceration had faded.
Talking to Dr. Beattie had helped him, taking down and arresting his torturer with Pete´s help had taken away much of the pressure. But even through his second stay in the infirmary, while he had been recovering from the stabbing wound and the broken ribs, he had felt the urge to withdraw and keep his distance.
Most of all from Pete, as Mac hadn´t been able to push back some of the feelings the torture had left him with. He felt guilty for not recognizing the betrayal, for not being able to work his own way out of it. At times Mac had still felt uncomfortable with his best friend around and physically close. With the help of Dr. Beattie MacGyver had worked hard on those feelings, knowing very well that Pete didn´t deserve them. He had been well aware of hurting Pete every time he had pulled back in some conditioned fearful response.
The silence had become a comfortable and comforting companion by then – able and aiding in suppressing the painful memories.
At some point, soon after Dr. Thompson had released him out of his medical care, everything had gotten too overwhelming. Pete had tried his best to be helpful, to be there whenever Mac needed him. But it had been too much. Pete had been too omnipresent, too protective, and too close. Mac hadn´t had the strength to tell him.
As soon as Dr. Thompson had permitted it – about five weeks after the showdown in Willis´ apartment – MacGyver had retreated to Pete´s cabin. Pete had been a little surprised at Mac´s request, but had on the spot allowed Mac to use it and stay there as long as he needed to.
Now MacGyver was sitting on the small pier behind the cabin, leaning against a wooden box, quite similar to what he had been doing after Mike´s accidental death. He was grateful that Pete had had the cabin rebuilt after Murdoc had burned it down. He was looking silently looking over the lake, still trying to sort through his thoughts and emotions. Now Mac was seeking the quiet solitude, hoping it would help him clear his troubled emotions. He needed to be away from everyone and everything.
He had not been able to really relax and recover at home in Los Angeles. Too much had reminded him of the past events. He had tried to distract his mind in assisting Willis with his lab work on his environmental studies.
But still, the terrifying memories had haunted him.
Up here, he had found silence. He had spent his days fishing, paddling around the lake and hiking, striving to get his hurt and weakened body back in shape. Dr. Thompson had been satisfied with the last x-rays of his broken ribs about three weeks ago, just before Mac had left for the cabin. He had allowed Mac to start his physical training, yet had warned him to remain mindful of his healing injuries, insisting that that he needed to take it easy for a few more weeks.
Exercising his body had helped MacGyver to clear his mind, at least as long as the exhaustion afterwards had lasted. He had started to get some contentment from the exertion and the emptiness thereafter. However the memories had returned after a few days on the quiet evenings; the nightmares had returned in his sleep.
Thanks to all the counseling sessions with Dr. Beattie, Mac was able to cope with it; he was able to stay in control of his emotions, the memories, the flashbacks – most of the time, he had to admit.
Very early this morning he had bolted out of his sleep covered with sweat and gasping with fear. He had found absolutely no way of calming himself down and getting back to sleep, so he had given in and settled outside on the pier, watching nature awakening slowly. It was almost midday by now. MacGyver had not moved since the morning when he´d seated himself leaning against the box.
Gazing over the lake and the woods he felt torn inside. Even though he knew that it had been a mask and a double, Pete´s face was still there in his terrifying memories. It still made his skin crawl and the hair at the back of his neck stand on end. At the same time he longed for the comfort and stabilizing support his closest friend could provide. Pete had been his mentor and almost fatherly and protective friend for so many years. They knew each other so well.
MacGyver was perfectly aware that the situation was – from a different point of view – equally difficult, trying and distressing for Pete. That was why he had put up his calm façade again and withdrawn from him. Mac wanted to protect Pete; he wanted to keep him from witnessing too much of his suffering and the troubled emotions he was dealing with. He didn´t want to cause Pete to worry too much; he didn´t want to hurt Pete with his reactions.
But Mac felt mentally and emotionally exhausted by now. He had spent hours in trying to calm himself after the disturbing nightmare and was still shaken.
Sitting there, watching the birds pass over him and the lake, MacGyver started to doubt his decision about the solitary retreat. He wasn´t so sure anymore, if getting away from all his friends and his work had really helped him improve his condition mentally. All of them had accepted his need to be alone and come up here. None of them had tried to visit or to intrude.
Mac had longed for withdrawal when he had come to the cabin almost three weeks ago. However over the last hours it seemed as if the comfortable solitude had probably turned into straining loneliness. With all this thoughts circling in his mind, MacGyver pulled himself together and slowly stood up. He had to get down to Ellard´s store anyway. He was running out of supplies.
How about using it as a test? Let´s see how I do around human beings again? Let´s see how I´ll feel…? Let´s see if I can control the fear…
With newly found resolve MacGyver went into the cabin, changed into fresh clothes and picked up his wallet and the keys for his Jeep. On his way to the Jeep and driving the winding road down to Ellard´s store he mentally made up a list of what he needed to get. Mac was looking forward to some fresh fruits and vegetables. After more than two weeks he had gotten tired of eating fish most of the time.
As expected Ellard was on the phone when Mac arrived there and entered the store, but he interrupted the conversation to welcome Mac as soon as he noticed him. MacGyver only waved back at him, signaling that he would pick up his goods on his own and Ellard could carry on with his phone call.
Mac wasn´t the only customer. Some of the locals were around, as the store had always been kind of a social meeting point. Mac barely knew them, but he managed to stay calm and relaxed while he collected his supplies. He just nodded his greeting at them when he returned to Ellard´s counter a few minutes later.
Ellard had just rung off the phone and greeted MacGyver again with a broad smile.
“MacGyver! Haven´t seen you for a long time! I was getting worried, that you might have turned into a hermit maintaining himself only on fish.” he teased.
Mac had to roll his eyes, pulled a theatrical grimace and sighed. He had told Ellard nothing about the reasons for his stay when he had arrived almost three weeks ago.
“To be honest, this hermit is getting tired of fish.” he played along with Ellard´s joke. “So I decided to return briefly to civilization to get something different for a change.”
He gestured to the goods Ellard was already packing into paper bags. After a small chat Mac paid for his supplies and wanted to pick up the bags, when Ellard suddenly turned serious. He looked directly into Mac´s brown eyes.
“Are you all right, MacGyver?” he asked. “I do remember the last time you´ve been keeping to yourself for that long. If there´s anything I can do…” His voice trailed off as he saw MacGyver´s baffled gaze.
MacGyver had to swallow hard, but then straightened himself. Ellard was an old, experienced man. Mac should have known, that he might well notice that something was off with him.
“I´ll be all right.” he replied. “I just needed some time to think. I have to sort out some things with myself. Nothing to be worried about.”
He tried to smile convincingly, but could see that Ellard wasn´t buying it. Mac decided to change the topic.
“So, I almost forgot to ask, Ellard… Did anyone leave a message for me?” he asked innocently.
Ellard only shook his head. His gaze didn´t leave Mac.
Only a moment later the telephone rang. Relieved by the interruption, MacGyver picked up his bags, but when Ellard didn´t react to the phone, he paused. Mac´s forged smile was gone.
“Thanks, Ellard… for everything.” he said. “No need to keep your friend waiting. I´ll see you soon.”
When Ellard just nodded silently, Mac turned, left the store and walked straight to his Jeep. He stored the bags on the passenger seat and took off to Pete´s cabin again.
So much for the test, he thought while driving. Maybe Pete has asked him to keep an eye on me…
MacGyver still wasn´t sure if he liked that thought, when he parked his Jeep close to the trail to the cabin. He got out, walked around to the other side of the car, and just as he opened the door to retrieve his supplies, he got a glance at his canvas bag, tucked away behind the front seat.
He had somehow forgotten that he had taken it along over the last two and a half weeks. He had tried not to think about the files it contained. It had taken some serious persuading, but Willis had finally, yet reluctantly provided him with copies of everything concerning the past events. All they knew so far about the Asian crime syndicate, all about the guys involved, all about the camp and the evidence from there, even his own medical reports.
All the pictures, all the maps, all the lab reports. The whole story was there. And so were the questions left unanswered. They still had no clue to what project they had been after; they still didn´t know who had been behind this and why.
Mac stood silent and paralyzed for moments at the open door of his Jeep, staring at his messenger bag. At first sight it had felt like a threat, but the longer he looked at it, it started feeling like a solution. Maybe this was his way out. He had to pick up the pieces, put them together and solve the puzzle. Maybe he would find a way to pick up his own pieces and fix himself along the way as well.
MacGyver took a deep breath, reached out for the bag and took it with him to the cabin together with his grocery bags. With this new goal and new energy found, Mac spent most of the afternoon straightening up the cabin. When he was done, he reached for one of the fresh apples, he had bought at Ellard´s. It felt like a treat. Then, after another probing look at the now clear table, Mac set his canvas bag down on it and opened it up.
Hours had passed until MacGyver got up and walked out of the cabin and on to the pier. The sun had set some time ago behind the mountains, and the air was cool and crisp. He stood silent, looking into the darkness over the lake and the valley.
Digging into the files, the reports and the pictures had brought back all his carefully repressed memories to the surface. Some of it had sent his heart pounding again, had reminded him of the pain, the fear and the desperation he had been forced to go through. Especially the photos of the evidence from the camp and of himself, taken right after Willis and Pete had rescued and recovered him from the forest had been most unsettling.
Sighing, Mac adjusted his gaze to the direction where the mountain camp was located, some miles away in a neighboring valley. He had debated with himself over hiking to it in the last two weeks. It would have been a two day tour with a nightly stay in the woods. No big deal. Now, after reading all the reports, he decided against it. The forensics had gone over it with a fine comb; he had been there once together with Pete. There was no point in seeing it again.
MacGyver knew he had to take a different approach to the whole case. He focused on the questions left without an answer. He wouldn´t find any new clues at the camp or up here. He wouldn´t find any conclusion or closure at the cabin.
He had to get back. He had to return to the Phoenix Foundation and his friends. He had to return to work and solve this puzzle. It was the only way of putting his demons to rest and of getting back his life and his real self.
MacGyver turned, went back into the cabin and stopped at the table. It was covered with spread out pictures, open folders and reports. After a long last look at them, he gathered all the papers and files back into his bag, and then packed all his stuff together. He would get a few hours of sleep and then leave for the drive back to Las Angeles early in the morning.
It was the early morning two days later as MacGyver entered the Phoenix Foundation´s main building and headed straight up to Pete´s office.
He had arrived at his houseboat around midday yesterday and had taken some time to settle in. He had checked his email account and spent the rest of the day and half the night going through the files again. Just to make sure he hadn´t overlooked anything…
Helen greeted him with a broad smile as he passed through Pete´s front office. MacGyver stopped at Pete´s half open door and knocked on the doorframe.
“Good morning, Pete!”
Pete was sitting at his desk, deeply concentrating on some papers, but his face instantly lightened up, as he heard Mac´s greeting, looked up and saw him standing at the door.
“MacGyver! You´re back.” He waved Mac to his desk. “I am glad to see you… I was starting to get worried after all this time.” he continued, while Mac dropped into one of the chairs across the desk.
“You don´t need to be.” Mac replied with a little smile. “I´m all right. I just needed some time to think.”
MacGyver suddenly realized that his emotions towards Pete were still torn. He had been looking forward to seeing his best friend, but now, being close to him, the dreaded unease was back. The painful memories flashed back into his mind. Mac was determined not to let his inner fears show.
“Well, you look a lot better physically.” Pete observed. “You´ve been at my cabin for quite some time… Has the seclusion served you well? How are you feeling?”
Mac´s face grew serious. He took a deep breath before answering.
“I´ll be okay.” he reassured Pete. “It gave me time for some physical training, and I managed to straighten out some things in my head.”
“So, what´s your plan?”
Mac raised a surprised eyebrow.
“My plan? What makes you think, I´ve got a plan?”
“Mac, you´ve isolated yourself for almost three weeks.” Pete smiled at MacGyver. “Now you´re sitting here and seem focused. Do you want me to believe, you did return without a purpose?”
Mac remained silent for a moment; his eyes were fixed on Pete´s desk. Pete knew him way too well not to notice his slight unease.
“I want to get back to work.” Mac said flatly.
“I´m relieved to hear that and it´s fine with me, but…”
“I need to go after the syndicate.” Mac cut his friend off with a low voice, now looking directly at him.
For seconds a tense silence hung in the room before Pete spoke out again, leaning forward on his desk.
“Are you serious? Mac, there´s a whole team assigned to and working on the case. We haven´t sat back and waited while you were recovering and then in retreat. You don´t have to..”
“I am, Pete… and I have to.” Mac´s voice was even now low, but firm. “I have to know who was behind all this. I have to know what they were after and why. It´s the only way, how I will find some closure. I have to be a part of it. I need to solve this puzzle.”
Pete sat back in his chair and eyed his friend probingly. MacGyver looked focused and determined on the outside, but Pete could feel that he wasn´t quite as calm underneath his façade. Mac held his gaze.
“Is Willis still in charge?” Mac asked. “Is he still managing the research for this case?”
“He is using one of the computer labs in this building. He can brief you with the latest information.” He knew there was almost no way of holding MacGyver back when he had set his mind on doing something. He could only try to oblige him to take it easy for some time.
“Then I´ll better talk to him.” Mac replied. “Thanks, Pete.” He got up and was about to turn and leave, but Pete´s voice held him back.
“MacGyver, I can´t let you go out on your own. Not yet.”
Mac was stunned for a moment. Then he got upset.
“What…? Why…? What´s the problem with me?” he asked sharply.
“No problem, Mac.” Pete was striving to remain calm at Mac intense reaction. “But there´s Phoenix protocol to follow. You know that.”
“What protocol?” MacGyver was too focused on getting back to work on the case to understand what Pete was talking about.
“The medical checks. You´ve been injured.” Pete stated. “Your doctors have to declare you fit for field duty again. Get yourself appointments with Dr. Thompson and Dr. Beattie. If they are satisfied, then I can clear your status.”
Mac nodded. His sudden anger faded. Sure. Somehow he had completely forgotten about or suppressed the need to get the doctors okay.
He turned and went towards the door when Pete´s voice stopped him again.
Mac paused at the doorframe to look back at Pete. He had stood up behind his desk and smiled.
“It´s good to have you back.”
Mac returned the smile.
“It´s good to be back, Pete.”
Willis´ welcome was evenly surprised and heartfelt as Pete´s had been. MacGyver had headed straight to the computer labs from Pete´s office. Getting up to date on the case seemed more important to him than setting up appointments with the doctors.
“So, Mac, what can I do for you?” Willis asked. “What has Pete sent you out to do, now that you´re back?”
“Nothing yet.” Mac replied. “I need to get the doctors okay first.”
“Sure.” Willis nodded. “Are you feeling ready for work?”
Mac sighed and paused for a moment.
“I think so… That´s why I´m here. I need the latest information on the syndicate. What have you found out while I was away?”
Now it was Willis´ turn to remain silent for a few seconds. Then he got up and retrieved three folders from a nearby shelf before sitting down next to MacGyver again. He sighed as he set down the folders on the desk next to the computer.
“Mac, there´s a whole task force joined with the DXS working on this.” he told his friend. “Has Pete agreed with you being a part of it? You don´t need to…”
Mac raised his hand to cut him off.
“I do, Willis.” he said firmly. “I´ve been through that with Pete. I have to be a part of it.” He gestured at the folders. “Now, what have you got?”
Willis hesitated briefly, but then gave in. If Pete Thornton had given his okay…
“I guess you´re familiar with all the files I handed you before you left?”
“I´ve read through everything.” Mac nodded. “But it left some unanswered questions. Like why were they after Phoenix Research? And who was or is behind all this?”
“We´re no further on the why.” Willis admitted. “But we´ve made some progress on the who…” He opened up a folder and handed it to MacGyver. It contained a detailed dossier on Dan Ni Chen. “With him in custody, all the three letter agencies were finally willing to help and shared their information.” Willis continued while Mac flipped through the pages.
“Wow. He has quite an impressive record of being suspected but not being caught.” Mac puffed out a deep breath he´d been holding.
Willis picked up another folder and laid it open on the desk in front of MacGyver.
“So has his syndicate. He has quite a top position, yet there are others beside him.”
Mac leaned forward to go over the information.
“They are only into high-tech stuff as it seems.” he stated. “Phoenix Research would be a valuable target for them. But what project were they after?”
“We don´t know.” Willis shook his head. “None of the two, neither Chen, nor his guard have answered any questions during interrogation.”
MacGyver sat back and thought about what he´d seen and heard silently for a few moments. Then he looked at the third folder still lying closed on the desk.
“What´s in there?”
“Only some addresses, locations and plans of property and land ownership we were able to tie to the syndicate.” Willis shrugged. “Nothing helpful so far. Everything perfectly legal. The mountain camp of course, a business building and a warehouse in the harbor district and a house with some acres of land south of Big Sur.”
MacGyver picked up the folder and went through the pages. His mind started automatically considering possibilities and ways to get in and out of the properties and buildings as he looked at the blueprints.
“Can I keep those?” he asked after a few minutes.
“I can get you copies.” Willis replied. “They should be ready for you in about one hour.”
“No need to hurry…” Mac nodded. “I´ll be back in the afternoon. I´ll try to get my doctors okay in the meantime. Thanks, Willis.”
He got up and left for his own office. Soon after arriving there he had fixed appointments both with Dr. Thompson and Dr. Beattie. Until he had to leave for the one with Dr. Thompson he sat alone at his desk, recalling what Willis had shown him and considering what might be his next steps.
Meeting Dr Thompson in the lab complex hadn´t been much of a problem. The doctor had taken another x-ray of his ribs and even had made an ultrasound examination to be sure the ribs and the stabbing wound had healed thoroughly. The physical check of MacGyver´s whole body had also included a cardiovascular test on a treadmill.
In the end Dr. Thompson had smiled relieved and had told Mac that he was impressed by his swift improvement of condition, had declared him fit for duty and had advised him not to return into his care any time soon. He would send his report to Pete Thornton immediately.
On his way back to the Phoenix headquarters MacGyver decided to pay a visit to Chen at the prison tomorrow morning. His appointment with Dr. Beattie was scheduled for the afternoon, which left enough time for the drive to the high security prison just outside of Los Angeles.
Things were different now, Mac thought. Maybe I can get some answers, where anyone else didn´t.
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 9 May 2020 - 01:55 PM|
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 10 May 2020 - 11:53 AM|
| I love the detailed imagery in the beginning and how you slowly lead us into the story. You do a really good job summarizing Breaking Point to help remind us what happened.
I like that you take the reader into Mac's head. Finally there's hope he's recovering!! I can totally picture the beginning scenes because of how you relate them back to The Widowmaker.
Ellard!! Yay!! I loved that old guy...he should've gotten a bigger role in the actual episode! And him being on the phone...so true to character!!
You really write Mac's character well. He would totally go off-grid when hurting. He'd also latch onto work to get his head straightened out...or at least create a diversion for himself!
LOL..of course he visits Willis before going to the doctors!! Pete should have known better!! LOL!!
So I'm feeling pretty good about this right now. Obviously Mac and Pete still have some things to work through, but it's taking on the feel of a real MacGyver episode...Mac's got a puzzle to solve!!
|Posted by: bluegirl 11 May 2020 - 10:40 AM|
If it feels like a real episode, then I´ve achieved at least one goal so far... THANKS!
|Posted by: bluegirl 12 May 2020 - 10:56 PM|
| Part 2
When MacGyver arrived at the state prison on the next morning, he remained sitting in his Jeep for a few minutes and kept staring at the visitor´s entrance.
After he had picked up his copies of the files from Willis yesterday, he had set up his visit to Chen via telephone with the prison´s officials from his own office. He had then returned to his houseboat and gone over every detail of the files, absorbing all the new information. Seeing Chen and asking some serious questions had seemed like a good idea last evening.
Right now, he wasn´t so sure about it.
The prospect of once more confronting this man, even though Mac knew Chen wasn´t able to harm him anymore, still sent his heart pounding and made his adrenaline flow. The frightening memories came back to his mind.
Have I really thought, I´m over and done with it, he asked himself. I should have known better. Mac took a deep breath and pulled himself together. Come on, MacGyver, If you think you´re ready to get back to work, you gotta be able to do this, he chided himself mentally.
He puffed out a breath, got out of the car and walked inside the prison through the door of the visitor´s entrance. The guards behind the window eyed him probingly, but also greeted him instantly. Mac nodded at them and returned the greeting.
“Good morning. Name´s MacGyver. I´ve announced my visit. I am here to talk to Dan Ni Chen.” He showed his Phoenix identity card.
One of the guards checked a list and then nodded to his colleague. The second guard waved MacGyver through the next door and conducted the usual security check-up. Mac had to leave his Swiss army knife with the guards at the entrance before he was allowed to proceed to the rooms where the visits could take place. MacGyver had to wait for a few minutes until another guard led him to one of the rooms.
“The rooms have video, but no audio surveillance.” the guard told him. “Do you need assistance, or do you want to talk to him alone?”
MacGyver took a deep breath.
“I´ll be fine on my own, thank you.” he replied.
“I had to ask, sorry.” the guard explained. “It´s not very common for the victim to meet the accused in prison.”
“I´m also part of the investigation team.” Mac held his gaze calmly.
The guard nodded.
“Just knock on the door, if you need anything. I´ll be right outside.”
With that he opened the door to the room for MacGyver. Mac hesitated for the blink of an eye before he entered the room and heard the door close behind himself. His concentration and all his senses narrowed to the table in the middle of the room and the man sitting chained to it on the other side. The sight instantly sent a shiver down his spine, but he was determined not to let it show.
Chen looked up at him. The bright orange color of the prison clothing and the cuffs and chains fixed to the table did change his appearance, however MacGyver´s mind instantly filled with scary and anguished memories at the sight of his face. For a brief moment Chen seemed to be surprised, when he saw MacGyver, but then a satisfied grin broadened on his face.
“MacGyver! At last.” he welcomed Mac. “I knew you would come to see me. Have a seat.”
MacGyver´s thought´s ran wild. Slowly he sat down on the chair opposite to Chen.
“It seems you have recovered well.” Chen continued. “What can I do for you?”
Mac had a hard time controlling and pushing back his memories and emotions and instead focusing on why he had come here. He needed answers. He had to gain control of the conversation. Fast.
“I´m fine.” he replied to Chen. “I´m here because I´ve got some questions for you.”
“Questions?” Chen chuckled. “Why should I answer any of them? What have you got to offer?”
“That depends on your cooperation…” Mac took a deep breath and tried to put some pressure on Chen. “Why were you after Phoenix research? What project were you assigned to steal?”
Chen´s grin grew even wider.
“Cooperation?” he asked slowly after a few moments of silence. “Your means of encouraging cooperation are not quite as convincing as the ones I am used to.”
MacGyver felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end with Chen´s subliminal hint. He had to think faster. Time for a bluff. Hopefully Chen would buy it.
“That´s possible.” Mac answered. “I guess the heads of your syndicate would do more than just convince you. So would their customers.” He paused to observe Chen´s reaction to his attempted threat.
Chen´s smiling poker face stayed in place.
“So? I´m in here, have you forgotten that? How could they reach me?”
Mac knew he had to raise the stakes. He also knew that Chen certainly had some way to contact his syndicate men outside the prison, and so would they.
“We might move you to another, less secured prison.” he suggested. “We might let get word out on the streets on where you are – I´m sure they know you have failed your assignment…”
Chen remained silent. His smile turned stone cold. After a few moments he laughed briefly.
“You would be willing to put me in the risk of getting killed, if I don´t answer your questions?”
Now it was MacGyver´s turn to keep up his poker face and wait. Another tense silence hung in the room for endless seconds. Then Chen leaned back in his chair as far as the chains would allow him.
“Nice try, Mr. MacGyver.” he said. “But my information on you is quite thorough. Even after all that happened, you would never do that. You´ll always follow proper legal procedures… You´re bluffing.”
His voice sounded cold and controlled as it had been back on that mountain. MacGyver couldn´t help it. He suddenly felt trapped again, yet tried desperately to stay calm and hold Chen´s gaze.
“I won´t answer any of your questions.” Chen continued. “But I appreciate your visit. I was a pleasure meeting you again. It did give me a good impression of what I have accomplished. Now I know that I still own your mind.”
MacGyver felt another shiver running down his spine, yet managed to remain quiet on the outside.
“I guess you know how to contact me, if you should change your mind.” he said flatly as he got up and knocked on the door.
He had to admit, this was of no use. He wouldn´t get any information from Chen. When the door opened, he left without obvious haste. He didn´t want to give this man the satisfaction of seeing him flee.
“Goodbye, MacGyver.” he heard call Chen after him before the guard closed the door.
Mac stood frozen for a moment, staring at the floor.
“Are you okay?” the guard asked from behind.
Mac flinched as he snapped out of his dark thoughts. He looked up at the guard now standing beside him.
“Yeah.” he replied. “I´m all right. Thanks.”
After he was out of Chen´s sight, MacGyver hurried to get through the security check and out of the prison. It was only when he was back sitting in his Jeep that he realized his hands on the steering wheel were shaking. He sat there silent for minutes, striving to regain his composure, thinking about what had happened. He hadn´t been properly prepared. He had had no adequate leverage against this man. Chen had caught him emotionally off guard once more.
He had to find another way to solving this puzzle. A look at his watch told him, that he had some time to spare until he had to meet Dr Beattie.
Maybe Willis has come up with some new parts to the puzzle since yesterday, he thought. With new resolve found, he started the engine of his Jeep and headed to the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters through the Los Angeles traffic.
“Mac!” Willis was surprised. “You´re back that soon?”
MacGyver had used the drive to the Foundation to focus on the case again. He had thought about every detail of the files, had managed to push back the feelings his visit to Chen had brought to the surface. Until he arrived at Willis´ lab, his calm façade was back in place.
“I´ve been through everything yesterday.” he told Willis. “It was a long evening, but I couldn´t let go. You know, I can´t leave a puzzle alone.”
“I certainly do.” Willis nodded. “What have you come up with?”
“They questions are the same.” Mac shrugged. “I was hoping you would have anything new.”
Willis got up to get a folder from another desk.
“Only a few new names with some connection to the syndicate.” he explained while handing it to Mac. “Wasn´t too much time since you left yesterday afternoon.”
MacGyver flipped through the pages, scanning the information on every person. Most of them where unfamiliar to him, but two names and pictures intrigued him. Willis noticed the slight change in Mac´s expression.
“What´s the matter?” he asked. “What have you discovered?”
“I´m not sure…” Mac muttered, his gaze still fixed on the pages. “I can´t place it yet. Somehow those two seem familiar. I´ve come across those names earlier, but I can´t remember where or when.”
“You´ve messed with Chinese criminals earlier?” Willis frowned.
Mac looked up at Willis. He was searching his memories.
“I was forced to steal the Ming dragon by soviet agents long ago.” he recalled. “I returned it, of course… I´ve supported the Chinese student movement. I had to rescue Mei Jan out of the Chinese consulate… but those two don´t fit Chinese officials.” He sat back while going back in his mind.
“Another encounter was more of a personal matter. A kid from Santa Monica, a friend of mine, was to be sold to some rich Chinese magnate by a local low life from Chinatown. The boy was suspected to be the reincarnation of a legendary Chinese prince. Of course, it was a fraud.”
His eyes were looking into some unknown distance. Suddenly his focus returned to the printouts.
“Luke… That´s gotta be it.” he stated.
Willis raised his eyebrows puzzled. “The kid from Santa Monica?”
MacGyver didn´t react at once. Then he snapped out of his memories.
“No.” His voice trailed off.
“Luke Chung. Pete and I were asked to help investigate a hostile take-over attempt on a shipping company. Luke´s grandfather was the owner of Jade Dragon Inc. I got to know Luke after a murderous attack on his grandfather which unfortunately at last succeeded. Luke was the heir to this company. They went after him subsequently and I was assigned to protect him. A Hong Kong cartel was behind everything. They had business connections around here, but we were able to stop them.” Mac explained to Willis, excited with the new discovery. “That was in ´88. Can you access the case files from here?”
Willis picked up on MacGyver´s excitement and turned to the computer right away.
He started typing quickly in order to get access to the Phoenix archives. Only minutes later they had found the file and read through it on the monitor. Mac was the first to notice.
“There.” He pointed to the screen. “I knew I´ve read those names before.”
Willis leaned back and looked at MacGyver.
“You know what that means, do you?” he asked.
“The syndicate is most likely part of that Hong Kong cartel.” Mac nodded.
“That was not what I meant…” Willis replied.
Mac remained silent and held Willis´ gaze.
“I know, Willis.” he answered after a few moments. “We´re up against a much bigger enemy than we expected. They know about the Phoenix Foundation, they know about Pete and me, and they´ve had enough time to do their research on us.”
“What can I do to help?” Willis excitement had faded a bit with the discovery of their opponent.
MacGyver glanced at his watch and remembered he had an appointment. He got up and retrieved his jacket.
“Turn loose on that cartel. I´ll need every bit of information that you can get me.” he said. “I´m sorry, I´ve got to leave. Dr. Beattie is expecting me. I shouldn´t be late. I´ll see you tomorrow.”
Dr. Beattie´s lab wasn´t too far away, but Mac realized he was getting a little nervous while he was walking to it. He´d known the doc for quite some time; he trusted her. Nevertheless her judgment might be getting in his way. He knew that he had been through a lot mentally and emotionally. After his long weeks of recovery he felt ready and resilient enough to get back to work. His visit to Chen this morning had been unsettling, but he had managed to keep his composure. Mostly.
MacGyver needed Dr. Beattie´s okay for his return to field duty. He had to convince her, so she would convince the always worried and protective Pete Thornton. Concentrating on that task and bracing himself mentally, Mac knocked on the door and entered the doc´s lab. Dr. Beattie´s smile was wide and honest as always.
“MacGyver! Right on time. It´s good to see you again.” she greeted him while she got up and reached out to shake his hand. MacGyver gladly took her hand and returned the smile.
“It´s good to be back, doc.” he replied.
Dr. Beattie nodded and gestured to a chair opposite to hers.
“Have a seat.” she offered casually while she seated herself again. “You´ve been at Director Thornton´s cabin for almost three weeks. It´s been quite a while since our last session. Is that why you are nervous?”
MacGyver had just sat down, as she asked that question. For a brief moment he froze, feeling like she was able to see through him. Was his unease with the situation really that visible? Then his face lightened up again. There was no point in trying to deceive her. He would just have to show her his best available mood.
“I guess so.” he admitted. “You´re the one to convince Pete that I´m ready to get back to work.”
“That´s true.” she said, with her smile still on. “Dr. Thompson has passed on the report on your physical assessment. He is satisfied with your results. Your retreat has obviously served your body well. Has it also helped you mentally?”
“Yeah, I think so.” MacGyver nodded. “I´ve had some time to think everything through and straighten things out in my head.”
“Like what?” Dr. Beattie was interested.
Mac sighed and leaned back.
“Like running away from everything and isolating me won´t be any solution.” he told the doctor. “The solitude gave me the much needed distance for a while and allowed me to calm down. But I have to get back to my life and my work. Just sitting around isn´t like me.”
The doctor´s face turned a little more serious.
“How frequent are the nightmares?” she asked out of the blue.
Mac hadn´t been prepared for it. He hesitated for a moment before he answered.
“They come and go. I almost never know when to expect them. But I am able to cope with them. Thanks to the suggestions we´d worked on in our last sessions.” His mind suddenly snapped back to the second to last night he had spent in Pete´s cabin and the time he had been forced to sit and recover outside on the pier. Dr. Beattie´s voice returned him to the present.
“I´m pleased to hear that it works. How about flashbacks?”
“It´s been a while since the last one.” Mac managed to smile again.
Dr. Beattie nodded.
“Good. Have you been to the camp again?” she asked. “We´ve talked about it. It is close to the cabin, right?”
“It is. A two day hike there and back again.” Mac recalled thinking about it. “But I didn´t go. It would have been no use. I´ve been there with Pete.”
The doctor considered his words and eyed him probingly for a moment. Then her professional smile returned.
“What about Pete?” she continued questioning him. “I guess he´s relived that you´re back.”
MacGyver tried to relax in his chair. He thought back to yesterday morning and how torn he had felt while seeing Pete for the first time after his isolation.
“He is.” he answered. “He´s still worried… He´s still set on protecting me.”
“Do you mind?”
Mac was surprised by Dr. Beattie´s question.
“Well, no.” he replied on first impulse. “But he should know that I am able to take care of myself.”
Dr. Beattie noticed his sudden change and the slight frustration in his voice.
“How did seeing him feel?”
“He was happy to see me…” Mac said, but was cut off by the doc´s direct look.
“How did it feel to you?”
Mac held his breath for a second. “Good.” he answered quickly then. “After almost three weeks of solitude it feels good to see all my friends again and get back to actually doing something.”
The doctor´s face turned serious. “You are determined to go after the men behind all that happened yourself?”
“Yeah.” MacGyver nodded.
Dr. Beattie considered her next question carefully for a few moments.
“How did your visit to Chen work out?”
Mac was stunned by her words. He had talked to no one about it.
“What? ... How do you know?”
“After you had announced your visit, the prison´s officials checked back with Director Thornton, as they didn´t know you yet.” Dr. Beattie explained. “They wanted to be sure about your authorization. The director told me about it.”
Mac was speechless for seconds. They had been acting behind his back? He felt the same sudden anger like yesterday in Pete´s office well up. He flexed his fingers nervously.
“It worked out fine.” he answered flatly after some time. “But I didn´t get any new information from him. He won´t reveal anything… Why didn´t Pete tell me about it?”
Dr. Beattie sighed, then smiled warmly. “He is trying to protect you.”
MacGyver wanted to object, but she held up a hand to keep him quiet.
“He was concerned that you might push yourself too far. But he didn´t stop you. It was my decision to ask you about it.”
MacGyver´s expression stayed dark. He remained silent. All of a sudden the assessment seemed to have mixed with another counseling session.
“MacGyver, no one expects you to be over and done with your thoughts and emotions so soon after such an experience.” the doctor continued. “It´s been only two months since Chen has been arrested. And you can´t expect Pete Thornton not to be worried about you anymore. He had nearly lost you.”
MacGyver got up with the tension building up inside him and paced the lab. The memory of the ‘fake Pete’ trying to strangle him and then falling off the cliff was back in his mind.
“I know.” he said in a low voice after a few moments. “I had lost him… after he had tried to kill me… from my point of view.” Mac turned to look at Dr. Beattie across the lab. “I can´t undo that memory. I´ve accepted that. But by now I know that it wasn´t real.”
“How about feeling that it wasn´t real?” Dr. Beattie stayed calm and patient.
“It´s getting easier. It´s working.” Mac assured her. Most of the time, he added silently to himself.
“MacGyver, you´ve been in many tight spots and life threatening situations before. You´ve always found a way out of it. You are good at that.” Dr. Beattie addressed him. “Only this time, the tight spot is within yourself. It was forced into your mind by the torture. You need to find a way to deal with it. It is the only way to really overcome this experience. Repressing it won´t do you any good.”
MacGyver straightened himself.
“I am trying to deal with it.” he insisted. “That´s why I need to get back to work on the case. It will help me to find closure if I get some answers and find the people who were behind all this.” He took a deep breath. “But right now it feels…” His voice trailed off.
“Feels like what?” the doctor asked quietly.
MacGyver looked directly at her. She noticed the slightly hurt look in his eyes when he continued.
“It feels like I´m not trusted to do my work anymore.”
Dr. Beattie sighed but smiled at him.
“You know that this assessment is standard procedure for all Phoenix operatives after any serious injury.” she reassured him. “It has nothing to do with our trust in you. In fact I believe that Pete Thornton´s trust in you is unshakable.”
She paused a moment to let her words sink in and watched how the hurt look in Mac´s eyes faded.
“The main question is, MacGyver…” she continued afterwards. “Do you trust yourself? With all that you´ve been through, with all the emotions remaining… Are you feeling ready to get back to business?”
For a brief moment Mac´s face darkened, but then his determination was back. He inhaled deeply.
“I do, doc.” he responded with a firm voice. “I am ready.”
Dr. Beattie nodded and stood up. “Thank you, MacGyver. I will talk to Pete Thornton.”
Mac picked up his jacket and shook hands with Dr. Beattie. “Thanks, doc.”
He was about to leave the lab as the doctor´s voice made him stop at the door.
“You know you may call me any time, MacGyver…”
Mac turned to look back over his shoulder. He nodded.
“I appreciate that.” he said. “Goodbye, doc.”
On the way to the parking garage where he had left his Jeep MacGyver shrugged into his jacket and took a glance at his watch. It was only late afternoon. He thought about it for some seconds after he had started the Jeep, but then took off to Chinatown. He had plenty of time left to visit an old friend.
It took a little while of walking and looking around to find what he had been searching for, but finally MacGyver spotted the old car with the open trunk and the man with the flashy Chinese coat. He was talking to a tourist couple about some small statue, praising it´s fine craftsmanship. Mac had to smile while he waited. Some things obviously never changed. After the Chinese had convinced the couple and they had bought the statue and left, MacGyver slowly approached him.
“Hello, Sam!” he greeted the man smiling. “Still in business, hm?”
The Chinese turned around surprised, a smile flashing on his face.
“MacGyver! Good to see you! What brings you to Chinatown?” he returned the greeting. “Have you lost another wish child?”
They shook hands while Mac shrugged apologetically.
“Unfortunately I´m not here for pleasure. I´m working on a kind of tricky case and was hoping you might have some inside information for me.”
Sam´s smile stayed bright.
“Whole Chinatown is getting more and more tricky these days.” he replied. “But I´ll try my best. How can I help you?”
MacGyver took a deep breath.
“I´ve had a very unpleasant encounter with a Chinese syndicate.” he explained. “They specialize in high-tech thefts. Their target was the Phoenix Foundation´s research branch, but we don´t really know what in particular they were after. They seem to be tied to some Hong Kong cartel. I came across this cartel years ago, but I need to know what they might be up to now.”
Sam´s face had turned more and more serious while Mac had been talking.
“When you say years ago, is it possible that you are referring to the Jade Dragon Shipping incident?” he asked.
Mac nodded surprised.
“I am… but how do you know about that?”
Sam started to unbutton his coat.
“You gave that cartel quite a setback.” he explained. “It made ripples through the whole Chinese community. Life in Chinatown got a lot easier. At least for some time.”
Mac raised a questioning eyebrow. “For some time? What do you mean by that?”
Sam shrugged out of his coat, folded it neatly and put it into the trunk, over the remaining statues.
“They had to regroup, build new connections and get a new base of operations. They are back, MacGyver.”
Sam was obviously getting nervous. He cautiously checked their surroundings and looked over his shoulder. Mac instantly noticed it.
“Sam? What´s the matter?”
“They are putting pressure on whole Chinatown.” Sam´s voice had dropped low. “They threaten restaurant owners and local low lives. They deal with weapons and drugs. Even prostitution and slave-trade is on their agenda. They are really dangerous.”
“So they´ve got their fingers into everything. But what are they up to at the moment?”
Sam took a small step back.
“Rumors say they are trying to expand their drug business. But Mac, please, you should really not mess with them. You´d better be careful.” He was truly worried.
“They started messing with me, Sam… I will be careful.” MacGyver sighed with a grim look and shook hands with Sam. “Thanks for your help.”
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 13 May 2020 - 12:55 PM|
| Regarding the beginning...this is a big step for Mac and it's good to know is thoughts. It's also very much like him to put his fears aside to do what he feels needs to be done. We saw this A LOT in the series, especially with his fear of heights!
“It´s not very common for the victim to meet the accused in prison.” Well, Mac's not a very common victim
Good job with the conversation between Mac and Chen. Mac did a good job of staying objective and strong despite his feelings. Chen's sense of superiority and nonchalance really gets to me. In a sense I could see this being a conversation between Mac and Murdoc (not a bad thing!)
“You´ve messed with Chinese criminals earlier?” Willis frowned. Who hasn't he messed with!!
How cool that you brought Luke Chung back!! Great connection!! I never would've thought of it!
“The solitude gave me the much needed distance for a while and allowed me to calm down. But I have to get back to my life and my work. Just sitting around isn´t like me.” Truer words have never been spoken!!
That was a pretty intense conversation with Doc Beattie. She really forces him to see things in himself in doesn't want to and he can't bluff her like some of the others!! Dealing with his feelings for/towards Pete is gonna take a while.
“Have you lost another wish child?” LOL..I love Sam!! Another great character resurrected!! Loved his cheap souvenirs and fake accent!!
Great chapter! Love how you tied it in with previous episodes/characters...makes it feel that much more real!!
|Posted by: bluegirl 16 May 2020 - 10:26 AM|
Well, he might have stayed objective and strong to Chen outside - but inside?
Dr. Beattie has helped him over the past months, and they do know each other for some time - but does he really conceive what she´s trying to tell him at that moment? Is he ready for it?
Again, thanks for the applause - the goal was to make it feel like a real episode...
|Posted by: bluegirl 16 May 2020 - 10:44 AM|
| Part 3
MacGyver had set up an appointment with Luke Chung right after arriving at the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters on the next morning. Now, as he headed for Willis´ lab, he thought about Luke. He had scarcely seen the young man in the last three years. The Phoenix Foundation had supported him in managing his shipping business since their encounter with the Hong Kong cartel, and Mac was curious to see how the boy from the monastery had grown up to be the CEO of a large company.
Willis was concentrating fully on his computer monitor when Mac entered the lab.
“Morning, Willis!” Mac greeted him after knocking briefly on the open door.
“Morning.” Willis didn´t even look up. He read on and then, after a few moments, turned to MacGyver with a serious and tired expression. Mac closed in and seated himself on the edge of the desk next to Willis.
“What´s the matter?” he asked. “You look like you haven´t slept all night.”
“You´re almost right.” Willis sighed. “But with all the information coming in…”
“What information?” Mac was instantly interested.
“You told me to turn loose on that Hong Kong cartel.” Willis answered. “It did bring up a few new names. It brought up the business they are suspected to be in. Everything from protection money extortion and slave-trade to drugs and weapons dealing. They´ve been expanding over the last two years. They built up their own shipping company since you´ve hindered them in taking over Jade Dragon. They are a ruling factor in the Chinese community and the criminal business of whole California.”
“That´s about what I heard from a friend of mine in Chinatown.” Mac drew in a sharp breath. “But you said ‘suspected’?”
“They are very cautious and very good at covering their operations.” Willis nodded. “From the records all their business is perfectly legal. No traces whatsoever to be found. Neither business nor financial reports show anything unusual or fishy. Police, FBI, DEA, DXS – they all have real trouble getting a handle on them. I´ve been at it since yesterday with very little sleep and have nothing conclusive.”
Mac could clearly hear the frustration in Willis´ voice.
“The DXS has tried to get an operative undercover inside the cartel.” Wills continued.
Mac´s face lightened up with interest.
“That´s good. What...” He broke off as Willis shook his head.
“Not really. They lost all contact to him after a few weeks and he was found dead shortly afterwards. It looked to be a car accident.”
MacGyver froze for a brief moment, then raised a questioning eyebrow.
“It looked to be?” he echoed Willis´ words.
“Again, no conclusive evidence to be found.” Willis nodded.
An uncomfortable silence hung in the room for seconds until Mac spoke up.
“Sam told me they are expanding their drug business. Any leads on that?”
Willis shook his head.
“Nothing. The police and the DEA have searched the warehouse and business building of their shipping company but have found nothing. Several times.”
“So they either have a mole inside the police or the DEA feeding them with information or they have some other place to store their ‘goods’.” Mac replied.
“From the reports I´ve seen, I´d go for the latter.” Willis stated. “But I didn´t find any property suitable for it. Only some high-class houses in some very expensive neighborhoods.”
MacGyver sighed. Terrific. Nothing. No loose end. Nowhere to start off and hunt them down. Suddenly he held his breath and looked into the distance. What about playing it the opposite way? Willis noticed his sudden change of concentration.
“Mac?” he asked. “You´ve got an idea, right?”
Mac focused on Willis again.
“I´m working on it.” he responded. “What projects of the research department have anything to do with drugs, weapons or explosives? Or do we have any joint or supporting projects with the police or the DEA at the moment?”
“A few.” Willis turned to the computer and started searching. “What are you up to?”
“They still haven´t got what they were after when they took me captive and then tried to take you.” Mac explained while he was getting up and turning to the screen so he would be able to read together with Willis. “Taking their effort into account, it must be really important to their operations. If we can figure out what they want… maybe we can turn the game around.”
Willis stopped typing on the spot and looked up at MacGyver. He saw a determined grin on Mac´s face.
“What do you mean?”
“If I know what they are after, I can use it as bait.” Mac told him. “And let them come to me.”
Willis face fell.
“You can´t be serious… what if they capture you again… you almost died last time… have you forgotten what they did to you?!” Willis exclaimed, his voice getting louder to the end of the sentence.
Mac´s smile faded, but his face stayed grimly resolved.
“No, Willis, I haven´t.” he said slowly. “But now I´ve got a chance to get them to my playground, with my rules. This should even up things. And maybe put me a step ahead of them.”
Willis was perplexed and speechless.
“So, what have we got?” Mac pressed on after a moment.
Willis concentrated back on the computer; his hands were resuming their work on the keyboard. A list came up on the monitor.
“Most of it is lab cooperation.” Willis explained. “Establishing new forensic methods, working together on forensics in general. There´s your projects together with Lt. Murphy… this is a new bulletproof vest we are working on – but it is only a prototype… and the bloodhound.”
Mac looked at him puzzled. “The bloodhound?”
“It is ready for field testing.” Willis confirmed. “Do you remember the device you used for gathering evidence in that waste processing and recycling company a few years ago? Taking down those spoilers? Together with this, what was his name…? Earthquake?”
“As you had tested it successfully, we went on developing and improving it further.” Willis continued, pure scientist again. “This different model is able to detect drugs and explosives. The handling has been thoroughly simplified to meet police needs. We´ve also been able to increase its sensitivity. We were to hand it over to the DEA and the police soon, so they could test its usefulness in real life.”
MacGyver studied the specifics on the screen silently for a minute.
“That´s gotta be it.” he said then in a low voice. “They would be able to set up better hiding spots and better concealment methods before distributing the drugs, if they had the same technology. It´ll make it even more difficult for the police and the DEA to catch them.” He straightened himself. “But how did they get to know about it?”
Willis shrugged apologetically.
“The DEA let get word out on the streets of such a scanner coming up on purpose.” he told Mac. “They wanted to scare off big dealers and smaller pushers. Pete wasn´t too happy about it although the Foundation was never mentioned as the developer. Nevertheless we internally decided to keep the specifics and the construction plans of the device top secret.”
MacGyver puffed out a breath and sat down on the desk again. He let the information sink in silently for some minutes. Then he looked down at Wills.
“But knowing about the Phoenix Foundation and their capabilities, someone in that cartel must have found the connection.” he concluded. “They didn´t get in easily via the computers, so they tried to use me…”
MacGyver arrived early in the harbor district. He parked his Jeep close to the Jade Dragon office building but used his spare time to look around the area. The addresses of the warehouse and the office building the syndicate was tied to were close by. It was only a short walk of two blocks. Mac stopped at the opposite corner and scanned the buildings with his eyes from across the street.
At first sight nothing aroused suspicion. However when Mac took a more detailed look, he noticed the high-end security doors, the surveillance cameras and the amount of security personnel. Impressed he puffed out a breath.
Wow. No way of getting inside unseen and looking around in broad daylight.
MacGyver stayed at the corner and watched the guards for some time, trying to get a feel for their mode of operation. But even after almost one hour he hadn´t been able to spot any opportunity that would have allowed him to get inside of any of the buildings. With his thoughts running on overdrive, determined to go over every detail of the blueprints in the evening, he returned to his Jeep and then entered the Jade Dragon office building. Mac had to undergo a thorough security check before he was allowed to meet Luke Chung.
The young man greeted MacGyver with a beaming smile from behind his office desk as Mac went into the room.
“It´s been a while, MacGyver! Good to see you!”
He got up instantly and walked around his huge desk to shake hands and hug Mac briefly. MacGyver eyed him all over after the warm welcome.
“Wow!” he replied with a little surprise. “I can see it´s been a while. You´ve grown up.”
Luke took a step back and motioned for Mac to take a seat while he returned to his high backed chair behind the desk.
“I guess it was bound to happen.” he teased, while he sat down and then his face turned serious. “You didn´t tell me the reason for your visit on the phone. So I think it must be something important. What´s wrong, Mac? What can I do for you?”
MacGyver took a deep breath.
“I´ve had a close and unpleasant encounter with a Chinese crime syndicate.” he explained. “They tried to steal a project out of Phoenix research. Unfortunately this syndicate seems to be tied to the Hong Kong cartel we´ve been up against three years ago. As far as I´ve heard, you´ve become a central and trusted part of the Chinese community around Los Angeles. I thought you might have heard about what is going on under the surface…”
Luke´s expression grew dark.
“So it is true…” he stated. “It has really happened… and it was you.”
Mac cocked his head bewildered and surprised.
“What… how?” he asked with a low voice. “That was classified. How do you know about it?”
Luke sat back in his chair and calmly held MacGyver´s gaze.
“As you have said, I have become a vital part of the Chinese community.” he replied. “A lot of people do trust me. I get to hear about a lot of things.”
MacGyver´s deep brown eyes were still unbelieving.
“About four months ago I was told about activities connected to the Phoenix Foundation.” Luke continued. “Two months ago I was informed that they had kidnapped one of your operatives, but also that he had been freed and able to arrest the man who had done this. There were rumors about what had happened through his captivity, but nothing in particular… I had never suspected that it was you…”
Luke´s face was filled with honest compassion. MacGyver leaned back and was speechless for a few moments.
“I don´t really know what you´ve been forced to go through, MacGyver.” Luke said after a small break. “But from what I can see, it must have been terrible.”
Mac sighed deeply. None of the physical scars was visible thanks to his clothing. Luke´s awareness, openness and direct way of dealing with feelings he saw in other persons had obviously not faded over the last three years.
“It was.” Mac admitted a little hesitant. “But if you had heard about something going on, why didn´t you tell Phoenix?”
“I did.” Luke answered. “I ran it across my Phoenix advisors and they assured me, they´d pass on the information.”
Mac remained silent. Intelligence out of Chinatown had reached him and Pete after the initial attack on the computers, but they had never been notified it had come from Luke. Obviously that part of the information had gotten lost on its transit through the Phoenix red tape apparatus, Mac noted mentally.
“So how can I be of help?” Luke asked after some moments.
Mac straightened himself and leaned forward, his arms resting on his knees.
“What have you heard lately?” he wanted to know. “What is the cartel up to right now?”
“They are expanding their drug and weapons business. There is word about a big deal to happen in the next days. But they do have difficulties in hiding the distribution of their ‘goods’. They are trying out different ways of more efficient concealment.” Luke replied. “They are into everything from heroin to designer drugs. The weapons they sell are all high-end and high-tech. They are also in the market for new high-end explosives. There´s got to be a lab somewhere for developing all the stuff and trying it out. But they don´t hide it here in the harbor. The warehouse and the office building two blocks away handle only perfectly legal shipments. I don´t know where the cartel keeps their illegal goods.”
MacGyver took a minute to process the information. It all fit into place. Almost.
“But the security is extremely tight on the warehouse and the offices.” He objected. “Are you sure there´s nothing illicit going on in there?”
“Quite.” Luke nodded. “I would have been notified. You have already taken a look?”
“I tried.” Mac shrugged. “But there was no way of even getting close… Do you have more information on that big deal about to happen?”
“Only that it is huge in its amount of drugs.” Luke said apologetically. “And that it is to happen until the end of the week. They are planning on flooding California with their drugs.”
MacGyver sat back and drew in a sharp breath.
“Sounds like this could start off a little war with other major drug dealers… I guess I know what they were after at Phoenix research. You´ve just confirmed my suspicions. Now I need to prove them… Anything else I should know?”
Luke shook his head. “That is all I can tell you.”
“Thanks, Luke.” MacGyver got out of his chair and reached out to shake Luke´s hand. The young man also stood up and took Mac´s offered hand, but held on to it.
“I´m glad, that I was able to help you, Mac.” He responded while looking directly into MacGyver´s dark eyes. “But please, be careful… They came very close to breaking you once. Don´t allow them to succeed on a second attempt.”
Mac was again stunned for a moment but regained his composure fast. How was that young man able to see behind his façade? He nodded.
“I am, Luke.” he reassured. “This time they won´t surprise me.”
Upon returning to the Phoenix Foundation´s headquarters MacGyver went directly up to Pete´s office. He knocked on the half open door only to see that Willis was seated opposite to Pete. Pete looked up from his conversation with Willis; however his face stayed serious when he greeted Mac.
“Come on in, MacGyver. It´s good you´re also here.” His voice had an unusual edge to it.
Mac flopped himself into the chair next to Willis. He recognized the reports on Pete´s desk from his visits to Willis´ lab. He sensed instantly that something was off.
“What´s the matter, Pete?” he asked innocently.
“Exactly when were you planning to tell me what you are up to?” Pete replied sharply.
Mac was caught off guard by Pete´s harsh reaction.
“That´s why I´m here.” he tried to defend himself. “I wanted to collect all the facts, before…”
Pete´s intense glare cut him off. He was clearly upset. Willis stayed as still as he possibly could. He didn´t want to be caught in the crossfire of the possible upcoming argument between the two men.
“Mac, it´s been two and a half days since you´ve been here.” Pete stated. “I told you, I couldn´t let you go out on your own before getting both of your doctors okay. We agreed on that, right?”
MacGyver felt like a misbehaving kid getting scolded. He nodded.
“I did see Dr. Thompson and Dr. Beattie.” he objected as calm as he managed. “You should have their reports.”
“I do.” Pete snorted. “But our agreement didn´t include you investigating on your own.”
“I told you, I was going to talk to Wills.” Mac countered. Again anger and frustration were boiling up within him. It sent his heart pounding. Mac was fighting hard to stay calm outside. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
“Fortunately Willis is reporting regularly on his activities and findings.” Pete continued. He looked at all the folders and then at Willis. “Thank you, Willis. Now, would you please excuse us?”
Willis nodded silently to Pete and shot Mac an apologetic look as he got up and left.
“I need you to keep me posted!” Pete carried on sharply, just after Willis had closed the door.
“Since when do I have to get your permission for every step I take?” Mac responded in a hardly controlled tone. “You told me, you´re relieved about me getting back to work. Now where´s the problem? Anything wrong my medical reports?” His hands closed into tight fists.
Pete sighed and leaned back.
“No.” he admitted after a moment of silence. “Dr. Thompson is impressed with your progress. I guess, he has told you to still take it easy for some time. He has declared you fit for field duty.”
MacGyver nodded relieved.
“Dr. Beattie also thinks you´re on the right track.” Pete continued. “But she´s also concerned. According to her getting back to work should help you… If you don´t push yourself too far.”
Mac nodded again. The tension in the large room had faded a bit.
“You are worried that I will?”
“I know you will push yourself to the limits!” Pete replied a little too loud. “Yes, I am worried… And don´t you tell me that I don´t need to be!”
“But you don´t need to keep track of me behind my back.” Mac suddenly said cold and flat.
“Mac, the prison´s warden called me.” Pete opposed. “After all it is a high security prison and he wanted to check your authorization. I could have stopped you, but I didn´t.”
He could see the hurt look in MacGyver´s dark eyes. An uneasy silence hung between them for seconds before Pete spoke up again.
“MacGyver, I am only trying to protect you as far as I can. Nothing else. I´m sorry.”
Mac sighed deeply and nervously ran his fingers through his hair.
“I know.” he accepted Pete´s explanation and apology. “I just felt like you were doubting me. Sorry, Pete.”
Both men shared a rueful look. After a few moments Pete straightened himself in his chair.
“So, Willis has told me you have established a connection between the syndicate and the Hong Kong cartel we had to deal with three years ago?” he got back to business. “What else have you got?”
MacGyver was relieved by the sudden change of subject. His anger faded.
“I think I know what they are after.” he said as he took a deep breath. “I think I know what they are up to… and I think I know how we might get them.”
“You do?” Pete was instantly interested.
“I´ve been to an old friend of mine in Chinatown and I paid Luke Chung a visit.” Mac explained. “They both confirm that the cartel is trying to get bigger in dealing high-tech weapons and especially drugs. Luke told me, there´ll be a huge shipment arriving until the end of the week.”
“That doesn´t give us much time.” Pete cut in. “Tomorrow´s already Thursday.”
“Doesn´t give them much time either.” Mac replied. “Luke also said they´ve got trouble concealing their shipments and distribution. This confirms to me what they must be after. Our only project, that fits, is the electronical bloodhound. They need it to test their disguising methods, and they need it soon.”
Pete nodded slowly.
“Do you know where the shipment is going to arrive? We could pass that on to the DEA and the DXS and…”
Mac shook his head.
“No, and that´s why I think we have to turn the game around to get a handle on them…”
Pete leaned back in his chair and looked silent and probing at his friend for a moment.
“Why do I know, I´m not going to like what you are going to suggest next?” he asked.
“I want to use the device, its construction plans and its specifications as bait.” MacGyver explained exited, leaning forward. “They need it. If they get to know that all of it got out of the secured lab and is in my hands, they will try to get it.”
Pete stared at him perplexed. He was speechless for seconds.
“No.” he then managed to say hoarsely. “MacGyver, you can´t do that! You´d be turning yourself into a target!”
Mac got out of his chair and paced Pete´s office.
“Wouldn´t be the first time.” he muttered frustrated. “Have you got a better idea?”
Pete still looked at him shocked.
“Pete, we don´t know, if we´ll get an opportunity like this again anytime soon.” Mac urged on. He had turned back to face Pete across his desk. “If we want to take them down, we need to do it now.”
Pete was still stunned. The mere thought of putting his friend into danger of this kind scared the hell out of him. All the all too recent pictures of Mac lying injured and vulnerable in his hospital bed, of the condition he had been in after three weeks of torture came back to his mind as he watched his friend pacing the room.
But he had no better idea. Mac was right. Once again, he had to admit.
“Who else knows about this idea?” Pete asked slowly.
Mac stopped right in front of his desk.
“Only Willis.” he said. “We talked about it when we came across the connection between the cartel and the syndicate.”
“All right.” Pete gave in and nodded with a deep sigh. “But I do have to get the DEA´s okay first. And we need to work out a security plan for this. There´s too much innocent people around your houseboat that could get hurt in a potential crossfire.”
MacGyver shook his head.
“They would notice anything out of the ordinary.” he objected. “I will work out a plan for this, if you will just let me go ahead and do my job…”
Pete looked up at him worried. He could clearly see the determination in Mac´s brown eyes. After a few moments he nodded.
“I will.” he promised. “Now get out of here and get your plan done. I´ve got some phone calls to make… I´ll see you tomorrow morning.”
Mac straightened himself. “I´ll be ready.”
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 16 May 2020 - 12:45 PM|
| Great chapter! We're really getting into the case now! I especially like how you use Mac's conversations with Willis and Luke to give the reader all the info about the cartel.
Definitely growing friction between overprotective Pete and I want to do my thing Mac!! I understand both sides but they both need to come to terms with it.
|Posted by: bluegirl 16 May 2020 - 08:21 PM|
I´m afraid the friction might grow even more before they realize what is happening between them...
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 17 May 2020 - 09:19 AM|
Sometimes that has to happen. Often the people in the situation, as opposed to the casual observer, don't really realize what's happening until things get really bad...you kinda have to hit them over the head with a metaphorical brick! And given how hard Mac's head is, well.....?!?!?
|Posted by: bluegirl 19 May 2020 - 10:38 PM|
| So, as the first three parts have set the scene quietly (more or less), I guess it´s about time to raise the excitement and tension level a bit and provide you with a little cliffhanger...
It had been another very long evening for MacGyver, again considering the facts he knew, and trying to make up ways to turn his houseboat into a trap for potential Chinese thugs, yet leaving himself a secure way out. All of this thinking had brought his memories of his time in the camp back to the surface. He had spent some time outside on the deck at the back end of his houseboat, looking over the nightly quiet marina, just as he had looked over the lake behind Pete´s cabin. This time it had helped calm his mind.
At some point he had gotten real tired, but his sleep hadn´t been as restful as he had hoped. The nightmares had been back. MacGyver had tried to sleep late, however a phone call from Pete had woken him way too early. Pete had told him that the DEA had finally, reluctantly consented to their plan and offered their support. Mac and Pete had agreed that Pete would come over to the houseboat, where they could discuss the details of their plan.
MacGyver was in the kitchen in the middle of preparing his breakfast as Pete knocked on the door. Mac looked up, smiled to the glass door and waved Pete in.
“Come on in, Pete!” he called. “The door´s open.”
Mac had just finished mixing his usual protein drink when Pete turned around to him after closing the door. He shot the blender and its content a distrustful look before greeting his friend.
“Good morning! ... I still can´t believe you really like that stuff.”
MacGyver only smiled while he poured some of it into a glass and took a mouthful of it. Again his inside had become torn within the blink of an eye as Pete had entered the houseboat. On one hand it felt comfortingly normal and common having his best friend here with the prospect of working together on their plan. On the other hand Mac still felt his skin crawl and still felt the urge to keep him at a physical distance. No matter how hard he tried, that anxious response, imprinted on his mind during the torture, was there. It was still a handicap to the natural openness and friendship they had shared for so long. He felt guilty for it and decided to keep it to himself.
Pete set down his briefcase on Mac´s dining table, opened it and started spreading out files on the table. Mac stayed behind the kitchen island and watched him.
“What did it take to get the DEA´s support?” Mac wanted to know.
“Serious and intense presentation of the facts.” Pete replied. “It took me some time to get them to realize that this is a one and only opportunity.”
He broke off and froze, all of a sudden stopping to arrange the folders but still staring at them. MacGyver instantly focused on him, sensing the change of Pete´s mood.
“Pete? … What´s the matter?” Mac asked after a few seconds of silence.
Pete took a deep breath before looking up at him. Mac saw a rueful expression on Pete´s face.
“Listen, Mac, I´m sorry I jumped at you like I did yesterday.” Pete said with a low voice. “I know you´ve been through a lot and I know it is still hard on you. I can see that. I can feel that. I know you´ve got a lot of haunting memories that have my face and voice in them. I can hardly imagine how difficult it must be for you to have me around. I noticed you pull back and keep your distance when I get too close.” He sighed deeply. “I´d never blame you for it. I know you don´t act like this by your own choice. Everything I do is meant to help and support you. I promised, I´ll be there for you. I keep to that promise.”
MacGyver´s brown eyes suddenly darkened with pain.
“It felt as if you didn´t trust me anymore…” he responded controlled but husky.
“No!” Shock mixed into Pete´s sorrow. “You have to know that this is impossible… I nearly lost you. It scared me. Still does… If I kept too close watch over you, then because I am worried about you.”
Mac stared at his glass silent.
“I know.” he answered after a short while. “I am grateful for it… I can hardly imagine how it must feel to you. You know, I´d never hurt you on purpose, but I certainly did with some of my reactions over the past two months. I never meant to…”
“Stop it, MacGyver.” Pete cut him off. “It is not your fault. Stop blaming yourself.”
Mac looked up at Pete.
A lot easier said than done, Pete, he thought.
Their eyes locked; they both felt a sudden understanding and a little relief in this trying situation they were both tied in.
“Thanks, Pete.” Mac sighed, took another sip of his drink and walked around the kitchen island to the dining table. He scanned the files Pete had spread out only minutes earlier with his eyes. Then he set his glass down and laid one hand on Pete´s shoulder, squeezing softly.
“Thank you for being there.” he said with a little strained smile. “We won´t allow those guys to break our friendship apart, right?”
Pete covered Mac´s hand with his own and returned the smile.
MacGyver concentrated back on the reports.
“So, what have we got? Have you brought anything new with you?”
“Not really.” Pete shrugged and sat down. “Willis has tried to dig deeper into their properties and financial records once more, but nothing came up. The complex in the harbor, those expensive houses and the one south of Big Sur. All of them perfectly legal. Also nothing detectable in their accounts or company records. Not a trace of anything illicit in their books.” He sounded a little frustrated at the end.
“This means, we have to catch them red-handed.” Mac replied. “So we´re back to the plan of giving them bait.”
Pete looked up at him.
“I still don´t like the idea of you presenting yourself as a target.”
“I know. I´m not looking forward to it either.” Mac nodded. “But it´s gotta be.”
MacGyver took another mouthful of his shake and then wandered to the French glass doors on the other side of the houseboat. Mac pushed the vertical blinds aside and looked across the marina.
“When do I get to pick up the device and its construction plans? ... Along with the manual?” he asked after some silent moments.
He had just started to turn around to face Pete, as both of them heard the glass behind MacGyver break and something impact his desk. Mac felt and heard something pass by his neck close and fast in the same moment. He flinched away from it, dropped to the ground and rolled over to the closest wall while shouting:
“Pete! Take cover!”
Mac had hardly reached the wall as a second bullet shattered the other door and hit the floor close behind him. Pete had quickly slipped off his chair and hid behind the kitchen island. All of it had happened within only a few seconds. Now an eerie silence hung in the houseboat. Mac was pressed against the wall, momentarily frozen, his heart pounding.
“MacGyver, are you all right?”
He heard Pete call out to him after what felt like an eternity. It sounded strangely distant to him. He took a deep breath.
“Yeah, I´m fine… how about yourself?” he replied.
Slowly MacGyver stood up, his back still close to the wall. He heard the rustle of Pete´s clothes as he got up from behind the kitchen island. Mac was staring at the broken glass doors, the shards on his floor and the impact holes the bullets had left. Automatically his mind started calculating the direction the bullets must have taken, thinking about where the rifle and the killer might have been. He felt Pete coming closer along the wall.
“Seems like it has stopped.” Pete said slowly. “I´m going to call the police and our forensics.”
He made his way cautiously over to Mac´s desk and picked up the phone. MacGyver heard him talk, but he didn´t listen to the words. Bit by bit the adrenaline rush ebbed away and his body loosened up again. He straightened himself and ran his hands through his hair nervously, once more looking over to the shards and his shattered doors.
This was a close call, he thought. If I hadn´t turned around in that very second…
Suddenly Pete was next to him and laid a hand on his arm. Mac flinched and turned his head to face him.
“Are you okay?” Pete asked, his face still pale with the shock.
Mac only nodded and covered Pete´s hand with his. His expression was dark with the realization that had hit him just a moment ago.
“Have you heard any gunfire?” Pete wanted to know.
“Not a thing.” Mac replied with a low voice. “He must have been at some distance.”
“You know, what that means?” Pete sighed deeply.
MacGyver gazed at his doors and then back at Pete.
“Yes, Pete…” he said flatly. “A sniper.”
It had taken hours until the police had taken their statements, the forensics had retrieved the bullets and everyone had left the houseboat again. After all the evidence had been collected, all the pictures had been taken and all the distances had been measured, MacGyver had cleaned up the shards and improvised a temporary replacement for the broken windows with plastic foil and duct tape.
Now he was sitting at his dining table, trying to consume the rest of his breakfast shake and watching Pete as he paced the houseboat, answered and made phone calls and gave orders. They were alone for only a short while, and Pete was still under high tension. He had just put down the receiver after another call, when Mac sighed deeply.
“Pete, would you please relax?” he asked. “It is not the first time someone has tried to shoot me.”
Pete turned abruptly to face his friend.
“Relax?” he snorted. “Someone? Mac, you´re taking this way too easy!”
Mac rolled his eyes.
“No, I´m not.” he replied as calm as he could. “But for the moment it is over. No need to panic right now. I just have to be more careful when I go outside again.”
“You´re going nowhere at the moment.” Pete retorted. “At least not without protection. This was way too close for my liking. This cartel is too dangerous for you to handle alone.”
“Now stop it right there!” Mac´s frustration was instantly spiked. “I can take care of myself! We don´t know if it was them. You know as well as I do that there´s a long list of people that would like to see me dead. It could have been anyone of my enemies.”
“But that sniper is still out there.” Pete countered. “The police have searched the area where they suspect he must have been – according to the direction of the bullets. They found nothing. Not a trace.”
“Did you expect him to wait for the police?” Mac asked a little too loud and still upset. “Pete, would you please stop jumping to conclusions before our forensics have their analysis done and their report ready?”
Pete snorted again, yet remained silent. He couldn´t argue with Mac´s logical mind.
“All right.” he agreed after a few moments. “Let´s go to the Foundation´s headquarters. We´ll be notified faster there and you might assist their research.”
MacGyver nodded, got up and put his empty glass into the sink. While Pete collected all his folders back into his briefcase, Mac headed upstairs to get his jacket. Pete was already waiting close to the door when he returned downstairs. Automatically Mac wanted to grab the keys for his Jeep, but Pete raised a hand to stop him.
“No.” he said. “You´re coming with me. The Jeep stays here. No need to give whoever is behind this another clue to where you are. You can take one of our pool cars later on.”
MacGyver sighed, but gave in quickly and accepted the offer.
Pete and MacGyver had arrived at Pete´s office only minutes before Willis rushed inside without knocking.
“Thank God, you´re both here.” he exclaimed. “I heard about what happened. Are you all right?” He eyed both of them worried and nervous.
Mac was sitting on the large couch opposite to Pete´s desk, right next to the huge picture hanging at the side of the office.
“Relax, Willis.” he said. “Everyone´s fine. Only my windows and my furniture have additional holes.”
Pete had just settled behind his desk. He looked up at Willis and MacGyver.
“Why don´t you two get back to your research?” he suggested. “I´ll let you know as soon as the ballistics report is ready.”
Mac nodded and got off the couch. At least he would have something to do while waiting for the results.
“Good idea. Let´s go, Willis.”
It was already late afternoon when Pete arrived at Willis´ lab unannounced. Mac and Willis had been digging into everything they could get their hands on with even the slightest connection to the cartel, but hadn´t been able to come up with something new. Willis had just left to get some more coffee when Pete entered the room.
“Hi, Pete.” Mac greeted him and exhaustedly rubbed his tired eyes. “What have you got?”
“Nothing yet.” Pete told him. “The ballistics lab has real trouble identifying those bullets and the rifle they might fit to… What about you?”
“About the same.” Mac admitted, sighing. “This cartel is extremely good at covering their tracks… I guess I´ll take some of the files with me so I can go through them in the evening at home.”
Pete took a deep breath. He knew for certain that Mac was not going to like what he was about to tell him next. But it had to be done. For MacGyver´s own good.
“You´re not going home.” he said as calm as possible.
MacGyver froze and then looked up at Pete stunned.
“You are going to the safe house again.” Pete continued. “Jonas is waiting with the helicopter ready at the heliport. I am not going to take any chances on your life and safety.”
Mac was still perplexed.
“Pete, you can´t be serious…”
Pete took another deep breath.
“I´m sorry, Mac, but I am.” he responded. “I´m not going to argue about this. Take this as an order… You do remember, that I´m also your boss, do you?” Pete´s tone left no room for any discussion.
MacGyver´s stomach felt like it was forming a tight knot. He had real difficulty fighting back his anger.
“What about our plan with the bloodhound?” he asked hardly controlled. “You know time is a crucial factor on this one…”
“I am still trying to work out something out with the DEA. They also insist on seeing the ballistics report first.” Pete replied flat. “We´re not sure about anything right now.”
Mac hadn´t moved yet, but now he sat up straight in his chair, closed the folder he had been studying, when Pete had come in, and set it down on the desk. He swallowed his frustration as best as he could.
“When do I leave?” he wanted to know while he stared at the reports on the desk, not willing to look at Pete at the moment.
“As soon as possible.” he heard Pete say in a matter-of-fact and irrevocable tone. “At best, now.”
Pete had chosen the same safe house for him as the last time, however this time MacGyver didn´t have eyes for the beautiful view over the Pacific Ocean. He had walked directly inside with the folders from the lab under his arm after Jonas had dropped him off in the garden. Pete hadn´t summoned that many personnel this time to guard the house and Mac had only muttered a grim greeting to them, barely able to hide his frustration.
He perched himself on the couch, sitting there silent for a while, looking out to the horizon but not really seeing the view. He tried to understand why Pete wasn´t holding up to their agreement from last afternoon. Mac wasn´t able to see the reason behind Pete´s reaction. Was it only because someone had tried to kill him? It hadn´t been the first and it probably wouldn´t be the last time for something like this to happen.
Why was he putting Mac out of the way and out of touch when there was a plan to set up? Time wouldn´t wait for them to get prepared. That shipment for the cartel was to arrive at the ‘end of the week’ as Luke had called it. Tomorrow was already Friday…
After some time MacGyver shook his head still not comprehending and turned to the folders on the coffee table. He pulled one of them closer, opened it and started to read. It happened to be the one containing the detailed reports on the cartel´s properties and real estates.
“As good as anything.” Mac sighed to himself. “Better than just sitting around.”
The sun had already set behind the horizon when the helicopter returned. MacGyver heard it approach and land while he was in the kitchen getting himself some orange juice. For a moment he was tempted to hurry outside and get any news as soon as possible, but then his frustration and disappointment took over and he just slowly walked back to the living room to await Pete there. He noticed quickly that Jonas wasn´t shutting down the helicopter, so either the needed to leave in a hurry, or this was meant to be only a short yet important visit. Mac´s interest instantly peaked.
“Hi, Pete.” he greeted as Pete reached the patio. “What brings you to my refuge?” He couldn´t help the dripping sarcasm in his voice.
Pete stopped outside and looked at Mac seriously.
“The ballistics report is ready.” he answered, trying not to be provoked by Mac´s behavior.
“You could have called me…” Mac continued; his voice still bitter. “This place has a telephone…”
“Well, I wanted to tell you face to face.” Pete countered while he entered the living room through the open glass doors. He looked around and saw the open folders and files spread out on the coffee table and the couch.
Mac only turned around to face him, but didn´t move from his place by the open doors.
Pete took a deep breath before looking at his friend. He hated having to do this. He knew, he had no good news for him, and he knew in his bad mood Mac wasn´t going to accept easily what he had to tell and order him. Pete could see that he was still annoyed by even having to be here.
“The lab says the bullets were manufactured in China according to the spectroscopic analysis.” Pete said without further preamble. “The caliber and markings fit to some high-tech rifle also manufactured in China. Preferably used by snipers. That make and model is known to be shipped and sold by the Hong Kong cartel. The agencies confirmed that… I´m sorry, Mac, but this is enough evidence that it was the cartel, who was trying to get rid of you this morning.”
Mac´s dark expression didn´t change.
“So why are you sorry?” he asked coldly after a brief silence.
Pete decided not to react to that question at the moment and tried to ignore Mac´s bad temper.
“You´ve been to the prison to visit Chen, you´ve been to Chinatown and you have seen Luke.” he inquired. “What else have you done that may have brought them on to you?”
“Before I went to see Luke, I observed their office building and warehouse for a while. I was trying to get a feel for it. It´s only two blocks away from Jade Dragon.” Mac gave in and replied. “The rest was lab work… But why are you questioning me?” The last sentence left his mouth a little louder than necessary.
“I´m trying to understand, why they went after you so sudden, so soon.” Pete explained.
“Obviously they are afraid, I´m on to something.” Mac declared, gesturing to the files. “I gotta be close to something they want to hide.”
“Or you´ve just been snooping around too much and were noticed…” Pete objected.
MacGyver was speechless for a moment.
“What? … That´s supposed to be part of my job, right?” he stated with a low voice.
He didn´t like the direction this conversation was heading. He didn´t like the whole situation. The feeling in his gut told him, there was still something worse to come as Pete looked at him with some strange mixture of sorrow, pain and determination.
“That´s right.” Pete agreed at first and then sighed. “But not this time. This is getting too dangerous.”
“What?” Mac didn´t comprehend at once. “What are you talking about?”
“You´re off the case, MacGyver.” Pete made clear what he had meant. “I´m pulling you off this case. We´re going to take this on with the DEA, but you are not going to be a part of it. You are going to stay put right here until everything is over.”
MacGyver was stunned silent as he processed the information. Then his frustration turned into boiling anger.
“That is what you wanted to tell me face to face?” he asked barely audible. “You´re locking me up again… Pete, we had an agreement yesterday…”
“That was before you got shot at.” Pete held up his hands in defense. “I just want you to be safe.”
“I can take care of myself!” Mac suddenly yelled at him, his fury taking over. “You´ve sent me to uncountable dangerous and life-threatening missions over the past years! I´ve always managed to survive.”
“Well, this time I´ve decided that I´m going to protect you.” Pete replied sharply.
“What?” Mac couldn´t believe what he heard. “Why?”
“Obviously I don´t want you to get killed!” Pete bellowed back.
MacGyver drew in a sharp breath. How was he supposed to counter that?
“What makes you think I will?” he asked as controlled as possible.
“Your plan is to go out with something classified, not knowing whom you will be up against, not knowing what might happen and think you will improvise some solution.” Pete explained gesticulating agitated.
“That´s exactly what I usually do. That´s what I´m good at.” Mac snorted, glaring at Pete. “After all those years, what is suddenly wrong with that?”
“It might not work out as planned.” Pete opposed angrily. “I saw you freeze two months ago. I think you are pushing yourself too far. You might not yet be able to rise to the occasion. You are not yet back to your own self, your mental strength and your true abilities.”
The last sentences felt like someone had punched MacGyver hard into the stomach. He was caught totally off guard and took an involuntary step backwards. His grip on the glass with the orange juice almost slipped. He only managed to turn away and stare into what was left of the sunset. He didn´t know if he felt more hurt or more furious.
How on earth, after all those years they´d known each other, could Pete out of all people say something like this?
“So it is true.” he said barely audible and stone cold after a few silent moments. “You don´t trust me.”
“Mac, this is not about my trust in you.” He heard Pete object. “This is about protecting you from harm. I am responsible for that. As your boss… and as your friend.” Pete´s tone got soft ´til the end.
But that earlier remark had cut too deep. MacGyver wasn´t willing to try and control his anger any longer. Slowly he turned back to face Pete. His dark eyes were ablaze with pain and bitter disappointment.
“Yeah, some friend you are… some support… overprotecting me against my will… and not keeping true to your word.” Mac´s voice was low but raging.
“Mac, this is not how I meant it.” Pete tried to calm MacGyver with a soothing tone. “I am only trying to…”
He was cut off as Mac rose one hand deprecating.
“Leave me alone.”
It was hardly more than a whisper. Mac´s eyes had dropped to the floor.
“Please, listen to me.” Pete tried again. “This conversation went the wrong way. Let me try to explain…”
“No.” Mac cut him off once more. “I don´t want to hear any of it. If you think, I´m not ready for and up to this, you should handle it alone. Just go ahead.” His low voice was sharp now.
“But, Mac, you gotta give me...”
“Leave me alone!” Mac suddenly shouted at him again and then took a step aside to clear the doorway. “Your helicopter is waiting.”
Pete´s face was desperate now, but Mac didn´t care. He was breathing heavily with the rage he felt, yet held Pete´s gaze silent for several moments. When Pete stepped closer to him, tried to lay a hand on his arm and opened his mouth to address him, Mac brushed him off with a wave of his hand and walked away to the couch.
Pete had to swallow hard to keep his composure as his eyes followed his friend. MacGyver kept his back to him; for him the conversation was over. Pete felt his own heart pounding and aching. He had never intended to hurt Mac with his wish to keep him safe. But the damage was done and at the moment Mac left him no chance to suture the wound he had unwillingly inflicted. It was better to leave him alone and let his emotions cool down.
“I´ll keep you posted on anything new…” Pete told him, his words breaking with the lump in his throat. When he didn´t get any reaction for some moments, Pete turned and left for the waiting helicopter.
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 20 May 2020 - 11:34 AM|
|I knew when Mac and Pete apologized to each other in the beginning that it was too easy to last! Wow! What an ending! Pete putting Mac in a safe house and taking him off the case and Mac upset because he things Pete still doesn't trust him. I think things between them just got worse:( At least the sniper was a bad shot! That's a plus:) But the cartel seems to be everywhere! And Mac can't let anything go so I know he's gonna find a way to get himself involved regardless of what Pete says!! Good job with this chapter!|
|Posted by: bluegirl 20 May 2020 - 12:03 PM|
I wouldn´t say the sniper was a bad shot - Mac just luckily turned around in the right moment... and was missed, because he turned...
And about the end - I promised a cliffhanger, right??
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 20 May 2020 - 12:09 PM|
Mac admitted on the show that he was still alive because sometimes he just got lucky!
|Posted by: Dragondog 21 May 2020 - 02:34 AM|
|I side with Pete about putting him in a safehouse, but I side with Mac about Pete taking him off the case|
|Posted by: bluegirl 21 May 2020 - 08:58 AM|
The nature of a conflict, but what will it take to settle it?
|Posted by: bluegirl 23 May 2020 - 09:50 AM|
| So, after a 'little' cliffhanger... and a 'little' conflict... How can Mac and Pete carry on...?
MacGyver stood frozen for minutes after the helicopter had taken off. He then put down his glass on the coffee table at the same time realizing that his hands were shaking. Staring at them he suddenly felt his whole body trembling with the intensity of his feelings. Everything washed through him uncontrollable. He was sorely disappointed, downcast, hurt and furious at the same time.
The longer he stood there, staring at the folders; his emotions got even more entangled with all the hardly controlled and carefully repressed memories from the last four months surfacing. At some point it felt like the walls of the large living room were closing in on him while transforming their appearance to become the wooden walls of his dark, cold and silent cell on the mountain. Looking around in unmanageable panic he spotted the open glass doors.
I´ve got to get out of this!
MacGyver turned and ran outside, over the dimly lit patio, into the dark garden. He stumbled through the high grown grass and fell to his knees after some yards.
Pictures, memories and emotions flooded his mind; uncontrollably mixing with each other. At first he had to steady himself with his hands, but then after a few moments Mac sat back on his heels and buried his face in his hands. He felt hot, stinging tears welling up in his eyes, while his whole body was shaking with the return of anguish, sheer desperation and fear. He had no idea how long he was crouching there, crying, sobbing, allowing his bottled-up and now overpowering emotions to flow freely for the first time since his torture.
After what had felt like an eternity slowly, gradually his intense feelings ebbed away, giving his mind a chance to clear up again. His heart was still pounding, his breathing ragged, as he lifted his head and opened his eyes. MacGyver took a few deep breaths, striving to calm himself further. He brushed away the dampness on his face, feeling the cool nightly air coming in from the ocean on his skin and then ran his fingers through his hair.
All of a sudden he became aware of someone approaching him from behind through the grass and flinched. The steps stopped instantly.
“Sorry, MacGyver, I didn´t want to startle you.” He heard one of the guards say. It was Dave Harrison, one of Phoenix´s most experienced security specialists. They had worked together on several previous assignments.
Wow, Mac thought. Pete has been really picky about whom he wants to be looking over me.
“Are you all right? Can I do anything to help…?” Dave continued.
“I´m fine.” Mac cut him off with a small nod, trying to sound controlled and firm. “Thanks, Dave.” He was grateful for the darkness that concealed how disheveled his appearance must be looking at the moment. “I´ll be back inside soon.”
After a short moment of hesitation MacGyver heard Harrison turn and walk back to the house. Mac sighed deeply and closed his eyes briefly before staring into the starry sky. His mind was clear and empty now, and somehow he felt exhausted and sore. The inner pressure that had accompanied him over the last weeks had lessened a lot. Slowly he tried to understand what had just happened.
Bit by bit he recalled the last week as if observing himself. Mac tried to grasp the meaning of the frustration and anger he had felt so often and why he had directed it at Pete.
Suddenly a memory of himself, chained to the wall, popped up in his mind. Pete – the fake Pete, he reminded himself fast – was behind him, stabbing him with his own Swiss army knife. But the helpless, desperate and hopeless feeling attached to that memory instantly turned into rage. Rage against the men who had held him captive and had forced him to go through three weeks of sheer terror. The rage fired up his determination – MacGyver had to go after the guys behind all this. No one would ever imprison him like that again.
And then realization struck him. In his intense wish to be there for him, to support him and to protect him, Pete had also unwillingly put him into a cage. Even if it was an invisible one. And he had earned the same rage for it. MacGyver bowed his head with sadness and regret.
Why haven´t I seen it before, he thought. Pete doesn´t deserve this.
Then he remembered what he had told Pete this morning.
No, I will not allow anyone to ruin our friendship.
The energy behind this thought also fueled his resolve. Still, Pete´s remarks and doubts about him not yet being able to come back and do his job, of not being back to his own self had hurt him deeply. Mac would have to prove it to him, whether Pete would like it or not.
Up until a few minutes ago, Mac understood, he had been hiding from his real emotions. He had repressed them rather than face them. Because of that, he comprehended, he had nearly reached his breaking point again, only minutes ago when he hadn´t been able to control his feelings anymore. But now he was beyond that point.
He focused on his task. He would uncover the truth about the operations of the cartel. The men behind this would have to face justice. If he couldn´t be a part of Pete´s operation, he would find another way. MacGyver sighed deeply, slowly stood up and straightened himself. Looking out into the darkness over the Pacific Ocean he vowed to himself never to go back to that point he´d been so close to for the second time now.
I won´t return to this. No one will break me apart, he repeated mentally. I won´t surrender, and I won´t forget. But there´s only forward from now on.
He flexed his long fingers, ran his hands once more through his hair and over his face and went back into the house. When he looked around the living room, he saw his orange juice still waiting for him and the reports, pictures and dossiers spread out over the coffee table and the couch. It instantly set his mind into high gear.
If I am not going to be the bait, and they are not going to come to me, he thought, I´ll have to go after them. I´ll have to find the shipment they are awaiting. I´ll have to slow them down until I can call in some backup, so we can apprehend them and bring them to justice. If I can do it covert… That shouldn´t interfere with Pete´s operation…
Mac nodded to himself with newly found energy and determination. He sat down on the couch concentrating on the files. Now, where to start…?
Only a moment later he looked up, focusing into the distance.
But first I have to get out of here unseen… because I need a bit of a head-start.
All of the men Pete had summoned knew him and what to expect from him. All of them had heard about his creative solutions to tight situations. He didn´t want to harm any of them. Suddenly MacGyver smiled to himself. The beginnings of a plan were starting to form in his head. If Pete had stuck to his usual mode of operations, working shifts for his guards would be twelve hours and the next change of shifts would be around 8 a.m. Mac glanced at his watch.
Yes, this just might work…
On the next morning MacGyver got up early and started preparing for his plan. It was about a quarter to 8 a.m. and he was rummaging around in the kitchen in his sweatpants and sweatshirt when Dave Harrison came in, attracted by the pleasant smell spreading through the house.
“Good morning, MacGyver!” He couldn´t help the surprised look on his face as he saw Mac cooking. “What are you doing up and busy that early?”
Mac looked up only briefly from the two frying-pans on the stove. One held scrambled eggs, the other one pancakes.
“Good morning, Dave.” he smiled and explained. “It´s called breakfast… Listen, could you bring everyone together in here? The night and the day shift… I gotta tell all of you something… Thanks.”
Dave hesitated for a moment and eyed Mac probingly.
“Sure.” he replied slowly. “But, Mac, what´s the matter? Is there something wrong?”
MacGyver was busy with putting fresh toast into the toaster.
“No, everything´s fine.” he answered over his shoulder. “I just need all of you in here for a minute.”
A few minutes later Dave returned with his five colleagues. Mac found himself facing six expectant but also questioning looking men. In the meantime he had set up 6 plates with cutlery, maple syrup, a large plate with a pile of pancakes and a bowl with fresh, warm toast. The frying pan filled with scrambled eggs was waiting on the stove. There were also mugs and a large coffee pot.
“Good morning, folks.” Mac began. “I owe all of you an explanation. I´ve been in a really bad mood yesterday and I´ve been quite rough on you. I´m sorry for that.” He smiled apologetic at them. “I fixed you some breakfast as an apology. I know that protecting someone can be very exhausting, so please, why don´t all of you take a short break. I´m going to take a shower so I should be safe in the bathroom for a while… Please, help yourselves. There should be enough for everybody.”
The questioning looks turned into surprise and then delight. One after another nodded their thanks and took a seat. Mac stepped aside to allow them enough room and when all the men had settled in, he left for the bathroom with a short: “Enjoy the meal!”
Upon arriving in the bathroom MacGyver quickly closed the door behind himself and turned on the water at the lavatory. He changed into the fresh clothes he had prepared to wait for him there. Black jeans, a dark shirt and then he shrugged into his favorite brown leather jacket. After tying his sneakers he waited frozen close to the door, listening intensely for a moment. He turned off the water at the hand-basin and turned on the shower almost fully to make sure it would be heard from the kitchen.
MacGyver returned to the bathroom door, opened it carefully to only a small crack and listened again. He heard the men chatting and the sound of the cutlery on the plates.
They´re still enjoying their breakfast. Good…
Taking advantage of his special distraction, Mac slid out of the bathroom with practiced stealth, down the corridor to the living room and outside through the open glass doors. He stayed with his back to the wall, cautiously avoided all windows and moved around the corner. At this side of the house the garden fence and the slope behind it were quite close to the wall. He froze there for a moment, made sure everything was still quiet and his disappearance hadn´t been noticed yet.
MacGyver took a deep breath, pushed himself off the wall and ran to the fence, which he quickly climbed over and down on the other side. He hurried and skidded down the slope through the thicket and the trees, trying to get some distance and some cover between himself and the house as soon as possible. In a wide bend he carefully worked his way back to the street, aiming at the crossing way below the safe house.
Part one of his plan had worked out fine so far, thanks to Pete´s habits. Concerning part two Mac hoped that Dave also kept to his habits.
MacGyver came out of the thicket on a quiet side road, dusted himself off and casually walked along the road towards the crossing with the other one leading up to the safe house. As he got closer to the crossing he spotted the old, battered, silvery sedan he knew. Dave always parked his car away from any safe house or operation base, preferably at the next crossing.
Mac sighed and quickened his pace. Normally Dave also left the car unlocked, in order to be prepared for a hurried evacuation. Mac tried the handle on the driver´s side and puffed out a relieved breath. He opened the door and slid into the driver´s seat. Unfortunately Dave never left the keys with his car, so Mac immediately bent down and reached under the dashboard for the wires attached to the ignition lock. Only seconds later the engine roared to life, Mac put the car into gear and drove off.
Sorry, Dave, he thought. But I need to get to the houseboat fast. I´m only borrowing it. You´ll get it back unharmed. I´ll repair that ignition lock.
MacGyver parked Dave´s car next to his truck when he arrived at the marina after about half an hour. The silvery sedan was at least a little disguised by the higher truck in the bright beige and brown color. He killed the engine quickly, got out and ran off to his houseboat, hoping that what he needed was still there. He took out his keys while he was still running and hurried to unlock the front door as soon as he reached it.
Once inside he directly walked to his desk and searched through the manila folders still lying there. Mac opened the one labeled ‘satellite pictures’ and rushed through the printouts. All of them showed satellite captures of the real estates owned by the cartel and the syndicate, but Mac picked out only the one of the house and the land south of Big Sur. He scanned it with his eyes, his mind following the feeling in his gut and the research he had done yesterday evening.
A secluded house near a rocky cliff, surrounded by acres of empty land and a state park, he recalled. Way off from any bigger cities… There´s gotta be something to it. MacGyver looked up the precise coordinates and address on a list also included in the folder, wrote them down on the back side of the picture, folded it and put it into the pocket of his jacket. Then he picked up the flattened roll of duct tape he had left on his desk yesterday and shoved it into the back pocket of his jeans.
Mac turned and on his way out grabbed his binoculars and the keys for his Jeep. He locked the front door again and hurried back to the parking lot. Within moments MacGyver and his Jeep were heading north, as fast as he could without drawing too much attention in the Friday morning traffic. He had quite a drive ahead of him. He never heard his telephone ringing only a minute after he had left.
The men in the kitchen of the safe house had been enjoying their unexpected breakfast for a while. Pleased and satisfied Dave Harrison looked up at the clock hanging on the kitchen wall and suddenly realized that about half an hour had passed. Only a second later he noticed that he still heard running water from the bathroom and that MacGyver had not yet returned. An odd feeling rose in his stomach.
Dave slowly got up and walked over to the bathroom. He knocked on the door.
“MacGyver? … I just wanted to say goodbye and thank you again for the breakfast.” he said, raising his voice so he would be heard over the rushing water. “I´ll see you in the evening.”
“Mac? Is everything all right?” he tried once more, but got no reaction. Dave knocked a little louder. “MacGyver?” His concern grew.
A few seconds later he opened the bathroom door and looked inside. His eyes needed a moment to see through the hot, damp air. Dave froze as he realized that there was nothing to see but some clothes on the floor. After a baffled second he turned off the water and rushed back to the kitchen.
“Search the house and the garden!” he shouted at the men. “He´s gone!”
Five startled guards stared at him unbelieving, not understanding at first.
“Now!” Dave intensified his order. “MacGyver´s not in the bathroom anymore! Look for him! We´ve got to find him!”
The men hurried out of the kitchen, leaving the remains of their meal behind, while Dave stood still, thinking.
I should have known, Mac. But how? Where did you go?
Then an idea dawned on him and he ran off through the front door of the house and down the street towards the next crossing. As he turned into the side road, he saw the spot where he had parked his car yesterday evening empty and stopped instantly.
“Aw, man!” he growled. “Why do you always remember all the details, Mac? And why do always know how to put them to use?”
Dave Harrison turned on his heels and ran back to the safe house, suddenly becoming aware that he was the one that had to admit to Director Thornton what had happened.
Willis was just briefing Pete and the operative assigned to conduct the mission together with the DEA about the specifics of the electronic bloodhound, as the telephone rang. Pete seemed annoyed by the interruption at first, but when he saw that the call came through on the secured line, he picked up the receiver quickly.
Willis was silent at once. He had sensed that Pete´s mood was tense and way off center as soon as he had first seen him in the morning. Willis and the operative waited quiet, while Pete was listening, and flinched both as Pete´s voice suddenly rose, and he slammed his hand down on the desk.
“He is what?!” Pete bellowed. “When?! What happened?!”
A few silent moments followed as Pete listened again.
“Harrison, I put you in charge, because you know MacGyver.” Pete said afterwards and sighed. “Never mind, now we have to find him fast. Give me a description and the license plates of your car.”
Pete picked up a pen and quickly wrote down the information.
“All right, I´ll pass this on to the police and get them to search for him. Check the house. Maybe you can find any clues to where he might be headed.”
Pete put down the receiver and picked up the paper. Willis was on high alert from what he had overheard of the conversation.
“What´s wrong?” he asked quickly.
Pete looked up from the sheet with a serious face.
“MacGyver has distracted all the security personnel assigned to protect him and escaped the safe house.” he answered dryly.
Willis face fell.
“Doesn´t matter.” Pete cut him off. “What matters is where he might be going and what he has got in mind. We have to find him before he gets himself into more trouble than he probably expects. Get this description to the police at once. I´m going to try and reach him at the houseboat. If he went there… Maybe he´ll answer my call.”
Pete held the paper out to Willis. Willis got up at once, took the sheet and hurried out of the office. Pete turned to the field operative.
“Notify the DEA.” he ordered. “They should know that Mac is on the loose.”
As soon as the operative had also left, Pete picked up the phone again and dialed the number of Mac´s houseboat from memory.
“Come on, Mac. Pick it up. Be there…” he said more to himself while he listened to the ringing tone. The only reply he got came from the answering machine.
“MacGyver, this is Pete. Please answer me, if you are there. Don´t do this alone!” Pete left an urging message. “Mac, please, talk to me…”
He waited for a few seconds but got no reaction. Pete put down the receiver and frowned deeply. Now he was worried, really worried.
“Oh, Mac, what are you planning to do…?”
It took a little while until Willis stormed back into Pete´s office. Pete looked up questioningly.
“What is it?” he asked.
“The police has found Harrison´s car.” Willis said quickly. “It´s on the parking lot of the marina. But no sign of Mac anywhere.”
Pete was on his feet instantly.
“I was hoping that he would be heading home first. Willis, you´re coming with me.” he ordered. “You´ve spent most of the time with him in the past days. You´ve done most of the research. Maybe you can find a hint to where he is headed.”
Pete grabbed his jacket and rushed out of his office. He stopped for a moment at Helen´s desk.
“Helen, call Harrison at the safe house and tell him to meet us at MacGyver´s houseboat. He can pick up his car there. And I need to talk to him.”
Then he hurried on with Willis in tow.
When Pete and Willis arrived at the marina parking lot, both of them noticed that Mac´s Jeep was gone. Nevertheless Pete took off running to the houseboat and Willis followed him. Finding the door locked, Pete quickly opened it with his copy of the key and went inside.
“MacGyver?” he asked, although he didn´t really expect an answer. “Mac, are you here?”
He rushed upstairs to check the bedroom and the bathroom but returned without result. Pete hurried to the desk, picked up the phone and dialed the number for Mac´s car phone. His face darkened as he set the receiver down after a few moments.
“Nothing on the car phone.” he told Willis. “Either he has turned it off or it is out of power.”
In the meantime Willis had looked around downstairs, but also hadn´t noticed anything out of the ordinary – apart from the broken windows caused by the shooting yesterday. He had just focused on Mac´s desk and the folders on it, as he and Pete heard a knock on the open door. Both turned around expectantly, only to see Dave Harrison on the doorstep. Pete waved him in.
“Sir, I´m sorry. I lost him.” Dave started out instantly with hanging shoulders. “I know, I was in charge because I´ve known Mac for quite a while and we´ve worked together several times. I should have known that he might try something…”
Pete only nodded.
“We all know about his ingenuity.” he answered after a moment. “We all know that´s why he is the best. But right now the most important thing we have to do is find him… I need you to tell me exactly if anything unusual has happened since I left yesterday evening.”
Harrison came closer but hesitated.
“Some time after you had left with the helicopter, I found him outside in the dark garden, down on his knees.” he recalled. “He told me, he was fine, but he was obviously troubled by something. When he came back inside a little later he had settled down and seemed focused. That´s why I wasn´t too worried… Today he got up early and prepared breakfast for the whole staff. He apologized to all of us for being in such a bad mood yesterday and went to take a shower. He seemed to be back to his usual self. Nothing felt suspicious until… I realized he was gone.”
Pete was silent for moments. His mind replayed yesterday evening, how wrong the conversation had gone and the deeply hurt and disappointed look on Mac´s face. And how angry he had turned within seconds. The sheer memory sent a sting to Pete´s heart.
Pete´s silence caught Willis attention. He had been scanning through the folders on Mac´s desk but now looked up, only to see Pete´s face lined with a mixture of pain and sorrow. Willis turned to face Pete.
“Pete? What´s the matter? What´s wrong?” he asked puzzled.
Pete frowned and sighed deeply.
“I was at the safe house yesterday evening via helicopter.” he explained to Willis. “I told him about the forensics report and my decision to pull him off the case in order to protect him. He didn´t agree with that decision and we got into a serious argument.” Pete took a deep breath before he continued. “I don´t think I´ve ever seen MacGyver furious like that at me in all the years I´ve known him. I´m afraid I hurt him deeply with something I said. I´ve done him wrong… but I never expected him to react like this.”
Willis confusion turned into concern. Both men knew firsthand how hard the past months had been on MacGyver. Hearing about him being down on his knees and shaken caused them both to worry even more. An uneasy silence hung in the houseboat before Willis turned back to the desk.
“We didn´t find any clues to where he might be going at the safe house.” Harrison spoke up after a few moments. “How do we find him, if he doesn´t want us to find him?”
“I don´t know yet…” Pete replied. “We only know that his Jeep is gone…”
Pete looked around the houseboat; his eyes scanning for anything unusual. He froze as he noticed an empty space in the shelf behind the stairs.
“And so are his binoculars. Maybe he set out for surveilling something or someone.”
In the next moment he looked at Dave tense with an idea.
“Harrison, get down to the harbor district.” he ordered. “Take a few men with you. Maybe he tries to get into the offices or the warehouse of the cartel. See if you can find any trace of him. I´ll notify the police about the missing Jeep.”
Harrison only nodded and took off at once. Pete stepped closer to Willis and picked up the phone. When he was finished with giving the officer answering his call the license plates and a description of the Jeep, Willis froze.
“I think I´ve got an idea on where he might be going…” he said, still staring at the reports.
Pete was instantly interested.
“What? How?” he demanded excited.
“I´ve been through those files several times in the last days.” Willis explained. “I´ve discussed them with Mac. I put those copies together for him. I know, what should be there.” He took a deep breath. “There´s only one print missing.”
“So?” Pete got impatient. “Where is he headed?”
“This folder held satellite pictures of all the cartel´s properties.” Willis continued. “The one showing the house close to Big Sur is not here.”
“If this is our only lead on him…” Pete nodded. “I am quite sure he is trying to find a different way to get the cartel´s operations exposed. He could be after that shipment. He wouldn´t want to risk endangering or compromising our attempt to bait the cartel with the bloodhound. But it is a long shot…” Pete´s voice trailed off at the end.
“Our last long shot got him out of that mountain camp and out of the torture.” Willis reminded him.
“We were way too late… and it nearly got him killed.” Pete added with a sigh, remembering how long it had taken to find any lead then and how his double had tried to strangulate Mac. It sent an icy cold down his spine. “How far away is it?”
“Almost 300 miles.” Willis answered. “About five hours of driving if he took the Jeep.” His memory of finding MacGyver in that forest replayed in his mind. The physical and mental condition Mac had been in was still a terrifying thought. “But how do we help him without compromising him? … And how do we catch up with him?” Willis looked at his watch, calculating mentally. “We can assume he´s one and a half or two hours ahead of us…”
Pete looked directly at him, thinking, and then focused suddenly.
As soon as Pete and Willis had agreed on following Mac to the north, Pete had hurried to make some phone calls. The first one had been to Helen, ordering her to get the Phoenix jet and pilots ready on the airport and file a flight plan to Monterey. Then he had called the labs, reaching Dr. Thompson and telling him to meet him at the airport with his emergency case. About the same message had gone out to Jonas. Pete had tried to keep his mind off the scenario of MacGyver getting injured or worse… but he wanted to have his trusted men along, just in case.
The conversation with the DEA had lasted longer, as he had had to explain his speculation first to the local officials with whom he had been communicating with over the past days, and then again to their San Francisco officials. It had taken some time and serious persuading until they had given in to following Pete´s and Willis´ hunch.
Then Pete turned to Willis.
“Willis, I need you to stay here, at the houseboat.”
“I can be of help, if you…” Willis tried to object, but Pete cut him off with the raise of one hand.
“No. If we don´t find MacGyver up there, he might be coming back here.” Pete explained. “I need you here, because he trusts you… He will listen to you.”
Willis reluctantly agreed with a sigh.
“Pete?” he called after him as Pete prepared to leave. “Bring him back in one piece, will you…”
Pete stopped and nodded.
“I´ll do my best, Willis… We´ll stay in touch.”
Then he hurried off to his car and rushed to the airport.
The DEA team from San Francisco was already awaiting them at the Monterey airport when Pete Thornton got out of the Phoenix Foundation´s jet together with Jonas and Dr. Thompson. Pete was faced by several DEA agents that were looking at him expectant and suspicious at the same time. He had to win their trust. Fast.
As none of them had been part of the case so far, Pete decided to give them an overall briefing on the situation. Within a few minutes he had gained the interest of the DEA team. All of them had heard about the cartel and up here in San Francisco it had been as difficult as in Los Angeles. A lot of rumors, a lot of indications, but nothing conclusive, no way to get a handle on the Hong Kong cartel.
When Pete had finished his speech, the leader of the team, agent Coleman stepped forward.
“This seems like a huge opportunity for us, Mr. Thornton, but you´ve come here without any proof or evidence... What makes you so sure this Mr. MacGyver is on the right track?” he asked. “And why do you have no way to contact him?”
Pete sighed. How much could or should he tell them? He decided not to tell them about their argument and all the trouble that had led up to it.
“He broke contact because of a disagreement on how to proceed.” Pete tried to explain without revealing too much. “Nevertheless he is my best field operative. I am convinced, he´s trying to find a way to expose the cartel without interfering with the other plan we had set up. I´m here trying to cover his tail.”
“Why is he so set on getting them that he takes off without backup?” he kept questioning Pete. “Does he have any personal reasons for this?”
Pete was silent for a moment, while his face grew dark.
“He does.” Pete admitted. “He has already had an unpleasant encounter with some of them. But this is classified information.”
Coleman gazed at Pete probing for a moment.
“All right. Both your names carry quite a reputation.” he said. “Can you still trust him?”
“Yes.” Pete answered without any hesitation. “I trust that man with my life.” He held Coleman´s gaze.
“That´s good enough for me.” Coleman nodded and looked over his own men. “So, we are meant to be looking for Mr. MacGyver, surround the property and, if possible, arrest the cartel members we might find there… Am I right so far?”
“That´s the idea.” Pete agreed.
“And you think there will be evidence concerning that drug and weapons deal?”
“If MacGyver thinks it is there, so do I.” Pete reassured the agent.
“The property you were referring to is quite remote.” Coleman told Pete. “It is encircled by a state park, located directly on the coast, next to the highway. The only way of getting there and surrounding it without arousing suspicion is by cars. Any helicopter approaching, as you had suggested, will be heard and seen quickly. It could support us, but it would have to wait at a distance, probably hiding behind the coastal hills. You would need an expert pilot to get there unnoticed and to handle the landing afterwards.”
“I brought an expert pilot with me.” Pete answered with a glance at Jonas. “The Phoenix Foundation´s helicopter should be ready for us soon. It should arise less suspicion than a police chopper.”
Coleman nodded slow and thoughtful.
“All right, Mr. Thornton.” he finally agreed. “All of us have a description of Mr. MacGyver and his Jeep. We will go there as fast as we can, look for him, surround the property but not move in unless you tell us to do so or we do notice some emergency. We will stay in touch via radio.” Then he turned to his men. “Let´s go. We have to catch up with a very determined man. We have about one hour to drive… I´m afraid he will reach the property before we do.”
Coleman and his men took off running to their ordinary looking sedans. Of course the engines were high end and the inside was equipped to DEA standards and needs. Pete Thornton watched them leave and then turned to his men.
“Presuming I will not have to take any detours due to the weather the flight should take about 25 minutes.” Jonas told him. “But the refueling is not finished yet.”
Pete nodded. His face was now showing his concern and worries about his best friend again.
“We´ll take off as soon as possible.”
Dr. Thompson had been quiet the whole time. Now he looked directly into Pete´s eyes.
“I am here because you´re afraid that MacGyver might be getting himself into more trouble that he can handle, right?” he asked.
“You are here as a precaution.” Pete sighed. “If he does get into trouble… but I do certainly hope that your skills won´t be needed.”
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 24 May 2020 - 01:06 PM|
| Lots of stuff going on in this chapter!! I think Mac's breakdown in the beginning is very true to life and perhaps long overdue. That's what happens when you constantly suppress your true feelings. Eventually they all come flooding out. But I take this as a positive turning point for him.
Moral of the story: If you want to distract men...feed them!!
Hot wiring Dave's care...just a normal day for Mac! Have you ever noticed that he tends to "borrow" a lot of things??
And speaking of Dave, I sure don't envy him having to tell Pete he lost Mac!
Either Willis had some great skills we didn't know about or Mac is rubbing off on him because that was a real good catch, noticing the only photo that was missing!!
Great chapter! Now Mac's setting himself up for more trouble!
|Posted by: bluegirl 25 May 2020 - 12:19 PM|
| Thanks for the applause!
I really, really appreciate it.
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 25 May 2020 - 12:40 PM|
|Posted by: bluegirl 27 May 2020 - 12:17 PM|
| Mac is on the loose, Pete is trying to cover his tail... Now what? Again be warned of a little cliffhanger...
The five-hour drive along the coast highway had given MacGyver a lot of time to think. Had it been any normal occasion, he certainly would have enjoyed watching the beautiful scenery of the California coast passing by on this cool but sunny day. But after being truly focused on escaping the safe house and getting on his way north throughout the morning, now as he sat alone in the Jeep his thoughts had started wandering again. The memories and emotions had come back.
Mac had turned off his car phone soon after leaving the marina, mainly the save the battery charge for later, but shortly after that he had realized he didn´t want to receive any calls anyway. Most likely Pete would have tried to reach him after they had noticed his disappearance. He would have ordered Mac to abort his plan to find the shipment, would have told him to come back to Los Angeles.
Mac had known it would have been useless. He hadn´t been in the mood to talk to Pete anyway. Not yet. Not before he had finished his task to make sure there was enough solid evidence to get a handle on the cartel and expose them. Then he would call in for backup. And have those men face justice. He had to prove he was able to do his job to Pete and, to be honest, to himself.
After last evening´s events he now understood what Dr. Beattie really had meant when she had encouraged him to find a way to deal with the emotions rather than suppress them. He had been denying them in order to be able to push on. He had been deceiving himself and the people around him.
Somewhere along the way all the terror left behind from being tortured, all the desperation left behind from being captured and helpless had turned into anger. As soon as he hadn´t been a helpless, weakened prisoner anymore, he had wanted to act. Pete had slowed him down. MacGyver was now sure Pete had seen through him and had realized what had been going on, better than he had realized it himself. But his anger had already redirected at Pete and had mounted over the last days – until yesterday evening.
Again Pete had held him back. MacGyver was now sorry for his outburst, for the way he had acted, for how he had yelled at Pete. He owed Pete a huge apology for it. Pete had been right. That whole conversation had gone wrong. Completely. But Mac also felt a sting to his heart. Pete telling him that he was not back to his own self and his abilities had hurt badly and it still did.
Pete doubted his mental strength? A few days ago Mac would have probably agreed, though he would never have admitted it to anyone, not even Pete, not even himself. He remembered the icy cold that had run down his spine when he had visited Chen in the prison. He had doubted himself at that moment. But up until his emotional collapse yesterday Mac had refused to believe it.
Being obligated to acknowledge all his carefully bottled-up emotions, that had forced their way to the surface last evening, had also allowed him to clear his mind. And being able to think straight again had made him more stable. Having long hours to reflect on everything while driving had made him aware. Aware of the sore and weak spots that were still there, aware of the physical and mental scars the torture had left him with, aware of the strength he had regained. Now, after hours, MacGyver had accepted that he would never again be the man he had been before the torture. The three weeks of pain, fear and desperation and all that had happened during his recovery in the underground infirmary had altered him.
MacGyver had stopped in a small town along the coast highway to refuel his Jeep rather than in one of the larger cities. He was sure Pete knew about his escape from the safe house and had set out to search for him by now. It was highly likely that Pete had asked the police to look for him and his Jeep. There was no need to make it too easy to find him. He was getting close to his destination. MacGyver would allow no one to stop him or hold him back now.
MacGyver slowed down the Jeep along the last turns of the coast highway before he would reach the cartel´s land. He had seen a vista point located soon after his destination on the satellite picture and he planned to drive by slowly and park at the vista point. The sun was shining up here as well as in Los Angeles but it was also cool and windy. He was grateful that he had put on his leather jacket.
It was already early afternoon when Mac reached the last bend and got his first glance at the property. MacGyver let his Jeep roll by it just fast enough so it wouldn´t arouse any suspicion and headed for the parking lot of the viewpoint. Thankfully there were not too many other visitors around. He remained sitting in the car for a few moments, thinking about what he knew so far. The land ownership stretched out on both sides of the coast highway, completely surrounded by a state park. There were no other houses within one mile; the area was quite secluded – apart from the vantage point. Perfect, if someone needed a place to do things no one else was supposed to notice and that someone didn´t like being disturbed.
Mac hadn´t seen too much of it yet. There was one gate for access from the highway. A dam and high trees along the street had blocked his view almost completely. After another intense look at the satellite photo MacGyver reached for his binoculars and got out of his Jeep. Looking around in all directions he tried to get a feeling for the place fast. Casually walking to the rim, where a slope descended to a rocky cliff that reached down to the ocean, he tried to mimic the few tourists around.
He had no way of knowing if someone on the cartel´s land was surveilling the vista point. If they did, he was most possibly in trouble. The cartel knew him; they knew his face; they knew he meant trouble for them. They had already sent someone to shoot at him… They wouldn´t hesitate to give killing him another attempt if they got to know he was here.
Slowly, carefully taking in every detail MacGyver let his gaze wander over the hills up country from the coast highway. They were covered with dried up weeds and grass. Mac could see only a few bushes and trees, mostly in the valleys between the hills. There was as good as no cover to hide anything and no structures or buildings to be seen. Mac took a closer look at some places with his field glasses, but still, nothing caught his attention.
Turning sea-side Mac took a few steps away from his Jeep. There was a ridge blocking his view to the central area of the property and it´s crest was covered with trees and dense thicket. The rocky cliff at the bottom of the slope was several yards high. MacGyver sat down on the rail and used his binoculars again. The slopes he could see were partly overgrown with bushes and trees, but there was no fence visible. There was enough cover that, with a little luck, he should be able to get inside the property and close to the main area from this side unseen.
Mac had dropped his binoculars for a moment to think about the best possible route from tree to tree when something dark between the rocks a few yards above water level caught his eye. Another look through his field glasses allowed him to identify an opening in the rock face, probably the entrance to a sea cave. Nothing too unusual to this part of the California coastline but the rope hanging down from a beam installed on the roof of the cave opening had Mac´s attention instantly.
A pulley? he thought. A landing place?
There were underwater rocks close to the cliffs almost everywhere around, but this part seemed to be free of them. A small boat would be able to get close to the rock face, so they could pull up their goods. How deep did that cave go? Did it have another opening on the other side of that ridge? MacGyver´s interest spiked. He pulled out the satellite picture and compared it to what he had seen so far. I didn´t show too much detail, only hints of where buildings might be. So he had to go and see for himself. Mac returned to the Jeep, left picture and binoculars inside, locked the car and waited until he was alone on the parking lot.
As soon as everyone else was gone, he walked to the end of the parking lot and quickly descended some yards down the slope, so he wouldn´t be seen from the street anymore. MacGyver ran across the bend of the slope trying to get to the cover of the trees on the opposite side as quickly as possible. He crouched down in the shadows and cautiously worked his way up to the crest of the ridge.
He was already on enemy territory now, so all his senses were on high alert. Being warned by all the high-end security he had seen around their buildings on the harbor, Mac was watchful for any surveillance cameras or guards. But to his surprise there was nothing. Up here, way off any cities the cartel seemed to feel safe. Or was he on the wrong track after all? Would he find anything else but a secluded house?
When MacGyver reached the crest he kept as low as he possibly could while he got his first good look at the central area. In front of him lay another small valley and beyond it a plain only a little lower than the highway. He could see the roof and some parts of walls of the main house at a distance on that plain, but most of it was hidden by trees. One car was parked close to the house, so most possibly someone was around. He had to take a closer look.
With a sideways glance down to the valley he got up, took a few steps and froze again. At the bottom of the valley he noticed two wooden sheds, one smaller, the other one relatively big and equipped with a chimney. Between them was a sandy space with two trucks parked there and a narrow dirt road leading away from it. He had seen that road on the picture but no clue to those buildings. For a little while he stood still observing the place, checking for any activity down there. All was quiet.
His mind went to high speed. Was the possible other end of the cave he had seen also down there? The parked trucks indicated that something was to be moved soon. The drugs and weapons? Was the shipment already there or were they awaiting it?
Focusing back on the main house MacGyver quickly crossed the next slope under the cover of trees and bushes until he reached the edge of the plain. Crouching down again he tried to get as close to the house as possible without being spotted. Just as he readied himself for a sprint across the clearing close to this side of the house, he heard a car turn off the highway and drive around the house.
Mac dropped to the ground behind the thicket covering him at once and lay perfectly still. He was way too close to get away unseen. He could only watch and wait now. The car parked next to the other one, right on the clearing that he had intended to cross only seconds earlier.
Two men, both Chinese, got out of the sedan. MacGyver recognized one of them from the dossiers Willis had provided him with. It was David Lee, one of the top men of the cartel in California and also part of the syndicate that had held him captive. Mac instantly felt his adrenaline level rise. Three other men emerged from the house, only one of them Asian. Mac also knew his face from the files. Tian Chen. He was Dan Ni Chen´s brother. The three greeted David Lee and his driver at once.
MacGyver didn´t dare to move only a bit. He even managed to keep his breathing shallow.
Five armed men only a few feet away… If they notice, I´m here, I´m as good as dead…
But being this close, he could hear and understand every word they said. Chen spoke up first after their greeting.
“Do you have any news from L.A.?” he asked.
“Unfortunately yes.” Lee nodded. “Our attempt to get rid of MacGyver has failed, as you know. I´ve been notified, that Thornton had him secured somewhere out of sight, but regarding all their activities in the morning they seem to be in trouble. Thornton seems to be searching for MacGyver.”
“They´ve lost track of their own man?” Chen chuckled sarcastically. “I´d like to help them search. But if I find him first, MacGyver won´t return in one piece.”
The cold anger of his voice and his words made Mac´s blood freeze at once.
“We´ve got more important things to take care of!” Lee scolded. “You can carry out your wish for revenge later… Thanks to Thornton and MacGyver the DEA is more interested in us again. We have to make sure that the distribution of our shipment runs smooth. Everything has to be prepared for tonight. It´s possible that we also have possession of the DEA´s new detection device by then.”
MacGyver´s thoughts ran wild in his hideout. Pete was searching for him… The DEA was attempting to carry out his plan of baiting the cartel on their own… The shipment was to be distributed tonight… He saw Chen nod.
“Everything is stored safely under the lab.” he said, still tense with anger. “The delivery from the boat last night was no problem. The vans are here already.”
Some pieces of the puzzle clicked into place in MacGyver´s mind. So the drugs and weapons were already here. The cave opening he had seen from the vantage point really was their landing place. But under the lab? One of the sheds in the valley had to be that lab. But what kind of lab? The trucks he had spotted were meant to transfer the goods to other depots of the cartel or even their customers…
He had to get down to the sheds fast. He had to find the shipment. He had to hinder its distribution. Or at least slow it down until he could call for backup…
“Good.” he heard Lee agree. “Now let´s better get inside. You can ready the trucks later. We can´t act until dawn anyway.”
MacGyver hardly suppressed a sigh. He watched the five men enter the house one after another and remained still until he couldn´t see any more movement behind the windows. Then he allowed his head to drop to the ground for a moment and puffed out a deep breath. Carefully he slid back a little before rising to his hands and knees. Mac had a watchful eye on the house while he got up on his feet and backed off. Crouched low he ran off to the edge of the plain in the shadow of the trees. He waited a little while on the upper end of the slope, observing the trucks and the sheds, making sure he wouldn´t bump into someone he hadn´t noticed before.
MacGyver quickly descended the slope after confirming that everything was quiet down there. He ran for the closer, smaller shed and hid in its shadow, close to the wall, keeping the shed between himself and the main house. Again he froze for a few seconds and listened for any signals that his presence had been discovered. When all remained still, Mac loosened up a bit.
Slowly, cautiously he walked around the shed, keeping his back to the wooden walls, searching for a door. He found it next to a window on the side facing the trucks and the parking space between the sheds. As it was unlocked, Mac quickly slid inside. Looking around in the dim light he found himself in a small workshop. He saw several shovels, pickaxes, a compressor and a sledgehammer. All tools were suitable for serious and deep digging. One corner of the shed held a number of metal containers and cans with engine oil, engine coolant and fuel for compressor and trucks. MacGyver made a quick mental inventory and then sneaked outside again. This was obviously no lab and it had a solid clay floor, nothing could be hidden under it – the lab had to be the other building.
But first he had to take a look at the trucks. If he could somehow disable them, those guys couldn´t move the shipment away as planned. Mac hurried across the clear space to the vehicles and first checked their loading space through a window at the back end of each van. He found them all empty, and also all doors locked. Unfortunately that implied he also couldn´t open the hoods, reach the engines and disable them. He could only try to cut the coolant or break fluid lines from under the vehicles. But that wouldn´t prevent the engines from starting and the trucks from getting away. He would have no way to tell where and when the trucks would finally fail. Also the spilled out fluids would leave clearly visible stains on the dried out ground. Those men would know that someone had been here way to fast. He had to think of another way…
MacGyver concentrated on the other building. The door was secured with a padlock that he quickly picked open with the help of his Swiss army knife. With a look over both shoulders to make sure he was still alone he sneaked into the large wooden shed and closed the door behind him. Mac froze impressed by what he saw when he turned around.
From outside this shed looked like another workshop, but from what he recognized at first sight, he was standing inside a high-tech chemistry lab. Slowly he strode around the room, trying to identify what the equipment was meant to enable. A closet with glass doors caught his eye. It was filled with glass bottles of all sizes. Mac read the inscriptions on the labels, checking if any of those might be useful to him, but froze in the midst of the closet. He had just found some of the substances that had been part of the torture drug they had used on him. A cold shiver ran down his spine as some haunting memories of this terrifying experience surfaced.
MacGyver shook off the thoughts quickly and forced himself to continue his way around the lab. The purpose of it was soon clear to him. It provided everything needed for refining drugs – especially opium to heroin – but Mac was pretty sure they worked on designing new drugs as well. Then a trapdoor in the back corner of the room intrigued him. Stepping nearer he noticed the pulley installed right above the door on a sturdy beam below the roof.
MacGyver´s mind went into high gear. They have talked about storage under the lab… The other shed is full of tools for digging… How deep under the lab…? Have they really dug a tunnel to that sea cave…?
Mac kneeled down, cautiously pulled on the handle and opened the trapdoor. He looked into a dark shaft equipped with a ladder on one side. Mac dug into his pocket for his penlight, switched it on and shone the light beam down the shaft. He couldn´t tell how deep it went. With an uncomfortable sigh, holding his fear of heights at bay, he turned and stepped on the ladder. Keeping his penlight in one hand shining downwards Mac climbed down into the darkness.
It took some time until he reached the bottom of the shaft and gazed around with the help of his small light. The trapdoor opening above his head had grown quite small. The tunnel he was in was clearly man-made. It was braced with wooden beams every couple of feet and descended a bit away from the shaft.
MacGyver noticed an opening in the side wall of the tunnel at a little distance. Carefully he went closer to have a look inside and stopped stunned for a second at the opening. A huge room had been carved into the rock, reinforced with sturdy beams. He had found the storage area. And the shipment.
MacGyver slowly walked into the room, taking in the sight of pallets on both sides, all of them stacked with wooden boxes of different sizes, piled up man-high. From the inscriptions on the boxes he could tell he was facing many different kinds of handguns, rifles, ammunition and explosives. Two pallets, one to each side of the entrance carried small packages tightly wrapped up in plastic foil. The packages on one side were of dark brown color, the other ones white.
Mac dug out his Swiss army knife, opened the large blade and cut into one package on each pallet. He identified the substances quickly by smell and taste. The dark one was opium, the white one heroin. He shook his head in disgust of what he had discovered and at the amount of it. It must be worth a fortune on the black market.
When Mac retreated from the room he noticed the dragging marks on the floor of the tunnel. He followed them, descending even further and soon saw a faint light shining around a bend in front of him. The man-made tunnel turned into a natural cave and after a few yards he found himself looking down the cliff, the breaking waves below him. The pulley he had seen through his binoculars was mounted on the cave roof right above him.
MacGyver took a deep breath of fresh sea breeze as he stood there, his mind running on overdrive. Somehow he had to make sure those men didn´t get away. Somehow he had to prevent this shipment from being moved away. The evidence had to stay here for the DEA. The lab had to remain mostly intact, also to support the case concerning his captivity and torture. The trucks needed to be disabled so those guys wouldn´t be able to remove any other evidence that was probably in the main house. And he had to do all that without being noticed or he most likely wouldn´t have a chance of getting out of here alive, let alone telling anyone what he had found out.
Looking up to the vista point where he knew his Jeep was waiting for him, he went through his mental inventory of what he had at hand. While observing the people up there slowly an idea dawned on him, then another…
Dangerous, he thought, but calculated right and timed perfectly it should work…
MacGyver took another deep breath, then turned and hurried back up the tunnel and to the storage room. Upon arriving there he quickly pocketed one of the opium and the heroin packages, just to be sure he´d have something to show to the DEA officials once he would meet them. Then he scanned the inscriptions on the wooden boxes with his eyes. Soon he found what he was looking for. Plastic explosive, detonator caps and timers…
With the help of his Swiss army knife he cautiously pried the boxes open. Mac looked probing at the tunnel roof, made a quick calculation in his head and then grabbed two timers, two detonator caps and just as much plastic as he would need. He went back into the tunnel, crouched down, assembled two small explosive charges with the help of his duct tape and set the timers to seven minutes. In the beam of his penlight he double-checked all the connections and the set-up. MacGyver planted the charges between the reinforcement beams and the cave roof a few feet up and down from the storage.
Once again his long experience in disarming and sometimes building bombs came in handy. Mac only wanted the tunnel to collapse a few feet to either side of the storage area. He didn´t intend to blow up the whole cave or the shipment. He just needed enough damage so the drugs and the weapons weren´t accessible anymore. The DEA would have enough time to dig for them. The cartel hadn´t.
After a last look to make sure everything was set up correctly, MacGyver started both timers and ran off for the shaft. He climbed up the ladder in a hurry while his mind was already working on how to disable the trucks.
The doors were locked, the engines out of reach, he recalled. But what about the tires? What about getting them to burst? Or even better to burn? So that no one would dare to touch them for a while?
As soon as he had reached the surface, Mac let his gaze wander around the lab. Empty glass bottles, corks that would fit, a lab coat… He went over to the shelf that held the chemicals required for refining opium to heroin. Reading all the labels he found distilled water, high concentrated ethanol, a jar with citric acid and finally several bottles of acetic anhydride. He picked up one of those, screwed it open and tested the smell. The sharp odor wasn´t all too pleasant but Mac was satisfied. He closed the bottle, grabbed another one and set them down on the work bench. Then he retrieved four empty bottles with matching corks and the lab coat.
With the help of his Swiss army knife he cut four stripes of fabric off the lab coat and hung them into the empty bottles so they would act as a fuse. Careful he picked up the bottles with the acetic anhydride and poured it into the empty bottles, cautious not to get any drop of the corrosive fluid on his fingers. Then he corked up the bottles and put the rest of the chemical back into the shelf. He nodded to himself and picked up two of the bottles with each hand.
This should be enough to set the rubber of the tires on fire.
Just inside the lab door he glanced at his watch and confirmed his mental countdown of the bombs in the tunnel. Enough time to disable the vans and get away over the rim…
MacGyver memorized the location of the vehicles, set down two of the bottles, took a deep breath to steel himself for his task and reached for the door handle. Slowly, cautiously he opened it only a small crack and froze instantly. He could hear muffled voices. He felt the adrenaline rush into his veins.
Aw, man! Haven´t they talked about readying the trucks later?
What had felt like a comfortable amount of time for his escape only moments ago suddenly seemed to shrink into seconds. If his planned escape route was still available… Opening the door a few more inches MacGyver listened intensely. He tried to place the voices according to his mental plan of the small area. He tried to count them.
Three. Two of them at the workshop, another one behind the van that was further away. Mac could see his feet. He calculated his chances of getting away unseen running up the slope. The part of it that he would have to cross was almost clear of any cover. The trees and bushes started to grow as far away as the workshop was.
He would provide a perfectly visible target. Even when running at his fastest, they would have plenty of time and room to shoot him. All the five men had been armed when he had seen them near the house. There was no indication to hope that this had changed. Mentally turning seaside Mac recalled the valley beyond the lab shed. It ended some thirty yards behind the shed in a vertical rocky cliff reaching down to the Pacific Ocean, with several underwater rocks close to the cliff. This was also no option for a hurried escape with the risk of falling into the water.
Which left only one other route. The tunnel to the cave. With his bombs already ticking down in the dark.
Mac took a deep breath. All his thoughts had lasted only seconds but felt like an eternity. He took another look at his watch. They would hear the glass bottles breaking. They would go after him. If he wanted to survive this, he had to get the timing right. Mac started counting down mentally. He had to get past the explosives before they blew up and blocked the tunnel, so that he could get away but the explosions would prevent the men from following him.
MacGyver reached into his pocket for some matches. He had to aim at the far-away van first. Maybe, just maybe they would focus on the truck first, and he could gain a few seconds. MacGyver glanced outside, struck a match and lit the fabric fuse on two of the bottles. Grabbing one with each hand he got up, took one step outside, aimed quickly and threw them one after another fast. Both bottles hit their mark on the rims of the front and rear tires, broke apart, spilled the liquid inside and set the tires ablaze instantly.
The muffled voices died in the same moment only to be followed by agitated shouts the blink of an eye later. Mac had already ducked behind the door again, and was lighting the remaining two incendiary bombs. When he got up and pushed the door open to throw them, the three men had reached the burning truck. Just as Mac threw the third bottle, they noticed his movement and where he was. In the same second as he had hurled the last one and set the second van on fire, they started shooting at him.
MacGyver instinctively dropped down, rolled inside the shed with bullets whizzing by closely and barely managed to shut the door. He stayed on the ground while bullets still hit the wooden walls. Once the shooting had stopped, he stood up quickly and blocked the door with a large broom that he threaded through the door´s handle and braced it against the doorframe. Then he turned to the shaft and climbed down into the darkness as fast as he could.
His mental countdown told him to hurry or the charges he had planted would block his way out. Or bury him.
Once his feet touched the bottom of the shaft he reached for his penlight, turned it on and started running with all the energy he had left simultaneously.
Only a few seconds and counting…
MacGyver was still desperately dashing down the tunnel for his life when the deafening noise of the blasts and the shockwaves of the explosions hit him from behind in almost the same blink of an eye. He felt himself getting thrown forward with incredible force and had hardly enough time to wrap his arms around his head to protect it from the flying debris, before he was crushed against the tunnel wall and one of the beams at the next bend. The impact drove the air out of his lungs; his head, shoulder and torso collided with something hard.
Mac dropped to the ground dazed, rolled over helpless with the momentum and slid down the tunnel a few feet before his limp body stopped moving. For a moment he lay there breathing hard, trying to push back the pain and the vertigo but within the next one the darkness took over and he passed out.
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 28 May 2020 - 08:39 AM|
|Whew! What a chapter!! I liked how you got into Mac's head while he was driving up the coast and reflecting on his thoughts and feelings. You really provided a lot of good detail in this chapter, especially about the vista point and the lab, tunnel, etc. Too bad Mac is in such a serious position, otherwise he would have been like a kid in a candy store with that high-tech lab! As it was, he managed to "play" with some of the stuff! I also thought it was really clever to set the tires on fire. I certainly never would have thought of that!! Finally, I also liked the overall slow building tension and intrigue. You didn't rush the plot and I, for one, appreciate that. Aw, poor Mac at the end! Getting caught by his own MacGyverism! But at least he's not on the same side as the bad guys.|
|Posted by: bluegirl 28 May 2020 - 10:58 AM|
It was certainly time for some MacGyverisms!
Breaking Point had only one 'real' MacGyverism, that I borrowed from the series. This time I had to go for it and include more of his 'skills'. Obviously some of the ability to 'think out of the box' has rubbed off on me over the years...
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 28 May 2020 - 11:49 AM|
You did a GREAT job!! I have a very difficult time with MacGyverisms as well.
|Posted by: bluegirl 30 May 2020 - 10:01 AM|
| So, Mac got caught by his own MacGyverism - is he okay?
And where´s Pete?
The ringing in his ears and the throbbing in his head were the first thing, MacGyver noticed as he slowly regained consciousness. With his eyes still closed he did a quick mental check-up of his body. His shoulder and ribs also hurt badly form the impact. He was lying on his back on the cold, rocky floor of the tunnel, but felt nothing pressing on him or holding him down.
At least I´m not buried, he thought.
Cautiously he raised one hand and put it to his aching head, touching something damp and sticky behind his ear. Moaning MacGyver rolled over to his side and blinked his eyes open. The smell of the burnt explosives hung in the air along with enough dust to block his view. He couldn´t have been out for more than a few minutes. Mac noticed his penlight lying close by and reached out for it. He pointed it upwards along the tunnel and saw it blocked with rocks of different sizes and rubble only a few feet away from where he was lying. He sighed with relief, but only a moment later realized that the men were still out there, that he still had to get away and call for backup.
Groaning because of his aching body and fighting back a sudden wave of dizziness MacGyver slowly pushed himself up and rose to his feet. Steadying himself with the help of the tunnel wall he walked on downwards while looking out for further damage, mindful that his explosions might have destabilized other parts of the cave as well. Soon he sensed the fresh ocean air and the light coming in from the cave entrance. He turned his penlight off and pocketed it as he reached the end of the cave.
Mac approached the edge cautiously, listening closely. He didn´t know yet if the men had chosen to follow him over the ridge or to try and save their trucks. He hoped for the latter. MacGyver peered upwards along the cliff first, trying to make sure he was alone.
Then he looked down and his well-known fear of heights kicked in at the same very second. Holding on to the cave wall with one hand, fighting back a sudden vertigo, Mac let his eyes scan the rock face for a possible climbing route sideways and downwards to a less steep part of the shore closer to the vista point. He could climb up that slope on the opposite side much easier and faster. Once he had reached the Jeep, he would call in the cops, the DEA and Pete and get some distance between himself and the cartel´s men.
They wouldn´t try to shoot me in broad daylight while there were tourists up on the vista point, would they? Mac tried to reassure himself.
MacGyver swallowed hard as he looked down to the breaking waves again. At least he had the rope from the pulley to somehow secure his climb. When he reached out for the hanging rope, his bruised shoulder protested wildly. Mac tried to ignore it and looked up probing at the beam which held the pulley. The loop at the end of the rope was fixed on a seemingly sturdy hook.
If all this had been solid enough to hoist up a shipment of the size I have seen, it should be strong enough to carry my weight… But the hurting shoulder isn´t gonna make it any easier…
The lower end of the rope was just above water level at the moment, only a few yards too short to be able to reach the shore with its help as he had to take a diagonal route. He would have to free climb the last part of it. Terrific. MacGyver took a deep breath, turned around, wrapped the rope around his back and made sure he had a good grip with his good hand on it, before he started his way down the cliff.
He had only managed to pass a few feet downwards and sideways when he came to a small ledge. The rock surface was getting slippery and he had to rely more on the rope from here on. He found it more and more difficult to get a good grip on the rocks with his injured arm. Carefully he eased himself around the ledge until he was almost under the overhang.
Just then everything happened within the blink of an eye. One of MacGyver´s feet slipped on slick surface, and he wanted to steady himself with his hand, but this wounded shoulder couldn´t support his weight. Desperately trying to avoid falling he shifted his weight fully to the rope and tightened his grip on it with his good hand. His adrenaline shot up even higher when he felt a sudden jerk on his lifeline.
Looking up he saw the beam become dislodged off its mounting and the hook break free of the wooden beam. At once all tension on the rope was gone. He had no time to react before he felt himself falling back-first towards the waves. The fall itself seemed to happen in slow-motion, yet the impact on the water and the icy Pacific Ocean swallowing him came with a sudden shock.
MacGyver held his breath out of reflex when he felt himself going underwater, but the sudden cold stunned him. It took seconds before he opened his eyes, started to move and swim to the surface. Relieved that he hadn´t hit any hidden underwater rocks, and the beam had hit the water a few feet to his side, he fought his way up. Mac came up in the midst of the rolling waves gasping for air. He had let go of the rope at the moment he had sensed himself falling and now felt lucky, that he had not entangled himself into it underwater. Looking around he tried to reorient himself, when the next breaking wave caught him and carried him towards the cliff.
Before he could counter, he hit the rock hard. A red-hot pain shot through his already injured shoulder and head and his vision blurred. Dazed from the impact, MacGyver was unable to act and sunk underwater again. Only a sudden hurt in his back revived him when the next wave threw him against the cliff once more.
He realized in a flash that he was drowning and started swimming desperately, with all his energy left. His leather jacket seemed to be getting heavier and stiffer with every stroke, but once he had broken through the surface again, he headed for the shore, ignoring his protesting shoulder and back, willing away the throbbing in his head, focused on breathing and surviving.
MacGyver barely made it through the waves to the small, rocky shore and crawled out of the water on his hands and knees, coughing up water. Once he was on dry ground he allowed himself to collapse, gasping for air, striving to calm his breath, shivering with the cold from his soaked clothes. He lay there quiet for some moments and rested, knowing that this shore was almost totally hidden from view from the cartel´s property above.
When Mac turned to lie on his back he saw black smoke rising over the ridge.
Good. The tires are still burning.
It felt like an eternity since he had set the trucks on fire, but thinking about it, he realized it had happened only minutes ago. Then something else caught MacGyver´s attention.
Sirens. Police sirens.
They were hardly audible over the rushing waves and the wind. But they were heading for the property he had just fled from. Mac´s senses were on high alert in the blink of an eye.
What the heck? How? Why?
Still trembling from the cold MacGyver rose up and hurried to climb the slope towards the cartel´s land. If the cops were already there, he had to take advantage of the situation. He had just passed the lower, rocky part of the slope and reached the overgrown part when he noticed another sound from above.
Instinctively Mac rushed to crouch down in the shadow of the closest tree so he wouldn´t be visible from above. Gazing upwards he waited for the helicopter to come into sight. He flinched when he heard gunshots from the other side of the ridge and saw the chopper fly out over the ocean, obviously trying to get out of the range of the bullets. Mac got a first good look at it as it circled back towards the property some moments later. It was white with a blue sign on both sides behind the doors.
MacGyver recognized it instantly. The helicopter belonged to the Phoenix Foundation. He didn´t have to see through the chopper´s windows to know who was inside. MacGyver held his breath. Pete!
Despite his jumbled feelings towards his best friend and boss since yesterday Mac felt a wave of relief wash through him. He felt his body relax, closed his eyes for a moment and puffed out the breath he´d been holding. The gunfire behind the ridge had ceased, and the helicopter approached to land on the property.
Realizing that his situation probably wasn´t all too tense anymore, MacGyver slowly got up and continued his way to the crest. With the adrenaline rush now ebbing away, all his bruises made themselves known again. His head, his back and his ribs were throbbing, his lungs still aching from almost drowning and a stabbing pain shot through his shoulder every time he had to move or raise his arm. It didn´t feel as if anything was broken, nevertheless Mac was exhausted and trembling from the cold of his wet clothes and the wind when he finally, some minutes later reached the crest.
Aware that the situation on the cartel´s land might not be settled entirely, he remained cautious and paused keeping low in the cover of a few trees and bushes. From up here, right above the workshop and the lab he could oversee almost the whole property. MacGyver´s eyes scanned the territory, taking in every detail of the situation.
The helicopter had landed on a clearing at a small distance to the main house. The sirens he had heard, but were quiet now, seemed to belong to three usual looking sedans with flashing blue lights behind the windscreens. One of them was blocking the road between the highway and the main house; two were parked in front of the lab and the burning vans, one of them also blocking the road that led away from that parking space. Up around the main house everything seemed quiet, whereas between the sheds, the trucks and the sedans he could make out several men, he had never seen before. As one of them turned his back to MacGyver he could read the DEA inscription on his jacket and nodded to himself.
So Pete has brought the DEA along… but where´s Pete?
Mac slowly got up on his feet, observing how the DEA agents arrested and handcuffed the cartel´s men one after another and lined them up kneeling on the far side of the parking space. Mac looked up to the helicopter and recognized Jonas standing next to it, guarding it. MacGyver had just begun to think about the best and most secure way for him to reveal his presence to the DEA men when he spotted Pete in the still slightly chaotic situation between the burning trucks, the lab and the DEA vehicles. He was talking to some DEA official.
MacGyver sighed, ran a hand through his wet hair and started walking down the slope along the edge of the thicket. Pete would keep the DEA agents from shooting him at once when he would turn up out of nowhere. He had to move down carefully, step by step, because he was still a little unsteady on his feet and shivering from the cold.
Suddenly he stopped, realizing that the DEA had four men lined up and cuffed with three agents guarding them.
Where´s number five? Who´s number five?
Mac looked closer and saw Tian Chen missing. His mind went back into high gear.
Aw man… Do they even know that one is missing? I need to tell them fast…
MacGyver took another step, wanted to quicken his pace, but froze again in the next second. At the corner of his eye he had seen something blinking, reflecting the bright sunlight. His head turned and his gaze automatically locked on to that blinking on the edge of the opposite slope, right behind the first tree.
Focusing on the movement Mac saw Chen standing there, a sniper´s rifle complete with riflescope in his hands. The sun was slightly blinking on the front lens of the scope – just enough to unwillingly catch Mac´s attention. Time seemed to slow down to a crawl while Mac´s stomach formed a tight knot. Chen was preparing to fire, picking his aim and adjusting his stance. His body somehow stiffened with shock, only MacGyver´s eyes followed the direction the barrel of Chen´s rifle was pointing at.
Pete… oh, no…
He was alone now, standing between the lab and one of the DEA cars, observing the chaos on the parking space. Mac felt the adrenaline rush into his veins and in the next split second his paralysis loosened. Then everything happened within a flash.
All the pain from his bruises and the cold forgotten, his exhaustion gone, MacGyver ran off as fast as he possibly could.
“Pete!” he shouted at the top of his voice. “Get down! Take cover!”
Mac rushed down the remaining slope and crossed the open space between the trucks, frantically hoping that his shout had distracted Chen long enough so he would have sufficient time to reach Pete. His long legs were covering the distance fast, while he saw Pete turn to him like in slow motion, with a stunned and surprised expression on his face.
The shot rang out in the same very second that he grabbed Pete, crashed into him and pulled him down with him. Instinctively MacGyver had managed to put himself between Pete and the rifle and between Pete and the ground. They hit the ground hard, rolled over with the momentum and slid behind the DEA car.
Again Mac felt a red-hot pain shooting through his shoulder and his back; he had to let go of his hold on Pete. The impact on the ground drove the air out of his aching lungs. When their movement had stopped, Mac lay there dazed, unable to move for a few seconds. He heard men shouting; he heard more gunshots, but then everything was quiet.
A moment later he felt Pete moving at his side and focused again. MacGyver pulled together his last ounces of strength as he sensed Pete turning around and rising to his hands and knees. Mac opened his eyes, turned his head and reached out to him with his good arm, rolling over to Pete and finally holding on to his arm.
“Stay down, willya…” Mac asked hoarsely and coughing. “Are you all right?”
Pete´s expression was still unbelieving as he looked down on MacGyver.
“I am.” he answered slowly. “Thanks to you, I think.”
Pete watched Mac for a moment; he saw him breathing hard, his wet clothes, the bruises on one side of his head. His surprise mixed with concern.
“Maybe I should ask you the same thing…” he continued.
Mac relaxed a bit and attempted a little smile.
“I´m fine… kind of.”
Only the pain in the back of his shoulder was getting worse with every moment, but Mac decided to cope with it for now. Then both heard the DEA men shouting once more, confirming that the sniper – Chen – had been shot and the situation was safe again. Pete stood up first, looked into the direction where Chen had been, where MacGyver had come from and then back at his friend, who had also wearily managed to get back on his feet with the help of the car.
Mac was leaning against that car now, still breathing ragged, trembling with the cold and his face marked with pain. Pete got a first good look at him and his concern turned into deep worry.
“Kind of?” he repeated. “MacGyver, what happened to you? … And where did you all of a sudden come from?”
Mac smiled weakly.
“That´s a long story, Pete.” he replied, reached into his jacket´s pockets and pulled out the opium and heroin packages. He winced at the amount of pain the movement caused in his shoulder and felt a wave of dizziness rush through him. He tried to hide it and held out the packages to Pete.
“But I found what I came for. The DEA will just have to do a little digging to recover the rest of the shipment.”
Pete took them from him silent, and suddenly agent Coleman was next to him.
“What´s that?” he asked.
Pete handed the packages over to him.
“Part of the drug and weapons shipment we assumed to be here… Agent Coleman, meet MacGyver. Mac, this is agent Coleman, head of the team assigned to the cartel investigation from the DEA in San Francisco.” he introduced the two men.
Mac nodded to Coleman.
“I can give you directions on where to dig for the rest of it. I managed to make the whole shipment kind of ‘inaccessible’.”
“I guess you also set those trucks on fire…” Coleman smiled.
Mac shrugged apologetically, cringing with pain in the next moment. He took a deep breath and tried to straighten himself.
“My choices were limited at that moment.” he admitted with a wry grin.
“We can deal with the details later. Get yourself checked through first.” Coleman returned the grin. “All the stories I heard about you weren´t exaggerated, hm?”
He nodded to MacGyver and strode away towards the lab with the drugs in his hands.
Pete Thornton had been observing his friend intensely the whole time.
“Mac, what´s the matter with you?” he asked worried as soon as Coleman was gone. “I brought Dr. Thompson with me. I think he´d better have a look at you…”
“Yeah, I guess you´re right.” Mac nodded weakly. He suddenly felt too weak to object. His vertigo had grown worse, his legs were wobbly and his shoulder brought hot burning suffering. He closed his eyes for a moment and tried to calm his breath, but unexpectedly felt Pete grab his upper arms in an attempt to stabilize him. Mac gasped with the pain it caused and concentrated on Pete again.
“It´s my shoulder.” he said, coughing once more. “I don´t know, why…”
“The doc has stayed with the helicopter.” Pete cut him off. He sensed how cold Mac´s wet brown leather jacket was, felt Mac shivering in his grip. “Do you think you can make it up that slope, if I help you?”
MacGyver´s probing gaze wandered up the few yards of the slope and he nodded wearily.
“Yeah, I should be able to…”
Pete held on this his good arm and slowly, carefully led his friend around the sedan. They had only taken a few steps from the car to the slope when Mac´s vision blurred without warning. He froze as everything around him started to turn and move, closed his eyes, tried to blink the haze away. He felt Pete´s hands tighten on him as he swayed.
“Mac? … MacGyver?” he heard Pete ask alarmed.
Pete´s concern instantly grew as he saw Mac go pale within seconds. MacGyver tried to focus his eyes on the slope again. He desperately fought to stay conscious, but knew he might lose the fight. He turned to Pete.
“I can´t, Pete.” His voice was breaking. “I need to… rest… I…”
Only the blink of a second later the darkness took over, his legs gave way and he collapsed at Pete´s side. Pete managed to catch MacGyver´s limp body just before he hit the ground. He pulled his unconscious friend into his hold and adjusted his position so Mac was lying partly on his side and partly on his back. Pete felt for Mac´s pulse on his neck.
Racing, but strong.
“Mac?” Pete tried to get any reaction.
Brushing back a few wet strands of his hair Pete felt for Mac´s temperature on his forehead and realized that the clammy skin of his face didn´t match the warmth on Mac´s shoulder and back, where he was holding his friend. Pete cradled Mac even closer; turned him to his side and pushed back the leather jacket a bit, hoping to get a better look at Mac´s shoulder. He froze for a moment with the first glimpse he got under the jacket. Everything was crimson red. On the second look he saw the small hole in Mac´s jacket, at about the height of the shoulder blade, but more to the middle of Mac´s back. There was hardly any bloodstain to see on the outside of the wet brown leather.
Oh, no, Pete thought. That darn bullet hit you…
Suddenly Pete heard hurried steps coming down the slope and looked up. Jonas was running towards them.
“Jonas! Get the doctor down here!” Pete ordered at once. “Now!”
Jonas slid to a stop and turned on his heels immediately.
Then Pete focused on MacGyver again. Pulling back the jacket even more, he spotted a matching hole in Mac´s shirt. Without hesitation Pete pressed his free hand firmly on the wound below, hoping he could slow down the bleeding. Mac´s body stiffened instantly; Pete heard a faint groan.
“MacGyver?” he asked. “Wake up, willya… Come on, don´t do this to me… not now… not like this…” Pete´s voice grew desperate at the end.
Mac strained to turn his head and open his eyes.
“Like what, Pete..?” he replied hoarse. His gaze was unsteady and clouded.
“Like reappearing out of nowhere and saving my life by taking a bullet that was meant for me.” Pete told him.
Mac nodded slowly, while he seemed to be thinking back for a few seconds.
“So that´s why…” he answered with a low voice. “I felt the pain in my shoulder spike when I pulled you down… but it was injured before… I thought the impact on the ground had worsened it… I didn´t feel the bleeding because I was still freezing so badly…” His voice trailed off to the end. He was breathing heavy with the effort it took to speak.
Pete noticed it.
“Stop talking, Mac.” he advised. “Spare your strength. The doctor is on his way.” He felt Mac trembling again. “Just hang on, pal.”
MacGyver relaxed a little into Pete´s hold. His head rested against Pete´s arm as he tried to will the pain away that Pete´s firm pressure on his wound was causing. He allowed his eyes to close in an attempt to fight the dizziness.
“Mac, stay with me…” he heard Pete plead only seconds later. “Please, stay awake…”
Mac forced his eyes open again.
“I´m working on it…” he replied feebly, striving to focus on Pete´s face.
Only a moment later they heard steps dashing closer. Pete looked up, and MacGyver tried to follow his gaze, but recognized Dr. Thompson only when he felt his hands on his neck feeling for his pulse and assessing his overall condition.
“MacGyver? Didn´t I tell you not to return to my care too soon?” the doc asked with a forced grin, trying to ease up the tense situation, when he saw Mac looking up at him. “What happened?”
Mac managed a feeble and apologetic smile.
“I´m sorry.” he said. “But I had to evade three guys with guns, doge two bombs in a tunnel, fell down a cliff into the Pacific and nearly drowned, so I guess, I got a little too slow at the end.” He had to cough after his explanation.
“He took a bullet in his back while saving me.” Pete added. “It´s bleeding badly.”
Thompson nodded, all serious again.
“All right, we need to get you out of that jacket.” He turned to open his emergency case. “Help him to sit up.”
MacGyver had recovered some of his strength over the last few moments and was soon, thanks to Pete´s assistance, sitting upright, leaning against Pete´s shoulder. The doctor helped him to shrug out of the leather jacket and then quickly cut his shirt open on his back. With Pete steadying him, Mac felt the doc´s hands examine his back from the bullet wound sideways to a point, where even the slightest pressure made him gasp in pain. Suddenly he was aware of the bullet and where it was scraping against the bone.
“Sorry, Mac.” Thompson apologized.
He reached into his case for some gauze swabs and bandages, pressed them on the wound and taped them to Mac´s back. He signaled Pete to press on that bandages.
“That bullet hit you at an odd angle.” he explained. “It went sideways between your shoulder blade and you ribs. It seems as if it got stopped by your scapula. That´s what makes it that painful… It´s more the intense pain than the blood loss, which weakens you and makes you go into shock.”
Mac nodded and relaxed into Pete´s hold. He felt Pete lower him cautiously until he was in about the same position as before. Dr. Thompson felt for his temperature.
“Are you shivering from the shock or from the cold, wet clothes?” he asked.
“Both, I think…” Mac still had difficulty focusing his eyes.
The doc exchanged a concerned look with Pete and turned to his case again, preparing some meds.
“We shouldn´t wait for an ambulance.” he said flatly.
Pete tore his gaze off his friend and looked at Jonas.
“Get the chopper ready. Now.”
The pilot, who had been assisting the doctor, nodded and ran off at once.
Mac had been lying with his eyes half closed, but when he felt the doctor preparing his good arm for the injections, he opened them and concentrated on him. Thompson noticed it and remembered what Mac had endured during his torture.
“This will help stabilize your circulation and take most of the pain away.” he said with a look at the syringes. “Are you all right with it?”
Mac nodded without hesitation and held out his arm.
“Yeah… I´m fine… just go ahead.” he reassured the doc.
“It will take a few minutes until the medication takes full effect.” Thompson explained while injecting the meds. “I´ll take my case back to the helicopter and come back so we can help you both.”
He looked up at Pete.
“Just keep him awake until I return.”
All of a sudden agent Coleman was back. He had been inside the lab and had only noticed Mac lying on the ground when he had left it a moment ago. He crouched down beside the three men.
“What the heck happened?” he wanted to know. “Do we need an EMT?”
Pete Thornton looked up at him.
“There´s no time for that.” he replied. “We´ll take him to a hospital with our helicopter.”
“Are you sure about…” Coleman doubted, but was cut off by the doctor.
“Give him a few minutes to recover quietly, and he will be stable enough for transport.”
Thompson shot Mac a last probing look, grabbed his case, got up and hurried to the helicopter. Coleman looked from Pete to MacGyver and back again.
“We will take care of him.” Pete confirmed. “You´ll have to take care of the situation here. We´ll stay in touch.”
Coleman nodded reluctantly, stood up and returned to his men.
Once he was gone Pete focused back on MacGyver. He got aware, that Mac´s trembling had lessened and seen some color return to his face.
“Are you feeling better?” he asked.
Mac nodded silently, his eyes half closed. Only a moment later he straightened himself a little and looked up directly at Pete´s face. His dark eyes cleared a bit, some of his energy and determination seemed to return.
“Pete… about yesterday evening…” he began. “I owe you an apology. I shouldn´t have...”
“Don´t, Mac. Not now.” Pete tried to cut him off. “You need to rest.”
“But this is important.” Mac sighed. “I shouldn´t have yelled at you…”
“Mac, please…” Pete tried again, but MacGyver wouldn´t keep quiet.
“I know you were worried about me.” he continued. “But I felt hurt. I felt like you didn´t trust me anymore. That double of yours had me feeling the same thing during the torture.” He had to pause for a few seconds. His voice was breaking with the strain on his lungs. “Pete, I´m sorry. You didn´t deserve this.” Mac held on to one of Pete´s arms with his good hand.
Pete had to swallow hard to keep his composure. He felt some tears stinging in his eyes.
“MacGyver, I am sorry. I´ve done you wrong.” he answered after a moment with a lump in his throat. “I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to make you feel like I didn´t trust you anymore. All I wanted was to protect you. … You know that I always worry, but this time I overdid it… Maybe I´m still too anxious after all that we´ve been through…”
He felt Mac squeeze his arm and saw a feeble smile forming around his lips.
“Remember what I told you yesterday morning?” Mac asked.
Pete raised his eyebrows questioning. He wasn´t sure what to remember. Too much had happened in the last two days.
“We won´t allow those guys to break our friendship apart.” Mac stated with a firm voice that allowed no room for doubt. “Right?” The smile on his face had widened.
“Right.” Pete confirmed.
Pete sighed with relief and returned the smile. He pulled his friend a little tighter into his hold and felt him relax into his arms. Mac took a deep breath as the pain, the weakness and the vertigo slowly diminished due to the medication. Only a minute later Dr. Thompson returned, instantly feeling for Mac´s pulse and his temperature.
“Ready to give it a try?” he asked.
“I think so.” Mac gazed up at him and nodded.
Holding on to Pete with his uninjured arm, and Pete holding on to him, he cautiously rose to his feet. Mac held his other arm pressed to his body, mindful not to move his shoulder. The doctor helped stabilize him while they slowly, carefully made their way the few yards up the slope. They had almost reached the helicopter, when MacGyver saw Tian Chen´s body lying under the trees at some distance.
He paused for a moment to allow the picture to register in his mind. Pete felt him stop and followed his gaze.
“He won´t be able to harm you again.” Pete said reassuring.
“Or you…” Mac sighed and turned back to the chopper. “Let´s get out of here.”
Pete climbed inside the helicopter first and helped Mac getting seated right beside him. Dr. Thompson was close behind them.
“I´d rather like you to lie down on one side across the seats.” he suggested to Mac. “If you´ll sit on the far end, Sir, you can steady his head and shoulders.” he instructed Pete.
Again Mac felt Pete hold on to him, while he pulled up his legs and lay down until he was resting in Pete´s arm, leaning with his upper back against Pete´s belly. Dr. Thompson covered him with a blanket.
“We need to keep you warm.”
Mac sighed, relaxed a bit and let his head drop on to Pete´s arm. He felt Pete adjust the blanket around him.
“Are you comfortable?” Pete asked.
“Yeah… thanks, Pete.” Mac nodded. He saw Dr. Thompson close the door and signal Jonas to take off while he seated himself on the opposite seats and opened his case once more. He watched the doc straighten out his uninjured arm, prepare and set up an IV, but he didn´t really concentrate on it. Mac sensed the helicopter move when it lifted off the ground, and Pete´s arms cradling and stabilizing him. Though badly wounded and weakened he felt safe. For the first time in months. Real safe.
It reminded him of how he had felt in Willis´ apartment, after they had taken down Chen, but this time the relief was thorough. Not only his torturer, but also the men behind it were under arrest. Pete had survived. It was over. MacGyver looked up at Pete, saw his concerned expression and attempted a little smile.
“Relax, Pete.” he tried to reassure his friend. “I´ll live…”
Pete returned the smile, yet remained silent.
As soon as Mac had said it to Pete, he felt it register in his own mind. His emotions calmed down, allowing him to become aware, how exhausted he still mentally was. Everything around him grew distant, as his mind and body demanded him to rest. For the first time in months he didn´t feel any inner urge to stay alert, so he gave in, slowly closed his eyes and let his head tilt sideways in Pete´s hold. Within seconds he was asleep.
Pete was alarmed instantly, when he sensed Mac´s body going limp. He looked up at the doctor and back to his friend.
“Mac?” he called out to him. “MacGyver!”
Dr. Thompson quickly felt for Mac´s pulse. A moment later he held up a hand to interrupt Pete.
“Don´t!” he said softly. “Let him sleep. He is stable.”
Pete shot the doctor a doubtful look.
“He´ll be all right.” The doc continued. “He´s totally worn out after the ordeal he´s been through in the last months. He needs the rest. Just hold him… and be there when he wakes up.”
Pete had to swallow hard. His eyes were fixed on MacGyver´s pale face as he tightened his hold a bit and nodded.
“I will, doc.” he replied with a low voice. “I will.”
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 30 May 2020 - 11:26 AM|
|As always, great description!! I'm glad the bad guys got taken down finally!! But poor Mac sure took a physical beating in this chapter!! I especially liked how you handled it, though. Not that I like seeing Mac hurt and weak, but the response to his injuries shows his very human side and that he's not some kind of super-hero. Since he put his life on the line for Pete I'm hoping that they are getting back the trust in their relationship.|
|Posted by: bluegirl 30 May 2020 - 04:59 PM|
Mac never was a super hero of the usual kind...
About getting back their trust - three more parts to come...
|Posted by: bluegirl 3 June 2020 - 10:59 AM|
| So, Mac and Pete were on the way to the hospital...
This part and the next one will be a little shorter - I didn´t want to pack too much story into one huge part. The last one will be longer again...
Then the constant beeping of the heart rate monitor. And the low hiss of oxygen supply.
The next thing MacGyver noticed while he slowly regained consciousness were the slightly uncomfortable oxygen tubes reaching into his nose. They were somehow pressing against the inside of his nostrils because he was lying on his side, with some cushions or pillows behind his back that stabilized his position.
Then he realized that one of his arms was bandaged to his body to immobilize the arm and the wounded shoulder. Mac felt a little woozy, and his body seemed kind of numb – probably due to the medication, he assessed somewhat automatically. With his eyes still closed, he took a deep breath, tried to adjust the position of his head to the tubes in his nose and raised his free hand to feel for them. But he never reached them because someone held on to his hand as soon as he started to move it.
“Shh, MacGyver… Stay still… you shouldn´t move.”
He knew that voice, but he hadn´t expected it. He turned his head a little towards it and blinked his eyes open. Slowly Willis´ face came into focus.
“Willis?” Mac asked hoarsely. “Why..? Where..?” he had to cough. His mouth and throat were dried out and a little sore.
“Hi, Mac… Good to have you finally back.” Willis smiled at him.
Mac raised his eyebrows questioning.
“Finally? How long have I been out?”
“A little more than a whole day. It´s Saturday evening.” Willis told him. “You had us guessing and worried again when you stayed unconscious after the anesthesia wore off. How do you feel?”
Mac took a moment to think about his answer.
“Quite okay, actually.” he admitted. “Rested. A little lightheaded, but I guess I owe that to the pain medication… thirsty.”
Willis nodded and turned to pick up a cup of water with a straw in it. His other hand supported Mac in raising his head a little.
“That´s good to hear.” Willis said while he helped him drink.
“Willis, how come you are here with me? Where´s Pete? Where are we, after all?” MacGyver asked after he had settled his head back on the pillow.
“Whoa, Mac. Slow it down.” Willis smiled. “We are at the Monterey Community hospital. Dr. Thompson performed the surgery to remove that bullet from behind your shoulder blade here. I´m here, because Pete ordered me to aid the forensics team in gathering evidence from the lab and the main house on the cartel´s land. They had found several computers that are being transported to the Phoenix labs at the moment. Pete has stayed with you since you arrived yesterday, but he was so worn out when I came here about two hours ago, that I ‘kind of’ ordered him to get some rest. I promised him, I´d watch over you.”
He took a step aside to allow Mac a view at a recliner in the corner of the room. Pete had sunken into it, his head dropped to one side, sleeping.
MacGyver nodded slowly with a small smile on his face. All the information needed a moment to register. His woozy mind bit by bit remembered what had happened the day before. Relieved by seeing Pete alive and well, Mac´s curiosity was spiked by something Willis had told him.
“Computers?” he asked.
“A lot. And quite high-end.” Willis said. “I only had a first look into them, right where they were discovered, and it looks promising. Seems like you have not only found their drugs and weapons, but also one of their main operation bases. I do have to take a closer look through all the data, but with this information we might be able to take down the whole cartel in California.”
“Wow.” Mac was silent for a moment. “I certainly didn´t count on that.”
“None of us did.” Willis admitted. “From my point of view, I´m just glad, that my educated guess on where you were headed was right… I´ll accept everything else as a bonus.”
“Your guess?” Mac echoed.
“After Harrison had reported you missing, Pete asked the police to help search for his car.” Willis explained. “It was found on the marina parking lot. Pete took me with him to your houseboat, but you were already gone. The only thing missing from the files on your desk was the satellite picture of the property on the coast. Somehow I knew you wouldn´t go after something obvious like their warehouse.”
“Some of my ‘can´t leave a puzzle alone’ nature starts rubbing off on you, hm?” Mac smiled again.
“I´m afraid, yes.” Willis returned the smile. “I´m just relieved that both of you made it out of there alive. I understand, you took that bullet while saving Pete´s life?”
MacGyver nodded silent as he recalled the moment.
“Pete told me you appeared out of nowhere.” Willis continued. “That must have been close.”
“Way too close for my liking.” Mac replied, remembering how he had collapsed because of the pain and the bleeding.
In the next moment both men fell silent, when they heard the rustling of clothes in the corner. Willis turned and took a step aside only to see Pete straighten himself and wake up. As Pete realized that Mac was conscious, he was up on his feet in an instant and hurried to the bed.
“MacGyver! You´re awake! At last!”
Mac only managed to raise his hand a little before Pete held on to it.
“Pete, calm down!” Mac said smiling at his friend. “I´m fine… mostly.”
“Yes, mostly…” Pete echoed and turned to Willis. “Have you notified Dr. Thompson?”
“Not yet. He´s awakened only minutes ago.” Willis told him. “I didn´t want to leave Mac alone… I´ll get him right away.”
He left the room while Pete concentrated back on MacGyver. Mac was still smiling.
“I´m feeling quite okay, really.” Mac reassured his friend. “I guess I needed the rest, like two months ago. I was exhausted yesterday.”
“I´m relieved to hear that.” Pete said, his face dark with concern. He squeezed Mac´s hand gently. “You probably don´t want to hear that, but you had me really worried…”
“I appreciate that, Pete.” Mac´s smile was still there.
Only a moment later Willis was back with Dr. Thompson. Pete reluctantly let go of Mac´s hand and stepped aside to make room for the doctor, who only nodded to his patient.
“Hiya, doc.” Mac greeted him and tried to adjust himself a little on the bed, but a warning look from the doctor made him freeze again.
Without a word Dr. Thompson conducted a quick check-up on Mac´s condition and then turned to Pete and Willis.
“Would you excuse us for a few minutes?”
When both men had left, he turned back to MacGyver.
“Willis has told me, you´re feeling well, given the circumstances?”
“I´m a little immobile, somewhat dizzy, but the exhaustion is gone.” Mac admitted. “No pain so far…”
“That´s due to the heavy medication.” Dr. Thompson sighed. “The surgery to remove that bullet was complicated. It had grazed the inner side of your scapula and caused a small hairline fracture. That´s why I have decided to immobilize your arm. You ought to be very careful. If that shoulder blade breaks you´re in for a lengthy rehab.”
“Oh.” Mac´s smile had faded with the doctor´s explanation.
“I´m also concerned about your lungs.” Thompson continued. “We have to observe you closely to make sure you won´t develop any pneumonia after you almost drowned in the Pacific and inhaled some water… Have you got any trouble breathing?”
Mac shook his head silent.
“Good. But we´ll stay with the oxygen support until tomorrow.” the doc told him. “Apart from that you were lucky – again. Nothing broken, only bad bruises, some cuts and a mild concussion.”
“When do you think am I going to be allowed to get out of here?”
Thompson´s face showed a lopsided, irritated grin.
“We´ll see.” he sighed deeply. “You´ll have to stay a few days at least for observation. Give it time, MacGyver.” He eyed Mac probing and paused for several seconds. Then he looked intense into Mac´s dark eyes. “How about yourself, Mac? Given, what happened in the last three days? Given, I don´t know a lot about it… Director Thornton hasn´t told me much…”
MacGyver took a deep breath and gave himself a few moments to recall the last three days.
Almost getting shot at my houseboat, being taken to the safe house, getting into that verbal fight with Pete, escaping, driving off on my own, taking down the cartel with Pete and the DEA arriving, saving Pete´s life in the last possible second and waking up in a hospital one day later… A lot had happened, he thought. He still felt the relief. The inner pressure hadn´t returned.
“Good.” he replied with an earnest smile. “Real good… I know there´s some work ahead of me, but I´m all right, doc…honest.”
Dr. Thompson´s expression softened a bit. He couldn´t detect any remains of the façade he´d seen so often during the last months.
“I´m glad to hear that.” he answered slowly. “Now try to lie as still as you can, don´t move that shoulder and get some rest… I´ll send Pete Thornton and Willis in again, but don´t overdo it. Remember, you will have a few days time to talk about everything… I´ll look after you tomorrow morning.”
“Yes, sir.” Mac nodded with a boyish grin. Inside he knew the doc was right. He felt himself getting tired already. “Thanks, doc.” he added as Dr. Thompson left the room.
Only Pete Thornton returned a few minutes later and took his place in a chair next to MacGyver´s bed.
“The doctor seems to be pleased with your condition.” he stated.
Mac only nodded. He wasn´t too happy about the prospect of having to stay in the hospital for several days. He wanted to be part of the investigation, wanted to help Willis dig into those computers. But the doc was right. It was better than a long rehabilitation because of a broken scapula. Pete sensed his frustration.
“What´s the matter, Mac?”
“Oh, you know me.” Mac sighed. “I don´t like hospitals. I wish I could work on those computers with Willis… by the way, where have you left him?”
“He had to get back on the jet to Los Angeles.” Pete explained. “We need whatever he can find the sooner, the better.”
“What about the bloodhound?” Mac asked, remembering that Lee had mentioned it. “Did you go through with it? Did the bait catch something?”
“Only small fish.” Pete smiled. “But they add pieces to the puzzle.”
Mac nodded silent. Bit by bit he felt the exhaustion return. His energy was almost used up. His eyelids were getting heavier. Pete must have seen it, because he suddenly leaned forward and held on to Mac´s hand again. Pete´s expression was serious as he looked directly into Mac´s brown eyes.
“Thank you once more for saving my life.” he said with a lump in his throat.
“Don´t mention it.” MacGyver replied, evenly serious and squeezed Pete´s hand a little. “That´s what I do for the people I care about.”
Pete observed his friend quiet for some time, before he spoke again.
“Now please, get some sleep, Mac. You need to rest. I can stay with you if you want me to.”
A tired smile played around Mac´s lips as he nodded.
“I´d appreciate that…” His voice trailed off, while his eyes already slowly closed. He drifted off into a calm sleep within the next few moments.
MacGyver was awakened late in the next morning by something cool touching his chest. Out of reflex he flinched back a little and instantly knew, why Dr. Thompson had ordered him to lie still. A stinging pain shot through the back of his shoulder. Mac froze at once and gasped in pain. With his eyes still closed he instinctively felt for his shoulder with his free hand. But someone quickly held on to that hand, preventing him to do so.
“Shh. I´m sorry, MacGyver. I didn´t mean to wake you.” He heard the doctor´s voice.
Mac blinked his eyes open and looked up into the apologetic smile of Dr. Thompson. He was still breathing heavier with the throbbing around his scapula. He felt it with every breath he took.
“I guess, the painkillers wore off…” he replied hoarsely after a moment.
Just then he noticed that the uncomfortable oxygen tubes in his nose were gone. Thompson nodded and squeezed his hand.
“In order to reduce all the side effects, yes, mostly.” he admitted. “How bad is it?”
Mac tried to take a deep breath, but stopped mid-way with the hurt it caused.
“Not too bad, but clearly there.” he answered. “It came as a surprise since I felt nothing yesterday.”
The doctor nodded, let go of Mac´s hand and laid the stethoscope aside. He hurried to prepare a syringe and emptied it into Mac´s IV.
“This should help within a few minutes.” he explained. He observed closely how Mac closed his eyes again and tried to loosen up his tense body a bit. After some moments the anguished expression slowly disappeared from Mac´s face and he looked up at the doctor.
“So that´s why you asked me not to move.” he teased with a lopsided small grin.
“The damage to your scapula may be small, but it is there.” Thompson told Mac. He had to smile back. “But it should lessen soon. The good news is that we´ve had no complications so far, and your lungs are also recovering well. My prognosis is still optimistic. If you don´t push it and follow my orders, we should be able to get you out of here in a few days.”
Mac nodded, as he sensed the pain diminish even further. His breath got slower and more regular, and his body relaxed.
Dr. Thompson straightened himself.
“Director Thornton is outside.” he said. “Shall I send him in, or do you want to rest?”
MacGyver´s eyes focused within the second.
“It´s okay… Send him in, please.”
It took a few minutes until Pete Thornton entered the room with agent Coleman in tow.
“Good to see you awake, Mac.” he greeted him with a smile. “You do remember agent Coleman?”
“Sure.” MacGyver nodded and adjusted himself a little on the bed, so he could face the two men more comfortable.
Coleman took a place at the foot of Mac´s bed.
“It´s good to see, that your injuries weren´t as serious as it had seemed at first sight.” he agreed with Pete.
“The doc said, if I behave myself, I should be out of here in a few days.” Mac replied with a boyish grin, looking at both men. He noticed that Pete sighed, wanted to object, but kept quiet.
“So? What brings you here?” Mac asked after a small pause. “What can I do for you, agent Coleman?”
“Dr. Thompson is satisfied with your progress.” Pete cut in. “So he allowed us to get your statement about what happened before we turned up at the cartel´s property… that is, if you´re feeling up to it already.”
MacGyver´s gaze locked on to Pete´s worried eyes.
“Yeah, I am.” he answered firm. “No problem. What do you want to know?”
Coleman took out a pen and a notepad.
“Just start Friday afternoon when you arrived at the vista point.”
MacGyver took a deep breath and nodded.
They had spent the rest of the morning and some time into early afternoon until Mac was done with telling his story, Coleman had asked many questions and Pete and Coleman had related their side to what had happened. Pete had left them for a short while after midday to call Willis in the Los Angeles labs and check if there was any progress with the evidence. He had returned with the good news that the tunnel had been cleared from the rubble in the meantime, and the forensics were in the middle of assessing the drugs and weapons in the storage. Some parts had even been recovered from down there already.
But something had bothered Pete. Although Mac had been getting tired after the long questioning, he had sensed it from the moment Pete had returned. So, as soon as agent Coleman had been satisfied with Mac´s answers and had left them alone, Mac turned to Pete.
“What´s the matter?” he asked. “Something wrong?”
Pete shook his head but avoided MacGyver´s gaze.
“No, I´m just thinking about something Willis has found out.” he replied. “I´m okay.”
“Pete?” Mac kept insisting. “What is it..? Spit it out!”
Pete hesitated again before speaking up.
“Willis was able to prove that those computers were the origin of the initial attack on the computer systems at Phoenix Research. He also identified some chemicals from their lab and found a file, which contains different mixtures and formulas. They designed and mixed the drug used on you during the torture in that lab, MacGyver.”
He turned to his friend with a haunted expression and Mac held his gaze silent for a moment.
“I know, Pete.” he said calm, but serious. “I´ve seen what they kept in their lab.”
The haunted look on Pete´s face instantly mixed with sorrow.
“You´ve seen it? But how do you…”
“I´m fine, Pete.” Mac cut him off and paused for a few seconds. “Yes, it brought back some memories, but I can handle it… please, stop worrying.”
“I´ll try.” Pete nodded, but sighed deeply. He dropped into the recliner the hospital personnel had provided him with two days ago.
“But after all that is good news. This should add to all we´ve got against Chen and tie the cases together.” Mac added.
“It sure does.” Pete agreed. “We´ll get them, Mac. All of them. You made it possible.” His face lightened up a bit.
Both men were silent for some time, sunken into their thoughts. Suddenly Mac focused into the distance and turned his head a little. Pete recognized the look instantly. MacGyver was following an idea.
“I know that expression of yours…” Pete asked. “What are you up to?”
At his words Mac´s eyes came back to focus on Pete.
“Has anyone talked to Chen? Has anyone been to the prison already?” Mac asked back.
“Not that I know of.” Pete frowned. “Everyone´s busy with all the new evidence and the guys that got arrested on Friday. Why?”
MacGyver took a deep breath. His expression turned dark and serious.
“Pete, I´ve got to ask a favor.”
Pete leaned forward. Somehow Mac´s tone made him concerned. Mac´s dark brown eyes showed that he was unsettled, but also determined.
“Well, name it. Whatever you need.”
“I want to be the first one to talk to Chen as soon as I get out of here.” he stated firm. “I want to be the one to confront him. I need to be the one to tell him that his plan has failed.”
“And tell him that his brother is dead?” Pete opposed surprised. “That´ll only make him another enemy of yours.”
“That´s what he already is, Pete.”
“So, what for? Vengeance? Retaliation?” Pete got a little upset with his friend. “Mac, that´s never been your way of handling things…”
MacGyver remained calm and serious.
“No.” he responded. “Closure. He thinks he still owns some part of me. I need to show him that it´s over. That he has no more power over me, my emotions and my fears. That he wasn´t able to break me apart.”
Pete was stunned silent.
“Are you sure about that?” he asked after seconds that had felt endless. He eyed Mac probing.
“I am.” Mac nodded. “Will you accompany me? We also need to show him that he wasn´t able to break up our friendship and trust.”
Especially because he did come real close, Mac added mentally to himself.
Pete sighed deeply, but finally gave in and nodded. He got up, strode to the bed and reached out to take Mac´s hand.
“Sure. I´ll arrange everything… Now get some sleep, you look exhausted.”
“Thanks, Pete.” Mac held on to Pete´s hand and allowed his eyes to close. He relaxed and was sound asleep within moments.
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 3 June 2020 - 11:30 AM|
|Yay! Willis is back...for a bit, anyway. Oh, poor Mac being cooped up in that hospital:( But I like the way you explain his injuries. I'm as amazed as the doctor that he hasn't been physically hurt worse! So sweet that Pete fell asleep in the chair watching over Mac. So now Mac's eager to get back and talk to Chen...I understand his need for closure, but this may be pushing it!|
|Posted by: bluegirl 3 June 2020 - 11:50 AM|
I just had to add that one... Showing how important their relationship is to Pete.
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 3 June 2020 - 11:59 AM|
It was a great detail and as far as I'm concerned it definitely got your point across:)
|Posted by: bluegirl 3 June 2020 - 12:14 PM|
I had to think back to 'Passages' and how close they were...
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 3 June 2020 - 01:39 PM|
I actually think about "Passages" a lot when I read your work. I think that was the one and only episode that really showed him that terribly vulnerable.
|Posted by: bluegirl 6 June 2020 - 10:08 AM|
| Time for the next part - but I have to admit, this one is also quite short - but intense.
The final part will be longer again
MacGyver´s recovery had been steady and thankfully without complications over the following days. The operation wound was healing well, his lungs were working without any sign of pneumonia and the pain caused by the damage to his shoulder blade lessened, just as Dr. Thompson had predicted. He was allowed to sit up and get out of his bed soon, with his arm still held firmly to his torso by a bandage. Mac got annoyed once and again with that bandage, but a recurring twinge in his back reminded him of why he would have to bear with it for some time.
Nevertheless he got quickly accustomed to being able to use only one arm. Pete had hardly ever left his side. Only on Monday Mac was alone, when Pete had flown to Los Angeles and back to get some of Mac´s stuff from the houseboat. By the end of the week Dr. Thompson had been sufficiently pleased with MacGyver´s condition and progress and had cleared him to leave the hospital. In accordance to the doctor´s advice Pete had arranged for a jet to take them home to Los Angeles.
It was just after midday on Friday when they departed their plane on the airport in Los Angeles. Mac had spent almost the whole flight dozing, with Pete and the doc keeping close watch over him. Before Dr. Thompson separated from Pete and MacGyver and headed for his own car that had been parked there for the last week, he turned back to MacGyver.
“I want to see you for a check-up on Monday.” he ordered in a voice that allowed no room for discussion. “And please, try to get some rest over the weekend. Take it slow, MacGyver.” His face was serious as he looked into Mac´s eyes.
“I will, doc.” Mac smiled back obedient. “I can´t do too much on my own with this handicap anyway.”
The doctor shot him a slightly distrustful look and turned to Pete, who quickly raised his hands in defense.
“I will have an eye on him.” Pete said. “And I´ll make sure that he keeps that appointment on Monday.”
Dr. Thompson eyed them both probingly again.
“All right.” he replied. “Take care.”
Then he left for his car and drove off.
Pete had arranged for a comfortable sedan waiting for them, but before he picked up their bags and went over to it, he turned to his friend.
“You´ve been oddly quiet during the whole day.” he asked concerned. “What´s the matter?”
Mac straightened himself. He knew he had withdrawn to himself again. He knew it had to do with what he wanted to be doing next. Going to that prison, confronting Chen, showing him that Mac´s spirit had not been broken, that Chen had lost his power over Mac.
“I´m fine.” he answered. “Maybe a little tired.”
“Mac, what´s bothering you?” Pete insisted.
MacGyver took a deep breath.
“I was just thinking about where we will be heading next… our visit to Chen.”
Pete frowned and was silent for a moment.
“Dr. Thompson said, you should be getting some rest.” he then tried to argue.
“He said I should get some rest over the weekend.” Mac opposed quickly. “And I will after we´ve been to that prison.”
Pete sighed silently, but didn´t move.
“Pete, you promised, you´d set everything up.” Mac kept pressing on with a little doubt in his voice.
Would Pete disappoint me again?
Pete saw the determination, but now also the slight hurt and the anxious uncertainty in Mac´s dark eyes. No, he was not going to make the same mistake again. He would not hold MacGyver back. Even, if he was seriously concerned about his remaining strength after one week in the hospital.
“You are really sure about this? It has to be today?”
“Yeah, I am.” Mac steadily held his gaze.
“If it is what you want.” Pete nodded. “I did announce our visit to the prison´s warden. But I really thought you might want to rest first.”
He lifted up his briefcase and Mac´s duffle bag and started walking to the waiting car and driver with MacGyver beside him. Mac puffed out a breath, he hadn´t known he´d been holding.
“I will be getting some rest afterwards.” he promised Pete with a relieved sigh.
MacGyver had been silent throughout the drive to the state prison. His first look at the visitor´s entrance after he and Pete had gotten out of the sedan, reminded him of his thoughts and emotions during his last visit ten days ago. He still felt uneasy at the prospect of seeing his torturer but now things were really different.
Mac had grown to accept and acknowledge his feelings in the meantime. He remembered the fear, the pain, the desperation and the hopelessness very well, yet those emotions had no power over him anymore. He was back in control. Chen wouldn´t be able to catch him off guard again. He concentrated on his task. He needed to show Chen – and himself – that he had not been broken, that he was beyond the point from where he would not have been able to return.
Pete kept close watch over MacGyver the whole time, from the moment they entered the prison, through the security checks and on their way to the separate rooms for the visits. When they had to wait there for several minutes, Pete turned to his friend.
“Mac, are you...?”
“I´m fine, Pete.” Mac cut him off in a low voice. Mac´s face was calm as he met Pete´s worried gaze. His eyes were dark, but focused. After a silent moment he continued: “Listen, I´d like to talk alone to Chen first. Give me some time. I´ll knock on the door when I want you to join me.”
Pete´s look showed his doubt.
“You don´t have to face him alone…” he started to object, but the resolve on Mac´s face quieted him in mid-sentence. He nodded with a sigh.
Mac laid his hand on Pete´s shoulder.
“I appreciate your concern, but I´m okay… really.” he reassured Pete with a small smile.
Only a moment later Mac´s expression was serious again, as the prison guard returned, unlocked and opened the door for them. Mac took a deep breath, turned away from Pete, straightened himself and went into the room where Chen was waiting for him. His concentration instantly focused on the man chained to the opposite side of the table. Once more his eyes got caught by the bright orange overall and the handcuffs. Again he felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end.
But the tension inside didn´t rise. Even, when Chen looked up at him with his self-assured smile.
“MacGyver! Back so soon? Oh, you´re injured again. Too bad. Would you care to tell me what happened?” he asked with a curt nod to the bandage that held Mac´s arm.
“I might.” Mac replied calm. “Maybe a little later.”
“Have you come back with more questions?” Chen continued, while Mac sat down facing him and eyed him quietly. “What makes you think I will answer them today?”
“Nothing.” Mac shook his head. Again he felt how Chen tried to get control of the conversation and put pressure on him. Yet this time, Mac didn´t feel the pressure rise on himself. On the contrary, he sensed Chen getting tense.
Is it because you haven´t heard from your syndicate and cartel associates for a week now, is it because I´m still alive or is it because I´m staying calm today? Mac thought to himself.
“I´m not here to ask questions.” Mac told him. “I´m here to answer some.”
“What information you have might be interesting to me?” Chen chuckled.
“Maybe why you´re not getting information about your operations outside anymore…” Mac suggested. For a split second he could see, that he´d hit a nerve before Chen regained his composure.
“How on earth should I be able to get information from anyone on the outside?” Chen asked grinning. “This is a high security prison, remember?”
“We will find out, how they managed to stay in touch with you.” Mac replied, smiling back. “What´s important for you is, that you won´t hear from them anytime soon. Or even not at all.”
Chen´s grin got small and grim.
“Them? Who or what are you talking about?” he tried to keep the poker face up.
Mac leaned back in his chair.
Got you, he thought relaxed. Now how about the leverage this time…
“Let´s just say I found the connection between your crime syndicate and a Hong Kong cartel.” he explained slowly. “I know what they are dealing with. I know why you were after Phoenix Research and me.”
“If you know the answers to all the questions you´ve asked me ten days ago, what do you want from me?” Chen insisted impatient. “Why do you waste my time?”
Mac took a deep breath, his smile faded.
“I wanted to tell you, that I also found a house south of Big Sur.” he continued. “I´ve been there. I´ve discovered drugs, weapons and a quite sophisticated lab. I know where the drug you used on me came from.”
He paused a moment to let the information sink in, while he watched his opponent. By now he could clearly see, how Chen had a hard time keeping up his façade.
“The murderous attack on my life on my houseboat failed.” Mac added.
“I can certainly see that.” Chen shot back annoyed. “At least they injured you…”
“No, that´s not what happened.” Mac slowly shook his head.
Chen glared at him for a second, but quickly returned to his cold smile.
“So, will you tell me now?”
“The DEA and Pete Thornton backed me up in securing the house and arresting the cartel´s men.” Mac told him while leaning forward. “Your brother managed to remain unseen and attempted to kill Pete. I was hit, when I tried to save his life.”
Chen´s smile widened a bit.
“I´m sorry to hear about that.”
“Why did you go after Pete?” Mac asked with sudden anger. “Your revenge was against me… Why did he shoot at Pete?”
Chen leaned back, relaxing a bit.
“To weaken you, MacGyver.” he answered. “Peter Thornton´s death was part of the plan since your escape. It never mattered getting me arrested. I was just a wheel in a bigger network… We will get you… Like we got Thornton… Sometime.”
MacGyver sighed, sat back and collected himself again.
“I don´t think so.”
Then he got up and turned to the door.
“Fleeing me once more, MacGyver?” he heard Chen call from behind.
Mac froze for a moment. Then he knocked on the door, took a step aside and turned back to Chen.
“No, not this time.” he said calm and self-assured. “I don´t need to.”
He observed how Chen´s face fell when Pete came in to stand at MacGyver´s side.
“I´m here to tell you, that you have no more power over me, my fears or my emotions.” Mac continued evenly. “We´ve taken down your home base close to Big Sur. We´ve arrested most of your top men. We´ve arrested several of your L.A. thugs in an attempt to steal the detection device. We can shut down the operations of your cartel at least in California with what we´ve found out. Your plan has failed. I did save Pete´s life. Your brother didn´t save his own.”
For a moment Chen was caught off guard and silent, then he glared at both men.
“You´re as good as dead. Both!” he snarled with a stone cold voice.
“You´ve tried that before.” Pete cut in. “Your men have failed.”
Chen seemed to freeze for some seconds, but then he suddenly bolted up and tried to get to Pete and MacGyver, pulling hard on his restraints. The prison guard rushed into the room at once, ordered Chen harshly to sit down and pushed him back into his chair when he didn´t obey.
MacGyver hadn´t flinched or moved a bit. He still looked down composed on Chen.
“I´m here to tell you that you didn´t manage to break my mind or my spirit.” he addressed the Chinese man firm. “I´ve returned stronger than before.” Mac glanced sideways at Pete. “And you can´t break our friendship apart.”
Pete laid one hand on Mac´s good shoulder.
“Right.” he confirmed.
Chen was still boiling with rage, yet remained silent.
“Goodbye, Chen. The next time, I´ll see you, will be in court.” MacGyver said finally without any stress, turned and left the room with Pete in tow.
The guard followed them, closed the door and guided them as far as through the security check and outside again.
MacGyver hadn´t spoken a word, until they reached the waiting sedan and it´s driver. He took several deep breaths once he was seated inside. With his task now accomplished and his focus on Chen gone, he felt how tired he was and how many memories had surfaced because of that visit. Although he was able to cope with the emotions and keep quiet, he sensed the strain to his weakened body. He knew that Pete was observing him closely and that he had noticed it.
“Will you allow me to take you home now?” Pete asked as soon as they had closed the doors of the car.
Mac turned his head to face Pete with a tired, but relieved smile.
“Please.” he answered. “I´d like to get some rest now.”
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 8 June 2020 - 09:05 AM|
| Poor Doc Thompson is starting not to trust Mac AND Pete!! LOL!!
OK, I still really hate Chen, but I love how Mac took control of the conversation right from the beginning! I loved this whole exchange. This was a very important part of the story to show that Mac and Pete are still friends and can't be torn apart and that Mac, himself, can't be broken (at least not totally).
Looking forward to the finale!
|Posted by: bluegirl 8 June 2020 - 10:46 AM|
Well, Chen is meant to be hated... after all he´s the bad guy...
But if everything was alright between Mac and Pete... what would be left to tell in the finale...?
The final part will air on Wednesday...
|Posted by: bluegirl 10 June 2020 - 12:06 PM|
| Hi, everybody! Time for the finale... Time to wrap the story up... Time for Mac and Pete to come home...
By the time MacGyver and Pete arrived at the marina, it was already late afternoon. Despite the comfortably padded leather seats of the sedan the drive hadn´t been too easy on MacGyver´s shoulder. The painkillers, the doc had given him before getting on the airplane, had worn off over the last hour. The throbbing had worsened with every mile of the way home. He was barely able to hide it from Pete when they got out of the car and walked down to the houseboat.
Pete carried Mac´s duffle bag and his briefcase again and opened the main door with his copy of the key. He dropped the bags just in front of the staircase and then turned to MacGyver.
“I know you´re not a big fan of medication…” he said, while he helped Mac shrug out of his jacket and put it away on one of the coat hangers next to the door. “But you look like you might want to take one of the pills, Dr. Thompson has prescribed you.”
Mac met his concerned look with a little forged surprise.
“So I´m not able to hide it as well as I thought?” he asked with a lopsided grin.
“It´s been a long day for you. You´re exhausted and you do feel some pain in your shoulder. Why don´t you sit down, get some rest and let me take care of everything else? Can you allow me to help you? At least a little bit?” Pete´s face stayed concerned, but his voice got soft to the end.
Mac rolled his eyes, pulled a weak grimace and thought about objecting. When Pete silently laid a hand on his shoulder, Mac only nodded and allowed Pete to lead him to his well-worn, but comfortable couch. He sat down with a relieved sigh.
“Now, you stay here and relax. I´ll be right back.” Pete advised. Then he retrieved the painkillers from the duffle bag, filled up a glass of water in the kitchen and set both down on the coffee table in front of MacGyver.
“Here you go.” Pete said while he sat down in the chair next to the couch.
Mac had been absently staring at his fixed glass doors, with no trace of duct tape or plastic foil visible anymore, but now turned to look at his friend.
“You´ve already had the doors repaired.” he stated.
“One week certainly was enough time for it.” Pete shrugged.
Mac shot the small tube with the pills in it a slightly disgusted look, but reluctantly picked it up after a moment. He shook one of the pills into his hand and swallowed it with a sip of the water. Pete seemed relieved.
“Do you need anything else?” Pete asked as he got up.
“Not at the moment.” Mac looked up with a tired smile. “Thanks, Pete.”
Pete nodded, straightened himself and gazed back to the kitchen.
“Then I´ll go and do some grocery shopping for you, as your refrigerator is almost empty.” he suggested. “Shall I get only your favorite basics or would you like something special?”
Mac´s face lightened up.
“If you could get me some fresh fruits on top of the basics…”
“Of course.” Pete promised and smiled back. “Can I really leave you alone for a while..? I´ll be back soon.”
“Sure… I won´t be going anywhere.” Mac rolled his eyes but kept smiling.
He leaned back and watched Pete leave and close the door. When he was alone, he let his gaze wander around the houseboat. The stack of manila folders on his desk was still there, as were the two small holes that the bullets had left in his floor and his desk. Even with the glass doors repaired, it was enough to remind him of how much had happened in the last two weeks, let alone the last four months.
Mac´s last words echoed in his mind: I won´t be going anywhere…
They triggered memories that took him back right to the beginning of everything and made him recall the whole ordeal. How he´d been kidnapped in the midst of his biking tour, how he´d been alone in that wooden cell, with no way out. All the physical pain and fear he had had to endure, along with the mental anguish when the fake Pete Thornton had turned up. He remembered the hopelessness and desperation he´d felt and the devastation when he´d thought he had killed Pete on his attempt to escape.
He recalled the sickening mixture of relief, panic, guilt and grief that had ruled him after Willis had found him and during his recovery underground, until that emotional shock when Pete and Willis had confronted him with the truth. The memories of nightmares and flashbacks resurfaced, as did the sudden panic that had made him freeze when he had faced his torturer again in order to save Willis. Mac recalled how hard it had been to fight himself out of that terror and the relief after taking down Chen with Pete´s help.
It drew his mind to his retreat, his withdrawal from everyone and his torn feelings towards Pete. He remembered how the mixture of determination, inside unease and conditioned fear had turned into anger against Pete that had mounted up until that heated argument and his escape from the safe house. Although he had apologized for his furious outburst after he´d saved Pete´s life and been wounded in the course of doing so, Mac still felt sorry for and guilty about it.
He had been lucky enough, that Pete had followed him after he had taken off on his own. Mac wasn´t so sure, if he´d survived the mission he had assigned himself to in his stubborn and hurt mood, if Pete and the DEA hadn´t backed him up. He had appreciated Pete´s comforting presence in the hospital. Most of their open and natural friendship had returned during that week. Pete had suddenly respected Mac´s wish to keep some feelings to himself. And Mac had been able to accept Pete´s wish to help him, even if he had to give up some of his self-reliance and independence for some time. He had to admit it felt good to know Pete at his side again.
With another look around his houseboat he sighed deeply. It was over. He had returned home alive.
Pete came back some while later with two bags filled with supplies and groceries in his arms.
“Hello, MacGyver!” he greeted when he entered the houseboat. “I´m back… It took a little longer, but I did get everything you might need.” Pete pushed the door closed with his elbow, but then froze as he didn´t get any answer.
“Mac?” he asked as he went to the kitchen and set the bags down on the kitchen island. Getting worried, seeing the duffle bag still on the ground, but no sign of its owner, Pete walked to the spiral staircase. Had he gone upstairs to rest in his bed? Pete was just about to go and check the bedroom when his glance got caught on the couch and he froze again. He hadn´t seen Mac sitting anymore, where he had left him, but on a second look he saw Mac lying stretched out on his side on that couch, sunken into the pillows and deeply asleep.
Pete couldn´t help but let out a relieved sigh, as he quietly closed in, observing his friend closely. MacGyver was still fully clothed; he had only taken off his shoes, which were standing beside the couch. Pete crouched down and pushed them under the coffee table, so Mac wouldn´t trip over them should he want to get up. Pete saw the regular rise and fall of Mac´s chest as he breathed calmly. His sleep seemed peaceful, yet Mac´s face was a little pale and showed lines etched by the exhaustion and strain of the last two weeks.
Careful not to disturb his friend Pete got up and reached for the blanket lying draped over the back-rest of the couch. Pete unfolded it and covered MacGyver´s sleeping form with it up to his shoulders, cautious not to wake him up. He was thankful to see his friend finally being able to relax and rest.
With a little smile Pete strode back to the kitchen and stowed away all the supplies in the refrigerator and the kitchen cupboards, still attentive not to make any unnecessary noise. When he was done, he picked up the duffle bag with a probing glance at Mac and went upstairs. Pete put Mac´s stuff back where it belonged and readied bed and bathroom for his friend, while he debated with himself mentally whether to let Mac continue his rest on the couch or wake him and persuade him to sleep in his much more comfortable bed.
By the time he was done, Pete had decided to prepare a small dinner for MacGyver, in order to try to get him to eat something, and then, hopefully, he would be willing to rest upstairs. Pete had sent the driver with the Phoenix sedan away when they had returned from their shopping tour. He would stay at the houseboat as long as Mac felt comfortable with it and then take a taxi home. At least that was Pete´s plan, when he descended down the stairs and went over to the kitchen.
He had hardly arrived at the kitchen island when he heard a faint moan from the couch. Pete turned at once and hurried over to his friend.
“Mac?” he asked, but saw MacGyver´s eyes still closed as he reached the couch.
The peaceful expression on Mac´s face was gone. He was restless now, his face marked with a mixture of anguish and fear. He was moving slightly, but it got more intense with every moment, that Pete watched him.
“Oh, no…” Pete muttered. “Not those nightmares again…”
He crouched down in front of the couch, unsure about what to do, when Mac started moaning once more in his sleep.
“No… Don´t do this… no… I can´t… Pete…”
It tore at Pete´s heart to see his best friend troubled like this, and the longer it lasted, the more worried he became that Mac might hurt his wounded shoulder by moving around so fiercely in his sleep. Pete swallowed hard and decided to wake MacGyver as gently as possible.
“MacGyver… listen to me!” he called out to his friend. “This is a dream… wake up!”
When he didn´t get any reaction Pete reached out and softly touched first Mac´s good hand and then his upper arm, cautious not to hurt or harm his injured shoulder.
“Mac, can you hear me..? Please, listen to me! Wake up!”
MacGyver´s sleeping mind was filled with pictures of the cartel´s base on the coast. He relived falling off the cliff into the icy cold Pacific Ocean, almost drowning and swimming to the small bay. His memories replayed how he had climbed up the slope, seen Pete and the DEA agents, and the moment when he had noticed the rifle aimed at Pete.
But from that moment on his dream turned into pure horror. He tried to call out to Pete but couldn´t; he tried to run as fast as he could but didn´t manage to get any closer to him. No matter how big his effort was, he couldn´t reach Pete in time to save him. He heard the distinctive sharp bang when the shot rang out and had to watch helpless how Pete got hit by the bullet in his chest, stumbled backwards and fell down a cliff.
MacGyver was unable to do anything about it. After what seemed endless he reached the edge of the cliff, looked down and saw Pete lying there, unmistakably dead.
He flinched, as he felt someone touch his hand and then hold on to him. Mac heard a familiar voice cut through the terrifying pictures that occupied his mind. As sudden recognition struck him, he bolted upwards out of his sleep; his eyes wide open with shock. It took a few seconds for him to identify Pete´s worried face opposite to him and realize that he had been dreaming.
The next thing MacGyver felt wasn´t relief, but a red-hot pain shooting through his shoulder when his scapula protested wildly against the abrupt action. Mac gasped in agony, had to close his eyes again, and dropped back onto the couch with a sudden vertigo. He curled up a little, felt for his sore shoulder with his good hand and tried to push back the pain. Then he felt Pete touch him once more, holding him, preventing him from rolling off the couch.
“It was only a bad dream.” Pete said softly. “I didn´t want to startle you… I´m sorry.”
MacGyver took one deep breath after another and nodded silently while the hurt and the dizziness slowly diminished. It lasted several moments until he had calmed down and was able to straighten himself a bit. He turned his head, opened his eyes and looked up at Pete.
“It´s okay, Pete.” he replied. “It´s better than leaving me alone with this nightmare.”
Pete´s concern was back on top.
“Is your shoulder all right?”
“Yeah.” Mac sighed. “It´s just disapproving the sudden movement.” A teasing smile played around his lips.
Slowly Pete let go of his hold on MacGyver and backed off a little. He watched his friend probingly while Mac pushed himself up and swung his long legs off the couch, until he was sitting upright again. When he sensed that Mac was steady and calm, Pete got up and sat down in the chair next to the couch.
“I knew it. It was a bad idea.” Pete said a bit upset after a few silent seconds.
MacGyver had just run his hand through his disheveled hair and over his face, but now raised his eyebrows questioning.
“What was a bad idea?” he echoed.
“That visit to Chen. It brought your nightmares back. You could have hurt yourself.” Pete snorted.
Still a little caught up with the terrifying pictures Mac was surprised by Pete´s harsh answer and held his breath for a moment. In the second he thought about how he might be able to counter it, he heard Pete pull back.
“I´m sorry, MacGyver. I shouldn´t have said that.” he apologized. “It was your choice.”
Mac gazed over to Pete, still thinking about how he could assure his friend, that he was really all right, when Pete stood up.
“Listen, now that you´re awake again… what do you think… I´ll fix you some dinner, then help you get settled upstairs and leave you alone to rest?” Pete asked quickly, turned and went to the kitchen. “I can look after you tomorrow morning, if you want me to…”
Mac looked after him still silent and caught off guard by the sudden change of topic. He felt an abrupt distance to his friend. He had felt that distance once in a while during his week in the hospital, but had blamed it to the hospital setting. Sensing Pete withdraw from him now left Mac worried as he could clearly see, that something was eating at his friend. Something else than just his physical well-being. As he watched Pete open the refrigerator, everything fell into place in his mind. Realization came at once.
Almost all the time since his rescue out of that mountain camp he had kept his experience to himself, had kept his true feelings to himself. He had never talked openly to Pete about it, had shut his closest friend out, although Pete had promised to be there and never give up on him. Pete had grown the more protective the more he had felt MacGyver withdraw from him, out of worry. It had fueled both their determination until that darn argument a little more than a week ago.
They had both apologized to each other, the torn feelings Mac had had towards his friend were gone, but now Pete was withdrawing. Most possibly because he was afraid of making the same mistake of being overprotective again. Mac sighed. That ordeal they had been forced to undergo, was still standing between them. Even if they had vowed that no one from the outside would be able to ruin their friendship, the inside still could. The experience was putting their relationship to a tough test.
MacGyver all of a sudden knew he had to act if he wanted to prevent their bond from being weakened even further. He knew what he had to do if he wanted his and Pete´s friendship to be restored or even strengthened with what they had gone through. No matter how hard, painful or unsettling it would be. It was time to talk about it. It was time to open up. He knew he could trust Pete not to judge him for his feelings. It was time to stop hiding them from him. He wasn´t willing to risk the year-long relationship to his closest friend.
MacGyver took a deep breath and steeled himself mentally for what he was about to do, while he still watched Pete rummaging around in the kitchen.
“That bad dream didn´t have a connection to the torture, Pete.” he said with a low but firm voice.
Pete froze at the sound of Mac´s words and then turned to look at him.
“It made me relive, how Chen´s brother had aimed at you.” Mac continued. “But this time I couldn´t reach you. I couldn´t save you. I had to watch you dying… That´s what frightened me.”
Pete´s serious face lightened up a bit.
“Well, obviously, in real life, you did save me.” He tried to ease up the tense atmosphere.
Mac smiled at him briefly, but then his face turned dark and his eyes grew haunted. He tore his gaze off Pete and stared across the coffee table into some unknown distance.
“Most of the other nightmares are connected to the torture.” he said with the same low voice as before. “When I first woke up in that cell up in that mountain camp, I had no idea where I was or who had taken me captive. Neither had I any idea of what would be coming my way. I thought, I´d be out of there and back home in no time. After the first round of beating, before I even knew what that drug would do to me, I clung on to the thought that you´d be coming to my rescue. I was sure of that.”
Pete had walked around the kitchen island and towards Mac during those sentences. He was close to the couch when he cut in.
“Mac, stop it, please. You´ve had a long, exhausting day… We´ll talk about it tomorrow, when you´re rested.”
Mac shook his head and looked up at Pete. He could see the worry in Pete´s eyes as well as Pete saw the mixture of fear, pain and determination in Mac´s eyes.
“No.” Mac replied quietly. “I am not willing to burden our friendship for another day. Sit down.” He gestured to the chair next to the couch.
Pete didn´t move but looked doubtfully.
“There is no burden to our friendship…” he started to object, but was cut off by Mac´s still calm answer.
“Yes, there is.” MacGyver took a deep breath. “I´ve been hiding my thoughts and feelings from everybody, even myself. I redirected my anger at you. You were trying to protect me until your worries took over. We may have apologized to one another after that argument we got ourselves into, but I´m still keeping my feelings to myself… and now you´re withdrawing from me, because you´re anxious to respect my limits.”
Mac´s brown eyes met Pete´s again. He saw, how troubled and torn Pete´s expression was. Pete didn´t say a word. MacGyver sighed deeply.
“Pete, please, sit down. This isn´t going to be easy for me, but I need to share this with you.” he continued. “We need to talk about all of it. We haven´t done it yet. I don´t want this terrible experience to tear us apart. I can´t bear it any longer.”
Pete´s expression hadn´t changed during Mac´s plead.
“It isn´t going to be easy for me either…” he answered slowly.
“I know.” Mac nodded. “Would you rather go on like this?”
“No.” Pete sighed and shook his head. He sat down and concentrated on his friend. “Go ahead… I´m here.”
Their eyes met briefly, before MacGyver´s gaze again wandered away to something only he could see. He took a deep breath and continued to relate.
“A few hours later I knew what to expect from that drug. It made me hallucinate, it caused excruciating pain, and it blurred my eyesight. Although I was given some food and allowed to freshen up between the rounds of torture, after a few days I thought I was at the limit of my physical strength. That was when I tried to lie myself out of it, or to buy me some time. I was scared, I wouldn´t be able to take any more of it.”
Mac leaned back on his couch and took a small pause.
“I refused to believe it was you, when that double turned up. I thought the drug had caused a horrifying hallucination. But he was well-trained and they had me deceived real soon. I felt shattered, when I thought you were accusing me of betraying everything we believe in. I got more and more desperate with every day. I didn´t even know how much days had passed. At some point, after that double had pushed me over the edge of the cliff, I really thought you were willing to kill me.”
Mac´s stomach turned at the memory of this situation, a lump formed in his throat.
“Everything our friendship had meant over the years was gone…”
His voice was hoarse as he managed to carry on.
“I was helpless, I was hopeless, I was willing to end this terror any way.”
Pete´s face had turned from troubled and worried to shocked about what Mac had just shared with him. He opened his mouth to console his friend, but Mac noticed it and raised a hand to keep him quiet.
“I realized quite soon, that ‘you’ were following me, when I managed to escape. Somehow I knew I would have to fight for my life, but ‘your’ hands around my neck, strangulating me, were a shock. I barely survived this fight. At the cost of ‘your’ life. I didn´t know how to continue. The guilt and grief were overwhelming. When I saw you close to that dead double I wasn´t thinking straight anymore. I was in panic. I don´t know what would have happened if you hadn´t brought Willis along.”
MacGyver slowly got up and walked towards the glass doors. He saw a mixture of sympathy and concern on Pete´s face before he turned to look outside.
“It scared the hell out of me when I first woke up in that underground infirmary.” Mac continued with a husky voice. “Not knowing, what was going on behind the scenes, I decided to keep everything to myself. My world had been destroyed. I didn´t know whom to trust anymore. I was mourning your death, I was terrified after what I had endured, I felt guilty because I had killed you… And I was ashamed that I hadn´t found another way out, that I hadn´t found any way out.”
Mac had to cover his eyes with his hand for a moment to fight back the stinging tears that welled up with the memory of those days. He heard Pete moving uncomfortably in his chair.
“Even after Willis and you had confronted me with the truth, that shame made me keep up my façade.” MacGyver told him while slowly turning around to face him. “It made me hide everything, even when most of the guilt was gone with knowing that you were still alive. I wasn´t willing to accept, that they had been able to program me to be afraid of you. I also started hiding from myself. Arresting Chen took away a lot of the pressure, but it couldn´t take away the memories and emotions. I know you promised to help me, but I couldn´t cope with your presence soon after it. That´s why I fled up to your cabin. I thought I had to help myself first. I thought I could do that by getting back on the case when I returned.”
Mac sighed, turned back to the doors and let his eyes wander into the distance.
“But I was hurt soon. It felt like you were holding me back, supervising me, not trusting me anymore.” he carried on with a hoarse voice. “I was angry at those men, but I turned my anger against you… I thought I was in control of my memories and emotions by then, but I was so wrong… Pete, I broke down after our argument.”
MacGyver took a small pause before he continued.
“Everything I had repressed so consequently swept over me, forcing me to acknowledge it. It cleared my mind and fueled my determination. I had to take off on my own to prove to myself that I was still able to do my job… yet somehow I knew you would be coming after me. I admit, seeing you and the DEA arriving was a relief.”
Mac took a deep breath.
“It was only when I noticed Chen aiming at you that I remembered and realized how much you and our friendship really mean to me. I´d risk my life for yours any time again. I´m sorry, that I set our friendship at risk.”
He hung his head as a tense silence filled the houseboat for moments. Then Mac heard Pete get out of his chair.
“You´ve got nothing to be sorry for.” Pete answered as calm as possible. “I wasn´t as helpful as I could have been.”
“How could you, I didn´t allow you to…” Mac replied bitter and a little too loud when he turned back to face Pete. “You´ve tried your best and I hurt you for it… That doesn´t make coping with the guilt and the shame any easier.”
Pete flinched at the unexpected fierce reaction, even though he knew it wasn´t directed at him. Mac was still angry and hurt, but with himself, he realized.
“What guilt, what shame?” Pete asked back firmly. “You´re talking, as if you asked those men to capture and brutalize you!”
MacGyver held Pete´s gaze silent. Pete saw a shiver running through him. Slowly, carefully Pete went over to his friend and laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. He was relieved when Mac didn´t pull back from his touch.
“MacGyver, please, stop blaming yourself.” Pete tried to counsel with a soothing voice. “The terror you had to go through, wasn´t your fault and it wasn´t your choice. You could as well blame me for not finding you earlier. I still feel guilty for that.”
“At least you did find me…” Mac answered barely audible. “But I´m the one known to come up with a solution to every situation, and I couldn´t… and I did choose how to deal with this. I shut the person closest to me out of it… I should have known better.”
“How could you?” Pete sighed. “We´ve never been through anything like it before.”
Mac remained silent but stepped back and turned away.
“Mac, I´ve seen you overcome the fear today. Now let me help you overcome the rest.” Pete said. He felt a sting to his heart as he watched the pain and sorrow his friend was still going through. How could he be so stubborn, even in his self-torture and self-deceit?
MacGyver stared out over the marina and didn´t react.
“You just took quite an effort to explain everything to me.” Pete told him, trying to console him. “I appreciate that… When I was anxious to respect your limits over the last week, then not because I was hurt, but because our argument made me remember how much you value your independence. I never wanted to withdraw from you.”
He paused for a moment, but still got no answer. Pete took a deep breath and continued.
“MacGyver, there´s no other person like you in the world. You are special. I treasure our friendship. I haven´t lost any of my respect or trust in you. Please, believe me when I tell you there´s no reason for you to feel guilty or ashamed. You saved my life, after all! … You told Chen today, that you´ve come back stronger. Now prove it… I´ve known you for such a long time. I know, you can do it. Return to trusting yourself, return to me, to our friendship… Please.”
It took a few moments until MacGyver slowly turned around to face Pete. Pete´s emotional appeal had touched him deep inside. He had known in advance, that opening up to his best friend wouldn´t be easy. He hadn´t expected the emotions that had returned to be that intense. He could see how moved Pete was when Mac dared to look at him. Pete still saw pain and a certain shyness in MacGyver´s eyes, when he held out his hand to him. Mac didn´t take it at first.
“Pete, I don´t…” he started out, but Pete cut him off.
“Shh.” he said firm but soothing. “Let go of those feelings. Stop hiding. Stop running away. It´s me, Mac… We are friends, right?”
MacGyver had to swallow hard.
“Right.” he confirmed hoarsely.
Slowly he took Pete´s hand, felt a wave of relief wash over him and his last tormenting emotions leave him. He sensed how Pete softly, mindful of his injuries pulled him into an embrace and gave in. MacGyver allowed himself to be comforted, and also felt Pete relax with being able to let go of his worries. Mac buried his face in the fabric of Pete´s jacket as the burden of guilt and shame released their grip on his heart and soul. With Pete´s aid he had not only solved the puzzle behind his captivity and torture, but he had also picked up his own pieces along the way. Where duct tape and paperclips couldn´t fix the problem, the ever reliable support of his closest friend had helped him fix himself.
“Thanks, Pete.” he said after a moment, while they were still holding on to each other.
Now he knew he had returned home. Now it felt like home. Finally.
***** The end *****
Thanks for reading along, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really, really appreciate your feedback.
If anyone is interested, I can provide you with a pdf of the whole story, if you´ll PM me with your email address.
|Posted by: Dragondog 10 June 2020 - 10:21 PM|
|That ending made me want to cry! (That's a compliment, btw). Their friendship has weathered through so much|
|Posted by: bluegirl 11 June 2020 - 04:05 AM|
Thank you so much - I understood it as a compliment right away and I am glad to accept it.
That is exactly what I aimed at - restoring their friendship and trust after everything that I put them through. And yes, it was meant to be intense and emotional. After all, we´ve seen a lot of moments in the series that show how close they are. I just took it to another level.
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 11 June 2020 - 08:17 AM|
| GREAT ENDING!! I appreciate the part where you summarize everything Mac (and Pete) had gone through going back to "Breaking Point". While it's convenient to read the story in parts, one tends to forget certain things and this just brought everything together and made the reader realize, if they haven't already, just how trying this whole experience was for them.
You also did a wonderful job delving into Mac's character (and Pete's) for the conversation at the end. Showed a lot of self-discovery as well as the incredible bond Mac and Pete share. Very well done!!
|Posted by: bluegirl 11 June 2020 - 10:06 AM|
Once again many, many, many, many thanks for your applause and your support!
|Posted by: uniquelyjas 11 June 2020 - 10:42 AM|
It has been my pleasure!!!
|Posted by: bluegirl 29 September 2020 - 11:52 PM|
| Hi everyone!
After revising Breaking Point I did the same with Point of no Return - again, nothing new to the storyline, just some clarifications, added sentences, changed words and phrasings... (about 1000 words plus)
And again - if you´re interested, you may find the new version on FanFiction.net
User name is MacsBluegirl - story is still named Point of no Return
And still: THANKS for your ongoing interest in my stories!