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The Journey Continues, Continuation of "Continuum"
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 3 August 2019 - 03:38 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 3 August 2019 - 01:10 PM)

Okay, the JoGyver stuff at the end was cute, but I feel like bad things are going to happen if they go through with this...

Of course!! It wouldn't be any fun otherwise!!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 4 August 2019 - 07:23 PM                                    
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Poor Jo just can't get a break... tongue.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

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"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 8 August 2019 - 08:04 AM                                    
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Chapter 11: Reunited: Part Two

“Welcome to magical, mystical, Mission City,” Jack’s voice boomed over the plane’s intercom early Saturday afternoon. “The temperature is a balmy…well, not quite balmy…eh, never mind.”

MacGyver looked at Joanna and they both chuckled. Even though it was supposedly spring, the temperatures in Northern Minnesota definitely did not reflect the season.

Mac was proud of Jo. If she had been nervous about the flight it certainly hadn’t shown. She appeared duly impressed with the big leather captain’s chairs and sofas in the customized cabin and even complimented Jack on his smooth take-off and landing. Something MacGyver was sure he would never hear the end of! They rented a car and drove into town.

Police sergeant and long-time friend, Neil Ryder, was the first to cross paths with the trio.

“Mac! If I’d known you were coming I’d have gotten Harry’s cabin ready for you!”

“That’s okay,” Mac assured him. “We rented a couple of motel rooms since we’re only staying overnight. You coming to the reunion?”

Neil frowned. “Can’t. Had too many officers call in sick so I’m pulling a double shift today.”

“What about Chuck?”

“He’s out of town at some outdoorsman convention,” the officer informed Mac. That made sense given that Chuck owned a sporting goods store and his busy season was about to begin.

MacGyver, Joanna, and Jack soon arrived at one of the more upscale motels in the city. The little town was growing daily, it seemed. They had secured connecting rooms. Joanna’s boasted a king size bed while the other had two doubles. The guys would share that room. After taking time to freshen up and change into the clothes they had brought for the evening, Mac and Jo exited their rooms at the same time. Mac wore a casual suit with a collarless shirt and Joanna wore a black, knee-length sheath dress with a long-sleeved, emerald green jacket.

“Where’s Jack?” Joanna asked, admiring Mac’s outfit.

“When I left he was singing show tunes in the shower. I told him we’d meet him in the lobby,” Mac replied as he appreciatively regarded Joanna from head to toe.

Fifteen minutes later, Jack sauntered into the gathering area wearing khaki pants, a brown bomber jacket and his well-worn flight cap.

“Does he always wear that?” Jo asked Mac between clenched teeth and a pasted on smile.

“No!” MacGyver quickly defended his friend. “Well, sometimes…usually…yeah, pretty much,” he conceded.

XXXXX

Mission City High School was a sprawling, multi-story building which boasted recent additions to accommodate the growing population. The reunion was in full swing in the gymnasium when Joanna entered flanked on either side by Mac and Jack. They stopped at the welcome table. Due to the lack of an RSVP, there were no ready-made name tags for them. The volunteer in charge handed them blank badges and permanent markers for them to scrawl their names and then display on their clothing.

Moving further into the gym, Joanna scanned the large room. A DJ played songs from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. A few couples danced, but most chatted in small groups, sipping beverages and nibbling hors de oeuvres. It didn’t take long before her companions were recognized by fellow classmates and soon Joanna and Mac became separated from Jack who took advantage of the attention to spin yarns of his various adventures since graduation. Jo appreciated that MacGyver stuck close to her, holding her hand or placing a comforting arm around her waist. Her mind swam as she was bombarded with names and faces she would forget by the end of the night. However, she was pleased to see that Mac had been a popular, well-liked student.

As time passed, Jo became increasingly aware of the curious glances and whispered comments she and Mac garnered as they continued to mingle. ‘Mrs. MacGyver’, ‘wife’, and ‘husband’ could be heard as they walked past various groups. At one point, they were confronted by three giggling, forty-something, bleach blonde women.

“So you’re the one who finally captured MacGyver’s heart,” the most boisterous lady said to Jo.

Shocked. Joanna took a moment to reply. “Oh, we’re just—“

“She sure is!” Mac unceremoniously cut her off.

A brief, but polite conversation ensued, and as soon as the women directed their gossipy attention elsewhere Joanna rammed her elbow into Mac’s gut.

“What?!” he exclaimed, rubbing the spot she had connected with.

“’She sure is’?!”

“I thought it would just be easier to go along with it,” he innocently explained. “We’re probably never going to see these people again, so what’s the harm?”

Joanna had to admit he had a point as they headed to the buffet table. While Jo gathered finger sandwiches, MacGyver carefully began ladling punch into two plastic cups when someone bumped him from behind, causing the red liquid to slosh over onto his hands. He let out a disgusted groan.

“What happened?” Jo asked even as she observed the punch dripping off his fingers.

“Nothing,” he grumbled. “I gotta go wash this off. Be right back.”

XXXXX

Frustrated, MacGyver flicked his hands, spraying red droplets into the air as he strode down the long corridor to the men’s room, too caught up in his own thoughts to notice the shadowy figure lurking behind him. Not wanting to abandon Joanna to a room full of strangers for too long, he quickly washed his hands and checked his clothes for any damage. Luckily he found no stains. He was headed back to the gymnasium when an unbidden thought began to niggle at the back of his brain. He wondered if the science labs were still where he remembered them and, if so, had they been outfitted with up-to-date equipment. He knew Jo could hold her own socially, and he’d only be gone a few extra minutes.

Before he could change his mind, he proceeded down the hallway he knew so well. He discovered the old, wooden door of the chemistry lab had been replaced by a fireproof metal one with a small window that didn’t offer much of a view. He tried the handle. Locked. Making sure he was alone, he pulled out his Swiss Army knife from his interior jacket pocket, quickly chose a tool, and carefully picked the shiny new lock. Once inside, he flicked on the lights as an air of familiarity wrapped around him like a favorite blanket. He had spent a lot of happy and exciting hours in this room and his work here had served him well over the years. Grinning, he allowed himself to walk up and down the rows of heavy lab tables sporting Bunsen burners. Curious, he opened a drawer to reveal the standard issue equipment needed for just about every experiment done. Along the back wall, he noted with satisfaction, was a large glass and metal cabinet that held all sorts of chemicals. Yeah, this had always been one of his favorite rooms.

He was about to turn around and leave when he heard the soft shuffle of rubber-soled shoes and the click of the heavy metal door closing. He looked to find a lanky, balding man about his age dressed in an ill-fitting, powder blue tuxedo with a matching ruffled shirt. It was all he could do to keep from rolling his eyes.

“Ahhh, the infamous MacGyver! At last I have your undivided attention,” the unfamiliar man crowed. “So sorry for bumping into you earlier.”

“I’m sorry,” Mac replied. “Do I know you?”

“You mean you don’t remember me?” the man asked as he leveled a handgun at MacGyver’s chest.

Mac sucked in a breath at the sight of the gun and automatically raise his hands in surrender. “Um, off course I remember you…Gordon,” he said calmly, thankful for the name tag stuck to the man’s lapel. “Gordon Grapple. We had a class together.”

Gordon nodded eagerly. “Senior Chemistry. I sat three stations behind you.”

“Right!” Mac quickly agreed, trying to keep ole Gordy talking and diffuse the situation.

“Do you remember my lab partner?” Gordon asked, his voice low and serious now. “She had quite a crush on you.”

Doggone it! This guy was talking about a class they had almost thirty years ago! How was he supposed to remember Gordon’s lab partner when he couldn’t even remember his own?!

“She had long, blonde hair,” MacGyver guessed, hoping his punishment for the wrong answer wouldn’t be a bullet to his heart.

“Red,” Gordon replied, now looking through MacGyver as if into the past. “Her name was Winnie. Well, Winnifred. But I always called her ‘Winnie’. She was so jealous of your Ellen. That’s why she dyed her hair. She was always trying to get you to notice her, but you never did!”

Mac thought this was a good thing, but apparently it wasn’t as Gordy stepped closer, shoving the barrel of the gun into MacGyver’s chest.

“You ignored my Winnie and she ignored me!” he spat. “She was so caught up in you she didn’t give me the time of day! I tried everything to get her to notice me. Now, I finally have the chance to get her attention once and for all!”

“Aw, c’mon Gordon, that was a long time ago! We were kids! I’m sure if you saw her again—“

“I did see her. Tonight. And you know what?”

Mac shook his head.

“She was looking at you just like she did when we were in school. But that’s all gonna change right here.”

Gordon reached behind him with his free hand and pulled out two lengths of rope. He ordered MacGyver to sit on the floor where he bound his wrists behind his back and then fastened Mac’s ankles together.

“That should hold you until I get back.”

“Where are you going, Gordon?”

“I’m going for Winnie. I’m going to show her how helpless, how useless you are now. Then she’ll want me instead!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jack Dalton was at the portable bar waiting on his second…no, third…well, maybe fourth…beer when he saw Joanna heading directly toward him, a concerned look on her face.

“I’m worried about Mac,” she stated without preamble. “He went to the bathroom to wash punch off his hands, but that was over twenty minutes ago!”

“Mac’s a big boy. He probably just met up with some old pals and lost track of time,” Jack shrugged.

“Something’s wrong!” she protested. “I can feel it! Please go and make sure he’s okay.”

Jack considered himself a man of many talents, not the least of which was talking unwilling participants into participating in certain ventures, but he had nothing on Joanna’s big brown eyes and worried countenance.

“Fine,” he sighed, “I’ll go check.”

Jack made his rather unsteady way to the nearest men’s room. He earned some odd looks as he bent down to peek under the stalls looking for Mac’s shoes. Not finding his friend, he wandered back out into the corridor. He didn’t want to return to Joanna unsuccessful. After all, she was Mac’s girl and he really wanted her to think well of him. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to determine that Mac probably wandered off to check out the science labs. Or maybe the Ancient History classroom. But that was on the other end of the school. It had to be the science lab. At least the wobbly Jack Dalton hoped so. On his way, he almost collided with a nerdy, nearly-middle-age man dressed in, of all things, a light blue tuxedo. With a grunt as an apology, he continued down the corridor.

The pilot soon found himself standing in front of the heavy metal door of the chem lab. Light was shining through a small window. He stood on tiptoe and peeked in, but the view was quite limited and the knob was locked. He was about to head back to the gym when the sound of breaking glass caught his attention and sobered him up a bit as well. He tried peering through the window again.

“Mac?! Mac, is that you?!”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver didn’t know how long it would take Gordon to find Winnie and convince her to come to the lab, so he had to act fast. First, he had to get out of these ropes. Ole Gordy didn’t appear particularly strong, but he sure knew how to tie a good knot. Unsure of where his Swiss Army knife had gotten to, Mac looked around the room, wishing he was in the biology lab instead. A scalpel was just what he needed. His gaze fell upon the locked cabinet that held the chemicals. It was too risky to try and use an acid to eat through the ties without taking his skin with them, but he could use the glass. He scooted over on his butt and used his foot to break the glass. Turning, he tucked his hand up into the arm of his jacket and gingerly reached for a piece of the jagged glass. He had just begun to saw through the ropes that bound his wrists when he thought he heard a muffled voice call his name. Abandoning his bindings for now, he slid across the room and banged on the door with the soles of his feet.

“Mac?!”

“Jack!” he called out thankfully.

“It’s locked!” his friend called.

Now sitting with his back against the door, Mac used it to lever himself into a standing position. He tried the knob from the inside. It was locked, too, which was very strange. Classroom doors always opened from the inside. It was a long-standing safety regulation. He glanced around the room again and was struck with an idea.

“Jack!” he yelled through the heavy door. “Fire extinguisher!”

He closed his eyes and sent up a quick but fervent prayer that Jack would understand and grab one of canisters placed at intervals along the corridor. Seconds ticked by interminably before he finally heard the steady bang of metal against metal. If Jack could just break the doorknob…”

A few more blows and he heard the knob clatter to the floor. A second later Jack tumbled into the room.

“What happened?!” he asked, his eyes wide as if now first shocked by the situation.

“I’ll explain later,” Mac replied hurriedly. “Get these ropes off me. We gotta get back to the gym.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna sat on a barstool waiting for Jack. What could be taking so long? All he had to do was go to the men’s room and get Mac. A ball of dread began to form in her stomach. Something was really wrong. She was sure of it. Too anxious to sit, she slid off the stool and began to pace when her path was blocked by a short, chubby woman with red hair and dark-rimmed glasses. She wore an overly bright flower print dress.

“Excuse me,” the woman said shyly. “You’re Mrs. MacGyver, aren’t you?”

Joanna felt her shoulders droop. She didn’t feel like explaining. “Yes, that’s me,” she replied.

The woman’s face brightened. “Mac and I had Senior Chemistry together. I had such a crush on him,” she giggled. “My name’s Winnifred.” She stuck out her hand for Joanna to shake.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Joanna.”

“Have you spent much time in Mission City?”

Joanna was not in the mood for idle conversation, but at least it would pass the time until MacGyver and Jack returned.

“Actually, I’ve only been here a couple times.”

“Oh, that’s a shame,” Winnifred frowned. “Why don’t we go for a stroll and I can show you some of the popular hangouts?”

This woman was a little too friendly.

“I don’t think—“

Suddenly Jo felt something sharp poke her in the side. She looked down to find a hunting knife in Winnifred’s hand.

“But I insist!” the woman exclaimed, looping her free hand through Jo’s arm and guiding her out the door and into the night.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver and Jack hurried back to the party. Mac frantically scanned the room for Joanna but couldn’t find her.

“Where did you leave Jo?” Mac asked his friend.

“She was at the bar when I left.”

The two men hurried over to the bar, but she was nowhere to be found. The bartender and fellow former classmate looked up from the glass he was wiping.

“Can I help you gentleman?”

“Yes,” MacGyver replied. “Have you seen—“

“Your wife?” the bartender smiled. “Yeah, she left with that weirdo from Senior Chemistry.”

“Gordon?!” Mac’s heart beat in triple time.

“No. A woman.”

“Winnifred,” Mac said under his breath.

“Who?” Jack asked.

“Where did they go?” MacGyver asked the volunteer bartender while ignoring Jack’s question.

“Got me. She said something about showing Joanna the local hangouts.”

Mac sighed and sunk onto the nearest barstool, his mind racing. He couldn’t think of any notable, and potentially dangerous, locations except…

“Gordon said he had a crush on Winnifred,” he told Jack excitedly. “And Winnifred had a crush on me!”

“So?”

“So where did we all used to go to make-out?”

Jack shrugged. His face blank.

“The Ridge!” Mac exclaimed triumphantly.

“What’s ‘The Ridge’?” Jack asked, still befuddled.

For a moment MacGyver’s curiosity overrode his urgency. “You never went to The Ridge?”

Another shrug from Jack.

“It’s that clearing in the woods above Ridge Lake. That’s where Winnifred must’ve taken Jo!”

MacGyver jogged to the exit, Jack lagging behind. Mac stopped short and quickly turned around.

“You stay here and call Neil. Tell him what’s going on and tell him we also need to find Gordon,” Mac directed before hurtling through doors and out of sight.

It only took a few minutes for MacGyver to drive to the clearing, but it seemed like hours. As the dense trees began to thin out, he doused his headlights and eased the car to a silent stop. He got out and headed for the tree line, ducking low to keep his presence hidden as he moved closer to the two women standing on the edge of the cliff overlooking the lake. Moonlight glinted off the silver blade Winnifred held against Joanna’s side and fear gripped his heart. He could hear their soft voices but couldn’t make out what they were saying. He had to find a way to get them away from the ridge, separate them, and disarm Winnifred. Based on Joanna’s shaking head and the other woman’s jerky movements he figured he didn’t have much time. Perhaps he needed a ploy more than an attack strategy.
With quiet, efficient steps MacGyver made his way back to where he had left his car. He opened the door and then slammed it shut. Loudly. Sometimes the best plan was the most obvious.

“Winnifred?” he called. “Winnie, are you here?”

He noisily plodded up the hill until he once again had the two women in his sights.

“Winnifred! Thank God you’re okay!” he exclaimed as he continued to slowly walk towards them. “I was worried sick when I couldn’t find you in the gymnasium!”

Winnie started and turned abruptly, spinning Jo around with her, still holding the knife.

“MacGyver?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yeah, sweetheart. It’s me,” he assured her in a deep, sure voice. He was now only a couple feet away. He looked at Joanna for the first time since his approach.

“What’s she doing here?” he sneered.

“She’s the only thing standing between us, and I was going to take care of that tonight.” Winnie raised the knife like a newly-gained trophy.

“Don’t bother,” he ordered. “She’s not worth it.”

“But…she’s your wife!”

“No she’s not,” Mac said harshly. “Look at her…she’s not even my type! You know I’ve always had a thing for red-heads.”

“Then who is she?” Winnie asked slowly.

“Just some chick from work. I paid her to come up here and pretend to be my wife. I didn’t want everyone to know that smart, handsome, charming MacGyver was still single because he was still pining for you.” He silently willed Joanna to understand what he was doing and get in the game.

“You…you want me?” Winnifred’s grip on the knife as well as Jo’s arm seemed to slacken a bit.

“Hold it just a minute, mister!” Joanna scolded as she freed her arm from Winnie’s loosened grasp. “I agreed to our deal because you said if I pretended to be your wife you’d show me a good time, if you catch my drift! Well, buster, that ‘good time’ did NOT include being abandon by my date and kidnapped by a nutcase. Come to think of it, I’m not sure who’s the nutcase here. Her for wanting to kill me, you for being in love with her, or me for going along with this!! That’s it! I’m outta here!”

Joanna ended her rant by stepping away too quickly for Winnifred to react, but Mac was ready and waiting. As soon as Jo was far enough away, he lunged for Winnie, grabbing the knife from her hand before wrapping his arms around her, pinning her own arms against her body, while walking them both carefully away from the cliff.

“Let me go!” she screeched as she struggled against him, kicking him in the shins for good measure.

“Want me to take her off your hands?” Neil smirked as he stepped out from behind a large oak tree.

“How long have you been here?” Mac asked as they transferred the prisoner between them.

Neil shrugged. “Long enough to see that you had everything under control.”

“Gee, thanks for all your help, man,” MacGyver replied sarcastically before growing serious. “What about Gordon?”

“We found him roaming the school corridors looking for Winnie,” Neil informed him. “He’s already in custody back at the station. I’m sorry I missed all the excitement. What was the reunion’s theme anyway? ‘Revenge of the Psycho Nerds’?”

“Something like that,” Mac mumbled as Neil led Winnifred down the path to his patrol car.

“I’ll need all three of you to come down to the station and give your statements before you leave,” the officer called before he was out of earshot.

MacGyver turned to find Joanna with her back to him, staring out at the lake below. He cleared his throat as he approached so as not to startle her. As he got closer he could see she had her arms wrapped tightly around herself. He gently placed his hands on her shoulders and rested his chin on the top of her head.

“You okay?” he asked calmly.

“Yeah, I guess.” She turned to face him, her eyes glistening.

Without another word, Mac pulled her close. She wrapped her arms around his waist, laid her head on his chest and began to sob. When the tears had stopped, she pulled back and studied the wet stain on his shirt.

“I’m sorry,” she muttered.

“You got nothin’ to be sorry about,” Mac assured her, his own heart crying out. “You did real good tonight. You know that, right?”

She nodded and turned back to look at the moonlight glistening on the water. MacGyver joined her, taking her hand in his.

“What did she say to you?” His question sounded like a command.

“A lot of it didn’t make sense. Apparently she had a huge crush on you in high school…and still does. She told me this place was called ‘Lover’s Leap’ and that if I didn’t jump off the cliff she’d stab me to death so she could have you all to herself.”

MacGyver sucked in a breath upon hearing this. He was amazed at how composed Joanna was in spite of everything. He let go of her hand and instead wrapped his arm around her shoulders and nestled her against his side.

“She lied, you know,” Mac informed softly. “The real name of this place is ‘The Ridge’. All us kids used to come up here to make-out. Well, all of us except Jack.”

He felt Jo’s shoulders tremble, not with sobs, but with laughter.

“I’ll bet you know this place quite well,” she said, looking up at him with a playful grin.

He smiled back at her. “I never kiss and tell.”

He was prepared for one of her snarky comebacks when the trees behind them began to rustle. All his senses went on alert until his mind registered a huffing, puffing Jack Dalton emerging from the woods.

“Whew! That’s some hill!” he wheezed, looking around. “Did I miss anything?”

“You missed everything, Jack,” MacGyver informed his friend.

“You mean…it’s over? Neil got Minnie?”

“Her name’s ‘Winnie’, and yes, Neil got her.”

Jack’s face fell in disappointment before brightening up again.

“So this is The Ridge, huh?” he asked. “I don’t see what the big deal is…there’s nothing here!”

Mac and Joanna began to laugh.

“I’m serious!” Jack retorted. “You know, this would be the perfect place for a—“

“Forget it, Jack,” Mac commanded.

“But I didn’t even tell you my idea yet!”

“Exactly!”










Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 9 August 2019 - 11:52 AM                                    
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QUOTE

MacGyver looked at Joanna and they both chuckled. Even though it was supposedly spring, the temperatures in Northern Minnesota definitely did not reflect the season.
It's Minnesota. It's never the temp it's supposed to be.

QUOTE

“When I left he was singing show tunes in the shower. I told him we’d meet him in the lobby,” Mac replied as he appreciatively regarded Joanna from head to toe.
I feel like Mac didn't want to wait up simply because he didn't want to listen to Jack's singing XD

QUOTE

Fifteen minutes later, Jack sauntered into the gathering area wearing khaki pants, a brown bomber jacket and his well-worn flight cap.

“Does he always wear that?” Jo asked Mac between clenched teeth and a pasted on smile.

“No!” MacGyver quickly defended his friend. “Well, sometimes…usually…yeah, pretty much,” he conceded.
Everyone knows a Jack. The Jack I know is me. I don't care about fashion either laugh.gif

QUOTE


As time passed, Jo became increasingly aware of the curious glances and whispered comments she and Mac garnered as they continued to mingle. ‘Mrs. MacGyver’, ‘wife’, and ‘husband’ could be heard as they walked past various groups. At one point, they were confronted by three giggling, forty-something, bleach blonde women.

“So you’re the one who finally captured MacGyver’s heart,” the most boisterous lady said to Jo.
Sheesh, is there anything better to do? Is it that noteworthy? laugh.gif

QUOTE

Frustrated, MacGyver flicked his hands, spraying red droplets into the air as he strode down the long corridor to the men’s room, too caught up in his own thoughts to notice the shadowy figure lurking behind him.
Of course.

QUOTE
He tried the handle. Locked. Making sure he was alone, he pulled out his Swiss Army knife from his interior jacket pocket, quickly chose a tool, and carefully picked the shiny new lock.
See, Sam's not so bad laugh.gif

QUOTE
Gordon Grapple.
What a perfect last name for what's about to happen XD

QUOTE

“I’m going for Winnie. I’m going to show her how helpless, how useless you are now. Then she’ll want me instead!”
Can't decide whether he's the biggest grudge collector I've ever seen, or completely insane.

...

...

Insane. Definitely insane.

QUOTE

Jack Dalton was at the portable bar waiting on his second…no, third…well, maybe fourth…beer
He's supposed to fly them out tomorrow. He's gonna have a bad hangover XD

QUOTE

Suddenly Jo felt something sharp poke her in the side. She looked down to find a hunting knife in Winnifred’s hand.
Wow. They're all insane -_-

QUOTE


“So where did we all used to go to make-out?”

Jack shrugged. His face blank.

“The Ridge!” Mac exclaimed triumphantly.

“What’s ‘The Ridge’?” Jack asked, still befuddled.

For a moment MacGyver’s curiosity overrode his urgency. “You never went to The Ridge?”

Another shrug from Jack.
This amused me far more than it should have XD

QUOTE
He silently willed Joanna to understand what he was doing and get in the game.
I'm sure she will XD

QUOTE

“She lied, you know,” Mac informed softly. “The real name of this place is ‘The Ridge’. All us kids used to come up here to make-out. Well, all of us except Jack.”
I know where this is going...

I'm still laughing at Jack's lack of a love life XD XD XD

QUOTE

He was prepared for one of her snarky comebacks when the trees behind them began to rustle. All his senses went on alert until his mind registered a huffing, puffing Jack Dalton emerging from the woods.
I saw that coming XD

QUOTE

“Exactly!”
Please oh please oh please tell me Mac said that in the same tome Jack usually does laugh.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 9 August 2019 - 01:35 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 9 August 2019 - 11:52 AM)

QUOTE

“Exactly!”
Please oh please oh please tell me Mac said that in the same tome Jack usually does laugh.gif

I'm fairly certain he did thumbup.gif



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 14 August 2019 - 05:41 AM                                    
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Chapter 12: The Dance

MacGyver stood in his office doorway and gazed out at his domain, otherwise known as the Challengers Club. For the first time since beginning this venture he finally felt in full control of the endeavor. Jack had left for L.A. and, at Mac’s insistence, Cynthia had agreed to leave work early. It didn’t take long before his eyes fell on the two youngest members of the club seated on either side of Joanna studiously completing their homework. Davey, the elder of the two, had inquisitive hazel eyes and dark blonde hair with an out-of-control cowlick that refused to be tamed. In his short time with Challengers, Mac had discovered the boy’s love of science and desire to take apart anything that moved to find out how it works regardless of if he could put it back together or not. Davey’s five-year-old sister, Suzy, had dark brown hair cut in a bob similar to Jo’s. Quiet and non-assuming, the little girl had a way of wiggling into one’s heart when they weren’t paying attention. MacGyver felt his insides warm, realizing that these two children could easily be his and Joanna’s. He began to wonder what a child of theirs would be like before the ringing telephone rudely interrupted his thoughts.

“I’m going to take off now, if that’s okay,” a female voice said from the doorway.

“Yeah, sure,” Mac mumbled, not raising his head from the note he was jotting to himself.

“Davey and Suzy are helping the older kids clean up. I had them call their mom since they stayed later than usual.”

“Okay,” he mumbled again, his attention still focused on the note.

“Angus MacGyver! You haven’t heard a word I’ve said!”

The harsh tone of voice, not to mention the use of his Christian name, caused Mac’s head to snap up only to find Joanna standing in the doorway to his office, hands planted firmly on her hips, her brow furrowed.

Suddenly penitent, Mac quickly pushed back his chair and hurried around the old desk. He put his hands on Jo’s stiffened shoulders and kissed her forehead.

“I’m sorry, babe. I got distracted and didn’t even realize how late it was.”

He felt her shoulders relax as her hands reached up to gently grasp his forearms. The look on her face quickly morphing from frustration to concern.

“Is everything all right? You haven’t been out of your office since that phone call?”

“Everything’s fine,” he assured her. “How about we talk tomorrow and plan to spend some time together? Just the two of us.”

“Sure,” she replied with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes before she turned and headed toward the exit.

“By the way,” she called from across the room, “I told Davey and Suzy you’d drive them home since it’s dark outside.” This time her mischievous grin lit up the night.

The older teens made quick work of the end-of-day clean-up routine. Not only did it take a load off of MacGyver and Cynthia, but it gave the youth a sense of responsibility and ownership. Mac had just returned from dumping the garbage when he spotted Davey walking aimlessly around the rec room.

“Ready to go home, buddy?” he asked the boy.

“I can’t find Frog,” Davey replied, holding up the dog leash as if to make his point.

“He’s around here somewhere. I’ll round him up,” Mac promised. “Now go tell Suzy it’s time to leave.”

“I can’t find her, either,” Davey said woefully.

Mac’s senses went on alert. A habit from his days as a field operative. But he didn’t want the boy to see his concern.

“Maybe Suzy and Frog are playing hide-and-seek,” MacGyver suggested hopefully. “Let’s see if we can find them together.”

Hand in hand, Mac and Davey inspected the perimeter of the large room and any nooks or crannies that might serve as a good hiding place, but they found nothing.

“Maybe Frog needed to go outside,” Mac said. “Let me grab my jacket and we’ll take a look.”

He hurried into his office and grabbed the familiar brown bomber from the back of his chair. He was closing the door behind him when a muffled sob and a snort stopped him in his tracks. He stood quietly and listened. A few seconds later the sounds came again.

“Suzy? Frog?” he called softly. The only reply was more sobs and a snuffle.

MacGyver followed the sounds and soon found its source under his desk. Suzy sat cross-legged, her arms wrapped tightly around the stocky bull dog sitting in her lap, her head buried in his back as she cried. Frog sat patiently, his lolling tongue and panting breath the only indication of his discomfort.

“Hey, guys, is everything okay?” Mac asked, crouching down so he could see them better. Neither girl nor beast replied.

“What do you say we go on home?”

Suzy raised her head, her face flushed and tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I don’t wanna go home!” she exclaimed.

“Why not?” Mac asked. Was something going on at the house that caused the girl to not want to return? All sorts of unsettling scenarios crept into his head.

“I wanna go to the dance!”

Totally confused by this unexpected response, Mac repositioned himself on the floor so he now mirrored Suzy.

“What dance?” Mac’s voice was soft and calm.
“The daddy/daughter dance at school,” Suzy hiccupped. “I can’t go ‘cause I don’t got a daddy.”

“Aw, sweetie, I’m sure there will be other girls there who don’t have a daddy,” Mac tried to console her.

Suzy nodded. “My teacher said I could bring my mommy, but she’s not a daddy,” she offered, looking MacGyver straight in the eye. “Davey even said he’d go with me, but he’s only nine and I don’t wanna dance with my brother!”

“Is she still moaning about that stupid dance?” Davey groused from the doorway.

“It’s not a stupid dance!” his sister yelled back.

MacGyver sighed. He was way out of his comfort zone. “Let’s all go home and get a good night’s sleep and maybe we can think of a solution tomorrow,” he offered, trying to sound authoritative.

“But I have a solution!” Suzy proclaimed. “Only Mommy made me promise not to say anything.”

This piqued his curiosity.

“Well, ya know, I’m really good at keepin’ secrets,” Mac whispered conspiratorially. “Could you tell me what your solution is?”

Suzy shook her head vigorously.

“Why not?” MacGyver asked.

“Because you’re the solution! I want you to be my daddy for the dance!”

Mac felt the air rush out of his lungs as if someone had punched him in the gut. Hard. He was flattered that Suzy wanted him to be her ‘daddy’, but if her mother insisted the girl keep it a secret she obviously did not approve. Getting out of this conversation was going to be harder than getting out of East Germany before the Iron Curtain fell.
“I’d be honored to be your ‘daddy’ for the dance,” Mac managed to reply smoothly. “Why don’t we talk about it tomorrow?” He quickly rose from his seat on the floor to avoid a rebuttal.

“Davey, come and get Frog, it’s time to go home,” he directed.

The Nomad had barely come to a complete stop in front of the Talbot house before Davey and Suzy barreled out of the car and up the front walkway. MacGyver followed more sedately, taking in the peeling paint and lopsided roof of the old structure. A lanky young woman with straggly blonde hair greeted the children at the door, hugging each of them tightly before they bolted off in opposite directions.

“Thank you so much for bringing them home, Mr. MacGyver,” she said as he approached.

“No problem, Ms. Talbot. I’m happy to do it,” he smiled.

“Please, call me Jill.”

“Okay, Jill. Could we talk for a minute in private?”

The young woman’s thin face paled, but she ushered MacGyver into the kitchen and started pouring two cups of coffee before he could object.

“I hope the children aren’t being a burden,” she said quietly, sitting on the edge of a wobbly wooden chair.

“The kids are great,” Mac assured her. “We love having them around.”

“Then what’s the problem?” She couldn’t hide the weariness from her voice. Working two jobs was definitely taking its toll.

“I wouldn’t call it a problem,” MacGyver began, “But Suzy was telling me about the daddy/daughter dance at her school. She’s quite upset because she doesn’t have a daddy to go with.”

Jill sighed. “I know. We’ve been arguing about it for weeks.”

“She told me about her solution.”

“Oh, no,” the tired woman moaned. “I specifically made her promise not to bother you with it.”

“With all due respect, ma’am, it’s not a bother. In fact, I’d like to be her ‘daddy’ for the dance if you’ll allow it.”

The look on Jill’s face was a combination of surprise and relief. “Really, Mr. MacGyver, you don’t have to do this.”

“I want to do it. And the name’s Mac.”

Jill’s face fell again.

“There’s one problem,” she said quietly. “Suzy is going to want a new dress and we simply can’t afford it.”

MacGyver smiled. “I have a friend who might be able to help out with that if you’ll agree to it.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Saturday morning Joanna entered the Talbot home much to the delight of Suzy who bounced across the small living room to greet her.

“Thank you so much for taking Suzy shopping,” Jill said as she offered Jo a cup of coffee which she refused.

“It’s my pleasure. And don’t worry, I know some really good thrift stores,” Jo promised with a smile.

Two hours and three shops later, Suzy was still unable to find a dress that suited her. Her mother had warned her about not being too fussy and to be grateful that she was getting a new outfit at all. Nevertheless, the little girl apparently knew what she wanted and wasn’t going to stop looking until she found it. But Joanna was running out of options. There was only one second-hand store they hadn’t tried. Within minutes upon entering, Suzy perused the rack with dresses in her size before declaring them all unworthy. Joanna sighed and massaged her temple where a headache was beginning to blossom.

“Okay. Time for the mall,” she declared.

“But Mommy said the mall’s too ‘spensive.”

“Not if you look for sales,” Joanna smiled and winked at her young charge as they headed to the car.

After a quick stop at the mall’s food court to refuel with burgers and fries, Joanna led Suzy through the nearest department store. Soon they were standing in front of racks laden with party dresses. Little Suzy’s jaw dropped and her eyes grew wide. She stood stock still as if paralyzed by the options that confronted her. She bit her lower lip and looked up at Jo.

“What’s Mr. Mac’s favorite color?”

Joanna opened her mouth to reply before realizing she didn’t know the answer. What was Mac’s favorite color? She’d seen him wear everything from white tees to brightly colored print shirts and he always seemed to like what she wore, regardless of color. Not only didn’t she know his favorite color, she also didn’t know his favorite song, movie (though it was a Western for sure), season, or even pizza topping though she knew he didn’t like anchovies. How could they have known each other so long and she still not know the answers?

A tug on her handbag startled her out of her reverie. She looked down to find Suzy staring up at her, patiently waiting for an answer.

“Blue,” Jo blurted out. “Mr. Mac’s favorite color is blue.” She’d inform him later so he could give Suzy the proper compliment.

With the choices now narrowed a bit, Suzy began to gingerly pick through the brand new outfits.

“Does he like sparkly or plain?” she asked.

Yet another question Jo didn’t know the answer to, but this time she decided to take a different approach. She knelt down so she was at eye level with the girl.

“Sweetie, I know you want to wear a dress Mr. Mac will like, but it’s more important to find a dress that you like and feel comfortable in. Mr. Mac likes you regardless of what color you’re wearing or whether it’s sparkly or not.”

Suzy considered this information before plucking a powder blue ruffled dress from the rack.

“I like this one,” she declared, but a frown marred her precious face when she looked at the price tag. “But it’s too ‘spensive,” she sighed.

The girl’s comment was like a knife to Jo’s heart. No five-year-old should have to worry about money.

“Why don’t you try it on anyway,” she urged. “Maybe it’s on sale even though it’s not marked.”

Ten minutes later, Joanna handed the credit card MacGyver had given her to the clerk. After signing her name on the receipt, she reached for the tag on the dress, scribbled out the original price, and wrote in one that Jill would find acceptable.

“Your daughter will look like a princess in this dress,” the cashier commented as she completed the transaction.

Joanna opened her mouth to correct the assumption when she suddenly decided to go with the flow. “Thanks. I think so, too,” she replied, grabbing her package and heading to where Suzy stood waiting for her. She stopped and regarded the child. She had long ago accepted the fact that having a child was not part of her future, but this little sprite couldn’t help but make her wonder what a daughter of hers might be like. Her’s and MacGyver’s.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Mac winced as Joanna readjusted his tie and tugged on his collar. Once satisfied, she brushed away some imaginary lint from his lapels and pronounced him fit for the daddy/daughter dance.

“Remember, your favorite color is light blue and you like ruffles, not sparkles,” she instructed as she handed him a small clear plastic container that held a miniature wrist corsage.

“Yes, mother,” he replied cheekily which only earned him a scowl and a playful swat on his shoulder.

“Seriously,” he said, “I will treat her like a princess and make sure she has a wonderful time.”

XXXXX

Suzy’s small hand tightly grasped MacGyver’s much larger one as she led him into the school cafeteria that had been transformed into a magical wonderland complete with twinkling fairy lights. Grown men talked and laughed as little girls whispered and giggled. It didn’t take long before Suzy spotted her friends and picked up the pace, practically tugging MacGyver behind her.

“C’mon Daddy Mac, I want you to meet my friends!”

They approached a small group of girls similar in age who all turned and stopped talking when they got close.

“Hey everybody,” Suzy announced, her head held high, “this is my daddy!”

The girls began to snicker and Suzy appeared confused as the tallest of the bunch…it always seemed to be the tallest who was the bully…stepped forward.

“He’s not your daddy,” the tall girl proclaimed. “You don’t have a daddy!”

MacGyver felt Suzy’s hand tighten in his and caught the slightest quiver of her lower lip. He knew tears would soon follow.
“I usually don’t argue with pretty young ladies,” he said calmly, “But for tonight I am most certainly Miss Suzy’s daddy.” He then turned to Suzy. “C’mon honey, let’s get some punch.” And together they walked away.

Mac quickly lost track of time as he and Suzy drank punch, sampled the family-friendly finger-food, and danced to a variety of music. Suzy tried to teach him new dance steps which she insisted were the most popular among her generation while he tried desperately to follow her instructions and not look like a fool in front of the other dads who no doubt had been schooled in these moves by their daughters over the previous weeks. His efforts brought on more than one bout of the giggles from his ‘date’. When the beat of the music became slow and rhythmic, MacGyver gently lifted Suzy into his arms and she snuggled against his chest as he swayed in time to the song.

“Are you having a good time?” he asked.

“This is the bestest night of my whole entire life!” she answered, looking up at him with a happy smile. “Will you be my daddy again next year?”

Mac chuckled. “You bet I will.”

The song ended and the DJ announced the conclusion of the evening. MacGyver lowered Suzy to the floor and looked at his watch. He couldn’t believe the dance was over. He looked around to find a group of weary kindergarteners who were probably already up past their bedtime. Even Suzy’s usual energetic glow had faded.

A short while later he escorted a sleepy Suzy to her front door where her mother greeted her.

“How was the dance, sweetheart?” Jill asked.

“It was awesome,” the girl mumbled around a yawn.

“Say ‘thank you’ to Mr. Mac,” her mom instructed.

“Thank you, Daddy Mac,” she said, rubbing her tired eyes before heading down the hall to her room.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this, Mr. MacGyver,” Jill said once Suzy had disappeared. “I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”

“Hey, the pleasure was all mine. You owe me nothing,” he smiled before heading back to the car.

Mac was already tugging off his tie as he entered his apartment. He shrugged out of his suit coat and deposited himself on the couch. He laid staring up at the ceiling, wondering if there were any more daddy/daughter dances in his future. If Miss Suzy had her way he was sure there would be. At least now he had time to practice his dance steps.











Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 15 August 2019 - 06:58 PM                                    
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QUOTE

MacGyver stood in his office doorway and gazed out at his domain
Is it sad that I had to pause before finishing the sentence to remember where he works now? laugh.gif

QUOTE
Jack had left for L.A. and, at Mac’s insistence,
For a second, I didn't see the 'and' XD

QUOTE

“I can’t find Frog,” Davey replied, holding up the dog leash as if to make his point.

“He’s around here somewhere. I’ll round him up,” Mac promised. “Now go tell Suzy it’s time to leave.”

“I can’t find her, either,” Davey said woefully.
Well then... unsure.gif

QUOTE
He was closing the door behind him when a muffled sob and a snort stopped him in his tracks. He stood quietly and listened. A few seconds later the sounds came again.

“Suzy? Frog?” he called softly. The only reply was more sobs and a snuffle.
That was fast laugh.gif

QUOTE
Frog sat patiently, his lolling tongue and panting breath the only indication of his discomfort.
Me trying to help when someone starts unloading to me XD

QUOTE

“The daddy/daughter dance at school,” Suzy hiccupped. “I can’t go ‘cause I don’t got a daddy.”
sad.gif sad.gif sad.gif Well, now my heart is broken, poor girl DX

QUOTE

“Aw, sweetie, I’m sure there will be other girls there who don’t have a daddy,” Mac tried to console her.
I'm 100% convinced Mac's either going to end up standing in as her 'father', or he'll suggest holding a dance at Challengers to make up for it.

QUOTE

“But I have a solution!” Suzy proclaimed. “Only Mommy made me promise not to say anything.”

This piqued his curiosity.
Mine as well huh.gif

Well, I was right XD XD XD

This whole conversation is adorable XD

QUOTE

Joanna opened her mouth to reply before realizing she didn’t know the answer. What was Mac’s favorite color? She’d seen him wear everything from white tees to brightly colored print shirts and he always seemed to like what she wore, regardless of color. Not only didn’t she know his favorite color, she also didn’t know his favorite song, movie (though it was a Western for sure), season, or even pizza topping though she knew he didn’t like anchovies. How could they have known each other so long and she still not know the answers?
Welcome to the world of marriage (from what I've heard, anyway) laugh.gif

QUOTE
After signing her name on the receipt, she reached for the tag on the dress, scribbled out the original price, and wrote in one that Jill would find acceptable.
XD Nice going, Jo!

QUOTE
She stopped and regarded the child. She had long ago accepted the fact that having a child was not part of her future, but this little sprite couldn’t help but make her wonder what a daughter of hers might be like. Her’s and MacGyver’s.
Hmm, they've both wondered about this now... ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

QUOTE

“Yes, mother,” he replied cheekily which only earned him a scowl and a playful swat on his shoulder.
I love these two XD

QUOTE

“C’mon Daddy Mac, I want you to meet my friends!”
Rofl, "Daddy mac" roller.gif

QUOTE

“Hey everybody,” Suzy announced, her head held high, “this is my daddy!”
Hmm, not sure this will end well... hmm.bmp

QUOTE

“He’s not your daddy,” the tall girl proclaimed. “You don’t have a daddy!”
Yeah, I saw that coming... :-( Some friends...

Why am I getting Lilo and Stitch vibes from this though? XD

QUOTE
“I usually don’t argue with pretty young ladies,” he said calmly, “But for tonight I am most certainly Miss Suzy’s daddy.” He then turned to Suzy. “C’mon honey, let’s get some punch.” And together they walked away.
Awww, Mac always knows just what to do :-D

QUOTE

Mac quickly lost track of time as he and Suzy drank punch, sampled the family-friendly finger-food, and danced to a variety of music. Suzy tried to teach him new dance steps which she insisted were the most popular among her generation while he tried desperately to follow her instructions and not look like a fool in front of the other dads who no doubt had been schooled in these moves by their daughters over the previous weeks. His efforts brought on more than one bout of the giggles from his ‘date’. When the beat of the music became slow and rhythmic, MacGyver gently lifted Suzy into his arms and she snuggled against his chest as he swayed in time to the song.
Oh my gosh, I think I might be tearing up, why is this so cute?!

QUOTE

“Thank you, Daddy Mac,” she said, rubbing her tired eyes before heading down the hall to her room.
XD



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 16 August 2019 - 05:23 AM                                    
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Glad you enjoyed this chapter Dragondog. Gotta throw in a warm-fuzzy every now and again!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Posted: 21 August 2019 - 05:02 AM                                    
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Chapter 13: Frog’s Secret

MacGyver stooped to retrieve Frog’s food bowl, noting that there was still a good deal of kibble left over for the second day in a row.

“What’s the matter, boy? Decided to go on a diet?”

Frog looked at him mournfully before bringing his back leg around to furiously scratch his neck, something else he had been doing a lot more of recently. Come to think of it, the dog hadn’t been as active as usual either, but Mac had chalked it up to age and busy days with the kids at Challengers.

“Is that collar bothering you again?” Mac asked, stooping once again to loosen it a notch before clipping on the leash and heading to the car.

Upon arriving at the Challengers Club, Frog headed straight for the corner where his plush dog bed awaited him. MacGyver readied a bowl of food and one of water, but by the time he put them on the floor next to the bed, Frog was already asleep, snoring softly…for him. Mac shook his head, but he couldn’t shake the concern that had been growing in the back of his mind. He walked into his office to find Cynthia already working away on the computer.

“Hey, Cynthia. You know anything about dogs?”

Cynthia looked up. “I never had a dog,” she shrugged. “I’ve always been more of a cat person. Why?”

“Frog’s been acting weird lately and I thought you might have an idea why.”

“Sorry,” Cynthia apologized. “But I’ve noticed it too. He doesn’t get as anxious for his walks as he used to. Maybe he’s just getting old.”

“Yeah, maybe,” MacGyver mumbled.

XXXXX

The day passed quickly and soon the center was filling up with teenagers ready to either blow off some steam or get started on their homework. Mac hardly noticed when Joanna arrived for her daily tutoring sessions, but when he did notice, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. They really needed to make a point to spend some quality time together. He watched as she commandeered a table before going over to the corner to greet Frog. She crouched down, ruffling his ears. Then she started fiddling with his collar.

“We need to tighten this up before your head slips out and you decide to take off,” she was telling the dog as MacGyver approached from behind.

“What are you doing?” he asked, more harshly than he had intended to given her startled reaction.

“I’m adjusting his collar,” she said, craning her neck to look up at him. “Someone keeps loosening it and I think it’s irritating his neck. See?”

MacGyver bent down to see the spot Jo was gently massaging with her fingertips. He reached out to feel for himself. Their fingers touched briefly, but long enough for a spark of electricity to arc between them.

“There’s a lump there,” Mac frowned.

Joanna nodded in agreement as she gently separated the short hair of the canine’s coat. “The skin around the area looks red, too.” Her eyes were full of concern as they met his.

MacGyver stood up and jammed his hand through his hair. Something was definitely wrong with his dog.

“I think you should probably take him to the vet just to be on the safe side,” Joanna suggested, rising to stand next to him.

Mac groaned. “He doesn’t have a vet,” he admitted. “He’s never needed one before.”

“Well, I think he needs one now,” Jo observed, looking down at the listless animal. “There’s an emergency clinic not far from here that should be able to see him right away.”

“I’ll let Cynthia know we’re leaving,” Mac said as Joanna went to get Frog’s leash.

It didn’t take long to drive to the clinic and soon they were seated on hard plastic chairs in an antiseptic waiting room, Frog sitting drowsily at their feet. MacGyver suddenly realized he had never even asked Jo if she wanted to come along. He simply assumed she’d come and she never objected. When the receptionist called Frog’s name, they both rose and coaxed the canine into an even more antiseptic exam room. Thankfully it didn’t take long for the doctor to see them.

“And what seems to be the problem today?” the vet asked in a kind voice. He was middle-aged with thin gray hair and wearing wire rimmed glasses.

“Frog hasn’t been eating much the last few days and he doesn’t have as much energy as normal,” MacGyver replied. “This afternoon we noticed a red bump on his neck and thought we should have it checked out.”

The doctor nodded and frowned as he reviewed the paperwork Mac had struggled to fill out when they first arrived.

“You don’t seem to have much information about our little friend here,” the vet observed. “How old is he?”

“I’m really not sure,” Mac winced, feeling like a terribly inadequate pet parent. The doctor cocked a brow.

“Well how long have you had him?”

“He’s been living with me for not quite a year, but I’ve known him for about nine,” Mac replied.

“Where did he live before?”

“Out in Los Angeles with a friend.”
“I see. And where did your friend get him?”

“From another friend,” MacGyver muttered, knowing how odd this must sound.

The vet removed his glasses, his eyes boring into Mac’s. “And where did that friend get him?” His tone indicating his patience was wearing thin.

“I don’t really know,” Mac shrugged.

The doctor scrubbed his face with his hand before settling his glasses back on the bridge of his nose.

“Well, then let me have a look and we’ll go from there.”

The vet performed a cursory exam before he removed Frog’s collar and gingerly examined the area Mac and Joanna indicated.

“It could be a cyst or tumor, or something as simple as an infected insect bite. I’d need to run a scan to be sure. Do you have time to stick around?”

“Sure,” MacGyver replied as Jo quickly nodded.

They waited in silence for the doctor to return with Frog and hopefully the results of the scan. The word ‘tumor’ echoed ominously through Mac’s brain. Joanna must have sensed his concern as she gently put her hand on his knee and gave it a comforting squeeze. Perhaps she was having the same thoughts. When MacGyver thought he couldn’t wait a second longer the door to the exam room opened and the vet walked in with Frog in his arms.

“What did you find?” Mac asked anxiously.

The man set Frog down on the table before pulling up a wheeled stool and sitting down himself.

“I don’t know what to make of it,” he replied baldly. “I started with a set of X-rays and there appears to be a small piece of metal imbedded right below the skin.”

“Like shrapnel?”

“I couldn’t tell. I’d have to remove it to find out for sure.”

“Can that be done tonight?” Jo asked.

The doctor shrugged. “It’s a simple procedure if you don’t mind waiting.”

“We’re good,” Mac assured him.

Relegated once again to the uncomfortable waiting room, Mac and Joanna sat silently next to each other, each lost in their own thoughts. After almost thirty minutes, the veterinarian beckoned them, not back to the exam room, but to the lab instead.

“Mr. MacGyver,” he began sternly, “Are you sure you don’t want to tell me where this animal came from?”

MacGyver’s muscles tensed. “If I knew Frog’s origins I would have put that on the paperwork. As I said earlier, I don’t know where my friend got him.”

“Is there a problem, sir?” Joanna asked before Mac could continue.

The doctor’s shoulders slouched as if in defeat. “Look, I don’t know who you are or where your dog came from, but the piece of metal we removed from his neck appears to be a microchip.”

“What?” the couple gasped in unison.

“Take a look for yourselves,” the vet directed them toward a microscope. “As you can see, it appears to be corroding which is causing Frog some discomfort. I doubt that anything harmful has entered his bloodstream, but to be on the safe side I’m prescribing a round of antibiotics.”

“Is it one of those microchips they’re putting in dogs in case they get lost?” Joanna asked as Mac continued to examine the specimen.

“No,” the vet answered confidently. “Those chips are quite small and implanted by injection. This chip is significantly larger and had to have been surgically implanted at some point.”

MacGyver now looked up and turned to face the doctor, questions churning faster than he could find the words to ask them.

“Also,” the man continued, “This chip is quite primitive. It looks to be at least ten years old.”

“Any idea where it came from or what’s on it?” Mac asked.

“Look, I’m just a retired vet working part-time to put the kids through college, not James Bond. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I should probably report it, but I don’t even know who to report it to!”

MacGyver shared the man’s mounting frustration and felt sorry for him. Perhaps full disclosure was in order.

“Sir, I used to work for the Phoenix Foundation in Los Angeles. That’s how I met Frog. A Bulgarian defector was living in L.A. under the Foundation’s protection. Someone got her Frog for companionship. Unfortunately, she witnessed a serious crime and had to change identities which meant giving up Frog.” Here he turned and looked at Joanna. “That’s when Frank and the Colton’s adopted Frog. He stayed with them until last July when Frank brought him to live with me.”

“That’s quite a story, son,” the vet sighed.

“With your permission,” Mac continued, “I’d like to take the chip and turn it over to Phoenix. Perhaps their labs can read it and figure out what’s going on.”

“Since the chip was found in your dog, it’s technically your property. And since I have no precedence on how to proceed, I believe your suggestion sounds like the best course of action.”

“Thank you, doctor.”

“But be sure to give Frog his full round of antibiotics. You can pick them up at the front desk on the way out. And keep his collar off as much as possible until the skin irritation subsides.” The two men shook hands and minutes later Frog was released into Mac’s and Joanna’s care.

XXXXX

“What is it now, MacGyver?!” Pete snarled into the phone.

“How did you know it was me?”

“Who else calls me in the middle of the night? I suppose you have a favor to ask.”

Mac grimaced and pinched the bridge of his nose. He glanced at Joanna snuggled up with Frog on his couch, both sound asleep. It had taken the two of them, the better part of twenty minutes, and umpteen pieces of liverwurst to get Frog to swallow his medicine. One pill down, nine to go.

“You still got any strings you can pull at Phoenix?” MacGyver asked his friend.

“Maybe,” Pete hesitated. “Exactly what kind of ‘strings’ are we talking about?”

“I’d rather not say anything over the phone. I’ll come down to your place in the morning.” Mac hung up the phone before Pete could respond…or object.

Early the next morning, MacGyver gently ran the back of his index finger down Joanna’s sleep-flushed cheek. She awoke and looked up at him with a disoriented gaze.

“You fell asleep on my couch last night and I didn’t have the heart to wake you,” he explained before she could ask.

“My stiff neck and sore back thank you for that,” she replied wryly as she pushed off the blanket he had covered her with. At some point during the night, Frog had removed himself to his favorite spot under the coffee table and continued to snore.

“Boy, you really aren’t a morning person,” Mac observed.

“It took you this long to figure that out?” came the snappy retort.

“How about I make us some breakfast and then take you home so you can get ready for work?”

“Breakfast sounds good,” she answered sincerely. “But there’s no need to take me home. I have a change of clothes upstairs if you don’t mind me using your shower.”

“No, go right ahead,” Mac replied, perplexed. Since when did she keep clothes at his place? And why hadn’t he noticed. He looked around warily, wondering what else he might have missed. So much for his keen powers of observation. He’d have to take inventory when he got back.

They discussed their plans for the day over MacGyver’s self-proclaimed world famous pancakes. He told Joanna about his hope to have Phoenix check out the microchip and she told him that she planned to spend the day at Challengers.

“Isn’t Hernandez gonna be upset with you taking off?”

“I told him it was a family emergency,” she shrugged. “After all, you and Frog are like family to me anyway. Besides, we left my car there yesterday and now with you going to Chicago I can be there to help Cynthia and take care of Frog.”

“I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone,” he warned her.

“Don’t worry about it. Just try to get some answers, okay?”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Once MacGyver was on his way to Chicago, Joanna told Cynthia what all they had discovered at the vet’s office the previous evening before heading to the nearest pet supply store to buy a harness for Frog. Hopefully it would be less irritating than his collar and allow the small incision where the chip had been removed to heal faster.

Before Jo knew it, the afterschool crowd of boys and girls of all ages began to descend upon the club. Working in tandem with Cynthia, Jo made sure all the members were engaged in positive activities and that they were all following the Challengers code of conduct. She was in the middle of a tutoring session when Frog ambled over to her with an expectant look.

“Raul!” she called and the young teen quickly appeared.

“I think Frog needs to go outside. Wanna take him?”

Raul’s face brightened and she had her answer. Together they struggled to strap the pudgy bull dog into his harness and soon boy and beast were on their way.

Joanna was once again engrossed in a lesson when Raul bounded into the room, a huffing Frog trying to keep up.

“Ms. Jo! Ms. Jo! You’ll never guess what happened!”

“Well, then you better just tell me,” she replied good-naturedly.

“A man just tried to buy Frog from me! He said he’d give me a thousand dollars for him!”

“What?!” Joanna shot up so quickly that the chair she had been sitting on tumbled backwards. Realizing the attention they had garnered, she steered Raul and Frog toward Mac’s office.

“Tell me exactly what happened,” she instructed Raul once they were settled behind closed doors.

“I was walkin’ Frog around the block like I do every day when this big car came up behind us and an old white guy got out and said he’d give me a thousand dollars if I gave him Frog.”

“What did you tell him?”

“I told him he ain’t my dog so I couldn’t sell him.”

“And the old guy was okay with that?” Jo asked skeptically.

“I guess,” the boy shrugged. “His face started to turn red but then he mumbled something about different ways to kill cats and got in the car and left. I ran straight back here in case he tried to follow us.”

“More than one way to skin a cat,” Joanna absently corrected the idiom before giving the teen her full attention.

“You did good, Raul,” she assured him. “Can you tell me what the car looked like?”

“It was big and black,” he shrugged.

“What about the man? You said he was old?”

“Yeah. Older than MacGyver but not as old as my grandpa.”

“Can you remember anything else?” Jo prodded.

Raul shook his head. “I was kinda scared, ya know?”

Jo smiled softly. “I know. Now I think I hear some homework calling your name.”

When Raul had left the office, Joanna sat back in the big desk chair and tried to make sense of everything that had happened in the past twenty-four hours. She didn’t think that finding the microchip and having someone try to take Frog was a coincidence. And she knew Mac didn’t believe in coincidences, either. She thought about calling him, but he couldn’t do anything but worry while he was still in Chicago. Yet her gut was telling her she had to get Frog away from Challengers. Things could have gone very differently for Raul with the man in the big black car. So as not to worry Cynthia, she claimed she had a headache and quickly took Frog back to Mac’s place.

“Okay, buddy, time for your pill,” she announced after divesting the dog of his leash and harness.

She opened the refrigerator in search of the liverwurst when her gaze landed on a clear plastic container of raw chicken livers.

“Really, dude?!” she looked down at Frog, her eyebrows raised. “Mac must really be worried about your appetite if he’s making your favorite treat.” The canine met her gaze, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth while his face was a mask of doggy innocence.

Not finding any liverwurst, she reached for a brick of tofu.

“Sorry, but this is gonna have to do for tonight.”

After fifteen minutes of wrestling with the stout little dog, Joanna finally got him to swallow the piece of tofu in which she had concealed his antibiotic. To her dismay, the ordeal left her light pink blouse disheveled and wet with slobber. She sighed and climbed the winding staircase hoping Mac had a clean hockey jersey. Doing laundry was not one of his strong suits, she had discovered. She was washing out her blouse in the bathroom sink when she heard glass smash and Frog begin to bark frantically.

“That better not have been anything important,” she scolded as she hurried to dry her hands. But by the time she made it down the staircase, all was quiet and the window that made up Mac’s front door lay in shards at her feet with no dog in sight.

Her heartbeat quickened and she let out an involuntary scream as the ringing phone startled her.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

MacGyver arrived at the Thornton’s suburban Chicago home by late morning. He stopped just long enough to collect Pete and head into the city where a scientist was waiting for them at the Phoenix Foundation.

“So when are you going to tell me what this is all about?” Pete huffed as they sat in the ever-present downtown traffic jam.

“Just hold your horses, Pete,” Mac soothed. “I want to know what we’re dealing with first.”

“And that’s supposed to make me feel better?!” his friend shot back.

MacGyver grinned.

Having arrived at their destination, Mac offered Pete his elbow as the two men navigated the maze of corridors that led to the electronics and computer lab. They were met by a nervous, wiry man with thinning hair who introduced himself as Doctor Downer. After settling a harrumphing Pete on a stool in a nearby corner, MacGyver handed over the small container holding the microchip.

As the good doctor prepared the chip for microscopic examination, Mac wandered around the lab which was much more advanced than anything he had encountered during his time with the Foundation. Curious, he picked up and examined various computer components and electronic gizmos. This could easily be his favorite place second only to the chemistry lab.

“Mr. MacGyver, may I please ask that you keep your hands to yourself?” Dr. Downer censured. “Perhaps you would like to wait over by Mr. Thornton?”

Mac held up his hands in a show of surrender, eventually approaching the corner where Pete not-so-patiently waited.

“Where did you get this?” Dr. Downer demanded after several long minutes of intense scrutiny.

“Why? What is it?” Mac asked as he quickly came to stand beside the scientist.

“First I must know how you came to be in possession of it,” the doctor demanded.

Mac jammed his fingers through his hair and sighed. “A veterinarian removed it from Frog’s neck yesterday.”
“What?!” Pete exclaimed.

“It was in a frog?” the doctor asked.

“Frog is the name of my dog,” MacGyver explained.

“Why would you name your dog ‘Frog’?” Dr. Downer asked distastefully.

Mac struggled for patience. “He was already named that when I got him. Now could you please tell us about the chip?”

Downer looked furtively around the lab. “I think it best if we discuss this in my office. Come.”

Leaning back in his plush leather desk chair, Downer removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “Back in the early eighties, a soviet defector by the name of Pleshenkov, came to work for Phoenix. He was a brilliant, cutting edge computer scientist. Unfortunately, he used the Foundation’s funding and resources to further his own personal agenda. This was discovered in 1985 and he was let go.”

“Now that you mention it, I seem to recall hearing something to that effect over at the DXS,” Pete offered.

“Yes, well, by that time, Pleshenkov had secured his own funding sources and continued his work elsewhere until his lab was shut down due to unethical practices.”

“That’s all very interesting,” MacGyver replied. “But what does that have to do with the chip we found in Frog.”

“Doctor Pleshenkov’s work consisted of encrypting microchips with government information and implanting them in domestic animals as a means of getting them out of the country. The chip you gave me definitely appears to be his handiwork which would make your dog one of the test subjects that was still in Pleshenkov’s laboratory at the time it closed.

Mac’s heart sank at the thought of Frog being caged up and experimented on.
“So what does all that mean?” he asked.

“Up until a few weeks ago, nothing,” Downer replied. “Lately there have been murmurings in the scientific underground that Pleshenkov is looking to fund a new project and there are still some former Soviet entities that will pay good money to obtain these microchips.”

“But how can he possibly expect to find them?” Pete blustered. “The animals he used could be anywhere in the country by now!”

“Indeed,” the scientist concurred. “However, Pleshenkov had the foresight to outfit the chips with a tracking device.”

“But tracking systems back then had a very limited range,” MacGyver pointed out. “And the chip is already corroding.”

Dr. Downer shook his head slowly. “The chip is not severely damaged and the tracking technique Pleshenkov used was a very sophisticated global positioning unit.”

“What does that mean?” Pete asked impatiently.

The pieces were starting to fall into place for MacGyver. “It’s a system that uses existing satellites to transmit information. Given the proper equipment, Pleshenkov could theoretically track down the chips anywhere in the world,” he explained to Pete before turning his attention back to Downer.

“Is it safe to assume that Pleshenkov may be coming after Frog?” Mac asked Downer.

“If he found the signal before the chip was removed, I’m afraid your little friend may be in a great deal of danger,” the scientist nodded sadly.

“May I use your phone?” MacGyver asked as he reached across the desk for the receiver.

“Be my guest,” Downer muttered, clearly annoyed by this invasion of his personal space.

Mac quickly dialed the number for Challengers and asked to speak with Joanna as soon as Cynthia answered the phone.

“I’m afraid she’s not here, MacGyver. She said she had a headache and was going back to your place with Frog.”

Mac immediately disconnected the call and dialed his own number. The phone rang several times, each ring causing his concern to ratchet up a notch. Finally Joanna answered.

“Hey, it’s me. I have some important news about the—“

But Jo cut him off. “Frog’s been kidnapped!” she exclaimed breathlessly.

Mac felt as if he had just been punched in the gut.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, but Frog—“

“Go over to Charlie’s and call the police. Stay with him until they arrive. I’m on my way.”

XXXXX

Darkness had fallen by the time MacGyver pulled into his driveway to find Charlie and Joanna sitting silently on his stoop, his front door already boarded up. They stood up as he approached, Jo finding her way into his open arms.

“The cops aren’t taking this seriously,” she told him, her words muffled as her head lay against his chest. “They’re calling it an attempted break-in and since I didn’t actually see anyone take Frog, they think he may have just run off on his own, but he didn’t. Mac, someone took him!”

“I know,” MacGyver soothed, rubbing gentle circles on her back to comfort her.

“Let’s go inside and figure this out, okay?” he urged. He tucked Joanna against his side as they headed indoors. Charlie offered the couple a sad smile as he ambled back to his side of the duplex.

“Now tell me what happened,” Mac prompted as soon as he and Jo were settled next to each other on his couch.

“Shouldn’t we be looking for Frog?” she protested.

“We will,” he assured her, “But he could be anywhere. I need to know what you know to help us come up with a plan.”

Joanna told him about Raul being offered money for Frog and how she heard the glass break before discovering the dog was missing.

MacGyver regarded her thoughtfully. “It doesn’t seem like they want to hurt anyone since both you and Raul are safe.”

“But what about Frog? Will they hurt him?” she questioned.

Mac shook his head and told her what he had learned about the microchip. “I’m assuming it was Pleshenkov who took him, and as soon as he discovers the chip is missing, he’ll need to keep Frog for leverage.”

“You mean ransom,” Jo replied dully.

“Yeah. But first things first,” Mac said as he went to his desk and fired up his computer. “You call Pete and tell him everything. With what we know about Pleshenkov and the chip, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the government involved. In the meantime, I’m gonna see if we can track down our little buddy.”

“How?”

“When Frog started bounty hunting with the Colton’s, I rigged up a homing device and hid it in his collar in case…well, just in case. It isn’t nearly as sophisticated as the chip, but if he’s within range the computer program I used should still be able to locate him.”

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Joanna lower her head and wrap her arms around her waist.

“Hey, it’s gonna be okay,” he tried to convince her.

“You won’t be able to find Frog,” she said, her voice quavering with unshed tears. “I took his collar off so it wouldn’t irritate his neck. He’s not wearing your homing device.”

MacGyver sighed silently and swallowed his disappointment. He couldn’t say or do anything to make Joanna feel worse than she already did. He rose from his chair and took her in his arms again.

“It’s no big deal,” he responded, trying to sound confident. “We’ll find a way to get him back,” he promised, hoping it was true.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Frog sniffed the threadbare carpet. Cats. Not only had he been dognapped, but now he was being held hostage in an abandoned house that had been formerly occupied by cats. After being unceremoniously tossed in the back seat of the big black sedan, the speed and bumpiness of the ride caused him to be thrown to the floor boards numerous times so he had been unable to look out the window and determine the route or destination. The ride, thankfully, had not been long, so he knew he was still relatively close to his master. Thoughts of MacGyver automatically made him think of Joanna. He was glad she had been upstairs when his abductor broke in, and he hoped she wasn’t too worried about him. He liked Joanna very much. He especially enjoyed cuddling with her on the couch. But then again, so did his master. Bringing his thoughts back to the present, he was thankful, as well as more than a bit surprised, that he hadn’t been chained up or, heaven forbid, locked in a cage. Instead, he had been left free to roam the dilapidated building, but he had stayed close to the man who took him, hoping to get some information he could use to escape.

Upon arriving at the old house, another man had been waiting for them. The man was tall, and broad, and didn’t seem too intelligent. He was obviously the muscle of the operation. Frog was quite familiar with his kind given the number of assignments he had accompanied Frank and Jesse on back in L.A. during his bounty hunting days. It was the older man that really got under his fur. The man’s scent was vaguely familiar. Frog never forgot a scent. And his accent had an odd way of grating on Frog’s sensitive ear drums. This man seemed to be the key to his predicament. He slowly wandered to the far corner of the room and sat down, careful to keep his eyes blank and his mouth drooling. Working with the Coltons had also taught him that the dumber you looked, the less attention people paid to you. Frog desperately hoped that would be the case tonight.

The two men continued to speak in soft tones across the room for a long time. Oh, how he wished MacGyver were here! His master had a knack for formulating plans and getting himself out of tight spaces. Frog had even helped him a few times. All he had to do was follow Mac’s directions. Push a lever, bring him a bottle. Granted, he may not have accomplished those tasks as expediently as expected, but he always got the job done. Unfortunately, Mac wasn’t here to tell him what to do. He’d have to figure that out all by himself. The men’s voices became louder and Frog’s ears perked up.

“He’s worthless without the chip,” Muscle said. “I say we shoot him and bury him in the backyard.”

“No, no, no!” the man with the accent scolded. “Don’t you see, he is much more important now. We must keep him alive and well in order to use him to bargain with!”

This time, Frog was able to pair the man’s voice with his scent. The man who had taken him was none other than Dr. Pleshenkov, that crazy scientist who had put a microchip in his neck when he was barely out of puppyhood. He was supposed to be shipped out of the States the following week, but Pleshenkov’s lab got shut down and Frog had been sent to the relatively friendly confines of an animal shelter before the Phoenix Foundation adopted him to be a companion for a pretty Bulgarian defector.

“Aw, c’mon doc!” Muscle protested. “You really think that MacGyver dude is gonna trade us that chip for a fat, wrinkly, bow-legged bull dog?”

Ouch! Must the dimwit be so demeaning?!

“Oh, he’ll give us the chip all right,” Pleshenkov said as he reached into his jacket and pulled out a gun. “Then, with the chip back in my possession, both man and beast will be expendable.”

“What about the woman and the boy?” Muscle asked.

“The woman didn’t see anything, and no one will believe the boy. They are to be left alone. Unless, of course, they become a problem.”

Oh, no! Frog’s mind began to spin. He had to escape and warn MacGyver, but how?!?! Suddenly, his big brown eyes focused on the finely tailored trousers and Italian leather shoes Muscle was wearing. It was payback time for the ugly words he had said earlier. Frog got up from the corner and went to sit in front of the man. He barked once.

“Shut up!” the man snarled.

He barked again, more urgently, before standing up, raising his left hind leg, and relieving himself on the man’s leg and foot.

“Why you little--!!” Muscle growled as he booted Frog away from him with his now not-so-fine leather shoe.

“Don’t hurt him!” Pleshenkov commanded. “Go put him in the backyard.”

“But boss…”

“Go!”

Soon Frog was following Muscle through the house and out the rickety door to the yard.

“And stay out!” the large man yelled, as if Frog really wanted to return to the house anyway.

Alone in the grassy space, Frog surveyed his options for escape which turned out to be few to none. The entire yard was enclosed by a tall, solid wood privacy fence. The gate was no help, as the latch was placed almost too high for most humans to reach. Frog dropped to his haunches, thoroughly discouraged. He was sure MacGyver could have found a way out. He needed to think like his master. Perhaps there was more here than met the eye. Frog got up and methodically began to inspect the edge of the fence. He was about half way around when his paw landed on a section of depressed ground. He stopped and quickly began to sniff the dead grass. He smelled rabbit and soon saw a piece of sunken ground under the fence board. He would need a much bigger whole if he was to crawl under the fence, but this appeared to be his only option. He promised himself he would go on a diet if he managed to get himself out of this horrid situation. With his front paws, he began scratching away at the dirt, the hole getting slightly larger with each effort. It seemed as though he had been digging for hours before the opening was big enough for him to wriggle his pudgy body through. The roughhewn edges of the wooden boards scraped his back, but he didn’t care. His hind legs had just cleared the fence line when he heard the door open and Muscle swearing at the top of his lungs when he realized Frog had escaped.

Run! He had to get away from Muscle and Pleshenkov before worrying about finding his way home. After scampering through several yards and alleyways, he allowed himself to rest. Panting heavily, he took stock of his surroundings. Even in the dark, the houses appeared familiar, and down the road a ways was a building he definitely recognized. Challengers! Thankfully, he often hung his head out the passenger window as Mac drove them to work every day. As soon as he got to Challengers, he could easily find his way home!

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It seemed as though MacGyver had barely disconnected from his call to Pete when a number of various government agents descended upon his apartment like a swarm of angry bees. Before he knew it, his phone was wired for a trace and he was being briefed on how to handle the ransom call, never mind that he used to be the one doing the briefing, but that seemed like a lifetime ago now. Joanna stood in a quiet corner chewing on her lip. He longed to comfort her, but he had a mission to complete.

“May I have the chip, Mr. MacGyver?” a man in a dark suit asked.

“That might be a problem,” Mac replied.

“Why is that, sir?”

“Well, ya see, I don’t have it.”

“We were led to believe you were in possession of the microchip to use in a ransom exchange. Where is it?”

“With Pete and Dr. Downer at the Phoenix lab in Chicago,” Mac told him evenly. “But I find it hard to believe you’d risk Pleshenkov getting his hands on the actual chip.”

The agent ran his fingers through his close-cropped hair in an uncharacteristic sign of frustration before quickly huddling with his fellow investigators. Knowing he could resolve at least one problem, MacGyver went to his computer and unscrewed the top of the processing unit. Choosing a tool from his Swiss Army knife, he carefully disconnected a microchip of about the same size and appearance as the one found in Frog. He then approached the huddle of secret agents.

“Maybe you guys could use this instead?” he offered.

They all looked at him in disbelief before one agent silently reached out, took the chip, and slipped it into a small glass container before turning back to his comrades.

“You’re welcome,” Mac said wryly before leaving them to their whispered conversation.

Once the agents had a plan firmly solidified, the only thing to do was wait for the ransom call. MacGyver’s telephone had been set up on the coffee table in front of the couch where he and Joanna now sat. She rubbed her temples, sighed, and looked at her watch for the fifth time in five minutes.

“Relax,” Mac said softly, resting his hand on her thigh. “These things take time. Everything’s gonna be okay.”

“How can you possibly know that?” she glared, turning her head so her eyes bored into his.

“Well, I can’t. Not really. But I’ve been through this before and things have a way of working out.”

She turned her eyes back to the silent telephone and Mac wished he could have been more reassuring, but the simple truth was that while many hostage negotiations ended peacefully, others had a way of going south quickly. They could only hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. He was just about to go get a glass of milk when Jo reached out and grabbed his forearm.

“Did you hear that?” she whispered.

“Hear what?” he asked, not quite sure why he was whispering as well.

“I thought I heard something on your patio?”

The couple looked toward the patio doors. The vertical blinds had been closed tight early on to avoid any prying eyes that may be hiding in the night.

“You’re tired and upset. You probably just imagined it,” he told her gently.

A scratching sound on the glass door caused the couple to start.

“Don’t tell me I imagined that!” Jo challenged as her gaze swung to meet his.

“C’mon,” he said, grabbing her hand and slowly getting up from the couch.

After telling an agent what they had heard, lights were dimmed and men with guns drawn took up strategic positions throughout the room as others prepared to open the sliding glass doors. When the appropriate signal was given, one of the agents quickly slid open the door and aimed his gun at nothing but air. It was Mac who was the first one to look down and notice their guest.

“Frog! Buddy! Where’ve you been and how did you get here?” He moved toward the dog only to be scolded by a nearby agent.

“Stay back! It could be a trap!”

Frog trotted into the living room seemingly oblivious of the agents and plopped down at Mac’s feet before giving a soft ‘woof’ and then shaking his head, sending slobber flying. Joanna immediately fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around the canine’s neck before frowning in concern when she noticed the scratches on his back from the wooden fence he had slipped under. When the agents had finished scouring the area for any threats, they carefully examined Frog for any trace evidence that might reveal where he had been taken, but they found nothing. Suddenly, the phone blared to life garnering everyone’s attention.

MacGyver stared at the phone in disbelief. “That can’t possibly be Pleshenkov offering a trade. He has to know Frog has escaped by now.”

“But he has no way of knowing the dog is here,” an agent replied from behind. “Answer the call as we discussed earlier.”

MacGyver picked up the phone. “Hello?” he said in a low, controlled voice.

“Ah, good evening, Mr. MacGyver. I’m assuming you know who this is.”

“Dr. Pleshenkov.”

“Indeed! I must presume this call is being traced, so I will say this only once. Meet me in Wilmot Park at midnight. Come to the southeast corner by the monument. Bring the chip and come alone.”

Before Mac could respond, the call was disconnected. He looked at the technician sitting nearby. He shook his head. “The call wasn’t long enough, we couldn’t get a location.”
“So we go through with the meeting as planned, right?” MacGyver asked, knowing his answer would be confirmed.

“But why?” Joanna broke in. “Frog is safe and we have the chip. Pleshenkov just told you where he’s gonna be. Can’t you just capture him without this ruse?”

Mac turned toward her and put his hands solidly on her shoulders, willing her to understand. “If Pleshenkov even thinks he smells a set-up, he’ll go back underground and we may lose him forever.”

He could see Joanna’s eye’s soften slightly. “Think about what he’s done to Frog. We need to get him into custody,” he said gently.

Joanna had not yet responded when a Kevlar vest was shoved into MacGyver’s hands.

“You need to wear this, sir,” an agent told him.

Mac regarded the protective gear as if he was holding a snake. His brow furrowed and his lip curled slightly. He had been through and survived a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

As if reading his thoughts, Joanna whispered, “Please Mac, wear it for me?”

“All right,” he replied, softly stroking her cheek with the back of his forefinger before strapping the vest around him and fervently hoping that Pleshenkov would aim for his chest and not his head.

In the midst of the controlled chaos as the plan was set in motion, no one saw Frog nose open the sliding glass patio door and scurry out into the night.

XXXXX

MacGyver sat in the back of a dark, nondescript van as government agents wired him with a microphone connected to a tape recorded. This needed to be a solid bust. Several government agents and law enforcement officers had been dispatched throughout the park, hiding behind trees or crouching amongst bushes.

Thankfully, two officers had remained at his apartment to watch over Jo and Frog until this ordeal was over leaving him to concentrate on what he had to do. At precisely two minutes to midnight Mac slid out the side door of the van and walked determinedly toward the monument Pleshenkov had indicated. As the clock struck twelve, the scientist emerged from the shadows behind the cement statue, a taller, burlier man close behind.

“I thought the instructions were to come alone,” Mac called across the space that separated them. He stood casually, his feet slightly apart and his hands jammed in the front pockets of his jeans.

“Those instructions only apply to you, Mr. MacGyver,” the scientist replied coolly. “I trust you followed them?”

“Where’s my dog?” Mac asked, evading the previous question.

“First things first, Mr. MacGyver. Hand over the microchip.”

“Now, you don’t really think I’d have it on me, do ya?”

Pleshenkov took a deep breath as his cheeks grew pink.

“I do not have the time nor the patience for games, Mr. MacGyver. Tell me where the chip is!”

“Be glad to. Just as soon as you give me my dog back.” Mac knew he was pushing it, but he wanted to rattle the scheming scientist before the feds moved in.

“I’m afraid that is no longer an option, Mr. MacGyver.” Pleshenkov moved his hand in a silent signal to the man behind him who now stepped forward, a revolver aimed at Mac’s heart. “Tell me where the chip is!”

Mac regarded the men thoughtfully. “The way I see it, this is a no-win situation for one of us. If I keep silent, you don’t get your chip. If I tell you where it is, you kill me. What do you say we all sit down and try to come up with a compromise?”

“A compromise?!?!” Pleshekov roared, his face redder than a tomato. “I found the chip once, I’ll find it again!” He then turned to his accomplice. “Shoot him!” he ordered.

Out of the corner of his eye, MacGyver saw Frog running straight towards Pleshenkov as fast as his little bow legs could carry him, growling all the way before latching on to the man’s pant leg with his teeth and tugging hard. At that same time the other man fired his gun and Mac felt as if he had been hit in the chest by a wrecking ball, the force causing him to fall backward to the ground knocking the air out of his lungs. He heard myriad voices demanding Pleshenkov and his man to ‘freeze’ and ‘drop the gun’ before his world went black.

When MacGyver awoke, he was still lying on the ground. He tilted his head up just enough to make out the dark forms of concerned government agents standing around him, Frog slobbering his cheek with happy doggy kisses, and Joanna kneeling next to him, her deep liquid brown eyes full of fear as she stroked his hair and pleaded with him to be okay. He tried to push himself up but was met with a resisting force on his shoulder which turned out to be Jo’s hand.

“Stay down. The paramedics are on the way,” she told him. Her voice thick with unshed tears.

“I’m fine. I just had the wind knocked out of me,” he insisted, managing to force himself upright this time. He scowled when he looked down at his chest. “Aw, man! That goon ruined my favorite shirt,” he groaned, fingering the fabric that had been frayed by the bullet.

No longer able to hide her emotions, Joanna let her tears fall as she flung her arms around Mac’s neck.

“I was so scared when I saw you go down,” she sobbed. “You know they make bullets that can penetrate those vests.”

“Thanks for reminding me,” Mac responded sourly even as he wrapped his strong arms around her as she cried. “What are you and Frog doing here anyway? You should have stayed where it was safe.”

Joanna leaned back on her heels, wiping away her tears.

“After you left, I noticed Frog was gone. I figured he was following you.”

“So you decided to follow him,” Mac finished for her.

“Yeah,” she replied sheepishly.

“I’m sorry, sir, we tried to stop her,” one of the officers assigned to protect her apologized. “The best we could do was convince her to come with us instead of alone.”

MacGyver smiled at the young man. “No apology necessary. Joanna can be quite, um, persuasive when she wants to be.”

XXXXX

The dawn of a new day saw MacGyver, Joanna, and Frog cuddled up on his couch recounting the events of the previous night. After the crime scene had been cleared, Mac had finally relented and went to the hospital to make sure the impact of the bullet had been harmless, which it was. They returned to his townhouse just in time to receive a phone call from Pete informing them that Dr. Downer had been able to decode some of the information on the microchip and it was now safely in the hands of the United States government, where it would remain. Mac relayed to his friend that Pleshenkov and his crony had been arrested and would be out of commission for a very long time. Joanna lay against his chest and he felt her sigh as the first rays of daylight pierced the window.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she replied, absently fondling Frog’s silky ear. “It’s just hard to believe that Frog had that thing in his neck all these years.”

“It’s hard to believe what people will do to animals in the name of science,” Mac grumbled.

“I know,” Jo agreed sadly. “Do you think the other animals Pleshenkov used are okay?”

“I’d like to think so,” he answered pensively.

“Well, I’m just glad Frog has you,” she declared. “You’re a really good dog dad.”

MacGyver laughed. “Thanks…I think! And for the record, you make a pretty good dog mom yourself.”

Her only response was to smile and nestle closer to his chest. He savored the intimacy of the moment as his odd little family continued to watch the sun crawl over the horizon.





Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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