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Point Of View, a summer´s adventure - rated 'R'
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bluegirl
Posted: 25 October 2021 - 01:19 PM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 121
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
Gender:  Female
Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Hello everybody!

It´s been a while... but I am glad to announce... the story I´ve been working on for more than one year now... is almost ready for posting!

It started out with two ideas I chose to combine... took a life of its own... and got a lot bigger than I anticpated. Thanks a lot to uniquelyjas for 'accompanying', inspiring and helping me while I wrote this. I am in the last stages of control-reading, error-hunting and refining. It should take only a few more days to complete this process for at least the first few chapters. But consider yourselves warned: This is going to be quite a read. Kind of like a novel. 21 chapters. 112.000+ words at the moment (might still grow during revising)...

It is going to 'air' on three 'channels' simultaneously: the RDA forum, the MacGyveronline library and fanfiction.net

I intend to post a new chapter twice a week, and hope I can manage to stick to that schedule.

But now for the ideas I was playing with in the beginning:

The first one was a prompt by uniquelyjas: 'Write something with a connection to Austria. I want to learn more about your home." - That one had me thinking real hard. But I found something within the series I could connect to.
The second one was my own: Explain Nikki´s disappearance - why is she gone so abruptly and never mentioned again from season 4 on? I mean, we all know about the behind the scences reason for that - but it was never explained within the series. After finding not even a single fanfiction dealing with this, I chose to give it a shot...

So, this story is set between seasons 3 and 4... and it is my first try at something like this. And I won´t be giving away more of what it is about for now!

Stay tuned! First chapter will be coming soon!

Take care, everyone!

Bluegirl

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The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 31 October 2021 - 08:09 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
***

Posts: 121
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
Gender:  Female
Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

Favorites
Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



It is Halloween! I made it on time! Here we go!

All mistakes are mine - and let me know what you think!

Part 1:

Point of View

By Bluegirl



Silence.

The hotel suite was completely quiet when MacGyver´s eyes drifted open in the very early morning. The sunlight that filtered through the window had reached his bed and awakened him. A quick glance at his watch told him that it was only around 6 o´clock in the morning. He let his arm relax down to the mattress again, stretched a bit in his bed, and let his gaze wander back outside the window. The morning sky was beautifully blue as far as he could see.

Normally, when he was on vacation, he wasn´t forced to get up that early but he felt rested and his view promised a gorgeous day. Thinking about that fact MacGyver spontaneously decided to change his plans for today. Instead of visiting the historic inner city of Vienna, he chose to go for a hike.

The Alps reached right to the outskirts of the city, but those were only the foothills of the mountain range. When flying in per airplane a few days ago, he had seen some higher mountains quite close to Vienna. From his research in advance to this journey he knew that it was only a one and a half-hour drive due south to them. The weather hadn´t been good enough so far, but the forecast for today had said something about up to 85°F, mostly sunny with the possibility of electrical storms in the evening.

Perfect conditions, he thought as he got up, got dressed, and packed his backpack. After leaving his key at the reception desk, so he wouldn´t risk losing it, and grabbing an orange juice and an apple at the breakfast buffet, Mac headed for his rental car in the hotel garage. Due to the heavy morning traffic on the city highway and the freeway leading south, it took a little longer than expected for MacGyver to reach his destination.

He parked next to a secluded bed and breakfast which also housed a restaurant at the end of a valley at the very foot of the mountain. A cog railway led up to the high plateau from the other side of the mountain, but Mac had chosen to reach the peak on foot. He longed for some physical activity. His way up followed the easy, more common route, and as it wasn´t a weekend, fortunately there weren´t too many other tourists or hikers around. Standing at the summit a few hours later, MacGyver enjoyed the view to all directions, even reaching back to Vienna on the northern horizon. He took his time while taking in the quietness on top of the highest peak close to the capital city of Austria. And he mused about the name of this mountain after reaching its highest point.

Schneeberg.

That translated to ‘snow-mountain’, Mac remembered. Yet, so far he hadn´t seen the slightest bit of snow anywhere. As it was the end of June all of it had melted away. But at more than 6800ft elevation above sea level, Mac was sure that there would be quite some snow up here at least during half of the year. On his way back over the high plateau MacGyver took a break at a large mountain shelter that also was an inn. He used the chance to practice his German-speaking skills while ordering a light lunch and was fascinated while watching the birds from the large patio in front of the house.

The flying maneuvers of the alpine choughs were breathtaking, especially for someone with a severe fear of heights. They soared, seemed to play with the wind, to defy gravity, seemed to have real fun while practicing their airs and loops over the plateau and the rocky cliffs of the mountain. And some, no, most of them were bold and sassy enough to beg for food or even try to steal some of Mac´s meal. At first, he wanted to fend them off, but soon he gave in to the charm of the black, raven-like, yet smaller birds with the red legs and yellow beak and tossed them some bits and pieces.

But the inn had also been occupied by some school classes and their teachers. With all the kids hustling and bustling around and over the place, MacGyver took his leave quite soon, seeking some solitude on his way down the mountain and back to his rental car. He was grateful for the week off that Pete had granted him. He´d been in desperate need to get away and refuel his batteries. Mac had opted for another route downwards and had to cross a huge talus field before he would reach the woods. Walking over the scree had held his concentration, but wandering down on the trails through the forest after that on his own had also allowed his mind to wander off.

He had shied away from the kids at the mountain shelter primarily because they had been noisy, but now he admitted to himself he had left early because of the thoughts and memories they had aroused. Some of the things that had happened in the past weeks and months were still very present in the back of his head.

The kids had reminded him of what Jack Jr. might be in a few years. Both, Jack and himself had been kind of shocked when they had found that little guy in Jack´s airplane with a letter, letting them believe that he was Jack´s son. Within less than a day Jack had given in and accepted the idea, had been willing to settle down and live a decent life for the sake of the wellbeing of the kid. MacGyver had been quite surprised by this swift change in his friend. He remembered their conversation very well. He knew what he had told Jack about having kids himself.

“It´s been in the back of my head, but I´ve always just kind of backed away from it.”

And he also remembered his next question to Jack, while they had been watching the sleeping kid.

“Do you think that is what it takes to be happy?”

MacGyver knew that for a couple of moments he had felt just like that. And it had sent a sting to his heart. He, who´d been alone for all these years, without a family apart from his grandfather, had found himself longing for a family of his own again. He´d felt lonely despite all the good friends he had. Having a family was something different. Something he would have to commit to. Something he was by now probably willing to commit to.

But he also knew it had to start with the right woman entering his life. Someone who he would be willing to surrender his heart to; who he would be able to open up to.

Maybe, MacGyver thought, I wouldn´t have felt that lonely without what had happened some weeks before we´d found little Jack.

There had been a woman. Deborah. She had done her research on him. She had pushed all the right buttons. And he had fallen for her deceit. Real quickly. He had longed for it to be true. He had trusted her entirely. Like he always tended to trust people. Like he always assumed the best of other people´s intentions. He had let his guard down and opened his heart for her. Completely. MacGyver had actually believed this time it could be real. For once and for all. What had he told her, when he´d just been out of the hospital, blinded temporarily, not knowing yet that it had been her bomb?

“I´m at your mercy.”

He had lowered his defenses, all the time. And what had it earned him? Deborah had tried to kill him. Twice.

It had been pure luck that that bomb on the boat hadn´t finished him off. He still saw the blinding flash of the explosion in some of his nightmares. He hadn´t even had time to be afraid then.

He still heard the distinctive click of her switchblade knife on that rainy evening in the middle of nowhere. He had barely managed to survive that second attempt. At the risk of his eyesight, when he´d taken off those bandages way too early for his doctor´s likings. It hadn´t been all too easy to reach out to Pete afterward and to help him and Nikki find out where Deborah had taken him. It had been quite a mess to sort out. At least Deborah had been willing to testify against Knapp.

And it had left MacGyver with a torn and broken heart. Once again.

He sighed deeply, as all these thoughts went through his mind while he was walking down the mountain. The lower he got the hotter and more humid the air got. Some of his sweat, trickling down from his brows got into his eyes and burned slightly. It reminded him abruptly of the hot burning pain he had felt in his eyes for quite some time after the explosion. Fortunately, his eyes and his burns had healed well and quickly, with no scars remaining. Physically.

MacGyver had to stop for a moment, blinked the sweat out of his eyes, and rubbed his face with his hands. Mentally and emotionally, he admitted to himself, he was far from being healed. To the outside, he coped with it like he always did. He kept up his easy-going, smiling façade. Mac kept his feelings to himself, locked them up, and nonchalantly made everybody believe that he was fine.

As he was now standing on a small clearing, he felt the heat of the sunrays on his skin, which as well brought back the memory of the blast on the boat. MacGyver ran his hands through his hair and puffed out a deep breath, striving to get the disturbing pictures out of his head. Why, he asked himself, is it always like this? When the book of my life turns to pages that deal with love, there never seems to be a happy ending.

He took off his backpack, kneeled down, and retrieved his map and compass from the top pocket. Trying to focus back on his trip and his vacation feeling Mac checked his current position with the help of the map. Satisfied that he had made good progress on his way back, he stuffed both items back and took a long sip of water out of his bottle.

But suddenly he froze as he heard a well-known rumble from above that instantly broke him out of his melancholy. Mac looked up to the sky while he put his bottle down. Huge clouds had towered up. He had noticed the sky getting covered partly with clouds while he had crossed the talus field, but they hadn´t looked perilous then. He pulled his rain jacket out of his backpack.

“Aw, man…” he grumbled upwards. “The forecast said something about thunderstorms in the evening… It´s only mid-afternoon!”

Mac stood up while shrugging into his jacket and putting his backpack on. Then he resumed his way downwards, quickening his pace. He knew very well that trying to argue with an approaching electrical storm was no use. He also knew very well about the danger he´d have to face if he got caught in the midst of heavy rain and lightning on a mountain. He had to get off that mountain. Fast.

On his planned route he still had quite a few miles ahead of him until he´d be back at his car. But there was no time for that now. He had to take shortcuts where possible. MacGyver hurried along the trail through the forest, while he again heard thunder rolling above. Louder. Much closer. The wind was suddenly picking up speed.

For a moment Mac thought about taking a direct route downwards, crossing through the trees off the trail. He stopped for a moment and looked into the woods, but abandoned his idea as quickly as he had picked up on it. This forest was too dense, the ground too rough and unpredictable. He´d be slower than on the trail. Mac continued to rush down the trail fast while the growling thunder became more frequent and louder.

He flinched as the flash of lightning brightened his surroundings, closely followed by a roaring noise. He had automatically started counting the seconds between flash and thunder in an attempt to estimate the distance of the lightning. He had only gotten until three or four the last times. That storm was catching up with him way too fast for Mac´s liking. He started running as he felt the first drops of rain falling.

Some minutes later MacGyver slowed down instinctively as the trees parted for a grassy slope. He found himself faced with the upper end of a ski lift, which was of course out of business in summer. The mast and the cables were big, sturdy, and naturally made out of steel. Definitely not the safest place to be close to in an electrical storm.

Mac´s mind hit overdrive as he looked around for another quick way down the mountain. The rain was pouring down heavily by now and the sky was frequently ablaze with lightning bolts. Mac felt the wind pulling on the trees and on him and the cracks of thunder vibrating through him. He had no time to spare. There was one ski-slope in front of him where the lift came up, but to his right, the grassy swath in the forest continued. Quickly he tried to remember the details of the map. That had to be the steeper and narrower ski slope, he´d noticed earlier when he´d planned his route back during his lunch.

Without thinking too long about it, MacGyver ran off to his right, away from this steel mast. Not a moment too early. He had just passed around a bend when once again everything was alight and he heard the sharp bang of thunder almost immediately from behind. Slipping on the wet grass Mac pressed on fast as he had to get out of the forest, away from the huge, old trees. The lower he got the safer he would be. He had to admit, that his situation was a little scary by now.

Only minutes later he was forced to slow down when he reached the steep part of the slope. The trees to both sides were old, had grown tall and the rocky ground showed between them. A small creek was running down over the grass on the slope, obviously caused by the heavy rain. Mac quickly chose his path and continued downwards, even more cautious and alert, but nevertheless slipping and sliding on the wet surface. He had to shake his head regularly to get the rainwater out of his eyes and clear his sight. It seemed as if he could sense the electrical potential in the midst of the storm. He felt a prickling on his skin while he tried hard to keep a secure footing on the uneven slope.

But then everything happened within the same split second.

The was a blinding flash of light only a few feet to his right, in the corner of his eye, hitting a huge tree, accompanied by a deafening noise that sounded like an explosion. Mac heard wood and rock breaking when the shockwave hit him and threw him sideways through the air until he slammed against the trunk of a tree on the other side of the slope. Parts of wood and small rocks rained down on him as he dropped to the ground dazed. Mac rolled and slid down the steep, wet ground for a few yards barely conscious until another tree stopped his movement.

For several moments he lay on his front motionless, overwhelmed by the dizziness and the ringing in his head and his ears. Slowly he realized that he was still alive, that he hadn´t been struck directly by the lightning bolt. While he was fighting to regain full consciousness, the hurt in his left arm and shoulder made itself known. He´d also hit his head but his shoulder and upper arm had taken most of the impact. Still lying on the ground Mac tried to assess the damage, cautiously tried to move his arm. Moaning because of the sharp pain it caused, he sensed that at least he could use it. It didn´t feel like anything was broken or dislocated, only badly bruised.

MacGyver forced his eyes to open, blinked the rain away, and focused again on his primary task. He still had to get off that mountain. He drew in a sharp breath as he pushed himself up off the ground while trying not to put too much of his weight on his left side. Mac managed to repress the pain a little and unsteadily got to his feet. He held his left arm close to his body and stabilized it with his right one as he continued his way downwards.

Fortunately, the vertigo, as well as the hurting, diminished to a bearable level over the next minutes. Soon he reached a wider, smoother and less steep part of the ski slope, where he was able to quicken his pace again. By now Mac was almost completely soaked to the bone, yet still chased by lightning and thunder. When he came around the last patch of forest he could already see the restaurant and its parking lot, where he had left his rental car this morning. Only a few hundred wet and muddy yards to go.

When he reached a trail crossing that final meadow, MacGyver started running again, although he was panting with exhaustion by now and struggling with ignoring the pain it caused to his shoulder. He saw a small open garage next to the parking lot and headed for it. He wasn´t about to be picky in his situation. If only its roof had no leaks and would provide him with a dry place where he could take a closer look at the injury to his shoulder and change into partly dry clothes before he would drive back to the city.

He puffed out a deep sigh as he reached his shelter and stopped running. Mac took a few moments to catch his breath until he carefully took off his backpack and set it down on the ground. Then he straightened himself and let some of the rainwater rinse off before he cautiously opened the zipper of his jacket and shrugged out of it. The legs of his jeans were soaked completely and he didn´t have a dry spare with him. He hadn´t expected severe weather conditions like this. His jacket and shirt were torn from the impact on the tree´s bark but his skin only showed small cuts. He also took off his partly wet shirt and dug into his backpack for the dry spare while making a mental note to get himself a new and sturdier rain jacket as soon as possible.

MacGyver gingerly tested moving his injured arm and shoulder and assessed with relief that the ache had diminished even further. But he was also sure that the intense bruises would show soon. Mac picked up his torn shirt and used its dry parts to rub his wet hair in an attempt to get a little more comfortable. Then he cautiously put on the new one. Looking outside to his car Mac realized that the intensity of the rain had lessened a bit. But he also noticed himself getting cold and freezing because of the remaining wet jeans and shoes and the still lingering shock.

The car´s heating will have some work to do, he thought to himself.

With another skeptical look to the dark clouds and a defeated small sigh, Mac picked up his belongings and then quickly headed for his car. After unlocking it he threw his pack to the passenger seat and slid inside, hurriedly closing the door behind himself.

What a day… tomorrow I´ll be staying in Vienna and visit some museum. It´s unlikely that I will get hurt there, he mused as he fired up the engine, turned the heater on, and adjusted it to blow mostly on his legs and feet. Slightly shivering he then set out for his way back to his hotel.

*****

The receptionist eyed his disheveled appearance critically when he picked up the key to his room. MacGyver gave her his best apologetic smile and hurried off. By the time he had reached the hotel, he was really looking forward to a soothing hot shower, dry clothes and shoes, and some rest. As soon as he had closed the door of his suite, he took off his clammy hiking boots, unpacked his backpack and hung his wet shirt and rain jacket over some chairs to dry. Then he grabbed fresh, dry clothes from his duffle bag and headed for the bathroom.

The hot water caused a burning ache to his cuts and bruises, but it also drove most of the cold and stiffness out of his muscles. MacGyver used the water flowing over him to relax and get rid of the remains of the shock. During his drive back to the city he´d reflected on everything and realized and admitted that almost having been struck by a lightning bolt was a frightening experience. He took his time in the shower until he felt the tension not only leave his body but his mind as well.

After cautiously drying up his body and getting into fresh socks, underwear and khaki pants, Mac inspected the damage to his arm and shoulder a little closer in the mirror. Some cuts, some abrasions, and bruises and hematomas were already starting to show under his skin.

All in all, he thought, I´ve been lucky again. It will ache for some days, but it could easily have ended a lot worse.

MacGyver grabbed a dry towel and started to rub his wet hair as he left the bathroom, still with no shoes on and a bare upper body. He was just pondering about how he might spend the evening and where he might go for dinner when he heard someone knocking on his door. Taken aback, Mac froze in his tracks for a moment, before he draped the towel around his shoulders, turned around and went to open the door. Whom he saw standing outside on the corridor had him stunned silent for seconds before he opened the door.

“Hi, Pete!” he greeted his friend and boss after overcoming his sudden surprise. “Come on in.”

“Hello, MacGyver.” Pete's face was serious as he returned the greeting, and he eyed him puzzled while he walked past Mac. As he looked around the suite, he saw the torn shirt and rain jacket hanging over the chairs. A small concern rose within him.

MacGyver closed the door and ran one of his hands through his unruly hair in an attempt to straighten it a little.

“Are you all right?” Pete asked over his shoulder, as Mac followed him and grabbed a fresh shirt.

“Yeah, fine.” Mac answered. “I only just got out of the shower… But what about you? What on earth are you doing here?”

MacGyver pulled the damp towel off his shoulders and turned to toss it into the bathroom. His movement gave Pete a short, but clear glimpse at Mac´s injury before he shrugged into his shirt. Pete drew in a sharp breath.

“Fine? … Mac, what happened to your shoulder?” he gasped. “What have you done?”

Mac let out a sigh.

“It looks worse than it is.” he tried to calm Pete. “Only a bad bruise.”

Pete stared at him quietly, but with obvious concern. MacGyver started buttoning up his shirt, yet after a few seconds of silence, he knew that Pete wasn´t satisfied with that answer.

“All right… I went on a hiking tour today. On my way back I got into an electrical storm.” he gave in and explained to Pete. “When I tried to take a shortcut down that mountain, a lightning bolt struck a tree only a few feet to my right. The shockwave threw me against another tree. That impact tore the jacket and my shoulder.”

Pete was instantly alarmed by his story.

“We´ll better get you checked through in a hospital.” he stated and turned to reach for the phone.

“Pete!” Mac called out pleading. “Stop it, please. It´s okay, really… I´ll live.”

Pete shot him a doubtful look, but put down the receiver.

“But you haven´t answered my question yet.” Mac demanded with a sigh. “What brings you here? I guess this is not a social call…”

“Unfortunately you´re right.” Pete admitted while his expression turned somber. “I received a request for help about one and a half days ago. I tried to call, but couldn´t reach you… But we need to act quickly, so I came to look for you.”

MacGyver nodded, thinking about yesterday, when he´d been exploring some riparian forests along the Danube, just east of Vienna.

“Well, I´ve been kind of out of touch…” he shrugged apologetically. “But you granted me at least a week with no new assignment.”

“I know, I did, and I am sorry to interrupt your vacation, but this is important.” Pete held up his hands in defense, anticipating Mac´s resistance.

“Oh, come on, they´re all important.” MacGyver countered, rolling his eyes. “Why do you have to come to me? There´s a lot of other operatives on Phoenix´s payroll.”

“Because he asked especially for you. Personally.” Pete sighed. “And you happen to be almost in the right place.”

“The right place?” Mac raised his eyebrows puzzled as he echoed Pete´s words slowly. “Pete, who asked for me?”

Now Pete looked up directly at him.

“Do you remember Anton Dubcek?”

“Of course.” Mac nodded.

A flash of memories whirled through MacGyver´s head. He mentally passed through the complicated story of the Czechoslovakian dissident that had been taken captive by rogue GRU agents, been freed by Mac and Diana Rogers, only to be obligated to also free his wife, who had, as soon as they had reached the USA, turned out to be GRU as well and had tried to kill Anton. Mac ran his hands nervously through his damp hair, while his expression turned serious. That had been a little more than a year ago. He had also passed through Austria with Diana at that time.

“What´s wrong?” he asked worriedly. “Why did he call for help? Don´t tell me he has returned to – “

“No.” Pete held up one hand to cut Mac off. “He is safe and Phoenix is still supporting him… That´s why he came to me. His group called ‘Humanity’ is still active and from what we got to know, they were able to get hold of some documents and notes, that prove that the action those agents took last year was not approved by the GRU.”

“But we already know, that Yevgeni Zorkin and Emil Baranov had gone rogue last year.” Mac objected.

“True, but with this intelligence, we could prove it.” Pete added. “And point out some serious holes in their command chain. We could stop those two once and for all.”

“So, you want me to retrieve that information.” Mac sighed.

“There´s more to it.” Pete continued. “We also need to get the man that got hold of the documents out of there safe. That´s why Anton Dubcek asked for you.”

MacGyver held Pete´s look silent, but also expectant.

“That man is Anton´s brother, Pavel Dubcek.” Pete told him with a sigh. “And the same people that put up the money last year are willing to pay again for the freedom of his brother.”

MacGyver drew in a sharp breath.

“You know, I don´t care about the money.” he countered. “Any more good news? Next thing, you´re telling me that Diana is also back…”

“No, she´s unavailable.” Pete shook his head. “She´s away on some other mission…”

Mac eyed his friend probing. He felt that Pete was still holding something back about this assignment. Something he probably wouldn´t like.

“Pete…? There´s something else… What aren´t you telling me?”

Mac saw Pete hesitate, then suddenly pull back and smile broadly.

“Listen, I´m sorry that I kind of caught you off guard and without previous announcement.” Pete said while he retreated to the door. “It looks like you´ve had a rough day. Why don´t you get some rest and meet me in about one hour in the hotel restaurant? … That is, if you´re willing to help… we can go over the details after dinner…”

Mac turned, but before he could react or ask again, Pete had left the room and closed the door, leaving back a baffled Mac. No question about it, he was willing to help Anton Dubcek and his brother, yet something about Pete kept him puzzled. His gut told him, that something else was going on with this mission. Something Pete was keeping from him. At least for the moment. Would he have to return to this hospital for the third time?

MacGyver took a glance at his watch. In about one hour he would find out. Until then he might as well follow Pete´s suggestion to get some rest and take a nap.

*****

MacGyver had set an alarm to make sure he wouldn´t be late. He wasn´t too happy about Pete interrupting his vacation, but the way Pete had left him with only part of the information had increased his curiosity. Mac was aware that it was probably part of Pete´s strategy of baiting him. Pete knew him long and well enough to know, that Mac couldn´t leave a puzzle presented to him alone.

It was 7.30 p.m. straight as MacGyver entered the high-class restaurant of the hotel. He had changed his shirt to one that was more suitable to the surroundings, yet the khaki pants had stayed and his unruly hair was now dry and sort of tamed. His eyes searched the large room for a few moments before he spotted Pete at a table in one of the corners. Someone else was with him, talking to him, but Mac couldn´t make out who it was because of the high-backed chairs.

Curious, and now also getting a little suspicious, Mac approached the table. Pete had stated that Diana was unavailable… was he making use of old contacts out of his DXS time in Europe? Was it someone that supported Dubcek´s group from Austria? Or had he brought another operative along to accompany him on this mission? All these possibilities flashed through Mac´s mind while he crossed the room. Pete saw him coming when he was still a few yards away from the table and rose out of his chair.

“MacGyver!” he greeted. “Good to see you again. I´m glad you made it.”

“Wasn´t too difficult keeping this appointment.” he answered smiling, but at the same time pulling a little grimace while he walked up to the table and shook hands with Pete.

“What about your guest?” he continued then. “Don´t you want to introduce…” Mac broke off in mid-sentence as he turned around and saw who was sitting there.

Nikki Carpenter.

“Hello, MacGyver.” she greeted him with a broad and friendly, yet slightly amused smile.



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 1 November 2021 - 07:02 AM                                    
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DXS Agent
*****

Posts: 610
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Gender:  Female
Country: USA
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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



Hi Bluegirl!! Thanks for a new "classic" Mac fan fic! From your past stories, I know I'll end up saying this a lot, but you did a really great job with description in this chapter! Mac is definitely in his element, but leave it to him to have trouble find him on a lovely hike! Darn weathermen!! His downward trek during the storm really got my heart pumping!

I love how you use some of his quiet time to reflect on past events (episodes) so we can get a good sense of the timeframe your story takes place in in terms of the actual series itself. I also like that you get into his head (I know that's always a mission of yours!) and show that he doesn't dismiss his "experiences" as quickly and easily as the TV show led us to believe. And yes, Deborah really got to him. You also do a good job briefly summarizing and reminding us about Anton. It looks like Mac isn't going to get his relaxing vacation afterall! Especially since Nikki just popped into the picture!! LOL!! Reminds me of GX-1!! This ought to be interesting:))



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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bluegirl
Posted: 3 November 2021 - 11:49 PM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 121
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
Gender:  Female
Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Thanks so much for your encoouraging words!

Here we go with

Part 2

Mac froze with surprise for a second. He and Nikki hadn´t been obliged to work together by Pete on an assignment since the GX-1 issue. He didn´t have all the best memories concerning Nikki and that mission. Sure, they had solved some cases together and their friendship had evolved since then, but still… she wasn´t quite his favored partner.

“Nikki…” he stammered, overcoming his sudden paralysis. “Hey! Nice to see you…”

Then Mac took a seat next to her and turned back to Pete.

“Pete kind of forgot to tell me, that you came along with him…”

Now he knew what Pete had been keeping from him. He pinned Pete with an accusing stare.

“You only asked me about Diana.” Pete shrugged with an apologetic smile, while Mac´s look stayed reproachful. “Mac, I know, you prefer to work alone, but we have to get you across the border and back fast and without arising suspicion.”

MacGyver pulled an annoyed grimace.

“Pete, really?” he whined. “The married couple story again?”

Before Pete could react, Nikki broke in.

“It´s the easiest and fastest way to cross the border undetected.” she declared. “We´ve done it before.”

Mac felt kind of trapped. He frowned.

“I know.” He shot back at Nikki. “But that was different. We weren´t supposed to…”

“Supposed to what?” Nikki cut him off sharply. “Work together? … I saved your life on this one!”

“How can I forget?” Mac nodded but rolled his eyes. “You keep reminding me.” he answered sarcastically.

“Now stop it, both of you!” Pete silenced them harshly. He took a small break, drew in a deep breath, and looked at both of them.

“That East-German assignment was almost a year ago.” he continued calmer, but still very firm. “I know that the two of you hardly ever agree on your approach to an assignment, but I also know that you make a great team when the occasion calls for it. I need you both on this one. MacGyver, you´re in on this because Anton asked for you personally, and you already know the agents to look out for. Nikki, you´re with him because those agents don´t know you yet. You may be a necessary backup… and we need the ‘married couple’ cover story to get you both in.”

Mac and Nikki remained silent, looked at Pete, then at each other, and back at their boss.

“What do you say?” Pete asked Mac, well knowing that he was freelance and had the right to refuse any job presented to him. He could see that Mac still wasn´t thrilled with the idea of working together with Nikki.

Finally, MacGyver let out a deep sigh and nodded.

“Fine.” he agreed with a sideways glance at Nikki.

Pete reached into the pocket of his suit jacket and dug out the golden rings, Mac had come to know well by now. They had been a must last year, when he´d traveled to Czechoslovakia with Diana but now… once again the memory of his time with Deborah flashed into his mind. He took the bigger one out of Pete´s hand and slipped it on the ring finger of his left hand, not really paying attention to Nikki doing the same with the smaller one and a little triumphant smile. She was satisfied with Pete overruling MacGyver that quickly. Only a couple of seconds later she noticed that his expression had turned from annoyed to dark and sober and that he kept staring at the ring. Pete also saw it.

“Mac, what´s the matter?” he asked. “Are you all right?”

“Nothing.” Mac answered in a low voice, still lost in his thoughts. “I´m okay.”

Nikki´s concern for her friend and colleague took over. She reached out and laid a hand on his arm.

“There´s something wrong… Tell us what´s bothering…”

“There´s nothing wrong!” MacGyver suddenly cut her off a little too loud and looked up at both of them. Then he sat back and pulled back his arm, so it was out of Nikki´s reach.

“I´m fine.” He forced a little smile on his face and his voice went soft again.

Both Pete and Nikki knew better than to press him any further, nevertheless Mac felt a sudden relief as the waiter arrived only a moment later to take their orders.

*****

They spent their time during the meal with light conversation, all three aware that none of the information they still had to share was to be overheard by anyone. For that reason they gathered in Pete´s hotel room afterward.

Pete handed Mac and Nikki the fake papers, they would need to cross the border. They also looked through the dossiers the Phoenix Foundation had put together on Yevgeni Zorkin and Emil Baranov, the GRU agents that Mac had been up against last year. MacGyver remembered their faces quite well, and he remembered the threats one of them uttered while Mac had been `wrapping him up´ with his duct tape after he and Diana had outsmarted them to free Anton´s wife. After the zoo incident, both had been arrested and later been deported out of the USA. Mac was sure they would remember his face as well.

“Do we know if Zorkin and Baranov are already aware that Dubcek has the documents?” he asked Pete.

“Not as far as Anton knew.” Pete answered. “But that could have changed in the last 36 hours. You need to be careful about those two.”

Mac only nodded silently and reached for the file containing all the information on Pavel Dubcek. He took a couple of moments to study all the facts and take in the face on the photos.

“Anton told us, that his brother keeps the documents hidden.” Pete continued. “They probably might be watching him, hoping that he will lead them to that hiding space. They need to get hold of those papers before they can arrest him.”

“They also need to be very cautious.” Mac stated. “The GRU isn´t known to be indulgent with agents that go rouge twice. They certainly had to face some punishment for that mission going wrong last year.”

He handed the file over to Nikki, but his focus stayed on his boss.

“I´m just glad that I don´t have to go back to that hospital for the third time.” Mac continued after a small break. “How do I get in touch with Pavel Dubcek?”

Pete reached into his briefcase for a large envelope and passed it on to MacGyver.

“I´ve made reservations for you in a hotel in Znojmo. That´s the city closest to the Austrian border. It´s only about 10 miles into Czechoslovakia.” Pete told him. “He will contact you, once you´ve arrived. I´ve also arranged for a different rental car waiting for both of you in the hotel garage. It´s registered according to your papers. After all, you´ll be traveling as an American tourist couple. It´s only a one-and-a-half-hour drive or so from here to Znojmo. I also added detailed maps of the city and the region between the border and the city. We told Pavel Dubcek that you´ll be there tomorrow around midday.”

MacGyver nodded slowly while he let all the information sink into his head. His mind already started considering possible scenarios for meeting that man and retrieving the information.

“Have we got all the documents that allow Dubcek to cross the border with us?”

“They´re also in that envelope.” Pete assured him. “We put together a fake identity, which makes him a family member of Nikki.”

A small smile crossed Mac´s face as Nikki suddenly looked up at Pete.

“But I don´t speak even the slightest bit of Czech.” she opposed.

“You don´t need to.” Pete explained. “Dubcek´s English is fluent and nearly without an accent. He should pass as some distant relative without problems.”

Nikki´s look at Pete and then Mac stayed doubtful. Mac smiled at her.

“We´ll have at least one and a half hours tomorrow in that car to sort out the details.” He suggested. “The rest is up to Dubcek, as he will be contacting us.”

Nikki´s look showed that she wasn´t too happy with the idea.

“An assignment just the way you like it, Mr. Improvise.” Nikki snorted.

MacGyver´s smile stayed on, but now gave his amusement about Nikki´s uncomfortable feelings away.

“It wasn´t my choice.” he countered. “I didn´t set this up.”

Pete sighed deeply, looking somberly at Mac and Nikki.

“There wasn´t much time to prepare for this mission.” he stopped their upcoming argument. “Yet I am confident that the two of you will be able to work something out with the little I can give you.”

Both nodded silent, remembering that their goal was more important than their different opinions on how to proceed.

“All right.” Nikki sighed after a few seconds. “I´ll better get some sleep now. I need to fight the jet lag I´m feeling.”

She stood up and Mac also rose from his chair.

“Good idea.” he agreed. “I´ve had a long day. I´ll go over the maps in my room.”

Both wished Pete a good night and left his room for the elevator. MacGyver raised a surprised eyebrow when Nikki entered it together with him.

“I thought you wanted to go to sleep?” he asked as he pushed the button for his floor and Nikki didn´t choose another one.

“My room is next to yours.” Nikki stated. “We´re supposed to be a married couple, remember?”

MacGyver looked down to his left hand with the ring.

“Right.” he sighed with a low voice.

A few silent moments later the elevator doors opened and they walked down the corridor to their rooms.

“Sleep well.” Mac wished Nikki. “I´ll see you tomorrow morning. We should leave the hotel around 9.30 or 10 a.m.”

“I´ll be there.” Nikki answered, now smiling at him. “Have a good night.”

Mac waited until Nikki had closed and locked the door behind herself before he went into his own suite. He dropped the envelope on the large bed, sat down, and took off his shoes. He perched himself on the bed, fingered the maps out of the envelope, and tried to memorize and get a feel for the terrain and the city layout. But he found it hard to concentrate on his task.

He knew that familiarizing himself with the city of about 37000 residents and the medieval inner city core could be crucial to the success of his assignment. It wasn´t the first time that Pete had sent him off on very short notice with almost no time for preparation. Usually, Mac didn´t mind, but somehow, tonight he felt caught off guard and distracted. Staring at those maps MacGyver allowed his thoughts to wander off, striving to find out why he felt that much off-center.

The day had started off promisingly beautiful, yet his trip had taken his mind back to the previous weeks and unsettling memories. Was he still that emotionally vulnerable after his encounter with Deborah? Or was it the moment of fright caused by almost being hit by a lightning bolt? He still sensed the twinge in his injured shoulder clearly, and he was certain that he would feel it for a couple of days to come.

Or had Nikki´s presence something to do with it? They knew each other for about one year by now; they had been through a lot together in that year and still… most of the time they were like fire and ice. They had a very different approach to doing their job, a recurring reason for their quarrels. Mac would never admit that to Nikki, but over the last months, he had sometimes even enjoyed their bantering and provoked her on purpose.

Yet he really cared about Nikki´s well-being, and he knew that Nikki cared about him from the way she had been there for him after Mike´s death and Deborah´s betrayal. He remembered, how Starkoss had told him, he would grow to love her, and how Mac had laughed at him at that time. Their relationship had grown beyond their profession and beyond being colleagues; they had become close friends. But love…?

Once again, the golden ring on his hand caught his eye and made him remember how being with Deborah had felt… before that rainy evening. But it also made him remember that Nikki had lost her husband to a car bomb. With a deep sigh, Mac put the maps back into the envelope and got up. A glance at his watch told him, that it was high time to get some rest. Slowly he got ready for bed and then went to the bathroom.

This won´t be easy for both of us, he realized while staring at his reflection in the mirror after he had finished his evening routine. But we´ll have enough time to get in tune with this assignment while driving north.

He turned off the lights, slipped under the sheets and tried to focus on his upcoming task while he drifted off to sleep.

*****

MacGyver hadn´t set an alarm for the morning and woke up a little late, after having a restless night. His sleep had been disturbed by some nightmares that had made him relive Deborah trying to stab him, that bomb going off on the boat, and to top it off the flash of the explosion had mixed with the flash of the lightning bolt.

Looking out the window, seeing another beautiful blue sky like yesterday, Mac pushed the lingering pictures to the back of his head and concentrated on his assignment. He got out of bed and stretched the kinks out of his body. While doing that he noticed the after-effects of his mishap from the day before clearly. His arm and shoulder ached from having gotten slammed into that tree, and he still felt a bit groggy.

But he was determined not to let himself be slowed down by that. There would be enough time to nurse his injuries after he had completed his job. After all, the scenario Pete had drawn up sounded simple. Cross the border with Nikki, meet Pavel Dubcek, pick up the documents, keep an eye up if Zorkin and Baranov were already watching, and then return to Austria.

Not complicated at all, right? I should be back here and continuing my vacation tomorrow at the latest, MacGyver thought. And one of the first things I need to do afterward is get myself a new rain jacket.

MacGyver sighed to himself at the sight of the ruined one hanging over the chair. Then he turned to his duffle bag, grabbed fresh clothes, went into the bathroom and got ready for the day.

*****

Pete and Nikki were already there when MacGyver arrived at the breakfast buffet. Having overcome his surprise and the feeling of getting caught off guard since yesterday evening, Mac now felt the well-known trickle of an upcoming adventure inside. He remembered that this inner tension, that the adrenaline pumping was part of why he loved his job so much. All the people he got to meet and help, all the friends he´d made over the years were another important part of it.

Two of his closest friends were sitting there, already consuming their breakfast. The sight made MacGyver focus on their mission and cheered up his mood.

“Good morning!”

Mac greeted them heartily, as he approached the table. He bent down and placed a soft kiss on Nikki´s cheek before he chose a chair next to her. Nikki looked at him frozen with surprise, and even Pete´s smile was baffled while he watched Mac sit down.

“Morning! … Mac, are you all right?” he probed cautiously.

MacGyver still smiled cheerfully at both of them.

“Just fine.” he assured with an air of innocence. “Why?”

“Well, you just gave me a kiss, which is kind of unusual for you…” Nikki stated after a moment of silence.

Mac´s grin got boyish and a little mischievous.

“We´re supposed to be a couple, remember?” he quoted Nikki´s words from the elevator with a sweet voice. “I´m just getting in tune with our deception, my dear.”

Nikki was rendered speechless at his cheeky remark, and Pete had to chuckle. He had been worried about his friend last evening, seeing him injured and emotionally off-center, but now he seemed to be back to his own self.

“Obviously a good night´s sleep has served you well.” Pete said.

“It certainly did.” Mac grinned at him. “I´m going to check out the buffet.” he added after a look around the table and got up again.

No need to tell Pete about my restless sleep, the nightmares and the grogginess, he thought while he got himself some yogurt with fresh fruits and an orange juice. It would only make him worry more than he already does.

*****

They all finished their meal mostly silent before Mac and Nikki returned to their rooms to get their bags. After all, they probably had to make some border guards believe that they were actually tourists. Pete met them again down in the hotel garage.

While Mac stored the baggage in the trunk of the high-class sedan Pete had rented for them, he noticed Pete looking nervously at his watch. Mac straightened himself, closed the trunk and let out a small sigh.

“Pete, relax.” he suggested, while he strode to the driver´s side. “We´re comfortably within schedule. If everything runs smooth, we should be back tonight or at the latest, tomorrow. Depends on when Dubcek will contact us.”

Pete looked up at him tensely and nodded.

“I´ll be in my hotel room expecting you.” he replied. “You can reach me right there if anything goes wrong.”

“I´ve memorized the telephone number.” Nikki assured while she shook hands with Pete and then walked around to the passenger side and got into the car.

“Good luck to both of you!” Pete added. He also shook hands with MacGyver, but held on to his hand a moment longer than necessary. “And Mac, please, be careful.”

MacGyver gave him his best reassuring smile and squeezed Pete´s hand a little.

“You know, that I usually am.”

Then he slipped into the driver´s seat, fired up the engine and drove off.

*****

Their route took them northwest out of the city, before Mac turned on to a road leading north through Lower Austria and towards the Czechoslovakian border. As soon as they had left the direct vicinity of Vienna behind the landscape turned to low, soft hills and evenly soft and wide valleys. The country was mostly open with agricultural use and only small patches of forest in between. Almost from where the city had ended, up to the border, there were also a lot of vineyards to be seen. The street passed through and nearby several small villages and towns on their way.

The day was as beautiful and sunny, just as the last one had started out, and Mac truly enjoyed driving north himself on this occasion. He was relieved that they didn´t have to rely on someone like Krug this time. He observed the countryside and could very well understand why some of the oldest human settlements of Central Europe had been discovered around here. Even 40.000 years ago the region with its pleasant climate must have been inviting to ancient human societies.

MacGyver and Nikki had sorted out their cover story real soon, and now she was studying the maps Mac had gone over last evening. They had agreed on impersonating a newlywed couple, with Nikki´s ancestors having emigrated to the U.S.A. during WW2. But some members of her family had stayed in Czechoslovakia and now, after their wedding, they had chosen to explore her origin and history. They planned on making everyone believe that they intended to meet Nikki´s distant relatives. That story should also allow them to return to Austria together with one of those ‘distant relatives’, as all the papers for Pavel Dubcek had been prepared to support this deception.

*****

The checkpoint at the border and the Czechoslovakian guards were the first test to their disguise. Traveling as Mrs. and Mr. Carpenter, their forged passports easily deceived the border guards, although they scrutinized them closely. Thanks to his many years of experience in the ‘cloak and dagger’ business the documents, Pete had provided them with, were a fraud Mac and Nikki could rely on. Crossing the border without arising any suspicion proved to be no problem.

Thanks to all the provided information and the maps they also had no difficulties finding their hotel close to the medieval core of Znojmo once they had reached the city. Znojmo was only about 10 miles away from the border – a fact that Mac found quite reassuring. Should anything go wrong… they would be able to reach safe Austrian soil real fast.

MacGyver parked their rental car in a side street a block away from the hotel, hoping that it would keep the connection from being too obvious. Mac and Nikki retrieved their bags from the trunk and carried them over the short distance. Checking into the hotel was not difficult either with a mixture of English and the bits and pieces of German Mac was still fluent with.

Pete´s reservation was for a large suite. Nikki frowned as she realized that there was only one king-size bed when they entered the room. She was about to start protesting, when Mac dropped his bag on the couch and flashed her a disarming smile.

“I´ll take the couch.” he declared.

Nikki was silent for a moment and then nodded.

“Thank you.”

For a short while, she stared at her bag after she had lifted it onto the bed, unsure what to do next, lost in her thoughts.

“So far Dubcek has left no message for us.” she stated then. “We can´t be sure if we´re going to spend the night here anyway, right?”

“We´ll see.”

Mac nodded, while his eyes scanned the room. He´d been concentrating on their route taking them into an unknown country, yet now, after arriving at the hotel, he realized that his morning grogginess hadn´t subsided. In fact, Mac noticed the beginnings of a headache and was feeling a little chilly, but warm again only moments later. His injured shoulder also made itself known – more than Mac would have preferred to. With an inward sigh, he opened his bag and started searching for the aspirin he had packed into it this morning.

Perfect timing, he thought while he shook one of the pills into his hand. Has getting thoroughly soaked in that thunderstorm yesterday earned me a cold on top of the bruises? I really can´t afford to get sick now…

Nikki had taken a look at the bathroom, and MacGyver entered it right after she´d left it, filled up a glass with water and scrutinized himself in the mirror.

Yes, you do look a little tired, he assessed.

Then he reluctantly swallowed the aspirin with a few sips of water, hoping it would keep the cold at bay – at least long enough so they could complete their assignment. Normally he refused to take any medicines, tried to let any not too serious illness take its natural course, and trusted his body to heal itself. But right now, there was no time for that. He needed to stay alert and at the best of his abilities, physically and mentally. Mac took a deep breath, drank the rest of the water and left the bathroom.

When he returned to the couch and flopped himself onto it, leaning back and resting his head on its backrest, Mac suddenly noticed Nikki stopping to rummage in her bag. She looked at him with a mixture of confusion and concern.

“MacGyver, are you all right?” she asked probing.

“I´m fine.” he said while he glanced at his watch. No need to tell her at the moment. It would only make her worry and take her concentration off the assignment, he added inwardly. “It´s around midday.” he continued aloud. “Why don´t we use the time we´ve got, take a walk through the city center and get ourselves some lunch?”

“Good idea.” Nikki looked at him still probing, but nodded. “It´ll give us a feeling for the city and the people.”

She picked up her purse and checked her wallet for the local money Pete had provided them with. In the corner of her eye, she saw how MacGyver got up again, gingerly shrugged into his brown leather jacket and pulled his black Calgary Flames cap out of his bag. He stretched a little and then wanted to walk past her to the door. But Nikki stopped him by grabbing his left upper arm and holding on to it, causing Mac to wince with the pain it brought about and draw a small grimace.

“MacGyver, what´s wrong with you?” she demanded firmly, while she looked up at him with serious concern and then let go of his arm. “I´ve never seen you take any pills out of free will, and you´re obviously in pain. What´s the matter?”

Mac took a deep breath and cautiously straightened himself again.

“It was just an aspirin.” he sighed and gave in. “I was on a mountain hike yesterday and got into an electrical storm. I got slammed against a tree when a lightning bolt just barely missed me. It´s only a bruised shoulder and a bit of a headache… I´m okay.”

Nikki was considering silent for a moment. Her serious expression didn´t change.

“So you took it as a precaution?” she asked then. “You are physically up to our mission?”

MacGyver nodded and smiled at her.

“Just use a little caution with that left arm.” he assured her. “Didn´t Pete tell you? He saw the injury when he met me in my room yesterday.” Hopefully, this will keep her from asking further questions, he thought.

Nikki´s face softened a bit as she shook her head.

“No, he didn´t… Mac, are you…”

“I´m all right, Nikki.” Mac cut her off and reached out to her with his left hand. “I´ve been through worse.”

Nikki´s look stayed doubtful while she took his hand a little hesitant. Mac´s smile broadened, as he reached for the keys, opened the door and lead her out of the room. After locking the door he turned to her and much to her surprise placed a soft kiss on her dark hair.

“Now, how about a little walk and some lunch, my dear?” he asked with a sweet voice, in an instant switching back to his loving husband role.

*****

With their hotel being in close proximity just south of the medieval city center MacGyver and Nikki had only a short walk ahead until they agreed on a small restaurant in a side street of the main square. They both opted for a quick, light lunch so they wouldn´t be stuck too long in one place. When they left the restaurant, MacGyver felt much more like himself again. Getting a little rest, replenishing his energy reservoirs with the meal, and the aspirin doing its job at keeping the symptoms of his cold in check, made him look forward to the assignment again.

He put on his black cap to shield his eyes from the sun when he and Nikki stepped outside. He reached out for Nikki´s hand again, and together they walked on towards the main square of Znojmo. As they still had no idea when or how Pavel Dubcek would contact them, they had agreed on doing some sort of reconnaissance before returning to the hotel. Couldn´t hurt to see some of all they had seen on the maps in reality as well.

The main square was large and rectangular with parking lots in the middle and surrounded by houses that were mostly several hundred years old. As they strolled around it hand in hand, trying to mimic other tourists, looking at the storefronts, Mac´s and Nikki´s eyes also scanned the people around them. MacGyver´s mind was already in high gear, observing the details of the city layout and already working on possible scenarios for his meeting with Dubcek and a safe way back to the hotel together with him.

Nikki´s tension rose instantly as Mac´s grip on her hand suddenly tightened. MacGyver quickly pulled her into the shade of a narrow side road, wrapped her into an embrace, bowed down and kissed her. Out of reflex Nikki´s body stiffened, and she tried to push MacGyver back and away.

“MacGyver! What…” she protested.

“Shh!” Mac hissed under his breath in the next blink of an eye, effectively cutting her off while he barely broke the kiss. “Play along!”

After her initial resistance, Nikki was quick to catch on. Her slender body softened against his, one of her arms went around Mac´s back, the other one up to his neck, and she gave in to the kiss. Feeling her reaction MacGyver hugged her even closer, one of his hands traveled up to the nape of her neck, where his long fingers caressed her dark hair, and he deepened the kiss. After a couple of seconds, Mac opened his eyes and glanced across the square still keeping his face concealed by Nikki´s head and his cap. In his narrowed angle of vision, he observed two well-known GRU agents walking along the other side of the square until they were out of sight. All this time his lips and body kept up the intense interaction with Nikki.

When the two men were gone Mac closed his eyes again and directed his concentration back to his sensual kiss for a moment before he broke the contact. Mac raised his head up only a few inches and smiled at Nikki apologetically. She looked up at him with an unreadable expression while her body was still snuggled up against his.

“Zorkin and Baranov?” she asked with a low voice while catching her breath.

Mac nodded, also breathing a little heavier and once more glancing across the square over her head.

“They´re gone now.” Then he smiled down at her shyly, his arms still holding her tight with one wrapped around her waist and the other one at the nape of her neck. “I had to make sure, they wouldn´t see and recognize me.” he explained. He felt her body tense up a little and saw her face growing serious.

“Well, if they´re gone now, you might as well let go of me.” she remarked low, but resolute.

MacGyver instantly released his hold around her and held his hands up with the same shy smile.

“I´m sorry.” he apologized, licking his lips nervously. “No harm meant. I didn´t want to…”

Nikki took a step back and grinned at him sarcastically.

“Save it, Mac.” she replied after a moment of teasing him. “I´ve been through worse.”

“Oh.”

Mac nodded as he slowly lowered his hands and relaxed. His smile widened with relief that Nikki wasn´t too upset about his sudden intrusion. He forced his gaze to return to the square while he still sensed the electrifying echo of the intimate touch and the softness of Nikki´s lips and body against his own inside. He could still smell her, taste her. With a deep sigh, he pushed back the feelings and physical sensation welling up and tried to concentrate back on the assignment. When he flexed his fingers nervously, he once more noticed the wedding ring on his left hand. And it once more reminded him of the emotional roller coaster ride he had been going through in the last months.

Come on, MacGyver, stay focused, he chided himself inwardly. You´ve got a job to do.

Nikki had turned around to look over the main square as well in the meantime.

“If Zorkin and Baranov are here, we can assume they know about the documents and are already watching Pavel Dubcek.” she stated.

She kept her eyes off MacGyver to keep the feelings his touch and kiss had provoked under control. She was surprised by her own reaction. It left her body tingling. She suddenly remembered kissing him for the first time, in a similar situation, trying to cover their break-in at the consulate, only moments after they had accidentally met. She had initiated the kiss then, quickly noticing his handsome appearance, especially in the grey suit he had worn on that day. That had been about a year ago, but she´d never allowed herself to consider that he might be more than a colleague or a friend. Her body grew more rigid, annoyed with herself that he had caught her off guard, as Mac stepped up to her side and scanned the square once more with his eyes for the GRU agents.

“We´d better get back to our hotel.” MacGyver suggested. “We need to stay out of sight until Dubcek makes contact. They mustn´t see me.”

A moment later he spotted Zorkin and Baranov at the far end of the square, just now crossing from the opposite side to the one where Mac and Nikki were hiding.

“Over there.” he added with a small gesture. “See them?”

Nikki followed his gaze and nodded.

“They´re coming right our way. I guess, that leaves the side streets for us?”

MacGyver had already made up a route back to their hotel on his mental map of the city. He slowly stepped back from the corner and with a quick look over his shoulder checked for any trouble that might be coming up from behind. No one was there.

“You bet.” he told Nikki and reached out for her. “Let´s go.”




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 4 November 2021 - 09:34 AM                                    
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DXS Agent
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Posts: 610
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Gender:  Female
Country: USA
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Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



Very entertaining chapter! I love the interplay and bickering between Mac and Nikki...very accurate and true to character. And poor Pete...he must feel like a father with arguing children!!

Ha! Mac thinks this assignment is going to be "not complicated"!! When has he ever had a "not complicated" assignment???

I like how you use their free time in the city as "tourists" to provide more description and information about the location...good strategy.

I'm worried about Mac getting sick...does he always catch a cold around Nikki? (I'm thinking of Blow out)!

Wow, that was some kiss whistle.gif It affected both of them! Nikki is probably really mad at herself for it, too!! But now we know the bad guys are there and probably up to no-good! I hate to tell Mac, but I think things are already getting complicated..in more ways than one tongue.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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bluegirl
Posted: 4 November 2021 - 11:30 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 121
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
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Episode:Do I have to decide?
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Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Complicated? In more ways than one?

Just how can you think of something like this? With MacGyver involved? No way! roller.gif



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 7 November 2021 - 01:13 AM                                    
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Challengers Volunteer
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Posts: 27
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Country: Milwaukee, WI USA
SAK owned: TINKER!

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Season: ---
Episode:umm......
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



Off to a promising start! Better not be late with any of the instalments, or you will hear much grumbling from your devoted fans!

So,... we have a bruised and scraped shoulder and arm, and he also wakes up with a slight headache. It has me wondering; is it REALY the beginnings of a cold? Or perhaps a head injury starting to develop? You did mention that he'd also hit his head, but not as badly as the shoulder. Could this be a plot development, hmmm? Also, Mac keeps saying that this will be a short, simple, assignment. That can only mean that there will be lots of things that can and will go wrong, starting with getting back to the hotel with the Deadly Duo on their tail. Will they have to split up to get back? Will Mac send Nicki back to warn Pete while he leads their pursuers away from her? You say there are 21 chapters, and we're only at number two. A lot can happen, and I'm sure will. Your English might be a little awkward in spots, but you excel at plot development! I'm looking forward to this one!



When it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win. Angus MacGuyver

If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 7 November 2021 - 01:19 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Posts: 121
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Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Please bear with me concerning my 'awkward english'... I´m not a native speaker.

But glad you like it so far... next part will be online soon... a little later today... whistle.gif



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 7 November 2021 - 02:50 AM                                    
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Challengers Volunteer
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Posts: 27
Joined: 23 Mar 2021
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Country: Milwaukee, WI USA
SAK owned: TINKER!

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Season: ---
Episode:umm......
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



OH GOOD!!! happy_dance.gif w00t.gif Can't wait!

Also, I would like to offer my services if you ever decide to have someone proofread your stories for American grammar before you post them.



When it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win. Angus MacGuyver

If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 7 November 2021 - 08:04 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Alright, here we go with more 'plot development' and maybe even some more 'complications'...

Part 3

MacGyver and Nikki both stayed highly alert on their whole way back. Only when they had returned to their room and closed the door behind themselves, both allowed themselves to relax. Mac was quite sure that they hadn´t been spotted and their cover was still intact. But with the two GRU agents already around they had to use a lot more caution. The receptionist hadn´t had any message for them yet, so all they could do for now was wait.

As it was only mid-afternoon and not knowing how long the evening – or the night – would be, MacGyver chose to take a nap on the couch. Nikki had eyed him probing and with obvious skepticism again when he´d asked her to stay awake and alert for any message, but in the light of what he´d told her about yesterday, she agreed soon. Once more she was amazed how quickly Mac could switch between being fully aware and mentally in high gear and relaxing and calm only a few moments later, with all the tension of the assignment seemingly gone. While Nikki grabbed the maps of Znojmo and the surrounding area to study them another time, she watched with a small concern inside how Mac perched himself on the couch and fell asleep within a minute.

*****

MacGyver was startled awake by the ringing of a phone. A little disoriented at first, not knowing how long he´d been asleep, he needed a couple of seconds to remember where he was and what his situation was. Nikki´s voice as she answered the call made him open his eyes and then in a flash everything came back to him.

“Yes, of course.” He heard Nikki say. “I will tell my husband. He´ll be downstairs in a few minutes… Thank you very much.”

Then she hung up the phone and turned to MacGyver, who had just sat up on the couch and was running his hands through his unruly hair. He raised his eyebrows with an unspoken question.

“That was the receptionist.” Nikki told him after she had shot him a measuring look. “There´s a young man down with her, who claims he has a message that he´s only allowed to deliver personally… to Mr. Carpenter.”

MacGyver nodded, the rest of his sleepiness gone within the second, and his mind and senses back to high alert in the same. A glance at his watch told him it was already late afternoon, while he got up and strode to the window. Upon their arrival he had noticed, that this window went out to the front street, the same where the entrance of the hotel was located. Without pushing the curtains aside he let his eyes scan the street to the left and the right for any well-known but not welcome faces. When he found all he could overlook empty, he puffed out a breath and stepped back.

“Well, then I´ll better go downstairs and see what he´s got for me.” Mac answered. “I don´t see anyone tailing him.”

Nikki nodded, her face still somber. When Mac started walking to the door, she turned around, picked up her purse and followed him. Mac noticed it instantly, stopped just as he´d reached the door and looked at her over his shoulder.

“You said, that message was for me personally.” Mac stated. “Where are you going?”

“Downstairs… with you.” Nikki replied curtly. “We don´t know who is waiting for you.”

“We can assume that Dubcek sent this messenger.” MacGyver shot back. “He asked for me, not for us… we can´t risk scaring him off by appearing together.”

“What if he didn´t?” Nikki snorted. “What if those agents did see us on the square?”

MacGyver sighed and hung his head. No, he wasn´t in the mood for arguing with Nikki. He felt tolerably rested after sleeping through half of the afternoon, but he also felt some of his headache returning.

“We are on the second floor, and this place has no elevator.” Nikki pressed on. “The only way up and down is the staircase… at least let me watch your back.”

MacGyver took a deep breath. Well, she had a point there. But at the same time, he was relieved that there was no way Nikki could have brought the revolver along that she so regularly carried with her at home in the U.S.. Only a moment later an idea for keeping Dubcek safe when he met him rose in his mind. He reached out for his Calgary Flames cap on the nearby table and turned to face Nikki.

“All right.” he agreed. “But stay back and stay out of sight. I don´t want anyone to notice you´re there.”

Nikki seemed a little annoyed at his comment, but kept whatever remark she had in mind to herself and just nodded silently. MacGyver turned back to the door, puffed out a breath and slowly opened the door. He checked with a quick glance to the left and the right if the corridor was empty before he stepped outside and put on his cap.

“I´ll get the keys.” He heard Nikki say with a low voice from behind.

“Yep.” Mac confirmed, but his focus was already narrowing to the staircase as he approached it.

All his senses were highly observant, while he walked down the stairs, the whole time listening for Nikki a couple of feet behind himself. A few steps before he would reach the lobby Mac stopped for a brief moment, signaled Nikki with a raised hand and a warning look over his shoulder to stay put, and took a deep breath.

Then he took the last steps downwards and around the corner to find out who was waiting for him. Friend or foe? MacGyver gave the receptionist a beaming smile when he entered the lobby.

“My name´s Carpenter. My wife has told me, someone is waiting for me?” he asked as he approached her.

“Over there, sir.”

The middle-aged woman returned his smile and nodded towards a young man in the far corner of the room. He was looking out of the window, observing the street and obviously uptight. MacGyver walked across the room, trying to seem as casual and relaxed as possible.

“Hi, name´s Carpenter.” he addressed the younger man. “I was notified that you´ve got a message for me?”

The young man turned real quickly at his words and looked up at him nervously. He eyed MacGyver all over with obvious distrust.

“You are the one sent for help by our mutual friend?” he asked probing.

MacGyver nodded. The man was testing him. It wasn´t surprising that he had no faith in Mac and his words yet.

“I´m honored to hear that Anton calls me a friend.” he answered calmly. “I certainly do consider him that.”

The man eyed MacGyver again for a couple of seconds, judging him and his words. He can be only 18 or 20 years old at maximum, Mac assessed silently and a little impressed. Brave, if he is engaged in an organization like this at that young age. All the more reason to support them.

“We didn´t get much of a description of you.” the young man then told him and reached out his hand to Mac. “That´s why I was so cautious. My name is Lukas. I am a part of ‘Humanity’.”

“You´re definitely right to use caution.” MacGyver nodded, took his hand and shook it.

“I´m the one to make contact with you. And I´d like to thank you, because if everything turns out well, I won´t meet you again.” Lukas continued. Then he reached into his pocket and handed Mac a small, folded piece of paper. “This will tell you when and where to meet Pavel.”

MacGyver took it, opened it and scanned the information. The name and address of some café in the inner city were written on it along with a time. 8 p.m. He and Nikki had walked past that café today already. Nice coincidence, Mac thought. I won´t have any trouble finding it.

“Thanks.” he replied as he stuffed the paper into the pocket of his jeans. “I´ll be there… can you get a message back to Pavel?”

“Of course.” Lukas nodded with a little surprise. “What do you want me to tell him?”

MacGyver took a deep breath and cleared his throat.

“Tell him to keep the documents hidden. He must not bring them along.”

Lukas nodded again, now with a bit of alarm.

“The agents that took his brother Anton last year are already in town.” Mac carried on as his idea flashed back into his mind. “I saw them this afternoon… And please ask him to wear some hat or a cap like mine and a jacket. Something that´s recognizable, but won´t stand out too much… if possible.”

“I will.” Lukas assured with a puzzled look. “But what do you need the cap and the jacket for?”

“It´s just an idea for keeping Pavel safe…The less you know, the safer for you.” Mac smiled back apologetically. “Anything else I should know?”

“My task was only to set up the meeting.” Lukas shook his head. “We were told, that you will manage whatever happens from now on.”

MacGyver´s smile turned from apologetic to reassuring.

“I´ll do my best. But you´d better leave now.” He reached out his hand to the younger man. “Thank you for your help. Take care.”

Lukas took his hand and held on to it.

“We have to thank you for your support.” he replied. “Good luck.”

They parted, and MacGyver stayed still and close to the window while he watched Lukas open the door and leave the hotel. He observed the street as the young man was walking away. Mac saw no one emerging out of the shadows of any side street and following him. It seems as if Lukas is safe for the moment. It seems as if our cover and our stay here hasn´t been compromised yet, Mac assessed with relief. Now he somehow had to get Nikki to agree and play along with the plan that had formed in his head.

MacGyver puffed out a breath, turned back to the stairs and strode across the lobby toward them. Nikki had come around the last corner and was waiting for him at the bottom of the staircase. Her expression was serious as she looked up at her approaching colleague.

“So?” she asked expectantly as they climbed the stairs upwards to their room. “Everything set up?”

Mac only nodded silently; he was not willing to share any details before they had reached the relative safety of their suite. His mind was already in high gear and considering different scenarios. After he had closed the door, he turned to Nikki with his well-known focused expression.

“Yes, time and location are set.” he told Nikki. “And I think I´ve got a good idea on how to go through with it.”

Nikki sighed deeply and rolled her eyes.

“Of course you do.”

*****

It was about 7 p.m. when MacGyver got ready to leave. It had taken some intense persuading to get Nikki to agree with his plan. She still wasn´t happy about him leaving and going alone on this meet. She remembered how tense he had been yesterday evening; she remembered the aspirin he had taken around midday – she was worried about MacGyver although he had assured her that he was fine. Her confidence in Mac´s abilities was unwavering. Nikki was sure, he could handle any upcoming situation or problem on his own if he was at his best – but was he really okay?

His kind of sketchy plan asked of her to stay put, right here in this hotel room and wait. MacGyver would meet Pavel Dubcek, try to lose the GRU agents – if they followed Dubcek – then retrieve the documents and return to the hotel. He had told her that he wanted their room to stay a safe operation base – should anything go wrong – and that he needed her right here as his backup for the same reason.

As always, his plan had included several ‘if’s’ and ‘when’s’, but Nikki had gotten used to that over the past year. She didn´t like it tough; she still preferred a well-organized and set-up plan to Mac´s way of improvising through any given mission. Nevertheless, Nikki admitted to herself, whatever they had been through during this last year, it had worked out fine in the end.

She watched him closely while he shrugged into his leather jacket and put on his black cap.

“I still don´t like the idea of you facing those agents alone.” Nikki said with a little concern. “Are you really sure about this?”

MacGyver sighed and hung his head for a moment. The mere thought of discussing his plan once again with Nikki made him feel tired. Despite the few hours of rest and sleep that he had gotten in the afternoon, he still felt some symptoms of an upcoming cold. The aspirin kept them at bay for the moment, but for how long would that work? Mac truly hoped that he would be able to complete this mission fast and without any unexpected trouble. He wanted to drive back to Vienna tonight, together with Nikki, Pavel Dubcek and the documents.

“Nikki, we´ve been through that.” he answered while he slipped his fake passport into the inner pocket of his jacket. Then he stuffed some local money into another pocket of his brown jacket, checked for his Swiss Army knife and the duct tape and turned to her. With one of his best disarming smiles, he added: “Believe me, I´d like to get back to continuing my vacation as soon as possible.”

Nikki still pinned him with a doubtful look as she was standing close to the bed, hands on her hips.

“What about your…” she started to ask, but was cut off by Mac raising one hand and stepping closer to her.

“I´m all right.” he assured, even now grinning broadly. Pete´s way of constantly worrying about me is starting to rub off on her, Mac thought. “And I need you worried about our assignment, not about me.” he added aloud.

Nikki frowned at him, but nodded.

“I am.” she replied, while he turned back to the door and reached for the handle. “But MacGyver… be careful, will you?”

Mac shot her a boyish grin over his shoulder, but turned serious the moment he saw the tense expression on her face.

“Yes, ma’am.” he said low and confident, hoping it would calm her down.

Then he tore his gaze off Nikki and left the room. Her worried eyes bothered him, more than they should have, and it took some effort, but as soon as he had reached the lobby, his concentration was back to what lay ahead of him. MacGyver asked the receptionist for a second key to his room, telling her some story about him and his wife having separate plans for the evening. To himself he thought, if things go sideways, it wouldn´t hurt to have another key. Just in case…

*****

As he had expected, MacGyver didn´t have any difficulties finding the side street next to the main square, where the café was located. He arrived way too early, as he had intended to, and took his planned look around the area before meeting Dubcek inside. He wanted to make sure that Zorkin and Baranov weren´t already here. He knew, if those two were at the location in advance, then someone out of Dubcek´s organization had spilled their plans to them. Then the whole operation was endangered.

But the surroundings of the café were clean, so at the moment nothing lead Mac to the suspicion that they had been compromised yet. Now it just had to stay that way.

MacGyver entered the café a few minutes early, before 8 p.m., and chose a table in one of the more secluded and dimly lighted back corners. He ordered an orange juice and waited; all his senses were on high alert, quickly trying to get a feel for the employees and the other customers. Now he felt the familiar thrill of an upcoming adventure and the mission that lay ahead of him. Nonetheless, he did his best to look casual and relaxed on the outside. You´re just an American tourist, he reminded himself inwardly.

He had just taken a long sip of his orange juice when he saw Dubcek come into the café. Mac remembered the face from the file he´d seen and was relieved that the other facts he had read were correct as well. Unlike his brother Anton, Pavel was a tall man, about the same height as Mac. He wasn´t as well trained tough, but the blouson he was wearing covered that fact quite well. MacGyver noticed that Pavel had followed his instructions. Pavel´s jacket and cap were blue, not too bright, not too dark. Distinctive, but not too flashy. So far, so good, Mac sighed to himself while he eyed the man all over.

Pavel was looking around the room while he walked slowly into it, and when his eyes reached the table in the corner, MacGyver raised his glass a little bit and gave him a small nod. When he saw Pavel´s gaze lock on to him, MacGyver leaned back in his chair and focused on observing the main entrance again. With the sun nearing the horizon, the side street in front of the café had gotten darker and shady. It got more difficult to spot the GRU agents. MacGyver didn´t know if Pavel Dubcek knew their faces, and he had to be alert for the possibility that one of them might enter the café as well. Mac was sure those two would remember his own face very well.

But no one followed Pavel Dubcek inside.

MacGyver kept his eyes on the door and the windows until Pavel had crossed the room and sat down opposite to him. Then he focused on the obviously nervous man and shot him a reassuring smile.

“You´re the one, that saved my brother last year?” Pavel asked a little cautious.

“Yep.” Mac only nodded. “Name´s MacGyver.”

“And you´re willing to take the risk and help us again?”

“Yeah, I am.” Mac replied. “And I can see, that it´s working out. Lukas has forwarded the information, as I´d asked him to.”

“He did.” Pavel´s expression was still tense as he agreed with a small nod. “I wasn´t aware of those agents yet. I´m not familiar with their faces. Must have been easy for them to tail me… To them, I´m a terrorist with dangerous ideas… but from our point of view, we´re only fighting for freedom.”

“I was concerned about you not knowing them.” Mac admitted. “That´s why I asked you to keep those documents hidden. They need you to lead them to those papers before they can take you.”

MacGyver´s words did nothing to ease up Pavel´s tension. Mac smiled at him again.

“For the moment we´re safe. I´ve seen none of them so far.”

He could see how the man opposite to him slowly let out a deep breath.

“Where are the documents hidden?” Mac continued, sensing how Pavel relaxed a bit. “How long will it take to pick them up?”

Now Pavel´s face turned from nervous to focused.

“About 45 minutes from here and back again.” he told Mac. “We can go there anytime. Are you familiar with the city and its surroundings?”

“More or less.” Mac replied. “I´ve had time to study some maps.”

In the next moment, his gaze got caught by someone outside the café. His brown eyes focused on the face, but the darkening shadows made it difficult for Mac to recognize it. Pavel quickly noticed his change of concentration.

“What´s the matter?” he asked.

“I´m afraid, we´re not all safe here anymore.” MacGyver kept observing the street on the other side of the glass. “I think, I saw Zorkin just a moment ago.”

Pavel drew in a sharp breath.

“Will they remember you?”

“Yeah.” Mac said hurriedly, his mind switching into high gear in an instant. “They would have failed their job if they didn´t. They must not see us together or recognize me. If they do, they´ll know that we´re up to something, and that´ll make them act.”

Pavel stared at him silently for a moment, and the nervousness was back in his face.

“But Anton let me know, you´d have fake papers for me, and that we could cross the border without problems.” he objected.

“That´s true.” Mac assured him, while his eyes were still glued to the street. “These papers are with my partner in our hotel room. But those two agents must not notice my presence. It´ll alert them.”

Now he saw both agents on the other side of the street, talking to each other and then retreating to a shady corner where he could barely see them. He had to get them off their tail, especially off Pavel´s tail, or he´d never be able to retrieve the documents. MacGyver remembered a scenario that had flashed through his mind while he had talked to Lukas. He had hoped, he wouldn´t be forced to go through with it, but right now, it seemed to be his best option.

“Will I be able to retrieve the documents on my own?” he asked.

“Yes.” Pavel answered quickly. “They are on a 35mm positive film. In a common plastic film can. There´s…”

MacGyver cut him off with a small raise of his hand and a brief warning look.

“Both Zorkin and Baranov are waiting for you outside.” he explained as he switched his eyes back to the street. “I don´t think they noticed me so far. If I can make them believe that I am you, they´ll follow me when I leave.”

Now confusion added to the nervous expression on Pavel´s face.

“You want them to follow you?” he asked baffled. “But how…? And from what I know, they are dangerous, aren´t they?”

“They are.” Mac nodded. “But I´ve got an idea on how to keep you safe while I retrieve the film, and then we´ll cross the border together without getting into trouble.”

His eyes lit up with excitement while he took another long sip of his orange juice. Now he felt the adrenaline pumping; now all his distracting thoughts of the last days were gone. Now he totally focused on his plan. Pavel´s expression was full of doubt. He remained silent.

“Okay, here´s what I want you to do…” Mac continued while a small smile flashed across his face. “Go to the restrooms… I´ll come after you in a minute or two.”

The question mark on Pavel´s face was all too obvious, but he kept quiet and followed Mac´s instruction.

“Relax.” MacGyver softly told him as he walked past Mac stiff and tense again.

When the waitress passed his table Mac hurried to pay for his orange juice, emptied his glass and observed Zorkin and Baranov for a few more moments. They had stayed at their hiding place at the corner. From there, they could see both the main entrance and, at a small distance, the side entrance of the café. Perfect, Mac thought while he took a deep breath. Now I just have to draw your attention to me and keep you two hooked on my tail. Then he got up and went after Dubcek.

*****

MacGyver found Pavel Dubcek in the men´s restroom, holding on to one of the hand basins, staring into the mirror. Mac was relieved to see that they were alone and the only window was small, very high up, and made of frosted glass. No one would be able to observe what they were about to do in here. Pavel turned his eyes and looked at MacGyver through his reflection in the mirror.

“How?” he asked. “How are you going to make them believe that you are me? … We´re about the same height, but…?”

Once again Mac smiled at him with his usual nonchalance.

“We´re going to fake it.” he said while he shrugged out of his jacket and emptied its pockets. “Give me your cap and your jacket.”

MacGyver stuffed the money and his fake passport into the back pocket of his jeans and held out his black Calgary Flames cap and the brown leather jacket to Pavel. The other man turned to him still a little bewildered and surprised, but quickly obeyed Mac´s instructions. He watched how Mac, with the help of the mirror, hid his unruly hair to the best of his abilities under the blue cap and then tucked up the collar of the blue blouson to hide the long hair at the back of his neck.

“You really think this will be enough to fool them?” Pavel asked while he shrugged into Mac´s jacket.

“I sure hope so.” Mac answered after a last probing look at himself in the mirror. It has to, or we´ll be getting into trouble real fast, he thought to himself. “The sun is setting, the streets are getting darker.” he added aloud to reassure the other man. “They won´t be able to make out much detail. They will follow me… Now tell me where and how I can pick up the film.”

He took a look at Pavel Dubcek, and was satisfied with what he saw, although seeing the man in his favorite jacket and cap felt awkward. I´ve gone to plan b already, but it doesn´t matter now, he mused. If everything runs according to that plan, I´ll get those clothes back real soon.

“There´s a small chapel near the highest point of the hill north of the river reservoir. Overlooking the dam.” Pavel told him. “There´s a tree with a quite distinctive split trunk close to it. I hid the film can inside an opening close to its roots.”

MacGyver nodded to Dubcek, fished the hotel key out of his jeans´ pocket, and handed it to him.

“This is the key to my hotel room.” he explained. “My colleague´s waiting there. I want you to go there after I´ve drawn those GRU agents away. Nikki will be a little surprised, but she´ll take care of you. Tell Nikki that I sent you and that I want her to leave the hotel with you. Tell her to wait for me at the bridge that we crossed when we drove into the city today. If I´m not there in two hours, I want you both to take the car and return to Austria without me. If I get hung up, I´ll find another way to cross the border.”

He took a quick glance at his watch and then looked up at Pavel again. The other man still seemed a little overwhelmed by the situation.

“Now... I will return to our table first and take your place.” Mac continued. “I want you to come after me and sit on my chair in a couple of moments.”

MacGyver shot him another reassuring smile, saw him nod his agreement and then left the restroom. His eyes scanned the street through the windows on his way back to the table. He was instantly relieved to see Zorkin and Baranov waiting at the same corner as before and puffed out a breath as he sat down. Now for the tricky part, he thought while his mind was already considering how he would accomplish the rest of his mission. He didn´t have to wait long until Pavel took the seat opposite to him.

“There are two men in dark suits at the corner across the street.” Mac told him. “See them?”

Dubcek´s eyes left him and concentrated outside.

“Those are the GRU agents?” Pavel asked back when he had noticed them.

“Right.” MacGyver´s face was focused and serious now. “I´m going to leave through the side entrance. At best, they´ll both come after me. I want you to wait until we´re well out of sight and then head for the hotel. Hurry, but be careful.”

With that, he got up and wanted to leave, but Pavel reached out and held out his hand to Mac.

“Thank you, Mr. MacGyver.” he said. “You´re taking a big risk. I hope, everything will work out.”

Mac took the offered hand and shook it.

“I´m sure gonna try my best… I´ll see you in two hours.” he replied confidently before he left the man.

Mac took a deep breath while he went toward the side entrance. Come on, Mac, he encouraged himself mentally, not quite feeling the confidence he had just shown a moment ago. You can do this. You´ve been through situations like this before. Then he reached for the door´s handle, pulled it open and stepped outside. With a quick, barely noticeable sideways glance MacGyver assured himself that Zorkin and Baranov had seen him leave the café and then walked off to the main square. There, he thought, it will be easy for them to stay on my tail. I can lose them in time before I reach that chapel and pick up the film.

*****



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 8 November 2021 - 10:27 AM                                    
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DXS Agent
*****

Posts: 610
Joined: 2 Apr 2017
Gender:  Female
Country: USA
SAK owned:

Favorites
Season: ---
Episode:Faith, Hope, and Charity
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
House:  House boat



And the adventure begins!! I love how MacGyverisms can be as simple as switching clothes! I'm sure Nikki's not happy about being left behind, but she is showing her trust in Mac...even if she doesn't agree with his "plans".

So...if he doesn't make it back in 2 hours, will Nikki REALLY leave without him? I'd say it's a 50/50 chance, depending on how mad she is!!

Nice little cliffhanger...the adventure is underway!!!



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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bluegirl
Posted: 8 November 2021 - 11:38 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 7 November 2021 - 11:50 AM)
Also, I would like to offer my services if you ever decide to have someone proofread your stories for American grammar before you post them.

Thanks for the kind offer, but I already have someone supporting me in this 'department'. She´s a studied English teacher...



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 11 November 2021 - 06:47 AM                                    
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Hi there, here we go with the next part... Mac still thinks, this is going to be a 'simple' assignment... let´s see...

Part 4

Pavel Dubcek watched with a mixture of amazement and worry how MacGyver headed away, and how the GRU agents, Mac had pointed out to him, were immediately tense and after only a moment picked up the pursuit. They concentrated fully on the man with the blue cap and jacket, none of the two thought about checking the inside of the café as Pavel noticed with relief. He felt for the hotel key in the pocket of the leather jacket. Znojmo wasn´t his hometown, but he knew his way around the city. Reaching the hotel shouldn´t take more than 15 or 20 minutes if he hurried up.

Dubcek took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and left the café. He checked the street to both sides; just to be sure that MacGyver and the agents were gone before he strode off. He pulled the black cap a little lower into his face while he rushed through the darkening streets, every once and a while glancing over his shoulder.

By the time, he arrived at the hotel, Pavel had relaxed a bit. He hadn´t seen anyone following him and felt a little safer. Now he was about to meet MacGyver´s colleague, what had he called her, Nikki?

Pavel sighed as he entered the hotel and crossed the lobby toward the stairs. He was getting closer to leaving his country, but also to not living in danger and constant fear anymore, and to being reunited with his brother. Leaving his home and friends behind made part of him feel sad, but he clung on to the thought that change was possible. He and his brother would continue their fight for human rights and freedom, together, from the U.S.A. After one year of being separated, Pavel was truly looking forward to meeting his brother Anton again.

The receptionist shot him a friendly but questioning smile as she greeted him. Pavel stopped for a moment, returned the greeting, and told her, he was about to meet a friend and that he already knew the room number. He was relieved when she nodded her agreement and returned to her work. Obviously, she had bought his little white lie.

Dubcek turned back to the stairs and climbed them while he retrieved the key, MacGyver had given him, from his pocket. When he had reached the second floor, he quickly spotted the matching door but found it locked. After a sideways glance to make sure that he was alone, Pavel used the key to open the door, took a step into the room, and hurriedly closed the door behind himself. He saw a woman with wavy, dark brown hair sitting on the couch with his back to him, who put down a file she had just been reading.

“Back that soon, MacGyver?” she asked while she got up and turned around. “Another change of plans…”

Nikki had in the corner of her eye only noticed a tall man with a brown leather jacket and a black cap and assumed that Mac had returned as she´d started talking, but as she got a good look at him, she instantly fell silent. Her body stiffened, instinctively preparing to fight any intruder, but after overcoming her first few seconds of alarm and surprise, her mind matched the man standing just inside her room with the pictures she had seen yesterday in the files. Dubcek sensed her tension and raised his hands defensively, but before he could say anything, Nikki addressed him again.

“Mr. Dubcek?” she wanted to know, just to be sure. “Mr. Pavel Dubcek?”

“Yes.” Pavel nodded. “And you must be Mr. MacGyver´s colleague? … Nikki?”

“Yes, I´m Nicole Carpenter.” Nikki confirmed with a little smile. But the smile was gone in the next moment, when the fact that Pavel was alone and wore Mac´s jacket and cap registered in her mind. Her face darkened.

“But where´s MacGyver?” she continued quickly. “And why have you got his clothes?”

Pavel relaxed a bit and took a few steps towards Nikki.

“The GRU agents had followed me to the café. He chose to draw them away, pretending to be me, so I could safely come here. He´s now on the way to pick up the documents, I had hidden.” he gave a short summary of their meeting. “He asked me to tell you, that we should leave the hotel and meet him at the bridge over the Thaya that you crossed when driving into the city.” He took a quick look at his watch. “But if he´s not there until ten minutes past 10 p.m., we should leave and head to Austria without him. He said, if that happens, he´ll find another way to cross the border.”

Nikki sighed deeply. That was more or less the scenario she´d been worried about. MacGyver was out there on his own, and she had no way to get into contact with him. Or to support him. She could only hope that he would make it to their meeting point in time. But at least she now had an objective to focus on. She had to protect the man standing in front of her and make everyone believe that he was a family member of hers.

“Mr. MacGyver said, you have documents that will allow me to come with you to Austria? … And then to the U.S.A.?”

Pavel´s question after a couple of silent seconds broke Nikki out of her thoughts. She looked up at Dubcek.

“I do.” she answered after her concentration was back on the task at hand. “With those forged documents we´ll have to pretend that the two of us are related. That´ll make it easy to deceive the guards at the border. Once we´re in Austria, we´ll be going directly to Vienna, where our boss is waiting. From there we´ll be going to Los Angeles via airplane… Do you have your real passport with you?”

“No.” Pavel shook his head with sudden concern. “I just now realized, that I left it in the jacket I gave to Mr. MacGyver.”

“That´s no problem.” Nikki told him. “In fact, it´s good. It´s one item less to hide when we get to the border.”

She went to the bed and searched her bag for the envelope, Pete had handed them yesterday. She fingered out Pavel´s fake passport and papers and gave them to him.

“There you go. You´d better familiarize yourself with it, while I gather all our baggage.” she advised.

Pavel only nodded silently as he opened the passport and had a first look at the name he would be using for the next hours or maybe days. Nikki quickly turned back to the couch, collected the files she´d been reading, and concentrated on what she needed to prepare to leave the hotel as soon as possible without arising suspicion. MacGyver´s duffle bag was sitting next to the files, still closed and readily packed. Her own bag was also almost good to go. She only had to gather her belongings, return the keys to the room, and tell the receptionist a story about some emergency that forced her to leave early. Then she saw the keys for the rental car lying on the bedside table. Of course, Mac had been thoughtful enough to leave them with her. And instantly her mind was back with him.

I´m just hoping, you´re all right Mac, she thought. Don´t get yourself into trouble. Please, turn up in time.

*****

MacGyver took his time as he walked along the main square, every now and then stopping on purpose in front of some storefront window. With short, careful glances he assured himself that Zorkin and Baranov were still on his tail. He had to give Pavel Dubcek enough time to get to the hotel before he could lose those two. Until then he had to make sure the agents wouldn´t notice who he really was.

When he arrived at the smaller streets on the other end of the square, Mac quickened his pace slightly. Referring to his mental map of the city he knew that those side streets were his chance to get rid of his tail before he would reach the path through the forest that would lead him up the hill north of the river reservoir. But after a few hundred feet Mac realized with alarm that the two agents had already picked up his faster tempo and grew closer. A lot closer. Way too close to lose them in the streets he now approached.

MacGyver quickly decided to change his path and turned right at the next corner. He remembered a church with a maze of small alleys around it nearby. While he felt his insides getting tense, Mac forced himself to remain casual and relaxed on the outside, knowing very well that these agents mustn´t notice that he knew they were there and that he was up to something.

He strode to the church and entered it through its side entrance. Relieved he saw that there was only little light inside, as he had hoped. Mac quickly scanned the church with his eyes and noticed a group of tourists close to the main entrance.

If I can manage to blend in with them…

Keeping close to the walls, once in a while using one of the stone columns for cover MacGyver worked his way over to the group of people. When he dared to take a short look over his shoulder, he saw that Zorkin and Baranov had come inside a few moments after him and were searching for him, but hadn´t discovered him yet. He had no time to spare.

MacGyver passed the last couple of feet a little faster and slid behind the tourists. Some of the men in this group were about his height, and Mac hoped they would distract the agents long enough for him to get to the door. He hid his face, lowering his head while he mimicked the group and went along with their flow to the door, but always kept the GRU agents in the corner of his eye. When, just for a moment, they both looked the other way, Mac quickly took the opportunity and hurried outside and around the corner to his right. Hastily he crossed the small square around the church towards the nearest narrow street leading to the wooded vicinity of this part of the city.

MacGyver quickly turned to check that he wasn´t being followed anymore before he rushed along the alley. He didn´t see that just as he took the step around the corner, Yevgeni Zorkin left the church and spotted him, right at the moment when he disappeared into the street. Zorkin waved at his partner to come closer.

“He must have noticed us.” he said as Baranov came to his side. “We´ve got to be more careful or he´ll never lead us to those documents. Dubcek went down that street. We´d better split up and follow him separately.”

“I´ll cover the street to his right.” Baranov nodded his agreement.

Then they both went off to pursue the man they believed to be Pavel Dubcek.

*****

MacGyver took a glance at his watch while he hurried down the small alley. His quick mental calculation confirmed that Dubcek should have reached the hotel by now. Meaning, he was safe and Nikki would make sure that it stayed that way. Mac puffed out a relieved breath.

So, I only have to retrieve that film and make it back to the bridge in time. Piece of cake, now that I´ve lost my tail…

Mac mused for a moment about getting rid of his disguise but quickly abandoned the idea. Since the sun had set behind the horizon in the meantime after a hot and sunny day, the temperatures were dropping rapidly. He was grateful for the extra protection Pavel´s jacket provided because by now the symptoms of his impending cold were clearly back. Mac felt the headache again, as well as cold chills alternating with heat rushing up and down his spine. Inwardly he chided himself for not having swallowed another aspirin before he had left the hotel. The effects of the one he had taken around midday were wearing off.

MacGyver pulled the zipper up a little, flipped up the collar around his neck once more, and tucked his hands into the pockets while he headed out from between the buildings and into the forest. He was surprised when one of his hands touched something flat and rectangular. Mac pulled it out and recognized it within a moment as a Czechoslovakian passport.

That must be Pavel Dubcek´s real passport, he realized. He won´t need it to cross the border. I´d better hide it or probably even get rid of it before we reach the crossing. But first things first…

He stuffed the passport back into the pocket and hurried on along the small path through the trees. He had now reached the slope leading up the hill and could spot the dam of the river reservoir to his left side in the slowly darkening sunset. The path led up the hill in serpentines with very few trees as cover.

A couple of minutes later MacGyver had arrived at the top of the hill and reoriented himself. Some buildings ahead of him, a patch of forest to his right, more trees to his left – the small chapel had to be behind these trees, overlooking the reservoir. MacGyver took a glance at his watch while he continued his way in the dim light.

Close to 9 p.m. Good. Now simply find that ‘special tree’, pick up the film and head back. For once it seems as if everything is gonna work out as planned…

From up here, MacGyver could see the sky and the clouds to the west glowing red and orange with the remains of the sunset. When he reached the open space around the chapel, Mac allowed himself a moment to take in the view over the reservoir and the slopes reaching down to it. There was a path right in front of him, leading down a steep slope, directly to the dam. That would be his way back to the city and toward the bridge.

MacGyver nodded to himself and then turned and quickly scanned the trees around the chapel with his eyes. Distinctive split trunk… Pavel´s words echoed in his head as he made his way around the tiny chapel. Soon he spotted a huge old oak tree with a crack along the whole length of its trunk. Looks like it has been hit by lightning a long time ago, Mac mused and suddenly shuddered with the memory of the day before flashing into his mind.

He closed in on that tree and ran his hands over the bark, forcing himself to concentrate back on his task and searching for the opening Dubcek had told him about. Quickly he found a hole at the side of the crack, just a few inches above the roots of the tree, and reached into it. MacGyver´s long fingers felt a small plastic can and pulled it out. He opened it, took out a strip of 35mm film and held it up, looking at it against the remaining light. The positives showed several documents, and Mac puffed out a relieved breath, even if he couldn´t make out any details in the dim light. He rolled up the film, stuffed it back into the can and safely replaced the lid.

He slowly got up but had to close his eyes for a moment and hold on to the tree as his headache suddenly spiked. He took a few deep breaths and pushed back the pain before he straightened himself and turned to the path leading downwards.

Better get going fast…

He had taken only a couple of steps when he heard something rustle at some distance below him on the slope and froze again. The hair at the back of his neck stood on end at once, a sudden shiver ran down his spine, but in the first seconds, he couldn´t distinguish if it was caused by his upcoming cold or his survival instinct kicking in. Not until he saw someone in the growing darkness, slowly making his way up in his direction and dressed in a dark suit. Instantly all his senses were on alert.

Baranov. Obviously, I haven´t gotten rid of them successfully. But he is alone… Where is his partner?

MacGyver´s mind hit overdrive while he retreated back to the edge of the trees and tried to blend in with the shadows. Only two paths headed up from the city to the chapel. The one along which he had come up here, and the one on which he had intended to leave. Out of reflex Mac stuffed the film can into the pocket of his jeans and turned back to the other path. He took a few quick, yet quiet steps along the tree line, then passed the clearing to the walls of the small chapel and, stepping backward, slid around its corner.

Only a second later MacGyver froze once more as he felt something small but hard press against his back.

“Stop! … Nehýbejte se, Dubcek!” he heard Zorkin growl only a moment later.

Mac chided himself inwardly for not being careful enough.

Aw man, that´s where his partner is… Now what? … Think, MacGyver. He still hasn´t recognized you…

Mac didn´t speak any Czech but the first word and the muzzle of the handgun pressed against his spine were understandable in several languages. He held up his hands a little to signalize his surrender, but kept his head straight and lowered it a bit to keep his face hidden from the man behind him. The seconds seemed to spread into eternity as he felt the adrenaline rush into his veins. He didn´t have a lot of time to spare until Baranov would have managed to climb the slope. He would recognize MacGyver as soon as he came up in front of him.

MacGyver´s thoughts ran wild while he desperately searched for a way out. From past experience, he knew that those two agents wouldn´t hesitate to shoot to kill.

What the heck happened to simple? I just wanted to continue my vacation as soon as possible… Now, how can I create some diversion? … Quickly?

While MacGyver´s eyes frenetically scanned his surroundings for anything useful, he suddenly heard a crushing and sliding noise on the slope down below, almost instantly accompanied by words whose angry tone gave away some meaning, even if Mac didn´t understand them either. But the pressure of the muzzle against his back abruptly lessened with Zorkin being distracted by the swearing of his stumbling partner.

Now or never!

MacGyver quickly whirled around, with the same motion knocked the arm holding the gun to the side, held on to that arm with his left hand, and followed that up with a right-hand punch to Zorkin´s jaw. He caught the agent off guard, who stumbled backward while Mac managed to take the gun from him and hit him again with full force. Zorkin dropped to the ground out cold as Mac stood over him, holding the revolver with his left while he shook his hurting right hand.

Only a second later he remembered that Baranov was closing in on his position and that the other way down the hill provided almost no cover. He quickly made up his decision, threw the gun into some shadowy thicket at a little distance, and ran off into the forest along the crest of the hill, away from the city. Mac didn´t notice that Dubcek´s passport had fallen out of his jacket´s pocket at the moment he had rushed through the bushes at the edge of the trees. He just knew he had to get away. Fast.

*****

Baranov hadn´t noticed what had happened to his partner until he reached the top of the hill. MacGyver hadn´t given Zorkin enough time to alert him with a shout before he had knocked him out. Emil Baranov only found Zorkin on the ground in the dim light and hurried to him at once. He grabbed Zorkin by one shoulder and shook him, but the other agent was already coming out of it.

“What happened?” Baranov asked quickly. “How did Dubcek…”

“It wasn´t Dubcek.” Zorkin cut him off while he slowly rose up and rubbed his aching jaw. “Do you remember the man that crossed our plans last year? ... It was MacGyver!”

“But how?” Baranov asked confused. “We followed him the whole day… never left him out of our sight…”

“I don´t care!” Zorkin shot back angrily. “He had Dubcek´s jacket and cap to disguise himself… But he has the film. We have to go after him.”

“I didn´t see to which direction he left.” Baranov answered. “I´ll check the other path to the city.”

With that, he hurried off around the chapel to where he would have a good view of the slope leading back to the city. Zorkin stood still for a moment while he was fighting back some dizziness and looked around himself. He noticed something dark and rectangular a few feet away on the ground just hidden under some thicket and slowly went to pick it up. In the twilight, he examined it closer and recognized it as Pavel Dubcek´s passport. Looking into the forest he then saw some broken branches at a little distance. His partner returned only a moment later.

“No sign of him there.” Baranov told him quickly.

“I just found that one.” Zorkin showed him the passport and nodded towards the trees. “He must have lost it as he ran off… This way, I think.”

Baranov took a couple of steps roughly into the indicated direction, noticed the broken branches, and bent down to pick up something else from the ground.

“I think you´re right.” he told his partner as he handed him his revolver. “Let´s get him.”

Then they both took up the chase.

*****

MacGyver ran through the trees as fast as he could without making too much noise and risk attracting attention, but fast enough to get some distance between himself and the two agents. He had only covered a few hundred yards when the patch of forest ended abruptly and he slid to a stop facing a grain field. Behind it, he saw a cornfield that had grown a bit higher in the half-light, and only beyond that one, he spotted trees that would be high enough to hide his escape route.

He scanned the open space hurriedly with his eyes and then ran off along the border of the grain field. Dashing through it would have caused too much noise, he decided quickly. MacGyver shot the reservoir lake a sideways glance while he ran and the thought of swimming to its opposite side crossed his mind. But he dismissed the idea only seconds later. No cover, no way to hide for quite some time, and it would take him way too long. He wouldn´t be able to reach the meeting point with Nikki at the bridge in good time.

It was rather high time to come up with plan c. And trust Nikki that she would take care of taking Pavel Dubcek safely to Austria, to Vienna. They had agreed on a secondary meeting point and time in a small village on ‘secure’ Austrian soil, early tomorrow morning; just in case… should they get separated… should things really go sideways.

Seems as if I´ll need to use that one, MacGyver mused as he reached the cornfield and hurried on along it. The slope next to his left side got steeper, and Mac had to pay way more attention to not losing his footing. Nevertheless, he was surprised when at the end of the cornfield the ground declined abruptly in front of him. MacGyver just so managed to slow down in time to avoid stumbling and falling.

Ahead of him lay a small valley with a creek at its bottom, the forest starting again on the opposite side. He stopped, looked behind himself for his pursuers, and abruptly the idea of swimming flashed back into his mind. He´d be out of sight for a couple of moments at the edge of the creek. Maybe, just maybe he could distract the two agents and lure them away from his trail, if only for a few minutes.

After another look back he carefully and quietly made his way to the bottom of the small valley while he shrugged out of the blue jacket Pavel had given him. MacGyver had appreciated the extra warmth it had provided him with in the now falling temperatures of the growing darkness after the sunset. He couldn´t suppress a sudden shiver running down his back as the cool wind hit his skin with only the little protection of his dark shirt. It reminded him that his physical condition wasn´t as good and stable as he was used to it.

MacGyver forced himself to focus on the task at hand as he reached the bank where the creek flowed into the reservoir lake. He dropped Pavel´s jacket well visible on the bank of the lake, took off the cap, and threw it out onto the water´s surface. Satisfied with seeing it float several yards away from the water´s edge, Mac quickly turned and stepped into the creek. The ice-cold water reached up to his knees, but he swiftly crossed it.

On the opposite edge, right where the first trees were growing, Mac found a rounded stone – large and heavy enough to cause an appropriate splash. He picked it up with a little effort, ignored his protesting left shoulder, and listened hard for a few moments. When his ears told him that Zorkin and Baranov were hurrying along the grain field, he threw the stone in the direction of the floating cap with all the strength he had.

With the noise of the water splashing when that stone hit the surface, MacGyver quickly turned and ran off into the forest along the reservoir lake once more. With a little luck, the GRU agents would buy his deception and believe that he jumped into the water and was trying to escape swimming. If they didn´t, it might at least buy him some time and distance.

*****

Zorkin and Baranov stopped instantly when they heard the water splash. They were about halfway along the cornfield when their focus was directed out to the water.

“He´s trying to cross the lake!” Zorkin exclaimed. “Quickly! We can get him while he´s swimming.”

Both of them rushed away from the field, down the slope to the reservoir´s bank, and scanned the water´s surface. Baranov was the first to notice the floating cap.

“There! He must be underwater, diving.” he called out and pointed to it. He hurried along the water´s edge to get closer and saw the jacket lying on the ground. Zorkin followed him, picked up the jacket, and examined it.

“The film is not there.” he stated and then stared out to the lake with his partner. Both of them stood tense at the bank of the river reservoir. With their weapons drawn and pointed to the water, they watched the waves, searching for any clue where MacGyver would break through the surface. They stared with anticipation, knowing very well that he wouldn´t be able to stay underwater infinitely.

The moments seemed to stretch as Zorkin and Baranov kept their eyes scanning the reservoir in the dim light, but nothing happened. After a minute or two Zorkin turned his gaze up- and downwards the bank of the river. There was almost no cover along the water´s edge, yet he saw no sign of MacGyver there as well.

“This is useless. He´s not out there.” he growled afterward and took a step back. “He would have drowned by now. He´s trying to trick us.”

“But where is he?” Baranov asked as he looked at him puzzled. “We would have heard him coming if he had turned back toward the city.”

Zorkin nodded. Then he noticed the faint imprint of a shoe on the opposite, shadowy side of the small creek to their right, and pointed to it with his revolver.

“There.” he stated. “He´s trying to flee through the woods to the border. We have to keep him running and drive him toward the fence and the border patrols. He can´t know the terrain and all the security measures in detail. He will be cornered with no way out real soon.”

Baranov agreed with a smug grin. Then they both shot the small, icy creek a disgusted look, but nevertheless crossed it quickly one after another and continued their chase.



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 11 November 2021 - 10:33 AM                                    
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Aw man! (as Mac would say). Things just got complicated!! And I keep forgetting he's sick and his shoulder is hurt! Well, at least Pavel is safe with Nikki. And Nikki does seem concerned about Mac. Hmmm. Is it just professional?? Doesn't look like Mac will meet them in time...but with him you never know, right?!?!

I like his deception with the coat and throwing the hat in the water. Too bad the agents caught on. Hopefully it bought him some time, at least.

I LOVE the two very classic Mac gestures you included: Shaking his hand after hitting the agent and tossing the gun aside.

Overall a very exciting and well-written chapter. Loads of awesome description make it seem as if I'm actually "watching" it! And I like that you change point of view to include Pavel and the bad guys. Very well done!



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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bluegirl
Posted: 12 November 2021 - 01:06 AM                                    
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What did we say about complications lately?? whistle.gif There might be some more to come... Since we´ve only reached chapter 4! (of 21)

And if you already feel like 'watching' an episode, then I´ve reached one of my goals already! Woohoo! Thanks!



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 14 November 2021 - 05:07 AM                                    
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Hello there! A beautiful Sunday to every one!

We mentioned complications before... there might be some still to come... Quite some history research went into this one... here we go with:

Part 5


Gathering the baggage, returning the keys, and leaving the hotel fast but without obvious haste hadn´t been much of a challenge for Nikki. Pavel had carried Mac´s duffle bag, still wearing his jacket and cap, and had kept himself in the background, just as Nikki had instructed him to do. Thankfully he hadn´t aroused any suspicion with the receptionist on duty. They had quickly made their way to the rental car that Mac had parked at a little distance to the hotel.

Nikki had taken up driving to the bridge over the Thaya herself, but had relied on Pavel´s knowledge of the city in finding a place where they could wait for MacGyver. He had helped her park the sedan at a spot where they could overlook both ends of the bridge and remain sitting in the car without drawing attention.

Darkness had fallen over the town while they´d been waiting for MacGyver, which made Nikki concentrate and look even harder for any sign of him. Pavel had given her a brief description of his blue jacket and cap, although they had no way of knowing if Mac still wore it.

Nikki got more and more tensed up the longer she sat in the driver´s seat. She looked at her watch for what felt like the hundredth time. 5 minutes past 10 p.m. Only 5 minutes left. She knew Mac well enough to expect him to turn up at the last possible second, but the seconds until then seemed to be passing dreadfully slowly. And somehow, somewhere inside she felt that something had gone wrong.

Nikki chided herself silently and instantly for that thought. Mac was the one to go with his gut. She preferred well-organized plans over instinct. There was no way of being sure that he wouldn´t nonchalantly walk around any corner in the next moment. Nevertheless, her inward instinct screamed at her that MacGyver was in trouble, that whatever plan he had had in mind, it had gone sideways. She wanted nothing more than to run off, find MacGyver, and help him out of his squeeze.

Now, after almost one hour of waiting for him, Nikki couldn´t bear with being holed up in the sedan anymore. She turned to Pavel Dubcek.

“I want you to stay in the car… I´ll be right back.” she said and got out without waiting for his answer.

Nikki drew in a deep breath of the mild evening air and took a couple of steps toward the bridge. Maybe she had overlooked him; maybe he was already there and waiting at the other end of the bridge. Her eyes scanned her whole surroundings for Mac´s well-known silhouette in the darkness but found nothing. By now she was worried, really worried. Nikki had grown the more silent the more her tension and worries had risen. Pavel had picked up on her mood and had also gone quiet the longer they had had to wait.

After several minutes of standing frozen and staring at the bridge, Nikki flinched as Pavel suddenly addressed her from behind.

“Shouldn´t we be leaving?” he asked quietly.

Nikki glanced at her watch and suppressed the urge to snap at him for getting out of the car. 15 minutes past 10 p.m… Where the heck are you, MacGyver, she thought. It isn´t like you not to arrive in time… Slowly she turned to Dubcek.

“Yes, we´d better get going.” She reluctantly agreed with a low voice.

Nikki forced herself to focus back on her task as she looked at Dubcek. She had to keep him safe, make sure that they would reach Austria, and take him to Vienna, where Pete would take over. The longer they remained here, the more dangerous it would get for both of them. MacGyver was able to look after himself, she urged to assure herself. Together Nikki and Pavel went back to the car and got inside.

“You are worried about him? Because he hasn´t arrived?” Dubcek asked when Nikki took another look around before she reached for the keys in the ignition lock.

“Yes… I am.” she admitted with a brief sideways glance. “But he´s the best. He will manage.” Then she fired up the engine.

Dubcek nodded and looked at her with a probing and sympathetic expression.

“You are more than colleagues, right?” he continued. “Friends?”

Nikki froze and met his look again.

“Close friends.” she said, her voice dropping low once more. “We´ve been through a lot together during the last year.”

Then she drove off toward the border, fervently hoping that whatever trouble Mac had gotten into, he would be able to get out of it as well, and that it hadn´t led to closed border crossings so far.

But with MacGyver anything is possible, she mused. He´ll probably be back in Vienna before we are…

*****

MacGyver´s mind was working on overdrive while he kept running through the forest, upstream along the river. As soon as the fact that he wouldn´t reach his meeting point with Nikki and Pavel in time had registered, his mind had switched to forming plan c. Referring to his memory of the maps he had studied the evening before, he knew, he was heading for a quite secluded area of the bordering region between Czechoslovakia and Austria. Mac had kept a little more distance to the Thaya´s reservoir, and managed to stay at the crest of the hills beside it.

He had been forced to cross another creek on his way; this one having been a little wider and measurably deeper than the last one. Mac had remembered the film can in his jeans in time, and had dug the plastic canister and his duct tape out of his pocket. He had wrapped some duct tape around the can and especially its cap in an effort to seal it off against the entry of water. He was well aware that water couldn´t destroy the film roll, but Mac wasn´t willing to just risk scratching or damaging the positives should they get wet. Then he had torn off a long strip of the adhesive, opened his shirt, and taped the can directly to his left side, just below his rib cage. The duct tape sticking to his skin hadn´t felt all too comfortable while he´d fastened up the buttons of his shirt again and then had stepped into the water.

But it is still the safest place for the film to be, Mac thought while he now hurried on through the woods. He had unfortunately been obliged to quit running due to his worsening physical condition. MacGyver tried to press on, but soon after he had crossed the second creek and climbed to the crest of the hill once more, he had to stop. He hadn´t kept track of how long his escape had lasted by now, but his headache had intensified, his wet jeans and shoes had him shivering, and he couldn´t breathe as freely as he was used to it.

MacGyver dropped to his knees exhausted next to a large tree and allowed himself to lean against it. He couldn´t suppress coughing when he tried to take a deep breath and relax a little. His throat and bronchial tubes felt sore, and he had to close his eyes for a moment as the pain in his head suddenly spiked. Then he felt an abrupt dry wave of heat rush up his back and to his face that made him shudder in the nightly air. He couldn´t deny that he was getting sick anymore.

“Aw, man.” he growled as soon as he had regained control over his breath. “Sometimes I hate being right.” I shouldn´t have gone hiking yesterday, he added silently while he tried to calm down his breathing even further. Just wonderful. On the run with still a few miles to the border and my fever is rising…

Slowly he opened his eyes and looked around. The forest grew kind of open up here, with almost no thicket or undergrowth. Only the moon provided some light that allowed him to look ahead, while mentally planning his route to the border. In his condition, he couldn´t afford to take any detours. MacGyver wanted to go as straight as possible to the most secluded part of the border to avoid running into any border patrols. And considering how he felt by now, he had no time to spare.

MacGyver puffed out a deep breath, pushed himself off the tree, and rose to his feet. He prepared himself to walk on, yet out of instinct he took a quick glance to where he had come from. Instantly he felt the adrenaline rush back into his veins with what he saw. In the valley below, at some distance, Mac spotted two lights scanning the ground.

“What the…” he started to ask, but fell silent again.

Those had to be Zorkin and Baranov, equipped with flashlights and searching for him. Mac chided himself for allowing himself the short break of one or two minutes because he had believed that the GRU agents had lost his trail. Obviously, he had been wrong.

MacGyver´s body tensed with the unpleasant discovery and he quickly hurried off along the hill´s crest. Orienting himself with the help of the moon´s position he changed his direction more to the west and kept a little more distance to the river. According to his mental map, the Thaya would turn south at the next major bend and west several miles upstream, but he would have to head south-west, away from the river, in order to reach the region where the Thaya came in from the west and marked the border between Czechoslovakia and Austria.

While he rushed through the forest as silent and at the same time as fast as possible without leaving too many traces, MacGyver tried to remember everything he knew about the area he was approaching. The Iron Curtain separated Europe since soon after WW2 and referring to his knowledge of European history, the border between Czechoslovakia and Austria had been a region with some of the tightest and most dangerous security measures. Heavily armed patrols that didn´t hesitate to shoot, electrified fences and in some regions even minefields had killed hundreds of people over the last decades. He didn´t know if there were any records about how many had ‘only’ been injured during the attempt to illegally cross the border.

Much to MacGyver´s relief, the minefields had been removed as well as the electrified fences had been replaced by barbed wire in the late '60s. The Thaya marked the true boundary line, but the border fence was located hundreds of yards away from it to the Czechoslovakian side. Most possibly, Mac would also be up against watchtowers, probably motion-triggered floodlights and a strip that was cleared of all vegetation along the barbed wire fence. Not to forget the GRU agents coming up from behind and trying to corner him against the border security.

Piece of cake, right? Mac thought sarcastically as he worked his way deeper into the woods after he´d passed the bend of the river.

*****

By the time Nikki and Pavel Dubcek arrived at the border crossing her thoughts were back with her assignment. The border guards on duty had changed since midday when she and Mac had passed through. Nikki noticed that fact with relief although she trusted the forged passports Pete had provided them with. But driving into the country with one man and leaving it only a few hours later with another – it might have caused some serious questions if anyone would have remembered her. She also observed that no one seemed to be especially attentive and that the crossing was still open. Whatever trouble MacGyver had gotten into, the information about it hadn´t reached these guards yet.

As it was late evening and there was next to no traffic they were searched thoroughly though. Dubcek followed the instructions she had given him earlier to the point through the whole check-up and soon they were on the Austrian side, heading for Vienna fast. As much as Nikki wanted to drive to the secondary meeting point, she and Mac had agreed on earlier, right now, she also remembered that she had reluctantly agreed on taking care of Pavel Dubcek – should they get separated. MacGyver had urged her to take him to Vienna and to Pete first, should anything go wrong. Getting the people safe is always more important than getting any documents safe, he had insisted.

They had agreed on her coming back and picking him up in a nearby small village, should it be necessary, but only after she had reached the hotel in Vienna and Pete had met with Dubcek and would keep him safe. All the time, while she drove back to the city, she chided MacGyver inwardly for persuading her into giving in to that part of his plan. Finding the correct route wasn´t much of a problem and their journey to the hotel in Vienna was swift, but very silent. Pavel Dubcek still respected her concerned mood, although he must have had a lot of questions on his mind.

It was about midnight when they finally arrived at the hotel. Nikki parked the car at the same spot from where she and Mac had left from this morning, left the baggage in the trunk, and took Dubcek straight to her room. The night-duty receptionist shot her a probing look when she picked up her key but didn´t question her. As soon as they had reached the room, Nikki picked up the phone and called Pete. It took several moments until she got an answer.

“Hello?” Pete´s voice sounded sleepy.

“Pete, it´s Nikki. We need to see you.”

Nikki´s curt reply made Pete awaken suddenly.

“Nikki! Good to hear from you.” he greeted her. “Are you three back already? Everything went well?”

Nikki paused for a moment.

“Almost. We´re back, but not all three of us.” she sighed. “Pete, we need to talk. In person.”

Pete was on alert within the second because of her answer.

“Of course.” he said. “Meet me in my room in five minutes.”

*****

When Pete opened the door to his room for her and Pavel Dubcek, Nikki could instantly tell that he´d been asleep before. And she could tell that he was worried, not knowing yet what had gone wrong. He invited them both inside, introduced himself to Pavel Dubcek, and welcomed him especially. Then, without losing any time, he asked about what had happened and why MacGyver had not returned with them. Both Nikki and Pavel took a couple of minutes to relate their side of what they knew.

“I need to go back and look for him.” Nikki stated after a moment of silence when they were both done with telling their stories. “Mac and I agreed on a secondary meeting point in Austria. I should be there as soon as possible…”

“Didn´t you set up a time as well?” Pete wanted to know.

Nikki could see that Pete was deeply concerned about MacGyver, but he concealed it better than she did. I guess, he´s got a lot more practice in worrying about Mac than I do, she thought.

“Well, yes.” Nikki admitted. “But I´ve got a feeling, that I should be back earlier.”

“A feeling? … Nikki, you just sounded like MacGyver…” Pete looked at her surprised with raised eyebrows.

Nikki lowered her eyes, just now realizing what kind of wording she had used.

“I know… yet somehow I know he´s in trouble… That he needs help.”

“Then go. Bring him back.” Pete nodded to her firmly. “Pavel is safe with me. Our flight to the U.S. is planned for midday. Until then I´ll stay here so you might reach me.”

Nikki instantly got to her feet, now focused on leaving quickly, but Pavel Dubcek rose up simultaneously, shrugged out of Mac´s leather jacket, and took off the black cap. He held the clothes and his hand out to Nikki.

“Thank you so much.” he addressed her. “And let Mr. MacGyver also know how grateful I am.”

Nikki shook his hand quickly.

“I will.” she replied curtly, left the room at once, and then headed back to the car with MacGyver´s jacket and cap in her arm.

*****

Since he had turned away from the river, MacGyver had only been able to move forward in a mixture of running, ducking, hiding and listening in order to avoid being spotted by Zorkin and Baranov. It had cost him quite some time, but thanks to their flashlights Mac had had a good idea of where they had been – most of the time. Yet he had also sensed that he was getting close to the border fence, so he had to be alert for trouble and danger on both sides.

Not quite an easy task, considering how weakened by his cold he felt by now. MacGyver was able to suppress the urge to cough mostly; nevertheless, the cold and hot shivers running through his body exhausted him. Staying concentrated took more and more effort from him.

After another couple of yards, MacGyver saw a clearing close to his position. He stopped hiding next to a huge tree and strained his eyes to see as much as possible of what lay ahead of him. All vegetation had been cut down to the ground several yards wide and at some distance to the trees even further away on the opposite side of the clearing, he could make out the barbed wire fence in the darkness. It was reaching along the cleared strip and momentarily halting his progress toward the true border.

The fence posts were about 4 yards high, looked like huge capital T´s, and were made out of concrete. Mac saw many rows of wire, and they were mounted way too close together to be able to slip through between them without risking serious injuries. Mac sighed and licked his lips nervously. He had no way of cutting these wires, no time and means of digging through under the fence, so his only option was climbing over the fence. No easy task thanks to the t-shaped posts. He was almost sure the fence was also equipped with wires that would signal any attempt to climb it to the nearest border patrol.

Instantly MacGyver´s mind started considering what he had at hand. Looking around the forest, he edged closer toward and sideways along the cleared strip, hoping to discover some fallen tree. He was abruptly broken out of his thoughts when one of his ankles got caught by something thin, but sturdy that snapped in the very next moment.

In the same split second adrenaline rushed into his veins and everything he had ever learned about mines since his days as a bomb disposal technician in Vietnam flashed into his mind. Mac only had time to drop to the ground and wrap his arms around his head when he already heard a sharp bang close by.

However in the next moment, he wasn´t painfully torn apart by the explosion of an anti-personnel mine as he had expected it, but heard a hissing sound and then another, but a softer bang. Then his surroundings were suddenly bathed in bright light. MacGyver saw the light shine between his arms and seconds later realized that he had unintentionally set off a signaling mine that gave away his location. Mac was truly relieved that he hadn´t been killed, but he knew he had to act real fast now. That signal had surely alerted Zorkin and Baranov as well as the border patrols.

MacGyver remained perfectly motionless as long as the chemical light flooded the area, but the second it had burned out, he got to his feet, retreated a little from the clearing, and ran sideways to his right. He quickly reached a bend in the fence from where on it led roughly westward. Once more referring to his mental map Mac rushed on for a couple of minutes and then came to a stop. He crouched down between the trees, thankful for a little more undergrowth in this part of the forest. Striving to calm down his labored and raspy breathing and fighting back some dizziness and shivering caused by his fever he listened intensely.

Have I gotten away fast enough? Or have I been spotted? Now that I´ve given away my presence, I´ve got no time to waste…

The current and most pressing problem at hand was still getting over that fence. MacGyver eyed the fence a little closer and tried to judge its dimensions more precisely. The concrete posts were about 11 or 12 feet high and the horizontal bar that formed the top of the ‘T’ was roughly 4 feet wide. He needed some kind of ladder to get on top of one of those T-posts; getting off it on the other side wouldn´t be that difficult, it would only take some guts and a little caution. MacGyver´s mind went to high speed as he looked around.

Now, where to get or how to fake a ladder within a few minutes?

Soon an idea formed in his head. Slowly he got up.

If I can find a suitable piece of wood… big and sturdy enough to take my weight, long enough to reach up to that horizontal beam, small enough for me to be able to move it…

Now his eyes scanned the surroundings for fallen trees. Careful not to set off any other signaling mines Mac searched around his current position and quickly found what he needed. A tree that had fallen not too long ago, its wood not rotten yet, the trunk about the same diameter as his forearm. The solid trunk was about 12 feet long and then parted into two strong branches, forming kind of a ‘Y’. Perfect.

Mac quickly kneeled down and tore off all the smaller branches close to the trunk. He found a stone with a sharp edge to it and used it to chop off the remaining roots at the bottom of the trunk. Then he turned to the two branches, measured them roughly, and cut them off with the help of the stone as well. When he put down the stone panting a little with the physical exertion, he let his gaze wander over the wood.

Not quite a ladder, but it will have to do…

He now had an oversized wooden ‘Y’, solid and about 16 or 17 feet long. Mac puffed out a breath. It wouldn´t feel like climbing a ladder, much more like a tightrope walk. Cautiously he checked his corridor to the fence for any tripwires but found none. He knew that as soon as he was out on the clearing, he would have to act fast and there wouldn´t be a way back anymore. The signaling mine a couple of minutes ago had to have alerted some border patrols. They couldn´t be too far away, and they would notice his attempt for sure.

MacGyver took a deep breath as another feverish wave of heat raced through his body and made him shudder in the cool nightly air. After it had passed, he bent down, picked up the huge wooden ‘Y’, and rushed into the clearing. Once again, his bruised shoulder protested wildly, but he managed to ignore it. Quickly he aligned the trunk with one of the posts, heaved up the forked end, and leaned the branches against the barbed wires to the left and right of the edge of the horizontal bar on top of it. With a little relief, he noticed that the barbed wire dug into the bark on both sides when he pulled down on the trunk to test if it would hold his weight, further securing his makeshift tree trunk ladder.

He eyed the angle it kept to the T-post briefly once more, and as soon as he trusted it to be safe and steady, MacGyver set out for climbing the tree up to the top of the concrete beam. Awkwardly moving up on his hands and feet, he felt kind of ape-like on the narrow wood. He was thankful for the rough bark that kept his sneakers from slipping off the rounded surface.

His hands had just reached the horizontal part of the concrete post when he heard a car in the distance. With alarm he noticed that it was closing in fast. MacGyver quickened his effort and, as soon as he had both hands and one foot secure on top of the T-post, he kicked the ladder away from the fence. He hurried to reach the other side of the beam and had just carefully grabbed the wire between the barbs with his right hand when the small 4x4 and its headlights came in sight.

A spotlight on top of the car caught him almost immediately crouching on top of the fence. Mac´s pulse and adrenaline level shot up another notch instantly. Without thinking another second about it, he half jumped, half swung off the post and to the other side of the fence while holding on to the post with his left hand. A sudden sting raced through his left shoulder and arm with the strain of hanging from it. He was still trying to stop his swing, when the patrol car slid to a halt, one of the guards jumped out, and shouted at him in a language, he didn´t understand. Mac did get the commanding tone though.

But as MacGyver didn´t react to him, or answer him right away, the border guard swiftly aimed his rifle at him. Mac saw it with alarm, yet there was little he could do about it. He posed a perfect target while he was dangling from the fence in mid-air. Hastily Mac tried to change his grip with his left hand to the wire, in order to be able to stop his swinging and to be able to let himself drop to the ground.

He heard the gunshot in almost the same blink of an eye that he felt it. A searing pain shot across his ribs at his right side, effectively setting his whole chest on fire and causing him to momentarily lose all strength and his grip with his right hand. The left one strove to hold on to the wire to prevent him from going down, but it touched something pointed and sharp that tore into his palm. Mac automatically flinched away from the sudden hurt and sensed himself falling uncontrolled as a result.

His feet reached the bottom first, and he stumbled and slipped on the rocky ground. Mac wanted to reach for his burning chest, took a staggering step backward, and without warning lost his footing because the ground abruptly declined behind his feet. Half sliding, half falling he went down the rocky slope that hadn´t been visible to him before in the darkness. The drop felt endless, but the impact on the ground came suddenly and drove the air out of MacGyver´s sore lungs.

Mac lay motionless and dazed for a moment before the throbbing ache in his right side revived him and reminded him of his desperate situation. He was still on Czechoslovakian soil; he still had to cross the river that marked the true border to make sure that the film and himself were safe. Then he could permit himself a break before he would head on to his secondary meeting point with Nikki. MacGyver fervently hoped that at least on her part of their mission everything had gone smooth.

His thoughts had lasted only seconds until he was forced back to the present by shouts from above. Mac still didn´t understand the words, but he got the urgency. Moaning he rolled over to his side and pushed himself up to his knees while he first felt for the film can and then the bullet wound. With a little relief, he noticed that the bullet had only grazed him, but left a deep bleeding gash. His left hand was also hurting and sticky with blood, and Mac wasn´t sorry that he couldn´t see the damage all too clearly in the darkness. He shook his head to clear the dizziness away and rose to his feet with the help of a tree.

Following the beeline, the Thaya couldn´t be more than a few hundred yards away. But he´d have to cross another hill to get to it. He had to get there before those border guards managed to reach his side of the fence and catch up with him. MacGyver took a quick look around to reorient himself and then hurried off southwards. He pushed back the pain and dizziness and ran through the forest with its huge rocks and undergrowth. The Thaya had carved its way through granite and slate throughout millions of years and went meandering between the hills; he just had to find it.

After a couple of minutes of running upward, Mac arrived at a slope that steeply reached down to the river. He could hear the water gurgling below more than he saw it. Though he was exhausted and hurting, that sound refueled his energies with sudden relief. On the opposite side of it was Austria. Safety. His pursuers were out of sight at the moment, so his chances of surviving this mission had increased.

MacGyver took a short break to calm his breath a little and then started his descent. He slid and stumbled over the rocky ground, more feeling than seeing his way down. Soon he reached the bank of the river and came to a halt again. The opposite slope was steep and rough terrain as well; the water in front of him rushed fast through the deep and rocky riverbed. Mac dropped to his knees next to the water´s edge, took a deep breath, and sighed.

Cold water… Once more… Aw man, do I really have to?

Another coughing fit sent his body shaking and waves of agony through his wounded chest, but he forced himself to get up again. MacGyver froze when he heard something rustling in the distance behind himself. He turned to see lights at the crest of the hill. They were still on his tail. Within the second all his senses and instincts were back on full alert. He shot the river another unwilling look, but quickly stepped into it. After three steps he had to switch to swimming, which wasn´t all too easy given the strong current of the river, the shock the icy coldness of the water had caused, and the pain in his chest.

His mind and body went into automated swimming and survival mode after a couple of strokes and pushed back his conscious mind. He fought his way through the waves although he was close to the limit of his physical strength. It felt endless until his hands touched the rocks on the opposite river bank. With some effort, he pulled himself up and out of the water, rolled over to his back, and lay still and panting for a few moments. He mechanically felt for the film roll still sticking to his skin and then for his bleeding wound. The cold water had numbed some of his pain, yet also drained a lot of his energy.

After a couple of deep breaths, MacGyver realized that he was still in a clearly visible location, but wasn´t willing to test if Zorkin and Baranov were either bold enough to shoot him right here or follow if they spotted him. He heard distant voices over the murmuring of the river. Gathering his last ounces of will, MacGyver pushed himself up, bit back a groan, and got to his feet. A little unsteady he set out to climb the shadowy and rocky slope leading up and away from the river. The minutes seemed to stretch until he reached the top and descended into the neighboring valley.

At least, I´m out of sight for now.

The forest grew more open on this side of the river, with old oak trees, huge granite rocks between them and only little undergrowth. More of the moonlight filtered through the trees and reached the ground, giving Mac a better impression of the area. High-grown, coarse grass covered the ground together with dried-up oak leaves. The leaves rustled as MacGyver moved forward, but he had not enough energy left to care about it. By now he was freezing due to his wet clothes, totally worn out, and desperately longed for some rest.

He glanced at his watch and noticed it was way past midnight. With this realization, his adrenaline level took a nosedive and his exhaustion, fever, pain and tiredness all caught up with him at once. Mac had to stop and steady himself with the help of a tree. His eyes scanned his surroundings for a possible hiding place that would allow him to take a break. His vision blurred momentarily, but he spotted a rock face close by and stumbled toward it. MacGyver headed for a thicket growing close to the rocks and collapsed to his knees as soon as he had reached his hideout.

Fighting against the shivering and the darkness creeping up inside him, he crawled into the space between thicket and rock face on his hands and knees before he allowed himself to stop and lie down. Somehow he knew that for now, he would be safe there. His secondary meeting point with Nikki was only a few miles away, and he had several hours left until he had to be there.

Enough time to take a short rest, MacGyver thought as he tried to pull himself a little closer to his cover. But the attempt sent a sharp, stabbing pain through his chest, caused him to drop to the ground gasping and coughing, and in the next moment the darkness inside took over. One arm still stretched out with his effort, his unconscious body went limp and motionless in the shadow of the rocks.




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 14 November 2021 - 08:45 AM                                    
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Hmmmm... Why do I get the feeling that his cold is going to turn into pneumonia before long? Also, having crossed them before, his two persuers will likely not let the fact that he's now outside their jurisdiction stop them going after Mac. He won't be entirely safe in Austria. And, they followed him to America once before; nothing to stop them following him home again, aside from having been deported, of course. Mac took an important prisoner away from them once already and I'm sure they realize by now that he's done it to them again.



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Posted: 14 November 2021 - 10:54 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 14 November 2021 - 05:45 PM)
Hmmmm...  Why do I get the feeling that his cold is going to turn into pneumonia before long?  Also, having crossed them before, his two persuers will likely not let the fact that he's now outside their jurisdiction stop them going after Mac. He won't be entirely safe in Austria.  And, they followed him to America once before; nothing to stop them following him home again, aside from having been deported, of course.  Mac took an important prisoner away from them once already and I'm sure they realize by now that he's done it to them again.

Well, the border between pneumonia and serious cold is a bit fluid...

And if I would already comment on what Zorkin and Baranov are up to or capable of - I would spoil a lot of the reading experience still to come. There are 16 parts waiting to be posted... whistle.gif

But yes, safety is also something quite 'relative' to Mac... wink.gif and subject to quick changes hmm.bmp



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Posted: 15 November 2021 - 12:20 PM                                    
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Excellent chapter, and indeed quite a bit of research, historical and otherwise. I think you are the geography queen!!
Oh, Mac is starting to rub off on Nikki as she's now listening to and beginning to follow her instincts. But she isn't wrong!!
Great action and description in this chapter. At lease Pavel and Pete are safe...at least for now! Poor Mac is really beat up and, of course, unconscious. I hope he wakes up in time to meet Nikki...I know he said he has several hours, but I'm still worried! I'd say at least the worst is behind him, meaning the agents, but there are too many chapters left!! LOL!!



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"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: 16 November 2021 - 12:15 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 15 November 2021 - 09:20 PM)
Excellent chapter, and indeed quite a bit of research, historical and otherwise. I think you are the geography queen!!
Oh, Mac is starting to rub off on Nikki as she's now listening to and beginning to follow her instincts. But she isn't wrong!!
Great action and description in this chapter. At lease Pavel and Pete are safe...at least for now! Poor Mac is really beat up and, of course, unconscious. I hope he wakes up in time to meet Nikki...I know he said he has several hours, but I'm still worried! I'd say at least the worst is behind him, meaning the agents, but there are too many chapters left!! LOL!!

The geographical research went well thanks to google earth even showing old satellite pictures from the late 80´s... the historical research thanks to my partner... he´s been serving in the Austrian army quite some time and helped me with details concerning signaling mines, weapons used by the Czech at the time and that kind of stuff...

But is the worst really behind him???



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Posted: 17 November 2021 - 02:07 AM                                    
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Season: ---
Episode:umm......
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  Brown bomber
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When you're living with a treasure trove of information like that, It would be a shame not to make use of it! happy.gif



When it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win. Angus MacGuyver

If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 18 November 2021 - 12:15 AM                                    
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Special Forces Agent
***

Posts: 121
Joined: 5 Feb 2020
Gender:  Female
Country: Austria
SAK owned: several

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Season: ---
Episode:Do I have to decide?
Vehicle: Jeep
Jacket:  ---
House:  House boat



Thanks for all the positive and encouraging feedback!

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Just to give you an idea of how the area, where Mac 'got lost', looks like...

But I said something about safety being relative... and expect someone unexpected to provide some help...

So here we go:

Part 6


Nikki had driven back north as fast as she could afford without drawing attention. Fortunately, away from the city, there was only little traffic in the middle of the night. She had reached the small village, which she and Mac had agreed on as a backup meeting point in good time. A glance at her watch told her that it was just past 2 a.m. and she suddenly realized how tired she was. Until now she hadn´t fully noticed how long and exhausting her day had been. But her inner tension kept her going.

As she slowly drove through the dark town, looking out for any sign of MacGyver and searching for their meeting point, she felt very alone. No people on the streets, the houses dark, and many of the small back roads weren´t even equipped with street lights. This part of the Austrian countryside felt a lot different than the one they had passed through in the morning. It seemed old, kind of otherworldly, as if special energies were at work here. And it felt secluded, almost isolated, although it was only a couple of miles away from the inviting, beautiful landscapes she had seen during their first drive due north.

The eerie feeling this village gave her only intensified, the longer she let the sedan roll through the town on her search for MacGyver. Soon she had driven along every single road of the town twice and found no trace of him. Nikki was truly worried by now. She tried to convince herself that she didn´t need to be as their meeting was scheduled for the early morning, and that Mac had probably just found a comfortable and suitable hiding place to spend the night until then, but she wasn´t all too successful in calming herself. Something had gone wrong; in some way, she knew it.

Nikki found a shadowy spot on a side road to park the rental car, turned off engine and lights, and readied herself mentally for waiting, again. She had a good view of their meeting point, but her being there was hidden well by the darkness. By now, the padded leather seats of the high-end sedan didn´t feel too comfortable anymore. But Nikki kept scanning the lonely street with her eyes, striving to stay alert and awake.

After a couple of minutes, she held her breath as she suddenly saw someone nearing their meeting place. At first, she didn´t recognize the man in the dimness of the few street lights, but she froze when she noticed that he wasn´t alone. Instinctively she slid down in her seat to conceal her presence even further. Moments later, when the two men paused next to the opposite corner, she got a good look at their faces.

Zorkin and Baranov.

Nikki´s pulse shot up. How could those two be here already, most probably looking for MacGyver, if he wasn´t anywhere in sight? Glancing cautiously over the dashboard she observed the GRU agents talking about something she couldn´t hear from her hideout. Then they walked off to a parked car and drove away.

Nikki slowly straightened herself in the seat and took a deep breath. Now what? She still had the advantage of knowing them, whereas those two agents weren´t familiar with her face. But how could she put that fact to use? How would she be able to warn MacGyver about them? How could she possibly get to him first, when she had no clue to where he was?

Nikki sat still, staring at the now empty crossroad and into the darkness beyond it, and desperately tried to come up with a solution for minutes, when suddenly someone knocked softly on the car´s window right next to her. She had been so focused on the street in front of her that she hadn´t noticed the man walking up from behind. It almost made her jump out of her skin, but when she turned to see who was there, she froze with surprise. Like in slow motion she relaxed and then turned to open the door of the car, still staring bewildered at the man in front of her.

“Starkoss?” she asked. “How on earth…”

The rotund, grey-haired Russian smiled at her kindly, just as she remembered it from her mission to East Germany almost a year ago. Nikki didn´t finish her question, because she didn´t know what to ask first. Too many questions popped up in her head.

“How I came here is a long story.” he told her. “But we don´t have time for it now. First, we´ve got to help our friend.”

Nikki was speechless for seconds, but then swallowed and took a deep breath. Why was he here? How could he possibly know about all her being here? Or their assignment? There had been no connection whatsoever from the GRU agents to him… Or was he back in the Russian intelligence service? Could he be trusted anyway?

“What are you talking about?” Nikki asked cautiously, trying not to give away anything. She´d been astonished by his abilities last year and still didn´t know what to make of him.

“MacGyver won´t turn up here.” Starkoss stated with a now serious face. “He can´t. We need to help him.”

Nikki gaped at him in surprise and worry after those words.

“What happened to him?” she demanded. “Do you know where Mac is?”

“I couldn´t see all the details.” Starkoss replied with an apologetic shrug. “But I can help you find him.”

Nikki nodded, partly beginning to trust his words.

“Get inside.” she offered and gestured to the passenger door. Starkoss straightened himself, took a step back, but didn´t move around the sedan.

“No.” he said. “We need to leave this car behind. It´s way too noticeable for the neighborhood. We won´t get far before we´d stand out.”

Nikki considered his words for a moment and eyed him probing. It seemed as if he knew his way around here. She might have to rely on him. Right now, he was the only lead she had to MacGyver…

“All right.” she agreed with a frown. “But how do we get to him?”

“We´ll take your bags with us and take my car.” Starkoss advised. “It´s more suitable for the surroundings and the terrain.” He stepped aside to allow Nikki enough room.

Nikki took the keys from the ignition lock after a short moment of hesitation and got out of the car. In the meantime, Starkoss went to the trunk, opened it, retrieved Mac´s duffle from it, and handed Nikki´s bag to her. Nikki took a second to lock up the sedan and then turned to Starkoss with a questioning look.

“Where to?”

Starkoss gestured for her to come with him, then turned to the dark side street and walked off without another word. Nikki had no choice but to follow him. Starkoss led her away from the main street, around two corners into one of the unlit back roads. He approached an old battered VW minibus and opened the sliding side door. When he placed MacGyver´s bag behind the front seats, Nikki noticed that the bus had no seats except for the front row, more like a transporter. She put her bag next to Mac´s and looked at Starkoss expectantly.

“We need to hurry. Get inside.” the older man told her, while he closed the side door and went over to the driver´s side.

Thousands of questions were flashing through Nikki´s head but she knew that now was not the time to ask them. She quickly got into the passenger seat and observed how Starkoss started the engine and drove off. Her concern for MacGyver was back on top and her tiredness was gone due to the adrenaline rush that Starkoss´s sudden appearance has caused. Soon she found herself staring out to dark, unfamiliar roads and realized that she had no idea where Starkoss was taking her. She could only hope and trust that his motives were earnest.

“Starkoss, where are we going?” she abruptly asked the most pressing questions on her mind. “And what do you know about all this?”

She turned to look at him probing and noticed that his concentration wasn´t completely on the street. He seemed to be following some inner feel. Starkoss needed a moment until he responded.

“I know that our friend is in trouble… I know that those GRU agents chose to look for him in the villages after they had lost his trail soon after he had crossed the border fence… I know they are willing to kill for what he carries…” he sighed. “Hopefully we can get to him before they start searching the region closer to the border.”

They had left the town minutes ago and now Starkoss turned off the paved street to a forest road. He had to slow down because of the potholes and the unevenness of the road, but kept a steady pace. Nikki observed silently how he never hesitated on which direction was to take when the road forked or at crossings. Something told her not to disturb his concentration once more, while he drove roughly due north, deeper into the forest.

But how on earth, why on earth did he know about Zorkin and Baranov? How could he know about the intel Mac hopefully had been able to retrieve? What did he know about Mac being in trouble?

Another couple of minutes later Nikki was torn out of her thoughts as she saw the road ending in front of them in the headlights of the minibus. Starkoss let the VW come to stop, bent down and picked up a flashlight from behind the seats. He held it out to Nikki. When she took it from him with a questioning look, he gestured outwards to where the trees began in front of the bus.

“Follow the rock face along the small valley upwards.” he instructed her. “You´ll have to go past the slope. There you will find MacGyver.”

Nikki eyed him questioning, still a little unsure if accompanying him had been a good idea.

“Now go! Quick!” he urged her on, when Nikki didn´t react at once. “I will stay with the bus and make sure that we can leave as soon as you return with him.”

Nikki shot the direction Starkoss had pointed to another hesitant look and then got out of the minibus. The dark forest in front of her reminded her that it was the middle of the night and that she hadn´t slept for a very long time, but with the tension, she now felt inside, there was no room for sleepiness. Grateful that she had chosen casual clothing this morning, with jeans, jogging shoes, and a sweat jacket, to better match Mac´s usual outfit, Nikki turned on the flashlight and walked off towards the rock face Starkoss had told her to follow.

Her thoughts went back to last year while she carefully made her way through the trees. Some secluded forest, darkness in the middle of the night, and she´d been separated from MacGyver. There were certain similarities. Last year she had given in quickly to believing that Starkoss had ‘special abilities’, whereas Mac had chided her for it and remained skeptical. Last year all had worked out fine thanks to Mac´s crazy idea of building a hot-air balloon. But what had happened to Starkoss since he had left them as soon as they had crossed the border? How could he turn up here, out of the blue?

Her concentration was forced back to the ground ahead of her as she reached a rocky slope along the cliff she´d been following a couple of moments later. Waving the beam of the flashlight in front of her she hurriedly climbed upward between the huge rocks and the old trees. She stopped for a moment at the top of the slope and reoriented herself.

The moon cast long shadows on the ground of the open forest she faced. She scanned around herself with the light beam as she slowly stepped forward. Starkoss had told her, she´d find MacGyver after she´d passed some slope, and all her senses were on high alert. It was perfectly quiet up here. The only thing to hear were her own steps rustling through the high-grown grass and the dried-up leaves on the ground.

Nikki sighed as the realization of how strange her situation was hit home. Alone in some unfamiliar dark forest, following the information a Russian psychic had provided her with.

Drawing a deep breath and straightening herself, she fought back her worries and focused on her search. If MacGyver had been in trouble, as Starkoss had put it, he had probably gone hiding up here… But where?

Nikki turned to all sides, kept the flashlight in front of her and tried to imagine what Mac might have chosen as a shelter. When she waved the light over some bushes close to the rock face, she noticed something tiny blinking through the coarse grass. Intrigued, but not knowing if it had anything to do with Mac, unable to see any detail yet, Nikki stepped closer to that little blinking thing.

She was still several feet away when she recognized it as a golden ring on a limp and bloodstained hand. Her stomach turned into a tight knot, she drew in a sharp breath and rushed forward.

“MacGyver!” she called out as the flashlight caught on part of his tousled, golden-brown hair. “Mac!”

Alarmed Nikki saw that he didn´t react to her shout, didn´t move even a bit. With the help of the light she was able to make out his whole lying form, quickly crawled between the thicket and Mac and crouched down next to him. MacGyver was lying half on his right side, half on his front, his right arm folded under himself while his left arm was stretched out, preventing Nikki from seeing his face. Luckily, the light had reflected off the fake wedding ring on his left hand and had caught her eye.

She got a quick overview of his motionless body with the flashlight and then cautiously touched him at the shoulder. She felt him breathing shallow and shivering. His clothes were damp and cold.

“MacGyver?” she tried again, but still got no response. Nikki shook him softly. “Mac?”

Nothing.

Her pulse and concern shot up. A sudden icy cold spread through her. Nikki laid the flashlight aside directed at Mac, so it would still allow her to see, but she would be able to use both of her hands. Then she cautiously pulled back Mac´s left arm to get a look at his face. What she found was pale and covered with sweat. She realized, she would have to turn him around to be able to better assess his condition. Nikki took a deep breath to steel herself for whatever she might be about to see. The bloodstains on his hands made her anxious. Then she slowly pulled and pushed his shoulder up and back to gain access to his front side.

*****

MacGyver´s mind was confused at first. In the silence that surrounded him when he regained consciousness, he had no clue to how long he´d been out. But in the next moment, as he remembered the dire situation he´d been in, he felt someone hold on to his bruised left shoulder and push at it, trying to turn him around. The alarm about not knowing who was next to him hit him in the same second as the pain from all his injuries returned and flooded his senses.

Mac groaned in agony, his body stiffened and turned away from the hands holding him. Instinctively he tried to get up and raised his arms to fend off whoever was there before he hadn´t even opened his eyes. The hands left his shoulder but quickly caught his wrists. At the same time, he heard a familiar female voice call out to him.

“Mac, stop it! … It´s me! It´s Nikki… Look at me!”

With his body still tense and ready to fight, Mac forced his eyes open and squinted at the unexpected brightness of the flashlight pointing at him. Slowly Nikki´s face came into focus.

“Nikki?” he breathed hoarsely and unbelieving.

“Yes, Mac. It´s okay.” she reassured him. “I´m here to help you.”

MacGyver puffed out the breath he´d been holding and allowed his body to relax and drop back to the ground. When Nikki released his wrists, his arms also fell down weak. He tried to calm down his labored breathing, but instantly went into a coughing fit that made him curl up on his side with the burning ache it caused to his chest and his side. Nikki´s hands were back fast; one at the back of his shoulder, the other one on the top of his head, trying to comfort him.

When he had settled down, Nikki encouraged him to roll over to his back with gentle force. MacGyver raised his right hand to cover his eyes as shivers ran up and down his body. His breathing was still ragged. He felt Nikki turn around his left hand and spread out his fingers. Mac winced as the tears in his palm were painfully pulled apart. He heard Nikki draw in a sharp breath and then apologize to him.

“I´m sorry.”

Mac nodded silently and ran his right hand through his hair. He looked up to watch Nikki how she rested his hand on her lap and reached for her scarf. She rolled it up lengthwise, wrapped it around Mac´s palm, pulled it tight and tied a knot around his wrist. MacGyver bit back a moan and winced again.

“Sorry.” Nikki said once more. “But that´s still bleeding. We need to stop that.”

When she examined him further, Nikki quickly noticed the tear in his shirt, cautiously pulled the fabric away and felt that it was wet and sticky with blood. She froze for a moment when her eyes caught on the deep gash across his ribs. Then she looked up at Mac and saw the pained grimace on his face. He bit his lower lip to keep another moan from escaping.

“Bullet graze?” she asked.

MacGyver turned his head a little and his dark and exhausted eyes found Nikki´s.

“Yeah.” he answered hoarsely. “Crossing the border fence was kind of a tight matter.”

A faint smile played around his lips for a moment. Nikki returned the smile but it stayed concerned.

“There´s also still blood seeping out of it.” she told him worried. “But I don´t have anything with me to cover that wound.”

MacGyver waited out another round of shivers and struggled to keep his focus on Nikki.

“Should have stopped by now.” he replied through painfully clenched teeth. “Probably caused by the aspirin.”

Nikki raised her eyebrows questioning as she reached up, brushed back his sweat-matted hair and then laid the hand on his forehead. She had seen him trembling, but only now noticed how high his temperature was.

“You´re running a high fever.” she opposed. “The effects of the aspirin have obviously worn off.”

MacGyver weakly shook his head.

“Only the short time ones…” he automatically explained with a breaking voice. “Aspirin slows down blood coagulation for several days…”

Mac had to close his eyes and went coughing again. Nikki watched him, while she stroked over his unruly hair and then gently cupped his cheek in her hand in an attempt to help stabilize Mac´s head. Suddenly an important thought crossed MacGyver´s mind and he forced his eyes open and concentrated on her.

“Nikki, where´s Pavel Dubcek?” he asked tensely.

“Safe with Pete in Vienna.” Nikki assured him. “We crossed the border according to your instructions and after I had taken him to Pete, I came back to look for you.”

Mac nodded weakly. He took a moment to gather a little energy, then opened a few buttons of his shirt, slid his right hand inside and tore the film can off his skin. Nikki quickly grabbed his shaking hand into both of hers and wanted to take the film from him, but Mac didn´t let go of it yet.

“This film… shows all the documents.” he told her between shivers, still with a croaking voice. “That´s the other part… of what we came for… you must take this to Pete as well… it´s important.”

His eyes were pleading and demanding at the same time, and Nikki´s face grew serious.

“I will, MacGyver.” she responded with an earnest expression. “I promise.”

Nikki felt his grip loosen as he now allowed her to take the film can from his hand. Mac watched closely how she stuffed the duct tape-wrapped film can into the inner pocket of her jacket and only then let go of his tension.

His hand dropped down, and his eyes closed again while he was striving to calm down his labored breathing. Nikki´s slender hand returned to his forehead, then to his cheek. It felt pleasantly cool on his heated skin. Somehow it helped him keep his focus on surviving in his feverish, dizzy, and agonized condition. It eased his headache a bit and he leaned a little into her touch.

“Mac?” he heard her address him. “We need to get you out of here.”

MacGyver blinked his eyes open and found her concerned face.

“Can you get up?” Nikki continued when she felt she had his attention. “Can you walk?”

MacGyver needed a moment to assess himself after her question.

“Don´t know.” he answered with a weak and apologetic smile.

Nikki returned the smile but sighed.

“That wasn´t really meant to be a question.” she said. “You know, I can´t carry you.”

“Oh.” Mac raised his eyebrows in understanding and nodded with a weak grin. “Too bad.”

“We don´t have to go very far.” Nikki added with a glance to the direction she had come from, encouraging him. “Down that slope and a few minutes through the forest to the car.”

MacGyver nodded again and took a deep breath to brace himself for that task. It would be painful and he wasn´t sure if he still had enough energy left. Just to remain lying here seemed so much easier. But he knew, he had to. He badly needed medical help. Fast.

Nikki leaned over him and wrapped his right arm around her shoulders and neck.

“Hold on.” she advised while she slid one hand under his shoulder and grabbed onto his right wrist with the other one. “Ready?”

MacGyver drew in another deep breath, held it, and nodded once more.

“Yeah… you know me… always prepared.” he joked feebly at the tense situation.

Nikki couldn´t help but smile for a moment.

In the next, the simple movement of pushing himself off the ground, of sitting up sent a sharp flash of agony through MacGyver´s right side, and caused his body to stiffen instantly. He groaned, tightened his hold on Nikki and buried his face at her shoulder as soon as he was sitting upright. Nikki gave him a few seconds to recover before she grabbed onto his belt and urged him to get on his feet.

Mac had to lean on her when he was standing, but managed to concentrate on the direction that she had indicated earlier. He hadn´t noticed when she had pocketed the flashlight, however now she let go of his wrist, pulled it out and pointed the light beam in front of them.

“Let´s go.” she almost ordered him while her left hand kept a firm grip on his belt around his back.

Mac had no choice but to follow her movement. He tried hard to distract himself by keeping his eyes and his concentration on the way ahead; nevertheless, every step jarred his right side and his wound where it was pressed against Nikki´s body. By the time they had reached the bottom of the slope, Mac was worn out. When they passed a large boulder, he held on to it with his left hand and stopped.

“Nikki...” he breathed. “Wait… I need to take a break.”

When Nikki stopped with him, he leaned against the rock with his back and let go of his hold on her. Mac instantly covered the gash on his side with his hand and bent over a little. Nikki observed him closely, while he took one deep breath after another, but couldn´t stop himself from coughing in between. She laid a comforting hand on his shoulder and could feel him trembling with the strain.

“Would it be easier if you held on to me with your left arm?” she asked with concern.

“I don´t think, I could with the bruised shoulder and the torn hand.” he replied with a low voice while he shook his head, still concentrated on his inside. After a couple of moments, he was able to push back the exhaustion and the throbbing in his chest a bit. When he slowly, gingerly straightened himself and looked at Nikki standing in front of him in the dark forest, a sudden thought popped into his mind.

If the car is parked that close… how did she know where to go looking for me? Myself, I only had a rough idea of where I was when I collapsed up there…

“Nikki, how did you know where to find me?”

Nikki took a deep breath. Now, how could she explain that?

“With a little help from a friend.” she admitted.

“You´ve got a friend around here?” Mac raised his eyebrows surprised.

“No… we have.” Nikki shook her head with a little smile.

Now confusion added to Mac´s surprised expression.

“What? … I don´t know…”

“You´ll see in a few minutes.” Nikki cut him off. She chose to let the situation explain itself. As soon as he´ll see Starkoss, he´ll understand, she thought to herself. “Now, come on.” she continued aloud. “We´d better get going again.”

She reached out to offer her help. MacGyver sighed, hesitated for a moment, but then gave in and wrapped his arm around her shoulders once more. Noticing how willingly he relied on her support made Nikki worry even more about MacGyver´s condition. She had seen him sick and wounded before, but never that bad. She could feel the feverish heat radiating from his body as they walked on. She could feel his usually strong body being unsteady and shaking because of fever, pain, and exhaustion. She could feel him getting weaker with every step. She had to get him medical help – the sooner, the better.

With gentle force, she urged him on toward the end of the forest road, where she had left Starkoss. Soon she got a glimpse at the VW minibus through the trees. Starkoss had already turned it around to be able to take off at once and was waiting next to it. When he heard them making their way through the woods, he turned and quickly came towards Mac and Nikki. MacGyver had slowed down a little as he´d seen the minibus instead of their rental sedan and stopped abruptly in the second he recognized the man hurrying closer.

“How on earth…?” he muttered more to himself.

“He came up to me and offered his help when I was searching the village for you.” Nikki explained to MacGyver.

Mac stared at the older man baffled as Starkoss walked up to his left side and took hold of Mac´s left forearm. MacGyver hadn´t counted on seeing him ever again after they had said goodbye almost one year ago. But here he was… How? Why?

“That´s a long story, my friend.” Starkoss answered the questions on Mac´s mind with a kind smile. “I´ll tell you once you´ve recovered, but for now, just let me help you.”

MacGyver only nodded silently. With Starkoss now steadying him on his left side, Mac could loosen his hold on Nikki´s shoulders, which lessened the pressure on his chest wound a lot. Yet the dizziness he had felt since Nikki had awakened him had turned into a full-blown vertigo by now. The trees and the ground seemed to be moving around him while they approached the old VW. Focusing his eyes got more and more difficult.

“I think, you´d better lie down behind the seats.” Starkoss suggested while he opened the sliding side door.

He grabbed a blanket, quickly spread it out on the floor of the minibus and then motioned for MacGyver to get inside. With Nikki´s assistance, Mac climbed into the vehicle and, with a relieved sigh, lay down on his back. When Nikki turned to Starkoss, he was already standing beside her with the first aid kit in his hands.

MacGyver closed his eyes, while Nikki opened up his shirt to be able to take care of his bullet wound. He barely reacted as she cleaned it up a little, covered it securely with a dressing, and also switched the scarf around his hand for a suitable bandage. He was too occupied with trying to breathe regularly, dealing with his exhaustion, and fighting back the vertigo. He knew that his injuries weren´t all too serious, but combined with the fever probably caused by the cold and the strain of having to flee and run through the woods for hours, it left him feeling really lousy. He was wasted. He desperately longed for some rest, for some sleep.

Moments after Nikki was done, Mac´s concentration was caught by a large hand placed firmly on his forehead. Only seconds later he felt a bit of a pleasant coolness spreading through his body and sensed his pain lessen a little. MacGyver relaxed his tense body thanks to that feeling, but was also intrigued by how it could be possible. He forced his eyes open, and his questioning look was met by Starkoss´s concerned smile.

“Better?” the older man asked.

MacGyver nodded weakly but kept up his puzzled gaze silently.

“I can´t take away all of the pain.” Starkoss added with an apologetic shrug. “But I can make it a little easier for you.”

Mac nodded again. Suddenly it didn´t seem too important anymore how Starkoss had managed to do it. He just appreciated how much more comfortable he felt.

“Thanks.” Mac said with a feeble smile.

In the meantime, Nikki had retrieved a bottle of water from her bag and returned to Mac´s side.

“Thirsty?” she wanted to know.

Starkoss slowly and carefully pulled back his hand and moved aside to allow Nikki more room. MacGyver´s eyes switched first to Nikki´s face and then caught on the bottle in her hand.

“Yeah.” he replied, lifted his head a little, and started to push himself up.

Nikki quickly moved closer to his side and assisted him by wrapping one arm around his shoulders. She steadied him when she felt him sway a little as soon as he was sitting upright.

MacGyver took the offered bottle from her and instantly opened it. Due to the chase that had lasted hours and the high fever he felt parched. He swallowed the water in large gulps, savoring the feel of the cool liquid running down his sore throat.

“Careful, Mac.” He heard Nikki from behind. “Mind your weakened circulation.”

MacGyver put down the half-emptied bottle out of breath. Only a moment later the cool water in his stomach made him shudder. He felt Nikki take the bottle from his hands, grab on onto his shoulders and cautiously pull him back a little until he was leaning against her. Suddenly everything seemed to be moving around him again. Mac´s breath quickened, and he had to close his eyes.

“We´d better get going.” He heard Nikki say.

“Keep him warm.” Starkoss replied and then the sliding door was closed.

Abruptly Mac felt trapped in the unfamiliar bus. Out of survival instinct, without thinking about it, he tried to rise and get up.

“Don´t, Mac!” Nikki called out to him and tightened her hold on him. “It´s okay… Calm down!”

Nikki´s voice drew him out of his sudden feverish fright; his dark eyes darted around the minibus and finally found Nikki´s worried face. He hesitated when Nikki tried to lower him.

“It´s all right.” Nikki continued. “You´re safe… I´m just trying to make you comfortable.”

Slowly MacGyver relaxed and nodded. He sank back against Nikki and felt her wrap one arm around him while the other one reached out for a blanket and covered him with it. Cautiously she adjusted her position until Mac´s upper body was lying on her lap and his head resting against her arm. He knew the closeness of her body should have helped him getting warmer but he couldn´t stop the shivers running over him.

MacGyver fought to calm down his labored breathing and keep his focus on Nikki, but bit by bit felt exhaustion and dizziness take over. Then Starkoss started the engine and took off. The movement of the minibus on the uneven road jarred the wound on his side over and over again, and Mac bit back a moan with almost every pothole. After a few minutes, he allowed his eyes to close and instantly felt Nikki´s free hand touch his forehead and stroke back his sweat-matted hair.

“Is it bearable?”

Mac could hear how much it troubled her to watch him like this.

“Are you all right?”

Mac managed to blink his eyes open with quite an effort and looked up at her.

“No… but I´ll live.” he replied with a breaking voice between shivers. “I just need to rest, Nikki.”

He tried to reassure her with a faint smile but instantly knew that his attempt hadn´t convinced her. Heck, it hasn´t even convinced me…, he thought wearily.

MacGyver strove to keep his eyes locked on her face but with the next hole, an intense sting shot across his chest. His body stiffened abruptly, he drew in a sharp breath and couldn´t suppress a short, painful groan. He felt Nikki tighten her hold on him but it was the last thing he noticed. His strength was spent, darkness and vertigo took over and he passed out only a moment later.

Nikki´s worries spiked when she saw Mac´s eyes close and felt his body go limp. Nevertheless, she suppressed the urge to try and wake him again, knowing very well that as long as he was unconscious he wouldn´t feel the pain. While she observed Mac´s pale, sweat-covered face, she fervently hoped that the hospital, Starkoss was driving to, wasn´t too far away.

Minutes later the minibus reached the paved road, much to Nikki´s relief. She sensed how Starkoss increased their speed, yet soon afterward, before they had even reached the village, he turned onto another dirt road. Nikki was instantly alarmed.

“Starkoss, what are you doing?” she called out to the older man. “Mac needs a doctor as fast as possible.”

“I know.” Starkoss replied calmly.

“Well, I don´t believe that the closest hospital is somewhere in the middle of a forest!” Nikki shot back.

“I´m not taking you to a hospital.” Starkoss answered firm.

“What?” Nikki couldn´t believe what she had heard. “But I trusted you! MacGyver needs help quickly. He went unconscious again!”

“He will get help.” Starkoss assured her. “But taking you to a hospital would be like telling those GRU agents about where to find you both. They´re still after him, remember?”

“Of course.” Nikki argued. “But by now, I´ve got the information he carried. They don´t know about me.”

“So they also don´t know that he doesn´t have it anymore.” Starkoss sighed. “Are you willing to leave him behind again? … Alone in any given hospital? … Because of the information you carry now? … When you know that those agents are close?”

Nikki was rendered speechless for a moment. She looked down on MacGyver´s unconscious form in her arms. He had a point.

“No.” she admitted. “I wouldn´t leave him behind once more.”

Silently she confessed to herself that at the moment she cared more about Mac´s well-being and survival than about taking the documents he had handed her to Pete and thereby completing their mission objective. Even if she had known for sure that someone else would take good care of MacGyver, she felt she had to stay at his side.

“I know a place where to hide you both until he has recovered.” Starkoss´s words drew her concentration back to him. “A good friend of mine is a doctor. He will take care of MacGyver… trust me, he´ll be all right.”

Nikki´s gaze was still fixed on MacGyver. I sure hope, I can trust him, she thought. You´re relying on me… Your life is at stake…

From where she was sitting on the floor of the VW, she couldn´t see much of the landscape Starkoss was driving through. The only thing she noticed in the dark were trees, huge, old, and a lot of them. After several, long minutes she felt the minibus stop. She straightened herself a little as she felt Starkoss get out of the car.

“I´ll be right back.” he told her quickly.

Nikki assessed MacGyver´s condition once more, felt for his pulse on his neck, and was relieved to find it fast, but strong and steady.

A few minutes later Starkoss returned and opened the side door. Nikki got a first good look at their surroundings.

They were on a clearing enclosed by old trees and close to a house that also seemed to be very old. Its walls were sturdy and thick; the windows relatively small. The single-story house seemed to duck onto a slope right at the edge of the forest. Starkoss had obviously been inside and turned on some lights. He noticed Nikki´s probing gaze at the house.

“This is where I live.” he explained. “Long ago it used to be a farmhouse.”

Nikki nodded and returned her focus to MacGyver.

“What now?” she asked.

“I just called my friend. He is already on his way.” the older man told her. “In the meantime, we should take him inside and make him comfortable.”



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 18 November 2021 - 10:37 AM                                    
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First of all, thanks so much for posting that picture!! It certainly is a lovely area...if you're not sick with a cold, a bum shoulder and a bullet wound!!

Yay!! Starkoss!! Major GX-1 flashbacks!!! Very neat idea to bring him in to help Nikki...and for Nikki to trust him. Seems as though Nikki's feelings for Mac a growing a bit...first she trusts Starkoss and then she realizes she would stay with Mac at a hospital (or wherever) rather than get the documents to safety. Oh my!! Is there something in the wind or is it just the extreme stress she's under and seeing Mac in such bad physical shape?? Hmmmm. Oh well, at least they have "relative" safety...sorry, not sure if I trust Starkoss's home. I trust HIM, but those GRU agents keep turning up!! Oh, and your descriptions of Mac's injuries now have ME wincing!! LOL!! Very nice chapter! I hope Mac has a speedy and uneventful recovery!!



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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bluegirl
Posted: 20 November 2021 - 05:43 AM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 18 November 2021 - 07:37 PM)
First of all, thanks so much for posting that picture!!  It certainly is a lovely area...if you're not sick with a cold, a bum shoulder and a bullet wound!!

Seems as though Nikki's feelings for Mac a growing a bit...first she trusts Starkoss and then she realizes she would stay with Mac at a hospital (or wherever) rather than get the documents to safety.  Oh my!!  Is there something in the wind or is it just the extreme stress she's under and seeing Mac in such bad physical shape??  Hmmmm.

I hope Mac has a speedy and uneventful recovery!!

Well, the area known as 'Waldviertel' was and still is a sleepy and otherworldly one in Austria. Full of special places and people. Suits Starkoss very well and is one of the regions in Austria where you could 'get lost' at the time... and probably still can.

Nikki´s feelings for Mac growing? Something in the wind? Let me just say that he IS in bad shape... and that she cares about him isn´t all too new... (see 'The Widowmaker'?)

Uneventful recovery??? roller.gif This is MacGyver we´re talking about! roller.gif



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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bluegirl
Posted: 21 November 2021 - 04:47 AM                                    
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All right... Sunday again! Time to post a new chapter!

Part 7


Silence.

Then a dry wave of heat hit him like a desert wind. But somehow that dry heat seemed to come from inside his body. The next thing MacGyver noticed through his woozy mind was a cool, damp cloth touching his forehead, his cheeks, his lips, and his neck. He felt the moisture on his chapped lips, realized how dried out his mouth was, and automatically licked his lips.

Those few, precious drops of water made him try to breathe deeper and to swallow, but that instantly sent him coughing. The coughing fit left his body shaking, and a sharp pain crossed his chest. His sore throat and lungs were throbbing with the strain it caused. He moaned and sensed a cool and slender hand touch his forehead, then cup his cheek in an attempt to steady his head.

“Shh, MacGyver… easy… take it slow…” a familiar female voice addressed him.

It took some effort from him to regain control over his breath and still it felt restricted. Slowly he turned his head a little towards that voice and noticed that he was lying on his back on something soft, probably a bed, and was covered with a warm blanket. His injuries had been cared for and were bandaged.

But the memories in his foggy mind were jumbled and blurred; he couldn´t really remember what had happened and how he´d gotten here. Wherever here was…

A bright lightning bolt accompanied by instant thunder roaring flashed before his still closed eyes and the thunder was followed up by the sharp bang of a gunshot in the darkness. His labored breathing quickened with those pictures and in the next moment, he winced as the damp cloth was suddenly back on his forehead.

“Calm down, Mac.” the voice said softly. “It´s okay… you´re safe.”

MacGyver tried to concentrate on that voice and cling to the feeling of the hands on his face. He leaned a little into the touch on his cheek and blinked his eyes open. It took a couple of moments to get his eyes to focus and even then, he saw Nikki´s face only through a haze. She smiled at him, took the cloth away, yet held the contact to his cheek.

“Hey, MacGyver.” she greeted him. “Good to see your eyes again.”

“Nikki… hey.” Mac answered hoarsely.

A lot of questions whirled through his confused and feverish mind. His eyes left Nikki´s face and darted around the dimly lighted, unfamiliar room. His body stiffened, and he tried to sit up with the realization that he didn´t recognize his surroundings.

“Where…” he started to ask, but was cut off by Nikki.

“Shh. Stay still, Mac.”

Her second hand was quickly back and easily held him down at his shoulder.

“You´re safe here.” she repeated. “This is Starkoss´ house.”

A wave of dizziness washed over Mac, and he realized, he was too weak to sit up and relaxed into Nikki´s hold. His head sank back onto the pillow and his eyes locked on to Nikki again. Staying concentrated on her drained a lot of his energy.

“But what…” he tried to ask but was silenced by Nikki once more.

“Shh. Not now.” she said gently. “You´re still running a high fever. You need to rest.”

MacGyver nodded weakly. In his woozy mind, he couldn´t hold on to a clear thought anyway at the moment.

“Thirsty?” Nikki wanted to know.

MacGyver´s unsteady gaze cleared up a little. That was one thing he was sure about.

“Yeah.” he croaked and nodded again.

Nikki´s hand left his cheek and stroked back his tousled and damp hair.

“I´ll get you something.”

Mac´s eyes followed her as she got up from the chair at his bedside and took a few steps to a table close by. She poured some warm liquid from a pot into a mug and then returned to him. Mac lifted his head off the pillow again and had just started to push himself up, when Nikki´s arm was already there around his shoulders to help and to hold him.

Mac took the mug with his right hand, but Nikki didn´t let go of it completely. Her hand stayed there to steady him and to help him drink. Somehow the smell and the taste of the herbal tea seemed distantly familiar to him as if he had tasted it earlier. The warm liquid soothed his sore throat and made him relax almost instantly.

“That´s bitter.” he complained feebly after he had emptied the mug and laid down again.

“You´ve told me that before.” Nikki answered with a smile and set down the mug on the nightstand.

“Before?” Mac echoed hoarsely and raised his eyebrows questioning.

“It´s been about a whole day since we´ve brought you here.” Nikki explained while her face went serious. “You´ve been in and out of consciousness and at times delirious because of the fever. I figured, that you wouldn´t remember much of it.”

MacGyver was stunned silent with surprise by that answer and tried to search and sort the chaotic and fuzzy pictures in his mind when he suddenly felt himself getting tired. But he instantly knew that it happened way too rapidly to be triggered only by his weakness and exhaustion. Something else was causing that. He was alarmed by the feeling of losing control over his senses. His body tensed, he tried to keep his focus on Nikki and wanted to get up and reach out to her.

“Nikki, what´s happening to me?” he asked, desperately fighting against the darkness creeping up. “What did you give me? What was in that tea?”

Nikki quickly caught his wrists and held him down.

“Calm down, Mac. Don´t fight it!” she ordered firm and then her voice went soft again. “It´ll help you rest… It´ll help you heal… It won´t harm you. It´s just a herbal mix.”

MacGyver still was uncomfortable with the feeling of getting sedated, but he settled down a bit with Nikki´s words and chose to allow it to happen.

“It´s okay… don´t fight it… I´ll be here to watch over you.” He heard Nikki repeat with a now soothing tone in her voice as his eyes slowly closed and the darkness took over his senses.

“It´ll help you heal.”

Then everything went quiet and black again.

Nikki watched MacGyver closely while he drifted off to sleep and cautiously let go of his arms as his body relaxed. Until now he had never been aware enough to notice that it had been some of the herbs in the tea that had sent him sleeping. His alarmed reaction worried her, but somehow she had known that he wouldn´t agree with it; that he wouldn´t like that decision to be taken out of his hands. She sighed, while she observed how his breath got regular and calm once more.

Yet, all in all, it is a good sign, she thought. He is getting more attentive. He is getting a little better.

*****

The cool morning ocean breeze was comfortable on Mac´s warm skin and his face. He had just taken off from the marina, was looking forward to his day of research on the beach, and was really looking forward to a beautiful and cozy evening with Deborah afterward. It was his turn to cook and he planned something special for today.

But in the next moment, a deafening explosion hit his ears, and everything was bathed in bright fire and burning heat. And to make it even worse, this explosion unexpectedly mixed with rain, lightning, and the distinctive click of a switchblade knife. But before he could do anything about that knife, he heard, saw, and felt another blast that threw him fiercely against a tree. Still overwhelmed with the intense pictures that whirled in his mind, he heard a familiar voice cut through them.

“MacGyver! … Wake up!”

Someone held on to his right shoulder.

“MacGyver! ... Come back to me!”

Mac´s body tensed with the sudden touch and the confusing pictures and sounds. He flinched back and abruptly opened his eyes, only to find Nikki´s concerned face. He needed several seconds to reorient himself before he realized that it had been a dream.

A bad dream.

His heart was pounding as he stared at Nikki bewildered. He saw the unfamiliar room, they were in, and a faint memory of being awake here earlier resurfaced in his mind. He still felt the uncomfortable, burning heat inside. Somehow he had ended lying on his left side this time. His bruised shoulder and arm ached a little. With his left hand being next to his face on the pillow, he automatically wanted to rub it over his face to ease up his inner tension, but Nikki hindered him by quickly holding on to his wrist.

“Careful with that hand!” she chided him.

Just then MacGyver felt a twinge in his palm, got a glimpse at the bandage, and remembered how the barbed wire had torn into that palm. The next things he noticed were his still sore throat and bronchial tubes when he tried to take a deep breath. He had to swallow hard to suppress the urge to cough. Nikki gently pushed back some strands of damp hair from his forehead.

“How are you feeling?” she asked with a soft voice now.

MacGyver needed a few seconds to completely return to the present, to assess his condition, and to lock his eyes with Nikki´s.

“A little better, I guess.” he answered hoarsely. “Apart from the nightmare…”

“Well, you´re still feverish.” Nikki told him, smiling down at him with a mixture of sympathy and sorrow. “It´s mostly caused by the serious cold… but also by the exhaustion and the blood loss… Your mind´s probably quite messed up.”

“That bad?” Mac asked worriedly.

“No, not every single issue… but they all add up.” Nikki explained while she felt for his temperature first on his forehead and then with the back of her fingers on his cheek.

MacGyver closed his eyes while he savored the cool touch of her hand and adjusted himself to lie more on his back. A stinging pain in his side made him pull a small grimace and bite back a moan. Nikki´s hand softly cupped his cheek in a comforting gesture.

“The bullet wound? … Does it still hurt?”

Mac opened his eyes again and looked up at her.

“Only when I try to move or breathe deeply.” he replied with a weak and lopsided grin.

“I think, that´s why the doctor asked me to make sure that you´d lie still.” Nikki returned the grin, but Mac was confused.

“What doctor?”

“He´s a friend of Starkoss.” Nikki explained. “A local. He took care of you right after we had brought you here. He sutured your wounds, provided you with appropriate medication, and checked back on you yesterday evening and earlier today.”

MacGyver nodded, but another question popped up in his head.

“Why didn´t you take me to a hospital?”

Nikki´s smile died.

“After I had taken Dubcek to Vienna, I returned to our secondary meeting point… even if I arrived way too early, I had the feeling I had to look for you.” she sighed. “I saw that Zorkin and Baranov had already crossed the border and were searching for you. Fortunately, they didn´t notice me, but taking you to a hospital would have been like highlighting your location to them. Starkoss offered to hide us here.”

MacGyver needed a moment to absorb all the information, yet one detail was missing.

“But, Nikki… what about the film?” he demanded with a suddenly tense and alarmed expression. “You promised to take those documents to Pete.”

“I know.” Nikki said a little defensive. “The film is safe here just as we are.”

She took a small pause and looked down on Mac a little embarrassed.

“Mac, I wasn´t willing to leave you behind once more. I had to make sure you´d be all right… still do.” she admitted while her hand was softly stroking over his damp hair.

MacGyver held her gaze with a bit of surprise. He knew that Nikki cared about his well-being, yet her behavior toward him felt different than it ever had as long as he had known her. But he could be mistaking due to his confused and weakened condition.

“I appreciate that.” he replied with a low voice. “Thanks for caring. Thanks for getting me out of that forest.”

Nikki stayed silent for a long moment and then managed a sheepish smile.

“Do you need anything?” she asked abruptly. “I guess, you gotta be thirsty…”

The memory of being forced to fall asleep by the tea flashed back into MacGyver´s head.

“Yeah.” he nodded with a frown. “But don´t expect me to drink that tea again. I´d like to sleep on my own accord.”

“I figured as much as that.” Nikki´s smile turned apologetic. “I also told that to the doctor. We agreed to change the recipe and left out the herbs with the sedating effects. But it´ll still help your body heal.”

Mac watched her with some doubt as she got up, filled up a mug, and returned to sit at his bedside. Her supporting arm around his shoulders was there as soon as he started to push himself up. MacGyver smelled a little hesitant at the steaming liquid as she offered it to him.

“Mac, you know I wouldn´t harm you.” Nikki chided with a soft, but slightly disappointed voice. “Now drink!”

Mac sighed a bit theatrically, but obeyed.

“Still bitter.”

His feeble complaint only earned him an annoyed snort from Nikki.

“Thanks.” he added.

Again, he instantly felt the soothing effect in his throat, and soon after he´d emptied the mug and laid down he felt all the pain in his body diminish. He allowed his eyes to close with a sigh, relaxed into the pleasant feeling, and took several deep breaths. He had to cough because of that and sensed his exhaustion catch up with him at once.

Moments later Nikki´s hands were back together with the cool, damp cloth. Gently she took the sweat off Mac´s face and neck, rinsed the cloth with fresh, cool water, and laid it on his forehead. MacGyver calmed down even further with her comforting touch. He half-opened his eyes to look up at her, grateful for her care. Nikki noticed his tired eyes and how worn out he was when she took the cloth away.

“You look like you´d better get some rest.” she suggested with a protective tone.

“I guess, you´re right…” Mac agreed feebly. His voice trailed off. He had barely enough energy left to keep his eyes open and to keep his focus on Nikki.

“Get some sleep.” Nikki continued, smiling down at him. “You don´t need to fight to stay awake. We´re safe here. I won´t leave you alone.”

Mac only nodded. He gave in to his tiredness while his eyelids grew heavy and closed. The last things he noticed before everything went dark and silent were one of Nikki´s hands stroking over his hair and cheek and her lips placing a very soft and very gentle kiss on his forehead.

*****

By the next time, MacGyver woke up, he instantly and instinctively knew that his fever had broken. The dry heat was gone. The fog that had clouded his mind and senses for so long was gone. It had made room for a feeling of clarity and freshness. But the longer he enjoyed that clarity, it also made him realize how clearly he now felt every bruise, every injury, and how worn out he was after the whole ordeal. Every muscle, every joint seemed to ache due to the high fever he had been through.

He felt weak, almost unable to move when he adjusted his body to a more comfortable position on the bed and moaned a little with the pain it caused. With his eyes still closed, Mac tried to take a deep breath and noticed relieved that he could without having to cough instantly. His throat and lungs were still sore, yet the congestion seemed mostly gone. The next thing he got aware of in his weariness was that he was parched. When he automatically licked his lips, he sensed how dried out and chapped their skin was.

Just then he realized that everything around him was perfectly silent, and that no one had reacted to his movements up until now.

“Nikki?” he croaked low and hoarsely while he blinked his eyes open.

The name came out barely understandable. Mac swallowed hard and cleared his throat.

“Nikki?” he tried again a little louder.

There… that was better… but where is she? he thought when he got no response.

His eyes wandered around the room. For the first time, he was able to get a good impression of his surroundings. He saw a dark wooden ceiling, built out of sturdy beams and relatively low. The windows were smaller than MacGyver was used to it and also gave him an idea of really thick walls. Mac couldn´t see it due to the plaster, but the walls seemed to be made of stone. The house felt old, real old.

Apart from the bed, he was lying in and the nightstand and wooden chair next to it, there wasn´t much furniture in the dimly lit room. He saw a table with another chair next to the side wall, with his travel bag sitting on it, and a small couch with cushions and a crumpled blanket opposite to the table along the other side wall.

Nikki had probably been resting on that one…

The sturdy, wooden door was closed and located in the far wall. No light filtered in through the windows, so it had to be late evening or night. MacGyver hadn´t seen any clock on the wall, and he just now noticed that the watch on his left wrist was gone; perhaps to make enough room for the bandage that was protecting his hand.

Slowly, carefully Mac pushed himself up on his elbows and looked around for a second time. Yes, he was alone. Nobody was in sight and the door was firmly closed.

Although he had risen slowly, MacGyver felt the dizziness return and an uncomfortable sting in his right side. Now that his mind and senses weren´t hazy anymore, he felt the stitches pull on his skin. The twinge reminded him of his thirst. Mac´s head turned. His eyes searched the nightstand next to his bed and the table. But there was nothing. No water, no teapot, no mug, no glass… nothing.

MacGyver sighed deeply and ran his right hand through his hair and over his face.

Great. Waking up thirsty in an unfamiliar house, as it seems in the middle of the night, with no one in sight or hearing range. Totally worn out after two or three days of high fever, judging by the length of the stubble on my face. Just great…

After a moment of consideration, MacGyver took a deep breath and gingerly rose until he was sitting upright. The dizziness worsened momentarily; Mac had to stabilize himself with his arms. The blanket that had covered him slipped downwards, and he noticed that he was wearing a more or less fresh t-shirt and sweatpants. Obviously, Nikki had used the contents of his duffle bag to keep him comfortable. After the vertigo had lessened to a bearable level, Mac pushed the blanket aside and slowly swung his long legs out of the bed. Again, he had to hold on to the bed for a couple of moments and closed his eyes briefly.

When he opened them, Mac noticed his sneakers standing below the table. Really cautious he rose to his feet and took the few steps to the table. He puffed out a relieved breath when he had reached it and sat down on the chair next to it. He retrieved fresh socks from his bag and then bent down to slip on the socks and his shoes. After he was done, Mac straightened himself on the chair and concentrated on the door. The few steps he had taken so far, had shown him how weakened he still was.

I just hope, this house isn´t very big and I won´t have to look for Nikki all too long, he thought as he pushed himself up from the chair and made his way to the door. Don´t know, how much strength I´ve got left.

When he had opened the door, MacGyver faced a corridor. It also had thick walls, a dark wooden ceiling, three doors on one side, three windows on the other one, and one half-open door at its end. And very little light. The room at the other end of the corridor seemed to be lit brightly, judging by the amount of light Mac could see filtering through the crack of the half-open door. And he could hear muffled voices.

So this was where he would be heading first.

His stiff and aching joints were loosening up a little the further he moved, but the dizziness all of a sudden spiked when he had only passed the second side door. MacGyver had to quickly hold on to the wall to stabilize himself. He lowered his head, pressed his eyes shut, and tried to breathe deep. But it was no use. Within seconds, without being able to do anything about it, he felt his legs weaken and his knees give way. Mac dropped to the ground. His head and back hit the wooden floor hard.

Fighting back the darkness that threatened to take over his senses, he desperately tried to regain control over his body. Through the ringing in his head, he noticed that the voices, he had heard before, went silent after he had fallen. The next things he became aware of were hurried steps, someone shouting his name, and then running towards him. With his eyes still closed, MacGyver winced as he felt slender hands grab onto his shoulders.

“MacGyver!” He heard Nikki call out to him.

Moaning, Mac turned his head towards her voice and forced his eyes to open. He needed a few moments to focus on her worried face. One of her hands left his shoulder and went to his forehead, feeling for his temperature. Her face relaxed a little when she didn´t sense fever anymore.

“What on earth are you doing out of bed?” she asked sharply after Mac´s gaze on her had somewhat steadied.

MacGyver took a deep breath and cleared his throat.

“Was looking for you…” he answered hoarsely and with a weak apologetic smile forming on his face. He pulled a grimace as another wave of dizziness washed over him and felt Nikki´s hand brush back his hair.

“Well, after two days in bed with a high fever and a few injuries, how far did you think you´d get?” Nikki scolded him, but when Mac managed to focus his eyes on her again, he saw a concerned smile.

“Didn´t really know…” he admitted with the same feeble smile as before. “Didn´t get far enough, I guess.”

Slowly the ringing in his head and the vertigo subsided. Nikki sighed deeply, while she observed him closely. Suddenly both of them heard steps hurrying closer. Within seconds, Starkoss came into view at Nikki´s side.

“Is he all right?” he wanted to know quickly.

“I think so.” Nikki said with a glance over her shoulder. “It´s just his usual… he wasn´t respecting his limits.”

MacGyver rolled his eyes at her remark, but kept quiet.

“Lying on the ground won´t do you any good.” Starkoss turned to MacGyver. “Can you get up again?”

“Yeah.” Mac nodded. “I should, with a little help.”

Nikki came over to his right side and held on to his arm while Starkoss was doing the same on his left. Carefully they assisted him in first sitting up and then getting to his feet. MacGyver swayed a little and had to lean on to his friends.

“I´ll get him back to his bed.” Mac heard Starkoss address Nikki, while he was still concentrating on steadying himself. “Can you bring the tea?”

“Of course.” Nikki replied and loosened her grip on Mac with a probing look at him.

MacGyver tried to ignore the twinge in his bruised left shoulder when Starkoss tightened his hold on him and took a deep breath to push back the renewed dizziness. He willingly followed Starkoss´s support, as the older man turned him around and escorted him back to his bed. The Russian helped MacGyver lie down again, covered him with the blanket, and then sat down at his bedside.

Mac had rolled onto his back with his eyes closed and tried to breathe slow and deep, when he felt one of Starkoss´s hands on his forehead and the other one on the middle of his chest. Within seconds, the pain and the dizziness lessened, and the tension left his muscles and joints. The pleasant and comforting sensation intensified and spread through his body in the matter of a couple of moments.

Mac couldn´t help but sigh deeply with the feeling and then remembered, that he´d experienced something similar before. In the small bus. Intrigued he opened his eyes and found Starkoss looking down at him with a concentrated, but kind smile.

“What…?” Mac asked puzzled and barely audible. “How…?”

Starkoss´s smile widened while he slowly pulled back the hand from MacGyver´s forehead and straightened himself. After a few seconds, he also lifted the hand from Mac´s chest and rested it on his arm.

“It is hard to explain.” he answered Mac´s surprised question. “Let me just say that since I live here in Austria, I learned about other ways to put my gift, as you called it, to use.”

It wasn´t much of an explanation to MacGyver, but he nodded. With Starkoss, he knew, he wouldn´t easily get one that his scientific and skeptic mind could work with.

“I appreciate it.” he told the older man.

Starkoss gently squeezed his arm and got up when he heard Nikki enter the room.

“You´ll be all right.” he assured MacGyver, still smiling, and then turned and left them alone.

Nikki filled up a mug and set the teapot down on the table.

“I suppose, you´re thirsty?” she asked as she approached the bed.

Mac needed a moment to focus on her after the thorough relaxation he had felt thanks to Starkoss´s doing.

“Yeah.” he nodded, as he remembered why he had felt the urge to get up in the first place, and gingerly pushed himself up to his elbows.

The ache was still there when he moved, but after whatever Starkoss had done it was more like a distant echo, MacGyver noticed with relief. Nikki steadied him with her arm around his shoulders while he drank and then gently helped him lie down again. The sharp edge, Mac had noticed on her in the corridor, was gone now.

“Sorry, if I scared you back there.” Mac apologized with a sheepish smile. “I really thought, I would…”

“Save it, Mac.” Nikki cut him off. “It´s okay… I know that you don´t have a lot of memories of what you´ve been through during the last two days… I should have foreseen that you might come looking for us… After all, you´re still weak. Even if your fever broke, you need to take it slow. You need to rest.”

She pulled the blanket up to Mac´s shoulders, and MacGyver felt the warmth of the bed and the warmth of the tea in his stomach mingle and spread through his body. Together with the relief, Starkoss had somehow caused, and with his exhaustion, he felt himself getting tired.

“I´m working on it.” he sighed with a feeble grin and allowed his eyes to close.

Nikki watched him closely while MacGyver drifted off to sleep, saw how his pale face slowly relaxed, and how his breath got calm and regular. Gently she stroked back some strands of his unruly hair from his forehead and also sighed.

Seems, as if he´s passed the worst of it, she thought. But how on earth am I going to make sure that he doesn´t rush his recovery from now on?




The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 22 November 2021 - 10:36 AM                                    
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Mac is really in bad shape!! Again your descriptive writing really makes it feel "real". I also like how you use Mac's point of view to describe the house instead of just telling the reader about it. Whoa! Major flashback to Deborah! Poor Mac, she really messed him up! And also including the lightening and tree...disconnected ideas like real dreams! I think one of my favorite parts of this chapter is the interaction between him and Nikki when he falls in the hallway. Like Nikki said at the end, it seems he's on the mend, but now he'll want to push himself too hard. Ah, looking out for Mac is a tough job, but I think Nikki's up to the task!!



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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bluegirl
Posted: 22 November 2021 - 12:11 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 22 November 2021 - 07:36 PM)
Whoa!  Major flashback to Deborah!  Poor Mac, she really messed him up! And also including the lightening and tree...disconnected ideas like real dreams! 

I think one of my favorite parts of this chapter is the interaction between him and Nikki when he falls in the hallway.  Like Nikki said at the end, it seems he's on the mend, but now he'll want to push himself too hard.  Ah, looking out for Mac is a tough job, but I think Nikki's up to the task!!

As for Deborah... Remember the last look MacGyver shoots her right at the very end of 'The Negotiator' - You can see how deeply he´s affected in those few seconds! (IMHO)

And Nikki looking out for him... who else could be up to that task right now?? wink.gif



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 23 November 2021 - 07:03 AM                                    
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Something else I noticed; I don't think he's eaten anything since he and Niki had lunch while they were out exploring the town. A glass of orange juice while he waited to make contact was the only thing after that. He's in high gear, battle ready (adrenaline junkie; you sure got that right), then later he's being chased cross country, across two creeks and a river, and injured. He's burning a lot of calories and he finally just "runs out of gas" and face-plants. Then he's mostly unconscious for two days. They keep giving him herbal tea, which I gather is medicinal, but his only comment about the taste is "bitter". If he complained it was overly sweet or mentioned tasting honey in it, I could see where he's getting some calories. So far, he seems to be running on nothing but his body's reserve, and he has a very lean build with little, if any, fat to burn for energy. His body needs energy to heal as well. No wonder he can't get down the hallway without collapsing! Next time you give him more tea, Nicky, get some soup into him as well!
Some of you might be thinking, "But Starkoss is 'passing him energy'." I might be wrong, but the way I see it is that he is using his mind and nervous system to convince Mac's mind and body to relax completely so he can rest. That would seem to me to be more in line with his mental powers, using his mind to influence another's at a basic, physical level. If that's so, I wonder if he couldn't gently steer Mac's mind out of another hightmare if Starkoss noticed Mac having one?

Other than that, great story, with great attention to character and details!!! Want MORE!!! thumbsup.gif



When it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win. Angus MacGuyver

If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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Posted: 23 November 2021 - 11:58 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Karenskatz @ 23 November 2021 - 04:03 PM)
Then he's mostly unconscious for two days.  They keep giving him herbal tea, which I gather is medicinal, but his only comment about the taste is "bitter".  If he complained it was overly sweet or mentioned tasting honey in it, I could see where he's getting some calories.  So far, he seems to be running on nothing but  his body's reserve, and he has a very lean build with little, if any, fat to burn for energy.  His body needs energy to heal as well.  No wonder he can't get down the hallway without collapsing!  Next time you give him more tea, Nicky, get some soup into him as well!

Some of you might be thinking, "But Starkoss is 'passing him energy'."  I might be wrong, but the way I see it is that he is using his mind and nervous system to convince Mac's mind and body to relax completely so he can rest.  That would seem to me to be more in line with his mental powers, using his mind to influence another's at a basic, physical level.  If that's so, I wonder if he couldn't gently steer Mac's mind out of another hightmare if Starkoss noticed Mac having one?

When he wakes up for the first time, he´s there 'about a whole day'...

Since I unfortunately do have some experience in that department... there are herbal teas you can sweeten with whatever you like - they still are bitter. That Mac doesn´t mention honey doesn´t mean it isn´t there... the bitterness is just the one thing he does notice as 'the uncomfortable part'.

When he tries to make it through the corridor, he´s there about two days... of course he´s running on fumes by then. But the point is - he still tries to find Nikki. 'He is pushing his limits' - as always. Hey, this is MacGyver we´re talking about.

As for Starkoss 'passing him energy' - We see Starkoss not only using telepathy but also telekinetic powers in GX-1 (the video Pete shows to Mac and Nikki). My assumption is that he has expanded his abilities. The area where they are now is full of 'special' people with 'special' abilities. Have you ever heard of reiki or hands-on healing? I´ve got a friend who´s learned to pass on reiki. Those 'holistic' and energy-based ways of helping people affect the whole body, but I never got to know anyone who could interact so specifically to be able to influence dreams or just the nervous system... It is more of an energy exchange... at least that´s my experience.

But thanks for your feedback, and that you still want more!



The stuff is already there, I just find a different way to use it!

 
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Karenskatz
Posted: 24 November 2021 - 08:29 AM                                    
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Okay... every now and then, you read something and go :Hey, wait a moment..." I admit I don't know much about healing touch and so on. The nice thing about this forum is I can post a note and question something or mention how I see something heading, and the author can answer and explain what they meant and where they were going and I learn something new, or gain an insight I missed. It makes the story a bit more interesting. I just have to remember to not be too much of a pest, questioning everything. huh.gif I do love some of the phrasing you come up with, especially in the dialogue.We all know how Pete and Nikki feel about trying to restrain Mac when he's bored or curious about something and not willing to sit still. You hit the nail on the head when you wrote Nikki saying, "Just the usual... He's not respecting his limits." That describes it so perfectly!

Hurry up with more chapters! It's so hard for me to wait. I'm used to having MacGyver fan-fiction that was posted years ago, and I can read the whole story in one go. I usually skim through the story to see what's happening and how it ends, then go back and read it slowly several times to get all the little nuances. This waiting for chapters is driving me crazy! ohmy.gif



When it comes down to me against the situation, I don't like the situation to win. Angus MacGuyver

If you're gonna to be a hero, sometimes you gotta do stupid things. Rocket J. Squirrel

 
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