E-mail Author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: To change a man you just need to change his past. Can MacGyver trust his memories after he is captured behind the Iron Curtain?
Category: Angst. Hurt/Comfort.
Warnings: Mental & Physical Whumping.
Rating: A cautious PG13
Notes: My thanks must go to Beth for her great Mac story, which helped inspire me to try my hand at my first Mac fiction, and for hosting this fiction for me. And of course to Dr D for the sterling beta job and for her invaluable advice and words of wisdom!
Disclaimer: They aren’t mine – more’s the pity because if they were we would have had DVD’s years ago. They belong to TPTB at Paramount and Henry Winkler/John Rich Productions, I just borrowed them, didn’t intend to upset anybodies copyrights etc. Certain ideas, images and dialogue are by courtesy of and remain the copyright of Coleman Luck and CBS television.
I wrote this for fun and didn’t get paid anything. This story is the property of the author and may not be posted anywhere without the author’s consent.
“No Pete, absolutely not. There is no way I’m going anywhere other than home to sleep. For a month!”
Behind his desk in the large corner office on the top floor of the Phoenix Foundation, director of field operations Peter Thornton looked at the man who sat crumpled in the chair opposite him. He was his top operative and his best friend, as well as the only man, apart from himself, he could trust to do the job.
“Listen Mac, you know I wouldn’t ask you if there was anybody else, but there isn’t. It’s just a simple collection job, fly in, pick up the microfilm and fly out. Easy as that.”
“Pete, it’s NEVER as easy as that and I’m still not going.”
The tall figure of Angus MacGyver ran a weary hand through his long blond hair. Not more than two hours ago he had stepped off a plane from the small South American country of Ispepol, where as well as successfully helping to stop the assassination of the pro democracy opposition leader he had narrowly escaped with his own life as those loyal to the government had attacked him and those he was helping.
He was tired and he hurt both mentally and physically and all he wanted to do was go home, sleep, eat and get a haircut. His body was aching and his mind spinning with the constant pressure of staying one step ahead of the bad guys.
“Pete, I’ve been through so many time zones I don’t even know what day is it. I need a bath, I need to eat something I recognise and then I really need to sleep. Please Pete, I’m really beat up this time so just let me off this one will ya?”
Peter Thornton’s will nearly wavered, he knew he was pushing MacGyver on this one, using their personal friendship to get him to accept the mission. He knew that the Ispepol job had just been the last of several difficult and dangerous missions he had sent Mac on and that really he wasn’t in the best shape to take on another job so soon. But this job was easy, absolutely no danger, guaranteed.
“Come on Mac, this is really important. They asked for you specifically and I told them you’d be there.”
“Well you shouldn’t have done Pete, not without asking me first. Just because I was on a plane somewhere doesn’t mean I cease to exist, cease to have a say in things. You shouldn’t have told them yes Pete.”
Mac was really mad at Pete, not just for telling them yes, but also for once again placing in him in a position from which he had only one way out. Take the job.
“The names on this list Mac, they are important, really important. The microfilm contains the names of people who have been acting as spies and double agents for branches of the East German government. This list of names will help us to put away some very bad people Mac, people who are responsible for the deaths of not just American’s but also many others who oppose the Communist regime. I would go myself Mac, but….”
Pete looked across the desk to where MacGyver sat, he saw the familiar look of resignation cross his face as he pulled himself upright in the chair.
“They asked for me?”
“Specifically, otherwise the deals off.”
“Just a straightforward pick up?”
“Promise, you’ll be in and out in no time.”
“You still should have asked me first.”
“Does that mean you’ll do it?”
“When do I leave?”
The when was that night. Pete drove him home. Wearily he pushed open his door and stepped over the stack of mail, dropping his bag as he made for the shower.
“Make yourself at home Pete, I’m going to take a shower.”
Twenty minutes later he felt better, not good but better.
He retrieved his bag, tipped all the dirty laundry into the basket, found some clean clothes and repacked his bag. He was getting really tired of living out of a suitcase!
“Ready?” Pete asked as MacGyver came downstairs.
“Not really Pete.” Mac still sounded a little mad.
“You can sleep on the plane Mac, better than watching the movie!”
Now, as the plane began its descent through the leaden skies over Western Germany, Mac wished he listened to Pete and tried to sleep instead of watching the movie. True he had managed a few hours sleep, but between the screaming child two rows in front and the talkative businessman next to him it had been pretty difficult.
The mission briefing Pete had given to him seemed simple enough, all he had to do was sneak across the border, something he’d done far too many times before, meet with the contact, collect the film and leave.
Easy, in fact too easy.
The plane landed with a screech of tires and the weary passengers began to disembark. Mac blended-in easily with the crowds and was soon out of the airport and on the way to his hotel. He was careful to make sure he wasn’t followed - although he had no reason to suspect he would be there was no harm in being careful.
The sun was setting, casting dark shadows across the city streets as Mac left his hotel room and started the journey across the city to the rendezvous point. Leaving now would mean that he would be in the park at least two hours before the time he was due, but that was all in his plan. He had to allow enough time to get past any border guards and make sure that the area was safe. It should be straightforward he thought but no point in taking chances. He was still tired and he wanted this mission to just be over quickly so that he could get back home and sleep.
He reached the park in good time and strolled around the edge of the lake carefully surveying the guard posts on the far side of the still water. Only the bright lights of the guard posts shattered the darkness of the night as he pondered the best route through and into the forbidden territory of Eastern Europe. His mind made up he continued his casual stroll and then suddenly disappeared into the dark undergrowth that lined the lake.
Carefully and quietly he made his way through the trees and foliage, stopping only when he thought he heard the sound of a nearby East German patrol. He held his breath as the patrol passed within a few feet of his position in the woods and then continued on their way. After waiting for a few minutes he came out of the woods and made his way to the designated meeting place.
Just like Pete said he thought to himself, easy.
The meet was set to take place at the gates of the deserted funfair and as Mac walked past he carefully scanned the area. He saw nothing to alarm him, nothing to make him think that this was going to be anything other than the simple mission it was supposed to be. On his second and third passes he still couldn’t find anything wrong, nothing that could explain the feeling he felt deep in his gut, the feeling that he was missing something.
He settled himself in the shadows to wait, checking his watch in the moonlight. Not long now and that feeling in his gut was getting stronger.
Come on Mac, you’ve checked the area everything is Ok. There’s nothing and nobody out there. You’re just jumping at shadows, shadows that don’t even exist. You’re just tired, a few more hours and you’ll be back in the hotel. Then tomorrow back on a plane home and bed!
He checked his watch again, it was now only a few minutes before the appointed time and nothing was moving anywhere. In the far distance he could just hear the sound of traffic on the main road above his own heart beat. He knew that something was wrong he just didn’t know what.
A shadow detached itself from the darkness on the far side of the funfair gates and slowly made its way to the designated meeting place. Mac strained in the gloom to make out the face, the shadows from the gates making it difficult for him to be certain. The figure turned towards his position and glanced down at his own watch, when he looked back up Mac got his first clear view of the man. He knew the face, Michael Stenhouse, himself a double agent working for the Phoenix Foundation inside the East German government. Mac stepped out of his hiding place in the shadows and made his way to where Michael stood.
“Hi Mike.” Although he was sure there was nobody else around Mac kept his voice low. He didn’t see the need to attract any undue attention.
“Hey MacGyver! Long time no see.” Mike stuck out his hand and the two men shook hands warmly.
“Do you have the microfilm?”
Mike reached deep into his pocket and pulled out a small roll of film handing it immediately to Mac.
“There you go. Take good care of it won’t you? There’s a lot of very important names on that list.”
MacGyver smiled at Mike as he tucked the film safely into his jacket pocket. Patting his pocket he said “Yeah, Pete told me, he also said you asked for me.”
“Well I had to be sure it was somebody I could trust. You were the only choice, hope I didn’t spoil your plans.”
“You know me Mike, a free spirit. I almost never have a plan.”
Mac glanced down at his watch, he knew that the border patrol would soon be by again and he really wanted to be out of Eastern Berlin before they had a chance to find him.
“Ok Mike, I’ve got to go. Don’t fancy another stay at your Government’s expense!”
“Sure thing Mike. Take care.”
As they turned and started to move away from each other, the whole area was suddenly bathed in the harsh white glare of a spotlight. The sound of men running and the barking of dogs broke the silence.
They had been set up!
Mac glanced at Mike, there was no time.
“Get out of here Mac, take the film and go. I’ll try and hold them off.”
“No time Mac, just get out of here. Now!”
The sound of raised voices getting closer made Mac’s mind up for him and without another glance back at Mike he started for the darkness and safety of the undergrowth at a run. The reverberating sound of automatic gunfire made him stop for just a second and look back. Mike lay on the floor clutching his shoulder, a border guard stood menacingly over him, his gun just inches from his face. Just to one side another guard held a barely controllable snarling dog.
A bullet whizzed past MacGyver who didn’t need telling twice and resumed his run to safety. The gunfire increased, bullets getting closer, drowning out the shouts of the guards and the barking of the attack dogs.
Just another couple of strides and Mac would be in the safety of the woods, once he was in there he knew that it would be easy to lose his pursuers and cross the border back in to the West. Bullets struck the ground to his side and he pushed his aching legs harder ignoring the pain, his earlier tiredness all but forgotten in the adrenaline fuelled race for his life.
This race though, he couldn’t win. With safety only just beyond his grasp, one of the soldiers found his mark and the white hot pain of a bullet as it struck him forcefully in the back of his leg caused him to stumble, loose his footing and tumble to the ground.
Get up Mac!
MacGyver knew he couldn’t let them catch him, not with the microfilm, not when he was so close to freedom. Not now. He struggled to his feet, biting back the groan of pain and the feeling of nausea as he tried to put his weight back on his injured leg. The wave of agony that flared through him as he tried to take another step almost stopped him dead in his tracks. The bullet that ploughed into his shoulder did, taking his breath from him along with his cry of agony.
The shouts of the guards and the hot breath of another bullet screaming past him told MacGyver that the game was up, there was nowhere for him to go. He was trapped, caught behind the Iron Curtain with a roll of microfilm and no papers, things looked bleak.
“Stop where you are, or we will shoot again.” The guard’s voice was loud in the sudden silence, his English heavily accented but clearly understandable. “Raise your hands and turn around slowly.”
Mac scanned the trees so close in front of him, was there one last throw of the dice? With a sigh of resignation he raised his arms grunting as the movement jarred the wound in his shoulder and turned round to face his captors. He knew that with his injuries he could never hope to outrun the guards now, not even in amongst the trees. He would most likely end up dead if he tried, so his best option was to give himself up and hope they didn’t kill him anyway.
The bright light of several powerful torches made him squint as he stood there, hands raised in surrender. He couldn’t make out the faces of the guards they were just sinister black shadows against the glare of the light. He gritted his teeth and took a careful, painful step forwards.
“I said stop where you are.” The owner of the voice detached himself from the crowd and came towards him. Away from the glare, Mac could see that he was a middle-aged officer, a man who would not be swayed by words, a man who would carry out his orders to the letter. He held his gun with a steady hand, its barrel never wavering from the centre of Mac’s chest.
“Put your hands behind your head and kneel on the floor. Do it slowly but do it now.”
For Mac following those simple instructions caused a wave of pain to course through him. He could feel the blood trickling down his back and, as he knelt, the pressure on the wound in his leg forced a gasp from his lips. The bright light from the torches came closer, making him squint against their glare as the soldiers broke their ranks and encircled him.
“Welcome to East Berlin Mr MacGyver.”
Mac just had enough time to wonder how the officer knew his name before a hard blow from a gun butt sent him spiralling into the welcoming darkness of oblivion.
The large warehouse looked for all intents and purposes to be just another deserted building, decaying and crumbling behind a heavy chain link fence. The infrequent passers by would have to look hard to detect the many highly sophisticated alarms and surveillance equipment or the heavily armed ex-military police who guarded the building.
The inside of the warehouse was filled with an array of complex and obviously advanced medical equipment, the centre of the vast space dominated by a large clear Perspex tank in which lay the unmoving body of Angus MacGyver.
Away from the hive of activity that was taking place around the tank was an office currently occupied by a small group of men. The group was a mixture of military and civilians, the stiff uniforms of several countries secret police forces alongside the bespoke suits of international businessmen. They sat around a large oak table while a scientist in a white coat talked.
The scientist was Josef Franks and until he had recently decided that there was more money to be made from selling his expertise he had been one of the GRU’s top scientists. His speciality was in the field of mind-altering drugs.
“We have carefully chosen our subject for this final test of our procedure and as you can see gentlemen we are almost ready to begin.”
Franks gestured out of the window to the tank.
”The mind is a complex thing, it can do many things and now we can do many things to the mind. I can make time stand still, so that a minute seems like a lifetime or a lifetime seem like a second. In that time I can take memories and shape them any way I want to, I can change a man’s past and with that I can change the man."
The group watched transfixed as the scientists beyond the glass finished their preparations. The figure in the tank was naked and spread-eagled, suspended in a clear liquid. A small bandage on his leg and shoulder the only evidence of his futile dash for freedom. He was blindfolded and had small headphones in his ears allowing no external stimuli at all. An oxygen mask covered his mouth. A clear tube ran through the wall of the tank, feeding a drip in his arm, delivering just the right balance of drugs to keep him in the correct state of unconsciousness. The state where his mind would be at its most receptive. His bodily functions could be monitored via the electrodes taped to his chest. Once they were satisfied, the lid on the tank was lowered and sealed.
MacGyver’s world was now whatever they chose it to be.
In the office, Franks was talking again.
“In the first stage of the technique we use physical pain as a stimulus, to prepare the body and the mind for what is to come. Our subject tried to escape and was shot twice. We didn’t expect that, but the injuries were not life threatening and the physical pain they produced was far higher than we have used on other subjects. This should only make the rest of the process so much easier.”
Franks made his way to the office door and, holding it open for the others, indicated that they should make their way out into the body of the warehouse. The group was soon stood around the tank, looking in at the helpless figure.
“To ensure that he has no concept of time we remove all the external stimuli. He cannot see or hear anything, nor can he breathe unaided. Nothing on his body touches anything other than the liquid he is suspended in. He is helpless and without us he can do nothing. He can only see and feel what we let him, what we… choose for him. From this state I can mould his past or I can take his future and destroy it.”
Franks dug into the pocket of his lab coat and produced a cassette tape, which he handed to a nearby technician.
“I have created a powerful hallucinogenic agent which we couple with taped messages played directly into his mind.”
He nodded and the technician placed the tape into a nearby cassette player and pressed the start key. Simultaneously the drip in MacGyver’s arm was opened wide and the hallucinogen flowed freely into his bloodstream.
“Soon we can begin to change his past, to reconstruct his memories. By changing just one key element of his memory we can make him believe, well whatever we want him to. What he sees and hears what he feels in his subconscious will seem real to him. He will believe that what he experiences now is the truth. I want the death of Peter Thornton of the Phoenix Foundation and he will give it to me. He will kill Thornton, a man he thinks or maybe that should be, thought of, as a friend and then… well then his work is done.” The unspoken suggestion that once Peter Thornton was dead then Franks would have no more use for MacGyver hung in the air. “Now all we can do is watch and wait. I promise you, gentlemen, you will not be disappointed”.
In the large glass windowed office on the top floor of the Phoenix Foundation, Peter Thornton was now officially a worried man. It had been three days since he had seen MacGyver onto the transatlantic jet with the promise of an easy pick up and then a month’s leave. The pick up had been scheduled for yesterday evening and he still hadn’t heard anything. Even allowing for the time difference between Europe and the US he should have heard from MacGyver by now, after all it was just a straightforward pick up. A quick in and out, nothing could have gone wrong, could it? He knew Mac’s contact, Mike, they had worked together a couple of times back when he was with the DXS, he knew he could be trusted, so why hadn’t Mac called?
“Dorothy, are you sure that MacGyver hasn’t called?”
Pete’s long-suffering secretary knew how close the two men were, and that Pete always worried when he sent not just Mac but any of the Phoenix staff out on a mission. That was why he had an ulcer and a big office, because he cared. Sometimes too much.
“As sure as I was when you asked me five minutes ago Pete.”
“Sorry, it’s just… well it’s not like MacGyver not to get in touch. I’m worried that something’s gone wrong.”
“I know you are Pete. I’ll give the communications room another call and get them to recheck the call logs just in case he phoned in and we missed him.”
Pete picked up the pen off his desk and idly played with it, twisting it between his fingers first one way and then the other. His mind was playing out all the worst case scenarios he could think of.
What if Mac hadn’t got the tape?
Maybe Mike had let him down.
Maybe the pick up was postponed.
Maybe Mac had been caught on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain and was now in some dingy East German prison waiting for God knows what to happen.
Stop it Pete, torturing yourself like this isn’t going to help Mac. Chances are there is nothing wrong, the pick up got delayed and any time now the phone will ring and Mac will be on the other end telling you everything went fine and he’s on his way home.
Pete sat back in his chair and stared out at the city lights below. MacGyver was the best agent he had, he could get himself out of seemingly impossible situations. Maybe he was worrying unnecessarily, after all this was just a straightforward job. If that was the case why was his ulcer twisting in his gut the way it did just before everything went really bad?
The phone on his desk rang loudly in the silence making him jump and shattering his private reverie. Dropping his pen he reached for the phone, noting it was an outside call on his own private number.
“Mac is that you?”
A moment of silence and then the slightly distorted voice of Simon Crosse the Phoenix Foundation’s permanent agent in West Berlin could be heard.
“No Pete, it’s Simon, Simon Crosse. I’ve got some bad news for you.”
“Is it MacGyver? Where is he Simon? Is he OK?”
“I don’t know Pete, I wish I did but I don’t. They found Mike Stenhouse floating in the Spree River this morning. He was dead he’d been shot several times and then had his throat cut for good measure.”
“Oh my god, that’s awful. Mike was a good man. But what about MacGyver?”
“There’s been no sign of him Pete. We know he left his hotel to meet Mike and after that nothing. We don’t know if they even met, although the fact that Mike didn’t have the microfilm could mean that he gave it to MacGyver.”
“Or it could mean the East German’s have it.”
“Mac hasn’t been back to his hotel, he’s not turned up in any hospital or police station on this side of the border. I’ve done what little snooping I can and the same seems to be true on the eastern side. Nobody has seen him and he’s not listed as being held anywhere. He just seems to have disappeared. I’m sorry Pete.”
“No, it’s ok Simon, thanks for letting me know. You will keep looking for him won’t you? You’ll call me the minute you find out anything, no matter what time of the day or night?”
“Of course I will Pete, day or night. And don’t worry, this is MacGyver we are talking about, he’ll turn up.”
“I hope so.”
Pete put the phone down and once more stared back into the night. It was raining now, the drops clattering loudly against the large windows, but Pete hardly heard them. He was thinking about MacGyver, about where he could be, about what could have gone so wrong. What had happened to leave a good man dead and his best friend missing?
In the well lit interior of the seemingly disused warehouse Franks, the military leaders and businessmen watched and waited. The room was silent but for the low hum of the life support machines keeping their captive alive. At first the body in the tank hardly moved only the slow rise and fall of his chest giving any indication that he was still alive.
Slowly, as the minutes passed and the combination of the hallucinogenic drugs and the taped messages began to take effect, the figure in the tank began to twitch, his breathing becoming faster and heavier as his heart rate rose.
The watching crowd could only wonder what was going on inside his mind, what part of his past was being destroyed and rebuilt to suit their needs.
MacGyver opened his eyes and looked around him. He was lying on his stomach, hidden amongst the trees that lined the river. Vaguely he realised that he didn’t hurt even though a small part of his mind told him that he had been shot. Twice. And it had hurt, a lot. He wondered where he was, guessing from the oppressive steaminess of the air that it was probably somewhere in South East Asia. Suddenly a figure appeared by his side dressed like he was, in standard issue camouflage clothing, his face streaked with camouflage paint and, as Mac looked at the man, he realised where he was.
He was in Cambodia on a mission for the DXS. They had found the opium factory of a leading Asian warlord and were about to take it and him apart. The man that lay beside him in the grass was Chris Green the explosives expert in his little DXS hit team.
MacGyver looked at Chris and the tiny part of his mind that knew he had been shot also knew that Chris Green was dead. So they couldn’t be in Cambodia, could they? Mac could feel the dirt beneath him, hear the sounds of the birds in the jungle, smell the stale water of the slow moving river, he could feel the cold trickle of sweat down his back.
It had to be real, everything felt so real, and everything was just as he remembered.
He rolled away from Chris and looked back across the water, he could see the low buildings that made up the drug factory. Had they been there last time he had looked? They must have been, buildings just can’t appear from nowhere any more than dead men can.
“Hey Mac, we gonna blow this or what man?”
The voice in his ear made him jump slightly, breaking his thoughts and bringing him back to the here and now.
“Yeah Chris let’s blow it and get out of here.”
As Chris reached for the switch, the sound of gun fire could be heard from a boat in the river. That wasn’t there a minute ago Mac thought as he ducked for cover behind a log. When he looked round Chris was dead, his finger on the switch, his body contorted from a hail of bullets.
“Yes MacGyver, Chris is dead and do you know why?”
Mac knew the voice but it didn’t belong in this place. It was his new boss at the DXS Peter Thornton, a man Mac thought of as a friend having already faced death together more than once.
“He’s dead Mac, because you betrayed him. You told Escobar where to find you and your team. You betrayed them all Mac and now they are all dead. All except for you Mac.
“Pete, what are you doing here? You shouldn’t be here.”
“You’re a traitor Mac. You sold your team out.”
“No Pete, that’s not what happened, Chris was the traitor, he sold us out Pete.”
“But he’s dead Mac and you’re not. It’s all here Mac, in your file.” Pete held out his hand, it was filled with a thick file, MacGyver’s name was stencilled in large letters across the front.
“No Pete, I didn’t… I wouldn’t …”
The figure of Peter Thornton stepped closer to MacGyver, the file still held accusingly in his hand. He motioned toward Mac with the file.
“It’s all in here Mac and the files never lie. It shows you for what you are, a traitor….. just a lousy traitor. A Judas Mac.”
“No, this isn’t right, this isn’t what happened. Pete, please just listen to me…”
“Why don’t you look for yourself Mac, see what it says. See how it shows that you betrayed your team, just ran away and left them all to die”.
“NO!” Mac was on his feet now, his hands pressed to the sides of his head, trying to stem the rising tide of the headache he could feel building inside him. “That’s not what happened, THIS is not what happened”.
The file in Pete’s hand had morphed into a gun. Pete raised the gun until it was pointing directly at his best friend’s chest.
“You’d better start running Mac, run Mac, run.” His finger tightened on the trigger.
“God NO! Pete..”
MacGyver looked pleadingly at the man he thought was his friend and mentor and was rewarded with a cold calculating stare. Peter was going to kill him! He turned tail and ran from the warped reality, but the taunting voice of Peter Thornton seemed to follow him.
“Run Mac run. You’re a traitor Mac so you’d better keep running… Traitor… Traitor…..”
The crowd of onlookers could only wonder what was going through the mind of the helpless naked man before them. They watched as his body twitched and shook with the force of his thoughts. They saw his heart rate start to race and his blood pressure rising as he fought with the images that flooded his mind.
A loud click in the silence of the room indicated that the cassette tape had come to its end and soon afterwards the figure in the tank was once more still.
“That is the end of the first session gentlemen. We have begun the process of turning our subject into a man twisted up with rage and hatred. A man who will, eventually, take up arms against his friend and kill him, all because of what we have done to him, here in this room. “
The white coated scientist pulled another tape from his pocket and, as he led the assembled group away, he placed the tape into the cassette player and pressed play.
“We will let him rest for a few hours now before we begin again. The process places a terrible strain on the body. Too many memory alterations too close together and we risk killing him. The tape I have left playing will just reinforce the main thread of our message and make it that much easier to break him when the time is right.”
Franks looked back at the sealed tank, the occupant seemed once more still. The technicians were taking readings and adjusting the drugs keeping him sedated and yet still alive. In his mind he could almost hear the voice that he knew was playing in the small headphones.
The voice of Peter Thornton.
“You sold them out Mac, all of them. How many Mac, how many did you betray?”
“Run MacGyver… Run.”
For Peter Thornton the long night had passed and as he stared out of the large window at the dawn breaking over the city below he could only hope that the new day would be better than the old. He hadn’t been able to face the thought of the lonely drive home to his empty apartment and he knew that he wouldn’t be able to sleep if he had. He was right, he’d spent the night hours alternately pacing his office and haranguing the communications room for any news of MacGyver.
A gentle tap on his door heralded his secretary Dorothy with a steaming mug of coffee. He tore himself away from his thoughts and swivelled his chair to face her.
“You been here all night Peter? I take it there’s been no news?”
“No nothing. I’m really worried Dorothy, it’s just not like MacGyver.”
Absently he sipped his coffee, grimacing when the hot liquid burnt his mouth. He glanced up at the clock on his wall, mentally working out the time in Europe.
“I think I’ll call Simon Crosse, maybe he’s heard something.”
Pete knew it was probably a forlorn hope; Simon would have called if he had anything to report, but he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing. Not when it was his best friend who might be in trouble, alone and half way round the world.
“I’ll go and get you some breakfast Pete and then I’ll start checking the remote stations call logs. Maybe somebody missed something.”
Pete looked at her wearily, his eyes were red rimmed through lack of sleep and worry, and he looked 10 years older. Reaching for the phone he threw Dorothy a slight smile.
“Thanks Dorothy, I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“You’d be an even bigger grouch with an even bigger ulcer!”
Twenty minutes later Peter put the phone back down, his earlier misgivings had been proved right. Simon had heard nothing and nobody on the East or West of the Berlin Wall was giving anything away. Simon had sent someone to watch Mac’s hotel, but he hadn’t been back and nobody had come looking for him either. It was just as if he had never existed.
Simon had called in some favours with his East German counterparts, but if they knew anything then they weren’t letting on. Simon had no reason to disbelieve them, but he promised Pete he would keep on looking, and of course as soon as he heard anything he would call him.
Pete sat back in his chair and sighed deeply. He couldn’t work out what could have happened to MacGyver. All the intelligence he had been given had indicated a simple pick up and he had cajoled Mac into taking the job on the strength of that. Had he done the wrong thing? Had he pushed his friend into accepting one too many assignments and sent him off to… well to whom only knew what?
Pete stared long and hard at the phone as if by the power of his will alone he could make it ring, and when it did it would be MacGyver on the other end.
He stared, the phone didn’t ring.
Dorothy brought him breakfast and a stack of case files that he needed to review, the phone didn’t ring.
Life in the Phoenix Foundation went on, and the phone didn’t ring.
When MacGyver opened his eyes next it was to the screams of women and children. Spinning round he sought to find the source of the screams and saw a group of soldiers rounding up the men and dragging them to the centre of the village.
This was Daraumndi in Central Africa, it was hot and dry, dust swirled through the small village as the soldiers went about their business. MacGyver started to walk towards where the action was taking place, feeling the blazing sun at his back, feeling his mind sorting the memories from the reality, never realizing that the reality was the memory
A soldier grabbed at a woman who had tried to hide her young son from them and backhanded her into the dust. MacGyver broke into a run and grabbed the hand of the soldier before he had a chance to strike at either the boy or the woman again.
“Hey! Hold it! What’s going on here?” The soldier shook off his grasp, turned away and carried on looking for the men of the village. MacGyver bent down and helped the woman off the floor surprised by the look of terror on her face when she saw him. She struggled against his help and once on her feet, grabbed her son and fled.
“You’re welcome” he called after her, brushing dust from his clothes and setting off in the direction the soldier had taken. The heat of the afternoon was relentless and made his head ache, on top of which the soldier he was following seemed to have disappeared. MacGyver stopped, confused, wondering what was going on. The screaming had stopped, the soldier had vanished and he suddenly had a raging thirst as well as a pounding headache. He needed shade and water.
He walked on through the village until he found a water barrel. It was full of cold clear water and was totally out of place in the barren dry African landscape, but that thought never entered MacGyver’s head. He needed water and now he had it. As he plunged his face into the cool dark depths of the water he saw … images, small fragments of something, small fragments of the truth?
He saw the people of the village being oppressed and beaten by the local warlords.
He saw them taking livestock and food that would leave the villagers hungry in the winter months.
He saw himself and the Phoenix Foundation taking down the warlords and protecting the villagers.
He saw them bringing aide, food and medicine.
He saw them save the village.
He jerked his head from the water panting hard. The sight before him was at odds with what had just seen. The warlord stood to one side whilst his men methodically killed the men of the village one by one.
Next to the warlord stood Peter Thornton.
Oh God no!! What he saw couldn’t be what happened, could it? It felt real to him now, here in the dust and the heat. Here with the sound of gunfire and the smell of death. He had to do something, so he ran to Peter Thornton, a man who he knew wasn’t ever in Africa, although he didn’t know how he knew.
“Pete, what are you doing? For God’s sake Pete stop this now. You can’t just stand there and let him kill these people. Pete?”
The warlord, an evil looking man with a long scar down his face smiled as he looked at MacGyver.
“Don’t you remember Mr MacGyver, this is your doing? You told us that the villagers were planning to rebel against me. You told me where to find them.”
Another gunshot, another dead man fell to the dust.
“I’m just, how shall we say… acting on your information.”
“You see MacGyver you sold them out, just like I knew you would.” Pete’s voice, full of contempt, bordering almost on hatred. “A whole village Mac, a whole village. Their blood is on your hands.”
“NO Pete, this can’t be happening. I saved these people Pete, I didn’t kill them.”
Another gunshot, this time a scream accompanied it.
“Look and listen MacGyver. It’s happening here and now and it’s your fault. You sold them out, for what, some personal glory? A handful of money?”
“No Pete, please you have to believe me .. You know me Pete you know I would never do this.”
“How much did you get MacGyver? 30 pieces of silver?”
MacGyver’s head was now spinning, his memories blurring into a mass of disjointed images. He was thirsty again and wanted nothing more than to sit down, close his eyes and hope that when he opened them again everything would look different.
He believed in himself, in the person he knew he was a person who would never have done the things he now stood accused of.
Accused by a man who MacGyver knew didn’t belong here, had never been here. Then why was he here now? Why were any of them here now?
“A whole village MacGyver, that’s some days work, even for you.”
“NO .. I didn’t … Why are you here Pete? You shouldn’t be here so why are you here?”
“I’m here because you are. I’m here to make sure you realise the consequences of your actions. I’m here because you are a Judas, and a coward.” Pete smiled a cold empty smile.
“I’m here to see that you run and keep on running. You have one chance to put this right, one chance only, that chance is to run and to keep running.”
The words were blown on a gentle wind and seemed to echo all around the village, bombarding MacGyver from every side. His senses were assaulted, his memories were twisted, his confusion complete.
“You’d better start running Mac. Start running now and don’t stop. Don’t stop and don’t look back.”
MacGyver didn’t know what else to do so he started to run. Slowly at first and then with each fading gunshot faster and faster until all he could hear was the taunting voice of Peter Thornton. A voice that no matter how hard or fast or far he ran he couldn’t escape from.
“Judas…. Traitor… Judas…”
Peter Thornton was stuck for answers, stuck for reasons why, stuck for explanations.
Why had he pushed MacGyver into taking this mission?
What had gone wrong?
Where was MacGyver now and why didn’t he get in touch?
Pete had all of the questions and none of the answers and if truth were told he no longer knew where to look for those answers. He had driven everybody in the Phoenix Foundation crazy over the last few days, to the point where nobody was available to talk to him when he called. MacGyver was well liked in the Foundation, but they all had other jobs to do, the work of the Foundation was bigger than just one man. A fact that many thought Peter Thornton would do well to remind himself of.
As Pete pulled yet another of Mac’s old case files from the stack in front of him and started scanning the contents he wondered what it was he hoped to find in the files.
A clue as to whom might still harbour a grudge against MacGyver?
He had found all those things, names like Murdoc and Zito, places as far flung as South America and the Far East, grudges held by despots and tyrants from all corners of the globe.
Knowing these things didn’t, he realised, help him at all. He was no closer to finding MacGyver than before and, as he looked at the unread stack of files still on his desk, he wasn’t sure that he would be any better off if he read them all or not.
Sighing he closed the file in front of him and sat back in his chair, thinking out loud.
“Where are you MacGyver? What kind of a mess have you got yourself into this time, my friend?” Of course silence was his only answer. A silence that was oppressive and scary, a silence that did nothing to ease his worry.
“I wish you could give me a sign Mac, a clue, anything.” Nothing in his office stirred or moved, no papers blew off his desk like they did in the movies.
“Guess I’ll just have to keep on looking myself then.” He went back to the desk and reopened the file. Even if he found nothing, it helped him to feel involved, it helped to pass the long hours although it didn’t help the worry.
He knew that below him in the Phoenix Foundation and out in the field people, good people, were looking for MacGyver and they would find him, eventually. They had to.
“Hang in there my friend. I’m going to find you, I promise, so just hang in there.”
MacGyver saw the large black sedan car as soon as he appeared in this reality, it was the type favored by the politicians and beaurocrats of the Eastern Bloc. It was parked outside an apartment building that MacGyver immediately recognised as the one where Hannah lived.
At the thought of her his heart raced in his chest and his stomach tumbled with excitement. He knew why he was here, they were going to finalise his plan to get Hannah out of Czechoslovakia and to the safety of the West. A safety that meant that they could be together, properly, no more hiding their feelings and their relationship, no more stolen moments away from the ever watchful glare of the State Security Forces, no more dreading that knock on the door or that visit at work. Hannah would be free and more importantly they would be free to be together, forever. MacGyver had thought that after ‘Mike’ Forrester died he would never find anybody to love again and for a long time he hadn’t wanted too, until he had met Hannah. She had changed his life for him, taught him that it was alright to feel, to love again and to be loved.
MacGyver remembered their last meeting and how Hannah couldn’t wait to get away from here and to start her new life in the West, her new life with MacGyver and, as he broke into a run towards the apartment block, he was smiling broadly. He wasn’t aware that his every move was being watched by the two men sitting in the black sedan.
Now he was inside the building outside the door to Hannah’s apartment which swung open on its hinges. The inside of the apartment was devastated, furniture and ornaments broken and askew as the result of an unseen struggle. Slowly MacGyver stepped inside the apartment.
“Hannah?” MacGyver quietly called for his lover. He didn’t know what had happened or who might still be in the apartment. His answer was silence.
“Hannah, it’s me. It’s Mac.” He stepped further into the shattered living room, his eyes quickly taking in the wonton destruction. His heart skipped a beat as he wondered what those capable of doing this kind of damage might have done to Hannah. He couldn’t bear to think of his life without her and he had to know where she was and if she was still alright. With a sudden disregard for his own safety and without seeming to care who or what else might be in the apartment, he began hurriedly searching.
“Hannah! Hannah where are you? Are you in here?” He was shouting now, throwing the furniture over in his rush to find her. He had soon been through every room in the apartment and found nothing. His frustration was growing as was his worry as he began his futile search again, as if somehow this time he would find her.
“Hannah?” His voice echoed around the rooms coming back to him time and again without an answer until….
“Mac is that you? I’m here Mac, come quickly.”
MacGyver’s heart leapt at the sound of his lover’s voice and he dashed back into the living room to be met with a sight he would never forget, or maybe that he never remembered.
Hannah was on her knees, held there by an anonymous looking man who was obviously from the State Security Force. To one side of her stood Peter Thornton, the gun in his hand pressed to the side of her head.
MacGyver stopped dead in his tracks.
“Oh God Hannah, are you alright?”
She just looked at him, her vibrant blue eyes were filled with fear and she tried to force a smile to her lips.
“Very touching MacGyver” Peter Thornton’s voice was mocking and cruel. “But it would be more believable if you hadn’t sold her out.”
MacGyver found that at the sound of Pete’s voice his head had suddenly been filled with pain. And with the pain came confusion as a jumble of thoughts fought to make themselves clear in his mind.
He didn’t remember Peter Thornton being in Czechoslovakia, and yet he was here. MacGyver could see him so he had to be, didn’t he?
He hadn’t sold Hannah out, he would never have done that. He loved her!
“I didn’t…” his voice was both a denial to Thornton and a plea to Hannah.
“It could only have been you MacGyver; you knew the times and dates, the places, the plans. Only you could have known that she,” he jammed the gun harder against Hannah’s temple to make his point “was planning to defect. To sell out her country for the promise of..what?”
“No!” MacGyver took a step closer.
“Stop there or I’ll kill her now.”
“Hannah” he pleaded with his lover, pleaded with her to understand. “I didn’t betray you, I love you. You know that. I love you.”
“No I don’t think so. I don’t think you love her, I don’t think you ever loved her. It was all just a cover, a way to get her to agree to your plans so that you could betray her and condemn her to death.”
MacGyver’s head was now pounding and he pressed his hands to his temples to ease the throbbing pain he felt. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands as if he could make the grotesque tableau before him just disappear. He knew this wasn’t what happened, it couldn’t be and yet it was happening, right here and now.
“No. This is NOT what happened.” He surprised himself with his outburst. “You weren’t in Czechoslovakia, I didn’t sell you out, I…”
A brief flash of an image crystallised in his tortured mind. He lay on the floor of the apartment beaten, shot, helpless to do anything as he watched the two men drag Hannah from his side. She screamed and fought them; he could hear her as he passed out. He had never seen her again. But he hadn’t sold her out. Had he?
“But you did. She is a traitor and thanks to you we have her now.” Peter was smiling with the knowledge of what was to come. “This is what happens to traitors MacGyver.” Without a second glance Pete pulled the trigger and killed Hannah with a single shot.
“NO!!!” MacGyver stumbled a couple of steps forward and then fell to his knees, tears streaking his face. He couldn’t believe the sight before him. His lover lay lifeless before him, blood pooling under her, her sightless eyes still open staring accusingly at him.
“You killed her MacGyver, as sure as if you had pulled the trigger yourself. To save yourself you sacrificed the woman you claimed to have loved. You’re a lousy coward. You used her to cover the fact that you can’t be trusted, you would sell out your friends just to save your own skin.”
MacGyver couldn’t even defend himself against the tirade of words trapped as he was in his own private hell. A hell in which the shattered flashes of his memories conflicted with what his senses told him. He had always thought he believed that Hannah was still alive somewhere, that he would find her someday, but how could that be when here she was dead in front of him?
“You’re a liar and a coward MacGyver, you can’t be trusted. I could kill you now but that would be too easy. Get up!”
MacGyver struggled to his feet, his eyes never leaving the lifeless form in front of him. Had he done this? Had he? He didn’t know and that was the worst thing of all. Finally he raised his head and stared at Peter, his face was pale with shock, his eyes red rimmed.
“Did I betray her? Did I betray us?” His voice was breaking with his emotions as the confusion and the pain in his head blurred to become something that overwhelmed him, and as he turned to run from the hell in front of him, took him in its vicious grasp and flung him into unconsciousness before he could form another sound.
The quiet humming of the machines in the warehouse was shattered by the sudden loud piercing sound of an alarm. It was loud enough to be heard in Franks’s office and he quickly excused himself and hurried down to the warehouse floor. By the time he got there the alarm had been switched off and the lid to the tank was open. A harried looking Doctor was clambering down from the edge of the tank and rushed to meet him.
“What happened?” Franks demand of the Doctor.
“We’re not sure, but something in his simulated reality caused a huge spike in his heart rate and blood pressure. His body couldn’t sustain those levels and that caused his heart to stop. We had to introduce a high dosage shot of adrenaline directly into his heart muscle and this time we got him back, but we were lucky.”
Franks and the doctor walked towards the tank. The figure inside was still once more, his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm. Technicians worked to replace the electrodes that had been torn from his body in the rush to revive him and once they were happy they left the edge of the tank and waited for the doctor. He checked the readings on the machines and, once he was satisfied with what he saw, he indicted to the technicians to reseal the tank, condemning the helpless man inside to the continued rape of his memories.
The Doctor turned his attention back to Franks.
“Herr Franks, I don’t wish to appear to be telling you how to conduct this…” The doctor searched for the right word, he didn’t particularly relish what Franks was doing, not just to his latest subject but to the others who had not survived his techniques, but he was being well paid and so he pushed back his own personal misgivings and concentrated on doing his best to keep this latest ‘victim’ alive. …”experiment, but I must ask you to take more care. If he relives another memory like the last one, his body will probably not survive the strain and he may well die. I can’t keep on reviving him without the risk of permanent damage to his body and his mind.”
“Just do what you have to do to keep him alive. Whatever is necessary doctor, this one has to survive. He has to.”
Several hours later the doctor was again in the warehouse, checking and rechecking the readings from the electrodes monitoring MacGyver’s vital functions. Franks and his cronies had long since left for the night and there were only a handful of guards and technicians remaining in the warehouse. He rubbed his tired eyes and stared back at the printout and then at the banks of screens in front of him. No matter how many times he looked and checked the readings told him the same thing. If MacGyver experienced another episode like he had earlier today then he was almost certainly going to die. The readings showed that if he didn’t have another heart attack then he would soon run out of adrenaline, his heart would slow down, his blood pressure would drop and his entire organ system would start to fail. His death seemed inevitable, even with the introduction of more adrenaline the doctor knew that he was only prolonging the inevitable.
The doctor stared long and hard at the naked man before him, wondering what was going through his mind, wondering if when this was all over he would remember what had been done to him and ask why. He could see the physical effects of the technique for himself, but what it might do to a mind was still an unknown.
‘Why indeed?’ he thought, what was it about this man, a man whose name he realised he didn’t even know, why was Franks so insistent that this man survived at all costs? What did he have planned for the man in the tank?
A high pitched alarm interrupted his thoughts as once more the cumulative effects of the drugs and the altered memories took their toll on an abused mind and a damaged body. Despite what he had told Franks about the dangers involved he had insisted that certain tapes were to be played at all times, no exceptions. When the doctor had protested Franks had said that the tapes were necessary to ensure success and that if he didn’t like what he saw he could always be replaced. Now as his technicians rushed to open the lid of the tank again, he knew that he didn’t like what he saw, and if they saved the man again he would do his best to ensure they didn’t have to do it ever again.
Inside the silent sterile environment of the tank, MacGyver’s body twitched and jerked as if being pulled by invisible wires. His fingers cramped and forced his hands into claws. He was breathing fast and hard sucking the oxygen from the mask over his nose and mouth almost faster than it could be delivered. Despite the fact that the liquid he was suspended in matched his body temperature perfectly, the exposed parts of his skin were alternately burning hot or slicked with a cold clammy sweat. Just as the technicians finally opened the air tight seal, MacGyver’s whole body spasmed , arms and legs taut with strain lifted clear of the liquid for just a second before collapsing back down with a splash as once more whatever horror was playing in his mind took its deadly toll on his body, his heart stopped and he died again.
This time the doctor was prepared and his quick actions yet again saved MacGyver. Another needle full of adrenaline pushed deep and hard into his heart muscle, another bruise on his chest and after a brief moment another weak pulse on the monitor. He would live again but at what cost?
The technicians went back to work again, stabilizing MacGyver’s vital signs and making further adjustments to the levels of drugs they would soon be pushing back into him. The doctor turned to leave.
“I want the tape left switched off for the rest of the night. He needs time to recover.”
“But Herr Franks was most insistent…”
“The tape stays off. I will deal with Herr Franks in the morning. I’m going up to the offices now, but call me if anything changes.”
At this time of the night the office area was deserted and not even the guards bothered to patrol more than once an hour, the doctor would have plenty of time to do what he needed to without being seen. He checked the door to Franks’s office and breathed a sigh of relief to find it unlocked, quickly and quietly before anybody saw him, he slipped into the darkened office.
The doctor carefully made his way across the office to the large desk and switched on the desk lamp. To him the light seemed bright enough to be seen all through the warehouse although in reality it was barely enough for him to see by. He started in the desk drawers, carefully searching for anything that might give him a clue as to the identity of the man in the tank, and maybe even some idea of what Franks ultimately had in store for him. He found nothing but the key to the filing cabinet that stood in the corner of the office. He picked up the key and sat back in the chair tossing it absently from hand to hand, whilst he picked through the bones of what he was about to do. He had been well paid and now had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of his life, but he would have to leave East Germany. No big loss he thought, I think I’m ready for the slower pace of life in a warmer climate anyway. He glanced down through the office window into the warehouse where again all was quiet, the tank resealed and the man inside still alive, but for how long? His mind made up he got up, crossed the office and opened the filing cabinet.
Simon Crosse had a headache that just wouldn’t quit and its name was MacGyver. He had spent every waking hour looking for the man and he just kept coming up short. No sign of him anywhere, no knowledge of him anywhere, nothing!
He hadn’t been home in days, preferring to stay in his office just in case. The first few times that Peter Thornton had phoned he had been optimistic, confident that it would only be a matter of time before his contacts came good and he had the news they were waiting for. But as each day passed without news, his optimism faded, the longer it took to find MacGyver the more certain he was that either they would never find him, or if they did then he would be dead.
He stared wearily at the clock. It was the early hours of the morning, another sleepless night loomed. Peter would be phoning soon and, as was becoming the norm, he had nothing to tell him. He ran a tired hand through his unkempt hair and pushed himself upright heading for the coffee pot, that and cigarettes were all that sustained him these days. As he poured himself another mug he wondered when he had last eaten, or washed or shaved and realised he didn’t know, after Pete had phoned he promised himself he would go home for just a few hours and do all those things.
The shrill ring of the phone stopped all thoughts of a hot bath and real food and Simon trotted across the office and grabbed the receiver, glancing at the clock that showed the time on the Pacific Coast of the US, he thought it was a little early for Peter Thornton’s by now regular nightly calls.
“Hello Peter” he said before giving the caller a chance to say anything. For a moment there was nothing but silence and static down the line and then an unfamiliar voice spoke.
“Is that the Phoenix Foundation?”
“Yes, this is Simon Crosse speaking, can I help you?” He tried to hide the surprise in his voice that it hadn’t been who he had been expecting.
“Listen carefully … Mr Crosse I don’t have much time.”
“Who is this?”
“There is no time and no need for introductions Mr Crosse but suffice to say I have some information that you may be of interest to your organisation.”
“Ok, I’m listening Mr…”
The voice on the other end of the phone didn’t fall for that and after a pause, “No names. Just listen carefully. Do you know a man named MacGyver?”
“Yes, why?” Simon tried to sound as calm and neutral as possible, he didn’t want to give anything away to the voice on the other end of the line especially not before he knew what they had to say.
“Do you know where he is?” A question that wasn’t really a question. “Of course you don’t but I do and I can help you to find him.”
“Why would you do that and what do you want in exchange for your help?”
“The why is not important, the what is safe passage out of East Germany to a destination of my choice. No questions asked. Do we have a deal Mr Crosse?”
Simon thought for a moment, as the Phoenix Foundation’s Chief Officer in West Germany he had the authority to make such a deal and he was sure that he would have the backing of the Foundations’ Director Of Field Operations, Peter Thornton, so there was only one decision to be made.
“We have a deal. Now tell me what you know.”
“Is your fax machine at hand?”
“I am sending you several images of Mr MacGyver. Tell me when you receive them.”
On the opposite desk to Simon the fax machine squealed into life and began to spew out grainy images of the interior of the warehouse, the tank and its unwilling inhabitant.
Although the quality of the pictures was poor they would good enough for Simon to make out that the figure in the tank was indeed MacGyver.
He grabbed the first few images and picked the phone up again.
“My God, what are they doing to him?”
“Don’t worry Mr Crosse, he’s still alive but I don’t know long I can keep him that way.”
“You? You are doing this to him? Whatever the hell ‘this’ is and you want me to do a deal with you?”
“If the deal is off, then there is nothing more I can do and your friend will almost certainly die, probably sooner rather than later. I am his only hope Mr Crosse and you are my only hope, so do we still have a deal or not?”
Simon looked down at the faxes scattered on his desk, there was no choice.
“We still have a deal. Now tell me what you know.”
Ten minutes later the phone on Peter Thornton’s desk rang.
“Pete, it’s Simon, we’ve found him.”
By the time Peter Thornton’s plane had landed in West Berlin, Simon Crosse had called in every favour he could get away with and now he had the answers. He knew who had MacGyver and where they were holding him. The only thing he didn’t know was why they had wanted MacGyver in the first place and what they had done to him.
Pete had hurried through the Customs and Immigration checks, his carry-on luggage meant that he didn’t need to wait for the plane to be unloaded. Time was of the essence, ever since he had seen the faxed photos of MacGyver, he knew that they had to get him out of the East as soon as possible and deal with the consequences later. He never thought that he was the bait in the trap.
He saw Simon waiting across the concourse and quickened his pace.
“Peter, glad to see you again. I just wish it was under different circumstances.”
“Me too Simon.” The two men fell into a brisk pace. “So tell me what you know.”
On their way to Peter’s hotel Simon told him what he knew, which wasn’t much more than he had told him on the phone. He told Peter his plans to rescue MacGyver and about the small group of men he had managed to assemble, men he could trust and who were willing to cross the border to help them.
Peter wasn’t happy about waiting another 24 hours before doing anything, but he bit his tongue and said nothing. This was Simon’s city and Simon’s people so he must have his reasons for waiting. Although he would never admit it to anybody, the rest would do him good too. It had been far too long since he had been on a field assignment and he wasn’t as young as he used to be. Twenty Four hours would at least give him some time to get over the jet lag.
In the warehouse, the long days of watching and waiting were finally over. In the next few hours the businessmen and military leaders would get to see the final effects of what had been done to MacGyver. They would see if Franks could deliver what he had promised them. The white-coated Franks was once more in full flow, telling them what they could expect. His eyes gleamed with the messianic fervour of a man about to achieve his life’s ambition and then sell it to the highest bidders.
“The process is now complete gentlemen. The subject is now convinced that his closest friend believes him to be a traitor, a traitor not just to his own organisation but also to his country. When he sees this man he will believe that his only option is to kill him. Of course, what the subject believes can be anything you desire. Just think of it gentlemen, a man conditioned to kill, or to be your voice and your action within business, within armies, even within governments.”
The crowd in the small office nodded and murmured appreciatively as they considered the uses they could put the technique to. Uses that would advance their own personal agendas. They just needed the last final proof that the technique was foolproof and they would be clamouring to part with their $1 million each.
As if on cue Franks directed their attention back out into the warehouse, where the unconscious figure from the tank now lay on a hospital trolley, attached to portable machines as he was wheeled away.
“It takes some time for the subject to wake up, care must be taken otherwise the previous stresses we have placed on his mind and body could kill him.” Franks thought it was prudent not to tell them what had happened in the previous 24 hours, how he had nearly killed his ‘golden goose’ – twice!
“Once he is awake, pain will focus his mind once more on what he has to do.”
It was a sterile white light that greeted MacGyver when he next opened his eyes. He squinted against the painful intrusion into his world and groaned. The light hurt his eyes and he shut them again quickly. As he lay there he slowly realised that this was different to the other times that he had woken up. Now, once more, he hurt, he could feel the ache in his shoulder and his leg, an ache that he knew should have always been there but had never seemed to be. There was also a dull ache in his chest that may have been there before but he couldn’t be sure. Slowly he cracked open his eyes, the glare and the pain were still there but not the memory, he didn’t remember this but did that fact make it reality?
MacGyver lay still for what seemed like an age before even daring to turn his head and take in his surroundings. Even this simple movement of his head made him feel sick as the room seemed to move with him, the last traces of the drugs in his system sending his senses reeling. He was in a small windowless room, not a proper cell but more like a converted store room, the only furniture was the narrow military style metal cot he was lying on. Slowly and with a great deal of care he sat up, gulping in deep breaths to stave off the rising nausea as the room rolled and spun. By the time he was sat upright his fingers were bone white with strain as he gripped the edge of the cot and his head hung against his chest in pain, a cold sweat slicking his skin. He stared down at his chest wondering how he came to have two almost identical bruises just a little way apart over his heart, he rubbed the bruises with his finger tips as if that would help him remember. It didn’t and in the long and painful moments which followed, moments in which the pain in his shoulder and leg flared, moments in which his body ached as if from exertions that he couldn’t quite remember, he tried to find the missing pieces of his life. As he sat there gathering his strength and his thoughts MacGyver realised that he couldn’t remember much, not since meeting Mike at the park, but deep at the back of his shattered, splintered thoughts and memories he knew there was something he was supposed to do.
Something that was very important.
Something that involved his work.
What that something was still eluded him.
Carefully he pushed himself to his feet, swaying unsteadily as his head swam once more. Using the walls for support until he felt able to walk unaided, he started to explore the store room. After the third circuit he finally had to admit that there appeared to be no easy way out and nothing to help him fabricate an escape. The door was solid and, of course, firmly locked, the walls and floor were smooth, not even a plug socket or a light switch. The bed was firmly bolted into the floor and constructed of what appeared to be a single piece of metal. Whoever had captured him was obviously taking no chances there was nothing in the room that could help him, and so resignedly he sat back on the bed, facing the door and waited.
The cool of the smooth concrete walls against his naked back began to chill him as he sat and he drew his legs up in front of him, wrapping his arms around them trying to draw what little warmth he could from them. The aching pain in his shoulder and leg was a constant, further draining what little energy he had. His mind raced with a jumble of thoughts:
Where am I?
Why am I here, wherever here is?
What do they want from me?
What is it that I’m supposed to do?
What has Peter Thornton got to do with this?
He was no nearer an answer to any of the questions when the door to the store room opened and two very large heavyset men entered the room. MacGyver raised his head from his knees and looked at them, they bore the unsmiling countenance of the professional enforcer and his heart sank. He didn’t think they had come to rescue him and he didn’t think he wanted to know what they had come for.
Suddenly the small cell seemed way too small as one of the two men dragged MacGyver to his feet. He wondered why they bothered because the blow that caught him square on the jaw rocked him backwards and he stumbled against the cot almost ending up sitting back where he had started.
“Hey guys, can’t we just talk about this?” Mac asked, ruefully rubbing his sore jaw. His answer was to yet again be pulled upright and yet again to be on the receiving end of a powerful punch. This one took the air from his lungs and he doubled up gasping for breath.
“Guess that’s a no then?” He wheezed.
The beating that followed was efficient and extremely painful for MacGyver. His two antagonists were obviously professionals who knew just the right things to do to leave their victim barely conscious but able to feel and hear everything.
They worked his body first, one of them holding him and occasionally digging his thumb or fingers into the bullet wound on his shoulder whilst the other used his torso as a punch bag, throwing repeated blows into his chest and ribs. Mac had tried not to give them the satisfaction of knowing how much every punch hurt and how much he wanted them to stop, but when they all heard the resounding crack as one of his ribs snapped, he couldn’t hold back his cry of agony any longer. They let him fall to the floor where he curled into a ball, cradling his broken rib and gasping for breath.
“What do you want?” Every word was an effort and his only reward was the solid feel of a heavy boot as it connected with the still raw wound on his leg. He grunted as the force of the kick jerked him from his protective ball, sending an unexpected wave of pain through him. A short barrage of kicks followed, down his legs and back and, when he tried to roll away, his chest and groin became the focus of their attack. He couldn’t get away from them, whichever way he tried to roll, there were feet waiting to greet him. Feet that pounded him until he no longer had the strength or the will to keep trying to get away and eventually he just lay still waiting for the final kick, the one that would make the pain stop.
The kick never came and MacGyver was left hanging onto consciousness by a slim thread, able to feel every aching and painful inch of his by now battered body. He could feel the room spin as he was once again hauled to his feet. The firm grip that pinned his arms behind him was the only thing that stopped him from falling. He tried to take deep slow breaths to stop the apparently spinning room but that just made his broken rib flare with unnecessary venom. He couldn’t seem to focus on anything other than his own pain and the rising feeling of nausea. He forced in as much air as his tortured lungs could manage and slowly the room settled, the walls and floors resuming their normal places and he cautiously lifted his head.
“Why are you doing this to me? What do you want?” His voice couldn’t hide his pain.
His vision was filled with the bulk of one of his assailants, who was, rather ominously for MacGyver, rubbing the knuckles of one hand in the palm of the other. He cracked his knuckle joints, smiled very slightly and threw a well aimed, well measured punch that caught MacGyver square on the bridge of his nose. His eyes watered and blood spilt from his nose.
“I don’t understand.” He gasped, now there, he thought, was an understatement, he hadn’t understood anything since he had woken up although he still had the feeling that he should.
He tried to stem the flow of blood from his nose and the tears from his eyes against his shoulder. A fist from behind in his hair pulled his head back and held it firmly in place whilst the blows rained in on him with a ruthless efficiency borne of too much practice.
Soon his face was heavily shadowed with bruising, scratched and cut from a glancing strike from his assailant’s ring. His right eye was almost swollen shut and blood ran from a nasty gash in his eyebrow, his lips and nose too, were split and bleeding. He didn’t think he could take much more punishment. If he had known what they wanted from him he would have given it to them, just to make them stop.
His vision was greying at the edges, the pain-free embrace of unconsciousness just out of his reach as the final blow landed, the grip on his body released and he collapsed bonelessly to the floor.
His torturers hadn’t said a word to him throughout but now as they left, one of them turned to him.
“That’s what happens to traitors.”
MacGyver raised his head a fraction from the floor; the message of pained, confused exhaustion was clear enough on his pale, bruised face. He opened his mouth to speak, but he was once more alone. Alone with his pain and the voice of Peter Thornton that now filled the small cell.
“You’re a traitor MacGyver and traitors should die. You should die MacGyver; die for all those you betrayed.”
Huddled on the cold floor of the small windowless cell MacGyver listened to the words that filled the room as they told him again and again what he was, what he had done and what was to become of him. He wanted to believe that the words weren’t true, but he hurt so badly, he could barely think.
Over and over the voice of Peter Thornton plagued him.
“Traitor… Traitor. You should run and keep running Judas, because if I ever catch you I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you … Traitor….Run MacGyver, run or die…..Judas.”
Mac forced his hands to his ears to try and block out the sound.
“No! I’m not a traitor!”
He thought he knew who he was, what he stood for, what he believed in but, as the voice kept on tormenting him, he wasn’t so sure anymore. The confusion swam in his head until he thought it would explode. He screamed his innocence at the walls until he was hoarse and all he could manage were the broken sobs of a man who no longer knew what to believe.
MacGyver was beaten, his body was battered and broken, his mind was shattered; it was time for the final pieces of his nightmare to be put into place. As he lay on the floor, his head held in his hands his tears now all shed he gradually realised that the voice had changed and with it the message.
“Peter Thornton wants you dead Mr MacGyver. He thinks you’re a traitor and he wants to kill you. You have to stop him. You have to kill him first, you have to stop him. You have to kill Peter Thornton.”
For the first time since he had woken up in this windowless hell, things were beginning to make sense to MacGyver. He pulled himself into a sitting position, leaning back against the metal cot for support. He forced himself to think, to see what his memories told him, never once imagining that those memories where anything other than real.
He began to realise that whenever things had gone wrong and people had died that Peter Thornton was always there, even when he shouldn’t have been.
If there was a traitor then it had to be somebody who knew everything, somebody high enough up to be able to influence the outcome of missions.
With a sudden blinding clarity MacGyver realised what the voice and his own warped version of events was trying to tell him.
“My God” he whispered. “I’m not the traitor, it’s Pete he’s the traitor not me!”
Outside in the dark warehouse the waiting crowd who had been watching the events in the cell unfold on CCTV, nodded and murmured their approval. Franks smiled appreciatively at the thought of how he was going to spend all that money.
“The experiment is almost over gentlemen. Mr Thornton is already on his way here and when he arrives he will find the man he thinks of as a friend waiting to kill him. And you can be sure, gentlemen that Mr MacGyver will kill him, you see now he realises that the only way to prove that he is not a traitor is to kill the man who believes he is. Simple, and yet so complex, delightful in its irony. Don’t you think?”
The darkness of the night was hardly troubled by a low moon hidden amongst the clouds as Peter Thornton, Simon Crosse and their small team arrived at the warehouse. Their black van coasted to a stop in the shadows on the far side of the warehouse and they made their final preparations.
“Everybody knows what to do?” Simon asked the assembled team, they all nodded their ascent. Every man was highly trained and had vast experience in all kinds of covert operations. They were the best he could find and he trusted them to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Pete looked round the van at the serious faces of the men as they checked their weapons and went through their own personal preparations.
“I just want to say we don’t know what we’ll find in there and I can’t make you do this, so if any of you want to pull out now then I understand.”
Nobody moved and a voice from the back of the van spoke.
“We’re here now, might as well get on with it. Let’s go and get your friend back.”
Pete swallowed the lump in his throat, these men didn’t even really know him and they certainly didn’t know MacGyver and yet they were willing to put their lives on the line to save him.
“Thank you. Thank you all.”
Simon looked at his watch.
“Ok gentlemen on my mark it will be zero one thirty hours. You all have your assignments so let’s not hang about any longer than we have to.”
He pulled his black woollen balaclava down over his face, checked his watch again.
“Three, two one.. Mark.”
The van doors opened and the small band of men vanished into the shadows as if they had never existed. Within two minutes Simon heard on his ear piece that they had disabled the security system at the back gate and were beginning their entry to the warehouse itself. He looked at Pete, squeezed his shoulder reassuringly and the two of them set off towards the warehouse.
Then team that Simon had assembled were good, they had spotted the hidden cameras behind the apparently grimy windows and used small microwave jamming devices to disable them. They had forced a ground floor window never for one minute stopping to think that it was all a little easy.
By the time Pete and Simon got there the only sign of the team were the dead bodies of two of the perimeter guards, their throats expertly cut, which lay where they had fallen.
Inside the warehouse Franks and his associates were aware of everything that Simon’s team were doing. They waited in the office guarded by a small carefully chosen group of guards. Franks had made it reasonably easy for the team to gain access to the warehouse, he wanted them inside. Specifically he wanted Peter Thornton inside.
The leader of the group guarding Franks and his would-be buyers listened to the reports from his men as they allowed the team to pass their hidden positions and gain entry to the main body of the warehouse, where they were quickly and efficiently surprised, outnumbered and forced to surrender. The reports reached him that Peter and Simon were now in the building and on their way to the main area, he opened the door to the office.
“Thornton is here.”
Franks barely glanced in his direction.
“Is everything ready?”
“Good. You know what to do”
The man pulled the door shut behind him and began to issue instructions into his radio.
Down in the darkened corridors of the warehouse complex Pete and Simon were making good progress, the place seemed to be deserted, no sign of guards and no sign of any struggles between their team and those they were sure were guarding the building. They came to a stop at the end of a corridor and peered round into the dimly lit central area, which still held the large Perspex tank and all the associated equipment that Pete had seen in the photographs. Now however the tank was empty and the machines lifeless.
“This looks like the place.” Pete whispered. “But there’s no sign of MacGyver.”
Simon stepped cautiously into the room and slowly, using the shadows for cover, he began making his way to where the equipment was. Nothing stirred and there was no sound other than his gentle footfalls on the concrete floor and the sound of Pete’s breathing behind him.
Eventually they reached their goal and stood for a moment looking up at the tank and wondering what purpose it served, what had been done to MacGyver and why.
Pete held one hand against the side of the tank as if that would somehow tell him the answers. “Where are you Mac? Where are you?”
“He could be anywhere by now.” Simon’s voice startled him from his private thoughts “I’ll recall the team and we’ll start a search. Don’t worry Pete, if MacGyver’s in here we’ll find him.”
“That won’t be necessary gentlemen. Now if you would be as good as to lower your weapons and place them on the ground.”
Pete and Simon looked into the shadows in the direction of the voice and saw not only Franks but a small group of well-armed men accompanying him. Glancing briefly at each other, they acknowledged that it would be a futile gesture to stand their ground and fight. Resignedly they lowered their guns and carefully laid them on the floor before raising their hands in surrender.
“Thank you, you see I’m a reasonable man and there is no need for unnecessary violence.” Franks turned to the accompanying guards. “Why don’t you take Mr Thornton’s associate to his colleagues.”
Several guards broke from the group and hustled a protesting Simon Crosse away into the darkness of the warehouse.
“Now then Mr Thornton I’m sure you have some questions for me?”
Pete was surprised how calm he sounded when his insides were in turmoil with worry, both for his own safety and also for MacGyver.
“Where’s MacGyver? I know he was here, I know he was in that…” Pete waved his hand in the general direction of the tank which caused a ripple of movement within the remaining guards, their fingers tightening on their weapons. “What have you done to him? Where is he?”
“Ah yes, Mr MacGyver, a most interesting subject.”
“Subject, what do you mean subject? What have you done to him you bastard?”
“Now Mr Thornton, there is no need for language like that, we are both civilised men are we not?”
“I don’t call what I saw civilised. Now where is my friend, I want to see him.. Now.” Pete knew his demand sounded pretty lame given the circumstances but what other choices did he have?
Franks was talking quietly to a guard who had appeared by his side. Their conversation ended the guard left and Franks once more turned his attention to Pete.
“Very well Mr Thornton I’ll let you see your friend. In fact he has been asking for you. Shall we?” He indicted a direction with his arm and strode off. Several guards attached themselves closely to Pete and they followed in silence.
After a short distance the group stopped at the bottom of a metal staircase which lead up to a gantry that ran around this part of the warehouse. Franks and his guards started up the staircase to where his associates were waiting.
“I think you and Mr MacGyver need time to renew an old friendship. I wouldn’t want to get in the way.”
He stopped and looked back down at Pete.
“Your friend is waiting for you just around the corner. Goodbye Mr Thornton.”
The group continued their climb up the staircase leaving Pete standing, confused in the semi darkness. A moment passed and the footsteps faded, the silence would have been complete if Pete couldn’t heard his own heart pounding in his chest. Pete had no idea what awaited him, but he had come this far and there was no way he was going to leave without Mac, so he took a deep breath and strode purposefully down the short passage and around the corner.
The door to MacGyver’s cell swung open. In the doorway were the two thugs who had earlier taken such enjoyment in beating him. He cut a sorry figure as he slowly raised himself from the cot, battered and bruised the look of fear not quite hidden on his face.
“Get up and put these on.” The larger of the two men threw a pair of denim jeans onto the floor and stepped back slightly giving MacGyver room to do as he was told. It was a long and painful process for him, his body was stiff and sore from his earlier beatings and his broken rib flared painfully in his chest with every movement. Eventually he was on his feet and dressed, his body trembling with the effort and his face slicked with sweat. One of the men approached him and pressed an automatic pistol into his hand.
“Peter Thornton is here, he’s asking to see you.”
MacGyver stared at the gun in his hand, in the dark of his mind he thought there was something about guns that he should remember. What was it? Try as he might he couldn’t remember, he just couldn’t. All he seemed to be able to think about was how Pete Thornton, his friend, his mentor had turned out to be nothing more than a lousy traitor. Now he knew what to do with the gun, he had to kill Pete, he was a traitor and traitors must die.
Although MacGyver didn’t ever use guns, that didn’t mean that he didn’t know how to use them and with an ease that should have worried him, he chambered the gun, flicked off the safety and tightened his grip on the butt.
“Pete’s a traitor. I have to kill him” His voice was the monotone of a man just going through the motions, repeating what he believed to be the truth.
“Let’s go then” the man who had handed him the gun took a hold of his arm and led him from his cell. They only walked a short distance until they reached a small poorly lit area, surrounded by a gantry. Apart from a chair at one end the space was deserted, MacGyver was led to the chair and pushed down onto it.
“Wait here; you’ll know what to do when the time comes.”
The two men walked away and up onto the gantry where they joined Franks and his colleagues, who were eagerly waiting for the final events to unfold below them. They watched as MacGyver slumped in pain in the chair, his head hanging against his chest, the gun held securely, but hidden, between his legs.
What Pete saw when he rounded the corner stopped him in his tracks. In the semi gloom he could make out the figure of a man, huddled in on himself as if in pain. It looked like MacGyver but in the poor light he couldn’t be sure.
Pete stepped in closer, the light was better and now he could see that it was MacGyver. He stopped when MacGyver raised his head looking towards him, the physical evidence of what had been done to him now all too obvious on his cut and bruised face and body. Seeing what had been done to his friend Pete resolved that if he got out of this alive, he wouldn’t stop until he hunted down those responsible and killed them.
From where MacGyver sat he could just make out the figure as it rounded the corner and he struggled to lift his head in response to his name. His head was pounding again blurring his vision, his body ached and his broken rib made every breath an agony he could live without. He thought he knew the voice.
“Mac, it’s Pete.”
He knew that voice – Peter Thornton the man who thought he was a traitor. The man who had tried to blame him for everything just to cover up for himself, just to hide the fact that he was really the traitor. He could hear the voices again distant but clear.
“MacGyver’s a traitor. Traitor…. Traitor. Judas MacGyver….Traitor”
Over and over the voices repeated their cruel mantra until Mac’s whole body was shaking with the effort of fighting against what he knew wasn’t true. He blinked the sweat from his eyes and tried to focus on the figure of Pete, tried to focus on the words he was saying.
“MacGyver? What’s going on Mac? Who thinks you’re a traitor?”
His response was a low mumble from MacGyver, so quiet he could hardly make out what he was saying.
“No… not a traitor. I’m not… traitor.”
“What?” Pete strained to hear “Talk to me MacGyver, tell me what’s going on.”
The voices were back, low and insistent filling MacGyver’s mind with confusion again. He forced himself from the chair, wobbling unsteadily and swaying against the pain that filled his whole being. He still held onto the gun, his grip never faltering as he fought to still his trembling limbs. He knew he wasn’t the traitor.
“I am NOT a traitor.” he screamed.
The sudden loud denial was unexpected, shocking Pete with its vehemence.
“Hey Mac this is me, Pete, you don’t have to tell me. I know you’re not a traitor, I know you better than to ever believe that. You should know it too MacGyver… you should know it too.” His voice tailed away, saddened by the realisation that at this moment his friend didn’t recognize that fact. The look on MacGyver’s face made Pete wonder if he would ever recognize the truth again, his eyes were blank and, apart from the brief flashes of pain, completely expressionless.
MacGyver looked at Peter, looked at the man he thought had betrayed him, the man he believed to be a traitor and raised his arm until the gun was pointed at Pete. He hesitated for just a moment, still trying to remember what it was about him and guns.
“MAC!“ Pete couldn’t believe what he saw, couldn’t believe that MacGyver, a man whom he had never seen use a gun, a man who he knew hated guns and all they stood for was now pointing a gun directly at him. He didn’t really have time to wonder what they had done to his friend before the silence of the warehouse was filled with the sound of gunfire and he was spinning away from the force of the bullet that blasted into his left arm.
MacGyver still held the smoking gun firmly as he approached the fallen, stricken figure of Peter Thornton. It would be easy to kill him now, just another ‘unexplained death’. He stopped and looked down, raising the gun and preparing to fire.
“God MacGyver why?” Pete shuffled uncomfortably on the floor until he was backed up against the foot of the stairs and pushed himself into a sitting position. He grabbed his left arm to staunch the blood as MacGyver approached him, gritting his teeth against the pain. “Why? Do you think I’m your enemy, do you think I came here to hurt you?”
He hardly recognised the figure that stood before him, his body a mass of cuts and bruises, blood caked on his face and in his hair, a lost confused lonely look to his eyes. He had to try and reach the man he hoped was still inside, the MacGyver that he knew and loved, before he was lost for good.
“Listen to me MacGyver.. Please” Pete was practically pleading with MacGyver now. “You know I would never hurt you Mac, after all we have been through together why, why would I want to hurt you? I’m your friend, don’t you remember that? I am not the enemy here Mac, it’s the people who did this to you; the people who made you pick up a gun. They’re the enemy Mac not me.”
Pete’s words seemed to fall on deaf ears as MacGyver bent down and seemingly without caring dragged Pete to his feet by his bleeding arm. Pete could feel the hard edge of the gun in MacGyver’s hand as it pressed into his side, he could feel the shaking in his friend’s body and almost sense the confusion that filled his mind. Taking a breath to stem the pain from his arm and to push back the tears he felt forming when he saw what had to be done to his friend he spoke again.
“Come on MacGyver, you have to try and remember. You have to remember and you have to believe me when I tell you that we are friends. You must try Mac, you must. Our friendship Mac, it’s deeper than this, don’t let them destroy it. Don’t let them destroy us.”
For just a second Pete thought he saw the glimmer of realisation in MacGyver’s eyes before the pain and fear and confusion glazed them once more. He strained to hear the mumbled words.
“My head hurts. God, why?” MacGyver struggled with the pain in his head and with the swirling jumble of thoughts and half remembered memories that seemed to be trying to fill his mind. He thought he knew what he had to do, but why was it so hard? All he had to do was pull the trigger and his hell would be over, the traitor would be dead and he could get on with his life. But the man he had to kill wouldn’t shut up, he wouldn’t stop talking and the talking made his head hurt, made him question his actions, made him think, and it hurt to think. MacGyver drove the pistol barrel deeper into Peter’s side not registering the grunt of pain his action caused.
He had to shut him up; he had to make him stop talking. He squeezed the trigger a little harder.
Pete felt MacGyver dig the gun further into his ribs and realised that this was his last chance, if he didn’t get through to his friend now he wouldn’t get another chance. He didn’t really know what he could say to break through the barrier of hatred and misplaced anger, so he just said what he felt.
“Please don’t do this, don’t let THEM do this to us. We are friends, we’ve been friends for years, and hopefully we will be friends for years to come. Mac….” He swallowed hard this didn’t seem to be working! But he couldn’t stop; he couldn’t give up on his friend not until he drew his last breath.
“If you want to kill me then do it” His voice was stronger than he felt, “but it won’t stop me being your friend. I lived as your friend and if it has to be then I will die as your friend”
The sudden silence was broken by the loud retort of the pistol as MacGyver once again pulled the trigger. Pete gasped with surprise and then, as MacGyver released his grip, slumped to the cold warehouse floor.
From behind the two men the clatter of feet on the metal staircase seemed unnaturally loud in the once more silent space. Franks and his entourage were descending from the gantry where they had stood and watched the whole of the final act playing out beneath them.
Franks smiled triumphantly, he had done it, he had proved that if you reshaped a man’s past then you could make him do anything. He had turned MacGyver against his closest friend, put a gun in hand and then watched as he killed.
Once they were all on the warehouse floor he gave them a moment to savor the scene. MacGyver stood over the dead body of the man he admired and looked up too, the instrument of his death still smoking in his hand, and he didn’t know that he had done anything wrong. He turned to the potential buyers of his technique.
“Gentlemen, what more can be said. I think this is clear proof of our success.”
On the cold concrete floor Peter Thornton opened his eyes, surprised to find that he was still alive. He could feel the stinging burn in his side where the bullet that he had expected to take his life had grazed his ribs. He could see the feet of the approaching group as they moved towards where he and MacGyver were, although he doubted that they knew he was still alive. Risking a glance upwards he registered a look on MacGyver’s face that he had never seen before, one of horror and revulsion and above all pure hatred. He saw MacGyver glance down at him the brown eyes that before had been lifeless and clouded with pain and confusion now blazed behind as yet unshed tears with the fire of a man who just realised that he had been used.
As MacGyver had prepared to kill Peter Thornton he had tried to tune out the endless words about their friendship and their past. The more he tried to ignore what Peter said the more it seemed to ring true, the more he began to doubt what he had been told, what the pain in his body and the pain in his mind told him should be true. He tried to remember, he really did but everything was once more just a confused jumble of broken images running like an endless film in his head. His body shook, his chest hurt, he was thirsty and his head felt like it was going to explode and behind it all was the endless pleading of Peter Thornton that he should remember. Remember what? Remember why, why was it so important to Peter that he should remember.
Unless he was telling the truth!
MacGyver had already started to pull the trigger on the gun sending the bullet that would end Peter Thornton’s life, when he heard him say: “I died as your friend” and noticed the look on his face. It was the look of a man resigned to his death but holding no malice, no hatred for the man who was to kill him. His face said ‘Even after death I will always be your friend. I never hated you and I always trusted you even with my life.’
Then with a blinding realisation MacGyver knew, he knew that Pete was no more the traitor than he was.
He had been used!
MacGyver just had time to angle the gun slightly away from Pete’s body, not enough to miss him completely but enough so that the bullet only grazed him.
He had been used to kill his friend and now, as he watched Pete fall to the ground, he knew that he WAS his friend. They had been friends for years, they had laughed and cried together, faced danger together, shared good times and bad times together. They were friends and always would be. Nothing was stronger than their love and friendship for each other.
Still gripping the gun he straightened up as Franks and his associates approached. He heard him speaking, saying that there before their very eyes was all the proof they needed and his anger boiled over.
“Don’t bet on it you bastard.”
He spun to face them, the gun raised, his body taught with tension and before he had a chance to realise what he was doing he had pulled the trigger. Franks had just enough time to see his dreams crumble around him before the bullet struck him square between the eyes killing him instantly.
For MacGyver it was as if the act of killing the man responsible for his nightmare, the man who had come so close to making him take the life of his friend was like the final piece of a puzzle slotting into place. He looked in horror at the gun held in his outstretched and shaking arm. He hated guns! Quickly he tossed the gun down and behind him knowing that Pete would pick it up and just stood there unsure of what to do next.
He heard the groan from Pete as he reached out and picked up the gun.
“Don’t move…any of you. Now put down your weapons before I do something I might not regret.”
Pete had watched in amazement as MacGyver had coldly and clinically killed the man responsible for beating and torturing him. As the gun fell to the floor in front of him he was already moving towards it, grabbing it quickly before the momentum was lost. He gritted his teeth against the pain from his wounds as he pushed himself to a semi sitting position, noticing the once grey concrete was now a rusty brown color from his blood.
He held the gun firmly glad that his wounds were on his left side and delivered his ultimatum. He knew he was outnumbered by the remaining guards and those who had accompanied Franks and that MacGyver wasn’t going to be much help to him just yet, and he was surprised when slowly the guards began to lower their guns.
To his greater surprise he could hear the footfalls of combat boots on the concrete as Simon Crosse and the rest of his team appeared around the corner at a run. Obviously they had managed to overpower their captors and make good their escape. The team quickly and efficiently took control of the situation, disarming and securing the guards. Simon hurriedly crossed to where Pete lay ignoring the lost helpless looking figure of MacGyver who still hadn’t moved since killing Franks. Carefully he helped Pete to his feet.
“I’ve been better” Pete mumbled through gritted teeth, swaying a little unsteadily despite Simon’s hold on him. “I’ve got to get to MacGyver.” He pushed himself free of Simon’s hold and hurried as best as he could to the side of his friend.
MacGyver was shell-shocked, he just stood staring in disbelief at the fallen figure of Franks barely able to comprehend the fact that not only had he killed him but he had done so using a gun. He was virtually unaware of the ensuing events, of the arrival of Simon and his team, of the fact that he had been rescued, of anything. He was aware though of the sight of Peter Thornton, bent over slightly to lessen the ache in his side, once more holding his bloodied shoulder, concern over-riding the pain.
“Good God MacGyver am I glad to see you!” Pete exclaimed letting go of his own arm and placing his hand on MacGyver’s arm, ignoring the flash of pain he felt.
“Likewise I’m sure Pete.” MacGyver replied with a half smile, placing his own shaking hand over Pete’s, his face streaked with tears.
“Thought I’d lost you back there Mac.” Pete choked back his own tears, his voice wavering.
“We’re friends Pete “MacGyver’s voice was barely above a whisper “And friends are always stronger than enemies.” With those words and his adrenaline spent, the pain suddenly became all consuming and MacGyver wavered where he stood, groaned once and passed out into the arms of his friend.