8.19: Part One
Note: The incident in the first part of this story actually
happened. Ryan Davy and his actions are purely a work
of fiction, but the event itself is not. I was there amongst
London Heathrow Airport
Sunday March 13th 1994
Ryan Davy watched
from his corner seat as the terminal slowly came to life
like a dormant dragon awakening from slumber. It was early
morning, and most of the kiosks and shops were still closed.
Even the information desks were meagerly staffed. Here
and there a cleaner or airline worker ambled through,
along with the odd early-riser waiting for a flight.
Davy found the
whole scene amusing – but not as amusing as the
innocent briefcase sitting by itself on a row of red plastic
seats. He grinned at it, unable to take his gaze from
the faux leather luggage.
A mother and
her two teenage kids walked from the outer doors and stopped
and looked at the arrivals board. Ryan watched them as
they took in the information and then made their way to
the empty red seats.
seats, with his briefcase.
The woman lit
a cigarette and glanced around, making some comment about
the place being dead at this hour. She seemed surprised.
The girl next to her appeared to be about thirteen and
was, he hoped, nosier than her mother.
Ryan got his
After about five
minutes, the girl finally noticed the case and tugged
at her mother’s sleeve. She looked scared. Had she
seen the news from earlier in the week?
just hope in the wake of the two recent I.R.A. attacks
that mommy dearest does something about it…Davy
was on the edge of his seat, watching, urging the inevitable
to happen. This was what he was here for. This was what
he lived for.
The mother dutifully
obeyed his mental wishes and headed for the nearest security
desk to report the unattended briefcase.
Words were exchanged
that Davy couldn’t quite hear, but from the mother’s
annoyed reaction, he guessed the woman behind the counter
wasn’t taking the case to be any threat to the airport.
In fact, as he
continued to watch, the young woman stepped from behind
her counter, collected the case and set it down in an
area he assumed was earmarked for lost property. If he
could have broken into uncontrolled laughter without being
seen or heard, Davy would have.
How could the
Brits call this security? And after the Queen had been
here just this week too?
Of course, the
case was just a tester, a decoy of sorts, and the real
fun was yet to come.
Ryan waited patiently,
knowing it wouldn’t be long.
the arrival and departure boards began to change. One
by one, every flight was re-listed as “delayed.”
The Irishman snickered. The planes were delayed alright,
but not by the weather, or anything else that could be
This was the
beginning of his plan and he couldn’t wait to see
the pandemonium it caused. He almost ached to get up from
his seat and mingle with the now panicking crowds as people
gathered below the boards, unsure what was happening,
but guessing the worst.
armed police with Heckler and Koch weapons slung over
their shoulders ran into the terminal. They wore body
armor, and not the usual standard British police uniform,
either. These were specially trained weapons officers.
The lead cop
was speaking on a radio clipped to his shoulder, and he
repeated the word “landslide” over and over
to some unseen cohort. It was obviously a code word, and
Davy couldn’t resist snickering yet again.
The armed police
blocked off the exits, and one began speaking to the panicking
public, telling them that no one was allowed to leave.
The I.R.A. was apparently in the process of another mortar
attack on Heathrow.
To their credit,
the crowds didn’t panic, although Davy relished
the sheer terror on their faces. He rubbed his hands together
and sat back on his seat like a man who had just enjoyed
a hearty meal. I wonder how Patrick is doing?
He mused, thinking of his younger, half-brother busy in
the airport perimeter with his homemade launcher.
In answer to
his question, one of the armed police began nervous radio
chatter with someone outside. Apparently several mortar
bombs had landed in the car park, but hadn’t gone
off - as a precaution, the terminal was to be completely
evacuated via the tube.
Ah now, if
only I’d thought to put a bomb down there too…
to watch as people followed the police like sheep down
to the underground. The crowd nervously chatted, but didn’t
stampede, but they were shocked, scared, and afraid of
their futures – and that after all was what he’d
No one had died
here today for him to cause mass disruption and advertising
for his cause. Next time, maybe the British public and
their pathetic government’s attempt at security,
wouldn’t be so lucky…
* * *
Royal Academy of Archaeological Science
Two Months Later
with his eyes glued to the man on stage as he boomed out
his lecture to a bunch of school kids. Prof. Atticus could
be the most annoying man on the planet at times, but he
was also a friend and a genius in his field.
Next to Mac,
Kelly Carson appeared to be equally in awe of the man
tutoring the children. But then, archaeology ran in her
family. She broke her gaze from the stage for a second
to glance at MacGyver, but he didn’t notice the
look of affection. As the professor continued his diatribe,
Mac was busy thinking back over the adventure they’d
war-torn Bosnia after the escapade with Paul Watkins had
been madness, but return he had, with Atticus in tow,
searching for a historic ark. As if that hadn’t
been enough, Atticus had then dragged Mac and Kelly on
a rampage around the innards of an active volcano at the
ruins of Thera.
The whole quest
had been sheer mayhem from start to finish, but then,
that was what life was like around Atticus.
speech rambled on, Atticus blissfully unaware of MacGyver’s
of years ago, before time itself was measured as we know
it…there was… Atlantis!” Atticus was
so enthusiastic; it looked like he would burst. His eyes
flashed with excitement as he began asking the crowd of
kids several questions, which they seemed to enjoy answering.
beamed at their intelligence. “You’re all
my brightest students!” He paused, looked at MacGyver
and winked. This was something he was fond of telling
Mac, not once, but usually once every other sentence.
resist a small smile back. His trip to the U.K. hadn’t
been so bad after all, and now the venture was over, maybe
he could find some time to relax. He turned to face Kelly,
intent on asking her to dinner when someone tapped him
on the shoulder.
back to find a woman he recognized as part of the academy
staff peering down at him over her wide-rimmed glasses.
“Excuse me, Mr. MacGyver? There’s a telephone
call for you over at the information desk.”
Mac had to take
a moment to think. Who could want him here in England?
His mind went into overdrive as he excused himself from
Kelly and hurried over to the phone. Could there be something
wrong at Phoenix? His stomach did a back flip. He never
had discovered what Roger Mariotte had been up to on the
CCTV footage in Alameda…
Mac picked up
the phone with a sudden sense of dread, and then relaxed
again when he heard Sam’s voice the other end. “Dad,
how’s the trip going?”
been…interesting,” Mac grimaced as
he thought about some of the stuff he wouldn’t
be telling Sam. No need to worry the kid with things that
had already happened, like being locked up by Serbs or
trapped in a fiery volcano vault that was crumbling.
I don’t want to know,” Sam laughed. “Anyway,
I kinda have a surprise of my own for you…”
down a breath. “Please tell me you’re not
taking that job covering a war zone?” It had been
a topic of conversation before Mac had left L.A. and one
that he hoped Sam had changed his mind about. They’d
had words over it, and eventually Mac had been forced
to give in, given his own dangerous profession.
to find the question amusing and laughed again before
putting Mac out of his misery. “No, but it is about
a job. The Channel Tunnel was just officially opened recently
by the Queen and the French President, hear anything about
it over there?”
his head to no one in particular. “No, but then
Atticus kinda kept me outta the loop…”
the tunnel won’t take paying passengers for awhile
yet, but the press have been invited on a journey through
to promote it, and my editor has offered me the job!”
Sam sounded genuinely excited, while Mac let out a sigh
of relief. A train trip sounded much safer than a South
American jungle full of rebels.
great! When do you arrive?”
that’s kinda why I rang,” Sam admitted. “I’m
at Heathrow’s terminal four right now, and wondered
if I could hitch a ride? The press trip is in two days
so I traveled in kinda a hurry. The good news is I got
you a press pass too, though, so you can travel on the
Euro Tunnel with me, and we can spend some time together.”
It was Mac’s
turn to chuckle. Any time spent with Sam was good time.
“That sounds good…but I think you’re
forgetting I don’t exactly have the Jeep here with
The line went
quiet for a second, and then Sam was back sounding as
cheery as ever. “No worries, I’ll take a cab
back to your hotel. I’ve already arranged a room
there.” Before MacGyver could ask how he knew which
hotel, Sam was gone.
just hope this isn’t a brief assignment before he
decides to still go off on that other job…
Mac hung up wondering just how much Sam was like he was
at the same age, and the answer wasn’t a consoling
* * *
Two Days Later
Mac and Sam waited
patiently on the platform while their train – Eurostar
373, was prepared and security did one last sweep of the
carriages. Around them, throngs of other reporters and
photographers did much the same. It was a big event, after
all and the world was watching.
So far, MacGyver
had spotted at least two people here that he actually
knew from past encounters. Angela Markham from the New
York Times was as cocky as ever, flashing her blue
eyes and blonde hair whenever possible when she thought
it might get her a scoop. Then there was Jurgen Bergmann,
from Die Welt – their paths had crossed
the night the Berlin Wall had finally fallen and Mac had
been using it as cover to get some very important microfilm
into the right hands.
could be called a possible liability, Bergmann was a good
man to have around, and Mac fully intended having a chat
with him once they were on board. It had been too long
since they’d spoken.
Sam watched his
dad taking in the scene and the people. “I can’t
believe you know more people here than I do!” He
slung his camera around on its shoulder strap and took
several shots of the train, and the other gathering journalists.
“Is there anybody you don’t know?”
betting he doesn’t know me?” A small gent
in a plaid suit that looked straight out of the fifties
offered up his hand. He’d been standing next to
them for the past ten minutes, but until now hadn’t
said a word. His accent was tinged with something, but
Mac couldn’t quite place it. “My name’s
David McDonald. I’m here from The Scotsman,”
the man explained helpfully. “This is my first big
story, so I doubt we’ve met?” He smiled affably.
Mac took the
proffered hand and shook it, but something felt off. He
was a good judge of people, and this McDonald character
was putting on an act, of that he was sure. Why was another
matter, and one Mac didn’t really care to ponder.
He was here to spend time with Sam after all, not make
friends. “I’ve definitely not had the pleasure,”
he answered politely.
and was about to say more when a woman in a dark blue
suit began ushering people onboard. The movement caught
the Scot’s eye, and he instantly jogged away without
even a goodbye.
sure was a strange one,” Sam pondered as he headed
for the train. “He’s not exactly a stereotypical
reporter is he? Are all Scots like him?”
into place at the back of the queue, warily watching McDonald
push his way onto the Eurostar. It had finally hit him
why the man seemed “off,” and it wasn’t
just his attitude or his strange behavior. His accent
was phony, of that Mac was sure, and yet there was
a Gaelic sounding twang to it. “I wouldn’t
know,” Mac eventually answered. “Because I
don’t think he is Scottish…”
but as it was their time to climb onto the train he didn’t
push it further.
* * *
Inside the carriage
they had been allocated was a light beige color with each
seat having a large leatherette headrest and a fold down
silver table between them. Sam took the seat near the
window and took a look around.
Jurgen is in our carriage, and the crazy blonde from New
York.” Sam nodded to the rear of the compartment
where the two were sitting side by side.
He’d hoped for Jurgen, but not Markham. Worse still,
McDonald appeared to be on their carriage as well. The
“fake” Scot was warily glancing around at
each of his colleagues, his beady eyes scanning the interior
of the carriage like he was in the market to purchase
it. Eventually, he settled down to read an article about
Gerard Carter, a multi-million dollar stock embezzler
who was being extradited back to the U.S. It seemed a
strange subject for a Brit to be interested in, but then
again, if he was really a reporter, anything that big
like him, do you?” Sam appeared to observe.
just say I don’t trust him,” Mac confirmed,
fidgeting in his seat. “I get a bad vibe every time
I see the guy, and that doesn’t happen very often.”
Sam nodded. “Tell
me about it, you usually see some good in everyone.
You’re a regular glass half full kinda person. This
guy must be seriously rattling your cage…”
He discretely lifted his Canon and took a crafty shot
The Scot was
up on his feet again having discarded his paper, and was
now prowling the center of the carriage. When he spotted
MacGyver watching him, he shrugged. “I get travel
sick,” he hastily explained, and then vanished into
the next compartment.
him go, and was only distracted when the opaline overhead
lighting kicked in, signaling the train was about to start
moving. There was a brief jolt and then the outside world
began to move and eventually whiz by in flashes of blurred
At the bottom
of their carriage the same woman from earlier appeared
and began to give them a brief overview of the 373 and
the tunnel they’d be traveling through. It was all
very official and very grand, but Mac couldn’t focus
on a word of it.
to notice. “Forget about him,” he suggested
as the woman talked. “We only have just over half
an hour and we’ll be in Paris! Then you can finally
show me some of the sights over there.”
Mac shifted in
his seat, but relaxed just a touch. He really needed to
get out of the habit of being on alert 24/7. This was
his downtime, after all. He folded his arms and settled
into listening to the rest of the Eurostar history from
its inception to huge budget overrun.
By the time they
reached the actual tunnel, Mac was almost enjoying himself.
Right up until the view from the window turned dark.
know why, but being buried under the sea by tones of concrete
suddenly brought back the feeling that things were out
of whack. Maybe it was down to the time he’d been
trapped on a mini sub searching for a mystery German U-boat,
but no, there was more to it than that.
were tingling, and he couldn’t shake the feeling
that it was all down to meeting David McDonald. He didn’t
say anything to Sam, but began to scan the carriage for
the Scot. He still hadn’t returned.
are we into the crossing?” MacGyver stood up as
he asked Sam the question.
“Ugh, about halfway, I think. Why, you’re
not getting claustrophobic as well as Acrophobic are you?”
even hear Sam. Beneath his feet he’d noticed a distinct
change in the thrum of the train. It was slowing –
in the middle of the channel tunnel – and no way
was that supposed to happen.
The woman in
blue had noticed too. She frowned and stopped her tour
Mac took advantage
of the pause. “Excuse me, ma’am, are we scheduled
to make a stop? Maybe a little show for the news hounds
eyes glistened with something, but it wasn’t amusement,
it was fear. In that moment, MacGyver felt the same thing.
Sam wasn’t safe here, no one was.
she stammered. “We’re not even supposed to
slow down…” As she finished her sentence,
Eurostar 373 jolted, its whole frame shuddering on the
track so violently that the overhead lights dimmed, flickered,
and then vanished completely.
MacGyver felt an eruption – no an explosion.
He’d know the sensation anywhere, even in the darkness.
Within seconds, the carriage was lifted from its tracks
and tossed against the inner wall of the tunnel.
to spin in the air as if they were weightless, including
some of the passengers, but no one bore witness to it
because there was no light.
Mac sensed someone
close to him crumple into the wall of the carriage with
a grunt, and there was a muted female scream from somewhere
up front. Was that Markham he’d heard yelping in
And then it was
over. 373, or what was left of it, came to a rest on its
side in a dented mass of smoldering metal. The sounds
of groans and someone crying filled MacGyver’s ears,
but for a second he was too stunned to react.
blinked, forcing his eyes to try and adjust to the gloom.
Somewhere in this mess, Sam could lie hurt, or worse.
And even if Sam was okay, there were obviously others
that needed his help.
checked himself over and decided that apart from hurt
pride at letting this happen, he was in one piece. He
tried to sit up, found a briefcase and several other items
from the overhead lockers on his chest, and quickly brushed
Mac heard his own voice croak out, and he tried again.
There was no
emergency lighting should have kicked in, but it hadn’t.
And for once, Mac didn’t have a lighter or a match
in his pocket. He tried to recall if there were any emergency
flashlights when he’d boarded, and where they might
be. There had been something near the rear exit in a case,
but was it a light?
Mac let his hands
feel out the side of the compartment, but in the dark
it was disorientating, and he wasn’t sure if he
was going to the back or the front of the carriage. He
sighed, and was just about to give in, when something
illuminated in front of him.
It was David
McDonald, and he already had a flashlight in his right
And it didn’t
look like it was Eurostar issued. Why would he bring
a flashlight unless…
when he saw MacGyver in the beam, as if evaluating what
to do next. It was brief awkward moment, and then the
Scot, or whatever he really was hurried over and offered
Mac a hand up.
we hit something in the tunnel,” McDonald suggested
with a quirk of his eyebrow.
like an explosion to me.” MacGyver watched McDonald
for a reaction, but there was none save another quirk
of his brow.
me, Sir, but you can tell the difference? What are you
MI5?” The Scot shrugged off his own suggestion with
a nervous laugh. “Then again, not with that accent.”
He played the flashlight around the carriage, stopping
here and there to pick out people trying to pull themselves
free from hand luggage and spilled drinks.
Mac felt guilty, but he couldn’t fight the parental
urge to look for Sam before anything else.
redirecting his light onto where Sam had been sitting.
The seat was empty, but after a little tweaking the shaft
of light danced off something shiny, and Mac realized
it was the lens of Sam’s camera.
Sam was sitting
in the central walkway rubbing at his head, his SLR still
slung around his neck. As the flashlight hit him, he winced,
his eyes sensitive to the glare after being in the darkness.
are you trying to blind me,” he grumbled, then hastily
added, “Dad? You okay?”
over and pulled Sam to his feet, looking him over in the
sparse illumination McDonald provided. Sam appeared to
be disheveled but in one piece.
Mac stopped fussing
and opened his mouth in dread as their eyes met –
not because there was anything wrong with his son, but
because of what he could see out the small Eurostar window
over Sam’s shoulder.
It might be pitch
black in the tunnel, but right now outside the train was
lit up like the Fourth of July, and not in a pleasant
way. Flames licked up the side of the carriage, unhindered
because any fire suppression systems seemed to be out
of order. The fire burned bright, like there was some
kind of accelerant involved.
And worse still,
the inferno appeared to have engulfed the whole of the
front of the train, including their carriage.