Cry Wolf

By MacsJeep

Episode 8.19: Part One

 

Author’s 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 the chaos…


London Heathrow Airport
Sunday March 13th 1994
Terminal Four

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.

His 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 wish.

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?

Now let’s 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.

Within minutes, 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 deemed natural.

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.

Seconds later, 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…

Davy continued 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 been after.

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
London
Two Months Later

MacGyver sat 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 just shared.

Returning to 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.

The professor’s speech rambled on, Atticus blissfully unaware of MacGyver’s thoughts.

“Thousands 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.

The professor 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.

Mac couldn’t 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.

MacGyver whirled 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?”

“It’s 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.

“Maybe I don’t want to know,” Sam laughed. “Anyway, I kinda have a surprise of my own for you…”

MacGyver sucked 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.

Sam appeared 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?”

MacGyver shook his head to no one in particular. “No, but then Atticus kinda kept me outta the loop…”

“Well, 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.

“That’s great! When do you arrive?”

“Ah well, 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 me?”

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.

Great…let’s 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 one.

* * * *

Waterloo International Station
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.

While Markham 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?”

“I’m 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.

McDonald nodded 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.

“Well he 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?”

MacGyver moved 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…”

Sam scowled, 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.

“Your friend 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.

Mac grimaced. 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 was news.

“You don’t like him, do you?” Sam appeared to observe.

“Let’s 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 of McDonald.

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.

MacGyver watched 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 kaleidoscope imagery.

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.

Sam appeared 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.

He didn’t 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.

Mac’s senses 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.

“How far are we into the crossing?” MacGyver stood up as he asked Sam the question.

Sam shrugged. “Ugh, about halfway, I think. Why, you’re not getting claustrophobic as well as Acrophobic are you?” He half-joked.

Mac didn’t 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 speech.

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 among us?”

The woman’s 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.

“No…no,” 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.

Somewhere ahead, 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.

Items seemed 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 pain?

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.

Eventually, he 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.

Mac mentally 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 them off.

“Sam!” Mac heard his own voice croak out, and he tried again. “SAM!”

There was no reply.

The train’s 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 hand.

And it didn’t look like it was Eurostar issued. Why would he bring a flashlight unless…

McDonald paused 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.

“I think we hit something in the tunnel,” McDonald suggested with a quirk of his eyebrow.

“That felt like an explosion to me.” MacGyver watched McDonald for a reaction, but there was none save another quirk of his brow.

“Forgive 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.

“Over here!” Mac felt guilty, but he couldn’t fight the parental urge to look for Sam before anything else.

McDonald complied, 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.

“Sheesh are you trying to blind me,” he grumbled, then hastily added, “Dad? You okay?”

MacGyver moved 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.

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