8.7: Part One
I press this and then it’ll... Damn. What did I
do?” Detective Kate Murphy ran a hand through her
hair and sat back in the chair. “I’m used
to Restoretool now, it doesn’t work like this.”
MacGyver reached past her to press a different key. The
screen cleared and, line by line, the grainy photograph
resolved into a clear image. Information scrolled down
the side of the screen – the time of day the photograph
was taken, the direction the photographer had been facing,
their estimated height and a wealth of other information.
Kate leaned closer to the screen to study the face revealed
in the photo.
“You can zoom in on the part you want to look at
too. Here.” MacGyver scooted his chair closer to
the keyboard and highlighted the face in the picture.
The computer whirred and a close up of the face appeared.
“That’s so sharp, you can almost count the
pimples on his chin!” Kate shook her head at the
young man in the picture. “I hate working gang crime,
you see so many lives ruined because guys like Carlos
here can’t resist the temptation of the easy buck.”
A detective moved aside as she stood up and walked across
to the printer, waiting for the machine to spit out the
“You’re right, MacGyver, this is much better
than Restoretool. We’d be happy to trial it here.
Just let me know what else you need and we’ll get
it set up.”
“Thanks, Kate.” MacGyver leaned closer to
the screen, then turned, calling to Kate as she disappeared
into the next room. “How did Carlos get involved
with the gangs, anyway?”
“Hmm?” Kate returned, carrying two cups. “Grew
up with uncles and brothers running drugs, got into the
family business as soon as he got into double digits.
You know the drill, MacGyver – drugs in his schoolbag,
no-one suspects the kid, moved up to dealing a couple
of years ago and now here we are and he’s running
the crew.” She blew on her coffee and took a sip,
setting the other cup down next to MacGyver. “And
before you ask, yes, every effort was made with him to
break the cycle. Some kids are just bad all the way to
the middle. You can’t save everyone.”
MacGyver picked up his drink, studying the face on the
screen. Flat, hostile eyes stared out of the photo, the
young man’s slicked back hair, neck tattoo and the
chains hanging from his duster signalling his gang status.
MacGyver clicked back to the original photograph. Carlos
sat on the steps of a derelict building, smoke from his
cigarette curling up past his hand, his mouth open and
his expression furious, photographed in the act of dressing
down another ganger. The butt of a gun poked up from the
waistband of his jeans.
“I don’t believe anyone’s all bad, Kate.”
MacGyver got up and collected his papers, casting a last
glance at the screen. Carlos glared back at him, dark
eyes angry. “We’ll need to set up cameras
where they can’t be found and vandalised, somewhere
we can get back to in the morning to collect the film.
Then it’ll take the machine a couple of hours to
scan the tapes for movement and clean up the relevant
sections. After that, it’s you and me and whoever
else can be spared going through the tapes and picking
out the images we want to look at in more detail.”
He flipped the cover on Kate’s folder, reading the
Dymo Tape label on the front as he drank his tea. “South
Side Samurai? That’s what they call themselves?”
“I know, right?” Kate smiled back at him,
but there was little humour in it. “They fancy themselves
as warriors, the top tier even carry swords. Go figure...”
She moved the files and unrolled a map on the table. “Here’s
where we’ll be.”
* * * *
the afternoon in borrowed overalls, placing cameras with
the help of two Phoenix techs dressed as power company
repairmen. Climbing the poles to ‘fix’ the
transformer cans and attach the cameras drew a certain
amount of attention from local kids, some of whom wore
the South Side Samurai’s distinctive dusters. MacGyver
was aware of hostile eyes on him, of being followed as
they worked their way around the area. Waiting at the
bottom of a pole, MacGyver looked around the street. Rubbish
rotted in the corners, a drain had overflowed and the
buildings had a run-down, scoured look, with peeling paint
and boards over broken windows. A tattered curtain twitched
in a second floor window and he caught a glimpse of a
thin child in a dirty undershirt. The only car on the
street was up on cinder blocks, graffiti bright across
its rusted paint. A gust of wind swirled the dust and
carried with it the sound of sobbing. Looking up at the
tech setting the camera, MacGyver saw a figure crouched
on a rooftop opposite. The figure stared back at him for
a moment, then stood and turned, long coat flaring out
behind it as it walked along the roof and out of view.
they returned to the van and headed back to the Foundation.
MacGyver was glad to get back to his own part of Los Angeles,
the sunshine in Venice Beach seeming so much brighter
and warmer than it had in South Central. He looked around
as he drove home, trying to imagine what it must be like
to live in a place where it wasn’t safe to leave
your house, where the gangs owned the streets and ‘police’
was a dirty word. He shivered, despite the warmth of the
His answer machine
was blinking when he got in.
Dad, I’ll be out of town for a few days, got a story
to cover out in Bakersfield. It’d be great to go
to a game this weekend though, if you’re free. Let
me know, ok? Bye.” MacGyver smiled. That would be
Compadre! I got this great idea. Don’t hang up!
I got this map, never mind how, and I –”
his head, hitting fast-forward. Jack and his hair-brained
schemes could wait.
I hope this is the right number. I wasn’t sure who
else to call and I need... Please call me back, it’s
555-2131. I just... Um...” CLICK. MacGyver frowned
and replayed the message. The voice and accent were familiar,
but he just couldn’t place them. He lifted the receiver
The phone burred
in his ear for a long time. He was about to hang up when
the person on the other end picked up.
recognising the voice.