flipped a switch and Carmichael’s voice filled the
lab. “-ing to be too long before we see each other
again, dear brother.” There was a rustling of cloth.
I hadn’t forgotten.” The second voice, identical
to the first, sounded impatient. “You need to be
going brother, or you’ll miss your flight.”
The first voice sounded amused. “It’s my plane…”
course. I’d forgotten you’d gone into aviation
this year.” Footsteps echoed on a hard floor and
a door opened. “Until Kansas City, brother.”
There was another rustle and one set of footsteps faded
“I hate Missouri.” The second Carmichael twin
sighed. “And I’ve always hated the brinksmanship
in which we’ve both become involved.” The
door closed and the remaining set of footsteps faded away
Willis rubbed his hands together. “The bug stayed
here in Tristan Carmichael’s house, so it belongs
to Tristan and not Troy.”
Troy is now heading for LAX ready to go back to New York.”
MacGyver nodded. “So all the hinky stuff you’ve
been hearing about these last few weeks is down to Tristan.”
that way.” Willis grinned. “Tristan’s
our guy! Thank you, modern technology!” He blew
a kiss to the recording equipment.
will be pleased.” MacGyver
grinned back. “He’s been saying all along
that Tristan was the one behind Atlas.”
* * * *
The next morning MacGyver arrived to find Seeley waiting
for him. “Anything exciting?”
handed Seeley a cup of coffee and sat on the edge of his
blew on the coffee and took a sip. Pulling the night shift
and listening in on Carmichael’s bug had left him
looking tired, a shadow of stubble on his chin. “Not
long after you left, before Tristan left for New York,
he had a very interesting phone call with his pet General.
The one from the stadium, yes?”
“Right!” MacGyver sat up straight.
plane will be in Kansas City on Sunday.” Seeley
rubbed his eyes, stifling a yawn.
Sunday?” MacGyver ran a hand through his hair. “That
doesn’t give us much time…”
Seeley took a swig of coffee. “So we’d better
get busy working out a plan to shut it down before it
goes anywhere after that!”
* * * *
“Just one loose end now.” Nikki stood in front
of the noticeboard. “Where does Sundance’s
sleazy boss fit in?”
working on it.” MacGyver leaned back in his chair,
flexing his foot to work the stiffness out of his ankle.
“Sundance was involved in kidnapping homeless people,
but without knowing who his boss was, we don’t know
“Huh.” Nikki walked around her desk and tapped
at her computer keyboard. “Well, if I was going
to kidnap a bunch of homeless people, I’d want to
have a ready market for them.” She turned the monitor
around to face MacGyver. “Wouldn’t you?”
“Where did you find this?” MacGyver leaned
forwards to read the screen.
Nikki shrugged. “We’ve stayed in touch since
he helped out with finding Matthew at Christmas, and he
collects any news he can find concerning homeless people.
Including this little gem.” She waved a hand at
“Right.” MacGyver frowned, reading the news
article Nikki had pulled up on the screen. Border patrols
had intercepted a van travelling south into Mexico. The
patrolmen had been alerted by shouting coming from inside
the van, otherwise they wouldn’t have investigated.
When they opened up the back, they’d found a dozen
homeless people who’d been kidnapped. The group
claimed they had been told they were being taken to a
medical facility where they would be used as unwilling
test subjects in disease and drug trials, but the local
police were never able to confirm this. “Well, that
links them, at least in theory -” MacGyver held
up a hand as Nikki drew breath to speak. “- to Sundance
at one end and Wellforce and Atlas at the other, but we’ll
have a hard job proving it. Certainly not by Sunday, anyway.”
“I guess.” Nikki shook her head. “The
van matches the one Sundance had too…”
“I know.” MacGyver shrugged. “I think
we have enough for Pete to get the police involved even
without this, but thank you for finding it.”
problem.” Nikki returned to her desk, turning the
monitor back around. “Do you have a plan for Atlas
MacGyver glanced at his watch. “Just waiting for
the final piece of it to get here, so that we can put
piece?” Nikki stopped typing and looked up.
Dalton.” MacGyver flinched, waiting for the reaction.
Nikki had met Jack before.
plan to stop Atlas spreading superbugs all over the US
of A hangs on California’s most unreliable man?
Really?” Nikki shook her head in disbelief.
MacGyver held up both hands. “Trust me, I know how
* * * *
“So, let’s check that we all understand what
we’re doing.” Pete folded his hands in front
of him, looking round at the blurred figures filling his
“Sure, Pete.” MacGyver glanced at Jack, who’d
been told to stay quiet and, for once, had done so. “Me
and Jack go to the airfield and get onto the plane. We
disable the plane so it can’t take off and defuse
the superbug apparatus so it can’t disperse. Then
we get clear and wait for the authorities.”
“Good.” Pete nodded. “Jack, I want you
and Seeley to work out what kind of plane they’re
going to use. You’re the aviation experts here.”
Jack saluted, making Seeley duck as Jack’s hand
flashed past his ear. He gave Jack a sour look, which
continue working with Willis, trading shifts in listening
to Tristan Carmichael’s bug to find out as much
as I can about the plane, the superbugs and the timetable.”
He frowned at Jack, who grinned back at him. “In
between, I work with Mr. Dalton here on identifying suitable
aircraft capable of carrying the payload and using that
“Yes.” Pete nodded again. “Willis?”
surveillance, like Seeley said.” Willis cleared
his throat. “I also maintain comms with everyone
and make sure everything happens at the right time.”
His hands shook as he folded his papers.
you’ll do fine.” Pete heard the rustling papers
and the tremor in Willis’s voice. “Nikki?”
Nikki grinned. “So to speak. I tail Carmichael from
L.A. to Kansas City, just in case he makes any unexpected
detours, stick with him while he’s there and then
I blend into the scenery afterwards when the police turn
up to take him in.”
Pete smiled. “We sound like Mission Impossible,
don’t we?” Then his smile faded. “Let’s
hope we have just that much success.”
* * * *
The week passed slowly.
Pete spent most of it talking to the police, to Los Angeles
detective teams, to anyone who would listen. He grew increasingly
frustrated with the pace at which the authorities worked,
having hoped they would leap into action immediately.
LAPD promised to keep him informed. But updates were sporadic
and, as Sunday grew closer, he grew more and more apprehensive.
* * * *
By Tuesday, Jack had irritated Seeley so much that they
were working in separate rooms. Jack’s initial awe
at being part of such an important Phoenix project wore
off quickly, and his usual exuberant personality resurfaced.
Seeley found working alongside such an irrepressible and
chaotic person intolerable and had split their tasks,
shutting himself in a spare office and leaving Jack to
spread his notes and blueprints across every flat surface
in the main office.
MacGyver spent the week studying maps, aerial photographs
and the schematics for every crop sprayer, sprinkler system
and spray-bomb he could find. One of his DXS contacts
found him some truly terrifying information about bioweapons
that had been ‘retrieved’ from some unsavoury
overseas locations. It gave him sleepless nights and haunted
his days with the awful consequences of failing to bring
Nikki traded shifts with Willis and Seeley, listening
in on the bug in Tristan Carmichael’s pocket. Carmichael
spent a quiet week, after the revelations of the week
before and, if he carried out any further preparations
for launching Atlas, he did it out of earshot of the bug.
Willis, who was most familiar with Carmichael, thought
he seemed more subdued, less vitriolic in his dealings
with employees and associates than usual. Nikki didn’t
think he seemed much different, and was sure that any
change was due to anticipation of the events to come.
On Saturday evening, MacGyver, Seeley, Jack and Willis
left for Kansas City. Nikki watched their plane take off
and walked back to the parking lot, feeling nervous and
* * * *
Pulling up near Carmichael’s mansion, she checked
her pocket one last time for her plane ticket to Kansas
City. She setup her mobile listening equipment and sat
back. The signal was clear, and she heard Tristan talking
to his secretary and preparing for the trip. He sounded
calmer than she had anticipated, as if he was just going
to a regular meet-up with his brother and not about to
unleash disease and despair on an unsuspecting public.
Nikki shifted in her seat, and settled in for a long wait.
* * * *
“Movement.” Three hours later, Nikki made
a call to Willis and started her car. She pulled out at
a discreet distance behind Carmichael’s limousine
and followed him through the Los Angeles traffic.
* * * *
“This should be fun, right?” Jack rubbed his
hands together, watching an aeroplane take off as MacGyver
steered the Jeep into the airport parking lot.
and I define ‘fun’ very differently, Jack.”
MacGyver shook his head and Jack dragged his gaze away
from the aeroplane.
“Sure, bioweapon, right.” Jack nodded, trying
to keep his excitement under control. Aeroplanes and flying
filled him with a childlike joy that he found almost impossible
to contain even in a situation this grave. He followed
MacGyver out of the Jeep and across the airport in silence.
Looking left and right, MacGyver ducked through a service
door, pulling Jack in after him. Walking down an unpainted
corridor, MacGyver pulled two waterproof jackets off their
hooks and handed one to Jack. “When we go out, we
head straight for Aviation Services at the far side of
the airfield.” MacGyver waited for Jack to nod.
“We do not stop to admire the aircraft. We do not
talk to the ground crew. We do not give anyone ‘orders’.”
MacGyver made quote marks in the air. “This is serious,
Jack. I need you to work this my way.” He watched
Jack nod again and swallow hard.
Mac. This is your party.” Jack looked around and
took a deep breath. “Your world is a pretty scary
don’t know the half of it.” MacGyver smiled,
but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Come
* * * *
“And… I see them.” Seeley murmured into
his mic, concealed up his jacket sleeve. He took a sip
of his drink and glanced around the New Majestic Steakhouse,
his outward expression bored.
they are.” Nikki’s voice in his ear was quiet.
“I still don’t get how they do the identical
clothes thing. It’s not like they call each other
and compare notes!”
hid his smile behind another sip of his drink. “Some
weird, psychic twin thing. My daughter tells me about
them – she thinks supermarket tabloids are the last
word in cutting-edge journalism! Good evening.”
He turned on his bar stool as Nikki sat down next to him.
“Psychic or psycho?” Nikki signalled the bartender,
allowing Seeley to kiss her on the cheek and smiling at
of both.” Seeley helped himself to peanuts and let
his gaze wander across the room, to where the Carmichael
twins were eating steaks.
here we all are.” Nikki stirred her cocktail and
ate the olive. “Mac and Jack are at the airfield,
Willis is on standby and, last I heard, Pete was finally
getting somewhere with the police. All we need is Carmichael
to say the right words and we’ve got him.”
Seeley watched the Carmichaels over Nikki’s shoulder.
“Go on, you scumbag.” His voice was icy. “Go
on and say the words…”