dear brother, have you been gainfully employed this year?”
One Carmichael twin swirled red wine around in his glass
and took an appreciative sniff.
course.” The second twin took a sip of his own wine.
course.” The first twin smiled and put down his
glass. “I do so enjoy our little get-togethers each
year. Father would be so proud of what we’ve each
achieved.” “He would.” The second twin
cut a bite of steak and chewed it before continuing. “He
always had high hopes of the pair of us.” He speared
a potato with his fork. “Although I’ve always
thought he’d have been happier to see us working
together instead of competing all the time.”
disagree, brother.” The first twin’s grin
was mischievous. “Where would be the fun in that?”
* * * *
“So, which is which?” Nikki glanced from one
twin to the other.
bug came in with the twin on the left so he’s Tristan
and the goody-two-shoes on the right is Troy.” Seeley
drained his glass and ordered another. He watched Nikki
frown. “Relax, it’s only lime and soda. No-one’s
getting drunk tonight.” He looked out of the window,
seeing the sun set red and gold behind the buildings.
* * * *
MacGyver squinted into the sunset, shading his eyes with
his hand. The row of aeroplanes parked outside aviation
services looked innocuous enough. He and Jack had been
hiding behind a low building and watching the planes coming
in and going out. Every one had been moved, repaired or
attended to except for one at the far end of the building,
which nobody had approached. Beside him, Jack shifted
position and sighed. “How much longer do you reckon?”
Jack looked from MacGyver to the lone plane and back again.
long as it takes, Jack.” Long experience of stakeouts
with DXS kept MacGyver from speculating. Speculating only
made the wait seem longer.
just that we’ve been hunkered down here for a really
long time, and I gotta tell you compadre – I got
pins and needles in places I didn’t think you could
get them!” Jack shifted uncomfortably.
go for a walk.” MacGyver turned to look at him,
lowering his binoculars. “It’s about time
one of us had another scout around anyway. Just don’t
talk to anyone, walk fast like you have somewhere to be,
and don’t go snooping into anywhere ground crew
aren’t meant to be.” MacGyver turned back
to the plane and raised the binoculars again.
that part to me, OK?”
Mac.” Jack stared at his friend’s back, thinking
that he really didn’t know this new, serious MacGyver
* * * *
“So that’s about everything I’ve done
this year.” The second twin swallowed his last bite
of steak and pushed his plate away. “Turned a tidy
profit too. No wolf at the door for me this Winter.”
He picked up his wine, admiring the rich colour before
drinking. “And your tally, brother?”
still waiting for one bird to arrive at its nest.”
The first twin smiled, as though at a private joke. “So
my tally isn’t quite complete.” He laid down
his fork. “Though even if I haven’t done as
well as you this year, I guarantee I’ll outstrip
you next year.” He finished his wine and poured
* * * *
“Is he sweating?” Nikki looked at the Carmichaels’
reflections in the mirror behind the bar.
Seeley loosened his own collar. “It’s plenty
warm in here. Which one?”
“Tristan. No, Troy.” Nikki frowned at the
reflection, confused by the reversed image.
looks cool enough.” Seeley shook his head. “His
veins must run ice water instead of blood. He knows what
he’s about to do and he sits there eating steak
and drinking wine as though nothing’s changed. Unreal.”
it down.” Nikki touched the back of Seeley’s
hand. “We wait and we keep listening until we’ve
got the goods, OK?”
Seeley moved his hand out of reach. “Listen and
* * * *
“Anything?” Jack sidled back around the corner
of the building and crouched down next to MacGyver.
a bunch of guys loading drums onto a trolley back there
– all with hazard stickers on them. Think they’re
“You tell me.” MacGyver passed Jack the binoculars
and moved to let him through.
“Yes!” Jack leaned forwards and MacGyver grabbed
his jacket, pulling him back into the shadows. “It’s
them!” He watched the ground crew loading the barrels
onto the lone aircraft for a moment longer before handing
the binoculars back to MacGyver.
was falling, the sky darkening quickly. The temperature
was dropping and the stars appearing above them promised
a cold, clear night.
do you think the target is?” Despite the danger,
Jack found himself excited, keen to carry out his part
of the mission.
still don’t know.” MacGyver squinted through
the binoculars in the fading light. “Come on, we
have to get on there.” Staying low and dodging from
shadow to shadow between the airfield lights, MacGyver
and Jack made their way to the plane.
Aviation services was darker than the rest of the airport,
the lit bays where the planes were worked on all at the
other end of the building. Reaching the last pool of shadow
before the lone plane, MacGyver took hold of Jack’s
jacket again and turned him round. “We walk out
to the plane like we’re meant to be there, right?”
He watched Jack nod. “If we’re questioned,
what do we say?”
checking coolant levels and hydraulic fluid before take-off.”
do we not do?” MacGyver kept hold of Jack’s
don’t make anything else up. We don’t try
and make small talk with anyone on the plane because they’re
either bad guys or ground crew, and they’re not
going to be pleased to see us!”
MacGyver let go. “Any problems, let me handle it.
You’re an ace pilot, but this part of the plan is
my part, ok?
got it.” Once again Jack was unnerved by how serious
MacGyver had become. “We got this, compadre. You
know that, right?”
hope so, Jack.” MacGyver looked across the tarmac
to the waiting plane. “I hope so.” He zipped
up his stolen ground crew jacket and set off towards the
plane. * * * *
“So, do I ask anything about this mystery bird of
yours?” The second Carmichael twin looked over the
top of the dessert menu at his brother.
“Oh, you’ll see it soon enough.” The
first twin glanced through the restaurant window at the
night sky beyond. “No, dear brother, this time next
year not only will I win our little competition, but you
will be incapable of competing.” He lifted his glass
and toasted his brother, who leaned back in his chair.
The second twin wiped his mouth with his napkin and signalled
to the waiter.
“Any guesses?” Nikki murmured, glancing across
at the Carmichaels and then back to Seeley. “Your
goody-two-shoes looks about ready to lose it.”
Seeley finished typing a text message and flipped his
phone shut. “Pete’s got the local police involved
now, so all we need is Tristan to admit what he’s
up to and brag about where the plane is going. Willis
has the police patched into the feed from the bug so,
as soon as he says it, they’re good to go.”
Nikki turned back to the Carmichaels, now eating dessert
and arguing in whispers. “Come on Tristan, make
with the bragging…”
* * * *
They were almost at the plane when they heard the shout.
MacGyver and Jack turned, seeing a man wearing a ground
crew jacket walking towards them. “This one’s
done.” The man shook his head, “No need for
any more checks.”
“Uh, yeah.” MacGyver held up the empty container
he’d taken from the trash can outside aviation services.
“It didn’t get the coolant levels checked.”
He smiled and turned away, walking towards the plane.
been done.” Now the man sounded angry. In three
long strides he’d caught up, grabbing hold of Jack’s
sleeve. MacGyver stopped and looked down, seeing in the
dim light that the man wore combat boots instead of the
standard issue work boots worn by the rest of the ground
crewmen he’d seen. He looked up again, catching
Jack’s eye and nodding. Simultaneously, they both
drew back a fist and punched the fake ground crewman in
the face. The man’s eyes rolled up and his knees
buckled as he was knocked unconscious. MacGyver caught
him, putting an arm around his waist and ‘walking’
him towards the plane. Beside him, Jack shook out his
“Hurts, doesn’t it!” MacGyver spared
him a brief glance and a grin before hoisting the unconscious
“It really does!” Jack blew on his knuckles.
“What are we going to do with him? We can’t
exactly take him with us!”
“He won’t be out long. We’ll leave him
on the grass away from the runways.” MacGyver
let the man slide to the ground. “He’ll be
if he wakes up and raises the alarm?” Jack looked
down at the unconscious man.
make sure he can’t go anywhere, at least for a while.”
MacGyver reached into his pocket, producing a roll of
Jack grinned. “Kemosabe, I like your plan!”
* * * *
“They’ve got to say something soon!”
Nikki prodded at the olive in her latest, untasted cocktail.
surely hope so.” Seeley watched the Carmichael twins
finish their desserts and order coffee.
* * * *
“I can’t get in!” Jack wrestled with
the door handle. “The cockpit’s well and truly
must have broken into a plane before.” MacGyver
glanced up from trying to pry the cover off the landing
gear mechanism. “Don’t look at me like that,
Jack – I’m pretty sure you know how it’s
yeah.” Jack gave the handle one last tug and then
turned to MacGyver. “But it’s not exactly
a stealth operation, y’know? I start seriously breaking
and entering, it’s going to make a lot of noise
and attract a lot of attention!”
“OK.” MacGyver beckoned to him. “Let’s
see what we can do from inside the cargo hold.”
They climbed into the cargo hold and Jack went to the
front, examining the lock on the cockpit door. Moments
later, someone outside slammed the cargo hold doors shut
and they heard someone climb up into the cockpit. MacGyver
ducked down behind the device bolted to the plane floor
and Jack dived behind the drums of liquid. The engine
fired and MacGyver and Jack exchanged horrified stares
as the whine of the turbine grew louder.
this was not in the plan!” Jack scuttled to the
back of the hold, to where MacGyver was examining a squat,
know.” MacGyver crouched down, looking under the
device. “We’ll work it out, OK?” The
plane rumbled down the runway and lifted up into the sky.
Jack leaned over MacGyver’s shoulder, holding a
flashlight as MacGyver examined the wiring on the bomb.
“Guess we’re on our way, amigo.” Jack
glanced out of the window, but the sky was dark. Underneath
the drone of the engine, he could hear the pilot talking
on the radio but couldn’t make out the words. He
leaned forwards over MacGyver’s shoulder. “How’s
“Not good.” MacGyver reached into his pocket,
pulling out his Swiss Army Knife. “Not good at all…”
* * * *
“Perhaps you’d care to elaborate, dear brother.”
The second Carmichael placed his hands on the table, staring
at his twin. “What exactly did you mean when you
said that I’ll be incapable of competing next year?”
“Well.” The first twin sat back, a manic gleam
in his eyes. “The reason you won’t be able
to compete is that you and your shiny little empire will
no longer exist!” He grinned. “I arranged
to spend some time with some very clever men, who share
my fascination with the possibilities offered by, shall
we say, selective removal of the opposition.” He
held up a hand to forestall his twin’s comment.
“Very soon, your stupid, flashy, money-making city
will cease to exist in its current form!” He watched
his twin, nodding in satisfaction at his horrified expression.
“The city itself will still be there, but no-one
will want to do business there for an inconveniently long
time!” he fished a pack of cigarettes out of the
inside pocket of his overcoat and reached a hand into
another pocket for his lighter.
“You’re insane!” The second twin found
his voice, his face white.
“No, poor people are insane.” The first twin
put the lighter down on top of the cigarettes. “I’m
merely eccentric.” He met his brother’s shocked
Seeley and Nikki exchanged a brief, horrified look. “Willis,
are you getting this?!” Nikki’s voice was
high and thin as she thumbed her mic.
it.” Willis sounded equally shocked. “He’s
seriously going to unleash a plague on a whole city just
because he hates how successful his brother is?!”
“Looks like.” Seeley shook his head. “He’s
going to drop superbugs on New York just to increase his
relay this back to Pete.” Nikki could hear Willis
tapping his computer keyboard in the background. “That
way he can set in motion whatever DXS are going to do.”
“How do you go about protecting a whole city?”
Nikki looked at Seeley, aghast. “Where do you even
* * * *
The plane droned on through the night, hills and scrub
and desert gliding past the windows far below. A drop
of sweat ran down MacGyver’s forehead and he blotted
it on his sleeve before it could fall into the device
“How’s it going?” Jack held the light
a little higher and cast a nervous glance at the cockpit.
can’t…” MacGyver shook his head, running
bundles of wires through his hands. “I’ve
never seen anything like this. Even the fail-safes have
fail-safes! Everything’s coded. If I mess with anything,
it goes off!”
can do it, Mac.” Jack forced a smile and punched
MacGyver on the shoulder. “I got faith in you, buddy.”
this time, Jack.” In the beam of the flashlight
MacGyver’s face was white and desperate. “I
don’t even know where to start! I can’t break
the code! I… I can’t do it!”