Bloodwork

By MacsJeep

Episode 9.5

Part One

 

MacGyver flicked the page on the old photo album and sighed. Paul Moran’s happy face looked back at him, hauntingly real, hauntingly lost now his friend was gone. When he’d taken up Moran’s offer of a trip to England, he’d been looking forward to a mini vacation after his Bermuda Triangle adventure, but all Mac had gotten was more mystery, intrigue, and the murder of Moran.

It seemed like only yesterday they’d been climbing the tallest mountains on earth together, and now, now it was all over. MacGyver turned another page and stopped at a picture of them side by side in a nature reserve in Africa. It seemed like all he did was lose friends of late, and in truth, it was making him look at his mortality, his own advancing years. Mac winced at the thought, and was relieved when his apartment door swung open and Sam entered – or rather poked his head around the door to suggest his visit would be fleeting.

“Hey Dad, what’s got you looking so glum?” At the apparent sight of his father’s expression, Sam moved inside with a look of curiosity and mild concern.

MacGyver closed the album, slid it onto the nearby table and forced a smile. “I’m fine,” he almost lied. “Just looking at some old pictures of friends.”

Sam didn’t push it, but that was probably because he knew when his dad was closing up, even if they hadn’t known one another long, he was a fast learner. “Oh, okay. Me and Andy were wondering if you’d like to come on over to the cabin tonight.” His face turned slightly sheepish. “We kinda have a big surprise for you!”

MacGyver raised a brow, his melancholy forgotten. “Oh? Gonna give me a clue?”

“Nope!” Sam’s eyes said he was teasing now. “But you’ll like it, I promise!” He hastened back to the door, and as he retreated out offered. “See you at eight, prompt!” Before Mac could argue, he was gone.

Mac sat up, pondered a moment and then moved to the refrigerator to grab a cold drink. Sam and Andy had been spending a lot of time together of late – heck, they’d been spending a lot of time together since they’d met back on the trail of an old mobster mystery house – Angelina’s Grace, the house, or rather cabin , that Andy had eventually inherited from her dad.

So why would they want to see me there with a surprise? Mac swallowed down a glass of milk, and then the thought hit him. They’ve been spending rather a lot of time together…what if..?

Suddenly one of DXS and Phoenix’s best operatives felt weak at the knees. What if he was going to be a grandpa, and he hadn’t even got used to being a father yet? The idea made the glass in his hand tremble slightly. Never mind the photos with Paul Moran, MacGyver was abruptly aware of his age, and he wasn’t sure how to handle it.

* * * *

Angelina’s Grace
Corral Canyon Park
California
Later that evening…

MacGyver pulled his Jeep up next to Sam’s bike and killed the ignition. It was evening, and the sky was pockmarked with high clouds that glowed red with the last rays of the evening sun. The air was warm, and the surrounding trees and foliage made him feel like he was far away from the city, even if he was just a short drive from home.

Mac sighed, and wished he could retire to some remote cabin in the hills somewhere, like Harry had. He shook himself, took out the keys and removed his sunglasses, before ambling up the porch and into the cabin.

“Hey, anyone home?” He asked out of politeness, given that Sam’s bike had already suggested they were.

“In here, Dad!” Sam’s muffled tones greeted him, and he couldn’t help but smile. He’d always envisaged a life without kids, and yet when Sam had come along, he suddenly couldn’t think of a life without them. Careful what you wish for! His mind cautioned, as he remembered why he might be here.

“You’re early!” Sam offered warmly as Mac strode into the kitchen and put his keys on the table next to a plate of still-warm cookies.

“PCH was quiet. In fact, it was almost dead. I’ve never seen it so empty when there isn’t a game on.” Mac took a chair and picked up a cookie. He could never resist Andy’s baking, no matter how many calories it entailed. “Hmmn, good!” He nodded his approval to Andy who was watching for his reaction while stirring something in a pan.

“It’s a new recipe,” she offered helpfully. “I guess that makes you my guinea pig. They’re supposed to be a Christmas cookie!”

Mac smiled. How could he broach the subject of why he’d been asked to come over without sounding rude? Heck, if I’m going to be a grandpa I need to know…

Sam appeared to read his mind. “So I guess you’re wondering why we asked you over?” The twinkle in his eye said he was going to tease.

“Well, seeing as you two are always usually busy…” Mac sucked down a breath and waited for the inevitable.

“Well…” Sam dragged out the word, but before he could tease anymore, the porch door suddenly burst open.

Everyone looked over in surprise, Mac reacting first as he recognized the prison attire of the man invading his son’s home. The orange jump suit was a dead giveaway.

MacGyver leapt to his feet, grabbing a nearby frying pan in an attempt to knock the automatic from the interloper’s hand. But the convict deflected the blow, quickly directing the barrel of his weapon towards Andy.

“I’d sit right on down if I was you, unless you want the pretty little lady to eat a bullet?” The man licked his lips under a thin veil of stubble and his eyes flashed with anger.

Behind him, another orange-clad man cringed and pulled back – back as far as the cuffs attached to the first man would let him. This one’s eyes flashed too, but not with anger, with fear, a fear Mac sensed was not for himself, but for them.

“Okay…” Mac slowly raised his hands in submission and let the pan drop to the floor. He shot Sam a glare that indicated he should do much the same. Now wasn’t a time for heroics, it was for thinking.

The two convicts must have escaped somehow, but as there wasn’t a prison nearby, it was either from a vehicle, or a court cell.

“You think you’re a smart guy, dontcha?” The first man snarled. “I can tell the type…”

“Lyle, can’t you just get the car keys and leave them be?” The second convict was pleading, and as he spoke he tugged backwards, indicating the Jeep keys on the table.

“Not smart, just interested,” MacGyver countered. “You escape from a prison bus, Lyle?”

“I didn’t want to,” the second man spoke again. “But there was an accident, the bus rolled and the bar we were chained to snapped.”

“Shut up, Rimmer, nobody asked you!” Lyle pulled at the chains hard, almost yanking his companion onto the floor.

Rimmer yelped and then fell silent.

“You’re Jerry Rimmer?” Sam dared Lyle’s wrath by asking the question to the second convict. He raised a brow in surprise as he said it, as if he’d expected Rimmer to be different.

Rimmer shot a glance at the man he was tied to, as if evaluating whether to speak or not. Eventually, he did. “Yeah, I’m the guy all over the news. The guy no one believes.”

“You were tried and convicted of kidnap and murder, why should anyone believe you? It’s the way our system works.” Sam was still talking, asking questions, just like the newsman inside wasn’t aware he was a hostage. “You took a life just because the rich company board wouldn’t pay the ransom fast enough..?”

“I didn’t do it,” Jerry offered in such a low voice he was barely audible. “But I got the death penalty anyway…”

“That’s because you’re a wimp and a coward!” Lyle yanked at the chain that bound them, shutting up the weaker man with his growl. Then he looked pointedly at MacGyver. “Get these cuffs off me. I’m fed up of being attached to this idiot!”

MacGyver took down a breath. There wasn’t exactly anything in the cabin that would saw through chain that was designed “not” to be sawed through. The other option was to pick the locks, but they weren’t exactly made to be escaped from, either. “Sam, do you have any tools up here we could use?”

Sam shook his head. “Andy pays some guy to do maintenance; we’re always too busy with work.” He shrugged and looked to his girlfriend who nodded in agreement. “There’s an axe out back for the logs, but I doubt that would cut it.”

“I guess we’ll have to try working on the locks, then.” Mac looked around and was shocked to see a knitting basket. Gals having kids knit, don’t they? He pushed the terrifying thought aside and nodded to the basket. “There might be something in there I can work with.” He raised a brow to get Lyle’s permission, and the other man nodded.

Mac pulled over the basket and rummaged inside until he found some very fine needles. They might work. He gestured for the two men to put their hands on the table so he could investigate the locks. While he began to slowly feel for the mechanism inside, he tried to build a conversation, pulling details from the men that might help with the situation later - the more information, the easier to formulate a plan.

“So Jerry? How come you seem reluctant to escape if you’re gonna die?” MacGyver asked the question casually, hoping the other man wouldn’t clam up. He didn’t.

“Because despite what the kid over there thinks,” he nodded to Sam, “I’m innocent, and innocent people don’t run.”

“Some might,” Mac countered. “They might think being falsely accused and alive is better than innocent and dead?” He was pushing the man, because Mac was a good judge of character, and he was getting a vibe already about Jerry Rimmer.

As he spoke, the cuffs pinged open and Lyle grinned, rubbing at his wrist. Rimmer instantly backed away, apparently not enjoying Lyle’s company one bit.

Lyle grinned, opened his mouth to apparently pass some sarcastic comment, but then stopped dead as a megaphone from outside made his eyes glisten with fear and anger.

The message from beyond the door was precise and clear.

“This is the police. We have you surrounded. Lay down any weapons and come to the door slowly with your hands above your heads, or we will open fire.”

Lyle moved suddenly, grabbing Andy’s arm and yanking her in front of him like a shield. He pressed the gun in his hand to her neck, and his intentions were clear – she was going to be his leverage, his escape plan.

Before MacGyver could stop him, Sam reacted, diving at the convict like he was making a pro football tackle. Lyle clearly wasn’t expecting the move and his eyes widened as the whole group was thrown to the floor with Sam’s weight.

Andy rolled away from the two tussling men and grabbed a pan she’d been cooking with, before she could use it, MacGyver had entered the fray, diving on top of Lyle and grabbing at the wrist that held the gun with both hands. He yanked hard to the left, and Lyle’s grip loosened a little, but the convict wasn’t done yet.

Lyle screamed out angrily, and as MacGyver slammed the weapon to the side again, his trigger finger pulled back, letting off two wild slugs. The bullets tore into timber harmlessly, sending a shower of splitters high in the air.

Two seconds after the weapon’s discharge, two officers burst through the front door, knocking the screen off one of its hinges with their momentum. There were no more verbal warnings, and the lead cop fired.

MacGyver yelled out instinctively as he finally pried the gun from Lyle’s fingers. “No! Wait, there’s no need..!”

The cop either didn’t hear, or didn’t care, and fired again – not at Lyle, but at Rimmer.

Rimmer looked shocked as the bullets tore into his chest and he fell backwards onto Sam’s favorite rug, blood splattering the pile and chair beyond. He hit the wooden flooring hard, knocking what little air he had left from his lungs.

Finally, the cop stopped shooting, shrugged and raced over to Lyle with a pair of cuffs, ignoring the man he’d injured completely.

MacGyver and Sam both clambered to their feet and hurried to Rimmer. He was gasping, as if he couldn’t suck down enough air, and both hands clutched at his chest as he tried in vane to plug the leaks the officer had caused.

“I…I didn’t even have...a weapon,” Jerry coughed, his eyes looking beseechingly into Sam’s. “Why me?”

Sam put a hand under Jerry’s head gently. “I don’t know…” he looked over to the cop, whose uniform indicated he was in fact, a sheriff. “Why, he wasn’t threatening anyone?” He commanded angrily.

The sheriff looked, but didn’t answer as he dragged Lyle outside.

MacGyver grabbed a towel from Andy and pressed it hard over Jerry’s wounds. Rimmer gritted his teeth then stammered. “I’m dying…you know that…please don’t let it end like this…”

“Like what?” Mac soothed.

“I don’t want to go down in history as a killer.” Jerry paused, his face turning a white. “I…I really didn’t do it…” His eyes fluttered, and then softly rolled upwards under their lids. His chest rose painfully slowly, and stopped.

MacGyver closed his own eyes, composing himself before pulling the towel he’d been using over Jerry’s face. He wasn’t sure if the man had been innocent, but he certainly hadn’t deserved being shot down without cause.

He pushed up off the floor just as the sheriff re-entered, a broad grin on his face. Mac wasn’t happy, but he checked his emotions just enough. “Why use deadly force on the man that didn’t have the gun?”

The cop shrugged, his slightly portly frame bobbing as he spoke. “What does it matter? Rimmer was a dead man anyway with his sentence. I just did him a favor. Besides, don’t forget he was a murderer, why should I cut him any slack?” He popped in a stick of gum, and chewed a little too heartily. “I just saved the taxpayer a whole chunk of money by keeping his ass outta jail for the next few years.”

MacGyver was about to retort, but Sam had moved to his side, and gently squeezed his arm. Mac turned, and Sam nodded to the door, indicating they should take it outside where Andy had been led by the second cop.

Mac followed him obediently.

“Dad, I think there’s a story here,” Sam whispered as they moved off the porch. “Something about the way those cops burst in was way off the mark.”

MacGyver nodded. “I know, I don’t know why, but I believed Jerry too. Something inside me is convinced an innocent man just lost his life, even if the courts said otherwise.”

“So what are you two going to do about it?” Andy chimed in, her apparent super hearing picking up on their conversation.

Mac smiled, Andy’s blessing suddenly made him feel like with Sam’s help, they could make a difference and exonerate someone, even if Jerry would never know it. “We’re gonna have a dang good try at proving it, right Sam?”

Sam grinned. “Oh heck yeah, I’m up for showing those big tabloids sensationalism isn’t better than the printing the truth.” He patted his dad on the back and then winced as the sheriff’s deputy began cordoning of Angelina’s Grace as a crime scene. “That is, if I can get my camera back…”

* * * *

MacGyver’s Apartment
Later that day…

MacGyver sat forward on the couch, twiddling his thumbs impatiently as he waited for the phone to ring. Across from him, on the second couch, Sam was trying to look busy with the new camera he’d bought, but it wasn’t working. He was clearly impatient too.

After the sheriff had given the all clear to leave the cabin, Mac had quickly put a call in to Pete for any information that wasn’t public about Rimmer’s case. It was a long shot, but maybe they could spot something amiss.

Mac sighed, moved to stand up, but then quickly dropped back down as the phone finally began to ring. He snatched up the receiver just before Sam’s hand got there. “Tell me you got something, Pete?”

“I have plenty,” Pete informed, “but I doubt you’re going to like it. None of it looks good for your man Rimmer.”

“I know he was accused of kidnapping and murdering Rebecca Dunlevy,” MacGyver sighed; he’d not expected this to be easy. “I also know she was rich, so the perfect target, but that’s about it.” He chided himself internally for spending more time in the wilderness than in reality – but then, he found it was way safer there.

“Rebecca wasn’t just rich,” Pete offered down the line, “she owned her own company. One day she simply went to the hairdresser she always used and vanished on the way home. A ransom note was issued, her company paid up, even though the move put them vulnerable for a takeover, but Rebecca wasn’t returned.”

“So how did this all lead to Jerry? I think I recall something about evidence on the news?” MacGyver was scratching his head and wishing Sam was in on the conversation – he was the news hound. Then he remembered the “on speaker” function, rolled his eyes and hit it.

Pete, oblivious to the move carried one. “There was an anonymous tip that led the cops to Jerry’s house. They didn’t find a body, but there was a chest freezer in the garage and tests showed a large amount of blood – too much for the person to survive…”

Sam nodded and filled in as Pete paused. “The D.N.A. results showed it was Rebecca’s blood. To the judge and jury it was an open and shut case. How else could it have gotten there unless Jerry was the kidnapper, and he’d killed her after collecting the cash?”

“How else indeed,” Pete concluded. “You have to face it guys, Rimmer has to be guilty.”

MacGyver shook his head. “There’s something missing. Why did he choose Rebecca? She’s not the only rich woman in California. Where’s the connection?”

“Apparently, he worked at the gas station where Rebecca always filled up on the way into her office. That means he had the means, and the motive – poor guy has to fill rich businesswoman’s Mercedes up every day, and starts to think he deserves a piece of the pie, and of course, the final nail in the coffin, the blood.” Pete sounded like he was saddened, but convinced.

Mac, however, still wasn’t buying it. “Pete, if you’d met him, if he’d died in your arms, you’d understand!”

Pete sighed. “I know that tone of voice. You’re not gonna let this go, are you?” He paused, sighed, and then there was a shuffling on the line as he moved the Braille paperwork around on his desk. “Where do you want my secretary to send the files?”

Mac smiled. “Can you send them over to Andy’s once the cops say we go back in?”

“Consider it done,” Pete promised. “Oh, and Mac? Good hunting you two…”

* * * *

Angelina’s Grace
Corral Canyon Park
California
Later that evening…


Mac and Sam sat on a bench outside the cabin as Andy brought them all iced, homemade lemonade. Sam was reading through the files Andy had printed off that Pete had sent over, and every now and again he would shake his head without speaking.

After setting the tray down and picking up a glass for herself, Andy peeked over his shoulder and he looked up. She offered Sam her glass, and he took a sip from it as Andy picked up another and passed it over to MacGyver, who took it gratefully.

“Mind if I join in the hunt?” Andy asked, finally taking a petite sip of the last glass of lemonade.

Sam shrugged, leaned back and stretched as if his shoulders were aching. “Be our guest, me and dad have been over these files six times, and I think my eyeballs are going to explode.” He looked to Mac. “How about you, Dad?”

Mac yawned. The fresh air in the park and the late hours he kept often caught up with him these days. Yeah I feel like a grandpa already... “Fine by me,” he confirmed. “But Pete was right, the evidence is damning.”

Andy frowned and started sifting through paperwork without answering. Ten minutes later, when everyone’s lemonade was a distant memory, she finally looked up. “You know, there is one thing here that worries me?”

“Oh?” Mac sat forwards. Andy was smart, and if she’d noticed something, it would be worth listening to.

“The sheriff who shot Jerry? His name was Hank O’Leary, right?” Andy pushed the report from the incident at Angelina’s Grace across the bench top, along with a second, older file. “Don’t you think it’s far too big a coincidence he was the original arresting officer in the Dunlevy case?”

Mac and Sam looked at one another. “That’s no coincidence,” they chimed unanimously.

 

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