MacGyver looked at Seeley from his position next to
the filing cabinet.
“Firewall. Just give me a…” Seeley
typed fast and the computer beeped.
“You’ll get it.” MacGyver fished a
paperclip out of his pocket and set to work on the filing
cabinet lock. “When you get in, just copy everything,
OK? We may not have time to sort through it all here.”
“Have you any idea how long that would take?”
Seeley worked his way into the computer files and skimmed
through the directory. He ducked under the desk and
waved a hand in the air. “Mac, borrow your flashlight?
I know you’ve got one.”
“Swap you for a pin or something I can use on
this lock. Paperclip alone just isn’t cutting
it.” MacGyver handed Seeley his penlight, receiving
a badge with a long pin in return.
“Don’t break it, OK?” Seeley used
the penlight to look at the back of the computer. He
pulled a portable drive out of a large pocket on the
leg of his fatigues and plugged it into the computer.
“What is that?” MacGyver looked up from
the lock, wiggling the paperclip and badge pin carefully.
“Universal Serial Bus – USB. They’re
new.” Seeley pressed keys and the screen lit up.
The computer whirred and a download bar appeared on
the screen. MacGyver returned his attention to the lock,
undoing Seeley’s badge and turning it over.
“First Cavalry? You just happened to have this
with you?” MacGyver poked the pin into the lock,
feeling it out.
“Yes, and yes. It was in my pocket, OK? Didn’t
feel right being in uniform without it.” Seeley
“You’re really proud of your regiment, aren’t
you?” MacGyver felt the lock start to give.
“Damn straight.” Seeley glanced at the door,
but the desk soldier seemed content to leave them alone
for the moment. “Hurry up, will you?”
“Almost there.” The lock clicked open and
MacGyver opened a drawer, leafing through the files.
“Thanks.” He handed the badge back to Seeley.
“There’s nothing obvious in here.”
He closed the drawer and opened the next one. Finding
nothing, he crossed back to the door and glanced out
into the corridor. “How long?”
“Depends if it crashes.” Seeley folded his
arms, frowning at the screen.
MacGyver watched the soldiers in the outer office. They
were glancing at their watches more often than seemed
normal to him. What could they be waiting for?
After fifteen minutes, most of the soldiers MacGyver
could see started finishing off their work, in the manner
of high school kids packing away their books before
“How much longer?” MacGyver glanced back
at Seeley, who held up a finger.
Patience, Grasshopper. I just need another minute.”
Seeley didn’t take his eyes off the screen.
“You might want to hurry it up, Caine, something’s
peaking out here!” MacGyver watched Seeley nod,
still concentrating on the screen. He looked out again,
seeing the soldiers had stopped what they were doing,
and seemed to be waiting for something.
loud alarm sounded, making MacGyver jump. The soldiers
all stood and started making their way to the door.
He looked back at Seeley, who was talking to the computer.
“Come on! Ninety eight percent my… YES!”
Seeley ducked under the table and pulled his cable out
of the computer, stuffing the portable drive into his
pocket. Seeing the sergeant approach, MacGyver stepped
back from the door.
“Are you two still here? This is a fire drill!
Move it!” the sergeant waited, scowling at MacGyver
“Yes Sir. Sorry Sir.” They hurried out,
the Sergeant close behind. As they were leaving, MacGyver
glanced up, his eyes widening as he noticed a small
camera mounted high on the wall.
“Don’t call me Sir, I work for a living!”
the sergeant locked the door behind them. “Report
to your fire point.” He watched Seeley and MacGyver
go, shaking his head.
what?” Seeley muttered as they joined the back
of a file of soldiers jogging to their fire meeting
“Now we split!” MacGyver dropped out of
the line, jogging between two buildings and ignoring
the shout that followed. Seeley jogged along behind
him, cursing under his breath. They turned the corner
of the kitchen building and crouched down behind the
“Now what?!” Seeley glanced around the dumpster,
seeing soldiers lined up for roll call between them
and the hole in the fence. He turned to see MacGyver
fiddling with the lock on the kitchen door. “What
are you doing?”
“We need a distraction.” MacGyver held out
his hand and Seeley passed him his regiment badge. Pushing
the pin into the lock, and carefully poking in the tweezers
from his Swiss Army Knife, MacGyver set to work.
The lock clicked open and MacGyver slipped inside. The
kitchen was empty and he crossed to the janitor’s
closet, coming out with an armful of bottles and a bucket.
“Open some windows, would you?” MacGyver
poured and mixed, creating a cloud of smoke and a terrible
smell. “And see if you can find some sugar!”
“Why do you want sugar?” Seeley passed him
a bag. “Oh, right!” he put his arm across
his face and coughed as MacGyver added the sugar to
his bucket and the smoke turned black.
They ducked back behind the dumpster and waited while
smoke billowed out of the kitchen windows. The soldiers
were moved out of the growing pall of smoke and MacGyver
and Seeley heard the fire alarm start up again.
“Now?” Seeley looked around the dumpster
again, seeing their way to the fence clear.
“Now.” MacGyver nodded and they ran through
the smoke and across the grass, sliding to a halt and
rolling under the fence. Seeley crawled back up the
slope and watched the base through the long grass.
“Man, you sure know how to cause a distraction!”
he rolled over, grinning at MacGyver. But his grin faded
at MacGyver’s expression. “What is it?”
“We have a bigger problem.” MacGyver sighed
and ran a hand through his hair. “When we were
being hustled out, I happened to look up. There was
a camera in that office, Seeley! They’ve got our
faces on camera!” He shook his head at Seeley’s
confused frown. “Seeley, the army can prove we
* * *
followed Seeley into his house, taking off his boots.
Seeley disappeared into his bedroom, emerging some minutes
later back to his usual immaculate self. Feeling scruffy
by comparison, MacGyver combed his hair with his fingers,
snagging on a twig caught in the back. Seeley watched,
shaking his head.
“Shower’s in there.” He hooked a thumb
over his shoulder. “Take your time. I’ll
brew some coffee and set this up.” He held up
the portable drive and MacGyver nodded. He reached into
his pocket, pulling out Seeley’s regiment badge
and placing it in his hand before heading for the shower.
* * *
came out of the shower feeling cleaner, but no less
worried. Seeley had brewed coffee, the rich smell filling
his house. Seeley’s cat trotted out of the kitchen
and wound around MacGyver’s ankles, almost tripping
“Mozart, leave the human alone.” Seeley
glanced across at MacGyver and took a sip of coffee.
“This looks pretty good, Mac. Help yourself to
coffee or whatever and come take a look.”
MacGyver made peppermint tea and sat on the arm of the
couch, looking over Seeley’s shoulder at the screen.
Mozart hopped up onto the couch, padding along the back.
MacGyver stroked him absently, trying to make sense
of the jumble on the screen.
“Thought you might want to see the encryption,
it’s pretty extreme.” Seeley tapped a key
and the screen cleared. “OK, let’s see what
we’ve got here.”
MacGyver leaned forwards, reading the small print. Seeley
scrolled through the files they had copied, until MacGyver
stopped him, pointing at the screen.
“That one.” He sat back as Seeley opened
the file and a schematic drawing of an aeroplane filled
“This is it. This is what Steve was so worried
about.” Seeley clicked through the information
files and gave a low whistle. “Mac, this is bad.”
“Yeah. Yeah, it is.” MacGyver frowned, reading
the text. “Flip back to the drawing, would you?”
he stared at the picture, running calculations in his
head. “Not only do Atlas have the bugs, they’re
pretty much able to distribute them. If they get this
“How long would it take to build?” Seeley
picked up a pencil, tapping it against the desk.
“I’m not sure.” MacGyver folded his
arms, ignoring the cat rubbing against his back. “It’s
a pretty specialised job…” He shook his
head. “It may even not be related, and I could
just be seeing Atlas everywhere I look. Seeley, what
was the security on this file like? Is it what you’d
expect army diagrams to have?” He held up his
hand, seeing Seeley’s stare. “Not that I’m
suggesting you spent your time as a Fed breaking into
army files.” He studied Seeley’s carefully
neutral expression. “Unless you did, of course…”
“No comment.” Seeley grinned. “But,
hypothetically, of course, this file had very different
security from what I would expect from a standard army
file, even a top secret one. Not the same at all.”
“I’m guessing more advanced security than
expected?” MacGyver sighed as Seeley nodded. “Seeley,
we’re in really deep here. I’m pretty sure
the CCTV caught us, which means the army are probably
reporting us as intruders right about now. When the
MPs check the army personnel records and the criminal
databases, they’re going to find both of us.”
“And then they’re going to arrest us.”
Now Seeley’s face was grim.
“And then they’re going to lock us up for
busting into a top-secret military facility we shouldn’t
have known about and they’re going to throw away
the key.” MacGyver stood up, pacing the room.
“And don’t get me started on what Atlas
will do when they find out we were in there! Which they
will, because they have someone inside the base!”
“Someone who scared the socks off Steve’s
CO enough that he – or she – has let this
happen under the army’s nose.” Now Seeley
stood up, shoving his hands into his jeans pockets and
turning to stare at MacGyver. “We’re in
trouble here, Mac.”
“Yep.” MacGyver glanced out of the window,
moving out of view as he remembered a shot blasting
through a café window in Berlin. “We’re
Seeley scrubbed his hands across his face, looking suddenly
tired. “We’re in trouble.” He sat
down at the computer, staring at the aeroplane conversion
instructions without reading them. “CCTV caught
us on the base, our army records will identify us and
we don’t live so very far away. How long do you
reckon we’ve got to tell someone about this before
the MPs arrive?”
“I’m surprised we can’t hear boots
in the hallway already.” MacGyver glanced at his
watch. “They’ll certainly join up all the
dots tonight.” He turned, pacing the length of
the room. “We can’t tell the police because
that means admitting we were trespassing on an army
base, and then they’d arrest us.”
“Maybe not.” Seeley spun his computer chair
around to face MacGyver. “If I’m right about
the weird security on the file, and if Steve’s
right about his CO running scared about the project,
maybe the last thing Atlas or camp Parks will want is
this getting out!”
“You mean if this is an under-the-table deal,
and Camp Parks have no idea what’s going on.”
MacGyver nodded. “That fits. Strong-arming someone
at Camp Parks to push this through without going through
proper channels is just their style, and the army would
never want to admit that this had been going on right
under their noses!”
“Atlas have plenty of juice if they’ve got
a base CO in their pockets.” Seeley frowned. “I
don’t like any of this.”
“What’s to like?” MacGyver paced again,
stepping over Mozart. “Let’s say we’re
right. Or Camp Parks never report his because only their
inside man ever knows about the break in. What happens
“Their inside man reports back, sending our photos
to his superiors at Atlas.” Seeley shrugged. “It’s
what I’d do.”
“Right. The Atlas send someone to make sure we
don’t tell anyone else what they’re up to.”
MacGyver sighed. “Seeley, I –“
“Don’t.” Seeley shook his head. “You
were about to apologise for dragging me into this. Don’t.”
he turned back to the computer. “I say we tell
Pete. He practically told you he knew what we were going
to do, and if it was him, you know he’d have done
“Yeah, I know.” MacGyver nodded, his face
grim. “Let’s make a copy of that, just in
case. That way, if something happens to us, at least
someone else knows.”
spent the rest of the evening copying the files onto
Seeley’s computer. MacGyver printed out a copy
and mailed it to Hines in San Francisco, with a note
explaining that the contents of the envelope were very
hot property indeed. Seeley checked through the other
files, finding a number of secret projects but nothing
else that looked Atlas related. The name ‘Carmichael’
came up on a few of the files, including the aeroplane
schematics, but they were unable to trace it any further.
“We have to find a way to slow Atlas down.”
Seeley stretched, leaning back in his chair. “We
can’t tell the police and Pete won’t be
able to go public with something that can’t be
associated with Phoenix. What can we do?”
“We need to find a way to name and shame Atlas
publicly, but without it getting back to us.”
MacGyver stared at the ceiling, stretched out on the
couch with Mozart asleep on his chest.
“Who’d believe us? It sounds like one of
those wild stories you’d read In the National
Enquirer. My daughter loves those sleazy tabloids, tells
me all manner of far-fetched garbage she reads in those
things.” Seeley shook his head.
“Supermarket tabloids!” MacGyver sat upright,
dislodging the cat. “Actually, that’s a
really good idea!” He jumped up off the couch,
grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.
* * * *
did you go last night?” Seeley watched MacGyver
hang up his jacket and cross to his desk. “I was
just starting to think something might have happened
to you when you finally called.”
“No, I’m fine.” MacGyver put a newspaper
and the portable drive on the desk. “Sorry if
I worried you.”
“No problem.” Seeley narrowed his eyes.
“So, where were you?”
“Calling in a favour.” MacGyver grinned,
then turned as Helen called his name.
“Mr. Thornton would like you to drop in when you
have a moment.” Helen smiled. “Morning,
Seeley. MacGyver, he said it wasn’t urgent, but
he looked worried, so…”
“No problem, Helen. Tell him I’m on my way,
OK?” MacGyver stood up, picking up the paper and
the drive. “Here goes!”
* * * *
there you have it, Pete.” MacGyver placed the
newspaper and drive on Pete’s desk and held up
his hands. “We think we know what Atlas is up
to, and we have a name, but we can’t use any of
it to stop them.”
“Because it’s tainted evidence, right.”
Pete drummed his fingers on his desk. “You and
Seeley took a big risk, you know.” He held up
a hand, hearing MacGyver ‘s intake of breath.
“Mac, I know Seeley was in on this too. Have you
briefed him on how much he needs to increase his own
“I have.” MacGyver nodded. “Though
I don’t know how much good it will do. Potentially
we’re both in the firing line now, and they have
our faces on camera. Seeley’s friend has put in
for a transfer off the base, and he told us Camp Parks’
security doesn’t include CCTV, so we have to assume
the camera could have been put in by Atlas as extra
security for their project.”
“Hmm.” Pete frowned. “We need to find
a way to slow them down long enough to get some evidence
we can pass on to the police. Something obtained legally
that they can use to arrest this Carmichael character.”
He paused. “That name sounds familiar, as though
I’ve heard it somewhere before...”
“It could be a company name – Carmichael
doesn’t have to be a person.” MacGyver stood
up. “as for slowing Atlas down, I’ve managed
to arrange a little unwanted publicity. They seem to
like lurking in the shadows, so I hope this will help.”
He put the newspaper into Pete’s hands.”
He left, stopping to ask Helen to step in and help Pete
with the newspaper.
* * * *
assume you’re responsible for this!” Nikki
held up the newspaper that she, Seeley and Willis were
crowded around. MacGyver grinned, crossing the break
room and helping himself to a drink from the water cooler.
“Superbugs In The Sun! Secret Nazi Death Gang
Hard At Work In California!” Nikki read the headline,
glanced at the diagram printed underneath and then looked
at MacGyver over the top of the newspaper. MacGyver
“It seemed like the best way to go public with
this. Millions of people read them, and the conspiracy
theorists are going to go nuts. Hopefully Atlas will
have to lay low for a while, giving us time to find
a way to shut them down for good.” He took a sip
of the water.
“How…?” Seeley shook his head, confused.
“You’re not the only one with friends in
low places!” MacGyver saluted him with the paper
cup and walked back to his office, feeling happier than
he had done for a while.
* * * *
town, a shadowy figure stood at the window of a luxurious
corner office. Silhouetted against the bright sky, he
looked across Los Angeles at a building glittering in
the sun. the building was a modern one, glass and steel
and mounted on a central column. The figure drew on
a cigarette, holding the smoke in before blowing it
out to curl against the windowpane.
Behind him, a computer hummed. On the screen was a grainy
image – a CCTV photo of two men. One was turning
away, his profile blurred as he moved, the other looked
full at the camera, his face clear.
The shadowy figure took another drag on his cigarette.
As he exhaled, one word hissed out in the cloud of smoke: