story in a part of a series. If you haven’t been
following, the stories go in this order:
Supply and Demand
After the Wall
Brothers in Arms
Behind the Curtain
This story series will complete soon with ‘Atlas’
Carmichael brushed a speck of ash off the perfectly pressed
leg of his trousers and tapped his cigarette into a heavy
glass ashtray. He picked up a china cup, savouring the
jasmine scented steam before taking a sip. The winter
sunlight shone cold upon his manicured garden, but his
study was warm, the open fire crackling behind him. He
turned over the page of the document he was reading then
looked up as his secretary knocked on his half open door.
“Yes Julia, what is it?” He watched her walk
across the room, admiring the curve of her legs.
“You asked me to notify you if anyone from Phoenix
Foundation overlapped with any of your business engagements,
Sir.” Julia stopped in front of Carmichaels desk,
trying not to breathe in the cloud of smoke around him.
“Ah yes,” Carmichael sat back, setting his
papers to one side. “Representatives from Phoenix
will be attending the Wellforce Remote Areas Vaccine Project
launch party on Friday, Sir.” Julia watched Carmichael
grind out his cigarette into the overflowing ashtray.
“Shall I confirm that you will not be attending?”
“Yes,” Carmichael took off his reading glasses
and polished them on his handkerchief, “I think
remaining anonymous would be better… for now.”
* * * *
“No way,” Seeley took the pin out of Freddie
Hawkins photo and laid it on the desk, “If brains
were dynamite, Hawkins couldn’t blow his own nose.”
“Harsh, but true,” MacGyver frowned at the
remaining photographs, “I’ve never seen him
as the brains of the outfit either, who’s next?”
“Gunter Schmidt,” Seeley folded his arms and
stared at the photo, “He’s smart, has all
the connections, and none of the morals.”
“Except that he was trying to bring Atlas down.”
MacGyver took down Gunter’s photo, placing it next
so he said…” Seeley frowned.
“It’s not him,” MacGyver shook his head,
“And, like Hawkins, he’s now dead and Atlas
is carrying on just fine.”
“True,” Seeley indicated the next photo, “And
our next contestant is?”
“Aloysius Caesar Jones, also known as Sundance.”
MacGyver chuckled, “You should have seen his face
when me and Billy cornered him making the worst assassination
attempt I’ve ever seen.” He shook his head,
“No, Sundance is strictly small time, and he’s
currently behind bars. He tried to scare me with a story
about his bosses but so far as I know, we haven’t
been able to track who he’s been working for.”
“Hmm.” Seeley took a swig of his coffee. “That
bothers me, we should have been able to pick up on a greasy
gangster’s greasier boss with no trouble. Let’s
come back to him.” He reached for a post-it note,
wrote ‘Sundance’s bosses’ on it and
stuck it to the photo.
Next on the hit list are Wellforce’s Dr Gregory
and our very own Marcus Davidson, devotee of dirty money.”
MacGyver took a sip of his own drink, frowning at Davidson.
pretty classy guys.” Seeley rubbed his chin, “But
Gregory’s doing his time upstate, so he’s
no longer involved, Davidson on the other hand…”
“Let’s leave him up too,” MacGyver took
down Gregory, leaving Davidson next to Sundance.
“Steve’s CO, Command Sergeant Major Wilkes
and Camp Parks.”
raised his mug again, but found it empty. “I’m
inclined to think they were used as pawns too, but we
did find that name in the files.” He frowned, “What
was it again?”
“Carmichael.” MacGyver wrote the name on a
piece of paper and pinned it to the board. “Ring
any bells for you?”
“Not so far.” Seeley picked up his mug and
headed for the break room. “But we can keep looking,
“Right.” Mac folded his arms and tried to
work out what would link these people together.
* * * *
“Have I mentioned how much I hate wearing a tie?”
Mac pulled at his collar, more uncomfortable with the
tie than with the heat in the room.
“Six times so far,” Nikki murmured, smiling
at a passing dignitary. “You look good, Mac.”
MacGyver tweaked the tie once more and gave up. Catching
sight of himself in the mirror, he decided that while
the black suit and ponytail made him look and feel like
an off-duty bouncer, Nikki looked stunning in her emerald
green cocktail dress. He smiled politely at another diamond
wearing matron, whose gaze lingered on him for just a
little too long. “How much longer?”
“Just the final speeches.” Nikki took a glass
of sparkling wine off the nearest tray, “And the
public thank you to our shyest benefactor.”
Mac frowned. “Who would know who Wellforce’s
anonymous donation actually came from?”
“Wellforce directors, I guess,” Nikki shrugged.
“Maybe Pete, as a Phoenix director, but not necessarily.”
“Unless he or she has contributed to other Phoenix
projects…” Mac turned as Dr Ortega started
her speech, deciding he would try to find out.
* * * *
“Why are you so hung up on this?” Seeley looked
at MacGyver around the monitor, looking at the untidy
stacks of paper and half-finished gadgets on Mac’s
desk with distaste.
“Whoever it is, they’ve bankrolled the project
that we can link to Atlas.” MacGyver dumped an oscilloscope
and a length of cable on his desk and pulled a wad of
folders out of the drawer. “If they bankrolled Wellforce
for this, they’ve got the money to fund other projects.”
“Ask Pete?” Seeley caught a sliding stack
of papers before they could spill over on to his desk.
“I did.” MacGyver pulled out the Wellforce
report, shoving the rest of the folders haphazardly back
into the drawer. “He said he didn’t know,
but he’d try to find out.”
Seeley pushed the papers back, steadying the heap. He
turned around, seeing that MacGyver had added a piece
of paper with a question mark to the notice board in the
middle of the photo.
* * * *
“MacGyver?” Come in a minute, would you?”
Pete heard MacGyver pause outside his office, turn and
walk in through his door.
“Pete, I’ll never know how you do that!”
The light in the room brightened again as MacGyver sat
down and Pete smiled at the blurred outline of the man
“Wouldn’t do to tell you all my secrets, would
it?” Pete heard MacGyver chuckle.
guess not. What can I do for you Pete?” MacGyver
watched Pete fold his hands on his desk, looking down.
“I was able to find out the name of Wellforce’s
anonymous benefactor, but he’s really very serious
about staying out of the limelight.” Pete unlaced
his fingers and looked up. “If I tell you who he
is, and his name gets out, it would seriously jeopardise
our relationship with him. What do you need his name for?”
“Ok.” MacGyver leaned back in his chair, hooked
his foot over his knee and drummed his fingers on the
side of his sneaker. “That’s kind of complicated.
I’m trying to work out who might be running Atlas,
and I can’t follow the link back from Wellforce
without knowing who was involved.”
“Ah.” Pete nodded. “Of course, but I
can’t imagine this man being involved in anything
bad, let alone anything as evil at Atlas.” He shook
his head. “This is a truly good man, MacGyver, he’s
inherited a fortune and built several more with skill
and hard work, and then ploughed most of it back into
worthy causes. Of all the people I can think of who’d
have the money to fund something like Atlas, this man
is the last one I’d consider.”
“Ok, Pete.” MacGyver held up his hands.”
He’s one of the good guys, I get it. Could you tell
me his name anyway, if only so I can rule him out?”
“You won’t tell anyone else?” Pete frowned.
“I trust Seeley as much as I trust you, but there
is absolute need for secrecy here.”
“Understood.” Mac nodded. “We won’t
“Wellforce’s benefactor is Mr Carmichael.”
Pete frowned as he heard Mac’s started movement.“What
Pete??” MacGyver ran his hand through his hair,
“We may have a problem.”
* * * *
“So, how’d he take it?” Seeley put down
the report he’d been holding and looked across at
“About as well as you’d expect,” MacGyver
sat back in his chair, “But once he’d calmed
down, he did say that if we could find some evidence of
wrongdoing, he’d be prepared to listen.”
“Uh huh,” Seeley drummed his fingers on the
desk, “Any idea what he’d consider valid evidence?”
“We’ll pretty much need the smoking gun!”
Mac shook his head, “He’s got a lot of respect
for Carmichael. Also, he said to tread carefully, we’re
poking around in a political minefield here.”
“I’ll bring my velvet gloves…”
Seeley waggled his fingers and returned to his report.
frowned at the noticeboard, deciding that he should probably
take Carmichael’s name down before Pete’s
spider sense told him it was up there. He replaced it
with a note that just read ‘C’, putting it
in the middle and arranging the other photos around it.
Then he shuffled through the papers on his desk, pulling
out Wellforce’s Dr Gregory and pinning him back
to the board. He sat down again, trying to work out how
the others would be linked to the mysterious benefactor.
“Seeley, do you still have friends in the FBI?”
MacGyver scratched his head. “I’m struggling
for a place to start here and I wondered if you know anyone
who could do a little digging?”
“Maybe.” Seeley took out his phone. “What
do you want to know?”
if the name Carmichael flags up anything.” MacGyver
shrugged, watching Seeley nod.
“Ok, I’ll see what I can do.” He pointed
the phone at MacGyver, “I’m not guaranteeing
the information will come for free, favour for favour
is how it works, you ok with that?”
“I’ll chance it,” Mac nodded.
then.” Seeley rose and went outside, typing a number
and putting the phone to his ear.
* * *
The late afternoon sunlight slanted through MacGyvers
office window, warming his back. He rubbed his eyes, tired
after searching all day, stretching the kinks out of his
back. Seeley had gone home, his FBI contact having assured
him she would get back to him tomorrow with any information
she could find.
first glance, Carmichael seemed to be an outstanding philanthropist.
He’d contributed generously to humanitarian efforts
and medical research in both the USA and abroad. Famine
relief, education, disaster aid and medicines for a number
of notable diseases had all benefitted from his largesse
and he seemed to have a particular interest in vaccines
and the prevention of epidemics. Deciding he was too tired
to make sense of it today, Mac shut down his computer
and left for home.