Behind the Curtain

By Rocket

Episode 9.18

Part Two

 

MacGyver thought about Atlas and Carmichael all the way home, queuing through the LA traffic and smog thick enough to make all the cars in the distance hazy. Carmichael seemed blameless, apart from an occasional hint of scandal found in some of the sleazier tabloids. Not scandal that had ever found its way into the more serious newspapers though, which he concluded meant either that the story had been squashed quickly, or that it had never really existed in the first place.

MacGyver pulled the Jeep into his driveway and turned off the engine. As the Jeep’s rumble stopped, he became aware of shouting and got out, going around the back of the apartment to investigate.

“Mac! Thank God! Help!” Jack Dalton flattened himself against the back of the building as Mama Lorraine brandished the yard brush at him.

“You stay there! MacGyver – I’ve got him cornered.” Mama Lorraine glanced across at MacGyver, fierce triumph on her face, “Do you want him, or can I have him?” She advanced another step and Jack squeaked, trying to press himself further into the corner next to the garbage cans.

“Mama! Let him go, please!” MacGyver stepped forwards, laying a hand on the brush.

“Are you sure?” Mama Lorraine frowned at Jack, white faced and with his hat tipped over one eye, “He looks dodgy to me!”

“Oh, he’s dodgy,” MacGyver ignored Jack’s indignant glare. “But he’s harmless and he’s my friend.” He tugged gently at the brush but Mama Lorraine refused to let go. “Please?”

“Well, alright then.” Mama Lorraine lowered the brush. “If you say so…” She watched Jack scramble out of the garbage, straightening his hat and scooping up a duffle bag as he hurried around to the front of the building.

“Mac, you’ve got some odd friends.”

“Oh, I know it!” MacGyver grinned and saluted Mama Lorraine, “Thank you for letting him go!”


* * * *

“What were you thinking?!?” MacGyver set down a mug of coffee that Jack picked up with shaking hands. “Why were you trying to break into my house? I thought you were off running a wrestling extravaganza!”

“Absolutely.” Jack blew on his coffee and took a sip. “And it was doing just fine, and then the yakuza got involved and then a rival gym set up across the street, and then health and safety took a distinct dislike to my premises.” He shook his head, “Then Panama Frank got married to a truly terrifying woman about this big.” Jack held his hand out about five feet above the ground, “And she told him to pack it in before he scrambled his brains, then there might have been a disagreement over a crowd-pleaser sequence that went a little… sideways and the fight that followed trashed all the dressing rooms. After that, the business went into a bit of a decline.” Jack took off his hat and scratched his head. “So, I decided maybe wrestling wasn’t for me and I should stick at what I’m good at.”

“Uh huh.” MacGyver sat back on the couch, resting his tea mug on his knee. “And what would that be?” He asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Flying! Was there doubt, amigo?” Jack jammed his hat back on his head and spread his arms wide, “Dalton Air lives again!” He tipped his arms and made the sound of a Spitfire diving on the enemy, “And you, you lucky devil, are just in time to get in on the ground floor of this highly profitable start up venture!” Jack waggled his eyebrows.

“No.” MacGyver took a swig of tea, “Not this time Jack.”

“Oh, come on Mac!” Jack dropped his arms. “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

“I’ve got adventure enough here at home right now, Jack.” MacGyver ran his free hand through his hair. “I gotta see something through before I take on any new projects, highly profitable or otherwise.”

“Can I help?” Jack sat forwards, his expression earnest.

“Uh… Not with this. Sorry Jack.” MacGyver shrugged, seeing Jacks disappointment. “Won’t you be too busy with Dalton Air anyway?”

“It’s…um…still in the planning stage, so to speak.” Jack grinned. “Needs a little cash injecting into its engines before the business can really take off, I guess you could say.”

“You bought another wreck, didn’t you? MacGyver buried his face in his hands. “Even after what happened last time, you bought a wreck!”

“A prime renovation opportunity!” Jack sat up straight, taking a deep breath. “Which, when full realised and…uh…reassembled, will form the – “He broke off as MacGyver held up a hand.

“Let me guess, you’ve bought a wreck, you’ve spent your last dollar trying to get it fit to fly, and you turn up on my doorstep with the bag because it’s too cold to sleep in the plane and you don’t have anywhere else to go. Am I right? MacGyver ran his hands through his hair and sighed, “Ok, Jack, welcome to Casa MacGyver, guest room is on the left.”


* * * *

“I’m still surprised Pete went for this.” Seeley stopped his Lexus at the traffic lights and adjusted the cuffs of his dress shirt.

“Me too.” MacGyver pulled the elastic band holding his ponytail tight and polished his glasses on his waiter’s apron. “But your friend turning up the fact that the name ‘Carmichael’ is known to the FBI probably had something to do with it.”

“Probably.” Seeley put the Lexus in gear and the powerful car pulled smoothly away from the intersection. “Carmichael having a twin was something of a surprise though. I didn’t see that one coming.”

“Me neither.” MacGyver squinted through the lens of his glasses, then put them on. “Troy and Tristan, I wonder how alike they are?”

“Hard to say,” Seeley shrugged, the expensive fabric of his tuxedo settling perfectly back on to his shoulders. “And even if they’re identical to look at, it doesn’t mean they’re identical in character.” He glanced in the mirror and accelerated around a van, the purr of the engine barely changing as the car built up speed. “Although my limited experience of obscenely rich people suggests that neither of them will have completely clean hands.”

“Mm.” MacGyver checked his apron pocket to make sure the bug was secure, “Was your FBI friend able to tell us which deeds belonged to which twin?”

“Nope.” Seeley pulled into the hotel driveway and joined the queue of expensive cars. “They both only ever use their surname and initial so there’s no way to untangle which ‘T Carmichael’ is which.”

“Pity,” MacGyver unfastened his seatbelt, “Well, time for Dexter to go wait tables.” He opened the car door and stepped out, “See you on the inside.”

“See you.” Seeley watched MacGyver walk around to the back of the hotel.

The ‘Dexter Fillmore’ disguise was simple but effective. MacGyver walked differently, slouching took inches off his height and the ponytail and glasses changed the shape of his face. The waiter’s outfit would help him to blend in and hopefully no one at the World Hunger Council fundraiser would recognise him. Seeley touched his pocket, where his own bug sat next to his forged invitation. With one Phoenix operative on each side of the party, they would have little trouble planting at least one of the bugs on Carmichael.

Seeley moved through the glittering crowd, poised and perfect in his tailored tuxedo. He nodded to other guests, looking right at home with a glass of champagne in his hand. He picked up a canape and turned, surveying the room as he bit into it, looking for Carmichael. Seeing him near the door, deep in conversation with a woman wearing a fortune in diamonds, Seeley swallowed the last of the canape and made his way across the hall.

MacGyver balanced a tray of canapes on one hand, working his way around the hall. Stepping around a rock star and an oil baron in a massive hat, he saw the back of Carmichaels head as the man disappeared through a door. Setting down his tray, MacGyver worked his way through the crowd and opened the door. A glance told him the corridor behind it was empty and he turned as something tapped him on the shoulder.

“Young man!” The dowager set her cane back on the floor and stared at him over her half glasses. “This will never do!” She held up her empty champagne glass.

“No Ma’am,” Giving her his best “Dexter” smile, MacGyver took the glass from her and turned as if going to get a refill.

Seeley followed Carmichael across the hall, catching up with him as the man arrived at the cloakrooms. He brushed past, slipping the bug into one of Carmichael’s overcoat pockets just as it was handed to the attendant. Carmichael turned away from him to continue his conversation and Seeley drifted away unnoticed.

MacGyver stooped to pick up a dropped canape, looking all around as he stood up again. He spotted Carmichael, still wearing his overcoat. Carmichael took off his coat, draping it over one arm and MacGyver stepped forwards. “May I take your coat, Sir?” MacGyver held out his hands and Carmichael dumped the overcoat onto them without looking up. “Thank you, sir.” MacGyver took the overcoat, slipping the bug into a pocket before delivering it to the cloakroom.

The attendant nodded as MacGyver told her who the coat belonged to and hung it up next to another identical coat. Returning to the hall, MacGyver caught Seeley’s eye and nodded. Seeley indicated that MacGyver should follow him and went through an archway into the corridor beyond.

“Got him,” MacGyver grinned, pushing his glasses up his nose. “Put it in his overcoat pocket.”

“That’s what I did, I didn’t see you though.” Seeley turned, looking back into the hall, “Ah.”

“Ah? What Ah?” MacGyver stepped sideways, following the line of Seeleys gaze, “Oh…Ah…”

On the other side of the hall, two men greeted each other, identical in every way, their height, appearance, clothes and even body language the same.

“That’s just freaky,” Seeley shook his head, watching the twins mirror each other’s smiles while applauding politely as the first speaker stepped onto the lower stage in the corner of the room.

“Yeah,” MacGyver frowned, folding his arms, “So now we’ve each bugged one twin, but we have no way to tell which is which.”

“Looks that way,” Seeley rubbed a hand over his face, “I say we listen to them both, try to work out which is which from what we hear.”

“Why is nothing ever that simple?” MacGyver pulled the band from his hair and shook it out.

“Beats me,” Seeley put his hands in his pockets and they turned to leave.

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