Supply & Demand

By Rocket

Episode 9.3

Part One

Author's Note:

Most of the Virtual Season stories we write can be read on their own, without having to read any of the others first. This one is a little different – it follows on from the events of the Virtual Season 8 episode ‘War Stories’ and makes reference to the Season 1 television episode ‘Flames End’. If you’re not familiar with either of those, it might be worth checking them out on and then coming back

* * * *

“Am I late?” MacGyver slid into his seat at the back of the courtroom, nodding an apology to the stern faced woman sitting on his other side. Sergeant Cooper shook his head, moving up to make room.

“Not yet. Everyone’s here, though, so it won’t be long.” He smiled at MacGyver. “Always at the last minute, Mac – where were you?”

“Stuck in traffic.” MacGyver grimaced. His decision to bring the Jeep instead of the bike this morning had been a bad one, even if it had allowed him to arrive looking less rumpled than usual. He’d even worn a tie, much to Sam’s amusement.

“All rise, The Honourable Judge Davis presiding!” MacGyver turned as the court official announced the arrival of the judge, and stood with everyone else, looking over their heads for a familiar figure.

Hawkins had put on weight since Vietnam, his face round and pasty. With his badly dyed black hair slicked back and wearing a suit bought ten years and thirty pounds ago, he looked every inch the low-life black marketeer. He looked around the courtroom as everyone sat down, saw MacGyver and Cooper and his lip lifted in a sneer.

Cooper bristled. When MacGyver had heard him insist on coming to the trial, he’d understood, but he’d still thought it was a bad idea. Hawkins had been responsible for the deaths of Cooper’s wife and daughter in Vietnam and while Cooper had been getting help to deal with the tragedy, seeing Hawkins again was always going to be difficult for him.

“Easy, Cooper.” MacGyver murmured to his friend. Cooper took a deep breath and nodded, staring down at his shoes to avoid catching Hawkins’s eye again. MacGyver turned his attention to the judge.

“This trial has been convened to determine whether Alfred Wallace Hawkins is guilty of the following crimes: Illegal trading of weapons, components and restricted goods in the United States of America between the end of the Vietnam Conflict and the present day. Conspiring to steal uranium from Westpoint Plant in January 1986. He has previously been court marshalled and convicted of the trading of weapons and restricted goods during his military service in Vietnam and more recently at MCLB Barstow. Alfred Hawkins, how do you plead?” The judge looked at Hawkins, who shuffled his feet and stood at a nudge from his attorney.

“Not guilty, your Honour.” Hawkins’s expression was defiant, and MacGyver noticed his eyes slide away from Judge Davis’s gaze. Hawkins sat down again and his attorney nodded his approval. MacGyver rubbed a hand across his face and frowned, sure that Hawkins had lied.

“Very well.” The judge sat back and motioned to the prosecuting attorney. “Proceed.”
The prosecutor gathered her papers and stood.

“Good morning, my name is Fiona Nicholls, for the prosecution. It is my honour to represent the State of California in this case. Since returning from his military service in Vietnam, the defendant has engaged in the illegal trade or arms and restricted goods, specifically radioactive material and components which could be assembled to create a delivery system for a biological weapon.” There was a buzz of shocked conversation from the observer’s seats and Nicholls turned to address Hawkins directly. “The defendant has already been convicted of trading illegally in arms and restricted goods during the Vietnam Conflict, thus putting civilians in danger both here in the United States and abroad.

Beside MacGyver, Cooper shifted. He frowned and started to speak, but the stern woman on MacGyver’s other side leaned forward and shushed him. Cooper subsided, glaring across at Hawkins, but Hawkins was staring at the prosecutor.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” Nicholls continued, “This case is about a man whose greed got the better of him. A man who took it upon himself to break the laws of this country. The prosecution will call three witnesses to the stand: David Kyle, chief of security at Westpoint Beach Nuclear Processing Plant, Officer Paul Chen, who arrested the defendant on April 23rd of this year and discovered a quantity of restricted property at his home, and Dr Laura Allen, Federal expert in weapons delivery systems.” Nicholls picked up her papers and addressed the jury, making eye contact with each of them. “At the conclusion of this case we are certain that you will deliver the sentence warranted. Thank you.” At a nod from the judge, Nicholls returned to her seat. A low buzz of conversation grew and MacGyver turned to Cooper.

“Are you OK?” He watched Cooper release his grip on the paper he’d crumpled in his hands and take a deep breath.

“It’s wrong.” Cooper’s hands clenched on the paper again. “Weapons components and receiving stolen goods...” Scorn made his voice harsh. “Those aren’t his real crimes, are they?” He looked up at MacGyver, sweat glistening on his brow despite the air conditioning.

“No, Cooper.” MacGyver shook his head. “No, they’re not. But they’re the only crimes he’ll be tried for. We know what he did, I think there’s a good chance the judge knows what he did, but the army put a gag order on it and there’s nothing we can do.” MacGyver watched Cooper sigh and unclench his hands again. “I get the impression the judge will push for the maximum sentence for Hawkins – he was looking at him like something you’d scrape off your shoe!”

“I hope so.” Cooper looked across at the Judge Davis, who was motioning the defence attorney to start.

The defending attorney stood and unbuttoned his jacket. He walked to the centre of the room and took a moment to look at everyone before speaking. MacGyver frowned as the attorney’s gaze lingered on Cooper before continuing.

“Good morning, my name is Damian Swan for the defence, and it is my pleasure to represent Alfred Hawkins on this very important case. The defendant stands accused of trading weapons and restricted goods, and receiving stolen property, both serious crimes. Ladies and gentlemen, this case is about a man who, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder brought about during his heroic service to his country in Vietnam, became suggestible to the threats of others and was forced to act against his will. This is a case about a veteran who has been taken advantage of by unscrupulous persons. The prosecution will bring forwards their witnesses who will testify that my client acted of his own free will to break the laws of this fine country.” He paused and coughed, reaching for his water and allowing time for the jury to think about his words.

Beside MacGyver, Cooper shook his head, muttering under his breath. MacGyver leaned towards him, hearing his whispering, ‘No, no, no...’ over and over.

“Hey,” MacGyver waited until Cooper looked up, watched him take a moment to focus on his friend. “It’s OK. We knew they were likely to try this – it’s the easy defence for anyone who’s served, right?”

“Right.” Cooper nodded, swallowing hard. “Doesn’t make it any easier to listen to, y’know?”

“I know.” MacGyver smiled at Cooper. “You’re doing great.”

The defence attorney set down his water and surveyed the room again. This time when he looked at Cooper, a faint smile crossed his face.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defence will call two witnesses to the stand: Dr Ruth O’Dell, a general practitioner with extensive experience of treating veterans with PTSD, will confirm that the defendant does in fact suffer from PTSD and is subject to diminished responsibility as a result. Captain Peter Ramirez, who served with Mr Hawkins at Barstow, will testify that the defendant is a man of good character, having served alongside him, and that he had no financial motive to commit these crimes because he has been continually employed and not in debt since returning from Vietnam.” Swan walked across to the jury, also meeting each member’s eyes. “At the conclusion of this trial, I am certain that the evidence will prevail.” He stepped back and smiled, showing even white teeth, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. MacGyver shivered, reminded of a shark he’d once seen while scuba diving. “Thank you. I know I can rely on you to see justice done.”


 Original content is 2015