Mac whirled around
in the water reflexively, and came face to face with Dawson.
She pointed her light his way, apparently realizing he
was disorientated and surprised.
what’s got you so spooked?” She spoke through
himself and took a moment before answering. “Lost
my light, and I guess I got a little…”
Dawson offered again.
This time MacGyver
didn’t argue. “There are no bodies, not anywhere.
Why would anyone take over the ship, move it here and
then scuttle it, but take the crew?”
it?” Dawson wafted her flashlight as if looking
for evidence of what he was saying.
there’s a tear in the hull that definitely came
from explosives on the inside of the plating,” MacGyver
concluded. “But why? What could be so important
on a research ship? And where is McKenna?” He suddenly
remembered his air supply and checked the gauge. It was
going into the red zone after his stunt with the balloon.
“I think we better get topside, I had to use half
my tank.” He gave a thumb upwards and Dawson nodded.
they swam back out of The Eurybia, Dawson took
point. “I think I might have an answer to your question
about what was important,” she offered cryptically.
“And it wasn’t an item, it was a person…”
She kicked upwards towards the shadow of the ship above
them. “I checked out all the cabins of the key crew
members. Everyone’s personal effects were still
there except one – Tapping’s.” She broke
through the waves, and MacGyver followed.
Mac pulled off
his mask first and gently bobbed in the water until Dawson
did the same. “You think this was all over some
weather specialist? Why would anyone kidnap a whole crew
to get to a man that watches clouds?”
and then tossed her mask onto the low level deck section
specially made for divers. Placing her hands on the ledge,
she rolled on board and sat up, running a hand through
her soaking hair. “I have no clue,” she admitted.
“But isn’t that what you’re paid the
big bucks for?”
onto the deck and settled down next to the captain. He
cocked his head, mimicking her hand movements through
his own hair out of habit. “Then I guess I better
* * *
North Atlantic Ocean
and Captain Dawson waited impatiently as the ship’s
communications officer established a satellite call to
Pete Thornton at Phoenix’s head office. He’d
been contacted earlier, asking for any information on
Richard Tapping, and on The Katarina and her
a few tense crackles, Pete’s voice came in hollow
from across the heavens. “Mac, I have some pretty
interesting information on The Katarina. She’s
owned by a Cuban arms dealer named Paolo Famosa! It looks
like his specialty is stealing new weapons technologies
and selling them to the highest bidder.”
there were no weapons on The Eurybia, unless
there’s something you haven’t told us, Mr.
Thornton?” Dawson cut in with a slightly acerbic
was strictly research I assure you,” Pete confirmed.
“That’s what doesn’t make sense. That
and the fact you seem to think Richard Tapping was somehow
got nothing on Tapping’s background check?”
MacGyver raised a brow, but had already guessed the answer
was no from Pete’s previous comment and tone.
thing,” Pete agreed. “Tapping had the highest
grades in his year and went on to be an intern at the
Sendrex Kiva Laboratories in New Mexico. He worked under
a Dr Carl Steubens until the project there was shut down.
Then he moved on to…”
MacGyver cut in. “Tapping worked with Steubens on
the ozone layer project at Sendrex?” His voice had
gone up a notch, as if he finally understood what was
how’d you know?” Pete sounded genuinely curious.
just say I had first hand experience of Kiva and Dr. Steubens,
and neither was exactly welcoming. The thing is, the project
wasn’t officially shut down, Steubens blew the labs
because he suspected Sendrex wanted to use his rainmaking
research as some kinda doomsday weapon. Chain reactions
that would destroy the ozone and let the sun’s ultraviolet
rays burn everyone who wasn’t protected.”
Thornton sounded genuinely scared, and next to Mac, Dawson’s
mouth fell open in horror.
this Paolo Famosa expects Tapping to be able to finish
Steubens work and actually build a weapon?” Dawson
was staring at Mac expectantly, and there was fear in
her eyes – something MacGyver hadn’t seen
“It’s the only explanation I have that makes
sense, even if it is terrifying.”
Tapping can actually do it. According to the information
I have, only a Dr. Sydney Marlowe ever came close, and
he died in a car accident two years ago.” Pete paused.
“Mac, what do you think?”
his lip and turned away from the mike for a moment in
thought. Could Tapping know enough to be dangerous? Famosa
was obviously betting a lot of money, time and effort
that he could. “I think we need to find Famosa and
fast,” he eventually answered.
put a hand on her hip, some of her former sass returning.
“And just how do we do that?”
don’t have to…” Dawson’s second
in command had entered while they’d been talking,
and interrupted without asking. “A yacht just joined
us on the port bow, ma’am. It’s The Katarina,
and she’s armed.”
spoke to the microphone first. “Pete, we’re
gonna have to close this call and go find out what’s
happening. Catch you later.”
hope!” Pete said with great concern. “Watch
yourself, MacGyver, I don’t want you on my AWOL
list like McKenna.”
don’t plan on it, trust me.” Mac cut the conversation
and headed after Dawson and her number two, who had both
already stepped back onto the bridge.
MacGyver moved to join them, he spotted The Katarina,
and one of her crew with a missile launcher, pointed right
targeting below our waterline,” Dawson observed.
A second man
appeared on the other ship with a megaphone. Somehow,
MacGyver guessed it was Famosa. “Surrender your
vessel and be boarded, or die here.” It was a simple
brow furrowed and she looked to Mac. “No way am
I giving up my ship to that pirate!”
it up temporarily is better than dying permanently.”
Mac stepped to the hatch and onto the deck outside to
get a better look. “I’d say surrender, we
get to find out if we’re right about Tapping, and
see how far they’ve gotten. Then we make our move.”
perplexed. “We make our move? How does that work
if we’ve already surrendered? Are you mad?”
Mac smiled wryly.
“Some folks say I am,” he half joked. “Trust
me; it’s not the cards we play right now that matter,
it’s the ones we pick up from the deck during the
The captain rubbed
at her neck for a moment then turned to her bridge crew.
“Do what they say,” she said with sigh. Then
she turned back to MacGyver. “You better just hope
they don’t kill us outright, before we can get those
* * *
yacht was far smaller than The Crucible, but
somehow he’d managed to pack a small arsenal onto
it, along with a healthy supply of henchmen. Once they’d
boarded Dawson’s ship, it had taken just twenty
minutes to secure it, and move key personal over to The
Katarina. The big question now, was what did Famosa
intend to do with them.
the thought as he and Dawson were led to an inner locked
cabin by a hefty Cuban with a moustache, and custom Beretta.
The Cuban was silent, but gestured with the gun for them
to enter through the mahogany door after he’d unlocked
Once they were
inside, he slammed it shut, remaining on the outside.
A lean man with
wiry spectacles that Mac guessed was about thirty five
looked at them from a desk chair with searching blue eyes.
Mac realized it was Tapping. It was funny, but he didn’t
look like a man who held the fate of the world in his
hands. He looked like a very young college professor who
was a little retiring.
for a second, pushed his glasses up his nose and then
spoke. “Hi, um, my name’s Richard…”
He paused as if unsure what else to say. “I…guess
you were brought here against your will too?”
no,” Mac answered, thinking of how he’d told
Dawson to give it up. “We’re actually here
looking for you, Dr. Tapping.”
genuinely surprised. “Forgive me, but you don’t
exactly appear to be a very good rescue party?”
sent us,” Dawson joined in. “We were looking
for The Eurybia; we thought she’d gone
down in a storm maybe, but not this.” She gestured
around her. “Although I’m still not sure what
retook control of the conversation. They needed quick
and concise answers before Famosa really held the upper
hand. “Famosa took over The Eurybia to
get to you.” He looked directly at Tapping. “He
sank her where she wouldn’t be found for awhile,
giving him time to use you for his plan without the authorities
stepping in. He wants some kind of weapon that controls
the ozone, right?”
“How did you figure all that out?”
Mac brushed his
question aside, pulling up a chair beside the scientist
and leaning on its back. “Let’s just say I
met the master of all this once, Carl Steubens, so when
I saw you’d worked with him, and that Famosa wanted
you for something…”
now you’re his prisoner too, and you may have just
given him what he needs to complete the weapon…”
Tapping took off his glasses and held his head in his
hands. “There wasn’t the right equipment on
The Eurybia to finish the machine. It was the
only ace I held, but now he’ll pillage supplies
and equipment from your ship too.”
Dawson put a
hand on her hip and her eyes shone with rage. “You’re
making it sound like this Famosa has already got you constructing
this thing that can kill the planet?”
blue eyes seemed to dull, and he looked away, staring
at the wall. “There’s an uncharted island
near here, very small, no inhabitants. He took me and
The Eurybia’s crew there. He said he’d
execute them one by one until I built it. Four men had
to die before I gave in. I should have given in before
a hand on Tapping’s shoulder. “Their deaths
aren’t down to you. Famosa killed them. You can’t
give him this machine, no matter what he threatens. Millions
will die, not just four. What about the crew now?”
back at them, sliding his glasses back into place. “They’re
on the island; he’s using them as slave labor until
he’s got what he wants. Then I guess he’ll
kill us all.”
to stop him, right?” Dawson had moved to a port
hole and was peering through it at what was going on above
people were stripping electronics from The Crucible
at an alarming rate and stowing them carefully in The
Katarina’s hold. Famosa was overseeing the
work like his children were being brought on board, not
stop him,” Tapping said nervously, rubbing his hands
together in trepidation. “He’ll kill everyone
that bit quicker. There’s no way.”
Mac shook his
head, his blond mullet swaying. “There’s always
a way. And it doesn’t have to involve killing, either.
What we need is for me and Captain Dawson to get to the
island and sabotage the machine.”
It was Dawson’s
turn to scoff. She slid down onto a couch, rubbing at
her temple like she had a headache. “Right, we’ll
just jump right on overboard, swim to the island, blow
up the device and rescue McKenna and his people, all without
Famosa shooting us!”
Mac smiled. “Yes,
ma’am, that’s kinda my plan…”
He looked to Tapping. “How far is the island from
pinched the bridge of his nose in thought. “I’m….um,
really not even sure where “here” is, but
we didn’t travel very far. I’d say a couple
of nautical miles south of here.”
Dawson didn’t look impressed. “We can’t
swim that even if we get off this bucket!”
people swim the English Channel and that’s twenty
miles!” Mac half-teased. “And the world isn’t
even at stake…” He grimaced. “’Course,
we do need to figure a way to escape that would mean Famosa
didn’t know what we’re up to…”
Tapping had nervously taken off his glasses again, and
was cleaning them with very shaky hands as he spoke. “The
only way I’ve seen anyone get off this yacht that
wasn’t a crewman, was in a body bag.”
suddenly lit up. “Actually, that’s not a bad
idea! Except not the body bag.” He began to rummage
around the room, sifting through cupboards and under Tapping’s
bunk without explaining what he was doing. Every now and
again he’d pause. Eventually, he pulled out a pair
of sweat pants and a t-shirt and passed them to Dawson.
“Take your uniform off, and put these on.”
Dawson took the
clothes, inspected them like she was buying fashion attire
and then growled back. “You’re kidding right?”
MacGyver peeled off his own jacket and tossed it down,
but it was obvious from his face that he hadn’t
quite gotten everything he needed. Part of the puzzle
was still missing, and he’d exhausted every space
to look for bounty.
was another mahogany door, and Mac took two quick steps
over to it and instinctively tried the handle. It was
locked, as expected. He slid a hand into his jeans and
pulled out his pocketknife. Famosa’s Cuban henchman
had failed to frisk them, and MacGyver was going to use
the opportunity. Within a minute, he’d picked the
lock, and was inside some kind of control room for the
inside, putting a finger to his lips to signal to Tapping
and Dawson to keep quiet. Machines around him whirred
and beeped, and occasionally grumbled into life as the
yacht’s crew brought various systems on and offline.
Mac bit his lip,
then noticed a couple of yellow inflatable life jackets
hanging from a peg. He smiled, part one of his problem
had been solved. Now for part two. He pushed on past the
computer controlling the hydraulic thrusters until he
came to part of the steering gear.
correct fluid within the power pack “should”
be clear, but MacGyver was hoping that The Katarina’s
manufacturers had taken a short cut, like many boat builders
did, and used automatic transmission fluid.
He used his knife
again to remove the reservoir cap on top of the pack,
and smiled as his hunch played out. The fluid was a nice
rosy red color.
Mac stepped back
into Tapping’s room, grabbed a half-filled mug from
the table and then cut one of the lines to the reservoir
with his blade, draining fluid into the mug. The move
would gain him the liquid he needed, whilst robbing the
system of a vital fluid – later, that would hopefully
keep Famosa busy while they got to the island ahead of
the heck are you doing?” Dawson asked as she pulled
on the clothes he’d given her.
to work as he answered. “Oh, just getting us that
nice long swim, ma’am…”
face suggested she’d rather have stayed with Famosa
– at least for a second.
* * *
The Cuban paced
back and forth outside the cabin door, his hands clasped
behind his back like they were handcuffed there. Famosa
could be a rewarding boss, but he could also be erratic,
and over the top. Today, he was the latter two.
wished he’d listened to his momma and become a taxi
driver, or maybe work in a bar. At least with those professions,
your superior wasn’t likely to shoot you if he was
having a bad day.
The lock on the
door he was guarding clicked, and Raoul instantly forgot
other career options as his mind focused on what he should
be doing. He stopped pacing, and his left hand reached
under his jacket for his revolver. He remained silent
as the door creaked slowly open and then paused in mid-swing.
by, and the door didn’t move further.
finally made the first move and stepped forwards, cocking
his head close to the mahogany for sounds from inside.
The moment his ear touched the wood, the door moved again,
slamming him backwards with such force, his gun hand hit
the wall and the ironically Beretta tumbled to the decking.
from the room first, with Dawson quickly following behind.
He didn’t stop to punch out Raoul or tie him, heading
straight for the transom outside.
to his feet, cursing under his breath as he steadied himself
against the wall and picked up his weapon. He gave chase
within seconds, but whether that was fast enough for Famosa
remained to be seen.
The stern, NOW!” Raoul barked out the order
to a younger subordinate who was perched on top of the
yacht’s bridge with an Uzi. “They’re
to hear Raoul’s order, and he paused for a second,
looking back at the two men now giving chase. Somewhere
in Raoul’s brain, he registered that this MacGyver
was carrying something over his shoulder, but the thought
was lost in the moment. MacGyver grabbed Dawson’s
hand and yanked hard as a hail of bullets tore up the
decking at their feet, and within a second, the pair were
huge splash indicated their arrival in the Atlantic, and
Mac and the captain quickly began to swim away from The
again!” Raoul’s voice cracked. He was afraid
now, because in the periphery of his vision, he could
see Famosa approaching from the forward hold. As he spoke,
he emptied the chamber of his automatic at his prey.
under the waves to apparently try to avoid the spray of
bullets. Dawson followed his lead, her legs kicking high
as she dived.
Raoul, his face a mask of pure fury. “Idiots! How
could you let them get free? Kill them! Kill them now!”
Raoul and his
younger cohort opened fire again, their bullets tearing
into the waves and deep beneath for over a minute. Each
man reloaded several times as their weapons emptied.
Famosa leaned over the yacht’s side rail as something
bobbed up in the water - a leather jacket, jeans, followed
by the unmistakable scarlet stain of blood amongst the
A second body
surfaced, along with more blood.
a sigh of pure relief. The escapees had been dealt with.
No doubt there would still be repercussions from Famosa,
but not as much now that MacGyver and the ship’s
captain were dead. “He picked the lock somehow,”
the Cuban admitted. “But at least Dr. Tapping didn’t
try to follow.”
a hand across his face then turned to Raoul, his expression
emotionless. “And for that, I should let you live?”
The sentence was a question, not a fact.
jaw dropped just before his eyes saw the tip of the bullet
that was going to kill him. Ten seconds later, the Cuban
henchman tumbled stone dead into the Atlantic, his stocky
body joining that of Dawson and MacGyver, dipping and
weaving along with the ocean’s swell.