sure what his own record for holding his breath was, but
he was sure he’d just broken it. Rigging the clothing
with the life jackets inside and the fluid for blood had
been the easy part, staying submerged while Famosa’s
people fell for the ruse was another matter.
kicked hard, pushing through the underwater gloom and
under The Katarina to resurface the other side
behind The Crucible. Famosa’s people hopefully
wouldn’t be looking for them at all, but if they
still were, it wouldn’t be here.
He gulped down
several long breaths and waited for his pounding heart
to calm. A splash at his side indicated Dawson had joined
him, even before she spoke.
they’re falling for it,” the captain offered,
sucking down air. “That was pretty smart, inflating
those vests in the clothes…”
Mac shook his
head. “They won’t fall for it for long. Once
they try and pull in the bodies the game is up. I’m
just hoping the lack of steering fluid in the system holds
them up long enough for us to get to the island first…”
He squinted, looking into the distance where Tapping had
suggested they would find the tiny land mass. It was there,
visible on the skyline, but it looked painfully far away
considering they had to swim. “C’mon, we need
off, taking one quick look behind to see if Famosa was
trying to move the yacht. So far, its engines remained
silent. He felt an internal sigh of relief, and then settled
into a rhythm. Dawson followed, quickly moving to his
side with just as quick a pace.
After a few minutes
in the water, MacGyver had to admit that maybe this wasn’t
such a great idea. He wasn’t in his twenties anymore,
and his muscles and joints ached from the exertion. He
reminded himself what was at stake, and pushed through
the pain barrier.
just a friendly race; it was a contest to save the world
from an arms dealer that didn’t care if he sold
a new weapon to a madman.
* * *
in the Atlantic
1hr 20mins later…
himself up onto the small, rocky beach took a few steps
until he was out of sight, and then collapsed onto his
back, finally allowing his muscles to relax.
The perfect blue
sky above him was pockmarked with high cumulus clouds
that painted the scene, making it look idyllic. He almost
wanted to close his eyes and sleep, but Dawson’s
breathless arrival reminded him that wasn’t possible.
time you suggest we take a swim, I’m going to punch
you out!” The captain slumped onto a small boulder
Mac pushed up onto his shoulder, some of his strength
returning slowly. He peered back at the ocean, searching
the vista for Famosa’s yacht. It didn’t take
long for his eyes to latch onto the sleek vessel, and
it was moving, albeit more slowly than it should. “We
need to find McKenna and the machine, our friend Paulo
is on the move.” He pointed out to sea.
turned and scowled as The Katarina grew closer.
Reluctantly, she pulled herself up and offered Mac a hand,
which he gratefully took. “Where do we start? Famosa
will have plenty of his people around, we can’t
just roam across this place.”
off his wet clothes and shielded his eyes from the sun
to get a better picture of their position. After a moment,
he pointed south. “We follow the smoke, and we keep
our eyes peeled for bad guys.”
might be easy or you, but I’m a ship’s captain,
not Rambo!” Dawson padded after Mac as
he scrambled over boulders and into an area of dense foliage.
ran a hand through his wet hair as he moved. “I’m
hardly Rambo,” he assured. “Live
off the land, even in a jungle with just a knife, yeah,
I can do that, but all those guns?” He stepped over
a fallen branch.
over the same branch, her gait much shorter. “You
don’t like violence, huh? I wish my ex-husband felt
that way. It got to the point where I started throwing
Mac winced. No
relationship should ever end up that way. Maybe being
single wasn’t such a bad thing. “Divorced?”
Dawson shook her head. “Nope, I didn’t get
the chance. He was a cop. Some young punk with a Beretta
took him out. So, even though he was an ass, I get your
point about guns.”
society will learn.” MacGyver sighed. “But
until then we just have to pick up the pieces.”
He paused as he finished the sentence, his attention taken
by something else.
more foliage, Mac revealed the ragged, broken frame of
an aircraft half suspended from the overhanging trees
in front of them. The plane had once been blue, but now
it was faded and in places was almost unrecognizable.
One of the wings had snapped, and sat in an upright position
as if saluting some long dead general. The cockpit glass
was still in place, but bullet holes and jagged cracks
filled the front of the canopy.
appeared almost awestruck by it. “What is it? I
mean, it’s really old, right?”
forwards until he was able to touch the snapped front
propeller section that had torn up the ground many years
previously. “It’s U.S. Navy – a Grumman
Avenger from the Second World War, I’d guess. They
used them for torpedo planes out here.”
The captain nodded
as if that somehow made sense. “I sure wish we could
use it to fly out of here, but even your talents can’t
a brow. He hadn’t realized Dawson knew his background.
But then, he liked to know who he was working with, why
shouldn’t she want the same? “No, ma’am,”
he admitted. “I can’t fix it, but that doesn’t
mean it can’t be useful.” He stepped onto
a boulder giving enough height for him to grab onto the
fuselage and hoist his body up next to the canopy. With
a little leverage, he managed to release the catch, and
a central glass section fell away, crumbling as it hit
the earth below.
and it was clear she expected to see skeletal remains
glaring back at her from the plane, but mysteriously,
even though the canopy hadn’t been popped, it was
Mac peered into
the back, where two other crewmen would normally sit,
but the Avenger’s mystery deepened. There were no
bodies. The angle the plane had come down at, even if
they’d escaped uninjured, they’d have needed
to release the canopy or break it to get out.
is the pilot?” Dawson’s voice cracked, and
for the first time she showed a vulnerable side. “How
could they get out?”
know,” MacGyver admitted.
a whole flight of these planes go missing in the triangle
back in the forties? This couldn’t be..?”
Dawson’s face said she was actually considering
something strange, despite their earlier conversations.
Mac finally smiled.
“Nope,” he reassured, “this isn’t
one of Flight 19. That was a navigation training exercise,
meaning no weapons, this puppy was armed.” He lowered
his body just enough to be able to point to a torpedo
slug under the Grumman’s midsection. It was almost
obscured from view by the ever-growing flora. “And
that small fact might come in handy, depending on what
we find at the end of that smoke signal the bad guys are
peering at the torpedo as if it would sprout legs. “Huh?”
be able to use the Torpex explosives inside that thing
to blow up Tapping’s ozone killing machine if they’ve
gotten far enough for it to be dangerous.” MacGyver
pulled back up to the cockpit and swung his upper body
inside as he spoke. After rummaging for a few seconds,
he tossed a still-packed parachute to the ground, and
then jumped down to join it with a flare gun in his right
planning on telling the bad guys where we are?”
Dawson looked skeptically at the flare.
Mac ignored her
and tucked it into his waistband. Then he hunkered over,
checking out the ancient parachute. The material hadn’t
perished, which was amazing considering its age. He took
out his knife, opened up the pack and spread the chute
out over the ground, carefully running the lines to the
harness flat at first, and then guiding them up into the
gather some twigs, leaves, anything to camouflage the
chute, and spread it out over the canvas?” MacGyver
pointed to the ground, while he continued to work up the
realized what he was up to. “It’s a trap!”
Mac nodded. “Our
bad guys walk onto the chute, I cut this line here, and
it will scoop them up and dangle them in midair until
we cut them down, and not one gun required.”
unless they happen to have a knife in a pocket like you,”
Dawson mused as she spread out greenery and twigs.
very least, it will buy us time,” Mac countered,
dropping down from his position. “And the flare
will get them curious enough to come over here.”
He tapped a hand to the gun at his belt.
great, but what is the point in distracting Famosa’s
goons if we can’t deal with the machine, or whatever
this ozone killer is?” Dawson finished her foliage
patchwork and looked at MacGyver expectantly, sweat dripping
from her forehead.
that’s what I’m going to deal with next, and
for that, we need the torpedo…” He rolled
under the remains of the plane and took a look at the
weapon. He knew first hand that old ordnance didn’t
necessarily mean bad ordinance, but that also meant the
torpedo would have to be handled with care. It might still
be explosive, but it also might be a heck of a lot more
unstable than when it left the factory.
we use a torpedo, even if you can arm it? They’re
for under the water, not over it!” The captain looked
both puzzled and frustrated at the same time. She mopped
her brow with her left forearm, and slumped down onto
a moss covered rock.
Mac gently patted
the faded projectile. “Two hundred and seventy pounds
of this baby is something called Torpex – it was
developed by the British, and is forty-two percent RDX,
forty percent TNT and eighteen percent powdered aluminum.
It’s fifty percent more powerful than TNT alone
by mass, and we’re going to use just some of that
to make a little trouble.” He climbed back up into
the cockpit and pulled the torpedo release, there was
a pause, a horrendous metallic screech and the rusted
mechanism gave way, letting the torpedo drop a short distance
onto a small bush. The bush thankfully broke the fall
as he’d hoped.
away, half-expecting a bang. When none came, she moved
closer, apparently curious. “I read your profile,
I know you used to do this for a living, but I really
didn’t think it would be a skill we used on this
his knife to the screwdriver selection and began to undo
a plate on the torpedo. Somehow, he managed to look up
at Dawson at the same time. “Always expect the unexpected,
then you have a chance of being prepared.” He nodded
as he looked back down into the bomb. “I can work
with this. While I’m removing the explosives and
detonator, can you check out Famosa’s camp? I need
to know just how big a bang we’re going to need
to knock out Tapping’s creation.”
thought I didn’t need to play Rambo?”
Dawson quipped, somewhat testily. “I’m a ship’s
captain, not DXS.” She exhaled. “I’ll
do what I can, but if those people get their hands on
me, I expect a rescue, okay?”
Mac smiled. “Don’t
worry; they won’t keep you too long. Once they know
how grouchy you are, they’ll give you back.”
She threw him
a mock glare, then carefully picked her way through the
bushes and off into the island’s inner bowels. This
whole mission now relied on their teamwork, and their
ingenuity. MacGyver only hoped they had enough of both
to make it happen.
* * *
being off her ship. Somehow it was her comfort blanket,
and although she was quite capable of navigating her way
around the island, and doing the recon work, she suddenly
felt more alone than she ever had, even after her husband
She trusted MacGyver
one hundred percent, even though they’d only just
met, but even that gave little solace to how she was feeling
right now as she padded over a small stream.
Her boots kicked
up water, and she balked at the splashing sound, hoping
the enemy wasn’t close enough to hear. She slowed
her gait, being more careful about noise. Famosa was not
someone Dawson wanted to see again anytime soon.
The smoke she
was following was growing thicker as she grew nearer,
and she hunkered down, attempting to use the local vegetation
for more cover.
A shape ahead
in the foliage caught her eye, and she couldn’t
help but deviate towards it. As she closer, she realized
it was a faded and creased leather boot. The boot was
attached to a leg that’s trousers had long since
rotted away. In fact, it wasn’t even a leg at all
– at least not with any flesh.
The sight of
the skeleton didn’t faze the captain. Whoever this
poor soul was, he’d been dead a very long time.
The bones were sun-bleached and the attire on them nothing
more than tatters.
She wiped sweat
from her brow, and then leaned over the body. Maybe she’d
found one of the men from the downed plane?
There was a book,
maybe a journal or log under the skeleton, its decrepit
pages bound by a tan leather cover. Dawson carefully picked
it up and tucked it into her pocket. The man’s family
needed closure, even now all these years after the war.
snapping sound caught her ear, and she spun around as
someone padded through the undergrowth towards her. Without
thinking, she dived for cover behind the skeleton and
waited for the newcomer to pass. It was the young man
from The Katarina that had fired on them with
the Uzi. He looked agitated and nervous. He paused and
looked around as if he sensed her, then moved on towards
If she could
quickly gather the information they needed about the machine,
that might work in their favor, as he’d be more
easily lured into their trap out of the way.
until his footsteps faded and then headed the way he had
come. The path through the brush widened into an opening
just a short way from the trail. She pushed behind a tree
of some kind for cover, and viewed the scene.
people had made quite a large camp, and there were three
tents positioned to one end. The other side, some of McKenna’s
crew worked on something that resembled a generator, although
it was connected to an awkward looking satellite dish
that had been jury-rigged from The Eurybia. It
had to be the machine.
Famosa’s goons. There were about three in view at
any one time, but she was sure there would be more on
the island, maybe even in the tents. They were all armed.
She pinched the bridge of her nose, wondering how she’d
gotten involved in such a mess.
she turned tail and carefully picked her way back to MacGyver,
almost passing the bad guy she’d seen earlier. He
was sitting on a boulder, puffing on a cigarette as she
slipped around him silently, keeping to the trees.
* * *
up from joining two wires together as he heard Dawson’s
approach. He smiled, even though she was still scowling.
“Did you find them?”
them almost found me!” The captain snapped, and
then sighed. “He’s on the trail a short way
back.” She jerked a thumb as she sat down to catch
on finishing his bomb, screwing down another wire to a
small contact plate he’d salvaged from the torpedo.
“What about the machine?”
“It’s at a camp they’ve set up. McKenna’s
crew is still working on it. But why here? Why not make
it back on dry land, in some warehouse or even back in
Cuba where he’s safe?”
he has a buyer out here that wants a demonstration?”
Mac completed his work and wrapped the small bomb into
some canvas from another spare parachute he’d found.
her head. “Now what? There are at least four of
Famosa’s people I can see, there maybe double, even
three times that I can’t see!”
matter.” Mac slid his knife back in his pocket.
“All we need is to disable that machine. He won’t
have parts to make another. It will give the authorities
time to get here. Don’t forget, our ship will be
classed as missing soon when Pete can’t get through.
He’ll send in the cavalry.”
Dawson scoffed. “So what’s our move?”
and pointed to the line that controlled his “trap”
up in the tree. “I head for the camp. When I’m
halfway, I’ll shoot off the flare and hopefully
Famosa’s people will come running. You pull cord
when they’re in the centre of the chute, and bingo!
We trap them, even if it only buys us minutes to blow
what do I do after I pull the line? They’re going
to figure a way out pretty fast, you know that right?”
MacGyver couldn’t help but tease. “Seriously,
try and find somewhere to hide. If I don’t get caught,
I’ll find you.”
you don’t get caught? Jeez, that’s comforting!”
Dawson began to clamber up the tree anyway, and after
just seconds was perched on the branch where Mac had rigged
the line. “Okay cowboy, go blow something up!”
Mac shot her
a small salute. “Yes ma’am!” He assured
as he jogged away towards the still spiraling smoke.
He picked his
way along the path, mindful of the henchman that may or
may not still be smoking.
The goon had
apparently started his last cigarette, and screwed up
the empty packet, tossing it into the shrubbery as MacGyver
down, retrieved the flare from his belt and fired it off
back on Dawson’s direction. The Cuban started as
the smoke trail into the sky suddenly ignited in red,
shooting fire across the pale blueness of the heavens.
He threw the cigarette down still burning and began to
run towards the downed plane.
move, hoping that more of Famosa’s people would
come running. It took five minutes, but two more men appeared,
both armed with machine guns. They were more wary than
the first man, slowing and wafting their guns around expectantly
as the trail widened.
As soon as they
were out of sight, Mac took a risk that no more would
follow and bounded out onto the trail. It took a further
two minutes, and he was at the clearing. There was no
sign of the fourth guard, or McKenna’s people. In
fact, the whole area was deserted. It was too good to
be true, and suddenly Mac’s sixth sense was screaming
to run, just like he’d told Dawson.
can’t run, if this machine is finished, and it works,
it could be the end of the planet…
warily over to the machine. It looked ridiculous, like
some overgrown Bond movie set gone wrong – except
this was no joke, no film set, and no prop. He dropped
onto his knees, pulled his homemade device from his shoulder,
and un-wrapped it from the parachute canvas. There was
no clock, only the timer used inside the torpedo, and
that was fifty years old.
placed the bomb up to what he hoped was the device’s
power source. It looked like a marine battery of some
sort, maybe from The Eurybia, or maybe even Famosa’s
yacht. He touched a wire onto a contact, listened for
a familiar tick, and then backed away, intent on turning
and running before he was caught up in his own explosion.
He only half
turned, when he bumped into something soft. Surprised,
Mac stepped back and realized he’d walked into Dawson
– or rather, a gagged and bound Dawson. Behind her,
Famosa grinned like he’d won some kind of prize
for best criminal lunatic.
heard a lot about you MacGyver, so nice to finally meet.”
Famosa held a blade to Dawson’s throat. “You
see, we’ve been having some trouble getting our
friend Tapping’s creation to work, and I have a
buyer inbound from Puerto Rico that wants to see results.”
narrowed. “I don’t see how I fit into that
you’re good at “fixing” things, aren’t
you? And I want you to fix the machine.” Famosa
pointed to the thing that looked like Frankenstein had
created it to match his monster. “First, you’d
better remove the bomb, or we’ll all go together…”
his lips. He didn’t want to remove the bomb, and
he certainly had no intention of “fixing”
anything. On the other hand, he didn’t want to be
scattered all over the island in little pieces even Pete
couldn’t identify. He leaned down, slowly removing
the wire he’d connected earlier until the bomb stopped
with a grin. “Give him the plans…” he
looked to one of his sub-ordinates, the young one with
the Uzi who liked to smoke.
The man looked
scared, but did as he was told, handing over a schematic
that had obviously been hastily hand drawn by Tapping.
Mac took it and
for a moment, considered tearing it to pieces.
Famosa hissed, his eyes growing dark as his pupils narrowed.
I don’t?” Mac dared to ask.
Famosa dug his
blade just slightly into Dawson’s neck until she
whimpered, even through the gag. He drew blood that trickled
down her throat and onto her top. “Then I slit her
throat in front of you, followed by someone from both
crews until you agree…”