The Dead Zone

By MacsJeep

Episode 9.4

Part Four


MacGyver had expected something evil, and he got it. Still, it had been worth a try to buy time if nothing else. He nodded in defeat. “Alright, I’ll try to help, but I need Tapping to talk me through how it works, and what you’ve done so far.”

Famosa sniffed, as if he was thinking about it. “Very well, I’ll have him brought from my boat. In the meantime, you can enjoy the comforts of one of my tents.” He looked to the man with the Uzi, pushing the girl into Mac’s arms. “Tie him up and put them in my marquee. Guard them well, or you will join your friend as shark food…”

MacGyver found himself pushed rapidly towards a pale blue tent and pushed inside, along with Dawson. Another harder shove landed him on the floor.

“Put your hands behind your back!”

Mac complied, and felt his wrists hastily and roughly bound with something that felt like wire. It cut into his flesh every time he made the smallest move.

The guard spun him around, and then bound his ankles in much the same manner. Satisfied, Uzi boy exited, but his shadow could be seen just outside the zippered doorway.

Dawson looked at him, her eyes welling with what looked like anger – it was hard to tell, as she was still gagged. At least MacGyver had escaped that fate. He slid forwards using his knees and feet to drag himself next to the silent captain.

“I like it when you’re this quiet,” he teased, trying to lighten the mood.

Dawson scowled and a muffled retort that sounded like Daffy Duck on a bad day came from beneath the gag. She rolled her eyes and exhaled deeply.

Mac looked around. There was a pole next to the captain for the tent roof. It had little metal pins in, that when pushed let the pole retract to pack away. “Can you rub your face against the pole, maybe snag the gag and pull it down on one of those little pins?”

Dawson’s eyebrows lifted, and she tried out the move. At first, she scratched her cheek, but in the second attempt, the gag dropped to her neck loosely. “You’re probably going to regret helping me do that,” she joked quietly. “First up, though, how the heck do we get out of here?” She looked down at the wire that bound them. “It’s cutting my flesh just looking at it!”

MacGyver bit his lip. He’d already take an inventory of the tent, and it wasn’t good. There was nothing inside they could use to sever the wires holding them. He was just about to say as much, when a noise caught his attention from outside.

Not just any noise, but something behind the tent, on the actual canvas. Mac shuffled his body around until he could focus on the sound, and was surprised to see a knife, hacking carelessly through the material until there was a human-sized slit. Ten seconds later, a face pushed through, along with a hat – a pilot’s cap, to be precise.

MacGyver didn’t know whether to sigh with relief, or panic. “Jack!” He squawked almost too loudly. “What the…”

Dalton pushed all the way into the tent, careful not to raise his voice how MacGyver had. “Jeez, I travel all this way to rescue your butt, and you’re not even pleased to see me?” He looked genuinely offended, although Mac knew otherwise.

The fact hit MacGyver that he hadn’t told Jack where he was going in the Bermuda Triangle, and even if he had, they were now nowhere near those co-ordinates. “Hey, just how did you find me?”

Dalton shrugged and grinned. “Well see, I was at your apartment, going through a few things, and I found these tracking gizmos. I think you’d made them for Phoenix. Anyhow, I kinda slipped one into your sneaker, just in case you got in trouble. I mean, it is the Devil’s playground and all.”

Mac was amazed and disgruntled. “What were you doing in my apartment in the first place? Don’t you dare tell me you’ve moved all my furniture again, that is so getting old, if I wasn’t tied up I’d…”

“Swing for me? I know, but look at it this way, it worked out great!” Jack’s moustache twitched as he smiled. “I’m here to rescue you and…”

“Jack, what aren’t you telling me?”

“Mac, me boyo, would I keep anything from you? My friend, my Compadre…” Jack stopped, looked down at their bonds and then shrugged. “I forgot the wire cutters. I mean, how was I to know they were going to tie you with something that wasn’t actually rope?” He pulled open his jacket to reveal a hunting knife. “Rope, twine, string, cord, thread, yarn…all those I can deal with. Just not wire.”

MacGyver’s shoulders sagged. If that was the only reason Jack’s moustache was twitching, they might stand a chance. “Anything else you might wanna tell me?” He raised a row, hoping Dalton said no, but it was, as ever, too much to hope for.

“Well…I think the bad guys might have found my plane, but it’s okay, kemo sabe! I got a message off to Papa Thornton as soon as I found this island!” Jack sounded victorious, and his eyes danced smugly.

“What did he say?”

“Okay, so he didn’t actually get time to answer. I think your bad guy has some kind of jamming device, as soon as he saw my plane my goose was cooked.” Jack tried in vain to undo the wire that had been tightly wrapped around Mac’s wrists and ankles.

“So you don’t actually know if Pete even got the message?”

“Hey, I’m confident! When have I ever let you down?” Jack looked hurt again. “Okay, so maybe a few times, but I’m good, you know that.”

“A few times! More like every time!” Mac’s voice went up an octave again until Dawson interrupted.

“Do you guys need a room? Jeez, it’s like The Odd Couple!” Dawson puffed out a breath in frustration. “Do you think we can get out of here, then you two can bicker all you like?”

“Okay,” Jack agreed amiably. “I’m up for suggestions how to cut the wire? I mean, I can’t exactly carry you two out of here. Well, maybe the girl, but Mac, I hate to say it buddy, but you’re too heavy.” He shrugged.

“You don’t cut the wire, and we don’t get out of here.” MacGyver offered helpfully. “In fact, you just leave us right where we are.”

“Say what?” Jack and Dawson chimed together.

“There’s nothing to cut the wire, and we’re not Easter Bunnies, we can’t hope outta here. Not to mention, if we leave, that means Tapping will be at Famosa’s mercy.” Mac looked pretty serious as he spoke. He wasn’t joking. “If Famosa still thinks we’re his prisoners, at some point, he’ll untie us to work on the machine. Once all three of us are free and together, you can come back and do you’re cavalry routine.”

For a second, Jack looked ecstatic, then it seemed to hit him he might have to get up close and personal with a few Cubans, and he balked. “Exactly how can I save you from the bad guys in broad daylight, and when they have guns, and I just got a whole lot of sass and this knife?”

MacGyver looked to Dawson. “When Famosa caught you, had you tried to spring my trap?”

The captain shook her head. “No, it’s just as you left it.”

“Okay, Jack, I’m going to give you some instructions, but I don’t want you to make a move until I give a signal.”

“What kinda signal?” Dalton had moved to the back of the tent to make his exit, as if he was already afraid of being caught. Action that involved personal danger was not on his to do list.

“Ugh, I might have to wing it on that,” Mac admitted. “But trust me, when you see it, you’ll know…”

* * * *

It had taken Famosa twenty minutes to get Tapping from his yacht onto the island, and a further ten to their arrival at the camp. Jack had just left the tent when the guard had returned and cut MacGyver and Dawson free, dragging them back out to the machine.

Tapping was there waiting, a bunch of schematics in his hand. “I’m sorry you had to get involved in this mess,” he apologized, fiddling with his glasses.

“It’s what we do,” Mac assured, rubbing at his wrists where the wire had cut into them.

“Enough of the chit chat, make the machine work!” Famosa was rubbing sweat from his brow as he spoke, and he looked tired and irked. “You have one hour.” He glanced at the nearest guard. “Give them whatever they need, tools, men, whatever, just make it happen.” He turned and headed for another tent, apparently one reserved for him and his soon-to-arrive guest only.

Once he’d vanished under the tarp, the guard prodded Mac with the tip of his Uzi. “You heard what the boss said, fix the machine, or I’ll hurt the girl real good…” He sneered.

Dawson scoffed, and for a second Mac thought she was going to slap the Cuban, instead she shot Mac a questioning look, and he knew she was waiting for his infamous signal to Dalton.

MacGyver pulled open a tool box and began to rummage through it while looking at Tapping. “We need to make it look good,” he whispered, “but we also need to make some smoke. Can we short something out?”

Tapping grimaced, and it appeared he found it painful to actually damage his creation. “Do we have to? What if we can’t fix it before the hour is up?”

“We don’t exactly plan on finishing this thing anyway,” Dawson interrupted. “How can we, with the damage it could do to the planet?”

Tapping seemed to think about it, glanced at the guard, and then picked up some tools from the open box Mac had been sifting through. He edged over to the machine, removed a plate and then ran a small screwdriver over two contacts simultaneously.

There was a large spark, a hiss, and then a steady stream of white and grey smoke oozing into the atmosphere.

The guard was instantly upon them. “What did you do?”

“It’s nothing,” Tapping reassured. “Just a little slip of the wrist, but I had to change that circuit anyway. It will be fine. Trust me.” His eyes flashed with sincerity and Mac was impressed with his sudden acting skills.

The guard didn’t buy it and moved closer, wafting his 9mm at them as he approached. He passed Dawson, focusing on the two men – and that was his first mistake. Surprising even MacGyver, Dawson pounced, landing a left hook on the man’s jaw like she’d been having lessons from Mike Tyson. The punch didn’t have the weight behind it a man’s would, but the shock factor was enough for her to land another before the guard could react, and he flew backwards onto the ground.

Dawson grabbed his Uzi and backed up. By now the other two guards on the perimeter of the camp had seen what was happening and began to shout. One let off a clip at them, bullets tearing into the earth at their feet, and a few slugs hitting the machine.

Famosa heard the ruckus, and appeared from his tent spouting profanities at his men. “You idiots! Don’t shoot near the machine! We don’t have the spares!”

Mac grabbed Dawson, dragging her behind the giant contraption, using it for cover. Tapping joined them breathlessly. “We can’t stay here for ever!” He panicked. “They’ll only hold off for so long, machine or not!” His eyes strayed to his creation, and for a second it was like a father’s grief at the thought of it being harmed.

“It’s time to make a run for it!” MacGyver pointed to the tree line behind the machine, nodded, and then launched into a run still holding Dawson’s free hand. In seconds he was crashing through brush with the girl in tow, hoping the scientist would follow.

Behind, he could hear Famosa yelling more orders and a steady stream of gun fire at their heels as the Cuban guards gave chase. One slip now, and those bullets would be tearing into them, and not the ground. Mac tried not to think about it as he crashed past a tree so hard he tore a branch off. Dawson yelped as the rest of the recoiling foliage hit her, but she didn’t stop.

The clearing near the downed plane was just ahead of them, and MacGyver prayed to whoever was listening that Jack was there, and was going to get his part right.

The torpedo plane beckoned them, and Mac felt Dawson pick up speed as she saw it too. Was Tapping still behind them? MacGyver daren’t look for fear of slowing, but as they careered over the hidden parachute, he yelled until his lungs hurt. “Now Jack! NOW!”

They’d just skimmed the chute and fallen headlong into some bracken when a whoosh of air and two anguished yelps made them finally turn.

The parachute looked strange – almost upside town as it dangled with two struggling henchmen.

Jack appeared, a childlike grin on his face, his moustache twitching this time with delight, not a lie. “I told you I could do it, Compadre!”

The delight was short lived as Famosa appeared. He’d been at the rear of his group, and hadn’t fallen into the trap. Now, he held a Glock automatic on them all, and he was smiling almost as much as Dalton. Unexpectedly, Tapping was at his side, and although he wasn’t exactly beaming, he was no prisoner.

“Dr. Tapping?” Dawson’s head cocked to one side as realization seemed to hit her. “What are you doing?”

MacGyver was more direct. “You sold out to him, didn’t you? What did he promise? Money? Fame?”

The scientist fidgeted. “Neither,” he admitted. “He offered me recognition. After Steubens, I was nobody. All I could do was get work on your pathetic research vessel, and I’m better than that. Always was.”

“I offered him the chance to work on what he wanted, not on what the establishment decided,” Famosa interrupted. “Oh, and I pay better too, even if he isn’t admitting it.”

“Excuse, me, but didn’t someone say the work you’re doing for Mr. Bad Guy here could end the world? Isn’t that taking job satisfaction a little too far?” Jack’s eyes were wide. “And what good is recognition if the world ends a few seconds later when you switch that thing on and we all go kapuff?” He clicked his fingers for effect.

“It won’t,” Famosa purred. “Tapping here assures me he not only continued Steubens research, he improved on it – we would have been able to control the ozone layer and hold the super powers to ransom – but you’ve messed all that up, at least this time. And for that, you’re going to pay.” His finger ticked on the Glock’s trigger, and he was about to open fire when a whirring from the heavens stopped him.

The whole group looked up to see a helicopter flying in from a distance. The pale blue chopper blended in and out of the perfect, cloudless sky like it had a malfunctioning cloaking device, but it was merely a trick of the light.

Famosa’s cocky smile thinned and he swallowed hard. “That will be Ramirez, and he’s expecting a fully working device.”

“I can’t make that happen, not now…n…not here!” Tapping was stammering, and his hands had begun to shake.

Famosa nodded. “I think we better leave the party before Ramirez arrives, he’s not the type you disappoint and live.” He reaffirmed his grip on the automatic, moving closer as he pointed it at MacGyver.

Mac was ready for it. While all eyes had been on the bird in the sky, Mac’s hands had slowly moved behind his back, and he’d opened up his pocket knife. The rope securing the parachute trap, and Famosa’s men, was fastened to the nearest tree, and he intended to use that.

As Famosa pulled the trigger, MacGyver dived backwards, slashing at the rope with one swift wrist movement. The line snapped, and the chute dropped as the bullet hit the tree, splintering it.

Famosa and Tapping suddenly found themselves on the ground, knocked from their feet by the two falling henchmen.

MacGyver, Dawson and Jack ducked into the undergrowth, intent on running again, but they needn’t have bothered. In fear of his own life, Famosa picked up the Glock, ran a hand through his hair and indicated that his men should move out.

“Back to the yacht before Ramirez realizes what’s happening and opens fire! He’s bound to think this is some kind of double cross if I don’t come up with the device!” Famosa tucked the gun into his belt and jogged after his terrified men. Tapping brought up the rear.

Dawson emerged from the trees first and watched the Cuban making his retreat. “Whoa, now that wasn’t a move I was expecting! I thought we were dead for sure!”

“Nah,” Jack cooed, “I’m sure they just finally realized who they were dealing with!”

Dawson cocked a brow. “What?”

“Dangerous Dalton, that’s what! They knew I had them right where I wanted them, eh, Mac me boyo?”

MacGyver appeared and grimaced. “It’s great that we didn’t end up dead, but we still don’t have time to joke. Famosa still has Tapping with him, and if we allow them to get away, then the world still isn’t a safe place.” He slid his knife back in his pocket and bit his lip.

“This is the part where you say something profound and very, very stupid, like we have to stop them, right?” Jack screwed up his face in a wince that could have won a prize.

“How?” Dawson didn’t sound against the idea, but her expression said she didn’t think it was possible. “They have guns; we have a pocket knife and a pilot with a big mouth!”

“I resemble that remark, madam,” Jack chuckled then looked at his friend more seriously. “Mac, she has a point, but that isn’t going to stop you, is it?”

“They’re headed for Famosa’s yacht,” MacGyver pondered out loud. “If we stay on the island, their weapons can’t touch us, but we can touch them.” He hunkered down to the disemboweled torpedo. “I think we should put this puppy back together and fire it at them. I can lower the amount of explosives to hopefully do minimal damage, just enough to stop them without hurting anyone until Pete gets here with help.”

“We can’t fire a torpedo from land!” Dawson had a hand on her hip, and she was obviously frustrated.

Mac ignored her and stared at Jack. “No, but we could drop it from a plane, like it was intended.”

“Ugh, no we can’t.” Jack took off his cap and mopped his brow. “I told you Famosa’s people spotted me? Well they opened fire, took out my flaps. I think they bust the cable control. I can whiz around on the ocean all day long, but I can’t take off, and if I could, I wouldn’t be able to land without stalling.”

“MacGyver looked at the rotting torpedo plane. “You’re plane is how old?”

Jack looked terrified and held up his hands. “Oh no! You’re not fitting things off a crashed bird on to my baby! It’s bad luck! I’m bound to crash again!”

“You always do anyway…” Mac shook his head, then turned to Dawson. “Get back to the clearing, make sure all of Famosa’s people are gone, and get McKenna and the crews. I need the explosives I planted on the machine, and something that uses battery power, a radio maybe. This type of torpedo used batteries, and they’re gonna be flat. I’ll start getting the torpedo back together ready, and then the cables from the plane for Jack’s.”

Dawson nodded and jogged away without questioning MacGyver’s wild plan. Jack was conservative. “I’m so not flying that puppy, no siree! Not here in the Devil’s playground! And anyway, what about a release mechanism? We don’t have time to strip that off this wreck as well.” He leaned over, examining the equipment he was talking about. It was rusty and bent.

“I’ll use the release bracket from this, but someone will have to be under your plane on one of the floats to drop the torpedo manually…” Mac worked as he talked, screwing back the innards of the torpedo. Once he could do no more without the Torpex, he moved to the underside of the bomber and began unscrewing the release mechanism with his knife. It was hard going due to the corrosion, and his hands slipped several times, skinning his knuckles.

“Whoa…I’ve changed my mind,” Jack cooed. “I’ll do the flying, I’ll risk my neck, but on the inside.”

Mac frowned as a screw decided to be stubborn. “Start stripping the flap cables, we might need to shorten them, or maybe even join one.”

By the time we’ve done all this, Famosa and his goons will be long gone anyway!” Jack seemed to get some comfort from the thought, took of his leather jacket and set to work.

MacGyver decided it was wise not to mention that Famosa’s yacht was still struggling to steer after his earlier sabotage, and would probably still be in range even in an hour or two.

* * * *

Fixing the torpedo to run on the batteries Dawson had managed to conjure had been relatively easy, but fixing Jack’s plane hadn’t been so simple. The bracket for the torpedo to drop from had to be modified to work without a cable, and as MacGyver had feared, someone was going to have to ride under the plane to release it.

Thankfully, Famosa had left an abundance of tools to work with from his failed project, and Mac had been able to use wood from nearby trees to pack under the bracket to make it low enough to ride on the belly of the Cessna. Mac was not, however, looking forward to sitting on the pontoon while Jack flew the thing, but he doubted there would be any other volunteers.

The final, and hardest job, was getting the flaps on the Cessna operational again. It was an old model, almost vintage, but there were still massive differences in design to the warplane he was plagiarizing for parts.

The control cables were simply too short, and that meant stretching them beyond their limits to fit. To make it happen, Mac had jury-rigged some ropes onto a nearby tree, along with half of McKenna’s crew tugging on them while he affixed the ends, but how long it lasted before snapping was anyone’s guess. He hadn’t told Dalton about that small fact, or he doubted Jack would have taken off. He was crazy, but maybe not that crazy.

Mac wiped a greasy hand across his brow as he slid in the last screw and tightened it down on the wing. He realized he had oil on his forehead, and wiped it away with a rag Dawson provided. The work had taken over two hours. Just how far could Famosa get in that time?

“Jack are you ready?” Mac stood up, tossed down the rag and eyed the bobbing pontoon he was about to ride on distastefully.

“Err nope,” Jack answered honestly. “Of all the crazy things I’ve gotten you into, I don’t think one has ever been this nuts. You owe me for this one, kemo sabe!” His moustache twitched to say he was in a playful mood.

“Just get in and fly will you? We can talk about how much this is going to cost me in pranks later…” Mac smiled and grabbed a small section of rope, tying himself to the outrigger that held the pontoon, just as a precaution.

Dawson shook her head. “I can’t believe you’re doing this!”

Mac scowled. “Neither can I, but how else do we stop Famosa and Tapping causing a global catastrophe?”

Dawson didn’t an answer, or if she did, it was drowned as Jack fired up the plane’s ancient engine and powered up for take of. The flaps on the wings moved up and down as he tested MacGyver’s handiwork, and then he opened up the throttles.

The little red patched up Cessna began to move, gathering speed as it bobbed on the perfect blue waves. Within seconds, it had enough lift and soared upwards, making Mac’s stomach lurch as he saw the sea beneath him begin to grow small and insignificant.

Jack had his door propped open, so they could communicate somewhat, even over the sputtering Continental motor.

“Can you see them yet?” Mac shouted, holding tight onto the strut as he spoke, the wind puckering his cheeks and chilling them.

“I see something on the horizon, and it ain’t the Coast Guard,” Jack answered with a yell. He grinned, as if he was suddenly having fun, and pulled down his goggles. “Let’s party!”

He dived the plane a little, turning the nose to match the direction their target was traveling. Famosa’s yacht grew from a pinprick in their vision to a discernable ship quite quickly.

“That’s them,” MacGyver confirmed, noting a helicopter on the aft section’s mini landing pad. It looked like Ramirez had joined the party, despite Famosa trying to get away from him. I wonder what’s going on down there? Would the two bad guys be arguing, or plotting a new strategy with Tapping’s help?

As he spoke, the helicopter’s rotors began to spin, and as Jack turned the Cessna for his torpedo run, it took off, heading south.

“Now what?” Jack bellowed, gripping the yoke a little too tightly for Mac’s comfort.

“Stick with the yacht.” MacGyver pointed downwards, just in case his friend hadn’t made out his response.

Dalton nodded and push the controls forwards, putting the plane into a small dive. He gave the thumbs up that Mac was now in control of what happened next.

Mac swallowed hard and took the screwdriver from his pocket. He slid it into the mechanism, pushing the spring back by hand that normally a cable would control. The torpedo didn’t move.

MacGyver pushed harder until the muscles in his shoulder ached with the exertion. The spring popped, and the ancient torpedo fell into the air, dropping harshly into the water below.

But would the makeshift battery power it to the yacht, and would it even explode?

Mac squinted, trying desperately to see beneath the waves, but even here in this perfect ocean, it was impossible. Seconds ticked by, then finally Dalton spotted what they were looking for.

“There! It’s heading right for the hull! You got ‘em Mac!”

MacGyver’s eyes found the torpedo just as it impacted with thousands of dollars worth of prime wood. At this height, he couldn’t hear the sound of the damage, or even the pop of the small explosion caused by his toned down Torpex, but he could see the water gushing into the newly-made hole.

Satisfied his work on the pontoon was over, Mac untied himself and climbed into the cockpit beside Dalton. He put on a headset to talk. “Okay, now we need to find that helicopter and follow it! Tapping could be onboard!”

Jack instantly looked horrified. “Are you kidding me? With this duck taped masterpiece of yours?” He nodded down, indicating the Cessna. “We’ll be lucky to set this down without imploding!”

Something beneath him twanged, as if it had heard him.

MacGyver rolled his eyes. “Aww, now why’d you have to go and say something like that?” He groaned.

Jack tried the flaps.

Nothing happened.

“I err, think your newly-made flap cable just left the building,” Jack informed. “And given the angle they’re currently at, we’re gonna stall this puppy mid-air if I try to land. Put simply, our goose is cooked, yet again.” He wiggled his brows. “But hey, I’ve got you onboard, so I’m not scared, right?”

MacGyver exhaled. “You do have parachutes?”

Jack blinked and his eye twitched. “Are you kidding? Of course I got parachutes! They’re right behind your seat! I paid good money for them in a Cuban market when I bought this flying masterpiece.”

Somehow, MacGyver wasn’t comforted. He pushed off his seat, inspecting what was behind it. After a little rummaging, he came across two brown, very dirty packs. He inspected them with disdain. “Jack….these are empty, there’s no canvas, no silk, no cables, no nothing! They’re full of newspaper! And the harness on this one is rat-eaten…”

“Oh boy…guess I should have looked instead of taking that ten-year-old kid at his word, huh?” Jack pulled his goggles back onto his cap. “But look on the bright side! They weigh a whole lot less!”

Mac tossed the packs out the open door and glanced into the back where Jack had removed the seats to carry cargo. There were several boxes, and they weren’t all labeled the same. “What else you got back here?”

“Just some backpacks, dog food, oh, and a whole bunch of party balloons!” Jack grimaced. “Not very helpful, huh?”

Mac thought about it, then began unpacking the boxes. When he came to the balloons, he stopped, realizing they were quite large, and there were canisters of helium to inflate them. He smiled, and Jack frowned.

“I know that look,” Jack said worriedly, “you have some kinda crazy plan forming, dontcha me boy?”

“I’m thinking maybe we could tie a whole bunch of the balloons to a backpack each and jump out of the plane.” MacGyver began filling balloons while he talked, not wasting any time.

Dalton looked horrified. “Mac, do you realize just how many balloons it would take to lift us? Have you ever heard of such a thing as terminal velocity? Even if we jump over the ocean, the force we’ll hit the water with will squish us at this height!” He clapped both his hands together for effect. “Like a bug hitting a windshield,” he explained a little too graphically.

“Oh, it would take around six thousand balloons each,” Mac said as if he hadn’t a care in the world.

“Six thousand! I don’t have that many balloons, or enough helium!” Jack started to fidget with the controls as if sheer willpower could fix them.

“Will you relax?” Mac stopped working and stared at his friend. “We don’t need to take off, or float, we just need these things to slow our decent enough to give us a bit softer impact with the ocean, okay?”

Jack thought about. “MacGyver, did I ever tell you I love you and your crazy ideas?” He grabbed a pack and started fastening the inflated balloons to it like a harness while keeping the yoke steady with his knees. It was an unsightly, but necessary combination.

Once all the balloons were gone, and the gas cylinders empty, Mac looked over to his friend. “I guess this was my idea, I better go first.” He took a long, deep breath. Heights weren’t his thing anyway, but jumping from a plane with just balloons to slow his decent was making him feel very uncomfortable.

Jack patted him on the shoulder. “I’d love to say I’ll do it but…” he smiled playfully. “I’d hate to rain on your parade.”

“Thanks, I think.” Mac shot Jack a look and then moved to the open door. He needed to be careful as he stepped to the edge. If he trapped his creation and burst any balloons, the impact with the water would be a very unpleasant one. Under his breath, he took a small prayer, closed his eyes, and then pushed away from the moving Cessna.

The tumbling effect was instant. It was nothing like the graceful decent of a skydiver, and as the wind battered his cheeks, MacGyver had to wonder if his idea had any credibility at all. He felt his limbs yanked backwards by the force of gravity as he plummeted to the ocean below. And somewhere in his mind, he hoped Sam would forgive him for taking this assignment if things didn’t work out.

Seconds later, he hit the water – to MacGyver, it felt like he’d hit a brick wall, but at least a very slightly cushioned brick wall. He gasped, attempting to take down air, and instantly gulped down sea water. For a moment, disorientated, he floundered, splashing wildly with his arms until his confused brain could catch up with his body.

Mac spat out the water, calmed himself and did a mental checklist of his body. Everything seemed to be working, and nothing appeared broken, which meant his balloon decent had worked. He was going to be bruised and battered for a few days, but alive to tell the tale.

He began to tread water while pulling off the impromptu parachute, but was interrupted by a wild cry from above.

“Geronimo!”

Mac looked up just in time to see Jack Dalton hurtling towards him. He kicked away, attempting to avoid the tumbling pilot, but it was too late. Jack splashed down right on top of him. The tangle of limbs was short lived as Mac pushed him off.

“Will you get your own place! Sheesh, you’re not satisfied with invading my apartment. There’s a whole ocean to land in, and you crash in my spot!” MacGyver feigned anger as he swam backwards through the waves and spotted a ship approaching with U.S. Navy colors. Finally, Pete’s cavalry was arriving.

Jack didn’t see it. He was too busy grumbling. “Hey! This was your crazy idea. How can I help it if some of my balloons went south on me? I think you kept the best ones for yourself. You know that time when I thought I was dying? Well plummeting from the heavens just now brought it right on back to me…and not in a good way. I think you owe me a beer, or maybe a meal…or maybe even a plane!” He looked up to see the Cessna still airborne in the distance. It would carry on that way until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea.

Mac gave in, just a little. “I’ll spot you for a beer,” he agreed. “But I think it’s safer if you never own a plane again, like ever!”

Jack thought about it, then cocked his head as he splashed around clumsily. “You know what, Mac me boy? I think you actually might be right....” He remained quiet for a fifth of a second, then grinned. “Maybe I’d be better with a boat!”

* * * *

U.S.S. Barry
One hour later…

MacGyver slowly sipped his cocoa as he listened to Pete talking on a satellite phone. Pete wasn’t happy, and neither were the U.S. government. While MacGyver had stopped Famosa with his homemade explosives, Ramirez had escaped in his helicopter, taking Tapping with him.

Pete finally set the phone down and exhaled. “Well, that was one strange call,” he informed. “Ramirez and Tapping have vanished into thin air.”

Mac nodded. He’d expected as much. They would probably go to ground for some time before trying again with the device. “I pretty much expected it,” he said with a sigh. “They’ll be back, and much more dangerous.”

Pete shook his head. “No, I don’t mean they’re in hiding somewhere, they literally vanished! According to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard tracking and radar, they just disappeared somewhere north of Bermuda.” He clicked his fingers together. “Gone, just like that.”

“Equipment error, or maybe some kind of cloaking device?” MacGyver pondered. “I mean, these people are stealing on the edge technology, maybe they’re using it too?”

“Or maybe they really just vanished?” Dawson, who until now had remained silent, chipped in. “I was never a believer of the whole triangle legend, but…” she pulled the book from her pocket that she’d taken from the dead body on the island. “I guess this is from that downed plane we found…” She handed it to Mac. “I found a skeleton; it must have been the pilot. Bermuda didn’t bring him anything for sure.”

MacGyver opened the faded leather binding to look at the browned and fragile pages. What he saw was intriguing, and gave more questions than answers, about the plane, and the book’s original owner. “This doesn’t explain anything about the downed plane’s crew,” he informed with a frown. “And it brings up a very old mystery…”

Pete and Dawson were both intrigued and sat forwards. Jack Dalton apparently remained uninterested as he gulped down coffee and cookies in the corner, crumbs flying everywhere and sticking in his moustache.

“This isn’t a pilot’s log,” MacGyver continued. “It’s a captain’s log. It’s George Worley’s…” he paused, and when no one commented continued. “He was the commanding officer on the U.S.S. Cyclops.”

Dawson instantly recognized the name. “My God, people have wondered for years what happened to her! She’s part of the whole “Triangle” mystery!”

Mac nodded. “The log doesn’t give any answers. Worley stopped making entries the day she vanished, but it does confirm she still had engine trouble, and that she was low in the water.”

“So you think that’s why she sank, and not anything supernatural?” Pete concluded. “And as the body was on the island, she must have gone down close to here. You know, this would be something Phoenix would love to investigate!”

Finally, Jack awoke from his food induced stupor. “Oh no! Count me out, No sir, I am so not getting involved in anything else out here. In fact, every time I get involved with anything to do with Phoenix, I lose my plane!” He stopped, rammed in a cookie and then looked at MacGyver who was smiling. “Mac, don’t you dare!”

“C’mon, Jack, don’t you want to know what really happened out here? Maybe we could even find the remains of the wreck!” MacGyver was genuinely interested. If there was anything he loved, it was solving puzzles, and this was a big one.

Jack stubbornly turned away, scowling as a junior officer from the bridge entered the room. “Excuse me,” he apologized, “but there’s a message for Mr. MacGyver.” He handed over a white folded paper and waited. “Shall I send a reply, Sir?”

Mac opened the paper and read it, then looked back up with a smile. “Reply that I’d love to, and I’ll be there soon.”

The officer nodded and retreated.

“Sorry, Pete, that’s from an old friend of mine, Paul Moran,” Mac apologized. “He wants me to shoot over to the U.K. for a party he’s throwing. We’ve been through a lot together, especially climbing. I can’t refuse.”

Pete nodded. “I remember Paul. Looks like you’re off to England instead of another Bermuda stay then. We can always put this on the backburner until you return.”

Mac smiled. “I’d like that.” He glanced at Dalton. “Maybe I’ll even be able to convince Jack by then!”

Jack scowled. “Buddy, don’t bet on it, even I’m not that crazy..!”

The End

 

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