Episode 816a: Depths of Survival (Part 1)

by Bev Tiffany with Judi Ramsey - Part 1 of 5

"Freeze!" The shouted command had an instant effect. MacGyver felt his blood obey at once. Aw man! Now what?

"Drop the light and put your hands on top of your head!"

Mac let the flashlight fall, wincing as he heard it work its way through the innards of the automobile and crash to the pavement. He obediently laid his hands on his head, interlacing his fingers. The voice was female. Police? He was tempted to turn and see who was barking orders at him.

"Spread your feet and lean forward."

He changed his mind and complied with the order. Police!

***

This hadn't been the best of days. MacGyver had asked for a day off, to make it a long weekend. Working with Craig Phelps and trying to put some kind of sense to the changes at the Phoenix Foundation was beginning to tax Mac's nerves. He hoped a quiet weekend would help him see things a little clearer when he returned to work on Monday.

MacGyver had planned a couch potato day, relax in his apartment, maybe enjoy the new book he'd bought a month ago and still hadn't found time to read. With Sam out of town on assignment, Mac's time was his own. When he answered the phone, his mind was already busy planning out the day. Read for a while, maybe watch a little TV . . .

"MacGyver, I'm glad I caught you in." Markham's voice made Mac groan as he plopped on the couch. I knew I should've turned on the answering machine. "I have an assignment for you."

"I thought this was supposed to be a day off for me. You know, a long weekend." Mac ran his hand through his hair.

"I know MacGyver, but this is important." Markham's voice was starting to get the "I am the boss" edge to it.

Mac sighed. "So just what is this important assignment."

"The military have called a last minute meeting at Camp Pendleton. Something to do with the Eagletree project you've been working on. I need you at that meeting."

"What about Phelps? He's been as involved as I have."

"I have something else for him. You're the one I want there, MacGyver."

"I don't have any transportation. I dropped the Jeep off at a garage last night." Mac was willing to try anything to escape the torment of the drive to the base and a frustrating meeting with the government people and military.

"Garage? I thought you did all your own work?" The surprise was evident in Markham's voice.

"I do, but I've been looking forward to this long weekend. I didn't want to spend most of it tearing the Jeep apart." Mac hoped Markham caught the hint. When there was only silence on the other end of the receiver, he sighed again. "Okay I'll go, but I need some wheels."

That hadn't been a problem. By the time MacGyver finished his shower and shave, a Phoenix car was parked in front of his apartment. Mac groaned as he slid behind the wheel. Compact! He adjusted the seat back as far as it would go and tried to sit comfortably in the small space. The motor made an ominous sound as it started, but Mac ignored it as he tried to arrange his long frame with little leg room. As always, the freeway traffic was heavy and he'd barely made the meeting on time. As he'd suspected, it was long and boring. By the time MacGyver left the base, darkness was descending.

He'd driven about an hour and a half when the motor started acting up. Mac shook his head. Why me? The next exit off the freeway was Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach and Mac babied the recalcitrant car off the freeway, finally coasting to a stop. The street he found himself on was poorly lit, the occasional street lights giving off a dim glow. He'd grabbed the flashlight and had gotten the hood up when he was interrupted.

Now he felt someone behind him grab his interlaced fingers from the top of his head, squeezing them together. MacGyver winced as he felt his knuckles grind against each other. The officer leaned her body into him and spread his long legs further with her foot, throwing him even more off balance. She grabbed his right arm and brought it back behind him. The pain he felt in his wrist and shoulder made him attempt to rise up on his toes. He felt a handcuff close over his left wrist.

"What's this ab . . . ?"

"Shut up!" she ordered. She closed the handcuff over his right wrist.

She leaned into him again, pressing him closer to the car and searched his body for weapons. Mac felt her hand go in his pocket for his knife, then continue across his waist, up his chest, along his back, then start the search all over again on his left side. Finally, she moved away.

"Turn around." The order was a little softer now. MacGyver turned slowly.

"Since when do you handcuff and search someone who's trying to fix their car?" The words were spat out, his eyes sparking with anger in the dim glow of the streetlight. Before he could say more two police cruisers pulled up, the revolving lights on their tops throwing eerie patterns of light and shadow around them.

"Good job, Deane," one of the male officers said, taking MacGyver roughly by the elbow. "We'll take him in, you wait for the tow truck. After they get the car, come in and make out your report."

"Yes, sir." Mac caught sight of her ID badge when the cruiser's lights flashed across it. Judi Deane. He'd remember that name!

Mac had no choice but to walk to the cruiser. Officers had holds on both his arms pulling him along between them.

The flashing lights worked their magic and a crowd quickly gathered, pointing and talking among themselves. Mac felt his anger start to spill over. He fought against the hands that shoved him.

"Damn it, I haven't done anything!" he shouted, anger causing a surge of adrenaline to race through him. He struggled as hands pushed his head downward.

"Tell them that at the station. For now, get in!" A third pair of hands joined in and the combined strength was more than MacGyver could fight. He felt himself falling inward and he grunted as his head bounced off the wire cage that separated the front seat from the rear. His legs were forced in and he winced as his bad knee was wrenched. Mac struggled to right himself and gain some kind of comfortable position. A hand closed over his arm and MacGyver turned his head to see one of the officers settling himself beside him.

"You'd better settle down, if you know what's good for you."

"I was only . . . " Mac bit off the rest of the sentence, figuring it wouldn't make any difference. He laid his head against the back of the seat, feeling a dull ache on his forehead and a trickle of blood run down his face. It took him a few moments to catch his breath. He fought to push the anger away, trying to clear his mind to think.

The officer sitting next to him was reading him his rights. "You have the right . . . " Mac shut his mind to the familiar words, wondering what else could happen this day. "Okay, anything you want to say, Wenton?"

Wait a minute! What name had he called him? Wenton? "My name's MacGyver," Mac told the officer, lifting his head to look at him.

"Sure it is. Or maybe one of your other aliases." The officer kept his eyes straight ahead.

Mac let his head drop back, a heavy sigh going through him. He felt the anger boiling up again. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on keeping his breathing slow and even, pushing away the anger and the pain that was starting to travel up his arms and into his shoulders. He sat upright, kept his eyes closed and tried to settle into a position that took the pressure off his cuffed wrists. He closed his mind to the call that went over the radio informing them of his capture and destination. He shut his ears to the talk among the three officers that rode with him. He needed his mind clear if he was going to get himself out of this problem.

They emptied his pockets when they arrived at the station, tossing his Phoenix ID and driver's license aside. "My name's MacGyver! I work for the Phoenix Foundation! Check that ID, damn it!" he yelled as they pushed him into a small room. MacGyver rarely swore, but his patience was quickly evaporating.

They allowed him one quick phone call. He explained as best he could in the little time they gave him, and Pete promised to be there shortly. After the call, the cuffs were put back on and he was left alone in the interrogation room. He stared at the two-way mirror hoping whoever stood on the other side could feel the fullness of his wrath.

He fought the urge to stand and pace, needing some way to channel the nervous energy. With his hands immobilized behind him, he couldn't even play with the pencil that lay on the table. Frustrated, he kept his eyes on the mirror, willing his body to remain still.

His knee ached with an intensity that promised a few days of discomfort. MacGyver mentally chastised himself for not wearing the brace today. He hated the apparatus and the truth it forced him to face - he was getting older and didn't recover from his mishaps as quickly and completely as he used to. Realizing he'd be sitting most of the day, he'd opted not to use it. Unfortunately! The brace would have protected his knee and saved him pain.

As he tried to push the protesting knee from his mind, he became aware of his headache and the throbbing wound on his forehead. Mac sighed as he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror. The cut was crusted over with dry blood and a bruise was spreading out from it.

He concentrated so hard on remaining still, he was startled when the door opened. Mac swung hostile eyes to the rumpled man that stood in the doorway.

"Mr. MacGyver, I'm Lt. Thompson." He tossed MacGyver's Phoenix ID and driver's license on the table. "I'm sorry for this inconvenience," he apologized as he freed Mac's wrists from the cuffs.

"Wait . . . wait just a minute. Do you want to tell me what's going on here?" Mac rubbed his aching wrists.

"This was all a mistake. You're free to go."

"No!" MacGyver stood, shoving his belongings in his pocket. "You cuff me, push me around, search me, keep me in this room, still cuffed, without telling me why I'm being arrested, and then you say, "Sorry it's all a mistake'?!" He was pacing, finally able to rid his body of the tension that had built. "I don't think so! Haven't you ever heard of false arrest? I think I've got a right to know what's going on here."

"You were never actually booked . . . "

"Aw, c'mon! I suppose I got this from playing checkers with you guys!" Mac indicated the crusted-over cut on his forehead. He'd stopped pacing, his full attention on the man that stood by the table. Mac stood quietly, his dark eyes boring into the lieutenant's lighter ones as he waited for an explanation.

"Okay, I suppose you have a right to know," Thompson finally agreed, weariness in his voice. He dropped his eyes from the angry pair that still stared at him. "Sit down. I'll explain."

"No thanks. I think I'll stand for now." Mac stuck his thumbs in his jeans' pockets.

Thompson sighed, pulled out the chair, and sat. "There was a bank robbery earlier today. Some people were killed, including a couple of officers." He said it softly, sorrow tinging his voice.

"I'm sorry, but what does that have to do with me?" Mac asked, not satisfied with the answer.

"Your car matched the description of one of the get away vehicles. And you, . . . well, sort of match the description of one of the killers."

"Sort of?" MacGyver was pacing again. "I sort of match his description?"

"The car matched and it was dark," Thompson tried to explain.

"Why didn't they check my ID? They'd have known it wasn't me."

"We know who one of them is. He's good at changing his appearance and his name. With the match on the car they weren't taking any chances. We're close in the police community. When one of ours is killed, it affects all of us. It shouldn't have happened, but it did and all I can say is I'm sorry." The Lieutenant stood and pushed the chair back under the table. "You're free to go. You can pick up your belongings at the counter. Your car was towed, but I'll give you a ticket to get it out of the lot."

MacGyver stopped on his way out the door. "It doesn't run anyway. I was trying to fix it when I was so rudely interrupted. My friend's coming, I'll ride home with him." Mac had a hard time keeping his voice civil as the anger still boiled in him.

He stopped at the front counter and retrieved the brown envelope with the rest of his belongings. As he stuffed the miscellaneous items in his pocket, he glanced around. "Has a Pete Thornton been here looking for me?" he asked the officer behind the counter.

"No, sir. You can wait for him over there if you'd like." He indicated a row of chairs that lined the wall, most already filled with the various flotsam and jetsam of civilization.

"No, thanks," Mac said, giving him a look that said "Gee, thanks a lot!" He started toward the double doors, anxious to clear his head in the fresh air, when a shout stopped him.

"Hey Deane, telephone."

MacGyver scanned the rows of desks behind the counter and spotted a female officer picking up a receiver. He ducked around the counter, striding quickly to her desk.

Her eyes were on the report in front of her and she was completely unaware of him until she hung up the phone. Now she looked up, a question in her eyes. "Is there something I can help you with?" she asked.

"You don't even know who I am, do you? How many innocent people did you cuff and search tonight, Officer Deane?" Before he could say anything else a hand closed over his arm and he spun around, coming face to face with Pete.

"C'mon Mac, let's go." He tried to lead MacGyver away from the desk, but Mac pulled his arm free.

"No, Pete. I want to talk to Officer Deane!"

"Not now. I'm taking you home," Pete said softly, reaching for Mac's arm.

"Pete, I said . . . "

"I said we're going home, MacGyver. You're making a scene." The softness of Pete's voice broke through the anger and Mac stopped. He glanced around the large room finally aware of the attention the other officers were giving him. Mac sighed deeply and led Pete to the outer doors. They walked to the car in silence. Pete sat in the back with MacGyver.

"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked, after they'd ridden in silence for several miles.

"Not now. I just want to go home," Mac said quietly as he laid his head back and closed his eyes.

No more was said until they reached Mac's apartment. "Thanks for the ride, night." MacGyver closed the car door firmly and walked away.

***

End Part 1 - Go to Part 2

Story and original characters are copyright 1998 by Bev Tiffany with Judi Ramsey. MacGyver and related characters are the property of Paramount Pictures Television and Winkler/Rich Productions. This is a work of fan fiction and is not intended to infringe upon those rights.

Reproduction or redistribution of this story by any means, electronic or otherwise, is prohibited. This story is archived at the MacGyver Virtual Seasons Web site at http://macvs.awardspace.com/