Episode 816b: Depths of Survival (Part 2)

by Bev Tiffany with Judi Ramsey - Part 1 of 5

Phelps couldn't help an occasional glance at MacGyver. Mac was quiet as they drove through the heavy freeway traffic. His attention seemed to be on the passing scenery. Once again he wondered if MacGyver had used heroin. If he has, it must be just enough to stave off the withdrawal symptoms, he thought.

His guess was correct. Mac had opted for the smaller dose, knowing it would allow him to function normally, but deny him the high. He planned on doubling it before bed, with the hope he could have a full night's sleep without waking with a craving.

MacGyver had noticed that gradually the amount he needed for the high had increased. This meant the dose for "his functioning" needs was also getting larger. The thought registered in his mind, but was filed away for later consideration. Right now, staying awake and trying to think clearly while being interviewed by the police were his primary concerns.

"Penny for your thoughts, MacGyver." Phelps's comment intruded on MacGyver's reverie.

"Oh, I don't think they'd be worth that much. I was just . . . admiring the scenery." Mac nodded at the mall they were passing. Phelps smiled as he took the exit ramp.

"Captain Murphy's been handling your case. I understand you know her."

"Kate? She's a captain now? I didn't know that." Mac's attention was back on the scene outside the car windows. He remained silent as Phelps pulled into a parking place in front of the police station and they went inside.

"MacGyver!" Kate Murphy nodded a dismissal to the officer she'd been speaking with and hurried in their direction.

"Kate. Or should I call you Captain?" MacGyver smiled gently as he returned her hug.

"For you, Kate will be fine. You don't know how relieved I was to hear that you were okay. You are okay, aren't you?" She pulled away to look him over.

"I'm fine, Kate. Can we get this over with, please? I have a lot of catching up to do."

"Sure, Mac. Let's use my office. It's not much, but it might be a little more comfortable than an interrogation room." She led them up the steps and through a busy squad room to a corner office. "Swenson, my office," Kate yelled before following Mac and Phelps through the door.

MacGyver sat on a couch, stretched his long legs out, and crossed his ankles. "I don't remember seeing one of these in the other rooms."

Phelps had chosen a wooden chair across the room. He could keep an eye on MacGyver from here without being obvious. They all watched a short, slightly overweight, middle-aged man enter the office, shutting the door behind him.

"Mac, this is Lieutenant Al Swenson. He's the one I assigned to your case. I'd like him to be in on this, if you don't mind."

Swenson offered his hand to MacGyver as he settled himself on the couch beside him. "I'm glad to see you're okay. I'm sorry we couldn't find you, but there just weren't any clues. Maybe you can give us something to help us find these people."

"MacGyver couldn't tell us much," Phelps said.

Kate watched Mac drop his eyes and study a spot on his jeans' leg. "Mac, why don't you tell us what happened." They listened quietly as MacGyver repeated the story he'd told over breakfast.

"Pete Thornton thinks it may have something to do with the Wilkerson Enterprises hearing," Phelps added when Mac had finished. "MacGyver was working on it and was scheduled to testify. The case was thrown out yesterday."

"I remember hearing something about that on the news last night," Swenson said. "I suppose it's a place to start."

Kate turned to MacGyver. "You said you woke up in the room. What about when they released you? Did you get a look at the building? See anything of the area?"

Mac shook his head. "They must've drugged me. Something in my food I guess. I remember going to sleep. When I woke up, I was on my apartment steps."

Phelps smiled to himself. Apparently they moved him while he was on a heroin high he thought.

"Tell me about the room," Kate prompted.

"It was impossible to get out of." Mac told them about the room he'd been held in. "I tried everything I could think of. I just didn't have anything to use." Kate knew MacGyver's keen mind and ability to get out of tight spots. She could imagine how hard it was for him to admit that he'd been unable to free himself in this situation.

"Okay, Mac, we'll start working the Wilkerson angle. Why don't you look through the books and see if you can't match some shots to faces?" Captain Murphy stood to end the meeting.

"If I can use one of your computers and that program I put on your system, I can give you those faces. It will be a lot quicker than looking through all the mug shots," Mac suggested.

Kate smiled. "Lieutenant, find MacGyver a terminal."

***

Phelps had sat beside MacGyver, watching him construct the faces of his guards. Now he sat across the room, sipping a cup of hot coffee. He wasn't concerned with the men being identified. The Alliance had used their own talent. These men had been brought in from far away for this particular job. He was sure they were no longer anywhere near the L.A. area and probably on an extended assignment in another part of the world by now.

His main concern was MacGyver. It was nearly four hours since he'd picked MacGyver up and he was sure the heroin craving would be baring its teeth soon. As he watched, Mac scrubbed both hands through his hair, then held his head for a moment. He rubbed his eyes and blinked several times to clear them. Phelps decided it was time to get his charge home.

"You okay, Mac?" Captain Murphy seemed to appear out of nowhere as Phelps reached MacGyver's side.

Mac nodded and hit the print key. "Yeah, here's the last one." He stood and shoved his hands in his pockets as he glanced nervously around the busy room.

"Mac, what did they say when you were checked at the hospital?" Kate was watching him with a worried expression.

"Nothing . . . I wasn't . . . I'm fine, just tired." Mac was surveying the room. "I'm not used to so much activity. I guess I was alone for so long . . ." Mac shrugged.

Phelps stepped between MacGyver and Kate. "I'll take him home. I'm sure he'll be fine with a little rest."

Reluctantly, Kate stepped aside. "I'll be in touch, Mac. Call if you remember anything else." She watched the two men leave, a worried look in her eyes.

MacGyver wasn't as still on the ride home. It seemed he couldn't find a comfortable position and the scenery no longer held his attention.

"How about stopping for something to eat, MacGyver? You didn't eat much breakfast. You must be hungry."

"No!" Phelps wanted to chuckle at the vehement answer. "I'm not hungry, I'd just like to go home."

There was no more conversation. When they reached MacGyver's apartment, Phelps nodded at the curt "Thank you" and watched MacGyver take his steps two at a time. He decided a phone call would be warranted in about an hour. By then, the craving would be full-blown.

The phone was ringing as Mac entered the apartment. He listened as the answering machine came on, then Sam's voice. "Hi, Dad. I've got an appointment I have to keep. I thought I'd pick up some Chinese for dinner. I'll be there around eight. See you later."

Mac looked at his watch. It was seven p.m. With the gnawing pain he had, there was no way he could put off his fix. He sat on his bed as he prepared the heroin, using the smaller dose again. Looks like I'm not going to bed very early he thought as he injected the drug. The pain quickly disappeared as MacGyver cleared the evidence of his addiction away.

He flopped on the couch, picked up the TV remote and settled down to watch some television while he waited for Sam. He was totally absorbed in a cable news channel when the phone rang.

"Is everything all right? You seemed a little out of sorts when I dropped you off," Phelps asked after Mac's hello.

"I'm fine. I guess I was just overly tired."

"Okay. I'll talk to you later." Phelps was grinning as he turned off his cell phone. He had no doubt that MacGyver had used the heroin.

***

Sam arrived a little after eight, apologizing for being late. "The restaurant was busy. I should've called in the order."

"No problem. You're not that late." MacGyver was checking the sacks, opening containers and inspecting the contents. He suddenly realized he was hungry and the smell from the array of boxes was making his mouth water.

Sam joined him, plates and silverware in hand. He watched his father fill his plate and smiled when he took an especially large serving of the chicken broccoli.

MacGyver opened a packet of soy sauce and squirted it over his meal. He took his plate and fork and settled in the corner of the couch.

Sam filled his own plate and sat in the chair across from Mac. MacGyver was eating quickly. Sam watched for a moment, finally catching his father's attention.

"Great idea, Sam. Getting oriental. It tastes good," MacGyver said around a mouthful.

"I guess you didn't get Chinese for any of your meals, huh." Sam had meant it in a teasing way. He was completely unprepared for the reaction.

MacGyver stopped eating and stared at his son, his eyes blank. A look of confusion moved over his face. His comfortable living room disappeared and was replaced by a bright, white, barren room. Can anyone hear me? I'm hungry! I want some food!

"Dad?" MacGyver shook his head, chasing the vision away. Sam was beside him now, his hand on Mac's arm, concern in his eyes. "Is something wrong?"

"No. It was just a . . . it's gone now." Mac looked at Sam's untouched dinner. "Eat, before your food gets cold." Sam moved back to the chair, but kept an eye on his father while he ate. Now MacGyver was picking at his food and when Sam finished, Mac had barely eaten half of what he'd taken.

MacGyver had found the Kings hockey game on TV and appeared to be watching it, but Sam could tell his mind was elsewhere. He'd set his plate beside him and seemed to have forgotten about it.

"Dad, you finished?" Sam had to ask the question twice before MacGyver answered.

"Yeah, I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach," he said with an embarrassed look as he handed the unfinished meal to Sam. I don't understand . . . I was so hungry. Now I feel sick from eating too much. Why? The heroin? It's never done this to me before.

Mac tried to concentrate on the game, but had a hard time erasing the image of the room from his mind and hearing himself begging for food. He was so hungry he felt faint, but the Voice would tell him he'd just eaten and it wasn't time for his next meal. Why couldn't he remember eating?

MacGyver focused on the cheers coming from the TV. The Kings had scored. He used the replay to push the memories away. From the corner of his eye, he could see Sam settling himself in the chair, his eyes on him. He smiled at his son. "Kings are ahead now."

"Great." Sam continued to watch him.

Mac turned back to the game. His stomach was demanding his attention. It hurt and MacGyver felt the beginnings of nausea. For a moment he panicked. There was no way he could be having withdrawal, the last shot he'd taken should hold him till midnight. Mac moved uncomfortably and doubled over as a pain shot through him. Suddenly he ran for the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.

Sam remained in the chair until MacGyver emerged, pale and shaky. He stood and blocked his father's way. "Dad, I'm taking you to the hospital. You need to be checked."

"No. I'll be all right. The food was just a little too rich for me. I haven't been eating much." Mac paused. "I mean anything like this, it was all kind of . . . bland," he added when he saw Sam's look. "I think I just ate too much, too fast. My stomach wasn't ready for it." MacGyver gently moved his son out of his way and sat on the couch.

Sam sat beside him. "I'm not going to argue with you. You're coming with me . . ."

"Sam, please. I'm very tired. I'll be fine; all I need is some sleep." He saw the skeptical look on his son's face. "I'll tell you what, tomorrow is Sunday. Let me have the day to sleep. If I'm not feeling better on Monday, I'll make an appointment with the doctor at Phoenix. Okay?" Sam agreed reluctantly.

The next couple of hours were quiet. Neither MacGyver nor Sam said much, even when Mac had to make another running trip to the bathroom. Sam was silent as MacGyver settled himself on the couch. He didn't like his father's paleness and the exhaustion that was stamped on Mac's features. Sam had a myriad of questions he wanted to ask about the past month, but something told him this wasn't a good time.

Finally, when the hockey game ended and the news came on, Sam spoke. "Dad, why don't you go to bed? You've been fighting to stay awake and I think you're losing the battle."

MacGyver's mind was fuzzy with the lack of sleep; it took it a moment to digest what Sam said. "Sounds like a good idea. I'm going to sleep in tomorrow. I'll call you when I get up."

"That's okay, Dad. I'll just sleep here on your couch." Sam didn't feel good about leaving MacGyver alone at the moment.

"No, you'll sleep better in your own bed. Go home."

"But you're sick and . . . "

MacGyver interrupted. "I'm okay now." Mac stood and pulled Sam into a hug. "Honest, I'm all right. Go home."

Sam returned the embrace. He feels so thin. Why didn't I notice it last night? "Okay. But if you need anything, I'm only a few blocks away. It won't take me long to get here."

MacGyver pulled away and looked at his son, a small smile on his lips. "I know. I'll call if I need you. Promise." He put his arm across Sam's shoulders as they walked to the door. "Thanks, son." Mac watched him descend the stairs and waved in return to Sam's farewell gesture.

Mac shut and locked the door, then rested his head against it. He really felt lousy, but he didn't want his son sleeping on the couch and making what Mac knew would be frequent checks on him. He sighed as he straightened. Although the nausea was gone his stomach ached, as did his body. A part of his mind still wondered why the dinner had made him so violently ill, but the fog in his brain refused to let him think about it.

MacGyver turned out the lights and headed for the bedroom. His bed called with promises of warmth, softness, and sleep. Mac sat on it and pulled off his shoes, dropping them beside the table. Something on the floor caught his eye and he picked it up. The alcohol wipe had apparently escaped when he'd cleaned up from his last fix. He checked his watch. He didn't have any symptoms of need, but it had been about four hours since he'd used the drug. MacGyver was aware his body would start demanding another fix shortly and he had no desire to be awakened by that demand.

Mac sighed as he stood and turned the bedcovers back. He stripped, dropping his clothes in a pile on the floor. The only answer, he decided, was using the heroin now. He gathered what he needed and sat on the edge of the bed.

MacGyver stared at the packet of white powder for a moment. Although he'd gone many times in great need of a fix, he couldn't remember ever using it before he felt the hunger. The possibility of an overdose bothered him. Finally, he lit the candle, opened the packet and carefully poured three- fourths of it into the spoon. Even when he was in full-blown withdrawal, he was heedful of the precious powder, being certain he didn't waste any by missing the spoon. He held it over the flame, watched as the powder turned to a milky-white liquid. He filled the syringe, blew out the candle and selected a vein, one in his left foot where he didn't need to use the tourniquet. Mac cleaned the area, inserted the needle, and pushed against the plunger. He smiled as the warmth began to travel through him, even before the syringe was empty.

When MacGyver pulled the needle from his foot, he laid it on the table. He knew he should clear away the items, but he could already feel the high pouring through his body. He turned off the lamp and settled himself on the bed, pulling the covers over him. He'd take care of it in the morning. Now he just wanted to enjoy the comfort the heroin gave him and get some sleep.

***

MacGyver moaned when the ringing refused to stop. For a moment he had a hard time separating the dream from the waking. He willed an eyelid open and squinted at the clock. Almost seven a.m. and sunshine was working its way around the cracks in the blinds. The telephone continued to ring and Mac groped for the receiver.

"'ello."

"Did I wake you? I thought you were always an early riser, MacGyver."

Mac groaned. "What do you want, Phelps?"

"I thought we could meet for breakfast, discuss what you remember about the last month."

"I told you what I remembered, yesterday," MacGyver said through clenched teeth. "I'm tired. I want to sleep." Mac ended any further discussion when he dropped the receiver back on the cradle. His hand brushed something, knocking it to the floor. He looked over the edge of the bed . . . a syringe. The sight of it brought the events of last evening flooding back.

MacGyver laid back on the pillow and threw his arm over his eyes to block out the bright morning sunlight that fell across his bed. He could remember waking from the dreams the high had given him, then sleeping again. There were remnants of dreams floating around his mind now, disturbing and confusing, unlike the more pleasurable ones the heroin gave him. He'd been in the midst of one of these when the phone had awakened him, but it was quickly fading and Mac decided he was still too tired to bother with it. Besides, he needed to use the bathroom.

Mac groaned as he threw his legs over the side of the bed and sat. He held his head for a moment, waiting for the strength to stand. Will I ever feel rested again? Why am I so tired? He stood and shuffled to the bathroom, ignoring his reflection in the mirror.

When he came back to the bedroom, MacGyver leaned against the doorjamb for a moment. He covered a yawn as he looked at the bed, then at the reminders of his most recent high. He wanted to sleep, but the thought of the fix was also appealing. Maybe just a half and then a nap. The idea brought a smile. Mac got a fresh syringe and a smaller packet, his mind noticing he was almost out of the drug. Have to remember to call Manny and set up a buy for later today. The thought seemed natural to him.

He'd cleared the table and was on his way back to bed when a thought stopped him. What if Phelps calls again? The idea made him groan. He turned off the bedside phone and padded down the hallway to the answering machine. He yawned as he turned the machine on and went back to his bed. He pulled the sheet over his head to block out the sunlight and fell asleep.

***

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/