MacGyver Virtual Season 10.8 - Louisiana Knights

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Sanguine
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MacGyver Virtual Season 10.8 - Louisiana Knights

Post by Sanguine » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:40 pm

Part One

1997


The Louisiana heat was a unique breed of swelter, he thought as he gazed out the windshield of the rusty F-150. The humidity, like a thick blanket, stretched lazily across the landscape. His black shirt clung tight to his muscled chest, and beads of sweat erupted everywhere his tanned skin was bare. He was driving too fast on the gravel road---suspension shaking, steering wheel vibrating like a jackhammer as chunks of limestone flew out from beneath the rumbling tires. Staticky strains of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" echoed from the old radio.

"I'm going to wake you up, old friend," he said in a low voice, chancing a glance at the schematic rolled up on the torn seat beside him. "I'll do whatever it takes."

*********************

MacGyver leaned back against the wall with a grin, the plastic payphone receiver warm against his cheek. He cast a glance around the Morial Convention Center, with all its hustle and bustle, as he waited for Pete Thornton to pick up the phone.

Finally, he heard the click of someone answering on the other end.

"Hello?" said Pete.
"Hey, Pete! I'm checking in, just like you asked. Everything's running smoothly so far. Most of the Phoenix stuff is already settled in. We're still waiting on some of the people from Knight Industries to get set up."
"Oh boy, am I glad to hear that. I've been working on this exposition for over a month! It's hard to believe it's finally coming all together. How's security looking?"
"All of our teams are in place and doing exactly what they're supposed to do, Pete. There's no reason to worry."
"You tell that to my ulcer." Pete chuckled before he turned serious again. "Devon Miles mentioned that he might be sending some of his own security down there, too. Have they shown up yet?"
"Not yet, but I'm keeping an eye out. You just take it easy, Pete. I'll call you right before we start to open the doors, okay?"
"All right, MacGyver." Then Pete chuckled again. "After all the things you've been dealing with for the past few months, I guess providing security for a technology expo should be a piece of cake, huh?"
"Pete, ya know I hate it when you say things like that," MacGyver said lightly. "I'll call you back in a little while. You just take it easy."
"I'll try."

After hanging up, MacGyver decided to take a little stroll through the expo. Booths were in various stages of set-up, with some barely touched and others that were already prepared for demonstrations. Futuristic and experimental tech was everywhere, with offerings from both the Phoenix Foundation and Knight Industries, along with a few others. Cyanobacteria-powered electrical generators, medical gadgets, advanced computers, and more covered the floor of the convention center.

MacGyver was grinning at a display that promised to showcase music from a Tesla coil when he heard a voice call his name---a voice he hadn't heard in a very long time.

"MacGyver? It is you! I knew it!"
"Kate? Kate Lafferty! I don't believe it!"
"You remember me!"

He grinned as the young girl---or young woman now, he corrected himself---charged at him and grabbed him in a hug. He'd seen her only once or twice over the past ten years, and she'd come a long way from being an insecure 15-year-old computer genius. The last he'd heard, she'd earned her third college degree and had been working on various cybernetics projects for both nonprofit companies and the very same branch of the Department of Defense whose systems she'd once hacked into.

"I almost didn't recognize you," he said. "Your hair is so much longer now!"
"I've been growing it out," she said with a grin. "I'm not sure if I want to keep it, though. It gets in my eyes. Well, I guess I'm not so much an ugly duckling anymore, am I?"
"You never were," Mac replied solemnly. "So how have you been? What are you into now? Is one of your projects here at the expo?"

Kate gestured across the conference center proudly. "Yeah, we're setting up back there. I got a position with Knight Industries, and we've been working on some of the most advanced cybernetics in the world. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff we've created! My team has made some incredible breakthroughs in computing and artificial intelligence." Then she grinned, leaned in, and lowered her voice. "Of course, everyone keeps whispering these rumors that Knight has some even more advanced AIs than anything else the world's ever seen, but---" she straightened up and returned to normal volume, "I doubt if it's true. Even if it is, I'm sure it's all locked up in a lab somewhere."

MacGyver smiled. "I'm really proud of you, Kate. And I'm glad you found something you love to do! When your team is finished setting up, come get me, okay? I want to see everything!"

"You'll be the first one to see! So what are you here doing?"

Mac shrugged. "Not much so far. Phoenix offered to provide most of the security for the expo as part of the arrangement with Knight Industries, so I'm mostly in charge of leading the security teams and just keeping an eye on things."

"Ooh, that sounds important."

He chuckled. "Not as important as what you're doing! Luckily, everything's been pretty peaceful so far. Hope it stays that way."

"Me too. I should probably let you get back to work. I just wanted to say hi."

She grabbed MacGyver in another hug and, as she walked away, he called, "Don't forget, let me know as soon as you're ready!"

She smiled over her shoulder. "I will!"

Then MacGyver headed off to check the security at the doors again, smiling to himself. He had a feeling that, with talented experts like Kate on the job, this expo was going to be a huge success.

*********************

It was when he was on his way to the doors that he saw it happen. While two of the security guards were checking their radios, someone was heading for the door---someone way too young and small to be a member of the security team. Mac beelined for an intercept course, getting close enough to see that the person was actually wearing a security jacket. However, this person was also obviously a teenager.

Mac stepped close to the boy and gestured for him to stop. "Hey---"

The instant the teenager realized he'd been made, he bolted for the door, with Mac hot on his heels. The two security guards caught on fast and charged after them, but were too slow to make much headway.

MacGyver knew he had to think fast. In a chase like this, even a few seconds were precious and could make all the difference. Especially since this kid probably knew these streets like the back of his hand. But he also knew that the first step to handling any situation was to observe, so that's what he did: he watched as the teenager shoved his way through people waiting for the crosswalk and dodged the traffic coming through the intersection.

Rather than waste time following the same path, MacGyver took a shortcut---albeit a dangerous one. A passing Riverfront streetcar was travelling along the tracks in the right-of-way between the right lane and the sidewalk, right at the same intersection. Mac took the opportunity to hop on…sort of. He kept his feet firmly on the all-too-narrow running board at the bottom of the door and clung to the bright red doorframe as the streetcar took off.

His cheek was pressed up against the yellow door, but his head was turned front so that he could still see the kid running north down the sidewalk. When the streetcar had driven into range, that's when he steeled himself and jumped off, aiming for the teenager still running with his eyes fixed obliviously ahead.

The kid was definitely not expecting a fight from above---or from the side---and he crashed to the ground with the wind knocked out of him.

"Stop running!" MacGyver said, feeling more than a little winded himself after that stunt. "I just want to talk."

"Hey, man, I don't want no trouble!" the kid said fearfully. "I didn't take nothin', I swear!"

"You're not in any trouble. Yet. Name's MacGyver. What's yours?"

"Matt. You want the jacket back? That's cool," the kid said all in a rush, tugging his arms out of the security guard outfit. "Just leave me alone, man. How'd you even catch me like that?"

"Shortcut," Mac replied, catching the jacket as Matt tossed it over. "Okay, Matt, so what were you doing inside the convention center?"

"Nothin', man. Just looking around."

"Wearing a security uniform and trying to hide?"

Matt swallowed hard. "You're not gonna get the cops, are ya?"

"Not if you tell me everything, the whole truth, right now."

Matt nodded feverishly. "Look, I was casing the place, all right? There was this guy I met outside the casino---I work in this place across the street---and long story short, he offered me 500 dollars cash to look around in there and tell him what I found out."

"Who is he?"

"I don't know, man."

"What'd he look like?"

Matt shrugged. "I don't know. I only ever saw him that one time. I remember he had a mustache. Kinda tall, I guess. I was supposed to meet him tonight at Jackson Square. That's all I know."

"What time?"

"Around eight. After dark. He said to just show up there, and he'd find me. Can I go now?"

"Yeah, you can go. Thanks for the help, Matt."

"Yeah, whatever. No cops, right?"

"No cops. Scout's honor. Just stay out of trouble, all right?"

"Sure," and then Matt took off again, this time bounding through a parking lot.

MacGyver sighed and shook his head, staring down at the security jacket in his hands. Then he started to make the walk back to the convention center, wondering how he was going to find a nondescript man at Jackson Square in the middle of the night.

*********************

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tvero80
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Re: MacGyver Virtual Season 10.8 - Louisiana Knights

Post by tvero80 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Thank you for sharing this new story with us (again) , Sanguine :) I went to New Orleans years ago and you mentioning Jackson Square instantly rang a bell . Good memories .
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bftlovesRDA
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Re: MacGyver Virtual Season 10.8 - Louisiana Knights

Post by bftlovesRDA » Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:45 pm

Thank you, Sanguine, for this latest MacGyver Virtual season story. Very well done.

Can't wait for the next installment!
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