Wish You Were Here: Part Two
"Mac! Pete! It's a code, it's got to be. We gotta work it out, Penny could be in trouble." Jack stared round at his friends, the prospect of adventure lighting his eyes.
Pete placed his mug carefully onto the table, wiping his mouth.
"Let's not get carried away here. Mac, is there any chance Penny's been, well... taking anything she shouldn't? That letter was pretty garbled and the idea of secret messages is maybe a bit far-fetched, don't you think?" He felt Mac's weight lift off the couch next to him and tracked his friend's soft footsteps round the room. He heard Jack thumbing through Penny's other cards and the slap as Jack hit the cards with his other hand.
"I dunno, Pete." MacGyver stopped near the window, looking out at the snowy street. "Penny's never been involved in drugs or anything like that, she feels as strongly about them as I do and I'm sure she'd never do that. You're right that it's a weird message though, and I think Jack might actually be right on this one." Pete heard Jack's triumphant exclamation and Mac's footsteps crossing the room again. He heard the rustle of paper as Mac gathered the cards and a notebook and felt the couch sag as both men sat down.
"Let's go through it again, line by line." Jack picked up Penny's last card and cleared his throat. "David is just as kind as Monsieur Street ever was... Who's that?"
Pete leaned back , thinking hard. Mac shook his head, shoved his hands in his pockets and drifted away to look out of the window again. The silence stretched. Jack looked from one to the other in confusion.
"You don't know either, huh? Hell, I didn't know Penny had even been to France!"
"Me neither..." Mac turned and leaned on the windowsill. "France. French... Monsieur Street." He ran a hand through his hair. "Do either of you speak any French? What's the French word for street?"
Pete nodded, his brow wrinkling as he searched his memory.
"Uh... rue, I think. That mean anything to you?"
MacGyver nodded, massaging the bridge of his nose as if he had a sudden headache.
"Yeah, Pete, it does. Remember Jacques LaRue?"
Jack watched Pete turn pale and nod. He looked back at Mac in confusion.
"What? Who's Jacques LaRue? That's bad, right?"
"It's bad." MacGyver shoved away from the windowsill. "Jack, Jacques LaRue is Murdoc." He watched Jack's expression change, and nodded. "Yeah. That's right. He disguised himself as a theatre director, or producer or something, and Penny starred in a musical he was making. He was setting a trap for me, but then he kind of fell for her and it all got a little... complicated. If this David is anything like Murdoc, then Penny is in a lot of trouble." Mac shook his head and moved back behind the couch to read over Jack's shoulder. "Burak is familiar too, but I just can't..."
Pete sat upright, blinking hard.
"I know this one. He's the guy you ended up chasing after the first time you and Penny met." He turned to face Mac, "You remember? I'd sent you to Bulgaria to get that microfilm. I thought it would be a nice, easy run for you, since you'd been hurt and all, but you met Penny in the airport and ended up losing your passports and..."
"And we ended up escaping from her Bulgarian boyfriend and his Secret Police friends, that's right Pete!" MacGyver ran a hand through his unruly hair. "Man, the General was a piece of work. That job sure got complicated fast. If David is anything like that..." MacGyver shook his head.
Jack read the next sentences aloud, brow furrowed. "Isn't Parker House that old place Penny inherited? With the ghosts and the moonshine and all?"
"Yeah, Jack, and also the body buried in the garden!" MacGyver waved his hands around for emphasis.
"Boy, nothing's ever straightforward with that kid, is it?" Jack shook his head. "I sure hope she meant 'just like' the moonshine part and not 'just like' the buried corpses part!" Jack licked his lips, thinking how much a little moonshine might help the detective process along. He caught MacGyver's warning glance and subsided, wondering anew where Mac had learned to read minds.
MacGyver craned his head round to read the next part. "Growing my hair long. What could that be about?"
Jack shook his head, but Pete chuckled. Both men turned to look at him.
"It's easy to tell you've never read anyone a bedtime story! The princess with the long hair is Rapunzel. She was trapped in a tower by a wicked witch and Prince Charming had to climb up her long hair to get to her tower room so that he could free her." Pete's face fell. "Gee, I hope that doesn't mean Penny is a prisoner..."
"Me too, Pete. But Penny's pretty good at getting away, so anyone wanting to keep her prisoner would have their hands full." Mac smiled, remembering how many times Penny had charmed her way both into and out of trouble over the years. "Every time she smiles," he murmured to himself.
Jack stroked his mustache and re-read the last part.
"Seems pretty clear that she wants us to come rescue her, doesn't it? Good hunting, coming for a surprise visit... Sounds like a rescue mission to me!" He stood, striking a dashing pose. "Fear not, fair damsel, for the righteous forces of the City of Angels are at this very minute mustering to come and..."
Pete listened, chuckling, but then frowned as a thought struck him. Under the sound barrage of Jack's tall tale, he turned to MacGyver.
"Mac – Penny does know how I am now, doesn't she? She talks about me hitting what I aim at and... well..." Pete blushed and hung his head, feeling Mac's hand squeeze his shoulder comfortingly.
"...facing overwhelming odds, outmanned and outgunned, the three friends sallied forth, braving unknown terrors to conquer the foul fiend who holds you captive and ram this staff of justice right up his...!" Jack grabbed a hockey stick, demonstrating the final destination of the staff of justice.
"She knows, Pete." MacGyver raised his voice slightly over the tale of legendary heroics. "Maybe that's not about seeing the target – there's more than one way to aim at something. You do have a lot of contacts from your DXS days, especially if we're talking about targeting a criminal here." MacGyver intercepted the staff of justice as it swept past.
"...and cast him from his evil Hawaiian lair as we snatch you right from the jaws of death! Fear not, fair maiden, for your knights in shining armour are..." Jack made another grab for the hockey stick, but MacGyver was too quick for him.
"Maybe she knows you can aim someone else at David, someone who can take him down? That'd be something you can do that neither Jack nor I could."
Jack, hearing his name, stuttered to a halt mid-rescue and sat down.
"But Mac, what kind of criminal are we talking about here? We've got murder, KGB links, moonshine, kidnap and we haven't even worked it all out yet! I'm guessing organised crime of some sort because she says he's 'really well organised', but dammit Mac, that could be anything!" Jack ran his hands through his hair, stroked his mustache and began to pace. "We don't even know where she is! I've been to Hawaii plenty of times, but I've never heard of this East Rock Island. Hawaii's a big place, Mac, that's a lot of water to cover and we can't exactly pull in for gas and ask, you know what I mean?" He snatched the card up again and stared at it. He turned it over and studied the picture on the front, picking at the heart sticker with his thumb nail. MacGyver watched as Jack brooded, then froze and looked again at the aerial photo on the card with wide eyes. He carefully peeled back the sticker, revealing a tiny island hidden underneath. When Jack spoke, his voice came out high and tight.
"Mac, you got a map of our 50th State lying around here?"