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El Dorado

Episode Synopsis

Originally Aired September 9, 1986

~"You know, we've all got something in common. . . . We're all different." - Simon to Brian~

It was a dark & stormy night . . .

. . and the atmosphere outside of agent Linden's car wasn't fairing much better.  The storm inside the car was courtesy of CIC agent Alex Jagger who, suffice it to say, was anything but a happy camper at the moment.  Suddenly finding oneself ripped from the assignment of a lifetime & sent to an assignment that seems less than ideal would be a bit of a downer for anyone.  Alex saw it as a punishment, although he couldn't quite put his finger on exactly what he was being punished for.  Prior to finding himself riding through the rain soaked California evening, Alex had been providing personal security for an opera singer in Vienna, Austria & having the time of his life.  Yet, here he was, suddenly reassigned to protect the life of one Simon McKay.  A mere toy maker.

He would soon discover that things aren't always as they seem.

Linden was amused with the rantings of his junior &, at the same time, annoyed that this man, always so desperate to be in control of every situation, had merely glanced at the dossier before him.  Yes, Simon McKay was a toy maker, but this toy maker was far from mere.  Linden ran through a partial list of accomplishments that made Simon McKay very worthy of government protection.  Patented inventor since the age of 7.  Developer of cold war technology that remained unmatched by the Soviets.  The list went on, but the one accomplishment that caught the attention of Alex Jagger was Simon McKay's disappearing act in 1978.  Simon had simply vanished &, despite being sought after by the best intelligence agencies in the world, he remained off the radar until 1984.  Where he had been during those 6 years, Simon wouldn't say.

What was known, at present, was that Henderson, the agent Alex was replacing, had been poisoned by person or persons unknown while trying to protect Simon.  Alex was suddenly very glad to be an untrusting & picky eater - even when it came to his own mother's cooking.  His shock at the recent turn of events was quickly blotted out by the re-emergence of the previous storm when Linden informed him that Henderson's partner on this assignment was CIC agent Darcy Stafford.  Now Alex was absolutely certain he was being punished.  Even though Darcy had joined the agency after meeting Alex, he was none too fond of her free-spirit, lust for life attitude.  Linden informed Alex it was that very no-nonsense, untrusting attitude that made him the ideal candidate to keep Simon McKay out of enemy hands.

It was still raining when they pulled up in front of Simon's elegant house on Elm Street.  The storm, both inside & outside of the car, had since quieted down.  Alex had resigned himself to just roll with the punches for now.  He bid Linden goodbye & made his way to the front door, unaware that he was now being watched via a closed circuit camera which was trained on the door.  As he reached for the bell pull, Alex heard a crash & scuffle coming from inside the house.  Silence fell just as abruptly, but the Division Bell in Alex's instinct continued to ring.  He carefully picked the lock, drew his weapon & stealthily made his way inside the house, moving to the library.  In the dim light, he checked around the book stacks until he saw a man on the other end of the room.  From the vital statistics listed in Simon's dossier, Alex knew that the figure wasn't his charge.  The stranger was facing the other way, but Alex ducked back behind the book case so as to ensure that he remain unseen.  Then, holstering his weapon, he used a nearby ladder to climb up onto the top of the book case & waited for the man to make his way around the other book cases & directly under the agent's perch.  Alex waited for just the right moment & pounced with grace, right through the man.

Yes, through.  Not onto - Through.

Alex hit the floor with a nasty thud, his nose taking the brunt of the fall.  It was as if the man wasn't even there!  To Alex's continued astonishment, a giggling Darcy Stafford immerged from an adjoining room where she had been monitoring the events of the evening, both inside the house & on the front porch.  The man continued to walk around searching until Darcy finally pushed a button on the radio control in her hand & he promptly vanished into thin air.  Racing from his hiding place under one of the book cases, a very worried & apologetic Simon McKay checked on Alex's now bleeding nose & searched his pockets frantically for a handkerchief.  Darcy introduced the two men while Simon continued to riffle through his vest & jean pockets in search of the elusive hanky.  He found a menagerie of bits & pieces including a small rubber ball which he bounced once on the floor.  It was no ordinary rubber ball.  That one bounce sent it ricocheting around the room knocking bric-a-brac off walls & shelves (even ricocheting off of Alex) until it finally found it's way back to it's inventor.  At last, the toy maker found his handkerchief & offered it to a still dazed, confused & bleeding agent.

Alex took the hanky, but what he really wanted was answers.  Answers to really important questions like, Which way back through the looking glass? & Who, or what, was that man?  Simon was happy to answer the latter question, but Alex would have to figure out the answer to the former for himself.

Simon asked Alex about his childhood.  Both men quickly discovered something in common - growing up in rough neighborhoods.  Alex was surprised to hear that Simon's neighborhood had been the docks of Liverpool, England.  Simon explained that it was his parents decision, however misguided, to sign him up as a ship's cabin boy.  They knew that his dwarfism meant he would never grow up physically, so they had decided to ensure that their son would grow up mentally - & fast.  The end result was that Simon had missed out on his childhood.  No candy, no toys, no playgrounds, no time for just experiencing the wonders of life, no other children to play with.  At some point in his life, Simon had decided that 'better late than never' would be his motto & set about to make as much of his own childhood a reality as possible.  It was a special added bonus that he would be able to use his genius to help others discover or rediscover the joys of their own childhood.  As Simon so aptly put it, his very important job was to "keep magic alive."

Simon took the radio control from Darcy & disappeared around the corner of a bookcase as he spoke.  Suddenly a small mobile hologram projector came back around the corner towards Alex & Darcy.  Behind it walked the figure of a Roman Centurion.  Behind the Centurion was another mobile hologram projector.  Both projectors working together created the realistic 3-Dimensional effect which had fooled Alex earlier.  Simon had designed this toy for children who find themselves with no one to play with.  The Mobile Hologram Projector would allow them to play games like hide & seek or, as Simon had been doing upon Alex's arrival, tag.  The projected image could be turned into any kind of person the child wanted to play with.

No matter how realistic Simon's toys were, it took the imagination of the user to bring out the toy's full potential.

Their discussion was interrupted by the sound of the front doorbell.  Simon went to answer it, leaving Darcy to deal with Alex & his desperate search for explanations that would make sense in his mind.  The only thing Alex Jagger hated more than questions he couldn't find answers to were questions with answers that just didn't fit into what he felt made sense.  What still didn't make sense to him was why his expertise was being wasted protecting a toymaker.  He decided to console himself with the idea that Simon's toy inventing was a front for a covert operation.  This hologram projector was probably some new, top secret weapon that the government had commissioned Simon to develop.  Darcy had no problem bursting Alex's bubble.

The doorbell announced the arrival of Brian Wayne & his mother, Rachael.  Brian was suffering from leukemia & his one wish was to meet The Wizard.  The Starlight Foundation, an organization designed to grant the wishes of critically & terminally ill children, set up the meeting.  Simon was very honored to find himself in this situation.  He showed Brian, Rachael, Darcy & Alex to his workshop in the basement of his house.  Simon's workshop was a wonder to behold.  Toys, games, computers, electronic equipment, a train running on a track that circled the walls.  Anything one could possibly imagine - & then some - & then some after that.  There was a string connected to two beams near the bottom of the stairs.  On that string hung a small robot.  At Simon's request, Brian clapped his hands & the robot began to walk arm over arm across the string.

A terrified call for help sounded from the other end of the workshop & everyone ran to help.  The yell belonged to Jack Brooke, a teenage neighbor who assisted Simon occasionally.  Jack was very intelligent with a great deal of potential as a future scientist, but he was also prone to get a bit over zealous & more than a bit girl-crazy.  By the time the rescue party reached him, Jack was pinned up against the wall by his latest invention.  Alex & Darcy worked to move the large piece of overgrown creation while Simon grabbed Jack's arm & pulled him out from behind it.  Jack quickly brushed off the near-death experience & excitedly told Simon all about the substance he had just decided to name Puff-Foam.  It was originally just supposed to be a foam-like material that could be sculpted into different shapes, but Jack had just accidentally discovered that the foam expanded when wet.  Jack was absolutely certain that Puff-Foam was the next Slinky & told Simon how they could make a monetary fortune from it.  Money was something Simon didn't include on his list of important things, but he listened patiently.  Jack had also sculpted his first batch of Puff-Foam into statues of women & Darcy felt it was time to have a chat with the teen about his concepts of women.

As Darcy led Jack away, Simon explained to Brian that Jack helped him with many inventions, but there was one in particular that Simon felt only Brian could help with.  Brian couldn't believe his ears, but eagerly agreed to help in any way he could.  Simon showed Brian to the locked door of his private workshop & asked everyone else to remain outside.  Inside the private workshop was a safe.  To Brian's continued amazement, Simon opened the safe to reveal something far more important to him than any new invention.  In order to invent one has to be inspired.  In order to be inspired one has to have inspiration.  That safe held a secret stash of Simon's ultimate inspiration - candy & cookies.  Simon & Brian each had a piece of candy & Brian promised to not tell Darcy about it.  Simon explained that, while everyone else has a sweet tooth, he must have a entire mouth full.

Too much of a good thing can be bad - even for grown-ups.  Simon understood this & he was trying his best to cut down on the amount of sweets he consumed.  Cutting down on anything enjoyable is never an easy task for anyone.  It's bad enough when you're a kid & you have grown-ups telling you no, but when you're the grown-up it can be even worse.  You have to tell yourself no & when enough is enough.  Self-discipline can be the toughest discipline of all to master.  Caring friends can help a lot, & Darcy was doing her best, but it was often a battle of wills between her & Simon.

Once sufficiently inspired for the task ahead, Simon pulled out a desk chair for Brian.  Brian sat down facing a table on the other side of the room.  On that table sat a helicopter known as the L-3.  Brian had never met a grown-up who was smaller than himself & he politely asked Simon what it was like to be grown-up & still be physically little like a kid.  Simon told Brian that he didn't think about it unless something happened to remind him.  Brian worried that his question had insulted his new friend, but Simon immediately put his mind to rest.  Simon told Brian that the size of someone's outside is not as important as the size of their heart.  Simon then gave Brian a white football helmet, sans face mask, that had an antenna on one side, instructing Brian to put the helmet on & make sure the chin strap was fastened tight.  Simon removed Brian's baseball cap & his heart broke at the sight of Brian's head, left bald by the effects of the treatments he had been undergoing.  It was a sad reminder of what the boy endured day after day in the battle for his life.

Brian began to muse that he and Simon sort of had something in common as Brian would probably die before he got any bigger in size.  Simon scoffed at the notion that all was lost for Brian.  He reminded Brian of what a powerful & complex muscle the human brain truly is.  Simon also pointed out that he & Brian did have something in common.  Something they also had in common with everyone else.  They were different.

With the helmet securely fastened, Brian waited for Simon to give him instructions.  Brian was excited at the idea of flying the helicopter around the room, but he didn't know how he was going to do it.  Simon explained to Brian that he was wearing the remote control at that very moment.  Simon had designed a remote control that worked using brainwaves instead of hands.  All Brian had to do was to imagine that he was the pilot to make the helicopter fly.  Brian wasn't certain it was possible, but he tried his best to do as Simon instructed.  He closed his eyes & imagined the helicopter coming to life.  From across the room, the rotors suddenly began to turn.  Brian's eyes opened wide with excitement & the rotors stopped.  Simon, who was standing off to one side, told Brian to keep his eyes open this time.  Brian followed Simon's instructions once again, imagining the helicopter taking off as best he could.  The L-3 suddenly started up once again & lifted off of the table.  Simon cheered Brian on, delighted to see his invention working so well &, more importantly, the light shinning in Brian's eyes.  Brian watch as the helicopter hovered, rose in the air & dipped, finally falling to the ground.  Brian was worried that he had done something wrong, but Simon was overjoyed at the success of the test flight.  The L-3 was the first of it's kind.  It was like the first flight at Kitty Hawk.  Simon & Brian had now joined the ranks of the Wright brothers.  Brian suddenly realized that, whatever else happened, that moment was unique.  The honor of the first flight belonged to him & him alone.  Nothing, no one, could take that away.  He was so overjoyed that he gave Simon a big hug.

When the evening came to a end so had the rain.  Alex walked Brian out to his mother's car while Rachael stayed behind to personally thank Simon for his hospitality.

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written by The MGT.    Updated June 3, 2007


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