Whatever Can, Will
Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven do not belong to me. This fan fiction was written for enjoyment purposes and no copyright infringement is intended to CBS, MGM, The Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp, or TNN. My only enrichment comes from feedback.
Warnings: Again, I strongly recommend the 'no food or drink' rule because I really don't want anyone hurt when they laugh. Author's Notes: To Cin and Brate for making me realize I can write a short and especially for Cin for being SUPERDIVA.
Chris gave a 'pep talk' before they left for the briefing held in another part of the Federal Building. "Listen up, we go in, make arrests, and leave. No shootings, no hospital trips, nothing. Nice and clean. Am I understood?" Chris glanced at each of his six men and waited for them to stop laughing and chuckling at him before they nodded their agreement. "This is not our case, we're only assisting with the arrests. You understand me? No heroics or lamebrain stunts. " They nodded again but their grins and smirks mocked him.
"Why don't I believe that?" he mumbled as they left their offices for Team Three's conference room for the briefing.
"Perhaps because nothing involving this band of intrepid souls ever finishes without a hitch?" commented Ezra, overhearing the remark unable to remain silent. "I'll wager ten dollars something will go wrong."
Josiah clapped Buck and Ezra on their shoulders saying, "Well, Brothers, there is Murphy's Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."
The prophetic comment inspired a betting pool on what could possibly happen to them on this latest excursion into the world of law and order in action. Chris finally gave up and threw his twenty in on someone breaking a body part or getting shot in the backside.
Team Seven managed reaching the briefing room, attended the briefing, and prepare themselves for the assault. Things looked good up until the point they reached their vehicles.
While the primary van fired up and was loaded, apparently no one from Team Seven remembered that the last secondary vehicle assigned to them for the previous raid sported a few new 'minor dents', as Buck called them, from where JD rammed it into warehouse siding two weeks ago. He did that to remove the pinned down pair of Nathan and Josiah from hostile fire but the accordion hood and large caliber 'ventilation holes' denounced Wilmington's claim of 'minor'. That van currently resided in the repair section of the motor pool on display with a large sign "7 Strikes Again".
While the other teams left in their shiny vans and trucks, Team Seven attempted signing out another van from the motor pool. Chris, Buck, JD, and Ezra stayed behind while Nathan, Josiah, and Vin took the other van to reach their positions and set up. Normally an easy process, Team Seven's history of damaging or 'denting' vehicles required multiple liability documents signed by their leader and five minutes of instructions on how to properly operate the vehicle and return it in the same condition in which it left the yard. It took two minutes to review the extensive list of previous mutilations by Team Seven with stern directions on not repeating themselves.
Chris glared, snarled, and tried intimidation to hurry the procedure along but the motor pool mechanics enjoyed watching Team Seven squirm. They figured five minutes was not even enough to scratch the surface but took what they could. Finally, Larabee obtained the keys and climbed into the driver's seat. He managed to make sure all body parts of his men were inside the vehicle before he took off at a high rate of speed, squealing tires with perverse glee as he left the motor pool.
Twenty dollars immediately opened the pot and it escalated from there regarding what type of damage they would inflict (so many choices but the team could still surprise them) and the condition of the poor van upon its return. No one mentioned to Team Seven that the van they issued liked breaking down at inopportune times and often refused to start. It would serve those seven car wrecking boys right if they broke down and needed to wait for a tow.
As Chris hauled down the highway to reach the target site, he barely paid attention to the cars around him. His entire focus was on getting there. Luckily, other motorists moved expeditiously out of their way. Buck held onto the dash and the door from his shotgun position and the two in the back grabbed the 'oh, crap' handles conveniently anchored in the ceiling.
"Mr. Larabee, would you kindly watch where you're going!" yelled Ezra over the knocking motor protesting the high speeds. Chris ignored him and changed lanes again, cutting off a pickup truck, the horn of the offended truck overriding the motor's banging.
"I am, Ezra. Now shut up and hold on."
"Rest assured, I am holding on, but I prefer not to become a splatter on a six-lane highway!" He stopped yelling when he felt the tap on the back of the van. "Dear Lord, what now?"
A second shudder ran through the van as the pickup truck driver, having a seriously bad day, rammed the van in the rump for the second time.
"Way to go, Pard! Now we have a departmental. Pull over so I can deal with this mule's butt behind us." Buck shifted in his seat but kept his seat belt on; he knew Chris well enough to know their stop would be sudden and potentially painful.
"Uh, Chris, I think he wants you to stop," suggested JD with a good grip on the seat, his feet braced for the next hit.
Chris swore under his breath and immediately whipped the van onto the left shoulder, slowing as the pickup hit them again. When both vehicles stopped, four very highly agitated ATF agents leapt out and converged on the pickup.
The pickup driver climbed out armed with a tire iron and two bottles of Jack Daniel's in his system. The first words out of his mouth required heavy-duty soap to clean. At twenty feet away, he decided to charge JD, who immediately brought up his handgun and pointed it right in the man's leering face. The other hand held his identification. "Federal Agent and you're under arrest."
Within seconds, a Denver Police Department vehicle roared to a stop near them, the officer climbing out with his weapon drawn. It took ten minutes to convince the DPD officer that they actually were ATF agents, including a telephone call to Orin Travis to straighten things out. The DPD officer grumbled something about stupid Feds and Buck grabbed Chris before he could create a new exit in the officer's rear end.
After sorting out the accident sites, getting statements from the ATF agents, arresting the pickup driver, DPD finally let Team Seven load back into their now damaged van. The back end mashed in and up, giving the vehicle a rather battered appearance.
Buck called ahead to explain their delay. Team Three's leader, Dave Thomason, laughed hysterically and said, "We'll wait. Can't forget the Magnificent Seven prima donnas. They like gumming up the works." Thomason hung up before an infuriated Buck replied. He chose not to share that comment with Chris, which would only add more flames to the temper pyre already burning quite merrily there.
The four piled in the van that decided now was a good time not to start. After four tries, blue air, a laughing DPD officer offering a jump, the contrary beast started and Chris took off. As they continued on the way, Chris drove even worse than he did before, something caused Larabee to swear (again) and change two lanes before screeching to a stop on the right shoulder.
"What now?" moaned Ezra, despairing of ever arriving, much less in one undamaged piece.
Josiah looked up at them from the right rear tire where he was currently attempting to hold the van up with Nathan's help as Vin tried removing the lug nuts. The tire on that side resembled a flattened sheet of paper.
"What happened?" snarled Chris, truly not in the mood for this.
"Flat, someone threw a glass bottle out and we couldn't miss it," explained Nathan. "Only got one."
Larabee asked the obvious question. "Where's the jack?" He knew his men well enough to know they changed tires in record time on most occasions.
"Broken," grunted Josiah. "Snapped when we started working it."
A frustrated hand ran down the blond leader's face. "JD," he hissed.
"On it," the youngest replied, breaking into a sprint to get into the back of their van and find the jack. When he reached the mangled rear, JD saw the damage from the accident made it impossible to open the doors. Sighing and choosing to say nothing, he climbed into the side and started searching for it. Finding it, he carried it back to the group. The other men immediately went to work, raising the van and changing the tire with some efficiency. The only problem came when they realized the lug nuts rolled away into the heavily weeded shoulder.
"Vin, Ezra, find the damn lug nuts and let's get going," Larabee snarled as he paced, performing an activity that kept him from killing someone.
"How charming," commented the southerner.
"One more word, Standish, and I'll show you how charming a round would feel in your butt," threatened Larabee.
With a salute not of the polite kind, Ezra degraded himself into searching the weeds along with Vin and JD to find the nuts. It did not take very long but still annoyed all members of the team to no end. Finally, they secured the tire and split up to leave.
Larabee's cell phone rang. "Larabee," he snarled, not caring about polite or etiquette at this time.
"Get your butt moving, Larabee, we can't wait all day for you," growled Thomason before disconnecting, not allowing Chris to answer. The dial tone infuriated the already fuming, irate Team Seven leader. The death glares he dealt his team encouraged their speedy pileup into the vans and squealing wheels as they took off from the shoulder. The van probably was scared of that glare too because it started right up on the first try.
The two vans created a menace on the highway as they broke multiple traffic laws heading for the site, throwing on their gear in the vans instead of at the site. Weapons underwent quick inspections, as did radios and the first aid kit. The maniacs behind the wheels slowed when they entered the area, stopping at the requested spot, both sets of occupants hastily vacating the vans and moving to their assigned positions.
"Nice of you to join us," cracked the leader of the raid as they signaled ready. "On my mark."
Thirty minutes passed in a state of readiness as the other team's undercover agent attempted finalizing the deal. Thirty minutes rolled into two hours with each member of the team remaining in a state of alertness throughout the long negotiations. Four hours after Team Seven arrived, the signal finally came.
Nathan stood up to run and found his leg cramped viciously from so much inactivity lying flat on his stomach. It screamed in pain for each step he took and he bit his lip but remained silent about it. His arrests that day would not be pretty pictures for the textbook. He ended up shaking his leg out repeatedly while standing guard over the growing collection of suspects.
One of the suspects noticed the weakness and aimed a well-placed kick right into the knotted muscle dropping Nathan to the floor. The agent retaliated with a right hook that drove the breath from the guy. As both wheezed in varying degrees of pain, Nathan dragged himself over and handcuffed the guy to the nearest floor to ceiling shelf in the immense warehouse. Shelves filled the majority of the interior holding boxes and containers of various sizes, shapes, and conditions. He plopped down out the man's hand range and massaged the abuse muscle knowing it would ache for a few days as another agent from Team Three took his position to let him recover.
Josiah hit the door with the ram as instructed and landed on his backside from the rebound. Quickly gaining his feet and embarrassed by the muffled snickers he heard around him along with the 'go, go, go' yells, he readied himself and put more muscle behind the ram. This time the door gave and the large shelving unit propped against the rusted door in violation of the fire code regulations fell over. It knocked into the next shelf, then the next, and continued down the line for five rows, all the shelved boxes flying everywhere as the domino effect kicked in. Men climbed over and kicked the boxes as they continued on their way to make arrests.
As Josiah shifted the ram and entered the building as well, he stepped over an overturned five-gallon bucket right into a slick of motor oil improperly stored in said bucket. His feet went out from under him and he landed hard on his back, the bucket flattening under his weight. His quoting of Murphy's Law returned to haunt him as he slowly, gently, and carefully stood up, straightening his back. It hurt and he looked forward to a long hot shower and perhaps a trip to the gym for the whirlpool but planned not to tell any of his teammates. He ruefully thought they probably could guess from the amount of black oil coating his clothing and sighed with resignation.
Ezra received the responsibility of taking down the undercover agent and making it look real. Unfortunately, the two undercover ATF agents shared a rivalry, sometimes friendly, sometimes not, and the other team's agent decided to make life difficult for Standish by running. Ezra tackled the other man as he ran and they both went down in a pile of limbs. This brought them out of the line of fire as bullets started flying above their heads and Ezra dragged them under hard cover.
Once there, the other man realized the bad guys could still see him and when Ezra pushed him even further down, he retaliated with a fist to the southerner's jaw. Stunned, Ezra fell back, smacked his head against one of the walls, ringing his own bell. The other undercover went to break free but Standish grabbed onto one of the six visible feet on the three identically dressed men and brought him down face first into the cement. He leapt on the back of the center one of the three he saw and sat on him until his head cleared enough that the symphony of bells in his head quit distracting him. Another agent came over and took the suspect from under Standish while laughing at the dazed look in the green eyes and pushed him farther under cover.
JD hit the door with the other agents and fanned out just like he was taught. He heard the ram hit the door nearby and knew more agents planned to swarm the area so he shifted out of the way. His first suspect went down quickly and quietly; JD's gun in the back of his head encouraged cooperation. Once the youngest of the Seven secured the suspect's weapon, he started a quick pat down with the man laying on the ground and his hands cuffed behind him. A creaking sound followed by a series of thuds gave JD the only warning and he lifted his head in time to see the shelf beside him fall over and start dumping contents on him. His eyes watched the monstrosity hit the next shelf and take that down before a heavy box landed on his face and forced him to look away. He covered the suspect with his body while the sky continued falling.
A few moments later, JD raised his aching head to find himself and the suspect alone halfway buried beneath a stack of smashed headlights, fuses, and belts. He groaned when he remembered they raided an auto parts warehouse. What did Josiah say earlier? 'Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong?' With a sigh, he started digging them out. At least the suspect graciously went unconscious.
Buck charged the center of the room on the opposite side of Chris. He and the rest of the group he found himself with saw the shelves fall and ignored them as the events in the center of the room required immediate attention. One of the suspects opened fire with a handgun at the agents forcing everyone under cover. He did not see the Kid but heard him through the headset saying one in custody. That worry aside, he started covering his brothers in black and returning shots with accuracy. Various groans added to the cacophony as people received wounds with hot lead. So far, so good, he thought to himself as he shifted position to get one of the agents out from that pesky pinned position the agent accidentally created for himself.
When Buck moved, he felt a series of things hit his back and butt then saw a box of lug nuts (lug nuts of all things!) shower him from where their box went airborne from the falling shelves. It broke because of weakened cardboard and the metallic clanks of them landing added to the pops of the guns. He brushed most of them off but as his hand rubbed against his backside, it came away wet. Glancing down at his fingers, he realized he just got shot in the butt like Larabee threatened to do with Standish. Where was Chris anyway...uh-oh! Buck returned to cover and started shooting them like fish in a barrel to cover the big black target named Chris Larabee. Now he knew his friend was going to blow a fuse because of him earning a hole in the fanny as if he were a horse's rump or a rookie. Not to mention the ribbing he would have to take.
Vin watched the events unfold around him through the scope of his rifle. He positioned himself on the opposing side of the warehouse from the other sniper and prepared his shots. When he saw the shelves go down, a brief smirk crossed his face as he saw Josiah fall into the oil. Once he knew his friend was okay, he switched over to the others and took out a couple men trying to get the drop on Wilmington, Standish, and Larabee. A noise to his right alerted him as he rolled away from his position, his rifle cradled in his hands, dodging the bullets aimed his way from the joker that climbed the catwalk out of Vin's view. He kept rolling as shots filled the spots he just vacated. A welcome series of clicks told him the man finally ran out of ammo.
Sparing a brief glare at the other sniper for not covering his back, he leapt to his feet and tackled the man, both exchanging blows in close quarters, the sniper's rifle laying on the catwalk out of both their reaches. They continually shifted until they rolled off the catwalk onto the ventilation duct, neither noticing that at the time as they tried subduing each other. The creaking shaft gave one warning before the joints holding it up failed from age and weight, plunging both combatants to the ground. Their fall broke when they hit the top of another set of shelves and the shelves gave, a second domino effect starting as they rode on top of the broken metal shaft as it slid across the tops of the falling shelves to a teeth-jarring thunderously loud stop against the wall. Vin recovered first and knocked the man unconscious, handcuffing him and throwing him at another agent before scaling the ladder to retake his post high above.
Chris hated this part. The jerks shot at them, forcing them to return fire. He drew fire by making himself a tantalizing target and the rest of the agents did their jobs in subduing the suspects and forcing them to surrender. He did not hear his team advise of injuries...yet...so he felt confident to step into the center with the knowledge that Vin covered his back. That comfort lasted until he heard the first series of shelves fall and he ducked out of the way. Chris moved even closer to the center and watched Buck get covered with lug nuts. He smirked as he watched the man brush them off his clothing. Before he enjoyed the sight too much or allowed himself to be too distracted, another box shattered over his head and thousands of wing nuts became a lethal barrage. He dove for cover from this painful, gouging threat after feeling one hit that vein in his forehead, the vein his team liked to irritate and watch throb for sport.
As he dove, he did not count on how quickly the wing nuts coated the floor. His boots slipped on the metallic surfaces and he went down hard. Both feet shot out directly behind him making his body perfectly straight but his hands managed to cover his face as he landed in a pile of them. A loud 'oof' escaped his lips then he spit out a wing nut that dared enter his mouth. Just as he rolled over to get up, he watched Tanner and a suspect literally riding a section of ventilation ducts, still fighting, as the bottom of the duct kept knocking over shelves and moving forward toward the wall. With a sigh, Chris realized Murphy struck again. He would shoot Josiah for saying that adage when he got up. When he put his hands down to stand, the sharp edges dug into his palms and he cursed, clearing a spot on the floor. He sat up in time to be bombarded by bottles of badly sealed windshield cleaner upending and losing their caps as they fell. He lay in the puddle for a moment hating the smell, the stickiness, and life in general.
The dust finally cleared and objects quit falling from the sky. As the suspects found themselves rounded up in the prisoner truck for transport, Team Seven and the other agents not directly involved in that congregated in the center.
As each member of the infamous 'Magnificent Seven' appeared, the other agents fell into bouts of hysteria. Nathan sported a good limp. Josiah was dripping motor oil and holding his back. A large knot formed in the middle of JD's forehead where the box hit him. Buck sheepishly admitted to an irate Nathan where he got shot and getting a diatribe on learning the value of keeping cover and not ticking off the medic. Vin's face looked like ground beef where the metal edges of the catwalk along with the punches of the suspect cut into it and created unusual lumps. Finally, there was the infamous leader. Chris stumbled over with bleeding palms and soaking wet clothes reeking an ammonia perfume.
"I will shoot the first person who makes a smart ass comment and I don't care who you are," Chris snarled to the room. A deathly silence fell as everyone present tried hiding chuckles and guffaws at the condition of the team.
"What in the heck happened here?" exclaimed AD Travis. The AD came out when he heard of the 'troubles' Team Seven experienced getting there, just knowing that something bad would occur at the raid. He took one look at Team Seven and said with equal parts fury and resignation, "I knew it. I can't take you boys anywhere without one or more of you getting hurt. We'll talk about this later." He turned on his foot and started walking away. Unfortunately, he hit the wet wing nut spot and slipped, nearly falling in the mess. His arms created the windmill effect as he fought for balance. All the agents found the floor fascinating and coughed or cleared their throats. With one final authoritative look at them, the AD continued on his way to the door, sidestepping the other broken boxes and shelves, until he reached one particular spot. He gave the ventilation shaft laying on the floor by the wall a strange look then took a step forward right into the oil slick. His feet skated back and forth on the slick oil-and-cement surface before gravity won and sent him flat on his back with a resounding thud.
None of the agents could contain their mirth, especially Team Seven, as they heard the AD mutter, "They're related to Murphy and spread it to me. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong."