I do not own the magnificent seven nor do I make any money whatsoever from this story. All copyrights apply. Thanks to Joy and Nancy, as well as my Beta readers.
My first ATF, please tell me what you think.
Chris Larrabee gritted his teeth. Things where not going well.
What was supposed to have been a simple bust had very quickly turned into an all out circus. The target, gun smuggler and all round scum bag Ricky Turret was currently half way to the airport while Chris and his team where stuck trying to fend off Turrets bodyguards and hired thugs. Fortunately they where succeeding but not fast enough to catch up to the slippery gun smuggler. Chris cursed from his spot behind the restaurant booth, Rickys restaurant, "The Lucky Duck". It had been Turrets idea to meet there and now he knew why, the man had been on to them for a week at least, maybe even longer. Three months of undercover work on Ezra Standishs behalf down the drain, the southern agent was going to be pissed when he found out Turret had gotten away.
Not to mention the judge, thought Larrabee. Then immediately decided not to. He had already alerted the local authorities and with a little luck they would pick up Ricky Turret at the airport before he had a chance to leave the country. If the man did manage to slip between the laws collective fingers it would be up to Standish with the information he had collected during his time as Turrets right hand man to figure out where he may have gone. Larrabee hoped it never came to that, as he popped up on one knee and returned fire to the thug who had been peppering the booth with bullets. Chris heard the appropriate grunt as he hit his target and smiled, he needed to let off some steam. The leader took the opportunity to take stock of the situation and his men. Vin Tanner was to his left, crouched behind the booth opposite to his own, steadily picking off men one shot at a time. Josiah Sanchez and Nathan Jackson where behind the bar alternating shots, downing men with the same speed as Tanner. Ezra had tried to chase Turret only to run into the gun smugglers two personal bodyguards.
As far as the leader knew the undercover agent still had his hands full fighting off the huge men in the kitchen, a crash of pots and utensils from that direction confirmed this. JD Dunne and Buck Wilmington where stuck together in the surveillance van across the street, much to the ladies man's annoyance an old leg injury had put him out of the game for this round. The two had no doubt heard confrontation and ensuing battle but knew better than to walk into the middle of the gunfight and so had to settle for listening and waiting for the final outcome. The numerous curses from Chris had Buck guessing that things werent going according to plan. He chuckled as Larrabee let loose with another string of profanities, followed by rapid gunfire more than likely resulting in the death of another gun smuggler.
Then seemingly as quickly as it had begun, it was over. The last shot was fired and silence fell over the destroyed restaurant, disturbed only by the occasional tinkle of falling glass. Slowly each the agents of team seven came out from behind their cover, Nathan and Josiah brushing shards of broken bottle of their clothes. The doors at the front of the shop opened as Buck and JD entered cautiously, surveying the damage and the body count as they did so. There where at least five bodies and a few more wounded and complaining thugs. None where serious so Nathan ignored their pleas for assistance, it seemed in this round there was no happy medium, you where either mildly hurt or dead. Wilmington let out a low whistle, "Well that went well," this comment earned him a glare from a few of the seven. The kitchen door opened then, banging on its hinges and announcing the arrival of Ezra. The undercover agent was covered in various bits of food, including egg yolk and what looked like butternut soup, although one can never be too careful. He glared at his companions daring them to laugh, which a few of them promptly did, namely Buck and JD.
Chris stood silently seething, the bust had not gone well at all and there had to have been a good reason. Ricky Turret had known for a good while that Ezra was ATF, but how. Either someone told him or Ezra had slipped up somewhere, Chris was more inclined to believe the former, as he knew his undercover agent and how good he was.
Larrabee was pretty sure the ATF had a rat.
The next morning was not kind on team seven, there where endless reports, both written and verbal, meetings with the judge and Internal Affairs. To make matters worse none of them had gotten a good nights sleep, and no one could get over the fact that their target had gotten away and now IA was looking for someone to take the fall and it looked like it was going to be them. Or more likely Ezra, because he was the undercover agent on the case and was in most contact with Turret the appropriate authorities thought that only he could have possibly sold out the rest of the team. It was when these accusations came out that the current meeting went awry. People from both sides leapt to their feet, flinging insults and accusations back and forth, until Chris got to his feet demanded silence then quietly pointed that Ezra had nearly gotten himself mashed to a pulp by Turrets bodyguards and if he had been the snitch he would have gone with Turret and would not be sitting here listening to these ridiculous accusations. And with that team seven left the federal building and went down to "The Saloon", for a drink.
"Good way to make enemies," Buck pointed out, thinking back on the incident.
"It seems we already have one in that building, a big one," Chris answered.
They all nodded in agreement, except Ezra who sat up from his slouched position so suddenly, he spilt his drink all over the bar top. Vin who was slouched down next to him looked up blearily, "What?"
"Just something Ricky told me on an occasion when his head was too befuddled to offer caution to his mouth, the undercover agent replied. His six companions looked at him expectantly. Ezra leaned forward with exaggerated caution on loan from the third glass of imported beer in front of him.
"He told me he had a acquaintance here in Denver who works for the government, but he never said in which field."
Chris looked at him in disbelief, "And youre only telling us this now?"
"Well I only remembered now," Ezra tried to look indignant, but he quickly gave up and instead grabbed onto Vin to stop himself falling off his bar stool. This caused the sniper to spill his drink all over the place including onto Josiah, who was sitting next to him, and did not take kindly to being covered with cheap beer. The anthropologist promptly took his drink and dumped it over Vins head who howled as the alcohol burned his eyes. Seeing this Ezra started laughing and quickly lost his balance again, he tipped backward off his stool and, of course, started a domino effect with the bar stools next to him. Unfortunately one off these stools was occupied by a rather large man dressed like a lumberjack, which he very possibly was. As Ezra was now lying in a puddle of beer on the floor, the man totally missed him and instead went after Vin, who was still rubbing slightly more expensive beer out of his eyes. Chris watched the scene unfold in front of him with disbelief, and then let his head thump down onto the bar. Now were in shit, he thought, as a brawl erupted.
The team had thought the previous morning was bad, it was nothing compared to this one. They had all arrived at work hung over and bruised, and in most cases very late. The judge had called the meeting in the conference room and had given them an ultimatum: they had a week to find where Ricky Turret had gone and bring him into custody or the team would be suspended, with a possibility of permanence. After the judge had left, Chris sat at the head of the table and surveyed his team. Josiah was sporting cracked knuckles where he had hit the man that had attacked Vin, the sniper in turn had himself a nice purple bruise above his left eye. Buck and JD both had swollen and split lips, they had joined in the brawl when Buck had gone to help Josiah and of course JD had followed. Ezra was slouched low in his chair chewing effervescent painkillers in the absence of water, he had cracked his head on the wooden floor of "The Saloon" when he fell of his chair earning himself a mammoth headache, which was not helped by the hangover. The only two not maimed in any way where Nathan and Chris. One of the men involved in the fight had tried to take a swing at Chris but he had deflected it with a mere look, or glare, depending on how you looked at it.
The team looked up and looked as attentive as possible as their leader started speaking.
"This is our asses on the line boys and we only have one week to save them. Right now we only have one objective, find Turret. Ezra, Im going to need you to wrack your brains, the success of this relies heavily on you, not fair I know but you have our snitch to thank for that. Speaking of which we have to forget about the rat for now, leave that to the IA, none of us have anything to worry about," he said, then added, "In that sector." The team clearly had a lot to worry about.
"Vin, youre going to go through every single recorded conversation with Turret, get anything, anything that could lead us to him. Buck, youre going to help him.
The two agents nodded, no arguments at this stage of the game.
"Josiah, you and Nathan are going to find out if Ricky was spotted at the airport, and if he was seen getting onto any flights. JD for you I have the best job of all, I need you to find every single piece of information ever stored on Ricky Turret, I need aliases and commonly used disguises." JD nodded, Chris turned to his undercover agent, "Ezra, you already know what you have to do."
Standish merely closed his eyes and looked away, Chris didnt need anymore than that, he stood and walked to the door where he paused, "Do what you do," he said, "Only do it faster."
The six remaining in the room sat just long enough for the door to close behind their leader before they leapt up to do their various tasks, JD immediately went to his computer and started searching, Nathan and Josiah headed off to the airport while Vin and Buck got started on the tiresome task of running through tapes. Ezra sat at his desk and went through all of his notes and files from the last three months, even though he knew he would find nothing that would lead them to Turret. After four hours of non-stop searching he decided he needed a break, asking if anyone else wanted anything he headed down to the cafeteria. The food at the federal buildings cafeteria was dismal, but hed settled for it so as not to have to go to the nearest takeout.
He walked through the doors and straight into a pair of agents, one he recognized as Harry Burnett an agent he knew vaguely. Burnett immediately grabbed his arm to stop him from walking away.
"Hey Standish, you havent seen McCain have you?" he asked, appearing slightly concerned. Ezra was about to answer that he didnt know him when he paused, the name did ring a bell.
"The guy that was transferred here a couple of weeks ago?"
Burnett nodded vigorously, "Yeah he just disappeared a few days ago."
Something clicked in Ezras head, "How many days ago?"
"Dunno, about two or three."
"Two?" Ezra asked firmly.
"I guess. Why are you-"
But Ezra had already dashed out of the door, lunch forgotten, and ran all the way back to the office. JD looked up abruptly as Ezra hurried past and flew into Chris office without bothering to knock. Chris got straight to the point, "What you got?" he asked.
Ezra grinned like the proverbial Cheshire cat and asked, "Do you know an agent called McCain?"
Chris appeared to think, "Of him, hes a new transfer. Why?"
"He disappeared two days ago! His team mates are in a panic trying to find him."
"Two days ago," Chris mused. Ezra leaned forward, "Do you know where he transferred from?" he asked.
Understanding dawned on Larrabees face, "The FBI!"
Ezra nodded unnecessarily. The rest of team seven, minus Nathan and Josiah, had filtered into the office, Chris leant back in his chair.
"Looks like we found our rat, he told them.
"Who is it?" asked Vin.
"It may be a new agent called McCain, transferred here from the FBI not so long ago," Chris ignored the surprised expressions and continued, "He disappeared on the day of the bust and hasnt been seen since."
Buck let out a low whistle then he turned to Ezra.
"Do you know him, Ez?" he asked the undercover agent.
Standish shook his head, "No, although he seems to know me, or us.
"Well if he is our rat, which its still possible that he isnt, you must have done something to piss him off," said Chris, "Ill call the judge, see if I can get an address on him. Ezra, who told you McCain had skipped town?"
Chris nodded as if calculating something.
"Go back and see what else you can get out of him."
Ezra looked surprised, "Do you think thats wise?"
"No," said Larrabee bluntly, "But were running out of options."
Standish nodded in understanding, Chris wouldnt have suggested it if it wasnt absolutely necessary, and this was slightly worrying. Phoning the judge was probably also risky, but once again they didnt have a choice.
"The rest of you, carry on with what you where doing for now," Chris continued, "When I find out more Ill let you know."
Team seven filed out of their leaders office nodding to themselves. Chris called out after them.
"Someone call Nathan and Josiah and let them know whats going on."
Ezra made his way down to Burnetts office racking his brains. Who was McCain? And what did he have against him? Ezra was pretty sure he didnt know the name; he made a point of remembering names and faces. And that was another problem, Ezra didnt have a face to put with the name, like the others he had never actually met the man and only new him by reputation. Although what sort of reputation a man like McCain would have Standish could only guess. He arrived at the Burnetts office only to be told by his secretary that Mr Burnett had just left but he could catch him in the garage if he hurried, which was exactly what Ezra did. He stepped out of the elevator into the underground parking garage and scanned the area for Burnett, he turned abruptly as he heard the sound of tires turning on concrete just in time to see Burnetts car disappear through the boom and out of the garage. Damn, he thought as he turned to go but stopped when a glimpse of neon colour caught his eye. His heart sank as he realized what it was, walking forward he saw that his car, his jag had been sprayed with bright green spray paint. Standish frowned as he read what had been written with the offending substance. The Gambler? He thought, feeling suddenly uneasy. He spun to scan the area behind him and looked down immediately, his attention caught by a flash of neon pink. JDs bike lay on its side, sprayed in a similar manner. The Kid, his said. Ezra immediately went to the others cars; each one had been sprayed with a different colour with a different label to describe each of them. Chris was the leader, Buck was the scoundrel, Ezra would have laughed but this was far from funny. Nathan, the healer and lastly Vin, the tracker. The only one who had been spared was Josiah who had taken his car when he went to the airport with Nathan. Ezra pulled out his cell and started to dial the office upstairs when in rang in his hand causing him to nearly drop it. He hesitated before answering, then himself a mental shake.
JDs voice came over the line filled with uneasy excitement, "Ezra, youll never guess what happened to Josiahs car!" he exclaimed.
Ezra groaned inwardly, "I believe I can, actually," he replied.
Fifteen minutes later they where all gathered in the garage, surveying the damage on their cars, all had been dismayed at the damage but more so unnerved. Buck had already commented that McCain must have a major chip on his shoulder with regards to team seven, to which Chris had replied that they still couldnt be sure that it was McCain that had done it. They needed more information, it was getting really frustrating being in the dark all the time.
"In the meantime well go and check out his house, I managed to get the address out of the judge."
"Wholl go?" asked Nathan.
"Well all go," Larrabee replied looking grim, "This is getting personal."
A little while later they where positioned strategically around McCains unusually large house. Chris wondered how the man could afford it, trying not to jump to any conclusions, but still coming back to the same thought. Payoffs! He knocked on the front door and was only mildly surprised when it swung open under the force, revealing an open plan lounge and dining area. And not a very tidy one either, in fact it in such a state of disarray that it looked as though the entire house had been ransacked, but they all new better.
"Looks like someone left in a hurry," Buck said as he and Chris unholstered their guns and stepped cautiously over the threshold.
JD followed slowly stepping over dropped items of clothing and the occasional lamp.
He looked up as Ezra and Nathan came in through the kitchen door.
"Back door was unlocked," said the medic, by way of explanation.
"Where are Josiah and Vin?" Buck asked without looking at them.
"Out back, by the pool," Ezra replied. JD looked at him, "He has a pool?" he asked in a low voice.
The undercover agent nodded, "A big one!"
"Expensive," Nathan added. They all nodded in agreement, Chris was not the only one having those thoughts.
Chris turned back to the men crowded in the lounge, "JD you and Nathan go and check out the garage, see if he used his own vehicle when he left. Buck, you and Ezra check out upstairs, Ill finish looking around down here."
They all nodded and left to their tasks, JD and Nathan went back out the front door and headed towards the garage. They found the side door standing wide open and were immediately on their guard, entering cautiously with guns drawn. There was only one car in the garage and no person. The car, a Mazda MX-5, was unlocked so Nathan opened the front door and stuck his head in for a quick look.
"Hey, pop the trunk while youre in there, JD called from the back.
Nathan pulled the appropriate lever and went to join the younger agent as he opened the lid, revealing a lot of luggage. A lot of hastily packed luggage that had more than likely only just been placed in the car, JD and Nathan shared a look.
Ezra opened the cupboard of the master bedroom, the railings and shelves where void of clothing and a few hangers lay on the floor at his feet. There where a few garments strewn around the room, but nothing more of any use to them. It was obvious McCain had been here and had left in a hurry. Ezra made his way out onto the balcony through the sliding doors, the wind causing the light curtains to billow out behind him. A part of him felt very envious of the man, his house was gorgeous. Finding nothing out on the first floor deck, Ezra turned to go back into the house but stopped when he saw JD running across the lawn towards the house.
What the.., but Ezra didnt get to finish the thought as he was unceremoniously shoved from behind, instinctively he spun and caught onto his assailants arm as he fell, taking both of them over the railing.
Oh shit, Ezra thought as he felt the ground disappear from under him, and that thought he did get time to complete.
"Whats this?" Vin asked the world in general, coming around a bush by the side of the enormous pool to find a statue of a naked man.
Josiah came up next to him, "Oh, its a David."
Vin gave the anthropologist a look, "It has a name?" he asked sarcastically.
Josiah started to reply but stopped when JD came running up the lawn towards them.
The young computer whiz skidded to a stop in front of them, breathing hard and trying to say something.
"Slow down, son," Josiah advised. JD caught his breath and looked up at him, but instead of speaking he stared past the large man's shoulder with a look of pure horror on his face. Vin and Josiah spun just in time to see two figures land in the pool with giant splash, they immediately went to the edge and each grabbed a struggling and drenched person. Vin came up with a spluttering southerner and Josiah with a young man who could only be McCain, they hauled them onto the bricks, which lined the edge of the pool.
"Well, would you look at that," said a voice from above, they all looked up to see Buck leaning on the railing of the balcony red in the face with gun in hand, "Its a drowned rat," he finished with a snort.
The man in question started to struggle in Josiah grip, to no avail, "Let me go, you heathen," he shouted, causing Josiah to raise an eyebrow at the rest of the team. It was Ezra who lost his temper then, he reached across to McCain who was still sitting on the bricks across from him and grabbed the former FBI agent by a wet shirtfront.
"Heathen?" he asked, with mock politeness, "This coming from he who just ruined a very expensive, dry clean only Armani suit, not to mention my watch and my cell phone," he pulled this last item from his pocket and held it up as it dripped, the screen blank, "You just sit there, shut your mouth and explain your behaviour!"
McCain put on a sulky expression and sat silent. Ezra glared at him as he got to his feet, despairing over his ruined attire, as Buck and Chris came over to the group.
Larrabee looked at the sodden man still sitting on the ground in a puddle of water, "You going to explain yourself?" he asked.
McCain glared up at the leader of team seven and no-one would have been surprised if the petulant man had stuck out his tongue at him, instead he just said,
"Screw you, Larrabee."
If the man had had any brains he would have realized from the general spreading of the surrounding people that he was about to be on the receiving end of some very possibly brutal treatment, but instead he just sat there as Chris hauled him to his feet by his hair and tossed him, with very little effort, back into the pool.
Later that same day, after much interrogation they finally got McCain to say something, anything.
"Youre all a joke," he said, "Team seven is nothing but a bunch of misfits. Everyone knows that, they all laugh at you."
Buck who was sitting across from him grinned, "Youre right, everyone does know that, including us. So why dont you cut the crap and tell us the real reason why you seem to have it in for us."
McCain glared at the seven men in front of him, each in turn, "This should have been my team, Orrin promised it to me, until you came along Larrabee! I would have made this team a success, not the circus it is."
Chris raised an eyebrow and said nothing for a few moments, then, "Thats Judge Travis to you and I suspect that the Judge realized what a mistake he was about to make and replaced you. Although Im just guessing here, of course," he said with a grin. McCain did not grin, he sulked and tried for sympathy but his efforts where quickly squashed, none of the seven had sympathy for the man who had almost gotten the team destroyed and, of course, the spray painting of the cars did not help. McCain was charged with harassment, endangerment and destruction of personal property. He turned out not to be the "friend" of Turrets that Ezra had remembered that night at the saloon and got his wealth from his father who owned quite a large foods company in Europe. The seven wanted the judge to swing for attempted manslaughter but Travis thought that was a little harsh and also not very likely to stick. Team seven where also given an official apology and a weeks holiday for a break from all the work after the last bust. Ricky Turret was never found dealing drugs again, it seemed he made enough off the last deal to happily retire but the law would catch up with him eventually. Team seven couldnt have cared less and spent their weeks holiday sleeping late and drinking late at the saloon respectively. Internal Affairs was careful never to mention the incident again.