Rating: PG, for language
Authors Notes: This was written in response to Robins
Chris Fic Challenge #6, in which our dear Mr. Larabee does something he really
wishes he hadnt.
Chris Larabee glared at the skeletal remains scattered before him. Up until
a minute ago, the pile of plastic and wires had been his desk phone. What
hed really wanted to do was to slap some sense into the person hed
been talking to: AD Travis. However, a man couldnt tear his boss a
new one and expect to remain employed. Therefore, Chris had vented his anger
on the hapless telephone. It hadnt helped damn near enough. Chris was
still angry enough to shoot the next person who walked into his office.
He could see the members of Team Seven as he glared through the plexiglass
of his office window. "Look at em, running like scared rabbits,
tryin to look busy. I know for a fact that not ten minutes ago JD was
surfing the web, Buck was making personal phone calls, Vin was working on
perfecting his game of wastepaper basketball, Ezra was trying to catch a
nap, Nathan was reading some medical journal, and Josiah was . . . Well,
whatever Josiah was doing, I know for damn sure it didnt involve the
The members of Team Seven had been together long enough that they knew that
they were targets for Chris Larabees wrath the minute the crashing
sound from his office signaled that another telephone had fallen victim to
Chris homicidal tendencies. If the sacrificial telephone were not enough
to tame the beast which raged within, Chris would next enter the office proper
and proceed to inflict the Wrath of Larabee upon the first man who caught
his eye. In self defense, they had become experts in the art of looking busy.
Chris was even more pissed off over the fact that hed just destroyed
another office phone. After the last phone mishap, AD Travis had warned that
he was going to start deducting the cost of telephone repairs from Chris
paycheck because hed damaged too many of the damn things. The Team
Seven leader fumed at the absent AD. "Hell, its not really my fault.
There wouldnt be a problem if those bureaucratic tightwads at the ATF
would shell out a few more dollars for some decent office equipment." Chris
conveniently overlooked the fact that telephones were not designed to survive
high impact collisions with solid objects.
He took a few deep breaths, trying to contain his rage. He didnt want
to use any of his men as a surrogate target in absence of the real source
of his anger: AD Travis. The previous week, Chris had received a verbal reprimand
from his superior. The Assistant Director had the nerve to accuse Chris of
using excessive force while apprehending one of the slimeball gunrunners
arrested in Team Sevens recent takedown operation.
Chris had no problem in offering reasons for his actions. "Hell, that goddamn
fuckwad asshole wouldve left a trail of bodies as he shot his way out
of there, if Vin hadnt ve put a bullet through the bastard."
AD Travis waved off his explanation. "Be that as it may, once the man had
been shot, there was no reason to slam him face first into the concrete when
you handcuffed him."
Chris was livid. The suspect in question had damn near succeeded in killing
Chris with his last shot. The bullet had passed by close enough that the
Team leader had heard and felt when it whistled by within an inch of his
right ear. It took every once of self control Chris possessed not to yell
at his boss with his reply. Through clenched teeth, he stated, "I do not
consider the force used to control the suspect to have been excessive."
The AD continued, "Not excessive? You broke the mans face! Youd
better pray he doesnt take it into his head to file a lawsuit. Given
the circumstances, Im keeping this to a verbal reprimand. However,
I strongly suggest that you attend the next session on Anger Management when
it is offered by the department."
Chris had no intention of following the ADs recommendation. His anger
helped to keep him sharp and focused. Dulling that edge would endanger both
Chris and the men that he worked with. He satisfied himself with a silent
fantasy involving slamming AD Travis face into the concrete. Travis
had been out of the field for too long. Chris got the feeling that the man
was starting to get delusions of being the next Director. As such, his boss
didnt want anyone under his command doing anything to screw up his
chances for promotion. Chris silently cursed. "Goddamn bureaucratic assholes
who dont remember what its like in the real world."
Chris anger at the reprimand had not cooled in the week that followed.
Therefore, when he got the latest call from his superior, he came damn near
to snapping and telling the man what he really thought of Team Sevens
latest assignment. Hed tried reasoning with the AD. "This is bullshit,
and you know it. Its like sending the Denver PDs Major Crime
squad out on the streets to write traffic tickets. My grandmother could do
Travis was unmoved. "Im not asking your grandmother to do this. Im
telling you. Team Seven is going to check liquor licenses so that we can
make more efficient use of your down time, as well as help out during the
departments current hiring freeze. The ATF simply does not have enough
manpower to get everything done unless we redistribute some of our resources."
Chris argued. "My Team has had precious little down time. We went six straight
weeks without a break on the Delaney operation. My men need a little time
to decompress before tackling another major case."
"Im not denying that they do. I find it difficult to think of any job
less stressful under my command than the task of checking liquor licenses.
Ive emailed you the list of areas that I need you to cover. Have a
Chris lost it at the ADs final sarcastic comment. His phone went flying
before he could say something that would get him fired. He sat, seething.
He was not going to indulge in his previous habit of verbally abusing his
men. Chris had no intention of following in Travis footsteps. He
didnt want his head so high in the clouds that he forgot the impression
he made on those under his command. They would suffer enough once they found
out their latest assignment. No need for Chris to add to their misery.
He had no idea how long he sat before he felt that he had himself enough
under control that he could use his computer without throwing the monitor
across the room. His screen seemed to be taunting him with the email "Message
Waiting" signal. His hand hovered over the keyboard, his lips drawn together
in a tight grimace. After a moment of indecision, he declared, "Fuck! I
cant do this."
His fisted hand slammed his desk in frustration. "Ill give Travis his
email, alright." If anyone who knew Larabee had been present
to witness the transformation which took place, they would have quickly retreated
from the room. His eyes narrowed, and his mouth twisted in a sadistic grin.
His entire being radiated the potential threat to do great bodily harm. His
voice low, quiet and deadly, he muttered, "Maybe Ill just send a little
email of my own."
Chris hands flew across the keyboard as he conducted his own personal
anger management therapy.
Send mail to: ADTravis@ATF.treas.gov
Subject: Fuck You
Message: "Ive run into some incompetent assholes over the years, but
they all pale in comparison to you."
Chris poured all of his feelings into the message as he typed. Hed
managed to develop quite an extensive vocabulary of profanity over the years,
and proceeded to use each word he knew as he exercised his creativity in
cursing his superior. He included every slight, both real and imagined, that
hed suffered at the hands of the AD. He was offering his opinion of
Team Sevens current assignment when he was disturbed by a hesitant
knock on his door. Not pausing in his efforts, he stated, "Come in."
Buck cautiously entered, keeping the door between himself and any possible
thrown objects. His voice tentative, he asked, "Chris?"
The man in question was in the middle of a particularly colorful description
of the AD and barnyard animals. He reluctantly lifted his eyes from his work.
Buck slowly walked into the room, not anxious to be on the receiving end
of Chris temper. He scuffed the toe of his shoe along the floor, finding
it a more fascinating place to fix his gaze than on his superior. Buck kept
his tone of voice respectful and apologetic. "You know that email from the
DA you forwarded to me the other day?"
Chris had no trouble in recalling the message. Hed just forwarded the
note yesterday. He snapped, "What about it?"
Buck winced, but he had to ask, "I dont suppose you kept a copy?"
Knowing where Buck was going with his question, Chris decided to make him
sweat a bit. He rested his chin on his fisted hand, pondering. "Hm. Did I
keep a copy?" He watched Buck shuffle anxiously from foot to foot while he
waited. After a minute, Chris decided to leave off torturing his friend.
"Actually, I havent deleted it yet. Give me a minute, and Ill
send it to you again."
Buck was visibly relieved. "Thanks. Youre a life saver." He headed
back out to his desk to collect his message.
Chris made sure not to delete his current work in progress when he clicked
over to his Email Received file. He quickly located the message from the
DA and sent it on to Buck. Mission accomplished, he clicked back to his current
email in progress. Huh. That was strange. He couldnt find it. He
hadnt been anywhere near the delete key. Damn computers, anyway. How
could his masterpiece have just disappeared? Maybe hed accidently forwarded
it to Buck?
He walked out to his teammates desk. "Hey, Buck, did I send you anything
besides the DAs email?"
Buck double-checked, then answered, "Nope. Just the one message I asked for.
Chris waved off the thanks and headed back to his office. There was one more
place he had to check. But, it wasnt possible. It wouldnt be
there. It couldnt. He held his breath, his hand tightening on the mouse.
Hoping against hope, he clicked on his "Mail Sent." There it was, right after
the forwarded email from the DA hed sent to Buck. Mail sent to:
ADTravis@ATF.treas.gov. Subject: Fuck you.
His mind screamed, "No! No way!" He couldnt have done it. Yet, there
it was, staring balefully at him from the screen: "Mail Sent." Oh, God. He
quickly clicked on the "delete" key. The computer scolded him, "Cannot delete
mail sent." He refused to believe the message, pounding frantically at the
"delete" key. The message did not change.
Chris ran to his door, shouting, "JD! Get in here, now!" The kid was good
with computers; real good. If anyone could make the message go away, it would
be JD. The man in question had come running at Chris frantic call.
Chris dragged him over to his desk chair, forcing him to sit in front of
the computer. Chris quickly explained the situation. "That message, there."
JDs eyes widened as he read both the "Send to" and "Subject" lines.
"The computer says I sent it. Thats a lie. Theres no way in hell
I wouldve done such a stupid brain-dead thing."
JD clicked on the message, his jaw dropping open in shock as he read the
contents. "Oh, my."
"So. I need you to make it go away."
JD echoed, "Make it go away?" Chris did not want to accept the answer written
on JDs face. The kid slowly shook his head, genuinely sorry. "God,
I wish I could. But, I cant. Its already been received by the
ADs computer. Im sorry, Chris. Theres nothing I can do."
Chris tried to keep his face free from all expression as his head nodded
jerkily in response. He collapsed more than sat in his chair as JD vacated
it. "Shit." He was vaguely aware of JDs voice drifting in from the
outer office as he explained Chris dilemma to the members of Team Seven.
Various exclamations of , "He said what? He called him a what?
With a sheep and a cow?" were uttered in response. Chris eyes narrowed
when he heard Bucks too enthusiastic question, "Can you get me a copy?"
JD spoke up on Chris behalf. "Guys, this is serious. Do think that
the AD is gonna just laugh this off?" The silence which greeted his question
was more than enough of an answer. The Team proceeded to rally around their
stricken leader, crowding into Chris office.
Chris had his panic well under control. No hint of his inner turmoil showed
when he stated, "Ive made a few enemies since I took on this job. All
I gotta do is tell Travis that I didnt send the message."
JD quickly vetoed the idea. "Sorry. Itll be all too easy for the AD
to prove that the message was sent from Chris computer."
Chris was not yet defeated. "Dont matter. Ill just tell him
someones trying to frame me."
Nathan snorted. "Yeah, thatll work real good when he finds out the
only prints on the keyboard are yours."
JD pulled out a handkerchief and began wiping down the keyboard. "Damn it,
the only one gettin framed by anybody is the guy who sat down at your
keyboard and tried to help you out."
Chris put out a hand to stop JDs frantic efforts. He began to swipe
at the keys with his own handkerchief, stating, "No ones gonna take
the fall for this but me."
Josiah interrupted their housekeeping efforts with a glimmer of hope. "Just
because the message has been sent, does not mean that the AD has read it."
Bucks response did not inspire much confidence. "Yeah, just because
Travis is a desk-bound bureaucrat dont mean hes actually
sittin at his desk."
Vin was not about to give up on his best friend. He was already on his way
to his desk when he stated, "Im gonna call and find out." The team
reconvened at Vins desk, anxiously gathering to overhear the conversation.
Vin obliged them by putting the call on the phones speaker.
The ADs secretary, Peggy Fair, answered on the third ring. "Youve
reached the office of Assistant Director Travis. How may I help you?"
"Is Mr. Travis in?"
"Whom shall I say is calling?"
"This is Vin Tanner."
Having passed the secretarys screening, she replied, "Im sorry,
Mr. Tanner, but AD Travis has gone for the day. Would you like to leave a
"No, thats okay. Can you tell me how long ago he left?"
"That would have been fifty-five minutes ago."
Vins "Thank you. Thanks a lot!" was excessively friendly. It reflected
his relief at the reprieve theyd been granted. Now, all they had to
do was to break into the ADs computer and delete the message. When
Vin suggested that they do just that, JD immediately shot him down.
The kid was their resident computer expert. He pointed out, "Despite what
they show on TV, hacking into someone elses computer is a damn difficult
thing to do. With all of the safeguards and firewalls put in by the ATF,
our computers are more secure than most. Much as I wish I could, I cant
Buck offered, "Well, hell, maybe we should just blow the damn thing up."
Chris snorted. "If were gonna do that, I might as well as go and shoot
the damn thing. The end result will be the same. Itll be traced right
back to us." Chris slumped in his chair, the picture of defeat. "Theres
only one thing to do. I tell Travis Im sorry, and hope hes in
a good enough mood not to fire me."
Vin shook his head. "No way. JD told us what was in that email. Seems like
you really got a way with words. You knew all the right buttons to push to
send the AD right over the edge. Hell fire you in a heartbeat, and
maybe sue you for libel or defamation of character, to boot. You may be willing
to put your head in a noose, but dont think were gonna sit by
and let you do it."
Chris sighed. "The noose is already tight around my neck. Its only
a matter of time until the trap door opens underneath me."
Much as his teammates wanted to disagree with the statement, no one had anything
further to offer. At least, not until JD broke the oppressive silence. "You
know, Ive been thinking. I may not be able to hack the ADs computer.
But, that doesnt necessarily mean I cant log on to it." He paused
as all eyes stared hopefully in his direction. "Now, logging on wont
do me a darn bit of good without the password. So, all I need to do is get
Buck stared, disbelieving. "You get his password. Just like that."
JD waved a hand to silence his friend. "Actually, youre the one who
gave me the idea. The AD is an older guy, like you," JD teased. "You know
how you cant remember your password for shit. Youve always got
it written down someplace handy. Id be willing to bet that Travis does,
too. Even if he doesnt, he probably has kept it to something simple,
like his birthday." JDs enthusiasm was catching on. "Cmon, its
certainly worth a try."
Chris was not so easily persuaded. "Not that Im not grateful for the
offer, but I have no intention of letting you get caught breaking into the
Buck stated, "Ive been thinkin about that. I dont think
he has to break in. I think he can just kind of wander in when no ones
Chris vetoed the idea. "If the office is closed, the security guards and
cameras will be all over JD. If the office is open, theres no way
JDs gonna get past the Dragon Lady." Dragon Lady was one of the kinder
names the team used to refer to the ADs secretary, Peggy Fair. Never
was a lady less appropriately named. Ezra had voiced the suspicion that Ms.
Fair was a refugee from the Russian womens hockey team. She had all
the femininity of a defensive lineman. She guarded Travis office with
the zeal of a momma bear protecting her cub.
JD continued, "Youre forgetting one thing. The Dragon Lady has a weakness,
All eyes turned to Vin Tanner. He grimaced. "Ha-ha. I dont think so."
Buck grinned. "Oh, yeah. Weve all seen her and heard her. Anytime Vin
is around, she gets all soft and starts givin him those cows
Much as Vin tried to deny it, all of his teammates were nodding in agreement.
Buck continued, "As sweet as he was to her on the phone today, shes
probably ready to go ring shoppin." Vin looked horrified at the suggestion.
"So, Vin and JD make some excuse to visit the ADs office. While Vin
is makin time with his lady Fair, JD takes care of our little computer
problem, slick as you please."
Chris found himself outnumbered, six to one. Much as he wished he could be
the only one at risk here, he realized that Vin and JD were definitely the
men for this job. When they told him that they intended to carry out their
mission, regardless of whether or not it met with his approval, Chris reluctantly
conceded. "Damn it, I dont want anyone else takin the fall for
somethin I did. But, if I have to listen to one more argument about
how we cant break up the team, Ill end up takin you all
with me when I go."
Vin offered one last argument. "Hell, Chris, if it was one of us that sent
that email, and Miss Peggy was sweet on you, youd be the first one
in her office." Chris nodded, having no words to counter the truth that was
known to all.
As Vin and JD discussed their strategy, Ezra interrupted. "Gentlemen, I beg
of you. If you would please hold off for one more hour before your foray
into enemy territory, I will be able to furnish you an additional weapon
to use in your attack." Ezra refused to tell them any more, beyond, "Trust
me. It should prove well worth your while."
A few minutes before Ezras scheduled return, JD approached Buck. "Hey,
Buck, I thought of something you can do to help. I need to borrow something
Buck jumped to his feet at the offer. "Alright, kid, anything you want,
JD answered with a one word reply: "Henrietta."
Buck took a step back, shocked. Henrietta was the name he used to refer to
his beloved rubber chicken. Henrietta had been with him through a lot of
rough scrapes. Buck denied that he was the superstitious sort. However, the
idea of parting with his silent partner was rather unsettling. Nevertheless,
if JD wanted Henrietta, hed get Henrietta. Buck reached for his desk
drawer. He gently handed over his treasure, patting her in fond farewell.
"Okay, now, JDs gonna take real good care of you."
Buck was about to ask JD about Henriettas role in the plan. He was
sidetracked by Ezras return.
The undercover agent produced a handkerchief from his pocket. He carefully
pulled back a corner, revealing the plastic ziplock bag concealed in its
folds. "Gentlemen, this is a portion of the earthly remains of one of the
most evil men who ever walked upon this earth."
Buck had been leaning in close, as curious as the others. He quickly retreated
when Ezra revealed that the powdery substance was human remains.
Ezra stated, "Im not asking you to believe in the power of curses or
ancient religions. However, the man who shared this with me assures me that
the evil which permeated every cell of the deceased mans body can affect
anything that it comes into contact with. I recommend that you scatter the
contents of this bag liberally upon the computer in question."
Vin refused to touch Ezras offering. JD shrugged, reaching for the
handkerchief. "It cant hurt."
Ezra held back for a moment before releasing his offering. "Be that as it
may, I strongly suggest that you do not allow the contents to come into contact
with any portion of yourself personally."
JD carefully took the package and tucked it into his briefcase, where Henrietta
was currently residing. He stood, announcing, "Im as ready as Ill
ever be." Vin and JD headed out, leaving behind five extremely worried friends.
+ + + + + + +
Less than an hour later, the two returned. The expression on their faces
told the story. They looked like they were on their way to a funeral. Vin
could not find any words to say. They stuck in his throat when he looked
at his best friend.
Chris gave a slight nod, saying, "Thanks for trying. Seeing as youre
not under arrest, I guess yall didnt get caught."
JD flopped into a chair. He quickly disagreed. "Oh, yes we did." He began
to relate the details of their failed mission.
"Everything started out like wed hoped. Vin managed to gain all of
Miss Peggys attention so that I could sneak off into the ADs
office." He grabbed his head in frustration. "I searched every place I could
think of trying to find the damn password. Im sorry. It was nowhere
to be found. I finally ended up turning on his computer and trying any names
and numbers I could think of that could be connected to the AD."
"Of course, all of this took time. Too much time. Peg-zilla got the wind
up and came lookin for me. Thank goodness, Vin had time to warn me.
Even though I didnt have time to get the hell out, I did manage to
shut down the computer. When she walked in on me, she caught me red-handed,
settin Henrietta up in Travis chair. She didnt seem near
so mad at me for prankin, as she was mad at Vin."
Vin took up the story. "She gave me one a them if looks could
kill Id be dead stares. Then, she starts in on me. So,
all of that nonsense you were spouting back there was only to help your friend
to sneak around behind my back."
"I wanted to say, Hell, yes! Instead, I started gettin
as mushy as ol Buck, tellin her, yeah, I was coverin for
JD, but I wasnt lyin when I said I wanted to go out with her.
It took some fancy words on my part, but she finally got over bein
mad at me." He sighed. "Were goin out this weekend." Vin was
gifted with various sympathetic looks at that statement.
JD offered, "I did leave Ezras fairy dust behind when I left. Maybe
thatll do the trick." No one gained any comfort from that statement.
They all knew that, more than likely, Chris Larabee would get fired tomorrow.
Buck stood up. "Well, if this is Chris final night with Team Seven,
I say we owe him one hell of a sendoff." His teammates agreed. They reconvened
at the saloon, attempting to drown their sorrows. They were not much successful.
+ + + + + + +
The next morning, they were all gathered when Chris received the call to
go to the ADs office. They watched the minutes tick slowly by, waiting
for their leaders return. When he walked into the office, his face
had an unusual expression. They couldnt quite figure it out.
Chris walked up to Ezra. The undercover agent was the first to realize the
truth, being privileged to witness the grin which broke out on Chris
face. He declared, "Thank God!" extending his hand for a high five.
Chris stated, "No, thank Ezra." All of Team Seven gathered around, exchanging
whoops, hollers, and hugs. Through the noise, Chris announced, "It seems
that AD Travis computer has suffered a major system failure. Anything
I may have sent him over the last twenty-four hours has been irretrievably
The noise level rose considerably at that pronouncement. Team Seven had
Team Seven once again rallied to support one of their own. They huddled around
Vin, thanking him for taking on the fearsome Miss Peggy. True to his word,
he had gone out on a date with the woman. It had been every bit as bad as
hed feared. "She spent most of her time criticizing damn near everything
about me. The rest of the time, she spent telling me stuff I didnt
care to know, and want to forget as quick as I can. Thank God, she didnt
expect no good night kiss."
Buck shuddered. "My Ma always said, Aint no such thing as an
ugly woman; only a lazy one. My Ma obviously never met Peg-zilla."
Josiah offered, "Shes not that bad."
He was immediately shouted down by his friends. Buck observed, "I dont
see you datin her. Besides, shes got a mustache!" Vin visibly
winced at that reminder.
Chris stated, "I want to thank yall again for gettin my ass out
of the line of fire. I owe you, big-time."
Vin smiled. "Hey, Chris, glad to hear you say that. Theres something
else Miss Peggy shared on our little date. As much as she used to like me,
the person who she really wants to get to know up close and personal is none
other than our own Chris Larabee."
Chris smiled. "Okay, Vin, pull the other one."
Vin raised a hand defensively. "I aint lyin. As a matter of fact,
she asked if I could fix her up on a date with you."
Chris frowned, shaking his head.
"Paybacks a bitch, Chris, and so is Miss Peggy. Shes waitin
on your phone call." With that pronouncement, Vin dropped Ms. Fairs
business card in front of a stunned Chris. Pointing at the hand-written number
on the back, he added, "That theres her home phone number. Enjoy your
Chris sighed, surrounded by laughing teammates. Maybe getting fired
wouldnt have been such a bad thing, after all.