Believe it or not I wrote a huge section of this then accidentally wiped
it off. Very annoying. Im not a JD by any stretch of the imagination
and so I couldnt find it and had to write it all again
Its been pretty silent from me just recently I was away for
the whole Summer in Florida to get away from the heat
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat,
Where have you been?
Ive been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat,
What did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.
As in England? Buckingham Palace? The Queen?
You are not going to meet the Queen JD.
Yeah kid, its not like she walks down the street with a crown
on. Buck rolled his eyes dramatically.
I know that! JD was affronted. How stupid did they think he was?
It wasnt like he thought theyd bump into the Royal Family at
the local Walmart, assuming they even had Walmarts over there. He subsided
into his chair and hoped someone would change the subject.
So has everyone got a current passport? Chris gazed around at
the assembled group. They all nodded.
No. Never needed one bfore. Vin ducked his head. Hed
never been abroad, something else missing in his education.
Fear not, Mr Tanner, we can organise the legalities expeditiously.
Get it sorted. Chris watched as his sharpshooter shuffled
uncomfortably in his seat. Correctly assuming that Vin was intimidated by
the thought of all that official paperwork he chanced a quick glance at the
Undercover Agent who nodded imperceptibly. Ez, you collect everyones
passports and get one for Vin. Check them all, make sure we have all the
necessary documentation. I dont want to get to Heathrow and have to
turn round and come back. He paused. Scotland Yard are expecting
us on the 16th. The blond leader leaned back in his chair. Okay.
Lets go over it again.
Chris pulled the brown manila folder forward and balanced it against his
knee and the edge of the conference room table.
AD Travis received a call from a Detective Miles at New Scotland Yard.
Apparently arms and munitions are being purchased for Irish Paramilitaries
through Denver. Source unknown. We need to liase with their counter-terrorism
squad to try and uncover the contacts and break the chain. Since we have
three of you already on light duties, Team 7 have been asked to travel to
London to meet with the Anti-Terrorist Squad at Scotland Yard to assist the
British Police in identifying the perps. They have identified several suspects
already and we will gather as much information as possible before returning
to see if we can cut off the source here in the States. This is a fact-finding
mission only and no weapons will be transported to Europe. Police in England
do not routinely carry guns. We wont either. He glanced at Vin
who pulled a face. Any questions?
There was a moment of silence. Ezra shuffled in his seat.
The proposed trip coincides with Rories mid-term break. Id
like to take her along, with your permission, naturally. I think I can persuade
Terri to accompany us, with Olivia of course, so she will be available to
supervise the children whilst we are otherwise engaged.
Chris nodded and then pulled a face. As long as I dont have to
sit next to her on the plane and she doesnt bring any animals.
My miscreant daughter will leave her menagerie at home. Ezras
voice was firm but his eyes twinkled. Chris laughed.
Heathrow Airport London, England Sunday Afternoon
Why is that man wearing a dress? Rories shrill voice rang
out over the general crowd murmur in the crowd at passport control.
The southern undercover agent glanced down at his daughter, wincing at the
grubby, dishevelled urchin currently sprawled bonelessly across his Louis
Vuitton suit bag. He opened his mouth to answer but was beaten to the punch.
Its called a Thobe. The gentleman in question is from one of
the Middle Eastern Countries. Judging by his embroidered cap, probably the
Sultanate of Oman. The seven men, one woman and two girls looked at
the owner of the voice. He wore a police uniform and a black turban with
a badge pinned to the front. He smiled at the small American, waiting for
the inevitable with good humor.
What happened to your head? Did you bump it? Rorie took on a
poor you expression.
No. I am a Sikh, my family is originally from India. All the men of
my religion wear such a headdress. He crouched down and shook hands
with the inquisitive child. We dont cut our hair. Mine is even
longer than yours. He laughed as the little girl gaped at him.
London is very cosmopolitan. That means there are lots of people of
different races and religions and you will see many things you probably
havent seen before. He rose to his feet.
I am Constable Khan, with the Metropolitan Police. You are the group
from Denver? He regarded the men with solemn dark eyes. His gaze came
to rest on the man exuding an air of unquestioned authority.
The black clad blond stepped forward. Chris Larabee. This is my
team. Each man nodded in turn to the British Policeman.
Detective Miles sent me to meet you. If you will follow me, we will
dispense with customs and collect your luggage. We have transportation waiting
to take you to your hotel. You are not expected at the Yard until the
Josiah and Nathan exchanged glances. At least their hosts recognised they
needed a rest after the tiresome flight.
Detective Miles will meet you in the hotel restaurant tonight at 7.30,
just to introduce himself. As he spoke he ushered them towards a small
office set to one side of the Customs Hall. Their passports were collected
and stamped and within minutes they were downstairs in the luggage retrieval
The minibus ride into the center of London went as smoothly as city traffic
allowed. The ATF Agents refrained from talking shop with their escort and
instead listened as he chatted to Terri and the children. He told them that
he had two boys of his own and which sights, in his opinion, the girls would
most enjoy. By the time they arrived at the small hotel off Bond Street,
the girls were rested and ready to start exploring.
Chris watched his team checking into their rooms. Rorie and Olivia were bouncing
around the lobby causing havoc with other guests while Terri chased after
them trying to get them to settle down. It had been a long trip and they
both had energy to burn after the long hours in the confined space of their
Speaking of which
his gaze settled on his youngest team member. JD
was hopping from foot to foot and casting longing looks at the glass doors
leading out to the street. Red double-decker buses thundered past as small
black taxis dodged through the rush hour traffic. Pedestrians fought with
uniformly black umbrellas in the strong wind and pouring rain. London in
Fall. He looked back at their biggest Kid. Clearly he also had
too much energy. Buck would have to take him for a run or something.
He glanced over the others, automatically counting heads. Buck, Nathan, JD,
Where the hell was Vin?
He scanned the lobby again and finally located his sharpshooter.
The quiet Texan had all but disappeared between a marble statue and a bushy
plant. The only part of him visible was from the knees down. Chris would
recognise the worn denim and scuffed brown boots anywhere.
A shaggy head appeared in the crook of the statues marble elbow.
Dont like crowds.
Its only for a week.
Chris sighed and picked up his bag as Josiah handed him the passkey for the
room he was sharing with his second in command. A whole week in a small hotel
room, in a rainy, over-populated foreign city, in the company of a severely
At least he wasnt armed.
The group crowded into an elevator and he met Nathans eyes as they
glided slowly upwards, serenaded by the squeaks and groans of the cranky,
ancient, Otis. The medic glanced pointedly around at the others who were
jostling for position in the confined space.
Buck and JD were arguing. As usual.
Josiah was trying to read his London Guide Book. Aloud.
Vin had his eyes tightly shut and was taking deep breaths. No Surprise there.
Ezra was chastising Rorie for pressing the buttons for all the floors she
could reach. The elevator would be stopping at levels 7 to 12 and 14 to 24.
Terri was attempting to clean a dirty smudge off Olivias cheek with
Nathan raised his brows at Chris and leaned a little closer so only his leader
could hear him.
Best hope Scotland Yard have enough to keep them all busy or theres
going to be trouble.
Chris pulled a face. Isnt there always? Lets just hope
they dont blow up the Houses of Parliament or get locked up in the
Tower of London.
Amazingly, the official part of the trip was accomplished without incident.
Having exchanged as much information with their British counterparts as possible,
the group from Denver switched their emphasis from business to pleasure and
took on the role of American Tourists abroad. Even Chris got into the swing
of things, announcing that he intended to see Tower Bridge and the Crown
Jewels, Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guards.
In the Standishs hotel room, Rorie was impatiently waiting for her
father to finish his morning ablutions as he called them, so
they could go sightseeing. After 10 minutes the child got bored and, casting
a quick furtive look at the closed en-suite door, started flicking through
the manila folder on the bedside table. She was examining one of the mug
shots when Ezra emerged from the bathroom.
What do you think are you doing young lady? He frowned his
disapproval at the nosy child.
Shed been so engrossed she hadnt seen him coming and jumped guiltily.
Sorry Daddy. I know Im not supposed to mess with your work. I
was just looking. Theres nothing to read in here and the TV is crap.
Theyve only got five channels. Can you believe that?
The attempted redirection backfired with the use of bad language. The frown
deepened to an unamused scowl and Rorie gulped. Oops. Sorry Daddy.
Uncle JD said I wasnt to use that word. Ill try to remember.
Ensure that you do. I will not tolerate crude language Aurora.
Ezra took the folder and closed it, tucking it away in the safe and pulling
out his wallet and credit cards at the same time. He needed to talk to the
surrogate uncles again about their language.
Who are those people? Are they bad guys?
Ezra raised one brow at the inquisitive child. She was undaunted.
Ezra sighed. They are Americans who may be selling weapons to bad
guys in Ireland. We suspect one, or perhaps some, of those men may
be causing trouble over here so we have to look for them when we get back
to Denver. He pulled on his jacket and picked up the small green coat
with the black velvet collar. Catching sight of an expression that forewarned
of more questions he stepped into the breach. Let us depart and meet
up with our travelling companions. What do you want to see today?
He successfully redirected her attention and the undercover agent cast a
quick look over the room as his daughter preceded him into the corridor.
The door closed with a soft click and hand in hand the pair set off for their
Later, having spent the morning in individual pursuits, the seven and Rorie
met up for lunch. Terri had taken Olivia off on her own for the day, the
pair were planning to catch an afternoon performance at one of the theatres
in Covent Garden so the small Southerner was theirs to entertain.
Chris and Vin had been to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Josiah had
passed on that particular attraction when he learned about the Ravens. Apparently
tradition stated that if the ravens at the Tower ever left, the monarchy
would fall. To prevent that from ever happening, Beefeaters made sure they
stayed by feeding them. There was even an official Raven Master.
The History didnt interest the big profiler in this instance.
Nobody could get him to go willingly to see crows.
He and Nathan had spent the morning at Buckingham Palace, watching the changing
of the guard.
Did you see the Queen? JD asked the question before hed
got his brain in gear. He scowled as Buck cuffed him round the back of the
Nathan answered. She wasnt in.
JDs mouth dropped open. How do you know that? What did you do,
ring the bell? Is there even a bell?
Chris rolled his eyes and Vin chuckled.
There was no flag. The flag, or Royal Standard as its called,
only flies when shes in residence. Josiah tapped his ever-present
copy of The Official London Tour Guide resting beside his empty plate.
Says so in the book.
Taking pity on their youngest member, the Southerner quickly decided to change
the subject and turned to his daughter. And did you behave for Mr
Wilmington and Mr Dunne, Honeybee?
Yahuh. She glanced around the table, making sure she had the
undivided attention of her adoring audience. Satisfied, she began an enthusiastic
account of the morning she had spent with Buck and JD at the Sherlock Holmes
museum in Baker Street. JD managed to hold his tongue and allow the child
her moment, despite the urge to interrupt and embellish the telling. When
she seemed to run out of steam the others turned to him expectantly, knowing
he needed to get his own opinion off his chest.
We went to 221B, you know, what was supposedly his address. Its
a Building society, or Bank or something. He sounded disappointed.
Ezra nodded. Well Gentlemen, I had a successful morning visiting the
tailors in Bond Street and the various purveyors of fine shirts in Jermyn
Street. My wardrobe will be suitably replenished shortly after
we return to the States, if youll pardon the pun. He dimpled
at the groans and rolled eyes.
Daddy, why did you waste your morning shopping? Cant you do that
Dont get him started on the quality of Bond Street tailors
Rorie. Chris shook his head at his undercover operative. I already
know more about that that I ever wanted to.
Ezra raised a brow and looked Chris up and down. One would never have
So whatcha wanna to do this afternoon, Pumpkin? Vin threw Standish
a look that clearly asked if he was suicidal and then smiled at his niece
as he shovelled another spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.
Please can we go to Madame Toosoos? To see the candle people?
Vin gazed at her, confused. Candle people?
I think shes talking about Madame Tussauds Waxwork Museum,
like the one in Vegas. Josiah flicked through the guidebook to the
appropriate page. The one here in London was the original.
I could go for that. JD nodded and the others quickly agreed.
Ezra glanced at his watch. It was nearly time to meet the others in the State
Room. Theyd had to split up since the Southerner had declared the Chamber
of Horrors to be inappropriate for his only child. He shuddered as he imagined
the type of questions that would arise if he were to lead her through the
torture chambers, past the figures of the notorious Dr Crippen, Jack the
Ripper and all their nefarious counterparts.
Taking Rories hand they sauntered past a scantily clad Kylie Minogue
and made their way towards the designated meeting point, in the majestic
State Room, close to the figures of President Bush and Jacques Chirac. Rorie
was quickly bored by the waxwork Heads of State, not having heard of most
of them. She eventually wandered over to examine the display of Queen Elizabeth
being crowned, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Coronation. Ezra kept
a wary eye on her from a distance.
Soon the rest of Team Seven began to drift in.
Chris, Buck and Nathan joined Ezra by their President while JD and Vin wandered
over to look over the Royals with Rorie. They were just waiting for Josiah.
Where is he? Chris frowned at his watch.
He was examining the face of the Moors Murderers when I left him. He
was kind of engrossed. He may be a while. Nathan shrugged.
There were a few people still milling around the room, looking at the statues,
despite the fact that the attraction was due to close in a few minutes. Ezra
had wandered away from his companions, to come face to face with
Ghandi, when Rories shrill voice rang out across the room. Her words
had him spinning on his heel and he was vaguely aware of his team-mates also
coming alert as he turned.
LOOK DADDY! THERES TWO OF THE BAD GUYS FROM YOUR FOLDER!
Across the expanse of the great hall he could see Rorie pointing at two other
visitors, both with Deer Caught in the headlights expressions.
For a split second nobody moved. Then all hell broke loose.
Colorado based arms dealer, Carter Binks, who was more familiar with Team
7 than he ever wanted to be, couldnt believe his eyes. What the fuck
was this bunch doing in London? He drew a magnum.45 from the small of his
back and took cover behind former Prime Minister, Dame Margaret Thatcher,
clad typically in a beige tweed suit and dreadful shoes.
Binks companion, Yasser Al Hamidi, a Palestinian American, was slower
to move but took his lead from his associate and leapt behind Henry Kissenger.
He peeked out from between the figures legs, aiming his gun at the
nearest breathing person.
Two unfamiliar armed men took up stations near the door.
Meanwhile, Team Seven were in a bit of a shambles. Chris cursed as he realised
that none of them were armed. He crouched behind the shorter, but more ample,
figure of King Abdullah of Jordan and scanned the room for the rest of the
team, his mind racing, trying to come up with a plan.
Near the formally decked out Royal Family, Vin Tanner reacted immediately,
on instinct rather than thought. He grabbed his small niece and hastily thrust
her under the throne.
Stay still and be quiet. His tone brooked no argument. He grabbed
the fake ceremonial staff from a nearby Cardinal and took up position behind
the seated Monarch.
JD folded himself as small as he could into the nearest available cover,
courtesy of the Archbishop of Canterbury. His eyes roamed the room looking
for his boss and, hopefully, instructions.
Chris, who was armed only with the First Ladys pocketbook, was still
trying to locate Nathan and Ezra. He spotted the medic eventually, nearly
invisible behind a smiling Nelson Mandela. He raised his eyebrows at him
as their eyes met and held up seven fingers, which the medic correctly
interpreted as meaning Where the Hell is Ezra? Nathan nodded
towards a Zulu King, resplendent in furs but empty handed. As he watched
the undercover agent appeared stealthily beside him, carrying a tribal spear.
Then the shooting started.
Josiah Sanchez was nose to nose with Ivan the Terrible when there was a sudden
influx of people running from the direction of the State Room. He glanced
at his watch. He was late which meant the others
a shiver went down
his spine even before the sound of the first gunshot. Grabbing a mace and
an axe, both fake, from a couple of murderous looking waxwork Goths, he started
towards the commotion.
By the time the dust, or rather in this case, wax, settled in the museum,
the once beautiful exhibit was looking very sorry for itself. Chris slowly
rose to his feet and took stock of the devastation.
A few of the wax figures were still standing, although The Duke of Edinburgh
seemed to have lost his head and Winston Churchill and the now one-legged
Stalin were leaning together, mouth to mouth, seemingly in a clinch. Julius
Caesar had been stripped of his royal toga and stood bare to the breeze while
Cleopatra looked on with her remaining eye and smirked. The waxwork Pope
had fallen face first into the lap of a smiling Wallace Simpson and Queen
Victoria continued to look down her regal nose at them all, or she would
have, if she still had one.
Chris shuddered. Travis was going to kill them, after theyd been deported
of course. Even now he could hear the sirens wailing in the distance.
He swept his gaze around, checking on his family.
Vin was finishing tying up the last of the prone criminals, with a bejewelled
sash liberated from Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Three were out cold
and the fourth was groaning as he writhed around like a Mummy in Caesars
That explained the nude emperor.
Buck was covering him with a faux ceremonial sword and one of the illegal
guns confiscated from their targets.
Josiah was leaning against the ample torso of Henry VIII while Nathan probed
the bloody wound on his upper right bicep with gentle fingers. The Preacher
met Chriss look and smiled in grim reassurance. He took more
damage than I did brother. He nodded to his left and Larabee noticed
for the first time that the long-dead King had a huge hole where his decorative
codpiece should have been.
Shuddering with the horrific image that injury conjured up in
his minds eye he nodded and continued to survey the room, searching
out the remaining three, as yet unaccounted for, members of his group, Ezra,
JD and Rorie.
Ezra was standing in front of the throne gazing at the young Bostonian,
comfortably ensconced on the Queens lap. He was out cold.
The youthful Mr Dunne is just taking a nap, Mr Larabee. Ezra
grinned at his leader as Chris, Vin and Buck came to stand at his side.
One of the miscreants shot out part of the chandelier, he scuffed
his expensive loafer through the glass on the floor at their feet, he
was standing below, preparing to launch the sceptre to aid our comrades when
he was felled from on high. The undercover agent chuckled and looked
back at his peaceful comrade. The golden sceptre was still clutched tightly
in his hand as he perched on the royal knee.
Daddy? Can I come out now? There was a sneeze from somewhere
below the ermine and velvet skirts. Its awful dusty under here.
Dont they ever clean?
Vin reached under the throne and pulled out the filthy child, carefully avoiding
the sharp shards of glass. I stayed still and quiet Uncle Vin, like
a little mouse.
Ya did good pumpkin. Vin tweaked her nose and tried to hand her
to her father who took one look at the dirt and wrinkled his nose. Perhaps
she should stay with you, Mr Tanner. Vin laughed and settled her on
his hip, unconcerned about his own tatty jeans. Is Uncle JD
He got to sit on the Queens lap. Whats the stick for?
Sceptre. Its part of the coronation ceremony. Ill explain
it later Honeybee.
Rorie looked appraisingly at her youngest uncle, ignoring the noisy arrival
of the Metropolitan Police. A devilish smile crossed her face. Chris shuddered.
Wriggling in Vins arms she reached out and took the crown from the
battered, holey Archbishop and set it gently on the dark hair,
carefully avoiding the prominent bump.
By the power vested in me, I pnounce thee King Dunne.
Whos got a camera?