Travis' Seven

by Sammie

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5

Chris stood on the periphery of the park, hidden in the shadows of a large willow tree as he watched the many families playing at the picnic.

Billy made a beeline for the baseball field, his mother and Lightfoot close behind.

Suddenly Mary looked up and around her warily, as if looking for someone watching her. She shook it off.

Chris got up and left.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD watched on the security monitors for the vault as their cart was wheeled into the vault and left with all of Barye's.

And then one of the casino staffers clunked down a heavy metal box on top.

JD whirled around to look at his laptop, which was receiving signals from the sensor blockers he and Buck had put in the cart. The camera feed continued, but then the laptop beeped. A dialog box popped up--the laptop was not receiving a signal from the movement mechanism.

"Oh no!" Beads of sweat dotted his forehead. "Think, think," he mumbled to himself.

+ + + + + + +

The manager handed Barye his portfolio. He nodded his thanks and the manager trotted off. He took a small little envelope out of it and slipped it into his coat pocket.

"Mr. Barye." A security enforcer approached. "The security group head in the slot machines would like to see you."

"Can it wait?"

"He said you might like to come."

Barye strode over, somewhat annoyed, just to be stopped.

"Mr. Barye," Ezra said in a low voice.

"Edward. I thought your shift ended an hour ago."

"It did, Mr. Barye, but I spotted him coming in." Ezra nodded at a slot machine some distance away.

"You didn't think to call someone right away?"

"I was hoping he would leave on his own, sir. After a half-hour or so, we began to look for you."

Barye paused and squinted a little at the man Ezra pointed out.

"Chris Larabee," Ezra explained.

Barye furrowed his brow. "Larabee...," he mumbled, thinking.

"He's the man that's been red-flagged on the lists."

"Oh yes." Barye nodded. "Well, call some guards to escort Mr. Larabee out and we call the police."

"Actually, sir," Ezra cut in a little sheepishly and hesitatingly, "if I could suggest...something?" he asked as his face turned red.

Barye contemplated his security staffer, who was looking rather scared of him. "Of course."

"It might be better if you asked him why he was here. He might not know he's not allowed in here; he's pretty drunk. And if he does, there might be a bigger reason he's here."

"Has he been causing anyone trouble?"

"Not yet."

Barye nodded and turned to a guard nearby. "Have guards bring Mr. Larabee to the office room in the cages. Edward, if you could update me on what happened."

"Of course."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"All right," JD whispered into the computer microphone. "They're in the cages."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chris, growling, shook off the arms of the security guards holding him. He walked to his seat unsteadily and plunked himself down at the chair at the head of the table.

Barye entered and found his security group head sidling in after him, watching Larabee with wariness and maybe a tad of fear.

"Mr. Larabee." Barye walked around the table so that he was standing to Larabee's side.

Chris turned a lazy eye to the casino owner, looking at the man's suit with one eye squeezed shut. "Killin' penguins's illegal," he slurred.

An imprudent guard snorted, got a look from Barye, and quickly excused himself from the room.

"Mr. Larabee, you understand that you violated the restraining order against you by coming into my casino."

Chris blinked slowly as if suddenly realizing where he was. "Oh."

"Were you not informed of the order?"

"Oh yeah I was." Chris's eyes slowly ran across the room, narrowing difficulty in concentration. He looked at Barye and the other guards before fixating on Ezra, who was standing with his back against the wall but between him and Barye. "RAT!" he screeched and lunged out of his chair, nearly falling flat on his face.

Ezra swore in scared surprise and bolted towards Barye, nearly crashing into the owner before rolling off to the side.

Chris struggled in the arms of Barye's security guards, yelling drunkenly at Ezra, who backed away. He lunged one more time and hit his head on the way down, getting knocked out.

"Get a doctor," Barye said shortly. "Then make sure he gets off the property."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD grinned at Ezra's cue. "He's got the codes. Nate? You're up."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nathan appeared on the casino floor with his medical bag, looking right at the guard. "Did someone call for a doctor?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD swallowed and radioed, "Josiah?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ezra watched nervously as Nathan hurried in.

Barye turned to his security man. "Thank you. You've done more than your share of work."

Ezra nodded. "You're, uh, welcome, sir."

"Go on home. You shouldn't have to stay late on national holiday, especially when you've already done this."

"Well, sir, I know things are really busy. Would you need me to help out?"

Barye looked at Ezra, his mask showing a slight crack of genuine compassion. "We'll be fine. Go on." He left.

The security man swallowed again, still giving Chris scared looks. He finally slid out the door.

The guards watched expectantly as Nathan checked the unconscious man's vitals.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Josiah, dressed in the uniform of the casino restaurant, stopped in front of the security guard. "Dinner for the security center," he announced from behind a wall of food. "Mr. Barye told Jack that I should send the food down to the center. Oh, my's, uh, in the bottom half of--"

The guard grinned and keyed him in. "Just go on in."

"Thank you."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"He's drunk, pretty much," Nathan shrugged. "My partner'll be here in a sec with the stretcher. We'll wheel him out and take him to the hospital, just to make sure nothing happened when he hit his head."

The guards nodded.

Vin appeared right outside the room. They gently picked up the unconscious Chris and put him on the stretcher.

The two men and the stretcher headed to the general, all-purpose elevator. The guard paused as they squeezed inside. "You'll be okay to find your way out?"

Nathan nodded reassuringly. "We'll be fine. Thanks."

The elevator doors slid shut.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ezra quickly slipped through the hallways to the vault elevator. He keyed in the code, the doors slid open, and he stepped onto the vault elevator.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Josiah, still loaded down with trays and boxes, headed to the security center and struggled to get inside the door. "Dinner!"

Several security personnel got up to help him as the whole center cheered.

Josiah tripped and sent the sodas in his hands flying. They actually hit the staffer watching the elevators. "I'm so sorry!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Beads of sweat appeared on JD's forehead as he typed quickly.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the security center, the personnel scrambled to help mop up the soda from the floor.

Only Josiah noticed when the two elevators suddenly emptied.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Ow," Chris gasped as he sat up, holding his head. "That hurt."

"'A course, ya moron," Nathan growled. "Might as well have gone knocked yerself out on a concrete wall."

"Oh shoot," Vin mumbled as he dug through his EMT's bag, a small remote in his hand.

"What?" The two men turned to look at the Texan.

"I think the batteries on the remote for the floor sensor blockers are dying." Vin looked nervous.

Chris pointed a playful finger at his old friend. "Lose focus in this game for one second," he chastised as he reached into his pocket and produced new batteries, "and--"

Vin at least had the dignity to look ashamed as he popped Chris's batteries into the remote. "I know, I know, and someone gets hurt. And we gotta listen to Ez complain."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After a quick pause, Ezra jumped up lightly and pushed up the ceiling escape door of the vault elevator. He pulled himself nimbly through the escape door and stood on top of the elevator, looking around. No one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Don't worry," the security staffer reassured Josiah. "It's okay now. You better get back to the restaurant; it's busy for everyone today."

Josiah nodded his thanks and hurried out.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Mr. Larabee," Ezra drawled sarcastically when Chris appeared. "Might I assume you've actually decided to complete this job?"

Chris nodded a little sheepishly. "Yeah, yeah. C'mon. Little hold up."

"'Little'? Punctuality, Mr. Larabee, was never one of my stronger traits, but for--"

"Shut up, Ezra."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Buck?" JD asked.

"Ready when y'all are, kid."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chris and Ezra quickly snapped on their harnesses and clapped their rappelling anchors to an I-beam in the vault. They tested the rappelling cords with their gloved hands before slowly easing to a hovering position over the elevator shaft.

The Southerner looked down at the red laser lines of the shaft right below their feet.

The blond pressed his earpiece into this ear. "JD, we're set."

"Chris! We got a pro--"

"Save it, JD."


"Save it."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Nathan ducked his head even lower as he and Vin pushed the stretcher out the casino door to the ambulance. He carefully blocked the view of the stretcher with his body, ensuring that no one would notice there were body pillows instead of a body under the sheets and blankets of the stretcher.

He and Vin loaded the stretcher onto the ambulance and quickly clambered in.

"We're set, brother," Josiah radioed from the front as he drove the ambulance out of the valet station.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD twitched nervously, still watching the box on top of the cart in the vault. "Buck, we're set."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Buck nodded and pressed his lips together. He stared at the huge wiring mess that was the main center of the city's power. The demolitionist took a deep breath and then threw the switch, blowing out the main circuit board. Sure enough, the mainstream wires shorted.

He waited nervously. No system backup. Buck breathed a sigh of relief.

The city went black.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chris and Ezra broke their glow sticks and tossed them to the ground.

The sticks dropped down the long chute without incident.

They shared a look and quickly dropped their lines, shooting towards the ground.

Suddenly the lines stopped, jerking them to an abrupt stop. Both groaned in surprise at the pain.

"Cut it!"

Blades flashed and the two men hit the ground with a thud.

"Mr. Larabee," Ezra said a bit breathlessly as they scrambled to their feet, "Next time you consider recruiting me for a job...don't."

The two quickly pried the vault elevator doors open and peeked out.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD held his breath and wiped his forehead with his hand nervously. "Ezra? Chris? Do you hear me. Ezra, Chris? Talk to me, c'mon!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The two men pulled down their night vision goggles. Chris slid a small device across the floor towards the two yelling guards and they let the doors slide shut again.

After a few seconds, two thuds. The two men pulled open the door and looked through their goggles. The guards were down.

Ezra hopped onto the floor and hurried to the vault. Chris followed but stopped to bind both guards with plastic handcuffs.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The undercover agent winced at the loud shout over the line. "Mr. Dunne, such shouting is highly unseemly."

"Ezra, listen to me. They put a box or something on our cart and bumped it bad. I think something came loose inside. The camera and sensors are still on, but I can't open the lid. Not only is there a box on top of it, I think the movement mechanism is broken. I can't get the sensor up out of the cart."

"All right. Mr. Dunne, this is a small matter," Ezra replied as he carefully affixed one sensor to the vault door. He then stuck on the other one. "Mr. Larabee." He clapped the remote into his boss' hand. "I have to release the floor sensors inside the vault manually. You will have to turn off the sensors. Do not enter until you have my signal."

Chris nodded.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Buck!" JD nearly yelled. "Can you keep the power off a little longer?"

"WHAT?!" came the shout.

"I guess that's a no," JD muttered.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The two men pried open the door and Ezra scrambled inside. He quickly seated himself on top of the carts and pulled the box off. He flipped open the cart's top lid and gently lifted the sensor out of the cart and set it on top of the carts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD swallowed drily and quickly typed a command into his laptop. On the laptop he could see the feed beeping. The floor sensor blockers were working all right. "Okay, Chris."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chris hit the remote. The light on the remote and the ones of the sensors on the door began to blink.

Ezra crouched on top of the carts, watching the sensors inside the vault blink.

Suddenly the tripod legs began to shift slowly toward the edge, rattling loudly like a cup falling off the table in an earthquake.

Ezra jumped and grabbed the sensor's thin wire structuring, the rattling and heat from the intense blockers searing through his gloves. He gritted his teeth.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Suddenly the lights flickered back on.

Chaos erupted in the casino as people scrambled to grab chips. Dealers were knocked down; money went flying; security guards were shouting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chris and Ezra looked at each other from opposite sides of the still open vault door. They watched nervously as the power came back on in the vault. The floor sensors flickered on briefly and the vault door began to close.

Suddenly the floor sensors winked out. The door remained open.

Ezra looked over at the source for the sensors. The light blinked off. He nodded at the blond waiting right outside the door.

Chris ran in to see the man's face white as his hands still gripped the sensors blocker, holding it in place on top of the cart.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD watched worriedly as the power came back on. The inset screen showed him what the security center was seeing: the vault with the floor sensors on and no one inside. On his main computer screen, he saw the floor sensors blink on briefly and then shut off.

The tech slumped backward in his chair, relieved.

Buck radioed again. "Well, JD?"

JD grinned. His main screen showed Chris and Ezra moving about in the vault. "We're okay."

He then took another look, leaning in. Ezra's back was to him, but neither Chris nor Ezra had begun searching yet.

"JD," Chris's voice buzzed over the line. "How high do these floor sensors have to be to work?"

"Level with the sensors on the door or higher. What's going on?" JD grabbed at the microphone. "Chris! Ez!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chris dropped the large metal box into the bottom of the cart. Too low. He flipped it onto its side.

"How high are the door sensors?" Ezra asked, using his rubber-soled shoes to hold the sensor-blockers rack still as he dropped one hurting hand from the structure.

"My shoulders," Chris said clippedly, looking around for something else to stack inside the cart. He yanked out a shelf of money and emptied it into the cart. He looked inside.

"Add another tray, just to be safe."

Chris reloaded the now empty tray back into its rack and grabbed another, emptying the contents into the cart.

"That should be good." Chris began to ease the rack out from between Ezra's feet.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"JD!" Vin exclaimed into the headset. "Sometime in our lifetime!"

"Wait, Vin, wait," came the nervous, gasped response.

"What's wrong?" Josiah turned to Vin when he heard the exclamation.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ezra shook his head. "Get on top of the carts in case the sensor blockers turn off while we're moving it. Grab the base and watch your hands."

Chris jumped lightly on top of the carts and gripped the tripod at the base, moving the still rattling structure back into its original spot in the heavier cart. The thin structure slid straight down into the cart again, boosted in height by the money in the bottom of the cart.

The beeping paused briefly.

The two men waited tensely. The floor sensors stayed off.

+ + + + + + +

Barye growled at the scene on his casino floor, shouting orders to his men as they tried to restore order.

"Mr. Barye?" One of his men approached nervously. "Mr. Barye, you have a call."

Barye looked a little puzzled and annoyed but followed his man to a back office. He picked up the cordless. "Hello?"

"Hello, Mr. Barye."

"Who is this?" Barye demanded.

"The man who's robbing you."

+ + + + + + +

Barye ran down to the security control room and threw open the door. As he stepped inside, his hand covered the phone. "What's going on in that vault!" he shouted to the security personnel. He turned to his manager. "Find out how much money is down there."

"Uh, it's normal, sir," security responded as the manager left.

"Show me."

The security men called up the vault to show him. The picture flashed on to show an empty, untouched vault.

"I'm afraid you're mistaken," Barye replied into the phone.

"Just hold onta yer knickers, boy."

The screen flickered...the picture changed. There were two men moving about in the vault.

Barye pointed at the phone and mouthed to a subordinate nearby, 'Trace the call.'

"In this town, your luck can change just that quickly," replied the voice over the line.

"Fine," Barye hissed. "You made your point...congratulations. You broke into my vault. You're a dead man." Barye watched the two men neatly line up duffel bags marked with big white X's on the sides. "After think I am going to let you walk out of there carrying my money?"

"No," came the voice. "You are."

"And why would I do that?"

Barye's manager handed him a slip.

"Your manager is probably handing you a slip which indicates to you that you have $100 million in that vault right now," the voice explained. "If you look carefully, the men in the vault are only packaging three-quarters or less of it."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Buck walked quickly down the busy street in front of the Marseille, the light from the fountain on his left highlighting his face as he walked by.

"You'll also notice we have booby-trapped the rest of the money. We're holding it as a hostage. Not only that, we also found an interesting little bit of information in one of your shelves...some business transaction papers belonging to a man named Earl. Now, being who I am, I immediately had one of my men look into it, and he just reported back to me a few minutes ago. It turns out Mr. Earl is on the FBI's most wanted list. They're offering a nice little reward for him--not quite the amount you have, but still a pretty penny."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barye turned to his manager. "Make the call," he said in a low voice.

The manager nodded. He pulled out his phone and began to dial.

A voice came over the line: "911 emergency."

"Yes," the manager said into the phone. "We have two men with explosives who have taken control of our vault."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"We're willing to cut a deal with you," Buck continued in an unhurried voice as he strolled down the sidewalk. "You let our $75 million go, and we'll forget we saw those papers and you can keep your $25 million. Think about it, Mr.'s really very generous. You can lose $75 million quietly, or you can lose $100 million publicly and be turned over to authorities for helping Earl. Do we have a deal?"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barye gritted his teeth. "Fine."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Great!" Buck stopped right across from the valet station at the casino and looked right at the front doors with a grin. "Here's what you do."

+ + + + + + +

Five minutes from now, the guys in the vault will put six bags into the vault elevator. One minute later, the elevator will rise to the cages, where you will have three of your guards carry those bags out to the casino floor. If it takes them more than 20 seconds to reach the floor, or if we see that a switch has been made, we'll blow the money in the vault and the money in the bags and we'll call the cops.

A white, unmarked van will pull up in your valet station. You will deposit the bags into the back of the van. If you attempt to approach the driver at any time, or try to follow and to stop the van, again, we'll blow everything.

Once I get word that the van is on its way, my guys will exit the casino. When I've made sure they're all safe, you'll get your vault back. If you try to follow us, we'll blow the whole works.

The elevator rose to the floor of the casino cages and the doors opened to reveal six bags, each with a large white X on the side. Three security guards picked them up out of the elevator and headed through the hallways of the cages.

They stepped onto the general, all-purpose elevator and rose to the casino floor.

They trotted across the casino floor and towards the front door, puzzled guests briefly stopping their grabs for cash chips to watch.

A white van pulled up and stopped with a little screech right in front of the casino. A casino worker quickly opened the door for the security guards, who loaded the bags into the van and shut the door.

The van pulled away.

Two town cars wheeled out of the valet station after the van.

As the cars pulled out, a SWAT truck pulled into the valet station. The team hopped off.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barye ground his teeth angrily as he continued to watch everything on the security room monitors. "Now. Would you agree that I have complied with your every request?"

"I would."

"Then I have one for you. Run and hide, because if I should happen to find you...."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The cell phone sat forgotten on the edge of the fountain, still on.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barye turned his phone off after having finished his tirade. "The trace?"

"I'm sorry, Mr. Barye," the manager replied. "It's bouncing everywhere but keeps settling in Thailand."

The owner swore. "The van?" he demanded.

"It's headed for the private McLaren airport, sir," the manager replied. "I've sent men after it."

"Get everyone into position. I want my vault back before that van hits the tarmac," Barye hissed. His manager nodded. "And as soon as I get my vault, take the van. And find whoever hacked into my system!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The SWAT team rappelled down the elevator shaft. They hit the ground and, with guns pointed ahead of them, moved to the elevator shaft doors.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barye stood right behind his security men, watching the monitors.

A voice came over the line. "Reachin' elevator doors now...cut power."

Barye nodded to the security staffer. "Cutting power now."

The casino owner waited tensely, watching the dark screens as the voice resumed. "Ya've got two guards tied up an' out cold...."

Suddenly a distant shout over the line. "I think there's someone here!"

"Take 'im down!"

"I got him!" Shooting.

"We need power now!" came the voice over the radio.

The power flashed on again.

Barye leaned in to watch as his vault and the hallway leading up to it came back into view.

Two SWAT team members were gently sitting up the two guards. A few more were slowly stepping into the vault, but the vault appeared normal.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD grinned merrily at the computer screen as he turned the steering wheel in front of him. On the computer in front of him, the scene changed at a 90 degree angle.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"He's making a left turn."

The long line of cars followed the van as it headed out for the small, private airport.

The van in front of them rumbled onto the tarmac and then screeched to a stop.

The other cars pulled up around the van and men jumped out, taking cover behind their car doors.

One pulled out a megaphone. "Step out of the car!" he yelled at the van.

No response.

"Step out of the car!"


"All right, tires!" the man called.

The enforcers fired, and the van instantly dropped a few inches onto its deflated tires.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barye entered the vault to find six men moving through it, poking through the shelves.

"Mr. Barye, but there aren't any explosives here," a SWAT team member told him.

"Excuse me?" The owner turned around in surprise.

"There's no explosives down here. We've checked and double checked. There's not even evidence that there were any. You seem to have had some electrical problems over there--" he pointed at the origin of the floor sensors "--if that's what you were talking about."

Barye nodded and heaved a sigh. "You're sure there are no explosives in here."

"Positive, sir. We'll keep looking, but what we've found so far says there are none."

"Move your men out."

"We should continue--"

"Just go."

"It's your vault. Black team, move it out!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The car suddenly moved forward on its shot-out tires.


The man approached the driver's side cautiously, suddenly threw open the door, and pointed his gun inside.

The camera slowly turned to its left to look at him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JD made a face as the enforcer's face showed up on his monitor. "He doesn't even haveta carry a gun," the kid mumbled. "That face could kill a man."

The surprised enforcer was still staring at the camera.

"Isn't the brightest star in the sky, either."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The man stepped away from the van and looked at his associates, who were watching expectantly. "There's no one there!"

Suddenly the car blew up.

The men approached cautiously as little leaflets floated to the ground.

The enforcer picked one up. 'How to turn from your sins and lead a new life.'

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Where are we with that van?" Barye, standing alone in his untouched vault, radioed to his manager.

"There's no money in the van, sir," came the manager's voice over the line.


"All the bags are filled with tracts about how to give up a bad life of gambling and lead a new, honest life!"

"Jokers," Barye growled and paused. "If it's tracts in the van, then where's the money?" He then mumbled to himself, "And those papers?"

+ + + + + + +

The SWAT team trotted through the casino floor, each with his square duffel. The figure in front popped up his face mask.

Vin grinned from underneath the black helmet.


Comments to: