A Civil War
by Kathi Holmes
Nathan was the first to move and immediately rushed to where JD and Buck were lying on the ground. He kneeled by their sides, as the others moved closer. Within moments several other paramedics were on the scene. Buck tried to sit up, pushing Nathan away from him. "I'm fine just got blown off my feet by the force of whatever it was that blew up." He sat up and looked over at JD who was struggling with another of the paramedics.
Buck moved toward JD. "Listen to them, boy, and do what they tell you."
Chris laughed. "Buck, I could say the same thing to you, and I figure you'd listen just about as well as JD would. Now both of you sit still and let them check you over. Vin, you, Ezra and I are going to check around and see if we can figure out what blew up and why."
Vin nodded as Ezra gave Chris a two-fingered salute. The three of them moved off while the paramedics checked over Buck and JD. Josiah was looking around to see if he could see Jake, wanting to ask him if he had heard anything about the explosion.
Vin moved to the crater, and in expanding circles, moved away looking for any signs as to what had triggered the explosion or the person who had set it. He bent over every now and then and picked up a piece of debris, examining it and placing it in his pocket.
Ezra proceeded to move around the area examining the ground, not with the intensity that Vin was, but looking for signs of what had happened. More importantly to his way of thinking, he watched the people to see if any of them seemed nervous or acted suspicious. There were two men off to one side who seemed suspicious to his way of thinking, and he made it a point of noting them so as to keep an eye on them for the rest of the reenactment.
Chris was not as methodical as Vin or as interested in the people standing around as Ezra. He knew if there was evidence on the ground that Vin would find it and that Ezra was better at reading people than any of the rest of them. Chris saw his job as getting an overall feel for what had happened and how it impacted on the case. As he hobbled about on his crutches, he got the feeling that maybe things had turned in their direction with this explosion. Several people had made eye contact with him and made sympathetic comments about what happened. He couldn't help but think maybe with an explosion in a public area that could have hurt innocent bystanders including any of the children who were running around things would start to change in their favor. Maybe now people would decide that not talking about what they had seen going on around the camps that seemed out of place was not providing them with any protection. He hoped that this incident would lead to people being more willing to talk to them. Maybe now they would be keeping their eyes open and would tell them if they saw something that would put innocent people at risk.
There was a sound behind Chris, and he turned to find Buck standing there. "Find anything that might tell you what happened there, pard?"
Chris shrugged. "Nothing that points at anything specific, but Vin is better at checking that kind of thing. I'm leaving it up to our resident bloodhound. If there's any evidence here, he'll find it."
People started to drift away from the scene of the explosion when it became evident that show was over. Those with small children herded them back toward the camps as others strolled around the grounds or headed toward the food areas in search of a snack. Chris and the others searched the area slowly leaving no stone unturned in their search for clues.
The seven made their way to the back of the food tent and sat talking. Vin removed several evidence bags from his pockets and laid them on the table. "It seems to have been an explosion caused by a plastic type explosive. I suspect it was C4 from the residue, but we'll have to send it to the lab to be sure. I am sure it wasn't from the black powder that we've been using around here."
Josiah nodded. "It seems that they are trying to warn us away. If they had really meant us harm, brother Buck and JD wouldn't be with us at the moment."
JD shuddered and looked around at the others. "You don't think that they would seriously hurt someone do you?"
Nathan nodded. "I think the fact that we haven't backed down is making them nervous. The level of the acts against us have stepped up. Josiah could have been hurt in that accident. It was certainly possible that you or Buck could have been seriously injured in that explosion to say nothing of anyone else that was nearby at the time. Up until today the things that had happened might have injured someone, but not too seriously."
Chris nodded. "Look these guys are playing for keeps at this point. Apparently, whether we know it or not, we're getting close to their operation. Tonight I want all of you, to go through your memories of everything that has happened in the last couple of days. Maybe we missed something. Also, try not to be isolated. If you're not with one of us, at least be in a crowd."
Buck grinned. "Pard, you're the one who's the most alone. Vin and Ez have each other's backs, as do Nathan and Josiah. JD and I are together, but who's watching your back?"
Chris shrugged. "Nothing I can do about that, Buck someone was going to be the odd man out, and this time it happens to be me. I plan to be in the middle of the crowd as much as possible or with you and JD. Now we better head back to camp."
+ + + + + + +
Brad and Larry stood near the living history tent with Captain Morrisey. "Look, I want these guys taken care of. They almost discovered the guns this afternoon. If they hadn't had to go to the battlefield, they would have found them. I want them gone from here tomorrow. I don't care what you do."
Brad shrugged. "Those two tonight should have been hurt, if not dead, but they came along before we were able to get the full charge down."
Morrisey paced back and forth. "What happened with the one working on sutlers row? I thought he was supposed to have an accident."
Larry shook his head. "I talked with Mark. This guy knew how to handle the truck, and when he doubled back to try and take him out, some good Samaritan had stopped to help, and it would have drawn too much attention to take him out."
Morrisey shook his head. "Well, I want to see some injuries tomorrow. I don't even care if one of them dies as long as it discourages the others and looks like an accident. I suggest taking out at least one of them during the morning battle. If we play our cards right, we ought to be able to take out another during the afternoon battle."
Brad nodded. "What if that doesn't work? This reenactment is over tomorrow."
Morrisey glared at him. "Then we try to figure out where they are going to be until the next reenactment and get rid of them. I don't want to see them at any more of these. Particularly want them gone before Gettysburg. That's going to be a big weekend for us, and I don't need the ATF sniffing around. Now get to work, and let the other know what needs to be done."
Brad and Larry walked off; Brad turned to Larry as they were walking. "I've got an idea. Have Mark and the others load their guns tomorrow, not just with black powder like usual, but use a ball too. If those guys don't have any, they can get them from just about any of the sutlers. Seems to me that just about all of them are selling balls."
Larry grinned. "Sounds like a plan. Anyone in particular they should try to shoot, or any and all of the ATF agents?"
Brad laughed. "They can shoot all of them for all that I care, with the exception of the leader Larabee. I want him for myself. Make that clear, Larabee belongs to me." With that, they split up. Brad headed for the Union camp, while Larry headed toward the Confederate camp.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah made his way back toward the civilian camp; he was moving slower than usual having started to stiffen up from the accident. He was thinking over all that had happened since they started the case, trying to make sense of the various pieces of information they had been able to come up with. It was like a giant jigsaw puzzle and they just needed to fit all the pieces together. Problem was they were still missing a number of the pieces. He was so lost in thought that at first he didn't hear the voice calling to him. Josiah stopped and turned to find Jake just a few feet behind him. "Sorry, I was lost in thought and didn't hear you at first."
Jake grinned. "I could tell, took several calls to get your attention. Wanted to let you know I'm sorry about what happened to your friends. Also, what happened tonight upset a number of people. You have more friends on your side now."
Josiah motioned him over to a nearby hay bale and sat down with a groan. "Have you heard any more that would help us put a stop to these guys?"
Jake shook his head. "Nothing specific, did hear that your friends came along sooner than they expected, and they didn't get the time they needed to put out the entire explosive."
Josiah lifted his eyes toward the heavens. "Thank God for small favors."
Jake nodded. "They aren't going to back off. You and the others need to be careful tomorrow. I'd expect that they would make some more attempts tomorrow."
Josiah rose stiffly to his feet. "We will be careful, you be careful too. They could make it hard for you if they found out you were talking to me."
Jake nodded. "Don't worry, I'm watching my back and making it a point to not be alone if I can help it. I'll let you know if I hear anything else." With that he turned and headed back up the path blending in with the crowd of people milling about.
+ + + + + + +
The next morning Chris arose early and prepared for the day. His ankle was still bothering him, but since he was going to be on horseback most of the morning, he decided to leave his crutches in the tent. He made his way to a campfire where he saw Buck and JD, figuring that there was safety in numbers. "Morning, what are the chances I could get some of that coffee?"
JD poured Chris a cup. "Here you go. Want me to get you some breakfast? We have eggs and bacon."
Chris grinned, that boy had way too much energy for this early in the morning. "That'd be fine, JD."
JD fixed Chris a plate of food as Buck watched. "Hey pard, aren't you supposed to be using crutches?"
Chris looked around guiltily and laughed. "Don't tell Nathan, okay? They get in my way, and I'm going to be on a horse most of the morning, won't need them there."
Buck and JD both laughed. "I won't tell him, but I suggest that you stay away from the living history area then."
Chris nodded. "Not a bad idea." Chris finished eating his breakfast. "I better go take care of Cannon and get ready for the battle this morning. Try and get in touch with the others, and let them know we'll meet at Josiah's after the last battle this afternoon."
Buck got to his feet. "Have time to let Nathan and Josiah know before this morning's battle. Come on JD"
JD followed Buck, as Chris headed toward the horses. JD called out. "Won't tell Nathan you're not using your crutches either."
Chris chuckled as he headed toward Cannon.
Chris moved out onto the battlefield. It felt good to be out here. Looking around he spied Nathan with the medical corps under a copse of trees. JD and Buck were in the troop of soldiers following him. He scanned the marching confederates in front of him with his field glasses and grinned when he saw Vin out in front of the lines with the pickets. He further scanned the cannons and saw Ezra and his crew getting ready for the start of the battle.
Soon the battle was raging across the field and the noise from the cannon was deafening. Brad kept moving 'til he was in a position where he could get Larabee in his sights. He raised and fired his gun, but it jammed. Getting frustrated, he reached in his haversack and pulled out a .45 and fired once, causing the horse to rear up, almost tossing his rider as a pain flared through his hind quarters.
Chris brought Cannon under control, and looked to see what was bothering him. As he brought back his hand with blood on it, pain shot through him as a bullet tore through his left shoulder. He fought to remain conscious as blackness tried to overwhelm him. He finally lost the battle and fell to the ground.
As Chris landed on the ground, the medical staff came running, not realizing that he had been shot, just assuming he had been thrown by his horse. JD and Buck also came running. As Buck fell to his knees next to Chris, JD, grabbed Cannons reins. JD fought to calm the panicked horse. As he ran his hand over the horse, he discovered the blood, and upon further examination, he found the wound on the horse's hindquarters. "Buck, Cannon has been shot, how's Chris?"
Buck moved back as Nathan and the rest of the medical team moved in. "I don't know for sure, JD; he's covered in blood and out cold."
Nathan and the other medical personnel worked on Chris, as an ambulance made it's way close to the where he lay. Vin and Ezra came running from the confederated lines, as Josiah struggled to make his way onto the field from his place in the viewing stands.
JD continued to calm the frightened horse as a vet came up to join them. The vet tended to the wound on the frightened horse. "This animal was shot. No one should be firing full loads here today, too big a chance that someone could be hurt." He looked around at Cannon then at Chris. "Looks to me like someone was."
JD nodded. "Seems we've stepped on a few toes around here and some people don't like that. Just do what you can to take care of Cannon; Chris would hate it if anything happened to him."
The vet grinned. "He's going to be fine. The bleeding is has just about stopped. I'll clean and dress it and with a few days rest he'll be fine."
JD shook the vet's hand. "Thanks, I'll be by later to check on him and make arrangements to have him transported."
The vet grinned as JD moved to Chris' side. The medics were loading him onto a gurney to be transported. "How's Chris?"
Nathan looked at JD, then around at the others. "It's hard to tell. He was shot in the left shoulder, and what worries the medics is he hit his head on a rock when he fell. They won't know anything 'till they get him to the hospital and do a brain scan. I'm going to ride to the hospital with Chris. I'll let you know what's going on."
Vin moved to join Nathan. "I'm coming with you; the rest of you follow as soon as you can."
Buck placed his hand on Vin's arm holding him back. "We need to stay and finish this up. There are people here who saw what happened. They're going to be leaving this afternoon. This is the only chance that we'll have to talk to them."
Vin stared at the back of the ambulance. "I know all that, but Chris needs us."
Buck nodded. "He does, he needs us to wrap up this case and find out who did this. If we don't, then he got hurt for nothing. Let's go out and find these guys and put them out of business. That's what Chris would want us to do."
Vin nodded as he watched the gurney with Chris being loaded into the ambulance. Josiah moved to close the door. "Nathan, take good care of him, and let us know what is going on. We'll be at the hospital tonight after we get done here; maybe by then we'll have some good news for Chris." He slammed the door, and he and the others watched the ambulance drive off.
Buck and the others moved to one side to figure out what they were going to do for the rest of the day. "I think we need to head back to the camps and stop pretending we're just reenactors. Don't think after this it's a secret anymore anyway. Question everyone and anyone."
Vin moved forward. "Just save the guy who shot Chris for me; he's mine. I want him to know that I'm coming for him."
Josiah placed his hand on Vin's shoulder. "Vin, Chris wouldn't want you to do anything that would get you in trouble. Leave him to the law; just make sure we make it an airtight case. Attempted murder of a federal agent should put him away for the rest of his life."
Vin shook his head. "No, Chris wouldn't like that, but it would sure feel good." He looked at Josiah and then around at the others and shrugged. "Okay, I won't hurt him but can I scare him a little bit?"
Buck chuckled. "Long, as you don't hurt him. I don't know that scaring him would hurt anything. Might even get us some information that we need to wrap things up here."
Josiah shook his head. "I don't like it, but in this case I think it just might work to our advantage. Long as we keep it all legal, I'm willing to look the other way."
Buck stepped forward. "Josiah, see what you can find out on Sutlers Row. Hopefully Jake will get in touch with you. Push him for all the information you can get. Right now we have a chance to wrap this up."
Ezra straightened up from where he was leaning against a tree. His accent got thicker as he spoke. "I shall go back to the confederate camp and do my utmost to gather as much information in as short a time as possible. Might I suggest that we meet before this afternoon's festivities?"
JD looked from Buck to the others. "What did he just say?"
Vin grinned. "I think he said he'd return to camp and gather information and that we should meet before this afternoon's reenactment."
Ezra gave Vin a two-fingered salute. "Right you are my friend."
Buck turned to JD. "I think you and I better head back to camp and see what we can find out there."
JD nodded. "No problem. Oh, and we need to stop at the vets and see how Cannon is. You know Chris is going to want to know how he is."
Buck grinned. "You're right on that. Chris will be concerned about Cannon. What say guys, we meet at the food tents at two; the last reenactment is at three."
Vin nodded. "Hopefully, by then we'll know who these guys are and be able to shut them down after the battle. After that, clean up the mess, pack up, and go see Chris."
Josiah laughed. "From your mouth to God's ear, brother Vin." With that they all headed off toward the camps.
+ + + + + + +
Nathan waited outside the exam room where the doctor was with Chris. He found himself pacing back and forth anxious, for news on his boss and friend. He couldn't help but think if they were back home in Denver, the hospital would let him be in the room, but here nobody knew who he was or cared, and they had made it abundantly clear that he was not going to get in the back with Chris. Now he knew how the others felt when one of them was hurt and they weren't allowed in the exam room. Nathan made yet another circuit of the waiting room. He flopped down in a chair and leaned back closing his eyes. The others had all called at least once and he could hear their disappointment when he couldn't tell them anything about Chris. He let his mind wander back to the reenactment, trying to find anything that could help the others find out who had done this to Chris. He jumped at the feel of a hand on his arm.
"Mr. Jackson, the doctor would like to talk with you about Mr. Larabee now. If you follow me, I'll take you to him." With that the nurse turned and headed for the double doors leading to the exam room.
Nathan scrambled to his feet and followed her back to a conference room. He entered to find the doctor seated at a table with a cup of coffee. "Help yourself to a cup of coffee, Mr. Jackson, looks like you could use it."
Nathan went over and poured a cup of coffee then took a seat. "It's Nathan, Doctor?
The doctor took a sip of coffee. "Daniel Ames, your friend is lucky to have a friend like you."
Nathan shook his head. "I'm the lucky one. How is he?"
Dr. Ames sighed. "He's going to be fine. He'll be going up to surgery in a few minutes to patch up that bullet hole. He has a concussion, but luckily, no skull fracture. He's got a knot the size of a goose egg on the back of his head. He must have hit his head on something when he fell off the horse."
Nathan nodded. "Thanks, Doc. This evening the rest of the team will be showing up, hopefully, with good news for Chris that we have wrapped up this case. When they get here they may seem a bit rough around the edges, but they're really a good bunch of guys. Their concern is for Chris. You might want to warn the hospital staff, so they'll know that they're coming."
Dr. Ames stood. "I'll do that now. I'd better go get ready, I'm sure that the nurses have Chris prepped for surgery. I'll come find you when we're through should be in a couple of hours."
Nathan reached out and shook his hand. "Thanks for all your help."
+ + + + + + +
Josiah was in his tent listening to people who came in. Several had expressed their concern about what had happened to Chris. Josiah was feeling some better since Nathan had called and told them all that Chris was going to be all right. While people had talked with him about what had happened, no one so far had any specific information that would help them find out who had shot Chris and was running guns through the reenactment. Finally, the activity in the tent slowed down as people made their way to the food areas in search of lunch. Josiah moved about the tent packing up some of the excess items that were lying about so there wouldn't be so much to do that after the last battle. The sutlers would remain open for several hours after the battle but he wanted to be ready to go as soon as possible. Suddenly, he heard a noise from the back of the tent and he made his way to the back of the tent. Jake stuck his head in the back of the tent. "Mr. Sanchez, we need to talk. It's important."
Josiah made his way to Jake. "Come in here then. No one can see back here, and someone might see you out there."
Jake stepped into the tent. "I heard that the boss isn't happy with what happened today. He didn't want any of you hurt, just out of the way."
Josiah shook his head. "Too late for that now. Do you know who the boss is?"
Jake shook his head. "All I know is that he's a captain on the Union side. I heard him referred to as captain."
Josiah felt a thrill. This was more than they had before. "Do you know anything about the rest of his men?"
Jake sat down tiredly. "I think so. But I don't want to be involved in this. It could get real ugly for me if they find out I told you."
Josiah sat down next to him so that he could look him in the face. "How can it get ugly for you if you talk to us? They'll be in jail and won't be able to hurt you."
Jake looked up at Josiah with fear filled eyes. "You don't understand, I think that one of them is my brother-in-law and it's possible that the person in charge is my father-in-law. I can't prove it, but I think these are two of the people you want. Captain Harold Morrisey is in charge, I think along with his son, Brad. It's Brad, I think, who shot your friend."
Josiah rubbed his hand over his face. "Thank you for telling me this. I'll talk with my friends and see what we can come up with to keep you out of this. You realize your wife isn't going to take this well no matter what happens?"
Jake nodded. "She'll be upset, but then she's been upset for awhile. I think she knows her father and brother are up to something, but doesn't want to admit it even to herself."
Josiah rose to his feet. "Jake give me your last name in case I need to get in touch with you."
Jake shrugged. " Guess it doesn't matter now. Names Jake, or rather Jacob Allen. Just wish I had something concrete to give you. Morrisey is a tough old bird. He abused his kids when they were younger. My wife wants nothing to do with him, but he's still her father, and she's going to take this hard." Josiah nodded. "If we need to, we can get you into a protection program. Hopefully, we'll be able to wrap this up and have in jail by the end of the day so that won't be necessary. You have any idea where the guns might be?" Jake shrugged. "Not that I can prove. But knowing Morrisey, they're close to him. He wouldn't let them be out of his sight for long. That must mean they're somewhere in the Union camp, within eyesight of his tent."
Josiah reached out and shook Jakes hand. "I know this isn't enough, but thank you. I'm going to contact my friends and we'll try to wrap this up quickly. You've been a lot of help. Take care of yourself and your wife, and with any luck at all, this will all be over by tonight."
Josiah picked up his phone as soon as Jake left the tent; he punched in the number to Buck's cell phone hoping that he and JD, if supplied with the name and the information Josiah, had would be able to find the guns in the Union camp. Josiah quickly gave Buck the information he had and then went back to packing up items that would not be needed now that the reenactment was winding down. He didn't want to have to hang around after the last battle any longer than necessary. Besides he was apt to be busy dealing with the gun runners if things went as he hoped they would now that it looked like they knew who they were looking for.
Buck looked at JD as he put his cell phone away. "Looks like Josiah got us some information from his informant. Has some people he wants us to check up on. What do you know about a Captain Morrisey and his son, Brad?"
JD grinned. "He's in charge of one of the infantry units and his son is his aid de camp. They don't mix much with the others. Why does Josiah want us to check on them. Sure they're not very friendly, but what makes him think they have something to do with Chris' accident and the gun running?"
Buck sat down and motioned for JD to join him. "Seems Josiah's informant is Morrisey's son-in-law. He says he's pretty sure his father-in-law is the one running the guns." JD started to interrupt, but Buck held up his hand. "It was Chris' being hurt that got him to tell Josiah what he knows. He says the guns have to be somewhere in this camp near where Morrisey is camped, that he wouldn't want the guns out of his sight for very long. You got any ideas where that might be?"
JD thought a moment and brightened. "I'm not sure but there are several piles of crates near where Morrisey and his men are camped. I'd bet the guns are in one of those piles of crates."
Buck got to his feet with a grin. "We have time before the battle this afternoon, I think maybe we should have a look around and see if we can determine if anything is going on."
JD scrambled to his feet. "Wait a minute Buck, I just thought of something. Morrisey's son, Brad, I've seen with one a couple of guys from the confederate camp, maybe we should let Ez and Vin know so they can check around that camp."
Buck nodded. "Do you know their names so we can tell them who to look for?"
JD frowned. "Only their first names, but I can describe them fairly well. That ought to give them enough to narrow it down. Unlike us, the confederate uniforms are rougher and more individually distinctive."
Buck shrugged. "It's worth a try and there may be guns in that camp too, may even be that they know these guys. Go ahead and give them a call and then we'll go check out those crates near Morrisey's tent."
+ + + + + + +
Ezra put his cell phone back in his pocket and turned to Vin. "That was Mr. Dunn. It seems that Josiah's informant gave him the name of someone we should check out a Captain Morrisey. Buck and JD are going to check out some crates near his tent in the union camp."
Vin interrupted. "So we should be able to wrap this up and go check on Chris after the battle this afternoon."
Ezra held up his hand. "Not so speedily, Mr. Tanner. It seems that young JD saw Morrisey's son hanging with two nere-do-wells in this camp named Mark and Larry. He does not know their last names but his description of them is rather graphic."
Vin shook his head. "Why can't you just say that he described them pretty well?"
Ezra grimaced. "I thought I'd done that. The two Neanderthals in question seem to be together every time JD has seen them. Both of them are wearing homespun trousers and blue gingham shirts. Oh, and he said that they both were wearing gray slouch hats. Sounds familiar to me, but I can't say that I remember seeing them anywhere specifically. What about you?"
Vin removed his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. "Let me think a minute. They sound familiar to me, I know I've seen them somewhere in this camp. It will come to me." He stood staring out into space. "I know they're camped on the edge of the infantry camp near where they have all the crates of gunpowder for the cannons stored. Who'd think anything of extra crates in that area? Let's go check it out. We have time before the battle."
Ezra bowed. "Lead on, Mr. Tanner, I'll be right behind you."
+ + + + + + +
Buck and JD made their way to the boxes stored near Captain Morrisey's tent. Buck turned to JD. "Keep your eyes open for the guns, but don't forget to keep your eyes open for Morrisey and his son. The last thing we need is for them to find the two of us snooping around, if the guns are here."
JD shook his head. "Buck, sometimes I swear you treat me like I were eight years old. I know that. Don't forget we have to meet the others at the food tents at two."
Buck grinned. "Right, kid. Now let's see if the guns are here, and if they are, we can go meet with the others and figure out how we're going to take these guys down."
JD grinned. "Maybe by then Josiah will have more word from Nathan on how Chris is doing. It'd be nice to be able to tell him, when we see him tonight, that we have this case wrapped up."
Buck clapped JD on the shoulder. "Okay, so let's get to work. We need to meet the others soon, and I'd like to be able to tell them something other than we didn't learn anything."
Buck and JD proceeded to move among the crates. The first crate that they opened contained Civil War era bullet molds and lead for making bullets. The second crate they opened which was further down in the pile revealed a number of automatic weapons of various makes.
Buck whistled. "I think we've found what we were looking for. There is no good reason for anyone to have this kind of gun here this weekend."
JD dug out another crate and opened it. "Buck, it gets worse. These are stingers, think we'd better get the others, and call for some backup."
Buck nodded and helped JD close the crate and put it back where they had found it. "Let's head for Sutlers row, so we can let Josiah and the others know what is going on."
They headed off toward Sutlers Row. Neither of them noticed Brad watching them from a nearby tent.
+ + + + + + +
Vin and Ezra made their way to where the ammunition was stored. If stopped, they figured they could use the excuse of Ezra needing more powder for his cannon.
Vin looked around when they arrived at the supply area. "Ez, keep watch while I look in some of these crates. I don't want anyone to catch us at this if we can avoid it. Besides, would feel like a fool if these crates really do only contain Civil War era ammunition."
Ezra gave a two-fingered salute. "Right you are, Mr. Tanner; I'd rather save ourselves the embarrassment on that point. Besides if there are modern weapons in there, I'd rather others not know until we have the miscreants under arrest."
Vin pulled several crates out and started to open them. The first one he opened revealed AK-47's. "Ezra, I don't think they used these during the Civil War."
Ezra looked and shook his head. "Can't say I read anything about those in any of the research I did on this era in history. What's in the other crates?"
Vin quickly opened several other crates that were full of modern weapons. The last crate had concealed stinger missiles. "Think we need to meet with the others and figure out how we take these guys down."
Ezra helped Vin to close the crates and place them back where they had found them. "I also want to know what JD and Buck found if anything in the Union camp. With weapons like these, they are definitely up to no good, think Homeland security might want to know about these gentlemen."
Vin placed the last crate back where he had gotten it. "Let's go meet the others and see what we can come up with to bring these guys down."
The seven men sat on hay bales in the back of one of the food tents. No one was near by. Josiah spoke first. "Jake came to me and told me he thought it was his father-in-law, Captain Morrisey, who was running guns. He further stated that he thought his brother-in-law, Brad, was the one who had shot Chris." Josiah held up his hand, as the others started to speak. "Let me finish, he had no proof just bits and pieces of things that he had overheard. This hasn't been easy for him or his wife, so let's go easy on him. He's done his best to help."
Vin spoke up. "Have you heard anything from Nathan yet?"
Josiah grinned. "Last I heard they were taking Chris into surgery to get the bullet out. The doctor said he had a concussion but should be fine, just needs to get some rest."
Buck nodded. "Good, maybe we can give Chris some good news later today then. JD and I found guns in tents near Morrisey's tent, as well as some stinger missiles."
Everyone started to speak at once, but Ezra raised his voice. "Gentlemen, you need to hear what Vin and I found in the confederate camp after being informed by JD of the identity of Morrisey's confederates. We, too, found modern weaponry and stingers, but also AK-47's. I would say that Captain Morrisey is planning something or arming some group who are definitely up to no good."
JD jumped to his feet. "So what do we do to bring them down?"
Vin spoke quietly and the others stopped to listen. "Think with just the five of us, we need to call for backup and then try to get the guns out of the camps during this afternoon's reenactment."
Josiah nodded. "Makes sense, during the battle, there will be fewer people in the camps and visitors won't be in the camps. Less chance of an innocent bystander getting hurt if we do it then."
Buck looked at his watch and then at the others. "The last reenactment is in about an hour and half. I'm not sure there's going to be enough time to get back up here before the battle starts."
Ezra held up his cell phone so the others could see it, then went back to talking into the phone. Moments later he disconnected the call. "That was the judge. He assures me that there will be backup meeting us at the camps at two thirty. That will give us half an hour to brief them before the last battle."
Josiah laughed. "Thank you, Ezra. Seems like things will be moving right along. Think now, you guys better head back to the camp and make sure that Morrisey and the others don't move the guns before we can take them down. I'll backup JD and Buck at the Union camp as soon as I can."
JD moved to leave but turned to the others. "Good luck."
Morrisey and his men were gathered around and excited Brad. "I tell you two of those ATF agents were going through the boxes over there. I couldn't see for sure without them seeing me, but I think they found some of the guns."
Morrisey stroked his chin. "Then we need to move the guns and move them soon. It can't wait until the end of the reenactment. I'll contact the buyers and tell them the meet has been moved up. We can move the guns during this afternoon's battle. They're will be fewer people around to see what we're up to."
Larry got to his feet. "I don't think the guys they have in the confederate camp have found anything. I've been watching where the guns are stored. They've been near them a couple of times, but have only been getting ammunition for that cannon they have."
Mark laughed. "None of them strike me as too bright; those guns have been under their noses all weekend, and it took them until today to find anything."
Morrisey growled. "Thank your lucky stars it took them this long. Otherwise the four of us might be in jail or dead. Our buyers aren't going to be ready for the guns until today, and we would have been hard pressed to move them somewhere they wouldn't have found them. Now head back to your camp and be ready when the buyers get here. I'll call to tell you when they're coming."
Mark and Larry got up and left the tent. Morrisey turned to Brad. "After this delivery, we get rid of those two. We're lucky they haven't gotten us caught before now. You know what to do. I don't want to see them again after this afternoon."
Brad nodded. "What about the ATF agents?"
Morrisey grinned. "Wouldn't mind if all of them meet up with a bullet or two."
Brad headed out of the tent calling over his shoulder. "I'll take care of that for you, captain."
+ + + + + + +
Nathan sat in the waiting room. Chris was being settled in his room, and he was waiting to talk with Dr. Ames to find out how the surgery went. Dr. Ames entered the room and moved to sit on the sofa. "He's going to be fine, Nathan, took longer than I expected as there was more damage than showed up on the scans."
Nathan straightened up. "What sort of damage?"
Dr. Ames rolled his shoulders. "The bleeding was more extensive than I would have liked, and there was some nerve damage. Luckily, a colleague of mine who is a specialist was here and was able to take care of that. Chris is going to need therapy on that shoulder and arm but should be fine in a couple of months."
Nathan let out his breath. "Thank you, Daniel. It could have been a lot worse than it was. Can I see him now? I promise not to wake him up, just want to sit with him."
The doctor smiled. "No need to thank me, just doing my job. Now get in there and sit with Chris. I'm sure he'll rest better knowing his friend is there."
Nathan grinned. "He'll rest better when we get this case cleared up and the gunrunners in jail."
Dr. Ames shook Nathan's hand. "Think you're right on that one."
Nathan left the waiting area and headed toward Chris' room, entering and taking the chair next to the bed.
+ + + + + + +
Vin and Ezra made their way to the confederate camp, keeping their eyes open for signs of Mark and Larry. They did not see any sign of them. Vin looked at Ezra. "I know we can't, but I'd sure like to get another look at those guns."
Ezra shook his head. "I understand the sentiment, but we need to do nothing that would let on to those guys that we know where the guns are. Besides, if we're lucky this all will be over in a few hours."
Vin grinned. "Right now the important thing is finding where Mark and Larry are and making sure that nothing happens to those guns before we can take them down."
Ezra gave Vin a two-fingered salute. "Right you are, it would be quite embarrassing to move in and find the guns have been removed from the vicinity."
Vin moved toward the area where the guns were stored. "We may not be able to check on the guns, but we can keep watch on them till it's time to meet our backup."
Ezra followed Vin. "Sounds like a plan to me. Just be sure to keep your eyes open for the miscreants."
Vin turned and grinned at Ezra. "Aye, aye, captain."
JD and Buck made their way to the Union camp. JD walking backward in front of Buck. "I don't know why we can't check on those guns again, Buck. I'd like to make sure they're still there. Besides, there are probably more than the ones we saw. Shouldn't we know exactly what it is we're up against?"
Buck shook his head. "It's too dangerous, JD. We need to just keep an eye on things and make sure that they don't move anything. We don't want to draw attention to what were doing. We want to lull them into feeling that we don't know anything and aren't going to do anything."
JD moved ahead of Buck. "I know that, but it doesn't mean that I don't want to do more."
Buck laughed. "I know, Kid, can't say that I enjoy the waiting, but in this case, it's what we need to do. Keep your eyes open for Morrisey and his son. It won't do us much good if we get the guns and they get away. We need to know where they are and take them down along with the guns."
JD nodded. "I know, Buck, we need to take them down as well as the guns, and the best case scenario would be to take them down with the guns."
Josiah moved to where he was to meet the backup team that was going to help them take down Morrisey and his bunch. He approached the man who was obviously the team leader and extended his hand. "I'm Josiah Sanchez. Glad you're here to help us get this situation under control."
The man took Josiah's hand. "I'm Jack Weston. The judge filled us in on some of what's been going on. Can you give us a quick run down of what your team has been doing?"
Josiah motioned him to a nearby hay bale. "Have a seat. We were assigned to this case, as there were reports that guns were being moved through the reenactments. We trained for a week so that we would not stand out too badly. Got here the night before the reenactment started and got ourselves set up in the camps. From the first, we seemed to have a number of small, but annoying accidents. Nothing that might not have happened anyway. Last night though, someone tried to blow up some of us using C-4. We knew then that we must be getting close and were making people nervous."
Jack interrupted. "I would say so, but how did you find out who was behind all this?"
Josiah rolled his shoulders. "I was getting to that. Last night triggered one of the other reenactors to come forward and give us some information that started us looking in a certain direction. After the accident this morning when Chris Larabee our team leader was shot, he came forward again and gave us the name of the person he was sure was behind the gunrunning. He's between a rock and a hard place, as the man is his father-in-law."
Jack sighed. "Not a good place to be, trapped between a rock and a hard place."
Josiah nodded. "He said he couldn't take it anymore and now that people were getting hurt it was time to put a stop to it. Anyway, he gave us the name of Captain Morrisey and his son Brad. One of our agents had seen Brad in the company of two men, Larry and Mark, from the confederate, camp on several occasions. The guys nosed around the camps and found crates containing modern guns, as well as AK-47's and stinger missiles. The guys are back in the camps now keeping an eye on things to make sure that Morrisey and his men, as well as the guns, remain in place 'til we can take them out."
Jack got to his feet. "Then I say it's about time we get started doing just that." He moved over to face the assembled men. "Okay, we divide into two teams. I'll lead the one going into the Union camp, rendezvousing with Dunne and Wilmington. Sanchez will lead the other into the confederate camp and meet up with Standish and Tanner. Our first priority is to secure the guns, second to capture the gunrunners. Hopefully, going in at the start of the battle will mean that there are few if any civilians around to worry about. At the sound of the battle beginning, we enter the camps and secure the guns."
Buck and JD waited with the others for the signal to move in and take down the guns, Morrisey and his son were still in camp and the plan was to take them down along with the guns. Jack Weston stood near by with a cell phone held to his ear waiting to hear from Josiah that he was in position in the confederate camp. The plan was for them to hit both camps at the same time so that Captain Morrisey and his men would not have a chance to get together and put up any resistance, divide and conquer was the order of the day.
Buck looked over at JD who was watching the pile of crates intently. "JD, they ain't going anywhere at this point. Even if Morrisey showed up right this minute, there's no way we'd let them move those crates now."
JD nodded but never took his eyes of the crates. "I know that Buck, but there's something about those crates that looks different than they did before. I can't put my finger, on it but there's something different."
Buck pulled out a pair of binoculars from his haversack. "Let me take a look with these." Buck put the glasses to his eyes and studied the pile of crates. "I'm not sure but you may be right. Something does look different. Take a look and see if you can see what it is." Buck handed the glasses to JD.
JD took the glasses and held them to his eyes and let out a low whistle. "Buck, there's a wire around some of the boxes now. Want to bet it's a trip wire and they're rigged to blow if we try to open them again?"
Buck grabbed the glasses and looked where JD pointed. "Think you're right. I better let Weston know what we've found out. Hopefully, he's got some experts from the bomb squad here or can get some." Buck moved over to talk to Jack Weston.
Jack listened to Buck and then punched a number in his cell phone. "Sanchez, have your men look carefully at those crates and see if they are rigged, Mr. Dunne discovered that the ones here are rigged to blow if the crates are messed with."
Josiah turned to Vin. "Check the crates with your binoculars. See if they've been rigged to blow if messed with, JD figured out the ones in the Union camp are rigged."
Vin picked up the binoculars and studied the pile of crates. He turned back to Josiah. "These are rigged, too. Good thing the kid spotted it could have been real messy otherwise."
Josiah spoke into the cell phone relaying the message to Weston. Vin elbowed Josiah and spoke quietly. "Larry and Mark are headed this way with some guys in civilian dress. Looks like the buy might be about to go down."
Josiah spoke rapidly into his phone to Weston, telling him that Larry and Mark appeared ready to sell the weapons in their possession. Josiah placed his phone in his pocket and waved at the others. At Josiah's signal, the others moved forward, with Vin and Ezra in the lead, surrounding the men.
Ezra called out loudly. "ATF, you're under arrest, down on the ground, drop any weapons that you have."
The men looked at each other, and the buyers threw down their weapons and lay in the dirt, while Larry and Mark took off at a run toward the battlefield, with Vin, Ezra and Josiah right on their heels. Vin caught up to Mark first and tackled him to the ground pinning, him and pulling his arms behind his back roughly to cuff him.
Ezra chased Larry among the reenactors waiting to go onto the battlefield. Larry dodged in and out of groups, attempting to shake Ezra off his trail, as he spoke rapidly into a cell phone that he held in his left hand. Ezra finally caught up to Larry and tackled him to the ground as his cell phone went flying away. Larry fought back, attempting to hit Ezra, and knocking him to the ground. Larry pulled a gun from his jacket and aimed it at Ezra only to suddenly find himself face down on the ground with Josiah kneeling in the middle of his back. "Young man, that wasn't nice. He asked you nicely to give up. You didn't have to run and pull a gun on him."
Larry glared at Josiah and Ezra. "You don't know who you're messing with. We'll be out of jail before nightfall. You have nothing on us."
Ezra grinned at the man as Vin brought Mark over to them. "Oh, I don't know about that. Seems to me that running when told by the ATF to freeze is an indicator that you're up to something. To say nothing of all those crates of guns and missiles back in camp. I'm sure that we'll find your fingerprints all over them."
Vin grinned. "To say nothing of the attempted murder of a federal officer and conspiracy. I'd say that you boys are going to be old men when you get out of jail."
Josiah grinned at Larry and Mark. "Now if you boys were wise, you'd tell us what we want to know. Things will go easier for you if you do."
Mark shook his head. "You don't know what you're asking us to do. He'll kill us if we talk."
Ezra glanced at his watch. "If you're talking about Captain Morrisey, I would say his time is just about over. It'd be better if you talk to us and tell us everything you know now. Why would you want to let him make you the fall guys?"
Larry grinned. "Morrisey won't ever be caught. He's smarter than you feds. Wait and see we'll be out of jail tonight."
+ + + + + + +
Jack Weston slid his cell phone back in his pocket as Josiah disconnected the call. He glanced around at the men who surrounded the Union camp, including Captain Morrisey's tent. They had seen movement in the tent, but had no idea how many people were in the tent or others near the guns. With the activity in the Confederate camp, the time had come for them to act or loose the element of surprise. Jack raised his hand and dropped it quickly, the signal for the others to move into the camp and capture the men and guns.
Buck and JD were among the officers approaching Morrisey's tent. Suddenly the sides of the tent raised and there was a hail of gunfire. Several of the officers dropped to the ground, hit by the flying bullets. JD and Buck ducked down behind some logs by the fire pit that provided meager protection and returned fire.
JD glanced over at Buck. "They knew we were coming. Somehow they were tipped off."
Buck nodded but did not take his eyes off the tent. "There are more people in there than just Morrisey and his son. Either they had others on their side or it's the buyers, wish I knew how many men we are up against."
JD moved to his left, trying to get a better view into the tent without revealing his position. "I can see a little better. There are at least four people in there." JD took careful aim and fired into the tent, hitting one of the men firing at them.
Weston picked up a bullhorn and announced, "ATF drop your weapons and come out now. Things will go easier for you."
Morrisey's voice was heard coming from the tent. "Not on your life. Just go away and we can forget this happened. If not, whatever happens is on your heads."
Weston motioned for his men to check the camp and surrounding area. "That's not going to happen. There are too many people in this area for us to just go away and leave you with all these weapons."
Morrisey was heard laughing. "You should worry about those fools out there. I don't give a damn about them, and if they have to die, then so be it, but you're not getting me without a fight."
Weston pulled out his cell phone and spoke into it, then called to Morrisey. "If you're counting on help from the confederate camp don't. We have your men and the buyers in custody. Oh, and we have the guns. The bomb squad is in the process of undoing your booby traps."
Morrisey turned to his son. "Lot of good your friends have done us. They let the feds get the buyers and the guns."
Brad stomped to the back of the tent. "They won't talk if they know what's good for them I told them what would happen if they did."
Morrisey glared at his son. "I hope so you know how I hate failures. Now you know what you have to do. We need to get rid of these guys and move on to another cover. That's going to cost me money, and I want these guys to pay."
Brad and several men slid out of the back of the tent trying to flank the federal agents around them. Soon several are firing at the federals and taken out. Morrisey comes from the front of the tent and is shot. Brad sees his father fall and takes off under the cover of trees for the cars and is soon driving away from the reenactment site.
+ + + + + + +
The camp was soon swarming with federal and local law enforcement officers. Quickly the gunrunners and the buyers were rounded up and placed under guard while the guns were secured. It was only when things started to clam down that JD looked at the men in the holding area and realized that Brad Morrisey was missing.
JD moved quickly to where Josiah was standing talking with Jack Weston. "Josiah, we may have a problem. Brad Morrisey isn't in the holding area with the other prisoners."
Josiah whipped around. "He has to be here somewhere. Are you sure he wasn't with the injured?"
JD nodded. "I checked them first Captain Morrisey is there, but not Brad and he's not in the holding area either."
Jack Weston pulled out a cell phone. "I want an APB out on a Brad Morrisey. Hold on, I'll put someone on who can give you a description of him." Weston handed the phone to JD who quickly gave a detailed description of the man.
Brad Morrisey pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. He had changed his clothes and was now wearing khakis and polo shirt. He grabbed an inexpensive arrangement of flowers from the front seat of the car and headed into the hospital. He had a score to settle. He made his way to the information desk and got the information he needed with no trouble and headed for the bank of elevators. Brad entered the elevator with a smile. This was easy. Security at the hospital was non existent. When the doors opened for his floor, he got out and moved to the center of the corridor. Setting down the flowers, Brad knelt and pretended to tie his shoe, studying the hallway. There were no police stationed outside Larabee's room. This was going to be easy. Standing, he picked up the flowers and headed down the hall.
Brad paused outside Larabee's room. The man appeared asleep on the bed. Another man was reading a magazine. Brad stepped into the room, placing the flowers on the dresser.
Nathan looked up as the man entered the room thinking he was a deliveryman. "May I help you?"
Brad smiled pulling a pistol from his pocket and clubbing the man on the back of the head. Brad smiled. One down and one to go he thought, as he moved closer to the bed, aiming the pistol at Larabee's chest.
Chris awoke but did not move. Someone was in the room in addition to Nathan. He could hear Nathan talking and the confusion in his voice. Chris heard the sickening thud as something hit Nathan. He wanted to see what was happening but knew he had only one chance to defend himself.
As Brad moved closer to the bed, Chris tensed ready to strike out as soon as he was able to reach the man. As Brad leaned in with the gun in his outstretched right hand, Chris struck out with his good arm and the gun went off.
Chris held his breath, waiting to feel the burn of the bullet as it ripped into his body. After a moment he realized that he was not shot and pushed himself further up in the bed. He dared a look at the gunman and saw him rushing around the bed to retrieve the gun that had flown across the room when Chris had hit him in the arm. Chris swung his legs off the far side of the bed trying to make his way to the hall; he could hear a commotion coming from there, probably triggered by the sound of the gunshot. Chris could see Nathan lying in a heap on the floor. Much as he wanted to check on him, he knew that he did not have the time to do so at the moment.
Brad rushed around the end of the bed; he caught his foot at the end of the bed and tripped, but quickly regained his feet. He was almost within reach of the gun. Just a few more feet and he would be able to kill Larabee, the man had ruined his life. This was supposed to be his chance to make good. With this deal and the connections it would bring, they would be set for life. He glanced over to where Larabee was trying to escape the room and hate filled him. That man was the symbol of his failure. If it was all going to end, it was going to end on his terms, and he was determined to take Larabee down with him.
+ + + + + + +
At the reenactment sight the team was wrapping up things. The gunrunners had all been hauled off to the local jail. The guys knew they were going to have to spend several hours the next day writing reports. Luckily, they had been told they could wait until tomorrow and go check on Chris as soon as loose ends at the camp were tied up. Most of the reenactors and visitors had no idea that a major bust had gone down during the final battle of the weekend.
Ezra and Vin were in the confederate camp working with the locals to secure all the weapons and remove them from the camp. Vin turned to Ezra with a smile. "With any luck we should have this all wrapped up within an hour and be able to go and check on how Chris is."
Ezra flicked dust from his jacket. "As much as I am concerned about Mr. Larabee, I have to admit I'm looking forward to a shower, a change of clothes, and sleeping in a real bed tonight."
Vin laughed. "Ezra, leave it to you to worry about the important things in life."
Josiah walked into the Union camp looking for Buck and JD. He was glad the sutler he had been helping had told him he would finish up packing up the tent so that he would be free to perform his ATF tasks. He finally caught sight of JD, and Buck and made his way over to them. "Glad this case is over with. You going to be ready to leave here soon?"
Buck nodded, as he lifted a case of guns into the back of a pick up truck as JD listed it on an inventory form. "Should have the last of these guns loaded in about ten minutes. Then just have to pack up our things and Chris'."
JD stretched his arms over his head. "I talked with the vet and made arrangements to have Cannon shipped back to the farm that Chris borrowed him from. He's going to heal up fine, and the wound shouldn't bother him in a couple of days."
Buck lifted another case on the back of the truck. "Should be ready to leave in an hour or less would be my best guess. Wonder how Chris and Nathan are making out?"
Josiah pulled out his cell phone. "Why don't I give Nathan a call and find out?" Josiah punched a preset number on the phone and listened to the phone on the other end ring and ring. "Something's wrong, Nathan isn't picking up and his cell is turned on. Think we better head in to town right now."
Buck and JD hurried behind Josiah to where the cars were parked, as Josiah punched in the number of Ezra's cell phone. "Ezra, something's wrong in town. Nathan's phone is turned on, but he's not answering. The guys and I are headed into town. Think you and Vin had better join us. There may be trouble."
+ + + + + + +
Chris could feel his strength waning as he reached the door. He wanted to know where his attacker was, but didn't dare take the time to look. He knew his survival rested on being able to get out of the hospital room. Just as he opened the door, Nathan's cell phone began to ring. Chris couldn't help, but hope that it would distract his attacker and give him a chance to escape the room. As Chris pulled the door open, he could feel that his attacker was close. This was his one and only chance to make it out of the room alive. Just as he started through the door, he heard the roar of the gun once again and braced himself to feel the bullet enter his body. In what felt like hours, but he knew had been seconds, Chris felt a burn in his back as the bullet entered his back. He fell to the floor struggling to remain conscious as blackness swirled his vision. He saw his attacker step over him, and with the last of his remaining strength, reached out grabbing his attacker's leg and sending him sprawling on the floor.
+ + + + + + +
Buck drove into the parking lot of the hospital with Josiah and JD, followed by Vin and Ezra soon all of them were out of the cars and rushing to the front doors where they found their way blocked by hospital security. "Sorry we've had an incident and no visitors are allowed."
Buck moved to shove the man out of his way. Josiah placed a hand on his shoulder and pulled his ATF identification out of his pocket. "We're ATF agents. Two of our teammates are in the hospital. We made a bust this afternoon and one of the gang escaped. We're afraid he came after the rest of our team."
Vin stepped up. "Look, tell us who was hurt or better yet let me tell you. If I'm right we're going in."
The guard looked nervous. "I'm not sure I can allow that to happen. The hospital is closed as the attacker is still in the hospital."
Buck moved toward the door. "Then you need our help. We probably know who you're after."
Vin grinned evilly. "The men who were attacked were a patient named Larabee and visitor named Nathan Jackson."
The guard stared open mouthed. "How did you know?"
JD moved toward Buck and the door. "They're trouble magnets that's how."
The guard shook his head. "Go on in then. Seems you know all about the situation."
Buck moved to grab the guard, but was restrained by Josiah and Vin. Ezra spook up. "And how are Mr. Larabee and Mr. Jackson?"
The guard looked at Buck and gulped before answering. "Jackson has a concussion from what I heard, and Larabee was in surgery to remove a bullet. That's all I know, honest."
Ezra moved to the side. "That will suffice for now. We'll check on them after we remove the trash from the premises. I'll notify the judge as to what's going on and then join the rest of you."
Josiah grinned. "Join Vin and me in the basement. Buck, you and JD start on the roof and work down; we'll work up and meet in the middle."
Ezra was already on his cell phone as the others entered the hospital. Within minutes he hung up, and hurried to follow the others. He made his way to the basement, avoiding the elevator and taking the stairs, as someone had wisely shut down the elevators. In the basement he quickly made contact with Vin and Josiah. They decided to start at one side and work to the other, sweeping the area in such a way that no one could get behind them into the area they had already searched.
On the roof Buck and JD made a quick scan of the area checking behind all the air conditioning units and vents. They then went to the edge of the roof and checked all the fire exit stairs to make sure no one was on them. They then made their way to the next floor of the hospital and started checking each room and closet.
Back in the basement Ezra thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eye and made his way to the place where he thought he had seen someone with his gun drawn. He felt rather than saw Brad, and turned to find Brad holding a gun on him. "Now sir, that is rude and foolish. You have no chance of getting out of here alive. If you shoot me, I assure you my companions will shoot you down like the mangy dog you are."
Brad glared at Ezra. "You and your people have ruined my life. This was my chance to get rich."
Ezra shook his head. "My dear boy, having money does not make one happy and ill gotten gains are sure to make you unhappy, as you'll always be worried about someone trying to take them away from you. Now come along with me to jail and I can assure you that no harm will come to you."
Brad took a step backward. "I'm not going to jail. He'll be there, and that would be worse than being dead."
Ezra nodded. "I see so being in jail with your father would be odious to you. I'm sure we can arrange for you to be in separate prisons." Ezra could see Josiah and Vin approaching the area, but staying out of sight for the moment.
Brad shook his head. "You don't understand. He has connections. He'll see that someone gets to me and makes my life miserable. He's always controlled my life."
Ezra remained calm not lowering his gun in the slightest. "Now, Brad, come along, and I'll make sure personally that you get a fair trial and that no harm comes to you."
Brad shook his head. "You don't understand. My life is over. You might as well shoot me. I'm not going to give up. I have to get out of here." Brad took a step forward and cocked his gun.
Vin waited no longer, when he saw Brad bring his gun up and cock it. He shot Brad in the shoulder, causing him to drop his gun.
Soon the basement was crawling with hospital security and local police all trying to take charge of the situation. JD and Buck showed up. Luckily, things were soon sorted out and team 7 was allowed to go check on their injured members after preliminary statements and promising to do the remaining paperwork first thing in the morning.
+ + + + + + +
The team made their way to the third floor where Nathan and Chris were. Chris had just been moved to a room from the recovery room. As they made their way to the floor, they were met by a nurse who said the doctor would like to speak with them in the break room. They made their way into the break room, which was laid out with salads and sandwich fixings.
A man stood there. "I'm Doctor Daniel Ames, I've been taking care of Chris since he was brought in. I thought while I told you about your friends you could use a bite to eat. Eat up while I tell you about Chris and Nathan. First, Nathan was hit on the head, we assume with the butt of a gun. Apparently, the gunman posed as a flower delivery person. There was an arrangement in the room after the fracas. He has a concussion, and we're going to keep him for a day or so to make sure he's all right."
Buck swallowed a bite of his sandwich. "What about Chris?"
Dr Ames smiled. "The man has the luck of the Irish. The first time his attacker tried to shoot him he was able to knock the gun away. That alerted staff and made his attacker hurry. The second shot occurred as Chris was almost out of the room. The attacker had to hurry his shot and while it hit Chris, it went through the fleshy part of his side and was really not much more than a graze. It's painful, but not life threatening."
Vin grinned. "Man always did have luck. So he'll be fine?"
Dr. Ames grinned. "He'll be fine as long as he does what he's told. Want to keep him a few days for observation and replenish some of the blood that he's lost, but he should be right as rain soon."
They fell to eating the food with gusto and when done made their way down the hall to the room shared by Chris and Nathan. Opening the door slowly so as to not wake them should they be sleeping.
Ezra grinned at the others. "Look peaceful don't they sleeping like that. Here we are, catch the guys who hurt them, take down the gunrunners, and they nap."
Chris opened his eyes. "I can hear ya just fine, Ezra. You guys really took down the gunrunners and got the guy who hurt Nathan and me?"
Nathan opened his eyes at hearing the others. "It's all over?"
Josiah grinned. "Gunrunners are on their way to jail, had a number of weapons including stingers, all in the proper hands as we speak. As to the man who hurt you, he was one of the gunrunners, felt we had ruined his life so he was going to take you out as our leader Chris. Ezra spied him in the basement and tried to talk him down. When he went to shoot Ez, Vin here shot him first. He's been treated and is on his way to jail."
Chris yawned. "Now that's what I call a good end to a case. Now how soon can I get out of here?"
JD laughed. "Who won the bet?"
Ezra grinned. "I did. You gentlemen owe me dinner at a restaurant of my choice."
Nathan grinned. "You bet with Ezra about when Chris would ask to get out of here? You guys should know better than that by now. When am I getting out?"
Buck grinned. "Damn, Ezra you win again."
Chris glared at them. "Instead of congratulating, Ezra, could you answer our questions?"
Josiah laughed. "Might cranky aren't they? Neither of you is getting out of here tonight. Nathan, you're here at least till tomorrow. Doctor Ames will decide in the morning when you can leave. Chris, you're here at least a couple of days. Seems you need a fill up, leaked a good bit of blood on this one."
Chris glared at his men, but soon grinned. "It's nice to have friends and be able to see all of you. Got to tell you, there was a while there when I thought I wasn't going to see you all again."
One month later
Chris walked into the bullpen. "Guys, just talked to the Judge and we have been invited to attend the reenactment at Gettysburg next weekend as honored guests. Seems the reenactors want to thank us for removing an unsavory element from their midst. Did I word that right, Ezra?"
Ezra gave Chris a two-fingered salute. "You did that just right. Are we to be allowed to participate in the activities?"
Chris grinned. "We are, is everyone up for a long weekend in Gettysburg?"
JD jumped to his feet. "I'm in."
Vin laughed. "I'm in, cowboy."
Chris looked at Josiah and Nathan.
Josiah grinned. "Can I be on in the thick of it this time?"
Chris nodded at him.
Nathan shrugged. "If you're all going, I better be along to take care of you all no knowing what trouble you'll get into."
Chris looked at Buck. "Buck, you in?"
Buck shrugged. "I was supposed to take Pamela to the lake this weekend, but I'm sure she'll understand."