Free From Liberty
Rating: PG (for violence)
Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from the use of the Magnificent Seven characters. Thank you to MOG for the creation of the ATF.
Comments: If there are any militia members out there then I apologize, this does not show you in a good light*G* Thank you to MOG for betaing and creating this universe (and keeping Ezra out of J.C. Penney*G*) Another thank you to firearm advisor, Tannersgirl. As always I will try to incorporate as much as was written before if possible!
Archivist's Note: This fic was previously hosted on another website and was moved to blackraptor in September 2006.
Vin said goodbye to Mary and Billy and went to get a cup of coffee. Buck had taken the reporter and her son on a tour and Chris had surprisingly joined them. When they returned Billy had made the decision he was going to be an ATF agent when he grew up. They had all
chuckled, and went about trying to convince the boy to find another line of work. Tanner noticed that Chris was actually grinning at a woman instead of grimacing and Mary did not seem to mind Larabee's attention. He hoped Chris would move on with his life and maybe Mrs. Travis would help.
Vin heard the quick steps of JD entering the coffee room. Tanner started to pour another cup for the young agent.
"Hey Vin! Billy is still talking Chris's ear off." JD accepted the coffee.
"He's a good kid," Vin said breathing in the steam of his drink. Enjoying the calmness of a strong cup of coffee.
JD dropped his cup when he heard the blood curdling scream, "Billy!" The porcelain shattering, the black contents pooling on the linoleum floor.
"What was that?" Dunne went out to the hallway, running back to the office.
Vin stopped him before he turned the corner. "Wait, something's not right." The marksman had learned to trust his feelings on situations long ago, and the rest of the team had come to appreciate Tanner's insight.
JD's eyes widened. "I know Vin. We just heard Mary scream."
"No," he said slowly looking around the corner. "I don't know. I have a hunch," as he peeked around the corner he knew his feelings had been right.
Chris had just turned his back on Mary and Billy and was returning to his office. Billy had asked a million questions, all while Mary was pulling him to the elevator. She had to be a patient mom to put up with her child's curiosity. Chris wasn't expecting the scream that reverberated through his mind.
He turned in slow motion. He saw his agent's rooted to the floor in shock. In front of them stood fifteen men in army fatigues. The leader, a dark haired man with a military style haircut held Billy in his muscular arms, a knife against the child's throat. He put his fingers to his lips motioning them to be silent. Mary was being held by a tall, brown haired, wiry man. She was struggling in his grasp, but the man just tightened his grip in retaliation. The remaining men flanked the perimeter of the office, and started to go down hallways, looking for other personnel.
Finally the leader spoke. "Okay boys, please remove all of your weapons and hand them to Private Hodgkin. Nice and easy or the kid and his mother become part of the body count."
Private Hodgkin looked no more than seventeen, and went around, patting down each man and collecting their weapons. He reported back to his leader,
"Sir, all secure, Sir." His back ramrod straight.
"At ease Private." He took the bag of weapons and handed it to another soldier.
"Who are you and what's this all about?" Chris ground out to the man in front of him, trying to calm Billy and Mary with his eyes.
The man shoved the young boy into the hands of Private Hodgkin and stepped forward to face Chris. "I am General Tom Cullen of the Brotherhood of Liberty. I am assuming you are the leader of this rag-tag group." The General looked at the team with evident disgust written on his face.
Chris clenched his hands to fight the wave of anger which was spilling into him. His group was the finest special teams in the ATF, obviously this man had no idea of what floor he had chosen to assault.
"And you have graced us with your presence because?" Ezra drawled. His green eyes flaring at the audacity of these men.
"You show some respect to the General," the wiry man said to Standish.
"It's all right Martin," The General continued. "We are here to determine the freedom of two of our brethren."
"We require a little more information," Ezra goaded. Martin cocked his gun and pointed it at the well dressed agent.
The General waved to Martin to stand down. "My blood brothers, Cletus and Rick Cullen." The driven leader looked for a reaction among the five men.
"Those murderers!" Buck announced. "They killed some good men!"
"My brothers are fighting for a cause to remove the citizens of these United States from the yoke of the federal government." The General spat out to Buck.
"Yoke? I think you have broken one to many yolks in that egg brain of yours!' Buck yelled. "Your brothers killed two ATF agents in cold blood."
"Buck," Chris's voice carried a warning of the precariousness of the situation.
"Those agents infiltrated the brethren. We don't take kindly to traitors." The General grinned at Buck, pulled out his Beretta 9mm semi-automatic pistol with silencer and fired.
Vin clasped his hand over JD's mouth and dragged him back into the break room. Vin eyed his companion and then removed his hand.
"They just shot Buck!" JD ran his shaking fingers through his hair. Buck had adopted JD as his surrogate little brother. Vin understood the bond very well. He and Chris also shared a similar connection.
"And they are gonna shoot us, too." Vin quietly climbed on the white table and pulled open the air vent.
"We going to help them?" Dunne asked, frustrated by Vin's lack of action.
"Yep, first we gotta help ourselves," Vin motioned for JD to jump on the table. "Get up here." JD climbed into the air duct.
Vin took a deep breath. He hated small spaces. This was going to be torture. He climbed up and closed the ceiling panel. These men were going to pay.
Chris ran to Buck, laying him down on the cool floor. Nathan, Josiah and Ezra swiftly joined him. Nathan carried his first aid kit.
"Where's the kid?" Buck asked, squeezing his eyes shut.
"The kid's fine Buck," Chris said loudly. He leaned in further so the Brotherhood could not hear him. Every action was being observed and no doubt they were being listened to. "Vin and JD were in the coffee room. They haven't brought them out, so they're okay." Chris was also trying to reassure himself. He clutched Buck's hand as he saw another wave of pain engulf his oldest friend. "I swear Buck, you have got to learn how to keep your mouth shut."
"And miss all this attention," Wilmington said, holding his hand on his shoulder. The blood already leaking through his fingers. "Figures, Ezra goads him, but I get shot."
Nathan peeled back the wounded agent's hand. He took out a gauze pad and began to apply pressure. "We got to stop the bleeding." The gauze was already saturated, "and there is no exit wound."
"Damn, Brother," Josiah said.
"Ezra give me your jacket," Nathan demanded. "We need to make Buck more comfortable." The undercover agent was the only one who wore a full suit. He slowly took off his suit jacket, folded it neatly along the seams and handed it to Nathan.
"Agent Wilmington, this is Prada, if you get one speck of your bodily fluid on it, I'll be upset to say the least." Ezra said as he watched Nathan roll it up even further.
"Ah, Ez, you're all heart." Buck replied, resting his head back on the makeshift pillow.
The General came over to the scene before him. "You men can tend to your fallen one, but you," he pointed to Larabee, "need to make a phone call concerning my brothers."
"Not in this lifetime!" Chris flared back. Larabee did not like to take orders, especially from terrorists.
The man holding Mary struck her across her face. Chris lunged for the General, but Josiah held him back.
"Are you going to co-operate?"
"Yes," Chris got his breathing under control. "Let them go."
The wiry man pushed Billy and Mary into the other agents. Chris had to remember he couldn't gamble with the lives of two innocents. He had done that before and he lost everything.
In the vent Vin motioned to JD. Two of the terrorists had entered the coffee room. They looked at the mess on the floor and shrugged. Finding no one in the room they each poured out a cup of coffee. Suddenly their walkie talkies went off. The unseen residents of the vent above listened carefully.
"Section is secure down the hallway from primary site."
Vin looked at JD, they had gotten Team Three. Team Three was frequently used as backup for their special unit, and therefore they were housed on the same floor.
"Leave five men there. We need two in primary location, and remainder on patrol."
One of the men in the coffee room pushed the talk button. "Griggs and I will patrol , Sir."
"Understood," came the terse reply through the crackle.
The two men nodded to each other and left.
Vin quietly opened the vent and gracefully landed on his feet below. JD followed, careful not to make a sound. Tanner gestured for Dunne to go to one side of the door, while he positioned himself at the other side. He opened the door slightly and glimpsed through the crack. He saw the two oafs who had just been in the room with them. He shoved the door out, to get their attention, and then flattened himself against the wall and waited.
The first man re-entered the small room, he had just crossed the threshold when Vin threw a backfist at him sending him towards JD. He pulled the other man in, and quickly dispatched him with a V strike to the throat and an upper cut to the chin. The terrorist was unconscious. He glanced over to see how JD was faring. He could hear JD saying,
"Elbow, elbow, palm, knee," and then follow up the words with the corresponding strike. The marksman had recently taught the young agent the self defense move. After Dunne had shown an interest in karate. JD's assailant was now on the ground. Dunne was disarming him as Vin had already done with his attacker. The men had been carrying Beretta 9mm semi-automatic pistols with silencers.
"How did I do?" JD eagerly looked at Vin for a vote of confidence.
"You done good," Vin moved in closer to JD, "but next time you don't need to tell the bad guy what to expect."
JD grinned sheepishly. "Okay, what's next?"
"We need their uniforms." JD nodded, knowing exactly what Vin had planned.
Chris held the phone to his ear, he was speaking to his superior. He told Chris it seemed as though the Brotherhood of Liberty had entered through the loading area. They had come in looking like they were delivering office supplies. It was just chance they had chosen that particular floor. "I understand," Larabee responded. He continued, "yes, this is a hostage situation. The demands of General Tom Cullen are as follows: He wants his brothers, Cletus and Rick released from the federal penitentiary. He wants them here in two hours via helicopter. The pilot will then disembark. The men will board without incident and they are not to be followed." The General reached over and clicked the receiver of the phone.
"Good job, you can go back and check on your man." Cullen gestured to Buck lying on the floor.
"Hey pard, how are you doing?" Chris knelt beside his friend.
"Just a little cold," Buck tried to snuggle down deeper into the blanket lying over him.
Nathan moved closer to Chris and whispered, "He's going into shock." Chris nodded, knowing they did not have a lot of time before Buck's life would be in jeopardy. Whatever Vin and JD had planned, he hoped his young agents were quick about it. In their present situation, Chris would have to wait to make a move until the helicopter got here and provided a distraction, and Buck may not have that long. Larabee watched Mary. She was observing her son and Ezra. Standish was doing card tricks to keep Billy entertained.
Chris heard the young boy ask, "How did you do that?"
"It's a secret," Ezra winked at the boy.
"Please," Billy pleaded with Standish. "You know my grandfather is a judge. He can make you tell." The boy smiled, thinking he was going to get an answer.
Mary gasped. Chris strode over to them. It was too late though, the damage had been done. The General crouched down to face Billy.
"So your grandfather is a judge?" He said in a sickeningly sweet voice.
"He is an excellent judge of character is what the boy meant," Ezra replied, shuffling the cards to get the madman's attention.
The General coldly glared at Standish, drew back his hand and slapped Ezra, drawing blood from the corner of his mouth. Cullen turned back to Billy, all pretense of the sweet voice gone.
"What's his name, boy?"
Billy looked from his mother, to Chris, to a bleeding Ezra. Larabee nodded to the young boy.
"Judge, Judge Orin Travis," Billy said with sorrow in his voice.
The General lightly patted his face, and gave him a grin. He got up from his crouched position and turned to Chris.
"Tell them they have one hour or we kill Judge Orin Travis's grandson."
Chris picked up the phone. He pressed each number of the extension hard as he thought of how much pain he was going to inflict on to General Tom Cullen.
Dressed in fatigues Vin and JD crept out into the hallway which would lead to where Team Three was being held. They kept their heads down and from a distance could see the other two terrorists who were patrolling the hall. Swiftly Tanner and Dunne fired one whispered shot a piece. Each man crumpled to the floor. When they reached the fallen men, Vin and JD dragged the bodies quietly into the bathroom.
"You ready?" Vin asked, checking his weapon.
"Yep, you think Buck is okay?" JD said to Vin looking for reassurance in the other agent's blue eyes.
"Buck," Vin grinned, "he's fine. He has to be, who else is going to tell us what you did wrong?"
JD laughed. "That's true." Buck was very protective of JD, of course JD noticed Chris did the same thing to Vin.
Vin nodded and headed out the door with JD behind him.
Again they kept their heads low so no one would recognize them. Unhampered, they made it down the hallway to where the other agents were being held. They swung the doors open and quickly opened fire on the five terrorists. The terrorists had been caught off guard, expecting the two men who had entered were part of the brethren. JD and Vin each got two men. The other man was brought down by some agents who were sitting on the floor beside him waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
Team Three's leader came forward, "Nice to see you Vin. You too JD."
"Dempsey, don't say we are never there for you." Tanner grinned back. It was a running joke how Dempsey and his team were there always just in the knick of time.
They heard the crackle from the walkie talkie in the corner,
"Reynolds please respond."
Dempsey, JD and Vin looked at each other. They were running out of time. It was either now or never.
"Sir, there is no response." Martin continued, "I have checked all channels."
"Tsk, tsk, Martin we are going to have to fight another day. Ready everyone to fallback." The General said looking at his hostages. "Of course, I like to keep my promises." He pulled out his gun, and took aim at Billy.
Mary stepped in front of her son. Chris stepped in front of her, he wasn't going to let people die because of him again. The General shrugged, "Makes no difference to me. I'll get my brothers back one way or another."
A shot rang out. Then the clatter of a gun hitting the floor. Larabee saw Cullen holding his hand, a hole had been blown through the palm. Without looking Chris knew Vin was there. He didn't have time to enjoy the moment as gunfire started to be exchanged. He turned and dove at Mary and Billy, knocking them to the ground and out of harm's way.
Chris saw one of their saviors coming. Vin was crawling on his belly, moving to his leader's location.
"Hey pard," Tanner said handing Larabee a SIG-Saur.
"Been busy?" Chris asked noticing Vin's clothing.
"A little," he grinned. "Team Three is providing backup."
"In the knick of time again," Chris grinned and began shooting. However the black clad man was looking for one person in particular. Chris had a promise he needed to keep too. Cullen had made his way to the elevator, his men defending him as they were being cut down unmercilessly by the agents who had previously been hostages. Larabee stood up, not caring if he was hit and fired. The bullet hitting the so-called General in the head. He fell back into the closed metallic elevator doors with a thud, and slid down leaving a red streak. The remaining soldiers fired off their last rounds, and were quickly cut down.
Team Three began to do the cleanup. Handcuffing and disarming the wounded soldiers. Body bags were also being brought in.
JD left his position as soon as the gunfire stopped and ran to Buck. His friend was being loaded on a gurney which would take him to the hospital.
"Buck, you okay?" JD asked taking in the sight of his wounded friend.
"Yep, they just need to take the bullet out." Buck said with his eyes closed. He opened them and looked at JD, "you done good, kid."
JD squeezed Buck's hand in reply.
Vin watched the scene from a distance. "I guess I am going to have to put you and JD in for a commendation," Chris said, also eyeing JD and Buck.
Tanner shrugged. "Seems as though we shouldn't get one for doing what any of you would have done."
Larabee smiled, and patted Vin on the shoulder. The paramedics were bringing Buck to the elevator.
"Buck, we'll see you at the hospital," Chris yelled out.
"Ol' Buck is fine." He slurred. "Tootles," he said as he waved his fingers.
The men laughed at Buck's antics. Nathan explained, "They gave him some drugs. I'm going with him."
Chris nodded. "We'll be there in a minute. We need to give statements."
"I can give the statements, pard," Vin said, his eye's flickering to the reporter and her son in the corner. "Mary looks a little shaky. She may need a drive home, and then you can go to the hospital."
Chris shook his head, but followed Vin's advice and went over to Mary and Billy. He saw his other agents were leaving to go to the hospital, and Tanner was talking to Dempsey.
"You okay?" Larabee asked, taking in the site of the blonde haired woman with a bruise forming on her cheek, holding her son in her lap.
Tears had stained Billy's cheeks. "I was so afraid."
Chris stroked the child's hair, "Me too." Billy stopped sniffling momentarily. "You did great. You kept calm like any agent would do."
The child snuggled into his mother's chest. She rubbed his back, a tremor occasionally making her hand twitch.
"I can escort you home if you like?" Chris asked, holding her hand to make the shaking stop.
"Thank you, I'd appreciate it, and what you did," she looked up at him, her eyes filling with the knowledge she had almost died today.
Chris helped Mary stand, Billy still wrapped around her and they made their way through the path of destruction the Brothers of Liberty had created.
Buck was sitting comfortably in his hospital bed. The doctors had removed the bullet, and he would recover in no time. The team was all gathered around him reviewing the day's events.
JD sat in a chair, and brought his arms behind his head, "Yep, it always falls to the young ones to save their elders."
"Who are you calling an elder, JD?" Josiah inquired, cracking his fingers.
"Agent Sanchez, I recollect on many occasions we have had to extricate our young friend from a myriad of perilous situations." Ezra raised an eyebrow to JD. "Do we ever revel in our compatriot's youth?"
"Now, fellas, I was only. . . " JD was eating his words. "Vin, help me out?"
Vin stayed silent and shook his head. He was staying out of the conversation. He knew you didn't go against the elders. He was just happy everything had turned out well.
The patient yawned.
"We better get going, and let Buck get some sleep." Nathan said as he tried to round up the men and get them out the door. "They're releasing him tomorrow."
They slowly shuffled out with JD and Ezra the last ones to exit. They each looked back at Buck.
The door swung shut and a muffled pillow could be heard landing against the wood.
"It was the drugs!" Replied the annoyed voice inside.