Not mine and never will be. They belong to the alphabet brigade and several others who tried to let a good thing die; but we keep them alive in our stories.
Main Characters: Chris, Vin, Ezra, and Maude.
Jo asked that I expand on my ATF drabble using the words: Independence, Fireworks, and Declaration the week of July 4th 2010. She wanted to know why Vin was resigning from the team.
Thanks, for asking Jo. This is for you.
I don't know much about the military and its rules, so if I've erred, then it was for the sake of the story.
I really do admire the men and women who give their all in the service of our country. I can't thank you enough for what you've given to keep us free.
Feedback: Constructive criticism is appreciated; flames will be deleted.
Chris barked at Vin, Tanner get your ass back here, we're not through yet.
Tanner growled back, Those fireworks in your eyes, tell me now is not the time to try to reason with you. I've declared my independence from the team with that resignation on your desk, so I no longer have to listen to you rant. Call me when you've calmed down and we can discuss this like humans and not like a couple of polecats fighting for leadership.
Vin, I'm sorry I lost my temper. Explain why you're resigning, I just don't understand why you're leaving us.
If you're really ready to talk to me about this, then let's go somewhere where we can talk alone, urged Vin with a bit of a begging whine unconsciously thrown in.
I'm serious, cowboy. I promise to do my best not to get angry. I don't want you to go, admitted Chris his eyes clearly showing his upset and confusion to his friend who could read him like no other.
They climbed into Chris's Ram and drove to a bar on the other side of town.
Vin ordered two whiskeys on the rocks. After the waitress placed them on the table, Vin started trying to explain his reason for leaving. I don't want to leave, but I have no choice.
There's always a choice, interrupted Chris.
Not always, I've been recalled to the rangers. The war is taking too long with too many dead and wounded. They need me to lead a special sniper and explosives team to infiltrate enemy lines and take out the leaders of the opposition. I don't figure on making it back from this kind of mission.
Chris sat there stunned a minute. Vin, isn't that kind of thing illegal or something?
No, it's not illegal, if we don't get caught, countered Vin.
Not the missions, the conscripting you back into the service. I thought they only had five years in which to do that. After that they can no longer recall you.
I was, am, a highly trained specialist and because I perform a similar role in the ATF, the five year rule doesn't count.
There must be something we can do. I need you on my team. Having been a Seal, I know how dangerous mission like that can be.
I've already talked to the Pentagon, they say the rules are the rules and if I had become a street cop or a regular agent and not a sharpshooter and explosives expert, then the five year rule would hold. I have to report in one week or face charges that could get me sent to Leavenworth.
Both men fell silent for a while drinking in the presence on the other man and cherishing the little remaining time they had together.
Chris broke the silence, Ezra, he hissed. He has all kinds of high level contacts, maybe there's something he can do.
I hate to dash your hopes, but he's undercover. You don't have a meet with him until three days before I leave, reminded the younger man.
Part of his cover is he has an ailing mother so we can pull him if we need to talk. We'll send a message that his mother is ill and he needs to fly to St. Louis. We'll meet him there and ask for his help, stated Chris with a gleam in his eye.
Vin wasn't so sure Ezra could help, but he was willing to try anything. His heart was breaking at the thought of leaving his six coworkers who were closer than any brother could be.
They rushed to Nate and Rain's house. Rain would know how to make Maude's need for Ezra sound plausible. After hearing the explained request, Rain was eager to help.
They called JD to set up the phone so the call would appear on caller ID as coming from St. Louis. She quickly made the call. Nathan, Chris, and Vin almost believed the tale Rain was spinning to get Ezra on the phone.
While Rain made the call, Nathan got on line and purchased the two men's tickets for a red eye flight to St. Louis that night.
Boarding the plane, Ezra was surprised to see Chris and Vin at the gate waiting to board the same plane. Ezra always flew first class and his cover would too; Vin and Chris were flying coach. He didn't dare talk to either man until after they landed and were sure no one was following him. The three men arrived at the hospital where Maude was supposedly being cared for and commandeered a doctor's lounge.
Ezra listened patiently while Vin and Chris explained once again, why Vin was to resigning. Silence fell and Ezra wracked his brain to determine who was best to contact. Finally he pulled his phone from his pocket and spoke into the phone. Mother, are you still dating that 4-star general?
Good, you must convince him that Vin's skills are needed more at home to protect the innocent more than they are needed overseas.
He listened a moment and then hung up. He grinned at Vin and Chris; Mother will get back to us in a couple of hours.
Very expensive Italian restaurant
Maude's date, 4-star General Jonathan Spielman, held the chair as he seated his companion. Maude you're quiet this evening is anything wrong? he asked.
I'm just worried about a young man who's been recalled to the army. I don't know why, but he's been recalled after the five-year time period has expired. He's a skilled sharpshooter who is part of ATF Team Seven out of Denver. My son called just before you arrived. He's upset by the way Mr. Tanner's being treated by the military. Ezra is part of that team and in the year and a half they've been together; the seven men have become closer than brothers. There must be some way to enforce the five-year period. Team Seven, also known as the Magnificent Seven just won't be as effective if they become the Magnificent Six. This young man has done his duty to the military, now he's dedicated his life to taking illegal guns, drugs, and explosives off the streets.
Beside his job as a sharpshooter on the ATF team, he works with the kids in Purgatorio, a poor section of Denver, keeping them in school and out of gangs and such. Neither the community or the ATF can afford to lose such a valuable and dedicated man as Vincent Michael Tanner, explained Maude.
General Spielman listened with growing consternation; he'd signed the papers conscripting Vin Tanner back into the service. One of the reasons he'd chosen Vin Tanner to lead the team was because he was a loner. Maude had just filled in information that had been lacking from the dossier he'd been given. Maude, let's make it an early night. I think I know of the man of whom you're speaking. If what you say is true and I've no doubt it is, then a grave mistake must be corrected.
By this time their dinner arrived at their table and they quickly ate. The general dropped Maude at her townhouse and rushed to his home. He picked up the phone and bellowed at his aide when he answered the phone. I thought you said that Tanner was a loner. I just had dinner with Maude. Her son, Ezra, has informed her that Tanner has been recalled. I want his affiliation on Team Seven scrutinized and find out everything you can about a place called Purgatorio in Denver and Tanner's status there. I want the report on my desk by oh seven hundred. Yes, I know how late it is. He hung up the phone and paced his home office. He sat at the computer and started his own research into Team Seven's record.
At 07:59 he stalked into his office. His aide appeared at his desk, a thick sheaf of papers in his hands. Good Morning, General, Sir. Here's the report on Tanner. He's a sharpshooter on the famed Team Seven AKA the Magnificent Seven. They have the highest success rate of any ATF team. Tanner is their sniper and explosives expert. By all reports those seven men would gladly die for each other and those they protect. Tanner has been instrumental in keeping teens off drugs, in school and out of gangs in the Purgatorio section of Denver. He is anything but a loner, sir, was his rapid-fire report.
Invalidate his orders; we need only loners on this team. Get him on the phone right now.
Sir, Yes, sir, barked the aide.
Tanner, growled the very sleepy longhaired sharpshooter after another red eye back to Denver.
Hold the phone Tanner, General Spielman, wishes to speak with you.
Vin pulled the phone from his ear, stared at it, and put it back to his ear when he heard the general on the device. He resisted the urge to stand and salute. He wasn't back in the army yet.
Tanner, it has come to my attention that you serve a valuable purpose where you are. Your orders are hereby revoked. Have a good day and keep up the good work.
A flabbergasted Tanner mumbled, Thank you, sir, hung up the phone and lay down again, closing his vivid blue eyes. Those eyes popped right back open. The orders have been rescinded; I can stay,' he thought.
He stumbled from bed tripping over Chris and Buck in the process. Hey, guys, that was the general. My orders have been countermanded. I can stay. Chris, can I have my job back? he asked of his boss. His teammates had stayed over to spend as much time as possible with Vin before he left, hoping that Maude could work some magic with the general she was dating.
Chris's sleepy brain kicked in and he gave a whoop of joy waking the rest of the team sprawled on the floor in Tanner's small living room. I'm declaring a day off to celebrate Vin's independence from the military.
Josiah, who'd yet to say anything about the impending departure of their marksman, pulled the slender, longhaired man into a hug. This calls for a celebration. Barbecue at Chris's tonight, I'll bring the fireworks. He turned to the disheveled undercover agent who stayed even though he needed to be back undercover soon, and drew him into a hug, messing the sleep tousled curls. You did good, son.
Additional Notes: Anneack also pointed out that some professions such as cops could refuse the recall or draft if one is reinstated. I've chosen to ignore that or at least let Vin ignore it on the grounds he'd want to help end the war if he could be of service.