Red Lights and Specials

by Heidi

Disclaimer: This is fan fiction based on the television series, The Magnificent Seven. No infringement on the copyrights of CBS, MGM, The Trilogy Entertainment Group, TNN, The Mirisch Corp., or other parties who may have legal rights and make a whole lot more money than I do.

Notes: To Cin, SUPERDIVA extraordinary, Brate for making me laugh, and to Row, for making me think POV all the time now.

Team Seven went shopping. They did not want to, nor did they desire to, but they received orders, they reluctantly obeyed orders, and shopping they went. AD Travis ordered them to the local office supply store to buy their replacement supplies. The reason for this order was the latest in the ongoing fiasco in the administrative assistants' pool.

The Assistants held a lottery on who would draw responsibility for ordering the office supplies for Team Seven. The loser of the lottery found himself or herself garnering courage, begging for respite, attempting bribing another person to take the job, and finally telling the rest of the lottery participants that their turn will come.

Team Seven held a fearsome reputation, not only in the field as a formidable team to go against, but in the office for their abuse and overuse of certain everyday items. Paper clips became short-range missiles. Sharpened pencils stuck out of the ceiling until gravity remembered to work and drop them. Pushpins turned into inspirational tools to move the user off their tush. Pens disappeared at alarming rates, often discovered in the restroom broken in pieces or the ink smeared on someone's paperwork.

A fresh pack of ten legal pads lasted all of five seconds with that bunch. Even less time, depending on whom found them first.

Sanchez went through at least three a day with his copious notes, most of which were written in symbols and languages that only the profiler could understand. The last person who transcribed one of his unclassified supplements as a favor suffered a severe headache for two days after translating the marks on the page.

Standish meticulously kept notes on his investigations, not trusting the computer to harbor his secrets, making his own journals and locking them in the office safe or at his home. He also used the pads to practice changing his handwriting, often devoting one entire pad to signatures in various names and styles of writing.

Wilmington wrote love letters when he was not doodling, followed by walking out with them to use in the Pictionary, hangman, and gaming marathons held every couple of weeks, during bad weather, or someone's inevitable recuperation.

Dunne scribbled complex computer programs before he typed them into the system, usually going through one pad for each draft of his written programs. His scrap pages turned into paper footballs, launched during briefings and meetings, or more often, down time.

Jackson used the pads to take orderly notes, create 'to-do' lists, make outlines, and keep things running smoothly. His 'to-do' lists often appeared with other peoples' names on them, tacked to their chair with one of the pushpins. This was Jackson's way of keeping the others occupied when things tended to veer into the absurd.

Tanner often drew diagrams of building layouts, each page representing a floor, as he scoped out locations. For some reason, Tanner could make a floor plan extremely easy to read for all of them, giving them the same three-dimensional picture he saw in his head. It often helped them to know what room was above and below them. An assistant thought she saw one of the pads filled with poetry; when late one night she went back to check, it was gone.

Larabee drafted report after report on his pads. With the bunch that he controlled, he often answered inquiries from other irate departments regarding the behavior of his men, taking a few drafts. The drafts often required censorship from words that most people would not say even on a bet, having been learned through a military career and exponentially expanded when he put together this team. Most responses required five to six drafts, followed by both Jackson and Sanchez proofreading, before Larabee typed and sent it out.

Therefore, that brings the assistant to the office once a week to replace the destroyed, missing, and improperly used devices. No one would discuss the stapler incident; all the assistants shuddered when they remembered the poor fool who was believed to confront Team Seven about their 'abuse and waste of governmental funds'. Security found him stapled to the large bulletin board in the front lobby, speaking gibberish with wide eyes. When asked what happened, he quit on the spot and said that he would never tell anyone.

The last assistant, a fresh from college young lady, made a muck of things. Over the course of three months, she fell in love with all of them, hitting on each of them and finding her advances politely turned down by all of them, including Agent Wilmington. Perhaps her voice, the sounds of glass shards scraping down a chalkboard, caused them to flinch each time she appeared. Perhaps her clothing, the brightest, garish apparel available in the latest 'teenager' styles, turned them off. Or perhaps, it was when she shorted their supplies on purpose for the umpteenth time, which finally drove them to complain on her. The assistants believed that when she pinched Tanner and Standish's butts was when the fireworks really started.

Neither the smooth southerner nor shy Texan would tolerate that type of behavior, loudly raising a hue and a cry. Standish raised a stink about it, vociferously complaining about his offended derriere. He continued by saying that advances of that type were not wanted or welcome. Tanner put it plainer: his butt was not public property and he did not need any bruising there, especially by a female he barely knew.

The ATF fired the girl for sexual harassment. This left the assistants in a tizzy, wondering who would be the next victim of Team Seven. Their state of agitation led to a refusal to go to the offices and collect the order. Electronic e-mail attempts to find out what was needed met with failure; Wilmington took the opportunity to list everything that required replacing in their office, resulting in an extremely large list.

Travis finally grew disgusted with the whole matter and decreed Team Seven would be given an account at the store the ATF used. Team Seven would personally buy their own supplies. Period, end of sentence, end of lottery, no more, no further discussion allowed. Grumbling, but secretly elated, Team Seven agreed and procrastinated, 'appropriating' supplies from other teams as needed.

Now they stood on the parking lot, having piled out of two vehicles, right around seven o'clock at night. When they got back to the office, having backed up a neighboring team earlier in the day, they realized they lacked the proper tools to do the requisite reports. With the other offices closed, Chris finally ordered them to go shopping with him to 'Get this the hell over with'.

Darkness fell early this fine day, the only lights coming from the parking lot, giving just enough light to walk to the front of the store without falling or tripping on anything. Since the office supply store was located in a strip center, it shared the large parking lot with a number of other stores. Just down from the office supply store was a paintball store. In front of the paintball store's lot, a collection of young eighteen to twenty year olds gathered by a big van. They laughed and carried on, not caring about the arrival of the other patrons.

Stretching, Josiah reached his arms over his head to work the kinks out of his back. As he did so, a bright red spot appeared in the center of his forehead.

Vin saw it, reacting immediately. He tackled Josiah, taking the bigger man hard to the ground, rolling over to protect his friend.

The action galvanized the others.

Nathan dropped into a crouch near Josiah and Vin, fluidly drawing his gun. Eyes scanned for the source of the red lights while the three of them crawled for cover behind the van.

Another red light showed, this time in the center of JD's chest. He immediately dropped to his knees and rolled behind the truck for cover, Buck yanked JD behind him and pulled his own gun. Chris ducked behind his Ram and checked the loaded status of his weapon. After making sure the others reached cover, Ezra joined him.

The sounds of laughter rolled across the parking lot.

"Son of a bitch," said Chris, his voice a low growl. "They're not shooting at us, they're messing with us."

"Josiah, you all right?" asked Vin. "Hit ya kinda hard."

"Fine, Brother, just angry."

"You are not the only one, Mr. Sanchez. I, for one, would like to teach this miscreants a lesson."

"What are you thinking, Ez?"

"Well, Mr. Dunne, as federal agents, we are completely justified in approaching the van and performing searches of both the occupants and the vehicle. In fact, by aiming those dreadful lights in our direction, in essence targeting us, we have probable cause to detain them."

"We've got to be sneaky about it," said Buck. "If they want to crawl around the muck with the rest of the low-down snakes, we'll show them we can slither with the best of them."

The laughter continued reaching their ears, inciting tempers. The tempers aimed at both the culprits and at themselves.

"That's it. Josiah, Nathan, block them in." Chris threw the Ram's keys at Nathan. "We'll hit them hard and fast."

"Mind if we introduce them to the pavement, pard?"

"A little face-ta-face meetin'?"

"Boys, mount up."

They climbed into the vehicles slowly, splitting between Josiah's Suburban and the bed of Chris' Ram. The vehicles started simultaneously, the drivers long used to working together. Nathan peeled off first, Josiah right behind, heading right for the van.

Nathan stopped on an angle, blocking one side of the van while Josiah prevented the van from leaving.

When the pickup stopped, Buck, Chris, and Vin leapt out, guns drawn, and immediately yelled, "Federal Agents -on the ground, Now!"

The kids stared in amazement, too stunned to move.

Josiah, JD, and Ezra approached the van from the rear, ripping open the door, and forcibly removing two young adults. They tossed them over with the others while the scared pranksters stared at the highly armed and pissed off ATF Agents. Buck, Vin, and JD frisked the kids, pulling out identifications, while the others watched their backs. When they finished, Vin, Buck, and JD climbed into the van and started searching.

Shopping center security noticed the commotion, riding over and stopping just far enough out of range.

Ezra took the lead on this. "Gentlemen, we are detaining you for making threats against federal agents. You will be held until we determine that you are no longer a hazard to our continued well being. Comply and you may be released shortly."


"What did he say?"

"Man, I didn't understand that."

"Shut up." The low growl from the obvious leader in black caused all of them to drop their heads and stare at the pavement.

Josiah, seeing the nervous security guard, held up his identification and motioned the guard to join them.

Slowly, carefully, the security guard approached and took the identification from him. After calling it in, the guard climbed out of his car and asked, "What's going on?"

"These boys decided to pinpoint two of us with a laser. We don't know if they're armed or not."

"Got something...nope, paintball gun," yelled Buck.

"Three laser sights right here," said JD, holding up three of them.

"Night scopes," added Vin, showing off his prize.

The local police zoomed up, their lights and sirens screaming, causing the ATF agents to immediately present identification.

Having verified their identities, the officers looked at the kids spread-eagled on the ground then back the ATF officers. The lead officer said, "What's the deal here?"

Chris answered, "They thought pointing a red laser in the middle of my man's forehead was funny. Put another in my agent's chest. We don't take well to that."

"ATF, huh? I can understand."

"Yes, well, we have the situation well in hand," explained Ezra. "Thank you for your timely assistance."

"Bet they won't do that again," commented another officer, walking over to stare down at them. "Will you?"

One kid looking up, met the glare of Vin Tanner, and returned his gaze to the pavement.

"What stinks? Oh man, you made them mess themselves."

"The problem?" Chris asked this with a completely straight face.

"None that we see. Let's check wants and warrants." The Denver officers ran wants and warrants checks on the detainees, finding two of them with outstanding warrants. Both of these unfortunate souls emanating foul odors were stuffed into the back of the patrol cars and taken away by DPD. After writing out quick statements, DPD went to leave.

The lead officer said in parting, "Guess that will teach all of you to piss of the Feds."

One officer, having stayed in the background, suddenly snapped his fingers. "I know who you boys are!"

"Don't let it get around," Buck warned him.

"It's an honor to meet you; you're special."

"Yeah, well, thanks for the assist," Chris said, hoping the hero worship would fade from the man's eyes.

"No problem, sir. Guess this means they learned about Red Lights and Specials."

The End