ATF Alternate Universe
|Chris got off the elevator and looked into the bullpen. He was early
but saw that Nathan was already busy at work. Chris smiled and headed for
the break room.
"If you're going for coffee forget it," Nathan called. "Vin beat me in."
"Damn!" Chris cursed as he changed direction and headed for his office.
Chris shut the door and took a seat behind his desk. He should have gone with his instincts and stopped for coffee on the way in. How Vin could drink that industrial sludge always baffled Chris but the sharpshooter seemed to thrive on it. The leader of Team 7 picked up the morning report and was about to start reading it when the phone rang.
"Larabee," he snarled as he picked up the phone. Chris was a bear when he didn't get his morning coffee.
"Let me guess Vin made the coffee this morning," Travis's voice said.
"Yes," Chris said. "So what can I do for you Judge?"
"I have a new assignment for you," he answered. "Have your men gathered in the conference room at 11:00am."
"We'll be there," Chris said.
Chris hung up the phone and smiled. AD Travis made allowances for his team. The Judge knew Ezra wouldn't be in before nine and always scheduled meetings later in the morning. Chris went back to his report and began to read.
At the appointed time Chris led his team down to the conference room and entered. Orrin Travis was waiting for them with two other men. One was an older man with white hair and piercing blue eyes. The younger man had dark eyes and long black hair pulled back into a ponytail. He was lean but well muscled and was tall as Josiah. Chris moved to the table and took a seat. The others took seats around the table as well.
"Welcome gentlemen," Travis said. "Let me introduce Micah Hansen and Taylor Montgomery."
Micah was the older gentleman and he gave Chris's men each a careful look.
"They're going to be hard to blend in," Micah said. "Too clean cut."
"Yeah," Taylor agreed. "All except the one with the long hair."
"What's up judge?" Chris asked ignoring their comments.
"You and your team are going under cover at the Renaissance Faire," Travis replied. "Mr. Hansen runs the event and last year they had trouble with individuals selling guns behind the scenes."
"We get participants from all over the South Western states," Hansen said. "They smuggle the guns in the trailers then sell them after hours. There are always so many people coming and going it's hard to keep track."
"We didn't want that type of trouble again this year," Taylor added.
"My office showed them pictures of gun sellers working in the area and they identified Jean-Pierre LeBroc," Travis said. "That's when we realized this was something big."
"You're kidding LeBroc?" Chris asked.
"That's right, Chris, he's popped back up again," Travis said.
"You know him Chris?" Buck asked.
"I know of him," Chris began. "When I first came on at the bureau one of the teams was going after LeBroc. He slipped right through their fingers. He surfaced a few years later and the same thing happened."
"Needless to say the Bureau wants him this time," Travis added.
Travis threw folders on the table and they were quickly passed out. The folders contained photos of LeBroc and other information.
"Sir," JD said. "What's our cover?"
"That's up to Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Hansen," Travis smiled. "For the next week they will train you in the use of swords and other medieval arts"
"Cool!" JD said.
"Are you saying we gotta perform at this thing?" Vin asked in his Texas drawl.
"But of course Mr. Tanner," Ezra said in a proper English voice. "Isn't that right my Lords?"
"He'll do," Hansen said with a laugh. "You'll have to be able to blend in with the other performers. They can be a closed mouthed group to outsiders."
"Mr. Hansen what part do you play?" Nathan asked.
"Why I'm the King of course," he smiled.
"So gentlemen you are now in the hands of these two gentlemen," Travis announced. "This weekend you will participate at the Faire and see what you can find. I'll leave you gentlemen to work out the details."
Travis nodded to Chris and left the room. Chris turned his attention back to Hansen.
"We need to be spread out inside the grounds," Chris said.
"That shouldn't be a problem Mr......," he stated.
Chris introduced his team and they got down to figuring out what roles they would each play. Hansen was impressed with Ezra's speaking abilities and knowledge of the time period. It was decided he would play a noble in the King's entourage. Chris liked this because it would keep them in contact with Hansen. When Chris and Vin revealed they could ride they were cast as Knights. Josiah would be Little John and Nathan would be a Moor. It was decided Buck would be a rogue free to wander the Faire breaking women's hearts. Buck said he could easily do that. JD wasn't happy with his assignment as squire to Vin and Chris. Taylor assured him that the squires got into the fun at the jousts.
For the next week the seven men were given a crash course in swordplay. Vin and Ezra had advantages over the others. Ezra had taken fencing in college and remembered most of it. Taylor just showed him the different techniques used for broad swords. Vin was also proficient with edged weapons from his martial arts training. JD learned quickly and was soon sparing with Vin. Since Josiah was playing Little John he was taught how to use a quarterstaff instead of a sword. Buck was given a rapier for his character and Ezra worked with him. Chris and Nathan picked up the sword work quickly. The only difference was Nathan would be using a scimitar.
In the middle of the week Micah took Chris, Vin and JD out to the Faire grounds to get aquatinted with the horses and the armor they would wear. Micah decided to make their entrance to the Faire a secret. For the next three days they learned everything they need for jousting.
Early Saturday morning Josiah picked everyone up in his Suburban. Micah told them they would be staying at the grounds in one of the cabins after the faire. It was customary for the performers and merchants to remain on the grounds like one big family. This was fine with Chris it would give them a chance to get to meet everyone and have them get used to them. They arrived at the gate and Josiah showed him the pass. They were directed to where they could park. Taylor saw them drive up and went to meet them.
"Hey everyone," he called. "Glad you could get here early. You'll find all your costumes and gear in the cabin. Chris why don't you Vin and JD come with me and we'll get you suited up."
Chris went with Taylor towards the horse corrals with JD and Vin following close behind. The others went to the cabin to change. A few women around the camp smiled and waved towards the new comers.
Half an hour later Buck emerged dressed in black pants and Cavalier boots with the cuffs turned down. He had on a billowing white shirt that was tucked into the pants. Buck had left opened the lacing at the neck revealing his chest. Over the shirt he wore a black leather vest that came to mid thigh. Around his waist was buckled an ornate silver rapier in a black sheath. A few of the women strolling around the area whistled cat calls at him and he bowed. His character name was Sir Rodrik the Rogue
Nathan was the next to come out. He had on black pants and shirt with a sheer black robe in the Arab style thrown over it. Covering his head was another piece of black cloth held in place with a headband. Around his waist was a red sash with a sinister looking scimitar tucked inside. His character was Nazir the Saracen and he looked like an extra from the movie Lawrence of Arabia.
Josiah's outfit was simple consisting of tan leggings and a green tunic. His boots were covered by rapping rags around them and lacing them with leather cords. Around his waist was a stout leather belt with various pouches hanging from it and a dagger. He also carried a large quarterstaff.
"Damn Josiah you look just like Little John," Buck commented.
"And you certainly look like a rogue Sir Rodrik," Josiah laughed. "Just try not to break too many hearts."
"I'll try," Buck said with a crooked smile. "Where's Ezra?"
"Right here," he said as he walked out the door.
Buck whistled when he saw Ezra. The dapper undercover agent had on green leggings and kid glove boots. The doublet he wore was darker green velvet trimmed in gold. The sleeves were fake and hung off from the shoulders to reveal the tight gold sleeves underneath. The double came to mid thigh revealing quite a bit of Ezra's legs. Around his waist was a sword encrusted with jewels. Encircling his chestnut hair was a small gold band. Around his shoulders was a black velvet cape held at the neck with a huge gold broach with a fake emerald glinting in the sun. Ezra also had rings on every finger.
Ezra was playing Duke Reginald of Torin.
"Damn Ezra!" Buck exclaimed.
"I'll say," replied a female voice from behind Buck.
They turned to find a woman dressed in an elaborate Elizabethan gown complete with low cut bodice and tight waist. The color was a perfect match for Ezra's outfit. Her blond hair was piled on top of her head and covered with a shimmering gold material that was all held in place by gold combs covered in fake gems.
"You must be Ezra," she said. "I'm Molly. I am your lady wife Duchess Margaret of Torin."
"I am pleased to meet you my Lady," Ezra said as he took her hand and kissed it.
"Boy Ezra how'd you get so lucky?" Buck asked.
"Micah sent me to come get you," Molly smiled. "The Faire has been open for a little while now and the Royal procession will leave soon. So if you'll come with me."
Ezra held out his hand palm down and Molly placed hers on top of hit. She daintily picked up her skirts and curtsied to him before they began to walk away. She led them over to a bunch of costumed players. She introduced them to everyone and Josiah got to meet "Robin Hood". His name was Todd and he liked the way Josiah looked and said he was perfect for Little John. He explained to Nathan and Buck that they were free to roam around the Faire. A few of the tavern wenches had been watching Buck and threw him kisses, which he caught. Nathan shook his head before they both went out the gate and disappeared into the crowds.
"So what time do we go on?" JD asked eagerly.
"At eleven," Taylor said. "Let me introduce you around."
As Taylor introduced them they heard a trumpet fanfare announcing the King was making his rounds. Micah and Taylor suspected a few of the wranglers might be part of the gun ring and Taylor made sure he introduced them to Chris and his men. Vin was impressed with the horses and stayed to admire them with JD. Chris decided to have a look around the area while Taylor went to check on other equipment.
"Are you the new jousters?" asked a young man.
"Yup, name's Vin and this here's JD."
"I'm Anthony, better known as Squire Antonio," he smiled. "The first show starts at eleven so I guess we better get ready. Can you give me a hand saddling the horses?"
"Sure," JD said.
Vin knew which horses were for him and Chris and he saddled those. The horses were Black Percherons. JD helped Anthony saddle two gray horses that looked to have the blood of Shire horses. They were almost as big as the black ones but weren't as bulky. The last horses saddled were the ones JD and Anthony would use. Since they weren't jousting their horses weren't as big. JD's was a tall bay and Anthony's was a chestnut.
"I see you've met Anthony," Taylor said as he returned. "Anthony can you tell Phillip to get ready while I help Vin and Chris."
Anthony nodded and ran off. Taylor took Vin and Chris to put on their armor. JD went with them to lend a hand. They had tried everything on the other day and JD was shown how to buckle the armor on.
Buck, Josiah and Nathan wandered over to the arena to watch the show. As they walked over Buck kissed the hands of several of the women spectators. A trumpet blared and the King's procession moved into the raised box. Ezra seemed to be enjoying himself as he escorted Molly to the show.
"My Lords and Ladies," announced the page. "It pleases me to present to you King Stephen."
Micah stood looking very regal in the elaborate costume he wore complete with an ornate crown covering his gray hair. He waved to the crowd and they cheered.
"Let the tournament begin!" he declared.
The gates opened and two knights came cantering through followed by a squire carrying a banner with the knight's coat of arms.
"Where the heck are the others?" Nathan asked in a whisper.
"Beats the heck out of me," Buck said.
The two knights and the squire circled the arena when a commotion could be heard by the gate. Suddenly the gate flew open and two black knights came charging in. JD rode in front carrying an all black banner with no coat of arms. They pulled up in front of the King's box.
"What is the meaning of this intrusion?" King Stephen asked angrily.
"We wish to compete," JD answered for the knights.
"I see the brave knights need a squire to speak for them," one of the nobles said. "They are not worthy of the King's attention."
"The King will let me compete," The larger of the two knights said as he raised his visor.
"Duke Cristoph de Leon," The King said angrily. "Then the other knight must be Sir Tavin of Ravenscar. You're supposed to be dead."
"You should know since you tried to have us killed," Chris sneered and the crowd ooo'ed and ah'ed
"Damn Vin and Chris are going to roast in that black armor," Buck said.
"Your Majesty I will challenge these men for their disrespect of you," Taylor announced.
"My Lords and Ladies I introduce Sir Taylor of Morey and Sir Phillip of Carwelle," King Stephen said and the crowd cheered.
Vin and Taylor dismounted with the help of their squires then stood in front of the King. Taylor went down on one knee to receive the blessing of his Liege. Vin took advantage of this and viscously kicked him in the side knocking him over. The crowd booed as Squire Anthony helped him up. Vin backed to the center of the arena drawing his sword. Taylor drew his sword and attacked Vin. The crowd went wild as they began to fight. Vin established early that he wasn't going to fight fair when he punched Taylor in the side of the head with his gauntleted fist.
"Damn I didn't know Vin could fight dirty," Buck said.
"He seems to be enjoying himself," Josiah chuckled.
The crowd cheered as Taylor hit Vin with his sword. Vin was stunned and stepped back. Taylor went to press his advantage and realized too late that Vin was bluffing. When he got close enough Vin slammed the pommel of side sword into his visor and he went down. Vin placed his sword at Taylor's neck and waited. The crowd booed as Chris smiled in triumph.
"I believe my man has won this round," Chris announced.
"Using guile and deceit," The King snarled. "Therefore I declare the contest forfeit."
The crowd cheered but Vin wouldn't release Taylor when the King commanded him to. He raised his visor and glared at him.
"It would appear Sir Tavin disapproves of your decision." Chris smiled.
The nobles began to argue as the crowd continued to boo. Ezra stood up and raised his hand and everyone fell silent.
"I have a solution my Liege," he announced. "Might I suggest a royal joust."
"Excellent idea Duke Reginald," King Stephen said. "Ladies and gentleman of the realm. I invite you to the royal joust when the church bell tolls five times."
The king left his box as the crowd started to move off. Vin gave Taylor a hand up and moved away from him continuing the charade for the benefit of the crowd still left in the arena. They mounted their horses and disappeared though the gate.
After the joust many of the costumed players went to the tavern inviting visitors along for a few songs and drinks. Josiah rejoined Robin Hood and they went to the Tavern as well. The spectators were reward with songs from Allen Adale. Ezra showed up with his Lady wife and bought a round of drinks for everyone. Buck and Nathan arrived shortly after Ezra and they joined the fun. The King's knights and their squire also came to the tavern and Sir Taylor was congratulated by many of the patrons. Buck was telling a story and had everyone's attention. The tavern was opened on all sides and was drawing a large crowd. The crowd was laughing at Buck's story when suddenly the knights went on guard. Standing just outside the crowd was Vin, Chris and JD. Chris and Vin were dressed in black chain mail over black leather pants. Over the chain mail was a surcoat with a coat of arms. The coat of arms was a white shield with a gauntlet hand holding a bloody sword. Chris blonde hair shown in the sun making him look like an avenging angel. Vin's long hair was lose and held in place by a black metal band. JD was also dressed similar to them. They all wore broadswords and Vin had two daggers sticking out of the top of his boots. The crowd wasn't sure what was going to happen and waited in anticipation.
"They're bad men aren't they mommy," said a young boy tugging on his mother's sleeve.
The crowd laughed and waited. Sir Taylor and Sir Phillip stood up and faced them.
"What do you want here?" Taylor asked.
"The Tavern serves ale does it not?" Chris asked. "We came for a drink."
"You're not welcome here," Philip said standing in front of Chris.
"I didn't come to fight," Chris warned. "But I will not back down from one."
"Sirs please," Ezra said. "You will have your chance to prove who is better at the Royal Joust. So let me buy all of you a drink."
"I will not drink with them," Taylor announced.
"I cry insult," JD yelled. "And challenge you."
"I will not fight you boy," he said.
"Afraid a squire shall defeat you?" JD taunted.
"Does this boy fight in your place Sir Christoph?" Phillip glared.
"The lad chooses his own fights," Chris smiled. "I will not stop him."
"And what of Sir Tavin," Taylor said. "Will you let this pup fight in your place."
"Beware the pup," Vin warned. "For he has sharp teeth."
"Come Sir will you accept my challenge or be known throughout the realm as a coward." JD declared.
The crowded gasped as Taylor moved outside and squared off in front of JD. Buck wasn't too thrilled about this and glanced at Chris who winked. They drew their swords and the fight started. JD held his own but everyone could see Taylor was a better swordsman. JD went down and the crowd gasped. Taylor walked over and to check on him when JD tripped him and stood over him with his sword at Taylor throat. The crowd jumped back as Phillip drew his sword and went to hit JD with it. Chris drew his and stopped Phillips blade inches from JD's neck. They glared at each other until Taylor held up his hand and Phillip back off.
"Well pup it seems they have taught you to fight dirty," he said.
"My name is Tristen of Alaint," JD declared.
"Let him up Tristen," Chris said.
JD moved away and Anthony helped Taylor to his feet. Phillip was angry and glared at Chris.
"This isn't over," Phillip snarled.
"We'll see you at the joust," Chris said as he moved away followed by JD and Vin.
The three of them walked through the crowd and disappeared amongst them. Buck just shook his head and looked at Nathan.
"Those three scare me," Buck said.
"The crowd seems to love them," Nathan said as they watched the three of them getting their pictures taken with some women.
"Your friends are very good," Molly said. "I haven't seen the crowd so enthusiastic before."
"The joust should prove very interesting," Ezra predicted.