Disclaimer: This story is the product of different minds coming together to have some fun. We have ownership over any new characters but the rest belongs to others (such a shame!).
Authors' Note: I had no idea how to start this story until I received a mysterious phone call early one morning. It left me wondering all day who the caller was or if someone I knew had been in trouble. That gave me the idea to having one left alone to find the others rather than the six being able to team together to find one.
Ezra couldn't believe it. Who the hell would be calling him at this time of the morning, it was before six. He pulled the covers back, just as the phone stopped ringing. Ezra slumped back into the pillow and waited to see if the phone would once again start is musical tyraid. When it didn’t he muttered to himself, “Typical, probably a wrong number.” Sliding back under the covers he rolled over to get some more sleep.
Ezra's was reawakened when his alarm went off, he’d set it the night before giving himself plenty of time to get into the office for the meeting scheduled at 9.00.
Ezra had his mind on the case they were about to start as he was driving into the office. Team 7 were to help the FBI bring down the Denver section of a drug ring. These people were hard to track and the FBI suspected that they were just about to close down operations and relocate.
As Ezra stepped off the elevator, he noticed how empty the floor was. He looked down at his watch, no he wasn't late for a change. Everyone was probably in the conference room already, the rest of the Team were always here before him, even when he was punctual. It seemed logical enough to assume that they might be having a Team meeting before they were due to liaise with the FBI.
Ezra threw his arms up in exasperation, if this was some kind of prank... He swung around and headed back the way he’d come poking his head in every office as he came to it. He stopped at one of the desks in the middle of the floor. Standing completely still, he closed his eyes and concentrated. The place was deathly quiet, he couldn’t hear stifled laughter, whispering, or even someone shuffling around. “There has to be a good explanation, aliens or something I’m sure,” Ezra mumbled to himself, really hating the silence around him now. Ezra reached for the phone, his hand was shaking slightly contradicting his nonchalant tone. As soon as he dialled Chris’ cell phone, Ezra heard the shrill ring coming from Chris’ office and followed the sound.
Leaning down he picked up the cell phone that had seemingly fallen off the desk onto the floor. Ezra checked the last number dialled and his eyes widened as he realised that it was his own home number.
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON”, Ezra shouted, panic starting to well up inside him. He had to think. Well, I suppose Larabee could have been in at six that morning, probably Tanner too. Shit their cars were in the parking lot.
This thought spurred Ezra into action and he started searching for any signs of a struggle. Just when he decided to check Vin’s office the phone rang, please let this be one of my friends, "Agent Standish".
Ezra leaned heavily against Chris’ desk when a deep, male voice he didn’t recognise answered, "I'm looking for Agent Larabee."
"Agent Larabee is not available at the moment, I will relay any message," Ezra didn't want to let on he didn't know where his boss was, especially seeing as he had no idea who this was.
The voice answered his unspoken question, "This is Agent Morrison from the FBI, there's been a leak in our department regarding the operation your Team was about to join. The informant we caught has given up the location of the laboratory used. We’re down here now rounding up the scientists, unfortunately the dealers weren’t here. We think they may have been pre-warned, shouldn’t be too hard to find though. Anyway, just letting you guys know we probably won’t be needing your help after all.”
Ezra was having trouble keeping himself from sliding onto the floor, he was getting a really bad feeling about this, "I not so sure about that. I need to know whether they have another hideout."
"Nothing definite, but they must have. Look I have to go, I'll call the office and have someone fax all the information I have over to you now."
Ezra barely remembered hanging up, the whole conversation seemed surreal to him. All he could think to do was stand by the fax machine and wait. He skimmed over the pages as they came out and then moved to his own office. As he slumped into his seat he switched his computer on and noticed he had one message.
We have two of your agents. Meet us at the abandoned army barracks, and we'll talk deal.
“Shit, why didn’t I check the computers first.” Ezra berated himself as he moved to JD's computer and discovered the same message already opened. Finally he knew where everyone was and rushed back into his office to grab his keys, stopping when he noticed a note that had fallen onto the floor, why can’t anything stay on the desks around here? The note was written in Nathan's hand.Ez,
Chris and Vin have been kidnapped. Only clue is the abandoned army barracks. Realise it’s probably a trap, but we have to take the chance. Meet us there if you can.
Ezra didn't hesitate any longer as he dashed out the door. In the carpark, he took notice of the vehicles. It looked like they'd taken Nathan's car and Buck's truck. All other vehicles were still there.
* * * * * * *
Ezra screeched to a halt when he recognised the cars that were parked on the side of the road. No-one was around so he drew his gun and headed stealthily towards the barracks, using the trail his other four team members probably used before him.
Ezra didn’t meet any of his colleagues along the way nor was there anyone in sight as he reached the clearing. What he wouldn't give to see one or all of them jump out from the bushes and shacks to surprise him, he wouldn't even mind the joke, he thought as he got closer. The barracks appeared to have been abandoned. Damn, where to now, I'm starting to hate always being late. Ezra spun around when he heard a groan coming from one of the shacks. He headed towards it with his gun drawn, please, please, please let it be them, "ATF, identify yourself.”
"Is that you, Ezra?" Ezra's sighed audibly, the sound of Chris' voice was the best thing he'd heard all morning.
Chris looked bruised and battered, he was clutching his side like maybe some ribs were broken. Ezra rushed over and checked Chris over as best he could, "Do you know where the others are? What happened?" Ezra had a million questions and now there was finally someone around to answer them.
Chris looked at Ezra in confusion, "What are you talking about, aren't they in the other shacks?"
"No, I've checked most of them. Besides you and I, this place is completely abandoned.
"Shit, they used some kind of drug on Vin and me back at the office. I tried calling for help, but they had Vin and made me hang up."
"How do you feel Mr Larabee? Do you think the drug had any kind of lasting effect?"
"Do you always ask questions in twos like that?”
Ezra just smiled and indicated he wanted an answer.
“I’m fine,” Chris grinned, but as he tried to move out of Ezra’s grip he winced, “Okay, maybe a little sore and I have a headache."
"That doesn't surprise me, it looks as if they worked you over pretty well."
"I also heard some kind of commotion outside, I could swear I heard Buck's voice. I tried to call out, but I didn’t seem to have enough energy."
Ezra gave Chris a look, "What? I’m all better now, I promise."
Ezra let it go, he knew Chris was just as anxious to find everyone, "It appears that they've moved on, and taken our comrades with them."
“There’s another lot of shacks a couple of miles down from here, we should check there first.”
* * * * * * *
As Ezra was driving, Chris started musing, "It was the drug dealers we were supposed to be helping the FBI out with. How the hell did they know?"
"I think I may be able to enlighten you,” Ezra glanced at Chris and when he saw the cocked eyebrow he continued. “Agent Morrison called your office this morning, however you were indisposed and couldn't answer the phone.”
Chris grinned slightly, Ezra certainly was enjoying having someone to talk to. He nodded his head and let his friend proceed with his story.
“One of their agents was an informer, they've already taken care of him. Apparently the traitor has informed them of the drugs and main laboratory location. They are rounding up the scientists and the merchandise now.” Ezra took a breath, but before Chris could open his mouth to ask, he resumed his speech, “I also took the liberty of pulling the file, it seems these guys were stealing medication from hospital labs and then re-mixing them to make their own drugs. It was probably one of those concoctions that they gave to yourself and Mr Tanner."
Chris thought over what had just been said, "Why?”
“Because you and Mr Tanner tend to rub people up the wrong way.”
Chris mustn’t have all his energy back yet, because he let the comment slide, “No, I meant why they'd leave me there and take the others somewhere else? They could have just killed me."
"I am assuming that they simply wanted to deflect attention away from themselves when they realised the FBI were closing in. Searching for you and the others is keeping us from tracking them down. I am quite sure that they will continue this little operation at another location."
Chris agreed with Ezra’s conclusion straight away, "Damn, I should have tried to take them out at the office, but they had Vin and he was already unconscious."
"Mr Larabee, you did your best under the circumstances. By the way I'm flattered that you chose to call on me this morning," Ezra tried to lighten the mood a little.
"Don't get a big head, I just dialled the first number that came up.”
Ezra chanced another glance at Chris. Yeah right, like Vin's number isn't the first on his list.
* * * * * * *
"This looks deserted,” Chris stated as Ezra pulled up beside the second lot of army barracks.
“Appearances can be deceiving Mr Larabee. I thought the shacks where I found you were abandoned.”
“You’re right. Let’s go.”
The two agents found Josiah, Nathan, Buck and JD all in separate shacks. They looked as though they’d been in a brawl.
"Did they drug any of you?" Chris asked once they'd gotten everyone out of the shacks and into the clearing.
"No, just jumped us when we came looking for you." Nathan answered.
“We thought they were going to lock us up with you, but they led us down here,” JD interrupted, then asked, “Why’d you ask about bein’ drugged?”
“That’s how they captured Mr Larabee and Mr Tanner in the first place,” Ezra answered smiling, he had no idea he’d be this glad to hear everyone’s voice.
Chris stalked off towards the shacks that they hadn't been through yet, leaving Ezra to untie the other agents’ wrists and answer their queries of which there were plenty. Ezra ignored most of the questions and just reiterated what he and Chris had discussed in the car.
"Well, it's about time you found us," Buck grumbled.
“I've been searching in order of importance, Mr Larabee happens to be higher on my list of priorities."
"Shit, Vin isn't in any one of these shacks," Chris growled as he walked back towards the group.
"We haven't seen or heard him at all," JD was starting to get worried.
“Maybe they took him with them for insurance," Josiah speculated.
"Anyone know where they may be headed?" Chris was trying to keep his voice from shaking with rage and panic.
"Well, I must insist on taking you all to the hospital," Ezra had noticed that Chris was favouring his side, the others were probably okay but Chris could still be suffering some side effects of the drug they'd given him.
"I agree," Nathan stated, he had wanted to know what Chris had been given as soon as he’d heard about it. Knowing that Chris wouldn’t stop until Vin was found he added, "Besides it seems we've come to a dead end and we need to regroup."
* * * * * * *
Ezra was alone in the waiting room. At least he knew where most of his friends were this time he thought as the doctor came up to him with the results from Chris' blood test, "The drugs that they gave Mr Larabee are mainly composed of quite harmless drugs. He'll probably have a headache and perhaps experience some dizzy spells on and off for a few days, but it should leave his system without any lasting effects. The rest of your friends are being patched up, then I'll release them."
Ezra smiled at the doctor, "Could I have a look at the report?"
"Sure, Mr Larabee asked that a copy be made for your files." She handed Ezra the report and headed toward the corridor to check on her patients.
Ezra scanned the page and his eyes widened when he got to one word: Penicillin.
"Good Lord", he mumbled as left the hospital.
* * * * * * *
Ezra drove south as it seemed to be the direction they were heading, going over what he knew in his mind. Vin's the only one we can't find, and the only one allergic to Penicillin. Perhaps they hadn't taken him, perhaps he was already..... No, if he were dead they would have just left him with the others. Why? Why would you drag the one person capable of slowing you down. As Ezra was getting closer to the border he noticed the small medical centre and abruptly pulled into the carpark. That’s it! They were using Vin to get more drugs.
The lady at the front desk looked up and smiled. Ezra was in a hurry and didn’t have time for pleasantries, "Has anybody come in with an allergic reaction?"
The receptionist’s expression changed to one of surprise, "As a matter of fact a couple of guys came in about half an hour ago with someone who looked like he was having trouble breathing. I left to get the doctor but when we got back they'd gone."
"Have you checked your medical supplies?" Ezra had a feeling this place had been robbed, but needed confirmation.
The receptionist grabbed her key and disappeared into the room directly behind her, Ezra followed her not wanting to be left behind. Ezra had been right, the cabinet doors were open and medication was obviously missing.
"Have we been robbed?" the receptionist was still looking puzzled.
"I'm afraid so, call the police," Ezra called over his shoulder as he rushed out the door.
Ezra jumped into his Jag and started speeding down the road hoping the next medical facility he comes to would be the right one and that they were keeping to the same pattern, I've been two steps behind all day today.
* * * * * * *
It felt like forever before Ezra spotted the sign. He parked the Jag and sighed, “Please don’t let me be late again.”
"Has anyone come in...."
Before Ezra finished his sentence he was interrupted by a couple of guys stumbling through the doors, dragging an unconscious Vin between them. Before anyone could react Ezra pulled his gun, "Freeze!"
The two guys were startled and let go of Vin, who slumped to the ground. They hadn't anticipated this, they'd just come in to steal some drugs, no-one was supposed to be expecting them. They ran back out the doors and jumped into their vehicle where the driver was waiting. Ezra and the nurse rushed over to Vin, "He's allergic to Penicillin, and needs medical attention. Then call the police. Tell them they're headed south and we need a road block." The nurse just nodded as Ezra hurried towards the Jag.
* * * * * * *
Ezra was too late, the police had already caught the drug dealers. The road block had worked and the local police were shoving the three men into separate police vehicles. Ezra approached an officer and showed him his ID. “Looks like everything is under control.”
“Yeah, you want to take these guys in yourself?”
Ezra shook his head, “I have somewhere I need to be. I’m sure you gentlemen are quite capable of locking these felons up.
* * * * * * *
The first thing Ezra did when he arrived back at the medical centre was ask about Vin. "Your friend's heart rate has slowed considerably. He has gone into shock due to the lack of oxygen from his Penicillin reaction and the other drugs he was given aren’t helping. We are doing all we can but he should have had medical treatment straight away. We'll have to wait and see if he comes out of it."
“Can I see him?”
“Sure, he’s in the second room to your right,” the doctor smiled and pointed towards the corridor.
Ezra grimaced when he remembered the other members of Team 7, I guess I’d better get this phone call over with before I go and sit with Vin
"Chris, I'm with Vin. He had an allergic reaction to the Penicillin they used in the drug.... They're stabilising him now...... If you'd let me finish......" Finally Josiah got hold of the phone and Ezra was able to explain everything.
* * * * * * *
Ezra had been sitting with Vin for an hour when the doctor came in to check on him, "Why don't you go and get something to eat, while I check on my patient? "
Ezra realised how hungry he was, he hadn't eaten since breakfast that morning and it was now 8.00pm.
* * * * * * *
When Ezra got back, the doctor had already left the room. Vin was still unconscious. Ezra was beginning to feel uneasy and started babbling to relieve his anxiety, "We're a team, Mr Tanner. I never imagined how apprehensive I could feel until this morning when I stepped through the elevator doors and Buck wasn't there teasing JD mercilessly about something the kid had done; you yourself weren't sitting on a corner of a desk chuckling slightly; I didn't see Josiah's calm tolerant expression as he lays a calming hand on JD's shoulder like he does when he notices the boy is getting exasperated; Nathan didn't come out of his office to lecture us about keeping the noise level down; and of all things Mr Larabee did not stride towards us and say in that authoritive tone of his 'Conference room, now'. However stepping off that elevator and seeing every one of those faces except yours would be just as abhorrent." Ezra looked over at his friend.
Vin was completely still, just this once don't let me have been too late. "Please Vin. I promise if you wake up I'll be the first person in the office everyday."
"I'll hold you to that."
Ezra visibly relaxed when he heard Vin's words, he didn’t even mind that Vin had a slightly amused look on his face, "You didn't let me finish, Mr Tanner. I’ll be the first person in the office everyday, except for Chris, JD, Buck, Nathan, Josiah and yourself. Besides how long have you been awake?"
Vin grinned, "Long enough. The doctor told me to lie still and get some rest.” Turning his head he saw the expression on Ezra’s face, “Hey, I was just following orders.”
“I guess there’s a first time for everything, Mr Tanner.”
* * * * * * *
The rest of Team 7 arrived and were shown to Vin's room by a very flustered looking receptionist.
Ezra was holding a glass of water to Vin’s lips, however the patient was shoving it away saying he could do it himself.
Chris genuinely smiled for the first time since early that morning, thank God everything's back to normal.
"Ezra," Chris glared at his agent, "We're supposed to be a team. Do you have any idea how it felt when we get to the waiting room to find you'd disappeared?"
"I think I have some idea, Mr Larabee," Ezra glanced down at Vin.
Chris noticed the smile his two friends shared, "Well, you scared the hell out of us."
"Just returning the favour."
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