“All right everyone, give me a go, no go,” Mac said as he sat in the surveillance van with JD and Ezra. Normally he wouldn’t have left the office, but they needed an extra man on the equipment that not only knew how to work it, but knew how to work with the sidelined pack members as well. He didn’t mind the endless shuffling of Standish’s deck of cards but the jokes JD was telling were getting on his nerves.
“Bossman, go,” Jack said as he knelt by the front door, the bright white FBI letters on his dark blue jacket standing out in the dark.
“Alpha, go,” Chris growled. Jack could see a kind of crazy delight spreading across his face in the dim glow of the security lights. He prayed that he was making the right decision in bringing these men along.
“Mother, go,” Vivian said as she knelt in between Buck and Nathan.
“Beta, go,” growled Buck, the change starting to leak over into his voice and eyes.
“Doc, go,” Nathan said as he gripped his knives. He wasn’t licensed to carry a gun in New York but his knives had done the job many, many times before. He wasn’t worried about not having a gun.
“Cuban, go,” Danny said. He had never been a spotter for a sniper before and was nervous about his first attempt. He felt he was lucky to have Vin be the one he was spotting for.
“Gamma, go,” Vin said. The calm that came over him was the same as it had been so many times before. He would still be dealing with the adrenaline and shakes afterwards but at least he didn’t have to deal with the ‘oh my god I just killed a man’ reaction that most snipers had to deal with. He silently reflected that it was a good thing he wasn’t as civilized as most people these days. It meant that he had a better handle on killing people who deserved it.
“Falcon, go,” Sam said. She had heard all of the jokes about her name and was more than tired of them. But Danny and Vin were the ones who had given her Falcon as her code name for missions. She could accept the teasing from her friends.
“Delta, go,” Josiah rumbled beside her. “And may the good lord bless us, amen.” He was polite (and politically astute enough) not to add the rest of the prayer that was running through his mind. ‘Bless us to save this little girl and send those responsible to you for judgment.’
“Ok people, go for entry in three, two, one, go,” Mac said. This was his first Death Curse case and he was doing his best to do everything exactly by the book. The last thing he wanted was for the case to be thrown out because of him. All three of the men in the van leaned in to watch the monitors. Each Agent, and all of the pack members were wearing small cameras to record both their movements and so that the jury could see what the Agents saw during the raid.
“Security system neutralized,” Sam said as she put actions to words. This wasn’t to be a barge in and arrest everyone in sight mission. If they did that the child would be dead well before they arrived anywhere near enough to rescue her.
“Entering the first floor,” Jack said as he and Chris silently opened the door and headed for the main entrance to the basement. Vin and Danny went in through the back door when Jack gave them the ok. Swiftly they cleared the main floor of the small building. There wasn’t anyone on the main floor so Jack gave the signal to proceed into the basement.
Danny took the lead, making sure that the stairway was clear while Vin followed holding his rifle at the ready. They met no resistance on the stairway and quickly reached the alcove that had been chosen as Vin’s sniper spot. Just as Josiah had predicted, the warlock had set up his alter against the sidewall and Vin had a clear view of the area.
“Bossman, we have four, repeat, four perps. Our vic is on the alter. Steward is conducting. He’s standing right in front of the alter. The other three are right behind him. All are facing the alter.” Danny was shocked at how calm Vin was as he gave Jack his report. He could have been talking about the weather instead of a ceremony that was about to condemn a toddler to slavery and death. “I have a clear shot, repeat; I have a clear shot at the main target. He is about halfway through the ritual.” Vin might not have taken his sniper course yet, but he’d been around the local SWAT teams enough to know they talked. Richard Steward was the warlock. He was one of the two adoption attorneys they had suspected and Walter Cross, the other attorney was right behind him. Ms. Lechen was on Cross’ right and another man was on his left. The last man must be the one who had brought in their victim.
“Shit!” Jack made a quick decision. “Larabee, if Tanner takes the shot can Buck get the vic clear before they have a chance to retaliate?”
Chris nodded. He had expected that’s what would be needed. “Beta, change,” he barked.
Buck grinned as he passed his gun to Vivian. He hated those who preyed on pups, human or Two Blood. He had prepared for this chance by wearing only a t-shirt, sweat pants and sneakers, all black. He quickly stripped off the single layer of clothing and let the change flow over him. Vivian pocketed Buck’s gun and tried to follow the large grey wolf with her eyes as he slunk around the shelves and boxes on their side of the basement. It didn’t take more than a moment for him to disappear. “Beta’s in position,” she heard after two minutes. Danny had him spotted. She breathed a sigh of relief and Nathan patted her on the shoulder. They reached their spot a moment later. “Mother and Doc, targets in sight,” Nathan growled.
“Falcon and Delta, targets in sight. No opposition,” Sam said as she and Josiah finally reached a place where they could both see and cut off any escape attempts by the perps. They were determined that no one would be getting past them.
“Gamma, you have permission to fire after I announce us. On three people; one, two, three – FBI FREEZE!” Jack yelled as he and Chris broke cover, aiming their guns at those participating in the ritual. Steward reacted to the sudden intrusion by first spinning around as his helpers did, then turning back around he reached over his head with the knife in his hand and trying to stab little Maggie. He did not succeed because two things happened. First, while his back was turned Buck jumped up on the alter in between Maggie and any danger. Second, Vin took his first shot and Steward was suddenly missing a good portion of his right hand.
When one of Steward’s followers pulled a gun on Jack, Vin announced, “Switching targets.” Vivian and Nathan had their woman on the ground and Josiah had his man in a bear hug off the ground while Sam disarmed him. Vin took this in within the split second it took for him to acquire his new target. “Taking the shot,” he announced. Before he had finished the sentence, Jack and Chris were sprayed with blood and other things as the bullet from Vin’s rifle passed through the base of the man’s skull, out through his throat and missed Chris by inches.
“DAMNIT TANNER I’M GONNA SHOOT YER ASS!” Vin ignored the often repeated threat and turned back to his original target. Only to witness a sight he had seen more than once before; Buck savaging a man to death with his teeth. The only thing that Vin felt was satisfaction. Steward had been the one who had cursed him and from what he could see of what was left, the man he had killed was the man who had turned him over to Victor.
“MAC REPORT!” Jack yelled, hoping like hell that whatever reason Wilmington had for killing Steward had been recorded.
“Steward attempted a magical attack on Beta,” Mac answered knowing what Jack wanted to know. “He defended himself and the victim. Gamma prevented a previous attack with a knife and he shot and killed Cross before he could shoot you or Alpha. Mother, Falcon and Delta have their perps under control. Doc is checking out the victim. Permission to send in Standish and Dunne with Doc’s medical kit?”
“Permission granted,” Jack said gratefully. The vial of virgin’s blood was still off to one side on the alter. It hadn’t been used. They had made it in time.
The entire case was closed by noon the next day. The judge had taken two hours and gone over the evidence, reports, and Audio/Video tapes and had rendered a guilty verdict. Ms. Lechen and David Evens were both executed two hours after the sentence had been handed down. Vin and Buck both had a AID (Agent involved death) meeting but both were cleared of any wrong doing. No one had expected anything else as both Steward and Cross’ death’s were recorded. “About half of the death by magic cases end up with the perp dead rather than captured. They know what’s waiting for them,” the senior agent in charge of the hearing told Vin. By ten o’clock Maggie Benson had been cleared by both the doctors and the witches at the hospital and her parent’s had taken her home but not before they had personally thanked both Vin and Buck.
Jack sighed as he placed the last file folder in his out box. “That’s it, it’s all over. Everyone involved has been tracked down and dealt with. All that’s left to do is give you this Larabee,” he said as he passed a letter over to the man sitting in front of his desk. It was the AD’s offer to the Seven to form their own unit based there in the New York office building but going wherever their cases took them.
“What kind of cases are we going to be given?” Chris asked. He had been expecting some kind of offer.
“The worst of the worst in whatever comes into this building; murder, racketeering, kidnapping, pupnapping, death by magic. The AD wants you and the rest of the Seven to use as attack dogs. You’d have free reign over the unit and you’d answer directly to him.” Jack was glad that the new AD had gone for his new unit idea. He wasn’t the only one who would be more than willing to work with them but no one wanted to try and ride herd on these men.
“Who’s the AD?” Chris wanted to know. If it was still Fitzgerald the answer was no. They’d figure something else out.
“Because Victor Fitzgerald was involved with a death by magic case, although he wasn’t aware of it, he’s been transferred. I don’t know where yet. The judge ruled that the adoptive parent’s were as much victims as the children but I think someone didn’t quite agree in his case. I guess they thought he should have investigated the agency better. The new AD is a man named Orrin Travis. He used to be a judge.”
Chris smiled a sight that was still unsettling to Jack. “Been a while since we’ve worked for Travis. Be a real shame to turn him down now. Tell him we’ll start on Monday.” Chris took the offer and left the office.
Jack racked his brain to remember where he’d heard the name Travis in connection with the Seven before. ‘Oh crap, circuit court Judge Orrin Travis! He was the one who first hired the Seven in the first place!’ Jack thought. ‘This is going to be one hell of a ride.’