Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
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The team gathered at the top of the stairs. Special Agent Megan Reeves, FBI, looked at each member in concern checking that each was ready for the mission ahead. "Good to go?"
"Ready." Special Agent Colby Granger.
"Ready." Special Agent David Sinclair.
"Uh, ready. I guess." The fourth member was not so confident.
Megan looked sharply at him. He was tugging at the unfamiliar weight of the vest and looked ill at ease with the weapon in his hand. She hadn't wanted to bring him in on this but he had insisted. "Charlie, you don't have to do this."
"Yes, I do." Professor Charlie Eppes said. He stopped his fidgeting. It was one thing to consult for the FBI, it was another to partake in a raid. "It was my work that led to this. I have to see it through." Charlie tightened his grip on his weapon and his face settled into a close approximation of the 'FBI-don't-mess-with-me' look to match the rest of the team.
"Alright." Megan said finally. Everyone needed to be on the ball for this. She clicked her radio. "Control, does surveillance report any change?"
"Negative. Subject at his desk." The reply came over their earsets. "There are no other people in the office. You are clear."
Megan was relieved. They had been waiting for the last person to leave and then a few minutes more in case someone doubled back so there wouldn't be the risk of collateral damage. "By the numbers. Charlie, stick close to me."
She eased open the door and peered through the crack. No signs of movement. She pushed the door open further and moved out at a crouch. Charlie stuck behind her as directed whilst Colby and David angled off up the other corridor. They were going to come at their target from different sides in a classic pincer movement that should prevent their target from escaping. Thirty seconds later they were in place, hidden from their target now only by some thin office partitions.
"Anyone got a visual?" Megan queried softly over the radio.
"I have the target." David replied. "Target is armed."
Damn. That was a wrinkle. They had expected and planned for it, hence the vests and the special weapons but they could still back out. This target was very dangerous. Megan glanced at Charlie for his opinion and found him determined to press on. He nodded. She activated her radio. "Extreme caution. Mission is go. Execute, execute, execute." She radioed.
"FBI freeze!" Megan shouted as she stood and ran forward. Her command was echoed by Colby and David as they popped up from concealment and moved in. Seconds later they had their target at gunpoint. Three weapons held steadily, professionally, the fourth one a little shaky.
The target had reacted with the lightening speed expected of him, hand flying to the firearm holstered at his belt as he leapt to his feet, chair flying backwards. Excellent reflexes stopped him from drawing the weapon as he took in the guns aimed at him from four different directions. He knew he was outgunned and out manoeuvred.
"What is this?" The target demanded. His right hand moved carefully away from his side. Both hands moved slowly up to shoulder height.
"Secure the prisoner." Megan ordered.
Colby and David moved forward whilst Megan and Charlie kept the target covered. David pulled out the special handcuffs and secured the prisoners wrists.
"What are you doing?"
"You are under arrest."
"For what?" The target didn't sound impressed but did not put up any resistance as he was searched. "You can't arrest me, I've done nothing wrong."
Megan almost laughed. The number of times she'd heard that over the years. She gave her standard response. "If you'd done nothing wrong you wouldn't be under arrest." She glanced at David.
"All secure." David held up some keys he'd removed from the prisoner's pocket.
Megan brought up her microphone. "Control, mission successful."
"Roger that. Sending the elevator. Good luck."
"Thanks for the coverage."
"No problem." The operator replied closing the channel.
"Let's go." As agreed Charlie stepped forward and took hold of the target's right upper arm. Megan lead the way as Colby and David took up the rear in case of trouble.
"Where are you taking me?" The prisoner demanded as he allowed himself to be led away. He glared at the man tugging on his arm. "You're not even FBI. You don't have any authority over me."
"Special situation." Charlie answered trying to sound official. "I've got the authority."
"Oh, yeah?" The prisoner said as the party reached the elevators and waited for a car to arrive. The indicator showed it was on its way up passing four, one floor to go. "Who from?"
"The highest authority."
"The Director?" The tone was mildly scornful. "I don't think so."
"You'll see." Charlie answered. "You'll be meeting him soon."
The prisoner suddenly baulked as the elevator doors opened. It seemed he realised who Charlie was talking about. A light push between the shoulder blades and the prisoner moved forward.
"This is a bad move, Feds." The elevator started downwards as the prisoner spoke. "I know people."
"Threats will get you nowhere." Megan commented. She'd heard that one before as well. After a while it wasn't even amusing, just par for the course. She did allow herself a small smile of relief however, the most dangerous part of the mission had passed without a hitch. Now they just had to bring the prisoner before the judge for sentence.
The elevator doors opened on the garage. The moved out heading towards the black SUV parked a short distance away. David raised the remote taken from the prisoner's pocket and pressed the button.
"Oh, come on. This is too much." The prisoner commented. "You're taking me in my own car?"
"Budget cutbacks." Megan replied. Colby snickered but fell silent as she glanced at him. "Keep it tight people."
A few minutes later the SUV rolled out onto the street. Charlie was driving, Megan was shotgun with David and Colby sitting either side of the prisoner in the back. The prisoner was cuffed to the front due to the duration of the ride ahead and could still present a danger so was closely watched.
"When my lawyer gets a hold of this he'd going to have a field day."
"Go your hardest." Colby replied.
"This is illegal."
"Tell it to the judge."
"I want my lawyer."
"I have rights. You can't do this."
"Tell it to the judge." Colby repeated.
The prisoner grinned, trying to keep up a tough façade. "You Feds are in so much trouble."
"Yeah, I just bet." Colby replied keeping up his own tough façade. Two could play at that game. Inwardly however he felt a pang of worry. This man really could cause them some trouble once this was over. He wondered if they had really thought this through thoroughly enough. They had more than enough evidence to take the action they had but it was slightly unorthodox and could backfire. Just because the prisoner was playing the game thus far didn't mean he couldn't change his mind at a moment's notice.
"You do know who you're dealing with, right?"
"We know." Charlie commented from the front.
Once again the prisoner hesitated in the process of opening his mouth. There was more than one meaning behind the comment. He snapped his mouth closed without a word. The rest of the ride passed in silence until they pulled up outside a house in the suburbs.
"What's this?" The prisoner demanded. "I thought we were going to a judge. This isn't a courthouse."
"I know this judge. He's biased."
"I'm sure he'd like to hear that." Colby pulled him from the backseat.
Charlie moved around the front of the SUV and once again took the prisoner's right arm to lead him up the steps to the door. The agents formed up and kept a wary eye out. They needed to get inside as quickly as possible before they attracted too much attention. The late hour worked in their favour however, not much passing traffic to witness the goings on. The door opened as they reached the porch.
A distinguished looking older man stepped forward to peer at his callers. The black robe he already wore was billowing slightly in the light breeze. Clearly he'd been waiting. He took in the FBI agents' Kevlar vests and special weaponry. He spared a look for the handcuffed man in their midst. "I see you got him without incident."
"Went without a hitch." Megan reported. "A bit mouthy though."
"Why am I not surprised?" The judge replied.
"I want my lawyer." Right on cue.
"Too bad. Bring him in."
They made their way in, the door closing behind them with a degree of finality. "You've already found me guilty." The prisoner said, shoulders slumping slightly.
"Damn straight." The judge conceded. "But let's do this properly. Read the charge."
"The People bring the charge of Neglect against the prisoner. The prisoner has repeatedly failed to meet obligations to himself or to others. For this the People request immediate sentence."
"What, no trial?" The prisoner interrupted.
"This offence does not allow for a trial to be conducted." The judge explained. "Continue."
"The offences before the court tonight is that at 7pm each night for the last three nights the prisoner failed to keep important engagements despite promises to do so. This forced the plaintiff to reschedule at great inconvenience." Megan glanced at Charlie before she handed over a piece of paper. It was plain A4 paper folded in three with the word 'WARRANT' written at the top in bold letters. "I'm sure the judge will recognise the arrest warrant."
"I do. I issued it not two hours ago."
"So I'm to be railroaded then." The prisoner concluded.
"What does the prisoner plea to the charges?" The judge asked ignoring the comment.
"Guilty. But there are extenuating circumstances."
"There were." The judge allowed. "But not any more. I heard it all when the agents swore out the warrant. It is the judgement of this court that the prisoner is guilty on all charges."
The prisoner lifted his chin, squared his shoulders and glared defiantly at the judge. "Fine. So what's my punishment?"
"Rib-eye followed by ice-cream."
The prisoner shook his head in amusement. "Good one, Dad."
Alan grinned. "Wasn't my idea, Donny."
Don Eppes looked at his younger brother. "Charlie?"
"You were working too hard."
"I had to finish the case."
"You finished it yesterday. Intervention was called for."
"You know how dangerous that was?" Don turned to Megan. "You should have known better." There was no heat in his comment, he was actually smiling which was something they hadn't seen for a few days.
"Hence the vests and toy guns." She held up her bright red water pistol. The others all had the same style of brightly coloured water pistols in rainbow colours of green, blue and yellow. Charlie had suggested the need for intervention yesterday and had been prepared this evening with the guns and Alan's robes when it all came to a head. In a brightly lit office like the bullpen the toys could not possibly be mistaken for real weapons. Don's quick reflexes worked in their favour on that point.
"Hmph." He reached around with his thumbs and pressed the releases on the plastic bracelets around his wrists. The toy handcuffs dropped way. He glanced around at his team who still had him surrounded as if they thought he might try to get away. The case had been a drain on all of them and he had to admit that arresting their boss was a good release for them. For him as well. He relaxed further and did his best to appear resigned to lull them into a false sense of security. "You got me. I'll complete my sentence. You can stand down now and take off the vests."
Grins broke out all round and they started to get rid of the bulky armour and unhitch radios. This was his opportunity. Don's hands flashed out and he disarmed Megan. It wasn't fair, her vest was half over her head rendering her temporarily helpless, but he needed a weapon and her bright red water pistol was the closest. His eyebrow rose as the weight indicated that the weapon was actually loaded. Good.
The agents scattered seeking cover in the lounge room but he let them go. The Kevlar vests and radios were off and out of the way so he was free to shoot without risking damage to the expensive pieces of equipment. But they weren't the targets.
Charlie had also taken his vest off. He saw the agents scatter and looked back at his brother. He saw the look in Don's eyes and tried to figure out his options. Don's grin widened, this was field work, not something that could be solved with a chalkboard. Charlie took too much time trying to decide which way to duck and got a face full of water.
Charlie spluttered and tried to fire back but his aim was off catching the judge instead.
"Take it outside!" Alan ordered in his best fatherly tone, using the hem of the robe to wipe the water off the side of his head.
Alan watched with amusement as his sons went tearing out through the kitchen and out to the back yard firing at each other as they went. He didn't miss the fact that Don's shots all found their mark whilst Charlie's invariably went wide. He went to a drawer as his eldest son's team started for the door to join in the fun outside.
Megan stopped and turned back. She looked surprise but took the offered item. "Thanks."
This was not the first time his sons had raced around like kids playing cops and robbers in the last few years. He'd been involved in the planned intervention and after Charlie had left he'd made sure he knew where their own 'weapons' were stored. He'd loaded them and left them sitting in a plastic tray in the drawer in case they were needed.
"Dinner in ten." He said as the last agent went running out.