TITLE: The Teddy Bear Caper
CHALLENGE: September 2003 - Use a teddy bear in the story
Universe: ATF
MAJOR CHARACTERS: Vin, Chris and Nathan
ARCHIVE: Yes, please
SPOILERS: I don’t think so.
NOTES: This is my first story for the Mag 7 challenge list and my
first story in the Mag 7 ATF universe. I hope I haven’t goofed up with
the characters. I’ve read some of the other challenge answer and read
the ATF Bible at BlackRaptor’s <?> site. Don’t hurt me too much. ;-)
Feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Piece of trivia: SHEETROCK® is a trademarked name, that’s why I’ve
capitalized it. The generic name is drywall. I learned this after
learning how to put UP drywall, which is another story in and of its
AUTHOR: Amy Denton
E-MAIL: MizDenton@ev1.net

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters but boy, I wish I did.
This story is written solely for entertainment purposes and is not
intended to infringe upon the copyright holder’s property. Please
don’t sue me, I’m poor.

The Teddy Bear Caper
By Amy M. Denton

Vin Tanner was about to test the law of gravity whether he wanted to or
not. The SHEETROCK® under him creaked alarmingly and it occured to him
that charging up that ladder after the suspect without back-up hadn’t
been the brightest of ideas but it had seemed like a good idea at the
time. The mission had started out simply enough, track and arrest an
explosives dealer, but had gone horribly, horribly wrong in a fraction
of a second.

The deal had gone down, Agent Ezra Standish, the undercover agent
initiating the deal, made his signal and Team Seven, Bureau of
Alchohol, Tobacco and Firearms, burst into the storeroom in the back of
the building. There was only one problem, the explosives dealer
slipped out through another unknown door and Agent Vin Tanner was the
only one who saw him go.

Agent Tanner, Vin, took off after the suspect, charging down the back
hallway of the building. At a hallway intersection, he stopped, slid
his gun from its holster and peered around the corner. Empty.
Cautiously, he slipped around the corner and walked down the hallway,
his gun out and ready.

Half way down the hallway, a door leading to the catwalks that
criscrossed the builiding was just barely open. Either it had been
left open by some careless employee or this was were the suspect had
gone. He holstered his gun, opened the door all the way and peered up
the ladder leading to the catwalk.

*Dang. If that isn’t a long way up.* Vin thought. *Aw, hell, why
can’t they make it easy on us once in a while?*

“Vin? What’s your 20?” Agent Chris Larabee, Leader of Team Seven
barked in Vin’s ear and he did not sound happy.

“I’m down the hallway, heading toward the back of the building. I’ve
tracked the suspect to a ladder leading up to a catwalk.” Vin
whispered into his walkie-talkie before begining a climb up the ladder.

“Vin, you WILL wait for back-up.” Chris replied, realizing that even
as he said the words, they would be ignored. When Vin got on a man’s
trail, he didn’t quit. Never the less, he waved two of his agents
over, Agents J.D. Dunne and Nathan < >, team medic and
motioned for them to follow him.

The three agents reached the door leading to the catwalk not long after
Vin had started up it. Chris sent them opposite ways, Nathan to the
front and J.D. to the back, just in case the suspect tried to sneak out
one way or the other. Chris grabbed the first rung of the ladder and
hauled himself up.

Up on the catwalk, Vin paused for a moment, allowing his eyes to
adjust to the dim light. The catwalk stretched the length of the
building with other parts of the catwalk criscrossing the upper reaches
of the building creating a web of paths and, worst of all, plenty of
places to hide. SHEETROCK® had been layed a few inches below the
catwalk with hatches cut into it every few feet to allow access for
changing lightbulbs. He crept along, not daring to use his flashlight.
No point in calling attention to himself until he had to, even though
the light would have been a great help in NOT finding out what was on
the other side of the SHEETROCK® wall.

He reached an intersection of catwalk and paused. Behind him, he heard
someone else coming up the ladder and hoped it was someone on his side.
He scanned the intersection, saw nothing and creeped across it.
Warning signals went off in his head as he saw someone in his periphial
vision come out from behind him. He ducked, turned and swung, making
contact with the suspect’s jaw.

The suspect grunted in surprise but did not give up so easily. He was
wiry, quick and fought dirty. Vin was driven back against the safety
rail and then, over the safety rail, landing flat on his back on the
SHEETROCK®. He lay absolutely still and started to pray. The suspect
leaned against the safety rail and smiled a truly evil smile.

“ATF! Freeze!” Chris’s voice reached Vin’s ears and was the last
thing he heard as the SHEETROCK® gave way under him and dropped him two
stories straight down, head first. Of all the ways Vin had figured he
might die, falling to his death in a Toys ‘R US store had not been one
of them.

Chris stared, horrified at the gaping hole where Vin had been moments
before. He barked out an order to Nathan then snatched up the suspect
from the floor of the catwalk.

“You had better pray that he’s in one piece because if he’s not, I will
personally flip the switch at your execution.” Chris said to the
suspect, who just glared in response.

Vin landed with a thump that drove the air from his lungs, nearly
upside down in a giant, circular plastic enclosure half-filled with
stuffed animals of every size and description, barely missing the giant
stuffed bear that sat in the middle of the enclosure.

Vin’s lips moved in fervant thanks when he realized that he wasn’t
dead, far from it.

“VIN! SAY SOMETHING!” Chris hollered down through the hole in the
SHEETROCK®, needing no amplification.

“Chris!” Vin wheezed in response. He caught his breath then hollered
back “CHRIS! DON’T GET TOO CLOSE TO THE EDGE!” Far above him, Vin
could just see Chris looking down through the hole.

Up on the catwalk, Chris blew out a breath in relief.

“You are a very, very lucky man.” he said to the suspect.

“DON’T MOVE! NATHAN’S ON THE WAY!” Chris hollered down.

“Don’t worry about it.” Vin muttered. He couldn’t have moved if he
tried. The stuffed animal bin had broken his fall, hopefully, that was
all they had broken. In the time it took to get the lock off the
enclosure, Vin had a brief chat with the Good Lord.

“Thank you, Lord. You must have more for me to do on this Earth. I
hope that work is with the ATF because that is where I intend to stay.
Thanks again.”

The door to the enclosure creaked open and the stuffed animals began
disappearing from Vin’s line of sight. His feet touched the floor of
the enclosure, then a hand appeared above the mass of animals. Vin
reached out, grasped the hand and, let go, tumbling back into the
animals, a fiery pain shooting up his left arm.

“Vin?” Agent Nathan Jackson’s voice came over the top of the animals.
“What’s broken?”

“I think I busted my wrist.” Vin replied, the pain making itself known.

“Grab my hand with your good hand.” Nathan instructed him.

He did as he was told and climbed free. When his feet hit the floor,
Vin all but got down on his hands and knees and kissed the floor. No
one except his teammates and the manager would have seen him. The rest
of the store had been cleared after Vin went up the ladder to the

Nathan took one look at Vin’s pale face and said “Sit down and put your
head between your knees.”

Vin was not quite quick enough to obey Nathan’s command but Nathan
caught him on the way down. He heard Nathan slapping something against
the floor then felt something cold on the back of his neck.

“Besides wanting to pass out and a broken wrist, anything else?”
Nathan said.

Vin shook his head and wished he hadn’t. It only made him feel worse.
Nathan checked Vin’s pulse and breathing. Vin was in shock which
wasn’t a big surprise considering what the man had just gone through.
If he could Vin upright and moving, that would be a blessing.

“Show me your wrist.” Nathan told Vin, who did as he was asked.
Nathan examined the rapidly swelling hand and wrist and reached for a
splint in his bag. “Hang in there.”

Vin didn’t respond, a chill crept up over him, sending a shiver up his
lanky frame.

“Vin?” Nathan asked.

Vin couldn’t hear Nathan over the roaring in his ears. He made a sound
of pain then went limp in Nathan’s arms. Following proper First Aid
procedures, Nathan laid Vin down on the floor, elevated his feet and
loosened his shirt, as well as checking Vin’s pulse and breathing.
Nearby, the store manager wrung his hands and Nathan dearly hoped he
didn’t pass out as well. That would be more than Nathan would want to
handle. The other members of Team Seven minus Chris could only stand
and watch.

Chris’s footsteps were heard moments after Vin passed out. He came
into view hauling the suspect with him. He saw the crowd around
plastic enclosure, handed the suspect off to the closest cop and made a
beeline for the group. His heart dropped into his toes as he saw Vin
sprawled out on the floor, unmoving.

He knelt next to Nathan and waited for the worst.

“He’ll be fine. He passed out from the shock.” Nathan replied.

A few moments later, Vin’s eyelids fluttered and opened and he found
himself staring up at Nathan and Chris and the ceiling.

“How you doing?” Chris asked him.

Vin flashed him a weak smile but didn’t answer. Nathan helped him sit
up but did not allow him to stand up which was just fine with Vin. His
head was still spinning. Nathan made him sit still for another few
minutes before allowing him to stand up, very slowly. Vin wobbled a
bit but stayed on his feet. Chris offered up a silent prayer of thanks
before leaving the store with his team still intact.


Vin came to work the next day, stiff, sore, with his wrist in a cast
and over the objections of both Chris and Nathan. He was determined,
however. If he sat at home, he’d go nuts. Waiting for him on his desk
was a picture of himself in the plastic enclosure taken by the security
camera and a small stuffed bear, a replicia of the one he’d barely
missed on his trip down. Written on the security photo in a neat hand
were the words “The Teddy Bear Caper”.

He grinned and looked around the office. Chris’s door was closed and
the other agents studiously avoided his gaze. Some people might think
that such a reminder of his near death experience was in poor taste.
Some might consider it gallows humor. Vin considered it another day at
the office.

He eased into his chair and moved the picture and the bear to one side.
He reached for a report, the grin not leaving his face. He had the
best job in the world.