Victim of the Game

CHAPTER 1
by
Suzy


DISCLAIMER: The Young Riders is the creation of Ed Spielman, and the property of Ogiens/Kane productions in association with MGM/UA television. The characters from the television program The Magnificent Seven are the property of Trilogy and The Mirisch Co. I am making no money from their use. This Story is created for entertainment purposes only, no infringement intended. Not to be copied without permission from the author.

RATINGS: PG - violence, mild language

WARNING: This Story contains an alternative Universe theme, if this type of story is not to your liking or will somehow offend you please delete this mail immediately and do not read any further. In addition it is a The Young Riders/The Magnificent Seven Crossover, so if crossovers are not your cup of tea, please go no further. Furthermore this story contain semi graphic images of a terrorism nature, if you feel this may disturb you please find a different story that you will enjoy.

NOTES: : This is the sequel to the recently completed The Change. The song that inspired the Title is by Garth Brooks on his NO fences album. Eternal thanks to Mog for letting me play in her ATF AU sandpit. Thanks heaps to Enid (known affectionately here as my font of all knowledge) for all the brainpicking I have done. Thanks to my net sisters Lyn and Dayna for all the collaboration and characterisation help, couldn’t have done it without you.



CHAPTER 1
Well, it took a little time
But I guess you finally learned
That promises get broken
And Bridges do get burned
You’ve been siftin’ through the ashes
Just tryin’ to find a flame
Holdin’ on to nothin’
You’re a victim of the game.

You were standin’ way to close
To see it all fall apart
And there were things you couldn’t hear
Cause you were listenin with your heart
Bt you can’t say I didn’t warn you
Now there’s no one else to blame
There’s no one quite as blind
As a victim of the game


And it don’t matter who you are
It treats everyone the same
All you need’s a heart
To be a victim of the game

You know its really getting to you
When you take to tellin’ lies
And you can try to fool your friends
But you can’t look ‘em in the eye
There ain’t no standin tall
In the shadow of the shame
When everybody knowd
That you’re a victim of the game
Oh you know, when I look into your eyes
I can really feel the pain
Starin in the mirror
At a Victim of the Game

Troubled brown eyes gazed around the large conference table at the men and women assembled there. Six months ago this case had almost decimated both teams. He had hoped that they would have longer to recover from the ordeal they had miraculously survived. Apparently that was not the case.

The Mutilation Bomber case, as it had been dubbed by the press, had become personal to each of them. He had beaten them last time, while they had all been at peak physical condition. This time they were carrying the injuries he had inflicted. Would they be able to match wits with the sadistic animal that always seemed to be one step ahead of them. He hoped so.

Unexpected alliances had been formed across both teams. Alliances which would bind them in and outside of their working lives. He looked at his best friend and the young man that he had become firm friends with. Ike and JD had formed a close working relationship, working tirelessly through the grisly videotapes, copying editing and refining the pictures until they had images of the ill-fated young victims which could be matched to missing persons pictures. Nathan, Noah and Cody had spent their days analysing the crime scenes, disseminating the explosives used and trying to track down his supplier.

Jimmy and Vin, who sat across the table from him, spent tireless hours questioning prostitutes and street kids, trying to trace the unfortunate women whose missing persons pictures had most closely matched the video images. Whilst Josiah and himself had spent countless hours trying to formulate a profile for the man that they sought. Chris, Kid and Teaspoon continued to run the gauntlet for the rest of the team against both agencies and carried out their own surveillance and investigations. Louise, Buck and Ezra had the lightest caseload. All three attended therapy almost daily, fighting medical advice and their own bodies to regain some semblance of their former fitness before the sadistic maniac that had reduced them to the current condition before he struck again. The three of them had taken their involvement in his plans as a personal slight and they wanted their own personal vengeance.

The bond that the three of them now shared was rivalled only by the relationships that had been forged within each team. The road back to health and fitness had been long and tedious for all three of them. Whilst Ike had only suffered bruising and abrasions and Vin and Cody had recovered relatively quickly from their injuries, their injuries had been enough to keep them desk bound even after a long recuperation.

They were still a long way from fit. Lou wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but she still found it painful to walk without the cane that she had graduated to. It had taken Buck months to regain full feeling in his feet and still had trouble moving quickly. As much as he tried to hide it from everyone, he couldn’t quite get his feet to cooperate when he was tired. Ezra wasn’t much better, it had taken two months and two bone graft operations before they were sure he wouldn’t lose his leg and his recovery was slowed by the slow healing of his oft dislocated shoulder.

To their credit the three of them had pushed and cajoled each other through the worst of their suffering. Sure the others could support and try to help them but the three of them seemed to combine their strength. When one was weaker the other two offered their strength, a feat which had astonished the medico’s, resulting in a return to work far in advance of original intentions, and a kinship that would be difficult to shake. A kinship that was forged in gratitude, shared pain and a desire for revenge, but was moulded in soul deep friendship and admiration that would last an eternity.

Buck Cross, or Chief as he had come to be known in this building at least, watched with worried eyes as his team leader slipped a video cassette into the VCR. Fourteen pairs of eyes watched him closely the faces paling more then they already had. Each of them had known when they had been called to the conference room that something was up. Some had suspected, others had tried to deny it but, as they watched with trepidation they knew that he had struck again.

Fifteen faces were riveted to the screen as they watched blood red writing trickle down the screen. Each one of them understanding the meaning of the words, maniacal laughter the video soundtrack as Ezra’s dispassionate voice read the words “Ready to Play Again?”.

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