ATF Denver

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: ATF, ATF/AU
Related: Alternate Universe, Modern AU, Shared Universe
See Also: Old West, Little Britches
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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ATF Denver or ATF is the term used to refer to a shared alternate universe in Magnificent Seven fanfiction. It is what is referred to in that fandom as an 'open' universe[1], meaning anyone can write in it, as opposed to a conditional or closed universe.

The ATF universe recasts the Seven as modern day ATF ("Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms," a U.S government agency) agents, known as "Team 7." It is notable for being as, or more, popular than the canon universe (referred to as Old West or OW). It has its own 'canon' and 'AU' interpretations, including such details as the cars each of the Seven drive.

Open Universe

[With]... the tendency of fanfic authors to re-imagine characters in various settings, it should come as no surprise that one of the authors within the tv fandom, MOG, re-imagined the 7 in the present day, as ATF agents based in Denver. This is one of the most popular AUs I've ever seen, and it's easy to see why: we need heros today, and the Magnificent 7 are the sort of heros we need. One of the things about Magnificent 7 fandom is that AUs are often left 'open' to other authors, ie, although MOG came up with this idea, she has no qualms about other people writing in this universe, provided she's credited with the original idea. This is something of a brilliant idea - it is by no means original to Mag7 or MOG, but nonetheless, the creativity it invites is stunning. [2]

Universe Canon

The shared universe has its own Bible created by MOG with Tidia, Antoinette Brenion & Tannersgirl (?[3]).

The bible details the origins of the team, with Chris Larabee as the Group Supervisor of a multi-state team, "given the authority to pull from whatever law enforcement agencies he saw fit."[4] Other team members were therefore drawn from the police, U.S. Marshals, and FBI.

The Guidelines and dossiers in the Bible include the location of the Seven's office, descriptions of their residences, cars and guns, brief in-universe character histories, and 'quirks' (e.g. Chris Larabee "is an excellent wood-worker. Owns every Johnny Cash album ever released (all in vinyl and has duplicated most of the collection in cd)."). It also includes resource links for writing about law enforcement & Denver.

However, stories are not required to (and many do not) hew to every detail in the Bible.

Other canon & fanon details

Vin Tanner, who is canonically illiterate in the show, is generally written as dyslexic in the ATF. The trope seems to have originated in Greenwoman's You'll Never Work In This Bidness Again and spread from there.

Heather F. created Team 8, headed by Ryan Kelly, in her story Second Guessing; the team has become a recurring presence in ATF stories.

ATF Vs. Old West

For discussion see here & here

Fanfiction

  • Poor Misunderstood Ezra: In Magnificent Seven fanfic, the character of Ezra Standish is frequently written as both mistrusted and mistrustful (with canon support, but fic plays it up hugely). The ATF universe ran with this, establishing that Ezra was both generally unpopular and wrongly suspected of corruption at his previous agency. Many, many ATF stories reference this backstory; depending on the story, Team 7 may either be initially suspicious of Ezra until they realize how wrong they are, or heartwarmingly demonstrate their reliability as the first people he can really trust.
  • Same Actor Crossovers - Eric Close starred in Magnificent 7 as Vin Tanner and Without a Trace as Martin Fitzgerald. Since WaT was a law-enforcement show that could reasonably be concurrent with the ATF AU, this inspired a number of crossovers between the two. Sometimes Vin and Martin would turn out to be long-lost brothers, aided by the fact that Vin's background is very vague even in the canon universe.

Notable works

  • A Birthday in the Present by MOG (1999) was the first ATF story. She discusses its creation in this interview: "The ATF/AU came after Cassie Smith posed a birthday challenge for Chris. I was in the car, trying to work up some Old West plots and suddenly I had this mental picture of Vin being pushed out of an ER room while Chris was being worked on. I couldn't shake it. So I thought, okay, why are they there? A shooting. The OW guys are law enforcement, so that would work for modern times but I didn't want to use city police department (too overused) or FBI (that belongs to The X-Files) and my best friend's fiancee is following in the family footsteps and pursuing ATF so I thought, yeah, that agency would work."

Vids

ATF vids provide obvious challenges, since there is no actual source material. A few vidders, however, have used footage of the actors in other sources to create constructed reality ATF vids.

Resources

References

  1. "The sandbox is for all to play in. Now go forth and play." MOG on the Guidelines page of the ATF Bible (accessed 2 January 2012).
  2. from The Library of Alexandria, October 3, 2007
  3. Going by the acknowledgements on the FAQ page of the ATF Bible: "MOG would like to heap much praise, thanks and low-bowing...Tidia for putting this page together and prodding me to get the info to her. Antoinette Brenion for endless research above and beyond. To Tannersgirl for being an original bible contributor. IceHunter for her scary amount of knowledge regarding weapons. And the Rowdy Bunch for their feedback and strong viewpoints that were no help at all <g>." (accessed 2 January 2012).
  4. In the Beginning page of the ATF Bible (accessed 2 January 2012).
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