Act 1: Endless Leverage Edit
"Just saying, you're better off with Twisted Fate, he's more your play style..." Blaine said as he watched over Claudia's shoulder as she was rapidly clicking through her game of League of Legends. It had been a tad slow after their 'Warehouse Idol', and Blaine was teaching Claudia how to effectively play League.
"No backseating driving Bisty, I don't tell you how to how to poke and prod the others about how their powers work." she said as a turret carelessly wiped Ashe off the map.
Claudia was about to quip back, but an alarm on the nearby computer sprang to life, drawing the two geeks' attention.
Rolling over to it, Claudia tapped a few keys and brought up a diagnostic report, "Strange, someone tried to breach our firewalls, but they got shut down early on."
Blaine came up behind, shutting the game down, "I thought the only person who came the closest to hacking us was you. Hell, even Fargo only heard rumors of us."
"Yeah...that's what worries me." Claudia grabbed a print out, "Let's show Artie."
Leverage Consulting & Associates, Portland Edit
"Our client is Jasmine MacMillian," Alec Hardison clicked his remote as the six screens sprung to life, "Last week, she says that a few 'secret service' agents came to her family's house and took away a family heirloom after her son was arrested for bank robbery." Clicking the remote again, pictures of a small 'Lucky Cat' figurine and two agents popped up on their screen.
"I'm getting the feeling that these weren't actual Secret Service agents." Sophie Devereaux inquired as she eyed up the pictures of a man and a woman talking into an unusual device about the size of a metal pencil case.
"No, they're Secret Service..." Elliot Spencer shook his head. The others turned to look at him, "Their slacks, they're very distinct pants."
Hardison looked between the two of them, "Well, yes...and no. These here are Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering. Turns out that they were Secret Service, but were seemingly laid-off a few years ago. They fell off the face of the earth. Hell, I couldn't even find them until I ran facial recognition."
"So, what does this have to do with the heirloom?" Parker asked.
Hardison smile, "Glad you asked." Pressing the button again, a bunch of paper files came on-screen, "You see, I managed to dig around in the government's employee database, and it turns out that they got sent to South Dakota to work for the IRS filing away every people's tax returns."
Sophie cocked her head in confusion, "Why would you send trained agents to be IRS desk jockeys? It seems insulting."
"Ah, that's where it gets interesting." Hardison smiled, "This warehouse that's supposed to be storing audits is getting some hefty funding." A specific file enlarged for the others to see, "I was able to follow the money through several shells, including a top-secret Black Ops fund. Whatever the heck this place is, the government sure as hell doesn't want anyone to know about it."
"So wait..." Sophie stopped him, "We're going after the government...again?"
"No, we're not." Nate Ford cut in, "We're simply going in, retrieving the cat, and getting out. We weren't hired to expose whatever the IRS is hiding."
"That's nice and all," Parker replied, "but I can't break in unless there's an actual place to break in to."
"Got you covered," Hardison nodded as a series of satellite images of barren wasteland sprang up on the screen, "I give you sector K39ZZZ, also known as the middle of nowhere."
Nate was confused, "What are we looking at?"
"This here is the middle of the badlands in South Dakota. Closet town is an unnamed, unincorporated town 7 miles away, after that it's 90 miles to Featherhead. There's nothing out here beyond that."
"Perfect place to hide something." Eliot nodded, "When do we leave?"
"Plane leaves in a few hours."
Nate stood up and looked around at the others, "Well then, let's go steal a warehouse."
After a bit of looking, the two agents were able to find Artie taking inventory in the Music Corner, muttering to himself as he was hauling the Xenon Dance Floor to the opposite end of the aisle from the Studio 54 Disco Ball.
"Sweating to the oldies I see." Claudia laughed as she and Blaine walked up to him.
The senior Warehouse Agent glanced back at her with a furrowed brow, "When you get to be my age, anything like this is a workout. You mind?" He nodded at Blaine who took up the other end of the disco flooring. "Clearly you didn't come here to help me, what's the matter?"
Claudia placed the printout on top of the flooring so Artie could see, "Someone tried to break into our system just now. Got stopped by a firewall that I didn't even know existed. Care to explain?"
As Artie looked the paper over, his face grew a bit pale, "No...no no no!" He quickly dropped his end of the floor, but Claudia grabbed it before it smashed on the floor, but as she looked back at Artie, he was already on his Segway headed for his office.
"This isn't good." Claudia frowned, setting her side of the dance floor down, "How long do you think it'll take you to get us back to the office with those fairy wings of yours?"
Blaine set his end down, "First off, they're Spriggan wings, major difference between fairies and spriggans; next, we should get there about a few minutes before him, let's go."
Rushing up the steps, Artie was already going through ideas on who he should let in on this. Getting the door open, he almost barreled right into Claudia and Blaine, "Going somewhere Artie?"
"As a matter of fact yes," He said pushing between the two of them, "Now if you don't mind, I have to get to work on defending the Warehouse."
Claudia did a double-take as she followed Artie into his bedroom, "Wait, 'defend' the Warehouse? Shouldn't I be let in on something about this Artie?"
Grabbing a suitcase, he began stuffing it with clothes, "Yes, and that's why you and a few others are staying, every one else is going on missions. I don't care how small the ping, GO!"
Blaine scrunched up his face, "Wait, I can help. I can pull a few favors in Eureka and-"
Artie finished packing and tossed it to him, "No. It's final. You and the rest of HARP are going to Juno. Escher too. Bye." Artie grabbed his suitcase and pushed him out of the room and shut the door behind him.
Claudia gave him a stern look, "Artie what is so important about this hacker that has you so riled up?"
Artie turned to her and pointed to the bed, "Sit, time for you to hear a story." As she sat, Artie took a seat across from her, "A few years before you, Pete, or Myka came to the Warehouse, I was on a Ping trying to get the remains of the TWA Flight 800 before they got used by a aerospace company to build new planes. Didn't want planes randomly blowing up in the sky.
"I used Paul Ekman's Nesting Dolls to get more work done over time, but I wasn't counting on the clone that manifested anger to actually become one of the heads of Bering Aerospace. When I found the company that would've used the artifact in their planes, I had the copy hire three thieves and a former insurance agent to steal the designs for their new plane. While they stole the designs, I managed to secure the artifact in an abandoned warehouse.
"Things went south when the copy didn't pay them and used the artifact to attempt to kill the crew he hired. I didn't get a chance to neutralize the artifact since the copy had it on him when he was arrested. Three years I had to go without feeling anger, but when the copy was finally released from jail, I was able to steal it back and neutralize it."
Claudia nodded calmly, trying to take this all in, "Okay, so there's been more than one Evil Artie...but you really think that after all this time they'd finally come for you?"
"I don't know Claudia, and that's why I have to leave until this all blows over. Get Aden, Bri, Matt, and Felix here now. I'm brief you all on what to do once they get here..."
Con of Wonder Edit
"It looks like we drove right into a 1950s sitcom..." Eliot muttered as they walked past Hardware Store, "I think that shop back there had a 'pe' added onto the end of it's name."
Sophie smiled as she looked at the park and it's glistening fountain, "I rather like it, nice little place to duck into if the police were on my trail."
Nate and his Crew had arrived in Univile a half hour ago. While Hardison attempted to get a decent wi-fi signal, the Eliot and Sophie were taking a stroll around town while Nate and Park began setting up the con.
"Reminds me of this small town in the outskirts of Tuscany," Sophie went on, "I hid there after a run-in with Nate. They had the most delightful-"
"One, two, one two." Hardison's voice came in through her ear bud, "Had to reposition a few satellites, but I got these things working, plus I'm streaming the latest Dr. Who with ease. Nate, are we ready to start?"
Back at the van parked outside a diner, Nate nodded, "Ready on our end...let's go shoot a documentary."
"Okay, so beyond my bizzaro counterpart who else is trying to break into the Warehouse?"
Claudia, Aden, Felix, and the two HARP Consultants sat around the table as Artie handed out blue folders, one to each of them. It was the first time that they had all really worked together on a mission in this combination. Typically, HARP didn't interact with what they called 'Warehouse Elite'; Pete, Myka, and Artie.
Artie readjusted his glasses, "He's not just your counterpart, Alec Hardison is a hacker who has hacked FBI, NSA, CIA, and a dozen other list of acronyms. Only reason I was able to keep him from our files was because I had a program specifically designed to block his style of hacking."
Claudia shrugged and leaned back, "I'm sure I could show him a thing or two."
Artie shook his head, "No, no, you don't get to 'show him a thing or two'. This man managed to out-wit a Steranko, twice!" This got Claudia's attention, making her sit up.
Bri tilted her head, "What's a Steranko?"
"A Steranko is the most advanced security system on the planet." Claudia replied, "I've been nagging Blaine to get me one from Global to install in the Warehouse, but nothing. Look, if he managed that, then we're facing with some real experts."
Matt opened his file, "You're telling me. I have a one Eliot Spencer..." He trailed off reading the list of past employers...and the list of injuries left in his wake, "This guy is a one-man army. I'm looking at pictures of a shoot out in DC this guy had...this isn't a pretty picture. Then there's the list of fighting styles this guy knows. MMA, Boxing, Krav Maga, Kickboxing...I can't even pronounce the rest of these." Matt looked up at him, "You expect me to take him on?"
Artie glared at him, "You have downside negation abilities, use them!"
Matt rolled his eyes and kept scanning the the papers.
Bri raised her hand, "What's so dangerous about Sophie Devereaux? I don't think a person can just talk their way into the Warehouse."
Artie shook his head, "No, Sophie Devereaux is one of the best grifters who has walked the earth. She is a master of hiding in plain sight. She speaks 8 languages, is skilled with dialects, and has faked royalty several times over. She has used this to con thousands of dollars, including The Second David and The Stanley Cup."
Bri just looked at him flatly, "And I compare how?"
Artie looked her in the eyes, "She relies on skill, you have Finch's Pocketwatch and Berkley's Whip. She has to work to gain people's trust, you don't have to go through that process."
Felix laughed to himself, "Well, you did manage to wrap Tyler around your finger..." Bri glared at him and delivered a sharp elbow to the chest, "Ow!"
Shooting the two of them a hard look, Artie grumbled, "...Moving right along..." He focused on Felix, "Felix, I have you up against Parker."
At the sound of the name, his eyes went wide, "Parker...you hired the Parker?"
Artie grunted, "Yes Cat-boy, the Parker."
Matt tilted his head, "What is he, heir to the Parker Brothers Fortune?"
Felix shook his head, "Parker is extremely respected in the world of thieves. She's stolen more gems than what's in the Crown Jewels. Whatever defenses this Hardison guy doesn't disable, she'll get around. Rumor has it that she broke into a museum vault using nothing but tinfoil and ice."
"And that's why she's potentially the most dangerous of them once she's in here." Artie said, "The last thing we need is to have her walking out of here with a bag full of artifacts."
Aden, who had been sitting at the head of the table nodded, "We won't let that happen." Everyone turned to him, up until now he had been silently reading his file, "Nate Ford may know cons inside and out, but he's never faced a God Tier before."
Artie nodded to him, and then turned to the others to explain, "Nate Ford is their mastermind. Before taking on running this crew of thieves, he was an insurance investigator with IYS, but left after they refused to pay for his son's treatments that resulted in his death. I specifically chose him all those years ago since I knew that the other company was insured by IYS and he wanted to stick it to them. What I wasn't expecting was for him to rally them against me and keep them running for all these years..."
"Alright, everyone else has cleared out, Trailer and Shodi are in a kennel and the Old Bone gang are in stasis in the Etir pools. It's just us five." Aden, Bri, Felix, Claudia and Matt were gathered in the main office, sitting around a large table. Artie had left once every other agent had been dispatched on pings, and left Aden in charge.
"So as far as we know, they don't know what we really do here, right?" Matt inquired.
"Right. Artie was very clear. We keep them away as much as possible and when they get in, we keep artifact interaction to a minimum."
Claudia perked up with a confused expression. "Wait, don't you mean 'if' they get in?"
"No, Artie seemed pretty adamant that this Parker would get through whatever we can throw at her. That's where you," he pointed at Felix, who looked uncharacteristically alert, "come in. If Claudia can't keep them out from inside, you cut them off when they get in. He didn't leave you any real instructions, just said you'd figure something out."
Leena's Bed & Breakfast Edit
Abigail was watering the plants, thinking to herself how quiet the B&B was when none of the other Warehouse Staff was around. Typically at least one of the Agents or Consultants was in doing small stuff such as reading, watching TV, trying to cook and almost setting the kitchen on fire...
It was the sharp knocking at the front door that snapped Abigail back to reality, almost spilling her watering can.
All the agents are out on pings, and none of the other people in town have a reason to stop in... That's when it dawned on her, You can't be serious, actual tourists?
Stashing the watering can away, Abigail straightened her outfit out and hurried to the door. Opening it, she found a party of five outside the door, one held a camera, another a piece of a lighting set, while a third carried what she assumed was a portable sound mixer.
A short haired man in round glasses extended a hand to Abigail, "Hi, Kenneth Randall of Randall Film Productions." Abigail reached out and shook his hand, a confused look across her face, "I'm filming a documentary about the untouched beauty of small towns across America when we happened across this little gem. Mind if we come in?"
Flashback: Leverage HQ, "Getting Into The B&B" Edit
"Okay Nate, this was all I could get before the Warehouse's software shut me out. Tell me you have a way in." Hardison said as he took a seat, letting Nate take the floor.
"Perhaps..." Nate looked the images over, namely a few pictures of Univille itself, "Our client told us that there's a business in town that has an access route directly to the Warehouse, and that business is the only hotel in in town, Leena's Bed & Breakfast." He looked back at his crew, "If we want into that Bed and Breakfast, we'll have to check-in."
Eliot shook his head, "Hardison already said that there's nothing important within a hundred miles of the place, there's no reason five people would check-in all at the exact same time."
Nate smiled, "In that case, we make a reason to be there. Remember that documentary crew we ran into at Good Cheer?"
Leena's B&B, Dining Room Edit
Abigail lead Kenneth and his crew (Larry Thomas, the editor; Brittney Sherwood, the camerawoman; Marvin Driver, the sound recorder; and Samantha Patterson, lights and makeup specialist) to the dining room, "Can I get you all something to drink?"
"I'll take a glass of brandy, if you have some," Kenneth asked for as the rest of the crew added in their own orders. Abigail took note of them and went into the kitchen.
Once sure she was out of earshot 'Kenneth' switched tones, "Okay, first step, find that access route. Parker, I need you to get a tour of the place, scan for any thing that just doesn't fit."
'Brittney' cracked her neck, "I'll try, but I still don't get why I'm the one stuck with the camera Nate. Eliot's the one built to carry this much."
'Larry' shot her a look, "Do we have to bring up that time you stabbed a guy with a fork? No offense Parker, but grifting isn't your strong suit. Leave the talking to Sophie and Nate."
Abigail moved hastily away from the dining room and got out a set of glasses and mugs. She poured a shot of whiskey into one and then, after slight consideration, downed it herself. In a world of endless wonder, it seemed odd that no-one had briefed her on what to do if actual guests had arrived.
She got to work on the various beverages in silence, contemplating on how long these people would stay and how Artie would react. She nearly dropped a mug of jasmine tea when a Farnsworth went off next to her. Apparently Leena had kept one lying around the kitchen in case Artie wanted to request cookies before he got in.
"Jesus, Aden, you scared the hell out of me!" she hissed as the face of the bespectacled agent popped onto the screen. "Listen, there are people here. Like, real people. Documentary film crew or something. What do I do?"
"Calm down Abi, just keep them busy," he replied in what he hoped was a calming voice. "They're here to try and break into the Warehouse. we're getting ready for them as best we can, but buy as as much time as possible. Recommend some local things, do innkeeper stuff. Just keep them there as long as you can."
As his face flickered away, Abigail sighed. "This is Univille," she murmured to herself. "There are no local activities!" She poured herself another shot of whiskey, then picked up the tray of beverages and shuffled back into the dining room.
Seeing their hostess come back in, the Crew hushed up and thanked her, "Thank you very much miss.."
"Abigail," Abigail responded handing 'Kenneth' his brandy, "Abigail Cho."
'Samantha' tilted her head, "But the sign outside says Leena's B&B. What happened to the previous owner?"
Abigail kept herself composed, at least the Warehouse had briefed her on how to explain how she came to run the B&B.
"The previous owner, Leena, she had an unfortunate accident. She was a victim of a mugging gone wrong." She paused for effect. Technically this wasn't a lie...Artie had been stealing artifacts and she was an unfortunate victim, "She tried to calm him down, but the mugger...." She cut herself off and took a seat herself and took a deep breath, "The B&B was on the market and I always had a dream of running my own, so I bought the place to keep it from being torn down."
'Larry' nodded, "We'll make sure that we feature the B&B and you in the film. A woman following her dream, what do you think Kenneth?"
Setting his glass down after a sip, Kenneth nodded, "Always sells." He then turned his attention back to Abigail, "Tell me, could we get a tour of this wonderful place? Will help us figure out where we should film our segments."
Abigail took another deep breath, the last thing she needed was to have them wandering around the B&B and finding the path into the Warehouse.
Quickly standing up, she attempted to steer them back into Univille, "You sure you don't want to take a look around the rest of town first? Univille has plenty more gems than just the B&B. The ice cream parlor hand-cranks their own ice cream, the diner makes some of the best pie in the Dakotas...."
Kenneth shrugged and stood up as well, "How about this, I leave the girls here to scout out the best places while I take the guys around the rest of town. Any chance we could meet up for dinner?"
Abigail nodded, "Of course, how does fried chicken sound tonight?"
Univille Diner Edit
"How are we doing on that stream?" Nate asked as he took a seat across from Hardison in the corner booth.
The hacker held up his hand, "Almost set. That camera Parker has is set up to remotely broadcast it's signal to my laptop here..." Hardison tapped a few more keys and spun the laptop for him to see, "Boom, on virtual tour of Leena's Bed & Breakfast."
On screen, the camera shakily followed Ms. Cho on her way through the halls as she gave Parker and Sophie a tour.
"What exactly are we looking for?" Hardison asked as he glanced over at Eliot who was talking with one of the waitresses, supposedly about their 'documentary', but the way she was giggling, Hardison knew he was trying to get a free piece of pie.
The mastermind leaned in and watched closely, "Anything that doesn't fit...wall seams, fake fireplaces, full length mirrors or paintings, things like that."
"So Parker could just pull one of those wall scones and a secret door would open?" Hardison asked inquisitively.
"Don't be riduculus, that's only in the movies."
Eliot walked back over and slid in next to Hardison, a slice of pie in hand "You guys have got to try this strawberry pie. Abigail wasn't lying."
Hardison started to reach for the pie, but Eliot pulled it away, "Get your own Hardison."
The hacker looked at him, "You flirted your way to get that."
"Yeah, so?" Eliot said pulling the pie out of his reach, "This is my slice of pie. It's not like it's in the fridge for anyone to eat."
Hardison glared at him, "Seriously? You are still caught up about that sandwich? I made you a new one!"
Nate rolled his eyes as his teammates bickered and went back to the laptop in front of him...
Leena's B&B Edit
"Over here is our sitting room, we have over 400 channels available for your viewing pleasure." Abigail said as she lead 'Samantha' and 'Brittney' into the lounge, "Leena made sure that even all the way out here that her guests be able to keep up with current events."
Samantha was over checking the light by the open windows while Brittney was over by the fireplace, poking the camera around there. Out of all of her five 'guests', Brittney was the oddest one of them all; first when she was eying up the silverware earlier, and now she was poking her camera in all sorts of weird places.
"Can I help you Brittney?" Abigail asked, stepping towards her.
The blond woman looked up, "Does the fireplace work?" Her question seemed more like a demand to Abigail.
"Yes it does, we tend to only use it on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving..." Abigail trailed off as Brittney went back to the fireplace, pointing the camera up the chimney.
I highly doubt that this one is capable of robbing the Warehouse...give her some tinfoil she'd be fine. Abigail thought as she checked on Samantha.
Once Abigail was out of earshot, Parker muttered into her earpiece, "Nate, we've been through half the house, and we've got nothing. No hallow walls, no loose floorboards, no fake fireplaces..."
Hardison's voice came over the com, "You try pulling wall scones yet?"
Parker scoffed and rolled her eyes, "That's only in the movies."
There was a pause, then Nate's voice came on, "Try having her take you to oldest place in the building. Pantry, basement, cellar; where ever this passage is, it'd be there."
Parker sighed and pulled herself out of the sooty fireplace and called over to Abigail and Sophie, "What's the oldest place in the house?"
Abigail was a bit caught off guard, "Well...there's a small wine cellar behind the stair case. We mainly use it as a pantry now. If you're thinking of shooting in there, it's far too dark and cramped."
Before Parker could ask anymore, Samantha cut in, "What I think Brittney was talking about was that it'd wonderful to get footage of the more historical areas of the B&B, giving it a rustic feel."
Abigail raised an eyebrow, but kept calm, "Well, that makes sense. How about we continue this after dinner? If you'll get your bags, I'll show you to your rooms."
The women nodded and started out to their van to collect their bags. As soon as they had left the lounge, Abigail bolted for the kitchen and dug out her Farnsworth and clicked it on, "Aden, you there?"
The Space Player looked up from the contraption he and Felix were working on, "What is it?"
"I have them busy for now, but I'm going to need help with dinner." Abigail said as she started to pull out different ingredients.
"Abi, you've cooked for the lot of us dozens of times, more if you include take-out." Aden replied, "What's different?"
Abigail shot daggers at him, "I'm making dinner for people who are going to try to rob the Warehouse, I'm trying to not let them know that I'm onto them, and oh yeah, the fact that the Warehouse isn't supposed to exist! I'm freaking out over here!"
Aden sighed, "I'll send Bri up with Cutthroat Kitchen's Hatchet. Should help the two of you keep your nerves as you make dinner. Neutralize it every thirty minutes, otherwise you might wind up using Lucky Charms for your breading." With that the Farnsworth blinked off as the sound of the front door opening reached her ears.
Bri's car could be heard driving away from the Warehouse as the remaining agents continued their preparations.
Aden sighed and dressed the group. "Abby said they've been poking around the pantry area. They're sticking their camera into every area that might be suspicious. If they keep this up, they'll find the secret entrance eventually."
Felix cocked his head. "I thought there were only four ways in. The main door, the cave of wonders, the Hong Kong portal and the large artifact entrance. None of those are near the B&B."
"Yeah, but after the incident with Paracelcus, Artie wanted to set up a direct line of travel in case he needed to get into the Warehouse in an emergency. He got permission to use Charles Pearson's Tin-Can Telephone, with one end hidden in the B&B's pantry. It worked pretty well, a tin can in a pantry wouldn't attract attention and being underground seems to make it slightly faster, too."
"Oh, so them exploring is a pretty bad idea. Still what are the chances that they pick up one can out of dozens?"
"If you have to ask, you haven't been here long enough." said Aden, with another sigh. "Anyway, I figure we have until Abby goes to bed for them to start digging harder. Given it's a Saturday and Face Off is on tonight, she should be heading upstairs around 10. Bri's there, so she can let us know if they get close to finding anything. I think if we have everything set up by 9:45, we should be ready for them."
Claudia lifted her head up from the screen in front of her. "Piece of cake. I've set up Hugo's turrets outside the Warehouse to stun instead of kill, and the rest are on a motion-detecting camera system, so we can keep track of the if they get in."
"And I have most of the Woodstock speakers set up, I just need to hook them all together and find out how to avoid us being whammied, too." Felix picked up a crate of wire spools and a set of records and walked out of the office.
Matt came in right after, "I borrowed some of the Prada mannequins from Felix and thought I'd put them in these Shaolin robes. Should make them a force to be reckoned with. Before Bri left she was setting up the mirror maze from The Lady From Shanghi."
Aden looked over all of the security measures his team had come up with. "This is good, if this all works then they don't stand much of a chance."
Leena's B&B: The Lounge Edit
The Leverage Crew sat around the lounge discussing their plan as Abigail and one of the part-time employees, a long-haired brunette named Brianne started work on dinner, a batch of home-cooked fried chicken.
Nate looked to Sophie and Parker, "Okay, where are we at on this secret passage?"
Sophie crossed her legs as she replied, "The one place that Abigail was extremely hesitant about letting near was in the kitchen. She tried to convince us that it was a mess, but Parker pushed in anyways. Poor woman nearly had a heart attack."
Parker rolled her eyes, "After that she started in on telling us about her boring photography hobby." Sophie shot her a glare, "What?"
"So we start in the kitchen." Nate turned his attention to Hardison, "Do we have any idea on when Miss Cho will be going to bed?"
"Well, I've checked the history on their cable to pin down a regular pattern, and turns out that Miss Cho here really likes her White Collar and Face Off. Now, normally, it'd be new episodes tonight, but I was able to change tonight's episodes to be reruns. At the latest, I'm guessing she'll be out by nine if she watches White Collar."
Eliot looked up from the map of the Warehouse on the table, "How deep do you think Abigail is tied to this government warehouse?"
Sophie shrugged, "She's not entirely lying about the bed and breakfast, whoever this Leena was, she really did pass away. The way she cares for those plants in the dining room, it's as if she's carrying on a legacy." The Crew looked at her, expecting the coin to flip, "But she is involved though. She's clearly trying to keep us from something in that kitchen."
Leena's B&B: The Kitchen Edit
"Time to neutralize it again."
Abigail handed the hatchet to Bri with a purple gloved hand, to which Bri took it over to the sink and pressed the hand-pump soap dispenser, causing it to exude a slimy, purple goo that caused sparks as soon as it hit the blade of the hatchet.
As it turns out, cooking with a hatchet as your primary cutting tool isn't easy. The girls had found that out the hard way when they didn't neutralize the Cutthroat Kitchen Hatchet the first time and had all their knives vanish. The hatchet's properties were as Aden described to Bri as she left for the B&B: touching the hatchet will give a person a high level of culinary skill for half of an hour; failure to neutralize at the 30 minute mark after activation would cause sabotage in the user's kitchen ranging from using sub-par ingredients to cooking in an easy-bake oven.
As soon as the sparks died, Bri washed the goo off to make sure it didn't get into the chicken. She had heard when she started that ingesting the goo makes you see...things. While technically she was serving robbers, Bri couldn't bring herself to tamper with their food.
"Oil is ready for the chicken," Bri called, taking a glance at the stove, "How's the salad coming along?"
Abigail was mixing an arugula and spinach salad with touches of mandarin oranges and strawberries, "It looks good, but I have no idea when we bought arugula though...but I'll just assume the artifact had to do with it and go from there."
Setting the hatchet aside, Bri began setting the battered chicken into the hot oil, "So, how do you plan to delay them?"
Abigail shook her head, "At this point, I'm out of ideas...pretty sure that Claudia would have the Warehouse make my life a living hell if I told them about how her boyfriend is in Witness Protection, and I don't think I want to tell them about how H.G Wells has slept here."
Bri sighed as she flipped over the chicken, "Have them tell you about themselves. Sure, it'll all be fake, but the longer you can keep them busy the more time you'll buy for us."
Plating the salads, Abigail looked to her, "But what stops them from poking around once I'm asleep? I could lock them in you know."
"That'd be pointless." Bri replied, taking out the chicken and setting it on paper towels to dry, "The blonde one is a world class thief that Felix either looks up to or has a crush on; no lock will hold her. That one with the long hair and southern charm? He's their hitter. He'll just break his way out." Bri began putting the next set of chicken in the fryer, "Just don't let them know your stalling and let us take care of the rest."
Moving from the fryer, Bri hung the hatchet up on the rack of other cooking utensils, "Now, I need to start Leena's Cinnamon Rolls, then get back to the Warehouse. I think you can handle this."
Leena's B&B: The Dining Room Edit
"Tell me Ms. Cho," Kenneth said as he leaned back in his chair, "Do you always serve such high quality food for your guests?"
Abigail smiled, "Well, we hate to see our guests leave without having at least one meal they'll remember." Taking a sip of her drink, she looked that the others. Bri had already gone out the back to finish setting up for tonight, so it was just her and a pack of thieves.
"Tell me Mr. Randall, how did you get into the film business?" Abigail begged that Bri suggestion worked.
"Please, call me Kenneth," He said with a calming smile, "But I studied film in college and while my peers decided they wanted to work in the blockbuster world of Hollywood, I wanted to deal with the more simple things in life that we as a society tend to pass over without a second glance."
Abigail was able to keep up the conversation, getting to know him as she shared bits and pieces about her life before the Warehouse. She had to keep reminding herself that it was a cover though, and that he never attended a college in New York, that he never donated his revenue to a half-way home, and that he was a practicing taoist. Slowly, the other four had trickled out to their rooms for the night.
Checking her watch, Abigail stood up, "Well, it's been fascinating talking with you Kenneth, but I'm going to watch a bit of TV and call it a night. If you need anything, don't be afraid to let me know."
Kenneth nodded and stretched, "Well, I might get to bed early, we have a long day of shooting tomorrow."
Abigail watched the con artist go up the steps and waited until she heard the door click shut. Breathing a sigh of relief, she walked over to the lounge and clicked on White Collar.
Strange... she thought, It's a rerun tonight. Thought we were in the final season. Shrugging it off, Abigail watched the TNT drama before flipping over to SyFy for Face Off. She had started watching the show ever since she was forced to go with Pete and Tyler to retrieve an artifact that was making the makeup-jobs permanent. The guys needed at least two models on the inside, and she and Tyler had drawn the short straw.
If one rerun was bad enough, the second just made her night worse. Feeling defeated, she begrudgingly watched the episode and turned the TV off in a huff and went to bed.
Act 3: Irresistible Force Paradox Edit
Warehouse 13 Edit
In the end, the setup had gone rather well. Claudia's modified turrets were all set up, and she had hidden herself in the sub-office to monitor everything. She had dubbed herself "Mission Control" before running to her post. The shelves around the tin can had been filled emptied, just in case they got in that way, and beyond that was Bri's mirror maze to disorient them if they decided to press on. The Woodstock speakers were rigged to Eric Marsden's record, which itself was set to play on the Ear-Worm Record Player that Pete had found in the shelves a few weeks back. This could be activated by Claudia to completely disable the team should they manage to escape the maze. The agents had all be tapped by Pierre Monteux's Conductors Baton, making them unaffected by the recording. Beyond that, the Prada Mannequins Matt had outfitted with Shaolin robes were waiting to take them down. He had said, and the other had agreed, that if this team of invaders made it far enough for the mannequins to be necessary, subtlety was pointless.
The agents crammed into the office and watched the monitors closely. Abigail was in bed, and the intruders were due any minute now.
Leena's B&B Edit
As soon as the door to Abigail's room shut, five more opened as the Leverage Crew left their rooms and piled into the kitchen.
Right off the bat, Parker and Sophie were searching for hidden knobs, levers, or mechinisms. Eliot was rapping on the walls to see if any of them were hollow. Hardison took to the pantry as Nate kept a look out.
"Are you sure that this secret passage way is in the kitchen?" Eliot asked as he pulled the fridge out a bit to test the wall behind it.
Parker nodded, "It's the only place that she didn't want us to be in. That just screams 'secret entrance' to me."
Clicking on the single, bare bulb in the pantry, Hadison found himself looking at dozens of spices, canned vegtables, snack foods and 2-liter gallons of soda, including his favorite orange soda.
As he picked one of the bottles up, Parker saw him holding the carbonated beverage, "Hardison? Really?"
Caught a bit off guard, the hacker jumped a bit causing him to hit his head on the shelf of soup cans above him. While most just jostled and stayed in place, one tipped over the edge and hung in midair but a string.
"Seriously? Can't a guy enjoy his favorite soda on the Job? I'm not sure if you noticed, but Middle-Of-Nowhere South Dakota doesn't exactly have a 7-11." He looked up at the hanging can and grabbed it...only to find that it was empty.
Parker looked over his shoulder, "Why would you store an empty tin can in the pantry? And why would you attach a string to it?"
Sophie followed Parker over, "It's a tin-can telephone, I used to play with these when I was kid. You'd pull the string tight and talk into it so the person with the other can could hear you." She took the can from Hardison and placed it up to her ear, "Like this."
As soon as Sophie put her ear to the can, there was the sound of a subway train and a flash of darkness. When the Leverage crew recovered their sight, Sophie had vanished as the can swung in midair.
Hardison quickly tried to leave the pantry, "Aw HELL no. I am not dealing with anymore demon-voodoo stuff. I still have nightmares about that two-faced devil doll."
Nate tried to calm him down, "Hardison, Hardison, calm down. She could've just activated a mechinism that caused the shelf to rotate..." It was clear that despite his best efforts, their Mastermind didn't have a clue what was going on.
Not waiting for an invitation, Parker had already slipped into the pantry and had can in hand, "See you guys on the other side!" As she put the can to her ear, her yell of excitement could be heard over the sound of the subway.
Hardison was still trying talk his way out of it as Eliot forced him back into the pantry and placed the tin can up to Hardison's ear before his own, both vanishing. As Nate stepped into the pantry himself, he heard the door to the kitchen fly open to see Abigail in a robe looking at him with a face of fear. Nate merely waved as he placed the tin can to his ear, vanishing in a dark blur of loamy soil and oil.
Warehouse 13: Sub-Office Edit
"There." Aden pointed as the Tin Can began to rattle. Over the next five minutes, five figures appeared out of the can, dizzy and covered in a thin layer of dirt.
"And so the game begins." Claudia replied, pulling up an image of the mirror maze, "Bri, what exactly does this thing do?"
The HARP Consultant shrugged, "Well, the idea of the mirror maze as a plot device showed up in films in the 1947 'Lady From Shanghai'. The plot in a nut shell is that a defense attorney hires a sailor to fake his own death, but the attorney winds up actually dead; the sailor goes goes on trial, but finds out that the his employers wife and his employer's business partner had conspiring to kill the attorney, but the involvement of a cop caused the wife to kill the business partner. Climatic scene was a shootout in a hall of mirrors where the attorney is killed and the wife is severely wounded. To get out of the maze, they just have to find the panel that has the bullet holes in it. All the others will just cause the ammo to be reflected at each other."
Lady From Shanghai Mirror Maze Edit
"That...was not...a revolving pantry." Hardison griped as he doubled over.
"Seriously?" Eliot replied helping him up.
As the Leverage crew re-gained their sense of balance they found themselves looking at a series of highly reflective mirrors.
"Nate, I thought you said we'd be in a warehouse..." Parker asked as she touched one of the mirrors, "Why are we at a carnival?"
Nate shook his head, "Not a carnival, just the first line of defense. Parker, you're up. Find us a way out."
As Parker took off through the maze, Sophie whispered to Nate, "What exactly is going on here Nate? Sure you made some magic when we pulled off the Top Hat Job, but that..." She gestured to the tin can on the ground, "That's not normal."
Nate placed a hand on her shoulder, "Focus on the task at hand. We can let Hardison figure this out later."
The grifter nodded and took a deep breath as Parker came in over the comms, "Guys, I'm out...you guys have got to SEE this place!"
Bri watched the monitor in dismay as the one called Parker burst through the maze in record time. "No way, she breezed through that like it was nothing. How..?"
"She's one of the best, I tried to tell you." Felix said from the corner. He frowned at the box of dials in front of him. "What bothers me is that none of them seem bothered by the record. I'm sure I wired it correctly, and the blinky light says it's playing. Why aren't they smiling like idiots right now?"
Bri looked slightly guilty. "Err, I think that one may be my fault. That mirror maze is made to distort everything, probably including sound. If they can hear it, it's probably not what we'd hoped."
Felix dropped his head onto the control box. "Right, should have predicted that. Doesn't matter, now it's up to Matt. If those mannequins go down, Aden said we have to "Divide and Conquer". So I guess it's every man for him or herself."
"Speaking of which, where is he?" Claudia was looking up at the room, and as the others glanced around they all realized that the Rogue was indeed missing.
"Maybe he went to help Matt?" Bri offered. "Maybe. I'm sure he's fine. Not like he'd run away at a time like this anyway. He must have something planned."
Matt waited at the end of an aisle with a small group of mannequins surrounding him. All were wearing flowing Shaolin monk robes and were positioned with their hands pressed together.
"Matt, This is Mission Control. Leverage have broken the maze. Song flunked. Heading your way. Over"
He pressed the button on his headset, "This is Hitter, Monks at the ready. Awaiting confrontation. Over." He flexed his chest and watched the end of the aisle. With a slow breath, he saw the five figures moving quickly towards him.
"Did any of you hear that weird song in the maze? Sounded like some kind of Opera. Kind of made me sleepy." Parker mused as they pressed on, now entering shelves. The weird thing was that the lower shelves were empty while the top shelves were packed with various knick-knacks.
"Nate..." Eliot's attention was drawn by the miles of shelves that laid before them, "Exactly what the heck is the government storing here?"
Nate shrugged, "Our client didn't give us tell us too much about the contents, just what we were hired to recover."
Closer to the back of their group, Eliot was muttering under his breath, "I am really having flashbacks to that patent office."
Parker raised an eyebrow, "You were having a blast at that place, so what's the matter with this one?"
"It's like where inventions come to die..."
As the group came to the end of the corridor, their path was impeded by three mannequins dressed in traditional monk garb.
Sophie lightly scoffed, "First a mirror maze, then a boring opera song, and now dummies wearing bathrobes. I'm starting to question the security in this place."
Eliot stepped forward, pushing the others back, "Those aren't bathrobes Sophie...those are shaolin monk robes."
"How do you-"
"It's a very specific kind of style. I studied wushu for a year." Eliot said cutting her off. Almost as soon as he said this, the mannequins slowly started to move and take fighting stances, identifying the man in front as their primary target, "I hate being right..."
HARP Office Edit
Matt was out of breath when he made it to the Spiral and the HARP Office. He radioed in, "I...I don't think they saw me, but I'm getting a sinking feeling that those dummies won't hold them..."
Felix pounded a fist on the table. "Damn it, these guys are getting to be a pain. No-one has been able to get into the Warehouse this easily before, and it's kind of our fault for directing them. Unintentionally, of course."
"He's right. We each tried out our own plans and they failed. Some of them even cancelled each other out." Bri leaned back in her seat. "No offense guys, but I think we do way better on our own."
Matt seemed to perk up. "You're right, we are. But Artie said they're a dangerous team. Maybe on their own, they aren't as competent as us!"
Claudia beamed at him. "I think you've got it, Tiger. Allons Y, nerdlings. It's time to divide and conquer!" She smartly tapped a button on the side of the control panel and the agents heard the grinding sound of Daedalus' Slate pumping a labyrinth of walls into the Warehouse. The agents looked at each other, some grinning and some with a look of resignation, before following the caretaker-to-be into the newly divided stacks.
As the last dummy fell like a sack of potatoes, Eliot looked back at Nate, "What kind of warehouse is this?"
Before the Mastermind could reply, the building started to rumble. Looking around the Leverage Crew watched as walls started to emerge from the floor, separating them from one another, that is except for Parker who managed jump up to the top of the wall before it got out of reach.
Tech-Off (Hardison vs. Claudia) Edit
Hardison groaned, "Aw HELL no." Turning on his comm, his response was rough static. Pulling out his phone he began to adjust for interference, only to overhear a different a new voice:
"It's time to divide and conquer!"
His eyes went big as he opened a new program to attempt to isolate the broadcaster, "Excuse me, excuse me, um hi, I'd hate to bother you ma'am, but I think you're bumping in on my baby monitor's frequency." Finding the source, he attempts to send a multiple variant computer worm to them.
Claudia bit her tongue as the voice came over the Farnsworth's speaker. She had to come up with a lie, and fast, "Hello? Hi, you're our next call on NPR's 'Artifact Nation'. Tell me, what family treasure do you have to share with the people at home?" Seeing the worm coming in, she let Artie's firewall take it as she return the favor of her own virus in order to root out where he was.
'Oh hell she didn't...' Hardison thought as he was forced to rapidly adjust his plan of attack to navigate around the virus. Running to a nearby terminal, he plugged in to it so that he could tap directly into the closed circut and find them a map, "Well, I have to say, NPR's budget must've gone up since my nana listened to it, since they just tried to send me a multi-phase tumbler virus." Once in, he was able to get a map of the Warehouse and overlay the locations of the rest of the crew were.
"Says the caller who's baby just fired a worm designed to hollow out my router." Claudia countered. Hardison tapping directly into the feed allowed her to pinpoint his exact location to her, "And I'm not sure how much a map will do if you don't even know what you're looking for."
Hardison cussed, this girl was good. Eliot could not find out that a girl just kicked his ass...at his own game, "Guys, comms off. Not sure how they got on our frequency, but comms are compromised."
As he shut his off his comm, Claudia was calling out the same to the Warehouse staff, "Farnsworths off, now. I know that they said they couldn't be hacked, but Hardison is pushing into it." Shutting hers off, she made sure her mini tesla and tesla grenades were in her bag as she fled her chair to hunt down the hacker old-school.
Atop the Maze Walls (Parker vs. Felix) Edit
Parker glanced down at her team-mates. Each of them had been sectioned off into a different corridor. Deciding to continue onto the target, she deftly ran across the top of the ever-growing walls. It was an impressive defense system, from the ground she hadn't even been able to detect it. And those animatronics were extremely sophisticated to have been able to fight with that skill.
She discarded the thoughts, nothing but distractions. She turned towards what looked like a giant mound of rock, stopping only once to gape a a pyramid in the distance for a brief second. She was just about to leap from the wall when she detected someone approaching from behind.
Parker swung around in time to avoid a small dart that had been thrown from a man of around 20. His shaggy dark-brown hair almost covered his yellowish eyes.
"I think it's time you and your friends left now. You're invading my home and there are a few of us who'd rather you didn't."
"Not likely," she replied, readying herself for a fight. "I'm more curious as to why the government needs a musty old pyramid in South Dakota for. You guys like the storage facility for the Smithsonian or something? Besides, I'm one of the best at what I do."
The man smirked. "You're Parker, world-class thief and member of the merc group known as Leverage. Hired to collect or retrieve anything for a fair price. Arrested some years ago, before you fell off the map." He pulled out another dart and flipped it in his hand. "If you knew who I was, you wouldn't be so cocky."
"Merc?" she tilted head, "No no no, we're not mercenaries, we help people, like the woman who you stole a family heirloom from. Anyway, I don't even know who you are kid."
"That's because a good thief doesn't. Get. Caught."
Parker raised an eyebrow, "I've helped steal a mountain, a trial, a movie, and a baseball team and got away with it. How about you?"
"I've stolen a soap-opera in Jamaica. I've stolen Red's Riding hood, plucked straight from the story. I've stolen a hotel from the minds of a dozen people. You're in our world now, Parker, and we play by different rules."
She smiled, "I'm impressed kid, but I think I'm going to enjoy these new rules..." with that, Parker took off, sprinting across the walls before jumping onto the top of a shelf, leading him on a chase. She was leading in a comfortable head start when she felt a cold rush surround her. Looking back, she saw a swarth of shadow quickly closing in. As it approached she could make out the figure of the mystery man's face wearing what looked like a cloth hat.
She grunted in surprise as the dark mass tackled into her, sending them both off the wall and into a neatly enclosed area. She registered the sign next to her that read 'Ferret Kennel" before turning her attention to the secret agent who had landed opposite her. The smoke had dissipated, revealing a more beastly form than she was expecting. He still looked human...enough. But humans tended not to have claws or pointy ears.
"We've been told to get you lot out by any means necessary, and I don't play fair."
Parker let out a short laugh. "Trust me, kid. Not playing fair has kind of become the norm for me." She makes an approach and throws a punch at him, "Anyways, isn't it a bit early for Halloween?" She'd throw a few punches to start out with, but she didn't have timer for her 'fan'. She had a plan to end this sooner than later.
Felix took a punch to the chest, followed by a swift kick that he barely dodged. "Early for Halloween, yes. But it's never too soon for Bicycle Day!" He pulled the small green sphere from his pocket and slammed it into the ground. The sound of perky Japanese pop filled the air as a fine mist sprayed from small pink nubs on the ball.
Training Arena (Eliot vs. Matt) Edit
Before Claudia had shut off communication, she had given them all instructions on where to head for their targets. Eliot was seen heading for the arena that some of the agents used for sparring in their off time. Yeah, totally not in his favor...then again, at least it's not the armory.
Eliot sprinted down the aisles, "You have got to be kidding me. First robots, now a damn maze?" As he turned right, he looked at all the junk that was sitting on the shelves, "Who the heck organized this place...my nephew's room is cleaner than this."
After a few more turns, the hitter found himself in a sand-covered arena. "They holding Fight Club down here?"
"Actually we have the soap over in a different section of the Warehouse," a voice called out to him. From the other end, a guy in his early 20s dressed in a casual outfit, but wore a blazer over it, making it look like he walked out of thrift store clothes pile, "Not that it matters though, because I'm going to make sure you don't get any further into our home."
Eliot grunted as he cracked his knuckles, "Kid, you really don't want to do this. Just stand aside and you won't get hurt."
Matt shook his head as his put his hand into his pocket, "I've read your file and seen your handiwork...I'm pretty sure that only one of us is going to leave the arena on his own feet."
"You don't stand a chance, I've been doing this since before you were in school."
Matt shrugged, "I'm sure you have, but I got a bit of extra help." Pulling his hand out of the pocket, he has a gavel in hand. Slamming it against the ground, there's a moment of absolute silence before a deafening BANG resounds in the arena, causing Eliot to stumble back covering his ear.
"Why you little..." Eliot swore as he recovered and charged Matt.
While the consultant had prepared to get a few broken bones, Matt found himself doing more blocking than fighting back. The few shots he did get in were either intercepted by the Hitter or didn't even faze him.
Gritting his teeth, Matt took a few shots before re-gripping the gavel. Taking to a more offensive form, he thanked Myka for teaching him a bit of hand-to-hand. It wasn't much but enough in combination with Leroy Brown's jacket to land a solid blow to his knee and a punch to his shoulder.
Matt dug his feet into the sand and when to swing the gavel once more, but Eliot manage to grab his hands, causing the two to wrestle for control of the artifact.
"Not gonna lie kid." Elliot grunted as he tried to force the gavel away from himself, "Didn't think a shrimp like you could put up a fight."
Matt managed to half-laugh, half scoff, "Well, when you know that the best are going to try to break in, you tend to practice up Mr. Spencer." Apparently name dropping was not the way to go since the last thing that the HARP Consultant remembered was a knee in his chest followed by a blow to the solar plexus.
Eliot tossed the gavel aside. It landed on its side, so there was no concussive blast following the toss. "Never said my name...who told you we were coming?" He frisked Matt and removed the pistol from his pocket, unloaded the clip, and tossed it aside. As he walked deeper into the Warehouse, he didn't notice the pistol dematerialize and return to the pocket of Matt's jacket.
Art of the Grift (Sophie vs Bri) Edit
Sophie's wandering through the halls had led here to what appeared to be the largest art gallery she'd ever seen. Wandering the rows, she caught herself taking gasping upon seeing painting that she was sure that she had stolen first.
What brought Sophie to a stop was a painting that she couldn't quite put her finger on, "Hello...I don't think we met..." Staring at the painting she observed it in detail, careful not to get too close, "Late eighteen hundreds, oil....a Van Gogh? Impossible...all of his paintings are accounted for, or at least all the forgeries are."
"New York, few years ago. Surprised that the infamous Sophie Devereaux didn't go out to at least scope the museum out." Leverage's grifter jumped a bit as she turned to see a young woman with straight brown hair, a blue shirt, and jeans standing behind her, a whip coiled at her hip, "That is what you're going by these days, right?"
"It has to be a fake." Sophie countered, instinctively switching to an American Midwestern accent, "I keep an eye on all the Van Goghs, I'm a big fan you could say."
Bri shook her head as she slipped a hand into her pocket, wrapping her fingers around the Atticus Finch's Pocketwatch and activating it, "Van Gogh's Stormy Night," Bri explained, "Still on display in a matter of speaking." She neglected to mention that the one in New York was a forgery and that in the wake of Sykes having nanobots tearing out of it, they'd used Percivil's sword to mend the canvas back together.
Sophie nodded, her midwestern accent slipping into Southern, "That's nice and all hun, but I'm in a rush and I need to keep moving." She made to move past the woman, but Bri cut her off.
"Not happening Miss Kitty," The HARP Consultant shook her head, clutching the pocketwatch, "But how about this: you tell me what you're looking for and you can head back to the exit and I'll fetch it for you." In the time she spent using the artifact, she found that if the convincing thought was more of a win-win for the person on the other end of the pocketwatch, the more likely they would fall prey to the pocketwatch.
Trying to step around the unknown woman again, Sophie had a sudden mental stumble, it was almost like she wanted to tell the woman the item that she and the others were after. She's a grifter too, Sophie reminded herself, You need to learn more about her if you want to keep up.
"I'm afraid you have me at the disadvantage," the professional grifter's voice now going into a refined British, "You know who I am, but I don't have the honor of knowing who you are."
"Bri Rependata." The HARP Agent was careful to use her maiden name, just in case, "And you're currently trespassing on government property." This wasn't a lie exactly...technically the Warehouse operated with government funding, "Now like I said, if you'll just tell me what you're looking for."
Sophie had to consciously steel herself. She's married, but not long by the looks of the ring, it's still new; she's also seasoned here. Her stance and the fact she's been fingering the handle of the whip means she knows how to use it. Remind myself to ask Eliot how to deal with people wielding whips. But...what is she gripping to for dear life in her other pocket? She wasn't able to tell from sight alone, so she make a quick break, trying to pass Bri on her left, running into her.
Knocking Bri's hand loose a bit, Sophie slipped her own hand into the pocket to find...a pocketwatch? Retreating her hand, Sophie's mind suddenly cleared up enough to remind herself that she needed to find the artifact and run.
Rolling, Bri saw Sophie sprinting away. Cussing, she got up and pulled her whip loose and gave chase. Dammit, she made me break contact with the watch. She's stronger willed than I expected. Lashing the whip, Bri managed to catch Sophie's ankle with Berkley's Whip, a gash appearing as the Leverage grifter tripped as she was about to round the corner.
Sprinting to catch up as Sophie crawled around the corner, she failed to estimate the professional grifter's resourcefulness for as Bri rounded the corner, she found herself running face first into a frying pan, knocking her out.
Dropping the pan, Sophie winced in pain and clutched her ankle and winced. Despite knowing that their comms were compromised, she still radioed in to Nate...
Taking the Lead (Nate vs. Aden) Edit
Leverage's Mastermind put up a brisk pace as he went through the seemingly endless cooridors of the Warehouse. Every time he thought he was getting close to their artifact, he was in an all new section that didn't match what he was looking for.
As he rounded a corner into another fruitless aisle, his comms came to life, "Nate, it's Sophie, I just ran into one of the employees of this place and she managed to get me with a whip...it's bleeding, but I can walk."
"What about the employee?" Nate asked as he hurried down a corridor, scanning the shelves.
"Let's say that things didn't...pan out." Sophie gave a small laugh, "But I'm over in the art area of this warehouse, I don't think it's over by me."
Another voice came through, this time it was Eliot, "Well I ran into what I think was their muscle. Left him in their arena out cold. Disarmed him too. Nate, this guy had an old-fashioned gavel that hurt like hell. I don't like this place. Let's just get the artifact and get out."
Nate nodded, "Keep looking but be ready to get out as fast as you can in case Hardison or Parker can't find the-" Nate cut himself off as he turned the corner to be face-to-face with a man with glasses and a stern look on his face.
"Hello. My name is Aden Taylor." Aden said simply, a black dagger visible in his left hand. "Find the what?" he added, giving the dagger a flip.
"Uh...." Nate stalled giving Aden a look over, as the unusual outfit called for it, consisting of a black tunic bearing a white spiral, dark gray pants and gloves, and a teal mask, belt and boots. The looks was topped off by a hood with a scarf-like appearance. "Look, I think there's been a misunderstanding here. You seemed to have stored an item and the owner would really like it back. If you could just uh let me know where it is, I'll be on my way, and we can pretend like this never happened. He started to back the way he came.
"Yeah... nope." Aden snapped his fingers. In a flash of teal light, the dagger was suspended in the air, pointed at Nate's chest. "Can't let you do that."
Nate took a deep breath and muttered under his breath, "Guys...I really need you to find it, now." He re-focused on Aden, "Say, why uh....why did you collect the item from my client? Don't you have enough antiques in here?" He looked behind him to make sure he didn't trip, "I mean, who is going to miss one thing?"
Aden chuckled as the dagger reappeared in his palm. "They're more than just antiques," he commented. "I'd tell you more, but I don't have that level of clearance. Suffice it to say, every myth has an origin. Every fandom has more power than it appears. I, for example, am a result of one such fandom."
"I, uh, I don't know what a 'fandom' is, I'm very sorry to have intruded, so if you could just point me to the door, we can put this behind us?" Nate was really needing someone to find the artifact before this Aden tried to attack him.
"You're not sorry," Aden commented, making a brief upward flick of his dagger. "But I can't exactly let you find what-ever it is you're looking for."