Mastermind, Grifter, Hitter, Hacker, Thief, & Apprentice.
Chapter 3- The Double Blind Job.
Author's Note: I still don't own Leverage. I own My original characters and My additions to the Plot.
Now the next day, after Maggie left, the last day of July, and Monday, was Second. Sophie signed Katie up for two weeks of teen therapy in the Berkshires. And was driving her, her bag was packed and in the trunk. Katie had no idea where they were going owing to the fact that she was half asleep when they left. She was awake now, and fiddling with the radio.
"Shouldn't we helping set up for Double Blind"
"Eliot's friend Lew, is protecting Dr. Roberts and Ashley Moore, Tara is filed various court documents on their behalf this week. Which will have gotten the FDA attention, they might send someone besides Miss Pearson, but I'll be ready."
"You're sending me somewhere, but not to Maggie, we're not on the way to Logan."
"You're spending two weeks in Therapy."
"It's not as if these things fall directly on the dates."
"Tara is authorized to pick you up, she will be my half-sister."
"What did you tell them?"
"Basically the truth. Connor and Victoria McManus were your Birth parents, and that I was an unwitting egg donor, who had donated when her now late infertile sister wanted children, but was assured her egg would be destroyed. When the McManus's died you were placed in Ramona's custody you were mostly left alone but verbally abused, until she suspected you weren't her sister's and tried to use that to get the inheritance when she was proven right and still couldn't get her hands on her sister's money she became abusive, social services stepped in, when confronted she expected sympathy when she told her side of the story she was arrested but with a court order she found me, and my husband Nathan Burns. We own, Goodwin and Burns Consulting Inc."
"And the others?"
"Parker Collins, Eliot Dodd, and Hardison Bennett."
"Why send me to therapy?"
"A few reasons, we need to know if you can control, completely control yourself in a con, and the only way to know that is if you're being manipulated, we're not going to put in a real job, or manipulate you ourselves any more than we already do?"
"You manipulate me?"
"Is your room clean? Do you have clean clothes? Did you go to bed as a reasonable time last night?"
"Did you want to do those things?"
"I see your point." And she did, Her Mama could never get her to put her clothes away let alone actually wash them herself. And her room looked lived in but she wasn't stupid enough for it to look too bad unlike Sophie, Victoria was much more direct, and she knew how to make you miserable. She had to take Charm school classes once for swearing. All punishments were thematic and equally horrible. Sophie never asked how she knew to act like Kate Devereux.
"So the next best thing is therapy, the counselors and the patients here will do their best to manipulate you at pretty much every turn, it's the best we can do to get your feet wet, and we real back story, because we learned from Parker, if any real therapy or break through happens, we don't want you to forgot an spill the wrong secrets."
"What do they think my problem is?"
"Minor depression, and inability to connect with your new family, except for you Aunt Parker."
"Well, Parker is Awesome."
"Still Nate's ex-wife, you still like her, just don't use her last name."
"Right, and in the age of Google."
"I'm myself, so I'm more old school, and think social media is a cult, use fountain pens in my handwritten journals, but love my Kindle, and iPod."
"Exactly and there are no phones permitted, but internet e-readers are allowed as long as parents sign a waiver. Which I signed, Hardison included some things on yours you'll need."
"Now you're name is Kaitlin Marie McManus. K-a-i-t-i-I-n, but you go by Kate, or Katie, your choice how you want to play this I was very vague."
"How long until we get there?"
"About an hour, it's taken you about an hour or so to wake up."
"Tell me about this place?"
"Serenity Retreat is a teen mental health resort, for the children moderately to very wealthy clientele during the school year you'd have to attend school, but during the summer sessions you don't. There are two Buildings, East and West, East are buildings, East and West, East is where they put the girls and west is where they put the boys, but you'll never see any boys during your stay."
"There are 24 Guest rooms, and two patients per room, it has top two floors has 12 guest rooms, in two sections Blue wing and Yellow wing. The walls are painted to match. Things, like art and music therapy on other floors, or the classrooms during the school year are on the first floor but most of the things you do are on your floor."
Katie contemplated her situation and how to play this. She talked to Sophie and got a few more specifics, she figured someone who was just generally unhappy and dangerous if provoked was her best bet. She knew she wouldn't be allowed coffee, so that would be easy to pull off.
"I'm Sorry if you feel we're shunting you off to the side darling, but if you ever want to be involved in a job we need to know you can handle it."
"I know, and I don't suppose this will be the last test."
"No, Nate is fiercely overprotective of you now that he knows you're his."
"I could only pack one of your stuffed animals I packed Todd."
They arrived at Serenity Retreat at 7:30 Saturday Morning. They're greeted By Liv.
"I'm Liv, you must be Mrs. Goodwin, and this must be Kaitlin." She said.
"Call me Kate, please, or Kay in a pinch."
"Alright, now you need to be searched."
"For what?" Kate asked. As if she didn't know.
"Drugs, sharp objects, food, caffeine products." They took her into a small room. They searched her and took her bags into another room and searched it. Then they did an intake. Where a woman in her 40s, Ava, talked her.
"Hello, I'm Ava." She had the air of being in charge.
"Kate, or Katie. I'm only Kaitlin when I'm in trouble, or it's something formal."
"That happen a lot?"
"I don't get in trouble a lot not since I moved out of Ramona's house, but I do go to Formal events every once in a while."
"How do you feel about that?"
"Formal events? You just have to find one person to spend the evening with who isn't that bad and you're fine."
"No, about your Aunt?"
"She's not a part of my life anymore, she took whatever Sophie gave her, to get out of my life and moved away, I don't know where."
"Sophie gave her money?"
"She wasn't going to stop trying to get my inheritance, I mean I am my father Connor's daughter, but I'm not Victoria's daughter, didn't seem to matter to her, Sophie wanted her gone once and for all….I don't know how much she gave her but she made her sign something that if she came back she's be in breach of contract."
"How do you like Living with Sophie?"
"No one can replace, Mama and Da, but Sophie I um…I like her a lot, and Nate, I just we have nothing to talk about."
"Are you angry at Sophie?"
"Why, she saved me?" Katie really wanted to know.
"For replacing your parents."
"No, I don't think so. I just…..My parents were nerds, Well My Mom was a Yoga dance instructor and my dad was a computer programmer, once my dad left Scotland I don't think he ever left Cambridge, and My Mom she was Boston Born but Italian-American…they weren't fancy people…Pops was a Butcher…I don't really fit in with them." She looked down.
"Ah." She said goodbye to Sophie even in real life she hadn't hugged Sophie for real yet. They got her to her floor. Second floor, Blue wing, room 2BB. When she entered her bag was already next to the bed on the right, and a heavily set but strikingly beautiful girl, pretty enough to be a model was on the left side, writing something in a journal.
"Hi, I'm Kate."
"Morgan. I'm here because my weight is an embarrassment to my wealthy parents and they can't deal with it."
"That's stupid you're hot, I was just thinking you could be a model, I mean plus size models are a thing now, and some of them are really hot….."
"Wow, thanks and you're right a lot of them are hot. But it would kill my parents, what about you? Why are you here?"
"I'm here to make sure I can deal with all my messed up family drama and not go Cuckoo for Coco Puffs." Katie said.
Meanwhile, Ashley, Dr. Roberts, and Eliot's friend the large Polish-American Hitter, Feliks were in the meeting/poker room with the team, preparing for Monday.
Nate sighed. "Okay run it."
"Okay, we have JRP Pharmaceuticals set the trial of HT1 people died, they buried it, now it's going through at Vioplex, Darren Hoffman bought JRP pharmaceuticals and let go of all the researchers and is trying to get to Doug here…."
"I thank you, for saving my life." Dr. Roberts said.
"It's no problem." Lew said. He smiles at him. Eliot knew that smile, Lew Nowicki liked Douglas Roberts there was a reason Lew didn't work well with a lot of other hitters, most clients didn't know or care, but other hitters had a problem with his sexuality, his Polish-Catholic Mother did. He usually stayed in Brooklyn with his sister a record company lawyer and her musician husband, far from Milwaukie where his parents were. It was decided everyone would play the same roles with Lew protecting, and Tara lawyering it up. Luckily the judge they got in the suit they filed on Friday was notorious for not being able to be bought or intimidated.
Second floor, Blue Wing girls were having their first group at 9:30 after their mid-morning snack which was healthy fruits and vegetables. Brittany was the counselor available for the group, in looks she reminded her of parker, but her personality, reminded her somewhere of Rachel Berry from Glee. There were only 6 girls in the group, they had all met at snack. Morgan, Katie, Jess, Grace, Chloe, and JJ. Morgan looked a lot like curvier and plumper but still Sexy Kardashian, and had self-esteem issues a mile wide, she was also angry with her parents and probably had anxiety she bit her nails, Jess was bravado, and attitude, she wasn't sure why, she looked like your basic red head green eyed Irish girl, but she was cute, but less cute with her attitude, Grace was hiding behind her hair, and was brunette couldn't see her eye color, Chloe was mixed raced African American, and pretty but seemed conflicted about her mothers, and JJ's was clearly distressed about something, but wasn't saying what.
"Alright, let's get started. JJ Why don't you start?"
"I don't see why I have to be here?" She raised her voice a little.
"Because your parents placed you in our care."
Come Monday Morning, Katie's gained some more insight, to everyone's issues. Morgan really didn't have any issues really it was her parents who wanted her to be perfect, she wasn't even that heavy just not perfect, and they had been flirting all weekend, Jess was openly hostile because she was mostly being sexually abused, Grace was just painfully shy, she took was probably being abused but not sexually, Chloe being bullied, and JJ was suffering from PTSD, she needed to work on them.
At Pallagen Parker arrived with a briefcase. A man asked.
"Man I help you?" the man asked.
Trina interrupted. "Hi, Oh, Hi, I'm Trina, welcome to Vioplex training day and you are?"
Parker answered. "Laurie, Laurie Sprang." She already knew her Bio backwards and forwards all about the beauty queen and everything and the reasons why she wouldn't kill her boyfriend but it would be completely her turn tonight, when they were together, that would teach him.
"Alright let's see." Checks her list. "Laurie Welcome. It looks like you're the last to arrive. Let's go meet the other ladies, don't be shy come on."
Meanwhile Eliot. "Miss Pearson, I'm Phil Brown, I'm part of Mr. Hoffman's team he asked me to show you around."
"That's okay I'm just here to sign some things for the Vioplex launch…"
Eliot smiles at her charmingly "Mmm-hmmm, we just want to make sure everything goes smoothly with the HT1 suit."
"It's just a formality, and they're different drugs right so one doesn't have anything to do with other."
"Yes, Ma'am, they are different drugs, but the smallest things ruin launch and we need to make sure things run smoothly, so I'm here to help make things go off without a hitch, here at Pallagen everyone we work with is part of the family." He steals her badge. "Okay?"
"So do me the honor….."
"That way I get to keep my job.
"This way." He hands the badge off to Sophie who's walking across the lobby.
In Hoffman's Office. Sophie enters and asks. "Mr. Hoffman?"
"Jennifer Pearson, FDA, more red tape…."
"We prefer to call them safety measures….."
"I'm sorry but I've heard so many amazing things about this company and the man who runs it."
"Well, you can't believe everything you hear….." hands her file folders.
"I'm sure I can in this case. But I was hoping you could show me around. I'd love to discuss the possibility of doing some consulting work for you."
"I'd be honored."
Meanwhile at the court room. Judge Edward C. Haskell presiding. He was listening to the Pallagen lawyer speak on and on.
"Yes, Yes, that's very interesting….." the Judge said. "Look, I know when someone is trying to get to bite Mr. Willis, I was the best of the best long before I became a judge, long before I became a lawyer, so why don't you can the rhetoric and speak in English instead of fancy lawyer double talk for me, before I put in a cell for being a pompous jackass."
"Yes your honor. They haven't proved the HT1 killed the patients."
"I disagree. The fact that Pallagen went to great lengths to cover up they existed proves it in itself. I'm issuing a Subpoena for all patients who took HT1 and all exculpatory evidence."
Later in his room Sophie is consulting, and Willis is talking to Hoffman. "We lost?"
"We did. I don't know how they got the information."
"Roberts! He disappeared! Jennifer this is very bad."
"Roberts can prove the HT1 is Vioplex."
"Then my consulting fee is going to be considerably higher."
He sighed. "Of Course."
They knew what happening allowing Parker to get the vials when she had time. And Elliot to always plan to ask Jennifer to stay, and be with him. And plan activities.
Meanwhile back at Serenity, Kate is really stuck, she can't make herself manipulate anyone, to play with any of these broken people. She done some self-esteem building with Grace, Morgan and Chloe, and she's tried to get JJ and Jess to confront her Trauma all using the tricks Sophie and Nate taught her. She attracted to Morgan, but she can't let herself go there really, she isn't really Kate McManus she can't do more than flirt. They can't meet up again after this. Although if she can return the favor of helping Morgan discover her sexuality that would be great. Because until she met Morgan she thought she was straight.
Sophie listened to Hoffman and agreed to make his troubles go away, and they changed things up a little. With the judgment for HT1, they only needed to steal the vials, and pretend to slip it into his champagne they didn't need to blackmail him. When Sophie stepped away Nate sat down.
"That's seat is taken."
"Yes it is. I'm a friend of Dr. Roberts."
"What do you want?"
"I want you to leave my friend alone and tell the truth."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"I'm sure you don't, but the truth will get out you should have kept a better eye on those vials."
Hoffman goes directly to the vials, and the camera and GPS they planted on him gets the codes. The party is in full swing, security notices a breach, Paranoid, and he goes nobody. He checked the takes out the case the vials are gone he takes them with him. Jennifer is at the launch breaking up with Eliot, Hoffman goes to the Launch and grabs to champagne and drinks it and goes to his office where he begins drinking the real Jennifer enters.
"Mr. Hoffman, I'm Jennifer Pearson, you're assistant said I could find you here….."
"No, I already talked to the FDA representative…."
Sophia toasts in on security screen. He gets one text. Gotcha Dr. Robert's friend. Then another. A concentrated dose of HT1 is in the champagne, you'll be dead in days. He panics. And started babbling he runs around shouting while a comparison of the two drugs are on every TV screen on in front of Jennifer, reporters, and drug doctors.
At the Pub, they read the Headlines, Hoffman Arrested, and Class-action Suit being organized against Pallagen.
"You three have the name?" Sophie said.
"Yeah, it seems Doug and I are good team, and Wherever Doug goes Lew goes." Ashley said. "We have a lot of work to do. Now there are a lot of lawyers calling to work with us. So we won't need Miss Carlyle anymore, I hope she doesn't mind."
"She's already moved on." Nate said.
That night Kate had a disturbing dream where she was Dr. Sam Beckett and had ended up on Quantum Leap, instead of Leverage. She knew the meaning of the dream she just couldn't talk about it. She was afraid of losing herself in a con. She could talk about being Sam Becket though and leaping into different people. They'll just think she's a sci-fi nerd. She can live with that.
Elsewhere Jack Latimer got eyes and ears in pub. He couldn't get them their offices, or the meeting and poker room, but he did get them where they most often met with clients that was good enough for now. He'd bide his time. They'd never be receptive while they were dealing with Moreau, and he needed to know more about the girl, he knew she was his and Deveraux that much was obvious but unofficial adoption, one night stand, he needed to know more. He might go as far as to steal DNA, but for now he'd just observe. He had what he wanted for now.