1st Person POV (Kaira)
At the Leverage HQ, Nate, Sophie, and I were sitting with our latest client, a woman named Judy, who has a lawsuit against Morris Beck for actively choosing to put people at risk with his poor buildings.
"Morris Beck should be shot for this. In the last 10 years, three of the buildings he constructed have collapsed. Supporting wall fell in Kansas. Foundation gave way in Atlanta. Crane collapsed in Milwaukee. Two comas, six paraplegics, several in traction... four fatalities." Judy explained, showing us the reports.
"Oh my God." I muttered, already ready to take this asshole down.
"Oh, that's just awful. All those people." Sophie said.
"Yeah, yeah, it's an old scam. Yeah, he underbids the contract, he uses cheap materials, unskilled labor to put up the building. And then when things go to Hell, he's two jobs down the road." Nate explained the scam, not being sympathetic at all.
"There must be some chain of responsibility." Sophie said, looking at Nate.
"No, no, listen. These guys, they never go to jail - never." Nate pointed out.
"Beck designs the buildings himself. He personally supervises every job. Somewhere he has the original blueprints. He needs them for certification." Judy explained.
"Well, yeah, and so he knows how to cut corners." Nate said.
"What's the status of your lawsuit on Beck?" I asked Judy.
"When I worked at McGann, McCoy, and Baker, I had an army. I had assistants, paralegals, other attorneys. Beck got me fired. He burying me in motions, fighting discovery." Judy explained.
"Yeah, he's running out the clock, basically." Nate pointed out.
"I am desperate. I need the original plans and schematics for my case by next week, or the suit gets dismissed. I need a miracle." Judy said.
"Don't worry. We're good at miracles." I smile a bit at Judy.
She thanked us and left. Nate looked at me.
"What, Nate?" I asked Nate.
"Nothing. You know, usually, Sophie and I talk to the clients, right?" Nate told me.
"Be more sympathetic then, and I'll let you talk." I told Nate before going back upstairs.
A couple of days later, after Hardison got us some intel and covers for us to go into Beckworx. And, as always, Nate got us a plan. The plan was, as always, usually simple. Nate, Sophie, and I would go undercover as representatives of a construction company, Hardison would be back at the office so he can give us a skeleton key to get into Beck's servers, Eliot was undercover as a janitor to get Parker inside the records room, and Parker was going to get the files. So, around 10:30, we walked up to the check-in man.
"Yma Sumac... uh, D-Dexter Gordon, and Mary Christie. Massari Global?" The man told us.
"We have a 10:30 with Mr. Morris Beck." Sophie said, putting on an Egyptian accent.
I just smiled and acted the part.
"Oh, yes, here it is. Uh, right this way." The man said.
We walk up the stairs and I see Eliot as the janitor, pushing the cart that has Parker in it. I wink at him as we walk past. He winked back at me and we continue walking. We end up at the front desk, where a young woman was arguing with the front guy's desk.
"Oh, come on, Tommy. Be nice. I just need two minutes." She said.
"Need is a relative term, Miss Beck. This is another issue with your car?" Tom questioned the girl, who I reason is Beck's daughter.
"It's totaled, okay? And the cops are being totally frosty, and I totally wasn't drunk or anything. Daddy needs to fix." She snipped at Tom.
I mind my tongue, even though I want to punch this entitled brat.
"Well, I suggest you try to get a moment with him at the party." Tom suggested.
Miss Beck scoffed. "You mean the one where he's drunk and giving out stupid speeches every 10 seconds? Fail." She said.
Nate cleared his throat, causing her to turn around at us.
"Oh look - important people. Dull." She said disgustedly.
I feel my hand making a fist.
"Tell daddy I'm taking the Aston." She told Tom.
She then walked right in between us, and I am ready to punch this bitch, but Nate grabbed my hand and stopped me, groaning at me. The man who escorted us up walked up to Tom, who had since walked around the desk, looking at the book he had in his hand.
"Sumac, Gordon, and Christie? Massari Global?" Tom asked us.
Sophie took down her headdress and I nodded my head yes.
"Tom Case. I'm Mr. Beck's V.P of Development. Mr. Beck-" Tom was trying to say when another man in a suit came from the office, obviously pissed about something.
"I don't make threats - I make promises!" He yelled, walking out of the office and towards us to leave, purposefully hitting the assistant.
"You want to be on my good side, buddy. I promise you - anybody can get got." He threatened Beck, then left as the poor assistant picked up the book.
"Apologies. Mr. Capriotti still thinks Unions matter." Beck winked, and I swear it was towards me.
I brush it off, pretending I wasn't about to throw up in my mouth.
"Please. Potter!" Beck went to escort us to his office.
"I went over those murder-mystery plans. It's too easy. Try again." Beck told Potter, who was the guy in the grey suit I thought was the assistant.
"Again? Sir, that took me six months!" Potter argued with Beck.
"Lock it up my tomorrow night, Potter. Don't disappoint me." Beck warned Potter.
We walked inside the office and sat down.
3rd Person POV
With the trio inside the office sitting down, Nate got started. "Mr. Beck, if I may, Massari Global-" Nate tried to explain.
"Has fingers in pies across the near East, solid D.O.D ties, and, as far I as can tell, exclusive security and construction contracts with guys who live in palaces." Beck figured out, which was not surprising since Hardison always created damn good covers.
Beck chuckled. "You guys try very hard to remain invisible, but I'm Morris Beck- I want to know something, I know it. And I know this is an area that Beckworx can benefit." Beck said.
"It seems you've done your research, Mr. Beck. You were a good choice after all. I might also add, we need to be... subtle." Kaira played on Beck's ego, using a British accent.
"Let me ask you - can your firm handle construction in a remote desert locale? We're talking roads, palaces, bunkers." Nate said.
"As my associate said, we need someone who can be discreet. As you know, there has been a lot of unrest." Sophie added.
"I'm sure you can understand why we need someone who can be subtle. Our company prefers to avoid mucking up the water, so to speak." Kaira added, upping the flirtiness a tad to distract Beck.
"Trust me - nobody gets over or through a Beckworx wall. Here." Beck clicked something on his computer, pulling up some files.
"Preliminary figures - I took the liberty." Beck said.
"Yma, do you mind?" Kaira asked Sophie, still in cover as she gestured to the computer to look at. Sophie got up and looked at the screen.
"We can begin planning an excavation inside of two weeks and complete our first milestone within a year." Beck explained.
"May I e-mail these quotes to my people for review?" Sophie asked Beck, still in cover.
"You know how people get with the.. fine details." Kaira added, also still in cover.
"Of course. What's the address?" Beck asked Sophie, about to type on the keyboard.
"Oh. It's faster if I type it." Sophie said, removing Beck's hand.
Sophie typed in the email address, which allowed Hardison to get the skeleton key. He was at the office.
"I feel like stealin'. Feel like connin'. Feel like taking some stuff today." Hardison sang.
He laughed a bit as he got the key activated.
"And we're in. Skeleton key on the way." Hardison reported.
At the building, Parker was looking at her phone and got the key. She knocked on the garbage bin, signaling Eliot to stop at the records room. He stopped and hit the bin. He kept watch as Parker picked the lock. Eliot opened the door and Parker got out of the bin, going into the room. Eliot shut the door and acted like he was cleaning the door as Parker walked up to the safe. She entered the code and opened the door, revealing the servers. She put the various flash drives into the server.
"We have the blueprints." Parker reported.
The team finished up and met back outside and got to the office. However, Hardison had everyone come back to the screen, as they ran into a problem. Parker, Eliot, and Kaira were sitting at the table, Nate and Hardison were standing ahead, and Sophie was sitting at the table in the back.
"We do not have the blueprints. We got... something. A whole lot of something, but no prints." Hardison explained.
"Okay, last 10 digits... File numbers?" Nate questioned Hardison.
"Documents. Need a 1o-digit code for government work, but I'm hung up on the last 6." Hardison explained.
"GPS. GPS coordinates. Try that." Nate suggested.
Hardison pushed some buttons on his remote, and the map showed they were coordinates to an island just off the coast of Massachusetts.
"There you go." Nate said.
"It's Morris Beck's mansion." Sophie jogged up next to the team.
"He bought one of those little islands off the coast of Massachusetts." Sophie said, sitting down.
"So you think the prints are in there." Hardison said.
"I mean, they've got to be there. There's nowhere else that Beck could've hidden them." Kaira said.
"Kaira's right, it makes sense. He keeps the numbers on file at the corporate office, and the actual blueprints, he keeps at this house." Nate explained.
"It's limited access, miles out to sea. Zero cover on the entrance and the exits. Gonna take a week of prep." Eliot said.
"What was that- there was the assistant, Potter - he was talking about something he had to prepare for tomorrow night." Nate said.
"Right, the murder mystery." Kaira said.
"Right. Anything come up about that?" Nate asked Hardison.
He pulled up an old style invitation.
"It's a gala. That's great. The place is gonna be swarming with guests." Sophie said, getting a bit excited.
"Okay, that's fine for you three, but what about the three of us? How do we get in?" Eliot asked.
"Uh, excuse you. Do you not know my name? It's nothing to get on that list. I've been to the Oscars every year since I was 15." Hardison said, slightly offended.
Kaira chuckled. "Why am I not surprised." Kaira muttered.
"Okay. Say we get in. Say we get the blueprints. How do we get home, huh? Backstroke?" Eliot questioned Hardison.
"No, no, no. We're using the guests as cover. Okay. Tell me about this party." Nate said, coming behind the team and sitting at the table.
"Beck throws this little shindig every year. He always invites his competitors who he spent the year crushing just to rub their noses in it. There's always some kind of competition involved. Last year, it was... the hell is human chess?" Hardison said, pulling up various magazine articles.
"This year he's staging a murder mystery. All the guests have to come as a detective from literature - fun!" Sophie said, liking the idea.
"Yes, yes. Now, okay, so, we are gonna move the heist to the mansion. We're gonna find the safe, Hardison's gonna spoof a key, and Parker's gonna lift the blueprints. Kaira will clear the way." Nate explained the plan.
"I've never been to a costume party." Parker said.
Sophie scoffed. "Now that is just heartbreaking." Sophie said.
Hardison got the covers set up.
The next day, using the guests as cover, the team was able to make it to Beck's mansion. Sophie, of course, went all out with costumes. And, of course, you can't have a murder mystery without the thunderstorm to go with it. Sophie chose to be Irene Adler, wearing a fancy purple dress with black lace, with a black overcoat, and a small black hat with a light purple ribbon. Eliot was in a simple grey suit and bowler hat, supposed to be Charlie Siringo (A/N fitting, since Charlie Siringo, was a cowboy detective, and Kaira calls him Cowboy. Get it? Okay, I'll leave now. Thanks Google!), Parker was Nacy Drew, having her hair straight, and in plaid, Hardison was Encylopedia Brown, wearing a bright yellow sweater and red bowtie. Nate was Ellery Queen, wearing a fedora. Kaira chose her own costume and chose to be her favorite, as well as the author's favorite, Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon, wearing Langdon's classic turtleneck, Harris Tweed jacket that Kaira managed to pull out of her ass thanks to Sophie, khaki pants, and collegiate cordovan loafers, and wore a Mickey Mouse watch that used to be Kasey's.
1st Person POV (Kaira)
I was walking with Sophie, excited to play dress-up for once. We got interrupted by Potter, who was wearing a simple suit and colorful tie.
"Miss Sumac, Miss Christie, so glad you decided to come." Potter told us.
"I would not have missed it. I love the detective stories!" Sophie said, back in cover.
"I must admit, I do love a good murder mystery." I told Potter, smiling.
"But you." Sophie clicked her tongue. "You have no costume." Sophie pointed out.
"Oh, no, I'm, uh, Mannix." Potter said, showing us his tie.
"I decided if I have to run the party, at least I get to dress up, right?" Potter said.
Just then, Case came up. I left to go find Eliot and mingle with him. Sophie finished talking with Case, who was dressed as Inspector Bucket from some Dickins novel, and I found Eliot.
"Hey, Sophie, why did you - Hey." Eliot smiled at me as we both sat down.
"Hey, Cowboy." I smiled, flirting a tad.
He sat his cane down. "Why'd you have to dress me up like Howdy Doody?!" Eliot asked Sophie, not happy.
"Actually, Charlie Siringo was a real-life cowboy and a Pinkerton Detective." Sophie explained.
"Why couldn't you have picked me something normal, like Hardison?" Eliot asked.
I turned around to face Hardison.
"Excuse you? No way in the world I'd have picked Encyclopedia Brown as my co - these ugly ass penny loafers. You see-" Hardison started complaining.
"Hardy boys. You're the Hardy Boys, Parker's Nacy Drew, and Kaira is Bess Marvin." Sophie explained.
"Yeah, well, why did Nate and Kaira get to pick their own gear?" Eliot asked.
"Because he's just a bit more of a whiny baby than the rest of you, except Kaira. Though, I'm still iffy on her costume." Sophie said.
"Soph, what are you talking about? My costume is amazing! I look like Robert Langdon." I argued, slightly offended.
"Who even is he?" Hardison asked, annoyed.
"He's a Harvard Symbologist with an eidetic memory. He investigates crime." I argued.
"What the hell's a symbologist, Kaira?" Eliot asked me.
"Someone who studies symbols." I told Eliot.
"That's a thing?" Parker asked.
"No. But it sounds cool." I added.
"This house is a bloody maze. Where is Nate?" Sophie said.
"I'm right here." Nate said.
"You'd promise me you'd take this seriously." Sophie argued with Nate, causing me to chuckle.
"I did. I am." Nate argued.
"Look at this. This is a proper costume. Irene Adler, only woman smarter than Sherlock Holmes. That?" Sophie argued.
"Ellery Queen, world's greatest detective. Hmm?" Nate said. "Okay, what are we looking at?" Nate asked us.
3rd Person POV
"Well, Beck's daughter's having fun." Parker pointed out.
"And grinding on some guy while dressed as a flapper, so I guess it fits." Kaira added.
"And there's that Union guy Capriotti." Parker reported, having him walk by.
Hardison tapped Parker a couple of times and made circles with his arm while munching on snacks.
"And the island's totally off the grid." Lighting struck. "It has its own power plant." Parker explained.
Just then, the lights went out and then came back on.
"That's why the blackouts." Parker said.
"I'm already warning you all, that is gonna get on my nerves." Kaira muttered.
Eliot and Kaira looked back.
"Security's top-shelf. All the upper floors are locked up for the night." Eliot reported. Nate and Sophie were still at the staircase.
"Okay, what's our getaway?" Nate asked.
"We're still working on it." Kaira reported.
"All right. Let's go steal a murder." Nate said the rallying cry.
Sophie grabbed Nate's arm as they walked up the steps.
A bit later, jazz music was playing in the background. Nate and Sophie were swaying to the music.
"You've been a bit edgy since we took this job." Sophie told Nate.
"No, I'm fine. I'm good." Nate said.
"You're worried about the job. There's nothing special about Beck." Sophie said.
"Well, no, there is something special about Beck. He's just another in a long time of corrupt son of a bitches, that, uh, you know, we take him out, another one pops up, just over and over again. Maybe, I don't know, maybe-" Nate started ranting.
"What, maybe?" Sophie questioned Nate.
"I don't know, maybe..." Nate tried talking, but was interrupted by a totally sloshed, if not wasted, Beck.
"Greeting, everyone! Greetings and Bienvenue. Wilkommen. Welcome... to this years gala. Or, as I like to refer to it, Humiliation 101." Beck laughed a bit, slurring his words.
Beck taunted an enemy, William, about rigging a game, then went over to Sophie and Nate, complimenting their costumes. Just then, Mr. Potter asked for everyone to turn in their cell phones. Beck basically said it was so people didn't cheat, and then Nate excused himself, saying he had to make a few phone calls. Beck left with Potter, and then Mr. Capriotti warned Sophie not to deal with Beck. He left, and then Ray Hammett, an actual police detective, introduced himself to Sophie. Sophie and Ray danced together. Nate was climbing back down the steps, and Parker and Hardison were in the hallway.
"Parker, Hardison, we're up. Eliot, Kaira, I need that update." Nate reported.
Kaira and Eliot were in a side garage, looking at a boat. "Next ferry doesn't leave until the A.M. They got one motorboat. This thing's an antique. It's never gonna make the trip." Eliot reported.
"Well, that's not acceptable." Nate said.
Kaira groaned. "Nate, Eliot warned you. It was gonna take a week of prep." Kaira said.
"Nate, we got a problem. This place isn't just off the grid, it's in a whole damn time warp." Hardison said, looking at the fuse box in the hallway.
Parker came in, also looking at the fuse box.
"Definitely 1850s. Before the Civil War." Parker said.
"It's old? That's the problem?" Nate questioned Hardison.
"It's prehistoric. It's totally analog, all manual. There's a junction box on every damn floor. There's no computers, nothing to crack, nothing to hack." Hardison said when it thundered again and the lights went out, then back on. "And that is on my last nerve." Hardison argued.
"Hardison, what's the rule?" Nate asked Hardison.
"Don't bring up a problem unless you got a fix. Okay, fine. Whatever. Um, oh. You know what? Uh. maybe... with what I got here, I can make a pulse map." Hardison said, getting some electronics out of his brown bag.
"I'm sorry - A what?" Nate questioned Hardison.
"A pulse map. I take my gear, attach it to the wiring, see what draws the most power by sending out some pulses. Maybe we can find the main control room." Hardison said, attaching the wiring to the wires.
Parker started walking the halls, pacing.
"Yeah, or anything big, like a state-of-the-art safe filled with blueprints." Nate added.
"Either way puts us back in business." Hardison said, still wiring.
Parker seemed to be counting the steps, measuring the length of the hallway.
"Well, see? Problem, solution." Nate said.
"This place is frigging ginormous. It's gonna take me a while." Hardison reported.
"Then I suggest you get on it." Nate said.
Hardison looked offended.
"He's got to be telling somebody what to do- Get to it." Hardison started getting upset.
"Oh, that's funny." Parker blurted out.
"He doesn't even know what a pulse map is." Hardison said.
He finally got a reading.
"Okay, okay, two floors down, east corner. Parker, you're on. Go, go, go!" Hardison told Parker, who ran.
She made it to the kitchen, then to a backspace, where she saw Beck's daughter, straps down, sucking some dude's face.
"Hey, get out! Or join in." Beck's daughter giggled, looking Parker up and down.
Parker walked away. "No safe - just a giant pantry with the master switch box and Beck's sweaty daughter in it. Next." Parker said.
"Okay, hold on. Hold on, hold on." Hardison sent out another pulse.
"Got you. Rear of the house, second floor." Hardison reported.
"I'll take that one." Nate said, already on the second floor.
"No, w - wait. You put me and Parker on the safe search. I'm closer. I'll take it." Nate said.
By the time the Leverage team got ready, Beck was ready to give his speech on top of the balcony. While Beck was giving his speech, Parker and Nate met at the rear hallway, second floor, right behind where Beck was giving his speech. There was a security guard behind him. Nate told Parker he got it, but Parker argued. She distracted Nate, then grabbed the guy's hat and ran off down the middle stairs. Nate walked to the railing. The lights went down, then the thunder happened. Nate watched as someone tangled with Beck, then he fell onto the floor. Everyone screamed, and the team realized Beck was dead. Nate went onto the balcony to see what had happened. Of course, Becks daughter screamed that he killed her dad. This had officially taken a turn. Sophie used her normal accent and immediately took control.
"No, everybody- everybody stay where you are. Everybody just - just - just stay calm." Sophie told the crowd.
"Stay calm?! He just murdered my father! Potter, call security!" Beck's daughter freaked out.
Sophie stopped him.
"That's not necessary, because... because... this is the challenge! The mystery had begun." Sophie said, trying to make up a cover.
"No, it hasn't. The victim is still alive." Potter said, bringing the poor guy.
"Uh, w-well, yeah. I mean, I was hired to-" The guy said.
"Oh, silly." Sophie giggled.
"This is not Morris Beck. No! This is a dummy!" Sophie grabbed Beck's arm, then let it drop. "Morris Beck is somewhere in the house, watching all of you." Sophie said, getting theatrical.
"But I spent hours hiding the clues. Do you know how long it took me to hide that pipe wrench in the library?" Potter said, getting upset.
"All part of the smoke screen. Mr. Beck knew that you'd all think a simple murder mystery party would be old hat. He wanted something fresh, something exciting. Mark my words! Somebody here... is the killer. No one is leaving until we find out who." Sophie said, still putting on the dramatics.
"But we all just saw that man." Beck's daughter said, pointing up at the balcony, where Nate wasn't.
Sophie laughed. A woman then came up to the front.
"I'm a doctor. At least let me examine the body!" She said.
"No, no, no! Nobody touch the body!" Nate came through the door, playing on Sophie's act.
"No, no. Back up. Back up. Instant disqualification." Nate said, getting the crowd away from Beck's body.
"Everybody, my partner, Mr. Gordon, of Mystery, Inc." Sophie said, introducing Nate.
"Hello, hello." Nate chuckled, trying not to blow his cover.
"Oh, no lifelike. Yes. It cost us a fortune." Nate commented, looking at Mr. Beck.
Nate and Sophie grabbed a white tablecloth and put it on Beck's body. Case went up to front and kept repeating wait.
"This is preposterous. Mr. Beck would have informed me of any changes in the evening-
"Ah! And cheat you of your chance at the prize? You're a contestant, too." Sophie told Case.
"I-I am?" Case questioned Sophie.
"Yes! You all are. Remember - somebody here committed this crime, and somebody here can solve this murder for 100,000 dollars!" Sophie exclaimed.
Kaira and Eliot then came through the door.
"Ah! My colleagues! The Crime Doctor and his wife, the Crime Nurse." Nate walked up to the couple and pulled Eliot down and Kaira followed, getting into character, chuckling.
"Yes. Yes, take a bow." Nate said. Eliot and Kaira did, though reluctantly.
"Now, what they're gonna do now is they're going to... examine the body... and then return with more clues." Nate said.
Eliot and Kaira picked up the body and took it to a side room.
"Gentlemen, and lady..." Sophie walked up to the door.
"Good luck." Nate whispered to Sophie.
Nate followed Kaira and Eliot. Sophie was not happy with having to deal with the crowd. She turned back around to face the crowd.
"Good, excellent. Whilst Mr. Gordon, the Crime Doctor, and the Crime Nurse examine the body, I shall move amongst you and see who remembers what. Remember - anyone here could be the killer." Sophie said.
"Even you?" Ray asked Sophie.
Sophie tried to brush it off.
"Anyone, Detective Ray Hammett. He's a real-life detective from the Salem police department. Mind if I consider you a resource, Ray?" Sophie got Ray up to where she was and flirted a bit.
"Why not? Nice accent, by the way." Ray said.
"Isn't it? And this one's real." Sophie flirted a bit.
"Help me look after this lot, and there's another dance in it for you." Sophie offered.
"Well, how could I say no to that? Mystery Inc., huh?" Ray said.
"I'm an actress. It's a living. Let's mingle." Sophie said, going back into the crowd.
1st Person POV (Kaira)
Nate, Eliot, and I went into a side room and Nate locked the door.
"Okay, here, here." Nate said, pointing to the desk and clearing it off.
Eliot and I laid the body down on the desk.
"For once, I am thankful that Sophie is dramatic, cause right now that's the only thing saving our asses." I said, trying not to panic.
"Wait, wait. What the hell's going on down there? Nate killed somebody?" Hardison freaked out on the comms.
"No!" I exclaimed.
"No, Nate didn't kill somebody. You didn't, did you?" Eliot asked Nate, and I scoffed at Eliot.
"Of course not." Nate said, pacing.
"You'd tell us, though. Wouldn't you?" Parker asked.
"Parker!" I exclaimed.
"Yes, Parker, I would tell you if I murdered the mark." Nate said, still trying to think.
And quite frankly, so was I.
"But, he is dead, though, right? I mean, Beck is dead?" Hardison questioned, still freaked.
"Yeah, he's dead. Somebody snapped his neck." Eliot said, feeling Beck's neck.
I felt the neck too and confirmed it was indeed snapped.
"So it wasn't the fall?" Nate asked us.
"No. A fall wouldn't cause a fracture like this. Somebody twisted his neck, it was all torque." I explained.
I walk beside Eliot.
"He was dead before he hit the ground." Eliot finished.
"Why? I mean, what possible gain would he have by doing it in front of all those witnesses? I mean, what's that about?" Nate asked out loud.
"You're claiming someone else was on the balcony?" Eliot asked Nate, skeptical.
"Babe!" I yelled at Eliot.
"Yeah, cause I - what do you mean claiming?" Nate asked Eliot.
He dropped it and silently warn Eliot to back off.
"Guys, here's how we're gonna play this. Hardison, Parker, I want you to keep searching for the safe. Sophie, you're on crowd control. No one leaves the ballroom until we secure the blueprints. Eliot and Kaira will -" Nate said when Eliot cut him off.
"Eliot and Kaira, what, Eliot and Kaira gonna bust your ass out of jail - again?" Eliot questioned Nate.
"Listen, nothing's changed. We still have a job to do." Nate said.
"Nate, in case you forgot, now we have the issue of you being on the hook for murder! We got 100 people out there, who saw you and Beck on the balcony, and a cop! And as soon as people start asking questions, people are gonna connect the wrong dots." I yelled at Nate.
"And your point is?" Nate asked me.
"The point is... if we don't solve this murder, you're cooked. You get that?" Eliot got through to Nate.
"Yeah. I get that." Nate said.
"Okay. Then forget the job. Forget the blueprints. If you didn't kill this guy-" Eliot said.
"If?" Nate questioned Eliot.
"If you didn't kill this guy, then you're the only witness. You better solve this murder, Nate." Elliot said.
"Or?" Nate looked at us.
"Or you're gonna be arrested for murder!" I exclaimed at Nate, wanting him to take this seriously.
Just then, there was a knock at the door.
"Open up! Salem P.D." Ray said.
Eliot and I covered up the body. Eliot exhaled as he walked up to the door.
"Yeah?" Eliot said, closing the door.
"Hammett. Detective Hammett? I need to see Mr. Beck." Ray said.
"Sorry. No can do." Eliot said.
"What part of Detective Hammett aren't you getting, pal?" Ray questioned Eliot.
I step out and join them. "I'm sorry, Detective, but the rules are rules. The lady said we were going to bring out the clues as soon as we have them, so please let us be." I told off Ray.
"I need to see Mr. Beck." Ray repeated.
"He isn't here. I have no idea where he is. And he was very specific with his instructions." I warn Ray to back off as Sophie came by, gasping.
"There you are. I need you to come to the ballroom with me, if you don't mind." Sophie said.
"Listen, Miss Sumac -" Ray said.
"Yma." Sophie said.
"Yma." Ray repeated.
"I need you to come with me, detective. One of the "guests" has some "information" for you." Sophie winked at Ray.
She dragged Ray away and I brushed it off.
"Thank you, Soph." I whispered, exhaling.
"Good work, Sophie. Keep him busy until we get through this." Nate said.
Eliot and I walked in and locked the door.
"All right, one good thing. Killer's got the same problem we do - no way off the island till the morning." Eliot said.
Nate wasn't listening.
"Nate?" I tried to get his attention.
"Nate? Can you hear me?" Eliot asked Nate.
"Eliot, Kaira, I need you to help me find the killer." Nate said.
"Thought that was already established, but okay." I said.
"And how do we do that, exactly?" Eliot asked. Nate told Eliot and me to go back to the ballroom to get clues.
3rd Person POV
"This is a bad idea. The way I get information out of guys is usually loud and messy." Eliot said.
"Tonight you're a grifter. Adapt." Nate said on comms.
"Don't worry, babe, I'm right here to help." Kaira assured Eliot.
"Yeah, when this is over, me and you are gonna have a little talk. Just tell us what he looks like." Eliot said.
"Medium build, dark jacket, short hair." Nate said.
Eliot and Kaira looked around and saw not only a lot of people who matched the description but Capriotti as well.
"Bingo." Eliot said, walking up to Capriotti.
Nate thought back to the attack and remembered something flashing.
"Now, I want you to check his inside jacket pocket for something shiny." Nate told Eliot.
"Excuse me." Eliot walked up to Capriotti.
"Yeah." Capriotti said.
"You're Capriotti, right?" Eliot asked him.
"What's it to you?" Capriotti asked Eliot.
"You met Miss Sumac, correct?" Eliot questioned him.
"The foreign chick? Nice rack." Capriotti said.
Kaira tried not to groan.
"The way you put your hands on her, that doesn't happen if I'm here." Eliot said.
Kaira tried not to chuckle.
"That a fact?" Capriotti questioned Eliot.
"Eliot, what are you doing?" Nate asked.
"That's funny. Cause I was thinking about putting my hands on her again. Real friendly-like. I also see your wife back there, too. Maybe I'll go say hi, put my hands on her. Got something to say about it...cowgirl?" Capriotti said.
Kaira chuckled as she knew Capriotti was about to get his ass.
"Yeah." Eliot said.
He punched Capriotti in the gut, then got him against the table. He checked his pocket.
"It's a flask." Eliot reported.
"It's all - it's all part of the show." Eliot brushed it off when Kaira walked over.
They brushed it off, then left.
"Is that the guy?" Eliot asked Nate.
"I don't know. Capriotti - he hated Beck for cheating the unions. He threatened him... I don't know. I don't know. It's not enough." Nate went to sit back down at the desk.
"Nate, go back to the basics. The main reasons someone commits a crime are either jealousy, passion, money, or revenge. Everyone here has motive to want Beck dead. Whether they lost money or were humiliated by Beck." Kaira pointed out.
"We can't eliminate him, but I would bet on someone who knew Beck better, someone who had a personal beef with him." Nate said.
Eliot and Kaira were at the bar, getting a drink.
"Like a co-worker?" Eliot questioned, looking at Case.
"Kaira, make sure Eliot doesn't assault this one." Nate said.
"What? Hey, Capriotti deserved it. I would've beat his ass too." Kaira said, taking a sip of her drink.
"Messy and loud, Nate. I told you - adapt." Eliot said.
Back upstairs, Hardison and Parker were still trying to find the safe or the master control room.
"Damn blackout. Prehistoric wire monsters. Nate's killin' folks. I did not sign up for this." Hardison said.
"Nate didn't kill anyone. He said." Parker said.
"Still, well... I hate this house." Hardison said.
"This place reminds me of my first grab. Some ladies house in the Philippines - it was like a palace. She had all these shoes." Parker said, dancing out of boredom, then making her way over to Hardison.
"These are the last two boxes, man. They don't hit, we out of options." Hardison reported.
"There's something weird about these hallways." Parker said.
"Weird? What? Wait - weird how?" Hardison questioned Parker.
"It's like the dimensions are off." Parker said.
"What you mean, the dimensions? What?" Hardison questioned Parker.
"Yeah, do you get that thing, um, you know, when people freak out in tight spaces?" Parker asked Hardison.
"Claustrophobia?" Hardison said.
"Mm." Parker hummed.
"No." Hardison chuckled.
"Baby girl, if there's anybody who doesn't need to worry about claustrophobia, it's y-" Hardison looked up to see Parker was gone.
"Uh... hello? Par- woman?" Hardison tried calling for Parker.
"People, I lost Parker." Hardison reported.
He went to check the doors, but didn't find her.
"Damn it, Nate, she's not on comms. Parker?" Hardison said.
"Eliot and Kaira will find her, that's their job. Your job is finding the safe." Nate reminded Hardison.
"Parker! Come on, girl! Somebody better do something." Hardison said, turning down another hallway.
Sophie was walking with Ray.
"If this doesn't go well, we could all lose our jobs, and Mr. Beck, he was very explicit-" Sophie told Ray.
"Listen, Miss Sumac -" Ray said when Sophie corrected him.
"No - oh, please. Yma." Sophie corrected him, stopping.
"Yma. All right, I'm going to level with you. I think Beck is dead." Ray told Sophie.
"No, no, no. This is all just part of the game." Sophie said.
"Then explain to me why I found blood - real blood - on the floor where he fell." Ray said.
The timing was too coincidental as Sophie gasped and the thunder struck, then the lights went out, then back on.
"Oh, my god. You actually think he might be dead." Sophie said.
"I don't know. I know something's wrong. I'm gonna figure out what it is." Ray got out his phone and looked at it.
"Look, I need you to stay close. Because if this thing goes bad... I want you out of harm's way." Ray told Sophie.
"Okay, Ray. Whatever you say." Sophie said.
Eliot and Kaira were still at the bar. "Hear that Nate?" Eliot asked on comms, pouring something in another glass.
"Case fits the description. Go check his pocket." Nate told Eliot.
Kaira and Eliot walked up to Case and sat down next to him, sighing as they sat down.
"Boy, that Beck. He likes to make people sweat, doesn't he?" Eliot said to Case.
"Switching the evening's events without notifying me? The man's a total ass." Case said, causing Eliot and Kaira to laugh.
"I know! When I met Beck, he kept flirting with me! God, it was disgusting." Kaira said, buttering up Case.
"I need a drink." Eliot said.
"So do I." Case said.
"Want to join me?" Eliot asked Case.
"Yes, please." Case said.
Kaira had her empty glass and waved it.
"Mind if I join you boys?" Kaira asked Eliot and Case, flirting a hint.
"Come on." Eliot said, getting up.
"Absolutely." Case said.
They got up, and Kaira pretending to fall into Eliot, tripping on her shoes, which caused him to fall into Case.
"Sorry. I got it. Smaprtphone?" Eliot said, quickly looking in his jacket pocket.
"No. I mean, maybe. Case was on the floor asking questions. He could have beaten me down the stairs, I suppose. Stay with him." Nate said, still sitting at the desk.
"I'm so sorry. Jeez, I'm such a klutz sometimes." Kaira chuckled as Eliot helped them both up.
Hardison was still roaming the halls.
"Come on, now girl. I"m about tired of looking for-" Hardison ran into a security guard, who crossed his arms.
"Ha! What's happening? That's nice. I like the cut on that. You-" Hardison tried to get a fistbump.
"No. Okay. I'm not supposed to be here, huh?" Hardison asked the guard.
"Mnh-mnh." The guard hummed, shaking his head no.
"Right. You're not gonna let me go." Hardison said.
The guard shook his head no.
"That's cool. That's cool. I got an invitation right here. Man, that suit is GQ smooth. I like that. YOu should do that." Hardison grabbed his bag, and then used it to knock the guy out.
"Whoo! Down!" Hardison laughed as he jumped around.
He then rounded a corner, realizing he was there before.
"Come on! I hate this house!" Hardison yelled.
Hardison then got pulled by Parker.
"Parker, where are we?" Hardison asked Parker.
"See? I told you there was something weird about these walls." Parker said as they walked through the secret passageway.
"Wait, Par- Parker the comms can't get through here, and - and secret passage - what, is that music?" Hardison questioned, knocking on the wall a couple of times.
"Oh, you hear that too? Oh." Parker said.
"We must be underneath the party. Hey, look. Obviously, I'm real happy that you're okay, right? But you couldn't at least pop out, let a brother know? I mean, what was up? What were you doing?" Hardison asked as Parker led him to a door and opened it, revealing the blueprints.
Back at the ballroom, Eliot and Kaira were drinking with Beck.
"Morris Beck is a vampire. Sometimes I wish someone would put a stake through his heart. I'm not kidding. A real stake." Case said, obviously not happy with Beck.
Eliot and Kaira chuckled.
"Hear enough?" Eliot asked Nate.
Nate went silent, thinking about the attack again. He remembered hearing fabric ripping.
"Eliot, Kaira, check his jacket for rips." Nate said.
Eliot put his arm on Case's back.
"I'm not gonna lie to you, man. This is gonna hurt for a second." Eliot said.
Before either Kaira or Case had time to process what he said, Eliot slammed his head on the table, and held it. Kaira gave Eliot a stern look.
"Sorry. I'm adapting." Eliot growled.
He sat Case down on the ground, leaned him against the bar, then checked his jacket with Kaira.
"There's no rips, Nate." Eliot reported.
"No rips." Nate said.
Hardison came out from the secret passage.
"I found Parker, y'all. And we got news." Hardison said, trying to get his bearings.
Parker came out next, shutting the door.
"Yeah. This house is full of secret passages. You just have to pull on a wall lamp. Oh. And we found the safe and blueprints." Parker reported.
Eliot and Kaira walked up to where Hardison and Parker were, but a floor down.
"So we are officially done." Hardison said.
"Not quite." Kaira reported, looking at Parker and Haridson.
"Yeah, I'm afraid not. But yay, Parker's back. That's not exactly good news." Eliot reported.
"What? Why? This proves anybody here could have killed Beck." Parker pointed out.
"Yeah, that's right. Including Nate." Eliot said.
"Eliot, no!" Kaira scolded Eliot.
"Okay, quiet, quiet! Quiet, everybody. Quiet. Just... just... be quiet." Nate said.
He took out his comm and sat it on the desk.
"Goodbye, my little friends." Nate said, setting the earbud down.
He kept pacing, trying to think. The thunder crashed, then the lights flickered.
Sophie was still walking with Ray, who was looking on his phone.
"Damn it." Ray muttered.
"What is it? No signal?" Sophie asked Ray.
"No. Um..." Ray led Sophie into a library and shut the door.
"I just wanted to get you alone." Ray said, looking at Sophie. Sophie chuckled.
"Nice thought. Though technically, I'm still working. But maybe I could make an exception." Sophie said, flirting with Ray to keep her cover.
"Do you really think I'm this stupid?" Ray asked Sophie.
"I don't know what you mean." Sophie said.
"Nothing. Just that pretty sure you've been lying to me this whole time. Which means you're not an actress trying to keep her gig. Which means you're in on it." Ray told Sophie.
"In on what? Ray, I really don't know-" Sophie tried salvaging her cover.
"Yma Sumac was a singer in the 50's. Yma - might want to learn how to pronounce it. I looked it up. Along with a couple of other names I think you might now." Ray said.
"Well, yes, I... my mum was a really big fan." Sophie tried explaining.
"Save it. I also took a picture of Mr. Gordon... And I sent it to Interpol. They say he's a guy named Nathan Ford. Grifter, thief, ex-con... bad guy." Ray said.
"You've got this all wrong." Sophie sat down on the couch.
"I've never heard of this Ford person in my entire life." Sophie insisted.
Ray just laughed and sat down next to her.
"Wow, you're really good. Now explain to me why there was real blood on the floor... or why you're trying to stop me from seeing Beck's body." Ray said.
Sophie turned her body to face Ray.
"I never saw any blood, Ray. My mother named me Yma after her favorite singer. I've worked for Mystery Incorporated for all of three weeks, and I can't believe you think I'm a killer." Sophie said, putting her hand on Ray's thigh, hoping she salvaged her cover.
Ray put cuffs on Sophie.
"Ugh." Sophie sighed, realizing her cover was blown.
"It's like you really believe what you're saying." Ray said.
He handcuffed Sophie to the couch.
"Now you're gonna sit here, you're gonna be quiet... and I'm gonna go deal with your partners." Ray said, cocking a gun.
"Nate." Sophie tried to get Nate's attention.
"Hammett's on his way back to you." No response. "Nate. Nate?!" Sophie repeated. No response. "Bugger!" Sophie exclaimed.
Nate kept looking out the window, trying to piece together who killed Beck. And he figured it out. He got up and put his comm in.
"Okay, guys. I got it. I know who killed Morris Beck." Nate got on comms.
"Nate, get out!" Kaira yelled in her comm, just as Nate was sitting down.
It was too late, as Hammett kicked the door in. Nate stood up.
"Out so I can see ya." Hammett ordered Nate, who had his hands up.
"Okay, okay. It's not what it looks like." Nate said.
"It looks like Morris Beck's been murdered. You're left holding the bag for it." Ray told Nate.
Nate came into the light. "Maybe it is what it looks like." Nate said.
"You know your rights, don't cha?" Hammett asked Nate.
"Yeah. Yeah, I-I do. Absolutely I do. But I did not kill him. I-I think I can tell you who did." Nate said.
"Go ahead. I got nothing but time till morning." Ray said, still holding the gun on Nate.
"Okay. Who killed Morris Beck? Well, Beck arrives at the party drunk. He does this every year." Nate said, pacing.
He went on to talk about how a lot of people didn't like him.
"So nobody killed the guy. So what?" Ray questioned Nate.
"Yeah, so, motive. I mean, everybody in the house was an enemy of Beck's." Nate explained.
"And you're enemy one, Nathan Ford. Ex-convict. Arrested 5 years ago for making threats against his employer, IYS Insurance. Sounds like to me somebody's got an ax to grind against a CEO. You killed him." Ray said.
"Believe me, there are moments where I definitely could see him dead. I wouldn't do it. Someone would. Someone did. Someone did it in the dark and got away fast." Nate explained, still pacing.
"All right, just for laughs, where did they go?" Ray asked Nate.
"Secret passages." Nate said quietly.
He turned a wall lamp, opening the passage.
"They run throughout the house. See the thing is... whoever did this knew - knew that Beck would be drunk. And he gives a speech on that balcony every year. Only this year, during a blackout, he loses his balance, he falls. He breaks his neck. Tonight was a mistake. I'm not there, this thing plays like an accident." Nate explained.
"But you were there. Everybody saw you there." Ray said.
"But the storm wasn't. See, the blackouts - they always follow the lightning when the lightning strikes the island's power station. Lightning, blackout, lightning... blackout. This time, it was blackout... and lighting after. Did you know that there's a master junction box in the pantry? The killers did." Nate explained, pacing again.
"The killers." Ray questioned Nate.
"The killers, yes. That's right - the killers. There were two of them. One of them was to pull the master switch, the other was to do the deed. Two killers - a team." Nate explained.
"And who else knew about these passages? I don't think Beck was exactly printing that stuff on business cards." Ray asked.
"Well, I'll tell ya - Beck definitely, his assistant, maybe, some of the security staff, Mr. Case. Oh, and, uh, his daughter. Yeah. His daughter. You know, she's spoiled, she's rich. She's a lot smarter than most people think. And you know, she's used to getting her way, and her dad is in this financial bind, you know, what with the lawsuits and the union problems and all that stuff. So she's trying to get her hands on the fortune before he, daddy, blows through it. So she finds herself a lug, she seduces the lug. She convinces him that it'd be great to come up with this plan and everything against dear old dad. The lug goes for it. She even tells him that maybe even after all this, they could be together. So, she shows the lug the secret passages and everything. She goes to the kitchen, she pulls the switch, creates a blackout. The lug kills Morris Beck. I mean, the whole thing was just perfect." Nate explained, sitting on the desk.
"Except you're there." Ray said.
"I... I was there, but I know I didn't do it. And the killers - they know I didn't do it. Detective, can I ask you a question? May I please see your badge?" Nate said, getting in Ray's face.
Ray moved his jacket, revealing the badge, and a rip.
"You see, I was there. And I saw that the killer had inside his jacket a shiny metal object. It was your badge." Nate said.
"Yeah. Well..." Ray chuckled. "I got to hand it to you. You really got me nailed." Ray said, revealing he was the lug.
"Well, I'm glad you agree." Nate said.
Ray put the gun up to Nate's chest. "What's to stop me from plugging you right now?" Ray asked Nate.
"Everybody saw you there. Once they find out Beck's croaked, who do you think they're gonna believe?" Ray asked Nate.
"You know, you're right. It's - It's a safe play. Just one problem." Nate said.
The thunder crashed, causing a blackout, which Nate used to punch Ray, then run off using the secret passages. He met with Hardison and Parker, who were grabbing the blueprints.
"Let's go!" Nate yelled at them.
"Eliot, Kiddo, we need the getaway now!" Nate yelled.
They ran, even though they were getting shot at by Ray. Sophie was able to get out of the cuffs, thanks to a trick or two Kaira taught her, and knock out Beck's daughter. Case came in, and thought it was part of the Mystery night. Kaira helped get Sophie out and Nate knocked Ray out with the pipe wrench. He then dialed Detective Bonnano.
1st Person POV (Kaira)
We all made it out of the mansion and did the clean-up. When we got back to the bar, Nate and Sophie had given the blueprints to Judy, and Case may have gotten the prize money for solving Beck's murder. I had trouble sleeping, so I went down to the bar. I saw Nate drinking, having gone quite a ways in a bottle of scotch. I sat down, and Nate didn't look at me.
"You come to lecture me too, Kaira?" Nate finally looked up at me.
"No. I've lectured you enough. I do want to let you know something." I told Nate.
"What?" Nate asked me.
"I trust you. And so does this team. No matter what, Nate. I know today was a fluke, but we do trust you." I assured Nate.
"Sophie gave me that same speech." Nate said.
"Did she now? You know she was right." I said.
Nate just looked at me.
"So don't go drowning in the bottle because you think we look down on you." I told Nate.
Nate was silent and I left and went back upstairs to bed.