First Person POV (Kaira)
Nate and Sophie were meeting with a client, who was Nate's childhood friend, and a DA. Apparently, someone made up dirt on him and set him up so he'd be tarnished. That person was Reed Rockwell. A PR Consultant who, as I was about to find out, was a career assassin, hired by people to bury opponents.
Hardison, Parker, Eliot, and I were sitting at the briefing table, listening to Hardison's briefing. I was sitting on Eliot's lap, Hardison was sitting next to us, then Parker. "Rockwell is bulletproof." Parker realized, looking at the info Hardison had pulled up.
"Of course, the man in all about C.G. I mean, maybe - maybe -we can get some quality C.G in a still frame, but when I lay down my ten-fifty old school practical -" Hardison started ranting, which Eliot hated, and I would enjoy if I actually understood most of what he said, though I was trying to learn.
"Stop - stop with the "Star Trek stuff again!" Eliot told Hardison off.
"Wars! Damn it, it's Star Wars. And - and that CGI Yoda that they used in the prequels is an insult to the puppet they - you know what, man? It's not even worth discussing." Hardison argued.
"You're the only one discussing it." Eliot snipped.
"I kind of like CGI Yoda." Parker said, causing Hardison gasp.
"I mean, I like both." I said, causing Hardison to snap his head towards me and gasp.
"Hey, Hardison, what do we got on this guy Rockwell?" Nate came on comms, as he and Sophie were still at the client meeting.
"Look, Parker, Kaira, just tell him what he wants to hear." Eliot said.
Parker cleared her throat.
"Did my ears..." Hardison said, still recovering.
Eliot grabbed the remote and pulled up the briefing. "All right, Nate. We're scraping rock bottom here. This guy does crisis P.R, and the whole thing's done on the whisper. He doesn't just defend his clients, he attacks their enemies - by any means necessary." Eliot explained.
"Creating dirt where he can't find any." Sophie said, also on comms.
"Okay, but guys, I mean, we've done this kind of thing before. Video, Photo frame-ups..." Nate said, not knowing the problem.
"Not like this, Nate." Hardison started walking to the board.
"This man is like a ninja assassin. He turned it into an art form. We're talking politicians, Hollywood starlets, even cheating spouses. You know, word is Rockwell made his bones a few years back by taking down a Congressman. You see, the rep received some serious praise for this speech that he gave that introduced a bill in D.C, right? Rockwell, the genius that he is, goes and writes a fake political essay, backdates it, and then bribes a clerk to file it in the Library of Congress." Hardison came back in front of the table, so Eliot stood me up and moved us next to Parker. "Rockwell leaks the news that the rep plagiarized the essay, the bill dies, and so does the Congressman's career." Hardison explained.
"Well, he knew that no one is D.C was gonna admit to not having read that essay, and how the public were gonna respond." Sophie said.
"Yeah, and how to manipulate the media." Nate added.
"Yeah. This guy's a real piece of work. He's good though, you got to give him that." I said, both hating and admiring Rockwell.
"It's a shame we got to take the man down. I'd almost consider making him a part of the team." Hardison said.
"Yeah, uh, Rockwell has his boot on my friend's throat, Hardison." Nate pointed out.
"I said, almost." Hardison pointed out.
"Listen, what do we know about him personally?" Sophie asked us.
"Nothing. His online footprint is scrubbed clean. Website has an email box, the corporate website - that's it - no phone. Only way I found the office address was by tracing back some old business-license application." Hardison explained.
"Yeah, we can tell you where he gets his morning coffee. That's about it." Parker said.
"He doesn't exist." I pointed out, knowing this was gonna be a challenge.
"This is no good. Well, the usual play on a guy like this is to ruin his reputation, you know, undermine his credibility." Sophie said.
"Yeah, but he has no reputation, so..." Nate said.
"This guy's a ghost, Nate. He operates like we do. His clients are by referral, and he stays in the shadows. How are we supposed to take this guy down?" Eliot pointed out.
Nate went silent for a minute. "The same way we would destroy me." Nate said. My eyes got wide. "I mean, what we're really asking here is, How would I destroy myself?" Nate said.
"Yeah, and you can't say "booze". Hmm." Parker said.
Nate and I both cleared our throats.
"If somebody lives in the shadows, you want to bring them into the light. I mean, what if we made this guy... famous?" Nate suggested.
"No. Bad idea." Parker said.
"We shouldn't do that." Hardison objected.
"Absolutely not." Eliot said.
"Nate, this is a bad idea." I said.
"Nate's right. It's a siren song. Who do we know that can resist the warmth of the spotlight? We give him just one little taste." Sophie suggested.
"First of all, we don't even know how this guy's gonna react, okay? And say, what if it does blow up, huh? What if we get too close to the spotlight?" Eliot questioned.
"I am not breaking any more asses out of prison." I warned Nate.
"Look, Nate, we already got enough unwanted attention, a la somebody listening in on the apartment." Hardison pointed out.
"Okay, here's the plan. We are not gonna take Rockwell down. We are gonna build him up. We're gonna turn him into a hero. We'll then find all the grimy little secrets that he has, and then we are going to discredit him, and no one will ever trust what he has to say about Ed Kelley." Nate said.
We got up to leave.
"Parker! Kaira! I'm not gonna be able to unhear that CGI Yoda thing." Hardison said from behind us. "Cut me deep, woman, that cut me deep." Hardison said.
3rd Person POV (Nate and Sophie)
Nate and Sophie left the restaurant. "I can resist the spotlight, by the way." Nate pointed out.
"Of course you can. Never see you taking any kind of victory lap after you've pushed us all to the edge, or sticking about to gloat over the bad guy being dragged away." Sophie said, with a lot of sarcasm.
"Hmm. Is that sarcasm?" Nate asked Sophie, sarcastically.
"A mild amount." Sophie pointed out, walking ahead of Nate. Nate just looked at Sophie with heart eyes.
3rd Person POV
The team tried to figure out what Rockwell would react to in order to build him up. Parker and Eliot faked a mugging of a purse, with Kaira and Hardison watching, and Hardisn filming. Rockwell walked right on by, not even looking up. An old woman kept smacking Eliot in the arm with an umbrella, even though it was obvious that the whole thing was fake. Hardison was still recording, and Kaira was trying to not die laughing, seeing the look of disappointment on Eliot's face as they left. Kaira also may have told Hardison to send that to her for some friendly blackmail, which Hardison happily obliged.
Then they got a stroller, and Sophie acted like she was chasing the stroller, but Rockwell did nothing, and Sophie let the stroller go, which ran into traffic. Sophie got distracted by some shoes. Women and shoes, man. The author will never understand that.
Anyway, later, Hardison reported what happened, including what he had to do to Nate at the briefing table. "I choked on a hot dog. On... purpose. And Rockwell was checking his e-mail, and Kaira came over and... I-I got heimlich'ed." Hardison said.
Nate turned around. "Yeah, all right. All right, listen guys. This is gonna be harder than we thought." Nate sighed, trying to come up with a new plan.
Well, a new plan he did come up with. Though this plan was a bit more, let's say dangerous.
Parker and Nate were at the office, watching the security feeds. Eliot, Kaira, and Sophie were walking inside the place where Rockwell got his coffee. Hardison was at the van, dressed in black and a ski mask, preparing to pretend to rob the place.
Eliot looked at the basket of bananas, which were $3 each, which who the hell would pay that much was a banana is beyond the author. "Who the hell shops here? It's $3 a banana." Eliot said.
Sophie broke off from them. The barista asked Eliot and Kaira if they wanted coffee, and they declined, heading to the back.
"Hey, Nate. Can I just reiterate that I have almost no frame of reference for what I'm being asked to do here?" Hardison said, standing outside the van.
"Okay, both feeds are up. Hardison, you're gonna be fine. And... here he comes... right on schedule." Nate said.
Eliot and Kaira were in the back, looking at the snacks as they saw Rockwell grab the overpriced banana, not saying anything.
"20 seconds, Hardison." Eliot gave the countdown.
Rockwell ordered, and a couple of women came in.
"Okay, Hardison, you're up." Nate gave the order.
Hardison went into cover, acting like a robber, waving a gun around. Hardison played the part, and Eliot and Kaira snuck back some.
"Nate, I told you you should have let me and Kaira do this." Eliot said.
Rockwell then tried to leave, but Sophie warned Hardison he was leaving, so Hardison got Rockwell to stay.
"Okay, Hardison, you've got to get him away from the door." Nate told Hardison.
Rockwell just wanted Hardison to let him go, and Hardison took his coffee. Hardison got up in Rockwells face with the gun, and Sophie had to warn him not to hurt Rockwell. Of course, Rockwell tried to get Sophie as Hardison's hostage.
Kaira was beside Eliot, hiding. "Oh, I really want to beat this guy's ass." Kaira mumbled under her breath.
"Eliot, Kaira, now!" Nate gave the order, and Eliot rammed into Rockwell, sending him into Hardison, making it look like he took him down.
"Hardison, get out now." Kaira quietly told Hardison, who listened gladly.
"Okay, we got it. Hardison, when you finish your jog, I want you to scrub the footage. I want to see his face clear as a bell. Sophie, you stay with him. Stay in his pocket. We got to get him to stick around and sign some autographs." Nate said when Rockwell took off.
"Uh, Nate." Parker said.
"What?" Nate asked.
"He's taking off. This guy's not a hero." Parker said, watching Rockwell get into his SUV.
"No. He's the only thing better than a hero. He's a mystery." Nate said.
Eliot and Kaira left to get Hardison out of there as Sophie stuck around for some interviews.
When they got back, Hardison replayed the footage. "Unh! Now that is a practical special effect. No computer-generated cheat. That's something the audience can really invest in. Oh, you see that?" Hardison walked back to the table.
"Boss move, ain't it?" Hardison said, standing by Eliot and Kaira, who were smiling.
"Look at that." Kaira muttered.
"What do we got on the web?" Eliot asked Hardison.
Hardison pulled up the news article, which showed 320,000 hits.
"Whoa! 320,000 hits?" Parker walked over.
"Mm-mmm. And that's just in a few hours, ladies and gentlemen. I'm fixing to add another zero to that by tonight!" Hardison said, impressed with himself.
"How?" Parker asked.
"Well, you see, in order to share our video with people all over the virtual world, you first have to be confirmed as somebody's friend or contact... unless you're me. Security was a holy terror, but I managed to upload a worm that will backdoor this dummy profile into user's friend lists and expand this network at a geometric rate." Hardison explained.
"So Underhill24601..." Parker said.
"Just made 11 million friends today." Hardison said.
He pulled up Sophie's interview, where she acted all shaken up.
"Still thinking we should have gone with the Bonnie and Clyde scenario." Kaira teased slightly.
"I guess we are a little like Bonnie and Clyde, huh Princess?" Eliot teased Kaira a bit.
"Really?" Hardison just questioned, then walked away, annoyed, causing Eliot, Kaira, and Parker to chuckle.
"What, more people would like the idea of a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde." Kaira said, causing Eliot and Kaira to chuckle, and Hardison scoffed at them.
The next day, the team split up to get Rockwell to see his fame, first by Kaira buying his coffee, flirting a bit, then Hardison and Eliot leading a group of construction workers in a slow clap, which Hardison yelled at Eliot for, and then Parker walked up to Rockwell at a bar, flirting with him, getting his phone number for a party. Parker did really well. She left after he called her to Parker had his number.
"I think I'm getting better at this." Parker said quietly on comms.
"Yes, you are, mama. We're all proud." Kaira hyped Parker up back at the office.
She was standing next to Hardison, who was ready to clone his phone. "I'm cloning Rockwell's cell right now. Good work, girl." Hardison also complimented Parker.
"I didn't even stab him." Parker said, proud of herself.
"Yeah. We are so proud of you. Uhh... no stabbing Wednesdays - new tradition." Hardison said, causing Kaira to chuckle.
The next day, Hardison, Kaira, and Sophie were sitting at the table as Nate was at the Crisis Center, acting as a media consultant. Now the con had officially started.
"I'm in the household name business, Mr. Rockwell. Just a sec." Nate then acted like he was talking to someone else.
"Gillis. Henry K. Gillis. How do you do?" Nate introduced himself to Rockwell, who didn't shake his hand.
"All right. Nothing to worry about. A little rough around the edges. We can work with that." Nate said.
"You're a media consultant." Rockwell realized.
"Same line of work as you are, except I build people up. Nobody better at it than me." Nate said.
"Then why have I never heard of you?" Rockwell asked Nate.
"Well, the same reason I've never heard of you until I turned on my tv last night - careful design. Laws, sausages, and celebrities, kid. A lot easier to control the spotlight when you're not standing in it." Nate explained.
"Well then, with all due respect, Mr. Gillis..." Rockwell said, walking past Nate to the door.
"Why would I want to be standing in it?" Rockwell asked as he went to open the door to throw Nate out, but was greeted by a crowd of people. Nate shut the door.
"You've got no choice." Nate walked back up to Rockwell to get him away from the door. "What are you up to now, 2 million YouTube hits? I mean, this thing - it's not gonna go away. Now, the media, they're gonna hound you day and night - you know that, we both know that - you give them something, or they'll make something up on their own. Now, listen, I know you, Rockwell. You can't be satisfied just standing just outside the spotlight forever. Nobody ever is. These people that you take down, they don't deserve their wealth, their fame - you do. You're better than they are. Don't abandon this opportunity - this opportunity to step out of the shadows and onto the stage." Nate explained, the irony not passing Kaira.
"Trying to convince a man to step onto the third rail." Hardison said.
"Without getting too close to it himself." Sophie said.
Rockwell agreed and walked past Nate. Nate proposed an offer to help build Rockwell up slowly. Nate may have also mentioned that he had booked a motivational meeting.
"We do?" Hardison questioned Nate.
"Oh, yeah, just as soon as you get a place and clear it out." Nate said.
Rockwell asked for a background check on Nate.
"He's in." Sophie said.
"Background check - got it. Nate, we're on it." Hardison said, already working on it.
"All right. Do this right, guys, we got him. We're right on the verge." Nate said.
"Yep. We most certainly are." Sophie said as a warning.
First Person POV (Kaira)
Nate got back from his meeting with Rockwell. Hardison was at the briefing table, trying to get Nate's cover story finished. I could hear on the comms Nate micromanaging the cover. Especially since apparently Hardison put that Henry Gillis helped a dictator. Sophie was also warning Nate about getting too close. I was with Parker and Eliot in the bar, which we closed, looking at multiple flyers for motivational speeches in order to get one that we could take over to get Rockwell in, as well as some Chinese take out.
"Uh, Eliot, Parker, Kaira, how we doing on the seminar?" Nate asked us, ignoring Sophie.
"Well, it takes time, Nate. There's over 100 motivational speeches in Boston every day. Like "emotion is your friend"." Eliot said, reading off the laptop as Parker walked in and sat in between me and Eliot.
"Ooh! That's good." Parker said.
"Aspire or expire." Eliot said.
Parker grabbed a flyer and was showing it to Eliot. I walked around so I could see it, leaning on Eliot.
"This woman right here - she talks for two hours about all the things she misses doing with her kids on an average day. Look." Parker said, putting the flyer in Eliot's face, though I moved her hand so Eliot didn't break it.
"Why, did they die?" Eliot asked.
"No. No. They just... they went to college." Parker said, sitting back down.
I also sat back down as Parker was rustling papers.
"All right, stop. Stop. Back away from the brochures. Back away from the brochures!" Eliot warned Parker.
"Guys, guys, guys. Can we please speed this up? Time is a factor here." Nate said.
"Well, what do you want me to do, Nate? Huh? How is this guy gonna play to a crowd that shows up for... "you can't love him until you love you"?" Eliot said, and I kind of snickered.
"We should go to that one anyway." Parker said, starting to eat her Chinese food.
"Yeah, baby, we should go." I teased Eliot, and I may have been playing footsies with him... which got me a stern look.
We did end up finding a seminar to take over, though I felt horrible about the man whose seminar we took over. I met back up with Hardison at the office, where of course he went to get an orange soda, and me water. Sophie had gone to clear out Jameson, the man whose seminar we took, and Nate left to get Rockwell in positon to do the speech.
"Well, the guy we're clearing out was a fireman for 43 years and just donated a kidney to his best friend." Sophie said, feeling bad.
Hardison chuckled. "We're not gonna hurt him." Hardison said as he walked back.
"I'm just saying, it's lucky we don't believe in Hell." Sophie said.
"Nate believes in Hell, Kaira believes in a weird version of Hell from a damn poem. Shoot, I believe in Hell." Hardison said as he sat down next to me with the water.
"Oh, yeah." Sophie said, before starting her gift.
"Well, we're all going to Hell anyways, so might as well enjoy the ride, right?" I said, taking a sip of my water.
"Really, woman?" Hardison turned to me.
I slightly chuckled at Hardison as I heard on comms Nate getting Rockwell into position. Sophie got Jameson on stage, and Nate was about to prep Rockwell.
"All right, Hardison. How'd that speech come out?" Nate came on comms.
"Oh, it's some of my finest work." Hardison complimented himself.
"It is a damn good speech, I'll give you that." I said.
"How is he?" Hardison asked Nate.
"Well, building people up isn't exactly his thing." Nate said.
"It's kind of my thing, actually." I said.
"Actually, that's a fair point." Hardison said.
"Look, Nate, you have to keep his focus off the crowd. He starts thinking about it, he's not gonna want to do this." I gave Nate the advice.
"All right, Rockwell. Hey." Nate said, probably going up to Rockwell.
"Listen. Now this is not some corporate snoozer with a bunch of bored-to-tears executives. These people paid good money to be inspired." Nate told Rockwell.
"Then what am I supposed to do with this? "You can be a hero, too." Who the hell wrote this crap?" Rockwell asked.
"Excuse you? Let's see you do better on such short notice. People are just ungrateful." Hardison complained.
"Hey, I'm not ungrateful." I pointed out, giving Hardison a smile to cheer him up.
Nate buttered up Rockwell, using my advice. Rockwell finished the speech and got a standing ovation.
"Wow. They love him." Nate said.
"Even better than that, Nate - the amount of retweets and status updates that have come in since the speech - they're talking about him." Hardison said, pacing in front of the table.
"No more hiding in the shadows, Rockwell." I said, ready to finish this guy.
Nate kept buttering up Rockwell, and Hardison set up a thing with Washington Week. He said he'd meet Rockwell in an hour. Later that night, Nate kept buttering up Rockwell with interviews, and a background check.
3rd Person POV
The next morning, Nate was walking down the stairs, looking quite disheveled, and greeted Hardison and Kaira at the bottom of the steps.
"Morning Hardison, morning kiddo." Nate said, though the duo could smell Nate. And it wasn't pleasant. "We're in the homestretch. We're going to take this guy to the national level, create and leak falsified evidence against him. And we'll take him down hard." Nate said, walking to the counter and getting coffee.
"Nate, we got a problem." Kaira said, standing by Hardison.
"What?" Nate asked Kaira.
"Rockwell just withdrew 25 grand from his account in small bills." Hardison said.
"Why would he need so much hard cash?" Nate asked, sitting at the island table.
"Don't know. It doesn't sound like a positive development. What do you want us to do?" Hardison said.
"Follow the money." Nate said.
Hardison and Kaira filled in Eliot and Sophie on the development.
Kaira, Eliot, and Sophie all got in Eliot's orange Camero (I'm sorry, I don't actually know what car it is!). Eliot drove, Kaira was shotgun, and Sophie was in the back. They tailed Rockwell's thug with the cash.
"Why wouldn't you let me drive?" Sophie asked Eliot.
"This is my car." Eliot said.
"And by extension mine." Kaira couldn't help but tease Eliot, putting her hand on his thigh.
"All right, Nate. We just got off at Lowell, about 20 minutes out. Tailing Rockwell's friend with the suitcase full of money." Eliot reported.
Nate was with Parker and Hardison at the office.
"Hometown?" Nate asked.
Hardison pulled up the search.
"Rockwell's not from Lowell, he's from Methuen. Went to Tenney." Hardison said.
"Illegitimate kid." Nate suggested.
"Or Reed used to be Rita." Parker said. Kaira groaned, knowing that was most likely not the case. "What? We were all thinking it." Parker said.
"Really? That's like the line right there, and you just cartwheel -" Hardison argued with Parker.
"Could have been a woman." Parker suggested.
"All right, guys, guys, guys, guys. So we have no idea what Rockwell's up to here." Nate said.
"He's definitely paying someone off." Kaira said.
"Hey, I wonder if Nate still thinks he's got all the angles of this fame thing covered." Sophie said, as Eliot mimed that they had comms on.
"You know, Sophie, I can hear you." Nate said.
"Really?" Sophie said sarcastically.
The woman who answered the door from the thug started yelling, telling the thug to go away.
"Okay. There's a woman in a trailer who's arguing with Rockwell's thug." Sophie reported.
"Nate, this is gonna get physical in about 30 seconds." Eliot warned.
"Eliot, Hunny, wait a minute- okay here we go." Kaira said as Eliot out of the car.
She followed him as Eliot pulled the guy away, knocking him into the pole.
"Who the hell are you?" The thug asked Eliot.
Kaira kicked the thug's knee, swinging up the steps.
"Neighborhood watch." Eliot said as he blocked a punch, then hit the guy in the face, and swung him to the door.
He swung the guy into the screen door. Kaira went up beside Eliot, and took the next shot, blocking a punch, locking his arm, then kneeing his gut, then shoving him. Eliot went next, just punching the guy, sending him down. The thug got up, and Eliot blocked a punch, then got sung into the screen door, then knocked him down. Kaira lifted him up, locking his arms, and kneeing him. He picked up the suitcase and swung at Eliot, which it hit him, but Eliot recovered and grabbed the suitcase and shoved it in the guy's chest, knocking him towards Kaira, who blocked the suitcase and used the momentum to push him back. He tried to hit Eliot, who dodged the first swing, then the other, using the screen door to hit the guy's hand, then Kaira got him in the gut, and tossed him down the steps. He ran back to the car.
"Eliot, Kaira, let him go." Nate ordered the couple.
As the thug drove off, Eliot and Kaira quickly saw that they weren't seriously injured.
First Person POV (Kaira)
Sophie came in, helping me to calm the scared woman down while sitting on the porch, as Eliot fixed the screen door. Sophie sat on the chair, and I leaned against the support pole.
"Until that guy showed up on my front steps, I hadn't heard from Reed Rockwell in forever." The woman, who we found to be named Emma, said.
"How did you know him?" Sophie asked her.
"He grew up a couple towns over. He dated a girl from my class. Night of the prom, me and my boyfriend P.J, were in a car with Reed and this girl Missy, all blitzed out of our mind. And we got into an accident... and Missy was killed." Emma explained.
"I'm so sorry to hear that." I said, feeling sorry for her.
"I wonder why he's trying to buy her silence." Nate said, as he was still at the office.
"This is all that comes up about the accident. Wasn't even mentioned in the Globe, only local papers." I can hear Hardison explain.
"Rockwell's worried about a background check. Rockwell - he knows how to prey on people's dark secrets, cause he has one himself. I think that Rockwell was driving the car and afterwards, made it look like he wasn't." Nate said, and I get the idea.
I turned to Eliot, and he nodded to ask.
"Rockwell the one driving?" Eliot asked her.
"I swear. I even took a picture... of everybody from the backseat after we left the party." Emma said.
"But he was never arrested." Sophie pointed out.
"No. I don't understand what happened. When I took the camera to the police a couple of days later, the negative showed P.J in the driver's seat." Emma explained.
I looked at Eliot, proud of himself for kind of fixing the screen door.
"What? It works." Eliot said, shutting the door.
I refrain from making a comment, and go back to Emma, who is starting to get emotional having all these memories come back up.
"P.J went to jail for vehicular manslaughter. And Reed Rockwell went free." Emma said, starting to cry. I go to stand next to her and put my hand on her shoulder. "P.J would have never been driving that car if he had been drinking. You have to be-" Emma said.
"We believe you." I comforted Emma.
"He had a wrestling scholarship waiting for him at B.C. He was talking about proposing. I've been trying to tell the cops this for like the last 14 years." Emma said.
I can tell the whole thing had been eating at her for a long time.
"Okay, we got it. Now here, Rockwell is in the passenger's seat, and he's smiling. Hardison, is there any way that Rockwell could have doctored the film negative?" Nate asked, making sure Emma's story held up.
"We're talking prehistoric technology. He'd have to switch out the entire roll, put in a new one with the same pictures, except the one he changed. It's epic but not impossible." Hardison explained, confirming what Emma said.
"Nate, this girl's got almost nothing." Eliot whispered into his comm, acting like he was scratching his nose.
"I noticed you didn't take the money." I pointed out, leaning against the rail, gripping it behind me to face Emma, Sophie, and Eliot.
Emma scoffed. "I don't want anything from Reed Rockwell. He sends a guy here with 25k..." Sophie scoffed as she stood up. "... trying to get me to stay quiet about the accident. I told him to get lost." Emma said.
I stood up.
"Look, thanks for... talking to us." Sophie said.
"Yeah. You guys know Rockwell? Is he famous or something?" Emma asked as I walked up to Sophie and Eliot.
"We're gonna make sure of it." Eliot said, promising.
"Thank you again for telling us this. I'm sorry about your friend Missy and P.J." I said, giving a sympathetic smile as I follow Sophie and Eliot out to the car.
I heard Nate tell Parker and Hardison to get the doctored film negative from police evidence lockup.
Third Person POV
Parker and Hardison went into the evidence lockup, where there was only a single older woman watching the evidence. Hardison distracted her, saying he was writing a piece about the unsung heroes of the police department. Parker snuck by, and after some bickering between the two, Parker found the evidence.
They left and Hardison showed the film negative to the team, all gathered at the table. Hardison was at the screen analyzing the film negative, Kaira stood behind Eliot, Parker was beside him, Nate was at the end of the table, and Sophie was across from Eliot.
"We can still make this work." Nate said.
"I don't know why I'm sitting here listening to a new plan." Eliot said.
"Well, the first one's not going all that well." Parker pointed out.
"This playing-with-fame thing - it's reckless." Sophie said.
"You're not controlling the mark. Alright, we're operating without a net. Somebodies gonna get hurt." Eliot warned Nate.
"Eliot, why don't you just take the rest of the job off?" Nate said.
"Excuse me?" Kaira gave Nate a death glare as Eliot stood up and left.
Kaira left with him to cool off, then Parker did, as Hardison watched from the screen.
"Consciously or not, I think you look at Reed Rockwell and you see everything you hate about Nathan -" Sophie tried to reason with Nate.
"Any way I can get you to not finish that thought?" Nate cut Sophie off.
"Every time something goes wrong, you push harder, and now you're pushing to ruin Rockwell so hard, you're going to end up ruining yourself. Maybe that's what you're trying to do." Sophie explained, hoping to get through to Nate.
"Nate... I think we developed and then took a new shot of every picture on the roll. The one he alters right here in the middle, man - I mean, the tech at the time was primitive at best, but it's really a seamless job." Hardison said, kind of admiring the work.
"Just skip to the last page, please." Nate said, getting impatient.
"We're not gonna be able to nail Rockwell for the car accident." Hardison said, setting the roll down.
Sophie and Nate looked at each other, wondering what the play was. Not long after that, Nate made a plan.
First Person POV (Kaira)
Eliot and I drove back to Emma's house, though I was still pissed at Nate for telling Eliot to leave because he called him out. I put it aside so I could get the job done, cause I wanted Rockwell done. So, we walked up to the door and explained to Emma what we wanted her to do.
We brought her back to the bar and lead her to the poker room. Hardison was getting a silver case ready, and me, Sophie, and Parker were sitting around Emma. She dialed Rockwell. "What?!" He answered the phone angrily.
"Is that girl's life really only worth 25,000, Reed? How about 14 years of prison for my man? That part of the payoff? See, after your friend left, I started looking through some things from back then, and I found a picture you may have missed. Pretty sure it's worth more than 25k." Emma told Rockwell.
"Tell me what figure you had in mind." I could hear Reed ask on the line.
"How's about 250?" Emma said.
"Or what?" Rockwell asked.
Emma turned to me and Sophie. "Or you go to the local news." Sophie whispered to Emma.
"Or I talk to the first reporter who will take my call." Emma threatened.
"Do you have any idea who you're screwing with?" Rockwell threatened Emma.
"I'll be in an old Buick. You wait for me under the bridge." Emma said.
She looked at me. "One hour." I whispered to her.
"You got one hour. And it better be you personally, Reed. Climb in the back of the car, hand over the money - I hand you the evidence, you get out of the car. Simple as that." Emma said.
She hung up the phone, exhaling.
"Very good." Sophie complimented, grabbing her arm.
"You did great." Parker said, grabbing her shoulder.
"He got him now. Thank you." I said, walking over and grabbing Emma's shoulder to comfort her.
"He's all yours, Nate." Sophie told Nate on comms.
Third Person POV
Nate went up to Rockwell, who was very pissed about Emma calling. Nate convinced him to do it, and the plan was in motion.
An hour passed, and the team got in position. Parker drove up to Rockwell under the bridge, where they'd set the meet, and he got in the car, thinking it was Emma. Parker drove away, scaring Rockwell. Then a Land Rover crashed into them. Rockwell got up, thinking Parker was dead, and grabbed his briefcase and left, where they may have been cops at his office, waiting to ask him about the accident.
The team watched as the cops showed the faked security footage, which showed Rockwell getting out of the Land Rover. See, earlier, Eliot met with the thug he and Kaira ran into earlier. With some threatening, he got the keys and crashed into the Buick with Parker and Rockwell in it. Kaira and Hardison faked the security footage, and Parker was unscathed.
And then the detective showed Rockwell phone logs to Parker's phone, which Hardison had cloned from when Parker got his number. The detectives accused Rockwell of stalking. Then Rockwell let it slip about the accident 14 years ago. Of course, he claimed he wasn't at fault. He then told the cop to get the briefcase, cause it had the bribe money in it, and it didn't. It was faked photos that showed Rockwell was behind the wheel of the accident 14 years ago.
Eliot switched the briefcases before Rockwell woke up. Of course, Rockwell claimed it was digitally altered. Then Ed Kelly walked in, Nate and Kaira giving his a slight smile, now that he is free.
The team left. They met back at the bar, where they saw on the news that Ed Kelly got P.J out of prison, and was reunited with Emma.
"Think they're happy now - wait till they see what's in that briefcase waiting at home for them." Hardison said, and Kaira snickered.
"Enough to fix their screen door." Sophie turned to Eliot.
"Couple hundred thousand of them." Eliot said.
The team all looked at Nate. "All right. It was reckless." Nate admitted.
Parker chuckled. "It was worth it." Parker left.
"Yeah, this time." Eliot said, leaving.
"Bet you're starting to like that C.G.I Yoda a little bit now?" Parker teased Hardison.
"Yeah, when he gives back the childhood he stole from me." Hardison quipped.
Kaira followed Eliot out. It was just Nate and Sophie at the bar.
"Well, Nate, winning isn't everything." Nate said, mocking Sophie slightly.
"You know, for a while there, you were an honest man. And then for a while, you were a thief." Sophie said.
"Yeah, maybe I'm both." Nate said.
"You can't be both." Sophie stood up.
"I'm just not sure at this point which one I want to win." Sophie said.
She kissed Nate on the cheek and left. He watched the news, which revealed that Rockwell was arrested. Nate's phone rang, so he answered it.
"Yeah." Nate said.
"Mr. Ford, that was a hell of a piece of work." An older man said.
"The gentleman that was listening in on my apartment, I presume." Nate said.
"Wiretaps without warrants are a felony. Listen, here's the thing. We had some outstanding contracts with Mr. Rockwell. I don't suppose you'd consider taking them on... for a substantial fee." The man offered.
"I don't work that way." Nate said.
The man laughed. "You honestly don't, do you? You actually think you're one of the good guys." The man said, amused.
"You care to talk this over face-to-face?" Nate asked.
"Congratulations again. Getting rid of scum like Rockwell - you made the world a better place."
He hung up the phone. Nate left, heading to the back room to turn off a light to close the bar down.