Disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I ever own Moonlight.
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"Mac, I do need your help after all," Veronica reluctantly confessed to her friend.
She hated admitting to anyone that she needed help, but if there was one person who consistently delivered for Veronica, it was Mac. On top of her mad computer skills, Mac was a true friend, one of Veronica's few.
"I thought you had all these new high tech gizmos and top secret information sources at your disposal now?" Mac teased. "V, you work for the government. Why are you still calling me to do your dirty work?" Mac was used to helping Veronica with all things technical, but she assumed she would be easily replaced with her new legal sources of information.
"Who said anything about dirty work?" Veronica queried innocently. "Might I just need a girlfriend to hang out with tonight? Someone to make me feel less stupid after I've completely blown my first solo case?"
"Uhm …" Mac did feel a tug of guilt at her heartstrings, but quickly recovered. "Unlikely. What's really up?" she chided.
"Okay, I need your help on a case," admitted Veronica. "But I also need a girlfriend to hang out with, if that makes you feel better." Veronica hated to show any vulnerability, but Mac had already seen her at her worst – back when she and Logan had broken up. For good.
"V, I got over feeling used by you for my skills a long time ago. Right about the time I traded in my old clunker for the lime green Beetle," Mac chuckled. "So, are we going to braid each other's hair tonight or what?"
"Yes, and I'll bring the sparkly beads. How 'bout six o'clock at your place?"
"Sounds good. I can't wait to hear any story that involves you 'blowing it', so you'd better not have been making that up," Mac warned.
"Oh, I wasn't," admitted Veronica. "See you later."
"Bye." Mac was confused by what little Veronica has just shared with her. Veronica blew it? How is that even possible? The only time I ever saw her remotely flustered was around Logan. And he's history. Right?
Before Beth could even knock on the door of Mick's apartment, he opened it with an exasperated look on his face. Not a good sign.
Mick grabbed Beth's hand and without a word pulled her into the apartment and through the kitchen. She went skidding across the floor for a moment.
Mick realized he had caught her a bit off guard. "Sorry, I don't know my own strength sometimes. I'm glad you're here." Mick sounded relieved, but his features didn't look relaxed. He finally let go of her and she made her way to the couch.
Sensing that Mick was nervous about something, she took a seat, trying to relax enough for both of them. "What's going gotten into you? You said you needed my help on some research you're doing. Is this for a new client?"
Oh if only it were that easy. "No, not for a new client, this research is for Josef." Mick's nervous energy was palpable as he paced around his apartment. He worried that Beth might still need her space and not want to help them on this; and they needed her. Please don't turn me down.
"Why does Josef need you, or me, for me for that matter, to help him with research like this? Surely he has some techie vamp working for him that would be better than us. Like that guy, Ryder?"
"Well, this is … a delicate situation. Not really information he wants shared with other vamps."
"Delicate how? And since when does Josef care about what anyone thinks? He's all 'I'm vamp and I'm proud'." She did a funny flourish with her hands as she turned to face him in the kitchen. She was trying desperately to lighten the mood. "What's going on that he needs to keep secret from his own staff?"
"Two words – government and money, not necessarily in that order," Mick said as he joined her on the couch.
"Huh? The IRS is after him? Oh my god! Do vamps pay taxes…?"
"No, not the IRS. The FBI," Mick stated, seriously. Beth's eyes widen in shock as he continues. "Apparently there is a vamp in Josef's hedge fund that is laundering money and the Feds are trying to figure out whom. They know Josef is clean, so they are using him as sort of an informant in the case."
"Ah, so what's the problem? It sounds like Josef's on the right side of the law. Why are you so worked up?"
"Well, a there are a couple problems with the scenario…."
After Mick fully explained the details of Josef's predicament, Beth was still unsure how she could help.
"Josef wants us to find out all we can about the FBI agent, Veronica Mars, and if possible, this ex-boyfriend, Logan. Investigating a FBI agent is a tricky thing. They have all sorts of warnings that are triggered when people try to investigate government officials. But you, being a member of media, don't set off the same warnings. You could investigate her totally above board. You could even do a story about her," rambled Mick. He was on a roll.
"Josef really doesn't want to alert this agent that he's looking into her, so you are our best source of information. And he doesn't want to alarm anyone in the vamp community that the Feds are sniffing around, so having you investigate is a win-win."
"I get that, and I don't mind doing it, but why Logan, the ex? What's he got to do with all of this?"
"Nothing that I can tell. Except that he supposedly looks like Josef, and I think Josef's ego wants to see that for himself," Mick chuckled, starting to relax now that Beth was on board with the plan.
"Well, that part might even be fun. Although the world is not a big enough place for two Josefs." Beth said, smiling. She always enjoyed a good mystery. "Let me get started on the internet search and we'll see what we find."
Josef was in his office alone, busy gathering information on the ten investors in the Morningstar Fund. It was easy enough for him to find out their names. But finding the dirty vamp was going to be more difficult. He didn't have access to the information that the Feds had. He was going to have to look into the finances of these vamps to figure out who might not have the resources to invest in this fund under normal circumstances.
He could discount the few vamps in the fund that he knew really well. Hell, they were almost as rich a Josef. Two doctors, a judge, and an investment banker - definitely not those guys. But that left half a dozen vamps to fully vet. That was going to be a lot of work.
Josef's frustration was evident as he slumped forward on his desk and ran his hand through his short hair. I hate doing my own dirty work. I'm rich. I pay people to do this.
Just then, Josef got a brilliant idea. He didn't need to tell Ryder why he wanted these people's lives and financial holdings thoroughly examined. Josef was a suspicious person by nature; his staff would probably expect this behavior from him. Josef was very pleased with himself for finding a way to get out of this very tedious exercise.
He twirled himself once around in his leather chair to emphasis his pleasure. Excellent!
Done with his celebration, Josef sent a very detailed email to Ryder requesting the background and financial information that he required. He gave him strict instructions that this research be confidential and completed as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence if I am going to out maneuver Agent Mars.
After finishing his email, Josef picked up the phone and called Mick. Maybe he's made more headway than I have.
"Hey Josef," Mick answered.
"Hey, I have just left investor research hell in the hands of Ryder. Any progress on your end?" Josef asked, hoping for some good news.
Mick paused on the other end for a fraction of a second too long.
"What's wrong? What did you find?" Josef frustration turned to anticipation in that instant.
"You would not believe what we found out about Veronica Mars…and her boyfriend, Logan Echolls," Mick said ominously.
For the first time in over 400 years, Josef felt a chill run down his spine.
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