Beta'd by the wonderful Starseeded!
The room was full of rich, snooty, slimy politicians. It made Sophie's skin crawl. She looked down at her black silk dress with cleavage on show (purely for the mark, of course. It had nothing to do with Nate) and Manolo stilettos she felt slightly better, even more so when looking at the diamond necklace she wore. She looked good and she knew it as she walked over to the bar, noting Parker dressed as a waitress and holding a tray of champagne glasses as she moved around the room. Nate was in the far left corner talking to an older gentlemen and a woman she assumed to be his wife. Hardinson was running security in the van.
"Where's the mark?" She spoke quietly, lips hardly moving behind the glass of wine she was holding.
"I just don't know what to say!" Nate's voice came over the comm., responding to her question and that of the couple he was talking to. Sophie heard the woman titter a reply, but didn't really listen to what she said and her eyes glance over the room, trying not to make it obvious that she was looking for someone.
From his position in the back of their van, Hardison sat with his laptop, searching through the hacked security feed for the building. "He was definitely there during the cocktail reception earlier; I saw him talking to the Sec Def."
"He was at the meal too – I was near his table a few times," Parker added as she handed a glass of champagne to a person near her.
"Wait," Hardison zoomed in on one of the security feeds, "Our boy Teddy just came in."
Sophie looked towards the door, disguising the movement as turning around back to the bar and ordering another drink. She contemplated moving towards Galloway, but decided against it as he turned in her direction.
Waiting for him to make his way to the bar – and her – Sophie glanced at her watch. It was just ten o'clock now. They needed to get his I.D. pass soon if they wanted to make it within their time limit. Eliot was waiting at a private airstrip with Parker's plane waiting to fly them to another private airstrip near the Dam, which would take around an hour. Add in driving time, which would probably be another hour, and it would be midnight at earliest, leaving them four hours to get in and get the Autobot's out if they wanted to be safe. She sighed.
As the mark approached, Sophie was struck by just how short the man was. Maybe 'short man' syndrome accounted for some of his actions? She dismissed the thought as Galloway drew closer.
"I've got him," she whispered, slightly unnecessarily, as the others had watched the approach.
"Alright Sophie, I've got security footage of him tucking his pass in the inside pocket of his jacket, left side. Parker, stay near her," Hardison directed them.
"I'll have a gin and tonic, one slice of lime, one slice of lemon and two cubes of ice." A slightly nasal voice ordered the bartender from her right.
She turned to face the mark. "Good choice. I'm more partial to wine, myself,"
Galloway found himself face to face with her chest. He struggled to lift his eyes to her face, and just barely managed it, speaking what he must have thought to be smoothly. "And you are?"
"Kirsty Connelly, reporter with 'The Ledger'." As she spoke, Sophie moved around him so she was on his right, purposely leaving her drink behind, and held her hand out to shake.
"Theodore Galloway. And what a pleasure it is to meet you. May I get you a drink?" He asked, shaking her hand.
"Thank you, but I only just ordered one." Sophie reached across the front of the bar to the glass she left on Galloway's other side. At the same time, her other hand reached into his inner pocket and carefully lifted the man's pass. Pulled back, she held the pass by her side and subtly held it out to Parker, who walked passed holding a half-empty tray. As planned, his greedy little eyes had followed the diamond bracelet decorating her wrist over the bar and to her drink.
"I'm so sorry, but my Editor is waving me over. Maybe I'll see you later? Ask a few questions?" She gave him a seductive smile and watched him turn red as he stuttered out a response she didn't listen to.
Sophie walked in a direction away from the doors, to avoid making it obvious she was leaving. "Done."
Hearing the confirmation, Parker handed the tray of drinks she was holding to a politician who gave her a rather startled look, and moved towards the exit. Nate casually broke off from his conversation and headed her way, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and started talking about a newspaper article she was supposedly writing as he walked with her to the doors after a few minutes.
As soon as they were out the doors, Sophie dumped the wine in a plant pot and left the glass there too. "God, I hate cheap wine."
"Sophie, that was a fifty dollar glass of wine." Nate protested
"Exactly. It was cheap."
Parker joined them in the car parker, having left through the back way and they walked to the van, where Hardinson was waiting. Sophie peeled a thin film off her hands and held it up to the light of a nearby street light. 'Perfect set of finger prints and a pass,' she smirked to her self.
"Can I drive?" Parker chirped up suddenly.
Sophie and Nate exchanged a wary glance.
"Um…sure, just be careful." Nate handed over the keys. Some sixth sense was screaming at him that it was a mistake, but if he took the keys back know, Parker would get upset and that wasn't something he wanted to deal with, especially with Sophie around. She'd be furious.
"Fuck." Hardison whimpered and clung to the 'oh shit' bar. He was the only one who had been in a car with Parker driving. The first (what had been hopefully been the last) time it had taken him three hours to stop shaking, and the rest of the day before his stomach settled enough to eat anything. The others would learn soon enough.
As soon as the van skidded to a stop in the hanger, the side door opened and three dishevelled people spilled out, looking slightly pale. The other door opened and Parker jumped out, looking rather excited.
"That was fun" She grinned.
"Sophie…remind me to never let Parker drive." Nate groaned.
"It can't have been that bad." Eliot spoke up as he opened the door to the small aircraft, revealing that he had already changed into his 'aide' suit. All he had heard from the comm. while he sorted the plane out had been screams of fright and Parker yelling.
Hardison glared at the Hitter. "Man, why don't you let Parker drive you next time you need to go somewhere. We'll see what you say then."
He pushed his way past Eliot and onto the plane, clutching his laptop to his chest as he settled into one of the seats. Eliot growled and shoved him back.
When everyone had settled, Eliot took the plane into the air and the rest of them changed. Nate had changed into the same outfit he had for the job with Monica Hunter. Parker had shed her waitress outfit (as shamelessly as ever, she just changed where she sat rather than moving to the back of the plane and out of peoples sight like Nate had) for the usual outfit she wore when a job would involve using her harness and/or climbing through vents, and tied her hair back. Sophie was rather comfortable in her outfit so just added a jacket. Hardison had no need to change either, as he would remain in a nearby hotel room with Sophie, monitoring the feeds.
Like Sophie had predicted, the journey lasted about an hour, and they arrived at the private airstrip at approximately eleven thirty.
There were two cars and a van waiting for them. The cars were average size, nothing fancy enough to attract attention, but suitable for the position that Nate would be playing. Hardinson had had them delivered to the location by the company he had brought them from for a small fee – nothing noticeable with his sizable accounts.
The van was similar to the one they usually used in cons; three seats in the front and nothing in the back, making it perfect for Hardinson to set up his equipment, which would let them do their jobs safely.
Dividing into groups, Sophie and Parker climbed into the van with Hardison; having done her part of the con, Sophie would help the hacker with surveillance, while Eliot went to one of the cars and Nate into the other.
Leaving the airstrip, the van went first, to allow Hardison time to hack security and for Parker to get into the Dam. It wouldn't be an easy job, even for someone of Hardison's calibre, as the closest they could get to the Dam without actually driving onto it would be the railroad hiking trail, which was an offshoot of highway ninety three, the road which went straight over Hoover Dam. It was also a small hike for Parker, but it was something she was used to.
Meanwhile, Nate and Eliot took their time to leave, making sure that they had all the things they needed (and might need) to pull off the job.
Waiting for the go ahead from Hardison always made Nate impatient; though that could be because he didn't really understand computers, unlike the situation with Parker. In his time at the IYS insurance company acting as their fraud investigator, he had spent long hours observing or waiting for a target, looking for evidence of fraud. If they wanted Parker to be ok, it was best to let her take her own time to get it and do what she needed to do.
The black cars pulled up to the security booth, stopping when several men in army fatigues approached the driver's window, which rolled down to reveal a middle aged man, undeniably a Major by his uniform.
"Sir, this is a restricted area, I'm afraid you're going to have to turn around now,"
"And you are?" Nate asked in a drawled.
"Captain Hadley, sir." The soldier saluted.
"Well…Captain Hadley... did you not get the message from Director Galloway stating that I'd be visiting tonight?"
Hadley looked slightly nervous at this. "No sir. We've received no messages today about any visits."
"Soldier," Nate barked, "Galloway sent that message hours ago. Do you not check your email? Goddamn, what if it had been important? I'm reporting this, soldier!"
Captain Hadley bolted back into the booth, past his companions, and pounded the log in details into the computer, to reveal an email dated five pm that afternoon, clearing a visit from an unnamed Major and his aide, with photographic confirmation. He rushed back out to the fierce looking Major waiting in the car.
"Sir, you may continue. I apologise about this. There must have been a problem with the email system."
Nate nodded and scrolled his window back up and drove on, mentally thanking Hardison's abilities to back date things. "We're past the entrance. Parker, you in?"
Parker was crawling through her sixth consecutive air vent. Getting into the Dam hadn't really been a problem with the building plans Hardison had pulled up. It was the distance between the control room and the one holding the Autobots that was taking her time.
She had listened as everyone chattered on and gamely made her way to the control room, before first cutting the wire of the alarm system, and then the one powering the cryostasis blocks, following the instructions Hardinson gave her, and getting him into the computer systems via her cell phone. It had all gone smoothly.
Now, Parker estimated she had approximately five minutes to get to where the giant alien robots were before they woke up. They almost sounded worse than horses – Parker didn't think she'd ever feel comfortable driving her car again.
When Nate's voice sounded in her ear, she nearly tuned it out, until her name was mentioned.
"I'm nearly there, right Hardison?" she whispered, despite knowing that there were no soldiers around. The hacker had placed a tracker on her earlier so he could tell her how close she was.
"Yep, you should be approaching a grate, five feet ahead of you, which you need to drop through."
As he spoke, Parker's fingers came into contact with it. She pulled it off silently and slid out the vent, somersaulting as she fell to stand on her feet.
Looking around she saw what they'd been looking for. She was literally surrounded by giant alien robots. And it looked their estimation time had been off. All eleven Autobots were most definitely awake, and looking rather startled at the human that had just dropped into their midst.
Suddenly, Parker felt rather small. "Oh, shiny tomatoes, you guys are big. And shiny. Definitely shiny."
Back in the van, Hardison was lounging on a fold up chair, his trademark 'Orange Jones' soda cradled in his hands and laptop settled on the makeshift table in front of him. Sophie sat next to him, bottle of mineral water and a half eaten salad in a Tupperware box resting on the floor by her feet as she watched the security feed. She saw Nate and Eliot enter the Dam, using Galloway's swipe card and passed the fingerprint scanner successfully, thanks to the prints Sophie had lifted earlier and Hardison's gummy worm trick.
"Okay Nate, Eliot, you need to go down another three corridors – left, left, right - and you'll be in the right place. Parker, you're in, right?"
"Oh, shiny tomatoes, you guys are big. And shiny. Definitely shiny." Parker's timid voice came over the comm.
Sophie frowned. "Parker, sweetie, are you alright? What's going on?"
"Well, we were definitely off with our estimation on how long it would take for them to unfreeze. And they're much bigger than they look like in the photos. It's like the horses. I don't like it." She sounded nervous.
"Parker, Nate and Eliot are just a few corridors away, are you going to be alright?" Sophie mothered her over the comm.
"I think so."
A/N Parker has a phobia of horses ever since she saw one kill a clown as a child. THe horse was actually a man in a suit, but meh, they still scare her.