geniuswithasmartphone: (Hacking Makes Me Brood)
[personal profile] geniuswithasmartphone
Nana had gone out to run a few more errands, most of which involved making sure that the house had enough groceries to feed a small army. That was a good time as ever for them to get together and have Hardison's debriefing while Parker came up with a plan. Or, rather, it would be, if they could have it anywhere else in the house. Instead, though, they were crowded together in Hardison's old bedroom, filled with the accumulated clutter of years. Hardison was trying to make sure his computer was able to project, but his works were impeded by keeping Parker and Eliot away from anything rare or embarrassing.


Parker
"Who is this in the poster?" Parker asked, tilting her head to examine one on Hardison's walls, wandering around and touching everything. "...I thought there'd be more robots."

Eliot
"I figured there'd be more porn."

Because of course Eliot had looked.

Hardison
"Don't be ridiculous, man!" Hardison looked insulted. "I wouldn't keep that where my Nana could find it!"

Beat.

"...It's on the computer, because I'm civilized."

Also, he was kicking a small box of something deeper in the closet. For reasons. NON-PORN REASONS, ELIOT.

Parker
Parker wound up perched next to the computer, so she could watch Hardison work. "Did you ever have girls in here?" She blinked at the poster with a teeny kid casting a very long shadow into a ... tall guy. "Tell us about the job, and whoever you had sex with on the bed."

Eliot
"Don't be silly, Parker," Eliot said, looking at the same poster. "He definitely never had sex in here."

Hardison
"Man, why don't you shut up?" Hardison said in the defensive way that meant that Eliot was right. But it was because it was hard to bring girls in here with Nana and his foster siblings running about! That was all! "Besides, I thought we were here for a briefin', not to poke at old junk."

Parker
"But it's your old junk. I like it," Parker disagreed. "Also I think Eliot's right, but that's okay. I wouldn't bring anyone to my lairs either." She patted Hardison's arm comfortingly. "So, our bad guy?"

Eliot
"And there's so much old junk." Much of which Eliot had already poked at. "What are we running it on? Should we be huddlin' around one of your old computers?"

Hardison
So long as he hadn't poked at the boxful of Hardiman comics that was now hiding in the back of his old closet, Hardison didn't care.

...Much.

Though if Eliot had messed up his Near-Mint Mox Sapphire, Hardison would have his head. Word!

"Naw, man, don't be silly." He hit a button and a white screen began to descend from the ceiling. "Nana let me install this when I was fifteen or so. It's old, but not so old that it can't sometimes be useful." He glanced at Eliot again. "Kinda like you, I guess. Anyway..." Another press of a button and the screen lit up, showing several pictures of a tall, handsome black man in a business suit. "This is our mark," he announced. "Deon Walker, Chicago's answer to the Mako, y'all remember him?"

Parker
"Stupid shark," Parker said absently, studying their target. "I don't like him already. I want to mess up his suit... how did he get your Nana to sign on to his scam?"

Eliot
". . . show you how useful I am," Eliot grumbled. "Yeah, the Mako was that hot fish guy. So, what, Walker's runnin' pyramid schemes, too?"

Hardison
"He wasn't that hot," Hardison grumbled. " You just liked him cause he traveled through the jungle with you an' watched you eat a snake heart. Like a goddamn weirdo."

Clearing his throat, he got back to the briefing. "Yep, pretty much, an' he wheels him in the same way. He's charmin', witty, urbane. Born a Chitown boy, but he's traveled all over: Detroit, Kansas City, Philly, Phoenix, San Antonio. Ain't made it to the big leagues yet, but he's done pretty well for himself. He primarily preys on older folks, goin' to churches to get in good with the folks. His daddy was a pastor, mama a teacher for awhile, he plays that up real nice for folks. They see a young man, one of their own, doin' well for himself an' comin' back to help the community. He preys on that, on the feelin' of community." Hardison flipped through several pictures of Walker singing in church choirs, helping out at bake sales, passing around plates of good, old-fashioned soul food. "Gets that personal connection goin' an' then when he's got most folks in his net, he fleeces 'em all and runs. You don't understand, community around here is strong. You get a preacher or a church deacon, you got the whole flock. Get someone in the church, you can get their whole family, their friends, their neighbors. He knows how black communities operate an' so he uses that to his advantage."

Parker
Parker's eyes were slits as she considered this, turning facts over in her mind like a Rubik's Cube, lining up the corners. "That's ... interesting. Maybe how we get to him, too." She hummed under her breath. "For the Mako, we ran the Michael Jackson. Should we run an Elvis Presley on him?"

Eliot
"Moonwalking bear," Eliot said. "Smokescreen 'im so he doesn't see it coming when we gt him to reveal himself." He tilted his head. "What's the Presley variation on that?"

Hardison
"Insteada commodities futures it uses shares in a casino," Hardison explained absently.

Another set of pictures came up. "This is Allison Jackson, nee Davis, though at one time she was Allison Walker. She an' Deon were married from 2004 to 2007. The marriage ain't go so well, Allison filed for divorce, citin' abuse, about a year after she fled for him. She's also got a record; she's a suspect in a couple of drug charges, some robbery, even an assault charge. Looks like the stuff she did was on behalf on Deon, though. He's the type who lets other folks do his dirty work, at least the parts that don't involve robbin' old ladies blind."

Parker
Where is she now? What is she doing with her life?" Parker was chewing this over, thinking about Deon and women, Deon and minions. "And who else is working for him right now?" She frowned at one of the photos. "Is that...?"

Eliot
Eliot leaned forward, following her gaze. "Is who?"

Hardison
"He's got a major bodyguard..." Hardison said, glancing back between Parker and the pictures. "Is what?"

Parker
"The little boy," she said in a disturbed voice. "Is that Allison's son with Deon?"

Because if it was, then it would make things more complicated, and she'd have to account for that and make sure this whole mess was nowhere near him.

Eliot
"I'm guessin' he ain't," Eliot said. "That bone structure didn't come from his mama, but doesn't look like it's Deon's either. She remarried, didn't she? Or was Jackson a fresh start?"

Hardison
"Remarried," Hardison said, enhancing the image around the boy. "That's her son, LeShawn, with her new husband, Peter Jackson. Not the Peter Jackson, obviously--" He turned around to face them, practically beaming at them. "You know? The Peter Jackson? Hello?"

He sighed. He loved his partners, but come on. Peter Jackson!

Parker
"King of the Bracelets. Loves New Zealand. Hates all editors." She put her hand out for a fist-bump.

What? She'd heard this rant, even if she hadn't sat down for the movies.

"Good. That's... that might make things simpler." She frowned. "So, does Deon want even more money? Legitimacy? Really sharp suits?"

She didn't judge. Sophie was addicted to shoes, after all.

Eliot
"He made that movie about the murderous lesbians," Eliot said.

He didn't know about the giant fantasy series to end all fantasy series, but he'd totally seen meta for Heavenly Creatures.

"Deon's operation ain't quite as big as the Mako's. Maybe he wants his own criminal empire."

Hardison
"Anyway, Allison has left that life behind," he continued, returning Parker's fistbump, waggling his fingers against hers in their private version of it. "She got married, works for a consultin' firm, her husband is a marketin' director. Doesn't seem like he knows much about her past life or Deon. Far as I can tell, she's done everythin' but join Witness Protection to try to disappear. Her husband is old money. Folks found out about her past, she could get fired. Maybe even lose her kid. As for Deon..."

He flicked through to the next slide, which included Walker's financials. "He spends a lot of money on lookin' legit. Good suits, a nice car, all that. If I had to guess, he wants to go legit. Not, like, fully legit. But recognized. He wants to play with the big boys. He wants to be the next Mako. Only, y'know, not quite so in jail."

Parker
"Give him his heart's desire," Parker murmured. "And then bring it all down on his head." She had the beginnings of the plan in her head now. "Eliot, you're going to have to be Sophie on this one. Just in case this guy does his research."

Eliot
Eliot nodded. "Skeezy finance guy. Easy enough."

Hardison
They'd done this kind of con a hundred times.
"So, we back him, we get everyone's money back, we return it to Nana an' her friends, we bust this scum, an' then we take in a Cubs game. You know they won yesterday? We gotta catch a game on the off-chance they do it again!"

This was the one and only chance to get Hardison invested in a sports game, Eliot! Capitalize on that, Eliot! Capitalize!

Parker
Parker came back out of Mastermind Headspace into World Headspace. "... Is that hockey?" It was fall, almost winter, that could be a thing, couldn't it?

Eliot
Eliot shook his head slightly at Parker. "Man, figures the one time you're actually into watchin' a game it's baseball." It was fun to play -- especially if you were Eliot and thus became an instant local celebrity, but to watch? You still couldn't score on defense.

"Suppose I should feel lucky you don't want to stay here and read your comics, though." He pulled a beaten, slightly yellowed packet of paper out from under some of the clutter on the nightstand, where he'd tucked it away after discovering it while settling in. "I mean, the adventures of 'Hardiman' are just riveting."

Hardison
Hardison gave a panicked look at his closet, where he'd just hidden what he'd assumed was every 'issue' of Hardiman's, uhh, fairly extensive run. At least the original Hardiman series, not counting the New Adventures of Hardiman which detailed the thrilling tales of Hardiman and his side-kick, Mr. Punchy, and the enigmatic thief/heroine Dolla Billz...

"Gimme that!" he yelped, diving for the comic. "That's my personal--look, you wouldn't understand!"

Possibly because some of the earliest issues had been lettered in crayon.

Parker
"OOooo!" That was even better than lies about girlfriends! "I want to see it!" Parker pounced as well, and looked to be wiggling the bundle of papers away with a concentrated effort. Hopefully the bed would hold up.

Eliot
Eliot's arms were not long enough to play keep-away with Hardison for long. So Parker diving for the comic was welcome. He handed it off to her with a grin. "There are more in the closet," he said. "Apparently our boy's been moonlightin' as a comic book artist for -- basically ever."

Hardison
Hardison could possibly have fought Eliot for possession of the comic, but there was no way he'd be able to win it back from Parker, even just by herself. Trying to steal it from Parker and Eliot?

Hopeless.

Eventually he gave up, pounding on the mattress with Parker sitting on his back, her arms locked around him in the stupid MMA moves Eliot had taught her, while Eliot, that jerk, was cheerfully reading aloud Hardiman's origin story, where ten-year-old Alec turned from mild-mannered elementary school student to Hardiman! righter of wrongs, protector of the poor, and favorite of foster kids everywhere.

Maybe if he stopped fighting, they wouldn't go poking after the rest? Or try to remember why the name Hardiman might sound so familiar?


[NFB, NFI, preplayed with [livejournal.com profile] vdistinctive and [livejournal.com profile] whoisalicewhite]
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