geniuswithasmartphone: (Facepalm)
After everything that went down at the docks, Hardison was more than happy to come back to the apartment and just relax. Which, for him, meant a shower, a two-liter of orange soda, and a little bit of light hacking, just to stay on top of things. Sure, surfing the Dark Net was nothing compared to hacking all of reality, hacking reality hadn't come with phat stacks of cash, either.

Hardison settled in at his work station and set his various programs to running. Some were web crawlers, keeping him abreast of current events that might prove useful, others were security programs to wipe away any traces of his online presence. Still others were just tiny things he did to amuse himself; that was one naked celebrity picture leak that he ended before it even began, deleting the pictures from the web and sending a virus back to the machine that had uploaded them to destroy that, too. There was some obnoxious GamerGater on Reddit holding forth; Hardison sent a troll-bot running an algorithm of feminist arguments guaranteed to make the idiot on the other side of the screen froth at the mouth. This program unleashed a new meme into the world to propagate, chosen from the vast library of memes that Hardison had invented and saved to bring forward at a later date.

Sure, he might not have super-powers or a fancy metal suit, but the internet was his playground and there he was king.

Hardison's sense of satisfaction was not fated to last very long, however. Not more than seventy-two seconds after he finished his circuitous path to his little corner of the Dark Net and saw the blinking notice that said--once you broke all the layers of encryption over it--that the Black Book files had successfully been updated on March 12th at 7:22pm. Normally, that would be a good thing, except--

Except Hardison was sitting at his workstation and was not seeing the hard drive. Anywhere. He remembered initiating the backup; it was the last thing he'd done before he and Parker had left to go cliff jumping like the insane adrenaline-junkies he most certainly was not. But he hadn't ejected the drive when he'd gotten home--they'd had more important things to do, thank you--and when he'd gotten up on Friday, he hadn't seen the drive out on his work station to remind him to put it away.

So the last time he could consciously remember seeing the hard drive was two days ago. That was...that was very not good. Because it wasn't here now.

"Parker!" he bellowed. "Parker, I need you!"
geniuswithasmartphone: (Age of the Geek)
So, after their discussion in the diner, Hardison had grudgingly agreed to go off to the cliffs with Parker. In case there was ever any doubt how much he loved that girl, let this be the evidence against. That and volunteering to go slug Eliot; he wasn't entirely sure which of those ideas was more stupid, truth be told. Or more dangerous to his soft, squishy manly bits.

Before he left, he got out the hard drive that had the Black Book on it and hooked it up to the Dark Web. Tonight was his night for making super-secure backups, just in case anything happened to the original hard drive. The Black Book was Interpol's most secret file: the name of every person who'd contributed to the global financial crisis and a summary of their criminal activity. It was like a Who's Who of the rich and powerful from almost every country someone could name. Individuals, banking institutions, hedge fund groups--every single person that had helped bring the world's economy to a screeching halt had their name and information in that file.

Interpol and various international agencies had all agreed that they couldn't pursue any of these people, even though their crimes were staggering enough to make what the Leverage crew did look like kids playing pretend. But the combined wisdom of the officials was that it was better to hide the information and try to rebuild trust than to make sure any of their cronies saw the consequences of their actions. Leverage, Inc didn't necessarily agree, which was why they'd stolen the Book. But since that put them directly opposite, oh, damn near every government in the world, Hardison made sure to make semi-regular backups and hid them all over the darker edges of cyberspace.

Couldn't ever be too careful.

Which was why he was leaving the hard drive out on his desk, attached to his computer while he went cliff-jumping with his girlfriend. No, it's not something he'd ever think of doing in any of their other bases, but this was a tiny town spied on by squirrels. What were the odds that anything could go wrong here?

[For two, at least at first! All details of the break-in is NFB, please!]

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August 2017

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