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Alec Hardison age_of_the_geek
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The New Headquarters of Leverage, Inc, (The Apartment Above Lukes), Saturday Afternoon
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!"

whoisalicewhite

2015-03-14 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

"What?" A head poked through the window. "I'm in the middle of something!"

That something being hanging from the roof by her toes.

age_of_the_geek

2015-03-14 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

"This is more important," Hardison said, a little shortly. Which, unless Parker had been deactivating (another) bomb, would be his response no matter what she was doing. "Have you seen the hard drive? The one with the Black Book on it? At all since Thursday?"

whoisalicewhite

2015-03-14 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Parker flipped down to land on the window sill, and frowned, thinking. "No. I mean. I know I saw it in your computer set-up then, but I haven't really looked at it since."

Edited at 2015-03-14 09:51 pm (UTC)

age_of_the_geek

2015-03-14 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hardison dropped to his knees, head and most of his upper body wedged underneath the main setup. Maybe it had fallen?

"You didn't move it or anything? You sure?"

Soda cap, soda cap, empty gummi wrapper, lost gummi, dust bunny...no hard drive. Dammit.

whoisalicewhite

2015-03-14 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Why would I?" Parker jumped into the room, and then answered her own question. "Unless I had to check something, but no, not in the last couple days. Or weeks. And are you saying you can't find it?"

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

age_of_the_geek

2015-03-14 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I won't know until I turn every possession we own upside down and shake it, but it's looking that way," Hardison said grimly. He pulled himself from under the desk, a streak of dust across his cheek and not even a hint that he was about to complain about it or his allergies. "Last thing I remember is plugging it in to backup before we left to jump. I don't remember seeing it after that."

whoisalicewhite

2015-03-14 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Parker started searching around the nearest chair, cabinet, and lamp. There really wasn't a lot more furniture that wasn't part of Hardison's Age of The Geek Space. "We came up here, then we went jumping, we came back, we had food.... Would Eliot have taken it? And not told us?"

Usually she wouldn't even have to ask.

age_of_the_geek

2015-03-14 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

"At this point, I actually hope so," Hardison said. "It's better than any of the alternatives. Normally I wouldn't even consider it as a possibility, but--"

But Eliot hadn't been acting normal for over a week. It was a possibility they couldn't discount out of hand.

"We should call him," he sighed. "Could you while I keep looking? Or would you rather I...?"

whoisalicewhite

2015-03-14 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

"I'll do it." Part of being 'mastermind' was coordinating things, at least when it had to do with work, and this definitely did. "Is anything else missing?" She grabbed her phone and hit Eliot's speed-dial number, hoping that it was this easy.

vdistinctive

2015-03-14 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Eliot had spent the day on the mainland, thus missing the whole villain invasion thing going on. He'd only just gotten in his door, a large cardboard box precariously balanced in one hand while he tried to dodge the excitable puppy, when his phone started ringing from the umbrella stand.

At least he hadn't turned it off again, this time?

He let it ring a little longer than he ever normally would, as he put the box down and scooped Val up and had to dig through the umbrellas to find it, but he managed to answer before voicemail kicked in, at least. "What?"

whoisalicewhite

2015-03-14 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Did you come by and grab the drive from Hardison's back-up system?" Parker asked.

He knew who it was, why say hello? He'd asked 'what.'

vdistinctive

2015-03-14 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Eliot blinked and said "What?" again, this time with a completely different inflection.

Come on, Parker had seen him and his magical inability with computers.

whoisalicewhite

2015-03-14 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Ugh." Yeah. It had been a long-shot. "It's missing. We're searching for it now. We'd been hoping you'd needed it for something, but..."

vdistinctive

2015-03-14 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Eliot looked over at his box from the mainland and sighed inwardly. "What drive? Has he checked under the pile of orange soda bottles?"

age_of_the_geek

2015-03-14 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Very funny," Hardison growled. "It's the Black Book, Eliot. Ain't really the time for jokes."

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