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