Fic: The New York ComicCon Con (1/1 (Leverage) (Yuletide)
So I can finally reveal the fic I wrote for my first Yuletide ever...
Title: The New York ComicCon Con Rating: G (it's gen!) Genre: Gen, Humor Characters: Hardison, Elliot, Parker Warnings: none that I can think of Spoilers: Takes place shortly after "The Mile High Job" in season 1 Words: 3740 Disclaimer: Don't own them. Just done for fun. Notes: Thank you lapillus and jackiekjono for the betas!
The story was written at the request of freneticfloetry who prompted me with "Hardison - Year of the Geek." Thank you for sparking this story:)
Summary: Hardison, Elliot and Parker steal ComicCon for a young hacker.
The New York ComicCon Con By Epeeblade
Hardison walked through the lobby of the Javits center watching the tiny red dot on his cell phone become brighter. "Don't know why ya'll think I'm stupid," he muttered under his breath as he turned the corner and came face to face with Elliot.
"Well isn't this a coincidence," Elliot said, all wide-eyed and bushy tailed.
Hardison held up the cell phone. "You know I have the GPS for all your cell phones hooked up to this thing, right?"
Elliot gave him one of those looks, the one that made you feel guilty right before you got the crap beat out of you. "For the guy who left us high and dry last time you sure do complain a lot."
"Hey man, I came through when it mattered. Wait. This ain't about that?" Stay up late one night helping someone through Utgarde Keep and you're a pariah for life.
"No shit, Hardison!" Elliot gestured to the large crowd in the lobby, a cross-section of Hardison's 'people' - the geeks who were here for the annual New York ComicCon. Many were in costume, mostly as superheroes, but Hardison did see some Jedi here and there. He'd hoped for some blood elves, though the February weather probably kept most cosplayers under coats until they'd gotten inside. Hardison fit right in with the rest of the crowd, buried under various layers and holding tight to their laptops.
"When Nate heard you were off to meet one of your guildies…"
"Hold the phone, ponyboy, how did Nate know?"
Before Elliot could respond there was a rattling coming from the wall behind him. Hardison turned, not surprised when the vent fell to the ground and Parker slipped out of the air duct. She brushed herself off. "Oh, I just swiped your cellphone. You had a million texts from this Anarky person."
"Hot date, Hardison?" Elliot raised an eyebrow.
"Brother needs some damn privacy," he muttered. "Look, it's my vacation time, I can do what I want."
"And what you want to do is meet up with some person who pretends to be an elf." Elliot snorted.
"Tauren, thank you very much." Hardison tugged on his name badge. "Don't matter anyhow, neither of you getting in without one of these."
Parker rolled her eyes and pulled two perfect badges, complete with red holders, out of her back pocket. "Please. We're professionals." She handed one to Elliot. "I mean that literally, I grabbed us professional badges."
Hardison grabbed Elliot's before he put it around his neck. "No way is anyone gonna believe you're a comic book writer."
Elliot looked slightly insulted. "What, don't I look like I can write? How hard is it anyway? Wham! Bam! Pow!" He took a swing and Hardison dived out of the way just in time.
"Have you seen any Batman since the 60s?"
"I think I make a good librarian." Parker tugged on her own nametag.
Elliot raised an eyebrow. "Well, you know what they say about librarians. All that sexual repression caught up in a single hairbun? Then they let their hair down and bam!"
Hardison coughed and turned away for a moment. "Don’t know the kind of librarians you've been hanging out with."
"Point is we're not letting you go in there by yourself." Elliot folded his arms across his chest. "Don't you know it's dangerous meeting up with people you found on the internet?"
"You don't see me dissing your friends."
"My friends aren't blue elves."
Parker breezed past them both. "Lucky I don't have any friends."
Looked like he was going to get an escort, whether he liked it or not.
Elliot kept clenching his hands into fists. He didn't like the size of the crowd, too big if they needed to move fast. Never mind the sheer weirdness of the costumes. And those who weren't in costume tended to look alike, loaded down with backpacks and carrying stacks of comic books.
"How many Princess Leias in bikinis do you really need?" Parker mused.
He might have whirled around a bit faster than was necessary. You had to watch out for those Star Wars freaks.
They had to cut their way through the crowd in the exhibition hall. There were too many places to get caught up in, hundreds of booths of conflicting colors. Some had large video screens, while others had smaller screens and video game setups. More still sold merchandise, anything from plastic bobble-heads to giant plaster sculptures.
If he wasn't here to baby-sit to Hardison, Elliot might have stopped at the one place displaying martial arts weaponry. That couldn't be safe to have around this crowd and he really hoped those wicked looking curved blades had their edges blunted.
He watched as Parker's attention got pulled by something that sparkled in the bright florescent lights. Nobody seriously had jewelry out here, did they? Elliot got a quick look at her scowl when she got close enough to tell the objects were only dice - too colorful and with way more sides than necessary.
"Where are you supposed to meet this Anarky?" Elliot didn't know how you could find anyone in this huge crowd.
Hardison glanced at his phone. "He said by the Watchmen display. Can't miss it. Oh!" Before they moved any farther he took a blue baseball cap out of his backpack and plunked it on his head.
Like that was original. Elliot shook his head and followed, keeping his defenses up.
The Watchmen display was easy to find, the bold yellow and black booth visible from afar. They moved inside it, walking around the center where several large screen televisions were set up. Parker stopped before one broadcasting something called "Rorschach's diary."
"Remind you of anyone?" She turned to Hardison who laughed.
"Cute." Elliot frowned at the screen, reviewing the guy's technique. It was only a movie, but the choreography annoyed him. Fights rarely went so smoothly.
"Excuse me…Raw Hyde?" A small voice said from behind them.
Elliot bit his lip to keep from the laughing at the sight of the kid standing there wearing a blue cap that matched Hardison's. Kid couldn't have been more than 12 or 13. And then there was…"Raw Hyde?" he said to Hardison.
"My character is a giant bull. It makes sense. Shut up!" Hardison bit back. He turned towards the kid. "Anarky?"
"You're taller than I expected."
"And you're just a little bit shorter."
Sure it was funny at first, Hardison chatting with a little kid on the internet. But when he thought about it, it really pissed Elliot off. "Hey kid, anyone ever tell you not to talk to strange men on the computer?"
"Dude, you didn't tell me you were bringing your dad."
Parker let out an awkward laugh. "I'll have to remember that."
Elliot reached out and pulled the cap off the kid. "Yeah, I bet you didn't tell him you were a girl, either." A long spill of brown hair fell down changing the shape of the kid's face, making it obvious now.
Anarky grabbed the hat out of his hands, then turned and walked away.
"See what you did." Hardison jostled his arm as he went after her.
Parker shook her head at him.
"Good job making a little girl cry." Parker started walking in the same general direction as Hardison. Elliot followed her after a moment.
"I didn't see any tears!" he protested.
Sometimes he was too easy.
Her fingers itched. This place had so many temptations, so many people not paying attention to their wallets. But where was the challenge? Parker could pick hundreds of wallets, extract the cash and have them back in their owners' pockets before anyone knew the difference. What she wanted was something difficult. Oh, maybe that giant bust of Yoda, it looked heavy.
Then again, she was supposed to have gone straight, for the most part. Her shoulders slumped. Yoda probably wouldn't do well on the market anyway.
Still, there had to be something worth checking out here. The hall reminded her of a carnival, all bright colors and smelling like stale popcorn and pretzels. She saw someone was even selling cotton candy.
"Parker, Hardison went that way…" Before Elliot could finish, he was surrounded by a group of kids holding comic books and markers.
"O. M. G. You're Lindsay Kane! Guys!"
"Could you sign my copy of Batman: Under Pressure?"
"Um, actually." Elliot started to back away from them.
One of the kids held up the issue. "Can you explain why you had Batman use a judo hold here instead of his more traditional use of ninjitsu?"
"I told you David, that's totally artistic interpretation."
Elliot snatched the issue out of the kid's hand. "Actually, when you're in a fight against multiple opponents like this…"
Parker laughed as she slipped away, stumbling right in the middle of something going on in the middle of the exhibition hall. There were a set of metal chairs set up around a small stage and an MC was asking for volunteers.
"Miss, would you like to participate?"
She looked around. Unfortunately she was the only one standing in the audience. "Um…"
One of the con-goers looked at her badge and stood up. "Oh, please, what does a librarian know about the greatest thief in all of comic book history?"
Hardison had bought the kid a smoothie. He'd followed her out to the food court and convinced her to sit down and chat. Their chairs looked out over the floor below them where hundreds of people were lining up for the show in the main theater, some preview of the new Friday the 13th movie. He sipped his own mocha latte, the rich chocolate warming him from the inside.
"I totally thought you were my age," Anarky said, playing with the straw with her chin.
He was really glad neither Parker nor Elliot were around to hear that. "It's cool. No harm done."
She frowned. "It sucks that you're a grownup. Now you're not going to want to help me."
Hardison leaned forward and did his best Nate impression. She'd messaged him about needing his help, course that was back when he thought 'Anarky' was a guy and about ten years older. "Maybe I can still help. What happened?"
Anarky frowned, then she seemed to make a decision and pulled a laptop out of her backpack. "I've been working on a game. I didn't tell anyone else in the guild about it. My cousin said he knew someone who worked in the industry and he could take a look at my code."
He slid over to see what she was pulling up on her screen. It was rudimentary, of course, but graphics weren't the only thing that made a game. You needed a good story, sympathetic characters, and badass dialog.
"Look what I found on VidVision's website last week." She hit a button and played a video promising a new game that looked pretty damn similar to the one she just showed him. "It's all new graphics, but that's my story, my plot!"
"You know who stole your ideas?" Hardison asked.
"That jerk who's giving the sneak peek this afternoon." She gestured to the theater area downstairs. The doors had finally opened and the crowds slowly made their way inside. "I've been reading his emails."
He blinked at that. Apparently they were starting them younger and younger these days. "Show me, Padawan."
Her fingers ran across the keyboard and she pulled up the hacked documents. "He's got the game demo on an external hard drive. They're making him use a Javits Center laptop for the presentation."
So Hardison couldn't just hack the presentation from here, not until the mark hooked the data up to the laptop. He needed to get his hands on that hard drive if he wanted to help out Anarky.
"Kid, it's your lucky day." Hardison got out his cell phone and sent "Got a job. Want in?" to both Parker and Elliot.
Elliot got to room 14B about two seconds before Parker did. He did a double take as they walked through the door, the sudden silence refreshing after the constant noise of the exhibit hall. Parker had a pair of goggles up over her hair like a headband, and now wore a very large t-shirt over her clothes. The picture on the shirt was of a woman in a tight purple jumpsuit holding a whip.
"What the hell happened to you?"
"I won the Catwoman trivia contest."
"How'd you manage that?"
"Stole the MC's wallet."
That explained that.
Inside the room's lights had been dimmed, and a screen and projector were set up in the front. The only other person in the room sat in the front row. Elliot recognized the kid when she turned around and shushed them.
"What the hell?" he muttered.
Hardison came through one of the doors on the side of the stage. "Sorry about the half-assed setup. Couldn't get a room with an LCD, so we're stuck with the projector."
"You said this was a job?" Parker asked.
"Have a seat. Let me do my thing." Hardison gestured with a tiny remote.
Elliot looked over at Parker who just shrugged. He sat next to the kid, figured he might as well get in the front row. Parker climbed into the row behind them.
"This." Hardison flicked the remote. "Is Jack Harvey. Developer for VidVision games."
The projector made a loud whirring noise before the picture finally appeared on the screen, slightly off-center and with a pink tinge. The guy looked shady as all hell, too thin for the suit he had on, thick glasses and a really bad comb-over.
"Apparently VidVision isn't doing too well. Investors are threatening to pull out unless the company shows up some fancy new product. Instead of coming up with something himself, Harvey is the kind of jerk who steals from little girls."
Anarky cleared her throat.
"Sorry, young ladies." Hardison corrected himself. "Harvey stole all of Anarky's game designs and is planning on presenting it today as VidVision's brand new product."
"What kinda guy steals from a kid?" Elliot crossed his arms.
"The desperate kind," Parker leaned over to say. "So what are we gonna do?"
"Mess with the presentation of course." The screen changed again, this time showing live feed of the Javits Center and the crowds packed into a large theater. "Tapped into the security cameras. This is the theater where Harvey plans on doing his thing. I need to get in there and access the external hard drive where he has all the game data."
"Lots of people around, should be easy to slip past the guards." Parker cracked her knuckles. "I can get in and swipe the drive."
"And then put it back when I'm done. Harvey can't know I've messed with it."
Elliot raised his hand. "How much time do we have for this?"
"Well, the Friday the 13th panel is going on right now. His show is scheduled to go on right after. So maybe…" Hardison looked at his watch. "An hour?"
Cutting it close, but not impossible. "You're gonna need to get backstage, have time to work." Elliot hoped they'd meet some resistance back there. He could use the exercise.
"So we doing this?" Hardison asked.
Elliot glanced over at Parker, who grinned. "Hell, yeah."
Hardison followed Elliot as they slipped past the very busy security guards. Parker had already gone to get the hard drive. He just had to meet her backstage. Damn, these things always went smooth when he put the proper prep into them. Right now Hardison wished they'd had more time to study the maps and make a plan B.
"C'mon." Elliot pushed open a door and led the way inside.
They moved quickly down the hallway, not meeting anyone until they got into the holding room right behind the stage. Two guys were sitting on a couch, and they stopped talking when Hardison and Elliot walked in. Hardison knew he'd seen them before, probably from the promo for the Friday the 13th panel.
Hardison pointed to his laptop. "We're with IT, just going to set up the media for the next panel."
The bald guy turned to his friend, who had enough hair to compensate. "Didn't IT just go through here?"
"They called me in for extra help." Hardison started inching towards the opposite door.
"Yeah right," floppy-hair said, "Then why don't you have a staff badge?"
See, this is what he missed when he didn't have time, damn it.
Elliot cracked his knuckles and then the guys stood up. Hardison looked up and up. He didn't think they made white dudes that big.
"Go, Hardison, I got this," Elliot said.
Well, if Elliot had this, Hardison wasn't about to take it away from him.
Parker balanced on the dusty rigging just above the stage, watching as Harvey paced back and forth on his cell phone. It was amazing the things people would say when they didn't think anyone was listening.
"This game is gonna be a big hit, Colin, I can feel it. Can you get me any more of that kid's stuff? They're definitely going to green-light a sequel…"
She stepped off the narrow catwalk, letting the cord take her weight as she lowered herself to the stage. The short drop didn't even ruffle her hair as she touched down. Harvey never noticed her picking the slim black box off the table.
"Who cares if your cousin is bitching about it? Who's going to believe a twelve-year-old?"
Parker clicked the release and let the compressed air pulley system carry her back up, much more rapidly than she'd come down. They had less than a half-hour before Harvey was due to present. She hoped Hardison worked fast.
He didn't have time for finesse. Normally Hardison mocked anyone who needed to use a pre-made kitty script for hacking, but he'd written this particular code himself. In a pinch, it would do.
"Ten minutes," Parker counted down.
"I'm giving it all I've got," he told her. "I can't change the laws of physics!"
"Speaking of physics, I don't want to be hanging from the rafters when the curtain opens!"
"You guys have no appreciation." Hardison loaded the program disguised as the game launcher and disconnected the hard drive. He'd wiped every bit of Anarky's code from the thing. And just as soon as Hardison hit enter, a nasty little worm would attach itself to Harvey's email, erasing any of those files on his home computer. Sometimes he loved this job.
Parker took the hard drive. "Thanks. Live long and prosper."
He laughed as she disappeared into the shadows. Then he snatched up his laptop, hoping Elliot had cleared out the room so he could make his escape.
Hardison slid into the back row of the theater, right next to Anarky. Elliot and Parker appeared on opposite ends and took their seats. Hardison shifted against the hard metal back, you'd think somebody would've insisted on a cushion or something.
"Cutting it kinda close," Anarky hissed as the lights dropped.
"You can't rush genius, sweetheart." He winked at her.
The lights dimmed and the murmurs began to die down, a hush coming over the theater. Then the curtains drew back from the stage and Harvey appeared, waving to the crowd and grinning like a damn fool. "I know you all have been waiting for this!"
Everyone cheered. Hardison refrained.
"So rather than keep you in suspense, may I present the opening sequence for VidVision's newest game: Dream Avatar!" Harvey gestured to the screen behind him before moving off to the side and clicking on his laptop.
At first everything looked normal, the deep blue and purple intro for Dream Avatar appeared on the center of the stage. Then the screen fizzled and the opening screen for the video game dripped away. The words "I steal from children" appeared. Then it all went black leaving just the url for the site with the truth. Hardison grinned to himself; soon Anarky would get the right kind of attention for her game.
The crowd started to react, gasping and shouting. Soon the dimly lit theater was lit up with phones and laptops, all pulling up the site. Harvey had run to his laptop, pounded on his keyboard until he finally just unplugged the thing. "I'm sorry everyone! That's just a glitch, a prank…"
But the murmurs didn't die down. "This is bullshit!" someone shouted. The crowd started to exit the theater. Even if they didn't believe, everyone was disappointed to miss the game preview.
"Not bad on short notice," Hardison said. They melted into the crowd leaving, just a few more disappointed fans.
Once they got out of the crunch of people Anarky turned and fist-bumped him. "Dude, that was awesome."
"Nice work on the website." They'd had to give her something to do after all. The kid had some serious skills. Hardison might have to worry about some real competition in a few years. He made a mental note to give her info to Nate. It never hurt to have another hacker on call.
"So," Hardison said, "Now what? Still got plenty of con to check out."
"If you're going to stick around here, I'm going to head out." Elliot said, "I got invited out for drinks with Jared and Derek."
Hardison turned toward him. "Who the hell are Jared and Derek? Wait a minute, you mean those two dudes in the backroom?" At Elliot's nod he said, "You engage in some fisticuffs and all of a sudden you're best friends?"
Elliot slapped him on the shoulder, "They were only actors."
"Not sure what that's supposed to mean."
Parker tugged at her name badge. "I think I need a whip."
Hardison hoped she didn't want him to pick out one for her. "I think I saw someone selling 'em out on the exhibit floor." He stuck his hands in his pockets and looked over at Anarky. "Want to check out the Blizzard booth?"
"I heard they're giving out Lich King posters."
That was a definite yes then. Hardison grinned. They'd stuck it to a thieving exec, got to make some new friends, and with luck would be able to preview the next WoW expansion. Best comic con ever.