The Double, Double Cross Job
Later that evening while Nate, Sophie, and Parker sat inside their club together for one last night before it was given away to one of Lang's earlier victims, Dan walked into the hideout where the team sat and watched as Ray and the rest of his friends were trashing the Den of the Five Thieves. He learned that this was the place where the team he had hired had taken everything they had stolen back from the thugs.
Dan walked over to the large safe and oddly found that it was slightly open. He bent down in front of it to open it all the way and began to search through the items, looking for something in particular.
Suddenly a familiar voice spoke up from behind him saying, "Are you looking for this?"
Dan quickly spun around and saw that Hardison was standing there with the odd looking statue in his hands. He could see that Alec knew the truth from the disappointment he wore on his face and that lying to him was pointless. Dan realized then how this confrontation was going to end. Despite the fact that Alec was a thief, he was also a good man. It wasn't going to end well.
Dan sheepishly responded, "Alec, please listen. I can explain. Wait, do you have a com in your ear?"
"I don't think that you really have to explain," Hardison replied as he slowly pulled out the tiny ear piece from his ear and crushed it under his foot. "I have a pretty good idea what's going on. It was my job to search for the people whom Ray and your pals stole from and make sure that the right paperwork and money got back to them. Thanks to the books you kept that accounted for everything that was stolen, we know exactly what goes where; everything except for this ugly statue. Now, I thought to myself, why wouldn't he have kept an account of where it was stolen from, unless he planned on keeping it? What could this thing possibly worth?"
"It isn't worth anything," Dan cut in. "That's why I didn't mark it down. I don't even know why Ray or the others didn't toss it in the first place."
Hardison answered, "After doing the research and finding nothing on it, I was about to give up until I accidentally managed to pick up an electronic signal on one of my gadgets that is coming from inside the statue. The statue itself isn't valuable at all. It's whatever information is on the computer chip inside. There's no way to decode the information without breaking the statue. You have no computer skills. How did you know about it and why do you want it so bad?"
Dan shrugged and responded, "Not too long ago, I was hired by a wealthy benefactor to find and steal this statue for him. I had no idea why he wanted it. He offered to pay me a lot. I couldn't pass it up. I…"
"It was your idea to rob from the clubs and other businesses, not Ray's," Hardison interrupted. "Ray may have taken it farther when he came up with the scheme to force the owners to pay for your protection services and then steal them out from under them once you see they will treat you well, but you started it all. Why?"
"I lived in gangs and on the streets for years, until I met Ray," Dan began to get angry as he defended himself. "He took me in and taught me that we needed to do whatever it takes to survive. Stealing is the way to do that. You should know that better than anyone."
Hardison replied, "What you've done is wrong. You know…"
Dan shouted, "What right do you have to lecture me on what's right and what's wrong? You're a thief, Alec."
"You're right," he responded. "But I've never hurt anyone. You killed two people and threatened everyone else. I work with those who fight for those who have been wronged by thugs like Ray and you. We steal from those who have stolen from others to get where they've gotten."
"Just like Robin Hood," Dan scoffed. "Ray was the one who killed the owners, not me. Listen, Alec. I am begging you to give that statue to me right now and let me go. In fact, come with me. We can work together and sell that chip to the highest bidder. We can be rich."
"Until you betray me just like you did Ray and the others," Hardison said. "My friends warned me that you were up to something. I didn't want to see it. I defended you and I was wrong."
It was then that Dan finally pulled out a gun and pointed it straight at Hardison as he replied, "Then, you leave me with no choice. Either give me the statue, or I will pull this trigger. Just because you're like a brother to me, doesn't mean that I won't shoot you."
Hardison tossed the statue over to Dan and answered, "We will find you and make you pay for the role you played in your schemes. The fact that I care for you will not change that. We're the best at what we do."
Dan caught the statue, clicked the glock of the gun, and responded, "I think the rest of your team will be too buy taking care of you to come after me any time soon. By then, I'll be long gone. I'm sorry, Alec."
Nate, Sophie, Parker, and Eliot continued to sit at the table inside the club. Nate just drank the beer that was placed in front of him as he and Sophie discussed how they were going to redistribute the money and owner's papers back. Parker was listening, but she seemed to be concentrating more on picking at the food on her plate. Eliot was staring off at nothing as he focused more on the conversation he had with Hardison.
After a few minutes, the hitter slammed his fist on the table and left the room, while Nate, Sophie, and Parker stared at him as he left as Parker asked, "How did this job go so wrong? We should be celebrating because we won. Instead, we're breaking up and leaving things unsaid."
Sophie nodded sadly as she answered, "I'm not sure, Parker. This wasn't supposed to happen."
"We'll fix the air between us," Nate responded. "The five of us do good work together. Apart, we're just plain thieves who are lost."
"I hope you're right," Parker replied.
After Eliot left the club, he slowly began to walk toward the hotel where they were staying. Just as he was about to enter the building, his cell phone suddenly began to ring. He wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone, but when he saw that the caller id said Hardison, he put the phone to his ear and answered.
However, as he did so, he didn't hear his friend talking to him, but to Dan instead as he heard Hardison say, "I don't think that you really have to explain. I have a pretty good idea what's going on. It was my job to search for the people whom Ray and your pals stole from and make sure that the right paperwork and money got back to them."
Eliot put his phone on speaker as he quickly texted an urgent message to Nate and the others, telling them to get to the construction site where they had stashed everything from their job right away. He knew that Hardison must have dialed his number without Dan knowing that he had.
He then ran there himself as fast as he could. He didn't like where the conversation between Hardison and Dan was going, especially when he heard the hurt in his friend's voice because of his brother's betrayal. Things got worse as he heard that Dan had pulled a gun on Hardison.
The conversation continued with Dan as he said, "Then, you leave me with no choice. Either give me the statue, or I will pull this trigger. Just because you're like a brother to me, doesn't mean that I won't shoot you."
Eliot heard Hardison answer back, "We will find you and make you pay for the role you played in your schemes. The fact that I care for you will not change that. We're the best at what we do."
It was then that he heard Dan reply, "I think the rest of your team will be too buy taking care of you to come after me any time soon. By then, I'll be long gone. I'm sorry, Alec."
Eliot stopped dead in his tracks as he suddenly heard the gunshot. However, he snapped out of his shock and took off running even faster than he was before. Eliot always feared deep down that one day their luck would run out, but he always expected it to be either him or Nate, not Hardison. He was after all the computer geek.