Chapter One

Parker's brow was really starting to sweat now. Her concentration was at its highest as she faced off with the ridiculously high tech safe of Emmett & Hughes Corporation. Her thin fingers moved flawlessly around the multiple spin dials of the safe's forefront while her right ear pressed tightly against the cool impenetrable metal that it was comprised of.

This kind of a safe was a challenge to her, a triple bypass system combined with a touch-sensitive barrier as the secondary failsafe. As soon as she saw the safe, she felt a twinge of excitement.

"Oh snap!" she had exclaimed loudly as she approached the impressive safe in the company's darkened basement.

"Oh snap what?" crackled Hardison in her ear.

"Nothing," she whispered back as she stared at the marvel.

Another voice popped up on the radio.

"Parker, are you sure you can crack that thing? It's a freaking monster," Eliot mused. Eliot was standing out in the hall, having first taken out the five guards guarding this company's well-kept secret, and now keeping a sharp lookout for further trouble.

Parker moved closer towards the safe and reached a slender hand out towards it.

"You're not a monster, you're beautiful….." Parker said comfortingly.

A crackle fell over the radio before she heard Eliot's husky voice again.

"Parker, are you talking to the safe? Oh my God, you big fr– " his voice cut out with a burst of static and Parker simply smiled at her newest best friend, all silvery and shiny.

Parker focused her thoughts as she stared at the intricacies of the safe and began to sharpen her focus. This kind of job would require her full attention and skill. She began to work; slowly at first and then laboriously as she learned the safe's clicks and thunks with her ears and hands.

She wasn't sure how long had passed, maybe fifteen minutes or so, before chatter of the radio broke her from her almost meditative concentration.

"Um, guys?" Hardison said, a hesitant urgency in the sound of his voice.

"What is it?" Eliot replied, ready to move.

"There's like……a small army headed your way. And they're already in the damn parking lot."

Eliot grumbled to himself.

"How many?" he answered, trying to remember what was the current highest number of people he had taken out solo.

"Too many Eliot," Hardison replied quickly. "I ain't talking like five guys dude. This is more like twenty."

Eliot pressed his lips together tightly. Part of him wanted to take them on, his current record high was taking out seventeen trained soldiers in Mumbai in '99. But the better part of him thought of Parker and how he couldn't risk her while patting his ego on the back.

"Fine. Mission abort," he said grumpily into his com.

He started back towards the safe room. "Parker, time to go."

He got no response.

"Parker? Parker!" he hissed.

Hardison piped up, a notable edge clear in his words.

"Eliot? What the hell is going on man? Those dudes are already in the lobby. Get Parker and get out."

"No kidding….."

Eliot turned the corner into the room where Parker was.

She was practically hugging the safe though Eliot knew she was still working on it and her com was hanging visibly from her ear which she had obviously pulled out at some point earlier.

"Dammit Parker!" he said angrily as he ushered into the room.

"WHAT!?" she turned towards him, annoyance apparent on her face.

Eliot's lip snarled in frustration and he ignored her, speaking directly back to Hardison.

"How far in are they Hardison?"

"Are you still in there? Damn, man! They're everywhere now. Ya'll better find someplace good to hide…"

Eliot rolled his eyes and grabbed Parker hard around her arm and began dragging her with him back towards the outer hallway.


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