Wow. I wasn't expecting such a massive response!!! Thank you ! And thanks to Starseeded, who beta'd!
This chapter is less Transformer focused. It introduces you to the Leverage cast, if you don't already know them!
It's also a bit shorter (I think it's the shortest chapter overall), so sorry guys!
There were enough people in McRory's bar that they wouldn't be noticed, but not enough to make it difficult to find a seat, which is why it was the perfect place to hold a meeting. Nate Ford and Sophie Devereaux sat at the end of the bar, drinks in hand, as they waited for their potential clients to walk in. They sat in a comfortable silence, both content with being in each other's presence.
The silence lasted the five minutes it took for their clients to walk in, one o'clock exactly, and easily identified from the background check Hardison had run to make sure it wasn't a set up. Major William Lennox and civilian Samuel Witwicky: the only connection between the pair that could be found was their presence at the Mission City terrorist attacks and an incident in Egypt four months ago.
It was unclear why they wanted to meet with the Leverage team. They had refused to speak with Nate about it over the phone, which made him edgy.
"Mr Witwicky, Mr Lennox, please, take a seat." Sophie welcomed them warmly. "What can we do for you today?"
Both men sat down as Sophie took in their appearance. They were dressed to blend in. Nothing that would attract attention, unmarked baseball caps to hide their face, which looked tired and wary. They looked like they were hiding from someone.
"It's just Sam and Will, really," Samuel Witwicky introduced them, "I take it you're Nate Ford?"
Nate took a sip of his coffer before nodding. "Yes. This is Sophie Devereaux; she's a part of the team. What can we do for you today Sam?"
Sam looked slightly hesitant to begin, but after looking around to see if anyone was listening in started. "Well, two years ago-"
"Sorry, look," Will interrupted looking around to see if anyone was listening in, "What we have is highly classified information. Do you have anywhere more…secure to talk about this?"
Nate stared at him, trying to figure out if it was worth irritating the rest of the team by taking them to their 'office'. Sophie nudged him with her foot and nodded. "Right, if you'll follow me we'll take you somewhere we can talk."
Opening the door to his flat above the bar, Nate saw Hardison sat on the sofa playing on his Playstation 3, Eliot cleaning his knives on the dinner table and Parker was… well Parker was being Parker.
Hearing the door open, all three had looked up, eyes focussing on them before sliding behind him. Simultaneously, three sets of eyes narrowed.
"Take a seat on the sofa." He gestured to the potential clients, ignoring his team's clearly annoyed gazes for the moment. "Hardison's on the sofa - turn the game off – he's our hacker; Eliot's at the table, Eliot's a retrieval specialist and hitter; the resident thief is climbing in through the window, she's Parker; Sophie, she's the grifter, acting is what she does best. I'm the 'honest man' who helped put the team together."
The team approached to shake hands, before moving to the sofas and taking their usual places. When everyone was comfortably sat down, with refreshments courtesy of Sophie – ever the professional – Nate began. "Okay, Mr. Lennox, Mr. Witwicky, the flat is secure. If you'd like to tell us the problem, we'll see if we can help."
Sam put a small pile of folders on the coffee table. "Right, for you to understand this properly, we need to start with what happened a few years ago. It's gonna sound insane, but these folders can tell you everything you need to know. Just over two years ago I bought a car, a '76 Camaro, yellow with black stripes. There was a couple things wrong with it; sticky breaks, faulty radio, faded paint, but it was a cheap four grand car, so it was expected. What I didn't expect was for this car to drive off on its own the same night."
"But cars don't do that," Parker interrupted. No one answered, so she looked around anxiously, "They don't – do they?"
"Yeah, well, most don't. So, I followed it to a scrap yard. I hid behind another car and watched it transform. Into a giant robot. Turns out that it's not just a giant robot, but a giant alien robot, fighting a war to save Earth, and there are more of them."
There was silence.
"Kid, I don't know what you're trying to pull, but I have better things to do than play games." Eliot growled and stood up, ready to 'escort' the men out.
"No, Sam's telling the truth." Will hurriedly assured them. "Look in the folders. The Mission city attack in '07 was caused by them. There are two factions –Autobots and Decepticons. The Decepticons were after something called the All-spark, this cube that created life for them, and wanted to use it to take over and destroy Earth.
"The Autobots – the good guys – wanted to stop them, and ended up wrecking half the city before the cubed was destroyed by Sam here. The Decepticon's have attacked more than a dozen times over the past two years and a secret government team, NEST, have assisted the Autobots. I was the leader of NEST before it got shut down a few months ago."
"I knew it!" Hardison exclaimed excitedly. Everyone turned to look at him as he started typing rapidly onto his keyboard. Images flashed onto the screen as he started to talk. "About two days after the mission city 'terrorist' attack, all information was wiped. Literally, a government black out. Just mentioning it online raised red flags. But, before that there was talk about giant robots, army tanks and jets attacking the city. There were even a few fuzzy pictures."
As if to punctuate what he was saying, blurry images appeared on screen, along with witness reports. "Images like this have popped up a few times over the past two years, but it's the same after Mission City: everything gets wiped. Man, I knew somethin' was going on! This is better than Star trek man!"
"Right," Will moved on, "if you look in the folders, you'll see reports on NEST, the Autobot's, Presidential secrecy orders, and the truth behind certain terrorist attacks"
Everyone picked up a folder and started flicking through. Nate looked up from a spec's report of an Autobot called 'Optimus Prime', including pictures of a blue and red Peterbilt. "Say we believe you. What do you need us for? We provide 'leverage' against the rich and powerful. We don't fight giant alien robots."
"That's not what we want you to do, don't worry" Sam reassured the team. "September last year the President appointed National security advisor Theodore Galloway director to NEST, giving him control over everything. Now Galloway, he's a real nasty piece of work. Prejudiced, greedy shit. He wanted the Autobots gone. Thought the 'cons would leave if we got rid of the 'bots. Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, agreed that if that was what everyone wanted, they would go, but chances were, the 'Con's would stay – this was before what happened in September – so Galloway was furious.
"What with what happened in Egypt – that's detailed in the folder you're holding." he gestured to Nate, "He shut NEST down, waited until the Autobots were in recharge, and puts them in cryostasis. That was a few months ago. Since then the Decepticons have been attacking whenever they want."
Will continued where Sam left off. "New York, two weeks ago, four apartment buildings collapsed, several more critically damaged and over a thousand dead or injured. PR said a gas line explosion, but it was Starscream having fun. Three cruise ships sank in a 'collision' a month ago – Megatron picked one out of the sea and dropped it on another, before firing on a third. There are more examples. They're running riot and there's no one to stop them because NEST was dismantled."
"But that's not the only reason we came to you," Sam continued. "The Autobot's are friends, family. Bumblebee's my best friend, and Optimus is like a father, and we want them back. What we want you to do, is break them out."
Two hours later, and a more detailed explanation of the 'giant alien robots' later the team plus Will and Sam were working on the basis of a plan.
"Hardison, what've you got on Galloway so far?" Nate barked at the hacker as he paced in front of the screens.
"Theodore Galloway. Late forties, no wife or kids. Parents dead, one brother, Erik, who's a low level government worker-"
"Erik with a 'c' or a 'k'?" Parker interrupted, head tilted slightly to one side as she gazed across the room at Hardison from her seat on the kitchen counter.
"With a 'k', why?"
"Erik with a 'c', nice and friendly, Erik with a 'k' is nasty." She stated in an 'everyone-knows-that' tone.
"Right, well it's with a 'k' so he's nasty like his brother. Anyway. No hobbies, only upcoming social event in his calendar is a government function, the 'Soiree Prestige Fundraising Gala' in L.A., nothing exciting, finance is normal, two properties, a house in Washington, and an apartment in New York. This guy is boring with a capital 'B'. Man needs to get a life." Hardison muttered.
Sam smirked. "You're telling me. I pity anyone who's subjected to him."
"Yeah, but while he's off inflicting himself on Government sleaze balls, we're defenceless against the enemy and wasting time ducking the tail he's put on us." Will spoke angrily.
"Which is why we're going to remove you from his radar completely. Don't worry, Will, we'll sort everything out." Sophie reassured the duo before turning to Hardison as he continued.
"Hoover Dam. Do you know how difficult it was to get the plans for this place? Do you? Hmm? Feeling a little underappreciated here-"
"Hardison, get on with it," Nate interrupted, unsurprised by Hardison's mini-rant. He tended to do it every now and then.
"Humph. Right, well. Hoover Dam received seven pieces of large cargo from a San Diego military base shortly after NEST was shut down. That's the Autobots. Scientists clear out around eleven pm, but start at five in the morning, so we have a four hour gap if we want to stay on the safe side. Security doubles between nine pm and six am, and part of the security team monitors the Autobots through a security feed. Corridor patrols every twenty minutes in a grid search pattern, with four guards in each group and five groups a floor."
"Sounds about right from when we were there two years ago. They beefed up the security a bit since then though. Shows they have at least some common sense, as much as I hate to admit it." Will mentioned.
"Every ones has a bit of sense. Just some have less than others. So, only way in or out is the main entrance. You have to have a pass to get in. If you want to go anywhere when you get in, you need the electric pass and fingerprints of someone with authorisation to be there. To get where the Autobots are held, you need top clearance. Thirty scientists have that clearance, but only on the times their supposed to be in. Galloway has an all access pass twenty-four seven. He's our best bet." The hacker finished, leaning back into his chair.
Nate stopped pacing. "That's our way in. This is what we're going to do."