(Set during Mid-Season 2 of Leverage)
Nathan Ford sat the paper folder down on the table
"It's a bit light, Sterling. What aren't you telling me?"
Jim Sterling sat across from Nathan Ford in a small bar called McRorys in downtown Boston. The rest of the bar was empty. They both sat at a plain wooden table with a chess set placed between them. Ford's knight was putting pressure on Sterling's defences.
Sterling looked at his whisky and swirled it round in his shot glass.
"Quite a bit, Nate, but you don't need to know what"
Nate picked up his knight and manoeuvred it round the board as if looking for a perfect place to set it down. His eyes lingered on Sterling's whisky shot. A small grin tugged at the edge of Sterling's mouth. Nate grimaced as he noticed it and took Sterling's rook, partially out of jealousy that Sterling could drink anytime he wanted to and whatever he wanted to, whilst Nate sat there and had to abstain as his conscience had told him over and over again, he was hiding. Hiding from Sam's death, which also indirectly caused his marriage to Maggie to fail. He was sure some psychiatrist would even say he was hiding from his childhood at the criminal hands of his father and the church which let him walk away from his vows. He looked at his coffee. He supposed it was mildly ironic that he spent most of his life hiding from things that would have eventually made him happy and now that he wasn't hiding, he had to give up what had truly made him happy. Alcohol
"What is it you want Sterling? You've never come to me before, why now? Why this?" a small modicum of anger crept into his voice
"IYS has just insured a gold shipment for over $100 million whilst it goes in transit from Paris to Heathrow by train. The journey should take about a day during which all the proper paperwork will be filed. I want you and your team to destroy the shipment and leave it buried somewhere deep, dark and populated by small horny headed people with pitchforks."
Nate picked up his coffee cup and sipped. He screwed his face up as he dismissed the thought that some whisky would make it taste more palatable.
"Now, why do you want us to scuttle a gold shipment? The owner seems a respectable European businessman, usual Zurich accounts, good reputation, and lots of credit in both finance and social circles. He seems slightly arrogant going by his history. Perfect life, perfect family, perfect background. Nothing bad has ever happened to him, so the question is why should we do this?"
Sterling drained his shot in one smooth gulp and slammed the glass down on the table
"It's Nazi gold!"
Nate closed his mouth. "This businessman...this Ethan Scriber...he's not a Nazi."
Sterling shook his head. "No, he's not. He is a typical rich bastard, he doesn't care where the gold comes from, and all he cares about is that it is his. I want this buried, Nate. Its blood money, in the purest sense of the word."
Nate shook his head "Gold that the Nazi's used to fund their war. Items, and belongings of their victims, melted down and made into bullion to produce viable currency for their war effort. According to the Bigelow report in '46, the Vatican was supposed to have held onto it...they denied it but...this stuff has never bothered you before Sterling. Or have I missed something?"
Sterling shook his head, "No, I may be a callous bastard, but this...it's...distasteful, Nate. Like a bad scotch or adding water to whisky." Sterling smiled slightly, but tried to mask it by refilling his glass.
Nate just nodded
"Let me pitch it to the team and give me a few days to go over all the variables"
Sterling stood up. "The gold moves at the weekend, you have 3 days to have a plan of some sort"
Five tickets were left sitting on the table, along with a small whisky shot. Nate's eyes lingered on it for a few seconds too long as he headed upstairs
"Why'd Sterling come to us? He hates our guts and we hate his!" Eliot Spencer slammed the knife down onto the chopping board he was using to cut up his vegetables. Renowned as a retrieval specialist, Eliot had more enemies and more people willing to kill him than anyone Nate had ever met. This made him slightly pessimistic and probably the most pragmatic member of the team.
Nate shrugged at the question. "Sterling is a lot of things but no one ever accused him of letting his emotions get in the way of business"
Tara Cole stood up
"I don't even know him, i am just here as a favout to Sophie but from what she said he is all business"
The team's grifter and all round con artist Tara was a true grifter. Merging into parts as and when she needed them and dabbling in a variety of skills that made up her roles. All in all Nate would call her esoteric to say the least
Nate poured himself a drink of coffee and tipped the cup to Sophie
"Yup and that's why we are all going along with his plan...except you two"
Alec Hardison, nerd, geek, fan of all things less than cool (to anyone but himself) and computer hacker extraordinaire glanced over towards Parker, blonde socially awkward female thief who knew no limitations. They both looked over at Nate
"...and what will we be doing?"
"Helping the law find us and bring us to justice, of course. Let's go steal us a train."
3 Days Later: Eliot ducked under the man's wild haymaker swing and put his shoulder into the man's stomach. He exhaled as all the air in his lungs rushed out of his body in one gasp. While he was bent double, Eliot jabbed him with a left into his jaw and then when his head swung to the right with the momentum of the punch he hit him with downward right fist to knock him out. He fell to the ground without a whimper.
"Just once, I'd like to see anyone but me do this part."
Nate sat in the restaurant car on the train and looked up at Tara as he perused the salad bar
"Uh-huh, I'll mark that down for the next meeting"
"Why don't you get Hardison to do this and I'll sit and push some buttons!"
Alec Hardison sat with Parker in a police station more than 50 miles away. Hardison put his hand up to his face to cover his mouth, as he coughed slightly
"Push some buttons? Do you have any idea what it is I actually do?"
Eliot rummaged through the man's pockets, emptied the man's semi automatic pistol, looked at his corporate ID stating in bold 'Scriber Investment' and his role as Security Consultant and put them both in the convenient bin.
"Scribers man is down. Looked to be Special Forces. What now?"
Nate stopped putting salad on his plate and looked out the train window as he saw Eliot leaving the men's toilet on the rail route from Paris to Dover. Passing some passengers sitting on an old tired wooden bench
"Get back on the train Eliot, and make sure our friend is discovered fairly soon"
"I left his foot sticking out of the cubicle, it shouldn't be long"
Nate screwed his face up
"Aren't those doors smooth floor to ceiling?"
"Yeh, but I still left his foot sticking out of the cubicle"
Nate went back to piling salad on his plate.
Hardison sat across from Sgt Baker of the local Kent constabulary. Across his desk were rail lines showing certain trains, stops and the channel tunnel and its stations were highlighted.
Sgt Baker looked at the both of them
"So how can we help Interpol?"
Hardison leaned over and drew a line with his finger culminating with a jabbed point at Ashford International station in Kent
"We believe the criminals are on the 0900 London Paris route and we want some...extra manpower to apprehend them when they arrive and try to transfer to a London train"
The sergeant nodded
"I'd have to get the ok from higher up but I will see what I can do
Nate sat down at the table and started moving his salad over his plate. Tara looked at him as she started looking appetizingly at the buffet on offer.
Nate rubbed his jaw to cover his mouth
"Parker, hows things on your end?"
Parker unscrewed the hatch above her as she lay under the storage car of the train and felt the wind of acceleration as the Eurostar was speeding along at speeds in excess of 100mph. Peeking her head through the hatch she quickly ducked back under the hatch as she silently lowered it
"Nate, there are some guys wearing all black examining the gold shipment. They have small guns with long clips, i think they are machine guns"
Eliot spoke to Parker
"Parker the gun is a mini Uzi, preference for that is a government agency called Shabak, Israeli Security. Nate, what the hell is going on?"
Nate stroked his chin and sipped his Vodka.
"Hardison, i need financials on Mr Scriber."
Hardison smiled at Sgt Baker and started accessing his phone
"Nate i am using my phone to access my computer back at the loft. According to all this, Scriber is one of the higher ups at the Vatican bank. Nothing unusual in his financials and nothing out of the ordinary happening at the bank. The guy is clean. No evidence of Nazi anything in his past. Are you sure?"
Nate nodded, more to himself than to anyone else
"No, Scriber isn't a Nazi, BUT he does work for the Vatican and they have had links with Nazi gold, ALTHOUGH they were cleared.", Nate paused. "Hardison, i need you to check Sterling's accounts, ins, outs any activity."
Hardison sat for a few seconds reading the data he was accumulating as he took it in.
"Nate, according to this there has been a dip in Sterling's account, he has bought a regional brewery in Boston, should be finalized in a day or two."
"Everyone we are clearing out, the whole gold shipment is legit, Shabat being here is to safeguard the gold for transport, i am guessing they are diversifying and moving this money to the Bank of England, they are backing up in case of another Credit Crunch. Scriber will be here to cross the 't's and dot the 'i's It is the only reason they would move so much currency at once."
Hardison covered his mouth to cover an imaginary cough
"Nate, what about the Nazi gold?"
Nate tipped his cup in a mock salute to an imaginary Sterling
"Never was one, Sterling just needed time."
"Nate! What about that guy i knocked out?", Eliot growled through the ear buds
"There is no permanent damage i am sure he will be fine. No lasting damage."
"Nate, i broke three of his ribs, fractured his jaw and i am fairly sure he will have a limp from now on"
"Eliot, there is nothing we can do, pull out"
2 days later: They all sat in McRorys pub in Boston as Nate sipped from his shot glass. Everyone looked despondant as they nursed their drinks.
Hardison looked up
"Why Nate? Why'd Sterling buy that brewery? Why'd he send us on that wild goose chase all over Europe?"
"We have egg on our face and we fell for one of Sterlings little jokes is one part of it, but there is another part as well..."
Hardison glanced over "Which is?"
"Sterling's brewery is supplying McRorys"
As one they all pushed their drinks away
Hardison pushed his seat back from the table
"Price is way too steep for me, man"
Eliot stood up
"Next time i see him i am gonna hit him so hard, his grankids are gonna be bruised!"
Next episode to watch: 2nd Season : The Zanzibar Marketplace Job