gaisce: (Can you say "iconic"?)
Flourishing Verdantly ([personal profile] gaisce) wrote2009-08-29 02:37 am

[Leverage/DC] A Fine, Fine Line

I've been trying to write seriously for two weeks now and failing miserably. So I decided to say screw it and go with something dumb. [ profile] chash, this isn't what you asked for but you're getting it anyway.

Title: A Fine, Fine Line
Series: Leverage/DC comics
Spoilers/warnings: Too dumb for real plot. Technically set in the second season for Leverage. DC has nothing it wouldn't retcon away if they could.
Wordcount: 1,470
Summary: Hardison learns some things even hackers shouldn’t try to get around.

“Aw naw, you are not—okay, now I’m seri—don’t even try that.”

It was easy to know when Hardison was flustered because he stopped speaking in full sentences. Nobody knew if that was because he was finishing them on the keyboard or if they simply descended into untranslated emoticons and texting acronyms, but they didn’t bother to ask. Eliot said Hardison was hard enough to understand without the added tech-geek filter.

It would have been easy to ignore, except for the fact that it was a running commentary going on ten minutes.

“Stop playing around,” Eliot grumbled from across the kitchen.

“You think I’m playing? Do you think this is some video game or second life platform? I am doing some very serious work here!”

“He’s right. It’s not a video game. There would be more pictures,” Parker provided helpfully from her vantage point of directly over Hardison’s shoulder. “Are you downloading movies? That’s still illegal.”

The hacker startled, turning to Parker before something on the screen caused him to revert his full attention. He still managed to grumble out, “Like hacking into the Pentagon isn’t.”

“There are no clients involved in military contracts right now,” Eliot said. Because leave it to him to be completely uninterested in their conversation until it involved people that made it their business to blow up stuff and bust heads.

“First, you—” he nodded to Parker, “—need to get a Netflix subscription. And second, this isn’t about the Pentagon. I’m up against an actual ethernet threat, not some IT jarhead who thinks putting camo on the harddrive makes their programming invisible.”

“Just what are you doing that’s got another hacker breathing down your neck?”

“It’s nothing!” Hardison protested, “Man, it’s just getting to the day and age where if you say anything there’s a red flag. They’re probably just phishing from one of my dummy accounts. It’s like they’re stalking me Facebook style. N-not that I have one of those. I just used double checked that site in that con with the kid whose stepfather embezzled—”


“Look, this doesn’t have anything to do with a case. Sometimes these things happen. You get a certain amount of people with reps they’re gonna butt heads. It’s a small world wide web.”

Parker leaned in over Hardison, and he could feel a stray bang of her hair brush against his ear. “I thought it was a pool. From the fishing and the way you talk about hackers comparing rods...”

Hardison twitched and shifted over in his seat, typing furiously. “There are a lot of names for it okay? And—aw no. No, come on this is just excessive—!! Seriously?!”

A brief look of concern flickered on Eliot’s face. Thankfully while Hardison was too fully focused on his laptop screen and Parker was too busy watching Hardison’s face twitch for either of them to notice it.

“What happened?”

“That cheating—he spammed me!”

“What? Like those e-mail messages about the Nigerian guys? He got you with that?”

Hardison shut the laptop with a final click. Running his hands through his hair he made a noise that Eliot had only heard in final stages of select Mossad torture sessions.

“The lights are still on,” Parker said helpfully.

“Yeah, I thought there’d be more explosions for your whining. What gives?”

Hardison gave a long, pained breath. “I didn’t think I’d get that much resistance on the site. It’s a standard system OPAC! Even a seven year old could crack it!”

“OPAC, what’s an OPAC? Hardison, if they hacked into your system...”

“No, no. Nothing like that. I was just trying to erase some fines and they hit me outta nowhere. I tried to double back out of it but by the time I had finished clearing my trail they...”

“They what?”

“...they spoiled me.”

“Huh? Spoiled you? Like what, ruined your experience with any other computer program again, it was that good?”

Hardison shot Eliot a dirty look. “It was a data bomb. Designed to explode information as soon as it got in, like a worm but specifically designed to drop the load and disintegrate. The bomb was coded with screenshots of the new season of Dr. Who, plot specs, and the...the summary for the end of the last Percy Jackson book.”

“You got spoiled. For a book.”

“I was trying to get into an online catalogue for the library through a back door. Erase late fees and some other stuff. This is the kind of hack I can do with both eyes closed but there was an electronic tripwire in the system. How was I supposed to know that? It’s like putting a titanium safe outside on your lawn.”

“That happened before,” Parker said. “This man wanted to keep his jade collection in the corner of the garden for some feng shui thing, but he didn’t trust his lawn gnome surveillance system and—” she threw her hands up in the air. Parker language for how she knew the system intimately because she always ended up stealing it.

Eliot laughed. “Let me get this straight. You just got your ass handed back to you all over, what? Five bucks in late fees?”

“That is against the American Library Association charter. Using past browsing history against a patron. They’re not even supposed to keep records in the system after thirty days,” Hardison continued on his rant, clearly trying to block out their helpful input. “Maybe I just wanted to stay anonymous in my reading huh? What’s so illegal about that?”

“Why didn’t you just buy the books?”

“Because I’m not going to have some Twilight rip-off in my Amazon recommended reading list, man. You got to know sometimes you’ve got needs but you don’t want anyone to know. And I’m not giving that author any legit money for it. I’ve got standards to keep.”

“That has got to be the dumbest reason I’ve ever heard.”

“But it’s legal,” Parker said, shooting Eliot a glare as she sidled up to Hardison. “We need to support our local libraries and other community helpers. Because we’re the good guys now.”

Hardison coughed as Parker’s weight found itself against his arm. “R-right yeah. So I’m going to those fees online then. And while I’m at it, rewire some of the local corporation’s wifi to boost their library in-house signal.”

Eliot smirked at him, but for once Hardison wasn’t even in the mood to defrag his laptop as a back up precaution. He had to go and submerge his mind in other cutting edge pop culture series to keep this kind of embarrassing incident from ever happening again.

“What was all that about?” Dinah Lance asked as she heard the faint rattle of computer keys give way into silence.

Her companion leaned back in her chair, a wry smile on her lips. “Just a little morning exercise.”

“You look way too happy to be starting in black market rerouting. Please tell me you weren’t talking with those chatroom people who keep track of Batman sightings like UFOs.”

“Nothing serious and nothing as ridiculous as that. I was just giving a local hacker a taste of librarian justice when he tried to clear his fines without paying them.”

“Oooh, hitting at the sensitive spots.”

“He’s lucky he still has spots to hit,” Oracle grabbed a coffee mug and took a sip. She gazed over the rim of her glasses, looking at his photo as if she could understand him if she stared long enough. “I’ve been keeping tabs on his work and Hardison seems like a good kid otherwise. Only hits targets that have already been going through some shady legal investigation, and none of his funds are stolen from public or civic sources. It’s almost like he’s trying to stay as close to Robin Hood as he can. Except for a few personal morality slips like his iTunes account seems to show.”

“I can understand someone like that.”

Oracle grinned at her friend. “You would. If Oliver Queen could get over his technology phobia, he’d be right there with him. Good thing Hardison and Queen have other people to keep them in check.”

“I provide the phyical butt kickings and you provide the cyber beatdown.”

“I really meant his teammates, but I wouldn’t hesitate doing it again if doesn’t learn. And next time I’ll make sure his only internet recourse will be a public library terminal.”

“I love it when your vigilante streak goes wild over non-world threatening things like this.”

Oracle sat up in her chair, adopting her sternest librarian face. “Lending is a privilege, not a right. And I already put a hold on that Star Trek book he’d been hording for two months now.”

“Oh jeez...I take it back. You really do scare me sometimes.”

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