Ash Logan is a freelance computer consultant ... and a professional thief. A thief with honor, he believes, as he only retrieves items that have been stole from someone, returning them to the original owners.
He is also a loner, almost a prerequisite all things considered. He has second thoughts about that when he meets Mark Goode and they become friends with benefits. When Mark figures out Ash is a thief, he claims to be one as well. After some consideration, Ash agrees to take him along on his next job -- retrieving a stolen statuette.
When Mark betrays him by taking the statuette from him at gun point, Ash vows to get even. It will take all his skills as both a computer expert and a thief, but he has time and incentive, especially when he finds out who Mark really is -- Pete Dixon.
What happens next is complicated and may change both their lives, if they can survive a crooked art collector who wants Pete dead.
With the art gallery's security system taken care of, Ash used his electronic pick to open the door and then slid into the hallway, staying in the small area behind the overhead camera's vision. He gave a nod to let Mark know to join him. Then, after taking a few moments to time the camera's movements, Ash moved quickly to unlock the office door, slipped into the room, and closed it. He used his scanner to search for any hidden cameras which would record anyone who entered the room and store the information on discs to be looked at later. Not finding any, he texted Mark to join him. Moments later, Mark did.
Why here, not the storeroom? Mark texted.
Ash pointed to a standing safe in the far corner of the room before texting, As valuable as the statuette is, that's the logical place to keep it. If I'm wrong, then we play seek and find in the other room.
Going to the safe, Ash studied it before taking the tools he needed from his backpack. It took him a frustratingly long time to open the safe but it was worth it. If he'd been a normal thief he'd have thought he hit the jackpot as there was a cashbox full of fifties and hundreds, and another larger one with jewelry that he knew from his research was going to be part of an upcoming exhibit.
Ignoring the boxes, he picked up a small package wrapped in brown paper. Using the knife he carried in the quick-release forearm sheath, he cut the paper and found cotton batting. He removed it and silently sighed with relief when he saw the statuette. Wrapping the batting around it again, he put it into his backpack, sheathed his knife then turned to Mark and gestured toward the door while texting, Don't worry about being seen. They won't get here in time.
Mark nodded and opened the door. Within seconds they were through it and the gallery's rear door. No alarms sounded, but Ash knew there were silent ones. It wouldn't be long before the cops and probably men from the security company showed up.
"Don't unmask until we get to the end of the alley," Ash said before he headed toward the street. They pulled off their masks when they reached it, and from there made it to where they'd parked with no problem.
Then, as Ash started around his car, he heard Mark say, "I'll take the statuette now, if you don't mind." Ash turned to find Mark right behind him, holding a gun.
"What the hell!" Ash spat out.
Mark shrugged. "I was hired by a collector who is very interested in getting his hands on the statuette. He considered using you to do the job until he learned that you only steal items that were stolen from someone else and that you always return them to their original owners. At that point, he was approached by the man who owns the gallery about buying the statuette; however he didn't like the price Harkins was asking. That's where I came into the picture." He smiled, adding, "I don't have your scruples, so to speak," as he held out his hand. "Please give it to me. I like you, so I really don't want to shoot you unless it's absolutely necessary."
Ash considered trying to grab the gun, but thought better of it. Mark might well carry out his threat and Ash wasn't big on getting shot if he could avoid it. "Here, you son-of-a-bitch," he said, thrusting the wrapped statuette at Mark.
"Now your knife, please."
"Why the hell ...?" Ash debated but only for a second before giving it to him.
"Thank you. It was fun while it lasted but as they say, all good things must come to an end." Mark used the knife to slash the car's front tire then tossed it on the ground under the car. "Tell the lady who owned this I'm sorry. Not that I am but it might make her feel better." He winked, and then with one swift move smashed the butt of the gun against Ash's temple.
The last thing Ash remembered as he hit the ground was the sound of Mark's footsteps as he walked away.