While they plan around their personnel problems, the door opens and Mark Dreven walks in. He is Harry’s old partner and friend, the ex-cop turned private eye who is also a mage of considerable skill. He’s come to them for help.
He was working a job for Madison. There was a package she needed retrieved from thieves – a wooden box with unknown contents. He found the box at a guarded warehouse, but there were too many obstacles for him to get it out by himself. It’s being transported out tonight. The warehouse belongs to Laithe Delacroix, and it’s his men guarding it. Harry intercepts another 32B radio call, asking for transport to the warehouse for pickup.
They split up their tasks. Dylan provides overwatch with a sniper rifle. Jacob and Cross plan on infiltrating and retrieving the box. Xander starts taking out the sentries and providing close backup, while Harry and Mark provide Plan B and tactical assistance.
They’re all on comms provided by Xander, picked up for use on the Silky Kitty Job.
A gunfight ensues, and gets even more hectic when a band of assassins here to kill Xander show up, led by the goblin assassin Pale.
She has a brief scuffle with Xander, but he clearly outmatches her, and she fades into the night. The box is retrieved, and they manage to escape before the cops get there thanks to a diversion of Xander’s combat driving.
At Nighthawks, Mark confirms the box is what he was contracted to get. Jacob shocks everyone by saying that he had seen the box before, for it was him who stole it from Madison for Laithe. It was his previous job before Veronica’s kidnapping. He was approached by a cutout to break into one of Madison’s buildings, leave behind a tech device of unknown abilities, and steal this one box out of a high security vault. After the job he chanced into seeing the Mr. Johnson again, and followed him to a meeting with Laithe, and realized he was the origin of the contract.
After a lot of consideration, they open the box. Inside is a circular sheet of naturally formed, dirty glass. Mark attempts to view it with his wizard sight, and is knocked unconscious from whatever he sees. Harry takes samples of the dirt and glass, they take pictures of it, and go to return it to Madison.
After meeting with Madison and returning it, Jacob decides to come clean about his involvement. Madison is naturally pissed, but gamely listens to the group and to Jacob as he tells her his story. Cross secretly texts Veronica to come in and help Jacob out, which she does just by coming in and thanking all of them again for everything they did for her, etc.
Madison forgives him, and asks them to work for her in finding out who set up the entire thing. She believes that it’s Laithe, and hints at several things between them.
They leave, and Cross bails out of the car before they get too far in order to sneak back and be with Veronica.
Back at Nighthawks, before they collect their various vehicles and leave, Mark explains to them about The Game. How there are Players, Pieces and Pawns in descending order of power. How Laithe is a Player, and Madison is positioning herself to become one, and how as people who influence things, they are all Pieces. He explains that they are safe from direct intervention by Laithe because they are either owed favors by Madison, or because they are working for her and thus under her protection by the rules of The Game.