Sammie taps away at the keys of the laptop, her delicate face illuminated by the blue light coming from the screen.

This isn’t really something she wants to do. Some part of her screams against each number she pounds in, each piece of code that goes into securing the objective.

But this is for Jeff. Andy. Whatever his name is. He’s on the right side, and that is all that matters.

Or is it? Do the ends truly justify the means? How can she trust him, after everything he has kept from her?

It is too late to ponder that now. The deed is done.

“I’m in.” Sammie whispers, smiling weakly.

Jeff abandons his thorough search of the car to examine her work, putting an arm around her shoulder as he notes her success.

“Here.” he says, handing her the encryption code.  

She complies with the unspoken demand as he watches, wondering if his tone was really as cold as she heard it. Could it really be possible that he was lying, that what she had heard on the phone was true and his side of the story a meaningless facade? Was he...a killer?

Of course not. He loves me, doesn’t he? There’s just a lot at stake. Jeff has the right to be worried. Yes, that must be it. He’s worried, and so am I. I just need time to understand all of this.

Sammie leans into the crook of his arm, satisfied with her own reasoning. He pays no mind to her movement and stands stock-still as the page loads.

He turns the screen away from her suddenly, ice-blue eyes shooting up to her own momentarily.

“You can’t see this, Sammie. For your own good.”

She watches in silence as his expression changes from one of surprise to anger.

The laptop is slammed shut and put back into the trunk of the Jaguar, disappearing from view. Jeff opens the passenger door and makes a wild gesture for her to hurry.

“Get in the car!” He half-yells, even as she moves to sit inside, “We need to leave.”

Within a moment the vehicle is speeding down the street, rendering Sammie breathless as she struggles to secure her seatbelt.

“What happened?” she cries, trying to make herself heard above the noise, “Did Phoebe get-”

She notices Jeff’s sudden gesture and falls quiet, remembering that the car was supposedly bugged. Affiliating with dangerous people never was a good idea.

The small glimpse she had caught of the screen floats through her subconscious even as the car squeals forwards.

A bald eagle behind a shield, arrows in one talon and a branch in the other...American government.

Music suddenly blasts on the speakers behind her head, startling her until she remembers the purpose of such cacophony. Sammie’s eyes look up to the street almost involuntarily, just in time to see the building looming in front of the stopped car, one with a very clear purpose.

A jail.

Sammie feels the earlier speed catch up with her all too fast and, opening the door, retches onto the pavement.

Jeff leaves the car and comes around to where she is hanging half-out, handing her a water bottle and a few tissues.

“You okay, Sam?” he asks gently as she cleans the taste of acid from her mouth “I’m really sorry about driving so fast...I just need to talk to someone right now.”

Sammie nods and watches him jog off to the intimidating facility in front of them.

Her phone buzzes a few minutes later and she unlocks it, finding a message from Jeff.

20-13-3-17-42-1-5 X 28-4-41-17-1-41 X 6-2-4-8-66-13 X 41-28-4-17-13 J

She stares blankly a moment, before remembering what he had told her on some occasion that had been long forgotten. Something about ciphers, and using the order of letters in a particular document to convert them to numbers. He had demonstrated with ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’.

Sammie looks at the numbers and feels everything click, going through the song she had never thought would prove useful again until each corresponding number had been turned to a letter.

D...e..s, t...r..o...y...l..a.....p...t...o....p....c....h..a..n...g...e...p..l, a, t...e.

Destroy laptop, change plate.

Jeff was a genius sometimes, honestly.

Sammie pulls up the seat beside her, finding the alternate license plate that Jeff had pointed out along with a screwdriver and four bolts.

This couldn’t be as hard as hacking a high-level security system, could it?

The End

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