Safe Room

Jeff pulls Sammie out of Phoebe's clutches, and pushes her unceremoniously toward the safe room. She hesitates, bewildered. So much has happened in the last few minutes that she can't process it all at once.

"Go!"Jeff yells. "Dom and I have this covered."

He faces the door, his gun at the ready in case anyone else comes through. Phoebe falls back from the extinguisher blast, but recovers quickly. Dripping wet and furious, she draws a 9mm handgun, and waves it around wildly as she tries to take aim at Jeff, Sammie or Dom, but it's hard to see through the thick smoke that is now billowing into the bedroom. Dom throws the empty canister in Phoebe's general direction, and  luckily connects with her chest. She falls flat on her back in the hallway, with a startled grunt. Jeff runs forward and slams the door. He turns and follows Dom, who has already made it to the safe room. As soon as everyone is safely inside, Sarah closes the secret entrance door as per Jeff's instructions.

Melissa jumps off the couch and runs to Dom as he comes into the room. She buries her face in his chest, and sobs as though her heart will break.

"You could have been killed. The look on Phoebe's face was wild and crazy. I could see everything from here. She had a gun!"

"I know. I saw it briefly when I hurled the extinguisher at her. She couldn't get a bead on any of us before she went down. We're all safe now. Come sit with me. We all need time to relax and recover from all the insanity going on out there," Dom says as he gently leads Melissa to one end of the couch.  She curls up in his protective arms, trying to control her trembling.

Sammie goes to the other end of the couch and slumps down in a heap, all of her adrenaline and energy spent.  Jeff picks up a tissue from a box on the coffee table and sits down beside her. He gently swabs her eyes, which are still streaming from the smoke. Sarah leaves her position at the keypad, and confronts Jeff on the couch. Her eyes blaze with anger.

"What the Hell is all of that about?" Sarah demands, as she gestures towards the other side of the room. "What have you and your sister dragged Sammie into?"

Jeff calmly faces Sarah's wrath and sighs.

"To begin with, Phoebe isn't my biological sister. We're just two kids who grew up as best we could on the mean streets of New York City. We share the common surname of Wisniewski, but we're not actually related. There's no love lost between us. We have no family to speak of, so we became siblings of the street, like other homeless kids in the Polish community. We didn't go to school regularly, until one of the Polish crime families took us in, gave us an education, and trained us in the criminal ways of the mob."

As Jeff speaks, Sarah pulls the other lounge closer to the couch. She wrings her hands nervously while he continues.

"I showed an academic aptitude early on, while Phoebe showed an aptitude for, well ... anything criminal. By the age of ten, she was an accomplished pick pocket. She rose quickly in the ranks of the seedy underbelly of organized crime, while I was sent on to University, funded by the Polish mob. I became a master bookkeeper. A hacker would get into an institution's, computers, and I would do some creative bookkeeping from there. I could transfer funds from any institution to accounts held by the mob, all over the world. I was involved in global fraud operations. Then I was caught by the CIA."

"Why would the CIA be interested in you?" Dom interrupts. They deal in global intelligence - spies and stuff. You're involved in federal crime, more likely the jurisdiction of the FBI."

"True. My fraudulent activities got me into a multinational ring of thieves that launders stolen money across state and international borders. That's a federal offence, so the FBI is involved. Some of the money pays international spies that steal armament information and other top secrets from the USA and other free world countries. That's where the CIA comes in. Third world despots and dictators use the stolen funds to commit acts of terrorism all over the world, including the USA. That's where Homeland Security comes in. I'm a sort of one-stop-shopping sort of criminal," Jeff says.

Melissa Pulls herself out of Dom's embrace and turns sideways to glare at Jeff accusingly on the other end of the couch.

"That's the group the CIA was investigating when I was there. You were Andy Wisniewski, then. I was under the impression that you were on our side, Jeff."

"I was, by that time. I was undercover. A year earlier I was caught during a huge investigation that involved the CIA as well as the other two top agencies. I was sick of my life of crime anyway, sick of destroying innocent lives by fraud. I had helped small countries like Greece go bankrupt. That weighed heavily on my mind. I did strictly white collar crime, I never killed anyone, or directly caused anyone's death. That's why the authorities agreed to give me immunity if I helped bring down the money laundering ring, as well as the Polish mob. If it was dispersed, I could get away from it all, and become a law abiding citizen somewhere not affected by my criminal past."

"Where does Phoebe come into all of this?" Dom turns toward Jeff. 

"I hadn't seen Phoebe since we were kids until a year ago. She was already entrenched in the money laundering team when I became a part of it. Large amounts of illegally gained money is filtered through legitimate sources to avoid prison on tax evasion charges. The international currencies I gave Phoebe tonight are all laundered money. She is supposed to distribute it when and where she is told to do so. The problem is, it looked like she might grab the money and run, leaving me to take the consequences. I was given her passport, so she couldn't flee. Her henchmen were only given part of the money, so she had to stay put until I showed up."

The End

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