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Jess Garcia

I will bring this family down, no matter what the cost.

0 · 559 views · located in Manhattan, New York

a character in “In Mafia Vita”, originally authored by partially-stars, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Jessica Garcia

Undercover Agent/ Liaison

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Full Name:| Jessica Maria Garcia
Nicknames:| Everyone just calls me Jess. My code name is Minerva.
Age:| 34
Gender:| Female
Orientation:| Straight
Originally From:| New York, New York.
Currently Living:| Upper East Side, right where I can keep an eye on the Genovese family.
Occupation:| I'm the liaison on this case.

Likes:| Things I like? I love seeing the bad guys get what they deserve. I love Italian food. I enjoy jogging and keeping fit in general. I love guys who are gentlemen, but not patronizing towards women. I'm not going to lie, I do enjoy getting to carry a gun as part of my job. I love movies that get you on the edge of your seat, but I enjoy a good old tear-jerker. I love being able to lounge around the house in my baggiest t-shirt and old tracksuit bottoms, but I do enjoy dressing up to go out. I love to play softball.
Dislikes:| I hate letting bad guys get away. I hate patronizing guys. And assholes. Definitely assholes. I hate it when people ruin good food by making it too fancy. I strongly dislike the rain. I hate playboys. I hate guys who can't be faithful.
Fears:| Death. I can't abide the thoughts of that eternal blackness. I'd be willing to die in my line of work, though, if it meant saving lives. I never want to be wrongly disgraced from my job. It's my life. And this is going to sound so stupid, but I'm petrified of water. I can't swim.
Secrets:| Well, yeah, I'm a cop. I'm also keeping the fact that our former techie is still alive a secret.

Hobbies:| I don't have a lot of free time, but I like to work out. It's important to be fit in my line of work. I like to read, just about anything. If I have a few hours to myself, I'll watch a couple of movies. I play a little softball with the FBI team. Yeah, we have a team. Don't sound so surprised.
Talents:| I'd like to think I'm good at keeping secrets. Hopefully I am, otherwise I'm putting this whole operation at risk. I've got pretty good aim when it comes to guns. I'm good at sticking to my undercover character. I'm good at talking people into dropping weapons and letting go of agents and whatever. I cook a mean lasagna.
Deficits:| There are some emotions I just can't hide, like anger or sadness. I can hardly walk in heels. I let my personal feelings and grudges interfere with my work. The extent of my ability to multi-task is being able to walk and text at the same time. Anything more than that and I get really confused.
Weapons:| I have my standard FBI issue handgun, 9mm rounds.

Personality:| There are so many words to describe who I really am. I suppose I should begin with the fact that my job is my life. It's what I've always wanted to do, and now that it means I can see the Genovese family toppled, it means all the more. Sometimes it means that my personal life gets a little, uh, neglected. I suppose you might say I'm a fitness freak. When I'm not working, I'm usually running or playing softball. What can I say? It's a great way to meet guys. And they tend not to be patronizing when they realize I can easily outrun them. I don't even have to mention the fact I carry a gun. I'd like to think I'm a good leader. I try to lead by example, and I'll listen to their problems, even if they're not work-related. I'm incredibly loyal. I'd like to think I'm friendly to anyone outside of the Genovese family, and I'm a bit of fun on nights out with my team.

I'm far from perfect, though. I will stop at nothing to bring this family down. And I mean nothing. I'm willing to disregard orders, risk agents, even risk my own life. Normally I would never dream of doing any of these things, but hate is a powerful emotion. I want to see the head of this family dead, preferably by my gun. As you can tell, I'm pretty vengeful. I also tend to talk with my fists. While softball is my sport, I do a little kickboxing as well. Self defense and all that. I don't waste time or words. If I think you done it, I will get a confession out of you anyway possible.

History:| My father was an Italian, working in the New York police force. My mother was a New Yorker, born and raised, working in the coffee shop the cops frequented. They met, dated and got married. Shortly after my parents got married, my mom quit her job at the coffee shop and got her dream job at a local restaurant. A few years later, I was born. I had a happy enough childhood, I suppose. I always knew I wanted to be a cop. I was the girl in the playground who stood up to the bullies, no matter how big they were. I had a few friends, but most guys avoided me because they didn't like a girl standing up for them. The girls didn't particularly like me either, because while they were out shopping in their pretty pink skirts with their moms, I was playing softball with my dad. That was fine by me. I loved playing softball with my dad. But when I was fourteen, just starting high school, my dad was killed. Apparently he busted one drugs operation too many. My mom admitted to me that she knew it was the Genovese family. Apparently they'd had a grudge against him for ages. The police couldn't prove it was, though, and the case went unsolved. That just made me all the more determined to become a cop.

All through high school, I harbored that grudge against the Genovese family. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I kept playing softball. I made sure my grades were high enough to get me into police academy. I got in and started training. I graduated and immediately started working in the New York PD. I worked my way up to Detective, where I was perfectly happy. I got to put away the bad guys, have a little authority, and I wasn't stuck behind a desk all the time. Then another Genovese case came along. I was almost sure of it, and called in the Organised Crime branch of the FBI. They confirmed my suspicions. We still couldn't pin down the assassin. We came so freaking close, though, it frustrated me. The FBI saw something they liked in me, and they recruited me. I earned my respect in the FBI and worked up a little authority. We managed to bust a few smaller gangs, and I became well-known in my field. Well, kind of. I swear, I nearly cried with joy when the Genovese son came to me. I was appointed liaison for the case. It took ages, but I managed to integrate a few agents into the family. I could taste sweet revenge when we got that USB stick. But when our mole was forced to plunge into the ocean... Yeah. We had serious discussions about the viability of our operation. We were even in the conference room, talking about that very subject, when I got the call. I finally managed to persuade my superiors that we could pull this off. I'm willing to put anything on the line to make this operation succeed. Including my life.

Miscellaneous:| I drive a black Mini Cooper. Yeah, it's not what you'd expect a FBI agent to be driving, but that's kinda the point. When an SUV is called for, I hitch a ride with someone who drives one of them. We use them on the way to scenes and whatever.

So begins...

Jess Garcia's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Victoria Genovese Character Portrait: Adrianna Scott Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Anthony "Tony" Rizzo Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Sienna Rose Character Portrait: Mick Carter Character Portrait: Nate Hagen Character Portrait: Kole Marinos Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese Character Portrait: Rebecca Vendetti Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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#, as written by Korrye
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Genovese Mansion
Victoria felt her anger surging. She hummed with frustration, her fingers clenching the edge of the kitchen counter top until her knuckles turned white. Clenching her teeth, she exhaled through her teeth and looked at the floor before glancing up at the cater waiter who had dropped a platter of sparkling champagne in taking a corner too sharply. The crystal flutes had shattered, covering a large expanse of the slate floor. On top of that, Victoria was in the middle of the mess and bits of glass now graced her feet, cutting her nylons and sticking to her gown. She had come in to check on their progress and she had been showered in both the glasses and their contents. “I’m so, so...so sorry Mrs. Genovese…” the waiter apologized frantically. Victoria heard the fear dripping from her words. When she looked up at the girl she recognized that she was no older than her own daughter, though terrible cowed and far less stubborn. The girl gasped when Victoria leveled a gaze with her, flicking a hand out and sending a splash of champagne off of her fingertips and to the floor. “I’m fine,” she forced herself to say. If she didn't the poor girl might panic more and do something worse. The waiter looked about ready to burst into tears. Two thousand dollars worth of crystal now littered the floor and the champagne itself was soaking further into her evening gown. The emerald silk was ruined and still dripping. As she stepped forward slowly the glass crunched audibly beneath her Louboutin heels. Each step earned a wince from her staff. Once she was out of the initial pile of champagne flutes, Victoria hiked her dress up into her hands, rubbing the silk with her thumb only to earn herself a cut from a stray shard of crystal.

“Clean this up,” Victoria ordered. She turned to face her staff who merely looked back at her stunned. Their eyes glanced over her and they all remained still, looking at her with mixed expressions of surprise, fear and horror. “Now!” she barked, her voice cutting. A gasp followed and the hum of activity returned to them all. She sighed as she walked out of the kitchen, hearing the loud sniping of her head chef as he re-asserted control. Victoria frowned, closing her eyes as she proceeded to the main staircase, thankful that guests would not be arriving for another half hour. That said, some of their companions liked to arrive earlier, curious if there was ever disarray. She could not let them see any of this.

As she hurried herself up the stairs, she looked over her shoulder at the main entrance of their Manhattan townhouse, the sweeping steps polished to perfection. Two butlers stood at attention by the main doors to receive guests, while security remained outside the doors on the steps with the valet. Months ago, it would have only been one individual assigned to watch the entry of people into the mansion, the main gates and their security enough to prevent people from pulling stunts. For the evening, Jonathon had requested extra. His business associates would be meeting with him that evening and with everyone there on top of family friends it was sure to be a full house of interesting people. She hoped the additional security was enough.

Shaking her head, she ushered herself up to her bedroom, passing by the doors of her children’s rooms. She lingered, feeling herself soften as she neared Charlee’s door. Victoria paused and tried to listen. In hearing nothing she moved by, knowing that she had told them all to be back at the mansion on time and that it was possible that her daughter had gone to the salon to get herself prepared for the gala. As she continued on, she passed by her eldest son’s door. Lincoln had had class. It was a Monday after all. His semester had just started. Hopefully the accountant had paid his tuition. The thought made her add another note to her long mental list of things to check up on. Continuing on her way she passed Dylan’s door, evident given that it was the most papered over with signs and stickers. She knocked, trying to open it only to find it locked - as was usual.

“Half an hour sweet,” Victoria reminded him, disappointed that she couldn't actually tell him in person. “And you know how we feel about you locking your door.”

With that she moved beyond her children’s rooms, only pausing as she passed the last door on her left. Pushing it open, she could almost see Kole at his desk, hunched over some textbook and fighting himself to pay attention. It wasn’t hard to remember him looking up at her, smiling and sighing. Though he had been adopted into the family, she felt like she had lost a child when he had moved out. When Lincoln had moved into Cornell student residence it hadn’t quite been the same. He was still home on weekends, and evenings more often than not. With Kole gone, Victoria could go weeks without seeing him. Jonathon and Nate still had close contact but he felt remarkably absent from her. She would have to speak to him later about that, about coming to dinner more often or...something. Jonathon had assured her he was coming. Kole had cancelled a lot lately – something about his position becoming more tenuous. She had always thought it was a bad idea for him to go into the police academy. Maybe she should try to talk to him about that too? But that seemed difficult. She would be expected downstairs shortly and the business side of the evening would command her attention before the art auction would start – the front for their evening. Then there was the speech and a talk by Kole and then Nathaniel. Then the two leading men had a meeting with some movie star who had somehow weaseled her way into the event. Then there was dinner and ultimately no time alone with any of them. It was stressful just thinking about all that she needed to remember. She had to meet with the MET people downstairs too, right away, as they brought the works in that were for sale. All of this meant that she didn’t have time to get dressed again.

It all flooded her mind in short bursts, her thought process bringing her back to the fact that her dress was half soaked in champagne. As she stepped away from the guest room she sighed again, feeling the tension flood from her shoulders as she proceeded to her wing of the house. The master bedroom was behind a set of double doors. Victoria Her heels clicked across the hardwood floors as she moved towards her walk-in closet. Two steps into the room and she dropped the wet skirt of her dress and proceeded to unzip it only for it to get stuck and slightly beyond her reach between her shoulder blades. “This party will be the death of me,” she muttered angrily. While she knew she was overreacting, it felt better to say something. They had certainly faced worse.





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Genovese Mansion
Kole Marinos was never early. Today was most certainly an anomaly. The twenty four year old walked up the length of the driveway, past the tall pillar columns that signaled the main entrance to the family stead. He could still remember being fifteen and arriving at the Genovese mansion for the first time. Like an excited dog he had practically had his head out the window, marveling at the gargantuan grandeur of the home. Years later, he recognized that it paled in comparison to the estates of many other upper east side dwellers – if anything the Genovese family as relatively subdued. Still, he could not deny that it impressed him. As he approached the tall double doors, he made eye contact with the three men clustered on the front steps. They all looked him over, the butler smiling while the security guards assessed the potential threat that he posed. It had been six weeks since he had last been at the mansion itself, enough time for Jonathon to hire new bouncers.

“Pierre,” Kole smiled at the butler. “Master Kole! How pleasant to see you again,” the valet replied, moving forward to hug him only to find his way barred by one of the security personnel. It was enough for Kole’s smile to falter. “Are you on the list?” he demanded, looking down at an iPhone in his hand and scrolling through a pre-approved list. “It’s Kole Marinos,” the butler said, aghast at the idea of one of the family being questioned. “It’s okay. I understand the precaution,” he smiled, watching as the security guard scrolled through the list, confirmed that he was in fact on it, and nodded him through. “Mr. Genovese wishes to see you in the library.”

“I was counting on that,” Kole nodded, moving beyond the threshold and into the impressive manor, pausing to adjust his suit. He pulled on his shirt collar, irritated by the starchy quality of the fabric. It felt constricting. The moment that he stepped into the manor little seemed different. Unlike his apartment in the Upper West Side, the Genovese mansion felt like home. The scents were familiar. The feel and touch of it felt far more normal. Yet he felt almost a stranger to it on his own. Immediately his hands went to the tie around his neck, loosening the knot so that he could undo it and pull it off. The staff standing offside watched him, amused as Kole appeared relieved when the fabric was stowed in his pocket. Undoing the top two buttons of his dress shirt, he finally felt freed.

With that dealt with, he proceeded knowingly through the halls of the mansion, hearing a loud chorus of voices coming from the kitchen as he moved toward the back end of the mansion. He was early by some twenty minutes for the first time…in ever. He approached the library cautiously but in hearing nothing he stepped inside, confronted with the sitting room attached to Jonathon’s office and no one else. He’d certainly never been first before. He just wondered who would be second, or whether he would have a moment along with Jonathon. Or even Nate. He needed to tell them about what he had been forced to do. He could still see it. Whenever he closed his eyes, he saw the fat headed pig who had managed to figure out who he was, the look in his eyes before he shot him and the spray of blood that had followed after he had been gunned down in his own home by Kole himself. The memory came with a shriek in his ears, leaving him uncomfortable and jumpy. He sat down on the couch facing the door for that reason, allowing himself to hold his head in his hands and to think about anything but that night - which unfortunately proved futile for the moment. He had even drawn concerned looks at the office that morning he had been so out of it.

It is currently 7:40pm on Monday January 7th 2013. An art auction and gala has been organized at the Genovese mansion in support of a charity called Homeward Bound which helps underprivileged youth in Manhattan have after school programs to be apart of, tutors and halfway houses. The business associates are to meet with Jonathon at 8:00pm. The auction will start shortly after, providing a cover for the meeting. Of course, afterward all associates are invited to enjoy the Gala with the other guests. The incident involving the old techie happened in late September but the hiring of the new techie has made it fresh in the minds of the family again. (I've put it four months ago so that he had time to recuperate) What's more, the FBI organized a raid on one of the family restaurants in the Upper West Side the day before. While the family was tipped off and nothing came of it, the family is tense regardless. In the aftermath an FBI handler was killed by informant Kole Marinos to prevent the knowledge of his position from being leaked.

The setting changes from genovese-mansion to Upper East Side

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Victoria Genovese Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Kole Marinos Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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Jess slipped in the side gate which had been designated for staff. She'd been forced to temporarily dye her hair black, although the guy in the salon assured her that it would wash straight out. She was wearing glasses with a thin black frame and brown contacts. Her hair was up in a bun and she was wearing lipstick and eye make-up. She felt nothing like herself, and the outfit wasn't helping either. She had been walking laps of her flat in the heels to get used to them.

Usually, she was in her field gear of army boots, combats, a t-shirt and her FBI jacket. If she had to do a press conference, she dressed up slightly, in a pair of black trousers, black flats and a white shirt. When she was working out, she wore her FBI t-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and trainers. She never wore skirts, heels, or overly elaborate make-up. She didn't dye her hair.

The only reason she had strayed out of her comfort zone tonight was the Genovese gala. She needed to confer with her agents following the busted restaurant raid. The only way she could do that was by going undercover herself. Her superiors had warned her to be careful. When you did as many interviews as she did regarding the Genovese family, your face tended to become well-known. She had been forced to dye her hair, wear contacts and glasses and do make-up, all to avoid recognition. Her handgun was strapped to her thigh, but she was slightly concerned about accessing it. She'd much rather burst into the gala with a SWAT team, get her agents out, and bust Jonathon Genovese in the one operation. Apparently that was a risk to civilians, though, and Jess had barely managed to get clearance to get her gun in there, let alone a fully armed SWAT team.

When she arrived in the kitchen, she was met with a tray of champagne and an order. "You! Go wait by the entrance! Give the guests champagne!" She had difficulty not telling the small man who had shoved the tray into her hands where to go, but instead she bit her tongue and smiled politely. The house was still quiet, and she skirted the clean-up operation. She noted a small alcove where she wouldn't be seen, and took her chance. She darted into it and pulled slips of paper from a pocket in her skirt. She wrapped them around the necks of the glass.

She had developed the idea while running through Central Park. They were similar to fortune cookies. Each had a message written on them. She hadn't been quite sure how she was going to use them, but the glasses provided a perfect opportunity. She pulled a Sharpie from the same pocket and began marking the slips as she wrapped them around the necks of the champagne classes. The genius was, she had three messages for her agents. They all read, "Minerva's wisdom is found in the Garden of Night." Anyone else would brush it off as nonsense, but it was a carefully crafted code that her agents would understand. Minerva was her codename, and she hoped that they would get the message to meet her in the garden at nightfall. She marked the ones with the codes with a vertical line, and the rest with a horizontal line.

Making sure the lines were facing her, she walked towards the front door, a smile on her face, ready to welcome the guests. As she took her place, she couldn't help but think,

Here goes nothing...

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Dylan was already dressed in preparation for the event. He was dressed simply, wearing a white shirt and black trousers. A black jacket was lying on his bed, ready to be put on when he was finished. He was sitting at his desk, working on his robot. He heard a knock on his door and his mother's voice. He had his door locked and the remote was by his hand. The remote was similar to that of an Apple TV remote in appearance, sleek and silver, but had only one black button on it. It controlled the deadlock on his door, which worked with a variety of magnets and electric currents. "Half an hour sweet," He heard his mother say. He lifted the remote and was about to open the door, when his mother added, "And you know how we feel about you locking your door." He grinned, and as he was about to press the button to allow her access, she heard her walking away. He set the remote back down beside him and continued to try and fix the wiring connecting the camera, mounted on the body of the robot, to the robot's chip. His grin faded as he tried to reconnect the wires. With a click and a grin, the wire slipped into it's spot and Dylan leaned back, a satisfied smile on his face.

He got to his feet and self-consciously smelt his hands. They still smelt faintly of metal, but it wasn't overpowering. He pulled on his jacket and checked his appearance in the mirror. His hair was slightly ruffled from when he had ran his fingers through it in frustration, and he smoothed it back down again. He adjusted his jacket slightly and brushed a few metal filings from his trousers.

He wasn't particularly looking forward to the gala. He knew he was going to be the youngest there. He would have to make small talk with old men who knew nothing about robotics, engineering, or hacking. His parents wouldn't particularly approve of him slipping away from the party to try and complete his robot. He had already Googled practically everyone on the guest list, and there wasn't anybody who was even slightly involved in the computer industry coming. The family's newest techie might be there, but he wasn't sure.

Thinking about the techie reminded him of his old friend. At events like this, they had sat down the back for most of it and discussed various topics of interest. Dylan smiled a little sadly. His father had essentially killed his friend. He couldn't hate his father for it. He knew that his father had only done it to protect the family.

Dylan sighed and smiled at his reflection. The reflection returned the smile, perfecting the image of a gentleman. Dylan adjusted the final few things, and picked the remote up from his desk, pressing the release button on it. The deadlock slid back, and he opened his bedroom door.

There appeared to be a commotion coming from the kitchen. Dylan ignored it and instead headed downstairs. He saw a familiar figure outside his fathers office and approached. He cracked a grin as he saw it was Kole. "Hey, Kole!" He said cheerfully, leaning on the doorpost.

The setting changes from upper-east-side to Genovese Mansion

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Mick Carter Character Portrait: Nate Hagen Character Portrait: Kole Marinos
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#, as written by Tigarus
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-The Mancini Incident-

Oct 27th, 2012, 6:29AM, Sebago Beach Recreation Area in Harriman State Park, 35 miles north of the city. A brisk October wind blew through the maple trees, the soothing rush of air brought back memories of camping with his family as a child. It was early dawn; the sun would soon rise, illuminating the calm waters of Lake Sebago. In the empty parking lot of the recreation center, Mick Carter was leaning against a payphone eyeing his black Honda sport bike propped up on its kickstand. Wearing a black leather jacket and navy blue jeans, only his silhouette against the lake could be seen with the feint red glow of a cigarette. Mick glanced at his watch and took a long drag before tossing the cigarette on the asphalt; it was time to make the call.

Picking up the phone's cold handle, he inserted a few quarters and began to dial; the number had long since been memorized. It rang once and a woman picked up with an emotionless tone.

"Technical support."
"Bishop 95573," Mick responded without hesitation.
"Status?"
"Castle Juniper," he replied, signaling that he was alone and safe.
"Hold please."

Several electronic ticks could be heard as the call was transferred. One long beep and the surly voice of Mick's FBI handler came through.

"Jesus Ethan, are you ok?"

"What the fuck just happened Frank?! I just killed Danny Mancini with my bare hands! I walked out of the bar with him and the guy pulled a fucking hand cannon on me and told me that he knew I was Fed and had evidence to prove it. Christ Frank, he knew my real name! Thank god that fat fuck had butterfingers or I'd be dead!" A moment went by before Frank spoke. "Don't worry Ethan, since you called earlier, our guys took care of it off the logs. There won't be any questions given Danny's...unique pastime. Accidents happen doing that sort of thing," referring to the fact that Mancini was known to make BDSM fantasies a reality at lesser known brothel's around town.

Hearing Frank Karpathy's composed voice was reassuring. It was Mick's only contact to the real world, but he couldn't help but think that the FBI didn't have his best interests in mind. Calming down with a sigh of relief, Mick turned his body and stared at the horizon beyond the lake, its lush blue pallet growing brighter. "How did he find out, do we have a leak?", Mick questioned, as he watched a flock of geese land on the water. Frank coughed and put his mouth closer to the microphone speaking quietly. "Look, I don't know how this happened, but I'll damn well look into it. If it came from us, it's worse than I thought. Regardless, we're too close to pull you out now." The Genovese Family's influence reached far and wide. Mick wondered if they were powerful enough to have federal agents on their payroll and how highly ranked to get information like that.

"Ok, what do I do now?", he asked, already knowing Frank's answer.


-22 Hours Ago-

Jan 7th, 9:47PM, the engine of his '95 Chevy Caprice came to life as FBI Special Agent Frank Karpathy pushed the pedal to the floor. They had been sniffing out a mole for months and just had a big break. Cell phone to his ear, the call to Jess Garcia went straight to voice mail. "Jess, the plan worked, we've narrowed it down to half a dozen! Within ten minutes of notifying the task force of the raid, several calls were made from its location to a one mile radius of the Genovese's estate," Frank gasped as he rushed home with a manila folder full of files, "I'm about to crosscheck these logs with the previous ones and we'll have our guy. Call me back."

The Caprice rounded the last corner and pulled into his driveway. Frank grabbed the folder off the passenger seat as he exited the car and hurried to the front door while fumbling for his house key. Once inside, he instinctively flipped both deadbolts before walking down the hall to his office filing cabinet. As he passed through the living room, a dark figure rose from a chair, startling Frank enough to drop the folder and stumble backwards for the light switch. In front of him was the young Kole Marinos with a gun aimed at his chest.

"You're..,"Frank's sentence was abruptly cut short by two 9mm rounds.


-Present Day, 7:40PM-

Mick felt out of place in his black sport jacket as he watched finely dressed servants dash across the floor with trays of food. Just a moment ago, he was enjoying a cigarette on the rooftop terrace before Nate Hagen asked him for some privacy. Nate had been with another man whom Mick had never seen before, but it was common enough for the family members to talk alone with their associates that it didn't draw suspicion. Regardless, Mick took note of the man's characteristics and facial features should he need them in the future. At this point, there was little else to do, but grab a drink before the meeting. It's doubtful they were serving whiskey, but he could settle for anything that did the job. Across the room from him a girl was serving champagne in a tight shirt, short black skirt, and with a familiar face.

The setting changes from genovese-mansion to Manhattan, New York

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Kalista Ross Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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Crap.... I guess we're all doing it.

The setting changes from manhattan-new-york to Genovese Mansion

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Kalista Ross Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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Kalista Ross

Stepping out of her red Mustang, Kalista made sure to conceal to pistol at her thigh as well as the switch blade on her other thigh. In retrospect, wearing this beautiful dress was not been the greatest of ideas when she had a pistol with her, but the dress needed to be worn somewhere and this gathering seemed like the perfect place. Furthermore, Kalista had been in a good mood that day and wearing the gorgeous dress was representation of that.

As Kalista stepped out of the car, her black heels clicked slightly on the pavement. She looked around at the waiting cars with a look of indifference before leaning down to check her makeup in the side mirror. Seeing everything in order, Kalista stood up as tall as she could. She was a petite woman standing at only about five feet and the heels only added about two or three inches. However, since the entire Ross line had been very short, Kalista’s father had always told her that standing up straight, keeping your head up, and being proud of your height made people look past the fact that you were a shrimp. Lord knows where Kalista would have been had her father not told her that. Perhaps the only reason people had respect for Kalista was because of her pride and her ability to stand up to men twice her size.

Kalista stepped up to the waiting valet and placed the key in his hands. She stepped closer to the man, leaning over to him with a smile on her face and whispered into his ear, “If I see the slightest scratch on this car, you’ll be gone before anyone can miss you.” At first, the looked incredulously at Kalista, and finally, perhaps realizing the family that he was working for, realized that she was completely serious and went wide-eyed. The man nodded hastily and hurried around the car to the driver’s seat.
Kalista chuckled, as she watched the valet drive the car away cautiously; once looking behind him only to see Kalista’s eyes staring daggers at him. When the car was out of sight, Kalista ve one last chuckle and stepped up to the front door of the Genovese mansion. The bouncer stopped her and looked down at her for a moment with curiosity before a large smile became plastered on his face.

Kalista squinted up at him, crossed her arms in front of her, and tapped her foot impatiently. “Is there a reason you’re grinning like an idiot?”

The bouncer let out a rather loud laugh. “Ya haven’t changed a bit have ya, Skin.”

Kalista was normally able to keep every one of her emotions off her face; however, she couldn’t keep the small look of shock off her face as the man used her military nickname. Kalista scrutinized his face for a moment before she broke out in a grin as well. “Squint?” She asked, only just recognizing the man she hadn’t seen in years.

The man, “Squint”, didn’t say anything, but pulled Kalista in for a tight hug. Kalista laughed joyfully, something she hadn’t done in a long time. She returned the tight hug and then pulled back, smiling at the large man. “I didn’t know you were a bouncer for the family.”

Squint raised a single eyebrow at Kalista and gave her a fake half smile. “I bet you ten bucks I know what you’re doing for this family,” he said in a tone that told Kalista that he disapproved of her chosen occupation. Moreover than the other men Kalista had met overseas, Squint had always been the most protective and, even though he was smiling, she knew that he really did not approve.

Kalista’s smile faltered for a moment, but she plastered it back on her face quickly. However, Squint gave her a look that told her he had seen to quick look of dismay. Kalista sighed and dropped the façade. “Look, Squint, I ain’t proud of what I do, but I’m good at it and it pays the bills.” Suddenly, Kalista felt small. She had not felt this vulnerable in years and it didn’t feel good. Feeling emensly uncomfortable, Kalista stood up tall once more and put on her mask of indifference.

Squint looked like he wanted to argue with her, but seeing the already impatient line behind Kalista, he decided against it. He gave a heavy sigh, knowing better than to argue with Kalista. Instead, he nodded to her, quickly checked the phone in his hand to make sure she was on the list, and pulled her into another hug. He told her to find him if she ever wanted to have catch up, but knew that the attempt to rekindle their friendship would most likely be in vain.

With that, Kalista cast one last smile over her shoulder at Squint as she made her way through the doors to the mansion. She wished that she had kept in touch with the men she had fought with. The only time she ever seemed to be truly happy was around them. However, after becoming an assassin and a thief, Kalista knew that none of them would look at her in the same big-brother way that they had before. Kalista gave a short sigh of dismay at the thought, but quickly put back the mask of indifference over her features.

Kalista took a glass of champagne from a woman whom she knew that she recognized. She looked suspiciously after the woman, making a note to keep an eye on her, but otherwise walked on further into the mansion. Kalista didn’t show it, but she felt uncomfortable among them. She has always hated crowds. She loved sitting back and people watching, but being inside the crowd made her antsy. Especially a crowd such as this one; one full of snobby, malicious, rich people who were willing to do anything for their status. Kalista knew for a fact that many people thought the exact same thing about her and perhaps they were correct, but no one would ever be stupid enough to tell Kalista that. She gave a small into her champagne glass as she thought of this.

Kalista looked around at the crowd of people observing a work of art. Nearly every single one of them was feigning interest very well, and a few were pretending to understand the “meaning” behind the artwork. Kalista sighed to herself thinking about the fact that she should be acting more sociable, but the fact of the matter was that she would rather be at home at the moment. Maybe stealing something from one of these men would make me feel better, Kalista thought sarcastically.

Working for a crime boss had its perks and it also had its downsides. For example, being paid handsomely for jobs and coming to events such as this one were both perks; however, a downside was having no room for mistakes. Although, being as cocky as she was, Kalista knew that she had never made a mistake. Everyone thought that letting the drug dealer go had been a mistake, but Kalista knew that someone in the family had to be suspicious of her “slip-up”, seeing as she never made a mistake that big. Kalista frowned slightly to herself as she thought of her nephew. What if he had decided to show up at this event and finally exact revenge on the Genovese family? What if this was the night that Kalista would have to decide between killing the last standing member of her family, or most likely being taken out herself?

Kalista shook the frown from her face. What is wrong with me? I’m letting these strangers see my true emotions, Kalista thought to herself and she made her way through a throng of guests.

She noticed Dylan and Shae speaking and made a mental note of where they were. If her nephew, or anyone dangerous for that matter, decided to show up, Kalista wanted to keep them safe. Kalista’s job was not specifically to check up on the family, but she had always known that it was implied. She was supposed to take out anyone or anything that threatened the family, but that meant that she had to keep an eye on them to know who was threatening them. Besides, ever since the boss had basically saved her from herself when she had come back from combat, Kalista was eternally in debt to him. She would protect his family whether it was part of her job or not.

Kalista stood stiffly at on one wall for several moments before realizing that she must look quite strange with her elegant dress on as well as the stance of a bodyguard. Kalista forcibly loosened her muscles and made herself to look personable. She put on a slight smile and leaned slightly on one leg, making herself look as if she was a guest simply enjoying the night rather than an assassin who was only there because she had been summoned for a meeting with the boss.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Mick Carter
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Mick wasn't mistaken. In the corner serving champagne was his FBI handler, Jess Garcia. What the hell was she thinking coming here as ex-NYPD and a well known Fed? The dumb bitch could get herself killed if any one of a hundred people recognized her and he would only be able to sit there and watch. It better be important to pull a reckless stunt like this. Mick made his way through the crowd and approached Jess trying to act calm.

"Excuse me, do you know where I can find some whiskey?"

The setting changes from genovese-mansion to Manhattan, New York

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Mick Carter Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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Jess carefully noted everybody who came in, whether they accepted champagne or not. Sienna Rose, the head of the Met. She knew the second in command of the family. Worth noting. Kalista Ross, assassin. Jess had to try hard not to narrow her eyes at her. Victoria Genovese herself even passed. Jess was constantly conscious of the time passing. She had to try and find Ethan, and get out as quickly as possible. Then Mick appeared. He recognized her, she knew it. "Excuse me, do you know where I can find some whiskey?"

She smiled politely. "Of course, sir. Follow me." She handed the tray to one of the other servants, giving them the look she gave her agents when they needed to know not to mess with her. Once they were out of site, Jess took off her glasses. "I don't have a lot of time. I've got to get out as soon as I can. I'm not safe, and while I'm here, neither are you. I got a call this morning. Frank's apartment was completely destroyed in a gas explosion. He had called me only minutes before, saying he was an inch away from finding our mole." She glanced back to where she was supposed to be. "I'm really sorry, Ethan. Listen... I've got to go. I'm only here until I can talk to all of my agents, but swing by the office tomorrow. We can talk this out. Please, don't do anything stupid. I can't lose any more good agents." She put a hand on his arm and pulled a bottle of whiskey and a glass from a cupboard, handing them to him. As she put her glasses back on, she sighed. "I'm really sorry, Mick." The switch to his alias reminded her- and hopefully him- of where they were and who they were surrounded by.

She strode across the hall once again, taking the tray back from the disgruntled servant. She readied her smile, but her mind was on the phone call she had received earlier that day.

Manhattan, 5.00 AM

Jess was out running in early morning Manhattan. Nightmares had awoken her and the only way she could calm her thoughts was by doing a little working out. The streets were quiet, and she met very few people on her run. As she passed Central Park, her phone began to ring. Nobody but her team would contact her this early in the morning. She pulled it from her pocket and answered it, a little out of breath.

"Jessica Garcia."

"Jess, it's important. Where are you?"

She looked around. "Central Park. No-one suspicious. What's wrong?"

"Can you smell smoke?"

One of the stranger questions she'd been asked in her career, considering the context.

"Uh, yeah, actually. What the hell is wrong? Don't beat around the bush, Nolan."

"That's from Frank Karpathy's apartment. Gas explosion, apparently. Two civilians dead, as well as Frank."

"Fuck."

Jess stared towards Frank's apartment, before sprinting back in the direction she came from, struggling to hold her phone to her ear. "Have you got a forensics team there?" She shouted into her phone. "Yeah. I don't think there's going to be much left for them to process, though, Jess."

Present, Genovese Mansion

Jess blinked and returned to the present. They had been so freaking close. And then they had lost it. And him. Frank had been a good agent. His name had been added to the list that Jess had promised herself she would shoot Jonathon Genovese for. She had a hard time keeping her composure, but she managed.

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Dylan sighed. Kole and Nate had disappeared, leaving him with no-one to talk to. He watched everyone, from the waitress serving champagne to the new techie. He had slipped his phone into his pocket and was waiting for an opportunity to pull it out and start toying with some website. He had already been to the kitchens to make sure they held Kole his pigs in blankets. He knew all too well his mother wouldn't necessarily approve of Kole's choice, but that wasn't Dylan's problem.

He had to admit, he was a little bitter. He was tired of being treated like a kid by everyone. Sure, he was only fifteen. The fact remained, if he tried, he could hack into all of their bank accounts and donate the contents to a charity, while looking as if he was merely playing one of those brainless games that other boys of his age liked. He didn't want to be involved in the business, but he wanted to be treated with respect. He positioned himself where he could meet the guests, a gracious smile on his face.

He was lost in his own thoughts when Charlee appeared. He missed what she said to him, but his grin widened as he realised she was there. "Hey, sis. Enjoying the opportunity to get dressed up? I know I'm not- well, not really." He said, smiling at his older sister.

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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The roaring engines of the three SUV's growled as they came to an abrupt stop in front of their destination. A seemingly unremarkable business office in Manhattan but in truth this was the field office of the FBI's organized crime task force led by Agent Liaison Jessica Garcia. At the moment her new partner whom she had yet to meet had stepped out of his massive armored vehicle with his trademark all business attitude. Special Agent Luke Hitch marched in a fast, even pace with his six man team of federal commandos close behind. He made his way in and was up the elevator in seconds on his way to the floor where his new partner's personal office was held. Throughout the ride he was impatient and silent as he watched the numbers rise on the read out above the door.

With the ding that sounded signaling he had reached his floor he marched out with purpose, his eyes already scanning the office for Garcia. He'd already shown his badge downstairs at the front desk to the security guard yet now he stood before the desk of a pencil necked, hundred pound secretary who looked like he had only just gotten out of college.

"Can I help yo-"

"Where is Agent Jessica Garcia?"

The young man blinked at the suddenness of rough question and the rudeness at being interrupted.

"E-excuse me?"

Hitch locked his gaze on the tiny man, his jaw tensing in impatience.

"You got a hearing problem son?

The secretary was already looking a bit shaken from the intimidating encounter.

"N-no sir I just-"

"Let me make this easy for you..."

Hitch said taking a step in and looming over the man seated at his desk.

"I am Special Agent Luke Hitch, the new Tactical leader for this OP. I need to speak to your boss right now."

He said as he pointed to the badge hanging off his neck. The skinny secretary was sweating now as a few of the other people who worked in the office had turned to look at the dangerous looking team of commandos standing in the lobby.

"Y-yes s-sir it's just... s-she's not here sir. S-she's out."

Luke couldn't help but let his fist clench and unclench in frustration as he leaned down and put his hands on his desk, all the while staring a hole through this tiny, tiny man.

"Define... out."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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A voice suddenly spoke in Jess's earpiece. She'd forgotten that she had put it in before leaving the office. Her superiors in the office had a direct connection to it. She had to try hard not to jump. "Uh, Jess? There's a guy here demanding to see you. He's scaring the office workers. What do we tell him? He's FBI, anyway, judging by the heavy weaponry and the quite authentic looking badge." Jess had to try hard not to swear. She wasn't sure how to reply. If she just started talking, she'd be thrown out on the grounds of insanity. If she tried to cover her mouth, she'd only have one hand to hold the tray with. Which was freaking heavy.

She hoped for the best as she muttered under her breath, "Who is he?" It appeared her microphone was sensitive enough to pick her up, as the reply came in her ear. "He claims to be Special Agent Luke Hitch, new tactical leader." She thought for a moment, before mentally cringing. She knew that he was supposed to be arriving sometime soon, just... not this soon. "Yeah. Um, tell him where I am. And please warn him about scaring the office workers."

FBI Organised Crime Headquarters

"Agent Hitch?" The man who had just been speaking with Jess emerged from his office. "I'm Agent Murdock. I work with Agent Garcia. She asked me to inform you of her whereabouts at this present moment in time. Please, step into her office. It's possibly the most secure room in the office."

"She's at the Genovese gala. I assure you, she is armed and disguised to prevent recognition. I saw her disguise myself, it should be sufficient. She also has contact with us through a headset and hidden microphone." He held up the headset to assure the... much larger man that it wouldn't be seen. It was shaped similarly to those hidden hearing aids. "It connects wirelessly to a microphone. We are aiming to get her out as soon as possible."

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Dylan grinned as Linc approached. "Did I miss anything?" His older brother asked. "Not much. I think there was a mishap involving a tray of champagne in the kitchens a little while ago. I don't know, I was upstairs. But there was quite a lot of glass around and a liquid on the floor that definitely smelt like champagne." Dylan had only been two when they had been kidnapped, but he could vaguely remember Lincoln telling him that everything would be okay. That was the kind of thing that Dylan always remembered and would hopefully always remember, no matter what his brother did.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Theodore Kinlan Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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"Agent Hitch? I'm Agent Murdock. I work with Agent Garcia. She asked me to inform you of her whereabouts at this present moment in time. Please, step into her office. It's possibly the most secure room in the office. She's at the Genovese gala. I assure you, she is armed and disguised to prevent recognition. I saw her disguise myself, it should be sufficient. She also has contact with us through a headset and hidden microphone. It connects wirelessly to a microphone. We are aiming to get her out as soon as possible."

HItch turned to look at Agent Murdock. He arched an eyebrow, displeasure playing across the man's hard features. When he finished his explanation Hitch spoke to his men while never taking his eyes off Murdock.

"Take five ladies."

Luke ordered as he made his way after Murdock into Garcia's office. The room had a professional yet lived in appearance. A few papers were strewn about the desk, pointing towards the liaison busy work life. On the wall across from her large oaken desk were several framed accolades, a testament to her hard work ethic and academic proficiency. Murdock made his way toward the desk to casually sit on the edge of the large desk.

"You can have a seat."

Murdock said politely. Agent Hitch stepped into the center of the room, just behind the two leanther chairs seated in front of Garcia's desk where Murdock had just offered him a seat and adressed the agent as he completely ignored the offer.

"So you're telling me that your department chief is undercover in The Genovese mansion solo on an unsanctioned OP and what you tell me is that you're aiming to get her out soon?"

Agent Hitch was no pleased, not pleased at all. Not only was his new partner mia but she's had took it upon herself to infilitrate the enemy stronghold for what reasons only known to her without say so from the bureau.Hitch eyeballed murdock as he took a step towards him, his patience running dangerously thin.

"You wanna move up the time table on that evac Agent? You've been working this case no doubt longer than I have but you seem to have forgotten who you're dealing with. Let me tell you about just whose house your boss is sneaking around in by herself. Jonathon Genovese is a known murderer and mafia king pin. Blood, bullets, torture, thats this guys style. This is the same man that nearly killed a 22 year old kid who your office had sent as an informant. The same man that I'd be willing to bet my truck that was responsible for the recent death of FBI handler Frank Karpathy and then covered it up to look like an explosion. Now I don't care what she's doing in that house because whatever it is it's off the books which means its inadmissible in court. If we can't use it to take down Genovese it's not worth the risk so I suggest you get her out of there before I do. I'm not having anymore federal officers getting killed becuase of this asshole."

The setting changes from manhattan-new-york to Genovese Mansion

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shae Genovese Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese Character Portrait: Theodore Kinlan Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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FBI Headquarters

Murdock stared at Jess's various certificates on the wall as he tried to think of how to deal with the intimidating man who stood in front of him. "I understand your concern for Agent Garcia. She understands the importance of staying out of Jonathon Genovese's way and getting out as soon as possible. Agent Garcia is also, shall we say, well capable of handling herself." Murdock smiled to himself as he remembered the time she had punched a reporter in the face because he was getting in her way on the way to a crime scene. Everyone in the area had somehow managed to be looking the other way, or so they told the reporter. They had all preferred Jess to that asshole. That was long before her liaison days. "We would contact her, but it's too risky. We have people monitoring the situation in the mansion, and if anything starts to go wrong, she can get out." A message beeped on the computer. He stepped behind the desk and opened it up, frowning.

Genovese Mansion

Jess's tray now appeared to be empty. She had only managed to speak to one of her agents, and it appeared her fortune cookie idea hadn't worked. She made her way back to the kitchen. As she turned into the kitchen, her phone vibrated. She dumped the tray and stepped outside, pulling the phone from the pocket in her skirt. There was a message from Theo.

Get out ASAP. I'm not comfortable with this. Get out.


She trusted Theo's advice. She hadn't a clue as to how he knew what the situation was in the mansion, but it was obviously important. She managed to slip back through the kitchen without being assaulted with another duty. There was one last thing she had to do, though. Kole needed to know. He had assured her he would be there, and she hadn't heard from her other agent. She held her shoes in her hands, knowing she couldn't be stealthy with the heels. She listened for voices as she passed each room. She didn't get halfway down the hall before her phone vibrated. She snatched it from her pocket in an attempt to try and shut it up. Luckily the soft fabric of the skirt pocket muffled it a little, hopefully enough to avoid detection. She opened up the message and read it. Now it was Murdock warning her to get out. She guessed Theo had probably contacted him too. They probably both had a point. Jonathon Genovese could emerge from any of these offices at any point, and she didn't really want to face him without any back-up. Especially because, without doubt, he'd have several of his gorillas with guns with him. And if she was killed, it really wouldn't be good for the team. She stealthily made her way down the hall, slipping her shoes back on before she re-entered the main hall.

She pulled off her glasses and let down her hair. There. She felt more like herself now. The sooner that she got home and washed out this damned hair dye, the better. Her car was parked a few streets away and she unlocked it, sliding into the seat gratefully. She pulled out a disposable phone from the glove box and dialed out Kole's number. As she had hoped, it was turned off and went straight to voicemail.

"Kole. It's Jess. Call me at the office the minute you're free. The minute it's safe enough for you to call me, do so."

She then dialed out another number.

"Special Agent Murdock."

"Murdock, it's me. I got a message from You-Know-Who telling me to get out. I managed to talk to Mick, but it was too risky for me to try and talk to Kole. I left a message on his phone to call me ASAP. I'll be back at the office in a few. I need to go home and change first."

A few minutes later, Jess strode into the office, dressed in a more comfortable outfit. One of the desk workers jumped to his feet. "Special Agent Garcia! There was a man here demanding to see you, called..." She held up a hand as she passed his desk. "Special Agent Luke Hitch, I know. Back to work, Aaron. He's not going to hurt you for not telling him where I was." She reassured him as she headed for her office. She took a deep breath as she opened the door.

A tall, imposing man was standing in the middle of the floor. Murdock was standing behind her desk. She held out a hand to the newcomer. "Special Agent Luke Hitch, I presume. I'm Jess Garcia." She looked over at the man standing behind her desk. "It's okay, Murdock. You can go now." The other man nodded as he left, and Jess took her seat behind the desk, trying to resist the temptation to put her boots on the desk. It wasn't a habit she usually had, but after the heels and the skirt and everything, she felt like she needed to chill. But boots on the desk would appear extremely inappropriate in front of a new co-worker.

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He turned to Shae when what she had said registered. "And in response to your question, I don't enjoy myself in social situations. I enjoy myself in my room fixing robots with my headphones in." Although he was using his headphones less and less after what had happened to Theo. He didn't like the thought of not being able to hear gunshots. If anything happened to his family, he didn't want to be the last to know. He didn't know if he could help, seeing as he'd be more likely to hit one of them as opposed to their assailant if he had a gun. He really needed to build a robot to compensate for that. Would mounting a machine gun on a remote control robot be too drastic? Yeah, probably.

He was lost in his plans until Shae spoke again. "So, who's the broad?" Dylan grinned at his brother. "Yeah. Where'd you find this one?" He joked. He did enjoy winding his siblings up.

The setting changes from genovese-mansion to Manhattan, New York

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Victoria Genovese Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Anthony "Tony" Rizzo Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Sienna Rose Character Portrait: Nate Hagen Character Portrait: Kole Marinos Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese Character Portrait: Theodore Kinlan Character Portrait: Lydia Arden Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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Theodore Kinlan. The name was clear and boldly printed on the face of his fake ID. The driver’s license from New Hampshire had an outdated photo of him on it, his hair shorter and better kept. He looked happy, smiling to the point that the photographer had allowed him to. It felt like he was looking at a stranger. When he dropped the ID onto the glass top of his desk, the former Genovese techie looked up into a mirror hung on the wall opposite him. His cheeks were sallow and his complexion pale. His eyes were dark, evidence of his recent bout of insomnia. His lips were cracked and his hair was longer. He swallowed then, sighing and turning to his computers, the dual set of monitors up and running. His phone remained face up in front of him, next to the old ID. He knew that Jessica had decided to go undercover into the mansion, something he had been particularly against. She had been to see him the day before, pleased that he was walking unassisted. His physiotherapist had cleared him. He was finally healthy. He could breath without an inhaler. When he had washed up on shore he had had water in his lungs. Three of his ribs were broken, as was his right elbow and left ankle. He had stress fractures in his shins and in two vertebrae. His neck had been torqued and he’d had a severe concussion. How he was alive he didn’t know. No sooner were all the screws in his broken joints and everything else set had he lapse into a violent case of pneumonia. He had been hidden far away from the city all together since the day he had been found. The CIA had in fact been the one to air lift him out. There was no documentation within the FBI that he was alive. Whenever he contacted Jessica his messages self destructed and re-routed themselves endlessly. He was off the map so far as any of them were concerned.

Tonight was the first night that he was back at it. He plied at his keyboard for a moment before setting into hacking, his fingers rushing through the keystrokes at a rapid fire pace. A minute later and he was within the Genovese’s internet provider’s servers. He routed his connection through to the mansion, finding himself at a brutal fire wall within their security channels. He needed eyes within the mansion. He needed to be able to warn Jessica if someone appeared to recognize her or follow her. He checked his phone again then. Quickly then he started again, initiating a program to hack through the firewall. It started and rolls of code automatically scrolled through the window before disappearing and suddenly he was in.

Leaning forward, Theo initiated every camera he had access to. Phones went live, and with two strokes he disabled any sensor light that would show a user their own technology was being used against him. Any phone or laptop using the house’s man network became a camera for him and thirty windows popped up. He transferred them to a second screen, glancing over them before maximizing one in particular. Dylan’s bedroom.

Theo sighed, moving his hand to the mouse while his left tapped in a control algorithm, allowing him to shift the camera mounted on top of Dylan’s monitor. As he peered down he saw the robot that the youth had been working on for months. It was nearly complete, the primary circuit board exposed to his line of sight.

For a moment he paused, looking down at his phone again. Minimizing the window he scanned the others, frowning when he saw no sign of Jessica through any of the possible camera options.

He pulled up his email then, knowing she had her phone with her.

“Gone to eat?” he tapped in, sending it immediately after knowing that the program would cover his tracks. Jessica would know that he wasn't actually asking her about food, but where she was. Then he opened a second window and hesitantly he tapped in Dylan’s email.

“Message from a friend,” he typed first. He knew that the youngest Genovese would likely try to find the source of the email, or worse put someone else knowledgeable about IP address tracking on the task. “Secret,” he added then before concluding, “double check your primary power source on bot. Tell me what you find.”

It was a trust exercise. Nothing dramatic but it was about something Dylan cared about.

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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Special Agent Luke Hitch eyed the FBI's liaison with an impressed stare. She strolled into her office and simissed her second before taking a seat at her desk. She half looked like she was about to throw her feet up on the desk but thought against it. The concept of such a level of comfort would have made the big man smile if he wasn't at work and still rather displeased about the liberal interpretation of procedure shown by Agent Garcia. Hitch made his way to the chairs in front of her desk and finally took a seat.

"I was about to have my team go in hot, you chose a good time to come on back."

Hitch said before allowing his displeasure to pass and be replaced by a more professional respect for his new partner. Despite her willingness to bend the law she showed a fire that was admirable. Throing yourself into the lions den like that was no simple feat and she earned Luke's respect for the action.

"I hear good things about you Garcia, I look forward to working with you. So... did you learn anything valuable on your little field trip?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese Character Portrait: Theodore Kinlan Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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Jess grinned at Hitch. "I'd appreciate if you didn't send a fully armed team into my office. The poor office workers are terrified enough as it is." The grin didn't last long. It was replaced by a different expression, a mix of weariness and frustration. "And I wasn't trying to get information. I'm guessing you heard of Frank Karpathy's accident." She made quote marks in the air with her fingers. "I had to try and tell my agents. Frank was minutes away from finding out who the mole in the operation was. They had to know as soon as possible, for their own safety. I got clearance from my superiors within this department to get myself in there, as long as I got myself out of there as quickly as I could." As she spoke, her phone vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out, reading Theo's message. "Gone to eat?" She understood the message perfectly. It appeared that he could get into the house's camera system and was wondering about her location.  She opened up her own email and typed a quick message. "Had to get out. Murdock had a gut feeling, and our new tactical leader was scaring the office workers." She sent it, before swivelling back to face Hitch.

She could vividly remember the night she had heard of Theo's death. She had been in the office late yet again, preparing notes for a lecture a friend had asked her to give. She didn't have access to as many case files at her apartment, so she had decided to finish up in her office. The phone had rung, and as was customary to do when a phone rang, she had answered it. Ten minutes later, after she had hung up, she had been swearing loudly, so loudly the office workers had brought in coffee in the hope that they could find out what was wrong. Guilt had plagued her constantly. She had been constantly in and out of meetings, trying to balance managing the case and persuading the superiors that her case was still viable. She hadn't slept in the twenty four hours or so until she had gotten that call. She hadn't slept for approximately another thirty six hours as she had tried to straighten everything out. But relief and determination had gotten her through. She was glad Theo had pulled through. She had been genuinely fond of the techie. And he hadn't estranged himself from her. They had kept in contact, and he had agreed to keep working with her. She had gone to see him yesterday, pleased to see that he was finally walking unaided and was beginning to return to full health. He still wasn't his old self, though. It was probably to be expected, but Jess hated it. She missed Theo's old, bouncy, bubbly, slightly irritating personality and the energy it injected into the room.

"So. If we're going to be working together, there are a few things you need to know about me. I work late a lot. I don't expect you to work the same hours as I do. However, I would appreciate it if you make me go home when I'm here when you leave and I'm still here when you arrive in again. And if I ask for coffee, don't argue. If you're busy, send one of the office workers for it. I get extremely, extremely crabby when my caffeine levels run low. Ask any of the office workers. I've been known to throw stuff at them when I've been particularly stressed and when my caffeine and sugar levels are low." She grinned. "Anything I should know about you?"

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Dylan took the phone, his mind already trying how to figure out how to change the text. "It would be much easier if I had my laptop..." He murmured to himself. But his fingers started flying over the keyboard, typing in commands. His brow furrowed in concentration, and he became dead to the world. He started to think in code, and a few tricks that Theo had taught him came to mind. He tried them, and while they didn't solve the problem, they made it one hell of a lot easier to straighten it out. He typed in a few more commands, then smiled in triumph. He handed the phone to Lincoln. "If you want to try out any other colours, just let me know. It's just a matter of changing... Never mind." Dylan couldn't help but think that Theo would have understood what he was about to come out with.

His eyes probed the room, looking for the new techie, Jacqueline Siqueira. He wanted to get to know more about her and was hoping that she, like Theo, could teach him more. He took a mental note of her location. 

His phone buzzed in his pocket. He slipped it out. There was a new email from an unknown address. Instinctively, he would have put it in an isolated folder so it couldn't infect his phone and would have scanned it on his laptop for security risks. But the subject line caught his attention. It read;

"Message from a friend"

He frowned to himself, typing in a short command to try and trace the message. There was a moment's pause, and then an error message popped up. His frown deepened. Theo had taught him that command. Only the most secure networks were protected from the command. Dylan allowed a small grin on his face. Anyone on those networks was a friend of his. But he still wasn't prepared to throw caution to the wind. He typed in a few more commands, ones that he knew should reveal more about the nature of the message. The only one that turned up anything was the mini scan for malware. It showed the message as clean. He still would have preferred to do a full scan on his laptop, but curiosity got the better of him. 

“Secret. Double check your primary power source on bot. Tell me what you find.”

He frowned. He was puzzled as to who exactly had sent the message. Someone who had evidently been into his room, had knowledge about robots, and knew how to avoid his commands. He typed a reply.

"Who is this?"

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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Hitch nodded silently without a word as he listened to Garcia. Her casual demeanor mixed with her blatant hatred for the Genovese put a fiery smirk on the face of the Special Agent. She finished with a question of whether or not there was anything about him she needed to know. Luke cleared his throat and leaned in before responding.

"You want to know if there's anything you need to know about me? I like to take my targets down hard and give them no where to run. When there world comes down around them, then I'm happier then a pig in shit. As far as helping you get home to get your beauty sleep you might as well ask someone else because as long as I'm in New York, I don't stop working. My job's not done until Jonathon Genovese is behind bars. I will turn this bastards entire family against him if it means bringing him in. His wife, his kids, his damn great grammy are all fair game as far as I'm concerned."

Hitch's words were fierce and full of passion. It was obvious this man was all business and wouldn't rest until he got his man. Luke got to his feet and stand in front of the desk before leaning on it with his hands.

"Now what have we got on Karpathy's investigation? Any lead on who the mole is?"

Luke's eyebrows furrowed as it seemed he'd almost forgotten something.

"Oh and before I forget don't worry about your sugar levels dropping around me Agent, I've got the same kryptonite."

He said as he fished a handful of jolly ranchers out of his pocket and set them in front of Jess with a friendly smirk.

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese Character Portrait: Lydia Arden Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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"You want to know if there's anything you need to know about me? I like to take my targets down hard and give them no where to run. When there world comes down around them, then I'm happier then a pig in shit. As far as helping you get home to get your beauty sleep you might as well ask someone else because as long as I'm in New York, I don't stop working. My job's not done until Jonathon Genovese is behind bars. I will turn this bastards entire family against him if it means bringing him in. His wife, his kids, his damn great grammy are all fair game as far as I'm concerned." Jess grinned. That grin slipped as he asked about Frank's investigation, then widened as he deposited sweets on her desk. "Oh, Hitch, I think we're going to get along just perfectly."

She handed Hitch a brown paper folder emblazoned with the FBI logo. "That's everything you need to know about the case. I have two suspects. Kole Marinos and... Well, you can see for yourself. I'm pretty sure Ethan, or "Mick", isn't our mole." She ripped open the packet of sweets, popping one in her mouth. "Kole... Well, he fits in a little too well with the Genovese family for my liking. But he's a good agent. And... Unless you've met him, you can't quite understand Kole." Jess couldn't quite word what she meant, but she hoped the information in the file would be enough.

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"Problem?" Dylan heard Linc ask. He looked up. "Oh, it's nothing." Just then, Doctor Arden appeared. "Hey, Linc, Dylan." She said, watching Shae closely. "Hey, Doc." Dylan greeted her. He was still puzzled about who the message was from. There was something familiar about the whole thing. It felt like he knew exactly who the sender was, like the name was on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn't get it out.

For some reason, his first encounter with Theo came to mind.

It felt like so long ago. Dylan had been trying to retrieve an early prototype of the robot he was building. Instead of no remote, however, it had been controlled from his laptop. Unfortunately, it had misinterpreted an order and had smashed, going full speed, into a table leg. The table leg had been left intact, luckily enough, but the robot hadn't. It's entire control panel had been smashed. Dylan was trying to locate the wreck. He had passed by the techie and had gotten a glimpse at the techie's laptop screen. Dylan's curious nature had, of course, provoked him to try and get a better look, and ask the inevitable question, "How are you doing that?"

And thus their friendship had begun.

Dylan gave up trying to think of anyone who could have sent him that message. The list was too long. It could be the new Techie, but why didn't just she come over and speak to him? And he was pretty sure that she hadn't left the room to investigate his robot.

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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Hitch gave the folder a cursory read through, paging through the information contained within. Marinos had a stench to him Luke didn't like. Garcia was right on the money. The way the paperwork outlined how he gelled with the Genovese was too easy, to perfect. Hitch cleared his throat as his jaw tensed in frustration at the concept of an mole on their end before looking back at his new partner.

"I'm going to do my homework on Marinos but I want to meet him. The sooner the better. Give me a chance to look the man in the eye, judge for myself. If he's your mole I'll sniff him out."

Hitch said before giving Jess a respectful nod and stepping away from her desk.

"Mean time I'm gunna make a few calls. I'm going to be introducing my self to Mr. Genovese shortly, let him know just what kind of world of hurt he's in for. You're more than welcome to join me, promise it'll be a good time in that it will roaylly fuck up that mans day."

He said with a dark smirk before making his way for the exit.

"Call me if you want in Garcia."

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese Character Portrait: Lydia Arden Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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Jess watched as Hitch left her office. "Call me if you want in, Garcia." The temptation was there. She could go with him. Hitch surely wouldn't rat her out if she shot Jonathon Genovese in the face. Or his black heart for that matter. All she needed was to stick her glasses back on and change her clothes. She would be, hopefully, unrecognizable once again. Her sense of caution held her back. It was too risky. Hitch was a big boy. He was responsible for his own actions. The team could function without him, if she was honest. But after losing Frank, if anything happened to her, she wasn't so sure the team could stay together. If conflict didn't rip the team apart, the brass surely would. She swung her boots onto the desk and sighed. She hit the intercom on her desk. "Aaron?" The office worker was quick to respond. "Yes, Agent Garcia?" She leaned back in her chair. "I need coffee. Three sugars, no milk. Go get Starbucks. I'll pay you back." She turned off the intercom and stared at her mobile on the desk. A small smile crossed her lips. She mightn't necessarily be on the front line, but Hitch needed to be monitored. She picked up the phone. "Hitch? I'm not going in there with you, but I'll be able to give you a little back-up. All from the safety of my office, of course. You need to understand, it's far too risky to send both the liaison and the tactical leader in." Her voice took on a mocking tone so he would know that she was joking. She hoped he would understand that they were going to need clearance to send both of them in, clearance they would never get. However, sending just Hitch in... She grinned to herself. If anything went wrong, she wouldn't be dropped in it.

She activated the computer and typed Hitch's mobile number into some tracking software. His co-ordinates appeared along with a map. "I don't suppose you have a headset or microphone on you? Never mind. Just one second-" She got to her feet and opened her door. "SANDERS!" She yelled. The Organized Crime's very own techie stuck his head out of his office. He was no Theodore Kinlan, but she didn't know if Theo could do this from where he was. She gestured towards her office. He rolled his eyes and made his way to her office. "Here's what I need you to do..."

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Dylan raised an eyebrow at his sister's unusual behaviour. "I apologize for Shae, Dr. Arden. Every so often she just acts like this, a little out of character." He explained, watching the commotion involving Sienna Rose and his mother over the doctor's shoulder. "I expect you're busy at the moment, especially after the explosion earlier. I saw it on the news." The awkwardness was beginning to kick in, so he decided to play it polite and make small talk. It was times like this when he felt like he was forced to be an adult. While he was more mature than the average teenage boy, he didn't like having to be so formal. All he wanted was to just be able to talk about things that really interested him, like robots and hacking.

When it was time for the auction to begin, he excused himself politely and took his seat at the front of the room. He felt eyes watching him. Not much was known about the third Genovese son, and people were curious. Well, he sure as hell wasn't going to satisfy their curiosity tonight. He smiled at them all, fixing his jacket sleeves and watching as Kole began to speak.

***


If Dylan was bored earlier, it was nothing compared to now. He had heard nothing from his mysterious contact. The talk of the evening had been art. Dylan had hung around some of the more mechanical sculptures, hoping he could find someone who knew something about engineering. His plan had failed. Everyone who had spoke to him was an art buff or someone hoping to find out some gossip about the Genovese family. He made his way to the dining room for the meal, smiling at everyone and saying hello as he passed them. He took his seat, marveling at his mother's powers of organization once again. He knew that he would never have the patience to organize such an event nor the skill to pull it off so successfully.

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Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese Character Portrait: Theodore Kinlan Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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After Sanders had set up her computer, ready to monitor Hitch, Aaron appeared. "Your coffee, Agent Garcia." He said, depositing the cup on the desk. She grinned, picking it up as she headed out of the office. "I'll be in the gun range if anyone wants me, Aaron." She called. Aaron watched as she left. Guns and coffee. You'd know Agent Garcia was stressed.

*****


Jess lowered her handgun, grinning. It had been too long since she had been out in the field, able to fire her gun at her own will. Some days, when the paperwork was piling high and the case wasn't going so well, she regretted taking on the position of liaison. She missed being able to pull her weapon on the job without having to worry about scaring the office workers or a journalist. She loved working on the Genovese case, but that damn bastard was too careful. The closest she had come to actually being in the field was waiting for the SWAT team after they had searched the restaurant.

Her handgun wasn't venting enough frustration. She slotted it back into her holster and turned around, pulling off her ear protection. She was faced with such a variety of weapons. Her eyes settled on a M15 rifle and she grinned, picking it up. She slotted in a round of ammunition and lifted the rifle, settling the end against her shoulder. She let it drop to her side and strode over to the targets, setting the ear muffs back over her ears. She lifted the rifle back to it's former position and aimed, squeezing the trigger. The bullet pierced the target straight through the heart.

She repeated this a few times, the bullet varying from a headshot to piercing the heart. Sometimes she worried that she was losing her touch- that her place was behind a desk. That was one of the reasons she had put herself forward to go into the gala. She wanted to remind herself that she could handle field work. She wasn't sure if she had proved it to herself. Sure, her aim hadn't deteriorated since the day she had first picked up a handgun in police academy. But she knew it would be different when it was a real person. Someone who had thoughts, emotions, feelings... Jonathon Genovese was still fine to shoot, then.

She fired the rifle one final time, the bullet piercing the target between the eyes. She put down the rifle and pulled off her earmuffs. "Nice shot, Agent Garcia." She turned around. Someone she vaguely recognized as one of the brass of the Organised Crime Unit was standing a safe distance behind her. "Thank you, sir." She replied, setting down the ear muffs. "You miss the field, don't you?" He asked, staring at the battered target. "I do, sir." She didn't look him in the face. "You make a great liaison, Agent Garcia. Don't doubt that." She glanced up. "Anyway, we've had the press hounding us about the raid. We want you to make a statement first thing in the morning. Get yourself together, figure out what you're going to say to them. We've scheduled the press conference for nine in the morning." She nodded and didn't say a word as he left. She then shoved another round into the gun and turned around, not bothering with the ear protection. She fired it, the bullet adding to the holes in the head of the target.

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“Your girlfriend replied yet?” Lincoln asked, a teasing grin on his face. Dylan turned around to face him, raising an eyebrow. "Shut it or I'll change the text on your phone to yellow text on a white background." He retorted, grinning at his brother.

*****


Almost everyone had gone at this point. He was sure he wouldn't be missed now- and his mother was nowhere to be seen to catch him out. He darted upstairs to his room, not bothering to lock the door. He threw his jacket onto his bed and slid into his seat, lifting his robot onto the desk. He carefully moved the circuit board, and investigated the power connections. It was primarily powered by light. Dylan had managed to track down plans for super-powerful solar panels used by NASA. Once he had the plans, it had been a simple matter to build them. The robot charged whenever it was exposed to light and not in use. If there was sufficient light when it was running, it was able to function perfectly from the solar panels. If the light wasn't sufficient, it ran off of battery power. He carefully probed the wiring. It appeared that one of the wires was touching a contact on one of the minor chips. If he hadn't noticed it, it was possible the whole bot could have malfunctioned, running into a table leg again.

He probed around a little more, looking for more issues with the wiring. He then fired up his laptop, for some reason looking at the webcam he had mounted on the top of the screen. The laptop was top of the range, designed for hackers and computer scientists. It did not, however, have a built-in webcam. It had been a simple matter to hook up the one that sat on top of the screen. He opened up his email as well as a few other programs which would help him to source the mysterious message.

He started into more complicated tracing methods, ones that Theo had taught him and ones that he had discovered by himself. Every single time, an error message came up. He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration and tried more and more methods. He came no closer to finding out who sent it, but he learned a few things. It looked like the message had bounced through hundreds of servers, and that whoever had sent it could make Anonymous look like a bunch of kids who were learning how to code HTML.

Eventually he gave up on tracing the message and opened up a reply window. He grinned suddenly, a plan coming to mind. If the sender wanted to hear back from him, he'd have to work for it. He typed in his reply.

Findings on bot- few issues with wiring. Found crossed wire which could have made robot malfunction, possibly crashing into a table leg. All sorted.

I don't know who you are. If you're reading this, you sure as hell know your stuff. We've proved ourselves to each other- who are you? And don't just say that you're a friend.


He encoded the message using a code he had created a week ago. Each letter appeared as a random letter or number, according to a set pattern. Finding the pattern would decode the message. It was deceptively simple, but difficult to decode. He sent the message, a grin on his face. He sent the laptop to sleep and began to tinker with the robot.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Charlee Shaee Genovese Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese Character Portrait: Theodore Kinlan Character Portrait: Lydia Arden Character Portrait: Special Agent Luke Hitch
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For all the access that he had, Theo was surprised. He knew about the Genovese’s new hire. Jacqueline Siqueira was well known on hacker forums and at one point she had been related to the hacker group Anonymous. She was adept and she was young, barely older than he was. He knew he had limited time to have eyes on the mansion. His programs immediately began sourcing her and she caught sight of the blond, looking out of place with plugs in her ears and thicker make-up than most. The camera he had access to was coming directly from her phone and he had a momentary glance right up at her face before he saw the woman frown and usher herself outside of the thickets of people. Two seconds later her camera died and he typed back angrily on his keyboard, knowing that he was beginning a war with the woman for control of her own device. He began sourcing her phone, trying to get into the guts of it through her service provider. He wanted to know what Jonathon was saying to her. It was also a test of her skills for him. Could she stop him? The woman was formidable. He got through and was immediately cut off. Whatever program she had created erected a second violent firewall the moment he broke through, and then a third. It was infinite and regenerating. Smart. Theo admitted in thought. Before he knew it an hour had gone by and he turned away then, sitting back in his chair and holding his hands between his head, allowing his fingers to relax as he watched her cut off his access. Suddenly the entire left hand monitor showing his camera access was black.

Theo was impressed and yet not quite. He had been able to watch the gala, to see and hear a fiery argument break out between the Genovese’s. He had seen the return of a woman he knew to be Sienna Rose, one who had significant pull on Jonathon’s right hand man. He wrote down her name on a pad of paper beside his keyboard, tapping his fingers slowly and sighing, shaking his head and processing. She hadn’t been able to get rid of him for an hour and a half and he had committed a major breach without the full severity of his safeguards to prevent her from kicking him out. She wasn’t as good as he had thought. It was that or she was playing him back which was always a possibility. It made him frown. The effort from thinking through every possibility had a migraine quickly blister on the front of his forehead. As he stood he felt the familiar aches in his legs from broken femurs and a fractured disk in his back. Grunting, Theo grabbed his phone and moved to a couch in the small apartment, needing to recline and put his feet up. He had several messages by then.

"Had to get out. Murdock had a gut feeling, and our new tactical leader was scaring the office workers,” Jess had replied. He shook his head at her, even though he knew she couldn’t see him. A second message had come from Dylan almost instantly. "Who is this?" That made him smile. He tossed the phone on the couch and moved slowly to the kitchen, griping every stable surface along the way to help him walk. He was hungry and he needed a banana or something. When he opened his fridge he was greeted by a slew of pre-prepared meals from Jess and the force. He pulled a dish of lasagna and shoved it in the oven, taking his time to let it heat up before he ate it. The whole process took time and fortunately he had a dishwasher to do the cleaning work for him.

At that point, when he moved to the couch to lay down, his head on one side and his feet stretching to the other, Theo grabbed the phone a second time, seeing a new and recent message from Dylan. Kid learns quick. His protective algorithm had sent him several messages relaying attempts to source his number and location, all minor. When he opened the message it was garbled, looking like completely nonsense. He frowned, scanning it several times before he grunted, and moved back to his computer set. As he walked he sent Jess another message.

“Never liked the new guy. Don’t make me meet him. News: Anon add-in into the fam won’t be much trouble. Not good at her job. Stay safe." By that he was relaying what he thought of the new techie and some new task force leader named Lucas Hitch. His record made him look like a maniac. Theo knew he would likely be carted out to meet the brute eventually but he was more than happy to let Jess deal with him for now.

Sitting down at his desk then, he clicked back into Dylan’s message and typed it out. He pulled up a simple program – a decoder. Normally he would have been entertained to do it by hand but he was growing tired and he could feel his energy sapped from his body. How he wished he wasn’t so betrayed by his physical state. All he wanted to do was be able to work for 2 days straight like he used to.

Two clicks and he sat back, watching the computer source through the message word for word, identifying that it was in fact coded before it started ciphering it. It took two minutes and suddenly the text was clear as day in front of him:

“Findings on bot- few issues with wiring. Found crossed wire which could have made robot malfunction, possibly crashing into a table leg. All sorted. I don't know who you are. If you're reading this, you sure as hell know your stuff. We've proved ourselves to each other- who are you? And don't just say that you're a friend.”

Theo leaned in then, grabbing the old burner phone and rapidly letting his thumbs ply over the keys, his tongue between his teeth.

“Nice code. Good to hear on the bot. Nice work. Rivals most engineers. &I am a friend, nothing more, nothing less. Call me whatever you want. Just want to help. Ask me whatever you want.”

He wanted to establish connections with the boy, knowing he was extremely talented, perhaps more than the new techie Jonathon had hired. He was such a quick student but Theo had never been able to figure out where his allegiance laid. Dylan had always been close to Kole and especially to his mother but he had voiced concerns and irritations. But was it typical teenaged angst? He had never been sure.

Biting the inside of his cheek, Theo knew he wouldn’t be able to stay away too much longer. His eyelids were beginning to feel heavy and his aches were becoming more pronounced. It was time for his pain meds.

Still, he knew he wanted to sent out another message. He was curious. Theo had seen Charlee take something, the way she’d wandered around the mansion like a six year old, twirling and grinning.

“Dr. Lydia – Charlee Shae on pills, not sure what. She needs help.”

The message was anonymous, the number she viewed conjured by his program just the same as Dylan. He wondered if the woman would help. She was a doctor, wouldn’t the family’s health come first?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Victoria Genovese Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Kalista Ross Character Portrait: Kole Marinos Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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Kole raised an eyebrow as Kalista moved to initially defend the people inside the mansion.

“In their defense… they were pretty fun to mess with,” she teased. Kole shook his head and ran a hand through his hand again, trying to settle. He moved to the doors and checked himself in the mirror then, dusting off the corner of his shirt. He wasn’t the vain type but it was a high end gala inside. There was a lot to consider when it came to appearances at a Genovese gala, especially when your face was the one being slapped on the charity cause of the hour.

“Besides, Miss Genovese would most likely have me executed if I were to keep you out here all night. I believe that I’m already on her list of possible murders,” Kalista joked. Her last word made him tense. The lightheaded edge that he had momentarily gained melted away in an instant. Murderer. Murderer. Murderer. Kole winced. He couldn’t help it.

“I suppose it’s rightfully so,” she added. Kole looked at her and she flittered her eyes at him. “Victoria is just territorial. You have a connection with Jonah that she lacks. She’s defensive. I’ve never really understood why she feels about you the way she does but if you leave her be, she won’t be breathing down your neck,” Kole shrugged. As he moved to the door, the family’s assassin followed him. He went to exit, only for Kalista to stop him, looking at him with again with her serious eyes. How does she do that? Changing back and forth like that from happy go lucky to cold killer?

“Look Kole, I trust you that this was a time-sensitive situation, but if you can in the future, let me do it. Not only is it my job, but you work with cops every day,” she reasoned with him. “Let’s just say, it’s much harder for a hound to sniff out something miles away than something right in front of it.”

Kole held his tongue between his teeth for a moment, breathing slowly and turning to look away from her then. “Kalista I would have,” he confessed with a heavy sigh. “Only I watched him leave the office and fast. He wouldn’t look at me. I got into his computer and figured out what he had found out. I didn’t have time to wait for you. You’re good but, one call from him, a message left somewhere…and I would be done.”

Kole watched her move to lean into the door frame, her elbow poised elegantly and displayed her toned arms and a tattoo he had failed to notice before. He searched her expression for some sort of acknowledgement of his words. She didn’t seem the type to want to know the explanation but he still felt that he needed to say it. So much had already been said.

“I don’t care if you’re lying to my face, but just promise me that you’ll let me do it whenever possible,” she sighed, looking up at him with determined eyes. He frowned and didn’t move to answer right away. “Please,” she added. That made him snort and chuckle lightly. Kalista saying please was a complete oxymoron to him. And it wasn’t even a plea. She was saying the word just because. It was something he used to do when he was younger and his tone would earn him a cruel uppercut to the jaw from his father or a spanking from his mother. Or worst, a glare and lecture from his grandfather. Victoria and Jonathon had made that word finally have meaning in his life.

“I will,” he guaranteed her, his tone far more sincere than her own. It wasn’t a lie either because right then and there Kole doubted whether he could handle killing again. At least right then and there. “But only if you hang out with me more,” he added then, tilting his chin up and raising his eyebrows with his bargain. “I run in Central Park every morning. Would be nice to cross paths. Besides, you in yoga pants…?” Kole let his eyebrows jump in a mocking gesture before he moved to open the door, holding it for her and motioning her to exit first. He looked over her head and back at the mansion, seeing the lights and music and crowds even from the yard.

"Back into the jungle,” he thought to himself then grimly.

* * *


Spending the night in his old room had proved difficult. For all his discussions with Kalista, his mind still wouldn’t ease off when he tried to sleep. Kole had ended up drinking a lot of whiskey to get himself to relax. Even then he’d laid in bed and stared at the ceiling of his room for more hours than he had dozed off. When his alarm buzzed for 8am he was startled, feeling like he had only just managed to close his eyes before the bloody thing snarled at him and woke up him.

Groaning, Kole forced himself out of bed, feeling his arms and legs protest at the lack of rest. Shuffling in his boxers out of his room and into the hall, he leaned into his door frame to stretch, gripping the top of it with his arms and flexing his shoulder blades. He took in the hall for the moment. He could hear the shower running in his parents room. Lincoln’s door was closed as was Charlee’s. Dylan’s was closest to his and he knocked lightly on it. “Still want to go to the park Dyl? I’m heading out in 45 minutes to grab Duke,” he informed him, unsure of whether or not his youngest brother heard him. Proceeding to the shower, he let it run ice cold before he stepped in. The only way to keep moving at this rate was to shock himself into awareness.

Still, as he let it rain down on him, he thought of Kalista’s words again. Then there was Nate and Jonah’s practically congratulations and thankfulness in their own way. Still, all of them had told him the only way to live with what he had done was to accept it. How could it when it seemed like such a monstrous thing? He would have felt better if this Frank guy had been a perv or molester or murderer himself. He would have been a murderer, Kole reminded himself. He would have told everyone who and what I was and then Jonathon would have been implicated…he would have gone to jail. He would have been murdered there for sure for being the mole.

All of his thoughts built up in his mind like a pressure sensitive bomb. Kole stepped out and toweled himself off, focusing on his reflection in the mirror as he dragged a comb through his hair and brushed his teeth. Dressing himself in a pair of loose black track pants, a white t-shirt and grey long sleeve overtop – jeans were set aside for later. Moving beyond the bathroom he moved back into the hall, leaning against the wall and checking his watch before double checking his phone.

"I was serious about that running part," he texted Kalista, unsure of whether or not she would respond. He had no idea quite what she was doing. Maybe she was killing someone? The thought made him frown. "We could also spar or go to the range you know. Bet I could beat you," he added, before hitting send with a tap of his thumb.

“Come on Dyl, 5 minutes. Meet me at the truck outside on the driveway if you’re coming,” he reminded his brother before heading down the stairs. He smelt breakfast in the kitchen and knew immediately that it was Victoria who was at work. Nothing smelt quite like her waffles on a Saturday morning. Though in this case it was a Tuesday.

It took a lot for him to move straight for the door. Pierre was standing, polishing the silver door handles as he stepped by. "Master Marinos! Good morning. So nice to have you back," the butler greeted him. "Morning Pierre. I'm not out of here just yet. Going for a run and then I'll be back," Kole smiled, nodded at the man as he stepped out onto the drive. The valet had left his truck parked off to the side, the Toyota Tundra conveniently detailed and washed as well.

Flicking his keys around his finger, Kole stepped into the driver's seat and turned on the engine, flicking the heat on. The morning was brisk but for New York typical for early January. The snow that had fallen the night before was gone for the most part as they hovered around 10C. It was warm enough that he didn't need a jacket, but he had one in the backseat if that turned. As he waited for Dylan, he pulled his phone out again, sending a message to his staff coordinator.

"Out of the office today, still okay? Any paperwork or things to do if I catch a chance to Jess? - Kole" He wasn't sure if the woman would reply right away, though normally Jess was never away from her phone. She was one of the superiors in the task force and he respected her, feeling bad at points with how much his antics could stress her out.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Victoria Genovese Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Kole Marinos Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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Her alarm started to beep. Jess groaned and rolled over to glare at it, stretching out a hand to slap it into silence. Her arm didn't appear to be long enough, and she stretched a little further, silently cursing the thing. She rolled over in hope of being a little closer to it- and promptly landed on the floor. The alarm continued to beep. She sat up, beginning to consider shooting the clock. She stood up and slapped it a few times, stopping the beeping. She stretched, running her fingers through her hair. It was still close to black. She headed for the shower in the hope that the dye would wash out.

In the shower, she took advantage of the peace to plan out her day. She had the press conference at nine, which could be nice and brief and take ten minutes, or take up to an hour if she had awkward journalists. Afterwards, she had a new agent to meet. Leonard DePesci. He was being implemented as a drug runner for the Genovese family. Jess sighed. She hoped to God that he was going to stick to their side. If he didn't, she would be nearly better off calling this operation a day and becoming an instructor in the gun range. She rinsed out the shampoo and was glad to see the water tainted brown- hopefully with hair dye.

She went to her closet and pulled out her ready-made, press conference outfit. She had prepared it late last night after coming in, having spent a few hours at the office preparing herself. There had been one awful, dreadful moment where she hadn't been able to find her flats or her trousers. She had been worried she was going to be forced to wear a skirt and heels- but she then found her shoes under her bed and her trousers hanging at the back of her closet. She pulled it on, keeping her hair wrapped in a towel to prevent water from dripping onto her shirt. She retrieved her hairdryer from it's spot where it hung at the end of her bed and went to her mirror. Her hair did appear to be back to it's normal colour, albeit a little darker.

When her hair was neatly styled, she checked herself in the mirror. Her skin seemed a little washed out from the late night. She put on a thin layer of foundation and a touch of mascara, just enough to make her seem more awake. She shoved her phone into her pocket and belted her gun belt around her waist. It was hidden by her jacket, but she could reveal it if she needed to. Her stomach growled and she smiled a little, heading out to the kitchen in search of food.

As she ate her ready-prepared breakfast of granola and yogurt, her phone vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out and opened up the message.

Out of the office today, still okay? Any paperwork or things to do if I catch a chance to Jess? - Kole


One side of her mouth quirked up in a half-smile. Kole was a good agent, and she didn't mind when he asked for a day or so out of the office. She typed a reply.

Sure, still fine by me. I want to talk a few things with you, though. I'm in the office till three, then I've got softball. Swing by before then.


As much as she wanted to trust Kole, she couldn't. There was something... off about his relations with the Genovese. He got along with them almost too well. She shook her head and returned her phone to her pocket. She rinsed her bowl and put it into the dishwasher, before grabbing her keys and heading downstairs. She climbed into her car and took a few seconds to enjoy the silence and peace. She then headed for the madness that was her office.

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Dylan had stayed up way too late, working out the last few bugs in his robot. He'd usually be awake pretty early. He had barely woken up when Kole knocked on his door. "Still want to go to the park Dyl? I’m heading out in 45 minutes to grab Duke." Dylan rolled over and groaned. He loved the park, he loved running, and he loved being out with Kole, but it just felt like it would require too much effort. There was one genuine moment where he considered dozing off again. But instead, he swung his feet out of bed and stood up, stretching and trying to wake himself up.

He turned to his closet, where he stared at it blankly for a moment or two. He really wasn't good in the mornings. Not before coffee. He pulled out a pair of black tracksuit bottoms, red hoodie and a white t-shirt. As he got dressed, he considered going back to bed or just staying inside. But something kept him moving- possibly Kole, knocking on his door and saying, "Come on Dyl, 5 minutes. Meet me at the truck outside on the driveway if you’re coming." As soon as he had his trainers laced up, he headed down to the kitchen. "Morning, Mom." He said, yawning as he entered. He started making himself coffee in a thermal mug. "I'm heading out with Kole- I'll grab breakfast when I get back, okay?" He kissed her on the cheek, zipping up his hoodie and heading out to Kole's truck, his coffee in tow. He took a mouthful as he climbed in. "Morning." He grinned at his foster brother.

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Jared stared wearily at the "Fasten Seatbelt" sign. He had been on this goddamn plane for six long hours, and it felt like they were keeping him on it for even longer as punishment for his sins. The minute it pinged off, he lifted the flap on his belt and jumped to his feet, shoving his tablet into it's case and slinging it across his body. He hauled his small case down from the overhead cabin. He had only brought the small carry-on case as he had only been spending the weekend in San Francisco. Preferably, he wouldn't have been spending any time there, but there had been a Stanford reunion on, and he'd had a little business to conduct in San Francisco anyway. The flight over had been bearable, almost comfortable. He had enjoyed meeting up with his old college friends and lecturers. He had dealt with the business and had even managed to do a little shopping. But the flight back had been hell on earth- or rather, above earth. The flight had been delayed on the tarmac. Then, almost exactly where they had gone down over the desert, they had hit bad turbulence. The poor flight attendant nearly had to knock him out to calm him down. Every time he had begun to relax a little, they had hit more turbulence. The result was a jumpy, irritated Jared Romaro.

He flew down the steps and headed for the terminal. He made it out of the airport in what must have been record time, not wasting time anywhere. He only really started to relax when he was in his car. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned it on. As he waited for it, he switched on the radio.

In half an hour, we'll have live coverage of the press conference with the FBI's Organised Crime Unit Liaison, Special Agent Jessica Garcia, speaking to us about the raid on an Upper East Manhattan restaurant-

He frowned and picked up his phone. It appeared to be ready to go. He texted Jonathon.

Back in Manhattan. Be around in a few- want to drop my stuff home first. Press conference with a Jessica Garcia being broadcast on radio in 30 mins- friend of yours?

-Jared


He turned on the engine and headed for his apartment. The journey felt like it passed in the blink of an eye compared to the never-ending flight. Before long, he pulled into the small carport beside his apartment building. He shut off his engine and headed inside. His apartment greeted him like an old friend. He had only been away for four days, but California felt like a different world. He much preferred New York's more temperate climate. He dumped his bag on his bed and decided to change his clothes. The clothes he was wearing was probably still clean, but he was willing to bet it stunk of airplanes. He changed into a white t-shirt and black combats. He had long stopped dressing formally to go around to the Genovese mansion. It just felt wrong- and it was sure made things a hell of a lot more complicated to spar. Before he went to the Genovese mansion, though, he wanted to eat. Airplane food was disgusting. He made himself a bowl of granola and perched on a stool to eat it, leaving his phone on the counter.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jonathon Genovese Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Lincoln Genovese Character Portrait: Jared Romaro
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Jess pulled into the parking lot and shut off her engine. She glanced at the clock on her phone and sighed. She still had a few minutes until she was due to make her appearance on camera. Her head sank against her headrest and she closed her eyes. She'd been a cop for over ten years. She'd investigated crimes in which the victims had been hideously mauled. There had even been one time when she'd been face to face- literally- with an armed serial killer. And yet she still got butterflies at the thought of facing a few journalists. She took a few deep breaths and opened her eyes, before climbing out of the car and entering the building.

As she headed for her office, she received more than a few grins from her co-workers. She was usually in combats, a t-shirt and army boots.They always seemed to be endlessly amused by her dressing up.

She reached the small area outside her office. Aaron had a cup of coffee left on the edge of his desk. His eyes were on the file in front of him, but he could feel the expectation radiating from him and the office workers around him. She grinned as she snatched the coffee cup from his desk and took a sip from it. It was perfect. "You're learning, kid!" She called as she headed into her office. She left the door open and sank into her seat, swinging her feet onto her desk and sighing. She leaned back in her chair and took a mouthful of coffee. According to the clock on her phone, she had approximately three minutes until she was expected in the prepared room. She ran her fingers through her hair and took another mouthful of coffee. She instinctively checked her gun was loaded and that if she needed to, she could fire it at a few second's notice. She smiled and swung her feet down from the desk, heading out of her office. "Break a leg!" Someone called. It wasn't Aaron, but the voice was familiar none the less. "That's for theatre. Assuming you mean good luck." She called as she left.

Journalists had already taken their seats, their notepads poised at the ready. A clutch of photographers gathered at the back of the room, their oversized cameras hanging around their necks. Camera crews hovered, waiting for her to step up to the podium. She stepped inside the door where another agent was waiting. She recognized him as a field agent who hadn't yet been cleared to return to the field. "You ready?" He asked. She nodded, grabbing a glass of water from someone and taking a sip. "Let's do this."

"Good morning. I'm Special Agent Jessica Garcia, and I'm the liaison for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Organised Crime Unit.."

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Jared had just put away his bowl when his phone vibrated with a text. He picked it up, grabbing his tablet and books. He always done the accounts in an old fashioned notebook before typing them up onto his tablet. He liked having a backup- and it was easier to correct mistakes on paper. He glanced at his phone.

One of many, it seems – eyes already open. Welcome back.


He shoved his phone into his pocket and headed downstairs. He knew that Jonathon would be expecting him as soon as was humanly possible, and the head of the Genovese family was someone you did not make unhappy. He was one of the few people that could still beat Jared in a sparring match- not that it was easy, of course.

As he drove the short distance to the Genovese mansion, he managed to clear his head. The cloud that had been covering his mind ever since he had gotten off that goddamn flight finally dissipated, allowing him to think clearly. Good. He needed to be on his toes. Undoubtedly Lincoln would want to spar as well. There was no doubt that Jared wouldn't be able to manage two sparring matches in the space of a few hours- he wasn't that jet-lagged. No, he was more concerned about the ribbing that would be sure to come if he let Linc get the better of him for even a few seconds. And he wasn't going to make it easy for Jonathon to beat him.

He parked just around the corner from the mansion and climbed out. It was a nice morning, if a little cold. He enjoyed the short walk to the mansion, where he met the guards at the door. "Romaro. Good to see you back. I'll let Mr Genovese know you're here." As one disappeared, Jared pulled out his phone. As he did so, it vibrated with a text from Lincoln. He raised an eyebrow, smirking a little. He had always gotten along better with Lincoln than Dylan. Dylan had never shown an interest in sparring, preferring to shut himself in his room with his laptop. But Lincoln was always up for a fight, even when Jared bet him, hands down. Jared's fingers typed out a quick reply.

I'm back alright- and I'm going to beat your ass back to Cornell for that senior citizen comment.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Kalista Ross Character Portrait: Kole Marinos Character Portrait: Dylan Genovese
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#, as written by Korrye
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Kole batted at the steering wheel of his truck to the rhythm of the song playing on the radio. His phone buzzed shortly after he had started the engine, allowing it to idle for a few minutes and warm up, clearing a fog from the main windows. Smiling, he read Kalista’s reply. “I was just heading to Central Park right now. You can tag along if you think you can keep up.” That made him chuckle, and he was quick to respond. “Be there in 30 minutes. Meet me by the Alice statues?” he tapped in, hoping she knew about that particular monument. Kole knew it was a good place to start, mostly because if Dylan didn’t want to run he could take Duke over to the water or the nearby fields to play fetch.

Kole watched Dylan emerge from the front door, which led him to lean over the center console and open the passenger door for him. Grinning at his younger brother as he climbed into the truck, he pulled his seatbelt over his shoulder.

"Morning," Dylan beamed. Kole smelt the coffee before he saw Dylan take a drink from a large travel mug. “Dude, you’re fifteen. You don’t need to be caffeine dependent like the rest of us,” he taunted him, reaching over to push him in the shoulder gently before he turned on the truck fully, shifting it into gear and pulling out of the driveway. Traffic was traffic for the upper east side, though Kole didn’t have to take them very far to get to the apartment building that he lived in. Only a few blocks away, it was in truth walking distance, and not even that far from the park itself. But he had driven from across down at the precinct to get to the mansion and now he wanted to drop his vehicle off and grab Duke from the neighbors. As he parked in the underground parkade, he shifted to pull a backpack from the back seat, setting it on Dylan’s lap.

“Lost and found got their hands on a pretty snazzy pond boat. Thought you might want to take a crack at it today,” he commented, knowing that it was probably just warm enough for the water to be good for the remote control toy. Grabbing his jacket, then, Kole exited his truck, spinning his keys around his thumb as he headed for the elevators, swiping a key card through a door and holding it open for his younger brother. Heading upstairs was simple. Living on the eighth floor left him in no mood for stairs. Still, he didn’t want to spend anymore time at the apartment than he needed to. Kole felt like he was on auto-pilot, heading up to the neighbor’s place and hoping that Dylan was smart enough to follow. Kalista didn’t seem like the type to wait.

Knocking on his neighbor’s door earned him a loud and deep bark. Cynthia opened the door, the perky master’s student at NYU opened the door still in her pajamas, a spoon in her mouth and yogurt in her hand. She beamed at Kole who chuckled. “Good morning Thea. I’m here to retrieve my kidnapped dog,” he greeted. The retired police dog pushed his way out into the hall from the door behind his neighbor, heading straight for Dylan, tail thrashing and slamming into the walls in his excitement. “Good morning to you too sunshine,” she chimed. “I’ll never say no to a good study buddy like Duke. Be sure to drop by any time. And I mean any time.

Kole sighed and shook his head at the girl who was trying to look through her bed head with a sexy stare. She looked so naïve to him then, like she was trying too hard. It was a little too much but he laughed to amuse her, not wanting to exactly shut her down. This wasn’t the first time Dylan had met the overly chatty and flirtatious neighbor. Cynthia handed Kole Duke’s leash, allowing her grip to linger. “Any time,” Kole echoed. “I’ll be home later. Thanks again.”

When she closed her door, Kole allowed himself to kneel and greet the dog he had taken on. Duke was more than happy to have his chin scratched, his ears perky as he growled his content at being in his master’s presence again. Kole caught sight of the spray of silver and white fur on his dog’s muzzle with concern – proof that he was no puppy. Still, he scratched his ears once more before standing. “Mmkay, enough crazy for one day. Let’s go,” Kole announced, stuffing the leash on his pocket as he walked back to the elevators. Duke followed him at his side, pushing his nose into Dylan’s hand demanding more attention.

“Don’t give into him,” Kole commented. “Oh, and Kalista might meet up with us. She said she’s running already.”

Kole enjoyed the playful banter, feeling at ease as he allowed himself to just be. The excitement of a day off was there with the residual concern over Frank Karparthy. Yet today felt a little bit easier. He wasn’t trying to push away the feelings. Accepting them was a process but it was better. Somehow.

They headed out of the apartment lobby. When they hit the sidewalk Kole snapped a leash onto Duke’s collar, knowing that a by law officer might have a fit if he saw a loose dog on an upper east side corner. Central Park was close and fortunately he lived relatively close to East 74th Street where the Alice statues he had referred Kalista to were situated. As they hit the park, Kole pulled his coat over his shoulders, keeping his phone in his pocket, checking it as they walked and talked seeing a text from Jess now as well. “Sure, still fine by me. I want to talk a few things with you, though. I'm in the office till three, then I've got softball. Swing by before then,” she had replied. “Might be hard for me to get into the office but I’ll try. Email anything over in the meantime.”

Locking his phone then as they entered the park, he zipped it into his pocket and pulled out a pair of headphones and a smaller iPod nano with his running music on it.

“So, what do you want to do today?” Kole asked, looking over at a trio of kids screaming as they chased each other through the bronzed mushrooms, circling the statue of Alice in glee. Everyone’s just a little bit insane, he thought to himself. How fitting to meet here given what we talked about last night. Duke sat at his side, alert and watching every person within his vicinity. He still felt good until a magazine cart vendor held up a copy of the morning newspaper. He could have seen it from a mile away. Front page was a picture of Karparthy's house engulfed in flames and in white bold font across the front it read clear as day, "THREE DEAD IN GAS EXPLOSION." 3?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jess Garcia Character Portrait: Leonard DePesci
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Leo DePesci

Leo shivered slightly in the frosty winter morning air and pulled his jacket closer with one hand while the other reached up to the cigarette in his mouth. He took it between his middle and pointer fingers and pulled it out of his mouth with leisure. Leo placed his mouth in an ‘o’ shape and blew out, creating a smoke ring that lifted into the air before disappearing as the wind blew through the streets again. Leo looked down at the cigarette and sighed lightly which turned into a short chain of raspy coughs. He had tried quitting before, but he attempts were always in vain. Almost every one of the attempts had been for his sister. Whenever she would try to get him to quit he would stop smoking in front of her, but secretly do it behind her back. He always hated lying to her and had actually tried quitting a few times, but he knew that he’d most likely spend the rest of his life smoking cheap cigarettes.

Leo shuddered again as another gust of wind blew his dirty blonde hair backwards. In retrospect, he probably should have dressed warmer for the wintery weather. Gloria would probably nag him about it later. As Leo went to take another drag of the quickly shortening cigarette, a feminine voice was heard behind him. “Those things are going to kill you someday.”

Leo turned slowly with a smile, recognizing his little sister’s voice badgering him as always. “Gloria, fancy seeing you here.” He blew the smoke out from his lungs and then threw the cigarette to the ground, stepping on it with the tip of his toes.

Gloria looked from the crushed cigarette to Leo’s smug face. She squinted her eyes at him and crossed her arms across her chest with a mocking frown. “Fine I guess I’ll just be leaving then.”

Leo chuckled and stepped up closer to her. “C’mon sis,” he said, placing his arm around her shoulders, “T’was a joke.”

Gloria shook her head with a content sigh and smiled up at her brother as she slung an arm around his waist. The two stepped across the busy street and into the small coffee shop. They ordered the same coffee – black with a teaspoon of sugar – as they did regularly on mornings that Leo didn’t have work and Gloria didn’t have class. They were sitting at a booth in the back corner of the café, sipping their coffee when Gloria finally leaned across the table with a serious look and was about to break the silence. However, before she could say anything, Leo leaned across table as well and shook his head. “I know what you’re going to say, and I don’t really want to hear it. I’m meeting with the liaison today. Her name’s Jess Garcia,” Leo took a pause and then elaborated on why he had said her name, “Because I know you’re going to look her up as soon as you can. Gloria sat back in her chair with a look of defeat on her features. She looked down at her paper coffee cup and another moment of silence passed between the siblings.

Gloria finally looked up at Leo with a sad smile on her face. “You’ve always wanted to be just like dad.” Leo gave her the same sad smile and opened his mouth to reply, but Gloria cut him off. “I’ll never be able to change your mind. You’re too damn stubborn.” Leo let out an amused snort and Gloria tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear before continuing, “Just-just promise me you’ll be careful.” Leo nodded and winked at his little sister as they both sat back further in their chairs.

“When am I ever not careful?” Leo questioned with a nod and a wink.

Gloria rolled her eyes and gave him a disbelieving snort as she muttered, “All the time.”

Leo let out a genuine laugh at the truth in his sister’s statement before glanced at his silver watch. Garcia’s press conference would be starting soon and Leo had planned on being there on time. He stood from his seat and picked his coffee cup off the small table. “I’m sorry, Glor, but I gotta go to this press conference.” He swung around the table and leaned down to kiss his sister on the forehead. He grabbed his keys, coffee, and phone from the table and headed for the door, but not before looking over his shoulder and calling, “I’ll call you later and we can talk about that new boyfriend of yours.” With that, he was out the door with a smug grin. Gloria was left sitting at the table, shaking her head at her brother’s teasing. It was a wonder to Gloria how her big brother was so lighthearted when he was about to go undercover as a drug runner for a crime boss.


Leo pulled into the parking lot of the FBI building and killed the engine to his old car. He ran a hand through his hair before leaning over the console to pull the glove compartment open and grab his ID. As he pulled his ID out of the small box, several papers fell from the box. Leo cursed himself and went to pick the papers off the floor when he suddenly stopped. On the floor in front of the passenger seat was a small pocket-sized picture of Leo, Gloria, and their birth parents from when the children were very young. Leo picked the picture up delicately, as if it were made of glass and looked at the faces in the picture. He used to keep the photograph in his wallet up until he had started his life as a con-man. That was when the picture had been tucked away for safe-keeping. He hadn’t wanted to be reminded of his old family.

Leo stared at the picture for a moment, feeling a sudden strange attachment to the old picture. He was becoming exactly like his father. It was what he had wanted to do since he was a child. Then why was it so weird to finally be doing his dream job? Leo shook the thoughts out of his mind and checked his watch. The press conference was about to start and Leo was about to be late for it. In a hurry, Leo threw the picture and the rest of the fallen papers back in the glove box, grabbed his half empty coffee cup and ID, and hurried into the building.

By the time Leo had gotten inside, the press conference was already underway with Jessica Garcia talking to the mass of reporters with large cameras and microphones. Tossing his empty coffee cup in the nearest trash bin, Leo attempted to step into the room. However, the reporters filled the room almost completely and Leo had to settle with leaning against the doorframe in the back of the room.

Leo grinned to himself as he watched the woman at the podium speak to the nosey reporters. They were like sharks. Never satisfied and always willing to rip your arms off for a good story. Leo had to admit that the woman was good at not letting them do exactly that.