Undercover Shorty-short fic
Frank leaned back in his chair, looking at his computer screen. The headline flickering across the news ticker at the bottom of his screen worried him. What would his team do when they discovered the news that Frank had anticipated since 9/11/01?
Still, the official announcement to the news organizations was bound to upset his team. Alex, well, Alex was a tough call. Frank could see her divided feelings for Carlos and her job, and he suspected she would leave SOU one day to seek her future with Carlos. But if SOU were to be disbanded, Frank suspected Alex would take a leave of absence--travel, perhaps--before making a final decision about her employment.
Alex had been a lawyer before joining SOU. She'd had to change her last name. Married to the job, Frank thought suddenly. Yes, married to her job when she changed her name. Common enough for women to change surnames upon marriage. Now there was a remote possibility that the SOU would be disbanded and Alex would find herself changing jobs once again.
Monica and Cody would fare well; Cody's skills were unmatched within the FBI and for the past several months, Frank had to fend off rival departments in order to keep Cody on his staff. Twice in the last month, he'd noticed email inquiries to Cody about his leaving SOU and joining another department. The Hostage Rescue Team were deeply interested in acquiring Cody's extensive skills and had offered a nice pay raise. Frank bristled when he'd heard the HRT rumblings.
And Frank had been pleased to note that Cody had responded to such inquiries with a terse reply: no.
Cody didn't say, no thank you.
Frank noted with satisfaction that Cody merely replied no.
And despite Cody's lack of manners, Frank was secretly pleased with Cody's response to the inquiries. Let the HRT grouse, Cody's skills belonged to Frank.
Monica would be of great value to other departments as well and Frank was also hearing rumblings about someone else stealing her away. She would be an asset in profiling and a newly created department on anti-terrorism would jump at the chance to hire her.
But it was Jake whose probable reaction most worried Frank. Jake often let his emotions drive his decisions, but in the past few months Frank had seen an awakening maturity in Jake. Despite his own betrayal of Sonny, Jake had made a decision to trust Sonny Walker during the SOU seige crisis; Frank himself probably would have made the same decision in Jake's place.
What would Jake say when he discovered the news?
Frank looked up as he heard the kitchen door bang. He wouldn't have to wait very long to hear Jake's reaction. Jake was grumbling to himself and shortly he appeared in the doorway of Frank's office. He pinned Frank with his eyes.
"Yes. But not us."
"The others know?"
"I suppose they do. Where did you hear the news?"
"Ah. Sounds about right. I'll call a meeting when everyone's here."
"I'll let them know."
Jake nodded, then turned and left.
Frank steepled his fingers. The FBI's announcement they were considering redirecting agents towards terrorism wasn't unexpected. Recently, as a result of both Cody and Jake having their credit card numbers stolen, Cody had already cracked several credit card scams costing the credit card companies tens of millions of dollars.
During Cody's investigation into the theft of his and Jake's credit card numbers, Cody had uncovered several identity thieves who had opened multiple identities. One prosperous identity thief maintained seven identities, complete with mortgages on three houses, rental agreements on two apartments in Manhattan and two more apartments in LA (Monica, over drinks at Morton's, had giddily suggested that perhaps he was sub-leasing the apartments for sky high rents, then using the rents to pay the three mortgages; it turned out her guess was bang-on), two late-model beamers, one station wagon, one Mercedes Benz, one Subaru, one Geo Jeep and one Ford.
Frank smiled to himself as he recalled that particular after-work drinks session. Jake had asked Monica, "Why do you think Tab Morrison is using the bi-coastal apartment leases to pay the mortgage?"
Monica had giggled softly. Frank made a mental note to keep her away from the whiskey. "This way. See, Tab must have 'income', either passive income from a trust or other investments or earned income. Rental income from the apartments could be used to obtain a mortgage."
Alex cut in. "Wouldn't the mortgage lender check the ownership of the apartments?"
Even Frank wanted to know Monica's response.
"Sure. Tab could have rented the four apartments, then transferred the income to a trust fund. Check for offshore trust funds and companies."
"Bahamas and Caymans," Jake had commented.
And Monica was mostly correct. What Tab had done was to start a Bahamaian company which received the rental income from the four sub-letting apartment tenants. Tab had used the company's income to obtain the mortgages. He rented out two of the homes and lived in the third.
The rental income from the two homes supported his extravagant lifestyle and funded his cars, jewelry purchases and world trips.
Tab was none too happy to see a clothed-in-black SOU team standing in the living room of his Beverly Hills home, greeting Tab's holiday party guests with guns instead of hellos. Alex had busied herself getting the guests out of the house.
"Hello, Tab. We know about the apartment rentals in Manhattan and the other two apartments here in Los Angeles. We also know about the Bahamain company, The Tab Corporation," Monica had told Tab as she levelled a gun at him.
"Unfortunately, your financial fraud crossed state lines. That means the guns you are facing belong to the FBI," Frank had told the very surprised and dismayed Tab.
"As does your ass," Jake had commented drily. Frank glanced at Jake but said nothing.
Cody had said, "Very stupid, using an eponymous name for your corporation."
"Out the back, now!" Jake had said, motioning with his gun.
"Aw, calm down! I ain't armed. I'll go," Tab had protested weakly.
Now footsteps in the outer office cut into Frank's ruminations. He stood up and was in the process of walking from behind his desk when Monica appeared in the doorway.
"It's now," Frank told her. She nodded and turned.
Frank followed her out of his office where the rest of the team was gathered. Despite his earlier assurances to Jake, Jake's face showed anxiety.
Frank stood in front of his team. "Despite the news, I convinced our superiors the benefits of maintaining the SOU intact."
Cody looked dubious. "How?" was all he could ask.
"Tab Morrison," Frank replied.
"Our money launderer," Alex commented. "And money laundering could be a hallmark of terrorist activity."
"Yes," Frank replied.
"So the FBI needs us," Monica commented.
"Yes, they do." Frank said, then turned to return to his office. He turned back to his team and reached into his coat jacket. "Be sure to check your pay packets. The checks should reflect a twenty percent raise." Frank noted his team's mouths dropped open in surprise. "After all, our skills are needed more than ever and the pay should reflect that need," Frank said as he turned again.
He felt the eyes of his team boring into his back as he entered his office. Upon reaching his desk, he reached for the button that shut the door automatically.
Outside Frank's office, the four members of the SOU were staring at each other, gape-mouthed.
"As always, he has an ace up his sleeve," Monica stated, smiling as she opened her pay packet.
"That's our Frank," Cody and Alex said together.
"Damn. How does he do that?" Jake wanted to know.
"However he did it, I'm glad he did," Alex said. "Hey, this is a twenty percent pay increase!"
"And Frank gave us the day off," Cody said. "How about a sail on the Lake?"
The four nodded in agreement then started to leave the office. Jake hesitated, then motioned for his teammates to follow him. He went to Frank's office and knocked.
"Come in," Frank called. Jake opened the door. His teammates stood around him. "Uh, thank you for what you did," Jake said. The others chimed in.
"We're going to the Lake. Want to come?" Alex asked.
Frank shook his head. "Other things planned for today," he said. "But drinks at five pm would be nice. Morton's again?" Frank asked his surprised team. They nodded.
"Dismissed." His team turned to leave. Cody turned back. "See you at five, sir."