Roger Allen was not an easy person to get along with, and he knew that. He didn’t normally work with a partner and he’d forgotten why after all of these years. But it didn’t take too long for him to remember; no one worked well with him.
Maybe it was his fault, he didn’t know, but he also didn’t care. He didn’t care about most things. There was only one thing he actually did care quite a bit about.
Allen knew early in his life that it didn’t matter what he had to do, he just wanted money, and as much as he could get. Did he need to spend it? Not necessarily. Money was more than a currency to be traded for material things.
It was control.
People with money could move the world around, just like puppets. The rich had no worries. Money was safety, security, happiness.
Money was everything.
That was what first appealed to Allen about working at a bank. Banks’ sole purpose was to house money, protect it and circulate it. And, like any other business, take it. Fines, fees, interest rates—banks played dirty, just like any other corporation out there.
Allen worked at many banks before he found Midtown Mutual. He started off as a security night guard, patrolling corridors and stopping thieves. It was probably the worst influence to give someone like him. He watched and learned from the thieves, noting what they did well, what they got away with, and what got them caught. Working in the bank as a guard for nearly eight years, Allen learned much about the business and the upkeep of a bank. Not only that, he learned all about the vault.
Bank vaults were bulletproof, some having more than six-foot thick metal walls. There was a reason why they were originally known as strongrooms. Many of them could withstand natural disasters or even nuclear blasts. Though impressive, Allen couldn’t care less about how protective vaults could be.
Vaults typically hold a quarter of a million dollars in cash, but that didn’t include the worth of safety deposit boxes. That value could be priceless. The idea of walking around inside a building that held so much value excited Allen. His greed grew.
He didn’t commit a crime at the bank until his ninth year working at a downtown bank called Loch. He had spent his eight years as a security officer at Loch and finally asked to be promoted out of security and into a management position. Because security and management were so different, he wasn’t able to get up very high. He was promoted to teller, but he was fine with that; it got him exactly where he needed to go. Within the first week he was teller, he’d formulated a plan and robbed the bank, then left the state and came to New York.
Then he found Midtown Mutual.
He didn’t have to worry about Midtown finding out about the employee who robbed Loch Bank in Minnesota. That employee’s name was Jacob Wrestler, he had a beard and mustache, and southern drawl. Roger Allen was clean shaven, North Eastern and had a shining resume.
It didn’t take long for him to find out about the flash drive. When he did, his greed began to control him. In Minnesota, he walked away with tens of thousands of dollars. This flash drive?
This was tens of millions.
And that’s what Roger Allen was thinking as he plugged the drive into the computer in the manager’s office of the Forest Midtown Mutual bank. The monitor lit up with windows, Allen’s face alight with glee. It was working. Allen typed furiously, beginning to wire the first client’s thousands to his own secure, untraceable account.
Maverick watched over his shoulder. He shook his head in amazement. “That simple?”
“That simple.” said Allen, not tearing his eyes away. He typed for a few more moments, then watched as the first client’s money drained straight into his account. He laughed, holding the monitor tightly with one hand, as if that could get him closer to the money.
“And half goes into my account?” said Maverick. Allen felt a pull in his chest. That was the other reason he didn’t work well with others.
But Allen knew Maverick, knew what he was capable of. He wasn’t going to screw over a murderer.
But he also wasn’t giving him half.
“You’ll get twenty percent,” said Allen. “That was what we agreed on.”
“Yes,” said Maverick. “But that was before I had to kidnap an FBI agent. Now I want half.”
“Well, that’s too bad, then. We had a deal.”
Maverick suddenly lifted his weapon. “Or maybe I’ll take it all, then.”
Allen slowly turned. “Alright, alright, you want half? You’ll get half, once you deal with that FBI agent and his criminal informant. Deal?”
Maverick didn’t lower his weapon. “Half.”
“Half.” agreed Allen, and Maverick lowered his weapon.
“I can’t get them myself,” said Maverick, then he considered. “Maybe, actually. That Caffrey’s pretty close to dead.”
Allen sighed and stood then activated all of the clients’ accounts. They all began to drain. And soon, they’ll all be his.
Peter was getting tired.
No, it was more than that. Bruised was more like it. The air inside the vents was even more stale than the air in the basement. Peter heaved himself across the vent, wondering his long it would take to find an exit. Any exit. He just needed to get out of the damn thing and go back to open the door for Neal.
Peter’s heart dropped in his chest, thinking of Neal. He’d left his partner—his friend—sitting alone, hurt and completely vulnerable. Peter hated himself for it.
But what other choice did he have? There was no way he could get out of that room.
Peter heaved himself around a tight corner in the air duct, and grunted as the corner dug into his side. He wasn’t meant to be crawling through an air vent, that was clear. He barely fit as it was.
Neal’s image flashed to his mind again and sent chills down Peter’s spine. He wondered if Neal was still awake, still conscious. He prayed that he was; if Neal passed out again he might never wake up.
Peter pushed himself to go faster, feeling brush burns scraping his knees. Peter squinted, seeing a light glowing ahead of him.
Peter’s heart sped; he found an exit.
He doubled his speed and made his way awkwardly and painfully to the opening. It was a grate, and looking through it, it opened at ground level to an empty office on the first floor. Peter grinned to himself.
The door was open.
Yanking the grate off and setting it aside, Peter twisted himself around in the vent, accidentally scraping his waist on the metal, his shirt ripping. Ignoring the sharp pain, Peter crawled into the room. He pulled himself to his feet and peered out of the doorway; the coast was clear. No sign of Allen or Maverick.
Peter was about to leave when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. The computer monitor on the desk was flashing. He turned and circled the desk, looking at the flashing images on the computer screen and froze.
The flash drive was in the USB port of the computer.
Peter slowly sank into the chair, his eyes following as money was drained into an offshore account. Allen must have designed some sort of software to do this automatically.
Allen was at around two hundred thousand dollars. But there were millions and millions more. Looking up, making sure he was still alone, Peter grasped the flash drive and pulled it out of the computer.
The windows on the monitor stuttered and a notice popped up.
Device ejected improperly. Transfer interrupted. Please reconnect.
Peter dropped the flash drive in his pocket, grinning at his own luck. He checked the hallway again, and deciding it was clear, he headed down to find Neal.
It was time to get the hell out of here.