Part 1 - Chapter 22 - Debriefing

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Debriefing was scheduled for the next morning at nine. I tried eating breakfast but didn't have the stomach for it. My insides roiled. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had taken two lives. I was a killer. Mama would be so ashamed of what I had become.

I arrived early at the Red Chamber feeling dead on my feet. Only Stina was there ahead of me. She sat at the conference table.

"Stina, I...I'm sorry about the way I acted last night."

One corner of her mouth twitched into the start of a smile, but then as if she lacked the necessary energy, it faded. "Sit with me."

I slid into the chair beside her.

Eventually, the others filed in and took their seats. Everyone except Trent.

Dr. Boone said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'll get right to the point. You are all to be congratulated on completing the most successful financial operation in the history of the Rich V. Gemthe Academy. The total take was in excess of 120 million dollars."

My mind couldn't fathom that amount of money.

Judge Severn said, "Trent successfully emptied the offshore accounts of Gustafsson and his associates. That made up the bulk of the take, nearly 105 million. The other 15 million flowed into our account by way of an accident. After emptying those accounts, my grandson was supposed to siphon a large sum from the resort's legitimate account, leave a traceable trail, and transfer it to Gustafsson thus implicating him. Instead, Trent inadvertently siphoned those funds directly into the Gemthe account. A misunderstanding that fortunately ended up in our favor."

Grant spoke up. "We got rid of the bus with the dead bodies. As far as I know, we left no trace of ourselves. Have we received any blowback?"

"The media today is reporting a high tech organized attack on the resort by unknown perpetrators for unknown reasons resulting in the deaths of five casino employees," Severn said. "The perpetrators remain unidentified since they somehow took over control of the resort's surveillance cameras and deleted all footage. Good job, Larry, for engineering that coup."

Larry bobbed his head in acknowledgement.

Severn continued. "As you know, I'm plugged-in to local law enforcement, and I can assure you that they are stymied."

"What about the scene we staged at the bar?" Kristi asked, her eye swollen from Stina's slap. "We all knew that was going to be our Achilles' heel in terms of exposure with maybe a hundred witnesses."

"My sources at the LVPD have made no connection to you."

"They will," Kristi said. "Or the FBI will when they are called in. That scene resulted in Gustafsson spiriting Stina to his room. The cops will figure she was the last person to see him alive and will try to find her."

Judge Severn cleared her throat. "The FBI will not be called. The resort is not going to report the theft. It is in their interest to keep a lid on the loss and simply eat it. They are a publicly held corporation. If word of a theft got out and also how the security system had been compromised, stock values would plummet, shareholders would howl for heads to roll. The death of employees has already caused irreparable harm due to the flight of frightened guests and cancellation of future reservations. That they can chalk up to Gustafsson and his cronies being mixed up in outside gang activity."

Judge Severn looked each of us in the eye. "Due to the staggering sum that we were able to confiscate, you'll be well-compensated. I believe you'll find it should more than make up for your present discomfort."

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