Reviews for The Cipher
anthropocene chapter 2 . 5/6/2016
One of the things you do best is on display here, Marc—you think deeply about the motivations of these characters, and in places where canon fails to do so, you give them more authentic, more believable thoughts and actions. The manipulations of Beckman and the motivations of Casey work better here. And now it's easier to believe that Casey could have shrugged off his near-termination of Chuck as S2 proceeded. Thanks for a fun quick read!
P.J. Murphy chapter 2 . 5/3/2016
I agree the conflict seemed a bit too dramatic in the first season. I don't think they truly knew where they wanted to draw the lines of loyalty. But certainly they straightened that out in season 2. Casey arrests Chuck and Sarah in Barstow not under orders, but because he felt betrayed by them. C&S needed to learn the lesson there, no question.

Great chapter.
P.J. Murphy chapter 1 . 5/3/2016
Good stuff. Not often people get into Casey's mind like that. Very clean, very efficient, and just enough regret because of his respect for Chuck and the work he did.

Nicely done.
resaw chapter 2 . 4/27/2016
Are you saying that Beckman didn't want Casey to kill Chuck? Or only that she hoped he wouldn't have killed Chuck before she had a chance to call off the kill in light of the impact of the sabotaged cipher? Either way, you have me thinking and pushing me back to that episode.

Thanks for keeping the Chuck fanfic alive.
Grayroc chapter 2 . 4/25/2016
This was a great read. The script writers created the termination order motif and as you say quickly dropped it. Nonetheless, it remains for Chuck fanfiction folk to sort out and work through. This little story does add a greater complexity to the characters of Beckman and Casey. Potential to continue with the story.
James Mowery chapter 2 . 4/24/2016
Very well and subtly done indeed! A fascinating peek at Beckman's war,where the enemy isn't always the guy in front of you and everybody on your notional side is not necessarily on the same map sheet or indeed looking at the same map that you are.

In her interaction with her techies you bought out Beckman's playful side, which looks disturbingly like a sated lion playing handball with a honey badger cub. The leading them by the nose into countless redesigns was not only priclessly funny but added complexity that made the system vulnerable and was a nifty way to slow roll the process with all the benefits that this implies.

It gives Casey his opening and his "reaction" makes it possible for her to put a stop to a process she initiated making her look incisive and efficient. It also lets her prove a point to a number of implied (rather than shown in canon) superiors who weren't taking the whole Fulcrum/Ring threat seriously enough or who like Graham saw it primarily as a way to advance their personal agendas.

One of the things you do better than anyone is write General Diane Beckman in a plausible and frighteningly realistic manner. This story over all is a really valuable addition to the hidden mental architecture of the Chuckverse. One that makes clear events and how they are connected in a way that television is ill suited to do. Thank you not just for a whacking good read but for taking my speculations seriously and for responding so generously and kindly to a readers interest in your story!
wilf21 chapter 2 . 4/23/2016
Hmmm, this does go some way towards mitigating Beckman's and Casey's actions in this part of the show, although I'm not wholly convinced that you are right about their underlying motives.
Garnetflint chapter 2 . 4/22/2016
Ok, perhaps Becksn has been redeemed...somewhat. I do like your take on this as it gives us a hint as to the levels of deception that were at play. The show runners didn't go anywhere near this deep in there canon offerings, but your expose of Casey and Beckmans real intentions goes a long way toward redeeming them ( her especially) in my mind.
phnxgrl chapter 2 . 4/22/2016
I loved how John followed his orders until they were rescinded. I loved how Beckman suspected John in having engineered that rescind order himself. Please continue.
James Mowery chapter 1 . 3/2/2016
My apologies for being tardy in reviewing this excellent short piece. You did a superb job in presenting a plausible exculpatory scenario using just what we were shown in the episode. I also really liked the sly way you stated the case with out precisely coming out and saying Casey was responsible. The ambiguity is consistent with both the character and the genera. Very Well Done!

The thing I wonder about is how deep Casey's plan went. The show had been telegraphing this punch since the second episode of first season. Remember Casey and Beckman's phone conversation at Bryce's funeral?
Beckman: "Don't get too comfortable Major. The new Intersect will be up and running in 6 months."
Casey: "What will happen to Chuck then?"
Beckman: "You'll do what you do best."

They returned to the same theme in another phone conversation between the two of them in the second to last episode of first season. In both cases Beckman strongly implies that killing Chuck was the plan from the get go. In both cases John exhibits real reluctance to carry this out. In the second instance Beckman even seems to acknowledge his reluctance and offer a little back handed sympathy.

Your wonderful story is a well situated jumping off place for further speculation on what and how long Casey had been planning and what Beckman's take on this/end game was. Was this the two of them coloring outside the lines to take down Graham? Was Beckman counting on the reluctance of an obviously deeply uncomfortable Casey to take out Graham on the theory that sometimes the best way to hang someone is to hand them a rope and then encourage them to go piss off the hangman.

In case you're wondering, that is a hint/wish for an expanded story.
Garnetflint chapter 1 . 2/18/2016
I like your take on this as Langston's manner really bothered me, and Beckmann wasn't much better. Casey on the other hand seemed to act with more honour. This nicely recognizes how he happened to appear ready to kill an innocent, and gets his payback as well be punishing the one who deserves it most.
resaw chapter 1 . 2/10/2016
I wondered whether the latest chapter of Becoming had been a source of inspiration for you. I like the way you presented this from Casey's point of view. Despite staying within canon, to me it came across as a tension-filled scene; perhaps the tension had less to do with the ultimate outcome than with the internal conversation Casey had going on with himself as he approached-and then pulled away from-Chuck. Thank you for writing this.
Rob M chapter 1 . 2/10/2016
I agree with a lot of your authors note, the kill order makes Graham and Beckman genuinely look like scummy people as theyre basically sacrificing an innocent man for the sake of expediency and to cover their own screw-ups (Graham losing control of his agent, Beckman for failing to protect the intersect).
Casey dosnt come off much better as all his talk of honor means nothing when he decides to kill a man whose not only fought at his side but has saved his life on several occasions (something even the Ring hitman in "Vs the Ring" wouldnt do to Casey)...though this at least fits somewhat with the burnout, attack dog characterization we meet in the pilot.
Hell, even Sarah dosnt come out of this completely unscathed as it makes you wonder about her and if she's killed innocent people because of orders... basically that was just my very long winded way of saying I like this. I think having Casey be the one who actually rigged the explosion is a very clever way of working within the canon storyline and redeeming a couple of the main characters...well done
WvonB chapter 1 . 2/9/2016
Well done. A very plausible way to explain the events and Casey's feelings about them.
tut1971 chapter 1 . 2/9/2016
Very good interpretation of how this should have gone. Thanks for it. Also thanks for recommend of the AIW story - don't know how I missed that one.
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