A/N No Steve Martin on roller skates here. So far I've crushed three episodes into two. I'll be adding another one here, with conclusions in each chapter.
"You want me to take point?"
"I'm guessing this is the missus."
"We need the Intersect."
The kidnapping of the manager had made no appreciable difference to the normal daily routine of the Buy More, no surprises there. Traffic was light at that hour, as always. The green shirts still slacked off whenever possible, the Nerd Herders still directed customers away from themselves whenever possible. The only real change was that today they could all claim to have been devastated by the loss of their beloved leader to those Large Mart goons.
When the beautiful blonde walked in the door, she naturally drew the attention of every person there. As far as (most of) the women were concerned, it was simple jealousy. For the men, waiting on her would be the closest they could hope to get to such a hot babe, even though they all knew they had no chance of getting any closer, with a large chance of being told to keep an even greater distance for pretty much the rest of their lives. Most of them suffered in silence. The greater the beauty, the greater the smackdown, and the derision awaiting them in the breakroom would be even more cruel than usual. Only the most clueless, most desperate, or most self-deluded, would dare approach such a person.
Jeff and Lester headed right over. "Good evening, madam," said Lester at his most obsequious. "How may we…service you tonight?"
She smiled at them, something that never happened. They froze, suddenly even more clueless than usual. "Could you gentlemen show me where the Home Theater room is? I really need to get those new sub-woofers I heard about." Her voice got low and growly. "I can't wait to feel those vibrations just go right through me." She touched the skinny one's arm.
"Jeffrey!" shrieked Lester, the pitch of his voice setting dogs barking for a block around. He pulled away from her, trying to mask the fear with a swift adjustment to his tie. He brushed greasy hair from his eyes. "Jeffrey, my good fellow," he continued as his smarmiest. "Let us show this fine lady to her destination, where we may hopefully see to all of her needs."
Jeff had just enough brains to talk and leer at the same time. "And maybe she can see to some of ours."
Lester flung up a hand. "Enough of that," he commanded, adding as an aside, "Or at least save it for the install. This fine young woman is obviously cut from different cloth." He turned back to his client. "Please pay no attention to my associate, ma'am, when Bennigans is closed he doesn't know what he's saying." He made a sweeping gesture, pushing Jeff out of the way as he indicated the lady's destination. "Your Home Theater awaits."
She sauntered past and they hung back as they followed her, admiring the view. The rest of the crew watched in stunned amazement, that any woman would allow herself to occupy a confined space with Jeff and Lester at the same time.
"Jeffrey," said Lester, "Draw those pesky curtains while I help this woman with those vibrations."
Jeff frantically fumbled his way through the complex process of drawing the blinds closed, finishing just in time to hear Lester exclaim, "You're so pretty!" He turned and she was right there, injection gun in hand, a newer model than his own. When the needle went in and she pulled the trigger, he knew he'd found his perfect woman. Hopefully she'd still be there when he woke up.
Carina sat at the table, hands around a mug of coffee, a far cry from her usual cafe latte with its twist of lemon. "This looks so much easier on TV." At least they had Sweet 'n' Low. When the last suspect, Josie, suddenly broke down in front of them during her interview, Carina was convinced it was a psy-ops ploy until Hannah found the pregnancy test stick in her bag. Then it was break time, as fast as possible.
For them, that is. Lewis had fled the break room as fast as they'd appeared.
"Lucky for you Sarah's trying to get to the airport. At this time of day it'll be a while before she gets back here." Hannah sat across from her, smearing cream cheese on a day-old onion bagel she'd just rehabilitated in the microwave. All the fresh ones were upstairs." Everything looks easy on TV. Unless it's a subject you know, and then it just looks stupid."
Her boyfriend snickered. "Just talk to any elevator man about Die Hard."
"I like Die Hard!" said the AIC, not his fiancée for once.
"Well, duh," he agreed, sort of. "Everybody likes Die Hard. But the tech isn't what you might call realistic."
"At least there's tech," grumbled Carina. "On crime shows all you ever see is somebody being brilliant. That's not exactly a learnable skill."
"Being brilliant like Sherlock, no," said Hannah, seeing what Sarah meant by 'bold front'. "Being brilliant like Carina, definitely right up your alley."
"According to Sarah, my skill set is making hash of someone else's plans."
"Which sounds good to me," said the boyfriend, who was cute and taken, dammit. "Since our murderer has a plan we'd like to see hashed."
"Unless this was a one-off," said Hannah, just because. "And poor Brody was killed simply for being too nice and friendly."
No one believed that, especially not Carina. Not even Casey would kill over that. Unless Brody simply wouldn't leave him alone. Hmm, alone. "Maybe he wasn't killed for being Brody, maybe he was killed for being there."
"In a hall?" That's where all the blood was.
"In a hall," said Carina. "Where someone else was, and Brody, being Brody, couldn't help but stop and stick his nose where the killer didn't want it."
"So you're thinking this was a crime of oppor–"
Something outside made a very loud noise, and all the lights went out.
The floor shook, making the louvers dance. The blonde agent listened carefully, but no one outside the Home Theater room seemed to notice, or care if they did. Californians. Still, the wise agent recognizes when opportunity is knocking.
The gun went back into her bag and a smoke grenade came out, ready to do its noxious worst. She opened the door to the room, unnoticed by all who had no desire to see anything Jeff and Lester might be up to. The grenade fell to the floor but the tab didn't, and as the smoke started to emerge she pulled the fire alarm and shut the door.
Five minutes later she walked through the empty store and tripped the locks, killing the alarms. If she let them run much longer, even emergency services might sit up and take notice. She pulled a phone from her pocket. "We're secure."
Chuck grabbed at Sarah's phone when the emergency signal went off. At the moment she was trying to drive them across the city at rush hour, so she really didn't need the distraction. Even a road-clearing missile wouldn't have helped, since she'd have used it by now. At least the pedestrians were in no danger , since the car was slightly wider than the sidewalks.
"What's up?" she asked.
"Fire and seismic sensors were tripped," he reported.
"An earthquake?" In an underground base.
"Checking." He tapped into the USGS data feed, but it didn't show any recent activity in that area. "Not seeing one." He tried the phone. "Not connecting."
"They're in lockdown. Try the secure link."
"Why are they in lockdown?" He tried the secure link. "Either it's an even more secure link than you thought, or the connection is broken. End result's the same either way." He waited a second, but she didn't say anything. "Why are they in lockdown?"
"A death in the family. Carina's investigating."
Three different snide remarks popped into his head, but he suppressed them all. "Carina's solving this?"
She willed her frown his way, since she couldn't exactly frown at him. "You think she can't?"
Chuck smiled and said, "Absolutely I do", because he was smart.
"Good," said Sarah. "Because she can and she will."
Carina held a napkin to her mouth, to avoid choking on all the dust in the air. "You check on your team. I have to go check on my prisoner." She also had to check on the armory, and make sure no one had tried to get in since she'd sealed it, but pointing that out would have been rude.
The cell block seemed undisturbed. Frost stood by the door, but out of curiosity rather than panic. The view from Castle's cell-block was much better than the one in DC.
"Are you all right?" asked Carina.
"Are you kidding?" said Frost. "This is the sturdiest place in the base. I'm safer than you are."
"Rub it in, why don't you?" Carina drew her gun, the only one not secured, and took aim. Frost raised her hands. Carina hit the switch, and the door opened. She hit it again, putting her gun away after it closed. "Good. At least I can get you out of there, in case there are any more aftershocks."
Frost shook her head. "That wasn't an earthquake, Agent Miller. That was a bomb."
Jets move faster than cars, despite Sarah's best efforts. The plane was on the ground and braking before she found a gate to ram the car through. The CIA was going to have to buy the rental company a new one anyway. The facility was small, but it was also after dark and she didn't know the layout. Mainly she tried to find a path in the general direction the plane had been taking before they lost sight of it. Not only was this stupid rental slower than her beloved Porsche, it was also higher off the ground, and she didn't want to chance hitting anything.
The sounds died away on both sides of one hangar, the jet coming to a halt on one side, their car on the other. Sarah didn't even bother telling Chuck to stay in the car. Between the Intersect and his tranq pistol he was almost more effective than she was with her regular pistol, more so if she factored captured prisoners versus dead bodies into the equation.
Light and sound were on their side, as they skulked around the side of the hangar in complete silence. Out on the field some people dressed as airport employees were moving boxes, and the plane had to have more guards inside it. Sure enough, once the plane came to a complete stop the door opened, and people carrying guns poured out onto the field.
Chuck lifted the side view mirror he'd pulled off of what was left of their car, and checked around the corner. "There's five guys, Sarah. We're outmanned and outgunned."
Sarah checked the glass. "Five guys?" she snorted in derision. "Five idiots. You could take them yourself."
"Idiots with machine guns."
"Look how they're holding them, Chuck. Look how they're standing. They've lined themselves up to be shot, while holding their guns as if they were movie props." Movement drew her eye, but it was just the wands of the field controller.
Wait a minute. The plane was stopped. Why was the field controller even there? And where were the two stevedores?
The two 'airport employees' leapt up from concealment and started shooting, their little handguns taking out three of the guards before the other two could get their larger guns pointing the right way. Their targets didn't wait for this, ducking and rolling to new cover, opening fire before the last guards could reacquire their targets. In seconds five men were down, their primary frozen in the doorway of the plane.
"Holy crap!" said Chuck, "Those two are like Terminators, they just took out five guys in the blink of an eye."
The field controller moved behind his men. "Welcome to America, Mr. Pichushkin!"
Chuck stuck his head out to peer around the corner. "That's Casey's voice."
Sarah traded places. "What's he doing here?"
The man continued down the steps, approaching Casey and his team–his team?–with one arm up. The other held a silver case.
"Let me take your luggage," sneered Casey.
The arms dealer knelt, putting the case on the ground. "It's yours." He opened it.
"What the hell? Chuck!" said Sarah, pointing. "They're flashing!"
Chuck looked at Casey's team. "They're what?"
"Flashing!" Sarah fiddled with her watch, looking for their frequency. "They're Intersects too."
"Is that really what I look like?"
"Oh my god. I just heard them say 'fission' and 'fireball'."
Chuck wasn't on the network but there was nothing wrong with his hearing. "I just heard Casey say 'suitcase nuke'."
Dragan had taken advantage of everyone's shock to reach a hand inside his coat. "You have bomb. I have detonator. I think it's best we part ways, yes?"
Sarah didn't like the look of those guns pointed Dragan's way, far too steady for her taste. Dunwoody's reputation around the office was none too positive, and if the other one was anything like her…"Casey, let him go! I've got eyes on Dragan," she said into her mike.
Casey didn't flinch, didn't move, didn't acknowledge that he'd heard her in any way. "You can't run far enough, or fast enough," he said to Dragan.
The Russian turned and ran. Sarah ran to cut him off.
"Sir," said Dunwoody, seeing the glory slip through her fingers once again, "Agent Walker isn't supposed to be here!"
"Then I'll let you explain that to Agent Bartowski when you help her catch the bad guy, Captain. Go." He dismissed her from his attention. "Captain Noble, I need you to disarm this, now."
Noble knelt before the case, gingerly moving components, futilely searching for any matching data in the Intersect. "This thing is a Frankenstein, sir. There's nothing in the Intersect about how to disarm this."
Casey lifted his watch, resetting the frequency. If Sarah was in LA, it stood to reason Chuck would be on overwatch. "Eagle-Eye, are you on line?"
"No, Colonel, I'm at your five, twenty meters."
Casey turned around. "Then get over here, numbskull." When Chuck got within grabbing distance Casey grabbed him, pushing him to his knees. "Fix that."
"Ho, ha," said Chuck, staring into the case. "I don't know anything about disarming suitcase nukes."
Captain Victoria Dunwoody ran up behind the Russian, going toe-to-toe with Agent Walker. That's right, Walker. You just stand there while I take him down. She flashed.
"No! Don't!" shouted Sarah.
Jealous Victoria said He's mine, Professional Victoria said I'm trying. Neither of them knew how to stop the flash.
Gunfire sounded in the distance.
The numbers on the readout started counting down. "I don't know anything about disarming live suitcase nukes," said Chuck.
Casey raised his watch. "What the hell happened, Bartowski?"
"Your toy soldier just shot the detonator!"
"Explain that later. Get back here now!" said Casey. He turned to Chuck. "Now would be a good time to get started."
"You know I don't have the Intersect, right?"
"Well she does, and it's not helping," growled Casey. "But you were smart long before you ever got that damn program, Bartowski. Hopefully smart enough."
Chuck looked up at the tall woman. "You have the Intersect?"
Captain Noble nodded.
"Then what are you doing all the way up there? Get down here, Greta, I need an Intersect."
"My will call me Captain Noble."
"Get down here, Captain Noble, I need an Intersect."
It occurred to her to lose. For once. "Yes, sir," she said, getting back down on her knees.
Chuck flashed on his bomb-disarming skills, lifting out the primary device. "We're going to have to improvise our way through this one."
"Improvise?" said Noble, as if he'd just insulted her. "It's a nuclear bomb!"
Casey exercised his command authority. "Stow it, Captain."
Chuck held out the bomb. Captain Noble, using the same program, knew what she had to do next, and removed the detonator from the top. "All right, Captain," said Chuck, "What do you see?"
Noble flashed. "This detonator comes from a next-gen Chinese nuclear sub."
"A submarine?" repeated Chuck. She stared at him. "Right. A submarine. Let's use that."
"The only way a submarine would help us now is if it was carrying this bomb as far out to sea as possible."
"Right!" said Chuck excitedly, as if she'd said something brilliant. "Subs deploy in salt water! In case of a hull breach, these things have to have safeties to keep them from going off. We just need some salt water to deactivate it."
"We're miles inland," said Noble. "Where do you plan to find some salt water in an airport?"
Chuck had been very conscious of the answer to that question for a while now, but one doesn't put a race to the rescue on hold for a potty break. "Um…well…" He stood up, fumbling with his zipper. "You might want to turn your back for this part."
A/N2 The obvious solution. Many fanfictions have pointed it out. Too bad TV shows have to be more delicate.