Yeah, well, life got in the way of trying to write for a while and the only time I've spent on here was trying to find some good works from the past to read (there are quite a few good ones, but unfortunately many have been dropped just as they were getting really interesting :O(
I have been amused, though, to discover that the only ones to appear to actually like Devon and Morgan are "dudes" (not men, a very important distinction between the two, there is), many of the girls have a great time ridiculing them for the same reasons I do ;^)
This one's not quite AU, but more of a divergence in the force (I mean path) from both the series itself, and my "Where Do We Go To" 'verse.
Spin-off from the start of Season 3, starting in that 8 month hole they left.
Usual disclaimer for the land of litigation, no rights to any characters portrayed unless I've made them up.
When Chuck arrived at the training facility in Prague on the first night, he was only given a hour to settle himself into his room before he was grabbed without a word and bundled into a SUV to be taken off to a secret meeting (when it was at an undisclosed location with unknown parties, secret is as good a descriptor as any). As soon as he was in the SUV, the man riding shotgun turned and shot him with a tranq dart (well not actually a tranq per se, in that it left him conscious and aware of what was going on around him, even though he could hardly move, anyway it incapacitated him for the trip).
In the back of the SUV, he was freaking out, myriad possibilities (all bad) went through his mind as he looked out the window at the dark countryside flashing past, remnants of Fulcrum had captured him to reek retribution on him for his role in their demise, that new organisation (the Ring?) had grabbed him to use him against the USA, some other organisation had grabbed him to sell him off to the highest bidder, the CIA had grabbed him to strike a blow against the NSA's rising dominance in the US "intelligence" community... but the problem was (as far as he could see), was that while the possible scenarios were pretty much endless, what he COULDN'T see was any option of him getting out of this with a good outcome, or to have much hope of getting out of this alive for that matter.
One thing that WAS obvious was that whoever was in control had specified that Chuck was to have no idea of where he was going, because they stayed on back roads all the way, making sure that he never saw anything other than minor road signs (presumably in Czech, but it was impossible to read the very few small road signs that he noted as they flashed past in the dark), and they didn't pass a single sign that indicated what town or towns they may be heading towards.
Eventually they entered a country estate via a rear service(?) gate and headed up to the dark chateau (well he presumed it was a chateau, it was certainly big enough to be called that). When they pulled up at the rear of the chateau, the driver doused the lights and the area was shrouded in darkness, so it was a surprise when the door suddenly opened and he was dragged out. All he could see was large shapes around him, and that the two men(?) holding him appeared to be wearing night vision goggles (what little light there was dimly showed the shape of the headgear they were wearing).
When they had him out of the SUV, the men holding his arms half supported him as they dragged him into the chateau, with others ahead and behind, presumably they were all wearing NVGs as everything was pitch black (or it was to him anyway). Once inside, he was taken into a room and deposited in a chair, he was injected with something before his "escort" left the room and closed the door.
Once they'd left a spotlight came on which lit up the area around him, and it quickly became obvious that the injection they gave him was the antidote for the drug they'd given him earlier as his head was clearing and he was regaining control of his body rapidly. He couldn't see much outside of the circle of light around him, but there appeared to be people in the shadows on the other side of the room. The fact that no-one was saying anything just added to the growing sense of doom that Chuck had, and the longer it went on, the more certain he was that he wouldn't get out of this.
After about 10 minutes, Chuck's head was clear and he had control of his body again, and that was when another spotlight came on, to show General Beckman sitting in a chair directly in front of him. She smiled at him and said "Hello Chuck", which freaked him out even more, because she seemed to be being friendly towards him, and that was something he'd never experienced before. She started in on the explanation of why he had been brought there the way he had, saying that they had to discuss something that no-one back at the training facility could not know about. Chuck was trying to pay attention to her, but the figures shrouded in darkness on either side of her were freaking him out, and he couldn't concentrate, so he interrupted her to say that he wasn't prepared to continue with this without knowing who else was in the room.
The General gave him a considered look (actually looking more impressed than annoyed for once), and after a brief delay said "Very well Chuck, this (waving to her left) is the technical director for this project." Another spotlight lit up to show Chuck's father sitting in a chair, smiling at him. Chuck's cry of "Dad!" was met with a wider smile and "Hello son." The General gave him a moment to let that soak in and then waved to her right and said "And this is the operational director for the project." This time when the spotlight showed the person in the chair, Chuck was too stunned to say a word, but after a minute or so he managed to tentatively ask "Mom?", at which her guarded smile broadened and she jumped up to rush across the floor to him. Chuck jumped up to meet her and swept her up into a bone crushing hug, hanging on for dear life. The others let them have a few minutes for their reunion, but when he'd set her on her feet again and she was holding his face, looking up at him and whispering "My baby boy.", the General cleared her throat and asked "Mary, are we right to continue?" She tried to use her normal voice of authority, but a quick look her way showed that she (like Stephen) had tears of joy in her eyes at what she'd just seen.
Once all the players in the room had been revealed, the normal room lights came up, and they pulled the four chairs together for easier discussion. The General led the discussion, but one thing she made clear up front was that the organisation was actually a council, made up of the three of them, plus Roan Montgomery, Bryan Mills and Emma Burdon. Chuck looked at her when she said Roan's name, and she had a strange expression as she nodded (he noted the smirk his mother gave at that but tabled any follow up on that for a later discussion). The General looked at Mary and Stephen briefly before adding that, at that point, the council was the organisation, but there would probably be three or four additions over time, these being the children of the council members, starting with you (extending a hand towards Chuck as she did so), and possibly others if they could be trusted.
They talked through the night about why Chuck had been brought in the way he had and what they wanted him to do. Stephen explained abut the development of the Intersect and what had gone into it (what he knew, anyway, others had added many things into the databases that he didn't know about, and he was sure that he would have serious issues with), and that they had to fix the Intersect 2.0 for him ASAP, as he'd coded timebombs into it to prevent it being an on-going threat (he'd learned his lesson in regard to trusting others in the spy world when Bryce Larkin had shown his true colours and sent the Intersect to Chuck). He also told Chuck about some of the things that would remain in the Intersect to disable it in given circumstances, such as the "moral override". He had coded triggers which would prevent the Intersect being used for actions which were wrong (for want of a better term) these were linked to the emotive triggers of the brain and hence used the Intersect host's "moral compass" to determine which actions were acceptable, and which weren't. The fact that many in the spy world didn't appear to have any real form of moral compass at all was the reason that he coded the timebomb (essentially a logic bomb) into it. Stephen looked Chuck in the eye and told him that, without the patch to disable the timebomb (which he would be given before he went back to the training facility), the Intersect timebomb would cause catastrophic damage to the brain within 1-12 months (depending on the host's retention capacity and the frequency of the "moral override" being activated, as the override reset the clock for the logic bomb's triggers whenever it was activated).
Chuck's mind was reeling from what he was being told, not just that he had a timebomb in his head THAT HIS FATHER CREATED, but also what functions that were coded into the Intersect and how far they differed from what his father was planning when he designed it. The hardest thing for him to take, though, was the fact that they told him that he HAD to reject Sarah when he met her at the train station in Prague to run away together. He tried to say that he didn't know what they were talking about, until the General played the video of their discussion in the Castle where she asked him to run with her and told him where to meet her. As he sat there with his head in his hands, stunned at what they expected him to do to the woman he loved, he barely registered the argument raging between his mother and the General in the background, the only words that stayed in his memory (even though he didn't pay attention at the time) were the ones the General used to finish the argument "Do you think I enjoy doing this? I'm a mother too and how do think I can face Emma, knowing what I'm doing to her daughter?" Without looking up from his hands, he couldn't see the anguish on her face as she said this, but he could hear it in her voice, and he could hear the sobbing from her and his mother as they stopped screaming at each other and held each other.
When everyone had recovered enough to talk, they went on to explain that there were too many eyes on Sarah at this time, due to the amount of recorded evidence of their feelings for one another (Chuck looked at them, confused, so they spend the next half an hour or so playing just the high points of what they had both done and said to show the depth of their feelings for one another), so Sarah's reaction had to be believable when he turned her down if the plan was to have any hope of succeeding. Chuck's mother came to kneel in front of him and promised that as soon as it was safe to do so, they'd sit down with them, and anyone else necessary (glancing at the General and getting a nod) to explain to her what they'd made him do, and the reasons behind it, but for now, Sarah had to be able to sell being rejected and heartbroken, and her feelings for him would show through if she knew the truth of the matter. Chuck agreed reluctantly (very reluctantly) and his parents knew that this would cause a rift between them that was potentially even worse than the one their perceived abandonment of him and Ellie when they were young had, but the stakes were too high, they had to risk losing their son for the greater good in this instance, they had seen the evidence (that they hoped to be able to keep from him) showing the true depth of depravity of the organisations that they faced, and they needed him to be everything he could be to save the world from what they faced.
For the rest of the night, they explained what they needed him to do (other than rejecting the woman he loved without being able to tell her why) throughout the training and afterwards. Basically, they needed him to get the most he possibly could out of his training at the facility that had been set up for him while appearing to be failing due to intersect problems. They would be stacking the deck as much as possible by salting as many scenarios as possible with stimuli which would trigger the moral override, but Chuck would have to play it to the hilt while scraping every possible benefit he could from it. While Stephen and Mary didn't want to show Chuck what they were up against, they had agreed that he needed to see enough to grasp the importance of what they had to do (and to shore up his resolve enough to make him betray Sarah when he saw her at the train station), so they showed him a subset of the evidence that the council was working on to determine their direction, they omitted most of the more horrifying things that had kept all of them up at night in recent times, just showing him enough to convince him of the need to go up against this enemy.
By the end of the night, Chuck was drained, what they had shown him horrified him, and he wasn't sure that he'd be able to do what they needed him to do, especially with Sarah. Those parts were enough to knock him on his butt, but seeing his mother for the first time in twenty years (with no explanation yet as to why she'd left and hadn't contacted them), and getting the Intersect patch to disable the timebomb feature took enough out of him to make him sleep all the way back to the training facility. When they got back to the training facility, he was still out of it, so he was just carted in and deposited in his bunk, where he woke up a couple of hours later when the alarm went off.
A/N: Well, that seems like a logical point to wind up this entry into this new 'verse. Be interested to see what people think.