Chewbacca is Senile
Disclaimer: I don't own Chloe O'Brian or anyone else from 24. I don't own anybody. I think owning people is wrong. Didn't we fight a war over this once?
The little girl ran down the tunnel, it was dark but not totally dark. There was a dim light coming from somewhere, not enough to really see by. She could just barely make out shapes in the darkness. Tentacles, glowing eyes, sharp teeth, flapping bat wings. Whatever was out there was slowly stalking her. No matter how fast she ran she couldn't get away from them. Something grabbed her ankle and she squealed as she fell forward. Now her Scooby Doo pajamas were covered with mud. The tentacle yanked at her ankle but she pulled herself free. Sobbing she scrambled to her feet and dashed through a large spider web. The sticky web clung to her face and hair and spiders crawled all over her as she tried to claw them away. She stumbled blindly down the tunnel until she saw looming ahead of her a large dark man with an octopus for a head. Huge bat wings opened from his shoulders. The girl skidded to a halt and then she heard the other monsters creeping up behind her. There was no escape. Nowhere to run. They had her trapped. "Daddy! Daddy! Help me!" she screamed. "The monsters are after me! Help!"
The door to her bedroom flew open and the room was flooded with light. The large blond man dressed in boxer shorts and a T-shirt ran to the bed and held the little girl to his chest. "Daddy the monsters were chasing me!" she sobbed. "They were awful!"
Her father gently stroked her head. "Sweetheart, it's all right. There's no such thing as monsters, they aren't real. See, there aren't any monsters here. You can sleep with me and mommy tonight."
About half an hour later the girl was snug in bed between her parents. Her mommy whispered "Are you asleep honey?" The child didn't twitch. Eyes shut, steady breathing, listening.
"This is all your fault you know. You shouldn't have left that godawful book out where she could find it."
"I didn't know she could read it." Her father answered, "She's only four, she should be learning her ABCs not reading H.P. Lovecraft."
"Well Mrs. Willis over at the preschool says she's the most gifted child she's ever seen in the twenty four years she's worked there but she doesn't seem to like the other children. She prefers keeping to herself."
"I'm sure it's just a phase she's going through, Chloe's going to turn out just fine."30 YEARS LATER
"We've got to let him in!" Chloe screamed, "If we don't he'll die!"
"We can't do that!" George Mason told her, "We'll contaminate the room and everyone will die!"
"He's right." Gael said from across the room. "You'll kill us all."
"No! I'll just open the door a crack. Just barely wide enough for Edgar to slip in then I'll seal it immediately. Not much gas will get in. Not enough to hurt anybody."
"Chloe no!" Michelle screamed but it was too late.
Chloe opened the door, let Edgar in, and shut it immediately. "You're safe, thank God you're safe!" She sobbed hugging him.
Edgar just stared blankly at her and said with a dead monotone, "You screwed up Chloe, you just killed everybody."
Chloe backed away horrified. Edgar was still standing like a statue but blisters started appearing on his skin. They quickly grew into giant boils which exploded releasing a sickly yellow gas. Chloe could hear Kim screaming behind her as the gas spread though out the room. Jack grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around to face him. "Chloe! Do you know what you've done!"
"I'm sorry!" Chloe sobbed as all her friends fell to the floor and started twitching and vomiting. "I'm sorry!"
Jack was jerking spasmodically at her feet looking up at her with hatred. Kim, Gael, Audrey, Tony, Michelle, Barry, Bill, and George were all dying in agony and it was all her fault. After a few minutes they were still and Chloe could feel the gas enter her own lungs. Agony raced through every nerve ending in her body as she fell to the floor next to Jack's still body and threw up an impossible amount of vomit. As she lay on the floor flopping and twitching the door opened and monsters came in. A lot of monsters. They filed into the room and stood in a circle around her.
"She did just what we wanted." Christopher Henderson said.
"Yes, no one can stop us now." Stephen Saunders agreed.
Habib Marwan nudged Chloe with his toe. "America is ours!"
"Not just America, the world!" Vladimir Bierko exulted.
Nina Myers bent over "What's the matter little girl?" she asked in a mocking tone, "Having a bad day?"
Chloe clawed at the floor trying to get away from the monsters but they just stood around her laughing, they had her surrounded. There was no escape.
Chloe awoke with a start. Her heart was pounding and she was soaked in sweat. She shuddered at the memory of the nightmare. She also heard a movement. Someone was in her room! She didn't move, eyes shut, steady breathing, listening. One hand slowly moved under the pillow to the 9mm Glock. When her hand closed over the grip she opened her eyes and brought the pistol up aiming at the shadow moving near her bed and squeezed the trigger. Nothing! Panicked Chloe fumbled at the safety and pointed the pistol in the face of her cat, Babbage. She jerked the muzzle up at the last instant as the loud crack echoed through the apartment and the bullet buried itself into the wall. Babbage disappeared as if by magic. Chloe dropped the automatic on the floor and sat up in the bed hugging her legs and crying. Her daddy was wrong. There are such things as monsters. They are real.
The clock read 3:19 AM and Chloe knew there wasn't any way she was going to go back to sleep as she padded into the kitchen dressed only in her panties and an extra large T-shirt that hung down to her knees. She wasn't worried about the police. When she was in training they told her that when people hear one bang they automatically assume that it's something besides a gunshot. A backfire, someone dropping something, a slammed door. As long as there weren't any witnesses and no fuss you can get one free shot. She put on a pot of coffee and checked the refrigerator. Hmm… hot black coffee and cold dried out pizza. The food of kings. Chloe wished she could go back to CTU and look for Jack but Mr. Buchanan left strict instructions to security not to let her back in until 8:00 AM Monday morning. She needed some time off to calm down and relax. Yeah, nightmares, cold sweats, and shooting the cat. All very relaxing. I would recommend it to anyone.
The fact was they had no clue what happened to Jack. Chloe wished for anything. Even a propaganda video. She remembered an old film they showed in her training class years ago. It showed an American P.O.W. in a North Vietnamese prison. A skinny, scarecrow of a man making a propaganda film for his captors. But Chloe knew what was going on. She let herself slip into The Zone. Concentrate. Ignore the words. Meaningless. Typical commie propaganda claptrap. It's not the real message. It's just a distraction.The real message is in the eyes. Blinking. Morse Code. T-O-R-T-U-R-E. His captors thought they had defeated him but he was still playing the game. They had lost but they didn't even know it. He changed the rules. Chloe didn't know who this pale, sad, abused ghost from the past was but she fell in love with him. He never gave up. Never let himself be defeated. Just like Jack. Chloe was the only one in the class who picked up the message. "Gee, doesn't anybody bother learning Morse code anymore!" She had shouted into the blank stupid faces of her fellow students.
If Bill wanted her to relax then she knew how to relax. She had some friends who could help her out. She took the pot of coffee and the pizza to her computer and tilted the chair until the cat slid off. "Sorry Pascal."
She sat down and activated the screen. Her last program came up with a number, 31.77. When Chloe saw the number an icy grip of fear clutched her heart and a lump rose up in her throat. "No wonder I'm having nightmares." She muttered under her breath as she erased the program. "What kind of sick person would do such a thing. Maybe they're right. Maybe I really am crazy."
She quickly hacked into the CTU mainframe and checked to see where her friends were. Popeye was on his way to southern Canada. On the list of people who were probably holding Jack the Canadians were pretty close to the bottom of the list. Where's Janeway? Oh, she's over the Indian Ocean. Nothing there. Spock is over the western Pacific heading to Oregon. Chewbacca… Hello! Chewie's in Africa. Chloe checked his route. OK a prison camp in northern Somalia. ETA, twenty minutes. Is anybody with Chewie? No, hardly anybody used Chewie anymore. Chewbacca was a senile, cantankerous, half-blind old KH 11 spy satellite launched March 14, 1983 Keyhole series. The long decades in space had taken their toll on the old boy. Maneuvering thrusters had long since used up their fuel. IR camera was shot and radar mapping was erratic, but the visible light camera still worked. That was good enough.
Chloe checked the other satellites. Gandalf was going to northern China. She sent out feelers. Some one was flying Gandalf. No surprise. Gandalf was a brand new Lacrosse launched less than two months ago. Who's flying him? The camera focused on a monastery in Tibet? Chloe checked the coordinates, Nepal! That must be Indy over at NSA. Indy liked looking at archeological sites on the way to the main targets. Pyramids, temples, whatever. Chloe didn't know who Indy was. She probably could have found out if she cared which she didn't. Indy probably had stacks of old National Geographics in his/her house. Indy also didn't like passengers so Chloe wouldn't be able to control any cameras. Gandalf would be passing near a forced labor camp in northern China in thirty five minutes. Hopefully Indy would focus a camera there provided he/she didn't get distracted by the Great Wall or something. Chloe set a kitchen timer to remind her and went back to Chewbacca. Chloe wasn't worried about all the felonies she was committing right now. She remembered what Miles had told her once. "You think because you're smarter than the rest of us the rules don't apply to you!" Well I am and they don't.
She uploaded a small virus to Chewie's on board computer. For the next fifteen minutes it would erase any record of commands sent to it. The virus would then erase itself. No one would suspect a thing unless they really looked and even then they would just think it was a senile old satellite having a brain fart. She had to depress the camera 19.4 degrees. It stuck so she had to click it back and forth a few times to jar it loose. "We make quite a pair," she told Chewie, "Two broken down old soldiers trying to give meaning to each others lives.
She was in The Zone now. She wasn't the frightened little girl afraid of monsters. Nor was she the lonely, awkward, socially crippled geek. She was a goddess flying over the dusty African plains. Searching for her lost love.