Author's note: this story takes place at some point between "Chuck vs. the Sandworm" (1x06) and "Chuck vs. the Truth" (1x08).
"So, what do you think of The Dip?"
Chuck momentarily diverted his attention from the disassembled iPhone in front of him to see Morgan standing just outside the Nerd Herd desk. "The Dip?"
"Yeah, for an Evening with Morgan? Which you still owe me, by the way?"
"You want to go to Hollywood and Highland on a Friday night? Have you lost your mind?"
Morgan looked at Chuck like he'd lost his. "No, I'm not insane. I meant the one in the Valley. On Ventura Boulevard."
"Oh." Chuck felt a little silly for a moment. "Well, sure, I guess that would work."
Then he had a thought.
"You want me to drag Sarah and Ellie along on this, don't you?"
"But of course," Morgan replied. "And then… we shall engage in a Battle Royale."
"A Battle Royale?" Chuck's eyebrows shot up. "You mean… an Airsoft shootout?"
"Indeed, indeed," Morgan dramatically proclaimed. "And it shall be in no less a venue… than the Buy More Arena."
As Morgan swept his arm through a 180 degree arc, a look of consternation plastered itself on Chuck's face. "I… I don't know if that's such a good idea," he said.
Morgan dropped the dramatic look and a pissy look instead crossed his bearded mug. "Aw, come on, dude. It'll be great! You and Sarah vs. me and Ellie!"
Sarah will destroy all of us, Chuck thought. But he didn't say that, instead offering, "If Harry Tang finds so much as one Airsoft pellet, he'll nail us to the wall."
"So we'll clean up afterwards!" Morgan said, exasperation growing evident in his voice. "Come ON, Chuck! Don't back out on me again!"
"Alright, alright!" Chuck said, holding up his hands in mock surrender. "I'll talk to them, and I'm sure it'll be great!"
But in his mind, Chuck was saying, We are so gonna get fired.
"Airsoft?" Sarah asked. "What exactly is that?"
"Well," Chuck said, "it's a gun, but it's not really a gun… it looks like a gun, except it's fake, and it fires a plastic pellet instead of a bullet."
"The point being…"
"Fun?" Chuck offered. "Come on, I told Morgan I would, and I do kinda owe him after the last time – and for that matter, you kinda owe him too, after the whole Ben Lo Pan business…"
Sarah looked at the ground and shook her head. "The things I agree to do…"
She looked up at Chuck. "Okay, so where do we find these Airsoft guns?"
"Right here!" Chuck proclaimed, looking upward to the towering red and white Sport Shack sign.
"Oh, joy," Sarah muttered, marching in through the front door.
Hungry looks and indeed a whistle or two followed Sarah as Chuck hurried to catch up with her. The Wienerlicious outfit she still had on was certainly attracting the wrong kind of attention, with each step toward the back of the store causing both her skirt and her pigtails to bounce in a way that had the clientele of Sport Shack drawn far, far away from their purchases.
She ignored all that, though, walking up to the counter where the Airsoft guns were kept. "I need to buy an Airsoft gun," she said.
"What kind?" asked the teenage boy behind the counter, giving Sarah an approving up-and-down as he did so.
"I need something as close to a real gun as you can give me," she said.
"Well," the boy said, bending down to open the case and taking the opportunity for a quick peek up Sarah's skirt, "this is the Walther PPK replica."
He handed the gun to Sarah. "It's got a weighted clip, quick fire action…"
"It's crap," Sarah said, handing it back. "I can tell just from looking at it, the trigger is weak and the sights suck. What else?"
"Uh, this is a replica police-issue Beretta 9 millimeter," he said, handing her another gun.
"Okay, this is better," she said. "It's better weighted, the trigger's strong, and the sights are aligned…"
She lined it up at a mirror, pulled back the slide – and said, "Forget it. The loading action is horrible. It'll misfire every other time. What else do you have?"
"We've got the big daddy," the kid said, turning around to open a box behind him. "This is a replica fifty caliber Desert Eagle."
Sarah took it from him. She simulated drawing it, popped the clip, reloaded. All the while, the kid just stared.
He's gonna start drooling any minute, Chuck though. Of course, so might I.
Sarah lined the gun up again, pulled the slide, and fired. She shot off six rounds in rapid succession.
The kid couldn't help it anymore. "Holy shit, dude," he exclaimed to Chuck, "you've got a girl who's hot, she knows how to handle a gun –"
Without even looking, Sarah's right arm swung around, aimed directly at the kid's forehead, and fired off a round.
He staggered backwards, clasping a hand to his forehead, but when he looked up at Sarah, there was nothing but admiration in his eyes. "And damn, can she shoot!"
Seventy-five dollars later, Sarah and Chuck walked out of the store, Sarah with her .50 Desert Eagle and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. "Don't you think that's a little overkill?" Chuck asked.
"Why?" Sarah asked. "In one of your 'Battle Royales', how much do you usually go through?"
"Well, I generally use two of the .44 Desert Eagles, and I only go through about 250 rounds," Chuck said.
"Clearly, you aren't trying hard enough."
Morgan had told them to give him half an hour at Buy More before they showed up. When they walked in, though, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, with the exception of a single DVD – interestingly enough, Mark Wahlberg's Shooter – set on end on the Nerd Herd desk.
"Greetings, and welcome… to the BATTLE ROYALE!" Morgan intoned as they entered the store. "This is where the boys are separated from the men, the wannabes from the true sharpshooters!"
"The nerds from the rest of us," Ellie muttered under her breath.
Ignoring her, Morgan continued. "We gather at the Nerd Herd desk – the center of the store. Each team will have its own home base – Chuck and Sarah's base will be the car audio office, Ellie's and mine will be the home theater room."
Morgan held up two Frisbees – one green, one yellow – emblazoned with the Buy More logo. "Each team will have a 'flag' of sorts," he said. "You will have to hide the flag somewhere near your base, and of course, attempt to find and retrieve the other team's flag.
"Should you be shot, you must return to your base and count to thirty before returning to the field of battle. If you have the flag in your possession, you must drop it where you were shot.
"There is one little surprise," Morgan said with a grin.
At that, there was a sharp whistle, and with a THOWCK, an Airsoft pellet hit the DVD, knocking it over.
"Hidden somewhere in the store is your friend and mine, Captain Awesome."
"Are you kidding?" Ellie said. "Devon told me he had to work a shift tonight!"
"Sorry, babe!" Awesome's voice boomed out over the P.A. "I promised Morgan I'd keep it a secret. I couldn't turn this down – this is pretty awesome!"
"Anyway," Morgan said, not looking pleased at being interrupted, "CA is hiding somewhere in the store, with an Airsoft sniper rifle. If you get shot by him, same rules apply."
Then Morgan smiled. Evilly. "One last thing," he snickered. "The lights will be off."
"What?!" Chuck said. "We've never played with the lights off before!"
"Well, Charles, it's time to try something new," Morgan replied. "You've got five minutes to get to your base and hide your flag before the lights go off!"
Chuck took off running. By the time Sarah caught up to him, he was standing on a shelf, putting the Frisbee behind the hubcap of a tire mounted on the wall. "They'll never find it up here, especially in the dark!" he said.
"Yeah, but don't you have night vision goggles in the 'More Fun' section of the store?" Sarah asked.
Realization dawned on Chuck's face, and then his head dropped. "And 'More Fun' is right next to home theater," he grumped. "Crap."
"We'll make do," she said. "You've got a CIA agent on your team, remember?"
"I guess that does kind of give us an unfair advantage in a straight up fight," Chuck said with a grin.
And the lights went out. "Alright, Chuck, I'm going to stay here and guard the base," Sarah whispered. "Go get 'em."
Chuck scampered out of the car audio office, and less than five seconds later, Sarah heard a "thwock", followed by an "OW! Dammit, CA, you suck!"
Chuck came stomping back into the office. "Your turn," he said. "One, two, three…"
Sarah left the office low, gun drawn. She saw it quickly – a tiny red laser dot, undoubtedly mounted on Captain Awesome's rifle.
She somersaulted quickly across the aisle in front of her – and heard a pellet from the rifle smack into the shelf she had just past. Despite her professionalism, she couldn't resist. "Missed me!" she taunted the darkness.
Another pellet snapped into the shelf – this one less than two feet from her head. Sarah hit the deck and rolled behind the safety of a shelf. Coming to her feet, she barely poked her head above the shelf, and looked round the store – and there. The source of the laser dot.
She rested her gun on the top of the shelf, lined up the sights, and gently squeezed the trigger, dropping to the ground as soon as she did so. Half a second later, she heard a deep voice go, "Aw, not cool. That was definitely NOT awesome."
Then, she heard him start muttering, "One, two, three…"
With Captain Awesome out of the picture for a few seconds, Sarah took advantage of the situation to move quickly. As she was passing through the computer cable section, she heard a plastic "click" to her left. Gun up and aimed, she whirled to the left, preparing to fire –
And as she did so, she caught a cloud of Airsoft pellets to her chest. It was the shock more than the actual force that did it, but she fell smack on her ass, knocking a rack full of firewire cables off the shelf behind her.
"Son of a bitch," she gasped, pulling out her cell phone to give her a little bit of illumination to see who the culprit was.
As the phone dimly lit the aisle, she saw a dark figure, dressed in camouflage, step toward her. Becoming more illuminated, she could see on the uniform the markings "US Air Force" and…
"Yep," he said, grinning, his white teeth practically glowing beneath the makeup on his face. By the dim light of her phone, she could see that he was holding what looked like a shotgun, attached to a canister on his hip.
"What the hell," she gasped, her chest stinging.
"Gas powered Airsoft shotgun," he intoned softly. "Wonderful, wonderful weapon."
"That's not fair," she said. "What are you even doing here?"
"Well, I saw Captain Awesome walking through the courtyard of the apartment complex with his rifle, asked him what was up, and thought it might be fun to play along."
"Oh shit," she realized. "Awesome's not counting any-"
THWOCK. A pellet hit Sarah in the back of the head. "God dammit!" she snapped, her voice getting higher and higher pitched. "That's not fair, Casey! You drew me out, and you're not even supposed to be here!"
"Oh, it's fair," Morgan said, appearing from behind a shelf. "I saw it, you have to go back to your base!"
"Oh, hi Morgan," Casey said, turning toward him. Without missing a beat, he ratcheted the shotgun and pumped a load of pellets into Morgan's chest.
"Aw, come on!" Morgan whined. "I only said you could play because I didn't think you'd shoot me!"
But, as Morgan turned and dejectedly walked back toward his base, Sarah realized that if he was going to do so, she had to do the same. But just for good measure, she turned and shot Casey in the knee as she walked away.
"Ow!" he said. "Cheater!"
"Takes one to know one," she replied.
As she entered the car audio room, she heard Chuck laughing softly. "Takes one to know one?" he mimicked. "What is this, third grade?"
"Oh, shut up," she said. Then she cocked her gun and shot him.
"The hell!" he shouted. "Same team!"
"I'm feeling frisky," Sarah replied, practically giggling. It was WAY past her bedtime. "Now, don't get grumpy, or I'll shoot-"
Pellets hit her in both shoulders. "Maybe I am too," Chuck said, chuckling softly.
"Oh, this is war," she said. But rather than shoot Chuck again, she tackled him.
"Ooof," Chuck grunted as he went down. He discarded both his guns, in an attempt to get a better grip on his attacker.
In the dark, it was difficult for either of them to orient themselves. They tussled around on the floor, the sound of Awesome's rifle and Casey's shotgun occasionally cutting through the noise.
Somehow, Chuck managed to get the upper hand on Sarah. It was REALLY WAY past her bedtime.
Using his size advantage, he locked his knees into place against hers, keeping her from moving. He pinned her arms to the wall, and leaned in. "Yield," he whispered.
Such a cheesy, "Karate Kid" line. But that wasn't what Sarah noticed. What Sarah noticed was that Chuck's face was just a few inches from hers. What she noticed was how incredibly good his body felt pressed against hers. What she noticed was his warm breath on her cheek. What she noticed was –
Morgan coming in the door and clambering up on the shelf! "Morgan!" she shouted as she pushed Chuck off of her. Sarah and Chuck both hit the deck, scrambling for their guns, as Morgan dashed out the door of the car audio office with their Frisbee.
Sarah and Chuck both pursued him, firing with wild abandon, until Captain Awesome hit Sarah in the shoulder with his rifle, and Casey shot Chuck in the back. The next thing they both heard was Ellie and Morgan celebrating on the other side of the store. Then the lights went on.
Chuck looked at Sarah. Sarah looked at Chuck. Try as they might, though, they couldn't meet each other's eyes.
"To the victor goes the spoils!" Morgan intoned, victoriously dancing across the store. Casey stood up from his hiding spot, as Captain Awesome clambered down from the stock ladder in the corner of the store.
"Exactly what does that mean?" Chuck asked, rubbing his back.
"Need some ice there, Chuck?" Casey snarked.
"It means, Chuck, that you and Sarah get to make sure all the Airsoft pellets are cleaned up!" Morgan said, snickering gleefully.
"Aw, come on, that's not right," Chuck protested, but it was to no avail, as Morgan, Ellie, Awesome, and Casey were already headed for the door.
It took nearly an hour to sweep up all the pellets. Neither Sarah or Chuck said a word. They drove back to Sarah's apartment in silence, and finally, when they got there, Chuck spoke.
"Uh… I'm sorry about that…" he said.
"Don't be," Sarah replied a little too quickly. "You… you just managed to get the best of me, that's all."
Then she turned and actually looked at him. "Chuck," she said. "Look. I had fun tonight. Probably much, much more fun than I should have with plastic guns and pellets. I don't know if it's something I necessarily want to do again… but I still had fun."
Chuck's tired face lit up with a little smile. "Well, good," he said. "I guess… I'll probably see you at some point tomorrow."
"Good night, Chuck," Sarah said. She leaned over, gave him a quick hug, and then was on her way.
Something was out of place, and it had caught Harry Tang's eye. It was next to a rack of firewire cables.
Harry bent over, and picked up the offending object. A little, tiny yellow plastic pellet. "Airsoft," he growled. "Somebody's been using my store as a playground."
And he knew exactly who.