As we rejoin our heroes, there are a few things of which you should likely be reminded:

Sarah Walker died, and was resurrected by the touch of the Piemaker. He was kept from touching her again, and an individual attempting to steal Emerson Cod's car paid the price.

Our dear friend Emerson Cod is currently resting comfortably in the Papen County Hospital, having undergone surgery after being shot by the men from Fulcrum.

Charlotte Charles and Olive Snook are currently in the custody of the men from Fulcrum, having been abducted at gunpoint at the Pie Hole.

Fulcrum has demanded that Chuck Bartowski turn himself over to them in exchange for the release of Charlotte Charles and Olive Snook.

The side door of the warehouse slowly creaked open, and Chuck Bartowski walked in – alone. "Hello?"

Fulcrum agent Francis Xavier Mullins stepped out of the shadows. "Hello, Mr. Bartowski. Are you ready to turn the Intersect over to us?"

"What makes you think I have the Intersect?"

Mullins shook his head and sighed. "Mr. Bartowski. Please, don't try my patience. Larkin didn't have it, and my agents who nearly took you a month ago are quite certain that you're in possession of it. Turn it over, and nobody will be hurt."

Chuck paused for a moment. "Alright," he finally said. "But I want to see Ms. Charles and Ms. Snook first, to make sure they're unharmed."

Frank Mullins smiled evilly. "I don't think so," he growled. "Turn over the Intersect, Mr. Bartowski, and I won't shoot you."

A gun swung up in his hand, aimed at Chuck. "Bad idea, Mr. Mullins," Chuck whispered.

A muffled rifle shot sounded, and Mullins' gun went flying out of his hand. His eyes widened.

Unbeknownst to Mullins, hidden somewhere in the shadows of the warehouse was Major John Casey, United States Air Force, National Security Agency, and expert marksman.

"The next shot will be your head, Agent Mullins," Chuck informed him calmly.

Mullins, his face still white, whistled. A door in the back of the warehouse opened, and Two and Six dragged Charlotte Charles and Olive Snook out, with Four holding a gun to each of their backs.

"There you go, Mr. Bartowski," Mullins said, color returning to his face. "Now, the Intersect?"

Chuck shrugged. "I'm afraid I can't do that."

Mullins' eyes narrowed. "Then they die."

A shotgun ratcheted, and a smoke-tinged voice shouted, "WRONG ANSWER, ASSHOLE!"

To Mullins' astonishment and horror, an older woman, dressed in an outrageous combination of bright pinks and greens, stepped through the open door, a Winchester Super X3 shotgun pointed directly at his head. A smaller, more demure woman dressed in more muted colors followed.

"Agent Mullins," Chuck said quite calmly, "let me introduce you to Ms. Charles' aunts – Lily Charles –"

Lily aimed the shotgun at the ceiling and cranked off a round, the boom causing the three other Fulcrum agents to flinch. "Twelve rounds in 1.44 seconds!" she announced. "Don't make me test its capacity!"

"- and this is her other aunt, Vivian Charles."

"I am so sorry for my sister's rude entrance," Vivian said quietly. "But you do need to release our niece, otherwise, she'll probably blow your head off."

Mullins' jaw dropped, gaping openly at Chuck. "Are you people all out of your goddamn minds?"

Chuck shrugged. "I like to think of myself as sane."

"No, seriously!" Mullins yelled. "You're all looney toons! You're absolutely batshit crazy."

"No, they're not, Mullins," came yet another voice.

Sarah Walker walked through the door, an Uzi in either hand. "THIS is crazy."

She fired off about forty rounds into the roof, a distinctly unhinged look appearing on her face.

When she stopped firing, there was silence, only the sound of cartridges tinkling on the floor interrupting it, until –

"JESUS CHRIST, WALKER, WATCH YOUR GOD DAMN AIM!" came drifting down from above.

"Sorry, Casey."

The gunfire hadn't just been a ploy on Sarah Walker's part to prove the crew from Los Angeles absolutely insane. Rather, it had been a distraction, during which she hoped that Charlotte Charles and Olive Snook would have the good sense to act. And they had.

"Look," Mullins shouted. "You all might be crazy, but that's not going to stop me from killing Charles and Snook –"

He gulped as he felt a gun dig into his back. "But Ms. Charles herself might stop you from killing them," Charlotte whispered in his ear.

Mullins gulped, and dropped his gun. "Alright," he said softly. "What do you want me to do?"

"I want you, and your three friends, to walk out that door, and never come back," Charlotte said.

And Mullins did just that. He marched out the open door, followed by Two, Four, and Six – right into the arms of a waiting NSA strike team.

"Aw, COME ON!" he moaned as he was handcuffed and placed in the van, along with his three fellow agents.

Ned was standing next to the van as he was loaded in. "Have a good trip!" he said mockingly, as the door was closed.

Chuck and Olive had stepped outside the warehouse. "Bye now!" shouted Chuck as the van pulled away.

"Don't come back now, y'hear?!" Olive added.

John Casey, having climbed down from the rafters of the warehouse via the exterior roof access ladder, cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered, "Don't drop the soap!"

With the Fulcrum agents rounded up, there was but one thing left to do – say good-bye.

And so Sarah, Chuck, and Casey headed across town to the Papen County Hospital. They bid him farewell, and wished him a speedy recovery.

Sarah thanked Ned for giving her her life back, careful not to touch him. Olive made a suggestive comment to Chuck Bartowski, earning herself a dirty look from Sarah.

As Sarah and Casey headed out to get into the car, however, Ned stopped Chuck.

"Listen," Ned told him. "Do you understand how lucky you are?"

"Well, I suppose," Chuck replied. "There are days that I don't feel that terribly lucky, though."

Ned shook his head. "Have you seen the way Sarah looks at you?"

Chuck nodded, noncommittally. "I have," he replied, "but I'm not sure I can do anything about that right now."

Ned's voice grew a little more urgent. "You have the opportunity, though," he said. "You can actually touch her, express how you feel for her through a method other than words.

"I don't have that option, which is why I have to make sure you use it."

Chuck nodded again. "Alright. I understand what you're saying, but I have to think about it."

"Don't just think, Chuck. Act. You never know if you'll see her tomorrow or not."

Chuck frowned at that last comment. "Okay."

Ned extended his hand to shake Chuck's. "Take care of yourself, and take care of her."

Chuck returned the hand shake. "I will."

The NSA van stopped at a rest stop with about one hundred miles left to go to Los Angeles.

Mullins stood and stretched. "Alright," he said, "we're here."

"Sounds good," the driver remarked. He took the keys out of the ignition, and handed them to the shotgun rider, who unlocked the cuffs and shackles on Mullins, Two, Four, and Six.

The four Fulcrum agents disembarked from the van, which began to pull away. In the NSA strike team truck, the driver noticed that the four Fulcrum men were escaping, and began to shout a warning –

Just as the strike team truck exploded.

"Do we have the device?" Mullins asked, ignoring the fireball and speaking to his men as if nothing was happening.

"Should be in our custody as soon as we reach L.A., sir."

Chuck Bartowski had arrived home late, and then been delayed even further, having to deliver a report to General Beckman and Director Graham. But when he finally reached the bosom of his blessed bed, he slipped into a deep sleep. It was to be a blessed and extended sleep, for he had been granted the following two days – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – off, and he didn't intend to get up until nearly noon.

Until his phone rang at 4:59 A.M.

"What the hell," he muttered, answering the phone. "Hello?"

"Is this the Nerd Herd help line?"

"Uh… yeah…"

"Sorry to disturb you, sir, but this number was left on the voicemail of the on-call Herder."

Lester, he thought. I'm gonna kill him.


"Okay," Chuck replied. "What's the situation?"

"We've got a crashed computer. Address is 14203 Chandler Boulevard, in Van Nuys."

14203, Chuck though committing it to memory. He looked at his watch.

"Alright," he replied. "I can be there in about half an hour."

"Thank you, sir."


Unless you choose to read on, in Chuck vs. the Future