This story takes place right after "Chuck vs. the Suburbs"
And to set the record straight: I do not own Chuck. I know everybody says that, but I mean it. Some of these other folks, I'll bet they secretly do own Chuck. But not me.
Chuck vs. the Island Getaway
"Well, now that we're all here, I guess we can start."
Chuck tried not to let the General's passive/aggressive comment bother him. He's been in the middle of trying to mollify a frustrated customer when he'd received Sarah's text message, so he couldn't sneak out of the Buy More right away. It had taken him a few minutes to understand what was wrong with the woman's DVD player, and a couple more to convince her that Lester was the perfect person to help her. He suspected he wouldn't want to be around to see the aftermath of that conversation.
He glanced over at Sarah. She was seated next to him, in her usual seat in the Castle basement. Her eyes were glued to the screen, and she made no indication that she'd even noticed Chuck's presence. Chuck sighed inwardly. Things had been awkward since their last mission. As easy as going undercover in suburbia sounded, it had turned out to have its share of difficulties in a number of ways. Especially since they'd had to pose as a married couple. While Chuck had really enjoyed his time there with Sarah, it had been clear at the end that she hadn't felt the same way. Afterwards, there had been an awkardness between them, and it didn't look like this was going to change any time soon.
"Sorry, General. Just my Buy More duties. Won't happen again."
Hearing the characteristic grunt, Chuck turned to the other person in the room. Casey's arms were folded over his green shirt, with his face frozen in its customary scowl. He saw the older man's lips move briefly, mouthing what appeared to be "Moron."
"Ok then. Let's get started." Beckman glanced at the three of them through the screen. "We have recently learned that a flash drive containing launch codes for a variety of missiles and other high-grade weapons has been stolen. We believe they are currently in the possession of this man." The screen shifted, and the picture of a distinguished middle-aged man appeared. Chuck immediately felt the rush in the back of his head.
"That's Klaus Strassburg, a German entrepreneur. Suspected of funneling money to various terrorist organizations."
"That is correct, Mr. Bartowski. Our intel is suggesting that Mr. Strassburg plans to sell this flash drive to an unknown member of Fulcrum sometime in the near future. Strassburg has a vacation scheduled for the coming week. He will be staying in Martinada Island, off the coast of California. He is booked for a week at the Grand Royale Hotel."
"Agent Walker, you and the intersect will go there under cover as husband and wife. Agent Casey, you will also be vacationing there as a recently divorced attorney."
Chuck sat there for a moment, mulling over the new assignment. Normally, the idea of going to a resort under cover with Sarah would have been the best news imaginable. However, the recent strain in their relationship was making it a bit less appealing. Still, maybe he could find out what was bothering her.
"General," Casey spoke up. "Before I can go on this mission, there's one slight issue I was hoping you'd be able to take care of."
"Oh?" General Beckman's eyebrow raised. Clearly, she wasn't used to Casey requesting favors.
"Well, see, I got a note in the mail. Apparently, John Casey has been called in for jury duty."
"Wait, John Casey doesn't technically exist. How can he be called for jury duty?" Chuck was confused.
"A lot of work is spent putting together cover identities, Chuck," Sarah explained. "Every detail must be covered, including all necessary government records. So it's actually quite possible."
"But a big problem. So, General, can you go through whatever channels to take care of this?"
The General pursed her lips in thought for a while. "I don't think that's such a good idea, Agent Casey," she said finally. "We don't want to rouse suspicion by compromising your cover. If the NSA were to pull favors to get a computer salesman out of jury duty, questions could be asked. No, Agent Casey, you'll have to show up for Jury Duty. However, I trust you can get out of it as quickly as possible, and joint Agent Walker and the Intersect on the mission." The General's image disappeared from the screen.
"Great, how am I supposed to get out of this?" Casey growled.
"Aw, c'mon Casey. Any idiot can get out of jury duty. Just be your charming self, and they'll be bound to drop you."
"How about I drop you from the roof of this building. Would you find that charming?"
"Alright enough," Sarah interrupted. "Casey, do whatever you need to. Chuck and I will get our cover worked out for this trip."
Two days later, Chuck found himself on a boat heading towards Martinada Island. The time after the briefing with Beckman had been very busy. While convincing Big Mike that he could be spared from the Buy More for a week was no problem, convincing Morgan was. Finally, after a night-long negotiation/gaming session, Morgan gave his reluctant permission.
Ellie and Awesome were thrilled when he told them about the vacation, though less than impressed with the idea of them going to Reno. Chuck couldn't blame them, as it didn't exactly sound like the ideal romantic getaway. Still, Sarah had told them that he couldn't tell them they were headed to a ritzy resort island without bringing up a lot of questions. Once he'd worked his way through Ellie's "Where is your relationship going?" look, Chuck was home free.
Much to Chuck's dismay, the two-hour car trip to San Diego was an all-business affair. They spent their time discussing the background information on the case, and reviewing any and all necessary details about their cover identities. Whenever Chuck tried to draw Sarah into a more personal conversation, he got a brief smile and a "Chuck, we need to be ready for the mission" in return.
Chuck couldn't help but feel that knowing the name of Mrs. Carmichael's date to the Senior Prom wasn't going to make their cover any more believable. Especially when they must appear as distant as he could sense. The awkwardness that had started when he had asked her about staying the extra night at their "house" had yet to evaporate, and he wasn't sure he'd fully buried the frustration he felt about it. He knew that Sarah was fully ready to play the loving wife, but he wasn't sure he could handle knowing that she was just acting.
Once they had reached San Diego, Sarah veered off the highway and they drove down to the port. They reached the marina about fifteen minutes early for the ferry that would take them to Martinada Island. Sarah turned the Porsche into a nearby garage and they jumped out.
"Can we leave this for a week? Aren't you worried somebody will steal it?" Chuck asked as he grabbed the suitcase from the trunk.
"If they do, they might have more trouble than expected. There are a few safeguards built in that they may not be ready for." Chuck nodded, and decided that he would never ask to borrow the Porsche.
They headed out of the garage and walked toward the pier. Chuck's case was heavier than expected, which wasn't too surprising since he hadn't actually packed it. The previous night Sarah had informed him that since Charles Carmichael and Chuck Bartowski had little in common when it came to wardrobes, appropriate clothing would be provided. Chuck hadn't been offended by the statement, but found himself wondering how many of Carmichael's outfits were made of lead. Sarah seemed to show no discomfort in carrying her case, of course.
They reached the pier to find that the ferry hadn't yet arrived. Sighing in relief, Chuck put down the case and looked around. The only other person there was a young woman. She was about thirty years old, wearing a white blouse and denim skirt. She turned towards him briefly, and Chuck smiled politely at her. The woman smiled back, brushing a strand of her dark hair out of her face.
Chuck turned to see Sarah looking at him, her face unreadable. "So?" she asked.
"Did you flash on her?"
"Oh, no. Completely quiet up there."
Sarah nodded, and they waited silently for a couple more minutes. Finally, they saw the ferry approaching, though it wasn't what Chuck would call a ferry. This was more of a yacht. Or possibly a catamaran. Chuck wasn't clear on the distinction. He decided that until a better word was suggested, yachtamaran would have to do.
Once the yachtamaran was tied to the pier, a porter came down and took their bags. As Chuck climbed aboard, he decided he was going to get into character. He gave the surroundings a once-over, dismissing it with the shrug he felt that a wealthy software developer would give. Yachtamarans were no new thing to Charles Carmichael. He held out his hand to Sarah, and helped her aboard. As she climbed up, she smiled at him. While a Sarah Carmichael smile had nothing on the Sarah Walker special, it was still a warmer look that he'd seen in the last couple of days.
They sat down, and soon the boat was on its way. The porter came around, and offered some reading material. Chuck took the Wall Street Journal, figuring that was Carmichael's paper of choice. A few minutes later, he decided that Charles Carmichael had dull taste.
Putting the paper aside, he turned to Sarah. "So, are we going to make it?"
"Hmm?" Sarah turned to him. "Don't worry, you know I won't let anything happen to you."
"Oh, I didn't mean that. I just meant a whole week without Casey? How are we going to last that long entirely grunt-free?"
Sarah chuckled. "You mean you don't trust him to get out of jury duty?"
"Well, he won't be able to use his usual methods of 'persuasion' so he might be at a bit of a loss."
"I'm sure he'll think of something. Still, next time we'll have to be more prepared. Maybe we can have him make a recording of some of his best Casey grunts beforehand for us to carry along. You can put it on your iPod."
"'Casey's Greatest Hits.' Sounds lovely. So do you think we can wrap things up quickly, so we can appreciate how the other half lives?"
Sarah shook her head. "I know this might seem like a vacation, but we are on duty. We have to treat it that way, and not let our guards down."
Chuck sighed. He certainly trusted that Sarah would be able to do that. He looked around for a moment. The woman from the pier was looking out at the other end of the boat, craning her neck to look out over the distance. Following her gaze, he could see the island quickly approaching. The mission was about to begin.