Now here is some optimism for you. This is a Season 4 story. It is a follow-up to "Chuck vs. the Alpha Version." Everything pretty much remains the same. Chuck and Sarah are together, The Ring is building itself back up after being crippled at the end of the previous story, and Casey is still Casey. This is a much lighter story, I promise. Hopefully it's funnier as well. A few surprises as well, and I'm throwing in more Charah.

As always, let me know what you think. Reviews are how you get more chapters.

Unknown Location, Los Angeles
September 15, 2010
10:00 AM

Roger looked at the men in front of him. Six of the seven were hired muscle. Judging by their clothing and slightly unfocused looks, they didn't appear to be picked from the best and the brightest. Then again, the seventh person wasn't exactly a Rhodes Scholar, either. He was on the maintenance crew at Nellis. A security check conducted 6 months ago raised no red flags, according to the dossier Roger was given. He couldn't figure out the motivation behind Alexander stealing the memory stick from his computer. Did someone leak information on the project he was working on? If that was the case, who gave him the information? And what did he intend to do with it?

Maybe it was as simple as a money grab. A finder's fee for obtaining the overseas bank accounts of over $2 billion in terrorist funding would have to be at least $100 million. That's a lot of money for stealing something the size of a pack of gum. Clearly Alexander didn't know what he had, but did someone else?

Judging by the confident grin on his face, it was obvious Alexander thought Roger was just a computer jockey. What Alexander didn't know was he didn't even possess the memory stick with the bank accounts on it. Roger wasn't that stupid. The files were still in Las Vegas. He had been working for a month on cracking the encryption programming so that the government could seize the funds. He worked by himself on the case for the purpose of avoiding the exact situation he was in now. So much for security at Nellis. General Beckman's order to pursue the thief was handled with extreme care and secrecy. The two of them were the only ones to know what was really on the memory stick. Not even Alexander knew what he had in his hand. Roger did; the stolen memory stick had a tracking device on it. It was a passive tracking system, meaning he had to do all the work. But it was also undetectable. It allowed him to track the device from Las Vegas to wherever he was in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, Roger's pursuit skills desperately needed work. He had barely caught up to Alexander when he was surrounded by men pointing guns to his head. He had no idea how many cameras were on the site, but it would be hard to convince him he didn't make a huge mistake. Alexander probably figured Roger just got lucky, and his luck was about to run out with the six goons that surrounded him now.

"This should fetch me more than enough to retire on," Alexander waved the wrong memory stick defiantly at Roger. "Just need to tie up a loose end. No witnesses."

Roger smiled at the six goons. "So, is he paying you enough for this? Remember, minimum wage went up to $7.25 an hour last year, so don't let him stiff you."

Perhaps it wasn't best to antagonize people who were about to kill him. But if your life was about to end, you might as well go out on a good one-liner.

Alexander gave a quick wave goodbye as the six thugs moved towards Roger. He glanced up and noticed a pipe. Even if he could leap up to that pipe, it didn't look strong enough to support his 400 pounds. But something suddenly dawned on him.

He didn't weigh 400 pounds anymore. He was only about half of that. Perhaps this would work.

He jumped and grabbed the pipe. He kicked out his legs in opposite directions, landing shots to the chins of two of the men. He landed and immediately threw two punches that took out two more thugs. He spun, pivoting on his right foot, and landed another kick to the man behind him. He brought the left leg down that just took out the fifth man and pushed off of it. He spun in the air and took out the final thug with a heel to the side of the head. He looked around at the six men on the ground.

Holy shit! Did I just do that? He couldn't believe it.

He looked at his arms and legs as if they were foreign objects. Roger swore that couldn't have taken more than 8 seconds. The instructors that taught him those moves said that few people had done as well with the training as he did in such a short time. However, like almost everybody who heaped praise on him, he never believed them. In this case, it appeared they were right, judging by the evidence laying on ground. He stared at his hands as if they were brand new.

"Hmm, upgrades."

His mind snapped back to reality. He still had a thief to catch. He sprinted out of the building, the morning sun somehow cutting through the smog to blind him as he went out. He hugged the wall of the building, moving stealthily around the corner. It appeared Alexander was suffering from a case of overconfidence, as he had just gotten to his car. Roger took out his custom-made mobile phone. A CIA technician who had been flown out to Nellis and saw way too many Bond movies as a kid was more than happy to help him upgrade the car the Agency provided. The Mustang convertible the CIA seized from a small-time arms dealer managed to blend in quite well in Los Angeles. The technician reprogrammed the computer inside the car to be compatible with the new smartphone Roger possessed. So far, he could only control the steering, acceleration, and brakes, but the technician only had a month to develop the program. Roger shuddered at the thought of what this kid could do if he had more time to work on the car.

Alexander got in his own car and drove off. Roger sprinted for the convertible and got inside. He took off in the same direction as Alexander. He wished that he could call for some backup, but he was maintaining orders to work alone on this. The fewer people that knew, the better. The thirty-foot cushion that he was advised to use when tailing a suspect was something he didn't forget. Since Alexander pulled onto the freeway, Roger assumed that the cushion should be a bit wider. He kept at least two cars between him and Alexander.

As Alexander switched lanes, Roger was forced to go around a school bus to maintain visual contact with the vehicle. He turned his head to make sure he gave enough distance between himself and the bus as he moved back into the lane. He turned his head forward just in time to see Alexander point a gun at his car. He veered out of the way of the first shot. Roger kept his head down while accelerating. There was no point in maintaining a distance now; he had been discovered. He continued to move forward, occasionally swerving as shots continued to whiz by. He saw Alexander's car hit a pothole, and two shots were fired. Roger quickly swerved to avoid the bullets and the pothole. He was ready to accelerate back towards Alexander's vehicle when he was rammed from behind. He countersteered quickly to get the Mustang back under control when he was again clipped from behind.

Roger turned around to see the school bus behind him. The driver was slumped over the wheel. A bullet hole had gone through the window where the driver's shoulder would be.

His eyes widened. Alexander was getting away, and the bus was starting to swerve back and forth. He could see half a dozen kids near the front of the bus with looks of panic on their faces. He looked forward at Alexander who was now accelerating to 90 miles per hour on the freeway. He would escape if Roger didn't floor it.

Roger made a decision that most people would consider crazy. His bosses will likely rip him a new one for doing it. But in his mind, the bus wouldn't be in danger if it wasn't for him.

He grabbed the smartphone and accessed the satellite guidance program. The Mustang's GPS program was locked into a military satellite in geosynchronous orbit over the west coast. He locked the tracker in the phone as well to the same satellite. The CIA technician boasted the program he wrote would let the satellite control the car and keep it within 50 yards of the phone yet still drive on the road safely. Of course, this would be the first time his claim was tested.

Roger activated the system and stood up in the driver's seat. The program seemed to be working fine thus far. The car was steering itself. He climbed into the back seat of the convertible, holding on to the headrests. The bus moved forward again, inching closer to the convertible. Roger put one foot up on the trunk. 10 feet to contact, 8 feet, six feet, four feet…

Roger pushed off the trunk of the car, leaping into the air towards the bus. His left hand grabbed the hood of the bus, and his right hand grabbed one of the windshield wiper arms. He managed to get his feet on the front fender before the wiper arm broke off. He clung to the front of the bus. He stepped carefully to his left, making his way slowly across the fender. He got to the right side of the front window and reached around to the door. He pulled it open, carefully swung his left foot around, and managed to get it on a step inside the bus. He grabbed the handle on the door with his left hand and pulled himself the rest of the way inside the bus. He climbed up the two stairs quickly. Half of the kids were screaming and a few were crying.

"Good morning, Maierhofer Bus Company. I'm your substitute driver, Mr. Traven. If you'll just give me a minute, I'll try to make this as smooth of a ride as possible. Meanwhile, remain seated and calm, no fighting, no singing the 'Diarrhea' song, and no wiping your boogers on the backs of the seats. And I mean you, in the tenth row."

Roger went to the driver and pulled her foot off of the accelerator. The bus began to slow down as he gently pushed the driver back and took control of the wheel. He turned the wheel back and forth slowly to straighten the bus' path. He noticed the driver bleeding profusely just below her right shoulder blade.

"Dammit." He took off his jacket. The bus was still moving fast. He looked behind him. "Anybody here watch good bloody horror flicks when their parents aren't home? I promise, I won't rat on you."

A kid in the third row raised his hand. "Good, come up here." Roger put the jacket around the front and the back of the driver's wounded shoulder. He pointed to the two spots where the bullet hole entered and exited the driver to the student. "Keep your hands there and there on her shoulder. And if you gotta blow chunks, try to aim left."

He slid his foot under the driver's leg and found the brake pedal. He slowly pressed down to stop the bus. He steered the bus slowly to the left shoulder. The Mustang slowed down with the bus. The kid holding the jacket on the driver looked at the Mustang and was amazed. He looked up at Roger.

"Oh, we're just testing the car for the next Fast and Furious movie. We don't know who will get to drive it. Knowing Paul Walker, he'll cry and whine to get first choice."

The bus came to a stop on the left shoulder of the freeway. Roger gently pulled the driver to the floor of the bus, placing her legs in a slightly elevated position. He could hear sirens in the background; their sound getting louder and louder. He wasn't in much of a mood to file a report on this.

"OK, keep pressure on those spots until the paramedics get here," Roger directed the student helping him. He got up and addressed the kids. "Thanks for your help. Stay on the bus, wait for the cops to arrive, and if anybody asks…" he pointed to a small, shy girl in the first row, "…she saved the day. I was never here."

Roger bounded off the bus and leapt into the Mustang. He floored it to try and get away from being recognized or stopped. So far, the two or three police vehicles he saw before getting in the car stopped at the bus. Perhaps he still had a shot at catching Alexander.

The five California Highway Patrol cars that entered the freeway at the ramp he just passed ended that hope quickly.

The patrol cars made their way toward his position quickly. He pushed the Mustang to over 100 miles per hour, hoping to outrun them. He didn't know if they're coming to arrest him or thank him. Neither option sounded appealing. He then heard the sound of a helicopter. Several helicopters, in fact. Looking up and to his left, he spotted 5 helicopters closing on the freeway. However, only one of them appeared to belong to the police. He alternated between weaving through the lanes of the freeway and looking back at the helicopters. He spotted what was written on the sides of two of them. They were television network logos.

Aaah hell, he thought.

He didn't need extensive training to know there was only one thing worse than being arrested or being captured: being on TV. The proverbial shinola was about to hit the fan. He was in trouble. This one-man operation was about to go public. He only had one option now.

He punched a sequence of buttons on the car's radio.

Castle Underground Facility
September 15, 2010
10:35 AM

Chuck Bartowski and Colonel John Casey bounded down the stairs from Zork Computer Consultants. In a way, they were lucky: they didn't have any customers in the office today, and Morgan was hanging out with Anna during her break over at the Buy More. Chuck left a note for Morgan that they had an emergency with one of their setups at a client's location. Their actual destination would be nowhere near their two current customer setups.

Casey checked his mobile phone. The Code 14 came in one minute ago, and satellite recon was downloading the location of the code to his phone. It was being triangulated on the 710 Freeway, but an exact location would still take another minute or two to pinpoint.

This was the first time Chuck would get to respond to a situation like this. They practiced this drill every four months, just so he knew the correct protocols and instructions for handling the distress signal. There were two codes that required what they were doing. A Code 11 indicated a CIA operative was in distress and needed emergency extraction. However, a Code 14 was worse. Not only did the operative need extraction, their tracks would have to be covered, either because they had been exposed as an agent or were about to be.

They got to the changing closet in Castle, where Agent Sarah Walker was already putting on her uniform for this scenario. Chuck and she would wear the same EMT white shirt and black pants while Casey donned firefighter's gear and boots. As Casey received actual training as a firefighter while in the Army, it was logical for him to play that role. What Chuck found funny the 3 times they practiced it was that Sarah would sneak the occasional peek at Casey's attire. It always made Chuck smirk. It must be a universal attraction on the part of women towards firefighters. Maybe it was the hero aspect, the manly ruggedness, or that you rarely saw an unattractive firefighter. In a way, Chuck found it cute when he discovered little quirks like that in her that most women would have. She would certainly hate to admit she had the same wants and desires as most other women. Agents were supposed to be above that, after all.

They rushed to a hallway in Castle behind the holding cells. Casey punched in a code, and they went through a secured door to an underground garage. An ambulance was parked underneath, complete with L.A. County Fire Department markings to allow it to blend in. Casey got in the driver's seat while Sarah occupied the passenger seat. In the back, Chuck sat at a mobile computer with a secure satellite link to every database accessible by the NSA and Homeland Security.

After driving through a series of narrow tunnels, the ambulance emerged on the surface from underneath a flood control trench near the 101 Freeway. Casey docked his phone on a special device in the ambulance which allowed a faster download of the information on the Code 14 and its location. He activated the sirens and entered the 101, heading south to the 710.

710 Freeway, Los Angeles
September 15, 2010
10:40 AM

Roger was starting to run out of time. There were now 10 police cars chasing him, and every helicopter from both law enforcement and the media had its eyes on the Mustang convertible. This would be a very ugly escape, if there was to be one. He could only hope the extraction team would get him out of there before the police or the media asked too many questions. He maneuvered the car towards the far right lane and saw his opportunity 1 mile ahead. The shoulder dropped off onto an embankment 30 feet down. It would be a dangerous stunt to pull in a car like this, but he was out of options.

He waited until he was 500 feet from the start of the dropoff. He checked his seatbelt and pulled a lever underneath the driver's seat. The car started careening out of control, almost hitting another car in the lane to his left. The car skidded to the right at the perfect moment. It crashed through the metal barrier and rolled down the embankment. The car flipped over 5 times while falling down the hill, ending up at the bottom of the embankment on its side. Roger was knocked unconscious and was bleeding from his head and parts of his arm. He was incredibly fortunate that the car never made contact with the ground while it was upside-down. He would have been dead instantly on impact.

The police cars stopped along the shoulder, and one of the officers got on his radio to request an ambulance. Casey intercepted the message and responded. The helicopters circled overhead as a fire truck pulled up near the car. The firefighters carefully approached the vehicle and unbuckled Roger from the seat, pulling him gently out of the car and laying him down on the side of the road. The ambulance pulled up at the same time.

Casey carefully exited the ambulance and slipped behind the fire truck, emerging on the other side and acting as if he was there the whole time. Chuck and Sarah exited the front doors of the ambulance and immediately ran to the back doors. They opened the doors and pulled out a stretcher.

"Checking the vehicle, Chief!" Casey moved along the car near the hood. He checked to see if anybody was looking, and then he placed two small objects under the car by the engine. Chuck and Sarah approached the unconscious Roger, who was still bleeding from his forehead. Sarah immediately applied pressure to stop the bleeding while Chuck prepared the stretcher.

"OK, let's move him onto the stretcher." Sarah's voice took a commanding tone to the firefighters, who lifted Roger carefully and placed him on the stretcher. Chuck fastened the belts around Roger. Sarah and he extended the legs of the stretcher, wheeling him to the back of the ambulance. Casey slipped into the driver's seat of the ambulance undetected. He hit a button on the dashboard of the ambulance. One of the devices he placed under the car began to emit large amounts of smoke. One of the firefighters noticed.

"EVAC!" He shouted the warning to everybody as Chuck and Sarah quickly loaded Roger into the ambulance. Chuck followed the stretcher into the back while Sarah slammed the doors shut and bounded for the passenger seat. The ambulance peeled away from the scene. Chuck looked out the back windows to see the fire truck pull away to a safe distance.

"They're clear, Casey."

Casey hit another button on the dashboard. The Mustang exploded, sending flames and smoke shooting through the air. The fire department waited for a few minutes before moving back in to put the flames out.

Sarah joined Chuck in the back of the ambulance to examine the operative they pulled out of the car. Casey checked the police bands over the radio to see if there was any information about what happened.

"The police are interviewing a bunch of kids on a school bus that was pulled over 8 miles before the crash site. They said a man leaped onto the bus to get it under control because the driver was shot. Then he tried to evade police."

Sarah looked down at Roger. "He stopped to save a busload of kids? Wow. No wonder there were helicopters everyplace. This wasn't your typical police chase."

"Idiot." Casey shook his head in disbelief that an agent could be that stupid. Chuck looked at him with a wary gaze.

"What did you want him to do, Casey? Let the bus crash? That wouldn't make him look too good, would it?"

"I hate agents with a conscience."

Chuck rolled his eyes as he found Roger's wallet in his back pocket while Sarah carefully removed his shirt to check for any other injuries.

Chuck pulled out Roger's license from the wallet and started to laugh. "His name on the license is J. Traven." He looked at the unconscious Roger. "Were you able to keep the bus over 50 miles per hour? Is Dennis Hopper as creepy as he seems?"

Casey was even more annoyed. "Great. The CIA is employing stand-up comedians nowadays."

"Well, I'd like to think I can be quite the amusing one," Chuck modestly chimed in.

"I should have said FUNNY stand-up comedians."

Chuck sat at the computer in the back of the ambulance. He used a handheld scanner to check the information on the license against the databases at Homeland and the CIA.

"OK, here we go. His name is Roger Murdock. 6 feet tall, 225 pounds. Born March 15th, 1968, Kettering, Ohio. B.S. in Computer Science from Ohio State University, 1990, MBA from Bowling Green, 1994." He paused and stared at the screen. "Hmm. That's all there is."

"The MBA from Bowling Green means CIA. It's one of the degrees they use to make infiltrating companies easier. His mission profile must have been flagged confidential," Casey answered.

"No, there isn't even an indication of that. There is, literally, no other information on him. It's as if he wasn't even an agent. No training dates, no skills listed, nothing. That's weird."

Chuck moved to the other side of Roger from Sarah, who was checking his pupils to see if they react. She also checked his pulse.

"Pupils are normal. Pulse is 57. Respiration is normal. Aside from the hits on the head and arm, he's fine."

Chuck looked at Roger's face for the first time. He noticed the short-cropped black hair. He glanced down at the well-chiseled torso and was surprised.

"Holy cow. This guy is 225 pounds? He's built like a linebacker. What, does he play golf every week with Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds? He looks like he could get run over by a truck and the truck would lose."

Sarah continued to check for any other injuries. Chuck moved up and checked Roger's pupils again, looking intently at his royal blue eyes. Suddenly he flashed. He saw a football stadium and a college campus. It was almost one year ago that Chuck had this exact same flash. He staggered back in fear, almost falling through the rear doors of the ambulance. He had a look of utter fright. Sarah turned to him with a wide-eyed look of her own. Seeing Chuck like this raised the alarm in her voice.

"Chuck, what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost!"

Chuck was visibly shaking. "Uh, actually…"

Sarah turned and looked at Roger again. She didn't notice anything at first. She then placed her hands on either side of his head. She felt something under her right hand. She took a light and a magnifying glass and examined the left side of Roger's head. It was hard to make them out through the black hair, but she saw a series of scars on the left side of Roger's scalp. She then checked Roger's left shoulder and arm. She notices a series of scars along the arm as well. The very same scars she saw one year ago. She had the same look of surprise on her face that Chuck did. She was shaking as well. Her voice was a whisper.


Hope you like the start of the story. I'll try to update this on a weekly or bi-weekly basis while keeping the ChuckMeMondays Challenge going. Again, writers love to know what you think. That's what that review link is for. Take care!