Chuck vs. the Patriot Games
Author's note: You will notice quickly that this story is set in the universe of The West Wing, and that characters from The West Wing play a minor, but important, role in this story. However, this is not a West Wing story. This is an alternate universe Chuck story, which means that there will (eventually) be Charah, among other distinct Chuck trademarks.
October 1, 2009
12:15 PM, Eastern Time
CNN: "We'll be going live to the Maryland state capitol in Annapolis in just a few minutes. We're expecting an announcement at any minute from the junior Senator from Maryland as to his intentions for next year…"
MSNBC: "The moderate Republican junior Senator from Maryland is expected to throw his hat into the ring today, an act which is drawing a noticeable sigh of relief from the bulk of the Republican party, as the two current front-runners – Governor Rod Mitchell of Michigan and Governor Harold "Huck" Michaelson of Kentucky – are fairly extreme right-wing conservatives, both of whom would likely face a crushing defeat against President Santos next fall…"
FOX: "An announcement is expected from the Senator at any moment. In spite of his popularity and high polling numbers, a significant portion of the Republican establishment is asking: is he the best candidate for the G.O.P.? Or would they be better off with one of the more grassroots-oriented candidates? Either way, we expect that this will turn the Republican primaries into something quite intriguing. We go now live to Major Garrett, in Annapolis…"
The junior Senator from Maryland sat in front of the makeup mirror, doing his best not to fidget. Six years in the Senate and six years in the House of Representatives before that had done absolutely nothing to change how he felt about going in front of TV cameras looking like some kind of freak from a mortuary.
Perhaps that had the most to do with his twenty-eight years in the United States Marine Corps – fifteen on active duty, and the last thirteen as a Reserve pilot. As far as he was concerned, a man should not have to go through any more motions with regard to appearance than shaving, brushing his teeth, and running a comb through his hair in the morning. Makeup was absolutely ridiculous.
Ronald Reagan wore makeup, the mocking voice in his head reminded him. That little inner monologue that always made the Marine Corps Major grit his teeth. Sure, the Gipper was his big hero and his inspiration for political life. However, the man had been an ACTOR before he entered politics. He was USED to the makeup.
"We got five minutes!" he heard a familiar voice call across the room. The voice of a young man who had been toiling in obscurity before being plucked from a Buy More in Los Angeles to serve as the Senator's Chief of Staff after his election to the Senate in 2004. It turned out that a political science degree from Stanford wasn't worth nearly as much as had been thought, and since the Senator had known the young man's father for decades, he figured he would do him a favor.
It had actually worked out for the best. The young man had been an absolute ace as a political operative, and had brought on an absolute knock-out of a speechwriter after running into her on a flight to Paris. She had just gotten fired from a consulting job, and even though the Senator hadn't exactly been overjoyed about his chief of staff hiring people without running them by him first, he had to admit that this particular young lady could write speeches that would have made Ronald Reagan weep with joy.
The irony there, of course, was that both his chief of staff and the speechwriter were liberals. The Senator teased them no end about that particular fact, but they were both loyal to him, in spite of their political differences. And truth be told, there were a number of deep blue liberal causes that the Senator believed in anyway, so that made his young staffers happy.
Speaking of the speechwriter…
"Alright, Senator, let's go over this once more time," Hannah Metzger said, crouching down next to him. "If you get asked why you want to be President, your answer is…"
John Casey looked at himself in the mirror. "I believe that this country is struggling to rediscover its identity right now," he replied. "We're mired in an open-ended civil war in Kazakhstan, a war that was started by Jed Bartlet and perpetuated by Matt Santos. I understand that President Santos has done the best he can with the resources he has, but his best is simply not enough. What this country needs right now is an experienced President, a President who has the fortitude and the wherewithal to –"
"NO." Hannah cut him off abruptly. "I told you NOT to say 'fortitude and wherewithal.' You sound like a stuck-up dick, or worse yet, you sound like Jed Bartlet."
"Hey, President Bartlet gave some damn good speeches in his time," Casey retorted.
Hannah was quick with her rejoinder. "That was ten years ago. Drop the fancy language. You sound like an East Coast snob who went to Columbia."
"I am an East Coast snob who went to Columbia," Casey grumbled. "What's wrong with that?"
"The grassroots folks who went to Humboldt State and Texas A&M don't like that kind of appearance," Hannah replied. "If you think for three seconds you're gonna beat Rod Mitchell and Huck Michaelson, you've got to appeal to them."
Casey sighed. "Fine," he grunted. "What do you want me to say instead?"
"'What this country needs right now is an experienced President, a President who is not afraid to take on the tough issues and be the change that this country needs'," Hannah said. "That's what you need to say."
Casey narrowed his eyes and turned his gaze on Hannah. "You want me to say that President Santos is afraid," he replied.
"Yes, I do," Hannah shot back. "It makes you look stronger and puts a sense of unease about Matt Santos in the minds of the American people."
"Not gonna do it," Casey said, shaking his head. "The President's a Marine. I refuse to call out a fellow Marine for being afraid of political action."
"Senator, dammit –"
Across the room, a head covered in curly brown hair popped up. "Be right there, Senator!" Casey heard.
A moment later, John Casey's chief of staff, Chuck Bartowski, came to a halt next to Casey and Hannah. "What's up?"
"Tell your speechwriter skirt that I'm not calling a fellow Marine a coward," Casey growled.
"I'm not telling you to call President Santos a coward!" Hannah protested. "I just want you to say –"
"That President Santos is afraid," Chuck interrupted with a sigh. "Hannah, I told you that line wasn't gonna fly."
Hannah glared at Chuck, then turned her glare on Senator Casey. "I hate you both sometimes," she growled, before stomping away.
Chuck looked after her, and then looked at the Senator. "What did you say to her, Casey?"
"Nothing!" Casey insisted. "All I said was that I wasn't going to say that President Santos was afraid of something. I'm a Marine, he's a Marine. It's not gonna happen."
"Understood," Chuck replied. "So, I need to know what you want –"
Chuck frowned at the interruption. "Yes, sir?"
"You're not sleeping with Metzger, are you?"
What the hell? "Uh, no, sir," Chuck replied. "I mean, not that I haven't considered – uh, I mean – where exactly is this coming from, sir?"
A slight grin crossed John Casey's face. "Just keeping you on your toes, Bartowski. Making sure you're keeping in line with company policy – you know –"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Chuck interrupted him. "I know. No putting company chocolate in company peanut butter, which, really, is one of the more disturbing analogies you've come up with in your time, sir."
"My name is John Casey, Senator from Maryland, and Major in the United States Marine Corps.
"In January of 1998, I was approached by two individuals who had long been mentors of mine – Colonel Diane Beckman, United States Air Force, and Congressman Robert McLellan of Maryland's 3rd District. Colonel Beckman extended to me an invitation to work for her with the National Security Council, and Congressman McLellan suggested that I might want to run for his seat in Congress when he retired at the end of the year.
"It was a difficult choice. Accepting the job with the NSC would have ensured a rapid ascension through the ranks of the Marine Corps, and a great amount of prestige within the military. Running for Congress meant a great deal of difficulty, but it also meant the opportunity to affect the policies of our great nation.
"And so I chose to run for Congress. I was elected that fall, re-elected in 2000 and again in 2002. In 2004, I decided to run for the US Senate against the incumbent Senator. My margin of victory was narrow, but for the last five years, I have been proud to serve the people of the state of Maryland as their junior Senator."
Casey looked down at his notes, and then out at the audience. Drawing a deep breath, he continued. "I believe, however, that there is only so much I can do in the United States Senate, and that there is a place in our government where I can continue to serve my country in an even greater way." Looking out over his audience, Casey paused for a moment.
"That is why today, I am announcing my candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. I look forward to the challenge of competing against Governors Mitchell and Michaelson for this nomination, and should I be nominated, I look forward even more to engaging with a fellow Marine, President Santos, in campaigning for the highest office in our land.
"I will be happy to take your questions at this time."
As John Casey took questions in the background, Sam Seaborn turned away from the television set to face the two young political operatives in the room with him. "Thoughts."
Bryce Larkin looked from Seaborn to his colleague, Jill Roberts, and then back to Seaborn. "Well… John Casey's no pushover," he said. "He's got a great Congressional record, and he's a US Marine. Those are both important factors."
"Our guy had a pretty good Congressional record and was also a Marine," Sam shot back. "And?"
"It's been four years since President Santos was a Congressman or a Marine," Jill answered. "He had to resign his commission and his seat in Congress when he was elected, and four years is basically ancient history."
Bryce nodded. "I have to agree with Jill on this one," he said. "And, you know, Senator Casey's got a pretty good staff working for him too."
"That he does," Jill agreed with a nod. "That he does."
Sam looked at Jill curiously, and then over to Bryce. "What do you mean?" he asked. "Do the two of you know something that I don't?"
"Chuck Bartowski," came a voice from the door. Bryce and Jill turned their heads to see the woman standing in the doorway. Despite the distinct scar across her face, National Security Advisor Sarah Walker was still a striking woman who had no problem turning heads on Capitol Hill. And now, she had given voice to the exact problem which neither Bryce nor Jill wanted to mention.
But Sam Seaborn didn't understand the problem. "Okay, I'm familiar with Chuck Bartowski," he said. "John Casey's chief of staff, and a skilled political operative. What about him?"
Sarah Walker smiled. "Oh, Bryce and Jill both went to college with him," she replied, "and they're both scared to death of him."
Sam raised an eyebrow and then looked at Bryce and Jill. "Good to know," he muttered.
Bryce sighed and shook his head as Sarah's footsteps echoed down the hall. "I hate her so much sometimes."
Senator John Casey (R-MD) – Adam Baldwin
Chuck Bartowski – Zachary Levi
Hannah Metzger – Kristen Kreuk
Sam Seaborn – Rob Lowe
Bryce Larkin – Matthew Bomer
Jill Roberts – Jordana Brewster
Sarah Walker – Yvonne Strahovski