And we've come to the final chapter. This wraps everything up, and we find out whether or not the Intersect goes to a new person or if Chuck decides he wants to remain an agent. It was a crazy ride to get to this point, but I'm glad to bring this story to its conclusion.
I want to thank everybody who read the story and also reviewed it. I especially want to thank Jimmy144, PassionOverMind, Jinxed97, Dwarfius, and BDaddyDL, who were kind enough to be there through many of the chapters. I actually took a few of the ideas reviewers made and integrated them into the story. Hopefully, the result was a story everybody enjoyed.
As for what I'll do next, I really have no idea. I'm doing beta work on a story that BDaddyDL is working on, and I've had a request or two to beta other stories. I'm considering putting up a poll on my profile page to solicit opinions as to what to do next. But for now, I just want to veg out and not go into a panic every time I don't get a chapter done within my one-week deadlines. (Don't ask me why I do that; I have no clue.)
Thanks for reading and please review!
Huntley Hotel, Santa Monica
September 25, 2011
9:30 AM PDT
It was the most unusual feeling Alex ever had. It wasn't that she hadn't felt this way before, but it had been so long she literally forgot what it was like. The smile that stretched across her face surprised her when she caught it in the mirror. She actually had to stop for a moment to realize she was really doing it.
She wasn't entirely certain where last night ranked in the greatest moments of her life, but it was at least in the top five…and with a bullet given what happened when they got back to the hotel. She looked over at Jimmy's sleeping form. She had gazed at his muscular frame with salacious thoughts on her mind more than a few times. But today was different. She looked at him this time and felt his arms around her. She could feel his hands caressing her face like they did when he kissed her goodbye at JFK before departing for London. She could feel his gentle whispers in her ear when he comforted her in San Diego. She could feel him pull her arms around his shaking form when he couldn't tell her why he had to leave her three months ago.
Chuck and Sarah couldn't have picked a more appropriate song last night. Indeed it was a new day.
She gently glided her hand along his chest, although the thought of sliding it lower was more than tempting. She gave him a few gentle kisses along his face. He slowly opened his eyes. He looked up at her and ran his hand along her cheek.
"Stay like that for a minute, could you?"
"Like what?" she asked.
"That is one beautiful smile. I think this is the first time I ever saw you smile like that."
"It surprised me a little this morning as well. But I think I know who's responsible."
Alex leaned down and kissed him lovingly. His hands caressed her smooth skin.
"Mmmm, I need to get something out of the refrigerator," she whispered into his ear. She sauntered over to the small refrigerator by the bar, swaying her hips seductively.
"You're doing that on purpose, aren't you," Jimmy called to her.
She threw her hair over her shoulder and grinned at him. She moved even slower as she went to the refrigerator and bent over to get something from it, making certain Jimmy got a good look.
"Yogurt?" Jimmy asked in curiosity when he saw what she got. "I never pegged you as the yogurt type for some reason."
Alex shrugged. "Just a habit I picked up in Miami a few years back. But I certainly can't complain about the results."
Jimmy raised an eyebrow. "Oh believe me; I'm enjoying the results right now."
Alex grinned and jumped back in the bed, landing on top of Jimmy. She handed him the yogurt. "Could you open this for me, babe?"
Jimmy pulled the lid off of the yogurt, and Alex scooped some of the yogurt out with the spoon she had. She held it out for Jimmy, who took the whole spoonful in his mouth. She then kissed him hard, her tongue flitting around in his mouth to sample some of the yogurt.
"Mmmm, that's a much better way to have my breakfast," Alex said in a sultry voice. She gently ground against Jimmy and raised a playful eyebrow. "And apparently you agree."
He gave her a gentle laugh. "Come on. Am I really that good in bed? You're the only person I've ever slept with. There had to be someone better than me."
Alex smiled and slathered some of the yogurt on Jimmy's chest. She then kissed and licked his chest to lap it up. "Not really. John was probably the closest, but even he wasn't as good. And believe me, anybody I had to seduce on the job were severe disappointments. But then, it's work time on those nights. Your mind is typically two steps ahead thinking about how to complete a mission."
"Just for my own education, what exactly am I doing right?"
She continued to spread the yogurt on his chest and eat it. "It's not so much anything specific. But when most guys have…what you have…they think that's all they need. They don't get it takes a lot more than that to please a woman. But you really try in the bedroom. John did that a lot, but not to the degree you do. With you, you never think you've done enough for me. Let me assure you…you did, and quite often."
Jimmy smiled. "Glad someone appreciates that. Sarah ripped me from stem to stern about it in Paris."
Alex looked up at Jimmy and eyed him suspiciously. "I assume you're not talking about sex anymore."
Jimmy made a face at her. "Obviously. It was right after we escaped and brought the evidence to the American Embassy to clear Ilsa's name." Jimmy was silent for a moment. "I admit it wasn't my proudest moment."
Alex's voice remained stern. "I don't blame her for yelling at you. You've pulled that on me during missions before, and I won't stand for it. You're one of the most talented agents I've ever seen, and you're also one of the nicest people I've ever met. And that was before I ever fell for you. So no more negative talk. I don't tolerate anybody saying bad things about the man I love…not even him."
Jimmy exhaled and smiled. "Yes, ma'am."
Alex grinned and gave him a lustful kiss. "Now, back to breakfast." She scooped more yogurt out of the cup.
"You're going to keep using my chest for a plate?" Jimmy asked in an impish voice.
Alex wiggled her eyebrows and flicked her tongue at his lips. "For the moment."
Huntley Hotel, Santa Monica
September 25, 2011
12:00 PM PDT
"What do you think?"
Alex did a pirouette in front of Jimmy, showing off the dress she chose for the day. She was able to talk Beckman into letting her stay in California for a few more days before sending her on her next assignment. However, Alex planned to talk to Beckman face-to-face before her next mission. She wanted to know everything about how Jimmy will work as the new Intersect. She wasn't sure if Beckman would involve her, but she was going to stay with Jimmy one way or another.
"Beautiful. Of course, it's the lady wearing it that makes it beautiful."
She smiled and sat in his lap. She wrapped her arms around him and gave him an adoring kiss. "So what happens now with the Intersect? When do you have it done?"
"I don't actually know. They compartmentalized the different groups who worked on the project to make sure no one person knew about everything. The people who built the computers don't know what software is being loaded. The people who helped Mr. Bartowski never met me, and the people responsible for taking me there don't know a thing about what's going on."
"What about you?"
"I wait for a phone call, but I know nothing else. Once there, everything I need is in a storage closet, and I have the only keycard that will access it."
Alex gave a disbelieving laugh. "The person who is the most involved in the project knows the least about it?"
Jimmy shook his head and smiled. "I know. Your tax dollars at work, right?"
"I was thinking of calling Casey and Ilsa to see if they wanted to meet for lunch."
"Mmm, good idea. I haven't talked too much to him this weekend. I'm curious to see how the new business is going."
Jimmy's mobile phone began to ring. "I better take this out on the balcony. The reception's a bit spotty in the room."
"I'll call Casey and Ilsa," Alex replied. She gave Jimmy a kiss and went to the phone in the room. Jimmy walked outside to the balcony.
"Hello?" Jimmy looked out over the ocean as he heard the person on the other end of the line. He then looked down in disappointment. "OK, twenty minutes."
He hung up the phone and walked back inside the hotel room. Alex saw his downcast expression.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"It was them. They'll be here in twenty minutes. I guess they want to get the Intersect in me right away and put me to work."
"I'll call Ilsa back and cancel."
"Oh, no. Go out with them. Once I'm done, I'll call and catch up to you. Or if you and Ilsa just want a day to yourselves, toss Casey in the nearest sports bar and pick him up when football is done."
Alex laughed. "That's all he needs?"
"Men are such simple creatures," Jimmy replied with a grin.
"We can go out for dinner tonight. Perhaps Chuck and Sarah will need to get out of the beach house by then."
"Ah, good thinking. Let me get my things."
Jimmy pulled a duffel bag out of the closet and went into the bathroom for a moment. He then emerged and went to the door. Alex followed him there. They put their arms around each other.
"Good luck to you, James." She kissed him deeply. "I love you."
He gazed into her ocean blue eyes, wanting to stay in this moment and forget about everything else. But he knew a lot of things had transpired over the last six months, and they would conclude today. He owed it to Chuck and Sarah to cross the finish line. At the end of the day, the woman he loved would be there, and they would tackle the next phase of their lives together.
"I love you, too," he gently replied as he returned her kiss.
He walked down the hallway to the elevators. Alex watched him enter the elevator and then walked out to the balcony. To her right, she could see part of the main driveway of the hotel. She saw Jimmy emerge from the lobby entrance and look around. After a few moments, a car pulled up. A man in a suit showed some sort of ID to Jimmy and opened the back door of his car. She watched Jimmy get inside, and the car drove away. She looked at the ocean wistfully. She wasn't sure when Jimmy would return, but she knew this was a weekend she would never forget.
The man who snuck into her room with the gun was about to make it her last.
San Diego Freeway, California
September 25, 2011
12:45 PM PDT
Jimmy sat in the back of the Crown Victoria that was driving him to the location. He was nervous, but he was determined to see this through.
"How far away is it?" Jimmy asked the driver.
"Not far, sir," the driver replied. "About twenty or thirty more minutes."
Jimmy nodded and checked his cell phone. There was no signal. "My phone isn't calling out."
"That happens sometimes around here, sir." The driver conveniently left out the part about a signal blocker underneath the seats.
"Shame, really. I had to call my mother back. She left me a voicemail this morning."
The driver looked at Jimmy oddly through the rear-view mirror. Jimmy sat back in the car and did not say another word for the rest of the trip.
Huntley Hotel, Santa Monica
September 25, 2011
12:30 PM PDT
The man slowly approached the balcony with his gun drawn. Alex still had her back turned to the room. He leveled the gun at her.
An object flew at him and embedded itself in his arm. The shot missed Alex and ricocheted off the rail of the balcony. She quickly turned around and saw the man with a silver letter opener in his arm lunging for her. She spun and landed a kick at the man's face. He stumbled back and dropped his gun, but he tried to charge her again. She sidestepped him and threw him forward, using his own momentum against him. He flipped over the balcony railing and plummeted nine floors to the parking lot below.
Alex went into the room to see Casey and Ilsa jumped from behind by four more Ring agents. Casey turned and landed an elbow on the man who tried to grab him. Ilsa was grabbed by a second man. She brought her knee up into his groin and forced his arm back when he doubled-over. She put him down with a hard jab. A third man tried to grab her, but Alex landed a hook on the man and then flipped him to the ground. She landed one more shot on him to keep him down. The last one tried to attack both women, but Casey nailed him with a clothesline and kicked him in the head after he was on the ground. Casey and Ilsa started to pull the weapons off the men who were on the ground.
"LOOK OUT!" Alex dove at them as a fifth man opened fire from the door. Alex knocked them to the ground as the bullet hit her. Casey opened fire from underneath Ilsa and Alex and nailed the man with four consecutive shots. He looked up at the two women on top of him.
"No lunch, then?"
Ilsa quickly got off of him and checked Alex. Alex was bleeding from her shoulder. Casey ran to the bathroom and got several towels. He tossed one to Ilsa, who applied pressure to Alex's shoulder.
"They called Jimmy today to have the new Intersect uploaded," Alex gritted through her teeth as her shoulder throbbed from the pain. "The Ring must have him."
"I'd guess they've also taken over our Intersect facility. They were probably planning this from the day you destroyed theirs," Casey replied.
"How do we find the place? Even Jimmy didn't know where it was."
"Wouldn't Chuck's father know?" Ilsa asked.
"He would, but they have him secured. We have no way of contacting him," Alex replied.
"They may have told Chuck where he is, or at least given him a phone number." Casey took two of the guns from the men on the ground and placed them on his belt. He then handed Ilsa a business card.
"Ilsa, call the NSA office and have them process these clowns. Then call Chuck and find out where they would have taken Slade. And get Forrest to a doctor. I'm going to get a few supplies. Looks like I have one last job to do."
Casey exited the hotel room while Ilsa handed Alex her mobile phone and kept the pressure on her wound.
September 25, 2011
1:00 PM PDT
"What do you mean he's gone?" Sarah replied to Alex as the alarm grew in her voice.
"He got the call to have the Intersect downloaded into him. As soon as he left, a bunch of Ring agents attacked us. If it wasn't for Casey and Ilsa, I'd be dead right now."
"Do you think they have control of the Intersect computer?"
"That's why I'm calling. Chuck's father is the only one we know who's been there. Is Chuck able to contact him?"
"I think so. Where's Casey?"
"Probably heading your way. I got shot in the attack, and Ilsa's taking care of things here."
"Are you OK?"
"I took a round in the shoulder, but I've had worse."
"We'll find Jimmy. I promise."
Alex exhaled deeply. "Thanks, Sarah."
Sarah hung up her phone. She looked at Chuck without even bothering to hide her worry.
"The Ring has Jimmy. Casey thinks they took him to the Intersect computer. Can you call your father to get the location?"
Chuck felt the life drain from him. He stood there in an unfocused haze. Sarah took his hands.
He brought himself back to the present. "Yeah, um, they gave us a pair of secured mobile phones so we can talk to each other. I'll call him."
He quickly rummaged through his backpack for the special phone the NSA gave him. He dialed his father's phone.
"Charles? I wasn't expecting to talk to you until after the honeymoon."
"Dad, we have a problem," Chuck replied in a rush as he put the phone on the table and hit the speaker so Sarah could hear as well. "The Ring took over the facility where the new Intersect computer is and captured Jimmy. We have to find him. Where is the building located?"
"No, Charles. I can't let you do that. You and Sarah aren't field agents anymore. You can't be going out and risking your lives."
"Dad, please! We need to find him. We can't let him be killed or fall into enemy hands!"
"You don't have the Intersect anymore! You were never supposed to be involved in any of this. A lot of people went through a lot of effort to let you lead a normal life again."
"And Jimmy was one of them! He saved our lives more times than we can count. Now he needs our help. We owe it to him to bring him back."
"Dad, we are going to rescue him whether you tell us where he is or not. And the difference between telling us and not telling us could very well be his life. You had a hand in ruining his life twenty years ago. Do you really want to have a hand in ending it, too?"
There was silence on the other end of the line. Sarah stared at Chuck, surprised by the tone of his voice. It was an anger she never saw from him before.
Stephen exhaled. "The building is in Woodland Hills. Get on the PCH to Malibu Canyon Road and get to the 101. I'll email the address to your phone. Please be careful."
"I will, Dad. Bye."
Chuck disconnected with his father and looked at Sarah. She had the same look on her face he suspected his father did right now.
"Sarah…" Chuck said.
"Your father is right, Chuck. You don't have the Intersect anymore. I'm worried enough about having to rescue Jimmy, but bringing you with me…"
"Sarah," Chuck replied in a subdued voice. "I was scared when you and Casey were captured by The Ring two years ago, even though there was no way I wasn't going to try to rescue you. But I had no chance in hell of succeeding if Jimmy wasn't there. And now I…I just can't sit here and wait while the people I love and care about put their lives on the line. I just can't do it, Sarah. I have to help him. I owe him that."
He took Sarah's hand and smiled confidently. "Besides, you always say we're the best team of agents the government has. Do we really want to break up the team before our last mission?"
Sarah looked into his eyes. She didn't want the man she loved, the man she married yesterday, risking his life like this. But Chuck was a different person today. He was much bolder and far braver than when she first met him. The Intersect may have given him special talents, but many of his successes in the field were about him and not what the Intersect gave him.
She took his other hand and squeezed both of them. "Let's find him."
Chuck got on his phone and called Casey as they went to Sarah's Porsche.
"Casey, it's Chuck. Head for Woodland Hills. I'll forward you the address as soon as my father sends it."
Woodland Hills, California
September 25, 2011
1:15 PM PDT
The car pulled up to a two-story corporate building just off of the 101 Freeway. The man drove around to the main entrance of the building. Inside, Jimmy could see the reception desk. However, nobody was at it.
The man got out of the driver's seat and opened the door for Jimmy. "Good luck, Mr. Slade."
Jimmy exited the car started walking towards the building. He then stopped and turned around to face the man. He shook his head and smiled.
"You know, most people wouldn't have caught that the government license plate on your car is designated for a minivan and not a Crown Vic. And a less observant person wouldn't have noticed the weird face you made when I mentioned calling my mother. But you would have to be the dumbest Ring agent I ever met to call me the wrong name. Anybody who was a real government agent would have only known me as Roger Murdock."
The man briefly stared in shock. He then whipped out his gun. Jimmy immediately threw a chop across his arm to knock the gun away. He then tried to throw a hook at the man, but he sidestepped Jimmy and sent a roundhouse kick at him. Jimmy staggered forward and fell to the ground. He bounced up and blocked a second roundhouse kick the man tried to give him. He planted his foot into the back of the man's knee to trip him to the ground. The man spun on the ground and swept his leg to trip Jimmy and sent him to the ground as well. The man got up and went for Jimmy, but he rolled out of the way and jumped to his feet. The man leaped into the air to deliver a spinning kick, but Jimmy grabbed his leg with his left hand while shoving the man hard, sending him flying over the car. Jimmy jumped and slid across the hood. The man got to one knee and sent his other leg upward. He connected with Jimmy's chin, and Jimmy was knocked to the ground. The man jumped on top of Jimmy and put his hands around Jimmy's throat. Jimmy struggled to break free, but the man pinned Jimmy's legs down. Jimmy brought his arms in between the man's outstretched hands and thrust his elbows outward. The man fell forward, and Jimmy wrapped his arm around the man's neck. The man tried to get to his feet, but he released Jimmy's legs in the process. Jimmy pushed off with his feet and somersaulted backwards. The man was flipped over onto his back, and Jimmy jerked his arm hard. The man's neck was snapped.
Jimmy slowly got up. He was breathing heavily and staggered around. He retrieved the man's gun and pulled out his mobile phone. He tried calling Alex, but her phone went straight into voicemail. He dialed Chuck's number.
"Chuck, where are you? They came to get me to upload the Intersect, but it was a Ring agent."
"We know," Chuck replied. "They tried to attack Alex after you left."
"They did? Is she OK?" Jimmy was almost in a state of panic.
"Casey and Ilsa stopped them. Alex was shot, but she'll be OK. Ilsa's taking her to the hospital."
"Where are you?"
"Sarah, Casey, and I are on our way to get you."
"No, Chuck! Don't come anywhere near here. The Ring probably took over the building. You'd walk right into their hands!"
"What are you going to do?"
Jimmy shook his head. "I don't have a choice. I have to get in there and destroy the computer."
"No! You can't go in there alone!"
"There's no time, Chuck. The Ring can't be allowed to see even one line of code from the Intersect program. They'll need a lot of time to get into the room. The security system is unhackable, and I have the only keycard to get inside. I'll get in there and destroy it."
"No choice, man. Stay away from here." Jimmy hung up the phone and ripped the battery out of it. He fished the car keys out of the man's pocket and opened the trunk of the car. He found a second gun and extra magazines. He took them and ran for the building, keeping a sharp eye out for Ring agents.
Woodland Hills, California
September 25, 2011
1:25 PM PDT
"Dammit, I can't get through to him now." Chuck's fear and frustration were mounting as Sarah banked every curve on Malibu Canyon Road like a Formula One driver.
Sarah nodded. "He probably shut off his mobile phone so any call doesn't get traced back to him or tips off what he's doing."
"What he's doing is going on a suicide mission. He cares more about destroying the damn computer than his own life. What is wrong with him?"
She sighed. "We kept telling him he could be a great agent. We can't be mad at him for listening to us."
Chuck glared at her, and Sarah correctly guessed what he was thinking.
"I don't want him to do it either, Chuck! I'm scared to death of him being killed or captured. But he's doing the right thing, no matter how painful that might be to us. He's still a spy. I'd rather have him doing that then Beckman sending a pair of F-16's to level the place. We can't let that program fall into enemy hands. It's Jimmy's job to make sure it doesn't. And it's our job to make sure he gets out alive."
"Oh, I'm gonna make sure he gets out alive…just so I can kill him myself," Chuck growled.
Sarah gunned it to the 101 Freeway and sped east. They pulled into a parking lot 200 yards from the building. They exited the car as Casey pulled up. He immediately got out and opened the trunk. He handed bullet-proof vests to Chuck and Sarah.
"Not sure if you had these already," Casey said as he put his own on.
"We'd have them with us on our wedding night, Case?" Chuck gave him a weird look. "That is one scary definition of safe sex."
Casey reached into the trunk and handed Sarah a pair of Sig Sauer P226 guns and extra clips. He then handed one to Chuck. Chuck looked at it with considerable unease.
"If you think you're going in there without it Bartowski, think again," Casey said in an unyielding manner. Chuck looked over at Sarah, but her expression matched Casey's.
"Chuck, you can't afford to go in there unarmed. Especially without the Intersect."
"You've shot in self-defense before. If you can't kill them, aim for the kneecaps. Immobilized is just as good as dead," Casey responded. "By the way, that was a very nice letter opener. Forrest really liked it."
He pulled out an M-16 assault rifle for himself and slammed the trunk shut. He checked to see everybody had their vests on. "Let's go."
Jimmy slowly made his way down the hall. He was looking for the closet marked 1138. The items he would need to access the Intersect computer were inside, and they could only be opened with the keycard he had. He had to get to the Intersect room fast and destroy the computer. As much as he didn't want Chuck, Sarah, and Casey to come up here, he had to assume they didn't listen to him and were on their way.
He peeked around a corner and was confused. A group of six people was at the far end of the hall. He could not make out what they were saying, but it appeared five of them were not particularly happy with the sixth one.
Are those the Five Elders?
He couldn't confirm it of course, since nobody in the government knew who the Five Elders were. But if this was a setup, if they had planned to do this, then the Five Elders being here would have made sense. To capture the new Intersect computer and the person it was designed for at the same time would be a major victory for The Ring.
Jimmy made it around another corner and saw a series of doors. The first door was marked 1156. They continued down the hall in even numbers. He moved quickly to find 1138. An agent emerged from the door just in front of him. The agent reached for his radio, but Jimmy landed a vertical kick on him to knock him out. He pulled the unconscious body back into the room before anybody could see him. He got to 1138 and waved the keycard over the door lock. It opened, and Jimmy looked for the items he would need. He grabbed the disc to destroy the computer and the keycard to get him into the room. He also took a small card that indicated a map showing the route from the closet to the Intersect room. Down the hall, a group of four agents spotted him and gave chase. Jimmy took off in the other direction.
Jimmy was in a full sprint through the hallways. He kept checking the card to see where he was supposed to go. He managed to lose the people behind him…until they appeared ahead of him around the next corner. He dove to the ground and rolled against the wall as they opened fire at him. He pulled out his gun and fired back. Two of the agents were hit and fell. The other two agents pulled back.
Jimmy crawled along the ground and looked up at the room numbers. He checked the card and discovered he was at the Intersect room. The two agents returned and charged down the hall with automatic weapons blazing. Jimmy pressed himself against the wall and inserted the keycard into the lock while firing away at the enemy agents. One of them was hit as the door slowly slid open. Jimmy quickly dropped back inside and hit the button to close the doors. The agent made it to the door, and both men opened fire. Jimmy drilled two through the man's chest, while he was riddled with bullets from the man's assault rifle. Jimmy collapsed and fell to the ground as the doors shut completely.
Chuck, Sarah, and Casey slipped into the entrance of the building. They moved slowly down the hallway, careful not to make any noise.
"How are we going to find him if nobody knows about this place?" Casey whispered.
Chuck paused momentarily, and his eyes lit up. He got out his mobile phone. "Maybe my dad also sent me…he did. He sent a schematic of the building with the address."
Chuck quickly opened the attachment and scrolled through it. "Straight ahead, and then a right down the next hallway."
The three quickly went down the hallway and turned the corner. At the other end of the hallway, they saw the door to the Intersect room. They moved in that direction.
"Wait." Sarah stopped them before they got to the door. "Didn't you say Jimmy told you the security system can't be hacked? How do we get in without the keycard?"
All three started to look around for an alternative. Chuck looked up at the ceiling. He then quietly chuckled.
"Wow, talk about déjà vu."
"What?" Casey asked.
Chuck pointed to the ceiling. "That's how I got into the Intersect room the last time. Maybe we'll be lucky twice."
Casey braced his foot against the wall and gave Sarah a foothold. She climbed up and pushed in several ceiling tiles. She pulled herself up on a support beam in the ceiling. Chuck then took the same foothold. He pushed himself up to the opening. Sarah grabbed his arm while Casey pushed his feet up.
Casey looked to his left just in time to see six Ring agents running towards them. He let go of Chuck's feet and readied his M-16. Chuck slipped, but Sarah hung on to him long enough for him to pull himself up into the ceiling.
"Go! I'll hold them off!" Casey shouted as he opened fire on the agents. He sprayed the hall with bullets, and all six agents were hit. Another group headed in the same direction, and Casey opened fire on them. They dropped back to the cross-hallway, and Casey chased them down the hallway.
Chuck quickly scrolled through the schematic on his phone to look for the right direction. Sarah and he crawled quickly twenty feet forward and then went another thirty feet down a hallway to their right. They found an air vent directly over the Intersect room. Both of them quickly removed the screws holding the vent in place. Chuck crawled forward to the opening. He fell through and landed ungraciously on the floor with a loud thud.
"Dammit! That's twice now!" He looked up as Sarah dropped through the vent and made a cat-like landing on her feet and hands. Chuck looked at her in disbelief.
"You are really going to have to teach me that someday," Chuck said with more than a little envy. Sarah pulled him up and they looked to their right.
They quickly ran over to Jimmy, who was lying on the ground and not moving. They knelt beside him.
"Jimmy," Sarah whispered as a rush of tears came to her. Chuck was also welling up as he looked at the unmoving form of the man who had changed so much in the two years they knew him. Chuck was having trouble breathing. He looked up at Sarah, who was shaking uncontrollably.
Chuck looked at the ground near Jimmy. He saw the disc needed to destroy the Intersect computer. He reached for it and took it gingerly in his hands. Both of them stood slowly, understanding they couldn't mourn until they completed what Jimmy couldn't. They looked over at the computer sitting on the desk in the middle of the room. Chuck could see the Intersect cube…which appeared larger than he remembered it…embedded in the bottom of the table and attached to the small monitor on top.
Chuck and Sarah walked slowly over to the computer. They stared at it. They looked at the slot where Chuck could insert the disc to destroy the computer. He started to move the disc in that direction. But the handprint reader suddenly caught his attention. It looked similar to the one he saw two years ago, with a cold onyx design and an outline of a hand that would activate the Intersect. He paused and started looking between the two locations. Every last thing that happened to him since the day Bryce sent that email flashed through his mind. He thought about Bryce; he thought about Jill. He thought about his co-workers at the Buy More. He thought about Casey, about Alex, about Jimmy. He thought about Morgan and he thought about his family. He then thought about Sarah. He thought about all of the people who brought him through the last four years to give him a life he never expected but would never trade for anything else. He remembered how Casey said the Intersect project was more important than one person. He remembered how Casey said it was vital to the safety of the country; a country Chuck helped defend since the day he agreed to help the government with the knowledge in his head. But everything he worked for would be gone if he destroyed the computer now.
He looked into Sarah's cerulean eyes. For someone who was so secretive and guarded for so long, Chuck became the person who could understand her the most. There was a connection between the two that neither of them had experienced before with anybody else. They were able to look at each other and understand what the other was feeling. Right now, Sarah was feeling fear. But she was also feeling that sense of duty and honor that made her such a good agent for so long.
She took his hand and gently ran her thumb along the back of it. She nodded slowly. Chuck stared at her for a moment before nodding as well.
He put the disc on the table and moved his hand towards the activation pad. Sarah turned away from the computer and shut her eyes.
"What are you two doing?"
Chuck pulled his hand back as if he touched a hot stove. Sarah opened her eyes, and both of them turned towards the voice.
"If you download that damn thing, I am NOT explaining it to your old man."
Jimmy was still on the ground but had his head tilted up. He looked at them with a bit of annoyance. They ran over to him and gently pulled him up.
"What? What happened? We thought you were dead!"
Jimmy grimaced in pain as he tried to move. "Didn't anybody see Fatal Attraction? You ALWAYS check the pulse! Beckman told me everything about what happened when Bryce Larkin tried to download this after Ellie and Awesome's wedding.
He carefully removed his jacket and started unsnapping the bullet-proof vest he had on underneath it. "I figured I better wear this just in case."
Chuck and Sarah helped him pull the vest off; more than overjoyed Jimmy was still alive.
"Thanks for finding me, even though I told you not to," Jimmy said to them. "I probably should have guessed you weren't going to tolerate me doing something crazy like going into a building controlled by enemy agents."
"Definitely not," Sarah sharply replied.
Chuck grabbed Sarah and held her tightly. "Thank God, Sarah. This means we can be together. No more missions, no more being shot at…"
"I know," she replied as she kissed him hard. "I love you so much. We're going to have a wonderful life together."
The two started kissing and held each other to the point of drawing blood. Jimmy gently cleared his throat, and their heads snapped in his direction.
"Uh, could I, you know…" he tentatively asked and pointed to the Intersect computer. Chuck and Sarah let go of each other and looked down at the ground in embarrassment.
"Sorry, Jimmy. Of course."
Jimmy handed them his guns and keycard. "Keep an eye on things outside, and that keycard will get you back in the room when I'm done."
Chuck and Sarah took the guns and keycard. "Good luck, Jimmy," Chuck replied as he gave Jimmy a hug. Sarah kissed him as they quickly went to the door. They opened the door and carefully looked outside into the hall. It was empty, and they watched the door slide closed behind them.
Jimmy walked over to the computer and studied the controls. He noticed the second pad for his right hand. That wasn't part of it, was it? he thought. He shrugged and got into position. He breathed in and out a few times.
"Time to finish this thing," he said to himself as he placed his hands on the cold metal plates. The computer accepted his identity. Two restraints came around his wrists. Metal leads rose from underneath the surface of the table and slid forward onto Jimmy's fingers. He was unable to move his hands as the lights in the room went out one by one. Jimmy looked fearfully as the last three rows of lights went out. Suddenly the walls were filled with thousands of images that flashed in quick succession. Jimmy was fixated on the images and couldn't turn his eyes away.
Chuck and Sarah stood outside of the Intersect room in anticipation. They looked behind them at the door constantly. Suddenly the lights in the entire facility dimmed on and off. They looked at each other in surprise.
"What is going on?" Chuck asked. Sarah could only put her hands up in confusion.
A group of agents turned the corner at the end of the hall and opened fire at them. Sarah quickly returned fire. The agents ducked out of the way, and Chuck and Sarah took off in the opposite direction. They quickly turned the corner and ran straight into four more agents. Sarah threw a chop at one agent to knock him back and landed a butterfly kick at another one. One of the four agents grabbed Chuck from behind, but he threw himself backwards against the wall. He repeated this move until the man slumped to the ground. Sarah landed a roundhouse at the first agent to put him down again, and then spun in the air to land a kick at the second man. The last agent started to go at her.
Chuck spun around and landed a roundhouse kick on the man to take him out. Sarah stared at Chuck.
"I thought you didn't have the Intersect anymore," she said in amazement.
"I don't." Sarah was even more confused. He shrugged. "I watched you do that enough times in four years."
They continued to run down the hall. They turned another corner. They stopped when two dozen agents aimed their guns at them. Behind the group, two agents kept their guns trained on Casey. They turned to see the agents who were chasing them with their guns out.
The Five Elders walked up to the group with the man they were talking to before. This man appeared to be the person in charge. Casey was pushed forward next to Chuck and Sarah. The man looked at all three of them.
"Colonel Casey, I guess retirement was too boring for you. Agent Walker, Agent Bartowski, congratulations on getting married. I heard it was a lovely ceremony, although you certainly have an aversion to gate crashers."
"Who are you?" Casey asked.
"I'm sure you remember my predecessor. He made the mistake of trusting a rather unstable man to do our work. Hopefully you dealt with him appropriately."
"You're the new Director," Chuck concluded.
"I am, Mr. Bartowski. And I must say it took quite a bit of effort to get to this moment. A few roadblocks were thrown up at us. Agent Forrest took out our facility, and all of you dealt with the man we charged with bringing you to us. But in the end, we were able to capture you anyway, so we should thank you for saving us some money."
"Love to spend it on a nice maximum security facility to hold all of you," Casey fumed.
"Ah, that famous John Casey sense of humor. I'm going to miss it. However, I think it's only fair all of you get to see the results of your hard work before we dispatch with you. Mr. Slade should be just about done by now. Let's have a look, shall we?"
Several of the agents prodded Chuck, Sarah, and Casey forward, and the entire grouped walked back to the Intersect room as the lights stopped dimming.
Jimmy was transfixed on the images as the data was downloaded into his brain. As a result, he missed the slight glow his arms had as electrical impulses coursed through his body. The images shut themselves off, and Jimmy felt his legs give out. He fell to a kneeling position, since he was still bound to the table. The lights in the Intersect room turned on again, and the restraints freed him. He fell the rest of the way to the ground, and he tried to open his eyes. The room was spinning, and he held onto the table for balance. Slowly his head cleared, and he pulled himself up carefully. He saw the disk out of the corner of his eye and reached for it. He immediately placed it into the computer's drive and stepped back. Massive amounts of electricity went through the computer and the Intersect cube. The monitor flashed an overload warning. The monitor exploded into pieces and Jimmy had to cover his face to avoid being hit by shrapnel. He carefully looked at the table, and the Intersect cube was completely shorted out. He felt his legs coming back to him, and he started to walk towards the door.
He felt a numbness come over his spinal cord and move throughout his body. His muscles froze in place, and he screamed in pain as he was overcome by the electrical impulses going to his mind. Every part of his body became paralyzed, and he fell forward to the ground. He stopped breathing.
The Director waved the keycard the agents took from Chuck and Sarah in triumph before inserting it into the lock. The door slid open, and everybody entered the room. The Director saw Jimmy lying on the ground.
"Oh, my. I guess it didn't work out."
Chuck, Sarah, and Casey entered the room and saw Jimmy frozen on the ground.
"NO!" Chuck tried to go to Jimmy, but he was restrained by two agents. They dragged Chuck, Sarah, and Casey to one side of the room. The two dozen agents surrounded them as the Director and the Five Elders looked at Jimmy's body.
"Looks like Agent Forrest did us a favor by destroying our Intersect," the Director said as he motioned for two men to take Jimmy's body out of the room.
"Bastards!" Sarah screamed as she fought against the two agents holding her in place. The Director turned towards the three government agents and stood in front of them.
"That's the one advantage we have, Agent Walker. We can turn any situation to our benefit. Our Intersect wasn't destroyed; it never would have worked. And we may not have your computer, but we do know the man who created it. He was captured once, and he can be put to work again. As long as we keep you and your sister alive, Mr. Bartowski, your father will do whatever we want."
The Director motioned for Chuck to be moved away from Sarah and Casey. The agents behind them cleared away.
"Sorry to end your marriage so soon," the Director said with a smug expression. "You did make a lovely couple." Two agents leveled their guns at Sarah and Casey.
The door slid open hard, and someone stepped into the room. The two agents who removed Jimmy's body lay outside on the ground. Everybody in the room stared in shock.
"Oh, COME ON!" Chuck couldn't believe it. He was absolutely beside himself. "How many times are you going to come back from the dead? Why don't you put on a hockey mask and stalk Jamie Lee Curtis while you're at it!"
Jimmy walked into the room and looked around at everybody. He was very quiet, but his normal walking-on-eggshells expression was completely gone. He looked tranquil and serene, for lack of a better way to describe it.
The Director smiled. "Well, this is a pleasant turn of events. Mr. Slade survived. Things worked out for us after all."
Casey shook his head. "You really think he'll ever work for you?"
The Director turned back to Casey. "I think he'll do whatever it takes to protect his friends, especially if we kill one of them. You always hoped to die in the line of duty, Colonel Casey. I should grant you that wish."
Two of the agents turned their guns at Casey while the remaining agents kept their guns pointed at Jimmy. The Five Elders looked on in approval. Chuck and Sarah looked at each other in a state of panic. Casey stared defiantly as his executioners.
Jimmy swept his hands, and every gun flew out of the hands of the Ring agents, landing along the walls of the Intersect room. Everybody was stunned. The Director was surprised but undeterred.
"Grab them," he ordered.
Jimmy swept his hand to the left. Suddenly Chuck, Sarah, and Casey were pulled through the air. They landed gently at the opposite end of the room from all of the Ring agents. Jimmy stepped forward to the middle of the room. He stood between the agents and Chuck, Sarah, and Casey. The agents stepped back in fear, but the Director wouldn't be dissuaded.
"Surely you don't think you can defeat every man in here?" he sneered.
Jimmy turned slowly to him. "It ends now."
Casey couldn't believe what he was seeing. "And definitely don't call him Shirley," he said quietly.
Several of the agents started to look towards the door, but a sweep of Jimmy's hand closed it. Jimmy launched himself into the air and kicked out two agents as he landed. He took out four more agents with a single spinning kick. He jumped forward and landed punches on two agents in front of him. The other agents had little choice but to attack, since they couldn't escape. Jimmy continued to spin, kick, leap, and punch faster than anyone Chuck, Sarah, or Casey had ever seen. They stared in utter bewilderment as agents continued to go at Jimmy, and those agents continued to be taken out. Jimmy looked like Jackie Chan on speed as he continued to leap through the air to evade a punch or to land a shot at another agent. Chuck could only gawk in amazement as Jimmy did what he did two years ago…increased by a factor of one hundred. Chuck watched him land enough kicks and punches to make him wonder whether they were suddenly in The Matrix.
Jimmy spun in the air one final time to take out the last two agents and landed. The two dozen-plus Ring members lay unconscious around him. The Director and the Five Elders were too petrified to move. Jimmy turned around and had the same stunned look on his face as Chuck, Sarah, and Casey. His breathing eventually slowed to normal, but he continued to stare in wide-eyed astonishment.
"I think it works."
Somehow, Casey was the first to recover. "Really, Professor? Figured that one out all by yourself?"
Chuck's eyes widened. He cautiously glanced at Casey. "Case, he threw us across the room…FROM across the room. Are you really sure you want to insult the man right now?"
Jimmy stared at his hands, still not believing what just happened. He shook at seeing the Ring agents on the ground around him. "Uh, no…no problem, Chuck. I'm too shocked to even register insults right now."
Chuck and Sarah slowly approached him. They were also unable to keep the fright out of their faces.
"Is, uh, is everybody OK?" Jimmy asked timorously.
"We're...we're fine, Jimmy," Sarah replied as she held him to steer him out of the circle of bodies around him. "Are you OK?"
He was still shaking. "Yeah. I…I think so."
There was a loud pounding on the door. Casey started to walk over to it.
"Casey, wait!" Chuck said quickly. "What if The Ring is out there?"
Casey gave him a bizarre look. "Just a wild guess, but I'm thinking Slade could take them." He walked to the door, but he didn't have the card to open it. "Uh, Slade? Could you…"
Jimmy swept his hand, and the door opened. A group of NSA operatives swarmed the room and immediately took the Director and the Five Elders into custody. Jimmy closed his eyes as a massive headache hit him. Chuck and Sarah grabbed him.
"Jimmy, what's wrong?" Sarah tried to pull him back up.
"Sorry, just a really bad headache. I think I overdid the telekinesis."
"What?" Both of them were surprised.
"Well, that's the simplest way to describe it, but the technical aspects of it are a lot harder to explain."
"But how?" Chuck was flabbergasted. "How did you do all of that? Did my father explain it to you?"
"No, it's all up here," Jimmy replied as he pointed to his head. "When you think about it, every movement you make comes down to manipulating molecules the right way, just like every computer language always comes down to a bunch of ones and zeroes. All of us can control our bodies with our brain. But your dad theorized that perhaps the brain could be used to manipulate molecules not directly attached to you. He studied the research from the PEAR laboratories at Princeton and studied the reports the Army commissioned back in the 1980's."
"Wait. I heard about those when I was at Stanford. But I thought they came up with nothing."
"And they didn't. But there was never enough extensive study on the different parts of the brain that were involved in the process. Your dad thought if you could reactivate the synaptic pathways in areas of the 90% of the brain we don't actually use, the brain might be able to do things we never dreamed of before. The Intersect showed me the images and sent electrical impulses through my nervous system. The combination was able to activate more areas of my mind. I don't know the exact percentage, but I'd guess I can use 20-25% of my brain now."
"That is incredible," Sarah replied. "What does it feel like?"
Jimmy paused for a moment. "Kind of like having medicated dandruff shampoo in your hair…all the time." Chuck and Sarah couldn't stop themselves from laughing at the image.
"Yeah, laugh all you want," Jimmy tiredly replied. "You're not the ones who will need a standing prescription for sleeping pills. I'll probably drive poor Alex crazy."
"So now the ability to control molecules extends beyond your body," Chuck concluded. "But why the headache? Is it too much to handle?"
"A little bit, yeah. I can't use it 24/7 or I'll fry myself. The harder I use it, the more painful it gets. I'll have to pick and choose the situations when I can put it to work. Or maybe your dad set that up that way in my head so I don't quit the Agency and try to help the Cubs win the World Series."
Chuck smiled. "Well, it's good to see you're not letting being the most advanced human on the planet go to your head. So to speak."
Jimmy stared at him. "I'm the most advanced human on the planet? That is SO ironic."
"Don't start," Sarah admonished him. "Especially not now."
"Geez, not even once? I've got to be the last person who should have received this."
"Wrong, Jimmy," Sarah replied. "You're the best person for it. If there was one person I could think of who would take this gift and only use it to help others, it would be you."
Jimmy looked around nervously. "Uh, what about…" Jimmy gestured with his head towards Chuck. "…your husband?"
Sarah grinned. "Do you think Morgan would ever win another game of Call of Duty if Chuck had that thing in his head?"
Jimmy smiled. "Good point."
Casey walked up to Chuck, Sarah, and Jimmy. "Everybody is being taken out. You could probably use these," he said as he gave Jimmy a bottle of aspirin.
"Oh, thanks Case, but my headache's starting to go away on its own."
"No, it's for the mountain of paperwork you have to fill out. Officially, you're the only field agent here."
Jimmy looked towards the door at the large group of Ring personnel that needed to be processed.
"I think I'm about to become the poster boy for Tylenol," he said with a highly pained expression on his face.
Woodland Hills, California
September 25, 2011
5:00 PM PDT
The last of the Ring personnel were driven away in a secured van. The Director and the Five Elders were taken to a special NSA holding facility in the desert. Casey expected it to be quite the interrogation. He almost wished he hadn't retired so he could witness it.
"Thanks for coming to get me," Jimmy said to the three.
Chuck hugged him. "Hey, we couldn't abandon you after everything you've done for us. Besides, you still did most of the work in there."
"You know, it still blows my mind. The last two years? I never imagined any of it happening. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get used to it."
Chuck looked over at Sarah. "I know exactly what you mean. I didn't expect things to end up like this. But I guess I got lucky. I ran into some good people."
Jimmy smiled. "There's no question I did. I wouldn't have had this without all of you."
"It's pretty scary, right?"
Jimmy nodded in agreement. "Definitely. But the good kind of scary. Unlike the other kind of scary. Such as picturing Casey trying to teach a bunch of five-year-olds how to play baseball."
Casey growled. "Watch it, Slade."
Jimmy shrugged. "Just getting in my last shots before I go back to work and you go baby-sit a bunch of bitchy starlets and spoiled corporate brats."
A car pulled up to the building. Alex and Ilsa got out of it. Alex had her left arm in a sling but still bore a smile. Jimmy turned to Chuck, Sarah, and Casey. "I think I better go take care of my girlfriend. I'm sure she's expecting a few dozen roses and a couple of home-cooked meals while she recovers."
Jimmy shook Casey's hand. "Colonel, thanks for always having my back. Not the most fun job to have, I'll admit. But nobody is better than you."
"Good luck, Slade. Don't make me come out of retirement and kick your ass around."
"I promise. I'll only ever call you if I need a fourth on the golf course."
Sarah put her arms around Jimmy and hugged him tightly.
"Enjoy your honeymoon, kiddo. I'll make sure I visit when I'm in D.C."
"You better," she whispered in his ear as she held back the tears. "You are such a wonderful person. Thank you for everything you've done for us. You've always kept Chuck and me safe."
"It's my honor, Sarah."
Chuck hugged him last. "You take care, Jimmy. Never forget how good of a person you are."
"I won't. I can't tell you how glad I am to have met you. I owe you everything."
"No more hating yourself. That's all I want from you."
Jimmy nodded. "Will do, boss."
Jimmy slowly made his way to the car. Ilsa gave him a hug and handed him the car keys. Alex came over to him and kissed him.
"Are you OK?" Jimmy asked Alex.
"I'm doing fine. But the doctor said I'll be out of the field for a couple of weeks."
Jimmy smiled. "You think there's any chance Beckman will let me have some time off so I can take care of my new partner?"
Alex was surprised. "Your new partner? Me?"
"If you want to be. We worked well together before. And I'll need someone to keep an eye on me. Someone who won't let me turn into an arrogant jerk."
Alex couldn't believe what she just heard. "How in the hell could you EVER turn into an arrogant jerk?"
Jimmy looked off in the distance momentarily. A huge smile came across his face. He turned to Alex and put his arm around her waist. They started walking towards the car.
"Let me tell you a little story…"
Ilsa walked up to Casey and kissed him. "Are you ready to go home?"
Casey nodded. "I think I've done enough work on my day off already."
He turned to Sarah. "Take care of the nerd for me, will you Walker?"
Sarah smiled. "I'll try my best." She gave Casey a hug. "Thank you for protecting us and being a good friend."
"Glad to do it, Sarah. And thanks for always helping me, especially when this job got difficult."
Casey moved over to Chuck and shook his hand. "Good luck, Bartowski. Make sure you make Walker a happy woman."
Chuck nodded and pulled Casey in for a hug. "I owe you my life. I wouldn't even be here if it weren't for you."
"You may not be here much longer if this hug continues," Casey quietly growled.
Chuck groaned and let him go. "Will you at least visit for the Super Bowl?"
"That I can do," Casey replied. "Enjoy Europe. It always seems to bring you two good luck."
Chuck and Sarah smiled as Casey and Ilsa walked to his car.
"Oh, I got an email earlier today," Ilsa said. "Lohan's people upped the offer to $1.5 million.
Casey quietly shook his head. "Not a chance in hell."
"Oh, come on. We can subcontract to someone else and watch the money roll in."
Casey quietly grunted. "People were so much easier to deal with when I just had to kill them."
Chuck and Sarah looked at each other and took each other's hands. They walked quietly to Sarah's Porsche.
"Is it me, or does it feel like we just got off the wildest roller coaster ride we've ever been on?" Chuck asked.
Sarah smiled and squeezed his hand. "A little bit. But if we didn't get on the roller coaster, we may not have walked off of it together."
Chuck nodded in agreement. He held up their joined hands. "And that made the ride worth every second of it."
Sarah pulled him to her and kissed him affectionately. "So, are you ready to settle down to a normal life, Mr. Carmichael?"
Chuck gently caressed her face and returned the kiss. "Who wants to be normal?"
Sarah wrapped her arms around Chuck and held him firmly. "Definitely not me."
They got in the car and drove back to Malibu.