And we come to the end of this story. I hope everybody enjoyed it, and I want to thank everybody who gave reviews. There are far too many of you to name, so I apologize if I skip that this time. But maybe that means I'm getting better at writing if I have that many reviews per chapter. Naaah. :-)
I do want to give a shout-out to BDaddyDL. I've mentioned him several times already, but I bounced quite a few ideas off of his head, particularly in this last chapter, and he gave me quite a few ideas to work with. So big thanks to him.
Enjoy the last chapter, and please review!
Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego
July 23, 2011
6:45 AM PDT
Sarah slowly opened her eyes in the bed. It was such a shame they were on a mission, as this was such a comfortable bed. She rolled on her side to pull Chuck to her, only her arm felt nothing but bedsheets. She propped herself up on her elbow and looked out at the balcony. Chuck was sitting outside looking at the ocean. She got out of the bed and pulled her robe over herself. She looked at the table to see Chuck thoughtfully brought up some pastries and coffee from the lobby café. She took the coffee Chuck left for her and walked out to the balcony. She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a kiss. He held her arms tightly around him but continued to look out at the ocean.
"Are you OK, sweetie?" Sarah said softly into his ear.
Chuck nodded, although he didn't smile. "I guess I'm just worried about today. There's so many ways this could go, and we don't have all the answers."
Sarah grabbed a chair and sat down behind him, her arms squeezing him even more tightly. "Perhaps, but we've been in tough spots before and we prevailed. And we have a lot of friends to help us this time."
"That's good. Without an Intersect, I'll need all the help I can get."
"Hey," Sarah sharply replied and turned Chuck's face to her. "If I want to hear someone question themselves, I'll call Jimmy. I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for you. What you did to save me when I fell sick from the Norseman…" Sarah drew his face to her and gave him a kiss. "You are a spy, Chuck. And an amazing one at that. And as much as I appreciate everybody being here to help us, the person I need here the most is you. I questioned you as a spy without the Intersect in the past. But I was wrong, and you proved me wrong long before I said it. And I am so sorry I thought that of you."
Chuck gazed into her eyes. Sarah was now the one holding doubt. He held her face in his hands. "I've questioned my abilities almost all of my life. But you always thought I was someone special, that I was destined for something great. You never thought of me as just an asset you had to protect. You were a friend, a confidant. Now I have more than I ever could have hoped. And you gave that to me."
Chuck took her hands. "That's why I always want to be with you. I love you. I always have, and I always will."
Sarah gently put her lips on his, kissing him with an emotion she never experienced before meeting the cute Nerd Herder four years ago. It was as if fate brought her to this moment. She spent most of her life as a guarded, private, angry woman. But the man in her arms changed her forever. The life, the friends, and the family she now had she never thought would have been possible. It was funny how Chuck always said she gave him so much. She thought she was just being herself. What he gave back to her was beyond measure.
"I love you, too," Sarah whispered as she gripped his face tightly and intensified her kiss. "I always will."
Sarah sat on Chuck's lap and continued to kiss him as they looked out at the Pacific Ocean from their balcony.
Horton Grand Hotel, San Diego
July 23, 2011
7:30 AM PDT
"Mmm, thanks," Carina replied as Alex handed her a large coffee from the hotel's café. She paused and looked at it. "Is it…"
"Hazelnut, two Splendas, yes," Alex replied with mild irritation as she sat down next to her. "I've had so many of these things driving into D.C. every morning, I think I have all of the abbreviations they use at Starbuck's memorized."
Carina arched her eyebrows. "Wow, you really need the caffeine today."
Alex took a healthy swig of her coffee, ignoring it was still piping hot. "Damn James, taking the night shift on tracking those phones. He really needs to work on his relationship skills. Doesn't he know women like having something to cuddle with at night?"
"Really? You're going with that, Agent Ice Box? The lady who tried to break up the most nauseatingly cute couple since Ross and Rachel?"
Alex exhaled in frustration. "Fine, I'm a hypocrite. Sue me. I guess it's been so long since I've been in love with someone, I'm getting greedy."
"Hey, I'd be greedy too if I got to shtup that every night. Not a lot of women get to play Urban Cowboy with someone like Jimmy playing the mechanical bull."
Alex glared at her. "God, be more crass, why don't you."
Carina smirked. "I heard Jimmy tried out for the lead in Boogie Nights, but he was overqualified."
"Enough," Alex growled as she shook her head, which was developing quite the migraine.
Carina gave a little laugh. "You really need to appreciate what you have now. You don't realize what a rare find Jimmy is."
Alex nodded. "And the craziest part is, he acts like HE won the lottery when he ran into me. It drives me up a wall when he does that."
"Well, look at it from his angle. He used to be nothing…less than that, in fact. Nobody ever gave him a chance, and he wasn't going anywhere. Suddenly he's a big deal in the Agency, he has friends when he didn't before, and you grabbed him in about five seconds when women used to never gave him the time of day. He was a broken, starving man, and you fed him a big steak. Who wouldn't appreciate someone doing that for them? It's like Florence Nightingale Syndrome…only, you know, with sex instead of medicine."
"But that's what I don't want. I don't want him putting me on some pedestal just because we've slept together."
Carina shook her head. "There's more to both of you than that. Everybody in the Agency knows your reputation. But very few people know why. You might be a hard-ass on the surface, but you're a good person underneath. Jimmy knows that, too. Think about it; you tossed him out of that hotel room in San Diego when you were drunk, and I was ready to violate him twenty different ways that night. I'm telling you, I wanted to rip his clothes off and ride his…"
"The elaboration is not necessary," Alex interrupted with considerable acidity.
"But he still wouldn't do it. He thought of you as so much more than just someone he was screwing."
Carina sat back in silence for a minute. "You were in love once; you know what it's like. It was probably difficult for you to take that big risk again because of what happened with John. But Jimmy was never in love and was never going to be before you came along. I don't know at what point he fell in love with you, but he has. The guy is crazy about you."
Alex gave a slight smile. " 'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?"
"More or less," Carina replied with a smile.
Both of their smartphones beeped. "It's James," Alex said. "He has the information."
"Meet in 45 minutes?" Carina confirmed.
Alex nodded. "I guess it's time to earn our pay."
"Earned is right. Why did Chuck talk me into that damn costume? I feel ridiculous."
"Consider yourself lucky. I've got a bunch of thirteen-year-olds with severe acne problems following my every step."
Carina laughed as they walked towards the elevators. "Point taken. At least I can carry weapons with my getup. So, does Jimmy think you look hot in that Battlestar Galactica outfit?"
"Well, he did promise me a little something if I would wear it for the mission."
Alex arched her eyebrows. "Wouldn't you like to know," she replied with a good imitation of Carina's traditional libidinous stare before turning on her heel and heading upstairs.
"Oh, don't leave me hanging like that," Carina pouted as she chased after Alex. "What did he promise? Does it involve his Conan costume? Did he agree to a threesome? Because I'd totally be the third person for you two!"
Alex went into the elevator, leaving Carina in lustful suspense.
San Diego Convention Center, Main Entrance
July 21, 2011
10:30 AM PDT
Everybody gathered to go over the plan for stopping Decker and keeping Jay and Brodie safe from harm. Morgan, not for the first time since Chuck originally downloaded the Intersect four years ago, was having difficulty balancing himself between being excited and being nervous. Being the lynchpin in the plan may have had something to do with it. To make it worse, he'd have to concentrate on the mission and not a reunion of the cast of one of his favorite shows: Firefly. He quickly discovered how inconvenient espionage could be.
"OK, Grimes," Casey said. "You stick to Roberts and Edwards. Sometime during the show, someone is going to switch merchandise bags with them. When they do, you give us the signal and make sure those two get out safely. Forrest, you back up Grimes. If there's trouble, you can be a diversion while he gets them out. Bartowski and I will pursue the bag man. Walker, you, Miller, and Slade be ready to back up Grimes and Forrest."
"What about Jay's parents?" Chuck asked.
"I called Beckman as soon as I got the news with the number she gave me," Jimmy replied. "I assume Decker doesn't have it tapped. She contacted the Nashville Police through the back channels. They have a plan in place, but they'll wait for our orders, just in case Decker has something up his sleeve. If they don't hear from us within two hours, they'll send a SWAT team in to get his parents."
"What about those watches?" Sarah asked.
"That's our first priority," Casey replied. "We get the detonator. Hopefully, only Hicks is carrying one. Once we secure it, we'll call in the bomb squad from the San Diego Police Department to help. But just to be safe, we get those two as far from the convention center as possible. In a crowd like this, Roberts and Edwards won't be the only ones killed if those things go off."
"Oh, man. This is getting complicated," Morgan replied. "What if Hicks has, like, a whole army there?"
"Just focus on your part, Morgan," Sarah replied. "Make sure you see the drop and let us know who took the data. After that, your only priority is getting Jay and Brodie out of there. You can do it."
"Yeah, yeah sure," Morgan answered, although Sarah's pep talk hardly made a dent.
"Any questions?" Casey asked to end the discussion. "Then let's get moving."
The group headed for Ballroom 20. Morgan and Alex waited in line for the panel to begin, Alex having put on a non-descript jacket and hat so nobody would mistake her for Tricia Helfer from a distance. Everybody else spread out through the area to not draw attention to themselves.
"What show is in there now?" Sarah asked as she walked with Chuck past the ballroom.
"Oh, I think it's that TV show where this dorky guy who works in a Radio Shack or something becomes some sort of superweapon and has this really beautiful woman from the government there to work with him. I can't remember exactly."
Sarah shrugged. "It doesn't sound like a very good show."
"Yeah, I know. Who would be dumb enough to watch some show about a geek and some hot girl crazy enough to fall in love with him? Like that would ever happen."
Sarah threw her hands up in surrender. "You got me."
Chuck suddenly stopped. "Uh-oh."
Sarah looked in the same direction and had the same reaction when she saw Ellie and Devon walking down the hallway.
"Chuck, I've been trying to call you since we woke up," Ellie said with a slightly accusatory tone.
Sarah looked quickly around and gently prodded Chuck, Ellie, and Devon to an alcove away from everybody.
"Remember I told you we were on a mission, Ellie?" Chuck asked, to which Ellie nodded. "Well, it's going down right now."
"Oh," Ellie replied, regretting her tone a moment ago. "Sorry, Chuck. I didn't realize it."
"Anything we can do to help?" Devon asked.
Sarah shook her head. "We have the place well-covered. If you want, you can walk through the hallways and keep your eyes open. If you see anything suspicious, call one of us. But don't come charging in. We don't want you trying to do anything heroic."
Ellie looked at Devon in his Superman costume and then glanced at her own Wonder Woman attire. "That is a very ironic thing to tell us, Sarah," Ellie said with a smile.
Chuck laughed. "You get the idea, though. But thanks for offering to help."
"Hey, like we said, we got your back, bro," Devon replied as he pulled up to his full height and stuck out his chest. "Truth, justice, and the American way?"
Chuck shook his head. "I am never living this down."
Ellie and Devon headed down the hallway. Chuck turned to Sarah. "Ready?"
Sarah nodded and took off her coat to reveal her Princess Leia outfit. She handed her coat to Chuck and smiled. "Still, Chuck?"
Chuck shook off his deer-in-the-headlights expression at seeing Sarah in her costume. "Sorry, I'm just…I will never be able to stop looking at you like that. You are beautiful beyond words."
She gave him a kiss on his cheek. "If you think this is sexy, wait 'til you see what I wear for you tonight," she whispered hotly into his ear, ending it by sucking his earlobe into her mouth.
She sauntered down the hallway. Chuck needed a moment to collect himself.
"Discipline, 007. Discipline," Chuck muttered to himself while imitating Sean Connery.
Jimmy Slade kept an eye open through the halls as Morgan and Alex filed into Ballroom 20. He looked to his right to see someone sitting on the floor across from the entrance to the ballroom. He noticed a ticket in the young man's hand for the Firefly panel, but he was making no effort whatsoever to go in.
"Hey, everything OK?" Jimmy asked him. "You let that ticket go to waste, and you'll have a lot of your sci-fi brethren pissed at you for wasting such a hot commodity.
The young man looked up slowly. "I asked this…this girl out on a date…and she rejected me."
"Oh, that sucks. Sorry, man," Jimmy replied. Jimmy started heading down the hall.
"I mean, what does she want?" the young man called out, prompting Jimmy to turn back to him. "How can I be a loser for liking sci-fi? You see guys obsessed with sports, and she's OK with that. I know guys who spend all day talking about Jersey Shore, but they still get some. What's wrong with me?"
Jimmy stood there in silence. The man glared at him. "Don't you have an answer?"
Jimmy got a bit flustered. "Well…well, I don't like to tell people how to run…"
"How do you do it? How do you get girls to go for you? You must be fighting them off if you look like that, right?"
"OK. Uh, well…let's start with how you look. Is that how you normally dress?" Jimmy asked him.
"What's wrong with it?"
"You're in a t-shirt and torn pants, and you're wearing sandals. I mean, that's fine if you're just bumming around on the weekends, but you don't go out to clubs or restaurants like that, do you?"
The man looked down. Jimmy felt pains of sympathy for him. "What's your name?"
"Larry, let me show you something."
Jimmy took out his mobile phone. He scrolled to a picture and showed it to Larry.
"No way!" Larry exclaimed. "That's you?"
"Two years ago," Jimmy replied. "I weighed about 400 pounds. But I exercised, I dieted, and I took better care of myself. Most importantly, I worked to keep a positive outlook on life. Someone helped me once, and this is the best way to thank them for what they did for me."
"What are you talking about?" someone in the hallway dressed in a similar manner to Larry asked.
"Dude, this guy was, like, a huge fat-ass two years ago!" Larry's melancholy did a complete 180. "But now he's totally ripped!"
"Whoah, ixnay on the at-ass-fay," Jimmy replied in irritation. "Losing the weight was only half the battle."
"What do you mean?" the second man asked as a couple of more people gathered around.
"Well, the important thing is to make yourself a complete individual. Be well-read, well-groomed, and very respectful, especially of women."
"You're saying wear suits all the time like that guy on How I Met Your Mother?" Larry asked.
"Not necessarily. Just don't look like you rolled out of bed and threw on the first thing you saw. It's like the ZZ Top song says, every girl's crazy about a sharp-dressed man."
Larry was confused. "Who's ZZ Top?"
Jimmy groaned and developed a serious case of facepalm.
"Anything yet, Grimes? Have you flashed at all?"
Alex sat several rows behind and across from Morgan, Jay, and Brodie. She had a clear view of the aisle and the merchandise bag that contained the data.
"Nothing," Morgan whispered.
"OK, keep them peeled. Got it?" Alex got no reply. "Grimes? Grimes, more attention on the audience, less on Summer Glau."
Morgan shook his head clear. "Sorry, sorry."
Morgan went back to scanning the audience. He looked to the back of the crowd to see someone fidgeting in their chair. He stood and slowly walked up the aisle in a crouch to not be in anybody's way.
"We may have a winner, Alex. He's coming up the left side."
Alex spotted the man cross through the middle of the crowd. "OK, I have him spotted."
Sarah made another pass down the hallway near Ballroom 20. She checked in with Carina a few moments ago for an update, but Carina had come up empty as well. She turned down the hallway with a bit of frustration. Casey was right: patience in a situation like this was not one of her best talents. She was itching to catch Decker in the act and get Jay and Brodie out of harm's way. She thought about the look on Chuck's face when she told him she had an even sexier outfit she planned to wear later tonight. She didn't plan it before arriving in San Diego, but she remembered what Chuck told her about working every day to keep the relationship strong. Even though Chuck would always tell her how beautiful and amazing she was, there was still a small part of her that wanted to do whatever she could to keep him happy. She always listened to him, she worked on being more open with him, and she even managed to learn who some of the X-Men were. It was a work in progress, but she kept at it. Even though she knew they wouldn't end up like her parents, she didn't want to chance it by taking Chuck for granted.
She quietly mused about how lucky she was in life, letting her guard down for a couple of seconds. Unfortunately, they were the wrong few seconds. Someone hit her from behind, and she staggered forward, her earpiece falling out in the process. Before she could get her bearings, two sets of hands grabbed her and threw her into an unoccupied office.
"You're dead, bitch."
"Thank you again."
Ellie gave the young man a smile as he handed her $50 for taking a picture with him. She put the money in her small purse and waited patiently for Devon to finish taking a picture with two women in Aeon Flux outfits.
"OK, even I know Superman never met anybody like that in his life," Ellie said with mild annoyance.
"Babe, big picture. We are raking in the bucks here. Think of it like all those fundraising dinners we have to attend for the hospital. Only…it's like a costume ball. During the day. And it's a bit too early to drink."
Ellie smiled. "Well, at least I have my gorgeous husband with me. And I have to admit, he does look good as the Man of Steel."
"Very sweet of you, my love," Devon said as he gave Ellie a little kiss. "And you are totally stunning as an Amazon."
Ellie wiggled her eyebrows. "Mmm, I might have to see if this lasso really does make you tell the truth later on."
Devon laughed as they extracted themselves from the crowd and continued walking around the convention. He frowned at what he saw up ahead.
"Someone should move that partition out of the way," he said as they approached it. "People can walk right into this thing."
He grabbed the end of the mobile partition and started to move it. He then saw something was behind the curtain. He frowned and pulled the partition away.
"Whoah, totally not awesome!"
He ran behind the partition with Ellie right on his heels. A half-dozen large men were lying on the floor and not moving.
"What is going on?" Ellie said as the worry began to build in her. Both of them checked the men for their pulses.
"Unconscious," Devon said quickly as he turned one of them over. "They're a bit warm, and their skin is a little tingly."
"They were tasered," Ellie concluded.
Devon quickly looked around. "You're right. These look like security personnel, but none of them have their ID badges."
"Which means somebody is posing as security right now."
Devon pulled out his mobile phone. "We better call Chuck." He tried dialing Chuck's number. "Straight to voicemail."
Ellie tried a few numbers. "Sarah's does, too. And Morgan's phone keeps ringing with no answer."
"Casey isn't picking up, either. We better find them, and fast."
"Let's go," Ellie commanded. They ran down the hall and started looking around for someone they'd recognize.
Morgan and Alex cautiously observed the man make his way quietly through the aisles. He turned the corner and headed up the middle aisle. He pulled a merchandise bag out from behind his back. It perfectly matched the one on the floor next to Jay. Morgan and Alex tensed as the man 'accidentally' dropped the merchandise bag next to Jay's chair. Morgan watched carefully as the man picked up Jay's bag and sneaked down the aisle, making a turn and going through the seats towards the exits.
"Bartowski, Casey, they made the drop," Alex reported. Man in his mid-30s, 6'1", black, curly hair, wearing a white Oxford shirt and a suede vest over it."
Morgan observed several men walk into the ballroom, all of whom were wearing security personnel attire. He started flashing on each of them.
"Casey, Hicks is here. He must be ready to take them out," Alex said as she got up.
"Uh, and that's not all," Morgan added in a panic. "I just flashed on a bunch of security guards. All ex-NSA assassins!"
"Grimes, Forrest, get Roberts and Edwards out of there. Everybody else, move in now!" Casey replied.
Bartowski ran to the entrance to the ballroom as Casey approached the doors. Suddenly, the doors burst open, and the man who stole the data ran down the hallway.
"Go get him, Bartowski," Casey ordered as he charged into the ballroom. Chuck took off after the man.
Jimmy was getting nervous, as they were in the middle of a mission, but the crowd in front of him wouldn't stop asking questions about how he lost the weight and changed his looks. He kept taking furtive glances towards the hallway that would lead him back to Ballroom 20.
"Look, it takes time and effort, but you can do it. I worked hard to take the weight off, but now I have to work to keep it off. Everything in moderation, that's the key," Jimmy said as he felt like he was suddenly turning into Tony Robbins.
"Everything?" someone asked from the crowd.
"Everything. Show of hands, how many of you play videogames more than five hours a week?" Everybody raised their hands. "Ten? Twenty?" Most of the hands remained up. "Oh, boy. OK, that's a huge amount of your week right there. If you take away sleep time, that's almost a fifth of it. You have to cut it down. Same thing with being online."
"But…we chat with people online," someone meekly responded.
Jimmy exhaled and scrolled to another picture. "Well, I chat with these people quite a bit. And I do it face-to-face." Jimmy showed the picture, and the crowd gasped.
"Oh, my God! You know Hot Leia?"
"Absolutely. We've been friends for a few years now."
"Have you seen her naked?" someone shouted.
"No," Jimmy angrily replied. "Get your minds out of the gutter. We work at the same company where they hire us to do conventions and parties like this dressed like movie or TV characters. That's her husband standing next to her. He owns a consulting company, and they're two of the nicest people in the world." Jimmy paused and smiled to himself. "In fact, if it wasn't for them encouraging me, I wouldn't look like this now."
Jimmy smugly scrolled to another picture and showed the crowd. "THAT is my girlfriend."
The crowd let out an even bigger gasp than before. "You're sleeping with Tricia Helfer!"
Jimmy growled loudly enough to startle everyone. "That is NOT Tricia Helfer! I would think all of you know Tricia's been happily married since 2003! This is Alex, and she's wonderful, and we're totally in love."
"Man, what a lucky bastard," someone grumbled.
Jimmy exhaled. "OK, maybe I got lucky on some counts. But my friends and my girlfriend would say the same thing. I went out there and earned it. I worked hard, I kept trying to have confidence in myself, and things started falling my way. That's all it takes, guys. It's that simple."
"Grimes, Forrest, get Roberts and Edwards out of there. Everybody else, move in, now!" Jimmy heard Casey's voice over his earpiece, and his eyes widened.
"Guys, I have to get going. OK, just…have faith in yourself, work hard at it, and don't be afraid to get out there and explore the world. Life's not meant to be lived with a keyboard and a mouse."
Jimmy ran down the hallway towards Ballroom 20.
Sarah straightened up and got her bearings. She couldn't believe what she saw in front of her.
There were a half-dozen women with nasty looks plastered on their faces. All of them were wearing Princess Leia slave costumes.
"What are you doing?" Sarah demanded.
"You cost us a lot of money this weekend," one of them snarled. "All of these losers kept saying 'Where's the hot Leia? Where's the hot Leia?' This is our gravy train for the year! You think we get this much action in New York? Or Vegas? Or Chicago?"
"Look, I didn't mean for that to happen," Sarah replied in an attempt to remain calm. "You can have the money if you want it. I wasn't even here to make money this weekend. My boyfriend likes to see me in this."
One of the Leia's took out a knife. "Oh, we'll be taking that money. But first let's see if your boyfriend likes to see you all cut up."
Sarah's eyes narrowed. "You really don't want to do that. Put that away before this gets out of control."
The Leia with the knife stuck her weapon under Sarah's chin as the other five moved in. "Oh, it already has."
Sarah growled and grabbed the woman's wrist, twisting it as she landed a knee to the woman's midsection. She staggered back, but Sarah pulled the woman towards her and landed a hook right on her chin. She dropped the knife as the other Leia's attacked. Sarah elbowed one back and landed a kick to the face of another. She threw a jab at a third one. However, the largest of the Leia's landed a shot to the back of Sarah's head from behind. She staggered forward but managed to right herself and sent a roundhouse kick at that woman. Another Leia grabbed an LCD monitor off of a desk and smashed Sarah in the face. Sarah was temporarily dazed, giving two of the Leia's enough time to pin her arms back.
The Leia who brandished the knife got in her face. "Now we're really going to mess you up."
The door to the office burst open. Carina stepped in brandishing one of her shotguns.
"Party's over, ladies."
The Leia with the knife scoffed. "That thing is just a prop."
Carina cocked it. "Care to roll the dice, bitch?"
The Leia with the knife thought about it for a moment before lowering her weapon.
"Come on, Sarah. They need us," Carina said in a solemn voice as she held up Sarah's missing earpiece. Sarah joined Carina at the door.
"This isn't over," the Leia with the knife growled.
Sarah pulled the two knives out of Carina's belt, spun around, and threw them at Leia. The knives pinned Leia's long pigtails to the wall.
"Yes it is," Sarah quietly replied as she exited. Carina turned back to the other Leia's.
"By the way, Sarah Connor would totally wipe the floor with all of you."
She smiled as she departed, leaving all of the Leia's in shock.
Morgan and Alex watched as the security guards made their way towards Jay and Brodie.
"Jay, Jay," Morgan whispered as he tapped Jay on the shoulder. "Remember me?"
Jay turned and his eyes widened. "You're that Hobbit guy we saw yesterday. What are you doing here?" he whispered.
"You just made the drop, right? Well, they're coming to get you."
Brodie looked around. "The security people?"
"Dude, they're not security. Trust me, it's time to go."
Jay and Brodie quietly stood up as Casey slipped into the back of the room and moved in their direction. Morgan and Alex followed Jay and Brodie as they made their way to the exit.
Hicks was there to block their path.
"I'm afraid you're not going anywhere, gentlemen," Hicks said with an evil look as he waved the remote detonator to the explosives.
Casey dove at Hicks and knocked him down. Jay and Brodie ran in the other direction as Casey landed a punch on Hicks. Casey landed two more shots, but Hicks was unfazed. He looked up at the man who knocked him down.
"John Casey, I never would have guessed," Hicks said. "I guess I'll have to take some of these losers out, too. Not like they had lives anyway."
Hicks thrust his palm up, striking Casey in the nose and knocking Casey off of him. He got up and scrambled for the remote. Casey tackled him from behind again, and the remote skittered across the floor.
"Get them out of here!" Casey yelled to Morgan and Alex.
Morgan froze momentarily before he grabbed Jay and Brodie and shoved them towards the rear exit. Alex ran with them as the remaining security guards closed in. The guards tried to flank them and stop them from reaching the back exit as the entire crowd watched.
The rear doors of the ballroom opened to reveal Jimmy with his sword drawn.
"Go ahead, make my day," Jimmy said in a threatening voice as the guards closed in on them.
One of the guards looked at him in disbelief. "Wrong badass, moron," he growled as he tried to throw a punch at Jimmy. Jimmy blocked it with his sword, and the main cried out in pain as he discovered the hard way Jimmy's sword was real. Jimmy knocked him out with a brutal hook.
"Get them out, Alex," Jimmy ordered as he swung his sword around to keep the remaining guards at bay. Alex corralled Jay and Brodie and led them out of the ballroom.
Chuck sprinted down the hallway of the convention center as he tried to close the gap with the man who took the data. He glanced at an overhead sign. The man was attempting to escape through the vendor area. He banked the corner and crashed into a couple of convention-goers.
"Sorry! Sorry," he said quickly as he untangled himself from them and took off again. He ran by Devon and Ellie, who did a double-take before chasing Chuck down the hall.
"Chuck! There were some guards unconscious in the hallway!" Ellie shouted. "I think something bad is about to happen!"
"Already has!" Chuck shouted over his shoulder as he entered the vendor area. He frantically looked around for the man.
Devon and Ellie caught up to him. "Chuck, what is going on?" Ellie yelled from the adrenaline.
"I'm looking for someone, 6'1", black curly hair, wearing a white shirt with a suede vest," Chuck breathlessly replied.
"Here, we'll spread out," Devon suggested.
Chuck normally would have argued with Devon and Ellie about getting involved, but there wasn't time. "OK, go."
Chuck, Ellie, and Devon fanned out to find the man with the data.
Casey got on top of Hicks and landed punch after punch to his head. Hicks kicked his foot off and connected with the back of Casey's head. Casey fell off of him again. Hicks got up and ran for the remote. Casey tacked him against the table set up on the dais, making the cast of Firefly scatter.
"Slade, go find Forrest!"
Jimmy stood at the back attempting to fend off a half-dozen security guards from pursuing Jay and Brodie. "I'm a little busy right now!"
"GO! You know the most about those watches. If anybody can defuse them, it's you."
"Go, Jimmy," Morgan prodded. "I'll handle this."
Jimmy gave him a bizarre look. "YOU'LL handle this?" Suddenly it clicked in. 'Oh, right."
He put his sword back in his scabbard and patted Morgan on his shoulder. "Don't worry. I'll be back."
Jimmy's face then contorted in disgust. "Oh, I did NOT just say that!"
Casey tried to grab the remote from Hicks' hand. Hicks kicked him back, and Casey attempted to attack him again.
He was tackled to the ground by Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin.
"What are you doing?" Casey shouted. I work for the goddamn NSA!"
"Yeah, right pal," Fillion retorted as Baldwin and he held Casey down. "Someone call security!"
Casey struggled against them. "Let me up!"
Hicks dusted himself off and stood over Casey with the remote. "Sorry, Casey. Like always, you're a day late and a dollar short."
A kick landed across Hicks' face, and he fell off the dais. Sarah leaped down from the table and grabbed the remote.
"It's Hot Leia!" someone shouted from the audience, which drew a roar from the crowd. Hicks tried to get up with a growl. Carina cocked her shotgun and aimed it at his face.
"Bhijoi, asshole," Carina sneered.
Sarah turned to Casey. "Let him go!" she ordered Fillion and Baldwin. They were too shocked to disobey. They backed away from Casey, who pulled out his ID.
"NSA," Casey growled, still a bit upset from Fillion and Baldwin stopping him. "For your own safety, all of you should go."
The Firefly cast started filing towards the door.
"Hey, I'm really sorry about that," Adam Baldwin said humbly. "We thought you were some nutjob."
Casey gave a dismissive wave. "Eh, you didn't know. But hey, love your work with the NRA. You should run for Chairman. You'd be a shot in the arm for their lobbyists in D.C. They could use it."
Baldwin smiled. "Yeah, tell me about it. I really miss the Reagan years."
Casey nodded. "You and me both."
Jimmy sprinted down the hallways of the convention center looking for Alex, Jay, and Brodie.
Alex, Jay, and Brodie were about to go out an emergency exit facing the ocean.
"Did Casey get the remote?" Alex asked in a rush.
"He's trying to. But it can't be all bad."
"What makes you say that?"
Jimmy pointed to Jay and Brodie. "They're still alive, right?"
"Whoah!" Jay shouted. "They're trying to kill us right now?"
"We have to get you out of here. Those things go off in here, you might take a bunch of people with you."
Alex pushed them through the emergency exit. "How do you get these things off?"
"I have no clue! I couldn't find anything online! It's not like I'm MacGyver or Michael Westen! I can't come up with something…"
Jimmy froze in his tracks. "Son of a bitch. Why didn't I think of that?"
"WHAT?" Alex demanded.
"Get them as close to the water as you can and away from the boats. I need to get a couple of items."
Jimmy ran back into the convention center. Alex led Jay and Brodie outside. They ran down to an opening in the fence and ran down a pier to the water. All three of them stood nervously and waited for Jimmy to return. Two minutes later, Jimmy sprinted down the pier to them.
"I thought you said there was no way to defuse these," Alex said.
"There isn't. But maybe I can delay them enough to get the watches away from all of us. Jay, Brodie, hold the watches towards me."
Jay and Brodie put their arms out towards Jimmy, who grabbed them and turned them so their arms were pointed towards the ocean. Jimmy wrapped their arms and hands with the towels he brought to the pier with him. He covered every part of their arms except for the watches.
Alex picked up the can Jimmy put on the ground. "Compressed air?"
"If you hold it upright," Jimmy replied as he took the can and inserted the directional straw. "But turn it upside-down, and you can freeze whatever you want."
Alex caught on. "Giving you a couple of seconds to break the watches off and throw them in the water."
"Exactly," Jimmy replied as he started spraying the watches. Jay and Brodie winced from the coolant getting on their wrists. "Sorry about that."
"Wait, this is like what they did in Lethal Weapon 2 when they froze the bomb on Murtaugh's toilet," Brodie said nervously.
Jimmy paused. "Oh, that's where I got this from." He finished spraying the watches. "Alex, get behind them." Alex got behind Jay and Brodie as Jimmy took the towels off their arms and readied himself to grab the watches. "OK, I'm going to break these off and toss them in the water. When I do, pull them down to the deck. Everybody ready?"
Alex got a hold of Jay and Brodie. All three of them nodded.
"OK, on three," Jimmy said. "One…two…"
"Wait," Alex said. "Do we go on three, or…"
"Never mind!" Jimmy wrenched the watches off of Jay and Brodie. Alex fell to the ground with Jay and Brodie in her arms as Jimmy whirled and threw the watches towards the water like a discus throw. He dropped to the ground as the watches exploded.
Jimmy slowly sat up and looked at Alex, Jay, and Brodie, who were also trying to sit up. The four looked at each other.
"I'm too old for this shit," they said at the same time.
Morgan watched Jimmy depart and turned to see the guards closing in on him.
"Come on, do the flashy thing," he said to himself. "Do the flashy thing."
The first guard was about to throw a punch. Suddenly, Morgan's Intersect activated, flooding his mind with various instructions.
His eyes snapped open, and he smiled. "Everybody's kung-fu fighting."
Morgan thrust a palm strike at the guard closet to him, sending him to the ground. He spun and landed a roundhouse kick on a second guard. Two other guards grabbed his arms. He pushed off of them to land kicks to the two guards in front of him. He then snapped his head back to knock one guard off of him while he kicked at the other. He sent that one down with a hard jab before leaping through the air and doing a perfect backflip over the guard behind him. That guard turned to face him but only got a boot to the face as a result. The guard he knocked down tried to come at him, but Morgan kicked a chair in front of him up into the man's face. The final guard rushed him. Morgan spun in the air and executed a flying roundhouse kick to take the guard out.
Sarah, Casey, and Carina slowly approached Morgan, shocked by what they saw from him.
Morgan turned to them. "How was that?"
Casey did a slow exhale. "OK. You have permission to marry my daughter."
Chuck, Ellie, and Devon covered every square inch of the vendors' area at the convention but still couldn't find the man who stole the data.
Ellie approached Chuck with her hands raised. "I can't find him."
Chuck turned in the other direction to see Devon approach him. "Did you see him?"
"Sorry, bro," Devon quietly replied. "I lost him."
Chuck exhaled in frustration and scanned the booths again. The man who stole the data peeked out from behind a video game display. He sprinted for the exit.
Chuck turned and spotted him. "There he is!" His head darted back and forth momentarily. Suddenly, Chuck pulled Devon's cape off and ran with it. He jumped onto the tables and crossed the room by leaping from table to table. He spread the cape out and dove for the man. He tackled the man, covering him with the cape as he landed on him. The man tried to get up, despite being blinded by the cape over his head. He took two steps forward and fell over a table back to the ground. Chuck jumped on top of him as Ellie and Devon arrived. He pinned the blinded man's hands behind his back.
"Ellie," Chuck motioned with his head towards Ellie's magic lasso.
"Huh? Oh, right," Ellie replied as she took the lasso off her belt and bound the man's hands with them. A dozen San Diego Police officers converged on their location. Chuck pulled the man up and handed him off to the police, who put handcuffs on him. Chuck retrieved the merchandise bag and verified the data was still in it.
"Your partners already told us you were pursuing this guy," the officer said as he gestured to the man in handcuffs. "This should make for good headlines tomorrow. Superman and Wonder Woman help capture a terrorist."
"It's funny, actually, because my nickname is Captain Awesome," Devon replied.
The officer looked at him with complete scorn. "Get a life, you nerd."
Toscana Café, San Diego
July 23, 2011
7:30 PM PDT
Everybody gathered at a table in the back of the café. Unlike yesterday, this was to celebrate a successful mission. Hicks and his men were taken into custody. Unfortunately, none of it could be traced back to Decker, and Hicks refused to roll over on him.
"Did you talk to your parents?" Chuck asked Jay.
"They're fine. They actually know the Chief of Police in Nashville. They go to the same church. He came over and took them out to lunch, and the Nashville Bomb Squad moved in while they were away. They still don't know they were in any danger."
"I'm sure you're glad to be heading back home," Sarah said.
Brodie nodded and held up a airline boarding pass. "Thanks for the flight back. After everything that's happened, I don't think I could handle driving. But how will I get my car back?"
"The NSA will take care of it," Casey replied. "You'll have it back in a few days."
"I tell you, that's the last time I ever do anything remotely questionable," Jay said. "I don't know what I was thinking."
"Hey, you were just pissed off about your job. Besides, it's not like you got anything important," Jimmy replied. "But here, this might help." He handed Jay a business card. "There's a computer company just outside of Knoxville that has a lot of government contracts. That's their personnel director. Give him a call and send him your resume." Jimmy looked at Jay's attire. "And wear a suit to the interview, huh?"
Jay nodded. "You got it. Thank you, everybody. You guys were amazing."
Jay and Brodie made their way to the taxi stand to get a ride to the airport. Everybody settled back in their chairs as they finished the last of the wine.
"Oh, sweet!" Morgan exclaimed.
"What?" Casey asked.
He turned the tablet computer to face everybody. "I'm on YouTube!"
Everybody looked at the video someone at Comic Con recorded of Morgan taking out the half-dozen guards.
"Now I really hate technology," Casey muttered. "Bearded troll's going to be talking about this for weeks.
Jimmy took a closer look. "Aaah, hell."
"Oh, it gets worse, Case." Jimmy pointed to the title of the video. Casey read it.
"The Ninja Hobbit?" Casey looked like someone who would have welcomed an embolism right then and there. "Goddamn Internet," he growled.
"And on that note," Sarah said as she got up. "I'm heading back to the hotel."
Chuck got up, too. "Thanks, everybody. We couldn't have done this without all of you." Chuck put his arm around Sarah, took his drink, and raised it. "To the best partners and best friends a couple could have."
"Hear, hear," Sarah added as she kissed Chuck and raised her glass. Everybody smiled and clinked glasses with them. They finished their drinks and headed for the door.
"So…" Carina said conspiratorially to Alex as she walked up behind her. "What are you two going to do for the rest of the night?"
Alex turned to her with an innocent air. "We're going to have a nice, pleasant evening."
Carina huffed in frustration. "Oh, cut the shit, Forrest. You gotta tell me! What did Jimmy promise to do? I want to know!"
"Sorry," Alex said. "That's between us."
"Ooh, I know. You're going to tie him up, right? Do a little Basic Instinct on him? You know, only you'll skip the ice pick?"
"Give it up, Carina. I'm not telling you."
"Come on, am I close? Are you going to tie him up?"
Alex grinned. "Mmmm, well…"
Horton Grand Hotel, San Diego
July 23, 2011
9:00 PM PDT
"No backing out, James. Remember, you promised."
"I know, I know. It's just that these are kind of small."
"They're your size. How could they be small?"
Jimmy poked his head out of the bathroom. "Take one wild guess."
Alex licked her lips. "You might think that's a problem. Me? Not so much. Now get out here."
Jimmy emerged from the bedroom wearing the very tight leather briefs Alex brought. Her eyes lit up as he approached her in the bed with the whip.
"Are you sure about this?" Jimmy asked hesitantly.
"Hey, you already tied me up, and if you'll forgive the arrogance, this leather bustier should be turning you on."
"Oh, it is. Believe me."
Alex grinned. "OK, you're the dominant one here. All I can do is lie here all tied up. Get cracking."
Jimmy readied himself with the whip. He then paused and looked at it. "I'm gonna…whip it the other way for now, just in case. Is that…"
"Fine!" Alex shouted. "Just get started!"
Jimmy gave her a playful growl and cracked the whip. The whip hit the lamp at the opposite end of the room and shattered it. He turned back to Alex in wide-eyed shock.
Alex exhaled in frustration and shook her head. "OK, just use the rider's crop."
Jimmy shrugged and climbed into the bed. He grabbed the rider's crop and smacked Alex in the ass with it. She moaned in approval.
"I like it," Alex said.
Jimmy smiled. "If you're nice, I'll try for the triple crown tonight."
He kissed her and ran his hands over her tight form. He then shrugged and smiled. "I'll think of something."
Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego
July 23, 2011
10:39 PM PDT
Chuck checked the clock for the tenth time in the last five minutes. Sarah had been in the bathroom for almost an hour.
"Sarah, what are you doing in there?"
"I told you, it's a surprise."
"Baby, you don't have to do anything, OK? Just come to bed."
"I just wanted to do something special for you."
"Uh, you married me two months ago. It doesn't get more special than that."
"Weren't you the one who said you work every single day to prove you love me?"
"Yes. I said that."
"So, what's wrong with me doing the same thing?"
"Because…your mere presence in my life is wonderful already?"
She opened the bathroom door, but Chuck still couldn't see her. "Nice try, sweetie."
She aimed a remote control at her iPod, and the music began to play. Sarah slowly slinked out of the bathroom and started walking towards Chuck, who was on the brink of hyperventilation.
Sarah raised a playful eyebrow as she slowly gyrated her hips in front of her husband, enjoying his eyes looking up and down her body.
"How did you know about this costume?" Chuck could barely talk at seeing Sarah covered from head to toe in green paint and wearing little else.
"Oh, you know," Sarah demurred as she ran her hands over Chuck's face and danced seductively mere inches from him. "I was home one day and decided to rummage through your DVD's. I saw your old Star Trek discs and put one in. I guess it was the pilot episode? The one before William Shatner came on as Captain Kirk?"
Chuck was flabbergasted. "You saw the Orion slave girl?"
Sarah smiled as she ran the tip of her tongue across Chuck's lips. "I thought…you might like it."
"I MIGHT like it? Yeah, like a little kid MIGHT like a visit from Santa Claus!"
Sarah grinned and started unbuttoning Chuck's shirt. "I have to admit, I didn't get the dance completely down correctly. I think what I'm doing is more like a lap dance at a strip club."
"Like I really mind," Chuck said as he tried to breathe normally, but to no avail.
"There is one difference," Sarah purred into his ear as she undid his belt. "My policy is look…AND touch."
"That's…that's a good policy," Chuck stammered as he reached behind Sarah to unhook her top.
Sarah ripped Chuck's shirt off, pressed into him, and kissed him hard. They were swept up momentarily by an incredibly passionate kiss, their tongues teasing each other inside their joined mouths. Sarah reluctantly broke the kiss and looked at Chuck.
"Oopsie," she said. Chuck was confused until he looked down.
He had green paint over every part of him Sarah touched.
They stared at each other for a few seconds before breaking up in laughter. "I guess the paint needed to dry just a bit longer," Chuck said with a grin.
"That probably would have helped," Sarah replied trying to contain herself.
"Are we going to have trouble getting this off of us?"
"Oh, no. It's a water-based paint. I can go in the shower and wash it off of me." Sarah took a few steps towards the bathroom and turned seductively. "Or you can."
Chuck raised an eyebrow. "Is that an order, Captain?"
"Absolutely. And then we can clean you off. And afterwards…"
She reached for his hand and led him to the bathroom. Chuck couldn't help but grin.
"Make it so, Mr. Bartowski."