A/N: So, you're probably wondering …JT…WTF…why aren't you writing some more Swimmer, or TRFW or(shudder) Last(ish)…well, to he honest, this idea hit me about six hours ago and here it is…don't like the title?-review…think it's inspired or stolen(I think it's mine but anything's possible)…Review…interested in seeing more?…review…not willing to take the time to answer any of the previous questions…REVIEW…yup, it's easy, just review, you know what to do. JT
No Beta…I know, I know…big whoop…also, I don't own Chuck or anything in the Chuckverse…and I make no money from this…that's right, I do it for fun so why not leave a review…it's easy to do.
Thanks for the nudge, Jim…I'm still smiling.
Bryce Larkin - Douche Bag At Large - Chapter 1(?)
Sarah Walker was confused. She been recalled to 'work' just two days into her first vacation in two years. She'd been in 'deep cover' in France, working her way into a semi-legit arms manufacturing company.
She had been, literally, hours away from marrying her mark, the vice-president of the company who also happened to be the son of the owner. The bridal party was just getting ready to head to the cathedral for the wedding when a joint MI6/ CIA task force descended on the family's villa and arrested everyone present. Sarah and her arms-dealing, scumbag of a fiancé had been thrown into the same van along with her almost father-in-law. Both of the men had stared down their noses at her as she sat across from them with tears streaming down her face. They'd spoken to each other in German as Sarah looked on with a confused look on her face.
The two men would have been surprised to learn that the 'spoiled' American understood everything they were saying. She not only spoke French but also Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Farsi, Flemish , German and , thanks to a brief relationship with a William Shatner fan, a smattering of Esperanto. The guy hadn't been that bad but she'd had to watch that awful movie more times than she cared to remember. Cursing herself for her brief trip down memory lane, she snapped back to her present . Remembering to cry like a broken hearted almost-bride, she listened as the two men exchanged plans on how to deal with their current problem. She also found out that her fiancé had two 'side-pieces' that he was sure he'd hidden from her. She'd known about them both and looked forward to the time he spent on 'business' trips because they meant less time she had to pretend to enjoy his company.
Of course, her arrest and subsequent incarceration were well documented, with extra care being taken to make sure that her cover wasn't blown. The French authorities were happy to extradite Jessie Franco to the United States of America where the CIA promptly threw her into their most secure 'super-max' facility. Less than a week later, Jessie Franco had been attacked and killed by another inmate who was then killed while trying to escape.
Two bodies were identified, two bodies went unclaimed because neither woman had family that cared enough and two bodies were disposed of…bringing to a close the life stories of Stella Rodnick and Jessie Franco.
By the time that the last of the paperwork was finished, Sarah 'Jessie Franco' Walker had returned to Washington D.C., been fully debriefed, gone through a complete medical and mental evaluation and was finally settling into her second day of agency recommended/required leave. Her 'Vacation' ended at a little after 2 AM when the director of the CIA had called, demanding her presence at an unbelievably secure facility located several miles outside of Arlington, Wets Virginia. After throwing on some clothes, Sarah was soon behind the wheel of her beloved Porsche that had, up until yesterday, been stored at the CIA's state of the at garage.
The trip to the facility had taken quite a bit less time than would have been needed by the average motorist…hell, she was sure that even a Nascar or Indy driver might have had a tough time keeping up with her.
Pulling into the non-descript parking lot where the facility was located, Sarah got out of her car and was immediately greeted by two very large men who were dressed as custodians. Accepting the escort silently, she was lead through five checkpoints, the last two of which required retinal scans. The two 'janitors' seemed to vanish just as she stepped into the still smoldering remains of a twenty by twenty foot room. Taking note of the two people standing in front of her, she stood silently, waiting for one of them to speak to her. Seeing her boss, CIA Director Langstom Graham was expected however, finding General Diane Beckman, the director of the NSA, standing next to her boss was a surprise. Whatever had been housed in this room must have been of great importance and , if she was honest with herself, she was curious why she'd been called in.
"Agent Walker…" the diminutive general spoke first, "…what do you know about the Intersect Project?"
"Ma'am? The Intersect Project? Isn't that just a myth?" Sarah asked, trying to keep a look of confusion on her face.
"Langstom" the general said, turning to glare at the man standing beside her, "…I thought you said she was the best. Do you really train your agents to believe that I'm an imbecile?"
"Sarah?" the big man said, obviously struggling to keep his emotions in check.
"Sir…ma'am…" she said looking back at the general, "…what I've heard is that the Intersect Project involved a super computer that gathered information from…well, from any source it could, and then used it's program to filter through all of the info and separate it into usable files"
"And…?" the general asked and Sarah could almost see her tiny foot tapping as she waited for Sarah to add something to her statement.
"And?" Sarah asked back. Seeing the look on her boss's face, she continued after realizing that she was expected to tell her everything she'd heard, even the wildly unbelievable rumors. "And it's been hinted that there is the desire to somehow be able to upload the information packets into a human being…maybe several human beings…agents, more specifically."
"Project Omaha…" the general said after a quick glance at her counter-part who gave her a barely perceptible nod, "…was first envisioned over fifteen years ago. Testing had begun on uploading to humans but paused when it was determined that the mental requirements for successful implementation of the uploads was…well, let's just say that we haven't been able to locate the right test subject for a full upload."
"Um…ok…so why am I here?"
"Agent Walker…what can you tell me about Mr. Bryce Larkin?" the general asked, clearly having some information but wanting to hear her opinion. Sarah didn't miss that somehow Bryce Larkin had been demoted from Agent to 'Mr.' sometime very recently, she also decided to not change how she addressed him until told to do so.
"Well, General Beckman…Agent Larkin is a hell of a field agent, definitely one of the best. We went through basic together and worked together up until about three years ago."
"At which time you requested and received your first solo mission, Would you mind telling me why you requested to go solo?"
"Well…ma'am, I decided that I would work best alone…"
"And this was about the same time that your personal relationship with Mr. Larkin ended?" the general asked with one eyebrow raised.
Knowing better than to argue that her personal life was her own, she simply nodded her head and offered a quiet "Yes ma'am".
"So, given everything, I would like your personal assessment of Mr. Bryce Larkin."
"Well, General, Bryce Larkin is a hell of a spy but a complete and total douche bag." Sarah offered, deciding to use complete honesty in her description of her ex-lover. "May I ask why you wanted my opinion on Agent Larkin…ma'am…and what does that have to do with why I was re-called from my vacation so I could find myself standing here at…" she glanced at her watch, "…almost three in the morning?"
"Because, Agent Walker…at a little after midnight, then Agent Larkin broke into this facility, downloaded all of the top priority Intersect files and then destroyed the Intersect. He managed to escape after an exchange of gun fire with Major John Casey who is currently being treated for a GSW to the left shoulder. You are standing in the middle of Mr. Larkin's handiwork…any thoughts?" the general asked, having clearly designated just when Bryce went from 'Agent' to 'Mr.'.
Doing some quick mental math, Sarah suddenly figured out why she'd been called here. "Director…General…I have no idea why Bryce did this. Except for a couple of voice mails he left me, I haven't spoken with him since our 'partnership' cratered." She watched the two directors exchange glances, again, before General Diane Beckman actually sighed.
"We know that, Agent Walker. That's why you're standing here, still armed, instead of sitting in some cell, waiting to join 'Jessie Franco' in some unmarked grave. What we want is for you to use your personal knowledge of Mr. Larkin to lead the search for him. As soon as Major Casey is ready, he'll be joining you in the investigation."
"General…Director…" Sarah said with a shake of her head, "…my relationship with Bryce wasn't really all that personal. Honestly, it was mostly about the sex. We weren't in love…hell, I don't know if we were even friends. He could be charming and a lot of fun to be around…sometimes…but, he really was a …"
"Douche bag" the general finished, surprising her by filling in the blank. "Yes, we are aware of that. We still want you to take lead. Talk to everyone who ever knew him…family, high school friends…even the college room mate he screwed over…"
"What…the guy who tried to steal his girlfriend…I think he said her name was Jill…"
"Agent Walker…you really didn't know Mr. Larkin very well. He framed his college roommate for cheating, got him kicked out of Stanford and then finished the triple crown of 'douche baggery' by sleeping with his fiancé…I'd bet that the young man would probably agree with your assessment of Mr. Larkin. Any questions, Agent?" the general finished before handing a file to her. Seeing that the agent didn't have any questions, she nodded to Langstom Graham before looking back at Sarah. "Keep us up to date, Agent Walker. Major Casey will join you as soon as he's able to. Good night."
Sarah knew that she'd been dismissed so she turned and made her way towards where she left her car, wondering what would be her best starting point. 'What the fuck have you done, Bryce…and why?' she asked herself as her escort 'janitors' materialized at her side. "Hey guys…I guess once you get me back to my car, you'll have to get out the mops and get started on that mess back there?" When the only response she received was twin grunts, Sarah decided to not try any more conversation, instead going over whatever she could remember that Bryce had told her about his life before…and, she had to admit to herself, there wasn't a lot.
Chuck Bartowski forced one eye open to glare his alarm clock which had picked the wrong time to go off…he was sure of that. There must have been some error because he was sure that he shouldn't be awake this early. He thought back to the previous night and the birthday party that his sister had thrown for him. He and his best friend had initially tried to escape but Ellie had caught them before they could follow through on their plans. He was sure that Ellie would have let Morgan get away but she'd insisted that she'd invited 'real, live girls' for him to meet and so he'd spent the night talking to lots of Ellie's single friends. At one point, one of them had offered to give him a free, 'wink wink', physical and he briefly considered accepting. Hell, the woman had been gorgeous and she had the most amazing rack…which she had barely been able to keep in her top the whole time she'd been rubbing up against him. His innate sense of decency warred with his baser instincts and it had been a close thing…closer than he'd allowed himself to get in years…the brunette hair had tripped the barely concealed 'Jill' trigger and he'd retreated into his normal, 'beautiful woman' default setting…namely, babbling like a loon about gaming and sci-fi until the woman bolted, fearing that she might be sucked into the 'black-hole' of nerdiness that Chuck could project.
The whole party seemed to go downhill after that…everyone seemed to have a great time thanks to the wonderful food that Ellie had prepared and the alcohol which flowed freely but it seemed that some unspoken word spread among the 'single and available women that Chuck Bartowski, although very cute in a nerdy way, had been left very damaged by an ex and juts wasn't worth the time. No one went out of their way to be rude, it was, after all, his birthday, but he didn't get anymore offers of free physicals and, very strangely, three business cards with personal numbers on them that he'd placed in his breast pocket somehow vanished.
Around midnight, Chuck had thanked his sister for throwing such a wonderful party and then excused himself, finally making his way back to his room where he'd found Morgan, lost to the world, in World of Warcraft on his computer. He watched for a few minutes until he realized that his buddy wasn't playing his usual role and that he was, in fact, playing Chuck's.
"Morgan, buddy…as much as I love spending quality time like this…get the hell off of my computer and go home. You and I both have to work tomorrow so it's pedal time for you" Chuck said with a smile as he sat down on the edge of his bed.
"Are you sure you want me to split…I could stick around and you could tell me all about that one 'Emersom' award winner I saw you talking to?"
"Morgan…no. I'm tired and I want to go to sleep…uh… 'Emersom'?" he asked, afraid what his curiosity might have gotten him into.
"Yeah, dude…'Emersom' nice looking…"
"Yeah, Morgan…I get it. Now…goodnight."
"Yeah…night Chuck…oh, and happy birthday" he said as he made his way out of the window, using his 'Morgan' door as he'd come to refer to it.
"Thanks, buddy. Pedal safe." Chuck said as he closed the window. Turning around, he took a seat at the computer and thought about doing a little surfing but decided to go to bed instead and five minutes later he was sound asleep. He slept like a log and, if not for the alarm, he was sure he could've spent three or four more hours in bed.
Glaring at the alarm clock, he reached out and hit the off button and then slowly rolled over and sat up. It took a few moments for the difference in his room to make it's way to his conscious brain but once there he struggled to keep from yelling out at the sight of the stranger sitting in his computer chair. Upon closer inspection, he was shocked to realize that the 'stranger' was in fact Bryce 'King of the Douche Bags' Larkin. He hadn't seen his former roommate in over five years and he told himself that he could have gone the rest of his life without ever seeing him again.
Taking a closer look, he realized that Bryce Larkin looked like someone had beaten the crap out of him…recently. He also noticed a small puddle of what looked like blood on the floor under the chair. Leaning closer, he thought he might have found the source of the blood…something that looked suspiciously like a gunshot wound. Chuck hadn't seen a lot of bullet holes…well, to be honest, he'd never seen one up close…but this sure looked like what he imagined a bullet hole in a person would look like. Reaching out a hand to push Bryce's jacket aside, he was surprised when the man's eyes flew open and his hand shot out and grabbed Chuck's wrist.
"Jesus, Bryce…what the hell?" Chuck asked as he pulled back from the man seated in the chair. His wrist had been released almost as fast as it had been grabbed and now Bryce just stared at him. Looking closely, Chuck realized that Bryce's right eye was so bloodshot that it almost seemed to be solid red, the other eye looked perfectly normal. "Not that I care, but you look like shit…and, if it's not to much trouble, how about telling me why I shouldn't call the cops and have you arrested for breaking and entering…I know I'd enjoy seeing you get dragged off in cuffs and it already looks like you've had a little 'stick' time…so…?" he snatched his phone from the bedside table and held it in his hand, obviously ready to dial.
"Chuck, look, I realize that you probably hate me but if you call the cops…I'm a dead man…literally."
"And the downside of that is?" Chuck asked with a much snark as he could muster. When he saw Bryce reach into his coat he flinched backwards even though he wasn't sure exactly why. He watched as his old roommate withdrew a small electronic device and held it out towards him, clearly wanting him to take it. "Don't tell me, let me guess. You brought me a birthday present and when I take it, it'll explode in my hand?"
"No Chuck" he answered, his voice sounding tired and raspy. "This is something that your father worked on for…well, for most of your life. I took it from someone who was trying put it to a use that your father never intended."
"What the hell are you babbling about, Bryce? You know my dad left Ellie and I a long time ago…what are you up to? Trying to find some new way to hurt me…some new way to screw with my life?…"
"Chuck, please…I understand why you hate me but I don't have enough time to explain everything to you. I've already been here too long…I brought this to you…" he said as he offered the object to Chuck again, "…because I can't think of anyone who will take better care of what it is. I have to leave…before it's too late." Getting slowly to his feet, his breath hitched when he tried to straighten up the shoulder that Chuck was now sure contained more lead than most shoulders should. He placed the object on the bed before he turned, obviously intending to exit through the window.
"Bryce, wait a minute…what's going on…where are you going?" When he turned back around, Chuck couldn't believe how tired…and lost…Bryce looked. Despite all of the hatred he had for Bryce Larkin, at that moment, all he felt was pity. "What am I supposed to do with this?" he asked after picking up the small object.
"If you have any trust left for me…any at all…keep that thing safe. You wouldn't believe me if I could tell you how important it is. If you get the chance, you should watch what's on it…that will answer a lot of your questions…about everything. I have to get out of here…please, believe me when I say that I'm sorry…for everything" he finished before he started to climb out the window. He paused when he was halfway out and looked back, "Chuck…if anyone comes around asking about me…you night want to forget you ever saw me" Bryce said and then almost smiled when he saw the look on Chuck's face, "…that shouldn't be too hard. Bye Chuck" he said before he slipped out of the window and was gone, leaving Charles Irving Bartowski staring down at the object in his hand.
The sound of his phone ringing snapped Chuck back to reality and he looked at the display before touching the connect button and putting the phone to his ear. "Yeah, Morgan…what is it?…yeah, I'll be there shortly…yeah, I know I'm running late…you know that you could always go in by yourself if you're so concerned about being late…that's what I thought…see ya soon." Hanging up the phone, Chuck got to his feet and headed towards the bathroom to get ready for another wonderful day at the Buymore. He'd taken two steps when he paused, wondering when all of the weirdness of the last fifteen minutes would actually settle in. Looking down, he realized that Bryce's 'gift' was still in his hand. Shaking his head, he tossed the device onto his bed and then resumed his mission…promising himself he'd take a closer look at…well, whatever it was, when he got into work.
It had been two days since Bryce Larkin had pulled his strange 'hit and run' and Chuck's curiosity had been trying to 'kill' him ever since…well, whenever it had the time to. The first day 'P.B.', which was how Chuck had decided to measure time after Bryce's early morning appearance, and disappearance, had been really busy with what seemed like one install after another. Due to the un-expected 'medical' day off for two of his fellow nerd herders, he been running non-stop which left him no time to wonder anything except putting one foot in front of another. He'd gotten home and almost immediately fallen asleep. The next day had almost been a repeat of the previous day, including the absence of Jeff Barnes and Lester Patel. The two nerd herders, who had evidently just received their medical marijuana cards, were still out, taking another 'sick' day. At five o'clock, Chuck had told the store's manager that he was done for the day and he was going home. He left no room for doubt and simply ignored all of Big Mike's attempts to keep him after five. He told Morgan that he had no plans to play Call of Duty that night and that he just wanted to be left alone which Morgan, after outing like a five year old and getting no response, agreed to because he had no other choice. Once home, Chuck grabbed a quick shower, reheated some of Ellie's leftovers and then locked himself in his room.
It took Chuck just a few moments to patch 'Bryce's gift' to his computer with a USB cord. The first thing to appear was a line from the old text based game that he and Bryce used to enjoy. Making himself comfortable, Chuck answered the question that appeared on the screen in front of him and suddenly his monitor seemed to go crazy as images started appearing at a faster and faster rate. Chuck stared and simply lost track of time…before he knew it, he was shaking his head and cursing when he realized that he had a massive headache that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. He wondered why Bryce had been so worried about whatever it was he'd just watched. Looking down at the computer screen, he realized that he'd somehow lost nearly nine hours.
"Great, Bryce punked me" he mumbled to himself as he reached for the small device that was still attached to his computer. Rubbing his temples, he shut of his computer and decided to take a couple of aspirin before going to bed, promising himself to take a closer look at whatever program Bryce had used to hypnotize him. He still didn't understand the lengths that his ex-friend seemed to have gone to for the 'prank' and , he'd worry about it tomorrow. 'Hell, it is tomorrow' he told himself after he realized that it was almost five in the morning. He sat down on the edge of the bed, promising himself that he wouldn't fall asleep…and Chuck was usually very good about keeping promises…but he fell asleep anyway.
The sound of Morgan calling his name and the feeling of someone shaking him woke Chuck up. Looking around, he found Morgan…and Ellie…and her fiance, Captain Awesome standing around his bed. "Yeah…what's up guys?" he asked.
"Chuck…" Ellie was the first to speak, "…are you…are you using…?"
Chuck wanted to laugh. "Very funny Ellie…what is it with everyone and their stupid jokes, lately? Why are all of you in my room?"
"Chuck…you been asleep for over a day…you missed work yesterday" Morgan answered, a concerned look on his face.
"What are you talking about, Morgan? I worked on the …computer, last night and almost pulled an all nighter…" when he didn't find a smile on the face of anyone standing around him, he wondered to himself just what had Bryce Larkin done to him and it seemed that as soon as he thought of Bryce's name, his mind was suddenly filled with information about his ex-roommate…lots and lots of information…much more than he ever cared to know. He didn't know how but he now knew that not only was he ex-friend a spy for the CIA…according to all of this new information, he was positive that Bryce Larkin was also a huge 'douche bag'. Shaking his head, Chuck looked around at the concerned people standing around him and as he looked from one face to the next, he suddenly 'knew' much more about each of them than he had before. 'Crap' he told himself when his vision drifted to the object that was sitting on his desk, still connected to his computer. Suddenly he knew exactly what had happened to him…and he promised himself that the next chance he got, he was going to kick Bryce's balls up into his throat.
"Uh…guys, give me a couple of minutes to get cleaned up and then…well, then I've got something to tell you…and you're not going to believe it…but, man, it is so cool…I think…"
It had been almost a week since Chuck Bartowski had become the first person to successfully upload an Intersect program…and lucky him, it had been the entire intersect. It had taken him a couple of days to find all of the controls. He still couldn't believe that his dad had designed the thing in his head and he promised to thank him, if he ever saw him again, for including a handy, dandy instruction guide in the Interesct's program. Once he'd found the controls, it was another two days before he felt that he'd gained control of the new squatter in his head. The amount of information at his command was kinda scary…and he was just waiting for one of the original 'owners' of the Intersect to show up to try and reclaim their property…boy, were they in for a surprise. He looked up from his seat at the Nerd Herd counter as the store's front doors opened and a blonde vision of loveliness strolled into Chuck's life. He watched as the beauty made her way towards him, an unsure smile on her face.
"Charles Bartowski?" the angel spoke to him.
"Chuck…everyone calls me Chuck" he managed to get out. He couldn't believe that someone this beautiful could be as deadly as the intersect had shown him she was but, as he'd found out, the program in his head could do a lot of things but it couldn't 'lie' to him. "So, Sarah Walker…"he started and noticed right away the looks of confusion and determination that seemed to be battling for dominance on her face. "…I guess you're here to talk to me about Bryce Larkin…douche bag at large?"