Author's note: I want to thank all the reviewers publicly. You are few, but extremely important.
She should have killed that woman when she had the option.
Sarah knew this, as well as she knew it was too late to regret it.
There she was, standing up with her FBI bullet proof vest that contrasted with her well tailored suit and her straight blond hair in a ponytail. Even if she and Sarah were almost of the same height, Dunham was slimmer, almost sinewy, and much less voluptuous than Sarah. Her expression was tense and wary, which took away to her natural beauty. Sarah hated to resort to her father's vocabulary, but she didn't find a better term than "cop face." Dunham had a cop face.
In that moment, she was whispering something to the young man next to her.
Peter Bishop. The name had rung a bell when Sarah studied the file of the so called Fringe Division, but it wasn't until she saw him face to face that it clicked. She had met him once, with her father. Well, "meet" was saying too much. That would imply he saw her too, which didn't happen. She had no interest in knowing her father's partners, especially the temporary ones.
Sarah sighed. She should have known better.
Behind Peter she caught a glimpse of a slouching middle-aged man who was being led by an agent. He had his hands on the pockets of his long cardigan and looked everywhere with a mixture of wonder and anxiety. The infamous Walter Bishop: Peter's father, renowned scientist, a legend in Harvard and former psychiatric inmate.
So, a madman, a conman and a meddling witch, all working for the FBI.
"Are you more interested in them than in me? I'm hurt," Cole said at her back.
She turned her head towards him. He was sat down, holding a lint that the paramedic had given him before leaving to grab more material. His smile among bruises made him oddly attractive. His broad shoulders and well formed biceps also helped.
"As a precautionary measure, I suspect they're trouble," she answered.
"And I'm not?"
"You're a different kind of trouble."
"You should watch me then. Closely."
He sent her a sultry gaze as he stretched his upper body to get closer to her. His warm breath brushed the skin of her forearm. Cole had made his intentions clear from the first moment. Those intentions included champagne, berries and hot sex (bed not mandatory). Sarah had been much less effusive. She suspected she would be more interested if it wasn't because she was worried for everything, basically. Her job, her career, Chuck... Not that Chuck deserved her concern. He made clear that he only wanted a purely professional relationship.
"Besides, they're cops," Cole added. "The good guys."
"Looks can deceive."
"Looks maybe, but actions rarely do. They tried to save our lives."
Sarah bit her lower lip. This turn in the conversation gave her the chance to say something that her usual reserve wasn't allowing her to do spontaneously. "I haven't thanked you for what you did. For claiming to be the... Intersect."
"It was the right thing to do. Part of my job." He shrugged and winced in pain. "You would do the same. And don't forget that Chuck confessed too, to spare me the torture. His actions are equally noteworthy."
Sarah could feel a fundamental part of her attracted to Cole. He was a little cocky, like Bryce was, but also possessed genuine kindness for others, the same way her former partner had. Sarah sighed. It would be easy to return to what she once enjoyed. She knew how it went: it was light and exciting and not very demanding for her heart. Still, she suspected that if she decided to get involved with Cole, she would be always yearning for some curly haired nerd. Even if he didn't deserve it.
The debate was futile anyway: Chuck was the Intersect and protecting the Intersect was her mission. Her job was everything she had now. Everything she could trust.
She stared at Dunham and her conman friend. They had been arguing with Casey for quite a time now. It was best if she joined them or Casey would be throwing her lack of commitment back in her face. She had enough with his usual gibes about Chuck.
"Stay here while I go to talk with the 'good guys,'" she told Cole and stroked his shoulder briefly, a little scared of his touch and his warm and what it could do to her resolve.
"As the doctor orders."
She stretched her lips in what she hoped was a smile. Chuck was in a corner, with his nape on ice. Sarah ignored him. The idiot had broken up with her. She still kept a particle of pride. Instead, she walked toward Casey as she tried to feign her best "girl next door" appearance.
"That doesn't answer my question," Dunham was saying when Sarah reached them.
Casey's resolution seemed to be wavering. That was weird. He put his fist in front of his mouth, as if to block his words. When he looked at Sarah, his stare was full of gratitude.
"This is Agent Walker, from the CIA," he introduced her, with a gesture of his hand.
Sarah had pondered how to act in front of the feds. In the end, she decided that friendliness would help her. "Nice to meet you. And thanks for trying to rescue us, even if in the end it wasn't necessary."
Recognition descended over Dunham's features. She paled. It brought out the freckles on her face.
Sarah had expected (hoped) that Dunham's memory wasn't that good. No such luck.
"You..." She stepped ahead almost as if she had suffered a spasm. "That's how the CIA works? Threatening colleagues?"
"What is she talking about?" Casey asked.
"Agent Walker here put a knife on my throat and told me that if I pursued my investigation she would personally use that knife to perform a tracheotomy on me."
Sarah tensed under Casey's hard stare.
"Really?" he said. "A tracheotomy?"
"It didn't stop you," Sarah retorted flippantly.
"Agent Walker, can you come with me a minute to talk?" Casey asked.
"No, I think-"
Sarah followed him, her eyes fixed on his broad shoulders. It reminded her of the Juvie in which she had been at fourteen, when the guards carried her to her cell for the first time.
Casey chose an isolated area, away from curious ears, and stopped to face Sarah with his arms crossed and his best intimidating expression. Even if she was used to his usual bullying style, she gulped. He had been put in charge to deal with the federals by the General and she suspected he didn't like her dealing with things on her own.
"What did you do?" he demanded.
Sarah tried to act frivolously. "Oh, c'mon, Casey, it wasn't that serious and she didn't see me. I just paid her a visit to... you know, scare her a little."
"And when did you made this... visit?"
"Yesterday. At nightfall."
"When you were with the Limey?" He craned his neck to glance at Cole. "Did you brought him with you?"
"What? Of course not."
"You left him alone in Castle? Roaming free?"
"I shut him in the room where we were supposed to sleep together, don't worry."
His mouth formed a perfect O as he raised a hand like a claw. He remained motionless for a second. Then he rolled his eyes and lowered his hand again.
"Why can't a CIA agent not screw things?" he murmured.
"Excuse me? This isn't my fault."
Casey's face went from surprise to anger in less than a second. "I told you. I said that I knew people like Dunham. That if you pushed her she would be even more stubborn."
"As I recall, your expertise didn't help you to convince her when you talked with her."
Casey did that thing of narrowing his eyes and dilating his nostrils that meant he was gathering all his willpower to take a grip of his temper. "I had it under control, Walker. I told her straight that she shouldn't continue her investigation because she was going to get nothing. She already knew it was a lost cause. It was a matter of time."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah... And the next day, the very next day, she was searching for information about Charles Carmichael." Sarah clicked her tongue. "Very effective, Casey."
He hardened his expression. "And then you go and threaten her with slitting her throat. Nice."
Frustration almost made her yell. Sarah modulated her voice, instead. "She was getting too close. What did you want me to do?"
"Think with your brains, for a change? Instead of jumping like a good doggy when somebody sniffs around the Nerd."
"I'm protecting the mission," she hissed.
He smirked. "Sure."
She was too tired to give him the satisfaction of reacting to his taunts. "Don't get cocky, they're here mostly because your agency allowed their people to sweep classified files as if they owned the place."
Casey tapped her left collarbone with his index finger. "I remind you that all of this began when the mighty CIA buried ten corpses in the first hole they found and called it secret cemetery."
Sarah repressed a groan. Sometimes her superiors made her feel like strangling them. She rubbed her face with her hand to focus. "Let's not argue. The important thing is deciding what to do with them."
"We can't hold them."
"She's a FBI agent," he said as if it was obvious.
"And?" he repeated.
"Yes, and? Since when is that a problem?"
"What happens with you?" she asked, astonished.
"I don't like the idea of messing with the FBI."
She let out a guffaw. "What? This is new."
He fidgeted. "We're in the same side."
"Casey, you think they're a joke."
"You call them First Bunch of Idiots. And that's the nice name." She smiled at his annoyed face. "C'mon, you hate the FBI. Both of us do."
"No, you do, because your daddy is a criminal."
She recoiled. That was a cheap shot. Casey averted his gaze and, just for a second, regret was almost palpable in his bearing. He didn't utter any apologize, of course. "Her team is sanctioned by the senate," he said instead. "And her boss has some important friends. They're not your usual feds."
"All right," she said and it sounded like tacit forgiveness. "This isn't our choice anyway."
Casey nodded. "I'll call Beckman."
"You do that." Sarah saw Chuck approaching Dunham out of the corner of her eye. "I'm going to prevent World War III."
She bolted toward the FBI agent before Casey could reply and reached Chuck as he was shaking hands with Dunham.
"Hi, I'm Charles..."
"Carmichael, yes," Dunham finished for him, a sharp smile on her lips. "I was eager to meet you."
"I have several questions for you, Mr. Carmichael. Or should I call you Bartowski?"
Blood froze in Sarah's veins. People knew one or the other name, not both of them. How was possible that she went from searching for Carmichael to finding Chuck? How was any of that possible?
"If I could take a few minutes of your time so you answer my questions," Dunham went on.
"You don't ask him anything," Sarah said, putting herself in front of Chuck, like a good bodyguard would. "In fact, you don't ask. Period."
"Excuse me, I'm leading a federal investigation." Dunham's eyes were telegraphing "murder."
Chuck touched Sarah's shoulder tentatively. "A federal investi- What's happening, Sarah?"
"Nothing. Don't talk. Don't say anything. You hear me?"
He nodded. A lock of hair fell over his left eye. Sarah fought the urge to style it. Or slap him. Or take his face between her hands and kiss him. Or throw him at the ground and...
Walter Bishop suddenly showing up from nowhere cut her train of thoughts. Sarah heard Chuck groan and when she turned around she caught his flash face, that unmistakable expression of somebody who was holding back a sneeze as he had an orgasm. Chuck doubled up before it finished. A bad flash, one that flooded his parietal and frontal lobes with too much information.
"Is he all right?" Dunham asked.
Sarah didn't answer. Instead, she dragged Chuck a few feet away and let him caught his breath. She caressed his hair absently as he recovered, bent down. She took a look at the feds meanwhile. Walter Bishop was gaping at them. After several blinks he turned towards Dunham and tugged on her sleeve to tell her something, like a child high on speed. She raised her hand to silence him. He tried again. His son Peter put his hands on his father's shoulders and calmed him down. Walter's expression changed to frustration, then to ire, then to impotence until he ended up sulking.
Chuck straightened up again, resting his hand on Sarah's shoulder to keep his balance. He was awfully pale.
"Did you flash on the man?" she asked in the softer tone she could.
"Doctor Walter Bishop," he said as an answer.
"Are you all right?"
Chuck managed a weak nod. "It's just... You know that I hate needles." Chuck gulped. "He likes them very much, apparently."
Unaware (or maybe aware but uncaring) of their temporary need for a break, Dunham approached them, a light frown darkening her expression.
"I'm sorry to disturb, but we're trying to solve a crime and you could help us."
"A crime?" Chuck asked, before Sarah could stop him, kicking his shin.
"Ten people that disappeared from a suburban area called Meadow's Branch and were found death. You lived there, didn't you?" Dunham waited for their answer. They gave her none. "Look, it's my duty to interrogate you."
"Really?" Sarah retorted. "I have questions of my own, like how the hell did you get to us?"
Dunham blinked, indifferent. "I don't have to tell you that."
"Then I don't have to answer your silly questions."
Dunham narrowed her eyes. "You'll be hindering a federal investigation. That's a crime."
That had to be a bad joke. Sarah faced the FBI agent, taking advantage of her small height superiority to look imposing. "Look, sweetheart, I don't care if you-"
"We'll guide you to our headquarters," Casey cut her short.
Sarah turned to her teammate, who was now at her side. "What?"
"Beckman's orders," Casey whispered into her ear. He sent her a cautionary glare, then addressed the Fringe Division. "You've been authorized to receive information about what happened in Meadow's Branch."
Dunham's triumphant beam churned Sarah's stomach.
Things were settled fast enough, with the efficiency that everybody supposed to the big government agencies and they were proud of, even if the reality was otherwise most of the time.
But first, Dunham needed to call her boss. It didn't mind that Sarah and Casey told her they already knew about her division, she said she needed his superior's permission to disclose her work. As if he was her freaking dad or something.
Dunham and her colleagues agreed to follow Sarah's car on their own. Casey would get to them on the CIA van. Since Sarah's car only had two seats, there was the problem of who will go with Casey and who to carry with her: Cole or Chuck. Sarah didn't have any problem taking Chuck with her. Chuck, on the other hand, decided to be a gentleman and let Cole go on her car, because he was injured and a hero and a real James Bond and worthy of her attention. Sarah would have ripped a new hole in him.
When they reached their destination, the parking lot of Burbank's mall, Dunham got out the car with an evident expression of puzzlement.
"I thought we were going to your headquarters," she commented.
Sarah rolled her eyes and helped Cole to stand up, instead of answering her. Beckman didn't order to be obliging to the FBI agent.
"You are very attractive when you get angry," Cole told her.
Sarah ignored him too. This was more difficult, because she had her arm around his waist and he was leaning on her shoulders.
"Please, come," Chuck asked to the Fringe Division and canted his head to show them the right direction.
Casey smacked the back of Chuck's head and hissed "Shut up."
Dunham's bewilderment raised a hundred percent when they stopped at the Orange Orange. When she saw Sarah opening the door with her own key she couldn't hold back her question: "Why do you have a key of this place?"
Casey grunted and smirked. "She's a clerk here."
Trust Casey to tell anybody that her cover job was to serve fro-yos. She should stop calling that to frozen yogurt. This stupid job was getting to her.
"It's a nice cover," Peter Bishop said. He was stifling a laugh.
"At least I don't sell microwaves to yahoos," Sarah replied and showed her teeth to Casey.
"But this is great," Chuck entered into the conversation, as eager to help as usual. "You have all the frozen yogurt you can eat. And for free."
"You say that as if it's a good thing," the young Bishop said.
"Oh, oh!" Doctor Bishop cried. "I want a taste!"
"Walter, no," his son answered.
"A small one."
"We don't have time," Dunham explained.
Sarah stared at the doctor's excited face as he begged. This man had taught in Harvard. She had never seen him, because he was already at the psychiatric hospital when she entered college, but he was a legend there. Harvard was her alma mater. A former professor deserved her respect.
She sighed and handed Cole over to Casey. "Please, lead him to the infirmary," she told her partner.
"No, I'd rather stay with you," the English man said.
"It would take me a moment. It's best if you rest."
"C'mon, Romeo," Casey grumbled as he dragged Cole with him.
Sarah walked towards the yogurt dispenser machine. "Do you like cream?" she asked the doctor. He nodded. "Cream is not that bad, even for a fro-yo." She filled a tub in front of everybody's astonished expression. "Some chocolate chips?"
Sarah complied with the attentive smile she faked for the customers. Except this time it was a real one. "Here you go. Double portion of chocolate chips." She stuck the plastic spoon on the cream and gave it to the doctor.
Walter Bishop took it with very bright eyes. He looked exactly like a child in an amusement park. Sarah couldn't help smiling.
When she passed next to Chuck she noticed the way he was looking at her. Sympathy. Sarah chose to bury the contradictory feelings that it provoked in her.
Sarah led the group to the cold-storage chamber.
"You're going to kill us and hide our bodies here. Is that it?" Peter Bishop said.
"What? No!" Chuck cried. "That's—that's horrible! Tell them, Sarah."
She didn't. She silently let the security screen on the wall scan her eye and open Castle's door. She went in without looking back. Casey was already in the meeting room.
She heard the rest of the group walking behind her.
"You have a secret base under the shop?" Dunham said, a bit unsure.
Peter Bishop gasped as if he had been submerged into frozen water. He came back running, almost tripping over a step, and blocked Sarah's path. "I knew it! I knew that the Orange Orange stores were a cover for the CIA." He opened his arms as if to encircle the entire Castle. "Who opens a frozen yogurt shop in Afghanistan?"
"I've heard it's a good place for new businesses," Sarah said, her face straight. Casey snorted.
She put her hand on the young Bishop's chest and pushed him lightly to put herself next to Casey.
"Are all the clerks in the double Os spies?" Peter Bishop asked.
"That is classified information," Beckman answered.
Everybody looked at the screen. The General was already on, her usual judgmental face more evident than usual.
Doctor Bishop and his son greeted her raising a hand. "Who are you?" Peter asked.
"General Diane Beckman, head of the NSA," Dunham reported. Her voice was tinged with suppressed dislike.
"She looks familiar. Does she have a sister?"
Dunham looked at Peter Bishop and some kind of silent joke seemed to pass between them.
Beckman extended her arm in front of her. "Take a seat, please."
The two teams sat down facing each other, at opposite sides of the table.
"Agent Dunham, Doctor Bishop, Mister Bishop," Beckman greeted the Fringe Division one by one. Each of them nodded as an answer. "It is unfortunate we meet in such chaotic circumstances."
"It's unfortunate how we met or that we met at all?" Dunham asked.
"I'm not going to lie. I prefer my clandestine teams clandestine." The General cracked a small smirk before growing serious again. "I've already talked with your superior, agent Dunham, to settle our little agreement."
Dunham stroked her lips with her index and middle fingers in a gesture of concern. "By my superior you mean..."
"Special Agent Phillip Broyles."
Dunham sighed relieved. Sarah made a note of that. This little piece of knowledge could be helpful in the future.
"We've agreed, he and I, that we will reveal to you what happened in Meadow's Branch and how, exactly, those ten people died," Beckman said. "In return, we expect your cooperation and discretion. But first, let's hear your involvement in this case, to put us in the picture."
Dunham took a moment to ponder. Then she stood up and crossed her hands at her back in a military fashion. "We work in the Fringe Division, a Joint Federal Task Force of the FBI in charge of investigating criminal cases dealing with the known as fringe science."
"Like what?" Chuck asked.
Dunham shrugged. "Mind control, teleportation, astral projection, invisibility, genetic mutation..."
"That's so cool," he said. He was smiling. The smile faltered when he glanced at Sarah. "Weird, but cool," he rephrased it lamely.
"This week we received the case of a common grave with ten corpses discovered in L.A.," Dunham continued, taking no notice of him. "They didn't show any trace of violence and there didn't seem to be a medical condition for their death."
"And just for that the FBI transferred the case to your division?" Sarah asked.
"It's not the first time that something like this happens. In fact, it's not the weirdest thing I've seen lately."
"Are these things usual? So much as to create a special division for them?" Sarah had always been a skeptic, but what she was hearing made her hair stand on end.
"With the development of science in our days, it's more and more usual to meet events that can't be explained by the usual methods," the young Bishop elaborated for her. He stared at his teammate and nodded.
"The FBI created our specialized unit to solve these cases faster and more efficiently," Dunham added.
"You call it The Pattern," Beckman pointed out.
The three members of Fringe Division stared at her, almost gawking.
"I'm the Director of the NSA," Beckman said matter-of-factly.
"Ah... yes." Dunham cleared her throat, visibly taken aback. "That's our primary task. We investigate something called The Pattern. A series of incredible happenings only explainable by fringe science, that seem to be the work of man and follow a possible, yet undisclosed plan."
"And you thought that the corpses in L.A. were part of it," Sarah guessed.
"Yes, it seemed to fit." The FBI agent fell silent. Then nodded, once. Then sat down again with her arms crossed. "Your turn."
"You didn't tell us how you found us," Sarah said.
"Later. First, I want to hear what you have to say."
If it were up to her, Sarah would have snapped her neck, but Beckman had ordered them to disclose their mission. That's why she decided the General herself should give the explanations. As it seemed, Casey thought the same, because he didn't open his mouth.
"Agent Walker and Major Casey are a special task unit, a cooperation between the CIA and the NSA, under the DNI command, with the mission of investigating, detecting and eliminating the threat caused by a terrorist group called Fulcrum," Beckman said, once she realized her agents wouldn't speak.
Dunham glanced at Sarah. "Fulcrum. I've never heard of them."
"They are a very specialized counterespionage unit, trained to infiltrate and attack the NSA and, above all, the CIA," the General described.
"So you decided to treat it as an internal problem, instead of warning the FBI about their existence."
"There was no need to trouble your agency when Fulcrum is a very localized threat." Beckman gave a hint of a smile. "We can manage. And the President thinks the same."
Dunham reacted to the last words with a soft snort. "OK, let's not argue about jurisdiction and how everything you're telling me is a big pile of... debatable matters. How does that have anything to do with those agents' death?"
"They were Fulcrum," Casey answered.
Sarah fought the urge to gape at him. Since when did Major Casey offer explanations to anybody? Even Chuck leaned back on his seat to take a better look at him.
Casey noticed he was being the center of attention. He emitted grunt number twenty five: Leave me alone.
It seemed he wasn't going to say anything more, so it was up to Sarah to elaborate. "We infiltrated a cell they had established in Meadow's Branch."
"What was their objective?"
Sarah let the General explain that bit: "Fulcrum's primary mission is to get the Intersect by any means necessary."
"Ah, the Intersect. The top secret project."
"Yes. We aren't authorized to tell you much about it, only that it entails the preparation of a new kind of field agent that would speed up and facilitate the intelligence service's work."
The young Bishop reacted to this, with sudden realization. "The Intersect is a person, not a device?"
Sarah, Casey and Beckman exchanged glances. Chuck focused on his hands.
"No, the Intersect is the device," the General said at last. "The project is about getting a working computer that could allow us to achieve that goal."
"All right..." Dunham seemed anything but convinced. "What were those Fulcrum agents doing in Meadow's Branch? Were they planning to assault Langley or something?"
"No. They were developing, and testing, their own Intersect."
"In the suburban area."
Dunham pursed her lips. "I think I've been too much in this job, because that doesn't surprise me," she murmured. "Anyway... What were you saying?"
Beckman arched a brow. She seemed slightly miffed by their guests' interruptions. "These Fulcrum agents were testing their version of the Intersect that, of course, didn't work."
Dunham looked at Casey.
"For now, the Intersect is just a project, a bunch of circuits and fancy lights that do nothing," he explained.
"Except driving people nuts," she pointed out.
Casey shrugged nonchalantly.
"The Fulcrum agents discovered and apprehended our infiltrated team," Beckman redirected the conversation.
"Agent Carmichael and Walker," Dunham said, interrupting Beckman again.
"Yes. They were captured to be subject of an experimental session of their Intersect."
"Like Philip Yeager was, I gather."
Sarah felt impressed. This FBI agent had done her homework.
"That's the reason why he's in a Psychiatric Hospital now," Dunham went on.
"Do you want to finish the account for us?" Beckman answered back.
The FBI agent's shoulders sagged. "No, Ma'am."
"Good." Beckman cleared her throat. "Fulcrum captured agents Carmichael and Walker. Fortunately, Major Casey came in time to rescue them. Unfortunately, the only way to do so was to activate Fulcrum's Intersect. The Fulcrum agents received a full download of the information that was in their computer, killing them instantly."
Dunham leaned back with her arms crossed. She pointed at Sarah with a thumb. "How did they survive?"
"We closed our eyes," Chuck answered.
Sarah sent him a warning glare. He shrank.
"Okay," Dunham said. She seemed slightly disoriented. "Whatever. Then you decided to cover up for the Fulcrum agents' deaths, telling their families they died in an accident, and that their bodies were lost."
"Given the circumstances, we thought it was for the best," Beckman said.
"The best for whom?"
"For everybody." The General cocked her head with her brow arched, in that perfect imitation of a primary school teacher of hers. "Would you rather tell them that their children or siblings or nieces were traitors and they were killed for the good of the country?"
Something akin to pity crossed Dunham's features and made her drop her head. Her jaw was clenched hard.
"Let it be, agent Dunham," Beckman went on. "Those people are dead and you can't do anything to change that."
Doctor Bishop reacted to this and raised his hand. His son shushed him.
"I hope this clears the doubts you could have, agent."
She did a weak nod, still head bowed.
"Good. I must retire now, I have an important meeting." Beckman turned her palms to the ceiling as a sign of apology. "Agent Walker and Major Casey will tie up the loose ends."
As usual, the General cut off the communication without further ceremony. That left six people alone in a room with an atmosphere that not even a chainsaw could slice.
This was the kind of situation where Chuck used to shine. "And what happens now?" he said.
"They tell us what clues they followed to find us so we fix the leaks and after that, they go back to Boston," Sarah answered. She was more than eager to lose sight of the feds and their uncomfortable questions.
"Not until we resolve the case," Dunham said, her former dejection vanished.
Sarah blinked. She didn't hear it right. She couldn't have heard it right. "Excuse me?"
Dunham moved forward and rested her elbows on the table. "I'll pursue this investigation until the very end."
"You were here to find out how those people died. We already told you."
"Yes, but not why they died, and I suspect that the reason why they did is still going on."
"No, we told you." Was she speaking a different language, maybe?
"Why was Bradley White's body exhumed?" Dunham asked suddenly.
"I don't know-"
"Bradley White. He has been dug up and his body bag opened. That's why we discovered the common grave." She brought her fingertips together and away several times. "I guess it wasn't the CIA, because you would have buried him again."
Casey made a gesture with his hand to Sarah to let him speak. "The man who was with us, the Brit, he's a MI6 agent. He snatched something from Brad's belt. A chip with information about the project Fulcrum was developing in Meadow's Branch."
"But now is in our hands, so no problem," Sarah added in a hurry. "Mission's over."
"The project in Meadow's Branch," Dunham repeated. "Fulcrum's Intersect. Which doesn't work."
"Just like our Intersect."
"Then why was that woman asking who the Intersect was before we rescued you?"
You didn't rescue us, bitch, Sarah thought outraged.
"And she was searching for a person, not a computer," the young Bishop entered into the conversation. "The English and Charlie here claimed to be the Intersect."
"I'd rather if you call me Chuck..." His voice faded at Sarah's glare. "I'm shutting up."
"It was part of a trap we set to catch them," Sarah lied. She put in motion that side of her brain that could create the most believable lies. "We lured them with false information that said we already had an agent with the Intersect in his head."
"And that agent was... Chuck?" Dunham pointed at him.
"In reality I-I don't have the Intersect," Chuck hurried up to state.
"But he just did it," Walter retorted out of the blue.
"Did what?" Chuck asked, panicking.
"W-when he looked at me the first time, the... the computer in his head, the Intersect, recalled my file. How was the process called?" The Doctor snapped his fingers. "He had a memory, a burst, a zoom-"
"A flash," Chuck chimed in.
"Chuck!" Sarah yelled.
"I'm sorry! I just-" He flailed his arms wildly to express his impotency.
"So we are right," Dunham said. She was almost beaming. "When you're talking about the Intersect, you aren't talking about the computer, you're talking about a person." She looked from tip to toe at Chuck. "He is the Intersect. A working, human Intersect."
Rage and fear and frustration pushed Sarah forward. Nobody, much less a smart-ass cop, was going to put her mission, her job and Chuck at risk. "This is enough. You've heard enough! We're not talking anymore. Instead, you're going to tell us how you found him."
Dunham leaned back and crossed her arms. She knew she called the shots.
"That's easy. Through his father," doctor Bishop answered with the happy tone of somebody who had discovered a coin in his old jeans' pockets.
The FBI agent turned to him with a fierce expression of alarm. She didn't like his slip.
"My father?" Chuck frowned. "What does he have to do with anything?"
Walter Bishop ignored Dunham's gesticulations. "Who could be a better source to know about the Intersect than its creator's son?"
Sarah needed five full seconds to comprehend those words. They created such a void inside her head that it forced her to use a considerable amount of willpower to string data together in a coherent idea; an idea that once formed was so shocking, so tremendous, that threatened with liquefying her brain. Chuck's father was the creator of the Intersect.
She turned her head toward him so fast that little stars filled her visual field for a moment.
His face seemed a shroud and he was still, so very still, that Sarah feared he had stopped living, until he asked with a weak voice that was hardly audible: "What... what did you say?"