Hello. It's been a couple of months since I was able to come up with some ideas for a new story. I thought about a Chuck story that was a parody of the great Mel Brooks classic "Blazing Saddles," but I had too much difficulty making it work in text. (Although three guesses as to who would have played Mongo.) Then BDaddyDL told me of an idea he had where the son of Chuck and Sarah Bartowski would find out about his parents and help when they get into trouble. Some of the ideas I came up with differed from his vision of the story, but I'll assume he's OK with the changes, given what he thought of some of the sections when I asked him to look over them. So a big thanks to him for giving me a new story to write.
This will follow the canon of Chuck through all five seasons as closely as possible, but I had to include some of my original characters to make certain plot elements work. Therefore, just like in Chuck vs. a Blonde Leia, an Angry Jayne, and NOT Tricia Helfer, Agents Alex Forrest and Jimmy Slade will be on hand, although the focus of the story will be on Chuck and Sarah's son and a few new friends he discovers. What happened to the Intersect project will be explained in the story.
Hope that sets the story properly. Again, thanks to BDaddyDL for coming up with this idea. Enjoy, and please leave reviews. Thanks!
Virgin Atlantic Flight 47 to London
March 18, 2033
London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared - and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look at us
All that phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing
The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected and the wheat is growing thin
The engines stopped running, but I have no fear
London is drowning - and I live by the river
John Stephen Bartowski eyed his seatmate and best friend, Connor McShay, with the same sort of disdain he reserved for when Connor tried to hit on Mary Grier at their high school. Connor was oblivious to the racket he was causing among the other passengers…even before taking into account his horrible singing voice. Of course, every person had one of "those" friends; the ones who drove you up a wall but you couldn't bring yourself to hate because they were really good people. His father, Chuck, had one of those. For the life of him, John couldn't picture Uncle Morgan being one of "those" friends, given he was the CEO of Buy More and responsible for fifteen stores throughout southern California. The only working theory John could come up with was Aunt Alex must have straightened him out at some point. She was unquestionably the more responsible one of his favorite set of aunts and uncles.
He wasn't sure if he set a record for the most number of aunts and uncles, but since Aunt Ellie and Uncle Devon were the only ones who were blood-related, there had to be something unusual about that.
There were plenty of people who were close friends of his parents that watched John and his younger sister grow up. If nothing else, at least it wasn't hard to trace where his penchant for mathematics and science originated, to say nothing about being a three-sport athlete at Santa Monica High School. His parents always told him he got his brains from his father and his looks from his mother, Sarah. It wasn't hard to fathom; he had his father's height but his light brown hair was much closer to his mother's blonde hair. And there was no question he inherited his mother's azure eyes. His sister, on the other hand, was brunette through and through, much shorter at 5'4", and had eyes so brown, Uncle Casey used to joke that Uncle Morgan must have stopped by the house one day when Chuck was away on business. Thankfully, Aunt Gertrude eventually cured him of that habit.
John tapped Connor on his shoulder. "Do you take requests?"
Connor took off his headphones and paused his iPod XVI. "Always," he said with a grin.
"Ever heard of One Step Further by Some Holds Barred?"
"Good, sing that," John answered with some snark behind his voice.
"Hey, this song is epic, man. It's by this group called The Clash. It's, like, 50 or 60 years old or something. I'm telling you; music was so much better back then. None of this emo-syntho crap you hear now."
"Yeah, kids have it so rough these days," John grumbled, hearing echoes of Uncle Casey in his head again. He inflected his voice to evoke the guttural tones of his gruff uncle. "When I was your age, we only had 100 channels of TV, and we actually had to walk to this thing called the library if we wanted to read a book…"
"Who is that you're imitating?" Connor asked. "It sounds like you…only more like a man."
"Yeah, yeah. Funny," John replied as he scratched his temple with his middle finger.
"Dude, seriously. You should be more excited about this trip. You look like you're flying to someone's funeral."
"I think you're doing enough celebrating for the both of us," John said with a sigh.
Connor gave him a look. "Hey, is it my fault I'm enjoying the chance to spend Spring Break in London? Think about it: you and me, we get to see the countryside, you check out Cambridge, see if it's everything you were hoping for, we take in some sites…"
"…you get plastered at the pubs and hit on anything in a skirt," John finished for him. "I think the only reason you're tagging along with me is that you get a three-year head start on being a full-blown alcoholic."
"Oh, please. You are such a boy scout. The only way you could ever put a smile on your face is with a hammer and a chisel. I guess I can't blame you with the parents you have. Especially your mom."
"What are you talking about?"
"Remember when we were twelve; we were playing Call of Duty XV? I did that dive to grab the plasma grenade and broke your coffee table? I swear, the look she gave me, I almost wet my pants. Are you sure she wasn't, like, a trained assassin when she was younger?"
"Connor, how many times? She's worked in my dad's company for as long as I can remember. She runs the place, for crying out loud. They're in D.C. on a business trip even as we speak."
"At least your dad was cool about it."
John nodded. "Well, he could sympathize. Mom told me he was a total gamer. Bigger than you and me put together."
"Only now he makes a boatload of money designing them. That secret agent game he invented is just so cool. Way better than the James Bond videogames. You're just a regular person and the government calls you up and you become a superspy? Where did he come up with that idea?"
John shrugged. He knew his mother was the Chief Operations Officer for the company, but he didn't know exactly what his father did there. Whenever he asked his father about his work, he was always quick to credit his programming team for coming up with the ideas. However, since his father made enough money where John could afford to fly first class to London and even pay Connor's way across the pond, he wasn't exactly complaining. His parents could even afford to pay for Cambridge, although John had scholarship offers from several stateside schools. They wanted him to go wherever he desired. He just had to come back with good grades.
"Are they meeting up with your Aunt Alex? Maybe it's like that old author who wrote those military books back in the 90s and 2000s."
"Yeah, I heard he got called in front of this secret committee before Congress to explain where he got all of his information from. Maybe that's what your parents are doing."
"I highly doubt that," John replied, wondering why he ever let Connor tag along with him to London.
"But that's so cool, man. Your parents are good friends with the head of the CIA."
"No, Aunt Alex is higher up than the head of the CIA. She's the Director of National Intelligence. She's in charge of everything and reports directly to the President. I think."
John wasn't certain if he had Aunt Alex's title exactly right, but he did know Alex Forrest-Slade took over for the previous director not long after she married Uncle Jimmy. Or, according to both his mother and Aunt Ellie, dragged Uncle Jimmy down to the church because he was too clueless to propose to her. They had been married for fifteen years. He was the ring bearer at their wedding, and Aunt Ellie broke out the picture of him walking down the aisle next to his cousin, Clara, whenever she wanted to embarrass John in front of his friends.
He had only seen Aunt Alex a handful of times in his life, but he saw his Uncle Jimmy almost every year. He was an executive with the Washington Nationals, and John credited him for his interest in sports. They would sit in one of the skyboxes whenever the Dodgers hosted the Nats. Connor always considered it the highlight of the summer; they would always run into the hottest A-list Hollywood stars whenever Jimmy was in town.
"OK, I'm starting to crash. Are you planning to draw on me or try to balance cups of water on my head while I'm taking a nap?" John asked with a wary gaze at Connor.
"Would I do that to you?" Connor asked, and John's icy glare dropped another ten degrees. "Again?"
John put his noise-cancelling headphones on and turned his iComm to a smooth jazz station, completely unable to imagine when portable computers were the size of large manilla folders. He was asleep within minutes, happy to get some rest for the remainder of the trip.
Filomena Ristorante, Washington, D.C.
March 16, 2033
8:45 PM EDT
Alex Forrest-Slade was able to relax for the first time in almost two weeks. It was the most she was ever grilled by the President's advisors since she took over this job thirteen years ago. She was questioned less during her initial Senate subcommittee hearing, a standard process to vet a person for a job of this stature but which never made it on record. However, President Beckett believed in the old Murphy's Law adage "if everything's going right, you obviously overlooked something."
If there was one constant to her 31 years in this business, politicians were full of it.
They were shocked...as was Alex herself...when General Diane Beckman recommended Alex as her replacement as the Director of National Intelligence when she retired at the end of the 2010s. But this was a different country. Even Alex was amazed how well the country had been running over the last fifteen years. At some point during the '10s, all the political parties decided to start working together, and the economy slowly built itself back up after so many problems to start the 2000s. Several conflicts with China in the early 2020s made things hairy for a while, but eventually they settled down and became a more hospitable trading partner. There were a few hiccups when a new regime emerged in Russia, and a decades-long skirmish between India and Pakistan threatened to spill past their respective countries, but nothing occurred on the scale of the old Cold War of the late 20th century or the Cuban Missile Crisis or even 9/11.
Then again, perhaps the President was right. All was right with the world, yet Alex was the busiest Director of National Intelligence in history.
With the shifting politics and economics of the world, it was her job to keep up with it and make sure the country's intelligence agencies adjusted quickly. Although she had a team of advisors to help her, she relied on Jimmy a considerable amount. For someone who was supposed to highly skilled in mathematics and computers, Jimmy wasn't half bad at political science and communications. Intelligence-gathering had increased by 25% during her tenure with only small rises in her annual budgets to account for cost-of-living increases. This was unprecedented in the world of intelligence, and Alex seemed to spend as much time explaining to other countries' intelligence agencies how she did her job as she did actually doing her job.
Of course, she couldn't tell the President she leaned a lot on her husband for advice. Politicians tended to frown on consulting with people you were screwing silly.
She asked Jimmy to marry her after getting tired of waiting for him to pop the question. Realizing he was either too clueless or too scared to take the plunge, she decided she would just do it the way men were supposed to: romantic dinner, night on the town, and a beautiful engagement ring. When she asked him, he felt so embarrassed about not asking her, the engagement ring he ran out to buy her the very next day had a diamond on it so large, it could be seen by the people building the Mars Space Station...without a telescope. Thankfully, the rest of it worked out beautifully. Sarah Bartowski was her Matron of Honor, and her two nieces were her bridesmaids. The highlight of the small wedding was watching her nieces keep John Casey out on the dance floor all night.
Alex checked the time on her government-issue comm system. These were popular items, mostly thanks to Apple making them for the public. But the candy bar-sized communications unit she held was several generations ahead of what was available in the stores and could access any computer system she needed. And she knew the inventor of it. In fact, Chuck and Sarah were now twenty minutes late for dinner. That was unusual in and of itself, but those two always enjoyed their time together, especially when they went on business trips. Sarah always accompanied her husband, which was especially advantageous since Chuck was likely considered a high-profile target to many nefarious organizations, and Sarah was in amazing shape for a 53-year-old.
Alex was probably being paranoid, but paranoia was part and parcel with her job. She started making inquiries using her gComm.
Wheatsheaf Pub, Southwark Street, London
March 18, 2033
9:30 PM GMT
Both Connor and John knew of the long-flight rule stating you should remain awake until it was the normal sleep time for whatever time zone you visited. Connor bounded around on energy he couldn't get if he ate a dozen donuts, but John limped to their hotel and crashed until 2:00 PM London time. From there, he barely made it in time for his 3:00 PM appointment with the Admissions Counselor at Cambridge to set up his itinerary for while he was in town. After barely making it back to his hotel, he just wanted to crawl into bed and wake up in the morning, bypassing any other activities for the entire day.
Connor, naturally, had other plans, all of which required his wingman. And unlike the United States, he could walk right into any bar he wanted.
RED-B chips had been installed in all ID cards for the last 20 years. The Radio Enhanced Database chips (RED-B) made it all but impossible to create a fake ID, since a scanner could easily identify the actual name and birthdate of the ID holder. This made Connor's excitement about going to a city where the legal drinking age was still eighteen even more off the charts. Sure enough, the pub was filled to capacity with college students and nursing students from nearby hospitals blowing off steam from the week. Even Connor could find someone in a place like this.
Not that John was enthusiastic about helping his friend get laid. He was content to just play the VR Biplane Battle game in the corner of the pub and not be bothered otherwise.
"Talk to me, Goose," Connor said as he announced his presence at the VR game, annoying John in the process.
Connor pointed to the game. "You of all people should know what that means. Look at what game you're playing."
"Uh, biplanes were from World War I. I think you're quoting a movie from the 1980s."
"Whatever, I need your help." Connor gestured over to the opposite end of the bar. "I've got two women who have been eyeing me all night. Even you know you can't approach them two-against-one. Come on. Wingman time."
"We flew all night, and I have twelve different orientation lectures to attend this weekend. Can't I just play it low-key tonight?"
Connor looked ready to pull his hair out. "John, you've GOT to be kidding." He gestured to the two women. "You know how long we would have to wait to meet women like that in a bar in L.A.? We can't even GET into bars in L.A.! This is the universe throwing us a bone. Let's go! Time to sink your teeth in."
"Forget it," John grumbled.
Connor held his hand over the joystick John was using to guide the biplane. "Five, four..."
"Don't even think about it, jackass."
"Three..." Connor didn't bother counting two or one as he grabbed the joystick and moved it in all directions until John's biplane crashed. "Sorry, game over. Better luck next time. Now let's go!"
John quietly growled at him, but he knew Connor would keep pestering him until he caved. He grabbed his drink and followed behind Connor to the end of the bar where the two ladies were. As annoying as Connor was, John had to admit the man knew attractive women when he saw them. If Connor kept to his standard pattern, he'd chat up the blonde sitting on the barstool with the white blouse and the black miniskirt. John heard endlessly from his classmates over the years how hot his mother was, particularly from Connor. It drove him up a wall on an almost-daily basis. No doubt that would factor into Connor's choice, leaving him with her friend, whom John thought was very attractive. She had long fire-red hair and blue eyes that were a lighter shade even than his. John wasn't sure, but he got the feeling the redhead was mentally undressing him as they walked up to the ladies.
There's a first for everything, John thought to himself.
He was never short of dates in high school, but the longest relationship he had with anybody was for six months in his junior year. He took the relationship far more seriously than she did, and she decided she would be better off with a total douchebag whose parents owned a palatial mansion just off the PCH. But not a single girl in high school ever looked at him the way the redhead was looking at him now.
"Good evening," Connor began the chess match. "Can we get you another drink?"
"A couple of ales," the blonde said with a smile. Connor motioned to the bartender, who brought another round to the ladies. "Obviously, you're not from London. From where are you on holiday?"
"We live just outside of Los Angeles, in Malibu."
The blonde's eyes lit up at that, but the redhead seemed to just take in the conversation while keeping an eye on John. "So, how close do those shows on TV come to the real thing?"
John laughed gently. "Not very. There are a lot of parties, but it's not all backstabbing and drama. And much less cosmetic surgery than they say."
The blonde laughed at that while keeping an eye on Connor. Clearly, the two women had picked out who would get whom long before Connor and he decided.
"I'm Connor and this is John." Connor extended his hand to the blonde, which she shook.
"I'm Michelle and this is Samantha," the blonde replied.
"Sam is fine," Samantha said as she shook John's hand.
Michelle tipped her drink towards Connor. "And thank you for the drinks. Most of the Americans we've met are far less subtle than you two."
"Oh, wait 'til he gets a few drinks in him. You won't be saying that then," John quipped, happy he could at least insult Connor with the little schtick they had going.
Michelle laughed hysterically, but Samantha settled for just smiling. "Wait, wait," Michelle interrupted. "John?" she asked, pointing to him. "And Connor?" she asked and pointed again. "John Connor?"
Connor laughed while John rolled his eyes. "Yeah, that joke never gets old. Our parents we're preemptively creative. They must have known we'd find each other before we were born. And we've been hearing Schwarzenegger imitations ever since."
Everybody laughed at that. Michelle stood up purposefully from her barstool. "Connor, could you help me with the jukebox? The students here play nothing but crap. What was that old style of music with the drums and bass guitars and all that?"
"That's it. Could you help me with finding some good songs to play?"
"Not a problem," Connor said with a smile. Michelle walked over to the jukebox, gently pulling on Connor's arm.
"We'll be back," both of them said in a horribly-botched imitation of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Samantha moved in front of Michelle's barstool so she was standing right next to John. "I take it he's the outgoing member of your little team?" Samantha asked with a hint of mischief in her voice John could have sworn he heard before.
He nodded. "He's Maverick, and I'm Goose."
"Maverick and Goose?"
"Old movie from the 1980s. Maverick was a hot-shot Navy pilot, and Goose was the family man who was his partner."
Samantha shrugged. "There's nothing wrong with being the responsible one."
"Only Goose dies halfway through the film."
"Oh. Well, in that case..." Samantha gave him a smile.
"Um, I think Michelle is trying to signal you," John said as he pointed behind Samantha. She turned to look at Michelle, who flipped her hair off of her shoulders.
"Oh, great," Samantha said with considerable petulance.
"What is it?"
Samantha turned back to him. "Well, if your friend likes Michelle, he's about to really like her. The hair flip is our 'I'm getting some' signal."
John's eyes widened slightly. "Really?"
"She wants me to go across the street to the corner shop and get a box of condoms."
"Want me to go with you?"
"Oh, no. Stay here. Could you get us another round? I'm still sort of...deciding...and you standing right there won't help."
"Deciding?" John asked, to which Samantha gave him a serious 'come hither' look. "Oh, deciding."
"Be right back."
John watched Samantha walk out of the pub and across the street. He turned back to the bar to order another round, giving the bartender a twenty. He took a sip from his ale when a sharp scream could be heard from ouside. He sprinted out of the bar to see what was going on.
He crossed the street just in time to see Samantha hurled into the side of the corner store. A man pointed a knife in her direction.
John charged at the man and knocked him down. The man quickly got up and went after John with the knife. John sidestepped him and grabbed his wrist, twisting the man's arm behind him in a half-Nelson. He bent the man's wrist back until the knife dropped to the ground. John kicked the knife away as the man spun around, forcing John to release his wrist. He tried to throw a punch, but John ducked and thust a palm strike at the man's face, knocking him back. He followed it up with a hook to the man's chin. The man fell to the ground, and John stood over him, almost daring him to get up again. The man scrambled backwards away from him and took off down the alley. John chased him for twenty yards, but the man disappeared.
John returned to the corner store to find Samantha breathing heavily and still in shock from what happened.
"Are you OK?" John asked her.
Samantha's breathing returned to normal, and she looked at him in awe. "Wow. All the nasty things my classmates say about Americans? You just disproved every one of them."
"Are you sure you're OK?"
Samantha nodded slowly. She then put her arms around John and hugged him tightly. "Thank you," she said quietly into his ear.
"You're still shaking a bit," he said as he held onto her.
"I'm sorry. I'm just still a little freaked out by what just happened. I hope you don't mind if I borrow your embrace for a few more seconds."
John smiled. "Not at all. That sort of thing would freak me out."
Samantha pulled back slightly but still held onto John. "Freak you out? You have to be kidding me. Brave, smart, attractive, friendly, AND humble? Who were your parents, Zeus and Athena?"
He laughed. "Oh, come on. I'm not anybody special. I just happened to be around when someone needed help. I mean, I probably get that from my parents. I don't know."
"Then they taught you very well," Samantha said confidently as she kissed John on his cheek. She took his hand and started pulling him back to the pub. "I would definitely like to finish that drink. Are you up for it?"
"Sure," John replied as they walked across the street and reentered the pub. The bartender put a round of drinks in front of them.
"On the house, mate," the bartender said. "That was nice work over there. Are you one of those Army Ranger types?"
"Me?" John was shocked. "No, not at all."
The bartender walked away. John turned towards Samantha, who was definitely standing closer to him than she was earlier. "Then where did you learn that?" she asked, her sky blue eyes twinkling even in the darkened pub.
"I don't know. I mean, my mother learned a few things from a self-defense course she took in college and made sure my sister and me knew the basics. Some of it probably came from watching too many of those old Jackie Chan films."
"Oh, that really short guy who could fly all over the place and did all of those kung-fu moves? He did a few comedy movies, right?"
"Some of them were, yes. My dad says I pick up on things easily. He claims I got it from my mother, but she claims I got it from him."
"Wow, it sounds like you do have the perfect parents," Samantha said as her hand slid surreptitiously over his.
"Mmm, I don't know. They were pretty strict growing up. We had a lot of things, but both of them made sure we earned our keep. I worked part-time during the summer in high school when I wasn't playing sports. Any grade lower than a B, and the car keys and all the computer games would disappear in an instant. Thankfully, I only got a C once. Consumer Education, and I got it up to a B by the end of the semester."
"It sounds like you were quite the genius. And you played sports, too?"
"My Uncles Casey and Jimmy kind of 'encouraged' me to do it. I think Uncle Casey in particular was afraid I would become too much like my father and would, to use his words, 'be forced to chop down the Bartowski family tree before the world was knee-deep in nerds'.
Samantha laughed heartily at that. She grabbed her ale and downed the remainder of it. "Woo!" she exclaimed as she leaned against John for support. She held onto him as she looked around the bar. "Where is that little tart?"
"Michelle. She makes me go get the condoms, then I get attacked, and she doesn't even have the decency to stick around."
"She must really like your friend. She probably couldn't wait and sent him into the loo to buy a couple out of the machine."
"Can I get you a taxi back to your dorm or apartment? Or they calls those flats here, right?"
John started to back away, but Samantha held him in place. She was determined to keep him close to her, and he wasn't exactly upset by it. "We could try, but there will probably be a bra hanging off of the doorknob."
"That's the way Michelle operates. We're the best of friends until it's time to find some guys. Then it's every girl for herself."
Samantha slid her arms around John's neck. "Besides, do you remember when I said I was still trying to decide?" She stood on her toes as she pulled John down to her lips. John's eyes widened as he was on the receiving end of a kiss that put every kiss he ever had to shame. Samantha pressed into him as her tongue teased his.
"You kind of made that decision for me," she said in a throaty voice as she grabbed his face and kissed him harder. His hands gently cradled her back as they continued their steamy make-out session. She reached behind her to move one of his hands down to her ass. John gave thought to backing away, but Samantha putting both of her hands on his ass and squeezing tightly ended that argument quickly.
"Wait, wait," John said as a bit of that 'good parenting' he received growing up was messing with his conscience. "Are you sure this is such a good idea? I mean, you were attacked earlier, and..."
Samantha clamped her hand over John's mouth to silence him. Her hands slid around his neck once again. "Let me tell you a little something about me," she purred. "I don't hear the word 'no' from men very often. The word 'yes'? I hear that all the time. And at the risk of sounding arrogant, I have every intention of hearing 'yes' from you all night long."
John stared in shock at Samantha, who then proceeded to make her first kiss feel like a peck on the cheek. She hooked her leg around his body and squeezed his ass again as she kissed and nibbled his neck, breaking down any last objection John might have had to taking her back to his hotel room.
They quickly dashed out of the bar and into the first available taxi.
Langham Hotel, London
March 19, 2033
12:15 AM GMT
John and Samantha stumbled out of the elevator in permanent lip lock. They darted back and forth as they walked down the hall, throwing themselves off-balance with their intense kissing. They made to John's hotel room. He broke away from her long enough to unlock the door and open it. He stared in total shock.
Casey, Gertrude, Jimmy, and Alex were there. As was Aunt Carina, whom he hadn't seen in years.
He suddenly turned and looked at Samantha. THAT'S who she reminded me of, he thought.
"John, could you go inside?" Samantha asked softly, acting nothing at all like the sexually-charged person she was a moment ago.
John timidly stepped inside. There was a chair set up in the middle of the room that faced everybody. He slowly sat down.
"You know everybody already," Carina said. She gestured to Samantha. "And this is my daughter, Samantha."
"Your...your daughter?" John was having dificulty trying to process everything that had happned to him tonight. "What's going on?"
He looked around the room, and the solemn expressions on everyone's faces were not assuaging his fears. Quite the opposite, in fact.
"John..." Casey began.
John turned to look at his namesake, who bore the most serious expression he had ever seen on his uncle.
"Your parents are missing," he said quietly.