...what if there was a Season 6 of Chuck?

CHUCK VERSUS WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS—PART ONE

A post-series Chuck story—and imagined Season 6 opener. As a reunited Chuck and Sarah begin to rebuild their life together, their C.I. firm is contracted by the CIA for a mysterious high-tech project near Las Vegas. With Morgan, Alex, and unexpected guests—it's a second honeymoon in Sin City, and a Dam crazy cyber-caper with major implications for Chuck and Sarah's future.

This entire story—if it were an actual program—would probably be a two-hour season premiere, which is why it is broken up into two parts.

There is a SOUNDTRACK for these episodes (as in the actual series). Music cues are embedded in the text, and you can listen while you read! The soundtrack is available on 8tracks dot com; just search on the tag "anthropocene." You can also find a direct link to the soundtrack on my author Bio page.

I appreciate hearing from my readers at any time...whether you liked the story or not, or have comments or questions. Even just a few words are always welcome. This is the only compensation a FF author ever gets. So please send me a comment via the review box at the end of each chapter...and THANK YOU!

Disclaimer: Like everyone else writing in this community, I don't own Chuck, but I love the show and its characters.


PROLOGUE

Late night, Echo Park, California

Invisible against the urban sky, smaller and quieter than a pigeon, a miniature drone helicopter rises from the Hollywood Hills and swoops down toward the nearby Echo Park neighborhood. It hovers above a familiar red-tile roofed apartment complex and begins to scan the entire structure with a set of different sensing devices.

A raven-haired woman with an iPad sits at a desk in an otherwise empty office a short distance away. She controls the drone helicopter and the sensing devices with practiced movements of her fingertips across the screen. She sweeps for live alarms and finds none. She peers through the roof of the complex and downward into the apartments, inch by inch, like the individual slices of a CAT scan. She finds two people sitting together in one of the apartments, and none in any of the others.

"All clear," the woman says softly to her iPad.

A man and a woman wearing what appear to be Los Angeles Police uniforms walk toward the apartment complex from a vehicle parked on the next block. They enter the central courtyard and find the building to be silent, except for the gentle bubbling of the decorative fountain in its midst. While the woman keeps watch, the man steps quietly to the front door of the apartment in the back.

In about ten seconds, the bogus policeman efficiently picks both the lock and the deadbolt, and opens the door just a crack. From his shirt pocket, he takes out a black plastic vial slightly larger than a double-A battery. He pulls a cap off one end and points the open end through the partially opened door. Three tiny objects shoot out of the vial and tumble into the apartment. Just before hitting the floor, each object pops out a set of wings and flutters upward to affix itself to the ceiling. The devices look exactly like moths.

The bogus policeman quietly closes the door, and he and his partner disappear back into the peaceful neighborhood.

Meanwhile, in the office, the raven-haired woman opens a new window on her iPad and takes control of the three drone moths. She pilots them around the apartment, looking into darkened hallways and rooms with tiny infrared eyes, until she locates the bedroom. She parks one in the living room, one in a hallway, and the third atop the frame of a Tron movie poster on a wall in the bedroom. With their wings retracted, they are all but out of sight, but their infrared gaze gives their operator clear views of the front door, the hallway, and the bed.


Moments later, in the adjoining apartment

Morgan and his girlfriend Alex heard nothing of the swift intrusion. They're together on the couch in their living room. Morgan watches a kung-fu movie with the volume turned almost down to nothing, while Alex sleeps, murmuring softly from time to time, with her head cradled in his lap. Morgan is exhausted and wishes they were both in bed, but he can't sleep. Not until he's learned what's happening with Chuck. Chuck's been gone for hours now and hasn't called or texted. Morgan sits, glancing from the screen to his phone to the window and back to the screen, with drowsiness battling anxiety and hope for his friends:

Did he find her? Did he kiss her? Does she remember?


About the same time, on the coast at Malibu

(Music: "Looking for a Sign," by Beck)

Chuck and Sarah cuddle in the dark on an empty strand of beach, sharing slow, deep kisses. His arms encircle her. Her fingers lazily caress the back of his neck. Their eyes are closed and faintly moist from tears. Neither of them has spoken for a long while.

But the tide is rising and the waves are edging closer, and finally one of them reaches far enough to sweep over her sandals and his black Chuck Taylor sneakers. Startled by the chilly water, Sarah and Chuck stumble backwards up the slope of the beach—then tumble when Chuck loses his balance. He falls, and Sarah lands across his lap, and they're crosswise on their backs in the sand, laughing and looking up at the sky.

"Whoa," says Chuck after their laughter subsides. "I didn't notice it got dark out."

"Me neither." Sarah rolls over on top of him and nestles her head into his chest. "And we're still here. Guess I didn't realize how much I just needed to feel good again—feel something real again." Her unruly blonde hair tickles Chuck's nose and smells like the salt spray. "Being here like this, with you, just feels so comfortable...and familiar. We've had some practice at this, haven't we?"

"Oh yeah. Sometimes even in the middle of deadly situations."

Sarah grins and turns her face toward Chuck's. "Well that makes sense, because by now you're probably dying to know if Morgan was right."

"I am—but like you said, we're still here." He gently caresses her back. "I'm pretty good with that."

"Me too." Sarah wriggles her body against his. "Okay," she continues, "so how do I put this? You know, umm, that spies like us sometimes have to do a mission even when we don't have complete intel...right?"

"Right, yeah..." Chuck replies, hesitantly.

"That's kind of what this is like. Chuck, I'm here now because I do trust you, and I believe in our story. There hasn't been any big rush of memories returning—sorry, Morgan—but our kiss was still magical in a different way. Does all this sound crazy to you?"

"No, no, no...not at all. Sarah, after what you've been through—"

She shakes her head. "It's what we've been through, Chuck. I understand that now. What I'm trying to say is...I'm feeling it now—I mean feeling it again. I don't just know it, I feel that I loved you and I'm sure I still do. I want this, Chuck. I want to be with you."

They're both trembling now, and their eyes begin to tear up again, so Chuck wraps his arms around Sarah and they kiss some more, with greater fervor, entwined on the sand. When they stop, Sarah looks wistful.

"Of course I want the rest of it back too," she says, "I want to remember my life...our life."

Chuck squeezes her reassuringly. "You will, baby. Your memories are coming back."

She nods. "With help. I really think it helps when I'm with you, or when I'm in places that are important. Important to us that is—like this beach."

Her eyes fix on his. "So...umm, Chuck...?"

"Yeah?"

"Will you take me home now?"

"Right away," Chuck whispers, half-choked with emotion.

"I am going to find myself again," Sarah continues. "I don't know how long that will take, but I do know I need to be with you...and I want to be home."

Her voice falters. "Chuck...I love you, and I know you love me...but it could be a long way back to being the wife you knew. You'll be patient with me, won't you?"

"Sarah, I promise you that...and more. Actually, I'm thinking of this as the two of us discovering each other all over again, and that sounds like fun." After a moment, he adds, "At whatever pace works for you, of course."

"I like that," Sarah says, more confidently. "Fun and adventure."

"Well, the two of us were always good at adventure," replies Chuck with a grin.

Sarah closes her eyes as Chuck rocks her gently in his arms. Then it occurs to her—"Do we have time to—like you say—rediscover each other? Can we drop...well, whatever we were doing before, just like that? Chuck, what were we doing before Quinn?"

Chuck laughs. "We were on our second or maybe third 'one last mission.' But now, we're really done, we're out, we're free to start something all new. We have all the time in the world and just enough money, I'd say. And, lots more of that, if and when our lawyers figure out how to unfreeze our—"

"We have lawyers?"

"Oh yes, we do. Spy lawyers. Perfect for the job. Same firm that Verbanski uses to keep her firm out of trouble with foreign governments and such. In fact, she recommended them to us, and you were the one who actually wrote up the contract for their services."

"Chuck," Sarah asks sheepishly, "who's Verbanski?"

"A story unto herself. One of the friends I'll enjoy helping you recall."

"When we're home. Oh, Chuck, that sounds so good to me. But...what about the...that house? You know, where I almost..." Sarah shudders in his arms. "You told me it was my dream home, but now, I don't think I could set foot in there again."

"One mission at a time," Chuck softly replies. "Like you used to say to me. Just know that you'll always have a place to go, where you'll be safe and where you can heal."

"Mmm." She slips her arms around his neck and kisses him. "I'm ready to go, Chuck."

They get to their feet and start walking, hand in hand, toward the dimly lit beachfront parking lot. Her black Lotus Evora and his humble Nerd Herder are the only two vehicles still there, sitting just two spaces apart.

"C'mere a second." Sarah opens the trunk of the Lotus. There's only one small suitcase inside.

"I've already left the hotel," she explains while opening the suitcase. "No matter what, I decided I wasn't going back there. I didn't take much with me—just my weapons and my mission logs. And these."

Sarah reaches into the case and takes out...her engagement and wedding rings.

Chuck gasps. She holds the rings out to him as her eyes tear up once more.

"Everything else in that hotel room was planted by Quinn. All part of his big lie. These are the only things that were never, ever a lie. Chuck...I love you, and I trust you, and I want to wear these again. Would you...?"

He sighs deeply, gets down on one knee in front of Sarah, and gently slips both rings onto her finger. She looks at them for a moment, then bends forward to embrace Chuck. "So sweet," she murmurs in his ear. "I love you."

"I love you too, baby," Chuck replies, and kisses her joyfully before getting back to his feet. "If you want, I'll leave the Herder here and ride with you."

"No, you don't have to." says Sarah. "I'll just follow you home."

He grins and nods toward the Lotus. "You sure you can keep up with me in that old beater?"

She elbows him in the ribs. "Ha! Just try and shake me."

Sarah and Chuck kiss once more, then with hearts racing, they jump into their cars and speed off, cat-and-mouse fashion, back into the welcoming city...

(Music: "Together Forever In Love," by Go Sailor)

...and when they are still about ten minutes away from their apartment, they are spotted by the mysterious raven-haired woman with the drone helicopter.

(Opening credits and "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" theme by Cake)