Remember the quiz? How did you do? Most the answers are out on the table, the last few are coming shortly.
I went into this story considering all five of the potential couples as wedding candidates vs my circle of life theme. Here was my thinking.
Mary Emma and Kipper have always been a couple and certainly this could be their 'day'. They make a great circle of life couple, as a role reversal, with Kipper being Sarah like, and Mary Emma being Chuck like.
JR is the best circle of life groom, as he is Chuck in many ways, although far more quiet and possibly even quirkier. Neither Katie nor Sammie are exactly Sarah like, but both have some endearing qualities in common with Sarah. Sam is Ginger, to Katie's Mary Ann. Sam adores JR and has been home recently to film a movie in Hollywood, did she come back because of JR, or did her being home fuel a romance? Katie has been around LA and CI the whole while, so she had opportunity to fall for JR's nerdish charm while the other kids moved away. Did she?
How about Stevie? I give hints, Stevie is more like Chuck in personality than I first let on, he inherited Chuck's friendliness and talkativeness, as opposed to Sarah's more reserved personality in JR. A wedding pairing with Katie or Sam would make for a beautiful couple. Did Katie's schoolgirl crush mature with Stevie? Or did Sam and Stevie hook up while both were in Europe, going on Indiana Jones like adventures together and falling in love?
You'll find out a 'couple' of hundred words into the final chapter who got married (unless I spilled the beans by mistake earlier).
Then, once the couple is revealed, the full circle of life nature of the story is revealed, with a little help from General Casey.
Enjoy The Lion, the Lioness, and the 'Pride'
The Circle Closes, 5/16/2037, Orion Heights
Sarah gasped as the hair pins flew as if they were jet propelled, easily hitting the mark, taking out four of the ten terrorists, who were just as shocked and frozen by the move as Sarah.
As the hair pins stuck their target, four perfect CIA kill shots took out four more of the terrorists as Kipper Coleshaw had a pair of arm guns up each sleeve just like the Wild Wild West. He had easy shots at four of the terrorists, but the other two were already close in by the wedding party, and shielded away from Kipper's deadly aim.
While Kipper and the bride did their things, Indy Bartowski grabbed the sash from Sam's dress, undoing Sam's dress. Stevie used the sash like a bull whip to grab the terrorist's gun, easily disarming one of the remaining two bad guys.
When Indy disarmed the man using the sash, Sam was sent spinning from Indy's pulling on her dress into the now unarmed man, landing on top of him. Sam, with her dress now open in the front, straddled the bad guy and strangely gave the villain a kiss. Indy looked shocked, "Sam, what are you doing?"
Sam looked up at Indy as the man passed out, not bothering to cover herself giving Indy an eyeful, "Knockout drug in the lipstick."
Indy had a sly grin, "Maybe being a bad guy isn't so bad."
"Just hush and give me that sash back." Sam indignantly scolded Indy as she got up, still not bothering to cover up.
Mary Emma Bartowski was close enough to the final gunman that she was able to get behind him and place him in a nerve hold. The terrorist was quickly down to his knees sinking into unconsciousness. The rest of the shocked audience, including Chuck and Sarah, had little time to react, as the attack was over in seconds.
Katie had her gun drawn and had JR pulled to his knees and close to her to protect him, making sure the kidnapping attempt was over. The sight of the five foot tall bride, gun drawn, protecting the kneeling seven foot groom painted an epic 'Bartowski' picture that the photographer managed to catch for posterity.
The crowd was stunned. Except for Sarah Bartowski, as she leaned over to Chuck and proudly said, "'The Butkus', I taught Mary Emma that when she was a little girl."
Chuck replied, "Stevie must have paid attention during all those Indiana Jones movies, did you see him with the sash, just like Indy's bull whip in the hallo movies? "
Sarah nodded, "And Katie tossed those hairpins just like the bullet full court pass she threw to Mary Emma to win the 2029 California State Basketball Title."
Chuck excitedly added, "I thought I saw JR working on jet propelled hairpins last month. Cool huh? And Kipper had those guns rigged like the Wild Wild West, I can't believe the kids."
Sarah proudly finished up with, "Sammie used the tranq lip stick trick I showed her when she went on her first date with a much older man. I'd thought she'd forgotten about that trick."
But just when the chaos appeared over, there was more. Without warning, a fleet of attack drones appeared from behind the mountain, and advanced on the grounds. The crowd was shocked for a moment, then began to scream and run.
Everyone ran, save for JR Bartowski, who bravely stood up and shielded his new bride in a role reversal from a moment earlier. "I got this Katie." JR said to his new bride.
Sarah and Chuck, who still had hardly moved, looked at each other and ran too, but toward the kids, "Sarah, there's no where to run. Let's try to shield the kids."
To Chuck and Sarah's surprise, as they made it to the kids, JR's eyes started blinking rapidly, as he concentrated on the fleet of drones. As the fleet swooped down toward the grounds, suddenly they diverted from their target and headed out to the Pacific Ocean. Seconds later the drones crashed into the ocean making a huge explosion.
The attack was over.
"Sarah, JR just flashed." Chuck frantically said.
Sarah looked surprisingly calm, "He was fantastic Chuck. He saved us."
Katie Bartowski looked up at her handsome new husband and said, "You saved me." As Katie spoke, she realized JR was not looking too good and asked, "Are you OK JR? "
JR Bartowski was white as a sheep, as he looked down at his new bride, and nodded a yes reply, unable to speak.
"JR, you look sick. Say something." Katie stood up and put her arm around the heroic groom.
JR was trembling, trying to say something, when he blurted out in a frightened voice, "Oh Boy" as he feinted into his wife's arms.
The five members of the wedding party, along with Chuck and Sarah huddled around JR. Katie still had her arms around her husband, as he started to come around.
"JR? Can you hear me?" Sarah asked.
"Yea mom. I'm OK. I'm sorry for flashing. I'm trying not to." JR sheepishly said.
Sarah replied in a most compassionate manner, "JR, don't worry about that. You're a hero. You all are. You saved us all. Come on. Let's get you inside and cleaned up." Then, Sarah shifted looks and sternly added, "After that, we need to talk." Sarah, the family lioness, was back in charge of her 'pride', walking toward the house by herself, not waiting for a response.
"Yes mom." Sarah's three kids called out, while the other three said "Yes Mrs B", as the six obediently formed a line and followed Sarah into the house, like six cubs following the lioness into the jungle after a successful hunt.
Chuck, like the alpha male lion of the pride, simply watched his clan walk into the house as he stood alone in astonishment. After a few seconds, he slowly followed taking up the rear, making sure no stragglers were left behind.
Team B TNG (The Next Generation), 5/16/2037, Orion Heights
While they walked inside, the kids looked at each other trying to make sense of the past few minutes, as in some ways, they were as confused by what took place as Chuck and Sarah were.
Katie had hold of JR's arm in a most protective manner. Katie said to JR, "It's OK Sweetie, the attack's over."
"But I flashed Katie. I'm scared." JR had a worried look on his face.
"We'll figure it out Sweetie. Your mom and dad are with us now, they've been through this all before. We couldn't be in better hands." Katie was the perfect calm confident voice of reason that JR needed.
As the eight of them gathered their composure and got cleaned up, Sarah asked them as a group, "Are you kids all spies? And JR, are you an intersect?"
Chuck added in, "Are you a team, like Casey, Sarah and I were?"
Mary Emma, as usual, answered first, "No daddy, we're not a team. Mom, I'm not sure who is or isn't a spy, I'm not allowed to talk about it. Not even with Kipper. AND I was specifically ordered to not talk with you mom."
General Casey walked into the room joining the family proceedings. "That's OK Mary Emma. Go ahead. All of you. This whole mess isn't going away, much as we've all tried to ignore it. We have to meet it head on."
Mary Emma was relieved, as she wanted to confide in her mother for so long about this, "Mom. I signed up my first day at Harvard, same program as you did mom."
Sarah was in a state of shock, "Oh Mary Emma. Why?"
Mary Emma proudly and confidently smiled at her mother, "Mom. That's easy. Because I wanted to be like you."
Sarah had her hand to her mouth, trying to hold back her tears, "Mary Emma. No. That's not what I wanted for you."
Mary Emma put her arm around her mom, "What's wrong with being like you? You're the most heroic person in the world. We all see it. You and daddy saved the world every day."
Sam Torres broke in at this point, hoping to cheer Sarah up, "Same with me Mrs B."
"You're a spy too Sam?" Stevie asked.
Sam answered, "Yep." Sam continued, "The CIA approached me when I was on a fashion shoot in Venezuela. My mission was to capture a war lord with an eye for beautiful young woman. I told them I was all in."
Chuck asked, "But Sam. You weren't trained. How did you kidnap a war lord?"
Sam laughed, "That's easy. I used the same tranq lip stick formula Mrs B gave me in high school to subdue the pervert. Piece of cake."
Sarah was starting to come out of shock, "But Sammie, it's so dangerous."
Sam smiled at Sarah, "Mrs B. Before being a spy, my life was completely for me, now I help save the world just like you and Mr B do, what could be better?"
Stevie, in an attempt to lighten things up, "Mom. I'm not a spy. I think I might be the only one though. But Uncle Casey, sign me up. That fight at the wedding was a blast. Nothing better than seeing a near naked Sammie."
Sam gave Stevie the evil eye, "That's as much of me as you'll ever see In-deee"
Kipper gave his best friend more credit, "Indy, that was fast thinking with the sash. I didn't have a shot at the other two, if you hadn't done that, we'd all be dead."
Stevie flashed his debonair smile, "I had to come up with some way to get Sam's clothes off. My usual charm wasn't working."
Sam scolded Indy, as she did before, "Very funny Indy."
Mary Emma added in, "Indy, you're gross."
Kipper was next to tell his story, "Mrs B, you and Mr B had to know I was in the agency."
Sarah nodded at Kipper, "Yea Kipper, I think we did. Why the guns today though?"
Kipper looked around the room at the others, then at General Casey, who nodded, "I'm pretty sure only two of us were working as spies today. I was assigned as protection for the event. So I loaded the arm guns, just in case. Mr B, just like the Wild Wild West. Cool, huh? I had JR and Katie get them made for me at CI."
"Kipper, you were awesome." Chuck nodded his approval.
Casey was able to shed more light on the matter, "Sarah, the agency had some vague threats that someone found out JR had latent intersect technology. As you and Chuck know, nobody has ever duplicated Joe Young and Stephen's work with the intersect. JR might be the only person who still has an active intersect, hence he is a target."
Sarah was stunned by all of this, "Casey, you knew JR had some intersect ability?"
Casey gave Sarah one of his looks, "UgggHHHuuuggghhh. Sarah. I'm a trained spy. We all could see JR was flashing as a kid. Jeeegggnnnfffppphhh."
Sarah looked around the room, "Kids, you knew too?"
Mary Emma answered, "Sure, we all did mom. When we were little, JR did all sorts of tricks for the five of us when you and daddy weren't around. Sometimes, he couldn't help himself in front of you, so we all blamed it on Dr Henry's ghost. We could tell how scared JR's flashing made you, so we didn't tell you the truth, we didn't tell anyone."
JR was silent the entire time, but now pitched in, "Then, I slowly stopped flashing, like it never happened at all, like a dream. By the time I was in high school, I couldn't flash, even if I tried."
Katie picked up the story, "Until two years ago, when JR and I went on our first date. JR finally asked me out after all the time we spent together."
Sarah smiled at her new daughter in law, "Yea. Bartowski men take a little coaxing to show their love. Trust me Katie, it's worth it."
"I know Mrs B. I know. Anyhow, we went to a Star Wars hologram triple feature for our first date. As we left the theater, we got mugged in the parking ramp. They beat JR and had me held down. They were starting to rip my clothes off and JR went berserk. He flashed and beat them away in a few seconds." Katie gently smiled at JR, "He saved me."
JR continued, "Since then, I've been trying to keep from flashing, but it's getting harder and harder to suppress. Today, when the drones attacked, that's the second time I've had full out flash in public since I was young, the first time being that night with Katie."
Sarah nodded, as she was calming down, "OK then. Who was the other one working today?"
The kids looked at each other, since they didn't know the answer to this either, except for Katie, "I was Mrs B."
Sarah again was shocked, "Katie. You? You're an agent? You had no spy skills growing up compared to the other kids."
Casey replied, "I'll answer that. It's my fault. When I got word that JR and Katie got attacked, I reviewed the crime scene and it was pretty obvious JR flashed. I couldn't count on JR always being able to flash to protect himself, so I asked Katie if she would consider training."
Katie continued, "I was all in Mrs B. JR and I were in love long before we ever went out, working together at Carmichael and spending time together around Orion Heights once the other kids left. When I realized he needed my help, becoming a spy was a no brainer for me."
Casey fondly looked at Katie, before he corrected her, "Katie. You aren't exactly a spy. You're a handler. Your job is to protect JR, just in case someone figured out that JR was the intersect. Sarah, it turned out Katie scored higher on the handler test than anyone ever has."
"Higher than even Mrs B?" Kipper asked as they all knew Sarah was Chuck's handler back in the day.
Sarah, feeling better, answered that one, "Kipper, I wasn't so good on the handler test, they told me I was too aggressive. I did much better on the take out the bad guy type tests."
Chuck put his hand on his wife's, "Or the kill crocodiles type of test?"
Sarah smiled at Chuck.
Mary Emma cut off the cute mom and dad exchange with a question, "General Casey? Mom, Dad? What now?"
Casey fielded that one, "I have an idea, you aren't going to like it Chuck and Sarah."
Sarah responded to Casey, "Oh no Casey. You can't. We can't. They can't."
Mary Emma replied, "Mom, if Uncle Casey is thinking what I think he is, it's a great idea."
Kipper nodded, "I'm already in."
Stevie jumped in next, "Reform Team B, around JR as the intersect? Count me in."
Sam nodded, "Every team needs a seduction expert! I'm your girl!"
That comment excited Stevie, "Sam, you take the men, I'll take the woman! What could be more fun?"
Katie shook her head no, "Thank you guys for all your help, but we could never ask you to do that for us."
Kipper replied to his sister, "Nonsense Katie, we were born for this, all six of us were."
Mary Emma in charge, summed things up, "Good, then it's settled. We're officially ..."
The group called out as one, "Team B TNG."
Casey looked around the room, then said, "Well then it's settled, Team B TNG it is. Team, I just happen to have a situation I need your help on. We should be back in time to open the wedding gifts at Katie and JR's house at Coleshaw Manner tomorrow afternoon."
Chuck looked at his wife who smiled back at him, knowing only too well what he was about to say. But, before Chuck could get the words out, the six members of Team B TNG called out, as a team, "OH BOY!"
Team B TNG - Official Roster
Kipper Coleshaw- West Point grad, Special Forces by day, Team B marksman and hand to hand combat expert by night
Sam Torres – Did not attend college, Actress and Model by day, Team B seduction expert by night
Mary Emma Bartowski – Harvard grad, ITV reporter, Journalist, Author by day, Team B field agent and team leader by night
Stevie 'Indy' Bartowski – Oxford grad, Professor and Archaeologist by day, Team B field agent by night
Katie Bartowski – UCLA grad, Carmichael exec by day, Intersect handler by night
JR Bartowski – Stanford grad, Carmichael scientist by day, the Intersect by night
General John Casey – retired General by day, commander of Team B TNG by night