AN: This is a new one for those of you just tuning in to my writing. It was suggested to me I read an APR story, Kappa, to get some ideas. So I did and then some JAG ones as well. Batty02's story also added some inspiration to this, so thanks guys/gals. Again this is AU, but what else would you expect from me by now. For all you Navy buffs, the squadron names don't exist and if I use one that did, it might not be on the actual carrier they flew from. As you know I hate the drawn out wait for Chuck and Sarah to get together so like always it will happen fast here as well. I hope you all like this, but don't expect fast updates since this is new. For the JAG fans I moved the time line to one year earlier to make it fit in this story. Now sit back and enjoy your flight.
Naval Academy 2003
This was the day Ensign Chuck Bartowski had waited for since he had been a junior in high school just a few years ago. While he was sitting listening to the speakers drone on and on about the graduating class of Cadets that were soon to be officers in the United States Military his mind began to drift to the day that changed his life forever.
Chuck's thought's back to 1998
"Hey Chuck," his best friend Morgan began, "what surprises do you think they have in store for us today?"
"Heck if I know," Chuck answered with a shrug of his shoulders.
As if the office personnel could hear the two of them talking the speaker came to life.
"Attention students, we have a very special surprise for you today 2 PM in the auditorium. There will be a presentation for the junior and senior classes only. We have two special guests from the military here to speak with you about the chance the military offers you. Don't be late to the presentation and that concludes our announcements for the day."
"Probably some more of those army guys trying to get us to enlist," Morgan stated. "Not me though, I have plans on going to culinary school and becoming a chief. Then maybe open my own restaurant after a few years."
"Same here Morgan," stated Chuck. "I plan to go college and get my electrical engineering degree then use my skills to build a new and better computer system; maybe even do some software design. There is nothing they can say to make me change my mind."
When the time came for them to attend the assembly they were both hoping it would be quick and painless. Finding a pair of empty seats they settled in and looked to the stage. Up on the stage seated next to the speaker podium were two people he never expected to see, a Naval Officer and a Marine Corps Officer, because he expected to see the normal recruiters that school brought in.
The principal introduced them as Major Sarah MacKenzie, Marine Corps and Lieutenant Commander Harmon Rabb, US Navy. After the Major gave her speech about how going to the academy would offer you a chance to become a lawyer and serve your country, it was the Navy's turn. The Commander also spoke of getting a free education and learning to fly fighter jets all for the same price, four years of your time serving your country. When the speeches concluded they offered to speak to anyone that was interested. He also told them to call them Harm and Mac when they spoke to them.
Chuck tried to get Morgan to join him but Morgan refused saying he wasn't cut out for military life but thought Chuck would fit right in. So Chuck approached the pair nervously and waited for the few other students to leave before he approached them with his questions. He waited about five minutes before all the other students were gone then began to ask his questions.
"Harm, Mac," he began, "what's it really like in the military? We hear horror stories all the time about it."
Mac was the first to go, "It can be very tough at first, starting with boot camp, but after you start doing your job it's not much worse than any job, discounting the PT of course."
"I agree with her on some part of that except for the Naval Aviators, not many fighter pilots in the civilian sector." Mac just rolled her eyes at the aviator comment. "Plus you need to factor into it the time you may have to spend away from your family. That's a big sacrifice for most young people to make. But that can be a good thing as well; it teaches you how to live on your own and depend on yourself as well as have your friends depend on you."
"I can understand all that, but what if I meet a girl I like, what is allowed?"
"Relationships are not discouraged as long as they don't fall into certain categories if the couple is both in the military," stated Mac. "Take Harm and me for example, up until a month ago we weren't allowed to be together because we were both lawyers working at JAG under the same Admiral. Even though we both knew we loved each other from the first day we met in the White House Rose Garden. Then Harm got a chance to go back to flying and once his transfer got approved we ran off and got married. If one of them is civilian then we don't care. Are you thinking about becoming a lawyer?"
"Sorry Mac but no, I would like to know what it takes to become a Naval Aviator. Harm, what did she mean you were a lawyer?"
"Chuck," Harm answered, "this could take some time to explain. Since it's at the end of your day why don't we go to the office and get your transcripts to see if you have the grades to get in to start with, then we can go over what else you will need."
"Wow, you guys would really do that for me?" asked Chuck in a surprised voice.
"Not on a normal basis, but once you decided on being an aviator it was over for Harm. Now grab your things and take us to the office and show us what you have."
Chucks thoughts were suddenly broken by the loud shouts off all the Cadets around him and the covers being thrown in to the air. He quickly joined the celebration with his own whoops of joy and tossed his cover as high as he could. It would take several minutes for him to reach his sister and best friend, but seeing the joy in both their eyes made the last four years of his life worth it. Standing next to his sister and best friend was a couple dressed in their dress uniforms; they were the two people outside of his family that helped him the most, Commander and Lieutenant Colonel Rabb.
The celebration would last deep into the night as Chuck explained where he would be heading next and the kind of training he would do. Harm and Mac would occasionally join in the conversation, well more so Harm, because he was an Aviator himself. Chuck would be going to aviator school and when he passed that, it would be on to the USS Kitty Hawk carrier group.
2005 USS Kitty Hawk
The COD carrying Lieutenant Junior Grade (I'll use LT from now on) 'Wraith' Bartowski landed on the deck of the Kitty Hawk right on schedule. During the flight back from leave he was informed the new CAG wanted to see him as soon as he arrived. Chuck quickly exited the plane and after stowing his gear in his cabin he went to report in to the CAG. Arriving at the CAG's door he knocked and asked for permission to enter.
"Sir, Lieutenant Bartowski reporting as ordered."
"Enter and close the hatch behind you," came the reply. While Chuck expected to be allowed in, he was not expecting the voice that allowed it. As he entered the room he saw the last person he expected to see, Commander Rabb. Then he noticed the new rank, Hammer had made Captain and been made CAG of his carrier.
"Congratulations on your promotion and the new billet Captain."
"Have a seat and relax Chuck," he said pointing to the chair next to his desk. "I was going over the personnel files when I found out you were assigned here. When I read your files I was impressed at the number of positive reports about you. Then I got to the report on you from Fallon, they claim next to me they have never seen a better stick. I plan to check that out myself real soon. I have an exercise coming up in a few days to test my pilots. I want you to fly my wing."
"Sir, with all due respect, I can't. There are pilots on board that are better than me and of higher rank."
"It doesn't matter to me what they think. It's my job to put the best pilots in the air with me that I can. From the reports I've seen you're the best stick here." Harm paused for a second as he pondered what to say. "Remember when we first met?" Chuck gave him a small nod yes.
""When I returned to the fleet right after we met my call sign was Pappy, because of my age. I kept hearing the whispers to old and not enough traps. They even wanted to send me back to JAG because of it. Along with Mac and the Admiral we had enough pull to keep me here doing what I was born to do. It wasn't long before my skills returned and I was rated number one again. It's not the age or rank I look at but the pilot's skill. And like it or not Chuck on paper you're the best I have, any questions?"
"No Sir," answered Chuck. Inside he was a confused mess, Hammers exploits over the last few years were things that created legends, and this legend was telling him he would fly his wing. It was beyond any expectations he had now or ever, he just wanted to fly.
"One last thing before I dismiss you, you're getting a new RIO, LT Commander Elizabeth 'Skates' Hawkes. She's my RIO, but since I won't be in the air as much being CAG, I want the best to have the best. She will be here in a few minutes to pick you up so you can chat before you fly in the morning, dismissed"
"Aye, Sir," he replied before standing and heading for the hatch.
Outside he was greeted by his new RIO and they made small talk on the way to the mess for some food. When they entered the galley he heard raised voices off to his side so he turned to look. He saw a man and women he didn't recognize in a heated debate. He glanced at Skates who shrugged and mouthed CIA to him. As they passed the couple he overheard part of the argument.
"Bryce, for the last time take it easy on the prisoner till we get back," the Blonde yelled. "If you hurt him these Navy people will know we did it and they'll send that she bitch after us. Mac has ruined many an agents' career over her time in JAG. Plus the CAG here is her husband a fine lawyer in his own right."
"Walker I don't give a shit about what the Navy thinks or its lawyers. He's our guy and I need the information he has now, not when we get off this floating city."
"Then think about this ass hole, assistant Director Webb, he ring any bells? If you spent half as much time reading the files we have on these people you as you do trying to get into my pants you would know he is a good friend of the Rabbs'. You can bet your ass they will tell him and we'll be on the shit details so fast your head will spin."
Chuck and Skates were close enough to intervene if need, and from the looks and sounds of it, it would be soon. Chuck decided on the first strike approach and got in front of the fighting pair.
"Hey CIA, shut it down. Sailors are trying to eat here and don't need to hear your crap. Take it to your room if you have too or shut up, either one is ok with us."
"Screw you squid," replied Bryce as he threw a punch he was sure would take the navy punks head off. Chuck using the reflexes he gained from being a fighter pilot, easily slipped the punch and threw his own, which connected squarely on Bryce's jaw. That punch was followed up by a shot to the stomach and a knee to the face. The final blow sent Bryce to the ground in a heap.
At the same time Skates stepped in to stop the blonde in case she decided to help her partner. All she got in return was an amused smile and a pair of crossed arms. It seemed the blonde was more than content to watch her partner get his ass kicked. Once the ruckus was over and Bryce was carted away by the Marines on board Chuck addressed the blonde.
"We haven't been formally introduced but I'm LT. Bartowski and this is my RIO Commander Hawkes," he said while holding out his hand.
"Sarah Walker, CIA," she replied taking his hand. The moment their hands touched it was if time stood still. All they could see was each other's eyes. There was an unaccustomed warmth that slowly began to spread up their arms towards their elbows and both their heart rates increased. They were broken out of their mood by a loud coughing sound next to them. Standing right beside them was Captain Rabb.
"I got a call a few minutes ago informing me that one of my pilots was involved in an altercation in here, is this true?"
"Aye Sir," Chuck said as he snapped to attention. "There was an altercation taking place as I entered and attempted to break it up. I was attacked by Bryce and defended myself."
"He's correct Captain Rabb," Sarah added in. "my partner and I were getting loud and Chuck asked us to be quiet. Bryce attempted to hit him and Chuck knocked him on his ass." The last part caused Chuck to cringe.
"Since I am a lawyer and I'm sure Skates will back up that story," he glanced over to her and got a small nod, "I will rule it a case of self-defense. Walker I need you to keep a better leash on that partner of yours. You two are guests on this ship and must conform to its rules, am I understood?"
"Yes Sir," she answered.
"That will be all then I need to call Mac and check in. She still worries when I'm at sea. You all have a good meal, and you two," pointing at the aviators, "better be ready to fly in the morning." With that he turned and left the galley.
"Now that the excitement is over, would you like to join us for dinner?" asked Chuck.
"That sounds great Chuck. While we are eating you can tell me how you became a pilot and knocked Bryce into next year." The three of them got their food and sat down to eat. Due to the aviators having an early day tomorrow the stories never got finished, but Chuck and Sarah made plans to meet again after he was done flying for the day. Even though they weren't going anywhere special they decided to call it a date.