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Strangeness at the Buy More

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Strangeness at the Buy More". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Emmett Milbarge didn't expect to get cut off at the knees quite THIS quickly... (Xander-centered)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Chuck(Past Donor)KeldinFR13916,82815425,16231 Oct 0820 Nov 08No

Chuck Versus the One-Eyed Jack

Under the Orange Orange Yogurt Shop, across the street from the Buy More, three ‘operatives’ met in a high-tech chamber. The first of the three was Chuck Bartowski, host of the Intersect – all of the Intelligence information that the United States had, which had been ‘downloaded’ into the man’s brain. He hadn’t volunteered for the role, which put him in extreme danger on almost a weekly basis; the fact that he was the only source of this information was the fault of Chuck’s one-time roommate from before he was kicked out of Stanford University, Bryce Larkin.

The other two people in the room were agents of the U.S. Government, assigned to protect Chuck. Agent Sarah Walker, CIA, played the role of Chuck’s girlfriend as part of her cover story – and she worked at the Orange Orange in order to be nearby.

“What the hell is this?” Major John Casey, NSA, said, suppressing the desire to swear aloud. “The majority of this thing is redacted!”

John’s cover story included him working at the Buy More itself, as an appliance salesman, as well as living in the same complex that Chuck did, with his sister and her fiancé.

“Yes, I’m afraid that’s the case,” came the voice from the liquid plasma screen that the three operatives were facing. On said screen was Brigadier General Diane Beckman, the Director of the NSA. “You’re seeing what I’m seeing as well.”

“Alexander Lavelle Harris,” Casey began. “Born April 1st, 1981. Man, that must have sucked as a birthday. Wonder how many times it got ignored. Or worse. He’s from Sunnydale, California, born and raised.”

At the name of that city, Sarah’s eyes nearly flashed. She knew enough to turn her head away so that noone caught her sudden fear, her hair shadowing her reaction until she could regain her composure. Which took no time at all, really.

“Isn’t that the town that fell completely into that sinkhole five years ago?” Chuck asked, looking at John.

“Yeah, that’s the one. They call it ‘Lake Sunnydale’ now. Anyway, he had average to slightly-better-than-average grades in high school, but what looks like loads of disciplinary problems.” He flipped from one page to another and back again. “Especially after about halfway through his sophomore year. Before that, looks like typical high school stuff. Lots of visits to the hospital, starting around mid-1986, with a sharp increase… also in his sophomore year of high school. Not much in the way of real serious injuries, except for a broken arm at one point. When the eye happened isn’t even listed on here, despite the picture.”

John tossed the picture down onto the table, the eye patch staring out of it. Sarah stared back for a few horrified moments before covering herself again, and stepping away from the table into a bit more shadow.

“Looks like he didn’t go to college at all. Worked a number of jobs, then eventually settled down in construction, eventually becoming a foreman. After the Sunnydale Collapse, it looks like he joined a company called the International Watcher’s Council and spent about three years traveling. From his passport, it seemed like it was mostly in Africa, but it looks like he spent a couple of months… oh, this is weird.” John snorted. “It looks like he lived in Transylvania for a while. Heh. You vant to suck my blood?” He snorted again. “Dracula. Get it?” Casey thumped Chuck on the shoulder, hard enough to move him, and he did it pretty much without noticing what he'd done.

Sarah was glad that she’d moved away; Casey’s imitation brought up bad memories that she really didn’t want to think about. But she had herself under control now.

“But I don’t get this,” Casey said, looking back up at the monitor. “These look like military files that have all been black-lined here. Kid’s got no military service listed on his record. What’s the deal?”

“Apparently, whatever it is is above my pay grade,” the General responded. The shocked look on the three faces around her matched the way she felt. She was the Director of the NSA! How was it that she didn’t have access to the full records of a 27-year-old construction worker, especially one that the Intersect had flashed on? It was impossible!

“The records for Mister Harris, as well as several of his known associates – including at least one British National – have likewise been secured,” she continued. “Apparently the information is only available to the President and the Joint Chiefs.”

“Well, I’ll be a…” Casey shook his head. “So, what do we do about it? If he’s in the Intersect, there must be some reason for it.”

“There’s nothing we can do,” the General said. “I can’t go to the Joint Chiefs or the President and try to break this until we have something more than this. Until he does something wrong, you’ll just have to keep an eye on him, and keep him separate from the Intersect. It’s possible that he’s a covert agent of some kind, sent to retrieve Mister Bartowski.”

“I didn’t get that sense from him,” Chuck said, after a moment. “Then again, I didn’t get much sense of him at all, since he didn’t say anything while we were there.”

The General barely suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. Chuck Bartowski was not exactly the best judge of character around, and, even if he was, ‘operational security’ just didn’t seem to something they could beat into his head. “In any case, you’re dismissed for now. Keep a sharp eye out.”

“Not much else we can do, it seems,” Casey said, flipping to the last page in the dossier. “Holy crap!”

That, of course, drew the attention of the other two, but the General wasn’t surprised, seeing as she knew what was on that page. “Permit to carry. Federal license to concealed carry? Permit to purchase full-automatic firearms and military-grade ammunition?! What the hell is this?! The guy’s only got one eye!” Casey’s voice was rising with each word. It was a good thing that the area was soundproofed. “The issue dates go back to when he was out of the country, and he was still issued them. This guy looks like some kind of Fed-” He paused, glanced up at the others, and got himself back under control. “-eral Officer or something.” It was more than that, though. Most Federal Officers didn’t have the right to purchase fully-automatic weaponry.

The General was silent, her lips pressed together so hard that they were beginning to turn white. “All I can tell you is to keep an eye on him, Major Casey, Agent Walker. Once again, you’re dismissed.”

The final comment drew attention back to the hiding-in-shadows Sarah, with both men turning their heads towards where she was standing. Both turned back as the General signed off, but Chuck did a double-take, his brow furrowing. He didn’t say anything, though. At least not until John had left, muttering to himself.

“Sarah? Sarah, are you all right?” He’d gotten up and walked over to her, without her even noticing. Some part of her mind warned her that this wasn’t a good thing, that him being able to move in on her without her realizing it meant that she trusted him way too much. But she didn’t think much about that.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. I was just trying to figure out what all this means,” she lied. “Go on ahead. I’ll be up in a minute. I’ll put everything away.”

“Oooookay,” Chuck said, looking like he was a bit worried. But he headed up the stairs as Sarah put words to actions and began to put the folder together in order to put it away. With the door closed and Sarah left all alone, she headed over to the locked cabinet and opened it. She flipped open the front of the manila folder and stroked the taciturn photo of Alexander Harris for a moment, her face sad.

‘What happened to you, Xander?’ she thought to herself, then closed the file, put it away, and went back upstairs to think over a frozen yogurt.

OOC: I think it’s appropriate for Xander to have April Fool’s Day as his birthday, for obvious reasons. That, plus the typical characteristics for an Aries seem to fit Xander. Of course, that could probably be said about pretty much any astrological sign.
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