A/N: Hi. If you're new to AHT I hope you enjoy the read. If you're coming back for a reread, I hope you like the changes I made. Thanx to Cliff the grammar is much better. I have also made minor story changes. The story is still the same, but the flow is a little smoother.
To the military enthusiasts that may be reading this, I tried extremely hard to research the info I used, I just could not find certain specs, so I apologize if some of my numbers are off. What I couldn't find I adjusted to make my story work. I hope that doesn't ruin the story for you.
A Heart Torn
A Charah Tale
By Lord Rapier
Edited and guided by CliffM
Mr. Bartowski, You're needed
The offices at Carmichael Industries Burbank were well appointed, but not ostentatious. The furniture in this particular office is more about comfort than style. This is the office of the Managing Partner, Charles Irving Bartowski, AKA Charles Carmichael himself.
Chuck's sadness weighs on him, no matter how much time has passed, he still hurts over losing the love of his life. His thoughts betray his sadness. Damn you Sarah, why can't I be enough? Having a successful cyber security company just can't heal a heart torn in two. Letting loose with a deep sigh, he wipes away a tear and digs back into the employment applications in front of him. Shaking his head he thinks, We're growing so fast. I can't keep enough operatives on staff.
Half a world away at CIA Station Naples, Sarah Walker is having similar thoughts. She can't seem to keep the tears in either. Every time she thinks of him, they come. He wanted us to be in Italy together. I screwed that up. God how could I have been so stupid? Shaw was an ass, and I almost threw away something wonderful for that ass. Then I did it myself. Here I am Station Chief in the very office Chuck wanted us to be in together. I tore apart the best team in the world because I'm a fool. I turned my back on the best man I've ever known because I'm an idiot. I'm the first female Station Chief in CIA history. Whoopee. He wanted me to give that up to have children with him. Why didn't I learn to trust his great instincts. Yep, I'm an idiot. History just doesn't seem to keep me warm at night.
Opening the Bartowski file, she checks on what he's up to. The CIA won't lose track of him. He may have given up on the agency, but he's proven himself too valuable. With or without the intersect, Chuck is a born spy. The Director is'nt going to let go of him, and that suits me fine. This way I can keep an eye on him without him knowing. Continuing to think to herself. Well, let's see what Mr. Bartowski has been up to. Business is booming, lots of government contracts. Hmmm new patents on virus potection software. Good for you Chuck, making me richer every day. The right thing would have been to sell out to him, but I wasn't willing to let go of my last connection to him. She continues flipping through the pages looking for something specific, ah here it is. Still single, no attachments.
As Chuck reads through the files, one catches his attention, and he bolts upright. Pressing the button on his intercom, "Mrs. Sawyer, I need my Head of Security in my office, yesterday. Hold all my calls, I don't want to be disturbed once he gets here."
A female voice comes back over the speaker, "On it, Mr. Bartowski."
As Chuck reads the file for the third time, his office door flies open and Colonel John Casey, USMC Retired runs into the room, gun in hand. Chuck looks up, "Shit, relax John it's not that kind of emergency."
Casey grunts and holsters his Desert Eagle .50 Cal. The gun is large, heavy, and barely hidden by his suit jacket. But as Casey is fond of saying, 'It may not conceal easy, but it'll stop a stampeding buffalo'. "What's up boss?"
"Casey please stop calling me boss. You own as much of the company as I do. Chuck is fine."
Casey smirks, "Fine Bartowski. What's up?"
Chuck shakes his head. He knows he can't win this one. After all these years Casey still loves to needle him. Chuck tosses the file onto the other side of his desk.
Casey is curious as he sits across from Chuck and picks up the file, "Holy shit, is this a joke?"
Chuck shrugs his shoulders, "You tell me, she's looking for a position in your department."
Casey closes the file, "Carina frickin' Miller. Chuck she's an uncontrollable wildcard."
Chuck smiles when he hears his name. Casey won't let it go, "Shut up asshole, I slipped. Are you seriously considering this?"
Chuck leans back, "John, have I ever interfered in your department?"
Casey grunts, and looks at the file again, "I'm gonna run a full background and then some. Any chance you want to reach out to your agency connection? You know she's still a partner too?"
Chuck gets angry and leans forward. "Too far, you're going too far, Casey. I tried to buy her out, she wouldn't sell. Now get out, get back to me. If you talk to her, let me know how she is, but don't tell her I asked."
Casey ignores the demand to leave and puts his feet up on Chuck's desk, "Come on kid, are you ever gonna tell me what happened with you two?"
Chuck sits back and sighs, "Really John? You really want to hear about my lady feelings?"
Casey makes a face like he just ate something nasty, "UGH." He takes a deep breath, "Sure kid, go ahead, I'm here for you." Casey pulls out a cigar and holds it in his mouth unlit. He knows the boss doesn't like smoking in his office.
"It's real simple John. She wanted the spy life, I didn't, so I lost the love of my life." Chuck gets up and paces back and forth in his office. "They offered her Station Chief; I offered her babies. She made her choice. Her choice wasn't me." Chuck's thoughts are cut short when the intercom buzzes, stepping behind his desk he presses the button and sharply says, "WHAT?" Casey gives him a dirty look, "Sorry Mrs. Sawyer, how can I help you?"
The voice on the speaker is tenuous, "I'm sorry sir, I know you said you don't want to be disturbed…"
Chuck is apologetic, "I'm sorry Mrs. Sawyer. You caught me in a bad moment. I'm sure it's important. What's up?"
Mrs. Sawyer's voice is shaking now, "Sir, the President is on the phone."
Chuck looks at Casey and screws up his face as if to say what's wrong with her, "Mrs. Sawyer the president of which company? Please send the call to the sales department."
Mrs. Sawyer clears her throat, "No company sir. It's THE President… of the United States."
"Mrs. Sawyer, you know I like a joke just like the next guy, but I'm a little busy…"
"Sir, he said Diane Beckman gave him your private number."
"Thank you, Mrs. Sawyer, alert the fraud department, I want this call verified."
Chuck presses the button to put the call on speaker, "Hello this is Charles Carmichael. To whom am I speaking?"
The voice is familiar, "Hello Mr. Bartowski, I was told to ask you how Mary is?"
Chuck is taken aback, whoever this is, they know our distress code, "I see. Who told you to ask me that?"
"A mutual friend, Diane Beckman."
"Sir, I hope you understand, my people are verifying the origin of this call. While we wait. How is Diane's husband, Morgan?"
The voice on the other end laughs, "When did General Beckman marry your partner? I was told you would be skeptical. I assure you I am who I say I am."
Chuck shrugs, "Very well Sir, I will accept you at your word, you should know you're on speaker. My partner and head of security is in my office with me."
The President speaks with reverence, "It's my honor. Hello Colonel Casey, thank you for your service."
Casey pops tall, "Hello Mr. President. The honor is all mine Sir."
The President laughs, "Really! I'm surprised to hear that. I'm guessing you didn't vote for me."
Casey is shocked, "Sir, you are my Commander in Chief. Regardless of party. Standing by for your orders Sir."
You can almost hear the President's smile, "It's nice to talk with a true patriot, a real Marine."
The door opens quietly, an older woman with blue hair pops her head and arm in the opening and gives a thumbs up. Chuck smiles and gives her the ok sign. The door closes quietly.
"Very well Mr. President you have our attention. What can we do for you?" Chuck leans back in his chair as Casey takes his seat.
The President's voice gets serious, "Mr. Bartowski… excuse me I was told you prefer Chuck…"
"Chuck is fine Sir."
"… Yes, Chuck then. I'm sure you realize that since I'm speaking to you directly there is a serious matter at hand. It would seem that a large portion of our nuclear arsenal is at risk. I was assured that if anyone is up to the task, it would be you and your team."
"Thank you for the confidence, Mr. President, but until I know more, I can't be sure that's true."
"I figured you may say that. Chuck, There's no line secure enough for this discussion. I'm afraid you'll have to take me at my word until you can be briefed in person. Colonel Casey, have you kept your flight quals up?"
Casey is curious, "Yes Sir, I have."
"Good, there is an F-18 Super Hornet, standing by at Point Mugu, fueled and ready to fly. We'll have tankers waiting for you over CONUS (Continental United States) and the Atlantic. You'll receive a quick refresher on operation and procedure. General Casey you and Chuck will be touching down at our base in Rota, Spain, about an eight-hour flight at roughly Mach 1.2, ten hours adding in the refueling stops. A COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) will carry you out to the Ford. A specialized team will meet you there. I'm assured they are also best in their field. Intelligence operatives are assigned to you as well. They will rendezvous with you on the Ford. They have no idea who you are. We want to keep it that way until the situation requires otherwise. I'm going to text you my direct line. It's monitored 24/7 use the same distress code. I'll be notified immediately.
Chuck, I'm drafting you. Congratulations Colonel Carmichael your uniforms and other provisions will be waiting for you at Point Mugu. A chopper is landing on your helipad now, to take you there. Chuck no one there will know your special status or abilities. They will only know that you have no restrictions on Top Secret, need to know, or eyes only. You are authorized to read General Casey in as required. General Casey, you will liaison with the command structure. Keep them happy so that the Colonel can do his work."
Casey speaks up, "With all due respect Mr. President I'm a Colonel."
"General Casey Atten hut." Casey pops tall. "I thought we established who's in charge here. Argue with me again and you'll be a private. Best of luck gentlemen you'll need it." The connection ends.
Chuck and Casey stare at each other and in unison scream, "HOLY SHIT!"
"Casey, Carina will have to wait." Chuck presses the intercom, "Mrs. Sawyer I need Mr. Grimes in my office, ask him to bring Mrs. Grimes with him."
Casey paces the office chewing on his cigar as Chuck puts together his travel kit, two laptops, a tablet, signal jammer, two burner phones, a satellite phone, thumb drives loaded with software, tranq gun and darts, picture of a blonde woman dressed as a slave girl.
The door opens and Morgan and Alex Grimes enter. They take in the flurry of activity, Morgan asks, "Hey buddy, what's going on?"
Chuck continues to pack his bag, ticking off his mental checklist, "Morgan you're in charge of the company indefinitely. No new hires, especially this one. He hands him Carina's file. Alex, watch his back. The two of you will be handling things you haven't touched before, work together. Mrs. Sawyer is a font of information. She has my appointment schedule and my confidence. If you can't postpone, do your best to keep the client happy, but don't give the store away."
Morgan is freaking out, "Hey, what the hell is happening?"
Chuck finishes his packing and locks his case, "Casey and I are leaving, right now. We can't talk about it, mostly because we don't know much. Get ahold of Diane Beckman, she may have something for you. Mrs. Sawyer may have something too." Chuck walks over and hugs Morgan, "I love you Pal, take good care of our business."
Meanwhile Alex moves over to hug Casey, "Dad, what's going on?"
Casey hugs her and kisses the top of her head, "Honey, Chuck just told you everything we know. Take good care of my grandkids and keep your eye on that one, so we have a business to come back to." The couples switch and hug again.
Chuck picks up his bag, "Ready General?"
"Right behind you Colonel."
Morgan and Alex are standing there with mouths open in shock, as the men walk out of the office and the door closes.
Once in the outer office, "Mrs. Sawyer, Mr. Casey and I are heading to the roof. We'll be flying to Point Mugu and then parts unknown. I'd appreciate if you would Look after things. Mr. and Mrs. Grimes will need your support. You can tell them who called." He walks over to her desk, "May I give you a hug?" Mrs. Sawyer stands up with a tear in her eye. As Chuck hugs her she says, "Come back safe Sir. We need you here."
Sarah looks up when one of her officers walk in, she quickly closes the Bartowski file. "Chief we just got a flash message from the White House, it's marked eyes only." Sarah tears open the red tape sealing the folder. She scans the file, "Has this been authenticated?"
The officer responds, "Yes Ma'am"
Sarah stands up, "Get me Agent Rizzo, I need her here now. Arrange transport. We'll need something that can land on a super carrier. Get travel packs ready for two. Full arms load, nothing traceable. Travel Identities for tourists. Polish for me, Italian for Rizzo. Put together a team, make it eclectic I have no idea what we'll need, keep them ready and rested." Sarah drops the eyes-only file into the shredder, it turns into dust.
Zondra Rizzo walks into the office as the other officer leaves, "What's up Sarah?"
Sarah walks towards the door, "Time to save the world Rizzo. I'll read you in on the way." As Sarah works her way towards the document office, Zondra right behind her. She's thinking, God, I wish I had Team Bartowski for this one. We were good at saving the world.
The elevator ride to the roof is in silence, Casey and Chuck just stare at the floor lost in their own thoughts. Climbing the final flight of stairs that lead to the roof Chuck stops and looks at Casey. With a heavy sigh he says, "I'll bet we really need her on this one, but I don't think I can be in the same room with her."
Casey's face shows that he is clearly sympathetic, "Man up Bartowski, we'll be in the middle of the Med. There's no way she'll be on a Bird Farm in the middle of this mess, whatever this mess is. But I get you. I miss her too. Now move it Marine before I put my foot in your ass. We have a chopper burning taxpayers' money while you moan over your boo boo. Move it."
Getting to the roof the pair finds a UH-60 helicopter waiting, rotors spinning. A crewman in a flight suit greets them as they exit the door, "Gentlemen, your brain buckets and comms." He hands them safety helmets affixed with a headset. Donning them they move out to the helo to climb aboard. Taking seats, they buckle in and plug in their comms. Chuck looks at Casey sitting across from him in the chopper, the earmuffs cut some of the rotor noise, but the headset is needed to talk. "Hey John, remember the first time I was in a chopper?"
Casey nods, "You mean when you almost crashed and burned, and she tore you a new one… never mind. Remember the last time I was in a chopper, and you shot me down, with my own gun. She was so pissed… damn it Bartowski you shouldn't be allowed near helicopters, now shut up."
Chuck is indignant, "Hey we made it out of Mexico safely when you rescued… okay I'll shut up now." The rest of the fifty-mile flight is in silence.
When the UH-60 touches down at Point Mugu 45 minutes have passed since Carmichael industries received that classified call. The two men step down to the tarmac bending to avoid the rotor wash as the chopper lifts off. Two men in flight suits are standing at the hangar entrance. As Chuck and Casey remove their head gear and approach, the men pop tall and salute. Casey is not in uniform, and won't return the salute, "As you were, save it till I'm wearing something to salute. Where are our provisions? Which one of you is my flight instructor?"
The man on the right steps forward. "Commander Sawyer, callsign Buzzsaw, at your service General. This is Lt. Commander Rabb, callsign Hammer, he'll be giving you the rundown, I'll give you final Quals."
Chuck laughs, "That's funny, my office manger's name is Sawyer."
Sawyer steps up and offers his hand, "No coincidence Colonel, that's my mom, I'm stationed here. When she found out you were heading my way, she gave me a call. She said she would shred my six if I wasn't here for you gentlemen. We had the ride you needed as well. The CO signed off on it." Chuck shakes his hand.
Chuck Laughs, "Yep that's Mrs. Sawyer. I love your mom, she's my right hand, by the way the name is Chuck."
The Commander shakes his head, "All due respect Sir, your name is Colonel. Get used to it, you're in the Navy now. If Mom could figure out how to make it happen, I'd be calling you brother, she loves you too."
Casey offers his hand, "John Casey, callsign Hardcase. Son your mother walks on water."
Sawyer shakes his hand, "Thank you, Sir. Welcome aboard General.
Casey growls, "Well ladies if we're done with the hugs and kisses, where the hell is my gear? You, the quiet one, give me a rundown while I'm changing. Unless you think seeing a General in his skivvies will give you a woody. Weren't there any men with backbones available, why am I surrounded by Squids (Squid is a derogatory term, used by Marines, for sailors)?" Casey heads off behind Hammer.
Chuck smiles as he thinks, "Casey is finally back where he belongs and where he wants to be. Well, I guess some good will come of this. When we get back, I am going to have to figure out a way for him to work more closely with the military… if we get back."
The hangar is huge, Chuck is now aware that he's entering yet another world he knows nothing about. I wish Sarah were her. No, I couldn't handle that, I wouldn't be able to work. The hangar is spotless, the smell of jet fuel hangs in the air. Walking forward he hears his footsteps echoing in the cavernous space, the parked aircraft doing nothing to abate the sound. He notices men in one-piece coveralls working all around him as he progresses to the far end of the hangar.
Chuck is lost in his thoughts, "Sir, have you?" Chuck realizes that the Commander is talking to him, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."
Sawyer repeats his question, "Have you ever flown in a military aircraft before?" Chuck is still working to bring himself into the conversation, he shakes his head, "Just the chopper."
Sawyer stops and makes sure Chuck is hearing him, "Sir, if I could get your attention, you are about to experience a whole new thing. Colonel, I want you to picture the roughest roller coaster you've ever been on, multiply that by ten and add throwing up into a sealed helmet."
Chuck's eyes go wide, "Aren't there any boats going there? Where are we going by the way?"
Sawyer laughs, "Sorry Sir, the Ford's exact position is classified, I can tell you it's in the Med. You'll be airborne for quite some time. A ship would take weeks. I'm sure General Casey will take it easy on you."
Chuck throws his arms out, "Are you crazy? Have you met the man? He can't wait to make me barf. Airborne for hours? What happens if you have to pee?"
Sawyer turns and heads towards a door at the back of the hangar. Chuck notices Casey walking through the door. "Follow me Sir, I'll give you the skinny."
Chuck's eyes go wide, "You'll give me what? Is that legal?"
Sawyer laughs, "You're a hoot Sir. It means all the straight info."
Passing through the door Chuck realizes he's in a locker room, an immaculate locker room. Sawyer waves Chuck over, "Right here Sir, your gear." Sawyer holds up an adult diaper. Here you go Sir, your head."
Chuck takes the diaper, "You want me to put this on my head?"
Sawyer is laughing so hard it attracts Casey's attention, "What's so funny sailor?"
Sawyer looks up and Casey is standing in front of him dressed in his flight suit, star on his chest patch, popping tall, "Nothing Sir, just a misunderstanding."
Chuck holds up the diaper, "He told me to put this on my head and thought it was funny when I questioned that."
Casey grabs the diaper, "Not on your head Carmichael, on your ass. It is your head numbnuts. A head is a toilet." Casey growls, "Carmichael is it your goal to embarrass me for the entire duration of this mission?"
Chuck shakes his head, "No Casey I just..."
Casey gets two inches from Chuck's face, "Carmichael, are you trying to prove that you are a complete waste of flesh? Do you see this star on my chest? You will address me as Sir, or General. Better yet, keep your big yap shut. Now you get your adorable little ass into that nappy. Put on that flight suit, and let the Commander brief you. Before I turn you over to his mommy for a spanking. You were given two ears, and only one mouth, for a reason. Use both of them. I have to refresh how to fly an aircraft I haven't sat in for a while, and I have a whole hour to do it, so behave."
Chuck salutes, "Yes Sir, General, Sir."
Casey shakes his head, "Carmichael, you're out of uniform and not wearing a lid, you don't salute." Casey walks away shaking his head and muttering to himself about nerds.
When Casey walks away, Sawyer turns to Chuck, "OH! Yeah. He's definitely gonna make you blow chunks."
As Chuck gets into his flight suit Buzzsaw goes over his gear, explaining the safety equipment. He makes sure Chuck is buckled and zipped correctly. "Colonel, in the unlikely event you go down over water. Pull this cord when you hit the water. It'll inflate your life vest. This is your emergency beacon; it will activate when saltwater hits it. This is your strobe. Turn it on if you see or hear approaching help. It's basic, but this whistle can save your life. Blow it if help is nearby."
When the Commander goes to place a 9mm pistol in its holster, Chuck pushes his hand away, "Negative, I don't do guns."
Sawyer frowns, "Sir, you're putting me in a tight spot, I was ordered to equip you properly. If you don't wear this firearm, I'm subject to discipline. Please Sir, let me do my job."
Chuck sighs, "Fine, I don't want to get you in trouble."
Casey has walked out to the tarmac with Hammer heading toward the F-18 parked in front of them, "General are you familiar with the Super Hornet?"
Casey looks around and takes a deep breath, "You smell that son? That's the smell of protecting freedom. Yeah, I've got a few hours, just enough to familiarize. No way I could put her down on a flattop (aircraft carrier). What am I carrying?"
Hammer pats the external tank hanging under the aircraft, "You're configured for ferry service Sir. You carry 29 thousand lbs. of JP5 (jet fuel). All external firepower has been replaced with fuel tanks. That stretches your legs (distance able to travel) out to about two thousand miles. The only fire power left is the 20 Millimeter, four hundred twelve rounds. About 4 seconds worth."
Casey climbs the ladder and reads the legend painted on the side, "You and Buzzsaw are loaning us your ride? Thanks. I'll do my best to get her back in one piece. I'm guessing I don't have time for a full preflight checklist."
Hammer assures him, "I took the liberty and did it myself General. Buzzsaw double checked me. We run the best maintenance team on the base."
Casey nods, "Okay give me the rundown, hopefully I can get me and the Boss to Rota in one piece."
Hammer is incredulous, "Boss Sir… him?"
Casey jumps down and gets right in the officer's face, "That's right son. That man has saved your ass and mine more times than I care to count. Yeah, I'm damn proud to call him Boss, and friend. Now if you think you can get your head out of your ass long enough, how about you do your job now?"
Back in the locker room, "Do you think you've got it Sir?" Chuck nods, "One more piece of safety gear Sir." The Commander holds up two barf bags, folds them up and tucks them into a zippered pocket. "Don't be shy about using them Sir, I've used more than my share. Colonel, may I ask a question?" Chuck nods. "Scuttlebutt is the shit has hit the fan and you're the high value cleanup crew."
Chuck is shocked, "You want to do what to my butt?"
Sawyer smiles, "Scuttlebutt, it means rumors, or gossip. Stuff people talk around the water cooler."
Chuck smiles right back, "Scuttlebutt, huh, I like that. Nah I'm just a computer geek, I used to fix computers at the Buy More before I wrote a couple of programs that caught on. Nothing high value about me. Casey's the man. He's saved the world and my ass dozens of times. Well thank you for your help, Commander. I'll be sure to tell your mom she has a son to be proud of."
Sawyer blushes and extends his hand, "Thank you Sir, it's been an honor. My mother didn't exaggerate at all when she said you were a stand-up guy. Best of luck
Colonel. By the way sir what's your callsign?"
Chuck thinks for a minute, "How about Chuckster?"
Sawyer nods and smiles, "Chuckster it is."
"Sir, with your permission, one more question?" Chuck nods. "Why would a computer tech need to have his ass saved by a guy who saves the world?"
Chuck takes in a deep breath, "Commander, how long do you think it will take Mrs. Sawyer to forgive me? When she finds out that her son was transferred to a station in Antarctica, yesterday."
Sawyer snaps tall and salutes, "Understood Sir, this conversation never happened. I'll send your regards to Mom."
Chuck looks at his watch and sighs, "Well I guess it's time to tuck me in."
Sawyer picks up the seabags containing the remainder of Chuck's and Casey's gear. Chuck grabs his travel bag. "Sorry Sir, not just yet. I still need to give the General a quick quiz. But we can head out to the tarmac and get your gear stowed. It's almost time to introduce you to tight quarters and high G's."
A/N I hope you enjoyed this new story arc, right now I am thinking it will be 10 chapters, then on to the next. (Boy did that change, closer to 50)
Well, that didn't happen. I am refreshing the story, using new skills I picked up over these past months. Skills taught to me by my new Proofreader CliffM. Thanx Bud. I'm also publishing on a new platform as well as FF. So, I am hoping that those of you who are new to my stuff will like it. By the way I get paid in comments and votes. I could use a raise.
Yes, I know this is from season five, but it fit so nicely here. "Remember the last time I was in a chopper, and you shot me down, with my own gun?"
I'm sorry if there was any confusion. I took down the old versions. I will be replacing them as I reedit.