Catching Up On Fates

Fighting For Fates

Believe it or not, that diagram above actually makes sense outside of a D&D campaign. What is it? A very important scene in chapter 31 of What Fates Impose. Anybody care to guess what piece of geekery on the bed represents whom?

In other news, if you were impressed by the songs picked for the 2010 Awesome Awards, you can head over to I Am Not Amused's blog to listen to the whole thing, beginning to end. I may or may not have Outkast's B.O.B. playing on a loop (I used it for Bryce, and it was kind of perfect, not gonna lie). Check that link here.

And there will be another chapter of Fates tonight, maybe tomorrow morning at the latest. Since I shared a little bit, I'll share a little bit more right now.

Borrowing Trouble

24 NOVEMBER 2007

08:32 PST

Even though he’d given himself an extra hour of sleep as a bonus for completing the cell phone jammer correctly the first time, Chuck found Casey working out in the dojo when he came in. The other man grunted a greeting from the bench press. Chuck nodded back, automatically moving to spot. There wasn’t any need for either to speak as Casey finished out his set, wiped down the bench, and switched so that he could spot for Chuck. Even though it varied from his preferred routine, Chuck didn’t want to mess with any feelings of solidarity from Casey, so he took some of the weight off of the bar and settled onto the bench.

“What are your plans for today, Bartowski?” Casey asked as Chuck shifted his shoulders to center himself onto the bench.

“You’re asking for surveillance purposes, I’m guessing?”

Casey’s shrug said it all: why else?

Chuck spaced his hands out on the bar, took a deep breath, and began to lower and lift the bar. Casey had taken the time to give him a few tips a couple of weeks before (more in the form of “You’re doing it wrong, doofus,” than anything constructive), so he kept his movements fluid and controlled. His breathing stayed in perfect rhythm with the repetitions. He said, grunting more than anything, “You’ve got an easy day. I’m gonna work from home and crack that hard drive we stole from the Ezersky estate. There hasn’t, ah, been any fallout on that, has there?”

“I’ve been keeping an ear out. Nobody seems to know who’s behind it, and Ezersky’s been pointing fingers at everybody. But, gee, no surveillance from that night means there’s no proof.” Casey’s voice held a vicious smugness. “Well, almost no surveillance.”

Chuck’s rhythm hitched. “Oh, crap, did the robo-rabbits actually have cameras in them?”

“Nope. There’s just one incriminating photo.”

“Whew, cos you know, I don’t think the nerds would ever forgive me because I forgot my Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and—did you say incriminating?” Chuck all but threw the bar onto its holster and sat up.

Casey chuckled as dug into his pocket and pulled out his phone, thumbing quickly through the menus. Without a word, he handed the phone over.

Chuck could only be grateful that he had indeed put the bar away before he’d taken a look. His cheeks, probably flushed from the workout, no doubt drained of all color. “Ah, Sarah hasn’t seen this, has she?”

“Nope.” Grinning now, Casey took the phone back. The picture was of a grainy Chuck and Sarah, still in their masks, passed out on Sergei Ezersky’s front porch. Casey must have snapped it while running in to grab the unconscious agents.

It might not have been an incriminating picture, except that Chuck had landed face-first…right on Sarah’s chest. So it was a very, very good thing that she hadn’t seen the picture, especially since she’d passed out before him. Even so, dread began to fill Chuck’s midsection.

Casey snickered. “You annoy me too much and this may end up in Graham’s mailbox someday.”

The dread began to boil. “You wouldn’t.”

Casey admired the photo on his phone one last time and shrugged. “Eh, probably not. But, still, don’t piss me off, CIA.”

“What can I do,” Chuck said, laying back down on the bench again so that he could return to weight lifting, “that would make you delete that picture?”

Something slapped against his chest. Confused, Chuck set the bar down and picked up the folded piece of paper Casey had dumped on him. He unfolded it: a requisition form…for an in-car missile launcher.

“For the Crown Vic,” Casey said, nodding when Chuck gave him a boggled look. “Higher-ups turned down my request, but if you did it, they wouldn’t complain since you barely have any ammunition to your name anyway.”

“If I fill this out, and you get your in-car missile-launcher, that picture vanishes forever.”

“You press the delete key yourself.”

“And you don’t have any back-up copies anywhere?”

Casey actually looked wounded. “You don’t think I’m a man of my word, Bartowski?”

Faced with that scowling mien, Chuck had no choice but to agree, hastily, that Casey was indeed a man most assuredly faithful to his word. In fact, he would fill out the form just as soon as he finished his work-out, and it would go off in the mail first thing on Monday morning.

“Good,” Casey said. “And then you can get to work on that hard drive. Higher-ups want you flashing again as your main priority, so if you don’t have it done by Monday, we’re following other leads and giving that to the boys in Washington.”

“Great,” Chuck said, scowling.

“What’s your problem now?”

“Nothing.” Only, Chuck thought as he settled in for his final round of reps, that if the government didn’t let him do his damned job, they had no room to complain in the future. He had yet to see the hard drive Bryce had fried when the other man had sent him the Intersect, and the government seemed to prefer him as just some humanized computer, staring at lists and pictures all day and flashing. It was like they didn’t even have the most basic computer systems to filter all of his data sometimes. He set the bar down for the final time and sat up, scowling. “I’ll get the drive hacked.”


“I will,” Chuck insisted.

Casey shrugged. “If you don’t, the boys in Washington will. Whatever.”

Like hell they would, Chuck thought as Casey, having finished his workout, left the dojo. “Gee, thanks for the support, Casey,” Chuck grumbled after he’d left. He kicked off his shoes and moved to the center of the mat, hoping a long round of Tai Chi would help his suddenly vicious mood.

It didn’t.

Enjoy! See you tonight!

- Frea


  1. Ayefah20.7.10

    Are Chuck and Sarah the dice surrounded by D&D dice which are Fulcrum agents after being rousted from the trunk of the metal ball as Jill watched from the red knife(?)?

    It's amazing how this all makes sense now. :P

  2. Wow, you're so completely right. Sarah's the blue die.


    You were even right about the juggling ball and the red knife! I'm impressed. I should, like, give you a prize or something.


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