Lazy Summer Serial Entry #1

Title: My Best Friend’s Girlfriend is a Spy

Genre: Action/Adventure/Romance

Rating: PG-13

Possibility for SWP: Stronger than Fates, not as likely as Banality

Flantering Rating: Closer to Greater than R&J

Movie Influences: The Italian Job, Sniper

Synopsis: Months ago, Morgan Grimes intercepted an email meant for one Chuck Bartowski and since then, life has never been the same for our gangly nerd. To start off, things just get stranger and stranger around the Burbank Buy More, until one day Morgan disappears completely.

Now, armed only with the idea that something just isn't right with John Casey and Morgan's girlfriend Sarah, Chuck launches a one-man investigation. His search will take him around the world, gaining him the oddest of companions and uncovering years of secrets. Will he and the mysterious Sarah be able to bust the bearded Intersect out of his hiding place? And who is this equally-mysterious benefactor?

Author's Notes: I know we all groaned when Morgan put on the sunglasses in Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger and that the term “Morgan’s girlfriend Sarah” probably made quite a few of you give out a short scream of horror, but things are never as they seem in a Frea story. Lots of quality Sarah and Chuck time in this one.

My Best Friend’s Girlfriend is a Spy

She slipped into the bar through a side entrance, threading her way through the hedge funders in their too-expensive jeans and the young politicos in their khakis as though she belonged nowhere else, though Sarah Walker was still dressed for a day at the office and should have therefore stood out like a sore thumb. She didn’t tug self-consciously at her skirt or hunch forward. Instead, she calmly ordered a white wine and took a seat, alone, at a booth, though there were plenty of spots open at the bar.

Her body language could have frozen a man to his seat at fifty paces. It also couldn’t have screamed “leave me alone” any louder. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the men from trying.

By the time her drink arrived, she’d sent two men away with bruised egos.

She foisted off the third with a threat of a certain bruised body part to match.

It wasn’t usually a chore to play the ice queen—it was a mantle she could slip easily into when the situation sufficed—and tonight, the demeanor completely matched her mood. Receiving cryptic messages was pretty much the norm in her line of work. She was more annoyed, in this case, by the fact that the message had been even more mysterious than usual, and it had intruded on what was supposed to be her night to visit the Facility.

Her Asset would have to see her tomorrow night. She doubted he would notice, in the haze of video game oblivion they kept him in, but she hated having her plans altered at the last minute. She also hated D.C. traffic, and taking the Metro both. She’d picked the first, so she was a little later than the message said to be, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to care.

She sipped her wine and stared out the window. The message had said to watch the hostel across the street.

If it was Carina getting her to bust up a drug deal, she was going to be pissed. She’d had enough of the redhead’s antics back in Burbank. Carina had spent the entire week flirting and causing trouble in her Asset’s life, and hers by extension.

Outside the bar, a light rain began to fall, hopefully washing the beginnings of late-spring humidity from the evening. Sarah kept her vigil on the front doors of the hostel, which weren’t very well-lit. Cheap accommodation, she figured, but it didn’t really seem like drug deal territory. There was quite a bit of pedestrian traffic outside, even in the rain, and cabs and other cars went by regularly.

Speaking of rain, Sarah thought, narrowing her eyes. There was a cab in front of the hostel, parked half a block down. The driver was standing next to the driver’s side door, leaning back against his wet taxi and feet crossed at the ankles. Several times, people stopped to talk to him; each time, he shook his head, and the people hurried on.

What sort of cabbie was turning down fares on a night like this? He could make a killing.

The cabbie shifted, and Sarah saw the way his stance changed. Agency training kicked in: the driver was armed, likely something small caliber, but he was packing on the right side for sure. Given the angle, he also had a clear view of the hostel doorway.

Sarah set her wine down and swept her gaze over the rest of the street. An upscale hotel stood next to the bar. Through the windows to her left, she could see a man standing at the valet stand. His jacket didn’t fit right.

A man stood reading a folded up newspaper under an awning two buildings down. His gaze wasn’t entirely focused on the paper.

Two tourists stood talking in the rain.

This was definitely a stake-out. What the hell had she gotten herself into? And more importantly, what were they looking for?

An hour passed. She ordered sparkling water while the cabbie grew more and more tense, giving in to angry pacing a time or two. The tourists circled the block a few times. The valet had to park a few cars, and he never looked happy about the prospect, which made Sarah grin secretly to herself every time. And still, their target never came in or out of the hostel. Sarah tried to categorize their movements, see if she could detect which agency and nationality these men were, but she didn’t come up with much more than a couple were ex-military.

It was the man with the newspaper (though he’d moved on to playing with his cell phone by this point) that tipped her off. He nodded over at the valet, and Sarah instinctively looked in the same direction. She couldn’t get a good bead on the target yet, though she figured it was a man based on build and height alone. Tall, she thought. Lanky, didn’t really look like that much of a threat.

She slapped money down on her table and sidled out of the bar, keeping an eye on the approaching stranger through the windows the whole time. The rest of the stake-out team began to slowly converge on the hostel. She moved outside, opened her umbrella.

The target hadn’t had the luxury of an umbrella, it appeared. From this distance, she could see that his shirt and pants were soaked, and that his hair was flattened to his—

Wait a second.

What the hell was he doing here?

Another day of nothing.

Screw all of this. In fact, Chuck thought, scowling as he stalked down the street after a day of being turned away at the front desk of every single senatorial office he could find, screw America and all of its politicians, too. The whole country could crash and burn for all he cared.

And great, it had started to rain.

“Friggin’ perfect,” he groused as he stepped up out of the Metro stop by his hostel and into the downpour. “This whole thing was a waste, just like Bryce freaking said it was going to be. Still, couldn’t leave it alone, could you, Chuck? Could you, huh? Had to go peddling around Washington frakking DC like some idiot boy scout, campaigning for a cause that doesn’t really exist because nobody gives a damn about a person anymore.”

He kept up the rant under his breath as he moved along at a rapid clip, hoping to get out of the rain. Why, he had no idea. It would just mean another miserable night of staring at the stained bunk above his in the hostel, wondering how this had become his life.

He thought of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which had always been one of Ellie’s favorite movies. Well, he had Jimmy Stewart’s height and build and his ideals, too, but he was one thing Jimmy Stewart’s character hadn’t been in the end: screwed.

And thanks to this little expenditure, several hundred dollars in debt, too. And hell, he felt like he’d filibustered for twenty-four hours straight without food or water on top of everything else, so that was just swell.

Thirty-six hours ago, he thought as he approached the hostel, he’d been staying at a resort near Rio, staring at the sea that was an unnatural blue and unable to believe he was finally somewhere other than California. And now, here he was, world inside out, soaked to the bone and likely looking like a drowned rat in Washington D.C. In a way, he almost wished he could take back what Bryce had told him in Rio, that he didn’t have that tangible proof that drove him onward like Don Quixote tilting at his damned windmills. But every word was seared into his brain. Hope wasn’t lost. It was just so, so deeply buried in layers and layers of secrecy that Chuck would be better off going home and forgetting all about the existence of one Morgan Guillermo Grimes.

That was what they wanted him to do, after all.

“Mr. Bartowski?”

Chuck yelped. He hadn’t seen the man, who was hulking and scary and vaguely resembled Bane, approach. He’d actually seemed to melt from the shadows themselves.

The use of his name, however, told Chuck that just like in the Batman verse, Bane was not a good dude. Chuck had registered at the hostel as Fernando Johnson.

“Uh, I think you’ve got the wrong guy,” Chuck said, backing up a step. “I’m Fernando Johnson, but I can help you look for this guy if you want.”

“Mr. Bartowski,” the man said again, and this time a smirk curled across his face. “Please don’t play games with us.”

“U-us?” Chuck asked, and only just then noticed that Bane was not alone. Several others had joined him, slinking out of the rain. Each was more hulking than the next until Chuck was sure one was actually the half-brother of the Hulk himself.

What the hell had he gotten himself into?

“Seriously, dudes,” he said, backing up again. He glanced back and winced when he realized they were actually backing him into an alley. Thanks, again, to Batman, he knew exactly how bad alleys were. “I really think you’ve got the wrong guy here. I’m Fernando. Fernando Johnson! Just a lowly computer programmer from, uh, Georgia.”

“Nice accent, then,” said a new voice, and this one was definitely female.

Chuck froze.

He knew that voice.


  1. Interesting. INTERESTING. :) Morgan and Sarah? Heh. I'd like to see how that came to be? Can I just say how awesome you guys are for sharing all this with us. You are! :) Many thanks, and can't wait to read the rest of the options. Stay cool. :)

  2. Well, that was certainly...interesting.I don't the idea of Morgan having the intersect is that bad and don't really get why people are going nuts over the Season 4 finale even though we don't know what's 5 going to be like. Off course after Season 3 most of us are probably prepared for the worst but I'm certainly interested how the intersect is going to work with Morgan.

    Anyways, back to the story. It's kinda short to get any feel on how the story is going pan out, especially as there's no Morgan and the two scenes don't tell us anything about life in Burbank, how the intersect would have changed Morgan's or Chuck's life. I can imagine how Ellie, and Chuck for that matter, would freak out when hears that Morgan's dating a stunning blonde.

    So yeah, I'm definately interested but the excerpt was a bit too short and picked right in the middle of the story. It showes your amazing writing skills but it doesnt't really work as a sneak peek so it's going to be hard to decide which of the story gets my vote. I'm hoping the next ones could have more than just two scenes.
    That said I forgot to read the synopsis at first but a sligthly larger peek to the story wouldn't hurt.

    I'm not good a writing comments or reviews and I kind of watched the newest episode of Game of Thrones and wrote a bit of my fanfic so I just hope you realize what I'm trying to say here and I'm really looking forward to reading Courting Miss Sarah tomorrow.


  3. Anonymous21.6.11

    Speedhoven here again,
    just wondering what does SWP stand for? I'm guessing it's not Semi-orthogonal Wavelet Packet.


  4. I agree with Speedhoven: well-written, too short to get a good feel for the story, but it could have potential.

    According to wikipedia, SWP could be...
    - Saskatchewan Wheat Pool
    - Scientific Workplace, a mathematics tool with LaTeX support
    - Sherwin-Williams Paints
    - Single Wire Protocol
    - Sliding window Protocol
    - Socialist Workers Party
    - South West Pacific
    - "Supreme white power", a neo-Nazi slogan

    Fortunately, in this case it means none of those. It means Sarah Walker Porn. For the show it typically means gratuitous exploitation of Sarah in a bikini, underwear, or short skirt. In fanfic, it could mean a hard-T or probably-should-be-an-M story.

  5. Anonymous21.6.11

    Oh off course!
    I totally forgot about the FAQ and thefreedictionary's definitions didn't really fit.


  6. These aren't going to be full chapters, guys. The point of a serial story is that you get a little bit at a time over a couple of days that doesn't take away from any of our other projects (I wrote a lot of That Which is Greater this morning, for example, and put down some ideas about Fates, and mxpw has an anatomy class that's probably going to try and murder him this summer. I'm already calling it The Anatomy of Minion Murder). That is why we're calling it the Lazy Summer Serial. I can literally churn out 1,000 words in an hour, throw it up on the blog, have something I don't really have to format or do too much to (which I always feel is the case for ff.net, and Greater: Disneyland just about killed me for that reason alone), that I know people will enjoy.

    Actually, that's something I'll cover here, and not on the other post. For the record, this is not something I'm writing by myself. This is a joint project that mxpw and I are working on together, which means it's not going to take a lot of time from either one of us, so it's probably not wise to go into it with the mindset that this story is going to steal from other stories, for the record. mxpw's stories are on hiatus, as is Fates, and R&J comes sporadically. The hiatus for Fates will end soon.

    But yeah, back to the point, these excerpts are not going to tell a whole tale. In fact, they're supposed to make you ask questions. Why is Chuck in DC? Why's he so angry? Why does Sarah know him? Where is Morgan now? Were Sarah and Morgan real? The answer to that last one is no. You get five little scenarios and at the end of the week, you pick the situation you want to see continue on.

    Thanks for the comments, I guess?

    — Frea

  7. Anonymous21.6.11

    I agree with Speedhoven that these two short, relatively boring scenes demonstrate how talented a writer you are. Honestly, these two scenes do not have anything to really grab my interest and pull me into the story, but man, they are so well written that I've already read the scenes twice.

    And even though I don't think the scenes are all that interesting, there is still enough background given to speculate on the events of this universe. Morgan gets the intersect, so Sarah becomes his cover GF. Sarah doesn't have the connection w/ Morgan that canon Sarah has with Chuck, so she is still Agent Walker. This is shown by her referring to Morgan as "the asset." I'm guessing that Morgan's data retention wasn't high enough, so the intersect didn't function well enough to keep Morgan out of the bunker. Morgan isn't as attached to his family as Chuck was, so he doesn't care that he is stuck in a bunker, provided he has the video games to play as mentioned. Still, Chuck is attached to his best friend enough that the disappearance of Morgan (along with the strangers showing up in Morgan's life leading up to his disappearance) is enough to snap Chuck out of his 5 year "funk" and spur a search, leading to Chuck getting Sarah involved somehow.

    I realize that my speculation could be completely off base, but you gave a tremendous amount of potential back story in these short scenes. And you know, I typed a lot about these scenes for me to say I didn't really find them interesting. LOL Still, I don't see this story getting my vote.

    - BC

  8. See, here you are defending a position when you don't have to, while making the rest of us feel inadequate.

    The truth is it will always be hard to tell much from a single story snippet. Our view of the story is not nearly the size of your vision for it... yet. Keep that in mind, because it prevents us from providing more helpful comments. However, your snippets that you throw up in an hour are still better than most of what we write, hence the feeling of inadequacy.

    Of the five story ideas, this is probably the one in which I am most interested--in an abstract sense. Knowing what you and mxpw think of Morgan from your episode reviews, however, I'm not so sure. (Post-Beard Morgan is probably my second favorite character on the show. *ducking for cover*)

  9. Grey Alchemist21.6.11

    Very interesting. I can see this story shaping up to be a good one. I'll just have to wait and see which one piques my interest the most at the end of the week.

  10. Not sure where the negativity is coming from, I thought this was great. The snippets of R&J reveal no more than this did and that doesn't prevent any of those from being any less awesomesauce. This is a great setup to an intriguing universe and I did indeed find myself asking a lot of the questions you listed.

    I can't wait to see what you guys pull out of the hat for the other four stories. This is going to be fun.

  11. I liked it - it just made me think too much and since it's the start of summer I didn't think I'd have to think that much. I know we went back & forth on twitter about your movie inspiration and I do get it - I just wasn't prepared to have to think about this *ahem* LAZY Summer Serial.

    And you made my brain hurt.

    It is very interesting, very captivating and I could see myself really getting involved. I like this experiment - a lot. And I'm really looking forward to whatever you and Maximus commit to words.

    But enough of that - "The hiatus for Fates will end soon." Best. News. This. Week.

    Keep writing Frea, you have fans!

  12. I think some people are misconstruing the point of these excerpts. They are not supposed to be full-on introductions to each story, or even full chapters. They are like movie trailers or the inside of a book jacket. When you see a movie trailer, it's only supposed to give you an idea of what the movie might be about and what kind of questions it might ask you, it's not supposed to tell you everything you need to know about the movie. Likewise with book jackets. That's all these excerpts are.

    If you feel like it doesn't entice you enough to vote for it, then don't vote for it. Please, the point of this exercise is supposed to be fun, not anything more than that. And these excerpts have always been intended to be snippets only.

  13. Wow that was definitely interesting.

    The first thing I wondered is how long after Morgan getting Intersected are those scenes happening? Did Sarah and Casey just appeared in Morgan's life and then he disappeared or did it take a while.

    Sarah must have been disappointed when she realized that Morgan was the one to happen the email, they must have Chuck did at first, he worked his charm on her and bam! She has to cover date his weirdo best friend. :)

    Also Chuck and Sarah's relationship must be quite different at the beginning considering he's not her job.

    Maybe the Intersect is not working well and they didn't have the same options than with Chuck ie. putting him on the field, albeit normally mostly in the car.

    So now, Morgan is underground or in CIA detention. What is The Facility? Are they experimenting on him?

    Chuck was in Rio with Bryce, now in DC asking questions, using fake name... And Bryce is "alive again" already, or did he not die?

    Where is Casey? I like that you've already mentioned Carina ;-).

    And finally, who sent a message to Sarah and what did it say? Is this Orion playing games with them too? He's the first person that I think of to do that. Unless it's Bryce.

    Well, that wasn't boring at all to me, that's for sure! I'm looking forward to see what the other stories are.

    And thank you for sharing. That's awesome & fun!

  14. "I think some people are misconstruing the" comments :D. Personally, I don't buy books based on book covers or go see movies based on the 30 second TV ad. I rely on recommendations from friends, past experience with the creators/actors/franchise, and sometimes the 2 minute trailer, which shows many snippets from the movie. Not everyone is that way, but from the comments, several of us are. That's not saying anything negative about your writing or how you chose to present the snippets. It's just letting you know something about what your audience is like.

    I'll probably end up reading whatever is chosen anyway (assuming it isn't an anti-Charah hate fic) so my vote doesn't really matter .

    BTW, exercise is good for you, but it's not supposed to be fun. ;)

  15. I LOVE IT ALREADY! Don't listen to all the negative ninnies, it was great. You gave us just enough to get a feel for where the story is going and I think the idea behind it has is really original and has a lot of potential. I'm sure if you continue with this serial story it will make for a super enjoyable read. Keep up the great work guys!

  16. I find this premise *surprisingly* interesting, given that the general idea of Morgan being the Intersect is not particularly appealing to me.

    But then I started thinking about the Chuck-Sarah-Morgan situation and the possibilities started to sound suspiciously like FUN.

    Chuck might be initially intimidated by Sarah, but then they're forced together by circumstance and something unexpected happens. Mortified that he's being disloyal to Morgan, Chuck tries to stay detached but it's hopeless. And it's not easy to sit there and watch Morgan put the moves on Sarah, fake or not. But what else can he do?

    Sarah might be similarly distressed that she's thinking about Chuck at times she should be thinking about the asset. As she struggles to do her job the shearing force builds inside her, and she starts to behave more and more irrationally. Hilariousness ensues. ;)

    And Morgan, who (based on the teaser) is pretty much splashing happily around in a huge swimming pool of video games, is going to start noticing something is going on. Like the weird vibes he's been getting recently whenever his fake girlfriend and his buddy are around each other. And then:

    "Dude! You kissed my girlfriend!"

    "Wha—she's not really your girlfriend, Morgan!"

    "Yeah, I know, but no one else knows that."

    See? Fun!

  17. dammit i want more! I dig this, but when haven't I enjoyed something you guys write. Can't wait to read what else you have in store. Thanks for doing this!

  18. I'm sorry if my posts came out negative, it definitely wasn't my intention. I absolutely loved the excerpt and it got me interested in the story.

    What I was trying to say that you could maybe try showing two completely different scenes or maybe some tiny snippets from some other scenes. I know that writing takes a lot of time and it can be hard to find the time so I'm not asking for longer excerpts just ones that help describe the story better. Since Morgan apparently has a big role in the story, a short snippet of scene with him or even a bit of dialogue would help get the feel for the story. I mean movie trailers are hardly ever just made from one scene :P

    Then again the scene itself was really interesting and pretty important for the story so I'm not sure why I keep rambling about the whole matter.

    Oh and just one more thing. Will the Summer Serial Story be like R&J where the scenes are short and there's lot more to the story than you write? I think this story could benefit from having a lot of fun but not so important scenes.

    A bit long post again but hey you asked us to share our thought so that's what I did.

    Looking forward to today's excerpt!


  19. Hm, again, I don't think people are really getting the point of the snippets. Frankly, I don't want to give away the entire story. I don't want to tell you how big of a role Morgan has in the story, or if there will be a lot of romance. That’s stuff that the serial will unfold as time goes by. You get basically what's in the synopsis and in this three-page scene for each story, which is part of the game. Each excerpt serves to establish the tone of the serial, some parameters (for instance, here we know there will be two different points of view, it’s in third person, Sarah and Chuck know each other, Carina’s a factor somehow), and so on and so forth.

    I understand that people want more choice and I suppose it’s flattering, but...nope. You get an excerpt, some ratings, a synopsis, and the same for every story, and then the vote commences.

    It’s more like buying a Kindle book than it is a movie trailer. There are reviews you can read on Amazon (not available here because these are brand new stories), you can read the synopsis, check out the author’s other work (my stories and mxpw’s stories are linked right in the sidebar), and then you can download a short excerpt from the novel. The excerpt isn’t piecemeal bits from throughout the book, it’s a single, continuous entry, usually one to two chapters. Here, we went with the length of a typical update instead of three chapters, as we’re offering five stories.

    Some other points:

    This excerpt is from the beginning of the story. I start stories in media res quite a bit. This may not apply to all of the other excerpts (though I think it does).

    Morgan is one of my favorite characters to write. I had a blast writing The Wingman and I don’t short my characters even when I don’t like them (Shaw aside, which is why he will never show up in a serious work of mine as anything but a villain), so I don’t appreciate the implication that I would do that, even if you’re just trying to be funny.

    Every vote matters. That’s why we’re doing this. Vote for the story you want to read, or ignore altogether. Your choice, of course.

    The Serial story probably won’t be as a deep a mythology as R&J. There is a LOT to R&J going on under the surface, which is being revealed slowly. These stories are scoped on a much smaller scale, boiled down for faster writing (like Greater was supposed to be before I made the mistake of putting it on ff.net and establishing it as a linear story).

    We will finish by the end of the summer. And then there will be an ebook.

  20. Speedhoven22.6.11

    Okay thanks for answering.
    The points about the beginning and Morgan really help choosing which story I'm going to vote for. Basically extending the Author's Notes and giving some of your thoughts on the story helps me choose better but I understand that you want to give away much of the story. So I'd better just stop rambling on and on about it.

    Anyways it's nice to see that you've got a deadline on the story because for me it makes it easier to keep up with the story since there's no month long breaks. Even though I love a deep mythology and lot's of non-important fluffy scenes the smaller scale definately makes it different and interesting.

    One more thing I'd like to know is that what kind of comments do you like to receive most. I personally love criticism (at least so far) becuase it helps me develop as a writer since I've just started writing and still pretty much suck at it.


  21. Anonymous22.6.11

    I hope I didn't come across as too negative in my comment. I just think that while the scenes are extremely well written, they didn't get the hooks in me the way the first scene from R&J or the first chapter of Greater did (Of course, how can you not get hooked by a baby seeing Sarah and screaming Mommy!!!).

    Maybe I overstated things by saying the scenes were boring. However, one was of Sarah sitting in a bar. That doesn't make for a very exciting scene. It did give a bit of background, so I see the purpose, but it simply wasn't that exciting to me.

    I thought that the purpose of these scenes was for us to decide which one we would be most interested in seeing continued. I was just giving my initial reaction to the first one. If that was too negative, my apologies to Frea, mxpw, and everyone. No matter which of the five stories are continued, I will be reading and enjoying it.


  22. I don’t think I’m going to extend my author’s comments from now on, as I just seem to keep digging myself into hot water, to mix the metaphors nicely. Neither of ya'll's comments came off too negatively in this case, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about. On the surface, there isn’t a lot going on in the two short scenes, just like there isn’t much happening in the first pages of R&J (I posted seven pages then, not three). So I’m not terribly offended if you find them boring. You find it how you find it. You didn't think it was interesting enough to see what happens next, then *shrugs* vote for something else.

    As a writer, the best feedback is that—feedback. Sometimes it’s criticism, sometimes it’s “this works and this doesn’t,” sometimes it’s “that left a HUGE smile on my face throughout the day.” My only request is that people remain polite and speak only for themselves.

    (And I'm anal, I know, but Vi didn't scream Mommy. She sort of chirped it, brightly, as if Sarah had just gone down to the cereal aisle to fetch some cheerios)

  23. Anonymous22.6.11

    No, please keep extending any comments and insights you want to share. I think of your writing as how I hear people comment on gifted singers... they could sing the telephone book and I'd listen. Whatever you write (fiction, comments, tweets...), I look forward to reading. LOL

    Ok, chirped, not screamed. I was going by memory. Got ya! Imagining it in my head, hearing Vi chirp is much cuter than a scream. LOL



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