Chuck vs The Evil Twin Chapter 26
Don’t own Chuck
Chuck flew out from Casablanca over the Atlas Mountains with their barren tops then headed eastward across Mauritania entering the Sahara desert. Below him it looked like an endless sea of sand and desolation. Few people could carve a living out of a place so inhospitable but for the Tuareg, the ‘people blue’, this was home. Finally he entered Mali airspace where Chuck headed for the pre-established rendezvous coordinates. In the midst of the arid landscape stood a patch of green with date palms on one side this was where he was supposed to land. He landed far enough away so he wouldn’t frighten the herds.
“Amghar,” said one of Amess’ old herders who came running into his tent. “That man you’re waiting for is here. He’s walking into camp now.” Amess had to translate for the Doctor.
“Good we can get this over with,” said Dr. Dee. Chuck was late which made the doctor upset. She didn’t particularly like the heat nor did she like the pastoral smells in Amess’ tent. To put it politely she thought the tent smelled like wet goats.
“How many men did he bring with him?” asked Amess thinking that this would automatically break the neutrality of his camp.
“None Amghar,” said the old man. “He’s walking in alone and from our scouts he landed in a helicopter by himself. He didn’t even bring a pilot he flew it himself. Come you have to see him.”
“What’s so special about him,” asked Amess. But the old man was insistent waving for him to come so in the end he came outside to see with the Doctor following behind.
“Just because he didn’t bring anyone does mean they’re not waiting in the desert,” reminded the Doctor as she followed him.
“You mean like the men you’ve got hidden,” said Amess but before the Doctor could answer they both saw Chuck walking into camp with the tagelmust on and his veil up to protect his face against the sand.
“Why is he dressed up like... well one of you?” asked the Doctor as she held her hand up covering her eyes from the sun. “It seems to me a little patronizing.”
“Well he might be wearing it so he doesn’t have to do what you just did to shield your eyes from the sun. I don’t see it as patronizing but practical. You know if you tried to be a little accommodating it wouldn’t be a bad thing.”
“I give you money so I don’t have to be or have you forgotten that?” said the Doctor. She thought Amess need to be brought into line.
“You can’t buy honor with money,” said Amess as he walked out to meet Chuck heading him off before he got to his tent.
“As-salāmu ʿalayka,” said Chuck as he bowed to Amess. Amess didn’t know what to say or do. “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or return it equally or so it is written.”
“wa-Alaykum,” said Amess as he returned Chuck’s bow. “Come into my tent. The Doctor is already here and nervous you’re late.”
“My name is Charles Carmichael but my friends call me Chuck. I know I’m late I intentionally wanted to arrive after Zuhr to give you time to pray. It would’ve been rude of me to arrive and call you away from your prayer.”
“My name is Amess I’m the Amghar or Chieftain for my Kel or clan. That was thoughtful of you arriving after prayer. I should thank you,” said Amess as he led Chuck into his tent. Sitting on the floor next to a low table was a woman. Chuck flashed on her. Irene Denova, he saw in his head along with inhuman experiments along with DNA mutations. “This is...”
“I know who she is,” said Chuck as he undid the veil of his tagelmust. “Oh here I brought you some gifts as a sign of respect. Here is some gunpowder green tea, some cigars the finest Costa Gravas has to offer and lastly this,” said Chuck a he handed Amess a block of rock salt.
“Salt, this is worth a fortune in the desert. In the old days my father’s father used to lead caravans across the desert loaded down with salt. Nowadays people buy it in little blue boxes with a little girl on the label carrying an umbrella. I went on one of the last ones as a boy and it’s something I’ll never forget. I guess it’s like being at sea and the camel was our ship...”
“Okay that’s nice,” said the Doctor as she interrupted. “But can we get down to the negotiations. I see you didn’t bring your prisoner with you.”
“Nor did you bring yours,” said Chuck as he sat down. “I wanted to make sure you’d hold up your end of the bargain.”
“Well while you two are talking I will see that tea is prepared,” said Amess using it as an excuse to leave. He didn’t know what to do and he needed advice of his Imegharan, his elders.
[Back Inside the negotiations became heated and not just because of the desert]
Chuck and the Doctor were sitting around the low table discussing terms. They were toying with each other like a cat and a mouse. But the question was who was the cat and who was the mouse?
“So Chuck what have you to offer me that would make me fold my hand? You didn’t bring anything for me as far as I can see?”
“This is a onetime deal so think hard on before you answer. I can offer you this I’ll give you the opportunity to walk away. You turn over Beckman and my friends to me then you disappear. You can crawl into whatever hole you want then vanish forever.”
“You call that an option? I call it a threat. What if I make you a counter offer you come with me and I’ll take you to your friends. You can be with them…”
“You mean as your prisoner. I don’t think so,” said Chuck as Amess came back with their tea. He sat the tray on the table and poured it three times to make it froth and bring out the taste as well as the flavor of the fresh mint they add.
“Tan-oo-mert [Thank you]” said Chuck in Tuareg as he took his tea. Amess looked at him trying to figure Chuck out. He’d never met anyone quite like him before.
“How is it you speak my language,” said Amess in Tuareg as he passed the Doctor her tea. She was looking at the two wondering what was going one. Suddenly she was the odd man out and felt like an outsider, which was what Chuck wanted.
“I speak a lot of languages for example Bedouin. We could talk about the diyafa and the sharaf which are important to your people too as to me.”
“English please,” said the Doctor. “Well this little game of ours has last long enough,” said the Doctor as she pulled a Walther PPK and pointed it at Chuck. “I know about your friends the Spetsnaz. You can call them in but my men are waiting outside with Stinger missiles.”
“Are you crazy pointing a gun at a guest in my tent? Put that thing away,” said Amess as Chuck’s phone rang a text message.
“One second I need to read this,” said Chuck. “I’ve been waiting for this. Oh this is interesting. It’s from Anatoly my FSB friend and his Spetsnaz men. He wrote me to say the prisoners are safe and he’s returning to Casablanca.”
“You… you tricked me into coming here. You wanted me here so you could free the hostages and I let you. I split my men… oh my Lieutenant was right. I ought to kill you here. You’re here all by yourself I think I will kill you.”
“Yes you probably ought to but he won’t let you. Right Amess? Or am I mistaken you went before to talk with your elders?
“I did and there’s nothing I can do. You have to put the weapon down or I’ll have to shoot you,” said Amess as he drew his own weapon, a gold plated desert eagle.
“What? You ungrateful SOB, I pay you good money now you turn on me just because he came here with a scarf on his head and spoke to you in your language?”
“No Doctor, it’s much more than that,” said Chuck. “Sit down and finish your tea. You see once Amess invited me into his tent and I presented him with gifts he was bound by the laws of hospitality diyafa in Bedouin to protect me.
“I told you Doctor money can’t buy honor and now I’m honor bound,” said Amess. “I talked to my elders and Chuck here has done nothing to break the rules of hospitality while you have waving a pistol in my tent. You brought men to this meeting when Chuck did not. I’m sorry but I have to ask you to leave and to take your men with you.”
“Doctor, where are you going to go? You can’t go back to your fort it’s been destroyed and knowing this elusive Mr. Y he must know or will know very shortly. What do you think his reaction is going to be? If you want you can return to Casablanca with me. Believe me it’s your best choice.”
“Amghar,” said the same old herder running back in. “The men that woman brought with her are leaving. I saw them get in their vehicles and go. They’re heading back towards Timbucktu. Should we try to stop them?”
“No let them go.”
“Your Boss knows,” said Chuck. “It won’t be long now before he sends someone to tie up loose ends and you Doctor are a dangling end.”
The General looked over the city as their helicopter circled. Long before they arrived she could see the beautiful mosque of Hassan II with its minaret sitting on a promontory jutting out into the Atlantic. However, it didn’t hit her until the chopper landed and she stepped off that she was finally free. She hadn’t been prisoner for long but for her it seemed as if she’d been held for months and finally now she was free. Even the air smelt sweeter as she savored the smell of freedom before getting into the Mercedes that was waiting to run her to Rabat and the Embassy.
“Agent Mikhailovich ride with me. Stefan can stay with your men I’ll make sure you get back but I’d like you to brief me too.”
“I can only tell you what I know which isn’t much. This was all Chuck’s idea. I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted that he could rescue you with risking our people and seeing he captured your double without having to fire a shot I let him run with it.”
“Roan and Stefan told me about Washington and Chicago but how are we supposed to know how things are going with Chuck? How is he supposed to get word to us if he needs backup?”
“The truth is if things didn’t go the way he planned there would be little we could do to help him. He did agree to let us to watch him from above. Chief Livingston here is monitoring Chuck’s progress the best he can from a spy sat.”
“Yes ma’am I’ve got people watching we’re using a spy satellite that we moved over the city to look for the Russians then you, but that’s a different story. Anyway your Major has been on the phone asking to speak to you. Langley thinks you’ve been out of pocket to conduct secret negotiations with the Russians that was to keep certain protocols from being implemented.”
“Is there anything else I need to be brought up to speed on? My evil twin I want to see her as soon as we get back. This mysterious Mr. Y do we have any idea who he is?”
“So far your twin isn’t talking and no this mystery boss is still a mystery,” said the Chief as he looked over at Anatoly then the General.
“Do you have a question?’ asked the General. “If you do, out with it. I’m feeling very generous right now so take advantage of it.”
“Well yes about your twin or whatever you want to call her General, what do you want to do with her? Chuck was careful to limit the number of people who knew of her existence. He said it would be up to you to decide what to do with her. I guess what I’m asking you is do you want us to make her disappear for good.”
“Let’s take this one step at a time. First I need to talk to her then I’ll make a decision. Is it me who smells like a camel,” said the General as everyone looked the other way. “Okay first I need a shower then a fresh uniform after that I’ll meet my twin. I don’t think she’s going anywhere.”
“In the meantime I’ll try to get an update on
Chuck. I’ll have my people do an IR scan
to see if we can see what’s going on inside the tent.”
“Do that, it’s an excellent idea,” said the General. “Agent Mikhailovich, Anatoly thank Agent Metrohken for me and I’ll call your Boss Igor to thank him for everything he’s done. But you realize I can never go public with what happened.”
“Someone I know told me once we don’t do this job for public recognition or thanks, we do it because we can and we know it’s the right thing to do.”
The SUV was waved inside the embassy compound by the Marine guard and once inside the parking lot the General was whisked inside by the Ambassador.
“Chief Livingstone,” said Anatoly. “Before you get out please let me know what’s going on with Chuck. Also keep an eye on her and don’t let your guard down. She might be in your embassy but we’ve seen this organization has a long reach and they might try something now just to get even.”
“If you want you can come inside,” said the Chief as he got out of the car. “I can put you in the Ambassador’s office to wait.”
“No, I really need to get back to my people. Stefan needs to rest and someone needs to supervise breaking down our safe house. Just keep me informed about Chuck.”
“Roger will do and thanks,” said the Chief as he extended his arm and they shook.
Chuck retraced his journey from Amess’ camp across the sea of sand then back over the bleak peaks of the Atlas Mountains on to the Atlantic coast. When he got close to the coast he radioed ahead to Casablanca tower control and received permission to land. The day had been long and when he landed he felt drained. His wasn’t just physically tiredness there was more weighing down on him and his conscience.
“Well you did it,” said Anatoly as he came up to the chopper. Both he and Stefan came to the airport when they learned of Chuck’s return. “You’re plan worked. I have to admit I had my doubts but it worked.”
“If I had to tell you the truth so did I. Stefan how are you doing?” asked Chuck as his two friends platted him on the back. “I was worried about you and Roan. I’m glad you got out unscathed.”
“Thanks to you that psychopath doctor told us she was going to kill us when she got back with you as her prisoner. You know that was an insane risk you took going out to meet that crazy women by yourself. What happened to her? Do we need to organize a manhunt or an air strike?”
“No you don’t need to worry about her. Let’s just leave it that her researching days have been terminated forever. I really don’t want to talk about her. But it’s good to see the two of you listen I need to go brief my General but afterwards do you guys want to go out to eat. We could get a tajine and share it or anything else you want I’m paying.”
“We’ll have to take a rain check. We’d love to but we’ve got to fly home the director has a plane waiting for us and we’ve already boarded the rest of the team. Igor is already screaming about budget overruns.”
“Well thanks for everything and see you two around. You know if you’re ever in Burbank you’re always welcome to drop by.”
“We just might have to in say four months,” said Stefan. “Send our regards to Sarah and tell her I hope it’s a boy.”
“Sorry the Doctor told us it’s supposed to be a girl and Sam can’t wait for her sister to get here. Well I’ll let you two go so you can catch your plane I’ve got to report in.”
They waved to each other then parted company. Chuck got in the Embassy car and started to Rabat to report to the General. He sunk into the back seat and it seemed to reach up and grab him. He fell asleep also as soon as they left the airport he was out all the way to the Embassy.
“Chuck wake up,” said the Chief as he tried to wake him. He reached in the back of the vehicle and shook him. Chuck woke up in a start he grabbed the Chief’s arm pulled him into the back of the SUV and at the same time pulled a boot knife from his ankle sheath holding it to the Chief’s throat.
“Agent Carmichael, stand down,” yelled the General as she ran to the vehicle. “Chuck, let him go you’re at the Embassy. Chuck we’re safe.”
“Oh... oh, sorry that was kind of a knee jerk reaction,” said Chuck as he realized where he was. He let the Chief go and apologized. “I’m really sorry about that but you shouldn’t be sneaking up on a spy.”
“So I’ve been told,” said the Chief as he straightened out his clothes and rubbed his neck. Chuck put away the knife then climbed out of the back of the Mercedes.
“General, you’re looking better that I expected. Prison life seems to have agreed with you,” said Chuck as he followed her inside. The three of them rode the elevator down to the substation and there they found Roan talking with some of the female agents.
“Charles my boy I have to thank you, that was a pretty bold move walking into the enemy camp like that. I just have to tell you bravo Charles well done.”
“I have a different opinion,” said Sarah talking from the monitor. “What did I tell you not to do anything stupid? How can I trust you on a mission by yourself if you go off and do crazy things like this?”
“Roan come with me,” said the General as she motioned him to follow her. “I want to go back and interrogate me. Chuck, I want a briefing as soon as you’re done. Agent Carmichael, Sarah your husband went above and beyond the call of duty and for that you should be proud.”
“General I’m glad you realize that but the truth is I’ve always been proud of Chuck and with all due respect I don’t need anyone telling me to be proud of him. I already am. But Chuck don’t let this go to your head I’m still mad at you.”
“Sarah, Love. There wasn’t anything to worry about. Once I met Amess he’s the amghar or chief of his clan and he invited me into his tent. He had to protect me under the laws of hospitality this was reinforced when I gave him gifts of tea and salt. So to keep his honor he had to keep me safe from Dr. Dee.”
“I bet she was really happy about that,” said Sarah. But when Chuck mentioned the Doctor there was something in the way he said her name, a tone in his voice that made her think there was something more. “Chuck what is it? What happened she got angry then what?”
“She pulled a gun on me but as I thought Amess pulled one on her and made her back down. That was when her world fell apart…”
“Her evil world,” said Sarah interrupting Chuck. “I’m sorry okay her world fell apart then what happened?”
“Well her men abandoned her so I pointed out the futility of her position and I offered to take her into custody bringing her back here for detention. I thought she was going to go for it. She agreed to come with me so I put her in the helicopter with me. Naturally I cuffed her I wasn’t crazy contrary to popular opinion,” said Chuck as he paused to gather strength to finish.
“But she didn’t come back with you. The Chief told me you flew in alone. Chuck, what happened to the doctor? Did she change her mind and you let her out?” She saw the look on Chuck’s face as he turned away. “Oh Sweetie what did you do? Don’t tell me you did what I think you did?” Chuck’s silence seemed to be an admission of guilt.
“Sarah, it’s not what you think.”
“Then explain it to me,” she said. Chuck took a deep breath before continuing.