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11 December 2008 @ 10:40 pm
A Woman Waits for Me 22/39  
Title: A Woman Waits for Me
Chapter: 22/39
Author: ladygray99 
Pairing: Charlie/Colby
Summary: When Don’s life slides into the darkness only family will help him find his way out. – Charlie has a plan. It’s a kinda crack monkey plan.
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,851
Warning: Spoilers for the book Ender’s Game. I haven’t actually read it; I just paraphrase the Wikipedia entry.
Disclaimer: Numb3rs belongs to other people who are not me. I’m not making any money from this though I wish I were.
Previous Chapters: Part 4 of Whitman ‘verse. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Authors Notes: Okay this chapter might feel a little out of place. Honestly it’s been shifted around this story about a dozen times. I’d cut it out all together but it’s a set up for something that I will hopefully do in Whitman 5 so it sort of needs to be here. At any rate give it a read and give me your feelings on it.
Betas:swingandswirl  and riverotter1951 

 


Part 22

The First Whisper of a Plan

Martin Sherwood knocked on the garage door after there had been no answer at the front, though he could hear music playing somewhere in the house. He had let himself into the Craftsman having finally talked Charlie into giving him a key for emergency reasons. Not that he couldn’t get into the house very easily without a key. Getting the key had been a big win though, along with talking Charlie into carrying the panic button. He knew Colby wasn’t happy about Martin technically having free access to the house and swept the Craftsman for bugs every week. What he didn’t tell Colby was that every time he was in the area he swept the Craftsman for bugs as well, only he had some seriously high tech gizmos to help him do it. He knew a few too many of Charlie’s secrets and not the type that needed to get written up in anyone’s reports. Of course, Charlie knew a few too many of his as well.

“Come in,” came a tired-sounding call from the garage.

“Hello, Professor.” Martin said. “Didn’t you hear me knocking?”

“Yeah but I figured if it was anyone I actually needed to see they’d just come around the side.” Martin sighed internally and decided he’d try to talk Charlie into a security system next. The man knew how valuable an asset he was and negotiated his fees to match but at the same time he always acted as if he were expendable.

Charlie was standing in front of his blackboards looking tired and worried.

“I came for those results on…”

“They’re on the hockey table.”

Martin went and picked up a folder with all kinds of classification data on the outside. He thumbed through it, though he didn’t understand most of it. Of course, that wasn’t his job. His job was really to make sure Charlie stayed loyal, useful, and alive, pretty much in that order.

Charlie didn’t move from his spot, staring at the boards full of equations.

“What are you working on, Professor?” Marten finally asked.

“You know I could destroy a country?” Charlie said softly. Martin blinked a few times.

“Is this a hypothetical discussion we’re having?”

“I could destroy a country and rebuild it into a peaceful, stable, area. The math says I can.”

“Dr. Eppes are we talking about this country or one of our immediate allies ‘cause if we are…”

“You know I’ve never looked at Colby’s military record. I could, I could even get into the sealed bits.” Martin cringed beneath his Men In Black mask. He had read Colby’s military record, even the sealed bits. There were bits that just weren’t pretty. “It never seemed right. I’ve never looked at Don’s FBI file or even my Dad’s.” Martin restrained himself from telling Charlie that his Dad’s file was actually a pretty interesting read. Certainly a valuable historical document of the era.

“We’re talking about Afghanistan, aren’t we?” Martin asked softly. “Not a war game, a real plan?”

“The math says with an army big enough, real time data input from every satellite we’ve got, I could do it. I could run through those hills, take prisoners, destroy lines of supply, annihilate insurgence forces, wipe out the poppy crop as a Christmas bonus to my friends at the DEA. It would take me…six, eight months, tops.”

Martin’s eyebrows actually rose the tiniest bit. “Write it up.”

“No,” Charlie said with a shake of his head.

“Charlie, if you’ve got a plan…”

“I almost destroyed the world with my last plan.”

“That wasn’t a plan, that was a game.”

“What did that Congressman say, ‘We fucked up the endgame?’ If we continue as we are we’ll leave in two years and be back in ten. So says the math.”

Martin nodded in agreement. “If you’ve got a better idea…”

Charlie ran his hand over a section of equations. “I’d need to double current US forces, have full NATO backing, plus internal Afghan troops…”

“Things like that can be arranged.”

“I’d have to be giving the orders. In real time. I’d have to be in a room, doing the math as the information came in, bypass the chain of command, be giving orders straight to ground troops. I’d have to be pulling the strings.”

Martin felt himself give a little laugh. “Sounds like Ender’s Game.”

“What?”

“Oh, I forget, you don’t read.”

Charlie pursed his lips. “I read.”

“It’s about a genius kid in the future who’s trained by the government to be a military commander. They set him up in a simulated ‘game’ where he has to defeat an alien race. He manages to annihilate them completely then is told it wasn’t really a game and he was commanding a real fleet as it happened.”

Charlie snorted. “What happened to him?”

“The guilt of genocide sends him into a five day coma then the books get a little weird after that.”

Charlie looked thoughtful for a moment. “Sounds about right.”

“The math says this could be done?” Martin asked just to make sure.

“The war bit is actually easy. Not fucking up the end game, that would be hard.” Charlie pointed to another set of equations. “That’s the end game. It would have to dovetail with the final push. To achieve stability we’d be talking about the largest humanitarian effort in the history of the planet, I’m not just talking about rice and blankets. I mean rebuilding every damn mud hut and outfitting each one with solar panels since they’re out of trees to burn, I mean replanting millions of acres of forest, millions of acres of cropland, drought-resistant food crops, fresh top soil, deep water wells, buildings, schools, roads, hospitals and making sure every little village has all of the above, basically rebuild the entire infrastructure of a country in a way conducive to developing polite western thinking, and fast. Not to mention full debt relief, micro loans, macro loans, probably rig an election or two, and it would have to be done in a year or less while simultaneously guarding the border from external combatants trying to undermine what we’re doing.”

Only you, Dr. Eppes.’ Martin thought with a sigh.

“Write it up.”

Charlie snorted and flopped down on the floor, staring at the rafters.

“I’d have to make devil deals with everyone from the CIA to Greenpeace and the only thing I’ve got to bargain with is my brain and the type of money we’re talking about is in numbers even I’m finding kinda big.”

“Write it up,” Martin said again.

“I mean we’re talking huge sums going to a country no one particularly likes full of people no one particularly trusts.”

“Write it up,” Martin said for a third time, hoping that simple bit of instruction would sink in.

“And I can make just as good an argument that we should be funneling all that money into education and healthcare.”

“Yes, that way in a generation we’ll have smart healthy kids that can go and get shot at by their not as smart and healthy kids.”

Charlie shook his head. “This is completely insane. I don’t know what I’m thinking.”

“The math says you could do it.”

“The math says I can stick a cat in a box and it’s alive and dead simultaneously. That whole analogy was developed by Schrödinger to point out the absurdity in the difference between what math says and what the real world allows. According to math I can unscramble an egg. I’ve yet to manage that, either.”

“Write it up, Dr. Eppes. You have a plan, no one else does.”

Charlie scrubbed at his face. “How did I come to this, Martin?” He asked softly.

“I don’t follow.”

“I remember the first time I saw a dead body at a crime scene. Bank job gone bad. Don got… Don got his arm grazed. I went into a mild case of shock and puked my guts out. I retreated here and tried to solve P vs NP for two days. Now… I was at a scene for LAPD last week. Really messy. A bit of human brain matter fell off the ceiling, landed on my shoulder, my first thought was ‘that’s gonna stain.’ A piece of human brain and I treated it like a bird dropping. I philosophically don’t believe in guns but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve become a very good shot. The though of war makes me outraged and yet in my free time I just did up a set of calculations that lists numbers of human lives as ‘statistically acceptable losses’ and what’s more I want…” Charlie shook his head. “I want to be your Ender. It makes my fingers itch. I want to be in a room somewhere pitting my math against a real time battle for real stakes. Me, not some general rewriting my work, me.” Charlie rubbed his eyes “How the hell did I become this?”

Because we needed you to and you never fought it.’

“Why don’t you ask your brother how he went from a minor league all-rounder to the youngest tactics instructor Quantico ever had.” Martin answered gently. “Ask Agent Reeves how she went from the upstate country club social register belle to picking apart the brains of serial killers.”

Charlie stood up and picked up an eraser. Martin grabbed his wrist before it could touch a board.

“Charlie, you just told me you’ve got a plan. Okay it’s kinda a crack monkey plan that hinges on the world giving a gay atheistic Jewish mathematician who made his public name with a self help book lots of money and serious military power to destroy and rebuild a predominantly Islamic nation, but Charlie, no one else has got a plan. I mean really. The plan as it stands is to pull out in a year or two and let the whole area sink even deeper into hell and you’re right in a generation or less we’ll be back there trying to root out people who hate us because someone told them they should hate us and the satellite feed doesn’t get them the Simpsons and they don’t know who we are any more than we know who they are.”

Charlie put down the eraser.

“What’s the worst that can happen?” Martin asked.

“I’ll get a lot of people killed and waste a lot of money.”

“No the worst thing that can happen is they’ll tell you no.” Charlie just shrugged. “At least you’ll still have your looks.”

Charlie snorted. “Martin, does the NSA know that underneath that black suit and ten pounds of hair gel you’re just a deranged horny little nerd?”

Martin let a smile crack his face. “No Dr. Eppes that’s just a little secret between you and me.” Martin rubbed his hand along Charlie’s back a few times. “Write it up. All of it. I’ll make sure it lands on the right desk.”

“Yes, where it will quickly move to the right garbage bin.”

“I think they recycle now.” Charlie gave him a withering look “Just write it up, Charlie. Please.”

 
 
 
 
mikes_grrl on December 11th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)
...“At least you’ll still have your looks.”

For that, I just fell in love with Martin. ♥

I know this is a set up and whoa, what it is setting up FOR is pretty scary! But very well done with the explanations, ESPECIALLY the ref. to Ender's Game! yeah! ("...and the books get weird after that." hahahahahaaa!!!!). I love it when characters make pop culture references in stories; I think people avoid writing stuff like that for fear of dating their work but really, we ALL DO IT so why wouldn't our fictional characters do it too? So props for that.

I also thought that Martin's aside of because we needed you and you never fought it was very insightful.

Interesting chapter full of brain food. And Martin!

ladygray99ladygray99 on December 11th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
Aw. thank you. Good to see Martin love. I figured Enders Game has been around long enough if counts as vintage sci-fi so it shouldn't date it too badly. Part of Martin's back story that may or may not ever make it to the page is he's a real fan of classic SF. lots of Asimov, Bradbury, Philip K. Dick. It's really his only vice.
melissima: abnormal brainmelissima on December 11th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
I agree with you about Ender. Maybe he isn't a household name, but he isn't going anywhere among those interested in the genre.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 11th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
Some guy in my dorm was reading it years ago and gave me a run down of the story. It stuck in my head and when I came to this bit it popped back out.

Oh and I so love that icon.
ninou1ninou1 on December 11th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC)
I'm higly disturbed by this chapter, I think it's really going too far... even for a highly disturbed Charlie...

“I want to be your Ender. It makes my fingers itch. I want to be in a room somewhere pitting my math against a real time battle for real stakes. Me, not some general rewriting my work, me.” Charlie rubbed his eyes “How the hell did I become this?”
It's really scary... Too far gone for me.

But there are still some good lines in it, like the one where Charlie gave a description of Martin.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 11th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
It is pretty disturbing but it is a kinda crack monkey plan so the chances of anyone implementing it are pretty small.
Devo79devo79 on December 11th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
a gay atheistic Jewish mathematician...

I honestly trust him more than some of the jerks ruling the world right now.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 11th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Very true.
riverotter1951: Firestarriverotter1951 on December 11th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
Poignant: Charlie rubbed his eyes “How the hell did I become this?” ‘Because we needed you to and you never fought it.’ “Why don’t you ask your brother how he went from a minor league all-rounder to the youngest tactics instructor Quantico ever had.” Martin answered gently. “Ask Agent Reeves how she went from the upstate country club social register belle to picking apart the brains of serial killers. with Martin turning the focus away from Charlie.
Interesting questions to ask but probaly never asked.

Martin is exactly the handler Charlie needs, protective and loyal, but knowing he can never satisfy Charlie's need for fluidness. Hopefully he will find the right man.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 11th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
He will. Just give me another story to do it with.
Erinstarlettmalfoy on December 11th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
Gosh, I love him. As I've said repeatedly, lol.

War makes me nervous. Ugh. I enjoyed this bit a lot though. Love the details about Ender's Game. It threw me back to the memory of reading that book *ages* ago, and how shocked I was at the ending.

I never did finish the series though, lol, so that bit about the coma I don't quite recall. :P

Seeee ya tomorrow!
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 11th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Well I might be wrong about the coma thing. I just skimmed over the Wikipedia article on it.
melissima: Charlie's secrets by <lj user=darkangel4melissima on December 11th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
Interesting scene! I love that Charlie and Martin clearly care for each other, but that they aren't built to be together.

That rings very true.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 11th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
Re:
It happens to the best of us. It all works great in our heads until we try it in real life.
(Deleted comment)
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 12th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
That's a good long read for one day. I'm glad you're enjoying it despite the shift in focus. The next story will swing back around to Charlie/Colby.
fredbassettfredbassett on December 12th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
Fascinating conversation. Charlie's brain scares me.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 12th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
I think Charlie's brain scares Charlie.
twins_m0m on December 15th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
Martin was so good in this. I especially liked his thoughts that weren't spoken aloud. And Charlie's description of Martin. He's really rounding out to be a fun character. And there's nothing wrong with SciFi. Asimov is one of my favorites.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 16th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
Glad you're liking Martin. He doesn't have much more in this story but they'll be lots of him in the next.
laura_trekkielaura_trekkie on January 18th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
I like Martin, I do, but I'm not sure he's the right person for Charlie to tell his plan to, for the very reason that he wants Charlie to write it up, no matter how insane it is. It's one thing for Charlie to jot it down on his boards, but another thing entirely for it to land on some shadowy figure's desk. Look what happened with the last plan.

Nice banter between Martin and Charlie, and also a few interesting thoughts from Martin.

Laura.
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 18th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
It's sort of Martins job to scrape up Charlie's mental droppings and try to do something with them. Charlie will keep a closer eye on things this time.
kdoriankdorian on February 24th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
“It’s about a genius kid in the future who’s trained by the government to be a military commander. They set him up in a simulated ‘game’ where he has to defeat an alien race. He manages to annihilate them completely then is told it wasn’t really a game and he was commanding a real fleet as it happened.”
Charlie snorted. “What happened to him?”
“The guilt of genocide sends him into a five day coma then the books get a little weird after that.”


I think that's the best and most accurate review of the Ender's series that I've ever read.
ladygray99ladygray99 on February 24th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
The funny thing is I've never read it. Just heard some of my friends talking about it in college.
kdoriankdorian on February 24th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
Honestly, that's probably the best way to know the story. I wish I'd stopped reading right at that point.
fractalmoonfractalmoon on November 27th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
In some of your replies, you talk about themes that will be treated more thoroughly in Book 5. Are you still working on it, or has that muse moved on?

Martin is an interesting grey-hat character. He can move in lots of different directions.
ladygray99ladygray99 on December 3rd, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
*Sigh*
Whitman 5 is the thing that is haunting me. I started writing it. Got about 50k in when I decided to take a quick break to write a little Charlie/David h/c. That little story became Who We Are. 130k word count and took up a full year. Once that was out the door I decided to submit an original short story I'd written on a whim to a real publisher who bought it. That turned into an original Novella, a short novel, I'm currently working on the second draft of a 150k original novel that my publisher has already expressed interest in if I tidy it up a bit and fix a few problems, plus people want a sequel to my novella. So basically W5 is started, outline, and gotten shoved behind the start of a 'real' writing career. But I do still take it out every so often and pick away at it but the outline itself it epic so........
Sorry?
fractalmoonfractalmoon on December 4th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC)
I can understand that RL comes first. What is the title of your novella?