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Numb3rs Het/Slash Crossover Challenge
The Hardest Numb3rs Het and/or Slash Fiction Challenge EVER!
Fic: Breaking the Code, Chapter 1
Here we go! I've decided to take Jelsemium's challenge and write a het Numb3rs crossover fic.

Author’s Note: This new fic is AU (“alternate universe”). It does not take place in 2009, but in 1943. Don Eppes and Colby Granger are NOT in the FBI. They’re in the US Army, assigned to the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the CIA). Charlie Eppes and Larry Fleinhardt are professors at Cal Sci at the beginning of the story. This is a crossover with a British mystery series called “Foyle’s War,” which was also shown on the PBS Mystery! series in the US. I want to thank my awesome beta, Digeediva for her patience and her incredible knowledge of all things military and grammatical. I’ve rated the story T for teen, with the caveat that there will be some violence and ethnic hate crimes later on in the story. I will not be overly graphic, but the epithets used by ignorant hateful people may be offensive to you. At least I hope you find them offensive.

Chapter 1: Pasadena, California, March 1943

Alan Eppes sat, drinking his coffee and reading the evening paper when the front door opened. He turned to see his older son, Don, stepping through the door, looking sharp in his army uniform. Removing his cap, Don grinned. “Hey, Dad. Is Chuck home?”

“He’s in the garage,” Alan stood, setting his paper aside. “I’m making a brisket. Can you stay for supper? Or are you on duty?”

Don laughed. “I’m always on duty, Dad, but even soldiers have to stop and eat.” He set his cap on the table and headed toward the garage. “Especially when your brisket is involved.”

Professor Charles Eppes stood at a blackboard, deeply engrossed in the stream of equations flowing from his chalk. Don watched his younger brother, wondering if it was right to ask Charlie to accept the mission. After all, Don was the one who enlisted in the army, rose to the rank of captain and then volunteered to work with the fledgling OSS – the Office of Strategic Services. It was Don who had spent the past six months sorting through intercepted messages that scared the living daylights out of him. It was Don whose life had been devoted to protecting his genius little brother from the harsh realities of the world.

“Hey, Don. Sorry. I didn’t see you!” Charlie had turned around and stood, chalk still in his right hand, watching his brother. “What’s up?”

“Oh, hey, Buddy. I didn’t want to interrupt you.” He nodded at the blackboard. “Is that for your class?”

“Yeah. I’m trying to make this understandable for my freshmen. Hey, can I practice on you?”

Don held up his hands and took a step back. “Oh, no you don’t. I’m afraid the freshmen at Cal Sci are heads and shoulders above me, at least when we’re talking math.”

“My point exactly. If you can understand it, I know they’ll get it.”

“I’ll have to defer to your judgment on that one, Dr. Eppes.” Don grew serious. “Listen, Buddy, I’m here with a proposition for you. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I won’t be upset. We’ll just find someone else to help with it. I don’t want to interfere with your work at Cal Sci … .”

“What is it?” Charlie said softly. He picked up his tweed suit coat from a ratty old couch. “Sit down and let’s talk this over.”

Don sat stiffly, and glanced nervously at the door. “Dad’s not going to like this … .”

“Don. I’m twenty-four years old. I know I’ll always be your kid brother, but believe me, I’m fully capable of making my own decisions. Tell me what’s up.”

Don sighed. “You know I’m going back to England in three days.”

“Already? It seems like you just got here.”

“It does. You know I’m working with the Brits. I haven’t been able to tell you about it, but now … . Well, what I’m about to tell you is top secret. You can’t discuss it with anyone else, okay?”

“Okay. I’ve worked on top secret projects before. I understand.”

Don nodded. “Good. The Brits have assembled a team of cryptanalysts at a secret location. They’re working day and night to decode German transmissions.”

“I didn’t know about the secret location, but I’ve heard rumors that Alan Turing is assembling a team of top mathematicians from around the world.”

“He is. But he’s contacted the OSS looking for more help. I’ve been approached to ask you if you’d like to take a few months off from teaching to go over to England with me and work with Turing’s group.”

Charlie’s eyes widened. “When do we leave?”

Don laughed. “Man, Buddy, you look like a kid on Christmas morning.”

Charlie chuckled. “We’re Jewish, Don.”

“You didn’t complain when Mom put up a Christmas tree when we were kids. So you’re in? You don’t want to hear the details?”

“Of course I want to hear the details. First, did you tell Dad?”

“You think I’d be in here if I did? I’d be on my butt out on the sidewalk.”

Charlie laughed. “Yeah. You’re right. But I’ll handle Dad. So give me the details.”

“The Brits have been working on decoding Nazi communications since the late thirties. They set up a center they called Station X on the grounds of this vacant mansion to centralize their code breaking efforts. They’ve got mathematicians, linguistics experts, chess players, and even crossword puzzle experts working there.”

“Exactly what are they doing?”

“You know I can’t tell you. Not until you’ve committed to joining the project. Suffice it to say that it’s a huge effort, and they’re inventing new methods of cryptanalysis. I know it’s not your field, but … .”

“Mathematicians are trained in logic and finding patterns, so it’s a good fit. And I’d give my right arm for a chance to work with Alan Turing. I met him once when I was at Princeton. Did I ever tell you that?”

“Yeah, you told me. A few times. He was a brilliant mathematician but really absentminded. He backed his car into the lake and nearly drowned. Yeah, you definitely told me.”

“Sorry. But he really is brilliant. I have his paper on computable numbers. You know, he’s exploring the possibility of building a machine that can do complex calculations. I can’t believe I’ve got a chance to work with him.” Charlie gnawed on his lower lip. “I’d have to arrange for someone to cover my classes. The dean is not going to be happy … .”

“I don’t want you to get into trouble. I wouldn’t even ask, but what they’re doing at Station X is important. The information they’re finding is helping the war effort against the, and there are rumors that the Allies are ready to make a decisive move against the Nazis soon. The work at Station X could be instrumental in our success.”

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t be able to work out the problems. I’ve got tenure, so it’s going to be hard for them to fire me. I’m assuming this will be under the auspices of a federal agency, so I can just appeal to the dean’s sense of patriotism.”

Don laughed. “I’ll trust you to work out the details. Can you be ready to leave in three days?”

Charlie leaned back and pondered. Finally, he said, “Have you thought about bringing anyone else?”

“You having second thoughts?”

“I didn’t say that. I was just thinking. You remember Larry Fleinhardt?”

“The physics professor, right? Always going on about some incomprehensible thing or another?”

“That’s him! He’s also a brilliant thinker. Very logical but with a creative flair. He was my mentor at Princeton. And, like many scientists, he reads German. I think he’d be a great addition to our team.”

“Our team,” Don said, grinning broadly. “I like the sound of that. I’ll see if the higher ups will go for it. But you’ll definitely go? With or without Larry?”

“Definitely! Okay, let’s go tell Dad,” Charlie said, standing. “Come on!”

“Hold it, Buddy. Can’t we wait until after supper?”

Alan sat, staring at the newspaper clenched in his hands. “Dad?” Don sat across from him. “What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Alan raised his tear-blurred eyes. “Have you seen this?” He shook the paper at Don.

“I haven’t had a chance to read the paper today. What’s wrong?”

Charlie took the paper from his father’s trembling hands and looked for the article that had had such an effect on their father. “‘Jews Rally to Stop Hitler’? Is that what you’re talking about?”

“Read it,” Alan croaked.

“‘Rabbi Stephen Wise led over fifteen thousand people, mostly Jews, in a Stop Hitler rally at Madison Square Garden yesterday. According to Wise, Hitler’s regime has murdered at least a million Jews throughout Europe, in what has been termed the Final Solution.’” Charlie stopped and looked up. “That’s it? That’s all they have to say in the article? A million Jews are murdered and it gets two sentences on page eight?”

“We still have relatives over there, don’t we?” Don asked softly.

“Yes. My mom’s cousin, Anna was able to escape before the war, but she still has relatives there.”

“This makes what Charlie and I have to tell you a little easier,” Don said.

Alan looked from Don to Charlie. “You’re not enlisting, are you?”

“No. Of course not.” Charlie glanced nervously at Don, and then said, “Dad, I’ve decided to go to England with Don.” He held up his hand as Alan opened his mouth to object. “This is a great opportunity for me. I’ll be working with some of the greatest mathematicians in the world. There’s absolutely no danger … .”

“Unless the Nazis invade England, which could happen any day,” Alan muttered.

“I’ve done a quick calculation and the probability of that happening is really low.”

“Really low? Forgive me if I am not thrilled by any probability that my sons will be sent home to me in a box.” He held up the newspaper. “Did you not listen to what you were just reading, Charlie? Europe is becoming a very dangerous place for Jews. For everyone.”

Three days later, Larry Fleinhardt arrived at Alan and Charlie’s house, lugging two large suitcases. The physicist refused Charlie’s offer of help. “No, Charles. Your brother said we must limit ourselves to that baggage we can carry. If I cannot carry these two bags into your house, how am I supposed to carry them across England?”

Charlie laughed and held the door open for his friend. “I hope you brought clothes and not just books.”

Larry dropped his suitcases just inside the door. “Of course I brought clothing. However, I have decided that I can manage indefinitely with one suit, which I am wearing, four shirts, two pairs of slacks, and a week’s worth of underwear and socks. That has left me with sufficient room for the absolute basic library without which intelligent existence is impossible.”

“I’m sure they have books in England,” Charlie said as he pulled the door shut. “Come on in and have a seat. Don isn’t here yet.”

Alan came from the kitchen, carrying two large bags. “Larry! How are you?”

“Fatigued. And I’m certain that my arms are at least a quarter of an inch longer than they were when I left my house. How are you?”

“Well, to be honest, I am not a happy man. I’m about to send my only two sons off into a war zone.” He placed the bags on the floor next to the suitcases. “But at least I can send you off with enough food to keep you for a while. I understand food is pretty scarce in England. And who knows when you’ll get a decent meal.”

Charlie bent to study the contents of the bags. “Sandwiches? Canned corned beef? Soup? And chocolate? Interesting diet.”

“I think you’ll appreciate the sandwiches in a few hours. The other stuff will be useful once you arrive. Though Don refused to tell me exactly where you’re going or how you’re getting there.”

“You know it’s top secret. I’ll wire you when we arrive.” He put an arm around his father’s shoulders. “We’ll be fine. Don wouldn’t involve us if there were any danger.”

“Don is first and foremost a soldier. I’m beginning to wonder if the army has taken the place of his family.”

“That’s not true, Dad, and you know it. If the army told him to do something that would harm his family, you know he’d refuse.”

Alan sighed. “You’re right. I’m just an old man worried about his family. Don’t expect me to think rationally at a time like this. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

The front door opened and Don entered, accompanied by a muscular young officer. “Hey, you’re ready! I’m amazed. Dad, Charlie, Larry, this is Lt. Colby Granger. He’s the other member of our team.”

Alan shook hands with the young officer. “Nice to meet you, Lieutenant. What’s your job on the team? Bodyguard?”

Colby exchanged glances with Don then said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Eppes. The nature of my assignment is secret. But I can guarantee you that if your sons are at any risk, I will do my best to protect them.”

Alan smiled. “That’s all I can ask. Thank you, Lieutenant.” He glanced from Colby to Don. “Do you have time for a snack before you leave?”

Don consulted his watch. “I’m afraid not, Dad.”

Alan nodded grimly. “I guess it’s goodbye then. I packed some food for the four of you.”

Don pulled his father into an embrace. “We’ll be back before you know it, Dad,” he murmured.

Alan hugged him, blinking back tears. “I know. I know.”

When Don stepped back, Charlie hugged his father. “I’ll write every day.”

“Sure you will,” Alan stepped back and gave Charlie a shaky grin. “Three years at Princeton, and you wrote me exactly once.” He wiped his eyes and shook hands with Larry. “You’d better practice your chess while you’re gone. I’ll be ready for you when you get back.” He turned to Colby. “It was nice to meet you, Lieutenant. Have Don bring you over for dinner when you get back.”

Colby grinned. “You can count on that, Mr. Eppes. I could use some home cooking.”

“From what I’ve heard of British food, I’d better stock up on groceries.”
4 comments or Leave a comment
ratcreature From: ratcreature Date: February 22nd, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Squee! A WWII AU!

This is a great opening. I'm looking forward to seeing this unfold.
hope_tang From: hope_tang Date: February 23rd, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

You've started posting! Code-breaking! The Army = FBI! Charlie's hero worship! Don! Colby! Uniforms! (You knew I had to say it ;D )

YAY! This makes writing my law paper so much easier to bear now. *giggles*
jlm110108 From: jlm110108 Date: February 24th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Rat Creature:

You know that you're to blame for this story, don't you? It was your post in the fic finding LJ community that stirred up the plot bunnies.

I hope you enjoy it!


Yes, after weeks of incubating, it's finally ready to release to the world!

elysium1996 From: elysium1996 Date: February 24th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Jo I am looking forward to the journey.
4 comments or Leave a comment