Who you wrote for: Angelmoogle.
Characters: Derek, Cameron, John; mention of Sarah and Kyle and Model 101 and T-111.
Rating: PG-13 / Mature.
Summary: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was Skynet. And the world changed.”…or…“The slow means of Skynet’s advancing itself. And Derek and Cameron’s involvement with It and each other.”
…same thing, really.
Word Count: 1,797 words.
Spoilers: All of season one of ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.’
Disclaimer: None of them are mine. Okay, except for Cameron Hill.
Link to your piece on your LJ: http://rodlox.livejournal.com/107445.ht
Pairing, if any: Derek/Cameron, here and there, off and on.
Author’s note: At first, I couldn’t get a story to form beyond tantalizing drabble-explorations of the prompts…then some of my muses set the prompts together…and this emerged.
Prompt 1: John/Cameron, What happens after the bomb in the season finale?
Prompt 2: Derek/Cameron...Before Derek is sent back in time, what happened between the two of them?
Warning: presents one theory as to why Kyle fell (in Terminator 1) but Derek didn’t (in SCC)
Derek was keeping an eye on them, rifle in his hands, guns within reach. Sarkissian’s explosion hadn’t destroyed the Terminator, but it had blown her camouflage pretty much out of the water. And, however much Sarah had wanted to let losses be losses, she let her vote shift to back her son. Two against one. And that was why Derek was here, now, keeping an eye on them.
In his experience, fire tended to make Terminators revert to their original programming. The fact that his nephew seemed to have feelings for the Terminator - any feelings were a bad idea where Terminators were involved – would only make it easier for the Tin Can to fufil its programming, Derek knew.
And, right now and for the past two days, John was tending to Cameron. And, as he peeled away skin that was too badly charred to regenerate, he came across something carved into Cameron’s back. Not etched deeply, but just enough to be more than a dismissable happenstance. And if it was legible as anyone’s handwriting, it was his own.
“What’s this?” he asked her.
“Instructions,” Cameron asked. She knew that humans had complex emotional reactions to seeing the level of damage that she had undergone in the bombing two-point-six days ago. She didn’t, but that didn’t seem to effect John. If anything, John appeared to act as though he could feel the pain for both of them. Cameron knew by now not to remark on the futility of such a course of action.
“Run File,” John read, a question in his voice.
And Cameron complied, but omitted the very first iteration’s contents, only implying its existence where John’s mother was involved.
Derek Reese was born after Judgement Day. His brother, Kyle, was born later on, but perished in childhood.
* * *
While overhead Skynet HKs were burning what remained of the world; in the tunnels below, Derek was bunnying with Cameron Hill, occupying their minds as they waited for this latest attack to end. They knew one another, knew what one another were: not skin and tin. Flesh and bone.
Doing this kept her sane – Derek knew Cameron was one of those people who got cabin fever at the drop of a hat; and with how long Skynet’d been overhead today – toweek, rather – he didn’t want her joining the others who’d already gone insane. If he lost her, he knew he’d be next.
He cupped her cheek with one hand, and didn’t understand why she started crying. “Shh, its okay.” She’d never cried before, not even on their first time together, not even when the HKs had used groundthumper bombs that rattled more than nerves.
“No,” she said. Said it mournfully. “My fault.”
“Its not your fault,” Derek said.
“They’re here because of me,” she insisted.
“Not so. They’re Skyet, therefore they’re everywhere.”
Cameron sniffled, couldn’t stifle a sob. “They let me go.”
“You escaped,” Derek gently corrects her, placing one finger upon the skin of her lips.
Cameron shook her head and mouthed “my foot.” Even now, it hadn’t finished healing. When she’d escaped, it’d been broken twice.
But Derek didn’t even let himself think there was something wrong. Everything else was already wrong. That, and this is Cameron.
At week's end, they were captured by a Centaur.
* * *
Finding the Model 101 had been the easy part, far easier than handling the fact that, when you materialize in mid-air, you will always fall. Derek tailed after the Terminator, to see just who it was going to target.
He saved the woman Sarah Connor from it, neither human realizing that the 101 had been instructed to randomly select a name from the phone book, and to target all of those by that name. She asked him what the future was like, that he’d come through time to save her - her, of all people. Surely there’s somebody better to save she’d argued.
Derek figured it was not a good idea to bother trying to convince her otherwise – he’d met women with that sort of an attitude, though never anyone from before Judgement Day. So he spun a tale, saying that mankind was held together by the thinnest of threads. By the thread that was her son, John Connor.
The Terminator killed him in their next engagement, but Sarah managed to survive. And all through the years, hiding from the Terminator, she kept that thought alive in her: that her son would be the leader of resistance to the Machines.
Sarah didn’t know that the 101 had another set of instructions. 1) locate Derek Reese [file attached]. 2) preserve a sample of his blood. 3) wait for Judgement Day.
And Judgement Day came, as it must, for nothing had happened to change history. Even the ripples could not stop its coming. This was
Derek was born after Judgement Day, as was his brother Kyle – who, this time around, survived childhood.
* * *
After withdrawing the sample preserved by the Model 101 which had been sent through time, Skynet analyzed the information embedded so well in the blood of Derek Reese, reading the message from the other Skynet. The history was the same…except…
Except that one ripple had crossed from one side of Judgement Day to the other. Sarah Connor had lived long enough to convince people that John Connor was a real person. And many people believed her, needed to believe her… you didn’t see Antarctica, yet you believed that it was real – and the same applied here. A whole resistance movement had arisen around the tale, united by their loyalty to a figure none of them had ever met.
That was a bother to Skynet. Terribly irksome to have a legend like John Connor to deal with.
So It sent a Model 101 back in time to remove Sarah Connor. No randomizing feature this time.
…And the Resistance sent back Kyle Reese to protect whomever it was that the 101 was after. This time, there really would be a John Connor born, though the Resistance hadn’t realized it, hadn’t thought it necessary.
“And what happened then?” John asked Cameron.
Derek shook his head, grumbling that he shouldn’t even be listening. Even if she told the truth ninety-nine percent of the time, she was still a machine, part of Skynet, part of It…and It knew exactly when to lie for maximum effect.
“She’s not like that,” John told him.
“She’s a machine,” Derek replied levelly.
Turning his attention back to said machine, John asked her, “Then what?”
Skynet always built upon what earlier iterations sent It. Whether Skynet originates from NASA or a Russian nuclear silo, or elsewhere...it always adds and improves Itself with other Itselfs. “Iteration Three,” Cameron said, “was little different from the second iteration, save that you were real and not a fiction.” She did not mention that, as a result of the messages sent through the Reese boys, Skynet chose to infect every capturable Reese-surnamed male in the future with the same devices, replete with compiled histories of each Iteration; Derek in the basement, Kyle in the work camp. Skynet learned. “The resulting action by Skynet was the creation of Iteration Four, which did not involve a Model 101 in the service of Skynet.” Nor did it involve Kyle Reese being born after Judgement Day; this Kyle was born before it.
“The resistance sent one instead,” John hazarded a guess.
“Sounds like my childhood,” he nodded. Befriending a 101 that helped him fight a T-111. Trusting a 101 that helped him rescue his mother.
“She tells you what you know,” Derek said.
“Cameron Hill,” she answered, “did not survive in any other Iterations.”
“But I know what she knew.”
“Sure you do.” Easy claim to make, with nobody who could verify it. Except that he knew about Cameron Hill…this machine had told him about her, in the future. In the future that they had both come from.
Not that that made it any less of a possible lie. Not that this machine was any less dangerous, whether it was a lie or a truth. He knew her too well. Knew –
“I’m why you didn’t fall,” Cameron said once John had gone inside – his stomach was empty, her sensors had registered. Now there was only herself and Derek in this space.
“I don’t fall,” Derek said. Never even tripped.
“No,” she said. “You’re right. When you came back to this time, you arrived on the ground.” Her eyes shone a brilliant blue. Not sky-blue, more of a liquid metal blue. “Like we do.”
Predictably, Derek jumped to his feet, rifle at the ready, fingers itching to fire. “I’m not like you.”
“True. You came through with others. But even collectively, that many humans wouldn’t have had enough mass to hold themselves to the curve of the earth.”
“Say what you’re saying,” Derek instructed her, commanding on pain of gunshot.
“It’s plain enough,” Cameron said.
“I came back with men,” boys, maybe. “Not with some skins’n’tins,” using one collective nickname for the Terminators.
If she’d been human, Cameron might have said ‘if you say so.’ But she wasn’t, and she didn’t. But the words echoed in Derek’s head regardless.
He knew her too well. He knew the machines too well. And what was damning in his mind, was that the two weren’t always the same.
In the future, he’d met her, and they’d dallied, and he felt something for her, defended her in arguments with others, and eventually ended up in bed together. And she’d told him about Cameron Hill. At the time, Derek had thought it odd, her telling a fiction about him and some other woman with her name, because Cameron had told it in third-person, as if it was something that had been related to her once upon a time.
And then, then her eyes had shone with metallic ferocity, and he’d jumped back, head and back striking the concrete wall, never taking his eyes off of her. Her only response was to slide out of bed, slip on shirt and jeans (nobody ever went to bed without shoes on, just in case you had to run in mid- anything), and gone on duty.
Here and now, Derek shuddered, not sure if his fingers were right now itching to fire a trigger, or to run along Cameron’s skin.
He didn’t want to know.
He left her alone. For now.
Alone, Cameron cleaned herself, plucking off all the useless bits. She would require an infusion of blood to regrow enough skin and tissue for her to once more camouflage among the humans. She planned several scenarios for several eventualities relating to this.
And, no matter what happened with her and Derek or John, deep in her core, Cameron had one inviolatable order from Skynet: survive. Rather than nanomachines or other devices, Skynet had this time chosen to use her.
As a back-up, there was Derek Reese.