DISCLAIMER: They are not mine, I'm just rubbing them together to see what happens. The story however, is mine...
AUTHOR'S NOTE: It seems that I have a knack for scaring off beta readers. I wrote The Terminator story, (my version of the first movie) in 2002/2003. A lot has happened since then, and I have become more fluent with English and more confident in my writing as well. For me, Sarah Connor remains one of the penultimate female action heroes, along with Ellen Ripley. I can only hope to do her justice, but I do so love to play with the character, and Cameron, from what I have seen, is also quite something. How delicious to finally have two women to play with in The Terminator universe...
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Flesh & Chrome
By The Raven
Sarah was exhausted, yet ever wary, as she sat by the fire that burned in the oil-drum before her. Here she was again, repeating her past, running, fighting, surviving. Had there ever been a time when she did something else? Lived another way? Who was the Sarah Connor who had ceased to exist the moment that Kyle Reese and the first Terminator, had stampeded into her life? She could no longer remember that person, or that life. She remembered Kyle Reese, her soul-mate and hero. The love of her life, but the person who had felt that love, who had lived that life, was no longer. It was a sentimental memory in a time that was filled with the pain and shock of being reborn. Now there was only who she was now, a completely different Sarah, and there was her son, burgeoning on manhood, in so many ways, like his father had been, in many ways like she was, but all his own person, regardless.
Then, there was Cameron. Sarah watched through hooded eyes as the machine cooly removed flattened lead slugs from her chest. The needle nosed pliers busily digging under skin that looked as smooth as that of a newborn. The machine. The thought was almost outrageous to her, almost, but not quite. Nothing much surprised her nowadays, and certainly not the sheer ingenuity of Skynet, and the computers and machines that comprised the Armageddon that she had spent her whole life fighting. Her whole new life, that is. The one she had been reborn into barely 16 years ago...
Cameron seemed to be done with her brutal self ministrations, so Sarah thought it prudent that the bra should go back. What if John woke up? After all, Skynet had gone through a lot of trouble to make Cameron as authentic as possible, so she would probably induce authentic reactions in her son. Turning away slightly, Sarah mused that certainly the machine caused her to have authentic responses. The thought made her shake her head angrily. It was unthinkable, yet here she was, thinking it. As if life was not already complicated enough.
Less than a day later, Sarah had to use every ounce of her willpower, training and pride, to stop herself from screaming in pain as she drove wildly down the road. She had been shot, the wound was not so much painful, not yet, but she could feel her body slipping into shock. Her body's needs meant nothing right now, the only thing that mattered was that John was safe, and right now he was not safe.
A moment later, an explosion shook the car as Cameron activated a remote control detonator, the concussive blast of the explosion throwing the pursuing terminator off its feet. For the next few minutes they were safer. Not safe, but safer. No one was ever safe, that was an illusion perpetuated by insurance companies, and governments. The reality was something quite different...
Feeling a firm hand enclose her shoulder, Sarah bit back another scream, knowing that Cameron was just trying to stem the flow of blood, the flow of her life, from the wound. The thought that the Cyborg was doing it out of concern, versus programing, was a nice delusion as Sarah drove down the road, trying to maintain a steady speed and searching for a place where they could stop and where they could get supplies. John's hand joined Cameron's and Sarah felt her heart break a little more. No child should be put through this sort of thing, yet moments like this had defined John's life.
Pulling up to a patch of civilisation, Sarah ordered her son into the shop, they needed bandages, they needed supplies. She needed to get him away from her until she could gather her wits and have Cameron do the worst of the work. If she could shield her child even a little bit, she would. He would have to face demons unlike anything any human could imagine, in the not so distant future, might as well let him keep any fragments of innocence he might have left. If he indeed had any.
Pulling into the garage, Sarah felt the last of her strength seep from her bones. She had been hurt too often, she did not sleep enough, the last time she had relaxed was sixteen years ago. Another hole in her body, more blood spilled, was almost too much for her. Staggering to a palate in the shop, she felt Cameron lift her as if she weighed nothing, it seemed that the Cyborg held her tenderly for a moment before she rolled over onto her side to offer her injury to the girl-machine. Cameron seemed to understand the urgency she felt to get the bloody part of the procedure out of the way before John came back.
Willing herself to be still and to not scream, Sarah felt tender hands, hands capable of crushing iron, explore her wound, before a cloth wiped her hot blood from her skin, and then there was silence. Cameron worked with the precision of a micro-surgeon. Perhaps this scar would be less obvious that others she had. She was reminded of the previous Terminator that had performed a similar operation on her. Her mind drifted as she isolated the pain of the stitches being applied, and before long, Cameron quietly announced that she was done and John was there with bandages and other first aid supplies, and Tylenol, water, and a clean shirt for her to wear...
During the night, Sarah woke several times, each time, to see Cameron watching over her, over John. Tireless, invincible to any human on the planet, immortal by human terms, yet so human in her appearance, in how she took in the world.
While Sarah rested in the car, musing about the Cyborg, she realised that she had begun to regard Cameron as a she, as a her, as a human, despite her inherent inhumanity. It had happened while Cameron had been tending to her wound. The gentleness of her touch, and the seeming genuine concern that had radiated from the terminator, had somehow penetrated Sarah's defences. While the core of the woman she knew as Cameron, may have been metal, and circuits and power units, Cameron was more. There was no doubt about it.
But she was still a machine, a terminator, Sarah's sworn enemy, the reason for Sarah's life, the reason her former self had died, the reason her son existed, the reason that her son was on an inter-dimensional hit list. It was too much for her to think about, and with her shoulder aching she fell asleep again, the same restless sleep she had slept for as far back as she could remember.
That morning, Sarah made a promise to her son, then she turned to Cameron to help her fulfil this promise. The Cyborg had not hesitated, even though the fulfillment of this promise would effectively mean the genocide of her species. If the machines could be considered a species.
The thought gave Sarah some pause, but she decided that they were indeed a species. But, in the struggle for survival, only the fittest could survive, and when the niche was the planet, only one species could thrive. So, she would sacrifice herself for her son, and Cameron would sacrifice herself for the man-child who did not want to save the future, but who wanted to be a regular man, living on the planet as it was today.
It was not a hard choice to make, nor was it a sacrifice, but it made Sarah tired to even think about it.
In the evening of the same day, Sarah found herself pulling on stolen clothes, under a sign that proclaimed that it was 2007. They had jumped forward in time, past her death, into a new future, a few scant years before Skynet would become active. But now there was hope, and there were, according to Cameron, more resources to stop it. Also, enough time had passed that it was possible that she had been declared dead. Maybe she only needed to worry about inhuman pursuit. Maybe.
Right now she was just tired. As if sensing her fatigue, Cameron laid a supportive hand on her good shoulder, the simple act was at once so human, yet so unfamiliar to Sarah. It made her feel safe, for just a moment, and it also made her feel like she could take a deep sigh and just close her eyes and forget, if only for a few minutes. The blissful thought filled her head as they headed out into the city, to find shelter, to find hope.
That night, as Sarah laid in bed, in a house that Cameron had apparently arranged ahead, or before, or, well something. Sarah felt a certain lassitude creep over her bones, while her mind refused to shut itself off. So much had happened in a very short amount of time. So much.
It was a question that weighed on her mind. All of her contacts would assume she was dead, or at least so severely underground, that reconnecting was going to take time. Also, there were years of history, current events, and pop culture to catch up on, if they were ever have a hope of blending in.
Her mind was a-buzz with thoughts, but not so much that she did not notice Cameron enter her proximity. The other woman, the Cyborg was doing her rounds, protecting them, watching over them, studying them. The thought was at once comforting, yet disturbing. Sarah watched as Cameron came towards her and realised that she was holding a first aid kit, it was time to replace her bandage, it seemed.
The bed moved as Cameron sat down and in the blink of an eye, Sarah found herself transfixed. Wearing a singlet that left nothing to the imagination, breathing like a human would, and so close, it was almost impossible for Sarah to ignore the reactions she was having to Cameron. Not to the machine, or the Cyborg, or even the other woman, but to Cameron.
Quickly her bandage was replaced, her wound healing well, despite the rigours it had undergone without being bandaged. After all, nothing could travel through time, not even the stitches that Cameron had put in the previous night, but the wound had held, and now with a tidy row of butterfly stitches holding it together, it almost felt like it was not there. Almost.
However, there was no ignoring the presence of Cameron, and as she went to rise to continue her patrol, Sarah found herself reaching out to touch skin that had fascinated her from the first moment she had seen it. It was warm, soft, giving no hint as to what lay under it, of the coiled strength, the awesome deadly power it hid.
For her own part, it seemed that Cameron was fascinated by Sarah's touch, the first aid kit now forgotten at her feet. Sarah watched as Cameron brought her gaze up to meet hers, seeming to seek permission to touch her. Nodding almost imperceptibly, Sarah surprised herself by not flinching when hands suddenly touched her skin. Testing, touching, tantalizing. Tempting...
Moments later, as if possessed by a mind of their own, Sarah found her hands wandering higher, touching more. Seeking something, but what that was, she did not know. How could this be happening to her? Was it wrong? Cameron was designed to look like a teenaged girl, but Sarah knew she was not. On a visceral level, Sarah knew, that of the two of them, Cameron was infinitely older, more experienced in life. In many ways, perhaps more human than Sarah was. Over the past few years, Sarah had become very much like the machines she despised. This much was obvious, even to her.
Hands that were no longer tentative brushed up her body, pulling the shirt that she wore off her newly washed skin, leaving a trail of fire in their wake. It was quite clear to Sarah that Cameron was also not an innocent. Sarah lost the ability to think when Cameron removed her own shirt in one fluid move, and then, there was skin on her skin. Not the artificial skin of a machine, but the living skin of an organism that was alive, like Sarah herself was, and that was real, or as real as anyone was in any case.
Sarah quickly overcame her brief paralysis and pulled on hair, causing Cameron to look up at her with unreadable eyes. The eyes contained questions, seemed to have the answers to many questions, but mainly, they were filled with desire. Palpable desire. Sarah felt her breath catch in her throat as curves brushed against curves and slowly, ever so slowly, mouths came together, and it was possible, souls touched.
The remainder of any clothing was quickly abandoned and as the shadows of night crept across the bed, Sarah found her world and everything about it, turned upside down. Yet again, in the arms of her savior, but at the same time, in the arms of her salvation...
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