DISCLAIMER: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its characters are the propert of James Cameron and Fox. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you haven't read Time Loop yet, please do so before reading this one. It sets up the premise of this ongoing AU, other Time Loop stories can be read in any order. Betaed by 1shinyboat. Please leave a comment, even if it's just one word. Comments tell authors their stories are being read and enjoyed.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To keyote_one[at]yahoo.com
Time Loop: Loop 72
Taking cover behind some wreckage, Savannah drops next to Sarah and Cameron. She pauses to catch her breath amid the wreckage of the raging battle around them, looking her two mentor/pseudo-mothers over. Sarah looks tired, the grime of combat covering her athletic frame; her face creased with the years of being out in the open, of age and of staring down the sharp end of the stick. Sarah's hair used to be long, but now she keeps it short, easier to care for in the post apocalypse world. And with her hair mostly gray, it reminds Savannah that Sarah is the oldest soldier in the Resistance, fighting Skynet before it was even invented, fighting terminators before the word was breathed into life.
The thing is Savannah worries about her pseudo-mother; ever since John died a few years back, she's been taking more chances, almost careless in her fighting. She knows John's death was hard, on everyone, but it made him into a martyr that united everyone, his sacrifice became the rallying call to unite and motivate the human race to fight back against Skynet, much like the Alamo was for the Texans. Most days, she wishes that she could talk Sarah into leaving the front lines and run the training camps, but the old woman just keeps returning to the front lines, leading the fight.
Savannah then glances over at Cameron, Cameron is Cameron, she hasn't changed one bit. The cybernetic organism looks as young as ever, although she is covered in dirt and grime; her skin is flawless, smooth, like a young woman just out of high school. She looks older then her other "mother", even though she knows Cameron is much older, even older than Sarah. Cameron glances down and smiles slightly at Savannah before she goes back to picking off machines that come in sight. Savannah sighs as she gets ready to send her two best warriors into danger again, hoping that Cameron can keep Sarah alive through another mission. Ever since John died, she feels like Sarah is trying to die, but just can't give up.
"The right flank is pinned down by a HK Tank," Savannah yells over the explosions and weapons as she points with her head.
Sarah rises up enough to see over the debris they are taking cover behind and even through the darkness and distance, the wind howling, explosions throwing dust into the air, she can see the massive multi-storied machine grinding over debris and laying down a withering fire, covering dozens of T-500s as they broach the Resistance lines, threatening to shatter the Resistances attack.
Sarah drops back down and looks up at Cameron who nods, "We got it, kid," Sarah informs Savannah in a gravelly whiskey voice, raw from all the yelling she has to do to be heard over the sounds of combat.
Savannah rolls her eyes at being called kid, she is over thirty and one of the Resistance's best leaders; she wishes Sarah would stop calling her that. Savannah glances at the two, "Good, I am heading over to the left flank. Something is up over there and I need to check it out." Savannah glances at Cameron, "Keep her safe."
Sarah grouses at the departing Savannah's back, "I can keep myself safe." She looks over her shoulder at Cameron, making sure she isn't rolling her eyes. Glaring at Cameron's innocent expression, she shakes her head, "Let's do this Tin Miss." Sarah signals over a squad of resting soldiers as she moves in the direction of the HK Tank, Cameron following closely behind her.
Cameron follows Sarah across the battlefield, scanning for dangers to Sarah. She spots a HK silverfish sliding along the ground, scanning for an important target; Cameron instantly fires a plasma pulse into it. Destroying it in its tracks as Sarah gathers another squad to her, they dive for cover as a HK Aerial strafes their position. From a hill of debris on their left a soldier rises up and fires a SAM at the HK Aerial, taking out one of its fans and sending the gun ship plummeting to the ground.
Cameron catches a satchel charge one-handed, thrown to her by Sarah, as she fires several plasma blasts into a T-500 as it comes over a rise of debris. Sarah is apparently not even paying attention as she uses hand signals to tell the squads what they are going to do. Cameron calmly attaches it to her back, in easy reach as she notes Sarah doing the same thing with another satchel charge, frowning since this indicates that Sarah is going to be in the charge against the HK Tank.
Cameron does a quick scan of the two understrengthed squads Sarah has gathered, noting their exhaustion, all of them with minor injuries as they bravely shoulder their weapons following Sarah and her into the hell of taking on a HK Tank. The giant robots are covered in heavy armor, practically invulnerable to most hand held weapons. The only reliable way for the Resistance to take one out is to lay satchel charges against its vulnerable underbelly. Of course HK Tanks are escorted by a couple of squads of T-500s to keep anyone from taking advantage of that weakness.
Cameron guards Sarah's back, picking off advancing robots as Sarah and her chosen squads scuttles behind the front lines. Sarah has to stop occasionally to give orders to other squads, ordering them to hold their positions, directing some to get ready to close the gap the HK has created, as she moves from cover to cover. Cameron hears a whistling sound, she identifies it as an incoming missile. Using the sound, she calculates where it is going to land and is suddenly running forward and tackling Sarah to the ground, rolling her lover under the wreckage of a truck and using her body to shield the older woman. At the same time she is screaming out, "DOWN!!"
Cameron holds back a smile as Sarah squeezes her bicep in thanks before both of them are rolling out of cover, Cameron takes up a guard position as Sarah assesses the casualties, two from their squad's dead, one wounded too severely to continue, 3 from the squad holding the line are dead too. Sarah quickly steadies the soldiers; detaching 3 soldiers from her squads to support the weakened holding unit and leaving her with one overstrengthed squad.
Cameron sees an HK Flying Mini-Hunter moving into position to monitor and send information back about Resistance movements. She quickly takes aim and fires several plasma pulses into it, blasting it out of the sky. The fighting continues around them as they move the last hundred yards. Sarah quickly signals her squad into positions, directing the squad to focus their fire on the T-500s protecting the death machine's flank. The HK Tank hasn't notice them, engaged with the Resistance fighters in front of it, who are putting up a hell of a fight, trying to maintain the line. Watching as Sarah gives a couple of last minute instructions to the Squad leader and his 2nd in command, before she scuttles over to Cameron.
Sarah stares intently into the soft brown eyes of her lover, sending Cameron all her love, "Let's go."
Cameron nods as she takes the lead, scuttling low to the ground as she leads Sarah around the piles of debris, closing in on the HK Tank as behind them the squad opens up on the T-500s guarding the giant death machine's flank. As they move within 25 yards of the Tank, all they can hear is the rumbling of the Tank's engine, metal tracks grinding stone and metal under massive metal treads, and plasma pulses hitting armor. Coming around a corner of a destroyed building and into sight of the Tank, they suddenly find themselves face to demonic face with a HK Centurion, a four legged spider like weapons platform. Cameron dives forward rolling under it as it fires at where she was at. Sarah rolls to the side into cover as Cameron kicks upwards into a handstand, flipping the Centurion onto its back before it can react. Sarah pops out of cover and fires her plasma rifle into its unprotected under belly as Cameron finishes her handstand and flips to her feet. She quickly makes sure the Centurion is destroyed before she moves over to pick up her plasma rifle.
Cameron crouches in front of Sarah, protectively, as Sarah plans out their final approach to the Tank, while Cameron watches for attacks. Feeling a tap on her shoulder, she looks at Sarah and follows the finger pointing out a path through the debris where they can approach the Tank from behind. Cameron nods and moves out, leading the way. The HK Tank is unaware of them, focused on trying to destroy the humans firing at it from three sides. Almost all of it's protecting T-500s destroyed by the cross fire, they are keeping low to avoid getting hit by friendly fire. She and Sarah dart forward, moving from cover to cover. They charge out of cover and under the robot, Cameron running to the far side to place her charge as Sarah takes the near side.
Quickly placing their satchel charges the two run out from under the tank only to look up and see a smoking HK Aerial plunging towards them, both of its fans belching flame and smoke. They veer off to the side, throwing all caution out as they sprint for cover, Cameron moving towards Sarah to protect her love with her body, but before she can get there, the Aerial hits the ground, bounces into the Tank, setting off a chain reaction as the Aerial, the Tank and the satchel charges explode. The combined explosion sending out a huge concussive wave picking up and tossing the two runners and everything else not held down.
Cameron comes to, running her self-diagnosis programs as her systems continue coming online. Damage reports come in from her back, her right leg, her left arm, functions will be inhibited until repairs can be initiated. As her sensors come online, she searches for Sarah, her thoughts seize when she can't find Sarah close, she forces her limbs to work, levering herself up awkwardly, her right leg frozen.
"SARAH!" Cameron turns around in a circle, accessing her memory of what happened right before she had to reboot. "SARAH! HOLD ON I AM COMING!" Cameron cries out as she replays the explosion, calculating the direction of the explosion, where Sarah last was and the direction the explosion would have thrown her. "SARAHH!!"
Limping off in the direction Sarah should be, her right leg a dead weight, Cameron completely ignores the battle raging around her. An explosion lands to her right, sending shrapnel into her side, she ignores the damage. She uses her right arm too awkwardly pull shrapnel out of her body, determinedly searching for Sarah.
Cameron freezes as she comes upon a still body and her sensors identify Sarah, her systems nearly freezing up and sending her into a reboot, "NOO!! SARAH!! No!"
She staggers over to Sarah's body and collapses next to it, pulling the old woman into a gentle hug. Cradling Sarah's head in her lap, as she strokes the still face, tears flowing down her cheeks, leaving trails through the grime and dirt. "Sarah.. no you can't.. be dead I haven't kissed you goodbye yet! You Can't be Dead, wake up Sarah!!"
Cameron cries as she scans for the damage to Sarah, seeing if she can save her. She cries out like a wounded animal as she sees the piece of rebar penetrating all the way through her love's torso, from the right side all the way out the left side. Collapsing her body forward protectively as she cradles the body, she cries as she gently kisses Sarah's cooling lips, "I am sorry I wasn't fast enough I will be...faster...next time."
Time passes, the battle moves away from the huddled form of Cameron as she cradles Sarah's body gently against her, no sound coming from her as tears run down her grime coated cheeks, mourning the death of her love, again.
They are found during the after battle cleanup; bodies being identified, wounded being taken to treatment centers, weapons being recovered and scavenged from destroyed machines. The first soldiers to find the cyborg huddled over the dead body, calls out to her. When no response is forth coming, they shift nervously, looking at each other, none of them wanting to approach to close, unsure of what state of mind Cameron will be in with Sarah dead. Everyone knows Cameron is extremely protective of Sarah and no one wants to be the one to trigger a retribution fueled killing rage. Word is quickly sent up the line to Commander Weaver as one soldier is assigned to steer everyone around the two until Commander Weaver can get there.
Savannah arrives as quickly as she can, stopping in sight of the huddled form over the dead body, she looks down and pushes down the tears that want to spill out of her eyes. Taking several calming breaths, she nods at the guard and then slowly walks up to Cameron, kneeling beside the cyborg, she gently reaches out to hesitatingly touch the still shoulder, "I guess she is finally going to get the rest she needs," Savannah says sadly. "Are you going to be alright Cameron?"
Without moving, Cameron responds, "I was too late. I didn't find her before she died. I didn't get here in time to kiss her goodbye. I kiss her goodbye when she dies. So her last thought is that she is loved. She never feels she deserves love."
Savannah gasps and she can't hold back the tears, "Cameron," pausing, getting her voice under control, as tears run down her cheeks, "Cameron, you have to let go. We need to bury her. And then we can get back to defeating Skynet, like she would want us to." Savannah whispers to Cameron, tears sliding down her cheeks.
Cameron tilts her head as she looks through her stringy, dirty hair at Savannah, "No."
Savannah blinks and rocks back shocked, "No??"
Cameron nods her head as she speaks emotionlessly, "I am going back to Sarah."
Savannah shakes her head in disbelief, "But what about the war? What about defeating Skynet?"
Cameron looks back down at Sarah's still face, "Skynet is done. It is in its last death throes. I am not needed here."
Savannah bites her lip, feeling like she is going to be left behind, abandoned by Cameron, "But what about me? Don't I matter? Are you just going to leave me? I have lost one mother, are you going to make me lose both of my mothers on the same day?" Savannah tries to keep her voice even, even as she feels like screaming.
Cameron looks up into Savannah's eyes, "You have someone in your life. You have friends. And you still have one mother around. You just need to accept her back. Sarah is my life; she is my reason for going on. You can not fulfill that role for me. I am going back to her. I always go back for her."
Cameron gently pulls the rebar out of Sarah's body and tosses it aside. She arranges Sarah into a sleeping position and then places a pistol in her hand. She knows that Sarah rests better with a firearm at hand.
Savannah watches Cameron, shaking her head as she tries to come up with something that might persuade her to stay. She bites her lip in awe as she watches how relevantly Cameron composes Sarah's body and can't help asking, "How old are you? How many times have you gone back for her?"
Cameron stands up and looks down at Savannah gently, "More then you can understand." She leans forward and gently kisses Savannah's brow, "You are the daughter we could never have, take care and say Hi to Sarah in the afterlife." Cameron turns and limps away.
Savannah shivers and breaks down crying at Cameron's affirmation, "But you don't know where it is? You have to stay for her funeral!"
Cameron looks over her shoulder at her daughter, "Yes I do and I never stay for the funeral." Cameron knows that she could not stand it if she saw Sarah's funeral, it would make it too real. It would break her; she has to see Sarah alive as soon as possible. She keeps limping forward, heading to where the time machine is hidden.
Savannah cries as she watches Cameron stagger away, she glances down at her dead mother, Sarah, and when she looks back up, Cameron has disappeared into the darkness, a strong gust of wind blowing dirt into the air and covering all sign of the cybernetic organism.
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