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. Please leave a comment, even if it's just one word. Comments tell authors their stories are being read and enjoyed. I apologize for taking so long to get this story out. Real life wasn't cooperating and me and my muse had a disagreement, about the direction of this story. I wanted to fit a scene in and my muse didn't think it belonged here. She won and pointed out a better place for the scene I want to get in, which will be in a Halloween special. J I hope everyone enjoys this Loop; it has been the most rewritten story to date.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To keyote_one[at]yahoo.com
Time Loop: Loop 91
With shock radiating out from her, Sarah watches her son, John, dive into the glowing blue energy bubble, just before it bursts into nothingness. Sarah doesn't understand what John is doing, he can't do anything against Weaver, a T-1001, by himself. Sarah can't keep her eyes from turning to look at Cameron's still body, fighting back a sob as she collapses back into a chair, burying her face in her hands, her Glock 10 mm banging roughly against her forehead.
Sarah snaps to attention aiming her pistol at the door as it slowly opens, relaxing fractionally as she recognizes ex-FBI Special Agent James Ellison.
Ellison holds his hands up calmly, "Ms Connor, easy. I am not your enemy."
"You are not my friend either," Sarah snaps keeping her weapon trained on the man who hunted her for the better part of a decade. "Leave. You don't need to be part of this."
He isn't an enemy anymore, he knows about the terminators, but she doesn't trust him. He's worked at cross purposes to her several times in the recent past.
Ellison looks around carefully. "Where is John?" he asks in his resonant voice, knowing that everything Sarah does is to protect her son. If something happened to John, Sarah would become a lot more unpredictable.
Sarah glances toward where the blue energy bubble was. "He is gone," she rasps, noticing Ellison tense up, worry etched onto his face, "Into the future." She wonders what Weaver is up to, why she let them live after defeating Cameron. It almost seemed like Weaver wanted John and her to follow it into the future.
Ellison relaxes marginally, not sure how this is going to affect Sarah, "I didn't know she was a machine "
"That is obvious," Sarah snorts derisively, relaxing a little bit more.
Ellison doesn't react to the scathing tone, "What now?"
"What now?" Sarah asks slightly incredulous. "Nothing has changed; you leave." Sarah waves her Glock in a shooing away motion, "I plant some bombs and blow the place to kingdom come. The police continue hunting me; Skynet keeps sending machines back to try to stop humanity from defeating it in the future. I keep trying to destroy it."
"Sarah," Ellison speaks calmly, "I can help you. I want to stop the machines just as much as you do. I know what you're going through "
"Do you! Do you have a child that hates you for protecting him from death? Have you lived on the run, in fear for you and your child's life? Have you been on the run from the law, because they think you're a crazy killer? Because they are unwilling to hear the truth?" Sarah snaps, eyes blazing, eyebrows furrowed in dismissive anger.
"Does your child think that if he just lived a normal life, that the machines would stop coming to kill him? Does he think that it is your fault that the machines keeping coming after him because you don't allow him to live a normal life? Is the only person you can trust, the one thing you should hate more than anything?" Sarah looks over at the still body of Cameron, a gaping hole in her chest, still hoping that Cameron will reboot back to life soon. She hisses out, "Do you know what any of that is like?"
Sarah staggers over to Cameron's body and bends down to touch her damaged face softly, "Do you know what it is like to love something that isn't human?" Sarah seems to have completely forgotten that Ellison is even in the room.
Ellison manages to keep any reaction from reaching his face as he listens to Sarah's tirade, but admits to himself the validity of her bitterness and anger. When Sarah crouches over Cameron, his eyebrows rise in surprise at how softly she touches the machine. He wonders where this is coming from. Sarah of all people should feel hatred for machines, but she obviously cares about this one. Maybe it is a form of Stockholm Syndrome, Sarah has been dependent on the machine for its help in protecting John from other Terminators.
Sarah gasps as Cameron's eyes snap open, "Sarah." Cameron says in an emotionless monotone, her voice slurred from the damage to her face, "John?"
Ellison starts in surprise as Cameron suddenly speaks, and starts to move forward, suddenly finding himself staring down Sarah's 10mm again, her focus locked onto Cameron.
"Gone, he chased Weaver into the future," Sarah tells Cameron, her eyes jumping around the seemingly young girl's body, worried that no other part is moving.
Cameron barely manages to roll her eyes at that news, "Not. Again." The light in her brown eyes starts fading, but then comes back up as she focuses on her love.
"Cameron, how bad is the damage? Can you fix yourself?" Sarah asks with anxiety as Cameron starts fading on her, biting her lip nervously, making a note to ask about that 'again' later, concerned about her partner right now, something she might actually be able to do something about. Something to do instead of thinking about John being beyond her reach, that she can't protect him.
Ellison stays completely still, maintaining a non-threatening pose, not wanting to set off the unpredictable woman holding a firearm on him. Watching and listening to the interaction between Sarah and Cameron, gathering information to figure out how to handle the situation so that no one else gets hurt.
"Power. Core. Damaged." Cameron speaks slowly, mechanically, the words coming out slurred, "Not. Enough. Power. Not. Going. Critical," Cameron's eyes focus on Sarah exclusively, nothing else moving, her damaged body inert and non responsive. "Phone. Map. You. Me. Only." Cameron's eyes cut over to Ellison with a red glow before going back to Sarah, changing back to her normal soft brown. "Shut. Down. Conserve. Power." Cameron's eyes close and her face goes back to being inert.
Sarah's face grows, unbelievably, more intense and focused. Ellison holds back a gulp as he becomes the focus of that intensity. "You want to help?"
"Yes," Ellison says, his deep voice hesitant as he is not sure what is going to be asked of him.
Sarah moves over to her bag of explosives, pulls out a block of C4 and a bag of timers, tossing them to Ellison. "Help me set these." She pulls out a second block and bag for herself.
"Surely we don't have time " Ellison starts out, working on being calm and reasonable.
"The mission always comes first," Sarah snaps with a harsh glare at Ellison. A harshness fueled by the pain she feels as she slaps C4 against some computer banks. "Keep an eye out for a dolly."
Ellison nods his head, quickly moving with Sarah, keeping her in sight. One, because he is very concerned with her state of mind and two, he doesn't want to give her any reason to distrust him.
Sarah moves around the secret underground lab swiftly with Ellison in tow. She directs him on where to place the explosives, but she is just guessing. Usually Cameron would place the explosives, pinpointing exactly where they have to go to cause the most damage. She will just have to use extra explosives to make sure the job gets done. At the very least, it should destroy the Turk and any research data they have collected about its programming.
Once the explosives are finished being placed around the basement floor, they head back to Cameron, stopping to get a dolly Sarah found. She lays it down beside Cameron's still body and gestures for Ellison to move to her feet. "Let's get her onto the dolly and strap her in. Her joints lock when she shuts down."
Sarah takes Cameron's head, even though it is heavier as Ellison takes the machine's feet. Nodding to each other, they lift the inert body onto the dolly. Sarah making sure that Cameron is facing outward. She quickly straps her Tin Miss tightly to the dolly's frame and with Ellison's help, gets Cameron and the dolly upright.
Sarah gestures with her head for Ellison to pick up her bag of weapons and explosives as she rolls Cameron towards the elevator. "Lets go, that thing sent everyone home before staging its little surprise for us, so no one else should be in the building. In 10 minutes the C4 will go off and that will be the end of the Turk." Sarah pushes Cameron to the elevator as Ellison follows, not sure whether destroying the Turk will accomplish anything. Weaver seems perfectly willing to abandon it, even after having spent so much time advancing it.
Reaching the parking garage where the company vehicles are stored, Ellison gets the keys for one of the vans and calls out the number to Sarah, who finds the van. Working together, they get Cameron into the back. Sarah climbs in with Cameron, to watch over her Tin Miss as Ellison gets into the driver's seat.
Starting the van, Ellison pulls out, and drives away from the building, minutes later; they hear and feel the explosion flow over them. A big plume of dust and smoke rises into the air behind them as they head to Sarah's Jeep. Once there, Ellison helps Sarah maneuver Cameron, still strapped to the dolly, into the back seat, "Do you know where you're going?"
"No," Sarah states as she gets a plastic sheet and covers Cameron up, hiding the fact that a body is strapped to a dolly.
"Have you looked at the map yet?" Ellison presses as he stands aside, looking at Sarah with concern.
"Not yet," Sarah responds shortly, as she brushes a lock of her brunette hair out of her eyes.
"Are you sure you don't want me coming with you, you might need help " Ellison starts asking when Sarah cuts him off.
"No, she said alone. And alone is what I'm doing." Sarah glares at the ex-FBI agent, daring him to defy her, her hands tight as she holds herself back.
Ellison tries to reason with the intense woman again, "Are you sure you can trust "
"I trust her." Sarah grimaces as she turns her back on Ellison and swings into the Jeep, signaling she is at the end of her patience and the conversation is over.
Ellison sighs as Sarah starts her vehicle, "I would like to help. Call me when you get back." Sarah is his best hope for stopping the machines now that Ms. Weaver is out of the picture and no longer to be trusted.
"Maybe." Sarah looks back at Ellison, "I still don't know if I can trust you." As soon as the engine settles down, she pulls away, leaving him behind.
A bit down the road, Sarah pulls out her phone and finds an encrypted file asking for a password. "Hmmm.. what password would you use Tin Miss? One that you wouldn't need to tell me," the brunette asks the inert cyborg rhetorically and then nods, "of course," she quickly punches in the date of the original apocalypse. She frowns as she notices the date and time the file was saved, it was during the time the slim girl was telling her about the file, "and how did you get this into my phone?"
The file decodes into a map with instructions to access a hidden bunker. After familiarizing herself with the information, she turns off the phone knowing that it can be tracked and images can be pulled off of it by expert hackers if left on. And Ellison just might have the resources to try.
Focusing on the road determinedly, Sarah wipes at her eyes, "Cameron, you better be leading me to a place I can repair you!" she hisses back at the tarp covered body behind her, "But that means you kept another secret from me! You were under orders to destroy everything from the terminators we fought! If this is a secret part dump of yours, you have been lying to me! Again!" Why does she trust Cameron implicitly when she keeps catching the girl lying to her, hiding things from her?
Speaking of secrets and not telling her everything she needs to know, "And what did you mean, not again, Girlie? Did you know that John might try something this foolish? Why didn't you warn me?" she hisses at Cameron's inert body, using her anger to keep her focused, to keep from breaking down at loosing John. The stupid boy having chased Weaver into the future, she whispered something to John. Sarah doesn't know what it was, but she's willing to bet that it is what drove John to dive in after the T-1001.
"Why the fuck do I trust you!" Sarah snaps as she makes a turn. "You constantly hide things from me! We are supposed to be partners! Keeping John safe," she snaps back at Cameron, sighing, a part of her whispers that she should just let the terminator die, that it is going to keep deceiving her. "I am going to have another talk with you about hiding things from me!" Then mutters under her breath, "once I get you fixed."
Sarah dashes some tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. "I am going to get you fixed, Girlie. And then I am going to tear you apart with my bare hands!" She has to fix Cameron, she can't do this alone. And with John in the future, the mission has become even more imperative. She has to destroy Skynet, make it safe for John. That is something she can trust Cameron to do. Back her up in the fight against Skynet. Sure, sometimes they disagree about how they are going to do things, but once the decision is made; her Tin Miss is with her 100%, even against John. She knows exactly where Cameron will be. They work together like a well-oiled team.
Sarah pulls to a stop in the driveway of a decrepit house on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It looks like it was owned by some big wig, a couple of decades ago. "Here we are Cameron, this place better have parts for you." She swings out of the Jeep, pulls the canvas off Cameron, and waits a moment to see if Cameron is going to wake up. Sighing, when Cameron doesn't show any signs of life. "Guess it is going to be a little bumpy for you, Girlie."
She sets to work, getting Cameron out of the Jeep. The vindictive part of her is tempted to just dump Cameron out, but then she would have to upright the girl. Awkwardly she moves the dolly around and finally gets the dolly into position where she can slide it and Cameron down to the ground upright.
"Okay, you hid an underground bunker around back," Sarah murmurs to Cameron as she rolls her into the backyard, struggling to get the dolly over all the wild plants. She spots a wooden frame of what looks like a storm shelter in the middle of the yard and once she gets to it, she sees doors that lead underground. Clearing the door of plants and other debris, she struggles to open the heavy wooden door; although the hinges work smoothly. Her Tin Miss has been here alright.
She walks down the short flight of stairs to a keypad locked door. Entering the code that was left in her phone's memory, she opens the door a bare crack, remembering the instructions about disabling the trip wire. She carefully disengages the tripwire before opening the door completely. Taking a deep breath she looks around carefully, seeing a mid-sized room with a computer along one wall, a propane powered generator on the far wall, and across the back wall, shelving with enough parts to repair Cameron twice over, neatly and precisely organized.
Sarah wheels Cameron down into the bunker, "Okay girl, time to wake up," she prods her partner in the hope that it will wake up the cyborg and is surprised when it works as Cameron's eyes open.
"Sarah. Instructions. Computer. Power. Plant. Replacement." Cameron states mechanically as her eyes look at her love. "All. Tools. Here. I. Will. Be. In. Repair. Mode." Then the cyborg's eyes dim and close again.
Sarah glares at the girl, "Fine Tin Miss. See if I care if you don't give me a chance to talk!" The woman wheels Cameron into the center of the room and lays the dolly flat, looking around the bunker. "Time to get you fixed and then we are going to have a nice long talk."
Time passes as Sarah works on her partner, muttering to the girl as she works. Alternating between cursing the cyborg for getting damaged and reassuring her patient that everything was going to be fine. At one point Sarah smirks and shakes her head as she follows the step-by-step instructions, "You wrote these instructions for me, didn't you girlie. 'So easy a caveman can do it.'" Soon she is finishing and pats Cameron's shoulder as she puts the last bandage on the girl's belly. "Now I just have to wait 30 minutes for your diagnostics to do their thing and you should be good as new."
Sarah sits down against a wall and takes a deep breath as she settles in to wait for the gamine girl to reboot. Reaching for her phone to check in with John, it hits her again that he is in the future. Hissing in frustration and anger that he left her, he did something stupid again. She had been pushing what he did to the back of her mind, focusing on getting her Tin Miss fixed, but now, she didn't have anything to do but wait. She wonders how she could have prevented John from jumping after Weaver. Wonders if she shouldn't have jumped after him, but then she would have given up her fight against Skynet where it matters, here and now, stop it from ever being developed. She would have had to abandon Cameron.
She ducks her head forward to hold back the tears threatening to spill from her eyes, refusing to give in. Taking a couple of deep breathes, pushing back the tears, she suddenly snaps her head back to smash it against the wall and a soft hand catches her head before it can make contact with the wall.
"Please do not do that Sarah," a soft voice requests as Sarah looks up into a pair of soft brown eyes.
Anger snaps out of Sarah as she shoves Cameron away, "What the Fuck Cameron! How long have you been hiding this place! What if someone finds it! I told you to destroy every piece of Terminator we came across! Why the FUCK are you lying to me! Disobeying me!! We have to stop Skynet! WE have to make it safe for John!!! Any of this stuff could be used to recreate Skynet!!"
Cameron calmly backs up as Sarah surges up and into her face, jabbing a hand at her with each sentence, and matter of factly responds, "You told me to."
Sarah stops in mid-rant, as she processes what Cameron just said, because she most certainly did not tell the girl to lie to her and her Tin Miss never lies to her once she catches the girl hiding something from her, "What the hell do you mean, I told you to lie to me! I certainly did no such thing!"
Cameron tilts her head and looks out through her bangs, "Your past future self did. In case I was ever damaged, you wanted to make sure we had enough spare parts to repair me."
Sarah turns away and paces in the small room, "Fine! A future version of me told you to lie to me. How am I," Sarah spins back to Cameron and points her finger at herself, "not some future version of me," waves her hand in the air, "supposed to trust you now? How do I know that you are going to help me destroy Skynet and protect John? How do I know you aren't going to try to keep the timeline exactly the same so that everything happens as it always happens?? Tell me that Cameron! How am I supposed to trust you," the angry brunette hisses at her cybernetic companion.
Cameron tilts her head as she looks at Sarah, her eyes shining softly, "Yes, I will lie and hide things from you, Sarah, for the sake of the mission. Yes, I will try to preserve the timeline that leads to Skynet being defeated." The thin girl walks up to the tense and angry woman and softly moves a lock of hair out of Sarah's eyes, "but there is always one thing you can trust."
Sarah locks eyes with Cameron, hard green eyes matching steady, intense brown eyes as she waits for her partner to finish.
Cameron vows quietly to Sarah, "I will always be at your side."
Sarah spins away; blinking her eyes and surreptitiously wipes tears away, the sincerity of Cameron's vow touches something deep inside, a place that hasn't been touched since John was born. "Good. Fine. Who else knows of this place?"
Cameron's eyes light up as she watches Sarah closely, "No one, not even future John."
Sarah nods as she looks around, "Okay, walk me through the security precautions. We will make sure this place is secure and no one can use this stuff to create Skynet."
"Yes Sarah," Cameron moves up beside her love as she walks Sarah through the security precautions already in place.
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