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Skynet Spreads

As Mina landed back on the deck, she glanced up at the others. "I have a plan," she said simply. "Hyde, head down to the Nautilus and get them to resurface. Once they're up, have Hartdegen transport his machine up here; I've heard he's making progress with travels through space."

"Got it," Hyde replied, before he turned around and leapt off the side of the ship. The splash that resulted was so large that it rocked the boat; fortunately Terry and Mina had remarkable balance, while Tom managed to grab onto Terry to keep his footing.

"Your plan, Mina?" Tom asked, as the boat finally got back to its original position.

"Well, it occurred to me that, when Hartdegen travels through time, time around him and his machine most go faster than it does for him personally, correct?" Mina said, as she joined the two of them.

"Makes sense," Tom replied, nodding. Then, enlightenment dawned on him. "Oh, I get it! We get the T-X on the machine at the same time as you or Terry are on it, and you get it going forwards in time. Then you knock the T-X outside whatever it is that protects the machine..."

"And viola! It rusts!" Mina finished, grinning.

"An efficient plan," Terry replied. "But we must ensure that some part of the T-X remains in the machine, or she shall simply fall into whatever time she is in."

"Good point," Tom said, as he glanced over at where the Nautilus had descended into the ocean. "Let's hope she doesn't try to shoot whoever gets that job."

Just as that was out of his mouth, the massive sleek silver form of the Nautilus burst out of the ocean, with Hyde clinging to the front of it like a small child unwilling to be dragged away from its mother. As the Nautilus fell back onto the ocean, Hyde leapt onto the top deck and ran to the observation tower, where the faint forms of Nemo, Hartdegen and Skinner could be seen.

"Come on, come on..." Sawyer said, as his eyes flicked from the Nautilus to the hole in the railings.

After only a couple of minutes, one figure left the viewing tower, and the other two got onto Hyde's arms. The massive figure turned around and ran along the top deck of the Nautilus, before leaping off and landing back on the ship. (It nearly tipped over onto its side, but fortunately Nemo and Skinner got off and joined the others on the other end, where they managed to balance it out)

"We understand that you have a plan for stopping the T-X?" Nemo asked, as he drew his sword, managing to look impressive despite the rain that had his normally curled moustaches, and indeed his entire beard, hanging down in a style that resembled old seaweed.

Skinner looked in slightly better condition; acknowledging that his invisibility wouldn't help them here, he was wearing trousers and a shirt for a change, along with his usual hat and coat. He hadn't put his face- paint on, but he managed to give the appearance of being fairly warm.

Apart from Nemo's sword, he and Skinner were also carrying what appeared to be some extra weapons Hartdegen had acquired for Terry and hadn't been selected by him. Both were holding their weapons in a prepared manner, and aiming at the hole where the T-X had fallen off the ship.

"Yeah, we do," Sawyer said. "Mina filled us in on it, but it depends on either her or Terry getting on the time machine and taking the T-X forward in time while leaving her outside the machine's protective... whatever."

"Oh, I get it," Skinner said, nodding at them. "Then it'll age to death in a matter of seconds and be destroyed!"

"Essentially accurate," Terry replied, as he cocked his weapon and joined the League in aiming at the hole in the railings. "However, the success of the plan depends upon Alexander Hartdegen arriving here before the T-X gets out of the ocean, or he runs the risk of getting attacked."

"Well, then excuse me for a minute," Sawyer said, cocking his rifle and walking towards the hole in the railings. He aimed the gun down, waited a couple of seconds, and then fired. The others heard a small bang, and then something appeared to sink. "Hit it in the head," Sawyer explained as he looked back at the others. "Should keep it occupied long enough for Hartdegen to get here."

"Speak of the devil; I think that's him!" Skinner grinned, as an empty area of deck nearby suddenly rippled like a lake hit by a stone, and Hartdegen and his time machine appeared.

It appeared that Hartdegen's modifications had worked; they may have been just a couple of small metal pipes sticking out the back of the machine, but they definitely got it moving. All Hartdegen had to do was move one of the new levers he'd installed on the machine and he could direct the machine anywhere he wished.

He looked up at the others. He'd forgotten to put a raincoat on and was looking slightly cold, but still appeared determined.

"What's the plan?" he asked, getting out of the machine.

"We get the T-X in there and then have it outside the machine while going forwards in time," Mina explained quickly.

"That should work," Hartdegen replied, nodding with approval. "So long as part of it is kept inside the machine, that should be possible. However, you do realise that-" Mina held up a hand to stop him speaking.

"I know, I know; we'll need someone to hold her inside the machine in the process. I'm prepared to do that, but I just need a quick grounding in what does what."

Hartdegen sighed and stepped aside to allow Mina into the machine. As she sat down, he indicated the quartz-headed lever. "It's simple enough; just push that forward to go into the future, and pull it back to go back. In its present condition it stops, but you want to be sure you know where you're going before you pull it there; reaction time's a little slow and you could overshoot your destination."

*****

"I'll keep that in mind," Mina said, as she glanced briefly at the dials in front of her; January the tenth, 1900. There was also a watch right beside them, giving the time as being ten forty-five p.m. in a couple of minutes.

Just as that had been taken in, she saw a mass of water burst over the side of the ship, followed closely by the T-X. She had changed her weapon again, and was now using what looked some kind of spray gun.

"Is it just me or is that thing really stupid?" Skinner asked, looking at the new weapon.

The T-X turned to face Skinner, and fired a jet of a liquid from the weapon. Skinner instinctively ducked to the side, but the liquid still caught the hem of his coat, burning it away in a few small seconds.

"That's acid!" Tom yelled, as Skinner glanced back and saw his damaged coat.

"Hey, I liked this coat!" he yelled at the T-X, cocking his gun and firing at it.

The shot wasn't a very good one; even Mina could see that. Skinner held the gun like it would go off any minute and blow his head off, and he dropped it as soon as he pulled the trigger. However, it managed to do some damage; it struck the T-X directly in the head, leaving a hole so big it encompassed the entire forehead.

Now or never! Mina thought to herself.

"Hyde!" she yelled. "Throw her over here, now!"

Hyde nodded, grabbed the T-X by the leg, and threw it towards Mina as the head began to regenerate. Grabbing the T-X by the leg, Mina swung it down over the side of the machine and then pushed the quartz lever forward.

"Wish me luck!" she yelled over at the League, before they vanished from view.

*****

Once the machine had actually gotten going, Mina glanced around her at what was happening. A large pale blue bubble of some kind, which stretched around the machine from the glass plates, had surrounded it very comfortably. Or rather, it had surrounded the machine comfortably; the T- X's head and arms were sticking out of the bubble, and the T-X's clothes were decomposing at an alarming rate. However, its flesh appeared to be currently undamaged; if anything the time winds were restoring it to consciousness.

Glancing down at the T-X's legs, Mina noticed that they were starting to twitch; she'd need to get them outside the bubble as well, or she'd probably be kicked.

Using her vampire strength to her advantage, she flipped the T-X directly above her head, leaving only one foot of the T-X's inside the time machine's protective bubble. Mina almost lost her balance when she discovered how heavy the T-X was, but managed to regain it in time.

Glancing up, she saw that the T-X was starting to look like she was in trouble; all her clothes had vanished by this point, and her skin had partly vanished as well. All that was left was a body that was apparently composed of various metal plates and cables, along with the head (Which came as a bit of a surprise to her, especially the blue eyes) and the rather long arms, the right one still possessing the acid gun that had been fired at Skinner.

As Mina looked up, the T-X looked down at her, its face changing to resemble an angry human face, almost believable baring the fact that it was a silvery colour. The face roared at Mina and tried to attack, but even the T-X couldn't make its legs shrink to reach Mina. Mina was prepared to bet good money that her acid gun was useless as well; at the rate they were travelling into the future the acid would probably take too long to reach her to cause any damage.

"You wanted to change the future? You've just written it in stone!" Mina yelled up at the T-X, as the metal began to corrode. Desperately, the T-X shifted were weapon from the acid spray to something that looked like its first weapon, but no sooner had it changed than the entire arm fell off from age. Then, as the T-X finally collapsed in on itself, Mina let go of its leg. It flew off into whatever time they were currently in, falling to pieces as it fell.

Glancing at the dial, Mina saw that she was about in the year 2857. Reaching over to the quartz lever, she pulled it back, and left it there until she finally began to approach the year 1900.

It was over.

They'd won.

*****

"Does it normally take this long for someone to get back from a trip?" Sawyer asked Hartdegen, as the League and Terry stood on the ship's deck, not moving so much as an inch in case Mina moved the machine a little too far in one direction.

Hyde was getting a bit frustrated by now; his serum was almost completely used up, and he wanted to get back to the Nautilus before he became Jekyll again.

"I don't think so, but then again she isn't as experienced with it as I am," Hartdegen replied, before glancing over at Hyde, Skinner, and Nemo. "You know, you three don't have any reason to wait around here now; maybe you should just go back to the Nautilus?"

Nemo and Skinner looked at each other and shrugged.

"Fair enough," Skinner replied, as he leapt up onto Hyde's left arm while Nemo grabbed the right (Hyde was looking positively eager to get going; he didn't want to be dependant on anyone to get anywhere). As soon as they were comfortable, Hyde ran off the boat and leapt back onto the Nautilus, pounding onwards until he reached the watchtower. It was a close thing; as soon as he'd landed, Sawyer, Hartdegen and Terry saw him start to convulse and shrink, until he was the barely-visible form of Doctor Jekyll.

As the League members walked back inside the Nautilus, Sawyer saw a small flicker in the air out of the corner of his eye. Turning around, he smiled as he saw the distortion in the air that he recognised from the arrival of the Morlocks. After only a couple of seconds it had vanished, to be replaced by the large form of the time machine, with Mina sitting inside it.

She looked over at the other three people still there, and grinned at them.

"It's over," she said, as she got out of the machine and hugged Sawyer. Then she glanced over at Terry. "So, what will you be doing now? Going home?"

"Negative," Terry replied. "The time displacement chamber that sent me back here was one-way only. I shall remain."

Sawyer, Mina and Hartdegen looked over at each other quizzically. Eventually, Sawyer shrugged.

"Well, why not? He is extraordinary, after all."

"Yes, but is it anything that we don't have already?" Hartdegen pointed out. "I mean, raw strength, fair enough, but surely Hyde and Mina already bring that to us."

"Point," Mina said, before glancing over at Terry. "Sorry to be rude, but can you do anything else beside take a lot on punishment?"

"Affirmative," Terry said, before he suddenly began speaking in Sawyer's voice. "Is this interesting enough?"

"What...?" Mina asked, staring at Terry in amazement. "How do you do that?"

"I am capable of absorbing, sampling and playing back any human voice I hear," Terry replied in his normal voice. "I also possess detailed files on several varied subjects, including human anatomy and basic psychology. I am a qualified expert in several remarkably varied topics, all of which I am more than content to place at your disposal."

Sawyer and Mina exchanged glances, and shrugged. Sawyer walked towards Terry. "Sounds good," he said, holding out one hand. "Welcome aboard."

Terry took the hand and shook it. "Thank you."

"Just one thing," Hartdegen put in. "If you're going to be sticking around, you need a real name. 'Terminator' doesn't work, and 'Terry' just doesn't sound right by itself. How about... Terry Michael Nator?"

"Is there any particular reason why?" Terry asked blankly.

"Look at it this way," Hartdegen explained. "Terry= Ter, Michael=Mi, and Nator. Ter-Mi-Nator, get it?"

"An interesting choice," Terry replied, before nodding. "I shall use it, Alexander Hartdegen."

"Great. Oh, one more thing; can you stop calling us by our full names?" Hartdegen asked, as Mina sprouted her vampire wings and picked up Sawyer before flying to the Nautilus. "Just call us... well, listen to what everyone else calls us and use that. OK?"

"Of course...Hartdegen," Terry replied, before he got onto the time machine with Hartdegen.

*****

As Hartdegen set the machine's coordinates for a brief hope a few seconds into the future and a few hundred metres to left (The approximate location of the Nautilus) He found himself amazed at the sudden change to his lifestyle. Only a month or so ago, he'd been a small-time American teacher still recovering from his fiancé's death, and now he was working with a group that saved the world on a regular basis, and included a vampire, a man you couldn't see, and now a sentient machine from a possible future!

Wonder who'll join us next...? Hartdegen thought to himself, as he pulled the lever that sent them off to the Nautilus. I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do.

AN: Those of you wondering why I have made the Terminator a member of the LXG, the reason is simple; I wanted a League member who was not only remarkably strong, but could also being something else to the League. The Terminator was the first person I thought of who could get back to the time of the League and give them something extra.