Author: Kayla Shay
Characters: Xander, John Conner
John Conner looked around the desolate tunnels of the elaborate sewer system that the resistance called home for the moment.
'Home', now there was a thought. He had never truly had a home. He had been on the run since the day he was born, actually, since before he was born.
Destiny saw fit to throw him into a personal hell so he could try to save the human race from their own creations. There were times he wanted to quit, like when the bombs were falling, but something or someone always kept him going.
Just a few days ago, there had been an attack at one of the outposts. Only two made it back. John had long ago learned that you can only dwell on the deaths for moments or else they would consume a person.
John's absent wandering brought him to a closed door. He shook as head as he though about the man behind the door.
He had appeared roughly a year before. He was tattered and worn down, yet he was quick to flash a smile when he met people. That smile was infectious. He quickly became the unofficial moral officer in the band of resistance fighters. He offered a shoulder to cry on, an ear for listening and a smile or joke to cheer someone up.
But when it came time to fight, to protect the precious ground that the resistance claimed, the man was a hardened soldier. He would fight the enemy and show the machines that humans still had some power over them.
John had never talked to the man about his past. He wasn't even sure how old he was. He didn't know how he survived the bombs or even why he had to wear the eyepatch, which added to the mystery. They only knew the man as Harris. If that was his first or his last name, they did not know.
John had made it a point to keep a safety boundary between him and possible friends. Save his wife, the only person he allowed in his life had been Kyle, his father. But now he was gone, sent back in time to start the whole mess over. The mess he once thought he could stop.
John looked up as the door clicked open only to stand face to face with the one-eyed man. "So Harris, how is the secret room coming along? You've generated a buzz through the tunnels as to what you could have in there."
"Well, that's why I just came out to find you," Harris flashed his patented lopsided grin, a grin that never reached his eye. "You can call a general meeting for tonight but we will hold it in there, " he jerked his thumb behind him.
"So, do I get a preview, or do I have to wait like everyone else?" John tried to peer around Harris for a peek.
Noticing his anxiousness, Harris smirked. "If you wait, I promise it will be better."
Time Lapse a few hours later...
John looked around the small but formidable group of resistance fighters that gathered in front of the room. There was a charge in the air. It was electrifying and seemed to wrap around those gathered like a blanket. If John wasn't mistaken, he would say that everyone was filled with excitement. Excitement was something that no human on Earth seemed to experience since the day the bombs had dropped. Watching the hardened eyes of his comrades begin to light up caused a spark of hope inside John. Hope that the human race might still prevail over the machines.
Then Harris coughed.
"So, umm, since most everyone is here, I guess I'll just open the door and let you explore," Harris paused shifting his feet and gave a short snort. "I rhymed, go me with the rhyming syntax," he said almost as a whisper.
With little flair, Harris opened the door and let the group through. One by one there were gasps of surprise and excitement as they saw what the room held.
John stood back with Harris as he waited for everyone else to go inside. He listened to the exclamations and the laughs and reveled in the light-hearted feeling emanating from the room. He was startled when he felt a nudge on his left side.
"So, you gonna go on in or are you just gonna stand there," the one-eyed man smiled at him.
"Well, I guess it's not too bad judging by the reactions. Let's see what you did..."
John entered the room and his jaw dropped and his heart felt a hundred times lighter. The room was a godsend, if one could believe in god.
At first look, the room just looked like any other junk supply room the resistance had set up, but then imagination kicked in. The room had been divided into segments and the pathways around them were close to a yellow brick road. There were even signs pointing the way to different 'towns' built on a miniature scale.
The Winter Wonderland town was covered in white. There were Christmas trees (reminiscent of Charlie Brown's tree) and menorahs and even a place to have a snowball fight.
Other 'towns' were set up for major holidays that had not been celebrated in years. He even had a wedding chapel constructed in the Valentine's Day section.
Everyone was laughing, crying or doing both as they ran from section to section. That old saying of 'like a kid in a candy store' sprang to mind. One could almost forget the horrors they faced every day to survive, almost.
John walked the path with Harris following slightly behind. He stopped when he reached the last stop on the road; an area called Remembrance. There were rows of lit homemade candles and an almost empty tack wall. Taking a closer look, John saw a picture that had obviously been taken years before, when people still lived in the sunlight. There were three teenage girls, a blonde, brunette and redhead if you could believe it, an older man with a fatherly grin on his face and two teen boys. Upon closer look, the brunette boy had a familiar smile. It was the same look Harris always carried, only the boy's had more spirit too it. The picture was Harris and he had both eyes. Below the picture was a piece of paper that John slowly whispered out loud. "To the Scoobies, the first ones and the last ones and all those in between (even you Deadboy!). I'll never forget my family, X."
John swung around to face the one-eyed man behind him. Harris had a tear in his eye and a slight smile on his face as he nodded toward the picture.
"They were my family, not by blood, but by love, respect and honor. There were more over the years, but they were the first. It's never good to forget, you lose your touch with humanity if you try to block your past and those you have loved. I figure everyone needs to remember, you know, the good times, even the bad times. They need to remember why they fight. When you forget your purpose, you will lose your will. When you remember, you're charged, you're connected to those around you," Harris paused for a breath before whispering the last part, "you have heart."
John looked at the man as he processed those words. He always tried to forget those that had been lost in the fight. He had distanced himself from people and for the first time started to realize how wrong that had been. He looked back at Harris' picture and let those faces from years past wash over him. He was a leader and as a leader he needed more than strength and knowledge of his enemy. He needed heart, he needed spirit. He looked back at the man behind him.
"I think I've been missing something in this battle and I think you're the key. You're like a moral officer and spiritual guide all rolled into one," John spoke in wonder. "Who are you really Harris?"
Harris smiled as he responded, "Me? I'm just a carpenter from Southern California, but," his hand moved up to brush his worn eye-patch, "someone once said that I was the one who sees."
- The End