PREFACE: I do not own any of these characters; they belong to, for good or ill, their respective owners, whether or not they choose to use them to their full potential.
This story is a Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles story based on the assumption that both Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica occur in the same universe.
In Galactica canon this story begins during the events of Sometimes a Great Notion and is AU from that point, with spoilers from all of Season 4.5, specifically the episode No Exit. "The Real Earth" is the only Earth, with no "new Earth" and "150,000 years ago..." nonsense. In Sarah Connor Chronicles canon this story begins during the events of Today is the Day and goes fully AU during the events of Adam Raised a Cain. Spoilers are present throughout Season 2.
03.20.2009 | 05:29 | PM | PST
"YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!"
Few and far between were the times Sarah Connor could remember her son showing her such blatant disrespect. It wasn't entirely unexpected that he'd be angry as he'd just found out that his... girlfriend, if that's even how he thought of her... was dead.
What was unexpected was that he didn't seem the least bit saddened by it, as though he... expected it?
"There's nothing to talk about, is there? Because Riley's dead." He'd displayed no emotion either in his voice or his mannerisms.
But there had been plenty of emotion behind his defense of... her.
"How do you think that happened?" she'd asked.
"I don't know. I'm gonna figure it out, though."
What was she to make of the fact that it seemed so important to him to prove her innocence?
In reality she didn't know which one of them to be more furious with. For all her "human" qualities, Cameron was a poor manipulator- to the point that Sarah questioned whether or not she'd truly been created to be an infiltrator. She had a hard time visualizing John being coerced into helping the cyborg stockpile the various pieces of Terminator endoskeletons that she'd discovered "hidden" half-assed amongst the various things stored in the garage only moments before he'd walked in on her.
They'd been thick as thieves in this endeavor, that much was certain. Where were their heads? They both knew the consequences of even a small piece of future technology falling into the wrong hands and yet they'd saved enough parts from the thermite pyre to construct an entire Terminator. It only needed a skull, a chip, gift wrapping and a card that read, "Merry Christmas, and a happy Judgment Day!"
For Sarah the larger issue, beyond the possibility of hoarding hardware that could be used to create Skynet, was one of trust. This, more than anything else, proved that John was losing trust for his mother- which made his earlier expression of faith in Cameron even more difficult to stomach.
"I'm sure... because I know her... and because she told me."
When it came to her it was just that simple. 'I know her. She told me.' He trusted Cameron. And why not? If she looked at it logically the girl had earned his trust time and time again. She'd saved his life more times than Sarah could count. When she and Derek had objected to interfacing her chip with the ARTIE system he'd trusted her. When she'd lost her cybernetic mind after the car bombing she and Derek wanted her destroyed, but he gave her another chance. And each time she'd proven herself worthy.
But Sarah wasn't thinking logically, she was thinking with her heart. Her heart was consumed with only one emotion- jealousy.
She'd left the garage behind and gone for a walk, desperate to clear her head.
It hadn't helped.
She couldn't stop thinking about their last conversation. It was a microcosm of everything their life had become- lies, secrets, manipulation and anger.
Ever since that day. The car bombing, John killing Sarkissian to save her, and the unforgettable... revelation.
"I love you, John! And you love me!"
She would never forget the scene, the cyborg's body trapped between the trucks, pleading for all she was worth that John not remove her chip and crush it. As much as Sarah disliked her, she'd still felt like she was torturing an already wounded animal.
But to tell John that she loved him, to lie to him like that. For all their inhumanity Terminators were supposed to be smart- especially the ones John sent back to be his protectors. She didn't know the John of the future, the one who'd sent Cameron back. She had no idea what he was like, if he was anything like her John. But she expected that he knew what he was like at this age and what being in close proximity to a... girl... like Cameron would do to him; what hearing her tell him that she loved him would do to him...
Or had he truly become the bastard Derek Reese sometimes spoke of? Could he have sent her back with the intention of her being the bane of his mother's existence, his revenge for the unwanted fate she'd been grooming him for since his birth?
And there was that nagging thought, the one Sarah was sure would bother her until the day either she or Cameron died. 'Could she really love him?'
She'd done her best not to think about that question, not wanting to deal with the others that came along with it, 'How can a machine understand love?' or 'Who could create a machine capable of love? Certainly not Skynet.' She recalled the dream in which she'd seen Cameron in a nursery, handing the baby turtle to Cromartie, for once not needing John to help her understand a science-fiction reference- she'd seen Blade Runner when it first ran in the theaters so many years ago now.
But that was only in Sarah's paranoid mind.
Far more telling than the supposed portents of a dream were the truths of women's intuition. The first time she'd noticed she'd given it up for a play on her emotions. But there were other times, when Cameron didn't know Sarah was looking, that it was unmistakable- the way she would stare at Riley, the way she would follow her and John out the door and watch, with a look of anger she didn't bother to disguise, not the frustration that her charge was going off without her protection, but the real anger of a young girl with a crush seeing "her" boy with another girl. And there was the way she would single John out like he was the only one in the room. She'd done it a lot when she'd first joined them, but gradually she'd learned that it was considered rude. But when Riley was there she was more focused on him than at any other time. And once Sarah was certain that she saw satisfaction on Cameron's face when Riley had gotten annoyed with her presence. And once the cyborg seemed genuinely surprised when Sarah caught her.
It was a universal truth- jealousy looked the same on every woman. Some showed more or less than others, but the look was always the same. If she'd had a mirror a few moments ago she'd have seen that look staring back at her.
These were the thoughts that kept Sarah Connor awake at night- thoughts that compelled her with ever greater frequency to turn to sleeping pills.
And when she realized where her walk had taken her, her mind switched its focus to the other conundrum that made sleep so elusive lately- the three dots drawn in blood on her basement wall.
She'd hardly been down here since the day "Wells," the wounded resistance fighter, spent his last moments leaving her a message in blood. It had faded to a dark brown, as blood tended to do once it left the body, but everything was still legible... or as legible as it could be. That included the pattern that had captivated her so much since she'd first seen it.
She'd been convinced this was a hidden message, but her early attempts to decipher it had ended in failure and further alienation from John.
It had become a quest to her, though Derek, and possibly even John, would call it an obsession. She'd seen the pattern in the engine configuration of the drone that she'd first seen at Desert Canyon Heat & Air, and the others had later seen it. She should have felt vindicated, but she wasn't. From her perspective it was just an amazing coincidence.
Though she'd not acted on it she'd continued to hold to the belief that there was something deeper in the message than a warning that someone in their time had created a new type of Predator drone.
There were streams of dried blood that had flowed down from the dots. He'd fallen to his death not long after making that mark, she was sure of it. She felt compelled to crouch down about the spot where his head came to rest as he died. She regarded another pattern in the blood, one they'd noticed before but that made even less sense than the others. She turned to face the wall and cocked her head to the side, looking at it from the perspective he'd have written it from as he lay on the ground, wondering why none of them hadn't thought to do this before. Originally they'd thought that the scribble was a bastardized number nine, but now... she could be mistaken, but she was sure in her mind that she saw, instead of the word "nine" four numerals- "2-1-5-9."
Then, acting on an impulse that came to her without rhyme or reason, she stood up, reached her hand out and pressed her thumb, pointer and middle fingers to the pattern.
'I have officially lost my mind,' she thought. Did she expect that touching it would make something happen? Was the wall going to open up and lead her to the answer? Was she going to have a vision that would make it all make sense?
With a flash before her eyes the basement and the wall of bloody clues was gone and she found herself in the cockpit of a plane which she, in less than a split second, realized she had no idea how to fly. She looked about her, quickly realizing that she wasn't flying through the atmosphere of a planet, but through space.
And she heard music.
'Get it together, Connor, this is just a dream, or a hallucination! You're going to wake up in a few seconds and this is all going to have been...' Her thinking processes stopped as she noticed another craft through the plane's canopy, growing larger with each second. Her's was clearly the faster moving of the two. She had presence of mind enough to examine the instrument panel for the plane's equivalent of a speedometer, but found that she had never seen anything that even remotely resembled the mesh of digital displays beyond the flight stick.
Then without consciously willing it her hand reaffirmed its grip on the control column and gently maneuvered the plane to starboard. It wasn't the clumsy or forced motion of a person that had no idea how they went from sitting in a basement to piloting a space plane, but the experienced control of a seasoned aviator. Then, once again without realizing she'd done it, she forcefully swung the craft back to port and straight at the other plane.
She desperately tried to pull up on the stick, but there was nothing there to control. It was like she couldn't even feel her body. She was certain her plane was going to collide with the other.
But at the last second, just before the two ships would have smashed into each other, she pulled up smoothly, passing over top of the other plane and likely scaring the other pilot half to death.
A voice, a male voice, blared through the helmet she was wearing, "Whoa, what the FRACK?!"
She found herself inexplicably laughing. 'What the hell? I'm flying a plane I have no idea how to fly and I'm... toying with another pilot? And where is that music coming from?!' It sounded... otherworldly, haunting even, but identify a melody she couldn't. She could barely hear it, yet it seemed to be more present than any of the sounds being generated by her ship. Was it coming through the speakers in her helmet?
She arched the plane back around such that she was behind her fellow pilot. She eased back on the throttle, thankfully slowing the craft as it pulled up alongside the other plane on its port side. She was scared more than she'd ever been- even more than when the T-1000 had turned its liquid metal finger into a spike and shoved it through her, bidding her call out for John to reveal himself. The last thing she wanted was to face this other pilot, to see how close their ships were to each other for fear she'd jerk and slam right into him.
Involuntarily she turned toward him. "Hi Lee," she said evenly. 'Lee? How do I know this guy?' It seemed like the silliest question, given the circumstances.
She examined "Lee's" facial features; he was handsome... no, cute was the more appropriate term. He didn't look old enough to be "handsome." He appeared to be in his early to mid thirties.
"Kara?" he finally questioned, his eyes wide with disbelief as though he was seeing a ghost.
'Kara? Who the hell is Kara? It's Sarah! Don't look at me like that, you obviously know what's going on! Why can't I say anything?' She felt like a prisoner in her own... or was it her own body? She seemed to know how to fly this plane and who this man was. In more ways than one, "Kara" seemed to be the one in the pilot's seat. Without ordering it her mouth spoke again, "Don't freak out, it really is me," she said with a chuckle, obviously enjoying "Lee's" discomfort. Then she spoke again, "It's going to be okay. I've been to Earth. I know where it is. And I'm going to take us there."
"Lee" was taken aback even more by the mention of Earth. 'Whoa, I'm going to take who to Earth? And if they're not from Earth...'
"No," 'Lee' replied. "No, no, this is fracking crazy. I saw your ship blow up!"
"'Fraid not. Did you not hear me? I've been to Earth!" 'Yeah, well, I live there, and I'd like to go back, so would someone tell me what is happening to me?'
Lee, for his part, continued to look stunned. "Earth?"
"Earth. Big blue oceans, fluffy white clouds. You're gonna love it. I promise."
Another male voice came through the helmet headset, and obviously they both heard it as Lee's attention turned back towards the controls of his own... Viper... 'Viper? Okay, it's called a Viper. How do I know that?'
"All players, Galactica. Threat B-R-350, carom 211, Raptors, lean back as missile pickets! Weapons free!" Sarah had no idea what any of that meant, but "Kara" obviously did. She flipped several switches and a number of displays came to life, clearly indicating even to Sarah that the ships weapons had just gone hot.
"Don't lose me this time, Apollo," she said. 'Apollo? I thought his name was Lee. She noticed in that moment a name plate below the other ship's canopy, one that read:
MAJOR LEE ADAMA
'Ah, okay. Your call-sign. So which of us is Goose and which one is Maverick?'
"Oh, not a chance," 'Apollo' replied.
With another flash the scene before her shifted. She was piloting through a convoy of ships, huge ships, of all different designs. There were hundreds of smaller craft just like her own buzzing about, either chasing or being chased by a swarm of dissimilar ships that resembled insects. For a moment she was grateful that she wasn't controlling the body or the ship. Were she, she was certain, she would be dead in short order. It was impossible to keep up with the body's motions, or the events taking place beyond the canopy. 'Too fast, this is all happening too fast,' she thought. She wondered if the pilot she was sharing a body with was taking the time to notice her targeting scanner. Each time it locked on to an enemy ship the image disappeared almost as quickly. Was she that good that she could target on sight alone?
Then the scene changed again and she was flying towards what looked like a giant aircraft carrier in space- the lettering on the hull spelling out the word, "Galactica." With well practiced skill she brought the vessel to rest on a well-worn landing deck.
Sarah started to feel sick as her perspective changed again. She was climbing down from the ship, bidding a deck hand in a fluorescent orange jumpsuit to "develop my gun camera footage ASAP" and get her a "post-flight checklist" so she could "sign out" and get to the shower.
Like Lee, the man... "Tyrol" she knew his name to be... looked at her like he was seeing a ghost. Then a number of others surrounded the ship, notably a tall, clean cut younger man in an officers uniform, a younger Asian woman and a younger Caucasian woman- both with dark hair pulled back tightly. 'Helo... Athena... and Racetrack... How do I know these people?!' Could they tell? They were all eying her so suspiciously! What did they see when they looked at her? Was it possible that instead of their friend and colleague Kara... "Thrace," Captain Kara Thrace: call-sign "Starbuck" according to the nameplate on her ship which she'd noticed as she came down the ladder, but Sarah Connor instead? No, 'Apollo' had called her Kara as soon as he laid eyes on her! The feeling of disorientation was increasing, and she wondered if her host felt it.
The crowd parted to make way for Lee, who pulled her into the crushing embrace of a... lover? What to say? Her host answered for her, patting the man on the back, "Okay, okay! Me too! It's okay... it's okay..." Then he released her, just in time for another man, slightly taller than Lee with a thick head of dark hair and who was a better match for the term "handsome," pulled her into another tight embrace. 'Well, I guess "Kara" is popular with the men-folk. I wonder if I'll get a chance to see what she looks like?'
He looked down at her, like he hadn't seen her in months. "I told everyone you were too frackin' mean to kill!"
Her host laughed, and smiled. "Okay! I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay." 'Would someone tell me if this word "frack" I keep hearing means what I think it means?'
"STARBUCK," came a voice from above like thunder. "Kara" whipped her head around, knowing both who had been speaking and where to look for him. It came from a walkway just a few steps across the bay from where she'd landed.
With a look of elation her host ran from her ship, Lee and... Sam... Anders... the other man who'd hugged her taking up positions just behind her on either side. She stopped just below a narrow set of stairs that led up to the walkway, looking up at the weather-worn face of the man who'd been her surrogate father- Admiral William Adama. "I did it boss," she said. "I found Earth!"
Sarah knew there were things in existence that most people wouldn't be able to believe in: time travel, advanced artificial intelligences that declare war on humanity, cyborgs, so she could take a lot on faith, but the idea that there were... aliens? Is that what these people were? They looked human enough to her. 'So does Cameron. So did the T-800s. So did Vick and Cromartie. So did the T-1000. Okay, so they're not from Earth. Where are they from, then? Why are they looking for Earth? No one from the future ever mentioned people from space visiting Earth.'
She'd been so lost in thought she hadn't noticed a number of men in black uniforms surround her, weapons drawn. 'What the...?'
"I need you in sickbay. Cottle's gonna give you a complete physical examination," the Admiral said in a more intimidating tone than she'd ever used with John.
'I give up,' Sarah thought. She had no idea what she was seeing, but she knew that there would be no answers forthcoming.
"Okay, what the hell's going on? I'm off the ship for a few hours and everybody's acting... " her host was cut off by the one called Anders.
"A few hours? Kara you were gone for over two months!"
Her host was taken aback with this comment. And even more when Lee added, "It's true, Kara. We thought you were dead."
Even Sarah didn't know what to think.
Another flash brought Sarah from the brightly lit landing bay to a dimly lit private room. The Admiral was there, as was a dark haired, well-dressed woman with glasses. Sarah could tell an interrogation when she saw one. But for some reason her vision wasn't as clear and the words of the others were muffled. It was hard to concentrate. Rather than hearing sentences in a conversation she seemed to only be able to make out bits and pieces. And it was getting harder to think. The feeling of sickness in her stomach was getting worse.
"So I'm me; I'm not a Cylon?"
"Let's go through it again."
"How many times...to hear it?"
"As many as it takes..."
"I followed...into the storm...passed out...orbiting this planet...yellow moon...star patterns...tomb of Athena..."
"How did you get here..."
"Don't know exactly..."
"...not good enough..."
"...reciprocal heading...blacked out...gas giant...flashing triple star...comet..." 'triple star? Three dots?'
The flash came again, but this time the effect was nowhere near as noticable. Like everything else, it was muted, blurred. She could see a backlit table table before her, and a transparent map- a star chart. One of the people that came up to her earlier, Helo, was with her.
"Nobody believes me..."
"...doesn't work like that...feeling...intuition...clarity fades..."
Again her vision shifted and "Helo" was replaced by the Admiral.
"...wrong way. If we keep jumping... lose the feeling...never...take us back...I swear...trust me!"
'Ugh, the music!' It was so soft and at the same time so deafening. She could almost make out a lyric:
"...you and I..."
It was... familiar. Where had she heard it before?
Another flash- she... Kara is screaming; "WE'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!"
One final time her perception shifted and she found her vision almost gone. She could only see the briefest flashes of what was around her and she could hear almost nothing; nothing except the music. 'Where is it coming from?' Was it in her head? Each time she'd "shifted" from memory to memory the damn music was more prominent than anything else she could hear, but it was somehow still next to impossible to hear. She realized that she wasn't alone- she could make out the face of a man, a ruggedly handsome man lighter of hair and eyes than the others, and a lot less eager to hug her to the point of strangulation. But he was still standing close to her- intimately close. She could feel the heat of his skin, their faces nearly touching as he guided her hand. She was painting on a wall, with his hand directing her motions. The picture was one of a solar system- a star, a planet and a comet streaking past the planet. The comet had a distinct, almost artificial shape; sleek, pointed and arranged like an arrowhead... or a triangle- a triangle with each of its points glowing as the light of the star reflected off of them.
The pattern was unmistakable.
A woman was reaching out to her, a pale woman covered in sweat and sitting in a... bathtub? She was talking, but Sarah could only make out three words: "harbinger of death."
The last things she remembered were the world as she knew it coming back into perfect view, the silent solace of the basement, her fingers pulling away from the wall as she fell backward, and a voice- the voice of her lost love crouching down beside her, comforting her.
"It's alright, Sarah. Everything will be alright."
"Kyle..." she said, her voice weak as she spoke his name.
He reached out to her, his hand only centimeters from her face, but she could feel no warmth from his touch as though it wasn't truly there.
He smiled at her, that same amazing smile that she'd seen far to little of in their brief time together, and then spoke: "You weren't ready. Forget now. All will be revealed in time."
And forget she did as she slipped into unconsciousness.
The entity wearing the face of the man known as Kyle Reese regarded the fallen woman. He wished he could reach out and touch her, but to totally pass through the dimensional barrier that separated their realms required more energy than was currently at his disposal.
His was a fitting disguise, for Reese fought so hard in the war that his kind were trying to prevent. It was a conflict that was both the beginning and the end of humanity and their offspring, a conflict that had yet to truly start but that had already been decided. 'All this has happened before,' as the saying went.
Before long she'd understand, but for now she was... stunned. Of course to her it would appear that she'd passed out. In a sense she had. Her mind had "passed out," but not her body. Of course her nervous system was likely extremely confused by the signals her brain was currently passing along to it.
'Dammit, I told them she wasn't ready for this!' The woman's grip on sanity was tenuous at best and having a vision was the last thing she needed. He'd appeared to her before in moments of weakness, but never had he tried to speak to her mind.
His superiors insisted that today was the day. He disagreed.
And now her mind was overwhelmed by sights of worlds beyond her own and across the expanse of time, of people she'd already forgotten, but whom she'd remember when the time was right, only to eventually forget again.
'Why do we toy with their minds this way,' he wondered. He knew the answer, as they all did, but he couldn't help but think there was a better way.
'Tylenol... Must. Have. Tylenol!'
The feeling came upon her suddenly, without warning, bringing a terrible headache along with it. One moment she'd been staring at the wall, the names, the numbers 2-1-5-9, and the dots... how long had she been staring at them? And why did she feel so disoriented?
'This is what I get for coming down here and staring at these things.' She shook her head, laughing. 'And I thought touching them was going to give me all the answers.'
Eager to get her hands on some Tylenol, after she washed them, she left the basement and the bloody wall behind, humming a tune as she walked along. When she reached the living room she stopped, suddenly aware of the sound of music playing the same catchy riff she'd been humming. She looked about her. Neither the stereo or the TV was on and there was no sound coming from either John or Cameron's rooms. She placed her ear against the shared wall between the two units of the duplex... nothing. In fact, there was nothing but silence all around her. The sound vanished as quickly as it came. This was extremely strange. She knew the difference between the sound of a person humming and the sound of instruments. She'd clearly heard a piano, a bass and... a guitar? No... something else... a sitar?
'First I'm seeing three dots everywhere I look. Now I'm gonna start hearing music playing out of thin air.'
She disregarded the experience, chalking it up to her mind playing tricks on her and resumed her journey to the medicine cabinet only vaguely aware that she was still humming the simple melody made up of only three note- C-sharp, E and A; "Dmm-Dmm-Dmm-Dmp, Dmp-Dmmmmmm, Dmm-Dmm-Dmp..."