Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles
title: Fair is Foul
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Terminator. If I did, we would definitely get a season 3.
setting: after "to be or not to be"
warning: "Wherefore" threequel/sequel to "To be or not to be" chronologically after "Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep." Goes majorly AU as of "Ourselves Alone" Spoilers for pretty much the whole season.
summary: The Connors infiltrate a summer camp named on the list. While John intends to track down their future ally, he must deal with the return of Riley and the deteriorating relationship with his mother and uncle, both of whom are questioning John's judgment and Cameron's true purpose. Jameron.
a/n: There's a trailer I posted on YouTube that pretty much gives a good summary. Just look up River2027. For those of you who don't know Shakespeare, this story's title comes from a quote in the play Macbeth (which I just finished reading in school). The contrasting idea quite simply means "nothing is as it seems," which is basically a central theme of this story.
It's kind of like an alternate Episode 17, so there's bits and pieces of the final six episodes incorporated in this story. Also, for this story, I've kept it more to the Terminator episode theme. There's more action than in the past, hopefully a more intense plotline, but, rest assured, there will still be comedy and of course Jameron. And it's not just John's POV, but seeing through Sarah, Derek, Cameron, Riley, and even Jesse's eyes. I think it should be good, but I'll let you guys be the judge of that. :) So, without further ado, here is the hopefully long-awaited threequel!
Some Must Sleep
John Connor hates to sleep.
Sleep brings dreams, nightmares actually. He can't recall a night that has gone by where he hasn't had a nightmare. Sometimes they're memories; recollections of the first time he'd ever seen a Terminator, the day Cromartie had nearly killed him, the horror at seeing a malfunctioning Cameron try to terminate him, and the dozens of close calls afterwards. Sometimes he had nightmares where either his mother or Derek died. Sometimes it was his father, Kyle Reese. Sometimes it was he himself who died and he would wonder how the world would be without him, without John Connor, savior of mankind.
But tonight was different. It was a dream he'd had for the past few nights, each time waking up in a cold sweat, this dream more vivid and frightening than any he'd had in the past. It wasn't a memory, more like a vision of his absolute worst fear coming true.
This was why he hated sleeping. He doesn't think he stand watching her die again.
He sees Cameron, slumped against a bunch of crates, an electrical surge having rebooted her system. Cromartie is there, switchblade in hand. Impossible, of course. Cromartie was dead, his chip had been obliterated, his body was still missing after being dug up from the Mexican desert, but without the chip, he should not be functioning.
Except that he was. And John didn't even care why or how he was alive. All he cared about was Cameron, incapacitated and in the hands of the enemy.
The Terminator delicately slices into Cameron's skull and pulls out her chip. John feels his mother clamp her hand over his mouth, stifling his cry for fear he will give up their hiding spot.
Cromartie holds up the chip, examining it with unblinking eyes. "John Connor," he states in the usual dull monotone. "If you do not reveal yourself, I will crush her chip."
John's eyes widen and he struggles violently against his mother's firm grip. Derek joins in, holding his nephew back. I have to save her! He screams inside his mind. His mother and Derek's grips are too strong.
Cromartie waits a moment, scanning the room, waiting for John to appear. Then he brings coltan fingers together, crushing the chip between them. Sarah's hand goes slack with momentary shock, and John wrenches free, screaming with white-hot rage as he grabs the machine gun and charges forward toward Cromartie.
"You killed her, you killed her!" he screams. He can't even look at Cameron's body, the body that will never walk again, the mouth that will never speak again, the eyes that will never open again. His heart is breaking and he can't contain the intense pain.
John lets loose with the machine gun, bullets embedding into Cromartie's coltan endoskeleton. The Triple 8 doesn't even flinch, but John doesn't care. Much as he wanted Cameron's murderer to pay, such a thought was impossible. John Connor wasn't walking away from this fight.
He was counting on that.
Cromartie takes one stride forward and grabs John by the neck, red eyes blazing. John releases his grip on his gun, hears it clatter to the ground, feels the tears start streaming down his face, not from the physical pain, but the emotional turmoil he can no longer stand. Nothing Cromartie could do would hurt him more than Cameron's death.
"Do it!" he pleads. "Do it, kill me!"
Cromartie cocks his head slightly and John follows his gaze to Cameron's still form. The sight only brings a fresh wave of pain. I can't do it. I can't live without her. Sarah and Derek appear to be in a state of shock, afraid to shoot at Cromartie for fear of hitting John.
John stares into the cold, unfeeling, murderous eyes of the Terminator. "Nothing matters anymore," he chokes out. "Kill me!"
The pain of the steel fingers around his neck was nothing compared to the pain that was burning in his heart. Cromartie's hand tightens. John hears a loud crack, hears his mother scream his name.
Then, mercifully, he feels nothing at all.
And he wakes up.
John bolted up in bed, panting heavily. He heard footsteps rushing toward his bedroom and assumed that he must have screamed during his nightmare. Sure enough, both Sarah and Cameron entered, both holding guns, scanning for any threats. Both looked worried.
"I'm fine," John said bitterly. "It was just a nightmare."
Sarah cautiously sat down on the bed next to him, placing a hand on his face, but he pushed it away. John briefly glanced up at Cameron, who was staring at him with a worry-stricken face. He quickly cast his eyes downward. He couldn't look at her right now. The vision of her lying on that warehouse floor, unmoving, was still too vivid in his mind.
"What was it about?" Sarah asked.
"I don't want to talk about it," he repeated, purposely keeping his eyes from glancing up at Cameron. His mother would hate it if she knew he was all worked up about the death of a machine. She wouldn't even consider it a death. She doesn't understand. He could still see the worry written on his mother's face, and she pursed her lips.
"Okay…" she said slowly. "Well, I'll go make you some pancakes for breakfast."
John suppressed a groan. More pancakes…That was the last thing he needed right now. As his mother left, his eyes found Cameron's, seeing the anxiety on her face.
"I'm fine," he whispered softly. "Really."
Sarah scooped two pancakes onto John's plate and set it down in front of him, purposely ignoring Cameron. It wasn't as if the machine needed to eat anyway. John still seemed a bit shaken from his dream, but trying his best not to appear so.
Derek had come into the kitchen once, gritted his teeth when he saw Cameron and John sitting at the table, grabbed a plate and disappeared into the living room, even though Sarah had yelled after him the reminder that they ate at the table.
Somehow, she didn't blame him for ignoring her.
John was merely poking at his food and she was about to remind him that breakfast was the most important meal of the day when Cameron spoke up.
"You need to eat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."
Sarah clenched her jaw tightly. What made it worse was how John actually responded. He smiled slightly and scooted the plate closer to her.
"Fine. You eat one and I eat one, okay?"
Cameron cocked her head in that familiar way. "I don't need to eat."
A small smile crossed John's face. "Come on," he prodded. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."
Cameron returned his smile and used a fork to take a bite of her pancake. Sarah wrenched her gaze back to the griddle, flipping over a slightly burnt pancake. John would never have reacted that way if Sarah had been the one to tell him. He may have rolled his eyes, brushed her off, said something like 'we're trying to save the world, who has time for breakfast?' But with Cameron telling him the same thing, his reaction was like a polar opposite. When had things gotten like this? What had happened to Riley? Sure, Sarah had loathed the girl, but it had to be better than her son falling for a robot.
John had never really explained, and she'd never really asked. But now, there was only one thing she wanted to know: what had happened in Canada?
She could see how close they'd grown, so quickly. John had gone from tolerating Cameron to wanting her around. Sarah's own recent nightmares still haunted her. John complimenting Cameron's pancake skills, John telling Sarah that she's not Cameron. I'm being replaced by a machine. In her nightmare, Cameron had walked past John in her underwear again, drawing John's gaze. Sarah thought they'd cured that habit. But the worst thing about the whole situation was knowing that dreams often had basis in reality. If that could happen in the few days she'd been at the sleep clinic, even if it was only a dream, what had gone on between them when they were hundreds of miles away, alone in Canada for a week?
Because something was definitely going on with John and Cameron. John hadn't said who his nightmare was about. He didn't have to. She'd caught the brief look he'd given Cameron, and the way he avoided looking at her for the rest of the conversation only confirmed Sarah's theory. His traumatic nightmare hadn't been about her or Derek getting killed, or even himself.
It had been about the machine.
Derek Reese left his empty plate in the living room, not wanting to return to the kitchen again. Cameron's presence had always been a sore spot for him, but after meeting Jesse here in the present, and hearing what she had to say, it became all the worse. Cameron was still a machine; still a threat to John. She was going to manipulate him, take over control of the Connor camp, the entire resistance. And from what Derek had seen, she already had a good hold on his nephew. John had been pulled in by her charm, her looks, her fake emotions. It had all started with that stupid, ridiculous Romeo and Juliet play.
It only served to remind him how much he had really hated English class.
He pointed a flashlight at the wall in their basement, the wall with the names written in blood. He had to get them moving again. Maybe a mission would keep John's mind off of Cameron. And maybe give Derek a chance to concoct a plan that would keep Cameron out of the equation for good.
He re-entered the house, walking into the kitchen where Sarah was washing the pancake griddle. John and Cameron were still sitting at the table, an empty plate sitting between them. Derek tried to keep the disgust off his face. Had John been sharing his breakfast with the machine? How much more twisted could he get?
Sarah hardly looked up when he entered. He hoped she wasn't still mad about him not eating at the table.
"I've got something to show you," he announced. Sarah stopped washing and turned around. Both John and Cameron glanced up at him expectantly. "A name," Derek continued. "On the wall," he added unnecessarily.
Sarah dropped her sponge and turned off the water, abruptly walking towards the basement.
She must be as eager as I am to get John distracted by a mission, he thought. He smiled. Good to know he wasn't alone in this.
Derek pointed a flashlight at the list of names written in blood. "I figured it's time to start focusing again," he said. "Check this out."
John stared at the wall, following Derek's flashlight beam, looking below GREENWAY, below P. ALTO, SHERMAN, and ALPINE FIELDS. Written towards the bottom of the wall was a single word: JABEZ.
John's eyes snapped up to meet his mother's but he saw no recognition there. "What the heck is Jabez?" he questioned. "Is that a name? A place? Derek, do you know? From the future, maybe?"
Derek shook his head. "Never heard of it."
"Jabez was a man in the Bible," Cameron spoke up softly.
"I was right," Sarah said wryly. "You do memorize everything."
"He was a man of prayer," Cameron started to explain.
Derek snorted in disgust. "Thanks metal mouth, but I don't think that fighter's telling us to save some dead guy."
"You're right," Sarah said, frowning. "Jabez has to mean something else."
"Camp," Cameron stated.
John raised a quizzical eyebrow. "What?"
"There's a place called Camp Jabez," Cameron replied. "Summer camp. It's primarily a horse camp, but they have many other activities."
"Summer camp?" John asked skeptically. "So, what does that mean? This camp is being targeted?"
"Or a camper," Sarah agreed. She looked at Cameron. "What else do you know? Where's it located?"
"Approximately forty-six miles from here."
"Convenient," John muttered.
"Before we get too into this," Derek began. "How are we supposed to know what we're looking for? It doesn't say who. It doesn't say when. How do we know when this is supposed to happen?"
"It's summer camp, Derek," John shot back. "I'd assume it'll happen in the summer."
"On a more serious note, I think it's just like Bedell." John tried not to wince remembering his time at Presidio Alto, or rather, the talk he and Derek had afterward. We all die for you. He briefly met Cameron's gaze before trying to put all memories of his nightmare out of his head.
"All we had to go on was P. Alto," he continued. "But you recognized Bedell's name. Maybe this is the same thing. Maybe it's a camper and we just have to figure out who."
"We have to get into that camp," Sarah said.
Derek smirked. "Well, John, Tin Can, looks like its time for summer camp for you."
John noticed Cameron press her lips together in what seemed to be hurt or annoyance. Was that a reaction to Derek's "Tin Can" name calling? He blinked again and the look was gone.
John looked back at his uncle. "Campers? You can't be serious."
"I'm always serious," Derek replied coolly.
"Okay, fine. So that takes care of us, but what about you two? I think you're a little old to pass as high school students."
Derek shot Sarah a grin. "Counselors."
Great, John thought to himself. Our new mission involves me being enrolled in a summer camp with my mother and uncle as a counselor.
He sighed. This should be fun…
John hovered near the doorway as Cameron's fingers flew over the laptop keyboard, expertly hacking into Camp Jabez's computer database, registering them all for the camp and trying to locate the file with a list of all the campers.
"So," he said aloud, glancing over at his mother. "I've never been to camp before."
Sarah smiled. "It's probably not that different from our camping trips when we lived in South America."
"Not that different?" John asked skeptically. "Solitary confinement, bizarre jungle food, wild animals, Terminators, and guns. Those weren't camping trips, Mom, they were training exercises."
"Okay, yes," she agreed, smiling. "But it's similar. In the great outdoors. You have to pack up just the necessities, eat cafeteria food, sleep in a cabin with a bunch of other kids."
John forced a strained smile. "Gee, sounds like fun."
He really didn't mind. In fact, it might even be fun. The Canada trip had been fun and he'd been surrounded by other students there, too. And he'd had to deal with Cameron and Riley going at each other. He sighed pleasantly. At least I won't have to worry about that this time.
Derek came up behind them, his face white with pure terror. John was instantly on high alert. He'd never seen Derek so terrified in his life.
"There's a Kyle Reese on the list," Derek said in a hushed tone.
Sarah's eyes widened and her face paled. "Kyle?!"
Kyle. That would definitely justify Derek's fear. His little brother is being targeted while at summer camp. John swallowed hard. My father…Hadn't he just seen his father a few months ago? He hadn't looked very old.
"That doesn't make sense," John muttered. "He shouldn't be old enough, unless they have a little kids camp too."
"Don't say anything else," Derek snapped.
John frowned. "Why?"
Sarah stared at Derek in confusion. "Wait…you know?"
"Of course I do," Derek replied, scoffing as if it were obvious. "He's my brother." He jerked a thumb toward Cameron. "Now get her out so we can talk."
John hated having to keep secrets from Cameron, but he slowly nodded. This was too important, the only secret he had that could kill him if the wrong people found out. He hadn't trusted anyone with the knowledge of Kyle Reese's connection to John Connor. "Fine," he grumbled. He led Cameron off to the side. "Cam, could you give us a few minutes alone?"
"Alone?" she repeated, as if such a thought were absurd. "I cannot leave you alone, John."
"I know, I know, you have to protect me," he finished.
"Not just that."
John frowned. "What?"
"I don't want to leave you." She seemed hesitant, still not comprehending the feelings the two of them had expressed during their recent field trip to Canada.
John smiled softly. "It's just for a few minutes. And that means no eavesdropping either. This is very important."
"Why do I need to leave?" Cameron asked bluntly. "I know Kyle Reese is your father."
John's eyes widened. "What? You knew? How—when we were treating Derek, you told me you didn't know anything."
"That was before the explosion," she stated calmly. "Some of my memories and functions have been awakened."
John felt an odd sensation. What had his mother told him? You didn't trust anyone enough to tell them about your father.
He looked over at Sarah, who had heard the entire conversation. Her eyes were filled with shock and worry. John looked back at Cameron.
I did trust someone. I trusted her.
Derek's rage was impossible to hide. John wasn't sure if Derek was just angry that John had trusted a machine with that knowledge or if he was mad that Future-John had never told Derek when he'd obviously told Cameron.
His mood darkened. "If they're targeting Kyle, my father, then…they know." His voice trailed off and he stared up at his mother and uncle, a bit of desperation creeping into his voice. "How could they know?"
Sarah's eyes slowly rose to look up at Cameron. Derek didn't even try to hide his disdain. "Simple," he said, glowering at Cameron.
"She told them."
(cue Terminator theme music) :) Let me know what you think!!