Author's note: This is intended to be a "fun-fic". Not taking anything TOO seriously here. If characters seem slightly out of character, don't worry too much about it. I'll try my best to keep things "plausible", but hey... this is a crossover fic, so it's a bit ridiculous to start with. I don't think anyone else has done a "Back To The Future" crossover yet, so this should be a lot of fun. I'll be updating this one less often than I did for my other stories, but that's because it's a secondary project that I'll add to when I get writer's block on my other ones.
Also... I wrote this way back during season 1, but never posted it. The episode "Self Made Man" inspired a couple things (I'm sure you'll pick them out) which made the chapter better IMO.
Back To The Post Apocalyptic Future
Chapter 1 - Temporal Error
The night sky flickered with strobes of blue light. The buzzing of electric interference filled the air. A light breeze that caressed the landscape grew to a forceful wind. The electric fireworks emanated from a single point in space, about 20 feet off the ground. In a matter of about one second, a bright 10 foot sphere of light grew from a singularity at the epicenter of the lighting storm. When the sphere of light vanished, it left three bodies at the mercy of gravity, plummeting into the soft sand below.
Two of the bodies lay shaking, choking and gasping for air, while the other landed with a catlike grace, on its feet. The woman on her feet began scanning the area at once, her vision unhindered by the complete lack of daylight. Finding no immediate threats to any of them, she helped the boy and his mother to their feet once they had found their breath.
It took a couple minutes for John's eyes to adjust to the dark, since he'd just experienced the brightest light he'd ever seen in his life. He didn't know exactly what had just happened, but he knew he was no longer in a bank vault. What he could make out from the faint starlight when he attempted to observe his surroundings was a sandy ground, littered with rocks, cacti, brittlebush shrubs, and two naked women standing next to him. He was in such a state of shock and confusion that he hadn't even realized that he was lacking clothing himself until that point. The cover of nearly complete darkness brushed away any feeling of modesty, though.
"Where are we?" Sarah asked.
"Same Where. Different When." Cameron responded.
John looked around again, glancing at the horizon, expecting to see the lit up downtown Los Angeles skyline. "Okay...When are we?"
"I set the time displacement equipment for plus eight years. It should be 2007." Cameron explained, sounding confused. "There should be a freeway here now. Something went wrong."
"Oh Jesus... Did we jump too far? Has Judgment Day already happened?" Sarah asked. "Great! Just great! We go to great lengths to try to stop it... I spent years in the nuthouse for talking about it...people have died trying to prevent it, and now we just fast-forwarded to the unhappy ending of the world??"
Cameron sifted some sand through her fingers. "No. There are no traces of radiation whatsoever. No thermonuclear detonations have occurred here."
"Could we have jumped so far into the future that the radiation has...worn off?" John asked.
"No. In order for radiation levels to be as low as they are, we would have to be thousands of years beyond Judgment Day." Cameron explained. "The time displacement equipment has an effective range of approximately 130 years."
"Then how else could everything be...just, gone?" John's mind started filling with thoughts of alternate timelines, parallel universes, and time paradox mechanics. His head was spinning with the infinite possibilities of impossible to comprehend scenarios. STOP! John closed his eyes and took a deep breath to calm himself. Get a grip, John. Remember...all other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best. With this sudden brain cleansing thought, John spoke. "We didn't jump forward in time. We went into the past."
"Yes, John. That would satisfy the Occam's Razor principle, and is likely true." Cameron was glad that John figured this out himself. The ability to rationalize and use logical deduction reminded her of future John, her John. "It is a valid assumption that Skynet had an undercover agent working with the Resistance engineers building the time machine in the bank vault. It is plausible that Skynet instructed the agent to set it up to send us back in time a century or more, regardless what date was entered into the machine by us." She looked upward to the stars. "According to the position of the stars, we have arrived in the late nineteenth century." After a few more seconds of gazing into the night sky, she added, "Eighteen eighty five, to be exact."
"So that's how they finally win then." Sarah stated with a crushed voice. "They couldn't kill John or me directly, so they got rid of us by sending us somewhere where our existence would be irrelevant. As far as the future of The Resistance and Judgment Day is concerned, we are as good as dead." She wanted to drop to her knees, and fought back tears. "We've failed."
"Mom! Stop. It's not over until it's over, and I'm not quitting until I actually AM dead. If we can't be there to stop Judgment Day, then we can try to leave messages for people in the future, or alter the course of time away from computer's and technology...anything. As long as we're still breathing, we can do something!"
There it was again. More of the future John she knew and loved. Leader John. Her John. A faint smile crept into Cameron's lips, hidden by the cover of darkness. "We should get moving soon. Judging by the temperature, it is mid-summer, and traveling by day will be taxing to you two in the desert, especially with no clothing. There's a small town..." Cameron halted her speech when she saw the glow of two red dots on the ground a 20 or 30 yards away.
Identify: T-888 head module...Cromartie.
Cameron immediately walked over to the head sitting on the ground. After picking up the metal skull, she opened the port on the side of the head and pulled out the main chip, examined it for a moment, then crushed it in her hand.
By this time Sarah and John had made their way over to where Cameron was standing. She handed the metal skull to John. "Here. We should keep this. It looks shiny and expensive. We could trade it for food, water and clothing."
John held the Terminator head in his hands and examined it. He had never seen close before, and if fascinated him. The tool of man's destruction seemed so inanimate and harmless to him right now, like an unloaded gun, or a decommissioned grenade like they have on display in museums. It was difficult to imagine that behind her pretty face and soft brown eyes, Cameron was essentially the same as the object he held in his hand.
"I say we bury it." Sarah said. "What if it falls into the wrong hands?"
"Who's 'wrong hands', mom?" John protested. "At worst, someone might think it's some ancient, tribal idol or something... some kind of artifact." That seemed to satisfy Sarah for the time being.
"As I was saying...there is a town about 20 miles east of here. We should head there."
"Why don't we just head back to Los Angeles...or whatever it's called in this time?" John asked. "Wouldn't it make sense to go to a larger city? Easier to blend in? And besides, it's closer."
"No." Cameron corrected. "A smaller town will serve us much better. It will be easier to befriend the locals and set up a safe, enjoyable life in a smaller town."
"What? Set up a life? You act like it's all over!" John protested. "We need to figure out a way to build our own time displacement device, and..."
Cameron grabbed John by the shoulders and gave him a sympathetic look. "John. The technology to build even the most basic components of the time displacement equipment will not exist for over half a century. It's over." It pained her greatly to kill his hope and crush his resolve, but she had to. Future John, her John, would never exist now; would never need to exist. Her John was the product of fighting his whole life, and as much as she loved that version of him, she knew he would be better off leading a normal 19th century lifestyle.
Normally Cameron was able to control emotion, turn it off even. However the sudden awareness that she would never meet her future love was in effect a metaphysical "goodbye", and her emotion suppression algorithm was not designed to contain everything she now felt. Sure, John would mature and grow older, but without Judgment Day and the war, he would never truly develop into the same man. She pulled the boy to her and hugged him tight. "I'm sorry," she said with a trembling voice. "We're 114 years in the past, and we can never go back." She blinked a pair of tears out of her eyes. Goodbye, future John Connor. "I've failed you."
John was overwhelmed by the situation. Why was she hugging him? Is she crying? Can she cry? His head was spinning with questions, and on top of everything, he was being held against the naked body he'd forbade himself to have impure thoughts about. He had never seen Cameron show any emotion except for what he assumed was a rehearsed act that she played on the first day of school back in New Mexico.
"Cameron." He pushed away held her at arms length. It was hard to see in the dark, but the faint glow from the waning crescent moon reflected off of the wetness of her eyes. Terminators can cry, after all. "You haven't failed your mission," he said trying to comfort her with logic. Logic was the language of a computer, and somehow she had lost sight of that logic when her emotions, or her computer generated simulation of emotions (he wasn't quite sure which, yet) had taken over. "I'm still alive, and I'm completely safe from any and all Skynet threats...for good."
"Oh great! This is all we need! A moody, emotional crying machine that breaks down whenever she thinks her mission is in jeopardy," Sarah said, rolling here eyes even though no one could see them. "Shape up, Tin-Miss. The story's not over yet. We're still out in the middle of a desert with no food, no clothes, and most importantly, no water. If there's a town nearby, we better get going if we want to get there before sunrise."
Crying machine? Moody? Cameron took offense to these words, as much as a microchip brain could be offended, anyway. Did you not cry when Kyle Reese was removed from your life, Miss Connor? Were you not just on the verge of a nervous breakdown five minutes ago when you found out that we were lost in the past? Cameron decided that pointing out Sarah's hypocrisy was not useful to the mission, so she held her words. It was also apparent to her that Sarah did not realize the true reason for her sadness, so it was most efficient to ignore it. Deleting the thoughts that made her want to verbally retaliate, Cameron washed all emotion off of her face and out of her voice, and then turned her head toward Sarah. "You're right." She began walking, letting John's hands slip off of her shoulders. "Follow me."
After a good two hours of hiking through the dark, stepping on random sharp rocks, thistles, and other crisp desert shrubbery, John's bare feet were hurting. He was sure that they were blistered at least and bleeding at worst. He had never realized how much he took having shoes for granted. He considered complaining, but it would fall on deaf ears and accomplish nothing, so he pressed on.
"Stop." The mechanical girl halted and put a palm out to signal her followers to stop as well. Off in the distance, the faintest glimmer of amber light flickered. John and Sarah could barely make it out, but Cameron saw with magnified and light enhanced vision, the dying flames of a nightly campfire. She could see that there were two men sleeping near the fire, but could not discern any more details without getting closer. "Wait here."
Cameron silently approached the campsite, and identified one adolescent girl in addition to the two sleeping men. The two men were of Italian descent, but dressed like Mexican bandits. The girl was dressed in upper class garb; a corseted light blue dress that was dirty and torn in a few places. Her hair was a mess, still partially tied in a fancy bun, and somewhat strewn about. There was obviously some struggle in her recent past. A rolled bandanna was used as a gag, and her hands were bound behind her back. All three of them were sound asleep. Cameron assumed that this was some sort of ransom kidnapping, and her assumption would later prove to be correct. Also in the vicinity were two sleeping horses, saddled with travel packs.
Being careful not to disturb the horses, Cameron gently opened the saddlebags and inspected their contents. She was pleased to find a pair of pants, a shirt, a dagger and a small leather bag that held eight gold coins. She slipped on the pants, pulling the drawstrings tight. When she pulled her arms through the sleeves of the shirt, she realized how ridiculously baggy the men's clothes were on her small body, and that the excess material would just get in her way. For an instant, she considered taking the kidnapped girl's dress, since she was approximately the same size. Negative. Her clothing is highly impractical and inefficient. So she rolled the sleeves up and tied a knot in the shirt near her waist. Much better. After tailoring the shirt to fit her, she decided that the extra length of the pant legs would pose a problem walking, so she used the dagger to cut several inches off of them.
Ripping and cutting the pants made just enough noise to wake one of the men. He sat up and looked at Cameron with slight confusion. Confused partially due to the disorientation of having just woken up, and also from trying to figure out why this mysterious girl was at their campsite and wearing his extra clothes. After a second or two of staring blankly at her, his hand instinctively went for his gun. Cameron stomped on his hand before it could reach the handle of his pistol, and simultaneously grabbed him by the neck, blocking passage of air to his mouth.
He writhed trying to throw her off of him, but was not nearly strong enough. Cameron intended to choke him until he passed out, and then go about her business, possibly robbing him on his clothing to give to John. Her plans changed once the noise from the struggle woke the second man.
Cameron was too far away from him to prevent him from reaching his gun and drawing it on her. She watched as the muzzle flash lit up the area like a strobe light. The bullet penetrated the skin directly over her chest, and if she were human, her heart would have a hole in it. But Tin-Miss does not have a heart. Tin-Miss has a hyper-alloy combat chassis. She also has incredibly accurate knife throwing skills.
With a quick flick of her wrist and forearm, she sent the dagger through the air and into the shooter's throat. The man with a dagger in his throat managed to squeeze off two more terribly aimed shots before the blood loss to his head caused him to black out, and eventually bleed to death, gagging and gurgling. One of the two shots was sent off into the night sky, and the other buried a .45 caliber slug into the breast of one of the horses.
As soon as John heard the gunshots, he looked over at his mother and said, "I guess subtlety isn't one of her strong points", then took off running towards the commotion.
"John! Wait!" Sarah protested. "She can take care of herself!"
"She's not the one I'm worried about!" John shouted over his shoulder without missing a step.
When John arrived at the campsite a moment later, he was shocked to see two men laying on the sand, one with a very bloody throat, the other with a broken neck, a gurgling and wheezing horse on the ground, and Cameron holding a bloody dagger standing over a bound and gagged girl in a fancy dress. As Cameron crouched down and began to move the blade toward the girl, John screamed at her, "Cameron! NO!!! Stop!"
John was physically too far away to grab Cameron's arm to stop her, but stumbled and lunged toward her anyway in a vain attempt to prevent another death that night.
The knife Cameron held was slipped between the girl's wrists, and pulled out with a surgical precision, cutting the ropes that bound them together. John sighed a breath of relief when he realized Cameron's true intention.
The girl used her now free hands to rip the gag out of her mouth. She looked at Cameron and John with a frightened wonderment. "Th-thank you. Who are you?"
"I'm John, and this is my... sister, Cameron."
Sarah finally caught up to the group and interjected, "And I'm their mother."
"Well, I thank you. Your daughter saved my life." She averted her eyes with modesty from Sarah. "Why are you naked? Did someone rob you?"
"Something like that... long story," Sarah responded. "Who were these men? Who are you? Were they going to..."
The conversation came to a halt with the sound of the Colt Peacemaker firing off another round into the gurgling horse's skull. John, Sarah and the girl all jumped and whipped their heads around to look at Cameron holding the smoking pistol and staring down at the dead animal. She looked up to see everyone glaring at her. "Was that a bad thing to do? It was dying, so I put it out of its misery."
John shook his head and breathed a sigh as he spoke, "No. It was the noble thing to do, but you could have warned us first."
"Sorry. I'll warn you before I kill again."
The way she spoke made John shudder. Before she kills again? Jesus... it's so easy to forget that she is designed to end lives.
After a few seconds of very awkward silence, the girl said, "Rose. Rose Garrison. That's my name. My father is Albert Garrison, owner of Garrison Rail. It's a shipping company. One of the bigger ones in the southwest. I assume these bandits here meant to hold me for ransom since my father is wealthy."
"Well, Rose, you don't have to worry about them anymore." John extended his hand to help Rose to her feet.
"Thank you," she said with a warm smile that John couldn't help but return to her. Rose could not stop staring into John's eyes, which twinkled in the dim light of the glowing campfire embers mixed with the moon and star light. Her smile involuntarily became wider and wider. This scenario was something she had only read about in fictional books; a fair maiden being rescued by a handsome knight in shining armor. Well... he's not wearing armor, but that doesn't bother me, she thought as she stole a very quick glance downward.
John was reminded of his nakedness once again when he saw Rose's eyes wander south for a second. Before he could process a thought about covering himself, his field of vision was mostly invaded by Cameron's face, glaring at him. A split second later, he felt something soft thrust into his gut, causing him to huff out a breath of air.
"John, put these on," Cameron ordered as she shoved the bundle of clothing that she had stripped off of one of the bandits into John's gut.
Sarah had already begun helping herself to the clothes the other man was wearing, and once she was dressed, she checked the rest of the campsite for useful items. She collected another .45 Colt revolver, complete with a holster and a bullet-holding belt, which she strapped to her waist.
They were fortunate that the other horse hadn't run away during all the commotion, because there was a Winchester Model 1873 rifle tied to the saddle. Cameron began loading some of the supplies on the horse. "We should keep moving, before the sun comes up," she said, directing her attention at Sarah, since John seemed to be preoccupied with Rose.
"I agree." Sarah walked over to John and Rose. "Hey, girly. You have any idea where we're at?"
"Four days ride east of Los Angeles," Rose responded. "At least I think we were traveling due east most of the time..."
"A four day ride, assuming they stopped for seven to eight hours each night," Cameron chimed in, "would be equivalent to nine days walking."
"Jesus... nine days? Do we even have food enough for that long?" Sarah worried.
"No worries ma'am, I believe they were taking me to Hill Valley. It's a small town not more than a few hours walk from here," Rose said as she pointed east.
Well, there's the setup. I foresee old west style saloon fistfights, six-shooter and lever-action rifle shootouts... plus all the usual "Back to the Future" characters (who will appear next chapter). And who knows... (I'm writing this one as I go.. no REAL plan) they might end up in 1955, or even 1985 at some point later on.