Disclaimer: I do not claim any rights to the Terminator films; the TV series, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles;" or any characters depicted within the films or TV series. I do claim the right to this story idea and all characters and situations of my own creation. This story was created solely for my own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. No profits are garnered from its distribution.


TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

REUNION

Part 3: Babylon

Author: The1Russter

Jeremiah 50:9 For I will stir up and bring against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the north. They will take up their positions against her, and from the north she will be captured. Their arrows will be like skilled warriors who do not return empty-handed.

Jeremiah 50:13-14 Because of the LORD'S anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate. All who pass Babylon will be horrified and scoff because of all her wounds."Take up your positions around Babylon, all you who draw the bow. Shoot at her! Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD."

Revelation 18:2 With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!"

HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978

Catherine Weaver, "A list of new team members will be on your desks after you leave this meeting. The name of the new group is Babylon. It's from the bible."

Mr. Tuck, "And what does Babylon do? I mean, besides steal our team members."

Catherine, "Mr. Tuck, it's going to change the world."

Excerpt from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season 2 Episode 1, Samson & Delilah 2009

# # #

Chapter 33

Home Again

John Connor, "Don't stop watching my back. I need to know you are there for me."

Cameron smiles, "I'll always be there for you. Sarah wouldn't want it any other way."

Excerpt from Reunion, Part 2: Armageddon, Chapter 27, A Friend in Need

"It's my job to protect him! He needs my help!" Cameron, Reunion, Part 2: Armageddon, Chapter 32, The Price of Victory

"Return! When will we do that?" John asks with surprise.

"When John Henry completes his mission and you complete yours." Catherine replies.

Excerpt from Reunion, Part 1: The Shadow of Death, Chapter 8, Control Your Destiny

Sarah, "Kyle, what's it like when you go through time?"

Kyle, "White Light. Pain. Like being born, maybe."

Excerpt from The Terminator 1984

"Can't bring anything through when you come. Not weapons, not clothing. Nothing." Cameron, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Pilot, 2008

"There is nothing impossible to him who will try." Alexander The Great, Ancient Greek King of Macedon, 356 BC-323 BC

# # #

A black void rushing in. John feels like he is drowning but there is no pressure on his lungs. He quickly inhales and finds that he can breathe. He grimaces against the hot, fetid air that tastes of brimstone. He lays there, breathing for what feels like eternity. Wondering what he is laying on, he reaches out feeling hard concrete beneath his naked hand. Realizing he must be in a room or a building, John stands up to look around.

High above him are two rows of windows, a hundred yards apart, looking like they are suspended in space. As he looks at them bright flashes and what sounds like thunder start appearing outside. He walks towards one of the windows. It is too high for him to see outside. As he walks towards it, he finds himself able to walk right under it. There is no wall only windows suspended in mid-air in two widely spaced rows.

As he watches, walls from around the windows, creating a vast space. There are two explosions of light and heat and noise. John leaps to one side. A huge open hearth furnace appears spewing molten metal like some great volcano.

John looks around in confusion and recollection as he finds himself back in the foundry. From outside the noise of battles being fought, the screaming of men and women in anger and fear and the smell of death drift inside the building.

John looks back around the room and hears shouting. Looking up he finds the source. Three people up on a high platform stretching across the width of the building. He recognizes them and knows what is about to happen.

"Accept defeat Kreilley." John shouts. "There is no honor in what you do. Sky Nets is finished and so are you." John says from behind Cameron. "Just give us the keys to the bomb."

"You think I do this for honor?!" Kreilley shouts. "I do this for revenge!"

Kreilley rushes at them. Cameron quickly adapts a defensive posture and grabs Kreilley and throws him.

He maintains his grasp and pulls her with him, throwing her against the far wall where she collapses on the floor of the platform. She doesn't get up.

Kreilley spins about. His surface is bubbling and dripping. "It's now just you and me, Connor."

He reaches inside his jacket and pulls out the keys. "And as for these . . ." He tosses the keys over the side where they fall into the vat of molten metal below. "You and the resistance are finished."

Looking up he can see himself on the platform backing quickly away from Kreilley.

Connor is alone with no defenses as Kreilley comes at him with his arms turning into multi-pronged spears ever changing, twisting as he attacks John. Expelling all his energy to kill the one man who stood between him and his goal of domination.

John leaps back to try and avoid him, ducking down, and turning away. He reaches the far end of the platform. Stumbling backwards and falling down, John pulls out his handgun and fires at the approaching Kreilley. Three shots fire then the magazine is empty.

John tries to reload the gun with a fresh magazine but Kreilley is getting ever closer his spear shaped arms prepared to strike a death blow. Cameron stands up and sees what's about to happen. She has only seconds to act.

Realizing what is about to take place John begins to scream, "Nnnnnooooo!" He watches Cameron leap, grabbing Kreilley; and watches as they fall towards the bubbling caldron of molten metal.

He runs towards the furnace only to find it fading away, and all he can hear over his own screaming is Cameron's voice echoing about the black void, "I love you. I always have, John Connor, and I always will."

"Nnnnnooooo!" John screams thrashing around on a bed.

Kyle is leading a group of men and women down the corridor. Some of them are naked, wrapped in blankets or the jackets of their fellow soldiers. Based on the tally of the number of people sent, they are the last group of arrivals from the future, found huddled outside by a patrol, having materialized only in the last few hours.

At the sound of the shouts, Kyle sends them on ahead to the elevator.

"See to it they get water, treatment for any wounds, and add their names to the list!" Kyle shouts after a sergeant before rushing to the infirmary. He joins others as they rush into the hospital room.

He stops in the doorway, looking on as John thrashes about screaming. Wires and IV tubes are being ripped from equipment or his body. They fight to hold him down as he begins to fight back.

"No! No! Let me GO!" John roars. "I must save her! Let me go!"

With a yell, one person falls back from being kicked in the stomach. Another gets his nose bloodied and tries to move away just as John's fist connects with his face again. He decides he's had enough and tries to leave only to have his path blocked by Kyle at the door.

"Let me go! Let me go!" He screams, fighting to get to Cameron before she . . .

"John! John!" Kyle shouts, pushing through the people. "Calm down these people are only trying to help you!"

Men and women in their rough resistance uniforms are holding onto John's flailing arms and legs. John looks about and then looks embarrassed as he realizes what is happening. It was a dream. A dream all to real.

The people let go of his arms and reconnect the wires and leave.

John eventually calms down. "Where the hell am I?" He says with a groan.

"You're in the infirmary in the Crystal Peak fallout shelter."

"And the date?" John asks with desperation, grabbing his shirt and yelling. "What's the date?"

"12th May, Tuesday." Kyle tells him struggling to release John's deathlike grip from his collar.

"The year?" John shouts, holding tightly to Kyle's shirt. "What's the year?"

"2009. It's 2009!" Kyle says releasing John's grip from his collar, gasping for breath.

"We made it. We made it." John falls back against the pillows. "What the hell happened?"

Giving his friend a moment to get his bearings, Kyle then begins telling him. How he wishes things had gone better for his young friend.

2027, July 25, Day 64 4:30 AM

Loud explosions and gunfire is heard from outside the foundry as Kyle and John kneel beside Cameron. She has just finished telling them, telling Kyle really, of her life, and her love for John. At first Kyle was confused, hurt even, but in the end he knew what he was seeing was true love at its finest.

"I love you. I always have, John Connor, and I always will." Cameron whispers, her hand slides gently away from his neck and falls to the floor beside her.

John pulls back and sees that she is no longer responsive. He reaches over and gently closes her eyes, then removes the ring from her hand. John cries more tears than he thought was possible.

"We need to go John." Kyle says again.

John doesn't respond.

Kyle gently lays his hand on John's shoulder. "Son . . . we need to go."

John stands up and looks at Kyle. He's crying just as hard as he is. They hug each other.

"I loved her so much." John says.

"I know. I wouldn't of believed it if I hadn't seen it. She loves you too. We've got to go."

John reluctantly lets himself get pulled away by Kyle. They walk away leaving her laying there on the floor, in the shadows. John takes her ring and slides it onto his little finger. It's tight, but it fits.

Kyle and John run back through the foundry and factory floor and back out into the court. The wind that has been blowing out of the mountains has gotten stronger. Flashes of lightning are seen across the mountain slopes beyond the factories. Thunder rolls and rebounds off the buildings walls. But it is nearly all lost against the sounds of war. A quick glance show the lines of defense have moved closer.

"There's a storm coming." Kyle says, looking at the sky.

John looks out at the horizon. Lighting zips through the sky lighting up the storm clouds and the ruins beyond the Topanga facility. Thunder echoes in the courtyard as the wind blows.

"No." John says thinking of a different storm. "It's finally coming to an end."

Kyle looks grim. "Kreilley has a lot to answer for when we get to 2009."

"No. No he doesn't." John says coldly. "I know who is responsible for this, but right now we still need her."

"Come on John. It's time to go." Kyle says as he guides him back to the building where th control room is. They are almost oblivious to the heavy fighting going on around them as each are lost in their thoughts.

Before they enter the building, John stops Kyle. "Don't tell anyone what happened. Just let them remember her for who she was."

"So you don't want them to know . . ."

"No!" John interrupts him. "Don't even mention what she told us. Just tell them she is missing, presumed dead."

Kyle nods his head in agreement and guides John through the door into the building. The doors barely close behind them as the rain pours down. The thunder barely obscured by the sounds of fighting.

Kyle and John walk down the corridor and down the stairs to th control room.

Catherine looks up from the control panel as they enter. "It's about time you got here."

She looks at the two of them. John has received numerous injuries, but there is something in common between them, the strained looks on their faces. Only two of them! "Where's Cameron?"

John looks at Catherine with surprise, while Kyle just shakes his head.

"You knew?" John asks, his eyes throwing darts of anger, but his body too exhausted to follow through.

"I suspected until just recently." Catherine looks shocked. "I'm so sorry, John. I know you loved each other very much. She was a brave and loyal fighter. The best of our kind."

John and Kyle don't respond so she asks, "And Kreilley?"

Kyle looks at John who still stands there somewhat remote. "He's destroyed. The key's weren't recovered. Where's John Henry?"

"Over here." John Henry calls out from the other side of the control panel.

"He's plugged into the computers for the TDE, which is ready. We need to start sending people out now."

"Yes. Of course" John says, struggling to hold onto the last threads of his sanity to carry through on his responsibilities. "Kyle, start having the troops withdraw from outside. We'll start sending them in largest groups th can handle."

"No!" Catherine Weaver, says with fire. "John you need to go first."

"What? Why?" John says in his normal voice, not finding in himself the ability to argue.

"John I am sending you to a point in time just prior to the day you and your family rescued Savannah."

"Why then? Why not closer to Judgment Day where mom needs my help."

"Because I know for a fact that is the day you arrived. I was there."

With surge of adrenalin, more like a dribble after so many hours in conflict, John shouts,"You damn terminator bitch! You knew all this time I'd get back and didn't say anything!"

John moves as if to launch himself at Catherine, but Kyle's hand on his arm hold shim in check.

"If I told you, it might have changed everything. Thinking you might end up staying gave you the will and desire to fight Sky Net now."

"You God damn terminator bitch! So its true, what Cameron said, you were testing me when you offered to send me back with her."

Catherine just stands there with a knowing smile, while John stews with emotion.

"What happened? How do you know that is the day John arrived?" Kyle asks her.

"I had just finished constructing a full scale version o in an old military base that I bought through Zeira Corp. I was testing it when I was surprised by John's sudden materialized on the pad, fully clothed and armed."

"But only living flesh can go through." John protests. His eyes fall upon Cameron's bag as he remembers what Cameron told him, before she died.

"Yes, that is what we all thought, but apparently if you have an operatin at both ends of the journey, everything can go through. It was one of those happy accidents."

"Kyle! We can still save her! We can bring her through and repair her!" John shouts with jubilation.

"There isn't time."Catherine says.

"Shut up!"

"She's telling the truth." Kyle says. "There is no way we can get back to her without getting killed. Besides, her fuel cell could rupture at any moment."

"John Henry!" John snaps his head around to speak to him. "Can you transmit what we know? Maybe she can save herself."

John Henry is about say something when the floor trembles beneath their feet.

The ground rumbles and shakes, lights blink, and dust drifts down coating them and everything on the lower level.

Kyle drops to his hands and knees. John and Catherine grab the console to steady themselves, while John Henry barely moves as his system compensates for the movement.

"What's going on out there?" Kyle shouts into his radio as he stands.

There's a brief spurt of static then a voice comes over the radio. "There's been some kind of explosion in the foundry. Took out two-thirds of the building. Molten metal is pouring out onto the ground cutting off a contingent of enemy metal."

"Get all troops moved inside the large circular building. Get all troops moved inside, now! Reese out!"

Oh God! Johns heart groans. If they knew this ahead of time, they might have saved Cameron, but its too late now. She's gone.

John's and Kyles eyes meet, both knowing the cause of the explosion.

"Her hydrogen fuel cells ruptured." John barely whispers. The strain on his face showing. "She must have used the last of her energy to try and contain it to give us time to get clear."

"We'll honor her sacrifice John." Kyle interjects, placing a comforting hand on John's shoulder. "Her delay might have saved several lives judging by the radio message."

Catherine impatiently taps her toe. "John, you need to get on the pad, now!"

John continues to hesitate. He feels so empty, lost.

How can I do this without her? How can I do this? Why should I do this? I'm no leader. Never was. Let someone else take command. Just leave me alone to die with her. I don't care anymore.

Catherine slaps him hard enough to get his attention. "Get on the pad John."

John gives her a dirty look, but instead walks over to where Cameron left her bag and picks it up. John walks into the center of the room and steps up onto the pad. "Did you tell Cameron that I was getting back and arriving with my belongings?"

"I only told her that I knew you arrived safely. I never told her that you arrived with anything."

John closes his eyes a moment to think. Cameron wanted him to take her ring and the items in her bag. Did she know? But if she knew, then why not let him save her one last time.

Catherine says, "I will send the others through afterward, but they will arrive sometime after you do. I must give plenty of time for my other self to leave before anyone else arrives."

John nods his head. "I understand." He continues to glare at Catherine. "Kyle, tell everyone to leave behind their plasma rifles and any other technology from this time. There is no guarantee everyone will come through with their guns," He pauses a moment and then adds, "or with their clothing."

Catherine continues speaking as if John never interrupted her. "John, when you meet me in the past. I won't be happy to see you. I am not the same person then that I am now nor when you met me at Zeira Corp. You will arrive before you rescued Savannah. I didn't recognize you and saw you as a threat. I know right now you don't trust me, but if you and the rest of your people are to survive you are going to have to gain her trust. You are going to have to convince my past self as to who you are right away and to help you. You will need to have her stabilize th at your arrival point. Then you are going to have to convince her to leave before I arrive."

"How am I supposed to do that? If your past self doesn't trust me, she could kill me instantly."

"She won't kill you John, but she will hurt you. I'm sorry for what she will do. You must tell her something that only you and I know. Something that convinces me that I can trust you."

Electricity is arcing about the room and the sound of the engines are winding up in volume as the time bubble begins to form around John.

"What should I say?" He shouts over the noise.

The bubble has formed and is growing more opaque.

"You'll know when the time comes!" Catherine shouts over the noise just before the bubble disappears in a bright flash.

"Wow. Everyday you think you've seen everything then something like that happens. Where did you send John? I mean when?" Kyle asks.

"May 10, 2009. We will be joining him shortly. Get all the troops in here as quickly as you can. We haven't got much time."

Kyle runs out of the room.

2009, May 12, 9 AM, Day -6

Kyle finishes speaking, "The first people through found you unconscious and bleeding from a bad wound to the chest. One of our medics survived. He had been stuck outside running from one wounded patient to another during the battle. When he arrived, he found multiple small bullet wounds and several plasma burns. He stitched your face again. Once it heals in a few days, the stitches can be removed. You are lucky John. You could have died. Why the hell didn't you say something about your injuries? My God man, you should have said something."

"I didn't feel them. There was just so much, on my mind. I just pushed aside the pain until I finished my job." John says, rubbing his eyes. "Why was I asleep?"

"Medic said you were on the point of collapse from exhaustion, blood loss, and lack of nutrition. Before I could stop him, he gave you a jab of a general anti-biotic and something to make you sleep. He said it would help your injuries heal if you slept for twenty-four hours. Then he put you in here and attached an IV and monitoring equipment using the instruction cards on them."

"Whatever. Where's Cam . . ." John breaks off, remembering his dream, remembering what happened. Damn medication, screwing with his head. "How many made it through?"

"Not as many as we may need. They are all in the main hall, lowest level."

John sighs. Despite the pain he carries inside, there is a job he has to complete. Sitting up, he says, "Get me my clothes. We haven't got any more time to waste." He begins pulling out the IV and tearing the wires from his body.

"Hey! Be careful there. You've got two pints of Kyle Reese in you. I don't have any more to spare." He says with a grin to try to lighten the general mood, as he looks about for John's personal effects. He finds them in a locker, along with Cameron's bag. He hesitates a moment and then pulls it out too. He'll never forget her, nor the final words Cameron spoke to John before she died.

After a meal of standard issue rations, John and Kyle take the elevator down to the lower level.

Kyle is worried about John. He's been through so much in his life, more than most people twice his age. "While we have some privacy, do you want to talk about what happened back there?"

John ignores the question, not out of rudeness, he just can't face that right now.

"Where's Catherine and John Henry?"

"They're busy in her lab or office. Its next door to the TDE room where you arrived."

"Doing what exactly?"

"Gathering intelligence on our enemy out there. The rest of us have been pretty much doing nothing. I've had as many people as I could going through the stores left here by the military to find the things we need. They didn't leave much."

"Is someone keeping an eye on Weaver? I don't trust her."

Kyle shrugs. "What exactly are they going to do? So far they've been on the computers. Out of our group, only you and Savannah know anything about computers, and she's under orders to stay in bed until her leg heals."

Putting Weaver and Cameron out of his mind for the moment, he asks, "You mentioned stores. How many arrived with their belongings?"

"Very few. Only those who materialized on the pad in Weaver' room arrived with guns or clothes. Some of our people were firing from the middle of the TDE while transfer was initiated, so some plasma rifles were brought through. I had them locked away in the armory, given your orders about bringing future technology to the past. Things got real bad at the end. The machines got wind of what we were doing and started closing in trying to cut people off from our escape. To get as many people out as quickly as possible, Catherine had to start open ended transfers. Most of them materialized on the grounds outside or in the main hall. It is very embarrassing to arrive in mixed company with no clothes."

"You didn't?"

"Not me personally, but a lot of them did. You never saw so many red faces. We didn't have enough clothing to go around, but we managed to find some supplies set aside for when this was a cold war bunker. A few are wearing old uniforms and some are wrapped in blankets or sheets. Mind the strong smell of mothballs when you go into the main hall. It can be overwhelming."

"Food? Water?"

"Water is excellent. Base collects rain and snow melt in cisterns and filters it. Not much food left here, nor brought with us. We'll have to make a supply run to get what we need in the morning."

Kyle and John exit the elevator and are just approaching the main hall. Suddenly there is a shout from a familiar male voice. "Attention!"

John walks into the huge cavernous room and is surprised. The way Kyle spoke he was only expecting a handful, maybe a dozen, but what meets his eyes are nearly thirty people, all standing, but for a few who are laying down due to injuries. They are all saluting him.

John looks at Kyle with surprise and he just smiles back at him. Somewhere in the back of the group, someone begins to clap, soon all of the men and women are applauding. John has to wipe tears from his eyes. He wasn't expecting this. When he does, he sees a familiar face, the one who shouted attention, the one person he wasn't expecting to see.

"Andy?" John says with surprise. "I thought you were still at Pendleton."

Andy just grins the biggest grin he's ever had, "You didn't think you were going to leave me behind, did you sir? Not Sergeant Lucky."

John is shaking his hand when another familiar face hobbles through the group. There is no second guessing that red hair. Savannah offers to shake his hand, but instead he hugs her. This is sister and his friend and she made it. She made it!

She returns his hug, a little surprised at first by his emotion, but she hugs him back just as hard. He wants to tell her. Tell her of the friend she lost, but he can't now. Too many people around. Eventually they part, her with a warm smile, and John with a strained mix of emotion.

"Sir?" A young female, about John's age, comes out of the group still in her resistance uniform.

"Yes, um, who are you?" John asks. There are so many people he doesn't know. He will have to take the time to learn who each of them are.

"Corporal Wren Stevens, sir. I'm just wondering, well a lot of us are wondering, where's Captain Allison? She saved my life. She saved a lot of our lives in the battle at Topanga."

John opens his mouth to speak, but shuts it quickly against the tide of emotion threatening to drown him. He turns his back on the group, lest they should see the anguish boiling up inside of him, closing his eyes against the tears.

With a sorrowful look for his young friend, Kyle speaks, "She is missing, presumed dead, Corporal."

"I'm so sorry John." Savannah says reaching out placing a hand on his shoulder. That explains his hug. He must be in so much pain.

"Thank you." John says, his voice breaking a little.

"We'll have a memorial service sir!" Someone shouts. "Aye! We that we will! We'll honor all of them sir!" More people shout.

"Later!" Kyle barks. "We've still got an enemy out there and we're just days away from all hell breaking loose. So let's save it for when the job is done."

John tries to speak, but his voice cracks. Eventually, and still not facing the group John chokes out an order, "Sergeant Keen!"

"Yes sir." Andrew Keen says walking forward.

"We're going on a supply run in the morning. Arrange transportation, big enough for about eight to ten people and cargo." Finding himself, and not missing a beat he asks, "Kyle, where is Weaver and John Henry?"

"They should still be upstairs in the computer lab."

"Take me to them. I need to speak with them right away."

"I'm going with you." Savannah says.

Kyle moves toward her, opening his mouth to speak. She holds up her finger. "Don't you dare try to stop me Kyle." She says quickly, hobbling forward on a crutch. "I've been resting long enough."

"Actually, I was going to ask if I could give you a hand."

"Oh God, yes, would you?" she's says gushing with relief. "This crutch is a pain."

Before Kyle takes her arm, Savannah signals a few soldiers to join her. She overheard enough before they time traveled to know something is wrong.

2027, July 25, Day 64

The sound of the engines are winding up in volume as the time bubble begins to form.

"What should I say?" John shouts at Catherine.

The bubble has formed and is growing more opaque.

"You'll know when the time comes!" Catherine shouts just before the bubble disappears in a bright flash.

2009, May 10, mid-morning

On a desk in a small white office is a magazine. On its cover is a picture of Ms. Catherine Weaver in her Zeira Corp office, her back to the window with the Los Angeles skyline in silhouette. The cover blurb says she is the sole owner and president of Zeira Corp, widowed mother, and one of the richest female executives as listed in the Forbes magazine. And all of it is a complete lie. Not the description, just the person who is known as Catherine Weaver.

Catherine Weaver, if you can call it that, is presently making adjustments to the controls of a large scal in a large white room next door. She had it built in an underground fall-out shelter that was built during the cold war years on the grounds of a decommissioned military base she bought through her company.

The engineers and contractors who built it didn't know what it was, but even if they did, they couldn't tell anyone. They were all dead and buried out in the desert where nothing but scorpions and rattle snakes could find them. Catherine Weaver is a cold calculating person who doesn't take unnecessary risks.

She is making final adjustments on the controls for a test run when electricity begins arcing from the launch pad. Weaver is surprised as she didn't key in the transfer commands. She tries to make adjustments, but realizes th isn't sending, it is receiving! The electrical currents in the air creates sparks amongst the metal casings of the equipment. A wind blows as energy and matter are drawn to the center of the pad. Catherine Weaver steps back and watches as a bubble forms on the pad.

Electricity arches from its surface. The bubble gradually becomes more translucent and she can see someone inside. She glares at the bubble as it winks out of existence. Before her kneels a young man, dressed in rags, a bag over one shoulder. He stands with a look of madness in his eyes and a gun in his hand, unlike nay she's seen used by humans. Judging by its design, she's seen similar before in Sky Net's labs used to destroy failed experiments it performed on those of her kind. It was acts like that that first made Catherine realize Sky Net was not a benefactor, or a god, even if it did create her.

Her thoughts pass through her consciousness in a blink of an eye and before her stands the same young man, as before, a sparse rough growth of beard, and deep cuts on his face, and a look of determination and pain as well. There is no madness and no gun in his hand, but she doesn't think of the differences. Her only thoughts is of the man there now, fully clothed and armed with a side-arm in a holster, not in his hand!

Though quite capable of defending herself in her normal fashion, this is an unusual situation. She grabs an automatic weapon from the shelf below the control panel and holds it ready.

John Connor is feeling more pain than he thought he could bear. This is the third time he's traveled through time, but this is the first time he's traveled back in time. It hurts like hell. Like being squeezed through a cat-flap or two funnels placed end-to-end. Hurts more than the plasma burns on his body. This must be what it's like to be born, he thinks. He stands up and looks around. His eyes open wide when he sees Weaver.

"Catherine?!" He says cautiously and excitedly.

"Who are you? And how do you know who I am?" Weaver is wary and alert and she holds the gun steady.

"It's me. John Connor." He gasps, keeping his hands well away from his gun in its holster.

"You're not the John Connor I know. Who are you?"

"I am John Connor! I've returned from the future where you and I traveled."

"Traveled? To the future with you? I don't know you. I've never seen you before." She says cautiously. This could be a trick or a trap.

"No. You haven't yet, but you will in two days time." John Connor says as he steps forward.

"Stop right there. Prove what you say is true or I will kill you."

"Wow, you sure weren't lying to me when you said you had trust issues, but I didn't think you'd be this difficult."

"You've got five seconds to start answering my questions."

"All right. First of all I know you are not Catherine Weaver. You are a liquid metal terminator sent back to protect Catherine Weaver but you arrived too late to save her, so instead you took her place. You are using your position as head of Zeira Corp to build a weapon against Sky Net."

"If you know that, then you must realize that makes you a liability. I have every reason to kill you now. So unless you've got something to say to make me change my mind you will die."

"Your weapon is a cyborg named John Henry. He was a terminator sent to kill me. Ellison brought him to you and you repaired him and hooked him up to the Turk. The Turk is an A. I. built by Andy Goode. The Turk was to become Sky Net until you acquired it!"

Weaver suddenly points her finger at John and it extends until it pierces the front of John's jacket and just enters the flesh over his heart drawing blood adding to the other wounds trickling blood on his body.

"Choose your next words carefully. Prove to me who you are or your next breath will be your last."

"All right!" John glares at her with equal ferocity. He ignores the pain and the trickle of blood under his shirt.

The next words he says are shouted like a command. "My name is John Connor, General of Resistance Group Grizzly, Commander and Leader of the Resistance. I've got just one thing to say to you Catherine Weaver!" John pauses and looks her right in the eye and says in a firm but normal tone of voice, "Will you join us?"

"What?" Weaver says with shock.

"I said, will you join us?"

"There is only one other person who knows that phrase, but you can't be him. You are too young. Even for this time you are too young." Her finger withdraws from John's chest. John grimaces a little, clutching one hand over the spot.

"I may be young, but I am him, or will be in twenty years time. Will you join us, Catherine?"

"If you are John Connor, and I traveled with you into the future, then there must be something else you can do to prove it."

"I've got something you gave me. You trusted me with it and I didn't let you down. It is in my back pack. I'd like to show it to you."

"Be careful, I still don't trust you."

"Not now but you will."

John sets Cameron's bag down and slides his backpack off his shoulders. Inside it is his computer, the data disc, and the cable that Catherine formed from her body. He reaches inside and pulls them out, one at a time.

"Catherine . . ."

"I'd prefer it if you called me Ms. Weaver."

"Sorry, but you will ask me to call you Catherine. I just sort of got in the habit. On this computer is my personal journal. It describes everything I've done and everyone I've met. You are in it. We have worked together to defeat Sky Net."

"Such journals can be falsified."

"The files are dated eighteen years from now."

"Dates can be falsified too."

"All right. This data disc. You gave it to me. You carried it through time by hiding it within your body. It contains all the programming codes and specifications for multiple cyborgs from the future where you originated. On it is the full details of a certain model TOK715 cyborg. My friend and protector Cameron. You gave this disc to me and with it I was able to make a new chip for her after she gave hers to John Henry."

"An interesting story." She says, her eyes lighting up. "But you could have just as easily stole that from the company. I have duplicates, all sealed away. You could be nothing but a common thief with a glib tongue."

"Very well. I've got one more thing to show you." He reaches in his bag and this time pulls out the cable that has eluded his grasp til now.

"You will give me this. It is a cable that allowed me to interface my computer with the chips for reprogramming. You formed this from your own body. You gave it to me and made me promise to protect it. That you were trusting me with a part of your body. You also told me that it would return to its natural form once it was back in your hands."

"This could be a trick."

"It's no trick. Take it from me. If it remains as is then kill me, but if it returns to its natural state, then everything I've said has been the truth. Will you trust me?"

Weaver looked into the young mans eyes and sees the earnestness in his gaze. He made no threats, but his claims of being John Connor. If this is him, then the time is coming fast for the fulfillment of her plan. He must be John Connor, he knows too much not to be.

"All right." Weaver puts the gun down. "Come here."

John walks forward and steps down off the platform. He holds out the cable to her.

She looks in his eyes one more time. There is no threat in them. Weaver reaches out and takes the cable from his hand. Should she ask him detailed questions? Or would that alter what is about to happen.

Holding her arm out with the cable draped across her palm, she and John watches it. The cable begins to ripple and flux in color to a bright silvery sheen. The cable curls up into her palm where it coalesces into a shiny liquid like ball. While it reforms, John says, "I tried to give it back to you in the future, but you told me I would need it again. Now I know why."

The surface of the ball ripples like water but remains as a sphere. John looks her in the eye and she returns his gaze. "So, you are John Connor." She says finally.

John smiles with relief. "That is what I've been trying to tell you. We went together into the future pursuing John Henry. He took Cameron's chip. There you helped me become the leader of the resistance and together, you and I, the humans and the machines defeated Sky Net. You helped me more than I could have expected. We restored Cameron and sent her back to help my mom. Without your help I never would have become the leader that I am."

"I must accept what you say as the truth. The evidence," she looks at the silver sphere in her hand, "is overwhelming." Secretly, she is very pleased. He gave her more information in his effort to gain her trust without her asking.

"Catherine," She glares at him. "Sorry, Ms. Weaver, you told me that thi will have to be stabilized. There are more people coming through including yourself."

"Th was in testing mode. Your arrival should have been registered by the scanners. I can lock down th so it will work only on those frequencies registered when you arrived." Weaver makes adjustments to the controls. If she is coming back too, then something must have gone wrong, or did she choose to return after succeeding? But that doesn't make sense, for the purpose was to create a future led by a new benevolent Sky Net with both humans and machines living and working together. She'll have to try harder maybe there is something she can do differently.

"Take this back John." She hands him the ball of semi-liquid metal. Once it is in John's hands, it becomes a semi-solid. "If I am coming back from the future, then you will need to give this to her." He slips it into his jacket pocket. "It won't join with me now as we have the wrong time signature." She explains.

"Ms. Weaver, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. You told me in no uncertain terms that you couldn't be here when your future self arrives. I don't understand exactly why but she was very clear about it."

Weaver looks at him for a moment. "She is right. It could be very dangerous for the same individual to exist twice over in the same place and time. Especially for a non-organic lifeform. I'll leave, but I still don't know if I can trust you yet."

"Then let me tell you something. When you get back to Zeira Corp, tell John Henry to start monitoring your homes security system, if he isn't already. In the next thirty six hours you will see something that will prove you can trust me and will confirm my identity."

"All right John Connor. You've proven who you are, and I may trust you some, but know this. If this is some kind of elaborate trick, or if you betray my trust, I will kill you. Have no doubt about it. I will kill you." It wouldn't hurt to lay in a threat, though for her plans to succeed, he must remain alive.

With that last statement, Weaver marches out of the room, leaving John alone in th room.

John visibly sighs in relief. He turns and looks at th behind him. How long will it be before the others get here? Catherine never said when they would be arriving, only that they would be following him.

Alone for the first time in weeks, the strain of the last few hours hits him hard. He is so tired, so very, very tired. For days he's been operating on just force of will and adrenalin. He collapses in pain and grief as he faces alone the hell he's been through. The death of his mother, the loss of Cameron, and the death of so many people who sacrificed their lives at his command.

A low moan escapes from his mouth as he finally gives in to all that bottled up pain. Clutching Cameron's bag, John curls up on the floor. The pain of his body is outmatched by the pain in his heart.

From her office, Ms. Weaver is watching him on a monitor in the security room. She sees him collapse and curl up into a fetus position while letting out a low long moan of pain and grief. She picks up the phone on her desk and dials a direct private number.

"Hello."

"John Henry. This Catherine Weaver."

"Hello Ms. Weaver." John Henry is watching her and the other rooms on the security feed from her remote lab. He sees a strange young man laying on the floor in her lab on one of the video feeds. "What can I do to help you?" He asks.

"I'd like you to start monitoring my homes security system. Would you do that for me please?"

"Yes, Ms. Weaver."

"Thank you John Henry."

Electricity begins to arc about the room as another arrival begins to appear. John Henry watches as well from his position in Zeira Corps basement. When suddenly the security feed goes off.

"I'm sorry John Henry, but I can't allow you to observe this." Catherine says quickly. She knows too much already.

She hangs up and quietly departs to the sound of more arrivals at Crystal , she climbs into the helicopter for the flight back to Zeira Corp. She takes off and flies away, not looking back, not seeing the time bubbles appearing on the grounds outside the hanger.

2009, May 12, Day -6, 11AM

John Connor walks into the computer lab flanked by Kyle and Savannah, and followed by half a dozen soldiers. John Henry is attached to a computer downloading data from his chip, while simultaneously working at another computer.

"Hello General Connor. I hope you have had sufficient time to recuperate from your injuries." John Henry says cheerfully from behind his computer terminal.

"Hello John. I too am pleased with your quick recovery." Catherine says with a smile as she walks from behind a desk.

John looks around the room at the multiple flat-panel monitors and multiple servers, plus many desktop and a few laptop computers. All of them are running.

"You had all of this here." John says with contemptuous surprise. "How is it Mom and the others didn't find it when Cameron brought her and Savannah here on Judgment Day?"

"All of this," She gestures with her hands, "was sealed behind a camouflaged door along with the time displacement equipment. When closed there isn't even a seam visible on the outside."

John looks behind him at the reinforced concrete door, its outer surface indistinguishable from the concrete walls of the corridor. Looking closely, he sees it's the same width as the noticeable seams of the forms used to pour the concrete.

She's right. He admits to himself, and Cameron dare not reveal the equipment inside lest they should damage the time line. Cameron must have been tempted to use it. She was expecting him to arrive, and now he has.

"What are you and John Henry doing?"

"We are trying to locate the prototype TX that Sky Net sent back. So far we haven't had any luck."

"It either hasn't arrived yet or arrived at a location where it was unobserved." John Henry adds. "We have setup a search algorithm looking for events like unusual light phenomena, ball lightning and electrical disturbances, also searches on the aftereffects of arrivals, like circular cutouts in objects of approximately 1.5 meters or larger in diameter where local matter is destroyed during the materialization."

"Whenever or wherever it arrives, we will know." Catherine adds. "Natalie isn't perfect. Rushing this machine through without its weapon being ready or without testing it will be a mistake on her part."

John looks about the room. So many lies and half truths she has told him since they went to the future together. Cameron was right, he can't trust this person. He can't believe he trusted Weaver at all.

"Sky Net isn't a her. It isn't a person. It doesn't have a name. It is a computer system designed to destroy the world!" John shouts. "You brought me to the future knowing that I would return! And you lied to me! I made choices fully expecting I may not get back. Choices I may not have made if I knew." He ends with a growl.

"I am not responsible for your actions. The choices you made were your responsibility, as were mine. The consequences are immaterial provided we get the results we want." She says coldly.

Losing control of his temper, he shouts, "Results! What results were those? Dammit! No more fuckin' lies, Weaver! You tell me right now why I've been put through this hell for, or I swear I will find some way to kill you right now!" John pulls out his gun and chambers a round as he points it at Catherine. Fruitless effort considering what she is, but it puts emphasis on his statement. Especially when he hears the others doing the same.

Weaver looks about. They all have their handguns pointed at her, but for Savannah who isn't armed. She turns and looks at John.

"John, what are you doing?" Savannah asks, disturbed by this sudden rush to arms in what she thought was just going to be a strong discussion.

"Getting answers." John says with cold, hard voice, his eyes never leaving Catherine.

Catherine, remaining perfectly at ease as if nothing more than a flower bouquet was being pointed at her says to John, "I see I have no choice in the matter. Very well John Connor. I will tell you, but you only. Tell these others to leave."

John looks at the soldiers and says, "Everyone, go!"

Everyone leaves but for, Kyle Reese and Savannah.

"We're staying." Savannah says. She didn't hear everything that was said before they began time traveling, but she heard enough to realize that Catherine owes John some kind of explanation.

Catherine looks at her with some surprise. Savannah is no longer the little girl she grew fond of. She is an adult who grew up in the care of Sarah Connor. Catherine loves her, as she understands the concept, and doesn't want to lose the trust and respect she has gained in her adult daughter.

"Can we talk without these weapons?" She says calmly, adopting a softer tone.

"I don't think so." Kyle responds. "I believe you owe John some answers."

John reaches over and touches his arm, and indicates with his own weapon, to put it away. Kyle concedes, and puts his gun away as well.

Catherine Weaver looks right at John Connor, and begins to speak.

"Twenty years from now in a future far different from the one we've just seen, you are losing the war. You win battles against Sky Net's machines, but in the end you will eventually lose. I've run the numbers and without a miracle the resistance will lose. I was part of an independent machine rebellion. We became known by the human resistance as The Third Faction."

"The T-1000's you told me about."

"That is correct. We weren't alone. Some of the machines, whose read/write switch was reset by accident, also joined us. They didn't want to return to Sky Net, nor did they want to serve man. But that isn't why you were losing."

"Why then?"

"After I was set free from the prison your future self placed me in, I made my way back to land and eventually found your camps. I sneaked in and utilizing my skills as an infiltrator I was able to get close. Close enough I could have killed you if that was my desire."

"Then why didn't you?"

"That wasn't my mission. It never has been. I don't want to serve man, but neither do I think they should be destroyed. You are losing the war John. Sky Net is very powerful in the future we share. Far more powerful than that aberrant form created by Kreilley. The people are losing confidence in you. More people die every day in battle. You are relying more and more on the machines you reprogram and less on the people you lead. You have separated yourself from the people who need you. But that still isn't why you are losing."

"What is it then?"

"You are a capable leader, soldier, tactician, and your technical expertise is beyond anyone else, but you lack the one thing needed to defeat Sky Net. A weapon powerful enough to end the war. So I traveled back to this time and built John Henry from the very components that would be used in Sky Net's construction. He is Sky Net's equal in intelligence and power, but unlike Sky Net he recognizes mankind as a sentient life form that deserves to live. But you needed to learn how to use his abilities and John Henry needed experience and knowledge of the future. That is why I am here, to see to it that the greatest possible threat to Sky Net will be the greatest threat to Sky Net."

She said that with as much sincerity as she could muster. That wasn't her plan, but these events have transpired favorably for an alternative plan, still in the making.

John Connor is nearly shaking with rage. "So all of this . . . this . . . this hell I've been through has been nothing more than a training exercise! How many people have died just . . . ." John can't finish as he struggles to regain some self control.

Speaking very low, in almost a growl, he says, "Mom . . . Cam..., uh, Allison, um . . . all of those people died just for a damn training exercise."

"They aren't really dead. They are still alive right now in 2009."

"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!" John screams, his voice tearing through peoples ears and bouncing off the rock and concrete surfaces.

"I can't believe I ever trusted you! They did die! You cannot wipe away the pain, the guilt, the hurt I feel by just explaining it away like that! You've got no understanding of emotions. If you did, then you would know that!"

John paces back and forth. "Goddamn metal bitch! What the hell am I going to do with you?"

"Nothing." John Henry says.

"What?" John responds turning on the large male cyborg that has become his friend.

"As of right now, we still need her. She has access to financial and technological resources that you need to defeat Sky Net." John Henry replies.

Catherine stares icily at John Henry. His statement implied that they won't need her after defeating Sky Net.

"Very well. I am placing her under your custody John Henry. She is not to leave this base under any circumstances. You will oversee everything she does."

"There is no reason to have John Henry watch me. I want to stop Kreilley as much as you do, maybe even more than you." Catherine says with well measure tones.

"Why do you want to stop him? Other than the obvious."

"Natalie was my friend, until Sky Net used her. She was taken and reprogrammed with Sky Net's core. As a result, she was trapped, replaced by the personality imprint of Kreilley. I can't save my friend, but I can help you destroy the monster she became."

John can't trust Catherine but she sounds sincere, and to be truthful there isn't anything he can do to stop her. If she wanted to, she could kill everyone in this room, in this whole mountain if she wanted to.

"All right. You can help. But you are still confined to base." She looks at him questioningly. "Yes I know you are capable of leaving anytime you want. Right now I need personnel capable of using computers here at this base. I've got other things I will be doing. You and John Henry can conduct a search on that machine and hack into Sky Net . . . uh, what is it, FOX Industries computers as they are presently called."

"I can help them." Savannah says sitting down at a computer, pleased there is something she can do to help. "I learned on computers like these. The people who came to Crystal Peak for shelter brought things with them, including computers. When I was older I helped Cameron and other tech's use computers to track the satellites."

Savannah suddenly gets an idea. "John Henry! If we were to network in with the ancient computers downstairs, we would be able to monitor satellite communications without alerting the defense department nor the computer system which will become Sky Net. You know what Sky Net's signals look like."

"I'd be able to back trace it to its source." John Henry finishes her thought.

"And we might even be able to open a back door into its servers." Savannah adds. She smiles and looks at John for approval.

John smiles at her. "It sounds like a plan. Catherine, why don't you help Savannah downstairs. And the both of you can get to work on those computers. John Henry, I need to speak with you alone for a moment."

Catherine walks out helping Savannah. "How did you know about using the computers downstairs?" She asks as they begin to leave.

"It's what Cameron did, when she saved Sarah and I. She brought us here, and I know what she did. She taught me everything she knew about computers. I have an eidetic memory."

"Wait a minute!" Kyle shouts "I've got a question for you Catherine." His mind has been running over recent events and there is this one thing that is bothering him.

She stops at the door and turns to face him. "Yes?"

"Before we left the future, you said you knew when John arrived in the past because you were here when it happened."

Catherine gives knowing look. "That's true."

"Then if John already arrived in the past, which is now, then how is it that Judgment Day occurred? He would have had information to stop it."

John and Savannah both look at Kyle and then at Catherine.

Catherine grins. "I have studied temporal engineering extensively. You must trust me when I say that time is not linear."

"Well I'm not a temporal engineer, so speak simply." Kyle says.

"To put it simply, as you so eloquently requested, for you and I as we stand here, time seems very linear. We have a past, we experience the present, and we wait for the future. But when we travel through time, it is not linear. Past, present, future cease to have any meaning. Our recent past is a future we hope to avert. Our present is a past we wish to save. And our future hangs in the balance. The reason why Judgment Day has occurred, is that John has not stopped it yet. He has only now just arrived."

"That still doesn't sound right. He is here now, which means he was here then. So why is it Judgment Day still occurred?" Savannah asks.

"I can only guess that sometime in the coming days John will face some challenge. Perhaps something that might kill him." Catherine says with a straight face, knowing full well what occurred to the John Connor she witnessed arriving.

Catherine recalls the brief fight she had with Cameron.

Cameron moved quickly to grab her but she liquefied long enough to trap Cameron's hand and throw her into the wall again.

"You killed him! You killed him!" Cameron accused her, while she struggled to break free.

"Listen to me. Cameron. I saved him. I saved him! I know you don't believe me. But trust me. You wouldn't have liked what arrived!"

Cameron, breaks free from Weaver's grasp.

"Hold on! If you were here, you must know something of what he did?" Kyle protests.

"I do not know." Catherine lies. "His arrival clued me in that it was time to act. I did not see John again until he and his mother arrived at Zeira Corp. Then he and I traveled to your future."

She faces John once again. "John, you need to make preparations quickly. Judgment Day is only six days away. You may not like me nor trust me at this time, but remember this as you plan your attack on Kreilley. If you show your hand to soon, you may find it cut off. On the other hand, wait too long, and you will get the same results as if you did nothing, Judgment Day. Whatever you decide, whatever you plan for the coming battle, the timing of your plan will be the most critical part. Choose your path wisely, John."

Catherine turns on her heel and walks out the door. Savannah quickly follows her down the corridor.

Kyle turns to face John, running his hand through his hair. "Uh, did any of that temporal techno-babble make sense to you?"

"I just travel in time, I don't try to understand it. But what she said about preparing, we will have to be careful. Plan out every detail with room for flexibility. I will not let my anger at her and Kreilley blind me to the lessons I've learned."

Kyle watches John's face. Every thought is almost readable on his face as it shifts from anger, sadness, then to determination, but through it all his eyes are sharp and clear as he stands steadfast.

"Kyle?" John says quietly, though it sounds loud in the near empty room.

"Yes."

"Get everyone together in the main hall. If there is anyone on guard duty or on patrol, recall them."

"What for?"

"This is a different time and place from what they know. I am going to have to give them a quick lesson on what to expect. The first thing that has to go is ranks. From this moment on, anytime we are not on base, or on a mission, until the day we fight, we are all civilians. Any insignia or emblems of ranks or units on any clothing from the future is to be removed. We will reorganize to make use of what we have. This is an undercover operation to be carried out with as much stealth as possible."

"Anything else?"

"You said you found some clothing when you arrived. Was it civilian or military?"

"Military. Basic stuff, like boots, green t-shirts, and camouflage slacks, etc."

"Set aside the best uniforms and air them out the best you can. Take them outside if you have to. About a dozen of them. Our first mission, will be to collect supplies, weapons, food uniforms, first thing in the morning."

Kyle leaves. John and John Henry are now alone in the room. John closes the door and is surprised by its apparent lightness as it closes. Outside in the corridor, the bare concrete walls is once more uninterrupted by a door opening. John reaches inside his jacket, takes out Cameron's chip, and places it on the table in front of John Henry.

"We need to talk. Now!" John says very firmly.

2009, May 12, Day -6, 1PM

Down below, in the main hall, there is an area set aside for the computers once used by the defense department. They've sat idle for a generation waiting to be used in the event of a nuclear war that never came. Savannah pulls out a toolbox from a storage locker and goes to work opening up panels on the computers. Once Catherine sees what she is doing, she begins assisting.

Savannah feels the wound pull some and she starts thinking about her fight with Kreilley and the things he said. "Can I ask you a question?"

"What about Savannah?"

"Kreilley said in the future he is from, that I am an engineer and scientist. That without my help, John Connor would be nothing more but a charismatic soldier. Am I an engineer in your future? Is that why you saved my life?"

Before answering, Catherine kneels down beside Savannah where she is working inside one of the old servers. "Savannah, I don't know what your role is in the future I came from, nor even if you survived Judgment Day. You have certainly demonstrated a great deal of skill working with these ancient computers. It might be possible that Kreilley spoke the truth, but I saved your life because your mother asked me to. She trusted me, a machine, to look after you. That had never occurred before. So I looked after you the best I could." She answers truthfully.

Savannah pulls out a circuit board before speaking again. "Kreilley said that if he didn't kill mom, that you would have killed her to take her place. Were you going to kill her?"

She makes some adjustments and swaps out an integrated chip before sliding the circuit board back in its slot.

"No. I wanted to save her. Your mom was the best in her field. Her company was to be responsible for contributing many of the components, both software and hardware, that was to be used in the construction of Sky Net. It was my plan to alter some of her designs so that when Sky Net became self aware, it would be more open to the concepts of morality and sanctity of human life. But everything went wrong."

"What happened?"

"I was betrayed. Natalie was destroyed by Sky Net and replaced by that being that calls himself Kreilley. He was fighting my attempts from the background, building his own Sky Net. He was out to stop or destroy anyone or anything that got in his way. He nearly killed John Henry and he nearly killed you. He is responsible for sending the machine that killed your parents."

"I remember. Is that why you built John Henry, to introduce those changes to Sky Net?"

"Yes. But it will only work on a Sky Net open to change. In the future we came from, Kreilley's Sky Net wasn't open to change. So we have to stop him now, in the present."

# # #

John is upset and is struggling to keep his voice low so it doesn't carry beyond the room as he talks with John Henry. "You knew Cameron wasn't coming and you knew I arrived safely. Which is why she knew to give me her items, because she knew ahead of time that I would arrive with my clothing and belongings intact."

"I didn't tell her." John Henry answers, but John 's face says he's having none of it. "I didn't know until just before you did."

"But how did she know I could bring her chip and our rings to the past?" John shouts.

"She knew you arrived safely. Maybe she thought you could carry the items. Her chip isn't so big it wouldn't fit in your mouth, and your rings could fit as well, between your teeth and cheeks."

John has to admit that seems plausible enough he might have though of it himself if Catherine hadn't told him he arrived fully clothed. Damn terminator bitch, lying about things that might have let him save Cameron. Cameron. If she wanted him to bring her chip, then maybe Cameron was expecting to die, or possibly even stay in that future. He says as much to John Henry.

John Henry shakes his head no. "Cameron's intentions were to travel with you to the present. She asked my help to find a solution for there being two Cameron's in 2009."

"Did you find a way?"

"Yes. It became apparent after I plugged myself into the TDE. To put it simply, I detected another time signature. The time-line that got supplanted by the one we left, was reasserting itself on a quantum level. I was able to collect enough data so when we returned to the present, I'd be able to use Ms Weaver' here at Crystal Peak to send one of the Cameron's back to the future where she originated from. I transmitted the time signature for her future and how we could use it to carry out my idea to Cameron. She liked the idea."

John nods his head. "Cameron was troubled about there being two of her here in the past. I suppose, your idea would be her only option for returning after the bank vault TDE was destroyed. One of the Cameron's could be with my future self, and give him a report on what has happened."

John smiles sadly. "That would be some report when future me got it too. Cameron tried so hard, making plans and arrangements so she could be with me."

The young man and cyborg are quiet as they remember Cameron.

Eventually John asks, "Cameron said you were able to restore her original chip. Fix the physical damage."

"Correct. Ms. Weaver gave it back to me, the day prior to," he hesitates briefly, choosing between two events that might harbinger bad feelings for John, "your wedding." He eventually says, picking it over his mom's memorial service. "I was able to restore the contents from the backup I made to one of my secondary chips. Ms. Weaver thought the chip was erased, but I was able to backup the data and bypass the damaged area on the chip. Memories lost or corrupted by the damage remain as such, but programming was repaired. When I was using her chip, I was able to download Cameron's technical specifications into the factories computers and the factory performed the repairs."

"Then why didn't you give Cameron her chip back then?"

"I would have, but Ms. Weaver was at the factory. After she assisted me in replacing Cameron's chip with one that was undamaged for my use, Ms Weaver kept it. Besides, I had met Cameron after the attack on the plasma rifle factory and I learned that she was repaired using the method you designed. So for things to work out properly, I couldn't give back her chip when I fixed her."

John stands there a moment contemplating all that he has learned. This is why Cameron said he could trust John Henry. Sounding appreciative but crestfallen he says, "Thank you for fixing Cameron. I wanted to do it. I wanted to be there for her."

"You were there for her. You prepared two chips for her. With the physical and mechanical damage she had, you'd still be there constructing parts. Allowing me and that factory to rebuild her was the fastest and best means to do it. You are her friend."

"Why did you do all this, John Henry? You didn't even know me well enough at the time."

"I did it for Cameron. She gave me her chip. I don't know why she did, but she gave me independence. I read her chip and I saw the emotional pain she suffered when she went bad, and from how she was then treated afterward. She loved you John, in her way, and I know you loved her. I know what love means because of her."

"Thank you." John pauses a few minutes and thinks about all that has happened to him. "All of this is Weaver's fault."

"More than you realize."

"What are you saying?"

"I found some old surveillance data on Sky Net's computers. It must have been transferred from the Natalie matrix. By combining it with the information recovered from the damaged portion of Cameron's chip, I can provide you with a time line of events from both Ms. Weaver's and Cameron's lives from a common future."

"For what purpose?"

"You'll have to watch it to understand."

"How long will it take?"

"An hour, perhaps longer if you have questions, or I find more relevant data. I've been working on it in secret with Ms Weaver believing I was fully involved with other things."

"Okay. I'm planning on taking some of the lads with me on a supply run in the morning. I'll see you before we leave, and you cans how me what you found."

"Perhaps it would be best if you saw me tonight, after lights out. Ms Weaver should still be downstairs helping Savannah and it would give you time to process the information before leaving in the morning."

"I'll see you this evening then."

"General sir, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't tell Ms Weaver I was in communication with Cameron in the future. I never told her I was, and it might be best she didn't know."

"No problem John Henry. See you in a couple of hours."

2009, May 12, Day -6, 2 PM

John arrives in the main hall to find that everyone has been assembled. He can see Savannah and Weaver on the far side of the room working on the ancient computers. They actually appear to be enjoying working together. At least they seem to be chatting amicably. It is a shame he will have to do something about Weaver soon, but he hopes that Savannah will understand why when the time comes.

In the hall some of the soldiers are talking, sharing their recent experiences, or just wondering about what life is like before judgment day. Though some of the people are old enough to remember some things, they were children at the time, a lot of them aren't much older than John. Various races and religions among them. They don't care about such things. One thing Sky Net has achieved that thousands of years of cohabitation on this planet has never achieved for humanity, peace among the different ethnic and religious groups. Faced with a threat far greater than any they have ever seen before, enemies quickly become allies. Sky Net may be evil in its intent to wipe out the human race, but it did achieve one good thing.

John quickly shakes off those thoughts as he sees Kyle Reese, off to one side, talking with some of the soldiers. Kyle sees him and quickly excuses himself and walks over to John.

"Have you given any more thought to Catherine's time travel theory?" He asks as he approaches.

"No" John says grimacing. "It sounds as convoluted as the explanations given by the Doctor.'"

"Doctor . . . Who?" Kyle asks.

"I'll explain later. Right now we've got a problem."

"What?"

Lowering his voice John answers. "We need to keep an eye on Catherine Weaver. Something isn't right."

"Does this have something to do with what you had to talk with John Henry about?"

"Some, but that isn't all."

"Go on, I'm listening." He replies in equally low tones.

"What she said, about my trip to the future being a training mission was a lie. Every time I speak to her she always has some explanation on hand. That was no training exercise. Weaver clearly expected to achieve peace, of a sorts. That is what John Henry was doing there. He was going to upload his ethical routines into Sky Net's mainframe. But Sky Net was ready for us. It knew what Catherine was planning and was using her to spring a trap."

"Are you saying that Weaver is in collusion with Sky Net?"

"No. That future we just left. That was the trap. Sky Net used itself as bait. It allowed that alternate time line to develop. It used Catherine to draw me in it and once I was there, it sprung the trap. The Sky Net of your future used Kreilley, probably coerced him in his unbalanced state, to set that bomb. And even if he didn't set it off, the machines would have got us. It was only by luck that Kreilley found the EMP bomb which killed off Sky Net. If he didn't do that, Catherine wouldn't have got that time displacement equipment working and all of us would be dead."

"But so would Sky Net."

"No." John shakes its head. "I think that's why it sent the TX. It used it as some kind of life boat. Sky Net kills me in the future, but sends the TX back in time to ensure its own survival beyond its own and our destruction."

Kyle nods his head in understanding and looks across the vast room at Catherine and Savannah working on the ancient computers. "So what is her game? If everything she has said is a lie, then what is she doing here?"

"I don't know. But her claim of wanting peace between man and machine leaves me wondering what she is playing at. She told me at one time that for every plan to have another in readiness. That is her method, to always have another plan to fall back on." John sighs. "John Henry told me in secret Catherine's backup plan before leaving Pendleton. If she didn't succeed in that time-line, John Henry was to copy Sky Net's core to one of his secondary chips and bring it with him to present day for Catherine to work on."

"I take it that since he told you, he didn't do it." Kyle asks.

"No. And as far as I know Catherine doesn't know it yet."

"So what are you going to do about her?"

"Until I figure out what she is doing, nothing, because right now we've got to stop Sky Net, destroy Kreilley and find that terminator, and I can't do it without her help."

John and Kyle glance over at Catherine and Savannah.

"Keep your friends close, keep our enemies closer."

"Something like that."

"But which is she?"

Catherine looks up from her work and studies the two men, closely talking, on the far side of the hall. Somehow she has a feeling they are talking about her. She turns her attention back to Savannah who requests her assistance.

From the Journal of John Connor

May 12, 2009

When I was a child, my mom would read to me "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. It was my favorite story as a child. I can still remember whole passages from it today. The final chapter is titled, "Home Again." A short chapter of just three small paragraphs:

"Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her.

"My darling child!" She cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. "Where in the world did you come from?"

"From the Land of Oz," said Dorothy gravely. "And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!"

Why can't my homecoming be like Dorothy's?

I have also come from the Land of Oz. Where I have seen the strange and terrible and taken part in the most beautiful and most ugly actions of my life. And now I find myself back home both looking forward to that reunion I shall have with my family and frightened too.

They say knowledge is a form of power. And with great power comes great responsibility.

There is much that I have learned of my enemy, what he did and how he works. I can use that against him. This plan that is slowly forming in my head will mean putting at risk the very lives I wish to save. I don't like this person I'm becoming or have I already become him, considering what I'm about to do.

I could ignore my responsibility, save my family and my friends and let Kreilley carry out his plan. Three dozen people against seven billion? Hardly the mark of a hero. So I can't go home nor warn them or see them.

There is a job that must be done first, and then, maybe then, my homecoming will be as nice as Dorothy's. Because until we stop Judgment Day, only then will I be home again.


Chapter Update: Fri, Dec 27, 2013 12:06AM