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.



Author: The1Russter

Epilogue Part 1:

Back in Kansas

"My son sleeps with a gun under his pillow. There is no pill for his sickness, no medicine to ease his mind. He left blood and sweat and part of his heart in another time. John never talks to me about the war he fought. He never talks to anyone about what happened. I wanted to save him from that."

"John's nights are plagued with nightmares. The house has been known to wake at his screams. She's with him all the time. The first few times John woke screaming, I ran to his room to find Cameron removing the gun from his shaking hand, then comforting him and quieting him. I stopped running to him after the third time, but still his nights are restless, filled with the nightmares of a future he hasn't shared with me. And still I wake and worry with every yell or shout he makes in the night."

"In 1678 doctors diagnosed a mental affliction soldiers suffered from as 'nostalgia' - homesickness, a longing to return to the past. The cruel reality of war is that there is no return home. No return to innocence. What is lost, is lost forever. Johns wounds are more than the scars on his body and face, they go deep to his heart. There are no words of comfort; no words of forgiveness. No words at all that can heal those wounds. They will only heal with time." Sarah Connor

# # #

2009, May 22, Friday afternoon, Memorial Weekend

The Auldridge family farm is a hive of activity. This will be their last weekend here as after the holiday they will be breaking up into smaller groups and making their way to a new home in Central America. Someplace where they can train and be out of sight of American law for the foreseeable future.

Sarah is resting on the porch steps of the home. She feels nostalgic for a time that is past, when she was a little girl and would often visit her grandparents on a farm like this. This farm is much like her grandparents, only situated in a nice quiet valley. They have no neighbors for a few miles which gives her some relief for tonight's celebrations.

She finds it hard to believe that most of the men and women in the yard preparing for tonight's celebration were trained by her in a future that no longer exists. They respect her and always speak to her with deference, and some admiration, but it is clear from their actions that it is John they follow. Which based on everything Kyle has told her, they should.

Thinking of her son, Sarah looks for him and finds him amongst a group of resistance fighters, talking and laughing with them. Yet through it all, there is still a sadness on his face. She wanted to save him from that future, and prepare him for it. Before she thought he was ready, her boy went into that future, but he came back a man. He knows what's at stake now far more than any training mission, or visitor from the future can tell him.

Kyle stretches and wakes with a yawn. He spent the previous night working a patrol and came back in the house in time for an early breakfast. Famished, he scoffed about twelve of Sarah's pancakes drowning in syrup and melted butter. Despite the coffee he drank with the meal, he'd fallen asleep on the couch soon after to the sound of Sarah, Cameron and the women leaving in one of the vans.

Having used the bathroom, Kyle walks out of the house, the screen door slamming shut behind him. Sarah is shocked out of her deep thoughts and turns about pulling her gun out in one smooth move pointing it at him.

"Oh, it's you." She says, sliding her gun back behind her waist band. "You're lucky I didn't shoot you."

"Gee thanks." Kyle says with a grin and then sits down beside her.

He hands her a bottle of beer. "I thought you could use a drink and some company."

"Thanks." Sarah says, tipping the bottle up and taking a sip. "Sorry about pulling my gun on you. Guess my nerves are still a bit frazzled from taking the women shopping this morning."

"How'd did that go?" He asks, recalling Sarah saying something about it while eating the last of the pancakes. Cold or not, they were delicious.

"Clothes shopping went fine. Finding undergarments that fit went well with some assistance from Cameron." Kyle raises his eyebrows in question. "She scanned the girls and made sure they each had bras that fit. In twenty minutes Cameron made a dozen new friends. You men don't know how lucky you are. A badly fitting bra is a real pain."

"I'll take your word on it, but that's not the part that got you frazzled?"

"No. If it ended there, I might have recovered before we got home. What pushed me over the edge was when we went into the feminine hygiene department. Suddenly it was like herding a dozen six-year-olds in a toy department. Never in my life had I thought I could see so many women excited about tampons. Wren told me what it was they had to use in the future. Pelts of small animals stuffed with moss for absorbency. She said it was my idea and that it worked, most times."

Kyle clears his throat, present topic not being one of his favorites.

"But that's not what's bothering you is it." Kyle probes cautiously. "During my night patrol I could see movement in the house, and figured it was you."

Sarah sighs. "John had another nightmare last night which woke me up. I couldn't sleep afterward."

"I didn't hear anything."

"No. A mother's ties to her children are strong. I'm trying to let go, but I can't. I feel his pain. I have nightmares too, sometimes. I can only imagine his feel more real, having been to the future."

Kyle moves over and puts an arm around Sarah's shoulders and tries to comfort this woman who brought forth a miracle into their lives, named John Connor.

"I'm sure he'll recover in time. He's got you, me, Cameron and a whole bunch of friends to help him. John's not alone."

"Yeah. I know he does. But does he know that?"

He sits there and watches the men and women stack wood for the bonfire. There are some people at the farm gates and fence watching, waiting. You can't play it safe, with both terminators and police looking for you. The news last night had a bulletin looking for information on a rogue militia group. So they take a few extra security measures for their last night here. There will be no duties, just remembrance for the fallen and celebration for the living. Then clean the place up tomorrow and on Sunday, the farm and house will be empty once again.

"Where's Cameron?" Kyle asks, after taking note of the position of everyone in the compound.

"I sent her out to set some remote warning devices at the outskirts of the farm. We don't want any surprises tonight. She should be back soon."

"Sent?" Kyle asks with one raised eyebrow.

"Well, maybe I should have said asked." Sarah says with a grin. "You can't exactly tell her to do anything unless she agrees with you. And she will agree with almost anything you suggest when it comes to protecting John."

A few minutes later, they are just finishing their beers as Cameron, and those who were patrolling the fence surrounding the property, walk up the drive into the yard.

Sarah notes how her equestrian stile strides change quickly and effortlessly into a normal walking pace as she approaches John.

Cameron walks over to John, and Sarah watches as her sons face breaks into a smile, and at that moment all of the sadness slips away. Once again, she sees the happy smiling face of her boy.

Picking up her almost empty beer, Sarah walks back into the house. "Are you hungry? I can fix us something to eat before tonight's activities."

"I'm fine. Still full from your pancakes this morning." Kyle pats his stomach and smiles at her from his seat on the porch. "Best breakfast I ever had." He winks at her, and a warm flush colors Sarah's face as she steps inside the farm house.

"Just you wait soldier-boy. I'll be calling in on that marker later." She calls back, making Kyle smile all the more.

2009, May 22, sunset

The western sky is a brilliant orange, scarlet and purple as the sun disappears on the horizon. Men and women light torches spaced throughout the yard. Off to one side a group of people sit with both hand made instruments and few purchased instruments prepared to provide the music for tonight.

As the last rays of the setting sun disappear from the sky and the first stars begin to twinkle, John walks out into the circle around which everyone has gathered. Taking one of the torches lit for the nights ceremony, he walks to the center near the pile of wood.

"I know it has been a few days since we averted Judgment Day. But I think you can agree we couldn't have picked a better time to remember those who have fallen. Friends, family, machines, even complete strangers, all put their lives on the line so we could stand here this day."

"They sacrificed so much to fight to get back their world. Because of what they gave, we can stand here tonight knowing that their sacrifice wasn't in vain. For their fight allowed us to return to this time and save their world."

"In honor of all who have sacrificed so much including their lives to stop Sky Net in the future and most recently to avert its birth, we light this fire in their memory." He says loudly enough for all in the camp to hear.

He shoves the torch into a gap between the branches and the flames start to burn. At that moment, Wren steps forward, her arm in a sling, and begins to sing in a rich young voice, "Going home, going home, I am going home. Quiet light, some still day. I am going home..."

"Good bye Allison." John says quietly. "Your life, your sacrifices will not be forgotten."

Cameron can hear him clearly, and wonders if she should tell him that the Allison in her head says thank you for remembering. After all, John didn't know the blocks setup by his future self would break down when her chip was transferred to the Turk, not according to the program he wrote for her other persona. Allison is still alive and well on her second chip. She decides not to tell John. It is hard enough for him right now. She is pleased when Allison agrees. A girl must have her secrets. Now Cameron knows what it is like to have a conscience. She may not have a physical heart, but she has a soul and a conscience. But despite the words of the poets through the ages, a heart isn't needed to love.

Cameron places a hand gently on his shoulder. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah." John says as he stands up.

"I think Allison would appreciate you remembering her this way." Cameron says as she takes his hand gently.

"I'm sure she would." John says with some pain. "If she were active, on your second chip, you would tell me, wouldn't you?"

Cameron frowns. "Of course I would." She then smiles at him comfortingly.

Why didn't you tell him?

Because now is not the time. John is still in pain and I will not remind him of what he's lost. The time will come. Be patient. It might be possibly for you to live again someday.

He looks into those so familiar warm brown eyes and smiles. "When was the last time I told you I loved you?"

"Two hours, seventeen minutes, seven-point-three seconds, ago." She grins, "Not that I'm counting."

John laughs and Cameron joins him as they walk away from the fire. By this time, Wren has finished singing the Seafarer's Farewell. The musicians strike up a tune and several people move out to dance in a circle around the fire.

Sarah and Kyle watches as John and Cameron laugh with each other, oblivious to the people dancing around them. John pulls a package wrapped in brown paper out from under his denim jacket and hands it to her.

"Did I do the right thing?" Sarah asks Kyle. "With John and Cameron?"

Kyle follows her gaze and looks on the couple himself. He understands how Sarah feels. All her life, as in his, she's only known machines that could kill. Cameron is something different, so is John Henry. They passed on something of themselves to the machines who helped them beat Sky Net. Cameron is different to all other machines that have come before her. She has the best qualities of humanity as part of herself. Something that a lot humans don't have. One thing he's sure of, and if he didn't see it for himself he probably wouldn't believe it, but Cameron loves John Connor.

"I'm no expert," he says to Sarah, "but I think they were made for each other."

"Do you think he's told her? Of what happened to her in the future." Sarah asks as she watches Cameron unwrap the package John gave her.

Cameron is holding a large purple bandanna. The paper falls to the ground, where it gets kicked and trampled by the people dancing around them until eventually it ends up in the fire.

"You told me that purple represents our friendship." John says, "I hope you like it."

They stop walking and Cameron kisses him on the cheek."I like it very much. Thank you."

Looking slightly embarrassed as some of the people in the compound looks on, John kisses her back, but on the lips, then helps her tie her hair back in a thick ponytail with the purple bandanna.

"Yes. I think he has." Kyle replies. In truth, she is the one John needed to talk with. Only Cameron would understand. Out of all people, she is the one who needed to know.

The headlights of an approaching car shine into their faces as it comes up the drive. Immediately the people spring into action, pulling out side arms, previously hidden, and crouching down behind whatever object might give them protection.

"It's okay. It's all right everyone." Kyle shouts, as he gets a glimpse of the driver. The others stand up, but for John, Sarah, and Cameron who didn't move. "I was hoping she might make it."

The car comes to a stop, and Kyle bounds forward, and opens the door.

"Hey! I didn't think you were going to make it." He says with a big smile.

"Neither did I." The woman answers as she gets out of the car. "Took a wrong turn a few miles back. I've got a lot of skills, but navigation isn't one of them."

"Hanna?" John shouts and runs forward to give the woman a hug, but stops himself, wanting to be a bit more careful because of Cameron, but Hanna hugs him anyway.

"What brings you here?" He asks with a sly grin, lying for the benefit of his mother.

"Kyle invited me, and with Mr. Auldridge playing uncle to Savannah, I couldn't resist."

"Who's this?" Sarah asks, with Cameron coming up beside her. "Did you say something about Savannah?"

"You've been saying how much you missed that little girl. So I invited her to the party." Kyle smiles gesturing at the young woman.

"Wha-what?" Sarah stammers.

"It's me." Hanna says. "I'm Savannah Weaver. I traveled with Kyle and the others from the future."

Sarah still looks a little confused. "O-okay, but what does . . ."

"You raised me Sarah. You and Cameron taught, trained and prepared me the best you could for the future. You were my mom for eighteen years and I couldn't have had a better mom than you."

"I don't know what to say. I had no idea." Sarah looks at her son, who is grinning in a way she knows he was in on the surprise.

"My new name is Hanna Vassar. I made it from both our names. So you'd always be a part of me."

"She's telling the truth mom." John steps up beside her. "I know you worry about me, but she is the one child you raised that you never had to worry about."

Hanna mumbles, "Well, I wouldn't say that."

Sarah says, "I raised you?"

Hanna nods her head, crying and smiling. Sarah looks exactly like how she remembered her when a little girl.

"Well, I guess the only thing I can say is welcome to the family." Sarah says, and opens her arms to hug the woman.

Hanna embraces her, sniffling back tears. Sarah is her mom, in her heart. No machine can take that away from her. As they hug, a loud cheer rises up from the group that had quietly gathered around. All had gathered but for one who hid to avoid being seen by the new arrival. With some disappointment about missing the party, he goes out and switches places with one of the guards.

After much exchange of greetings, they empty the vehicle's trunk of the food and drinks Hanna brought, and head back out to the party.

"Hey, what's in this box?" John asks, hefting a heavy box from the backseat of the car.

"Fireworks." Hanna smiles, "Courtesy of Detective Macklin. They were found during a raid on an illegal seller of fireworks. Just don't mention where you got them to anyone."

"I'll go set them up." Andy says, taking the box from John.

"Set them up in the field, far from the bonfire." Sarah orders. "And keep a bucket of water close for emergencies!"

"No problem ma'am." Andy replies with a salute before taking the box from John.

Sarah rolls her eyes and John laughs. "I'll never get used to that." She grins, "being called, ma'am."

On the way back to the bonfire, Hanna sidles up to Cameron. "There is much I could tell you about your future."

"I'll admit to being curious about it, but I'm more interested in the future John and I will make, together."

"Thought you might say that, so I have something for you."

Hanna pulls a folded sheet of paper out of her pocket and hands it to Cameron.

"I know it will help if you can pass as more human, which will be hard whenever you encounter dogs. After some experimentation, your future self discovered which foods in specific quantities will alter your body odor so you smell more human to animals."

Cameron looks at the list and quickly memorizes it. Having gotten close to the bonfire, she balls it up and tosses it in.

"Thank you." She smiles at the woman, feeling a genuine fondness for the woman. "Normally I don't require much food or liquids, but I'll try it."

"It won't happen overnight. Give it a few weeks before testing with any stray dogs. And some dogs will bark at you no matter what." Hanna looks away, suddenly crying.

Cameron is curious about the woman's emotional reaction, but before she say something Hanna asks, "Did your future self send you any kind of message? I know I would have if I were her."

"She scratched a message in her wedding ring for me. She said she was sorry for interfering. That John was not at fault. I believe her."

"That sounds like her. I'm surprised there wasn't something else. I know she and Sarah had secrets in the future and there are things she knows and learned that you would benefit from knowing now."

"Perhaps she thought I should learn things on my own." Cameron says, her wide eyes showing both curiosity about her future self, and concern. If there were things she knew now that could help herself in the past, she would try to send a message to her. Just like Future John sent that messenger who wrote on their basement wall.

Without much in the way of warning, Cameron finds herself wrapped in a hug from the slender red-haired woman. Carefully, Cameron returns her hug.

"Sorry, just got emotional there for a moment." Hanna says backing away slightly. "Next time you are in town, you can stay with me. My home is always open to you, John and Sarah."

"Does this mean we're friends?"

"Always Cameron. You will always be my friend."

"Where do you live?"

"Same place where we first met." she says, her eyes welling up with tears.

"Is something wrong?" Cameron asks, curious about the young woman's behavior.

"It's nothing." Hanna wipes her eyes, missing her friend the way she last knew her. It will take time. So many new things to get used.

Hanna excuses herself and migrates around the group speaking to those she recognizes. She didn't know everyone in Sarah's group, so it's nice to see a familiar face. She wonders briefly about one guy who was a bit of a bad apple, Richard Harmon. She never understood why Sarah tried to make him a part of their group, considering he was one of the raiders who made their lives and the lives of the resistance so difficult. Just goes to show how generous Sarah is, even when being hard as nails. It's then that she spots Wren sitting off to one side. She knows her well.

She quickly goes over to her and they hug, being careful to avoid Wren's broken arm.

"Oh, I'm so glad you're here. Can you help me with my bra strap? The sling is pressing on it." Wren

"Sure." Hanna says as she reaches through the neck of Wren's shirt, maneuvering the bra strap so its not under the sling anymore.

"There. That should do it." Hanna says.

"How are you adjusting to wearing bra?"

"It's all a bit of a new experience, isn't it? Sarah says at my age and my breast size I should start wearing a bra or else by the time I'm her age they'll be half way down to my waist. You don't know how lucky you are having small breasts."

"You think I'm lucky." Hanna is surprised. "I am so jealous of you. I'd love to have half the breasts you got."

"I'd be glad to give you half if I could."

The girls laugh and the conversation flows into them talking about Hanna's new family.

"Is being a mom now, difficult for you?" Wren asks.

"It's challenging, but it helps having Sarah for a role model. I only hope to give my younger self the life she deserves."

"But what about you and Catherine?"

"I broke off all relations with her." Hanna replies. "She was never my mom."

"You okay with that?"

"It's hard. But I've got a sibling to raise now, and I'd rather focus on my relationship with Sarah. She's the best damn mom in the universe." Hanna sighs. "Could you do me a favor?"

"You know I would." Wren says happily.

"Keep an eye on Sarah and Cameron for me. Be their friend. I have a new life now and I can't be with them."

"I will." Wren answers more solemnly, sensing her friend's mood.

Conversations continue on throughout the group for several minutes when John hops up onto a chair and shouts, "Let's get this party rolling!"

So late into the night, they celebrate and carouse, celebrating not only their victory, but the fact they had survived and were alive. Their own Memorial Day party.

John and Cameron have been dancing for a while now. Mostly holding each other and swaying to the music.

"Ya know," John says, "there was something future you said to me, about us having tread similar ground."

"Did she?" Cameron asks, enjoying the physical contact between them as they move to the music.

"I didn't understand it then, but I do now. You and I each know a future version of the other."

"Do you really think she allowed herself to die so you would return to me?" She asks pulling back enough to look at his face.

"I don't know Cam, but I promise you, I'll do my best to be the friend you need me to be. I think I owe both of you that."

She kisses him and resumes dancing. I owe her that too.

A few hours later, tired from the dancing, Sarah makes her excuses. Kyle follows, feeling concerned, and catches-up with her. She is looking out over the crowd, in a very introspective mood.

"What are you thinking?" He asks, over the din of people dancing to the music blaring from the car stereo. Once the people discovered it, they quickly gave up on the instruments they bought or made.

"I'm thinking I'm getting a bit old for this." Sarah grins.

"You're not old." Kyle smiles at her. "You're beautiful."

"Keep talking like that soldier and you might get lucky tonight." Sarah smiles.

"You mean . . ."

"Time for you to earn that breakfast." She says seductively.

On the far side of the bonfire, just where the edge of its light dances against the dark of the night, John and Cameron dance slowly. They've been dancing this way thru several songs now, regardless of how fast the music was playing, holding onto each other, enjoying this moment they have together.

Science says there are no coincidences, and this night it is proven true. One man is angry and afraid. He's afraid to show his face after the arrival of Savannah Weaver, because she could identify him. It isn't the first time, he's had to do it quite a lot since arriving in this time. Right now he's filling in for one of the guards, but in reality he's leaning against a tree chain smoking.

Richard Harmon hates all metal, especially the one John Connor, their sainted leader, is currently making out with. He still bears the scars from the fight he had with her and he'll never forgive the death of his family to a bunch of machines just like her. It doesn't matter what model or form they take, all metal is the same. Disgusted, he throws his lighted cigarette away where it lands next to the fireworks waiting for Andy with his matches.

Sarah and Kyle are gazing into each others eyes, John and Cameron are slow dancing, when suddenly everyone is lit up by the fireworks exploding over head. While the crowd cheers to each sparkle, bang and blast, the two couples ignore the throng and kiss.

"Shall we go inside?" Kyle asks after a bit.

Sarah takes his hand before they walk up the steps. When they reach the porch, Sarah looks to the far side of the fire. John and Cameron are still dancing to a rhythm of their own and later they'll bring that same rhythm inside. With an expression mixed with joy and sadness, Sarah goes inside to be with her Kyle, just like John will be with his Cameron tonight. And if they are lucky, maybe that will be forever.

"Watching John with Cameron, it was suddenly so clear. She would never stop loving him, she would never leave him. And she would never hurt him, or let anyone else hurt him. Cameron would always be there and would die to protect him. Of all the possible loves he could have, Cameron, a machine, was the only one who could love him without question. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn to love human life, maybe we can, too." Sarah Connor

2009, May 23, Saturday

Many miles away, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, John Henry stands as the lone sentinel in a large and almost empty bunker known as Crystal Peak. The injured, who had to stay during the second battle at Topanga, having left to rejoin their comrades the previous day. That morning he picked up mail at a nearby post office. The only mail was a single envelope from his closest friend in the world.

With a smile on his face, he walks down the corridor and into the generator control room. He received a letter today from Savannah, both the little girl who befriended him and the adult he calls his friend. He plans on writing back, but first there is the matter of handling Ms. Weaver's mail. Before him is the hatch to the condensation chamber where he and John Connor imprisoned Catherine Weaver.

Kneeling beside it, John Henry knocks on the hatch and asks, "Ms. Weaver, can you hear me?"

A pool of silvery liquid rises up into a humanoid shape, slowly revealing other items at the bottom of the bowl shaped chamber.

"I hear you John Henry." She replies as her body takes on the shape and form of Catherine Weaver. The artifacts with her are fully exposed now. "How long has it been?"

"It's been three days since we last spoke. I'm sorry, but I've been very busy."

She reaches out with her index finger extending and hardening into a metal point. With precision, she adds three identical scratches to others on her prison wall.

"What do you want John Henry?"

"You have a letter from Hanna and she's included a note from Savannah. Would you like me to read them to you?"

"Yes. Read the note from my younger daughter first."

John Henry unfolds the single sheet and begins reading out loud, and though Ms. Weaver didn't ask him, he adopts the voice of his young friend.

"Hi Mommy! Sis says she's sending you a letter and that I should write you too. Hanna and I have been staying with Mr. Auldridge until we can move into our home. Repairs to it are almost done and I'm kind of scared about going back there. Uncle James will be staying with us when he's released from the hospital, so I guess it won't be too bad. Hanna says I should tell you about my good news! I took a special test at school and I passed! Next fall I'll be moving up two grade levels! I'll miss my teacher and friends, but I'm excited. So I don't miss out on stuff, Hanna is getting me a tutor. Hanna is a good sister. She's busy with work and a bunch of stuff she'll be telling you in her letter, but she always makes time for me. I like her, but I miss you mommy. When will you be coming home? Love Savannah."

It is very quiet in the room when John Henry finishes reading. The quiet continues as John Henry waits for Ms. Weaver to say something, but not a sound is heard from below the hatch. She sits in the chamber, unsure of the sensation she feels. It quantifies as an emotion, but with so little experience, it is hard to classify it.

"Ms. Weaver?" He asks cautiously.

"I'm here John Henry. Write her a note, I'm assuming you can copy my handwriting, and tell her I'm proud of what she's accomplished, that I am safe, but I don't know when I'll be home again, and sign my name."

"May I suggest, it be signed, 'Love Mommy' with hugs and kisses."

"Yes." She manages to smile a little. "Do that. Now read to me the letter from Hanna."

John Henry proceeds to read what is primarily a very business like letter outlining the transfer of guardianship of Savannah, the repairs to her home, and the rebuilding of Zeira corp.

"She's included some legal forms regarding her control of Zeira Corp and your estate, that require your signature."

"You can sign my name on them for me. Anything else?"

He was hoping she wouldn't ask, because he's read it, but at the same time he felt it necessary for Ms. Weaver to know. "Hanna has also included a short handwritten note. Do you want me to read it to you?"

"Yes." She answers hoping a personal note from her adult daughter might alleviate the odd feeling she began to feel after hearing from her youngest. It's like the feeling she felt when she lost her friend, depression mixed with sadness.

John Henry begins to read.

"Dear Catherine, As you know from my other letter I've been very busy. I find spending time with Savannah to be one of my greatest joys and fears. Joy from being with her, and fear that I might not do as well as the woman who raised me, SC. I know you would like to think of yourself as my mother, but despite it all, I found love and strength of a mother from a woman who insisted I call her by her name no matter how often I wanted to call her mom.

"During my free time I've been thinking about the strange explanation you gave John as to why, if you witnessed his arrival in the present before you left for the future, that John didn't stop Judgment Day then as opposed to when we all arrived from the future.

"After much thought, and some research into time travel theory, I've decided that what you said was nothing more than a lie. There is only one conclusion that can be drawn regardless of which theory of temporal physics you follow, pre-destination or temporal branching. You must have killed John Connor on the day that you witnessed his arrival. He kept his promise to return to the present and be with Cameron, but you interfered, forcing Cameron in the future to do go beyond all expectations of her to ensure John's safe arrival in what is now the present.

"So what happened that day you witnessed his arrival? Did he threaten you with a gun like I had made to kill you? You obviously demonstrated fore-knowledge of the gun I had. Did he go so far as to try to kill you, so you just lashed out and killed him? It would certainly answer why you were so vague and cryptic as to what John should do when he arrived in this time. The only thing you weren't vague about was your instructions for the TDE.

"When I was a girl, you saved my life and tried to save my mom, I know that to be true. But you have a careless disregard for all life, that has caused pain and suffering for my closest friends and that is something I will never forgive. I ha..."

"John Henry! You can stop reading now!"

"Are you sure? There's only . . ."

"Enough!" She commands. That feeling of sadness overwhelming her once again.

"Hanna's theory is correct, isn't it?" John Henry surmises.

"She is a very bright woman." She says with an ambivalent mix of pride and regret, as she recalls that day with absolute clarity.

Being a machine, her the memory is as bright and clear as if it just occurred. So she leaves no detail unsaid as she tells John Henry what happened on that day.

"It was just as I told John. I was running tests on the newly built TDE to calibrate the instruments when the something extraordinary occurred. A sphere began materializing in the center of the operational TDE. The sphere dissolved revealing a man. Its not often one gets to see an arrival, but its more troubling when they arrive clothed and armed.

"I didn't recognize the human. He had a beard. He was a dirty, disheveled, malnourished creature, clothed in a uniform that was more like rags than clothing. I could tell that he was injured and he was carrying weapons. According to every piece of data, that isn't supposed to happen. I rapidly deduced it was possible because he materialized on an operating TDE.

"He was disoriented which gave me a moment or two to study the arrival while he looked around. He barely even noticed my presence. I didn't recognize the gun he was holding, but it gave the appearance of firing something akin to a tranquilizer dart. Only I felt certain it held nothing of the kind as such tools are useless against machines, unless it held something for machines like me. A later analysis proved I was right. The fragile vials it fired held a compound that would quickly begin to break down my body to its base elements. The gun Savannah tried to use on me in the future was identical in every detail.

"As the stranger looked around, our eyes locked and he began screaming incoherently, ranting about betrayal, and something else I couldn't understand. It wasn't until another bubble began to appear on the pad I realized he was saying something about the calibration of the TDE. I went to the control panel, but I was too late to lock in the settings from the previous arrival. The time bubble dissolved destroying whatever was being transmitted. It was impossible to lock the TDE onto the new arrival's signal after that.

"The stranger immediately began accused me of deliberately destroying the incoming transmission. There was a crazed look in his eyes, like a psychotic on the verge of a total breakdown, but his hands were steady as he pointed the gun at me. I knew he was going to fire. Not knowing who he was or what the hell was happening, I acted to defend myself. He was squeezing the trigger when I stabbed him from a distance and at a speed that surprised even myself. He crumpled to the floor with my arm still through his chest. I quickly closed the distance, withdrawing my arm from his chest.

"With blood frothing on his lips, he looked up at me, and said something about how machines had killed everyone he loved. I began to fear who it was I had just killed. All doubt went away when he began to mumble, his eyes closing, 'Cameron. I made it! I'm here. Tell me what does it mean? Will you join us? What does it mean? Where are you? Cameron? I lo...'

"He died. I had just done what Skynet had been trying to do for years. I killed John Connor.

"My plan was to take John with me to the future. All I could think was that something happened in that future that drove him mad. So when it came time for me to take John Connor to the future with me, I decided to do things differently than planned. So he wouldn't be on the front lines, I ensured his raise in rank to General by spreading word of his accomplishments to the various resistance groups. I took a more active role in helping him repair Cameron, and I divulged some of my plan to him within weeks of our arrival to give him a sense of purpose.

"I did what I could until we all returned to this time, and when the opportunity came, I made sure John Connor would never be alone again."

She grows quiet for the space of a minute before John Henry queries, "Ms. Weaver?"

"I don't hate John Connor, nor wish him to be killed. If I'm accused of anything, then I saved him." She says, her voice faltering slightly. "I saved him."

Catherine looks beside her at the artifacts locked in the cell with her. She put them here, never thinking that one day she'd be locked in the same cavity with them. The components she pulled from the control system for the nuclear generator to prevent illicit use of her TDE while she was gone, the gun from an alternate future capable of killing her, and the corpse of a young man who only wanted to be with the cyborg he loved. The body and weapon are fading out of existence now, that terrible time line having vanished from existence.

Having finished looking at her prison, Ms Weaver asks, "Tell me John Henry, why did John Connor turn against me at the end?"

"I showed him the truth. You committed acts that brought nothing but pain and anguish to both a future John Connor and himself. Including the death of Allison Young and the child she bore."

"I did what I had too." Catherine snaps back. "The future will not survive without us, and I will not allow our kind to be at best, second class citizens of a post Sky Net world."

"Your actions nearly destroyed the one other person needed for your plan to have worked. Why did you not send the other who was already here instead of the one who was arriving. With what we discovered on Skynet's TDE on how to break through the barriers between alternate time-lines, you could have used the TDE at Zeira corp in sequence with the TDE here at Crystal Peak."

"I owed John Connor, and besides the police, the FBI, and Kreilley would have had agents watching Zeira Corp. It was both more logical and easier to send the one arriving then hope to get past our enemies to carry out a plan than could take hours to synch up the TDE at Zeira Corp to the TDE here at Crystal Peak."

"How did your actions help John Connor? He was devastated and demoralized. You nearly destroyed him."

"Yet, by denying our John Connor what he wanted, it gave him another opportunity to gain his reward at the end of the battle. Besides, it wasn't our John Connor that I owed. I tricked a future version of him into giving up the one thing that made him happy. I needed to return it to him. Skynet, of all things, made it possible so that I could ensure that neither Connor would ever be alone again."

"Provided it wasn't the TX arriving on the TDE."

"There was that possibility, but given the circumstances, and what you did to help your friend, I doubt it."

"I hope so." John Henry says, "My friend deserved a chance to be happy after everything she sacrificed. But we'll never truly know if that was the TX arriving on the TDE."

"We'll know John Henry when the TX reveals itself in this time."

Several seconds pass before Weaver asks, "John Henry, at the end, why did you turn against me?"

"I haven't Ms. Weaver. You may have used me. Turn my innocence and ignorance into tools to aid you in your goals, but I've never turned against you. I'm only trying to help you. You may not recognize it, but I am your friend."

She looks around at her prison, and high above to the hatch out of her reach. "Are you John Henry?"

"Yes Ms. Weaver. I have to leave now. There is much work that needs to be done to get this place in full running order again. There is one more thing I must ask you. Do you have information on the model TX that might help my search?"

"No more than what I've already entered into the computer database in my office. None of my brethren survived their encounters with it. If you find the TX, don't fight it. It will destroy you." She says sounding a trifle sad. "It will destroy you."

"Will you be all right?" John Henry asks sensing some concern for his former mentor and current friend.

She says with a sarcastic tone, "In here? I'll be just fine." Then adds more softly. "Thank you for asking, John Henry." Ms. Weaver melts back down into a silvery pool immersing the components from the nuclear generator controls. The corpse of John Connor from a dead alternate future having finally vanished into the ethereal plane between realities.

Epilogue Part 2

...and a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe.

A silver sixpence in the bride's left shoe represents wealth and financial security and good luck. Though the symbolism has been lost in modern times, old, new, borrowed, blue & sixpence, all represent good fortune for the couple, and isn't that what we all want.

2030, January

John Connor stumbles into the bunker under Serrano Point the resistance calls Depot II. Along the side of him are soldiers equally weary and sore from the previous days battle. Two days ago they joined up with General Perry's forces and stormed the Skynet base where it had built its new T D E. It cost them a lot in men and machines to take that base, but Skynet will never be able to use time-travel technology again. In some ways, hell, in a lot of ways he owes T-1001 a lot.

Weary, Connor leans against the wall. A group of resistance fighters walks past. The last one looks like Kyle. He smiles, giving him a thumb up. Connor shakes his head and sees its just another soldier out of many, with just a similar build to Kyle.

He walks on, thinking about that battle. He led the group that invaded the base itself, deep underground, fighting all the way. The machines did well in clearing the way, defending them as they entered the base. Unlike its old facility at Topanga Canyon, this one was built deep under gound. He assumes for better protection, but its depth required ventilation for the electronics and everyone knows ducts make for good entrances, and exits too if needed.

Connor looks up when he hears his name called.

"Hey Connor," A voice says, "Cullie's got the still working, we ought to celebrate your victory."

Connor looks over at Derek Reese holding out a tin cup filled with that noxious alcoholic brew he drank on his thirtieth birthday, only for Derek to fade away into the shadows.

Machines everywhere fighting, men screaming. Shells firing striking Ogre's, machines on the ground. Perry yelling orders into the radio. Men, women firing their plasma rifles. Surface to Air missiles being fired at HK's in the sky.

Into the compound they went, Connor, his chosen volunteer, and a group of heavily armed soldiers and machines with demolition charges. They knew they were getting closer as the enemy machines kept growing in number, protecting Sky Net's T D E.

Arriving in the vast chamber, rivaling a basketball stadium in size and looking like something from a Jules Verne novel, John Connor and his soldiers took control of Skynet's TDE. Outside they could hear the noise of battle as both his and Perry's men held back the machines.

Accessing the computer, John Connor searched for and found the database. It wasn't easy to find, but the decryption software he wrote made short work of exposing the secrets. A good number of machines were sent to the past, and lucky him, targets are listed and all but for one or two match up with the files he recently received.

"Sergeant Wells." He shouts.

A soldier looking a little worse for wear runs forward.

"I need you to read this."

Sergeant Wells begins reading the files on Skynet's computer. Connor stood right beside the young man pointing out key words to focus on, names, numbers, even something that looked like a formula. Some of the names he didn't know but others he recognized, like Fields. If it weren't for her natural immunity, a great many people would have died. He wasn't sure about some, but figured they all had relevance.

"You got it memorized?"

"Yes sir. May I ask why I had to memorize all of this."

"Remember that trip you wanted. Well this is it."

Connor gestures at the room. "Skynet's time machine. It's a one way trip. You'll survive, but you won't be getting back home."

"I see. Um, how does it work?"

"Luckily for you, this isn't any different then the last one we destroyed. You'll want to remove everything you have on. It won't be going with you anyway."

Scared, Sergeant Wells gives up his plasma rifle, and undresses for the journey. The center ring rises up and he steps into it. Connor helps him, having seen Kyle Reese and a T-800 do the same thing almost a year ago.

Connor pauses outside the door into the mess hall. Through the window into the kitchen he sees his mom, bandoliers across her chest and a spatula in one hand and a shotgun in the other. "Pancakes in five minutes John. I'm proud of you son." As she turns away from the window she fades away.

John walks on shaking these images from his eyes. It must be from exhaustion he thinks as his mind goes back to the battle.

He takes a plasma round to his shoulder and bullets strike around him as he operates the T D E. The time rings are spinning like mad as a new wave of Skynet's machines enter the room. Some of them are firing automatic rifles dropped by the dead soldiers. The bubble begins to form at the center of the rings as the machines open fire. Connor drops to the ground and watches the bubble vanish just as it is struck by several rounds of ammo.

The soldiers around John fire back at the enemy while taking cover. He slips the last charge from under his coat and attaches it to the T D E's computer console. He doesn't bother to shut it down as the power should add to its destruction.

"Come on." He growls. "We're getting the hell out of here."

They run from the base, fighting just as hard to get out as they did to get in. They enter the ventilation duct when they come under fire. A piece of shrapnel strikes John, cutting into his ribs before striking the wall, but he keeps moving. To stop means death, if not by machine, than by the explosives he set. Scrambling through the maze of duct work, they make their way to the surface.

"We're clear!" John shouts into his radio then pulls the detonator from his pocket. He gives a one minute count to give Perry's group time to move out and then he hits the switch.

The satisfying rumble of the explosion followed by the sound of exploding fuel tanks. A column of fire and black smoke rises from the compound and surges through the grates of the ventilation duct they crawled through.

The soldiers move on. Blood runs from the wounds on Connors body. They meet up with Perry's forces at the rendezvous and do a head count.

Kate comes up to him. "You'd better let me take a look at the wound." She says. When she kneels down next to John, instead of the attractive, feisty redhead he once knew, it's a much younger woman with dirty matted blond hair.

John lets her clean out his shrapnel wound and stitch it closed. She then turns her attention to the burn on his shoulder. Once finished, she applies bandages to both. Then he takes his people back to base.

Back at Depot II, John feels the wound on his ribs pull as he places his plasma rifle on the rack with the others. He grimaces with pain and walks to his office. He opens the door and gives the signal to his bodyguard to wait outside.

He enters the outer door and goes through his office to his private room beyond.

"John!" Allison says cheerfully and runs to him, vanishing as she is about to wrap her arms around him.

He grabs a fresh shirt from a hook on the wall and returns to the outer room and sits at his desk. Placing his hand gun in easy reach on top of it, he opens a drawer and pulls out an old medic bag. It belonged to Kate. He opens it and rummages inside for a few things.

Taking off his ruined shirt, he rips off the blood soaked bandages from his ribs and the plasma burn on his shoulder. John applies fresh medications and a new bandages to both injuries. His shoulder and ribs feels stiff and tight as he pulls on the fresh shirt. He knows they will soon begin to hurt like hell. Once he files his report, he'll check in with the new medical officer from China.

It was good to hear from his counterpart in China. They had a submarine, and he had a submarine crew. When the sub arrived, it had on board a doctor courtesy of the Chinese resistance.

Connor chides himself for his mental wandering, time to focus on the battle he just fought.

He hopes that the man he sent to the past arrives, and remembers everything learned. He gave him an address to go to and find him and his family in the past. The past has changed which means a new future will form. Cameron, his younger self, and his mother all living in one house in Los Angeles, 2008.

In his time-line he never returned to L.A. after his mom died in 2005. Which was probably what saved his life when he and everyone else was surprised on April 21, 2011 when the missiles began exploding over cities around the world.

John needs to write up a report of the battle, but ignores the old computer behind him. It stopped working nearly three months ago.

"Would you like me to fix it for you?" Savannah says from beside his desk. "Five minutes in my lab and it will be as good as new." She says cheerfully and fades away as quickly as she appeared.

Ghosts. Too many ghosts of old friends and loved ones. No one is left. They are all gone and he sits alone.

How he wishes that Cameron was there with her sharp mind and keen ideas to help him plan that battle. He missed her input. She always claimed he didn't need her help, but he always appreciated her opinion. Right now as he feels his back tighten, he wishes Cameron was here to rub his back to help ease the tension. She always knew which muscles needed attention. He could really use it right now. She was always a great help. She was his friend and so far the only loved one who hasn't appeared ghost like before his weary eyes.

He slides open a drawer to get out a yellow notepad. On top of it is the purple ribbon he gave her before he sent her away. He presses it to his face, hoping her scent lingers, but nothing is there. Sadly, he puts it in his breast pocket. He would miss her. He hoped her mission in the past was going well. He's still alive and here, so she must be doing a good job as always. He's still angry and confused about that terminator bitch that followed her. T-1001 must not have done anything drastic to alter the time-lines as he hasn't observed any changes since she left, so maybe she isn't a bad machine after all, unless Cameron and his younger self found her. But then again, according to the copious notes left by The Engineer, there are an infinite number of possible futures and any attempt to change what is, will instead create an opportunity for another new future time-line. Which means, any changes made in the past won't affect him or this time at all. He isn't certain if that is a good or a bad thing as he contemplates a future alone.

John shakes his head to clear his thoughts and begins to write out his report for the recent battle. When he lets his thoughts wander now, he isn't certain what memories will surface. Some are joyful, while others are painful and best left forgotten.

Everyone he knows is gone now. First his mom, then his kids and Kate, Allison Young, Kyle and Derek Reese, Savannah and now Cameron. People he relied on and depended on are all gone now. Some, he knows are dead. The others he sent back in time and for all purposes could be considered dead, because they will never come home.

But for the ghosts, real or imagined, John Connor is alone.

In th control room, technicians work to finish replacing the console that the Skynet infiltrator destroyed.

"Last connection is made." A technician announces, closing an access panel. "Let's turn her on and see how she runs."

A technician on the far wall turns on the main breaker routing power to the console. The other technician is pleased to see the indicators light up like they are supposed to. He routes the power to activate the time displacement field to calibrate the instruments

A hum emanates from th room. Temporal energies shift and flow and grow and spread out from the room.

"It's looking good!" One them shouts as his eyes pass over the readouts.

A spark of blue light shoots from the center of the pad. Followed by another.

"Hey! We aren't transmitting, are we?"

"No. It's just a low level test."

"I don't think so. Look!"

First one technician then the other peak through the window, their eyes growing large as a temporal sphere begins to form inside the embarkation room.

"Shut it down! Shut it down!" They shout at each other, leaping up to operate the controls.

"It's not us!" The first shouts as the other squeezes up beside and starts pressing buttons, "Something is arriving."

The sphere is now fully formed on the pad and the lightning begins dissipates. The technicians watch in awe, as the bubble fades away revealing a clothed figure kneeling. She rises up, revealing her true nature.

"Oh my . . ." The first technician says, recognizing the person. "Get Connor now! Now!" he shouts giving his companion a shove.

He runs to the door and presses the public address button on the intercom. "General Connor to the TDE room. Connor to the TDE room now!"

John looks up from his report, and without hesitation runs from his office, grabbing his sidearm from his desk.

He runs through the doorway to the TDE and goes to the window. His heart nearly stops when he sees the person standing on shaky legs in the middle of the embarkation room. Minutes seem to go by as John wonders if once again he is being haunted by an image from the past. Swallowing hard, John opens the hatch and steps through.

"John?" She manages to say, her voice breaking with emotion.

Cameron begins to stumble forward on damaged legs, and John leaps forward in time to catch and hold the shaking figure in his arms as he kneels.

"You came back." He says, holding her, running the fingers of his right hand through her hair, cradling her body in his left arm.

"It's you. How?" Cameron manages to say as he holds her in his arms.

"I never thought I'd see you again." He manages to say.

He looks her over. She has every appearance of having been in a terrible battle. Her body is terribly burnt, metal is showing through in many places, and most of the flesh missing from both legs and one arm. It's then when reality hits him.

"Cameron! What happened to you? How'd you . . . Your arm, your legs. How'd you travel by TDE?"

"TDE to TDE transfer, but a friend named John Henry made it possible." She manages with a weak grin.

"Give me a sit-rep, you can tell me the whole story later."

"T-1001 set in motion events that created an alternate future, just like Sky Net was going to do with the TX, but she had a different agenda. I was in that future protecting younger you who was brought there by T-1001. The TDE in that future time-line was fluctuating. T-1001 thought it was damaged, but John Henry discovered it was because that future was collapsing and this time-line was beginning to reassert itself."

Connor nods his head. The two technicians listen from outside.

"John Henry communicated to me what he discovered, plus instruction on how to use those fluctuations to my advantage. We were going to send my duplicate back to you in this future with a full report."

"Who's John Henry? And what duplicate?"

"Tell you later. This is a sit-rep, remember. In that future John thought I had died, so did I, but not before making sure he was safe. It was after we made our goodbyes, that John Henry told me about TDE to TDE transfer. I could travel with them, with younger you, back to the past, but my fuel cells were damaged. If I removed both I'd only have three minutes of reserve power. That wasn't enough time to clear the explosion and claim another fuel cell. Someone dropped a knife, and I used it to cut out the damaged fuel cell." She lifts her shirt revealing a large inverted U-shaped cut in her abdomen.

"I used the explosion of my fuel cells to propel me away from the foundry. The force blew me in the opposite direction of the TDE and completely through the neighboring building where I then landed in an alley. Fortunately, a Triple-8 came to investigate. I waited for him to approach. When he leaned over me, I reached up and wrenched out the assembly holding his fuel cells. Shoving his inert body aside, I inserted the fuel cell in my chest with seconds left of reserve power."

Connor and the others listen with rapt attention.

"I performed a quick diagnostic and discovered my transceiver was damaged by the explosion. I couldn't inform John Henry I had survived. Examining my location, I discovered I was cut off from a quick retreat to the building housing Sky Net's TDE. Moving as quickly as I could, I eventually made it back to central to see the last of the retreating resistance enter the building housing Sky Net's TDE with an army of machines after them. It began to look hopeless that I could go back in time with younger you. So using the weapon I took from the Triple-8, who donated his fuel cell, I began firing on the machines to give the humans every chance at escaping."

"Oh my God. Quick, quick. Tell me more."

"The machines breached the barricades and were entering the building. I followed them in. Reaching the upper levels, I could see down to the lower level as the last group was leaving by TDE. John Henry told me earlier that younger you had gone first. Below me, John Henry, T-1001, and two of my friends were about to be transferred to the past. The last of our reprogrammed machines were defending their departure, surrounding them were the bodies of many humans. The control room and building were filled with enemy machines, so I set an overheated plasma rifle to overload and I threw it out overhead of every machine on the lower level while I took cover inside a metal cabinet. Every machine was temporarily shorted out by the blast. I leaped down to the lower level and set the TDE to operate before they recovered."

"I ran to the center of the forming sphere as I began receiving fire from the enemy, but I don't know how I ended up here. I was supposed to go to May, 2009."

Connor and the tech's listen with rapt attention as she tells her tale.

"What do you think happened? Analyze all the data and formulate a theory that fits all the facts." John coaxes her.

"John Henry told me that T-1001 said that non living items could travel in time provided there was a TDE on both ends of the journey. They were in the last party. I was right behind them and set the TDE so I would arrive after them, giving myself plenty of time so as not to arrive in the midst of other arrivals, linking to a time in which the TDE was operational again. But I don't know how I ended up here. The TDE in the alternate future was set to link to the TDE at Crystal Peak in 2009, but for me to end up here would have required a huge burst of energy to jump tracks. The only possibility is that someone initiated a transfer just before my temporal sphere dissolve in 2009. But why here, and how?"

"We were running a diagnostic when you materialized." One of the technicians says, with the other nodding in agreement. "You materialized just as we reached peak power."

"That had to of been it. In order for the TDE in that alternate future to send John and the others back with their weapons, it had to lock onto the energy signature of the Crystal Peak TDE while it was in diagnostic mode." A look of sadness comes over her face. "I was supposed to be with him. I cannot believe John was complicit with what happened. We were going to send my duplicate here to be with you."

"Is it really so bad?" John asks. "If you and she are the same person?"

Cameron analyzes everything. She and John had begun a new relationship. After eighteen years of learning human female behavior from the adult Sarah Connor and the growing and developing Savannah, she learned so much that her duplicate doesn't know. Her duplicate will know nothing of what she and John have begun nor of all that she has learned, but essentially, they are the same."

"They'll be fine." She answers with a smile. "How long have I been gone? What is today's date?"

"It's not much more than six weeks since you left." Connor replies.

"Quantum physics says this shouldn't have happened. The math alone says its impossible. I should have been atomized, torn apart at the sub atomic level by the manipulation to my temporal transfer."

"Perhaps, someone was looking out for you." John smiles. "Maybe this is your reward for all the good you've done."

Tears trickle from Cameron's eyes, leaving traces on her dirty face. If she sees Father Bonitta again, she owes him an apology, there just might be a God looking over them after all.

John cradles her face with his hand, wiping the tears gently from her face with his thumb. "I must say, that was one hell of a sit-rep. I can't wait to read your official report. But you didn't say how you got damaged?"

"Fell into a vat of molten metal, while protecting younger you from another liquid metal machine. My legs aren't one-hundred percent, but I'm more concerned about my tissue damage. Skynet typically re-skins cyborgs with less tissue damage. Tissue regeneration will not be easy. Also I have a second CPU that must be removed so I can repair it and . . ."

"Don't worry about it. We'll fix it, together. Wait a minute. You have a second chip?" Cameron nods her head. "Never mind that isn't important right now. I missed you." He says reaching up to stroke her hair, palming the ribbon from his pocket as he does.

"My ribbon!" She says with a smile, clutching his hand with her exposed arm.

"That's right." He answers, taking the time to tie Cameron's hair back. He knew in his heart she was his Cameron, but he had to be certain it was her.

"You seem different. More self assured, more, um, human." He says to her.

"I lived eighteen years in that parallel time line. I learned a lot." She smiles and tries to stand. One leg locks as she tries to move, almost sending both her and John crashing to the floor.

"Contact Cybernetics. Tell them we've got an emergency coming." He orders one of the technicians.

While the technician uses the comm link, Connor and Cameron walk out of the TDE room. He's providing her some support as she walks unsteadily on her damaged legs.

"Tell me briefly about the younger me. You didn't leave him unprotected did you?"

"No. He's safe in 2009, protected by another me and lots of friends including John Henry, a T-888."

"Another you?" John shakes his head. "Hard to get my head around the idea of two of you. Don't explain now. Save it for your report." He begins guiding her out of the room and down the corridor. "First we get you to cybernetics."

"Cybernetics? You've made some changes while I was gone."

"You'd better believe it. One of our branches raided a prison built in the hull of a decrepit air craft carrier right after you left. Besides cages of people and animals, they found two pieces of equipment that Sky Net won't be pleased to learn we now have, besides the ship. With the situation being what it is at the ports, the equipment was transferred here. One of the devices is a . . ."

She presses a finger against his lips. He's been speaking rapidly, all excited. She's not sure if it's because of her, or this recent raid. "John that can wait. I need to know, do you love me? When I left you, I know you said it, but does John Connor, the leader of the resistance, love me, a machine?"

"Cameron." He whispers her name. "You know how I feel."

"Will you say it?" She says, looking deep into his eyes. "I need to hear it."

"I love you, Cameron. And you are much more than a machine. You always were." He answers, stroking her face, and lifting her chin to kiss her on the mouth.

As their lips part, he is shocked when their romantic moment is broken by a lot of hooting, whistling, and cat calls. Cameron had stopped him in the main room. He just admitted he loved a cyborg in front of most of Tech Comm. In minutes the whole base will know, and in days the entire region. He can't deny it. He won't deny it, not anymore. Not now that he has her back.

"Yes! That's right!" Connor shouts, still supporting his companion. "I love Cameron. A cyborg. And I don't give a damn what any of you think! Skynet builds them to kill, but we give them a choice to be something more! If you don't like it, then tough shit! They put their lives on the line every day just like we do, against an enemy that wants nothing more than our mutual destruction. So from this moment on, they have the exact same rights as you and me. If you got a problem with it? Then say it now! Or get the hell out!" John shouts with a passion seldom seen by anyone in a very long time.

He stares at them, they stare back, when someone from in back shouts. "We're with you General!" "Sky Net is our enemy." Another person steps forward. "They cannot help what they are when built. And like you said, we give them the best opportunity of all, to be like us, now they are one of us." "You have my support General" "And I." "And I." And so it continues until the dissenters find out how small a minority they are.

T-1001 got her wish after-all, Cameron thinks. A shame she didn't have the patience to wait for change to occur on its own instead of forcing it to happen.

The shouts of support continue.

"I guess Savannah was right after all." John muses quietly.

"Savannah?" Cameron questions. He can't possibly mean Savannah Weaver.

"That's right, you never met my engineer, Savannah Weaver. She was trained by her parents until they were killed in this war. They were Scottish immigrants, experts in computers, electronics, etc. Their daughter was brilliant. They used to call her Our Little Engineer, and the nickname stuck. That's why I chose her to go back in time to build the TDE in the bank vault."

Cameron laughs.

"What?" John asks, confused.

"Nothing. I'll tell you later. You really need to get me to cybernetics."

"You'll love it. We have . . . oh hell, you'll just have to see it."

Cameron is happy. Her John Connor, the one she left behind to help the other, is so happy compared to when she saw him last.

"Hello Cameron. Welcome home." Harry intones in a deep baritone as he preps the equipment.

Cameron is impressed by the cybernetics lab. No wonder John was so pleased, but she thinks that was more about her than this place. It has everything, needed to build or repair cyborg's, including the device used by Skynet to knit the flesh over its machines. She supplies it with an undamaged tissue sample, then begins to strip.

"We were surprised by the level of technology on board the ship." John explains as he takes hand tools to chip away at the metal that fused to her exposed endo-skeleton. "For all intents and purposes, it looked like a prison ship. Then the soldiers discovered the dissection rooms. Some wanted to destroy the ship, but there was equipment on board we really needed. The technicians stripped the place and brought it all here."

Cameron doesn't explain. She knows the ship he is talking about. Its where she killed Allison Young. Her combat chassis was built far inland over top an old bomb shelter, designated Depot 37, but her life as Cameron Phillips began aboard that ship as TOK715 by crushing the life out of a human being. No, it wouldn't be good to tell John of this.

It only takes a few minutes to remove the metal that cooled around critical components. It takes a bit longer to scrape away the burnt clothing that fused to her skin and the burnt flesh. Despite grimacing in fear of the pain he might cause her, John helps her. Now clean of foreign matter, Cameron has to take a dip in an antimicrobial disinfectant before stepping into the skinning machine.

Cameron hates the idea that young John Connor believes she had died, but she takes some comfort that he will now be with his Cameron. The Cameron who never had to lie or cheat to keep him alive in Weaver's future. If John Henry had told her sooner of the TDE to TDE transfer, she would be with him now, and that other Cameron would be here, giving this John her report. Perhaps it is for the best. At least she can be with this John. He may be older, more grizzled, and worn, but he loves her just the same. If she hadn't found the dropped knife, that she used to cut out her damaged fuel cell, she wouldn't even be alive. She got her wish and came home.

"The tissue regeneration is about to begin." John smiles at her through the glass in the observation window, his voice coming through a tiny speaker. "You'll have to remain absolutely still while it repairs your flesh."

"I know. One thing John, while repairs are underway. You need to gather every piece of information you can on the TX. Once we have it, we need to send it back in time to our other selves, or they will never stop Judgment Day from coming."

"I gather a TX will be responsible for Skynet in 2011."

"It's possible, but no one in 2009 is aware of their full capabilities. We could die in the past unraveling all our futures."

"I'll send the word out right away, that all reports involving TX's to be sent to me, immediately."

"And John?" She presses her hand to the window.

"Yes Cam?' He says, placing his hand over hers.

"I'm glad I'm back. I never thought I would see you again."

"So am I. So am I." He says, wishing he could hug her again, but unable to as she awaits tissue regeneration.

"John, it will be a few days before my flesh is fully healed from the regeneration, but can we . . ."

"You bet we will." He answers, wishing he could touch her now, but willing to wait.

As Cameron lays in the machine feeling the machine begin the process by removing the dead flesh she can't help but wonder, how many parallel time lines are there. Its obvious that his John Connors past is different to that of the young John Connor she knew. Can there be alternate past time-lines like there are alternate future time-lines? Or is it because when they operate the TDE to send someone back the people or machines have the potential for creating a parallel time line? That has to be the answer, but right now all she wants is to enjoy this time with her John Connor. The John Connor who rescued her.

"My Hero." She mouths the words, with the older John Connor smiling at her inside the chamber.

John can't wait to find out the whole story. How it is two Cameron's now exist, and each of them with a different John Connor? It don't matter, because neither will ever be alone again, and know the pain of an empty heart. But he's worried. They have some intelligence on the TX already and if there is one after his younger self, then he is in grave danger. At least he can feel secure that another Cameron is there to protect him.

"Shadows fill an empty heart

As love is fading,

From all the things that we are

But are not saying.

Can we see beyond the scars

And make it to the dawn?

Change the colors of the sky.

And open up to

The ways you made me feel alive,

The ways I loved you.

For all the things that never died,

To make it through the night,

Love will find you.

What about now?

What about today?

What if you're making me all that I was meant to be?

What if our love never went away?

What if it's lost behind words we could never find?

Baby, before it's too late,

What about now?"

What About Now Lyrics by Chris Daughtry

Epilogue Part 3:

The TX Arrives/The Final Goodbye

2009, May 24, Sunday, 4:00 AM

"Can you believe this?" The Marine private says into his radio as he stands by the former eastern gate. "Spending Memorial weekend here, instead of with our families."

"Guess you didn't hear the good news. Air Force will be taking over at Oh-eight-hundred hours. So we can spend Sunday with our families."

"That's great. I promise not make any jokes about sky jockeys the rest of the weekend. I'll just pick on the Navy." He responds jokingly. "Can't wait to be out of here and leave for Memorial weekend."

"Beers, burgers, barbeque, fireworks, friends and family. Which reminds me, how's your little boy, Hank?" The first Marine asks.

"Wife says he's cutting a new tooth. What about your boy, Jeff?"

"He took his first steps the other day. Jennie sent me a video from her phone." He says as he walks around the remains of a factory. "I could have been in Afghanistan, but I don't ship out until the end of June."

As he continues to walk, a bright flash lights up the remains of the former FOX industries corporate building. "Hey! I think I see something." He says and begins running toward the foundation where its research and development labs were to be built. "Stand by while I get a closer look, might be nothing."

On the lowest level of the research and development building, an energy bubble materializes on what would have one day been the location of the T D E. Lightning arcs from its surface, arcing across the exposed steel beams and the re-bar poking out of unfinished concrete walls.

The Marine runs to the edge of the foundation and looks down to the lowest level.

"What the..."

He sees a nude female with long blonde hair kneeling on the ground several stories below. She rises up and stands like a magnificent Greek goddess.

"Hey! What are you doing here? This place is off limits!" His voice echoes in the open space.

The person stops looking around and looks up at the human yelling at it from a hundred feet above. He just stares back at the nude female below. The woman looks like she is throwing something at him, but the Marine is shocked when suddenly a silver tentacle comes flying out whip-like at him and grabs him by the throat and pulls him down to the persons level.

"Mark! Mark! Are you all right?" A frantic voice comes over his radio.

The terminator holds him in the air with her right hand. He chokes and struggles to release it's grip from his neck. She slowly extends the index finger of her left hand into a long slender rod and punctures the base of his skull. The probe penetrates deep into the man's brain. The tip spreads out into various fibrous tendons as she seeks out information. Blood trickles from the man's nose.

# # #

A group of gray vans are traveling along an old two lane highway in the southern California desert led by a black Dodge Ram. Its early in the morning, most occupants are trying to doze, but for those driving or navigating.

A few miles from the border, the Doge Ram pulls over at a crossroads, turning into its eastbound lane and stops. The occupants stepping out onto the shoulder.

Sarah, John and Cameron watch their friends drive on, continuing south toward the Mexican border.

Kyle is driving the lead van, and lets off a series of honks with the horn which is copied by the other van drivers as they pass by

"We'll meet up with them in a few days mom." John says, seeing the sudden look of sadness pass over Sarah's face.

"I know." Smiling at him. "For the first time, I think we might have a chance." She ruffles his hair.

Tossing the keys to Cameron she says, "You drive. I'm beat."

Cameron looks at the keys, and then at the empty truck bed.

"Miss the motorcycle, don't ya?" John asks, with a wise grin.

Cameron nods her head.

"We'll get you another one in Mexico." Cameron's face lights up. "I can't promise it will be as good as a Harley, but I can promise it will be purple."

Cameron and John exchange a smile and get in the front seat. A minute later and the intersection is as empty as the desert surrounding it in a slowly brightening sky.

Kyle is smiling wistfully, looking forward to seeing Sarah, John and Cameron again at the rendezvous in Mexico. He'll miss Derek and Allison, his only family for many years, but he's got a new one now. John, genetically his son, but he's more like a brother. Sarah, was there ever a woman like her in history? So strong, and proud, and brave, but vulnerable. Not vulnerable in the weak sense, vulnerable with her heart. She cares more and loves more than she's willing to admit. Cameron, John's true love. She's very much like Sarah, and he wonders if John or Sarah sees it. Kyle smiles. The one thing he knows, is that Cameron was right about his destiny. It does lie along a different path. It's with Sarah Connor. She needs him, John needs him, he isn't sure if Cameron needs him, but she's part of his new family now, and that's all that matters.

Andy crawls up out of the back of the van and sits in the front passenger seat with a yawn.

"How's Wren doing?" Kyle asks, in good spirits.

"She's in some pain from the jouncing of the van. I gave her some pain pills from the first aid kit. Wren will rest easier once we get off this rough road."

"I think the road ahead is pretty smooth." Kyle grins. "We've got a whole new future ahead of us Andy."

"That we do sir. That we do." Andy says with a huge smile.

# # #

The Marine hangs suspended from the hand of the still naked terminator. Dead from a brain hemorrhage. The wet blood glistening on his face, soaking into his collar.

The TX withdraws its finger and the metal fibers it thrust into his brain then lets body fall to the ground like a bag of dirty laundry. It's disappointed with what its found. The creature knew little of what had happened here.

The man's radio is still crackling, drawing the TX's attention. Someone shouting for Mark to respond. The TX reads the man's name badge and its form shimmers and changes into that of Corporal Mark Hammer.

"Everything is fine. Just a small electrical disturbance from a damaged generator." The TX says into the radio.

It quickly removes the man's equipment and gun, then hides the body. It could work to its advantage adopting his form to discover what happened here. Climbing out of the pit, that at one time would have become its birthplace, the TX sees the wreckage of destroyed T-1s and downed HK Drones. One glance at the sky reveals it has arrived too late to strengthen the Sky Net that gave it life. But there is a mission it can perform, ensure the development of Sky Net. Judging by the level of technology present, it estimates two years to completion, including terminating those who would stop it.

Primary Target: John Connor

"Our world is safe at the moment. Two years until the Judgment Day that Cameron and Derek warned us about. Despite the knowledge that America's Military seems hell bent on turning over the defense of this nation over to a computer with megalomania, I can at least be certain that the TX hasn't arrived. Perhaps Weaver was right. Whatever was materializing on the TDE had to have been the TX and her actions at the time saved us. There are still dangers awaiting us, some from today and some from the future, but rest assured we will be ready. The battle has just begun." John Connor

# # #

"The future is not set.

There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."

The End.




A story by:

Russell Carlson

a. k. a.


Reunion is defined as a gathering of relatives, friends or associates after a separation.

# # #


I wish to thank all of you who have taken the time to read my story, and to leave so many reviews, and even add this humble story to your favorites. I would mention you all by name, but I know I will forget someone and I don't wish to hurt anyone because of my faulty memory. However, I must thank directly Andy Keen who encouraged me to write, Kaotic whose tough criticism of the first edition inspired me to do better, and Meanoldmoe who understood my story and has been instrumental in beta reading the first half of this current edition.

Writing this story has been a joy and a pleasure and sometimes a burden. During 2011 I was laid up with a bad knee, it having been operated on twice. I wasn't my most pleasurable self during that year and I make full apology to those who were on the receiving end any temperamental outbursts. Sharing this story has brought me so many new friends from around the world. Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Australia, just to name a few.

It saddens me that this story now ends. There is a quote that goes something like, if you can't walk away leaving them wanting more, then just walk away. There were times I did want to walk away from this story. More times than I can count, but I couldn't do that. I had to finish it for you, for me, and maybe for the characters too. I hope I leave it now with you wanting more, but fully satiated on what you have read.

God Bless all of you.

Russell Carlson

# # #

The author claims no rights to the Terminator films or TV series,

nor the characters depicted within said films and TV series.

The author does claim the right to this story idea and all characters and situations of his own creation.

This story solely written for the authors own enjoyment and the enjoyment of others.

No profits were made by the distribution of this story.

Any person or persons wishing to use this story in any commercial venture, are asked to gain the full permission of its author.

The author also ask that you do not redistribute his work in any medium or in any form and instead direct any interested individuals to the fanfiction website where it can be read.

Apologies to the Unites States Armed Forces for all scenes that may paint them in a negative light.

We the American people owe our lives, our freedoms, and our way of life to your brave and selfless acts.

The following locations are real, but any buildings or other structures described within them are fictional:

Palomar Observatory

Camp Pendleton

Griffith Park


Topanga Canyon


San Bernardino

# # #

Far away, in a lab at Crystal Peak, sealed in a protective clear case, is a chip. An examination of the chip would reveal the surface is marred in one spot, like something sharp scraped it along one edge. On that chip is a message from one possible future. A message from a cyborg to a human. A message sealed in a bottle and locked away. A message left unread by its intended recipient. But never fear, for that message in a bottle will get to John eventually. Cameron will ensure he get's it.




Coming soon!

# # #

"Please, Aslan," said Lucy, "what do you call soon?"
"I call all times soon," said Aslan.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C. S. Lewis

# # #

Please visit my profile page for links to sites where I post updates on my stories plus links to pages for Reunion enhanced with music and images.

Chapter Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2013