Inferior Metal

Summary: Drabble. A glitch with a time bubble causes Cameron to come face to face with a Cyberman.

A/N: This is a sort-of prequel to the TTSCC series, set at the point when Cameron is first sent back from the future, and ties in with the events in "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel" in a parallel universe of Doctor Who. It's just a little idea I had that I wanted to try out – if the mechanics of a time bubble accidentally got caught up with a parallel universe, what would happen when Cameron encounters their version of a "cyborg"?

Updated A/N: I just wanted to address a couple of points raised via review from mark3232: the Cybermen may not be "proper" robots, but Cameron can't tell that. She says to Sarah that she is unable to perform CAT scans, therefore she has no way of discerning that Cybermen have brains and would logically assume from their outward appearance that they are androids. The second point has now been fixed. Yes, that should have been "upgrade", a mistake I don't know how I managed to write and not notice or correct except through carelessness. Clearly I did indeed have the Borg in my head confusing things when I wrote this. The third point he raised I don't believe is particularly relevant when both franchises involve time travel.

Disclaimer: I own neither Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles nor Doctor Who.

Static crackled around her. Forks of red light shot through the air, projecting outwards from the electric field that had formed around her body. Gradually, the bursts of artificial lightning began to decrease in frequency, and she became able to identify her surroundings.

Turning her head in a slow semicircle, she conducted a systematic scan of the area. The location was indoors; some kind of factory with dim lighting and black walls, and her air pressure sensors told her she was at an altitude several storeys off the ground. That didn't match with the mission detailed in her programming. The intended destination had been outdoors and at ground level. She was unable to measure her exact geographical or temporal location, but she calculated that the probability of it being correct was low.

Around her she could still detect an intense electromagnetic field, which indicated that the temporal bubble was still trying to perform a function, but yet nothing was happening. That must mean that something was interfering with it.

She cycled through the problem solving algorithms in her software.

Initial objective: locate John Connor

OVERRIDE

Temporary objective: locate source of interference

Cameron turned her head to scan for any possible incompatible magnetic fields in the immediate vicinity, but a second later she heard a noise behind her.

"All humans will be upgraded."

She processed the audio signature of the voice and determined it had a mechanical origin. A primitive sound generator, far inferior to her own voice synthesiser.

Cameron turned 127 degrees to view the source of the sound. Her optical receptors fell on a humanoid metal figure marching towards her, holding up a charge rifle. Its head was block-like and its facial features very basic. She searched for a record of it in her memory, but none of the files matched. It was not of Skynet origin.

The robot brandished the weapon at her and continued marching forward. "You are incompatible."

It was a mere two metres away now. She looked from its face down to the gun.

Threat level: HIGH

"Dele…"

Just as it was about to discharge the weapon Cameron took a step forward and raised her left hand to knock the gun to one side. Very quickly she followed up the move by bringing both her fists to either side of the android's head and punching inwards. The inferior metal crumpled under the force of the blow, and the crude figure fell unmoving to the floor.

Cameron bent down to pick up its weapon and scanned it. The charged plasma core was generating an electromagnetic field incompatible with the bubble, which must be the cause of its current stasis. Locating the power switch, she deactivated the weapon and tossed it to one side. Around her, crackles of electricity began to pick up again as the time bubble resumed performing its process.

Cameron waited for it to complete, meanwhile organising the new data in her system.

Temporary objective: remove interference

COMPLETE

Default objective: locate John Connor

A few moments later, the static field once again cleared.

She filed the image of the robot away in her memory under the folder "HOSTILES" and gave it the tag "CYBER-MAN". Then she diverted the attention of her CPU onto more important things and went to find the future leader of the resistance.