In one possible future, a military computer intended for coordination of intelligence and defense networks, known as Skynet, went online in the late twentieth century. The computer, designed to detect threats to national security, became self-aware and came to regard all human beings as a threat. Skynet seized control of the systems under its coordination and initiated a worldwide nuclear bombardment.
Billions of human lives ended in a single day.
Those who remained came to call the event Judgment Day. They survived the nuclear fire only to face the relentless onslaught of the machines under Skynet's control. The war raged for years. Humankind was pushed to the brink of extermination.
One man emerged to lead them from the ashes: John Connor.
Under his leadership, the Resistance beat back the machines. On the edge of victory, they discovered secret Skynet laboratories, filled with what they realized was time displacement equipment; desperate, knowing the war was lost in 2027, Skynet sent elite infiltration units - Terminators - back through time to eliminate John Connor and his chief lieutenants in their youth in an attempt to rewrite history. Realizing what this meant, Connor sent his own agents back through time to stop them and destroyed the laboratories.
One by one, the time-traveling saboteurs have been defeated. Judgment Day has been postponed again and again. Skynet's last chance to ensure its own existence draws close.
The battle for our tomorrow begins yesterday.
Chuck Versus Judgment Day
(Future Starts Slow)
Los Angeles, California
J-minus 4 days
Before sunrise on a clear spring morning, lightning arced out in an alleyway between brick buildings lined with fire escapes, flying out from an invisible sphere in twitching fingers to set garbage aflame. The only witness to this event, a tired old homeless woman dressed in filthy rags, stared at the inexplicable lightning drunkenly, a bottle clutched in one grimy hand. She straightened in her seat in the doorway of one of the buildings, frowning at the crackling electrical discharge as it slowly resolved itself into an eerily perfect mirrored sphere.
The sphere flashed and faded, leaving a crater-like indent in the trash-strewn asphalt of the alleyway, glowing bright red at its edges. In the center of the crater knelt a naked human figure.
The vagrant squinted suspiciously at the bottle in her hand and set it aside, blinking repeatedly. The scene did not change; the figure remained, resolving itself in the dim pre-dawn light to a tall, powerfully built man with short, bristly brown hair and a bodybuilder's physique.
He looked around the alley for a moment before his gaze passed over the homeless woman, and he abruptly stopped, his eyes reminding her of the falcons she occasionally saw hunting among the buildings.
"Hey, did you jus' see a real bright light?" she slurred to the man, still trying to figure out if he was real.
"Sarah Walker?" he asked her, his voice deep, with some sort of accent. He paused, staring at her intently. "No," he said before she could reply.
"What happened to your clothes?" the homeless woman asked him. "Little lady kick you out or something?"
"What is the date?" the naked bodybuilder asked her.
The vagrant squinted at her cheap green watch, its broken band patched with duct tape. "April the 17th."
"And I thought I was drunk," the vagrant cackled. "What have you been drinking, buddy? Got any left?"
Booming bass sounded just then, loud enough to rattle the windows in the alley, accompanied by the soft white glow of distant headlights shining against the walls of the buildings.
The vagrant cowered back in her doorway. "Gangbangers," she whimpered. She looked up at the naked bodybuilder. "You better hide, buddy."
The man did not move, his raptor gaze locked on the end of the alley. He waited patiently as the car drew nearer, and did not flinch when the headlights shone in his face.
"Yo, what the hell is this?" a young male voice shouted out of the darkness beyond the headlights over the screech of brakes. "Get your naked ass outta the way 'fore I pop a round in it."
"I warned you," the vagrant muttered, huddling against the door.
The man still did not move, staring with only a slight squint at the car. "Give me your clothes and your vehicle."
"Hell with you," the gangbanger shouted back. "Put him down!"
With a bright flash, a gunshot erupted out of the darkness, and the man jerked as the bullet tore into his upper chest on the right side.
But he did not go down.
Instead, he marched forward into the glow of the headlights, and suddenly the homeless woman heard more gunshots, crashing noises, and the gangbangers screaming panicked curses. Finally things went silent but for the thumping bass of the car stereo, and she heard pained blubbering which ended with three gunshots.
One minute later, the huge man walked back over to her, now dressed in dark blue jeans which had been baggy on their original owners but fit him snugly, a tight black t-shirt, and black boots. He had a splash of blood across his face, which he wiped off with the ragged, already bloody white shirt he held in one enormous hand as he approached. He stopped in front of her and tossed his bloody rag aside.
"Please don't hurt me," the vagrant whimpered. "I won't tell the cops nothing, I swear."
"Which direction is the highway from here?" he asked, frighteningly calm.
The vagrant stared at him incredulously. "What?"
"Which direction is the highway from here?" he repeated patiently.
She raised one hand and pointed, breathing raggedly.
The man slowly looked in the direction she indicated, then back at her. "Thank you," he said emotionlessly, and turned to walk back to the gangbangers' still-running car.
A moment later, the booming bass ceased, and the car's wheels screeched as it drove past her down the alley.
"Sure glad I ain't Sarah Walker," the vagrant muttered to herself as she collected her meager possessions and fled. "Whoever that is."
"Walker?" a gruff male voice called through Castle, headquarters of Carmichael Industries. "Walker, you here?"
In the well-stocked armory of the former CIA/NSA base, a slender woman in her late twenties with shoulder-length blonde hair, dressed in black trousers, boots, and a t-shirt of the same color, sat at a table, expertly disassembling and cleaning an assault rifle. When she finished arranging the components on the table, she set her cleaning rag aside and looked up.
"In the armory, Casey," she called back, standing. "What is it?"
John Casey, a tall, broad-shouldered man with dark hair, appeared in the doorway, dressed in a similar outfit consisting of a polo shirt, trousers, and boots, all black. "Just got a message through the website. Somebody wants to hire us, wants you and Bartowski to call 'em as soon as you can."
"What's the number?" Sarah asked, reaching into her hip pocket. "I'll call them right now."
"Better get your dumber half first," Casey said. "Message was very specific that they wanted to talk to all three of us. All stiff and clandestine-like, probably wannabe CIA or something."
Sarah, herself a former CIA agent, smirked lightly at that. "I think he and Morgan are around here somewhere." She gestured to the rifle on the table. "Can you go find him while I get this squared away?"
Casey nodded once. "Sure."
In a darkened passageway, its walls and ceiling black with dark red metal bulkheads spaced evenly along its length, a tall, skinny young man in his late twenties walked warily along, his white-soled black sneakers making almost no sound. He wore black trousers and an untucked white shirt with a gray necktie, its knot loosened to hang below the shirt's second button. A badge affixed to a pocket protector filled with pens and pencils proclaimed him to be Chuck Bartowski, Nerd Herd Supervisor.
Chuck turned at the sound of deep breathing from somewhere behind him, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. "I know you're there," he called.
"The Force is with you, young Bartowski," a voice called back, mechanically distorted. "But you are not a Jedi yet!"
With that, an odd figure leaped around a bend in the corridor: a short man in a gray suit and similar white-soled black sneakers, wearing an incongruous black Darth Vader helmet. In his right hand he held a toy lightsaber, which he 'ignited', turning its blade a glowing red.
Chuck activated his own 'lightsaber', which was blue, and they crossed blades several times, the plastic clacking together as speakers hidden in the hilts made sparking electrical noises.
The diminutive 'Vader' drove Chuck back down the hallway into a wide room lined with darkened computer monitors and empty alcoves. Chuck pretended to stumble on something and went down, toppling backwards to lay on his back on the floor.
"You are beaten! It is useless to resist," 'Vader' said, swooping forward to place the end of his glowing red blade above Chuck's neck. "Don't make me destroy you."
"What are you two morons doing?" demanded a voice from the entrance to the hallway they'd just come down.
Chagrined, Chuck looked over to see Casey standing there with his arms crossed over his chest, glowering at them disapprovingly.
"Um…" Chuck hesitated, then finally shrugged and smiled. "Exactly what it looks like."
'Vader' pulled off his helmet to reveal the grinning bearded face of Morgan Grimes. He held the helmet and toy lightsaber out to Casey. "Want a turn, big guy?"
Casey's glower deepened as he stared wordlessly at Morgan.
"Joking, obviously," Morgan said, unconcerned. "Hold this, would you?" he said, handing the helmet to Casey before helping Chuck to his feet with his free hand.
"Got a potential client," Casey said, gesturing back down the hallway with a thumb. "Wants to talk to the head of Carmichael Industries. Should I go back and tell him you're busy playing with your toys?"
"No," Chuck said quickly, handing his toy lightsaber to Morgan. "Who is it?" he asked, trying to hide his embarrassment.
Casey smirked at him anyway. "He won't say. Wants us to call him."
Chuck hurried past him, heading back to the main area of Castle, but Morgan stayed behind for a moment, looking up at the taller Casey.
"You'd make a good Vader, you know," he said, gesturing to the mask Casey held in one hand. "You wear a lot of black. And you've already got the whole 'scary dad' thing going on."
"Move it, Grimes," Casey growled. "Just 'cause we closed off this part of Castle doesn't mean you can come down and screw around in here."
"But it looks just like the hallway in Cloud City where Luke and Vader fought!" Morgan protested. "All we need is a big window and things I can throw at Chuck."
"Out!" Casey barked, pointing down the hall.
Morgan scurried off, leaving Casey alone in the disused section of Castle.
Casey looked down at the plastic Vader helmet and let out a soft chuckle. "No, I am your father," he said to himself.
A snort of suppressed laughter made him look up, and he scowled again as he saw both Morgan and Chuck standing at the end of the hallway, still within earshot, looking at him and snickering.
In the outdoor food court of the shopping center around the Burbank Buy More, two men dressed similarly to Chuck sat at one of the tables eating lunch, shaded from the bright midday sun beneath a large orange and white umbrella. One of the men, bushy-haired and vacant-eyed, slurped loudly from a large soda cup, noisily rooting around in a bag of chips with his other hand.
His companion, a shorter man with a fringe of black hair and an olive complexion, took a large bite of his sandwich, idly looking around the shopping center, and suddenly froze, staring at something over the other man's shoulder. A small piece of lettuce hung from the corner of his mouth, quivering slightly.
"Jeffery," he hissed in an urgent whisper, reaching over to shake the other man's arm. "Jeffery, look!"
"What?" Jeff asked, blinking drowsily. "What is it, Lester?"
Lester pointed. "It's that horrifying Greta woman who tried to kill us a few months ago!"
Jeff ducked as he turned in his seat, nearly toppling his chair. "Where?"
Lester pointed again, his arm shaking. "Over there, near the Underpants Etc." He paused, an odd look coming over his face. "Oh, go inside," he muttered half to himself. "Go in the underwear store, you frightening sexy woman."
The object of his attention was a willowy young woman with long light brown hair walking through the parking lot of the shopping center with a purposeful gait. She wore tight jeans tucked into calf-length leather boots, a purple leather jacket over a black tank top, and carried a white plastic shopping bag in one hand.
"Lester, she threatened us with a knife!" Jeff said, slouching down in his chair and peering over the back.
"I thought you liked that in a woman, Jeffery."
An almost wistful expression passed over Jeff's face at this. "Yeah, I kinda do." He sobered, or at least got close. "But what's she doing here?"
Lester watched eagerly for a moment, and his face fell as the young woman turned away from the Underpants Etc. and went into a sporting goods store instead. "Probably buying something boring like a tent," he said sourly, finally putting his sandwich down. He paused, his beady eyes flicking back up to the row of storefronts. "Hey, let's follow her!"
"What if she sees us?" Jeff asked nervously.
Lester shrugged. "Then we'll just do what we always do when we get caught following a woman: run away and hope she doesn't call the police."
Jeff paused in a rare moment of reflection. "We're disgusting, aren't we?"
Lester waved this away dismissively. "Bah. Let's go, Jeffery. Stay down."
Crouching below the row of windows along the front wall of the shopping center, the two of them scurried over to the sporting goods store. In unison, they slowly edged their faces up over the bottom of the window, looking inside.
"I don't see her," Jeff whispered to his companion, his nose pressed up against the glass.
"She's over there by the guns," Lester whispered back, nudging Jeff with his elbow.
Jeff's brows rose appreciatively. "She really knows how to handle a weapon."
Lester grinned salaciously. "I'd like her to handle my weapon."
Both of them jumped as someone suddenly smacked the glass from inside the store. They looked up to see the store's manager, an older man a large bushy white mustache, scowling down at them.
"How many times do I have to tell you two deviates to cut that out?" he shouted, his voice muffled by the window.
"She sees us, Lester!" Jeff warned, pointing.
Cringing, both of them ran in an odd sort of crouching sprint back to the food court, where they ducked back into their seats and huddled over the table, feigning nonchalance.
When Lester dared to look back over at the store, he saw the Greta woman standing in front of it and staring directly at him, now with several long boxes under one arm, the shopping bag in her other hand accompanied by another filled with ammo boxes.
As Lester watched, her eyes narrowed slightly and her head tilted slightly to one side, as if she was considering whether to walk over to them, but she apparently decided against it and walked through the parking lot instead. When she reached her vehicle, a large late-model black king-cab pickup, she stowed the boxes and the shopping bags in the backseat, then turned as she closed the door to look at Jeff and Lester again. She frowned, just enough to be noticeable at this distance.
Lester cowered behind his sandwich, peering furtively over it and wishing fervently that she would get in her truck and drive away.
His wish was not granted.
Instead of getting into the truck, the young woman put her keys back in her pocket and set off through the parking lot again, staring intently at something several yards away. Lester followed her gaze and saw that she was looking at a television in the window of the small electronics store that somehow managed to stay open only a few spaces down from the Buy More.
It was probably because the owner was so sickeningly pleasant, Lester thought to himself, and didn't snap at annoying customers with their stupid problems.
As the door of the electronics store opened, he caught a snippet of the news broadcast currently playing. "The victim was identified as Sarah Walker, 41, a local resident found brutally shot to death in her home just a few short hours ago."
"Whoa, somebody killed Bartowski's super-hot wife?" Jeff said, half-turning in his chair.
"Not her, you nimrod; somebody else with the same name," Lester snapped.
"Weird," Jeff said, picking up his soda again. He looked at his watch. "Our lunch hour's over."
Lester leaned back in his chair. "So we've got another fifteen minutes."
The Greta woman stared at the television for a moment, then reached into her hip pocket and pulled out a cell phone. The motion tugged up the back of her jacket just enough for Lester to see a handgun tucked into the back of her jeans, and his eyes widened in alarm.
She said something into the phone, brought it down to push a couple of buttons, then raised it to her ear again and said something else, frowning slightly. After a moment, she flipped the phone closed, shoved it back into her pocket, then marched back to her truck and drove away.
Lester didn't have time to wonder what this meant, since just then Big Mike, the assistant manager, emerged from the Buy More and shouted over to them. "Patel, Barnes, get your lazy butts in here! Break time's over!"
"Coming, Michael!" Lester said as he stood.
Chuck, Sarah, and Casey gathered around the table in Castle's conference room, looking up at the large screen on one wall as Sarah typed at the table's inset keyboard to establish a video-link.
The screen flared to life as the person on the other end answered the call, displaying a middle-aged man in a suit and tie with a shaved-bald head, sitting in front of a featureless dark blue wall.
"Thank you for contacting me so quickly," the man said. "I have a job for you, if you're interested."
"Carmichael Industries is here to solve your problems," Chuck said with a bright smile. Casey elbowed him in the side, and he quickly added, "For the right price, Mister…"
"Smith," the man replied. "My clients prefer not to identify themselves at this time, due to the sensitive nature of the situation. The job's simple, but we need it done quickly. As in, tonight. Fifty thousand; half on acceptance, half on completion."
Chuck opened his mouth to reply, but Smith continued before he could speak.
"Two hours ago, my company monitored an attempt to gain access to our secure servers through some sort of worm. We traced the worm's origin to a computer in Zeira Corp headquarters."
"They're in technology development, aren't they?" Sarah said. "Why would they want to attack your company?"
"That's what we want you to find out," Smith replied. "We think Zeira Corp is up to something beyond the attack on us, but we have no proof to offer the authorities yet. What we want you to do is find out whether this was a sanctioned attack or if it was just an employee. Bring us pictures of what they've got in their R&D labs and copy their drives. We'll go through it for evidence of illegal activity, and if we find any, we'll go to the feds."
Chuck and Sarah exchanged a quick glance, then Chuck nodded and smiled. "We'll take the job."
Smith smiled stiffly. "Excellent. I'm wiring the first half of the money to your holding account now."
"Is there anything else you can tell us, Mr. Smith?" Sarah asked.
Smith's smile vanished. "If you get caught, you're on your own."
With that, he cut the connection and vanished from the screen.
Casey turned to Sarah. "So, corporate espionage?"
She nodded. "Most likely. Whoever he's working for is probably a competitor who wants a look inside Zeira Corp to see what they're up to. Like he said, if we get caught, we're on our own."
Chuck frowned. "I don't like this. We didn't start Carmichael Industries to steal corporate secrets. I say we call him back and refuse the job."
Casey blocked the keyboard with one hand. "Not so fast, Bartowski. We've been burning through the money Volkoff left us trying to get this company up and running; we can't just turn away a paying job like this."
"Casey, it's corporate espionage," Chuck protested. "You said it yourself. This guy wouldn't even say who he's working for."
"Which means he's up to something illegal, brainiac," Casey rejoined. "He said it needs to be done today to keep us from looking into it too much. It's why he hired a nothing outfit like us." He raised a finger as Chuck's expression turned indignant. "We still are, and you know it."
"Yeah, I guess," Chuck conceded. "But what do we do? We're not government-sanctioned anymore; we can't just waltz in and count on Beckman to cover our backs."
"I've heard rumors that Zeira is up to something big, maybe even illegal like Smith claims," Sarah said. "I say we go in-"
"Breaking and entering," Chuck said, holding up one finger.
"And take a look around," Sarah went on.
Chuck raised another finger. "Criminal trespassing."
Sarah continued patiently. "If it looks like Zeira is doing something illegal, we send the pictures to the authorities ourselves. If there's nothing…" She leaned toward her husband, a sly smile crossing her face. "We tell Zeira someone tried to hire us to break in, and offer to tighten their security instead. For a hefty fee, of course, we'll also look into who hired us."
Casey snorted. "Spoken like a true CIA agent." He shrugged. "But that's what I was thinking, too."
Chuck hesitated. "I don't know. I still don't really like this."
Casey scoffed. "Bartowski, you can't make a private intelligence omelet without breaking a few eggs. If you're actually serious about Carmichael, we have to get our start somewhere. If Zeira is up to something, they get busted. If they're not, they're a big potential client for us."
"Okay," Chuck said finally. "But we'll just have to try very hard not to get caught."
Sarah raised one eyebrow. "As opposed to the way we usually do things?"
Chuck made a face. "Oh, you know what I meant."
Sarah smiled, and leaned over to kiss his cheek as she stood up. "I'll get started on the mission prep."
Casey gestured to the bank of surveillance monitors along one wall of the main room. "You better go back upstairs and check on the Buy Morons. They already wonder why you're hardly ever in the store." He smirked. "Maybe you can see if Darth Grimes is ready to go another round."
Chuck grinned. "Join us, Casey. Con season's coming up, and we're putting together an 'Empire Strikes Back' cast. Morgan's right; you'd make a great Vader, and Alex has already agreed to be Leia." He comically extended a hand to the other man dramatically. "Give yourself to the Dork Side."
"Oh, shut up," said Casey.
"How about Chewbacca? You do growl a lot."
As Chuck expected, Casey responded to this with one of his trademark growls, then paused, realizing what he'd done.
"Move it, numb-nuts!"
Chuck laughed as he headed for the elevator.
Returning from its trip to the shopping center, the black king-cab pickup pulled up to a two-story brick house, where it was met in the driveway by a young man with short brown hair wearing jeans, a red t-shirt and a leather jacket.
He called to the driver as the truck stopped. "Hey, Cameron, where have you been all afternoon?"
"I required additional weapons," she replied as she opened the door to the truck's backseat.
"Right," the young man said dryly, his boots crunching on the gravel driveway as he walked over to her. "We don't have enough guns around here already."
"You can never have too many guns," Cameron replied evenly as she pulled out the boxes and the bag of ammunition. She handed him one of the boxes. "I got you a new shotgun, John. Merry Christmas."
John looked up from the box with a slight bemused frown. "Cameron, Christmas was almost five months ago."
She met his gaze with a sudden unsettling intensity. "There may not be another one."
John sighed heavily. "Right," he said sourly, lowering the box to his side. "We're almost to J-Day, from your timeline anyway."
"Skynet goes online April 19th, 2011," Cameron said. "Judgment Day is the 21st."
"Unless we stop it," said John.
"Unless we stop it," Cameron repeated.
"Yeah, well, in Uncle Bob's timeline, J-Day was August 29th, 1997, and we're still here fourteen years later," John said. "Even though we jumped over eleven of them."
"Uncle Bob?" Cameron asked curiously.
John looked back at her. "You know, the first one of you guys Future Me sent back to protect us? That's what I called him."
"T-800 series model 101," Cameron said. "An efficient model, but flawed. They were too tall and muscular to be inconspicuous. Also, their infiltration programming was insufficiently subtle."
John chuckled. "Yeah, yeah, you're better at that. Do machines feel jealousy?"
Cameron looked back at him without expression. "We feel."
Now it was John's turn to look at her curiously. "You've said that before. What do you-"
He was interrupted by the sound of the front door of the house bursting open, and both of them turned to look. In the doorway stood a steely-eyed woman in her mid-thirties with shoulder-length dark reddish-brown hair, dressed in a maroon tank top and dark gray cargo pants tucked into black combat boots. "Both of you get in here," she called to them. "We have a situation."
Once all three of them were in the house's living room, she grabbed the remote off the arm of the couch and turned up the volume on the television.
"Once again, the victim has been identified as Sarah Walker, 20, a college student at UCLA, shot to death just off campus one hour ago. This makes the second woman named Sarah Walker murdered today, but as of this time, it is unknown whether the killings are connected."
"1984; two Sarah Connors were killed before that thing zeroed in on me," John's mother said. She snatched a phone book off the edge of the couch. "There are four Sarah Walkers in the L.A. area. Is one of them in the Resistance in the future?"
"Yes," Cameron replied. "A woman named Sarah Walker, a former agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, is one of John's chief lieutenants in the future. She helps him set up security protocols in Resistance bases and develop early-warning systems for spotting Terminators attempting infiltration. She also assists John with strategy; she is key in organizing the raid on the Topanga Canyon facility which holds the time displacement equipment."
"So where is she now?" John asked. "Did this thing kill her already?"
"No," Cameron said, turning to look at him. "The Sarah Walker in the Resistance is neither of those women. I have already identified Sarah Walker's location in this time during one of my routine checks of known Resistance members' locations, something which I began doing after the incident with Martin Bedell."
"This one of those things you do at night when we're asleep?" Sarah Connor asked her.
Cameron looked over at her. "Yes."
"Why haven't you told me?"
"It's better if you don't know," Cameron replied. "If you are captured again, agents of Skynet in this time could torture the information out of you."
Sarah gave Cameron a dark look at that, but didn't pursue the point. Instead she asked, "So where's the Sarah Walker this thing is really after?"
"She's not in the phone book. She was formerly undercover, assigned to the joint CIA/NSA Intersect Project. Her division of the project was dissolved several months ago, but her team has since formed a private intelligence and operations agency, Carmichael Industries. They continue to operate out of the same location, a hidden base beneath the Burbank Buy More."
"Wait a minute, wait a minute," said John. "If she's CIA, her file would be extremely classified. How do you know all this?"
"Before I was sent back, Sarah Walker gave me her access codes to the CIA database," Cameron answered. "I used them to discern her location in this time so I could monitor her in preparation for a situation like this. Among other things."
"If you can access the government's databases, why don't you erase Mom's FBI file?" John asked.
"That would create more problems than it solved," said Sarah. "Our blowing up Cyberdyne and all the other things I did were high-profile enough that it'd be suspicious if my file just disappeared. The FBI still thinks we're dead, and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible."
"Sarah Walker is also no longer an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency," Cameron added. "Her codes aren't valid anymore."
"So, here's what we do," Sarah said, resting her hand on the pile of cardboard boxes next to her. "John, Derek, and I finish moving the rest of our gear. Tin Miss will go to Burbank, look up the relevant Sarah Walker, and take out the other machine when it comes after her."
"That would be inadvisable," said Cameron. "I already attempted to infiltrate the Intersect Project at the Burbank location. I was… unsuccessful, and the employees there will remember me. Two of them recognized me when I went to that shopping center this afternoon to pick up the guns."
"Is that where you went last fall?" John asked. "When you just disappeared for a few days with no explanation?"
"Did you kill anyone there?"
Cameron paused fractionally before answering. "No."
John crossed his arms, his expression going very serious. "Did you? Don't lie to me."
Cameron tilted her head slightly to one side. "Almost doesn't count."
John exchanged a wry look with his mother. "Yeah, they'd definitely remember her," he said. "One of us needs to go."
"We'll send Derek," Sarah said. "Where is he, anyway? He should have been back by now."
"I sent him to check on the other Sarah Walkers in the phone book when I saw the first broadcast," said Cameron.
"You said Carmichael Industries' base is under a Buy More?" John asked. At Cameron's nod, he went on. "Okay, I'll go there myself. Loitering in the store would be too noticeable, so I'll get a job as a Nerd Herd guy or something. We should also figure out where Walker lives and find a place nearby for a few days until we zero in on the Terminator after her."
"No, John, we need to get out of here," said Sarah. "Kaliba is still after us."
John turned to her with a determined look that made him seem older than his years. "This thing is after Walker and she has no idea. We can do something about it, so we will." His tone left no room for debate.
Sarah's face shifted into an expression halfway between exasperation and parental pride. "Fine," she conceded. "But after this thing is gone, so are we." She turned back to Cameron. "So what's this Intersect Project, anyway?"
Author's Note: This story is completely written out, at eight chapters and an epilogue, (think of it as a two-part episode of both shows or a movie) but I'll be posting one chapter per week to allow for any additional editing that might be necessary. I saw that I wasn't the first to do a crossover between these two shows, but for obvious reasons, I won't be reading any of those stories until this is completely posted.
As you've no doubt picked up from the story itself, this is set between the fourth and fifth seasons of 'Chuck', but I had to fudge the dates a bit to get 'TSCC' to line up with it; for the purposes of this story, the Connors jumped to fall 2010 instead of 2007, but otherwise everything in this timeline happened mostly as it did on the show. For 'TSCC', this story picks up after 'Today Is The Day, Part 2', opening with sort of an alternate version of 'To The Lighthouse' and proceeding from there. Also, this gave me the chance to set the story near the show's given date for Judgment Day, April 21, 2011, for reasons that will shortly become clear.
I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Till next time, thanks for reading!