The Mission was to Protect...
Rather than post this in series-style I'm going to post each completed story as an additional chapter. Hopefully this should be easier to follow.
TITLE: The Mission was to Protect…
SUMMARY: Cameron and company run into Dawn of the present with unfortunate results.
WARNING: Like Joss, I like to kill off characters…
NOTES: Set Season One of Terminator: tSCC. This series was started during Season One, so canon does not hold true for Season Two, especially in regards to Cameron and her creation – please keep that in mind.
Thanks girls! All remaining mistakes are mine.
It was supposed to be a normal night. Sarah’s cooking was dismal at best and John and Derek wanted something edible. Cameron didn’t care either way, but it did make it more difficult to guard John in a public place. Dinner had been the only normal part of the night. The deviation to abnormal occurred on the trip back to the Jeep.
The girl’s scream cut through the night and Sarah stopped dead in her tracks. Cameron reached over to grab John’s shoulder to keep him from running into his mother’s back. Cameron turned forty-six degrees and located the source of the scream, a young blonde girl being dragged into the alley. Sarah and Derek had seen it too and they were already moving after her. Their guns were automatically, fluidly
, drawn, clutched low at their sides, but ready. Both moved with military training, the need to know the terrain no matter how foreign, and the ability to blend into the shadows. Cameron assessed that the dark clothing helped with that.
John ducked from under Cameron’s grip and followed after his mother and Derek. Cameron let out an annoyed sigh and followed behind, carefully checking the perimeter, not finding any other danger in the immediate area. Sarah and Derek would handle the situation. Though with Derek, a violent bloody death for the girl’s captor seemed imminent.
Cameron had never seen a vampire or any other supernatural creature. She’d heard of them from Dawn and occasionally the Slayers, but she’d never seen them. Judgment Day didn’t destroy just the human world, but the demonic along with it. Machines, intelligent and indestructible, took over the world and slaughtered everything in their path. The supernatural world retreated deep into the Earth’s recesses.
Cameron followed the others into the alley and located four men and their female captive. Derek and Sarah stood a few feet from one another, their guns drawn and pointed at the men, while John lingered behind them, shadowing his mother. A quick scan of the alley indicated there were no potential escape routes, yet the men did not seem alarmed by the guns.
“I said, let the girl go,” Sarah repeated, irritation evident in her voice.
“No,” the man holding the girl calmly stated, his grip tightened around her neck and she whimpered, fingers clawing at the hand around her neck.
Derek fired the first shot; the bullet caught the girl’s captor in the shoulder and spun him backward. The girl fell free, a crumpled heap on the ground as Derek advanced.
Cameron watched in fascination as the faces of the men changed, distorted into raised ridges, yellowed eyes, and a mouthful of sharp teeth. Derek and Sarah halted their advance as the men became something else. Cameron sorted through data until she determined these men were really vampires. Termination methods flashed on her screen – guns like those Sarah and Derek held would be useless against these predators.
“Vampires,” Cameron stated and Sarah turned to shoot a disbelieving look at her. It was a tactical mistake that Sarah should not have made.
The vampires rushed forward and Derek opened fire. The shots slowed them down, but they would not kill them, not unless Derek destroyed their hearts and they turned to dust.
Cameron grabbed John by the back of his shirt, fingers tightened around the fabric, and she yanked. He jerked backwards, falling off balance and his arms flailed in an attempt to stay upright.
“Get off me Cameron!” he yelled.
“Stay here, behind me. I will handle this threat,” Cameron stated and fixed him with a glare. Gunfire still sounded in the background, time was running out before Sarah and Derek were overtaken.
John shot a glance over Cameron’s shoulder, taking in the fight, and frantically nodded. “Okay, okay, just go,” he urged, the waver in his voice gave away his worry. John would need to work on lying under pressure, under any situation. He would do lots of it in the future.
The girl was crawling towards Cameron, her face bruised and bleeding. Cameron held out a hand and the girl reached up. A small tug and the blonde was on her feet, wobbling slightly. “Stay with John,” Cameron told her and pushed the girl behind her, in the direction of John.
The vampire that approached her took his time, his lips curled up in a smirk even though he was bleeding from two bullet holes in his chest. She was unarmed and that lead him to foolishly believe that she was not dangerous, that she was an easy target. Cameron let a matching smirk appear on her face as she strode toward him.
The vampire lunged at her, arms extended to grab her. She let him take her, her hands coming between them, weakly pushing at his chest as one of his hands slid into her hair, pulling her head to the side. Her information on vampires included their need to drink blood. This vampire would be disappointed to find out she wasn’t the human he thought she was. Her hand easily closed around his neck, fingers tightening until he took notice. He pulled harder on her head, trying to snap her neck, but she resisted and ignored the hair he pulled out as they both refused to give any leeway.
She lifted him up and away from her, holding him inches off the ground as she studied him. Vampires were something she’d never physically seen in the future. They existed, even then, but they hid themselves away, far from the machines. She scanned his body, his temperature was well below that of a human, but only slightly cooler than the night air. His heart did not beat, yet blood flowed out of his wounds. Perhaps John would have an explanation for this anomaly.
John’s cry of shock and fear registered to Cameron and drew her attention away from the complexities of the vampire; she turned, bringing the vampire with her, swinging him around with her hand still securely wrapped around his neck. John had been safe, crouched behind her with the female victim. She’d made sure she remained between him and the vampires.
The girl was no longer a girl but instead a snarling monster, her vampire mask distorting her features. Cameron realized that she never was human – the victim
– to begin with. They were hunting and Sarah and Derek charged in and became prey.
She was six point two feet away from John and closed the distance quickly. She didn’t hesitate as she punched her hand directly into the vampire’s chest. Flesh - meat
- cartilage and bone shattered and yielded to her fist. Her calculations were precise, and the vampire exploded in a shower of ash when Cameron’s hand passed through her heart.
The vampire in her grip went limp with shock for a brief moment before he began frantically trying to escape. Cameron ignored him and focused her attention on John’s crouched, shaking form. There was a small trickle of blood running down his neck, soaking into his collarbone. The bite wasn’t life threatening, already the tear had started to clot.
“John?” Cameron quietly questioned. She’s never seen John Connor this scared before. And for a brief moment, Cameron realized this was a good thing. Her John – future John – had never seen a vampire, let alone been attacked. Already the timeline of this world did not match that of her own. There was a sense of satisfaction in obtaining her mission, but there was also a small flutter of distain. Destroying SkyNet, saving the world, and preventing Judgment Day all led her closer to her own destruction.
John shifted, climbed up on trembling legs from his sprawled position in the alley. John was unsteady on his feet, heartbeat still racing, but Cameron didn’t offer him any assistance. “Thanks,” he told her, his voice shaky, but he maintained eye contact.
“No problem,” she replied and turned her attention back to the vampire in her grip. “It is most unfortunate you picked this group for prey,” Cameron seriously told him before she twisted his head clean off. The body and head were reduced to ash before they hit the ground.
“Where’s Mom?” John asked in a panic, and tried to move past her. But Cameron grabbed his shirt and pushed him back against the wall. The threat to John’s life was still imminent; vampires could kill him just as easily as Terminators. “Let me go Cam,” he tried to command her but future-John told her not always to listen to his younger, irrational self. Cameron determined this was one of those times.
A shudder ran through her body – it was familiar and odd all at the same time. The grip on John’s shirt eased but not enough to let him free. But he noticed it, categorized the experience and silently waited for an explanation. Magic slid through the air, passing through her flesh nose and registering in her chip. Cameron was not human, she never could be; she was a Terminator, a hyper-alloy combat fighting chassis that was disguised in a pretty package. But the familiar magic affected her, caused her sensors to go on high alert, scanning rapidly – frantically
- for any sign of Dawn. Cameron realized it was quite possibly the very human equivalent of excitement, but didn’t worry herself over it. She was made to be different, made differently than the others, given a gift and a new mission.
A blonde girl jumped right into the middle of the fight. Hand to hand Derek and Sarah never stood a chance. But this blonde did, could kill these vampires with her own bare hands. Cameron recognized her for what she was - Slayer
- and automatically the faces and stats of the others from her past, the future
, cycled through her head.
Dawn appeared a second later, staying on the outskirts and picked off the final two vampires when the blonde lined them up for her. There was a rhythm, a familiar way about the blonde, and Cameron just knew it was Buffy.
“Dawn?” Derek’s voice was full of shock and confusion. It sent an unhappy shiver down Cameron’s spine and she straightened out a little more. She started to move, one foot in front of the other, as Dawn turned to regard Derek in confusion. Dawn was beautiful, skin flushed with sweat and adrenaline, from the fight. A small smile remained on her face even with the confusion.
“Do I know you?” Dawn asked him as she lowered her stake.
Derek spared a glance over in Cameron’s direction, judged her reaction to the whole situation. And Cameron knew her body language, her advancement toward them, gave him all the confirmation he needed. “No, but I know you,” he quietly told her.
“No,” Cameron whispered and sprinted toward him. It was going to be too late. There wasn’t enough time. He would kill her before she could do anything about it. “Derek, no!” Cameron yelled, screamed in fear, down the dark alley.
The scream drew Dawn’s attention and she took her eyes off Derek. But Buffy’s eyes were still trained on him. And Cameron watched them widen in horror when he raised his gun and focused on Dawn. Cameron saw as the horror bled through to resignation and a fierce resolve. ”My sister was killed. She died protecting me.”
Dawn’s words echoed through Cameron’s head. And it seemed that even in this timeline, Buffy’s fate was sealed.
Cameron wasn’t close enough to stop Derek, to protect Dawn, but Buffy was.
The shot rang out, a sharp loud explosion in the eerie quiet. Cameron registered Buffy’s scream and then Dawn’s a second later. Buffy staggered for only a moment, blood already soaking through her shirt before she crumbled to the pavement.
Cameron reached Derek as he lined up a second shot. His arm snapped in half with a crunch and his accompanying scream of agony. The gun went off, the shot wide, before it skidded a few feet. Cameron shoved Derek hard, slammed into him with the full force of her body, and knocked his head into the building wall. She stepped back and his unconscious form slumped into a heap below her.
Sarah had raced to John’s side and watched the display in horror. She looked up at Cameron for another moment before turning her attention back on Dawn and Buffy.
Cameron carefully scanned Buffy’s form but she had already expired. Dawn’s cries, pleas for help, for Buffy not to leave her, were useless. Cameron could practically taste the grief, the agony that came from Dawn as she cradled and rocked her sister’s body. ”Family protects one another, no matter the cost.” Dawn had explained as she let the Terminator brush her hair. “You’ve got to protect John like Buffy protected me. That is your mission.”
Cameron knew she would, she’d do anything in her power to ensure the survival of John Connor, laying down her life if need be. She would let John dismantle her, set her body on fire and destroy the last bit of the future. But she never thought she’d have to witness Dawn’s complete and utter grief. She never expected to see past-Dawn or meet Buffy.
In the distance Cameron heard sirens, the gunfire from the fight and consequently Buffy’s death had drawn attention. Sarah heard them too as she pushed John toward the mouth of the alley.
“We’ve got to go,” Sarah calmly stated even though her pulse was racing and her pupils were heavily dilated. She shot one last look at the two girls on the ground before leaving completely.
Dawn didn’t look up from rocking her sister as Cameron snatched Derek’s gun, clicked the safety on and slid it in her jeans against the small of her back, before she approached Derek’s sprawled form. He was easy to lift in a fireman’s carry, though she did not care whether he was comfortable or not as she followed after Sarah and John.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered and then disappeared into the night.