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Strangely Literal

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Summary: Cameron is sent back for a preliminary mission prior to tracking down John Connor.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles(Past Donor)SnagFR182434,4743225067,5611 Aug 1028 Aug 10No

A Conversation

Warning: Description of violent interrogation.

Reminder: Jenny is not dead. I made a mistake while re-watching some material for the story and alluded to that idea previously. It has since been corrected.

A parallel scene from Go Fish, and some extra toy surprises, including some badass!Cameron. Enjoy!

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Cameron had been away for a few days arranging a supply cache in New Mexico. If the events in 1999 unfolded as she was told to plan for, then the placement of additional resources would be beneficial.

However, upon her return to Sunnydale, it appeared that a great many events transpired in her absence. The school swim team had members go missing, apparently involving oceanic monsters and Buffy was to protect them. Xander had joined the swim team in order to observe the remaining members when Buffy was unable to do so. Then the swim team turned out to be mutating into bipedal fish creatures. Perhaps they were amphibious. And now, Xander had been exposed to an altered steroid compound which could have the same effect on him. The swim coach was oddly insightful in that he'd determined inhalation was a faster delivery system than other methods.

The swim coach, Cameron concluded, needed to be terminated.

For the time being, Cameron was keeping Xander company. He was upset.

"Xander, your skin is irritated because you keep applying pressure and friction to it. Please remain calm. Buffy is confronting the coach now." And if Buffy could not get the answers they needed, Cameron knew she could.

"You're probably right, but I still want to make sure. Wait for me? And come find me if you hear me screaming." They were walking by the side of the school's swimming pool, and Xander darted into the men's locker room to investigate his skin for aquatic traits.

"I will," Cameron promised.

While Xander was gone, she calculated how much longer they should anticipate Buffy being gone before any move to assist her should be implemented. She had only been considering the issue for a minute or so, when a figure streaked by her and dove into the pool.

"Xander? Now is not the time for swimming. We must return to the library to make backup plans if Buffy is unable to extract the required information," she chided.

Once the ripples in the water settled, Cameron found that the entity she thought to be Xander was not of the correct size and mass. Furthermore, it was only vaguely humanoid and was content to swim underwater without pausing to refresh his oxygen supply.

Cameron froze for a moment. His exposure to the steroid compound had been less than the rest of the team, but not everyone reacted to chemicals introduced into their system the same way.

"Xander? Please do not swim away." Cameron found that her voice was rising in pitch and volume without her direction. "Perhaps a reversal of the transformation can be created. Or perhaps a method of communication can be devised." She was uncertain what her next course of action should be.

"Cam, who're you talking to?" Xander's voice came from behind her.

Cameron whirled around and looked at him. "Xander," she murmured with an odd tone to her voice that she did not understand. "You are not a fish."

"Well, not yet, but-" He interrupted himself as he spotted the shape of the swimming form in the pool. "Oh, damn. I hoped Shawn just forgot to close his locker before he left."

She looked back at the former student in the pool. "I thought for a moment that you had changed prematurely."

"No, sweetie, I'm fine." He seemed to be on the verge of an emotional display, but visibly refrained. "C'mon. We should go let Giles know what happened. Him and Willow are corralling the rest of the swim team."

"Yes. Ideally, Buffy will be there with news about what has happened to you and the others."

"Glad to know I rank as a priority." He chuckled and squeezed her hand as they walked rapidly from the pool. "I'm okay so far, really."

"I know. I can see. But for a moment, I thought-"

"I know what you thought. Perfectly logical, given what you know about what's going on. But I'm fine for now." He gave a half-smile and added, "I promise."

"Thank you for explaining." Another odd tone to her voice. And the strange sensation of pressure she hadn't been aware of receding from the area surrounding her power source. She would have to run a test later to determine if this would interfere with her missions.


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Buffy had not returned. Cameron and Xander were going to go investigate. It was determined that Xander would enter the coach's office space alone with Cameron outside and her auditory sensors increased in sensitivity. If all went as planned, she would not have to reveal to another human that she was more than she appeared to be.

Cameron could hear the confrontation with the coach and his demand that Buffy's location be disclosed immediately. She nearly entered the room when she could hear sounds of a struggle. However, Xander appeared to successfully deal with the obstacle that the coach had posed and was calling to Buffy. Her voice sounded odd, as if she were further away. The school's blueprint schematics did not indicate that the room below was large enough to account for that. Additionally, Cameron could hear the sounds of water in the distance.

She entered the room to find the coach laying off to one side and Xander's torso was hanging down through a hole in the floor. When she got closer, she found that Buffy was in that area, which would account for the strange acoustical effect of sounding farther away than she ordinarily could have been. Cameron firmly grasped Xander's waistband to anchor him as he pulled Buffy from the hole in the floor.

Once Buffy was free, Cameron crouched down beside them both. "Did you find out what the mixture was?"

Buffy shook her head. "He said something about an experimental Soviet drug that- Xander, look out!"

As Cameron turned her head, she saw the coach strike Xander in the back of his head with a wrench. Cameron concluded that her secrecy mandate could be suspended for this. She rose to her feet as Buffy kicked at the coach's ankles. As the coach toppled forward, Cameron caught him by his shirt front and threw him sidearm into the wall.

"Xander, are you okay?"

"Peachy," he groaned, his tone indicating pain.

Cameron looked unblinkingly at the coach. "Buffy, you were saying?"

"He said something about a Soviet experiment during the Cold War, and then he pulled a gun on me!" Buffy finished, still attempting to catch her breath.

Cameron looked around and spotted the semi-automatic pistol on a nearby plastic barrel. "Xander, Buffy, please exit the room. The coach and I need to have a conversation."

"Cam, what're you going to do?" Xander asked cautiously.

"I am going to question him. You may find it distasteful." She picked up the pistol and worked the slide to determine that there was already a round chambered. "Please exit the room."

Buffy's voice took on a tone of anger. "He just tried to feed me to fish people. He's out of sympathy credit with me."

"Ditto," Xander added.

"You're certain?"

They both chorused, "Yes."

"Very well. If you choose to leave after I begin the questioning, I understand." Cameron walked relentlessly toward the coach.

He scoffed. "And what are you going to do, little girl?"

Cameron promptly shot him in his right foot. "I require information about the chemical you used on the swim team. Tell me what it is, or more pain will follow." She paused while the coach shouted in pain and ignored the gasps of shock from her friends.

The coach slumped to the floor, cradling his foot. "Go to hell."

Cameron shot his left foot. "Tell me about the steroid derivative."

"Cameron..." Buffy breathed.

"Not now, Buffy." She returned her attention to the coach. "You have many more parts of your anatomy I can shoot without causing your death. I have ten rounds in this pistol. Tell me about the steroid derivative."

Once the coach stopped whimpering pain, he spoke reluctantly. "There's a formula in my safe; in my office! I didn't understand it, so I got Nurse Greenly to help me make it. Please, please..."

"Where is Nurse Greenly?"

The coach hesitated. Very deliberately, Cameron placed the firearm on the coach's right kneecap.

"Okay, okay!" He swallowed thickly. "She was asking too many questions. I dropped her down into the sewer opening. Please, no more..."

"Thank you for your cooperation." Cameron reached down and grabbed the front of his jacket. She carried him to the open hole in the floor and held him over it. "Normally, I would shoot you once more to kill you, but I promised my friends that I would not kill humans directly when helping them. You turned your team into what they are now. You may explain yourself to them." Without listening to the coach's protests, Cameron opened her hand, dropping the coach into the water below.

She turned to Buffy and Xander. Buffy was as shocked as Cameron would estimate she would be. But Xander had a stoic expression on his face. Cameron was uncertain if this meant he was angry or felt the coach deserved his fate.

"Let's go. I can break into the coach's safe." Cameron tucked the pistol into her waistband, covered it with her jacket and led them to retrieve the formula notes. Explanations and discussions could wait until Xander and the rest of the swim team were no longer infected with the substance that endangered them.


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Cameron sat with Buffy at Xander's bedside as they kept him company while he received his required blood transfusion. As it turns out, while the chemical effects could theoretically be reversed, the research time required would leave the infected students insufficient time before becoming aquatic life.

When the nurse left the room, Cameron looked at Buffy and Xander. "I'm sorry for what I did. I know that despite the fact I didn't directly end the coach's life, I still assisted. I will tell Giles what I did later."

Buffy and Xander looked at each other. Xander spoke first. "Normally, I'd be mad, but he was out to end my living license as well as Buffy's. I can't say I'm gonna cry over what happened."

Cameron gave Xander a grateful smile and turned her attention to Buffy. "You were upset when I let him fall. Are you angry with me?"

Buffy looked at Cameron for several moments before replying. "I know I should be. But the way I took him down... if you hadn't caught him, he would've fallen into the hole anyway. And you got the information we needed to make sure we were going to have everyone treated the right way." Buffy took a deep breath. "I'm freaked out, but I'm not mad. I mean, it's kind of what you do, isn't it?"

"Yes. I was programmed and designed to do one thing - kill humans. I was reprogrammed to protect them, which may sometimes include killing other humans that do not value other human life. I will still try not to when I'm helping with your mission, but time was short and we needed the information from the coach. I'm sorry if my actions upset you." Cameron looked at Buffy intently. She did not want Buffy to stop being her friend for this.

"It... it may take me some time. But I'm not going to stop being your friend over this." Buffy finally allowed.

"Thank you for your understanding. I will avoid repeating this incident as much as I'm able." Cameron attempted a smile that conveyed apology.

At that point, a nurse entered the room. "I'm sorry, I know you kids are visiting, but you're Cameron Philips, right?"

"I am."

"I have good news for you, sweetie. Your aunt Jenny is awake."
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