It's not completely necessary to read The Mark Has Been Made
, but you might want to just for grins. I love to hear what people think.
Banner by the loverly Chosenfire DISCLAIMER:
This story is intended for entertainment purposes only and provides absolutely no financial compensation. Recognizable characters belong to their prospective owners/writers. Some lines from the show are used either as is or altered to fit the story.
In plain speak: I don’t own anything, just my imagination.
AUTHOR'S NOTE(S): Y'all have Musey aka MusesInspiration
, to thank for this fic. She twisted my arm to write for a prompt challenge over at The Sarah Connor Chronicles Crossover Community
on LJ and this is what happened. This is a future fic connected to my story The Mark Has Been Made
Their Path is Circular
Derek made the monthly trek to his lookout spot over the Century work camp. It took him a few moments to get set up and then he got as comfortable as possible. Keeping his head low, he breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of John Connor and Kyle as they made their way from the shacks the prisoners used as sleeping quarters to the soup line. Although the word ‘soup’ was too generous a description. While it apparently had all the nutrients a human body needed to survive, it had the consistency of water and hardly filled your stomach. Not that those on the outside ate any better, but he didn’t think anyone would be eager to trade places for what might, in a warped view, be an easy meal.
While he’d never had the pleasure of ‘guest’ status in one of the work camps run by the machines, he had talked first-hand with an escapee. The guy had stumbled into their shelter emaciated and physically ravaged, telling tales of the horrors of life within the camps. John and Kyle had been captured four years before and Derek had been searching for them ever since. Robert, the escapee, mentioned two men in the Century work camp that had been secretly trying to organize a revolt.
He saw red. The man had been in their camp for over a week and was just now telling them about a possible sighting of John and Kyle? Derek hadn’t realized he had Robert up against the wall until the other men pulled him off.
“What were their names?” He managed to ask in a steady voice. Robert looked pretty scared of him by this point, but Derek couldn’t find the will to care. It was the first tangible lead they’d had since the pitiful excuse of a rumor from eighteen months before. It had taken Derek a year to travel to the camp in Denver, Colorado and back. A year of wasted effort.
When Robert told them he’d actually talked to Kyle, Derek almost kissed him. But then he was swamped with guilt and anger and forced himself to walk away. His little brother had been in the work camp located only a day’s walk from them this whole time.
It didn’t take long to secure permission to stake out the camp. Derek had a well concealed observation spot within the week. It took two weeks to spot them and memorize the work schedule. Derek was assigned to sentry duty once a month. It wasn’t nearly enough, but he accepted the little bit of time, even though Kyle had no idea his big brother was watching over him as best he could.
**Late summer 2021
Century Work Camp
Once again at his observation post, Derek watched John and his brother cross the compound. Kyle had that sneaky look Derek remembered from their youth and he frowned, wondering what his little brother was up to and hoping that he wouldn’t get himself killed. There was no way Derek could get inside the compound unless he surrendered and that wouldn’t help anyone. Although, if he thought he could get in and out without detection, he’d do it in a heartbeat.
Movement flickered in the sideline of his binoculars and Derek swept the area, his shocked gaze landing on a man. Dressed in drab greens, the man stood tall and walked as if unafraid, straight for the front gate.
Accompanied by the biggest damn dog Derek had ever seen, the man stopped to scratch the beast’s ears. When the man straightened, he raised his arms above his head in a luxurious stretch and Derek gaped with a mixture of horror and amusement. Only yards away from the front gate and guards that could see for miles on a clear day and this man was acting like no one could see him. And why wasn’t the dog barking like mad? The stretch revealed a handgun tucked into his waistband and a strange looking knife strapped to his belt.
Derek zoomed in closer and saw shaggy brown hair framing the man’s smiling face. From appearance, Derek hazarded a guess he was in his late twenties, early thirties. The man’s features reminded him of the last time he and Kyle had visited the zoo. The foxes had been Kyle’s favorite with their sharp features and cunning intelligence. The man’s arms lowered slowly and Derek felt a wave of apprehension as he turned his head in Derek’s direction. Still zoomed in tight, Derek couldn’t look away as the man grinned and then raised his index finger to his lips in a shushing gesture. Bright hazel eyes bled into fathomless black and the teasing grin turned sinister.
The man turned back toward the gate and sauntered up to it, the guards taking no notice of him as he approached one of them. A blade flashed almost faster than Derek could see and then the T-888 was suddenly on the ground, sparks shooting from the hole in its head.
How the hell did a hunting knife manage to penetrate the endoskeleton of the machine? Granted, it was a rather large knife and had an unusual appearance, but still… The two other guards moved toward their fallen comrade, seeming to look right through the tall man and his dog. Some of the prisoners had noticed a commotion, but the man raised his hand and made another shushing gesture. Derek caught sight of his brother and John quickly moving through the crowd, stopping to whisper to various people.
After examining the fallen T-888, one of them bent down and hauled it up and over its shoulder. It headed for what Derek assumed was the command center while the other turned toward the crowd of prisoners. It motioned to the people and they moved back a few steps, but remained watchful, as if waiting for something. Derek was certainly waiting to see what the tall man would do next.
The man seemed to be speaking to the people and Derek saw John respond with a smile. This was driving him crazy, watching this interaction but unable to do anything. He watched in silence as the tall man strode toward the command center and let himself in with out fanfare or obstacle. What followed was so unbelievable, Derek would never have believed it if he hadn’t witnessed it himself. After about twenty minutes, the tall man scooted out the command center door as if hell was on his heels and the dog met him midway across the yard.
He yelled to John and the others and Kyle and John ran toward the entrance. Derek found himself standing, yelling at his brother. They were going to get killed by the triple eight at the gate. Behind the prisoners, the building blew and the people began yelling and running. The triple eight at the entrance got off a few shots at the escaping prisoners, but then the tall man appeared in front of him and the machine hesitated as if confused. The dog brushed its leg and the machine looked down but other than that, it didn’t respond. Derek had never seen a T series model ever hesitate to kill a dog. The triple eight looked back up and the tall man boxed its ears so hard, Derek heard the concussion from his post.
The machine went down as if switched off and the prisoners surged through the gate. Grabbing his pack, Derek made his way down the slope as quickly as possible.
He fought his way against the flow of people and finally found himself face to face with Kyle. His brother’s eyes widened and then he grinned and launched himself at Derek.
“Derek! Oh man, it’s sure good to see you! Did you see this guy take out the triple eights? It’s like they couldn’t see them or something! We could really use what ever kind of weapon he has…” The two men following behind Kyle shared a knowing look and John slapped Kyle on the shoulder good naturedly.
“Trust me, Kyle, it wouldn’t work the same way for you. And I certainly can’t let my best man follow in our friend’s footsteps now can I?”
“No, you really can’t.”
All eyes turned to the tall man at the sound of sadness in his voice. The man put his hand on Derek’s shoulder and he barely managed to suppress a flinch. There was a hesitation and then he turned to Derek and asked, “I need to talk to you for a second, do you mind?” Derek looked to John and the older man nodded.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll lead you guys back when we’re done here.” Something brushed his leg and Derek looked down into the face of that giant dog. There was something strange about the animal, besides its size. Its face seemed to give much more expression than one expected from a dog. It was the eyes. They were green. Grass green with smudges of brown. It sat back and seemed to grin at him. Derek looked up at the man. “Um, what you did here was…” He stuck his hand out. The guy had somehow taken out at least eight triple eights and set the prisoners free. He couldn’t be that bad… could he? “Thanks for getting John and my brother out. And the others… Um, what kind of dog is that?”
The dog growled and the man laughed. Derek kind of chuckled too since it seemed like the animal felt a bit insulted. He heard a growling noise that sounded suspiciously like “asshole” and the man gently kneed the dog in the head.
“You go stand next to John or I’ll start callin’ you Chester again.”
The dog snorted on the man’s boots and then stalked off, pushing his head up under John’s free hand for a scratch.
“He’s not really a dog.” The man looked out across the damaged compound and then back at him. “Derek, you don’t know me yet but I’ve known John a long time.” He scratched his head, a thoughtful expression pinching his face. “What I’m going to tell you is going to sound really weird and so bizarre that you aren’t going to believe me. And that’s okay, but I really need you to remember what I’m going to tell you because we’ll meet up again in about six years and I won’t remember you. Neither will my brother and it’s important that you pass along this information.”
“Do you know how crazy you sound?”
The man rolled his eyes and Derek wondered if he’d really seen them turn solid black through his binoculars.
“Yes. The next time you see me; remember to tell me that the machines can’t see Ruby.”
Derek scowled. They should really get moving. “Who’s Ruby?”
The man whistled and the dog trotted up to them. “No one you know right now, but you’ll meet her soon after you meet up with me again.”
“And, why can’t the machines see her?”
The man stared off into the setting sun. “Because the machines can’t see fully supernatural creatures.”
“Super… what? Like vampires and ghosts and stuff? That stuff isn’t real.”
The man looked back at Derek, his eyes bleeding to black again and the dog howled, its eyes glowing brightly in the waning light. “Imagine what people would have thought about Sarah Connor if she’d gone public with her claims of killer robots and intelligent machines taking over the world. Oh wait, she did. It got her locked up in a psych ward, unable to protect John. Derek, there are things that live in the dark and they are beyond most people’s understanding. Demons are real, werewolves, ghosts… so many ghosts…” The dog whined and brushed up against the man’s leg and got a pat on the head in response.
Derek crossed his arms and sneered. “I suppose you think vampires and Bigfoot is real too?”
The man shook his head. “Vampires died out just after Judgment Day, but Bigfoot was always a myth.”
“If what you just told me is all true, then why don’t we have to fight them off as well?”
“Because of a choice I made a long time ago. Ruby was part of that choice.” The man grabbed his forearm the heat from his hand uncomfortable against Derek’s skin. “Will you help me, Derek Reese?”
Derek looked away from those black eyes and focused on John. The leader of the Resistance was watching him intently and he nodded his head, the expression on John’s face grave. Derek looked back at the man and was relieved to see clear hazel again. He took in a shaky breath and nodded his head yes.
The man smiled slightly and a touch of sadness tinged his steady gaze. “I’ll need a verbal response there soldier.”
“Yes…” Heat flared up his arm, spreading over his skin like fire. “Ahh! What’re you doin’?” He tried to pull out of the man’s grip, but it only tightened.
“Derek, you need to calm yourself or you’ll scare your brother. He needs to stay out of this for his safety.”
Derek hissed at the pain and then growled at the man. “Don’t you threaten my brother you asshole.”
The man smiled affectionately and the dog rubbed up against his legs. “Oh, I’m not threatening him, Derek. Kyle’s safety is all up to you. He can’t know what we’ve been talking about today. It would put him in jeopardy and in turn put everyone left in danger.”
The man released his arm and Derek looked down to see what damage had been done. On his left forearm, where unmarked skin had been, was a large snake tattoo. The heat of it sunk deep into his flesh with an ache that he felt in his bone. Before he knew what was happening, the man shoved his hand inside the collar of his shirt and the same heat sunk into his skin just above his heart.
“I learned a long time ago that big brothers will do all sorts of things to protect their little brothers. Whether we agree with them or not.”
Derek clenched his teeth against the pain and it occurred to him that this man hadn’t introduced himself. By his actions, John seemed to know and trust him, but hadn’t seen fit to offer a name either. How the hell was this man able to imprint tattoos without a laser scanner or equipment? Figuring he’d never get an answer to his questions, Derek decided to just be grateful for the distraction. When the man was done he clapped Derek on the shoulder, chuckling at his involuntary wince.
The man looked at him expectantly and Derek groused, “What, you expecting me to pant and beg for a treat or something? That shit hurt.”
A disgusted look crossed the man’s face and Derek noticed his attention was on the dog, no way was that creature a werewolf; as it sat up, shamelessly begging for whatever John had in his pockets. Hazel eyes turned on him again, the seriousness in them sending a chill down Derek’s spine.
“Remember what I said, Derek. When you meet back up with me in a few years, the machines can’t see Ruby or the supernatural.”
“Alright! I said I would and I’ve got the damn tattoos to prove it.”
The man nodded his head, a wry smile lightening the color of his eyes.
Derek asked the man his name, but he only got a grin. “You don’t need it, Derek, and it’s safer for everyone if you don’t know it.” The man turned away and whistled again and then called out, “Hey Angus! Train’s leaving asshat. Quit beggin’ for food.”
Derek heard the yelling through the back door and a wave of cold went through him. He entered quietly, knowing the machine would hear him but hoping no one else would. He peeked around the corner and caught sight of a face he thought he’d never see again.
Cameron’s body flew past him and he barely noticed as it all clicked into place. When he’d jumped time with the others, Derek figured the tall man had been wrong about them meeting up again. But he’d been right. Derek’s future was this man’s past. Which meant that they couldn’t truly prevent Judgment Day, only try to lessen its devastation. He finally understood the paradox created by their time travel and swallowed back the bile in his throat as he listened to the conversation in the living room.
Derek took a deep breath and stepped into the room, briefly meeting the tall man’s gaze and then the other man’s. He felt the blood drain out of his head as he recognized those eyes.
Sarah called out, “Derek! Get John out of here. There’s something going on and…”
Derek shook his head at Sarah and he leaned down to look John in the eye. “You need to trust me on this, John. Take your playmate out back. I’ll explain things to you later. It’ll be fine, I promise.”
Cameron came stalking back into the room but stopped her progress when John stepped into her path.
“Cam, come on outside with me.”
“The anomaly is still present, John. A concussive weapon strong enough to throw me across the house should have killed everyone else in the room. I…”
John grabbed her arm and pulled. “Mom and Derek know them, Cameron. We’re not going to get any answers until we give them some privacy. You just got demoted to the kiddie table.”