Chapter 4: The Other Connor

Chapter 4 “ The Other Connor”

The Connor’s living room sofa has yet another enigmatic occupant. Sarah gazes at him while Cameron stands behind her. The man asleep in the sofa had a scar above his left eyebrow. He still has traces of his youth despite his battle-hardened image. Sarah noticed that he had a tattoo on his left wrist. It was a word written in Hebrew. John came in with a bag of ice and handed it to Sarah.
“Mom what happened?” asked John sitting from across her.

Sarah takes off her jacket carefully. She remembers the three metal flasks on its pocket. She takes it then hands it over to Cameron.
“Is this enough? I did get the whole case but I lost it.” Said Sarah. Cameron takes the flasks.
“Yes. One unit of ECM is enough for repair.” Cameron told Sarah.
“Then go, do it now. We need to move fast.” Commanded Sarah then takes the bag of ice and holds it against her bruised shoulder.
“Thank you.” Said Cameron then she left. Both Sarah and John looked surprised at what she said. John looked at Sarah and said,
“Mom?” Still waiting for her answer.
“I got to the storage facility, I found the ECMs then there was this man-“
“What man?” Interrupted John who looked really worried.
“He was there to get something. It was Cromartie.” Continued Sarah. Upon hearing this, John confirmed his worries.
“How does he know about this storage?” Asked John.
“I don’t know.” Sarah said, she was wincing in pain.

John looked at the man in the sofa.
“And him?” Asked John, feeling odd asking about himself.
Sarah looked at the other John.
“You saved me.” She said softly.

It was a dark alley with a couple of people warming their hands on a fire in an empty steel drum. John was sitting with his back against the wall, looking at a picture, reminiscing. He places it back on his pocket. A fresh wound is seen above his left eye. He rests his head on the wall and closed his eyes. He felt like he was sleeping for hours when suddenly, John heard someone shrieking. He was awakened abruptly and as he opened his eyes; a cold, metal hand grabs his neck and strangles him like a vice grip. It was a machine without its skin. It lifted John as high as it was, with his feet not touching ground. He struggled to break loose, trying to reach the shot gun beside him. But it was too far. He looked into the machine’s glowing red eyes as he gasped for air. John knew at that time that he was going to die. There was no escape.

“John? John!” He can barely hear the voice calling his name. John opened his eyes; his vision was a bit blurry. He tried to remember where he was. The person in front of him is holding him by his shoulder.
“Take it easy.” Said a woman’s voice.
He can now see clearly, it was a face that he thought he would never see again.
“Am I dead?” Asked John sitting up.
Sarah gave a minute smile and answered, “No.”

The sun was already shining through the living room window. There was a momentary silence between them. Sarah was looking at John who was staring down at the floor. Throwing a glance at Sarah but immediately looking away. Sarah broke the silence and said with an air of bliss.
“You look like you could use some breakfast. I made pancakes.”
“Sometimes I think about how I developed a strong aversion towards pancakes. I realized now, that you’ve been feeding me that for the past twenty two years.” He said seriously then smiled at Sarah. She smiled back and said, “Next time I’ll cook something else.”
John reverted back to seriousness again.
“But this past two years, I’ve been wishing that I could eat something that you’ve cooked. I don’t care if it’s pancakes everyday.” He said in a low voice and stared at the floor once more.
Sarah seems to be searching for words but found herself speechless. Then John suddenly spoke.
“How’s your shoulder? He looked at her.
“It’s fine. You know the pancakes are getting cold.” She added after a brief pause. They both laughed gently.

John was staring blankly at a boiling liquid inside a beaker.
“Mr. Baum?” Called the teacher with the glasses.
“John.” Said the girl seated in front of him. John looked at her, she pointed at the man calling him. He turned to look and said, “Yes?”
“Are you still with us?” Please wear your safety goggles and stay focused.” The teacher said.
“Sorry.” Replied John and hasten to wear the goggles.
Some of his classmates laughed at him.
“Are you okay?” Asked the girl in front of him.
“Yeah. I’m fine.” He said to her.
She said nothing and continued what they were doing. John was thinking for a while and said, “Cheri, um-“He couldn’t finish his words.
Cheri looked at him, waiting.
“Never mind.” Said John and pretended to write something on his notebook. The bell rang.
“We will continue this experiment on Friday.” The teacher said amidst the students bustling out of the classroom. Cheri looked at John who was gathering his books and stuffing it inside his bag. She seemed dismayed.
“I’ll see you later.” John said to her and hurried out of the room.

Sarah was standing in the kitchen, talking to someone on the cell phone.
“Where is he now?” She said. “Find out where he’s going. We can’t lose him until we find the Turk.” Sarah continued then hangs up. Cameron showed up with her face and arms good as new, except for a missing human eye. All in all she looked the same as before. Sarah, with a surprised look on her face, asked Cameron.
“How did you do that? Did you-Please tell me you didn’t kidnap a plastic surgeon and killed him after.”
Cameron looked at her like it was insulting.
“No I didn’t. Reconstructive surgery is a new program added to the T-9 series. So we can repair ourselves without any assistance.” She informed Sarah.
“T-9? So Cromartie being a T-888 means-.” Sarah asked curiously.
“Means he needs someone to fix him.” Cameron said.
Sarah regaining composure after a slight shock said, “ You need to put something over that eye, an eye patch perhaps? John can’t see you like this.” She said.
“John already saw me.” Cameron said.
“I meant the other John. He might pass out again if he sees you like that.” Sarah said to her. “He said your name when he saw you. Does he know you?” Asked Sarah.
“I don’t know.” Replied Cameron.
“Have you been in this year before?” Sarah asked her again.
“No. My mission was to find you in the year 1999.” Cameron told her.
“How come you didn’t tell us about him, the other John?” Inquired Sarah.
“John didn’t tell me anything about himself on this year 2007. Where he was, what he did.” Explained Cameron.
Sarah took a moment to think about what Cameron told her.
“I have a sunglasses on my bag, I think it’s dark enough to cover that. Wear it, and then go find an eye patch.” She instructed to Cameron.
“Why can’t I just wear the sunglasses?” Asked Cameron.
“Because your eyes will still be visible from the sides. Besides you will need an excuse when you get back to school, until you find an eye. I’ll write them a note saying you have an eye infection.” Explained Sarah.
“I can acquire an eye right now. I just need to find someone who’s a match to my eye color.” Cameron said bluntly.
Sarah looked at her furiously. But before she can retaliate Cameron said, “I’m just kidding. Maybe your friend, Charley can help me find an eye.” She added.
Sarah was stunned again by Cameron’s unusual behavior. Cameron heads toward Sarah’s room, when Sarah called her back.
“Cameron. While you’re out, can you get the car back from Whitsett Ave. and pick up John at school. And remember what I told you.’ She said.
“I understand.” Cameron replied then she left.
“Good.” Sarah said to herself.

Sarah walks out the back porch. She found John sitting on the swing, looking down at the grass beneath his feet. Sarah moved closer behind him.
“Hey.” She said then sits at the other swing beside him. John looks at her smiling.
“Hey.” He said.
“I hope you’re staying.” Said Sarah.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure.” He said looking away from Sarah. He took a deep breath before continuing.
“I always have this feeling, an urge to move around, to run. I can’t seem to stay in one place. I tried, but people keep dying around me when I try to settle in a place I thought I was safe.” He said dimly.
“It’s not your fault.” She said. He looks at Sarah sullenly.
“Maybe it is.” John said. Sarah stared at her son, searching for words that can comfort him but she can offer none. They sat in silence before John broke it and said, “I’m sorry.”
“For what?” Asked Sarah.
John hesitated, recollecting what he was saying sorry for.
“I said something to you that I really, really regret.” John said.
“I’m sure you didn’t mean it.” She said.
“At that time I did. And I broke your heart.” He said trying to hold back his tears.
“I’m sorry for causing all of this. For making your life miserable.” John said as he looked back down at the grass beneath his feet. Sarah stood up, walked in front of him and kneeled. She held his hand and said, “John look at me.” Sarah tries to catch his eyes. He slowly looked into Sarah’s eyes. It was a moment John has been wishing for, to look into his mother’s eyes once more. Those kind, warm green eyes, that brings him comfort and hope. Sarah holds her son’s face with both hands and said,
“If I can go back in time, the time Kyle Reese told me that I will bear a son and carry humanity’s hope. Even if it means sacrificing my whole life protecting him, I wouldn’t change path, I wouldn’t change anything.” She said sincerely and embraced John. He cried on her shoulders and held her tight. John didn’t want to let go, fearing that he’ll wake up from a dream.

John was walking in front of the school, on his way home when someone called him.
“Hey John wait up!”
He turned around and saw that it was Morris jogging to catch up with him.
“Where’s your sister, bro?” Asked Morris.
“At home, she’s sick. Why?” Said John.
“She’s sick? Is she okay?” Morris asked consecutively.
“Calm down, she’s fine. She just had a-.” He didn’t finish what he was saying when he saw Cameron stopped the car in front of them.
“Get in.” Cameron said to John.
“-an eye infection.” He continued saying to Morris.
“See you later man.” He said to Morris who was just standing there staring at Cameron.
John get in the car and they drove away.
“Looks like you’ve never been in an explosion.” John said while looking at Cameron’s face. “Looks good.” He added.
“Thank you.” Said Cameron not taking her eyes off the road.
“Morris was looking for you.” Said John grinning.
“Why?” Asked Cameron.
“I don’t know. He probably wants to talk to you about Prom.” He answered.
“What is a ‘prom’? “Cameron asked mechanically.
“It’s a school dance. You go with a partner or a date, dress up in nice suits and gowns.” Explained John.
“What do you do there?” She asked.
John shakes his head in frustration and said, “You dance. Do you know what ‘dance’ is?” He asked.
“Yes. But what kind?” Cameron asked. John didn’t say anything.
“There are many kinds of dances. Jazz dance, Flamenco, Foxtrot, Tango, Swing, Salsa, Samba, Ballet,-“ Cameron was enumerating when John butted in.
“The cool kind.” He said.
“Who are you going with?” Asked Cameron.
John looked at Cameron curiously.
“No one.” He said slightly irritated.
“But you said you needed a partner to go to the prom.” She said looking at John.
“Look, if this is you just trying to make conversation? Please just drop it.” John slightly losing his temper. Cameron didn’t say anything else. After a few seconds of silence, John suddenly said,
“I’m not going to the prom.”
“That’s too bad. Your Chem partner asked me who you’re going with. I think she wants to go with you.” Said Cameron.
“Cheri asked you?” He asked.
“Yes.” She said.
“When? What did you say?” John asked eagerly.
“The other day. I said I don’t know.” Replied Cameron.
John smiled and didn’t say a word for the rest of the drive.

Sarah walked in the kitchen and saw John chopping some onions.
“What are you doing?” Asked Sarah with a smile on her face. John looked at her and said, “Cooking dinner.”
Sarah leans back on the kitchen sink and folded her arms, still smiling at John.
“You do really hate my cooking.” She said.
“No. I just think you should rest your shoulder for now.” Said John.
When suddenly the door opened, Cameron and John came in. John who was still chopping onions, stopped and stared at Cameron. She looked back at him before heading to her room. The John who just arrived, drops his bag on the living room table and walks in the kitchen.
“How’s the shoulder?” He asked Sarah.
“Good.” She said. Then John turned his attention to the other John, who was still staring blankly at where Cameron was.
“Smells great.” He said. The other John looked at him, recovering himself.
“It’s pasta.” He said smiling. “It’s your favorite. Right?” He added. John and Sarah Laughed.

Cromartie walks inside an abandoned building holding a silver metal case. He placed it on an old, dusty table. He stares on a wall, his eyes glowed red. His HUD shows his new target for termination. It was the face of a man he saw at the storage facility. It was the older John Connor.

Sarah and the two Johns were eating at the dining table. It was a euphoric atmosphere.
“Where did you learn how to cook?” John asked the older him.
“Someone taught me.” He said.
“Probably wasn’t me.” Sarah said smiling. Both Johns laughed.
“Oh I forgot, I have something for you.” John said to his younger self. He stood up and left the table. He came back carrying a black box and handed it to John. The older John sits back at the table and said, “I know it’s late but happy birthday anyway.”
John was surprised and uttered, “Thanks.” He opened it, it was an Ipod.
“You bought it for him?” Asked Sarah.
“Well I actually bought it for me.” He said smiling, “I figured he was still listening to an old fashioned CD player.”
They laughed again, suddenly, someone burst through the door.
“We have a problem.” It was Derek. The smile on his face faded when the older John saw Derek. He reached for his gun behind his back, stood up and pointed it to Derek. Derek instinctively did the same.
“John no!” Yelled Sarah and rushed to stop him from shooting Derek.
“He’s a machine! He killed them!” He said with anger in his eyes.
“What? No, he’s with us. He’s not a machine.” Said Sarah. John lowered his gun. “You might trust him. But not me.” He said seriously.
Derek, who was still pointing his gun at John, was stunned by what he heard.
The four of them stood there staring, trying to figure out each other. Derek slowly lowered his gun.
“John I didn’t do anything.” Said Derek.
How did you-?” It was Sarah who spoke.
“Know who he is? He looks just like his father.” He said.
“Kyle.” Uttered Sarah. Derek looked at John and said, “Whatever it is that you’re blaming me for, I didn’t do it. This is the first time that I’ve seen you.” Said Derek.
John stares at Derek suspiciously.
“John?” Said Sarah. The younger John stood speechless, listening to them. The other john looks at Sarah, then heads to the living room. “John!” Sarah tries to call him back then follows him in the living room. John takes his things, his jacket, visor and bag, from the couch; and turns to leave. Sarah stands in his way trying to prevent him from leaving.
“Can you please tell me what’s going on?” Asked Sarah then holds him by his arm.
“I can’t stay here.” He said sadly to her. “My past is catching up to me.” John added. Sarah was thinking of something to say when Derek interrupted them.
“I hate to break this up but this is important too. Sarkissian’s flying out the country.” He said to Sarah ignoring John.
“What?! Did you find out where?” Asked Sarah obviously bothered by Derek’s news.
“Armenia. He didn’t mention anything about the Turk. But he had a meeting with a man named Alexander Volkov.” Derek informed Sarah. She turned to face John and said, “I can’t let you leave until you’ve explained everything to me.”
John didn’t say anything neither did he move. Sarah took it as a sign that he was staying.
“I need to talk to Agent Ellison, see if he can do something to stop Sarkissian.” She told Derek.
“He’ll be leaving two days from now.” Derek said, “I’ll follow him again, maybe I’ll find out anything about the Turk.” He added then left. Sarah thinks for a second then said, “Stay here both of you.” Looking at both Johns.
“I’ll go with you.” Said the older John.
“No.” She said.
“Then I won’t be here when you get back.” John tells Sarah.
Sarah looked at the younger John.
“Well I can’t stop him.” He told her.
The other John looked at her like she didn’t have any choice.
“I guess I’ll drive.” He said.
Cameron shows up in the living room.
“Good you’re her. We’re going to Agent Ellison’s house. You, stay here with John.” Sarah said to Cameron.
“Which John?” She asked.
Sarah seemed amused rather than annoyed.
“The younger John.” She said.
The other John doesn’t look at Cameron this time, he just stared at Sarah.
“Come on, let’s go.” Sarah told him. They were inside the car when John spoke.
“Every time I see her, she reminds me everything about my past.”
“Cameron?” Asked Sarah, “How do you know her?” She added.
“I don’t know ‘her’.” John said.
“I don’t understand.” Said Sarah. John looked at her and said,
“I don’t know her but I know the real Cameron Phillips.”
Sarah stared at her son as they drive down the road.

More pages