The Last Link by Michelle67d

Title: The Last Link
Author: Michelle67d
Rating: PG-13 for violence
Main characters: John, Cameron, Derek
Summary: A twisted, dark ending to the series.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story,nor do I own any of the rights to Terminator:the Sarah Connor Chronicles.They belong to the creators of the series and Fox.


Present:

"What do you mean it's time to get rid of her?!" John questioned. He couldn't believe
what he was hearing.

John was glad that Cameron had retreated to her room when they had arrived at the
house...he didn't want her to hear this.He thought that things had gotten better
between Derek and Cameron - that maybe they had come to terms and found common ground
as fighters for the resistance. But here Derek was once again saying she had to go.


John's Flashback:

Cameron was driving. She always drove. Despite John's desire to be at the wheel, he
knew it was for the best. Unlike him, Cameron would not nod off due to lack of sleep.

Days had passed since they had been separated from Derek and his mom. They had tried to
double back but had been unsuccessful. Cromartie was on their trail and seemed to cut
them off at every opportunity. They were on their own.

Not that John was worried. Cameron always came through. For three years now she had
been his constant companion pulling him out of one dire situation after another. He had
no doubt that she would do whatever she had to do to ensure his survival.After all it was
her mission to make sure that he survived.

"Can we take a break? Surely we're far enough ahead of him by now?" John mumbled.

The monotony of the deserted stretch of highway was beginning to take it's tole on him.
They were driving in the middle of nowhere.

Staring at him, Cameron replied, "We can take five minutes, no more. There is a gas
station a few miles ahead."

"How do you know that?" he asked.

"Just do", she answered.

John shrugged it off. Ever since he had met Cameron, she had been vague about things.
His understanding was that her programming was to protect him in every way possible,
even from information that might be unsettling to him. From a human standpoint,it was
simply her protective nature.

The gas station rolled into view, and Cameron pulled the vehicle up to the pumps.

"I'm going to fill up the tank. There isn't any where else to stop for a long time." she
stated.

"I'll pay!" John yelled as he headed into the store.

With dust covering everything, the store looked like something out of a ghost town.At
first John thought it might be deserted, but a voice rang out from the back of the
store.

"Can I help you?" a tall gangly fellow approached the counter.

" I need to pay for gas" , John had thought of buying a few food supplies, but the run
down condition of the store had changed his mind.

"Gas? ...sure" looking through the window at Cameron the man smiled, "Where are you and
your girlfriend headed?"

Girlfriend...John had been with Cameron for nearly two years. For a while he had dated
other girls because he felt that he and Cameron could never be. But after a year of
denial he gave into his feelings for her and crossed that forbidden invisible line.
Rarely did he even think about the fact that underneath her beauty was a machine.

"Just driving I guess. Headed for the open road." John smiled. He really had no idea
where they would wind up.

" Well, You couldn't have picked a more open one. There isn't anything around here for
the next 200 miles except deserted military bunkers. If I were you I'd obey the speed
limit, conserve my gas, and try not to get the car overheated. It's a long walk to
anywhere around these parts."

A brief look of concern crossed John's face. Cromartie had been forcing them deeper and
deeper into this wasteland.

"Not a very good place to be when you're on the run from a cybernetic killing machine
from the future," thought John.

Handing the man cash, John said, " Thanks for the advice."

John headed back to the car. Cameron was already in the driver's seat waiting for him.

"Cameron do you have any idea where we are going?", John asked.

As she looked at him John could tell she wanted him to trust her, " It's okay John.
Everything's going to be okay."


Present:

"Derek...Cameron has been loyal from the beginning. She's not only saved my life, but
yours as well.I can't believe that you're harping on this again! Does Mom know you're
pushing this?" John asked.

As John asked the question, Cameron quietly slipped into the room listening to their
every word.

Neither John nor Derek saw her.

"She knows. I thought it might be easier on her if I was the one to tell you. This has
to be done, John." Derek answered.

John felt hurt and betrayed. Over the last three years Sarah had accepted her role as a
mentor to Cameron, if not as a real mother. Perhaps if she had know the type of
relationship that Cameron had developed with her son it would have been different, but
in the long run it didn't matter. Sarah was siding with Derek.


John's Flashback:

John could see Cameron out on the ground, her lifeless body lying crumpled by the car.
Two minutes -- all he had to do was stay away from Cromartie for two minutes, and
Cameron would be back on the scene.

John was fast but where could he go? Desert everywhere..desolation. Nothing to hide
behind...nowhere to run.

He could feel his legs slip as he skidded on the loose rocks beneath his feet. It
seemed like his whole world stopped.

"Am I breathing? I can't tell if I'm breathing." he thought. It seemed such a strange
thought to have.Everything was so surreal.

His hands hit the ground as his feet gave way beneath him. Rocks and dust flew
everywhere.

"Cameron where are you?" silent words, desperate thoughts.

He couldn't see her at this angle. How long had it been? 30 seconds?...one Minute?

"Cameron", one last thought before... Cromartie's hand grabbed the back of John's leg.
He heard a pop...and then another... and another. The fire burning in his leg was so
intense he wasn't even aware that Cromartie had him up in the air. He was sailing
through the air like a rag doll.His body slammed into the side of the vehicle that
Cromartie had been chasing them in.

"Cameron", he whispered. As Cromartie sought to finish his mission, John blacked out.


Present:

"You can't do this Derek, you just can't." John reasoned.

"John listen. It's over. We have taken out everything on the list, wiped out every
possible avenue from which skynet could be built...except for Cameron.You know she's
got to be destroyed." Derek explained.

John just stood there in shock.

"You found the last member of the list? When did this happen?" John stuttered.

"When you and Cameron were running from Cromartie. I had to practically force your
mother into it. She was so worried about you, but in the end she agreed to continue the
search, and needless to say it's taken care of. You should be happy -- you have a
chance for a normal life." Derek smiled. It seemed like good news to him.

The strangest look crossed John's face. "A normal life?" he repeated.


John's Flashback:

The light nearly blinded John. He was disoriented. Pain shot through his body, yet he
was unable to move. As his eyes adjusted he could see that he was strapped into some
sort of chamber. He was also aware that his lungs were working with the aid of a
machine.

"How bad do you feel?" Cameron asked.

"How do you think?" he asked sarcastically.

A look of hurt passed over Cameron's concerned face as she gazed down at him.

"Sorry", he apologized, ' What happened? Where is Cromartie?"

"He won't be bothering us again. It's over. I was able to take him out just in time
before he could complete his mission." she said.

"You mean his mission of killing me" John winced as he spoke, with great difficulty.He
noticed that his speech seemed slurred.

"Yes" she answered.

"Where are we?" he asked.

"It's a deserted military bunker. You sent back resistance fighters to set the place up
as a hospital of sorts in case there was ever a need for it. I knew that Cromartie was
getting too close this time, and I wasn't sure if you'd come out of it unscathed so I
made the decision to drive here in case you were hurt" she explained.

"Well I guess, you made the right call" he sighed.

"Yes It would seem that it was the right decision." she answered.

The look of concern on her face worried him.

"How bad is it?" he asked.

Cameron dropped her head.


Present:

John glared at Derek. Anger rose within him. A normal life? He had never had a normal
life and this would be no different.

He felt conflicted. The mission was complete, even Cromartie was destroyed. This was
the last thing left to do.

John reached for the gun Derek had left on the table feeling the weight of it as he
contemplated the fact that he had never actually fired one. In all the days they had
been trying to stop Skynet he had never even fired one.

Cameron looked at him inquisitively as if questioning if he thought that a mere gun
could take her out if he decided to use it.

As if on cue Derek noticed Cameron in the room. Looking at her he said.

"You know this has got to be done. Any technology that could conceivably open the door
to skynet being built again has got to be destroyed. She's the last link, John, She's
got to go.

"You're right" John said, "It does have to be done."

Tears rolled down John's face. Derek was the closest link he had to his real dad. They
had grown so close over the last three years. Sadness welled up from his deepest being.
He had no choice.

John raised the gun.

A look of shock, then confusion crossed Derek's face.

"Cameron's not the last link, Derek...I am."John pulled the trigger.

And Derek was gone.

Cameron put her hand on John's shoulder to reassure him.

"It's all right John. If he had known, he would have destroyed both of us.It had to be
done."

And through the tears John remembered.

He remembered the fear he felt when Cameron explained the degree of his injuries.

He remembered the look of horror as he gazed upon what was left of his battered body in
the mirror Cameron held for him. He could not hold it for himself.

He remembered the pain he felt when Cameron told him his spine was severed at the neck
and he'd never walk again.

He remembered the desperation when he realized that the machines attached to the chamber
were keeping his heart beating as well as his lungs working.

And he remembered the hopelessness he felt when Cameron explained to him that the cause
of the slur in his speech was due to brain damage, and that as time went on it would
only get worse not only affecting his speech but his ability to think as well.

He remembered the shock he felt as he saw the tears rolling down Cameron's face. He
didn't know she was even capable of crying. This had to be the end - his end.

And then she spoke.

"I can fix it John...It was why you sent me...to make sure you survived."

At first he had been filled with horror, but a quite acceptance settled over him. He
realized that this is what he had wanted all along. As much as Cameron wanted to know
what it was like to be human he had wanted to know what it was like to be a machine.But
he was still filled with fear.

"Will it still be me?" he asked.

"Yes, the procedure implants a chip in the cerebral cortex to work in cooperation with
your brain to control the functions of the endoskeleton. The implant will also function
in the areas in which brain damage has already occurred and should stop any further
brain damage from occurring." she explained.

John closed his eyes, " Do it." he whispered.

It had been days since he and Cameron had left the underground bunker. He had been
surprised at how well he had adjusted to being more machine than human, and Cameron was
right...he had all his faculties. He felt like the same John...until Derek.

His tears were quickly drying. What had seemed so hard just seconds ago felt like it
would be easy now.

He and Cameron waited for Sarah to return home.

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If you would like to read other fanfic by this author try out

The Voice

Checkmate

First Love

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