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23 May 2012 @ 10:29 am
BSG/Terminator Fic: I know where the dead ends are  
Title: I know where the dead ends are
Rating: PG
Characters: Sam Anders, Sarah Connor, Kara Thrace, John Connor
Pairing: some Kara/Sam (way future/AU)
Summary: Professor Anders has visitors to his lab.

Notes: Written for the 13th_tribe end of the world crossover challenge. This is set on Earth, at some timey-wimey point after T2. Title/cut-text from Redlight King "Comeback"





Sam liked the lab the best at night. He'd sent his grad students home and he could blast his playlist as loud as he wanted while he waited for the program to compile. Excessive coffee inspired singing along and eventually playing air guitar when Soundgarden came up, and so he didn't hear when the door opened.

When he whirled in his guitar solo, there was a woman in the door.

He stumbled to a halt, gaping like a landed fish, and his cheeks flushed with total embarrassment at having been caught messing around like an undergrad. She was about his own age and no one he recognized, though he wasn't sure if that was worse than if she was one of his students.

He opened his mouth to sputter something awkward and self-effacing, and then he noticed she was holding a gun on him.

His heart was thudding so hard in his chest he could barely breathe from the sudden rush of adrenaline. The song continued in the background, and she gestured with the gun. "Turn it off. Be careful."

Keeping his eyes on her, he backed slowly toward the stereo and shut off his ipod with shaking fingers. The sudden silence seemed overwhelming.

"Who- " his voice roughened and he had to start over. "Who are you? What do you want?"

His phone was on the desk next to the keyboard. If he could get to it…

Her gaze was sharp and the gun unwavering. "You work for Cyberdyne."

He frowned. "What? No. I don't--"

"Shut up," she said harshly. "You will. You're Sam Anders. And you're creating a monster."

"Are you --" he hesitated, and decided saying 'one of those anti-tech crazies' wasn't smart to say to the woman with the gun. Especially when it was so obviously true. "--opposing my work? Because I think you're probably under a mistaken idea of what it does."

"You're teaching a computer to learn," she stated. "And what happens when it goes self-aware, Professor Anders? I'll tell you - it decides to wipe out humanity. Judgment Day."

He froze at the unexpected echo of another's words. "How do you know about that?" he asked.

His question seemed to surprise her equally, and she lowered the gun a little, frowning in confusion. "Wait. You know?"

His smile was wry. "Oh, you have no idea. Shut the door."

She closed the door and as she did that, he swiped the phone off his desk, just in case, and sat in his desk chair. "Have a seat."

Suddenly he felt a soft touch on his hair and a whisper of breath against his neck. He twitched with surprise. "Hey, baby. I see you've met Sarah." It was hard to keep his face still, as Kara's hand slid down the back of his neck, giving him little shivers, and she kissed under his ear, teasing him when he couldn't react. "Later I want you to play me guitar. That was amazingly hot; it's so unfair that the one time I got corporeal I missed the musician."

He bit his lip on the rejoinder about how pyramid had been nothing to sneeze at. It had been a very strange day when Kara had shown up, and he'd thought he'd had some sort of breakdown. Though that had been nothing compared to the day she'd reached into his head and cracked the dam to free his past-life memories. The contents of his liquor cabinet hadn't been enough to drown them out of his head. He'd built a pyramid backstop in his backyard under the basketball hoop in a drunken fugue, but looking at it in the cold light of day, horribly hungover, had convinced him it was all real.

Other lives, other worlds, other apocalypses, other terrible things. So many things he wanted to forget. But they had happened. It was all real, though long ago, and it was all about to happen again.

Sarah perched on the stool, holding her gun against her leg. "Talk."

"Look, if you know about Judgment Day," he started, "then you know it happens. And I - well, let's just say I have some intimate knowledge that this has all happened before, it'll happen again. It never works to try to stop it. At a certain point at computer technology, it will happen; it's inevitable." Sarah stirred as if intending to protest, and her jaw clenched. He went on, "But I have it on good authority - " his hand closed over Kara's, which was sliding up his thigh, "that the best way to stop annihilation is to go other way. Yes, I was trying to teach it to learn, but that was before I learned what would happen. So now what I'm trying to do is teach ethics, too. Compassion. Morality. Love."

Because lord knew, those were things John had been lacking, and in this life, Sam had a chance to apply what he remembered creating for the later models: an ability - even a need - to love.

"Self-awareness is inevitable," he said. "But hate and destruction are not. Genocide is not. Not if the machines can learn something else."

Sarah stood up and paced the length of the lab, thoughtful yet agitated. "How do you know about Judgment Day?" she asked.

"Oh, this should be good," Kara teased. "You gonna mention how we frakked in the shower yesterday? Since I think that's a little more than she needs to know."

"I, uh, it's hard to explain," he started to say outloud, faltering.

"Very smooth," Kara mocked, and he couldn't help shooting her a glare at her for her unhelpfulness, and she grinned back.

"I have … dreams," he answered finally. "Visions. Really annoying visions that no one else can see."

Kara folded her arms and he smirked, knowing he was gonna pay for that later, but it was worth it just to let her know she wasn't going to get her own way, all the time.

"You know how she knows, Sam?" Kara asked. "Time-travel."

He blurted out loud, incredulously, "'Time travel'? Are you frakking kidding me?"

Kara laughed, as Sarah's gun snapped up, her eyes hard again. Sarah demanded, "How the hell do you know that?"

Feeling a little sheepish, he gestured at her to settle down. "I mentioned the visions, right? Yeah. They're trying to get me killed, apparently," he added, flicking a sour glance at Kara for springing that on him.

Kara returned to put her hand on his shoulders and rub his neck with her thumbs in soothing apology. "Do you know who's going to invent the time travel machine? Galen and Tory, of course."

Which was interesting, but also distracting when there was a gun still pointed at him. He wondered if he remembered enough resistance fighting skills to take it from Sarah without getting killed. Going by the practiced way she was holding it, probably not. "Could you, maybe, put the gun down?" he asked Sarah. "If you kill me, even by accident, I think Earth is pretty screwed this time around. And I'd rather not waste this chance I have to try and put things right."

Because the memories of two apocalypses were enough. Scrounging in the ruins, fighting machines, watching people die… no. Not again. He wasn't going to let it happen again.

She didn't reply immediately, watching him, still with some suspicion as if she thought he was lying. Unfortunately he had no real way to prove he was telling the truth since the code was incomplete and he had nothing to test it on anyway.

Suddenly her cell phone rang, with an old-fashioned tone, and she dug it out of her jacket and held it out, without taking her eyes off him. "Go."

"Mom," he heard a boy's voice over the speakerphone, "800 here, at the front. Asking for Professor Anders. I heard gunfire."

Sarah's gaze flicked to him, re-evaluating. "Did it see you?" Sarah demanded.

"No. I'm on the stairs, heading your way."

"John, down, to the parking garage. We'll meet there."

She didn't lower her weapon, but she did stop pointing it at him. "It's coming for you, that means you're a threat to it," she stated, "That means I need you. Let's go."

"Go where?"

"Anywhere not here," she snapped. "Come with me if you want to live, Professor."

But he didn't go immediately, turning to input the command to upload his code to the university cloud server.

"Come on, hurry, or we're dying here," she urged.

"We need this or everyone's dying," he corrected and grabbed the backup drive and shoved it into this coat. She checked the hall and they started for the emergency stairs at the end.

"What the hell is after me?" he asked.

"Killer robot from the future," she answered tersely, running down the stairs ahead of him.

"From the future. That's new," he muttered. "Remind me to thank my friends for making it possible."

"Be nice, Sam," Kara said, keeping up effortlessly. "They're also making her possible. And saving your life."

"If you knew this would happen, I'm gonna be pissed you didn't tell me," he murmured in an aside.

"The timeline is fluid," Kara said. "One melody but a lot of variations. Hard to read."

He snorted, recognizing that as a non-answer. They were gonna talk later, in private. He jumped the last three steps, as Sarah slammed the entry door open with her foot and followed it up, pistol ready.

"You got another gun?" he asked her.

"You can use it?" Her eyes scanned the garage. It was mostly empty, with only a few cars beneath the fluorescents.

"Military in a former life," he answered. Somewhere behind him he heard Kara snort.

"Not here," Sarah answered. "Right now, we run. You have a car?"

"The Prius." He pointed to his car, parked about halfway down.

"Next time, get a bigger damn car the machines can't hack," she advised and ran for it. He opened it with his fob and it beeped at him. "You drive. John!" she called and shortly someone came running from the other stairwell across the garage. Sarah pivoted, keeping watch.

He was just a kid, Sam saw, but he was checking behind him and all around like he was militarily trained, too.

"Get in," she ordered, and John scrambled in the back, while Sam turned the car on. The instant Sarah slammed the door shut, he put it in drive.

The same door opened that they'd come through shortly before, and he saw someone very large come out. The guy looked about Sam's height, but bigger, in a leather jacket and shades. Not a model he'd designed, thank the lords.

"He has a shotgun, step on it, Sam," Kara advised from behind him.

He had to stop at the end of the garage to let the gate rise, and checked the mirror. He was walking toward them, with a deliberate heavy step. Not human. More like a flesh-covered Centurion. He felt his stomach knot, knowing it was going to corner them against the gate.

"Shit, shit," John said more to himself.

"Get down," Sarah shouted and opened his sunroof. She stood up and unloaded her gun at the machine, then dropped again as she emptied her clip.

It fired back, thudding hard into the back of the car. Sam swore and tried to shrink down, praying that the seat had some kind of metal plate inside to slow the bullets. The gate was rising so damn slowly. Behind, he saw the man-robot shake the shotgun once, to get a new shell in the chamber, and he figured he was out of time. "Down," he yelled, and Sarah ducked covering her head, as he floored it.

The car leaped forward, tires squealing, and he threw up a hand as the lower edge of the gate struck the top of the roof, peeling it back, as the shotgun blast slammed into the back window. But he didn't stop, keeping his foot down, and even as shards sprayed everywhere, stinging him. He spun the wheel onto the street, praying there was no one else there; realizing he was yelling only after he managed to get control again.

They skidded, but didn't hit anything, and when he looked he could see the lower half of the windshield was sagging there, spiderwebbed, and the entire car roof had peeled like a sardine can.

"My car!" Was a wreck. But he was alive, and his heart was pounding to tell him he was alive, and when he looked behind, there was no pursuit. He didn't ease off the pedal, springing across the red lights after barely slowing.

Sarah said, "Just drive."

He took the first freeway ramp, and while praying he didn't run across any cops while he was doing eighty in an impromptu convertible, he drove. His hands clutched the steering wheel, and he was so tense he thought he might throw up.

"It's like a Viper," Kara said, behind him. "All speed and instinct. Action and reaction and letting it pass through you." Her familiar voice guided him into letting his anxiety go with a deep breath, and he was able to relax a little, heading east for two miles of silence and nerves.

"Get off here," Sarah said. "Let's find a new ride."

He pulled off the freeway and at the light at the bottom, he asked, "Steal?"

Sarah gave him an impatient glare. "The metal's gonna have this car on an APB as soon as it hacks LAPD. Plus, it's not exactly inconspicuous anymore. We have to dump it. There's a mall down this way-- should still have people at the movie theater or bars."

He felt queasy again. "Never stolen a car before."

"Don't worry," John said. "We have."

"That doesn't surprise me." Sam tightened both hands on the wheel and tried to tell himself he'd been through this before. Except those were other memories from another life, and this was right now. Right now he was being chased by a killer robot from the future, with a gun-toting woman who knew about the future and her kid. And the ghost of his dead wife from a past life, he couldn't forget her. He choked out a little laugh. Only a month ago, his life had been completely normal.

"After that? Where do we go?" he asked and was proud of himself for keeping his voice steady.

"Collect our weapons stash and get out of town. We hide. Find you a place to work on your code," Sarah said. She glanced back at her son. "And one way or another, we stop Judgment Day."

When he looked at the skyscrapers of downtown, twinkling like distant stars, it was all too easy to imagine a bright flash, wave of destruction, and the cloud rising above the ruins it would leave behind. He nodded, feeling determined. "We will."

And he added in silent promise to the people in those distant towers and the city and world beyond, who all shared a drop of his blood from a past they'd long forgotten - It won't happen again, not this time.


 
 
 
entertaining in a disturbing way: Kara Sam WHAT IS THISlyssie on May 23rd, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
*cackles* Ahem.

I really like this idea. Even the Kara-is-an-angel-now one, because it's sort of hilarious that she can't really do anything physically.

But aside from all of that, I like that Sarah is willing to listen, and that she thinks Sam might have a good idea--even if changing the future is always a bit iffy.

Sam and his air guitar. *snickers*
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders  Resistancelizardbeth_j on May 24th, 2012 06:50 am (UTC)
(this email has still not appeared in my inbox, so lord only knows when you'll get this reply, but anyhoo)

Thanks! It was fun. And hee, I know, poor Kara, all invisible and able only to bother Sam. er, maybe that should be, poor Sam.


mymatedavemymatedave on May 23rd, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
Very nicely done, the two shows do work well together on very similar themes.
lizardbeth: BSG- opera houselizardbeth_j on May 24th, 2012 06:54 am (UTC)
thank you!
And yes, definitely quite similar. I have a ficlet wandering about someplace where Terminator is Head!Six's attempt to warn humanity against mistreating AI. ;)
Samanthor: BSG: Starbuck/Sam -- Pyramidkleenexcow on May 23rd, 2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
LOOOOOOOVE IT. Love it so hard! This hits such a great, plotty, "this has happened before" thing and it's just brilliant. And your details were so great--the musician/pyramid sniping, the image of a confused, drunken Sam building a pyramid backstop! Galen and Tory making mischief! I've never even watched TSCC, and I just want to hug this fic to bits.

Head!Kara is one of my very favorites.
lizardbeth: Kara-Anders - Capricalizardbeth_j on May 24th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
thanks so much! And Head!Kara is always so much fun. D

This fic doesn't really fit into TSCC (it would be pre-series, if at all), so you're okay there!
patron saint of neglected female characters: anders-musicrose_griffes on May 23rd, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, fun and shiny!
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on May 24th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
thanks! :D
dwimordene_2011dwimordene_2011 on May 24th, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
Okay, so I'm spoilered, but too bad! This was great fun - Terminator's time travel and the eternal return of BSG work well together and allow for all kinds of fun back and forth. Poor Sam, though! At least he has a shot at trying to stop the impending apocalypse. Head!Kara is very interesting, and as thoroughly provocative as Head!Baltar and Head!Six.

You write the escape scene very well - moves quickly, I'm not confused by physics or geometry. The sense of time warp, in which the garage opens far too slowly, even if in real life it probably isn't taking more than five or six seconds. I loved this line for its description: He had to stop at the end of the garage to let the gate rise, and checked the mirror. He was walking toward them, with a deliberate heavy step. Not human. More like a flesh-covered Centurion.

Gait say a lot about how an organism is put together, and the reminder that machines often have a weight to them that humans of a similar size lack is a distinguishing mark.

Thanks so much for playing!
lizardbeth: Many copieslizardbeth_j on May 24th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
It was too much fun not to play (she says, looking at her piles of other things I should've been doing/writing *G*) the two verse's are pretty sympatico at the core.

and heh, I think five seconds is a very very long time when there is a robot with a shotgun heading your way. :)

Thank you muchly!
beatrice_otter: Sixbeatrice_otter on May 25th, 2012 04:30 am (UTC)
Cool premise, well executed. Thanks!
lizardbeth: Many copieslizardbeth_j on May 25th, 2012 05:57 am (UTC)
thanks for reading. :D
Ray: Samrirenec on May 25th, 2012 11:38 am (UTC)
Oh, this is great. I love how you've entwined the two cannons, and adore how he sees Kara. Also interesting, how he sees that machines have to exist, but brought to life properly. Lovely.
lizardbeth: Many copieslizardbeth_j on May 26th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
Thanks!

The two are kind of the before and after of the same situation. I once started a fic once that transferred BSG into the post Judgment Day Earth. They just work together so well :)