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(Character death warning.)

August 29, 1997

He'd wanted his girls to be proud of him, just one more time.



Seated on a bench they'd dragged over to the middle of the large bunker, Control fingered the phone in his pocket.

(Another call? Or would it bring them down on top of us? If they'd only waited another month, we wouldn't be dealing with this. We'd finally be on our way around the world.) He recalled the shocked faces of his few close friends as he revealed he was on the way out, by his choice this time. Collaborating to get SkyNet up and running had been his final project.

(It started out as a good thing. Soviets have an automated missile launching system in case they are incapacitated by attack, why didn't we?) He smiled as Holly crossed to him.

"Am I an "old fuddy duddy" now?" he teased her gently, trying to take the worried look out of her eyes. (How well you echoed the crap I was getting at work, especially when I wanted to slow things down.)

"Daddy." Her voice broke as she used her childhood name for him, her eyes filling with tears. He hugged her tightly.

"I know sweetheart. Not what I had planned either." She cried softly for a minute, then pulled herself together. He felt Teri glance their way, but then she went back to the map she and several others were studying.

"Thank God you knew where this place is." Holly stepped back; his arms fell to his sides again. She rubbed the tears from her eyes, then turned away, headed for the group of kids circled around Scott. His tenor voice blended in with the young voices singing nursery rhymes for the two wee ones.

(Talk to God. Tell Him this place needs to hold.)

Teri came away from the map. She sat beside him, leaned into him, and studied the world map, on the big screen in front of them.

"Thank heaven for generators and electricity."

He nodded his head, then put his arm around her. She yawned and relaxed into his hold. Mickey seemingly meandered their way, and sat on Control's other side. Robert stayed at the small map, shaking his head as he watched the others disperse.

"We're contacting the resistance, that's all we can agree on. Damn fools think this will be over in a few days," she told him angrily. "We're lucky that we got this far."

"Could be worse, Jason could be here with us. The expression on his face," Mickey chuckled. "He was expecting to grab Control and run, not a full scale firefight through the Company halls."

"I hope Jacob and Sterno are careful," Teri worried, as Control asked "Who set up the escape van?"

"They'll be fine," Mickey sidestepped his boss' question. "Both of them have hard heads, and we need the inside people ---"

Sirens began to wail, cutting off all conversation. Songs turned to screams as the little ones climbed into their Aunt Ginger's lap. On the screen, red dots appeared, flying from points in the United States. She turned their faces into her chest, not wanting them to see.

"No. It didn't," Teri yelled, then leaped to her feet, as Scott flipped off the alarms, leaving her last words explosive in the shocked silence. More red dots on the Soviet side, rose to meet the first, some from each side getting past the others.

"There's no way they can miss us, not as close as we are to New York and D.C." Holly said tightly. "I love you." Control and Teri turned their heads and saw her standing with Scott, his arms possessively around her. "Love you too," they replied, ignoring the others around them passing the same feelings.

Mickey stood, and then joined Robert as he hurried past to Scott. Teri stepped around behind her husband, her elbows on his shoulders, leaning slightly over him, cheek to cheek. He held her hands in his , then turned his head to meet her kiss. From the back, someone began reciting the Lord's prayer. It grew in strength as others joined in.

(Paul, Peter, Dyson, Michael, did you even get my message?)Control hoped, and then jumped when his cell phone rang. He pulled out the generic phone and then thumbed the speaker button.

"Control, is that you? Call that thing off. We need hellllllllllllllllllllllllllppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!" Jason's scream filled the room. Control dropped the phone as the dots drilled down from above, holding on to his wife as the room exploded.

Sanity, consciousness, returned slowly. Control turned experimentally, not quite trusting his senses. A deep breath brought a shaft of pain, he waited until it eased, looking around him.

(Roof fell just enough for light. Seems holding. Where is - ) He circled as quickly as possible in the small space, ignoring the pain in his left leg. Teri's head and her arms lay behind him, the rest of her body trapped by a large slab just behind her shoulders. She stared at him through lifeless eyes.

(God, Angel, I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry.) He moved around until they were cheek to cheek again, and he inhaled her scent, not wanting to lose a thing about her. With no one to see or hear, he cried.

(Why?) he ranted when he could breathe again. (Why didn't you take me with her? or instead of her?) He fumbled for his gun, only to find it still empty from the firefight. (Not even this?!) He threw it backwards, it bounced off and stung him on the right leg.

He straightened slowly, then sat next to her. He felt for a pulse in her left wrist, a beat he knew he wouldn't find.

A fresh wave of emotion swamped him as he realized she was wearing her real wedding ring, not one of the many copies she wore on assignment, or when it was likely to be stolen. (How stubborn you are,) he remembered their arguments over the ring and the wedding. ( I wanted so to make things right.)

(And you did the first time.) He heard her voice in his head so clearly, he checked her body again. ( Quit your woolgathering and get a move on. If you survived, some one else might have too. I'm not going anywhere physically, let's get out of here!) He slipped her ring off her finger, and on to his pinky, a tight fit.

Uncaring, he staggered to his feet. He picked up his gun and stuck it back in its hidden holster. He was too tall, but bending his knees gave him leverage as he very slowly dug his way out.

Control reached the outside, pushed himself up, and then collapsed. He looked around as he rested, seeing the devastation that once was beautiful land. (Dear God what have I done? Instead of something to be proud of, that protects people, I created this?)

Minutes later he thought he heard something and raised his head. Yards away, some rocks were moving. He dragged himself in that direction, further ripping his clothes and skin, and then began to pull. First Scott and then Holly worked their way out.

"Daddy!" She crouched beside him, but he was too exhausted to lift his head.

"Sssh!" He managed against hope, thinking he heard another rock move. Scott scanned the area, one hand on Holly's shoulder.

"There!" Scott cried almost joyfully, and then picked his way around the rubble. Within minutes, he and Mickey were reaching down for Robert. Soon they were all together in tattered clothing. Helping each other, they made their way to solid ground, where they cataloged injuries.

"Mom? Where's Mom?" Holly asked wildly, looking back towards the hole Control had made.

"She's gone," Control managed, unable to admit she was dead. Holly stared at him, then shuddered as her tears began to fall. Scott kneeled beside her; she launched herself into his arms.

"Someone's coming," Mickey hissed, but none of them moved. A couple of jeeps appeared over the horizon as Control managed to sit up. Even at a distance they could hear an incredulous woman's voice, "There are survivors!"

Soon they pulled to a stop beside the ragtag group.

"Mickey?"

"Jake?" He replied with the same surprise. "Ex-Seal buddy," he explained to the others, "resigned before I was accused. I heard he'd joined a paramilitary group. He's ok."

"We're part of the resistance against SkyNet. We've been preparing for this. Food, clothing, doctors, nurses - come with us. Come help us."

As they drove away, Control and the others looked back at the mass grave. (Your deaths will not be in vain,) each of them resolved.

(I'm coming back for you.) Control promised his wife. (A proper burial.)

(Not this again,) he heard her sigh in his head. (I love you no matter what. I'm proud of you. But you have bigger and better things to do. Get some sleep, I'll be right here.) Before he could wonder if he was going crazy, his body surrendered to unconsciousness. The jeeps drove on.

======================

I wrote this in/around August 19, 2010, after reading a geek calendar that mentioned SkyNet became self-aware on 8/29/1997. I have watched very small parts of Terminator 1 and 2. Ran across this the other day, and a sequel started forming, so I might have more someday.

Teri, Holly, the unnamed children in the bunker, Jake and the others in the jeep are all completely mine, most of the others are borrowed from the Equalizer series. Paul and Peter are from KF:TLC - Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, and Michael from Michael Cole-Smith Briggs III from Airwolf.

Of course I'm not making any money from this. I would appreciate constructive criticism.

By the way, what is the "proper" means of marking thoughts now? I was taught to use the less-than and greater-than symbols, but that doesn't play well with Dreamwidth, Insane Journal and Live Journal. I dislike italics.

Thanks,
Theresa

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