The Catch - A Terminator Fanfiction

Notes and Disclaimers: I of course do not have any rights to the intellectual properties of the Terminator franchise. This is a work of fanfiction - a homage to James Cameron and other talented creators behind these fantastic movies. Due to split continuity, this fanfiction acknowledges the events of T1, T2 and T3 as canon and disregards Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genysis, for simplicity's sake.

I wrote this fanfiction a while ago. It has 23 chapters and provides an alternate ending to the Terminator franchise, since honestly I don't like any of the later movies after T3. I wanted to get this story out there before Terminator: Dark Fate is released. Enjoy and leave a review! :)

"The year is 2032 A.D. The Resistance has fought to survive for the past 28 years. Among the key members of The Resistance are the Catchers: those who specialise in capturing and reprogramming Skynet's various Terminators. Over the years, thousands of Terminators have been reprogrammed into Guardians. Five have been sent through time. Following a major defeat that devastated The Resistance, a small group of catchers are displaced and distraught, when one day they come upon a strange man in a wreckage."

Chapter One - The Betrayal

Streaks of lightning charged in circles under the arches of the time machine, blacking out the room. The light became so bright that the people crowded all around, despite being fixated on the time machine, could see barely anything. Their eyes were unblinking, nervous white specks of reflection on their silhouette faces.

Then in an instant the energy snapped in on itself and disappeared. There was a moment of silence and total darkness, before the blinking fluorescent lights in the ceiling of the large hall came back on again, revealing an emptied time machine.

The hall was packed full of people: a crowd of three or four dozen, comprised of human soldiers and reprogrammed Terminators. They were all crowded around the time machine at the center of the room, with three soldiers at the control panel.

Their first time operating the time machine was tense but not unbearable, because they were sending through a Terminator - a benevolent reprogrammed T-800 and certainly very important to them, yet he didn't carry the weight of a human life.

But this was their second time. This time was different. This time they had just sent through their loyal friend Kyle Reese, who fought alongside them for decades, and they all knew he was not coming back. For the next few moments, the members of the group exchanged glances and whispers of reassurance, letting go of the breaths they had been holding, and finally letting their weariness show. It was a long road to this point - a road that had gunfire and death at every turn - and they were almost at the end.

John Connor, standing at the base of the time machine platform, faced his Resistance and spoke up. "Good work everyone. Thank you," he said. "I owe everything to you and I owe everything to Reese. He is a brave soldier, our fellow." His voice was heavy. "I know that every one of us here today has felt again and again what it's like to lose someone, someone important, a part of us. The end of the struggle is near. Soon, there will be no more loss and no more death. There's only one more we have to send-"

He was interrupted when the automatic double-doors of the hall slid open and two soldiers walked in. They were Captain Parker and Lieutenant Eustice, who had long fought under John Connor's command.

"Sir," they addressed John. "We've completed our analysis of the cold storage area. Skynet has twenty-two Terminators in storage at this base. They're in factory condition, CPUs disabled and unlocked. It appears two have been recently deployed: One of the T-800 series and one of the T-1000 series."

"Everything checks out, then," replied John. "The T-800 was the one sent back to 1984 to kill my mother, and the T-1000 to 1995 to kill me when I was ten. What about the third one?"

"Third one?"

"The T-X Terminator, the one with a female skin sheath. It was sent back to the year 2003 to target Kate and I, and eight other Resistance members, when we were teenagers. Has it been accounted for?"

Captain Parker looked confused. He skimmed over the data in his tablet. "Sir, we've accessed everything on SkyNet's hard drives since breaching this base, but there's no record of a Terminator series called T-X."

"I've never even seen a female Terminator," said Lieutenant Eustice. "Are you sure it was sent from this base, Sir?"

"As far as I'm aware, this is the only time machine SkyNet has, so it must be," said John Connor. He stayed calm, but he couldn't hide the look of worry that was spreading across his face. How could there be no record of the T-X? Even the faintest possibility of more SkyNet bases out there was a horrifying thought. He paused for a moment and collected himself.

"I'll have to discuss this matter with Kate again," said John. He turned back to his fellows. "For the meantime, continue on as planned. Parker - you will take your platoon to Fort Spict to investigate the possible clandestine Cyberdyne storeroom there. The rest of us stay behind and recuperate for now. We will have another meeting later today. Good work, everyone, you are dismissed."

The group nodded, and one by one they scattered and went about their duties.

"This is not how it's supposed to be..." John said to himself as he picked up his assault rifle, disengaging the magazines that had been mangled during the seige of the previous night, whereby they took down the gates of the last SkyNet base they knew of and drove in on their armoured trucks and broke through the doors of the time machine hall, in what they thought was a final march of victory.

He sat down beside the control panel and called Kate on his transceiver - a rather primitive piece of technology that proved most reliable in the apocalyptic world. It was taking longer than usual for Kate to pick up, but it didn't concern John too much since he knew she was busy outside with the helicopter repair squad.

As he waited, he had an incredibly uneasy feeling. The absence of any records of the T-X came as a complete surprise for John. Ever since his earliest memories, he always knew what the future held - Judgement Day would come, he would lead The Resistance, meet his own father and send him back to the past, and now it seemed he was on the verge of defeating SkyNet just as it was foretold.

So far, all the events that happened lined up with his expectations, but this one entirely defied it. He realised he never really knew for sure where the T-X came from, or even who sent it. He assumed SkyNet had sent it in the same way as the other two Terminators.

How could it not be? He thought. Has SkyNet erased records and covered up its tracks? What else can I be wrong about? He conjured up a million worrisome ideas.

His train of thought was interrupted when he heard someone approaching him. It was one of his Terminators, the T-800 that had been with him longest. Everyone knew he had a soft spot for this particular Terminator because it was of the 101 model appearance.

"I'm back," The Terminator said with his thick Austrian accent. "I'll help you with magazines."

"Yeah, I'd like some help."

The Terminator sat down beside John, took the messed up magazine that John had removed from the rifle and began removing the bullets. Click, clack, click, clack. Methodical and faster than any person. He stripped out the remaining ammo from the jammed magazine and chucked the trash onto the floor.

John reached over to the Terminator and pulled off his dark glasses. "Don't be such a dork all the time, remember? You look friendlier without the glasses."

"Quit it, dickhead," he replied monotonously.

John laughed and put the glasses in his pocket. Who taught him that one?

All around the hall there was a variety of different Terminators working alongside the soldiers - different models, different series. All reprogrammed, all so friendly, all so loyal. They were all family to John. He thought he could count on them for anything.

There were two of them helping a group of five survivors off one of their trucks, only these were no ordinary survivors, they were the most special of all survivors to John and the rest: the children, the hope for humanity to have a future even after all this devastation. They all looked so happy to be here, despite everything. They smiled and laughed as the friendly Terminators carried them down from the truck.

As John collected up and inspected the bullets that the Terminator stripped out, Kate's distorted voice came from his transceiver. "Kate Brewster Connor receiving. John?"

"Yes, Kate, there's a problem here, I need to talk to you," said John, holding the transceiver in one hand and the loose bullets in the other. "Could you-"

He stopped short. As he was talking, from the corner of his eye he saw the Terminator draw the old shotgun from his holster. Alarmed, John turned to see what was happening, and found himself staring down the gun barrel. He dropped the loose bullets he held and they scattered, clinking, clacking, all over the floor. The Terminator pulled the trigger, the gunfire exploding into a cloud of red. John was knocked to the ground.

Thanks to his instinct to duck, the shot had caught him in the shoulder and his armoured vest took some of the blast. "What are you doing?!" He yelled. He struggled to get away from the Terminator.

But the Terminator didn't answer. He reloaded the shotgun.

John pulled out his own sidearm - a pistol developed by The Resistance themselves, with internally-superheated rounds. He aimed at the Terminator. "I order you to drop your gun!" he yelled. His voice was shaking and he could barely hear himself through the ringing in his head after taking shotgun fire at point blank.

But again there was silence, as if the Terminator suddenly no longer heard him. He pointed the shotgun at John.

John put his finger on the trigger. He hovered the laser pointer of his pistol between the Terminator's eyes. All it would take was one shot from this type of gun, and the CPU would be blown apart like sand.

Yet as he met the Terminator's eyes, John wavered. The familiar blue eyes, shaded under greying eyebrows, the eyes of the only man there for him in his childhood...a father to him. Even when all common sense told him to shoot this machine that had suddenly and inexplicably turned against him, who had a shotgun pointed at him, he still couldn't. The trigger weighed a thousand tons.

John rolled to the side as the Terminator fired, shattering tiles from the floor. Then he scrambled to his feet and ran, clutching his shoulder that had been blasted by the earlier shot.

"John? John? Come in, John. What's happening?" Kate's voice came from the transceiver that had fallen to the floor.

The Terminator fired again, missed John and blew a hole in the wall beyond.

John had run to the double doors when he heard a concorde of different gunshots firing, and realised that each and every one of their Terminators in the room had drawn their guns and started firing on the soldiers at once. Gunshots and smoke and blood filled the air, as did panicked screams and commands that suddenly fell on deaf ears. Why?

"Retreat! Evacuate! This way!" John commanded his fellows. One by one those who remained standing fled towards the exit, firing back at the mutinied Terminators swarming after them. Perhaps half managed to leave the hall, all injured and shocked. John exited the double-doors and slammed his hand onto the big red button outside, leaving a bloody handprint. The double-doors snapped shut.

His group ran through the empty yard outside the hall, flanked with large hangars, calling for help, panting, and he followed after them. This can't be happening.

And then they saw the last nail in the coffin. Around the hangars, too, were Terminators - their own Terminators, some of which John recognised even from far away - that were firing at the people. They had been friendly just moments before. From behind the hangars bicopter and tricopter planes rose up, which belonged to The Resistance too. John had no time to consider how and why.

"Get into the trucks!" He ferried his group of people into the three beat-up trucks that had carried the fighters before they conquered SkyNet's base.

Gunshots sounded from behind him and the double-doors to the hall were blown off. Out walked the Terminator with the shotgun, in his determined march of death, a look all too familiar to John. John knew this one was coming for him and him alone.

"Go quickly!" he told his fellows, while he himself backed away from the trucks and stayed behind. One by one they drove away from the complex in a cloud of dust, as the corrupted bicopters and tricopters hovered above and shot at them.

The Terminator walked closer. John ran to take cover between the hangars, but before he made it there, the Terminator's shotgun fired. The bullet grazed his leg and John fell to his knees. The world swayed and the loud gunshots from all around sounded like distant chiming bells. He could also hear Kate's voice calling from somewhere.

He dragged himself behind the hangar, fighting against the pain. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the Terminator emerge from around the corner, staring down at him; a personification of mortality that was always by his side.

The Terminator cocked the gun again and pointed it at John.

Chapter One - End