A Girl Named Allison
A Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles fanfic
Note: This is a sequel to 'A Girl Named River'.
Rated T. Adult themes and strong language.
Not read 'A Girl Named River'? Okay, quick synopsis.
Vinny Savage, mercenary and scavenger, encounters Firefly's River Tam in the ruins of LA, arrived from the future due to Catherine Weaver's timetravel experiments. Vinny agrees to hand her over in return for shelter and protection at Zeira Corps HQ. Only he doesn't count on falling in love with River and is shattered when she leaves him to return to the future...
In the weeks following River's departure I did pretty much what most guys do when they lose a girl they care about: I drank, smoked, watched way too much porn and acted like I didn't care.
Who was I kidding? It didn't help. I still felt blue most days. Lonely and adrift: a tiny grain of sand lodged under the floorboards of life. I guess like measles, if you wait till you're 25 years old before falling in love it hits you all the harder.
Catherine Weaver was true to her word; for delivering River to her I'm given a suite in the Sea World complex. Hot and cold running water, 24 hour elecricity, 60 inch plasma, dvd library and a well-stocked freezer. All the comforts. What I didn't have was anyone I cared about to share it with.
Zeira Corp HQ is a weird place to live, I'll tell you that much for nothing. Catherine Weaver is metal, an advanced TX model, but the human resistance leave her alone. Her daughter Savannah, myself and a few lab geeks who live on the premises - pasty faced kids who look like they've never seen sunlight in their lives - are all human, but Skynet leaves us alone too. Sea World seems to be neutral territory, a tiny Switzerland in the middle of a war zone.
After three weeks moping around and feeling sorry for myself, I start to show an interest in my surroundings. I begin by shaving and turning off the round the clock porn. There are only so many times you can watch Jenna Jameson be triple-tagged before it gets old. And she's been dust for twenty years. Most of her anyway.
I get up early each morning and run laps round the pool. My old man was a boxer, a contender, and some of my earliest memories of him are tagging along while he did his roadwork during the early dawn hours in Orlando, Florida. Pop in his sweats and me on my five-gear Schwin pedaling like crazy to keep up.
Good times. Gone forever.
Each day the dolphins John and Henry swim in from the ocean to be fed by Savannah Weaver. Most times I join them in the pool. To Savannah's chagrin, John and Henry treat me like a long-lost brother right from the off, whereas she apparently had to earn their trust over several months. It probably helps that, names to the contrary, John and Henry are female dolphins. I've always been partial to the ladies and, River apart, they've always seemed partial to me. After this Savannah heads indoors to take care of whatever business she takes care of while I strip off and sunbathe. I'm now a medium tan colour. All over.
After a month of this I'm bored out of my skull.
Be careful what you wish for, they say, or you might just get it. Never a truer word was spoken. I miss River, but most of all I miss my old life. Sure, I was a rat, scavenging for stuff to trade, but a successful rat nonetheless. The adrenalin rush from outwitting the machines and the human militias, who could be just as deadly if the mood took them, is hard to replace. Yeah, I was scared shitless more times than I care to remember and convinced I was gonna die more than once, but the buzz was indescribable and can't be duplicated swimming with tame dolphins and sunning my ass. I need a challenge.
Enter the ice princess herself, Savannnah Weaver.
We sparred with each other almost from the moment we met - admittedly I held a knife to her neck and threatened to slice her. Does she hold a grudge? You betcha. She takes digs at me for not being willing to lay down my life for the cause. But dead guy's generally don't give a shit about anything, especially machines ruling the world. I'd rather be a live coward than a dead hero. And anyway, having a terminator for a mom doesn't exactly give her the right to the high moral ground, a fact I take great pleasure informing her of.
But all this friction produces heat. Physics 101. There's no denying I feel a frisson between us whenever we're together. And I've a notion she feels it too, only she's too proud and stubborn to acknowledge it. Women, eh.
Most evenings I take my meals in the main dining suite accompanied by Savannah and one or more of the lab geeks who infest the place. At the end of the meal Savannah normally upbraids me for drinking too much and, as she puts it, being loud and snarky to her friends.
"What the fuck's snarky mean?"
"Sarcastic and belittling. Those men are ten times more intelligent than you, and they do very important work for the company."
"And they've never lived a day in their lives."
"What do you mean by that? Because they haven't whored around and drank themselves stupid like you?"
A roll of the eyes. "You're the most conceited braggart I've met in my life."
"It isn't a compliment!"
But my favourite evenings are when Catherine Weaver joins us. For a machine she has surprisingly good taste in wine and the frosty bearing of european aristocracy. She has a dry wit and easily deflects my clumsy attempts at uncovering her role in the war and that of Zeira Corp.
However, there is one evening when I do get some solid info, though the dinner doesn't start particularly well. The tech dweebs are driving me crazy with their work gossip...
"The test of the quantum flux wave modulater went well."
Me. Deep into my second bottle of wine: "The what what what went well?"
"The quantum flux wav-"
"Speak english, nerd boy."
"Simple english or I'll give you the wedgie of your life."
"It's a time travel device," Savannah explains. "And stop bullying poor Cecil."
"Cecil! That's his name? Hahaha! Priceless!"
Cecil blushes a deep red. Poor bastard. He's got gingers curls, a big nose and thick glasses. Mother Nature really did a number on him. Probably won't get laid this millennia.
"How far have you travelled into the future?" I ask, for once genuinely curious. I haven't forgotten the sight of River seemingly vanishing into thin air.
"500 years. To River's time," Catherine Weaver answers. The dweebs look at her with worship in their eyes. They probably whack off over her picture in their rooms. Me, I'm just about drunk enough to say the stuff I'm about to and not care a hoot about the consequences.
"So that's your little game here at Zeira Corps, huh, Cathy? Time travel experiments. Pile of hooey, you ask me."
"No one asked you," Savannah hisses. "So keep your ill-informed mouth shut."
"It's a very interesting time period," Weaver continues seemingly amused by my outburst. "We are presently trying to study the era and learn as much as we can. The Alliance would appear to be a fascistic organisation. Did it evolve from human origins or was Skynet part of its inception?"
I grab a bottle of wine, upend it and glug the contents down. Everyone looks appalled. It must be like having an ape at the table given the disparity in our intellects and manners.
I toss the bottle aside and belch loudly. I put my right elbow on the table and announce truculently, "Who's for an arm wrestle? Come on, I'll take three of you dweebs on at once."
Not surprisingly there are no takers and I lurch off to my room alone.
And that's how I entertain myself at Stalag Zeira Corps.
But I'm not the only one who makes a fool of myself on these occasions. Even Miss Prim Britches isn't immune.
Savannah doesn't enjoy these evenings quite as much as I do. Weaver has a way of monopolising all the attention in the room to the detriment of her daughter. And Savannah likes to be the centre of attention that much is plain. But she's a sulky princess to her mother's imperious ice queen. She drinks too much herself sometimes and is prone to embarrassing herself, something Weaver relishes pointing out.
"Will you help my daughter back to her room, Mr Savage? She appears to be experiencing problems dealing with gravity."
"S'okay. I'm fine. Oops!"
I lift her off the floor and carry her to her room, resisting the urge for a quick grope while she's draped over my shoulder. What a standup guy I am. Truly.
"Watch your hands!"
"Don't flatter yourself."
"What's that I can feel on my butt?"
"It's a sausage."
"Oh God, you sick pervert!"
"From dinner. You sat on a sausage and it stuck to your pants."
Later the same night a knock on the door of my room wakes me. I'm a light sleeper at the best of times. I slide the nine mill I keep loaded from under the pillow, slip the safety and open the door a crack. It's Savannah. She's not wearing very much. Neither am I come to that. We stare at each. She lowers her eyes. Her long red hair cascades forward obscuring her face. Maybe she's been crying, or it's my imagination, or maybe a trick of the light.
"Please?" she whispers. "Don't make me beg."
Like I said, a standup guy.
Spent, I roll over on to my side of the bed. Savannah rests her head against my chest. "That was incredible," she gasps.
"Ain't it always?"
"And so modest."
"Give me five and we'll go again."
"Five, he says. Quite the optimist too."
We lie together side by side, our bodies a comfortable, familiar fit. Skin on skin, still damp from coitus. Lately Savannah's been spending more time in my bed than her own. Neither of us is getting much sleep. Neither of us is complaining.
"You still miss her, don't you?"
"You know perfectly well who. River."
I shrug. "Missing her won't change anything."
"I miss her too. D'you think she misses us?"
"Doubt it. From her perspective we've been dust for 500 years."
"That's one way of looking at it. Another is she won't be born for 500 years."
"And never the twain shall meet. And if she's not born yet how can she miss us?"
"I don't know. I think maybe everything occurs at the same time. The universe, I mean. It's just our perception that's static."
I nod like this makes the slightest sense at all. "River's probably better off where she is."
"I guess. It's nice to know the human race still exists in the future. Though the Alliance does sound very fascist. And then there are the Reivers."
"What the hell are Reivers?"
"I'm not entirely sure. River became very agitated when I questioned her. Something not very nice. I suppose every era has its ogres." Savannah allows her fingers to trace delicate curlicues on my bare chest. It tickles but I resist the urge to laugh. Women tend to take things the wrong way if you laugh during the intimate moments. That's the voice of experience talking.
"You think you'll ever care for me that way?"
"Who says I dont?"
Damn. She's a tricky one. "Is what we have so bad?" I lamely offer in return.
"No. It's just...she really got under your skin, didn't she?"
"River was that kind of girl."
A period of blessed silence that is all too brief then another question. "What d'you think you'd be doing now, if Judgement Day hadn't happened?"
I'm on safer ground here. I tell her about my father, a pro boxer, and how I used to watch him train and spar, hanging out in the gym like it was home from home. I even had my own tiny gloves and scaled down heavy bag. "I'd have fought, I think. I'm about 180 pounds. So maybe cruiserweight or boil myself down to super-middle if the money bouts were there."
"Boil yourself down?"
"Yeah. Most boxers fought way below their normal walking around weight. It's a calculated risk they took. My pop was a natural middleweight though. No last minute steam baths for him."
"I can't imagine you enjoying getting hit in the face."
"I wouldn't get hit. Jab and move. I'd be a boxer not a brawler."
"I thought you'd say, I don't know, a gigolo."
"A gigolo? A gigolo?" I start laughing. In fact I laugh so hard I can't stop. And it's infectious. Pretty soon Savannah's howling along with me.
"Stop! Please stop! It hurts!" she pleads.
She balls her hands into tiny fists and pounds my chest, tears of mirth streaming down her face. I grasp her wrists and force them back against the pillow. I lean over and kiss her, really kiss her like it means something, anything, in this unholy messed up world of ours, and suddenly we've found our second wind. Her legs scissor invitingly and I slide in just as smooth as you please.
Her mother walks in the door.
"Mr Savage, when you have a moment there is something I would like to discuss with you."
Savannah peers over my shoulder. "Hi, mom."
"Savannah. I'll wait in the other room until you conclude your business with my daughter."
Conclude my business?
Savannah's hips continue to grind away but Elvis has left the building so to speak.
"What's wrong? You're all soft."
Can you blame me? Could anyone blame me?
"Your mother..." I trail off. I can't find the words.
"Is outside. It's not like she's watching or listening at the door."
I stare at her in amazement. Do I know this girl? Did I ever know her?
Dressed in jeans and a clean sweater, I join Catherine Weaver in the other room. She's facing the large window that runs the entire length of the room and stares out at the Pacific Ocean off in the distance. It's a calm day. A few infrequent swells mar the seamless blue serenity. She doesn't turn round.
"Uh - what was it you wanted to discuss?" I ask finally.
"I have a mission for you, Mr Savage. A job, if you will. One that should be well within your capabilities."
"I'm sorry - when did I become your lackey? Our business is done. I delivered River to you and that's it."
"I think you'll agree to do as I ask."
"And why's that?"
"Because you're bored, Mr Savage. You miss the excitement of your old life."
I say nothing. It's strange hearing your own private thoughts spoken back at you, by a machine no less.
"Perhaps I am. But that doesn't mean when you say jump I'm gonna say how high."
"You will, of course, be rewarded."
"What do you desire, Mr Savage? Tell me. It's yours."
"A thousand gallons of gasoline. For the Hummer."
"Hang on, I haven't agreed to anything yet. What's the mission you've got in mind?"
"I need you to find someone and bring her to me. It is likely to be against her will."
"Her? You want me to kidnap a girl for you? Another one? This is becoming a habit."
"A habit you seem to have a propensiity for. Her name is Allison Young."
"And what are you going to do with her if I bring her here? If you're planning murder then you can count me out."
"Quite the contrary, Mr Savage. I intend to save her life. In less than a week she will be captured by Skynet, tortured and killed."
"How d'you know this?"
"I have my means."
"Why not simply warn her?"
"I have my reasons."
"D'you have a photograph of this Allison Young?"
"But of course."
Weaver hands me a glossy 10x8. I stare at it for what seems like forever. Then I look up. My throat is dry and my voice the merest whisper.
"...no fucking way..."
I lose it big time. I rant and I rave, pacing the floor like a caged animal. Presently Savannah wraps herself in a bed sheet and comes to see what the fuss is about. I show her the picture.
"I'm not sure..."
"Oh come on! It's her! It's River. You know it is!"
I'm red faced and shouting so het up am I. Savannah cringes, glances uneasily at her mother and continues to examine the photograph, ostensibly of someone named Allison Young.
"I...don't know, Vinny. This girl is older. Her face has less puppy fat. The lips are maybe thinner too. Hair's lighter..."
I throw my hands up, exasperated. I turn towards Catherine Weaver who has watched my outbursts with something approaching amusement.
"I asssure you, Mr Savage, this girl is not River."
"Why should I believe you?"
"Why should I lie to you?"
"Oh I don't know - because you're a souless, lying machine?"
"Vinny!" Savannah is suddenly fearful and I guess she'd know. "Mom, he didn't mean that."
I force myself to stay calm, keep a level head. It might not be the best idea in the world to provoke the monster in its lair, and I've always had good survival instincts.
"Okay, perhaps you're right. Sorry," I concede. "But you've got to admit it's a helluva coincidence."
"I accept your apology. Do we still have a deal, Mr Savage?"
"I guess we do."
"Good. Then you'll need some details. Allison Young is presently stationed at Serrano Point, the Resistance stronghold, where she is a lieutenant."
"She's one of Connor's people? You didn't mention that."
"I'm mentioning it now."
"Okay, she's at Serrano Point. Know it well."
"You'll need to get inside and ascertain her whereabouts. For that you'll need something valuable to trade. This."
Weaver produces a small hinged box, the type romantics kept wedding rings in back in the day. I open it. Inside is not a diamond ring but a compter chip. I arch my eyebrows.
"It's the chip from a T-800," Weaver explains.
"I thought Skynet engineered these things to self-destruct if they were removed?"
"This is from an older model. You will require a cover story to explain how it came to be in your possession. I'm sure that is not beyond your wit or imagination."
"I'll think of something."
"I have no doubt you will. Deceit is your stock in trade."
It takes one to know one I think. "What do I trade it for?"
"Whatever you think it is worth. It is not important. The girl is."
"And if I find her what then?"
"You bring her to me. She will not be harmed."
"Is entirely up to you." Weaver smiles. "Take what you need from the stores. Savannah will accompany you but she is not to enter Serrano Point."
"Because she is connected to me and Connor's people know this. I do not want my involvement revealed. Under any circumstances. Are we clear on this?"
It's my turn to smile. "You want your metal ass covered. Gotcha."
No Cameron. But there'll be John, Derek Reese, the Weavers and Allison Young, natch.
Four chapters or so. Nothing too heavy or serious.