Unable to find a pulse, at first they thought he was dead, zipping him up in a body bag to transport to the morgue, but Sarah guessed it had been a busy time for the coroner recently. So many deaths and many could be traced back to her directly as the initial trigger, Sarah Connor, though no one understood what had set off the killing spree. Yet how could she explain what she could barely believe herself? A killer robot sent back in time from a desolate future to terminate her before she could bear a child who would become the leader of the human resistance. She'd never been a fan of science fiction, preferring romance novels and chick flicks so it couldn't have come from an overactive imagination, except she had fallen in love with a man who claimed to have crossed time for her; a man she'd known for only a few terrifying days.
"Miss Connor? There seems to have been an mistake made at the scene. The man... Kyle Reese? He's still alive."
She visited him in the hospital while she got her affairs in order, not needing him to tell her that it wasn't over yet. A dark future loomed ahead of humanity and the she knew she had to become the brave woman known in Kyle's future. She had to become the mother of the resistance, and she couldn't do that if she clung to her childhood, her past insecurities, and her romantic notions of a perfect world.
With no evidence to hold him, Kyle discharged himself from the hospital a week later and Sarah picked him up. Her parents were dead and she'd already sold everything, buying a Jeep and casting aside all the worthless possessions from her life before the Terminator. They would travel light, heading away from the overcrowded cities, and going off the grid to make it harder for another Terminator to find them. Before they headed out she watched his back as he hacked into the hospital database and erased any record of his existence, leaving behind only the erroneous record of his death at the scene, and she shuddered as she recalled the body bag zipping shut over his bloodied face.
"I need to learn how to fight."
In her peripheral vision she saw Kyle glance across at her but she kept her eyes on the road ahead, keeping the Jeep moving at just under the speed limit so they wouldn't draw any unwelcome attention from traffic cops.
"Okay," he replied. "I'll teach you everything I know."
Months later they stopped just on the other side of the Mexican border, and while Kyle went in to pay for gas and pick up extra supplies, Sarah pulled out the small recorder she'd bought weeks earlier, wanting to leave messages for their son to help him through the turbulent years ahead. Perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised that Kyle was the father. He was the only man she'd ever been with, the only man she'd ever loved. She knew one day their son would be faced with the decision of sending his father back in time, and she wanted him to know it was alright. She had no idea how long she and Kyle might have together - perhaps only hours, or if they were lucky they might have years before the first bomb dropped. Kyle was convinced the future wasn't set but his very existence in this time, fathering her child, seemed to mock that theory. If she was right then Sarah doubted she and Kyle would be able to do anything to stop Skynet before the war against the machines began, and for a moment she felt the heaviness of the future weighing her down.
The click of a camera caught her off guard and she stared at the small Mexican boy, offering him a few dollars in exchange for the Polaroid.
When Kyle returned to the Jeep she handed him the photo and saw his sharp intake of breath as he traced a line over her face.
"This is it. The photo John... our son gave me." His eyes filled with pain and fear. "I was wrong. Skynet was wrong. The future is set."
Sarah sat up taller in her seat, throwing back her shoulders as she caught and held his eyes.
His eyes widened a fraction before he visibly drew on her inner strength, straightening too. He nodded, and with fresh determination to see them all through the years ahead as they prepared John for the future war, Sarah gunned the engine and pulled back onto the highway.