Eight Years after "Born to Run"
Timeline Delta Bravo Three, Code "Girls in Their Summer Clothes"
They hold Sarah's funeral in an old military bunker; if Judgment Day happens while they are saying goodbye, pretty much the entire Resistance will survive. It's the only way it can be safe for them to be all gathered in the same place at the same time.
They are all here: Matthew Murch and his team from ZeiraCorp; Lauren and Sydney Fields; Clare Young and her now nine-year-old daughter Alison, who stands somberly as she clings to her mother's side; Kate Brewster and her father, the retired general; Mr. Ellison, of course; and so many others her life had touched over the years.
"Are you going to arrest me?" John asks Agent Auldridge.
"Don't be silly," Auldridge answers. "Of course not."
"Then what's with all the backup?" John asks. There's a half dozen individuals spread through the crowd who John doesn't know, and everything about every one of them screams cop. It's not as if they pose any real threat; the bunker is full of individuals loyal to John and only he, Savannah, and Cameron are armed.
"They're here to pay their respects," Auldridge says. He shrugs his shoulders at John's disbelieving stare. "The Bureau kept on assigning me parters, trying to get them to play Agent Scully and discredit me. The thing they kept on forgetting was that Scully became a believer." He glances across the bunker to where Sarah's coffin is set up. "You have friends in the Bureau, John. Enemies, sure--you have enemies everywhere, you know that--but friends, too."
John accepts this intelligence without a word, excuses himself and drifts over to where Mr. Ellison is talking to Savannah and Cameron. Savannah's red hair is vibrant against her black dress (he exorcises thoughts from his mind which he can't afford to think, not now, not today) whereas Cameron, no less beautiful, dissapears into the crowd as she watches, ever vigilant, for signs of trouble.
This is all the family he has left now, two "sisters" who aren't (but who are so much more), who will look to him now for guidance. With Sarah dead, everyone, every single person in the room, is going to be looking to him. They are the Resistance, such as it is, and he is their leader. La reine est morte. Vive le roi. Sarah's been dead only three days, and already the crown is heavy on his brow.
His thoughts must show on his face, for Savannah slips her hand into his and gives it a quick squeeze. She doesn't let go.
When Mr. Ellison excuses himself to talk to one of Auldridge's legion of ex-partners, Savannah pulls herself up on her tip-toes (no mean feat in heels) to whisper in John's ear. "You're not alone," she reminds him. "Not now, not ever."
John nods. This is the third time Savannah has lost a mother: first Catherin Weaver, then the T-1001 who took her place, and now Sarah. Savannah's bloodshot eyes and smeared cosmetics attest to the fact that it apparently doesn't become any eaier.
John knows that Savannah is capable of bearing the burden that that's fallen upon the two of them, has seen her--well, an alternate future's version of her, one which is forever lost to the ravages of an ever-changing history--leading the Resistance capably all by herself. And all the reports from the futures where he is in charge testify to him not being too much of a fuck-up--hell, the men practically worship him as a god.
How can he ever live up to that?
Savannah lifts herself up to his ear again. "We can do this," she promises in a whisper, then kisses him on the cheek before letting go of his hand.
She sends a questioning look at Father Bonilla and, at his nod, clears her throat. "If you wouldn't mind," she says loudly, her voice echoing through the bunker, "we'd like to begin the service."
People move quickly to their proper places, and from his place at the front, Father Bonilla intones, "As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives and that at last he will stand upon the Earth. . . ."
"If anyone would like to say a few words about Sarah, they may do so now," Father Bonilla states.
There are several beats of awkward silence as everyone waits for someone to speak. Eventually Mr. Ellison steps forward. "Sarah Connor was, in her way, the most selfless person I have ever met. Hunted by humans and machines alike, locked up and called insane, a fugitive from the world she dedicated her life to protecting: still she never stopped fighting for us."
Then Savannah: "Norse myth tells of the funeral of the god Balder. The most beloved of all the gods, murdered through the treachery of the trickster Loki, Balder's funeral pyre was built so high the gods had to ask help from the giants to erect it. Each of the gods placed on the pyre the posession they valued most in the world. Odin put down the golden armband Draupnir. The wife of Balder died of gried in its shadow, and her body was placed next to her husband.
"And all the gods grieved, for not only had Balder been loved by everyone, but they knew also that without the light of truth he represented, the end of the world, Ragnarok, could not be far off."
Savannah's gaze sweeps the assembled mourners, making eye contact with each of them in turn. "Sarah loved stories like that one. She was fascinated by the way they structured human experience. She had a near-encyclopedic knowledge of myths, fairy tales, and history from across the globe. Telling stories was a way of taking control, of making sense of a nonsensical world. I think her life was so fantastic, so incredible, so epic, that only the people in the stories seemed like they would be able to understand.
"Her favorite stories were ones about people persevering in the face of impossible odds: Cinderella separating out the lentils from the ashes, Psyche bringing back water from the River Styx, the bride who wears out seven pairs of iron shoes.
"But I think that most of all, stories for Sarah represented hope. She used to say that as long as we had stories to tell, we still remembered who we were, where we came from, where we were going. Stories were what people lived and died for.
"Sarah Connor was a mother to me for eight years, and from the moment she became pregnant with John at age eighteen, she dedicated her life to her children: to John, to me, even Cameron in a strange way. To trainging us, to learning all she could so she could pass her knowledge onto us, preparing us for a future she knew was coming. She lived secure in the hope that we were a safeguard against the nightmare she feared, that we held within us the potential to make the world better."
The room is silent for several seconds. Eventually Savannah elbows John in the arm. The expression on her face is clear: Say something, dumbass.
Several people throughout the room are watching him, waiting for him to speak, to see what he will say. This is the point he has been dreading, knowing he has no words, nothing to say, even as the Resistance looks to their leader, expectantly. "Thank you for coming," he manages. "My mother fought hard to prepare us. When--if--Judgment Day comes, we'll be prepared thanks to her. And if it doesn't come, that'll be thanks to her, too. We owe my mother more than we could ever say. In a way, she was a mother to every single person in this room."
Father Bonilla nods. "Is there anyone else who would like to say anything?" he asks quickly, clearly not expecting anyone to go after John, but Cameron steps forward. "Sarah taught me many things," she says. "She was a good woman."
There's another beat of silence, and then the Father continues with the service.
The guests leave in groups of three or four, spaced fifteen minutes apart, so it's several hours before everyone's left. At last Mr. Ellison and Father Bonilla leave with Sarah's casket, assisted by Cameron, to take it to the mausoleum at Valley of Peace, leaving John and Savannah alone in the bunker.
"What you said about Sarah, it was nice," Savannah offers.
John snorts. "It was stupid," he contradicts her. "Not eloquent like what you said. They must have thought I was an idiot." He unties his tie and throws it on the ground next to Savannah's long-ago discarded shoes, and begins walking the length of the bunker, restless in his depression.
"You just lost your mother," Savannah points out. "They weren't expecting the St. Crispin's Day speech." She's being eminiently reasonable, far too reasonable. His thoughts are horribly disjointed, refusing to line up in the right order, refusing to process that his mother is dead, will no longer be there to teach him or protect him.
"It's . . . it's not fair," he says, half to Savannah and half to the universe. "It's not fucking fair. I can't do this without her."
Savannah gets up from where she was sitting, crosses the bunker to John, puts an arm around him. "No, it's not," she says softly. "And yes, we can." Neither of them says anything else for several more moments, until Savannah adds, "Come on, you should sit down."
John lets Savannah lead him to the bench in the corner of the bunker. "I just miss her already," he says, and his voice is breaking. "I miss her so much."
"I know," Savannah says, and when she turns and looks at him the tears are flowing freely down her cheeks. "So do I, John."
They sit there, together, in silence, the only sound audible in the bunker the occasional choked-back sob. At last, Savannah asks, "John? Hold me?"
John sighs. "You know--"
"I know," Savannah agrees. "Tonight we're just a brother and sister who've lost our mother. I promise." Good. He can't deal with their fucked-up courtship, not tonight. "Hold me."
He does so, and she's warm in his arms, and he finds he is comforted as he gives comfort, just by her being there, the physical presence of her in her arms, a point of reality, of family, for him to hold onto. They stay like that, John's arms wrapped around Savannah as she leans into him. After some time--several minutes, certainly--she opens her purse and pulls out her Bible, the red leather-bound Bible with a cross on the front cover that Mr. Ellison gave her as a present--the same Bible that other Savannah had, when she led the Resistance, in the future which will now never happen--and begins to read to herself.
"Savannah?" John asks.
"Would you mind reading out loud?"
Savannah smiles, sad and shy. "Sure," she says. "'The Lord is my shepherd,'" she reads, her voice uneven, "'I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth--"
John closes his eyes, and lets the sound of Savannah's voice become the entirety of his world.
When Cameron returns to the bunker, it is silent except for the soft sound of the breathing of two sleeping humans, and the tap of her heels against the hard floor of the bunker. She finds John and Savannah on a bench in the corner of the bunker, nestled in each others' arms, an open Bible across their lap. After some searching, she finds a military-issue survival blanket, which she wraps around the two sleeping humans, then sits down beside them, patiently waiting for her family to wake.