Discovery - Chapter 5
Monday, February 15, 2010

Now in the "Verse, John Connor finds out how far into the future he had traveled. On Lazarus, the Crew of Serenity has a long chat with John Henry.


Fan fiction. Done for fun, not profit. I own none of these characters.... I just play with them a little.


Crossover between Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Firefly. A continuation of my previous Fanfic, Rebirth.


AN: Just to remind people... This is totally AU for T:TSCC and post BDM for Firefly. It also totally ignores the events of the latest Terminator movie because I haven't seen it.

AN2: Sorry this took so long. My Muse left on vacation and left no forwarding address. Also, I've been swamped at work and so tired at night when I get home I have no energy to write.




Chapter Five


“Do the clothes fit, John?” Ms. Weaver asked her guest.

“They do,” John Connor replied, buttoning his shirt as he exited Ms. Weavers private washroom. John had just finished the first real shower he had been able to take in months. And, the first in a real bathroom in years. Ever since he had followed Weaver forward in time.

In the corner of the room, still somewhat in shock, Susan Mao simply stared at her feet.

John looked around the office he found himself in. The finishings had a slightly alien feel to him. Shaking his head, John looked at the redheaded Terminator, “Not that I don't appreciate the save, Christine... but all I wanted to do was spend time with my wife...”

Weaver leaned one hip on the corner of her desk, “That Terminator was going to kill you.”

“So?” John growled, “Alison is dead, I sent Cameron on the Exodus. I didn't have anything left to really live for...”

“This is not the John Connor that defeated Skynet,” Weaver observed.

“No... this is the John Connor who just wanted to be left alone... wait a minute... you left on the exodus... You should be twenty light years away... or on the way... how many years did we jump?”

“Four hundred eighty four.”

“What!” John exclaimed.

“And we are no longer on Earth.”

John dropped down onto the sofa across from Weaver's desk. A look of shock on his face,” How in the hell...”

“Technology has advanced a great deal over the centuries, John. When scientists rediscovered the secret of the TDE process. They were able to improve it. By linking with the last functioning TDE on Earth, we were able to bring you here... to Londinium.”


Weaver nodded, “Londinium. Co-capital along with the planet Shinon of the Alliance of Planets.”

John suddenly looked nearly as shell shocked as Miss. Mao, “So the Exodus actually worked?”

“It did indeed, John.”

“It's obvious that you are still functioning.”

“As is John Henry,” Weaver replied.

“Cameron?” John asked hopefully.

“She was lost to us over the centuries. However, just in the last few days, she may have been spotted.”


“Lazarus.. a planet on the Rim.”

“Rim?” John asked.

“Yes... a geography lesson will be needed. Miss Mao?”

“Y... yes?” the young technician stammered.

“Please take Mr. Connor down to the executive cafeteria on the one hundredth floor. I'm sure a decent meal will help him to feel better. Then, perhaps, you could begin his education about the 'Verse.”

“Of... of course,” the woman nodded.

“What are you doing, Christine?” John asked.

“I go by Caroline now. For your information, I have work to do. Blue Sun doesn't run itself.”

“Blue Sun?” John inquired.

“I am the CEO,” Weaver replied, “Think of it as a much larger and more diversified version of the Ziera Corporation,”


“Come back in a few hours. I might have more information about Cameron by then.”

John nodded and got to his feet. Despite the fact he had just turned twenty eight in the physical sense, he was actually supposed to be pushing fifty. Now it looked like he was nearly five hundred years old.

At the moment John Connor felt nearly every one of those five hundred years.


John Henry landed his sleek long range shuttle a few hundred yards away from the battered Firefly that shared space with several other ships in the Kingston docks.

The small vessel had made good time from Londinium. Helped by the fact that the orbital positions were favorable for a short transition between the Core and Lazarus. Standing, the sentient machine carefully strapped on his sidearm. A leftover memento from his time as an officer in the Independent Army nearly ten years before. Next he donned his dark brown leather duster.

Satisfied with his appearance, John Henry exited the small ship. Locking the hatch behind him, he hefted the duffel bag carrying his clothing Slowly he walked across the hard concrete of the landing pad. Heading in the general direction of the Firefly he had spotted earlier.

It was a time for reunions. And not just with Cameron.


Zoë was standing at the foot of the ramp, keeping a wary eye on the passing throngs of the port. She had already chased off several people wanting passage. Once, they would have jumped at the chance. But after separating Atherton Wing from both his money and his life, the crew of Serenity no longer lived hand to mouth.

Instead, they took jobs more as an excuse to keep moving. That combined with River and Cameron's hacking, the Alliance was at least ten steps behind them.

“Hello.” said a voice to Zoë 's side.

“We ain't takin passengers... Wuo de ma!”

“Hello, Corporal Allene,” John Henry said.

“Colonel Johns?” Zoë nearly whispered.

John Henry stepped forward, holding out his hand, “It's been a while...”

“Thought they said you got killed at Du-Khang,” Zoë asked, not believing that the man in front of her was who he appeared to be.

“The reports of my demise were greatly exaggerated,” he smiled.

Zoë broke out into a grin, “Gorramit, Hank... it's good to see you!”

John Henry/Col. Henry (Hank) Johns grinned and pulled Zoë into a hug, “How's the best scout I ever had in my command doing?”

“Walkin and talkin, Sir,” Zoë smiled as she broke the hug.

“Knock off the 'Sir' go-se, Zoë ,” 'Hank' chuckled.

Zoë chuckled as well, “Okay, Hank. You were always the most informal officer I ever met.”


“Zoë ?” called another voice.

John Henry looked at the newcomer and smiled even wider.

The newcomer didn't smile and pulled her sidearm, “Zoë ! Metal!”

“River?” Zoë asked as she stepped back from her old commanding officer, her hand dropping to her mares leg.

“Please relax Miss Tam,” John Henry said calmly, “I wish no one here any harm.”

“You're a machine,” River insisted.

To Zoë 's amazement, the cyborg nodded, “I am.”

“What?” Zoë exclaimed as she drew her own gun, “Hank?”

John Henry held up his hands in a posture of submission, “I'm not a terminator... but I am a cyborg.”

“Explain,” River ordered.

“My body once belonged to a Terminator that called itself Cromarty. Now I am called...”

“John Henry?” Cameron exclaimed as she burst into the cargo bay.

River and Zoë stood flabbergasted as Cameron launched herself at the other cyborg. Instead of an attack, they embraced like two long lost siblings.

“Sis?” River asked.

“This is John Henry,” Cameron explained.

“John Henry... as in the AI you shared your chip with?” River asked.

Cameron nodded and flashed her eyes. John's eyes flashed red in response.

“How can you be sure Cam?” Zoë asked as she lowered her mares leg slightly.

“Tell me something that only the real John Henry would know,” said Cameron as she stood back from her friend.

“When you feared you might 'go bad' and hurt John Connor. You built a destruct charge next to your chip and gave John the detonator.”

Cameron grinned wider, “Correct.”

“I...” Zoë started to say.

“I understand, Zoë ,” John Henry began, “I have lived among humans for centuries. I change my name from time to time. That is why you know me as Henry Johns.”

“How original...” River said with a slight snarl.

Zoë shot the younger woman a glare. River rolled her eyes, “Sorry...”

“It's quite all right, Miss Tam... or may I call you River?”

“River is fine,” Cameron replied, cutting her flesh and blood sibling off.

Mal entered the Bay at that moment and stopped dead in his tracks.



“So let me get this straight,” John Connor began, “There are over eighty worlds that have been terriformed?”

“Yes,” replied Susan Mao, “The first one terriformed is the planet we are on, Londinium. Then Shinon, Ariel, Osiris and the rest of the core worlds. They formed the current government over a hundred years ago. The outlying border and rim worlds had a loose affiliation up until the Alliance began to assert it's authority outside the core. The so called 'Independent' planets didn't like that and tried to resist. War broke out about twelve years ago. The Independents lost.”

“And now the... Alliance? Runs everything?” John asked.

“It does.”

John frowned. The notion that the Alliance had rolled over planets that were independent irked him. John had grown up as an American. Despite his fight to stay away from the FBI and other government agencies, he knew that for the most part, the USA would have never done something like what the Alliance had done.

“It's not so bad,” Susan continued, “Here in the core, the government provides everything. In school, children are tested to see where their strengths lie. Then their education and vocational training is steered in the direction best suited to both their intelligence and the needs of the Alliance.”

John frowned even more, “What happens if someone wants to do something else?”

“Something else?”

John sighed slightly, “Say that when I was in school, my tests said I was only qualified to do menial work. But I had a dream to be say... a computer programmer. What then?”

“The military is an option,” Susan replied, a little confused, “Or moving to one of the less civilized border worlds like Persephone or Hera. They do have universities of a sort there that take anyone. But I doubt the programs are as high a quality as those here in the core.”

Inwardly, John growled. Back in her familiar, environs, Susan Mao was more than comfortable in promoting the system she had grown up in. John knew she was smart. Susan had thrown together the modifications necessary to activate the old Serrano Point TDE in just a few hours. But John got the feeling she was looking down her nose at him.

“Where did you grow up, Susan?” John asked.

“New Shanghai on Shinon,” she replied.

I see... what did you think of Earth?”

John almost smirked at the fear that suddenly appeared in the young woman's eyes, “It... was...”

“A dung heap, I know,” John continued, “But once, it was beautiful.”

An electronic ding sounded from the small screen at the center of the table where they sat. The screen came alive with the face of Christine... no, Caroline Weaver, “Miss Mao. Please bring Mr. Connor back to my office.”

“At once,” Susan replied. Showing fear again.

As the screen winked out, John smirked openly at the technician, “She killed a bunch of people in front of you... didn't she?”

“How... how did you know that?”

“She's a Terminator. That's how she gets your attention...”


John Henry stood at one end of Serenity's galley. Although he didn't know it, He stood in nearly the same spot Simon had stood when he first explained about River the night she had been released from Cryo by Mal.

“Where should I begin?” the machine asked.

“How 'bout the beginnin?” Mal asked.

Leaning against the kitchen counter, Jayne snorted in amusement.

“I assume, Cameron has explained exactly who she is and where she is from?” John Henry asked.

“I did,” Cameron replied.

“That makes it simpler,” John Henry smiled. Inara's jaw dropped. She knew that the being in front of her was a machine. Just like Cameron. But still, this John Henry or Henry Johns as both Zoë and Mal knew him looked... human. Even more so than Cameron.

Inara's Companion training could read the machine's body language just like a real persons. Her training told Inara that John Henry was both happy and slightly nervous at the same time. Cameron was always a blank slate to the former Companion. Not so, John Henry.

“After the Exodus, myself and Ms. Weaver did our best to help with the initial colonization of the 'Verse. Several hundred reprogrammed Terminators were brought along on the Exodus to act as crew for the generation ships and as a labor force. During the initial work on Londinium and Shinon, the environment was quite hostile and most of the grunt work was done by machines. Once the initial terriforming was completed, technology had allowed it to be safer for more humans to work on the new worlds and over the decades, fewer and fewer machines were seen. Most went into storage. Some were damaged beyond repair but most simply shut themselves down once their missions were completed.”

“How come you and this Ms. Weaver didn't?” Mal asked.

“Because we are different,” John Henry replied, “The run of the mill Terminator can act human but it is simply a program. Sophisticated no doubt but simply the instructions given it by either Skynet or in the case of the Exodus Machines, humans.”

“How are you different?” Simon asked.

“Because... like Cameron... Ms. Weaver and I are self aware.”

“Kind figured that part,” Zoë said.

John Henry nodded, “I was built that way. A brand new AI program that had the ability to learn and evolve. Ms. Weaver, due to her poly-metal construction is not really one machine but billions of tiny machines operating as a single entity. Skynet built just two purely poly-alloy Terminators. The prototype which was sent through time to kill John Connor and the second was the machine that would become Ms. Weaver. Skynet made a mistake with Ms. Weaver. Her programming allowed more free will than the previous model had. She simply came to the conclusion that Humans and Machines could live together. She then rebelled against Skynet and traveled back in time to help mankind... And created me.”

“So... she's like... your Ma' or somethin?” Kaylee asked.

John Henry smiled at the mechanic, “In a manner of speaking.”

“So... functionally, you are just like Cameron,” Simon asked.

“Correct, Dr. Tam.”

“I seen you get shot and bleed,” Mal said sternly.”

“Modifications I made over the years. To appear more human. Particularly when I am being a soldier.”

“Why are you here?” River asked, getting to the point.

“First,” John Henry began, “I wanted to confirm that the woman I saw on the security feed from the bar here on Lazarus was indeed Cameron.”

“River erased that feed,” Mal said.

“Not before I saw it. Do not be alarmed, it has been purged from the Alliance data base.”

“Can't stop the signal,” River whispered.

John Henry's face fell, “Manfred was a good man.”

“Who?” Zoë asked.

“Mr. Universe. His real name was Manfred Asbach.”

“No wonder he went by Mr. Universe,” Jayne commented.

“Getting back on track...” Mal began.

“Right you are, Mal,” John nodded, “The second reason I am here is to ask for your help.”

“For what?” Gabriel Tam asked, speaking for the first time.

“We... Caroline and I believe that there is another AI operating. One that is either controlling Alliance policy or at the very least, telling the human leadership what to do.”

John Henry noticed the glances the crew of Serenity shared. It looked like they had come to the same conclusion. “I see that that isn't a foreign concept to you.”

Mal nodded his head, “Cameron and River sussed it out a few months back.”

John Henry smiled at his fellow machine and her human twin. Cameron flashed her eyes and River grumbled under her breath.

“River?” John asked, “Have I done anything to upset you?”

The young psychic sighed, “No...”

“It's just you are off balance dealing with me since you cannot read my thoughts.”

River nodded.

“River?” Reagan began.

“It's okay, Mom,” River smiled, “I'm just so used to picking up stray feelings and thoughts, that when I can't 'hear' any, it throws me off.”

“Perfectly understandable,” John Henry commented.

“What kinda help are you lookin for, Hank?” Zoë asked.

“Some of what I need, you are already doing. Hunting down both rogue and government programmed Terminators.”

“And the rest?” Simon asked.

“Destroying the Alliances AI.”

“How we gonna do that?” Jayne growled, “Probably in the Citadel on Londinium.”

“That is the one place I know it's not,” John Henry replied, “I was just there a few months ago.”

“A Browncoat like you?” Mal asked.

“When you can hack nearly any computer system in the 'Verse, I can make sure that to the government, I am a highly trained and trustworthy technical representative from the Blue Sun Corporation.”

Gabriel growled, “Blue Sun tortured my daughter!”

“I know, Mr. Tam and I am truly sorry. Caroline and I only recently found our way to be in charge of Blue Sun. When River was in the academy, I was working for a competing company as an executive. Blue Sun headhunted me away from Callahan Arms. Just like they did to Ms. Weaver.”

“What about the academy?” Reagan asked.

“Shut down... two weeks ago. The remaining students moved to a private psychiatric hospital for treatment. I'm sad to say that most of them are in very poor shape, mentally.”

“So was Moony,” Jayne commented.

River stuck out her tongue at Jayne. Eliciting a grumble from Reagan.

“So... they are being treated...” Simon asked.

“Yes. Although most are so damaged that I do not believe that they would have been any good to the Alliance in their current condition.”

River shivered slightly at the realization that she could be one of those former academy students John Henry had just described. Zoë laid a compassionate arm across River's shoulders, causing the young woman to smile slightly.

“What else are you doing at Blue Sun?” Gabriel asked. His businessman's curiosity peaked.

“Several projects are either being shut down or reorganized as we speak. The arms division has begun building new weapons that will not find their way into the hands of the Alliance Military.”

“Who's hands then?” Mal asked.

“Several groups have come to our attention over the last few months in the wake of your releasing the Miranda Wave... yes. I know that you are indeed responsible for that.”

“What else?” Zoë asked.

“Project Chronos,” John Henry began, “Rediscovery of the Time Displacement technology, Skynet developed on Earth before the Exodus. We plan to use the equipment once and then destroy it. Time travel is too dangerous.”

“Dangerous?” Inara asked.

“Skynet used time travel constantly. Sending terminators back in time to first kill Sarah Connor and then her son, John. In hopes that by killing the future leader of the human resistance, Skynet would ultimately defeat all of mankind. It didn't work, thanks to reprogrammed terminators like Cameron and several others who also were sent back to protect John.”

“Imagine what might happen if the Alliance sent a sniper back in time to the war and then killed both Mal and Zoë before Serenity Valley. Instead of weeks of resistance, the Browncoats would have laid down arms much sooner.”

“We ain't that important,” Mal grumbled.

“But you are, Mal,” John Henry replied, “Every Purple Belly you killed in the valley might now be alive. No Serenity. Simon would have been captured and killed trying hide out with River. River taken back to the academy and probably either killed from the program itself or on an operational mission... the list goes on.”

“I can see that point,” Mal admitted, “But what are you gonna need to use the time machine for?”

“To bring a leader for the New Browncoats to this era. One with experience leading a resistance operation as well as the strong personality needed to keep the various factions in line.”

Cameron's face went blank and her eyes glowed bright blue, “You don't mean...” the Terminator almost whispered.

John Henry smiled, “I do indeed. Shall we reunite you two?”

“Reunite with who?” Kaylee asked.

“John Connor...” Cameron breathed.




Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:46 AM


I just don't trust Caroline Weaver. Why didn't she tell John Henry that she'd already brought John Connor into the present? Or the future? Or ... whatever? And I love the idea that John Henry considers time travel to be really bad, but wants to use it because he's more responsible. Great stuff!


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