Literatti: Fiction By Deslea

Cataclysm
Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 2008


DISCLAIMER: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep my name and headers.
FANDOM: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
RATING: PG.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: Terminator 2 and TSCC Season 1.
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: James Ellison character study.
SUMMARY: James Ellison reflects.
MORE STORIES: http://fiction.deslea.com
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. deslea@deslea.com





He has no wife.

He had one once, and children too. He has seen neither in years. Once, he grieved and fought and railed against their loss. Now, on the whole, he is glad. Better that they be untouched by...

Well, by all this.

Of course, if Sarah Connor and her merry band of salvific miscreants fail, everyone will be touched by it, but he still has hope that they will succeed.

It is perhaps the unhappy fate of all Sarah's men the good ones, the truthful ones to become believers. He has seen it more than once. Miles Dyson. Dr Silberman. Charley Dixon.

For his part, perhaps like all of them, his life is divided into Before Sarah and All This.

The dividing line wasn't so clear-cut as all that. It wasn't a clear demarcation. More of a spilling over from one journey to another. A melding into a new reality. Being absorbed. It is only looking back that he recognises certain moments for the cataclysmic turning points that they were.

It is tempting to imbue himself with wisdom and insights that were not really there. He imagines telling the story to his grandchildren, if they survive it, with all sorts of embellishments. He always knew there was something about that Sarah Connor, he would say. And if they do survive it, you can bet your ass he will bask in her reflected glory. No hesitation. It's an old bullshitter's perogative.

Of course, he knew nothing. Not for years. She was just another nutcase with an unusually elaborate psychosis, that was all. And the doctors were perhaps at least half-right about that. God knew, in the years before Pescadero, Sarah was by all accounts driven half-crazy by what she knew. And why not? Who wouldn't be?

Perhaps Pescadero had been good for her, in a fucked-up kind of way. Two years of being drugged to the eyeballs might have given her the time, the space, the not-running she needed to process what she knew and find her bearings again deep inside.

But he didn't encounter her until her escape from that esteemed institution, now home to another psychological victim of All This. And even then, for two years, he had no clue. She was just another perp. A perp who showed up on his radar when she left her fiance and headed for the tall grass. A surprisingly sane-looking perp with a little family and a steady job. He wondered idly whether her paramedic boyfriend had been slipping her some kind of anti-psychotic pills, but he didn't really think so. Charley Dixon said he had no idea, no idea at all about what was going on with Sarah. And James Ellison believed him.

It was only a short time later that he realised none of them had any idea at all about what was going on with Sarah. Like maybe right about the time her son was chased out of school by a guy with some kind of robot leg. Then rescued by a girl sporting a couple of gunshot wounds to the chest. Then apparently caught in a fight at their crappy little rental - a fight that left the house condemned. And that was all before sundown.

Then they blew themselves up, Sarah and her son and the girl, and the clawing nightmare, the nagging fear that maybe, just maybe she wasn't nuts, the unravelling of his life came to an end. The loose threads of his mind started to knit themselves back into place.

His career stalled, and he was grateful for that. Perhaps like Sarah, he needed a time of rest. He thinks now of that time, those eight years, as a kind of pregnant pause. A waiting between the first awakening and the realisation that the nightmare was real.

He didn't think so at the time. Life just went on. Except for Sarah, apparently vaporised by her own explosion. Until she turned up on TV eight years later. James was greyer then, but Sarah wasn't. She hadn't aged a day.

Hadn't aged a day.

It didn't sink in, what that really meant. Not until she freed a hostage from a van with a pair of teenagers who should have been twenty five. And since then, life has been one accelerating roller-coaster ride of robot hands and videotapes and fires and pleading with all of her friends and foes to let him in. He has faced the mutinous and, once, murderous repudiation of people who believe her and sometimes despise her. Tarissa Dyson...Charley Dixon...Peter Silberman. And, more than once, he has stared Them in the face, only to realise it later.

All these things pass through his mind in the moments it takes him to look up into the face of the enemy for the first time. He offers no resistance. He has no death wish, but he recognises in Cromartie (though he knows not that is his name) another cataclysmic moment that is far bigger than he. He may survive or he may die, but either way, he will be absorbed. In a bigger sense than his own survival, there is no question of the outcome. He acknowledges this and surrenders.

Cromartie regards him with mild curiosity, then passes him by. Passes him over, if only for now.

He rocks on his heels as Death casually walks away.

Looking around at the collective carcass that was once his friends, he feels hysteria rising in his throat. He hangs on grimly to his hold on himself. He may not be Sarah Connor, but he was spared for something, and he is going to figure out what it is. And he will start right here and right now, lest shuddering relief give way to denial, paralysis, or insanity.

He has no wife, he thinks again, and right now he is glad.

END


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