His hand slid across something protruding from the wall and he flipped the switch up. The room lit up with dim lights. He and Serenia stared, open-mouthed at the wonder before them.
It couldn’t have been shorter than 7 feet tall and looked like some kind of portal. A small staircase led into the face of the machine. The machine was glowing faintly blue. Serenia took a step towards it and instinctively stood back, as a wave of electricity hit her. She turned back to Derek, wide-eyed. His jaw slack, he croaked out, “Your father is a genius.” Serenia looked back at the new Time Displacement and nodded.
As Derek skimmed over the diagrams, Serenia sat down, thinking, an idea running through her head. If the machine went both ways, maybe, just maybe, she could pull it off. She pulled the photo of Sarah out of her pocket and stared at it for quite some time. John frequently talked about Sarah. Serenia begged him many times as a little kid to rehash all the old stories of how cool she was, how she taught him to prepare for the war as a 10 year old. How she escaped the clutches of an evil Terminator twice. Serenia’s heart filled with pride. She turned the photo over, and written on the back in faded black ink, was Sarah Connor’s birth and death date. Serenia looked back at the machine, then the photo, then to Derek, who was still contemplating the words scrawled out in front of him. She didn’t want to have to do this to him, run off, and maybe never even make it back. But, she had to try, for John’s sake. There was just one order of business that would need to be taken care of first.
Serenia stood up, replacing the photo into her pocket. She pulled her jacket off her waist and put it on. Derek caught sight of her, “Where are you going?” Serenia didn’t look at him as she headed to the door, just replied, “Out. I’ll be back.” He nodded and went back to the diagrams. Serenia grabbed Derek’s car keys off the table and left.
“Please,” Serenia pleaded earnestly. She had thrown some dirt on her clothes and made her limp more extrusive as she stood in front of the Hospital receptionist. The lady looked at her and said, “Look, I can’t just give it you-“Serenia cut her off, “Please. It’s for my friend. She’s my only hope. My entire family was killed by the disease. Now, my friend has it, and she’s all I have left. I don’t know how much time she has. Please.” The receptionist looked around for a second, and nodded. She left her station. Serenia put on her best saddened look and shoved her hair out of her face. The receptionist came back a few minutes later, carrying three vials of a red liquid and handed them to her. “Thank you. You’re saving two lives with this…and many more.” She smiled shyly and backed out the door. Once she was outside, she brushed the dirt off and raced to the car.
Upon reentering the office, she felt a sudden pang that she couldn’t quite do this. She brushed it away brusquely. Derek was still reading the diagrams when Sarah burst through the door, a bag over her shoulder. Derek looked up, and saw the bag. The second he did, he knew exactly what she was planning to do, “No. You can’t. I won’t let you risk yourself.” Serenia ignored him and started toward the machine. He grabbed her shoulder. She turned around and stared into his eyes. “I have to. If I’m supposed to lead the Resistance like John says I am, then I need to do this. This could be the only way to ensure that the Resistance is led by someone who knows what they’re doing. Please.” He reached forward and hugged her tightly, “You are the bravest person I know. Seriously.” She let go of him and headed over to the small panel in front of the machine, inputting a date in the year 1997. She stared down at it as a thousand thoughts flew through her head.
“How do you turn it on?” Serenia asked. Derek smiled and went around behind it, flipping a number of switches and hitting some buttons. The machine came to life, the air seeming to swirl with electricity. Serenia stepped back, all of a sudden unable to go through with this. She had never been scared like this. She felt a hand on her shoulder and clasped Derek’s hand with her own. “I’m ready.” She said. Derek nodded and handed her a small, gray, metallic device with a button on it. This is what she would use to come back. She put it in her bag and took a deep breath. “If I don’t come back, tell my dad I tried.” She walked to the machine and took a long look at Derek. Half of a smile flitted across his face and he waved at her. She waved back and took a step into the swirling madness in front of her.
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