beatrice_otter: John Connor with shotgun--made for me, not shareable (John Connor)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Title: Summer Experience
Author: [personal profile] beatrice_otter 
Fandom: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Characters: John Connor, Kyle Reese
Word Count: 1,314
Summary: After “Born To Run,” John Connor finds his way back to his own time and prevents Judgment Day. What’s life like for Kyle Reese in a world where the apocalypse never happened?
Spoilers: nothing specific

Two weeks after Kyle started his summer internship at CyberSolutions Research Group, his third year of college, his new boss threw a party for all the interns and new hires. Kyle had finished settling in to his new sublet apartment (his first ever!) and was thinking of going out to check out the New York nightlife instead.

“Wouldn’t recommend it,” Achmed said, sipping his coffee when Kyle mentioned it while taking his break. “That man is the shining light of the cybernetics field. If you want to make it big, probably not a good idea to make his first impression of you be ditching his party for some action, know what I mean?”

“Right,” Kyle said. Achmed was the only real researcher who’d paid any of the interns more attention than dumping projects and gopher jobs on them. Kyle drained his Pepsi as the other man wandered out of the break room and stood staring down at the can for a few minutes, trying to delay the inevitable. He’d thought he was hot stuff back at college, top of his class, but … the stuff CyberSolutions worked on wasn’t cutting edge, it was bleeding edge, even the scut-work they stuck the interns with. Kyle was out of his depth, and couldn’t figure out why he’d been chosen, when he compared himself to everyone else who had and the thousands who had applied and been denied. He sighed, tossed the can in the recycling bin sitting under the “Save the world!” sign, and returned to his cubicle, hunching his shoulders and hoping nobody could tell how lost he was.

***

Kyle wandered around his bosses’ house, stopping occasionally to talk to people. It was a weird place. Obviously new, obviously expensive, belonging to the head of research at the foremost computer science place in the world, and … where was the home system? Where were the terminals to control lighting, sound system, HVAC, door locks? From what he could see, the place ran exclusively on manual switches, like something out of the Dark Ages. Or the twentieth century, whatever.

“You know, Kyle, you should try to talk to someone.” It was Emma from MIT, fellow intern, who’d somehow managed to sneak up on him despite the fact that he was standing in the corner. “Make connections.”

“I have talked to people,” Kyle said, sipping his wine. It was probably really fancy and expensive, but honestly he’d prefer a beer.

“Whatever,” she said, and wandered off.

Kyle made a face. All anyone was talking about were computers and work. He’d had enough of that for a while, and all he wanted to do was relax. And not worry about whether he was good enough to do the damn job, or if he’d wash out of the internship in disgrace. (He’d never heard of it happening, but surely it was possible.)

With a sigh, he edged out of the corner and began wandering the room again. A group of photographs caught his eye; apparently, his new boss was a gun nut. There were a couple of him and his family with some serious firepower. Kyle assumed the guns must be legal, but he wasn’t sure. They looked like the kind of thing you’d see in an action movie, not the kind of thing one of his friends had for hunting deer. And there weren’t any hunting trophies in the house. If he didn’t hunt, why the guns?

“That’s my mother.”

Kyle twitched and turned around. What was it with people sneaking up on him today? “Doctor Baum!” he said, surprised.

The great John Baum, best AI programmer in the world, head of research at CSRG, took a sip from his wine and looked past Kyle to the pictures on the wall.

Kyle followed his gaze, and figured out which one it had to be. A dark-haired woman in vintage clothes and hairstyle, caught off guard, not looking at the camera. “She’s pretty,” he said. There were other pictures of her on the wall: alone, with Doctor Baum, with him and his wife and children. No sign of Doctor Baum’s father.

“Thanks,” Doctor Baum said. There was an odd note in his voice.

Kyle looked over to find the older man staring intently into his drink. Okay. Not a good place to go, then. “You like hunting?” he asked.

“I’ve done it, some,” Doctor Baum said. “I like target or skeet shooting better. My mom taught me to shoot when I was a kid—our version of mother-son bonding. It’s a lot of fun, blasting away at targets. How about you?”

“I have a friend who hunts,” Kyle said. “Never saw the interest. Guess I’m just too squeamish. I’d rather get my meat already dead and butchered from a store. I’ve never gone shooting with real guns, though I’ve done paintballing and first-person-shooter games.”

“Yeah? How’d you do?”

Kyle shook his head. Wow. The only one at the party who seemed content to talk about things other than computers and artificial intelligence was John Baum. How’s that for irony? “I always get my ass kicked,” he admitted. “I’ve never been very coordinated, and I never remember to check what’s behind me.”

“That’s a problem,” Doctor Baum said.

“I know,” Kyle said glumly. “You’d think I’d learn, the number of times I’ve been shot in the back. My brother Derek says in a zombie apocalypse, I’d be the first to go.”

Doctor Baum gave a weird laugh. “Well, if you ever want to learn to shoot the real thing, Kyle, just let me know. I can take you out, show you how.”

“Thank you,” Kyle said, blinking. “I think right now, I’d better concentrate on work. It’s a lot to take in, and I want to do a good job.”

“Dedication is a good thing,” Doctor Baum said. “We do important work, here.”

“It was an honor to be selected,” Kyle said.

After a few minutes of chitchat—where are you from, how’s school, how’s the family doing—Doctor Baum excused himself. Kyle was left staring after him, metaphorically scratching his head and wondering WTF. It wasn’t what the guy said, but … the way he said it. The guy might be a genius, but he was weird.

The next few weeks, Doctor Baum came to the department Kyle was assigned to fairly regularly. It was Baum’s building, but it seemed like every time he dropped by, he seemed to pay a lot of attention to whatever project Kyle happened to be a part of. Or if he didn’t, Kyle would feel eyes on him, but by the time he turned around or looked up Baum would be looking someplace else.

“Does Doctor Baum usually spend this much time down here?” Kyle asked Achmed one day, just after Baum had left.

“Now you mention it, not usually,” Achmed said. “Though, his attention to various projects ebbs and flows, and I can never figure out which projects are going to catch his eye. What, you think he’s coming down here all the time to keep an eye on you?” He laughed.

Kyle forced a smile. “Not really, just not that thrilled at having the boss breathing down all our necks.” He supposed, when you thought of all the regular employees CSRG had, and the number of interns they went through in a given year, it was pretty self-centered to assume that the great Doctor John Baum, who was in charge of everything, was watching him personally.

***

By the end of the summer, Kyle had learned more than he’d ever thought possible. He went back to school and completed his degree, and used his experience at CyberSolutions to get a position at one of the top computer companies in the world.

Not CSRG, despite his open invitation to apply. One summer creeped out by his boss was more than enough.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-02 12:51 am (UTC)
jedibuttercup: Notebook and Pen (Default)
From: [personal profile] jedibuttercup
Eeeee, how weird for both of them.

I still haven't finished watching the series, though now I've finally got my hands on Season 2 I suppose I ought to schedule a day for it.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-09 12:46 am (UTC)
goodbyebird: Sarah Connor Chronicles: Sarah at the institution (SCC Sarah sanity in a crazy world)
From: [personal profile] goodbyebird
Interesting take on things! John would definitely keep his eye on the Reese boys.

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