Chapter One: Allies in Reality
If the Time War was Hell, the Cyber War was something deeper than it.
Reilly stood on the frontlines of the wasteland brought on by the nuclear fallout – otherwise known as “Judgment Day.” The tenth incarnation of a Time Lord named Neas (also known as “The Gladiator of Gallifrey”), Reilly was as beautiful as she was brave with her long, flowing brown hair and brightly colored eyes. The soldiers of the Resistance always saw her in her signature black windbreaker that sometimes rose up in the back, exposing fair, toned skin. She also wore tight blue jeans that accentuated her curves, including thighs and buttocks, as well as knee-high black boots.
Sure, Neas was fashionable in this regeneration, but fashion was the last thing on Reilly’s mind at the moment. She was on a mission with John Connor, or one of many versions of him that she fought alongside in the Cyber War. Reilly had faced the horrors of the battle throughout multiple realities and timelines, each one with a different John Connor who had the same facial scar.
Connor wasn’t the only one there with her.
In this version of the war, she managed to recruit the greatest cybernetic warriors across the multiverse, either through visitation to their home realms or a rift that opened on the battlefields.
First, there was Major Motoko Kusanagi, a purple-haired advanced cyborg with highly advanced capabilities. Reilly met her once while visiting her world, during the time the Gladiator was in her “Cara” incarnation, replacing a hand she lost from an incident in 1982 Antarctica with Gumball and Darwin Watterson. Major was one of the best police agents in her world, regarded highly by her squad, Section 9. She was a confident, calculating, and somewhat aloof individual. Despite that, she was far from emotionless, showing an approachable, friendly side and a rage was something to behold.
Alex J. Murphy was someone Reilly had never met prior to his conversion into a cyborg law enforcer, codenamed “Robocop.” Like Major, Robocop was capable of many feats, from internal weapon storage to reinforced armor. Murphy was a victim of a rift that had opened during one battle between the Resistance and the Cyber-Force. He claimed to have knowledge of Reilly’s future, having been created by one of her succeeding regenerations and the Doctor himself. However, he had been preprogrammed not to divulge too many details, presumably to keep Reilly from knowing too much of her own future.
And then there were Optimus Prime and the Autobots, who were also victims of a dimensional rift. They literally dropped in from out of nowhere, along with their sworn adversaries – the Decepticons, crashing down like meteors over various parts of the desolated Earth. Optimus and the Autobots were one of the few characters Reilly knew about before her travels across the infinite DC. From her home realm, they existed only in fiction, so it was a treat for her to meet them up close and personal – and they were bigger than she thought they would be.
While the Autobots fought on the side of the Resistance, the Decepticons had allied themselves with the Cyber-Force, a league of Cybermen that turned the tide of the war. Their goal was to seek out any of the machines operated by Skynet, the third faction in the Cyber War, and reprogram them to fight on their side. The Decepticons required no such motivation and purposefully established a prison camp for the human members of the Resistance to be kept in.
That prison camp was the Resistance’s primary target for their latest mission.
To get more intel on its layout, they needed one of the reprogrammed flying Hunter Killers. Bumblebee successfully shot down one that was on patrol, allowing Major to hack into it, connecting her cyberbrain – via the ports in the back of her neck – into the HK-Aerial’s mainframe. She was fed countless information, from the camp’s layout to its occupants. “There are Terminator and Cyberman guards everywhere,” she reported.
“Doesn’t sound like a problem for us,” Reilly dismissed. “How many prisoners?”
“Two hundred…most of them Resistance,” Major confirmed.
“What do you mean ‘most of them’?” Connor inquired. “Who else is there?”
Major frowned as she continued in her report: “Some of the prisoners don’t appear to be from this period of time…or this dimension.”
“They’re ripping people out of their realms?” The very idea revolted Reilly.
“Sounds like something Skynet would do,” Connor reflected. “An alternative to going back and assassinating them, just like they tried to do with me and my mother.”
“John,” Major somberly addressed, “Kyle Reese is among the listed prisoners.”
Connor stiffened at this news.
“I also see Rick Sanchez, Morty Smith, and…” Major paused and gasped, her reddish-brown eyes shooting over to Reilly. “Craig Williams!”
“No…” Reilly muttered, her fists clenched.
“I assume Craig Williams is of great importance to this war,” Optimus surmised.
“He’s just a kid!” Reilly snapped, though she didn’t mean to sound so harsh to her favorite hero. Once she was able to compose herself, she instructed Major, “Locate his exact location.”
“You also want me to locate Sanchez and Smith?”
“Fuck them – I only care about Craig right now!” Reilly again snapped.
Seeing the intensity in her brightly colored eyes chilled even Major into complying. She focused further on the layouts of the camp, switching from an overhead view to a digital 3D model that showed multiple underground levels. When she detected four signatures within one of them, she informed Reilly, “I got them. They’re being contained in Sublevel 6, which is reserved for execution.”
More determined than ever, Reilly commanded her team, “Here’s how we’re doing this: Optimus and the Autobots move in first and attack the main level of the camp – that should be enough of a distraction for Major and Murphy to liberate the Resistance prisoners. Connor, you’re with me. We’re going down to that sublevel to break out your father, Craig, and those two other guys.”
Reilly’s plan of action played out just as she orchestrated.
Optimus and the Autobots busted through the front gates of the prison camp in vehicle mode before engaging the enemy in their bipedal Cybertronian modes. They took out a majority of Terminator and Cyberman guards until the Decepticons emerged and counterattacked.
“They’re weak without Megatron leading them!” Mirage bellowed while eviscerating two Decepticons all at once.
“My thoughts exactly,” Arcee supported. “Look at how anxious they were to join the Cyber-Force. Megatron would’ve never allowed them to be so submissive.” She performed a somersault over another Decepticon, slicing its body in half as she landed gracefully on her feet.
“I smell pussies!” Bumblebee expressed through an audio clip from House Party.
“Do not let your guards down, Autobots!” Optimus ordered. “While these Decepticons lack proper leadership, they are still formidable!” He plunged his energon axe into the head of a Decepticon, tearing it from its shoulders.
As the Autobots fought vigorously, Major and Robocop popped off the remaining Terminators and Cybermen guarding the Resistance prisoners. They then freed them by hacking into the camp’s defense systems – Major through her neck ports and Murphy with the data spike from his right hand.
“Proceed out through the front gate in an orderly fashion,” Robocop directed, though the Resistance prisoners did not heed the direction. They were more occupied with storming out of the cells and gathering as many weapons from the downed Terminators and Cybermen as they could.
Major shook her head, grinning. “Even in war, you can’t stop being a cop, can ya, Murphy?”
“Just following my directives, Major.”
Reilly and Connor were virtually invisible in the midst of the Autobot rampage and the liberation of the Resistance prisoners. Storming further into the camp, they shot down any Terminators or Cybermen that crossed their path with the plasma rifles they confiscated on the battlefield.
They took an elevator down to Sublevel 6. It was sixty feet well below ground.
As soon as they were there, they anticipated more guards to have been waiting for them, but there were none to be found.
“I don’t like this,” Reilly said, maintaining aim with her rifle.
“Neither do I,” Connor concurred. “It’s like they want us to be here.”
Edging through the area, they were stopped by a sound Reilly hadn’t heard in years: the grinding of TARDIS engines. Sure enough, one materialized there in front of her and Connor – another Type-Z model like the one she had parked back in the Resistance base. At first, she wondered if it was the same one, but that would be impossible since he kept it bio-locked from everyone, except for herself.
“That’s your ship, isn’t it?” Connor queried, just as dumbfounded as Reilly.
Shortly after materializing, a door opened on the front of the tall, black rectangular solid and out charged an exquisite blonde wearing a hoodie, blue jeans that were even tighter than Reilly’s, and a purple sweater. Her crystal blue eyes hysterically darted about in search for someone or something before settling on Reilly and Connor.
“Oh, good…familiar faces,” she said with a slight southern accent. “Either of you wouldn’t happen to have seen a cute little African-American boy with a staff around, would you?”
Whoever this blonde was, it was evident to Reilly that she was a future regeneration of her. “That’s exactly who we’re looking for,” she told the blonde. “Was he with you before he ended up here?”
The blonde shook her head. “No. His friends told me he was here.”
Reilly grew infuriated. “How could you allow him to be—?”
BANG! BANG! BANG!
She and Connor swiftly turned and aimed their rifles in the direction that the consistent banging sounded from. It was a door that caged something big and strong. When it busted off its hinges, they discovered that big, strong something to have been a Series 800 Terminator with Model 101 living tissue.
“That’s an infiltrator class!” Reilly identified. “He’s a prototype! They aren’t supposed to exist yet in this timeline!”
“At least we know why this area doesn’t have many guards,” Connor stated.
The blonde stepped past them, cracking her knuckles and taking a fighting stance. “Go save Craig,” she ordered them.
“While you do what? Get our butt handed to us?!” Reilly asked her.
The blonde smirked at her. “So, you finally figured out who I was.”
“It wasn’t that hard,” Reilly said. “I care about our lil’ bro just as much as you.”
“But he doesn’t remember you, does he?”
That remark silenced Reilly.
“Just go get him! I’ll take care of the T-800!”
Left with no other choice, Reilly obliged to the orders of her future regeneration but also made sure to give her a fighting chance by handing her plasma rifle over to her. The blonde fired right away, distracting the T-800 while Reilly and Connor rushed to the holding cells down the nearest corridor.
There were three on opposite sides and only four held the prisoners of interest behind red electric fields.
Reilly immediately saw Williams balled up in his cell. “Craig!” she cried.
He looked up in alert to the call of his name, not recognizing the young brunette in the black windbreaker. He saw her crouch down to his eye level, looking sympathetically at him through the electric field. “Who are you?” he asked her. “Where’s Kara? Are you her friend?”
Reilly’s hearts sank. “I’m…here with her, yeah.”
“That’s great!” Craig cheered. “That means we’re saved!”
“We’re saved as soon as we’re out of our cells, Franklin!” A gruff, drunken voice spoke behind Reilly, who rolled her eyes irritably when she heard it. Turning her head, she spotted Rick and Morty in the cell directly across from Craig’s. “Nice timing, by the way, Billie Eilish. W-What? Did you hold *buurrrp* a concert on the way here?”
Reilly shot him a cold glare. “How ’bout I just leave your sorry ass in there?” She then quickly turned back to Craig and added, “Sorry about cursing, sweetie.”
“It’s O.K.” Craig told her. “He gets on my nerves, too…especially when he calls me ‘Franklin’.”
“Yeah, Rick, do you have any idea how incredibly racist that is?” Reilly scolded.
“It’s so racist, Rick,” Morty coincided.
“Alright, I get it!” Sanchez bellowed. “How ’bout we just get out of these damned prison cells?!”
Connor succeeded in turning of the electric grids, freeing Craig, Rick, Morty, and Kyle Reese. “You’re him, aren’t you?” Reese addressed Connor on his way out of his cell. “I heard your voice on the radio. You’re John Connor.” John looked on the young man who had yet to become the experienced soldier of the Resistance that he sent back through time to protect his mother…and become the father he never had growing up.
Before he could have a chance to say anything to him, they heard a scream of agony from the area they left the blonde in. Suddenly, her body skidded down the holding chamber corridor, stopping right at the feet of Craig and Reilly. “Kara!” the former shouted over her.
Kara was out cold, her clothes ravaged from her scuffle with the T-800.
The T-800 itself began storming its way through the corridor, its face blown clear off and exposing the horrifying metal skull underneath.
“Rick,” Reilly beckoned. “Now would be a good time for a portal!”
“T-T-They confiscated it from him,” Morty told her.
“But they didn’t take the nano-portal gun I keep in *buuurp* my pocket,” Rick noted, reaching into his right pants pocket to retrieve the device, which was almost the size of a piece of lint. “I always hate this next part.” He spat on the miniscule gun, an action that enlarged it to its full size. As gross as it was to witness, Reilly was just glad it worked.
Swiping away the saliva drenched all over the portal gun, Sanchez commenced in generating a portal for him, Reilly, and the others to escape, with Connor and Reese carrying the unconscious Kara through. The portal brought them inside Kara’s TARDIS, from where Reilly went right to work in dematerializing away from the Decepticon prison camp.
They arrived back at the rendezvous point, a few miles from the camp, among the gathering of liberated Resistance fighters. Major, Robocop, and the Autobots arrived after successfully rendering the Decepticon prison camp to smoldering ruins.
Reilly arranged a medical team to nurse Kara in Autobot Ratchet’s vehicle form and load Kara’s TARDIS into Optimus’s trailer for safekeeping. Together, they all rode back to the Resistance base in each of the Autobots – Craig and Reilly in particular sharing a ride in Optimus’s cab.
She noticed Craig staring out the passenger side window to Ratchet, undoubtedly concerned for Kara. “She came to rescue me after I was captured by the Decepticons…they invaded my world just to find me,” Craig lamented.
Reilly sighed, deeply concerned for her friend. When he turned away from the window, she saw tears streaming down his face. “Oh, Craig.” She took her arm around him and held him close, permitting him to cry into the soft fabric of her windbreaker. “I promise you I’ll fix everything.”
Sniffling, he looked up at her curiously. “How? What can you do?”
“I think you already know the answer to that, if we’ve been friends for as long as I think we have…or will be,” Reilly said with a smile.
She saw his face lit with stunning recognition. “Neas?”
“You can call me ‘Reilly’ in this form.”
“Wow…I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised, since I’ve met like three other versions of you, but…which one is this?”
“I would be the tenth overall.”
“So you’re before the tall guy version of you?”
Reilly cringed. “Well, spoiler alert, lil’ buddy.”
“I’m sorry. That’s the one I hung out with the most.” Craig then came to a surprising realization. “Wait a sec. We only first met when you were that version. How could you know who I am as this version?”
Reilly rubbed her fingers through her long brown locks, caught at a crossroads. “Craig, there’s something you oughta know: we’ve known each other for a lot longer than you can imagine. I actually met you when you were just a tiny lil’ fella and I was just coming into being ‘Reilly’.” She chuckled as she added, “As a matter of fact, it was you who gave me the name.”
Detecting a long story coming on, Craig asked, “When did it start?”
“Oh, quite a long time ago, in my previous regeneration, when I was friends with another Craig…”