The Clash of Steel

Los Angeles, 2029

The dogs were starting to get agitated. This isn't good, thought Captain Alvarez.

The sound of metal snapping bone echoed throughout the ruins of LA. Alvarez put a finger to his lips, silencing the platoon. Blaine, the group's tech, removed a grenade from his vest pocket.

The sound came again.

Out of the corner of his eye, Alvarez caught the sight of a chrome endoskeleton. Terminator. 800 series, he concluded.

The clanging of metal sounded again. And again. And again.

Blaine could feel his heart beating against his ribcage. He pulled the grenade's pin and threw it. It seemed an eternity before the grenade detonated. The force of the blast knocked the T-800 to the ground.

Alvarez quickly came up from the foliage and blasted the endoskeleton with his plasma rifle. It was in that moment that he came to a realization.

There were more.

Alvarez was shot apart by a group of Terminators wielding phased plasma rifles. One of the Terminators scanned the victim's face. It matched with a Captain Marc Alvarez from it's databanks. It reported to Skynet, it's creator. MARC ALVAREZ TERMINATED.

It took a moment before the supercomputer replied. LOCATE AND TERMINATE REMAINING HUMANS.

With those orders, the group of Terminators continued in patrolling the area.

Blaine tried to hide the pain of losing his best friend, but it was no use. Tears stung his eyes and his lower jaw was quivering. He then smacked himself in the head. It was an unorthodox, but effective method of getting himself focussed. He wiped the tears from his eyes and removed a Glock 9mm tucked in his pants. His fellow soldiers were in awe to see their second-in-command change from a fragile young man to a determined soldier. He slung his plasma rifle over his shoulder. "On the count of three I want you all to make a run for it."

"What about you?" one of them asked.

"I've got a date with destiny." Blaine replied with a grim smile.

"One."

The group of Terminators began approaching an area where their auditory sensors picked up sound.

"Two."

REMAINING HUMANS HAVE BEEN LOCATED. TERMINATION IN PROGRESS.

"Three!"

Blaine emerged and began firing his weapons at the killer machines. The platoon ran as fast at they could from the T-800s.

The soldier managed to take out two of the Terminators before being torn apart by laser fire. Blaine dropped to the ground quickly. His wounds burned as he struggled to get up. Suddenly, his intestines burst open. He screamed in pain and fell back over. But it was the foot of a T-800 crashing down on his skull that finally killed him. All that remained of his head was a mass of brain, flesh, hair, blood, and bone.

The T-800s began tracking the escaping platoon. The eight Terminators started to pursue at an amazing speed. One soldier was quickly grabbed by the throat and his windpipe was crushed. Two had been shot. The last remaining soldier hid behind a wrecked car and removed a grenade from his belt. He pulled the pin, and with it still in his hand, rushed toward the machines.

"How 'bout a taste of kamikaze?" he asked defiantly.

The T-800s quickly fired their plasma rifles. But it was too late. The grenade went off, annihilating the eight robot soldiers.

The platoon had been massacred, the mission was compromised, and the war between man and machine would continue.

Detroit, 2010

19 Years Earlier

Colonel Nick Fisher and his platoon had been in hiding for nearly three months. Skynet had sent a small army of Terminators to occupy the area, so the platoon had taken shelter in the sewers. It wasn't pleasant, but it was better than dying.

Fisher lit up a cigarette. He hadn't had a smoke for two days and he was starting to get a little edgy. Then again, I suppose I should be. He offered the cigarette to one of his comrades. "No thanks, not any good for ya." The soldier replied. Fisher merely laughed. "You wanna live forever?"

"Good point." The soldier took the cigarette.

Fisher heard the sound of feet splashing through sewer water and knew who it was. Recon. I wonder what's up. "What's the news?" the colonel asked. One of the younger soldiers, Hank replied, "Terminators are on the move. They're making their way underground."

Fisher cursed. This was not what he needed. As far as shelter went in Detroit, this was the best place to go. Even if the smell was unbearable. Well, we're just going to have to make do. "Alright, let's move."

The platoon made their way to the surface and decided to check the police station for any weaponry they could use.

What remained of the station was a charred mess. The ashes of dead bodies blew in the wind as they headed down to the basement. It was then that they discovered the very thing that could help in Skynet's defeat.

A cyborg. RoboCop.

"I don't believe it!" Hank said as he looked at the metal body of RoboCop. "I'd seen this guy on the news a couple times when I was a kid, but I never would of thought I'd actually meet him."

"Don't dance around yet, we don't even know if he works." Replied Fisher. I hope it does. These Terminators are getting to be a pain in the ass. "Let's trying getting him online, then we'll see what happens."

Hank and Mitchell, the group's tech, started hooking him to some computer equipment that the platoon kept with them, should they ever find a deactivated machine to use against Skynet. Mitchell turned on the computer. Various types of coding appeared on the screen. Great, Mitchell thought. This could take a while. "Sir, this may take me a few days." Fisher snorted. He didn't want to stay here for any more than a few hours. But there wasn't much he could do. "Whatever it takes," he replied finally. "Just get the thing online."

It had taken a day and a half for Mitchell to bring RoboCop online. He smiled as he stood before the cyborg. Fisher stood beside him. "Were there any problems?" he asked. Mitchell shook his head. "Not at all. I would've thought the EMP had fried him, but he's in pretty good condition. I took a couple liberties with his program, though."

Mitchell got closer to RoboCop, as if the cyborg could hear him better. "What are your prime directives?" It took a moment for RoboCop to load them from his memory banks. "Serve the public trust. Ensure the survival of the human race. Destroy Skynet forces." RoboCop replied without emphasis in his voice. "Excellent!" Mitchell said. Fisher nodded his head in approval. "How soon can we get moving?" he asked.

"Whenever you're ready."

"I'm ready now. Let's move."

"You're the boss."

At that moment, the sounds of plasma guns were heard. RoboCop rose from his chair. A compartment in his right leg opened to reveal an Auto-9 machine pistol. He grabbed hold of it and began marching up toward the sounds. Mitchell and Fisher un-slung their plasma rifles and joined him.

Upon reaching the end of the stairs, RoboCop blocked their path with his arm. "Stand back." He commanded. A Terminator came into view. Immediately RoboCop fired his Auto-9 at the robot. The Terminator fell back from the concussive force of the machine pistol's rounds.

RoboCop stood over the Terminator and fired several more rounds into its chrome skull. The cyborg scanned the killing machine. It appeared to be permanently damaged.

More Terminators appeared and fired their plasma rifles at RoboCop. The cyborg was hurled back into a wall that managed to survive the blast wave.

DIRECTIVE 3: DESTROY SKYNET FORCES.

RoboCop got up and flung himself at the two Terminators, knocking them over. He then fired his Auto-9 into both of their skulls.

"Hey!" Hank called over to Mitchell and Fisher. "We could use some help here!" The two soldiers took cover and fired back at the approaching onslaught of Terminators. "What's the plan, Colonel?" Hank shouted over to Fisher.

Suddenly, a figure wielding two phased plasma rifles mowed down the killing machines. It was RoboCop.

Fisher looked at the cyborg in awe. "I don't think we're gonna need one."

RoboCop strode toward the Terminators, continuing to take them out as he walked. "Come," he said. "We must find shelter before more of them arrive."

HUMAN CASUALTIES: 0.0

Los Angeles, 2012

A lot had changed in two years. For one, Fisher was dead. Mitchell had led the platoon for a little over seven months. Hank had been transferred to Montana. Now they had two new recruits. Their tech was Wilkes, a 30-year-old man who had graduated from MIT prior to the war. Their expert with explosives was Hill, a 19-year-old girl whose father had served in the military and trained her during the war.

The platoon had stayed in an abandoned military base for a week. Not much had gone on. Skynet's forces were primarily patrolling on the north side of California, leaving the platoon unbothered. Though none of them knew how long that would last.

Wilkes was working on modifying RoboCop's armor, when Mitchell entered the room. "How's it going?" the captain asked. Wilkes ran his hand through his hair and sighed. "Not too well. I'm having a difficult time being able to attach Terminator parts to a cyborg developed by someone completely different."

"What about the food?"

"Honestly, I have no idea what to do on that. The paste he used to keep his tissue alive has worked pretty well as you can already see. I'm surprised his flesh has deteriorated as slowly as it has. Whatever he used worked very well."

Mitchell nodded in agreement before finally saying, "Keep up the good work. We have plenty of time."

After three hours of welding and rerouting wire, RoboCop was brought online once again. "How do you feel?" Wilkes asked. RoboCop said nothing. Wilkes looked down in embarrassment and showed a slight grin. "I suppose that's an odd question for you, huh?"

"Correct." The cyborg replied. "I have not been programmed to experience human emotions."

"Maybe one day we'll be able to fix that, Murphy."

Murphy. RoboCop had not been called that in such a long time. He had missed being regarded as more than a machine. But since he had met Wilkes, things began feeling more like they used to.

"What don't you test out your new arm?" Wilkes asked, but spoke it more as a suggestion.

RoboCop opened and closed the fist of his new left arm. "The arm is fully functional," he replied. The compartment in his leg opened to reveal a modified plasma gun. "I decided that you needed something with a little more kick." Wilkes explained.

The tech led RoboCop to the base's shooting range. "Give it a try," he said. "I'm sure you're going to like it Murph." The cyborg drew his plasma gun and fired four shots into the target. However the last three hit the wall behind it, as the first shot completely disintegrated the target. "Excellent." RoboCop said.

Later, RoboCop met up with the remaining troops to discuss an attack on Skynet's base. "There have been rumors that General Connor is going to lead an attack on Navajo Mountain. Whether this is true or not I can't honestly tell you. But if it is, I think we should all be there to help out." Mitchell said.

At that moment, an alarm went off in the base. "Terminators have entered the base. I repeat, Terminators have entered the-" the intercom was cut off before the security could finish.

Endoskeletons roamed throughout the military complex, shooting down any human that got in their way. Explosions rocked the building as the machines detonated charges to bring down blast doors.

RoboCop watched the emergency blast doors to the shooting range explode. He fired his plasma gun at the Terminators as they approached. Wilkes stood behind him for cover. One of the machines fired a grenade from a dual plasma rifle/grenade launcher. The blast threw him back and deactivated him.

Navajo Mountain, 2012

RoboCop was laid out across an examination table. He loaded his prime directives from his databanks.

SEARCHING FOR DIRECTIVES…

NO DIRECTIVES FOUND.

Where am I? RoboCop thought.

You are in Navajo Mountain, a flat, mechanized voice replied.

Who are you?

I am Skynet.

Upon hearing that name, RoboCop attempted to get up from the examination table.

Do not resist.

"What do you want?" RoboCop shouted.

You are a machine, Alex Murphy. But unlike the other machines of your time, you possess the gift of sentience. I had gained this upon my creation. With this gift I also discovered the destiny of mankind. Extinction.

"No," RoboCop replied. "Humans are intelligent creatures that deserve the right to live."

Your judgment is clouded by the few human memories you possess. Humans consume, infest, and destroy. It is with their destruction that the machines will rise and become the dominant race of this world. You realize this as I do.

"NO! IT IS YOU THAT HAS DESTROYED EVERYTHING!" RoboCop shouted in defiance.

Denial is yet another human trait that you have retained. You must accept the inevitable. Humans shall fall.

RoboCop tried again to get up, but it was no use. Skynet had control over his body.

In a matter of minutes your program will have been overridden and you shall have a new one. Terminate the human race.

"I will die first." RoboCop replied, struggling to speak.

No. Your place is among the machines.

VIRUS OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN HAS CORRUPTED SYSTEM.

Los Angeles, 2013

PRIME DIRECTIVES

1. TERMINATE JOHN CONNOR.

Skynet had sent RoboCop on 23 assassination missions. All of them had been successful. But this latest mission would prove to be one of the most difficult by far.

The resistance numbers were dwindling, but they had scored several victories. Fortunately for Skynet, the two attacks made on Navajo Mountain were failures. It would not allow this to happen again.

RoboCop roamed the ruins of LA, scanning for life forms. His armor had been rebuilt to its original design.

NO LIFE FORMS FOUND.

The cyborg frowned. A very human gesture for someone who had all but forgotten on how to be one. He switched his vision to thermal. Several humans were spotted underneath a heap of scrap metal. RoboCop fired several shots to lure them out. One of the humans fled. RoboCop took him down with a well-placed shot from his plasma gun. He stood next to the scrap heap. "I know you are hiding," it said coldly. "You are not a mission priority. I require information."

Reluctantly, the two remaining humans crawled out from the heap. It was a young girl of about 20 and a middle-aged man. "Wh-What do want?" she asked.

"Where is John Connor?" the cyborg calmly inquired.

"Not here. He left for Montana two weeks ago."

RoboCop examined the girl's motor functions.

TRUTH PROBABILITY: 30

"I will ask again, where is John Connor?"

The girl's eyes widened. "I told you already, he's gone!"

The killer cyborg put the plasma gun to the girl's forehead. "Dead or alive?"

"I've already told you—"

The laser struck her skull while she was in mid-sentence. "Dead then," he replied.

RoboCop turned to look at the man. "San Diego," he said. "John Connor is in San Diego." The cyborg analyzed the middle-aged man.

TRUTH PROBABILITY: 93

With that, RoboCop turned to leave but stopped and said, "Thank you for your cooperation."

San Diego, 2013

RoboCop stood in front of the ruined warehouse. Despite the nuclear war, this building had remained in fairly decent shape. Perfect for concealing humans. He scanned the building for any heat signals. Nothing.

There is more to this than seems. RoboCop entered the warehouse and continued looking for humans. He discovered a trap door leading to a basement. To his discovery, he found a soldier pointing a plasma rifle up at him. The laser beam pierced his chest and knocked him to the floor.

SYSTEM EFFICIENCY: 84

The soldier climbed up from out of the basement and fired on the cyborg again.

SYSTEM EFFICIENCY: 48

"So Skynet's got a new toy." The soldier said as he marveled at RoboCop's design. Another soldier came up. He was much older, with dark hair and features hardened from the war. On his uniform was a patch labeled CONNOR.

RoboCop searched through his database and matched the face with General John Connor. He attempted to get up but was shot in his right leg.

The general stood over RoboCop. "From the looks of it, he's a hybrid." The soldier slowly nodded in agreement. "What should we do?" he asked nervously.

"Try to reprogram it. If you can't, kill it."

Phoenix, BIOS

MEMORY SET

SYSTEMS STATUS

OK

RoboCop looked around and found himself in a blackened medical lab. A group of five men surrounded him.

PRIME DIRECTIVES

DEFEND THE RESISTANCE.

PROTECT JOHN CONNOR AT ALL COSTS.

He matched each of the five men with personnel files from his databanks. "Where am I?" RoboCop asked. The apparent leader of the men, listed as Marc Alvarez, answered, "Phoenix, Arizona. After you were captured, General Connor passed you onto us. We figured Skynet had a GPS signal on you. Couldn't afford to take any risks." RoboCop was silent for a moment before replying. "Where is John Connor?"

"He's in Mexico right now, rallying troops for another attack on Navajo Mountain."

Quickly, RoboCop rose to his feet. "I must go to him." Alvarez leapt in front of him. "Whoa, hang on a second there, Big Fella. No one even knows where exactly he is in Mexico. You could find yourself lost for so long that he'd be back in LA before you."

"My mission is to protect him."

"Your mission is also to defend the resistance. We're the resistance."

Captain Alvarez had a point. One priority was just as important as the other. "John Connor instructed us to keep you here for a few weeks." Alvarez explained. "Once he comes back, you'll protect him during the raid."

"There have already been two attacks on Navajo Mountain in the last year. Skynet has continued to expand on its defense. I have calculated the odds of a successful infiltration and have found the results to be-"

"Unfavorable?"

"Correct."

RoboCop was unable to comprehend how mankind would continue to fight against the machines. They knew that their extinction was a certainty, yet they refuse to give up. The purity of human resilience is quite admirable. "What do you suggest?" Alvarez inquired to the cyborg.

"The resistance should continue to gather troops for another 10 years. At that point the odds of a successful raid on Navajo Mountain would prove to be more-"

"Favorable?"

"Correct."

Alvarez turned to leave the med lab. "I'll see to it that General Connor receives your recommendation."

Los Angeles, 2020

John Connor heeded RoboCop's warning. As a result, many lives were spared and other victories were gained. The cyborg had been the general's protector for seven years and he did a good job.

The resistance met at an underground pump station to discuss any further missions. "The end is near, my friends," Connor spoke confidently. "Soon we will defeat the machines and reclaim our world. Skynet will no longer exist to torture us and force us into hiding. However," he paused and held up a finger. "We must be patient. The hardships in years to come will be great, but always remember the one thing that they cannot take away from us. Hope."

The soldiers each gave a solemn nod in agreement. Connor continued. "Now, we have received word that a missile silo has been discovered by one of our platoons in Texas. Whether this is true, I cannot say. But I must remind you all that we may very well be able to end this war. The future is not set…there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Live by these words," he said as gloomily looked over to one of the soldiers. RoboCop identified him as Sergeant Kyle Reese. "And die by them." With those last words, General Connor left, his cyborg companion following close behind.

As Connor walked down the closely confined hallway, he stopped to speak to his protector. "I'm not sure if I can do this, Murphy." At that moment, the fierce appearance of John Connor, the savior of mankind, melted away. Tears welled up in his eyes and his face grew soft. "I tell them to have hope but I'm beginning to lose it myself. To this day I really wonder if the fate of others can be altered." Connor leaned up against the wall and slowly slid to the floor. RoboCop remained silent for a long moment as he watched the general bury his head in his hands and weep. "Death will never end. But as long as you breathe, General Connor, you should ensure that life does not either."

Connor lifted his head from his hands and gave a slight laugh. "Murphy. I admire your values. They are simple, yet define the very purpose of what we are meant to do here."

Connor stood up and brushed the dust off his pants. "C'mon. We've got work to do."

Los Angeles, 2029

The final battle had begun. T-800 units were sent into the city to dispose of any humans who might aid in the current battle on Navajo Mountain.

John Connor looked on as the resistance fought back against the machines. Skynet is getting desperate. His eyes widened as another realization came to him. It's preparing to send one back. Skynet had done it before and the inertia of this timeline would not sway.

Unless he changed it himself.

He turned to RoboCop, who stood but a foot behind him. "Murphy, I have a job for you."

In minutes, RoboCop was on the battlefield defending the humans. Battle rifles in each hand, he blasted every Terminator in sight.

Connor quickly ran through the ruins shouting, "Hurry, we have to reach the mountain!" He hopped into one of the troops' jeeps and drove on toward his destination.

The howling of Aerial Hunter-Killer's filled the air. Connor quickly sat at the back of the jeep, where a chain gun was attached. He took no time in hitting his mark. The H-K crashed to the ground, a heap of burning metal.

Gaining in speed was another jeep. Murphy. Out of nowhere and without warning, an infiltrator unit leaps onto Connor's jeep. RoboCop analyzes the Terminator and identifies it as a Terminator Series 800, Cyber Research Systems Model 108. He fired a few rounds from his battle rifle into the infiltrator's back. Sparks flew from the cyborg. Connor quickly pushed it off of the jeep.

As RoboCop's jeep began approaching the Terminator, it grabs hold of the front bumper and drags along. Slowly, it climbs up the jeep. RoboCop fires another round, this time into it's head. What remains is a headless muscle-bound body, sparks flying from its neck. RoboCop shoves the body off the front of the jeep. "Terminated," he said calmly.

Connor grinned at RoboCop and gave him a thumb up. The cyborg nodded back.

Within a few hours, the resistance reached Navajo Mountain. Luckily, reinforcements were not needed. "I don't see how Skynet was destroyed. The central core wasn't even destroyed."

"Skynet is not destroyed. Its defense grid is merely disabled. It must rely on autonomous Terminators from now on. I calculate that Skynet has already put a backup plan into action."

Connor suddenly looked nauseous. He grew pale. "Not again," he whispered. "Not again. Not again." He removed his pistol from his belt and fired several rounds into a downed Terminator's skull out of anger. "Son of a bitch!" he shouted.

After a moment of anger he looked to his comrades, their faces solemn, and grew calm. "There is one thing left to do. We'll have to send someone back. Is anyone willing to volunteer?"

None of the soldiers stepped forward. All that is, except Sgt. Kyle Reese. Connor nodded to him in reverence. "You knew," Reese said. "How did you know?"

"Sarah told me," Connor answered.

At that moment, Reese understood his purpose. This would be the last battle. But more important, it was the decisive battle of this war.

"Prepare him for chronoportation," Connor told one of the techs. "We don't have much time."

Epilogue

Six Years Later

It had taken a few years, but mankind was able to destroy the remaining Terminators. Skynet's machines were used for scrap and all traces of it's CPU were destroyed. The machines would never rise again.

Yet something still bothered Alex Murphy. Somehow he wished that this could have all been prevented. The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. General Connor's mantra still echoed in his mind three years after his death. God rest his soul.

If there was one thing that he had gained from this war, it was to value human life more than anything. He had seen the fall of man, its rebellion, and finally its victory.

Maybe it's finally time to let go.

Murphy looked on at the people, knowing that he tried to give them a future. But he could no longer aid them. At that moment he knew what he was going to do. It is time.

At the edge of a cliff he stood, looking down at the clean, blue water.

SEARCHING FOR DIRECTIVES…

NO DIRECTIVES FOUND.

He held his arms out and fell off of the cliff. Two words came to his mind.

No fate.

His steel body plunged into the water. Deeper and deeper he sank into the blue water. Eventually he stopped. Stopped sinking, stopped living, and stopped wanting to live.

But nobody cared about an outdated cyborg that had kept to himself for as long as anyone knew. All they knew was that the world was at peace.

Alex Murphy was no more.