John and Kate called a meeting for the following morning. Word had already gotten around about what had happened the previous evening. The people in the tunnels were angry and wanted to plan another attack against Skynet. John knew that they needed to be cautious, and not act in anger. Attacks made in anger would cost lives. They mapped out strategies for attacking Skynet at their meeting.
The attacks continued, sometimes the humans won, sometimes Skynet won. They lost people; they found people to add to their group, children were born and grew up to fight. They found new places to hide. John and Kate had two more children; Robert, after Kate's father, and Evan, which means young warrior. James Perry was killed when a Terminator managed to infiltrate one of the tunnels. Kyle felt the greatest sense of loss since Colonel Perry had been like a father to him. His loss was made worse when his mother died of a heart attack in her sleep soon after this attack.
Skynet continued to manufacture HKs, and it learned how to build Terminators. This continued for over 25 years. Through all these years, John Conner kept a careful eye on Kyle Reese. He knew he had to send him on missions, but tried not to send him on any that were too dangerous. Kyle was too important to loose. When Kyle had turned 21 John gave him the picture of his mother. John wasn't sure what he would tell Kyle if he asked him why he gave him the picture; fortunately Kyle was so overwhelmed he didn't think to ask.
They continued to have patrols sent out to destroy the HKs. Skynet had developed a new type of Terminator. This model had skin and looked just like humans. Fortunately Max, Jada and Cleo had produced several generations of dogs that were very good at spotting the Terminators. Late one night, just after Kyle's patrol had returned to the tunnels they were infiltrated by a Terminator. They had taken refuge in base number three since there was an unusually large number of HKs out that night. Kyle had just settled in to get some rest when the Terminator entered the base. The dogs began barking. Before they could defend themselves, the machine began firing. Several people were killed immediately. Panic broke out; inhabitants of the refuge began scrambling for an exit. Bullets hit a container of fuel, causing it to explode. Fire engulfed everything in sight including several people. In his haste to get out, Kyle dropped his photograph of Sarah that he had been looking at. It burst into flames and burned before he could react. He was devastated by the fact that he had lost this treasured picture. He fired on the Terminator, damaging, but not destroying it. Seeing that he was not going to be able to destroy the machine, he followed the others out the emergency exit.
"Scramble!" he shouted to the other survivors, knowing they would now head for whatever shelter they could find. He headed to the building where there was access to the base Elijah's group had abandoned. He would not lead the Terminator to the main tunnels.
The attacks against Skynet continued. Intelligence information gathered from scouts let them know that Skynet had built a new factory just a few miles from the tunnels. John and Daniel Perry planned a full scale attack on the facility. Thirty people would attack just after midnight. They arrived at the facility only to discover that it was not a factory, but a disposal camp. There were HKs everywhere; they had walked into a trap. Over half of their people were killed outright. A few escaped, the rest were rounded up and put in the camp. John, Daniel Perry, and Kyle Reese were forced into the extermination camp. At first they thought they were going to be tortured for information. They were taken into a large room filled with menacing looking machines. They were told to remove their shirts so that identification numbers could be burned into their arms with lasers.
Since they were strong, able bodied men, they were put to work loading bodies into the furnace. John was overwhelmed with concern about Kate and the children. Had they been found or were they still safe in the tunnels? He knew that she must be very worried about him too.
Back in the tunnel the few people that had escaped told Kate what had happened to the rest of the patrol.
"Where is John?" asked Kate.
"We don't know for sure. The last we saw him he, Kyle Reese, Daniel Perry, and a few others were alive and surrounded by HKs."
Even though the children all had separate sleeping areas, they stayed with Kate that night. Kate didn't sleep at all that night. All she could do was watch her children sleep and worry about John. She knew that he wasn't supposed to die yet, that according to one timeline he was killed by a terminator on July 4th 2032. She also knew that she was in charge now; she didn't have the luxury of spending her time worrying about John.
The next morning she called everyone to a meeting and sent messengers to the other bases to let them know about the meeting.
"You all know that last night we lost a lot of people when we attacked what we thought was Skynet's factory. Instead it was an extermination camp. You've probably all heard rumors about who we lost. Well, let me set things straight. John Conner, Colonel Perry and Kyle Reese are among the missing. I don't know if they are dead or have been captured to work in the extermination camp. For the time being, I am in charge. You will all follow my orders. Are there any questions?" She stood tall and looked each person in the eye, letting them know that she would not tolerate any arguments.
No one said a thing for a few seconds, and then David Perry stood and saluted her, letting her know that she had the support of everyone present.
At the extermination camp John, Daniel and Kyle were kept busy loading the bodies of murdered humans into the disposal units. They were fed just enough to keep them alive. No one dared to complain, the last person who had done that was killed for it. The disposal units were kept running night and day, so they were allowed only a few hours of sleep each day.
Some of the humans were being taken into a large building in the center of the compound. None of them ever came back. There were rumors about what was going on in that building; some said that Skynet was experimenting on humans; others said they were torturing them. John wondered if this was where the time displacement equipment was. It was heavily guarded and there were times when strange lights, sounds and waves of lightning like energy came from it. He knew that he was running out of time and would have to act fast if he wanted to be able to send Kyle back in time to save his mother.
They had been in the extermination camp for just under 4 months when John came up with an idea for escaping. They were not allowed to talk to each other so they had to come up with another way to communicate. They had used sign language to communicate while they were working so the terminators and HKs would not hear them, so they put this to use when they were allowed to rest.
John decided that Skynet thought the humans were too weak and broken in spirit to plan anything. It was wrong. John knew that if he could get everyone to attack at the same time, they had a decent chance of escaping.
While he worked, John watched the patrols along the fences to see if there were any weak spots, anyplace they were vulnerable. It took another 6 weeks before he found a place where he believed they could make their escape. Near the rear of one of the disposal units, there was an area that was dark. John decided that if enough people attacked this section of the fence they could break out. Later, after they got more help they could destroy the disposal units, and when the time came, they could attack the time displacement equipment. He let Daniel and Kyle know what his plan was, and asked them to pass the word. A week later, they were all ready to make their move. Late one night, when it was cloudy so it would be even darker. They all were carrying bodies across the compound, trying to get as close to the fence as possible. Each person involved also had tried to find something to use as a weapon; a bar, board or rock. When they had as many people near the fence as possible, John gave the signal and they attacked. John had found a metal bar, about a foot long, and hid it in the clothing of the body he was moving. He used it to break through a section of the fence. The other people with him used whatever they could to help him break through. The HKs and terminators did not expect them to try to escape. Skynet was convinced that it had the humans broken. They knew they only had a few seconds to break through the fence before they were fired upon, so they had to make every second count. The wire on the fence was tough, but they were able to break through just as the HKs began to fire. Out of the fifteen people that were in on the attack, five were killed outright, three more were wounded. John, Kyle and Daniel managed to escape the camp and headed back to the tunnels taking the other survivors with them.
They arrived at the tunnels nearly three hours after they escaped. The sentries on duty held them at gunpoint until the dogs could be brought out to verify that they were humans, and not terminators designed to look like John, Kyle and the Daniel.
When they arrived in the meeting room they were surrounded by people who were overjoyed to see them. John was in the middle of introducing the seven people with him when Kate rushed into the room.
"Oh my God, you are alive!" she cried out as she rushed to him, throwing herself into his arms. She hugged him tightly, crying in relief.
She stepped back and looked at him, astonished by how thin and tired he looked.
"What happened to you?" Kate asked, amazed at how thin and haggard he looked.
"We attacked what we thought was a factory, but it was an extermination camp. They were waiting for us. They killed most of our people, the rest of us they captured and put us to work loading bodies into the furnaces. We finally figured out how to escape. Kate, I think they have developed the time displacement equipment. We are going to have to go back and destroy it."
While they were talking Emily Gordon and Lisa Parker brought them something to eat and drink. While they were eating Kate told them everything that had been going on while they were gone. A few moments later Sarah, Robert and Evan hurried into the room.
"Dad, you are back!"
John stood and hugged his children, holding them closely for several minutes. He was so grateful to be home with his family.
He sat down and finished his food and then told Kate he needed to get some rest. They agreed that they would hold a meeting the following morning to let everyone know what was going on.
When he and Kate got to their room, the first thing he did was clean up and changed his clothes. He told her everything that had happened to him, and she told him what had been going on in their battles against Skynet.
"We didn't know if you were dead, or if you had been captured, so I took over. I decided that we should break up into three more camps so that if we were attacked we wouldn't loose as may people. Each camp has two dogs to identify terminators. One night, about a month ago, a group from camp number two was on patrol. They had destroyed 3 HKs and probably got too confident. They were followed back to their base by a Terminator. It got in before the dogs could bark. We lost 16 people that night. We closed part of that base, and opened a different entrance to it so the Terminators would think it had been abandoned. We've lost a total of 48 people, but we have destroyed 32 HKs and 2 terminators since you have been gone. Billy Kincaid and Daniel Perry have been very helpful. I don't know if I could have done it without them"
John was impressed by the job she had done while he was gone. Kate truly was his co-leader. He had missed her so much, and worried about her while he was gone. He was so exhausted by his ordeals of the past several months that he fell asleep almost as soon as he was in bed.
They awoke early the next morning, ate breakfast and headed for the meeting room.
Everyone was excited about welcoming back the three men, and about meeting the new people. John gave them a brief account of what had happened and let them know that they would have to attack what he believed was the time displacement equipment. He told them that he had information that led him to believe that Skynet was going to send a Terminator through to kill Sarah Conner before John could be born. He asked for volunteers to follow it to protect her. He was relieved to see that Kyle was one of the volunteers. He acted as if he was thinking about who to send, and then he chose Kyle.
"Kyle, I think you are the best man for this job."
Kyle was surprised and honored to be chosen for this important assignment. For some reason he felt a special closeness to John. He had been like a father to him since his own father had been killed when he was very young.
They began planning how they would attack the extermination camp, and how they would gain access to the building that held the time displacement equipment. They had over 180 men and women trained to fight, and they were going to need all of them to succeed in their attack.
John planned the attack for one week after they returned from the extermination camp. This would give Kyle time to rest and gain his strength back. John took this opportunity to brief Kyle on his mission and to give him a message to memorize to give to his mother.
On the night of the attack John broke his troops up into 10 groups and sent them out at 2 minute intervals. They were all armed with pipe bombs, grenade launchers, plasma rifles they had been able to steal, shotguns and high power rifles. They attacked the fence in nearly the same place where they had broken out. John led the attack, with Kyle following him closely. Skynet was not expecting anyone to try to break into the camp so they had the advantage of surprise. They made it through the fence without any casualties, but when they tried to break into the building with the time displacement equipment, they met with much greater resistance. HKs began firing on them, killing many of their soldiers. They were able to blast holes in the walls with grenades. Their troops stormed the building, destroying Terminators and HKs with the plasma rifles.
The prisoners in the camp took the opportunity to fight the HKs with anything they could find, trying to help in the battle. John lit the fuse on a pipe bomb and then threw it next to the door, blowing it open so his group could go in.
As they rushed into the building, John paused to look around. They were standing in a large room with a lot of complicated looking equipment in the middle. Just then, a large, familiar looking naked man finished rubbing something on his skin and then stepped onto a platform. It was the first Terminator, the one who was being sent back to kill his mother. Electricity crackled around him, and then he vanished. It was the time displacement equipment. John's soldiers continued to fire on the HKs at the machine, destroying as many as they could.
"Block the doors with something so we can figure this out!" he shouted.
Several of the men shoved some large packing crates in front of the doors and braced them with their bodies.
"Do you think we can figure this out?" asked John.
"We don't have a choice. We have to send Kyle back; they have already sent their Terminator."
They approached the machine, hoping they could figure it out.
"I want everyone but Daniel Perry and Kyle to watch our backs while we figure this thing out." John ordered.
He looked over the dials and switches and realized that it probably had the correct settings programmed into it. All he would have to do is activate it again. Turning to Kyle he said, "Alright soldier, you know what you have to do."
There was a large vat of slimy looking liquid near the equipment. John ordered Kyle to strip and smear it all over him so that his skin would not burn while he was traveling through time.
After following John's orders, Kyle stepped onto the platform and looked at John for the last time.
John looked at Kyle and then activated the machine. Electricity crackled around Kyle, John felt a tremendous blast of hot wind, and then Kyle vanished. John knew that he would never see Kyle again either.
"Good-bye, Dad." He whispered under his breath.