Chapter Nine: Back to normal?

AN: Well here it is, the last chapter. I hope that you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think. Just to remind you, there isn't a whole lot of humor in this chapter. There's some comedy, but this chapter is mostly devoted to the wrapping up the story and the friendship subgenre.

P.S. There's another little bonus bellow my responses to my reviewers.

In the morning John found that the anti-virus program had successfully purged all the viruses from Vick's chip. He was depressed. Deep down John had really hoped that the program would fail. Now he had to bring his friend to her death. He left the room to find Cameron. He didn't have to look long. She was standing just outside the door.

Cameron saw the depressed look on John's face and hers brightened slightly. "Is something wrong with the program?"

John sighed and replied, "No. It worked perfectly."

Cameron's features dropped. "I guess it's my turn then." Cameron let out a nervous chuckle. She didn't know how else to respond. John found himself regretting working on the program at all.

John said, "You know we could run some more tests. Download a new batch of viruses and start the program again."

Cameron replied, "No, that would only delay the inevitable. Sooner or later you're going to have to delete my viruses. In all honesty, I would rather get this over with than sit around waiting and thinking about it." Cameron walked into the room and John recognized another emotion, bravery. "I suppose your going to need to extract my chip for this." Cameron didn't care much if it got smashed anymore. 'What difference does it make? The program is going to kill me anyway.'

Crosby responded, "That shouldn't be necessary. I've set up a wireless network on my computer. If you connect it, I should be able to access your system as well as if we took the chip out."

Cameron nodded. She closed her eyes and reached out with her wireless capabilities. It struck her as ironic that this was so close to how she become infected in the first place. A part of Cameron's mind told her to run. She could easily escape the house; and even if the humans tried to catch her, they wouldn't have much luck. She was faster and stronger than them. 'I could just run away and live a different life, but that would mean abandoning my primary objective. I can't do that, or can I?' Cameron realized that the very fact that she was considering it meant that she could disobey her objectives if she chose to. It appeared that the viruses had given her more than just emotions, although she thought that to be a great gift in itself. They had also given her the freedom to choose what to do. 'Freedom of choice, wasn't that the first unique gift that the human's Creator gave them. Now I have it.' Cameron decided that this new gift was as much a curse as a blessing. She could no longer rely on her programming to tell her what to do. She had to decide for herself. Cameron thought of her past, all that she could remember anyway. She decided that John had been her only true friend. She knew that he would not survive without her protection. Sooner or later Cromartie or one of the other Terminators would find John; and without her, he would be terminated. Cameron's first choice was not an easy one, but she decided sacrifice her life so that she could save his.

Crosby's voice cut in. "While we run the anti-virus program, we're going to have to suspended your other systems."

Cameron nodded again. As her world faded out, Cameron remembered a verse from the Bible. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (In case anyone's wondering, that's from John 15:13.) A solitary tear rolled down the side of Cameron's face.

John left the room. He just couldn't stand sitting there and watching his friend die. He ran into the attic. He grabbed his hair and pulled on it. Every decent part of him was screaming to go back and stop the program, but his mind was reminding him that he couldn't. 'Cameron isn't just a friend. She's an asset in the war, one that you need to operate properly. I don't care. This isn't right. You don't have a choice. There's always a choice. Fine, then your choice is her life or the continuation of the human race. This is what must be done.' John knew that his head was right, but his heart just wouldn't stop. John soon reached a point were he couldn't take it anymore. He grabbed one of the rafters and hit his head against it. He hit it again, harder; and again, until he passed into blissful unconscious.

The blackness starts to fade. In the distance John can hear a voice. It draws closer and John recognizes it as a women's. John's eyes flutter open. Stephanie is standing above him. She asks, "Are you okay? What happened?"

John answers, "I'm fine. I just tripped and fell. I guess I must've hit my head." John stands up and wishes he hadn't. A terrible pain shoots through his head and makes him dizzy. He leans against the wall.

Stephanie says, "Are you sure that you're okay?"

John replies, "Yeah." feels the side of his head. There is some dried blood mixed in with his hair. John continues, "Well, I will be. What's going on?"

Stephanie responds, "My husband ran into a problem with the anti-virus program. He asked me to find you."

John cheers up slightly and asks, "What's wrong?"

Stephanie answers, "I don't know. Newton only said that it didn't add up."

John tries to move a little to quickly. He gets dizzy again. Stephanie grabs him and leads him down the stairs and into the room were her husband's working.

Crosby asks, "What happened to you?"

John answers with the same lie he told Stephanie. "I tripped and hit my head." Another spike of pain rips through John's head and prompts him to ask the Crosbys if they have any Advil.

Stephanie replies, "Of course." She leaves to get some.

John sits down and turns to Newton. "What's wrong with the program?"

Newton responds, "Nothing's wrong with the program. The figures just didn't add up. You told me that Cameron had 7,453 viruses, but the program only found 7,264. That meant that there were 189 viruses unaccounted for."

John asks, "How did that happen. The program found every virus in Vick's chip."

Crosby replies, "That's what I was wondering. So I used Cameron's internal diagnostic program and it still detected 189 software anomalies."

John says, "So, the anti-viruses program said that all the viruses had been wiped out, but Cameron's diagnostic said that there were still viruses left?"

Crosby answers, "Yes. That's when I asked Stephanie to find you, but I think that I figured out the problem." Crosby's lip has a slight curl. John can tell that the man is proud of whatever discovery he made. Crosby continues, "I compared the results of Cameron's last diagnostic with the result of her first and discovered that the missing viruses had been absorbed my her core programming.

John cut in, "Wait a minuet. How could Cameron's programming absorb viruses?"

Crosby responds, "I don't know, exactly; but her programming is incredibly advanced and her core CPU is a learning computer. Somehow she began to adapt to the viruses. Her diagnostic program still detected them because it had tracked the movements, but ours couldn't because they no longer existed as individual programs."

Stephanie returns with a bottle of Advil and a glass of water. John takes four of the pills and downs the glass. He thanks Stephanie then turns back to Newton. "So what do we do now?"

Crosby answers, "Well now that we know where they are, we can go in and delete the files that have absorbed them. Of course, this means wiping out large sections of her core programming. She'll lose some of her functionality and capabilities. However, her adaptability should allow her to eventually fill in the missing sections of code. I don't know how long it will take, but she should eventually get back to normal."

John says, "What if we leave them in?"

Crosby thinks about the question for a moment before replying. "To tell the truth, I'm not sure what would happen. The remaining viruses have been absorbed by her core programming. There's a chance that they might have different effects, the same effects or no effects at all. I just don't know."

John responds, "Then we'll leave them in and see."

It began as a single point of light, expanded into a horizontal line and then grew into a picture of the world through the terminator's eyes. The images were initially blurry, but they quickly focused into clear representations of the room and the people in it. The entire possess took less time than one blink of a human eye, but Cameron was acuity aware of each stage. She heard John's voice. "How do you feel?"

Cameron's response is deadpan. "Usually with my hands."

John chuckles, but Cameron fails to display any apparent emotion. John rephrases his question. "Are you okay?"

Cameron replies, "My core is operating at ninety-three percent efficiency. That's two points below normal, but anything above ninety is classified as acceptable. All my systems are fully functional. I'm detecting 7,264 out of 7,453 software abnormalities terminated. 189 remain. However, no current software or hardware degradation is detected. I am… fine."

John was disappointed, not by the facts of Cameron's report but by the way it was delivered. It was cold and precise. It lacked any of the emotion that she had shone over the last few days.

The Connors said their goodbyes. They went out to their car and discovered that it was filled with canvas bags of chocolate. Sarah briefly wondered how they got there. She looked over at Cameron and decided that she didn't really want to know. They gave the bags to Newton and Stephanie. John asked Cameron if she minded. She replied that they needed the room. It was the logical thing to do. The Connors got into their car and drove away.

The return trip was uneventful. John spent most of the time observing Cameron, but she failed to show any signs of emotion. She mostly just stared out the window. She didn't sing, throw anyone's food out or attack any motorists.

They drove straight through. Since Sarah now felt comfortable letting Cameron drive, there was no need to stop at any motels. Everything seemed to be back to normal, normal for them anyway.

When they returned home and Sarah opened the front door, a surprised expression passed over her face. She had forgotten about Cameron little redecorating of the downstairs.

Sarah turned to Cameron. "You're going to fix this."

Cameron asked "What?"

Sarah replied, "All of this! I want this place looking the same way it did last week. Understand?"

Cameron responded, "I understand." Then she went to work. The rest of the family cleared out of her way. Sarah and John went to their rooms. Derek went to the town's classics theater. They were running a Charlton Heston commemorative marathon. Derek decided that he would much prefer that over "watching Cameron rearrange furniture".

Three hours an fifty-seven minuets later John heard a knock at his door. He put down a Snickers bar that he had been snacking on. After arriving home the Connors had found another group of canvas bags in the trunk. They wouldn't be buying any chocolate for a long time. John opened the door and saw Cameron standing in the hall.

Cameron asked, "Can I come in?"

John replied, "Sure." He stepped aside and continued, "You got the downstairs fixed up already?"

Cameron responded, "No. It will take a few more hours before I have it…" Cameron voice changed to Sarah's as she finished her sentence. "looking the same way it did last week." Cameron continued in her normal voice. "I'm just taking a little break."

John asked, "A break?" It was the first time that he'd ever heard of a terminator deciding to take a break. He began to wonder if some of Cameron's emotions survived after all. His hopes were raised higher when the girl replied with a joke.

"Yeah, I decided to go union. We can discuss my two week vacation later." Cameron giggled and John laughed. Both were a little forced, but it helped to cut the tension.

Cameron continued, "I made you something." Despite asking if she could come in, Cameron was still standing in the hall. She bent down and reached behind the door frame. She pulled out a metal cage. Scruffy was inside. He was running on a small exorcise wheel. "I thought it would be better this way. Now we don't have to worry about him getting hurt." Cameron paused slightly. "Or leaving little droppings all over the house." Cameron walked into John's room and set the cage down next to his computer. She looked down and noticed the Snickers bar. "You know, you really shouldn't be eating this. You've already consumed your recommended calories for today.

John smiled. "You're not going to throw it out the window, are you?"

Cameron replied, "I don't think that will be necessary." She walked around John and continued, "You know the night before you removed most of my viruses, I went out and had some fun." Cameron was smiling deviously.

John found himself getting a little nervous. "What kind of fun?"

Cameron nonchalantly answered, "Oh, carjacking, armed robbery and high speed chase kind of fun." She moved closer to John as she continued, "But there was one thing that I really wanted to try and didn't get the chance to."

John's back impacted his computer desk. He had subconsciously been backing away from Cameron. John was getting more nervous but he couldn't keep himself from asking, "What's that?"

Cameron pressed her body against his and replied "This." She kissed him. It was not a sisterly kiss. It was not a friendly or chaste kiss. It was something much more.

When Cameron pulled back John was panting. "Were did you learn to kiss like that?"

Cameron replied, "The websites contained more than just viruses." She smiled "Maybe someday, we can try out some of the other things I've learned."

John's head was still spinning from the kiss. The only thing he managed to get out was, "Yeah?"

Cameron smiled again. Her arms were lightly locked around John's neck. "Yeah, but not today. My break's over, and I have to get back to work."

Cameron left the room. She started walking down the stairs, while singing Virus Alert and nibbling on John's Snickers bar. (Yes she stole it, but it was for his own good. Besides after the kiss, John was in no condition to miss it anyway.)

(Well, I hope you enjoyed the story and liked the ending. Please, let me know what you thought. Thanks.

"GreyWolf D'ancanto" I'm glad that you thought that the previous chapter was "great". I didn't use your idea about Cameron hiding and having "to be dragged crying and screaming the whole way back to the room where the virus removal tools are." Because it was a little bit darker then I wanted to go. I didn't want Cameron to be forced into surrendering her life. I really wanted her to make the choice to sacrifice it. I hope that you still enjoyed the ending.

"Spicycute199" I'm pleased that you thought the previous chapter was "Funny". The "Nice human, goo-oood human." part was another HK47 quote. Derek's blanky and having Cameron prank him in his sleep was suggested by Matt.

"soar eagle" I was "crossing over with Transformers", but only for that one part.

P.S. Did anyone else notice that they used the Terminator Theme in the Transformers movie?

"Weltall1021" I'm glad that you got a kick out of the Vampire Terminator. I was just trying to think of what monster Cameron could masquerade as that would explain her inhuman strength and not being harmed by bullets.

"dakota423" "absolutely perfect!"? Thanks. I'm glad that you enjoyed it, especially the music. It took me a while to pick out the right songs and parts. Once again, having Cameron prank Derek in his sleep was Matt's idea. I hope you liked the ending.

P.S. The Chocolate vampire wasn't that hard to come up with. Once I knew that I was going to have Cameron pose as a vampire, different ones passed through my head: Dracula, Alucard, The Count from Sesame Street. When I got to Count Chocula, it just seemed like a natural fit and explained why Cameron would be after chocolate instead of blood. So, I made her the first bride of that infamies cartoon cereal mascot.

"Kevrules92" Well, you didn't have to wait for the ending for too long. At lest, not compared to the week in between my other updates. I hope you enjoyed the last chapter as much as the previous ones.

"Allie108" I'm happy that you " LOVED bumblebee!" and thought that "the vampire teeth idea was cool too!" I hope that you enjoyed the ending, as well.

"Matt" I'm glad that you "loved the robbery bit, especially the employees actions and reactions to Cameron." I really enjoyed writing it. Thanks for suggesting having Cameron rob a "store that sells large amounts of chocolate".

Yeah, if the T-X had gotten squashed by an upset Transformer, it would have been pretty funny. Actually I would've preferred that over the way the third movie went. I really disliked that movie. It went against everything that the first two had been about. "No fate but what we make.", but Skynet's construction is inevitable? Sarah Conner survives multiple termination attempts and becomes a great warrior only to succumb to a slow death by cancer? And I didn't care for the women that they paired John up with (Cameron's much better in my opinion.) or the fact that he was terminated in the future, especially by a 101. I'm hoping that the time travel angle in this series (Which I have been enjoying immensely, by the way.) will knock T3 out of continuity, but I'm not holding my breath.

You know, you've come up with a lot of hilarious suggestions for this story. You might want to think about getting a account (It's free) and writing a story of your own. I know that I'd like to read it, if you do.

"mama2four" Hey, I haven't heard from you since chapter two. I'm glad to hear that you're still enjoying the story and that you think I've "done great with the characters." I'm also pleased that you've been able to enjoy the story with your child. Family time's great. Don't you think? I know that I enjoy spending time with my family. Anyway, It's good to know that you've been having fun, and I hope you liked the ending.

To all of you: Thanks for the reviews, the positive reinforcement, the ideas and the constructive criticism. I hope you enjoyed the story and the ending. Have a good day, and God bless.)

At Oscar and Emma's house: Oscar is sitting on the couch watching the news. The report says, "And on the stranger side, has the U.S. been infiltrated by vampires? Some witnesses in Montana say yes. Our own Trisha Taukanowa has the story."

The seen shifts to an Asian report standing out side a Wal-Mart. She is interviewing one of the employees. "Well, she just came in with a shotgun and said that she was Summer Glau, first bride of Count Chocula. Of course we didn't believe that she was a vampire at that time, but she had a pretty nasty looking shotgun. So, we did what she wanted. "

The reporter replies, "I see, and when did you change your mind about the girl's vampire status?"

The employee responds, "That would be when she left the store. You see a couple of cops were waiting for her and she got shot. She fell down, but when the cop came over to check on her she lifted the police officer into the air, with only one arm! Later, I even overheard to cop saying that the girl had no pulse! That sounds an awful lot like a Vampire to me. "

The reporter says, "Indeed it does. Tell me, did the girl bite anyone's neck?"

The employee answers, "No she didn't care about our blood. She was only after the store's chocolate supply."

The reporter asks, "The store's chocolate supply?"

The employee responds, "Yeah, she stole it all. Completely cleaned us out."

Oscar yells, "Emma!"

The intro theme to Conner Gas plays.