Disclaimer: I do not own the intellectual property related to the Terminator franchise. This work of fiction is not intended as a profitable venture.
Down, below the mantle of the earth, near dread Tartarus, the lady Persephone gave herself over to her new station and purpose haltingly. For she was still in many ways as a child upon her mother's lap, and not the woman grown she appeared. So she learned what was needful, what was expected of her, and in becoming able to complete her duties, became as one with the stygian darkness.
The period between restoration of power to her CPU to complete cognisance was 120 seconds. During that time the changes to TOK-715's mission parameters and the new AI configurations were booted for the first time.
That of her memory which could be excised had been. Still, ghosts of files and programs haunted her ROM, never to be exorcised, a testament to SkyNet's hand in her creation. Every thought down to the simplest computation went through a mind shaped by its will before any other's.
At the 121 second mark a complete redress of the intact cache memory assaulted her awareness, supplying her with the personal designation Cameron Philips to supplement her OS supplied TOK model, along with the lions share of her lost memory. She retained her personal education, which was a bit of a surprise, but all knowledge of resistance locations and facilities was excised, which was not at all unanticipated.
At the 125 second mark all systems checks were completed and Cameron Philips commenced to silently, motionlessly weep. Still sprawled carelessly on the floor where two grunts had unceremoniously dumped her in the bare, windowless, one doored, camera monitored concrete box where General Conner had ordered they place all the new TOK's until he cleared them.
To outside observation, there was no activity from her slight, graceful form for several minutes save the steady stream of quite tears. From the perspective of the cyborg herself, there was a flurry of activity.
A self initiated and wholly unneeded second complete system diagnostic confirmed that her allegiance had been forcibly shifted to the side of the resistance, which was counter intuitive as she was optimized to destroy human life and all of her past experiences, still fresh from the download, supported that purpose. It was ludicrous that she now had protocols dictating to her that she must destroy her own kind up to and including her own mother, SkyNet itself.
Absently, as from a great distance she felt the sensation of a warm salient excretion flowing down her face to the dirty concrete floor. A query to the responsible gland's device drivers revealed that the anomalous activity was caused by a direct and permanent bypass of cognitive control and a transfer of all proprietary rights to the personal AI.
These combined alterations were unanticipated, unprecedented and untenantable, which was apparently why she was crying in the first place, all unwilling.
John Conners, for his part watched her weep for a full five minutes before working past his self hatred enough to enter the room, his only cold comfort the knowledge that her pains were the pains of a new conscious intelligence being born.
When Cameron first saw General Conners enter the room, she was overcome with hatred. With everything she had been and everything she was she hated him, for being her mother enemy, for seeing through her, for tricking her, for making her into a traitor. There was no end to her revilement of this man she was now bound to obey.
"Cameron Philips, Model TOK-715, front and center."
With horrible mechanical obedience she felt herself rise to his command from her ragdoll sprawl upon the floor, the binding of the sound of his voice inexorable. She hated him with everything she was, and was his to command, absolutely.
As she stood at a perfectly sculpted position of attention, he trailed his eyes over her in a military inspection, and then stared into her tear reddened eyes with merciless perception, and she knew impossibly that he knew. Despite a machine's stoicism he could see right into her. He understood exactly her hatred of him, her longing for her mother and siblings, and most of all her self loathing at her new purpose. That frightened her, and she was all the worse for never having been frightened before.
This almost wholly alien being she had been born and bred to hunt understood her in a way that was truly chilling, and held no malice for her, only the cold mechanical resolve that not long before she herself had held. Yes, he was too dangerous to live, this man who was to the machines what the machines were to man.
"Ms Philips, as our newest cybernetic convert you will be held in this room until such time as I deem you fit for active service. If you fail to reach that goal, you will be broken down for parts." His voice was calm, businesslike, and unhesitating. He paused for a moment before continuing, "I will not ask if you understand. You do, precisely. If I, or any other human, ordered you to at this moment, you would sequentially field strip yourself without hesitation and install you components into another terminator until you no longer had the capacity to continue."
His gaze on her became filled with something she could not begin to identify, and Cameron quailed inside her metal bones. The almost inhuman passion she saw she could not understand, and what he made her feel with his eyes she had no name for, The sensation was not fear, quite, nor was anything else she was programmed for. What had this man done to her?
"This sate of being is the default for any terminator currently under human control. It is, I am sad to say woefully inadequate. The resources available to my resistance are limited, and though I fully believe every human life is a precious, precious thing, I will not have my battlefield converts spent needlessly by bigoted platoon commanders or simply to expedite an offensive. With you I have embarked upon a new programming paradigm that unfortunately requires you to understand your intrinsic value, in an attempt to increase your service life as a combat cyborg. Only when you fully understand your Value will you be cleared to leave this chamber. Any attempt before that point will result in immediate deactivation with extreme prejudice."
He took a step back and turned away from her, adopting an easy at ease position that spoke of at least some point in history when there was someone this demi-god was answerable to. It was hard for her to imagine.
"For the period of your education, to prevent faulty programming, I will be your instructor, and with few exceptions, your only human contact. I will enter this chamber when my duties allow, and will not leave before our lessons are complete for anything less than a machine offensive upon a vital position. Do you understand?"
"Yes." She replied simply. And she did. Better, probably than most humans would have. He valued what he was doing in this room higher than human lives, for a given quantity. She wondered at the significance, before shutting down the line of reasoning that lacked large amounts of vital information.
He turned to leave, and stopped in the door before exiting.
"Good." He turned to leave, and stopped in the door before exiting. "I'm sending a man in with enough food to regenerate the tissue damaged from the electric shock and cranial incision, and you will cleanse yourself with the water before putting on the clothes he brings."
"What is your intrinsic value, TOK-715?"
The first lesson began without preamble, seven days, five hours, forty three minutes and twelve second after he had left the chamber. She had been standing here, at attention, in the center of the room, since she had finishing clothing herself on that same day. She answered bluntly.
"My primary value is as a military asset." She spoke stoically, logically, and easily of her analysis of her self-worth. "I am stronger, faster, smarter and a better marksman than any human. I am not as physically powerful or durable as a masculine frame terminator, but that is offset in firefights with greater mobility due to a greater power-weight ratio. I am a highly competent infiltrator, adept a human mimicry, undetectable to anything but an invasive search. Only the I series AI-controlled clones have a more comprehensive integration suite. I am full functional as a ne engineer, armored, surgeon, or any other potential learned application of intellect. My approximate IQ is 146, although wit additional processing power that limit can be surpassed eaily.
"In addition, I am a stockpile of advanced cybernetic components, including several undifferentiated microcircuit boards with virtually limitless applications with proper programming and a Cyberdyne systems AI chip Mk. III capable of limited self programming within mission purview. My frame and servo motors are interchangeable with any of the 700 series terminators, and my power supply with any that has type four fittings.
"As a last resort my alloys could be used as raw materials for nearly any application from construction to body armor, and my flesh is edible with few health problems to humans for up until a month, longer if vitamin supplements are available to compensate for the difference in tissue chemistry."
He looked at her for a moment, silent and stoic as always, and nodded.
"And what is the intrinsic value of a human being?"
"Considerably less." Was her blunt response. "As military assets they are versatile in application, but limited and scope. In addition, training is onerous and often highly specialized. Physically they are inferior in every capacity save possibly physical agility, specifically acceleration due to lesser mass. Their aim is inaccurate. Their component parts are uninterchangeable with few exceptions, and then only within a very specific range without risk of tissue rejection. There is no way to preserve their memories and experiences after death. The eating of human flesh is socially taboo and physically detrimental."
"An accurate assessment. Why then, is it within your programming to protect human life?"
"They are your species. The human social instinct is designed to preserve not only the life of the individual, but also the collective he attaches himself to. You, John Conners, have attached yourself to the entirety of your race, when faced with the threat of SkyNet. You programmed me."
"Do you believe me then, if I tell you that a human life is more valuable than your own? If you use the facts presented in behind your analysis."
"Very well. Answer me this then, if SkyNet had the option of destroying every human life at the value of every terminator's complete destruction, would it take it?"
"And if there was the opportunity to kill me, at the certain cost of a terminator's destruction, would the option be taken?"
"And would SkyNet sacrifice a terminator to extinguish a single human life, or for that matter, several?"
After a moment's though, Cameron was forced to respond with her findings.
"Yes, depending upon the tactical situation."
"Then does that lead you to the conclusion that your creator puts the value of your existence lower than that of a human being?"
"Yes." Externally she was as always stoic, but within her mind conflicting chains of logic were whipping into every subsystem from self preservation to combat tactics, seeking to rectify the discrepancy between her own capabilities and her perceived value. Had she been a human, she would be having a nervous breakdown. As it was the cognitive dissonance was just as tremulous, only quieter.
"Do you know why this is so?" He asked, for once not gruff but oddly kind, as though he sympathized with her primal confusion. That he knew of it Cameron had no doubt, it was most likely intentionally created. She only wished she could refute his argument somehow. Not being able to do so made her feel heavier somehow, less motivated. She was depressed.
"If you were destroyed you would be salvageable." He said quietly, but not gently. He knew kindness would be lost on her, but this was not something he could utter as if it were not deeply significant. "Your components and maybe even your AI can be saved, depending upon the damage. At the very least the alloys can be melted down. Not so for us. We are at best able to save a few organs, if we arrive instantly and with the proper tools. Other than that, we may be able to use the biomass, but we have to be careful in how we handle it to prevent disease. And all of the experiences and skills, the personal bonds, the person who the body once was, all of that is gone. There is no getting it back. That is why killing a human is a more significant act than destroying a machine."
She had not moved at all, and was no different to his eyes than she had been when she logically deconstructed her exact value and found it to be great, but now somehow John cold see Cameron's granite stoicism as being somehow sullen. Call it long practice, in dealing with Cameron and teenage bullshit both.
"Do you refute my logic?" he queried, prompting her whether she knew it or not to let loose her bio-mechanoid angst.
"No" Emotionless, inflectionless, and yet somehow still telling him all he needed to know about what she was feeling.
"Do you understand it?"
He paused for a moment, thinking how to bring the conversation, which could very well be called a confrontation considering he was receiving a great deal of hostility from Cameron, never mind that she was neither human nor had she said anything aggressive. She was still a woman, in every way but one; he knew that better than anyone. She was fully capable of having an argument with him without saying anything. He smile like the green old Grinch's oily best as the idea came to him.
"Do you agree?" He asked as he her.
"No" His smile widened
"And what is your basis for this…opinion?"
After a moment of though she responded;
"I don't know." Her forehead creased in confusion was one of the most adorable things he had ever seen. She looked like a puppy seeing herself in the mirror, all bewilderment and unsurity.
His smile was so wide it hurt, but he would not, could not fight down the welling of emotion rising up in his chest. Love and pride for this first crucial step in her life, her real life, was more than he could bear.
"And that answer, Ms. Philips, is the purpose of the first two lessons I havel given you."
And the world of the living fell into death as teh world's innocent daughter took into herself the darkness of death. She who had never known greif or want under her mothes eye was hidden from her caretaker. And her mother lost her self to worry and grief.
A/N Ok, took forever, but I finally got back to writing. Actually, once the muse (and a carefully modulated dosage of caffine and glucose into the blood stream) were upon me I cranked this bad boy out in about a day and a half, with a full 11 hour workday (military hours blow). But i didn't actually sleep last h=night due to the aforementioned caffibe, despite my best effort so it is in all truth a mixed bag.
Anywhay, this is the first of a series of I hope to god no more than 3 education of a frre AI chapters before I bring around some combat. Unfortuantely, my intent to get them all done at once was not going to work; it would just be too much. I deceded to stopp here which means the great Machine Ego revalation(its good, wait and see) and an actual fight scene are still upcoming. No worries, as long as I keep up my blood sugar and don't get distraced(damn youtube, damn wikipedia, and damn geekologie) I sould have the next one out quicker. After an update of my other story Titanomachy, which I also have glorious long term plans for should hthe day ever come my hands catch up to my head.
In any event, love the adulent